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, 1719.1 quotations
‘Tis an entertaining thing to the Mind of Man to see a fine piece of Art in Any kind ; and every one is apt to take a sort of Pride in it as being done by one of his Own Species, to whom with respect to the Universe he stands related as to one of the Same Countrey, or the Same Family. Painting affords us a great Variety of This kind of Pleasure in the Delicate, or Bold management of the Pencil ;
But the Handling may be such as to be not only Good abstractedly consider’d, but as being Proper, and adding a real Advantage to the Picture : And then to say a Picture has such, and such good Properties, and is also Well Handled (in that Sense) is as to say a Man is Wise, Virtuous, and the like, and is also Handsome, and perfectly Well bred.
Generally if the Character of the Picture is Greatness, Terrible, or Savage, as Battels, Robberies, Witchcrafts, Apparitions, or even the Portraits of Men of such Characters there ought to be employ’d a Rough, Bold Pencil ; and contrarily, if the Character is Grace, Beauty, Love, Innocence, &c. a Softer Pencil, and more finishing is proper.
There are two Mistakes very common ; One is because a great many good Pictures are very Rough painted People fancy that is a Good Picture that is so. There is Bold Painting, but there is also Impudent Painting. Others on the contrary judge of a Picture not by their Eyes, but by their Fingers ends, they Feel if it be good. Those appear to know little of the true Beauties of the Art, that thus fix upon the least considerable Circumstance of it as if it were All, or the Principal thing to be consider’d.