The Industrial Revolution in Britain had a profound effect on landscape painters who were firsthand witnesses as factories and railroads slowly overtook the land. The biggest names of the era, including Gainsborough, Turner, Constable, and Monet, are on view now during an outstanding exhibition.
Visitors to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts have a tantalizing opportunity to view under one roof some of the biggest names in British landscape painting, and more. “The British Passion for Landscape: Masterpieces from National Museum Wales” offers a unique chance to survey in a single exhibition the rise of landscape painting in Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to highlighting the influence of the Industrial Revolution, the exhibition’s story flows through the eras of Romanticism, Impressionism, Modernism, and even Post-Modern imagery.
While nearly every piece could be considered a highlight of the show, John Constable’s “A Cottage in a Cornfield” of 1817 is a worthy focus. Just beyond a wooden gate in the foreground, the viewer discovers a quaint cottage nestled in a golden field of corn. In typical fashion, Constable implies the scale and power of nature. In the foreground, a dark mass of overgrown trees, flowers, and shrubbery provides balance for the sun-bathed field beyond, but also seems to overtake the canvas itself. Constable’s choice of position also encourages the viewer to imagine the expanse that lies beyond. Nearly undetectable is a lone figure toward the left of the cottage, who is dwarfed by the scene. In this picture, as is true of many of Constable’s paintings, humans coexist with nature rather than control and abuse it.
“The British Passion for Landscape: Masterpieces from National Museum Wales” opened on August 29 and will be on view through December 13.
To learn more, visit the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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