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FRIDAY, APRIL 2. 1773.

facetious Dean Swift hath, in .the Introduction to that admirable Work of his called a Tale of a Tub, enumerated to us three wooden machines, originally conftructed for the ufe and convenience of thofe Orators, who are allowed the privilege of talking much without interruption; and thefe are, the Pulpit, the Ladder, and the Mountebank Stage. But there is a fourth oratorial machine, the invention of which the good Dean could not poffibly forefee, and which is left for me, a feeble yet obferving critic, to record. -This fourth machine, Sir Joshua, is your right worshipful, prefidential Chair;--the Chair of the Prefident of the Royal Academy of Arts; from which you have, for feveral years paft, been indulged with the liberty of delivering an annual fpeech, without any one hitherto prefuming to interrupt you, or make thereto the leaft reply. The fame indulgence, however, is not due to you from the Public, as is fhewn you by your hearers in the Royal Academy; your orations are printed as well as fpoken, and no law or cuftom has prohibited your readers from printing their remarks and obVOL. IV.

fervations in reply.-Yet, I mean not to criticife, on any of your Orations; my intention is only, in return for them, to give you fome occafional thoughts of mine, which may prove of academical ufe. To you I fhall leave

Painters and Painting; my obfervations fhall be conûned to the works of modern Painters, which you could not fo well comment upon, without breach of friendship with your brothers of the Brufh.

The perfection of Painting confifts in deceiving the fight; in making an object on canvafs appear to the eye as a reality and a fubftance, inftead of being difcerned to be nothing but the image of a thing described. -The nearer a resemblance of any thing in Painting approaches to that perfection, the more excellent, in my opinion, is a Painter's art.

I can conceive a face with a bad complexion; a robe that does not hang perfectly loofe; an unbecoming drefs; a long nofe; a wry mouth; hands and fingers out of all proportion, and other members equally out of size;for fuch Nature herfelf prefents every day to my fight;--but I can never conceive an object on canvafs to be natural, that is flat; it can never deceive my fight if it wants Relief.Without That, though the colours of a Painting may be uncommonly beautiful, and it's Drawing moft elegant and A correct,

correct, it will not, in my estimation, be a Picture, but a coloured Plan-In this art of giving a Rekef, many of the modern Painters are very defective; and among Thefe, I am forry to fay, the Prefident of the Royal Academy is the chief. His portraits are, in general, unexceptionable, immediately as they come from his hand; they are elegantly drawn, great fancy is difplayed in them, and the refemblances are ftrikingly like;-but their colours foon fade and leave the Painting, to my eyes, as if I beheld it through a veil or a mift. As your defect, then, Sir Joshua, does not proceed from want of judgment, but from an imperfection in your colours, I hope you will not think it beneath you to learn the art of mixing them. from Mr Wright of Derby, Mr Weft, Mr Dance, Mr Romney, or fome of those masters who feem to have made it their particular study.By experience I know, that you have fufficient good fenfe and good nature, not to take amifs any friendly advise that is given you. It is not many years ago, fince. I used the freedom to obferve to you, that your Portraits would receive additional beauty, if you would be at the trouble of fhewing the eyes, and finishing them, instead of throwing a fhade over them; which faved you indeed, a great deal of Painting, but which rendered your Portraits dead and uninterefting. You accordingly took the hint; your Eyes have ever fince, been, more in the light, which has certainly given more life to your Painting. The reafons for my advising this alteration, you must allow, were well grounded. If the Eyes of a Portrait are painted as if looking at me, and if they are natural, finished in the light and highly executed, I overlook many defects in the reft of the figure, and almoft forget it is but an inanimate Picture; more efpecially fo, if it fhould be the Portrait of a handsome woman; for, let my eyes wander ever so much over the rest of her beauties,

they will ever return to meet her looks; her eyes I find conftantly fixed on mine, which is a moft pleasing grati fication to my vanity. In this particular many of Vandyke's Portraits are peculiarly flattering and fatisfactory; infomuch, that were I to fit alone for a whole day in Lord Pembroke's great room at Wilton, with his beautiful family piece in front of me, I should never fancy myself without company.

I acknowledge that this rule of Painting the eyes of a Portrait looking on the fpectators, cramps the genius of the Painter, and confines him to a small variety of attitudes. But for the fake of preferving the likeness of a friend, which can never be very ftriking without difplaying the eye, I would willingly exempt the Painter from exerting the powers of his imagination, and adding to the Portrait the graces of an Hiftorical Piece.

I believe you will agree with me, Sir Joshua, that nothing teaches the force of Light and Shade, and the Art of giving a Relief, fo much as drawing in black and white. I would therefore recommend to the ftudents of the Academy to perfect themselves in drawing before they attempt to paint. I have, in Flanders and Holland, feen imitations of fculpture that would deceive the keenest fight; and Mr. Berens, of Southgate, has a piece of that kind, by a master of Antwerp, which might be exhibited as a model of the Relief. If, then, fuch an extraordinary effect can be produced by plain black and white, it would furely be more easy: to effect the deception when the artift has the powers of all the colours to his aid.

There is a cuftom of fome of the great mafters of antiquity, which is adopted by many of our modern Painters, and which is often very unnatural and abfurd; that is, of painting a dark back-ground, in order to give their figures a Relief. This may be very proper, if the back-ground be a dead

a dead wall, a curtain, a hanging canopy, or the wainscot of a room; but when it happens to be the fky, as frequently is the cafe, nothing fo much offends my fight.——I do not remember to have feen fuch a remarkable inftance of a blunder of this kind, as in a picture painted by Mr Dance when he was at Rome. I mention it, be cause the piece is in other refpects unexceptionably good. Mr Dance will doubtlefs recollect to have painted a young nobleman who was then on his travels, who was in a deep confumption at the time, and whofe features were ftrongly expreflive of his disease. He is drawn leaning with his back against a tree, his gun in his hand and rested on the ground, his dog couched panting at his feet, his waistcoat entirely unbuttoned to give him air, and the whole of his countenance and figure moft inimitably expreffive of excefive fatigue from the fport of the day. So far the judgment of the artift was great. But the sportsman and his dog are both painted in glaring daylight, while the objects around them and the sky above their heads reprefent the darkness of night. I muft confefs I was much at a lofs to guefs what could poffibly have thrown light on the figures in the picture, till I recollected an old diverfion I enjoyed at school, called Bat-fowling; which I imagined my young travelling friend in Italy had improved upon, and had gone out a-fhooting by the light of a lamp or a lanthorn.

I hope none of thefe lanthorn-pieces will be produced at the next public exhibitions of our Artifts; for I fhall certainly record them, if, after this fair warning, they appear.The Painters of them, too, fhall be put down in my lift of Bat-fowlers; tho' I mean not to animadvert upon the productions of any man who can be materially hurt in his trade; my intention is only to hang out the mistakes of the great mafters to view; who, as they can execute on canvass whatever their

imagination paints, are the more unpardonable if they do not endeavour

to correct their tafte.

Till next month, Sir Joshua, I take my leave.

SIR,

T is a received maxim that the

I French are molt polite people

in the world. This opinion feems to arife from their language and fashions being fo very prevalent throughout Europe. It is, indeed, doing them too much honour to pay them fo much regard; it is really aftonishing that the courts of Europe should tamely fubmit to confer and negociate in their language, and allow even the treaties to be drawn up in their tongue; this must not only allow their fuperiority in dictating to us the mode of these conventions, but muft give them palpable advantages in explaining thefe treaties according to the letter or fpirit, as best fuits their purpofe; for they must certainly be more competent judges of their own language than foreigners, and may by a fubtle nicety, worthy of Machiavel, conftrue away the real meaning, in order to fubftitute an ima ginary one. If there must be an univerfal language, let it be a dead language, in which all civilized nations are upon a par. The Latin is certainly the pureft that is written, and its ftandard is admitted by all Europe: but if our statesmen are not fufficiently verfed in it to write or fpeak it with fluency, why should not the English, which is certainly the moft copious and energetic of any living language, claim the preference?

We are told that it was the policy of the minifters of Lewis XIV. to make their language and fashions univerfal, in order to pave the way for univerfal monarchy: but though they have not hitherto fucceeded in their defign, and they feem to be farther from it now than ever: yet for the courts of London and Vienna, which may be confidered as the moft fplendid in the world, A 2 tamely

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