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Word Count: 2,558
Much painting had been done in England by a handful of native artists well into the eighteenth century although it was foreign artists that had dominated the market for paintings British artists could not form a style that was original and one they could call their own thus they were seldom admired In the early eighteenth century British aristocrats usually employed foreign artists to do their portraits It was not until William Hogarth local artwork would be noticed He promoted distinct British traditions to his artwork and became the first native artist to be known on an international scale He paved the way for future artists that would come to follow him By the mid-eighteenth century it became fashionable to have paintings done by British artists instead of foreign painters It was not only popular it showed that the owner of the painting had taste Hogarth was not only noted for his portraiture but was responsible for popularising a new form of portraiture called the conversion piece The conversation piece was a step back from the formal portraiture but gained widespread interest all over England In this essay I would like to examine the two forms of artwork that were most popular during the eighteenth century portraiture and the conversation piece To observe the two forms a bit closer I will compare two pieces by a well-known British painter Thomas Gainsborough one of a portraiture and one of a conversation piece Lets begin by taking a closer look at portraiture What is portraiture According to Websters Dictionary a portrait can be defined as the likeness of a person painted drawn or engraved commonly a representation of the human face painted from real life What this is saying is that portraitures are paintings or drawings of the human figure During the eighteenth century only the upper class could have their portraits done by the most prestigious artists these were usually royalty and aristocrats Most paintings of
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