Sir Joshua Reynolds(1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy
Sitter associated with 38 portraits
Artist associated with 1413 portraits
Reynolds was the first President of the Royal Academy and Britain's leading portrait painter. In his attempt to raise the status of portraiture, he created the 'Grand Manner' which borrowed from classical antiquity and the Old Masters to fill his portraits with moral and heroic symbolism. An incredible socialite, social climber and self-promoter, Reynolds used his contacts to advance himself. Appointed President of the newly established Royal Academy in 1768, his annual lectures - or Discourses on Art - had a lasting impact on the contemporary theory of art and practice.
Watch a film clip on the artist from the BBC Archive in the Media section below