Moynan originally set out to study medicine, but opted for a career in the arts shortly before his final examinations. He enrolled at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in the autumn of 1879 and found quick success by winning both the Taylor and Cowper (awarded to the best drawing from life) competitions. In 1883 Moynan attended the Academy in Antwerp along with Roderic O'Conor and Henry Allen. He studied there until moving to Paris in 1885. By the late 1880s Moynan had returned to his native Dublin to exhibit his paintings, becoming a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1890.
In 1887, he was employed by a Dublin newspaper, The Union, as a political cartoonist.
- Snoddy, Theo. Dictionary of Irish Artists: 20th Century, 2nd Edition. Merlin Publishing, Dublin, Ireland, 2002. Pg. 443–44.
- O'Regan, Maebh. "Richard Moynan: Irish Artist and Unionist Propagandist". 2004. Pg 59–80. Retrieved Mar. 19, 2008.
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