A Passion For Performance: Sarah Siddons and Her by Shearer West, Mark Leonard, Robyn Asleson, Shelley Bennett

By Shearer West, Mark Leonard, Robyn Asleson, Shelley Bennett

Popular for her majestic attractiveness and impassioned performances, the English actress Sarah Siddons (1755-1831) revolutionized the aesthetics of eighteenth-century theater whereas inventing a posh public personality to advertise her popularity. Her aptitude for self-presentation was once matched by means of the showmanship of the various artists who portrayed her. the following 3 vigorous essays--by Robyn Asleson, Shelley Bennett, Mark Leonard, and Shearer West--explore Siddons's existence and profession, in addition to her relationships with a few artists. impressive between them was once Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose masterpiece Sarah Siddons because the Tragic Muse grew to become an icon of this nice actress on the top of her occupation. This lavish quantity additionally brings jointly fifty-five different images of Siddons together with works through Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney, Thomas Lawrence, and Gilbert Stuart.

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Extra info for A Passion For Performance: Sarah Siddons and Her Portraitists

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Strate a tendency to name-drop. In them Siddons claims that when she first went to read for Queen Charlotte, she was praised for conducting Sarah Siddons, ca. ). 84 She encouraged fashionable artists such as Reynolds, Lawrence, Portrait Gallery, London. Romney, and Gainsborough to produce portraits of her in street dress, Figure 24" as well as in character, and by doing so she aligned herself with women THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH of high birth who used the same artists for portraits that slipped in and (British, 1727-1788).

16). Despite great differences in her acting technique, Siddons was frequently associated with this "Neoclassicism" of her brother. These associations were made implicitly, rather than explicitly, and were frequently retrospective. Reynolds's aesthetic theories helped perpetuate such ideas. 61 Reynolds was not only a friend of Siddons but he also gave her advice about costumes and hairstyle. 63 This interchange was promoted by many paintings and engravings that elevated Siddons to an abstraction rather than represent her as a private character or an actress performing a role.

Reynolds's aesthetic theories helped perpetuate such ideas. 61 Reynolds was not only a friend of Siddons but he also gave her advice about costumes and hairstyle. 63 This interchange was promoted by many paintings and engravings that elevated Siddons to an abstraction rather than represent her as a private character or an actress performing a role. Reynolds's portraits of Siddons as the Tragic Muse (see fig. IO, p. 114) was the most effective and influential of these representations. Other portraits, such as Thomas Beach's depiction of Siddons as Melancholy in Milton's "II Penseroso" (see fig.

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