Jonathan Richardson (12 January 1667 – 28 May 1745), sometimes called "the Elder" to distinguish him from his son (Jonathan Richardson the Younger), was an English artist, collector of drawings and writer on art, working almost entirely as a portrait-painter in London. He was considered by some art-critics as one of the three foremost painters of his time. He was the master of Thomas Hudson and George Knapton. Richardson was even more influential as a writer; he is credited with inspiring Joshua Reynolds to paint and theorise with his book An Essay on the Theory of Painting. This book is credited with being "the first significant work of artistic theory in English."

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