REYNOLDS, Sir Joshua
(b. 1723, Plympton Earl, d. 1792, London)

Parody of Raphael's School of Athens

Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

With a hefty dose of sarcasm, Sir Joshua Reynolds painted a fantastical School of Athens. The painting portrays real and picturesque figures, all of whom English gentlemen who instead of being shown in a sumptuous representation, as in the case of Raphael's School of Athens, are very ill-mannered fellows. One is even lying on the ground, modelled after Raphael's Diogenes, and, naturally, there are dogs. This coterie includes other figures who are laughing and making faces. The setting has a Gothic air and the palette is very dark. This was an exceptionally critical and grotesque representation of these circles that toured Italy, which Reynolds parodied heavily.

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