“The Blue Boy”, the story of a painting that has become a national symbol



France 2
article written by

M. Busson, L. Soudrey, N. Boothby, J. Montupet, M. Bitton, Photos: Huntington Art Museum – France 2

France Television

“The Blue Boy” has over time become one of England’s most famous paintings. Painted in the 1770s by Thomas Gainsborough, the canvas spent a century abroad before finding a place of choice in the National Gallery and the hearts of the English. Description.

in London (United Kingdom), blue boy National symbol. Why is canvas most famous in Britain? Dressed in all blue and with his hand on his hip, the young stranger has the assurance of an emperor. The canvas, painted by Briton Thomas Gainsborough in 1770, is inspired by portraits of the royal family. But instead of warm colors, the painter highlighted blue with iridescent colors, Prussian blue.

During this he created a sensation. “It was never a good idea to use blue, or even a cool color, as a main color in an artwork. I think a blue highlighted in this way makes a really, really big impact,” Christine Riding, curator at the National Gallery, explains.

In 1922, an unexpected event reinforces the attachment of the British: blue boy Sold to an American billionaire. It becomes the world’s most expensive painting, and its departure to the United States is experienced as a national drama. A century later, he returns to the country for an exhibition that uncovers one of his secrets: an X-ray reveals the silhouette of a dog near Blue Boy, covered by paint.

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