Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blue Boy

Legend has it that Thomas Gainsborough painted Blue Boy to challenge the rule put forward by his rival Sir Joshua Reynolds:

“The masses of light in a picture [must] be always of a warm, mellow color, yellow, red, or a yellowish-white, and that the blue, the gray, or the green colors, be kept almost entirely out of these masses.”

Blue Boy places the blue color right up front and center, dominating the composition. Take that, Mr. Reynolds! The painting brought Reynolds’s theory into open dispute.
See the Blue Boy at the Huntington Library and Art Museum in the LA area.


Jared said...

In the same gallery in the Huntington where Blue Boy hands are several enormous Reynolds paintings, providing an interesting contrast.

Jason de Graaf said...

For a lot of rules in painting, the opposite is usually also true.

Paolo Rivera said...

Blue-yah, Mr. Reynolds!

Sorry, I had to.

jeff said...

Proof again that there are no absolutes and that rules are made to be broken.

Roberto said...

Is that a warm blue, or a cool blue? ];p

Chris Beatrice said...

It's really funny how many of these theoretical statements we see coming from really capable artists, even to this day.

The odd part is that they are so seldom proven. The artists makes this rule, applies it in his own work, and his work is great, so the rule must be true.

I used to read so many books about light and color, and before I realized it I was blindly accepting these things and really limiting myself, not just artistically, but scientifically as well.

HandPrint is probably the only place I would recommend for accurate information on light and color (and I know the site is linked here) - and the author makes the same point I'm making - TEST IT OUT. Don't just accept these simple statements. Observe and experiment!! Try to disprove them!

Rebecca S. said...

The satin makes the blue very reflective of the light, though, does it not?

My Pen Name said...

several years ago this guy won a webby for 'weirdest site'
cut and paste link and find out why


Again, inspired by the famous painting by Gainsborough,
"The Magic Wardrobe" in California
made me this beautiful Blue Boy outfit, much more like the
original painting than mine

Simon said...

This image has been digitally retouched! To the right of the boy, there are obvious clone-tool patterns. Strange!

James Gurney said...

Simon--very observant of you. You're right--it seems to vary from other reproductions, but I'm not sure why it was retouched.