National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

Tour: Constable and Turner — British Landscapes of the Early 1800s
Overview

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The landscape painters Turner and Constable were influential exponents of romanticism, an artistic movement of the late 1700s to mid-1800s that emphasized an emotional response to nature. Turner, who traveled extensively, often infused his dramatic seascapes and landscapes with literary or historical allusions. Constable, who never left England, preferred more straight forward depictions of placid rural scenery.

Working in the studio from sketches and his imagination, Turner blended his oil paints in fluid layers of translucent color, called glazes. Constable, sometimes painting directly outdoors, applied flickering touches of thick, opaque oils. Despite their differences in temperament and technique, Turner and Constable evoke the same worship of nature that imbues the literature of their contemporaries, the romantic poets Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats.

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