Monday, June 29, 2009

"I copy the works of God." & ...the back of a historic painting, high resolution photographs

Clearly the off-set clips, used to secure the stretcher to the frame, are not original... nor are the other pieces of hardware. I'm not sure when the original hardware was discarded, but most likely a few years ago when the portrait was taken in for repairs to the ornamentation on the front of the (original) frame, slightly damaged when my mom propped it up against the wall during an interior paint job and it fell on its face! This early canvas would be linen, as cotton canvases came into use in the early 20th century. Linen canvas is a higher quality material than cotton, is sturdy and strong and particularly suitable for the use of oil paint. It would be of European origin. Gilbert Stuart also used mahogany panels, but was "frequently annoyed to find that a picture he had taken great pains to paint was ruined by the splitting of the panel." (George Mason p 59).

digital, high resolution photography using a Nikon D90 camera
George Mason quoting Jane Stuart; "In his draperies he was exceedingly careless, but he amused himself at times by painting lace, showing with a few bold touches of his pencil how easy it is to produce an effect when one understands what he is about. But if any one of his intimate friends took him to task for carelessness in rubbing in the accessories in a portrait, he at once replied: 'I copy the works of God, and leave clothes to tailors and mantua-makers.' "

more from Jane Stuart; "In his work there is no appearance of labor, but everything that he did showed force and energy--so long as he kept to the head. When that was completed his enthusiasm seems to have abated. With some notable exceptions, the other parts of his pictures were painted but indifferently; but if he particularly fancied the subject, or the sitter was one in whom he took more than his usual interest, he worked with the greatest care to the end."

1 comment:

The Clever Pup said...

Lovely. Simple yet complicated.

I'm so behind in my reading. My mother's not well and I've been out of town. I will try to keep up with you however during the summer.

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