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The most accomplished and the most influential English painter of the eighteenth century was Thomas Gainsborough. Until 1774 Gainsborough painted landscapes and portraits in various provincial centres before settling in London for the last fourteen years of his life. Although the elegant attenuation of his lords and ladies is indebted to his study of Van Dyck, Gainsborough achieved in his full-length portraits a freshness and lyric grace all his own. Occasional objections to the lack of structure in his weightless figures are swept away by the beauty of his colour and the delicacy of his touch. The figure in Mary Countess Howe, painted in the mid-1760s, is exquisitely posed in front of a land­scape background. Gainsborough has expended his ability on the soft shimmer of light over the embroidered organdy of her over­dress and cascades of lace at her elbows, sparkling in the soft Eng­lish air; the only solid accents in the picture are her penetrating eyes. Although Gainsborough was country-born, his landscape elements seem artificial, added like bits of scenery to establish a spatial environment for the exquisite play of colour in the figure.

In later life Gainsborough painted more freely and openly. Although his landscapes, which he preferred to his portraits, ex­hale a typically English freshness, they were painted in the studio on the basis of small models put together from moss and pebbles. Constructed in the grand manner of Hobbema, a seventeenth-century Dutch master, and painted with soft strokes of wash like those of Watteau, the Market Cart, of 1787, shows an almost rhapsodic abandonment to the mood of nature, which led to the great English landscapists of the early nineteenth century.

Constable said that Gainsborough's landscape moved him to tears, and contemplating the freedom and beauty of the paint­ing of the cart and a boy gathering brushwood, not to speak of the glow of light seeming to come from within the tree in the centre, one can understand why.

Make sure you know how to pronounce the following words:

Thomas Gainsborough []; Van Dyck []; embroidered []; abandonment []; rhapsodic []; organdy []; Howe []; aristocracy []; Hobbema [], Watteau []


Mary Countess Howe - "Графиня Мери Хью"

Market Cart - "Телега, едущая на рынок"


I. Read the text. Make sure you understand it. Mark the fol­lowing statements true or false.

1. Until 1774 Gainsborough lived and worked in Italy.

2. Gainsborough's figures are abundant.

3. Gainsborough's portraits were influenced by Titian.

4. Gainsborough's brushwork was free and bold.

5. Gainsborough's landscapes were classical.

6. Gainsborough was abandoned to nature.

II. How well have you read? Can you answer the following questions?

1. What makes Gainsborough an outstanding painter?

2. Whose influence is felt in Gainsborough's portraits? What did Gainsborough achieve in his full-length portraits?

3. Where is the figure in Mary Countess Howe posed?

4. What do Gainsborough's landscapes exhale? What did Gainsborough prefer to paint in later life?

5. What does the Market Cart show?

6. What was said about Gainsborough's landscape?

III. i. Give Russian equivalents of the following phrases:

the most influential English painter; the elegant attenuation; a full-length portrait; to pose in front of a landscape background; the embroidered organdy of the overdress; the exquisite play of colour; to prefer landscapes to portraits; to paint landscapes in a studio; the grand manner; to move to tears; the painting of the cart; the shimmer of light; soft strokes; to gather brushwood.

ii. Give English equivalents of the following phrases:

трогать до слез; наиболее авторитетный художник; пози­ровать на фоне пейзажа; предпочитать пейзажи портретам; хруп­кость и изящество несколько удлиненных женских фигур; органди; портрет во весь рост; мягкие блики; писать пейзажи в студии; величественная манера; совершенная игра цвета; соби­рать хворост; изображение повозки; мягкие мазки.

iii. Make up sentences ofyour own with the given phrases.

iv. Arrange the following in the pairs of synonyms:

a) influential; occasional; exquisitely; environment; artificial;

b) unnatural; surroundings; infrequent; perfectly; important.

IV. Translate the text into English.

На формирование Томаса Гейнсборо - великого англий­ского портретиста XVIII века, значительное влияние оказали ра­боты Ван Дейка.

Пейзаж в портретах Гейнсборо имеет большое значение. В зрелом возрасте, когда Гейнсборо переселился в Лондон, он на­чал писать портреты во весь рост на фоне пейзажа. Модели Гейнсборо поэтичны. Художник придает особую хрупкость и изящество несколько удлиненным женским фигурам. Светлая колористическая гамма становится отличительной чертой его живописи. В портретах Гейнсборо отсутствуют аллегории. Гейнсборо прошел творческую эволюцию от детальной манеры, близкой "малым голландцам" к живописи широкой и свободной.

V. Summarize the text.

VI. Topics for discussion.

1. Gainsborough's portraits.

2. Gainsborough's style.


Sir Joshua Reynolds was in his own day a commanding figure, whose authority outlived him and who eventually became a target for Romantic attacks. In Reynolds's day society portraiture had become a monotonous repetition of the same theme. According to the formula, the sitter was to be posed centrally, with the background (curtain, pillar, chair, perhaps a hint of landscape) disposed like a back-drop behind; normally the head was done by the master, the body by a pu­pil or "drapery assistant", who might serve several painters. Pose and expression tended to be regulated to a standard of polite and inex­pressive elegance; the portrait told little about their subjects other than that they were that sort of people who had their portraits painted. They were effigies; life departed.

It was Reynolds who insisted in his practice that a portrait could and should be also full, complex work of art on many levels; he conceived his portraits in terms of history-painting. Each fresh sitter was not just a physical fact to be recorded, but rather a story to be told. His people are no longer static, but caught between one moment and the next. Reynolds was indeed a consummate producer of char­acter, and his production methods reward investigation. For them he called upon the full repertoire of the Old Masters.

Reynolds did the Grand Tour and remained in Rome spell­bound by the grandeur of Michelangelo, Raphael, Tintoretto and Ti­tian. He acquired a respectable knowledge of European painting of the preceding two centuries, and gave at the Royal Academy of Arts -which he helped to found in 1768 - the famous Discourses, which in published form, remain a formidable body of Classical doctrine. In his Discourses Reynolds outlined the essence of grandeur in art and sug­gested the means of achieving it through rigorous academic training and study of the Old Masters. From 1769 nearly all Reynolds's paintings appeared in the Academy. Reynolds's success as a portrait­ist was so great that he was employing studio assistants to lay out the canvases for him and to do much of the mechanical work. The artist's technique was sound, and many of his works of art suffered as a result. After his visit to the Netherlands where he studied the works of Rubens Reynolds's picture surface became far richer. This is particu­larly true of his portrait the Duchess of Devonshire and Her Daugh­ter. Reynolds's state portraits of the King and Queen were never suc­cessful, and he seldom painted for them. There is inevitably something artificial about the grandiloquence of the Classical or Ren­aissance poses in which he painted solid English men and women of his own day, investing them with qualities borrowed from a noble past. Nonetheless, we owe our impression of English aristocracy in the eighteenth century to his majestic portraits, with their contrived backgrounds of Classical architecture and landscape. Lady Sara Bun-bury Sacrificing to the Graces, of 1783, speaks eloquently for itself. Among Reynolds's best works are those in which he departs from the tradition of ceremonial portraiture and abandons himself to inspira­tion, as in The Portrait of Nelly O'Brien, which is aglow with light, warmth and feeling.

Make sure you know how to pronounce the following words:

Joshua Reynolds []; Sarah []; grandeur []; inevitably []; majestic []; grandilo­quence []; discourses []


I. Read the text. Mark the following statements true or false.

1. Reynolds never travelled outside Britain.

2. The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1758.

3. Reynolds hired assistants to lay out the canvases for him.

4. Reynolds created state portraits of the King and Queen.

II. How well have you read? Answer the following questions:

1. Who became a target for Romantic attacks? Why?

2. What fascinated Reynolds during the Grand Tour?

3. What remains a formidable body of Classical doctrine?

4. How great was the success of Reynolds as a portraitist?

5. Whom did Reynolds portray? How did he depict them?

III. i. Give Russian equivalents of the following phrases:

a commanding figure; to speak eloquently; the preceding two centuries; to become a target for smb; the grandiloquence of the poses; the Royal Academy of Arts; to lay out the canvases.

ii. Give English equivalents of the following phrases:

Королевская Академия искусств; готовить холст для к-л; торжественные позы; великолепные портреты; авторитетная фи­гура; два предшествующих века; стать мишенью для к-л.

iii. Make up sentences of your own with the given phrases

IV. Here are names of the English painters and the titles of their works of art. Match them up. Describe the paintings.

1. Reynolds

2. Hogarth

3. Gainsborough

a. A Rake's Progress

b. Lady Sarah Bunbury

c. Market Cart

d. Mary Countess Howe

V. Translate the text into English.

Первым президентом Королевской Академии искусства, открытой в 1768, был Джошуа Рейнольдсс. Теоретически он выступал как сторонник классицизма, однако практически выхо­дил за рамки этого направления. В молодости Рейнольдсс посе­тил Италию, в старости - Голландию и Фландрию. Он восхищал­ся колоритом Тициана и Рубенса и многому научился как у них, так и у Рембрандта. После переезда в Лондон в 1753 г. Рей­нольдсс стал самым знаменитым портретистом Британии. Иногда он писал до 150 портретов в год. В форме парадного портрета Рейнольдсс сумел выразить веру в человека. С появлением Рейнольдсса английская живопись получила всеобщее признание.

VI. Summarize the text.

VII. Topics for discussion.

1. Reynolds's portraits.

2. Reynolds's Enlightenment activity.

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