John Singer Sargent (1856–1925). Lady Agnew of Lochnaw. 1893. National Gallery of Scotland. Oil on Canvas. 50.0 × 39.8 in.
To make a good portraitist an excellent draftsman is needed.
The mother of John Singer Sargent is a good artist amateur and his father, a qualified medical illustrator. Dice its more young age his mother gives him notebooks and encourages it to draw at the time of their voyages. The Sargent young person made of sound better on his drawings, it copies with enthusiasm the images of ships and fact of the detailed drafts of landscapes. In Paris of 1874 to 1878 it follows courses of drawing which include the anatomy and the prospect with the Carolus-Duran portraitist. He learns at the same time the traditional academic approach which requires a great rigor in the drawing and the priming coat, but also work alla prima with the brush, directly on the painting. This approach is based on a wise choice of tons. It allows a spontaneous blooming of the colour, without this one not being related to the drawing of the underlayer. The best portraits of Sargent reveal like here, the personality of its customers.
Its work method is sure. After having obtained an order, following negotiations which it carries out in person, Sargent returns visit to its customer to see where painting will be hung then it visits the guard wraps of its customer to choose an adequate behaviour to him. Certain portraits are carried out in the residence of the customer, but generally with his workshop, arranged well in pieces of furniture and basic material which it chooses to return the best effect. It requires of its customer between 8 to 10 sittings. Sargent seldom makes use of sketch, it in general prefers to start to paint directly with oil. As a portraitist, the success of Sargent is unequalled. Its subjects are at the same time anoblis and as equipped with a particular energy. Especially their presence is felt. It with the precision of Ingres and the audacity of the colours of Raphaël. To return the brilliance of the silk in a perfect way in a portrait is not thing easy. The glance penetrating of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw in this portrait, its at the same time slackened air and this species of languor, which comes can be owing to the fact that it recovered just from an influenza, shows the precision of Sargent and its gift to seize the psychological aspect of its characters. Mrs Gertrude Agnew (born Vernon) was born in 1865 and died in London in April 1932 after having suffered a long time from various diseases and a relatively bad health. Gertrude is seated in an 18th-century French Bergère, the back of the chair curves space in the foreground and comes in contrast from the wall to the background draped with Chinese silk from blue colour. The colour of the back of the chair points out that of the dress of Mrs. Moitessier of Ingres in 1856.
She looks at directly and peacefully the spectator, his expression gives the impression which she takes part in an intimate conversation with those which observe the painting.
Such a precision and a so great delicacy can be only in Ingres, immense draftsman that Sargent manages to equalize here. Many art critics consider that Ingres is the largest draftsman and the largest French portraitist of all times.
The point of view of the spectator is located at the level of the face of the model.
Way of the glance.
1/ The glance is first of all attracted by the face of the model which looks at it,
2/ then he notices the file of the armchair and clothing.
3/ In one the 3rd time the spectator is interested in decoration of the background.
The model is centered.
Lady Agnew is on the 4 natural points of interest, surrounded of the 4 tension fields of the table. Its face is located on one the higher third of the painting.
Face and clothing.
Clothing the body of the model and the armchair occupies 2/3 of pictorial space. The face of the model and background 1/3.
Lines. The majority of the lines are vertical or oblique.
Only the face of the model is perfectly oval.
The purpose of the totality of the lines concerning the armchair, the background or clothing are to emphasize the oval shape of the face of the model. This one is emphasized so that the presence of Agnew Lady is some reinforced.
The face of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw is represented with much precision, meticulousness and a great realism. Note the presence of the shades and clear zones which give him all its relief.
The colours of the armchair point out that of the dress of Mrs. Moitessier, the portrait carried out by Ingres in 1856. It is not a chance, John Singer Sargent often declared that he admired Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Here a discrete manner to pay homage to him.
To return with precision the brilliance of clothing and silk is not thing easy. Here how Sargent uses the white, with parsimony, in oblique small keys on the edges of painting, by alternating clear zones and dark zones.
The model is enlightened left.
Colours : Contrast between hot and cold colours.
Harmonize and contrast : Contrast between hot and cold colours.
Similars Painting :
Ingres. Mrs Moitessier. 1856.
John Singer Sargent. Mrs Henry White. 1883.
John Singer Sargent. Mr X (Mrs Pierre Gautreau). 1884.