Zoffany may not be as well known as his contemporary Royal Academicians like Gainsborough, but he was more travelled and adaptable in his painting style.
This exhibition charts the artist's progress from his early days in Germany and Italy, where he picked up on baroque and renaissance techniques, through to his transition to England where he mastered landscape painting. He later travelled to India where he produced works featuring more exotic locales.
Zoffany was most famous as a royal court painter and his portraits have a naturalistic style that shows the subject at ease, both with their surroundings and in their dress sense.
Most people have seen hundreds of similar landscapes and portraits, so what more does Zoffany have to offer? One of his specialities was to paint the lively interplay among many characters, reminiscent of the works of Pieter Bruegel. Once you discover the context of these paintings you'll begin to see that there are satirical and often humorous references in his works that aren't always initially apparent.
Zoffany's paintings rarely match the skill of Constable or the Dutch masters but, through both his subjects and his travels, he provides an animated and intricate perspective that is unique to his works.
Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed is on at the Royal Academy of Arts from 10 March until 10 June. Tickets are £9, concessions available. David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture is also still on at the Royal Academy until 9 April. Pre-booked tickets are sold out but you may still gain entry by queueing up on the day.