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Thomas Sully

Thomas Sully
Auguste Edouart, 1788 - 1861
Thomas Sully, 19 Jun 1783 - 5 Nov 1872
Ink, chalk and cut paper on paper
Image/Sheet: 28 × 21.2 cm (11 × 8 3/8")
Mat: 18 × 14 cm (7 1/16 × 5 1/2")
Frame: 47.9 × 37.8 × 3.2 cm (18 7/8 × 14 7/8 × 1 1/4")
Artist's Effects\Palette
Artist's Effects\Paintbrush
Artist's Effects\Canvas
Artist's Effects\Easel
Artist's Effects\Maulstick
Thomas Sully: Male
Thomas Sully: Visual Arts\Artist\Portraitist
Thomas Sully: Visual Arts\Art instructor
Thomas Sully: Visual Arts\Artist\Painter\History painter
United States\Pennsylvania\Philadelphia\Philadelphia
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Robert L. McNeil, Jr.
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
One fine portraitist depicts another in this silhouette. Auguste Edouart shows artist Thomas Sully standing at his easel with a brush in his hand. Sully also holds a maul stick, which helped steady his hand and kept it from touching the painting’s wet surface. Edouart added much detail to the portrait—note the chalk highlights on Sully’s coat and palette. By contrast, the background is plainer than the elaborate, printed settings of other sitters. Edouart diluted ink with water to create the surface on which Sully stands. Sully painted thousands of people in his Philadelphia studio and executed landscapes and historical paintings during his unusually long career. He was deeply embedded in Philadelphia’s intersecting artistic communities of painters, printmakers, publishers, photographers, and silhouettists. Born in England, he returned there for his most important commission: a portrait of Queen Victoria in 1838, the year of her coronation.
Esta es la silueta de un gran retratista hecha por otro gran retratista. Auguste Edouart nos muestra al artista Thomas Sully de pie ante su caballete sujetando un pincel. También sostiene un bastón que le ayudaba a afirmar la mano y evitar que tocara la superficie húmeda del lienzo. Edouart añadió muchos detalles con tiza —nótense las claridades sobre la chaqueta y la paleta—. En contraste, el fondo es mucho más sencillo que los escenarios impresos donde colocaba a otros de sus modelos. Para crear la superficie del suelo diluyó tinta en agua. Durante su muy prolongada carrera, Sully pintó a miles de personas en su estudio de Filadelfia, además de paisajes y cuadros históricos. Fue una figura de mucho arraigo en las comunidades artísticas de la ciudad, donde confluían pintores con grabadores, editores, fotógrafos y siluetistas. En 1838 regresó a su natal Inglaterra para realizar su encargo más importante: un retrato de la reina Victoria en el año de su coronación.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery