John Constable (British, 1776-1837), 1821
Constable taught us how to cherish our view of the countryside that is as it is, and yet yet to take the time to acknowledge that it is anything but ordinary. He did it with more understanding than Turner, who, with greater gifts, was transforming Europe’s “beauty spots”. Clark, Kenneth
J.M.W. Constable and John Constable are both members of the Rev. In English landscape painting, Turner is at the top of the list. He did this despite the fact that Turner was a gifted and ambitious painter who traveled throughout Europe, searching for new landscapes, whereas Constable devoted himself to portraying the English countryside without any artificiality, In today’s world, the area around Dedham Valley, Suffolk (where Constable painted most of his works), is often referred to as “Constable country.” “The Hay Wain” is probably Constable’s most famous piece. The image shows a typical rural scene in the River Stour, with two men driving an old hay wagon. “There is nothing ugly in this world Constable commented, “I have never seen an ugly thing in my life (…) light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful”, and for him, the old and dilapidated wagon deserves just as much attention as the dense trees on the left side of the picture. The representation of the sky was always of particular importance to Constable. It is a picture of a bare mountain, but the sky of “The Hay Wain” is one of dramatic storm clouds, more so in Venturi’s sketch of the painting (at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London). In 1821, “The Hay Wain” did not sell when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy, but three years later it caused a sensation at the Paris Salon. In fact, the painting was so impressive that even the French government expressed an interest in acquiring it. French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix expressed his admiration for it.