Elegy Landscapes (Hardcover)
Constable and Turner and the Intimate Sublime
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393651508, 272pp.
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Following his "obsessive, intricate, intimate, and brilliant" (Washington Post) work in Posthumous Keats and The Immortal Evening, renowned poet Stanley Plumly further explores immortality in art through the work of two impressive landscape artists: John Constable and J.M.W. Turner. How is it that this disparate pair will come to be regarded as Britain's supreme landscape painters, precursors to Impressionism and Modernism? How did each painter's life influence his work? Seeking the transcendent aesthetic awe of the sublime and reeling from personal tragedy, these talented painters portrayed the terrible beauty of the natural world from an intimate, close-up perspective.
Plumly studies the paintings against the pull of the artists' lives, probing how each finds the sublime in different, though connected, worlds. At once a meditation on the difficulties in achieving truly immortal works of art and an exploration of the relationship between artist and artwork, Elegy Landscapes takes a wide-angle look at the philosophy of the sublime.