Johan Zoffany

Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed

Saturday, 10 March 2012 - Sunday, 10 June 2012

Royal Acamdey of Arts, London
'Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed' features some seventy oil paintings and a selection of drawings and prints, many of which have been rarely or never exhibited, from public and private collections around the world. Incorporating revelatory new research carried out over the past decade, the exhibition constitutes a timely and radical re-evaluation of the extraordinary life and career of this brilliant and enigmatic artist. This exhibition is accompanied by Yale's catalogue Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed.

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About the book

The 18th-century painter Johan Zoffany (1733-1810) was an astute observer of the many social circles in which he functioned as an artist over the course of his long career. This catalogue investigates his sharp wit, shrewd political appraisal, and perceptive social commentary (including subtle allusions to illicit relationships) - all achieved while presenting his subjects as delightful and sophisticated members of polite society.

A skilled networker, Zoffany established himself at the court of George III and Queen Charlotte soon after his arrival in England from his native Germany. At the same time, he befriended the leading actor David Garrick and through him became the foremost portrayer of Georgian theatre. His brilliant effects and deft style were well suited to theatricality of all sorts, enabling him to secure patronage in England and on the continent. Following a prolonged visit to Italy he travelled to India, where he quickly became a popular and established member within the circle of Warren Hastings, the governor-general. Zoffany's Indian paintings are among his most spectacular and allowed him to return to England enriched and warmly welcomed. This volume provides a sparkling overview of his finest works.