John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was known for his great pieces of portraits during his generation. Most of his pieces are Edwardian Era inspired. You may be awed of the number of portrait paintings he has made throughout his career; he crafted 900 oil paintings and over 2, 000 watercolors along with countless sketch works and charcoal drawings. His original compositions have travelled across the globe like Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine and Florida.

John Singer Sargent is an American emigrant who went to school as a French artist in Paris before he moved to London. Sargent was globally acclaimed to be a great portrait painter in Paris but despite his brilliant credentials in portrait painting, his portrait work Madame X in Salon has raised some issues though he considered it as his best piece of all time.

The scandal affected him badly that he left Paris regardless of the stature of his career. He decided to settle in England and pursued his love for the arts. Sargent was an intellectual diversified painter, an Impressionist, a Classical Portraitist, a Landscape Artist, and a public Muralist. His paintings were criticized for he lacks trend and radical thought in his art pieces, but instead he worked within established styles in rich textured pallets. His brilliance in incorporating the elements in painting techniques was never acknowledged.

One of his most famous masterpieces is the portrait he made for President Theodore Roosevelt in an oil canvas. Prior to this painting, Sargent and Roosevelt roamed around the White House to look for a perfect lighting. In this portrait piece he used some nuanced blacks, grays, browns and creams. Sargent’s unique style of combining color elements made the portrait of President Roosevelt so vivid that it looked more lifelike; the pose was surreal of respect and dignity.

In his watercolor works, he derived his techniques from an artistic inspiration. Sargent used wax resists, challenging washes, and varied brushstrokes to express his subjects with intense accuracy and emphasis. He usually started with a pencil drawing, over which he layered the watercolor and sometimes added gouache (another water-based paint type).

Sargent always included sensual brushstrokes in his oil paintings, which was clearly seen in his portrait work for Pres. Roosevelt. His works were always a subject of criticism to the point that he was accused to be an admirer of the Post-Impressionists. Though Sargent denied it, he still considered El Greco as one of his painting influences.

Sargent never failed to stress out vital strokes to define the importance of his subject. Whatever object is involved, Sargent intricately employed these strokes in his portrait works. From the texture of the fur, the sheen of silk, the knots in the lace, the rays of the sun, even a rosy-colored cheek, Sargent embodied all the minute details in every stroke. He was not the kind to generalize it all in one stroke but he carefully defined each detail in a vivid manner. Sargent was not just a plain painter, he captured every detail of the moment and the result was always exceptional and brilliant. He is able to bring impact to every subject of his painting.

Sargent put passion with great intensity in all his artworks even though circumstances were tough; he never stopped to fulfill his passion in arts. Today as many painters have already emerged, Sargent’s brilliant artworks have infused art with clear and direct perspective on his subjects. His masterpieces conveyed clear messages and thought.

Author:   Shyxter

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