The Blue Boy

7:00 AM

Thomas Gainsborough, The Blue Boy, 1770

One of the many aspects I love about this Art History blog, is that I am able to freely express my thoughts, feelings, and opinions towards artwork. In the short time I have been a part of this group, I have learned not only how to identify what art period such and such is from, or what type of paint was used here, but to search for what a painting tries to convey, what it wants to tell me. Some opinions I have previously had about art have changed, giving me a new perspective on a time period, painter, or artwork. I am able to form opinions about which painting I believe to be the one of the greats or one of the worst. This painting, right here, is one of the latter. 

Thomas Gainsborough was an English painter and the artistic rival of Joshua Reynolds. A majority of his work consisted of landscapes depicting the British countryside and portraits. In about 1740, Gainsborough moved from Sudbury to London, where his clientele transitioned from middle class farming families to a more aristocratic crowd. After painting a portrait of both the king and the queen, his constituency became quite exclusive. The Blue Boy, Gainsborough's most famous work, portrays the son of a wealthy merchant. 

Besides the way that the clothing shines, I see little to appreciate in this painting. Something about The Blue Boy makes me irrationally angry. Maybe it's the 100% concentrated sass I am receiving just from just looking at him (Tyra Banks would be proud of that smile), or maybe it's those ridiculous bows on his shoes. It could even be the odd choice of venue. Why would a random rich kid be standing in the middle of a field, posing next to a rock? He's going to get those fancy little bows quite dirty.

Much of Gainsborough's often repeats itself, especially his landscapes. Thus, when trying to interpret a piece of his artwork and point out the feeling it gives me leads me to frustration and staring contests between the subject and myself. From this painting, and also from Gainsborough's other work, I can't help but feel that he was going after the money. 

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