National Society of Colonial Dames of
America in Tennessee
















Blount Mansion Association - Knoxville, Tennessee


Portrait #900
Subject/Title:
Painting on wood of unknown subject
Artist:Unknown limner artist
Date Created:Early 1800s
Owner/Location:Blount Mansion
200 W. Hill Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37901-1703
Frame Dimensions:35" x 28.5"
Image Dimensions:23.8" x 18"
Materials/Media:Oil, wood
Date Documented:8/27/2001
Condition:Fair

Description:This is a limner painting of a male believed to be Willie Blount. It is in the American primitive style set in a modern frame.
History of Work:Limner painters are commonly known as the earliest American artists of the 1700s and 1800s. The word "limner" comes from a medieval term used for drawing or making pictures with lines used by the illuminators of manuscripts. By the sisteenth century artists and portraitists had adopted the name. The limners acquired customers by word of mouth, by going door to door peddling their craft, or by advertising in the local newspaper--if the town had one. The limner artists were commonly self-taught and knew little or nothing of the fundamentals of mixing colors, shading techniques, and perspective. The artists did not have a personal style and painted what they saw the best they knew how. The paintings resulted in non-realistic, flat and lifeless works. Limner artists were known to pre-paint the bodies on wood and paint the head on later when they found a patron. Often, one person would look like the next because the limner would not pay attention to the characteristics of the individual. Many novice artists made great efforts to teach themselves through replication and observation. Some turned to European prints for information about general design, styles, backgrounds, and poses. Most of these portraits remained anonymous because the limners seldon signed their names to their work.
Notes:Permission to reproduce by request only.

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