Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

deal also in cooked-up copies, which they are very apt to put off for originals. And whoever dares be bold enough to detect such impositions, finds him. self immediately branded, and given out as one of low ideas, ignorant of the true sublime, self-conceited, envious, &c.

But as there are a great part of mankind that delight most in what they least understand; for aught I know, the emolument may be equal between the bubler and the bubled: at least this seems to have been Butler's opinion :

Doubtless the pleasure is as great
In being cheated, as to cheat.

. CHAPTER XII.

OF LIGHT AND SHADE,

AND THE MANNER IN WHICH OBJECTS ARE EXPLAINED TO

THE EYE BY THEM.

P.93 ALTHOUGH both this and the next chapter may seem

more particularly relative to the art of painting, than any of the foregoing; yet, as hitherto, I have endeavoured to be understood by every reader, so here also I shall avoid, as much as the subject will permit, speaking of what would only be well conceived by painters.

There is such a subtile variety in the nature of appearances, that probably we shall not be able to gain much ground by this enquiry, unless we exert and apply the full use of every sense, that will convey to us any information concerning them.

So far as we have already gone, the sense of feel. ing, as well as that of seeing, hath been applied to; so that perhaps a man born blind, may, by his better touch that is common to those who have their sight, together with the regular process that has been here given of lines, so feel out the nature of forms, as to make a tolerable judgment of what is beautiful to sight.

Here again our other senses must assist us, not

withstanding in this chapter we shall be more confined to what is communicated to the eye by rays of light; and though things must now be considered as appearances only; produced and made out merely by P.94 means of lights, shades, and colours.

By the various circumstances of which, every one knows we have represented on the flat surface of the looking-glass, pictures equal to the originals reflected by it. The painter too, by proper dispositions of lights, shades, and colours on his canvass, will raise the like ideas. Even prints, by means of lights and shades alone, will perfectly inform the eye of every shape and distance whatsoever, in which even lines must be considered as narrow parts of shade, à number of them, drawn or engraved neatly side by side, called hatching, serve as shades in prints, and when they are artfully managed, are a kind of pleasing succedaneum to the delicacy of nature's.

Could mezzotinto prints be wrought as accurately as those with the graver, they would come nearest to nature, because they are done without strokes of lines.

I have often thought that a landksip, in the process of this way of representing it, doth a little resemble the first coming on of day. The copper-plate it is done upon, when the artist first takes it into hand, is wrought all over with an edged-tool, so as to make it print one even black, like night: and his whole work after this, is merely introducing the lights into it; which he does by scraping off the rough grain according to his design, artfully smoothing it most where light is most required : but as he proceeds in

[ocr errors]

P.95 burnishing the lights, and clearing up the shades, he

is obliged to take off frequent impressions to prove the progress of the work, so that each proof appears like the different times of .a foggy morning, till one becomes so finished as to be distinct and clear enough to imitate a day-light piece. I have given this description because I think the whole operation, in the simplest manner, shews what lights and shades alone will do.

As light must always be supposed, I need only speak of such privations of it as are called shades or shadows, wherein I shall endeavour to point out and regularly describe a certain order and arrangement in their appearance, in which order we may conceive different kinds of softenings and modulations of the rays of light which are said to fall upon the eye from every object it sees, and to cause those more or less pleasing vibrations of the optic nerves, which serve to inform the mind concerning every different shape or figure that presents itself.

The best light for seeing the shadows of objects truly, is, that which comes in at a common sized window, where the sun doth not shine; I shall therefore speak of their order as seen by this kind of light: and shall take the liberty in the present and following chapter, to consider colours but as variegated shades, which together with common shades, will now be

divided into two general parts or branches. P.96 The first we shall call PRIME TINTS, by which is

meant any colour or colours on the surfaces of objects; and the use we shall make of these different hues will be to consider them as shades to one another. Thus gold is a shade to silver, &c. exclusive of those addi

tional shades which may be made in any degree by · the privation of light.

The second branch may be called RETIRING SHADES, which gradate or go off by degrees, as fig *. These shades, as they vary more or less, produce beauty, whether they are occasioned by the privation of light, or made by the pencilings of art or nature. • When I come to treat of colouring, I shall particularly shew in what manner the gradating of prime tints serve to the making a beautiful complexion ; in this place we shall only observe how nature hath by these gradating shades ornamented the surfaces of animals ; fish generally have this kind of shade from their backs downward; birds have their feathers enriched with it; and many flowers, particularly the rose, shew it by the gradually increasing colours of their leaves.

The sky always gradates one way or other, and the rising or setting sun exhibits it in great perfection, the imitating of which was Claud. de Lorain's · peculiar excellence, and is now Mr. Lambert's : there is so much of what is called harmony to the eye to be produced by this shade, that I believe we may yenture to say, in art it is the painter's gamut, which p. 97 nature has sweetly pointed out to us in what we call the eyes of a peacock's tail : and the nicest needleworkers are taught to weave it into every flower and leaf, right or wrong, as if it was as constantly to be observed as it is seen in flames of fire; because it is always found to entertain the eye. There is a sort of

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »