Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) 1700s

After Sir Godfrey Kneller Bt (1646-1723)

Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), After Sir Godfrey Kneller Bt
Oil on canvas
18th Century
30 x 25 inches 76 x 63 cm
The Rectory, Burley on the Hill.
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Kneller's original portrait of 1702 (National Portrait Gallery) from which this studio version derives is justly regarded as one of the master's most remarkable works, not only as a portrait but as an exercise in painterly virtuosity. It has been remarked that the loose brushwork of the wig -an example of Kneller's painting of hair at its most free- seems animated by the restless intelligence of its subject.

Newton is still considered to have been among England's greatest scientists, and remains the most celebrated. Hs achievement is also a monument to that age, the late seventeenth century, when three Englishmen, Newton, Wren and Purcell, performed feats that gained international acclaim in the fields of science, architecture and music. Newton's two great contributions to the study of mathematics and physics were the Principia Mathematica of 1686 and the Opticks of 1704. In recognition of this and much other work he was President of the Royal Society from 1703 until his death in 1727.
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