“I can recommend nothing better… than that you endeavor to infuse into your works what you learn from the contemplation of the works of others.”
This imposing self-portrait exudes an air of confidence and authority which owed much to Joshua Reynolds’ position as President of the Royal Academy. Although there were no official Royal Academy robes Reynolds chooses to depict himself in the academic dress of a Doctor of Civil Law, an honorary degree conferred upon him by the University of Oxford in 1773.
Reynolds pays tribute to two artistic heroes in this work. Michelangelo, a constant source of inspiration, is present in the form of a bust by Daniele da Volterra, a cast of which Reynolds owned. His homage to Rembrandt is equally evident in the broadly conceived composition and the use of light to unify it. source
“The ups and downs make you who you are. There’s no end game here, there’s no pot of gold waiting. It’s really just knowing that I lived my life as an artist and that I did it on my own terms. And I get to keep the lights on for another day.”
— Peter Fiore, painter