When bigger was better

art review

October 16, 2006|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,Sun Art Critic

Although the notion of artist-as-rebel may be a cliche, English landscape painter John Constable spent an anxious decade desperately trying to gain admission to his country's prestigious Royal Academy.

The son of a prosperous gentleman farmer from the provinces, Constable (1776-1837) frankly wanted to make a splash at the academy's annual 10-week exhibition in London. His goal was to marry and support a family - and he was happy to do so on the academy's conservative terms.

CONSTABLE'S GREAT LANDSCAPES: THE SIX-FOOT PAINTINGS runs through Dec. 31 at the National Gallery of Art, Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue, Northwest, Washington, 202-737-4215 or nga.gov

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