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EETIN 01' i’HOTOG U AI’H Y PHILADELPHIA FRANK V. THE WHOT. PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSPITON. FLOU ORIGIN/T.A TREATISE ON ART IN THREE PARTS (. PUBLISHER 1913 ' ’ . S. ETCHINGS C>:rERRATEI> IICIURES the Italian. Fl^mishj.E I LTATSTR ATE1> ItV I’HOTO-ENGT A'/TNCSi OF From F. CHAMBERS. Venetian.ONSISTING OF ESSAYS ON THE EDUCATION OF THE EVE. Dutch (irtd English Schools. R. KDITKI) HY FRANK I’rBI.ISHEH or V. CHAMBERS “the CAJIERa" AM) “ IHT. AND LIGHT AND SHADE HY JOHN RURNET.

’ ' I TRINTET) BY ) CHAMBERS PRESS PHIEADELPHIA .

F. and it is also from the same inexhaustible fountain that the poet draws his most pleasing and graphic as well as his sublimest imagery. FRANK PHILADELPHIA CHAMBERS. PUBLISHER V.” I)H. 1913 .AN ESSAY ON THE EDUCATION OF THE EYE ILLUSTRATED RY PHOTO ENGRAVINGS AND ETCHINGS BY JOHN BURNET. R. ROGET’s RRIIXiEWAIEK TREATISE. “ Visual impressions are those which in infancy furnish the principal means of developing the powers of the understanding: it is to this class of principals that the philosopher resorts for the most apt and perspicuous illustrations of his reasoning. S.

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September. at it The a price within the illustrations from new types. difficulties.PUBLISHER’S ANNOUNCEMENT we have done In reprinting lJurnet’s famous Art Essays. phraseology and Our it is No and 1837 and the text alterations have been made in Burnet’s verbatim. as . Frank X Philadelphia. . this with the idea of placing the book before students and lovers of Art and marketing moderate means. Cha:mi?i:i{s. 182(5 re-set reach we launch for so many many this edition to years. and it is the with an appreciate public. 1913. original edition we secured after book has been out of print gratification that of those of have been taken from the original editions published in 1822.

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information which can be cai-ried small a compass. communicating by their presence that value which a To some music. where so the Art of Painting are introduced with component parts. an insight possible. I ought to apologize. little in more than an enumeration of my of their the hrst instance. if into the intricacies of the Art. I the varieties of painting are endless.PREFACE In prefacing a work of this brief description. properties of which these numher. ^’ein of gold imj)arts to a mass of inferior matter. therefore. whose union often destroys the sti'ong impression Though of a single illustration. as in have endeavored. yet the vaiteties are comjiosed reflection to any infinite series of ramifications. more known and apj)reciated. I have been actuated so to do by the custom of the present time. without distracting the attention of the I’eader h}" a multitude of examples. for thus attempting to convey atn. it may appear in [)rinciples and observation can be extended The same simple I few rules have endea\ ored to which should iioint out as departments of the Art. that the subject is too physically ti’eated. JOHN March 2. and which by regulate are. to notice oidy the leading which must be known. In what I is in have advanced. 1837 lUTRNE'r. have quoted the o{)inions of the best authors to coi-i'ohorate and strengthen my own. I and of its operations on the mind. many branches practical usefulness in so int(j motive for so doing was to gi\e. thereby hoping to render an Art by which civilized societv highly embellished. the existing in instruction the highest of beginners. and surely every one ought to know something of the construction of that insti-ument he possession of. is so .

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CON T E N T S Page Measurement 2 Form 3 Perspective 3 Lines Diminution *5 Angles 7 Circles 3 Aerial Perspective 16 Chiaro Oscuro 20 Invention 24 Composition 28 Arrangement 36 H ARMONY 39 Form 39 Chiaro Oscuro 42 Harmony 44 of Color Studying from Nature 46 .

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LIST OF PLATES Facing I’age Plate 1 18 Plate II "24 Plate III 25 Plate IV 8(5 Plate IV* Plate V 87 42 Plate VI 48 Plate VII. 50 .

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many languages letters in presenting a more serious obstacle than what is and I have no doid)t but that a very required in the rudiments of drawing . but especially if he travels. which being committed to words are in danger of being lost.^ advance culty is but the mind is draw objects with not only arc the most valuable deprived of one of and the hand remains its chief sources manner paralyzed and record what the eye takes cognizance of whereas. we cannot but wonder why the education of the eye has not been more generally cultivated obseiwing. when they of correct information. advantages often Without lost.ocke. the ideas whereof would be easily retained and communicated by a little skill in drawing. this diffiovercome. I think it may be convenient not only to continue the exercise of his hand in writing. the complicated forms of the . as is also the case . unable to this education. that its education in after-life rarely gives the possessor those advantages which result from a proper direction having been given in youth nor do I see why drawing should not accompany the elements of reading and writing. short time would be sufficient to enable a scholar to tolerable correctness. This ready execution of the hand is to be acquired in ’ I. “when he can write well and quick. but also to improve the use of it further in drawing. as that which helps a man often to express in a few lines well put together what a whole sheet of paper in writing would not be able to represent and make intelligible. in a . A E. how many machines and habits meet with. S. R. country so largely connected with manufactures as this is. or at best but ill retained in the most exact descriptions? I do .V AN ESSAY ON THE EDUCATION OE THE EYE II JOHN BUKNET. mutual contact through a course of early instruction. How many buildings may a man see. with the ear. whose attention was turned to this branch of education. says. a thing very useful to gentlemen on several occasions.

or what might be considered sufficient reasons Those who have the instruction of youth entrusted to for deferring it. it is not my province to raise up chimeras. or any complex pieces of workmanship. the eye must have something tangible to work upon. however. 1 . tbe power of delineating it on the paper or canvas is where the apparent to the test. falls into a loose. they will more fully a])prchend the necessity of an expedient which so happily supplies the defects of language. as Fig. first two. utensils. How much It here where is may munication between the eye and the hand correctness its constant practice perfects this chain of is put com- be proved by the facility with which a person acquires the power of writing in the dark. points. the shapes contained or excluded for. therefore. — . and informing them how much it assists the apprehension and relieves the memory. To teacb the eye to measure the distance between one object and another The forms of the lines which bound these by such lines. then three. the student such unprofitable groundwork.” not will “With regard to the practice of drawing. may. for. and A five . it ought to be ought to be tbe first proceeding. four lines from each of several points. be got in Locke’s Thoughts Concerning Education. I should. the eye. necessary. simple and evident. which ought to be the greatest consideration for if method of study. in order to put it in the power of any master to instruct. is not to be purchased at the expense of correctness. and enables the eye to receive what cannot be conveyed to the mind any other way . to be that to any tolerable degree require more time than a young gentleman can spare from his other improvements of greater moment. . a little time. ought to follow. as it might be given either as an amusement or as a reward of merit and. or ear. ^MEASUREMENT. hut so much insight into perspective and skill in drawing as will enable him to reiiresent tolerably on paper any thing he sees. it will be proper to incite the scholars to industry by showing in other books the use of the art. and if they are obliged sometimes to write descriptions of engines. and with as few diagrams as the subject renders them. I think. or with his eyes shut. I shall endeavor to proceed in the simplest manner. AN ESSAY ON THE 2 only by constant pi'actice. however readily the eye may perceive the form of an object. This quick communication. difficulty lies. spaces. am would find it rather an assistance. I confident. imperfect finds the greatest difficulty in getting rid of In advocating the advantages of this branch of education.— . commence by a series of dots or also the angles made by drawing pair of compasses will enable any one mean that I would have your son a perfect painter.” Preface to the Preceptor.

being set upright. until a pupil can accomplish pretty correctly these preliminaries. I would now recommend these forms to be cut out in paper. Divide and conquer is a prineiple Complication is a species of confederacy which. that the eye may become thoroughly acquainted with the figures in all their variety of shapes. may become early accustomed to draw from the real objects. would also recommend the pupil to draw from a cube and a ball. compare their correctness with the original. all forms contain more or less portions of a triangle. square or the eye must be taught to comprehend and imitate such objects in their simple forms." spective. 7. while it continues united. but = from a second view. I that the eye Fig. Fig. in order to fit it for the pui'pose of seeing such qualities when mixed and combined with more complicated figures. as the word denotes (being a compound of the Latin words Long calculations or complex diagrams aflfright the timorous and unexperienced if we have skill sulRcient to analyze them into simple principles. equally just in science as in policy. and viewed in various situations. bids defiance to the most active and vigorous intellect. Fig. Perit will be found a very simple matter. in place of flat surfaces. which will give him a power in drawing from Nature unattainable by any other method. and easy of comprehension. to FORM. As circle. and with the causes of their alterations in form. if it is stripped of its geometrical and mathematical intricacies. 5. 6. 3 EDUCATION OF THE EYE.. but . it is useless to hasten to more complicated matters. PERSPECTIVE. Many have been deterred from attempting to learn drawing from the dread of encountering so formidable a department of the art as perspective whereas. for. and also viewed in a horizontal position. it will be discovered that our fear was groundless.

the widest excursions of the mind are made hy short flights frequently repeated. if they be inclined to the ground line. Jesnifs’ difficult . found that ground line are drawn. very much commended by the famous Egnazio Dante. but we do not know what success he had in this attempt. ® It was in the sixteenth century that Perspective. observer’s eye. and upon the principles of Borgo. a perpendicular line and a horizontal one and lines are more or less diminished in length according as they depart from the parallel of the . and as the use of it is to give pleasure to the eye by a just representation of natural objects. except two. and that through this point also a line drawn from the eye. and particularly to that branch of it which was employed in the decoration of the theater. then covers what opposite the will see it gradually become placed with the point it is is termed the point of sight. Albert Durer constructed a machine. These principles put together enabled him to make out a pretty complete theory of perspective. and vary according as the line. is to attempt but little at a time. have and intricate diagrams clear and comprehensible. if a person holds a pen or a stick parallel with the eyes. instructed by Eschylus. however. We A Since then rendered the most the Perspective. as it whole line." Doctor Johnson. and that afterward the principles of this art were more distinctly taught by Democritus and Anaxagoras. and specto. and others. where landscapes were prinicpally introduced. alt lines that are parallel to one another. attempted to lay down the rules of perspective was Pietro del Borgo. Brook Taylor's. until directly being it it around. the revival of The first person who painting in Italy was acconqtanied with a revival of this art. of which every ineri)l)er is separately weak. to him we owe the discovery of points of distance. therefore. Of the theory of this art. However. and endeavored to make them more intelligible. is the art of drawing the several objects as they appear when traced upon a glass. is not now extant. He supposed objects to be placed beyond a transparent tablet. because the book which he wrote upon the subject It is. to view). and which may therefore be quickly subdued if it can be broken. that Agatharchus." Priestley’s Optics. as Locke has observed. this is more a business of (/eometri/ than optics. as it point immediately horizontal and. was revived. and upon the which is always of the height of the eyes of the spectator. senting the appearance various objects subject to which regulate their those laws in Nature. a new branch of optics. we know nothing. and wliich would have looked unnatural and horrid if the size of the objects had not been learn from Vitruvius pretty nearly proportioned to their distance from the eye. is nothing more than repreper. for example. since none of their writings have escajred the general wreck that was made of ancient literature in the dark ages of Europe.® LINES. or transparent medium. is turned around. by which he could Balthazar Perussi studied the writings of trace the jierspective appearance of objects. was the first who wrote upon the subject. and is indeed more an art than a science. the disciples of Agatharchus. All lines are subject to an alteration in their appearance. The art of I would do wrong not to give a short perspective owes its birth to painting. converge to some point in the horizontal line. to which all lines that would make an angle of 45 degrees with the little time after. The chief art of learning. an Italian. and gradually turns shorter. account of its rise and progress. or rather invented. will jiass. Borgo. Malton's.— — AN ESSAY ON THE 4 through. the art of drawing in perspective. it will describe innumerable points along the These are termed accidental points. base line . he assumes a mere spot when toward the a eye. jiarallel to them. another Italian. and endeavored to trace the images wliich rays of light emitted from them would make upon it. Guido Ubaldi. but since it is derived from optical principles. as described by them.

Horizontal line. . since the spaces between them diminish as they recede from the spectator. the upper cover will be seen. avenue.EDUCATION OF THE EYE. 9. for instance. radiating from the center. which explains what are termed accidental points. for as they all run to the point of sight. Fig. the sides appear to rise and descend to the point of sight. while the lines of the door c appear to run to the acciThis point will vary its situation according as the door dental point D.* Before proceeding further. for by looking through it either u]> a street. and the lines of its sides appear to run down Fig. I shall give . if a book is held up horizontally before the eye. which are at right angles with the base line. and the lines describing the sides appear to rise up to the horizontal line. buildings. 8.. or long room. they will of necessity converge. ing the several lines already mentioned. so drawn on the glass. 5 run more or less at right angles from the base line. etc. from its being opened at right angles with the base line. to a point on the horizontal line. and showing an explanatory figure. Being placed immediately before the eye. * The truth of this may he also deary proved if a person holds up a piece of glass on which a series of lines are drawn. When underneath the eye. Lines also vary according as they are situated above or below the observer’s eye. The above represents a cupboard with folding doors. the under cover lines will be seen when held above. is more or less opened. fall in with and cover many of the lines. he will perceive those lines of the pavement. a also the door b. for the better understandhow they are affected.

therefore. a represent the spectator. they appear out of proportion with the other objects in the work. though true according to rule. more distant. hence two parallel lines seem to approach each other as they recede from the eye and this diminution will appear more or less sudden. For example. When. Fig. objects are commenced too near. if the hand is held near the eye. as they have to be represented upon a plane surface. their proportions will be as the divisions on n.: AN ESSAY ON THE 6 DIMINUTION. 11. it w’ill intercept a larger space than when . and the The line b represent a line circular line c. appear false with regard to their effect upon the eye of the ‘ Imaginary lines reaching from various objects to the eye. and. held out at arm’s length. All objects diminish in size as the spectator departs from them. They will. Objects diminish in an increased ratio until removed to a certain diswhen the diminution appears less violent. or one more removed. . therefore. according as they commence from a near point. they approach the eye. by the following diagram ft Let the line of pavement. This may be made apparent tance. present the following appearance to the eve. which cuts througli the visual rays® as will show the diminished ratio as the squares become And.

the two sides will not appear to vanish in the point of sight. being parallel with the base line. from a situation where one side is parallel with the base line. is viewed at the angle. When. . which run to the point of sight. or a book. may be more clearly explained by tbe spective. The cause. which is one-fourth of a circle. until it is viewed upon tbe angle. so named from . however. the squares being determined distance where it 7 by the diagonal line running to the point of cuts through the lines of the pavement. This is a point of distance termed violent or sudden perspective. as represented in Fig. Now. the farther this point will appear.: EDUCATION OF THE EYE. following figure Fig. What we have hitherto said more immediately applies to parallel perall the lines which intersect those running to the point of sight. or any cubical form. to avoid which The breadth of is chosen that will look agreeable. Therefore. but run to two points on the horizontal line. these two points are always at an equal distance from each other. the other appears to approach it. as any one may perceive by turning around a sheet of paper. as one departs from the point of sight. called vanishing points. 12. 11 . spectator. perhaps. a square. the other is easily found for. of this. Point of sight. if one is determined upon. and this mode of treating the subject is called angular perspective. is removed the more level the ground Fig.

direction are less diminished. coming in contact with the sky. and gradually turns it from him.. and whicb accordingly retains its Those portions of the circular line which lie in the same exact length. b. found to agree perfectly with the natural representation of objects. being at right angles with a. therefore. and. which is the when viewed out at sea. square and recapitulate the influence of perspective upon their . though still at equal distances upon the horizontal line. For example. would Or imagine a line drawn through present an appearance like n. : AN ESSAY ON THE 8 Suppose the circle to represent the line of the horizon. Fig. those parts which lie in the direction of the rays of vision. until the brim becomes a straight line in appearance. or where no obstruction intercepts it. Or. viewed measuring the various points is from the center. ing points. for then the water. CIRCLES. carefully watching it passing through all the elliptical forms. occupy less space on the line c. 16. any one takes a drinking glass or cup in his hand. and turns the mouth gradually around toward him. the center. and. when drawn upon a flat surface. than other parts that is to say. consequently. of the visual rays. o In a panorama. with the mouth toward him. 14 . assume an oval shape at the top or bottom. and. appear elliptical in It arises from parts of the circle being more foreshortened a side view. lying in an opposite direction. and would appear thus Fig. or circular gateways. those parts which come more in the line If of it . let a circle be divided into equal parts. or other circular objects. a circular horizontal line. and suppose the eye of the spectator placed at a. presents If a person. he will perceive the cause why arches. he will have a correct idea how it is that columns. the line c would be parallel with the base. Having now gone through circle. occupying one-fourth of a circle but. which cuts through them. naturally become subject to the greatest degree of foreshortening. true representation of it looking to the point a. I shall here the several forms of a triangle. according as they are below or above the eye. parallel with the base line. was placed at n. if he holds the cup with the side downward. as in Fig. while the other parts. if he turned then a and c would become vanish- in the direction of b. 17. which this mode of is a circular canvas.

properly speaking. it is the business of the mind to trace the progress of them through the pupil. says as to the images of objects being inverted in the eye. yet. and refer them to those places of the objects themselves from which they seem to have proceeded. 9 are shortened according as they and retain Now.® and. and along which objects are received upon the retina. Upon this matter the taste and judgment of the artist is shown. the line which cuts through these rays at equal distance from the eye is according to diminution is more or in size circular. their original length this takes place wherever the objects are placed. only when they cut them at right angles. though in all Fig. though true according to Nature. 15. ° Kepler. yet it may be repreless Fig. painting we are obliged to delineate everything upon a flat surface. imaginary lines and which are termed rays of vision. 17. whether near the foreground or in the distance. and that this sudden according to the closeness of the spectator to the object. because. . who in 1600 was the discoverer of the seat of vision on the retina. several lines. fall We have seen that lines in the direction of the visual rays. the eye of the spectator being a point from which imaginary lines radiate in any direction. their We have seen also that distance all objects diminish from the spectator.EDUCATION OF THE EYE.

unless you stand so near the picture as the point of distance requires. line. though true according to rule.” ’’ Reynolds. says. either by being immediately above the eye or directly under it. surfaces of objects whose lines are at right angles with their base why in a note upon Fresno. and take within his view the whole. is rendered agreeable/ we naturally change our When this distortion takes place in position. and it must l)e acknowledged that a misapplication of them is but too frecpiently found even in the works It is not uncommon to see a figure on the foreground of the most considerable artists. We have also seen that all horizontal surfaces of objects diminish in breadth as they approach the horizontal line. whether in approaching the consequence of their distance from the spectator. This is also the cause they will increase or diminish in the same degree. rule applies to all flat surfaces. “The rules of as well as all other rules. this. and regain their true width when they depart from it. horizontal this line. yet will be more delighted when that truth reality. if they eye in the direction of an angle of 45 degrees./. by which means the diminution of objects is so sudden as to appear unnatural. until the eye painting./’ s Art of Paint in. and one figure of a group. we change our position but in in vain. which. 18. is satisfied. whereas if the point of distance is removed so far as the spectator may be sup])osed to stand in order to see commodio\isly. will appear monstrous. though at all times pleased with the truth. or from being placed at different degrees of height. may be injudiciously applied. . represented near twice the size of another which is supposed to he removed but a few feet behind it . so as to offend the e}^e. the whole being a flat surface. or one column of a row. HorizoDta] line. This error proceeds from ])lacing the j)oint of distance too near the point of sight.: AN ESSAY ON THE 10 sented with a very bad effect. perspective. as may be perceived by the following diagram Fig. which a perpendicular and a horizontal width exactly one-half. the figures behind would then suffer under no such violent diminution. Now. for. which would he too near for the eye to comprehend the whole jiicture. they will is reach the equidistant between be diminished in apparent If they are viewed at a greater or smaller angle. may be rendered preposterously large.

we must express the forms which we see in Nature as tliey present themselves to our sight. and the mind be made acquainted with the causes of such change. and contemplate the various changes produced in their forms by their situation. the human face. down we perceive. therefore. which decides their character. before proceeding to delineate any object. 11 from the point of sight. including the jiroportion of their length. not only educate his eye. which it will be impossible to render theoretic knowledge available: for. than from any deficiency in the eye itself hence we perceive. from the forehead to the chin. in the drawings of children and rude nations. as in painting. and making the line on which the eye of the spectator is placed a horizontal line in place of a perpendicular. and which can only be acquired by careful habit This is the fundamental basis of design. or the circumference of things. without of seeing and drawing with attention. Let us take. the one depending upon geometry.* In illustration of which. as it is the base on which all rules for true drawing are founded. . and draw a line the center. such as is represented in Fig. so as to be able to guide tlie eye. This may appear too much a repetition of what has already been said respecting the cause of objects becoming foreshortened but. . it must be viewed in every position. speaking of design. the component parts of which every one is spective. or a full view of the face with the nose as if seen in profile. as may THE EYE.. for example. I shall proceed to acquainted with . the study of drawing being intimately connected with observation and reflection. When the mind of the student is informed of the various causes operating upon lines so as to change their appearance to the eye. eyes . more or less. . EDTTCATION OF line increase in length the left hand as tliej depart or to the right. the other upon optics: the first implies a knowledge of their optical ai)pearance from the view presented to the sight. so that his eye may become familiar with those alterations in form. either to be seen by turning the diagram around. breadth and form. when viewed directly ® Mengs. if we take a plaster cast or mask of the face. by this method. which he ought to draw and write down his remarks upon. and his mind enriched by a variety of examples thus making Nature furnish him with a thousand diagrams. which he defines as coni])rehending the outline. Having now endeavored to explain the leading principles of per- put them into practical application but I must premise that it is an essential requisite.” . He will. “This part is composed of two principal divisions. that we make ourselves thoroughly acquainted with its general character. a profile with the eye represented as if viewed in front. To avoid such incongruities. This oftcner arises from a want of due examination. and the manner of seeing it. otherwise the eye cannot convey to us its image distinctly neither can the hand render it with energy or precision. yet the niceties of distinction in the several features few can perceive. but improve his mind at the same time. says. let him look abroad upon natural objects. the knowledge of the proper form of a thing. the eye must be taught to see the changes which take place. this pictorial geometry is necessary to enable the student to delineate with correctness and feeling. 19. or render with perfect accuracy. so a knowledge of that variation enables us to give a true representation. and as their beauty depends upon that little. that the student ma}^ thoroughly comprehend it.

In drawing a head. the direction of the lines a b. as in No. No. 2. as it is the basis of correct drawing. 19. is the case with the nose. If. as ether. while the other side forms a mere outline. In finishing this part of the essay. they reach the eye in the before the in No. To exjilain tin’s more clearly. we can easily perceive that a person viewing it in would give him a view of the face between a front and profile (or what is termed by artists a three-quarter). 20. 5- 2. 1. while in the profile. those parts of the line which recede or project will assume exactly one-half of their true character and projection. that it presents a straiglit perpendicular line. the mask is viewed when turned around halfway between a profile and front face. also. while the other side. as these projections and recedings of the line are immediately under each Fig. I cannot conclude wfithout reminding the pupil of tlie extreme importance of the very first preliminaries of the work. teaching the eye the power of measuring the distances between several points. No. would see one side of the lip of its entire length. as may be perceived by its breadth on the ideal line c. but. from laws which regulate perspective. . 1. woidd be reduced to a very small space. if we take the mask and hold it with the chin toward us. the line acquires its exact similitude.AN ESSAY ON THE 12 in front. however. though actually full of undulations from passing over the entire profile. M'liich one side remains undiminished. we should find that the same laws lead us into a correct view of the alterations which take place upon every alteration in position. No. same manner as if a string was held up mask in a perpendicular direction. being seen entirely under the influence of perspective. so as to observe the curve on which the mouth is placed. 3. which cuts such rays Such. as in Fig. in the same view of at right angles. If its we were being undisturbed by those to proceed and examine every feature in the same manner. the face . lying in the direction of the visual rays.

If he had joined to this most difficult part of the art a patience in finishing w'hat he had so correctly planned. and why they are darker at one place than at another. tions of the several lines according as they are more or less under the influence of perspective acting upon their form or size. and by a careful combination of exact dimensions moves over the whole space with Being also educated to observe the variaa species of ideal trigonometry. says. the various shapes the principal lights take. and is not found in an equal degree in any other painter. before proit attentively in the first instance.® and the same remark applies to the power of combining the several parts Tbe eye marks the distance of one of the largest assemblage of objects. one of tbe greatest difficulties the detail of which each feature w-ill is The power of seeing objects correctly is gained by a careful examinanation of their general appearance. if the points wliere tlie eyes. what occasions them. to observe to examine it necessary. but.EDUCATION OF THE EYE. wliicli is so remarkable in his portraits. not only unattainable by any other method. he might justly have claimed the jilace which Vandyck. unaccompanied by the power of judging of its correctness. and of the component parts which produce such general appearance. therefore. also the forms of the darks. speaking of Frans Hals. "Reynolds. a clear. or any of the particular parts . and composed rendered easy and effective. from w'hence that strong marked character of individual Nature. so justly holds as the first of portrait painters. “The likeness of a portrait consists more in the preserving the general effect of the countenance than in the most minute finishing of the features. as a whole. so as to be convinced of its great leading features. or tw'o leading points. all things considered. as the painters express it. defined outline w'ill be the result. nose 13 and mouth ought to be placed can be be conquered. correctly put down. It is ceeding to delineate any object. “In his works the portrait painter may observe the composition of a face. the features well put togetlier.” Sixth and Fourteenth Discourses. even if attained.” In another place he says. — . which serve as a station to start from.

therefore. where this breadth is preserved. inasmuch as it drawing without feeling. and.^® it will. where this breadth is lost or neglected. which we Here. Reynolds on Fresnoy. in other words. will have more the appearance of coming from a master hand that is. cognizance of these before proceeding. which we can apply to Drawing much improves us as little as reading the subject in hand. will — . 21. we may have recourse to Titian’s bunch of grapes. 'udividual grape on the light side has its light. character or decision. will have more the characteristic and generate of Nature. note 40. much. yet to educated eyes they seem in the light of forgeries. though to the unlearned their works have the appearance of excellence. is having ready a mass of materials. unless we contemplate and understand as we proceed. moreall it will Fig. Knowledge in drawing. Those who have acquired a readiness of hand without correctness and study have but the shadow instead of the substance. Another advantage this previous contemplation of the subject has is the storing of the mind with materials for future occasions. and where they are intercepted.— AN ESSAY ON THE 14 the size and shape of the smaller component parts. where portions are seen entire. will have a better effect. the smallest touch being expressive of the character. yet altogether ttiey make hut one broad mass of light: the slightest sketch. or like the language of him who talks speciously After the hand has once acquired of a subject he does not understand. and shadow. will lead to a style of One reason why the drawings of eminent artists are superior to all others is the great intelligence every line indicates. and reflection. over. and where the greatest vacuum is situated. have a prejudicial influence. To illustrate this. when it is necessary to have recourse to the memory. though each suppose placed so as to receive a broad light and shadow. Without the e}^e taking be impossible to give a just representation. as well as in other sciences. where they are congregated most. than the most laborious finishing. either in the detail or in the general effect.

may be hit off by the pupil with sufficient resemblance to satisfy all parties. . after higher departments. and become. to acquire a correct knowledge of his subject. . is retreat. and even Rubens.” and what is Also in his first it has acquired a relish for discourse he says : “A called a masterly handling of the chalk or pencil are. This is the language of the art. therefore. whatever their force of genius may be.” Raffaelle. Sir Joshua Reynolds remarks that “young men have not only this frivolous ambition of being thought masters of execution inciting them on one hand. of course.” In another place he justly observes that “the first business of the student is to be able to give a true representation of whatever object presents itself. be told again and again of solid fame. and thei’e to imitate these dazzling in attaining. for example. is incapable of receiving a true impression while the hand. What w'ould be thought of a child who had been taught to run over the keys of a pianoforte without any definite meaning? Or of a master who encouraged the scribbling of a boy to imitate a free hand? I remember an artist wFo always took an opportunity of disconcerting the pretensions of such precocious geniuses in drawing. so as to amount to a deception. and desires. captivating qualities to young minds. fallacious mastery. necessarily confined to the several spaces allotted to the different forms. is often taught to pupils that they may apjiear to be making great strides in the art.15 EDUCATION OF THE EYE. for that which appears to them but a scribbled appearance. tills delusive dexterity. or masterly handling. and obliges them to throw down the In other branches of science we find this dexterity checked in its pencil in despair. They are terrified at the prospect before them of The impetuosity of youth is disthe toil required to attain exactness. they find this dexterity rather an incumbrance. obtain the reward of eminence by hope to shorter path to excellence. and rules indispensable of art have prescribed. it lively must be confessed. They endeavor excellencies. just as it appears to the eye. and unable to execute anything correctly in future. The master frequently finds his pupil too dull. by laying down a key or a pair of snuffers for them to delineate. and that. feels cramped and awkward. In after-life. and they leave school without the power of drawing a line. and shadows. which appears the more necessary to be taught early. a sketch of a tree. scarce an instance of return to scrupulous labor after the mind has been debauched and deceived by this We find in many of the drawings of Michael Angelo. from the natural repugnance which the its mind has to such mechanical labor. as it is termed. some portions carefully studied and finished with the greatest correctness from the model. some difficult passage which required labor and finish to overcome. or some portion of great beauty. thus their education seems finished before it is in reality begun. but also their natural sloth tempting them on the other. and the geometric rules of 'perspective are included in this study. They wish to find some citadel to take the by impatience of labor. from mere of approaches a gusted at the slow storm. regular siege. the eye. infancy. ” Freedom of execution. the student becomes contented. other means than those which the that labor is the only price They must. To an uneducated eye. in the original indicates to the eye of an artist foliage. therefore gives him the power of displaying an appearance of dexterity. previously debaxiched. which they no great labor time but spent in these it will will find frivolous After much the difficulty will be to pursuits. there is no easy method of becoming a good painter. the objects of their ambition. be then too late. when they wish to delineate objects correctly. branches. or too inattentive. the parents see nothing in the original different from the copy.

either as to their receding or advancing. month after month.! AN ESSAY ON THE 16 which nothing but fidelity could represent. from the interposition of the atmosphere. in place of bestowing their whole care in giving the outline and form correctly. by long contemplation. therefore. otherwise these qualities. frequently leaving the minor passages to be general knowledge and practice. but. From the contemplation of the works of the great painters we perceive a comparative dryness and compared with their later pictures. grandeur and freedom of execution. Lineal perspective being that part of drawing which the means of lines only. yet it does not follow that the same labor is to be carried into the subordinate parts. though a few strokes by the hand of a master often express in his later works as much as the most careful finishing of his early pictures. or in searching for outlets through . by long practice. d'lie eye is more delighted. a mastery over his materials. drawing from antique statues. though tlie eye is at all times pleased and gratified with the power of viewing distant prospects. aiudal perspective is made use is produced by of to designate those changes which take place in the appearance of objects. yet that arises entirely from his having acquired. Though it is absolutely necessary to be able to draw correctly whatever may be placed before you. however. in their earlier productions. as an excuse for doing something which requires the least in exertion of the mind. Notwithstanding the foregoing remarks. in being carried over a gradual diminution of many intervening objects. a perfect knowledge of what are the leading features and peculiar character of every object. or in mapping out with painful fidelity the hedges and long portion of of trees ditches of a whole county. are naturally led to conclude that — hand. excellent in themselves. in representing the flaws and excoriations of the mutilated marble. PERSPECTIVE. we can accomplish by a shorter method what they have shown us to have been their aim breadth. without perplexing and troubling the mind. therefore. and. waste their youth in industrious idleness. that. to the application of this quality the artist is mainly indebted for the power of giving his work the space and retiring character of Nature. careful drawing and minute finishing are to be regulated in a great measure by the nature of the work stiffness We. or in smoothly stippling in a surrounding mass of background of all works. yet objects require a certain definition to lead Neither are the imagination. possessed is to be employed The in correctness of wTich it is necessary to be rendering with accuracy the vital portions up from our young men attending academies and museums. How vexatious is it filled to see AKRIAT. It will be found. otherwise a life might be spent in delineating the intricate ramifications and plants. we pleased by sudden jumps from the foreground to the extreme distance. are liable to be caught at. therefore.

the student may perceive the shadows under the leaves and stones in the foreground. and with the finest touches of her pencil. the parallax of the objects. the direction of the two eyes. in representing of planes upon which the several objects in ciated with atmospheric influence. he says. and a certain appearance of substance to give a reality to the scene. Neither docs such harshness prevent them the objects in the This arises from the very small situations. where the interpoby contrast. namely. different ]ilanes being made use of. the strength of the coloring. Nowq though this is the general charblack and of large. “Few spectacles are more calculated to raise our admiration than this delicate jucture. and the eye is deprived of the gratification of viewing the outlines of objects through a variety of strengths. can take advantage only of the two first mentioned circumstances. Painters. On the other hand. imbues every object its relative distance from the foreground. )). we in many works of the best artists see acteristic of this according to their true perspective diminished size much in objects very little force of color removed possessing a from the tints of distance. by reason of its clearness. bulk and minutia?. When we reflect that the art of painting is an attempt to in upon a perpendicular surface the variety Nature are placed. position of the atmosphere gives us the means of producing the effect of distance in a picture. yet the mind requires a certain variety to hold it amusement.EDUCATION OF THE EYE. they in some measure make use of them ail. their aj'parent magnitude. screens of intervening trees or clumps of buildings . and Accidens de la I'lie. In the works of Albert Cuyp and Claude Lorraine we have many examples of this quality in perfection. and objects appear nearer than they are in point of truth (as may be perceived in many scenes in Switzerland). and therefore pictures can never perfectly deceive the eye. broad. and the distinctness of their small parts. 358. hut in the decorations of theaters. — ” Speaking of the retina. forming so diminished a picture in the eye. even when painted of the size of Nature. spread over the smooth canvas of this subtle . a false representation is produced. with its just proportion according to De la Hire enumerates five circumstances wliich assist us in juclghig of the distance of objects. yet foreground. when the atmosphere is deprived of the means of refraction. whether of a yellow or blue color. colors unassodeceive the eye. different degrees of distinctness . department. 17 such perforations assisting by their framework the distant tone of color with which the most remote Now. when we reflect that the painter is deprived of many collateral means of assisting the deception. space keeping their they occupy upon the retina. lines possessing distinctness of form. decided forms.^® In historical compositions the most distant sition of the air. though the interobjects are nevertheless sufficiently embodied out. Dr. wliich Nature has w'ith such exquisite art. Roget says. also in the foreground of many of the w'orks of Cuyp and others. light and dark to give them their full force upon the eye. and the near objects are strengthened by black or red or other colors less in unison wdth the general tone of the picture. it requires his whole knowledge to he employed in w^orking out the result. with the reverses of all these assisting We must admit that a knowledge of aerial perspective embraces in its effects nearly the whole art of portraying the retiring and advancing of objects.

as the mind of the spectator must be arrested with the same force it feels itself acted upon under natural effects. and give a natural A row of columns will diminish reality to the most complicated scene. This is one reason out of many why we are allowed to pronounce parts of a picture with more strength than other parts. 22. the effect of hazy sunshine (such as we see in the works of Cuyp) is to be represented. at length reaches our eye. with what intelligence the peculiar walk of those we know is communicated even at great distances. scenes . enables the artist to keep the several objects in their respective situations. irregularity or confusion. necessary to notice the conduct of the but we often find it even in landscapes and less How often have we observed and others prevented from being heavy by the introduction of a few dark touches. . and yet this almost infinitesimal point shall he sufficient to convey to the mind. therefore. nor does truth appear at all violated. provided they are not made out with too great precision. it may be best artists in this particular common . to be pronounced with that strength whicli will enable them to assist the painter in producing the desired effect on the mind of the spectator. Every one of those countless and stupendous orbs of fire.AN ESSAY ON THE 18 objects form often a portion of the story. therefore. therefore. and breadth of color and space produced by the small dark of a figure. They are. but it is to this Fig. a knowledge of the existence and position of the far distant luminary Doctor Roget’s Bridgewater Treatise. The application of aerial perspective. is collected on its narrow curtain into a luminous focus of inconceivable minuteness. though understood to be subject to rule. whose light. the whole atmosphere being then filled with the refraction of light. where the gi’eatest liberties are allowed. the middle-ground objects appear to be made out with a uniform tone or half-tint. wood representations of natural effects. however. When. after traversing immeasurable regions of S])ace. through the medium of the nerve and brain. ’In — Practical Hints upon Light and Shade. some at rest and otliers in motion. colors and positions. In history and the higher walks of the art. according as they are drawn true to lineal perspective. Aerial perspective. I have noticed elsewhere^'‘ how much in reality objects in motion attract the eye of the spectator. from which that light has emanated oiitie . the most distant objects ought to be rendered with the greatest delicacy for. and followed in all their changes without the least interference. yet all accurately represented as to their forms. is more completely under the control of the painter than lineal perspective.

2. by J .PLATE I THE CANAL OF DORT Fig.

.

as in Fig. only perplex the student. the drawing of a complicated jfian is rendered clear at a glance. we but also of that assemblage of lines produced by the repetition of forms. the doubling of the lines in producing richness of effect. in all professions. owing to their want of minute parts. if fairly grappled with at the outset. that which is a continual annoyance to many becomes one of the greatest gratifications. owing to their diminution while their softness gives them apparent distance. trouble of thinking. this is Also. it To those who understand slowly. everything becomes clear. giving thereby a general The effect of aerial perspective upon tlie eye being mainly attributable to the application of shadow to the several outlines. the Canal of Dort.EDUCATION OF THE EYE. Why is it that. Plate I). the other increased to a pyramid. Plate I. while to others it requires a multitude of figures of reference and a long explanation? balance to the whole. I feel persuaded. and the other to recede. reflection on one is easy to extend it. by Cuyp. which assists the receding of objects from their diminution. and wliich is to be afterward repeated in smaller portions througli the piece. . I. to the eye of an artist. In Plate collection. If he comprehends any rule. tliereby giving them their approaching or receding character. whose shadows form a mass of half-tint. two angles may occupy the same space on the retina. . such arrangement is to be chosen which will give them this cpiality. in after-life. To go through on every occasion with a variety of examples would. in the Bridgewater not only find an excellent example of aerial perspective. but. Fig. We also find aerial perspective indebted in its effect to the collection of many parts. 3. their distance bringing them in apparent contact. is the impressing the mind. In accidental combinations in Nature we often perceive this arrangement (as in Fig. 23 . 1. 2. and that from one line counteracting another in its harmony which arises direction. or two diagrams will be of more service than educating the eye without The real trouble in life. but by power one is made to approach. and. to escape which the most laborious trifling is caught at. so that one diminished to the size of a tent. which ought to be sketched and reflected upon as one of the great means we have of enabling us to cope with her under the disadvantage of working upon a fiat surface. 19 quality of light and shade that they are indebted for their effect upon the eye. Fig.

When painting has to take a station in the ranks along with music and poetry. Nature offers often little more tlian a suggestion. “The proprieties of a painter are superior to all other considerations. and are pleased when the eye alone is gratified whereas the aim is the homage of the educated mind. being entirely at the caprice of the painter. and those of a higher quality. has other properties. . and upon such hint the artist is obliged to lay the foundation of his whole scheme. or the conduct of the to the nature of the work in hand. “A cloud is passing” and Reynolds. when applied to the management of a picture. answered.AN ESSAY ON THE 20 is that his mind has been educated in continual intercourse with the eye. takes a range too wide to be explained without the assistance and even then it would be ver}^ imperfect. and work it out according to the command he lias of his materials.” If relief or distinctness is the aim of the artist. entirely given up to the control . was the practice when the arts were in their infancy but. wliere such qualities are requisite. independent of its effects in rendering objects more distinct and intelligible. and the constant habit of reflecting on cause and effect has rendered a numerous assemblage of lines intelligible to him. when questioned about the propriety of accounting for a shadow. endless . and that peculiar emphasis which particular portions of a composition require.” This it is which places the works of the great painters beyond the comprehension of the ignorant. which to others uneducated appear like a species of hieroglyphic. if breadth of effect. sa3's. They only can judge of external matters. or light and shade. in many situations. but.” Reynolds remarks. “recommends the light side of a group to be brought off a dark ground. he will best accomplish it by combining light with light. Now. and losing the darks of the group in a still darker background. it is certainly tlie best. tlie effects of bustle or repose. “Leonardo da Vinci. so and multifarious are the changes it assumes. these properties are the means of giving breadth and grandeur of form. chiaro oscuro of any work. is. had he lived to see what has been produced by the contrary mctliod. It CHIARO OSCURO. a greater or less liberty is allowed to be taken with the arrangement of the light and shade according Light and shade.” is to touch the passions must not be too fastidious pandering to an uneducated eye. he would have altered his opinion. . This. of a multitude of examples. therefore. Chiaro oscuro. therefore. Some compositions being entirely addressed to the mind. and the dark side opposed to a light ground. Light and shade. or the quantity he is in possession of. no doubt. “he whose ahn in . while others are confined to a mere gratification of the eye. and. The effect is to be produced at any sacrifice but tlie painter who accomplishes his purpose with the least violation of truth shows the greatest command of his materials. Paul Veronese.

so as to form what is termed basso relievo. limit to their but. to his Coreggio seems to have been who employed chiaro oscuro in its greatest extent. viewed in the evening. and its perpetuitv is in proportion as it is founded upon the great truths oliserved in the general character of Nature. deep. in the construction of their buildings. where some portions are entirely cut through from the surface. In the next stage. from each claiming attention.” and which is the result of breadth. Reynolds says justly: “When we his work becomes common and feeble. of a fire or candle. a room filled with several objects. as the art advanced. In the more advanced state of the art. shai’ii cut indentation. the early stages of the art. the outlines of those figures less advanced were rounded off. and melting of the outline in the tint which surrounds it. by the light . and its influence on succeeding ages. as may he seen in the Elgin marbles. honorable results. but cut ]ier])endicularly to the surface. it was found that painting could achieve more The mind was to be acted upon. If we examine. If a round object could be represented upon a flat surface. we find tlic outlines of the Egyi>tian and Grecian ii])on the walls marked with a broad. In the earlier stages of painting. in open day. the shadows being more of one strength. when the figures assumed a greater projection. and the lights more of one color. entirely buried in obscurity. and thereby give greater value to those in high relief: we also find an attention to the effects of light and shade influence their management of single statues. for example. the everyday occurrences are adopted. relief and distinctness were the only requisites sought after. receiving a strong shadow. objects are to be so placed that there is scarcely broader than but of the artist. so as to receive less shadow. and loses its effect upon the eye of the spectator. understood that we should paint to broad. on the other hand. which. exhibits effects to the mind. 21 purpose of rendering his design Wliere he departs too much from the arrangements observable in Nature. but the quickness with which we are carried from one object to another (from a single glance being sufficient to satisfy our curiosity) destroys that pleasure the mind receives from contemplation whereas. or any substance so expressed as to induce the spectator to put forth his hand to touch it. from the shadows floating about. it not are required paint is Nature. it becomes capricious. which are entirely . the distinctness with which they all present themselves to the eye not only perplexes it in finding a resting place. without stopping to gratify the eye at the threshold of entrance. "NVe thus see that the gratification of the eye is one of the chief sources from which the taste of a country emanates. more pleasing to the eye and gratifying owing to the breadth of light and shade. to give compositions that dreamy character which removes them from the one of the first “ignorant present. When. and these few acquiring novelty in their forms. by its adoption by men of science capable figures and ornaments .EDUCATION OF THE EYE. and became what is termed alto relievo. as a test of the deception. Fewer objects present themselves to the eye. the same scene. we find that the figures were a little raised. we also know that objects acquire grandeur from their breadth and simplicity of parts. any breadth of light and shade. two concomitants of greatness. the height of the artist’s ambition was attained. and that they were not rounded gradually from the ground. to be used for the express complete. and even in the forms of the most trifling utensils. amuse the imagination in tracing them into form while the large blank spaces present vacuums for the eye to rest and repose upon. gave great distinctness. Independent of these results. Others.

Fig. and become either solids or vacuums from their shadows falling within or without the spaces marked by their outlines. All outlines. — . a combination of beautiful arrangement has arisen out of such Gothic absurdities. “We judge of the figure and shape of Iiodies chiefly by the variations of light and shade. 25. are deficient in giving a true representation to the eye. they either become convex or concave bodies. but. which lay scattered over the surface. it will. We also find that objects either project or recede according to the strength of their shadows. and particularly in the last paragraph. two circular outlines without shadow have no distinct meaning. the spottiness of strong. be necessary to confine our remarks. by the application of this property. 24.AN ESSAY ON THE In entering upon this branch of the art. and the camera obscura of motion also. as we are easily imposed upon by a just imitation of the liglit and shade belonging to each sliajie and figure in their several It is from situations with resj)ect to the quarter from wliich the illumination proceeds. 28. and our associations taken thence are so strong. when truth and simplicity were overlaid and hid by a mass of ornament and an assemblage of minute parts. of ap]ircciating its value.^® Fig. on the Sense of Siyht. sculpture and architecture a fullness of effect unattainable by any other method. the associations considered under this proposition. The endless and fatiguing portions of minutiae. We when the also find that outline is it often indicates the peculiar character of objects hid in consequence of the situation of the spectator. 27. while the dry and cold outline of individual form has been adapted to the gratification of the educated eye. to the effects of light upon the forms of and shade objects. magnitudes and distances. however. without reference to their acting upon the imagination. and arranged in masses of richness and repose. as in Fig. that ])ainting conveys such exact ideas of shapes. Fig. in the first instance.” Hartley on Man. have been collected. for example. harsh colors have been softened and sulidued by harmony and opj)osition. founded upon the great principles of truth and simplicity. in altering their appearance to the eye of the spectator. without the application of this quality. figures. by means of impressions that proceed from a plane surface . which has given to jiainting. Even in the dark ages.

and. complicated objects fall Fig. power in the mind from that portion which depends more upon the cultivation of the eye. 29. In drawings of machinery. and tlie hand to put on paper. must necessarily touch upon points spreading over a large range of study. of course. therefore. however short. of for the enriching of the subject. Fig. be difficult to separate those parts which require a It will. this information made use is often of the utmost importance. the . as is We likewise often find shadow by making the shadows of upon a background of an uneven surface. 29. occupying a long space of time to become master of. 28. accompanied with very little effort of thinking. Fiz. Nothing hut early practice can enable the eye to see.EDUCATION OF THE EYE. Any work treating of the education of the eye. as in the only point aimed it.

which made Michael Angelo regret that he liad composed the subject j)revious to receiving his letter: “Who would not tremble.” he writes. therefore. Invention is the great soul of painting. from his habits of flunking and from a knoAvledge of Avhat is Avithin tlie poAver of his art. The reason is that. gives the illustration of the subject a more graphic turn than either ” It the descriptions of poets and historians possessing this cliaracter which renders striking to the imagination. as he further observes. see clearly enough to upon which he works. “at taking up his I see. Something. . must be done on trust. etc. nor can collect we construct that plan without a perfect knowledge on Avhat to raise the superstructure. if we wait till we are able to comprehend the theory of the art. the attention should be gradually awakened to observation. before the theory of the art can be felt. Philosophy. and. for. is INVENTION. who sa}'s : “A degree of mechanical practice must precede theory. historian in an equal degree. with features wliich you alone could imagine. Avhose The elements apjiear dissolving. We may the materials. such as the descri|)tion of tlie I. therefore. I shall now endeavor to trace through the higher departments of art those principles of design upon which painting depends for its operation on the mind. and tliein is more . In the essay. by mere imitation of given patterns. in the midst of innumeralile beings. is reposing on the dried-up trunk of a tree. pencil to trace so tremendous a subject? Antichrist. yet the mind of an artist. without which the being in possession of an accumulation of studies is of little avail. and which places it in the same rank with poetry and music. I see all Nature fires are ]ierce]itihly diminishing. that by the departments of combination of such figures he might be enabled to illustrate the subjects hand for it is by this method that the artist shoAvs his imaginative poAvers. nevertheless.AN ESSAY ON THE 24 various objects necessai'y to painting with readiness and fidelity. “an artist ought to enable him to point out to others the principle otherwise he will be confined. but Ave cannot build without a plan. I see Time emaciated and horror-struck. When Avith Raffaelle was commissioned to paint the apartments of the Vatican representations of Theology.ast Judgment hy Peter Aretin. Poetrjq in the first place. too much of life will be passed to permit us to acquire facility and power. though this part of the Avork may belong to the poet and in .. arrived at his last stage. he will be uncertain. but also the character who ranked pre-eminent in the several and history of those personages science. what is worse. and gathered u|i in its decreptitude trembling. that he should knoAv not only the origin and foundation of each of them. liarren. the moon. as has been remarked by Reynolds.” Yet. portion of this which the mind judgment will is lie too acquired.” passed over. otherwise the pow’er of long dormant to be easily called into action when for. I have endeavored to confine myself merely to that extent of knowledge which every one ought to possess to enable him in after-life to enjoy the beauties of Nature and art. and give him the power of communicating his ideas usefully to others. I see the faint traces of the sun. I see terror imprinted upon the face of the living. who. and the stars. it Avas necessary.

II at PLATE Sacrifice .L'tstra.

III PLATE .

with her crowns and palms trodden under foot. the one is wearied with lifting up the dead. Christ. as it is by knowing the thoughts Mengs observes that it is invention which of others we learn to think. is environed with splendor. while the other strikes down the living.” makes noble the art of painting. those arrangements attractive. I see Renown. shining with a soft yet terrible fire. therefore. painting everything from Nature. and with the terrors inspired by the heavenly hosts. therefore. which awaken the mind. the world crumbles Darkness divides Paradise from the furnaces of hell.” Peter Aretin’s Letters from while — Venice. This circumstance has led mankind in all ages to allow him a greater latitude and license in embodying any representation. he requires a knowledge of the various methods the great painters have employed to explain and exemplify their ideas . therefore. to heighten their effect by the judicious introduction of images operating by means of contrast. fill the I see the ministers of hell. in a painter. and discovers the force of the artist’s understanding. and which. whatever it may be. . therefore. manners of the people and local scenery. at his voice the good and the bad are separated. . mock the Caesars and Alexanders of the world. in addition. from their giving rise to an association of ideas. the particular incidents most striking to the eye. and a felicitous choice of If he Invents from history. his face is resplendent with light. the power of the latter is much more limited. from their nature.EDUCATION OF THE EYE. His invention. surrounded by the glory of saints and martyrs. seated of the good and the bad. In retracing these terrible images. The historian may have a hundred pages to convey his story the painter has but one. The power of invention. as the whole range of ancient and modern fable lies open for his the trumpets of the angels resound through all hearts. his command of the materials applicable to his art. which gives a wonderful appearance of truth and force to the representation. composition that of the eye addressed to the sight. and his eyes. and yet not knowing how to get the better of themselves. it will be necessary to take the most current version of the story for his guide. and engraft upon it those embellishments derived from costume. He selects also those points which bear the strongest upon the character of the subject to be represented. “for it is only by knowing the inventions of others we learn to invent. I see Life and Death overwhelmed with extraordinary confusion. and enables him to combine in one focus every means of rendering the story He invents. though the education of an artist’s 25 mind is in many things similar to the education of that of others. I hear the Son of God ])ronouncing the last judgmejit. one would tremble as much at seeing the work of Buonarotti as at the day of judgment itself . must depend upon his extent of Information. yet. thrown down under the wheels of her own triumphant chariots. and the wicked with mortal fear. and endeavors to combine the whole by the most natural and unaffected method. to pieces at the peals of thunder. clear and effective. virtuous with lively joy. who. are most palpable to the eye. I said to myself. behind. and that Raffaelle obtained a rank with great poets and orators from this source. in many things the mind of the poet or historian is though similar to the painter’s. I see Hope and Despair conducting troops The sky is suffused with the brightest rays. on clouds. with horrible countenances. takes a wide range through the whole features of the event. yet. Invention being the work of the mind addressed to the mind. From poetry or allegory a greater liberty of enriching the design will be allowed.

the apostles. Barnabas as to two gods. bringing in a ram. most leading and most striking parts of the story. simplicity and the power of carrying the mind back to who stretches out his hands to arrest the the effect of St. from his being chief speaker. by the same felicitous extension of his design.” the “School of Athens.” As the people called St. as useless. we perceive same way as he indicates the conversion to Christianity of the woman of Damaris and Dionysius in the cartoon of Paul preaching at Athens. now easily recognized by the spectators. Paul Mercury. in their eager curiosity. behold his limbs restored to their natural state. now cast away This had been sufficient for any other artist.” his “Transfiguration. and shows also. says: “Various writers have mentioned the ‘St. a lame man to the use of his limbs. and raises his hands in transport toward his benefactors. and a figure in the foreground with a chaplet of ivy. or greater the primitive of relievos. but he carries the spectator back to its commencement by a chain of the most natural circumstances. address rials. remove the garment of the man to . added to the group the lame man restored to the use He stands before of his limbs. Roman antique. Lanzi. and especially by those who have most by carefully exam- Not only do his inventions embrace the ined his works. who wished to give a greater appearance of reality. shows that he rejects and abhors the sacrilegious honors. who. while at his feet lie the crutches. with the inventions Greek and from the store of materials of those artists who preceded him in the restoration of painting in Italy. times long gone by.” the “Sacrifice at Lystra” and . those results which followed its taking place thus exhibiting in one page the contents of a volume. the victims. and the youth to that god. enabled him to embellish his design with an endless accumulation of incident. the head of this department of the art. Paul’s persuasions. character basso Roman the frems and statues. and all conducive to the illustration of the subject.’ one of the cartoons. therefore.AN ESSAY ON THE 26 At pui*pose of illustration. many others. if it had not indicated the miracle which had just happened. such as we see in his “Death of Ananias. rejoicing in his restoration. and is endeavoring to dissuade the populace from persisting in them but all this were in vain. speaking of this quality of Raffaelle. Paul at Lystra. but Raffaelle. has added several people. the musicians and the axe sufficiently indicate the intentions of the Lystrians. as an example (Plate II). for having restored The altar. who is in the act of tearing his robe. extending its effects on the several spectators in a variety of wa}"s. arm of the sacrificers. . the attendants. in the No one has possessed so great a command over his mateThe Greek in adapting them to his own purpose. St. producing the most natural action and His rich expression. both indicative of the sacrifices By the uplifted hands of the restored cripple. universal consent. Paul. In the inventions of Raffaelle we find the representation of any event. stands Raffaelle. Raffaelle. and which had given rise to the event. Raffaelle has alluded to this by a statue of IMercury in the elistance. giving chasteness. The artist has there represented the sacrifice prepared for him and St.

affect the spectators according to their whereas the inventions of Paul Veronese. and his making use of those materials from which the taste and cultivation of the mind is derived gives to his works that charm which increases by contemplation.” the “Attila” and the “Transfiguration. that reminds us of their belonging to our own species. and that mind so rich and abundant. Tintoret and others of the Venetian school. being more addressed the inventions of Raffaclle affect different different degrees of taste or cultivation . or seemed to disdain to look about for foreign help. noble. they seem to proceed from his own mind entirely. perhaps it is unnecessary to dwell longer upon it in this place but we must always bear in recollection that the mind of an artist is formed from a contemplation of those circumstances which it will be in his power to make use of. and revived and embellished by episodes and representations of the preceding and following events. Michael Angelo more genius and imagination. his people are a superior order of beings. what is effected in the one case by the diffusion of light and color is produced by Raffaelle through the medium of the expression and action of his figures. peetdiar and marked character. Invention being more properly a combination of those qualities which mind and awaken sensations in the imagination of the spectator. acting upon the more subordinate or more extended portions of the composition. and that is one reason. there is nothing about them. with a more natural and a more powerful effect on the spectator. though his ideas are chaste. Invention being more properly the province of the mind than the eye.” the “Sacrifice at Lystra. beauty and majesty of his characters. says. and captivate all beholders.” the “Hcliodorus.” The inventions of . from their harmony of light and shade.EDUCATION OF THE EYE.^® They are more practical. may be all traced through his works. . his figures are not so much disjoined from our own diminutive race of beings. the works of Giotto the figures of Michael Angelo and is peculiarly his own. while its effects are diffused and spread over the countenances and actions of the adjoining figures. ” Reynolds. The excellency of this extraordinary man lay in the propriety. and can be adopted by those whose Avorks are addressed to the feelings of all classes. the grand outline and foreshortening of Leonardo da Vinci. that he never needed. drawing a comparison between Michael Angelo and Raffaelle. With Raffaelle the leading point of the story is boldly and nobly expressed. his ideas are vast and sublime. and their beautiful and gorgeous arrangement of splendid color. The one excelled in beauty. though the noble structure is bis own. the judicious contrivance of his composition. as Lord Bacon says. or the style and cast of their limbs or features. 27 and Masaccio. or. his correstness of drawing. and of great conformity to their subjects. among others. why I dwell more particularly upon the inventions of Raffaele than upon those of Michael Angelo. nothing in the air of their actions or their attitudes. Raffaelle’s imagination is not so elevated. “come home to the business and bosoms of most men. please in the “Ananias. but the inventive genius which has called them into new existence. Michael Angelo’s works have a strong. the other in energy. “Raffaelle had more taste and fancy. Michael Angelo has more of the poetical inspiration. such as we see to the eye. purity of taste and skillful accommodation of other men’s conceptions to his own purpose. This it is that has gained for him the appellation of the painter of mind. since they revive within us ideas of all the great and beautiful works we have ever beheld.” Thus. Raffaelle’s materials are generally borrowed.

Few. other men. the form or plan of any composition is the first process the painter practically commences with. and atones for all other deficiencies. but become a model and rtde to of opiruon. tlie . this is man- the spirit which ought to influence the and genius of other artists. elevate the feelings only of the learned. the localities present their individual interests to his notice. never forget that the public taste is already formed from a contemplation of the many great works now in existence. and endeavors to distribute in that form which will best accord with his intention. however. therefore. Ordinary minds must be content to learn by rule. on the other hand. Their works derive not their strength from momentary jiassions or local associations. which carries them safe through the wreck of empires and the changes Works like these are formed by no rule. and speak with the voice of ins])iration. and which have stood the test of ages. there is no doubt hut Raffaelle is the first. taste power of one who relies upon truth and Nature for the effect. being the highest excellence that human composition can attain to. he weighs in his mind the He. the siiblime. several parts considered as a whole figures . which give to the Christian creed the adventitious character of learned fable. warmed by their heat and shining by their reflected glory.” where he introduces Charon ferrying over the souls of the damned. founded upon the principle of simple facts Besides. and reach the innermost movements of the soul. Raffaelle or Michael Angelo?’ it must he answered.=e unon the earth men who seem formed to become center of an intellectual system of their own. abundantly conqiensates the absence of every other beauty.— — AN ESSAY ON THE Michael Angelo. and hence it is that they have an immortal spirit. while his Nobody excelled him in that judgment with which he united to his own observations on Nature the energy of Michael Angelo.” Professor Sedgwick’s Discourse on. while they appear extravagant and overcharged to the generality of kind . Raffaelle grasps his subject with the COMPOSITION. like the pro])het of Those that ajipear old. gives an identity to the scene. and objects accordingly. and every good system must have reference to tbe many and not to tbe few. they are invested. after them are but attendants in their train. ’’“From time to time there ari. But if. The nature of the subject having been settled. of his story. seem born only to revolve about them. that if it is to he given to him who possessed a greater coml)ination of the higher qualities of the art than any other man. On the other hand. leaving the regions of poetry and fiction.” Fifth Discourse. the distribution of his light and shade of the scene. therefore. To the question. notwithstanding which. and. arranges his effect to be produced upon the spectator. among us are permitted to show this high excellence. ‘Which ought to hold the first rank. and the beauty and simplicity of the antique. and that it is only by being in some manner conformable to these we can ever hope for a favorable reception. By composition is generally meant the form and arrangement of the consequently. with a heavenly mantle. as Longinus thinks. but speak to feelings common to mankind. all and his materials The illustration color. and other allusions to the heathen mythology. and which made Raffaelle exclaim that “he thanked God that he was born in the same age with that great man !” We need not go further than refer to his great work of the “Last Judgment. then Michael Angelo demands the preference. the Studies of the University. we must being ennobled by the great powers of elevated art.

position not being an inherent quality of the mind. to produce upon the mind those sensations which the poet effects by a combination of words. or. secure in the protection of heaven. as Doctor Johnson expresses it. Having now laid down his plan of operations. of which the common satiety of life sends us all in quest the pleasures of sudden wonder are soon exhausted. without materials he cannot compose. he applies to Nature to funiish him with the means of giving variety and originality to his work . we can have no idea of form without a portion of distinct shape. Paul. We have an excellent example of the infiuence of lines. knowledge of what he is seeking. EDUCATION OF THE EYE. and the mind can only repose upon the stability to bind her to his purpose. he must have a quickness of eye. it generally follows that all wayward and capricious compositions. St. ivhose messengers are seen descending. for. to take advantage of accidental arrangements. when such character effect might be destructive of the impression intended to be produced. . but the result of long acquaintance with the nature and arrangement of the compositions of others. Peter and St. irregular descent into the Campania of Rome of the congregated tribes of the Goths and Vandals.” Geometric forms in composition are found to give order and regularity fact. established neither upon natural grounds nor upon the scientific arrangements of those who have preceded us. which. Here it is that the memory is called into action without precedents he cannot judge. in Groups of figures. 29 imagination embodies them into that congregated form which seems best calculated for his purpose. and what be paints one day he may obliterate the next. or tbe composer of music by an arrangement of expressive sounds.. by the assemblage of lines and forms. calm. independent of to an assemblage of figures. enters the head of the Christian Church. would produce a confused the aid of light and shade or color. seldom outlive their inventors. pleasing only by reason of their novelty. produces an harmonious assemblage of lines. and look picturesque. for. and a plan of methodizing his ideas. so as to be able to secure what he acquires. those noble warriors. And thus it is that the painter is enabled. spreading by tlielr appearance terror and dismay into the hearts of Attila and his followers. being arranged so as to make one part of the composition dependent on another for its completion or extension. in the composition of “Attila. leaving fire and desolation in their rear. upon the spectator. in whose mind their appearance would indicate one subject as strongly as another. dignified and upright. “the Irregular combination of fanciful invention may delight awhile by that novelty. and hurrying forward with savage wildness opposed to which. or arrangement of parts.” by Raffaellc. . lie must have a settled . tliey gradually lose their interest as that novelty vanishes. We see on one side the rude. of truth. witli the ministers of the cross. without some appearance of geometrical form apparent to the eye. without which it will be impossible to produce a composition upon which he can calculate with any degree of certainty as to its effects or Comits stability. but. meek.

infinity. seem to confirm this obser- or two left we found. *“ Addison. containing the ground plan. memorandums which The memorandums I are written upon the side of sketches illustrative of the remarks. are a kind of all sources of the sublime. “I am ohserving.” viz.” vation. “a thing which in my opinion is very curious whence it proceeds.” In architecture we find this a main cause of grandeur. Burke says: “Vastness in any object. quotes a passage of M. for. that in the same quantity of superficies the one manner seems . in some of his sketches. it is of a simple and uniform often seems to have been his design to carry out and extend the perspective and general form of his plan by the arrangement and position of his figures. one of which I have given in Plate HI.” and in the “Death of Ananias.: : AN ESSAY ON THE 30 To simplicity and regularity of form we are indebted for the foundation what is great and sublime. Feart’s Parallel of the Ancient and Modern Architecinre. succession of uniform parts creating artificial infinite. plans and scales of proportion. and littleness by dispersion. Oxford. such a noble and may be the cause why a rotund has Having observed before that the archi- this effect in building. succession and uniformity of parts in building. by General Guise. the other.” says he. or any object of in Nature. “sublimity is produced by aggregation. also the figures seen under the influence of perspective. as Johnson expresses it. such as we see in the lower part of the “Transfiguration. noticing how much simplicity of parts and greatness of manner in architecture affect tlie mind. such as “He see in his “School of Athens” . and He Piles says One found among the collections of drawings to Christ Church.” tecture introduced into the works of Raffaelle character. showing a circular arrangement of figures.

supposing an action to be represented in a circle. the directions contained in Raffaelle’s note may he considered of universal application.. and after him this was unfortunately applied to devotional subjects. and intercedes for them. whether in the middle of the work or on one side. and the Pope Sixtus in the other. subjects. the spectator might either view it so as to be himself without the circle. he completes the circle by his forming This arrangement was adopted by the early Italian painters in their sacred a part. confirmed by the practice of the most skillful men. or to elevate those background figures by a higher plane. But in more dramatic representations.” the “Incendio del Borgo. viz.” -'Translation of the composition “It is memorandum on the side of the sketch representing circular to be observed. . the reason is fine and uncommon. and then begin the design. such as we see in the “School of Athens. Independent of forms in composition most suitable to the subject. Eastlake. that they may not intercept the figures behind. which would be quite natural if the object of attention were in the center.” the “Ananias. in short. L. and so on in perspective. Or he may compose his piece upon the principle of the “Heliodorus. and from its fitness was never abandoned by Raffaelle. that the mode explained by a drawing in the margin (is generally fittest). indeed. that he could not have intended this principle to apply to votive pictures. I For the am indebted to the kindness of C. is are rarely painted. I am indebted for the very great in enabling me to procure copies of any of the drawings. it is of the first consequence that the spectator ought to have such a view of the representation as will be most This obliges the artist to design those figures effective and uninterrupted. it is only in the critical history of the art that they might lead to C. so should an historical composition be designed. false conclusions. The drawing hy Raffaelle and the note recommend the picturesque arrangement. L. and to make him feel in their presence. that they be all great. at present.” which. we ought so to proceed. the spectator or spectator’s eye) is to be placed.: by contriving that those figures which are nearest to the point should present their backs. that the division of the principal members of the order may consist but of few parts. and not concealed by others. in which the spectator might be interested but not a party concerned. translation of the memorandums. and remarks upon the designs. or be supposed within it. leaving the space vacant in the middle allows the eye of the spectator to range from the foreground to the distance without interruption but. It is my opinion. Raffaelle adopted the more picturesque arrangement. and so to determine its situation that the important figures be distinctly visible. Thus. that to introduce into architecture this grandeur of manner.” In illustration of the above.: — 31 EDUCATION OF THE EYE. The Madonna di Foligno and the Dresden Madonna are remarkable exam]des. when the spectator sees a semicircle. and of a bold and ample relievo and swelling. in the near part of the composition either in kneeling or stooping positions. in the former their backs. Francis in the first. and especially mere assemblages of sacred personages. E..” “Elymas the Sorcerer” and others. the imagination may he more vigorously touched and affected with the work that stands before it. turn to the spectator who contemplates the The object. and the other poor and trifling. it may safely be affirmed. Barnes. when altar pieces. then. In the latter case. in . of Christ Church. that the first thing to be considered in an historical composition where the point (id est. I say. as if a circle were drawn and figures ranged round it. Esq. great and magnificent. whose intimate To Doctor interest he took knowledge of the compositions of Raffaclle must give his observations addi- tional weight. in this country. but as the whole works of the master are the best commentaries on his note. A. was to mix up the spectator with the divine or sainted personages represented. as in these pictures the St. and arranged in the most natural manner. and that the eye beholding nothing little and mean. those further removed their sides. R. the nearest figures would have their sides toward him. by this semicircular arrangement work.

For if arranged without this rule.— AX ESSAY OX THE 32 wliatever form his composition develops itself. Paul preaching.: the mode alluded to) being the true practice adopted by the most skilled and intelligent in the art. will be sufficient to give one or two of the most palpable."' Having decided upon his general form of composition. spaces diminishing or increasing. while those on the foreground possess more detail and minutia?.” The rule here alluded to. objects intercepting those behind. because it most effectually gets rid of the flat surface. suggest the most natural effects of the light and shade. being a figure Vide Reynolds’s Twelfth of Masaccio’s. “This disposition iJiscoiirse. so that the of the masses should be unconstrained. this (viz. Action and repose. but to model the groups and individual figures. 3 shows his adaptation of the ideas of otliers to his own purpose. for this is the true principle. viz. and which is sufficiently explained by the drawing which accompanies it. more intercepted by their situations. which is converted into his St. Fig. and particularly to the experienced spectator. to be engrafted upon the several portions of the composition. are all to be combined in producing an harmonious result upon the eye and mind of the spectator. that the student of perspective. and in width. but Corregio. the mere surface is capable in variety. to judge of this quality. Raffaelle. from Michael Angelo and Raffaelle down to the present. therefore. the several Those portions of most consequence to the illustration of the story are to be brought into notice. and Michael Angelo. it is from their adherence to this rule that their works have been so much praised. which will also. This will appear by cons>dting the works of those painters who are most famous. and enable the artist to give his work the In selecting examples illustrative of these remarks. also an early lover of deptli in composition. while other parts are made subservient. who was from the beginning devoted to gradation in forms (perspective) as well as chiaroscuro. and suggests foreshortened limbs and figures. that it may have the appearance of truth. L. It only remains to l)e observed. that of the three applications of varied arrangement. it preserve such form in the strongest character than is not more necessary to it is to give the spectator the most pictorial and comprehensive view of the subject. as opposed to superficial or basso relievo composition. Fig. it will be To enable him necessary not only to lay down a ground plan. lines regular or picturesque. 1: is the mode the painter should observe in composing his histories. relates to depth of composition. even though roughly executed. : ""Translations of the ineinoranduni at the side of the drawing given in Plate III. . as if the composition followed the advancing sight in order that the history or picture may he satisfactory to the spectator. but these varieties may exist while there is no variety whatever in the plan. and often of foreshortening. which are most to be met with in the latest works of Titian. it firmness of Nature. that of the deiplh is the most strictly picturesque. in height. as we know to have been the practice of the best artists. and with the best reason. the art being generally concealed jiicture. E. from which Raffaelle took the ceremony of the Sacrifice at Lystra. the said history will be put together defectively. We have noticed the peculiar properties of objects under the influence circular forms becoming elliptical. r'ig. the figures should tlierefore occupy the extent of the ground plan as completely as when brought to the surface they appear to ocoipy the height and breadth of the surface or face of the Tims the three possible dimensions are occupied. iiy avoiding too regular a variety. was C. spaces diminishing as they recede. masses convex and concave. These qualities are. 2 is part of a Roman basso relievo. by being thrown into shade or portions of the design next claim his attention. and by doubling the masses somewhere.

part of the “Cartoon of Ananias. after which the whole range of composition. detail and firmness of foreground objects in into the depths of his composition. but enables the artist to carry the eye of the spectator We also find it often employed in giving and firmness to those heads or objects nearest the eye. is from Titian. at the same time. at Venice.” Fig. and in the works of those who have collected from the great stores of Nature and art. This regularity of diminution not only assists in giving regularity and simplicity to a work. 2 . as in Fig. we often find in the works of Ralfaelle and others this feature engrafted upon portions of their groups. and as it is their character also to diminish and possess less of detail by their receding. one portion acting as a background to the other. 33 be made aware of their character. 2 . now in Rome. The example. and. giving to the whole that advantage which arises from the size. As it is the character of objects to intercept others more or less as they recede from the foreground. we perceive this principle carried We into the works of the great founders of the art in a variety of ways. This regularity of diminution imparts to a work a character of simplicity. As the character of spaces to diminish it is as they recede from the eye. assists the artist in giving depth to his composition.EDUCATION OF THE EYE. 3. Nicola de Fiari. will he rendered may subservient to his investigation. can trace it in the Greek and Roman basso relievos. in the figures and heads of Michael Angelo and Ralfaelle. part of a subject formerly in the Church of St. solidity . one figure acting as a background to the other. Fig. from the revival of painting down to our own time.

RaflFaelle. 4 is a further illustration of the same principle. it upon the spectator. the picture of the collection of “Woman Taken in Adultery. 3. in the surrounding parts. being part of a design of Rubens. Fig.” In following up the examination of composition into parts we find result in the Mr. Miles. employs his whole its component combine to produce one extending his composition into necessary that they should all power in illustrating his story.AN ESSAY ON THE 34 Fig. Nature. .

by calling imagination to the help of reason. which are in their present glory. by productive of such sensations. and diversify by retrospection and anticipation. or diminished delicacy to the more the story. . and the tendency of the passions. as it requires an assemblage of all the powers which are singly sufficient for other comiiositions. or unable to view of various ages and of it. Such advantages as these help to open a man’s thoughts. therefore.— EDUCATION OF THE EYE. it. whether it appears in painting or statuary in the great works of architecture. or to landscapes. its effect by a variety of expression and action. if the author knows how to make right use of them. and all the colors of words.” Reynolds recommends “that all the inventions and thoughts of the ancients.” Johnson’s Life of Milton. or lines by a union of several parts leading the eye by their direction to the principal point of enable him to develop extending the lines and strength to the foreground figures. emanating from those of the principal actors. and of works of the highest department in the art but many of them also may be made applicable to other branches. Add to by their form the principal points. and the practice of life. that : is . a knowledge of the higher requisites of painting is of the greatest importance in all the departments. and to enlarge his imagination. . must animate by dramatic energy. which he must improve and exalt by nobler art. or giving bulk these. History must supply the writer with the rudiments of narration. Salvator perfection in poetry we find Addison says “A poet should be very well versed in everything noble and stately in the productions of art. These remarks more immediately apply to the mental portion of the work. whether tion. and to prevent spottiness in the effect or giving pleasure to the eye by the forms taking pleasing shapes or assisting deception by lines combining to give strength and magnitude to the foreground objects. is required an imagination capable of painting Nature and realizing fiction. whether in giving dignity and those Rosa or Nicola Poussin. To put these materials to poetical use. The same remarks wliich Doctor . either single or combined. distant. the first praise of genius is due to the writer of an epic poem. Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth. or productive of harmony by their action and expression.Tohnson applies to poetry may be here made use of to indicate the sources of instruction for those who aspire to the higher walks of painting: “By the general consent of critics. and will. 35 or by figures expressive or by conveying effects its perceive engaged in relating the event to those it from their situation in the picture. distinguished all the delicacies of phrase. he has to learn the discrimination of character. Toward gaining writers recommending this course of investiga- to portraiture. such as Titian’s. Nor is he yet a poet till he has attained the whole extension of his language. have their influence on all kinds of writing. while they give variety to the work. so as to give those richness by extending their shape. from jmlicy. . such as the combining of several heads for the purpose of preserving a mass of flesh color. morality must teach him the exact bounds and different shades of vice and virtue. and learned to adjust their different sounds to all the varieties of metrical modulation. In short. Others different sexes. Ejuc poetry undertakes to teach the most important truths by the most pleasing precepts. figures repeating . and therefore relates some great event in the most affecting manner. such as his also. of Annibale Carrache. and physiology must su])ply him with illustrations and images. or in the ruins of those which flourished in former ages. either by episodes which embellish and enrich of the circumstances which have preceded after completion. Some we entering.

Arrangement. or the “Sacrifice at Lystra. embraces a knowledge of those char- found pervading the general appearances of Nature. we notice toward the horizon a multitude of parallel scape.” by Raffaelle. these arrangements observable in Nature is absolutely necessary. introduced in “Paul Preaching. where the eye can take a comprehensive observation. therefore. in a wide extent of country. by which. owing to their nearness to the eye. yet. To know. such as the figure of “St. Paul. The lines lines stretching across the land- crossing them. with whom you are to contend. wliile the perpendicular lines of objects lose their consequence owing to their diminution from distance. Consider them as models wdiich you are to imitate. To conclude. either by modeling This will give the it recommends taking or setting a person student a quick knowledge.” II. for example. every man may now venerable relics be called the father of modern art. and vigor to assemblages of lines. has reliefs. wherein and character of the or by by Masaccio. consists the beauty altering it He also the same figure. Study as nearly as you can in the oi’der. have obtained a general consent as to their truth and natural character. the great works of the great masters forever. especially as we find the works of those artists who have thus combined their skill in arrangement give the greatest This gratification arises from the pleasure to the eye of the spectator. I can only repeat the words of Sir Joshua Reynolds: “Study. may The genius that hovers over these The collection made with so much trouble Such collections may be now is a proof of his opinion on this subject. shades and colors. Study Nature attentively.” ARRANGEMENT. In looking abroad upon the face of Nature. different great masters to suit his subject. lose their breadth. but. and assign to them situations in the picture which such forms indicate. we perceive that thev gain their ascendancy and become more rugged in the outline and stronger in effect from their shadowed portions being larger and darker. in the manner and on the principles on w hich they studied. but alw ays with those masters in your company.” . are to in be sought after and carefully studied. and which. intaglios. being foreshortened. as they approach toward the foreground. acteristic features to be and to be employed in giving a truth several images being depicted in their most characteristic features. and Plate at the same time as rivals. I mean that of engraving. made with much more ease by means of an art scarce known in his time. cameos or coins. having been often observed. at an easy rate. nevertheless. Being acquainted with these . that we may employ such knowledge in producing the same results in painting. All objects wdiose images enter the eye are subject to certain laws. of the thoughts of the ancients which Raffaelle avail himself of the inventions of antiquity.” another in the view' of same attitude.AX ESSAY ON THE 36 conveyed to us statues. though not partaking of that high quality wdilch distin- guishes composition. therefoi'e. which regulate their form.

Jpii‘ J' /-V ft/J /Vt IV PLATE .

ty IV* PLATE .

amazement. Raffaelle says Mengs) gave to painting all the augmentation it could receive In this picture he introduced the portrait of Julius the Second. part of the “Heliodorus. 5. 5. In this painting the armed vision that appears to Heliodorus scatters lightning from his hand. and in others ignorant of the surprise and terror exhibited in Heliodorus. consternation. some of which are plundering the riches of the temple. marking the of the figures the chair of the regularity. by the introduction of figures and other objects. In this work. under its influence. who bear Pope surround him with studied by the arrangement. and firmness by the perspective appearance of a column upon whose base he is elevated. quietness and regularity give dignity to part of a com- position while their lines contrast with others expressive of bustle or pictur- esque assemblage of forms. We We have noticed this exemplified in the “Attila.” where the Pope enters. employed . and in others of these chambers. by the addition of light and dark coming in contact. In the numerous bands. giving calmness Lanzi. we can assist the perspective by their assuming forms more or less facts. says. and.” see it also in Fig. We know that according to their situation. and abasement. one of the most celebrated pictures of the place. joy. by the addition of colors whose properties belong to near objects.'* This regularity of diminution and perspective effect has been noticed It is also to be observed in principally in the arrangement of the heads.” where the heads Fig. while the neighing steed is heard amidst the attendant thunder. 1512.37 EDUCATION OF THE EYE. after Michael Angelo. we can produce such an arrangement as shall have the appearance of truth. speaking of this work. and become enabled to heighten in effect the arrangements of natural representation. etc. the base lines of the several compositions of the figures. “In the course of this year. and a host of passions are expressed. Raffaelle was in the second chamber on the subject of Heliodorus driven from the temple by the prayers of Onias the high priest. such as we observe upon this side of the “Heliodorus. which gives distinctness and firmness.

M. and exemplifying the temples of both as the sacred depositories for those funds which were to be given out to the widow and Without detracting from the great merit of Ralfaelle. founded upon ach'ial perspective. while it gives the appearance of truth and simplicity of natural diminution. may Vatican. examine tlie whole story in II Maccabees. Also. borne by his grooms. heightens its beauty and enlivens the whole piece. where rocks. part of the “Dispute of the Sacrament. “He takes indeed the landthe scene he describes. assisting the perspective by such means as to lead the eye into the depths of the composition. is Even in the wild. I have given an additional Plate IV*. for. or an agreeable assemblage of lines and whose zeal and authority is represented in Onias. scenes of savage grandeur. every part of the work uniting “in dreadful harmony. etc. or surrounds them with forms and colors which add to their effect upon the spectator.AN ESSAY ON THE 38 line from the foreground to the distance. and clouds combine rugged in awful necessary to preserve this earth- In the wmrks of Salvator Rosa the student will find many examples of this mode of arrangement. by producing such arrangement either by the base of the group or the introduction of accidental objects to assist such deceptive diminution. but gives it more vigorous touches. assured tliat these works were of too much importance not to be watched with the greatest vigilance.” To acquire a knowledge of beautiful scenery.” and Julio Romano. we counteract the effects of false perspective which the base line of the group sometimes produces. in the manner in which he was accustomed to repair to the Vatican to view In these heads Ralfaelle has given the portraits of his pupils. we may rest the or]ihan poor. without reflecting how the parts which come in contact with the ground wdll appear when terminated according to their time position in the picture. This knowledge it is which enables the poet to give so pleasing and vivid descriptions of scenery. with the Pope’s secretary. Antonio this work. often gratifying the imagination more than an actual survey of As Addison remarks.” A knowledge of arrangement enables the artist to follow up and extend lines and forms often only hinted at in Nature. Independent of this mode of arrangement being of use in giving uniformity to irregular portions of a composition. trees magnificence. Those parts which possess a strong local character he preserves as leading points to an harmonious assemblage of lines. without considering that it was the only way the painter had of connecting the Jewish with the Christian church. a know ledge of arrangement quake-like appearance. scape after her. For this anachronism Raffaele has lieen blamed by the critics. in conducting the design. and assisted in their moral efficacy by all the learning within the walls of the Tliose who wish to see how close Ralfaelle often kept to the history.” where this disposition is more evident. See Plate IV. He appears in a litter. the heads and upper portions only of the composition are attended to in the first instance. . A knowledge of arrangement enables us yet further to heighten the gratification of the spectator hy engrafting upon the work those forms found in the compositions of the most celebrated artists. w'hile portions possessing beauty he enshrines in masses of repose. that the images which flow from the objects themselves appear weak and faint in comparison with those that come from the expressions. Chapter III. it is of great advantage in directing the eye to the principal parts of the picture by means of the perspective appearance of the line.

“y\s liarmony is the end of poetical measures." K ambler. it must either be united to the line with which the sense connects it. if di. whereas. when we look upon a square or cubical form. FORM. light and shade or color. producing a succession of undulating circles. lead us to a more clear definition of the properties which belong to vision exclusively. and as the rays long in the same right Doctor Johnson says. . speaking of beautiful forms. either as regards form." Further on he remarks. as it were. and with regard to music be superfluous. it corrujits its harmony. and require repeated examinations to gain a knowledge of their exact form. No. 89 forms. that it is a jiart of a verse. or to show. if a circle be presented to the eye. or by one form depending upon its adjoining for its completion and unity. it requires four separate examinations.” All authors from Aristotle to De Quincey having treated of the affections of the mind as if the avenues to each sensation were the same. whose works are filled with the various qualities which constitute the true poetry of painting.— EDUCATION OF THE EYE. of one part with This agreement proceeds either from a succession of the same forms in different degrees of distinctness. those objects containing a similar continuity of form fall most agreeably upon the organ of vision. For example. such as arise when we cast a stone into water. says : “As perfectly beautiful bodies are not composed of angular parts. 90. for there is no harmony in a single sound. shade or color to their effects upon the eye. and are seen. HARMONY. “When a single syllable is cut off from the rest. because it has no jiroportion to another. as is the case in poetry r"' or the harshness of isolated forms may be broken down and harmonized with the whole by their being hinted at or faintly repeated in various portions of tlie picture. N ow. perhaps. but for whose beginning or end you will find it difficult to ascertain a point.sjointed. as the images of all objects are not only viewed through a circular aperture. or he found alone. Burke. but are also received upon a circular surface. As the forms of all objects enter the eye through a circular aperture. so those parts never continue They vary their direction every moment. no jiart of the verse ought to he so separated from the rest as not to remain still more harmonious than prose. hy the disposition of the tones. at a single glance. it must stand alone. he ought to study tlie arrangements of Claude. Harmony in painting is the connection and agreement another. Cuyp and those of Turner. while objects possessing sharp angles seem less in harmony with the ffow of light which accompanies their entrance. by confining the observations on form. If it be united to the other line. and the power of giving extent and magnificence in tlie highest degree. it will. and they change under the eye by a deviation continually carrying on. each producing a separate effort. line. we are incontinently carried around the whole circumference.

or unity. and almost in immediate contact with it. known by tbe name of the pigmentum nigrum. is often taken advantage of in regulating the boundary line to a composition thus. as in music we find harmony produced by a combination of sounds different in themselves. and productive of an agreeable effect upon the eye. convex by the presence of concave. undulating lines. in consequence of reflection from different quarters. a line passing through the cornea. no figure or shape can be harmonious or agreeable unless this arrangement is complete. or other thing. The sclerotica does of tlie eye. This spherical form is ]ireserved l)y means of the firm membranes which protect the eye. tlierefore. are termed the humors of the eye. had they been received on a plane surface. we often see a single head of a child. arising from an association of ideas. and the transparent media which they enclose. with one result. which is termed the sclerotica. forming an camera . such as the prepon- derance of perpendicular lines being counteracted by those running in a horizontal direction. is exceedingly firm and dense. yet affecting the mind. and which are termed its coats. microscopes and camerae ol)scurae are darkened. as it were. The coats and three humors. compared with the rigid and angular forms of age or flowing. these may be some of the causes why circular or undulating forms fall most agreeably upon the eye. or a group consisting of an assemblage of curved lines. It has on its inner surface a layer of a dark colored viscid secretion. in his “Treatise on Poetry. especially if we consider that the organ itself moves. which passes onward to be expanded not farther than extend about four-fifths of the globe into tbe retina. circular forms of children and youth. or oblique lines antagonized by opposite obliquities. . a considerable portion of the image would have been indistinct. can be beautiful that is either too small or too large for the eye to take cognizance of its several component parts at once.AN ESSAY ON THE 40 by which such images are conveyed fade imperceptibly as they depart from the center of vision. : lost to the spectator. and which effect the convergence There are in this organ three principal of the rays. such as the soft. as it is commonly termed. and gives mechanical suj)port it requires for the performance of its delicate to the globe of tbe eye the functions. as in that case the sensations which arise from such a combination are not disturbed is . so as to produce a unity to the eye. reach the eye more agreeably through a circular frame. which are themselves curved: whereas. composing altogether what is called the globe of the eye. but no animal. the same ])urpose as the black paint with whicli the inside of ojitical instruments. by means of its muscles. as in that case the whole. Its use is to alisorb all the light which may happen to be irregularly scattered through the eye. which is more prominent than the rest of center of the cornea and the center of the glolie of the eye is called the axis of the eye. called the the eyeball. the ball and socket. it is ])crforated l)ehind by the optic nerve. outermost coat. “One of the many points of superiority which the eye possesses over the ordinary oltscura is derived from its spherical shape adapting the retina to receive every portion of the images produced by refraction. Within the pigmentum nigrum.” That extension of form so conducive to harmony. or a balance of one portion with another. or. and it serves. Aristotle. its place in front being supplied Ijy a transjiarent convex meml)rane. all mingling together in regular adjustment. or black pigment. the retina is expanded. as they usually are in the camera obscura. which is chiefly made up of a tissue of l)lood vessels for siqiplying nourishment to the eye. Hannony consisting of a certain proportion of one part with another. conveying a greater idea of motion than lines crossing each other in abrupt opposite directions.” says “Beauty consists in magnitude and order.*® There are other reasons why circular forms are most agreeable to the eye. such as telesco])es. through the medium of the ear. in a circular motion. The sclerotica is lined internally l>y the choroid coat.

So. likewise. the is diminished.” Doctor Royet’s Bridgewater Treatise. the pupil is contracted. the sight may 41 be conveyed with greater and with an increased perspective effect. When the intensit)^ of the light would be injurious to that highly delicate organ. quantity of light admitted into the interior of the eye is regulated and accommodated to the sensibility of the retina. immediately in front of the vitreous humor.” etc. called the pupil. being composed of two layers of contractile fibers. and is lined with a dark brown pigment. architecture of the “School of Athens. . When the former act. the other disposed like radii. w'hich is there hollow'ed to receive it. is formed of a denser material than any of the other humors. termed the iris. as in Plate V also in the curved and horizontal lines of the pleasure. or interrupted. This mixing up the frame or opening with the work is often of the utmost importance. The iris also serves to intercept such rays as would have fallen on parts of the crystalline lens less fitted to produce their regular refraction. between the outer and inner margin. The space which iTitervenes between the lens and the cornea is filled with a watery secretion called the aqueous humor. The posterior surface of the iris is called the uvea. More than three-fourths of the globe of the eye are filled with the vitreous humor. the one forming concentric circles. through a square or oblong aperture. This space is divided into an anterior and posterior chamber by a flat circular partition. . when the light is too feeble it is dilated. and occupies the fore jiart of the globe of the eye. in diminished lengths and strengths and magnitude. The crystalline humor.” the “Heliodorus. which has the shape of a double convex lens. even when extended to the effect of light and shade and color. by having the horizontal and perpendicular lines of the frame repeated as they depart from the eye. and it is fixed to the edge of the choroid coat by a white elastic ring. and the pupil of course is dilated. as it breaks exceedingly thin and delicate layer of nervous matter. which has the appearance of a pellucid and elastic jelly. when the latter act. The iris has a central perforation. called the ciliary liyament. the pupil is instantly contracted. and on the contrary. The structure of the iris is very peculiar. contained in an exceedingly delicate texture of cellular substance. in order to admit as large a quantity as possible. so as to exclude the greater portion.— EDUCATION OF THE EYE. supported by a fine membrane. the breadth of the iris By varying the size of the pupil.

independent of color.^‘ otheinvise attracts the eye Avhile examining the CHIARO OSCURO. in some instances darting out through the dark masses of shadow in shai'p defined shapes.dks of painting. is it to be regarded as a diminution of our gratification. the light sometimes falling on com- bined objects. sometimes meeting Tliat of black light in extremes of opposition. Neither am I aware that its beauty is felt. yet the mind cannot be reached through the medium of the eye unless this deception is carried out to a consideraiile extent. and assisted from contrast by groups of Indistinct images imbued with the properties of middle tint. as others reason Dioramas and rnore subtly. The power of producing a variety of pleasing sensations upon the eye mainly rests on the conduct of the chiaro Objects are rendered either strong or delicate. and makes the air and light ap]iear to circulate around forms devoid of relief. whose skill is shown in the management of this difficult department. thetehy assisting them in giving a greater force and dece])tive appearance to the whole. 98. though the ear is capable of acquiring a knowledge of twenty thousand simple sounds. surface." — Reid’s Inquiry Into the Human Mind. or by the means and white. Chap. The quantities of dark that are to be allowed to interrupt or pass within the boundaries of the masses of light. 7 would wish to know lhat what I see is in fact bat a piece of canvas on a perfectly plane Essai/ on Imitalion in the Fine Arts. De Quincy says. p. nevertheless. it being entirely under tbe influence of an educated eye. upon the spectators attention by their clear-defined character. . unless by those whose tastes are refined by long contemplation of the finest works of those who have excelled in the different branches of painting.AX ESSAY OX THE 42 down tliat harshness which work contained within it. giving depth to all differing in tone and strength."® yet this power of distinction is not entirely in the construction of the organ. as is the case in music. depends upon the quantities of and dark employed and the disposition of them. panoramas "are both pleasing illusions. but arises from long observation. Sir Charles Bell says : “That this variety of sensation does not entirely = This harmonious comihnation of the picture with its frame induces many artists to their works after l)eing framed. I would not liave the frame absent. A7T^. I find delight in abandoning myself to his illusions. giving out a faint halo around the group. neither. according as they advance or retire on the perspective plane of the picture. when on a flat finish surface he bears me through the far off regions of the infinite. are entirely at the guidance of the artist. creating by their whole arrangement that mixture of harsh and tender gradations obseiwable in Nature. We know. Parts are forced oscuro. and not api)lieable to the higher w. as belonging only to the infancy of the art. or the size of those portions of light which are found within the dominion of shade. harmony which is produced by chiaro oscuro. for though this deceptive aiipcarance is argued against hy some. But. either it by contrast or destroying its preponderance by producing a union with the light. in other portions gliding away with imper- ceptible softness into undefined spaces. on this principle alone. “When the jiainter includes within a narrow comjiass a vast extent of space.

PLAl'E V Fig. 3 .

1 2 Rembrandt Fig. 3 Rembrandt 4 FiS' Etched by J.PLATE Fig. Burnet . VI Fig.

viewing its effect in painting. also. but is the operation of the sense and intellect conjointly. and others brought into notice. as it gives a sort of creative power. Without following up this subject too minutely. they rise up. Burke even considers it conducive to sublimity. give a precision to the object of our attention. but the latter is the result of long experience and continued effort. that we often have been attending to the impression made upon one eye only. that there are two rep rcsenat ions. and shajie them to his own taste: it also pleases the mind. and assume their various situations We according to their relative distances from the eye of the spectator. or a variety of objects. When we direct our eyes to any particular object. but. though we have lost the feeling of its being a voluntary effort. from fatigue in looking at any object attentively. confused. one painted in each eye. along with indistinctness. and amuse and assist the imagination from a variety of circumstances."® We also find that. he says. by which we can easily perceive that a mere outline of a group of figures. and where it exists in natural imagery. he is left to fill np the images. in the same way in which an unfinished sketch gratifies his imagination for as every one has different notions of beauty of form. which. or into the dying embers of a fire. can easily carry our imagination further. though they form but one in the mind. while the surrounding objects produce a fainter impression on the retina. from contrast. “Even in painting. We know. and. and assign a reason why some portions are to be subdued. .EDUCATION OF THE EYE. but the art of combining the whole. because the images in painting are exactly similar to those in Nature. yet we cannot shut out entirely those hints which may be convej'ed to the fancy from the faintest impressions unconsciously attended to. depend upon the structure. This indistinctness also pleases the eye of the spectator. either from its more favorable position or from a superior goodness in the organ itself. in a harmonious mass of chiaro oscuro. can be acquired only by long investigation into the principles of those who have excelled in this captivating and imaginative art. a repetition of form and a completeness or unity of shape are very much under its influence. these may be some of the reasons why particular arrangements of chiaro oscuro please the eye more than others. a number of lateral images are indistinctly hinted at upon the retina of the other. lies like a map under the eye. by their softness.” We have already noticed some of the most evident properties belonging to the application of shadow. Add to which the eye. appears from the long experience which is requisite to give this perfection. naturally turns for repose to soft masses of shadow and indistinctness. such as is felt when looking njion a discolored wall. Nature is bountiful in providing the means of simple and acquired perception. bj' the judicious application of shadow passing among the several forms. — . We also perceive. on examination. and in Nature. uncertain images have a greater power on the fancy to form the grander ]iassions than those have which are more clear and determinate . we observe it distinctly defined. dark. so productive of pleasure. Before entering into an examination of this quality. it will be necessary to examine its cause.” Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful. Nevertheless. a judicious obscurity in some things contributes to the effect of the picture. the only sui’e source on which we can build with certainty.

Locke describes colors as only ideas of the mind apprehended by the imagination. and they seem to strike them more jrarticularly when mixed together Whether there be anything in colors which corresponds to the harmony in various waj'S. but by a greater unity. to enable the eye to get acquainted with the proportions of light. if possible. or from w'hat arrangement hannony arises.®° which suggest others to the imagination. it will be necessary to inquire what are the colors which affect the We observe that eye most. either in arranging his composition so as to suit any particular effect of light and shade. and are not received from reflections or refractions from natural Without. it must. and not qualities that have any existence in matter. they ought to be constantly before him when he has it in his power. those effects which surprise or delight the spectator. They ought to be viewed in every direction. or in trying various means of disti'ibuting light and shade over his design. by a combination of color. The power of combining sounds whose united influence shall call into through the medium of the ear. otherwise the painter could not produce.. both in Nature and in art. into new inventions. we take a pen and sketch in a row of buildings. children and rude nations®^ are most attracted by strong colors. the ])leasures of mere colors are very languid. Newton says colors have their origin in the different refrangibility of the ra 3's of light. and balance of ])arts. from the existence. as in Plate VI. or if we draw in a gronj) of trees and fold the paj>er across at the base of their stems. running from one side to a point of siglit in the center. if there be.sant: however. let him carefully watch. HARMONY OF COLOR. ’’It is evident that gay colors of all kinds are a principal source of pleasure to children. are ])lea. however. it becomes disagreeable also very early from associated influences. those latent seeds by which the violent or tender passions are excited is too well understood to require explanation. He ought also to engraft the scheme of chiaro oscuro on designs of his own. as if reflected in water. dark and half-tint. etc. trees. the same agreeable sensation will be produced. in comjiarison of their present aggregates young . and while the ink is wet fold the paper across the point of sight. colors. blotting in shadows broad and dark on the near objects. In adults. entering too minutely into the philosophy of bodies. of sound may be doubted. however.AN ESSAY ON THE 44 as may will bo observed by trying an experiment as noticed in note 30. admit of much greater latitude than the harmony between sounds. As the etchings of Rembrandt embrace this quality in the highest degree. to get an insight into this great and endeavor to find out the latent cause of its beauty. since all mixtures and degrees of color. from a mere outline to the most extensive depth of shadow. so as to take off an imj>ression on the opposite side. its various combinations. that the harmony which exists in these wonderful productions may be transferred. the eye is not only gratified by a greater mixture of shar]) and soft ])ortions. one color may be more Black ajipears to be originally disagreeable to the eyes of so originally than another. one side with another. and a repetition of the sky line with the lines of the ground. so as to take off a faint impression. But whatever way the student takes charm of painting. That there exists the same sources of enjoyment in the human mind which are capable of being awakened through the medium of the eye is equally certain. unless when the quantity of light overpowers the eye. children.

hut by their mutually allaying each other. Sense of Sight.” Ilar/Iey on Man. However. constitute a middle color. and last of all blue. Ileynolds mentions three modes of harmony existing in the arrangement of colors one where the colors are of a full and strong body. and yet the colors of the conpionent particles are not thereby really changed. by intercejiting its rays hy colored mediums. colors will emerge different from that of the com])osition. which is a kind of glazing. of jileasure remain in — Sir Isaac Newton remarks. and which is carried to the greatest perfection in the small works of the Dutch school. that when the refrangihility of any ]iarticular ray produce a certain color. if sufliciently large. . according as they depart formed by association. the third . and those transfused upon them hy association with other pleasures (for tlie influence is reei]n-oeal without limits) is a eonsideral)le one so that our intellectual pleasures are not only at first generated. then yellow. such as w'e find in the works of Raff'aelle. which holds particularly in resjiect of the pleasures afforded hy the beauties of Nature. so as to ])i'oduce an agreeable l)ai‘mony. the original pleasures of mere colors a small degree to the last. Hannony arising from a corresponding agreement of the several in the design. then green. and the wliole reconciled and harmonized by being dispersed over the picture. he could subdue its intensity. if. (We find this. therefore. according to the intensity of light or brightness of the object pro- ducing them.) He found a transmutation of colors might be made by a mixture of different kinds of rays. hut could not change it in specie. is the Venetian. impressions remaining of long or short excitement wliicli tliey of excitement . but afterwards supported and resuscitated in ]iart from the ]ileasures affecting the eye.— EDL'CATIOX OF THE EYE. and hy the imitation of these which the arts of painting and poetry furnish us with. presenting to the eye that sensation arising fi’om a bunch of flowers. for the image left upon the retina will be first red. In the latter case the rays coming to the eye from every separate color cross each other. another the Bologna style. they still appear blue and yellow. such as w e see in the specimens found in the Egyptian tombs. hut only blended for when they are viewed with a microscope. hut in such mixtures the component colors themselves do not apjiear. duration. with the two cold hues. . corresj)onding to the subject or style of composition more or less from common representations of Nature. Each method seems to have its peculiar province allotted to it. extremes of w'here warm and the brightest colors are admitted.” We also perceive that the effect produced by strong colors may be increased or diminished by bringing them in contact with others of an opposite hue. Thus blue and yellow jiowders finely mixed apjiear green to the naked eye. or retain an entireness or severity of outline. after looking at the sun or any luminous object. was even practiced hy the ancients. hy refraction. Large portions of strong blue coming in contact with red or white (for we find the ground color often a great cause of opposition) affect the eye in a different manner from what the same colors produce when in smaller quantities or on a ground of a neutral tint. Priestley's Remarks on Newton's Optics. and chiaro oscuro.®" In the former case one color makes too strong an impression on the eye to be obliterated easily. and which he denominates the Roman manner. and. he found it iinjiossihle to change that color. I)e la Hire says: “Tlie different degrees produced by colors may be observed by keeping the eye shut. — 45 produce. the different rays he separated. contrasted witli the same colors distributed over a Persian shawl. which mixes several colors together so as to produce a general union in the whole without reminding you of the original colors of which they are composed.

indeed.— AN ESSAY ON THE pai’ts. everytliing he sees. The latter possess the general appearance merelv like the confused cliaracter of Nature presented to indistinct vision. so as to give relief unconnected with the effect of aerial perspective. He can converse with a picture. and. we find the colors laid in strong and bright. continuous outline. we can unity. easily imagine a suitableness in the coloring to preserve such In the early stages of painting. giving employment to thousands. have no pretension to. or from those images We find in sketches from Nature many presented to the imagination. I would fain hope I have gone further. and often feels a greater satisfaction in the prospect of fields and meadows It gives him. remain as “books sealed and fountains shut up. when foreshortening and perspective effect occupied a large share in the conduct of the work.” lengthened essay to particularize the STUDYING FROM NATURE. He meets with a secret refreshment in a description. and which through the sense of sight are vivified and called into operation. when the figures possessed a dry. which constitutes mannerism. and makes the most rude uncultivated parts of Nature administer to his pleasures: so that he looks upon the world as it were in another light. . Spectator. No. In entering upon a diffuse examination of the foregoing remarks. if made out with detail. and find an agreeable eom])anion in a statue. Objects drawn from Nature possess a v'ery characteristic difference from those drawn from the combinations of fancy. and discovers in it a multitude of charms tliat conceal themselves from the generality of mankind. can only. a kind of jiroperty in tlian another does in the jiossession. or.®® I have also endeavored to prove the great utility of the education of the eye as a means of general instruction. and how they are modified and arranged to harmonize with those sensations which exist in the mind. and cannot be altered or diverted into other channels by the caprice or false taste of any one. and the outline. As the art advanced. or those images under the guidance of the mind only. Such imperfections can be avoided only by having accustomed the eye in the ” Addison remarks. that objects drawn from memory. a truth and precision. 411. we find colors made use of in the character of chiaro oscuro. A work of this brief description can do little more than point out where the various examples are to be met with. be productive of pleasure. while it opens those avenues to science which. even to the great power of language. become agreeable from habit. arising from neither having a preponderance in claiming his attention. minute circumstances. light and shade and color assimilated with each other in producing an effect upon the spectator. we perceive that color became more subordinate. each separate division would require a way in which the eye receives delight from the various modifications of color. tliat a man of ]iolite imagination is let into a great many pleasures that the vulgar are not eapahle of receiving. a variety and beauty. I have endeavored to prove that those sources of enjoyment which lie dormant in the human mind. the minutia' contain a select set of touches or forms. by the cultivation of that sense.

had we an opportunity of comparing the tree with the original in Nature. etc. and rendering it more convex when viewing near objects. yet look sufficiently true to please most spectators but the human figure possesses proportions.. instantaneously vanish when we turn to something else. may destroy the richness and variety of lines. see better at small distances: but drawing from Nature. perfects the eye in both these extremes. drawing correctly what we see will not give a proportionate power of drawing what we imagine. both for pushing it forward from the retina. on the table of the camera obscura. that the eye may make them gradually give place to others more complicated. and. . while those whose professions lead them to close examination. — . When w'e consider that the images of to test the exactness of the copy. and also for drawing it more within the vitreous humor and rendering it flatter when examining distant objects. who see better at long distances. we may perceive the necessity of keeping each several part sufficiently long under examination before delineating it. to select such objects as are simple in their forms. as we have to carry the vision to examine objects far off. as well as other parts of the frame. little manner and also to prevent the of drawing. objects dwell like the pictures Doctor Jurin observes. as is noticed in the eyes of sportsmen. the want of which can be easily detected but. sailors. that the eye. example. while drawing from the objects themselves in place of copies gives it a power of perception^^ and a knowledge of embodying forms in composition quite unattainable by any other method. Educating the eye in the first instance in tlie elements of lineal and aerial perspective gives it a clearer insight into the causes of the changes of form and shadow observable in all objects. as one or two parts left out and an unequal proportion of the forms may deprive tlie copy of the truth and beauty of the original. and Potlerfield on the Eye. A tree may be imperfectly drawn. It is also of the first importance that the drawings he made sufficiently large. that an opportunity may be given for filling up the various spaces with perceive them distinctly. that this character may be engrafted upon works Reynolds says “I very much doubt whether a habit of of imagination.. These peculiarities are also to be examined and contemplated upon. for from not attending early to a proper mode of study. and the minute parts. espeeially distant prosi)ects. travelers. for an eye capable of drawing correctly can draw any object presented to it. This arises entirely from careless drawing in the first instance. EDUCATION OF THE EYE. to fit the eye and the hand to a variety of lines. first 47 instance to a scrupulous exactness in delineating objects from Nature. and immediately transfer it to a near examination on the paper close to the eye. See Doctor Jurin on Distinct Vision. we should discover tlie resemblance to he equally imperfect.” : To educate the eye to accomplish this it is necessary. It is hand acquiring a cramped or also of equal importance that the object chosen for representation be such as can he compared with the original. for this organ is wonderfully provided w'ith the means of ehanging the crystalline lens. Much injury and fallacy has arisen How often. acquires strength and perfection from frequent use of the muscles. Avhether simple or complicated. upon the retina only while the eye is directed to them. do we perceive in those who draw landscapes the incapability of drawing the human figure with any degree of correctness. in the first instance.

AN ESSAY ON THE

48
that the mind

may

be put in possession of

memory not only

form and

its

while copying

color, so as to

but with such an impression as will improve and enrich the imagination with a multiplicity of
imagei’y.
Those who advocate the study of Nature, without educating the
retain

it

in the

eye in the

first

aware that

instance, are not

only which present themselves
to direct, the art

to'

flat

it

is

the superfices of things

the outward vision, and, without a monitor

would always be

beginner represents a

it,

infancy.®®

in its

A

tree

drawn by a

image, like a plant or a piece of sea weed dried

between the leaves of a book. A figure represents but the section of one,
if the foreshortened portions were perceived, he is incapable of giving
them the perspective appearance, or lifting it from the ground by means

for even

The

of the application of light and shade.

Italy advanced but

little

beyond the

Even

flat

first

restorers of the art in

brasses that supplied them with

and Masaccio foreand then from a want of light and
shade to give the parts their relative situations, looked cramped and feeble.
It was not till the master minds of Leonax'do da Vinci and Michael Angelo
Those portions
grappled with the subject that difficulties disappeared.
the means of design.

shortening was but

little

in

the hands of Giotto

attended

to,

of the figure were no longer represented in profile views, but advanced or

receded from the spectator, and whole groups, in place of looking like a

continuous frieze, were turned around and sunk in the depths of the comby means of lineal and aerial perspective. Raffaelle, by taking

position

advantage of the works of those who had preceded him, carried the art to
a state of perfection which the study of Nature, notwithstanding his constant
The contemapplication to her, never could have enabled him to achieve.
plation of the fine works of antiquity created elevated visions of ideal composition, while his constant application to

him

to give a reality

and identity

Nature for the

details enabled

to the creations of his imagination.

With-

out the eye being made acquainted with the beauties of those who have
advanced the art to its present state, either progressively, by studying the
best works, or

by commencing a course of drawing

froixi

antique sculpture,

be impossible to select what is beautiful in Nature, or be able to choose
one point of view more interesting than another. It will also be Impossible
to combine a variety of objects, unless we have a knowledge of those prinit will

ciples

upon which the various

faction

;

for,

though, as

is

woi’ks are constructed that have given satis-

the case with music, the varieties are endless,

is simple, and to be perceived by those who investigate the
arrangements of harmony. He who attempts to study from Nature unassisted by education, in the first instance, will find himself often mistaken

vet the science

36
“Cicero remarks, that not to know what has been transacted in former times, Is
If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world
to continue always a child.
must remain always in the infancy of knowledge. The discoveries of every man must
terminate in his own advantage, and the studies of every age be employed on questions
may with as little reproach
which the past generation had discussed and determined.
borrow science as manufactures from our ancestors; and it is as rational to live in caves
till our own hands have erectetl a jialace, as to reject all knowledge of architecture, which

We

our understandings will not supply .”

— Doctor

Johnson.

EDUCATIOX OF THE EYE.
in

liis

results

;

49

neither will he arrive at so certain or so expeditious a

and feeling, as he
Leonardo da Vinci says

of delineating objects with truth

dread of falling into error.

will

:

method

be continually in

“Theory

is

the great

director of exj)eriinent, the only interpreter of the works of Nature, which

never wrong. It is our judgment which is sometimes deceived, because
we are expecting results which experiment refuses to give. We must consult
experiment and vary the circumstances till we have deduced general rules,
for it alone can furnish us with them, and general rules direct us in our
inquiries into Nature and the operations of art. They keep us from deceiving ourselves and others by promising ourselves results which we can never
is

obtain.”

This

is

the expei’ience which enables the artist to select and combine,

to leave out or
is it,

add

to the various

him, turns the head,
it

appearances presented to

for example, that the portrait painter,
first to

one

side,

when

his sitter

his eye.

is

Why

placed before

then to the other, and contemplates

also under a variety of effects of light

and shade

It

is

to observe the

best arrangement of the features, to select that view of the head which

develops the greatest character and the most beautiful points.
the eye to

make

these selections

it

is

To

enable

necessary to combine with the study

men who have preceded
much quiet grandeur
The works of Vandyke exem-

of Nature the study of the works of those eminent
us.

The works

of Titian will convince the student how'

by simplicity and breadth.
arrangement and a beautiful distribution of the features,
also the art of uniting the several parts by means of light and shade, or disposition of the hair, or subordinate accessories.
This power of planning
out or adjusting the several parts to the best advantage may be acquired
by long contemplation of the various combinations observed in Nature;
but a reference to the etchings by Vandyke, and the prints after him, will
facilitate the student in his inquiries.
We know that Rubens advised Vand3'ke and Valasquez to study the works of Titian as the best means of arriving
at perfection in portrait painting; and so uniform has been this mode of
acquiring correct knowledge that the works of Reynolds or of Lawrence
ma}" be studied as the best means of shortening labor, these artists having
adopted the principles existing in the works of their great predecessors
so as to suit the fashion and taste of their own times, but along with such
stud^" bringing their own genius to the incessant contemplation of Nature;
for, as Bacon observes, “to spend too much time in studies is sloth
to
use them too much for ornament is affectation; to make judgment wholly
by their rules is the humor of a scholar. They perfect Nature, and are
perfected by experience, for natural abilities are like natural plants that
need pruning by" study, and studies themselves do give forth directions too
much at large, except they be bounded in by experience.”
The art of studying from Nature may be, therefore, considered as
implying that which we perceive through the medium of our own eyes, and
those things made apparent through the spectacles of other men, for seeing
is

to be produced

plify the art of

;

AN ESSAY ON THE

50

Nature does not merely mean seeing the exact length and breadth of any
means the power of discerning her beauties and defects, those portions which are to be preserved and the mode of heightening their effect upon
the eye of the spectator, and the several parts which operate detrimentally to
the general arrangement of the whole, which are to be intercepted by other
objects, or left out entirely.®® For, as the accidental combinations of Nature
are thrown together uncontrolled by the likings or dislikings of any one,
the greatest study is necessary, so as to form a complete work which shall
possess all the appearance of chance combined with the most skillful adjustment for example, what a variety of appearances do not the effect of light
and shade produce upon the same scene, viewed at various times of the
day, or seen under the advantages or disadvantages of accidental arrangements of objects. This power of discemment is, therefore, to be acquired
by the study of the works of those who have excelled in the different departments of the art, and afterward perfected in searching out and contemobject, but

;

plating the beautiful combinations which

lie

scattered in the endless varieties

This mode of study alone can enable one artist to surpass
another in the power of selection, and the same scene, bald and ineffective
in the hands of one, may be rendered full and of rich effect by another who
has watched a more favorable arrangement, and wlio has followed up and
completed the various hints derived from accidental combinations, as in
Plate VII, Figs. 1 and 2.
Thus the study of Nature is conducive to perfect the education of the
C 3'e, b^' careful investigation of her Avorks ourselves, and by being able to
comprehend and appreciate the works of those who have most successfully
studied her; and this not in a lukewarm or superficial manner, but with
that noble enthusiasm Avhich stimulated the genius of iVIichael Angelo through
a long life, and, even when deprived of the power of vision from old age,
made him order his attendants to convey him to the gardens of the Medici,
that he might feel and pass over with his hands the glorious remains of
Grecian art on whose statues he had founded his own education.
of Nature.

Nothinp: can be so iinphilosophical as a supposition that we can form any idea of
beauty or excellence out of or beyond Nature, which is and must be the fountain-head
from whence all our ideas must be derived. This being acknowledged, it must follow, of
course, that all the rules which this theory, or any other teaches, can be no more than
teaching the art of seeing Nature. The rules of art are formed on the various works of
those who have studied Nature most successfully; by this advantage, of observing the
various manners in which various minds have contemplated her works, the artist enlarges
his own views, and is ta\ight to look for and see what otherwise would have escaped his
observation. It is to be remarked, that there are two modes of imitating Nature; one of
which refers for its truth to the sensations of the mind, and the other to the eye. Some
schools, such as the Roman and Florentine, appear to have addressed themselves principally
to the mind; others solely to the eye, such as the Venetian, in the instances of Paul
Veronese and Tintoret; others, again, have endeavored to unite both, by joining the
elegance and grace of ornament with the strength and vigor of design; such are the
All these schools are equally to be considered as
schools of Bologna and Parma.
followers of Nature. He wlio jiroduces a work analogous to the mind or imagination of
man is as natural a painter as he whose works are calculated to delight the eye; the
works of Michael Angelo or Julio Romano, in this sense, may be said to be as natural as
those of the Dutch painters. Keiinold't’s Notes Upon Fresnoy’s Art of Painting.

EccJiAd .PLATE 2 \TI .

.

PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION IN ART .

>1 .

by reading the thoughts of SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.Ll^STUATED Examples from ART IN }iY the Great Masters OF THE AND ENGLISH SCHOOLS ITALIAN. being conversant with the inventions of others tliat others we learn to think.PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION II. consult experience. DIM'CH BY JOHN BURNET. PUBLISHER 1913 we shall find that it is by learn to invent. R. as. S." if we we F. FLEMISH. “ Invention is one of the great marks of genius: but. . PHILADELPHIA FRANK V. CHAMBERS.

KY CHAMIJERS PRESS PHILADELPHIA 1‘RINTEl) .

long’ from had its in first contemplation interruption to my and a love of ease professional engagements. fi’oin year to I have }"ear. in the work not be considered a desideratum. I now publish the plates with a few the hope of their being useful. of On Light and the contrary. in .PREFACE 'I'he Plates hereto annexed were orifrinally intended to illustrate the part of a Practical Essay on Paintin^pr. I Should they l)v instance. which to publish but have delayed. . which. escape a heavy responsibility’ and expense either my vanity or my in directing investigating the inti’icacies of the art. JOHN BURNET. be thought of advantage to the youngei’ students of painting. March I . theii’ minds to a shall follow i-egular mode of them with others illustrative. and. from doubts respecting its utility. after the day’s employment. do not wish that love for the fine arts should subject me. the first Shade. suggests a more natural recreation than the investigation of an abstruse study loose hints thrown together. ultimately. of the arrangement of Color. should publishing only a — a tax to which I first 25. 1822 part.

.

‘‘‘Denique sit quod vis. which is often the case with Rembrandt. the art of arranging figures or objects. when we come to consider their relation to a good effect of light and shade. as the adaptation ought to appear to emanate from the circumstances themselves hence the variety of compositions. COMPOSITION. or throw into repose an interesting point of the action. In composition four requisites ai*e necessary that the story be well told . E. The point of time being fixed upon. expression. R. that it possess a good general form . we shall often be obliged to put an emphasis on an insignificant object. may be enabled to place the most interesting objects in the most prominent places. To secure a good general form in composition it is necessary that it should be as simple as possible.PRACTICAL HINTS OX COMPOSITION IN ART KV JOHN R UR NET. the art.” Whether this is to be produced by a breadth of light and shade. A confused complicated form may hide Horace. but can never invite the attention. S. and that it be susceptible of an agreeable disposition in color. inculcates the same doctrine. and incidental circumstances oblige us often to determine on a particular arrange- form of a composition fitness of the . simjdex duntaxat et unum. in his Art of Poetry. even on a most complicated outline. it is best suggested by the subject or design. Unless our attention be directed to such arrangement in the first instance. that Composition is : be so arranged as to be capable of receiving a proper effect of light and The shade. the action. ment. so as to adapt them to any pai’ticular subject. that we .

The specimens here given merely happened aim at assist in . perhaps will find possession better. and. particularly words of unpracticed writers such as we are. “It must. . are adopted by every one whose judgment cannot carry him into illustration. or of such a nice texture as not easily to admit being expressed in words especially as artists are not very frequently skillful in that mode of communicating ideas. I insubstantial. wdiich times desirable. for this is not the nature of chance but the rules. they are still seen and felt in the mind of the artist and he works from them with as much certainty as if they were embodied. PRACTICAL HIXTS OX COMPOSITIOX. be that even works of genius. if properly underall other writings on the subject of painting superfluous. render as they must have their cause. qualities which affect and are appreciated by every one. not to be too fastidious in trying to conceal wfiiat can be obvious only to a small number. as I may say. in endeavoring to render his design more intricate. can but very feebly . and he best can I ought. but also from their possessing a decided character. being palpable. simplicity and breadth. the intricacies of the art. as we often find in Titian. evident in many of Raffaele’s works. must likewise have their rules it cannot be by chance that excellencies are produced with any constancy or any certainty. by a kind of scientific sense. how- all its disguises. To is at all those wdio imagine that such rules tend to fetter genius. merely quote Sir Joshua Reynolds. . I shall stood. as these rules may seem. however. 2 or by the simple arrangement of color.” To putting the mind in such a train and to render apparent to the young wrapped up in theoretical disquisition. . Concealing the art is one of accomplish that who can discover its it greatest beauties under . I have confined myself to the four simple and principal forms not only from their being most pal. (Sixth Discourse. pable. to caution the young artist on this head. or make sketches of as it is only by rendering himself master of the subject that he can hope to avoid the commonplace effects which swim upon the surface. It is true these refined principles cannot be always made palpable. by which men of extraordinary parts and such as are called men of genius work. . it sufficient to direct is the younger students to this particular. must depend upon the taste of the artist . whose M'orks. that propriety which words. In giving a few examples of compositions. or by the construction of the group in the first instance. there are many is all that these examples what he artist to be in my others that will serve the student. of necessity. . like every other effect. upon paper. are either such as they discover by their own peculiar observations. like the more gross rules of art yet it does not follow. ever..) suggest. for. but that the mind may be put in such a train that it shall perceive. their minds being generally carried away by notions of variety and contrast. he may destroy character. for which he ought by all means to procure. and difficult as it may be to convey them in writing.

it is customary to mark the middle of the space. where the figures. it receives a tenfold fullness in a outlines. by mixing their edges with the clouds. is often suggested thereby obliging us to place the point of sight at one side of the picture. Exptanation of Plate I. consequence. many advantages may apparently produce a better equipoise. sometimes from the group requiring a large space which a diagonal line secures. for we observe . which is the case with his famous picture of “The Bull. In compositions constructed on this principle (particularly where the . and mixes and harmonizes with the dark side of the picture. of ascertaining and fixing the horizontal This mode of constructing the composition etc. dividing the picture for the regulation of the masses of light line. Thus the eye is carried round the composition. but in many of the pictures of Cuyp. by its being detached and opposed to the most distant part. which are prevented from being harsh and cutting. . Th is doubling of the lines (if I which we often perceive may so express it) gives a picture that rich first sketch.. sacrifices .” the figures in which are brought up against the light sitle of the sky. or from the conduct of light.” etc. etc. HINTS ON COMPOSITION. and it is rendered less harsh and cutting. 3 ANGULAR COMPOSITION. trees. In commencing a composition. clouds in a lines antagonize.PRACTICAI. . to counteract the appearance of all the running to one point. Cuyp. until the two extremes are brought in contact. etc. from its possessing several Those who imagine that by thus throwing the whole composition on one side a want of union will be produced will be convinced of their error by perceiving how small an object restores the lialance since. that a rich and soft effect is produced the strong light and dark touches of the figures telling with great force against a background of houses. produces the greatest expanse.. being at the opposite angle. landscape and sky are all on the same side of the composition. many artists carry the lines of the contrary direction. thereby enabling the distant part of the landscape to melt into it by the most natural means m bile the strongest part of his sky. Pi. as in the “Elevation of the Cross. Rubens and Teniers. of the sky as a background. as it is termed. — Fig.ATE — 3 and — In these compositions Potter has made use by which mode the high lights of his group have more value. Thus using the darks of the clouds. places the focus of light at the bottom of the sky.” by Rubens. the most prominent with the most retiring. and shade. for the purpose of arranging those points we consider of most importance to the subject. in adopting this mode of composition in most of his pictures which are generally “Sunset” or “Sunrise”). or dark blue of the sky. 1. from the perspective effect requiring a length of line. as in his picture of the “Descent from the Cross. to landscape occupies a large portion). If deception and strong relief were all 1 Figs. .

ought arrangement of light and shade. acquire a force. the roof and background being reserved for a mass of shadow and repose. is and study so completely hid as to to make to say whether his background or figures were the first composed. On the conit difficult We . 5 Fiff. from their situation. off the is . . in his compositions. 4 he aimed at. he has gained them both. in the pictures of Teniers. when done with judgment. displays very address in bringing up his strong dark against the light. for such purpose. we often find it of a strong dark blue. 6.— PEACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION. though at the expense of some of the higher qualities of the art. ought never It is observable that. Plate I Fig. —The by Ostade. evidently for the mere purpose of being painted. displays such an ingenuity in their construction as to render his pictures an endless source of gratification In some of his works the art the artist. natural sharpness and beauty. those pictures please us most on which the eye is allowed to rest. I may here remark. . The art is now too far advanced to allow us to be gratified with violent contrast coming firm ground. thereby producing a union between both sides of the picture. little . which. or in order to give a retiring delicacy to his distance. a story is to be told that requires the spectator to be directed to the heads and hands for expression and action this breadth is more allowable. — Claude. for its beautiful Ostade. have not only objects intercepting each other in the most natural and picturesque manner. In him. that amply compensates for the ostentatious display of such excelprinciple backgrounds are also totally different from Ostade’s figures being generally surrounded with black spaces of shadow Tenler’s lencies. “a melting and union. gives a rich and inartificial effect. As I ought to have noticed above. which serves also to bring down the same color from the opposite angle of the sky. a small etching to be in the possession of every artist. in many of his compositions. that the principal mass of light in out-ofdoor scenes (both in Nature and the best masters) is generally placed in the sky. their picturesque arrangement and the mechanical skill of the execution. but breadth. and a small portion of the group. from their possessing a vacant space. . it often looks like unaffected primitive simplicity but it might not be so conWhen Claude introduces a figure sidered in an artist of the present day. or upper part of the picture. original of this sketch. This. as Mr.” in an exhibition where there are a number of objects to distract the attention. sufficient to give the appearance found to be of natural solidity to the whole. we often find a number of objects cast down in one corner. however. trary. but those very pictures uniformly look blank and unfurnished when hung up singly in a room. but the figures carried up against them thus coming in contact with various forms. and the skillful way in which they are woven together.” as Reynolds terms it. of the figures with the background. that in interiors (especially such as are constructed upon this plan) it is generally reversed. different in size. distance and color. to have the appearance of “flatness or insipidity. Fuseli justly observes. his When or half-tint.

PLATE I J'c'hr: ^wr-nft Sc .

II PLATE .

we perceive a breadth of chiaroscuro the white. however. producing a mass of light.. I may here. When the most prominent or strong dark of the foreground is detached from the trees in the . by . . side of the picture. For example. pervades everything. I shall only observe here. “Huntsman Going Out in the Morning. and a small portion of the strong dark and strong light brought inj contact and the light passing through the iris gives it its transparency. in consequence of its being carried round by the two dogs in the foreground. if we examine an eye turned from the light. and serves instead of reflected light to clear up the shadow the watery fluid. and as to individual parts. — Rubens and ground. but acquires being cut out on both sides by light as we shall find when we come to treat of Chiaroscuro. As it is a doubt in the minds of some artists how far it is agreeable to the rules of composition to admit a figure complete in itself as a portion of a group. point out the length of II Fig. or cornea. it has not only a less formal appearance. lights and darks. m this landscape has carried the lines of the clouds. . gives us that portion of minute finish necessary in all works of art. all Fig. An object must not only appear to possess those properties adapted by Nature for its purpose and protection. line . 1 . serving also as a base line for the landscape to rest upon. . as it assists the perspective effect in conveying the eye into the picture. In fact. and connected by the principal dog in the other group turning round to the noise. from his placing the sun near the point of sight. etc. The lights also acquire a force and brilliancy from their being surrounded with dark. but also those qualities which have been found by the experience of the best masters productive of beauty this renders it a source of gratification and it is then said to be true to Nature and art. Plate —As 5 merely a further illustration of the principle noticed in Plate I. and the extent of the distance a force from its . the iris and pupil a mass of shade. in the bottom of the eye and on the under eyelid. as well as in the aggregate. same direction and. to which even the protecting hairs contribute. 3 In this subject. and continuity of the line are not altogether interrupted. A straight and when architecture line is often necessary also for the sake of variety is not present we must get it how and where we can. Fig. . this application of it in the abstract. PRACTICAT. .” we have the principal group of a complete form in itself. I can only refer to the remarks contained in the explanation of that plate.— . We find each of these focused. HINTS ON COMPOSITION. goats. that. as far as form is concerned. We have here a picture complete in itself but if we carry our examination to the surrounding lines in the orbit we perceive a harmonious communication and extension of its form. — beauties of the art. this is produced by the cattle. even his shadows take the same course. their objection cannot apply. When the sun is placed near the point of sight we sometimes see shadows made use of for the same purpose. we see not only heads and hands complete as to form and light and shade but we find that even an ejm is capable of possessing all the characteristic . yet forming a part of a whole.

. sometimes by the principal group demanding a considerable portion of the ground for a mass of shadow. from their being brought into the center and against the most retiring part. or by light upon a dark ground. or the repetition of — In designs constructed upon this plan (especially of the Dutch School). either as a complete group. lished. the seats of action and expression. the eye is carried into the most remote circumstances. extension of the form or conduct of the light and shade. “The Embarkation of the Prince of Orange. or vice versa this gives group a firm foundation. are often referred to each other for the completion of form or extension of light.” For example. . secondary group of objects. which become a part of the whole. wLat are called the “secondary” require the greatest consideration whether for the repetition of the lines. either from its size. ANGULAR COMPOSITION. in this example. has been attempted to be estabviz. we have the strongest point brought into the center.: tliat objects as they recede from the center of the picture. and are the most cutting part of the group. ought to be deprived of part of their force of trine. tlie particularly to direct the student‘s attention to this particular. After arranging the principal points. lights or darks. as a link of communication between By making this point the strongest of a the figures and the background.—— FRACTICAT. in the . until. when a story is to be told. we generally find the lower part of the form strongly pronounced. and surrounded by light. from the principal group. I have mentioned. and strong black. beyond which a strong point is required. I have given a gradual advancement of the most prominent and dark part of a composition. H . being made to depend upon such point for . or as forming part of a more complicated arrangement. tlie completion of color. and also enables the artist to keep the other I wish objects in their proper situations as to distance from the eye. which naturally leads us in the direction that affords us the greatest space. In commencing a composition. HINTS ON COMPOSITION. which its harshness is softened and diffused. either to the sides or bottom. Cuyp has rendered them of the greatest importance. 1 The plan of composition I have here taken up is form of a diamond wdiich we find often adopted. “that it is of importance to mark in those points most necessary to our purpose. the heads and hands. as a doc- founded upon the rays of vision. its form.” the two principal figures are dressed in strong red. and composition of the whole countenance. In the original. though occupying only a very small portion of the picture. the extension of the light. either . Fig. Sometimes we are actuated by our requiring a second or third group for the better illustration of the story. by color. as by such means the eye of the spectator is led to the commencement and operation of the incident. Plate — III Fig. and. it becomes a part of the — Plate II Fig.

the other proclaiming instantaneously the beginning and end of the story. them by robbing them of their lights. and also because its enables us to keep the most projecting points and the most retiring in proper places by analogy to one another. to give tliem at the same time the appearance of natural accident. which we perceive. Plate III Figs. or opposition of local color. . darks or colors. By thus tracing effects to their . the picture explains itself at a glance of the strong distinctions of painting from poetry which . and most illus. true art does not deprive of their natural force renders them less stitutes other objects of a less attractive quality. both on giving a thickness or rotundity to the group. or sub- requires those objects to be kept subordinate. and 6 —Plate IV Fig. 3 By making the circumstance from which the story springs a strong point (either from suitation. and keep hold of the attention. is one of the their . or upon the manner in which the hot and cold colors are brought in contract. and hence they strike tlie artist as being applicable to painting. light and shade and color. fering with the breadth of light. the mind ought to be trained to the most regular and even mechanical mode of arranging the ideas that in an instant we may be able to determine whether the effects. in the knee and leg of the falling figure. in my mind. the in the head of the infant Christ. — Plate III Fig. strong dark and light. prior claim to consideration. This is neither Nature nor 7 If the subject art. 5 .— — PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION. In arranging objects scientifically. Many accidental combinations and beautiful effects of Nature arise not merely from their possessing a good general form and a pictorial arrangement of light and shade. depend upon a particular form. do not mean that the circumstance ought always to occupy the center. he is warranted in availing himself of every assistance science can afford. account of it When it is arm this of the man writing and can be done without inter- of the greatest consequence. it has. and surrounding it with those objects more immediately connected. As the best practical hints are derived from accidental combinations in Nature. having but a flat surface to work upon. I am aware that the management of light and shade often requires a sacrifice of this principle where we can accomplish our object without such a sacrifice it has always the most natural appearance. a I . upon particular arrangement of the light and shade. it obtrusive by the ground which surrounds them. force or color). but also from the most projecting points being often assisted by a combination of a harsh cutting line. trative of its effects. these being the means he finds frequently adopted by the best masters. It is only under such favorable circumstances that the artist can enter the lists with Nature and. is one —the one proceeding in a circuitous route to hide the denouement. —We have the strongest light coming in contact with the strong dark in the most cutting manner. . any more than that the hero should always occupy the center but as it is of use to explain the cause of his action and expression. whose sudden changes prevent the possibility of sketching. perfections of the art.


PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION.

8

proper causes we secure the principal points as a sort of shorthand notes
to guide and assist the memory.
This practice will also open a road of
communication hetween the eye and the operations of the mind, which
neither a hasty sketch nor the most learned dissertation can, separately,
produce. At first it may seem more difficult than it really is but a few
;

trials will

convince the student of

its

practicability, especially as the effects

that strike him to be the most pictorial are generally the most simple.

Plate

III

Fig.

Jf..

—The cards

lying on the ground, in this subject,

and the

figure entering from an adjoining
apartment gives us a hint of the noise generally attending such brawls.
As a moral is here introduced, I shall make a few remarks (otherwise irrelevant to the purpose) in this place. When a picture possesses a moral, it
is certainly a great advantage, provided we are not disgusted by its vulgarity, as is the case in the representation of drunkenness, etc., in some of
the Dutch School, or by affected sentiment, as in many of the present works
of all the schools. The moral must also never injure the picture in its higher

indicate the cause of the quarrel;

requisites.
In the early ages, representations of vice were necessary as
strong lessons of morality but as mankind grew more enlightened, they
were referred to books, not pictures, for improvement. Besides, an artist
ouglit always to recollect that he paints for the higher, not for the lower,
;

classes of

men

;

and as

his business

is

to convey pleasure, not pain, a little

intercourse with society will convince him that

men

in all

ranks have often

enough to vex them, or to produce a variance with their fellow creatures,
without hanging up on their walls representations tending to Increase either
the one or the other feeling. The absence of these considerations in an artist
(of which we see daily proofs) dooms his works to that neglect which he
Representaascribes to the want of encouragement to the arts generally.
tions of tragical events also (though possessing a fine moral or sentiment)
have received but little patronage in this country whether it is that they
are not suited to the character of the nation, who, though not averse to the
;

representation of a tragedy on the stage, are unwilling to choose a constant

companion from sucli a class, or that there are few of those connoisseurs
whose feelings arc completely absorbed in the contemplation of high art, is
a question which this is not the proper place to discuss the fact is, however,
;

indisputable.

Plate
I

III

Fig. 6

shall notice here the

.

—As

this

composition consists of a single figure,

method Met/.u has taken

to render

it

a part of the

we shall have to refer to other plates, when we come
The figures dressed in black and
to treat of light and shade and color.
white, coming in contact and contrast in the strongest manner the black
is repeated by the hat, and diffused by the black marble in the floor, the

whole, especially as

;

wliite is

referred to the white marble in the floor and collected into a mass

the carpet, which is of red and warm colors, focused
by a stick of wax, is repeated by the back of the chair, and
carried up by the outside of the window on the edge of the picture, which

hv

tlie

wliite wall

at the light

;

PLATE

III

PLATE

IV

n

Sc

.

I shall notice strongly those in points in the ground which of necessity must be introduced from natural circumstances. His heads and hands form a number of luminous spots in a mass of half-tint. “On a careless inspection you perceive no accuracy or uniformity in the position of the heavenly bodies. 1 As an outline can give us little idea of this arrangement. — — . . serves at the same time to assist the perspective effect even the fastening of the casement is not without its use in the composition. — . in order that these spots may take agreeable and decided forms to prevent confusion. is painted of a pale red . . This often gives a characteristic stamp of Nature to the whole. Plate IV Fig. ground for support. thereby attracting the attention of the spectator toward them. neither ranked in order nor moving by line but wdiat seems confusion is all regularity what carries a show of negligence is really the result of the most masterful contrivance. which appears like the language of a painter. at the same time contriving the group so that those points become of the greatest consequence to the composition. In Ostade’s works it is rendered the more easy. Speaking of the stars.” Fig. a promiscuous heap of shining globes. I may be allowed to observe that the four points of light are the upper halves of both the figures (being of a pale yellow). and are rendered of more value by the introduction of blue and dark draperies this requires much consideration. His pictures call to my mind a passage in Hervey. which is to mark lines. so completely consonant is it to the principles on which he constructs his work. from being smaller than the frame of the window. Hervey says. 9 the forms are echoed and repeated with the same simplicity. they appear like an illustrious chaos. 2. de Laer. as I have at present only to draw the student’s attention to the arrangement of form and that portion of com. sky. P. . as it is the inside of an empty drinking cup. 3. Plate III Fig. the white dog and a light wall above the fireplace brought in contact with a black powder horn. etc. and the picture frame on the wall. from his long residence among the Italian painters. Plate IV Fig. PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION. As this regularity is considered by some to be incompatible with . it perhaps indicates the commencement of the story as well as any other means. on the most regular and severe principles of their grandest compositions. 7 We have here the strong dark point coming in contact with the light ground in the most cutting manner which is more naturally accounted for by its being the most projecting.— . When we come nigh to examine we find that this is produced by their possessing a decided mass of light. as he has seldom any particular story to interfere with the arrangement. obtained by means of a light wall. has constnicted most of his pictures. — . position that arises one good plan from the repetition and connection of among many others. though generally in the low w'alks of art. Ostade’s pictures have the peculiarly valuable property of looking well at a distance. consists the In thus obliging a design to depend on its principle of union and harmony but.

we must recollect that from his painting upon a dark red ground (as was used at the time by many of the Italians) his works often look harsh. de Laer’s pictures possess this property of light and shade too decidedly for such a purpose. . Let me here caution the student against supposing that I mean grossness and vulgarity as proper accompaniments in his representations of common Nature he must conevy such scenes to us with the appearance of their having passed through a susceptible and amiable mind. Abernethy says.” The English pastorals have failed in giving pleasure.” When we refer to the great masters in poetry we find that the “Idyls” of Theocritus are not less regular than the “Iliad” of Homer. which is complicated in its parts. as the result of deep it to be false. I shall here doctrine. not to make her disgusting. in most of the Italian prints which I compared with the original pictures. but in consequence of their not being founded on truth. PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION. the only substitute engravers can give for the alisence of colors but surely it is not too much to request. yet simple in its operations. I found the character- The strong lights wanted their value. I consider and not tenable. not by the regularity of their construction. In the work of the best painters in the lower walks of the art. A regular form can alwa_ys be rendered sufficiently irregular by the means of light and shade and if P.. indented in the shadow. the language and scenery not being that of Nature in such situations. . I I believe sufficient against its . for we find her conducting and exhibiting the most beautiful appearances and effects in the humblest and most trifling of her works by the same laws that regulate her in the formation of the most sublime. has received an advantage by its adoption his best pictures being founded on the simple construction of his rival. I beg leave to remark. “That work is beheld with admiration and delight. 10 the negligence of arrangement which they suppose necessary to the pic- make a few observations on that turesque. from being thickly painted. brouglit in contact. either has already been written on engravbeing considered a liberal translation the beauty of lines is. from the shadows being deficient in their proper strength and quietness. whose soft and delicate touch seems ill suited to severe regularity of form. or from the manner in which the strong darks and lights were istic points often not attended to. when referred to the operations of Nature. . there Even Wouvermans. the lights. nor am . where a variety of effects are seen to arise from one principle operating uniformly. or from the introduction of aericl perspective (a circumstance seldom influencing the conduct of the great masters either of the Italian or Venetian schools). counsel. having resisted the influence of the ground. or light and shade. As the student will have occasion to refer to the prints after the dif- ferent designs here given. be referred to its proper scale. perhaps. or the “Georgies” and “Eclogues” of Virgil than the “^iieid. that. or a strong blue (however ornamented by lines). while his half tints are absorbed and are numberless examples of this regularity. ing. anxious to render Nature agreeable. that a strong red.

.ifZ/r// Fi^-5 CoTtisfic.2 V '///////'.PLATE ' H ^.

.

which simplicity is and extensive being finely adapted for the purposes of Cartoon we have a fine specimen of this form of composition. but also those circumstances which preceded and followed it. — As in Fig. With Raffaelle this seems to have been invaribaly of the first importance his worst compositions have always a strong feature to recommend them. have the figures gradually declining from the sides to the center of the on the foreground. has enabled them to acquire that consequence their diminution would other- The wise have deprived them of. one color is often made to depend upon the adjoining for its shadow . We come now to speak of the Circular Form applicable to the highest walks of art from sweep light and to the lowest. . In compositions embracing many figures a repetition of form and action is often found to be indispensable a single figure. for the more easy detection of the light and shade a most fallacious method for. . Thus simply has Raffaelle contrived not only to tell his story. regularity of the composition is also increased by the division of the group into seven figures on each side.—— I'KACTICAL HINTS OX COMFOSITIOX. . and no one. or the production of shadow. 2. the most projecting and the most retiring colors are rendered . This regularity will strike the student as being particularly suited to religious subjects. oring. 1 . In this design we . but a few attempts to make such uniformity appear a natural emanation will compel him to exclaim with the poet: “Within that As no less circle none durst walk but he. Plate V Fig. and repeating each other with a simplicity I have mentioned which is safe only in the hands of the best painters. regularity as a quality to be found in the most sublime subjects in painting. but to infer from that that regularity constituted sublimity were as absurd as to say irregularity constituted the picturesque. except Ananias and Sapphira. CIRCULAR COMPOSITION. and. These errors seem to have arisen from contemplating the picture in the twilight. . in colcolor I . by placing the principal in the center. performs an action that is not repeated. which enables the spectator to view the whole of circle the persons employed . 11 either as the extension of light. 5 encing the arrangement of the whole group we have here the heads composed on the same principle. in such case being found too small to give importance to any action is referred to the next for assistance as. we may observe this form influPlate IV Fig. —In its this its of Composition. In the design a strict adherence to the plan laid down has secured a decided character to the picture. to assist which arrangement Raffaelle has placed the Apostles on an elevated plane. in such case. from and shade.” have occasion to speak of the repetition of form as being essential toward the production of harmony than the repetition of I shall may call the student’s attention to it in this place. . similar.

“The Death to it in produce his mass of shadow contact with the light on the principal figure. and in light and shade. 1 fluency of a great master. as it were. 2 In compositions of out-of-door scenes this circular often form of arrangement is the only opportunity we have of procuring of shade so necessary a mass to the group in a pictoral point of view. independently of its acquiring a consequence by such harmony requires that a strong action should be. wdicre he appears. yet this picture is not less sublime than that of “The Doctors of the Church” (Fig. 3 As I shall have occasion to refer to the examples of this great master of light and shade in their proper place it would be unfair to make any observations on him here. The prominent points in this work are the same as in Fig. 2 . I shall only observe that such reasoning never seems to have influenced Coreggio. — Fig. 4. who would consider such a design only as an amusement. In writing this extension. in the antique. With sculpture. which to painters seem more extraordinary. however. as sculptors have not the means of local color to produce it. the figure with the book being in a strong red. the mode resorted to. The manner in which the figures are interwoven with each other. generally is is prepared for one sentence by what has preceded This simplicity and harmonious communication is to be found in Nature. I am aware that some sculptors consider the arrangement of their figures degraded by any attention to the picturesque effect of light and shade.” use of mean materials he often destroys the beauty of that structure which . are to be found in his grandest compositions. — . light and color. — The “The Death student may compare as Dominichino has adopted the in the same means middle of the group. the shadow is increased by the dark blue dress of the Virgin. “short of his beams. and the other in white. to assist the projecting and retiring points. . and the two most projecting points by the light drapery of the Magdalen and the strong red of St. and insulated action. 12 or enlargement. But. however. are all worthy of sultation of the doctors . 2. it is not our province to interfere.” with Fig. . and to bring admirable design of West’s. where the six heads are placed in the most regular manner four around the altar and one at each side. and the velocity with which the whole appears to move. of St. particularly Ostade. from his making it. the splendor of its light is so well calculated to adorn. as Milton would express I may. . In this subject Rubens displays all the easy Plate VI Fig. and the vision expressive of the subject of their research. in the best Italian masters and in many of the Dutch. — the artist’s attention. 3). We have here six heads placed in the most unequal manner. and the reader it. Jerome.” this of General Wolfe. The most picturesque arrangements in form. broken down and diffused through the group. Plate V Fig. Jerome. remark that. which is fond of sudden contrast. Fig. numerically speaking. It is seldom to be met with in the French school. for the purpose of connecting the lower and upper half of the picture the con- the case.—— PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION.

PLATE VI .

PLATE MI rj: Shp^. .et-J'c.

Fig. and the depth of the shadow is assisted by the local color of the objects placed in it. it enables us to keep the other figures in their places better than by diminishing the firmness of their shadows or colors. and by a dark blue mantle coming in contact with the light by her addressing the Apostles. as is the case also in Fig. — In this design. 1 . 5 every . H . and pointing to the demoniac. his has here displayed the vision of the Transfiguration in and by raising his figures from the ground (one movements of the mind which are above restraint) has stamped the most sublime manner. and every figure must keep his place in its relative distance from the eye. he might have said. “like a bright flame issuing as if from a sacrifice. figure of the lower group (an interesting young female) from the ground by a strong warm light cutting against the shadow. the hands and feet of the Apostle with the book. he carries on his group until Neither in the situation of the hero. when we find it applicable both to the regularity of Raffaelle and the irregularity . i\Ir. nor in the it ends in the distance.” the principal figure in the middle of the picture. Fig. Avho has retired thither to pray. being dressed in strong dark. and strengthened it by boy accompanies. it was also by the hold and original conception of made the principal detach itself . Fuseli luminously describes them rising like “a flame” if not too metaphorical. He has mencing his in contact with the shadow. — As the merits critic. by two of them pointing to the mount. and possessing the greatest variety of advantages. It is not only necessary that a group should have hol. HINTS ON COMPOSITION. refer the people to Christ. and ascending unto God. Plate VIII West has placed Fig.— PKACTICAI. The . but it was not alone by the expression or arrangement of his figures that Raffaelle holds his rank in the art. I of tliis 13 composition liave been descanted on by being a subject well suited for a display of the powers of Raffaelle has shall merely offer one or two practical remarks. “The Landing of Charles II. The Disciples express their inability to perfonn the cure. — “Cattle Returning Home in a Shower. and the figures are so linked together that the e^ye is carried round until we arrive at the most projecting points. hence a form composed of a concave and convex line has been often adopted as the simplest and best. when brought the nigh point the female this is whom the brought sharp off the ground.” Plate VII. of those them with the strong feature of immortal beings. eloquence. They must appear to have room to stand upon. but also projections for the light to rest upon not only ought to possess a good general form in the outline which but the figures must also be linked together in such a way as to lead the spectator in among them. He subject. form of the group. does he seem solicitous to hide the science. 2. Com- composition at the nighest point. Rembrandt. and. This is the arrangement. That it is so generally used will cease to surprise us.” In this composition the principal light falls on the convex part of the group. the two sides are united. — lows for the reception of shadow. defines of it it.

PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION.

14

goat in the foreground is connected to the rest by some white flowers of
an elder bush, which cannot be expressed in an outline. As this is from
a design of my late brother’s I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without expressing the great loss I feel in not having his assistance, not only
in these notes, but in everything connected with the art though practicing
painting but for a short time of a short life, his strength of mind, his flne
;

eye for color, and a taste for the beauties of pastoral painting, convince

me

the English School has lost one that would have been an

ornament to

that department of the science.

3

Fig.

.

Is a repetition of the

same form.

Plate IX. This plate consists of Wilkie’s admirable composition of
“The Blind Fiddler,” “The Salutation of the Virgin” by Rembrandt, and
“A Dance” by Ostade. I shall leave it to the student’s own judgment to
investigate the various forms on which these compositions depend.

By making

the principal heads depend upon one

mode

of arrangement,

the general appearance of the group on a different mode, the background

on a third, and so on with the minor points (provided they all tend to the
assistance of one another), his composition will not only have intricacy
without confusion, but that variety which is so characteristic in Nature.
A beautiful combination in Nature will often appear to evade every rule
All her varieties
by her being perfect in every mode of examination.
emanate from a straight line and a curve. A judicious arrangement of
objects possessing these various forms gives the strongest natural appearance to a picture nor ought the artist to leave out rashly what he may
In coloring, harsh tints are admitted to
conceive to be void of beauty.
produce harmony in the other colors and the most picturesque arrangements often depend on the presence of what might be otherwise considered
;

;

ugly forms.

have made use of the terms “beautiful and agreeable arrangements,” it is proper to give an explanation of the sense in which they arc
applied.
By a beautiful arrangement I mean a proper adaptation of
those principles that arrest a common observer, and give a pleasureable
sensation, which to a cultivated mind increases (not diminishes) by the
For example, a beautiful
investigation of the cause which produces it.
affects
the
savage
and the philosopher from their
appearance in Nature
sensations merely as men but a painter, whose life is spent in a constant
competition with Nature in producing the same effects, receives a tenfold
gratification in following her through those assemblages which to the world
Hence, in
beside are, as it were, “a fountain setled and a book shut up.”
art, a beautiful arrangement must be a selection of those forms, lights
and colors that produce a similar result and the taste of an artist is shown
in heiehteninff their effect bv the absence of those circumstances which are
found by experience to produce the contrary. Did an investigation of the
means pursued by the great masters tend to abridge an artist’s pleasurable
sensations, instead of being the most favored, he would be rendered the

As

I

;

;

PLATE Mil
I'Uue

8.

fT'/’ n I^iivn (7'jc.

PLATE IX
I'j.itfO.

this. to enjoy the faculty of conceiving such ideas. one reason why so much has been written on the subject without those truths being made sufficiently obvious. A design that has nothing but novelty to recommend it is a conceit. The mind must have received its education through the medium of the eye. when many observations which appear to be omitted here will present themselves. as it will be necessary to go over. in art. free himself. is I must also caution the young artist against supposing that these modes of arrangement are given for his imitation I merely wish him to be acquainted with the advantages any particular composition possesses. To explain them to others would be equally impossible as that those others should be able to define them to us. the authors of many of these works have done an irreparable injury. not a composition. as by such means he is taught an alphabet that enables him to understand the language of Nature. is the criticism of those whose ideas on the subject are obscure to free the ic'orld from their influence is perhaps impossible but the artist must . Painting is a practical branch of philosophy. and Color.PRACTICAL HINTS ON COMPOSITION. — . when I come to treat of Light and Shade. the same ground. from belonging more properly to those divisions of the work. If I have explained my definition of the terms sufficiently for the artist’s comprehension I am satisfied. which the writers wished to demonstrate. Before I conclude I have to apologize for the paucity and brevity of these observations. It may be supposed that in my search after so desirable an object I have perused all the works written to define Beauty and Taste. as well as the refiectlons of the mind. which we often find merely renders the most sublime truths more obscure. whose advancement in other sciences really seems to increase their ignorance of this. and beg the reader’s constant reference to the plates as the only method of making myself correctly understood. or the power of tracing them to their original source in Nature or . and can only be rendered clear by satis- fying the observations of the eye. as a test of their truth. but as I wish to avoid all controversy on the subject. that in adopting any invention of his own he may engraft upon it those or similar advantages. The student in painting can hope to derive advantage from theory only when rendered obvious bv ocular One great cause of the obscurity which envelops the art demonstration. in a great measure. Artists generally prefer the opinions of untutored children to the remarks of the most learned philosophers. and which endeavor to circumscribe with a line that endless variety and omnipresence which make Nature a source of gratification to all nations under every alteration of the mind. as far as painting is concerned. I have also been anxious to avoid tautology. 15 most miserable of beings but the opposite is the case. perhaps. I shall only remark that. . not of the ear.

I .

PRACTICAL HINTS ON LIGHT AND SHADE .

.

K.” and Dutch Schools F. Flemish HV JOHN BURNET. “The highest finishing is labor in vain.t^STRATKI) HV Examples from the Italian. S. PUBLISHER 1913 . CHAMBERS. unless at the and shadow.PRACTICAL HINTS ON LIGHT AND SHADE IM. same time there be preserved a breadth of light Rkynoi h’s Notfs on Dl Frfsnov PHILADELPHIA FRANK V.

PKINTEI) HY CHAMBERS PRESS PHILADELPHIA .

as much as jiossible." JOHN BURNET. and the longest dissertation to prove the existence or utility of that which appears of no advantage would be unavailing. or a regular The mind the}’ occur. I have endeavored to trace the effects. merely naturally fond of variety. instruction accomplished. in painting. whether they were guided by cannot now determine student has a bettei- always bear in Dr. through a succession provided their advantages are shovii and explained. those things which appear to the reader to be useful. who have or imitative instinct. nor suffers decay. treating of the conduct of the light and shade. In this part. shorter than the shortest which could be furnished by writing . from the encoura^’ement the from tlie first approbation of many of our best has met with jiainters.PREFACE I am now induced to take up the third part of the Practicai> Hints ox Painting. who but more esjieciall}' are undoulitedly the best judges of the utility of the work. to their first causes operating in various ways on the minds of the different artists adopted them. the end of of images. to use the words of “ The accidental compositions of heterogeneous modes solved by the chance which combined them. we wish to inculcate any doctrine where the own to serve as guide. that is it of his my rules. is There is no fixed mode for conveying instruction. other things. . nor mode mind. he will connect in his own mind by a chain of reasoning. Johnson. is shall follow the as before. are dis- but the uniform simplicity of primitive cjualities neither admits increase. however. as in Let him. . and by leading it throwing treatise. I same mode out hints as without any relation to connection. .

.

. light and sluide in their various be pro])er to jiotice a few of the more palpable and self-evident combinations. viz. for. and in a desire to preserve a breadth of effect he may ])roduce flatness. By the first the artist is enabled to give bis works the distinctness and solidity of Nature. . Before proceeding to intricate situations it may investigate E.: light. halfdark and dark. the dark and light portions have a more eapial chance of coming into notice. but they will be apt to look s])otty for want of half-light to spread and connect them and the piece be in danger of becoming black and heavy and when a ])icture is composed chiefly of middle-tint. A judicious management of these three pro])crties is to be found in the best pictures of the Italian. Taght and shade arc capable of producing many results. . a general breadth. R. S. harmony and breadth. PRACTICAL HINTS ON LIGHT AND SHADE BY JOHN BURNET. by giving too mucb relief. half-Iiglit. but tbe three })rinci])al are relief. and for the bettor comprehending of which I shall divide them into five parts. it will be apt to look feeble. . and when a ])icture is composed mainly of dark and half-dark the lights will be more brilliant. he will j)roduce a dry hard effect by too mucb softness and blending of the parts. is the necessary attendant on extent and magnitude. wooliness and insipidity. but. without the help of strong color to give it solidity. Venetian and Elcmish Schools. and ought to emj)loy the most attentive examination of the student. but the general effect is in danger of being common and insipid. When a picture is chiefly composed of light and half-light the darks will have more force and point. The second is the result of a union and consent of one part with another and the third. middle-tint. .

from its absorbing many of the half-tints and rendering the darks less cutting. and thus producing a connection or agreement. when carried beyond the necessary deptb for the relief or distinct marking of the several parts. ..” . If an open daylight appearance is intended. enveloped in The Rembrandt. and alloM’ing a greater spread of light and half-light. of tliis (juality in describing tbe situation of the fallen “From No Angels: those flames but rather darkness visible Served only to discover sights of woe. the and half-dark. and an agreeable sensation. Ri’eadth of effect is only to be produced by a great extent of light or shade pervading the picture. hut we find it in the greatest perfection in the pictures of Paul Veronese arid Tintoret and even the larger works of Titian and Corregio have a flatness and a precision which we look for in vain in the succeeding school of Caracci and their disciples. Rembrandt has carried this property of shadow beyond the ho])e of any improvement. which is the characteristic ought to appear powerful and in the other the lights brilliant. from the spectator being allowed to exercise his own fancy in embodying indistinct forms. as imaginary dangers appear greater than iNIilton has made use real. it will be best produced by leaving out part of the middle-tint.. shadow upon any composition. and repose. the absence of tbeir harsh color. etc. or by neutralizing and breaking down the harsh asperities of the two extremes. such as we see in Cuyp. this will also give the darks the relative force which they possess in Nature. such as we find in is made up picture ought to be masses of obscurity. as their being seen from a greater distance than easel pictures prevents their looking harsh or cutting. In the one treat- required. I>aurence. etc. being augmented by the operations of the mind. being cold and black. either by conveying a sensation of the same colors with those in immediate contact. If we allow ourselves to be influenced by the association of ideas it is capable of imparting a greater degree of horror to any subject of terror. If a breadth of shadow ment the darks ought to of strong davl ight . and gives them that sharpness and clearness of effect so necessary to counNot only the works of Raphael and those of the Italian school possess this quality. Harmony or a union of the different parts of a composition depends upon the intermediate parts serving as a link or chain. his picture of disagreeable from “The iMartyrdom its of St. and by this means has clothed the most trifling subject with a portion of sublimity. Guido excepted. teract heaviness. and the distinct form and crisp marking of the leaves. Thus the gloomy solitude of a wood is increased by the absence of tbe twittering light through the trees. is breadth.PRACTICAL HINTS OX 2 Relief is most necessary in large works. from there being fewer of the outlines visible hence arises a certain grandeur attendant upon space.” And dhtian which otherwise in is light. tell of middle-tint sharp and cutting. influence of .

and even this he keeps of a cold tone. I. for example. i. Expeanation of Peate If light. justly. If. in contact with it. collected into a focus upon a wall many artists it in most instances on the mind of the festivities of a village diffused over the general face of Nature. surrounds with a black bonnet or hat. we take a head by Rembrandt we find the principal light or focus in the upper part of the face (which he often. spectator. until the light is dissipated and lost. or one part brighter than another. one becoming brighter and the other darker from the effect of contrast. . being of an opposite nature. ujion which have founded their principles of light and shade. being pi'oduced by tbe collecting of the rays. which. he beholds in tlie great measure explain tliemselves. We have a principal light. In this example we have some of the most essential losing itself in half-tint. either some of defined efiects of light in a a I. jiroducing thereby a union and an appearance of his light giving dations. that every light. If these two extremes are brought in contact we make them assist each other. qualities of light as applicable to the purposes of painting. . h owever small. and ought to have a focus. leaves that portion of the ground the darkest which comes thereby assisting its We brightness. For the same reason we ought to have one portion of a dark more decided than the rest. termed the increased it in Where brightness. be thrown obliquely principal properties. Let us now examine how these properties have been made use of in the management of the light and shade of a picture. and the when naturally becomes more feeble. to render more luminous. bundles of rays are collected the light is they become more diffused and spread out Plate Fig.IJGHT AND SHADE Having thus characteristic features of sliadow. If they are placed at the opposite sides of the picture we have greater breadth and a more equal balance. lens. have an innumerable variety of gra- Some artists maintain. Fig. to give more value to the flesh) the light is then allowed to fall down on the figure. by means of a will explain to us one of its it holiday or when may l)e 1. and as we find this to be a general law in Nature it is surely safe ground to go upon. the Its cheerful influence operates when viewing the it Allegro Painting.

I. but the light and the shade will be thus rendered more intense by the force of opposition. etc. 2. If a balance or union between the twm sides he wished there is no other way but by borrowing a portion of the one and exchanging it for a portion of the opposite and not only may this practice he made use of for the harmony of the whole. such as it rising upward it frequently until lost in middle-tint in tlie . Fig. to warrant our following either mode. Ptate I. If the light is placed near the horizon. if we pursue tlie contrary practice. whether the dark which is carried to the light side be very small. pictures. or “Nativity” in the National Gallery. If the two extreme points are connected by intermediate figures. we have the groundwork of some of the most powerful . for example. as in evening skies. and tlierehv affording the greatest opportunity for breadth of elfect. A few experiments on a ground of a middletint. small this principle. or very large. If a diagonal line he drawn through the picture. vice versa. is in Cuyp.. we see upper part of the picture. either in Nature or in softness of effect.PRACTICAI. Plate and most natural effects in painting. thus rendering the most complicated compositions subservient to the simplest principles of light and shade. Fig. and. with a pencil filled with white. and place tlie dark jiart of the group on the dark ground. and the light part of the group on the light ground. we must of necessity have the greatest breadth of effect. Now. and the dark part of the group by a light ground. we have more breadth and There is no want of examples. as the light part of the group will he relieved by a dark ground. and the extreme dark and extreme light be placed at opposite sides. we we follow him If in the conduct of some the same principle adopted. whether find such as the hundred Guilder print. thus making a sweep around the picture. as in the figures. we have the greatest firmness. and another dipped in black. so as to form hut one group. will give the student an insight into all the changes capable of being produced upon they of of consist few. HINTS ON 4 out rays of the same line as of his larger compositions many itself. ami the middle-tint descending into shadow by means of trees. 2. figures.

especially brought contact with in it. effect A . O the light has great brilliancy. If this method is pursued in the management of the light on a hand. the landscapes of Claude. soft and subdued tones of color. tlie mode is we I.. it character. which Reynolds ( who has adopted this mode in so many of his works) mentions as giving a rich effect. effects. light in tlie center of the picture extremities with a l)order of dark binding in the whole. or a single head. Corregio and Rembrandt were acquainted with the works of one another. and serving at the same time to convey brilliant the dark sides into the picture. 3. and a breadth of light and shade.LIGHT AND SHADE Plate Soiiietinics gradating to By this of dark find tlic prijicipal Fig. it is equally applicable. in Nature has an opportunity of in possession of a power to unravel all her mysteries. if a small portion This melting of the light into shadow has been carried to great perfection by Corregio and Rembrandt. will put the student . if occasionally of of Corregio. etc. is still to be found in the same school in which the twilight and at night. ships. arises from his great If he reminds us breadth of soft union of his lights with the shadow. few walks in it Remis the the evening. his compositions. gradating to the sides of his canvas by means of buildings. and every requisite for forming the mind of an artist. who most frequently relieved the dark side of their figures by a still darker background. as in a more extensive work. We do not know whether Claude. we find In who has often placed tlie sun near the center of the light managed upon the same broad principle. with often a clump of dark trees jutting into the mass of light. in scenery where showing her various they studied. thereby giving it its brandt. hut we have the most evident proofs that they were well acquainted with the principle by which Nature produces her most striking effects.

and warm and cold colors. painters pacticularly excelled in the management of light and shade. shall be a superiority of and varied one over the in their shapes. - 4.” the secondary lights ought. In his notes upon Fresnoy. and on which the effect of That his picture depends. that consummate skill which entirely conceals the appearance of art. “Jan Steen. “I shall here set down tlie result of the observations which I have made on the works of those artists who appear to have best understood tlie management of light and shade. and who may be considered as examples for imitation in this branch of art. PRACTICAL HINTS ON 6 Plate If the lights are to low in tone it is Fig. in this department. I. though not of equal magnitude with the principal. Ostade. Teniers.and rest. Dusart and many others of that school may be produced as instances and recommended to the young artist’s careful study and attention. “The means by which the painter works. “Titian. are light and shade. he says: “The same rules. and have shown. there is an art in the management and disposition of those means will be easily granted. a picture from the ground being of the utmost consequence that they should not only be varied in form and magnitude. for the sake of A w { - ' > Plate The Dutch I. speaking of light and shade. predominate in 4. must be observed in regard to the grouping of lights that there I shall here take the liberty of introducing a works. that they shall be separated that there should be at least three lights harmony and union. to be of nearly equal brightness. seeing that they than when the ground is lighter. but that they should produce an agreeable arrangement in the picture. as nothing can exceed it in utility . Paul Veronese and Tintoretto were who reeluced to a among the first painters system what was before practiced ivitbout any fixed .. . Fig. will attract greater notice passage from Reynolds’ and justness of observation. and it is equally certain that this art is to be acquired by a careful examination of the works of those who have excelled in it. which have been given in regard to the regulation of groups of figures.

including principal and secondary liglits . animals. . is of no very great consequence. a portrait. if. wrought. in order to give firmness and distinctness to the work. it will appear as if inlaid on its ground. A few trials of this kind will be sufficient to give the method of their conduct in the management of tlieir lights. it is relieved on every side. brightest which posing equal “Ry this surrounded with the greatest quantity of shade. a white napkin. though he does not distinguish whether it is a history. Rubens extracted his scheme of composition.LIGHT AND SHADE / From the Venetian and consequently neglected occasionally. for it is necessary that some part (though a small one is sufficient) should he sharp and cutting against its ground. If be observed. which was soon understood and adopted by his countrymen. or utensils. and ought never to be upon the management of light and shade depends the sight of. “Rubens appears to have admitted rather more light than a quarter. dead game. means you may likewise remark the various forms and shapes Hung. on the other hand. “Whether I have given an exact account. and Rembrandt much less. held at a distance from the eye. but it costs too much the rest of the picture sacrificed to this one object. will strike the spectator as something excellent for the disposition of light and shadow. whether a of those lights. and one means at least of acquiring the principles on which they for this pui*pose only. scarce an eighth by tliis conduct Rembrandt’s . let every person examine and judge for himself.” This lost is so admirable as to need no comment. as well as the olijects on which they are figure or the sky. That light will certainly appear the light is is . as general look of the picture. . sup- is skill in the artist. and how much is united with its ground. likewise. in tliis portion both the anotlier quarter to be as dark as possible. and the remaining half kept in a mezzo-tint or half-shadow. “When I was at Venice the method I took to avail myself of their principles was this: When I observed an extraordinary effect of light and shade in any picture I took a leaf of my pocketbook and darkened every part of it in the same gradation of light and shade as the picture. After a few experiments I found the paper blotted nearly alike. or anything else for the same pi’inciplcs extend to every branch of the art. often may introduced what portion is strongly relieved. a landscape. whether it be light on a dark or dark on a light ground. and this without any attention to the subject or to the drawing of the figures. it will be sufficient if I have suggested a mode of examining pictures this way. or made a just division of the quantity of light admitted into the works of those painters. leaving the white paper untouched to represent light. and extended even to the minor painters of familiar life in the Dutch school. extremely brilliant. painters a quarter of the picture for the light. their general practice appeared to he. Such a blotted paper. to allow not above principle.

Fig. the circumstance of the face coming liglit ofi' the background reipiires tbe feet or base of the figure to tell dark on the ground. Plate means of assisting the perspective by faculty of seeing Nature. receives great A'igor . we find the same simple broad principle predominant. kept dark. warm colors. or lated. appear to slope down like a declivity. it perhaps sky. d. . we shall find we have not only to call in to our aid strong light. and as the outline is . 5. Fig. surface recedes from the light it necessarily becomes more or less defined it has the property of advancing or receding. forming a mass of shadow center of the canvas. water. and that we have to compete with her upon an upright surface. When we 5. the light is often conducted round it in the by means of the and as the dark becomes in a manner isoand imjiortance. or had not the consider that Nature spreads out her landscape ujion a horizontal plane. of light and shade. more distant part cool tints. Fig. it liglit foreground . we find the management guided by the same rules only if a portrait. and if any jiart is more lost in the background than another. I. in place of coming flat up to the edge of the frame.s Plate As a wall or flat I. but to subdue the of the ground by soft shadow and retiring Plate Wlien the composition is I.PKACTICAL HIXTS ON . for the sake of firmness. we must either suppose that the painter knew not the principle darker. As tliis is the lawerse of Fig. and such as have the property of advancing. and whether it be com])osed of a clum}) of trees. These may seem to be properties too evident to every one to need any explanation but when we see a foreground. or the dark dress of a whole-length figure. coming in contact with sharp dark. 6.

have noticed in another place the union of one part of the picture another by means of a repetition of the light.LIGHT AND SHADE 9 If a clump of trees. it will therefore be unnecessary to say anything further upon such management. is to be represented. such as ought to be the middle portion of tlic figure. howI M'ith Plate ever. we often find in Claude. thereby producing a union of the trees with Plate the /. I may. shadow which they cast on tlie ground. Fig. Fig. accordingly we observe in principal light is often yellow. whose carried into the dark part of . 6. As a light in the center of dark must thereby acquire an increased consequence. tints of Plate I. observe that it it is I. their stems shoot out from a ground of the same darkness. Fig. that it is Cuyp. so a dark in the middle light tints receives the same importance. not only of service to repeat the light. but also that should be of the same color. y. 7.

for. If the principal light is and white. for example. l. according as he wishes such extension of his light.. to expand Ins principle. and more easy to contend with. etc. such as hlue find it repeated cither by a reflection in water or a figure dressed in the same cold Portrait painters generally make use of the light tint. which are its Rembrand’t close attention effects on the different objects it illuminates. Fig. or a few touches of golden color. from his first it of the in the same sky to repeat color. but scribed spot. he perceived to Nature soon led him . and in his first works it often forms a circum- must appear the surrounded by the greatest quantity of shade”. a cow. we cold. seems to have been always solicitous to represent the brightness of light at the sacrifice of every other quality . as Reynolds justly observes. a candle.PRACTICAL HINTS OX 10 picture by means of yellow drapery. commencement in the art. though this acteristics. fire. sheep. is Rcuibrandt. conduct enables whether it tlie artist to give light one of its strong char- be the sun. large or tlic small. the lights of their head and hands hy making Plate Rembrandt. yet there are other [irojierties quite as essential. II. “that light brightest which Plate II.

which gives the appearance of truth to the whole effect. and received upon a light object which. and indeed we often find Rembrandt placing objects for the express purpose of producing such shadows. a ray of light falling into an apartment.: LIGHT AND SHADE tlie 11 flame of a candle exceeded in briglitness everytliing around it in a ten- which conld he expressed only hy darkening the whole. viz.” we have a principle upon which many of his pictures sire constructed. reflects hack the rays. and his strongest colors its find his . and therchy extinguishing its influential effect: fold hut ratio. and even his deepest shadows are illuminated hy streaks of red or rich brown running into them. his strong dark and his hot and cold colors all focused at one point and at other times his darks employed to clear up the middle-tint. and illuminates the surrounding influence objects. as Sometimes we if afraid of dis- strong light. if the candle itself was hid the appearance of every object under its was not only more easily given. 1 of this Plate. as in Nature. receiving such direct rays we sometimes itself. all olijects Fig. hut the effect of the whole became more deceptive and natural. In Fig. made the means of uniting his light with the shade. in the splendor of the light. as shadows swallowed up turbing breadth. is the case in Nature. whatever was . The see strongly Rembrandt. and leaving the light in a spot. 2. which ( from his principal light being of a warm tone) and keep up a connection without destroying the breadth of light and shade. giving thus his principal light the properties of light shadows of Plate II. “Christ Restoring the Daughter of Jairus. In short. at other times we find the defined. His extending of the light through the picture gradually became more enlarged.

they are merely Plate 111. Rembrandt’s figures are lighted up with a splendor which extinguishes every other subordinate light. and a much plates left without being liglit the Cross. is from a picture in the Louvre. IT. and shows how small a portion of light sometimes engaged Rembrandt’s solicitude. holding tlie Fig. mentions two in the Temple. whicli were the result of tlie printing alone. i. In many of the Rembrandt’s etchings he has got credit for effects supposed to he produced by much labor.” of the original etchings more worked upon but I find. 2 at the torch in the made wiped. Fig.PRACTICAL HINTS ON 12 practice. Figs. and which we often cannot account for upon the common principles of Nature. and 2 represent the “Taking Down From the Cross” and the Daulby. 1 “Presentation states . while it is but sparingly admitted on the figures seen within the apartment on the contrary. We often see the attempts of de Hooge and others of representing light confined to its effect in the sky or on the objects out of doors. The subject below. he seems always to have had some end to accomplish. “Taking Down From clean at those places. and the dark dress of the figure to give it its value. The curtain is a dull red. and him departing from what would he the effect in Nature under such circumstances we may rest assured that such departure did not arise from ignorance. crosier. 1 and 2. He has employed the edge of the frame work. and is carried into the picture by the dress of the child being of the same color. in Plate II. his when we find . tlie Rembrandt. . in his catalog. varieties of . on examina- Figs. tion. thereby Rembrandt.ATE III. the dark under the cradle.” the copper being Plate III.

but unless the liglit part is of a different hue from the light ground upon which it may be })laced. Tintoretto. The con- \dien the light part of the composition of the background. with and colors. as was the principal of most of his first works.‘3 casting a stain over the whole. to the other half.” in the king’s collection. and is carried upwards by a chain of communication to the head of the crosier. Fig. accord- Rembrandt and our own swayed by the same opinion. trary method has more breadth and softness of effect. there is greater space for a breadth of shadow than when the light is kept In some of in the center. Rembrandt has advantages over every it for and darks. and to have confined his composition. as A ery little all its lights.LIGHT AND SHADE 1. such as in the “Wise Men’s Offering. greater firmness are produced. otlier. which more feeble backgrounds would not admit of. Fig. . often serves to connect the two. if kept enables the painter to give a rich tone to his colors without their appearing heavy. and the dark part is of a warmer or colder tone than the shadow . except a high light on the cap of the figure In the “Descent From the Cross” he has kept the principal light in the upper part of the picture in contact with the strong dark. unless we Reynolds ingly find all the colors are to stand as darks instead of lights Titian. s. his designs he seems to have allowed the entire half of his canvas repose. and a more ccjual balance is kept up. J^andyke. or low down in the picture. 3. The dark manner of within due bounds. and solidity Plate III. Giorgione. in the other it is kept below. is placed upon the dark side and the dark part upon the light side. Plate III. Where the light is at one side.

the yellow is carried embroidery upon the king’s dress. Plate Tlie dark forming the greatest III. ruff. 4. pose. . contact with the extreme light. at its darkest portion. Tins serves to give air to the deepest shades of the back- . is repeated by the cap. and spread out upon the underpart of the sky the darks are made up of the dark dress of the king and tlie child’s dress. 4. serving as a ground to the queen’s dress the floor being tlie red cloth of the table is repeated by tbe two chairs If a dark neutral tint gives a firmness to the bottom of both the figures. of the other figures . in this composition. Fig. l\Ict::u. wliere the black dress of tlie female is brought. serving to strengtlien Ids powers of reflection in the highest across by tlie .PRACTICAL HINTS ON 14 which surrounds it. etc. Vandyck. Fio. the student.. which is a dull green the latter tint is carried across the picture by part of the curtin turned up. . of the same color. as in the example here given. remarks what colors are resorted to for such purpose. the curtain itself is a dull yellow and brown. . in contact with the liglitest portion of the white dress. in examining the light and shade of a picture. mass of shadow of the picture is often. degree. increased and before being brought collected to a point by some object whose local color conduces to such purin riate in. there is a danger of their losing their substance and becoming flat. has made the colors of his figures assist Ids arrangement of light and shade the white dress of the the white cliild and the yellow dress of the queen make the principal light . in a few trials he will find that which at first appears complicated and difficult to unravel will become easy and beneficial. .

LIGHT AND SHADE

15

ground and greater firmness to tlie object so relieved. The collecting to
one head of all the light, and all the dark, of a piece, gives the artist the

To

greatest force of the palette.

much

enable the other side of the picture to

Metzu has thrown his strong color into the
scale, and brought his red and blue in contact, by a glove lying upon the
chair, at the point nearest the eye.
The warm color is taken to the other
side by a dog, etc., and the white of the female repeated by a handkerchief
keep up with so

the

man

vigor,

holds in his hand, his neckcloth, etc.

Plate IV,

Fig.

1.

In a single head we often have hut one light
to get

it

;

it is

therefore necessary

to harmonize with the shadow, either in the background or upon

Plate IV.

the dress.

Fig.

i.

Rembrandt, accordingly,

Rembrandt.

freipicntly

painted the light of the

dress of the same color as the shadow side of the face, thereby keeping

up

PKACTICAL HINTS ON

16
a union and simplicity.

In Fig. 2 we have the hands making a second
and in Fig. 3 we have three spots of light, the shirt and ruffles of
both hands this is the Titian Reynolds thus mentions in the description
of the Dusseldorf gallery, and which is now in Munich
“A portrait of a
gentleman, by Titian, a kitcat, one hand a-kimbo, the hand itself not seen,
only a bit of the ruffle the other, the left, rests on what appears to be his
light;

;

:

;

sword; he is looking off. This portrait has a very pleasing countenance,
but is not painted with much facilit}^, nor is it at all mannered the shadows
are of no color tlie drapery being black, and the ground being very near
as dark as it prevents the arm a-kimbo from having a bad effect.
It is
no small part of our art to know what to bring forward in the light and
what to throw into shade.”
;

;

The

linen

in

this

picture,

and most others of Titian,

cutting, the flesh forming the half-light.

is

light

and

Reynolds, talking of the “Descent

From the Cross,” by Rubens, says “He well knew wliat effect white linen,
opposed to flesh, must have, with his powers of coloring; and the truth is
that none but great colorists can venture to paint pure white linen near
flesh but such know tlie advantage of it.”
In Remlirandt we generally find
the same treatment, altiiough I have often observed tlie linen kept cool
when near the face. To give the flesh a luminous character he often introduces cool tints coming near it, and when he can find nothing else, uses the
shadows of linen for sucli purpose. In Vandyck’s early Italian manner we
find the linen much brighter than in his later works, where it became more
:

;

of a leaden cast.

Pt.ate IV, Figs

4<

and

5.

We sometimes find the liglit of the sky introduced for the purpose of
repeating the lights of the heads and hands, as in Fig. 4 sometimes to
spread and enlarge the lights of the head, and give it more consequence, as
To assist the hand in keeping its situation in this picture he has
in Fig. 5.
;

defined

it

by the hat and sliadow on the

sequence that every object should keep
to the eye of the spectator

it

is

chair.
its

As

it

is

of the utmost con-

relative distance with

regard

a good method to define those parts we

wish to advance by a dark shadow coming in contact with them, and to
surround the retiring portions with a ground of a less opposing character;
as

we know

lines

a softer nature

strongly and sharpl^^ defined will approach, and those of
Such blots are afterwards to be accounted for

will retire.

by the contrivance of the artist; in this consists tlie application of the
background of the figures, one of the most difficult and essential portions
of the art.

and shade determine the concavities or convexities of all
objects, without them the most intelligent outline would be but as a map
If, for example, we take a cup and examine the influence
or fiat surface.
of light .and shade upon it we find in Nature those principles which artists

As

liglit

LIGHT AND SHADE
have applied to

many purposes

in

which becomes darker as

it

We

painting.

strongly defined hy the light side coming

17

in

perceive the near edge

contact with the

shadow,

we have the dark side
the simplest and most effective

descends into the cup

;

brought firmly off the light, thus giving it
means of a true representation of its character. This may appear too
evident to notice in a work of this Nature, which iloes- not profess to give
the mere rudiments of the art hut I am convinced that the most intricate
principles of painting emanate from very few sources, and that these
;

Plate IV.

Fig. 4.

Vandyke.

Plate IV.

Fig.

5.

Vandyke.

sources are of a very simple Nature. Every thing within our view is filled
with examples, and the mind of the student requires only to he directed to

an examination and investigation of the subject before commencing any
work or while in the progress. He must not only know what is his intention, hut must he in posssession of the best method of expressing such
intention.

it is difficulties . unless many many figures. P. Fig. Nolpe. Fig. portion of the sky and perspective of the ground are assisted by their sharpness being swallowed up in repose. hut the receding Plate V.18 PRACTICAL HINTS ON Plate V. so . In the conunlikely that two or thrcT' white horses it is form a mass of light. When a sliadow is carried throiigli the middle of tlie picture we have not only an opportunity of giving a breadth of effect. . i. Iff ate V. or of dark . and yet we see in Salvator Rosa and Wouvermans this method adopted or in a representation of dead game it is equally improbable that we should always find a swan should he collected. or when the general arrangement consists of impossible to get a breadth of light and shade. which is often of the first consequence. 2. especially if repose is required in the work.is to . it is of them are united together of the same strength. 1. W1 len. Plate \ W1 len the principal light Figs. for example. as in Fig. see this principle noticed at Fig. a multitude of small objects are introduced into a picture. so as to form a mass of light. hut which to do with the science is in skill is one of the greatest some measure concealed fusion of a battle. for unless no longer science. and 8. 1. kept at one side we have an opportunity shadow than when the light is in the is of introducing a larger portion of center. 2 .

the slightest sketch. and withal. To 19 obviate such apparent artifice of painter we find P. made use of for this purpose. and yet preserve the breadth of Nature. for a certain bluntness in the outline.” One method among many M'hich M’e sometimes find Gerard Doinv adopting. Reynolds. M'here this breadth is preserved. for the middle-tints. Fig. darks. in indoor subjects. Mill have a better effect. is to give the texture or surface of an object M’ithout altering the tints. and shadoM’. in open daylight. muII have more the characteristics and generale of nature than the most laborious finishing M'here this breadth is lost or neglected. lights and reflected lights to be observed in Nature.I>IGHT for the same purpose. in his notes to several objects Plate r. here. G. Mill have more the appearance of coming from a master hand that is. to prevent the from looking like small models. therefore. 2. to illustrate this — . In the small works of the Dutch school we find the light on the ground. or in a window. Gerard Douw. in other Mords. notwithstanding his extreme finish. and reflection. yet altogether they make but one broad mass of light. and. and in the shadow M’ith dark touch- Fresnoy. so as to leave an impression of the threads over the M’hole. For example. applied a piece of fine cloth. consisting tlie of many figures. in painting a piece of carpet or tapestry he seems to have laid in his broad lights and shadoM's. then in the high lights to have touched each thread M'ith light. seeing that there is so little space upon a wall. Veronese. or . so as to convey an appearance of high finishing. etc. though each individual grape on the light side of the bunch has its light. as in AND SHADE Weeninx. Dow (piality. M'hile Met. contrived to preserve that breadth of light and shade which his instruction in the school of Rembrandt had empowered him to do and in small works this breadth of effect is the more difficult to retain. Tintoretto and others making use of the sky or light buildings for a principal mass in their large works. says: “We may have recourse to Titian’s bunch of grapes. which we Mill suppose placed so as to receive a broad light and shadoM".. and the sky.

and repeated in the sky. who was master of this department of art. So much cold color being admitted on the lights requires the shadows to he kept warm. which. and the giving to different substances their several and proper characters. implies giving to the representations of objects that exact tone which the objects themselves possess in Nature under the same circumstances. first instance. your tones will no longer he warm principal light is Christ. The composed of the white and blue garments of it being of the same cool tint. who formed his style of coloring upon the Venetian. : . The art of giving a finished look to a picture under it of the different shades and colors. In one of his maxims he says “Begin by painting in your shadows lightly. the introduction of and detailing the minute parts. or by a careful mixture of the colors on the palette in the Plate As the V. without disturbing the great breadth of the whole. when his light is cool makes his shadows the hotter the darker they become. did the lines accord with the undulation of the folds. Fig. . The term finish.PRACTICAL HINTS ON ing. seems to have been guided by the same opinion. Rembrandt. and is repeated by a torch carried by figures in the distance. I shall. Corregio. which cult departments of painting. taking care that no white is suffered to glide into them. either by repeated glazings with transparent washes. to prevent the picture from looking heavy accordingly we find Corregio has kept the darks of a rich brown. the warm light of the angel makes the principal for the head and hands of Christ. merely mention the color. 3 of the present plate. for is is one of the most diffi- implied the exact strengthening defines their relative situations in the picture. . when applied to coloring. in adverting to Fig. would have given a true appearance of the breadth and detail of Nature. it is the poison if ever your shadows are corrupted by of a picture exce])t in the lights the introduction of this baneful color. Rubens. S- principle of placing the light at the side of the picture has already been noticed at Plate III.

deep and transparent shade he artfully connected the fiercest extremes of light and shadow. by almost imperceptible degrees. Cuyp. Fig. sucli as mirrors. we find shining substances. as in the event of colors being opposed to the glare of light their brilliancy A few small touclies of light are is destroyed. harmonized the most intense opposition of colors. you think proper. gives a great appearance of sunshine. in his lectures. If the strong darks are placed on the delicate half-light. Plate VI. Cuyp. Corregio’s “By management Opie. . The original of this subject. In compositions. and combined the greatest possible effect with the sweetest and softest repose imaginable. have noticed in another place that when the darks of the group are brought off the light side of the background greater firmness is obtained. the strong colors have also a more natural appearance.IGHT AND SHADE and transparent. I Plate VI. they may be loaded with color as much It as 21 is not the same in the lights. etc.” classing his colors large masses of bright and obscure. gives a clear definition of of chiaroscuro. has this character. have all the works lights. they add to its depth. indeed. as they take on a sharp light. 1. sufficient to . and to take off' the heaviness of the shadows. armor. as follows and judiciously dividing them into few and and passing. gently rounding off his light. into broad. . and thereby connect the shade with the light without destroying its breadth on the contrary.” Whoever examines the works of the great colorists will find this impasting of the and keeping the shadows rich.: I.. which latter is the peculiar cliaracter of daylight. by placing his figures in such a position as to throw long shadows across the picture. metal. from Corregio’s own hand. through pellucid demi-tints and warm reflexions. Fig. employed. but heavy and leady. when the background is very dark. instead of on the strong light. i. which is in the possession of the Duke of Wellington. and more vivacity. as. they have greater force. as the ground has a more retiring quality. juicy and transparent was their universal practice. convey the light into the dark side of the picture.

from interfering with the hat. which gives a light figure the colors may it from the cool ground. We have in this subject the dark of the group brought oft’ the light part of the ground with great firmness. thereby preserving the greatest breadth of light. though it may give the strong feature of natural objects. but alt his in color of the flesh such situations we pupils bring strong blue in contact with the a great value and a luminous effect. necessarily detaches itself often find Huhens and head. l^andykc. We thus perceive be strongly relieved even by a light background. has a harsh appearance at first sight. provided there can be sufficient firmness given. assist Plate VI. which has greater point in consequence. kept the principal light upon the sleeve of the jacket (w'hich makes the most prominent point). and balances the shadow side of the picture. Plate VI. and the cloak whicli lie carries. provided are opposed to each other . Fig. The warm coloring of the boy. When tlie light part of the group is placed upon the light side of the ground. which. Vandyck has.22 PRACTICAL HINTS ON Plate VI. Fig. saddle cloth. Whether it be that . and a very large portion of the outline sharp and cutting. The shadow side of stump of the tree and the colors are carried into the the picture by the dun color of the horse. the cool blue of the sky mixes with the foliage of the trees. and has diffused it upon the sky. and the king’s breeches being of a dull red. 3. The cool tints of the shadows of the jacket and part of a blue ribbon detach it from the underpaid of the sky. besides drawing and prevents it The warm the attention of the spectator to the head. 2. The warm the arrangement. which is warm. in this picture. we must of necessity have a greater breadth of effect. 2. Fig.

Plate VI. The cool color of the iqiper part of the sky is carried across the picture local colors of the objects placed within the light. or that the I'eal separation of one part from anotlier. The yellow cow.. Potter in this picture (in whicli the objects are of lias made shade. This gives a great breadth to the group. Fig. as in . is . d. ivbicb are relieved by a still diarker ground. In the early masters we have these qualities often in a high degree and had they loss of an inlaid flat appearance. we have therefore the strong look of Nature. is taken into the account. Potter. and the shadow assisted in its strength by the it. 23 LIGHT AND SHADE in real objects their actual existence enables tbein to harnionize with the harshest effects of light and shade. would lie more valuable than the more harmonious softenings of modern light and shade hut we must never forget that objects in Nature are more or less round. we have the composition taking a decided form in one direction. such as . decision. and that the harshest colors are under the influence of light and shade. and dark off a light one. is worthy of the student’s examination Nature he will often find the most distant parts of an object more sharp and cutting than the nearest outlines. and strength. and the light running across it in another. Fig. d'he light part of the groiqi is here brought in contact with the light part of the background. off' tlie natural size) use of the simplest and firmest principles. s. that they are delicate as well as forcible. and yet keej) their situation. Plate ^T. as regards light and We have the group strongly defined by part of it coming liglit a dark ground. To represent this on canvas requires the most scientific management as a work may have tlie strength and freshness of Nature. when the situation of one part with regard to another face. . which consists of simplicity. which makes surrounded by others of a dull red and brown. admits of a strength of color incompatible with a flat sur- an outline on canvas. P. without being a just representation.

Fiy. eyes. this gives . In Cuyp the local color leaves being of a cool green etc... and shade . . and will often serve as a key to commence with in forming larger Plate F/. Fig. with somctliing sketched from Nature. Plate In VI. by giving him an insight into the science of light and shade.'5. Cuyp. and designing others to correspond with it So. Fig. . gives a lightness is kept up undisturbed by the light great breadth and the distinctness of Nature in open daylight. 5. as it allows and shadows to have more union. and tliis vice versa. of his objects. subject we have the light figure upon the dark ground. Plate VI. In Nature we often perceive strong effects arising out of simple and decided principles. Reynolds mentions a mode of composing by taking a figure from some celebrated master. the broad lights the dark sharp marking of and finish to the whole. 4. 24 PRACTICAL HINTS ON by the grass and the horns. by commencing thereby imparting a grandeur of style to the whole. will be of the utmost value to the student. tlie other parts of the picture. which. we give a decided look of truth to combinations. if sketched at the time. whether hot or cold.

the peculiar character of an object. a mere outline to define them. is only of a few. if we take the first state of “Ecce Homo. but to convey whicli. For example. are known will serve this method and the student must have a most erroneous idea of his art who imagines excellence can be obtained without the assistance of every auxiliary. and give the artist many invaluable hints. or the quiet depths of shadow. hut he never misses his aim. either in representing the splendid emanations of light. and never to haA^e lost sight of it. In this subject we have the dark group brouglit the background in the simplest and most decided of light and shade made off the light manner . shade of and the principles applicable to giving the strong look of Nature. however rude in form. Rembrandt. Peg. breadth and solidity to the ground. either viz. right and left. wdth . Plate VI. in a quiet broad mass of light. : and that appearance familiar to the recollection of in texture or in color. every one. Rembrandt seems always to have taken works. Tintoretto and Corregio. and light and extent to the sky. and surrounded by masses of half-tint. 6. the print of the great . but there is a chann in the chairoscuro of Nature which carries irresistible sway. The most teamed arrangements of light and shade may astonish. representation of the light and shade. Fig. or by leaving in an unfinished state otlier groups.” we perceive he has made Christ in the center of a group. purpose. Rembrandt has often been accused of being artificial in his effects. both great masters of chiaroscuro. either by covering doAvn or burying whole groups in shadow. 6. either in poetry or in the power in painting. Plate VI. Avith the strong darks gradating from him. The up a leading feature in his varieties in his prints are but corroborations of this as in his anxiety for its preseiwation we trace him destroying every impediment.IGHT Many ANJJ 25 SHADE painters model their groups for the purpose of obtaining a true Small figures. to have availed themselves of this .I.

which are represented fiying in all directions. will suffice to show that light and shade may he made to contribute to the character and fitness of the subject. retain a greater conseciuence from the flat shadows being weakened by the light . and out of which tlie angel addresses The second light. which is in the shepherds across tliis gulf of shadow. thus conveying the appearance of confusion and terror to the shepherds.PRACTICAL HINTS ON He has then etched in the principal group. ance. interspersed with a variety of strong darks. as Fuseli describes it. and terminating with the right hand of Pilate. the dark undiminished power. with a multitude of children sporting in its beams. which is Fig. in the next state. We have. fi’om tlie absorption of the rays. rising. local colors of the figures. from their being so of half-shade to rob tliem of their value. from their upright position. Rcmlirandt holds unrivalled If possession. acquires by this means great brilliancy and agitation. Tliese two examples out of many. radiating from a center. so strongly characteristic of Vandivclde. the lower portion of the print. commencing with the figure addressing the multitude. i. thus giving it its greatest magnitude. tlieir herds and fiocks. which the student will discover by his own examination. an out-of-door effect.” we take his print of the “Angels Appearing to the Sliepherds. and give that firmness and vivacity to the scene which prevents In Nature. Plate When a picture of the figures little is VII. cut up by a number of darks and lights. figures.” in the first state we find a broad mass of shadow running through the center In the upper in a diagonal line. and his superiority maintained. -I. therefore. the quiet character of Clirist preserved. the darks with great force. he lias. composed of chiefly must necessarily tell light and half-tint. have it from looking feeble. by his forming the center of one group and the apex of the other. This portion being in strong light. and tliat of this adaptation of it. part is preserved tlie principal light. “like a pyramid from the tumultuous waves below. the mid-day sun filling with intense light every particle of the atmosphere gives tliat luminous appear- Platc VII. irregularly dispersed.

Vandivelde. possess in reality. Veronese and Rubens have many pictures on the same principle. they attract the eye a circumstance to he noticed by the artist. many all tlicsc circumstances influences A. thereby allowing his blue draperies and P. and VII. critics who do not sufficiently investigate these matters may complain of want of air. . from with light. As a genand the leading features of strong daylight are to he purchased at any sacrifice. from or light roads. Fig. have all this characteristic feature in a high degree. but the student. often accomplishes this by the general tone of the picture being shadows lirownish. his cool blacks to have greater point. Plate Cuyp varm.” Birds in the air. as they of the sky falling into . The consideration of Plate VII.LIGHT AND SHADE 27 them for. seeing that the whole heavens are filled Also. Claude. l)oats on the water. it is showered down and reflected in all directions. Fig. will not easily be scared liy the cry of “sans vapeur. 5. eral character to the subject. the middle-tint being on so light a key. who has to give them their relative value on canvas. by a close attention painters in giving the darks the full force of the palette. cornfields. figures on the sands. . their being in motion.

and is suffused upon the upper part of the sky. 3. 4. without which the shadows will be powdery instead of pearly. require an attention and study of tlie most refined quality. so pictures painted on a light key are apt to look flat Plate J’ll. which is filled with its the great difficulty of imitating the splendid brightness of midda###BOT_TEXT###quot; or the brilliant effects of In treating the one. or the lights white In the other arrangement the yellow tones may become instead of luminous. spread a luminous cbaracter over the whole scene. warming the near part of the buildings. Claude has made great use of such opposition. or sharpness of lights be preserved. The general appearance of the picture is warm. either by repeated scumbling or mixing them to the proper tint in the first instance. and black. the dark blue of the water is carried across the piece by tbe dark blue draperies of some of the figures. unless the delicate an evening sky. a very inadequate quality. which have But led our greatest as low-toned pictures are apt to look heavy colorists to its adoption. as it gives great relief . and. spection be used. and their exact tone. the intense light of the sky. the pic- ture will look crude and unfinished . the top by a figure looking over the balcony and two red He blue of the sky. and hence phere. other figures . varieties of the half-lights are attended to with the greatest care. the exact sharpness to define them. . is repeated at flags upon the has placed t\vo blue flags upon the w'arm part of the sky to repeat the cool color. Pictures painted on a dark key have already been noticed as possessing many advantages. bright yellow upon a cool gray. J. Ostade. to represent which the artist can employ only a greater degree of whiteness. or red upon a cool one. In No. and unfinished unless the greatest circum- Fig. unless richness of shadows. for the tints being so nearly allied to each other. and the atmos- innumerable refractions. In Nature. etc.28 PRACTICAL HINTS ON Opposition of color is of great importance in the treatment of pictures and distinctness without cutting up the breadth of light such as blue upon a warm ground. The red is interspersed upon the boats and the draperies of the on a liglit key.

LIGHT AND SHADE 29 and foxy. Plate VIII.. i. destroy all appearance of light and air. . tlie greatest delicacy Fig. Atibje'cf • "df * Iniddle-tint for the purpose of taking a general view of the various modes of arrsinging this important I shall here branch of light and shade. Plate P:: • • ^ •• • VIII. as upon the strength of the middle-tint depends. etc. Fig. whether blue opposed to red. 3. without breaking up the general mass will of light in the picture. but can ajipear as lights only by being relieved by strong shadow. from the tenderness of their light and shade. In light pictures strong colors can stand only as middle-tint. as in P. standing as darks. require the colors opposed to each other. if deprived of the delicate cool tints so necessary to prevent appearing too hot. ••• ^ recuf tp ytuc. ^^cronese. . Tdght pictures. We often find them. or made use of to give objects an appearance of solidity. Hondekooter. or for leading the light into the shade. and to give the whole that tremulous unsteady appearance which light possesses in Nature. otherwise their strength Ciiyp. to be managed with Plate VII. or yellow to solid their cool gray..

we take a ground of a shade composed chiefly of half-dark and middle-tint. to produce an apyiearance of air floating within them. a breadth of shadow' and softness will be the result. 2. all the middle-tint light . thereby causing the principal light to be too we frequently observe Plate in much defined. render it more in union with the half-light. we shall find it necessary to introduce a portion of half-lights to spread and break down their harshness. in the introduction of In their works and in Nature we perceive the lowest tones of middle-tint are removed from blackby their warmth or the introduction of some positive black or blue. Variety demands some portion of the composition to be sharj) and cutting. and introduce the strongest lights. but it is absolutely necessary to prevent it from always interposing between the extreme light and extreme ness. Harshness of effect in treating pictures upon a dark scale arises. nor is it. either dark. which illuminate their deepest shadows. Fig. consonant with the effects in Nature. : If half-light. Wouverthdns. by contrast. half-dark and half-light. d'his invariably gradual declination of the light into the shadow is one cause of the insipid look of most of Vanderwerf’s works. as the works of iMichael Angelo Caravaggio. if it he placed on the half-dark. the general look of the picture. I liaA^e. most commonly. d’hc exact (piantity of middle-tint must depend upon the arrangement of the subject and the taste of the painter. VIII. in a great medium between the extreme dark and extreme too gross to take in qualities. is but as such the gradations lying between so opposite for the sake of clearness. as Sir Joshua Reynolds justly observes. from the want of sufficient quantities of middle-tint and viz. and richness is to be obtained only by a continual changing of portions coming sometimes dark and sometimes light off the ground this endless . Rembrandt and Corregio excelled all others demi-tints. made use of intennediate links.PRACTICAL HINTS ON 30 meant a scale tlie is By measure. If the extreme dark is placed upon the middletint it will. .

a sharpness in the handling and a dis- by this alone a general breadth can be preserved. it is progress. as always present in the that a work often destroyed in is its in every point of view. and the most splendid light (even of a sky) filled with tinctness in the most approximate colors. the value of which has been noticed in is so inherent in the another place. In this notice of middle-tint or ground of the picture 1 may appear to have recapitulated what has already been said in other parts of the work.'uyp full of this precision in the touch. most deliacte of Nature’s and void of that solidity which works. depend occupies too large a portion of the it if canvas the work must of necessity lose characteristic feature. in pictures painted on a light key. or the greatest importance. commencement of a marked in. student’s mind. a flatness in the shades. for therefore. Accordingly we find small sharp darks introduced. either by the Introduction of reflected lights or positive half-lights . The light pictures of Teniers and are C. and the other portions are left in a broader and . tliis intricate weaving of the outsame sound principles which guide so tliat the may the conduct in the treatment of the whole be traced in the management of the detail. ought to be in some measure robbed of its consequence. a multitude of forms. and ( what is of the utmost importance) a sharp edge to the lights and half shadows throughout the whole. ought to be from inattention to this alone as I’elates to a whole. its upon some other agent We must. to prevent the picture being flimsy. but my anxiety to put the student in possession of every information in my power ddie urges me to place management it of light before his eyes and shade. Fig. Middle-tint. Teniers. which are of In the picture those parts only are strongly defined. Plate VIII.LIGHT AND SHADE 31 variety in Nature can be imitated only by line witli tlie background.

and which is. in a portrait. Nature in the colors. the spective may all gray tones and softmarkings of the aerial per- disappear. if it cannot be upon other terms as it is this which is imprinted on the mind of every one. which exists in Nature. therefore. to counteract flatness. The importance of the countenance. . attract or interest the spectator. viz. and this preponderance. of lights. unless he has the treatment of the picture as a whole constantly before his eye. probability its other properties who has examined it attentively. when become less have received a greater consequence. and to be preserved at the price of every other quality. be 4. luminous appearance.. its transparency. general character of an object is its most important feature. or in his wish to give splendor and harmony by the strength or variety of his colors. it often pleases more than when the work is complete our attention is led involuntarily to the countenance. must of neceswork the other portions of the picture the original. in the other parts of the picture. all lost from the injudicious introduction. etc. or when his colors for the sake of taking off their When he begins to define the different parts for the sake of finish. when we see the head alone finished. which would be the case were we introduced to .PRACTICAL HINTS ON 32 less The this But obtrusive state. For example. as in all are unveiled except to the artist alone. the painter has destroyed the great breadth and luminous character of the sky for the purpose of mixing the interesting. etc. In sketching a landscape from Nature. If the object does not possess this feature upon the canvas it cannot retained . detailing such objects alone as are striking or more satisfied from feeling a corresponding sensation from the truth of the representation imprinted on his mind than when. we find the spectator often shadows of the clouds with the lias subdued the strength of he trees. the fresh and decided appearance of harshness. color. in a more finished work. may Fig. the expansive look of the sky. breadth of local sity in the finished : Plate VIII. in the artist’s anxiety for richness of effect.. when we have time only to put down the leading features. nation of the latter is is in the progress of the work the proper subordi- often injuriously diminished. the general character of the flesh. and give yilace to requisites of an inferior kind. paramount to all its other properties. darks and middletints.

of gradually sinking some objects wholly or partly in shadow. strongly recommends the study of the several masters who liave excelled in this department of the art: “By studying the works of tlie great masters of chiaroscuro he will. 5 . as it is the language of his art. and the only language universally understood. and of making. in his lectures.” and without which his is but industrious trifling. according to its form or substance to obtain which ought to be the constant study of the student. few and simple. and losing their outlines in the ground. The character of an object depends upon a particular color. and applying them to any subject the student hand. or when to send it in a stream across his canvas when to make a dark mass on a light ground. whether grave or gay. and of adapting them in regard to force or softness to the nature of the subject. a pax-ticular concentration or diffusion of light. of joining light objects together. and dark objects together. abrupt breaks and sharp transitions. greatest labor . in art. and when it may more properlv lime or terrible. LIGHT AND SHADE In all objects in Nature there is something predominant. become acquainted with all the artifices of contrasting light to sliade. in masses. by degrees. . in order to give splendor and breadth of effect. color to color. and which alone has struck the observation of every one. He will also learn their rules for shaping their masses. . or a light mass on a dark ground when he may let his light die away by imperceptible gradations.. of Frank Hals. in other places. to produce softness and harmony. when diffuse it in greater breadth and abundance. Opie. brings his object at once home 33 If the artist gives that he “to men’s bosoms. sul)- By this he must be directed when to give his light the form of a globe. to produce relievo. I have in these brief notices of the art of light and shade endeavored to point out the various its modes of establishing a scientific arrangement may have powers. to produce vivacity and spirit. in by an attentive examination of the find the sources from which they arise but. . The changes effects in Nature or are infinite Fig. speaking of chiaroscuro. a particular touch. he will Plate J^T7I.

which none but an artist imbued with . before his eyes. but. he will be in possession of a sort of shorthand to note down her most fleeting effects and by understanding Without the cause which gives them existence. of preserving these. and an expectation raised.34 This is so excellent. either by a mixture of the light and shade. the mind is to whose control tlie 4'he application excited. so that everything may keep its relative situation. or Plate VIII. is a necessary attendant upon perspective. violated in the best works. it is tlie light in a of the whole army of colors yields implicit obedience. He will be in possession of a key to unlock the richest stores of Nature. so as to give an appearance of doubling to tlie outline. that the student. Titian. for the purpose of giving a general breadth. surrounded by flatness. when we wish any part to attract notice.” so many of the best . For example. when compatible with both of utmost consequence. rivet them in his memory. and the painter can enter into a competition with Nature only by a perfect knowledge of the best modes of adapting it to such purpose. Richness of effect. of light and shade. good shape. Fig. are both under the dominion of chiaroscuro. Light and shade. having accustomed himself to this mode of arranging his observations his life will be spent in an endless search after that which is continually passing be concentrated into one vivid flash. 6. however. often spectator. if we represent a scene remarkable for disasters or shipwrecks. or to preserve the expression undisturbed. requires no farther instruction in this part of the art. wlio can comprehend them and put them in practice. by making parts of the picture advance. without which the imagination of the spectator would experience nothing but disappointment. as regards tlie distance from the It is. in a poetical point of view. is capable of creating an association of ideas. or by relieving the outline by a ground possessed of a variety of strengths and distinctness of form. and other parts retire. and embraces modes of the management of light and shade. considered as a means of producing a deception.

35 the poetry of the art can gratify. or the ominous twilight and midnight darkness of Rembrandt or iMichacl Angelo Caravaggio. Rubens or Cuyp. the splendor and gorgeous effects of Veronese. is the chiaroscuro of finest impressions. Dashes the fire out. INIakes or when he bids “Thick night Hall herself in the dunnest smoke of hell. . clothes circumstances which awaken a thousand pleasing or his scenery with those awful sensations as the subject may retpiire. mounting to the welkin’s cheek. by clothing effects of elemental strife.” or when “Light thickens and the crow wing to the rooky wood. tlie scene in all the ominous whether the shadow “Strangles the traveling lamp: the face of earth entomb.” We have him adopting the softness and breadth of Corregio. Turning with splendor of d’he meagre cloddy earth his precious eye to glitte ring gold..” or unun- its in their sublimity.” Whether “The Stays in his glorious sun course and plays the alchemist. whether “The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night. who was possessed of all the ])oetry of the art. That darkness doth When living light should kiss it?” or to pour down stinking pitch. His light and shade a mind susceptible of effects before the eye of paired Nature passing through and capable of placing such the spectator.” “The sky seems Shakespeare.” . Hut that the sea. “unshorn of their beams. Checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light.

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