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Thomas Gainsborough

Year: 2003, 35 mins
Code: Ill-Thomas

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The perennially popular paintings of Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) have long been recognised as embodying the sophistication and elegance of Georgian England. The inventiveness and complexity of his techniques remain as dazzling today as they were to his contemporaries. He was among the first British artists to show his work in public exhibitions, and throughout his life he was committed to creating a modern art with modern subjects.

Produced alongside Tate Britain's major Gainsborough exhibition, this film explores his portraits and his landscapes as well as the sentimental images of children and the poor which seem so alien to sensibilities now. Detailed interviews with the exhibition's curators Michael Rosenthal and Martin Myrone celebrate Gainsborough's achievements at the same time as outlining the historical and social contexts of his work.

Thomas Gainsborough FRSA was an English portrait and landscape painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. He surpassed his rival Sir Joshua Reynolds to become the dominant British portraitist of the second half of the 18th century. He painted quickly, and the works of his maturity are characterised by a light palette and easy strokes.

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