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Thomas Hudson

1701-1779

English Rococo Portrait Painter

Stylistically Influenced by the following Painter - William Hogarth

Education -  studied with Jonathan Richardson the Elder
 

Cause of Death - Heart Failure

 Sir John Pole, 5th Baronet, and his Wife, Elizabeth, 1755
Sir John Pole, 5th Baronet, and his Wife, Elizabeth, 1755
Thomas Hudson
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Thomas Hudson's style reveals a taste for what is refined and elegant. He specialized in portraits of the upper-classes and operated the most successful studio in London. His affluent sitters appreciated his eagle eye precision at capturing a likeness.  They were impressed by his renditions of stylish English aristocrats and enthusiastically commissioned portraits from him that would display their affluence and fashionable good taste. Wealthy British society types clamored to invite Hudson to their balls and parties.

The world Hudson lived in was in transition. The 1700s was a time of revolution and tremendous upheaval. The aristocracy of Europe were seized by the terror when they read about the French aristocracy having their heads lopped off in the public squares of France. The old social order was crumbling under freedom of the press and an intellectual movement called "The Enlightenment" was enlightening the minds of educated Europeans. People were becoming curious about modern science, art and philosophy.
 
About the Rocco Movement
 
'The Art of the Aristocracy'
 
The word is derived from "rocaille" (pebble), but the term referred in particular to the small stones and shells used to adorn the interiors of grottoes. Such shells or shell forms were the primary motifs in Rococo ornament.
 
The Rococo style began as a backlash against Baroque formality and stuffiness. Unlike Baroque, Rococo is not concerned with religious matters or dramatic expression. The highly decorative art and design movement began in Paris, France in the early 1700s. The style is profoundly symbolic of the self-indulgence of European aristocratic rulers. Rocco manner is characterized by graceful, enchanting, lighthearted themes and seldom features anything of substance. Paintings are animated and clever, reflecting an impishly sensual daydream.
 
Rococo Portraiture
 
Rocco paintings feature beautiful aristocrats decked out in velvet, elegant laces and rich golden embroideries. The figures are tall and willowy, stylish and charming. The faces are presented as soft and rosy, effeminate and eternally young. Noblemen are depicted wearing feminine coiffeurs, rouged lips and cheeks, often sporting high heels. In a way they resemble modern day drag queens. The Rocco female figures are delicate and light; the faces, are childish and sentimental. The lines of the mouth curve in soft mischief or in a delicate enchanting smile.
 
Characteristic of Rococo art was paintings of carefree aristocrats at play in make-believe settings. These romantic scenes depict luxuriously costumed ladies and gentlemen flirting, picnicking and playing music at gallant country parties. The background scenery is often a serene natural setting with delicate trees and sprays of roses. Colors are a profusion of soothing, light pastels. The Rococo movement was initially restricted to France, later spreading to all of Europe and above all to Germany. The movement continued to develop until the arrival of Neoclassicism which attempted to return to the purism of classical antiquity.
 

 

 





 

Principle Artists of the Rococo Period
 
Pompeo Batoni
Bernardo Bellotto
Francois Boucher
Canaletto
Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Thomas Gainsborough
Francisco de Goya
Thomas Hudson
Jean-Marc Nattier
Joshua Reynolds
Paul Sandby
Jean Antoine Watteau

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