Term Paper: Thomas Gainsborough

Pages: 10 (2627 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Topic: Art  (general)  ·  Buy for $19.77

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)

I am the son of a cloth merchant from the country and yet I have lived a life of infamy and intrigue, though it did not always seem so at the time. I am the fifth son of John Gainsborough and Mary Burrough, baptized Thomas Gainsborough in 1727.

Waterhouse 8) When I was very young I began to draw and paint and my father indulged me when I was 13 to attempt to apprentice me to a painter in London in 1740.

Waterhouse 8) a friend of the family, visit form London had viewed one of my landscape paintings Wood Scene, Village of Concord and beseeched my father to allow him to attempt to find me a position in London that would befit my gift and help teach me the craft. (Whitley 3-7) I learned a great deal about art and life including many things that would drive me home again to Suffolk. (Whitley 7) One thing that I did learn is that art requires both steadfast perseverance and humility as the art that pays is not always the art that one wants to do. I have therefore made my living with the only art that commands a wage during my life, that of the portrait. (BBC NP) I much prefer the landscape to the portrait and have attempted to meld the two together as often as possible by building the character of the surrounding as well as the individual and by adorning the individual in detail that accentuates the figure and has been something I am know for and can in some part give credit to Gravelot, my etching mentor in London. (Whitely 6) I have always been curios about the portrait and why it is people choose, so frequently to create such displays of personal ego. I'm not sure why it is that so much about life has to be surrounding the individual. Why so many people think that the only thing of value in legacy is a portrait that will etch into memory the picture of how one was at his or her peak and grow dusty on drawing room walls. It always stilled me, as my life in art progressed as to how it might be beneficial if an individual were to plant a tree in their name and therefore offer life back to life, yet I cannot complain as portraits have always paid the bills and living as a family with nothing is rather quaint if not impossible. It is impossible with my wife, who is an infamous penny pincher even though we together bring in a significant yearly earning. She is on a constant prowl to find out just how much I have spent on any given excursion and is forever chiding me about my spending habits. I am even a bit afraid of her, though we have been together since our teens. (Whitely 10) She is a bit of a bully when it comes to money I stay with her chiefly because this is the standard and I have not met anyone who would make me stray. I also linger because I am in love with my children, it was from these two beauties that I began to recognize the beauty in my wife; though others noticed it earlier it took the birth of my girls to make me recognize it fully. My girls are among my favorite subjects, and the only portraits I feel privileged to paint for their purpose rather than the payment.

It is also the domestic love they show one another that gives me the strength to continue to live within the confines of a home where I do not feel either in charge or appreciated. We never want for anything, I suppose in part to the hand of Margaret who watches every penny as if it will be the last to weigh down her purse. I do not know from where this fear and power comeas for her and have never ventured to ask. It simply is. As the years have gone on and life's focus has separated us she and I have learned to live with one another's quirks, I with her frugal ways and she with my winsome penchant for graciously giving without thought of return. (Whitely 8) have heard some call me a master and yet I have done only what I needed and what built my character as an artist. I am largely self- taught though I owe a bit to my early masters in London. According to my detractors and friends alike I have a keen eye for nature and base my work not on some formula or equation as some do but on my own sense of how nature looks. (VanDyke 245-246) it is my genuine hope as a painter of portraits that someday my skill and reputation as an artist will obscure the identity of my subject. This is why I have fostered the mystery of the Blue Boy. I could have long ago answered the mystery, and informed the public that the young man was not a man of high standing, the Buttall boy of the family which had the panting in its possession for the most of its life. His father had the means as an ironmonger but had no significant name for himself that would have created a reputation that followed the boy and not the painting. (Whitely 372-373)

As a young man, having just married and upon the death of my father

Waterhouse 8) I realized that the life of London was not for me and that I needed to return to Suffolk, as the city air and city life was eating away at me and I hoped to have gained enough measure to gain portrait commissions of the local gentry. (BBC NP) I owe a great deal of this early success to Philip Thicknesse, then Governor of Landguard Fort, as his visit to my studio at Ipswich proved very fruitful for recognition among the local landed. (Waterhouse 8) I also took it upon myself to offer my painting Charter House to the Foundling Hospital, to stand beside works by authors far greater an more recognized than myself. I made Ipswich my home and proceeded to become fully invested in the domestic life fondly looking after my daughters and painting local portraits. It was here at Ipswich that I was commissioned one of my favorite and most whimsical of portraits, Mr. And Mrs. Andrews, where one can see my love of landscape and the sitters love of the country blend into the medium.

The author Joshua Kirby also greatly supported me, by helping secure my first commission of any merit.

Waterhouse 14) This work was a double chimney landscape commissioned by the Duke of Bedford and their content was not the standard portraiture but was my beloved assignment of landscape work. I also owe a small debt to Mr. Fonnereau, whose politic I do not support but who was nonetheless willing to lend me a small sum to establish myself in Ipswich and begin painting there. (Whitely 9)

Sadly I soon learned that the only way to make money at this game was to move where there was a greater concentration of people to pay me to paint them. Margaret and myself decided on Bath as it was currently all the rage when it comes to high class vacations. Bath made possible my acquaintance with General Honywood, whose portrait I struck while sitting on a great stallion of war. (Whitely 44) I also was engaged to paint one on my most amusing of portraits. That of the famous actor David Garrick wrapped around a bust of Shakespeare. Yet Bath was always garish to me with its women and men skirting around the issue with which they really have interest. At Bath I always had a longing to go off and live in some cottage in the country were I could quietly paint landscapes and forget about the garish nature of human kind, with all its mating and money grubbing ritual. (Whitely 123) I suppose it is not fair to say I always felt this way at Bath, as I felt this way in other places as well and had many good times at Bath, in between getting caught up in the intrigue of whatever garish character I was presently painting. I also met the acquaintance of a substantial number of worthy friends, some of whom having been dragged to Bath by their ladies had endured by taking up company with the other men in the same boat. One such friend is Richard Graves, the author, who pays me great honor by stressing my skill as an artist to whomever he meets. (Whitely 47)

One of the issues that has come to me so frequently as an injustice beyond all other injustices is that throughout my life in art I have been compared to Reynolds, regardless of the fact that we have little in common… [END OF PREVIEW]

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