TERM USED AS TRANSLATIONS IN QUOTATIONBEAU (fra.)
TERM USED IN EARLY TRANSLATIONSADMIRABLE (fra.)
AGLIONBY, William, Painting Illustrated in Three Diallogues. Containing some Choice Observations upon the Art. Together with The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters From Cimabue, to the time of Raphael and Michael Angelo. With an Explanation of the Difficult Terms, London, John Gain, 1685.2 quotations
Though Nature be the Rule, yet Art has the Priviledge of Perfecting it ; for you must know that there are few Objects made naturally so entirely Beautiful as they might be, no one Man or Woman possesses all the Advantages of Feature, Proportion and Colour due to each Sence. Therefore the Antients, when they had any Great Work to do, upon which they would Value themselves did use to take several of the Beautifullest Objects they designed to Paint, and out of each of them, Draw what was most Perfect to make up One exquisite Figure ; Thus Zeuxis being imployed by the Inhabitants of Crotona, a City of Calabria, to make for their Temple of Juno, a Female Figure, Naked ; He desired the Liberty of seeing their Hansomest Virgins, out of whom he chose Five, from whose several Excellencies he fram’d a most Perfect Figure, both in Features, Shape and Colouring, calling it Helena.
The next thing to be considered in an Historical Piece, is the Truth of the Drawings, and the Correction of the Design, as Painters call it ; that is, whether they have chosen to imitate Nature in her most Beautiful Part ; for though a Painter be the Copist of Nature, Yet he must not take her promiscuously, as he finds her, but have an Idea of all that is Fine and Beautiful in an Object, and choose to Represent that, as the Antients have done so admirably in their Paintings and Statues : And ’tis in this part that most of the Flemish Painters, even Rubens himself, have miscarryed, by making an ill Choice of Nature ; either because the Beautiful Natural is not the Product of their Countrey, or because they have not seen the Antique, which is the Correction of Nature by Art ; for we may truly say that the Antique is but the best of Nature ; and therefore all that resembles the Antique, will carry that Character along with it.
I remember, you reckoned it to me among the Faults of some Painters, that they had studied too long upon the Statues of the Antients ; and that they had indeed thereby acquired the Correction of Design you speak of ; but they had by the same means lost that Vivacity and Life which is in Nature, and which is the true Grace of Painting.
’Tis very true, that a Painter may fall into that Error, by giving himself up too much to the Antique ; therefore he must know, that his Profession is not tyed up to that exact Imitation of it as the Sculptor’s is, who must never depart from that exact Regularity of Proportion which the Antients have settled in their Statues ; but Painters Figures must be such as may seem rather to have been Models for the Antique, than drawn from it ; and a Painter that never has studied it at all, will never arrive at that as Raphael, and the best of the Lombard Painters have done ; who seem to have made no other Use of the Antique, than by that means to choose the most Beautiful of Nature.
RICHARDSON, Jonathan, Two Discourses. I. An Essay on the whole Art of Criticism as it relates to Painting. Shewing how to judge I. Of the Goodness of a Picture ; II. Of the Hand of the Master ; and III. Whether ‘tis an Original, or a Copy. II. An Argument in behalf of the Science of a Connoisseur ; Wherein is shewn the Dignity, Certainty, Pleasure, and Advantage of it. Both by Mr. Richardson, London, W. Churchill, 1719.3 quotations
However I will here make him [ndr : au lecteur] an Offer of an Abstract of what I take to be those by which a Painter, or Connoisseur, may safely conduct himself, [...] V. The Colouring whether Gay, or Solid, must be Natural, Beautiful, and Clean, and what the Eye is delighted with, in Shaddows as well as Lights, and Middle Tints.
The Tout-ensemble of the Colouring [ndr : dans le portrait de la comtesse Dowager of Exeter, par Van Dyck] is Extreamly Beautiful ; ‘tis Solemn, but Warm, Mellow, Clean, and Natural ; the Flesh, which is exquisitely good, especially the Face, the Black Habit, the Linnen and Cushion, the Chair of the Crimson Velvet, and the Gold Flower’d Curtain mixt with a little Crimson have an Admirable effect, and would be Perfect were there a Middle Tinct amongst the Black.
The Composition is unexceptionable [ndr : dans Poussin, Tancrède et Herminie] : There are innumerable Instances of Beautiful Contrasts ; Of this kind are the several Characters of the Persons, (all which are Excellent in their several kinds) and the several Habits : Tancred is half Naked : Erminia’s Sex distinguishes Her from all the rest ; as Vafrino’s Armour, and Helmet shews Him to be Inferiour to Tancred, (His lying by him) and Argante’s Armour differs from both of them. The various positions of the Limbs in all the Figures are also finely Contrasted, and altogether have a lovely effect ; Nor did I ever see a greater Harmony, nor more Art to produce it in any Picture of what Master soever, whether as to the Easy Gradation from the Principal, to the Subordinate Parts, the Connection of one with another, by the degrees of the Lights, and Shadows, and the Tincts of the Colours.
And These too are Good throughout ; They are not Glaring, as the Subject, and the Time of the Story (which was after Sun-set) requires : Nor is the Colouring like that of Titian, Corregio, Rubens, or those fine Colourists, But ‘tis Warm, and Mellow, ‘tis Agreeable, and of a Taste which none but a Great Man could fall into : And without considering it as a Story, or the Imitation of any thing in Nature the Tout-ensemble of the Colours is a Beautiful, and Delightful Object.
As the Tout-ensemble of a Picture must be Beautiful in its Masses, so must it be as to its Colours. And as what is Principal must be (Generally speaking) the most Conspicuous, the Predominant Colours of That should be diffus’d throughout the Whole. This Rafaëlle has observ’d remarkably in the Carton of S. Paul Preaching ; His Drapery is Red, and Green, and These Colours are scatterr’d every where ; but Judiciously ; for Subordinate Colours as well as Subordinate Lights serve to Soften, and Support the Principal ones, which Otherwise would appear as Spots, and consequently be Offensive.