Our life seems to
be impossible without art. It really occupies an important part in our daily
life. Art offers us not only pleasure and amusement but it is also a vehicle of
culture and education. Art penetrates into all spheres and sides of our life
and makes it brighter, richer and more intellectual. People like and know
different types of art. Some of them are fond of painting. Others have a
special liking for music or they have a passion for literature. But all of us
cant help admiring the canvases of such great painters as Thomas Gainsborough,
So, art units
different people, influences the development of personality, makes our
innerworld richer, feels our soul with different feelings. It makes us
stronger, inforces us in difficult situations.
Time is flying art
Painting in England
began to develop later than in over European countries. That's why some of the
greatest foreign masters were attracted to England by the titles of nobility
conferred upon them. Holbein, Antonio Mor, Rubens, Van Dyck were almost English
painters during longer or shorter periods of their lives.
Sir Anthony Van
Dyck (1599 - 1641), who married the daughter of an English Lord and who died in
London is considered to be the father of the English portrait school. He worked
at the court of Karl I, was an extremely hard working painter. His most famous
works are: his self portrait, «Portrait of the Man» and «Karl I».
But not until
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764) do we find a painter truly English. Hogarth was
the printers son, uneducated, but a curious observer of man and manners. His
first work dates from 1730. Among his best works are «Captain Coram», «The
Shrimp Girl», serial «Mode Marriage».
His pictures of
social life brought him fame and position in the society. One of his serials
“Mode Marriage” consists of 6 pictures. “The Marriage Contract” is the first.
Both fathers are
siting to the right. One of them an earl is proudly pointing to his family
tree. The other is reading the marriage contract. The Earls son is looking at
himself with pleasure in looking glass. The daughter of the second man is
playing with her wedding ring and listening to the complements of a young
lawyer. The subject matter of the picture is the protest against marriage for
money and vanity. Other pictures of this serial have the same subject matter.
Hogarth was sure
that success came to him due to hard labor. He wrote “Genius is nothing , labor
Sir Joshua Reynolds
(1723 - 1792) is one of the outstanding British portraitists, who had an
important influence on his contemporaries. Within a short period of time he
achieved a considerable success. In 1755, at the highest point of his career he
painted 120 portraits. When, in 1768, the Royal Academy of Arts was founded, he
naturally became its first president. In 1784 he became a principal painter of
the King. He was a highly educated person, wonderful colorist. His colors are
difficult to judge today, because they were not scientifically applied. That's
why many of his paintings have cracked and faided. Among his best works are:
«Cupid untiring the Zone of Venus» and «Mrs. Siddons». They are well-known all
over the world. For 20 years he was the most prominent artist of his day even
in the face of rising Gainsborough.
(1727 - 1788) succeeded brilliantly as a portrait painter. Society went to him
for portraits. A good amateur violinist and a lover of drama, he was an
artistic person by nature. Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough created a
national type of the English portrait. His manner of painting differs from
Reynolds. Thomas Gainsborough's portraits of actors, actresses and his close
friends are famous. One of his greatest friends was Richard Sheridan, the
dramatist, whose portrait belongs to one of the best pictures of this painter.
Even in his portraits Thomas Gainsborough is an out-of-door painter. The
backgrounds of his portraits are often well-observed country scenes. He was one
of the first to be elected to the newly established London Academy of Arts.
Thomas Gainsborough is acknowledge as an excellent women painter. “The Portrait
of the Duchess de Befou”, ”Mrs. Siddons”, “Two Daughters” are among his best
His portraits are
painted in clear tones in which blue and gray predominate. One of his best
pictures is the famous “Blue boy”. His other masterpiece is “The Portrait of
Duchess de Befou”.
We can see a young
noble woman, her charming face is full of freshness and lifeness. The charm of
the expression of her face and the coloring are characteristic for the artists
style. Her calm pose, the elegance of her gesture of her hand stresses her
nobility. Outwardly we may see that in this portrait Gainsbourough followed the
rules of traditional ceremonial portraits. But it is not so. The partied lips
of the woman, a timid gesture of her hand help to create a true impression of
The artist has a
wonderful sense of color, line and composition. He makes the affective use of
light and shade. The picture is executed mostly in light tones in the dark
background. Numerous shades of blue prevail in the picture. The combination
striking of pink shades in her face and body are contrasted with gray and blue
shades on her pounded hair, dress and scurf. It makes the impression of
freshness and beauty. Gainsbourough depicts the details of her dress
skillfully. The woman is graceful and charming.
glorifies the idea of woman's beauty. It is exhibited in the Hermitage in St.
Gainsbourough greatly influenced the English school of landscape painting. He
was one of the first English artists who painted his native land. His delicate
understanding of nature is especially felt in the pictures where he showed
peasants. The best landscape of his are: “Watering Place” and “Harvest Wagon”.
Both of them are exhibited in the National Gallery.
Among his other
landscapes are: “The Sunset”, “The Market Card” and “The Cottage Door”. His
great love for the countryside and his ability to show it made him an innovator
in this field. He was the first English artist who painted his native countryside
(1768 - 1839) was the painter of kings, princes, great diplomats and generals.
All these are presented in large, full-dressed portraits, painted with
elegance. His portrait of Vorontsov (1821) is an example of the brilliant
official portrait. The portrait presents a young general, a brilliant man of
fashion but it doesn't characterize his nature
another glory of English art because in it English art also rose to supreme
highs. John Constable (1776 - 1837) is one of the most outstanding painters,
who developed his own style of painting. He considered sketch, made directly
from nature, the first task of a landscape painter. He introduced green into
his painting: the green of trees, the green of summer, all the greens which
until then other painters had refused to see. He made quick sketches based on
his first impressions of natural beauties. John Constable used broken touches
of color. His work is important as the beginning of the impressionist school.
He was a son of a
wealthy miller. He began to take interest in landscape painting while he was at
Dedham grammar school. His father didn't favor art as the profession and
Constable as a boy worked almost secretly, painting in the cottage of the local
plumber, who was an amateur painter by nature himself. Constable left school to
work for his fathers business. During his spare time he studied painting. His
keen artistic interest was so strong that his father allowed him to visit
London where he began to study sketching. After 2 years in London he returned
to his fathers business for a year. The year spent at his fathers mill was a
great importance for him. He learned to watch the sky with the exactness of a
miller, to note the direction of the wind, the significance of the clouds. In
1799 Constable entered the Royal Academy school in London.
In his paintings
the artist showed the new altitude to the nature. He refused to learn works of
famous landscape painters and decided to go to the country and to paint nature as
he saw it.
nature in his own realistic way, he was the first artist who began to paint
sketches which were as big as paintings. He was able to show the inside life of
nature. John Constables innovation influenced greatly the development of French
In 1826, when he
was 50, he showed a number of landscapes in the Paris salon. Among them was the
famous “Hay Wain”, painted in 1821, for which the painter was awarded the Gold
Medal. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1829, but he felt, that this
honor had come too late in life to have much meaning. Among his best landscapes
are: “The Flatford Mill”, “A Farm in the Valley”, “Hay Wain”, “The Flatford
Mill”, “Cottage door”, Dedham Valley”, “The Corn Field”, etc.
Turner (1774 - 1851) was the greatest English romantic, landscape and marine
painter. He was a son of a fashionable barber, started drawing and painting at
his early age. His father used to sell the boys drawings to his customers and
in such a way he earned money for the boys learning of art. At 14 he entered
the Royal Academy School. His water-colors were exhibited at the Royal Academy
when he was only 15. At 18 he started his own studio and received a commission
to make drawings for magazines. For some years he tramped over Wales and
Western England. As Turner never married, he devoted his life to art. Visitors
were rarely admitted to his house and no one was aloud to see him at work. He
loved his paintings as a man loves his children. At the age of 27 he was
elected as a Royal Academician. From that time his paintings became at great
demand and brought good money. The last years of his life he spent in a little
cottage at Chelsea.
He liked to watch
the sunrise and sunset. And it is said, that only a hour before his death he
had his chair wheeled to the window, so that he might look for the last time at
the sun, shining upon the river.
During his life
Turner created some hundreds of paintings and some thousands of water-colors
and drawings. After his death his own entire collection of paintings and
drawings was willed to the nation. They are exhibited at the National and Tate
Galleries in London. Some of his famous pictures are: “The Fighting Temeraire”,
“Rain, Steam and Speed”, “Light and Color”, “Fisherman at Sea” and others.
dedicated most of his paintings to the sea. He was a sailor and the sea in
itself absorbed him. He gave to his seas mass and wave as well as movement. His
waves seem to be alive.
“Calais Pier” is
one of his greatest creations. The picture of a storm in it is real and
impressive. In the center of the picture there is a boat with people in it. All
the figures are living individuals. The farther objects in the picture failed
in the darkness, attracting our attention to the people in the boat. Those who
look at the picture can smell the water and hear the shout of the wind. Color
as well as tone in William Turners pictures produces the effect of sunlight.
The name of William
Turner is famous above all other landscape painters.
So if portrait
painting is one of the glories of English art, landscape is another: in both
directions it rose to supreme highs.