TITLE

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Decolonization, and the Pictorial Dialectics of Crisis

AUTHOR(S)
O'Quinn, Daniel
PUB. DATE
July 2018
SOURCE
SEL: Studies in English Literature (Johns Hopkins);Summer2018, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p673
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
ABSTRACT This article argues that Sir Joshua Reynolds's martial portraiture from the closing year of the American War of Independence con-stitutes not only a complex diagnostic of cultural humiliation and social decay, but also an intrepid attempt to clear the ground for the emergence of representational paradigms suitable to the post- American era. American decolonization forced Britain to reassess and realign many of its conceptions of self. In Reynolds's work of the late 1770s and early 1780s, we can begin to understand what it means to be post-American. As we will see, the failure of Britain's martial efficacy not only forced Reynolds to engage with his own earlier paintings of heroic masculinity, but also allowed him to develop a critical idiom that would define his late style. By reckoning with his own and his nation's past, Reynolds found himself inventing futures that might put the American crisis in abeyance.
ACCESSION #
131837502

 

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