Joshua Reynolds' Discourses on Art

Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Discourses on Art are amongst the most eloquently written literary works in the history of art. Composed as lectures to students at the Royal Academy of Arts, between 1769 and 1790. Their general topic is the education of artists - addressing the nature of the creative process, the cultural function of the arts and the artist’s relationship with tradition. Examine a work that opens a window into the higher conceptual thought processes of both students of art and professional artists in late eighteenth century Britain.

DELIVERY MODE

  • Online

SUGGESTED READING

  • Sir Joshua Reynolds, Discourses on Art (Yale University Press: 1997)
  • Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting, ed., Rocco Sinisgalli (Cambridge University Press: 2013)
  • Ludovico Dolce, Dolce's 'Aretino' and Venetian Art Theory of the Cinquecento, ed., Mark Roskill (University of Toronto Press: 2000)
  • Classical Literary Criticism, trans., Penelope Murray (Penguin Classics: 2000)
  • John Barrell, The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlit (Yale University Press: 1997)
  • James Hamilton, Gainsborough: A Portrait (Weidenfeld and Nicholson: 2017).
  • Ian McIntyre, Joshua Reynolds: The Life and Times of the First President of the Royal Academy (Allen Lane: 2003)
  • Reynolds ed., Nicolas Penny (Royal Academy of Arts: 1986)
  • Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity, ed., Martin Postle (Tate Publishing: 2005)
  • Thomas Puttfarken, Roger De Piles’ Theory of Art (Yale University Press: 1985)
  • Robin Simon, Hogarth: France and British Art (Paul Holbertson Publishing: 2007)

COURSE OUTLINE

  • Joshua Reynolds – English portrait painter, founding member and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts: As a young man, Reynolds was greatly influenced by the portrait painter, Jonathan Richardson’s written work, An Essay on the Theory of Painting (1715). Then as a youthful painter, he travelled and lived in Rome for two years, studying the works of the Old Masters. We will see how this background would have a pivotal influence on the advice he would later give to students about their artistic training in his Discourses at the Royal Academy.
  • Discourses 1 to 8: Turning to the first eight Discourses, we will examine the varying themes Reynolds addresses. These include:
    • The different stages of a student’s artistic development
    • What is meant by the “Grand Style” of art
    • Differing styles of painting and their intention
    • Genius beginning where rules for art end
    • The strengths and weaknesses in imitating artists
    • The principles of art being founded in the mind
  • Discourses 9 to 15: Turning to the last seven Discourses, we will examine the varying themes Reynolds addresses. These include:
    • An analysis of the art of sculpture
    • How general ideas are more important to artists than particulars
    • How much of art cannot be taught
    • How the artist’s imagination transcends imitation
    • An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the recently deceased painter, Thomas Gainsborough
    • A call to study the works of Michelangelo
$65 Limited

<p>Sir Joshua Reynolds’ <em>Discourses on Art</em> are amongst the most eloquently written literary works in the history of art. Composed as lectures to students at the Royal Academy of Arts, between

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08 Dec

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