Joshua Reynolds, who aspired to paint like Rembrandt; JMW Turner who explored colour contrasts and texture; Edgar Degas, who dried his oils before painting.
Physiognomy originated in ancient Greece, but was codified by Lavater in 1772; phrenology followed from 1796, and together they attracted many painters.
How we got from one of the most senior gods, and a winged young man, to a chubby infant armed with a bow and arrow, let alone an unknown former saint.
Independent development of landscape as a genre in Britain, from Gainsborough to John Constable, and radical departure from tradition.
Although painting and sculpture are closely allied, it’s curious to depict sculpture in painting. Examples range from early grisailles to ribald depictions of the Roman god Priapus.
Was a primordial deity, attendant at Aphrodite’s birth, or her son by Ares/Mars? When did he get his bow and arrows? Answered in fine paintings.
When he died 200 years ago today, he was honoured with burial in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. Not bad for an American painter.
With ‘modern history paintings’ long behind him, he turned to literary subjects and classical histories once more.
He took a break from ‘modern history’ painting in the 1780s, making religious works and even some landscapes, including some unknown gems.
A Pennsylvanian, he wanted to be a great history painter. When returning from a visit to Italy, he stopped off in London, and stayed there almost 60 years.