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pencil exactly where these wires have been supposed to pass, the point of the pencil, in the muscular leg and thigh, would perpetually meet with stops and rubs, whilst in the others it would flow from muscle to muscle along the elastic skin, as pleasantly as the lightest skiff dances over the gentlest wave.
This idea of the wire, retaining thus the shape of the parts it passes over, seems of so much consequence, that I would by no means have it forgot; as it may properly be considered as one of the threads (or outlines) of the shell (or external surface of the human form : and the frequently recurring to it will assist the imagination in its conceptions of those parts of it, whose shapes are most intricately varied : for the same sort of observations may be made with equal justice, on the shapes of ever so many such wires twisted in the same manner in ever so many directions over every part of a well-made man, woman, or statue. . And if the reader will follow in his imagination the most exquisite turns of the chissel in the hands of a master, when he is putting the finishing touches to a statue; he will soon be led to understand what it is P.62 the real judges expect from the hand of such a master, which the Italians call, the little more, Il poco piu, and which in reality distinguishes the original máster-pieces at Rome from even the best copies of them. • An example or two will sufficiently explain what is here meant; for as these exquisite turns are to be found in some degree of beauty or other, all over the whole surface of the body and limbs : we may by taking any one part of a fine figure (though so small
a one that only a few muscles are expressed in it) exe plain the manner in which so much beauty and grace has been given to them, as to convince a skilful artist, almost at sight, that it must have been the work of a master.
I have chosen, for this purpose, a small piece of the body of a statue, fig*, representing part of the left side under the arm, together with a little of the breast, (including a very particular muscle, which from the likeness its edges bear to the teeth of a saw, is, if considered by itself, void of beauty) as most proper to the point in hand, because this its regular shape more peculiarly requires the skill of the artist to give it a little more variety than it generally has, even in nature.
First, then, I will give you a representation of this part of the body, from an anatomical figure t, to show what a sameness there is in the shapes of all the teethlike insertions of this muscle; and how regularly the fibres, which compose it, follow the almost parallel
outlines of the ribs they partly cover. P.63 From what has been said before of the use of the
natural covering of the skin, &c. the next figure I will easily be understood to mean so tame a representation of the same part of the body, that though the hard and stiff appearance of the edges of this muscle is taken off by that covering, yet enough of its regularity and sameness remains to render it disagreeable.
Now aš regularity and sameness, according to our doctrine, is want of elegance and true taste, we shall
endeavour in the next place to shew how this very part (in which the muscles take so very regular a form) may be brought to have as much variety as any other part of the body whatever. In order to this, though some alteration must be made in almost every part of it, yet it should be so inconsiderable in each, that no remarkable change may appear in the shape and situation of any. "
Thus, let the parts marked 1, 2, 3, 4, (which appear so exactly similar in shape, and parallel in situation in the muscular figure 177) and not much mended in fig. 78, be first varied in their sizes, but not gradually from the uppermost to the lowest, as in fig. *, nor alternately one long and one short, as in fig. †, for in either of these cases there would still remain too gréať a formality. We should therefore endeavour, in the next place, to vary them' every way in our power, without losing entirely the true idea of the parts themselves. Suppose them then to have changed their situations a little, and slipped beside each other P. 64 irregularly, (some how as is represented in fig. I, merely with regard to situation) and the external appearance of the whole piece of the body, now under our consideration, will assume the more varied and pleasing form, represented'in fig. 76; easily to be discerned by comparing the three figures 76, 77, 78, one with another; and it will as easily be seen, that were lines to be drawn, or wires to be bent, over these muscles, from one to the other, and so on to the adjoining
* Fig. 79. T. p. 2.
+ Fig. 80. T. p. 2.
& Fig. 81. T. p. 2.
parts; they would have a continued waving flow, let them pass in any direction whatever.
The unskilful, in drawing these parts after the life, as their regularities are much more easily seen and copied than their fine variations, seldom fail of making them more regular and poor than they really appear even in a consumptive person. ..
The difference will appear evident by comparing fig. 78, purposely drawn in this tasteless manner, with fig. 76. But will be more perfectly understood by examining this part in the Țorso of Michael Angelo *, whence this figure was taken.
Note, there are casts of a small copy of that famous trunk of a body to be had at almost every plaster, figure maker's, wherein what has been here described may be sufficiently seen, not only in the part which figure 76 was taken from, but all over that curiouş
piece of antiquity. 2.65 I must here again press my reader to a particular
attention to the windings of these superficial lines, even in their passing over every joint, what alterations soever may be made in the surface of the skin by the various bendings of the limbs : and though the space allowed for it, just in the joints, be ever so small, and consequently the lines ever so short, the application of this principle of varying these lines, as far as their lengths will admit of, will be found to have its effect as gracefully as in the more lengthened muscles of the body.
* Fig. 54. p. 1.
It should be observed in the fingers, where the joints are but short, and the tendons straight; and where beauty seems to submit, in some degree, to use, yet not so much but you trace in a full-grown taper finger, these little winding lines among the wrinkles, or in (what is more pretty because more simple) the dimples of the nuckles. As we always distinguish things best by seeing their reverse set in opposition with them; if fig. *, by the straightness of its lines, shews fig. t, to have some little taste in it, though it is so slightly sketched; the difference will more evidently appear when you in like manner compare a straight coarse finger in common life with the taper dimpled one of a fine lady.
There is an elegant degree of plumpness peculiar to the skin of the softer sex, that occasions these delicate dimplings in all their other joints, as well as these of the fingers; which so perfectly distinguishes them from those even of a graceful man; and which, assisted by the more softened shapes of the muscles under- P.66 neath, presents to the eye all the varieties in the whole figure of the body, with gentler and fewer parts more sweetly connected together, and with such a fine simplicity, as will always give the turn of the female frame, represented in the Venus I, the preference to that of the Apollo ş.
Now whoever can conceive lines thus constantly flowing, and delicately varying over every part of the body even to the fingers ends, and will call to his re