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Studying a Work of Art - The Hay Wain

The Hay Wain (1821) by John Constable
  1. Study the painting closely and describe what you see (describe both the scene itself, as well as elements like colour, contrast (light and shadow), composition (foreground/ background), movement, etc. (You can also consider how these elements work to give the viewer a feeling of a peaceful idyll.)
  2. The people in the picture are very small compared to their surroundings. What does tell us about their place in this setting?
  3. Compare The Hay Wain to Norwegian painter Lars Hertervig’s Sommerlandskap i tordenvær (1856) or Ved smien (1850s)*, and make a list of at least three similarities and three differences (you can focus on whatever catches your eye: subject matter (motive), colour, light, composition, perspective, lines, movement, etc.).

(*You should be able to find these on the Internet. You can also study other paintings in the style of Norwegian romantic nationalism (nasjonalromantikken), for example, Landskap fra Hallingdal (1851), Feigumsfossen i Lusterfjorden (1840), or Kveldslandskap med gutt som fisker (1812) by the Norwegian romantic painter J.C. Dahl, or J.F. Eckersberg’s Romsdalshorn from 1867.)

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