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Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788)
Landscape with Horse and Cart, Figures, and Ruins
Black chalk, watercolor and oil on paper; varnished
Stamped in gold with monogram at lower left, TG 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches (222 x 311 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; III, 55
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This landscape was executed in watercolor and oil and then varnished to resemble a painting. The artist began experimenting with this unusual technique in the early 1770s and exhibited a series of ten drawings at the Royal Academy in 1772. Here the blocklike ruins, whose sole raison d'être seems to be their shape and whiteness, are balanced by the thick white highlights on the vase and pedestal, horse cart, and reclining figures.

The eye is drawn from foreground to background along the curved path, and spatial depth is conveyed by means of graded washes ranging from greens and rusty ochers to pale gray-blues in the mountains.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.