Sir Joshua Reynolds in Florence: a Walking Tour

Thursday 21st December at 2.30pm a special Walking Tour to mark the anniversary of the English painter’s birth

An initiative promoted by the Florence World Heritage and UNESCO Relations Office of the City of Florence and MUS.E, in collaboration with the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno and The British Institute of Florence, to mark the anniversary of the birth of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-2023): the great portrait artist had a special connection with Florence, where he established valuable contacts with the resident English community captured by precious notes and drawings contained in a notebook, which is now preserved at the British Museum in London.

The special Reynolds in Florence walking tour explores the places and sights dear to Reynolds and to the English-speaking Florentine community, which grew rapidly during the eighteenth century into a vibrant community, partly due to the long stay of the English diplomat Sir Horace Mann.

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723, Plympton – 1792, London) is among the most celebrated British painters of the 18th century. Drawn to art from an early age and trained in London under Thomas Hudson, he had the opportunity to undertake a Grand Tour to Italy, staying for a long time in Rome and visiting other cities on the peninsula from 1750 to 1752, thus being able to deepen his study of the Old Masters. Ten notebooks of sketches and notes remain from his stay, preserved in the British Museum. A significant stop was in Florence, where Reynolds admired the masterpieces in the city’s galleries and large convent complexes. Returning to his homeland, he established a studio in the capital quickly building a reputation for his high quality of his portraits, immortalizing on canvas numerous personalities of the English aristocracy. He was among the founders of the Royal Academy of Arts and the academy’s first president in 1768: to this day he is memorialised by a statue by Alfred Dury (1931) placed in the centre of the entrance court. In later years he developed for his students his lectures on art theory, founding the “grand manner” of painting and later collected in his Discourses on Art.

The Walking Tour will be conducted in English and is open to everyone.  It will start at 2.30pm on Thursday 21st December, meeting at Piazza Santa Trinita.

Participation is free, reservations are required:  055-2768224.