Joshua Reynolds

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Joshua Reynolds: The Leading Portraitist of 18th Century

Joshua Reynolds was born in 1723 to Reverend Samuel and his wife, Theophila. Well-known and famous in his period, Joshua combined the English style of portraiture with the ideas drawn from old masters and antiquity to create large-scale, fashionable images of many wealthy and successful people of that time. His artworks often reflected theatrical elements, including costumes, colorful props, irreverent classical symbolism, and pastoral landscapes. Reynolds played a leading role in establishing the Royal Academy of Arts, which allowed other artists to publicly display their work. 

The development of art and artists owes a huge debt to Josh, and he will always remain one of the best European painters.

Life of One of Britain's Greatest Artists

He was the seventh child among eleven children, but unfortunately, his five siblings died in infancy. Samuel was a school teacher who made sure all his children received a formal, strict education. 

Samuel wanted Joshua to become a doctor; still, he always supported him as an artist. When the artist was in Rome, he was exposed to the great masters who helped him develop his art style. 

According to Reynolds, the British artists before him were too rigid who focused only on the subjects, so he tried to break the cycle by experimenting with various props on portraits. In no time, the artist gained so much recognition around London and moved to a bigger house. In his later life, the artist lost sight of his eyes, forcing him to retire from his artistic career. He died in 1792 at the age of 68 and left numerous paintings to remember him by, and some of them are:

  • Self-Portrait Shading Eyes- this was painted before his trip from Europe.
  • Miss Kitty Fisher- here a woman is wearing a fashionable gown, and pearls around her neck
  • The Strawberry Girl- this is the best-known work by Joshua; it features a beautiful young child.
  • Self-Portrait as a Deaf Man- here Reynolds portrays himself wearing a brown jacket.