Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Skater (Portrait of William Grant)

Remy, your new work reminds me a little of this portrait by Gilbert Stuart. Maybe it's the monochromatic palette and folksy ways.

This painting has always been one of my favorites at the National Gallery. It's quite large, about eight feet tall, and if I recall correctly, hung pretty high so the figure seems even larger than life.

This painting is considered a 'Grand Manner' portrait. 

From National Gallery website:
Eighteenth-century British artists and patrons used the terms "Grand Manner" or "Great Style" to describe paintings that utilized visual metaphors. By extension, the Grand Manner came to include portraiture—especially at full length and in life size—accompanied by settings and accessories that conveyed the dignified status of the sitters. Classical architecture, for instance, signified one's civilized demeanor, whole woodland glens implied natural sincerity.

This painting caused quite a stir in 1782 London because up until that point, no 'Grand Manner' painting had the subject engaging in activity. That makes me both giggly and a little wistful.

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