Autumn Paintings

by milk and honey beauty

Happy Autumn (or Fall) Lobsterites!

In celebration of the season, I have chosen two autumnal paintings to talk about. After dissing Constable in my last post, and feeling mightily ashamed of myself for doing so, I thought it only fair to include his much-beloved “Epitaph to Joshua Reynolds” (1833-36).

Cenotaph to the Memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds by John Constable

I love this painting, but it makes me feel kind of nostalgic about England and Fall. Living in L.A. I don’t see too much of it. Anyway, ostensibly this painting is about the death of the revered painter Joshua Reynolds. The stag seems to represent him – his nobility, his virility (in art, anyway) his wisdom and his immortality. But personally, sorry Joshua, I just love the mood this painting creates. The tall, half-dead trees, the chill in the air, the forest fading away into a chasm of darkness. It makes death seem remarkably peaceful; the autumn of our lives like something we should be proud to reach…monumental, yet inviting, like jumping into a swimming pool in the dark.

My second pick couldn’t be more different. This is Cy Twombly’s “Autunno” (1993-5) This was painted as part of a series of four that celebrates each season, and for comparison purposes I’ve also posted “Inverno” (winter) and “Estate” (summer).

I’m not sure about this. Compared to “Inverno” and “Estate” it has a raw energy. “Inverno” feels fittingly threatening to me…all that black drifting in like a thundercloud. “Estate” feels dreamy, with its tears of yellow like smudged clown make-up. But I’m not sure I can relate “Autonno” to my own feelings about this season. It feels too…busy, and daring, lacking the serenity I personally associate with it. So, I guess I am a Constable fan after all! Which do you prefer?