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time might be considered invidious, seeing that strenuous efforts are being made to impress on the public mind their superior excellence as normal exemplars. The good intentions of the promoters of this may be admitted, so far as the history and
progress of the art are concerned; but it is for them to show how the rising eration of artists of the English School of Painting are to be practically improved, or the
public taste to be corrected and refined, by studying the executive part of pictures produced when the arts were emerging from a state of barbarism.
The compact form of the work will render it convenient as a hand book to the amateur who visits galleries, where there are authentic specimens of the painters of Flanders and Holland ; a reference to it at the time will impress on his mind the peculiarities of the several masters, and be serviceable to him afterwards when he casually meets with pictures attributed to them. Mere cursory inspections are of little avail to make a connoisseur; the pleasure is momentary and soon forgotten; the subject may be remembered, but the particular excellences of the master and the picture subside in generalities. The amateur, therefore, need not be reminded of the necessity of frequent inspections, and of comparing his own opinion with those of others conversant with the works of the older masters, which are held
in universal estimation.
A debt of gratitude is due to the liberal and noble-minded possessors of fine pictures, who allow their intellectual gratification to be shared by lovers of art, without subjecting them to abject solicitations, or repulses, but spontaneously afford every facility towards the dissemination of knowledge and improvement of public taste. If this book had sufficient merit to entitle it to the notice of one descended from ancestors eminently distinguished for their patronage of the Fine Arts, and nurtured among the choicest examples, and who to a love of art joins many other noble endowments, exercised at all times with a view to his country's good, it might be appropriately inscribed to LORD FRANCIS EGERTON, EARL OF ELLESMERE.
SOME OF THE TERMS USED IN THE ART.
ACCESSORIES. There is scarcely a work of art in which, independent of the principal figures, there are not objects, which, without being indispensably necessary to the subject, essentially contribute to the beauty and perfection of the whole, and which are, in some degree, explanatory of the subject. For this purpose the artist makes choice of those circumstantial objects which are immediately relative to the action he is to represent, and which are the most proper to characterize it, by an indication of the time and place at which the event occurred. Such are, in the language of the art, called Accessories. By these means the painter supplies the place of poetical detail, by a substitution of picturesque representation ; but these are always kept sufficiently subdued to prevent their distracting the attention of the spectator from the interest of the picture.
AËRIAL PERSPECTIVE. Aërial perspective, it is to be observed, is not subject, as linear perspective is, to the strictness of rules, rigidly demonstrated. It indicates the degree of light which each object receives in a picture, from its proximity to, or distance from, the spectator. It is expressed by a degradation of tone, proportioned to the quantity and quality of the intermediate air that separates the object from the eye that regards it. But as that air is occasionally lighter or more dense, clearer or more vaporous, that degradation cannot always be the same, but is regulated
by the scale of atmospheric purity; as in a fog, it will be more at the distance of a few feet, than in a clear sky at as many miles. There are some moments of ethereal brightness in which the distant objects appear unusually vigorous, so much so, as to be frequently considered, even when represented with the most perfect attention to truth, to be violent and unnatural. Such is frequently_the case in the fine landscapes of Rubens and Titian. It is only by a strict attention to nature that the artist can succeed in the
representation of aërial perspective; he will perceive that in degrading the tint, she (Nature) at the same time renders the outline more undecided, effaces angular precision, preserving only general forms, more or less explicit, as the air that surrounds them is loaded or light.
ALLEGORY. This term, as relative to the art, is a mode of communicating certain abstract ideas by the aid of symbolical figures, and is most frequently employed in fabulous or mythological representations. It is successfully used also in subjects taken from the poets, who have themselves made use of similar illusion. It sometimes happens, that when allegory is not treated with great address, the artist resembles the author of an enigma, with this difference, that the painter is desirous of being understood, whilst the enigmatist wishes to conceal his meaning. No painter who is not essentially a poet should attempt allegory; if explanation is required, he has failed in his object.
ANTIQUE. This word, originally an adjective, has, in its application to art, been adopted as a substantive, and is used to signify the precious relics of antiquity which remain to us in the statues, bassi rilievi, &c., which have been preserved to us from those remote ages in which the arts were carried to the highest perfection. This epoch of purity may be said to have existed in Greece from the time of Pericles till they reached their acmé, in the reign of Alexander.
Winckelmann assigns to Grecian art four styles : the ancient style, or that which preceded Phidias; the grand style, that which was established by that celebrated statuary, and immediately followed him; the graceful style was introduced by Praxiteles and Apelles ; and the imitative was that which was followed by the crowd of undistinguished artists who succeeded, and who, finding themselves incapable of excelling their predecessors, sunk into an impotent and servile imitation.
It has been doubted whether the finest works of antiquity have descended to us, and the distinguished beauties we admire are confined to a very few celebrated statues, of which the Apollo of Belvidere, the Laocoon, the Antinous, the Torso, the Gladiator, and the Venus of Medicis, are the principal. These have been long the objects of our admiration, and the guide of the most distinguished artists. A profound study of the antique was the source from which Michael Angelo and Raffaelle drew the perfection which has immortalized their names. The Elgin Marbles in the British Museum form a treasury from which ample knowledge of the antique may be obtained.
ATTITUDE, is the position of an animated figure, to which painting gives a fixed and permanent form, and by which it can exhibit all the various movements which the passions can excite in the human frame. This difficult, but essential effort of the art, demands a scrupulous propriety in the attitudes the painter employs in his work, and requires that the motion given to his figure is completely in character with the particular passion by which the personage is actuated. When Achilles is menaced with the loss of Brisëis, it is not enough that rage darts from his eyes, every limb, the movement of the whole body, should participate in the feeling of the moment. The taste and judgment of the artist appears
in making choice of those attitudes in his pictures which display, as far as circumstances will permit, the most beautiful delineation of the figure.
BACK-GROUND. This term is applied to the field or space of the picture which surrounds the figures in historical subjects or portraits; and to the different plans in the distances in landscape painting. The importance of an appropriate back-ground is not always sufficiently considered, except by artists, who, as Sir Joshua Reynolds observes, " are fully apprized how much the effect of the picture depends on it.” It is of the greatest consequence that the back-ground should be in unison with the figures in tone, and that the objects introduced should be perfectly conformable to the history, and characteristically suited to the persons represented. Sometimes rich and embellished back-grounds are required, as in the splendid display of Asiatic pomp, in triumphs, and public festivals; at others, the solemnity of the subject demands an austere and unobtrusive simplicity, as in the generality of subjects of devotion, or those descriptive of any pathetic and affecting scene, in which nothing should
appear that can diminish the interest inspired by the event.
BAMBOCCIATE. The Italians call by this name subjects representing fairs, drolleries, and village feasts. This appellation appears to have originated in the admiration excited at Rome by the works of Peter van Laer, who treated those subjects with great success, and who was nicknamed Bamboccio, on account of the extraordinary deformity of his body.
BODEGONES. The Spanish term for pictures of inanimate objects, such as pieces of plate, metal and earthen vessels used for domestic purposes; also for those of dead game, fish, and fruit. Velasquez, in his early time, exercised his pencil in painting Bodegones, of which several fine specimens are preserved. It corresponds with the English term Still life.
BREADTH. Applied to composition, design, or the distribution of light and shadow, breadth conveys a certain idea of greatness, which is in direct opposition to the frivolous and the mean. Breadth, therefore, as it relates to art, partakes of the simple and the grand, and may be said to belong in a peculiar degree to the works of Correggio. Grandeur is his character, breadth
be considered as his means. In the works of the great master we discover breadth, because he has considered his subject as a whole, without interrupting its general simplicity by a minute attention to subordinate parts. His masses of light and shadow are therefore broad and grand, producing one great and general effect; whereas, if they were scattered and broken, the effect would be spotty and discordant.
CARNATION. This word is used to signify flesh tints.
CARTOONS. The designs prepared by painters, intended to be executed in fresco, or wrought in tapestry. See FRESCO.