The Blind Fiddler by Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841). 1806. Oil on mahogany support, 578 x 794 mm frame: 1065 x 1270 x 200 mm painting. Presented by Sir George Beaumont, 1826. Tate Gallery, London (N00099)
According to the Tate chat label, "Soon after the founding of the Royal Academy, Joshua Reynolds admitted he was worried that its annual exhibitions would tempt artists to abandon classical subjects and idealism in favour of pictures showing common life in particularised detail. He described such "genre painters" as artists who "express with precision the various shades of passion as they are exhibited by vulgar minds." But not long after Reynolds' death, the work of a young genre painter named David Wilkie was received ecstatically at Royal Academy exhibitions. This painting, shown at the RA in 1807, is the antithesis of Reynolds's "great style."
Tate Gallery materials on The Blind Fiddler