Sir Joshua Reynolds 1729–92
After study in Italy (1750–2), Reynolds quickly rose to profitable domination of English painting, especially of portraiture, to which he brought wide historical knowledge and the grand style. A leading member of the Johnson circle, he painted many of its celebrities. As first President of the Royal Academy he gave a series of Discourses (1769–90) on art and aesthetic theory, which had much in common with current literary criticism. William Blake offered a detailed refutation of his values in extensive annotations of the texts.
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