Afterglow (Summer evening
born Australia, 1855
Afterglow (Summer evening) 1912
Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
As its title conveys, Afterglow (Summer evening) records both an atmospheric time of day and a season. It was painted at one of the ponds on the expansive MacGregor estate adjacent to the McCubbin property, Fontainebleau, at Mount Macedon.
Here, McCubbin depicts the bush as an Arcadian site of tranquillity, leisure and inspiration. He draws on art historical precedents of the nude in the landscape, notably Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot’s The bath of Diana, his 1855 painting of the classical myth of Diana, Roman goddess of the hunt.
When it was first exhibited in 1912, Afterglow (Summer evening) was described in The Age as ‘an idyllic treatment of landscape … one of the rare successes in blending the real with the ideal in landscape’.