Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-84), c.1783 

John Opie RA (1761-1807)

Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-84), c.1783, John Opie
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Oil on canvas
18th Century
30 x 25 in (76.2 x 63.5 cm)
 
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Opie's portrait of Dr Johnson shows the brooding intensity and uncompromising directness of the celebrated lexicographer. His original compositions are seldom read these days, but his observations on life, his contemporaries and English literary have become gnomic and he occupies a central a position in the development of English literary criticism. He was also, of course, a superb conversationalist, and the members of his Club included some of the foremost figures of the mid-georgian intellegentsia, men such a Sir Joshua Reynolds and David Garrick.
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