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18th Century European Art

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Man with a Book Seated in a Landscape

ca. 1753
24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm)

Thomas R. A. Gainsborough
British (1727 - 1788)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Fred W. Geib
Accession Number: 1975.115
Location: Currently on view
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Although the name of the sitter is unknown, Gainsborough gives the viewer several clues that help place him in a social context: the gentleman holds a book, indicating he is learned; he leans on a stone pillar, with a pastoral landscape and a river behind him, suggesting he is a landowner.

This portrait, made when Gainsborough was in his mid-20s, is a typical example of his early style.

[Gallery label text, 2008]

Provenance
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, May 20, 1927, as lot 78 [under "Different Properties"]; bought at that sale by Percy Moore Turner, London (dealer); Louis Henry Hayter (1865-1953), Chatham House, Somerset, England; his sale, Sotheby's, London, April 15, 1953, as lot 39; purchased at that sale by Arthur Tooth, London (dealer); Mortimer Brandt, New York (dealer); Dr. and Mrs. Fred W. Geib, Rochester; given to the Gallery in 1975

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About Face: Copley’s Portrait of a Colonial Silversmith About Face: Copley’s Portrait of a Colonial Silversmith explores the lives and work of two artists within colonial Boston prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution: painter John Singleton Copley and silversmith Nathaniel Hurd. In addition to focusing upon paintings by Copley and silver pieces by Hurd, these works and other objects put into context the daily life of colonial Boston. Primary source documents (art works, objects, and written texts) provide students with a view of the experiences of men and women who were alive around the time of the American Revolution.

Students will develop critical looking and thinking skills as they gain experience in interpreting historical documents; analyze different interpretations of a key political turning point in American history through the study of visual and written documents of the Boston Massacre; explore important social issues through portraiture.; and evaluate the colonial American economy through primary source documents, like Nathaniel Hurd’s Table of Conversions and a colonial coin.


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