Research Seminar| The Nomadic Eye: Travelling through Thomas Gainsborough’s landscapes

Monday 22 February 2016, 5.00pm

University of York, The Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building

Speaker: Mark Hallett (Director, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Yale University)

An Imaginary Wooded Village with Drovers and Cattle, Thomas Gainsborough 
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

An Imaginary Wooded Village with Drovers and Cattle, Thomas Gainsborough RA 1771-2, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Thomas Gainsborough’s landscape drawings and paintings take us into a distinctive world. It is one in which we are typically granted the perspective of a traveller wandering along a winding path, track or road. It is one in which we encounter a succession of familiar but also enigmatic subjects: the edges of woods, muddy banks, shadowed ponds, whitewashed ruins, figures resting on the road’s edges, shepherds with their flocks, men and women returning from the market. It is one in which trees often seem to dance and interact, and in which skies are constantly shifting. And it is one in which we continually sense the echoes of earlier art – of Dutch seventeenth-century landscape painting, for example, or the territories painted by artists such as Rubens, Ruisdael or Gaspard Dughet.

In this talk, Mark Hallett will take us on a tour of Gainsborough’s landscapes, and offer some initial suggestions about how we might best understand and appreciate the pictorial world which he creates in and through them.

Mark Hallett is Director of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the author, most recently, of Reynolds: Portraiture in Action (Yale University Press, 2014).

Open to all, no need for registration