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cannot be unpleasing, at least to such who are conversant in the philosophy of Plato; and to avoid tediousness, I will not translate the whole discourse, but take and leave, as I find occasion.
"God Almighty, in the fabric of the universe, first contemplated himself, and reflected on his own excellencies; from which he drew and constituted those first forms, which are called Ideas: so that every species which was afterwards expressed, was produced from that first Idea, forming that wonderful contexture of all created Beings. But the celestial Bodies above the moon being incorruptible, and not subject to change, remained for ever fair, and in perpetual order. On the contrary, all things which are sublunary, are subject to change, to deformity, and to decay; and though Nature always intends a consummate beauty in her productions, yet, through the inequality of the matter, the forms are altered; and in particular, human beauty suffers alteration for the worse, as we see to our mortification, in the deformities and disproportions which are in us. For which
for all the other parts of Painting, he was as absolute à master of them, and possessed them all as thoroughly as any of his predecessors in that noble art. His principal studies were made in Lombardy, after the works of Titian, Paulo Veronese, and Tintoret, whose cream he has skimmed, (if you will allow the phrase,) and extracted from their several beauties many general maxims and infallible rules which he always followed, and by which he has acquired in his works a greater facility than that of Titian; more of purity, truth, and science than Paulo Veronese; and more of majesty, repose, and moderation than Tintoret. Tó conclude; his manner is so solid, so knowing, and so ready, that it may seem this rare accomplished genius was sent from heaven to instruct mankind in the Art of Painting.
His school was full of admirable Disciples; amongst whom Vandyck was he who best comprehended all the rules and general maxims of his Master; and who has even excelled him in the delicacy of his carnations, and in his cabinet-pieces; but his taste, in the designing part, was nothing better than that of Rubens.
reason, the artful Painter, and the Sculptor, imitating the Divine Maker, form to themselves, as well as they are able, a model of the superior beauties; and, reflecting on them, endeavour to correct and amend the common Nature, and to represent it as it was first created, without fault, either in colour or in lineament.
This idea, which we may call the Goddess of Painting and of Sculpture, descends upon the marble and the cloth, and becomes the original of those Arts; and, being measured by the compass of the intellect, is itself the measure of the performing hand; and, being animated by the imagination, infuses life into the image. The idea of the Painter and the Sculptor is undoubtedly that perfect and excellent example of the mind, by imitation of which imagined form, all things are represented which fall under human sight: such is the definition which is made by Cicero, in his book of the Orator to Brutus. · As therefore in forms and figures, there is somewhat which is excellent and perfect, to which imagined species all things are
• referred by imitation, which are the ob jects of sight; in like manner we behold the species of eloquence in our minds, the effigies, or actual image of which we ⚫ seek in the organs of our hearing. This is * likewise confirmed by Proclus, in the Dialogue of Plato, called Timæus: If, says he, you take a man as he is made by Nature, and compare him with another who is the effect of Art, the work of Nature will always appear the less beautiful, because Art is more accurate than Nature.' But Zeuxis, who, from the choice which he made of five virgins, drew that wonderful picture of Helena, which Cicero, in his Orator before mentioned, sets before us, as the most perfect example of beauty, at the same time admonishes a Painter to contemplate the ideas of the most natural forms; and to make a judicious choice of several bodies, all of them the most elegant which he can find: by which we may plainly understand, that he thought it impossible to find in any one body all those perfections which he sought for the accomplishment of a Helena, because Na