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advantageous to me, than to have it known, that Mr. SPENCE approves me as a writer, and acknowledges me as a friend? What success I may have in the former character, must depend on futurity; but I am in possession of all the credit of the latter, while you permit me to declare, in this publick manner,

That I am, Reverend SIR,
with the truest respect,
your most obliged,

most obedient,
and most humble servant,



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F we confider the ambition most

have to be thought judges of Painting, and the ease with which they might really become fo, it will appear strange, that fo few should be found, who have any clear or determined ideas of this art. To account for this, and to point out those errors which have been the causes of it, is the design of this Preface ; after which, I propose, by the following work, to free this subject from its suppofed

· difficulties;

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difficulties ; and to throw such lights on the beauties and advantages of this amiable art, as may both recommend the study, and facilitate the knowledge of it.

I AM sensible, that, among my readers, there will be some, whose excellent taste and clear judgment must place them much above my instructions; from these I hope for indulgence. The persons for whom I write, are qur young travellers, who set out with much eagerness, and little preparation ; and who, for want of some governing objects to determine their course, must continually wander, milled by ignorant guides, or bewildered by a multiplicity of directions. The first error, I have



taken notice of, is, the extreme eagerness, with which they run through the galleries and churches; nimium vident, nec tamen totum. A few good pictures, well considered, at such intervals, as to give full time to range and determine, the ideas which they excite, would in the end turn to a much better ac-,

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The second error; is, the habit of estimating pictures by the general reputation of the painters ; a rule, of all others, the most productive of ignorance and confusion. For example; Dominichino


at times, be ranked with Raphael ; at times, he is little superior to Giotto. And we often find, that the best works of the middling artists, excell the middling works of the


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best. If then, we are guided wholly by the prejudice of names, we no longer trust to our own senses; we must acknowledge merit which we do not fee, and undervalue that which we

distressed between authority and conviction, we are difgusted with the difficulties of an art, which is, perhaps, of all others the most easily understood. For, that composition must be defective, which cannot, to a careful observer, point out its own tendency; and those expressions must be either weak or false, which do not, in some degree, mark the interest of each actor in the drama. In nature, we readily conceive the variety and force of characters; why should we not do so in Painting? What diffi


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