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Thomas Gainsborough, an 18th century English painter known for his evocative portraiture and landscapes, is most famous for the portrait known as The Blue Boy.
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Thomas Gainsborough died of cancer on August 2, 1788, at the age of 61. He requested to be buried at St. Anne's Church at Kew, which was the royal family's primary residence and known for its lush and varied landscape. It was a fitting locale, since Gainsborough had returned to his love of landscape painting in his waning years and become known for his simple settings, elegant brushwork and extraordinary use of light.
Gainsborough's most recognizable painting today is probably a portrait of the son of a wealthy merchant, known simply as The Blue Boy. Legend has it that Gainsborough tried to reconcile with Reynolds, his rival, at his deathbed. The two share a reputation as the most famous portraitists of the latter 18th century. Gainsborough is also known one of the originators of the 18th century British landscape school. A later painter with a similar reputation, John Constable, was a huge fan, saying of Gainsborough's landscapes, "On looking at them, we find tears in our eyes and know not what brings them."
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