Category Archives: Imitation

Life Imitates Life

In “The Discourses of Art,” Sir Joshua Reynold writes, “a mere copier of nature can never produce anything great,” also adding that “instead of endeavoring to amuse mankind with the minute neatness of his imitations, he must endeavor to improve by the grandeur of his ideas” (41-42). His take on art reflects his strong ideology […] Continue reading

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There are no rules to the genius

Sir Joshua Reynolds argues in Discourse III, “could we teach taste or genius by rules, they would be no longer taste and genius” (44). Which is to say that there is an unnatural, innate power of “taste” and “genius” that cannot be taught–or shouldn’t. That seems to debunk the whole idea of mentor and mentee relationships, […] Continue reading

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An Exodus from Reynolds

The phrase “Israel deliverd from Egypt is Art deliverd from Nature & Imitation” (352) is prefaced with the inscription “Spiritual War” (352). This preface, a preface of “Spiritual War,” seems to serve to remind the viewer that the very nature of art, to Blake, is spiritual and deeply religious, and the idea that art can […] Continue reading

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Innate Ability Vs. Frauds

Blake showed that he detests Reynolds view on art and believes that art is something that people are born with. If you are born without the talent then it is impossible to become better. Blake argues that other artists should break out of the confines of perfection. In Discourse III, Reynolds argues that younger painters […] Continue reading

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