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Sir Joshua Reynolds RA FRS FRSA (July 16, 1723 — February 23, 1792) was the most important and influential of 18th century English painters, specialising in portraits and promoting the «Grand Style» in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was one of the founders and first President of the Royal Academy. George III appreciated his merits and knighted him in 1769. Reynolds was born in Plympton, Devon, on 16 July 1723. As one of eleven children, and the son of the village school-master, his formal education was restricted to what his father taught him. Despite this, Reynolds exhibited a natural curiosity, and as a boy came under the influence of Zachariah Mudge, whose Platonistic philosophy stayed with him all his life. Showing an early interest in Art, Reynolds apprenticed in 1740 to the fashionable portrait painter Thomas Hudson, with whom he remained until 1743. From 1749 to 1752, he spent over two years in Italy, where he studied the Old Masters and acquired a taste for the «Grand Style». Unfortunately, whilst in Rome, Reynolds suffered severe cold which left him partially deafened, and as a result he began to carry a small ear trumpet with which he is often pictured. From 1753 until the rest of his life he lived London, his talents gaining recognition soon after his arrival. Reynolds worked long hours in his studio, rarely taking a vacation. Despite this he was both gregarious and keenly intellectual, with a great number of friends from London’s intelligentsia, numbered amongst which were Dr Samuel Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith, Edmund Burke, Henry Thrale, David Garrick and fellow artist Angelica Kauffmann. Because of his popularity as a portrait painter, Reynolds enjoyed constant interaction with the wealthy and famous men and women of the day, and it was he who first brought together the famous figures of «The» Club. With his rival Thomas Gainsborough, Reynolds was the dominant English portraitist of 'the Age of Johnson'. It is said that in his long life he painted as many as three thousand portraits. In 1789 he lost the sight of his left eye, which finally forced him into retirement, and on 23 February 1792 he died in his house in Leicester Fields, London. He was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

000 — Sir Joshua Reynolds in a self-portrait

001 — Colonel Acland and Lord Sydney, The Archers, 1769. In September 2005, the Tate Gallery acquired the painting for over UK£2.5 million (US$4.4 million).

002 — Captain Robert Orme 1756 Oil on canvas, 240 x 147 cm National Gallery, London

003 — Lady Cockburn and her Three Eldest Sons 1773 Oil on canvas, 141,5 x 113 cm National Gallery, London

004 — Colonel George K. H. Coussmaker, Grenadier Guards 1782 Oil on canvas, 238,1 x 145,4 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

005 — Lady Elizabeth Delmé and her Children 1777-80 Oil on canvas, 239 x 147 cm National Gallery of Art, Washington

006 — George Clive and his Family with an Indian Maid 1765 Oil on canvas, 140 x 171 cm Staatliche Museen, Berlin

007 — Francis Rawdon-Hastings c. 1789 Oil on canvas, 240 x 147,9 cm Royal Collection, Windsor

008 — Admiral Sir Edward Hughes 1786 Oil on canvas, 76 x 63 cm Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

009 — Master Hare 1788-89 Oil on canvas, 77 x 64 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris

010 — Mrs. Musters as Hebe 1785 Oil on canvas, 239 x 144,8 cm Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, London

011 — Lady Sunderlin 1786 Oil on canvas, 236 x 145 cm Staatliche Museen, Berlin

012 — General Sir Banastre Tarleton 1782 Oil on canvas, 236 x 145 cm National Gallery, London

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