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in the transfiguration by Raphael ; a Christ uplifted by a divine energy, dilating in glory, and growing into divinity, was a subject truly sublime ; it is eaty to lee, on this OCcasion, that the painter had no that' enthufiaftic spirit, or those ideas of majesty, which the subject required : Accordingly, his pencil is timid and unequal: It is not so, when he drops to the bottom of the mount, to express the various feelings and sentiments of the diciples, distreffed at their inability to work a miracle in their masters abfence. The truth was, his calm, though fertile ge* nius, could better delineate the fine and delicate movements of the mind, which have in them more of sentiment than passion. This was his true sphere, and it is here, that we must study, and admire Raphael.

...B. Your obfervations on the character of Raphael, show, how essential to painting is that, which you call the third part of the 2


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drama, namely, the characters or manners.

A. The 'ancients thought them so much so, that they expressly term picture [s] an art descriptive of the manners. Aristotle in his poetics, says of Polygnotus, that he was a [t] painter of the manners; and objects to Zeuxis his weakness in this part. We have in Philostratus the following description of a picture ; «[] We may in“ stantly (says he) distinguish Ulysses, by “ his severity and vigilance; Menelaus, by [.] Hdstromlos taxın. Callifratus in Descrịp. ftat. Æscul. [t] Hlayfepos. Ariftides Thebanus animum pinxit, et sensus omnes expresit, quos vocant Græci mon; id eft, perturbationes. Plin. lib. xxxv. 10.

[4] Επιδηλος ο μεν θακησιος, απο του τρυφνου και εγρηyogolos, i de Ayapingirwr, ano Tov evdeov, for de toy Tudine ελευθερια γραφει, γνωριζοις δ'αν και τον Τελαμώνιον, απο του Baoongou, mas Toy Aoxpor ano tou (Topov. Philoftrat. in Antilocho.

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his “ his mildness; and Agamemnon, by a “ kind of divine majesty ; in the son of 6. Tydeus, is expressed an air of freedom ; Ajax is known by his fullen fierceness ; 66 and Antilochus by his alertness." To give to these such sentiinents and actions, as are confequential from their peculiar characters, is [x] the ethic of painting. We may judge from hence, how advantageous it must be to painters in general, to be versed in classical subjects ; for, they find themselves under a necessity of expressing the manners as they flow naturally from characters predetermined. The [y] Greek painters caught their ideas from historians and poets, and translated the beauties of eloquence into paint.

B. How wonderful must have been that genius, which, without these advantages,

[x] Hbw iswgræ. Callist. in Descrip. ftat. Narcissi.

[y? Apelles pinxit Dianam facrificantium virginum choro miftam ; quibus vicisse Homeri versus videtur, id ipsum describentis. Plin. lib. xxxv, C. 10.


has all their effects ? Such was our divine Raphael: He treats new subjects, he invents new characters : The most unpicturesque action, composed by him, seems to have been destined for paint: Christ gives the keys to Peter ; how barren the incident! yet his pencil, like the rod of Moses, strikes a spring out of this rock.

A. You have described that facility, which is the gift of genius, and the image of truth : This does not consist wholly, as may be imagined, in the ready execution of a conceived idea; but in the immediate perception of the justness of that idea ; in a consummate knowledge of the human heart, its various affections, and the just measure of their influence on our looks and gestures ; easy in promise, but difficult of execution ; unknown, unattainable by the herd of painters, it drops from the pencil of a Raphael, Correggio, or Leonardo da Vinci. This

L.4 quality

quality was considered by the ancients as the surest test of genius ; thus Plutarch praises the paintings of [z] Nicomachus, comparing them, in happiness and facility, to the poetry of Homer. A pelles affirmed himself inferior in some points to other painters; but in this unrivalled. If we except the three, I just now mentioned, we should in vain look for this knowledge, in the crowd of modern painters. Contented with tolerable drawing, some air of beauty, and a good cast of drapery, they abandon character to the accident of features ; their dramacis personæ, if we can call them such, are like the followers of Æneas, many actors with one face, fortemque Gyam, fortemque Cloantbum ; the different echoes of one poor idea : Such characters are so far from grow

[z] Ταις δε Νικομαχου γραφεις και τους Ομηρον σιχοις, μεία της αλλης δυναμεως και χαριλος, προσεσι το δοκειν ενο Zeus kai Jac amigrai. In Tim. Oleonte, p. 253. Ed. Paris.


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