Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks, published in 1765, was a translation by Henry Fuseli's translation of Thoughts on the Imitation of Greek Works in Painting and Sculpture by Johann Joachim Winckelmann.

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Full text of "Reflections on the painting and sculpture of the Greeks: with instructions for the connoisseur, and an essay on grace in works of art"











Painting and Sculpture




Instructions for the Connoisseur,


An Essay on Grace in Works of Art.

Tran dated from

The German Original of the Abbe Winkelmann, Librarian of the Vatican, F. R. S. &c. &c.



Printed for the Translator, and Sold by A.Millar 3 in the Strand, 1765.


The Lord Scarsdale.

My Lord,

WITH becoming gratitude for your Lordfhip's con- defcenfion in granting fuch a noble Afylum to a Stranger, I humbly prefume to fhelter this Tranflation under your Lordfhip's Patronage.

If I have been able to do juftice to my Author, your Lordfhip's accurate Jugment, and fine Tafte, will naturally protect his Work : But I muft rely wholly on your




known Candour and Goodnefs for the pardon of many imperfections in the language,

I am, with the moft profound refpeft,

My Lo RD, Your Lordship's

Moft obliged, moft obedient, and moft humble Servant,


10 April, 1765.

Henry Fuflel:




Painting and Sculpture of the GREEKS.

I. Nature.

TO the Greek climate we owe the production of Taste, and from thence it fpread at length over all the politer world. Every invention, communicated by foreigners to that nation, was but the feed of what it became afterwards, changing

B both

2 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

both its nature and fize in a country, chofen, as Plato a fays, by Minerva, to be inhabited by the Greeks, as productive of every kind of genius.

But this Taste was not only original among the Greeks, but feemed alfo quite peculiar to their country : it feldom went abroad without lofs, and was long ere it imparted its kind influences to more diftant climes. It was, doubtlefs, a ftranger to the northern zones, when Painting and Sculp- ture, thofe offsprings of Greece, were de- fpifed there to fuch a degree, that the mofl valuable pieces of Cor regio ferved only for blinds to the windows of the royal ftables at Stockholm.

There is but one way for the moderns to become great, and perhaps unequalled 3 I mean, by imitating the antients. And what we are told of Homer, that whoever under- ftands him well, admires him, we find no Jefs true in matters concerning the antienr, efpecially the Greek arts. But then we mufl

a Plato in Timaeö. Edit. Francof. p. 1644.


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 3

be as familiar with them as with a friend, to find Laocoon as inimitable as Homer. By fuch intimacy our judgment will be that of Nicomachus : Take thefe eyes, replied he to fome paltry critick, cenfuring the Helen of Zeuxis, Take my eyes, and JJ:e will appear a goddefs.

With fuch eyes Michael Angelo, Raphael, and Ponßn^ confidered the performances of the antients. They imbibed tafle at its fource 3 and Raphael particularly in its na- tive country. We know, that he fent young artifts to Greece, to copy there, for his ufe, the remains of antiquity.

An antient Roman ftatue, compared to a Greek one, will generally appear like Virgil's Diana amidft her Öreads, in com- panion of the Nauficaa of Homer, whom he imitated.

Laocoon was the ftandard of the Roman artifts, as well as ours 3 and the rules of Polycletus became the rules of art.

I need not put the reader in mind of the negligences to be met with in the moft ce-

B 2 lebrated

4 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

lebrated antient performances : the Dolphin at the feet of the Medicean Venus, with the children, and the Parerga of the Diomedes by Diofcorides, being commonly known. The reverfe of the beft Egyptian and Syrian coins feldom equals the head, in point of workmanfhip. Great artifts are wifely neg- ligent, and even their errors inftrucT:. Be- hold their works as Lucian bids you behold the Zeus of Phidias 5 Zeus himfelf not his footßocL

It is not only Nature which the votaries of the Greeks find in their works, but ftill more, fomething fuperior to nature ; ideal beauties, brain-born images, as Proclus fays b .

The moil beautiful body of ours would perhaps be as much inferior to the moil: beautiful Greek one, as Iphicles was to his brother Hercules. The forms of the Greeks, prepared to beauty, by the influence of the mildeft and pureft iky, became perfectly elegant by their early exercifes. Take a

b In Timseum Platonis.

a Spar-

Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 5

a Spartan youth, fprung from heroes, un- diftorted by fwaddling-cloths ; whofe bed, from his feventh year, was the earth, fami- liar with wreftling and fwimming from his infancy ; and compare him with one of our young Sybarits, and then decide which of the two would be deemed worthy, by ant artift, to ferve for the model of a Thefeus, an Achilles, or even a Bacchus. The lat- ter would produce a Thefeus fed on rofes, the former a Thefeus fed on flefh, to borrow the expreffion of Euphranor.

The grand games were always a very ftrong incentive for every Greek youth to exercife himfelf. Whoever afpired to the honours of thefe was obliged, by the laws, to fubmit to a trial of ten months at Elis, the general rendezvous ; and there the firft re- wards were commonly won by youths, as Pindar tells us. c To be like the God-like Di- agoras, was the fondeft wifh of every youth.

■ Vide Pindar. Olymp. Od. VII, Arg. & Schol. B 3 Behold

6 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

Behold the fwift Indian outftripping in purfuit the hart : how brifkly his juices cir- culate ! how flexible, how elaftic his nerves and mufcles ! how eafy his whole frame ! Thus Homer draws his heroes, and his Achilles he eminently marks for cf being fwift of foot."

By thefe exercifes the bodies of the Greeks ,got the great and manly Contour obferved in their ftatues, without any bloated cor- pulency. The young Spartans were bound to appear every tenth day naked before the Ephori, who, when they perceived any in- clinable to fatnefs, ordered them a fcantier diet ; nay, it was one of Pythagoras § pre- cepts, to beware of growing too corpulent j and, perhaps for the fame reafon, youths afpiring to wreftling-games were, in the re- moter ages of Greece, during their trial, con- fined to a milk diet.

They were particularly cautious in avoid- ing every deforming cuftom \ and Alcibiades* when a boy, refufing to learn to play on


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 7 the flute, for fear of its difcompofing his features, was followed by all the youth of Athens.

In their drefs they were profefled followers of nature. No modern ftiffening habit, no fqueezing ftays hindered Nature from form- ing eafy beauty ; the fair knew no anxiety about their attire, and from their loofe and fliort habits the Spartan girls got the epi- thet of Phasnomirides.

We know what pains they took to have handfome children, but want to be acquainted with their methods : for certainly Quillet, m his Gallipasdy, falls fhort of their numerous expedients. They even attempted chang- ing blue eyes to black ones, and games of beauty were exhibited at Elis, the rewards confiding of arms confecrated to the temple of Minerva. How could they mifs of com- petent and learned judges, when, as Ari- ftotle tells us, the Grecian youths were taught drawing exprefsly for that purpofe ? From their fine complexion, which, though ming- B 4 led

8 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

led with a vaft deal of foreign blood, is ftill preferved in moft of the Greek iflands, and from the ftill enticing beauty of the fair fex, efpecially at Chios ; we may eafily form an ider of the beauty of the former inhabi- tants, who boaited of being Aborigines, nay, more antient than the moon.

And are not there feveral modern nations, among whom beauty is too common to give any title to pre-eminence ? Such are unani- moufly accounted the Georgians and the Ka- bardinfki in the Crim.

Thofe difeafes which are deftrudtive of beauty, were moreover unknown to the Greeks. There is not the lead hint of the fmall-pox, in the writings of their phyfi- cians -, and Homer, whole portraits are al- ways lb truly drawn, mentions not one pitted face. Venereal plagues, and their daughter the Englifli malady, had not yet names.

And muft we not then, confidering every

advantage which nature beftows, or art

teaches, for forming, preferving, and im-

3 proving

Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 9

proving beauty, enjoyed and applied by the Grecians ; muft we not then confefs, there is the ftrongeft probability that the beauty of their perfons excelled all we can have an idea of?

Art claims liberty : in vain would nature produce her noblefl offsprings, in a country where rigid laws would choak her progref- five growth, as in Egypt, that pretended parent of fciences and arts : but in Greece, where, from their earliefl youth, the happy inhabitants were devoted to mirth and plea- fure, where narrow-fpirited formality never reftramed the liberty of manners, the artift enjoyed nature without a veil.

The Gymnafies, where, iheltered by pub- lic modefty, the youths exercifed themfelves naked, were the fchools of art. Thefe the philofopher frequented, as well as the artift. Socrates for the inftruflion of a Charmides, Autolycus, Lyfisi Phidias for the improve- ment of his art by their beauty. Here he ftudied the elafticity of the mufcles, the ever


io 'Reflexions on the Imitation of the

varying motions of the frame, the outlines of fair forms, or the Contour left by the young wreftler on the fand. Here beautiful nakednefs appeared with fuch a livelinefs of expreffion, fuch truth and variety of fixa- tions, fuch a noble air of the body, as it would-be ridiculous to look for in any hired model of our academies.

Truth fprings from the feelings of the heart. What fhadow of it therefore can the modern artift hope for, by relying upon a vile model, whofe foul is either too bafe to feel, or too ftupid to exprefs the paffions, the fentiment his object claims ? unhappy he ! if experience and fancy fail him.

The beginning of many of Plato s dia- logues, fuppofed to have been held in the Gymnafies, cannot raife our admiration of the generous fouls of the Athenian youth, without giving us, at the fame time, a ftrong prefumption of a fuitable noblenefs in their outward carriage and bodily exercifes.


Tainting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 1 1

The faireft youths danced undreffed on the theatre ; and So-phocles, the great Sophocles, when young, was the firfl who dared to en- tertain his fellow-citizens in this manner. Phry?ie went to bathe at the Eleufinian games, expofed to the eyes of all Greece, and rifing from the water became the model of Venus Anadyomene. During certain fo- lemnities the young Spartan maidens danced naked before the young men : ftrange this may feem, but will appear more probable, when we confider that the chriftians of the primitive church, both men and women, w T ere dipped together in the fame font.

Then every folemnity, every fcftival, af- forded the artift opportunity to familiarize himfelf with all the beauties of Nature.

In the moft happy times of their free- dom, the humanity of the Greeks abhorred bloody games, which even fri the Ionick Alia had ceafed long before, if, as feme guefs, they had once been ufual there. An- ikchus Epiphanes. by ordering fliews of Ro- man

12 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

man gladiators, firfl prefented them with fuch unhappy vi&ims; and cuftom and time, weakening the pangs of fympathizing humanity, changed even thefe games into fchools of art. There Ctefias ftudied his dying gladiator, in whom you might defcry <c how much life was ftill left in him V

Thefe frequent occafions of obferving Na- ture, taught the Greeks to go on ftill farther. They began to form certain general ideas of beauty, with regard to the proportions of the inferiour parts, as well as of the whole frame : thefe they raifed above the reach of mortality, according to the fuperiour model

  • of fome ideal nature.

Thus Raphael formed his Galatea, as we learn by his letter to Count Baltazar Caftig- lione c , where he fays, <c Beauty being fo

d Some are of opinion, that the celebrated Ludo- vifian gladiator, now in the great fallon of the ca- pitol, is this fame whom Pliny mentions.

e Vide ßellori Defcriz delle Imagini dipinte da Raffaelle d'Vrbino, &c. Roma. 1695 fol.


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks . 1 3

feldom found among the fair, I avail myfelf of a certain ideal image."

According to thofe ideas, exalted above the pitch of material models, the Greeks formed their gods and heroes : the profile of the brow and nofe of gods and goddeffes is almoft a ftreight line. The fame they gave on their coins to queens, &c. but without indulging their fancy too much. Perhaps this profile was as peculiar to the antient Greeks, as flat nofes and little eyes to the Calmucks and Chinefe ; a fuppofition which receives fome ftrength from the large eyes of all the heads on Greek coins and gems.

From the fame ideas the Romans form- ed their EmprefTes on their coins. Livia and Agrippina have the profile of Artemifia and Cleopatra.

We obferve, neverthelefs, that the Greek artifts in general, fubmitted to the law pre- ferred by the Thebans : " To do, under a penalty, their bed in imitating Nature." For, where they could not poflibly apply


14 Reßexions on the Imitation of the

their eafy profile, without endangering the refemblance, they followed Nature, as we fee inflanced in the beauteous head of Julia, the daughter of Titus, done by Euodus f .

But to form a " juft refemblance, and, at the fame time, a handfomer one," being always the chief rule they obferved, and which Polygnotus conftantly went by -> they mud, of necemty, be fuppofed to have had in view a more beauteous and more perfect Nature. And when we are told, that fome artifts imitated Praxiteles, who took his con- cubine Cratina for the model of his Cnidian Venus; or that others formed the graces from Lais ; it is to be understood that they did (a, without negle&ing thefe great laws of the art. Senfual beauty furnimed the painter with all that nature could give ; ideal beauty with the awful and fublime ; from that he took the Humane, from this the Divine.

c Vide Stofch Pierres grav. pi. XXXIII.

2 Let

Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 15

Let any one, fagacious enough to pierce into the depths of art, compare the whole lyftem of the Greek figures with that of the moderns, by which, as they fay, nature alone is imitated ; good heaven ! what a number of negle&ed beauties will he not difcover !

For inftance, in moil: of the modern figures, if the fkin happens to be any where prefled, you fee there feveral little fmart wrinkles : when, on the contrary, the fame parts, prefied in the fame manner on Greek flatues, by their foft undulations, form at laft but one noble prefiure. Thefe mafter- pieces never fhew us the fkin forcibly ftretch- ed, but foftly embracing the firm flefh, which fills it up without any tumid expanfion, and harmonioufly follows its dire&ion. There the {kin never, as on modern bodies, appears in plaits diftindt from the flefh.

Modern works are likewife diftinguiflied from the antient by parts -, a crowd of fmall touches and dimples too fenfibly drawn. In antient works you find thefe diftributed with


i 6 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

{paring fagacity, and, as relative to a com- pleter and more pcrfedt Nature, offered but as hints, nay* often perceived only by the learned.

The probability ftill increafes, that the bodies of the Greeks, as well as the works of their artifts, were framed with more unity of fyftem, a nobler harmony of parts, and a completenefs of the whole, above our lean tenfions and hollow wrinkles.

Probability, 'tis true, is all we can pre- tend to : but it deferves the attention of our artifts and connoiffeurs the rather, as the ve- neration profeffed for the antient monuments is commonly imputed to prejudice, and not to their excellence ; as if the numerous ages, during which they have mouldered, were the only motive for beftowing on them exalted praifes, and fetting them up for the ftandards of imitation.

Such as would fain deny to the Greeks the advantages both of a more perfedt Na- ture and of ideal Beauties, boaft of the fa- mous

Sculpture and Painting of the Greeks. 1 7

mous Bernini^ as their great champion. He was of opinion, befides, that Nature was pofleffed of every requifite beauty : the only Ikill being to difcover that. He boafled of having got rid of a prejudice concerning the Medicean Venus, whofe charms he at firfl thought peculiar ones ; but, after many careful refearches, difcovered them now and then in Nature g .

He was taught then, by the Venus, to difcover beauties in common Nature, which he had formerly thought peculiar to that ftatue, and but fork, never would have fearch- ed for them. Follows it not from thence, that the beauties of the Greek ftatues being dif- covered with lefs difficulty than thofe of Na- ture, are of courfe more affecting ; not fo diffufed, but more harmonioufly united ? and if this be true, the pointing out of Na- ture as chiefly imitable, is leading us into a more tedious and bewildered road to the

  • Baldinucci Vita del Cav. Barnini.

C know-

1 8 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

knowledge of perfeft beauty, than fetting up the ancients for that purpoie : confequently Bernini, by adhering too ftrictly to Nature, acted againft his own principles, as well as cbftructed the progrefs of his difciples.

The imitation of beauty is either reduced to a fingle object, and is individual, or, ga- thering obfervations from fingle ones, com- pofes of thefe one whole. The former we call copying, drawing a portrait ; 'tis the ftraight way to Dutch forms and figures; whereas the other leads to general beauty, and its ideal images, and is the way the Greeks took. But there is ftill this difference between them and us : they enjoying daily occafions of feeing beauty, (fuppofe even not fuperior to ours,) acquired thofe ideal riches with lefs toil than we, confined as we are to a few and often fruitlefs opportunities, ever can hope for. It would be no eafy matter, I fancy, for our nature, to produce a frame equal in beauty to that of Antinous ; and


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 1 9

furely no idea can ibar above the more than human proportions of a deity, in the Apollo of the Vatican, which is a compound of the united force of Nature, Genius, and Art.

Their imitation difcovering in the one every beauty difFufed through Nature, Shew- ing in the other the pitch to which the moil: perfect Nature can elevate herfelf, when foaring above the fenfes, will quicken the genius of the artift, and (horten his difciplefhip : he will learn to think and draw with confidence, feeing here the fixed limits of human and divine beauty.

Building on this ground, his hand and fenfes directed by the Greek rule of beauty, the modern artift goes on the fureft way to the imitation of Nature. The ideas of unity and perfection, which he acquired in meditating on antiquity, will help him to combine, and to ennoble the more fcattered and weaker beauties of our Nature. Thus he will improve every beauty he difcovers in

C 2 it,

20 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

it, and by comparing the beauties of nature with the ideal, form rules for himfelf.

Then, and not fooner, he, particularly the painter, may be allowed to commit him- felf to Nature, efpecially in cafes where his art is beyond the inftruclion of the old mar- bles, to wit, in drapery ; then, like Pottßn\ he may proceed with more liberty ; for " a " timid follower will never get the ftart of < c his leaders, and he who is at a lofs to <c produce fomething of his own, will be " a bad manager of the produclions of an- " other," as Michael Angelo fays, Minds favoured by Nature,

Quibus Arte benigna y Et meliore Into, finxit pracordia ¥itan y

have here a plain way to become originals.

Thus the account de Piles gives, ought to be understood, that Raphael, a (hort time' before he was carried off by death, intended to forfake the marbles, in order to addicl: himfelf wholly to Nature, True antient


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 2 £

tafte would rnoft certainly have guided him through every maze of common Nature ; and whatever obfervations, whatever new ideas he might have reaped from that, they would all, by a kind of chymical tranfmuta- tion, have been changed to his own effence and foul.

He, perhaps, might have indulged more variety; enlarged his draperies; improved his colours, his light and fhadow : but none of thefe improvements would have raifed his pictures to that high efteem they deferve, for that noble Contour, and that fublimity of thoughts, which he acquired from the ancients.

Nothing would more decifwely prove the advantages to be got by imitating the an- cients, preferably to Nature, than an eflay made with two youths of equal talents, by devoting the one to antiquity, the other to Nature: this would draw Nature as he finds her ; if Italian, perhaps he might paint like Caravaggio-, if Flemilh, and lucky,

C 3 like

22 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

like Jac. Jordans ; if French, like Stella: the other would draw her as {he directs, and paint like Raphael.

II; Contour.

T)UT even fuppofing tliat the imitation of Nature could fupply all the artifl wants, fhe never could beftow the precifion of Contour, that characterise diftin&ion of the ancients.

The nobieft Contour unites or circum- fcribes every part of the mod perfect Nature, and the ideal beauties in the figures of the Greeks; or rather, contains them both. Euphranor, famous after the epoch of Zeuxis, is faid to have firft ennobled it.

Many of the moderns have attempted to imitate this Contour, but very few with fuc- cefs. The great Rubens is far from having attained either its precifion or elegance, efpe- cially in the performances which he finished


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 2 3

before he went to Italy, and ftudied the an- tiques.

The line by which Nature divides com- pletenefs from fuperrluity is but a fmall one, and, infenfible as it often is, has been croffed even by the befl moderns ; while thefe, in fhunning a meagre Contour, became cor- pulent, thofe, in fhunning that, grew lean.

Among them all, only Michael Angelo, perhaps, may be faid to have attained the antique > but only in ftrong mufcular figures, heroic frames ; not in thofe of tender youth -, nor in female bodies, which, under his bold hand, grew Amazons.

The Greek artift, on the contrary, ad- jufted his Contour, in every figure, to the breadth of a fingle hair, even in the nicefl and moft tirefome performances, as gems. Confider the Diomedes and Perfeus of Diof- corides h , Hercules and Iole by leucer \ and admire the inimitable Greeks.

h Vide Stofch Pierres Grav. pi. XXIX. XXX. 1 Vide Muf. FJor. T. II. t. V.

C 4. F arrha-

24 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

Parrhqfius, they fay, was mafter of the corredleft Contour.

This Contour reigns in Greek figures, even when covered with drapery, as the chief aim of the arfaft ; the beautiful frame pierces the marble like a tranfparent Coan cloth.

The high-ftiled Agrippina, and the three veflals in the royal cabinet at Drefden, de- ferve to be mentioned as eminent proofs of this. This Agrippina feems not the mother of Nero, but an elder one, the fpoufe of Germanicus. She much refembles another pretended Agrippina, in the parlour of the library of St, Marc, at Venice k . Ours is a fitting figure, above the fize of Nature, her head inclined on her right hand ; her fine face fpeaks a foul " pining in thought," ab- forbed in penfive forrow, and fenfelefs to every outward impreflion. The artiiT, I fuppofe, intended to draw his heroine in the

k Vide Zanetti Statue nelP Antifala della libraria di S. Marco. Venez. 1740. fol.


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 2 5

mournful moment me received the news of her banifhment to Pandataria.

The three veftais deferve our efteem from a double title : as being the firft important difcoveries of Herculaneum, and models of the fublimeft drapery. All three, but par- ticularly one above the natural fize, would, with regard to that, be worthy companions of the Farnefian Flora, and all the other boafts of antiquity. The two others feem, by their refemblance to each other, produc- tions of the fame hand, only diftinguimed by their heads, which are not of equal good- nefs. On the bell: the curled hairs, running in furrows from the forehead, are tied on the neck : on the other the hair being fmooth on the fcalp, and curled on the front, is gathered behind, and tied with a ribband : this head feems of a modern hand, but a good one.

There is no veil on thefe heads ; but that makes not againft their being veftais : for the prieftefles of Vefta (I fpeak on proof)


26 Reflexions on the Imitation of the were not always veiled ; or rather, as the drapery feems to betray, the veil, which was of one piece with the garments, being thrown backwards, mingles with the cloaths on the neck.

'Tis to thefe three inimitable pieces that the world owes the firfl hints of the enfuing difcovery of the fubterranean treafures of Herculaneum.

Their difcovery happened when the fame ruins that overwhelmed the town had nearly extinguifhed the unhappy remem- brance of it : when the tremendous fate that ipoke its doom was only known by the ac- count which Pliny gives of his uncle's death.

Thefe great mafter-pieces of the Greek art were tranfplanted, and worfhipped in Ger- many, long before Naples could boaft of one fingle Herculanean monument.

They were difcovered in the year 1706 at

Portici near Naples, in a ruinous vault, on

occafion of digging the foundations of a

2 villa,

Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 27

villa, for the Prince d'Elbeuf, and imme- diately, with other new difcovered marble and metal ftatues, came into the pofleffion of Prince Eugene, and were tranfported to Vienna.

Eugene, who well knew their value, pro* vided a Sala Terrena to be built exprefsly for them, and a few others : and fo highly were they efteemed, that even on the firft rumour of their fale, the academy and the artifts were in an uproar, and every body, when they were tranfported to Drefden, followed them with heavy eyes.

The famous Matielli, to whom

His rule Poly clef > his chiffel Phidias 'gave,


copied them in clay before their removal, and following them fome years after, filled Drefden with everlafting monuments of his art : but even there he ftudied the drapery of his priefteffes, (drapery his chief fkill !) till he laid down his chiffel, and thus gave


28 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

the moft ftriking proof of their excel- lence.

III. Drapery.

T) Y Drapery is to be underftood all that the art teaches of covering the nudities, and folding the garments 5 and this is the third prerogative of the ancients.

The Drapery of the veftals above, is grand and elegant. The fmaller foldings fpring gra- dually from the larger ones, and in them are loft again, with a noble freedom, and gen- tle harmony of the whole, without hiding the correct Contour. How few of the mo- derns would ftand the teft here !

Juftice, however, lhall not be refufed to fome great modern artifts, who, without im- pairing nature or truth, have left, in certain cafes, the road which the ancients generally purfued. The Greek Drapery, in order to help the Contour, was, for the moft part, taken from thin and wet garments, which of 3 courfe

Painting an J Sculpture of the Greeks. 29

courfe clafped the body, and difcovered the fhape. The robe of the Greek ladies was ex- tremely thin -, thence its epithet of Peplon.

Neverthelefs the reliefs, the pictures, and particularly the bufts of the ancients, are in- ftances that they did not always keep to this undulating Drapery l .

In modern times the artifts were forced to heap garments, and fometimes heavy ones, on each other, which of courfe could not fall into the flowing folds of the an- cients. Hence the large-folded Drapery, by which the painter and fculptor may difplay as much {kill as by the ancient, manner. Carlo Marat and Francis Solimena may be called the chief matters of it: but the garments of the new Venetian fchool, by pafling the bounds of nature and propriety, became (lift as brafs.

1 Among the bufts remarkable for that coarfer Drapery, we may reckon the beauteous Caracalla in the royal cabinet at Drefden.

IV. Ex-

30 Reßexio?2s on the Imitation oftlx

IV. Expression.

/ TpHE laft and moll eminent characleriftic of the Greek works is a noble fimplicity and fedate grandeur in Gefture and Expreffion. As the bottom of the fea lies peaceful beneath a foaming furface, a great foul lies fedate beneath the ftrife of paffions in Greek figures.

'Tis in the face of Laocoon this foul fhines with full luftre, not confined however to the face, amidft the moft violent fufFerings. Pangs piercing every mufcle, every labouring nerve y pangs which we almoft feel ourfelves, while we confider — not the face, nor the moft expreffive parts — only the belly contracted by excruciating pains : thefe however, I fay, exert not themfelves with violence, either in the face or gefture. He pierces not heaven, like the Laocoon of Virgil ; his mouth is rather opened to difcharge an anxious overloaded groan, as Sadolet fays ; the ftruggling body and the fupporting mind exert themfelves with equal ftrength, nay balance all the frame.

Laocoon fuffers, but fuffers like the Phi- lo&etes of Sophocles : we weeping feel his pains, but wifh for the hero's ftrength to fupport his mifery.

The Expreffion of fo great a foul is be- yond the force of mere nature. It was in his own mind the artift was to fearch for the ftrength of fpirit with which he marked his marble. Greece enjoyed artifts and phi- lofophers in the fame perfons; and the wifdom of more than one Metrodorus di- rected art, and infpired its figures with more than common fouls.

Had Laocoon been covered with a garb becoming an antient facrificer, his fufferings would have loft one half of their Expref- fion. Bernini pretended to perceive the firft effedts of the operating venom in the numb- nefs of one of the thighs.


3^ "Reflexions on the Imitation of the

Every adtion or geftüre in Greek figures; not (tamped with this character of fage dig- nity, but too violent, too pafiionate, was called cc Parenthyrfos."

For, the more tranquillity reigns in a body, the fitter it is to draw the true character of the foul 5 which, in every exceffive gefture, feems to rum from her proper centre, and being hurried away by extremes becomes unnatural. Wound up to the higheft pitch of paflion, (lie may force herielf upon the duller eye ; but the true fphere of her ac- tion is fimplicity and calmnefs. In Laocoon fufferings alone had been Parenthvrfos ; the artifi therefore, in order to reconcile the fig— nificative and ennobling qualities of his foul, put him into a pcfture, allowing for the fuf- ferings that were neceffary, the next to a ftate of tranquillity : a tranquillity however that is charaäeriftical : the foul will be her- felf — this individual — not the foul of man- kind]} fedate, but active ; calm, but not in- different or drowfy.


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 3 3

What a contrail: ! how diametrically op- pofite to this is the tafte of our modern ar-- tiits, efpecially the young ones ! on nothing do they beftow their approbation, but con- torfions and flrange poitures, infpired with boldnefs; this they pretend is done with fpirit, with Franchezza. Contrail is the darling of their ideas ; in it they fancy every perfection. They fill their performances with comet- like excentric fouls, defpifing every thing but an Ajax or a Capaneus.

Arts have their infancy as well as men ; they begin, as well as the artift, with froth and bombait : in fuch bufkins the mufe of iEfchilus ftalks, and part of the didion in his Agamemnon is more loaded with hyper- boles than all Heraclitus's nonfenfe. Per- haps the primitive Greek painters drew in the fame manner that their firft good trage- dian thought in,

In all human adlions flutter and raih-

nefs precede, fedatenefs and folidity follow :

but time only can difcover, and the judi-

D cious

34 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

cious will admire thefe only : they are the charadteriftics of great matters ; violent pat- fions run away with their difciples.

The fages in the art know the difficulties hid under that air of eafinefs :

at fibi quivis Speret idem, fudet multum, frußraqiie labor et Anfus idem. Hor.

La Fage, though an eminent defigner, was not able to attain the purity of ancient tafte. Every thing is animated in his works ; they demand, and at the fame time diffipate, your attention, like a company ftriving to talk all at once.

This noble fimplicity and fedate grandeur is alfo the true characteriftical mark of the beft and matureft Greek writings, of the epoch and fchool of Socrates. Poffeffed of thefe qualities Raphael became eminently great, and he owed them to the ancients.

That great foul of his, lodged in a beauteous body, was requifite for the firft


Tainting and Sculpture of the Greeks . 3 5

difcovery of the true character of the ancients: he firft felt all their beauties, and (what he was peculiarly happy in !) at an age when vulgar, unfeeling, and half- moulded fouls overlook every higher beauty.

Ye that approach his works, teach your eyes to be fenfible of thofe beauties, refine your tafte by the true antique, and then that folemn tranquillity of the chief figures in his Attila y deemed infipid by the vulgar, will appear to you equally fignificant and fublime. The Roman bifhop, in order to divert the Hun from his defign of aflailing Rome, appears not with the air of a Rhetor, but as a venerable man, whofe very prefence foftens uproar into peace ; like him drawn by Virgil :

Turn pietate gravem ac meritis> ß forte virum

quern Confpexere, filent, adreffifque auribus adflant:

JEn. I. D 2 full

36 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

full of confidence in God, he faces down the barbarian : the two Apoftles defcend not with the air of flaughtering angels, but (if facred may be compared with profane) like Jove, whofe very nod makes Olympus.

Algardi> in his celebrated reprefentation of the fame ftory, done in bas-relief on an altar in St. Peter's church at Rome, was either too negligent, or too weak, to give this active tranquillity of his great prede- ceffor to the figures of his Apoftles. There they appear like melfengers of the Lord of Hofts : here like human warriors with mortal arms.

How few of thofe we call connoiffeurs have ever been able to underftand, and fin- cerely to admire, the grandeur of exprefiion in the St. Michael of Guido, in the church of the Capuchins at Rome ! they prefer commonly the Archangel of Concha, whofe face glows with indignation and revenge m ;


m Vide Wright's Travels.

The victorious St. Michael of Guido, treads ob


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 37

whereas Guido 's Angel, after having over- thrown the fiend of God and man,* hovers over him unruffled and undifmayed.

Thus, to heighten the hero of The Cam- paign, vidtorious Marlborough, the Britim poet paints the avenging Angel hovering over Britannia with the like ferenity and awful calmnefs.

The royal gallery at Drefden contains now, among its treafures, one of Raphael's beft pictures, witnefs Vafari, &c. a Ma- donna with the Infant ; St. Sixtus and St. Barbara kneeling, one on each fide, and two Angels in the fore-part.

It was the chief altar-piece in the cloiiler of St. Sixtus at Piacenza, which was croud- ed by connoiiTeurs, who came to fee this Raphael, in the fame manner as Thefpis was in the days of old, for the fake of the beautiful Cupid of Praxiteles,

the body of his antagonift, with all the precifion of a dancing-mafter. Webb's Inquiry, &c.

D 3 Be-

38 Reßexions on the Imitation of the

Behold the Madonna ! her face brightens with innocence \ a form above the female fize, and the calmnefs of her mien, make her appear as already beatified : me has that filent awfulnefs which the ancients fpread over their deities. How grand, how noble is her Contour !

The child in her arms is elevated above vulgar children, by a face darting the beams of divinity through every fmiling feature of harmlefs childhood.

St. Barbara kneels, with adoring ftill- nefs, at her fide : but being far beneath the majefty of the chief figure, the great artift compenfated her humbler graces with foft enticing charms.

The Saint oppofite to her is venerable with age. His features feem to bear wit- nefs of his facred youth.

The veneration which St. Barbara declares for the Madonna, exprefled in the moft fenfible and pathetic manner, by her fine hands clafped on her breafr, helps to fup-


Tainting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 3 9

port the motion of one of St. Sixtus's hands, by which he utters his extafy, better be- coming (as the artifl judicioufly thought, andchofe for variety's fake) manly ftrength, than female modefty.

Time, 'tis true, has withered the primitive fplendour of this picture, and partly blown off its lively colours ; but ftill the foul, with which the painter infpired his godlike work, breathes life through all its parts.

Let thofe that approach this, and the reft of Raphael's works, in hopes of finding there the trifling Dutch and Flemim beau- ties, the laboured nicety of JNetfcher, or Douw, flefh ivorified by Van der Werf, or even the licked manner of iome of Ra- phael's living countrymen ; let thofe, I fay, be told, that Raphael was not a great mailer for them.

D 4. V. Work-

40 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

V. Workmanship in Sculpture.

A FTER thefe remarks on the Nature, the Contour, the Drapery, the fimpli^ city and grandeur of Expreffion in the per- formances of the Greek artifts, we mall proceed to fome inquiries into their method of working.

Their models were generally made of wax ; inftead of which the moderns ufed clay, or fuch like unctuous fluff, as feeming fitter for expreffing flefh, than the more gluey and tenacious wax.

A method however not new, though more frequent in our times : for we know even the name of that ancient who firfi attempted modelling in wet clay > 'twas Dibutades of Sicyon ; and Arcefilaus, the friend of Ln- cu!/us 3 grew more famous by his models of clay than his other performances. He made for Lucullus a figure of clay reprefenting Happinefs y and received 60^000 fefterces : 2 and

Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks . 4 1

and OcJaviuSy a Roman Knight, paid him a talent for the model only of a large dim, in plaifter, which he defigned to have finifhed in gold.

Of all materials, clay might be allowed to be the fitteft for fh aping figures, could it preferve its moiftnefs > but lofing that by time or fire, its folider parts, contracting by de- grees, leflen the bulk of the mafs ; and that which is formed, being of different diameters, grows fooner dry in fome parts than in others, and the dry ones being llirunk to a fmaller iize, there will be no proportion kept in the whole.

From this inconvenience wax is always free : it lofes nothing of its bulk ; and there are alfo means to give it the fmocthnefs of flefh, which is refufed to modelling ; viz. you make your model of clay, mould it with plaifter, and cafl the wax over it.

But for transferring their models to the marble, the Greeks feem to have pofTefied


42 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

fbme peculiar advantages, which are now loft: for you difcover, every where in their works, the traces of a confident hand ; and even in thofe of inferior rank, it would be no eafy matter to prove a wrong cut. Surely hands fo fteady, fo fecure; muft of neceffity have been guided by rules more determinate and lefs arbitrary than we can boaft of.

The ufual method of our fculptors is, to quarter the well-prepared model with ho- rizontals and perpendiculars, and, as is common in copying a picture, to draw a re- lative number of fquares on the marble.

Thus, regular gradations of a fcale be- ing fuppofed, every fmall fquare of the mo- del has its correfponding one on the marble. But the contents of the relative mafles not being determinable by a meafured furface, the artiftj though he gives to his ftone the refemblance of the model, yet, as he only depends on the precarious aid of his eye, he fhall never ceafe wavering, as to his doing right or wrong, cutting too fiat or too deep.


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 43

Nor can he find lines to determine pre- cifely the outlines, or the Contour of the inward parts, and the centre of his model, in fo fixed and unchangeable a manner, as to enable him, exadtly, to transfer the fame Contours upon his ftone.

To a!] this add, that, if his work hap- pens to be too voluminous for one fingle hand, he muft truft to thofe of his journey- men and difciples, who, too often, are nei- ther fkilful nor cautious enough to follow their matter's defign 5 and if once the fmalleft trifle be cut wrong, for it is impoffible to fix, by this method, the limits of the cuts, all is loft.

It is to be remarked in general, that every fculptor, who carries on his chiffelings their whole length, on firft fafhioning his marble, and does not prepare them by gra- dual cuts for the lafl final ftrokes ; it is to be remarked, I fay, that he never can keep his work free from faults.


44 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

Another chief defect in that method is this : the artift cannot help cutting off, every moment, the lines on his block -, and though he reftore them, cannot poffibly be fure of avoiding miftakes.

On account of this unavoidable uncer- tainty, the artifts found themfelves obliged to contrive another method, and that which the French academy at Rome firft made ufe of for copying antiques, was applied by many even to modelled performances.

Over the ftatue which you want to copy, you fix a well-proportioned fquare, di- viding it into equally diftant degrees, by plummets : by thefe the outlines of the figure are more diftinßly marked than they could poffibly be by means of the former method : they moreover afford the artift an exact meafure of the more prominent or lower parts, by the degrees in which thefe parts are near them, and in fhort, allow him to go on with more confidence.


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 45

But the undulations of a curve being not determinable by a lingle perpendicular, the Contours of the figure are but indifferently indicated to the artift; and among their many declinations from a ftraight furface, his tenour is every moment loft.

The difficulty of difcovering the real pro-» portions of the figures, may alfo be eafily imagined : they feek them by horizontals placed acrofs the plummets. But the rays reflected from the figure through the fquares, will ftrike the eye in enlarged angles, and confequently appear bigger, in proportion as they are high or low to the point of view.

Neverthelefs, as the ancient monuments muft be moft cautioufly dealt with, plum- mets are ftill of ufe in copying them, as no furer or eafier method has been difcovered : but for performances to be done from mo- dels they are unfit for want of precision.

Michael Angelo went alone a way un- known before him, and (ftrange to tell!)


46 Reßexions on the Imitation of the

untrod fince the time of that genius of mo- dern fculpture.

This Phidias of latter times, and next to the Greeks, hath, in all probability, hit the very mark of his great mafters. We know at leaft no method fo eminently proper for expreffing on the block every even the mi- nuteft, beauty of the model.

Vafari n feems to give but a defective defcription of this method, viz. Michael

n Vafari vite de Pittori, Scult. et Arch. edit. 1568.

Part III. p. 776. " Quattro prigioni bozzati,

" che poffano infegnare a cavare de' Marmi le figure

    • con un modo ficuro da non iftorpiare i faffi, che

<c il modo e quefto, che s' e' fi pigliafli una figura di <c cera 6 d' akra materia dura, e fi metefli a giacere Ci in una conca d' acqua, la quale acqua eflendo per <c la fua natura nella fua fommitä piana et pari, al-

  • c zando la detta figura a poco del pari, coli ven-
  • c gono ä fcoprirfi prima le parti piu relevate e a

<c nafconderfi i fondi, cioe le parti piu bafTe della <e figura, tanto che nel fine ella cofi viene fcoperta <c tutta. Nel medefimo modo fi debbono cavare con ic lo fcarpello le figure de' Marmi, prima fcoprendo <c le parti piu rilevate, e di mano in mano le piu bafle, " il quale modo fi vede cfTervato da Michael Angelo " ne' fopra detti prigioni, i quali fua Eccellenza «< vuole, che fervino per «fempio de fuoi Academic!. "


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks . 47

Angeh took a veffel filled with water, in which he placed his model of wax, or fome fuch indiffoluble matter : then, by degrees, raifed it to the furface of the water. In this manner the prominent parts were unwet, the lower covered, 'till the whole at length appeared. Thus fays Vafari, he cut his marble, proceeding from the more promi- nent parts to the lower ones.

Vafariy it feems, either miftook fomething in the management of his friend, or by the negligence of his account gives us room to imagine it fomewhat different from what he relates.

The form of the veffel is not determined ; to raife the figure from below would prove too troublefome, and prefuppofes much more than this hiflorian had a mind to inform us of.

Michael Angeh y no doubt, thoroughly ex- amined his invention, its conveniencies and inconveniencies, and in all probability ob- ferved the following method.

2 He

48 Reflexions on the hiitation of the

He took a veffel proportioned to his mo- del 5 for inftance, an oblong fquare : he marked the furface of its fides with certain dimenfions, and thefe he transferred after- wards, with regular gradations, on the mar- ble. The infide of the veffel he marked to the bottom with degrees. Then he laid, or, if of wax, fattened his model in it 5 he drew, perhaps, a bar over the veffel fuitable to its dimenfions, according to whofe num- ber he drew, firft, lines on his marble, and immediately after, the figure - y he poured wa- ter on the model till it reached its outmoft points, and after having fixed upon a pro- minent part, he drew off as much water as hind red him from feeing it, and then went to work with his chiffel, the degrees (hew- ing him how to go on ; if, at the fame time, fome other part of the model appeared, it was copied too, as far as feen.

V/ater was again carried off, in order to let the lower parts appear ; by the degrees he faw to what pitch it was reduced, and


Painthig and Sculpture of the Greeks. 49

by its fmoothnefs he difcovered the exact furfaces of the lower parts ; nor could he go wrong, having the fame number of degrees to guide him, upon his marble.

The water not only pointed him out the heights or depths, but alfo the Contour of his model ; and the fpace left free on the infides to the furface of the water, whole largenefs was determined by the degrees of the two other fides, was the exact meafure of what might fafely be cut down from the block.

His work had now got the firft form, and a correct one : the levelnefs of the water had drawn a line, of which every promi- nence of the mafs was a point -, according to the diminution of the water the line funk in a horizontal direction, and was followed by the artift 'till he difcovered the declinations of the prominences, and their mingling with the lower parts. Proceeding thus with every degree, as it appeared, he finifhed the Con- tour, and took his model out of the water.

E His

50 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

His figure wanted beauty : he again pour- ed water to a proper height over his model, and then numbering the degrees to the line defcribed by the water, he defcried the ex- ad height of the protuberant parts ; on thefe he levelled his rule, and took the meafure of the diftance, from its verge to the bot- tom ; and then comparing all he had done with his marble, and finding the fame num- ber of degrees, he was geometrically fure of fuccefs.

Repeating his talk, he attempted to ex- prefs the motion and re-adion of nerves and mufcles, the foft undulations of the fmaller parts, and every imitable beauty of his mo- del. The water infinuating itfelf, even into the moll inaccefiible parts, traced their Con- tour with the. corredeft fharpnefs and pre- cifion.

This method admits of every poflible

pofture. In profile efpecialiy, it difcovers

every inadvertency ; (hews the Contour of

1 the

Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks . 5 1

the prominent and lower parts, and the whole diameter.

All this, and the hope of fuccefs, pre- fuppofes a model formed by fkilful hands, in the true tafte of antiquity.

This is the way by which Michael An- gelo arrived at immortality. Fame and re- wards confpired to procure him what leifure he wanted, for performances which required fo much care.

But the artifl of our days, however en- dowed by nature and induftry with talents to raife himfelf, and even though he per- ceive precifion and truth in this method, is forced to exert his abilities for getting bread rather than honour : he of courfe refts in his ufual fphere, and continues to truft in an eye direded by years and pradice.

Now this eye, by the obfervations of which he is chiefly ruled, being at laft, though by a great deal of uncertain pradice, become almoft decifive: how refined, how exad

E 2 might

52 Reflexions on the Imitation of the might it not have been, if, from early youth, acquainted with never-changing rules !

And were young artifts, at their firft be- ginning to fhape the clay or form the wax, fo happy as to be inftrudted in this fure me- thod of Michael Angelo> which was the fruit of long refearches, they might with reafon hope to come as near the Greeks as he did.

VI. Painting.

/^REEK Painting perhaps would fhare all the praifes beftowed on their Sculp- ture, had time and the barbarity of man- kind allowed us to be decifive on that point.

All the Greek painters are allowed is Contour and Expreffion. Perfpe&ive, Com- pofition, and Colouring, are denied them \ a judgment founded on fome bas-reliefs, and the new-difcovered ancient (for we dare not fay Greek) pictures, at and near Rome, in the fubterranean vaults of the palaces of


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 5 3

Maecenas, Titus, Trajan, and the Antonini; of which but about thirty are preferved en- tire, fome being only in Mofaic.

Turnbull, to his treatife on ancient paint- ing, has fubjoined a collection of the moll known ancient pictures, drawn by Camillo Paderni, and engraved by Mynde ; and thefe alone give fome value to the magnificent and abufed paper of his work. Two of them are copied from originals in the cabinet of the late Dr. Mead.

That Poußn much ftudied the pretended Aldrovandine Nuptials; that drawings are found done by Annibal Carracci, from the prefumed Marcius Coriolanus -, and that there is a moft ftriking refemblance between the heads of Guido t and thofe on the Mofaic re- prefenting Jupiter carrying off Europa, are remarks long fince made.

Indeed, if ancient Painting were to be judged by thefe, and fuch like remains of Frefco pidures, Contour and Expreflion might be wrefted from it in the fame manner.

E 3 For

54 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

For the pictures, with figures as big as life, pulled off with the walls of the Hercula- nean theatre, afford but a very poor idea of the Contour and Expreflicn of the ancient painters. Thefeus, the conqueror of the Minotaur, worfhipped by the Athenian youths -, Flora with Hercules and a Faunus ; the pretended judgment of the Decemvir Appius Claudius, are on the teflimony of an artift who faw them, of a Contour as mean as faulty -, and the heads want not only Ex- prefiion, but thofe in the Claudius even Character.

But even this is an evident inftance of the meanneis of the artifts : for the fcience of beautiful Proportions, of Contour, and Ex- preflicn, could not be the exclufive privilege of Greek fculptors alone.

However, though 1 am for doing juftice to the ancients, I have no intention to leflen the merit of the moderns.

In Perfpe&ive there is no companion be- tween them and the ancients, whom no


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks . 5 j

earned defence can intitle to any fuperiority in that fcience. The laws of Compofition and Ordonnance feem to have been but im- perfectly known by the ancients : the re- liefs of the times when the Greek arts were flourishing at Rome, are inftances of this. The accounts of the ancient writers, and the remains of Painting are likewife, in point of Colouring, decifive in favour of the mo- derns.

There are feveral other objeds of Paint- ing which, in modern times, have attained greater perfection: fuch are landfcapes and cattle pieces. The ancients feem not to have been acquainted with the handfomer varieties of different animals in different climes, if we may conclude from the horie of M. Aurelius ; the two horfes in Monte Cavallo y the pretended Lyfippean horfes above the portal of St. Mark's church at Venice 5 the Farnefian bull, and other ani- mals of that groupe.

E 4. I ob-

56 Reßexions on the Imitation of the

I obferve, by the bye, that the ancients were carelefs of giving to their horfes the diametrical motion of their legs ; as we fee in the horfes at Venice, and the ancient coins : and in that they have be-tn followed, nay even defended, by fome ignorant mo- derns.

'Tis chiefly to oil-painting that our land- fcapes, and efpecially thofe of the Dutch, owe their beauties : by that their colours ac- quired more strength and liveiinefs 5 and even nature herfelf feems to have given them a thicker, moifter atmofphere, as an advantage to this branch of the art. > Thefe, and fome other advantages over the ancients, deferve to be fet forth with more folid arguments than we have hitherto had.

VII. Allegory.

>~pHERE is one other important ftep

left towards the atchievement of the

art : but the artift, who, boldly forfaking


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 57

the common path, dares to attempt it, finds himfelf at once on the brink of a precipice, and ftarts back difmayed.

The ftories of martyrs and faints, fables and metamorphofes, are almoft the only objeds of modern painters — repeated athou- fand times, and varied almoft beyond the limits of pofiibility, every tolerable judge grows fick at them.

The judicious artift falls afleep over a Daphne and Apollo, a Proferpine carried off by Pluto, an Europa, &c. he wifihes for occafions to fhew himfelf a poet, to produce fignificant images, to paint Allegory.

Painting goes beyond the fenfes : there is its moft elevated pitch, to which the Greeks ftrove to raife themfelves, as their writings evince. Parrhafius, like Ariftides, a painter of the foul, was able to exprefs the cha- racter even of a whole people : he painted the Athenians as mild as cruel, as fickle as fteady, as brave as timid. Such a repre- fentation owes its pofiibility only to the al- legorical

58 "Reflexions on the Imitation of the

legorical method, whofe images convey ge^ neral ideas.

But here the artift is loft in a defarr. Tongues the moft favage, which are entirely deftitute of abftradted ideas, containing no word whofe fenfe could exprefs memory, Jpace, duration, &c. thefe tongues, I fay, are not more deftitute of general figns, than painting in our days. The painter who thinks beyond his palette longs for fome learned apparatus, by whofe ftores he might be enabled to inveft abftracted ideas with fenfible and meaning images. Nothing has yet been publifhed of this kind, to fatisfy a rational being -, the effays hitherto made are not confiderabie, and far beneath this great defign. The artift himfelf knows beft in what degree he is fatisfied with Ripa's Iconology, and the emblems of an- cient nations, by Van Hooghe.

Hence the greateft artifts have chofen but vulgar objects. Annibal Caracci, inftead of reprefenting in general fymbols and fenfible


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 5 9 images the hiftory of the Farnefian family, as an allegorical poet, wafted all his ikill in fables known to the whole world.

Go, vifit the galleries of monarchs, and the publick repofitories of art, and fee what difference there is between the number of allegorical, poetical, or even hiftorical per- formances, and that of fables, faints, or madonnas.

Among great artifts, Rubens is the moft eminent, who firft, like a fublime poet, dared to attempt this untrodden path. His moft voluminous compofition, the gallery of Luxembourg, has been communicated to the world by the hands of the beft en- gravers.

After him the fublimeft performance un- dertaken and finifhed, in that kind, is, no doubt, the cupola of the imperial library at Vienna, painted by Daniel Gran, and en- graved by Sedelmaycr. The Apotheofis of Hercules at Verfailles, done by Le Moine, and alluding to the Cardinal Hercules de


6o Reflexions on the Imitation of the

Fkury y though deemed in France the moft auguft of compositions, is, in cornparifon of the learned and ingenious performance of the German artift, but a very mean and fhort- fighted Allegory, refembling a panegyric, the moft ftriking beauties of which are relative to the almanack. The artift had it in his power to indulge grandeur, and his flipping th§. occafion is aftoniihing : but even allowing, that the Apotheoiis of a minifter was all that he ought to have decked the chief deling of a royal palace with, we never- thelefs fee through his fig-leaf.

The artift would require a work, containing every image with which any abPcradled idea might be poetically inverted : a work colle&ed from all mythology, the beft poets of all ages, the myfterious philofophy of different nations, the monuments of the ancients on gems, coins, utenfils, &c. This magazine fhould be diftributed into feveral claffes, and, with proper applications to peculiar poffible cafes, adapted to the inftruäion of the artift.


Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks. 6 1

This would, at the fame time, open a vaft field for imitating the ancients, and parti- cipating of their fublimer tafte.

The tafte in our decorations, which, fince the complaints oiVitruvius y hath changed for the worfe, partly by the grotefques brought in vogue by Morte da Feltro, partly by our trifling houfe-painting, might alio, from more intimacy with the ancients, reap the advantages of reality and common fenfe.

The Caricatura-carvings, and favourite fhells, thofe chief fupports of our orna- ments, are full as unnatural as the candle- flicks diVitrmiüSy with their little caftles and palaces : how eafy would it be, by the help of Allegory, to give fome learned con- venience to the fmalleft ornament !

Redder e perfonce fctt convenientia cuique.


Paintings of ceilings, doors, and chimney- pieces, are commonly but the expletives of thefe places, becaufe they cannot be gilt


62 Reflexions on the Imitation of the

all over, Not only they have not the leail relation to the rank and circumftances of the proprietor, but often throw fome ridicule or refle&ion upon him.

'Tis an abhorrence of barennefs that fills walls and rooms; and pictures void of thought muft fupply the vacuum.

Hence the artift, abandoned to the di&ates of his own fancy, paints, for want of Alle- gory, perhaps a fatire on him to whom he owes his induftry ; or, to (hun this Cha- rybdis, finds himfelf reduced to paint figures void of any meaning.

Nay, he may often find it difficult to meet even with thofe, 'till at laft

velut cegri Somnia, vancz

Finguntur Species. Hor.

Thus Painting is degraded from its mod: eminent prerogative, the reprefentation of invifible, pafl: and future things.

If pictures be fometimes met with, which might be fignificant in fome particular


Tainting and Sculpture of the Greeks, 6 3

place, they often lofe that property by ftupid and wrong applications.

Perhaps the mafter of fome new building

Dives agris y dives pofitis in fcenore nummis Hor.

may, without the leaft compundlion for of- fending the rules of perfpe&ive, place figures of the fmalleft fize above the vaft doors of his apartments and falloons. I fpeak here of thofe ornaments which make part of the furniture ; not of figures which are often, and for good reafons, fet up promifcuoufly in colle&ions.

The decorations of architecture are often as ill-chofen. Arms and trophies deck a hunting-houfe as nonfenfically, as Gany- mede and the eagle, Jupiter and Leda, figure it among the reliefs of the brazen gates of St. Peter's church at Rome.

Arts have a double aim : to delight and to inftrudl. Hence the greateft landfcape- painters think, they have fulfilled but half


64 Reßxions on the Imitation, &c.

their tafk in drawing their pieces without figures.

Let the artifl's pencil, like the pen of Ariftotle, be impregnated with reafon ; that, after having fatiated the eye, he may nou- rifh the mind : and this he may obtain by Allegory ; inverting, not hiding his ideas. Then, whether he chufe fome poetical object himlelf, or follow the dictates of others, he fhall be infpired by his art, fhall be fired with the flame brought down from heaven by Prometheus, fhall entertain the votary of art, and inftrudt the mere lover of it.






The foregoing Reflexions.

[ 6 7 ] A



Objections againft the foregoing


S I R,

A S you have written on the Greek arts and artifts, I wifh you had made your treatife as much the objefl of your caution as the Greek artifts made their works ; which, before difmiffing them, they exhibited to publick view, in order to be examined by everybody, andefpecially by competent judges of the art. The trial was held during the grand, chiefly the Olympian, ^ames ; and all Greece was interefted on ./Etion's producing his pidure of the nuptials of Alexander and Roxana. You, Sir, wanted a Proxenidas

F 2 to

68 Objections againß

to be judged by, as well as that artift; and had it not been for your myfterious con- cealment, I might have communicated your treatife, before its publication, to fome learned men and connoiffeurs of my acquaintance, without mentioning the author's name.

One of them vifited Italy twice, where he devoted all his time to a moft anxious examination of painting, and particularly feveral months to each eminent picture, at the very place where it was painted ; the only method, you know, to form a con- noifleur. The judgment of a man able to tell you which of Guido's altar-pieces is painted on taffeta, or linnen, what fort of wood Raphael chofe for his transfiguration, &c. the judgment of fuch a man, I fancy, muft be allowed to be decifive.

Another of my acquaintance has fludied antiquity : he knows it by the very fmell -,

Callet & Artificem folo depr ender e Odor e.

Sedan. Sat. He

the foregoing Reflexions. 69

He can tell you the number of knots on Hercules's club 3 has reduced Neftor's goblet to the modern meafure : nay, is fufpedted of meditating folutions to all the queftions pro- pofed by Tiberius to the grammarians.

A third, for feveral years paft, has negle<3> ed every thing but hunting after ancient coins. Many a new difcovery we owe to him ; efpecially feme concerning the hiftory of the ancient coiners ; and, as I am told, he is to roufe the attention of the world by a Pro- dromus concerning the coiners of Cyzicum.

What a number of reproaches might you have efcaped; had you fubmitted your Eflay to the judgment of thefe gentlemen! they were pleafed to acquaint me with their obje&ions, and I fhould be forry, for your honour, to fee them published.

Among other objections, the firft is fur- prized at your pafling by the two Angels, in your defcription of the Raphael in the royal cabinet at Drefden ; having been t Id, that a Boiognefe painter, in mentioning this piece,

F 3 which

jo ObjeStions againft

which he faw at St. Sixtus's at Piacenza, breaks into thefe terms of admiration : O ! what Angels of Paradife a ! by which he fuppofes thofe Angels to be the moft beau- tiful figures of the picture.

The fame perfon would reproach you for having defcribed that picture in the manner of Raguenet b .

The fecond concludes the beard of Lao- coon to be as worthy of your attention as his contracted belly : for every admirer of Greek works, fays he, mufl pay the fame refpcft to the beard of Laocoon, which fa* ther Labat paid to that of the Mofes of Mi- chael Angelo.

This learned Dominican,

Qui mores hominum multorum vidit & urbes, has, after fo many centuries, drawn from

  • Lettere d'alcuni Bolognefi, Vol. I. p. 159.

b Compare a defeription of a St. Sebaftian of Bee«  cafurni, another of a Hercules and Antaeus of Lan- franc, &c. in Raguenet's Monumens de Rome, Paris, i2mo,


the foregoing Reßeöliojis. ji

this very ilatue an evident proof of the true fafhion in which Mofes wore his own indi- vidual beard, and whofe imitation muft, of courfe, be the diftinguifhing mark of every true Jew c .

There is not the leaft fpark of learning, fays he, in your remarks on the Peplon of the three veftals : he might perhaps, on the very inflection of the veil, have difcovered to you as many curiofities as Cuper himfelf found on the edge of the veil of Tragedy in the Apotheofis of Homer *.

We alfo want proof of the veftals being

c LabatvoyageenEfpagne&enltal. T.III. p. 213. " Michel Ange etoit aufli favant dans l'antiquitt

" que dans l'anatomie, la fculpture, la peinture, et " l'architeclure ; et puifqu' il nous a reprefente Moyfe " avec une ü belle et A longue barbe, il eft für, et " doit patter pour conftant, que le prophete la por- " toit ainfi ; et par une confequence neceflaire les ' c Juifs, qui pretendent le copier avec exactitude, et <c qui font la plus grande partie de leur religion de " l'obfervance des ufages qu J il a laifle, doivent avoir « de la barbe comme lui, ou renoncer ä la qualite « de Juifs." d Apotheof. Hcmeri, p. 81, 82.

F 4 really

J 2 Objections againfi

really Greek performances : our reafon fails us too often in the moft obvious things. If unhappily the marble of thefe figures mould be proved to be no Lychnites, they are loft, and your treatife too : had you but flightly told us their marble was large-grained, that would have been a fufficient proof of their authenticity - y for it would be fomewhat dif- ficult to determine the bignefs of the grains with fuch exaclnefs as to diftinguifh the Greek marble from the Roman of Luna. But the worft is, they are even denied the tide of veftals.

The third mentioned fome heads of Livia and Agrippina, without that pretended pro- file of yours. Here he thinks you had the moft lucky occafion to talk of that kind of nofe by the nncients calleu S>uadrata, as an ingredient of beauty. But you no doubt know, that the nofes of fome of the moft famous Greek ftatues, viz. the Medicean Venus, and the Picchinian Meleager, are


the foregoing Reflexions. 73

much too thick for becoming the model of beauty, in that kind, to our artifts.

I fhall not, however, gall you with all the doubts and objections raifed againft your treatife, and repeated to naufeoufnefs, upon the arrival of an Academician, the Margites of our days, wh d', being fhewed your treatife, gave it a flight giance, then laid it afide, offended as it were at rirft fight. But it was eafy to perceive that he wanted his opinion to be afked, which we accordingly all did. " The author, faid he very peremptorily, feerr.s not to have been at much pains with this treatife : I cannot find above four or five quotations, and thofe negligently infertedj no chapter, no page, cited ; he certainly col- le&eo his remarks from books which he is afhamed to produce."

Yet cannot I help introducing another gentleman, fharp-fighted enough to pick ©ut fornething that had efcaped all my at- tention} viz. that the Greeks were the


74 Objections againfl

firft inventors of Painting and Sculpture ; an aflertion, as he was pleafed to exprefs him- felf, entirely falfe, having been told it was the Egyptians, or fome people ftill more an- cient, and unknown to him.

Even the mod whimfical humour may be turned to profit: neverthelefs, I think it manifeft that you intended to talk only of good Tafte in thofe arts j and the firft Ele- ments of an art have the fame proportion to good Tafte in it, as the feed has to the fruit. That the art was ftill in its infancy among the Egyptians, when it had attained the higheft degree of perfeclion among the Greeks, may be feea by examining one fmgle gem : you need only confider the head of Ptolomaus Philopator by Aulus, and the two figures adjoining to it done by an Egyptian % in order to be convinced of the little merit this nation could pretend to in point of art.

e Stofch Pierr. Grav. pi. XIX.


the foregoing "Reflexions. 75

The form and tafte of their Painting have been afcertained by Middleton. f The pictures of perfons as big as life, on two mummies in the royal cabinet of antiquities at Drefden, are evident inftances of their in- capacity. But thefe relicks being curious, in feveral other refpe&s, I mall hereafter fubjoin a fhort account of them.

I cannot, my friend, help allowing fome reafon for feveral of thefe objections. Your negligence in your quotations was, no doubt, fomewhat prejudicial to your authenticity : the art of changing blue eyes to black ones, certainly deferved an authority. You imi- tate Democritus ; who being afked, u What is man ?" every body knows what was his reply. What reafonable creature will fub- mit to read all Greek fcholiafts !

Jbit eo, quo vis, qui Zonam perdidit—*


Confidering, however, how eafily the hu-

f Monum. Antiquit. p. 255.


j 6 (jbjccliom againß

man mind is biaßed, either by friendiliip or animofity, I took cccafion from thefe ob- jections to examine your treatife with more exactnefs ; and fhall now, by the moft im- partial cenfure, ftrive to clear myfelf from every imputation of prepofieffion in your favour.

I will pafs by the firft and fecond page, though fomething might be faid on your comparifon of the Diana with the Nauficaa, and the application : nor would it have been amifs, had you thrown fome more light on the remark concerning the mifufed pictures of Corregio (very likely borrowed from Count Teffin's letters), by giving an account of the other indignities which the pictures of the beft artifts, at the fame time, met with at Stockholm.

It is well known that, after the furrender

of Prague to Count Konigfmark, the 15th

of July 1648, the moft precious pictures of

the Emperor Rodolph II. were carried off


9 to

the foregoing Reßexions. 77

to Sweden g . Among thefe were fome pic- tures of Corregio, which the Emperor had been prefented with by theif firfl pofleflbr, Duke Frederick of Mantua; two of them be- ing the famous Leda, and a Cupid handling his bow h . Chriftina, endowed at that time rather with fcholaftic learning than tafte, treated thefe treafures as the Emperor Clau- dius did an Alexander of Apelles > who or- dered the head to be cut off, and that of Auguftus to fill its place *. In the fame manner heads, hands, feet were here cut off from the moft beautiful pi&ures ; a car- pet was plaftered over with them, and the mangled pieces fitted up with new heads, &c. Thofe that fortunately efcaped the common havock, among which were the pieces of Corregio, came afterwards, toge- ther with feveral other pidtures, bought by

i PufFendorf Rer. Suec. L. XX. §. 50. p. 796. h Sandrart Acad. P. IL L. 2. c. 6. p. 118. Conf. St.Gelais defer. desTabl. du Palais Royal, p. 12. &feq.

  • Plin. Hift. Nat. L. 35. c. 10,


78 ObjeEliom againß

the Queen at Rome) into the pofieffion of the Duke of Orleans, who purchafed 250 of t&em, and among thofe eleven of Cor- regio, for 9000 Roman crowns.

But I am not contented with your charg- ing only the northern countries with bar* barifm, on account of the little efteem they paid to the arts. If good tafte is to be judged in this manner, I am afraid for our French neighbours. For having taken Bonn, the refidence of the Ele&or of Cologne, after the death of Max. Henry, they ordered the •largeft pidtures to be cut out of their frames, without diftinction, in order to ferve for co- verings to the waggons, in which the moft valuable furniture of the ele&oral caftle was carried off for France. But, Sir, do not prefume on my continuing with mere hifto- rical remarks : I fhali proceed with my ob- je&ions, after making the two following ge- neral obfervations.

I. You have written in a ftyle too con- cife for being diftinft. Were you afraid of

being 3

the foregoing Reflexions. jg

being condemned to the penalty of a Spartan, who could not reftrain himfelf to only three words, perhaps that of reading Picciardin's Pifan War ? Diftinftnefs is re- quired where univerfal inftruction is the end. Meats are to fuit the tafle of the guefts, rather than that of the cooks,

— — Ccence fercula noflrce Malim convivis quam placuijfe coqais.

II. There appears, in almoft every line of yours, the moft paffionate attachment to antiquity; which perhaps I mall convince you of, by the following remarks.

The firft particular objection I have to make is againft your third page. Remem- ber, however, that my paffing by two pages is very generous dealing :

non temerc a me %uivis ferret idem: Hor.

but let us now begin a formal trial.


8o Objections againfi

The author talks of certain negligences in the Greek works, which ought to be con- lidered fuitably to Lucian's precepts concern- ing the Zeus of Phidias : " Zeus himfelf, not his footftool % k though perhaps he could not be charged with any fault in the foot-ftool, but with a very grievous one in the ftatue.

Is it no fault that Phidias made his Zeus of fo enormous a bulk, as almoft to reach the cieling of the temple, w 7 hich muft in- fallibly have been thrown down, had the god taken it in his head to rife ? ! To have left the temple without any cieling at all, like that of the Olympian Jupiter at Athens, had been an inftance of more judgment ™.

'Tis but juftice to claim an explication of what the author means by cc negligences". He perhaps might be pleated to get a paff- port, even for the faults of the ancients, by fheltering them under the authority of

k Lucian de Hid. Scrib.

1 Strabo Geogr. L. VIII. p. 542.

m Vitruv. L. III. c. 1,


the foregoing Reflexions. 8 1

fuch titles ; nay, to change them into beau- ties, as Alcaeus did the fpot on the finger of his beloved boy. We too often view the blemifhes of the ancients, as a parent does thofe of his children :

Strabonem Appellat pcetum pater \ & pullum> male parvus Si cid fllius efl. Hor.

If thefe negligences were like thofe wifhed for in the Jalyfus of Protogenes, where the chief figure was out-fhone by a partridge, they might beconfidered as theagreeable neg- ligee of a fine lady j but this is the queftion. Befides, had the author confulted his in- tereft, he never would have ventured citing the Diomedes of Diofcorides : but being too well acquainted with that gem, one of the moft valued, moil: finished monuments of Greek art 5 and being apprehenfive of the prejudice that might arife againfl: the meaner productions of the ancients, on difcovering many faults in one fo eminent as Diomedes - y G he

82 Object ions againfi

he endeavoured to keep matters from being too nearly examined, and to foften every fault into negligence.

How ! if by argument I fliall attempt to fhew that Diofcorides underftood neither perfpe&ive, nor the mod: trivial rules of the motion of a human body $ nay, that he of- fended even againft poffibility ? I'll venture to do it, though

tncedo per ignes Suppofitos cineri dolofo. Hor,

And perhaps I am not the firfl; difcoverer of his faults : yet I do not remember to have feen any thing relative to them.

The Diomedes of Diofcorides is either a fitting, or a rifing figure ; for the attitude is ambiguous. It is plain he is not fitting ; and rifing is inconfiftent with his action.

Our body endeavouring toraife itfelf from a feat, moves always mechanically towards its iought-for centre of gravity, drawing back


the foregoing Reflexions. 83

the legs, which were advanced in fitting n j inftead of which the figure ftretches out his fight leg. Every erection begins with ele- vated heels, and in that moment all the weight of the body is fupported only by the toes, which was obferved by Felix °, in his Diomedes : but here all refts on the fole.

Nor can Diomedes, (if we fuppofe him to be a fitting figure, as he touches with his left leg the bottom of his thigh) find, in railing himfelf, the centre of his gravity, only by a retraction of his legs, and of courfe cannot rife in that pofture. His left hand reding upon the bended leg, holds the palladion, whilft his right touches negli- gently the pedeital with the point of a fhort fword; confequently he cannot rife, neither moving his legs in the natural and eafy manner required in any erection, nor making

n Borell. de motu animal. P. I. c. 18. prop. 142. p. 142. edit. Bernoue.

• Stofch. Pierr. Grav. pi. XXXV.

G 2 ufe

84 Objections againß

ufe of his arms to deliver himfelf from that uneafy fituation.

There is at the fame time a fault com- mitted againft the rules of perfpedtive.

The foot of the left bended leg, touch- ing the cornice of the pedeftal, fhews it over-reaching that part of the floor, on which the pedeftal and the right foot are fituated, confequently the line defcribed by the hinder- foot is the fore on the gem, and vice verfa.

But allowing even a poffibility to that fituation, it is contrary to the Greek cha- racter, which is always diftinguifhed by the natural and eafy. Attributes neither to be met with in the contorfions of Diomedes, nor in an attitude, the impoflibility of which every one muft be fenfible of, in endeavour- ing to put himfelf in it, without the help of former fitting.

Felix, fuppofed to have lived after Diof- corides, though preferving the fame attitude, has endeavoured to make its violence more natural, by oppofing to him the figure of


the foregoing Reßexions. 85

Ulyfies, who, as we are told, in order to bereave him of the honour of having feized the Palladion, offered to rob him of it, but being difcovered, was repulfed by Diomedes ; which being his fuppofed adion on the gem, allows violence of attitude p .

Diomedes cannot be a fitting figure, for the Contour of his buttock and thigh is free, and not in the leaft compreffed : the foot of the bent leg is vifible, and the leg itfelf not bent enough.

The Diomedes reprefented by Mariette is abfurd $ the left leg refembling a claiped pocket-knife, and the foot being drawn up fo high as to make it impoflible in nature that it fhould reach the pedeftal q .

Faults of this kind cannot be called ne£- ligences, and would not be forgiven in any modern artift.

Diofcorides, 'tis true, in this renowned performance did but copy Polycletus, whofe

p Stofch Pierr. Grav. pi. XXXV.

  • Mariette Pierr. Grav. T. II. n. 94.

G 3 Dorypho-

86 Objections againfi

Doryphorus (as is commonly agreed) was the bed rule of human proportions r . But, though a copyift, Diofcorides efcaped a fault which his mailer fell into. For the pe- deftal, over which the Diomedes of Poly- cletus leans, is contrary to the moft com- mon rules of perfpettive -, its cornices, which (hould be parallel, forming two different lines.

I wonder at Perraul t's omitting to make objections againft the ancient gems.

I mean not to do any thing derogatory to the author, when I trace fome of his parti- cular obfervations to their fource.

The food prefcribed to the young wreftlers, in the remoter times of Greece, is mentioned by Paufanias s . But if the author alluded to the paffage which I have in view, why does he talk in general of milk-food, when Paufanias particularly mentions foft cheefe ?

« Stofch Pierr. Grav. pi. LIV.

  • Paufanias, L, VL c. 7, p, 470.


the foregoing Reflexions 87

Dromeus of Stymphilos, we learn there, firft introduced flefh meat.

My refearches, concerning their myfterious art of changing blue eyes to black ones, have not fucceeded to my wifli. I find it mentioned but once, and that only by the bye by Diofcorides \ The author, by clear- ing up this art, might perhaps have thrown a greater luftre over his treatife, than by producing his new method of ftatuary. He Itfid it in his power to fix the eyes of the Newtons and Algarotti's, on a problem worth their attention, and to engage the fair fex, by a difcovery fo advantageous to their charms, efpecially in Germany, where, contrary to Greece, large, fine, blue eyes are more fre- quently met with than black ones.

There was a time when the fafhion re- quired to be green eyed ;

Et fi bei oeil vert & riant & clair :

Le Sire de Coucy, chanf.

t Diofcorid, de Re Medica, L. V. c. 179. Conf. Salmaf. Exercit. Plin. c. 15. p. 134, b.

G 4 But

88 Objections againß

But I do not know whether art had any {hare in their colouring. And as to the fmall- pox, Hippocrates might be quoted, if gram- matical difquifitions fuited my purpofe.

However, I think, no effects of the fmall- pox on a face can be fo much the reverfe cf beauty, as that defect which the Athenians were reproachfully charged with, viz. a buttock as pitiful as their face was perfect". Indeed Nature, in fo fcantily iupplying thofe parts, feemed to derogate as much from the Athe- nian beauty, as, by her lavifhnefs, from that of the Indian Enotocets, whofe ears, we are told, were large enough to ferve them for pillows.

As for opportunities to ftudy the nudities, our times, I think, afford as advantageous ones as the Gymnafies of the ancients. 'Tis the fault of our artifts to make no ufe of that w propofed to the Parifian artifts,

u Ariftoph.Nub. v. 1178. ibid. v. 1363. Et Scho- liaft.

w Obfcrvat. fur les arts, fur quelques morceaux de peint. & fculpt. expofes au Louvre en 1748, p. 18.


the foregoing Reßexions. 89

viz. to walk, during the fummer feafon, along the Seine, in order to have a full view of the naked parts, from the fixth to the fiftieth year.

'Tis perhaps to Michael Angelo's frequent- ing fuch opportunities that we owe his cele- lebrated Carton of the Pifan war *, where the foldiers bathing in a river, at the found of a trumpet leap out of the water, and make hafte to huddle on their cloaths.

One of the moft ofFenfive paffages of the treatife is, no doubt, the unjuft debafement of the modern fculptors beneath the an- cients. Thefe latter times are poffefled of feveral Glycons in mufcular heroic figures, and, in tender youthful female bodies, of more than one Praxiteles. Michael Angelo, Algardiy and Sluter, whofe genius embel- lifhed Berlin, produced mufcular bodies,

— Inviffi membra G/ycoms,


x Ripofo di Raffaello Borghini, L. I. p. 46.

go Objeclions againfl

in a flyle rivalling that of Glycon himfelf ; and in delicacy the Greeks are perhaps even outdone by Bernini, Fiammingo, Le Gros, Rauchmüller) Donner.

The unfkilfulnefs of the ancients, in fhaping children, is agreed upon by our ar- tifts, who, I fuppofe, would for imitation choofe a Cupid of Fiammingo rather than of Praxiteles himfelf. The ftory of M. An- gelo's placing a Cupid of his own by the fide of an antique one, in order to inform our times of the fuperiority of the ancient art, is of no weight here : for no work of Michael Angelo can bring us fo near perfection as Nature berfelf.

I think it no hyperbole to advance, that Fiammingo, like a new Prometheus, pro- duced creatures which art had never {ten before him. For, if from almoft all the children on ancient gems y and re-

  • See the Cupid by Solon, Stofch. 64. the Cupid

leading the Lionefs, by Sostratus, Stofch. 66. and -a Child and Faun, by AjCEOCÄüS, Stofch 20.

2 liefs

the foregoing Reflexions. g\

liefs z , we may form a conclufion of the art itfelf, it wanted the true expreffion of child- hood, as loofer forms, more milkinefs, and unknit bones. Faults which, from the epoch of Raphael, all children laboured under, till the appearance of Francis ®uefno)\ called Fiammingo, whofe children having the ad- vantages of fuitable innocence and nature, became models to the following artifts, as in youthful bodies Apollo and Antinous are: an honour which Algardi^ his contemporary, may be allowed to (hare.

Their models in clay are, by our artifts, efteemed fuperior to all the antique marble children'; and an artift of genius and ta- lents affured me, that during a flay of {even years at Vienna, he faw not one copy taken from an ancient Cupid in that academy.

Neither do I know on what Angular idea of beauty, the ancient artifts founded their cuftom, of hiding the foreheads of their

2 Vide Bartoli Admiranda Rom. fol. 50, 51. 61. Zanetti Stat. Aiitich. P. II. fol« 33.


p2 Objections againß

children and youths with hair. Thus a Cupid was reprefented by Praxiteles a ; thus a Patroclus, in a picture mentioned by Phi- loftratus b : and there is no ftatue nor buft, no gem nor coin of Antinous, in which we do not find him thus drefled. Hence, per- haps, that gloom, that melancholy, with which all the heads of this favourite of Ha- drian are marked.

Is not there in a free open brow more noblenefs and fublimity r and does not Bernini feem to have been better acquainted with beauty than the ancients, when he re- moved the over-fhadowing locks from the forehead of young Lewis XIV. whofe buft he was then executing ? " Your Majefty, faid Bernini, is King, and may with con- fidence fhew your brow to all the world/* From that time King and court drefled their hair ä la Bernini c .

a Vide Calliftrat. p. 903. b Vide Philoftrati Heroic.

  • Vide Baldinucci vita del Caval. Bernin. p. 47.


the foregoing Reflexions. 93

His judgment of the bas-reliefs on the monument of Pope Alexander VI d . leads us to fome remarks on thofe of antiquity, <c The fkill in bas-relief, faid he, confifts in giving the air of relief to the flat : the figures of that monument feem what they are indeed, not what they are not."

The chief end of bas-relief is to deck thofe places that want hiftorical or allego- rical ornaments, but which have neither cor- nices fufficiently fpacious, nor proportions regular enough to allow groupes of entire ftatues : and as the cornice itfelf is chiefly intended to {heiter the fubordinate parts from being diredly or indiredtly hurt, no bas- relief muft exceed the projedlion thereof; which would not only make the cornice of no ufe, but endanger the figures themfelves.

The figures of ancient bas-reliefs fhoot commonly fo much forward as to become almoft round. But bas-relief being founded

  • Vide Baldinucci vita del Caval, Bernin. p. 72.

on 3

94 Objections againfl

on fidion, can only counterfeit reality ; its perfedion is well to imitate > and a natural mafs is again ft its nature if flat, ought to appear projected, and vice verja. If this be true, it muft of courfe be allowed that figures wholly round are inconiiftent with it, and are to be coniidered as folid marble pillars built upon the theatre, whofe aim is mere illufion ; for art, as is faid of tragedy, wins truth from fiction, and that by truth. To art we often owe charms fuperior to thofe of nature : a real garden and vegetating trees, on the ftage, do not affed us fo agree- ably, as when well expreffed by the imitating art. A rofe of Van Huijum, mallows of Vee?~endal, bewitch us more than all the darlings of the moft fkilful gardener: the moft enticing landicape, nay, even the charms of the TheiTalian Tempe, would not, perhaps, affeQ us with that irrefiftible de- light which, flowing from Dietrich's pencil, enchants our fenfes and imagination.


the foregoing Reflexions. g$

By fuch inftances we may fafely form a judgment of the ancient bas-reliefs : the royal cabinet at Drefden is poffeffed of two eminent ones: a Bacchanal on a tomb, and a facrifice to Priapus on a large marble vafe.

The bas-relief claims a particular kind of fculpture ; a method that few have fuc- ceeded in, of which Matielli may be an in- ftance. The Emperor Charles VI. having ordered fome models to be prepared by the moil: renowned artifts, in bas-relief, intend- ed for the fpiral columns at the church of S. Charles Borromso j Matielli, already fa- mous, was principally thought of; but how- ever refufed the honour of fo confiderable a work, on account of the enormous bulk of his model, which requiring too great cavi- ties, would have diminished the mafs of the ftone, and of courfe weakened the pillars. Made?" was the artift, whofe models were univerfally applauded, and who by his ad- mirable execution proved that he deferved


96 the foregoing Reflexions.

that preference. Thefe bas-reliefs reprefent

the ftory of the patron of this church.

It is in general to be obferved, firft, that this kind of fculpture admits not indifferently of every attitude and adtion -> as for inftance, of too ftrong projections of the legs. Se- condly, That, befides difpofing of the feveral modelled figures in well-ranged groupes^ the diameter of every one ought to be applied to the bas-relief itfelf, by a leffened fcale : as for inftance, the diameter of a figure in the model being one foot, the profile of the fame, according to its fize, will be three inches, or lefs : the rounder a figure of that diameter, the greater the fkill. Commonly the relief wants perfpedlive, and thence arife mofl of its faults.

Though I propofed to make only a few remarks on the ancient bas-relief, I find myfelf, like a certain ancient Rhetor, almofl under a necefiity of being new-tuned. I have ftrayed beyond my limits - y though at the fame time I remembered that there is a


the foregoing Reflexions. gy

law among commentators, to content them- selves with bare remarks on the contents of a treatife : and alfo fenfible that I am writing a letter, not a book, I confider that I may draw fome infiru&ions for my own ufe,

■■ ut vineta egomet ccedam mea,

from fome people's impetuofity againft the author ; who, becaufe they are hired for it, feem to think that writing is confined to them alone.

The Romans, though they worfhipped the deity Terminus (the guardian God of li- mits and borders in general ; and, if it pleafe thefe gentlemen, of the limits in arts and fciences too), allowed neverthelefs an uni- verfal unreftrained criticifm : and the de- cilions of fome Greeks and Romans, in matters of an art, which they did not pra&ife, feem neverthelefs authentick to our artifts.

H Nor

9 8 Objections againß

Nor can I find, that the keeper of the temple of peace at Rome, though poflefled of the regifter of the pictures there, pre- tended to monopolize remarks and criticifms upon them > Pliny having defcribed moft of them.

Publica materies privati juris fit—


'Tis to be wifhed, that, roufed by a Pam- philus and an Apelles, artifts would take up the pen themfelves, in order to difcover the myfteries of the art to thofe that know how to ufe them,

Ma di coßor\ che ä lavorar j' accingono, ^uattro quinti, perDio y nonfanno leggere.- Salvator Rofa, Sat. III.

Two or three of thefe are to be commend- ed ; the reft contented themfelves with giv- ing fome hiftorical accounts of the frater- nity. But what could appear more aufpi- eious to the improvement of the art, even


the foregoing Reflexions. 99

by the remoteft pofterity, than the work attempted by the united forces of the cele- brated Pietro da Cortona e and Padre Otto- nelli ? Neverthelefs this fame treatife, except only a few hiftorical remarks, and thefe too to be met with in an hundred books, feems good for nothing, but

Ne fcombris tunica deßnt, piperique cuculli.

Sedan. Sat.

How trivial, how mean are the great Pouffins reflexions on painting, publifhed by Bellori, and annexed to his life of that artift f ?

Another digreffion ! — let me now again refume the character of your Ariftarchus.

You are bold enough to attack the au- thority of Berniniy and to challenge a man, the bare mention of whole name would do honour to any treatife. It was

e Trattato dell a pittura e fcultura, ufo et abufc loro, compofto da un theologo e da un pittore. Fio- renza, 1652. 4.

< Bellori vitc de 'pittori, &c. p. 300.

H 2 Ber-

loo ObjeBions again/!

Bernini, you ought to recoiled, Sir, who at the fame age in which Michael Angelo performed his Studiolo z ^ viz. in his eighteenth year, produced his Daphne, as a convincing inftance of his intimacy with the ancients, at an age in which perhaps the genius of Raphael was yet labouring under darknefs and ignorance !

Bernini was one of thofe favourites of nature, who produce at the fame time ver- nal bloflbms and autumnal fruits; and I think it by no means probable, that his ftu- dying nature in riper years milled either him or his difciples. The fmoothnefs of his flefti was the refult of that ftudy, and imparted to the marble the higheft poffible degree of life and beauty. Indeed 'tis nature which endows art with life, and " vivifies forms," as Socrates fays h , and Clito the fculptor al- lows. The great Lyfippus, when afked

s Richardfon, Tom. III. p. 94.

h Xenophon Memorab. L. III. c. 6, 7.


the foregoing ReßeBions. i c i

which of his anceftors he had chofen for his matter, replied, <c None; but nature alone. It is not to be denied, that the too clofe imitation of antiquity is very often apt to lead us to a certain barrennefs, unknown to thofe who imitate nature : various her- felf, nature teaches variety, and no votary of her 's can be charged with a famenefs : whereas Guido, Le Brun, and fome other votaries of antiquity, repeated the fame face in many of their works. A certain ideal beauty was become fo familiar to them, as to Aide into their figures even againft their will.

But as for fuch an imitation of nature, as is quite regardlefs of antiquity, 1 am entirely of the author's opinion -, though I fhould have chofen other artifts as inftances of following nature in painting.

Jordans certainly has not met with the re- gard due to his merit ; let me appeal to an authority univerfally allowed. cc There is, H 3 "fays

102 Objections againfi

" fays Mr. d'Argenville, more expreffion and

<c truth in Jordans, than even in Rubens,

" Truth is the bafis and origin of per- " fection and beauty ; nothing, of any kind " whatever, can be beautiful x)T perfedt, <c without being truly what it ought to be, cc without having all it ought to have."

The folidity of this judgment prefup- pofed, Jordans, according to Rochefoucault's maxims, ought rather to be ranked among the greateft originals, than among the mi- micks of common nature, where Rembrandt may fill up his place, as Raoux or Vatteau that of Stella , though all thefe painters do nothing but what Euripides did before them ; they draw man ad vivutn. There are no trifles, no meanneffes in the art, and if we recoiled: of what ufe the Caricatura was to Bernini, we fhould be cautious how we pais judgment even on the Dutch forms» That great genius, they fay \ owed to this

  • Vide Baldinucci vita dd Cav. Bernini, p. 66.


the foregoing Reflexions. 103

monfter of the art, a diftinction for which he was fo eminent, the " Franchezza del Tocco." When I reflect on this, I am forced to alter my former opinion of the Carica- ture fo far as to believe that no artift ever acquired a perfection therein without gaining a farther improvement in the art itfelf. " It is, fays the author, a peculiar diftinction of the ancients to have gone beyond nature :'■ our aitifts do the fame in their Caricaturas : but of what avail to them are the voluminous works they have publifhed on that branch of the art ?

The author lays it down, in the pe- remptory ftyle of a legiflator, that " Pre- cifion of Contour can only be learned from the Greeks :" but our academies unani- moufly agree, that the ancients deviate from a ftricl Contour in the clavicles, arms, knees, &c. over which, in fpite of apophyfes and bones, they drew their fkin as fmooth as over mere flefh; whereas our academies teach to draw the bony and cartilaginous

li 4 parts,

104 Objections againß

parts, more angularly, but the fat and flefhy ones more fmooth, and carefully to avoid falling into the ancient ftyle. Pray, Sir, can there be any error in the advices of acade- mies in corpore ?

Parrhaßus himfelf, the father of Contour, was not, by Pliny's account k , mafter enough to hit the line by which completenefs is di- ftinguifhed from fuperfluity : fhunning cor- pulency he fell into leannefs : and Zeuxiss Contour was perhaps like that of Rubens, if it be true that, to augment the majefty of his figures, he drew with more complete- nefs. His female figures he drew like thofe of Homer \ of robuft limbs : and does not even the tendered of poets, Theocritus, draw his Helen as flefhy and tall m as the Venus of Raphael in the aflembly of the gods in the little Farnefe ? Rubens then, for painting like Homer and Theocritus, needs no apo- logy.

k Plin. Hift. Nat. L. 35. c. 10.

J Quintilian. Inftit. Or. L. 12. c. 19.

• Idyll. 18. v. 29.


the foregoing Reflexions. 105

The character of Raphael, in the treatife, is drawn with truth and exaclnefs : but well may we afk the author, as Antalcidas the Spartan afked a fophift, ready to burft forth in a panegyrick on Hercules, " Who blames him ?" The beauties however of the Ra- phael at Drefden, efpecially the pretended ones of the Jefus, are ftill warmly difputed.

What you admire, we laugh at.

Lucian, Ep. I.

Why did not he rather difplay his patriotiim againft thofe Italian connoifleurs, whofe fqueamifh ftomachs rife againft every Flemifh production ?

Turpis Romano Belgiens ore color.

Propert. L. II. Eleg. 8.

And indeed are not colours fo effential, that without them no picture can afpire to uni- verfal applaufe ? Do not their bewitching charms cover the moft grievous faults ? They are the harmonious melody of painting ;


lo6 Objedüom againß

whatever is offenfiye vaniihes by their fplen- dor, and fouls animated with their beauties are abforbed in beholding, as the readers of Homer are by his flowing harmony, fo as to find no faults. Thefe, joined to that important fcience of Chiaro-Ofcuro, are the characlerifticks of Flemish painting.

Agreeably to affect our eye is the firft thing in a picture °, which to obtain, obvious charms are wanted ; not fuch as fpring only from reflection. Colouring moreover be- longs peculiarly to pictures ; whereas defign ought to be in every draught, print, &c. and indeed feems eafier to be attained than co- louring.

The belt colourifts, according to a cele- brated writer °, have always come after the inventors and contourifts ; we all know the vain attempts of the famous Poufiin. In ihort, all thofe

  • De Pile's Converfat. fur la peint.

• Du Bos Refl. fur la poefie & fur la peint.


the foregoing Reßexions. toy

Qui rem Romanam Latiumque augefcere ßudent, Ennius.

muft here acknowledge the fuperiority of the Flemifh art -> the painter being really but nature's mimick, is the more perfect the better he mimicks her.

Aß heiCy quem nunc tu tarn turpiter increpuißi, Ennius.

the delicate Van der Werf, whofe perform- ances, worth their weight in gold, are the ornaments of royal cabinets only, has made nature inimitable to every Italian pencil \ he allures the connoifleur's eye as well as that of the clown ; and, as an Englifh poet fays, " that no pleafing poet ever wrote ill," furely the Flemiih painter obtained that ap- plaufe which was denied to Pouffin.

I fhould be glad to fee many pictures as happily fancied, as well compofed, as en- ticingly painted as fome of Gherard Lairejfe : let me appeal to every unprepolTeiTed artifc


Io8 ObjeBiom againß

at Paris, acquainted with the Stratonice> the moft eminent, and no doubt the firft ranked picture in the cabinet of Mr. de la Boixieres p .

The fubjedt is of no trivial choice : King Seleucus I. q refigned his wife Stratonice, a daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes, to his fon Antiochus, whom a violent paffion for his mother-in-law had thrown into a dangerous ficknefs : after many unfuccefsful inquiries, the phyfician Erafiftratus difcovered the true caufe, and found that the only means of reftoring the prince's health, was, the con- defcenfion of the father to the love of his fon : the King refigned his Queen, and at the fame time declared Antiochus King of the Eaft.

p The Stratonice was twice painted by LairefTe. The picture we talk of is the fmalleft of the two : the figure is about one foot and a half, and differs from the other in the difpofition of the Parerga.

  • See Plutarch, in Demetr. k Lucian. de Dea



the foregoing Reflexions. 109

Stratonice, the chief perfon, is the nobleft figure, a figure worthy Raphael himfelf. The charming Queen,

Colle fob idceo sincere digna deas,

Ovid. Art.

with flow and hefitating fteps, approaches the bed of her new lover ; but ftill with the countenance of a mother, or rather of a fa- cred veftal. In the profile of her face you may read fhame mingled with gentle refig- nation to the will of her lord. She has the foftnefs of her fex, the majefty of a queen, an awful fubmiffion to the facred ceremony, and all the fagenefs required in fo extraor- dinary and delicate a fituation. Drefled with a maflerly fkill, the artift, from the colour of her cloaths, may learn how to paint the purple of the ancients 3 for it is not generally known that it refembled fade- ing, ruddy, vine-leaves r .

r Vide Lettre de Mr. Huet fur la Pourpre : dans les Diflertat. de Tilladet. Tom. II. p. 169.


ioo Objections againß

Behind her ftands the King, drefled in ä darker habit, in order to give the more re- lief to the Queen, to fpare confufion to her, fhame to the Prince, and not to interrupt his joy. Expectation and acquiefcence are blended in his face, which is taken from the profile of his beft coins.

The Prince, a beautiful half-naked youth* fitting in his bed, has fome refemblance of his father > his pale face bears witnefs of the fever, that lately had raged in his veins -, but fancy fees returning health, not {hame, in that foft-rifing ruddinefs diffufed over his cheeks.

The phyfician and prieft Erafiftratus, ve- nerable like the Calchas of Homer, {land- ing before the bed, is the only fpeaker, au- thorifed by the King, whofe will he declares to the Prince ; and whilft, with one hand, he leads the Queen to the embraces of her lover, with the other he prefents him with the diadem. Joy and aftonifliment flafli


ike foregoing Reflexions. 1 1 1

from the Prince's face on the approach of his Queen

— . darting all theßul in mißve hue ;

though nobly reftrained by reverence, he bends his head, and feems to comprife his happinefs in a fingle thought.

The charaders indeed are diftributed with fo much ingenuity, that they feem to give a luftre and energy to each other.

The largeft (hare of light is difplayed on Stratonice : fhe claims our firft regard. The pried, though in a weaker light, is raifed by his gefture : he is the fpeaker, and around him reign folemn ftillnefs and atten- tion.

The Prince, the fecond perfon, has a larger (hare of light •> and though the artift, led by his fkill, chofe rather to make a beautiful Queen the chief fupport of his groupe than a fick Prince, He neverthelefs maintains his due rank, and becomes the moft eminent perfon of the whole, by his


112 ObjeSiiom ägainß

expreffion» His face contains the greateft fecrets of the art,

duales nequeo monßrare G? fentio tantum. Juvenal. Sat. VII.

Even thofe motions of the foul, which otherwife feem oppofite to each other, mingle here with peaceful harmony -> a timid red fpreading over his fickly face, an- nounces health, like the faint glimmerings of the morn, which, though veiled by night, announce the day, and even a bright one.

The genius and tafte of the artift fhines forth in every part of his work : even the vafes are copied from the beft antique ones ; the table before the bed, is, like Homer's, of ivory.

The distances behind the figures repre- fent a magnificent Greek building, whofe decorations feem allegorical. The roof of a portal is fupported by Cariatides embracing each other, as images of the tender friend-


the foregoing Reßexions. 113

fhip between father and fon, and alluding, at the fame time, to the nuptial cere-, mony.

Though faithful to hiftory, the painter was neverthelefs a poet: in order to reprefent fome circumftances, he filled even the fur- niture with fentiments. The Sphinxes by the Prince's bed allude to his problematic ficknefs, the enquiries of Erafiftratus, and his fagacity in difcovering its true caufe.

I have been told that fome young Italian artifts, when confidering this picture, and perceiving the Prince's arm perhaps a trifle too big, went off without enquiring into the fubjedt itfelf. Should even Minerva herfelf, as flie once did to Diomedes, attempt to de- liver fome people from the mift they labour under, by heaven ! the attempt w r ere vain !

— — panel dignofcere poßiint

Vera bona> atque Ulis mnltum dlverfa, remota

Errorls nebula.

Juv. X.

I I have

114 Objections againß

I have run into this long digreffion, in order to throw fome light on one of the firft productions of the art, which is neverthe- lefs but little known.

The idea of noble fimplicity and fedate grandeur in Raphael's figures, might rather, as two eminent authors exprefs it ', be called cc ftill life." It is indeed the ftandard of the Greek art : however, indifcreetly commended to young artifts, it might beget as dangerous confequences, as precepts of energetick con- ciienefs in the ftyle; the dired method to make it barren and unpleafing.

" In youths, fays Cicero', there muft " be fome fuperftuity, fomething to be taken C£ off: prematurity fpoils the juices, and it " is eafier to lop the young rank branches of " a vine, than to reftore its vigour to a cc worn out trunk." Not to mention, that figures wanting gefture would, by the bulk

  • St. Real Caefanon, T. II. Le Blanc Lettre fur

l'Expof. des Ouvrages de Peint, &c. 1747. 1 De Oratore, L. II. 2i>

2 Of

the foregoing "Reflexions. 1 1 5

of mankind, be received as a fpeech before the Areopagites, where, by a fevere law, the fpeaker was forbid to raife any paffions, though ever fo gentle u : nay, pictures of this kind would be fo many portraits of young Spartans, who, with hands hid un- der their coats, and down-caft eyes, flalk forth in filent folemnity w .

Neither am I quite of the author's opi- nion with regard to allegory , the applying of which would too frequently do in paint- ing, what was done in geometry by intro- ducing algebra : the one would foon be as difficult as the other, and painting would degenerate into Hieroglyphicks.

The author attempts, in vain, to perfuade us, that the majority of the Greeks thought as the Egyptians. There was no more learn- ing in the painting of the platfond of the temple of Juno at Samos, than in that of theFarnefe gallery. It reprefented the love-

■ Ariftot. Rhet. L I. c. 1. §. 4.

w Xenophon Refp. Laced, c. 3, §. 5.

I 2 intrigues

n6 ObjeSiiGns againfi

intrigues of Jupiter and Juno x : and, in the front of a temple of Ceres at Eleufis, there was nothing but reprefentations of a ceremony at the rites of that goddefs r

How to reprefent abftract ideas I do not yet diftinftly conceive. There may be the fame difficulties which attend the endeavours of reprefenting to the fenfes a mathematical point — perhaps nothing lefs than impoffibi- lity ; and Theodoretus z has fome reafon in confining painting to the fenfes. For thofe Hieroglyphicks which hint at abftradt ideas, in fuch a manner as to exprefs, for inftance a , youth by the number XVI ; impojjibility by two feet ftanding on water : thofe, I fay, are monograms, not images : to indulge them in painting is foilering chimseras, is

x Origines Contra Celf. L. IV. p. 196. Edit. Cantabr.

  • Perrault fur Vitruve Explic. de la Planche IX.

p. 62.

z Dialog. Inconfuf. p. 76.

a Horapoll. Hierogl. c. 33. Conf. Blackwell's Enq. into Horn. p. 17c,


the foregoing Reflexions nj

adding to Chinefe pictures Chinefe explica- tions.

An adverfary of allegory believes that Par- rhafius, without any help from it, could re^- prefent the contradidions in the charader of the Athenians ; that he did it perhaps in fe- veral pidures. Suppofing which

Et fapit, & mecum fach, & Jove judicat cequo. Hor.

Thefentence of death pronounced againft the leaders of the Athenian navy, after their vidory over the Spartans near the Arginufes, afforded the artift a very fenfible and rich image, to reprefent the Athenians, at the fame time, merciful and cruel.

The famous Theramenes, one of the leaders, accufed his fellow-chieftains of hav- ing negleded to gather and bury the bodies of their ilain countrymen : a charge fufficient to roufe the rage of the mob againft the vidors ; only fix of whom had returned to Athens, the reft having declined the ftorm.

I 3 Thera :

1 1 8 ObjeBlom again fi

Theramenes harangued the people in the moft pathetick manner ; intermixing his fpeech with frequent paufes, in order to give vent to the loud plaints of thofe who, in the battle, had loft their parents or rela- tions. He, at the fame time, produced a man, who protefted he had heard the laft words of the drowned, imprecating the pub- lick revenge on their leaders. In vain did Socrates, then a member of the council, with a few others, oppofe the accufation : the brave chieftains, inftead of the honours they hoped for, were condemned to die. One of them was the only fon of Pericles and Afpajia.

Was it not in the power of Parrhafius, who was then alive, to enlarge the mean- ing of his picture beyond the extent of bare hifiory, only by drawing the true cha- racters of the authors of this fcene, without the leaft help from allegory ? It would have been in his power, had he lived in our days.


the foregoing Reßexions. 1 1 9

Your pretenfions concerning allegory feem indeed as reafonable an impofition upon the painter, as that of Columella upon his far- mer; who wifhed to find him a philofo- pher like Democritus, Pythagoras, or Eu- doxus b .

No better fuccefs, in my opinion, is to be expected from applying allegory to deco- rations : the author would, at leaft, meet with as many difficulties as Virgil, when hammering on the names of a Vibius Cau- dex, Tanaquil Lucumo, or Decius Mus, to fit them for his Hexameter.

Cuftom has given its fandion to the ufe of fhelis in decorations : and is not there as much nature in them as in the Corinthian capital ? You know its origin : a bafket fet upon the tomb of a young Corinthian girl., filled with fome of her play-things, and co- vered with a large brick, being overgrown

b De Re ruft, praf. ad L. I. §. 32. p. 392. Edit.


I 4 with

120 Objections againß

with the creeping branches of an acanthus, which had taken root under it, was the firft occafion of forming that capital. Cal- limackus c the fculptor, furprized at the ele- gant fimplicity of that composition, took thence a hint for enriching architecture with a new order.

Thus this capital, deftined to fupport all the entablature of the column, is but a baf- ket of flowers -, fomething fo apparently in- confiftent with the ideas of architecture, that there was no ufe made of it in the time of Pericles : for Pocock d thinks it ftrange that the temple of Minerva at Athens had Doric, inftead of Corinthian pillars. But time foon changed this feeming oddity into nature ; the bafket loft, by cuftom, all its former ofFenfivenefs, and

Quod fuerat vitium definit ejfe mora.

Ovid. Art,

c Vitruv. L. IV. c. i, d Travels, T. II.


the foregoing Reflexions, 121

We acknowledge no Egyptian law to for- bid arbitrary ornaments ; and fo fond have the artifts of all ages been, both of the growth and form of fhells, as to change even the chariot of Venus into an enormous one. The ancile, that Palladium of the Ro- mans, was fcooped into the form of a (hell - : we find them on antique lamps f . Nay, na- ture herfelf feems to have produced their immenfe variety, and marvellous finuations, for the benefit of the art.

I have no mind to plead the bad caufe of our unfkilful decorators : only let me adduce the arguments ufed by a whole tribe, (if the artifts will forgive the term), in order to prove the reafonablenefs of their art.

The painters and fculptors of Paris, en- deavouring to deprive the decorators of the title of artifts, by alledging that they em- ployed neither their own intellectual facul-

• Plutarch. Numa. p, 149. L, 14. Edit.Bryani. i PafTerii Lucern.


122 Objections aßainfi

ties, nor thofe of the connoifleurs, upon works not produced by nature, but rather the offsprings of capricious art ; the others are faid to have defended themfelves in the following manner : " We are the followers cc of nature : like the bark of a tree, vari- ! c oufly carved, our decorations grow into ce various forms : then art joins fportive na- " ture, and corrects her : we do what the " ancients did : confult their decorations."

Variety is the great and only rule to which decorators fubmit. Perceiving that there is no perfect refemblance between two things in nature, they likewife forfake it in their decorations -, and carelefs of anxious twining, leave it to the parts themfelves to find their like, as the atoms of Epicurus did. This liberty we owe to the very nation, which, after having nobly exceeded all the narrow bounds of focial formalities, beftows fo much pains upon communicating her improve- ments to her neighbours. This ftyle in de- corations got the epithet of Barroque tafte,


the foregoing Reflexions. 123

derived from a word fignifying pearls and teeth of unequal fize g .

Shells have at leaft as good a claim for being admitted among our decorations, a» the heads of fheep and oxen. You know that the ancients placed thofe heads, ftript of the fkin, on the frizes, efpecially of the Doric order, between the Triglyphs, or on the Metopes. We even meet with them on the Corinthian frife of an old temple of Vefta, at Tivoli h ; on tombs, as on one of the Metellus-family near Rome, and another of Munatius Plancus near Gaeta * ; on vafes, as on a pair in the royal cabinet at Drefden. Some modern artifts, finding them perhaps unbecoming, changed them into thunder- bolts, like Vignola, or to rofes, like Palladio and Scamozzi \

s Menage Diclion. Etymol. v. Banoque. h Vide Defgodez Edifices antiq. de Rome, p. 91. 1 Bartoli Sepolcri Antichi, p. 67. ibid. fig. 91. k Perrault notes fur Vitruv. L. IV. ch. 2. n. 21. p. 118.


124 Objections agai?ift

We conlude from all this, that learning never had, nor indeed ought to have, any fhare in an art fo nearly related to what we call Lufus Natura.

Thus the ancients thought : for, pray, what could be meant by a lizard on Men- tor's cup ? ■ The

Pifti fquailentia terga lacerti

Virg. G. IV.

make, to be fure, a lovely image amidft the flowers of a Rachel Ruyfch, but a very poor figure on a cup. Of what myfterious meaning are birds picking grapes from vines, on an urn ? m Images, perhaps, as void of fenfe, and as arbitrary, as the fable of Ga- nymede embroidered on the mantle, which iEneas prefented to Cloanthus, as a reward of his victory in the naval games \

1 Martial, L. III. Ep. 41. 1. " Bellori Sepolchri ant. f. 99.

  • Virgil, JEn. V. v. 250. & feq.


the foregoing Reßexions. 125

To conclude : is there any thing contra- dictory between trophies and the hunting- houfe of a Prince ? Surely the author, though fo zealous a champion for the Greek tafle, cannot pretend to propofe to us that of King Philip and the Macedonians, who, by the account of Paufanias °, did not eredt their own trophies. Diana perhaps, amidft her nymphs and hunting-equipages,

Qualis in Eurotce ripis, aut per juga

Cynthiy Exercet Diana choros, quam mille fecutce> Hinc atque hinc glomerantur, Or cades —


might better fuit the place -, but we know that the antient Romans hung up the arms of their defeated enemies over the out-fides of their doors, to be everlafting monitors of bravery to every fucceeding owner of the houfe. Can trophies, having the fame de-

• Paufanias, L. IX. c.40. p. 794. Conf. Spanhem. Not. fur les Csefars de l'Emp. Julien, p. 240.


I2Ö Objections againß, GV.

fign, ever be mifplaced on any building of the Great ?

I vvifh for a fpeedy anfwer to this letter. You cannot be angry at feeing it publifhed. The tribe of authors now imitate the con- duit of the ftage, where the lover, with his foliloquy, entertains the pit. For the fame reafon I fhall receive, with all my heart, an anfwer,

Quam legeret tereretque viritim publicus ufus : Hor.


Hanc veniam petimufque damufque vi- cißm* Id.







The Royal Cabinet of Antiquities

at Dresden.

[ I2 9 ]





r n

The Royal Cabinet of Antiquities at Dresden.

AMONG the Egyptian Mummies of the royal cabinet, there are two pre- ferved perfectly entire, and not in the leail damaged, viz. the bodies of a man and woman. The former, among ail thofe that were brought into, and publickly known in Europe, is perhaps the only one of its kind 3 on account of an infcription thereon, which none of thofe who have written on Mummies, except Delia Valle alone, difco-

K i vered

130 An Account of a Mummy in the

vered on thofe bodies ; and Kircher, among all the drawings of Mummies communi- cated to him, and publifhed in his Oedipus, has but one, (the fame which Delia Valle had been poffefled of,) with an infcription; though his wooden cut a is as faulty as all the copies made afterwards \ On that Mummy there are thefe letters ET+TXL

This fame infcription is on the royal Mummy, of which I propofe to give a brief account, and in examining which I have employed all my attention, that I might be certain of its being genuine, and not drawn by a modern hand from the infcription of Delia Valle : for 'tis well known, that thofe bodies frequently pafs through the hands of Jews. But the letters are evidently drawn with the fame blackifh colour with which the face, hands, and feet are ftained. The firft letter on our Mummy has the form of

a KircheriOedip.yEgypt. T.III. p. 405, £433. Bianchini Iftor. Univ. p. 412.

1 a large

Cabinet of Antiquities at Drefden. 1 3 1

a large Greek g, exprefled by Delia Valle with an E angular, the other not being ufual in printing-prefles.

All the four Mummies of the royal ca- binet being bought at Rome, I propofed to examine whether the Mummy with the in- fcription, was that which Delia Valle was poflerTed of, and found that both the entire royal Mummies were exadt refemblances of thofe defcribed by him.

Both, befides the linnen bandages, of a Barracan-texture, rolled innumerable times around the bodies, are wrapt up in feveral (and, according to an obfervation made in England c , in three) kinds of coarfer linnen ; which, by particular bandages of the girdle- kind, is fattened in fuch a manner as to in- volve even the fmallefl prominence of the face. The firft covering is a nice bit of linnen, (lightly tinged with a certain ground,

c Nehem. Grew Mufaeum Societ. Reg. Lond. 168 1. fol. p. 1.

K 2 much

132 An Account of a Mummy In the

much gilt, decked with various figures, and with a painted one of the deceafed.

On the Mummy marked with the in- fcription, this figure reprefentt a man, who died in the flower of life, with a thin curled beard, not as reprefented by Kircher, like an old man with a long pointed one. The colour of the face and hands is brown : the head encircled with gilt diadems, marked with the lockets of jewels. From the gold chain, painted around the neck, a fort of medal hangs down, marked with various characters, crefcents, &c. and this over- reaches the neck of a bird, that of a hawk perhaps, as on the breafts of other Mummies d . In the right hand of the figure. is a diih filled with a red fluff, which being like that ufed by the facrificers e , the deceafed may be fuppofed to have been a prieft. The firft and laft finger of the left hand have rings - } and in

d VideGabr. Bremond Viaggi nell'Egitto. Roma. 1579. 4. L. I. c. 15. p. 77.

e Clemens Alex. Strom. L. VI. p. 456.


Cabinet of Antiquities *?/Drefden. 133

the hand itfelf there is fomething round, of a dark-brown colour; which, as Delia Valle pretends, is a well-known fruit. The feet and legs are bare, with fan dais ; the firings of which appearing between the great toe c , are, with a flip, fattened on the fcot itfelf.

The infeription, above-mentioned, is be- neath the breaft.

The fecond Mummy is the dill more re- fined figure of a young woman. Among a great many medals, feemingly gilt, and other figures, there are certain birds, and quadrupeds fomething analogous to lions ; and towards the extremities of the body there is an ox, perhaps an apis. Down from one of the neck-chains hangs a gilt ima^e of


the fun. She has ear-ring?, and double bracelets on both her arms : rings on each hand, and on every finger of the left one, but two on the firft : whereas the right hand has but two: with this hand (lie holds, like Ifis, a fmall gilt veffel, of the Greek Spondeion-kind, which was a fymbol of the K 3 ferti« 

134 dn Account of a Mummy in the

fertility of the Nile, when held by the god- defs f . In the left hand there is a fort of fruit, like an ear of corn, of a greenifh caft. The leaden feals, mentioned by Delia Valle, ftill remain on the firft Mummy.

Compare this defcription with that in his travels g , and you'll find the Mummies of the royal cabinet to be the fame with thofe, which were taken out of a deep well or cave, covered with fand, and fold to this celebrated traveller by an Egyptian ; and I believe they were purchafed from his heirs at Rome, though in the manufcript catalogue, joined to that cabinet of antiquities, there is not the leaft hint of any fuch purchafe.

I have no defign to attempt an explica- tion of the ornaments and figures ; fome re- marks of that kind having already been made by Delia Valle. The following ob- fervations concern only the infcription.

f Shaw, Voyage, T. II. p. 123. s Delia Valle Viaggi. Lettr. 11. §.9. p. 325. & feq.


Cabinet of Antiquities at Drefden. 135

The Egyptians, we know, employed a double character in expreffing themfelves h , the facred and the vulgar : the Surft was what is called hieroglyphick ; the other contained the characters of their naliooal language, and this is commonly faid to be loft. All we know is confined to the twen- ty-five letters of their alphabet. i Delia Valle feems inclined to give an inftance of the contrary, in that inscription 3 which Kircher, pufhing his conjectures ftill farther, endeavours to lay down as a foundation for a new fcheme of his, and to fuppcrt it by two other remains of the fame kind. For, he attempts to prove k , that the dialect was the only difference between the old Egyptian and Greek tongue. According to his ta- lent of finding what no body looks for, he makes free with fome ancient hiftorical ac- counts 5 upon which he obtrudes a fictitious

h Herodot. L. II. c. 36. Diod. Sic.

  • Plutarch, de Ifid. & Ofirid. p. 374..

k Kircher Oed. I. c. ej. Prodrom. Copt. c. 7.

K 4 fenfe,

136 An Account of a Mummy in the fenfe, in order to make them tally with

his fcheme.

Herodotus, according to him, tells us, that King Pfammetichus defired fome Greeks, who were perfect matters of their language, to go over to Egypt, in order to inftruct his people in the purity of the tongue. Hence he concludes, that there was but one lan- guage in both countries. But that Greek hiftorian ] gives an account entirely oppofite : he tells us, that Pfammetichus, having re- ceived feme fervices from the Carians and Ionians, permitted them to fettle in Egypt, for the imtruction of youth in the Greek; language, in order to bring up interpreters.

There is no folidity in the reft of the Kir- cherian arguments ; fuch as thofe deduced from the frequent voyages of the Greek fages into Egypt, and the mutual commerce between the two nations ; which have not even the ftrength of conjectures. For the

1 Herodot. L. II. c. 153,


Cabinet of Antiquities at Drefikru 137

very fkill of Democritus, in the facred tongue of the Babylonians and Egyptians ¥, proves only, that the travelling fages learned the lan- guages of the nations they converfed with.

Nor does the teftimony of Diodorus, that Attica was originally an Egyptian co- lony n , feem to be here of any weight.

The infcription of the Mummy might in- deed admit of Kircherian, or fuch like con- jectures, were the Mummy itfelf of the an- tiquity pretended by Kircher. Cambyfes, the conqueror of Egypt, partly exiled, and partly killed the priefts \ from which fact Kircher confidently deduces as confequences, the total abolition of the facred rites, and from that the ceafing to embalm bodies. He again appeals to a paffage of Herodotus °, which, upon his word alone, others have as confidently quoted. Nay, a certain pedant

m Diogen. Laert. v. Democr. a Diodor. Sic. L. I. c. 29. Edit. Weflel. Kircher Oedip I. c. — it. ejufd. China illuftra- ta. III. c. 4. p. 151.


138 An Account of a Mummy in the

went fo far as to pretend, that the Egyptian cuftom of painting their dead, upon the varniflied linnen of the Mummies, ceafed with the epoch of Cyrus p .

But Herodotus fays not a word, either of the total abolition of the facred rites, or of the abolition of the cuftom of preferv- ing the dead from putrefa&ion, after the time of Cambyfes ; nor does Diodorus Si- culus give any fuch hint : we may, on the contrary, from his account of the funeral rites of the Egyptians, rather conclude, that this cuftom prevailed even in his time ; that ig to fay, when Egypt was changed into a Ro- man province.

Hence it cannot be demon ftra ted that our Mummy was embalmed before the Per- fian conqueft, — But fuppofing it to be of that date, is it a neceifary confequence that a body preferved in the Egyptian manner, or even taken care of by their priefts, fhould be marked with Egyptian words ?

p Alberti Englifche Briefe, B- .


Cabinet of Antiquities at Drefden. 139

Perhaps it is the body of fome naturalifed Ionian or Carian. We know that Pytha- goras entered into the Egyptian confeffion ; nay, even confented to be circumcifed q , in order to fhorten his way to the myfteries of their priefts. The Carians themfelves ob- ferved the facred folemnities of Ills, and even went fo far in their fuperftition, as to mangle their faces during the facrifices of- fered to that deity r .

Change the letter r, in the infcription, into the diphthong g/, and you have a Greek word : fach negligences are often to be met with in Greek marbles s , and ftill more in Greek ma- nufcripts ; and with the fame termination it is to be found on a gem, and fignifies, « FAREWELL" r , which was the ufual ejaculation addrefled by the living to the de- ceafed ; the fame we meet with on ancient

1 Clem. Alex. Strom. L. I. p. 354. Edit. Pott. r Herodot. L. II. c. 61.

s Montfaucon Palasogr. Graec. L.III. c. 5. p. 230. Kuhn. Not. ad Paufan. L. II. p. 128. 1 Auguftin. Gem. P. II, 1. 32.

epitaphs -,

1 40 An Account of a Mummy in the

epitaphs " 5 public decrees w j and of letter? it was the final concluiion*.

There is on an ancient epitaph the word ET*TXI y j the form of the ¥ on ancient ftoncs and manufcripts is exactly the feme z with the third letter of ET+TXI, which was perhaps confounded with it.

But fuppofing the Mummy to be of later times, die adoption of a Greek word be- comes yet eafier. The round form of the £ might be (omething fufpicious, with regard to its pretended antiquity; that form being ne- ver found on the gems or coins before Au- guftus \ But this fufpieion becomes of no weight, by fuppofing that the Egyptians

u Grutcr. Corp. Infer, p. DCCCLXI. \u7u%utu jj>*#pt7t, &&

w Prideaux Alarm. Oxon. 4. & i~q. x Dcmofth. Orat. pro Corona, p. 485. 499. Edit. Frc. 1604.

y Gruter Corp. Infcript p. DCXLI. 8.

2 Montfaucon Pakeogr. L. IV. c. 10. p. 336.


  • Montf. L. I. c. 4. II. c. 6. p. 152.

1 conti*

Cc. fjfatiqui Dfltflkn. 141

c; .tinued their embalmir. gn after the

time of that Emperor.

However, the word cannot ban one, being inconfiflent with the remains güe in the modern Cap- tick, as well as with the rit-

om the right left,

as the Etrurians did *; w': he wore qoeftion (like : tian charafter

fan I '-': :he right, Ai

discovered by interpreter has yet be: d. The G dan rote in the occi- dental manner, for hx hur.i be- fore the chriftian era, .itnefs the Sigsean ription, which is laid to be of that

V. aid relates alio to an


.::, Lettx. VII.

■ De:':; L c.

142 An Account of a Mummy y &c.

infeription upon a piece of'ftone f , with Egyptian figures, communicated to Kircher by Carolo Vintimiglia, a Palerman patri- cian. The letters ITPHXI are two words, and fignify, <c Let the foul come") This ftone has met with the fame fate as the gem en- graved with the head of Ftolomaeus Philo- pator : for here an Egyptian has joined two random figures, and there the infeription may be of a Greek hand. The litterati know what little change it wants to be or- thographical.

f Kircher. Obelifc, Pamph, c. 8. p. 147.






A further Explication of the Subject.

[ H5 3






A Further Explication of the Subject,


COULD not prefüme that fo fmall a treatife as mine would be thought of confequence enough to be brought to a publick trial. As it was written only for a few co?2?2oiJ[eurs, it feemed fuperfluous to give it a learned air, by multiplying quotations. Artifts want but hints : their tafk, accord- ing to an ancient Rhetor, is <c to perform, not to perufe ;" confequently every author,

L who

146 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter,

who writes for them, ought to be brief. Beino- befides convinced, that the beauties


of the art are founded rather on a quick fenfe, and refined tafte, than on profound meditation, I cannot help thinking that the principle of Neoptolemus a , " to philofo- phize only with the few," ought to be the chief confideration in every treatife of this kind.

Several paflages of my EfTay are fufcep- tible of explications, and, having been pub- lickly tried by an anonymous author, fhould be explained and defended at the fame time, if my circumftances would permit me to en- large \ As to his other remarks, the au- thor, I hope, will guefs at my anfvver, without my giving one explicitly. — Indeed they do not require any.

I am not in the leaft moved by the cla- mours concerning thofe pieces of Corregio, which, by undoubted accounts, were not

a Cicero de Oratore, L. II. c. 37. b The author was then preparing for a journey to Rome.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter, i 47

only brought to Sweden c , but even hung up in the ftables at Stockholm. Reafoning is of no ufe here t arguments of this kind admit of no other evidence but that of M?nilim Scaufus againft Valerius of Sucro : " He de- nies 5 I affirm : Romans ! 'tis yours to judge."

And why fhoiild there be any thing more derogatory to the honour of the Swedes, in my repeating Count Tejjin% relation, than in his giving it ? Perhaps, becaufe the learned author of the circumliantial life of Queen Chrißina omits her indifcreet generofity to- wards Bourdon^ and that bad treatment which the pictures of Corregio met with ? or was Härleman d himfelf charged with indifcretion or malice, on his relating that* at Lincb'pi?2g, he found a college, and feveri profeflbrs, but not one phyiician or arti- ficer ?

'- Argenville abrege de la V. d, P. T\ IL p. 287. 4 Reife, p. 21.

L 2 Jt

1 48 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

it was my delign to explain myfelf more particularly, concerning the negligences of the Greeks, had I been allowed time. The Greeks, as their criticifm on the part- ridge of Protogenes, and his blotting it % evidently fhews, were not ignorant in learned negligence. But the Zeus of Phidias was the ftandard of fublimity, the fymbol of the omniprefent Deity; like Homer's Eris, he flood upon the earth, and reached heaven ; he was, in the ftyle of facred poefy, <c What encompajfes him ? &c." And the world has been candid enough to excufe, nay, even to juftify on fuch reafons, the difproportions in the Carton of Raphael, reprefenting the fiihing of Peter f . The criticifm on the.D/0- medes y though folid, is not againft me: his adion, abftradedly confidered, with his noble and expreffive contour, are flandards of the art s and that was all I advanced V


  • Strabo, L. XIV. p. 652. al. 965. 1. if.

f Richardfon Eflay, &c. p. 38, 39.

  • Diomedes, for ought I can i"ee, is neither a


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 149

The reflections on the Painting and Sculp- ture of the Greeks may be reduced to four heads, viz.

I. The perfeft Nature of the Greeks ;

II. The Charadterifticks of their works - y

III. The Imitation of thefe ;

IV. Their manner of Thinking upon the Art y and Allegory.

Probability was all I pretended to, with regard to the firfl 5 which cannot be fully demonftrated, notwithftanding all the afiifr- ance of hiftory. For, thefe advantages of the Greeks were, perhaps, lefs founded on their nature, and the influences of the cli- mate, than on their education.

The happy fituation of their country was, however, the bafis of all ; and the want of refemblance, which was obferved between the Athenians and their neighbours beyond

fitting nor a (landing figure, in both which cafes the critick. muft be allowed to be juft. He defcends.

Remark of tbeT.L,

L 1 the

150 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter,

the mountains, was owing to the difference

of air and nourishment h .

The manners and perfons of the new-«  fettled inhabitants, as well as the natives of every country, have never failed of being influenced by their different natures. The ancient Gauls, and their fucceffors the Ger- man Franks, are but one nation : the blind fury, by which the former were hurried on in their firft attacks, proved as unfuc- cefsful to them in the times of Ca^far \ as it did to the latter in our days. They pof- feffcd certain other qualities, which are ftill in vogue among the modern French -, and the Emperor Julian k tells us, that in his time there were more dancers than citizens &t Paris.

Whereas the Spaniards, managing their affairs cautioufly, and with a certain frigi- dity, kept the Romans longer than any

I Cicero de Fato, c. 4.

  • Strabo, L. IV. p. 196. al. 299. 3. 22.

k Mifopog. p. 342, J, 13.


Ajißver to the foregoing Letter. 1 5 1

other people from conquering the coun- try \

And is not this chara&er of the old Ibe- rians re-aflumed by the Weft-Goths, the Mauritanians, and many other people, who over-ran their country ? m

It is eafy to be imagined what advantages the Greeks, having been fubjedt to the fame influences of climate and air, muft have reaped from the happy fituation of their country. The moft temperate feafons reign- ed through all the year., and the refrefhing fea-gales fanned the voluptuous iflands of the Ionick fea, and the (hores of the conti- nent. Induced by thefe advantages, the Peloponnefians built all their towns along the coaft; fee Dicearchus, quoted by Ci- cero".

Under a iky fo temperate, nay balanced between heat and cold, the inhabitants can-

1 Strabo, L. III. p. 158. al. 238. ■ Du Bos Reflex, fur la Poefie et f. 1. P. II. 144. r Herodot. L. III. c. 106. Cicero ad Attic. L. VI. rp. 2.

L a not

152 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

not fail of being influenced by both. Fruits grow ripe and mellow, even fuch as are wild improve their natures > animals thrive well, and breed more abundantly. " Such a iky, fays Hippocrates °, produces not only the raoft beautiful of men, but harmony between their inclinations and {nape." Of which Georgia, that country of beauty, where a pure and ferene Iky pours fertility, is an inftance p . Among the elements, beauty owes fo much to water alone, that, if we believe the Indians, it cannot thrive, in a country that has it not in its purity q . And the Oracle itfelf attributes to the lymph of Arethufa a power of forming beauty r .

The Greek tongue affords us alfo fome arguments in behalf of their frame. Na-

nsp; ronw. p. 288. edit. Foefii. Galenus oti

fol. 171. B. I. 43. edit. Aid. T.J.

p Chardin voyage en Perfe, T. II. p. 127. & feq.

q Journal des Scavans l'An. 1684. Aur. p. 153.

r Apud Eufeb. Praepar. Evang. L. V. c. 29. p. 226. edit. Colon.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 153

ture moulds the organs of fpeech according to the influences of the climate. There are nations that rather whiffle than fpeak, like the Troglodytes s ; others that pronounce without opening their lips ' -> and the Pha- fians, a Greek people, had, as has been faid of the Englifh u , a hoarfe voice : an un- kind climate forms harfh founds, and con- fequently the organs of fpeech cannot be very delicate.

The fuperiority of the Greek tongue is inconteftible : I do not fpeak now of its rich- nefs, but only of its harmony. For all the northern tongues, being over-loaded with confonants w , are too often apt to offend with an unpleafmg aufterity ; whereas the Greek

8 Plin. Hift. Nat. L.V. c. 8.

x Lahontan Memoir. T. II. p. 217. Conf. WoI- dike de ling. Grönland, p. 144, & feq. A&. Hafn. T. II.

a Clarmont de Aere,Le»cls,& aquis Angliae. Lond. 1672. 12.

w Wotton's Reflex, upon ancient and modern Learning, p. 4. Pope's Letter to Mr. Walfh, T, 1. 74.


154 Atifwer to the foregoing Letter. tongue is continually changing the confo«  nant for the vowel, and two vowels, meet- ing with but one confonant, generally grow into a diphthong \ The fweetnefs of the tongue admits of no word ending with thefe three harfh letters 0, 3>, X, and for the fake of Euphony, readily changes letters for their kindred ones. Some feemingly harfh words cannot be objected here \ none of us being acquainted with the true Greek or Roman pronunciation. All thefe advant- ages gave to the tongue a flowing foftnefs, brought variety into the founds of its words, and facilitated their inimitable compofition. And from thefe alone, not to mention the meafure which, even in common conver- fation, every fyilable enjoyed, a thing to be defpaired of in occidental tongues -, from thefe alone, I fay, we may form the higheft idea of the organs by which that tongue was pronounced, and may more than con-

x Lakemacher Obferv. Philolog. P. III. Obferv. IV. p. 250, &c.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter, ire )e&ure, that, by the language of the Gods, Homer meant the Greek, by that of Men, the Phrygian tongue.

It was chiefly owing to that abundance of vowels, that the Greek tongue was prefer- able to all others, for expreffing by the found and difpofition of its words the forms and fubftances of things. The difcharge, the rapidity, the diminution of ftrength in pierc- ing, the flownefs in gliding, and the flopping of an arrow, are better exprefied by the found of thefe three verfes of Homer, Iliad A.

125. A/yi*s ]3io?, vsugy] cAg y\y 'ia%zv, a>Slo cP' oiVoj v

135. Aia juev ag' ^oüs - ?^©' z\'n\dlo JaicPahiciO)

136. Kai (Ptci S t ai3yjx.©' iff okv<Pai (Poky ti$i$ei$o 9

than even by the words themfelves. You fee it difcharged, flying through the air, and piercing the belt of Menelaus.

The defcription of the Myrmidons in bat- tle-array, Iliad II. v. 215.

\A.a7rh ap d?7iicP' t^icPt, ko^vs y.q^uv driven. <P' an?.

y Th' impatient weapon whizzes on the wing ; Sounds the tough horn, and twangs the quiv'ring

dring, &c. Pope.

2 is

156 An/wer to the foregoing Letter.

is of the fame kind, and has never been hit by any imitation : what beauties in one line!

Plato's periods were, from their harmony, compared y to a noifelefs fmooth-running ftream. But we mould be miftaken in con- fining the tongue to the fofter harmonies only : it became a roaring torrent, boifterous as the winds by which UlyrTes' fails were torn, fplit only in three or four places by the words, but rent by the found into a thoufand tatters z . This was the <c vhida exprefflo," the living found - 7 fupremely beau- tiful, when properly and fparingly ufed !

How quick, how refined muft the organs have been, which were the depofitaries of fuch a tongue! The Roman itfelf could not attain its excellence : nay, a Greek fa-» ther, of the fecond century of the chriftian

y Longin. ris?/ v4» Se&. 13. §. 1. z Odyflf. a. v. 71. Conf. Iliad, f. v. 363. & Euflatb. ad h. 1. p. 424. L. 10. edit. Rom.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 157 ara a , complains of the horrid found of the Roman laws.

Nature keeps proportion % confequently the frame of the Greeks was of a fine clay, of nerves and mufcles moft fenfibly elaftic, and promoting the flexibility of the body : hence that eafinefs, that pliant facility, ac- companied with mirth and vigour, which animated all their adions. Imagine bodies moft nicely balanced between leannefs and corpulency: both extremes were ridiculed by the Greeks, and their poets fneer at the Philefiafes b , Philetafes c , and Agoracritufes 4 .

But though they were beautiful, and by their law early initiated into pleafure, they were not effeminate Sybarites. As an in- ftance of which we fhall only repeat what Pericles pleaded in favour of the Athenian manners, againft thofe of Sparta, which

a Gregor. Thaumat. Orat. Paneg. ad Origen. 49.

  • Ariftoph. Ran. v. 1485.

c Athen. Deipnof. L. XII. c. 13. ./Elian. V. H. I. ix. 14. 4 Ariftoph. Equit.


1^8 Änfwer to the foregohlg Letter.

were as different from thofe of the reft of Greece, as their public oeconomy was : «* The Spartans, fays Pericles, employ their youth to get, by violent exercifes, manly ftrength : but we, though living indo- lently, encounter every danger as well as they \ calmly, not anxioufly, mindful of its approaches, we meet it with voluntary magnanimity, and without any compul- fion of the law. Not difconcerted by its impending threats, we meet its moft fu- <c rious attacks, with no lefs boldnefs than <c they, whom perpetual practice has pre- 1 " pared for its ftrokes. We are fond of €< elegance, without loving finery 5 of ge- <c nius, without being emafculate. In fhort> " to be fit for every great enterprize, is the " chara&eriftic of the Athenians e ."

I cannot, nor will I pretend to fix a rule without allowing exceptions. There was a Therfites in the army of the Greeks. But it is worth obferving, that the beauty of a nation was always in proportion to their cul-

  • Thucyd. L, IL c. 39.


'Afifwer to the foregoing Letter, 159

tivation of the arts. Thebes, wrapt up in a mifty fky, produced a fturdy uncouth race f , g according to Hippocrates's obferva- tion on fenny, watry foils h j and its fterility in producing men of genius, Pindar only excepted, is an old reproach. Sparta was as defective in this refpedt as Thebes, hav- ing only Alcman to boaft of $ but the rea- fons were different : whereas Attica enjoyed a pure and ferene iky, which refined the fenfes \ and of courfe fhaped their bodies in proportion to that refinement ; and Athens was the feat of arts. The fame remark may be made with regard to Sicyon, Co- rinth, Rhodes, Ephefu9, &c. all which having been fchools of the arts, could not want convenient models. The paflage bf Ariftophanes, infifted on in the letter k , I

f Horat. L. II. Ep. I. v. 244. g Cicero de fato. c. 4.

h US?/ TQHTGOV. p. 204.

  • Cicero Orat. c. 8. Conf. Dicaearch, Geogr. edit.

H. Steph. c. 2. p. 16. k Nubes, v. 1365.


i6o Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

take for a joke, as it really is— and thereby hangs a tale : to have the parts, whereon

Sedet aternumque fedebit Infelix Tbefeus, Virg.

moderately complete, were Attick beauties. Thefeus \ made prifoner by the Thefpro- tians, was delivered from his captivity by Hercules, but not without fome lofs of the parts in queftion $ a lofs bequeathed to all his race. This was the true mark of the Thefean pedigree ; as a natural mark,repre- fenting a Ipear m , fignified a Spartan extrac- tion , and we find the Greek artifts imitating^ in thofe places the fparing hand of nature.

But this liberality of nature was confined to Greece, in a narrower fenfe. Its colonies underwent the fame fate, which its eloquence met with when going abroad. " As foon, <c fays Cicero n , as eloquence fet out from

1 Schol. ad Ariftoph. Nub. v. icio.

■ Plutarch, de Sera Numin. Vindicta, p. 563. 9.

A Cicero de Orat.

" the

Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 161

cc the Athenian port, me plumed hcrfelf " with the manners of all the iflands in " her way, adopted the Afiatick luxury, c{ and forfaking her found Attick expref- cc fion, loft her health." The Ionians, tranfp] anted by Nileus from Greece into Afia, after the return of the Heraclides, grew ftill more voluptuous beneath that glowing fky. Heaps of vowels brought wantonnefs into every word ; the neighbour- ing iflands partook of their climate and manners, which a fingle Lefbian coin may convince us of °. No wonder then, if their bodies degenerated as much from thofe of their anceftors, as their manners.

The remoter the colonies the greater the difference. Thofe Greeks, who had choien their abode in Africa, about Pithicujfa, fell in with the natives in adoring apes ; nay, even gave the names of thofe animals to their children p .

• Golzius, Tab. XIV. T. II.

p Diodorus Sic. L. XX. p. 763. al. 449.

M The

1 6 2 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

The modern Greeks, though compofed of various mingled metals, ftill betray the chief mafs. Barbarifm has deftroyed the very elements of fcience, and ignorance over- clouds the whole country ; education, courage, manners are funk beneath an iron foray, and even the fhadow of liberty is loft. Time, in its courfe, diffipates the remains of antiqui- ty : pillars of Apollo's temple at Delos q , are now the ornaments of Englifh gardens : the nature of the country itfelf is changed. In days of yore the plants of Crete r were fa- mous over all the world $ but now the fireams and rivers, where you would go in quefl of them, are mantled with wild luxu- riant weeds, and trivial vegetables \

Unhappy country ! How could it avoid being changed into a wildernefs, when fuch

  • Stukely's Itinerar, III, p» 32,

■ Theophraft. Hift. PL L. IX. c. 16. p. 113!.. 2. 7. ed. Amft. 1644. foL Galen de Antidot. L fol. 63. B. I. 28. Idem de Theriac. ad Pifon. fol. 85. A, I. 20.

  • Tourncfort Voyage, Lett. L p, 10. edit. Amft.

2 popu-

Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 163 populous tracts of land as Samos, once mighty enough to balance the Athenian power at fea, are reduced to hideous de- farts ' !

Notwithstanding all thefe devaftations, the forlorn profpeft of the foil, the free paf- fage of the winds, flopped by the inextri- cable windings of entangled mores, and the want of almoft all other commodities j yet have the modern Greeks preferved many of the prerogatives of their anceftors. The inhabitants of feveral iflands, (the Greek race being chiefly preferved in the iflands), near the Natolian fhore, eipecially the females, are, by the unanimous account of travellers, the moft beautiful of the human race '.

Attica flill preferves its air of philanthropy v : all the fhepherds and clowns welcomed the two travellers, Spon and Wheeler \ nay, pre-

1 Belon. Obferv. L. II. ch. 9. p. 151. a. u Idem. L. III. ch. 34. p. 350. b. Corn, le Brun. V. fol. p. 169. F Dicjearch, Geogr. c. |. p. x.

M 2 vented

164 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

vented them with their falutations x : neither have they loft the Attick fait, or the en- terprifing Ipirit of the former inhabitants y .

Objections have been made againft their early exercifes, as rather derogating from, than adding to, the beauteous form of the Greek youths,

Indeed, the continual efforts of the nerves and mufcles feem rather to give an angu- lar gladiatorial turn, than the foft Contour of beauty, to youthful bodies. But this may partly be anfwered by the character of the nation itfelf : their fancy, their actions, were eafy and natural ; their affairs, as Pericles fays, were managed with a certain careleff- nefs, and fome of Plato's dialogues - may give us an idea of that mirth and chearful- nefs which prevailed in all the Gymnaftick exercifes of their youth. Hence his defire of having thefe places, in his common-

  • Voyage de Spon et Wheeler, T. II. p. 75, 76.

■t Wheeler's Journey into Greece, p. 347. a Corf. Lyfis, p. 499. Edit. Fref. 1602.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter, i6j

wealth, frequented by old folks, in 'order to remind them of the joys of their youth \

Their games commonly began at furl rife b j and Socrates frequented them at that time. They chofe the morning-hours, in or- der to avoid being incommoded by the heat : as foon as their garments were laid down* the body was anointed with the elegant At- tick oil, partly to defend it from the bleak morning-air -, as it was ufual to praöice, even during the fevereft cold c $ and part- ly to prevent a too copious perfpiration > where it was intended only to carry off fuperfluous humours d . To this oil they afcribed alfo a flrengthening quality \ The

a De Republ.

b De Leg. L. VII. p. 892, 1. 30-6. Conf. Petiti Leg. att. p. 296. Maittaire Marm. ArUnd. p. 4S3. Gronov. ad Plaut. Bacchid. v. Ante Solem Exorien- tem*

c Galen, de Simpl. Medic. Facült. L. II. c. 5. fol. 9. A.Opp. Tcm. II. Frontin. Stratag. L. I. c. 7.

d LucianGymn. p. 907. Opp. T. II. Edit. Reitz.

e Dion. Halic. A. R. c. 1. §. 6. de vi dicendi in Demoft. 29. Edit, Oxon.

M 3 exercifes

1 66 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

exercifes being over, they went to bathe, and there fubmitted to a frefh undtion ; and a perfon leaving the bath in this ftate ce ap- pears, fays Homer, taller, ftronger, and fimilar to the immortal Gods f *

We may form a very diftindt idea of the different kinds and degrees of wreftling among the ancients, from a vafe once in the poffeffion of Charl. Patin, and, as he gueffes, the urn of a gladiator g .

Had it been a prevailing cuftom among the Greeks to walk, either barefooted, like the heroes in their performances h , or with a fingle fole, as we commonly believe, their feet muft have been bruifed. But there are many instances of their extreme nicety in this refpedt ; for, they had names for above ten different forts of fhoes '.

  • 'OA. T. v. 230.
  • Numifm. Imp. p. 160.

h Philoftrat. Epift. 22. p. 922. Conf. Macrob. Sat. L. V. c. 18. p. 357. Edit. Lond. 1694. 8. Hygin. Sat. 12.

1 Conf. Arbuthnot's Tabl. of Anc. Coins, ch. 6. p. 116.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 167

The coverings of the thighs were thrown off at the publick exercifes, even before the flourifhing of the art k 5 which was a great advantage to the artifts. As for the nou- rifhment of the wreftlers in remoter times, I found it more proper to mention milk in general, than foft cheefe.

If I remember right, you think it ftrange, and even undemonftrable, that the primi- tive church mould have dipped their pro- felytes, promifcuoufly : confult the note l .

As I am now entering upon the difcuf- fion of my fecond point, I could wifh that thefe probabilities of a more perfect nature, among the Greeks, might be allowed to have fome conclufive weight; and then I mould have but a few words to add*

k Thücyd. L. I. c. 6. Eufhth ad Iliad. 4- p- 1324. i. 16.

1 Cyrilli Hierof. Catech. Myftag. II. c. 2, 3, 4. p. 284. ed. Thorn. Miles, Oxon. 1703. fol. 305. Vice Comitis Obferv. de Antiq. Baptifini rit. L. IV. c. 10. p. 286 — 89. Binghami Orig. Ecelef. T. IV. L. XI. c. 11. Godeau Hift. dc l'Eglife, T.I. L. III. p. 623,

M 4 Charmo-

1 68 Anßver to the foregoing Letter.

Charmoleos, a Megarian youth, a fmgle kifs of whom was valued at two talents™, was, no doubt, beautiful enough to ferve for a model of Apollo: Him, Alcibiades y CbarmideSy and Adimanthus n , the artifts could fee and ftudy to their wifh for feveral hours every day : and can you imagine thofe trifling opportunities propofed to the Parifian artifts, equivalents for the lofs of advantages like ihefe ? But granting that, pray, what is there to be feen more in a fwimmer than in any other perfon ? The extremities of the body you may fee every where. As for that author °, who pretends to find in France beauties fuperior to thofe of Alci blades, I cannot help doubting his ability to maintain what he afferts.

What has been faid hitherto might alfo

m Lucian. Dial. Mort. X. §. 3.

n Idem. Navig. E. 2. p. 248.

De la Chambre Difcours ; ou il ell prouve que les Francois font les plus capabies de tous les peuples de la perfection de Feloquence, p. J 5.


An/wer to the foregoing Letter. 169

anfwer the objection drawn from the judgment of our academies, concerning thofe parts of the body which ought to be drawn rather more angular than we find them in the antiques. The Greeks, and their artifts, were happy in the enjoyment of figures endowed with youthful harmony -, for, we have no reafon to doubt their exa&nefs in copying nature, if we only confider the angular fmartnefs with which they drew the wrift-bones. Agafias's celebrated Gladiator, in the Borg- heje, has none of the modern angles, nor the bony prominences authorifed by our ar- tiils : all his angular parts are thofe we meet with in the other Greek ftatues. And this ftatue, which was perhaps one of thofe that were eredled, in the very places where the games were held, to the memory of the feveral victors, may be fuppofed an exadfc copy of nature. The artift was bound to reprefent any vi&or in the very attitude, and inftantaneous motion, in which he overcame


170 Anßver to the firegoing Letter*

his antagonifl, and the Amphi&yones were the judges of his performance p .

Many authors having written on this, and the following point of the treatife, I have contented myfelf with giving a few remarks of my own. Superficial arguments, in mat- ters of this kind, can neither fuit the deeper views of our times, nor lead to general con- clufions. Neverthelefs we do not want au- thors whofe premature decifions often get the better of their judgment, and that not in matters concerning the art alone. Pray, what decifions of an author may be depended upon, who* when defigning to write on the arts in general, fhews himfelf fo ignorant of their very elements, as to afcribe to Tku~ cydides, whofe concife and energetick flyle was not without difficulties, even for Tully q , the character of fimplicity r * Another of

p Lucian. pro Imagin. p. 490. Edit, Reitz. T. II.

  • Cic. Brut. c. 7. & 83.

r Confiderations fur les Revolutions des Arts» Paris, j 755. p. 33.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 1 7 1

that tribe, feems as little acquainted with Diodorm Sicuhts, when he delcribes him as hunting after elegance*. Nor want we blockheads enough who admire, in the an- cient performances, fuch trifles as are be- low any reafonable mans attention. " The tc rope, fays a travelling fcribler, which ties

  • c together Dirce and the ox, is to connoif« 

" feurs the mod beautiful objedt of the €c whole groupe of the Toro Farnefe \"

Ah mifer agrota putruit cut mente falillum !

I am no ftranger to thofe merits of the mo- dern artifts which you oppofe to the an- cients : but at the fame time I know, that the imitation of thefe alone has elevated the others to that pitch of merit ; and it would be eafy to prove that, whenever they for-

  • Pagi Difcours fur l'Hiftoire Grecque, p. 45.

1 Nouveau Voyage d'HoJIande, de l'AHem. de Suiflfe & d'Icalie, par M. de Blainville,


172 An/wer to the foregoing Letter.

fook the ancients, they feil into the faults

of thofe, whom alone I intended to blame.

Nature undoubtedly milled Bernini : a Carita of his, on the monument of Pope Urban the VHIth, is faid to be corpulent, and another on that of Alexander the Vllth, even ugly u . Certain it is, that no ufe could be made of the Equeftrian ftatue of Lewis XIV. on which he had beftowed fifteen years, and the King immenfe fums. He was reprefented as afcending, on horfeback, the mount of honour : but the action both of the rider and of the horfe was exao> gerated, and too violent 5 which was the caufe of baptizing it a Curtius plunging into the gulph,and its having been placed only in the Thuilleries : from which we may infer, that the moft anxious imitation of nature is as little fufficient for attaining beauty, as the ftudy of anatomy alone for attaining the jufteft proportions : thefe Laireffe, by his own ac-

u Richardfon's Account, Sec. 294, 295.


Anfwef to the foregoing Letter. 175

count, took from the fkeletons of Bidloo -, but, though a profeflbr in his art, com- mitted many faults, which the good Ro- man fchool, efpecially Raphael, cannot be charged with. However, it is not meant that there is no heavinefs in his Venus ; nor does it clear him from the faults imputed to him in the Maffacre of the Innocents, engrav- ed by Marc. Antonio, as has been attempted in a very rare treatife on painting w -, for there the female figures labour under an exuber- ance of breafts - y whereas the murderers look ghaftly with leannefs : a contrail: not to be admired : the fun itfelf has fpots.

Let Raphael be imitated in his beft man- ner, and when in his prime ; thofe works want no apology : it was to no purpofe to produce Parrhafius and Zeuxis in order to excufe Him, and the Dutch proportions! 'Tis true, the paflage of Pliny x , which you

w Chambray Idee de la Pcint. p. 46. au Mans, 1662. 4to.

  • Plin. Hift, Nat. L, XXXV. c. 10.


1 74 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

quote concerning Parrhafius, meets com^ monly with the fame interpretation, viz. that, ßunning corpulency he fell into lean- nefs y . But fuppofing Pliny to have under- flood what he wrote, we muft clear him of contradiäing himfelf. A little before he allowed to Parrhafius a fuperiority in the contour, or in his own words, in the out- lines ; and in the paffage before us, Parrha- bqfiuSy compared with himfelf feems> in Point

OF THE MIDDLE PARTS, to fall ß?0rt of

himfelf The queftion is, what he means by middle parts ? Perhaps the parts border- ing on the outlines : but is not the defigner obliged to know every poffible attitude of the frame, every change of its contour ? If fo, it is ridiculous to give this explication to our paffage : for the middle parts of a full face are the outlines of its profile, and f j on. Confeqnently, there is no fuch thing

y (Durand) Extrak de PHifloire de la Peint. de Pline. p. 56.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 175

as middle parts to be met with by a de~ figner : the idea of a painter, well-fkilled in the contour of the outlines, but ignorant of their contents, is an abfurd one. Parrha*- fius perhaps either wanted fkill in the Chiar- ofcuro, or Keeping in the difpofition of his limbs, and this feems the only explication* which the words of Pliny can reafonably admit of. Unlefs we choole to make him another La Fage, who, though a celebrated defigner, never failed fpoiling his contours with his colours. Or, perhaps, to indulge another conjecture, Parrhafius fmoothed the outlines of his contour, where it bordered 011 the grounds, in order to avoid being rough 5 a fault committed, as it feems, by his contemporaries, and by the artifts who flourifhed in the beginning of the fixteenth century, who circumfcribed their figures, as it were with a knife 3 but thofe fmooth con- tours wanted the fupport of keeping, and of maffes gradually riling or finking, in order to become round, and to ftrike the eye : by


jyb Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. failing in which, his figures got an air of fiatnefs ; and thus Parrhafius fell fhort of himfelf, without being either too corpulent or too lean.

We cannot conclude, from the Ho- meric fhape which Zeuxis gave his female figures, that he raifed them, like Rubens, into flefh-hills. There is fome reafon to believe, from the education of the Spartan ladies, that they had fomething of a maf- culine vigour, though they were the chief beauties of Greece ; and fuch a one is the Helena of Theocritus.

All this makes me doubt of finding among the ancients any companion for Jacob Jor- dans, though he is fo zealoufly defended in your letter. Nor am I afraid of maintain- ing what I have faid concerning him. Mr. cTArgenville is indeed a very induftrious collector of criticifms upon the artifts ; but as his defign is not very extenfive, fo his de- cifions are often too general, to afford us chara&eriftical ideas of his heroes.

A good

Jlnfwer to the foregoing Letter. %jj

A good eye muft be allowed to be a bet- ter judge, in matters of this kind, than all the ambiguous decisions of authors : and to fix the character of Jordans, I might con- tent myfelf with appealing to his Diogenes, and the Purification, in the royal cabinet at Drefden. But, for the reader's fake, let me inquire into» the meaning of what you call Truth in painting. For if truth, in the general fenfe, can by no means be ex- cluded from any branch of the arts, we have, in the decifion of Mr. d'Argenville, a riddle to unfold, which, if it has any mean- ing at all, muft have the following :

Rubens, enabled by the inexhauftible fer- tility of his genius, to pour forth fictions like Homer himfelf, difplays his riches even to prodigality : like him he loved the mar- vellous, as well in thought and grandeur of conception, as in compoiition, and chiar- ofcuro. His figures are compofed in a man- ner unknown before him, and his lights, jointly darting upon one great mafs, diffufe

N over

178 Ahfiver to the foregoing Letter".

over all his works a bold harmony, and amazing fpirit. Jordans, a genius of ä löwer clafs, cannot, in the ideal part of painting, by any means be compared with his great mailer. He had no wings to foar above nature ; for whieh reafon he humbly followed, and painted her as he found her : and if this be truth, he, no doubt, had a larger fhare of it than Rubens.

If the modern artifts, with regard to forms and beauty, are not to be diredled by antiquity, there is no authority left to in- fluence them. Some, in painting Venus, would give her a Frenchified air z -, another would prefent her with an Aquiline nofe, the Medicean Venus, as they would fay, having fuch a one a : her hands would be provided with fpindles inftead of fingers ;

a Obfervat. fur les Arts & fur quelques morceaux de Peint. & de Sculpt, expofes au Louvre, 1748. p. 6 5;

a Nouvelle Divifion de la Terre par les differentes Efpeces d'Hommes, Sic, dans le Journ. des S^ar. 1704. Avr. 152.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter \ iyg

and me would ogle us with Chinefe eyes, like the beauties of a new Italian fchooh Every artift, in fhort, would, by his per- formance, betray his country : but, as De- mocritus fays b , if the artifts ought to pray the gods to let them meet with none but aufpicious images, thofe of the ancients will beft fuit their wifhes.

Let us, however, make fome exception in favour of Fiamingo's children. For* luftinefs and full health being the common burden of the praifes of children, whofe in- fant forms are not ftridly fufceptible of that beauty, which belongs to the fteadinefs of riper years; the imitation of his children has reafonably become a fafhion among our artifts. But neither this, nor me indul- gence of the academy at Vienna, can be, or indeed was meant to be decifive, in fa- vour of the modern children ; it only leads us to make a diftin&ion. The ancients

  • Plutarch. Vit, /Emil, p. 147. ed. Bryani. T. II.

N 2 went

i So Ahfwer to the foregoing Letter.

went beyond nature, even in their children : the moderns only follow her; and, pro- vided their infant forms, exuberant as they are, do not influence their ideas of youth- ful and riper bodies, they may be allowed to be in the right, though, at the fame time, the ancients were not in the wrong.

Our artifts are, likewife, at full liberty to drefs the hair of their figures as they pleafe : but, being fo fond of nature, they muff needs know, that it is nature which fhades, with pendant locks, the forehead and temples of all thofe, whofe life is not fpent between the comb and the looking-glafs : and finding this manner carefully obferved in moft ftatues of the ancients, they may take it as a proof of their attachment to fimpHcity and truth ; a proof of the more weight, as they did not want people, bufier in adorning their bodies than their minds, and as nice in adj lifting their hair, as the moft elegant of our European courtiers. But it was commonly looked upon as a mark of


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter \ 1 8 1

an ingenuous and noble extraction, to drefs the hair in the manner of the ftatues c .

The imitation of the ancient contour has indeed never been rejected, not even by thofe whofe chief want was that of correclnefs : but we differ about imitating that " noble fimplicity and fedate grandeur" in their works. An expreflion which hath feldom met with general approbation, and never pronounced without hazard of being mif- underflood.

In the Hercules of Bandinelli, the idea of it was deemed a fault d : an ufurpation on Raphael's Maffacre of the Innocents c .

The idea of " nature at reft/' I own, might, perhaps, produce figures like the young Spartans of Xenophon ; nor would the bulk of mankind be better pleafed wiii performances in the tafte of my treatife, (fuppofing even all its precepts authorifed

c Lucian. Navig. S. Votum, c. 2. p. 249. d Borghini Ripofo, L. II. p. 129.

  • Chambray Idee de la Peint, p. 47.

N 3 by

1 8 2 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

by the judges of the art) than with a fpeech made before the Areopagites. But it is not on the bulk of mankind that we ought to confer the legiflative power in the art. And though works of an extenfive com- pofition ought certainly to have the fupport of a vigour and fpirit proportioned to their extent, yet there are limits which mud not be overleapt : ufe not fo much fpirit as to reprefent the everlafting Father like the cruel God of war, or an ecftafied faint like a prieftefs of Bacchus.

Indeed, in the eyes of one unacquainted with this characteriftick of the fublime, a Madonna of Trevifani will feem preferable to that of Raphael in the royal cabinet at Drefden. I know that even artifts were of opinion, that its being placed fo near one of the former, was not a little difadvantageous to it. Hence it feemed not fuperfluous to enquire into the true grandeur of that in- eftimabie picture, as it is the only pro« 


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter, 183

duäion of this Apollo of painters, that Germany is pofTeffed of.

No comparifon, indeed, is to be made of its compofition with that of the trans- figuration ; which, however, I think fully compenfated by its being genuine : whereas Julio Romano might perhaps claim one half of the other as his own. The difference of the hands is vifible : but in the Madonna, the fpirit of that epoch, in which Raphael performed his Athenian fchool, fhines with, fo full a luftre, as to make even the autho*- rity of Vafari fuperfluous.

'Tis no eafy matter to convince a critick, conceited enough to blame the Jefus of the Madonna, that he is miftaken. Pythagoras, fays an antient philofopher f , and Anaxai- goras look at the fun with different eyes : the former fees a God, the latter 3 fton$. We want but experience to difcover truth and beauty in the faces of Raphael, with-

' Maxim. Tyr. Diflf. 25. p. 303. Edit Markl.

N 4 out

1 84 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

out enquiring into their dignity : beauty pleafes, but ferious graces charm g . Such are the beauties of the ancients, which gave that ferious air to Antinous, which we generally afcribe to his fhading locks. Sudden raptures, or the enticement of a glance, are often momentary ; let an attentive eye dwell upon thofe confufed beauties which the tranfient look conveys, and the paint will vanifh. True charms owe their durability to reflection, and hidden graces al- lure our enquiries : reluctant and unfatisfied we leave a coy beauty, in continual ad- miration of fome new-fancied charm : and fuch are the beauties of Raphael and the ancients \ not agreeably trifling ones, but regular and full of real graces \ By that Cleopatra became the beauty of all enfuing ages : nobody * was aftonimed at her face, t>ut her air engaged every eye, and fubdued

s Vide Spe&ator, N. 418.

h Philoftrat. Icon. Anton, p. 91,

  • Plutarch. Ant

1 the

Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 185

the melted heart. A French Venus at her toilet is much like Seneca's wit : which, if put to the teft, difappears k .

The companion of Raphael and fome of the moft celebrated Dutch, and new Italian painters, concerns only the management, (Trattamento). The endeavours of the former of thefe, to hide the laborious induftry that appears in all their works, gives an addi- tional fanction to my judgment $ for, hiding is labour. The moft difficult part in per- formances of the arts, is to fpread an air of eafinefs, the " ut sibi quivis " over them l -, of which, among the ancients, the pictures of Nicomachus were entirely defti- tute m .

All this, however, is not meant to dero- gate from Vanderwerf s fuperior merit ; his works give a luftre even to the cabinets of kings. He diffufed over them an inconceiv-

k Obfervat. fur les Arts, &c, p. 65.

1 QuintiJ. L. IX. c. 14.

m Plutarch. Timoleon. P, 142.


1 86 An/wer to the foregoing Letter,

able polifh \ every trace of his pencil, one would think, is molten ; and, in the colli- quation of his tints, there reigns but one predominant colour. He might be faid to have enamelled rather than paint- ed.

His works indeed pleafe. But does the character of painting confift in pleafing a- lone ? Denner's bald pates pleafe likewife. But what, do you imagine, would the wife ancients think of them ? Plutarch, from the mouth of fome Ariftides or Zeuxis, would tell him, that beauty never dwells in wrinkles n .

'Tis faid, the Emperor Charles VI. when he firft faw one of Denner's pictures, was loud in its praife, and in admiration of his induftry. The painter was immediately de- fired to make a fellow to the firft, and was magnificently rewarded : but the Emperor,

B Plutarch. Adul. & Amici difcrim. p. 53. D.


Anjwer to the foregoing Letter. 187

comparing each of them with fbme pieces of Rembrant and Vandyke, declared, " that having now fatisfied his curiofity, he would on no account have any more from this ar~ tift." An Englifh nobleman was of the fame opinion : for being fhewn a pi&ure of Denner's, " You are in the wrong, faid he, if you believe that our nation efteems per- formances, which owe their merits to in- duftry rather than to genius."

I am far from applying thefe remarks to Vanderwerf; the difference between him and Denner is too great : I only joined them ill order to prove, that a picture which only pleafes can no more pretend to uni- verfal approbation than a poem. No ; their charms muft be durable ; but here we meet with caufes of difguft in the very parts, where the painter endeavoured to pleafe


Thofe parts of nature that are beyond

pbfervation, were the chief objects of thefe

2 painters ;

1 88 Anfiver to the foregoing Letter.

painters : they were particularly cautious of changing the fituation even of the minuteit hair, in order to furprize the moft fharp- fighted eye with all the microcofm of na- ture. They may be compared to thofe dif- ciples of Anaxagoras, who placed all hu- man wifdom in the palm of the hand — but mark, as foon as they attempt to ftretch their art beyond thefe limits, to draw larger proportions, or the nudities, the painter ap- pears

Jnfelix operis fummd, (juia ponere totum nejeit.


Defign is as certainly the painter's firft, fe- cond, and third requjfite, as adion is that of the orator.

I readily allow the folidity of your re- marks, concerning the " reliefs of the an- cients. In my treatife I myfelf charged them with a want of fufficient fkill in per-

fpedtive -,

Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 189

fpedtive ; and hence the faults in their re- liefs.

The fourth point chiefly concerns Alle- gory.

In painting we commonly call fidion al- legory : for, though imitation arifes from the very principles of painting as well as of poetry, it conftitutes, by itfelf, neither of them °. A picture, without allegory, is but a vulgar image, and refembles Davenant's Gondibert, an epopee without fiction.

Colouring and defign are to painting what metre and truth, or the fable, are to poetry ; a body without foul. Poetry, fays Ariftotle, was firft infpired with its foul, with fiction, by Homer 3 and with that the painter muft animate his work. Defign and colouring are the fruits of attention and practice : perfpective and compofition, in the ftricteft fenfe, are eftablifhed or fixed rules j they are of courfe but mechanical - y

Ariftot. Rhet. L. I. c. 11. p. 61. Edit. Lond. 1619. 4to. Plato Phsed. p. 46. I. 44.


igö Anjwer to the foregoing Letter*

and, if I may be allowed the expreffion, only mechanical fouls are wanting to underftand and to admire them*

Pleafures in general, fave only thofe which rob the bulk of mankind of their invaluable treafure, time, become durable, and are free from tedioufnefs and difguft, in proportion as they engage our intellectual faculties. Mere fenfual fentiments foon languifh -, they do not influence our reafon : fuch is the de- light we take in the common landfcape, flower, and fruit paintings : the artift, in performing them, thinks but very little j and the connoiiTeur, in confidering them, thinks no more.

A mere hiftory-piece differs from a land- fcape only in the object : in the former you draw fads and perfons, in the latter, iky, land, feas, &c. both, of courfe, being founded on the fame principle, imitation, are eflentially but of one kind.

If it be not a contradiction to ftretch the limits of painting, as far as thofe of poetry,


Anßwer to the foregoing Letter. 1 9 1

and confequently, to allow the painter the fame ability of elevating himfelf to the pitch of the poet as the mufician enjoys ; it is clear that hiftory, though the fublimeft branch of painting, cannot raife itfelf to the heighths of tragick or epick poetry, by imi- tation alone.

Homer, as Cicero tells us p , has trans- formed man into God : which is to fay 3 he not only exceeded truth, but, to raife his fiction, preferred even the impoffible, if probable, to the barely poffible q . In this Ariftotle fixes the very effence of poetry, and tells us that the pictures of Zeuxis had that characleriftick. The poffibility and truth, which Longinus requires of the painter, as oppofites to abfurdity in poetry, are not con- tradictory to this rule.

This heighth the hiftory-painter cannot reach, only by a contour above common na- ture, or a noble expreflion of the paffions :

» Cicero Tufc. L. I. c. 28. s Ariftot. Poet. c. 28.


192 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

for thefe are requifite in a good portrait- painter, who is able to execute them with- out diminishing the likenefs of his model. They are but imitation, only prudently managed. The heads of Vandyke are. charged with too exact an obfervation of na- ture 5 an exa&nefs that would be faulty in a hiftory-piece.

Truth, lovely as it is in itfelf, charms more, penetrates deeper, when invefted with fiction: fable, in its ftriclefl fenfe, is the delight of childhood ; allegory that of riper years. And the old opinion, that poetry was of earlier date than profe, as unanimoufly attefied by the annals of different people, makes it evident, that even in the moft bar- barous times, truth was preferred, when ap- pearing in this drefs.

Our underftanding, moreover, labours un- der the fault of bellowing its attention chiefly on things, whofe beauties are not to be per- ceived at firft fight, and of inadvertently flighting others, becaufe clear as day : images


An/wer to the foregoing Letter. 193

of this kind, like a fhip on the waves, leave but momentary traces in our memory. Hence the ideas of our childhood are the moft per* manent, becaufe every common occurrence then feems extraordinary. Thus, if nature herfelf inftructs us, that (he is not to be moved by common things, let art, as the Orator, ad Herennium, advifes us, follow her dictates.

Every idea increafes in ftrength, if ac- companied by another or more ideas, as in comparifons; and the more flill as they differ in kind: for ideas, too analogous to each other, do not ftrike : as for inftance, a white fkin compared to fnow. Hence the power of difcovering a fimilarity, in the moft different things, is what we commonly call wit ; Ariftotle, " unexpected ideas : and thefe he requires in an orator r . The more you are furprized by a picture, the more you are affected 5 and both thofe ef-

r Ariftot. Rhct. III. c. 2. §. 4.

O fects

194 Anßwer to the foregoing Letter,

fects are to be obtained by allegory, like to fruit hid beneath leaves and branches, which when found furprizes the more agreeably, the lefs it was thought of. The imalleft com- pofition is fufceptible of the fublimeft powers of art : all depends upon the idea.

Neceffity firfl taught the artifts to ufe allegory. No doubt, they began with the reprefentation of fingle objects of one clafs : but as they improved, they attempted to ex- prefs what was common to many particu- lars ; /. e. general ideas. All the qualities of fingle objects afford fuch ideas : but to become general, and at the fame time fen- iible, they cannot preferve the particular fhape of fuch or fuch an object, but muft be fubmitted to another fhape, effential to that object, but a general one.

The Egyptians were the firfl, who went in fearch of images of that kind. Such were their hieroglyphicks. All the deities of antiquity, efpecially thofe of Greece, nay, their very names, were originally Egyp- 2 tian.

Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 195

tian\ Their perfonal theology was quite allegorical 5 and fo is ours. But the fymbols of thefe inventors, partly preferved by the Greeks, were often fo myfterioufly arbitrary, as to make it altogether impoffible to find out their meaning, even by the help of thofe authors that are ftill extant -, and fuch a dis- covery was looked upon as a nefarious pro- fanation :«i Thus facredly myfterious was the pomegranate u in the hand of the Samian Juno : and to divulge the Eleufinian rites, was thought worfe than the robbery of a temple w .

The relation of the fign to the thing fig- nified, was in fome meafure founded on the known or pretended qualities of the latter. The Egyptian Horfemarten was ofthat kind; an image of the fun, becaufe his fpecies was

• Herodot. L. II. c. 50.

  • Herodot. L. II. c. 3. 047. Conf. L. II. c. 6i« 

Paufan. L. II. p. 71. I. 45. p. 114. 1. 57- L. V. p. 317. 1.6.

u Paufan. L. II. c. 17. p. 149. 1. 24. w Arrian. EpicT;. L. III. c. 21. p. 439. Edit. Up- ton.

O 2 faid

196 An/wer to the foregoing Letter.

faid to have no female, and to live fix months under and fix above ground \ In like manner the cat, being fuppofed to bring forth a number of kittens equal to that of the days in a month, became the fymbol of Ifis, or the moon y ,

The Greeks, on the contrary, endowed with more wit, and undoubtedly with more fenfibility, made ufe of no figns but fuch as had a true relation to the thing fignified, or were moft agreeable to the fenfes : all their deities they inverted with human forms z . Wings, among the Egyptians, were the fymbol of eager and effectual fer- vices ; a fymbol conformable to their nature, and continued bv the Greeks : and if the Attick Victoria had none, it was meant to fignify, that me had chofen Athens for her

  • Plutarch, de Ifid. & Ofir. p. 355. Clem. Alex.

Strom. L. V. p. 657, 58. Edit. Potteri. JElizn. Hift. Anim. L. 10. c. 15.

y Plut. L. C. p. 376. Androvand. de Quadr. digit. Vivipar. L. III. p. 574.

  • Strabo, L. XVI. p. 760. al. 1104.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 1 97

abode \ A goofe, among the Egyptians, was the fymbol of a cautious leader ; in confequence of which the prows of their fhips were formed like geefe b . This the Greeks preferved alfo, and the ancient Rof- trum refembled the neck of a goofe c .

Of all the figures, whofe relation to their intended meaning is fomewhat obfeure, the Sphinx perhaps alone was continued by the Greeks. Placed in the front of a temple, it was, among the Greeks, almoft. as in- ftrudtive, as it was fignificant among the Egyptians d . The Greek Sphinx was wing- ed e , its head bare, without that ftole which it wears on fome Attick coins f .

a Paufan. L. III. p. 245. 1. 21.

b Kircher Oedip. JEg. T. III. p. 64. Lucian. Nav. 3 Vol. c. 1. Bayf. de re Nav. p. 130. edit. Baf. 1537. 4.

c Schaffer de re Nav. L. III. c. 3. p. 196. Paf- ferii Luc. T. II. tab. 93.

d Laaant. adv. 253. L. VII. Thebaid.

e Beger. Thef. Palat. p. 234. Numifm, MufelL Reg. et Pop. T. 8.

f Haym. Teforo Britt. T. I. p. 168.

O 3 It

198 Anßver to the foregoing Letter.

It was in general a characleriftic of the Greeks, to mark their produ&ions with a certain chearfulnefs : the mufes love not hideous phantoms : and Homer himfelf, when by the mouth of fome god he cites an Egyptian allegory, always cautioufly begins with " We are told." Nay, the elder Pampho s , though he exceeds the Egyptian oddities, by his defcription of Jupiter wrapt up in horfe-dung, approaches never thelefs the fublime idea of the Englifh poet :

As ful^ as perfeEl, in a hair as heart y As full y as perfeB y in vile man that mourns y As the rapt feraphy that adores and burns.


It will be no eafy matter to find, among the old Greek coins, an image like that of a fnake encircling an egg h , on a Syrian coin of the third century. None of their monu-

  • Ap. Philoftr. Heroic, p. 693.

h VailJant Num. Colon. Rom. T, II. p. 136. Conf. Bianchini Iftor. Unic. p. 74,


Anfwcr to the foregoing Letter. 199

ments are marked with any thing ghaftly : of thefe they were, if poffible, mil more cautious than of iil-omen'd words. The image of death is not to be feen, perhaps,, but on one gem*, and that in the fhape com- monly exhibited at their feafts k ; viz. danc- ing to a flute, with intent to make them enjoy the prefent pleafures of life, by re- minding them of its fhortnefs. On another gem \ with a Roman infeription, there is a fkeleton, with two butterflies as images of the foul, one of which is caught by a bird - y a pretended fymbol of the metempfychofis : but the performance is of latter times.

It has been like wife obferved, that m among thofe myriads of altars, facred even to the mod whimfical deities, there never was one fet apart to death > fave only on the folitary

i Muf. Flor. T. I. Tab. 91. p. 175. k Petron. Sat. c. 34. 1 Spon. Mifcell. Sea. I. Tab. 5. m Kircher Oedip. T. III. p. 555. Cuper de Ele- phant. Exercit. c. 3. p. 32.

O 4 coafts.

200 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

coafts, which were deemed the borders of the world n .

The Romans, in their beft times, thought like the Greeks; and always, in adopting the iconology of a foreign nation, traced the footfteps of thefe their matters. An elephant, one of the latter myfterious fymbols of the Egyptians ° (for there is on the moft ancient monuments neither elephant p nor hart, of- trich nor cock, to be found), was the image of different things q , and perhaps of eter- nity, as on fome Roman r coins, becaufe of his longevity. But on a coin of the emperor Antoninus, this animal, with the infcription, munificentia, cannot poffibly hint at any other thing but the grand games, the mag- nificence of which was augmented by thofe animals.

n In Extremis Gadibus. v. Euftath. ad II. A. p. 744. I.4. ad. Rom. Id. adDionyf. nsfitiy. ad v. 453. p. 84. Ed. Oxon. 17 12.

• Kircher Oed. Aeg. T. III. p. 555. p Horapoll. Hierogl. L. II. c. 84.

  • Cuper. 1. c. Spanh. DifT. T. I. p. 169.

' Agqft, Pialog. II. p. 6&.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 201

But it is no more my defign to attempt an inquiry into the origin of every allegori- cal fymbol among the Greeks and Romans, than to write a fyftem of allegory. All I propofe is, to defend what I have advanced concerning it, and at the fame time to direct the artift to the images of thofe ancients, in preference to the iconologies and ill-judged fymbols of fome moderns.

We may, from a little fpecimen, form a judgment of the turn of mind of thofe an- cients, and of the poffibility of fubjecting abftracted ideas to the fenfes. The fymbols of many a gem, coin, and monument, en- joy their fixed and univerfally received in- terpretation ; but fome of the moil memo- rable, not yet brought to a proper ftandard, deferve a nearer determination.

Perhaps the allegory of the ancients might be divided, like painting and poetry in ge- neral, into two claffes, viz. the fublime, and the more vulgar. Symbols of the one might be thofe by which fome mythological


202 Anfwcr to the foregoing Letter.

or philofophical allufion, or even fome un- known or myfterious rite, is expreffed.

Such as are more commonly underftood, viz. perfonified virtues, vices, &c. might be referred to the other.

The images of the former give to per- formances of the art the true epick grandeur : one fingle figure is fufficient to give it : the more it contains, the fublimer it is : the more it engages our attention, the deeper it penetrates, and we of courfe feel it the more.

The ancients, in order to reprefent a child dying in his bloom, painted him carried oft by Aurora s : a flriking image ! taken, per- haps, from the cuftom of burying youths at day-break. The ideas of the bulk of our artifts, in this refpect, are too trivial to be mentioned here.

The animation of the body, one of the moft abftradted ideas, was reprefented by

s Homer. Oa. E. v. 121. Conf. Heraclid. Pontic, de AUegoria Homeri. p. 492. Meurf. de funere. c. 7.


An/wer to the foregoing Letter. 203 the loveliefl, moft poetical images. An artift, who mould imagine he could exprefs this idea by the Mofaick creation, would be mil- taken 5 for his image would be merely his- torical, and nothing but the creation of Adam : a hiftory altogether too facred for being either admitted as the allegory of a mere philofophical idea, or into every place : neither does it feem poetical enough for the flights of the art. This idea appears on coins and gems \ as defcribed by the mod: ancient poets and philofophers : Prometheus forming a man of that clay, of which large petrified heaps were found in Phocis in the time of Paufanias u -, and Minerva holding a butterfly, as an image of the foul, over his head. The fnake encircling a tree be- hind Minerva, on the above coin of Anto- ninus Pius, is a fuppofed fymbol of his pru- dence and fagacity.

  • Venuti Num. max. moduli. T. 25. Rom. 1739.

fol. Bellori Admir. fol. 30. u Paufan. L> X. p. 806. 1. 16.


204 Aiifwer to the foregoing Letter.

It cannot be denied that the meaning of many an ancient allegory is merely conjectu- ral, and therefore not to be applied on every occafion. A child catching a butterfly on an altar was pretended to fignify Amicitia ad eras, or, c< which is not to exceed the bor- ders of jufticeV On another gem, Love, endeavouring to pull off the branch of an old tree, where a nightingale is perching, is faid to allegorize love of wifdom \ Eros, Himeros, and Pathos, the fymbols of Love, Appetite, and Defire, are reprefented, they fay y , on a gem, encompaffing the facred fire on an altar -, Love behind the fire, his head only over-reaching the flames ; Appetite and Defire on both fides of the altar ; Appetite with one hand only in the fire, with the other holding a gar- land ; Defire with both his hands in the flames. A Victoria crowning an anchor, on a coin of king Seleucus, was formerly re-

w Licet. Gem. Anul. c. 48.

  • Beger. Theo. Brand. T. 1. p. 182.

y Ibid. p. 281.


An/wer to the foregoing Letter. 205

garded as an image of peace and fecurity pro- cured by vi&ory, till by the help of hiftory we have been enabled to give it its true in- terpretation. Seleucus is faid to have been born with a mark refembling an anchor % which not only he himfelf, but all his de- fendants, the Seleucidae, have preferved on their coins a .

There is another Victoria with butterfly's wings b , fattened on a trophy. This, they fay, is the fymbol of a hero, who, like Epaminondas, died in the very act of con- quering. At Athens fuch a ftatue c , and an altar to an unwinged Vidoria, was the fymbol of their perpetual fuccefs in battle : ours may admit of the fame explication as Mars in chains at Sparta d . Nor was me, as I prefume, provided at random with wings ufually given to Pfyche, her own being

z Juftin. L. XV. c. 4. p. 412. edit. Gronov. a Spanh. DilT. T. I. p. 407. h Ap. D. C. de Moezinsky. c Pauf. L. V. p. 447. 1. 22. d Ibid. L. 1. p. 52. 1. 4.


2c6 An/wer to the foregoing Letter.

thofe of an eagle : they perhaps fignify the foul of the deceafed : however, all thefs conjectures might be tolerable, if a Victoria fattened on trophies of conquered enemies could reafonably correfpond with their being vanquifhed.

Indeed the fublimer allegory of the an- cients has not been tranfmitted to us, with- out the lofs of its mod valuable treafures : it is poor, when compared with the fecond kind, which is often provided with feveral fymbols for one idea. Two different ones, fignify- ing the happinefs of the times, are expreffed on coins of the emperor Commodus : the one a lady % fitting with an apple or ball in her right, and a dial in her left hand, be- neath a leafv tree : three children are before her, two in a vafe or flower-pot, the ufual fymbol of fertility : the other reprefents four children, who, as is clear by the things they bear, are the feafons. Both have the fub- fcription felicitas temporvm.

e Paufan. L. III. p. 245. 1. 20. Morel Specim. Rei. N. XII.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 207

But thefe, and all the fymbols that want infcriptions, are of a lower rank 3 and fome of them might as well be taken for figns of different ideas. Hope f and Fertility g , for in- ftance, might be Ceres, Nobility h , Minerva. Patience \ on a coin of Aurelian, wants her true chara&eriftick, as does Erato > and the Parese k are only by their garments diftin- guifhed from the Graces. On the contrary, ideas which are often confounded in mo- rality, as Juftice and Equity, are extremely well diftinguifhed by the ancients. The former is reprefented, as drawn by Gellius \ with a ftern look, a diadem, and dreffed hair m -, the latter with a mild countenance, and waving ringlets -> ears of corn arifing from her balance, as fymbols of the advan-

f Spanhem. DifT. T. I. p. 154.

2 Spanhem. Obf. ad Juliani Imp. Orat. I. p. 282.

h Montfaucon Ant. expl. T. III.

1 Morell. Specim. Rei Num. T. VIII. p. 92.

k Artemidor. Oneirocr. L. II. c. 49.

1 No&. Attic. L. XIV. c. 4.

m Agoft. Dialog. II. p. 45. Rom. 1650. fol.


2o8 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

tages of equity ; and fometimes flie holds in her other hand n a cornu-copia.

Peace, on a coin of the emperor Titus, is to be ranked among thofe of a more ener- getick expreffion. The goddefs of Peace leans on a pillar with her left arm, in the hand of which {he holds the branch of an olive-tree, whilft the other waves the ca- duceus over the thigh of a victim on a little altar, which hints at the bloodlefs facrifices ofthat goddefs : the victims were flaughtered out of the temple, and nothing but the thighs were offered at the altar, which was not to be ftained with blood.

Peace ufually appears with the olive- branch and the caduceus, as on another coin of this emperor ° -, or on a ftool placed on a heap of arms, as on a coin of Drufus p . On fome of Tiberius's and Vefpafian's coins' 1 Peace appears in the act of burning arms.

■ Triftan. Comm. hift. de l'Emp. T. I. p. 297.

Numifm. Mufell. Imp. R. tab. 38. p Ibid. Tab. II.

1 Ibid. Tab. XXIX. Eriflb Dichiaraz. di Medagl. ant. P. II. p. 130.

2 On

a&ißöer to the foregoing Letter. 209

On a coin of the Emperor Philip there is a noble image -, a fleeping Victory : which, with better reafon, may be taken for the fymbol of confidence in conquer!:, than for that in the fecurity of the world ; as the in fcription pretends. Of an analogous idea was the picture, by which the Athenian General Timotheus was ridiculed, for the blind luck with which he obtained his victories : he was reprefented afleep, with Fortune catch- ing Towns in her Net r .

The Nile, with his fixteen children, is of this fame clafs\ The child that reaches the ears of corn, and the fruits, in his Cornu, is the fymbol of the higheft ferti- lity 5 but thofe that over-reach them are figns of mifcarrying feafons. Pliny explains the whole \ Egypt is at the height of its fertility, when the Nile rifes fixteen feet : but if it either falls fhort of, or exceeds that

r Plutarch Syll. p. 50, 51. s Conf. Philoftrat. Imag. p. 737. 1 Plin.Hift.N.L. XVIII. c.47. Agoft. Dial. III. p. J04.

P meafurc

210 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. meafure, it equally blafts the land with un- fruitfulnefs. Roffi, in his colle&ion, neg- lected the children.

Satyrical pidures belong alfo to this clafs : the Afs of Gabrias, for inftance u , which imagines itfelf worshipped by the people, as they bow to the ftatue of Ifis on its back. It is impoffible to give a live- lier image of the pride of the Vulgar- Great.

The fublimer allegory might be fupplied by the lower clafs, had it not met with the fame fate. We are, for inftance, not ac- quainted with the figure of Eloquence, or Peitho ; or that of the Goddefs of Comfort, Parergon, reprefented by Praxiteles, as Pau- fanias tells us w . Oblivion had an altar a- mong the Romans x , and perhaps a figure : as may alfo be fuppofed of Chaftity, whofe

u Gabrias Fab. p. 169. in JEfop. Fab. Venet. 1709. 8.

w Paufan. L. I. c. 43. p. 105. L. 7.

  • Plutarch. Sympof. L. IX. qu. 6.


Anßjwr to the fore gohig Letter. 2 1 1 altar is to be found on coins y -, and of Fear, to which Thefeus offered lacrifices 2 .

However, the remains of ancient allegory are not yet worn out : there are flill many fecret ftores : the poets, and other monu- ments of antiquity, afford numbers of beau- tiful images. Thofe, who in our time, and that of our fathers, were bufy in improving allegory, and in facilitating the endeavours of the artifts ; thofe, I fay, fhould reafon- ably have had recourfe to fo rich and pure a fountain. But there was an epoch to ap* pear, in which a mocking croud of pedants fhould, with downright madnefs, confpire in an univerfal uproar againft every the leait glimpfe of good tafte. Nature, in their eyes, was puerile, and ought to be fafhioned : blockheads, both young and old, vied in painting devices and emblems, for the benefit of artifts, philofophers, and divines 3 and woe to him who made a compliment, with-

  • Vaillant Numifm. Imp. T. II. p. 133.
  • Plutarch. Vit. Thcf. p. 26.

P 2 OUt

212 Anßwer to the foregoing Letter.

out drafting it up in an emblem ! Symbols void of fenfe were illuftrated with in- fcriptions, giving an account of what they meant, and meant not : thefe are the trea- fures which are dug for, even in our times, and which, being then in high fafhion, out- fhone all antiquity had left.

The ancients, for inftance, reprefented Munificence by a woman holding a Cornu- copia in one hand, and the table of the Ro- man Congiarium in the other a : an image which looked too parfimonious for modern liberality ; another therefore was contrived b , with two horns; one of them inverted, the better to pour out its contents ; an eagle, the meaning of which is too hard for me to guefs at, was fet upon her head - y others painted her with a pot in each hand c . Eternity was, by the ancients, drawn either

a Agoft. Dial. II. p. 66, 67. Numifm. Mufell. Imp. Rom. Tab. 115. b Ripalconol. n. 87. c Thefaur. de Arguta Di&.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 213

fitting on a Globe, or rather Sphere d , with a Hafta in her hand - y or ftanding e , with the Sphere in one hand, and the Hafta in the other j or with the Sphere in her hand, and no Hafta ; or elfe covered with a floating Veil f . Thefe are the images of Eternity on the coins of the Emprefs Fauftina : but there was not gravity enough in them for the mo- dern artifts. Eternity, fo frightful to many, required a frightful image g ; a form female down to the breaft, with Globes in each hand 5 the reft of the Body a circling ftar- marked Snake turning into itfelf.

Providence very often has a Globe at her feet, and a Hafta in her left hand h . On a coin of the Emperor Pertinax 1 , fhe ftretches out both her hands, towards a Globe falling

d Numifm. Mufell. Imp. R. Tab. 107. c Ibid. Tab. 106. f Ibid. Tab. 105. « Ripa Iccnol. P. I. n. 53.

h Agoft. Dial. II. p. SI* Numifm. Mufell. I. c. Tab. 68.

1 Agoft. 1. c.

P 3 from

2 1 4 Anfwcr to the foregoing Letter.

from the clouds. A female figure, with two heads, feemed more exprefiive to the moderns k .

Conftancy, on fome of Claudius's coins ! , is either fitting or {landing, with a Helmet on her head, and a Hafta in her left hand j or without Helmet and Hafta, but always with a finger pointing to her face, as if clofely debating fome point. For diftindtion fake the moderns joined a couple of pil- lars m .

It is very probable, that Ripa was often at a lofs with his own figures. Chaftity, in his Iconology, holds in one hand a Whip", (a ftrange incitement to virtue) in the other a Sieve : The firft inventor, perhaps, hinted at Tuccia the veftal ; which Ripa not re^. membring, indulges the moft abfurd whirry not worth repeating.

k Ripa Ic. P. I. n. 135. 1 Agoft. Dial. II. p. 47. ™ Ripa Iconol. P. I. n. 31. ■ Ibid, P, I. n, 25.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 2 1 e

By thus contraffing ancient and modern allegory, I mean not to divert our times of their right of fettling new allegories: but from the different manners of thinking, I fhall draw ibme rules, for thofe that are to tread thefe paths.

The chara >r of noble fimplicity was the chief aim of the Greeks and Romans : of which Rome) . de Hooghe has given the very contrail:. His book, in general, may very fitly be compared to the elm in Virgil's hell:

Hanc fedem /omnia vulgo Vana te?iere ferunt, foliifque fub omnibus hcerent. ./En. VI.

The diftindnefs of the ancient allegory was owing to the individuation of its images. Their rule, (if we except only a few of thofe above-mentioned), was to avoid every ambi- guity ; a rule flightly obferved by the mo- derns : the Hart, for inftance, fymbolizing °

Vide Picinelli Mund. Symb.

P 4 baptifm,

2 1 6 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

baptifm, revenge, remorfe, and flattery $ the Cedar, a preacher, worldly vanities, a fcholar, and a woman dying in the pangs of child-birth.

That fimplicity and diflinflnefs were al- ways accompanied by a certain decency. A hog fignifying, among the Egyptians, a fcrutator of myfkries p , together with all the fwine of Ceefar Ripa and ibme of the mo- derns, would have been thought, by the Greeks, too indecent a fymbol of any thing whatever : fave only where that animal made part of the arms of a place, as it ap- pears to be on the Eleufinian coins q .

The iaft rule of the ancients was to be- ware of figns too near a-kin to the thing fignified. Let the young allegorift obferve thefe rules, and ftudy them, jointly with mythology, and the remoteft hiftory.

Indeed fome modern allegories, (if thofe ought to be called modern that are entirely

p Shaw Voyag. T. I.

  • Hayrn?.n Teibro Brit. T. I. p. 219,


'Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 217 in the tafte of antiquity), may perhaps be compared with the fubiimer clafs of the an- cient.

Two brothers of the Barbarigo-family, immediately fuceeeding each other r , in the dignity of Doge of Venice, are allegorized by Caflor and Pollux s ; one of whom, as the fable tells us, gave the other part of that immortality which Jupiter had con- ferred on him alone. Pollux, in the alle- gory, prefents his brother, reprefented by a fkull, with a circling fnake, as the fym- bol of eternity -, on the reverfe of a ficti- tious coin, beneath the defcribed figures, there drops a broken branch from a tree, with the Virgilian infeription,

Primo avulfo non deficit alter.

Another idea on one of Lewis XlVth's


' '6*

Egnatius de exempl. illuftr. Vir. Venet. L. V.

P- x 33-

5 Numifm. Barbar. Gent. n. 37. Padova. 1732.



2 1 8 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. coins, is as worthy of notice ; being ftruck \ on occafion of the Duke of Lorrain s quit- ing his dominions, after the furrender of Marfal, for having betrayed both the French and Auitrian courts. The Duke is Proteus overcome by the arts of Menelaus, and bound, after having, in vain, tried all his different forms. At a diftance the con- quered citadel is to be feen, and the year of its furrender marked in the infcription. Tnere was no occafion for the fuperfluous epigraph : Protei Artes deluftz.

Patience, or rather a longing earneft de- fire u , reprefented by a female figure, with folded hands, gazing on a watch, is a very good image of the lower clafs. It muft in- deed be owned, that the inventors of the moil pidurefque allegories have contented themfelves with the remains of antiquity ; none having been authorifed to eftablifh

' Medailles de Louis le Grand, a. 1663. Paris 1702»


u Thefaur. de Argut, Dia.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 2 1 9

images of their own fancy, for the general imitation of the artifts. Neither has any attempt of latter times deferved the honour ; for in the whole Iconology of Ripa, of two or three that are tolerable ones,

Nantes in gurgite vaßo;

an Ethiopian wafliing himfelf, as an allufion to labour loft w , is perhaps the beft. There are indeed images, and ufeful hints, difperfed in fome books of greater note, (as for in- ftance, The Temple of Stupidity in the Spec- tator *,) which ought to be collected, and made more general. Thus, were the trea- fures of fcience joined to thofe of art, the time might come, when a painter would be able to reprefent an ode, as well as a tra- gedy.

I (hall myfelf fubmit to the publick fome images : for rules inftruct, but examples füll more. Friendship, I find every where

w Ripa Iconol. P. II. p. 166.

I Spectator, Edit. 1724. Vol. II. p. 201.


220 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

pitifully reprefented, and its emblems are net worth mentioning : their flying fcribbled labels fhew us the depth of their inventors.

This nobleft of human virtues I would paint in the figures of thofe two immortal friends of heroic times, Thefeus and Piri- thous. The head of the former is faid to be on gems y : he likewife appears with the club z won from Peripheres, a fon of Vul- can, on a gem of Philemon. Thefeus con- fequently might be drawn with fome re- femblance. FrieruJfliip, at the brink of danger, might be taken from the idea of an old pidture at Delphos, as defcribed by Pau- fanias a . Thefeus was painted in the adion of defending himfelf and his friend againft the Theiprotians, with his own fword in one hand, and another drawn from the fide of his friend, in the other. The beginnino: of their friendfhip, as defcribed by Plu-

  • Canini Imag. des Heros. N. I.
  • Stoch Pier. Grav. P]. LI.
  • Paufan. L.X. p. 870. %ft,


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 221 tarch b , might alfo be an image ofthat idea. I am aftonifhed not to have met, among the emblems of the great men of the Bar- barigo-family, with an image of a good man and eternal friend. Such was Nicolas Barbarigo, who contracted with Marco Tri- vifano a friendfhip worthy of immortality ;

Monumentum cere perennius :

a little rare treatife alone has preferved their memory c .

A little hint of Plutarch's might furnifh an image of Ambition : he mentions d the facrifices of Honour, as being performed bareheaded ; whereas all other facrifices, fave only thofe of Saturn e , were offered with co- vered heads. This cuftom he believes to

b Vit. Thefei. p. 29.

c De Monftrofa Amicitia refpe&u perfe£tionis inter Nie. Barbar. & Marc. Trivifan. Venet. apud Franc. Baba. 1628. 4.

d Vita Marcelli. Ortelii Capita Deor. L. II. fig. 41.

e Thomafin. Donar. Vet. c. 5.


222 Anfiver to the foregoing Letter*

have taken its rife from the ufual falutation in fociety ; though it may as well be vice verfa : perhaps it fprung from the Pelafgian rites f , which were performed bareheaded. Honour is likewife reprefented by a female figure, crowned with laurels, a Cornucopia and Haß a in her hands g . Accompanied by Virtue, a male figure with a helmet, ihe is to be found on a coin of Vitellius h : and the heads of both on thofe of Gordian and Galien \

Prayers might be perfonified from an idea of Homer. Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles, endeavouring to reconcile him to the Greeks, makes ufe of an allegory. " Know Achil- c< les, fays he, that prayers are the daughters <c of Zeus k 5 they are bent with kneeling ; " their faces forrowful and wrinkled, with

f Plutarch. Quad. Rom. P. 266. F.

  • Vulp. Latium. T. I. L. I. c. 27. p. 406.

h Agoftin. Dialog. II. p. 81. 1 Ibid. & Beger Obf. in Num. p. 56. k Iliad, i. \\~498. Conf, Heraclides Pontic, de Allegoria Homeri, p. 457, 58.


3 " e )"



Anywer to the foregoing hotter. 223

eyes lifted up to heaven. They follow <£ Ate ; who, with a bold and haughty " mien marches on, and, light of foot as " {he is, runs over all the world, to feize <c and torment mankind ; for ever endea- <c vouring to efcape the Prayers, who incef- " fantly prefs upon her footfteps, in order " to heal thofe whom fhe hath hurt. Who- " ever honours thefe daughters of Zeus, on <c their approach, may obtain much good <c from them ; but meeting with repulfe, " they pray their fire to punifli by Ate the <c hard-hearted wretch."

The following well-known old fable might alfo furnifh a new image. Salmacis, and the youth beloved by her, were changed to a fountain, unmanning to fuch a degree, that

Quifqui s in hos font es vir venerit, exeat inde Semivir : & taölis fubito mollefcat in unclis,

Ovid. Metam. L. IV.


224 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter, The fountain was near Halicarnaffus in Ca- ria. Vitruvius 1 thought he had difcovered the truth of that fiction : fome inhabitants of Argos and Trcezene, fays he, going thither with a mind to fettle, difpofleffed the Ca- rians and Leleges $ who, fheltering them- felves among the mountains, began to ha- rafs the Greeks with their excurfions : but one of the inhabitants having difcovered fome particular qualities in that fountain, erected a building near it, for the conve- nience of thofe who had a mind to make ufe of its water. Greeks and Barbarians mingled there; and thefe at length, ac- cuftomed to the Greek civility, loft their favagenefs, and were infenfibly moulded into another nature. The fable itfelf is well known to the artifts : but the narrative of Vitruvius might inftruct them how to draw the allegory of a people taught huma- nity and civilifed, like the Ruflians by Pe-

i Architeft. L. II. c. 8.


An/wer to the foregoing Letter. 225

ter the Firft. The fable of Orpheus might ferve the fame purpofe. Expreffion only mull decide the choice.

Suppofing the above general obfervations upon allegory infufficient to evince its necef- fity in painting, the examples will at leafl demonstrate, that painting reaches beyond the fenfes.

The two chief performances in allego- rical painting, mentioned in my treatife, viz. the Luxemburg gallery, and the cupola of the Imperial Library at Vienna, may fhew how poetical, how happy an ufe their au- thors made of allegory.

Rubens propofing to paint Henry IV. as a humane victor, with lenity and good- nefs prevailing, even in the punifhment of unnatural rebels, and treacherous banditti, reprefents him as Jupiter ordering the gods to overthrow and punifh the vices : Apollo and Minerva let fly their darts upon them, and the vices, hideous monfters, in a tu- multuous uproar tumble over each other : Q^ MarV,

226 Anfeer to the foregoing Letter, Mars, entering in a fury, threatens total definition ; but Venus, image of celeflial love, gently lays hold of his arm : — you fancy you hear her blandiming petition to the mailed god : cc rage not with cruel re- venge againft the vices — they are punißi- ed."

The whole performance of Daniel Gran m is an allegory, relative to the Imperial Li- brary, ar*l all its figures are as the branches of one fingle tree, 'Tis a painted Epopee, not beginning from the eggs of Led a ; but, as Homer chiefly rehearfes the anger of Achilles, this immortalizes only the Em- peror's care of the fciences. The prepara- tions for the building of the library are re- presented in the following manner :

Imperial majefty appears as a lady fitting, her head fumptuoufly dreffed, and on her breaft a golden heart, as a fymbol of the Emperor's generofity. With her fceptrc flic

m Vide ReprefenUtio Bibliothecae Cefarea Viennas 1737. fol. übt.


'Anfwer to the foregoijig Letter. 227

gives the fummons to the builders ; at her feet fits a genius with an angle, palette, and chiffel ; another hovers over her with the figures of the Graces, as fymbols of that good tafte which prevailed in the whole. Next to the chief figure fits general Libe- rality, with a purfe in her hand 3 below her a genius, with the table of the Roman Congiarius, and behind her the Auftrian Liberality, her mantle embroidered with larks. Several Genii gather the treafures that flow from the Cornucopia, in order to diftribute them among the votaries of the arts and fciences, chiefly thofe, whofe good offices to the library had entitled them to regard. The execution of the Imperi -.1 or- ders perfonined, diredls her face to the com- manding figure, and three children prcfent the model of the home. Next her an old man, the image of Experience, rneafurcs on a table the plan of the building, a ge- nius ftanding beneath him with a plummet, as ready to begin. Next the old man fits

Q^ Inven-

228 Anjwer to the foregoing Letter, Invention, with a ftatue of Ifis in her right, and a book in her left hand, fignifying, that Nature and Science are the fathers of Inven- tion, the puzzling fchemes of which are re- prefented by a Sphinx lying before her.

This performance was compared to the great platfond of Le Moine at Verfailles, with an eye to the neweft productions of France and Germany alone : for the great gallery of the fame palace, painted by Charles le Brun, is, without doubt, the fublimeft performance of poetick painting, fince the time of Rubens ; and being pof- fcffed of this, as well as of the gallery of Luxemburg, France may boaft of the two moft learned allegorical performances.

The gallery of Le Brun contains the hif- tory of Louis XIV. from tjie Pyrenaean peace, to that of Nimeguen, in nine large, and eighteen fmaller pieces : that in which the King determines war againft Holland, contains, in itfelf alone, an ingenious and fublime application of almofl the whole


Anfwcr to the foregoing heiter. 229

mythology ° : its beauties are too exuberant for this treatife ; let the arthTs ideas be judged only by two of the fmaller compo- fitions. He reprefents the famous paiTage over the Rhine : his hero fits in a chariot, a thunderbolt in his hand, and Hercules, the image of heroifm, drives him through the midft of tempeftuous waves. The figure reprefenting Spain is born down by the cur- rent : the river god, aghaft, lets fall his oar : the victories, approaching on rapid wings, prefent fhields, marked with the names of the towns conquered after the pafTage. Europa aftonifhed beholds the fcene.

Another reprefents the conclusion of the peace. Holland, though with-held by the Imperial Eagle, fnatching her robe, runs to meet peace, defcending from heaven, fur- rounded by the Genii of gaiety and pleafure, fcattering flowers all around her. Vanity,

This piece is engraved by Simmoneau Senior Conf. Lepicie Vies des p. P. de R. T. I. p. 64.

0^3 crowned

230 Anfiver to the foregoing Letter*

crowned with peacocks feathers, endeavours to with-hold Spain and Germany from fol- lowing their alTociate : but perceiving the cavern where arms are forged for France and Holland, and hearing fame threatening in the fkies, they likewife follow her ex- ample. Is not the former of thefe two per- formances comparable, in fublimity, to the Neptune of Homer, and the ftrides of his immortal horfes ?

But let examples be never fo ftriking, allegory will ftill have adverfaries : they rofe in times of old, againft that of Homer himfelf. There are people of too delicate a confcience, to bear truth and fiction in one piece : they are fcandalized at a poor river- god in fome iacred flory. Pouffin met with their reproaches, for perfonify- ing the Nile in his Mofes p . A ftill fironger

? Another representation of that (lory, and one of PoufTin's beft originals, is in the gallery of Drefden, in which the river god is extremely advantageous to the compofni.on of the whole,


An/wer to the foregoing Letter. 23 s

party has declared againft the obfcurity of allegory $ for which they cenfurecl, and ftill continue to cenfure, Le Brim. But who is there fo little experienced as not to know, that perfpicuky and obfcurity depend often upon time and circumftances ? When Phi- dias firft added a tortoife q to his Venus, 'tis likely that few were acquainted with his defign in it, and bold was the artiii who firfl dared to fetter her : time, however, made the meaning as clear as the figures themfelves. Allegory, as Plato fays r pf poetry in general, has fomething enigmatick in itfelf, and is not calculated for the bulk of mankind. And mould the painter, from the fear of being obfcure, adapt his perform- ance to the capacity of thofe, who look upon a picture as upon a tumultuous mob, he might as well check every new and ex- traordinary idea. The deiign of the famous Fred. Barocci, in his Martyrdom of St. Vi-

1 Plin.

' Plato Alcibiad. II. P. 457. I 30.

^U tali*

232 Anfmtr to the foregoing Letter.

talis, by drawing a little girl alluring a magpye.with a cherry, muft have been very myfterious to many ; the cherry s alluding to the fcafon, in which that faint fuffered.

The painting of the greater machines, and of the larger parts of publick buildings, palaces, &c. ought to be allegorical. Gran-, deur is relative to grandeur 5 and heroick actions are not to be fung in elegiack ftrains. But is every ficlion allegorical in every place ? The Venetian Doge might as well pretend to enjoy his fuperiority in Terra fir ma. I am miftaken if the Farnefian gallery is to be ranked among the allegorical perform- ances. Neverthelefs Annibal, perhaps not having it in his power to choofe his fiibjecT:, may have been too roughly ufed in my trea r tife : it is known that the Duke of Orleans

  • Ealdinucci, Notiz, de 'P. d. D. P. 118. Ar-

genville feems not to have underftood the word, Ci~ liegt a : he faw that it mould be a fymbol of fpring, and changed the cherry to a butterfly ; the chief object of the picture he omits, and talks only of the girl,


Anfwer to the foregoing heiter. 233

defired Coypel to paint in his gallery the hiftory of iEneas \

The Neptune of Rubens u , in the gallery at Drefden, painted on purpofe to adorn the magnificent entry of the Infant Ferdinand of Spain into Antwerp, as governor of the Netherlands 3 was there, on a triumphal arch, allegorical w . The god of the ocean frowning his waves into peace, was a po- etick image of the Prince's efcaping the ftorm, and arriving fafe at Genoa. But now he is nothing more than the Neprune of Virgil.

Vafari, when pretending to find allegory in the Athenian fchool of Raphael x , viz. a comparison of philofophy and aflronomy with theology, feems to have required, and, by the common opinion of his time, to have been authoriied to require fomething

1 Lcpicie Vies des P. R. P. II. p. 17, 18. u Rec'ueil d'Eftamp. de Ja Gall. deDrefd. t'ol. 48. w Pompa k Intrcitus Fcrdinaiidi Hifp. Inf. p. j^. Antv. 164L fol.

  • Vafari vite. P. III. Vol. I. p. 76,


234 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. grand and above the vulgar, in the decora- tions of a grand apartment : though indeed there be nothing but what is obvious at firft look, and that is, a reprefentation of the Athenian academy y .

But in ancient times, there was no flory in a temple > that was not, at the fame time, allegorical ; allegory being clofely interwo- ven with mythology : the gods of Homer, fays an ancient, are the mod lively images of the different powers of the univerfe • fha- dows of elevated ideas : and the gallantries of Jupiter and Juno, in the platfond of a tem- ple of that goddefs at Samos, were looked on as fuch ; air being reprefented by Jupiter, and earth by Juno z ,

Here I think it incumbent upon me to dear up what I have faid concerning the contradictions in the character of the Athe- nians, as reprefented by Parrhafius. This

y Chambray Idee de la P. p. 107, 108. Bellori Defcriz. delle Imagini dip. da Raffacllo, &c.

~ Heraclid. Pontic, de Allcgoiia Homcri, p. 443.


Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. 235

you think an eafy matter ; the painter hav- ing done it either in the hiilorical way, or in feveral pictures : which latter is abfurd. Has not there been even a ftatue of that people, done by Leochares, as well as a temple 2 ? The compofition of the picture in queftion, has ftill eluded a]l probable con- jectures b ; and the help of allegory having been called in, has produced nothing but Teforo's c ghaftly phantoms. This fatal picture of Parrhafius, I am afraid, will of itfelf be a perpetual inftance of the fuperior fkill of the ancients in allegory.

What has been faid already of allegory, in general, contains likewife what remarks may be made upon its being applied to de- corations; neverthelefs as you iniift upon that point particularly, I fhall lightly men- tion it too.

There are two chief laws in decoration,

f Jofephi Antiq. L. XIV. c. 8. Edit. Haverc,

b Dati vite de Tittori. p. 73.

F Thefaur. Idea Arg, Dia. C. III. p. 84.


236 An/wer to the foregoing Letter.

viz. to adorn fuitably to the nature of things and places, and with truth 5 and not to fol- low an arbitrary fancy.

The firft, as it concerns the artifts in ge- neral, and dictates to them the adjufting of things in fuch a manner, as to make them relative to each other, claims efpecially a Ariel: propriety in decorations :

«• Non tit placidis coeant immiiia —

. Hor.

The facred fhall not be mixed with the profane, nor the terrible with the fublime : this was the reafon for rejecting the fheeps- heads d , in the Doric Metopes, at the chapel of the palace of Luxemburg at Paris.

The fecond law excludes licentioufnefs j nay circumfcribes the architect and deco- rator within much narrower limits than the painter; w 7 ho fometimes muft, in fpite of reafon, fubject his own fancy, and Greece, to

d Blondel Maifons de Plaifance, T. II. p. 26. 4 fafhion,

Arifwcr to the foregoing Letter. 237

fafhion, even in hifbry-pieces : but pub- lick buildings, and fuch works as are made for futurity, claim decorations that will out- laft the whims of fafhion ; like thofe that, by their dignity and fuperior excellence, bore down the attacks of many a century : other- wife they fade away, grow infipid and out of fafhion, perhaps before the finifhing of the very work to which they are added.

The former law directs the artifl to alle- gory : the latter to the imitation of antiqui- ty ; and this concerns chiefly the fmaller decorations.

Such I call thofe that make not up of themfclvcs a whole, or thofe that are addi- tional to the larger ones. The ancients ne- ver applied fhells, when not required by the fable ; as in the cafe of Venus and the Tri- tons -, or by the place, as in the temples of Neptune : and lamps decked with fhells e are fuppofed to have made part of the imple- ments of thofe temples. For the fame rea-

r PafTerii Lüccmae fi£. Tab. 51.


238 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter.

fon they may give luitre, and be very fig- nificant, in proper places ; as in the feftoons of the Stadthoufe at Amfterdam f .

Sheep and ox-heads {tripped of their fkin, fo far from justifying a promifcupus ufe of fhells, as the author feems inclined to think, are plain arguments to the contrary : for they not only were relative to the ancient facri- fices, but were thought to be endowed with a power of averting lightning 8 5 and Numa pretended to have been fecretly inftrufted about them by Jupiter \ Nor can the Co- rinthian capital ferve for an inftance of a feemindv abiurd ornament, authorifed and rendered fafhionable by time alone : for it feems of an origin more natural and reafon-

f Quellinus Maifon de la Ville d'Amft. 1655. fo!.

s Arnob, adv. Gentes L. V. p. 157. Edit. Lugd. 1651. 4.

h An ox-head on the reverfe of an Attick gold coin, (lamped with the head of Hercules and his club, is fuppofed to allude to his labours, (Hayrn. Teforo Britt. 1. 182.) and to be, in general, a fymbol of ftrength, induftry, or patience, (Hypnerotomachia Pglvphiu. Venet, Aid. fol.J


An/wer to the foregoing Letter. 239

able than Vitruvius makes it; which is, however, an enquiry more adapted to a treatife on architecture. Pocock believed that the Corinthian order had not much reputation in the time of Pericles, who built a temple to Minerva : but he fhould have been reminded, that the Doric order belonged to the temples of that goddefs, as Vitruvius informs us \

Thefe decorations ought to be treated like architecture in general, which owes its gran- deur to fimplicity, to a fyftem of few parts, which being not complex themfelves, branch out into grace and fplendour. Remember here the channelled pillars of the temple of Jupiter, at Agrigentum, (Girgenti now) which were large enough to contain, in one fingle gutter, a man at full length k . In the fame manner thefe decorations muft not only be few, but thofe mufl likewife confift of few

Vitruv. L. I. c. 1,

Diodor. Sic. L. XUL p. 375. al. 507.

part 4

240 Anfwer to the foregoing Lettei\

parts, which are to appear with an air of grandeur and eafe.

The firft law (to return to allegory) might be lengthened out into many a fub- altern rule : but the nature of things and circumftances is, and ever muft be, the ar- tift's firft aim ; as for examples, refutation promifes rather more inftrudion than au- thority,

Arion riding on his dolphin, as unmean- ingly reprefented upon a Sopra-porta, in a new treatife on architecture *, though a fig- nificant image in the apartments of a French Dauphin, would be a very poor one in any place where Philanthropy, or the protectioa of artifts like him, could not immediately be hinted at. On the contrary, he would even to this day, though without his lyre, be an ornament to any publick building at Tarentum, becaufe the ancient Tarentines, ftamped on their coins the image of Taras,

d Elondel Maifons de Plaifance.


'Anfaer to the foregoing Letter. 241

one of the fons of Neptune, riding on a dolphin, on a fuppofition of his being their firft founder.

The allegorical decorations of a build- ing, raifed by the contributions of a whole nation, I mean the Duke of Marlborough's palace at Blenheim, are abfurd : enormous lions of mafly ftone, above two portals, tearing to pieces a little cock m . The hint fprung from a poor pun.

Nor can it be denied that antiquity fur- nifhes fome ideas feemingly analogous to this : as for inftance, the lionefs on the tomb of Leaena, the miftrefs of Ariftogiton, raifed in honour of her conftancy amidft the torments applied by the tyrant, in order to extort from her a confeffion of the confpi- rators againft him. But from this, I am afraid, nothing can arife in behalf of the above pitiful decoration : that miftrefs of the martyr of liberty having been a no- torious woman, and whofe name could

  • Vide Spe&ator, N°. 51.

R not

242 Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. not decently ftand a publick trial. Of the fame nature are the lizards and frogs on a temple n , alluding to the names of the two architects, Saurus and Batrachus : the a- bove-mentioned lionefs having no tongue, made the allegory frill more expreffive. The lionefs on the tomb of the famous Lais % holding with her fore-paws a ram, as a fymbol of her manners \ was perhaps an imitation of the former. The lion was, in general, fet upon the tombs of the brave.

It is not indeed to be pretended that every ornament and image of the ancient vafes, tools, • &c. fhould be allegorical ; and to ex- plain many of them, in that way, would be equally difficult and conjectural. I am not bold enough to maintain, that an earthen lamp r , in the fhape of an ox's-head, means a perpetual remembrance of ufeful labours, on

n Paufan. L. I. c. 43. 1. 22.

• Plin. HifL N. L. XXXVI. c. 5. P Pauf. L. II. c. 2. P. 115. 1. 11.

  • Idem. L. IX. c. 40. P. 795. 1. 1 r.

1 Aldrovand. de Quadrup. bifulc. p. 141.


'Anßver to the foregoing Letter. 243

adcount of the perpetuity of the fire ; nor to decypher here a myfterious facrifice to Pluto and Proferpine s . But the image of a Tro- jan Prince, carried off by Jupiter, to be his favourite, was of great and honourable fig- nification in the mantle of a Trojan. Birds pecking grapes feem as fuitable to an urn, as the young Bacchus brought by Mercury to be nurfed by Leucothea, on a large mar- ble vafe of the Athenian Salpion \ The grapes may be a fymbol of the pleafures the deceafed enjoy in Elyfium: the pleafures of hereafter being commonly fuppofed to be fuch, as the deceafed chiefly delighted in when alive. A bird, I need not fay, was the image of the foul. A Sphinx, on a cup facred to Bacchus, is fuppofed to be an allufion to the adventures of Oedipus at Thebes, Bacchus's birth place u 3 as a

• Bellori Lucern. Sepulcr. P. I. fig. 17.

  • Spon.Mifc. Sea. II. Art. I. P. 25.

1 Vide Buonarotti Oflerv. fopra alcuni Medagli. Proem, p. XXVI. Roma. 1693, 4.

R 2 Li-

244 " Anfwer to the foregoing Letter. Lizard on a cup of Mentor, may hint at the pofleflbr, whofe name perhaps was Saurus.

There is fome reafon to fearch for alle- gory, in moft of the ancient performances, when we conlider, that they even built al- legorically. Such an allufive building was a gallery at Olympia w , facred to the feven liberal arts, and re-echoing feven times a poem read aloud there. A temple of Mer- cury, fupported, inftead of pillars, by Herms, or, as we now fpell, Terms, on a coin of Aurelian x , is of the fame kind : there is on its front a dog, a cock, and a tongue -, figures that want no explication.

Yet the temple of Virtue and Honour, built by Marcellus, was ftill more learnedly executed : having confecrated his Sicilian fpoils to that purpofe, he was difappointed by the priefts, whom he firfl confulted on

w Plutarch, de Garrulit. p. 502. x Triftan Comment. Hift. des Emper. T. I, p. 632,


A?ifwer to the foregoing Letter. 245

that defign ; who told him, that no fingle temple could admit of two divinities. Mar- cellus therefore ordered two temples to be built, adjoining to each other, in fuch a manner that whoever would be admitted to that of Honour mud pafs through that of Virtue 7 -, thus publickly indicating, that vir- tue alone leads to true honour : this tern* pie was near the Porta Capena z . And here I cannot help remembering thofe hollow ftatues of ugly fatyrs a , which, when opened, were found replete with little figures of the graces, to teach, that no judgment is to be formed from outward appearances, and that a fair mind makes amends for a homely body.

Perhaps, Sir, fome of your objections- may have been omitted : if fo, it was againft my will and at this inftant, 1 remember one

y Plutarch. Marcell. p. 277.

2 Vulpii Latium, T. II. L. II. c. 20. p. 175.

a Banier Mythol. T. II. L.I. ch. 11. p. 181.

R 3 con-

246 Afifwer to the foregoing Letter. concerning the Greek art of changing blue eyes to black ones. Diofcorides is the only writer that mentions it \ Attempts of this kind have been made in our days: a cer- tain Silefian counteis was the favourite beauty of the age, and univerfally acknowledged to be perfeit, had it not been for her blue eyes, which fome of her admirers wifhed were black. The lady, informed of the wiihes of her adorers, by repeated endea- vours overcame nature 5 her eyes became black, — and flie blind.

I am not fatisfied with myfelf, nor per- haps have given you fatisfaclion : but the art is inexhauftible, and all cannot be writ- ten. I only wanted to amufe myfelf agree- ably at my leifure hours ; and the conven- tion of my friend Frederic Oeser, a true imitator of Ariftides, the painter of the foul, was not a little favourable to my purpofe : the name of which worthy friend and ar-

b Diofcorid. de 'Re Med. L. V. c. 179.


dnjwer to the foregoing Letter. 247 tift c fhall fpread a luftre over the end of my treatife.

e Fred. Oefer, one of the mod extenfive geniufes which the prefent age can boaft of, is a German, and now lives at Drefden; where, to the honour of his country, and the emolument of the art, he gets his livelihood by teaching young blockheads, of the Saxon-race, the elements of drawing ; and by etching after the Flemifh painters. N. of Tranfl.

K 4 IN-







11 Non, fi quid turbida Roma Elevet, accedas : examenve improbum in ilia Cafliges trutina : nee te quafiveris extra. Nam Roma efi Quis non ?

XT O U call yourfelf a ConnoiJJeur, and the firft thing you gaze at, in confidering works of art, is the workmanfhip, the de- licacy of the pencilling, or the polifh given by the chiffel. It was the idea how- ever, its grandeur or meannefs, its dig- nity, fitnefs, or unfitnefs, that ought firfl: to have been examined : for induftry and talents are independent of each other. A piece of painting or fculpture cannot, mere- ly on account of its having been laboured, 4 claim

252 InflruBiom for 'the Connoifeur.

claim more merit than a book of the fame fort. To work curioufly, and with unne- ceflary refinements, is as little the mark of a great artift, as to write learnedly is that of a great author. An image anxioufly finished, in every minute trifle, may be fitly compared to a treatife crammed with quo- tations of books, that perhaps were never read. Remember this, and you will not be amazed at the laurel leaves of Bernini's Apollo and Daphne, nor at the net held by Adams s ftatue of water at Potzdam : you will only be convinced that workmanfhip is not the ftandard which diftinguifhes the an- tique from the modern.

Be attentive to difcover whether an artift had ideas of his own, or only copied thofe of others ; whether he knew the chief aim of all art, Beauty, or blundered through the dirt of vulgar forms ; whether he performed like a man, or played only like a child.


InfiruBiom for the Connoijfeur. 253

Books may be written, and works of art executed, at a very fmall expence of ideas. A painter may mechanically paint a Ma- donna, and pleafe j and a profeflbr, in the fame manner, may write Metaphyfics to the admiration of a thoufand ftudents. But would you know whether an artift deferves his name, let him invent, let him do the fame thing repeatedly : for as one feature, may modify a mien, fo, by changing the atti- tude of one limb, the artift may give a new hint towards a charadleriftic diftin&ion of two figures, in other refpe&s exactly the fame, and prove himfelf a man. Plato, in Ra- phael's Athenian fchool, but flightly moves his finger : yet he means enough, and infi- nitely more than all Zucchari's meteors. For as it requires more ability to fay much in a few words, than to do the contrary ; and as good fenfe delights rather in things than (hews, it follows, that one fingle figure may be the theatre of all an artift's fkill : though, by all that is ftale and trivial ! the bulk of


254 Inßruftions for the Connoiffeur. painters would think it as tyrannical to be fometimes confined to two or three figures, in great only, as the ephemeral writers of this age would grin at the propofal of be- ginning the world with their own private flock, all public hobby-horfes laid afide : for fine cloaths make the beau. 'Tis hence that moft young artifts,

Enfranchise from their tutors care y

choofe rather to make their entrance with fome perplexed compofition, than with one figure ftrongly fancied and mafterly execut- ed. But let him, who, content to pleafe the few, wants not to earn either bread or applaufe from a gaping mob, let him re- member that the management of a " little* 9 more or lefs really diftinguifhes artift from artifts that the truly fenfible produces a multiplicity, as well as quicknefs and delicacy of feelings, whilft the dafhing quack tickles only feeble fenfes and callous organs ; that he may confequently be great in fingle


InflruBiom for the Connoißur, 255 figures, in the fmalleft compofitions, and new and various in repeating things the moft trite. Here I (peak out of the mouth of the ancients : this their works teach : and both our writers and painters would come nearer them, did not the one bufy them* felves with their words only, the other with their proportions.

In the face of Apollo pride exerts itfelf chiefly in the chin and nether lip; anger in the noftrils ; and contempt in the open- ing mouth -, the graces inhabit the reft of his divine head, and unruffled beauty, like the fun, ftreams athwart the paffions. In Laocoon you fee bodily pains, and indigna- tion at undeferved fufferings, twift the nofe, and paternal fympathy dim the eye-balls. Strokes like thefe are, as in Homer, a whole idea in one word ; he only finds them who is able to underftand them. Take it for certain, that the ancients aimed at expref- fing much in little,


Z$(> hßruftions for the Connoijjeur.

' ^Tloeir ore was rich, and /even times purg'J of lead:

whereas moft moderns, like tradefmen in diftrefs, hang out all their wares at once. Homer, by raifing all the gods from their feats, on Apollo's appearing amongft them *, gives a fublimer idea than all the learning of Callimachus could furnifli. If ever a pre- judice may be of ufe, 'tis here ; hope largely from the ancient works in approaching them, nor fear dilappointments ; but examine, pe- rufe, with cool fedatenefs and filenced paf- fions, left your difturbed brain find Xeno- phon flat and Niobe infipid.

To original ideas, we oppofe copied, not imitated ones. Copying we call the flavifh crawling of the hand and eyes, after a cer- tain model : whereas reafonable imitation Juft takes the hint, in order to work by it- felf. Domenichino, the painter of Tender- nefs, imitated the heads of the pretended

a Hymn, in Apoll.


Itiflr nations for the Connnoijfcur. 257

Alexander at Florence, and of the Niobe at Rome 5 ; but altered them like a mafter. On gems and coins you may find many a figure of Poußirfs : his Salomon is the Ma- cedonian Jupiter : but whatever his imita- tion produced, differs from the firft idea, as the bloffoms of a tranfplanted tree differ from thofe that fprung in its native foil.

Another method of copying is, to com- pile a Madonna from Maratta ; a S. Jofeph from Barocci ; other figures from other mat- ters, and lump them together in order to make a whole. Many fuch altar-pieces you may find, even at Rome ; and fuch a painter was the late celebrated Mafucci of

that city. Copying I call, moreover, the

following a certain form, without the leaft confcioufnefs of one's being a blockhead- Such was he who, by the command of a certain Prince, painted the nuptials of

b Alexander, in his S. John, in St. Andrea della Voile at Rome; Niobe, in a piclure belonging to the Teßro di S, German?^ at Naples.

S Pfyche,

258 Inf ructions for the Conmiffeuf.

Pfyche,or,if you will, the Queen of Sheba: — 'twas a pity there was no other Pfyche to be found, but that dangerous one of 'Raphael. Moft of the late great ftatues of the faints, in St. Peter's at Rome, are of the fame fluff —-the block at 500 Roman crowns from the quarry.

The fecond characteriftic of works of art is Beauty. The higheft object of medita- tion for man is man, and for the artifl there is none above his own frame. 'Tis by moving your fenfes that he reaches your foul : and hence the analyfis of the bodily fyftem has no lefs difficulties for him, than that of the human mind for the philofo- pher. I do not mean the anatomy of the mufcles, veffels, bones, and their different forms and fituations -, nor the relative mea- fure of the whole to its parts, and vice verfa : for the knife, exercife, and patience, may teach ycu all thefe. I mean the ana- lyfis of an attribute, effential to man, but fluctuating with his frame, allowed by all,


Inßrucliom for the Connoijjhir. 259!

mifconftrued by many, known by few :-^ the analyfis of beauty, which no definition can explain, to him whom heaven hath de- nied a foul for it. Beauty confifts in the harmony of the various parts of an indi- vidual* This is the philofopher's ft-one, which all artifts mud fearch for, though a a few only find it: 'tis nonfenfe to him, who could not have formed the idea out of him (elf. The line which beauty defcribes is elliptical, both uniform and various : 'tis not to be defcribed by a circle, and from every point changes its direction. All this is eafily faid; but to apply it — • — there is the rab a 'Tis not in the power of Algebra to determine which line, more or lefs elliptic, forms the divers parts of the fyftcm into beauty—but the ancients knew it;- I atteft their works* from the gods down to their vafes. The hu- man form allows of no circle, nor has any antique vafe its profile femicircular.

After this, mould any one defire me to äffift him more fenfibly iri his inquiries

K 2 concern-

26o InßruSiions for the Connoißnr.

concerning beauty, by fetting down fome rules (a hard tafk), I would take them from the antique models, and in want of thefe, from the mod beautiful people I could meet with at the place where I lived. But to in- ilrucl, I would do it in the negative way ; of which I fhall give fome inftances, con- fining myfelf however to the face.

The form of real beauty has no abrupt or broken parts. The ancients made this principle the bafis of their youthful pro- file ; which is neither linear nor whimfical, though feldom to be met with in nature : the growth, at leaft, of climates more in- dulgent than ours. It confifts in the foft coalefcence of the brow with the nofe. This uniting line fo indifpeniibly accompa- nies beauty, that a perfon wanting it may appear handfome full-faced; but mean, nay . even ugly, when taken in profile. Bernini^ that deflroyer of art, defpifed this line, when legiflatcr of tafle, as not finding it I in

Inßru&iom for the Connoijfeur . 261

in common nature, his only model -, and therein was followed by all his fchool. From this fame principle it neceffarily fol- lows, that neither chin nor cheeks, deep- marked with dimples, can be confiftent with true beauty. Hence the face of the Medi- cean Venus is to be degraded from the firft rank. Her face, I dare fay, was taken from fome celebrated fair one, contempo- rary with the artift. Two other Venufes, in the garden behind the Farnefe, are ma- nifeftly portraits.

The form of real beauty has neither the projected parts obtufe, nor the vaulted ones fharp. The eye-bone is magnificently rout- ed, the chin thoroughly vaulted. Thus the beft ancients drew : though, when tafle declined amongft them, and the arts were trampled on in modern times, thefe parts changed too: then the eve-bone became roundifli and obtufely dull, and the chin mincingly pretty. Hence we may fafely affirm* that what they call Antinous, in the

S 3 Belve-

262 Inßriicliom for the Cmmifjhur.

Belvedere, whofc eye-bone is rather obtufe, cannot be a work of the higheft antiquity, any more than the Venus.

As thefe remarks are general, they like^ wife concern the features of the face, the form only. There is another charm, that gives expreflion and life to forms, which we call Grace ; and we fhall give fome loofe reflexions on it feparately, leaving it to others to give us fyftems.

The figure of a man is as fufceptible of beauty as that of a youth : but as a va^- rious one, not the various alone, is the Gordian knot, it follows, that a youthful figure, drawn at large, and in the higheft poflible degree of beauty, is, of all pro- blems that can be propofed to the defigner, the moil: difficult. Every one may convince himfelf of this : take the moft beautiful face in modern painting, and it will go hard, but you fhall know a ftill more beautiful one in nature. — -I fpeak thus, af«?


I?ißru6tiom for the Connoijfeur. 263

ter having confidered the treafures of Rome and Florence.

If ever an artift was endowed with beau- ty, and deep innate feelings for it ; if ever one was verfed in the tafle and fpirit of the ancients, 'twas certainly Raphael: yet are his beauties inferior to the moil beautiful nature. I know perfons more beautiful than his unequalled Madonna, in the Palazzo Petti at Florence, or the Alcibiades in his academy. The Madonna in the Chriftmas- night of Cor regio, (a piece juftly celebrated for its chiar'-ofcuro) is no fublime idea ; ftill lefs fo is that of Maratta at Drefden. Titian s celebrated V r enus c in the Tribuna

c So are the goddcfTes of the Theopaegnia at Blen- heim, in Oxfordfhire ; and hence it is clear, that another Venus, analogous to that in the Tribuna, among the pictures of a gentleman in London, can- not be the production of that genius-in-flefh only. This daughter of the Idalian graces feems to thrill with inward pleafijre, and to recollect a night of blifs

There is language in her eye, her check, her lip:

Nay, her foot fpeaks .


S 4 at

264 Inßruäions for the Connoijfeur.

at Florence is common nature. The little heads of AWano have an air of beauty - y but it is a different thing to exprefs beauty in little, and in great. To have the theory of navigation, a.nd to guide a fhip through the ocean, are two things. Fonßn^ who had fludied antiquity more than his predeceffors, knew perfectly well what his fhoulders could bear, and never ventured into the great.

The Greeks alone feem to have thrown forth beauty, as a potter makes his pot. The heads on all the coins of their Free- ftates have forms above nature, which they owe to the line that forms their profile. Would it not be eafy to hit that line ? Yet have all the numifmatic compilers deviated from it. Might not Raphael^ who com- plained of the fcarcity of beauty, might not he have recurred to the coins of Syracufe, as the bell: ftatues, Laocoon alone excepted, were not yet difcovered ?


InßruBions for the Connoijfeur. 265

Farther than thofe coins no mortal idea can go. I wilh my reader an opportunity of feeing the beautiful head of a genius in the Villa Bcrghefe, and thofe images of un- paralleled beauty, Niobe and her daughters. On the wellern fide of the Alps he mull be contented with gems and partes. Two of the moll beautiful youthful heads are a Mi- nerva of Afpafius, now at Vienna, and a young Hercules in the Mufeum of the late Baron Stofch, at Florence.

But let no man, who has not formed his tafte upon antiquity, take it into his head to act the connoiffeur of beauty : his ideas mull be a parcel of whims. Of modern beauties I know none that could vie with the Greek female dancer of Mr. Mengs, big as life, painted in Crayons on wood, for the Marquis Croimare at Paris, or with his Apollo amidft the mufes, in the Villa Al- bano, to whom that of Guido in the Aurora, compared, is but a mortal.


266 Inßruftiom for the Connoiffeur.

All the modem copies of ancient gems give us another proof of the decifive autho- rity of beauty in criticifms on works of art. Natter has dared to copy that head of Mi- nerva mentioned above, in the fame fize and fmaller, but fell fhort. The nofe is a hair too big, the chin too flat, and the mouth mean. And this is the cafe of modem imitators in general. What can we hope then of felf-fancied beauties ? Conclude not, however, from this, againft the pofiibility of a perfect imitation of antique heads : 'tis enough to fay, that it has not yet ex^ ifted : 'twas probably the fault of the imi- tators themfelves. Natter's treatife on an- cient gems is rather (hallow ; and what he wrought and wrote, even on that fingle branch of engraving, for which he was chiefly celebrated, has neither the itrength nor the eafe of genius.

To this confcioufnefs of inferiority we owe the fcarcity of modern fuppofititious gem.s


Inflrufiiom for tbeConnmjJeur. 267

and coins. Any man of tafte may, upon companion, diftinguifn even the beft mo dern coin from the antique original. — I fpeak of the bell antiques : for as to the lower Imperial coins, where the cheat was eafier, the artifts have been liberal enough. Pa- doanos ftamps, for copying antique coins, are in the Earberini Collection at Rome, and thofe of one Michel, a Frenchman, and falfc coiner in tafle, at Florence, in that of the late Baron Stolen.

The third characteriftic of works of art Is Execution r, or, the fketch being made, the method of finishing. And even here we commend good fenfe above induflrv. As in judging of flyles, we diilinguiih the good writer by the clearnefs, fluency, and nervoufnefs of his di&ion -, fo in works of art, we difcover the mailer by the manly ftrength, freedom, and fteadinefs of his hand. The auguft contour, and eafinefs of mien, in the figures of Chriit, St. Peter, gnd the other apoftles, on the right fide of


268 hiß ructions for the Cotvioijfeur.

the Transfiguration, fpeak the claffic hand of Raphael, as ftrongly as the fmooth, anxi- ous nicety of fome of Julio Romanos figures, on the left, the more wavering one of the difciple.

Never admire either the marble's radiant polifh, or the picture's gloffy furface_ For that the journeyman fweated -, for this the painter vegetated only. Bernini's Apollo is as poliflied as HE in the Belvedere > and there is much more labour hid in one of Trevifams Madonnas, than in that of Corre- gio. Whenever trufty arms and laborious induftry prevail, we defy all the ancients. We are not their inferiors even in managing porphyry, though a mob of fcriblers, with Clarencas in their rear-guard, deny it.

Nor (whatever Mqffei thinks d ,) did the ancients know a peculiar method of giv- ing a nicer poliih to the figures of their con- cave gems (Intagli.) Our artifts polifli as

d Veron, illuftr. P. III. c. 7. p. 269.


hiflruEliom for the Connoijfeur. 269

nicely: but flatues and gems may be de- teftable, for all their polifh, as a face may be ugly, with the fofteft fkin.

This however is not meant to blame a ftatue for its polifh, as it is conducive to beauty: though Laocoon informs us, that the ancients knew the fecret of finifhing ftatues, merely with the chiffel. Nor does the cleannefs of the pencil, on a picture, want its merit: yet it ought to be diftin- guifhed from enamelled tints. A barked ftatue, and a briftly picture are alike abfurd. Sketch with fire, and execute with phlegm. We blame workmanfhip only as it claims the firft rank ; as in the marbles a la Ber- nini, and the linn en of Scybold and Den- ner.

Friend, thefe infiru&ions may be of ufe. For as the bulk of mankind amufe them- felves with the (hells of things only, your eye may be captivated by polifh and glare, as they are the mod obvious ; to put you on your guard againfl which, is leading you


zyo hißrutiiom for the Connoijjeur.

the firft ftep to true knowledge. For daily obfervation, during feveral years, in Italy, has taught me how lamentably moft young tra- vellers are duped by a fet of blind leaders. To fee them fkip about in the the tempi* of art and genius, all quite fober and coolj puts me in mind of a fwarm of new-fledged grafhoppers wantoning in the fpring»




[ 273 ] ON


f"^ RACE is the harmony of agent and aftion. It is a general idea: for what- ever reafonably pleafes in things and adtions is gracious. Grace is a gift of heaven ; though not like beauty, which muft be born with the pofleflbr : whereas nature gives only the dawn, the capability of this. Education and reflection form it by degrees, and cuftom may give it the fandtion of nature. As wa- ter,

That leaf of foreign principles partakes^ Is befl:

So Grace is perfect when moft fimple, when freeft from finery, conftraint, and afFefled wit. Yet always to trace nature through the vaft realms of pleafure, or through all

T the

274 ® n Gmce e

the windings of characters, and circum- ftances infinitely various, feems to require too pure and candid. a tafte for this age, cloyed with pleafure, in its judgments either partial, local, capricious, or incompetent. Then let it fuffice to fay, that Grace can never live where the paffions rave; that beauty and tranquillity of foul are the centre of its powers. By this Cleopatra fubdued Gcfar ; Anthony flighted O&avia and the world for this; it breathes through every line of Xenophon ; Thucydides, it feems, difdained its charms ; to Grace Apelles and Corregio owe immortality ; but Michael Angdo was blind to it ; though all the re- mains of ancient art, even thofe of but mid- dling merit, might have fatisfied him, that Grace alone places them above the reach of modern fkilL

The criticifms on Grace in nature, and on its imitation by art, feern to differ I for many are not (hocked at thofe faults in the latter, that certainly would incur their fflC-


On Grace. 275

pleafure in the former. This diverfity of feelings lies either in imitation itfelf, which perhaps affects the more the lefs it is akin to the thing imitated ; or in the fenfes being little exercifed, and in the want of attention, and of clear ideas of the objeds in queftion. But let us not from hence infer that Grace is wholly fictitious : the human mind ad- vances by degrees ; nor are youth, the pre- judices of education, boiling paffions, and their train of phantoms, the flandard of its real delight— remove fome of thefe, and it admires what it loathed, and fpurns what it doted on. Myriads, you fay, the bulk of mankind, have not even the leaft notion of Grace — but what do they know of beauty, tafte, generofity, or all the higher luxuries of the foul ? Thefe flowers of the human mind were not intended for univerfal growth, though their feeds lie in every breaft.

Grace, in works of art, concerns tfic human figure only 5 it modifies the atti- tude and countenance, drcfs and drapery. And

T 2 here

<zj*6 On Grace,

here I muft obferve, that the following re~ marks do not extend to the comic part o* art.

The attitude and geftures of antique figures are fuch as thofe have, who, con- icious of merit, claim attention as their due, when appearing among men of fenfe. Their motions always mew the motive; clear, pure blood, and fettled fpirits; nor does it fig- nify whether they ftand, fit, or lie -, the at- titudes of Bacchanals only are violent, and ought to be fo.

In quiet fituatlons, when one leg alone fupports the other which is free, this re- cedes only as far as nature requires for put- ting the figure out of its perpendicular. Nay, in the Fauni, the foot has been obferved to have an inflected direction, as a token of fa- vage, regardlefs nature. To the modern artifts a quiet attitude feemed infipid and fpiritlefs, and therefore tbey drag the leg at reft for- wards, and, to make the attitude ideal, re- move part of the body's weight from the


On Grace. zjj

iupporting leg, wring the trunk oat of its centre, and turn the head, like that of a perfon fuddenly dazzled with lightning* Thofe to whom this is not clear, may pleafe to recollect fome ftage-knight, or a con- ceited young Frenchman. Where room allowed not of fuch an attitude, they, left unhappily the leg that has nothing to do might be unemployed, put fomething ele- vated under its foot, as if it were like that of a man who could not fpeak without fetting his foot on a ftool, or ftand without having a ftone purpofely put under it. The ancients took fuch care of appearances, that you will hardly find a figure with crofled legs, if not a Bacchus, Paris, or Nireus • and in thefe they mean to exprefs effeminate indolence.

In the countenances of antique figures, joy burfts not into laughter; 'tis only the reprefentation of inward pleafure. Through the face qf a Bacchanal peeps only the dawn of luxury. In forrow and anguifh they rc-

T 3 fenVole

278 On Grace.

femble the fea, whofe bottom is calm, whilft the furface raves. Even in the ut- moft pangs of nature, Niobe continues ftill the heroine, who difdained yielding to La- tona. The ancients feem to have taken ad- vantage of that fituation of the foul, in which, ftruck dumb by an immenfity of pains, (he borders upon infenfibility ; to ex- prefs as it were, characters, independent of particular actions • and to avoid fcenes too terrifying, too paffionate, fometimes to paint the dignity of minds fubduing grief.

Thofe of the moderns, that either were ignorant of antiquity, or neglefled to en- quire into Grace in nature, have exprefled, not only what nature feels, but likewife what (lie feels not. A Venus at Potzdam, by Pigal\ is reprefented in a fentiment


a <c Et toi, rival des Praxiteles & des Phidias ; toi «' dont les anciens auroient employe Je eifeau a leur «< faire des dieux capables d'excufer a nos yeux leur

  • c Idolatrie ; inimitable Pigal, ta main fe refoudra a

" vendre des magots, ou il faudra qu'elle demeure

« oiiive."

On Grace. 279

which forces the liquor to flow out at both fides of her mouth, feemingly gafping for breath ; for flie was intended to pant with luft: yet, by all that's defperate! was this very Pigal feveral years entertained at Rome to ftudy the antique. A Carita of Bernini y on one of the papal monuments in St. Pe- ter's, ought, you'll think, to look upon her children with benevolence and maternal fondnefs \ but her face is all a contradiction to this : for the artift, inftead of real graces, applied to her his noftrum, dimples, by which her fondnefs becomes a perfect fneer. As for the expreffion of modern forrow, every one knows it, who has feen cuts, hair torn, garments rent, quite the reverfe of the antique, which, like Hamlet's,

. • hath that wiihin r which paffeth fhew :

  • lhefi\ but the trappings , and the Jin ts of' woe.

" oifive." J. J. RoufTeau Difc. fi 3e Retabl. d. A. S. &c.

This, my dear countryman ! is the only pafTage of thine, where pofterity will find the orator forgot the philofopher. N. of Tr.

T 4 The

28 o On Grace.

The geftures of the hands of antique figures, and their attitudes in general, are thofe of people that think themfelves alone and un- obferved : and though the hands of but very few ftatues have efcaped deftrudion, yet may you, from the dire&ion of the arm, guefs at the eafy and natural motion of the hand. Some moderns, indeed, that have fupplied ftatues with hands or fingers, have too often given them their own favourite attitudes — that of a Venus at her toilet, difplaying to her levee the graces of a hand,

■ far lovelier when beheld.

The a£tion of modern hands is commonly like the gesticulation of a young preacher, piping-hot from the college. Holds a figure her cloths ? You would think them cob- web. Nemefis, who, on antique gems, lifts her peplum foftly from her bofom, would be thought too griping for any new performance — how can you be fo unpolite to think any thing may be held, without


On Grace. 281

the three laft fingers genteely ftretched forth ?

Grace, in the accidental parts of antiques, confifts, like that of the eflential ones, in what becomes nature. The drapery of the moft ancient works is eafy and flight : hence it was natural to give the folds beneath the girdle an almoft perpendicular direction.— Variety indeed was fought, in proportion to the increafe of art ; but drapery ftill re- mained a thin floating texture, with folds gathered up, not lumped together, or indifcreetly fcattered. That thefe were the chief principles of ancient drapery, you may coavince yourfelf from the beautiful Flora in the Campidoglio, a work of Ha- drian's times. Bacchanals and dancing fi- gures had, indeed, even if ftatues, more waving garments, fuch as played upon the air ; fuch a one is in the Palazzo Riccardi at Florence; but even then the artifts did not neglect appearances, nor exceed the nature of the materials. Gods and heroes are re-


282 On Grace.

preferred as the inhabitants of facred places* the dwellings of filent awe, not like a fport for the winds, or as wafting the colours : floating, airy garments are chiefly to be met with on gems — where Atalanta flies

As meditation fwift, fwift as the thoughts of love.

Grace extends to garments, as fuch were given to the Graces by the ancients. How would you wifh to fee the Graces drefled ? Certainly not in birth-day robes 5 but rather like a beauty you loved, ftill warm from the bed, in an eafy negligee.

The moderns, fince the epoch of Raphael and his fchool, feem to have forgot that drapery participates of Grace, by their giving the preference to heavy garments, which might not improperly be called the wrap- pers of ignorance in beauty : for a thick large-folded drapery may fpare the artifts the pains of tracing the Contour under it, as the ancients did. Some of the modern


On Grace. 283

figures feem to be made only for lading. Bernini and Peter of Cortona introduced this drapery. For ourfelves, we choofe light eafy dreffes 5 why do we grudge our figures the fame advantage ?

He that would give a Hiftory of Grace, after the revolution of the arts, would per- haps find himfelf almoft, reduced to nega- tives, efpecially in fculpture.

In fculpture, the imitation of one great man, of Michael Angeh, has debauched the artifts from Grace. He, who valued him- felf upon his being " a pure intelligence" defpifed all that could pleafe humanity ; his exalted learning difdained to Hoop to tender feelings and lovely grace.

There are poems of his published, and in manufcript, that abound in meditations on fublime beauty : but you look in vain for it in his works. — Beauty, even the beau- ty of a God, wants Grace, and Mofes, without it, from awful as he was, becomes only terrible. Immoderately fond of all that


284 ® n Grace,

was extraordinary and difficult, he fooi> broke through the bounds of antiquity, grace, and nature; and as he panted for occafions of difplaying fkill only, he grew extravagant. His lying ftatues, on the ducal tombs of St, Lorenzo at Florence, have attitudes, which life, undiftorted, can- not imitate : fo carelefs was he, provided he might dazzle you with his mazy learn- ing, of that decency, which nature and the place required, that to him we might apply, what a poet fays of St. Lewis in hell:

Laißznt le vray pour prendre la grimace^

U fut toujours au de la de la Grace \

Et bien plus loin que les comniandemenis.

He was blindly imitated by his difciples, and in them the want of Grace fhocks you flill more : for as they were far his inferiors in fcience, you have no equiva- lent at all. How little Guiliclmo delta


On Grace, 285

Perfa, the beft of them all, underftood grace and the antique, you may fee in that marble groupe, called the Farnefe-bull ; •where Dirce is his to the girdle. John di Bologna, Algardi, Fiammingo> are great names, but likewife inferior to the ancients, in Grace.

At I aft Lorenzo Bernini appeared, a man of fpirit and fuperior talents, but whom Grace had never vifited even in dreams. He aimed at encyclopaedy in art; painter, architect, ftatuary, he ftruggled, chiefly as inch, to become original. In his eighteenth year he produced his Apollo and Daphne ; a work miraculous for thofe years, and pro- mifing that fculpture by him fhould attain perfection« Soon after he made his Da- vid, which fell fliort of Apollo. Proud of general applaufe, and feniible of his im- potency, either to equal or to ofFufcate the antiques; he feems, encouraged by the daftardly tafte of that age, to have formed


286 On Grace.

the projecl of becoming a legiflator in art, for all enfuing ages, and he carried his point. From that time the Graces entirely forfook him : how could they abide with a man who begun his career from the end oppofite to the ancients ? His forms he compiled from common nature, and his ideas from the inhabitants of climates unknown to him ; for in Italy's happieft parts nature differs from his figures. He was worshipped as the genius of art, and univerfally imitated ; for, in our days, fta- tues being erected to piety only, none to wifdom, a ftatue a la Bernini is likelier to make the kitchen profper than a Lao- coon.

From Italy, reader, I leave you to guefs at other countries. A celebrated Pugety Girardofiy with all his brethren in On, are worfe. Judge of the connoifleurs of France by Watelet> and of its defigners, by Mariettas gems.


On Grace. 287

At Athens the Graces flood eaftward, in a facred place. Our artifts fhould place them over their work-houfes ; wear them in their rings; feal with them; facrificc to them ; and, court their fovereign charms to their lafl: breath*



Tagt 20. Line 13» for comma after fays, place femi-colon.

P. 61. L. 7. for Morte read Mortd.

P. 83. Note, for Bernoue read Bernoull.

P. 94. L. 3. after Nature add a colon — after flat add it.

P. 105. L. 10. dele Lucian, Ep. I.

P. 166. Notef. infleadof'O&.T. v. 230. read^. V. 163,

P. 181. L. 1 $. for on read in.

P. 189. L. 20. for or read on.

P. 197. Note d. for adv. read ad v.

P. 227. L. 12. for the raz</ her.

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