The painting of The Blue Boy is perhaps one of the most well known works by Gainsborough (GAINZ burro). It is thought it is a picture of Jonathan Buttall, who was the son of a wealthy hardware merchant. It is painted with oil paints on a canvas and is quite large; 48 inches wide and 70 inches tall. He painted it over another painting he had already started to paint.
Thomas Gainsborough was born in England and began drawing when he was very young. He started taking lessons at the age of 13. It is said he once sketched a thief stealing from the Parson's garden so accurately, they recognized him as a man from the next village. The culprit was apprehended.
Gainsborough is noted for his portraits, but before he started doing portraits he was a painter of landscapes. He still included landscapes even in his portrait painting. In the painting on the left of Mr.and Mrs. Andrews the landscape is as equally important as the subjects. Evidently they are the landowners, but not the ones who work the land.
The middle picture, The Harvest Wagon was painted in 1767. Notice the use of light and dark colors in the picture and the depth perception. The picture almost looks 3-dimensional.
The picture on the right is Sarah Siddons who was a famous actress during that time. Gainsborough was one of the artists she commissioned to paint her portrait. It is said he had trouble getting her nose to look just right.
Mr. and Mrs. Andrews
The Harvest Wagon
He was a musician who played the viola. He once said, "I paint portraits to live, landscapes because I love them, and music because I can't leave it alone".
He brought objects into his studio to include in his landscapes. Once he used a head of broccoli as his model to represent woods in a background.
When he was nineteen years old he married a well-to-do woman named Margaret Burr. Her income helped him to get started as an artist.
He painted many pictures in his lifetime; more than 500 paintings. About 200 of these were paintings of people. He became wealthy because the rich people wanted him to paint pictures of their families. Gainsborough was noticed by King George III who asked him to paint the royal family even though Joshua Reynolds was the official court painter. This caused a rift between the two artists which was eventually healed before they died.
Near the end of his life he was bothered by a swelling in his neck which proved to be cancer which would cause his death. He settled his business, got his affairs in order and died on August 2, 1788.
Kostner, Thomas, and Lars Roper.50 Artists You Should Know. New York: Prestel, 2006.
Wilder, Jesse Bryant. Art History for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007.
Nichols, John, and Samuel Bentley. Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century. London: Nichols, Son, and Bentley, 1815.
Gerlings, Charlotte. 100 Great Artists, New York: Gramercy Books, 2006.
Thomas Gainsborough, self-portrait 1759
biography from CGFA
Paintings by Gainsborough
at ABC Gallery
at Olga's Gallery
Paintings from the Huntington Art Gallery
includes The Blue Boy
Information about Gainsborough
at Humanities Web
(scroll down the left column to find Gainsborough)
Paintings by Gainsborough
Gainsborough Biography and Prints
Focus On Artists, Grades 4-8
By Teacher Created Resources
Art broadens horizons and allows children to see and evaluate are as they see art as a piece of individual human expression. Students will learn about famous and not-so-famous artists as well as the historical periods in which they lived--Renaissance & Baroque, 19th Century and 20th Century. Each lesson provides an overview with the focus, activity and vocabulary words; the lesson includes a materials list and instructions. Extensions activities and an introduction to each artist are also included. 112 reproducible pages, softcover. Grades 4-8.
A LIBRARY OF
ONLINE BOOKS and BOOK PREVIEWS
by George Moss Brock-Arnold 1881 (full view)
by Sir Walter Armstrong 1854 (full view)
Thomas Gainsborough, A Record of His Life and Works
by N D'Anvers 1897 (full view)
by Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower, Thomas Gainsborough 1903 (full view)
Thomas Gainsborough, His Life, Work, Friends, and Sitters
by William Biggs Boulton 1905 (full view)
Preview these Amazon books using the links below.
by Harry N. Abrams 2002 (review, no preview)
by Martin Postle 2002 (review, no preview)
Pictures That Every Child Should Know
by Mary Schell Hoke Bacon 1908 (full view)
Most Recent Comments ( See more comments on this page ) 2013-12-24
We hav a painting or litho of BLUE BOY,It measures 21-1/2"x 15-1/4'. The ink is very thick. It is about 100-years old or older.It is in a glass and metalfram
I have a picture of blue boy that has been a center. Of a lot of weird activity. Just curious if I'm the only one. It is an oil canvas painting that has a couple runs that looks. Like tears.
I have a picture of Blue Boy and Pinkie, are they worth anything?
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