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B. OVID thus marks.. this transition of colours in his description of the rain

bow [u].

A thousand colours gild the face of day,
With sever'd beauties, and distinguish'd ray ;
Whilf in their contact they clude the fight,
And lose distinction in each others light.

A. A REMARK made by Petronius Arbiter, on certain paintings of Apelles, points out the happy effects of this delicacy of

[u] In quo diversi niteant cum mille colores,

Transitus ipfe tamen spectantia lumina fallit, Usque adeo quod tangit idem eft, tamen ultima diftant.

Metam. lib. vi.

Videmus in Iride aliquid flammei, aliquid lutei, aliquid cærulei, et alia in Pi&turæ modum fubtilibus lineis ducta, ut ait Poeta ; ut an diffimiles colores fint, scire non poffis, nifi cum primis extrema contuleris ; usque adeo mira arte naturæ, quod a simillimis. coepit in diffimilia definitie Seneca Nat. quæft, lib. i. c. 3.



pencil. “[*] With such subtilty, such a “ likeness to nature, were the extremities “ of the figures blended with their shades, “ that you must have taken what was be<fore


for real life.” Nicias the Athenian is praised by Pliny, for his knowledge in the Clear obscure; “[y] He preserved “ the lights and shades, and was particu“ larly careful, that his paintings should " project from the canvass.” But, the greatest effect in this kind, is by the same attributed to the Alexander of Apelles, in the character of Jupiter the thunderer : " [2] “ The fingers (says he) seem to shoot forCi ward, and the thunder to be out of the « picture.” This paffage is too striking to need a comment. Let us compare the idea we receive from this, with the happiest productions of the modern artists; what could we expect more from the magick, pencil of Correggio? I mean

[x] Tanta enim subtilitatè extremitates imaginum rant ad fimilitudinem præcisæ, ut crederes etiam ani. morum esse picturas. In Satyrico.

Men of a refined taste, have a feeling of those delicacies, which escape the notice of common observers ; thus Pliny, ambire enim debet fe extremitas ipsa et fic definere, ut promittat alia poft se, oftendatque etiam quæ occultat.

This artifice of withdrawing the outline impercep tibly from the eye, is that which gives to bodies their Foundness of projection : It was much studied by the ancients, and too much neglected by Raphael ; whose contours are sometimes so marked, that his figures ap. pear too evidently to be of a piece with the canvafs.

[y] Lumen et umbras custodivit, atque ut eminerent e tabulis picturæ, maxime curavit. Lib. XXXVII.


effect of clear obscure ; for, I am at a loss, from whom to expect, the beauty and grace of an Alexander, united to the majesty and splendor of a Jove. If it appears from what I have offered, that the painter can by a nice conduct of light and shade, give to the characters he brings on the scene a kind of real existence : So can he, by a par

[2] Pinxit et fulmen tenentem ; digiti eminere vi. dentur, et fulmen extra tabulam effe. Lib. xxxv. 10.

tial distribution of this advantage, give them an evident preference one to the other; and by adding a degree of splendor to each character, proportioned to its importance in the drama, he becomes master of a beautiful gradation, no less satisfactory to the understanding, than pleasing to the eye.

Since I cannot offer you an example of this in any of the ancient paintings now to be seen, I shall remind you of a piece of poetic painting, in which you will find every circumstance of dignity and beauty, fet off with the finest effect of Clear obfcure, that, perhaps, ever entered into the imagination of either poet or painter. It is, where Virgil introduces Æneas into the presence of Dido [a].

[a] Vix ea fatus erat, cum circumfusa repente

Scindit fe nubes, et in æthera purgat apertum.
Reftitit Æneas, claraque in luce refulfit,


Scarce had he spoke, when lo! the bursting cloud-
Melts into air : Confefi'd the hero ftood,
Mark'd by the form and splendor of a god;
The rays maternal round bis temples play,
And gild his beauties with a brighter day;
These the fond mother studious to improve,
Breath'd on his perfon all the powers of love ;
Thro' his long, winding locks the magic flows,
Beams from his eyes, and in each feature glows.

There is something in this description so truly picturesque, it breaks upon the imagination with such a sudden energy of Clear obscure, that I am persuaded, the poet must have had in his eye, some celebrated picture in this style. It is easy to distinguish, when the arts borrow their ideas one from another, and the lights which they lo commu

Os, humerosque Deo fimilis : Namque ipsa decoram
Cæfariem nato Genetrix, lumenque Juventa
Purpureum, et lætos oculis afflarat honores.

Æneid, i. ver. 590.

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