British art in the eighteenth century
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This gallery covers the period of around 1730 to 1765. This is a period when Britain is really emerging as a world power on the world stage growing economically, politically and militarily. It's also a period of cultural growth for Britain. The earlier period is dominated by artists who are born and trained overseas who have practiced their work here. This period sees the emergence of native born British artists of a national and international stature. This painting shows the self portrait of Hogarth, considered by many to be a founding father of the National School of British Painting. His likeness is shown depicted in this oval canvas shown within the frame. X-rays of the painting reveal that he originally intended himself to be shown wearing a wig the attire of a true gentleman but he decided during the course of painting this work to reject that approach and to show himself simply with his close-cut hair and wearing a cap. He presents himself as an artisan, rather than a gentleman painter. He's shown with his pet dog, Trump, a pug, which refers to his pugnacious character. This iconic work by Hogarth is shown alongside an early landscape by Thomas Gainsborough. This was produced when the artist was about 20 years old in his apprentice years in London and shows a wooded landscape in his native Suffolk. It's not a scene of an actual place, it's not topographically accurate but it shows his remembrances of a landscape that he's left behind. It also shows the influences of the Dutch Old Masters that he's referring to. Artists such as Ruysdael and Hobbema, that he looks towards and gains influence from. Gainsborough would go on to gain fame and success with portraiture painting society portraits in London and Bath but landscape was his true love and he would return to landscape painting as a break from the stresses of portraiture.