chapter  18
23 Pages

Making Meanings in Art Worlds: A Sociological Account of the Career of John Constable and his Oeuvre, with Special Reference to ‘The Cornfield’ (Homage to Howard Becker): Elizabeth Chaplin

When I was a child, our local library ran a picture-lending scheme. My parents subscribed to it for a while: each month we returned a picture to the library, and took out another. Most of the pictures in the scheme were reproductions of famous paintings. One of these was Constable's 'Cornfield', and I can remember it on the dining room wall; we took it out more than once. I grew up assuming that Constable was a genius, and that 'The Cornfield' was a masterpiece. As a sociologist now, I want to revisit those widely held assumptions, and subsequently to propose a quite different way of thinking about Constable, 'The Cornfield', and the rest of the artist's oeuvre.