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I CONCLUDED my last paper with a it, and from the viler tyranny of your panegyric on Gaspar Poussin, that capability Browns. Some of the ori. first of landscape-painters, and ex. ginal pictures subsequently fell into plained the principle of composition, my possession, and I had the opporby the practical exercise of which he tunity of comparing them continuacquired such power over the space ally with the prints. I happened likeof his canvass. Hence his pencil was wise to have a set of these prints, the delightfully free, for its wildest play only perfect set I have ever seen, was directed by an intuitive know. with a printed catalogue, and conledge, or made perfect, harmonious, taining about six more subjects than and congruous in all its parts, by the are now met with in the compion application of his simple rule. Nor book of these plates in their retouchis this principle applicable to land. ed state. The work contains a few scape oply-it is the principle of the from Claude, one from Salvator art, and will be found more or less Rosa, one from Rembrandt, one in every work of known excellence. from Giacomo Cortesi detto il Bor
I have examined many pictures gognone, one from Filippo Lauri, and parts of pictures, and have ascer- the rest are, professedly, from Gastained that much of their beauty, par Poussin; I say professedly, bequoad composition, depends upon cause my long acquaintance with the the accidental or purposed use of works of that master, has led me to this principle.
be somewhat nice and discriminaOnce I recollect tormenting my- ting, and to reject some out of the self with a difficulty in the compo- number; of which are,-one with sition of a picture I was painting, and cattle in the water, published by could not satisfy my eye. By a dash Pond, in 1744, as in the possession of the brush I hit it at last, but at of the Honourable Horace Walpole; that time knew not why; since my one published 1741, by Knapton, in discovery I have examined the work, the collection of the Right Honourand find it was true to the rule. able Lord James Cavendish,-re
Now, it is well to know the rule cumbent figures with a dog and beforehand; and I am very confi- goats in the foreground-in the sedent that any painter or sketcher cond distance a town and bridge, who will take the trouble to examine (which latter I do not at this monature and pictures, and bear in ment recollect ever to have seen in mind what I have stated in my last a picture by Gaspar Poussin ;) one paper, will see the why and where in the collection of the Right Hon. fore of beauties that he before im- the Earl of Suffolk, 1741, by Knapperfectly felt, will be enabled to ad- ton, a composition of distracted mire them the more, and with some parts, with a preposterous rock, and certainty of success correct the lines figures shooting; one published by of his compositions.
Pond, 1743, in the collection of RoPerhaps I should not have known bert Price, Esq., in which is a river Gaspar Poussin so well, had I not and figures bathing, two strange fimany years ago, while I was yet gures near two tall trees; this I take young in art, studied the prints from to be by N. Poussin. his works published by Pond and As this work, in its incomplete others. I never can forget the im- state, and with the plates retouched, pression these made upon me; I had is still very commonly met with, and never before seen any thing at all to may be very cheaply purchased, it satisfy me; but here, and yet they may be as well to refer the reader to were not his best compositions, was an examination of some of the plates; the poetry of landscape. Here was and I have no doubt he will be thoshade and shelter, seclusion and ac- roughly convinced of the truth of cessibility, combined; the earth was my observations on the principle of rescued as it were from the defor- art contained in them. mity of “the curse” inflicted upon Let us then take the first that comes to hand. The book is before gures! Three are turned towards the me. Here is a poble scene. The ravine, but the two more distant are plate is published by Pend, October quietly winding round to the sum25, 1742, in the collection of Her mit, thus connecting the height with Grace the Duchess of Kent-Viva- the depth; and the figures are so res sculp. This is, in truth, a most placed, that the eye cannot but conpoetical piece. In its general forms nect them with each other; that is, it is of the simplest kind. It is rather the two above and the one nearer a close scene, a home among the the foreground are directors or mountains. Nearly in the centre pointers to the two immediately rises a rocky summit—the lines so above the ravine. Here is scope rise and fall to the foreground as to enough for sweet sequestered retiremake this mountain the view. The ment-no lack of green boughs, cool parts of which it is made flow into shade, and sheltering rock-all is each other so playfully, and appa- silvan quiet, and repose,-all the free rently with intricacy, that there is boon and gift of beneficent nature to the greatest variety in them, yet all love and friendship. The mountain with perfect congruity.
freedom of the scene is delightful; All the parts are again kept to you would not question the freshgether by the unity of the view or ness, and purity, and sweet life of the subject, constituting them merely as air, that, as an unseen spirit, animates parts contained under the great with gentle breath and motion the simple leading lines. A little way whole scene, and influences the down the mountain is an old town, hearts of all that are under its prorising out of, or rather growing out tection. of the rock; below it and around it But let me speak of the art of comon every side is a thick wood, (the position by which so much is effecttrees, as usual with bim, of no great ed, for that is the main thing to growth,) that leads down to a ravine, wbich I would direct the reader's the depth of which is bid by the fore attention. As in the other picture ground, a broken bank, which de- remarked upon in my last paper, so scends in a line, corresponding, in a here, the highest point is in trees contrary direction, to the general rising immediately from the bank of rising lines of the hill. From hidden the foreground; and as in that insources, water is pouring over the stance, as is the distance from the broken ground, to form a mountain height of the picture to the top of torrent below, and by various pas- the tree, so is that of the lower part sages finds its way into the ravine. of the bank from the bottom, the The lines of the rock and wood, lead space below being filled up with your eye directly into this deep ra. mere herbage, and large leaves in vine, into which some figures are shade. The next highest point is the looking and pointing, as if something opposite side of the picture, which unseen but by themselves attracted is similarly broken in its height and their attention. Thus curiosity is depth, by the sky above and bushes raised, and a desire to look into the below. But though these are the depth, and an interest created by the highest points, they are not the prinincident. There is a path leading cipal; their height is only to give within, but is lost, and at the edge greater depth to the ravine. Bewhere it is lost are the figures men- tween them rises, as the principal tioned. There are other paths about object, the rocky summit, which, the picture, which, though broken with all its subordinate parts, includ. from the eye, connect themselves ing the ravine, forms the picture. The with this, and communicate to the eye, then, is directed by the subtown and every part of the scene, tending character of the lines, immefor there is no part utterly inacces- diately from this height to a point sible. There are, in all, five figures, under it, where are the pointing fitwo on the edge of the path in its gures, formed by the figures, and descent, looking into the ravine, one some light upon the adjacent bank, more in the foreground pointing to and corresponding, in its distance them; on a path above are two from the bottom, to the space above, more ascending in friendly converse. occupied by the sky. There are How well the accessibility of the more distant hills, on the one side, whole is kept up by these two fi- rising above the fall of the line of the
mountain, on the other side, some. This plate, from which I have made what more towards the corner of the my remarks, and which is still be. picture, and falling into that general fore me, is by Vivares. Examine mass; and this is so managed, for the the texture of every part; it is not purpose of raising a tree that breaks mere light and shade, it is rocky and the woody range between the two leafy, or mixed just as and where it points. The clouds incline to the should be. How free the foliage, mountain mass, and immediately how characteristic of the niaster! above an elevated tower is the lower and how admirable is the general space of the clouds, as was the notch keeping where exactness of tint and in the clouds of the picture described light and shade is not intended, and, in my last. To enclose the town, and, previous to modern inventions, was as it were, give it a unity in itself, scarcely practicable; yet with what there is a rise and fall in the wood, ease the imagination incorporates so that the highest part of the build- with what is given, all tbat is omitings is immediately above the lowest ted! My acquaintance with the works point of that circular range. The of Gaspar, instead of making me less grouping of the masses of foliage in relish the labours of these engravers, the wood is precisely on the same renders me more sensible of their principle. The beautifully broken great merit. I see Gaspar the betbank forming the foreground runs ter through them, and them through down remarkably to the figures under Gaspar. And is not this praise ? the high point of the mountain ; and There is no vain toil and labour after from thence,ata similar angle, the line effect, and no visible sacrifice, no atis carried up on the other side of the tempt to astonish, for that the origipicture, so as to make that point, where nal painter in his copy of the modes. are the two figures looking into the ty of nature avoided; and his enravine, important, by which the eye gravers seem to have known this, may measure the height of the whole. All is even, flowing, easy, apparently The light trees, on a grassy bank unambitious, but worked evidently rising out of the foreground, bending with an intense feeling of the mind over the ravine, and corresponding, and intention of the master. There as it were, with the foliage on the op- is no mechanical stiffness, no dexposite bank, act on the same prin- terous display of handling, no flouciple, enclose the ravine, and direct rishes of the graver.* Vivares was, the eye into the deep shaded woody I believe, self-taught; that is, at least, hollow.
he was not bred to the art. Nor was Having discussed the art of com- his employer Pond an artist, or in position of this great master, as ex- “the Trade.” He was, I think, an emplified in two of his pictures, let attorney, and Vivares a tailor. It me now pay a tribute of praise to was on carrying home some clothes those faithful engravers who admire to an engraver that he was struck ably performed their task, and en- with a copperplate; whenever he abled us to examine so well the ex- repeated these visits of business, he cellence of the painter which them. requested a sight of the plates in selves so felt. Their works should progress; and conceived at length be, like school-books, in every one's the idea that he could do the same; hand who would learn at once both he tried and succeeded. His etchthe rudiments and excellences of ings, and indeed these plates are the art. It is true their style of en- mostly etched, having but little of graving has, in a great measure, been the mark of the graver in them, are superseded, not surpassed; for all exquisite, light, free, and wondercan admire high finish, few execu- fully expressive of the character of tion.
every object. Though a tailor, etch,
* It is curious that few among tbe great painters were the sons of painters, and originally intended for the profession, but appear led to it by an all-powerful genius or taste, a peculiar gift. Raphael is alınost the only one that was the son of a pain, ter. Andrea del Sarto was a tailor's son ; Tintoret the son of a dyer; Michael An, gelo de Caravaggio, of a mason ; Correggio (il divino), of a ploughman ; Guido, of musician ; Domenichino, of a shoemaker; Albano, of a mercer,
ing was his best needle-work. His the free expressive handling of such second nature acquired by the needle menas Vivares, Chatelain, Wood, and was better than his first. The arts Mason? But certain it is, the proare infinitely indebted to the engra gress has been onward in a wrong vers of the plates in this work pub- direction, in imitation rather of Woollished by Pond and others. They let. Tone, not character and texture all had excellent feeling,-Vivares, of objects, has been mostly attended Wood, Chatelain, and Mason. And to. And it must be confessed, Low. yet they all differ from each other in ry's improvements, inventions of rutheir manner and handling; Chate- lers, and diamond points, &c., have lain is perhaps the broadest, Vivares given modern artists a wonderful the most exact in the detail and in- facility, and astonishing things they dividual character of objects. But are now thereby enabled to do in they all seem to have worked to all that concerns tone. But still it gether in happy fellowship, and to is too much tone-too exclusively have improved by attending to, and tone; and I question, in looking at occasionally adopting, the peculiar our present day's engravings, if, after merits of each other. How strange the first surprise, we are not disapthat men living in the heat and tur. pointed that so little is left to the moil, and sooty atmosphere, of some imagination. We want to fill up a obscure parts of the crowded and little in tone and colour; we want to reeking metropolis, who, perhaps, think of the pictures; for engraving scarcely saw nature in her green, does not profess to be in itself a pervariegated, and refreshing beauty, fect work, but to give you some idea should at once, as it were quodam of another. Where too much is done, intuitu, have such feeling for roman. that other work to which it should tic landscape, throwing off from them refer, is abstracted from the contemthe infectious low vulgarity that so plation of the mind's eye. We want thickly surrounded them! It is more to think of the original pictures, and wonderful than the lover's love at the engravings, by doing too much, first sight, for it is falling in love at will not let us. Nay, they too often the portrait merely. But so it was set us wrong, and sacrifice colour, Well, then, were these men justly (I speak not in the engraver's techappreciated ? No. Are they justly nical meaning of the word as of tone,) appreciated now i No. I have con- and we have often masses of soot for versed with some well-known and green shade, and, what is worse, for admired artists both in painting and air. engraving, who were ignorant of I will not deny that the art of entheir works. It is strange that mere graving has wonderfully advanced, mechanical labour should be more but the art of etching has retrograadmired than expressive execution, ded. We have poor scholars in the wherein the mind works with and latter, - excellent masters in the directs the hand. Ignorance ever former art. And, it must be owned, likes the display, the flourish,-would that the improvements in engraving prefer the caperings of a human ba- are admirably calculated to represent boon, to the sweet and gentle move the works of modern artists, whose ment of the Graces.
aim is more to surprise than permaFirst came Woollet, with his sur- nently to please; they would take prising dexterity in the use of the you by storm, not attract you by graver. He introduced, it is true, gentle persuasion. They must sie more tone, but then texture was lost. with each other, like tumblers at For loose, free, flexible foliage, you a fair, to perform astonishing feats, had tinfoil, hard-cut leafage, mould do wonderful things, unattempted ed, metallic. However, his style things, “ cose non dette mai in propleased, and the public taste has sa ne in rima." Trickery and gamnever yet gone back to the admira. bol have succeeded to former nobler tion of his betters. And even among simplicity; display and show is every professed connoisseurs, is it not thing, and yet there is ofteutimes strange that eyes that can enjoy the poverty enough-a gorgeous poverty beautiful etchings of K. du Jardin, -a staring, flaunting, vulgar, bediBerghem, Rembrandt, Waterloo, and zened meanness—with which, to the many others, should not fully enjoy common eye, unobtrusive excellence
e effects are made the principal, which every thing.”
is the love and would bear no comparison, and, in- of disseminating taste more genele mois deed, would suffer materially from rally; for taste wages perpetual war
Man ka any juxtaposition, like modesty in with vulgarity, and vulgarity is a a great way an evil company.
step in the ladder of bad morals. The But these improvements in the public ought, therefore, to be conpiet iewer machinery of the engraver, are ad- gratulated on the acquisition of the
mirably calculated to do justice to cheap one-shilling numbers of the presuming efforts, sometimes the aim engravings from pictures in the Naof men of real and great genius, and tional Gallery. I rather lament a better it were they were always of loss, than repine at the acquirement those of none. Would I wish these of a new power. I want more chaimprovements had never been in. racteristic engravers, whose unconvented ? By no means. I admire taminated fingers have not yet been much they do, not all they do, but irremediably dipt in the sooty Achethat arises from the misuse of them. ron. In both painting and engraving, The public taste has run mad after the vigorous masculine energy of the effects, wonders, and povelties, and old artists is no more. There is an will perform or look to little else. affectation of the exquisite. For the And ibis is particularly vile in land- simple dignified walk, we have the scape, in which we want true pasto. pirouette; and put on manliness by ral in the painter, and the character the stamp and the frown. The real istic execution of our old etchers. poverty of limb and motion is at
How could I wish the improve- tempted to be hid under the fluster ments never had been invented, when and Hicker of silk
and satin: all which I see how accurately they represent is detestable. Taste is first indig
the effects of Turner, his skies,— nant, and though the price of admissaber mit is his town views, their stir, and bustle, sion has been paid, quits the tawdry
and vapour; all wbich, I nevertheless theatre and its trickeries, and walks
think, astonish too much, and I con away in disgust to some refreshing, som det er en fess ! seldom look at them twice. cool, inoffensive, unobtrusive dell,
But this may be a defect in me, and that has chanced to have escaped my taste may exclusively look for the beautifier,) and listening to the landscape, and effects are not land- lecture of some eloquent brook, culls scape. Nay, it must be a fault when "sermons from stoves, and good from should only be the adjunct to the The theatrical has corrupted even subject, as ihe manner of shewing it our engravers. The finnikin nicety, off. This manner may be too obtru. the tinsel, the glare, the stare, the sive for the subject; it strikes me as start, the maudlin affectatiou of feel. very often so, especially in land- ing, are all transferred to another scapes that pretend to the superior art. Some men of undoubted genius merit of composition. Still I delight have led the way to this, and I canin the power, however the applica- not but think against their better tion of it may offend. We do not judgments. They have been too amwant every thing in art to be this va bitious of shewing their own manual poury softness, contrasted with sud- skill, not of transferring to the plaie den sharp lights and spots of utter the great ideas of their originals. blackness, or either of these in op- They become vitiated by this evil deposed masses. Give me, however, sire, and like our political panders, the real landscape-painters, and their bad rather please the mass,” the admirers and translators, the etchers people,” by shewing them the falsias of old. I will stand stupified a lies which alone their senseless few required moments at works of heads can admire, than secure to the othercharacter, and then content themselves a future and more peredly retire to be pleased in my own manent fame, by teaching them what way. My taste is as yet too healthy, they ought to admire. Now, in this I trust, to require strong and sudden respect, I cannot but think Raphael excitement. My eye is not under pa Morghen himself to have been a deralysis requiring the galvanic shock. linquent, e.g. the magnificent TransYet I would not depreciate facilities, figuration. Are we not offended and delight in the prospect of their with the soft powder-puff clouds,· proper direction, and in the means the minikin theatrical cottony and