Sir Joshua Reynolds was the foremost portrait painter in England in the 18th century, and was extremely influential on later generations of artists. His poses were intended to invoke classical values and to enhance the dignity of his sitters, as is evident in his treatment of this young rural girl. His style incorporated strong lighting, rich color and bravura paint handling. He also made history and “fancy pictures.” As first president of the Royal Academy in London, he significantly raised the profile of art and artists in Britain. Reynolds is also known for his eloquent Discourses on Art, delivered to the students and members of the Academy between 1769 and 1790.
Bartolozzi was an engraver, etcher and painter born in Florence, Italy. He was trained in the Florentine Academy and apprenticed to a Venetian engraver. In 1764, King George III’s librarian brought him to England, where he was appointed Engraver to the King and later held the title of Royal Academician. A prolific engraver, he developed a stipple method invented in France, and his work was admired for its subtle modulations of light and shade and his sensitive and graceful portrayal of the human form. Engravings were the means of creating reproductions of fine art in the pre-photographic age, and Bartolozzi was considered one of the best. Sir Joshua Reynolds praised his work. He spent the last 13 years of his life working and teaching in Lisbon, where he was knighted.
“Francesco Bartolozzi,” Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02319a.htm
“Sir Joshua Reynolds.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Artnet.com.http://www.artnet.com/library/07/0717/T071710.asp (15 April 2002).