Review Round Up: Late Constable, Royal Academy of Arts

We round up the reviews for the Royal Academy’s exhibition, focusing on the last 12 years of the artist’s career.

John Constable RA,Rainstorm over the Sea (detail), 1824-1828.

The Guardian: ***** “On the evidence of this exhibition, the Turner prize should be relaunched (and God knows it needs a jolt) as the Constable prize – for Constable in his later works is the true radical, the true modernist.”

Evening Standard: **** “The other striking aspect of the late work here is how loose so much of the paintwork is. In some it really is expressionist; he laid it on with a trowel – well, a palette knife. Not so sentimental, then.”

The Times: **** “It has taken the Royal Academy a bit of time to get round to it. John Constable has had to wait almost 200 years for a first solo show in its galleries. I suppose that wouldn’t surprise him. In his lifetime he was rather used to being overlooked. Few of the now world-famous images that we recognise from a million reproductions ever sold from the walls of the Royal Academy on which they were first hung. It was not until 1829 that this lofty — not to mention financially influential — institution finally decided to elect Constable to its ranks.”

Time Out: ** “English art historians and critics and fans have a deep love for Constable, but it’s a mother’s love. They love him because he’s theirs, not because he’s good. And if you don’t believe me, just look at the last painting in the show. ‘Cenotaph to the Memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds’ isn’t just shoddy, it’s incredibly ugly. It belongs in an American hunting lodge. It’s poorly painted, and poorly composed. It’s just so horrible.”

The Telegraph: ***** “So, you see Constable as merely an inoffensive, ‘chocolate-box’ artist? The RA’s tremendous, long-overdue show will make you think again.”

Late Constable will be on display at the Royal Academy of Arts from the 30th October until the 13th February 2022.

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