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John Constable is regarded as England’s quintessential painter of nature. His famous contemporary, J.M.W.Turner, is admired for his wide range of subjects depicting British and European locations and for his rich use of colour. Constable, by contrast, is appreciated for a more personal and intimate engagement with a narrower range of English landscapes which he nevertheless represents with a remarkable inventiveness and highly painterly technique.
This lecture will cover the full range of Constable’s career, with a special emphasis on works in the exhibition. It will cover the early phase of Constable’s work when his commitment to ‘truth to nature’, as demonstrated by paintings of the Suffolk landscape, is at its most faithful. It will then discuss the artist’s success in the 1820s when he turned to painting larger, ‘six-foot’ exhibition canvases which helped him achieve full professional recognition.
Finally, it will discuss Constable’s hitherto neglected later years in which he depended increasingly on memory to represent some of his best-known landscapes with a new intensity and freedom of expression.
By Anne Lyles, Art historian and curator of the exhibition John Constable’s English Landscapes
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