[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

01 & 63 JOHN STREET.


[ocr errors]

ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, In the year 1860,

By A. 8. BARNES & BURR, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for tho

Bouthern District of New York.



The accompanying Memoir of Sir Joshua Reynolds, from the pen of the gifted Allan Cunningham, is so candid, truthful, and appreciative as hardly to require any prefatory notice. It may be well, however, to refer briefly to the relative position which this eminent painter occupied toward English art, a point which his biographer has hardly touched.

Sir Joshua Reynolds was a great portrait painter; living in an age of shams, he was true to nature. His portraits were always lifelike and accurate, but they represented the sitter in those happy moments when the intellectual and spiritual natures held the ascendancy, and triumphed over the animal. Under his magic pencil, the earthy clod was sublimated; the man of money became the man of in. tellect, the miser assumed a philanthropic mien, the ordinary, commonplace peer rose into the statesman.

When he came upon the stage, Lely and Kruller had departed, leaving their mantles to Hudson and Wilson, and others of still inferior merit. The grand style was in vogue; Nature was banished from the realms of art; no positions except the classic ones were allowed, and intense mannerism ruled the painter's domain with a rod of iron. There was but one painter in England who defied these soulless mannerists—the immortal Hogarth—and his special department of art—the humorous—was 80 diverse from that of Reynolds, that they could never have been rivals.

When, on his return from Italy, where he had thoroughly and conscientiously mastered the great principles of art, Sir Joshua Reynolds began to paint portraits, free from the conventionalities which his contemporaries deemed indispensable, their scorn and ridicule were unsparing; but, conscious of the correctness of his principles, he maintained his position with undaunted firmness, and won not only reputation and fortune, but the hearty approbation of all the best art connoisseurs in Europe.

But it is what he accomplished for art in England which entitles him to the highest credit. He found painting, in his native country, at its lowest ebb;

« ForrigeFortsett »