National Gallery of Australia | Audio Tour | Constable

Sinopsis

Audio guide to works from the NGA exhibition Constable: impressions of land, sea and sky shown at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 3 March – 12 June 2006

Episodios

  • Introduction

    Introduction

    21/11/2007 Duración: 01min

    Introduction

  • John CONSTABLE, Rainstorm over the sea [Seascape study with rainclouds] c.1824-28

    John CONSTABLE, Rainstorm over the sea [Seascape study with rainclouds] c.1824-28

    21/11/2007 Duración: 01min

    This spectacular oil sketch looking directly out to sea is one of the most remarkable open air sketches that Constable painted during his visits to Brighton. He depicted a dramatic sky, capturing the fleeting effect of a rainstorm at sea, with thunderous black clouds, and with a shaft of sunlight breaking through to light up the horizon on the left. Fisher wrote to Constable about his Brighton sketches, comparing them to the writing of William Paley in his Sermons and suggesting that they were ‘full of vigour, and nature, fresh, original, warm from the observation of nature’ (Beckett VI, p. 196). In his biography on Constable, Andrew Shirley observed that Constable’s sketches: ‘convey an extraordinary force of emotion’ and that in this work in particular he captured ‘the transient rainstorm, tremendous but with a gleam of light, seized in a moment’ (Shirley 1949, pp. 22–21).

  • John CONSTABLE, Cloud study, Hampstead, trees at right 11 September 1821

    John CONSTABLE, Cloud study, Hampstead, trees at right 11 September 1821

    21/11/2007 Duración: 02min

    This is one of the earliest of a number of Constable’s 1821 cloud studies in which he included a margin of land or treetops along the bottom of the image. Here he depicted the sunlight catching the tops of the small cumulus clouds, using long, sweeping brushstrokes in the upper right to express the movement of the clouds in the wind. There is good agreement between Constable’s inscription and the weather records for the London area on that day, which suggest it was a fine day with some cloud, warm temperatures and high humidity. The streets of small cumulus clouds are typical of a light westerly wind (Thornes 1999, pp. 224–25). On 17 October 1820 Constable painted his first known dated oil sketch at Hampstead in which he recorded weather effects, Sketch at Hampstead, stormy sunset (Victoria and Albert Museum, London).He continued his systematic study of changing skies over the following two years. On 23 October 1821 he wrote to John Fisher: I have done a good deal of skying– I am determined to conquer all

  • John CONSTABLE, Cloud study, horizon of trees 27 September 1821

    John CONSTABLE, Cloud study, horizon of trees 27 September 1821

    21/11/2007 Duración: 02min

    In the mezzotint, Spring, Constable and Lucas aimed to capture the dry quality of the paint of Constable’s oil sketch of this subject: Spring: East Bergholt Common c.1821 or 1829 (cat. 31). Constable wanted his print to ‘give some idea of one of those bright and animated days of the early year, when all nature bears so exhilarating an aspect’ (Beckett, Discourses, p. 14), and in the list of contents for English Landscape it was called Spring. East Bergholt Common, Hail Squalls. – Noon. In his text for the plate Constable referred to the range of colour of spring foliage and the importance of clouds in forecasting weather. He noted that: the clouds accumulate in very large and dense masses, and from their loftiness seem to move but slowly; immediately upon these large clouds appear numerous opaque patches, which, however, are only small clouds passing rapidly before them … These floating much nearer the earth, may perhaps fall in with a much stronger current of wind, which as well as their comparative lightn

  • John CONSTABLE, Spring (for English Landscape, part 1, June 1830) 1829 (d)

    John CONSTABLE, Spring (for English Landscape, part 1, June 1830) 1829 (d)

    21/11/2007 Duración: 49s

    In this progress proof the rooks are larger and clearer than in previous proofs. The ploughman’s legs have been clearly defined and there is a new shadow in the foreground. The trees have greater definition. Heysen owned a progress proof of Spring (Shirley 7 h) and remarked: ‘I am particularly impressed with “Spring” … – of course I love them all – for each has its own particular merits ... Spring – I have always thought a particularly lovely & happy thing’ (Heysen 1947).

  • John CONSTABLE, Spring (for English Landscape, part 1, June 1830) 1829 (c)

    John CONSTABLE, Spring (for English Landscape, part 1, June 1830) 1829 (c)

    21/11/2007 Duración: 49s

    Constable touched this proof with Chinese ink to show Lucas that he wanted additional rooks in the sky and foreground, more stones and re-grounding in the foreground and lower windows on the mill.

  • John CONSTABLE, Spring (for English Landscape, part 1, June 1830) 1829 (b)

    John CONSTABLE, Spring (for English Landscape, part 1, June 1830) 1829 (b)

    21/11/2007 Duración: 49s

    This is the same state as the previous work, however it has been printed with less ink and the image is therefore lighter. It may have been a later printing after the ink on the plate had been reduced. In this progress proof there are only a few stones in the foreground; the ploughman’s legs, the wheels of the plough, the horses and the mill sails are black; the low hills behind the plough are dark, and the contrasts in the sky are very sharp. All these details changed in subsequent proofs.

  • John CONSTABLE, Spring (for English Landscape, part 1, June 1830) 1829 (a)

    John CONSTABLE, Spring (for English Landscape, part 1, June 1830) 1829 (a)

    21/11/2007 Duración: 49s

    In the mezzotint, Spring, Constable and Lucas aimed to capture the dry quality of the paint of Constable’s oil sketch of this subject: Spring: East Bergholt Common c.1821 or 1829 . Constable wanted his print to ‘give some idea of one of those bright and animated days of the early year, when all nature bears so exhilarating an aspect’ (Beckett, Discourses, p. 14), and in the list of contents for English Landscape it was called Spring. East Bergholt Common, Hail Squalls. – Noon. In his text for the plate Constable referred to the range of colour of spring foliage and the importance of clouds in forecasting weather. He noted that: the clouds accumulate in very large and dense masses, and from their loftiness seem to move but slowly; immediately upon these large clouds appear numerous opaque patches, which, however, are only small clouds passing rapidly before them … These floating much nearer the earth, may perhaps fall in with a much stronger current of wind, which as well as their comparative lightness, ca

  • John CONSTABLE, Landscape with goatherd and goats, after Claude 1823

    John CONSTABLE, Landscape with goatherd and goats, after Claude 1823

    21/11/2007 Duración: 01min

    Throughout his life Constable was devoted to the work of Claude Lorrain (1604/5–1682) – from around 1800, when he first admired the paintings by Claude in Sir George Beaumont’s collection (Beckett II, p. 24), to June 1836, a year before his death, when he praised ‘the inimitable Claude’ in a lecture he presented to the Royal Institution. He described him as ‘the most perfect landscape painter the world ever saw’, and declared that in Claude’s landscape ‘all is lovely – all amiable – all is amenity and repose; the calm sunshine of the heart’ (Beckett, Discourses, pp. 52–53). In Landscape with goatherd and goats, after Claude Constable painted a faithful copy of one of Claude’s paintings in Beaumont’s collection. He made the copy slightly larger than the original, but conveyed the spirit of Claude’s original – following it closely in composition and colouring. However Constable adopted a personal approach, as Ursula Hoff has noted, when using impasto to paint the waterfall and in his use of tonal contrast a

  • John CONSTABLE, The Vale of Dedham 1827-28

    John CONSTABLE, The Vale of Dedham 1827-28

    21/11/2007 Duración: 02min

    This was Constable’s last major painting of the Stour Valley, his definitive treatment of a favourite subject, which summed up his personal affection for the place and his lifelong devotion to the example of Claude Lorrain. A relaxing holiday in Suffolk in the autumn of 1827 with his two eldest children had refreshed his associations with the area and may have motivated him to begin painting this work. On 11 June 1828 he wrote to John Fisher that he had ‘Painted a large upright landscape (perhaps my best)’ (Beckett IV, p. 236). Constable depicted the Dedham Vale framed by trees, looking eastwards from Gun Hill, down along the course of the River Stour towards the sea, with the tower of Dedham Church and the village in the middle distance, and Harwich beyond. For this composition he returned to his early painting, Dedham Vale 1802 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London), intensifying the detail of the 1802 study by including the bridge across the river with the Talbooth on the right bank. He added the old stu

  • John CONSTABLE, Hampstead Heath with London in the distance c.1827-30

    John CONSTABLE, Hampstead Heath with London in the distance c.1827-30

    21/11/2007 Duración: 01min

    Hampstead was popular with artists and writers in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, who sought the refuge of the countryside within close reach of London. This is one of a number of views from Hampstead, with London and the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral visible in the distance, painted after Constable moved with his family to live at Well Walk, Hampstead in 1827. He probably based this work on a smaller outdoor study of the subject (private collection)that he painted soon after his arrival at the Well Walk house.The animated sky in this work complements the uncultivated landscape of the Heath. The energy of the sky and expansive view of the Heath also convey the power of nature. Constable reported to Fisher that the view from the drawing room window of the house in Well Walk was: unequalled in Europe – from Westminster Abbey to Gravesend. The dome of St Paul’s in the air, realizes Michael Angelo’s idea on seeing that of the Pantheon – ‘I will build such a thing in the sky’ (Beckett VI

  • John CONSTABLE, Malvern Hall: The entrance front c.1820

    John CONSTABLE, Malvern Hall: The entrance front c.1820

    21/11/2007 Duración: 02min

    Malvern Hall, Solihull, Warwickshire, was the home of Henry Greswolde Lewis, a wealthy widower who offered Constable a number of commissions over a period of twenty years. Constable was first a guest at Malvern Hall in 1809, when he painted portraits of his host and of Lewis’s ward, Mary Freer. Constable had met Lewis through Magdalene, the Dowager Countess of Dysart, Lewis’s sister, who had grown up at Malvern Hall. In 1820 she asked Constable to paint views of the house from both sides. He visited the house in September that year and painted this full-size preparatory sketch of the entrance, or garden front of the house as viewed from the east. He painted it with the liveliness of an outdoor sketch created directly in front of the motif, with the support clearly visible in some areas. He also made a pencil drawing of the subject on the spot, dated 10 September 1820. After his return to London he painted a pair of views for Lady Dysart – one (now in the collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art In

  • John CONSTABLE, The Glebe Farm c.1830

    John CONSTABLE, The Glebe Farm c.1830

    21/11/2007 Duración: 02min

    When his good friend and patron, Bishop Fisher of Salisbury died in 1825, Constable decided to paint an elegiac work in his memory. He chose to depict the church of St Mary the Virgin at Langham, where Fisher had been rector when Constable met him in 1798. Constable compressed a view of the church with the image of a nearby farmhouse. The picture he called ‘The Glebe Farm’. Constable depicted the view along a valley with water in the foreground, where a cow is drinking, tall trees to the left and the farmhouse beside the church tower on a hill to the right. He based the farmhouse on a small oil sketch from nature he had made around 1811–15, Church Farm, Langham (Victoria and Albert Museum, London). The sketch does not include Langham Church. Although it has been suggested that the church would have been out of sight behind the farmhouse when viewed from this angle, Anne Lyles has recently shown the author that this is not the case.The image of Glebe Farm was a favourite with Constable, and he painted four v

  • John CONSTABLE, London from Hampstead Heath in a storm with a double rainbow June 1831

    John CONSTABLE, London from Hampstead Heath in a storm; with a double rainbow June 1831

    21/11/2007 Duración: 01min

    Constable noted the times of day on his drawings and oil sketches throughout his working life. This watercolour is a splendid example of his late work, reflecting his interest in scientific observation and in particular the optics surrounding the appearance of rainbows. His understanding of rainbows is evident in the way he showed the colours of the outer, or secondary arc reversed, with red on the inside and blue on the outside, as these would appear in nature (P. Schweitzer, ‘John Constable, rainbow science, and English Color Theory’, Art Bulletin, vol. 64, no. 3, September 1982, pp. 426–27). Constable was also fascinated by the effects of shafts of sunlight, as C.R. Leslie recorded: I remember that he pointed out to me an appearance of the sun’s rays, which few artists have perhaps noticed … When the spectator stands with his back to the sun, the rays may be sometimes seen converging in perspective towards the opposite horizon (Leslie (1843/45) 1951, p. 282).

  • John CONSTABLE, Cloud study 1822

    John CONSTABLE, Cloud study 1822

    21/11/2007 Duración: 02min

    Timothy Wilcox has suggested that ‘the central cloud is one of the most convincingly three-dimensional’ to be found in the sky studies ‘and that it is fully modelled in a range of colours and tones from its warm grey underside to the icy highlights crowning its upper edge’ (Liverpool and Edinburgh 2000, p. 84)

  • John CONSTABLE, Cloud study 6 September 1822

    John CONSTABLE, Cloud study 6 September 1822

    21/11/2007 Duración: 02min

    Constable painted two cloud studies at Hampstead on 6 September: this one at noon, and another between 12.00 and 1.00 o’clock (private collection). TimothyWilcox hassuggested that it would have been difficult for Constable to paint the two works in such quick succession, and that the hot and fine weather in this work is inconsistent with ‘the look of rain all morning’ inscribed on the second work. He has proposed that ‘noon’ may indicate the afternoon, rather than midday (Liverpool and Edinburgh 2000, p. 84). There is good agreement between Constable’s inscription here and the weather records for the London area on that day, with the temperature in the low 70s and a gentle wind (Thornes 1999, p. 267).

  • John CONSTABLE, A ploughing scene in Suffolk (A summerland) 1814

    John CONSTABLE, A ploughing scene in Suffolk (A summerland) 1814

    21/11/2007 Duración: 02min

    Constable knew this scene well: the Stour Valley from just outside the grounds of Old Hall in East Bergholt, with the churches of Langham and Stratford St Mary villages in the distance. He depicted the ploughmen at work in a manner typical of Suffolk, using a swing plough, which was light and required only a single ploughman and two horses working side by side (rather than a team of four), considered to be an efficient, modern mode of ploughing, contributing to the productivity of the area (Rosenthal 1983, pp. 18–19). And he depicted a ‘summerland’, a field that was ploughed and harrowed in the spring, left fallow over the summer months as part of a two-year crop rotation system, ready for manuring in autumn and sowing in winter (ibid., p. 12). The contemporary farmer or countryman would have appreciated this image of agricultural life of Suffolk (Rosenthal, p. 21). Constable exhibited this first version of the subject at the Royal Academy in 1814 and at the British Institution in 1815, from where it was pur

  • John CONSTABLE, The valley of the Stour at sunset 31 October 1812

    John CONSTABLE, The valley of the Stour at sunset 31 October 1812

    21/11/2007 Duración: 01min

    In 1812 Constable preferred to paint at the day’s end rather than in the bright light of the middle of the day. As he wrote to Maria Bicknell on 10 July 1812: ‘I do not study much abroad in the middle of these very hot bright days. I am become quite carefull of myself, last year I almost put my eyes out by that pastime’ (Beckett II, p. 80). This oil sketch, and Autumnal sunset , are two of a small group of sunsets that Constable painted at this time.

  • John CONSTABLE, The edge of a heath by moonlight c.1810

    John CONSTABLE, The edge of a heath by moonlight c.1810

    21/11/2007 Duración: 01min

    Throughout his working life Constable was inspired by the work of other artists. Rubens was one of a number whose work he viewed in English collections, and admired. In a lecture delivered late in his life Constable remarked that ‘Rubens delighted in phenomena – rainbows upon a stormy sky, – bursts of sunshine, – moonlight, – meteors, – and impetuous torrents mingling their sound with wind and wave’ (Beckett, Discourses, p. 61). In this small poetic night time view Constable may have been influenced by Rubens’s Landscape by moonlight (Courtauld Institute Galleries, Princes Gate Collection), which he knew through the engraving after this painting by Schelte à Bolswert (of which he owned an impression). He echoed the outline of the trees, the stars, the horse, the moon,but diverted from Rubens’s image in not including the moon’s reflection in the stream. Constablemay have viewed Rubens’s painting in the collection of John William Willett, who owned it from 1801 until 1813. However he presented the scene

  • John CONSTABLE, A boat passing a lock 1826

    John CONSTABLE, A boat passing a lock 1826

    21/11/2007 Duración: 02min

    Constable first achieved success (and recognition by the Royal Academy) with his large canvases depicting the Stour Valley, which he exhibited between 1819 and 1825. Working on a scale usually reserved for History painting, Constable redefined the notion of a ‘finished’ picture by giving his large paintings something of the spontaneous freedom and expressive handling of a rapidly painted sketch. During the 1820s Constable was repeatedly occupied with the motif of the Lock – it could be regarded as his favourite subject. In 1824 he exhibited the fifth in his series of six large Stour Valley paintings at the Royal Academy, ‘A boat passing a lock’, which he subsequently called The lock (Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid). It differed from the previous four large canvases in having a vertical format. Constable made at least two other upright versions of the subject in 1824 (Philadelphia Museum and Art Gallery, and private collection). Then, in this painting, he

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