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
And thus too it is seen that Drawings (generally speaking) are Preferrable to Paintings, as having those Qualities which are most Excellent in a Higher Degree than Paintings generally have, or can possibly have, and the Others (excepting only Colouring) Equally with them. There is a Grace, a Delicacy, a Spirit in Drawings which when the Master attempts to give in Colours is commonly much diminish’d, both as being a sort of Coppying from those First Thoughts, and because the Nature of the Thing admits of no better.
What is Beautiful, and Excellent is naturally adapted to Please ; but all Beauties, and Excellencies are not naturally Seen. Most Gentlemen see Pictures, and Drawings as the Generality of People see the Heavens in a Clear, Starry Night, they perceive a sort of Beauty there, but such a one as produces no great Pleasure in the Mind : But when one considers the Heavenly Bodies as other Worlds, and that there are an Infinite Number of these in the Empire of God, Immensity ; and Worlds which our Eyes assisted by the best Glasses can never reach, and so far removed from the most distant of what we see (which yet are so far removed from us that when we consider it our Minds are fill’d with Astonishment) that These Visible ones are as it were our Neighbours, as the Continent of France is to Great Britain ; When one considers farther, That as there Inhabitants on this Continent tho’ we see them not when we see That, ‘tis altogether unreasonable to Imagine that those Innumerable Words are Uninhabited, and Desart ; there must be Beings There, Some perhaps More, Others Less Noble, and Excellent than Men : When one Thus views this Vast Prospect, the Mind is Otherwise affected than Before, and feels a Delight which Common Notions never can administer. So those who at Present cannot comprehend there can be such Pleasure in a good Picture, or Drawing as Connoisseurs pretend to find, may Learn to see the same thing in Themselves, their Eyes being once open’d ‘tis like a New Sense, and New Pleasures flow in as often as the Objects of that Superinduc’d Sight present themselves, which (to People of Condition Especially) very frequently happens, or may be procur’d, whether Here at Home, or in their Travels Abroad. When a Gentleman has learn’d to see the Beauties and Excellencies that are really in good Pictures, and Drawings, and which may be learnt by conversing with Such, and applying himself to the consideration of them, he will look upon That with Joy which he Now passes over with very little Pleasure, if not with Indifference : Nay a Sketch, a Scrabble of the Hand of a Great Master will be capable of administering to him a Greater Degree of Pleasure than those who know it not by Experience will easily believe. Besides the Graceful, and Noble Attitudes, the Beauty of Colours, and forms, and the fine Effects of Light, and Shadow, which none sees as a Connoisseur does, Such a one enters farther than any other Can into the Beauties of the Invention, Expression, and other Parts of the Work he is considering : He sees Strokes of Art, Contrivances, Expedients, a Delicacy, and Spirit that others see not, or very Imperfectly.
He [ndr : un peintre] must not only have a nice Judgment to distinguish betwixt things nearly Resembling one another, but not the same […], but he must moreover have the same Delicacy in his Eyes to judge of the Tincts of Colours which are of infinite Variety ; and to distinguish whether a Line be streight, or curv’d a little ; whether This is exactly parallel to That, or oblique, and in what degree ; how This curv’d Line differs from That, if it differs at all, of which he must also judge ; whether what he has drawn is of the same Magnitude with what he pretends to imitate, and the like ;
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.