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John Constable Quotes

John Constable
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: John Constable
  • Born: 11th June 1776, East Bergholt, Suffolk, East Anglia, England
  • Died: 31st March 1837, Charlotte Street, London, England
  • Alma mater: Royal Academy Of Arts
  • Occupation: Artist and painter
  • Best known for: Landscape painting
  • Movement: Naturalism
  • Influenced by: Annibale Carracci, Claude Lorrain, Jacob van Ruisdael, John Thomas Smith, Peter Paul Rubens and Thomas Gainsborough
  • Inspired: Constant Troyon, Eugène Delacroix, François-Louis Français, Henri Harpignies, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-François Millet, Jules Dupré, Paul-Emmanuel Péraire, Pierre Emmanuel Damoye and Théodore Rousseau

"I never saw an ugly thing in my life"

John Constable

"It is the most affecting picture I almost ever stood before. It cannot surely be saying too much when I assert that this landscape is full of religious and moral feeling, and shows how much of his own nature God has planted in the mind of man"

John Constable

"Landscape is my mistress - t' is to her that I look for fame - and all that the warmth of the imagination renders dear to man"

John Constable

"I hired a boat to see the men of war, which are there in great numbers. I sketched The Victory in three views. She was the flower of the flock, a three decker of 112 guns. She looked very beautiful, fresh out of dock and newly painted"

John Constable

"At Hadleigh there is a ruin of a castle which from its situation is a really fine place - it commands a view of the Kent hills, the Nore and North Foreland and looking many miles to sea"

John Constable

"The rectitude of his conduct through life had disarmed the grave of his terrors, and it pleased God to spare him the pang of death" [about his father]

John Constable

"When I sit down to make a sketch from nature, the first thing I try to do is to forget that I have ever seen a picture"

John Constable

"No man who can do any one thing well will be able to any different thing equally well"

John Constable

"The great vice of the present day is bravura, an attempt to do something beyond the truth"

John Constable

"I have done a good deal of skying for I am determined to conquer all difficulties"

John Constable

"Still Nature is the fountain's head, the source from whence all originally must spring"

John Constable

"We see nothing truly till we understand it"

John Constable

"My skies have not been neglected, though they often failed in execution"

John Constable

"Painting is but another word for feeling"

John Constable
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John Constable Biography

John Constable was an artist for all weathers who studied atmospheric conditions to gain a greater understanding for his favourite subject which was landscape paintings.

He was never fully appreciated during his lifetime especially in his home country of England but in France the new wave of romantic artists would balk in appreciative amazement at his tender brush strokes of skylines. Indeed, some of his collection caused a sensation when presented at "The Salon" in Paris in 1924 with one of his more famous paintings "The Hay Wain" (1921) being awarded a Gold Medal from King Charles X of France.

He never ventured overseas to promote his paintings which contributed to his modest success during his lifetime and in on letter to his friend (Francis Darby) Constable was quoted as saying: "I would rather be a poor man [in England] than a rich man abroad".

His study of skylines was intense as he made detailed notes on changing cloud formations and John Constable was even quoted about his learned artistic ambition when he said: "We see nothing truly till we understand it".

Constable is classed, along with Joseph Turner, as one of the most important landscape painters of the 19th century. He was often compared to the 18th century landscape painter Thomas Gainsborough from whom he drew much artistic inspiration.

He was also a great family man who was heartbroken at the death of his wife Maria Elizabeth Bicknell but he continued to care for his seven children up until his death.

Posthumously his work has enjoyed tremendous success as his paintings proudly adorn the walls in The Lourve, London's National Gallery, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Dedham Vale area of Suffolk is now more commonly known as "Constable Country" because of the many paintings he created there. It is classed as an area of outstanding natural beauty located alongside the river Stour as it skirts the Suffolk-Essex border. Away from the easel he was also good for a one liner, so here is my compilation of 14 of the best John Constable quotes

Quotes About John Constable

The French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix was inspired by him when he said: "He and Turner were real reformers. They broke out of the rut of traditional landscape painting. Our School, which today abounds in men of talent in this field, profited greatly by their example"

Henry Scott Trimmer wrote glowingly of his artistry: "As I write, June 10th, 1861, John Constable stands next to Gainsborough as a painter of English landscape. Whoever passes him will paint well indeed"

The author C.R. Leslie remembered this remark: "I have heard him say that the solitude of mountains oppressed his spirits"

The art historian Kenneth Clark was passionate about his legacy when he said: "Through his violence of feeling, concealed under a conventional exterior, he was able to revolutionise our own feelings about our surroundings. The conviction that open spaces and areas of rural scenery must be saved for the refreshment of our spirits owes more to Constable than to any other artist"

John Constable image quote