Sunday, October 22, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

John Constable (1776 – 1837)


English Romantic painter.
John Constable
We see nothing truly till we understand it.
Constable quotes
I have added some ploughmen to the landscape form the park pales which is a great help, but I must try and warm the picture a little more if I can... but I look to do a great deal better in future. I am determined to finish a small picture in the spot for every one I intend to make in future. But this I have always talked about but never yet done – I think however my mind is more settled and determined than ever on this point.
Constable
Our little drawing Room commands a view unequalled in Europe — from Westminster Abbey to Gravesend — the dome of St Paul's in the Air — realizes Michael Angelo's Idea on seeing that of the Pantheon — 'I will build such a thing in the Sky.'




Constable John quotes
It is always my endeavour however in making a picture that it should be without a companion in the world. At least such should be a painters ambition.
Constable John
My friend Bonner has just set off to Charlotte Street to pack your picture (an old painting) and forward it; it is a beautiful representation of a summer’s evening; calm, warm and delicious; the colour on the man’s face is perfect sunshine. The liquid pencil of this school is replete with a beauty peculiar to itself. Nevertheless, I don’t believe they had any 'nostrums,' but plain linseed oil; 'honest linseed' as old Wilson called it. But it is always right to remember that the ordinary painters of that day used, as now, the same vehicle as their betters, and also that their works have all received the hardening and enamelling effects of time, so that we must not judge of originality by these signs always.
John Constable quotes
Speaking to a lawyer about pictures is something like talking to a butcher about humanity.
John Constable
Only think that I am now writing in a room full of Claudes... almost of the summit of my earthly ambitions.
Constable John quotes
The climax of absurdity to which the art may be carried, when led away from nature by fashion, may be best seen in the works of Boucher... His landscape, of which he was evidently fond, is pastoral; and such pastorality! the pastoral of the Opera house.
Constable
Sept. 6 th, 1822, looking S.E. — 12 to 1 o’clock, fresh and bright, between showers — much the look of rain all the morning, but very fine and grand all the afternoon and evening.
Constable John
But the sound of water escaping from mill-dams, &c., willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts, and brickwork, I love such things. Shakespeare could make everything poetical; he tells us of poor Tom's haunts among "sheep cotes and mills." As long as I do paint, I shall never cease to paint such places. They have always been my delight.
John Constable
Without any doubt the great works of Constable were done at the point when his desire to be a "natural" painter and his need to express his restless, passionate character overlap. 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. While Turner, with greater gifts, was transforming the "beauty spots" of Europe, Constable was teaching us all to realise that our own countryside could be taken exactly as it is, and and yet become more precious to us.




John Constable quotes
Constable himself knew the value of such studies, for he rarely parted with them. He used to say of his studies and pictures that he had no objection to part with the corn, but not with the field that grew it.
John Constable
I am going on very well with my pictures... the park (Wivenhoe Park) is the most forward — the great difficulty has been to get so much in as they wanted to make them acquainted with the scene — on my left is a grotto with some elms — at the head of a piece of water — in the centre is the house over a beautifull wood and very far to the right is a Deer House — what it was necessary to add. So that my view comprehended to many degrees — but to day I got over the difficulty and I begin to like it 'myself'... I live in the park and mrs Rebow says I am very unsociable.
Constable quotes
A self-taught painter is one taught by a very ignorant person.
Constable John
But You know Landscape is my mistress — 'tis to her that I look for fame — and all that the warmth of the imagination renders dear to Man.
Constable John quotes
A sketch will not serve more than one state of mind & will not serve to drink at again & again — in a sketch there is nothing but the one state of mind — that which you were in at the time.
John Constable
My picture [A Boat Passing a Lock, 1823-6] is liked at the [Royal] Academy, indeed it forms a decided feature and its light can not be put out. Because it is the light of nature — the Mother of all that is valuable in poetry — painting or anything else... my execution annoys most of them and all the scholastic ones – perhaps the scarifies I make for 'lightness' and 'brightness' is too much but these things are the essence of Landscape.
John Constable quotes
I paint by all the daylight we have and that is little enough, less perhaps than you have by much... imagine to yourself how a purl must look through a burnt glass.
John Constable
This appearance of the Evening was... just after a very heavy rain — more rain in the night and very — [?light] wind which continued all the — day following while making – this sketch observed the Moon easing – very beautifully... [in the] due East over the — heavy clouds from which the late showers – had fallen.
Constable John
Many of my Hamptstead friends may remember this 'young lady' [an ash tree] at the entrance to the village. Her fate was distressing, for it is scarcely too much to say that she died of a broken heart. I made this drawing [Study of Trees, pencil on paper, circa 1821] when she was in full health and beauty; on passing some times afterwards, I saw, to my grief, that a wretched board had been nailed to her side, on which was written in large letters: 'All vagrants and beggars will be dealt with according to law.' The tree seemed to have felt the disgrace, for even then some of the top branches had withered. Two long spike nails had been driven far into her side. In another year one half became paralysed, and not long after the other shared the same fate, and this beautiful creature was cut down to a stump, just high enough to hold the board.


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact