EXPRESSION OF PASSIONS (expr.)
TERM USED IN EARLY TRANSLATIONSEXPRESSION DES PASSIONS (fra.)
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
Timantes, on the contrary [ndr : Parrhasius vient d’être évoqué], was of a sweet, modest Temper, and was Admirable in the Expression of Passions ; as appear’d by his Famous Picture of the Sacrifice of Iphigenia ; where he drew so many different sorts of Sorrow upon the Faces of the Spectators, according to the Concerns they had in that Tragical Piece of Religion, that being at last come to Represent Agamemnon’s Face, who was Father to the Virgin, he found himself Exhausted, and not able to reach the Excess of Grief that naturally must have been showed in his Countenance upon that Occasion ; and therefore he covered his Face with a part of his Garment ; saving thereby the Honour of his Art , and yet giving some Idea of the greatness of the Father’s Sorrow. His particular Talent lay, in giving more to understand by his Pictures, than was really express’d in them.
This puts me in mind of the moving part of Painting ; which is, the stirring of the Affections of the Spectator by the Expression of the Passions in the Piece ; and methinks this might well be called a part of Painting.
It is Comprehended under that of Invention ; and is indeed the most difficult part of it, as depending intirely upon the Spirit and Genius of the Painter, who can express things no otherwise than as he conceives them, and from thence come the different Manners ;
Every Figure, and Animal must be affected in the Picture as one should suppose they Would, or Ought to be. And all the Expressions of the several Passions, and Sentiments must be made with regard to the Characters of the Persons moved in them. At the Raising of Lazarus, some may be allow’d to be made to hold something before their Noses, and this would be very just, to denote That Circumstance in the Story, the Time he had been dead ; but this is exceedingly improper in the laying our Lord in the Sepulchre, altho’ he had been dead much longer than he was ; however Pordenone has done it.