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T may be reasonably expected, that I should say something on my behalf, in respect to my present 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 sureșt 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 whenNature was well


imitated by the most able Masters. It is true indeed, and they acknowledge it, that, besides 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 required a long conversation with the best pieces, which are not very frequent either in France or England : yet some we have, not only from the hands of Holbein, Rubens, and Vandyke, (one of them ada mirable for History-painting, and the other two for Portraits,) but of many Flemishi Masters, and those not inconsiderable, though for design not equal to the Italians. And of these latter also, we are not unfurnished with some pieces of Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Michael Angelo, and others. But to return to my own undertaking of this translation ; I freely own that I thought myself uncapable of performing it, either to their satisfaction, or my own credit. Not but that I understood the original Latin, and the French Author perhaps as well as most Englishmens but I was not sufficiently versed in the terms

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of art : and therefore thought that many of
those persons, who put this honourable task
on me, were more able to perform it them-
selves, as undoubtedly they were.
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 performed their pro-
mise 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 pro-
posed 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 Trans-
lation of the Poem is not free from poetical
expressions, 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 second, -


viz. the Translation; and I may confidently say, that whoever had attempted it, must have fallen into the same inconvenience, or a much greater, that of a false version. When I undertook this work, I was already engaged in the translation of Virgil, from whom I have borrowed only two months, and am now returning to that which I ought to understand better. In the mean time, I beg the reader's pardon for entertaining 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 now committed it, unless some concernments of the readers 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 Poetry its Sister. But before I proceed, it will not be amiss, if I copy from Bellori (a most ingenious author) some part of his idea of a Painter, which

cannot be unpleasing, at least to such 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 occasion.

" 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 wonderful contexture of all created Beings. But the celestial 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 deformity, 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 suffers alteration for the worse, as we see to our mortification, in the deformities and disproportions which are in us. For which


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