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
Some Observations there are about the Number of Figures fit to be employed in an Historical Piece. Hannibal Carrache was of Opinion, that a Piece that contained above twelve Figures, could never be free from Confusion ; and the Reason that he used to give, was ; first, That he thought that no Piece could be well with more than three great Gruppos, or Knots of Figures : And Secondly, That that Silence and Majesty which is necessary in Painting, is lost in that Multitude and Croud of Figures. But if your Subject be such as constrains you to a Multitude, such as the Representation of a Battle, or of the Last Day of Judgement, then you are likewise dispensed from that great Care of Finishing ; but must chiefly study Union, and the disposing of your Lights and Shadows.
Neatness, and high Finishing ; a Light, Bold Pencil ; Gay, and Vivid Colours, Warm, and Sombrous ; Force, and Tenderness, All these are Excellencies when judiciously employ’d, and in Subserviency to the Principal End of the Art ; But they are Beauties of an Inferior Kind even when So employ’d ; they are the Mechanick Parts of Painting, and require no more Genius, or Capacity, than is necessary to, and frequently seen in Ordinary Workmen ; […] ; These properties are in Painting, as Language, Rhime, and Numbers are in Poetry ; and as he that stops at These as at what Constitutes the Goodness of a Poem is a Bad Critick, He is an Ill Connoisseur who has the same Consideration for these Inferious Excellencies in a Picture.