Painting in England in the 17—19th centuries is represented by a number
of great artists and during that period it was greatly influenced by
foreign painters. The Flemish painter Van Dyck was really the father of
English portrait school. The' English king personally invited Van Dyck
to London and during his first year in England the painter spent most of
his time painting the King and the Queen. Van Dyck created the
impressive, formal type of portrait and such masters as Reynolds,
Gainsborough, Lawrence and Raeburn owed
much to their study of his works. He created a genre of aristocratic and
intellectual portrait which influenced much the development of English
painting.Van Dyck created the type of portrait which helped him to
convey the sitter's individual psychology.
THE DISCRIPTION OF THE “FAMILY PORTRAIT”
The sitter's individuality is vividly expressed in this portrait. One
can easily follow the gentle and even character of the young woman and
the outstanding searching, restless personality of her husband. The
artist managed to create the impression of spiritual relationship In
spite of the difference of characters. The colour scheme of this canvas
is very beautiful. The prevailing tones are red, golden and brown.
During the 18th century the truly national school of painting was
created, William Hogarth was the first great English painter who raised
British pictorial art to a high level of importance. Hogarth (1697—1764}
wasn't a success as a portrait painter. But his pictures of social life
which he called "modern moral subjects" brought him fame and position.
Among his favourite works are six pictures united under the title
"Marriage a la Mode." This famous series is really a novel in paint
telling the story of the marriage of an earl's son and city merchant's
daughter, a marriage made for reasons of vanity and money. Despite the
satirical, often amusing detailes, the painter's purpose is serious. He
expects his pictures to be read and they are perhaps full of allusions.
At the same time Hogarth remained an artist and passages especially in
"Shortly after the Marriage" show how attractively he could paint. The
Free handing of the "Shrimp Girl" Is combined with cockney vivacity. The
girl is brushed onto the canvas in a vigorous impressive style. As a
painter Hogarth was harmonious in his colouring, very capable and direct
in his theme and composition. He painted many pictures. He is well known
as a humorist and satirist on canvas.
In the second half of the 18th century narrative and satirical themes
lost their leading role in the English art. The ruling classes tried to
show in art a confirmation and glorification of their social position.
The most popular form of painting became ceremonial portraits of
representatives of the ruling class. Sir Joshua Reynolds was the most
outstanding portraitist of the period. In December 1768 the Royal
Academy was founded and Reynolds became its first president. He created
a whole gallery of portraits of the most famous of his contemporaries.
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