John constable was a romantic painter from England. He lived from 1776 to 1837. He was born in Suffolk was mainly interested in painting the landscape of Dedham vale, which was near his home. Indeed his most adored paintings are Dedham Vale (1802) and the Haywain (1821). Most of constables were sold abroad in countries such as France where he was a great inspiration to other romantic painters (Peacock¸1971).
Constable was keen to develop his own original style. He focused on being more direct, and realistic in presenting scenery. This was a modification of the earlier paintings of the Dutch landscape painters of the 17th century. Constable derived his inspiration from being unique. He was a strong believer of the creation’s uniqueness such that nothing was similar to the other, so were his paintings from those of other painters. He was highly motivated by cloud movement in the sky; the countries nature, such as, sound of falling water from a dam, aged rotten planks, and willows (Manson and Christie, 2010).
As earlier noted, constable confined his painting scope to his local area. He never went abroad. His art was particularly unique in the way he brought out the changing shimmer of light and weather conditions. Sunlight was presented using chaste white or yellow blobs. A storm on the flip side was depicted using a hasty brush. His work was appreciated by contemporary painters such as Fuseli and Leslie. Constable enjoyed working outdoors painting using oils (Peacock¸1971). However, the final product was produced in a studio. Some of constables now in various museums across the world are as shown below.
- Haywain Haywain detail 3. Dedham vale (1802),
(SOURCE: Constable, The complete works)
Imagination and not reason, is the greatest power of the human mind. The freedoms to ponder, wander, or try out with one’s own life in a unique way makes a perfect recipe for imagination. Imaginative freedom is in fact more important than cogent freedom and any attempt to deny one such freedom is not humane. Things that are extraordinary, unique, terrifying, mysterious, weird, and thrilling are an important source of what life entails to romantic painters and poets (Manson and Christie, 2010). Such artist are fond of activities that are derived from free will and a great sense of nature such as exploring emotional limits and sampling nature’s beauty. To them, the dynamics of nature are unique in their own way and should be appreciated as not seen as hurdles or challenges. Romantic poets and painters direct their efforts in developing their own concepts rather than adhering customary social virtues. It is believed that a person who views his life as a lively conception, takes life’s challenges by their horns through his own creative means, is by far admirable and heroic compared to those who limit themselves to convectional virtues. No matter the length of time lived by a romantic poet or painter, to them, its better to burn out than rust.
The true romantic spirit is that of defiance of the convectional ways of doing things. Notable in constable’s works is this defiance. Right from his choice of source of material to his way of painting, constable sets apart from other artist. It actually takes him 52 years from his birth to become a full academician. However, based on the theories of romantics, his uniqueness makes him the most celebrated romantic painter both locally and abroad even long after his death. Romanticism is heavily based on originality. Romantics view novelty as a constructive value in art and life. The mark of true genius is indicated by ones ability to experiment with fresh experiences, novel styles of expression, and recently invented systems (Manson and Christie, 2010).
Apparently, poets are the significant interpreters of veracity. As exemplified by constable, to bring out the various aspects of his locality to a point that it gained international appreciation is a true mark of a genius. Complete human nature runs to the extent of being a poet, the ability to self-create and interpret the world around you, without which life has no meaning.
Manson and Christie, Woods. Works of the late John Constable. South Carolina: Nabu Press,
Peacock, Carlos. John Constable: The man and his work. New York: New York Graphic