"The Actress Kitty Fisher" by Joshua Reynolds, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.
During one of Joshua Reynolds' lectures at the Royal Academy, a frustrated young student, William Blake, wrote in his note book, "This man was put on earth to be the death of art." Now seen as the perennial stern headmaster, I think there is more dimension to Reynold's character than say, Turner.
In this semi-nude study of the actress/ courtesan Kitty Fisher, the oil strokes are telling. Around her figure, there are zig zags of directionless paint, as if Reynolds blushes, flutters and evades her beauty. With a shaky hand he dares to paints her dress. The brushwork, and perhaps Reynolds' composure, settles down to touch the face, which is gently encaptured- and in this moment, Kitty seems to have her doubts about Mr. Reynolds. In time, she would entrust him to paint her portrait, sold as prints to her many admirers. Far from being stern, Reynolds was gracious, unlike the growling Turner. While rigid on the rules of art, Reynolds was completely flexible in the company he kept. -JC #JoshuaReynolds#Reynolds#Courtesan#Actress#KittyFisher#Georgian#Arthistory#Berlin#Gemäldegalerie