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
And notwithstanding the Defects I have taken the Liberty to remark with the same Indifferency as I have observed the Beauties, that is, without the least regard to the Great Name of the Master, There is a Grace throughout that Charms, and a Greatness that Commands Respect [ndr : dans le portrait de la comtesse Dowager d’Exeter, par Van Dyck]; She appears at first Sight to be a Well-bred Woman of Quality ; ‘tis in her Face, and in her Mien ; and as her Dress, Ornaments, and Furniture contribute something to the Greatness, the Gause Veil coming over her Forehead, and the Hem of it hiding a Defect (which was want of Eye-brows,) is a fine Artifice to give more Grace. This Grace, and Greatness is not that of Raffaelle, or the Antique but ‘tis what is suitable to a Portrait ; and one of Her Age, and Character, and consequently better than if she had appear’d with the Grace of a Venus, or Helena, or the Majesty of a Minerva, or Semiramis.
There are an Infinity of Artifices to Hide Defects, or Give Advantages, which come under this Head of Invention ; as does all Caprices, Grotesque, and other Ornaments, Masks, &c. together with all Uncommon, and Delicate Thoughts : such as the Cherubims attending on God when he appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush, which Rafaëlle has painted with Flames about them instead of Wings ;
Sometimes one Mass of Light is upon a dark Ground, and then the Extremities of the Light must not be too near the edges of the Picture, and its greatest Strength must be towards the Centre ; […].
I have a Painting of the Holy Family by Rubens of this Structure ; where, because the Mass of Light in one part would else have gone off too abruptly, and have made a less pleasing Figure, he has set the Foot of S. Elizabeth on a little Stool ; here the Light catches, and spreads the Mass so as to have the desired effect. Such another Artifice Rafaëlle has used in a Madonna, […] ; He has brought in a kind of an Ornament to a Chair for no other end (that I can imagine) but to form the Mass agreeably.
PONTIUS, Paulus, Jésus-Christ en croix, dit aussi « au coup de poing », d'après Rubens, v. 1631, 60,5 x 38, 6, Paris, Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Paris, GDUT8222.
VORSTERMAN, Lucas, Descente de la croix d'après Rubens, v. 1620, 58,5 x 42,5, Paris, Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Paris, GDUT8226.