"Exalted Ideas of the Arts": John Francis Rigaud's Vision of the Role of the Artist in Eighteenth-Century England as seen in his Portraits of Fellow Artists and in his Self-Portraits
Pressly, William L
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This thesis analyzes John Francis Rigaud's (1742-1810) vision of the role of the artist in eighteenth-century England by examining his portraits of fellow artists and by examining his self-portraits with his family, particularly in light of "Facts and Recollections of the XVIIIth Century in a Memoir of John Francis Rigaud Esq., R.A.," his memoir as compiled by his son, Stephen Francis Dutilh Rigaud. Rigaud's Memoir is one of the few surviving documents that illustrates the working life and aspirations of an artist in late-eighteenth-century England. Throughout the Memoir and in his paintings of himself and other artists, Rigaud supported the academic construction, as voiced by Sir Joshua Reynolds and as promoted by the Royal Academy of Arts, of the artist as a learned, hard-working, academic genius, rather than as notions of the artist as an original, creative genius popularized by the Romantic Movement.