ARHI 301-L.McDougall- Berczy

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Introduction

William Berczy (1744-1791) presents an interesting case study in the history of early Canadian art. Born in what is now Germany, Berczy came from a cultivated family and traveled extensively before making his way to Canada where he spent the rest of his life. Until recently, Berczy was a relatively unknown figure in the history of Canadian art. However, a major exhibition orchestrated by the National Gallery has once again brought this artist to the forefront and Berczy's influence on Canadian art is becoming apparent. Berczy's training and career was diverse but the training that he received in Europe was paramount. European art was most influential in setting the founding principles and techniques that Berczy would use throughout his career. However, the European techniques that Berczy used provided a framework for the preparation and composition of his paintings. Rather limit than the artist though, these technical foundations provided Berczy with the opportunity to go beyond the sometimes confining limitations of European subject matter or style to create a method that was entirely unique.