The Group of Seven

The group of seven achieved international acclaim, won their fight against the Canadian Academy, and found their way into the hearts of Canadians. The group of seven became ever more aware of the role they played towards art in Canada. They were like missionaries trying to convince the Canadian public of the need for national art. The group of seven fought hard to create a Canadian art tradition and established an environment of tolerance to new ideas. The group of seven, by popularizing the concept of an art founded on the Canadian landscape, gave Canadians a sense of national identity, and allowed Canadians to discover the beauty of their own country. For this particular reason "the members of the Group (of Seven) became the only important Canadian artists…"
Skilled in the Impressionistic practices of painting outdoors directly from the natural world, the members of the Group of Seven set out from the disciplined, gentle landscapes of Impressionism to capture the glory and diversity of Canada. They wanted to establish an art that celebrated the land and defined a national character. The Group of Seven succeeded by focusing on the Canadian wilderness as symbolic of a New World wholesomeness and unlimited potential.
Even Canadians sometimes find it hard to understand the geographic scope of their country. Second in size only to Russia, Canada covers 9,976,140 square kilometres. From east to west it stretches 3,426 miles, crossing one-quarter of the world's time zones. Yet it is sparsely populated, with eighty percent of Canadians living within 160 miles of the southern border of the United States. Although the Canadian Pacific Railway had laid tracks across the country in the 1880's, at the turn of the century much of Canada remained untamed landscape.
The Group of Seven explored and documented the wilds in a way that made the unpopulated landscape a part of every Canadian's heritag