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NOTE LV. VERSE 747.
Bright, beyond all the rest, Correggio flings
The mingling shade.
This manner is in direct opposition to what is called the dry and hard manner which preceded him.
His colour, and his mode of finishing, approach nearer to perfection than those of any other Painter: the gliding motion of his outline, and the sweetness with which it melts into the ground; the cleanness and transparency of his colouring, which stop at that exact medium in which the purity and perfection of taste lies, leave nothing to be wished for. Baroccio, though, upon the whole, one of his most successful imitators, yet sometimes, in endeavouring at cleanness or brilliancy of tint, overshot the mark, and falls under the criticism that was made on an ancient Painter, that his figures looked as if upon roses,
NOTE LVI. VERSE 767.
Great Nature's self redundantly supplies. Fresnoy, with great propriety, begins and finishes his poem with recommending the study of Nature.
This is in reality the beginning and the end of theory. It is in Nature only we can find that beauty which is the great object of our search ; it can be found no where else: we can no more form any idea of beauty superior to Nature than we can form an idea of a sixth sense, or any other excellence out of the limits of the human mind. We are forced to confine our conception even of heaven itself and its inhabitants to what we see in this world; even the Supreme Being, if he is represented at all, the Painter has no other way of representing than by reversing the decree of the inspired Lawgiver, and making God after his own image.
Nothing can be so unphilosophical as a supposition that we can form any idea of beauty or excellence out of or beyond Na.
ture, which is and must be the fountainhead from whence all our ideas must be derived.
This being acknowledged, it must follow, of course, that all the rules which this theory, or any other, teaches, can be no more than teaching the art of seeing Nature. The rules of Art are formed on the various works of those who have studied Nature the most successfully : by this advantage, of observing the various manners in which various minds have contemplated her works, the artist en. larges his own views, and is taught to look for and see what otherwise would have escaped his observation.
It is to be remarked, that there are two modes of imitating nature ; one of which refers for its truth to the sensations of the mind, and the other to the
eye. Some schools, such as the Roman and Florentine, appear to have addressed themselves principally to the mind; others solely to the eye, such as the Venetian in the instances of Paul Veronese and Tintoret : others again have endeavoured to unite both, by joining the elegance and grace of ornament
with the strength and vigour of design ; such are the schools of Bologna and Parma.
All those schools are equally to be considered as followers of Nature. He who produces a work analogous to the mind or · imagination of man, is as natural a Painter as he whose works are calculated to delight the eye ;
the works of Michael Angelo, or Julio Romano, in this sense, may be said to be as natural as those of the Dutch Paint
The study, therefore, of the nature or affections of the mind is as necessary to the theory of the higher department of the art, as the knowledge of what will be pleasing or offensive to the eye, is to the lower style.
What relates to the mind or imagination, such as invention, character, expression, grace, or grandeur, certainly cannot be taught by rules ; little more can be done than pointing out where they are to be found; it is a part which belongs to general education, and will operate in proportion to the cultivation of the mind of the Artist.
The greater part of the rules in this Poem are, therefore, necessarily confined to what relates to the eye; and it may be remarked,
that none of those rules make any preteng sions towards improving Nature, or going contrary to her work: their tendency is merely to show what is truly Nature,
Thus, for instance, a flowing outline is recommended, because beauty (which alone is Nature) cannot be produced without it : old age or leanness produces strait lines corpulency round lines; but in a state of health, accompanying youth, the outlines are waving, flowing, and serpentine. Thus again, if we are told to avoid the chalk, the brick, or the leaden colour, it is because real flesh never partakes of those hues, though ill-coloured pictures are always inclinable to one or other of those defects.
Rules are to be considered likewise as fences placed only where trespass is expected; and are particularly enforced in proportion as peculiar faults or defects are prevalent at the time, or age, in which they are delivered ; for what
proper strongly to recommend or enforce in one age, may not with equal propriety be so much laboured in another, when it may be the fashion for Artists to run into the contrary extreme, proceeding