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
This word Comprehends all the Works of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture that have been made in the Time of the Antient Greeks and Romans, from Alexander the Great, to the Emperour Phocas ; under whom the Goths Ravaged Italy.
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.
SMITH, Marshall, The Art of Painting According to the Theory and Practise of the Best Italian, French, and Germane Masters. Treating of The Antiquity of Painting. The Reputation it allways had. The Characters of severall Masters. Proportion. Action and Passion. The Effects of Light. Perspective. Draught. Colouring. Ordonnance. Far more Compleat and Compendious then hath yet been publisht by any, Ancient or Modern. By M. S. Gent., London, The Vendüe, 1692.1 quotations
Draught is a Physical Line, or Lineal Demonstration ; and hath always some Dimentions, if it be never so slender : and serves to represent Bodys according to their Forms, Aspects and Scituation ; Limiting and Determining the surface of an Object ; and Making out the Several Parts, which are contain’d therein. For no Superficies can Exist, without being Terminated by Lines, Streight, Circular or Mixt.
The Extent of Draught is Immense ; for it is not only concern’d in all the Visible Things in Nature, but in all Things which the Fancy or Imagination can form any Idea of, that can be compris’d under the Figure of Body : nay, so vast is its extent, that it adventures to Dive into the very Soul, and express its Thoughts ; for though Colour is accessary to Expression, yet nothing can be Terminated without Lines.
They that would arrive to the Perfection in the Practick, must dilligently observe these following Rules.
First he must draw by the Hand, Circles, Ovals, &c. Then the several Features of the Face by themselves, [...] then the several Members, [...]. Observing in the Hands and Feet, to draw the upper Lines first then the lower ; [...]. [...] They must Design the Nudity, Model, &c. exactly, without Charging or overburthening any of their Parts ; their being no way to obtain an entire exactness, but by proportioning every part with the first, comparing them exactly, so that we may be at liberty to Strengthen and go over again the Parts as we shall think fit, when we make use of this Design ; as it truly follows and represents the Models whither they be Antique or Natural.
The Ancients possess’d Both the excellent Qualities I have been treating of [ndr : Grace et Greatness], among whom Apelles is distinguish’d for Grace. Rafaëlle was the Modern Apelles, not however without a prodigious Degree of Greatness. His Style is not Perfectly Antique, but seems to be the effect of a Fine Genius accomplish’d by Study in that excellent School ; ‘Tis not Antique, but (may I dare to say it) ‘tis Better, and that by Choice, and Judgment. Giulio Romano had Grace, and Greatness, more upon the Antique Taste, but not without a great Mixture of what is peculiarly his Own, and admirably Good, but never to be imitated. Polydore in his best things was altogether Antique. […] His Style [ndr : de Michel-Ange] is his Own, not Antique, but He had a sort of Greatness in the utmost Degree, which sometimes ran into the Extream of Terrible ;
Instead of making Caricaturaes of Peoples Faces (a Foolish Custom of Burlesquing them, too much used) Painters should take a Face, and make an Antique Medal, or Bas-Relief of it, by divesting it of its Modern Disguises, raising the Air, and the Features, and giving it the Dress of those Times, and suitable to the Character intended.
And here I take the Sublime to be the Greatest, and most Beautiful Ideas, whether Corporeal, or not, convey’d to us the most Advantageously.
By Beauty I do not mean that of Form, or Colour, Copy’d from what the Painter sees ; These being never so well Imitated, I take not to be Sublime, because These require little more than an Eye, and Hand, and Practice. An Exalted Idea of Colour in a Humane Face, or Figure might be judg’d to be Sublime, could That be had, and convey’d to Us, as I think it cannot, since even Nature has not yet been Equall’d by the best Colourists ; Here she keeps Art at a Distance whetever Courtship it has made to her. In Forms ‘tis Otherwise as we find in the Antique Statues, which therefore I allow to have a Sublimity in them : And should do the same in regard to the same Kind, and Degree of Beauty if it were to be found in any Picture, as I believe it is not. Tho’ in Pictures is seen a Grace, and Greatness, whether from the Attitude, or Air of the Whole, or the Head only, that may justly be Esteem’d Sublime.