John Constable

John Constable RA ( born June 11, 1776 in East Bergholt, Suffolk, † March 31, 1837 in London Hampstead ) was a representative of Romantic painting ( landscape painting) in England. His work lives from the tension between accurate observation of nature (eg, sky and cloud studies) and the neglect of the line in favor of the color effect. He painted, among others, the images The Hay Wain, Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge.

Life and work

Early years

John Constable was born as the fourth (? Second ) son of six children of Mr. and Mrs. Golding Constable and his wife Ann Constable, East Bergholt, Suffolk. His siblings were Ann (1768-1854), Martha (1769-1845), Golding (1774-1838), Mary (1781-1865) and Abram ( 1783-1862 ).

In 1783 he attended school in Ford Street, Essex, then a school in Lavenham, from which he was removed because of a brutal assistant teacher. Instead, he attended the Dedham Grammar School. From 1792 he worked in his father's, who dealt in grain, coal and other operations. Two years later, he went together with an employee of his father to Norfolk to draw. On January 29, 1799, he met at the Cobbold 's in Ipswich on Priscilla Wakefield, who gave him a letter to make a Joseph Farington RA. In the same year he received the consent of his parents to study art in London and became effective on March 4, 1799 as Family at the Royal Academy in London, where he took classes in still life and anatomy as well as the old masters studied, which he to copy learned. During the time of his studies, he was inspired by the images of the artist Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Lorrain, Peter Paul Rubens, Annibale Carracci and Jacob van Ruisdael. In May 1802 a number of drawings from Windsor Castle and Constable emerged rejected a chance from a drawing teacher at the Marlow Military Academy, a step that would have meant after Benjamin West, President of the Royal Academy, the end of the Constable's artistic career. In 1803 he had his first exhibition at the Royal Academy. In the same year Constable bought a studio in East Bergholt.

1806 created sketches of two of the daughters of the Cobbold family, the first of a series of over one hundred sketches, drawn in pencil, ink and ink and watercolor, of mostly young attractive women in domestic environment, reading is entertaining, strolling, dancing or posing in graceful posture, individually or in small groups.

Marriage and first exhibition

In 1809 he fell in love with the twelve years younger officers daughter Maria Bicknell. In March 1815 his mother Ann Constable died. A year later, on 19 May 1816, his father died, Golding Constable. On October 2, 1816, he married Maria Bicknell in London's Church of St. Martin-in -the-Fields; the honeymoon they spent in Osmington, Dorset. In 1817 he moved into a house in Keppel Street # 1 in Bloomsbury. On 4 December of the same year, their first child, John Charles was born, the later six more followed. In May 1819 presented Constable The White Horse, one of his large paintings, completed in the same year at the Royal Academy, and was created on 1 November for the extraordinary member of the Royal Academy appointed. In 1824 Constable was awarded a gold medal by the French king. The exhibition of two of his works at the Salon in Paris had significant influence on the French landscape painter ( Barbizon School ).

Last years

After the birth of the seventh child in January 1828 Lionel Bicknell Maria fell ill and died in November at the age of 41 from tuberculosis. In deep sorrow to Constable dressed from that point on all in black and cared only about his seven children until his death. In February 1829 he was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

John Constable died unexpectedly on the night of 31 March 1837. He was buried in Hampstead.



  • Constable has his painting compared with the sensation as he to his friend John Fisher in 1821 wrote: "Painting is but another word for feeling". ( quoted from: Parkinson 1998, p 9)
  • I want to show you that it is a profession with a proper education in our profession; it is as scientific as it is poetic, and the idea alone could never - and never will - produce works that bear comparison with reality. ( quoted from: Thorne 2004, 148)
  • Painting is a science and should be operated as a study of the laws of nature. Why not landscape painting as a branch of natural philosophy consider, in which the images are the experiments? ( quoted from: Thorne 2004, 148)