Wivenhoe Park, Essex

John Constable • Painting, 1816, 56.1×101.2 cm
Digital copy: 5.1 MB
5042 × 2728 px • JPEG
101.2 × 56.1 cm • 124 dpi
85.4 × 46.2 cm • 150 dpi
42.7 × 23.1 cm • 300 dpi
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About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape
Style of art: Realism, Romanticism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1816
Size: 56.1×101.2 cm
Artwork in selections: 19 selections
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Description of the artwork «Wivenhoe Park, Essex»

Landscape "Wivenhoe Park" one of the most important paintings by John constable is a visual narrative about the English manor from the beginning of the XIX century on the territory of the County of Essex, its owner and his relationship with nature.

Quiet country estate about seventy miles North-East of London was owned by major-General Francis Slater of WAE rebo, a friend of the artist's father. Wealthy officer was one of the first patrons of John constable. Park around the house, built in the mid eighteenth century, designed in the 1770-ies of the landscape architect Richard woods. The basis for the design he put aesthetic concept that combines elements of philosophy, awe of the Sublime and tranquil Beauty categoryclassical landscape painting of the time. In the left part of the picture visible arch and bridge, which had a wonderful review on the old track, surrounded by trees and two lakes for fishing and boating.

Constable managed to display on your canvas all the splendor of Wivenhoe Park. Gentle hills, people and livestock are flooded with soft sunlight falling through the low clouds. A large lake in the foreground and the housethe trees in the distanceevoke a sense of rural beauty, simplicity and harmony. The artist carefully studied the weather reports, and spent long hours at the sketches of clouds, trying to grasp and convey the subtlest natural phenomena. The play of light and shadow in the foreground on the right side of the canvas and the shimmer of sunlight on the water surface in the center of the composition enhance the feeling of reality of the landscape.

Today constable, along with his contemporary William Turnerconsidered the greatest British painter of the nineteenth century. However, during his life he was little appreciated. He almost entirely devoted himself to landscapes, but preferred to depict everyday life in rural England, not "historic landscapes" to the scenic ruins or the majestic panoramas, fashionable at the time.

The emotions that constable tried to awaken the audience a view of Wivenhoe Park, akin to that which causes his later work "Overlooking the river Stour near Dedham". This nostalgia for the past and English communication with nature, which began to collapse with the Industrial revolution, when farm labor has largely replaced the steam engine. Costablanca idyllic England in some places still existed physically, but could hardly stand ideologically. Like canvas"Last voyage of the frigate "Brave"" Turner, the work of "Wivenhoe Park, Essex" mourning "scrapped" the era in which arose the manor. In this sense, the painting can be seen as a portrait of "old England" of the eighteenth century, the English heartland and the owner of the estate of major-General of WAE rebo, who tried to protect outgoing values.

Interesting fact: the painting can be seen 11-year-old daughter of major-General Mary WAE rebo – in the left part of the canvas she rides on the truckpulled by a donkey. Red scarf girl, one of her favorite accessories is a bright spark among the dominant green, blue and brown. In a letter to his sweetheart Mary Bicknell 21 Aug 1816 constable mentions that of WAE rebo has commissioned him to write two paintings which must be present to Mary. The customer wanted a daughter forever in the bucolic landscape of his childhood, regardless of what happens with the estate in the future.

In fact, these orders were wedding gifts to the landscape. The family officer knew that saving money for marriage with Mary, whose grandfather promised granddaughter to deprive of an inheritance if she marries the artist with questionable financial prospects. In the end, the lovers are still married on 2 October 1816 – less than a month after the completion of "Wivenhoe Park". However, the heart is arrogant grandfather was not mitigated it, but the fact that the future husband got a fifth of the family business after the death of their parents.

The artist has slightly altered the landscape, leading to greater harmony. The art critic Abram Fox indicates that in fact the lake and the house is not visible at the same time from this point. In addition, in the process constable added pieces of canvas on both sides to include additional details, for example, a hunting Lodge on the right. The seams show through the figure of the boy in the white shirt in the boat in the right part of the composition and through the neck of a black cow in the left foreground.

Thus, the work of "Wivenhoe Park" became "the prelude" of a series of monumental landscapesthat constable began two years later. These types are called "six-foot" – the width of the canvas, and thanks to them the artist has finally received long-awaited recognition.

The painting "Wivenhoe Park, Essex" was kept in the family collection of WAE rebo until 1906, and by the estate of the descendants of the customer owned before 1902. Now the work belongs to the National gallery of art in Washington, and HOMESTEAD – Accesscomm University. A stately home converted into a luxurious four-star hotel, where the practice of students studying hospitality.

Author: Vlad Maslov