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
It come from the Italian word Attitudine, and means the posture and action that any Figure is represented in.
There is another Caution to be observed too in this Choice of Forms, which is, to keep a Judicious Aptitude to the Story ; for if the Painter, for Example, is to draw Sampson, he must not give him the Softness and Tenderness he would give to Ganimedes ; nay, there is a difference to be made in the very same Figure at different times : and Hercules himself is to be made more Robust, fighting with Anteus, than when he sits in Dejanira’s Lap. But above all, the Painter must observe an equal Air, so as not to make one part Musculous and Strong, and the other Soft and Tender.
There is another thing to be considered likewise upon the viewing of any Story ; which is, whether the Painter has used that Variety which Nature herself sets us a Pattern for, in not having made any one Face exactly like another, nor hardly any one Shape or Make of either Man or Woman. Therefore the Painter must also vary his Heads, his Bodies, his Aptitudes, and in a word, all the Members of the Humane Body, or else his Piece will Cloy, and Satiate the Eye.
As for the Remainder of what belongs properly to that part called Design ; we must consider if every Figure moves properly ; as, if a Figure be to strike, whether the Arm and all the Body show the vigour of such a Motion ; and the same if he is to Run or Dance ; and therein consists one of the greatest Masteries of the Art, and which requires some Knowledge in Anatomy, that the Muscles be rightly express’d. As for Shortnings, they are things of great Difficulty, and few understand the Beauty of them ; which is, so to cheat the Eye, that a Figure that in reality is not a Foot in length, shall seem to be five or six Foot long ; and this depends upon Opticks, and is most in use in Ceilings and Vaults.