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by Thomas Gainsborough Item #: 419674
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A perceptive study of historical costuming and an adolescent nearing manhood, Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy” is his most famous painting. Lauded as a masterpiece during its first exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, the work portrays Jonathan Butall, the son of one of Gainsborough’s (1727 – 1788) friends. Painted over another incomplete work, the depiction of Butall in 17th-century attire is Gainsborough’s tribute to artist Anthony Van Dyck. The artwork was bought by American railway pioneer Henry Edwards Huntington for a then-record sum of $182,200, and is now displayed in California’s Huntington Art Gallery.
Master artist Thomas Gainsborough (1727 – 1788) painted remarkably elegant, refined and realistic landscapes and portraits. A gifted child, Gainsborough studied art in London at age 13. Later, he became a popular painter of aristocrats, and was the favorite of the Royal Family. Gainsborough also depicted sympathetic scenes of shepherds and farm workers. Particularly influenced by artist Anthony Van Dyck, Gainsborough's portraits were exceptionally rich and realistic. Gainsborough’s fluid landscapes, which he created for his own enjoyment, were among the first great landscapes painted in England.
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