John Constable

1776 - 1837

Constable is famous for his landscapes, which are mostly of the Suffolk countryside, where he was born and lived. He made many open-air sketches, using these as a basis for his large exhibition paintings, which were worked up in the studio. His pictures are extremely popular today, but they were not particularly well received in England during his lifetime. He did, however, have considerable success in Paris.

Portrait of John Constable
Daniel Gardner, ‘Portrait of John Constable’, 1796, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Stapleton Collection / Bridgeman Art Library 

Constable was born in East Bergholt, Suffolk. He was largely self-taught, and developed slowly. In 1799 he was a probationer, and in 1800 a student at the Royal Academy schools. He exhibited from 1802 at the Royal Academy in London, and later at the Paris Salon. He influenced the Barbizon School and the French Romantic movement.

Like Thomas Gainsborough, Constable was influenced by Dutch artists such as Jacob van Ruisdael. The works of Peter Paul Rubens and Claude also proved to be useful colouristic and compositional models. However, the realism and vitality of Constable's work make it highly original.

Related paintings

Stratford Mill
John Constable
1820
Stratford Mill
The Cornfield
John Constable
1826
The Cornfield
The Hay Wain
John Constable
1821
The Hay Wain
 
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