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Seven Discourses on Art
Joshua Reynolds

Page 1 of 207


SEVEN DISCOURSES ON ART 

by Sir Joshua Reynolds 

INTRODUCTION 

It is a happy memory that associates the foundation of our Royal
Academy with the delivery of these inaugural discourses by Sir
Joshua Reynolds, on the opening of the schools, and at the first
annual meetings for the distribution of its prizes.  They laid down
principles of art from the point of view of a man of genius who had
made his power felt, and with the clear good sense which is the
foundation of all work that looks upward and may hope to live.  The
truths here expressed concerning Art may, with slight adjustment of
the way of thought, be applied to Literature or to any exercise of
the best powers of mind for shaping the delights that raise us to
the larger sense of life.  In his separation of the utterance of
whole truths from insistance upon accidents of detail, Reynolds was
right, because he guarded the expression of his view with careful

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