Gainsborough's Family at the NPG

Not a great fan of his finished commissioned paintings but a great respecter of his skills, it was fascinating to find out more about his life. The development of his artistic career alongside his family life.

His earlier works seemed quite unexceptional, then suddenly there's a flash of brilliance. One painting would be sightly out of proportion and laboured looking and another has - normally the facial area - living, breathing life and warmth.

For me the main beauty of the exhibition was seeing so many unfinished paintings. For me, these really allow you to connect with the artist. You can almost sense his brush scooting across the canvas as he quickly searches for the 'right' composition. As well as seeing how he painted laid bare technically.

My favourite paintings were the least finished ones, whether, as the guide kept suggesting, it was because Mrs Gainsborough kept reminding him there was no money in finishing un-commissioned paintings or, as I would hope, he personally preferred them that way!


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