Constable vs. Turner

August 26 2014

Image of Constable vs. Turner

Picture: Tate

Two of the greats of English landscape art, Turner and Constable, go head to head in exhibitions in London this September; Tate will look at 'Late Turner' (10th Sept till 25th Jan), while the V&A's 'Constable: the Making of a Master' will examine the artist's techniques (20th Sept-11th Jan). Jonathan Jones in The Guardian asks which was best, but concludes that:

Choosing between them is like choosing between two visions of art: the realist versus the abstract.

Martin Gayford also looked at the Constable/Turner rivalry in The Sunday Times (£), and came down on Constable's side. The V&A has a blog on how they've put the exhbition together. 

PS - It's looking like an autumn and winter of great shows in London: Rubens at the RA, late Rembrandt at the National, and now these two. Well done to all involved!

Update - a reader writes:

"Choosing between them is like choosing between two visions of art: the realist versus the abstract."

Thankfully we don't have to choose, for we can have both. And in any event 'the realist versus the abstract' where these two artists are concerned is nonsense. They are both very much types of realist, Turner especially (don't take my word for it; try reading Ruskin on the subject).

Update II - James Fox in The Times (£) says Turner is the clear winner in any contest between the two. I agree. 

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