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  • The majority of Thornhill's commissions as a decorative painter were for domestic settings, although on a grand scale (see cat. 145). In 1714, however, he was awarded the prestigious public commission to decorate the cupola, lantern, and whispering Gallery of Sir Christopher Wren's St. Paul's Cathedral (see cat. 129) with "Scripturall History taken from the Acts of the Apostles." Church decoration provided careers for Thornhill's counterparts in France and Italy by was a rare opportunity in eighteenth century Protestant England; Thornhill's main competitors were the Italians Sebastiano Ricci and Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini. Thornhill and his assistants concentrated on the St. Paul's project for three years, from 1714-1717. The Cupola and drum depicted scenes from the life of St. Paul, including the saint's conversion on the road to Damascus. Thornhill's work progressed from informal studies to large cartoons and finally wall painting itself in grisaille. Working studies such as this one allowed the artists to arrange compositional groupings and experiment with the placement and expression of figures, as his attention to the fallen St. Paul demonstrates. Thornhill was committed to training younger artists in these working methods, and he was one of the twelve original directors of the earliest art academy in England, Sir Godfrey Kneller's Academy in London. He later established his own drawing school at Convent garden where he taught William Hogarth (see cats. 147-8).
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  • Dimension height :: 24.1cm
  • Dimension width :: 29.8cm
  • Exhibition :: The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century
  • Located in :: New Haven
  • Located in :: Not on view
  • Located in :: YCBA, 223A, PC 1, Shelf-27
  • Located in :: Yale Center for British Art
  • Object type :: drawing
  • Subject Concept :: Christianity
  • Subject Concept :: awe
  • Subject Concept :: history paintings
  • Subject Concept :: horses (animals)
  • Subject Concept :: preparatory studies
  • Subject Concept :: reclining
  • Subject Concept :: religious and mythological subject
  • Subject Place :: England
  • Subject Place :: London
  • Subject Place :: St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Subject Place :: United Kingdom
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  • ...
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  • Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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?:label
  • Sketch for "The Conversion of St. Paul" for the Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Sketch for "The Conversion of St. Paul" for the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral
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