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Royal Academy of Arts opens Constable, Gainsborough, Turner and the Making of Landscape

Submitted by on December 10, 2012 – 8:14 am

Royal Academy of Arts presents Constable, Gainsborough, Turner and the Making of Landscape, an exhibition of works by the three towering figures of English landscape painting, John Constable RA, Thomas Gainsborough RA and JMW Turner RA and their contemporaries. The explores the development of the British School of Landscape Painting through the display of 120 works of art, comprising paintings, prints, books and archival material. On view 8 December 2012—17 February 2013.


Michael Angelo Rooker, A.R.A., The Gatehouse of Battle Abbey, Sussex, 1792. Pencil and watercolour on wove paper, 41.80 x 59.70 cm. Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Since the foundation of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768, its Members included artists who were committed to landscape painting. The exhibition draws on the Royal Academy’s Collection to underpin the shift in landscape painting during the 18th and 19th centuries. From Founder Member Thomas Gainsborough and his contemporaries Richard Wilson and Paul Sandby, to JMW Turner and John Constable, these landscape painters addressed the changing meaning of ‘truth to nature’ and the discourses surrounding the Beautiful, the Sublime and the Picturesque.

The changing style is represented by the generalised view of Gainsborough’s works and the emotionally charged and sublime landscapes by JMW Turner to Constable’s romantic scenes infused with sentiment. Highlights include Gainsborough’s Romantic Landscape (c.1783), and a recently acquired drawing that was last seen in public in 1950. Constable’s two great landscapes of the 1820s, The Leaping Horse (1825) and Boat Passing a Lock (1826) will be hung alongside Turner’s brooding diploma work, Dolbadern Castle (1800).

To contextualise the landscape paintings of Constable, Gainsborough and Turner, a number of paintings by their 18th- century contemporaries Richard Wilson, Michael Angelo Rooker and Paul Sandby will be exhibited with prints made after the 17th- century masters whose work served as models: Claude, Poussin, Gaspard Dughet and Salvator Rosa. Letters by Gainsborough, Turner’s watercolour box and Constable’s palette will also be on display, bringing their artistic practice to life.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J OBD

More information 020 7300 8000 and www.royalacademy.org.uk

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