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John Constable was an astonishing landscape painter of the Romanticism period. He was born in Suffolk on the River Stour, in a British village called East Bergholt. His family was very wealthy, as his father, Golding Constable, was the owner of Flatford Mill, which later became Dedham Mill. From an early age, Constable adventured the countryside to find motifs for him to sketch, mostly in Suffolk and Essex. The artist expressed his admiration for these natural areas, stating that they helped make him into a painter. Constable began to meet people from the artistic field, like the collector George Beaumont who showed him artworks from his collection, including a painting by Claude Lorrain which inspired the British painter. He also met John Thomas Smith, a painter that discouraged Constable to continue painting as a career stating that he would be better off remaining in his father’s business.
Constable officially began studying art in 1799, after he talked his father out of the idea that he would follow in the family business. With his father’s financial support, the young artist entered some classes at the Royal Academy School, where he studied painting and anatomy with real cadavers. By 1803, the artist was already exhibiting his paintings at the Royal Academy gallery. His biggest inspirations were Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob van Ruisdael, Thomas Gainsborough, Annibale Carracci, and he studied by copying many works of past masters. The artist’s early landscapes have impeccable composition inspired by the artworks of Classic masters, but also a freshness translated through light and color - qualities that he maintains until the end of his career. Unlike other artists of the Romanticism, Constable focused on landscapes with scenes of everyday life. He eventually turned to portrait painting to help his financial status but disliked it tremendously. Very rarely did the artist work with religious themes in his artwork.
In 1811, Constable made his first trip to Salisbury; a location that inspired many of his best works, because of its beautiful surrounding landscapes and grand cathedral. It was only in 1819 that the British painter sold his first significant painting, called The White Horse. He then felt compelled to continue producing large-scale paintings. Not just that, but the Royal Academy elected Constable as an official Associate. Another significant artwork is The Hay Wain, which was exhibited at the Academy in 1821, as well as winning a gold medal at the Paris Salon three years later. Curiously enough, Constable’s work wasn’t very popular in England, unlike in France, where he sold many paintings.
Constable and his wife, Maria Elizabeth Bicknell, had seven children together. After the birth of their last child in 1828, Maria became very ill and passed away at only 41 years of age. By the end of his artistic career, Constable gave lectures about landscape and history painting, as well as speaking of art and poetics in general, stating that to be a great painter, you mustn't be self-taught. The outstanding landscape painter John Constable passed away in 1837, in London, England.