Helen Rosslyn TV - Tim Marlow TV - Joshua Reynolds - William Jackson - Edmund Burke - Bishop of Killaloe -
The Academy’s first president: Joshua Reynolds … He absorbed the work of the great masters. Reynolds returned to London inspired. Helen Rosslyn, Bought With Love: The Secret History of British Art Collections II: The Golden Age, BBC 2013
Gainsborough’s illustrious contemporary was the equally accomplished portraitist, and the founder of the Royal Academy, Joshua Reynolds. There are no Reynold’s work currently on show here at the Courtauld, but that is set to change. Tim Marlow at the Courtauld 2/3
Few have been taught to any purpose who have not been their own teachers. Joshua Reynolds, Discourses on Art, December 1769
If you have great talents, industry will improve them: if you have but moderate abilities, industry will supply their deficiency. ibid.
A mere copier of nature can never produce anything great. ibid.
Could we teach taste or genius by rules, they would be no longer taste and genius. ibid.
The whole beauty and grandeur of the art consists … in being able to get above all singular forms, local customs, particularities, and details of every kind. ibid.
The value and rank of every art is in proportion to the mental labour employed in it, or the mental pleasure produced by it. ibid.
Genius … is the child of imitation. ibid.
The mind is but a barren soil; a soil which is soon exhausted, and will produce no crop, or only one, unless it be continually fertilised and enriched with foreign matter. ibid.
Art in its perfection is not ostentatious; it lies hid, and works its effect, itself unseen. ibid.
It is the very same taste which relishes a demonstration in geometry, that is pleased with the resemblance of a picture to an original, and touched with the harmony of music. ibid.
I should desire that the last words which I should pronounce in this Academy, and from this place, might be the name of – Michelangelo. ibid.
There is much ingenuity and originality in all his academic discourses, replete with classical knowledge of his art, acute remarks on the works of others, and general taste and discernment. William Jackson, The Four Ages
Sir Joshua Reynolds was on very many accounts one of the most memorable men of his Time. He was the first Englishman who added the praise of the elegant Arts to the other Glories of his Country. In Taste, in grace, in facility, in happy invention, and in the richness and Harmony of colouring, he was equal to the great masters of the renowned Ages. In Portrait he went beyond them ... He possessed the Theory as perfectly as the Practice of his Art. Edmund Burke
... Thou say’st not only skill is gained
But genius too may be attained
By studious imitation;
Thy temper mild, thy genius fine
I’ll copy till I make them mine
By constant application ... Bishop of Killaloe tribute