Happy Birthday John Constable!

John Constable, born June 11, 1776, was one of the most important landscape painters of his time despite living in an era when landscape painting was extremely popular in his native Britain. His major divergence from his colleagues and one of the cornerstones of his unique style was his insistence on only painting, drawing or sketching landscapes that he knew intimately well. 

John Constable, Branch Hill Pond, Hampstead, 1828. Oil on canvas, Framed - h:89.00 w:105.50 d:11.50 cm (h:35 w:41 1/2 d:4 1/2 inches) Unframed - h:60.60 w:78.10 cm (h:23 13/16 w:30 11/16 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund.

Such a place was Hampstead (the location of a summer house he rented between 1819 and 1826), where he composed this work, Branch Hill Pond, Hampstead, in 1828. Whereas paintings in the Italian style presented glowing skies as the symbolic embodiment of nature’s beauty, Constable utilized a distinctly British approach, choosing overcast skies and distant rain to enhance the landscape (he would probably have loved Cleveland weather!). He believed that such a depiction reflected the true vitality of the English countryside, and was meticulous in his depiction of cloud formations and their natural lighting effects.

 (Reference: Oxford Art Online)

Guest Author

Benjamin Francisco

The Cleveland Museum of Art

Benjamin Francisco is a Cello Performance major at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and an intern in the Communications and Marketing Department at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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