Joshua Reynolds


Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) was apprenticed to a portrait painter, and spent the years 1749 to 1752 in Italy, studying Italian masters and earning his living by painting portraits of English visitors. When the Royal Academy was founded in 1768 he became its first President, and was later knighted by George III. His published Discourses describe his beliefs in set rules of taste and authority, and the necessity for study of recognised masterpieces. He did much to raise the social status of painters, working with the rich, influential and famous of his time, and moving them from formal set-piece portraits to those which allowed the personality of the sitter to be revealed. Reynolds was recognised by Oxford University with the bestowal of an honorary doctoral degree, and greatly influenced future English portrait painters. The print of Master Hare in stock at NZ Fine Prints is a fine example of a Reynolds portrait.