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Thomas Gainsborough

Sudburg 1727 - London 1788


The English portrait and landscape painter Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, on May 14, 1727 as the son of a draper. At the age of 13 he went to London to train as a silver engraver. During these years, Thomas Gainsborough attended the London St. Martin's Lane Academy, where he met William Hogarth and other artists.
In 1749 Gainsborough left London and returned to Sudbury. As it proved difficult to make a living as a painter in Sudbury, he decided to move to the fashionable city of Bath in 1759. Thomas Gainsborough was a founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, which was lead by Joshua Reynolds. At the Academy's first public exhibition in 1768, Thomas Gainsborough showed a portrait of Isabella Lady Molyneux.
At an early stage in his career, Thomas Gainsborough turned against a strict academic approach and tried to take the then propagated idealization of motifs to a more subtle pictorial representation. Gainsborough did not paint his portraits in a studio, but against a backdrop of a landscape, trying to depict the sensitive and the casual nature of an otherwise artificial and stiff process. His portrait of William Hallett and his wife Elizabeth during their "Morning Walk" (1785, London, National Gallery) provides a typical example of his style. Gainsborough's art was influenced among others by the Venetian and Dutch style of painting.
In 1774 Thomas Gainsborough moved to London, where he died on August 2, 1788.


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