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Audio Stop 701

00:00 00:00
We look out onto a landscape with low, grassy hills to the left, a lake to the right, and a brick building in the center distance below a sky filled with towering white clouds. The horizon line bisects the horizontal canvas. A wooden fence in the foreground crosses the landscape from the lower left corner and disappears where the land slopes down to meet the water at the center of the painting. Several black and white cows graze in the field beyond the fence to our left. Two men in a wooden boat pull in nets on the lake to our right near a pair of swans. The lake crosses the composition in the middle ground, disappearing into a culvert in the distance. A donkey pulls a small carriage with two people near a bridge that crosses the lake in the middle distance to our left. The large brick house is visible through a break in the full, deep green trees that line the horizon. The clouds cast noticeable shadows in the brightly sunlit scene.

John Constable

Wivenhoe Park, Essex, 1816

West Building, Main Floor - Gallery 57

A pleasant sense of ease and harmony pervades this landscape of almost photographic clarity. The large areas of brilliant sunshine and cool shade, the rambling line of the fence, and the balance of trees, meadow, and river are evidence of the artist’s creative synthesis of the actual site. The precision of John Constable’s brushwork, seen in the animals, birds, and people, lends importance to these smaller details. His deep, consuming attachment to the landscape of this rural area is a constant factor in his works, and his studies and sketchbooks reveal his complete absorption in the pictorial elements of his native countryside.

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