Australian Identity In Artwork
How did painters portray Australian identity?
The Early Years
Nicholas Chevalier was a Russian artist. He came to Australia to be with his brother Louis, after his fortunes declined. Louis was a free settler in Australia, Nicholas joined him in February 1855.
Nicholas' painting 'The Buffalo Ranges' shows an Australian scene through European eyes. The mountains look more Swiss than Australian, and the land appears less dry. This is an example of the misrepresentation of Australia that would appear in paintings painted before the 1880's.
Arthur Streeton was an Australian artist born in Duneed, Victoria. His father and wife met on their voyage from England. In Arthur's painting the Australian landscape is more truthful to the land. The yellow dry grass shows how the land is quite dry and more Australian plants like the typical gum trees are being painted. The typical Australian people are beginning to be painted as well as Australian beaches and farms that are unique to Australia. Below are some of Arthur's paintings.
Tom Roberts was born in Great Britain and moved to Australia in 1869. Tom conceived the idea of painting a bushranger whilst he stayed at Inverell in northern NSW, it shows us the qualities of the local landscape. His paintings are really true to the land and show how hot Australia is.