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John Constable was fascinated by the British weather and his meticulous studies of the effects of light and the conditions that influenced the planet’s atmosphere, lead him to regard landscape painting as a science.
This is one of approximately 50 pure sky studies that the artist produced in 1822. During this time, meteorology, which is the study of the conditions in the atmosphere used for weather forecasting, was being investigated and Constable became the first artist to accurately record cloud formations in his paintings.
In 1821 the artist wrote “I have done a good deal of skying…” Fervently recording his observations of clouds and skies on scraps of paper, Constable planned to piece them together by devising a lecture which he hoped to deliver in Hampstead. Constable was interested in the idea of the sky casting a mood over the landscape below it and so understanding the weather became essential to his artistic practice. He viewed the sky as an opportunity for creative expression, pitched against the solidarity of the static landscape.
oil on paper on board
H 47 x W 57 cm
gift from Kathleen Epstein, 1973