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George Stubbs
United Kingdom 1724−1806
Biography and information
George Stubbs (George Stubbs; 25 August 1724, Liverpool — July 10, 1806, London) is one of the famous English painter, animal painter, the schedule, the scientist-naturalist. Best known for his images of horses.

Features artist George Stubbs: Stubbs differed striking independence of character and painting. His animal work is not just monitoring the fan, but a full-fledged research and amazing anatomical accuracy. He wrote and drew a lot of animals that I met in my travels and in private English zoos. But the most popular was presented to him by horse-drawn "portraits", popular among the English aristocracy, and at the same time despised by artists and academics.

Famous paintings of George Stubbs: "Lion attacking a horse", "Kangaroo from New Holland", "Mares and foals, frightened of the coming storm", "Whistlejacket".

George Stubbs: between a slaughterhouse and an easel

Greatest "horse" the master was born in Liverpool to a family of Tanner, whose case was quite profitable. Stubbs Sr. and other family members, there was no question about the future of the profession of a boy who is 10 years of age already learned to make sketches of animals. Later he certainly realized that animal — this is his element, but not from the point of view from which looking at them father. For your drawing of the horse he took first place in local art society.

And yet prior to his 17 years George Stubbs was forced to work in the leather shop and the reason giving rise to a new life was the death of his father. Despite the loss, this event gave the young man his freedom, and he was immediately apprenticed to the painter hamlet Winstanley, in Lancashire. It was not just a dream come true, but also a rare luck. The teacher had access to a collection of paintings by old masters, which in those years where little was publicly exhibited. Stubbs could shape their skills and artistic taste under the influence of original works of art.

However, learning from Winstanley was short-lived. Stubbs left it and returned home, where he stayed for four years, explaining the necessity of studying nature and anatomy. Why did the young artist left his teacher is not known, but the Winstanley and later said that the young man did not want to engage in copying, and would soon be accepted for the difficult work that is not included in the plans of the master. It turns out that Stubbs was practically self-taught.

Anatomical dissection as art

For several years, Stubbs lived in the North of England and worked as a portrait painter, but portraits of this period could not be found. From about 1745 to 1751 he studied human anatomy at the hospital in York under the direction of doctor Charles Atkinson. He even managed to conduct a few autopsies that have attracted the attention of the accoucheur engaged in writing important the time of the study "modern maternity care system". Stubbs has created for him a series of illustrations.

In 1754 he visited Italy, as it was supposed to any fledgling artist. The aim of the visit was the acquaintance with the masters of the Renaissance, but he did not miss the chance to make acquaintance with their contemporaries, collectors and buyers of patterns. They are always in Rome was plenty. Later, he told me that this trip was once again convinced that "nature is and was always higher art". Lion attacking a horse — a favorite story of Stubbs, whom he met probably in Rome, in the Palace of the Conservatives. There are more interesting, but less realistic version: if traveling in Africa, he saw this dramatic spectacle with his eyes.

Four years later comes one of the most important periods of the artist’s life. He rents a farm in Lincolnshire, where Zaman horses.

Stubbs was buying up dead horses at a local abattoir, hung them in his Studio and personally conducted the autopsy, studying and sketching out each stage of work and all parts of the body: muscles, connective tissue, skeleton. Witnesses told that the operations were terrible: he extorted from the corpse of blood, and then filled it with grease in order to hold form. Using straps and pulleys, he gave the body to the desired position and draw. These sketches are written in the course of sixteen months, formed the basis of the published textbook "the anatomy of the horse". Thank Stubbs as a scientist began here.

In all endeavors Stubbs maintained his common-law wife Mary Spencer. Unfortunately, there is little to tell about this woman. It is known that she was probably the daughter of a sea captain and was a distant relative of her husband. They had two children — a son George who later became a famous engraver, and daughter, Mary, who died as an infant.

After already living in London, animal notice consulatancy and the owners of the stables. They order him the portraits of his horses, genre scenes, and sometimes portraits of the riders where the horse’s character is paid attention as a full-fledged hero of the picture. Customers confidently recognized him as an even better artist than James Seymourand John Wootton. His clients have become not just horse lovers, but truly noble and influential people of that time, such as Joseph banks — member of cook’s expedition across the Pacific ocean.

The themes and motifs of the works of George Stubbs

Stubbs loved horses, he drew them and dissected, studied and had an income with your favorite things. Mares and foals — the oft-repeated story in his works. He often portrayed them on the background of trees and water surfacesthat make the silhouette more expressive animals. But as the great animal painter, he had in his Arsenal, and the stock is not less interesting is not a "horse" stories.

Stubbs paid attention to the different exotic animals, including lions, leopards, zebras, monkeys and rhinos. He observed in his travels, some had the opportunity to see London in private menageries. He was a pioneer of the kangaroo to the British public, having written his portrait, being available only eyewitness accounts and killed the animal skin.

A special appeal has self-portrait on a White Hunteroval enamel image of where the author sits astride a hunting horse.

Historical themes also attracted Stubbs, but has not played an important role in his work.

The real relevance of the works of Stubbs easily combined with a negative perception of formal art criticism. The artist-animal painter and a recognized artist — it was incompatible concepts. "Horse art" (as such term really exists — the "Equestrian art") was seen three centuries ago as "low" art, coming from the back of portraits, landscapes, genre and historical subjects. Nevertheless, Stubbs became a great artist in his field.

From glory to oblivion

The period of 1760-ies — the heyday of art Stubbs. It creates a series of portraits of horses, painting them as separatelyand with riders. Many of his works he exhibited at the Society of artists of great Britain, where later he became a member of the Board. One of his achievements at this post were provided to members of the society the opportunity for a public autopsy. This allowed the artists to study anatomy, not in theory but in practice.

The popularity of Stubbs grew up, but because he finally moved to live in London to be close to the centre of creative life. His Studio has impressed us with its size — it easily had the horse.

In 1775 Stubbs turned his attention to a newly discovered, but already recognized by the Royal Academy of arts. Becoming a member of the Academy, he became her friend because of disagreements, or rather, the unwillingness of the academician to provide graduation picture. In the end, the result of a disastrous exhibition and enamel of the scandal, the animal was excluded from there. Generally, in enamel, as well as the creation of decorative painted plates he had high hopes, but unfortunately, it was not the best. In fact, he left a lot of debts. Interestingly, the entire path of the artist is a persistent doubt, he was never sure of the correctness of the chosen direction. And yet a sharp negative official artistic elite aroused in him a feeling of protest and provoked to insist on.

Stubbs works became known and popular not only because of the demand for his portraits among the sports of the aristocracy, but thanks to this method of replication, as engraving, which he himself performed. Stubbs was equally strong in the execution of both large and small orders.

Disrespect artists to colleagues, writing animals is an unpleasant but common routine, which affected not only the Stubbs. The last years of his life was his test, he spent them into oblivion and deprivation. Completely left without a livelihood he was not allowed Isabella Saltonstall fan of his work, which bought his paintings, giving them much more real. Nevertheless, he continued to engage in the most attractive location for it — anatomy. His last scientific work — this works on comparative anatomy, where he compared skeletons of humans and animals.

George Stubbs died on 10 July 1806, of a heart attack.

Modern value of paintings by George Stubbs

Horse Stubbs is not the pinnacle of realism in understanding the modern viewer. His horse images may seem a little strange, naive, or even theatrical, but this is the art of the XVIII century. Contemporaries appreciated these portraits, found in them the personality, is able to convey the nature and characteristics of a specific animal. Incredible dedication, a truly scientific approach and tenacity made Stubbs a kind of tool, a beacon for all the followers of animalistic painting.

Stubbornness, courage, and sometimes the insolence of the decisions and actions Stubbs led him to fame and they also contributed to his forgetfulness. However, today the artist’s works are very good money. Moreover, many canvases were lost because technical characteristics of his painting a very thin layer of carnival colors.

The painting "horse" of the author for the modern connoisseur is not only good taste and interest in the horses, but also a profitable investment. Works price is really expensive.

For example, in 2010, the "Mares with foals on the river Bank," Stubbs never released previously on the market, was sold at Sotheby’s auction for 15.9 million pounds.

Record price for a painting by Stubbs "Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a Trainer, a Stable-Lad, and a Jockey" was set at auction at Christie’s in London in July 2011. Gimcrack is the name of one of the most popular and loved by many racehorses of the eighteenth century. She was the third of the most valuable paintings of old masters ever sold in this auction. The price of the picture — 22.4 million pounds. The seller was the representatives of Woolavington is one of the best collections of sport art in the world. But the buyer wished to remain anonymous.

Stubbs works can be found in the best Museum collections in the UK: in London’s National gallery, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, National museums Liverpool, Tate Gallery, Hancharenka Museum, the Victoria and albert Museum and not only.

Author: Lyudmila Lebedeva
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Artworks liked by
Faina Alexander

George Stubbs. Human skeleton
George Stubbs. Human skeleton
George Stubbs. The skeleton of a bird.
George Stubbs. The first anatomical table of the skeleton of the horse
George Stubbs. Skeleton tiger
Whole feed
Artworks by the artist
total 108 artworks
George Stubbs. Whistlejacket
1762, 29.2×24.6 cm
George Stubbs. Kangaroo from New Holland
Kangaroo from New Holland
1772, 60×71 cm
George Stubbs. Soldiers of the 10th Dragoon regiment
Soldiers of the 10th Dragoon regiment
1793, 102×128 cm
George Stubbs. The harvest
The harvest
1785, 90×135 cm
George Stubbs. Self-portrait
1781, 67×51 cm
George Stubbs. Horse frightened by a lion
Horse frightened by a lion
1770, 127×101 cm
George Stubbs. Portrait of jockeys John Larkin
Portrait of jockeys John Larkin
1768, 101×127 cm
George Stubbs. Stallion Gimcrack with the groom in Newmarkets wasteland
Stallion Gimcrack with the groom in Newmarkets wasteland
1765, 96.5×186.5 cm
George Stubbs. Hunters traveling from Southill
Hunters traveling from Southill
1768, 61×105 cm
View 108 artworks by the artist