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
The Composition is unexceptionable [ndr : dans Poussin, Tancrède et Herminie] : There are innumerable Instances of Beautiful Contrasts ; Of this kind are the several Characters of the Persons, (all which are Excellent in their several kinds) and the several Habits : Tancred is half Naked : Erminia’s Sex distinguishes Her from all the rest ; as Vafrino’s Armour, and Helmet shews Him to be Inferiour to Tancred, (His lying by him) and Argante’s Armour differs from both of them. The various positions of the Limbs in all the Figures are also finely Contrasted, and altogether have a lovely effect ; Nor did I ever see a greater Harmony, nor more Art to produce it in any Picture of what Master soever, whether as to the Easy Gradation from the Principal, to the Subordinate Parts, the Connection of one with another, by the degrees of the Lights, and Shadows, and the Tincts of the Colours.
And These too are Good throughout ; They are not Glaring, as the Subject, and the Time of the Story (which was after Sun-set) requires : Nor is the Colouring like that of Titian, Corregio, Rubens, or those fine Colourists, But ‘tis Warm, and Mellow, ‘tis Agreeable, and of a Taste which none but a Great Man could fall into : And without considering it as a Story, or the Imitation of any thing in Nature the Tout-ensemble of the Colours is a Beautiful, and Delightful Object.
COLOURS are to the Eye what Sounds are to the Ear, Tastes to the Palate, or any other Objects of our Senses are to those Senses ; and accordingly an Eye that is delicate takes in proportionable Pleasure from Beautiful ones, and is as much Offended with their Contraries. Good Colouring therefore in a Picture is of Consequence, not only as it is a truer Representation of Nature, where every thing is Beautiful in its Kind, but as administring a considerable Degree of Pleasure to the Sense.
The Colouring of a Picture must be varied according to the Subject, the Time, and Place.
If the Subject be Grave, Melancholy, or Terrible, the General Tinct of the Colouring must incline to Brown, Black, or Red, and Gloomy ; but be Gay, and Pleasant in Subjects of Joy and Triumph. […]. Morning, Noon, Evening, Night ; Sunshine, Wet, or Cloudy Weather, influences the Colours of things ; and if the Scene of the Picture be a Room, open Air, the partly open, and partly inclos’d, or Colouring must be accordingly.
Any of the several Species of Colours may be as Beautiful in their Kinds as the others, but one Kind is more so than another, as having more Variety, and consisting of Colours more pleasing in their own Nature ; in which, and the Harmony, and Agreement of one Tinct with another, the Goodness of Colouring consists.
To shew the Beauty of Variety I will instance in a Geldër Rose, which is White ; but having many Leaves one under another, and lying hollow so as to be seen through in some places, which occasions several Tincts of Light, and Shadow ; and together with these some of the Leaves having a Greenish Tinct, all together produces that Variety which gives a Beauty not to be found in this Paper, tho’ ‘tis White, nor in the inside of an Egg-shell tho’ whiter, nor in any other White Object that has not that Variety.
And this is the Case, though this Flower be seen in a Room in Gloomy, or Wet Weather ; but let it be expos’d to the open Air when the Sky is Serene, the Blue that those Leaves, or parts of Leaves that lye open to it will receive, together with the Reflections that then will also happen to strike upon it, will give a great Addition to its Beauty : But let the Sun-beams touch up its Leaves where they can reach with their fine Yellowish Tinct, the other retaining their Sky-Blue, together with the Shadows and brisk Reflections it will then receive, and then you will see what a Perfection of Beauty it will have, not only because the Colours are more Pleasant in themselves, but there is greater Variety.