Sir Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds was an English painter in
the Grand Manner, who was the foremost portraitist of his day.
Self Portrait, 1768
Reynolds was born in Plympton, Devonshire, on July 16, 1723,
the son of a cleric. He learned portraiture from a painter in
London and in 1749 sailed to the Mediterranean with Commodore
Augustus Keppel. After three years traveling in Italy he returned
to London, where he soon attracted notice by his portraits of
prominent persons. He came to be the first English painter to
achieve social recognition for his artistic achievements.
In 1764 Reynolds founded the Literary Club, which included essayist
and critic Samuel Johnson, actor David Garrick, statesman Edmund
Burke, writer Oliver Goldsmith, writer James Boswell, and dramatist
Richard Brinsley Sheridan. When the Royal Academy of Arts was
instituted in 1768, Reynolds was elected president and was knighted.
In 1769 he delivered the first of his annual Discourses (pub.
1778) to the students of the academy in which he set forth the
idealistic, moralizing principles of academic art. In 1784 he
succeeded Allan Ramsay as painter to the king; in the same year
he exhibited his portrait of the English actor Sarah Siddons
as the Tragic Muse (1784, Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino,
California), probably his greatest portrait. Other well-known
paintings are Nelly O'Brien (1760-62, Wallace Collection, London),
Lady Sarah Bunbury (1765, Art Institute of Chicago), Heads of
Angels (1787, Tate Gallery, London), and Age of Innocence (1788,
Reynolds is credited with more than 2000 portraits. Stylistically,
he was influenced by Michelangelo and the Flemish painter Peter
Paul Rubens. Reynolds's portraits were distinguished by calm
dignity, classical allusions, rich color, and realistic portrayal
of character. Unfortunately, his use of bitumen (or asphalt)
and experimental pigments made some of his colors fade prematurely.
Nevertheless, his portraits form an epitome of London society
of his day. He died in London on February 23, 1792. ©
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Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity by Martin Postle
Paperback: 296 pages Publisher: Tate (June 1, 2004)
Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity examines
one of England's greatest portrait painters
in the social, political, and cultural context
of a century that cultivated a very modern notion
of fame. This new approach to Reynolds (1723-1792)
considers his life and career in terms of a
conscious quest for celebrity. Reynolds surrounded
himself with the most famous men and women of
his time. His portraits served to create, reinforce,
and advertise not only his subjects' reputations
but also his own. It is, therefore, no surprise
that Reynolds made no fewer than 27 self-portraits
in which he purposefully perpetuated his well-crafted
public image as an artist, an academic, and
Published to accompany a major Tate exhibition,
this book features many of Reynolds's most famous
and beautiful portraits. Sections consider the
friendships Reynolds cultivated with the famous
and infamous figures of his time, among them
politicians, courtesans, writers, war heroes,
and aristocrats. These flamboyant and influential
subjects helped to promote and sustain Reynolds's
distinguished career and, ultimately, to secure
his enduring popularity with audiences today.
AUTHOR BIO: Mark Hallett is reader in history
of art at the University of York. Tim Clayton
is a former research fellow at Worcester College,
Oxford. Martin Postle is a Tate curator and
an authority on the art of Joshua Reynolds.
Stella Tillyard is the internationally acclaimed
author of The Aristocrats.
Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Subject Pictures
by Martin J. Postle Hardcover, 374 pages
(January 1995) Cambridge Univ Press (Short)
Sir Joshua Reynolds' subject pictures were among
the most widely discussed British paintings
of the eighteenth century. Today Reynolds's
reputation rests principally on his portraits,
his theoretical writings on art and his role
as president of the Royal Academy. But while
he could complete the face of a portrait sitter
in a matter of hours, his subject paintings
often occupied him for months or even years,
and it is clear from Reynolds's own preoccupation
with them, and the critical coverage they received
during his day, that the subject pictures lay
at the very heart of Reynolds's practice as
a painter. In this, the first book to be devoted
to this aspect of Reynolds' work, the subject
pictures are shown as playing a vital role in
shaping attitudes to high art during the major
transitions in British culture of the late eighteenth
and early nineteenth centuries.
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1986)
VHS Release Date: June 13, 2000
Run Time: 56 minutes
In the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment,
the British upper classes resolved to fill their
stately homes with noble pictures of themselves.
No painter was better suited to this purpose
than Joshua Reynolds, a man of tremendous social
Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings
[BOX SET] by David Mannings, Martin Postle (Contributor)
Hardcover: 1264 pages Publisher: Paul Mellon Center BA; Boxed
edition (November 10, 2000)
From Library Journal: It has been a full century since
the last complete catalog of Reynolds's works was published,
bringing together paintings scattered throughout the world on
museum walls and in the corridors of stately homes. Mannings
(history of art, Univ. of Aberdeen) and Postle (senior curator,
Tate Collections) have produced an outstanding scholarly work
that could well serve students of 18th-century art history for
the next century. Relying on first-hand inspection of the works
wherever possible and using current techniques and methodology,
the authors present an important reexamination of the paintings
along with new insights into studio practices and procedures
of the period. The introductory essays are examples of art history
at its best, with no sacrifice of clarity to scholarship. The
text volume is divided into portraits (including self-portraits)
and subject pictures, landscapes, and copies after old masters,
all in alphabetical order. Each entry has a wealth of detail
that includes descriptive, historical, and bibliographical data
as well as listings of any copies; also included are the dates
of sittings, comments made about the work, and the price paid.
The plates volume follows much the same order, with the addition
of 136 excellent color plates of varying themes; these are followed
by black-and-white illustrations of portraits in chronological
order, with the subject pictures following in alphabetical order.
Extensive endmatter and appendixes complete the book. An outstanding
example of art history at its best, these volumes will serve
their readers in many ways and for many years. Paula
Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York Copyright
2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Letters of Sir Joshua Reynolds (Paul Mellon Centre
for Studies in British Art) by John Ingamells (Editor), John
Edgcumbe (Editor) Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Paul Mellon Center BA (December 11, 2000)
This book includes all the surviving letters of Sir Joshua Reynolds,
Britain's most esteemed eighteenth-century portrait painter.
Reynolds's 308 letters-almost double the number included in
the last published edition of his letters-are accompanied by
detailed notes that illuminate the correspondence and identify
the friends, family members, and patrons to whom he wrote. Published
for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.
Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Painter in Society by Richard
Wendorf Hardcover, Published by Harvard University
Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Painter in Society by Richard
Wendorf Paperback, 328 pages Reprint edition,
Harvard Univ Press, 1998
"[A] luminous study of Reynolds...After finishing this book,
we are left not only with an understanding and appreciation
of Sir Joshua Reynold's public eminence in art and society,
but also of the human side to his private life." Michael
Shinagel, HARVARD REVIEW
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