Thomas Gainsborough Painting

Thomas Gainsborough managed to persuade his father to support him to study portray in London at the age of 13. Conceding to the plea, the father allowed him, and Thomas went to apprentice with a French Illustrator, Hubert Gravelot, whose experience with Rococo artwork greatly influenced Thomas’ apprenticeship. By the year 1770, Thomas was residing in Bath, England, having established himself as amongst the foremost portrait painters. His works of art attracted a lot of demand from rich patrons who visited the region in which he resided and went about his enterprise of painting. However, the artist disliked the concept of portraiture and instead opted for landscapes, claiming that he painted pictures for survival whereas he did the same for landscape because of the love he had for them. This shows that he painted portraits purely for earning a living from them, but for the landscapes, it was out of the passion. The paper talks about “The Blue Boy,” one of the greatest pieces of art that Thomas ever created in his entire career and lifetime. Thomas had initially sketched a certain structure on the canvas before starting The Blue Boy, which he painted over the original image. The piece of art is about life-size with dimensions measuring at 70 by 48 inches in length and breadth respectively. The Blue Boy painting is arguably the most famous of the works that Thomas completed in totality. Little was known about it during his days; rather it was long after he had passed away that the piece of art caught the attention of people. It is believed that Thomas crafted the painting during his stay in Bath, England, in the year 1770. The picture was mentioned in print ten years after Thomas’ death. It was asserted that among the artist’s most prolific portraits was possessed by one Mr. Butall, who was an intimate friend of the artist and also an ironmonger in Newport. The assertion in this sense was that the model in this portrait was Butall’s son. Thomas presented the portrait extraordinarily; he depicted the face of the boy straight on like a revitalization sculpture. The boy’s pose appears to be more classical than it is expected of the seventeenth century time. Although the boy is not shown as a handsome, the artist incorporates the element of a confident and amusing young man. Looking at the paintaing closely, there is a blue paint in the costume, and it seems to be outstanding, but it is the silver element which makes the garment. The outfit dates back to almost 140 years before the portrait was put into the painting. It is a type of clothing which was familiar in the painting works of the renowned artist, Van Dyck. Thomas greatly admired his pieces of art, and there is a probability that he conceived The Blue Boy as a homage act to Dyck. Thomas had a bitter rivalry with another portrait-painting artist, Joshua Reynolds. According to historians, The Blue Boy piece of art was developed by Thomas in a bid to refute Joshua’s personal declarations regarding color. It is believed that Joshua’s assertions about color and the art of painting did not go well with Thomas and hence he was determined to prove the argument wrong. He did not believe that a small share of cold color in a painting is sufficient and hence he proceeded to make the painting in contradiction with his peer’s beliefs.2 In this sense, it is possible that Thomas intention in creating the piece of art was to oppose Reynolds simply. The piece of art remained in the custody of Mr. Butall until when he filed for bankruptcy in the year 1796. At that time, it was purchased by John Nesbitt, a politician and later in the year 1802, John Hoppner, a painter, bought it again. In the year 1809, The Blue Boy painting was admitted in the collection of Earl Grosvenor. From that time, it remained in possession of his descendants until when it was sold to John Duveen, a dealer, by the second Duke of Westminster in the year 1921.2 By this time, the portrait had become a great and common favorite in the print reproductions. This status came after the piece of art was exhibited to the members of the public in different exhibitions at the Royal Academy, British Institution, and so forth. The portrait’s fame is attributable to reproduction and distribution among the people. In the year 1919, the portrait was an inspiration to the German filmmaker, Friedrich Murnau, to produce his pioneer film, Knabe in Blau.2The painting was then sold Henry Huntington, an American railway pioneer for $ 728000. According to Duveen, this price was the then-record cost for any piece of art that was in the form of a portrait or a painting.3 The sale caused a public outcry in Britain because the people were already attached to it and always loved to view it during the exhibitions; also, it had become an inspiration to different people, and hence they could feel it as part of them. Additionally, the portrait reminded the people of their past, and hence they could connect with their fallen loved ones such as Thomas through viewing their ancient works of art. Before it was taken to California in the year 1922, the portrait was displayed at the National Gallery; it was viewed by over 90000 people within a brief time span. This further shows that the people in Britain had intense sentimental aspects of viewing the piece of art. The Blue Boy painting is perceived to influence even modern works of art such as Django Unchained. In the year 2012 film, Quentin Tarantino western, the ostensible anti-hero advances bloody retribution dressed in a bright blue suit that is similar to the one in Thomas’ painting. The video’s costume designer, Sharen Davis was instrumental in pursuing this inspiration through the production work. According to the designer, it was necessary to slip a copy of The Blue Boy in the blurb of the research text.3 After almost three centuries, the portrait is still relevant in the entertain scenes in the modern world which is highly characterized by diversity and application of technological ways of doing things. It means that the portrait was exemplary and it is likely to pass the test of time even in the future. For almost a century now, The Blue Boy has been the main attraction within the palatial portrait collection of The Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Today, the portrait lies on a table in a chilled room above certain administrative agencies.4 It is surrounded by surgical instruments, looking like a vulnerable boy in the early adulthood, acting dress-up in Cavaliers’ outfits. Since the portrait was brought to this destination, it has become an integral part of the library. At a certain point, the museum fitted a trap door under the painting in such a manner that it could be whisked into basement bomb shelter in case the premises was under a nuclear invasion in the future. The amount of security and protection offered to the piece of art depicts the value that it adds to the entire museum as a whole, beyond the library. It seems to have carried its sentimental attitudes from Britain to the United States. People love it both in the previous and current residences in a somewhat equal measure; they place high values on Thomas’ piece of art. ConclusionFrom the portrait gallery at The Huntington’s, it is clear the canvases with which the piece of art has been subjected to conservation treatments. They glow with saturated colors, clarity, and depth whereas the untreated canvases look dull, hazy, and chalky when compared to The Blue Boy. However, it is impossible to differentiate between the artist’s brushstrokes and the conservator’s beginnings. The piece of art is preserved in a professional manner such that telling its age from a mere gaze at it is difficult. In conclusion, the portrait is an ancient piece of art that has received a lot of attention and love from different people around the world, especially in the west. Although the portrait was created in the year 1770, it is influencing the modern works of art such as film production. The portrait is currently situated in California where it is accorded tight security and advanced preservation measures in a bid to ensure that it lasts as longest as possible. BibliographyCarpio, Glenda R. "" I Like the Way You Die, Boy": fantasy's role in Django Unchained." Transition 112, no. 1 (2013): iv-12.Cherry, Deborah, and Jennifer Harris. "EIGHTEENTH‐CENTURY PORTRAITURE AND THE SEVENTEENTH‐CENTURY PAST: GAINSBOROUGH AND VAN DYCK." Art History 5, no. 3 (1982): 287-309.Clark, Timothy J. The painting of modern life: Paris in the art of Manet and his followers. Princeton University Press, 2015.Crown, Patricia. "Portraits and fancy pictures by Gainsborough and Reynolds: contrasting images of childhood." Journal for Eighteenth‐Century Studies 7, no. 2 (1984): 159-167.

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