Constable is one of the un-sung heroes of European art. With the Hay Wain plastered over thousands of tea-towels and biscuit tins, the ‘quintessential’ nature of his art belies a much more interesting truth.
True – he found a world of beauty in places where we would never dream to look and he worshipped the intimacies of nature like no-one else. But beyond this, we find a wildly passionate man who poured his soul onto the canvas. A man fighting a life-long battle with the establishment, doggedly sticking to his guns through thick and thin. Who partook in one of the most fascinating stand-offs of 18th century art history – that with JMW Turner – both vying for supremacy in London’s Royal Academy of Arts, both fiercely committed to landscape art, and both disliking each other in equal measure.
Over the next two sessions we’ll explore how the lives of these two artists, their characters and visions poured into their paintings, bringing the genre of landscape art to life in one of the most exciting artistic revolutions of the time.