English painter, ranked with Turner as one of the greatest British landscape artists.
Although John Constable showed an early talent for art and began painting his native Suffolk scenery before he left school, his great originality matured slowly. John Constable committed himself to a career as an artist only in 1799, when he joined the Royal Academy Schools and it was not until 1829 that he was grudgingly made a full Academician, elected by a majority of only one vote. In 1816 John Constable became financially secure on the death of his father and married Maria Bicknell after a seven-year courtship and in the faceof strong opposition from her family. During the 1820s he began to win recognition: The Hay Wain (National Gallery, London, 1821) won a gold medal at the Paris Salon of 1824 . His wife died in 1828 and the remaining years of his life were clouded by despondency.
After spending some years working in the picturesque tradition of landscape and the manner of Gainsborough, Constable developed his own original treatment from the attempt to render scenery more directly and realistically, carrying on but modifying in an individual way the tradition inherited from Ruisdael and the Dutch 17th-century landscape painters.
John Constable never went abroad, and his finest works are of the places he knew and loved best, particularly Suffolk and Hampstead, where he lived from 1821. To render the shifting flicker of light and weather he abandoned fine traditional finish, catching the sunlight in blobs of pure white or yellow, and the drama of storms with a rapid brush.
In England Constable had no real sucessor, in France, however, he was a major influence on Delacroix, on the painters of the Barbizon School, and ultimately on the Impressionists.
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