The paintings in this room are similar to paintings I see in UK galleries but sort of less fussy, more like photos. Are they considered "cruder" artworks (than a Reynolds for instance) by art historians? The label says the artists are self-taught.
In that particular gallery space, curators were interested in expanding the idea of "America." Paintings from Dutch and British colonial United States are placed with paintings from the Spanish colonies in South America.
Many of the artists were self-taught, yes. At the time there were no art schools or museums in the colonies. A number of them used prints of European portraits, mainly British and Dutch, as source material. There was a desire to reflect European styles which, for artists who did not have the same sort of training, was a way of showing that the artist and the patrons were "cultured" individuals.
So would they be less expensive (then and now) then "equivalent status" European artists' work?
Possibly. A number of portrait painters, especially those who weren't established in many centers, were itinerant.
Interesting. Kind of reminds me of Indian "company paintings"... like Western art but not quite.
There is a sense of that as well. Despite distance and the manner of artistic training, colonial audiences wanted the sort of material they were either familiar with from home or knew were popular in European circles.
Same same different, if you know what I mean. Thanks a lot!
Tell me more.
Elizabeth Goldthwaite was one of 13 children of Ezekiel Goldthwite, a wealthy North Boston merchant. At age thirty she was married to the Reverend Alexander Cumming who died a month after the marriage. She later remarried seven years later to Reverend John Bacon. She died in 1821.
Copley carefully painted the details and textures of her silk gown and lace. Those materials would have been imported and they showed her wealth and social status!