And now Turner and Constable are going toe to toe once more Anyone who was anyone in London society in the 1830s was expected to attend the Royal Academy exhibition.
The playwrights and actors of the Drury Lane theatres, the Fleet Street art critics, the moneyed nabobs returned from India with grand town houses to fill with art from the masters of the day. For the artists who exhibited in the Academy's high ceilinged rooms, the exhibition was the culmination of a year's work. It had the power to make an artist's name or ruin him. Each year, more than 1,000 pictures were exhibited in the crowded galleries, hung frame to frame from skirting board to ceiling. The power of the Academy's Hanging Committee was coach outlet stores vero beach immense. Turner and John Constable found that their paintings had been hung side by side in one of the main galleries. Turner, who was touching up another picture in the next room, came several times to cast an eye between his 'Helvoetsluys' a Dutch seascape and Constable's 'The Opening of Waterloo Bridge'. This must have infuriated Constable, who was carefully applying flecks of vermilion paint to the flags decorating the barges of his own painting. The Grove: The Hampstead two bedroom cottage that artist John Constable lived in during the 1820s After several trips back and forth, Turner finally returned with his palette and, leaning close to the canvas, applied a daub of red, no bigger than a shilling, over his grey sea. He left without saying a word, the paint still wet and glistening. It was another day and a half before Turner returned, and then, in the last moments allowed for alterations, he glazed the scarlet shilling and turned it into a buoy bobbing in the harbour. Constable told a fellow Academy member: 'He has been here and fired a gun.' What he meant, of course, was that this last minute dash of elan of sheer, breathtaking colour was tantamount to an act of sabotage against his own painting hanging alongside. The exhibition was a disaster for Constable. Even his friend the painter Thomas Stothard pronounced Waterloo Bridge: 'Very unfinished, sir.' The Morning Herald critic wrote: 'What a piece of coach outlet atlanta radar plaster it is!' Then, adding insult to injury: 'Mr Constable appears to think he is a Turner.' If Constable did not already loathe Turner, there is no doubt he did from that moment on. Turner seems to have detested Constable with equal force. This month, the rivals will be pitted against each other once again in two blockbuster exhibitions. In one corner of the ring is Late Turner at Tate Britain; in the other, 'Constable: The Making Of A Master at the Victoria Albert Museum. City of Utrecht, 64, Going to Sea, 1832 (oil on canvas) by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 1851) The two artists, pioneers of a revolutionary style of landscape painting, were opposites in birth, looks and temperament. Turner, born in Covent Garden in 1775 to a father who had a wig trimming and barber's business, was a monomaniac who preferred his palette and brushes to the convivial company of the dinner table. A Miss Dart, who knew Turner in his youth when he stayed with her uncle near Avon, disobligingly described him as 'singular and silent... mean and ungrateful... careless and slovenly in his dress... anything but a nice looking young man.' It is an image captured so brilliantly by the actor Timothy Spall in a new film about the painter that he won the Best Actor award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Turner cared little what others thought of him. When a fellow member of the Academy, Sir Francis Bourgeois, called him 'a little reptile', he replied coolly that he was 'a great reptile with ill manners'. He never married, but lived with his ageing father, who was always catching cold. Turner affectionately called him 'Daddy' even into middle age. Constable was a country lad. Born in 1776, he grew up in Suffolk, still known today as Constable Country. His father, an affluent miller, was keen his son should continue the family business rather than pursue the precarious living of a painter. While Turner was just 15 when he first exhibited at the Academy, Constable was nearly 40. The scene at Dedham where John Constable painted the Haywain, as it is today Unlike bachelor Turner, Constable was happily married to Maria Bicknell, the granddaughter of a Suffolk neighbour. He fervently believed his artistic success depended on her love. Leslie recalled that the babies coach outlet 19464 were as often in their father's arms as their mother's. What the rivals had in common was an astonishingly vivid new way of looking at landscape. While artists of the previous generation had set out to paint the landscape with topographical accuracy, Turner and Constable wished to capture its spirit. Turner painted tumultuous storms over harbours, blazing fires, the smoke and coach outlet stores atlanta steam of the new industrial age.
He thrilled to weather at its wildest and most violent. This recklessness is evidenced in an account given by a Cornish newspaper editor of a boat trip with Turner off the coast of Plymouth. While the other passengers suffered crippling sea sickness in the 'boisterous' waters, Turner sat in the stern muttering admiringly: 'That's fine! Fine!'.
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