Portraits of the Enlightenment
This book examines the cultural, intellectual, and social contexts in which Allan Ramsay produced his renowned portraits, along with other key works.
Allan Ramsay’s accomplished canvases and refined drawings offer us some of the defining portraits of the Enlightenment. He was as well equipped to offer a deep sense of engagement with his Enlightenment sitters through his intellectual and cultural upbringing as he was trained to create elegantly constructed paintings through his extended education as a painter in Italy. Establishing himself in London and Edinburgh, Ramsay was admired for his understanding of contemporary political, cultural, and intellectual issues, as well as for his portraits of key protagonists in these debates. This beautiful volume brings together Ramsay’s most celebrated sitters, such as Rousseau, Hume, and William Hunter, along with numerous drawings and prints to consider his critical role in the British Enlightenment. Many of the artist’s rarely seen portraits of women are included. Alongside exquisite reproductions, the volume presents fascinating new research exploring the unique sensitivity of Ramsay’s painting, the development of his technique, and familial influences on his work.