Sir Joshua Reynolds


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Reynolds, Sir Joshua,

1723–92, English portrait painter, b. Devonshire. Long considered historically the most important of England's painters, by his learned example he raised the artist to a position of respect in England. Reynolds studied painting in London and in 1742 began as a portraitist in Devon. He was able to study the Italian masters when Commodore Keppel, a friend, took him to Italy in 1749. After three years of study and travel, Reynolds returned and took London by storm. Intensely ambitious, Reynolds used his wit and charm as well as his artistic talents to advance himself, and within a year he was besieged with portrait commissions and was employing assistants. He maintained a gallery not only of his own works but also those of old masters whose paintings he bought and sold. He entertained the world of wealth and fashion and the great literary figures of the day. When the Royal Academy was founded in 1768, Reynolds was inevitably elected president and was knighted the following year. His annual discourses before the Academy have literary distinction and are a significant exposition of academic style, propounding eclectic generalization over direct observation, and allusion to the classical past over the present. The Grand Style, thus proclaimed, was of enormous influence in the development of English portraiture. At 59, Reynolds had a paralytic stroke but recovered sufficiently to continue his work for several years. Before he lost his sight (1789), his style had become warmer and less formal, having been influenced by Rubens. Reynolds painted more than 2,000 portraits and historical paintings, depicting almost every notable person of his time. He often used experimental painting methods, which resulted in works now poorly preserved. His portraits of Commodore Keppel, Dr. Johnson, Lady Caroline Howard, Mrs. Siddons, Sterne, Goldsmith, Garrick, Gibbon, and Edmund Burke are among the many fine examples that are of historical interest. Reynolds's works are in nearly every major museum in the western world. He is best represented in the National Gallery, London, but examples of his work are to be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Cleveland Museum of Art; and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Bibliography

See his letters (ed. by F. W. Hilles, 1929) and his Discourses on Art (ed. by R. Wark, 1959, repr. 1965); studies by E. Waterhouse (1941 and 1973).

References in periodicals archive ?
In this sense his beautiful, complex film has something in common with the abstraction and idealization of Sir Joshua Reynolds's portrait.
Rigaud, Sir William Chambers is distinguished from Joseph Wilton and Sir Joshua Reynolds by having his left hand resting on a pair of compasses on top of an architectural drawing while in his right hand is a right-angle square.
Sir Joshua Reynolds' portrait of Dr John Ash which is currently owned by Queen Elizabeth Birmingham Hospitals Charity, has been on loan to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery since 1993.
The painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds of Dr John Ash, founder of Birmingham's first hospital, is being sold by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Also included are Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Walter Scott, Mary Seacole, Emmeline Pankhurst, T.S.
'Miss Angel' was the name Sir Joshua Reynolds gave the Swiss-born and Italian-trained painter who arrived in England in 1766 and stayed until 1780.
SEE the wide variety of art works spanning from the 18thcentury up until the 1980s -from Sir Joshua Reynolds to pop art's Andy Warhol at the Tate Gallery,Liverpool until March 28.TheStage of Drawing: Gesture and Act.
The painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds has an export ban placed on it to allow time for bids.
By Sir Joshua Reynolds. New Haven: Yale University Press, 349 pp.
The most influential voice in British art throughout the latter eighteenth century had been that of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), longtime president of the Royal Academy and author (with assistance from others) of annual "discourses" that were later collected and frequently reprinted.
In 1764 he became one of the nine founding members of the famous Club, a select body, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, Samuel Johnson, and Edmund Burke, that met weekly for supper and conversation.
(5) For the circumstances of Reynold's composition of his three Idler essays, see James Northcote, The Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds (2nd edn, London, 1818), i.89, as well as F.