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Portrait of a lady in blue

Painting, 1780-th , 76.5×63.5 cm

Description of the artwork «Portrait of a lady in blue»

"Lady in blue" - the only painting by Thomas Gainsborough in art museums of Russia. Question about the prototype is debatable. According to the most common version, the portrait is the daughter of an English Admiral Boscawen Elizabeth, in marriage, the Duchess de Beaufort.

In the Hermitage collection "Lady in blue" - a captivating portrait of a woman, reflecting, among other things, many ideas about fashion and beauty, characteristic of the eighteenth century. Narrow sloping shoulders, slender neck with a graceful curve resembling a flower stem, the complex design of updo, vencemos hat with feathers, pretty intense artificial blush, powder is used not only for face, chest and neck, but also for toning the wig – all this is typical not only of England Gainsborough, but also for Russia in the second half of the eighteenth century (see, for example, "Portrait Of Ursula Mniszech" Dmitry Levitsky).

Deep psychology Gainsborough

The artistic value of the "portrait of Duchess de Beaufort" is that it goes far beyond formal portrait with its external beauty and often false significance. To Gainsborough Central to its character are not social position or social success, and her personality: read the eyes and the head tilt liveliness of nature, light sarcasm, restrained emotion and trepidation. Gainsborough does not bet on the effectiveness of the model, but rather in its subtle spirituality and intellectuality. Essentially, the artist is here a master of the profound psychological characteristic.

Painting technique of the "Ladies in blue"

Using close shades of blue and gray with "Portrait of Duchess de Beaufort" creates a single melodic tone color, provides almost soft watercolor tones. In some places the paint layer is so thin that it shows through it the structure of the canvas. Up close you can see that is a so-called "smear Gainsborough". The artist invented an innovative technique of painting, which is fully managed only half a century later. Rapid thin smear, it is implausible long, very short, creates extremely dynamic textures: thanks to them, even in relative peace, the heroes of Gainsborough seem alive and moving. To achieve such lightness and fluidity of the form, Gainsborough used liquid paints and brushes with very long bristles.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Rococo, Romanticism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1780-th

Size: 76.5×63.5 cm

Artwork in selections: 42 selections

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