“I paint portraits to live, landscapes because I love them”
Thomas Gainsborough, the best 18th century English painter, spent his life divided between landscapes and portraits. Landscapes filled his soul, but portraits filled his pockets. To address this dilemma he combined both genres in outdoor portraits, with which he managed to devote much of his efforts to landscape while ensuring his reputation among the high society clientele.
"Mr. and Mrs. Andrews", painted when the artist was just 22, is Gainsborough’s first masterpiece. The artist depicts the wealthy young couple from Suffolk posing under a mighty oak, accompanied by his hunting dog. The figures of the young couple are not at the center of the composition, but have been shifted to the left, allowing the artist to focus on the representation of landscape.
The title of the painting says that the work is a double portrait. But it also could be entitled "Landscape in Suffolk with two figures". Or even "Landscape in Suffolk with two superfluous figures". It is said that Gainsborough, despite being the favorite painter of the aristocracy, felt no sympathy for them, and this painting seems to prove it. Despite the spectacular satin dress of the young lady and the somewhat arrogant pose of the gentleman, the true protagonist of the painting is the landscape, the English countryside with its hayfields and its changing summer sky. Gainsborough’s landscapes caused John Constable (the later master of English landscape painting) to say that "on looking at them, we find tears in our eyes and know not what brings them".
Gabriel Fernández - theartwolf.com