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John Constable and the Theory of Landscape Painting


  • 55 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 282 pages
  • Size: 246 x 189 mm
  • Weight: 0.877 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 759.2
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: ND497.C7 L36 2005
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Constable, John,--1776-1837--Criticism and interpretation
    • Constable, John,--1776-1837--Aesthetics
    • Landscape painting, English--19th century

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521827386 | ISBN-10: 0521827388)

Ray Lambert provides a close study of Constable's landscapes and his writings about them. Displaying a high level of engagement with ideas on art and aesthetics that had decisive consequences for his style of painting, Constable's texts clearly reveal and adumbrate his views. They also give an indication of the artist's knowledge of scientific, poetic, and aesthetic ideas that were relevant to the creation of a serious landscape art as well as a theory of landscape. Linking these theories with those of Joshua Reynolds, Lambert demonstrates that Constable was an intellectual painter whose works are not a revolutionary break with the past. Moreover, his theory and practice place him within the great tradition of landscape painting in the West.

• Explores John Constable's contribution to aesthetics • Places John Constable's theory and work in context to other artists • Discusses Constable's portrayal of the British countryside


Introduction: 'to unite nature with imagination'; 1. Approaches to Constable; 2. Constable's theory and British aesthetics; 3. 'Painting is a science'; 4. 'Making something out of nothing': the poetry of the art; 5. 'The chiaroscuro of nature'; 6. 'The stamp of composition'; 7. Constable and the landscape traditions; 8. 'I am always picturesque'; 9. 'Every description of pastoral beauty'; 10. Grand theory and general landscape.

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