Reynolds's Discourses

Reynolds delivered his fifteen Discourses to the Royal Academy between 1769 and 1790. These were enormously influential, giving an intellectual cohesion to English historical art and a respectability and seriousness to the artist, principally through Reynolds's view of the intellect vs. technique, which stressed the importance of the painter's capacity for abstraction, and his ability to take an overview of his subject. The practical manifestation of this theme is to be found throughout the Discourses in Reynolds's promotion of the general over the specific.