This display looks at works by artists including Joshua Reynolds, David Wilkie and JMW Turner through the eyes of the man Kenneth Clark deemed ‘the best critic before Ruskin’, William Hazlitt (1778–1830).
Having trained first as a painter, Hazlitt went on to become one of the premier essayists of his day and a pioneering art critic. He wrote about many aspects of the production and reception of art, as conjured by essay titles including The Pleasure of Painting and On Sitting for One’s Picture. In art he valued gusto (power, passion) and fidelity to nature above all. His discussion of works now in the Tate collection forms the focus of this display.