Chapel in the Sun

Each Week, Annette writes a short profile about an artist whose birthday is that week.  These "BioGems" provide a fun insight into art history and offer a suggestion for sharing the celebration with these famous and not-so-famous creative spirits.


**See Disclaimer Below**
All words, paintings and images copyright ©1998- Annette Adams Bush.

 





Last Week:
George Bearden


Next Week:
Grandma Moses





Being A Painting

Sir Henry Raeburn
March 4, 1756 – July 8, 1823
Romantic - Painting - Scotch


 
Sir Henry Raeburn, 'Boy and Rabbit'Sir Henry Raeburn,
"Boy and Rabbit," 1814.

When I was in the third grade, two things concerning art touched my life. My painting was selected for the county-wide penny art show at our local art institute . . . and I WAS a painting. I wore my uncle’s khaki pants and a ruffled blouse and held my grandfather’s rabbit to portray Sir Henry Raeburn’s ‘Boy and Rabbit’ during a program of paintings in live tableaus. I don’t know why my mother’s group picked this painting over others of Raeburn and I only remember two more from that day – Vermeer’s ‘Milkmaid’ and Gainesborough’s ‘Pinky.’

When I was in the third grade, I didn’t know about Raeburn’s reputation as the premier portrait painter in Scotland of his day. I didn’t know that he had studied to be a jeweler and began to paint miniature portraits during his apprenticeship. I did not know about his loosely brushed foliage around elegant people in outdoor settings or the way he used edges of light and patterns of dark to give both mystery and humor to his subjects. I didn’t know that, in spite of his limited palette of mostly bronze, browns and golds, he painted fabrics which still shimmer and glow and that the personalities of his sitters still speak to the viewer two hundred years later. I didn’t even know that the popular image of the ‘Rev. Robert Walker Skating on Duddin’ was one of his – the graphic quality is so different and the humor is so startling. But I knew about his ‘Boy and Rabbit’ and it’s not even one of his best ones.

Raeburn’s paintings of children have a tenderness and joie de vivre which make them timeless. His portraits of men are strong, clearly establishing the character of the sitter. His women are less vigorous but portrayed with a unique fragility and charm. He left a remarkable record of the leaders of Scotland and the people of Edinburgh.

I’ve learned a lot about art and have become an artist since the third grade, but I’ve never been a painting again. I’ve read that there are groups in several cities which present these kinds of programs each year. Is there one near you?

To celebrate his birthday, be a painting. Sir Henry won’t mind if it’s not one of his. He liked Raphael and Velazquez and Michaelangelo and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Just pick one and invite some friends to the viewing.





All words, paintings and images copyright ©1998- Annette Adams Bush.




 
 


The term "BioGem" was coined by one of Annette's fans.
Each weekly BioGem is ©Annette Bush for your inspiration and enjoyment.
If you need academic research, please don't depend on her information!
Use the links below to get started.




 




Next Week:
Grandma Moses



Last Week:
George Bearden







A quick check of the internet will show  you some of Raeburn's work.

Use these to get you started:
sirhenryraeburn.com. All rights reserved. Sir Henry Raeburn at The National Gallery of London. The logo is a registered trademark of the National Gallery, London. All rights reserved.

Sir Henry Raeburn on the BBC Online. All rights reserved.              Sir Henry Raeburn at Electric Scotland. All rights reserved.





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Last Modified September 17, 2015.