REYNOLDS, Sir Joshua
(b. 1723, Plympton Earl, d. 1792, London)
Colonel George K. H. Coussmaker, Grenadier Guards1782
Oil on canvas, 238,1 x 145,4 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Reynolds was the first president of the Royal Academy and the author of 15 discourses on painting, which are classics of the theory of art. In this dismounted equestrian portrait, Reynolds presents Colonel Coussmaker in a pose of casual but studied negligence, the line of his body repeated in the curving neck of the horse. The summer before Reynolds painted the portrait, he traveled to Holland and Flanders and profited by his observation of Rubens's works, especially in the creation of a free and painterly surface treatment.