Two Paintings in Mfa

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Submitted By wendymqliu
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During the 18th-19th century, although European colonists settled the lands and manipulated the economies of the cities in America, they could not prevent the emergence and restrict the development of the art history. Nicholas Boylston and Nathaniel Sparhawk were two portraits made by John Singleton Copley, an American painter who is famous for his portrait paintings of important figures in colonial New England. Both created in the same time period and by the same painter, these two portraits share some similarities and differences.

John Singleton Copley painted Nicholas Boylston and Nathaniel Sparhawk in the 60s in 18th century, the former one in 1769, and the later one in 1764. They are both oil on canvas. However, they are of apparent difference in dimension. Nicholas Boylston is 125x99.5 cm and Nathaniel Sparhawk is 231.14x149.86 cm, which is almost twice as large as the former one.

Unlike Nicholas Boylston, Nathaniel Sparhawk is Copley’s first full-length, life-sized portrait. Sparkhawk is standing in the outdoor hallway of a villa with his left hand leaning on the corner pillar and holding an architectural drawing, and with left hand in the coat pocket, and looking ahead with fortitude. This pose was inspired by King George III, who was the King of Great Britain and King of Ireland. On the contrast, Boylston chose to portrait an image at leisure. He is sitting on a rosewood chair in a silk damask banyan morning gown with a red-velvet turban on his head and two books under his left elbow. Although he dressed down in this picture, the texture of his frock and the exquisite design on it show out his status and richness in the society.

Copley made some conscious distortions in the portrait of Nathaniel Sparhawk. the villa in this portrait is completely imaginary. Also, Copley exaggerated Sparhawk’s belly width. He intended painting more buttons on his…...

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