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it deserves 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. Nevertheless, 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. †215. "The marks or ensigns of virtues," &c. That 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 vertueux is understood in the same signification.
"It is very expedient, to make a model of † 220. 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 groups of many figures, 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 disposed.
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 different 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 advise any one, who would make any very considerable 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 figure 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.
†217. "But let not the work be too much enriched with gold or jewels," &c. Clemens Alexandrinus relates,* "That Apelles having seen a Helena, which a young scholar of his had made, and adorned with a great quantity of golden ornaments and jewels, 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, because 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 quantity 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 Theban lady, reproached Pindar, whom she had five times overcome in poetry, that he scattered through all his works the flowers of Parnassus too prodigally; saying to him, "That men sowed with the hand, and not with the sack;" 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 example, on a shoulder, or an arm, to tie some drapery, 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..
Lib. ii. Pædag. cap. 12.
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 moved up and down, it will serve you for a point of sight, and a point of distance when you have once fixed it.
The same hole will farther serve you, to set your figures in the ceiling, 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 fitting, 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 relates to lineal perspective, which you will there infallibly find, provided that you remember to proportion all things to the greatness of your figures, and especially the points of
* A figure of wood, or cork, turning upon joints.
sight and of distance; but for what belongs to aerial perspective, that not being found, the judgment must supply it. Tintoret (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. † 221.
"We are to consider the places where we lay the scene of the picture," &c. This is what Monsieur de Chambray calls, to do things according to decorum. See what he says of it, in the interpretation of that word, in his book of the Perfection of Painting. It is not sufficient, that in the picture 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 be near the sea-shore, or the banks of some river; whether it be the Rhine, or the Loire; the Po, or the Tyber; and so of other things, if they are essential to the history. "Nealces, a man of wit, and an ingenious painter," as Pliny tells us,' "being to paint a naval fight betwixt the Egyptians and the Persians, 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." † 222.
"Let a nobleness and grace," &c. It is difficult 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 together in a certain manner, which attracts the eye to them, and holds fixed upon them; for which reason 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 cum forma gratia mixta fuit.
And Suetonius, speaking of Nero, says, he was rather beautiful than graceful: Vultu pulchro, magis quam venusto. 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.
"This is that in which the greatest †233. difficulty consists," &c. For two reasons; first, because great study is to be made, as well upon the ancient beauties 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 regarded 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 heaven this precious gift, cannot acquire it without great labour; nevertheless, it is needful, in my opinion, that both the one and the other should perfectly learn the character of every passion.
All the actions of the sensitive appetite are in painting called passions, because the soul is agitated by them, and because the body suffers through them, and is sensibly altered. They are those divers agitations and different motions of the body in general, and of every one of its parts in particular, 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, shunning, joy, sadness, hope, despair, boldness, fear, and anger. The painters have multiplied them not only by their different degrees, but also by their dif ferent species; for they will make, for example, six persons in the same degree of fear, who shall express that passion all of them dif ferently. 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, caresses, embraces, kisses, tranquillity, sweetness, &c.; and without examining whether all these things which painters comprise under the name of passions, can be reduced to those of the philoso
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.
phers, 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, dissatisfaction, care, avarice, slothfulness, envy, and other things like many these. These passions (as I have said) ought to be learned from the life itself, or to be studied on the ancient statues, and excellent pictures: 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 distinctly understand seven or eight kinds of them more or less, and immediately after draw them upon paper, 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 thoroughly. 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, the 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 Venus, and, in fine, the character of any passion whatsoever; you may answer positively, 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 express some certain passions, but the head expresses all of them. Nevertheless, there are some which are more particular to it; as, for example, humility, 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; obstinacy, (or, as the French call it, opiniâtrète,) with a certain stubborn, unruly, barbarous humour, when it is held upright, stiff, 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 visibly our supplications, our threatenings, our mildness, our haughtiness, our love, our hatred, our joy, our sadness, our humility; in fine, it is enough to
The parts of the face do all of them contribute to expose the thoughts of our hearts; but above the eyes,
which are as it were the two
windows, through which the soul looks out and shows itself. The passions which they more particularly express, are pleasure, languishment, disdain, severity, sweetness, admiration, and anger. Joy and sadness may bear their parts, if they did not more especially proceed from the eyebrows 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 sadAnd 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 subdolæ 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, rugosaque sanna. Learn, but let your anger fall from your nose, and the sneering wrinkles be dismounted. And Philostratus, 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 slumbers the wrinkles of it, and the anger which commonly 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 servants of the head, they are his weapons and his auxiliaries; without them the action is weak, languishing, 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, we ask questions, we approve, and we refuse, we show our joy and our sadness, our doubts and our lamentations, our concernments 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 disposed, so as to express the different passions, is impossible; 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 remember to be careful, that all the actions of your figures 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 altogether 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 artificial things they can discern that nature, which they are accustomed to behold." This passage of Quinctilian is perfectly explained by the words of an excellent 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 passion." 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 inside 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 occasions, she drives outward the motions of the heart by the tongue, which is her interpreter." Now, instead of the tongue, let the painter say by the actions, 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 necessary 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 these images with the greatest strength of imagination, 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 regard 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 servingman; 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 Lomazzo has written at large on every passion in particular, in his second book; but beware you dwell not too long upon it, and endeavour not to force your genius.
"Some relics of it took sanctuary under †247. 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 preserved from the insolence of those barbarians.
"The chromatic part, or colouring," †256. &c. The third and last part of painting, is called the chromatic, or colouring. Its object is colour; for which reason lights and shadows are therein also comprehended, which aré 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 called painting, which is made only with two colours, 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 passions, though without other colours; so much of life may be also expressed in it, that we may perceive 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 imitated. 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 evi dent by degrees of diminution, according to the accidents. First, of a luminous body; as, for example, the sun, or a torch. Secondly, of a diaphanous 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 solid 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 delicacy, which are observed in good pictures. The management of colours, and the labour, depend also on this last part.
† 263. "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 reason, that our author calls this part her sister's procurer, that is, the colouring shows us the design, and makes us fall in love with it.
"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 likewise 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 contained in the following part of this treatise: they are all founded on the sense of seeing.
"Which should be the most," &c. See the remark of number 152.
"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; because, 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 group 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 shadows, which naturally and necessarily follow solid bodies; or the masses of solid bodies aggrouped, when the light strikes upon them. And the artificial 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 suitable 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 dispose the bodies as we desire, a painter in such a case may take his advantage by the bodies of colours, and put into such places as ought to be darkened, draperies, or other things, which we may suppose to be naturally brown and sullied, which will produce the same effect, and give him the same reposes as the shadows would do, which could not be caused by the disposition of the objects.
Thus an understanding painter will make his advantages both of the one manner and the other. And if he makes a design to be graved, he is to remember, 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 I believe that nothing was ever seen more beautiful in that kind; the whole knowledge of groups, 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 outlines.