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wonder of mankind. But as from the disposition of things, and the force of fashion, we cannot hope in our time to rescue the sacred lyre, and see it put into the hands of men of genius, I can only recal you to your own natural feeling of harmony, and observe to you, that its emotions are not found in the laboured, fantastic, and surprising compositions that form the modern style of music: but you meet them in some few pieces that are the growth of wild unvitiated taste: you discover them in the swelling sounds that wrap us in imaginary grandeur; in those plaintive notes that make us in love with woe; in the tones that utter the lover's sighs, and fluctuate the breast with gentle pain ; in the noble strokes that coil up the courage and fury of the soul, or that lull it in confused visions of joy: in short, in those affecting strains that find their way to the inward recesses of the heart:
Untwisting all the chains that tis
ON SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. SCULPTURE and painting have their standard in nature; and their principles differ only according to the different materials made use of in these arts. The variety of his colours, and the flat surface on which the painter is at liberty to raise his magic objects, give him a vast scope for ornament, variety, harmony of parts, and opposition,
to please the mind, and divert it from too strict an examination. The sculptor being so much confined, has nothing to move with but beauty, passion, and force of attitude ; sculpture therefore admits of no mediocrity; its works are either intolerable, or very fine. In Greece, the finishing of a single statue was often the work of many years.
Sculpture and painting take their merit from she same spirit that poetry does; a justness, a grandeur, and force of expression; and their principal objects are, the sublime, the beautiful, and the passionate. Painting, on account of its great latitude, approaches also very near to the variety of poetry; in general their principles vary only according to the different materials of each.
Poetry is capable of taking a series of successive facts, which comprehend a whole action from the beginning. It puts the passions in motion gradually, and winds them up by successive efforts, that all conduce to the intended effect; the mind could never be agitated so violently, if the storm had not come on by degrees: besides, language, by its capacity of representing thoughts, of forming the communication of mind with mind, and describing emotions, takes in several great, awful, and passionate ideas that colours cannot represent; but the painter is confined to objects of vision, or to one point or instant of time : and is not to bring into view any events which did not, or at least might not happen, at one and the same instant. The chief art of the history-painter, is to hit upon a point of time, that unites the wbole successive action in one view, and strikes out the emotions you are desirous of raising. Some painters have had the power of preserving the traces of a receding passion, or the mixed disturbed emotions of the mind, without impairing the principal passion. The Medea of Timomachus was a miracle of this kind; her wild love, her rage, and her maternal pity, were all poured forth to the eye, in one portrait. From this mixture of passions, which is in nature, the murderess appeared dreadfully affecting It is
very necessary, for the union of desigu in painting, that one principal figure appear emi. nently in view, and that all the rest be subordinate to it; that is, the passion or attention of that principal object should give a cast to the whole piece: for instance, if it be a wrestler, or a courser in the race, the whole scene should not only be active, but the attentions and passions of the rest of the figures shonld all be directed by that object. If it be a fisherman over the stream, the whole scene must be silent and meditative; if ruins, a bridge, or waterfall, even the living persons must be subordinate, and the traveller should gaze and look back with wonder. This strict union and concord is rather more necessary in painting than in poetry : the reason is, painting is almost palpably a deception, and requires the utmost skill in selecting a vicinity of probable ideas, to give it the air of reality and nature. For this reason also nothing strange, wonderful, or shocking to eredulity, ought to be admitted in paintings that are designed after real life.
The principal art of the landscape-painter lies in selecting those objects of view that are beautiful or great, provided there be a propriety and a just neighbourhood preserved in the assemblage, along with the careless distribution that solicits your eye to the principal object where it rests; in giving such a glance or confused view of those that retire out of prospect, as to raise curiosity, and create in the imagination affecting ideas that do not appear; and in bestowing as much life and action as possible, without overcharging the piece. A landscape is enlivened by putting the animated figures into action; by flinging over it the cheerful aspect which the sun bestows, either by a proper disposition of shade, or by the appearances that beautify his rising or setting; and by a judicious prospect of water, which always conveys the ideas of motion : a few dishevelled clouds have the same effect, but with somewhat less vivacity.
The excellence of portrait-painting and sculpture springs from the same principles that affect us in life; they are not the persons who perform at a comedy or a tragedy we go to see with so much pleasure, but the passions and emotions they display: in like manner, the value of statues and pictures rises in proportion to the strength and clearness of the expression of the passions, and to the peculiar and distinguishing air of character. Great painters almost always choose a fine face to exhibit the passions in. If you recollect what I said on beauty, you will easily conceive the reason why the agreeable passions are most lively in a beautiful face ; beauty is the natural vehicle of face;
the agreeable passions. For the same reason the tempestuons passions appear strongest in a fine
it suffers the most violent derangement by them. To which we may add, upon the same principle, that dignity or courage cannot be mixed in a very ill-favoured countenance; and that the painter, after exerting his whole skill, tinds in their stead pride and terrour. These observations, which have been often made, serve to illustrate our thoughts on beauty. Besides the strict propriety of nature, sculpture and figure-painting is a kind of description, which, like poetry, is under the direction of genius; that, while it preserves nature, sometimes, in a fine flight of fancy, throws an ideal splendour over the figures that never existed in real life. Such is the sublime and celestial character that breathes over the Apollo Belvedere, and the inexpressible beauties that dwell upon the Venus of Medici, and seem to shed an illumination around her. This superior beauty must be varied with propriety, as well as the passions; the elegance of Juno, must be decent, lofty, and elated; of Minerva, masculine, confident, and chaste; and of Venus, winning, soft, and conscious of pleasing. These sister arts, painting and statuary, as well as poetry, put it out of all doubt, that the imagination carries the ideas of the beautiful and the sublime far beyond visible nature; since no mortal ever possessed the blaze of divine charms that surrounds the Apollo Belvedere, or the Venus of Medici, I have just mentioned.
A variety and flush of colouring is generally the refuge of painters, who are not able to animate