ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES 

 

 

 

  John  Constable 

Birth Year : 1776
Death Year : 1837
Country : United Kingdom

John Constable was the son of a miller in Suffolk, England. Though Sir George Beaumont introduced him to the work of Claude Lorrain, Constable painted sketched by himself until he was twenty-four, when he entered the Royal Academy School in London. Constable believed that landscape painting must strive to include "a pure apprehension of natural effect" and he painted typical scenes from the southern English countryside. He worked with watercolors and directly from the motif while outdoors, then enlarged his sketches in oil once indoors. These landscapes differ from those of his predecessors because of Constable's primary concern with light, air, and sky rather than with exact landscape details. He considered the sky "the key-note ... and chief organ of sentiment," and delighted in registering its changes and in using it as a foil for the more stable land. As a result, he developed a broad, free technique that gives his work a particularly romantic softness.

Although he was the first to treat landscapes with spontaneity and emotion, his first exhibition in 1802 passed almost unnoticed since the demand in England was for portraits. In fact, for years, Constable painted portraits, for which he cared little, in order to earn his meager living, while he continued to paint the landscapes in which his real interest lay. When he was forty-eight, he sent several landscapes to the Paris Salon. The French were highly impressed and awarded him the Gold Medal (1824) for "The Hay Wain". Even so, it was only five years later that Constable was elected, with full membership, to the Royal Academy. Nevertheless, Constable considered this honor as having come too late, and he lived out his last years lonely and embittered. Complete recognition of his talents and his technique of using broken touches of color to convey movement and light did not come until after his death.

 

 
John Constable
Salisbury Cathedral


John Constable
Haywain, The


John Constable
View on the Stour near Dedham


John Constable
Mill at Dedham


John Constable
Salisbury Cathedral
 

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