Stuart, Gilbert


May 28, 2022

Gilbert Charles Stuart (Eng. Gilbert Charles Stuart; December 3, 1755, Saunderstown - July 9, 1828, Boston) was an American painter, along with John Singleton Copley, considered the founder of American painting. He is primarily known as a portrait painter who created over a thousand portraits of his contemporaries, including the first six presidents of the United States.

Biography and creativity

Gilbert Stuart was the third child in the family. His father, also Gilbert Stuart, an immigrant from Scotland, worked at a snuff mill, and his mother, Elizabeth Anthony Stuart, came from a family of landowners from Rhode Island. At the age of seven, the future artist moved to Newport with his family. From an early age, he showed a penchant for painting, studied with the Scottish artist Cosmo Alexander, and in 1771, at the age of 14, went with him to Edinburgh to complete his art education. However, Alexander died the following year, and after a brief unsuccessful attempt to earn a living by painting, Stuart returned to Newport. Since the prospects for education in America seemed unfavorable due to the war, and the Stuart family emigrated to Nova Scotia, in 1775 he again went to England. Soon he began to study with Benjamin West, and already in 1777 exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts. Later on his career developed very successfully, not least due to the success of the painting "The Skater", and at some point the prices of Stewart's paintings exceeded those of the most famous English artists, including Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds. However, Stewart was extremely careless about money, and on one occasion was almost sent to debtor's prison. In 1787 he fled to Dublin, and in 1793 he returned to the United States, settling in New York. In 1795 he moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia, where he opened a workshop. There he not only could paint, but also had the opportunity to meet many celebrities. So, Stuart made several portraits of George Washington, including the most famous, unfinished "The Athenaeum". This portrait was later used to create a portrait of Washington on the dollar bill. During Stuart's lifetime