The Ascension By John Constable RA (1776-1837)
(courtesy of The Constable Trust)
November 9th 2021 - The painting has been loaned to Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich for their new John Constable exhibition, Creating Constable which runs from 27th November 2021 until 24th April 2022. For more information about the exhibition, click on this link, Creating Constable.
The Ascension is the best of only three religious paintings by John Constable, all of which were commissioned for churches in his native Stour Valley. It was commissioned in 1821, the year that he completed The Hay Wain, as an altarpiece for St Michael’s Church, Manningtree. The other earlier two were painted for the parish churches of Brantham in Suffolk and Nayland in Essex.
There is debate as to whether the painting represents the Resurrection or the Ascension. One of Constable’s models would have been a sketch of The Resurrection by Benjamin West, who was in turn influenced by Raphael. He would also have seen the window by Sir Joshua Reynolds depicting The Resurrection in Salisbury Cathedral when visiting his great friend John Fisher. Whichever it represents, this figure of Christ floating in the sky surrounded by clouds dates from the same period as his sky studies in which he was developing his own religious and landscape ideas.
For more information, visit The Constable Trust Website.
November 2021 - removal of the Constable painting for an exhibition at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich
In the spring of 2017 the painting was re-hung following the work on the fabric of the church. The photographs of the process were taken by Christine Moore.