Portrait of David Hume | Allan Ramsay | 1766
Allan Ramsay leaves his Scotland to settle in Italy, where has time to study and to copy the great masters of the renaissance. Despite being already known in his country, in Italy had to paint Works of other artists as well as portraying archeological sites, which were easily salable.
When he returns to Scotland, the famous artists, with an even better technique than before, gets a lot of commissions for portraits that allowed him to support the daughters from his previous marriage, as well as his new family and, even, his own sisters.
Ramsay’s portraits are really different. Although the artist was focused in a very specific type of painting, each portrait has different characteristics. They can be busts or full bodies, they can have warm faces or hard expressions, they can look at the spectator or they can look somewhere else, some of the characters are in action while others pose passively.
Each portrait has an individuality rather uncommon within the genre and I think this is one of the most interesting qualities in the artist. Today we look at the portrait of David Hume, one of the great western philosophers. He himself founded the movement called “empirism”, one of the few still valid until today. In the portrait, we see the thinker with a peaceful expression and dressed with clothes of an intense red with golden details. Particularly, on the things I like the most in the painting is the transparency of the openwork that comes out of his left sleeve. I still don’t know how an artist can achieve that effect…