Images from artrenewal.org
The purpose of this blog is to be a delineation of the things I feel a painter, or most particularly a landscape painter ought to know. To that end I have written on art history as much as art technique. I think it of equal importance. I am going to turn my intention to arguably the most important and influential landscape painter , John Constable. He has always been a hero of mine and was the first great landscape painter I learned about as a young man in high school.
There were very few books on painting in those days, and those that were available were on the greatest of painters and except for a few of the French impressionists, almost never from the 19th century. So my taste was formed on Dutch painting and Constable. In a way that worked out well as these earlier artists formed as good base on which to build my later studies. They inspired all of the later painters that I would learn about as I grew into my twenties.
I constantly find students poorly informed on art history and that history before the 19th century is usually the least familiar to them. I have written some on the Dutch, now it is time Constable got his due. I am, of course, no scholar so this will be pretty basic. Sometimes I pretend I am writing the text for a comic book or baseball card. I hope that I can interest you in this history and you will go on with that familiarity to learn more.
John Constable was born in 1776 in Suffolk, England. His father owned a water driven mill and was a successful grain merchant. He grew up along a stretch of the river Stour and most of his well known paintings are of that small area. To this day that area is referred to as Constable country as he is one of Britain's most prized and popular painters.
Constable spent his youth roaming this lowland area and sketching, educated well he began a short lived career as a miller and corn merchant. However he wanted to be a painter so his father provided him with a small stipend and he enrolled in the school of the Royal Academy.
At the Academy Constable studied the work of the great painters including Rubens, who seems to me to have been a great influence and Claude Lorain, the little Dutch masters and Gainsborough who was from the same areas of England as John himself.