Joshua Reynolds

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Reynolds, Joshua


Born July 16, 1723, in Plympton, Devonshire; died Feb. 23, 1792, in London. English painter.

Reynolds studied in London with T. Hudson from 1740 to 1743. He worked in Devonshire and London. From 1749 to 1752 he traveled in Europe, studying the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, and the 16th-century Venetian masters. Reynolds was a founder of the London Royal Academy of Arts; he served as the academy’s first president from 1768 to 1790.

Creatively reinterpreting the traditions of formal baroque portraiture and combining the grandeur of the overall concept with natural characterization, Reynolds sought to represent the ideal personality within the proper sociohistorical framework. He used dynamic composition, fluid brushstroke, and lush colors to achieve an effect of naturalness (as seen in Jane, Countess Harrington, 1777–79, Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino, Calif.).

Many of Reynold’s portraits were in the form of allegorical scenes—for example, Garrick Between Comedy and Tragedy (c. 1760–61, Lord Rothschild Collection, Cambridge). The artist’s self-portraits and portraits of his friends (for example, Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1772, Tate Gallery, London) are noted for their psychological expressiveness. His portraits of friends were deliberately simple in execution.

Reynold’s art theory, dominated by conventional classicist views, was more conservative than his art.


Graves, A., and W. Cronin. A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, vols. London, 1899–1901.
Hudson, D. Sir Joshua Reynolds, a Personal Study. London, 1958.
Waterhouse, E. K. Reynolds. London, 1973.
References in periodicals archive ?
In a footnote to his influential Essay on the Picturesque (1794), Uvedale Price retells an anecdote from Sir Joshua Reynolds in which Reynolds describes viewing with landscape artist Richard Wilson a real-life scene:
The artist took only one of these trips, however; She traveled to London, stayed at a hotel for three days, and visited the Wallace Collection to see the portrait of Miss Nelly O'Brien by Joshua Reynolds.
All the gestures of children are graceful," the artist Sir Joshua Reynolds once said--one reason, perhaps, that children make good subjects for magazine covers.
Anyone interested in the sociology of taste could hardly do better than visit London at the moment, where what used to be known as the Tate Gallery is offering two exhibitions, the first of portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the second of works by Frida Kahlo.
Joshua Reynolds, the preeminent English portraitist, called it "an excellent picture" and encouraged Copley to study in Europe.
Joshua Reynolds was one of the most sought-after portrait artists of his day and his clientele were the rich, the aristocratic and the famous.
Using Joshua Reynolds and Friedrich Schiller as touchstones, Lindenberger examines the remarkable distance the arts traveled during this volume's period.
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92), the son of a clergyman schoolteacher, was raised in a large family of modest income.
Thomas Edison, arguably the most productive man of the century, kept this Joshua Reynolds quote on the wall of his library and office: "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.
Like one of her venerable portraitists, the great Sir Joshua Reynolds, she was an artist boxed in by the humdrum tastes of Britain's burgeoning 18th-century middle classes, who couldn't see that ``tragedies are concocted and irrelevant,'' whereas great comedy is ``serious business.
The work guaranteed lifelong fame for the artist as well, despite the fact that his conception of the historical event did not conform to the ideas about the representation of history espoused by the most important art theorist of the day, Joshua Reynolds.