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: 2016-12-04
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BRITISH SCHOOL

 

The Hermitage is one of the very few on the Continent which contains

a special section for English pictures.

 

Portraiture, landscape painting and satire art in which England

excelled , are represented by a number of first-class paintings and

prints executed by the most outstanding artists of British School,

mainly of the 18th century. A number of 17th-19th century works are on

show too. There are also some notable specimens of applied art, among

which is a fine group of objects in silver and Wedgwood potteryware .

English paintings of the 17th century are extremely rare outside

England.The Hermitage possesses several works of this period. These

are: the Portrait of Oliver Cromwell by Robert Walker, two portraits

by Peter Lely, of which the Portrait of a Woman reveals the artists

sense of colour to great advantage; also the Portrait of Grinling

Gibbons by Godfrey Kneller, to name only the most outstanding

canvases.

 

The collection has no paintings by William Hogarth, but some of

his prints selected from a large and representative collection

possessed by the Museum are usually on show.

 

Joshua Reynolds is represented by four canvases all painted in

the 1780-s.

 

An interesting example of his late work is the Infant Hercules

strangling the Serpents, which is an allegory of the youthful Russia

vanquishing her enemies. The picture was commissioned from Reynolds by

Catherine II, and was brought to Russia

 

ture entitled The Snake in the Grass, owned by the National

Gallery, London

 

Reynoldss Girl at a window is a copy with slight modifications,

from Rembrandts canvas bearing the same title, and owned by the Dulwich

Gallery. It may be regarded as an example of Reynoldss study of the

old masters works.

 

A fair idea of the British artists achievements in the field of

portrait painting can be gained from the canvases by George Romney

Thomas Gainsborough, John Opie, Henry Rdeburn, John Hoppner and John

Russell, all marked by a vividness of expression and brilliance of

execution typical of the British School of portrait painting in the

days when it had achieved a national tradition. Highly important is

Gainsboroughs superb Portrait of the Duchess of Beaufort painted in a

loose and most effective manner characteristic of his art in the late

1770s. For charm of expression and brilliance of execution, it ranks

among the masterpieces of the Museum.The Tron Forge by Joseph Wright

of Derby is an interesting example of a new subject in English18th

century art: the theme of labour and industry, which merged in the days

of the Industrial Revolution.

 

The few paintings of importance belonging to the British school of

the 19th century include a landscape ascribed to John Constable; the

Boats at a shore by Richard Parkers Bonington; the Portrait of an old

woman by David Wilki, three portraits by Thomas Lawrence and portraits

by George Daive, of which the unfinished Portrait of the Admiral

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