Hired to Depress: A Digital Scholarly Edition of William Blake's Annotations to Sir Joshua Reynolds' Discourses

The First Discourse Blank Page

I consider Reynolds’s Discourses to the Royal
Academy as the Simulations of the Hypocrite
who Smiles particularly where he means to Betray. His Praise
of Rafael is like the Hysteric Smile of Revenge  
His Softness & Candour. the hidden trap. &
the poined feast, He praises Michael Angelo ;  &
for Qualities which Rafael Valued,   Whether Reynolds. knew what
he was doing is nothing to me; the Mischief is
just the same, whether a Man does it Ignorantly or
Knowlingly: I always consider’d True Art
& True Artists to be particularly Insulted &
Degraded by the Reputation of these Discourses
As much as they were Degraded by the Reputation
of Reynolds’s Paintings. & Such Artists
as Reynolds, are at all times Hired by the
Satan’s. for the Depression of Art
A Pretence of Art: To Destroy Art

Editor's Note
In DC, Blake revisits these “hired” men: “there is a class of artists whose whole art and science is fabricated for the purpose of destroying art” (III K 573). 

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