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Have you visited the Constable in Context exhibition yet? The presentation of the ‘centrepiece’ – John Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows is stunning, and the interpretation screen alongside it is such a clever use of modern technology.

Make up your own mind about Contable’s work. The actual painting is far, far better than any of the photographs of it in text and guide books.  It glitters and glows in places, and broods in others. In our Museum you can walk right up to the painting and search every brush mark if  you like, or stand back and admire its sheer size and impact.

I’ve always been a fan, who is not? But the opportunity to take a long, lingering look at this painting, and to see it set against all the others in this superb exhibition has made me re-evaluate, not just Constable’s work, but his place in the story of art in this country. I had a similar reaction to the Turner exhibition last year. There is something about the intimacy of our Museum’s art exhibitions which encourages a closer look.

Some of Turner’s work is here in this exhibition also (how great it is to have another chance to see that) but there are also exquisite pieces by others. Many, being of Salisbury Cathedral, I’ve seen before. But again, I find myself looking at them anew.

And if you are a historian rather than an art buff these paintings tell you so much, and raise so many questions about the story of the cathedral and the city. How it has grown; what was where; what is that…?

Enjoy. Bring your friends. We may not have another chance.

A Volunteer

 

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