Sublime Resources - Select Bibliography

Luke White

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This bibliography is intended as a rather selective one, giving a few key texts, rather than attempting in any way to embrace in its fullness the vast body of literature on the sublime which is out there. It's also focused on the parameters of my own inquiry, which is interested in the sublime in terms of its relation to contemporary art, and which approaches the matter from a cultural-historical viewpoint rather than a purely 'philosophical' one. The lines between the categories I've tried to divide this bibliography up into are, unfortunately rather blurred, but I think that is the nature of the field, and I hope that nonetheless this division helps make sense of the field...

Jump down page to:
- 'Contemporary' philosophical accounts of the sublime
- The Sublime and Contemporary Art/Culture
- Historical Studies of the Sublime
- A few Eighteenth-Century Primary Sources


'contemporary' philosophical accounts of the sublime

Battersby, Christine. The Sublime, Terror and Human Difference. London: Routledge, 2007. An examination of the philosophical tradition of the sublime - in particular Kant, Nietzsche and Lyotard - read through issues of gender and other forms of difference, opening into an analysis of 9/11 and an examination of the political implications of the aesthetic of the sublime.
Courtine, Jean-François, ed. Of the Sublime : Presence in Question. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993. This collection of essays includes works by such eminent French philosophical writers as Jean-François Lyotard, Jean-Luc Nancy and Phillippe Lacoue-Labarthe.
Crowther, Paul. The Kantian Sublime : From Morality to Art. Oxford Philosophical Monographs. Oxford: Clarendon, 1991. Crowther is one of the most cited contemporary British writers on sublimity. For a slightly more approachable introduction to his thought on the sublime, and one that specifically focuses on the question of the relation of the concept to modern and contemporary art, see his Critical Aesthetics and Postmodernism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
De Man, Paul. Aesthetic Ideology. Ed. Andrzej Warminski. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. Complex rhetorical deconstruction of Kant and Schiller on the sublime.
Derrida, Jacques. "Parergon." Trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Ian McLeod. The Truth in Painting. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
This is Derrida's key work on Kantian aesthetics and the place of the sublime within this.
Guerlac, Suzanne. "Longinus and the Subject of the Sublime." New Literary History 16.2 (1985): 275-89. An insightful analysis of Longinus. Particularly interesting is Guerlac's discussion of the function of quotation in Longinus.
Lyotard, Jean-François. "Answering the Question: What Is Postmodernism?" Trans. Régis Durand. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984. 71-82. Lyotard probably deserves an entirely separate bibliography, so central has his philosophical work on the sublime been to applications of the idea to late-twentieth century visual art. This essay, though not by a long way the essay in which he goes into the most detail about the notion of the sublime, is the perhaps the most cited, sitting as it does within his notorious book The Postmodern Condition.
---. The Inhuman: Reflections on Time. Trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991.

In this book there are several essays on the sublime, including perhaps the most influential one, "The Sublime and the Avant-Garde", which discusses the sublime explicitly in relation to contemporary ('postmodernist'?) art and its relation to a 'tradition' of avant-garde art. Lyotard discusses what he sees as the political implications of recent art's turn away from a form of avant-garde practice, and its assimilation to the art market at the point of the seeming 'triumph' of globalised capitalism.

---. Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994. This is perhaps Lyotard's most sustained writing on the topic of sublime. It is a detailed and creative reading of Kant's Analytic of the Sublime from the Critique of Judgment.
Rancière, Jacques. Malaise dans l'esthétique. Paris: Éditions Galilée, 2004. Includes a riposte to Lyotard's theories of the sublime, which Rancière reads as having renounced a revolutionary project for a politics of mourning. I'm personally not so sure that the two can't be reconciled.
Silverman, Hugh J., and Gary E. Aylesworth, eds. The Textual Sublime: Deconstruction and Its Differences. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989.

A collection of essays discussing sublimity in, through or as recent ''deconstructionist" philosophy .

Yaeger, Patricia. "Toward a Female Sublime." Gender and Theory. Ed. Linda Kauffman. Oxford: Blackwell, 1989.
Yaeger re-invents the notion of the sublime through its meeting with 'Fench' feminist theory, critiquing the gendered iedeologies of the Romantic sublime, and proposing a 'female sublime' as an alternative.
---. "The Language of Blood: Toward a Maternal Sublime." Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture 25.1 (1992).  
Zizek, Slavoj. The Sublime Object of Ideology. Phronesis. London: Verso, 1989.Zizek, Slavoj. The Sublime Object of Ideology. Phronesis. London: Verso, 1989. Zizek is a highly fashionable cultural theorist, who draws centrally from Lacanian psychoanalysis, though also ecelectically from continental thought, especially from a Hegelian tradition. In this book, he discusses the sublime primarily in the terms in which Jacques Lacan defines it in his Ethics of Psychoanalysis, though also discussing this in relation to Hegelian and Kantian accounts of the sublime. Zizek attempts to apply this rather interesting notion of sublimity to David Lynch's movies in The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime : On David Lynch's Lost Highway. Occasional Papers (Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities). Seattle: University of Washington, 2000.,and to the phenomenon of Stalinism in "Modernism and the Stalinist Sublime." Parkett 58 (2000).

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The Sublime and Contemporary Art/Culture

Beckley, Bill, ed. Sticky Sublime. New York: Allworth Press, 2001.
a collection of essays by American critics and writers on the question of the relevance of the sublime to contemporary art and culture. The essays are something of a mixed bag.
Bukatman, Scott. "The Artificial Infinite: On Special Effects and the Sublime." Visual Display: Culture Beyond Appearances. Eds. Lynn Cooke and Peter Wollen. Seattle: Bay Press, 1995. 254-89. Attempts to look at the genre of of science fiction films, and their special effects, in terms of the sublime. It is an interesting essay in its attempts to relate this back to links between theories of the sublime and the development of the commercial urban spectacles and entertainments of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that (he argues) grew into cinema
Costa, Mario. "Technology, Artistic Production and the 'Aesthetics of Communication'." Leonardo 24.2 (1991): 123-25. Links questions of the sublime to the conditions of art in a communications society.
Crowther, Paul, ed. The Contemporary Sublime : Sensibilities of Transcendence and Shock. London: Academy Editions, 1995. Collects together a group of essays with quite different ideas about the applicability of the notion of 'the sublime' to contemporary art. Many of the essays are rather weak.
Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. London: Verso, 1991. The first chapter of this seminal book on 'postmodern culture', analysing the relation between contemporary artistic and cultural forms and the shift to a 'globalised' form of capitalism, mobilises the notion of the sublime as a term which is suited to describing and understanding the 'structure of feeling' that this global capitalism entails for its inhabitants, and accounting for some of the properties of the artworks and cultural products of that system.
Kelley, Mike. "From the Sublime to the Uncanny: Mike Kelley in Interview with Thomas Mcevilley." Foul Perfection: Essays and Criticism, ed. John C. Welchman. Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 2003. 58-68. Kelley discusses his series of works on the Sublime.
Lyotard, Jean-François see above!
Newman, Barnett. "The Sublime Is Now." Tiger's Eye 1.6 (1948): 51-3.
This essay, and Newman's work, are probably rather older than the 'contemporary art' would normally embrace, but it's a classic point of reference for many discussions of 'the sublime' in contemporary art
Ray, Gene. "Little Glass House of Horrors: High Art Lite, the Culture Industry and Damien Hirst." Third Text 18.2 (2004): 119-33. An interesting attempt to use Lyotard's notions of the sublime to critique the work of Damien Hirst.
Ray, Gene. Terror and the Sublime in Art and Critical Theory: From Auschwitz to Hiroshima to September 11. New York: Palgrave, 2005. Contains the essay on Hirst from Third Text, but also a range of essays on art and visual culture dealing with the experience of the traumatic man-made horrors of the twentieth century. There are some really interesting chapters on Hiroshima in American culture, and also on European art's attempts to grapple with the Holocaust. Adorno and Derrida both figure prominently in Ray's account of these. Ray proposes the sublime as a potentially revolutionary aesthetic of mourning.
Rollins, Nita. "Cinaesthetic Wondering: The Beautiful, the Sublime and the Kitsch in Post-Metaphysical Film." Ph.D. U.C.L.A., 1999. A rather brilliant, and dense attempt to use the sublime (as well as the beautiful and the kitsh) as a term to understand contemporary cinema
Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Bo Nilsson, Jan Bäckland, and Carsten Hjul. ...Om Det Sublima... / ...On the Sublime... Trans. Kjersti Board, Kathryn Boyer, Peter Carlsson and John Kendall. Malmö: Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, 1999. Catalogue for a major exhibition of contemporary art dealing with the sublime. Artists inclduded in the catalogue: Liesbeth Bik, Jos Van der Pol, felix Gonzales-Torres, Ann Veronica Janssens, Mike Kelly, Lars Nilsson, Gabriel Orozco, Cindy Sherman, Hiroshi Sugamoto, Wolfgang Tillmans, Anders Widoff.
Tabbi, Joseph. Postmodern Sublime : Technology and American Writing from Mailer to Cyberpunk. Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 1995.
Looks at questions of technology and its relation to (a rather macho sort of) contemporary American fiction in terms of the notion of the sublime.
White, Luke and Claire Pajaczkowska, eds. The Sublime Now. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.

Essays examine the role of the sublime in contemporary art and culture. The book is organised thematically to look at nature/ecology; post-Kantian ethics/metapysics; the politics of terror; contempporary and baroque art; film. There are essays by Jane Bennett, Esther Leslie, Eu Jin Chua, Bettina Reiber, Cornelia Klinger, Jan Rosiek, Gene Ray, me (!), Gudrun Filipska & William McDonald, Griselda Pollock, Claire Pajaczkowska, Sherryl Vint & Mark Bould and Laura Mulvey.

Zylinska, Joanna. On Spiders, Cyborgs and Being Scared: The Feminine and the Sublime. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2001. A rather good look at the sublime from a feminist perspective. Relates the sublime to contemporary feminist art practices.
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Historical Studies of the Sublime

Bowie, Andrew. Aesthetics and Subjectivity: From Kant to Nietzsche. Manchester & New York: Manchester University Press, 1990. Although a study more generally of the development of german Romantic and Idealist aesthetics, this is quite good on placing the Kantian sublime within this context and tracing its influence on this discourse of aesthetics.
Cohn, Jan, and Thomas N. Miles. "The Sublime in Alchemy, Aesthetics, Psychoanalysis." Modern Philology 74 (1977): 289-304. Slightly weak in its theoretical insight, but has lots of useful interesting about the etymology of the word 'sublime' and the various transformations of its meaning in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Bullard, Paddy. "The Meaning of the 'Sublime and Beautiful': Shaftesburian Contexts and Rhetorical Issues in Edmund Burke's Philosophical Enquiry." Review of English Studies 56, no. 224 (2005): 169-91. An interesting account of Burke's essay as reacting against definitions of the sublime in Shaftesbury.
De Bolla, Peter. The Discourse of the Sublime: Readings in History, Aesthetics and the Subject. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989. De Bolla makes a complex and insightful argument about a change in the 'subjectivity' of the sublime, as discussed in various British eighteenth century authors, which he sees as happening approximately during the seven years war. He notes the way that the question of 'excess' (of meaning, affect, value, etc.) in theories of the sublime changes during this period, becoming something to be increasingly embraced. "Discourse" and "theory" become themselves seen as sources of such excess, and this excessiveness is what comes to mark the ('Romantic' ) subject. De Bolla makes some interesting parallels with the discussion of excess and infinitude in the growing British national debt, which was allowed (indeed encouraged) to spiral in order to finance the war with France. It's out of print and rather hard to get hold of nowadays, but worth the effort!
Donald, James. "The Fantastic, the Sublime and the Popular: Or, What's at Stake in Vampire Films?" Fantasy and the Cinema. London: BFI, 1989. 233-51. Donald discusses the sublime as a way of understanding popular cinema and its pleasures.
Döring, Tobias. "Turning the Colonial Gaze: Revisions of Terror in Dabydeen’s Turner." Third Text 38 (1997): 3-14. Discusses James Dabydeen's poetic account of the horror of the middle passage, in turn inspired by Turner's famous painting Slavers Throwing overboard the Dead and Dying — Typhon Coming On (1840). Opens up the question of a "slave sublime" also discussed by Paul Gilroy in his Black Atlantic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1992).
Freeman, Barbara Claire. The Feminine Sublime : Gender and Excess in Women's Fiction. Berkeley & London: University of California Press, 1995. This is a brilliant feminist reworking of the question of the sublime, which rereads its appearance in Longinus, Burke, Kant and Romantic poetry in terms of its highly gendered terms. Freeman uses in particular the psychoanalytic appoaches to the notion of the sublime of Thomas Weiskel and Neil Hertz, but subjects these themselves to scrutiny as to their gender bias, mobilising 'French' feminist theory to right this bias. Freeman goes on to make a series of analyses of various women writers from Mary Shelley to the present to look at the constitution of a 'feminine sublime' in opposition to the rather macho, phallocentric form that it took in Romanticism.
Furniss, Tom. Edmund Burke's Aesthetic Ideology: Language, Gender and Political Economy in Revolution, Cambridge Studies in Romanticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. My primary interest in this book is Furniss's argument that Burke's theory of the sublime expresses an ethos of the emerging bourgeois classes, serving to valorise middle class activity and work in opposition to an aristocratic ethos which spurns labour and embraces langour, and which Burke associates with beauty rather than the sublime. (The sublime is, of course, imagined by Burke to be a superior aesthetic or ethos). Furniss also discusses the relation between such a vision of the sublime and ideas of masculinity.
Gibbons, Luke. Edmund Burke and Ireland: Aesthetics, Politics and the Colonial Sublime. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. A really good, recent discussion of Burke's aesthetics of the sublime in relation to his political career, and in relation to issues of colonialism and colonial resistance.
Hertz, Neil. The End of the Line : Essays on Psychoanalysis and the Sublime. New York ; Guildford: Columbia University Press, 1987. An insightful psychoanalytical account of the sublime, tracing its psychological mechanisms and the rhetorical devices associated with them out of Romanticism and discovering them in nineteenth-century realist fiction.
Hipple, Walter John. The Beautiful, the Sublime and the Picturesque in Eighteeth-Century Aesthetic Theory. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1957.

A rather old, rather stuffy - but much quoted - account of the development of the sublime in eighteenth-century British thought. Not as Good as Samuel Holt Monk's brilliant study.

Kirwan, James. Sublimity: The Non-Rational and the Irrational in the History of Aesthetics. New York and London: Routledge, 2005. Kirwan gives an account of the sublime which deals with the full historical sweep from the growth of the concept in eighteenth-century British aesthetics, through the aesthetics of Kant and the Romantics to the contemporary formulations of Lyotard. What I like in Kirwan is his close attention to the early discourses on the sublime, and he has some interesting points to make about the problem in Kantian thought of bridging the gap between the sublime and the construction of an ethical position. It seems to me, however, that Kirwan's account is somewhat marred by his underlying, over-simple and rather clumsy definition of the sublime as an "emotion of grandeur." (Is grandeur even an emotion?)
Klein, Peter. "Insanity and the Sublime: Aesthetics and Theories of Mental Illness in Goya’s Yard and Related Works." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 61 (1998): 198-252. Looks at in particular Denis Diderot's theories of the sublime and discusses whether they may have informed Goya's images of mental illness.
Levine, Steven Z. "Seascapes of the Sublime: Vernet, Monet and the Sublime." New Literary History 16.2 (1985): 377-400. Discusses Monet and Vernet with reference to the ideas on the sublime of Diderot and Schopenhauer in particualr. Levine traces the legacy of these ideas in Freud.
Mishra, Vijay. The Gothic Sublime. S.U.N.Y. Series on the Sublime. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994. Looks in particular at Walpole, Godwin, Mary Shelley. Makes links between the 'Gothic' sublime and our own 'postmodern' experience.
Monk, Samuel Holt. The Sublime. A Study of Critical Theories in Xviii-Century England. [1935]. (Ann Arbor Paperbacks. No. Aa40.). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1960. Although it's now an old text, it's still just about the most authoritative, frequently-cited and clear account of this history of the development of the sublime. In spite of its title, Monk does also discuss a number of French authors. His account starts with Boileau and ends just as Kant and the Romantics are about to enter the scene...
Nicolson, Marjorie Hope. Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory : The Development of the Aesthetics of the Infinite. [1959]. Weyerhaeuser Environmental Classics. Seattle & London: University of Washington Press, 1997. Another classic and very accessible account of the development of ideas of the sublime. Nicolson focuses on the sublime of nature, and in particular the growth of the taste for wild, vast, craggy, mountainous landscape.
Noggle, James. "Skepticism and the Sublime Advent of Modernity in the 1742 Dunciad." Eighteenth Century Theory and Interpretation 37.1 (1996): 22-40. A very interesting reading of the sublime as related to the forms of "cognitive breakdown" caused by modern forms of (skeptical) reason, as found in Descartes.
Nye, David. American Technological Sublime. Cambridge, Mass. & London: M.I.T. Press, 1994. Nye looks at the way that, when exported to America, ideas of sublimity start to become used in the creation of national identity. America's vast and wild landscape becomes significant in this, as does the idea of America as a modern, frontier nation, where nature is being tamed by the seemingly awesome power of new technology. (This also helps define American identity in opposition to 'old' and 'domesticated' Europe). Nye discusses the taste for technological spectacle and tourism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from railroads and factories as tourist destinations, via the electrification of cities and the staging of world fairs, to the more modern forms of nuclear test sites (yes - these were tourist destinations!) and the space race.
Sarafianos, Aris. "Pain, Labor, and the Sublime: Medical Gymnastics and Burke's Aesthetics." Representations 91.1 (2005): 58-83. Looks at Burke's theories of the sublime, and discusses their relation to the cutting-edge medical theories of the day. Discusses the medical body of Burke's sublime in terms of class and ideology.
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. The Coherence of Gothic Conventions. Gothic Studies and Dissertations. Revised ed. New York: Arno Press, 1980. very good on the sublime in the Gothic novel. Discusses gender and sexuality in relation to sublimity.
Shapiro, Gary. "From the Sublime to the Political: Some Historical Notes." New Literary History 16.2 (1985): 213-35. Looks at the influence of ideas of sublimity on Marx's politics, in relation in particular to an aesthetics of humour.
Shaw, Philip. The Sublime. New Critical Idiom. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. A very generous introduction to the history of ideas of the sublime, from antiquity right up to Zizek in the present. What's really great about Shaw's book is that although it is a very clear introduction, it also raises lots of interesting questions, paradoxes and problems in the theories of the sublime (rather than trying to cover these over for the sake of simplicity) and traces their reverberations throughout the history of the sublime. I'd very much reccommend it as a place to start.
Weiskel, Thomas. The Romantic Sublime : Studies in the Structure and Psychology of Transcendence. Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976. Uses psychoanalysis and semiotics to look at the sublimes of Burke, Kant, Wordsworth and Blake.

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A few Eighteenth-Century Primary Sources

Addison, Joseph, and Sir Richard Steele.The Spectator in Four Volumes. [1711-2,1714]. Ed. Gregory Smith. London: Dent, 1945. See also links page for availability of online version of this.
Ashfield, Andrew, and Peter De Bolla, eds. The Sublime: A Reader in British Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. A really useful collection of British eighteenth-century writings on the sublime. Ashfield and De Bolla also sketch, with their introductions to the various sections its divided into, an image of this history which is more complex than many of the 'told' histories of the sublime have it. They are particularly good in noting the significance of regional differences in ideas about the sublime.
Barbauld née Aiken, Anna Laetitia. "On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror ; with Sir Bertrand, a Fragment." Miscelaneous Pieces in Prose. Eds. J Aiken and Aiken A.L. London: J. Johnson, 1773. 119-37. a rather amusing discussion of terror in writing.
Boileau-Despréaux, Nicolas. Oeuvres De Boileau-Despréaux, D'après L'édition De 1729. Coulommiers: Paul Brodard, 1908.

Boileau was the poet who translated Longinus intop French, and thus kick-started the craze for the sublime. I haven't found a good translation of this.

Burke, Edmund. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, and Other Pre-Revolutionary Writings. Ed. David Wormersley. London: Penguin, 1998. Burke's 1857 essay is one of the seminal works on the sublime. See also my links page for its online availability.
Dennis, John. The Critical Works of John Dennis. Ed. Edward Niles Hooker. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1939. John Dennis,though now a rather ignored critic, anticipated Burke in seeing terror as principle in the feeling of the sublime. Dennis is probably best known now as the but of jokes by swift and Pope who dubbed him "Sir Tremendous Longinus" for his enthusiasm for the sublime!
Diderot, Denis. Diderot on Art: The Salon of 1765 and Notes on Painting. Trans. John Goodman. Diderot on Art. Vol. 1. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995.
---. Diderot on Art: The Salon of 1767. Trans. John Goodman. Diderot on Art. Vol. 2. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995.
Diderot was enormously influential in propogating the idea of the sublime throough European intellectual circles. In his Salons, it's in his discussion of Vernet that he discusses the sublime at most length.
Kant, Immanuel. Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime [Beobachtungen Über Das Gefühl Des Schönen Und Erhabenen.]. Trans. John Turner Goldthwait. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1960. An early, 'pre-critical' essay on the sublime, obviously much influenced by Burke. Full of some rather odd ideas about gender and nationality!
Kant, Immanuel. Critique of the Power of Judgment. Ed. Paul Guyer. Trans. Eric Matthews. Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant in Translation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. The most famous philosophical writing on the sublime. This seems to be a fairly good modern translation. For online editions in English and German, see my links page.
Longinus. On Great Writing (on the Sublime). Trans. G. M. A. Grube. Indianapolis & Cambridge: Hackett Publishing, 1991. The original work from which ideas of the sublime are drawn. Longinus was (probably) writing in the 1st century AD, but became very much the rage at the end of the seventeenth century. This seems a good - and cheap! - translation. There is an online translation, though this is a rather old one. See my links page.
Pope, Alexander. "Peri Bathous or, of the Art of Sinking in Poetry." Poetry and Prose of Alexander Pope, ed. Aubrey Williams. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969. 387-438. A brilliant satire on modern literature, which takes Longinus as its blueprint. Pope's inversion of the Longinian text (which celebrates and recommends mediocrity and failure in poetry rather than greatness) not only mocks the commercially manufactured literature of the day, but more particularly its pretensions to grandeur and intense affect. Pope's little essay has been far too much ignored in the histories of the theory of the sublime.
Reynolds, Joshua. Discourses. Ed. Pat Rogers. Penguin Classics. London: Penguin, 1992.

Joshua Reynolds was the first head of the Royal Academy in London. His 'discourses' were a series of lectures given to the Academy, and the sublime comes up a number of times. Reynolds was a friend of Burke (and Dr. Johnson) and portraitist to the high society of the time. He was particuarly concerned, in his setting up of the Academy, with instituting a tradition of the 'sublime' form of 'history painting', which was considered the highest and most serious form of art at the time, in British culture.

Richardson, Jonathan. "An Essay on the Whole Art of Criticism as It Relates to Painting, Etc." Two Discourses. [1719]. London, 1725. Richardson seems to be just about the first author to discuss the sublime specifically in terms of painting, rather than literature, which makes him of particular interest to me.
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