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Portrait of actress Sarah Siddons

Painting, 1785, 126×99.5 cm

Description of the artwork «Portrait of actress Sarah Siddons»

"Portrait of the actress Sarah Siddons" one of the late masterpieces of portrait of Thomas Gainsborough. The famous English tragic actress, best known for the role of Lady Macbeth, wrote many, including a colleague at the Royal Academy and a rival of Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds. However, unlike loving the dramatic effects of Reynolds, Gainsborough shows the viewer does not exist as "real Sara".

Alien to the mentality of Gainsborough was best portraits are not registered and written on their own. And "Portrait of Sarah Siddons" is one of these. The artist wrote the actress, not for a living, but out of a sense of human sympathy and solidarity. Like Gainsborough, Sarah came from not very wealthy families and have achieved recognition only by their own hard work and talent.

Rational Reynolds portrayed Sarah by all the canons of "high art" - as Muses of Tragedy and surrounded by allegorical figures of Crime and Remorse. Gainsborough more than allegories, spontaneous trust in its ability to capture and recreate the human personality. In his version of "Portrait of Sarah Siddons" there is no hint of acting of the heroine, as Gainsborough has little interest in creating a typical. He's not too important for status or social position – is valuable only in nature, human individuality. In Sara he sees not the actress, but of the living interlocutor, intelligent and energetic.

Before us is a beautiful and strong-willed woman with elegant and slightly predatory profile, dressed in a casual striped dress. Her pale yellow (dark yellow) scarf and brown fur contrasting with the blue ribbons in the decoration of dresses, but even more dramatic contrast of a massive black hat with a feather on a bright red background. Sarah in the portrait looks very confident. The look of her brown eyes sharp and mocking. She clearly knows her worth, but does not fall to arrogance.

It is also curious that the technical complexity for the artist represented the profile of Sary, this in turn 3/4. Gainsborough could not reliably transmit the form and he good-naturedly grumbled "Bloody nose, he is not!" One of those who later analyzed the "Portrait of Sarah Siddons", even argued that the whole picture is "built on the noses" - that is, its individual elements are repeated shape characteristic of the nose of the actress.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Romanticism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1785

Size: 126×99.5 cm

Artwork in selections: 18 selections

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