constable’s paintings such as the hay wain exemplify what concerns or themes below
John Constable was born at East Bergholt, Suffolk, on June 11, 1776. He was the son of the rich miller. The countryside around his birthplace is pastoral and gently undulating, marked chiefly by the low hills flanking Dedham Vale, along which the River Stour ran. The artist’s father, Golding Constable, owned mills on the banks of the river, made navigable by locks in the 18 th century. The landscape setting of his early years influenced Constable greatly. His choice came to be limited to a small group of places in which his affections were deeply engaged, all sharing the pastoral quality of the scenes of his childhood. He showed an early aptitude for drawing landscape and capturing climatic effects in his locality. He was later to say: “These (Suffolk) scenes made me an artist”.
The Industrial Revolution also had an influence on Romanticism, which was in part an escape from modern realities of population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism. Indeed, in the second half of the 19th century, “Realism” was offered as a polarized opposite to Romanticism.
The Milkmaid of Bordeaux by Goya, ca. 1825–1827: Though he worked in a variety of styles, Goya is remembered as perhaps the greatest painter of the Romantic period.
I’m sorry if I’ve already discussed Constable on here, but I just had to bring him up again. Constable was an early-mid nineteenth century landscape artist. He’s actually one of the first landscape artists, in a time where landscapes are regarded as a lower form of art than history or genre paintings. But Constable doesn’t believe so. He continues painting, trying to bring the emotion in nature to the viewer, and partly as a result of his efforts and fame, be begins to do so. He challenges this “hierarchy of genres” by giving his somewhat traditional English landscapes a grand, sublime feel.
The paintings I have shown here are Constable’s View of Dedham, 1814 (top), and the Hay Wain (1821). We can see the nod to sketch in his handling of small details, like the detail on the vines and shrubbery, and the suggestion of light on the stream in the Hay Wain (this focus on light and nature is an important part of later impressionism). Another defining feature of Constable’s work is the addition of small human touches. The small house on the stream, the wagon, the person tending to his horses – all are small human touches in the context of a larger natural scene. But now what begins to define Constable as he matures as an artist is bringing this emotion and awe-inspiring feeling to his work, which we’ve discussed.
The Protestant Reformations of England and Scotland were especially destructive of existing religious art, and the production of new work virtually ceased. The Artists of the Tudor Court were mostly imported from Europe, setting a pattern that would continue until the 18th century. The portraiture of Elizabeth I ignored contemporary European Renaissance models to create iconic images that border on naive art. The portraitists Hans Holbein and Anthony van Dyck were the most distinguished and influential of a large number of artists who spent extended periods in Britain, generally eclipsing local talents like Nicolas Hilliard, the painter of portrait miniatures, Robert Peake the elder, William Larkin, William Dobson, and John Michael Wright, a Scot who mostly worked in London. 
The so-called Acts of Union 1707 came in the middle of the long period of domination in London of Sir Godfrey Kneller, a German portraitist who had eventually succeeded as principal court painter the Dutch Sir Peter Lely, whose style he had adopted for his enormous and formulaic output, of greatly varying quality, which was itself repeated by an army of lesser painters. His counterpart in Edinburgh, Sir John Baptist Medina, born in Brussels to Spanish parents, had died just before the Union took place, and was one of the last batch of Scottish knights to be created. Medina had first worked in London, but in mid-career moved to the less competitive environment of Edinburgh, where he dominated portraiture of the Scottish elite. However, after the Union the movement was to be all in the other direction, and Scottish aristocrats resigned themselves to paying more to have their portraits painted in London, even if by Scottish painters such as Medina’s pupil William Aikman, who moved down in 1723, or Allan Ramsay. 
The image of the rainbow appears in several of Constable’s other paintings including Landscape with a Double Rainbow (1821) and Stonehenge (1835) and it was generally used as a symbol of hope within the Romantic movement as a phenomenon that was both beautiful and fleeting. Constable himself wrote that “Nature in all the varied aspects of her beauty exhibits no feature more lovely nor any that awakens a more soothing reflection than the rainbow”. In this instance the rainbow is considered to be a signifier of spiritual hope – it reaches the ground at Leadenhall the home of Bishop John Fisher who encouraged Constable to paint the scene and it may also indicate gratitude towards his friend for his support in the aftermath of his wife’s death.
The eye is led across the painting from the foreground along the route of the river to the distant tower of Dedham church, which although small, forms a clear focal point for the painting. The trees on either side of the canvas form a frame to the central part of the image presenting the view in the form of a smaller cameo and further serves to focus the eye on a building that would have been a landmark of Constable’s childhood.