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Thomas Girtin - British Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Thomas Girtin (1775 - 1802)

Thomas Girtin originally worked in London as the apprentice to mezzotint engraver, Edward Dayes. He then met J.M.W. Turner who recognized his drawing skills and encouraged him to paint landscapes. He began painting with watercolors and exhibited them at the Royal Academy beginning in 1794, thus developing an appreciation for the medium. Girtin also collaborated with Turner on a project copying architectural paintings, many by Canaletto. In 1802, Girtin died from tuberculosis at the age of twenty-seven. Girtin's early landscapes are akin to 18th-century topographical sketches, but in later years he developed a bolder, more spacious, Romantic style, which had a lasting influence on English painting. The scenery of the North encouraged him to create a new watercolour palette of warm browns, slate greys, indigo and purple. He abandoned the practice of undershadowing in grey wash and then adding pastel patches of colour, in favour of broad washes of strong colour, and experimented with the use of pen, brown ink and varnish to add richer tones.

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