Drawings may be arranged in the following classes :
1. Drawings representing the appearance of a single object whose position is of no consequence.
2. Drawings representing the appearance and the position of a single object.
3. Drawings representing more than one object, and giving the I impression of their appearances and their relations.
In the first class may be placed drawings of crystals, insects, foliage, and similar subjects whose form and construction or color are to be represented. The question of the picture plane is simple in all such cases ; for, as the object may occupy any position, we may represent its actual appearance upon a plane inclined in any position, so as to be at right angles to the direction in which the object is seen, and a satisfactory picture will result. Such drawings are generally made to show the facts of the object as far as possible, and are scientific rather than artistic; and the object would be placed so as to present these facts, which would then be represented upon a plane which would often be parallel to the principal face or surface of the object.
The second class includes all illustrative and artistic work.
It has been shown that the picture which, when viewed naturally, produces an image in the eye like that which the object would produce must be, if upon a plane, on one which is perpendicular to the central visual ray. But we have seen that a picture on an inclined picture plane is not satisfactory, and that the drawing which the artist makes always represents vertical lines by vertical lines, and that in effect it is practically what is given by drawing on a vertical picture plane and giving the visual proportions instead of the elongated drawing which a vertical plane produces when an object is I above or below the level of the eye, so that the visual rays pass through it obliquely.
As the artist's work generally represents objects near the eye level, or extending about equally below and above it, and not causing very large visual angles, we may say that, practically, he makes use of a vertical picture plane perpendicular to the central visual ray.
If an exact drawing on any plane is to be made, it must be that on a vertical picture plane ; but it is not necessary that the young pupil consider the question of the picture plane, for he should be taught to draw what he sees, except when representing vertical lines which appear to converge and objects placed so as to appear like Fig. 38. If he uses the slate to determine the proportions of an object, he should hold it at right angles to the direction in which he sees the object, and should change the drawing, when it represents vertical lines by inclined lines, by substituting vertical for the inclined lines. He should measure proportions by the pencil in the same way, holding it at right angles to the direction in which he sees the object. Practically, objects are generally so little above or below the eye level, that the question of the inclination of the plane is of little consequence to the draughtsman and advanced pupil. If pupils draw upon the slate from objects near them, and are too young to understand how to change the drawing by representing the vertical edges by vertical lines, it will be better for them to make the exact picture or tracing, until old enough to change it, than to obtain the idea that they see what is given on a vertical picture plane ; but it is not necessary for pupils to think of the picture plane even when the slate is used, and teachers should enable pupils to draw first and theorize afterwards.
The third class includes all pictures representing several objects and a large visual angle.
A vertical picture plane at right angles to the central visual ray should be used for such subjects ; but instead of making the exact perspective drawing of small objects and details away from the centre of the picture, so that these objects are distorted unless they are foreshortened by being seen obliquely, it is better to represent them just as they appear when it is not necessary to show their relative positions. Thus the circles of plinth B, Fig. 24, appear horizontal ellipses, and there is no reason why the representation of plinth B should not be exactly like that of plinth A. The cube at the right of Fig. 41 is distorted, for the eye sees the two outer corners of the top face on the same level, and they should be so represented when it is not necessary to show that the edges of the cube are parallel to those of the box upon which it rests. The cone at the right of the cube can be represented by the horizontal ellipse which the eye sees, unless it is tangent 'to a square (or other figure) which is situated and represented as is the top of either lower cube in Fig. 33 ; in this case it may be necessary, in order to show that the circle is tangent to the square, to represent it by an inclined ellipse. In the same way the objects at the right of Fig. 43 may be represented as they appear, and any object situated as is the pitcher or the plinth in Fig. 46, and bounded by horizontal circles, should always be represented as it appears. The objects in the lower left part of Fig. 47 are not distorted as much as they are in Fig. 46, but always in any perspective representation for artistic purposes single detached objects should be represented just as they appear, unless it is necessary to show their relations to other parts of the subject.
Often, however, it will be necessary to represent objects by the use of one vanishing point at the level of the eye, and the exact parallel perspective on the vertical picture plane is the most satisfactory representation of many geometric subjects. The pupil may obtain, when sketching from nature, the proportions of such a drawing by measuring with the pencil held parallel to the front faces of the objects instead of at right angles to the directions in which they are seen. The simplest and surest test would be the use of the slate held vertical and parallel to the front faces of the objects.
COMPOSITION means the arrangement of parts to produce a whole, and is good when the effect produced is harmonious and pleasing. Composition is a subject which, according to the views of most artists, cannot be taught. Certainly the beauty and pleasure which are due to the arrangements produced by a master cannot be derived from any formal application of principles, derived from study of the master's work; and those without genius can only hope to produce work which does not violate the common rules of good taste.
This is a subject with which little can be done in the public schools, but those interested in it will do well to read John Burnet's book on painting, and " Elements of Drawing," by Ruskin. From the latter book, the following extracts are taken :
" Composition means, literally and simply, putting several things together, so as to make one thing out of them ; the nature and goodness of which they have all a share in producing. Thus a musician composes an air, by putting notes together in certain relations ; a poet composes a poem by putting thoughts and words in pleasant order ; and a painter a picture, by putting thoughts, forms, and colors in pleasant order."
" In all these cases, observe, an intended unity must be the result of composition. A paver cannot be said to compose the heap of stones which he empties from his cart, nor the sower the handful of seed which he scatters from his hand. It is the essence of composition that everything should be in a determined place, perform an intended part, and act, in that part, advantageously for everything that is connected with it. . . .
" In a well-composed air, no note, however short or low, can be spared. . . . In a good poem, each word and thought enhances the value of those which precede and follow it ; and every syllable has a loveliness which depends not so much on its abstract sound as on its position."
" Much more in a great picture ; every line and color is so arranged as to advantage the rest. None are inessential, however slight ; and none are independent, however forcible. It is not enough that they truly represent natural objects, but they must fit into certain places, and gather in certain harmonious groups ; so that, for instance, the red chimney of a cottage is not merely set in its place as a chimney, but that it may affect, in a certain way pleasurable to the eye, the pieces of green or blue in other parts of the picture ; and we ought to see that the work is masterly, merely by the positions and quantities of these patches of green, red, and blue, even at a distance which renders it perfectly impossible to determine what the colors represent, or to see whether the red is a chimney or an old woman's cloak, and whether the blue is smoke, sky, or water."
" It seems to be appointed, in order to remind us, in all we do, of the great laws of Divine government and human polity, that composition in the arts should strongly affect every order of mind, however unlearned or thoughtless. Hence the popular delight in rhythm and metre, and in simple musical melodies. But it is also appointed that power of composition in the fine arts should be an exclusive attribute of great intellect. All men can more or less copy what they see, and, more or less, remember it. . . . But the gift of composition is not given at all to more than one man in a thousand ; in its highest range, it does not occur above three or four times in a century."
" It follows, from these general truths, that it is impossible to give rules which will enable you to compose. You might much more easily receive rules to enable you to be witty. If it were possible to be witty by rule, wit would cease to be either admirable or amusing; if it were possible to compose melody by rule, Mozart and Cimarosa need not have been born ; if it were possible to compose pictures by rule, Titian and Veronese would be ordinary men, The essence of composition lies precisely in the fact of its being unteachable, in its being the operation of an individual mind of range and power exalted above others."
" But though no one can invent by rule, there are some simple laws of arrangement which it is well for you to know, because, though they will not enable you to produce a good picture, they will often assist you to set forth what goodness may be in your work in a more telling way than you could have done otherwise ; and, by tracing them in the work of good composers, you may better understand the grasp of their imagination, and the power it possesses over their materials."
Mr. Ruskin states the following to be the chief laws governing composition :
First: "The Law of Principality."
Second: "The Law of Repetition."
Third: "The Law of Captivity."
Fourth: " The Law of Curvature."
Fifth: " The Law of Radiation."
Sixth: " The Law of Contrast."
Seventh: "The Law of Interchange."
Eighth: " The Law of Consistency."
Ninth: "The Law of Harmony."
The Law of Principality" deals with the unity of the composition ; "that is, to make out of many things one whole ; the first mode in which this can be effected is, by determining that one feature shall be more important than the rest, and that the others shall group with it."
" The Law of Repetition " concerns the expression of " sympathy among the different objects, and perhaps the pleasantest, because most surprising, kind of sympathy, is when one group imitates or repeats another ; not in the way of balance or symmetry, but subordinately, like a far-away and broken echo of it. .. .
" Symmetry, or the balance of parts or masses in nearly equal opposition, is one of the conditions of treatment under the law of Repetition. . . .
" Symmetry in Nature is, however, never formal nor accurate. She takes the greatest care to secure some difference between the corresponding things or parts of things ; and an approximation to accurate symmetry is only permitted in animals because their motions secure perpetual difference between the balancing parts. . . .
"The Law of Continuity" concerns the "pleasurable way of expressing unity by giving some orderly succession to a number of objects more or less similar. And this succession is most interesting when it is connected with some gradual change in the aspect or character of the objects. . .. If there be no change at all in the shape or size of the objects, there is no continuity ; there is only repetition -- monotony."
" The Law of Curvature " is the law of beauty. " All beautiful objects whatsoever are terminated by delicately curved lines, except where the straight line is indispensable to their use or stability. . . .
"As curves are more beautiful than straight lines, it is necessary to a good composition that its continuities of object, mass, or color should be, if possible, in curves, rather than straight lines or angular ones. . . .
" The Law of Radiation " enforces unison of action in arising from, or proceeding to, some given point. It treats of the harmonious grouping of lines which spring from or are directed to a single point.
" The Law of Contrast." " Of course, the character of everything is best manifested by Contrast. Rest can only be enjoyed after labor ; sound, to be heard clearly, must rise out of silence ; light is exhibited by darkness, darkness by light ; and so on in all things. Now in art every color has an opponent color, which, if brought near it, will relieve it more completely than any other ; so, also, every form and line may be made more striking to the eye by an opponent form or line near them ; a curved line is set off by a straight one, a massy form by a slight one, and so on ; and in all good work, nearly double the value, which any given color or form would have uncombined, is given to each by contrast.
" In this case again, however, a too manifest use of the artifice vulgarises a picture. Great painters do not commonly, or very visibly, admit violent contrast. They introduce it by stealth and with intermediate links of tender change ; allowing, indeed, the opposition to tell upon the mind as a surprise, but not as a shock."
" The Law of Interchange " concerns the alternation of light and dark and color, by means of which the unity of opposite things is enforced, by giving to each a portion of the character of the other.
" One of the most curious facts which will impress itself upon you, when you have drawn some time carefully from Nature in light and shade, is the appearance of intentional artifice with which contrasts of this alternate kind are produced by her ; the artistry with which she will darken a tree trunk as long as it comes against light sky, and throw sunlight on it precisely at the spot where it comes against a dark hill, and similarly treat all her masses of shade and color, is so great, that if you only follow her closely, every one who looks at your drawing with attention will think that you have been inventing the most artificially and unnaturally delightful interchange of shadow that could possibly be devised by human wit."
"The Law of Consistency" bears principally "on the separate masses or divisions of a picture: the character of the whole composition may be broken or various, if we please, but there must certainly be a tendency to consistent assemblage in its divisions. As an army may act on several points at once, but can only act effectually by having somewhere formed and regular masses, and not wholly by skirmishers ; so a picture may be various in its tendencies, but must be somewhere united and coherent in its masses. Good composers are always associating their colors in great groups ; binding their forms together by encompassing lines, and securing, by various dexterities of expedient, what they themselves call breadth': that is to say, a large gathering of each kind of thing into one place ; light being gathered to light, darkness to darkness, and color to color. If, however, this be done by introducing false lights or false colors, it is absurd and monstrous ; the skill of a painter consists in obtaining breadth by rational arrangement of his objects, not by forced or wanton treatment of them. . . . Generally speaking, however, breadth will result in sufficient degree from fidelity of study : Nature is always broad ; and if you paint her colors in true relations, you will paint them in majestic masses. If you find your work look broken and scattered, it is, in all probability, not only ill 'composed, but untrue."
* 1 This sentence probably means that those not students of nature will think true studies "artificial and unnatural,"
" The Law of Harmony." " There are all kinds of harmonies in a picture, according to its mode of production. There is even a harmony of touch. If you paint one part of it very rapidly and forcibly, and another part slowly and delicately, each division of the picture may be right separately, but they will not agree together: the whole will be effectless and valueless, out of harmony. Similarly, if you paint one part of it by a yellow light in a warm day, and another by a gray light in a cold day, though both may have been sunlight, and both may be well toned, and have their relative shadows truly cast, neither will look like light : they will destroy each other's power, by being out of harmony. These are only broad and definable instances of discordance ; but there is an extent of harmony in all good work much too subtle for definition ; depending on the draughtsman's carrying everything he draws up to just the balancing and harmonious point, in finish, and color, and depth of tone, and intensity of moral feeling, and style of touch, all considered at once ; and never allowing himself to lean too emphatically on detached parts, or exalt one thing at the expense of another, or feel acutely in one place and coldly in another."
The chapter from which these notes are taken is most interesting. Throughout Ruskin's works there are the most valuable and modern ideas on art, in even its most recent phase of impressionism. It is difficult to reconcile 'these views, which have so recently become somewhat generally understood, with other statements by Ruskin, which are of an entirely different nature, and which, carried out, will tend to produce no more artistic work than the paintings done by Ruskin himself. Seeing these paintings, it is difficult to believe that the theories underlying the luminous and bright paintings of to-day are not due much more to Turner, who is admitted to be one of the first impressionists, than they are to Ruskin, who, as his friend, must have received from him inspiration for much that is good in his writings.
The following paragraphs on Composition are taken from John Burnet's book on Painting :
" Composition is the art of arranging figures or objects, so as to adapt them to any particular subject. In composition, four requisites are necessary:--that the story be well told ; that it possess a good general form ; that it be so arranged as to be capable of receiving a proper effect of light and shade ; and that it be susceptible of an agreeable disposition of color. The form of a composition is best suggested by the subject or design, as the fitness of the adaptation ought to appear to emanate from the circumstances themselves ; hence the variety of compositions.
"To secure a good general form in composition, it is necessary that it should be as simple as possible. A confused, complicated form may hide the art, but can never invite the attention. Whether this is to be produced by a breadth of light and shade, which is often the case with Rembrandt, even on a most complicated outline, or by the simple arrangement of color, as we often find in Titian or Raffaelle's works, must depend upon the state a of the artist. It is sufficient to direct the younger students to this particular, their minds being generally carried away by notions of variety and contrast.
" As I have made use of the terms beautiful and agreeable arrangements,' it is proper to give an explanation of the sense in which they are applied. By a beautiful arrangement, I mean a proper adaptation of those principles that arrest a common observer, and give a pleasurable sensation, which to a cultivated mind increases (not diminishes) by the investigation of the cause which produces it. For example, a beautiful appearance in nature affects the savage and the philosopher from their sensations merely as men; but a painter, whose life is spent in a constant competition with nature in producing the same effects, receives a tenfold gratification in following her through those assemblages which to the world beside are, as it were, a fountain sealed and a book shut up.' Hence, in art, a beautiful arrangement must be a selection of those forms, lights, and colors that produce a similar result ; and the taste of an artist is shown in heightening their effect by the absence of those circumstances which are found by experience to produce the contrary. Did an investigation of the means pursued by the great masters tend to abridge an artist's pleasurable sensations, instead of being the most favored, he would be rendered the most miserable
of beings; but the opposite is the case, as by such means he is taught an.
alphabet that enables him to understand the language of nature. It may be - supposed, that in my search after so desirable an object, I have perused all the works written to define Beauty and Taste, and which endeavor to circumscribe with a line that endless variety and omnipresence which make nature a source of gratification to all natures under every alteration of the mind; but as I wish to avoid all controversy on the subject, which we often find merely renders the most sublime truths more obscure, I shall only remark that, as far as painting is concerned, the authors of many of these works have done an irreparable injury. Artists generally prefer the opinions of untutored children to the remarks of the most learned philosophers, whose advancement in other sciences really seems to increase their ignorance of this. If I have explained my definition of the terms sufficiently for the artist's comprehension, I am satisfied. To explain them to others, would be as equally impossible as that those others should define them to us. The mind must have received its education through the medium of the eye, not of the ear, to enjoy the faculty of conceiving such ideas, or the power of tracing them to their original source in nature, or in art, as a test of their truth."
The following paragraphs on Composition are taken from Sir Joshua Reynold's Work:
" To apply these general observations, which belong equally to all arts, to ours in particular. In a composition, when the objects are scattered and divided into many equal parts, the eye is perplexed and fatigued, from not knowing where to find the principal action, or which is the principal figure; for where all are making equal pretensions to notice, all are in equal danger of neglect.
"The expression which is used very often, on these occasions is, the piece wants repose; a word which perfectly expresses a relief of the mind from that state of hurry and anxiety which it suffers, when looking at a work of this character.
" On the other hand absolute unity, that is, a large work, consisting of one group or mass of light only, would be as defective as an heroic poem without episode, or any collateral incidents to recreate the mind with that variety which it always requires.
" It is given as a rule by Fresnoy, That the principal figure of a subject must appear in the midst of the picture, under the principal light, to distinguish it from the rest. A painter who should think himself obliged strictly to follow this rule, would encumber himself with needless difficulties; he would be confined to great uniformity of composition and be deprived of many beauties which are incompatible with its observance. The meaning of this rule extends, or ought to extend, no further than this ; -- That the principal figure should be immediately distinguished at the first glance of the eye; but there is no necessity that the principal light should fall on the principal figure, or that the principal figure should be in the middle of the picture. It is sufficient that it be distinguished by its place, or by the attention of other figures pointing it out to the spectator. So far is this rule from being indispensable, that it is very seldom practiced, other considerations of greater consequence often standing in the way. Examples in opposition to this rule, are found in the Cartoons, in Christ's Charge to Peter, the Preaching of St. Paul, and Elymas the Sorcerer, who is undoubtedly the principal object in that picture. In none of these compositions is the principal figure in the middle of the picture. In the very admirable composition of the Tent of Darius, by LeBrun, Alexander is not in the middle of the picture, nor does the principal light fall on him; but the attention of all the other figures immediately distinguishes him, and distinguishes him more properly; the greatest light falls on the daughter of Darius, who is in the middle of the picture, where it is more necessary the principal light should be placed."
" Having gone thus far in our investigation of the great style in painting, --if we now should suppose that the artist has found the true idea of beauty, which enables him to give his works a correct and perfect design, -- if we should suppose, also, that he has acquired a knowledge of the unadulterated habits of Nature, which gives him simplicity, -- the rest of his task is, perhaps, less than is generally imagined. Beauty and simplicity have so great a share in the composition of a great style, that he who has acquired them has little else to learn. It must not, indeed, be forgotten, that there is a nobleness of conception, which goes beyond anything in the mere exhibition even of perfect form ; there is an art of animating and dignifying the figures with intellectual grandeur, of impressing the appearance of philosophic wisdom, or heroic virtue. This can only be acquired by him who enlarges the sphere of his understanding by a variety of knowledge, and varies his imagination with the best productions of ancient and modern poetry.
" A hand thus exercised, and a mind thus instructed, will bring the Art • to a higher degree of excellence than perhaps it has hitherto attained in this country. Such a student will disdain the humbler walks of painting, which, however profitable, can never assure him a permanent reputation. He will leave the meaner Artist servilely to suppose that those are the best pictures which are most likely to deceive the spectator. He will permit the lower
painter, like the florist or collector of shells, to exhibit the minute discriminations, which distinguish one object of the same species from another ; while he, like the philosopher, will consider Nature in the abstract, and represent in every one of his figures the character of its species.
" If deceiving the eye were the only business of the Art, there is no doubt, indeed, but the minute painter would be more apt to succeed ; but it is not the eye, it is the mind which the painter of genius desires to address ; nor will he waste a moment upon those smaller objects which only serve to catch the sense, to divide the attention, and to counteract his great design of speaking to the heart.
" This is the ambition which I wish to excite in your minds ; and the object I have had in my view throughout this discourse, is that one great idea which gives to painting its true dignity, which entitles it to the name of a Liberal Art, and makes it a sister of poetry."
The preceding pages present the principles underlying the arrangement of a work of art. Those who wish to study the application of these principles should read Burnet's book, which is one of the most valuable, and covers all the subjects relating to painting.
The impossibility of teaching composition, and especially in the public schools, has been shown. Though little can be done, the subject should not be wholly neglected. The most valuable education in it will be given by study of the works of the best masters, which should be placed in every schoolroom where they can be seen by all the pupils. These works will exert an influence for good upon all.
The principles explained apply not only to the arrangement of pictures, but to the simple subjects which are suitable for study in the public schools ; and a proper arrangement of these objects is so simple that the principles will be readily applied by those who are not artists, or trained to perceive the finest sensations.
The result of all study of this subject will be to enforce the necessity of simplicity and breadth in form, in light and shade, and in color. There must be a point of principal interest, a point to which all others are subordinate, and the drawing or picture must explain itself at a glance.
In the lower grades when pupils draw from a single object, they must place the drawing in a pleasing manner upon the paper, and make it the size which will produce the best effect. Many pupils will make a minute drawing, and place it in one corner of the sheet ; others will make a drawing which extends to the edges of the paper, and often should go beyond the edge in one or two directions. But few will make the drawing the best size, or place it properly.
A common mistake is to place the drawing very near the lower edge of the paper. The effect produced by this is very unpleasant, for the drawing should have as much space below it as above, and often more. Without this space the perspective effect is destroyed. Teachers must insist that the blocking-in lines be drawn so as to give a drawing of the best size for the paper, and well placed upon it.
When two or more objects are placed together, there is the question of their choice and arrangement. From what has been said, it will be seen that objects which are entirely unrelated cannot be arranged to convey an idea. Objects should be arranged so as not to produce a scattered and spotty effect, and they should not be of the same size or shape ; one object should be important through size, and color, and position. They should be arranged so as to avoid the monotony due to long and absolutely unbroken lines, and the principal object should not be placed exactly in the centre of the page. It is better to have simple backgrounds, to concentrate the objects and keep them one side of the centre, than to cover the background equally by the objects. An odd number of objects is better than an even, and they should be arranged so that there shall be one principal high light and at least two secondary lights in the group. The effect of light and dark must be simple and produced by masses of light in contrast with masses of dark. Groups should be arranged so that the foregrounds appear lighter than the backgrounds.
Burnet divides composition into two classes, angular and circular. In angular, the objects are arranged so that the important lines form a mass whose general shape is triangular. In circular, the important lines are circular or elliptical. A subject should always be composed so as to come under one class or the other. The angular form is the most simple for groups of still life, and is usually adopted for these subjects. The illustrations show the triangular form.
The following extracts from Sir Joshua Reynolds' Discourses are given on account of their special value in connection with the subject of this book and chapter :
" There is another caution which I wish to give you. Be as select in those whom you endeavor to please, as in those whom you endeavor to imitate. Without the love of fame, you can never do anything excellent ; but by an excessive and undistinguishing thirst after it, you will come to have vulgar views ; you will degrade your style ; and your taste will be entirely corrupted. It is certain that the lowest style will be the most popular, as it falls within the compass of ignorance itself ; and the vulgar will always be pleased with what is natural, in the confined and misunderstood sense of the word."
" Whoever would reform a nation, supposing a bad taste to prevail in it, will not accomplish his purpose by going directly against the stream of their prejudices. Men's minds must be prepared to receive what is new to them. Reformation is a work of time. A national taste, however wrong it may be, cannot be totally changed at once ; we must yield a little to the prepossession which has taken hold on the mind, and we may then bring people to adopt what would offend them, if endeavored to be introduced by violence."
" Treatises on education and methods of study have always appeared to me to have one general fault. They proceed upon a false supposition of
life ; as if we possessed not only a power over events and circumstances, but had a greater power over ourselves than I believe any of us will be found to possess. Instead of supposing ourselves to be perfect patterns of wisdom and virtue, it seems to me more reasonable to treat ourselves (as I am sure we must now and then treat others) like humorsome children, whose fancies are often to be indulged in order to keep them in good humor with themselves and their pursuits."
" I must beg leave to submit one thing to the consideration of the visitors, which appears to me a matter of very great consequence, and the omission of which I think a principal defect in the method of education pursued in all the academies I have ever visited. The error I mean is, that the students never draw exactly from the living models which they have before them. It is not, indeed, their intention ; nor are they directed to do it. Their drawings resemble the model only in the attitude. They change the form according to their vague and uncertain ideas of beauty, and make a drawing rather of what they think the figure ought to be, than of what it appears. I have thought this the obstacle that has stopped the progress of many young men of real genius ; and I very much question whether a habit of drawing correctly what we see, will not give a proportionable power of drawing exactly what we imagine. He who endeavors to copy nicely the figure before him, not only acquires a habit of exactness and precision, but is continually advancing in his knowledge of the human figure ; and though he seems to superficial observers to make a slower progress, he will be found at last capable of adding (without running into capricious wildness) that grace and beauty, which is necessary to be given to his more finished works, and which cannot be got by the moderns, as it was not acquired by the ancients, but by an attentive and well-compared study of the human form."
" However, I would not be understood to extend this doctrine to the younger students. The first part of the life of a student, like that of other school boys, must necessarily be a life of restraint. The grammar, the rudiments, however unpalatable, must at all events be mastered. After a habit is acquired of drawing correctly- from the model (whatever it may be) which he has before him, the rest, I think, may be safely left to chance; always supposing that the student is employed, and that his studies are directed to the proper object."
" The properties of all objects, so far as a painter is concerned with them are, the outline or drawing, the color, and the light and shade. The drawing gives the forms ; the color, visible quality ; and the light and shade, its solidity.
" Excellence in any one of these parts of art will never be acquired by an artist, unless he has the habit of looking upon objects at large, and observing the effect which they have on the eye when it is dilated, and employed upon the whole, without seeing any of the parts distinctly. It is by this that we obtain the ruling characteristic, and that we learn to imitate it by short and dexterous methods. I do not mean by dexterity, a trick, or mechanical habit,_ formed by guess and established by custom; but that science which, by a profound knowledge of ends and means, discovers the shortest and surest way to its own purpose.
" If we examine with a critical view the manner of those painters whom we consider as patterns, we shall find that their great fame does not proceed from their works being more highly finished than those of other artists, or from a more minute attention to details, but from that enlarged comprehension which sees the whole object at once, and that energy of art which gives its characteristic effect by adequate expression."
" It is not uncommon to meet with artists who, from a long neglect of cultivating this intimacy with Nature, do not even know her when they see her; she appearing a stranger to them, from their being so habituated to their own representation of her. I have heard painters acknowledge, though in that acknowledgment no degradation of themselves was intended, that they could do better without. Nature than with her; or, as they expressed it themselves, that it only put them out. A painter, with such ideas and such habits, is indeed in a most hopeless state. The art of seeing Nature, or, in other words, the art of using models, is in reality the great object, the point to which all our studies are directed. As for the power of being able to do tolerably well, from practice alone, let it be valued according to its worth. But I do not see in what manner it can be sufficient for the production of correct, excellent, and finished pictures. Works deserving this character never were produced, nor ever will arise, from memory alone; and I will venture to say, that an artist who brings to his work a mind tolerably furnished with the general principles of art, and a taste formed upon the works of good artists, in short, who knows in what excellence consists, will, with the assistance of models, which we will likewise suppose he has learned the art of using, be an over-match for the greatest painter that ever lived who should be debarred such advantages."
" What grace is, how it is acquired or conceived, are in speculation difficult questions: but causa latet, res est notissima : without any perplexing inquiry; the effect is hourly perceived. I shall only observe, that its natural foundation is correctness of design; and though grace may be sometimes united with incorrectness, it cannot proceed from it."
"These observations may lead to very deep questions, which I do not mean here to discuss; among others, it may lead to an inquiry, why we are not always pleased with the most absolute possible resemblance of an imitation to its original object. Cases may exist in which such a resemblance may be even disagreeable. I shall only observe, that the effect of figures in wax-work, though certainly a more correct representation than can be given by painting or sculpture, is a sufficient proof that the pleasure we receive from imitation is not increased merely in proportion as it approaches to minute and detailed reality; we are pleased, on the contrary, by seeing ends accomplished by apparently inadequate means."
" I should be sorry, if what is here recommended should be at all understood to countenance a careless or undetermined manner of painting. For though the painter is to overlook the accidental discriminations of Nature, he is to exhibit distinctly, and with precision, the general forms of the great style in painting; and let me add, that he who possesses the knowledge of the exact form which every part of Nature ought to have, will be fond of expressing that knowledge with correctness and precision in all his works."