constable the hay wain

Constable the hay wain
Painted in oils on canvas, the work depicts as its central feature three horses pulling what in fact appears to be a wood wain or large farm wagon across the river. Willy Lott’s Cottage, also the subject of an eponymous painting by Constable, is visible on the far left. The scene takes place near Flatford Mill in Suffolk, though since the Stour forms the border of two counties, the left bank is in Suffolk and the landscape on the right bank is in Essex.
Although The Hay Wain is revered today as one of the greatest British paintings, when it was originally exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821 (under the title Landscape: Noon), it failed to find a buyer.

The British people are fundamentally proud of their green rural landscapes and no other artist has done more to promote them than John Constable who also laid the foundations for many international landscape artists that followed.
John Constable played a crucial role in the rise of landscape painting as an accepted art form within the mainstream and it’s easy to take his career for granted with so many landscape artists now around.

Constable the hay wain
The different tones all complement each other and are repeated to add harmony to this piece: the blue of the pool is reflected in the sky and the red of the house is highlighted subtly in the trees and in the harness of the horse.
The trees and grass encircle the whole composition with relief from the yellow meadows disappearing to the right which help to stop the painting from seeming closed in or too claustrophobic.

Constable the hay wain

“I am most anxious to get into my London painting-room, for I do not consider myself at work unless I am before a six-foot canvas.” Letter from Constable to Rev. John Fisher dated 23 October 1821

In this post, I take a closer look at a moody English landscape painting named The Hay Wain by John Constable.

Constable the hay wain
Роберт Камминг, автор книги «Толкование искусства. Изучение и разъяснение величайших картин мира», предположил, что телегу завели в воду по двум причинам. В жаркую сухую погоду речной поток должен был, во-первых, охладить ноги лошадей, а, во-вторых, размочить деревянные колёса, чтобы не слетели металлические ободья, которые фермеры крепили на них в летнюю пору. Смачивание колёс снижало усадку и удерживало внешнюю металлическую ленту на месте.
Впрочем, это произошло со временем. А на «премьере» в Королевской академии художеств в 1821 году картину с оригинальным названием «Пейзаж. Полдень» восприняли без энтузиазма. Повседневная сельская жизнь была немодной темой в эпоху панорамных видов первозданной природы и живописных античных руин в духе Клода Лоррена. Не оценили критики и новаторскую технику «импасто» (густого наложения краски для усиления световых и фактурных эффектов), посчитав энергичные мазки Констебла «небрежными».


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