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
After the Death of Raphael and his Schollars (for, as for Michael Angelo he made no School) Painting seemed to be Decaying ; and for some Years, there was hardly a Master of any Repute all over Italy. The two best at Rome were Joseph Arpino and Michael Angelo da Caravaggio, but both guilty of great Mistakes in their Art : the first followed purely his Fancy, or rather Humour, which was neither founded upon Nature nor Art, but had for Ground a certain Practical, Fantastical Idea which he had framed to himself. The other was a pure Naturalist, Copying Nature without distinction or discretion ; he understood little of Composition or Decorum, but was an admirable Colourer.
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, 1719.2 quotations
The Composition is unexceptionable [ndr : dans Poussin, Tancrède et Herminie] : There are innumerable Instances of Beautiful Contrasts ; Of this kind are the several Characters of the Persons, (all which are Excellent in their several kinds) and the several Habits : Tancred is half Naked : Erminia’s Sex distinguishes Her from all the rest ; as Vafrino’s Armour, and Helmet shews Him to be Inferiour to Tancred, (His lying by him) and Argante’s Armour differs from both of them. The various positions of the Limbs in all the Figures are also finely Contrasted, and altogether have a lovely effect ; Nor did I ever see a greater Harmony, nor more Art to produce it in any Picture of what Master soever, whether as to the Easy Gradation from the Principal, to the Subordinate Parts, the Connection of one with another, by the degrees of the Lights, and Shadows, and the Tincts of the Colours.
And These too are Good throughout ; They are not Glaring, as the Subject, and the Time of the Story (which was after Sun-set) requires : Nor is the Colouring like that of Titian, Corregio, Rubens, or those fine Colourists, But ‘tis Warm, and Mellow, ‘tis Agreeable, and of a Taste which none but a Great Man could fall into : And without considering it as a Story, or the Imitation of any thing in Nature the Tout-ensemble of the Colours is a Beautiful, and Delightful Object.
The Painters of the Roman School were the Best Designers, and had more of the Antique Taste in their Works than any of the Others, but generally they were not good Colourists ; Those of Florence were good Designers, and had a Kind of Greatness, but ‘twas not Antique. The Venetian, and Lombard Schools had Excellent Colourists, and a certain Grace but entirely Modern, especially those of Venice ; but their Drawing was generally Incorrect, and their Knowledge in History, and the Antique very little :
The Best that can be done is to Advise one that would know the Beauty of Colouring, To observe Nature, and how the best Colourists have imitated her.
What a Lightness, Thinness, and Transparency ; What a Warmth, Cleanness, and Delicacy is to be seen in Life, and in good Pictures !
He that would be a good Colourist himself must moreover Practice much after, and for a considerable time accustom himself to See well-colour’d Pictures only : But even This will be in vain, unless he has a Good Eye in the Sense, as one is said to have a Good Ear for Musick ; he must not only See well, but have a particular Delicacy with relation to the Beauty of Colours, and the infinite Variety of Tincts.
The Venetian, Lombard and Flemish Schools have excell’d in Colouring ; the Florentine, and Roman in Design ; the Bolognese Masters in both ; but not to the Degree generally as either of the other. Corregio, Titian, Paolo Veronese, Rubens, and Van Dyck, have been admirable Colourists ; the latter in his best things has follow’d common Nature extreamly close.