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. The Painter must also take Care, that his Scene be known by his Piece at first view, by some Ingenious Invention to express the Countrey : Such was that of Nealces a Greek Painter, who having Drawn a Sea-Fight between the Ægyptians and the Persians ; to express, that the Action happened at the Mouth of the Nile, made an Ass drinking by the side of the River, and a Crocodile ready to devour him ; that being the proper Animal of that River.