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Hunter, Matthew C.
Painting with fire : Sir Joshua Reynolds, photography, and the temporally evolving chemical object / Matthew Hunter.
Chicago : University of Chicago Library, 2019.
Physical Description:
v, 275 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm
Reference Library
NJ18.R36 H958 2019 (LC)
Accessible in the Reference Library [Hours]
Note: Please contact the Reference Library to schedule an appointment [Email ycba.reference@yale.edu]

Includes bibliographical references (pages 241-263) and index.
"This book does nothing less than revise the history of photography in its incipient moments. It tells a story of radical chemical experiments at the London academies, and he traces how some of the most exciting reproductive techniques and patents of the late eighteenth century fared during the nineteenth, when entrepreneurs tried to refine them into alternative technologies to photography"-- Provided by publisher.
"Painting with Fire shows how experiments with chemicals known to change visibly over the course of time transformed British pictorial arts of the long eighteenth century--and how they can alter our conceptions of photography today. As early as the 1670s, experimental philosophers at the Royal Society of London had studied the visual effects of dynamic combustibles. By the 1770s, chemical volatility became central to the ambitious paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds, premier portraitist and first president of Britain's Royal Academy of Arts. Valued by some critics for changing in time (and thus, for prompting intellectual reflection on the nature of time), Reynolds's unstable chemistry also prompted new techniques of chemical replication among Matthew Boulton, James Watt, and other leading industrialists. In turn, those replicas of chemically decaying academic paintings were rediscovered in the mid-nineteenth century and claimed as origin points in the history of photography. Tracing the long arc of chemically produced and reproduced art from the 1670s through the 1860s, the book reconsiders early photography by situating it in relationship to Reynolds's replicated paintings and the literal engines of British industry. By following the chemicals, Painting with Fire remaps familiar stories about academic painting and pictorial experiment amid the industrialization of chemical knowledge."--from jacket
Subject Terms:
ART / Individual Artist.
England -- London.
Photography -- England -- London -- History.
Reynolds, Joshua, 1723-1792.
Reynolds, Joshua, Sir, 1723-1792.
Reynolds, Joshua, Sir, 1723-1792.

  • Slow-Motion Mobiles
  • "Pictures . . . in time petrify'd'
  • Joshua Reynolds's "Nice Chymistry in the 1770s
  • "Rend'rd Imortal': The Work of Art in an Age of Chemical Reproduction
  • Space, Time, and Chemistry: Making Enlightenment "Photography' in the 1860s
  • Conclusion: Art History in/as an Age of Combustion.