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 renamed 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. Although, beginning with imitating the styles of their works, he gradually developed his own banner style, and started depicting his inspirations, drawn directly from nature.

According to John, art should capture the nature's phenomenon and its vagaries in entity, such as the changing colors of the sky and the magic of the sun's golden beams dancing upon the fluora & 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. (1809), "Dedham Vale: Morning (1811)," "Landscape: Boys Fishing (1809)," "The Church Porch (East Bergholt) 1818), "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.

John attained greater acclaim in France, than in his native land. In 1824, his painting, "The Hay Wain (1821)," was exhibited in Paris Salon, for which he even received a gold medal from the then French King. In 1829, Constable was appointed the member of the Royal Academy. Some of the most noted works of John from this time include, "Hampstead Heath (1820)," Salisbury Cathedral, from the Bishop's Grounds (1823), "A Mill at Gillingham in Dorset (Parham's Mill) (1826) "Dedham Vale (1828)," "Hadleigh Castle (1829)," "Old Sarum (1829), and Salisbury Cathedral, from the Meadows (1831)." Despite his criticism's appreciation and rewards, John struggled for commercial success. Through his life, he had to face the lack of means and resources, and had a tough time trying to make his ends meet. In 1828, John Constable lost his wife to tuberculosis. Unable to cope with this personal loss, he died unexpectedly on the night of March 31, 1837.