Sir Joshua Reynolds, Self Portrait, oil on canvas, circa 1747-1749 (National Portrait Gallery, London)
Frank Hobbs finds contemporary relevance in the 18th century Discourses of painter Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Hobbs writes that Reynolds' discourses "are rich indeed, and still speak to the concerns of students of painting today, if you have the patience to parse the meat from the embroidery of 18th century rhetoric... My favorite of the Discourses is number XI, in which Reynolds addresses himself to the problem of 'finish' and the relationship of parts to the whole."
Frank Hobbs posts Mercedes Matter's 1973 remarks about learning to be an artist, wherein she answers the question: "is there any use for a young artist... to study the traditional disciplines?"
She begins her response: "How arrogant it would be to imagine that what has happened in art during the last few years could have wiped out the validity and relevance, to an artist, of millennia of marvelous works. And these accomplishments were made in sculpture, painting, drawing. Any young artist without insight into these forms of expression, without a key to understanding the art of other times and places, who is tuned in only to current ideas, is indeed poverty-stricken. However bright, sophisticated, ingenious and successful he may be, he remains, as an artist, naïve."
Hobbs notes that "Almost 40 years later, her insights seem to have only gained in relevance."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.