John Constable Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions

6-11-1776 East Anglia, ENG – 3-31-1837 London, ENG

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Constable, John

John Constable a pioneering British artist who together with Turner, raised the status of landscape painting in England. Constable enjoyed a happy childhood in his native Suffolk and this region became the focus of most of his paintings. In Constable's day, however, landscape painting was a poorly paid profession and both his family and that of his lover, Maria Bricknell, were appalled by his choice of career.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Constable did not travel to different countries. In fact, most of his landscapes are inspired in Suffolk, the county where he was born. Though he sought to create a limpid, precise image of nature, the painter could not conceal his affection for rural scenes with a few quiet figures, often bathed in sunlight such as in Flatford Mill.

The "Picturesque" Landscape Painting is born.

For many years, the couple was forced to meet in secret, until they eventually married in 1816. John Constable's struggle for success was as difficult as his father had feared and, for a time, he was obliged to paint portraits for a living, which he found boring. The English artists at the time enthusiastically adhered to the per-romantic and Romantic aesthetic, seeking out places that would arouse emotions and memories. Thus the concept of “picturesque” landscape emerged. But Constable did not seek out romantic or picturesque views but preferred to paint his local area, even though many regarded it as dull, agricultural land. Constable painted many versions of the same subject over a long period of time, one of them being Wivenhoe Park, Essex, one of his favorite parts of the English countryside. The painter seeks to achieve an “objective”, true rendering that is meticulously accurate in every detail and in the reflections of light.

John Constable also paid unprecedented attention to atmospheric conditions, making copious sketches of individual clouds. These were so realistic that one critic joked that Constable's paintings always made him want to reach for his umbrella. Eventually, he found success with his 'six footers' (six feet wide), gaining membership of the Royal Academy and winning a gold medal at the Paris Salon. In his lifetime, Constable sold only 20 paintings in England, but in France, he sold more than 20 in just a few years.

Constable's art inspired not only contemporaries like Géricault and Delacroix, but the Barbizon School, and Hudson River School and the French impressionists of the late nineteenth century.

Look at our THEN & NOW photo section. See, the present day location that inspired the famous artist John Constable. We travel the world to find the exact location where the artist set up his easel to paint. We photograph it as it appears today. Now, you can compare side by side photos of the original oil painting and the present-day location.

Art Movement History: Romanticism - Romantic
Artists Influencing John Constable: Claude Lorrain, Thomas Gainsborough, Annibale Carracci, Jacob van Ruisdael
He Traveled To France
Painters John Constable Influenced: Theodore Géricault, Eugene Delacroix

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