FINISH (TO) (v.)
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, 1685.1 quotations
I have heard Painters blamed for Finishing their Pieces too much : How can that be ?
Very well : For an over Diligence in that kind, may come to make the Picture look too like a Picture, and loose the freedom of Nature. And it was in this, that Protogenes, who was, it may be, Superiour to Apelles, in every part of Painting ; besides, was nevertheless Outdone by him, because Protogenes could hardly ever give over Finishing a Piece. Whereas Apelles knew, when he had wrought so much as would answer the Eye of the Spectator, and preserve the Natural. This the Italians call, Working A la pittoresk, that is Boldly, and according to the first Incitation of a Painters Genius. But this requires a strong Judgment, or else it will appear to the Judicious, meer Dawbing.
But Generally Small Pictures should be Well Wrought.
Jewels, Gold, Silver, and whatsoever has smart Brightness require Bold, Rough Touches of the Pencil in the Heightnings.
The Pencil should be left pretty much in Linen, Silks, and whatsoever has a Glossyness.
All large Pictures, and whatsoever is seen at a great Distance should be Rough ; for besides that ‘twould be loss of Time to a Painter to Finish such things highly, since Distance would hide all that Pains ; those Bold Roughnesses give the Work a greater Force, and keep the Tincts distinct.
The more Remote any thing is supposed to be, the less Finishing it ought to have. I have seen a Fringe to a Curtain in the Back-Ground of a Picture, which perhaps was half a Day in painting, but might have been better done in a Minute.
There is often a Spirit, and Beauty in a Quick, or perhaps an Accidental Management of the Chalk, Pen, Pencil, or Brush in a Drawing, or Painting, which ‘tis impossible to preserve if it be more finish’d ; at least ‘tis great odds but it will be lost : ‘Tis better therefore to incur the Censure of the Injudicious than to hazard the losing such Advantages to the Picture. Apelles comparing himself with Protogenes said, Perhaps he is Equal, if not Superior to me in Some things, but I am sure I Excell him in This : I know when to have done.