Volume 3, Number 5
New SegPlay® PC Patterns
There's two new SegPlay® PC pattern collections available this month.
The first set is Thomas Gainsborough - Versatile English Painter
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) was one of the most versatile painter of 18th century Britain. He equally masterfully painted both portraits and landscapes and painted more from human observation than from formal academic rules. While portraiture was his profession landscape painting was his pleasure. Unlike many painters of his time, Gainsborough had little interest in literary or historical themes. His most famous works include "The Blue Boy", "Portrait of a Lady in Blue", and "Mr and Mrs Andrews".
Thomas Gainsborough - Versatile English Painter
The second new SegPlay®PC set available this month is Shells by the Seashore
A shell is the common name for a protective layer that was created by a sea creature such as a sea urchin, mollusk, cockle, or clam. As they wash up on shores around the world, many collect shells to keep them, turn them into creative art projects, or sell them outright. Shells have functioned as currency, hair pipes, belts, scrapers, clasps, oil lamps, soil conditioners, musical instruments, jewelry, architectural decoration, and as religious symbols. Our collection of 24 shell patterns are based on a diverse set of shell-themed photographs showing shells in their native form on the beach, and staged in various poses.
Shells by the Seashore
We're beginning work on a couple of new products that will bring SegPlay to more handheld devices including the iPhone. Hopefully they'll be ready in the fall!
Also in the next few months, we'll be ramping up our marketing efforts with a few new magazine ads, a video commentary, a new art-related blog, and a professionally written press release.
Our updated website went live a few weeks ago! A big thank you to Mary Ann Fernandes from www.fernandesmedia.com who came up with the new site design and artwork.
We're always looking for more appealing art pieces for our SegPlay™ online paint by number collection. If you are an aspiring artist and am interested in setting up a free personal category on SegPlay to showcase some of your work in our fun paint by number world, drop us an email email@example.com
We hope you enjoyed reading this newsletter. Please feel free to pass it on to a friend or colleague. If you have any comments or suggestions about this newsletter, please drop us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Mark & Beth
Artist Of The Month:
Pieter de Hooch - Dutch Interior Painter
Gainsborough (May 14, 1727 - August 2, 1788) was an English portrait and landscape painter and one of the greatest English artists of the 18th century. He was a founding member of the Royal Academy and an artist favored by royalty and the nobility.
Gainsborough was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, the youngest of nine brothers and sisters. His father was a cloth merchant. His mother liked to paint and encouraged her son to do the same. By the age of 13, Thomas Gainsborough’s drawings showed such talent that his father sent him to London to study drawing and printmaking under Hubert Gravelot, a French engraver living and working in London. Gravelot had studied under French rococo painter Watteau and was an important figure on the London art scene. Gainsborough developed his style under Gravelot and came to know many of the leading artists, including William Hogarth. Hogarth invited Gainsborough to decorate the Court Room at the newly built Foundling Hospital, for which Gainsborough produced The Charterhouse, his first famous painting.
In 1746, Thomas Gainsborough met and married Margaret Burr, thought to be the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Bedford. Margaret was not only beautiful, she also came with a dowry of 200 pounds a year, a wedding gift from her father, which enabled the young couple to live comfortably and Gainsborough to concentrate on his painting. During this time Gainsborough was mainly creating landscapes. These weren’t selling very well, so in 1748 the young couple moved back to Sudbury where Gainsborough received landscape commissions from the Duke of Bedford and painted portraits. They stayed there for two years.
By 1752 the Gainsboroughs had two daughters, Mary and Margaret, and the family moved to Ipswich where Gainsborough could obtain more commissions for portraits. He also painted his sitters in landscape settings, works which were known as “conversation pieces.”
In 1759 Gainsborough was on a quest to win more commissions and moved his family yet again, this time to Bath. A fashionable spa town and a meeting place of high society, Bath was the perfect place for a young, ambitious painter. Soon Gainsborough’s studio was filled with fashionable sitters. His charm and talent attracted the rich, titled and famous, and he started sending portraits of his celebrity sitters to the Society of Artists in London. But Gainsborough was not just a society painter during the Bath years. He also used the opportunity to study portraits by van Dyck, an influence that can clearly be seen in his painting, the Blue Boy, where the subject is even wearing a van Dyck costume.
Gainsborough’s style had developed rapidly and by 1768 he was invited to be a founder member of the Royal Academy. But Gainsborough had a stormy relationship with the Academy, and especially its founder, Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was his main rival. By 1784 Gainsborough refused to show his paintings at the Academy following an argument with the hanging committee over the height at which they had hung one of his works.
Gainsborough family moved to London in 1774 and settled in Schomberg House on Pall Mall, a fashionable area of London. After falling out with the Royal Academy, Gainsborough started exhibiting at Shomberg House instead. Those private exhibitions were to continue for the next six years.
Gainsborough was invited to paint the portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte, which led to his becoming a favorite of the royal family and winning leverage with the Royal Academy’s hanging committee. But that didn’t last long and in 1783 he again quarreled with the Academy and went back to exhibiting in his private home. Although Gainsborough was extremely popular with the royal family, King George was obliged to make Joshua Reynolds the official court painter in 1784, even though he preferred Gainsborough’s work, increasing the rivalry between the two artists.
Although he was such a successful portrait painter, Gainsborough’s first love was landscape painting and from around 1780 he started developing this side of his work. Even though these works were not produced for sale they helped put landscape painting on the map.
Gainsborough died of cancer at the age of 62. Throughout his life he had been imaginative, open to new ideas and willing to experiment. He left a legacy of 200 landscapes, 800 portraits and numerous landscape drawings. His talent was such that even Joshua Reynolds, his lifelong rival, paid him a posthumous tribute.
You can find a large collection of Thomas Gainsborough patterns to use with SegPlay®PC here.
Art in the News:
Berlusconi Bares All
In the latest controversy to beset Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, the politician has had himself portrayed as a Renaissance angel, wearing a pair of wings – and not much else. At his side is Maria Carfagna, minister for equal opportunities and former TV starlet, who appears topless.
The faux-Renaissance work has created a sensation. The Associated Press reports artist Filippo Panseca as saying that he produced the painting as a joke. However, news about the painting has flooded Italian newspapers and internet sites.
The scandal is compounded by Berlusconi having told Maria Carfagna a few years earlier that he would have married her immediately if he were not already married. At the time, Berlusconi’s furious wife demanded a public apology.
Missing Painting Stolen by Nazis Returned to Owner
Source: New York Daily News
German art dealer Max Stern’s collection was expropriated by the Nazis in the years leading up to World War II because he was Jewish. Among the stolen works was a 17th century portrait of a bagpipe player.
In April the artwork, estimated to be worth $600,000, was returned to the Stern estate on Holocaust Remembrance Day by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Max Stern had fled Germany in 1937, settling in Canada. He searched for his stolen paintings for years, but died in 1987 without having recovered a single painting. The portrait of the bagpipe player was bought last year by a Manhattan art dealer from a gallery in London, unaware of the painting’s dark history. He handed the painting over to US Customs agents as soon as he learned its provenance.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Peter Smith was quoted as saying that it was fitting to return a work of art stolen by the Nazis on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Outside the Lines
Thomas Gainsborough’s dying words are reputed to have been “we are all going to heaven and van Dyck is of the company.”
Rembrandt painted himself in his famous painting the Night Watch. He portrayed himself wearing an artist’s beret and standing behind the standard bearer.
Norman Rockwell claimed that diapers made the best paint rags and bought them in $50 lots.