I started introducing this painting by Gainsborough in the Getty's collection on my 'Highlights' tour. It's a very large scale painting at just over seven feet high by five feet wide. What I've really come to notice and appreciate is how ahead of his time Gainsborough was. This is in 1778 - about a hundred years before the impressionists in France. When you look at the loose handling of the paint in the dress and the tree, there's what can be called an "unfinished quality," but all of the information is still there. Gainsborough, who was primarily a landscape painter actually developed a reputation for portraits of British aristocracy and even the royal family.
In this close-up detail, you can see how parts of the blue dress are transparent and the quick lines of paint. It reminds me so much of Edouard Manet and one can only wonder if Gainsborough influenced his style.
After my tours on Saturday, I walked through the newly opened "Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium" exhibit in the photography galleries. I'm going to be preparing my own tour of the exhibit which will be included in the Saturday line-up of tours in the next coming month! Mapplethorpe's oeuvre includes an outstanding series of flowers, and of course, the tulips got my attention.
Actually, right after my first tour in the morning (before I walked into the Mapplethorpe exhibit), a young woman from the group asked me if a photograph was currently on view in the photo galleries. She then showed me an image on her phone of this:
It was so perfect since I have been interested in tulips lately. And it also introduced me to this amazing American - Hungarian photographer, André Kertész, who was alive during Mapplethorpe's career. I think what is so captivating as artists about tulips and flowers overall, is the inspiration to capture the natural, sculptural form of nature.
Here's a couple of quick sketches I did recently: