Constable to Delacroix: British art and the French Romantics

Now on at Tate Britain

Franco-British relations take a turn for the better with this exhibition (5 February-11 May), which exhibits works by artists such as—for the visiting team—Delacroix, Ingres, Corot, Géricault, Delaroche, Huet, Isabey, and Vernet, and—on the home side—Constable, Wilkie, Turner, Bonington (whose cross-channel sympathies are evident in “View on the Seine”, 1825, below), and Lawrence, in an essay that examines the shared aims, theories, subjects and techniques that made up High Romanticism, 1820-40. With over 100 oil paintings and watercolours, it looks in particular at the influence the Brits had on the French (their fascination with English and Scottish culture), and vice versa. There is a reconstruction of a typical, small, private exhibition of a single work, in this case one held in the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly in 1820 that featured Géricault’s dramatic “The raft of the Medusa”, the subject of much controversy at the time. In collaboration with Christine Riding and David Brown, curators at Tate, the chief curator of the exhibition is Patrick Noon of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (whither the show goes, 8 June-7 September, before finishing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 7 October-4 January 2004).