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, 1719.1 quotations
PAINTING is indeed a Difficult Art, productive of Curious pieces of Workmanship, and greatly Ornamental ; and its Business is to represent Nature. Thus far the Common Idea is just ; Only that ‘tis More Difficult, More Curious, and More Beautifull than is Commonly Imagin’d.
‘Tis an entertaining thing to the Mind of Man to see a fine piece of Art in Any kind ; and every one is apt to take a sort of Pride in it as being done by one of his Own Species, to whom with respect to the Universe he stands related as to one of the Same Countrey, or the Same Family. Painting affords us a great Variety of This kind of Pleasure in the Delicate, or Bold management of the Pencil ; in the mixture of its Colours, in the Skilful Contrivance of the several parts of the Picture, and infinite Variety of the Tincts, so as to produce Beauty, and Harmony. This alone gives great Pleasure to those who have learn’d to see these things.
The more Remote any thing is supposed to be, the less Finishing it ought to have. I have seen a Fringe to a Curtain in the Back-Ground of a Picture, which perhaps was half a Day in painting, but might have been better done in a Minute.
There is often a Spirit, and Beauty in a Quick, or perhaps an Accidental Management of the Chalk, Pen, Pencil, or Brush in a Drawing, or Painting, which ‘tis impossible to preserve if it be more finish’d ; at least ‘tis great odds but it will be lost : ‘Tis better therefore to incur the Censure of the Injudicious than to hazard the losing such Advantages to the Picture. Apelles comparing himself with Protogenes said, Perhaps he is Equal, if not Superior to me in Some things, but I am sure I Excell him in This : I know when to have done.