Portrait of Sarah Siddons as a Muse of Tragedy - Joshua Reynolds. 236.2 x 146 cm
Sarah Campbell Siddons (1755–1831) is a British actress. Also played Desdemona, Volumnia from Coriolanus. She served in the theater until 1818. In Westminster Abbey is a sculpture of the actress - as evidence of her outstanding talent.
Lady Sarah is also known for her portraits, one of which was painted by Thomas Gainsborough, and the second by Joshua Reynolds, a supporter of the Enlightenment. The painter created the so-called ceremonial portrait, depicting the actress in the form of the Muse of Tragedy.
She sits on a throne located on a cloud. Behind the throne are mythical figures: Compassion and Horror. Compassion's eyes are closed, Horror holds the cup and looks agitated. Lady Sarah is depicted in a free, natural pose. Her attire is elegant: it is double, the bottom dress is made of light satin. From under the fluffy skirt the toe of the shoe is visible.
The picture is made in tan. Against this background, the whiteness of the skin of the heroine stands out especially. Reynolds wonderful conveyed the beauty of the hands of the actress. Facial expression - thoughtfully dreamy.
When the portrait of the actress was created by Thomas Gainsborough, he grumbled (most likely in jest) that the beauty’s nose has no end. Joshua Reynolds behaved like a true gentleman and did not skimp on compliments. After graduating from the portrait, he made a gallant admission: “I did not miss the opportunity to take advantage of the honor shown to me - go to the descendants in the hem of your outfit,” and left his signature on the edge of Lady Siddons' skirt.
The significance of the works of both Gainsborough and Reynolds is not only in artistic value: thanks to these canvases, you can see how a woman looked who inspired no less talented men.