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Comparing The Works Of John Constable To The Great Poet William Wordsworth

2016 words - 9 pages

During the early nineteenth century John Constable was known for his great artistry across Europe. His interest and love for paint began in 1799 when Constable convinced his father into letting him attend the Royal Academy School to pursue art - his passion as a romantic artist was in landscapes. His style, brushstroke techniques and eye for detail, progressed over the years but he remained true to his passion of capturing nature and the beautiful world that surrounded him. It is refreshing to see the freshness of light, touch, and colour carry on through his entire body of work. When studying the paintings and their compositions, one can note the similarities between Constable’s works of ...view middle of the document...

He derived the words of Wordsworth and made them into characteristics that made his paintings unique – many painters to come would use this technique. His painting Barges on the stour: Dedham Church in the distance, 1812 is a great example of this. It can be closely compared to Wordsworth’s poem Tintern Abbey. In his poem Wordsworth speaks of a location that he has not visited for quite sometime, he goes on to describe how peaceful and tranquil the rustic scene is, much like the feeling of John Constables painting. He speaks of the murmuring waters of the flowing river. In a detailed description he explains the lofty cliffs, the quiet sky and the green hues that surround him (Wordsworth lines 5-8). When reading this poem and examining Constable’s oil on canvas painting, the feelings of Wordsworth’s words come to life; the green hues are shown in the swaying trees, the quiet sky is stained cool blue with hints of grey and the low sun merely peeking out behind the clouds. It seems to be approaching evening and one can almost feel the warmth of the day leaving as the cool night air moves in. This life like feeling comes from the sense of emotion and dream like characteristics that the artist is able to depict through his works, the work becomes a figment of ones imagination. Allowing the viewers to feel, see, and imagine anything they would like. Wordsworth goes on to write about the “wreaths of smoke” (wordsworth line 17) that are being sent up into the sky in the distance, wondering where they are coming from. This is exactly what you find yourself doing s you draw closer into Constable’s painting, you are imaging what little, unimportant things are going on in the distance, just like Wordsworth was pondering where the smoke was coming from. The lines are very gestured, almost impressionist, again allowing for a dreamy state of mind. I compare the work to impressionism because impressionist artist illustrate or paint their work in a manner that symbolizes a point at which they were just able to capture a quick glimpse of their subject or object of focus. Impressionist painters also more often produce works of outdoor scenery. Romantic artists also have strong sense much like those of impressionists, which can be noted in the emotion and feelings presented in their work. Romantic artists believed that knowledge is gained through instinct rather than deduction. Wordsworth stated this best by saying “all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (William Wordsworth) and the same rule applies with painting, drawing, or any other art form for that matter.
A similar comparison can be made between Constable’s painting, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1831 and Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey. In contrast to the first work of art, this piece came much later in Constable’s career expressing the change in the overall look and style of the piece. The objects and subjects of this work are more defined and less gestured. Where as Barges...

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