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COLLECTION DETAILS

Figures Before a Cottage Figures Before a Cottage

1772-73/Oil on canvas

149.0 x 120.0 cm

Use of Images
EDUCATIONAL NON-COMMERCIAL COMMERCIAL

SUMMARY

This painting depicts a twilight idyllic scene. A family gathers in front of the door of a country house, when a woodcutter carrying fagots returns home. An idealized image of peasants is depicted in this idyllic scene which is full of a lyrical atmosphere. The Figures Before a Cottage is the first of Gainsborough’s paintings on the theme of “The Cottage Door,” which is the subject matter that appeared in his imaginary world throughout his entire artistic career. In this painting, each of the figures is depicted carefully and elaborately. The sitting mother holding a baby, who stands out brightly in the dusky scene as if a spotlight is shining on her, evokes the image of Virgin and Child, and the children around her look like the cupids who came out of an altarpiece created by Correggio. The effect created by the strong evening glow that is filtering through the tree leaves and the impasto (thick layers of paints) used for the light reflected on the window heighten the emotional atmosphere further. The image of the family in the twilight pastoral scene is sacralized within the picture. Around 1773, when this painting was thought to be created, is the last years of Gainsborough’s Bath period (1759-74) when his pictorial representation had significantly developed, and this work led to the world of “Fancy Picture,” the style which would later be completed during his London period.   The term “fancy picture” which was coined by Sir Joshua Reynolds refers to a painting that falls somewhere in between a portrait and genre painting of the late 18th century. This type of painting depicts idealized peasants in a pastoral landscape; however, peasant figures look motionless as if they are posing in a studio and don’t appear to be actually in a landscape. It is a characteristic of the fancy picture. Gainsborough said that while portraiture was his profession, landscape painting was his pleasure. In this type of painting at which he was good, he freely composed rural landscapes full of imagination with his smooth brushstrokes. It can be interpreted as the works that Gainsborough refined and developed into the British style the world of painting suggested by the predecessors of the 17th and 18th centuries including Murillo, Watteau and Greuze.  

ARTIST

Thomas Gainsborough

1727-1788

List of artworks by the same artist

INFORMATION

Exhibiton history

7 26, 2024 (Fri.)~9 23 (Mon.)

400 Years of Western Paintings – Masterpieces from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum – Shizuoka City Museum of Art (Shizuoka, Japan)

3 23, 2024 (Sat.)~6 23 (Sun.)

Where The Gaze Reaches: Masterpieces from the Collection of Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Chengdu Art Museum (Chengdu, China)

11 28, 2023 (Tue.)~2 28 (Wed.)

Vision and Gaze: Western Figure and Portrait Painting from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Nanshan Museum (Shenzhen, China)

8 5, 2023 (Sat.)~11 12 (Sun.)

Faces of Time: Western Portrait Collection of Tokyo Fuji Art Museum National Centre for the Perfoming Arts (Beijing, China)

4 19, 2023 (Wed.)~7 23 (Sun.)

400 Years of Western Figure and Portrait Paintings: Collection of Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Shanghai PowerLong Museum (Shanghai, China)

12 27, 2022 (Tue.)~4 5 (Wed.)

Vision and Gaze: Western Figure Painting from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Liaoning Provincial Museum (Shenyang, China)

9 17, 2022 (Sat.)~11 20 (Sun.)

400 Years of Western Paintings – Masterpieces from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum – Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design (Toyama, Japan)

7 16, 2022 (Sat.)~9 4 (Sun.)

Masterpieces from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art (Kumamoto, Japan)

3 19, 2022 (Sat.)~5 8 (Sun.)

Masterpieces of European Paintings From Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Collection Saga Prefectural Art Museum (Saga, Japan)

10 23, 2021 (Sat.)~12 26 (Sun.)

The 400 Years of Western Painting: Masterpieces From Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts (Tochigi, Japan)

7 9, 2021 (Fri.)~8 29 (Sun.)

400 Years of European Paintings: Masterpieces From Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art (Okayama, Japan)

12 15, 2020 (Tue.)~1 31 (Sun.)

How to Read Western Paintings: Masterpieces from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum (Okinawa, Japan)

9 12, 2020 (Sat.)~11 3 (Tue.)

400 Years of Western Paintings: Masterpieces from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Miyazaki Prefectural Art Museum (Miyazaki, Japan)

7 22, 2020 (Wed.)~9 6 (Sun.)

400 Years of Western Paintings: Masterpieces from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Oita Prefectural Art Museum (Oita, Japan)

2 20, 2020 (Thu.)~4 12 (Sun.)

How to Read Western Paintings: Masterpieces from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki (Ibaraki, Japan)

9 3, 2019 (Tue.)~10 22 (Tue.)

Masterpieces of European Paintings From Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Collection Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum (Yamaguchi, Japan)

1 12, 2019 (Sat.)~5 4 (Sat.)

500 Years of Western Paintings: Collection of Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Shanghai PowerLong Museum (Shanghai, China)

10 23, 2018 (Tue.)~12 23 (Sun.)

500 Years of Western Paintings: Collection of Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Tsinghua University Art Museum (Beijing, China)

7 9, 2016 (Sat.)~8 28 (Sun.)

300 years of Western Painting from Baroque, Rococo to École de Paris Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum (Nagano, Japan)

6 27, 2015 (Sat.)~8 30 (Sun.)

Feast of beauty: 300 years of Western Painting From Baroque, Rococo to Ecole de Paris Yawatahama Citizen Gallery (Ehime, Japan)

4 29, 2015 (Wed.)~6 21 (Sun.)

Feast of beauty: 300 years of Western Painting From Baroque, Rococo to Ecole de Paris The Tokushima Modern Art Museum (Tokushima, Japan)

4 18, 2003 (Fri.)~5 25 (Sun.)

The Great Masters of Art Fukuoka Art Museum (Fukuoka, Japan)

10 5, 2002 (Sat.)~11 4 (Mon.)

Art of the West & Art of Japan Exhibition: Monet, Renoir, Cezanne… Ikeno Taiga, Tani Buncho, and Others Shimane Art Museum (Shimane, Japan)

9 7, 2002 (Sat.)~9 29 (Sun.)

Four Centuries of Occidental Paintings from the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Collection SOGO Museum of Art (Kanagawa, Japan)

5 16, 2002 (Thu.)~6 23 (Sun.)

Four Centuries of Occidental Paintings from the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Collection Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art (Kumamoto, Japan)

10 1, 2000 (Sun.)~12 3 (Sun.)

Masterpieces of Western Paintings from the Renaissance to the 20th Century National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (Taipei, Taiwan)

10 14, 1997 (Tue.)~11 30 (Sun.)

Masterpieces of Western Oil Painting from the TFAM Collection Hong Kong Museum of Art (Hong Kong, China)

10 16, 1992 (Fri.)~11 5 (Thu.)

Masterpieces of European Oil Painting: The Paintings in 20th Century from the Renaissance to Impressionism China Art Gallery (Beijing, China)

11 3, 1990 (Sat.)~12 2 (Sun.)

Masterpieces of European Oil Painting Ho-Am Art Museum (Yongin-gun, Kyunggi-do, South Korea)

9 22, 1990 (Sat.)~10 21 (Sun.)

Masterpieces of European Oil Painting Ho-Am Gallery (Seoul, South Korea)

Origin of collections

Provenance: Painted for Felice de Giardini(1716-96) Richard Rigby (1722-88), Mistley Hall, Essex, by 1786. His sale, Christie’s 9 Jan. 1789, lot 9, bt. Peters, Chandons, 1st Lord Leigh (1791-1850), by 1839 By desent to Francis, 3rd Lord Leigh (1855-1930), from whom it was purchased by Duveen before 1930 Sir Harry Oakes (1874-1943), thence by descent, sold 1873, London Christie’s New York, 19 Jan 1982, lot 58(repr.)(as attributed to Gainsborough), bt by a Swiss private collector Exhibited: Cambridge, Mass, Fogg Art Museum, 18th Century English Painting, 1930, no.24 Cincinnati, Gainsborough, 1931, no.33, plate 36 San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, English Painting of the 18th and Early 19th Centuries, 1933, no.20 Mexico City, Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, Pintura Britanica en Mexico, Siglos ⅩⅥ alⅩⅨ,1963, no.25

Reference

Literature : Morning Herald, 3 April 1786 Authentic Memoirs, and a Sketch of the Real Character of the late Right Honorable Richard Rigby, London, 1788, p.22; Whitley, p.235 Waterhouse, no.961 Woodall, Letters, p.47 E.Waterhouse, Gainsborough, London 1958, no.96 J. Hayes The Landscape Paintings of Thomas Gainsborough, London 1982, vol.Ⅰ, pp.120, 154, 188, vol.Ⅱ, p.451, no.106, with repr. With further literature

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