Synopses & Reviews
The 'Discourses on Art' of Sir Joshua Reynolds form one of the most eloquent literary documents in the history of European art. Composed as lectures to the students at the Royal Academy in the late eighteenth century, they both summarize the art theory of the previous three hundred years and point towards attitudes prevalent in the nineteenth century. Reynolds' general topic is the education of the artist. He is concerned with the essentials of the problem: the purpose of art, the nature of the creative process, and the artist's relation to tradition. He treats these questions with a breadth and clarity that won the immediate admiration of his contemporaries and have continued to hold the attention of readers ever since. No other body of art criticism by an Englishman has enjoyed such sustained respect. This standard edition of the 'Discourses' is reissued in a new format and with illustrations. It has long been recognised as a fundamental text for the study of eighteenth-century English painting, and this edition is generally considered to be the definitive one.Robert R. Wark was curator of art collections at the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery.