John Constable - Time Quotes
5 Sourced Quotes
I ought to respect myself for my friends' sake, and my children's. It is time, at fifty-six, to begin, at least, to know oneself, — and I do know what I am not, and your regard for me has at least awakened me to believe in the possibility that I may yet make some impression with my "light" — my "dews" — my "breezes" — my bloom and freshness, — no one of which qualities has yet been perfected on the canvas of any painter in the world.
It is much to my advantage that several of my pictures should be seen together, as it displays to advantage their varieties of conception and also of execution, and what they gain by the mellowing hand of time which should never be forced or anticipated. Thus my pictures when first coming forth have a comparative harshness which at the time acts to my disadvantage.
My friend Bonner has just set off to Charlotte Street to pack your picture (an old painting) and forward it; it is a beautiful representation of a summer's evening; calm, warm and delicious; the colour on the man's face is perfect sunshine. The liquid pencil of this school is replete with a beauty peculiar to itself. Nevertheless, I don't believe they had any 'nostrums,' but plain linseed oil; 'honest linseed' as old Wilson called it. But it is always right to remember that the ordinary painters of that day used, as now, the same vehicle as their betters, and also that their works have all received the hardening and enamelling effects of time, so that we must not judge of originality by these signs always.
The attempt to revive styles that have existed in former ages, may for a time appear to be successful, but experience may now surely teach us its impossibility. I might put on a suit of Claude Lorraine's clothes and walk into the street, and the many who knew Claude but slightly would pull off their hats to me, but I should at last meet with some one, more intimately acquainted with him, who would expose me to the contempt I merited. It is thus in all the fine arts. A new Gothic building, or a new missal, is in reality little less absurd than a new ruin.