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Constable v Turner at the National Gallery

Last night I went to a talk at the National Gallery – Turner V Constable. Constable is one of my favourite artists. Having the two compared was interesting and helped me understand more what it is I like about Constable. For me it is his skies that I absolutely love, just the studies on the red imprematura of the canvas are fantastic – there is a real life to them, he captures their uniformity and randomness and their depths of colour. We looked at the Hay Wain – probably his most famous painting. This painting has never really grabbed me but looking closely at it there is an incredible amount of detail and a lot going on. Standing in front of it you feel like you have entered the scene, the detail allowing you to time travel and become part of the scene. Moving on Turner's Deriding Polyphemus and Rain, Steam and Speed the works are impressionistic, high impact but for me lack the detail that really draws me in. We looked at Calais Pier, one of Turners early turbulent sea scenes. Bedraggled passengers are lined down the pier which seems to jut out of the canvas into your space. One of the most interesting differences between the artists is that Turner travelled as much as he possibly could whilst Constable didn’t, preferring to paint his immediate surroundings. The Tate just bought Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows has been bought by the Tate for £23.1m which is apparently the most ever paid for an English painting…Salisbury Cathedral from the meadows 1831

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