United Kingdom • 1723−1792

Biography and information

10 Dec 1768 in London took place the solemn opening of the Royal Academy of Arts – Royal Academy of arts. The circle of academics and in our day is narrow, limited to only 80-th places, and then by a vote from the entire Kingdom were elected naidostoyneyshih, the best of the best, the number of 40 people. And only the question of who will head the Academy, no one had: of course, Joshua Reynolds (Joshua Reynolds)! The most famous London portraitist and master of historical painting, he was distinguished by a broad erudition, well traveled, acted as a theorist of art and really did a lot for the institutionalization and international recognition of the fine English art of the EIGHTEENTH century.

Reynolds was born July 16, 1723, in the family of an Anglican priest, whitelistable in the parish school of the town of Plympton in the County of Devon. The parents hoped that his son would become a doctor. Probably would've hit him in the hands of some medical treatise – the person he was from birth, first, very enthusiastic, and secondly, the extremely gifted. But in eight years, Joshua read a book about the future. Coupled with the fact that the age by Reynolds thumbs up went to copy old prints, book decided his fate.

Father sends him to London to the workshop Thomas Hudson popular, though a very superficial portrait. The diligence and talent of Joshua were such that in 2-3 years a teacher, Hudson began to experience creative jealousy, and the student was forced to return home to Devonshire. Fortunately, in addition to artistic abilities, Reynolds had a real talent to get along with people, to inspire them. These qualities make it one of the leading authorities of his time, famous not only for its art, but also the breadth of their connections. In 1747, Reynolds met with a military sailor, the future Admiral Augustus Cappela and received an invitation to participate in the voyage.

They visited Algeria, Lisbon and Majorca. However, upon reaching Italy, Reynolds went ashore and the ship never came back: the art of the old masters left him no choice. Reynolds had previously shared the opinion of connoisseurs that Michelangelo, Veronese, Correggio, and other Italians gave the world the unattainable fine specimens, and the modern painter has no other way but to learn from the great. It would be unforgivable to miss this opportunity. Three years he spent in Rome, copying the pattern Rafaelstudying coloring Titianhoning to perfection their own skills; managed to visit Venice and Florence, and in 1752 he returned to his homeland.

Reynolds settles in London and very quickly gets a reputation as a portraitist, and captain Keppel the second time unwittingly contributed to the success of the other. In gratitude for Italy Reynolds wrote "Portrait of Commodore Keppel". Brave and beautiful captain standing in the pose of the Apollo Belvedere in the background of rebellious sea and stormy sky, all embodying the slogan "England is mistress of the seas". The portrait was among the audience such admiration that, according to legend, Reynolds didn't even give his Keppel, left hanging in his Studio as a sample for customers. They flow from year to year only grew: to order a portrait of Reynolds "in the sublime statuary style" considered it an honor writers and politicians, actors and members of the British nobility. Reynolds becomes a kind of trend setter, the arbiter of elegance. He is very well able to convey in the portrait similarity with the model and at the same time, subtly to flatter, idealize and elevate the model. The giving of portraits of society beauties written by Reynolds, more like the guest list to the court: "Catherine, lady Bamfield", "Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Elizabeth, Duchess of Hamilton Argyll", "Mary Amelia, Countess of salsbury"... These portraits are mediocre in their solemnity, but realistic and not the front "The Portrait Of Nelly O'brien" – the true peak of creativity Reynolds.

Reynolds did not belong to the type of artists who are not interested in anything but painting. Outstanding social temperament and ambition bring him into the circle of modern politicians. Along with fellow writers, he established the London literary club, organizes exhibitions and auctions. The establishment of the Royal Academy of arts – is also largely the initiative of Joshua Reynolds. Traditionally, every two years, Reynolds was read at the Academy lectures on art, amazing breadth of knowledge, the power of generalizations and ambitious tasks, which, from his point of view, should be placed before art. 15 lectures Reynolds was reprinted many times, translated into many European languages.
"We should not think that Reynolds was a bombastic bore, warns art theorist Ernst Gombrich. – This impression dissipates on closer acquaintance with his paintings and literary heritage."

Opinions about the nature of Reynolds dvoyatsya. Unconditional intellectual, but also a snob, what to look for. Quirky and at the same time generous. His lectures were full of pathos, but it is completely sincere. He was obviously very talented as a painter, but did not disdain "to release under their own label" an impressive number of mediocre paintings to satisfy all customers.

Reynolds never married, but did offer moved to London a German artist The Angelica Kauffmanbut being rejected, in revenge introduced to Angelika with a gigolo Frederick Brandt. Latest drew fell in love with the artist is such an adventurous network and trouble that this affair was watched by all of secular Europe, and Victor Hugo later wrote in her explanation of the drama "RUY Blaz".

For services Reynolds received the title of peer, and from that time he is called "sir Joshua". Exactly what it refers to in the letters Thomas Gainsborough. Actually, speaking of Reynolds, it is impossible not to mention Gainsborough. Two of the most gifted craftsmen of his generation, two famous British portraitist - of course, the rumor attributed to them the complexities of the relationship of the competitors. But we should not forget that, as rivals, both were to the bone English gentlemen. Yeah, Gainsborough preferred a more intimate style of life and painting style did not have the same weight in society as Reynolds. Yes, Reynolds jealously refers to the ease of the brush and virtuosity of execution of some things, Gainsborough. But both tried to smooth over the antagonism in relationships. Reynolds once suggested that someone from the collectors to barter on your Titian "Girl with piglets" Ganbare, they say, "this is the best that Gainsborough wrote and still write". And Gainsborough before her death, asked the "dear sir Joshua," come to see and appreciate it The lumberjack. And Reynolds really without delay came, and after the death of Gainsborough took care of his widow and included in our "Lectures" section about the value of painting the opponent.

Reynolds, Gainsborough has experienced only 4 years and died from cancer too. A few years before his death, he gradually began to lose hearing and vision, and in the last year of his life was completely blind. His last paintings, real masterpieces of light and shade, written shortly before the full immersion in the darkness, were three allegorical paintings, commissioned by Catherine II and Prince Potemkin and stored now in the Hermitage. Buried outstanding educator, the head of the English school of painting Joshua Reynolds in London's St. Paul's Cathedral.

Author: Anna Yesterday