The recent cleaning of this painting is what ignited the interest of those who made the Constable exhibition possible. (3)
The White Horse is an oil painting of a landscape of a cottage and its grounds, with a white horse as its focal point. The horse is harnessed and standing in the corner of a fence which is a prison him. Wanting to be free, in its stillness, the horse illustrates a contrast against the movement shown by the rest of the painting.
Pulling the viewer into the scene are the paintings rounded forms, especially, in its trees and foliage. The energy depicted in the painting makes it not only have a harmonious feel but excitement as well.
"Toward the end of his life, in the 1830s, Constable's art became more emotionally charged. He increasingly regarded the sky as 'the chief organ of sentiment' in landscape painting, and very likely looked to his cloud studies more for their expressiveness, than for their empirical or scientific content."(4)
Constable often used paper rather than canvas to paint upon because it dried faster and allowed him to more freely express his emotions. It is the energy of his paintings that pulls me into them, while drawing forth the excitement of my emotions.
Van Gogh's painting, The Olive Orchard, a 28 by 36 oil painting, is much smaller in size than the size of Constable's paintings. However, the sky in The Olive Garden has the same energy as that depicted in the skies paintings by Constable.
Constable, like Van Gogh, was a lover of pastoral settings, and there is something about the combination of their subjects; animals and nature, that presents the romantic sides of their natures.
It is through the pastoral theme in their paintings that I'm drawn away from the excitement of them, to a calmer side of myself.
Prior to being exhibited in the Royal Academy of Art, The White Horse was part of the estate of Peter A.B. Widener. Later, it became a part of the Widener Collection on loan to the academy. (5)
Other works in the Constable exhibition include The Hay Wain (1820-1821), View on the Stour near Dedham (1822), The Leaping Horse (1825), and Hadleigh Castle (1829).
There are six paintings by Van Gogh in the gallery's permanent collection. Among them is The Olive Orchard, which is a 28 by 36 oil painting. Its size is much smaller than that of Constable's paintings. Yet, in many ways, their paintings are alike.
The subjects in The Olive Orchard, two young women on a ladder, picking olives from an olive tree, like the subjects in Constable's pastoral scenes are similar. They act as contrasts against the energy of the skies both painters depict in their works.
The Olive Orchard painting was completed in 1889, and is now a part of the gallery's permanent collection. The gallery also has in its permanent collec