'Constable, Gainsborough, Turner' at the RA

December 10 2012

Image of 'Constable, Gainsborough, Turner' at the RA

Picture: RA, Thomas Gainsborough, 'Romantic Landscape' c.1783.

I'm looking forward to seeing 'Gainsborough, Constable, Turner and the Making of Landscape', which is open till the 17th February. I thought of going this weekend, but these days I'm trying a new exhibition-visiting practice of reading the catalogue before seeing a show.

In The Guardian, Michael Prodger makes an interesting point about how ubiquitous 'Turner and...' exhibitions seem to be these days:

There is nothing particularly new about either the theme or the participants. The birth of the Georgian landscape in art, literature and gardening has been minutely examined down the years. This exhibition's three big names are all familiar; indeed, after Turner and Claude at the National Gallery and Turner, Monet and Twombly at Tate Liverpool, this is the third show this year to present Turner in company with other artists – it's as if he is no longer safe to be let out on his own. Nor was the Royal Academy always so keen on its headline acts. While Turner, from child prodigy until his death, was an academician through and through, both Gainsborough and Constable had fractious relationships with the institution. The latter once had to sit silently as a member of the RA rejected one of his paintings because it was "a nasty green thing". He was elected a full academician only aged 53 and even then by just one vote.

I see that the exhibition is being sponsored by (gasp) - a dealer! Large round of applause please for Lowell Libson.

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