Cincinnati Art Museum Announces Thomas Gainsborough Exhibition

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CINCINNATI, OH.- The portraits of Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) made him perhaps the most famous British artist of the late eighteenth century. Nobles, statesmen, musicians and the range of men and women of the period’s merchant class all sat for him. But it is his portraits of notorious society women—widely considered among the greatest of the Western tradition—which attracted the most attention. Eighteenth-century viewers appreciated these paintings differently than we do today. In his own time, Gainsborough’s portraits of actresses, performers and courtesans were seen as unconventional, if not radical, not only because of the type of woman they portrayed but also because of the unconventional way they were painted. “These stunning portraits not only give us a perspective on the history of portrait painting and celebrity, but also on the