Constable: The Making of a Master V&A Museum, from 20th September
In 1888 the English painter John Constable’s daughter, Isabel, gave a substantial collection of paintings, oil sketches and drawings to the Victoria & Albert Museum. Since then, the V&A has become a major centre for Constable research, with art historians able to explore his creative process from the initial ideas to the finished paintings.
From the 1810s Constable made the open air oil sketch the foundation of his naturalistic landscape painting. He sought to capture the swift-moving weather and changing light of his native countryside. Less well remembered are his years of study at the Royal Academy in London, from 1799, where he made meticulous copies of the 17th-century masters of classical landscape, such as Peter Paul Rubens and Claude Gellée, drawing on their compositions in his own work.
For the first time, the V&A will display some of these works alongside those of Constable. Works on show will include Landscape with a Pool by Thomas Gainsborough, which inspired the young Constable, as well as paintings, prints and drawings by Rubens, Jacob van Ruisdael and the English watercolourist Alexander Cozens, which Constable copied directly. Some of Constable’s best loved “six-footers,” including The Hay Wain (1821), The Cornfield (1826) and Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831), will be on show; so, too, will be a selection of the mezzotint prints of his own paintings, which he collaborated on in his latter years, to secure his own Old Master status.
Ming: 50 Years That Changed China British Museum, from 18th September
This exhibition looks at the pivotal years from 1400 to 1450 AD when Ming emperors transformed the cultural life of China, tracing the era’s exquisite porcelain, gold, jewellery, furniture, paintings, sculptures and textiles. There are many significant loans, which have never been seen outside China.
Anselm Kiefer Royal Academy, from 27th September
Kiefer is one of most important living artists and this unmissable show is the first large-scale UK retrospective of his work, spanning 40 years of paintings, right up to recent pieces. Monumental, earnest, metaphysical, his work never leaves you unmoved.