At the time of Reynolds, it was customary to call “variegated” paintings that are not amenable to precise genre definition. As a rule, so called sentimental, pastoral or painted with playfulness and sensuality of the canvas. The master of the first was Gainsborough.
The master of the second is Reynolds. To see this, just look at the picture “Cupid unleashes the belt of Venus,” written in 1788. But our sentimentality was not alien to our hero either – his “Elf”, 1789 “betrays” his sensitivity. For the “colorful paintings” Reynolds often posed street children, whom the artist brought to his studio in between the “portrait” sessions.
James Northcourt recalled: “There were always children in his workshop, and when one of the noble customers came, Sir Joshua drove the children to the next room, where they waited for him to call them again.” Many of the “colorful paintings” of the master were so popular that prints were repeatedly made from them afterwards.