1/23/13: A Sad Passing
The Hay Wain, John Constable
The Hay Wain represents for me a departure from the seemingly overarching theme of history painting displayed at the Salon of 1824, and instead captures the rustic scenery seen in the at-then present. Much in the spirit of Caillebotte, John Constable has found beauty in the regular, and has managed to capture that on canvas. The painting itself personifies something simple speaking loud, as it laments the passing of agrarian society due to new enclosure laws. The farmers are not heroic figures to be admired, but rather tragic characters to be sympathized with. The dark clouds in the back seem to signify that this way of life is meant for harsh times as well as inclement weather. Unlike the works brazen historical counterparts that painted greek-like figures in order to bluntly drive a point home, Constable has instead chosen to show a scene, that while not idyllic, shows a thing of beauty and drives his point home by showing us (The viewer) what we are losing by the choices that have been made. The painting itself did not even find a buyer originally until it was displayed at the Salon of 1824, where it won a gold medal and became famous in France, inspiring many French artists, whereas failing to inspire the English artists for perhaps which it was intended.