The English Landscape Painter of ‘Romantic’ Taste – John Constable

Well known English painter and drafter, John Constable, was born in East Bergholt, Suffolk on June 11, 1776, to Ann and Golding Constable, wealthy corn merchants. The pioneer of ‘Romanticism,’ he is renowned for his picturesque landscape paintings. Painters, like Delacroix and Gericault, often hailed Constable’s art as ‘magnificent’, which also influenced the French painters of the Barbizon and the ‘Impressionists’ alike.

While pursuing his early education at Dedham Grammar School, John Constable showed his artistic bent of mind. After finishing his school, the artist worked with his father for a year. During this spell, he realized his real passion lied in arts and therefore, went to study at the Royal Academy in London, in 1793. Here, the works of famous artists, Jacob van Ruisdael, Claude Lorrain, and Thomas Girtin, influenced Constable. Though, beginning with imitating the styles of their works, he gradually developed his own banner style, and started portraying his inspirations, drawn directly from nature.

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According to John, art should capture the nature’s phenomenon and its vagaries in entirety, such as the changing colors of the sky and the magic of the sun’s golden beams dancing upon the flora & fauna. John mostly painted locations he was familiar with, especially his native, Suffolk and others, like Salisbury, Brighton, and Hampstead. He was equally accomplished in the use of oils, as well as watercolors. John’s art was characterized by broken brush strokes to capture the effect of brightly tingling light. Some of his creations dated around this time are “Dedham Vale (1802),” “A Church Porch (The Church Porch, East Bergholt) (1809),” “Dedham Vale: Morning (1811),” “Landscape: Boys Fishing (1813),” “Boatbuilding (1814),” “Wivenhoe Park (1816),” “Weymouth Bay (1816),” and “Flatford Mill (1817).” In 1816, John lost his mother. The same year he married Maria Bricknell, and was blessed with seven children.

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