11 June 1776, the English Romantic painter John Constable was born in East Bergholt, in the Stour Valley of Suffolk.
“But You know Landscape is my mistress — 'tis to her that I look for fame — and all that the warmth of the imagination renders dear to Man.“ (John Constable)
|John Constable: "Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Garden" (1826)|
|John Constable: "The Hay Wain" (1821)|
|John Constable "Stonehenge" (1835)|
The death of his beloved wife and mother of his seven children of tuberculosis at the age of 41 in 1828 dealt him a heavy blow. Constable, in his early 50s by then, only wore black afterwards and the weather in his paintings grew considerably worse. He always felt that there was empathy between nature and her spectator and few managed to convey these affectivities on the canvas like he did. His contemporary and a bit of a rival Turner could, of course, admittedly in a somewhat more churning manner and it might be a case of keeping up with the Joneses, but towards the last phase of Constable’s creative period, one is inclined to reach for a sou’wester instead of an umbrella. The magic of his paintings was still fed by the tension of exact observation and subsequent neglect of the line in favour of colours and the colour effect. Like that a good Romantic painter should. But his sujets grew more sombre and the neglect of lines sometimes assumed an almost expressionist quality. Like Turner, Constable had no real successor to his monolithic body of works, both artists stood out as insular singularities on a magnificent scale, far ahead of or rather beside their times. Constable did influence the painters on the continent and especially in France and while Géricault and Delacroix reduced his dramatic landscapes to backgrounds again for topics they had in focus, the English landscape artist already had become one of the primal fathers of the School of Barbizon, late 19th century art, especially Impressionism and consequently modern art – and stands out in landscape painting by creating supratemporal things of beauty that convey the feeling of a place more than most descriptions could. Even on a cookie box.
Small monographic shows of Constable's works can be found here: