The portraits, landscapes, and fancy pictures of Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) are works of extraordinary beauty, complexity, and subtlety. In this sumptuously illustrated book, Michael Rosenthal provides a lively account of Gainsborough's varied life and diverse artworks. Rosenthal also examines for the first time the artist's oeuvre as a whole and how the trajectory of his career reflected the problems, dilemmas, and situations that were common to other painters of his time. This book sets Gainsborough's art within its social and cultural contexts, shedding new light on the art worlds of London and the English provinces and on the ways in which Gainsborough's painting would have been seen and understood by his contemporaries.
The book begins by charting the geography and professional tactics of a career that took Gainsborough from London to Suffolk, Bath, and eventually back to London. Rosenthal looks at such wide-ranging topics as how artists manipulated the press, the issue of likeness in portraiture, how rivalries between painters were handled in public and private, and the pressures of the public exhibition. The second part of the book explores the manifestations of Gainsborough's aesthetic in portraiture, landscape painting, and paintings of sensibility Rosenthal concludes with a discussion of the problem of defining a role and proper form for the fine arts at a time of rapid social change and innovation.From the Publisher:
Highly illustrated, this book offers an account of the artist's rich and varied life, his diverse output and reveals his career and art as characteristic of the problems, dilemmas and situations that affected other painters during a time of rapid commercial and technological development and change.
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