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John Singleton Copley ( 1738 - 1815 )  Category ( Painters ) [suggest a correction]
 

John Singleton CopleyJohn Singleton Copley was an eighteenth-century American painter who is best known for his treatment of middle-class New England subjects engaged in matters pertaining to everyday life. His parents were of the middling merchant class, and had emigrated from Ireland. Not a great deal is known of his childhood or education. However, the earliest letters attributed to him suggest he acquired a decent education, possibly by his stepfather, who was a portrait painter and engraver. Some Copley biographers state that by the time he was fifteen he was skilled in engraving, which was taught to him by his stepfather. His son later wrote that he was entirely self-taught and had never seen any great works of art that may have served as examples, until he was thirty years old. This is a plausible theory, given the fact that he was born into the middling classes, of Irish immigrant ancestry, and during a period in American history that was more interested in colonization and nation building than matters artistic. Put simply, Copley's opportunities to learn about and experience art were decidedly limited. Records demonstrate that before he was twenty, he had acquired much skill regarding human anatomy, perhaps with the assistance of a teacher, perhaps on his own.

Copley's earliest preserved portrait was created when he was approximately fourteen years old. It is a portrait of his half-brother, Charles Pelham. Some art historians believe it to be of a striking quality to be coming from so young an artist. He had established himself as a serious artist by 1766, when his famous work The Boy with the Squirrel, was exhibited in England. The painting was a huge hit in England, prompting famed artist Benjamin West to remark that Copley displayed color "worthy of Titian himself." After this first blush of fame, Copley became more and more dissatisfied with colonial life. He was encouraged by West to come to live, work, and study in Europe. Before he left, however, he painted a number of portraits of some of the figures who would be prominent during the American Revolution, as well as some historical, grand manner paintings. Though Copley was a loyalist, he married a woman who came from a patriot family. Her father was one of the instigators of the infamous "Boston Tea Party." Copley vigorously defended his wife's family. Not long after that experience, he sailed for London, leaving his wife and children behind. He traveled around Europe, observing the art and architecture of France and Italy. Later his wife and children joined him in England, where he remained the rest of his life and enjoyed a successful career.

Copley continued to paint, even into his later years. However, it was also during this time that he sank into a depression and financial woes. He lost some of his American property and worried over the costs of providing for and educating his children. He continued to fall deeper into debt and began to suffer from ill health. Not long after a visit from John Quincy Adams, Copley suffered a stroke and died.

Image: Portrait of Copley by Gilbert Stuart.


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http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/copley/ [Comment on this link]
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Title :WebMuseum: Copley, John Singleton
 
 
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http://www.kfki.hu/~arthp/bio/c/copley/biograph.ht... [Comment on this link]
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Title :Biography
Description : Biography of COPLEY, John Singleton (b. 1738, Boston, d. 1815, London) in the Web Gallery of Art, a searchable image collection and database of European painting and sculpture (1100-1850)
 
 
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http://www.oxforddnb.com/index/101006271 [Comment on this link]
 
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http://www.metmuseum.org/explore/Copley/copley.htm... [Comment on this link]
 
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http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/summer97/copley... [Comment on this link]
 
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