George Stubbs: Reapers and Haymakers

THU, JAN 22, 2004 (1:04:05)

Richard Wendorf attempts to show how scholars who have addressed the paintings of George Stubbs have missed the central point of his work as an artist. The painter George Stubbs is perhaps best known for his dramatic and painstakingly accurate portraits of English horse flesh. In this illustrated lecture, Wendorf draws attention to Stubbs’ equally remarkable attempts to paint agricultural workers in the English countryside, particularly in his pair of images entitled Reapers and Haymakers. These iconic pictures have been the focus of intense debate by literary critics, art historians, and social historians during the past thirty years. Do they accurately depict the cleanliness, health, and vitality of common laborers in the 1780’s and 1790’s, or do they camouflage the desperate, post-enclosure conditions in which these workers toiled?

Boston Athenaeum
Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work Series