Nicknamed “the Platonist” or “the Pagan,” Taylor (1758–1835) was a scholar of Greek philosophy who stirred controversy with his embrace of the mystical elements of ancient thought. His work appealed to free thinkers, particularly the Romantic poets. Lawrence, the leading portraitist in Britain, treated his subject with sympathy: Taylor gazes back, almost as if questioning us. The sitter’s interests are evoked by the book at lower right and the view of the Acropolis in Athens, motifs personal to him.
Materialsoil on canvas
125.1 x 99.7 cm