Title: Road from Market by Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788)
Date: between 1767 and 1768
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: Height: 1,213 mm (47.75 ″); Width: 1,702 mm (67 ″
What I love about this painting:
Thomas Gainsborough is one of Great Britain’s most famous portrait artists. His best-known painting is the “Blue Boy.” But while portraits may have paid his bills (handsomely), Thomas Gainsborough loved painting landscapes and did so whenever he was able.
This painting shows us a road, and while it looks to our modern eyes to be nothing more than a dirt track fading into the forest, it was typical of the main roads one had to travel in both Great Britain and America. They were dirt tracks, barely passable at certain times. Traveling these roads while riding in a carriage was both dangerous and arduous.
Four people are depicted in this painting, three men and a woman. All but one of the farmers is seated sideways on the horses. This tells us that side-saddle was a common way for all people to ride at the time of the American Revolution, not just women.
Gainsborough did manage to romanticize the bucolic countryside in this pleasant, homey painting.
His horses are heroic, the peasants look well-fed, and even the cattle look prosperous. The fields just beyond the trees are lush and green.
Credits and Attributions:
Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Thomas Gainsborough – Road from Market – Google Art Project.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Thomas_Gainsborough_-_Road_from_Market_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg&oldid=354218025 (accessed October 11, 2019).