POPE, Alexander ( 1688-1744 )

POPE, Alexander ( 1688-1744 )

ISNI:0000000120962432 Getty:500012781

Quotation

I am sorry the Great, and Principal End of the Art has hitherto been so little Consider’d ; I don’t mean by Gentlemen only, or by Low, Pretended Connoisseurs, But by those who ought to have gone higher, and to have Taught Others to have Followed them. ‘tis no Wonder if many who are accustom’d to Think Superficially look on Pictures as they would on a Piece of Rich Hangings ; Or if such as These, (and some Painters among the rest) fix upon the Pencil, the Colouring, or perhaps the Drawing, and some little Circumstantial Parts in the Picture, or even the just Representation of common Nature, without penetrating into the Idea of the Painter, and the Beauties of the History, or Fable. I say ‘tis no wonder if this so frequently happens when those whether Ancients or Moderns, who have wrote of Painting, in describing the Works of Painters in their Lives, or on other occasions have very rarely done any more ; Or in order to give us a Great Idea of some of the Best Painters have told us such Silly Stories as that of the Curtain of Parrhasius which deceiv’d Zeuxis, of the small lines one upon the other in the Contention between Apelles and Protogenes, (as I remember, ‘tis no matter of whom the Story goes) of the Circle of Giotto, and such like ; Trifles, which if a Man were never so expert at without going many degrees higher he would not be worthy the name of a Painter, much less of being remembred by Posterity with Honour.
‘tis true there are some Kinds of Pictures which can do no more than Please, as ‘tis the Case of some Kinds of Writings ; but one may as well say a Library is only for Ornament, and Ostentation as a Collection of Pictures, or Drawings. If That is the Only End, I am sure ‘tis not from any Defect in the Nature of the Things themselves.
I repeat it again, and would inculcate it, Painting is a fine piece of Workmanship ; ‘tis a Beautiful Ornament, and as such gives us Pleasure ; But over and above this We PAINTERS are upon the Level with Writers, as being Poets, Historians, Philosophers and Divines, we Entertain, and Instruct equally with Them.
This is true and manifest beyond dispute whatever Mens Notions have been ;

To wake the Soul by tender Strokes of Art,
To raise the Genius, and to mend the Heart.

Mr. Pope.

is the business of Painting as well as of Tragedy.

Quotation

I am sorry the Great, and Principal End of the Art has hitherto been so little Consider’d ; I don’t mean by Gentlemen only, or by Low, Pretended Connoisseurs, But by those who ought to have gone higher, and to have Taught Others to have Followed them. ‘tis no Wonder if many who are accustom’d to Think Superficially look on Pictures as they would on a Piece of Rich Hangings ; Or if such as These, (and some Painters among the rest) fix upon the Pencil, the Colouring, or perhaps the Drawing, and some little Circumstantial Parts in the Picture, or even the just Representation of common Nature, without penetrating into the Idea of the Painter, and the Beauties of the History, or Fable. I say ‘tis no wonder if this so frequently happens when those whether Ancients or Moderns, who have wrote of Painting, in describing the Works of Painters in their Lives, or on other occasions have very rarely done any more ; Or in order to give us a Great Idea of some of the Best Painters have told us such Silly Stories as that of the Curtain of Parrhasius which deceiv’d Zeuxis, of the small lines one upon the other in the Contention between Apelles and Protogenes, (as I remember, ‘tis no matter of whom the Story goes) of the Circle of Giotto, and such like ; Trifles, which if a Man were never so expert at without going many degrees higher he would not be worthy the name of a Painter, much less of being remembred by Posterity with Honour.
‘tis true there are some Kinds of Pictures which can do no more than Please, as ‘tis the Case of some Kinds of Writings ; but one may as well say a Library is only for Ornament, and Ostentation as a Collection of Pictures, or Drawings. If That is the Only End, I am sure ‘tis not from any Defect in the Nature of the Things themselves.
I repeat it again, and would inculcate it, Painting is a fine piece of Workmanship ; ‘tis a Beautiful Ornament, and as such gives us Pleasure ; But over and above this We PAINTERS are upon the Level with Writers, as being Poets, Historians, Philosophers and Divines, we Entertain, and Instruct equally with Them.
This is true and manifest beyond dispute whatever Mens Notions have been ;

To wake the Soul by tender Strokes of Art,
To raise the Genius, and to mend the Heart.

Mr. Pope.

is the business of Painting as well as of Tragedy.