The renowned poet and nonfiction writer explores immortality in art through the work of two British landscape artists, John Constable and J.M.W. Turner, meditating on the relationship between artist and artwork and the nature of the sublime.
With a keen eye for artistic composition and in language that easily alternates between analytical and lyrical, Plumly explores the two artists’ canons through the prism of their lives, all the while asking: What makes their work unique and lasting? Elegy Landscapes contains 41 incisive, engaging chapters ... Wise in its knowledge of art, readable in its storytelling, Elegy Landscapes documents Constable and Turner on their quest to capture the intimate sublime.
Plumly offers a well-rounded look at both men's personal lives and artistic styles, depicting them as separate but equal artists heavily influenced by their individual experiences ... Fans of the English landscape and 18th- and 19th-century art will enjoy this successful deep dive into the lives of Constable and Turner.
A finely curated exploration ... rhapsodic ... The author resists a traditional chronology, opting instead for a Turner-like vortex around major works by each artist and a particular idea. Some chapters focus on the artists’ work with clouds and sky, some invoke Keats and Tennyson, and others touch on the artists’ relations to groups like the pre-Raphaelites or the impressionists. This is a fresh way to curate these works for those familiar with Turner and Constable, but newcomers will find themselves yearning for a more biographical approach. A polyphonic, scholarly study of two of art history’s most important figures.