FACE PAINTING (n.)
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
Titian was the best Colourer, perhaps, that ever was ; he Designed likewise very well, but not very exactly ; the Airs of his Heads for Women and Children are admirable, and his Drapery loose and noble ; his Portraits are all Master-pieces, no man having ever carried Face-Painting so far ; the Persons that he has drawn having all the Life and Spirit as if they were alive ;
What is properly the Colouring of a Piece of Painting ?
It is the Art of employing the Colours proper to the Subject, with a regard to the Lights and Shadows that are incident to the Story, either according to the Truth of it, or to the Painter’s Invention : [...] As for Face-Painting alone, it is to be manage another way, for there you must do precisely what Nature shows you.
’Tis true, that Beautiful Colours may be employed, but they must be such as make not your Piece like a Picture, rather than like Nature it self ; and particularly, you must observe to express the true Temper as well as the true Phisionomy of the Persoms that are Drawn ; for it would be very absurd to give a Smiling, Airy Countenance to a Melancholly Person ; or, to make a Young, Lively Woman, Heavy and Grave. ’Tis said of Apelles, that he expressed the Countenance and true Air of the Persons he Drew, to so great a degree, that several Physionomists did predict Events upon his Pictures to the Persons Drawn by him, and that with true Success. If after that, you can give your Picture a great Relievo, and make your Colours Represent the true Vivacity of Nature, you have done your Work as to that part of Painting, which is no small one, being, next to History, the most difficult to obtain ; for though there be but little Invention required, yet ‘tis necessary to have a Solid Judgment and Lively Fancy.
To be a good Face-Painter, a degree of the Historical, and Poetical Genius is requisite, and a great Measure of the other Talents, and Advantages which a good History-Painter must possess : Nay some of them, particularly Colouring, he ought to have in greater Perfection than is absolutely necessary for a History-Painter.
‘Tis not enough to make a Tame, Insipid Resemblance of the Features, so that every body shall know who the Picture was intended for, nor even to make the Picture what is often said to be prodigious Like : (This is often done by the lowest of Face-Painters, but then ‘tis ever with the Air of a Fool, and an Unbred Person ;) A Portrait-Painter must understand Mankind, and enter into their Characters, and express their Minds as well as their Faces : And as his Business is chiefly with People of Condition, he must Think as a Gentleman, and a Man of Sense, or ‘twill be impossible to give Such their True, and Proper Resemblances.
But if a Painter of this kind is not oblig’d to take in such a compass of Knowledge as he that paints History, and that the Latter upon Some accounts is the nobler Employment, upon Others the Preference is due to Face-Painting ;