John Foster


'John Foster' can also refer to...

John Foster

John Foster (1740—1828) politician

John Foster (1770—1843) Baptist minister and essayist

John Foster (c. 1759—1827) architect and engineer

John Foster (1731—1774) classical scholar and schoolmaster

John Foster (1787—1846) architect

Foster, John

Foster, John

John Foster Dulles (1888—1959) American Republican statesman and international lawyer

Sir John Foster Wilson (1919—1999) international health administrator

John Foster Williams (1743—1814)

John Wilson Foster

John Foster (1770–1843)

BAIRD, John Foster - Painter

Williams, John Foster

Foster, John Gray

Dulles, John Foster

Dulles, John Foster

John Gray Foster (1823—1874)


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Printmaker and painter. Important also as the first printer-publisher in Boston, he numbers among the earliest native-born painters, although no certain attributions to his hand survive. His most significant extant work and the first known example of the medium in the colonies, his woodcut likeness of Richard Mather (c. 1670) provides an auspicious beginning for the history of American graphic arts. Despite its naive qualities, in its bold design and ornamental finesse the elderly Dorchester minister's portrait felicitously engages the problems of composing in black and white. This print also numbers among the earliest surviving portraits in any medium by an artist native to English-speaking America. Born in Dorchester (now part of Boston), Foster graduated from Harvard College in 1667. He taught school until 1675, when he established his own printing press, from which he issued books, pamphlets, broadsides, almanacs, and other materials. The map of New England that he drew and published in 1677 ranks as the first American printed map from the eastern seaboard colonies. Foster is known to have been involved as well in astronomy, music, medicine, mathematics, and other pursuits. Upon his death at thirty-three in Dorchester, he was buried there beneath a tombstone (on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission) that resembles other designs he is known to have drawn. Ranking among the most important to have survived from the era, although typical of the period in its general characteristics, the monument features a Latin inscription composed by Richard Mather's son, Foster's friend and Puritan clergyman Increase Mather, below an unusually complex scene incorporating a range of symbolic elements. The central representation portrays Time attempting to stay the hand of a skeletal death, who snuffs out the candle of Foster's life. Although the modeling is crudely two-dimensional, the work's intellectual and emotional aspirations sustain complex medieval and Renaissance traditions of thought.

Subjects: Art.

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