De arte graphica  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

De arte graphica (1668) is the title of a Latin didactic poem by Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy.

The poem embodied du Fresnoy's observations on the art of painting; it may be termed a critical treatise on the practice of the art, with general advice to students. The precepts are sound according to the standard of his time; the poetical merits slender enough. The Latin style is formed chiefly on Lucretius and Horace.

This poem was first published by Mignard, and has been translated into several languages. In 1668 it was turned into French by Roger de Piles; Dryden (prefixed by 'An Original Preface Containing a Parallel betwixt Painting and Poetry') translated the work into English prose; and a rendering into verse by Mason followed, to which Sir Joshua Reynolds added some annotations.

The essay introduced the Sister Arts theory generally accepted in the 18th century.

Full text from [1]












Charles Alphonse Du Fresnoy, as we learn from his life by Mason, was born in Paris in the year l6ll. He studied the art of painting in Rome and Venice, and afterwards practised it in France with great reputation. Meanwhile, he did not neglect the sister pursuit of poetry; and combining it with the studies of an artist, he composed his poem on the Art of Painting. It did not appear till after the author's death, in l65S, when it was published with the French version, and remarks of De Piles. The first edi- tion was printed in l66l. This poem, as containing, in elegant and perspicuous language, the most just rules for artists and ama- teurs, has been always held in esteem by the admirers of the art which it professes to teach.

The version of Dryden first appeared in 4 to, in 1695, and was republished by Richard Graham in 1716, by whom it is inscribed to Lord Burlington. The editor of 17 16, informs us, that Mr Jervas had undertaken to correct such passages of the translation as Dry- den had erred in by following, too closely, the French version of De Piles. To Graham's edition is prefixed the epistle from Pope to Jervas, with Dryden's version; an honourable and beautiful testi- mony from the living to the dead poet, which I have retained- with pleasure, as also the epistle from Mason to Sir Joshua Reynolds, which contains some remarks on Dryden's version.

The late Mr Mason, as a juvenile exercise, executed a poetical version of Fresnoy's poem, which has had the honour to be ad- mitted into the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, vol. iii. and might have superseded the necessity of here reprinting the prose of Dry- den. But there is something so singular in a great poet underta- king to render into prose the admired poem of a foreign bard, that, as a specimen of such an uncommon task, as well as on account of its brevity, I have retained this translation.

Being no judge of the art to which the poem refers, I follow the readings of Jervas, as published by Graham in 17 16.

Mason has retained the Parallel between Painting and Poetry, in his edition of Fresnoy, with the following note :

" It was thought proper to insert in this place the pleasing pre- face, which Mr Dryden printed before his translation of M. Du Fresnoy's poem. There is a charm in that great writer's prose, peculiar to itself; and though, perhaps, the parallel between tho two arts, which he has here drawn, be too superficial to stand the test of strict criticism, yet it will always give pleasure to reader* of taste, even when it fails to satisfy their judgment/'







THIS verse be thine, my friend ; nor thou refuse This from no venal or ungrateful muse. Whether thy hand strike out some free design, Where life awakes, and dawns at every line ; Or blend in beauteous tints the coloured mass, And from the canvas call the mimic face; Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire Fresnoy's close art, and Dryden's native fire; And reading wish, like theirs, our fate and fame,, So mixed our studies, and so joined our name ; Like them to shine through long succeeding age, So just thy skill, so regular my rage.

Smit with the love of sister-arts we came, And met congenial, mingling flame with flame; Like friendly colours found our arts unite, And each from each contract new strength and light, How oft in pleasing tasks we wear the day, While summer suns roll unperceived away ? How oft our slowly growing works impart, While images reflect from art to art ? How oft review ; each finding like a friend Something to blame, and something to commend ?

What flattering scenes pur wandering fancy wrought^ Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought ! Together o'er the Alps methinks we fly, Fired with ideas of fair Italy. With thee, on Raphael's monument I mourn, Or wait inspiring dreams at Maro's urn ; With thee repose where Tully once was laid, Or seek some ruin's formidable shade; While fancy brings the vanished piles to view, Arid builds imaginary Rome anew.


Here thy well studied marbles fix our eye ; A fading Fresco here demands a sigh ; Each heavenly piece unwearied we compare, Match Raphael's grace, with thy loved Guido's air, Caracci's strength, Correggio's softer line, Paulo's free stroke, and Titian's warmth divine.

How finished with illustrious toil appears, This small wel! polished gem, the work of years! * Yet still how faint by precept is exprest, The living image in the painter's breast? Thence endless streams of fair ideas flow, Strike in the sketch, or in the picture glow ; Thence beauty, waking all her forms, supplies An angel's sweetness, or Bridgew ater's eyes.

Muse ! at that name thy sacred sorrows shed, Those tears eternal that embalm the dead ; Call round her tomb each object of desire, Each purer frame informed with purer fire ; Bid her be all that chears or softens life, The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife ! Bid her be all that makes mankind adore; Then view this marble, and be vain no more !

Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage ; Her modest cheek shall warm a future age. Beauty, frail flower, that every season fears, Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years. Thus Churchil's race shall other hearts surprise, And other beauties envy Wortley's eyes; Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow, And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.

Oh ! lasting as those colours may they shine, Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line ! New graces yearly, like thy works, display; Soft without weakness, without glaring gay ; Led by some rule, that guides, but not constrains ; And finished more through happiness than pains ! The kindred arts shall in their praise conspire, One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre. Yet should the Graces all thy figures place, And breath an air divine on every face ; Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll, Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul; With Zeuxis' Helen thy Bridgewater vie, And these be sung till Granville's Myra die ; Alas ! how little from the grave we claim ? Thou but preserves! a Form, and I a Name.


  • Fresnoy employed above twenty years in finishing this poem.




WHEN Dryden, worn with sickness, bowed with years, Was doomed (my friend, let pity warm thy tears,) The galling pang of penury to feel, For ill-placed loyalty, and courtly zeal ; To see that laurel which his brows o'erspread, Transplanted droop on Shadwell's barren head, The bard oppressed, yet not subdued by fate, For very bread descended to translate ; And he, whose fancy, copious as his phrase, Could light at will expression's brightest blaze, On Fresnoy's lay employed his studious hour ; But niggard there of that melodious power, His pen in haste the hireling task to close, Transformed the studied strain to careless prose, Which, fondly lending faith to French pretence, Mistook its meaning, or obscured its sense. Yet still he pleased, for Dryden still must please, Whether with artless elegance and ease He glides in prose, or from its tinkling chime, *s

By varied pauses, purifies his rhyme, (

And mounts on Maro's plumes, and soars his heights ( sublime. J

This artless elegance, this native fire, Provoked his tuneful heir to strike the lyre, Who, proud his numbers with that prose to join, Wove an illustrious wreath for friendship's shrine. How oft, on that fair shrine when poets bind The flowers of song, does partial passion blind Their judgment's eye ! How oft does truth disclaim The deed, and scorn to call it genuine fame ! How did she here, when Jervas was the theme, Waft through the ivory gate the poet's dream | How view, indignant, error's base alloy The sterling lustre of his praise destroy, Which now, if praise like his my muse could coin, Current through ages, she would stamp for thine ! Let friendship, as she caused, excuse the deed ; With, and such as thee, she must succeed.


But what if fashion tempted Pope astray ?

The witch has spells, and Jervas knew a day,

When mode-struck belles and beaux were proud to come,

And buy of him a thousand years of bloom.

Even then I deem it but a venal crime;

Perish alone that selfish sordid rhyme,

Which flatters lawless sway, or tinsel pride ;

Let black oblivion plunge it in her tide.

From fate like this my truth-supported lays,

Even if aspiring to thy pencil's praise,

Would flow secure ; but humbler aims are mine ;

Know, when to thee 1 consecrate the line,

'Tis but to thank thy genius for the ray,

Which pours on Fresnoy's rules a fuller day ;

Those candid strictures, those reflections new,

Refined by taste, yet still as nature true,

Which, blended here with his instructive strains,

Shall bid thy art inherit new domains;

Give her in Albion as in Greece to rule,

And guide (what thou hast formed) a British school.

And O, if aught thy poet can pretend

Beyond his favourite wish to call thee friend,

Be it that here his tuneful toil has drest

The muse of Fresnoy in a modern vest ;

And, with what skill his fancy could bestow,

Taught the close folds to take an easier flow ;

Be it, that here thy partial smile approved,

The pains he lavished on the art he loved.





JT may be reasonably expected that I should say something on my own behalf, in respect to my pre- sent undertaking. First, then, the reader may be pleased to know, that it was not of my own choice that I undertook this work. Many of our most skilful painters, and other artists, were pleased to recommend this author to me, as one who perfectly understood the rules of painting ; who gave the best and most concise instructions for performance, and the surest to inform the judgment of all who loved this noble art : that they who before, were rather fond of it, than knowingly admired it, might defend their inclination by their reason; that they might understand those excellencies which they blindly valued, so as not to be farther imposed on by bad pieces, and to know when nature was well imitated by the most able masters. It is true in- deed, and they acknowledge it, that beside the rules


which are given in this treatise, or which can be given in any other, to make a perfect judgment of good pictures, and to value them more or less, when compared with one another, there is farther requi- red a long conversation with the hest pieces, which are not very frequent either in France or England ; yet some we have, not only from the hands of Hol- bein, Rubens, and Vandyck, (one of them admira- ble for history-painting, and the other two for por- traits,) but of many Flemish masters, and those not inconsiderable, though for design not equal to the Italians. And of these latter also, we are not un- furnished with some pieces of Raphaell, Titian, Cor- reggio, Michael Angelo, and others.

But to return to my own undertaking of this translation. I freely own that I thought myself incapable of performing it, either to their satisfac- tion, or my own credit. Not but that I under- stood the original Latin, and the French author, perhaps as well as most Englishmen but I was not sufficiently versed in the terms of art ; and therefore thought that many of those persons who put this honourable task on me, were more able to perform it themselves, as undoubtedly they were. But they, assuring me of their assistance in correcting my faults where I spoke improperly, I was encouraged to attempt it, that I might not be wanting in what I could, to satisfy the desires of so many gentlemen, who were willing to give the world this useful work. They have effectually per- formed their promise to me, and I have been as careful, on my side, to take their advice in all things ; so that the reader may assure himself of a tolerable translation, not elegant, for I proposed not that to myself, but familiar, clear, and instructive : in any of which parts if I have failed, the fault lies wholly at my door. In this one particular only, I


must beg the reader's pardon. The prose transla- tion of this poem is not free from poetical expres- sions, and I dare not promise that some of them are not fustian, or at least highly metaphorical ; but this being a fault in the first digestion, (that is, the original Latin,) was not to be remedied in the se- cond, viz. the translation. And I may confidently say, that whoever had attempted it must have fal- len into the same inconvenience, or a much greater, that of a false version.

When I undertook this work, I was already en- gaged in the translation of Virgil, * from whom I have borrowed only two months ; and am now re- turning to that which I ought to understand better. In the mean time I beg the reader's pardon, for en- tertaining him so long with myself: it is an usual part of ill manners in all authors, and almost in all mankind, to trouble others with their business ; and I was so sensible of it beforehand, that I had not now committed it, unless some concernments of the reader's had been interwoven with my own. But I know not, while I am atoning for one error, if I am not falling into another; for I have been importuned to say something farther of this art ; and to make some observations on it, in relation to the likeness and agreement which it has with poe- try, its sister. But before I proceed, it will not be amiss, if I copy from Bellori, (a most ingenious au- thor yet living,) some part of his idea of a pain- ter, f which cannot be unpleasing, at least 'to such

  • Our author began his translation of Virgil in the preceding

year, ] 694-. MA LONE.

t In May 1664-, Gio. Pietro Bellori read a discourse in the Academy of St Luke at Rome, (Carlo Maratti being then presi- dent,) entitled L'Idea del Pittore, dello Scultore, e ddV Archi- tctto, scelta dalle be/lezze naturali superiors alia Natura. This


who are conversant in the philosophy of Plato ; and, to avoid tediousness, I will not translate the whole discourse, but take and leave as I find occa- sion.

" God Almighty, in the fabric of the universe, first contemplated himself, and reflected on his own excellencies ; from which he drew and constituted those first forms which are called ideas; so that every species which was afterwards expressed, was produced from that first idea, forming that wonder- ful contexture of all created beings. But the ce- lestial bodies above the moon being incorruptible, and not subject to ^change, remained for ever fair, and in perpetual order. On the contrary, all things which are sublunary are subject to change, to de- formity, and to decay. And though nature always intends a consummate beauty in her productions, yet through the inequality of the matter, the forms are altered ; and in particular, human beauty suf- fers alteration for the worse, as we see to our mor- tification, in the deformities and disproportions which are in us. For which reason, the artful painter and the sculptor, imitating the Divine Maker, form to themselves, as well as they are able, a model of the superior beauties ; and reflecting on them, endea- vour to correct and amend the common nature, and to represent it as it was at first created, without fault, either in colour, or in lineament.

" This idea, which we may call the goddess of painting and of sculpture, descends upon the mar- ble and the cloth, and becomes the original of those arts; and being measured by the compass of the

discourse, from which the following extract is taken, was after- wards prefixed to Le Vite de Pittore, &c. by the same author, printed at Romein4to, 1672. MALONE.



is itself the measure of the performing Land ; and being animated by the imagination, in- fuses life into the image. The idea of the painter and the sculptor is undoubtedly that perfect and excellent example of the mind, by imitation of which imagined form all things are represented which fall under human sight : such is the defini- tion which is made by Cicero in his book of the " Orator" to Brutus : * As therefore in forms and figures there is somewhat which is excellent and perfect, to which imagined species all things are referred by imitation, which are the objects of sight, in like manner we behold the species of elo- quence in our minds, the effigies or actual image of which we seek in the organs of our hearing. This is likewise confirmed by Proclus in the dialogue of Plato, called "Timseus." If, says he, you take a man as he is made by nature, and compare him with another, who is the effect of art, the work of na- ture will always appear the less beautiful, because art is more accurate than nature.' But Zeuxis, who, from the choice which he made of five virgins, drew that wonderful picture of Helena, which Cicero, in his " Orator" before-mentioned, sets before us as the most perfect example of beauty, at the same time admonishes a painter, to contemplate the ideas of the most natural forms, and to make a judicious choice of several bodies, all of them the most ele- gant which he can find ; by which we may plainly understand, that he thought it impossible to find in any one body all those perfections which he sought for the accomplishment of a Helena, because nature in any individual person makes nothing that is per- fect in all its parts. For this reason Maximus Ty- rius also says, that the image which is taken by a painter from several bodies, produces a beauty which it is impossible to find in any single natural body,


approaching to the perfection of the fairest statues. Thus nature on this account is so much inferior to art, that those artists who propose to themselves only the imitation and likeness of such or such a particular person, without election of those ideas before-mentioned, have often been reproached for that omission. Demetrius was taxed for being too natural ; Dionysius was also blamed for drawing men like us, and was commonly called arS-f^y/'apo?, that is, a painter of men. In our times, Michael Angelo da Caravaggio was esteemed too natural. He drew persons as they were; and Bamboccio, and most of the Dutch painters, have drawn the worst likeness. Lysippus of old upbraided the common sort of sculptors, for making men such as they were found in nature ; and boasted of himself, that he made them as they ought to be : which is a precept of Aristotle, given as well to poets as to painters. Phidias raised an admiration, even to as- tonishment, in those who beheld his statues, with the forms which he gave to his gods and heroes, by imitating the idea, rather than nature. And Cicero, speaking of him, affirms, that figuring Ju- piter and Pallas, he did not contemplate any object from whence he took the likeness, but considered in his own mind a great and admirable form of beau- ty ; and according to that image in his soul, he di- rected the operation of his hand. Seneca also seems to wonder, that Phidias, having never beheld either Jove or Pallas, yet could conceive their divine images in his mind. Apollonius Tyanaeus says the same in other words, that the fancy more instructs the painter, than the imitation ; for the last makes only the things which it sees, but the first makes also the things which it never sees.

" Leon Battista Alberti tells us, that we ought not so much to love the likeness as the beauty, and to


choose from the fairest bodies severally the fairest parts. Leonardo da Vinci instructs the painter to form this idea to himself; and Raffaelle, the great- est of all modern masters, writes thus to Castigli- one, concerning his Galatea: 4 To paint a fair one, it is necessary for me to see many fair ones ; but because there is so great a scarcity of lovely women, I am constrained to make use of one certain idea, which I have formed to myself in my own fancy.' Guido Rbeni sending to Rome his St Michael, which he had painted for the church of the Capuchins, at the same time wrote to Monsignor Massano, who was Maestro di Casa, (or Steward of the House,) to Pope Urban the Eighth, in this manner : ' I wish I had the wings of an angel, to have ascended into Paradise, and there to have beheld the forms of those beautiful spirits, from which I might have copied my archangel. But not being able to mount so high, it was in vain for me to search his resem- blance here below; so that I was forced to make an introspection into my own mind, and into that idea of beauty which I have formed in my own imagination. I have likewise created there the contrary idea of deformity and ugliness ; but I leave the consideration of it, till I paint the devil ; and in the mean time, shun the very thought of it as much as possibly I can, and am even endeavouring to blot it wholly out of my remembrance/

" There was not any lady in all antiquity, who was mistress of so much beauty as was to be found in the Venus of Gnidus, made by Praxiteles, or the Minerva of Athens, by Phidias ; which was there- fore called the beautiful form. Neither is there any man of the present age equal in the strength, propor- tion, and knitting of his limbs, to the Hercules of Far- nese, made by Glycon; or any woman, who can justly be compared with the Medicean Venus of


Cleomenes. And upon this account, the noblest poets and the best orators, when they desired to celebrate any extraordinary beauty, are forced to have recourse to statues and pictures and to draw their persons and faces into comparison, Ovid, en- deavouring to express the beauty of Cyllarus, the fairest of the Centaurs, celebrates him as next in perfection to the most admirable statues :

Grntus in ore vigor, cervix, humerique, manusque, Pectoraque artificum laudatis proximo signis.

A pleasing vigour his fair face expressed ; His neck, his hands, his shoulders, and his breast, Did next, in gracefulness and beauty, stand To breathing figures of the sculptor's hand.

In another place he sets Apelles above Venus :

Si Venerem Cons nunquam pinxisset Apelles, Mersa sub cequoreis ilia lateret aquis.

Thus varied :

One birth to seas the Cyprian goddess owed, A second birth the painter's art bestowed : Less by the seas than by his power was given ; They made her live, but he advanced to heaven.

" The idea of this beauty is indeed various, ac- cording to the several forms which the painter or sculptor would describe; as one in strength, ano- ther in magnanimity : and sometimes it consists in cheerfulness, and sometimes in delicacy ; and is always diversified by the sex and age.

" The beauty of Jove is one, and that of Juno another; Hercules and Cupid are perfect beauties, though of different kinds ; for beauty is only that which makes all things as they are in their proper and perfect nature, which the best painters always


choose by contemplating the forms of each. We ought farther to consider, that a picture being the representation of a human action, the painter ought to retain in his mind the examples of all affections and passions, as a poet preserves the idea of an angry man, of one who is fearful, sad, or merry, and so of all the rest ; for it is impossible to express that with the hand, which never entered into the ima- gination. In this manner, as I have rudely and briefly shewn you, painters and sculptors, choosing the most elegant natural beauties, perfectionate the idea, and advance their art even above nature it- self in her individual productions; which is the ut- most mastery of human performance.

" From hence arises that astonishment, and al- most adoration, which is paid by the knowing to those divine remainders of antiquity. From hence Phidias, Lysippus, and other noble sculptors, are still held in veneration ; and Apelles, Zeuxis, Pro- togenes, and other admirable painters, though their works are perished, are and will be eternally admi- red ; who all of them drew after the ideas of perfec- tion, which are the miracles of nature, the provi- dence of the understanding, the exemplars of the mind, the light of the fancy ; the sun, which, from its rising, inspired the statue of Memnon, and the fire, which warmed into life the image of Prome- theus. It is this, which causes the Graces and the Loves to take up their habitations in the hardest marble, and to subsist in the emptiness of light and shadows. But since the idea of eloquence is as far inferior to that of painting, as the force of words is to the sight, I must here break off abruptly, and having conducted the reader, as it were, to a secret walk, there leave him in the midst of silence, to con- template those ideas which I have only sketched, and which every man must finish for himself."


In these pompous expressions, or such as these, the Italian has given you his idea of a Painter ; and though I cannot much commend the style, I must needs say, there is somewhat in the matter. Plato himself is accustomed to write loftily, imitating, as the critics tell us, the manner of Homer ; but sure- ly that inimitable poet had not so much of smoke in his writing, though not less of fire. But, in short, this is the present genius of Italy. What Philos- tratus tells us in the proem of his Figures, * is some- what plainer ; and therefore I will translate it al- most word for word : " He who will rightly go- vern the art of painting, ought of necessity first to understand human nature. He ought likewise to be endued with a genius to express the signs of their passions, whom he represents ; and to make the dumb, as it were, to speak. He must yet further understand what is contained in the constitution of the cheeks, in the temperament of the eyes, in the naturalness (if I may so call it) of the eyebrows ; and in short, whatsoever belongs to the mind and thought. He, who thoroughly possesses all these things, will obtain the whole ; and the hand will exquisitely represent the action of every particular person. If it happen that he be either mad or an- gry, melancholic or cheerful, a sprightly youth or a languishing lover ; in one word, he will be able to paint whatsoever is proportionable to any one. And even in all this there is a sweet error, without cau- sing any shame ; for the eyes and minds of the be- holders being fastened on objects which have no

  • The EIKONES of Flavius Philostratus, who flourished in the

beginning of the third century, was first printed by Aldus in 1502. MA LONE.


real being, as if they were truly existent, and being- induced by them to believe them so, what pleasure is it not capable of giving? The ancients, and other wise men, have written many things concerning the symmetry which is in the art of painting, constituting, as it were, some certain laws for the proportion of every member ; not thinking it pos- sible for a painter to undertake the expression of those motions which are in the mind, without a concurrent harmony in the natural measure; for that which is out of its own kind and measure, is not received from nature, whose motion is always right. On a serious consideration of this matter, it will be found, that the art of painting has a won- derful affinity with that of poetry; and that there is betwixt them a certain common imagination. For, as the poets introduce the gods and heroes, and all those things which are either majestical, honest, or delightful, in like manner the painters, by the virtue of their outlines, colours, lights, and sha- dows, represent the same things and persons in their pictures."

Thus, as convoy- ships either accompany or should accompany their merchants, * till they may prose- cute the rest of their voyage without danger ; so Philostratus has brought me thus far on my way, and I can now sail on without him. He has begun to speak of the great relation betwixt painting and poetry, and thither the greatest part of this dis-

  • i. e. Merchant vessels. The passage seems to be so worded,

as to contain a sneer at the negligence of King William's govern- ment in protecting the trade. Perhaps Dryden alluded to the misfortune of Sir Francis Wheeler, in 1^93, who, being sent with a convoy into the Mediterranean, was wrecked in the bay of Gib- raltar.


course, by my promise, was directed. I have not engaged myself to any perfect method, neither am I loaded with a full cargo ; it is sufficient if I bring a sample of some goods in this voyage. It will be easy for others to add more, when the commerce is settled ; for a treatise twice as large as this of paint- ing, could not contain all that might be said on the parallel of these two sister arts. I will take my rise from Bellori, before I proceed to the author of this book.

The business of his preface is to prove, that a learned painter should form to himself an idea of perfect nature. This image he is to set before his mind in all his undertakings, and to draw from thence, as from a storehouse, the beauties which are to enter into his work ; thereby correcting na- ture from what actually she is in individuals, to what she ought to be, and what she was created. Now, as this idea of perfection is of little use in portraits, or the resemblances of particular persons, so neither is it in the characters of comedy and tragedy, which, are never to be made perfect, but always to be drawn with some specks of frailty and deficience ; such as they have been described to us in history, if they were real characters, or such as the poet be- gan to shew them at their first appearance, if they were only fictitious or imaginary. The perfection of such stage-characters consists chiefly in their likeness to the deficient faulty nature, which is their original ; only, as it is observed more at large .hereafter, in such cases there will always be found a better likeness and a worse, and the better is con- stantly to be chosen ; I mean in tragedy, which re- presents the figures of the highest form amongst mankind. Thus in portraits, the painter will not take that side of the face, which has some notori-


cms blemish in it ; but either draw it in profile, (as Apelles did Antigonus, who had lost one of his eyes,) or else shadow the more imperfect side ; for an ingenious flattery is to be allowed to the profes- sors of both arts, so long as the likeness is not de- stroyed. It is true, that ail manner of imperfections must not be taken away from the characters ; and the reason is, that there may be left some grounds of pity for their misfortunes. We can never be grieved for their miseries, who are thoroughly wick- ed, and have thereby justly called their calamities on themselves. Such men are the natural objects of our hatred, not of our commiseration- If, on the other side, their characters were wholly perfect, (such as, for example, the character of a saint or martyr in a play,) his or her misfortunes would pro- duce impious thoughts in the beholders ; they would accuse the heavens of injustice, and think of leaving a religion where piety was so ill requited. I say, the greater part would be tempted so to do, I say not that they ought ; and the consequence is too dan- gerous for the practice. In this I have accused my- self for my own St Catharine ; * but let truth pre- vail. Sophocles has taken the just medium in his " (Edipus." He is somewhat arrogant at his first en- trance, and is too inquisitive through the whole tragedy ; yet these imperfections being balanced by great virtues, they hinder not our compassion for his miseries ; neither yet can they destroy that hor- ror, which the nature of his crimes has excited in us. Such in painting are the warts and moles, which, adding a likeness to the face, are not there- fore to be omitted ; but these produce no loathing

  • The principal female character in " Tyrannic Love, or The

Royal Martyr." See Vol. III. page 343.


in us ; but how far to proceed, and where to stop, is left to the judgment of the poet and the painter. In comedy there is somewhat more of the worse likeness to be taken, because that is often to pro- duce laughter, which is occasioned by the sight of some deformity ; but for this I refer the reader to Aristotle. It is a sharp manner of instruction for the vulgar, who are never well amended, till they are more than sufficiently exposed.

That I may return to the beginning of this remark concerning perfect ideas, I have only this to say, that the parallel is often true in epic poetry. The heroes of the poets are to be drawn according to this rule. There is scarce a frailty to be left in the best of them, any more than is to be found in a di- vine nature ; and if ^Eneas sometimes weeps, it is not in bemoaning his own miseries, but those which his people undergo. If this be an imperfection, the Son of God, when he was incarnate, shed tears of compassion over Jerusalem ; and Lentulus * de- scribes him often weeping, but never laughing; so that Virgil is justified even from the holy scrip- tures. I have but one word more, which for once I will anticipate from the author of this book. Though it must be an idea of perfection, from which both the epic poet and the history-painter draws, yet all perfections are not suitable to all subjects ; but every one must be designed according to that perfect beauty which is proper to him. An Apollo must be distinguished from a Jupiter, a Pallas from a Venus; and so, in poetry, an ^Eneas from any other hero ; for piety is his chief perfection. Ho- mer's Achilles is a kind of exception to this rule ;

  • In the epistle in which he describes our Saviour's person and



but then he is not a perfect hero, nor so intended by the poet. All his gods had somewhat of human imperfection, for which he has been taxed by Plato, as an imitator of what was bad ; but Virgil obser- ved his fault, and mended it. Yet Achilles was per- fect in the strength of his body, and the vigour of his mind. Had he been less passionate, or less revenge- ful, the poet well foresaw that Hector had been killed, and Troy taken, at the first assault; which had destroyed the beautiful contrivance of his Iliads, and the moral of preventing discord amongst confederate princes, which was his principal inten- tion. For the moral (as Bossu observes, *) is the first business of the poet, as being the groundwork of his instruction. This being formed, he contrives such a design, or fable, as may be most suitable to the moral ; after this he begins to think of the per- sons whom he is to employ in carrying on his de- sign ; and gives them the manners which are most proper to their several characters. The thoughts and words are the last parts, which give beauty and colouring to the piece.

When I say that the manners of the hero ought to be good in perfection, I contradict not the Marquis of Normanby's opinion, in that admira- ble verse, f where, speaking of a perfect character, he calls it

" A faultless monster, which the world ne'er knew;"

for that excellent critic intended only to speak of dramatic characters, and not of epic.

  • In his treatise on Epic Poetry.

I This line is a little misquoted. The couplets run,

Reject that vulgar error, which appears So lair, of making perfect characters ; There's no such thing in nature, and you'll draw A faultless monster, which the world ne'er saw.

Essay on Poetry.


Thus at least I have shewn, that in the most per- fect poem, which is that of Virgil, a perfect idea was required and followed ; and consequently that all succeeding poets ought rather to imitate him, than even Homer. I will now proceed as I promi- sed, to the author of this book.

He tells you almost in the first lines of it, that " the chief end of painting is, to please the eyes ; and it is one great end of poetry to please ' the mind." Thus far the parallel of the arts holds true; with this difference, that the principal end of paint- ing is to please, and the chief design of poetry is to instruct. In this the latter seems to have the ad- vantage of the former ; but if we consider the ar- tists themselves on both sides, certainly their aims are the very same ; they would both make sure of pleasing, and that in preference to instruction. Next, the means of this pleasure is by deceit; one imposes on the sight, and the other on the under- standing. Fiction is of the essence of poetry, as well as of painting; there is a resemblance in one, of human bodies, things, and actions, which are not real ; and in the other, of a true story by a fic- tion ; and as all stories are not proper subjects for an epic poem or a tragedy, so neither are they for a noble picture. The subjects both of the one and of the other, ought to have nothing of immoral, low, or filthy jn them ; but this being treated at large in the book itself, 1 wave it, to avoid repetition. Only I must add, that though Catullus, * Ovid, and

  • Our author had previously quoted the lines here alluded to,

in defence of the indecencies of one of his comedies. Vol. VI. p. 10.

castum me decet plum poetam

Ipsum. Versiculos nihil necesse est: Qui turn denique habent sulem ac leporem Si sint molliculi ft parum pudici.


others, were of another opinion, that the subject of poets, and even their thoughts and expressions, might be loose, provided their lives were chaste and holy, yet there are no such licences permit- ted in that art, any more than, in painting, to de- sign and colour obscene nudities. Vita proba est, is no excuse ; for it will scarcely be admitted, that either a poet or a painter can be chaste, who give us the contrary examples in their writings and their pictures. We see nothing of this kind in Virgil ; that which comes the nearest to it, is the Adventure of the Cave, where Dido and JEneas were driven by the storm ; yet even there the poet pretends a marriage before the consumma- tion, and Juno herself was present at it. Neither is there any expression in that story, which a Ro- man matron might not read without a blush. Be- sides, the poet passes it over as hastily as he can, as if he were afraid of staying in the cave with the two lovers, and of being a witness to their actions. Now I suppose that a painter would not be much commended, who should pick out this cavern from the whole ^Eneids, when there is not another in the work. He had better leave them in their obscuri- ty, than let in a flash of lightning to clear the na- tural darkness of the place, by which he must dis- cover himself, as much as them. The altar-pieces, and holy decorations of painting, shew, that art may be applied to better uses, as well as poetry ; and amongst many other instances, the Farnesian gallery, painted by Annibale Caracci, is a sufficient witness yet remaining; the whole work being mo- rally instructive, and particularly the Herculis Bi-

  • cium y which is a perfect triumph of virtue over

vice ; as it is wonderfully well described by the ingenious Bellori.

Hitherto I have only told the reader, what ought


not to be the subject of a picture or of a poem. What it ought to be on either side, our author tells us : it must in general be great and noble ; and in this the parallel is exactly true. The subject of a poet, either in tragedy or in an epic poem, is a great action of some illustrious hero. It is the same in painting ; not every action, nor every person, is considerable enough to enter into the cloth. It must be the anger of an Achilles, the piety of an JEneas, the sacrifice of an Iphigenia, for heroines as well as heroes are comprehended in the rule ; but the parallel is more complete in tragedy, than in an epic poem. For as a tragedy may be made out of many particular episodes of Homer or of Virgil, so may a noble picture be designed out of this or that particular story in either author. History is also fruitful of designs both for the painter and the tragic poet: Curtius throwing himself into a gulph, and the two Decii sacrificing themselves for the safety of their country, are subjects for tragedy and picture. Such is Scipio restoring the Spanish bride, * whom he either loved, or may be supposed to love; by which he gained the hearts of a great nation to interest themselves for Rome against Carthage. These are all but particular pieces in Livy's Histo- ry ; and yet are full complete subjects for the pen and pencil. Now the reason of this is evident. Tragedy and Picture are more narrowly circum- scribed by the mechanic rules of time and place, than the epic poem. The time of this last is left in-

  • The celebrity of that action, which is generally called the

continence of Scipio, gives us a woeful idea of the gross barbarity of the age in which he lived. What would now be said of a ge- neral, who did not act as Scipio is said to have done ? Assuredly, his refusing the ransom would be thought more wonderful, than iis dismissing, uninjured, the betrothed princess.


definite. It is true, Homer took up only the space of eight-and-forty days for his Iliads ; but whether Virgil's action was comprehended in a year, or some- what more, is not determined by Bossu. Homer made the place of his action, Troy, and the Grecian camp besieging it. Virgil introduces his ./Eneas sometimes in Sicily, sometimes in Carthage, and other times at Cum 33, before he brings him to Lau- rentum ; and even after that, he wanders again to the kingdom of Evander, and some parts of Tus- cany, before he returns to finish the war by the death of Turnus. But tragedy, according to the practice of the ancients, was always confined with- in the compass of twenty-four hours, and seldom takes up so much time. As for the place of it, it was always one, and that not in a larger sense, (as for example, a whole city, or two or three several houses in it,) but the market, or some other public, place, common to the chorus and all the actors ; which established law of theirs I have not an op- portunity to examine in this place, because I can- not do it without digression from my subject ; though it seems too strict at the first appearance, because it excludes all secret intrigues, which are the beauties of the modern stage ; for nothing can be carried on with privacy, when the chorus is supposed to be always present. But to proceed; I must say this to the advantage of painting, even above tragedy, that what this last represents in the space of many hours, the former shews us in one moment. * The action, the passion, and the man-

  • There is a fallacy in this, which a moment's consideration

may detect. Painting does not present in one moment what tra- gedy shews in many hours, and cannot, on the contrary, shew more than one scene, at one minute and point of time. Doubt- less, by presenting to us one striking situation, the painting re-


ners of so many persons as are contained in a pic- ture are to be discerned at once, in the twinkling of an eye; at least they would be so, if the sight could travel over so many different objects all at once, or the mind could digest them all at the same instant, or point of time. Thus, in the famous pic- ture of Poussin, which represents the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament, you see our Saviour and his twelve disciples, all concurring in the same action, after different manners, and in different postures ; only the manners of Judas are distinguished from the rest. Here is but one indivisible point of time observed ; but one action performed by so many persons, in one room, and at the same table ; yet the eye cannot comprehend at once the whole object, nor the mind follow it so fast ; it is consi- dered at leisure, and seen by intervals. Such are the subjects of noble pictures; and such are only to be undertaken by noble hands.

There are other parts of nature, which are mean- er, and yet are the subjects both of painters and of poets. For, to proceed in the parallel ; as comedy is a representation of human life in inferior persons, and low subjects, and by that means creeps into the nature of poetry, and is a kind of juniper, a shrub belonging to the species of cedar, so is the painting of clowns, the representation of a Dutch kermis, * the brutal sport of snick-or-snee, and a thousand other things of this mean invention ; a kind of pic-

cals, if we know the story, all that has preceded and is to follow; but this arises from association, and happens equally if we come suddenly into a theatre where a well-known tragedy is performing.

  • A Dutch fair. Dryden probably recollected the pieces of


VOL. xvii. y


ture which belongs to nature, but of the lowest form. Such is a lazar in comparison to a Venus : both are drawn in human figures ; they have faces alike, though not like faces. There is yet a lower sort of poetry and painting, which is out of nature ; for a farce is that in poetry, which grotesque is in a pic- ture. The persons and action of a farce are all un- natural, and the manners false, that is, inconsisting with the characters of mankind. Grotesque paint- ing is the just resemblance of this ; and Horace be- gins his " Art of Poetry"' by describing such a fi- gure, with a man's head, a horse's neck, the wings of a bird, and a fish's tail ; parts of different species jumbled together, according to the mad imagina- tion of the dauber ; and the end pf all this, as he tells you afterward, to cause laughter : a very mon- ster in a Bartholomew-fair, for the mob to gape at for their two-pence. Laughter is indeed the pro- priety of a man, but just enough to distinguish him from his elder brother with four legs. It is a kind of bastard-pleasure too, taken in at the eyes of the vulgar gazers, and at the ears of the beastly audi- ence. Church-painters use it to divert the honest countryman at public prayers, and keep his eyes open at a heavy sermon ; and farce scribblers make use of the same noble invention, to entertain citi- zens, country- gentlemen, and Covent-Garden fops. If they are merry, ail goes well on the poet's side. The better sort go thither too, but in despair of sense and the just images of nature, which are the adequate pleasures of the mind ; but the author can give the stage no better than what was given him by nature ; and the actors must represent such things as they are capable to perform, and by which both they and the scribbler may get their living. After all, it is a good thing to laugh at any rate; and if a straw can tickle a man, it is an instrument


of happiness. Beasts can weep when they suffer, but they cannot laugh. And as Sir William D'Ave- nant observes in his Preface to " Gondibert," " It is the wisdom of a government to permit plays, (he might have added farces,) as it is the prudence of a carter to put bells upon his horses, to make them carry their burthens cheerfully."

I have already shewn, that one main end of poe- try and painting is to please, and have said some- thing of the kinds of both, and of their subjects, in which they bear a great resemblance to each other. I must now consider them, as they are great and noble arts; and as they are arts, they must have rules, which may direct them to their common end.

To all arts and sciences, but more particularly to these, may be applied what Hippocrates says of phy- sic, as I find him cited by an eminent French critic : " Medicine has long subsisted in the world. The principles of it are certain, and it has a certain way; by both which there has been found, in the course of many ages, an infinite number of things, the ex- perience of which has confirmed its usefulness and goodness. All that is wanting to the perfection of this art will undoubtedly be found, if able men, and such as are instructed in the ancient rules, will make a farther inquiry into it; and endeavour to arrive at that which is hitherto unknown, by that which is already known. But all who, having rejected the ancient rules, and taken the opposite ways, yet boast themselves to be masters of this art, do but deceive others, and are themselves deceived ; for that is ab- solutely impossible/'

This is notoriously true in these two arts; for the way to please being to imitate nature, both the poets and the painters in ancient times, and in the best ages, have studied her ; and from the practice of both these arts, the rules have been drawn, by


which we are instructed how to please, and to com- pass that end which they obtained, by following their example; for nature is still the same in all ages, and can never be contrary to herself. Thus, from the practice of ^Eschylus, Sophocles, and Eu- ripides, Aristotle drew his rules for tragedy, and Philostratus for painting. Thus, amongst the mo- derns, the Italian and French critics, by studying the precepts of Aristotle and Horace, and having the example of the Grecian poets before their eyes, have given us the rules of modern tragedy; and thus the critics of the same countries in the art of painting, have given the precepts of perfecting that art.

It is true that poetry has one advantage over painting in these last ages, that we have still the remaining examples both of the Greek and Latin poets ; whereas the painters have nothing left them from Apelles, Protogenes, Parrhasius, Xeuxis, and the rest, but only the testimonies which are given of their incomparable works. But instead of this, they have some of their best statues, bass-relievos, columns, obelisks, &c. which were saved out of the common ruin, and are still preserved in Italy; and by well distinguishing what is proper to sculpture, and what to painting, and what is common to them both, they have judiciously repaired that loss. And the great genius of Raffaelle, and others, having succeeded to the times of barbarism and ignorance, the knowledge of painting is now arrived to a su- preme perfection, though the performance of it is much declined in the present age. The greatest age for poetry amongst the Romans was certainly that of Augustus Caesar : and yet we are told that painting was then at its lowest ebb; and perhaps sculpture was also declining at the same time. In the reign of Domitian, and some who succeeded


him, poetry was but meanly cultivated, but painting eminently flourished. I am not here to give the history of the two arts ; how they were both in a manner extinguished by the irruption of the barba- rous nations, and both restored about the times of Leo the Tenth, Charles the Fifth, and Francis the First; though I might observe, that neither Ari- osto, nor any of his contemporary poets, ever arri- ved at the excellency of RafFaelle, Titian, and the rest, in painting. But in revenge, at this time, or lately, in many countries, poetry is better practised than her sister- art. To what height the magnifi- cence and encouragement of the present king of France may carry painting and sculpture, is uncer- tain ; but by what he has done before the war in which he is engaged, we may expect what he will do after the happy conclusion of a peace, which is the prayer and wish of all those who have not an interest to prolong the miseries of Europe. For it is most certain, as our author, amongst others, has observed, that reward is the spur of virtue, as well in all good arts, as in all laudable attempts ; and emulation, which is the other spur, will never be wanting, either amongst poets or painters, when particular rewards and prizes are proposed to the best deservers.

But to return from this digression, though it was almost necessary. All the rules of painting are me- thodically, concisely, and yet clearly delivered in this present treatise, which I have translated, bossu has not given more exact rules for the epic poem, nor Dacier for tragedy, in his late excellent trans- lation of Aristotle, and his notes upon him, than our Fresnoy has made for painting; with the pa- rallel of which I must resume my discourse, follow- ing my author's text, though with more brevity than I intended, because Virgil calls me.


The principal and most important part of paint- ing is, to know what is most beautiful in nature, and most proper for that art. That which is the most beautiful is the most noble subject: so in poetry, tragedy is more beautiful than comedy; because, as I said, the persons are greater whom the poet instructs, and consequently the instruc- tions of more benefit to mankind : the action is likewise greater and more noble, and thence is de- rived the greater and more noble pleasure.

To imitate nature well in whatsoever subject, is the perfection of both arts; and that picture, and that poem, which comes nearest to the resemblance of nature, is the best. But it follows not, that what pleases most in either kind is therefore good, but what ought to please. Our depraved appetites, and ignorance of the arts, mislead our judgments, and cause us often to take that for true imitation of nature, which has no resemblance of nature in it* To inform our judgments, and to reform our tastes, rules were invented, that by them we might dis- cern when nature was imitated, and how nearly. I have been forced to recapitulate these things, be- cause mankind is not more liable to deceit, than it is willing to continue in a pleasing error, strength- ened by a long habitude. The imitation of nature is therefore justly constituted as the general, and indeed the only, rule of pleasing, both in poetry and painting. Aristotle tells us, that imitation pleases, because it affords matter for a reasoner to inquire into the truth or falsehood of imitation, *

  • The passage alluded to is in Aristotle's " Treatise on Poetry/'

in which he accounts for the pleasure afforded by the imitative arts, by observing, that " to learn is a natural pleasure." " To the same purpose (says Mr Twining,) in hh> * Rhetorick/ lib. i. cap. xi. p. 537. edit. Duval. E^m ft TO j*ar6j, *'. r. A. * And as


by comparing its likeness, or unlikeness, with the original ; but by this rule, every speculation in na- ture, whose truth falls under the inquiry of a phi-

it is by nature delightful to learn, to admire, and the like, hence we necessarily receive pleasure from imitative arts, as PAINTING, SCULPTURE, and POETRY, and from whatever is well imitated, even though the original may be disagreeable; but our pleasure does not arise from the beauty of the thing ilself, but from the zrc- ference, the discovery that THIS is THAT, &c. so that we seem to learn something/

" MavQamv to learn, to know, i. e. merely to recognize, disco- ver, &c," See Harris, On Music, Painting, &c. ch. iv. note (b). The meaning is sufficiently explained by what follows.

" Dryden, who scarce ever mentions Aristotle without disco- vering that he had looked only at the wrong side of the tapestry, (a translation,) says, * Aristotle tells us, that imitation pleases, because it affords matter for a reasoner to inquire into the truth or falsehood of imitation/ &c. But Aristotle is not here speak- ing of reasoner s, or inquiry, but, on the contrary, of the vulgar, the generality of mankind, whom he expressly opposes to philoso- phers, or reasoners : and his o-vtooyi^crQcu is no more than that rapid, habitual, and imperceptible act of the mind, that ' rai- sonnement aussi prompt que le coup d'ceil,' (as it is well paraphra- sed by M- Batteux,) by which we collect or infer, from a compa- rison of the picture with the image of the original in our minds, that it was intended to represent that original.

" The fullest illustration of this passage is to be found in ano- ther work of Aristotle, his * Rhetoric/ lib. iii. cap. x. where he applies the same principle to metaphorical language, and resolves the pleasure we receive from such language, into that which arises from the pad*?*; TAXEIA, the exercise of our understandings in discovering the meaning by a quick and easy perception of some quality, or qualities, common to the thing expressed, and the thing intended; to a mirror, for example, and to the theatre, when the latter is called metaphorically, the mirror of human life.

" Dryden (Mr Twining further observes) seems to have taken his idea from Dacier's note on this place, (in the * Treatise on Poetry/) which is extremely confused, and so expressed, as to leave it doubtful whether he misunderstood the original, or only explained himself awkwardly. The use that Dryden made of French critics and translators is well known." Aristotle's Trea- tise on Poetry, translated, with Notes, $c. by THOMAS TWINING-, A. M. 4to ; 1789, p. 1S6\ MALONE.


losopher, must produce the same delight, which is not true. I should rather assign another reason. Truth is the ohject of our understanding, as good is of our will ; and the understanding can no more be delighted with a lie, than the will can choose an apparent evil As truth is the end of all our speculations, so the discovery of it is the pleasure of them ; and since a true knowledge of nature gives us pleasure, a lively imitation of it, either in poetry or painting, must of necessity produce a much greater : for both these arts, as I said before, are not only true imitations of nature, but of the best nature, of that which is wrought up to a no- bler pitch. They present us with images more perfect than the life in any individual ; and we have the pleasure to see all the scattered beauties of nature united by a happy chemistry, without its deformities or faults. They are imitations of the passions, which always move, and therefore conse- quently please ; for without motion there can be no delight, which cannot be considered but as an active passion. When we view these elevated ideas of nature, the result of that view is admiration, which is always the cause of pleasure.

This foregoing remark, which gives the reason why imitation pleases, was sent me by Mr Walter Moyle, a most ingenious young gentleman, con- versant in all the studies of humanity much above his years. He had also furnished me, according to my request, with all the particular passages in Aris- totle and Horace, which are used by them to ex- plain the art of poetry by that of painting; which, if ever I have time to retouch this Essay, shall be inserted in their places.

Having thus shewn that imitation pleases, and why it pleases in both these arts, it follows, that some rules of imitation are necessary to obtain the


end; for without rules there can be no art, any more than there can be a house without a door to conduct you into it.

The principal parts of painting and poetry next follow. Invention is the first part, and absolutely necessary to them both; yet no rule ever was or ever can be given, how to compass it. A happy

fenius is the gift of nature : it depends on the in- uence of the stars, say the astrologers ; on the or- gans of the body, say the naturalists ; it is the par- ticular gift of heaven, say the divines, both Chris- tians and heathens. How to improve it, many books can teach us ; how to obtain it, none ; that nothing can be done without it, all agree ;

Tu nihil inmtd dices faciesve Minervd.

Without invention, a painter is but a copier, and a poet but a plagiary of others. Both are allowed sometimes to copy, and translate ; but, as our au- thor tells you, that is not the best part of their re- putation. " Imitators are but a servile kind of cattle," says the poet ; or at best, the keepers of cattle for other men : they have nothing which is properly their own : that is a sufficient mortifica- tion for me, while I am translating Virgil. But to copy the best author, is a kind of praise, if I per- form it as I ought; as a copy after RaflFaelle is more to be commended than an original of any in- different painter.

Under this head of Invention is placed the disposition of the work, to put all things in a beautiful order and harmony, that the whole may be of a piece. The compositions of the painter should be conformable to the text of ancient au- thors, to the customs, and the times. And this is exactly the same in poetry ; Homer and Virgil are to be our guides in the epic; Sophocles and Euri-


pides in tragedy: in all things we are to imitate the customs and the times of those persons and things which we represent : not to make new rules of the drama, as Lopez de Vega has attempted un- successfully to do, * but to he content to follow our masters, who understood nature better than we. But if the story which we treat be modern, we are to vary the customs, according to the time and the country where the scene of action lies ; for this is still to imitate nature, which is always the same, though in a different dress.

As in the composition of a picture the painter is to take care that nothing enter into it, which is not proper or convenient to the subject, so likewise is the poet to reject all incidents which are foreign to his poem, and are naturally no parts of it; they are wens, and other excrescences, which belong not to the body, but deform it. No person, no inci- dent, in the piece, or in the play, but must be of use to carry on the main design. All things else are like six fingers to the hand, when nature, which is superfluous in nothing, can do her work with five. A painter must reject all trifling orna- ments; so must a poet refuse all tedious and unne- cessary descriptions. A robe which is too heavy is less an ornament than a burthen.

In poetry Horace calls these things versus mo- pes rerum, nugceqite canorce ; there are also the lu- cus et am Diantf, which he mentions in the same " Art of Poetry." But since there must be or- naments both in painting and poetry, if they are not necessary, they must at least be decent;

  • This is hardly accurate. Lopez de Vega did indeed despise

the rules laid down by others, but lie made no new regulations.


that is, in their due place, and but moderately used. The painter is not to take so much pains about the drapery, as about the face, where the principal resemblance lies ; neither is the poet, who is working up a passion, to makes similes, which will certainly make it languish. My Montezuma dies with a fine one in his mouth;* but it is am- bitious, and out of season. When there are more figures in a picture than are necessary, or at least ornamental, our author calls them " figures to be let ;" because the picture has no use of them. So I have seen in some modern plays above twenty ac- tors, when the action has not required half the number, f In the principal figures of a picture, the painter is to employ the sinews of his art ; for

O Powers divine,

Take my last thanks ! no longer I repine.

I might have lived my own mishaps to mourn,

While some would pity me, but more would scorn;

For pity only on fresh objects stays,

But with the tedious sight of woes decays.

Still less and less my boiling spirits flow,

And I grow stiff, as cooling metals do.

Farewell, Almeria. Vol. II. p. 371.

^ Nothing can be more hazardous for a dramatist than the in- troduction of many inferior characters. In proportion to the numbers of the Dramatis Persons, the difficulty of getting up a piece is increased in a tremendous ratio; since even the awkward- ness of a domestic, or the ridiculous gait of a guard, may throw the audience into a tone of feeling very inconsistent with tragic effect. Undoubtedly, could the expence be supported, something might be gained by drilling underlings to such inferior characters, and teaching even the mutes to look, as ii they took some interest in what is going forward ; but, at present, the entrance and exit of a hero, cum wis, has something in it irresistibly ludicrous. Here the painter has a decisive advantage over the dramatist, since it costs him nothing to finish his inferior personages in a style as correspondent to truth as the principal.


in them consists the principal beauty of his work. Our author saves me the comparison with tragedy; for he says, that herein he is to imitate the tragic poet, who employs his utmost force in those places, wherein consists the height and beauty of the ac- tion.

Du Fresnoy, whom I follow, makes design, or drawing, the second part of painting ; but the rules which he gives concerning the posture of the fi- gures, are almost wholly proper to that art, and ad- mit not any comparison, that I know, with poetry. The posture of a poetic figure is, as I conceive, the description of his heroes in the performance of such or such an action ; as of Achilles, just in the act of killing Hector, or of tineas, who has Turnus under him. Both the poet and the painter vary the pos- ture, according to the action or passion which they represent, of the same person ; but all must be great and graceful in them. The same ^Eneas must be drawn a suppliant to Dido, with respect in his gestures, and humility in his eyes ; but when he is forced, in his own defence, to kill Lausus, the poet shews him compassionate, and tempering the seve- rity of his looks with a reluctance to the action which he is going to perform. He has pity on his beauty and his youth, and is loth to destroy such a masterpiece of nature. He considers Lausus rescu- ing his father at the hazard of his own life, as an image of himself, when he took Anchises on his shoulders, and bore him safe through the rage of the fire, and the opposition of his enemies ; and therefore, in the posture of a retiring man, who avoids the combat, he stretches out his arm in sign of peace, with his right foot drawn a little back, and his breast bending inward, more like an orator than a soldier ; and seems to dissuade the young man from pulling on his destiny, by attempting


more than he was able to perform. Take the pas- sage as I have thus translated it :

Shouts of applause ran ringing through the field, To see the son the vanquished father shield : All, fired with noble emulation, strive, And with a storm of darts to distance drive The Trojan chief; who, held at bay, from far On his Vulcanian orb sustained the war.

JEneas, thus o'erwhelmed on every side, Their first assault undaunted did abide,

And thus to Lausus, loud with friendly threatening cried : 5 Why wilt thou rush to certain death, and rage, In rash attempts, beyond thy tender age, Betrayed by pious love ?

And afterwards :

He grieved, he wept ; the sight an image brought Of his own filial love ; a sadly pleasing thought.

But beside the outlines of the posture, the design of the picture comprehends, in the next place, the forms effaces, which are to be different ; and so in a poem or a play must the several characters of the persons be distinguished from each other. I knew a poet, whom out of respect I will not name, who, being too witty himself, could draw nothing but wits in a comedy of his ; even his fools were infect- ed with the disease of their author. They over- flowed with smart repartees, and were only distin- guished from the intended wits by being called coxcombs, * though they deserved not so scanda-

  • I retain Mr Malone's excellent note. " This description

seems at the first view to be intended for Congreve, to whom it is certainly sufficiently applicable, and who had produced his ' Double Dealer' in the preceding year, and his ' Love for Love' in 1695. But beside that Dryden's high admiration of


lous a name. Another, who had a great genius for tragedy, * following the fury of his natural tem- per, made every man, and woman too, in his plays, stark racing mad ; there was not a sober person to be had for love or money. All was tempestuous and blustering ; heaven and earth were coming to- gether at every word; a mere hurricane from the beginning to the end, and every actor seemed to be hastening on the day of judgment, f

u Let every member be made for its own head," says our author ; not a withered hand to a young face. So, in the persons of a play, whatsoever is said or done by any of them, must be consistent with the manners which the poet has given them dis- tinctly ; and even the habits must be proper to the degrees and humours of the persons, as well as in a picture. He who entered in the first act a young

Congreve, which he had so strongly manifested in the admirable verses addressed to that poet on the former play, will not admit of such an application, the words ' I knew,' clearly denote a dead poet, and consequently will exclude Wycherley also. The person meant therefore, I think, was Sir George Etherege, who died a few years before. In Dryden's Epilogue to that author's ' Man of Mode,' he says,

" Sir Fopling is a, fool so nicely writ, Most ladies would mistake him for a wit."

  • Nat. Lee.

t Dry den probably recollected, particularly, Lee's famous rant at the conclusion of the fourth act of CEdipus :

Fall darkness then, and everlasting night Shadow the globe; may the sun never dawn, The silver moon be blotted from her orb ! And for an universal rout of nature, Through all the inmost chambers of the sky May there not be a glimpse, one starry spark, But gods meet gods, and jostle in the dark ; That jars may rise, and wrath divine be hurled,. Which may to atoms shake the solid world !

Vol. VI. p. 206.


man, like Pericles, Prince of Tyre, * must not be in danger in the fifth act, of committing incest with his daughter ; nor an usurer, without great probability and causes of repentance, be turned into a cutting Morecraft. f

I am not satisfied, that the comparison betwixt the two arts in the last paragraph is altogether so just as it might have been; but I am sure of this which follows :

" The principal figure of the subject must appear in the midst of the picture, under the principal light, to distinguish it from the rest, which are on- ly its attendants." Thus, in a tragedy, or an epic poem, the hero of the piece must be advanced fore- most to the view of the reader, or spectator : he must outshine the rest of all the characters ; he must appear the prince of them, like the sun in the Copernican system, encompassed with the less no- ble planets : because the hero is the centre of the main action ; all the lines from the circumference

  • " Pericles, Prince of Tyre," which has been generally impu-

ted to Shakespeare, though the internal evidence is not in favour of the supposition. Dryden believed it to be one of his earliest pieces:

Shakespeare's own muse his Pericles first bore, The Prince of Tyre was elder than the Moor.

This order was probably assigned from the confessed inferiority of Pericles to Shakespeare's later plays. But that apology can- not be received ; for if Shakespeare had any hand in Pericles at all, it was at a late period of his dramatic career.-See Vol. X. p. 335., and the remarks on Pericles in Malone's Shakespeare.

t Morecraft is an usurer in Beaumont and Fletcher's comedy of the " Scornful Lady/' who, having been cheated and discomfit- ed, as usurers commonly are in the drama, (I suppose to compen- sate their success in real life,) at the end of the play suddenly changes his character fur that of an extravagant gallant, and as- sumes the denomination of cutting, or as we would now say clank- ing, Morecraft. See Vol. IV. p. 241.


tend to him alone : be is the chief object of pity in the drama, and of admiration in the epic poem.

As in a picture, besides the principal figures which compose it, and are placed in the midst of it, there are less groups or knots of figures disposed at proper distances, which are parts of the piece, and seem to carry on the same design in a more inferior manner; so, in epic poetry there are epi- sodes, ard a chorus in tragedy, which are members of the action, as growing out of it, not inserted in- to it. Such in the ninth book of the " ^Eneids 1 ' is the episode of Nisus and Euryalus. The adventure belongs to them alone ; they alone are the objects of compassion and admiration ; but their business which they carry on, is the general concernment of the Trojan camp, then beleaguered by Turn us and the Latins, as the Christians were lately by the Turks. They were to advertise the chief hero of the distresses of his subjects occasioned by his absence, to crave his succour, and solicit him to hasten his return.

The Grecian tragedy was at first nothing but a chorus of singers ; afterwards one actor was intro- duced, which was the poet himself, who entertain- ed the people with a discourse in verse, betwixt the pauses of the singing. 1 his succeeding with the people, more actors were added, to make the varie- ty the greater; and, in process of time, the chorus only sung betwixt the acts, and the Corypha3us, or chief of them, spoke for the rest, as an actor con- cerned in the business of the play.

Thus tragedy was perfected by degrees ; and be- ing arrived at that perfection, the painters might probably take the hint from thence of adding groups to their pictures. But as a good picture may be without a group, so a good tragedy may subsist


without a chorus, notwithstanding any reasons which have been given by Dacier to the contrary.

Monsieur Racine has, indeed, used it in his " Esther ;" but not that he found any necessity of it, as the French critic would insinuate. The cho- rus at St Cyr was only to give the young ladies an occasion of entertaining the king with vocal music, and of commending their own voices. The play itself was never intended for the public stage, nor, without disparagement to the learned author, could possibly have succeeded there ; and much less the translation of it here. Mr Wycherley, when we read it together, was of my opinion in this, or ra- ther I of his ; for it becomes me so to speak of so excellent a poet, and so great a judge. But since I am in this place, as Virgil says, spatiis exclusus iniquis, that is, shortened in my time, I will give no other reason, than that it is impracticable on our stage. A new theatre, much more ample and much deeper, must be made for that purpose, be- sides the cost of sometimes forty or fifty habits, which is an expence too large to be supplied by a company of actors. It is true, I should not be sor- ry to see a chorus on a theatre more than as large and as deep again as ours, built and adorned at a king's charges ; and on that condition, and another, which is, that my hands were not bound behind me, as now they are, * I should not despair of ma- king such a tragedy as might be both instructive and delightful, according to the manner of the Grecians.

  • Mr Malone thinks this alludes to the translation of Virgil, in

which Dryden was now engaged. But I conceive it has a general reference to his situation us a suspected and discountenanced per- son ; restrained from free exertion of his genius, by the necessity of considering that he was exposed to misconstruction. He must



To make a sketch, or a more perfect model of a picture, is, in the language of poets, to draw up the scenery of a play ; and the reason is the same for both; to guide the undertaking, and to preserve the remembrance of such things, whose natures are difficult to retain.

To avoid absurdities and incongruities, is the same law established for both arts. The painter is not to paint a cloud at the bottom of a picture, but in the uppermost parts ; nor the poet to place what is proper to the end or middle, in the beginning of a poem. I might enlarge on this; but there are few poets or painters, who can be supposed to sin so grossly against the laws of nature and of art. I remember only one play, and for once I will call it by its name, " The Slighted Maid,"* where there is

have recollected the suppression of " Cleomenes," and the offence taken by government at the prologue to the " Prophetess." In truth, the very expression in the text is elsewhere hitched inta rhyme :

The labouring bee, when his sharp sting is gone, Forgets his golden work, and turns a drone j Such is a satire when you take away That rage in which his noble vigour lay.

How can he show his manhood if you bind him, To box like boys with one hand tied behind him ?

Prologue to Amphitryon, Vol. VIII. p. 12.

  • A comedy written by Sir Robert Stapylton, and acted by the

Duke of York's servants, at their theatre in Lincoln's- Inn- Fields, in 1663. Dryden has elsewhere undervalued this play, Vol. X. p. 336:

Your Ben and Fletcher, in their first young flight,

Did no Volpone, nor no Arbaces write ;

But hopped about, and short excursions made ^

From bough to bough, as if they were afraid ;

And each was guilty of some " Slighted Maid." )

Sir Robert Stapylton, the author of the " Slighted Maid," translated Juvenal and Musaeus, and wrote other two plays, called " The Step- mother/' and " Hero and Leander."



nothing in the first act, but what might have been said or done in the fifth; nor any thing in the midst, which might not have been placed as well in the beginning, or the end. To express the passions which are seated in the heart, by outward signs, is one great precept of the painters, and very difficult to perform. In poetry, the same passions and mo- tions of the mind are to be expressed ; and in this consists the principal difficulty, as well as the ex- cellency of that art. This, says my author, is the gift of Jupiter ; and, to speak in the same heathen language, we call it the gift of our Apollo, not to be obtained by pains or study, if we are not born to it ; for the motions which are studied, are never so natural as those which break out in the height of a real passion. Mr Otway possessed this part as thoroughly as any of the ancients or moderns. I will not defend every thing in his " Venice Preser- ved;" but f must bear this testimony to his me- mory, that the passions are truly touched in it, * though perhaps there is somewhat to be desired, both in the grounds of them, and in the height and elegance of expression; but nature is there, which is the greatest beauty.

" In the passions," says our author, " we must have a very great regard to the quality of the per- sons, who are actually possessed with them." The joy of a monarch for the news of a victory, must not be expressed like the ecstacy of a Harlequin on

  • " Otway /'says Pope, " has written but two tragedies, out of six,

that are pathetic. I believe he did it without much design, as Lillo has done in his ' Barnwell/ It is a talent of nature, rather than an effect of judgment, to write so movingly."- SP EN CE'$ Anec- dotes, quoted by Malone. Dryden, at an early period, i s'said to have set no high value upon Otway in other respects, wYiile he allowed he excelled him in the art of affecting the passions.


the receipt of a letter from bis mistress: this is so much the same in hoth the arts, that it is no longer a comparison. What he says of face painting, or the portrait of any one particular person, concern- ing the likeness, is also as applicable to poetry. In the character of an hero, as well as in an inierior figure, there is a better or worse likeness to be ta- ken : the better is a panegyric, if it be not false, and the worse is a libel. Sophocles, says Aristotle, always drew men as they ought to be, that is, bet- ter than they were; another, whose name I have forgotten, * drew them worse than naturally they were: Euripides altered nothing in the character, but made them such as they were represented by history, epic poetry, or tradition. Of the three, the draught of Sophocles is most commended by Aristotle. I have followed it in that pait of " (E- dipus" which I writ, f though perhaps I have made him too good a man. But my characters of An- tony and Cleopatra, though they are favouiable to them, have nothing of outrageous panegyric. '1 heir passions were their own, and such as were gh en them by history ; only the deformities of them were cast into shadows, that they might be objects of compassion : whereas if I had chosen a noon-day light for them, somewhat must have been discover- ed, which would rather have moved our hatred than our pity.

  • " Aristotle, in the place referred to, (?ep <nronjT. x. //,?.) docs not

mention any third dramatic poet by name, lie do<^ nun-ed put the case ot a third poet, who might pursue u method dittVreu fiom the practice eitl er of Sophocles or Euripides, and represent things as t/tey are said, and itlitied, to be. Jn the same pt->a^e, (which is maniiestly corrupt,) lie immions an observation ot Xe- nopham-s, who, I believe, was the person here in our though U." MA LON i-;.

The lirst and third Acts.


The Gothic manner, and the barbarous orna- ments, u hich are to be avoided in a picture, are just the san;e with those in an ill- ordered play. For example, our English tragi-comedy must be confes- sed to be wholly Gothic, notwithstanding the suc- cess \\hich it has found upon our theatre, and in the ' Pastor Fido" 1 of Guarini , even though Corica and the Satyr contribute somewhat to the main ac- tion. Neither can I defend my u Spanish Friar," as fond as otherwise I am of it, from this imputa- tion : tor though the comical parts are diverting, and the serious mo\ ing, yet they are of an unnatu- ral m ingle . for mirth and gravity destroy each other, and are no more to be allowed for decent, than a gay widow laughing in a mourning liabit.

1 had almost forgotten one considerable resem- blance. Du Fresnoy tells us, " That the figures of the groups must not be all on a side, that is, with their face and bodies all turned the same way: but must contrast each other by their several positions." Thus in a play, some characters must be raised, to oppose others, and to set them off the better; ac- cording to the old maxim, contrariajuxta se posita, magis ductscuiit. Thus, in " The Scornful Lady," the usurer is set to confront the prodigal : thus, in my "Tyrannic Lo\e/' the atheist Maximin is oppo- sed to the character of St Catherine.

I am now come, though with the omission of many likenesses, to the Third Part of Painting, which is called the Cromatic, or Colouring Ex- pression, and all that belongs to words, is that in a poem, which colouring is in a picture. The co- lours well chosen in their proper places, together with the lights and shadows which belong to then-, lighten the design, and make it pleasing to the eye. The words, the expressions, the tropes and figure*, the versification, and all the other elegancies of


sound, as cadences, turns of words upon the thought, and many other things, which are all parts of ex- pression, perform exactly the same office both in dramatic and epic poetry. Our author calls Co- louring, kna sororis ; in plain English, the bawd of her sister, the design or drawing : she clothes, she dresses her up, she paints her, she makes her ap- pear more lovely than naturally she is ; she procures for the design, and makes lovers for her : for the design of itself is only so many naked lines. Thus in poetry, the expression is that which charms the reader, and beautifies the design, which is only the outlines of the fable. It is true, the design must of itself be good ; if it be vicious, or, in one word, tmpleasing, the cost of colouring is thrown away upon it : it is an ugly woman in a rich habit set put with jewels ; nothing can become her ; but granting the design to be moderately good, it is like an excellent complexion with indifferent fea- tures : the white and red well mingled on the face, make what was before but passable, appear beauti- ful. Operum colores is the very word which Ho- race uses, to signify words and elegant expressions, of which he himself was so great a master, in his Odes. Amongst the ancients, Zeuxis was most fa- mous for his colouring ; amongst the moderns, Ti- tian and Correggio. Of the two ancient epic poets, who have so far excelled all the moderns, the in- vention and design were the particular talents of Homer. Virgil must yield to him in both ; for the design of the Latin was borrowed from the Greci- an : but the dictio Virgiliana, the expression of Vir- gil, his colouring, was incomparably the better ; and in that I have always endeavoured to copy him. Most of the pedants, I know, maintain the contrary, and will have Homer excel even in this part. Bu(; of all people, as they are the most ill-mannered, so


they are the worst judges. Even of words, whicli are their province, they seldom know more than the grammatical construction, unless they are born with a poetical genius, whicli is a rare portion amongst them. Yet some I know may stand ex- cepted ; and such I honour. Virgil is so exact in every word, that none can be changed but for a worse ; nor any one removed from its place, but the harmony will be altered. He pretends some- times to trip ; but it is only to make you think him in danger of a fall, when he is most secure : like a skilful dancer on the ropes, (if you will pardon the meanness of the similitude,) who slips willingly, and makes a seeming stumble, that you may think him in great hazard of breaking his neck, while at the same time he is only giving you a proof of his dexterity. My late Lord Roscommon was often pleased with this reflection, and with the examples of it in this admirable author.

I have not leisure to run through the whole com- parison of lights and shadows with tropes and fi- gures ; yet I cannot but take notice of metaphors, which like them have power to lessen or greaten any thing. Strong and glowing colours are the just resemblances of bold metaphors : but both must be judiciously applied ; for there is a diffe- rence betwixt daring and fool-hardiness. Lucan and Statius often ventured them too far ; our Vir- gil never. But the great defect of the " Pharsalia" and the " Thebais" was in the design : if that had been more perfect, we might have forgiven many of their bold strokes in the colouring, or at least excused them : yet some of them are such as De- mosthenes or Cicero could not have defended. Vir- gil, if he could have seen the first verses of the


" Sylvae," f would have thought Statius mad, in his fustian description of the statue on the brazen horse. But that poet was always in a foam at his setting out, even before the motion of the race had warmed him. The soberness of Virgil, whom he read, it seems, to little purpose, might have shewn him the difference betwixt

Arma virumque cano


Magnanimum Macidem,formidatamque tonanti Progeniem.

But Virgil knew how to rise by degrees in his ex- pressions : Statius was in his towering heights at the first stretch of his pinions. The description of his running horse, just starting in the Funeral Games for Archemorus, though the verses are won- derfully fine, are the true image of their author :

Stare adeb nescit, pereunt vestigia mille

Antefugam ; absentemque ferit grams ungula campum ; J

f Our author has already compared the first of the lines al- luded to

Quce superimposito moles geminata Colosso

\vith the first line of Virgil's Eclogues.

J Theb. vi. 400, 40 iJ

Our author's confession of the difficulty of translating these lines, probably induced Pope to transplant them into his " Windsor Forest," where they are thus beautifully paraphrased :

The impatient courser pants in every vein, And pawing seems to beat the distant plain ; Hills, vales, and floods, appear already crost, And, ere he btarts, a thousand steps are lost.


which would cost me an hour, if I had the leisure to translate them, there is so much of beauty in the original.

Virgil, as he better knew his colours, so he knew better how and where to place them. In as much haste as I am, I cannot forbear giving one exam- ple. It is said of him, that he read the Second, Fourth, and Sixth Books of his ^Eneids to Augus- tus Caesar. In the Sixth, (which we are sure he read, because we know Octavia was present, who rewarded him so bountifully for the twenty verses which were made in honour of her deceased son, Marcellus,}* in this Sixth Book, I say, the poet, speaking of Misenus, the trumpeter, says,

quo non prccstantior alter

Mre ciere viros,-

and broke off in the hemistic, or midst of the verse ; but in the very reading, seized as it were with a divine fury, he made up the latter part of the hemistic with these following words,

martemque accendere cantu.

How warm, nay, how glowing a colouring is this ! In the beginning of his verse, the word as, or

Our author trusted, as usual, to memory ; for the first of the lines, quoted from Statius, runs differently :

Stare adcb miserum est but he was thinking on a passage in the Third Georgic :

turn, si qua sonum procnl arma dedere,

Stare loco nescit : micat auribus, ct tremit artus ; Conlectumque premcns volvit sub naribus igiiem. MALONE.

  • See Volume XIII. p. 320. There are good grounds for

disbelieving this beautiful anecdote. See Malone's note on this passage.


brass, was taken for a trumpet, because tbe instru- ment was made of that metal, which of itself was fine ; but in the latter end, which was made extem- pore, you see three mataphors, martemque, accen- dere, cantu. Good heavens ! how the plain sense is raised by the beauty of the words ! But this was happiness, the former might be only judgment : this was the curiosa Jelicitas, which Petronius at- trihutes to Horace ; it is the pencil thrown luckily full upon the horse's mouth, to express the foam which the painter with all his skill could not per- form without it. These hits of words a true poet often finds, as I may say, without seeking; but he knows their value when he finds them, and is in- finitely pleased. A bad poet may sometimes light on them, but he discerns not a diamond from a Bristol-stone ; and would have been of the cock's mind in ^Esop, a grain of barley would have plea- sed him better than the jewel.

The lights and shadows which belong to co- louring, put me in mind of that verse in Horace,

Hoc amat obscurum, 'cult hoc sub luce videri.

Some parts of a poem require to be amply written, and with all the force and elegance of words ; others must be cast into shadows, that is, passed over in silence, or but faintly touched. This be- longs wholly to the judgment of the poet and the painter. The most beautiful parts of the picture, and the poem, must be the most finished, the co- lours and words most chosen ; many things in both, which are not deserving of this care, must be shifted off; content with vulgar expressions, and those very short, and left, as in a shadow, to the imagination of the reader.

We have the proverb, manum de tabula, from the painters ; which signifies, to know when to give


over, and to lay by the pencil. Both Homer and Virgil practised this precept wonderfully well, but Virgil the better of the two. Homer knew, that when Hector was slain, Troy was as good as al- ready taken ; therefore he concludes his action there : for what follows in the funerals of Patro- clus, and the redemption of Hector's body, is not, properly speaking, a part of the main action. But Virgil concludes with the death of Turnus ; for af- ter that difficulty was removed, ./Eneas might marry, and establish the Trojans, when he pleased. This rule I had before my eyes in the conclusion of the " Spanish Friar," when the discovery was made that the king was living, which was the knot of the play untied ; the rest is shut up in the compass of some few lines, because nothing then hindered the happiness of Torrismond and Leonora. The faults of that drama are in the kind of it, which is tragi- comedy. But it was given to the people : and I jiever writ any thing for myself but " Antony and Cleopatra."

This remark, I must acknowledge, is not so pro- per for the colouring, as the design ; but it will hold for both. As the words, &c. are evidently shown to be the cloathing of the thought, in the same sense as colours are the cloathing of the design, so the painter and the poet ought to judge exactly, when the colouring and expressions are perfect, and then to think their work is truly finished. Apelles said of Protogenes, that he knew not when to give over. A work may be over-wrought, as well as under- wrought ; too much labour often takes away the spirit by adding to the polishing, so that there remains nothing but a dull correct- ness, a piece without any considerable faults, but with few beauties ; for when the spirits are drawn oft* there is nothing but a caput mortuum. Statins


never thought an expression could be bold enough; and if a bolder could be found, he rejected the first. Virgil had judgment enough to know daring was necessary ; but he knew the difference betwixt a glowing colour and a glaring. As, when he com- pared the shocking of the fleets at Actium to the jostling of islands rent from their foundations, and meeting in the ocean, he knew the comparison was forced beyond nature, and raised too high ; he therefore softens the metaphor with a credas: " you would almost believe that mountains or islands rushed against each other :"

pctago credos innare revufsas

Cycladas, ant monies concurrere montibus altos.

But here I must break off without finishing the discourse.

Cynthius aurem vdlit, et admonult, &c. The things which are behind are of too nice a consi- deration for an essay, begun and ended in twelve mornings ; and perhaps the judges of painting and poetry, when I tell them how short a time it cost me, may make me the same answer which my late Lord Rochester made to one, who, to commend a tragedy, said it was written in three weeks : " How the devil could he be so long about it r" For that poem was infamously bad ; and I doubt this Paral- lel is little better ; and then the shortness of the time is so far from being a commendation, that it is scarcely an excuse. But if I have really drawn a portrait to the knees, or an half-length, with a tolerable likeness, then I may plead, with some justice, for myself, that the rest is left to the ima- gination. Let some better artist provide himself of a deeper canvas, and, taking these hints which I have given, set the figure on its legs, and finish it in the invention, design, and colouring.







AMONG all the beautiful and delightful arts, that of painting has always found the most lovers; the number of them almost including all mankind. Of whom great multitudes are daily found, who value themselves on the knowledge of it : either because they keep company with painters, or that they have seen good pieces; or, lastly, because their gusto is naturally good. Which notwithstanding, that knowledge of theirs (if we may so call it) is so very superficial, and so ill grounded, that it is impossible for them to describe in what consists the beauty of those works, which they admire ; or the faults, which are in the greatest part of those which they condemn. And truly it is not hard to find, that this proceeds from no other cause, than that they are not furnished with rules by which to judge; nor have any solid foundations, whicii are as so


many lights set up to clear their understanding, and lead them to an entire and certain knowledge. I think it superfluous to prove, that this is neces- sary to the knowledge of painting It is sufficient, that painting be acknowledged for an art ; for that being granted, it follows, without dispute, that no arts are without their precepts. I shall satisfy my- self with telling you, that this little treatise will furnish you with infallible rules of judging truly ; since they are not only founded upon right reason, but upon the best pieces of the best masters, which our author hath carefully examined, during the space of more than thirty years ; and on which he has made all the reflections which are necessary, to render this treatise worthy of posterity ; which, though little in bulk, yet contains most judicious remarks ; and suffers nothing to escape, that is es- sential to the subject which it handles. If you will please to read it with attention, you will find it capable of giving the most nice and delicate sort of knowledge, not only to the lovers, but even to the professors of that art.

It would be too long to tell you the particular advantages, which it has above all the books that have appeared before it, in this kind ; you need only read it, and that will convince you of this truth. All that I will allow myself to say, is only this, that there is not a word in it which carries not its weight ; whereas in all others, there are two con- siderable faults, which lie open to the sight, viz. that saying too much, they always say too little. I as- sure myself, that the reader will own it is a work of general profit : to the lovers of painting, for their instruction how to judge knowingly, from the rea- on of the thing ; and to the painters themselves, by removing their difficulties, that they may work with pleasure ; because they may be in some man-


ner certain, that their productions are good. It is to be used like spirits, and precious liquors : the less you drink of it at a time, it is with the greater pleasure. Read it often, and but little at once, that you may digest it better ; and dwell particu- larly on those passages which you find marked with an asterism *. For the observations which follow such a note, will give you a clearer light on the matter which is there treated. You will find them by the numbers which are on the side of the trans- lation, from five to five verses, by searching for the like number in the remarks which are at the end of it, and which are distinguished from each other by this note '(". You will find in the latter pages of this book, the judgment of the author on those painters, who have acquired the greatest reputation in the world ; amongst whom, he was not willing to comprehend those who are now living. They are undoubtedly his, as being found among his pa- pers, written in his own hand.

As for the prose translation, which you will find on the other side of the Latin poem, I must inform you on what occasion, and in what manner, it was performed. The love which I had tor painting, and the pleasure which I found in the exercise of that noble art, at my leisure hours, gave me the desire of being acquainted with the late Monsieur du Fresnoy, who was generally reputed to have a thorough knowledge of it. Our acquaintance at length proceeded to that degree of intimacy, that he entrusted me with his poem, which he believed me capable both of understanding, and translating; and accordingly desired me to undertake it. The truth is, we had conversed so often on that subject, and he had communicated his thoughts of it so fully to me, that I had not the least remaining difficulty concerning it. I undertook therefore to translate


it, and employed myself in it with pleasure, care, and assiduity ; after which, [ put it into his hands, and he altered in it what he pleased ; till at last, it was wholly to his mind. And then he gave his consent that it should be published ; but his death preventing that design, I thought it a wrong to his memory, to deprive mankind any longer of this translation, which I may safely affirm to be done according to the true sense of the author, and to his liking : since he himself has given great testi- monies of his approbation to many of his friends. And they, who are acquainted with him, know his humour to be such, that he would never constrain himself so far, as to commend what he did not really approve. I thought myself obliged to say thus much, in vindication of the faithfulness of my work, to those who understand not the Latin ; for as to those who are conversant in both the tongues, I leave them to make their own judgment of it.

The remarks which I have added to his work, are also wholly conformable to his opinions; and I arn certain that he would not have disapproved them. I have endeavoured in them to explain some of the most obscure passages, and those which are most necessary to be understood : and I have done this according to the manner wherein he used to express himself, in many conversations which we had together. I have confined them also to the narrowest compass I was able, that I might not tire the patience of the reader, and that they might be read by all persons. But if it happens, that they are not to the taste of some readers, (as doubtless it will so fall out,) I leave them entirely to their own discretion ; and shall not be displeased that another hand should succeed better I shall only beg this favour from them, that in reading


what I have written, they will bring no particular gusto along with them, or any prevention of mind; and that whatsoever judgment they make, it may be purely their own, whether it be in my favoijr, or in my condemnation.

VOL. xvrr.




UT pictura poesis erit ; simi Usque poesi Sit pictura ; refert par temula qutfque sororem, Alternantque vices et nomina ; muta poesis Dicitur hczc, pictura loquens solet ilia vocari.

5. Quodfuit auditu gratum cecinere poette ; Quod pulchrum aspectu pict ores ping ere cur ant : Quceque poetarum numeris indigna fuere, Non eadem pictorum operam studiumq. merentur Amba quippe sacros ad religionis honor es

I0t Sydereos super ant ignes, aulamque tonantis Ingressce dvoitm aspectu, alloquioquefruuntur ;




PAINTING and Poesy are two sisters, which are so like in'all things, that they mutually lend to each other, both their name and office. One is called a dumb poesy, and the other a speaking picture. The poets have never said any thing, but what they be- 5. lieved would please the ears. And it has been the constant endeavour of the painters to give pleasure to the eyes. In short, those things which the poets have thought unworthy of their pens, the painters have judged to be unworthy of their pencils. * For both ** those arts, that they might advance the sa- cred honours of religion, have raised themselves to heaven ; and, having found a free admission into 10, the palace of Jove himself, have enjoyed the sight and conversation of the gods ; whose " awful ma-

t The passages which you see marked with an asterism * arc more amply explained in the remarks.


Oraque magna deum, et dicta observata reportant, Ccelestemque suorum operum mortalibus ignem.

Inde per hunc orbem studiis coeuntibus errant^ 15 * Carpentes qua digna sui, revolutaque lust rant Tempora, qu&rendis co?isortibus argumentis.

Denique qiuzcunq. in ccelo, terraque, manque Longius in tempus durare, ut pulchra, merentur, N obi lit ate sua, daroque insignia cam, ?0 - Dives et ampla manet pictores atque poet as Mat tries ; inde a It a sonant per stecula mundo Noniina, magnanimis heroibus inde superstes Gloria, perpetuoque operum miracula rest ant ^ Tantus inest divis honor artibus atque potestas.

25. Non mihi Pieridum chorus hie, nee Apollo vocandus> Majus ut eloquium numeris, aut gratia Jandt Dogmaticis illustret opus rationibus horrens : Cum nitidd tantum etjacili digest a loqueld, Ornari pr&cepta negent, contenta doceri.

so. Nee mihi mens animusve fuit constringere nodos Artijicum mambus, quos tantum dirigit usus ; Inddis ut vigor inde pot ens obst rictus hebescat, Normarum rtumero tmmani^ gtniwnq. moretur: Seel rtrurii ut pollens ars ccgnitione, gradatim

35. Datura sese insmuet, verique capactm

r lranstat in genittm, geniusq. um mduat art em.


jesty they observe, and whose dictates they com- municate to mankind ;" whom at the same time they inspire with those celestial flames, which shine so gloriously in their works. From heaven they take their passage through the world ; and " with concurring studies" collect whatsoever they find worthy of them. * They dive (as I may say) into is. all past ages ; arid search their histories, for sub- jects which are proper for their use : with care avoiding to treat of any but those which, by their nobleness, or by some remarkable accident, have deserved to be consecrated to eternity ; whether un the seas, or earth, or in the heavens. And by this their care and study, it comes to pass, that the 20 * glory of heroes is not extinguished with their lives ; and that those admirable works, those prodigies of skill, which even yet are the objects of our admira- tion, are still preserved. * So much these divine arts have been almost honoured ; and such authority 25> they preserve amongst mankind. It will not here be necessary to implore the succour of Apollo, and the muses, for the gracefulness of the discourse, or for the cadence of the verses ; which, containing only precepts, have not so much need of ornament, as of perspicuity.

I pretend not in this treatise to tie the hands of 30 artists, " whom practice only directs ;" neither would I stifle the genius, by a jumbled heap of rules ; nor extinguish the fire of a vein which is lively and abundant. But rather to make this my business, that art being strengthened by the know- ledge of things, may at length pass into nature by slow degrees; and so in process of time, may be s& sublimed into a pure genius, which is capable of choosing judiciously what is true ; and of distin- guishing betwixt the beauties of nature, and that which is low and mean in her ; and that this origi-


prace Prtfcipua imprimis artisque potissima pars est, tum. ue Nosse quid in rebus natura credrit ad artem

dqw modumjm'ta, mentemque vetustam

Qua sine barbaries cceca et temeraria pukhrum Negligit, insultans ignotce audacior arti, Ut curart nequit, quce non modo noverit ; Iliad aput veteres juit unde notabile dictum, Nil pictore malo securms atque poeta.

45. Cognita amas, et amata cupis, sequerisq. cupita ; Passibus assequeris tandem qu/efervidus urges : Ilia tamen quce pulchra decent ; non omnia casus Qualiacumque dabunt, etiamve simillima veris : Nam quamcumque modo servili haud sufficit ipsam

50 - Naturam exprimere ad vivum ; std ut arbiter art is, Seliget ex ilia tantiim pukherrima pictor. Quodque minus pulchrum, aut mendosum, corriget ipsc Marte suo,Jormce veneres captandojugaces.



latione et Utque manus grandi ml nomine practica praxi *55. Assequitur, purum arcana quam dejidt artis

Lumen, et in pr (Keeps abitura ut c<zca vagatur ;

Sic nihil ars opera manuumprivata supremum


nal genius, by long exercise and custom, may per- fectly possess all the rules and secrets of that art.

  • The principal and most important part of paint- p rec ept r.

ing, is to find out, and thoroughly to understand,

what nature has made most beautiful, and most proper to this art ; * and that a choice of it may be made according to the taste and manner of the 40. ancients ; * without which, all is nothing but a blind and rash barbarity ; which rejects what is most beautiful, and seems, with an audacious inso- lence, to despise an art, of which it is wholly igno- rant ; which has occasioned these words of the an- cients : " That no man is so bold, so rash, and so overweening of his own works, as an ill painter, and a bad poet, who are not conscious to them- selves of their own ignorance."

  • We love what we understand ; we desire what 45

we love; we pursue the enjoyment of those things which we desire ; and arrive at last to the posses- sion of what we have pursued, if we warmly per- sist in our design. In the mean time, we ought not to expect, that blind fortune should infallibly throw into our hands those beauties ; for though

we may light by chance on some which are true and natural, yet they may prove either not to be decent, or not to be ornamental. Because it is not sufficient to imitate nature in every circumstance, 50. dully, and as it were literally, and minutely ; but it becomes a painter to take what is most beautiful,

  • as being the sovereign judge of his own art ;

" what is less beautiful, or is faulty, he shall freely correct by the dint of his own genius," * and per- mit no transient beauties to escape his observation.

  • In the same manner, that bare practice, desti-

tute of the lights of art, is always subject to fall and prac- into a precipice, like a blind traveller, without be- ing able to produce any thing which contributes


Exequitur, sed languet iners uti vincta lacertos ; Dispositumque typum non lingud pinxit Apelles.

60. Ergo licet tot a normam hand possimus in arte Ponere (cum nequeant qua sunt pukherrima did) Nitimur hcec paucis, scrutati summa magistrcd Dogmata naturae, artisque exemplar ia prima Altius intuiti ; sic mens, habilisquefacultas

6. Indolis excolitur, geniumque scientia complet ; Luxuriansque in monstra furor compescitur arte : Est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines, Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum.


^ s p s ^t r ^ optandum thema nobile, pulchrum, Quodque venustatum circa formam atque colorem Sponte capax, amplam emeritce mox prczbeat arti Materiam, retegens aliquid salts et document^


to a solid reputation ; so the speculative part of painting, without the assistance of manual ope- ration, can never attain to that perfection which is its object, but slothfully languishes as in a prison ; for it was not with his tongue that A- pelles performed his noble works. Therefore, f>o. though there are many things in painting, of which no precise rules are to be given, * (because the greatest beauties cannot always be expressed for want of terms,) yet I shall not omit to give some precepts, which I have selected from among the most considerable which we have received from nature, that exact school-mistress, after having examined her most secret recesses, as well as

  • those master-pieces of antiquity, which were

the chief examples of this art ; and it is by this means, that the mind and the natural disposition 65, are to be cultivated, and that science perfects ge- nius ; * and also moderates that fury of the fancy which cannot contain itself within the bounds of reason ; but often carries a man into dangerous ex- tremes. For there is a mean in all things; and certain limits or bounds wherein the good and the beautiful consist, and out of which they never can depart.

This being premised, the next thing is to make choice of * a subject beautiful and noble ; which being of itself capable of all the charms and graces, that colours, and the elegance of design, can possibly give, shall afterwards afford, to a perfect and con- summate art, an ample field of matter wherein to expatiate itself; to exert all its power, and to pro- duce somewhat to the sight, which is excellent, judicious, * and ingenious ; and at the same time proper to instruct, and to enlighten the understand- ing.


Tandem opus aggredior ; pr'imoq. occurrit in albo Disponenda typi, concepta potente Minerva, is. Machina, qua? nostris Inventio dicitur oris.

Ilia quidem priiis ingenuis instructa sororum pic- ^[rtibus Aonidiim, et Phcebi sublimior cestu.

tune pars.


Qucerendasque inter posituras, luminis, umbrcz, totwsee- Atquefuturorumjam present ire color urn

~ >.' Par erit harmoniam, captando ab utrisque venustum.


v. Sit thematis genuina ac viva expressio,juxta argumlnk Ttxtum antiquorum, propriis cum temporeformis.

vi. Nee quod inane, nihilfacit ad rem, sive videtur

Improprium, minimeque urgens, potiora tenebit 85. Ornament a operis ; tragica sed lege sororis,

Summa ubi res agitur, vis summa requiritur artis.

Ista labore gravi, studio, monitisque magistri Ardua pars nequit addisci rarissima : namque, Ni prius cethereo rapuit quod ab axe Prometheus w* Sitjubar injusum menti cumjlamine vitcK,

Mortali haud cuivis divina hczc munera dantur ; Non uti Da^daleam licet omnibus ire Corinthum.

JEgypto informis quondam pictura reperta, 95. Grcecorum studiis, et mentis acumine crevit : Egregiis tandem illustrata, et adulta magistris 9 Naturam visa est miro superare labore.


" At length I come to the work itself; and at is. first, find only a bare strained canvas, on which the sketch is to be disposed by the strength of a happy imagination ;" * which is what we properly call invention.

  • Invention is a kind of muse, which, being posses- Inventlon

sed of the other advantages common to her sisters, the first and being warmed by the fire of Apollo, is raised higher than the rest, and shines with a more glori- ous and brighter flame.

  • It is the business of a painter, in his choice of iv.

attitudes, to foresee the effect and harmony of the lights and shadows, with the colours which are to enter into the whole ; taking from each of them, whole that which will most conduce to the production of w r * a beautiful effect.

  • Let " there be a genuine and lively expression The ^ ith

of the subject," conformable to the text of ancient fulness of" authors, to customs, and to times. the subject

" Whatever is trivial, foreign, or improper, ought Wh ^ s r *_ by no means to take up the principal part of the ever P aiis picture." But herein imitate the sister of painting, Tragedy ; which employs the whole forces of her art in the main action.

  • This part of painting, so rarely met with, is

neither to be acquired by pains or study, nor by the precepts or dictates of any master. For they alone who have been inspired at their birth with y . some portion of that heavenly fire, * which was stolen by Prometheus, are capable of receiving so divine a present.

Painting in Egypt was at first rude and imper- fect, till being brought into Greece, and being cul- tivated by the study and sublime genius of that e5 - nation, * it arrived at length to that height of per- fection, that it seemed to surpass even original na- ture.


Qiios inter, graphidos gymnasia prima fuere Portus Athenarum, Sicyon, Rhodos, atque Corinthus, Disparid inter se, modicum ratione laboris ; loo. Ut patet e.r veterum st atuis, Jormce atque decor is Achetypis ; queis posterior nilprotulit JEtas Condignum, et non inferius longe, arte, modoque.


Horum igitur vera ad normam Positura legetur: \formosaque partibus ampiis

ra, secunda .' . f . ' / . -f ^

picture Antcnora dabit membra, in contrana motu pars *io5. Diverso variata, suo librataque centro.

Membrorumque sinus ignis flammantis ad instar, Serpenti undantes flexu ; sed Icevia, plana, Magnaque signa, quasi sine tubere subdita tactu, Ex longo deduct a Jftuant, non secta minutim. llo Insert isque toris sint not a ligamina, juxta

Compagem anatomes, et membrijicatio Grteco % Dejormata, modo, paucisque expressa lacertis,

Qualis apud veteres ; totoque Eurythmia parte* Componat ; genitumque suo generante sequenti Sit minus, et puncto videantur cuncta sub uno.

Regula cert a licet nequeat prospect ica did, Aut complementum graphidos ; sed in artejuvamen, Et modus accelerans operandi : at corpora Jalso Sub visu in multis rejerens, mendosa labascit lgo Nam geometralem nunquam sunt corpora juxta Mensuram depict a oculis, sed qualia


Amongst the academies, which were composed by the rare genius of those great men, these four are reckoned as the principal : namely, the Athenian school, that of Sicyon, that of Rhodes, and that of Corinth. These were little different from each other, only in the manner of their work ; as it may be seen by the ancient statues, which are the rule of beauty and gracefulness ; and to which succeed- ing ages have produced nothing that is equal ; " or indeed that is not very much inferior, both in sci- ence, and in the manner of its execution/' vii.

  • An attitude therefore must be chosen, accord- Design, the

. ,*. i r> i second part

ing to their taste : the parts or it must be great of painting,

  • and large, * " contrasted by contrary motions ; the 105>

most noble parts foremost in sight, and each figure carefully poised on its own centre.

  • " The parts must be drawn with flowing, gli-

ding outlines, large and smooth, rising gradually, not swelling suddenly, but which may be just felt in the statues, or cause a little relievo in painting. Let the muscles have their origin and insertion, 110 *

  • according to the rules of anatomy ; let them not

be subdivided into small sections, but kept as en- tire as possible, * in imitation of the Greek forms, and expressing only the principal muscles." In fine, * let there be a perfect relation betwixt the parts and the whole, that they may be entirely of a piece.

Let the part which produces another part, be more strong than that which it produces ; and let the whole be seen by one point of sight. * Though perspective cannot be called a perfect ruler " for designing," yet it is a great succour to art, and fa- cilitates the " dispatch of the work :" though fre- 120, quently falling into error, it makes us behold things under a false aspect ; for bodies are not always re-


Non eadem formce species, non omnibus cetas %uris. JEqualis, similisque color, crinesquefiguris ;

Nam variis velut orta plagis gens dispare vultu est.



Singula membra, suo capiti conformia, fiant et Unum idemque simul corpus cum vestibus ipsis : s x? s ' Mutorumque silens positura imitabitur act us.





Prima figurarum, seu pr'mceps dramatis, ultro 130. Prosiliat media in tabula, sub lumine primo Pulchrior ante alias, reliquis nee opertajiguris.

digglomerata simul sint membra, ipsceque figure

i, seu Stipentur, circumque globos locus usque vacabit ; cumuli,

ubique Jiguris 135. Dividitur, cunctisque oper is fervent e tumultu Partibus implicitis, crepitans confusio surgat.

Inque figurarum cumulis non omnibus idem rum diver- Corporis inflexus, mot usque ; vel artubus omnes s!" 011 " Conversis pariter non connitantur eodem; 14a Sed qucedam in d'wersa trahant contraria membra, Transverseque aim pugnent, et cceterafrangant.

Pluribus adversis aversam opponejiguram, Pectoribusque humeros, et dextera membra sinistris. Seu multis constabit opus, paucisvefiguris.

145 Altera pars tabula vacuo nefrigida campo, Aut desertajiet, dumpluribus alterajormis


presented according to the geometrical plane, but such as they appear to the sight.

Neither the shape of faces, nor the age, nor the vaT"y j a colour, ought to be alike in all figures, any more the figures, than the hair ; because men are as different from each other, as the regions in which they are born are different. ix.

  • Let every member be made for its own head, bers^nT"

and agree with it: and let all together compose dra P er yf

11 .i i & i i every fi-

but one body, with the draperies which are pro- gure to be per and suitable to it. And, above all, * let the fi- j t uitable to gures to which art cannot give a voice, imitate the x. mutes in their actions..

  • Let the principal figure of the subject appear in j nu . tes to be

the middle of the piece, under the strongest light, lm i3o. ed " that it may have somewhat to make it more re- markable than the rest ; and that the figures which accompany it, may not steal it from our sight.

  • Let the " parts be brought together, and the xii.

figures disposed in groups :" and let those groups * o be separated by a void space, to avoid a confused

heap ; which proceeding from parts that are dis- persed without any regularity, and entangled one within another, divides the sight into many rays, and causes a disagreeable confusion.

The figures in the groups ought not to " have The diver-

the same inflections of the body, nor the same mo- ; u y

111 11 i , tudes m the

tions ; nor should they lean all one way, but break groups. the symmetry, by proper oppositions and con- trasts.

" To several figures seen in front oppose others with the back toward the spectator; that is, the shoulders of some opposed to the breasts of others, and right limbs to left, whether the piece consists of many figures, or but of few." I45

  • One side of the picture must not be void,

while the other is filled to the borders ; but let


tmiae'ii ^fT^? mo ^ e sua supremam exurgit ad oram. en- " Sed tlbl sic positis respondeat utraque rebus, Ut si aliquid sursum se parte attollat in und, 150 . Sic aliquid parte ex alia consurgat, et ambas JEquiparet, geminas cumulando wqualiter oras, Pluribus implicitum personis drama supremo . In genere ut rarum est ; mult is it a densajiguris. Rarior est tabula excellens ; vel adhucfere nulla 155. Freest it it in multis, quod vix bene pr<zstat in und : Quippe soht rerum nimio dispersa tumultu, Majestate carere gravi, requieque decora ; Nee speciosa nitet vacuo nisi liber a campo.

Sed, si opere in magno, plures thema grande rcquirat 160. Essejigurarum cumulos, spectabitur una

Machina tot a rei ; non singula quaique seorsim.


et i*de 9 . ia Prcecipua extremis retro internodia membris ex xvn di " dbdita suit : sed summa pedum vestigia nunquam.

Motus ma-

Gratia nulla manet, mot usque, vigor quejiguras Retro aliis subter majori ex parte latentes, xviu. Ni capitis mot um manibus comitentur agenda. Dfficilesfugito aspect us, contractaque visu Membra sub ingrato, motusque, actusq. coactos ; ?tion 1>0 " Q u dq.' refert sign is, rectos quodammodo tract us, no. She parallelos p lures simul, et vel acutas,

Vd geometrales, (ut quadra, triangula,)formas : Ingratamque part signorum ex or dine quondam Symmetriam: sed prczcipua in contraria semper Signa volant dud transversa, ut diximus ante. , 75> Summa igitur ratio signorum habeatur in omni

Composito ; dat enim rcliquis pretium, atq. vigorem.


matters be so well disposed, that if " any thing rises high on one side of the piece, you may raise iso, something to answer it on the other," so that they shall appear in some sort equal.

  • As a play is seldom very good, in which there O f thT*

are too many actors ; so it is very seldom seen, number of and almost impossible to perform, that a picture figures * should be perfect, in which there are too great a 155. number of figures, How " should they excel in putting several figures together, who can scarce ex-

cel in a single one ?

" Many dispersed objects breed confusion, and take away from the picture that solemn majesty, and agreeable repose, which give beauty to the piece, and satisfaction to the sight. But if you are ia?. constrained by the subject to admit of many figures, you must then make the whole to be seen together, and the effect of the work at one view ; and not every thing separately, and in particular."

  • The extremities of the joints must be seldom

hidden ; and the extremities or end of the feet ne- fee ^' tT

J- V IX*

The mo-

  • The figures which are behind others, have nei- j^^J 6

ther grace nor vigour, unless the motions of the head must hands accompany those of the head. ^J^'.

Avoid " all odd aspects or positions, and all un- vv *.^ lr - graceful or forced actions and motions." Show no be avoided parts which are unpleasing to the sight, as all fore- 11^^" f shortenings usually are. the figures.

  • Avoid all those lines and outlines which are

equal ; which make parallels, or other sharp-point-

ed and geometrical figures ; such as are squares and no. triangles : all which by being too exact, give to the eye a certain displeasing symmetry, which pro- duces no good effect. But, as i have already told you, the principal lines ought to contrast each other : for which reason, in these outlines, you ought to



xix. jy on ij- a nature astricte sis cuique recinctus.

Natura ge- . *

nio accom- //flwc prtfttr nihil ut gemo studioque rdmquas ;

moda i8o!' Nee sine teste rei natura, artisque magistra,

Qaidlibet ingenio, memor ut tantummodo rerum, Pingere posse putes ; errorum est plurima sylva, Multiplkesque vice, bene agendi terminus units ; Lima recta velut sola est, et mille recurvce.

185. Sedjuxta antiques naturam imitabere pukhram, ti. Qua lem forma rei pr^pria, objectumque requirit. qua nature JVow te ig ituT iateant ontiqua mimismata, gemma ? constuu- Vasa,) typi, statute, c&lataque marmora signis, unt Quodq. rejert specie veterum post scccula mentem ; 190. Splendidior quippe ex illis assurgit imago, Magnaque se rerum fades aperit meditanti : Tune nostri tenuem stecli miserebere sortem, Cum spes nulla siet retfiturte tequalis in avum.


o ra Exquisita siet forma, dum solafgura tractanda. Pingitur ; et multis variata coloribus esto.

105 ^ Lati, ampliq. sinus pannorum, et nobilis ordo xxn! Mtmbra sequens, subter latitantia, lumine et umbra b- kxprimet; iite licet transversus safe Jeratur,




have a special regard to the whole together : for it

is from thence that the beauty and force of the n5 *

parts proceed. XIX

  • Be not so strictly tied to nature, that you allow That we

nothing to study, and the bent of your own genius, ^eiv" 16 But on the other side, believe not that your genius to nature; alone, and the remembrance of those things which ra U odafc>her you have seen, can afford you wherewithal to fur-

nish out a beautiful piece, without the succour of that incomparable school-mistress, Nature ; * whom you must have always present as a witness to the truth. " Errors are infinite," and, amongst many ways which iso. mislead a traveller, there is but one true one, which conducts him surely to his journey's end ; as also there are many several sorts of crooked lines ; but there is one only which is straight.

Our business is to imitate the beauties of nature, as the ancients have done before us, and as the object and nature of the thing require from us. And for ^ 5 - this reason, we must be careful in the search of an- Ancient fi- cient medals, statues, gems, vases, paintings, and f",^ 3 ^ 16 basso relievos : * And of all other things which imitating discover to us the thoughts and inventions of the n * ture - Grecians ; because they furnish us with great ideas, and make our productions wholly beautiful. And 190. in truth, after having well examined them, we shall therein find so many charms, that we shall pity the destiny of our present age, without hope of ever arriving at so high a point of perfection. A ** fi .

  • If you have but one single figure to work up- " re how

on, you ought to make it perfectly finished, and e a. e diversified with many colours.

  • Let the draperies be nobly spread upon the O f the

body ; let the folds be large, * and let them fol- dr *g| riel - low* the order of the parts, that they may be seen underneath, by means of the lights and shadows ; notwithstanding that the parts should be often


Et circumfusos pannorum porrigat extra Membra sinus ; non contiguos, ipsisque figure !00 ' Partihus impresses, quasi pannus adhartat lllls ; Sed modice espressos cum lumine servet et umbris :

Quceque intermissis passim sunt dissita vanis, Copulet, inductis subterve, superve lacernis. Et membra, ut magnis, paucisque e.vpressa lacertis,

205. Maj estate aim prastant^ forma, atque decor e :

Haud secus in pannis, quos supra optavimus amplos, Perpaucos sinuum flexus, rugasque, striasque. Membra super, versu Jaciles, inductre prxstat. fraturteque rei proprius sit pannus, abundans

21 * Patriciis ; succinctus erit, crassusque bubulcis, Mancipiisque ; levis, teneris, gracilisque puellis.

Inque cams maculisque umbrarum aliquando tumescet, Lumen ut evcipiens, operis qua massa requirit y Latins extendat) sublatisque aggreget umbris.

xxui Nobilia armajuvant virtutum, ornantquejiguras, Quidmui- Qualia musarum, belli cult usque deorum*

turn confe- rat ad ta- bulae orna- mentum. . . .

xxiv. j\ec sit opus mmium gemmis auroq. refertum ; Sina^r Kara etenim mag no in pretio, sedplurima vili.

et gemma- rum.


traversed (or crossed) by the flowing of the folds, which loosely encompass them, * without sitting too straight upon them ; but let them mark the 200. parts which are under them, so as in some man- ner to distinguish them, by the judicious order- ing of the lights and shadows. * And if the parts be too much distant from each other, so that there be void spaces, which are deeply shadow- ed, we are then to take occasion to place in those voids some fold to make a joining of the parts. " * And as those limbs and members which are ex- 205< pressed by few and large muscles, excel in majesty and beauty," in the same manner the beauty of the draperies consists not in the multitude of the folds, but in their natural order, and plain simplicity. The quality of the persons is also to be considered in the drapery. * As supposing thern to be ma- gistrates, their draperies ought to be large and am- ple ; if country clowns, or slaves, they ought to be coarse and short ; * if ladies, or damsels, light and 210. soft. It is sometimes requisite to draw out, as it were from the hollows and deep shadows, some fold, and give it a swelling, that so receiving the light, it may contribute to extend the clearness to those places where the body requires it ; and by this means we shall disburthen the piece of those hard shado wings, which are always ungraceful.

  • The marks or ensigns of virtues contribute not 215 -

5 > \ r

little, by their nobleness, to the ornament of the fi- what gures. Such, for example, as are the decorations ^jjs 8 cou "

f , . 0.1 1-1 ' /: tribute to

belonging to the liberal arts, to war, or sacrifices, adorn the

  • But let not the work be too much enriched with pl xxnr

gold or jewels; "for the abundance of them makes ofprecil them look cheap, their value arising from the scar- and pcS

city. " for rnar


pus. -



Qua dcinde ex vero nequeunt present e videri Prototypum prius illorum for mare juvabit.

xxvi. Conveniat locus, atque habitus ; ritusq. decusqme

3onveni- g er ^ e f ur : s it nobUitas, charitumque venustas,

entia re- /_ 7 . . T * j \

rum cum (RaruM homini munus, cmo y non arte petenaum.)

scena. XXVII.

Charites et nobilitas*

225. Nature sit ubique tenor, ratioque sequenda. on vicina pedum tabulate excelsa tonantis que locum Astra domus depicta gerent, nubesque notosque; uum e- jy^ c mare depressum laquearia sitmma, vet orcum : Marmoreamqucferet cannls vaga pergula molem ; Congrua scd proprid semper statione locentur.

2so. H<ec prtfter, mot us animorum y et corde repostos xxix. Exprimere affectus* paudsque color thus ipsam

Affectus. _..* JJ . ' * 2 /^ . T T

Pingere posse ammam, atque ocuhs prabere videndam,. Hoc opus, hie labor est. Pauci, quos asquns amavit Jupiter, aut ardens evexit ad sethera virtus, 235. Dts similes, potuere manu miracula tanta.

Hos ego rhetoribus tract andos desero ; tantum Egregii antiquum memorabo sophisma magistri, Verius aifectus animi vigor exprimit ardens, Solliciti nimium quam sedula cura laboris.


  • It is very expedient to make a model of those

things, which we have not in our sight, and whose 220. nature is difficult to be retained in the memory.

  • We are to consider the places where we lay the rr ? XVI -

/? i ., j. o-U The scene

scene or the picture; the countries where they O f the pic- were born, whom we represent; the manner of ture - their actions, their laws, and customs, and all that is properly belonging to them.

  • Let a nobleness and grace be remarkable through

all your work. But, to confess the truth, this is a most difficult undertaking ; and a very rare pre- bieness * sent, which the artist receives rather from the hand of Heaven, than from his own industry and studies.

In all things you are to follow the order of nature ; * vni for which reason you must beware of drawing or painting clouds, winds, and thunder, towards the bottom of your piece, and hell, and waters, in the uppermost parts of it ; you are not to place a stone column on a foundation of reeds, but let every thing be set in its proper place.

Besides all this, you are to express the mo- 230 tions of the spirits, and the aifections or passions, <j f thc whose centre is the heart ; in a word, to make passions. the soul visible, by the means of some few co lours ; * this is that in which the greatest dif- ficulty consists. Few there are, whom Jupiter re- gards with a favourable eye in this undertaking; so that it appertains only to those few, who par- ticipate somewhat of divinity itself, to work these mighty wonders. It is the business of rhetori- 235t cians, to treat the characters of the passions ; and I shall content myself, with repeating what an excellent master has formerly said on this subject, that a " true and lively expression of the passions, is rather the work of genius, th*n of labour and study. "


XX*K* Denique nil sapiat Gothorum barbara trito Gothorum Ornament a modo, steclorum et monstra malorum: tTfugien- Queis ubi bellti, famem, et pest em, discordia, luxus, da - Et Romanorum res grandior intulit orbi y

Ingenue periere artes. periere superb^ 245. Artljicum molts ; sua tune miracula vidit Ignibus abmmi pictura ; latere coacta Fprmtibus, sortem et religuam confidere cryptis ; Marmoribusyue diu sculpturajacere sepultis.

Imperium interea, scelerum gravitate fatiscem, 250. Horrida nov totum invasit, donoque superni Luminis imligmm, errorum caligine mersit, Impiaque ignaris damnavit s&da tenebris*

Untie color atiim gratis hue usque magistris Nil superest tantorum hominum, quod mente modoque 255. Nostratesjuvet artifices, doceatque lab or em ; ce'tertia 11 " ^ ec 9 U * chromaticts nobisj hoc tempore, paries pars pic- Restituat, quales Zmxis tractaverat olim,

Hujus quando magd velut arte aquavit Apellem Pictorum Archigraphum, meruiique colonbus altam 260. Nominis (Eternijamam, toto or be sonant em.

Hczc quidem ut in tabulis fallax^ sed grata Et complement um graphidos (mirabile visu)


We are to have no manner of relish for Gothic or- ments. as being in effect so many monsters, which an barbarous ages have produced ; during which, when are to he discord and ambition, caused by the too large ex- avoided tent of the Roman empire, had produced wars, plagues, and famine, through the world, then I say, the stately buildings and colosses fell to ruin, and the nobleness of all beautiful arts was totally ex- tinguished. Then it was that the admirable, and 215 ' almost supernatural, works of painting were made fuel for the fire ; but that this wonderful art might not wholly perish, * some relicts of it took sanctuary under ground, " in sepulchres and catacombs," and thereby escaped the common destiny. And in the same profane age, sculpture was for a long time buried under the same ruins, with all its beautiful productions and admirable statues. The empire, in the mean time, under the weight of its proper crimes, and undeserving to enjoy the day, was en- 25 - veloped with a hideous night, which plunged it into an abyss of errors, and covered with a thick darkness of ignorance those unhappy ages, in just revenge of their impieties. From hence it comes to pass, that the works of those great Grecians are wanting to us ; nothing of their painting and colour- ing now remains to assist our modern artists, either in the invention, or the manner, of those ancients. Neither is there any man who is able to restore * the 255 - chromatic part, or colouring, or to renew it to that

.*<:. i . Colouring

point of excellency, to which it had been carried by the third Zeuxis ; who by this part, which is so charming, p *[* t n ff so magical, and which so admirably deceives the sight, made himself equal to the great Apelles, that prince of painters ; and deserved that height 260. of reputation, which he still possesses in the world. And as this part, which we may call the utmost perfection of painting, is a deceiving beauty, but


Pukhra wcabatur, sed subdola, kna sororis: Non tamen hoc lenocinium,j masque, dolusque 265. Dedecorijuit unquam ; illi sed semper honori, Laudibm et mentis; ham ergo nossejuvabit.

Luxvarium, vwumquedabit, nullum umbra, colorem. Quo magis adversum eat corpus, lucique propinquum, Clarius est lumen; nam debilitatur eundo*

270. Quo magis est corpus directum, oculisque propinquum, Conspicitur metius ; nam visus hebescit eundo.

E r g m corporibus, qucc visa adversa, rotundis, et Integra sint, extrtma abscedant perdita signis

r tf m i^ non pr&cipiti labantur in umbram 275. Clara gradu, nee adumbrata in clara alt a repentl Prorumpant ; sed trit semim hinc atque inde meatus Lucis et umbrarum ; capitisque unius ad instar, Totum opus, ex multis quamquam sit part ibus, unus Luminis umbrarumque globus tantummodojiet, 2o. Svoe duas, vel tres ad summum, ubi grandius esset Dwimm pegma in partes statione remotas.

Sintque ita discreti inter se, ratione colorum 9 Luminis, umbrarumque, antrorsum ut corpora clara Obscura umbrarum reqmes spectanda relinquat ; 285. Claroque exiliant umbrata atque aspera campo.


withal soothing and pleasing ; so she has been ac- cused of procuring lovers for * her sister, and art- fully engaging us to admire her. But so little have 265> this prostitution, these false colours, and this de- ceit, dishonoured painting, that, on the contrary, they have only served to set forth her praise, and to make her merit farther known ; and therefore it will be profitable to us, to have a more clear un- derstanding of what we call colouring.

' The light produces all kinds of colours, and the shadow gives us none. The more a body is near- er to the eyes, and the more directly it is opposed to them, the more it is enlightened. Because the light languishes and lessens, the farther it removes from its proper source.

The nearer the object is to the eyes, and the more 27 * directly it is opposed to them, the better it is seen ; because the sight is weakened by distance. XXXI

It is therefore necessary, " that those parts of The conl round bodies which are seen directly opposite to the f",tlof the spectator, should have the light entire ;" and that light and the extremities turn, in losing themselves insensibly shadows - and confusedly, without precipitating the light all on the sudden into the shadow, or the shadow into 275. the light. But the passage of one into the other, must be common and imperceptible, that is, by de- grees of lights into shadows, and of shadows into lights. And it is in conformity to these principles, that you ought to treat a whole group of figures, though it be composed of several parts, in the same sso. manner as you would do a single head : " or if the wideness of the space, or largeness of the composi- tion, requires, that you should have two groups or three, (which should be the most,) let the lights and shadows be so discreetly managed, that light 'bodies may have a sufficient mass or breadth of sha- dow to sustain them, and that dark bodies may * 85 -



Ac veluti in speculis convexis, emmet ante Asperior reipsd vigor, et vis aucta colorum Partibus adversis ; magis etfuga rupta retrorsum Illorum est (ut visa minus vergentibus oris) 290. Corporibus dabimus formas hoc more rotundas.

Mente modoque igitur plastes, et pic tor, eodem Dispositum tract abit opus : quce sculptor in orbem Atterit, hcec rupto procul abscedente color e

295 * Assequitur pictor^Jfugientiaque ilia retrorsum Jam signata minus confusa coloribus aufert : Anterior a quidem direct e adversa, colore Integra vivaci^ summo cum lumine et umbra Antrorsum distinct a rejert, velut aspera visu. Sicque super planum inducit leucoma colores.

soo. fj os ve i u f ex ip sa natura immotus eodem Intuitu circum statuas daret inde rotundas.

Densa figurarum solidis qua corpora formis Subdita sunt tactu, non translucent, sed opaca In translucendi spado ut super aera, nubes,

S05 Lympida stagna undarum, et mania c&tera debent Asperiora illis prope circumstantibus esse ; Ut distinct a magis Jir mo cum lumine et umbra, Et gravioribus ut sustenta coloribus, inter Aerias species subsist ant semper opaca :

310. Sed contra, procul abscedant perlucida, densis Corporibus leviora ; uti nubes, aer, et undce.


have a sudden light behind to detach them from the ground.

" As in a convex mirror, the collected rays strike stronger and brighter in the middle than upon the natural object, and the vivacity of the colours is increased in the parts full in your sight ; while the goings off are more and more broken and faint as they approach to the extremities, in the same man- 200. ner bodies are to be raised and rounded."

Thus the painter and the sculptor are to work with one and the same intention, and with one and the same conduct. For what the sculptor strikes off, and makes round with his tool ; the painter performs with his pencil, casting behind that which he makes less visible, by the diminution and break- ing of his colours : " That which is foremost and nearest to the eye, must be so distinctly expressed, as to be sharp, or almost cutting to the sight. Thus shall the colours be disposed upon a plane, which from a proper place and distance will seem so na- 300. tural and round, as to make the figures appear so many statues.

" Solid bodies subject to the touch, are not to be xxxn painted transparent ; and even when such bodies are or dark placed upon transparent grounds, as upon clouds, wa- J^J. 68 ' ters, air, and the like vacuities, they must be preser- grounds. ved opaque, f that their solidity be not destroy- ed among those light, aerial, transparent species ; and must therefore be expressed sharper and rough- er than what is next to them, more distinct by a firm light and shadow, and with more solid and sio.

t The French translator here, as well as Mr Dryden, is unin- telligible ; which happened by their mistaking the meaning of the word opaca, which is not put for dark ; but opaque, in oppo- sition to transparent : for a white garment may be opaque, &c.


xxxiii. Non poterunt dwersa locis duo lumina eadem ex'crei'o In tabula pan a admit ti, aut ctqualia pingi : lurnina in Majus at in mediam lumen cadet usque tabdlam

tabuiam T . r /

aiia. Latms injusum, pnmis qua swnmajiguns 31i3> Res agitur, drcumque oras minuetur eundo : Utque in progressu jubar attenuatur ab ortu Soils, ad cccasum paulatim, et cessat eundo ; Sic tabulis lumen, tota in compage colorum, 320. Primo a font e, minus sensim declinat eundo.

Majus ut in statuis, per compita stantibus urbis. Lumen habent panes super ce, minus inferiores ; Idem erit in tabulis : majorque nee umbra, vel ater Mzmbrajigurarum intrabit color, atque secabit :

325. Corpora sed circum umbra cavis latitabit oberrans: Atqub ita quceretur Lax opportunajiguris, Ut late injusum lumen lata umbra sequatur. Unde, nee immeritd,fertur Titianus ubique Lucis et umbrarum Normam appelldsse Racemum.

xxxiv Furwn album esse potest propiusque magisque re-

Album et motum .*

Q um nigro antevenit propiiis ; fugit absq. remotum. Purum autem nigrum antrorsum venit usque propin- quum*


substantial colours ; that, on the contrary, the smoother and more transparent may be thrown off to a farther distance."

We are never to admit two equal lights in the XXXIIT.

. i i i . A 'i That there

same picture, but the greater light must strike mustnotbe forcibly on the middle ; and there f extend its j equal

Lit x ., !l S htS m a

greatest clearness on those places or the picture, picture, where the principal figures of it are, and where the 3l5 * strength of the action is performed ; diminishing by degrees as it comes nearer and nearer to the borders ; and after the same manner, that the light of the sun languishes insensibly, in its spreading from the east, from whence it begins, towards the west, where it decays and vanishes ; so the light of the picture being distributed over all the co- lours, will become less sensible the farther it is re- S2 - moved from its original.

The experience of this is evident in those statues, which we see set up in the midst of public places, whose upper parts are more enlightened than the lower ; and therefore you are to imitate them in the distribution of your lights.

Avoid strong shadows on the middle of the limbs, lest the great quantity of black which com- poses those shadows should seem to enter into them, and to cut them : rather take care to place 325 - those shadow ings round about them, thereby to heighten the parts ; and take such advantageous lights, that after great lights great shadows may succeed. And therefore Titian said, with reason, that he knew no better rule for the distribution of the lights and shadows, than his observations drawn from a * bunch of grapes.

  • Pure, or unmixed white, either draws an ob- xx\i\.

ject nearer, or carries it off to farther distance ; it of white draws it nearer with black, and throws it backward ai without it. * But as for pure black, there is no- thing which brings the object nearer to the sight.


Luxfucata suo tingit, miscetque colore Corpora, sicque suo, per quern luxjunditur, aer.

xx 3 xv. Corpora juncta simul, circumfusosque colores Excipiunt, propriumque aids raaiosa reflectunt.



Jmo cuio- Pluribus in solidis liquida sub luce propinquis,

Participes, imtitosque nmuL decet esse colores. 340 Hanc Nor mam Feneti pictores rite sequuti, ( Qu( juit antiquis corruptio dicta colorum) Citm p lures optre m mag-no posuerejigurds ; N& conjuncta slmui variorum inimica colorum Congeries Jormam implicitam, et concisa minutis 345. Membra daret pannis, tot am unamquamquejiguram Affini, aut uno tantitm vest ire colore, Sunt so lit i ; vanando tonis tunicamq. togamq. Carhaseosque sinus, vet amicum in lumine et umbra Contiguis circum rebus sociando color em.

xxxvi r

Aer inter-' Qua minus est 'Spacu (ierii, aut qua purior aer,

P S1< S50 Cwicta magis distinct a patent, speciesq. reservant Quaque magis densus nebulis, aut plurimus aer Amplum inter Juerit spatium porrectus, in auras Conjundet rerum species, et perdet inanes.

xxxvin. Anterior a magis semper faiita, remotis ruin reilt" Incert'is dominentur et abscedentibus, idque tio. More relative, ut mqjora minoribus extent*


The light being altered by some colour, never fails to communicate somewhat of that colour to the bodies on which it strikes ; and the same ef- fect is performed by the medium of air, through which it passes.

The bodies which are close together, receive from each other that colour which is opposite to them ; The nfk>c- and reflect on each other that, which is naturally J^ *' co " and properly their own.

It is also consonant to reason, that the great- xxxvi. est part of those bodies which are under a light, ctfpcw? which is extended, and distributed equally through all, should participate of each others colours. The Venetian school having a great regard for that maxim, (which the ancients called the breaking of colours,) in the quantity of figures, with which 340, they fill their pictures, have always endeavoured the union of colours ; for fear, that being too different, they should come to encumber the sight: " therefore they painted each figure with one co- 345. lour, or with colours of near affinity, though the habit were of different kinds, distinguishing the upper garment from the under, or from the loose and flowing mantle, by the tints, or degrees, har- monizing and uniting the colours, with whatever was next to them."

The less aerial space which there is betwixt us sso. and the object, and the more pure the air is, by so oAhe in-' much the more the species arc preserved and dis- ^ e f r P? sitio11 tinguished ; and, on the contrary, the more space of air there is, and the less pure it is, so much the more the object is confused and embroiled.

Those objects which are placed foremost to the xxxym. view, ought always to be more finished, than those uonof which are cast behind ; and ought to have dominion tances over those things which are confused and transi- ent. * But let this be done relatively, viz. one 355.



xxxix. Cuncta minuta procul massam densantur in unam pSTdi- Ut folia arbor ibus sylvarum, et in aquorejlucius.

stantia. XL.

Contigua inter se cocant, sed dissita distent, Distabuntque tamen grato, et discrimim parvo.

XLI. Extrema extremis contraria jungere noli ;

Contrana ~ , 7 . . , j 5 i

extrema Sed medio sint usque gradu sociata colons.


Corporum erit tonus atque color variatus ubique ; color varii. Qu&rat amicitiam retro ; Jerus emicet ante.

xi!m. Supremum in tabulis lumen captare diet,

Insanus labor artijicum ; ciim attingcre tantiim

tus * N on pigment a quean t : auream sed vesper e lucem; Sen modicum mane albentem ; sive tftheris actam Post hyemem nimbis transjuso sole caducam ;

aw. Seu nebulis fultam accipient> tonitruque rubentetn.

Qiuedam* L<evia qua lucent, veluti crystalla, metalla, circa prax- Ligna, ossa, tt lapides ; villosa, ut seller a, pelles 9 Barba, aqueique oculi, crines, holoserica, plumte ; Et liquida, ut stagnans aqua, refexceque sub undis Corporetf species, et aquis contermina cuncta,


thing greater and stronger, casting the less behind, and rendering it less sensible by its opposition.

Those things which are removed to a distant xxxix. view, though they are many, yet ought to make welfare but one mass ; as for example, the leaves on the distanced. trees, and the billows in the sea.

Let not the objects which ought to be contigu- 3 ^f ous be separated ; and let those which ought to of bodies be separated, be apparently so to us ; but let this be done by a small and pleasing difference. and of

  • Let two contrary extremities never touch each *

other, either in colour or in light ; but let there al- ted - ways be a medium partaking both of the one and contrary of the other.

Let the bodies every where be of different tints ed! and colours ; that those which are behind may be Di } versit tied in friendship together; and that those which of tints and are foremost may be strong and lively.

  • It is labour in vain to paint a high-noon, or x flj*

mid-day light, in your picture ; because we have no The ciioi<* colours which can sufficiently express it ; but it is of light - better counsel, to choose a weaker light ; such as is

that of the evening with which the fields are gild- ed by the sun ; or a morning light, whose white- ness is allayed ; or that which appears after a shower of rain, which the sun gives us through the break- ing of a cloud ; or during thunder, when the clouds 370. hide him from our view, and make the light of a fiery colour.

Smooth bodies, such as crystals, polished tals, wood, bones, and stones ; those which are Rings' covered with hair, as skins, the beard, or the hair of the head ; as also feathers, silks, and the eyes, part, which are of a watery nature ; and those which are liquid, as waters, and those corporeal species, which we see reflected by them ; and in fine, all that which touches them, or is near them, ought


Subter ad extremum liquid^ sint picta, superque Luminibus percussa suis, signisque repostis.

XLV. Area, vel campus tabula 'vagus esto, levisquc,

Abscedat latus, liquidfyue bene unctus amicis 3BO - Tot a ex mole color ibus, una sive patella ;

Quaque cadunt retro in campum, confmia campo.

esto color, nlmio non pallidus albo ; non Adversisque locis ingestus plurimus ardens : ifdTis. n pal " &d leviter parceque datus vergeiitibus 0m.

3B5. Cuncta labore simul coeant, velut umbra, in eadem. xr.vir.


XLVIIL Tot a sit tabula ex una depicta patelld.

Ex una pa- tella sit

ta x*ux Mult a ex naturd speculum prceclara docebit ; speculum Quczque procul sero spatiis spectantur in amplis.

pictorum magister.

L - Dimidia effigies, qua sola, vel Integra plures

Dmjidia fi- . .. M P J ,

guru, vei Ante alias posita ad luccm, stat proxima visu,

s P tctana a locis, oculisque remota, 890. Luminis umbrannnque gradu sit picta supremo.


to be " carefully painted flat, in flowing colours ; then touched up with sprightly lights, and the true lines of the drawing restored, which were lost, or confused, in working the colours together."

  • Let the field, or ground of the picture, be plea- ^ ,

r : f? 1 . , ' i r i The field,

sant, free, transient, light, and well united with or Around colours, which are of a friendly nature to each ie plc other; and of such a mixture, as there may be sso. something in it of every colour that composes your work, as it were the contents of your palette. " And let those bodies that are back in the ground be painted with colours allied to those of the ground itself."

  • Let your colours be lively, and yet not look onhe V Ji-

(according to the painters' proverb) as if they had vacit y of been rubbed or sprinkled with meal ; that is to c

say, let them not be pale.

  • Let the parts which are nearest to us, and most

raised, be strongly coloured, and as it were spark- ling ; and let those parts which are more remote from sight, and towards the borders, be more faint- ly touched.

  • Let there be so much harmony, or consent, in

the masses of the picture, that all the shaclowings may appear as if they were but one.

" Let the whole picture be of one piece, as if it XLVIII.

. T r i . r 1 he picture

were painted from one palette. to be of one

  • The looking-glass will instruct you in many beau- pi x IX

ties, which you may observe from nature ; so will The look- also those objects which are seen in an evening in {jj*"^". a large prospect. icr** best

If there be a half figure, or a whole one, to be set mast ' before the other figures, and placed nearer to the An half fi- view, and next the light ; or if it is to be painted in a great place, though at a distance from the eye ; be sure on these occasions not to be sparing of great

jr a one,


LI. Partibus in minimis imitatiojustajuvabit Effigies. Ejffigiem^ alternas rejerendo tempore eodem 395. Consimiles partes ; cum luminis atque colons is, just isque tonis ; tune part a labor e Sijacili et vegeto micat ardens, viva videtur.

Vi ga l co angusto tenert pingantur, amico Juncta color e, graduque ; proctil quct picta,ferod 4oo. Sint et in ciquali variata colore, tonoque. LIII Grandia signa volunt spacia ampla, Jerosque colores. rnina.'}*- Lumina laid) unctas simul undique copulet umbras ta ' Llv Evtremus labor. In tabulas demissa fenestris Quantitks Si fuerit lux parva, color clarissimus esto : iocnn S q uo Vividus at contra, obscurusque, in famine aperto.

tabula cst exponen- da,


Quce vacuis divisa cavis, vitare memento ; Trita, minuta, simul quce non stipata dehiscunt ; Barbara, cruda oculis, rugis fucata color um^ Luminis umbrarumque tonis cequalia cuncta ; 4io. Fceda, cruenta, cruces, obsccena, ingrata, chimeras.


lights, the most lively colours, nor the strongest shadows.

  • As for a portrait, or pictures by the life, LI,

you are to work precisely after nature, and to ex- A P ortraifc * press what she shows you, working at the same

time on those parts which are resembling to each 395. other : as for example, the eyes, the cheeks, the nostrils, and the lips ; so that you are to touch the one, as soon as you have given a stroke of the pencil to the other, lest the interruption of time cause you to lose the idea of one part, which na- ture has produced to resemble the other ; and thus imitating feature for feature, with a just and har- monious composition of the lights and shadows, and of the colours ; and giving to the picture that liveliness, which the freedom and force of the pen- cil make appear, it may seem, the living hand of nature.

The works which are painted to be seen near, in little or narrow places, must be very tender and well united with tints and colours ; " let those ture ' which are to be seen at a distance, be varied with fiercer colours and stronger tints.

" Very large figures must have room enough, 40 * and strong, or rather fierce colouring." LIII

  • You are to " take the utmost care, that broad Large

lights may be joined to a like breadth of shadows." llgl iV

If the picture be set in a place which receives what lights but little light, the colours must be very clear ; * r t e et re(lui ~ as, on the contrary, very brown, if the place be 405. strongly enlightened, or in the open air.

Remember to avoid objects which are full of Thi jj^* hollows, broken in pieces, little, and which are w . h jch are separated, or in parcels ; shun also those things pSng^o which are barbarous, shocking to the eye, and par- be avoided, ty- coloured, and which are all of an equal force of light and shadow ; as also all things which are ob- 4io,


Sordidaque et misera, et vel acuta, vel aspera tactu; Qutfque dabunt formce, temere congest a, ruinam, Implicitas aliis con) 'undent mixtaque parte$.


r pict n ore. Dumque fugis vitiosa, cave in contraria labi 41 * Damnamali; vitium extremis nam semper inhceret.

Elegant!- Puichrci gTadu summo, graphjdos stabilita vetusta um idea ^fobUibus signis, sunt grandid, disnta, pura, rum! a " Tersa, velut minime conjusa, labore ligata,

Partibus ex magnis paucisque efficta, colorum 4o. Corporibus distincta fens, sed semper amicis.

LVIIT. Q u i b cne ccepit, uti fact i jam fertur habere ^ m ^ um . picturam ltd nil, sub limine primo Ingrediens, puer, offendit damnosius arti, Quam varia error um genera, ignorante ma gist ro, E,v prams libare Typis, mentemque veneno Injicere in toto quod non abstergitur

Nee graphidos rudis artis 'adhuc cito qualiacunque Corpora viva super, studium meditahitur, ante Illorum quam symmetriam, inter nodia, formam 430. Noverit, inspectis, docto evolvente magistro, Archetypis ; dulcexque dolos prczsenserit artis. Pliisque manu ante oculos quam voce docebitur usus.


scene, impudent, filthy, unseemly, cruel, fantastical, poor, and wretched ; and those things which are sharp to the feeling; in short, all things which cor- rupt their natural forms, by a confusion of their parts which are entangled in each other : " For the eyes have a horror for those things, which the hands will not condescend to touch." LVI.

But while you endeavour to avoid one vice, be T he . p " .

/ r . . ,, dential part

cautious lest you rail into another; tor " extremes of a paint- are always vicious." er * 415

Those things which are beautiful in the utmost LVII. degree of perfection, according to the axiom of an- a beautifjf cient painters, * ought to have somewhat of great- piece, ness in them, and their outlines to be noble ; they must be disentangled, pure, and without alteration, clean, and knit together ; composed of great parts, yet those but few in number. In fine, distinguish- ed by bold colours ; but of such as are related and 42 * friendly to each other. And as it is a common LVIIL saying, that " he who has begun well, has al-Adv.cetoa ready performed half his work ;" * so there is no-^ 1 ,"^ thing more pernicious to a youth who is yet in the elements of painting, than to engage himself under the discipline of an ignorant master ; who depraves his taste, by an infinite number of mistakes, of which his wretched works are full, and thereby 425. makes him drink the poison, which infects him through all his future life.

Let him, who is yet but a beginner, not make so much haste to study after nature, every thing which he intends to imitate, as not in the mean time to learn proportions, the connection of the joints, and their out- lines : and let him first have 4 3&. well examined the excellent originals, and have thoroughly studied all the pleasing deceptions of his art; which he must be rather taught by a know- ing master, than by practice ; and by seeing him


Ars L <tebet Qu&re art em qiuzcumqiie juvant ; fuge quccque re-

servirepic- pllgliant.

tori, non pictor arti.

Corpora diverse nature juncta placebunt ; ^- Sic ea quas facili contempta labore videntur: ocuios re- 2Ethereus quippe ignis inest et spiritus illis ; ^ Mente diu versata, manu celeranda repent L fa- Arsque labor que operis grata sicjraude latebit : "'"" Maxima dcinde erit ars, nihil art is inesse viderL

ars dicitur.

Nec prim mdticas tabula pigment a color um, Archety- Expensi quam signa typi stahilita mtescant, feapogra-"^ menti prtfsens operis sit pegmafuturi.

phum in

Prcwaleat sensus rationi, quce officlt arti

inque oculis tantummodo cirdnu-s esto.

445. Utere doctorum momtis, nee sperne superbus

Discere, qua de tejuerit sententia vulgi. -:;^^ ctfcus iwm quisque suis in rebus, et expers

cet plun- TT -.. .. , ' ;

mum. Judicu, prolemque suam miratur amatqm.

Ast ubi consiiium deerit sapientis amid, 45 - Id tempus dabit, atque mora interrtiissa labori. Nonfacilis tamen ad nut us, et mania vulgi Dicta, levis mutabis opus, geniumque relinques :


perform, without being contented only to hear

him speak. LIX.

  • Search whatsoever is aiding to your art, and ^\>i- be

convenient ; and avoid those things which are re- ent to the pugnant to it. pail

  • Bodies of clivers natures, which are aggrouped Diversity

(or combined) together, are agreeable and pleasant ?$** to the sight ; * as also those things which seem to sin ?;

be slightly touched, and performed with ease ; be- cause they are ever full of spirit, and appear to be animated with a kind of celestial fire. But we are not able to compass these things with facility, till we have for a long time weighed them in our judgment, and thoroughly considered them : by this means the painter shall be enabled to conceal the pains and study which his art and work have cost him, under a pleasing sort of deceit ; for the greatest secret which belongs to art, is to hide it from the discovery of spectators.

Never give the least touch with your pencil, till LXI. you have well examined vour design, and have Th , e OTl &-

,,.j.i i j T *. " -n nalmustbe

settled your out-lines; * nor till yoa have present in the head, in your mind a perfect idea of your work. and nThe~

  • Let the eye be satisfied in the first place, even doth,

against and above all other reasons, which beget Th ^;_ difficulties in your art, which of itself suffers none ; pass to be and let the compass be rather in your eyes, than in luthee J es - your hands. 445

  • Profit yourself by the counsels of the knowing; LXIII.

and do not arrogantly disdain to learn the opinion of fn^ y a t o every man concerning your work. All men are blind g od P aint * as to their own productions, and no man is capable 1D

of judging in his own cause. * But if you have no knowing friend to assist you with his advice, yet 450; length of time will never fail ; it is but letting some weeks pass over your head, or at least some days, without looking on your work ; and that interims-


Nam qui parte sua sperat bene posse mererl Multivaga de plebe, nocet sibi } nee placet ullL

i xiv Cumq. opere in proprio sokat se pingere pictor> (Prolem adto sibijerre parem natura suevit)

Proderit imprimis pictori

Ut data qu& gemo colat, abstineatque negatis.

Fructibus utque situs nunquam est sapor, atque

mistas 460. Ftoribus, insueto in fundo, pracoce sub anni

Tempore, quos cultus violentus et ignis adegit : Sic nunquam, nimio qua sunt exlorta labore, Et picta invito genio, nunquam ilia placebunt.


,' e l Vera super meditando, manus labor improbus adsil, lamen obtundat genium, mentisq. vigorem.


Optima nostrorum pars matutina dierum* Difficili hanc igitur potiorem impende labori.



sion will faithfully discover to you the faults and beauties. Yet suffer not yourself to be carried away by the opinions of the vulgar, who often speak without knowledge ; neither give up yourself alto- gether to them, and abandon wholly your own ge- nius, so as lightly to change that which you have made ; for he who has a windy head, and flatters himself with the empty hope of deserving the praise of the common people, (whose opinions are incon- siderate and changeable,) does but injure himself; and pleases no man. 455

Since every painter paints himself in his own LXIV. works, (so much is nature accustomed to pro- ^" f owyour " duce her own likeness,) it is advantageous to him to know himself; * to the end that he may cultivate those talents which make his ge- nius, and not unprofitably lose his time, in en- deavouring to gain that, which she has refused him. As neither fruits have the taste, nor flowers the beauty which is natural to them, when they are transplanted into an unkindly or foreign soil, and are forced to bear before their season, by an artificial heat ; so it is in vain for the painter to sweat over his works, in spite of nature and of ge- nius ; for without them, it is impossible for him to succeed. LXV

  • While you meditate on these truths, and ob- Perpetual.

serve them diligently, by making necessary reflec- 1^0^- tions on them ; let the labour of the hand accom- al] y what pany the study of the brain ; let the former second conceived, and support the latter ; yet without blunting the sharpness of your genius, and abating of its vigour 465 * by too much assiduity. Lxvr

  • The morning is the best and most proper part The mom-

of the day for your business; employ it therefore

in the study and exercise of those things which work require the greatest pains and application.


Nulla dies abeat, quin linea ducta supersit. i- Perq. vias, vultus hominum, motusq. notabis

Libertate sua proprios, positasque fguras 470. Ex sese faciles* ut inobservatus, habebis.



fyfox quodcumque mart, terris, et in acre pulchrum Coutigerit, char tis proper a mandare paratis, um P rcesens an i m species tibifervet hianti.


475> Non epulis nimis indulget pictura, meroque Parcit : amicorum nisi cum sermone benigno Exhaustam reparet menlem recreata ; sed inde Litibus, et curis, in cidebe libera vita, Secessus procul d turba, strcpituque remotos, Villarum, rurisque beata silentia qiuzrit. Namque recollecto, totd incumbente Minerva, Ingenio, rerum species pr&senlior extat ; Commodiusqiie operis compagem amplectitur omnem

In/ami tibi non potior sit avara peculi Cur a, aitrique fames, modicd quam sorte beato, Nominis tfterni, et laudis pruritus habenda, CondigncE pulchrorum operum mercedis in cevum.

docile ingenium, cor nobile,


  • Let no day pass over vou, without a line. T< LXV ?'

._. J * - J n . Every day

Observe, as you walk the streets, the airs of heads; do some- the natural postures and expressions ; which are al- thl ^ ways the most free, the less they seem to be ob- LXVIII.

sprvpH The P as "

erveCl. sions whick

  • Be ready to put into your table-book (which are true

you must always carry about you) whatsoever you * ni judge worthy of it ; whether it be upon the earth, LXIX or in the air, or upon the waters, while the species books. e " of them is yet fresh in your imagination.

  • Wine and good cheer are no great friends to 4r5 *

painting ; they serve only to recreate the mind, when it is opprest and spent with labour ; then in- deed it is proper to renew your vigour by the con- versation of your friends. Neither is a true painter naturally pleased with the fatigue of business, and particularly of the law, but delights in the liberty which belongs to the bachelor's estate. * Paint- ing naturally withdraws from noise and tumult, and pleases itself in the enjoyment of a country re- tirement ; because silence and solitude set an edge 480$ upon the genius, and cause a greater application to work and study ; and also serve to produce the ideas, which, so conceived, will be always present

in the inind, even to the finishing of the work ; the whole compass of which, the painter can at that time more commodiously form to himself, than at any other,

  • Let not the covetous design of growing rich, MS.

induce you to ruin your reputation, but rather sa- tisfy yourself with a moderate fortune ; and let your thoughts be wholly taken up with acquiring

to yourself a glorious name, which can never pe- rish, but with the world ; and make that the re- compense of your worthy labours.

  • The qualities requisite to form an excellent

painter, are, a true discerning judgment, a mind


Sublimes, firmum corpus, Jlorensque juventa, Commoda res, labor, art is amor, doctusque magister;

Et quamcumque voles occasio porrigat ansam, Ni genius quidam adfuerit, sydusque benignum> Dotibus his tantis, nee adhuc ars tanta paratur.

Distat ab ingenio longe manus. Optima doctis Censentur, qua? parva minus ; latet omnibus error ; Vitaque tarn longcz brevior non siifficit arti. Desinimus nam posse senes, cum scire periti Incipimus, doctamque manum gravat cegra senectus ; Nee gelidis fervet juvenilis in artubus ardor.

500 Quare agite, O juvenes, placido quos sydere natos Paci 'fer<E studia allectant tranquilla Minervce ; Quosque suofovetigne, sibique optavit alumnos I Eja agite, atque animis ingentem ingentibus artem Exercete alacres, dum strenua cor da juventus

503. Viribus extimulat vegetis, patiensque laborum est ; Dum vacua errorum, nulloque imbuta sapore


which is docible, a noble heart, a sublime sense of things, and fervour of soul; after which folio w, health of body, a convenient share of fortune, the 4 9k flower of youth, diligence, an affection for the art, and to be bred under the discipline of a knowing master.

And remember, that whatsoever your subject be, whether of your own choice, or what chance or good fortune shall put into your hand, if you have not that genius, or natural inclination, which your art requires, you shall never arrive to perfection in it, even with all those great advantages which I have mentioned. For the wit and the manual ope- ration are things vastly distant from each other. It is the influence of your stars, and the happiness of your genius, to which you must be obliged for the greatest beauties of your art.

Nay, even your excellencies sometimes will not 495> pass for such in the opinion of the learned, but on- ly as things which have less of error in them ; for no man sees his own failings ; * and life is so short, that it is not sufficient for so long an art. Our strength fails us in our old age, when we begin to know somewhat ; age oppresses us by the same de- grees that it instructs us ; and permits not, that our mortal members, which are frozen with our years, should retain the vigour and spirits of our youth.

  • Take courage therefore, O ye noble youths ! 60ft>

you legitimate offspring of Minerva, who are born under the influence of a happy planet, and warm- ed with a celestial fire, which attracts you to the love of science ! exercise, while you are young, your whole forces, and employ them with delight in an art, which requires a whole painter. Exer- cise them, 1 say, while your boiling youth supplies 505.

VOL. xvji. % B


Pura nitet mens, et rerum sitibunda novanim, Prasentes haurit species, atque humida servat*


Ordo stu- f n geometrali prihs arte parumper adulti,

diorum. . & . f ~ TT /-

510. bigna antiqua super Graiorum addiscite jormam z Nee mora, nee requies, noctuque diuque labori y Illorum menti atque modo, vos donee agendi Praxis ab assiduo faciles assueverit usu.

Mox, ubijudicium emensis adoleverit annis, 515. Singula qute celebrant primes exemplaria class-is^ Romani y Veneti, Parmenses, atque Bononi, Partibus in cunctis pedetentim, atque ordine recto, Ut monitum supra est, vos expendisse juvabit. Has apud invenit Raphael miracula summo 520. Ducta modo, veneresque habuit quas nemo deinceps. Quidquid erat forma scivit Bonarota potenter*

Julius d puero musarum eductits in antrir, Aonias reseravit opes, graphicdque poesi Qtite 7W7i visa prius, sed tantui7i audita poetis y 525. Ante oculos spectanda dedit sacraria Phcebi : coronatis complevit bella triumphis



you with strength, and furnishes you with quick- ness, and with vigour; while your mind, yet pure, and void of error, has not taken any ill habitude to vice; while yet your spirits are inflamed with the thirst of novelties, and your mind is filled with the first species of things which present themselves to a young imagination, which it gives in keeping to your memory; and which your memory retains for length of time, by reason of the moisture where- LXX . with at that age the brain abounds. * You will Theme - do well* to begin with geometry, and after ha- st udiesfor ving made some progress in it, * set yourself on a T" n s

i r i /-i i ./ painter.

designing after the ancient Greeks : f and cease 510. not day or night from labour, till, by your continual practice, you have gained an easy habitude of imi- tating them in their invention, and in their manner.

  • And when afterwards your judgment shall grow

stronger, and come to its maturity with years, it will be very necessary to see and examine one af- ter the other, and part by part, those works which have given so great a reputation to the masters of sis. the first form in pursuit of that method, which we have taught you here above, and according to the rules which we have given you ; such are the Ro- mans, the Venetians, the Parmesans, and the Bo- logneses. Amongst those excellent persons, Ra- 520. phael had the talent of invention for his share, by which he made as many miracles as he made pic- tures. In which is observed * a certain grace which was wholly natural and peculiar to him, and which none since him have been able to appropriate to themselves. Michael Angelo possessed power- fully the part of design, above all others. * Julio Romano (educated from his childhood among the muses) has opened to us the treasures of Parnassus : and in the poetry of painting has discovered to our eyes the most sacred mysteries of Apollo, and all 525.


Her own for tuna potens y casusque decoros, Nobilius reipsd antiqua pinxisse videtur.

Clarior ante alios Corregius extitit, ampla 530, Luce superfusa, circum coduntibus umbris, Pingendique modo grandi, et tractando colorc Corpora. Amicitiamque, gradusque, dolosque colo~


Compagemque ita disposuit Titianus, ut inde Divus appdlatus, magnis sit honoribus auctus, 535. Fort una que bonis : quos sedulus Hannibal omnes In propriam mentem y atque modum mird artc coegit*

Plurimus i?ide labor Tabulas imitando juvabit Egregias, operumque Typos ; sed plura docebit ciunt. Natuia ante oculos prasens ; namfrmat et auget 540. Vim geniiy ex illdque artem experientia complet. Multa supercilio quce Coinmeutaria dicent.

H<ec ego, dum memoror subitura volubilis azvi Cuncta vices, variisque otim peritura ruinis,


the rarest ornaments which that god is capable of communicating to those works that he inspires ; which we knew not before, but only by the recital that the poets made of them. He seems to have painted those famous wars " in which fortune has crowned her triumphant heroes ;'* and those other glorious events which she has caused in all ages, even with more magnificence and nobleness, than when they were acted in the world.

" The shining eminence of Correggio consists in $30. his laying on ample broad lights encompassed with friendly shadows, and in a grand style of painting, with a delicacy in the management of colours." And Titian understood so well the union of the masses, and the bodies of colours, the harmony of the tints and the disposition of the whole together, that he has deserved those honours and that wealth which were heaped upon him, together with that attribute of being sirnamed the divine painter. The laborious and diligent Annibal Caracci has taken from all those great persons already mentioned whatsoever excellencies he found in them, and, as it were, converted their nourishment into his own substance. LXXI.

It is a great means of profiting yourself, to copy Nature " diligently those excellent pieces, and those beauti- j^ c e e x j ful designs; but Nature, which is present before feet art. your eyes, is yet a better mistress ; for she aug- ments the force and vigour of the genius, and she it is from whom art derives her ultimate perfeo *4o. tion, by the means of sure experience ; * I pass in silence many things which will be more amply treated in the ensuing commentary.

And now considering that all things are subject to the vicissitude of time, and that they are liable to destruction by several ways, I thought I might reasonably take the boldness * to intrust to the


545 - Pauca sophismata sum. graphica immortalibus ausus Credere pierns, Romx meditatus : ad Alpes, Dum super ins anas moles, inimicaque castra Borbonidum decus et vindex Lodoicus avorum y Fulminat ardenti dextrd, patritcque resurgens

550t Gallicus Alcides premit Hispani ora Leonis.


muses (those lovely and immortal sisters of paint- ing) these few precepts, which I have here made and collected of that art.

I employed my time in the study of this work at 545 - Rome, while the glory of the Bourbon family, and the just avenger of his injured ancestors, the victo- rious Louis XIII. was darting his thunder on the Alps, and causing his enemies to feel the force of his unconquerable arms ; while he, like another Gal- lic Hercules, born for the benefit and honour of his country, was griping the Spanish Geryon by the jthroat, and at the point of strangling him.







f L * PAINTING and Poesy are two sisters, &c. It is 3 received truth, that the arts have a certain relation to each other. " Theie is no art, (said Tertullian, in his Treatise of Idolatry,) which is not either the fa- ther, or the near relation of another." And Cicero, in his oration for Archias the poet, says, " That the arts, which have respect to human life, have a kind of alliance amongst themselves, and hold each other (as we may say) by the hand." But those arts, which are the nearest related, and claim the

    • The number at the hea.d of every observation serves to find In

the test the particular passage on which the observation was made.


most ancient kindred with each other, are painting and poetry ; and whosoever shall thoroughly exa- mine them, will find them so much resembling one another, that he cannot take them for less than sisters.

They both follow the same bent, and suffer them- selves to be rather carried away, than led by their secret inclinations, which are so many seeds of the Divinity. " There is a god within us, (says Ovid, in the beginning of his sixth book DC Fastis, there speaking of the poets,) who by his agitation warms us." And Suidas says, " That the famous sculptor Phidias, and Zeuxis that incomparable painter, were both of them transported by the same enthusiasm which gave life to all their works." They both of them aim at the same end, which is imitation. Both of them excite our passions, and we suffer ourselves willingly to be deceived, both by the one and by the other ; our eyes and souls are so fixed to them, that we are ready to persuade ourselves, that the painted bodies breathe, and that the fictions are truths. Both of them are set on fire by the great actions of heroes ; and both endeavour to eternize them. Both of them, in short, are supported by the strength of their imagination, and avail them- selves of those licences, which Apollo has equally bestowed on them, and with which their genius has Inspired them :

" Pictoribus atque poetis

Quidlibet audendi, semper fuit ccqua potestas"

" Painters and poets, free from servile awe, May treat their subjects, and their objects draw."

As Horace tells us, in his " Art of Poetry/'

The advantage which painting possesses above poesy is this ; that, amongst so great a diversity of


languages, she makes herself understood by all the nations of the world ; and that she is necessary to all other arts, because of the need which they have of demonstrative figures, which often give more light to the understanding than the clearest dis- courses we can make :

" Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem, Quam quce sunt oculis conimissajidelibus"

" Hearing excites the mind by slow degrees ; The man is warmed at once by what he sees.""

Horace in the same " Art of Poetry."

  • 9. " For both those arts that they might advance,"

&c. Poetry, by its hymns and anthems; and Paint- ing, by its statues, altar-pieces, and by all those de- corations which inspire respect and reverence for our sacred mysteries, have been serviceable to reli- gion. Gregory of Nice, after having made a long and beautiful description of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac, says these words : " I have often cast my eyes upon a picture, which represents this mo- ving object, and could never withdraw them with- out tears. So well did the picture represent the thing itself, even as if the action were then passing before my sight."

t?4. " So much these divine arts have been always ho- noured," &c. " The greatest lords, whole cities, and their magistrates of old, (says Pliny, lib. xxxv.) took it for an honour to obtain a picture from the hands of those great ancient painters." But this ho- nour is much fallen of late amongst the French nobi- lity : and if you will understand the cause of it, Vi- truvius will tell you, that it comes from their igno- rance of the charming arts, " Propter ignoiantiam artis, virtutes obscurantur ? (in the Preface to his Fifth Book.) Nay more, >ve should see this admi-


rable art fall into the last degree of contempt, if our mighty monarch, who yields in nothing to the magnanimity of Alexander the Great, had not shown as much love for painting as for valour in the wars ; we daily see him encouraging this noble art, by the considerable presents which he makes to his chief painter.* And he has also founded an academy for the progress and perfectionating of painting, which his first minister^ honours with his protection, his care, and frequent visits; insomuch that we might shortly see the age of Apelles revi- ving in our country, together with all the beaute- ous arts, if our generous nobility, who follow our incomparable king with so much ardour and cou- rage in those dangers, to which he exposes his sa- cred person, for the greatness and glory of his king- dom, would imitate him in that wonderful affec- tion, which he bears to all who are excellent in this kind. Those persons, who were the most consider- able in ancient Greece, either for birth or merit, took a most particular care, for many ages, to be instructed in the art of painting; following that laudable and profitable custom, begun and esta- blished by the great Alexander, which was to learn how to design. And Pliny, who gives testimony to this, in the tenth chapter of his thirty-fifth book, tells us farther, (speaking of Pamphilius, the mas- ter of Apelles,) " That it was by the authority of Alexander, that, first at Sicyon, and afterwards through all Greece, the young gentlemen learned, before all other things, to design upon tablets of boxen- wood; and that the first place, among all the liberal arts, was given to painting." And that which

  • M. Le Brun.

t M, Colbert.


makes it evident, that they were very knowing in this art, is the love and esteem which they had for painters. Demetrius gave high testimonies of this, when he besieged the city of Rhodes; for he was pleased to employ some part of that time, which he owed to the care of his arms, in visiting Protogenes, who was then drawing the picture of lalysug " This lalysus (says Pliny,) hindered King Deme- trius from taking Rhodes, out of fear lest he should burn the pictures ; and not being able to fire the town on any other side, he was pleased rather to spare the painting, than to take the victory, which was already in his hands/' Protogenes, at that time, had his painting-room in a garden out of the town, and very near the camp of the enemies, where he was daily finishing those pieces which he had al- ready begun, the noise of soldiers not being capable of interrupting his studies. But Demetrius causing him to be brought into his presence, and asking him, what made him so bold as to work in the midst of enemies ? he answered the king, " That he understood the war which he made was against the Rhodians, and not against the arts." This obliged Demetrius to appoint him guards for his security, being infinitely pleased that he could pre- serve that hand, which by this means he saved from the barbarity and insolence of soldiers. Alex- ander had no greater pleasure than when he was in the painting room of Apelles, where he commonly was found. And that painter once received from him a sensible testimony of love and esteem which that monarch had for him ; for, having caused him to paint naked (by reason of her admirable beauty,) one of his concubines, called Campaspe, who had the greatest share in his affections, and perceiving that Apelles was wounded with the same fatal dart of beauty, he made a present of her to him. In that


age, so great a deference was paid to painting, that they, who had any mastery in that art, never paint- ed on any thing but what was portable from one place to another, and what could be secured from burning. " They took a particular care (says Pliny, in the place above cited,) not to paint any thing against a wall, which could only belong to one master, and must always remain in the same place, and for that reason could not be removed in case of an accidental fire. Men were not suffered to keep a picture, as it were in prison, on the walls. It dwelt in common in all cities, and the painter him- self was respected as a common good to all the world." See this excellent author, and you shall find, that the tenth chapter of his thirty-fifth book is filled with the praises of this art, and with the honours which were ascribed to it. You will there find, that it was not permitted to any but those of noble blood to profess it. Francis the First (as Va- sari tells us,) was in love with painting to that degree, that he allured out of Italy all the best masters, that this art might flourish in his own king- dom : and, amongst others, Leonardo da Vinci, who, after having continued for some time in France, died at Fontainbleau in the arms of that great king, who could not behold his death with- out shedding tears over him. Charles the Fifth has adorned Spain with the noblest pictures which are now remaining in the world. Ridolphi, in his Life of Titian, says, " That emperor one day took up a pencil which fell from the hand of that artist, who was then drawing his picture ; and upon the com- pliment which Titian made him on this occasion, he said these words : " Titian has deserved to be served by Csesar." And in the same Life, it is re- markable, u That the emperor valued himself not so much in subjecting kingdoms and provinces, as


that he had been thrice made immortal by the hand of Titian." If you will but take the pains to read this famous Life in Ridolpbi, you will there see the relation of all those honours which he received from Charles the Fifth. It would take up too much time here to recount all the particulars ; I will only observe, that the greatest lords, who composed the court of that emperor, not being able to refrain from some marks of jealousy, upon the preference which he made of the person and conversation of Titian, to that of all his other courtiers, he freely told them, " That he could never want a court, or courtiers; but he could not have Titian always with him." Accordingly, he heaped riches on him ; and when- soever he sent him money, which, ordinarily speak- ing, was a great sum, he always did it with this obliging testimony, " That his design was not to pay him the value of his pictures, because they were above any price." After the example of the worthies of antiquity, who bought the rarest pic- tures with bushels of gold, without counting the weight or the number of the pieces. " In numum aureo, mensura accepif, non mimcro" says Pliny, speaking of Apelles. Quinctilian infers from hence, " that there is nothing more noble than the art of painting; because other things, for the most part, are merchandize, and bought at certain rates : " Most things for this very reason (says he,) are vile, because they have a price;" "Plemgue hoc ipso possunt videri villa, quod pretium habent" (See the 34tb, 35th, and 36th Books of Pliny.) Many great persons have loved it with an extreme passion, and have exercised themselves in it with delight. Amongst others, Laelius Fabius, one of those famous Romans, who, (as Cicero relates,) after he had tasted painting, and had practised it, would be called Fabi- us Pictor; as also Turpilius, a Roman knight; La-


beo, praetor and consul; Quintus Pedius; the poets Ennius and Pacuvius; Socrates, Plato, Metrodorus, Pyrrho, Commodus, Nero, Vespasian, Alexander, Severus, Antoninus, and many other kings and em- perors, who thought it not below their majesty to employ some part of their time in this honourable art.

" The principal and most important part of paint- ing, is to find out, and thoroughly to understand, what nature hath made most beautiful, and most proper to this art," &c. Observe here the rock on which the greatest part of the Flemish painters have split : most of that nation know how to imi- tate nature, at least as well as the painters of other countries; but they make a bad choice in nature itself; whether it be, that they have not seen the ancient pieces, to find those beauties ; or that a happy genius, and the beautiful nature, is not of the growth of their country. And to confess the truth, that which is naturally beautiful is so very rare, that it is discovered by few persons ; it is dif- ficult to make a choice of it, and to form to our- selves such an idea of it, as may serve us for a mo- del.

" And that a choice of it may be made according to the gust and manner of the ancients," &c. That is to say, according to the statues, the basso-re- lievos, and the other ancient pieces, as well of the Grecians as of the Romans. Ancient (or antic) is that which has been made from the time of Alex- ander the Great, till that of Phocas ; during whose empire the arts were ruined by war. These an- cient works from their beginning have been the rule of beauty : and in effect, the authors of them have been so careful to give them that perfection, which is still to be observed in them, that they made use not only of one single body, whereby they formed


them, but of many, from which they took the most regular parts to compose from them a beauti- ful whole. " The sculptors," says Maxim us Ty- rius, in his 7th dissertation, " with admirable arti- fice, chose out of many bodies those parts which appeared to them the most beautiful ; and out of that diversity made but one statue : but this mix- ture is made with so much prudence and propriety, that they seem to have taken but one only perfect beauty. And let us not imagine that we can ever find one natural beauty, which can dispute with statues that art, which has always somewhat more perfect than nature." It is also to be presumed, that in the choice which they made of those parts, they followed the opinion of the physicians, who at that time were very capable of instructing them in the rules of beauty ; since beauty and health or- dinarily follow each other. " For beauty,'* says- Galen, " is nothing else but a just accord, and mu- tual harmony of the members, animated by a health- ful constitution. And men," says the same author, " commend a certain statue of Polycletus, which they call the rule, and which deserves that name, for having so perfect an agreement in all its parts, and a proportion so exact, that it is not possible to find a fault in it. " From what I have quoted, we may conclude, that the ancient pieces are truly beautiful, because they resemble the beauties of na- ture; and that nature will ever be beautiful which resembles those beauties of antiquity. It is now evident upon what account none have presumed to contest the proportion of those ancient pieces; and that, on the contrary, they have always been quoted as models of the most perfect beauty. Ovid, in the twelfth book of his " Metamorphoses," where he describes Cyllarus, the most beautiful of all the Centaurs, says, " That he had so great a vivacity in



his countenance, his neck, his shoulders, his hands, and stomach, were so fair, that it is certain the manly part of him was as beautiful as the most celebrated statues." And Philostratus, in his " He- roics," speaking of Protesilaus, and praising the beau- ty of his face, says, "That the form of his nose was square, as if it had been of a statue." And in ano- ther place, speaking of Euphorbus, he says, " That his beauty had gained the affections of all the Greeks ; and that it resembled so nearly the beauty of a statue, that one might have taken him for Apollo." Afterwards also, speaking of the beauty of Neoptolemus, and of his likeness to his father Achilles, he says, " That, in beauty, his father had the same advantage over him, as statues have over he beauty of living men."

This ought to be understood of the fairest sta- tues; for amongst the multitude of sculptors which were in Greece and Italy, it is impossible but some of them must have been bad workmen, or rather less good ; for though their works were much in- ferior to the artists of the first form, yet somewhat of greatness is to be seen in them, and somewhat of harmonious in the distribution of their parts, which makes it evident, that, at that time, they wrought on common principles ; and that every one of them availed himself of those principles, according to his capacity and genius. Those statues were the great- est ornaments of Greece. We need only open the book of Pausanias to find the prodigious quantity of them, whether within or without their temples, or in the crossing of streets, or in the squares and public places, or even the fields, or on the tombs. Statues were erected to the muses, to the nymphs, to heroes, to great captains, to magistrates, philoso- phers, and poets; in short, they were set up to all those who had made themselves eminent, either in

VOL. xvii. % c


defence of their country, or for any noble action which deserved a recompence ; for it was the most ordinary and most authentic way, both amongst the Greeks and Romans, thus to testify their gratitude. The Romans, when they had conquered Grascia, transported from thence not only their most admi- rable statues, but also brought along with them the most excellent of their sculptors, who instructed others in their art, and have left to posterity the immortal examples of their knowledge, which we see confirmed by those curious statues, those vases, those basso-relievos, and those beautiful columns called by the names of Trajan and Antonine. These are those beauties which our author proposes to us for our models, and the true fountains of science, out of which both painters and statuaries are bound to draw for their own use, without amusing them- selves with dipping in streams which are often muddy, at least troubled; I mean the manner of their masters, after whom they creep, and from whom they are unwilling to depart, either through negligence, or through the meanness of their ge- nius, " It belongs only to heavy minds/' says Ci- cero, " to spend their time on streams, without searching for the springs, from whence their mate- rials flow in all manner of abundance."

u Without which, all is nothing but a blind and f40 'rash barbarity," &c. All that has nothing of the an- cient gusto, is called a barbarous or Gothic manner, which is not conducted by any rule, but only fol- lows a wretched fancy, which has nothing in it that is noble. We are here to observe, that painters are not obliged to follow the antique as exactly as the sculptors; for then the picture would savour too strongly of the statue, and would seem to be with- out motion. Many painters, and some of the ablest amongst them, believing they do well, and taking


that precept in too literal a sense, have fallen there^ by into great inconveniencies. It therefore becomes the painters to make use of those ancient patterns with discretion, and to accommodate the nature to them in such a manner, that their figures, which must seem to live, may rather appear to be models for the antique, than the antique a model for their figures,

It appears, that Raphael made a perfect use of this conduct; and that the Lombard school have not precisely searched into this precept any farther, than to learn from thence how to make a good choice of the nature, and to give a certain grace and nobleness to all their works, by the general and confused idea which they had of what is beautiful. As for the rest, they are sufficiently licentious, ex- cepting only Titian, who, of all the Lombards, has preserved the greatest purity in his works. This barbarous manner, of which I spoke, has been in great vogue from the year 6 1 I to 1450. They who have restored painting in Germany (not having seen any of those fair relics of antiquity,) have retained much of that barbarous manner. Amongst others, Lucas van Leyden, a very laborious man, who, with his scholars, has infected almost all Europe with his designs for tapestry, which, by the ignorant, are called ancient hangings, (a greater honour than they deserve ;) these, I say, are esteemed beautiful by the greatest part of the world. I must acknowledge, that I am amazed at so gross a stupidity, and that we of the French nation should have so barbarous a taste as to take for beautiful those flat, childish, and insipid tapestries. Albert Durer, that famous German, who was contemporary to that Lucas, has had the like misfortune to fall into that absurd manner, be- cause he had never seen any thing that was beauti- ful. Observe what Vasari tells us, in the Life of


Marc Antonio, (Raphael's graver,) having first com- mended Albert for his skill in graving, and his other talents : " And in truth/' says he, u if this so ex- cellent, so exact, and so universal a man, had been born in Tuscany, as he was in Germany, and had formed his studies according to those beautiful pie- ces which are seen at Rome, as the rest of us have done, he had proved the best painter of all Italy, as he was the greatest genius, and the most accom- plished which Germany ever bore."

t45. "We love what we understand." &c. This pe- riod informs us, that though our inventions are never so good, though we are furnished by nature with a noble genius, and though we follow the impulse of it, yet this is not enough, if we learn not to under- stand what is perfect and beautiful in nature ; to the end, that, having found it, we may be able to imitate it, and by this instruction we may be capa- citated to observe those errors which she herself has made, and to avoid them, so as not to copy her in all sorts of subjects, such as she appears to us, without choice or distinction.

  • so. AS being the sovereign judge of his own art,"

&c. This word, sovereign judge, or arbiter of his own art, presupposes a painter to be fully instruct- ed in all the parts of painting ; so that being set as it were above his art, he may be the master and sovereign of it, which is no easy matter. Those of that profession are so seldom endowed with that supreme capacity, that few of them arrive to be good judges of painting; and I should many times make more account of their judgment, who are men of sense, and yet have never touched a pencil, than of the opinion which is given by the greatest part of painters. All painters, therefore, may be called arbiters of their own art ; but to be sovereign ar- biters, belongs only to knowing painters.


  • ' And permit no transient beauties to escape his f 52,

observation," &c. Those fugitive or transient beau- ties, are no other than such as u e observe in nature, with a short and transient view, and which remain not long in their subjects. Such are the passions of the soul. There are of this sort of beauties which last but for a moment; as the different airs of an assembly upon the sight of an unexpected and un- common object, some particularity ot a violent pas- sion, some graceful action, a smile, a glance of an eye, a disdainful look, a look of gravity, and a thousand other such-iike things; we may also place in the catalogue of these flying beauties, tine clouds, such as ordinarily follow thunder, or a shower of rain.

" In the same manner that bare practice, destitute 1 54, of the lights of art/ c. We rind in Qumctilian, that Pythagoras said, " The theory is nothing with- out the practice." " And what means/' says the younger Pliny, " have we to retain what has been taught us, if we put it not in practice ?" We would not allow that man to be an orator, who had the best thoughts imaginable, and who knew all the rules of rhetoric, if he had not acquired, by exercise, the art of using them, and of composing an excel- lent discourse. Painting is a long pilgrimage; what avails it to make all the necessary preparatives for our voyage, or to inform ourselves of all the diffi- culties in the road ? if we do not actually begin the journey, and travel at a round rate, we shall never arrive at the end of it. And as it would be ridicu- lous to grow old in the study of every necessary thing in an art, which comprehends so many seve- ral parts ; so, on the other hand, to begin the prac- tice without knowing the rules, or at least with a light tincture of them, is to expose ouiseives to the scorn of those who can judge of pamung, and to


make it apparent to the world that we have no care of our reputation. Many are of opinion, that we need only work, and mind the practical part, to become skilful and able painters ; and that the theory only encumbers the mind, and ties the hand. Such men do just like the squirrel, who is perpetu- ally turning the wheel in her cage ; she runs apace, and wearies herself with her continual motion, and yet gets no ground. <l It is not enough for doing well to walk apace," says Quinctilian, " but it is enough for walking apace to do well." It is a bad excuse to say, I was but a little while about it. That graceful easiness, that celestial fire which ani- mates the work, proceeds not so much from having often done the like, as from having well under- stood what we have done. See what I shall farther say, on the 6()th rule, which concerns easiness. Others there are, who believe precepts and specu- lation to be of absolute necessity ; but as they were ill instructed, and what they knew, rather en- tangled, than cleared their understanding, so they oftentimes turn short ; and if they perform a work, it is not without anxiety and pain. And in truth, they are so much the more worthy of compassion, because their intentions are right ; and if they ad- vance not in knowledge as far as others, and are sometimes cast behind, yet they are grounded upon some sort of reason ; for it is belonging to good sense, not to go over fast, when we apprehend our- selves to be out of the way, or even where we doubt which way we ought to take. Others, on the contrary, being well instructed in good maxims, and in the rules of art, after having done fine things, yet spoil them all, by endeavouring to make them better, which is a kind of overdoing; and they are so intoxicated with their work, and with an earnest desire of being above all others, that


they suffer themselves to be deceived with the ap- pearance of an imaginary good. " Apelles, one day admiring the prodigious labour which he saw in a picture of Protogenes, and knowing how much sweat it must have cost him, said, that Protogenes and himself were of equal strength ; nay, that he yielded to him, in some parts of painting; but in this he surpassed him, that Protogenes never knew when he had done well, and could never liold his hand. He also added, in the nature of a precept, that he wished all painters would imprint this les- son deeply in their memory, that with overstrain- ing and earnestness of finishing their pieces, they often did them more harm than good." * *' There are some," says Quinctilian, " who never satisfy themselves, never are contented with their first no- tions and expressions, but are continually changing all, till nothing remains of their first ideas. Others there are," continues he, " who dare never trust themselves, nor resolve on any thing , and who being, as it were, entangled in their own genius, imagine it to be a laudable correctness, when they form difficulties to themselves in their own work. And, to speak the truth, it is hard to discern, whe- ther of the two is in the greatest error ; he, who is enamoured of all he does ; or he, whom nothing of his own can please. For it has happened to young men, and often even to those of the greatest wit, to waste their spirits, and to consume themselves with anxiety and pain of their own giving, so far as even to doze upon their work with too much eagerness of doing well. I will now tell you, how a reasonable man ought to carry himself on this oc- casion. It is certain, that we ought to use our best

Pliny, xxxv. 10.


endeavour to give the last perfection to our works ; yet it is always to be understood, that we attempt no more than what is in the compass of our genius, and according to our vein. For, to make a true progress, I grant that diligence and study are both requisite; but this study ought to have no mixture, either of self-opinion, obstinacy, or anxiety; for which reason, if it blows a happy gale, we must set up all our sails, though in so doing it sometimes happens, that we follow those motions where our natural heat is; more powerful than our care and our correctness, provided we abuse not this license, and suffer not ourselves to be deceived by it ; for all our productions cannot fail to please us at the moment of their birth, as being new to us." * ei. " Because the greatest beauties cannot always be expressed for want of terms," &c. I have learned from the mouth of Monsieur du Fresnoy, that he had oftentimes heard Guido say, " that no man could give a rule of the greatest beauties ; and that the knowledge of them was so abstruse, that there was no manner of speaking which could express them." This comes just to what Quinctilian says, f " That things incredible wanted words to express them ; for some of them are too great, and too much elevated, to be comprehended by human discourse." From hence it proceeds, that the best judges, when they admire a noble picture, seem to be fastened to it ; and when they come to themselves, you would say, they had lost the use of speech.

" PausiacA torpes, insane, tabelld" says Horace ; $ and Symmachus says, || " that the greatness of as- tonishment hinders men from giving a just ap?

  • Quinc. x. 3. t Declam. xix.

| Lib. ii. Sat. 7. j| Lib. x. Ep. xxii,


plause." The Italians say, " Opera da stupire" when a thing is wonderfully good.

" Those master-pieces of antiquity, which were the chief examples of this art," c. He means the most knowing and best painters of antiquity; that is to say, from the last two ages to our times.

" And also moderates that fury of the fancy,"" 1 " 66 ' Sec. There is in the Latin text, " which produces only monsters," that is to say, things out of all pro- bable resemblance. Such things as are often found in the works of Pietro Testa. " It often happens," says Dionysius Longinus, a grave author, " that some men, imagining themselves to be possessed with a divine fury, far from being carried into the rage of Bacchanalians, often fall into toys and trifles, which are only puerilities."

" A subject beautiful and noble," &c. Painting* 69 * is not only pleasing and divertising, but is also a kind of memorial of those things which antiquity has had the most beautiful and noble in their kinds, replacing the history before our eyes; as if the thing were at this very time effectually in action ; even so far, that, beholding the pictures wherein those noble deeds are represented, we find ourselves stung with a desire of endeavouring somewhat, which is like that action, there expressed, as if we were reading it in the history. The beauty of the subject inspires us with love and admiration for the pictures, as the fair mixture causes us to enter into the subject which it imitates, and imprints it the more deeply into pur imagination, and our memory. These are two chains which are interlinked, which contain, and are at the same time contained, and whose matter is equally precious and estimable.

" And ingenious," &c. Aliquid sails, some what + 72. that is well seasoned, fine, and picquant, extraordi- nary, of a high relish, proper to instruct, and to


clear the understanding. " The painters ought to do like the orators," says Cicero; * " let them instruct, let them divertise, and let them move us ; this is what is properly meant by the word salt.

f 74. " On which the sketch, as it may be called, of the picture is to be disposed," &c It is not with- out reason, nor by chance, that our author uses the word machina. A machine is a just assembling or combination of many pieces, to produce one and the same effect. And the disposition in a picture is nothing else but an assembling of many parts, of which we are to foresee the agreement with each other, and the justness to produce a beautiful effect, as you shall see in the 4th precept, which is con- cerning the economy. This is also called the com- position, by which is meant the distribution and orderly placing of things, both in general, and in particular.

f75. " Which is what we properly call invention," c. Our author establishes three parts of painting; the invention ; the design, or drawing ; and the co- louring, which in some places he also calls the cro- matic. Many authors who have written of painting, multiply the parts according to their pleasure ; and without giving you, or myself, the trouble of dis- cussing this matter, I will only tell you, that all the parts of painting which others have named, are re- ducible into these three which are mentioned by our author.

For which reason, I esteem this division tp be the justest : and as these three parts are essential to painting, so no man can be truly called a pain- ter, who does not possess them all together : in the same manner that we cannot give the name of man

  • DeOpt. Gen. .Or at.


to any creature which is not composed of body, soul, and reason, which are the three parts necessa- rily constituent of a man. How therefore can they pretend to the quality of painters, who can only copy and purloin the works of others, who there- in employ their whole industry, and with that only talent would pass for able painters ? And, do not tell me, that many great artists have done this; for I can easily answer you, that it had been their better course to have abstained from so doing ; that they have not thereby done themselves much honour, and that copying was not the best part of their reputation. Let us then conclude, that all painters ought to acquire this part of excellence; not to do it, is to want courage, and not dare to shew themselves. It is to creep and grovel on the ground ; it is to deserve this just reproach, O wiita- tores, servumpccus! It is with painters, in reference to their productions, as it is with orators : a good beginning is always costly to both ; much sweat and labour is required, but it is better to expose our works, and leave them liable to censure for fifteen years, than to blush for them at the end of fifty. On this account, it is necessary for a painter to begin early to do somewhat of his own, and to accustom himself to it by continual exercise ; for so long as, endeavouring to raise himself, he fears fal- ling, he shall be always on the ground. See the following observation.

" Invention is a kind of Muse, which being pos- sessed of the other advantages common to her sis- ters," &c. The attributes of the Muses are often taken for the Muses themselves ; and it is in this sense, that Invention is here called a Muse. Authors ascribe to each of them in particular, the sciences which they have, say they, invented; and in gene- ral the Belles Lettres, because they contain almost


all the others. These sciences are those advanta- ges of which our author speaks, and with which he would have a painter furnish himself sufficiently : and in truth, there is no man, though his under- standing be very mean, who knows not, and who finds not of himself, how much learning is neces- sary to animate his genius, and to complete it. And the reason of this is, that they who have studied, have not only seen and learned many excellent things, in their course of studies ; but also they have acquired, by that exercise, a great facility of profiting themselves, by reading good authors. They who will make profession of painting, must heap up treasures out of their reading : and there they will find many wonderful means of raising themselves above others, who can only creep upon the ground; or if they elevate themselves, it is only to fall from a higher place, because they serve them- selves of other men's wings, neither understanding their use, nor their virtue. It is true, that it is not the present mode for a painter to be so knowing : and if any of them, in these times, be found to have either a great wit, or much learning, the multi- tude would not fail to say, that it was great pity ; and that the youth might have come to somewhat in the practical part of the law, or it may be in the treasury, or in the families of some noblemen. So wretched is the destiny of painting in these latter ages.- By learning, it is not so much the knowledge of the Greek and Latin tongue, which is here to be understood ; as the reading of good authors, and understanding those things of which they treat : for translations being made of the best authors, there is not any painter who is not capable, in some sort, of understanding those books of humanity, which are comprehended under the name of the Belles Lettres. In my opinion, the books which


are of the most advantage to those of the profes- sion, are these which follow :

The Bible.

The History of Josephus.

The Roman History of CoefTeteau, for those who understand the French ; and that of Titus Livius, in Latin.

Homer, whom Pliny calls the fountain-head of invention and noble thoughts.

Virgil, and in him particularly his ^Eneis.

The Ecclesiastical History of Godeau, or the A- bridgment of Baronius.

Ovid's Metamorphoses.

The Pictures of Phiiostratus. *

Plutarch's Lives.

Pausanias, who is wonderful for giving of great ideas ; and chiefly for such as are to be placed at a distance, or cast behind, and for the combining of figures. This author, in conjunction with Homer, makes a good mingle of what is pleasing, and what is perfect.

The Religion of the Ancient Romans, by Du Choul ; and in English, Godwin's Roman Antiqui- ties.

Trajan's Pillar, with the discourse which explains the figures on it, and instructs a painter in those things with which he is indispensably to be ac- quainted. This is one of the most principal and most learned books, which we have for the modes, the customs, the arms, and the religion of the Ro- mans. Julio Romano made his chief studies on the marble itself.

The books of medals.

The Bass-Reliefs of Perrier, and others, with

  • Tableaux.


their explanations at the bottom of the pages, which

give a perfect understanding of them.

Horace's Art of Poetry, because of the relation

which there is betwixt the rules of poetry, and those

of painting.

And other books of the like nature, the reading

of which are profitable to warm the imagination ;

such as in English, are Spenser's Fairy Queen ;

the Paradise Lost of Milton ; Tasso, translated by

Fairfax ; and the History of Polybius, by Sir Henry


Some romances also are very capable of enter- taining the genius, and of strengthening it, by the noble ideas which they give of things: but there is this danger in them, that they almost always cor- rupt the truth of history.

There are also other books which a painter may use upon some particular occasions, and only when he wants them : Such are, The Mythology of the Gods; The Images of the Gods; The Iconology; The Tables of Hyginus ; The Practical Perspec- tive ; and some others not here mentioned.

Thus it is necessary, that they who are desirous of a name in painting, should read at leisure times these books with diligence ; and make their obser- vations of such things as they iind for their pur- pose in them, and of which they believe they may some time or other have occasion. Let the imagina- tion be employed in this reading, and let them make sketches, and light touches of those ideas which that reading forms in their imagination. Quinctiliari, Tacitus, or whoever was the author of that dialogue, which is called in Latin De Causis corrupts Eloquently says, u That painting re- sembles fire, which is fed by the fuel, inflamed by motion, and gathers strength by burning ; for the


power of the genius is only augmented by the abundance of matter to supply it; and it is impos- sible to make a great and magnificent work, if that matter be wanting, or not disposed rightly." And therefore a painter, who has a genius, gets nothing, by long thinking, and taking all imagi- nable care to make a noble composition, if he be not assisted by those studies which I have men- tioned. All that he can gain by it is only to weary his imagination, and to travel over many vast countries, without dwelling on any one thing, which can give him satisfaction.

All the books which I have named may be ser- viceable to all sorts of persons, as well as to pain- ters. As for those books which were of particular use to them, they were unfortunately lost in those ages which were before the invention of printing. The copiers neglecting (probably out of ignorance) to transcribe them, as not rinding themselves capable of making the demonstrative figures. * In the mean times, it is evidently known, by the relation of authors, that we have lost fifty volumes of them at the least. See Pliny in his 3.Hh book; and Franc Junius, in his 3d chapter of the C 2d book of the "Painting of the Ancients." Many moderns have written of it with small success, taking a large compass, without coming directly to the point; and talking much, without saying any thing; yet some of them have acquitted them- selves successfully enough. Amongst others, Leo- nardo da Vinci (though without method); Paulo Lomazzo, whose book is good for the greatest part, but whose discourse is too diffusive and very tire- some; John Baptist Armenini, Franciscus Junius,

  • That is to the eye, by diagrams and sketches, &c.


and Monsieur de Cambray, to whose preface I rather invite you, than to his book. We are not to forget what Monsieur Felebien has written of the historical piece of Alexander, by the hand of Monsieur Le Brun : besides that the work itself is very eloquent, the foundations which he establishes for the making of a good picture are wonderfully solid. Thus I have given you very near the li- brary of a painter, and a catalogue of such books as he ought either to read himself, or have read to him ; at least if he will not satisfy himself with possessing painting as the most sordid of all trades, f ^ and not as the noblest of all arts.

" It is the business of a painter, in his choice of attitudes," &c. See here the most important pre- cept of all those which relate to painting. It be- longs properly to a painter alone, and all the rest are borrowed either from learning, or from physic, or from the mathematics, or, in short, from other arts ; for it is sufficient to have a natural wit and learn- ing to make that which we call in painting, a good invention : for the design, we must have some in- sight into anatomy : to make buildings, and other things in perspective, we must have knowledge in the mathematics : and other arts will bring in their quotas, to furnish out the matter of a good pic- ture. But for the economy, or ordering of the whole together, none but only the painter can un- derstand it ; because the end of the artist is plea- singly to deceive the eyes, which he can never ac- complish if this part be wanting to him. A pic- ture may have an ill effect, though the invention of it be truly understood, the design of it correct, and the colours of it the most beautiful and fine that can be employed in it. And, on the contrary, we may behold other pictures ill invented, ill de- signed, and painted with the most common colours,



which shall have a very good effect, and which shall more pleasingly deceive. " Nothing pleases a man so much as order," says Xenophon;* and Ho- race, in his " Art of Poetry," lays it down as a rule,

Singula guceque locum teneant sortita decenter.

Set all things in their own peculiar place ; And know, that order is the greatest grace.

This precept is properly the use and application of all the rest ; for which reason it requires much judgment. You are therefore in such manner to foresee things, that your picture may be painted in your head, before it comes upon the canvas. " When Menander," says a celebrated author, f " had ordered the scenes of his comedy, he held it to be, in a manner, already made ; though he had not begun the first verse of it." It is an undoubted truth, that they who are endued with this foresight, work with incredible pleasure and facility ; others, on the contrary, are perpetually changing, and re- changing their work, which, when it is ended, leaves them but anxiety for all their pains. It seems to me, that these sorts of pictures remind us of those old Gothic castles, made at several times ; and which hold together only as it were by rags and patches.

It may be inferred from that which I have said, that the invention and the disposition are two se- veral and distinct parts. In effect, though the last of them depends upon the first, and is commonly comprehended under it ; yet we are to take great care, that we do not confound them. The inven-

  • In (Economico. f Comm. Vet us,



tion simply finds out the subjects, and makes 3 choice of them suitable to the history which we treat ; and the disposition distributes those things which are thus found, each to its proper place, and accommodates the figures and the groupes in parti- cular, and the tout ensemble (or whole together) of the picture in general ; so that this economy pro- duces the same effect in relation to the eyes, as a concert of music to the ears,

There is one thing of great consequence to be observed in the economy of the whole work, which is, that at the first sight we may be given to un- derstand the quality of the subject; and that the picture, at the first glance of the eye, may inspire us with the principal passion of it : for example, if the subject which you have undertaken to treat be of joy, it is necessary that every thing which en- ters into your picture should contribute to that passion, so that the beholders shall immediately be moved with it. If the subject be mournful, let every thing in it have a stroke of sadness ; and so of the other passions and qualities of the subjects. + si. " Let there be a genuine and lively expression of the subject, conformable to the text of ancient au- thors," &c. Take care that the licences of painters be rather to adorn the history, than to corrupt it. And though Horace gives permission to painters and poets * to dare every thing, yet he encourages neither of them to make things out of nature or verisimility ; for he adds immediately after,

But let the bounds of licences be fixed ;

Not things of disagreeing natures mixed ?

Not sweet with sour, nor birds with serpents joined ;

Nor the fierce lion with the fearful hind.

The thoughts of a man endued with good sense,

Art of Poetry,


are not of kin to visionary madness ; men in fevers are only capable of such dreams Treat then the subjects of your pictures with all possible faithful- ness, and use your licences with a becoming bold- ness ; provided they be ingenious, and not immo- derate and extravagant

  • " Take care that whatsoever makes nothing to +83.

your subject," &c. Nothing deadens so much the composition of a picture, as figures which are not appertaining to the subject : we may call them pleasantly enough, Jigures to be let.

" This part of painting so rarely met with," &c. +89. That is to say, invention.

" Which was stolen by Prometheus," &c The + 89. poets feign, that Prometheus formed out of clay so fair a statue, that Minerva one day, having long admired it, said to the workman, that if he thought there was any thing in heaven which could add to its perfection, he might ask it of her ; but he be- ing ignorant of what might be most beautiful in the habitation of the gods, desired leave that he might be carried thither, and being there, to make his choice. The goddess bore him thither upon her shield, and so soon as he had perceived, that all celestial things were animated with fire, he stole a parcel of it, which he carried down to earth, and applying it to the stomach of his statue, enlivened the whole body.

" That it happens not to every one to see Co- + 9*. rinth," &c. This is an ancient proverb, which sig- nifies, that every man has not the genius, nor the disposition, that is necessary for the sciences ; nei- ther yet a capacity fit for the undertaking of things which are great and difficult. Corinth was here- tofore the centre of all arts, and the place whither they sent all those whom they would render capa-


ble of any thing. Cicero calls it the light of all Gnecia. *

1 95. " It arrived at length to that height of perfec- tion," &c. This was in the time of Alexander the Great, and lasted even to Augustus, under whose reign painting fell to great decay. But under the emperors, Domitian, Nerva, and Trajan, it appear- ed in its primitive lustre ; which lasted to the time of Phocas the emperor, when vices prevailing over the arts, and war being kindled through all Eu- rope, and especially in Lombardy, (occasioned by the irruption of the Huns,) painting was totally ex- tinguished. And if some few, in the succeeding ages, strained themselves to revive it, it was rather in finding out the most glaring, gaudy, and costly colours, than in imitating the harmonious simpli- city of those illustrious painters who preceded them. At length, in the fourteenth century, some there were, who began to set it again on foot. And it may truly be said, that about the end of the fif- teenth age, and the beginning of our sixteenth, it appeared in much splendour, by means of many knowing men in all parts of Italy, who were in per- fect possession of it. Since those happy times, which were so fruitful of the noble arts, we have also had some knowing painters, but very few in number, because of the little inclination which sove- reign princes have had for painting : but thanks to the zeal of our great monarch, and to the care of his first minister, Monsieur Colbert, we may shortly behold it more flourishing than ever.

f 103. " An attitude therefore must be chosen, accord- ing to their taste," c. This is the second part of painting, which is called design, or drawing. As

Pro lege Man.


the ancients have sought as much as possible what- soever contributes to the making of a perfect body; so they have diligently examined in what consists the beauty of good attitudes, as their works suffici- ently inform us.

" The parts of it must be great," &c. Yet not f l04 - so great as to exceed a just proportion. But he means, that in a noble attitude, the greatest parts of the body ought to appear foremost, rather than the less ; for which reason, in another passage, he vehemently forbids the foreshorten ings, because they make the parts appear little, though of themselves they are great

" And large," &c. To avoid the dry manner, f 104 - such as is most commonly the nature which Lucas van Ley den and Albert Durer have imitated.

  • ' Contrasted by contrary motions, the most no- 1 105.

ble parts foremost in sight, and each figure care- fully poised on its own centre," &c. The motions are never natural, when the members are not equal- ly balanced on their centre ; and these members cannot be balanced on their centre in an equality of weight, but they must contrast each other. A man who dances on the rope, makes a manifest demonstration of this truth. The body is a weight balanced on its feet, as upon two pivots. And though one of the feet most commonly bears the weight, yet we see that the whole weight rests centrally upon it. Insomuch, that if, for example, one arm is stretched out, it must of necessity be either, that the other arm, or the leg, be cast back- ward, or the body somewhat bowed on the oppo- site side, so as to make an equilibrium, and be in a situation which is unforced. It may be, though seldom, if it be not in old men, that the feet bear equally ; and for that time half the weight is equal- ly distributed on each foot. You ought to make


use of the same prudence, if one foot bears three parts in four of the burthen, and that the other- foot beai>> the remaining part. This, in general, is what may be said of the balance, and the libration of the body. In particular, there may many things be said which are very useful and curious, of which you may satisfy yourselves in Leonardo da Vinci. He has done wonderfully well on that subject; and one may truly say, that the ponderation is the best and soundest part of all his book of painting. It begins at the *8ist chapter, and concludes at the 2?od. I would also advise you to read Paulo Lo- mazzo, in his 6th book, chapter 4th, Del moto del corpo humano, that is, the motion of a human body. You will there find many things of great profit. For what concerns the contrast, I will only say, in general, that nothing gives so much grace and life to figures. See the 13th precept, and what I say upon it in the remarks.

ti07. " The parts must be drawn with flowing, glide- ing outlines," &c. The reason of this proceeds from the action of the muscles, which are so many well-buckets : when one of them acts and draws, it is necessary that the other must obey ; so that the muscles which act, drawing always towards their principal, and those which obey stretching in length, and on the side of their insertion ; it must needs follow, that the parts must be designed in waves ; but beware, lest in giving this form to the parts, you do not break the bones which sus- tain them, and which always must make them ap- pear firm.

This maxim is not altogether so general, but that actions may be found, where the masses of the muscles are situate one over against another ; but that is not very common. The outlines, which are in waves, give not only a grace to the parts,


but also to the whole body, when it is only sup- ported on one leg. As we see in the figures of Antinous, Meleager, the Venus of Medicis, that of the Vatican, the two others of Borghese, and that of Flora, of the goddess Vesta, the two Bacchus's of Borghese, and that of Ludovisio, and in line, of the greatest number of the ancient figures, which are standing, and which always rest more upon one foot than the other. Besides, that the figures and their parts ought almost always to have a serpen- tine and flaming form naturally; these sorts of out- lines have, I know not what of life and seeming motion in them, which very much resembles the activity of the flame, and of the serpent.

" According to the rules of anatomy, 5 ' &c. This f 112 ' part is nothing known at present amongst our mo- dern painters. I have shewn the profit, and even the necessity of it, in the preface of a little epitome which I have made, and which Monsieur Torrebat has published. I know, there are some, who think this science a kind of monster, and believe it to be of no advantage, either because they are mean spi- rited, or that they have not considered the want which they have of it ; nor reflected, as they ought, on its importance ; contenting themselves with a certain tract, to which they have been used. But certain it is, that whoever is capable of such a thought, will never be capable of becoming a great designer.

" In imitation of the Greek forms," &c. That -ma. is to say, according to the ancient statues, which for the most part come from Greece.

" Let there be a perfect relation betwixt the f m parts and the whole,," &c., or let them agree well together, which is the same thing. His meaning in this place is, to speak of the justness of propor- tions, and of the harmony which they make with


one another. Many famous authors have thorough- ly treated this matter Amongst others, Paulo Lo- mazzo, whose first book speaks of nothing else ; but there are so many sub-divisions, that a reader must have a good brain not to be turned with them. See those which our author has remarked in general, on the most beautiful statues of the an- cients. I believe them to be so much the better, as they are more conformable to those which Vi- truvius gives us in the first chapter of his third book ; and which he tells us, that he learned from the artists themselves ; because in the preface to his seventh book, he makes his boast to have had them from others, and particularly from architects and painters.

The Measures of a Human Body.'

The ancients have commonly allowed eight heads to their figures, though some of them have but seven. But we ordinarily divide the figures into ten faces ; * that is to say. from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot ; in the following man- ner:

From the crown of the head to the forehead, is the third part of a face.

The face begins at the root of the lowest hairs, which are upon the forehead, and ends at the bot- tom of the chin.

The face is divided into three proportionable parts ; the first contains the forehead, the second the nose, and the third the mouth and the chin.

  • This depends on the age and quality of the persons. The

Apollo and Venus of Medicis have more than ten faces.


From the chin to the pit betwixt the collar- bones, are two lengths of a nose.

from the pit betwixt the collar-bones to the bottom of the breast, one face.

  • From the bottom of the breasts to the navel,

one face

f From the navel to the genitories, one face.

From the genitories to the upper part of the knee, two faces

The knee contains half a face.

From the lower part of the knee to the ankle, two faces.

From the ankle to the sole of the foot, half a face.

A man, when his arms are stretched out, is, from the longest finger of his right hand, to the longest of his left, as broad as he is long.

From one side of the breasts to the other, two faces

The bone of the arm, called humerus, is the length of two faces from the shoulder to the elbow.

FYom the end of the elbow to the root of the little finger, the bone called cubitus, with part of the hand, contains two faces.

From the box of the shoulder-blade to the pit betwixt the collar-bones, one face.

If you would be satisfied in the measures of breadth from the extremity of one finger to the other, so that this breadth should be equal to the length of the body, you must observe, that the boxes of the elbows with the humerus, and of the

  • The Apollo has a nose more.

t The Apollo has half a nose more ; and the upper half of the Venus de Medicis is to the lower part of the belly, and not to the privy parts.


humerus with the shoulder-blade, bear the propor- tion of half a face, when the arms are stretched out.

The sole of the foot is the sixth part of the fi- gure.

The hand is the length of a face.

The thumb contains a nose.

The inside of the arm, from the place where the muscle disappears, which makes the breast, (called the pectoral muscle^) to the middle of the arm, four noses.

From the middle of the arm to the beginning of the hand, five noses.

The longest toe is a nose long.

The two utmost parts of the teats, and the pit betwixt the collar bones of a woman, make an equi- lateral triangle.

For the breadth of the limbs, no precise measures can be given ; because the measures themselves are changeable, according to the quality of the per- sons, and according to the movement of the mus- cles.

If you would know the proportions more parti- cularly, you may see them in Paulo Lomazzo ; it is good to read them, once at least, and to make remarks on them ; every man according to his own judgment, and according to the occasion which he has for them.

" Though perspective cannot be called a perfect rule," c. That is to say, purely of itself, without prudence and discretion. The greatest part of those who understand it, desiring to practise it too regularly, often make such things as shock the sight, though they are within the rules. If all those great painters, who have left us such fair platforms, had rigorously observed it in their fi- gures, they had not wholly found their account in


it. They had indeed made things more regularly true, but withal very unpleasing. There is great appearance, that the architects and statuaries of former times have not found it to their purpose al- ways ; nor have followed the geometrical part so exactly as perspective ordains. For he who would imitate the frontispiece of the Rotunda according to perspective, would he grossly deceived ; since the columns which are at the extremities have more diameter than those which are in the middle. The cornish of the Palazzo Farnese, which makes so beautiful an effect below, when viewed more near- ly, will be found not to have its just measures. In the pillar of Trajan, we see that the highest figures are greater than those below ; and make an effect quite contrary to perspective, increasing according to the measure of their distance. I know there is a rule which teaches a way of making them in that manner; and which, though it is to be found in some books of perspective, yet notwithstanding is no rule of perspective ; because it is never made use of, but only when we find it for our purpose : for if, for example, the figures which are at the top of Trajan's pillar were but as great as those Avhich are at the bottom, they would not be for all that against perspective : and thus we may say, with more reason, that it is a rule of decorum in per- spective, to ease the sight, and to render objects more agreeable. It is on this general observation, that we may establish in perspective, the rules of decorum, or convenience, whensoever occasion shall offer. We may also see another example in the base of the Farnesian Hercules ; which is not upon the level, but on an easy declivity on the advanced part, that the feet of the figure may not be hidden from the sight, to the end that it may appear more pleasing ; which the noble authors of these things


have done, not in contempt of geometry and per- spective, but for the satisfaction of the eyes, which was the end they proposed to themselves in all their works.

We must therefore understand perspective as a science which is absolutely necessary, and which a painter must not want ; yet without subjecting ourselves so wholly to it, as to become slaves of it. We are to follow it, when it leads us in a pleasing way, and shews us pleasing things ; but for some time to forsake it, if it leads us through mire, or to a precipice. Endeavour after that which is aiding to your art, and convenient, but avoid whatsoever is repugnant to it ; as the 59th rule teaches,

1 120. " Let every member be made for its own head,'* c. That is to say, you ought not to set the head of a young man on the body of an old one ; nor make a white hand for a withered body. Not to habit a Hercules in taffata, nor an Apollo in coarse stuff. Queens, and persons of the first quality, whom you would make appear majestical, are not to be too negligently dressed, or en dishabillee, no more than old men ; the nymphs are not to be overcharged with drapery. In fine, let all that which accompanies your figures, make them known for what effectively they are.

1 128 . " Let the figures to which art cannot give a voice, imitate the mutes in their actions," &c. Mutes having no other way of speaking, or ex- pressing their thoughts, but only by their gestures, and their actions, it is certain, that they do it in a manner more expressive, than those who have the use of speech : for which reason, the picture which is mute, ought to imitate them, so as to make itself understood.

[f 129. u ^ et ^ ie principal figure of the subject," &c. It ' is one of the greatest blemishes of a picture, not to


give knowledge, at the first sight, of the subject which it represents. And truly nothing is more perplexing, than to extinguish, as it were, the prin- cipal figure, by the opposition of some others, which present themselves to us at the first view, and which carry a greater lustre. An orator, who had undertaken to make a panegyric on Alexander the Great, and who had employed the strongest fi- gures of his rhetoric in the praise of Bucephalus, would do quite the contrary to that which was ex- pected from him ; because it would be believed, that he rather took the horse for his subject, than the master. A painter is like an orator in this, He must dispose his matter in such sort, that all things may give place to his principal subject. And if the other figures, which accompany it, and are only as accessories there, take up the chief place, and make themselves most remarkable, either by the beauty of their colours, or by the splendour of the light, which strikes upon them, they will catch the sight, they will stop it short, and not suffer it to go farther than themselves, till after some consi- derable space of time, to find out that which was not discerned at first. The principal figure in a picture, is like a king among his courtiers, whom we ought to know at the first glance, and who ought to dim the lustre of all his attendants. Those painters who proceed otherwise, do just like those, who, in the relation of a story, engage themselves so foolishly in long digressions, that they are forced to conclude quite another way than they began.

" Let the parts be brought together, and the fi- 1 132. gures disposed in groupes," &c. I cannot better compare a groupe of figures, than to a concert of voices, which, supporting themselves altogether by their different parts, make a harmony, which pleasingly fills the ears, and flatters them ; but if


you come to separate them, and that all the parts are equally heard as loud as one another, they will stun you to that degree, that you would fancy your ears were torn in pieces. It is the same of figures ; if you so assemble them, that some of them sustain the others, and make them appear, and that al- together they make but one entire whole, then your eyes will be fully satisfied ; but if, on the contrary, you divide them, your eyes will suffer by seeing them altogether dispersed, or each of them in particular. Altogether, because the visual rays are multiplied by the multiplicity of objects. Each of them in particular; because, if you fix your sight on one, those which are about it will strike you, and attract your eyes to them, which extremely pains them in this sort of separation and diversity of objects. The eye, for example, is satisfied with the sight of one single grape ; and is distracted, if it carries itself at one view to look upon many se- veral grapes, which lie scattered on a table. We must have the same regard for the members ; they aggroupe, and contrast each other in the same man- ner as the figures do. Few painters have observed this precept as they ought, which is a most solid foundation for the harmony of a picture. 37 * " The figures in the gronpes ought not to have the same inflections of the body, &c Take heed in this contrast, to do nothing that is extravagant; and let your postures be always natural. The dra- peries, and all things that accompany the figures, may enter into the contrast with the members, and with the figures themselves ; and this is what our poet means in these words of his verses, cetera jrangant.

1 145. "One side of the picture must not be void, while the other is filled," c. This sort of symmetry, when it appears not affected, fills the picture plea-


singly, keeps it in a kind of balance, and infi- nitely delights the eyes, which thereby contem- plate the work with more repose.

" As a play is seldom good, in which there are f too many actors," Sac. Annibal Caracci did not believe that a picture could be good, in which there were above twelve figures* It was Albano who told our author this, and from his mouth I had it. The reasons which he gave were, first, that he be- lieved there ought not to be above three great groupes of figures in any picture ; and secondly, that silence and majesty were of necessity to be there, to render it beautiful ; and neither the one nor the other could possibly be in a multitude and crowd of figures. But nevertheless, if you are constrained by the subject, (as for example, if you painted the day of judgment, the massacre of the innocents, a battle, &c.) on such occasions, you are to dispose things by great masses of lights and shadows, and union of colours, without troubling yourself to fi- nish every thing in particular, independently one of the other, as is usual with painters of a little genius, and whose souls are incapable of embracing a great design, or a great composition.

JEmilium circa ludum,faber imus et ungucs Exprimet) et molles imitabitur cere capillos ; Infelix operis summd : quia ponere tot urn Nesciet.

The meanest sculptor in the JLmilian square,

Can imitate in brass the nails and hair ;

Expert in trifles, and a cunning fool,

Able to express the parts, but not dispose the whole.

Says Horace in his " Art of Poetry."

" The extremities of the joints must be seldom t hidden, and the extremities or end of the feet ne- ver," &c. These extremities of the joints are as it


were the bafts, or handles of the members. For example, the shoulders, the elbows, the thighs, and the knees. And if a drapery should be found on these ends of the joints, it is the duty of science, and of decorum, to mark them by folds, but with great discretion ; for what concerns the feet, though they should be hidden by some part of the dra- pery, nevertheless, if they are marked by folds, and their shape be distinguished, they are supposed to be seen. The word never, is not here to be ta- ken in the strictest sense ; he means but this, so rarely, that it may seem we should avoid all occa- sions of dispensing with the rule.

-t i6i. " The figures which are b,ehind others, have nei- ther grace nor vigour," &c. Raphael and Julio Romano have perfectly observed this maxim ; and Raphael especially in his last works.

i 169. Avoid also those lines and outlines which are equal, which make parallels," &c. He means prin- cipally to speak of the postures so ordered, that they make together those geometrical figures which lie condemns.

f 176 " JBe not so strictly tied to nature," &c. This 'precept is against two sorts of painters ; first, against those who are so scrupulously tied to nature, that they can do nothing without her ; who copy her, just as they believe they see her, without adding, or retrenching any thing, though never so little, either for the nudities, or for the draperies. And secondly, against those who paint every thing by practice, without being able to subject themselves to retouch any thing, or to examine by the nature. These last, properly speaking, are the libertines of painting ; as there are libertines of religion, who have no other law but the vehemence of their in- clinations, which they are resolved not to over- come : and in the same manner the libertines of



painting have no other model but a rhodomontado genius, and very irregular, which violently hurries them away. Though these two sorts of painters are both of them in vicious extremes, yet neverthe- less the former sort seems to be the more support- able ; because though they do not imitate nature, as she is accompanied by all her beauties, and her graces ; yet at least they imitate that nature, which we know, and daily see. Instead of which, the others shew us a wild or savage nature, which is not of our acquaintance, and which seems to be of a quite new creation.

" Whom you must have always present, as a witness t ns. to the truth," &c. This passage seems to be won- derfully well said. The nearer a picture approaches to the truth, the better it is ; and though the pain- ter, who is its author, be the first judge of the beauties which are in it, he is nevertheless obliged not to pronounce^jt, till he has first consulted Na- ture, who is an irreproachable evidence, and who will frankly, but withal truly, tell you its defects and beauties, if you compare it with her work.

" And of all other things which discover to us + ig 3 . the thoughts and inventions of the Grecians," &c. As good books, such as are Homer and Pausanias. The prints which we see of the antiquities, may also extremely contribute to form our genius, and to give us great ideas ; in the same manner as the writings of good authors are capable of forming a good style, in those who are desirous of writing well.

" If you have but one single figure to work up- 1133. on," &c. The reason of this is, that there being nothing to attract the sight but this only figure, the visual rays will not be too much divided by the diversity of colours and draperies ; but only take heed to put in nothing, which shall appear too



sharp, or too hard ; and be mindful of the 41st pre- cept, which says, that two extremities are never to touch each other, either in colour, or in light ; but that there must be a mean, partaking of the one and of the other.

+ 195. " ^ e ^ the draperies be nobly spread upon? the body ; let the folds be large," &c. As Raphael practised, after he had forsaken the manner of Pietro Perugino, and principally in his latter works.

1 196, " And let them follow the order of the parts/' &c. As the fairest pieces of antiquity will shew us. And take heed, that the folds do not only fol- low the order of the parts, but that they also mark the most considerable muscles ; because that those figures, where the drapery and the naked part are seen both together, are much more graceful than the other.

-f 200* " Without sitting too straight upon them," &c. Painters ought not to imitate the ancients in this circumstance. The ancient statuaries made their draperies of wet linen, on purpose to make them sit close and straight to the parts of their figures ; for doing which they had great reason, and in follow- ing which the painters would be much in the wrong ; and you shall see upon what grounds. Those great geniuses of antiquity, rinding that it was impossible to imitate with marble the fineness of stuffs or gar- ments, which is not to be discerned but by the co- lours, the reflexes, and more especially by the lights and shadows ; finding it, I say, out of their power to dispose of those things, thought they could not do better, nor more prudentially, than to make use of such draperies, as hindered not from seeing, through their folds, the delicacy of the flesh, and the purity of the outlines ; things which, truly speaking, they possessed in the last perfection, and which in all appearance were the subject of their


chief study. But painters, on the contrary, who are to deceive the sight, quite otherwise than sta- tuaries, are bound to imitate the different sorts of garments, such as they naturally seem ; and such as colours, reflexes, lights, and shadows, (of all which they are masters,) can make them appear. Thus we see, that those who have made the nearest imita- tions of nature, have made use of such stuffs or garments which are familiar to our sight; and these they have imitated with so much art, that in be- holding them we are pleased that they deceive us : such were Titian, Paul Veronese, Tintoret, Rubens, Van Dyck, and the rest of the good colourists, who have come nearest to the truth of nature. Instead of which, others, who have scrupulously tied them- selves to the practice of the ancients, in their dra- peries, have made their works crude and dry ; and by this means have found out the lamentable secret, how to make their figures harder than even the marble itself; as Andrea Mantegna, and Pietro Perugino have done ; and Raphael also had much of that way in his first works, in which we behold many small foldings often repleated, which look like so many whipcords. It is true these repeti- tions are seen in the ancient statues, and they are very proper there : because they who made use of wet linen, and close draperies, to make their figures look more tender, reasonably foresaw, that the mem- bers would be too naked, if they left not more than two or three folds, such as those sorts of dra- peries afford them, and therefore have used those repetitions of many folds ; yet in such a manner, that the figures are always soft and tender, and thereby seem opposite to the hardness of marble. Add to this, that in sculpture, it is almost impossi- ble, that a figure, clothed with coarse draperies, can make a good effect on all the sides ; and that


in painting, the draperies, of what kind soever they be, are of great advantage, either to unite the co- lours and the groupes, or to give such a ground, as one would wish to unite, or to separate; or farther to produce such reflections as set off; or for filling void spaces ; or, in short, for many other advan- tages, which help to deceive the sight, and which are no ways necessary to sculptors, since their work is always of relievo.

Three things may be inferred from what I have said, concerning the rule of draperies. First, that the ancient sculptors had reason to clothe their fi- gures as we see them. Secondly, that painters ought to imitate them in the order of their folds, but not in their quality, nor in their number. Thirdly, that sculptors are obliged to follow them as much as they can, without desiring to imitate unprofitably, or improperly, the manner of the pain- ters, by making many ample folds, which are insuf- ferable hardnesses, and look more like a rock, than a natural garment. See the 211th remark, about the middle of it.

+ 202. " And if the parts be too much distant from each other," &c. It is with intent to hinder (as we have said in the rule of groupes) the visual rays from being too much divided ; and that the eyes may not suffer, by looking on so many objects, which are separated. Guido was very exact in this observa- tion. See in the text the end of the rule, which relates to draperies.

1 204. "And as those limbs and members which are ex- pressed by few and large muscles," &c. Raphael, in the beginning of his painting, has somewhat too much multiplied the folds; because, being with rea- son charmed with the graces of the ancients, he imi- tated their beauties somewhat too regularly ; but ha- ving afterwards found, that this quantity of folds gUt-


tered too much upon the limbs, and took off that re- pose and silence, which in painting are so friendly to the eyes, lie made use of a contrary conduct, in the works which he painted afterwards ; which was at that time when he began to understand the effect of lights, of groupes, and the oppositions of the lights and shadows ; so that he wholly changed his manner, (this was about eight years before his death,) and though he always gave a grace to whatsoever he painted, yet he made appear in his latter works, a greatness, a majesty, and a harmony, quite other than what we see in his first manner: and this he did by lessening the number of his folds, making them more large, and more opposing them, and by making the masses of the lights and shadows greater, and more disentangled. Take the pains to examine these his different manners in the prints which we see of that great man.

" As, supposing them to be magistrates, their + 210. draperies ought to be large," &c. Yet make not your draperies so large, that they may be big enough to clothe four or five figures, as some there are who follow that method. And take heed, that the foldings be natural, and so disposed, that the eye may be directed to discover the folds, from the beginning of them to the end. By magistrates he means all great and grave persons, and such as are advanced in age.

" If ladies or damsels, light and soft," &c. By * 2Il this name of ladies, maids, or damsels, he means all young persons, slender, finely shaped, airy, and delicate. Such as are Nymphs and Naiades, and Fountains. Angels are also comprehended under this head, whose drapery should be of pleasing colours, and resembling those which are seen in the heavens, and chiefly when they are suspended


in the air. They are only such sorts of light habits as are subject to be ruffled by the winds, which can bear many folds ; yet so, that they may be freed from any hardnesses. It is easy for every one to judge, that betwixt the draperies of magistrates, and those of young maids, there must be some mediocrity of folds, such as are most commonly seen and observed; as in the draperies of a Christ, of a Madonna, of a King, a Queen, or a Duchess, and of other persons of consideration and majesty; and those also who are of a middle age ; with this distinction, that the habits must be made more or less rich, according to the dignity of the persons ; and that cloth garments may be distinguished from those of silk, sattin from velvets, brocard from embroidery, and that, in one word, the eye may be deceived by the truth, and the difference of the stuffs. Take notice, if you please, that the light and tender draperies having been only given to the female sex, the ancient sculptors have avoided, as much as they could, to clothe the figures of men, because they thought (as we have formerly said) that in sculpture garments could not be well imita- ted, and that great folds made a very bad eifect. There are almost as many examples of this truth, as amongst the ancients there are statues of naked men. I will name only that of Laocoon, which, according to all probability, ought to have been clothed : And in effect, what likelihood can there be, that the son of a king, and the priest of Apollo, should appear naked in the actual ceremony of sa- crifice ? for the serpents passed from the Isle of Te- nedos to the i rojan shore, and surprised Laocoon, and his sons, while they were sacrificing to Nep- tune on the sea-shore, as Virgil witnesses in the se- cond of his jEneids. Notwithstanding which, the,


sculptors, * who were authors of this noble work, had well considered, that they could not give vest- ments suitable to the quality of the persons repre- sented, without making as it were a heap of stones, whose mass would rather be like a rock, than those three admirable figures, which will ever be the admiration of all ages. And for this reason, of two inconveniences, they judged that of draperies to be greater than that which was against the truth itself.

This observation well confirms what I have said in the 200th remark. It seems to me, that it de- serves you should make some reflection on it ; and to establish it the better in your mind, I will tell you, that Michael Angelo, following this maxim, has given the prophets which he painted in the chapel of the pope, such draperies, whose folds are large, and whose garments are coarse ; instead of which, the Moses, which he has made in sculpture, is habited with a drapery much more close to the parts, and holding more of the ancients. Never- theless, he is a prophet, as well as those in the chapel, a man of the same quality, and to whom Michael Angelo ought to have given the same draperies, if he had not been hindered by those very reasons, which have been given you.

" The marks or ensigns of virtues," &c. That t sis. is to say, of the sciences and arts. The Italians call a man a virtuoso, who loves the noble arts, and is a critic in them. And amongst our French painters, the word vertumx is understood in the same signi- fication.

" But let not the work be too much enriched + ?i7. with gold or jewels," &c. Clemens Alexandrinus

Poly dor us, Athenodorus, and Agesander, all Rhodians.


relates, * " That Apelles having seen a Helena, which a young scholar of his had made, and adorn- ed with a great quantity of golden ornaments and iewels, said to him, My good friend, though thou couldst not make her beautiful, at least thou hast made her rich/' Besides, that these glittering things in painting, as precious stones prodigally strewed over the habits, are destructive to each other, be- cause they draw the sight to several places at the same time, and hinder round bodies from turning, and making their due effect ; it is the very quanti- ty which often makes us judge that they are false. And besides, it is to be presumed, that precious things are always rare. Corinna, that learned The- ban lady, reproached Pindar, whom she had five times overcome in poetry, that he scattered through all his works the flowers of Parnassus too prodigal- ly ; saying to him, " That men sowed with the hand, and not with the sack;"f for which reason, a painter ought to adorn his vestments with great discretion. And precious stones look exceedingly well, when they are set in those places which we would make to come out of the picture ; as for ex- ample, on a shoulder, or an arm, to tie some dra- pery, which of itself is of no strong colouring. They do also perfectly well with white, and other light colours, which are used in bringing the parts or bodies forward ; because jewels make a show, and glitter through the opposition of the great lights in the deep brown, which meet together. 220. " It is very expedient to make a model of those things which we have not in our sight, and whose nature is difficult to be retained in the memory," &c. As, for example, the groupes of many figures,

Lib. ii. Paedag. cap. 12* t Plutarcl*


the postures difficult to be long kept, the figures in the air, in cielings, or much raised above the sight; and even of animals, which are not easily to be dis- posed.

By this rule we plainly see, how necessary it is for a painter to know how to model, and to have many models of soft wax. Paul Veronese had so good store of them, with so great a quantity of dif- ferent sorts, that he would paint a whole historical composition on a perspective plan, how great and how diversified soever it were. Tintoret practised the same ; and Michael Angelo (as Giovan. Bapt Armenini relates) made use of it, for all the figures of his Day of Judgment. It is not that I would ad- vise any one, who would make any very consider- able work, to finish after these sorts of models ; but they will be of vast use and advantage to see the masses of great lights, and great shadows, and the effect of the -whole together. For what remains, you are to have a layman* almost as big as the life, for every figure in particular, besides the natural fi- gure before you, on which you must also look, and call it for a witness, which must first confirm the thing to you, and afterwards to the spectators as it is in reality.

You may make use of these models with delight, if you set them on a perspective plan, which will be in the manner of a table made on purpose. You may either raise, or let it down, according to your convenience ; and if you look on your figures, through a hole, so contrived, that it may be mo- ved up and down, it will serve you for a point of sight, and a point of distance, when you have once fixed it.

A figure made of >vood, or cork, turning upon joints.


The same hole will farther serve you, to set your figures in the cieling, and disposed upon a grate of iron-wire, or supported in the air, by little strings raised at discretion, or by both ways together.

You may join to your figures what you see fit- ting, provided, that the whole be proportioned to them ; and, in short, what you yourself may judge to be of no greater bigness than theirs. Thus, in whatsoever you do, there will be more of truth seen, your work itself will give you infinite delight, and you will avoid many doubts and difficulties, which often hinder you ; and chiefly for what re- lates to lineal perspective, which you will there in- fallibly find, provided that you remember to pro- portion all things to the greatness of your figures, and especially the points of sight and of distance ; but for what belongs to aerial perspective, that not being found, the judgment must supply it. Tin- toret (as Ridolphi tells us in his Life) had made chambers of board and pasteboard, proportioned to his models, with doors and windows, through which he distributed on his figures artificial lights, as much as he thought reasonable, and often passed some part of the night, to consider and observe the effect of his compositions. His models were two feet high.

t22i. " We are to consider the places where we lay the scene of the picture," &c. This is what Mon- sieur de Chambray calls, to do things according to decorum. See what he says of it, in the interpre- tation of that word, in his book of the Perfection of Painting. It is not sufficient, that in the pic- ture there be nothing found which is contrary to the place, where the action which is represented, passes ; but we ought, besides, to mark out the place, and make it known to the spectator by some particular address, that his mind may not be put to


the pains of discovering it ; as whether it be Italy, or Spain, or Greece, or France ; whether it he near the sea- shore, or the banks of some river; whether it be the Rhine, or the Loire ; the Po, or the Ty- ber ; and so of other things, if they are essential to the history. " Nealces, a man of wit, and an in- genious painter/' as Pliny tells us, * " being to paint a naval fight betwixt the Egyptians and the Per- sians, and being willing to make it known that the battle was given upon the Nile, whose waters are of the same colour with the sea, drew an ass drinking on the banks of the river, and a crocodile endeavouring to surprise him."'

" Let a nobleness and grace," c. It is difficult 1 222. enough to say what this grace of painting is ; it is to be conceived and understood much more easily than to be explained by words. It proceeds from the illuminations of an excellent mind, (not to be acquired,) by which we give a certain turn to things, which makes them pleasing. A figure may be designed with all its proportions, and have all its parts regular; which, notwithstanding all this, shall not be pleasing, if all those parts are not put toge- ther in a certain manner, which attracts the eye to them, and holds it fixed upon them ; for which rea- son, there is a difference to be made betwixt grace and beauty. And it seems that Ovid had a mind to distinguish them, when he said, speaking of Venus,

Multaque cumformd gratia mixtafuit.

A matchless grace was with her beauty mixed.

And Suetonius, speaking of Nero, says, he was

  • Lib. xxv. 12.


rather beautiful than graceful : Vultu pulchro, ma- gis quam venusfo. How many fair women do we see, who please us much less than others, who have not such beautiful features ? It is by this grace, that Raphael has made himself the most renowned of all the Italians, as Apelles by the same means carried it above all the Greeks.

233. " This is that in which the greatest difficulty consists," &c. For two reasons ; first, because great study is to be made, as well upon the ancient beau- ties, and noble pictures, as upon nature itself; and secondly, because that part depends entirely on the genius, and seems to be purely the gift of heaven, which we have received at our birth : upon which account our author adds, " Undoubtedly we see but few, whom in this particular Jupiter has re- garded with a gracious eye; so that it belongs only to those elevated souls, who partake somewhat of divinity, to work such mighty wonders." Though they, who have not altogether received from hea- ven this precious gift, cannot acquire it without great labour ; nevertheless, it is needful, in my opi- nion, that both the one and the other should per- fectly learn the character of every passion.

All the actions of the sensitive appetite are in painting called passions, because the soul is agita- ted by them, and because the body suffers through them, and is sensibly altered. They are those di- vers agitations and different motions of the body in general, and of every one of its parts in particu- lar, that our excellent painter ought to understand ; on which he ought to make his study, and to form to himself a perfect idea of them. But it will be proper for us to know, in the first place, that the philosophers admit eleven, love, hatred, desire, shun- ning, joy, sadness, hope, despair, boldness, fear, and anger. The painters have multiplied them not only


by their different degrees, but also by their diffe- rent species ; for they will make, for example, six persons in the same degree of fear, who shall ex- press that passion all of them differently. And it is that diversity of species which distinguishes those painters who are able artists, from those whom we may call mannerists, and who repeat five or six times over in the same picture the same airs of a head. There are a vast number of other passions, which are as the branches of those which we have named ; we might, for example, under the notion of love, comprehend grace, gentleness, civility, ca- resses, embraces, kisses, tranquillity, sweetness, c. ; and without examining whether all these things which painters comprize under the name of pas- sions, can be reduced to those of the philosophers, I am of opinion, that every one may use them at his pleasure, and that he may study them after his own manner ; the name makes nothing. One may even make passions of majesty, fierceness, dissatis- faction, care, avarice, slothfulness, envy, and many other things like these. These passions (as I have said) ought to be learnt from the life itself, or to be studied on the ancient statues, and excellent pic- tures ; we ought to see, for example, all things which belong to sadness, or serve to express it ; to design them carefully, and to imprint them in our memories, after such a manner, as we may distinct- ly understand seven or eight kinds of them more or less, and immediately after, draw them upon pa per, without any other original than the image which we have conceived of them. We must be perfect masters of them, but above all, we must make sure of possessing them throughly. We are to know, that it is such or such a stroke, or such a shadow, stronger or weaker, which makes such or such a passion, in this or that degree. And thus if


any one should ask you, what makes, in painting, the majesty of a king, the gravity of a hero, thr love of a Christ, the grief of a Madonna, the hope of the good thief, the despair of the bad one, the grace and beauty of a Venus, and, in fine, the character of any passion whatsoever; you may answer posi- tively, on the spot, and with assurance, that it is such a posture, or such lines in the parts of the face, formed of such or such a passion, or even the one and the other both together ; for the parts of the body, separately, make known the passions of the soul, or else conjointly one with the other. But of all the parts, the head is that which gives the most of life, and the most of grace to the passion, and which alone contributes more to it than all the rest together. The others separately can only ex- press some certain passions, but the head expresses all of them. Nevertheless, there are some which are more particular to it ; as, for example, humili- ty, which it expresses by the stooping or bending of the head ; arrogance, when it is lifted, or, as we say, tossed up ; languishment, when we hang it on one side, or lean it upon one shoulder : ob- stinacy, (or, as the French call it, opiniatrtt^ with a certain stubborn, unruly, barbarous humour, when it is held upright, stiffi and poised betwixt the shoulders. And of the rest, there are many marks, more easily conceived than they 'can be expressed; as bashfulness, admiration, indignation, and doubt, It is by the head that we make known more visi- bly our supplications, our threatenings, our mild- ness, our haughtiness, our love, our hatred, our joy, our sadness, our humility ; in fine, it is enough to see the face, and to understand the mind at half a word. Blushing and paleness speak to us, as also the mixture of them both.

T^he parts of the face do all of them contribute


to expose the thoughts of our hearts ; but above the rest, the eyes, which are as it were the two windows, through which the soul looks out and shows itself. The passions which they more par- ticularly express, are pleasure, languishment, dis- dain, severity, sweetness, admiration, and anger. Joy and sadness may bear their parts, if they did not more especially proceed from the eye-brows and the mouth. And the two parts last named agree more particularly in the expression of those two passions ; nevertheless, if you join the eyes as a third, you will have the product of a wonderful harmony for all the passions of the soul.

The nose has no passion which is particular to it ; it only lends its assistance to the other before- named, by the stretching of the nostrils, which is as much marked in joy, as it is in sadness. And yet it seems, that scorn makes us wrinkle up the nose, and stretch the nostrils also, at the same time drawing up the upper lip to the place which is near the corners of the mouth. The ancients made the nose the seat of derision ; eum subdolce irrisioni di- caverunt, says Pliny; that is, they dedicated the nose to a cunning sort of mockery. We read in the 3d satire of Persius,

Disce, sed ira cadat naso t rugosaque sanna.

Learn, but let your anger fall from your nose, and the sneering wrinkles be dismounted. And Philo- stratus in the picture of Pan, whom the Nymphs had bound, and scornfully insulted over, says of that god, *' That, before this, he was accustomed to sleep with a peaceable nose, softening in his slum- bers the wrinkles of it, and the anger which com- monly mounted to that part ; but now his nostrils were widened to the last degree of fury." For my


own part, I should rather believe, that the nose was the seat of wrath in beasts than in mankind ; and that it was unbecoming of any god but only Pan, who had very much of the beast in him, to wrinkle up his nose in anger, like other animals. The moving of the lips ought to be but moderate, if it be in conversation, because we speak much more by the tongue than by the lips : and if you make the mouth very open, it is only when you are to express the violence of passion, and more properly of anger.

For what concerns the hands, they are the ser- vants of the head, they are his weapons and his auxiliaries ; without them the action is weak, lan- guishing, and half dead. Their motions, which are almost infinite, make innumerable expressions. Is it not by them, that we desire, that we hope, that we promise, that we call towards us, and that we reject? Besides, they are the instruments of our threats, of our petitions, of the horror which we show for things, and of the praises which we give them. By them we fear, w r e ask questions, we ap- prove, and we refuse, we show our joy and our sadness, our doubts and our lamentations, our con- cernments of pity, and our admirations. In short, it may be said, that they are the language of the dumb, that they contribute not a little to the speaking of the universal tongue common to all the world, which is that of painting.

Now, to tell you how these parts are to be dis- posed, so as to express the different passions, is im- possible ; no precise rules can be given of it, both because the task itself is infinite, and also because every one is left to the conduct of his own genius, and to the fruit of his former studies ; only remem- ber to be careful, that all the actions of your fi- gures must be natural. " It seems to me," says


Quinctilian, speaking of the passions, " that this part, which is so noble, and so great, is not altoge- ther inaccessible, and that an easy way may be found to it ; it is to consider nature, and to copy her; for the spectators are satisfied, when in arti* ficial things they can discern that nature, which they are accustomed to behold." This passage of Quinc- tilian is perfectly explained by the words of an ex- cellent master, which our author proposes to us for a rule. They are these which follow : " That the studied motions of the soul are never so natural, as those which we see in the transport of a true pas- sion." These motions will better be expressed, and be much more natural, if we enter into the same thoughts, become of the same piece, and imagine ourselves to be in the same circumstances with those whom we would represent. " For nature," says Horace, in his Art of Poetry, " disposes the in- side of mankind to all sorts of fortunes ; sometimes she makes us contented, sometimes she drives us into choler, and sometimes she so oppresses us with grief, that she seems to tread us down, and plunge us into mortal anxieties ; and on all these occa- sions, she drives outwards the motions of the heart by the tongue, which is her interpreter." Now, instead of the tongue, let the painter say by the ac- tions, which are her interpreters. " What means have we," says Quinctilian, " to give a colour to a thing, if we have not the same colour ? It is neces- sary that we ourselves should first be touched with a passion before we endeavour to move others with it. And how," continues he, " can we be touched, since the passions are not in our power ? This is the way, in my opinion ; we must form to ourselves the visions and images of absent things, as if they were in reality before our eyes ; and he who conceives

VOL. xvii. 2 F


these images with the greatest strength of imagi- nation, shall possess that part of the passions with the most advantage, and the greatest ease." But we must take care, (as I have already said,) that in these visions the motions may be natural ; for there are some who imagine they have given abundance of light to their figures, when they have made them do violent and extravagant actions ; which we may more reasonably call the convulsions, or contortions of the body, than the passions of the mind ; and by this means they often put themselves to much pains, to find a strong passion, where no passion is required. Add to all that I have said concerning the passions, that we are to have a very serious re- gard to the quality of the persons who are to be expressed in passions. The joy of a king ought not to resemble that of a serving-man; and the fierceness of a private soldier must, not be like that of an officer. In these differences consists all the fineness and delicacy of the passions. Paulo Lo- mazzo has written at large on every passion in par- ticular, in his second book ; but beware you dwell not too long upon it, and endeavour not to force your genius.

f 241. " Some relicts of it took sanctuary under ground," &c. All the ancient painting that was in Italy perished in the invasion of the Huns and Goths, excepting those works which were hidden under ground, or there painted ; which, by reason they had not been much exposed to view, were preser- ved from the insolence of those barbarians.

f256. " The cromatic part, or colouring," &a The third and last part of painting, is called the croma- tic, or colouring. Its object is colour ; for which reason, lights and shadows are therein also com- prehended, which are nothing else but white and brown, (or dark,) and by consequence have their



place among the colours. Philostratus says, in his life of Apollonius, " That that may be truly cal- ,, led painting, which is made only with two co- lours, provided the lights and shadows be observed in it ; for there we behold the true resemblance of things with their beauties ; we also see the pas- sions, though without other colours ; so much of life may be also expressed in it, that we may per- ceive even the very blood ; the colour of the hair, and of the beard, are likewise to be discerned; and we can distinguish, without confusion, the fair from the black, and the young from the old, the differences betwixt the white and the flaxen hair; we distinguish with ease betwixt the Moors and the Indians, not only by the Camus noses of the blacks, their woolly hair, and their high jaws, but also by that black Colour which is natural to them." We may add to what Philostratus has said, that with two colours only, (the light and the dark,) there is no sort of stuff, or habit, but may be imi- tated. We say then, that the colouring makes its observations on the masses or bodies of the colours, accompanied with lights and shadows, more or less evident by .degrees of diminution, according to the accidents. First, of a luminous body; as, for ex- ample, the sun, or a torch. Secondly, of a diapha- nous or transparent body, which is betwixt us and the object, as the air, either pure or thick, or a red glass, &.c. Thirdly, of a selid body illuminated, as a statue of white marble, a green tree, a black horse, .&c. Fourthly, from his part, who regards the body illuminated, as beholding it either near, or at a distance, directly in a right angle, or aside in an obtuse angle, from the top to the bottom, or from the bottom to the top. This part, in the knowledge which it has of the virtue of colours, and the friendship which they have with each


other, and also their antipathies, comprehends the strength, the relievo, the briskness, and the delica- cy which are observed in good pictures. The ma- nagement of colours, and the labour, depend also on this last part.

t26*. " Her sister," &c. That is to say, the design or drawing, which is the second part of painting; which, consisting only of lines, stands altogether in need of the colouring to appear. It is for this rea- son, that our author calls this part her sister's pro- curer, that is, the colouring shows us the design, and makes us fall in love with it.

f 26?. The light produces all kinds of colours," &c. Here are three theorems successively following, which our author proposes to us, that from thence we may draw some conclusions. You may like- wise find others, which are in the nature of so many propositions, to which we ought to agree, that from thence we may draw the precepts con- tained in the following part of this treatise : they are all founded on the sense of seeing.

1 280. Which should be the most," &c. See the re- mark of number \5 C 2.

  • 283. u That light bodies may have a sufficient mass,

or breadth of shadow, to sustain them/' &c. That is properly to say, that after the great lights, there must be great shadows, which we call reposes ; be- cause, in reality, the sight would be tired, if it were attracted by a continuity of glittering objects. The lights may serve for a repose to the darks, and the darks to the lights. I have said in another place, that a groupe of figures ought to be considered as a choir of music, in which the basses support the trebles, and make them to be heard with greater pleasure. These reposes are made two several ways, one of which is natural, the other artificial. The natural is made by an extent of lights or of sha-


dows, which naturally and necessarily follow solid bodies ; or the masses of solid bodies aggrouped, when the light strikes upon them. And the artifi- cial consists in the bodies of colours, which the painter gives to certain things, such as pleases him ; and composes them in such a manner, that they do no injury to the objects which are near them. A drapery, for example, which is made yellow, or red, on some certain place, in another place may be brown and will be more suitahle to it, to produce the effect required. We are to take occasion, as much as possibly we can, to make use of the first manner, and to find the repose of which we speak, by the light and by the shadow, which naturally accompany solid bodies. But since the subjects on which we work are not always favourable to dis^ pose the bodies as we desire, a painter in such a case may take his advantage by the bodies of co- lours, and put into such places as ought to be dark- ened, draperies, or other things, which we may sup- pose to be naturally brown and sullied, which will produce the same effect, and give him the same re- poses as the shadows would do, which could not be caused by the disposition of the objects.

Thus an understanding painter will make his ad- vantages both of the one manner and the other. And if he makes a design to be graved, he is to re- member, that the gravers dispose not their colours as the painters do ; and that by consequence he must take occasion to find the reason of his design, in the natural shadows of the figures, which he has disposed to cause the effect. Rubens has given us a full information of this in those prints of his, which he caused to be engraved ; and 1 believe that nothing was ever seen more beautiful in that kind ; the whole knowledge of groupes, of the lights and shadows, and of those masses, which Titian calls a


bunch of grapes, is there exposed so clearly to the sight, that the view of those prints, and the careful observation of them, might very much contribute to the forming of an able painter. The best and fairest of them are graven by Vosterman, Pontius, and Bolsvert, all of them admirable gravers, whose works Rubens himself took care to oversee ; and which, without doubt, you will find to be excellent, if you examine them. But expect not there the elegance of design, nor the correctness of the out- lines.

It is not but the gravers can, and ought to imi- tate the bodies of the colours by the degrees of the lights and shadows, as much as they shall judge that this imitation may produce a good effect. On the contrary, it is impossible, in my .opinion, to give much strength to what they grave, after the works of the school of Venice, and of all those who have had the knowledge of colours, and of the con- trast of the lights and shadows, without imitating in some sort the colour of the objects, according to the relation which they have to the degrees of white and black. We see certain prints of good gravers different in their kinds, where these things are observed, and which have a wonderful strength. And there appears in public, of late years, a gallery of archduke Leopold, which, though very ill graven, yet shows some part of the beauty of its originals, because the gravers who have executed it, though otherwise they were sufficiently ignorant, have ob- served, in almost the greatest parts of their prints, the bodies of colours, in the relation which they have to the degrees of the lights and shadows. I could wish the gravers would make some reflection upon this whole remark : it is of wonderful conse- quence to them ; for when they have attained to the knowledge of these reposes, they will easily re-


solve those difficulties which many times perplex them ; and then chiefly, when they are to engrave after a picture, where neither the lights and sha- dows, nor the bodies of the colours, are skilfully ob- served, though in its other parts the picture may be well performed.

" As in a convex mirror the collected rays strike 1 236. stronger," &c. A convex mirror alters the ohjects which are in the middle, so that it seems to make them come out from the superfices. The painter must do in the same manner, in respect of the lights and shadows of his figures, to give them more re- lievo, and more strength.

" While the goings off are more and more broken t 290. and faint, as they approach to the extremities/' &c. It is the duty of a painter, even in this also, to imi- tate the convex mirror, and to place nothing which glares either in colour or in light, at the borders of his picture : for which there are two reasons ; the first is, that the eye at the first view directs itself to the midst of the object, which is presented to it, and by consequence must there necessarily find the principal object, in order to its satisfaction ; and the other reason is, that the sides or borders being overcharged with a strong and glittering work, at- tract the eyes thither, which are in a kind of pain, not to behold a continuity of that work, which is on the sudden interrupted by the borders of the picture ; instead of which, the borders being light- ened, and eased of so much work, the eye continues fixed on the centre of the picture, and beholds it with greater pleasure. It is for the same reason, that, in a great composition of figures, those which, coming most forward, are cut off by the bottom of the picture, will always make an ill effect.

" A bunch of grapes," &c. It is sufficiently ma- * nifest, that Titian, by this judicious and familiar


comparison, means, that a painter ought to collect the objects, and to dispose them in such a manner, as to compose one whole ; the several contiguous parts of which may be enlightened, many shadow- ed, and others of broken colours to be in the turn- ings ; as on a bunch of grapes, many grapes, which are the parts of it, are in the light, many in the shadow, and the rest faintly coloured to make them go farther back. Titian once told Tintoret, that in his greatest works, a bunch of grapes had been his principal rule, and his surest guide. i 330. " Pure, or unmixed white, either draws an ob- ject nearer, or carries it off to farther distance. It draws it nearer with black, and throws it backward without it," &c. All agree, that white can subsist on the fore-ground of the picture, and there be used without mixture ; the question therefore is to know, if it can equally subsist, and be placed in the same manner, upon that which is backward, the light be- ing universal, and the figures supposed in a cham- paigne and open field.

Our author concludes affirmatively ; and the rea- son on which he establishes his rule is this ; that there being nothing which partakes more of the light than whiteness, and the light being capable of subsisting well in remoteness, or at a long dis- tance, as we daily see in the rising and setting of the sun, it follows, that white may subsist in the same manner. In painting, the light and a white colour are but one and the same thing. Add to this, that we have no colour which more resembles the air than white, and by consequence no colour which is lighter from whence it comes, that we commonly say, the air is heavy, when we see the heavens covered with black clouds, or when a thick fog takes from us that clearness, which makes the lightness or serenity of the air. Titian, Tintoret,



Paul Veronese, and all those who best understood lights, have observed it in this manner, and no man can go against this precept, at least without re- nouncing any skill in landscape, which is an un- doubted confirmation of this truth. And we see, that all the great masters of landscape have fol- lowed Titian in this, who has always employed brown and earthy colours upon the fore-part, and has reserved his greatest lights for remotenesses, and the back parts of his landscapes.

It may be objected against this opinion, that white cannot maintain itself in remotenesses, be- cause it is ordinarily used to bring the objects near- er on the advanced part. It is true that so it is used, and that to very good purpose, to render the objects more sensible, by the opposition of the dark, which must accompany it, and which retains it, as it were, by force, whether the dark serves it for a ground, or whether it be combined to it. For ex- ample, if you would make a white horse on the fore-ground of your picture, it is of absolute neces- sity, that the ground must be of a mixed brown, and large enough, or that the furniture must be of very sensible colours ; or lastly, that some figure must be set upon it, whose shadows and the colour may bring it forward.

But it seems, say you, that blue is the most flying or transient colour, because the heavens and moun- tains, which are at the greatest distance, are of that colour. It is very true that blue is one of the light- est and sweetest colours ; but it is also true, that it possesses these qualities so much the more, because the white is mingled in it, as the example of the distances demonstrate to us. But if the light of your picture be not universal, and that you suppose your figures in a chamber, then recal to your memory that theorem which tells you, that the


nearer a body is to the light, and the more directly it is opposed to us, so much the more it is enlight- ened, because the light grows languishing the far- ther it removes from its original.

You may also extinguish your white, if you sup- pose the air to be somewhat thicker, and if you foresee that this supposition will make a good ef- fect in the economy of the whole work ; but let not this proceed so far, as to make your figures so brown, that they may seem as it were in a filthy fog, or that they may appear to be part of the ground. See the following remark.

" But as for pure black, there is nothing that 332. brings the object nearer to the sight," &c. Because black is the heaviest of all colours, the most earthy, and the most sensible. This is clearly understood by the qualities of white, which is opposed to it, and which is, as we have said, the lightest of all co- lours. There are few who are not of this opinion ; and yet I have known some, who have told me, that the black being on the advanced part, makes nothing but holes. To this there is little else to be answered, but that black always makes a good ef- fect, being set forward, provided it be placed there with prudence. You are therefore so to dispose the bodies of your pictures which you intend to be on the fore-ground, that those sorts of holes may not be perceived, and that the blacks may be there by masses, and insensibly confused. See the 47th rule.

That which gives the relievo to a bowl, (may some say to me,) is the quick light, or the white, which appears to be on the side which is nearest to us, and the black, by consequence, distances the ob- ject. We are here to beware, not to confound the turnings with the distances : the question is only in respect of bodies, which are separated by some


distance of a backward position ; and not of round bodies, which are of the same continuity : the brown, which is mingled in the turnings of the bowl, makes them go off rather in confounding them (as we may say) than hi blackening them. And do you not see, that the reflects are an artifice of the painter, to make the turnings seem more- light, and that by this means the greatest blackness remains towards the middle of the bowl, to sustain the white, and make it deceive us with more plea- sure?

This rule of white and black is of so great con- sequence, that unless it be exactly practised, it is impossible for a picture to make any great effect, that the masses can be disentangled, and the differ- ent distances may be observed at the first glance of the eye, without trouble.

It may be inferred from this precept, that the masses of other colours will be so much the more sensible, and approach so much the nearer to the sight, the more brown they bear ; provided this be amongst other colours which are of the same species. For example, a yellow brown shall draw nearer to the sight than another which is less yellow. I said, provided it be amongst other colours, which are of the same species; because there are simple colours, which naturally are strong and sensible, though they are clear, as vermilion ; there are others also, which, Notwithstanding that they are brown, yet cease not to be soft and faint, as the blue of ultra- marine. The effect of a picture comes not only therefore from the lights and shadows, but also from the nature of the colours. I thought it was not from the purpose in this place to give you the qualities of those colours which are most in use, and which are called capital, because they serve to


make the composition of all the rest, whose num- ber is almost infinite.

Red ochre is one of the most heavy colours.

Yellow ochre is not so heavy, Because it is clear- er

And the masticot is very light, because it is a very clear yellow, and very near to white.

Ultramarine, or azure, is very light, and a very sweet colour.

Vermilion is wholly opposite to ultramarine.

Lake is a middle colour betwixt ultramarine and vermilion, yet it is rather more sweet than harsh.

Brown-red is one of the most earthy and most sensible colours.

Pink is in its nature an indifferent colour, that is very susceptible of the other colours by the mixture: if you mix brown red with it, you will make it a very earthy colour ; but, on the contrary, if you join it with white or blue, you shall have one of the most faint and tender colours.

Terra verte (or green earth) is light; it is a mean betwixt yellow ochre and ultramarine.

Umbre is very sensible f and earthy ; there is no- thing but pure black which can dispute with it.

Of all blacks, that is the most earthy, which is most remote from blue. According to the princi- ple which we have established of white and black, you will make every one of these colours before- named more earthy and more heavy, the more black you mingle with them ; and they will be lighter, the more white you join with them. -

For what concerns broken or compound colours, we are to make a judgment of their strength by the force of those colours which compose them. All who have thoroughly understood the agreement of colours, have not employed them wholly pure and simple in their draperies, unless in some figure


upon the fore-ground of the picture ; but they have used broken and compound colours, of which they made a harmony for the eyes, by mixing those which have some kind of sympathy with each other, to make a whole, which has an union with the colours which are neighbouring to it. The painter who perfectly understands the force and power of his colours, will use them most suitably to his present purpose, and according to his own discretion.

" But let this be done relatively," &c. One body t ass. must make another body fly off in such a manner, that itself may be chased by those bodies which are advanced before it. " We are to take care, and use great attention," says Quinctilian, " not only of one separate thing, but of many which follow each other, and by a certain relation which they have with each other, are as it were continued. In the same manner, as if in a straight street, we cast our eyes from one end of it to the other, we discover at once those different things which are presented to the sight, so that we not only see the last, but whatsoever is relating to the last.

" Let two contrary extremities never touch each f sci. other," &c. The sense of seeing has this in com- mon with ail the rest of the senses, that it abhors the contrary extremities. And in the same man- ner as our hands, when they are very cold, feel a grievous pain when on the sudden we hold them near the fire ; so the eyes, which find an extreme white next to an extreme black, or a fair cool azure next to a hot vermilion, cannot behold these extremities without pain, though they are always attracted by the glaring of two contraries.

This rule obliges us to know those colours which have a friendship with each other, and those which are incompatible ; which we may easily discover in


mixing together those colours of which we would make trial.

And if by this mixture they make a gracious and sweet colour, which is pleasing to the sight, it is a sign that there is an union and a sympathy be- twixt them ; but if, on the contrary, that colour which is produced by the mixture of the two be harsh to the sight, we are to conclude, that there is a contrariety and antipathy betwixt these two colours. Green, for example, is a pleasing colour, which may come from a blue and a yellow mixed together; and, by consequence, blue and yellow are two colours which sympathise: and, on the con- trary, the mixture of blue with vermilion, produ- ces a sharp, harsh, and unpleasant colour; conclude then, that blue and vermilion are of a contrary na- ture. And the same may be said of other colours, of which you may make the experiment, and clear that matter once for all. (See the conclusion of the 332d remark, where I have taken occasion to speak of the force and quality of every capital co- lour.) Yet you may neglect this precept, when your piece consists but of one or two figures, and when amongst a great number you would make some one figure more remarkable than the rest; one, I say, which is one of the most considerable of the subject, and which otherwise you cannot dis- tinguish from the rest. Titian, in his Triumph of Bacchus, having placed Ariadne on one of the bor- ders of the picture, and not being able (for that reason) to make her remarkable by the brightness of light, which he was to keep in the middle of his picture, gave her a scarf of a vermilion colour, up- on a blue drapery, as well to loosen her from his ground, which was a blue sea, as because she is one of the principal figures of his subject, upon which he desired to attract the eye. Paul Vero-


tiese, in his Marriage of Cana, because Christ, who is the principal figure of the subject, is carried somewhat into the depth of the picture, and that he could not make him distinguishable by the strength of the lights and shadows, has clothed him with vermilion and blue, thereby to conduct the sight to that figure.

The hostile colours may be so much the more al- lied to each other, the more you mix them with other colours which mutually sympathise, and which agree with those colours which you desire to reconcile.

" It is labour in vain to paint a high-noon," &c. f 65. He said in another place, " endeavour after that which aids your art, and is suitable to it, and shun what- soever is repugnant:" it is the 59th precept. If the painter would arrive to the end he has propo- sed, which is to deceive the sight, he must make choice of such a nature as agrees with the weak- ness of his colours ; because his colours cannot ac- commodate themselves to every sort of nature. This rule is particularly to be observed, and well considered by those who paint landscapes.

" Let the field or ground of the picture," &c. f 3T8 . The reason of it is, that we are to avoid the meet- ing of those colours which have an antipathy to each other, because they offend the sight; so that this rule is proved sufficiently by the 41st, which tells us, that two contrary extremities are never to touch each other, whether it be in colour, or in light ; but that there ought to be a mean betwixt them, which partakes of both.

" Let your colours be, lively, and yet not look + 31?, (according to the painters' proverb) as if they had been rubbed, or sprinkled with meal," &c. Donncr dans la farine, is a phrase amongst painters, which perfectly expresses what it means ; which is to



paint with clear or bright colours, and dull colours together; for being so mingled, they give no more life to the figures, than if they had been rubbed with meal. They who make their flesh-colours very white, and their shadows grey, or inclining to green, fall into this inconvenience. Red co- lours in the shadows of the most delicate or finest flesh, contribute wonderfully to make them lively, shining, and natural ; but they are to be used with the same discretion, that Titian, Paul Veronese, Rubens, and Van Dyck have taught us, by their example.

To preserve the colours fresh, we must paint by putting in more colours, and not by rubbing them in after they are once laid ; and (if it could be done) they should be laid just in their proper places, and not be any more touched, when they are once so placed ; because the freshness of the colours is tarnished and lost, by vexing them with the con- tinual drudgery of daubing.

All they who have coloured well have had yet another maxim to maintain their colours fresh and flourishing, which was to make use of white grounds, upon which they painted, and oftentimes at the first stroke, without retouching any thing, and without employing new colours. Rubens al- ways used this way ; and I have seen pictures from the hand of that great person, painted up at once, which were of a wonderful vivacity.

The reason why they made use of those kinds of grounds is, because white as well preserves a bright- ness under the transparency of colours, which hin- ders the air from altering the whiteness of the ground, as that it likewise repairs the injuries which they receive from the air, so that the ground and the colours assist and preserve each other. It is for this reason, that glazed colours have a vivacity


Which can never be imitated by the most lively and most brilliant colours ; because, according to the common way, the different tints are simply~laid on, each in its place, one after another. So true it is, that white with other strong colours, with which we paint at once that which we intend to glaze, are, as it were, the life, the spirit, and the lustre of it. The ancients most certainly have found, that white grounds were much the best, because, not- withstanding that inconvenience, which their eyes received from that colour, yet they did not forbear the use of it ; as Galen testifies, in his Tenth Book of the Use of the Parts. " Painters,' 1 says he, " when they work upon their white grounds, place before them dark colours, and others mixed with blue and green, to recreate their eyes ; because white is a glaring colour, which wearies and pains the sight more than any other." I know not the reason why the use of it is left off at present, if it be not that in our days there are few painters who are curious in their colouring, or that the first strokes which are begun upon white are not seen soon enough j and that a more than French patience is required to wait till it be accomplished ; and the ground, which by its whiteness tarnishes the lustre of the other colours, must be entirely covered, to make the whole work appear pleasingly.

" Let the parts which are nearest to us, and mostt 3ss. raised," &c. The reason of this is, that upon a flat superficies, and as much united as a cloth can be, when it is strained, the least body is very appear- ing, and gives a heightening to the place which it possesses : do not therefore load those places with colours, which you would make to turn ; but let those be well loaded, which you would have come out of the canvas.



385. Let there be so much harmony, or consent in the masses of the picture, that all the shadowings may appear as if they were but one/' &c. He has said in another place, that after great lights, great shadows are necessary, which he calls reposes. What he means by the present rule is this, that what- soever is found in those great shadows, should par- take of the colours of one another; so that the dif- ferent colours which are well distinguished in the lights, seem to be but one in the shadows, by their great union.

386. " Let the whole picture be of one piece," &c. That is to say, of one and the same continuity of work, and as if the picture had been painted up all at once : the Latin says, all of one pallet.

+ 337. " The looking-glass will instruct you," &c. The painter must have a principal respect to the masses, and to the effect of the whole together. The look- ing glass distances the objects, and, by consequence, gives us only to see the masses, in which all the^ little parts are confounded. The evening, when the night approaches, will make you better under- stand this observation, but not so commodiously ; for the proper time to make it lasts but a quarter of an hour, and the looking-glass may be useful all the day.

Since the mirror is the rule and master of all- painters, as showing them their faults by distan- cing the objects, we may, conclude, that the picture which makes not a good effect at a distance, can- not be well done; and a painter must never finish his picture, before he has examined it at some rea- sonable distance, or with a looking-glass, whether the masses of the lights and shadows, and the bo- dies of the colours, be well distributed. Giorgione and Correggio have made use of this method. " As for a portrait, or picture by the life," e.


The end of portraits is not so precisely, as some have imagined, to give a smiling and pleasing air, together with the resemblance ; this is indeed some- what, but not enough. It consists in expressing the true temper of those persons which it represents, and to make known their physiognomy. If the person whom you draw, for example, be naturally sad, you are to beware of giving him any gaiety, which would always be a thing which is foreign to his countenance. If he or she be merry, you are to make that good humour appear, by the expres- sing of those parts where it acts, and where it shows itself. If the person be grave and majesti- cal, the smiles, or laughing, which is too sensible, will take off from that majesty, and make it look childish and indecent. In short, the painter, who has a good genius, must make a true discernment of all these things ; and if he understands physiog- nomy, it will be more easy to him, and he will suc- ceed better than another. Pliny tells us, " That Apelles made his pictures so very like, that a cer- tain physiognomist and fortune-teller (as it is rela- ted by Appion the grammarian) foretold, by look- ing on them, the very time of their deaths, whom those pictures represented ; or at what time their death happened, if such persons were already dead.

" You are to take the utmost care, that broad + 403. lights may be joined," &c. This must be done ten- derly, yet not so LS to make your colours die, by force of tormenting them ; but that you should mix them as hastily as you can, and not retouch the same place, if conveniently you can avoid it.

" Broad lights," &c. It is in vain to take pains +403. if you cannot preserve large lights ; because with- out them your work will never make a good effect at a distance, and also because little lights are con- fused and effaced proportionably as you are at a


distance from the picture. This was the perpetual maxim of Correggio.

i 417. " Ought to have somewhat of greatness in them, and their outlines to be noble," &c. As the pieces of antiquity will evidently show us.

f 422. There is nothing more pernicious to a youth," &c. It is common to place ourselves under the discipline of a master, of whom we have a good opi- nion, and whose manner we are apt to embrace with ease ; which takes root more deeply in us, and aug- ments, the more we see him work, and the more we copy after him. This happens oftentimes to that degree, and makes so great an impression in the mind of the scholar, that he cannot give his approbation to any other manner whatsoever, and believes there is no man under the cope of heaven, who is so knowing as his master.

But what is most remarkable in this point, is, that nature appears to us always like that manner which we love, and in which we have been taught ; which is just like a glass through which we behold objects, and which communicates its colour to them, without our perceiving it. After I have said this, you may see of what consequence is the choice of a good master, and of following in our beginning the manner of those who have come nearest to nature- And how much injury do you think have the ill manners which have been in France done to the painters of that nation, and what hindrance have they been to the knowledge of what is well done, or of arriving to what is so, when once we know it ? The Italians say to those whom they see infec- ted with an ill manner, which they are not able to forsake, " If you knew just nothing, you would soon learn something."

1 433. " Search whatsoever is aiding to your art, and convenient; and avoid those things which are re-


pugnant to it," &c. This is an admirable rule; a painter ought to have it perpetually present in his mind and memory. It resolves those difficulties which the rules beget ; it loosens his hands, and as- sists his understanding ; in short, this is the rule which sets the painter at liberty; because it teaches him, that he ought not to subject himself servilely, and be bound, like an apprentice, to the rules of his art; but that the rules of his art ought to be sub- ject to him, and not hinder him from following the dictates of his genius, which is superior to them.

" Bodies of diverse natures, which are aggrouped, f or combined together, are agreeable and pleasant to the sight," &c. As flowers, fruits, animals, skins, sattins, velvets, beautiful flesh, works of silver, ar- mours, instruments of music, ornaments of ancient sacrifices, and many other pleasing diversities which may present themselves to the painter's imagina- tion. It is most certain, that the diversity of ob- jects recreates the sight, when they are without confusion, and when they diminish nothing of the subject on which we work. Experience teaches us, that the eye grows weary with poring perpetually on the same thing ; not only on pictures, but even on nature itself: for who is he, who would not be tired in the walks of a long forest, or with behold- ing a large plain which is naked of trees, or in the sight of a ridge of mountains, which, instead of pleasure, give us only the view of heights and bottoms ? Thus to content and fill the eye of the understanding, the best authors have had the ad- dress to sprinkle their works with pleasing digres- sions, with which they recreate the minds of read- ers. Discretion in this, as in all other things, is the surest guide ; and as tedious digressions, which wander from their subject, are impertinent; so the painter, who, under pretence of diverting the eyes,


would fill his picture with such varieties as alter the: truth of the history, would make a ridiculous piece of painting, and a mere gallimaufry of his work. 435. As also those things which seem to be slightly touched, and performed with ease," &c. This ease attracts our eyes and spirits so much the more, be- cause it is to be presumed, that a noble worn, which appears so easy to us, is the product of a skilful hand, which is master of its art. It was in this part, that Apelles found himself superior to Protogenes, when he blamed him for not knowing when to lay down his pencil, and, as I may almost say, to make an end of finishing his piece. And it was on this account he plainly said, " That no- thing was more prejudicial to painters, than too much exactness ; and that the greatest part of them knew not when they had done enough :" as we have likewise a proverb, which says, " An English- man never knows when he is well." It is true, that the word enough is very difficult to under- stand. What you have to do, is to consider your subject thoroughly, and in what manner you in- tend to treat it, according to your rules, and the force of your genius ; after this, you are to work with all the ease, and all the speed you can, with- out breaking your head so very much, and being so very industrious in starting scruples to yourself, and creating difficulties in your work. But it is impossible to have this facility without possessing perfectly all the precepts of the art, and to have made it habitual to you : for ease consists in ma- king precisely that work which you ought to make, and to set every thing in its proper place with speed and readiness, which cannot be done without the rules ; for they are the assured means of con- ducting you, to the end that you design, with plea- sure. It is then roost certain, (though against the


opinion of many,) that the rules give facility, quiet of mind, and readiness of hand to the slowest ge- nius; and that the same rules increase and guide that ease in those who have already received it at their birth, from the happy influence of their stars.

From whence it follows, that we may consider facility two several ways ; either simply, as dili- gence, and a readiness of mind, and of the hand ; or, as a disposition in the mind to remove readily all those difficulties which can arise in the work. The first proceeds from an active temper full of fire ; and the second from a true knowledge and full possession of infallible rules : the first is pleasing, but it is not always without anxiety, because it often leads us astray; and, on the contrary, the last makes us act with a repose of mind and wonderful tranquillity, because it ascertains us of the good- ness of our work : it is a great advantage to pos- sess the first; but it is the height of perfection to have both in that manner which Rubens and Van Dyck possessed them, excepting the part of de- sign, or drawing, which both of them too much ne- glec^ed.

Those who say, that the rules are so far from giving us this facility, that, on the contrary, they puzzle and perplex the mind, and tie the hand, are generally such people who have passed half their lives in an ill practice of painting, the habit of which is grown so inveterate in them, that to change it by the rules, is to take, as it were, their pencils out of their hands, and to put them out cf condition of doing any thing : in the same manner as we make a countryman dumb, whom we will not allow to speak, but by the rules of grammar.

Observe, if you please, that the facility and dili- gence, of which I spoke, consists not in that which we call bold strokes, and a free handling of the


pencil, if it makes not a great effect at a distance : that sort of freedom belongs rather to a writing- master than a painter. I say yet farther, that it is almost impossible, that things, which are painted, should appear true and natural, where we observe these sorts of bold strokes. And all those, who have come nearest to nature, have never used that manner of painting. Those tender hairs, and those hatching strokes of the pencil, which make a kind of minced meat in painting, are very fine, I must confess, but they are never able to deceive the sight.

1 442. ^ or tm y OU have present in your mind a per- fect idea of your work," &c. If you will have plea- sure in painting, you ought to have so well consi- dered the economy of your work, that it may be entirely made and disposed in your head, before it be begun upon the cloth. You must, I say, fore- see the effect of the groupes, the ground, and the lights and shadows of every thing, the harmony of the colours, and the intelligence of all the subject, in such a manner, that whatsoever you shall put upon the cloth, may be only a copy of what is in your mind. If you make use of this conduct, you will not be put to the trouble of so often changing and rechanging.

1 443. " Let the eye be satisfied, in the first place, even, against and above all other reasons," &c. This pas- sage has a respect to some particular licences which a painter ought to take ; and, as I despair not to treat this matter more at large, I adjourn the reader to the first opportunity which I can get for his far- ther satisfaction on this point, to the best of my ability. But in general, he may hold for certain, that those licences are good which contribute to de- ceive the sight, without corrupting the truth of the subject on. which the painter is to work.


" Profit yourself by the counsels of the know- 1 445. ing," &a Parrhasius and Cliton thought themselves much obliged to Socrates for the knowledge which he gave them of the passions. (See their dialogue in Xenophon, towards the end of the third book of Memoirs.) " They, who the most willingly bear reproof," says Pliny* the Younger, " are the very men, in whom we find more to commend than in other people. 1 ' Lysippus was extremely pleased, when Apelles told him his opinion ; arid Apelles as much, when Lysippus told him his. That which Praxiteles said of Nicias, in Pliny,| shews the soul of an accomplished and an humble man. " Prax- iteles being asked, which of all his works he valued most ?" fct Those/' says he, k< which Nicias has retouch- ed. So much account he made of his criticisms and his opinions. You know the common prac- tice of Apelles, when he had finished any work, he exposed it to the sight of all passengers, and con- cealed himself to hear the censure of his faults, with the prospect of making his advantage of the informations which unknowingly they gave him ; being sensible, that the people would examine his works more rigorously than himself, and would not forgive the least mistake.

The opinions and counsels of many together are always preferable to the advice of one single person. And Cicero wonders, that any are besotted on their own productions, and say to one another, " Very good, if your works please you, mine are not unpleasing to me/'^ In effect, there are many who, through presumption, or out of shame to be reprehended, never let their works be seen. But

Lib. viii. 20. t L ib - v 8.

I Tuscul. lib. v.


there is nothing can be of worse consequence; "for the disease is nourished and increases," says Virgil,-}* " while it is concealed." ' There are none but fools," says Horace, " who, out of shamefaced ness, hide their ulcers, which, if shewn, might easily be healed :

" StuUervm incur ata mains pudor vlcera celat"l

There are others, who have not altogether so much of this foolish bashfulness, and who ask every one's opinion with prayers and earnestness; but if you freely and ingenuously give them notice of their . faults, they never fail to make some pitiful excuse for them ; or, which is worse, they take in ill part the service which you thought you did them, which they but seemingly desired of you, and out of an established custom amougst the greatest part of painters. If you desire to get yourself any ho- nour, and acquire a reputation by your works, there is no surer way than to shew them to persons of good sense, and chiefly to those who are critico in the art; and to take their counsel with the same mildness, and the same sincerity, as you desired them to give it you. You must also be industrious to discover the opinion of your enemies, v T Lich is commonly the truest; for you may be assured, that they will give you no quarter, and allow nothing to complaisance.

i44*. " But if you have no knowing friend," c. Quinctilian gives the reason of this, when he says, " that the best means to correct our faults, is doubtless this, to remove our designs out of sight, for some space of time, and not to look upon our

t Gcorg. iii. 1. 5. } Ep. xvi.


pictures: to the end, that after this interval we may look on them as it were with other eyes, and as a new work, which was of another hand, and not our own". Our own productions do but too much flatter us ; they are always too pleasing, and it is impossible not to be fond of them at the moment of their conception. They are children of a tender age, which are not capable of drawing our hatred on them. It is said, that apes, as soon as they have brought their young into the world, keep their eyes continually fastened on them, and are never weary of admiring their beauty ; so amorous is nature of whatsoever she produces.

" To the end that he may cultivate those talents f 45b. which make his genius," &c.

Qui sua metitur ponder a, ferre potest.

" That we may undertake nothing beyond our forces, we must endeavour to know them." On. this prudence our reputation depends. Cicero calls it " a good grace," because it makes a man seen in his greatest lustre. " It is," says he, * " a becoming grace, which we shall easily make appear, if we are careful to cultivate that which nature has given us in propriety, and made our own ; provided it be no vice, or imperfection. We ought to undertake no- thing which is repugnant to nature in general ; and when we have paid her this duty, we are bound so religiously to follow our own nature, that though many things which are more serious and more im- portant, present themselves to us, yet we are always to conform our studies and our exercises to our na- tural inclinations. It avails nothing to dispute

I Off.


against nature, and think to obtain what she refuses ; for then we eternally follow what we can never reach; for, as the proverb says, there is nothing can please, nothing can be graceful, which we enter- prise in spite of Minerva ; that is to say, in spite of nature. When we have considered all these things attentively, it will then be necessary that every man should regard that in particular which nature has made his portion, and that he should cultivate it with care. It is not his business to give himself the trouble of trying whether it will become him to put on the nature 7 of another man, or, as one would say, to act the person of another ; there is nothing which can more become us, than what is properly the gift of nature. Let every one therefore endeavour to understand his own talent, and, without flattering himself, let him make a true judgment of his own virtues, and his own defects and vices, that he may not appear to have less judgment than the comedians, who do not always chuse the best plays, but those which are best for them ; that is, those which are most in the compass of their acting. Thus we are to fix on those things for which we have the strongest inclination. And if it sometimes happens, that we are forced, by ne- cessity, to apply ourselves to such other things, to which we are no ways inclined, we must bring it so about, by our care and industry ? that if we perform them not very well, at least we may not do them so very ill, as to be shamed by them : we are not so much to strain ourselves, to make those virtues appear in us, which really we have not, as to avoid those imperfections which may dishonour us." These are the thoughts and the words of Cicero, which I have translated, retrenching only such things as were of no concernment to my subject : I was not


of opinion to add any thing, and the reader, I doubt not, will find his satisfaction in them.

" While you meditate on these truths, and ob- f serve them diligently," &c. There is a great con- nection betwixt this precept and that other, which tells you, " That you are to pass no day without a line." It is impossible to become an able artist, without making your art habitual to you ; and it is impossible to gain an exact habitude, without an infinite number of acts, and without perpetual prac- tice. In all arts the rules of them are learned in little time; but the perfection is not acquired with- out a long practice, and a severe diligence. " We never saw, that laziness produced any thing which was excellent," says Maximus Tyrius ; * and Quinc- tiiian tells us, " That the arts draw their beginning from nature ;" the want we often have of them causes us to search the means of becoming able in them, and exercise makes us entirely masters of them.

" The morning is the best and most proper part f of the day," &c. Because then the imagination is not clouded with the vapours of meat, nor distrac- ted by visits, which are not usually made in the morning. And the mind, by the sleep of the fore- going night, is refreshed and recreated from the toils of former studies. Malherbe says well to this purpose,

Le plus beau de nos Jours, est dans kur matinee. The sprightly morn is the best part of day.

" Let no clay pass over you, without a line," &c. f That is to say, without working, without giving

  • Diss. 34.


some strokes of the pencil or the crayon. This was the precept of Apelles ; and it is of so much the more necessity, because painting is an art of much length and time, and is not to be learned without great practice. Michael Angelo, at the age of four- score years, said, " That he learned something every day.

i 473. u e reac |y I Q p u t i n t your table-book," &c. As it was the custom of Titian and the Carraches. There are yet remaining in the hands of some who are curious in painting, many thoughts and obser- vations, which those great men have made on pa- per, and in their table-books, which they carried continually about them.

f 475. " Wine and good cheer are no great friends to painting; they serve only to recreate the mind, when it is opprest and spent with labour/' &c. " During the time/' says Pliny, * " that Protogenes was drawing the picture of Jalysus, which was the best of all his works, he took no other nourishment than In pines, mixed with a little water, which ser- ved him both for meat and drink, for fear of clog- fing his imagination, by the luxury of his food ;*' lichael Angelo, while he was drawing his Day of Judgment, fed only on bread and wine at dinner; and Vasari observes in his life, that he was so so- ber, that he slept but little, and that he often rose in the night to work, as being not disturbed by the vapours of his thin repasts.

t'478. "But delight? in the liberty which belongs to the bachelors estate," &c. We never see large, beautiful, and well-tasted fruits, proceeding from a tree which is encompassed round, and choked with thorns and briars. Marriage draws a world of busi-

  • Lib, xxxv. 10.


ness on our hands, subjects us to law-suits, and loads us with multitudes of domestic cares, which are as so many thorns that encompass a painter, and hinder him from producing his works in that perfection of which otherwise he is capahle. Ra- phael, Michael Angelo, and Hannibal Carrache, were never married : and amongst the ancient painters we find none recorded for being married, but only Apesles, to whom Alexander the Great made a pre- sent of his own mistress Campaspe; which yet I would have understood, without offence to the institution of marriage ; for that calls down many blessings upon families, by the carefulness of a vir- tuous wife. If marriage be in general a remedy against concupiscence, it is doubly so in respect of painters, who are more frequently under the occa- sions of sin, than other men, because they are un- der a frequent necessity of seeing nature bare-faced. Let every one examine his own strength upon this point : but let him prefer the interest of his soul, to that of his art and of his fortune.

" Painting naturally withdraws from noise and + 480. tumult," &c. I have said at the end of the first re- mark, that both poetry and painting were upheld by the strength of imagination. Now there is no- thing which warms it more than repose and solitude ; because, in that estate, the mind being freed from all sorts of business, and in a kind of sanctuary, un- disturbed by vexatious visits, is more capable of forming noble thoughts, and of application to its studies :

Carmina secessum scribentis, et otia quccrunt.

Good verse recess and solitude requires: And ease from cares, and undisturbed desires.

We may properly say the same of painting, by reason of ita conformity with poetry, as 1 have shewn in the first remark.


1 484. ( ( j^ et not |^ e cove t ous design of growing rich",* &c. We read in Pliny, that Nicias refused sixty talents from king Attalus, and rather chose to make a free gift of his picture to his country. " I enquired of a prudent man,*' says a grave author, * " in what times those noble pictures were made, which now we see ; and desiieci him to explain to me some of their subjects, which I did not well un- derstand. I asked him likewise the reason of that great negligence, which is now visible amongst painters ; and from whence it proceeded, that the most beautiful arts were now buried in oblivion ; and principally painting, a faint shadow of which is at present remaining to us ? To which he thus replied, that the immoderate desire of riches had produced this change ; for of old, when naked virtue had her charms, the noble arts then flourish- ed in their vigour; and if there was any contest amongst men, it was only who should be the first discoverer of what might be of advantage to pos- terity. Lysippus and Myron, those renowned sculp- tors, who could give a soul to brass, left no heirs, no inheritance, behind them ; because they were more careful of acquiring fame than riches. But as for us of this present age, it seems, by the man- ner of our conduct, that we upbraid antiquity for being as covetous of virtue as we are of vice ; won- der not so much, therefore, if painting has lost its strength and vigour, because many are now of opi- nion, that a heap of gold is much more beautiful than all the pictures and statues of Apelles and Phidias, and a)i the noble performances of Greece." I would not exact so great an act of abstinence from our modern painters ; for 1 am not ignorant,

Petron. Arbiter.


that the hope of gain is a wonderful sharp spur in arts, and that it gives industry to the artist; from whence it was, that Juvenal said, even of the Greeks themselves, who were the inventors of painting, and who first understood all the graces of it, and its whole perfection,

Grceculus esuriens, in Ca>lum,jusseris, ibit. A hungry Greek, if bidden, scales the skies.

But I could heartily wish, that the same hope which flatters them, did not also corrupt them ; and did not snatch out of their hands a lame imperfect piece, rudely daubed over with too little reflection, and too much haste.

" The qualities requisite to form an excellent paint- 1 487. er," &c. It is to he confessed, that very few painters have those qualities which are required by our au- thor, because there are very few who are able pain- ters. There was a time, when only they who were of noble blood were permitted to exercise this art; because it is to be presumed, that all these ingredi- ents of a good painter are not ordinarily found in men of vulgar birth. And, in all appearance, we may hope, that though there be no edict in France, which takes away the liberty of painting, from those to whom nature has refused the honour of be- ing born gentlemen, yet at least that the Royal _ Academy will admit henceforward only such, who being endued with all the good qualities, and the talents which are required for painting, those en- dowments may be to them instead of an honour- able birth. It is certain, that which debases paint- ing, and makes it descend to the vilest and most despicable kind of trade, is the great multitude of painters, who have neither noble souls, nor any ta-



lent for the art, nor even so much as common sense. The origin of this great evil is, that there have always been admitted into the schools of paint- ing, all sorts of children promiscuously, without examination of them, and without observing (for some convenient space of time) if they were con- ducted to this art by their inward disposition, and all necessary talents, rather than by a foolish in- clination of their own, or by the avarice of their relations, who put them to painting, as a trade which they believe to be somewhat more gainful than another. The qualities properly required are these following :

A good judgment, that they may do nothing against reason and verisimility.

A docile mind, that they may profit by instruc- tions, and receive, without arrogance, the opinion of every one, and principally of knowing men.

A noble heart, that they may propose glory to themselves, and reputation rather than riches.

A sublimity and reach of thought, to conceive readily, to produce beautiful ideas, and to work on their subjects nobly, and after a lofty manner, where- in we may observe somewhat that is delicate, inge- nious, and uncommon.

A warm and vigorous fancy, to arrive at least to some degree of perfection, without being tired with the pains and study which are required in paint- ing.

Health, to resist the dissipation of spirits, which are apt to be consumed by pains-taking.

Youth, because painting requires a great expe- rience, and a long practice.

Beauty, or handsomeness, because a painter paints himself in all his pictures; and nature loves to pro- duce her own likeness.

A convenient fortune, that he may give his



"whole time to study, and may work cheerful!} 7 * without being haunted with the dreadful image of poverty, ever present to his mind.

Labour, because the speculation is nothing with- out the practice.

A love for his art, we suffer nothing in the la- bour which is pleasing to us ; or if it happen that we suffer, we are pleased with the pain.

And to be under the discipline of a knowing master, &c. Because all depends on the begin- nings ; and because commonly they take the man- ner of their master, and are formed according to his gusto. See verse 422, and the remark upon it. All these good qualities are insignificant, and un- profitable to the painter, if some outward disposi- tions are wanting to him. By which I mean fa- vourable times, such as are times of peace, which is the nurse of all noble arts : there must also soune fair occasion offer to make their skill manifest, by the performance of some considerable work within their power ; and a protector, who must be a per- son of authority, one who takes upon himself the care of their fortune, at least in some measure, and knows how to speak well of them in time and place convenient. " It is of much importance, says the younger Pliny, " in what times virtue ap- pears. And there is no wit, howsoever excellent it may be, which can make itself immediately known ; time and opportunity are necessary to it, and a person who can assist us with his favour, and be a Ma3cenas to us."

" And life is so short, that it is not sufficient for 1 496. so long an art," &c. Not only painting but all other arts, considered in themselves, require almost an infinite time to possess them perfectly. . It is in this sense, that Hippocrates begins his Aphorisms with this saying, " That art is long, and life is


short." But if we consider arts as they are in us, and according to a certain degree of perfection, suf- ficient enough to make it known, that we possess them above the common sort, and are comparatively better than most others, we shall not find that life is too short on that account, provided our time be well employed. It is true, that painting is an art which is difficult, and a great undertaking ; but they who are endued with the qualities that are ne- cessary to it, have no reason to be discouraged by that apprehension, " Labour always appears diffi- cult before it is tried."* The passages by sea,. and the knowledge of the stars, have been thought im- possible, which notwithstanding have been found and compassed, and that with ease, by those who endeavoured after them. " It is a shameful thing," says Cicero, f " to be weary of enquiry, when what we search is excellent." That which causes us to lose most of our time, is the repugnance which we naturally have to labour, and the ignorance, the malice, and the negligence of our masters : we waste much of our time in walking, and talking to BO manner of purpose, in making and receiving idle visits ; in play, and other pleasures which we in- dulge; without reckoning those hours which we lose in the too great care of our bodies; and in sleep, which we often lengthen out till the day is far advanced ; and thus we pass that life which we reckon to be short, because we count by the years which we have lived rather than by those which we have employed in study. Jt is evident, that they who lived before us, have passed through all those difficulties, to arrive at that perfection, which we discover in their works ; though they

  • Veget. de Re Milit, lib, 2. t Lib. 1. de fin.


wanted some of the advantages which we possess, and none had lahoured for them as they have done for us. For it is certain, that those ancient mas- ters, and those of the last preceding ages, have left such beautiful patterns to us, that a better and more happy age can never be than ours ; and chief- ly under the reign of our present king, who en- courages all the noble arts, and spares nothing, to give them the share of that felicity, of which he is so bountiful to his kingdom ; and to conduct them with ail manner of advantages to that supreme de- gree of excellence, which may be worthy of such a master, and of that sovereign love which he has for them. Let us therefore put our hands to the work, without being discouraged by the length of time, which is requisite for our studies ; but let us seriously contrive how to proceed with the best or- der, arid to follow a ready, diligent, and well un- derstood method.

" Take courage, therefore, O ye noble youths ! t 509. ye legitimate offspring of Minerva, who are born under the influence of a happy planet," &c. Our author intends not here to sow in a barren, un- grateful ground, where his precepts can bear no fruit : he speaks to young painters, but to such on- ly who are born under the influence of a happy star ; that is to say, those who have received from nature the necessary dispositions of becoming great in the art of painting ; and not to those who fol- low that study through caprice, or by a sottish in- clination ; or for lucre, who are either incapable of receiving the precepts, or will make a bad use of them when received.

" You will do well," &c. Our author speaks not + 509. here of the first rudiments of design ; as, for exam- ple, the management of the pencil, the just rela- tion which the copy ought to have to the original.


&a He supposes, that before he begins his stu- dies, one ought to have a facility of hand, to imi- tate the best designs, and the noblest pictures and statues ; that, in few words, he should have made himself a key, wherewith to open the closet of Minerva, and to enter into that sacred place, where those fair treasures are to be found in all abun- dance, and even offer themselves to us, to make our advantage of them, by our care and genius.

i 5o:>. " To begin with geometry," &c. Because that is the ground of perspective, without which no- thing is to be done in painting. Besides, geometry is of great use in architecture, and in all things which are of its dependence ; it is particularly ne- cessary for sculptors.

t5io. " Set yourself on designing after the antient Greeks," &c. Because they are the rule of beauty, and give us a good gusto ; for which reason it is very proper to tie ourselves to them, I mean gene- rally speaking ; but the particular fruit which we gather from them, is what follows : To learn by heart four several airs of heads ; of a man, a wo- man, a child, and an old man. I mean those which have the most general approbation; for example, those of the Apollo, of the Venus de Medecis, of the little Nero, (that is, when he was a child,) and of the god Tiber. It would be a good means of learning them, if when you have designed one af- ter the statue itself, you design it immediately after from your own imagination, without seeing it; and afterwards examine, if your own work be conform- able to the first design ; thus exercising yourself on the same head, and turning it on ten or twelve sides. You must do the same to the feet, to the hands, to the whole figure. But to understand the beauty of these figures, and the justness of their outlines, it will be necessary to learn anatomy. When I speak of four heads, and four figures, I


pretend not to hinder any one from designing many others, after this first study ; but my meaning is, only to show by this, that a great variety of things undertaken at the same time, dissipates the imagi- nation, and hinders all the profit; in the same man- ner, as too many sorts of meat are not easily digest- ed, but corrupt in the stomach, instead of nourish- ing the parts.

" And cease not clay or night from labour, till + sn. by your continual practice/' &c. In the first prin- ciples, the students have not so much need of pre- cepts as of practice ; and the antique statues being the rule of beauty, you may exercise yourselves in imitating them, without apprehending any conse- quence of ill habits and bad ideas, which can be formed in the soul of a young beginner. It is not as in the school of a master, whose manner and whose gusto are ill, and under whose discipline the scholar spoils himself the more he exercises.

" And when afterwards your judgment shall * 5H. grow stronger," &c. It is necessary to have the soul well formed, and to have a right judgment to make the application of his rules upon good pic- tures, and to take nothing but the good. For there are some who imagine, that whatsoever they find in the picture of a master who has acquired repu- tation, must of necessity be excellent: and these kind of people never fail, when they copy, to follow the bad, as well as the good things, and to observe them so much the more, because they seem to be extraordinary, and out of the common road of others, so that at last they come to make a law and precept of them. You ought not also to imitate what is truly good in a crude and gross manner, so that it may be found out in your works, that whatso- ever beauties there are in them, come from such or such a master. But, in this, imitate the bees, who


pick from every flower that which they find most proper in it to make honey. In the same manner, a young painter should collect from many pictures what he finds to be the most beautiful ; and from his several collections form that manner which thereby he makes his own.

i 620. A certain grace, which was wholly natural and peculiar to him," &c. Raphael in this may be com- pared to Apelles, who, in praising the works of other painters, said, " That gracefulness was want- ing to them ; and that, without vanity, he might say, it was his own peculiar portion. See the Re- mark on the 2 ! 8th verse.

1 522. " Julio Romano, educated from his childhood in the country of the Muses," &c. He means in the studies of the belle lettre, and above all in poesy, "which he infinitely loved. It appears, that he form- ed his ideas, and made his gusto, from reading Ho- mer; and in that imitated Zeuxis and Polygnotus, who, as Maximus Tyrius relates, treated their sub- jects in their pictures as Homer did in his poetry.

To these remarks I have annexed the opinions of our author, upon the best and chiefest painters of the two foregoing ages. He tells you candidly, and briefly, what were their excellencies, and what their failings.

f 541. " J pass in silence many things which will be more amply treated in the ensuing Commentary.'* It is evident by this, how much we lose, and what damage we have sustained by our author's death, since those commentaries had undoubtedly con- tained things of high value and of great instruc- tion.

  • 544. " To intrust with the Muses," &c. That is to say,

to write in verse ; poetry being under their protec- tion, and cpnsecrated to them.








PAINTING was in its perfection amongst the Greeks. The principal schools were at Sycion, af- terwards at Rhodes, at Athens, and at Corinth, and at last in Rome. Wars and luxury having overthrown the Roman empire, it was totally ex- tinguished, together with all the noble arts, the studies of humanity, and the other sciences.

It began to appear again, in the year 1450, amongst some painters of Florence, of which Do- menico Chirlandaio was one, who was master to Michael Angelo, and had some kind of reputation, though his manner was Gothic, and very dry.

Michael Angelo, his disciple, flourished in the times of Julius the Second, Leo the Tenth, and of seven successive popes. He was a painter, a sculp-


tor, and an architect, both civil and military. The choice which he made of his attitudes was not al- ways beautiful or pleasing; his gusto of design was not the finest, nor his outlines the most elegant; the folds of his draperies, and the ornaments of his habits, were neither noble nor graceful. He was not a little fantastical and extravagant in his com- positions; he was bold, even to rashness, in taking liberties against the rules of perspective. His co- louring is not over true, or very pleasant. He knew not the artifice of the lights and shadows; but he designed more learnedly, and better understood all the knittings of the bones, with the office and situ- ation of the muscles, than any of the modern painters. There appears a certain air of greatness and severity in his figures ; in both which he has oftentimes succeeded. But above the rest of his excellencies, was his wonderful skill in architec- ture, wherein he has not only surpassed all the moderns, but even the ancients also. The St Pe- ters of Rome, the St Johns of Florence, the Capi- tol, the Palazzo Farnese, and his own house, are sufficient testimonies of it. His disciples were Mar- cello Venusti, II Rosso, Georgio Vasari, Fra. Bas- tiano, who commonly painted for him, and many other Florentines.

Pietro Perugino designed with sufficient know- ledge of nature; but he is dry, and his manner little. His disciple was,

Raphael Santio, who was born on Good Friday, in the year 1483, and died on Good Friday, in the year Io20, so that he lived only thirty-seven years complete. He surpassed all modern painters, because he possessed more of the excellent parts of painting than any other : and it is believed that he equalled the ancients, excepting only that he designed not


naked bodies with so much learning as Michael Angelo; but his gusto of design is purer, and much better. He painted not with so good, so full, and so graceful a manner as Correggio ; nor has he any thing of the contrast of the lights and shadows, or so strong and free a colouring as Titian ; but he had a better disposition in his pieces, without compari- son, than either Titian, Correggio, Michael Angelo, or all the rest of the succeeding painters to our days. His choice of attitudes, of heads, of orna- ments ; the suitableness' of his drapery, his manner of designing, his varieties, his contrasts, his expres- sions, were beautiful in perfection ; but above all, he possessed the graces in so advantageous a man- ner, that he has never since been equalled by any other. There are portraits, or single figures, of his, which are finished pieces. He was an admirable architect. He was handsome, well made, and tall of stature, civil and well-natured, never refusing to teach another what he knew himself. He had many scholars, amongst others, Julio Romano, Polydore, Gaudenzio, Giovanni d'Udine, and Michael Coxis. His graver was Marc Antonio, whose prints are ad- mirable for the correctness of their outlines.

Julio Romano was the most excellent of all Ra- phael's disciples. He had conceptions which were more extraordinary, more profound, and more ele- vated, than even his master himself. He wag also a great architect ; his gusto was pure and exquisite. He was a great imitator of the ancients ; giving a clear testimony in all his productions, that he was desirous to restore to practice the same forms and fabrics which were ancient. He had the good for- tune to find great persons, who committed to him the care of edifices, vestibules, and porticos, all te- trastyles, xistes, theatres, and such other places as


are not now in use. He was wonderful in his choice of attitudes. His manner was drier and harder than any of Raphael's school. He did not exactly understand the lights and shadows, or the colours He is frequently harsh and ungraceful. The folds of his draperies are neither beautiful nor great, easy nor natural ; but all extravagant, and too like the habits of fantastical comedians. He was very knowing in human learning. His dis- ciples were Pirro Ligorio, (who was admirable for ancient buildings, as for towns, temples, tombs, and trophies, and the situation of ancient edifices,) JEneas Vico, Bouasone, Georgio Mantuano, and others

Polydore, a disciple of Raphael, designed admi- rably well, as to the practical part, having a parti- cular genius for freezes, as we may see by those of white and black which he has painted at Rome. He imitated the ancients ; but his manner was greater than that of Julio Romano; nevertheless, Julio seems to be the truer. Some admirable groupes are seen in his works, and such as are not elsewhere to be found. He coloured very seldom, and made landscapes of a reasonable good gusto.

Gio. Bellino, one of the first who was of any coi> sideration at Venice, painted very drily, according to the manner of his time. He was very knowing, both in architecture and perspective. He was Ti- tian's first master, which may easily be observed in the first painting of that noble disciple ; in which we may remark, that propriety of colours which his master has observed.

About this time, Georgione, the contemporary of Titian, came to excel in portraits, or face-painting, and also in great works. He first began to make choice of glowing and agreeable colours, the per-


fection and entire harmony of which were after- wards to be found in Titian's pictures. He dressed his figures wonderfully well ; and it may be truly said, that, but for him, Titian had never arrived to that height of perfection, which proceeded from the rivalship and jealousy of honour betwixt those two.

Titian was one of the greatest colourists who was ever known. He designed with much more ease and practice than Georgione. There are to be seen women and children of his hand, which are ad- mirable, both for the design and colouring. The gusto of them is delicate, charming, and noble, with a certain pleasing negligence of the head dres- ses, the draperies, and ornaments of habits, which are wholly peculiar to him. As for the figures of men, he has designed them but moderately well. There are even some of his draperies which are mean, and savour of a little gusto. His painting is wonderfully glowing, sweet, and delicate. He made portraits, which were extremely noble ; the attitudes of them being very graceful, grave, diver- sified, and adorned after a very becoming fashion. No man ever painted landscape with so great a manner, so good a colouring, and with such a re- semblance of nature. For eight or ten years space, lie copied with great labour and exactness whatso- ever he undertook; thereby to make himself an easy way, and to establish some general maxims for his future conduct. Besides the excellent gusto which he had of colours, in which he excelled all mortal men, he perfectly understood how to give every thing the touches which were most suitable and pro- per to them ; such as distinguished them from each other, and which gave the greatest spirit, and the most of truth. The pictures, which he made in his beginning and in the declension of his age, are of a


dry and mean manner. He lived tiinety : nine years, His disciples were Paulo Veronese, Giacorno Tinto- ret, Giacomo da Ponte Bassano, and his sons.

Paulo Veronese was wonderfully graceful in hi* airs of women, with great variety of shining dra- peries, and incredible vivacity and ease. Neverthe- less, his composition is sometimes improper, and his design is incorrect; but his colouring, and whatso- ever depends on it, is so very charming in his pic- tures, that it surprises at the first sight, and makes us totally forget those other qualities which are wanting in him,

Tintoret was the disciple of Titian, great in the practical part of design, but sometimes also suffi- ciently extravagant. He had an admirable genius for painting, if he had had as great an affection to his art, and as much patience in undergoing the difficulties of it, as he had fire and vivacity of na- ture. He has made pictures not inferior in beauty to those of Titian. His composition, and his dres- ses, are, for the most part, improper, and his out- lines are not correct ; but his colouring, and the de- pendencies of it, like that of his master, are most admirable.

The Bassans had a more mean and poor gusto in painting than Tintoret, and their designs were al- so less correct than his : they had, indeed, an ex- cellent gusto of colours, and have touched all kinds of animals with an admirable manner, but were no- toriously imperfect in the composition and design.

Correggio painted at Parma two large cupolas in fresco, and some altar-pieces. This artist found out certain natural and unaffected graces, for his Madonnas, his Saints, and Little Children, which were peculiar to him. His manner is exceeding- great, both for the design and for the work, but withal is very incorrect. His pencil was both easy


and delightful ; and, it is to be acknowledged, that he painted with great strength, great heightning, great sweetness, and liveliness of colours, in which none surpassed him.

He understood how to distribute his lights in such a manner as was wholly peculiar to himself; which gave a great force and great roundness to his figures. This manner consists in extending a large light, and then making it lose itself insensi- bly in the dark shadowings which he placed out of the masses; and those give them this great roundness, without our being able to perceive from whence proceeds so much of force, and so vast a pleasure to the sight. It is probable, that, in this part, the rest of the Lombard school copied him. He had no great choice of graceful attitudes, nor of distribution for beautiful groupes ; his design of- tentimes appears lame, and the positions are not much observed in them. The aspects of his figures are many times unpleasing ; but his manner of designing heads, hands, feet, and other parts, is very great, and well deserves our imitation. In the conduct and finishing of a picture, he has done wonders ; for he painted with so much union, that his greatest works seemed to have been finished in the compass of one day, and appear as if we saw them from a looking-glass. His landscape is equal- ly beautiful with his figures.

At the same time with Correggio, lived and flou- rished Parmegiano; who, besides his great manner of well colouring, excelled also both in invention and design, with a genius full of gentleness and of spirit, having nothing that was ungraceful in his choice of attitudes, and in the dresses of his figures, which we cannot say of Correggio. There are pieces of his to be ^een, which are both beautiful and cor- rect.


These two painters last mentioned had very good disciples, but they are known only to those of their own province ; and besides, there is little to be cre- dited of what his countrymen say ; for painting is wholly extinguished amongst them.

I say nothing of Leonardo da Vinci, because I have seen but little of his, though he restored the arts at Milan, and had many disciples there.

Ludovico Carrache, cousin of Hannibal and Au- gustine, studied at Parma after Correggio ; and ex- celled in design and colouring with such a grace- fulness, and so much candour, that Guido, the scholar of Hannibal, did afterwards imitate him with great success. There are some of his pictures to be seen, which are very beautiful and well un- derstood. He made his ordinary residence at Bo- logna ; and it was he who put the pencil into the hands of Hannibal his cousin.

Hannibal, in a little time, excelled his master in all parts of painting. He imitated Correggio, Titian, and Raphael, in their different manners as he pleased ; excepting only, that you see not in his pictures the nobleness, the graces, and the charms of Raphael ; and his outlines are neither so pure nor so elegant as his. In all other things he is wonderfully accomplished, and of an universal ge- nius.

Augustine, brother to Hannibal, was also a very good painter, and an admirable graver. He had a natural son, called Antonio, who died at the age of thirty-five, and who (according to the general opinion) would have surpassed his uncle Hannibal; for by what he left behind him, it appears that he was of a more lofty genius.

Guido chiefly imitated Ludovico Carrache, yet re- tained always somewhat of the manner which his master, Denis Calvert, the Fleming, taught him.



This Calvert lived at Bologna, and was competitor and rival to Ludovico Carrache Guido made the same use of Albert Durer as Virgil did of old En- nius ; borrowed what pleased him, and made it af- terwards his own; that is, he accommodated what was good in Albert to his own manner; which he executed with so much gracefulness and beauty, that he alone got more money and more reputation in his time than his own masters and all the scho- lars of the Carraches, though they were of greater capacity than himself. His heads yield no manner of precedence to those of Raphael.

Sisto Badolocchi designed the best of all his dis- ciples, but he died young.

Domenichino was a very knowing painter, and very laborious, but otherwise of no great natural endowments. It is true, he was profoundly skilled in all the parts of painting, but wanting genius, (as I said,) he had less of nobleness in his works than all the rest who studied in the school of the Car- raches.

Albani was excellent in all that belonged to painting, and adorned with variety of learning.

Lanfranc, a man of a great and sprightly wit, supported his reputation for a long time with an extraordinary gusto of design and colouring. But his foundation being only on the practical part, he at length lost ground in point of correctness ; so that many of his pieces appear extravagant, and fan- tastical. And after his decease the school of the Carraches went daily to decay in all the parts of painting.

Gio. Viola was very old before he learned land- scape ; the knowledge of which was imparted to him by Hannibal Carrache, who took pleasure to instruct him, so that he painted many of that kind, which are wonderfully fine, and well coloured.

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If we cast our eyes towards Germany and the Low Countries, we may there behold Albert Du- rer, Lucas Van Leyden, Holbein, Aldegrave, &c. who were all contemporaries Amongst these, Al- bert Durer and Holbein were both of them won- derfully knowing, and had certainly been of the first form of painters, had they travelled into Italy ; for nothing can be laid to their charge, but only that they had a Gothic gusto As for Holbein, he performed yet better than Raphael ; and I have seen a portrait of his painting, with which one of Titian's could not come in competition.

Amongst the Flemings, we had Rubens, who de* rived from his birth, a lively, free, noble, and uni- versal genius : a genius which was capable not on- ly of raising him to the rank of the ancient pain- ters, but also to the highest employment in the ser- vice of his country ; so that he was chosen for one of the most important embassies of our age. His gusto of design savours somewhat more of the Fle- ming than of the beauty of the antique, because he staid not long at Rome. And though we can- not but observe in all his paintings somewhat of great and noble, yet, it must be confessed, that, ge- nerally speaking, he designed not correctly ; but, for all the other parts of painting, he was as abso- lute a master of them, and possessed them all as thoroughly as any of his predecessors in that noble art. His principal studies were made in Lombar- dy, after the works of Titian, Paul Veronese, and Tintoret; whose cream he has skimmed, (if you will allow the phrase,) and extracted from their several beauties many general maxims and infallible rules, which he always followed, and by which he has ac- quired in his works a greater facility than that of Titian; more of purity, truth, and science, than Paul Veronese ; and more of majesty, repose, and


moderation, than Tintoret. To conclude : his man- ner is so solid, so knowing, and so ready, that it may seem this rare accomplished genius was sent from heaven to instruct mankind in the art of painting.

His school was full of admirable disciples, amongst whom, Van Dyck was he who best comprehended all the rules and general maxims of his master ; and who has even excelled him in the delicacy of his colouring, and in his cabinet-pieces ; but his gusto, in the designing part, was nothing better than that of Rubens.


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