john constable the haywain analysis

John constable the haywain analysis
Graham Reynolds, ‘The Later Paintings and Drawings of John Constable’, New Haven, London 1984, pp. 67-70, pls. 213-215.
Constable, the son of a prosperous miller, was born in 1776 at East Bergholt, Suffolk, and it was in this area of the Stour Valley on the Suffolk – Essex border that he spent most of his life. He began his professional career as a student at the Royal Academy Schools and spent his early years absorbing the influence of Gainsborough’s landscape drawings, Claude’s classical compositions and Rubens’s stormy skies and rainbows, as well as the landscapes of the 17th century Dutch painters, above all, Jacob Ruisdael.

John constable the haywain analysis
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.
Flatford Mill was owned by Constable’s father. The house on the left side of the painting belonged to a neighbour, Willy Lott, a tenant farmer, who was said to have been born in the house and never to have left it for more than four days in his lifetime. Willy Lott’s Cottage has survived to this day practically unaltered, but none of the trees in the painting exist today.

John constable the haywain analysis
Like many rural Tories, Constable was afraid of change; he was a traditional rural Conservative whose world was under threat. We can get a glimpse of his anxieties in his opposition to the 1834 Reform Act – the first attempt to expand voting rights. Such moves he believed were the start of a slippery slope to anarchy and disorder. To Constable, workers were needed but they should not be able to share the rights that benefited his family and their class.
So, it will come as a shock to its millions of admirers that The Hay Wain is a deeply political picture whose calm hides a darker reality. This painting is in the National Gallery, London.

John constable the haywain analysis
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.
Instead Constable sketched what he saw and ultimately what he knew well, having lived near this farm as a boy.

John constable the haywain analysis
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».
Для консервативного Констебла деревня стала утраченным Эдемом, чьи чистые воздух и вода, открытые пространства и честный труд резко контрастировали с перенаселённостью, загрязнённостью и безнравственностью современных ему городов. Он заведомо отказался от изображения реальности, романтизируя абстрактную «старую добрую Англию», не затронутую индустриальными и социальными изменениями. Фактически, ему принадлежит заслуга возрождения значения пейзажной живописи в XIX веке – жанра, который до того ценился чуть выше натюрморта.


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