Jonathan Richardson: Art Theorist of the English Enlightenment

Jonathan Richardson: Art Theorist of the English Enlightenment

by Carol Gibson-Wood
Pub. Date:
Yale University Press

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Jonathan Richardson: Art Theorist of the English Enlightenment

Jonathan Richardson (1667–1745), one of his generation’s foremost portrait painters, was also one of the most influential art theorists in eighteenth-century Britain. In this critical biography, Carol Gibson-Wood provides for the first time a detailed account of Richardson’s life, including new information from original archival sources and unpublished correspondence, along with an analysis of Richardson’s most significant theoretical texts.

Gibson-Wood describes art consumption in England in Richardson’s time as well as the debates concerning native versus Continental painting. She argues that Richardson’s personal and written responses to these circumstances quintessentially embody “bourgeois” English Enlightenment ideals and the Lockean principles underpinning them. The first part of the book examines Richardson’s personal life, professional career, literary aspirations, activities as a collector, and relationships with such contemporaries as Alexander Pope. In the second part Gibson-Wood sets Richardson’s writings in the context of earlier art theory and of other genres of contemporary writing and concludes that his art-theoretical program was a radically English one that upheld the ability of freethinking Englishmen—including painters—to establish their own aesthetic criteria.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300081275
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 08/28/2000
Series: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Series
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 7.88(w) x 10.43(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii
General Introduction 1(22)
Part I: 'The Annals of a Chequered Life'
Laborious Years
The Eminent Mr Richardson, C.1710-1730
'The Fagg End of Life'
Part II: An English Theory of Painting
The Englishing of Continental Art Theory
The Rationalization of Connoisseurship
England as Art-Critical Capital of Europe
Conclusion 230(4)
Notes 234(19)
Bibliographical Note 253(3)
Photograph Credits 256(1)
Index 257

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