Gilbert Stuart (Metropolitan Museum of Art Series) (英語) ハードカバー – 2004/9/10
Kindle 端末は必要ありません。無料 Kindle アプリのいずれかをダウンロードすると、スマートフォン、タブレットPCで Kindle 本をお読みいただけます。
The most successful and resourceful portraitist of America’s early national period, Gilbert Stuart (17551828) possessed enormous natural talent, bringing his witty and irascible manner to bear on each of his works. This handsome book highlights Stuart’s achievements by presenting more than ninety portraits of exceptional quality, ranging from the early works he produced in Newport, Rhode Island, to those he executed just before his death in Boston.
Carrie Rebora Barratt and Ellen G. Miles show how Stuart developed and maintained a distinctive portrait style, tailoring his portrayals to fit his subjects. They trace the development of his art from his hometown of Newport, where he proved his talent, to his years in London and Dublin, where he mastered the techniques of the English late-eighteenth-century Grand Manner, to his return to America (no longer the Colonies but now the United States), where he dealt with clients in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Boston. The authors provide a short essay about Stuart in each of the sites of his production, which introduces the works painted there. There is also a special section devoted to Stuart’s famous and popular portraits of Washington, the so-called Vaughan, Athenaeum, and Lansdowne portraits. These works are discussed in terms of patronage, technique, chronology, and interpretation.
The most comprehensive book on the artist’s work to date, Gilbert Stuart is essential for anyone who admires American art and history.
Stuart was very quotable, and we hear his voice in these pages. Describing the onerous task of painting Washington, Stuart wrote to a colleague, "...a vacuity spread across his countenance, most appalling to paint." Stuart tried every topic to get the president to show some life. Finally Stuart mentioned horses, and that did the trick. Amusing anecdotes abound in this book.
Stuart learned to sketch faces and caricatures from an African slave, and assimilated the fashionable painterly English idiom studying Reynolds, Gainsborough and Romney in London. We read about these and other artistic influences in the course of his career in eight American cities and the British Isles.
The book is a series of write-ups on one portrait after another. This can be fascinating or a bit tedious depending on the life story of the sitter. I read with great interest about the headstrong American feminist who married Napoleon's younger brother and the scandal this caused on both sides of the Atlantic. I was amused at Stuart's refusal to relinquish the portraits of John Adams and his wife for over a decade. He would not be hurried, even by a president.
Stuart was famous for his ability to convey the nuances of character in his portraits. You can see the truth of this in the excellent reproductions, which are large and clear.
The text is rich in details about Stuart's work habits – his flow of conversation designed to relax his sitters, his distain of drawing, his interest in physiognomy studies. We also learn the significance of costume, props and backgrounds in the various portraits.
This book is a feast of portraits of all sorts of people. Stuart painted five American presidents as well as Washington's favorite circus performer. He painted the old landed aristocracy and the new merchant elite, a shifty Spanish spendthrift and a saintly bishop, a Mohawk chief, and a Scottish lawyer in ice skates. Their stories unfold in these pages. We learn of marital infidelities and financial woes, as we look into faces aglow with personality.
Stuart was the foremost painter in the early days of the new American nation, and this book is a treasure trove of information about him and his portraits. As a great admirer of his work, I was thrilled with this book.