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See catalog of the latter collection by G. Reynolds (1960); C. R. Leslie, Memoirs of the Life of John Constable (enl. ed. 1937); collections of his letters by P. Holmes (1931) and R. B. Beckett (1962); biography by B. Taylor (1973); studies by C. Peacock (rev. ed. 1972) and R. Gadney (1976).
Born June 11, 1776, in East Bergholt, Suffolk; died Mar. 31, 1837, in London. English painter.
Constable, the son of a village miller, attended the Royal Academy in London from 1800 to 1805 (he became a member of the academy in 1829). He was largely a self-taught artist, having studied nature, the works of J. van Ruisdael, N. Poussin, and C. Lorraine, and the 18th-century English landscape paintings by T. Gainsborough, J. R. Cozens, and T. Girtin.
Rejecting any idealization of nature, Constable depicted the freshness of many facets of everyday village settings by reproducing the flickering atmospheric effects. His works, such as The Hay Wain (1821, National Gallery, London), Salisbury Cathedral From the River (National Gallery, London), Dedham Vale (1828, National Gallery, Edinburgh), and Stoke-by-Nayland (1836; Art Institute of Chicago), reveal a sense of the harmonious unity of nature, which is inspirational and majestic even in its most modest aspect.
Constable composed his landscapes on the basis of a vast number of plein air studies. Some of his landscapes were the first in the history of landscape painting to be done entirely from nature. Constable combines a naturalness of composition and a purity and freshness of colors with a wealth of hues and a mobility of fine brushstroke. He frequently painted the same motif under different weather conditions, subtly conveying the uniqueness of these conditions. He was particularly fond of painting cloud studies and executed numerous series of such studies. Constable greatly furthered the growth of realist tendencies in 19th-century painting (for example, the work of Delacroix, the masters of the Barbizon school, and the impressionists).
REFERENCESLeslie, C. R. Zhizn’ Dzhona Konsteblia, eskvaira. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from English.)
Chegodaev, A. D. Dzhon Konstebl’. Moscow, 1968.
Badt, K. John Constable’s Clouds. London, 1950.
Shirley, A. John Constable. London, 1948.
Reynolds, G. Constable, the Natural Painter. London, 1965.