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Joshua Reynolds (British)


Sir Joshua Reynolds was an eighteenth century portrait painter. Born in Devon, England in 1723, Reynolds was influenced and encouraged by his older sister Mary to become an artist. Reynolds studied under portrait painter Thomas Hudson for three years, before striking out on his own. After a trip to Italy and the Mediterranean in 1749, Reynolds began to cultivate a style of portraiture heavily influenced by icons of renaissance painting – Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. This pattern developed into the “Grand Style” of portraiture, for which Reynolds is famous. Reynolds painted the faces and hands of subjects, while his assistants painted the clothing and drapery – a technique Reynolds had never learned. The use of pupils and assistants to complete works was a common practice at the time. Reynolds helped to found the Society of Artists of Great Britain, and was an early member of the Royal Society of Arts. He also held the office of Principal Painter in Ordinary to King George III. Upon his death in 1792, Reynolds was eulogized by his close friend Sir Edmund Burke.

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