John Vanderlyn


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(b Kingston, NY, 15 Oct. 1775; d Kingston, 23 Sept. 1852).

American painter. His career was divided between the USA (mainly New York and Kingston) and Europe (mainly Paris). He spent three lengthy periods abroad (1796–1801, 1803–15, and 1839–46) and his style was closer to mainstream Neoclassicism and Romanticism than that of almost any other American painter of his generation. He was the first significant American painter to study in Paris and he also worked in London and Rome. His best-known painting is Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos (1809–14, Pennsylvania Academy, Philadelphia), a reclining figure in the tradition of the Venuses of Giorgione and Titian that is regarded as the finest American nude before Eakins. Although such works won him considerable renown in France, he was much less successful in America, where he worked mainly as a portraitist, and he died poor and embittered.

Subjects: Art.

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