Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

business; employ it therefore in the study and exercise of those things which require the greatest pains and application.

LXVII.

Let no day pass over you with- Every day out a line.

do something. LXVIII.

Observe as you walk the streets, The pas the airs of heads; the natural pos- sions which tures and expressions; which are al- are true ways the most free, the less they seem 470. to be observed.

and natural.

Judicium, docile ingenium, cor nobile, sensus VOL. IL- -24

LXIX.

books.

7. * Be ready to put into your table- Of tablebook (which you must always carry about you) whatsoever you judge worthy of it; whether it be upor the earth, or in the air, or upon the waters, while the species of them is yet fresh in your imagination.

tate.

*Wine and good cheer are no 475. great friends to painting; they serve only to recreate the mind, when it is oppressed and spent with labour; then indeed it is proper to renew your vigour by the conversation 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 es*Painting naturally withdraws from noise and tumult, and pleases itself in the enjoyment of a country retirement; because silence 480. and solitude set an edge 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 mind, 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, induce you to ruin your reputation, but rather satisfy 485. yourself with a moderate fortune; and let your thoughts be wholly taken up with acquiring to yourself a glorious name, which can never perish, but with the world; and make that the recompense of your worthy labours.

*The qualities requisite to form an excellent painter, are a true discerning judgment, a mind which is docible, a noble heart, and a sublime

[blocks in formation]

sense of things and fervour of soul; after which follow, health of body, a convenient share of fortune, the 490. 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 operation 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 pass for such in the opinion of the learned, but only as things which have less of error in 495. 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 degrees 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 506. noble youths! you legitimate offspring of Minerva, who are born under the influence of a happy planet, and warmed 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. Exercise them, 1 say, while your boiling youth sup-505. plies you with strength, and furnishes you with quickness 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, be

for a young

reason of the moisture wherewith at LXX.
The method
that age the brain abounds. * You of studies
will do well to begin with
geome- painter.
try, and after having made some pro-
gress in it, * set yourself on design- 510.
ing after the ancient Greeks: * and
cease not day or night from labour,
till, by your continual practice, you
have gained an easy habitude of im-
itating them in their invention, and in
their manner. *And when after-
Mox, ubi judicium emensis 'adole- wards your judgment shall grow
verit annis,
stronger, and come to its maturity
515. Singula quæ celebrant primæ exem-
with years,
it will be very necessary
plaria classis,
to see and examine one after the
Romani, Veneti, Parmenses, atque other, and part by part, those works 515.
Bononi,
which have given so great a reputa-
Partibus in cunctis pedetentim, at- tion to the masters of the first form
que ordine recto,
in pursuit of that method, which we
have taught you here above, and ac-
cording to the rules which we have
given you; such are the Romans, the
Venetians, the Parmesans, and the

Ut monitum suprà est, vos expendisse
juvabit.

cula summo
520. Ducta modo, veneresque habuit quas
nemo deinceps.

Quidquid erat formæ scivit Bona.
rota potenter.

Hos apud invenit Raphael mira- Bolognese. Amongst those excel-
lent persons, Raphael had the tal-
ent of invention for his share, by 520.
which he made as many miracles as
he made pictures. In which is ob-
served 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 oth-
ers. *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, 525.
and all the rarest ornaments which
that god is capable of communicating
to those works that he inspires.
which we knew not before, but only

LXX. Ordo studi.

orum.

510. Signa antiqua super Graiorum ad-
discite formam;

Nec mora, nec requies, noctuque
diuque labori,

In geometrali prius arte parumpèr
adulti,

Illorum menti atque modo, vos
donec agendi

Praxis ab assiduo faciles assueverit

usu.

[ocr errors]

Julius à puero musarum eductus in
antris,
Aonias reseravit opes, graphicâque
poesi
Quæ non visa prius, sed tantùm au-
dita poetis,
525. Ante oculos spectanda dedit sacraria
Phoebi :
Quæque coronatis complevit bella
triumphis

Heroum fortuna potens, casusque 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.

t

decoros,

Nobilius reipsâ antiqua pinxisse vi-
detur.

Clarior ante alios Corregius extitit, ampla 530. Luce superfusa, circum coeuntibus umbris, Pingendique modo grandi, et tractando colore

"The shining eminence of Cor-
reggio consists in his laying on am-
ple broad lights encompassed with 530.
friendly shadows and in a grand style
of painting, with a delicacy in the

LXXI Natura et experientia artem perficiunt.

[blocks in formation]

LXXI.

It is a great means of profiting Nature and experience yourself, to copy diligently those exFerfect art. cellent pieces, and those beautiful designs: but Nature, which is present before your eyes, is yet a better mistress; for she augments the force and vigour of the genius, and she it is from whom art derives her ultimate perfection, by the means of sure 540. 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 vicissitudes of time, and that they are liable to

volubilis ævi

Hæc ego, dum memoror subitura destruction by several ways, I thought
I might reasonably take the boldness
*to intrust to the muses (those love-
ly and immortal sisters of painting)
these few precepts, which I have here
made and collected of that art.

Cuncta vices, variisque olim peritura
ruinis,
545. Pauca sophismata sum graphica im-
mortalibus ausus
Credere pieriis, Romæ meditatus :
ad Alpes,
Dum super insanas moles, inimica-
que castra
Borbonidum decus et vindex Lodoi-
cus avorum,

Fulminat ardenti dextrâ, patriæque

resurgens

550. Gallicus Alcides premit Hispani ora
Leonis.

Plurimus inde labor Tabulas imi-
tando juvabit
Egregias, operumque Typos; sed
plura docebit

management of colours." And Ti-
tian understood so well the union of
the masses, and the bodies of col-
ours, 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 attri-
bute of being sirnamed the divine
painter. The laborious and diligent
Annibal Caracci has taken from all 535.
these great persons already men-
tioned whatsoever excellencies he
found in them, and, as it were, con-
verted their nourishment into his own
substance.

Natura ante oculis præsens; nam
firmat et auget

540. Vim genii, ex illâque artem experi-
entia complet.
Multa supercilio quæ Commentaria
dicent.

I employed my time in the study 545. of this work at Rome, while the glory of the Bourbon family, and the just avenger of his injured ancestors, the victorious 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 Gallic Hercules, born for the benefit and honour of his country, was griping the Spanish Geryon by 550. the throat, and at the point of strangling him.

OBSERVATIONS

ON

THE ART OF PAINTING.

CHARLES ALPHONSE DU FRESNOY.

1. PAINTING and Poesy are two sisters, &c.

It is a received truth, that the arts have a certain relation to each other. "There is no art, (said Tertullian, in his Treatise of Idolatry, which is not either the father, 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 among themselves, and hold each other (as we may say) by the hand." But those arts, which are the nearest related, and claim the most ancient kindred with each other, are painting and poetry; and whosoever shall thoroughly examine them, will find them so much resembling one another, that he cannot take them for less than sisters.

OF

They both follow the same bent, and suffer themselves 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 De 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

The number at the head of every observation serves to find in the text the particular passage on which the observation was made.

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 themselves of those licenses, which Apollo has equally bestowed on them, and with which their genius has inspired them.

"Pictoribus atque poetis Quidlibet audendi, semper fuit æqua 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 is this; that amongst so great a dipoesy versity 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 which often give more light to the understandneed which they have of demonstrative figures, ing than the clearest discourses we can make: "Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem, Quam quæ sunt oculis commissa fidelibus."

"Hearing excites the mind by slow degrees: The man is warmed at once by what he sees." Horace in the same "Art of Poetry."

"For both those arts, that they might ad- †9. vance,' ,"&c. Poetry, by its hymns and anthems; and Painting, by its statues, altar-pieces, and by all those decorations which inspire respect and reverence for our sacred mysteries, have been serviceable to religion. 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 moving

« EelmineJätka »