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understand every object in the composition, as it is painful to the ear when any one is anxious to know what is said in company, where many are talking at the same time.
SIMPLICITY (which I am last to speak of) in the disposition of a great variety, is best accomplished by following nature's constant rule, of dividing composi. tion into three or five parts, or parcels, see chap. 4. on simplicity: the painters accordingly divide theirs into fore-ground, middle-ground, and distance or back-ground; which simple and distinct quantities mass together that variety which entertains the eye; as the different parts of base, tenor, and treble, in a composition of music, entertain the ear.
Let these principles be reversed, or neglected, the light and shade will appear as disagreeable as fig. *, whereas, was this to be a composition of lights and shades only, properly disposed, though ranged under no particular figures, it might still have the pleasing effect of a picture. And here, as it would be endless to enter upon the different effects of lights and shades on lucid and transparent bodies, we shall leave them to the reader's observation, and so conclude this chapter.
* Fig. 91. T. p. 2.
P.113 By the beauty of colouring, the painters mean that
disposition of colours on objects, together with their
To avoid confusion, and having already said
And herein (as has been shewn in chap. 8, of the manner of composing pleasing forms) the whole process will depend upon the art of varying; i. e. upon an artful manner of varying every colour belonging to flesh, under the direction of the six fundamental principles there spoken of,
But before we proceed to shew in what manner these principles conduce to this design, we shall take a view of nature's curious ways of producing all sorts of
complexions, which may help to further our conception of the principles of varying colours, so as to see why they cause the effect of beauty.
1. It is well known, the fair young girl, the brown P. 114 -old man, and the negro; nay, all mankind, have the same appearance, and are alike disagreeable to the eye, when the upper skin is taken away: now to conceal so disagreeable an object, and to produce that variety of complexions seen in the world, nature hath contrived a transparent skin, called the cuticula, with a lining to it of a very extraordinary kind, called the cutis; both which are so thin any little scald will make them blister and peel off. These adhering skins are more or less transparent in some parts of the body than in others, and likewise different in different persons. The cuticula alone is like gold-beaters skin, a little wet, but somewhat thinner, especially in fair young people, which would shew the fat, lean, and all the blood vessels, just as they lie under it, as through isinglass, were it not for its lining the cutis, which is so curiously constructed, as to exhibit those things beneath it which are necessary to life and motion, in pleasing arrangements and dispositions of beauty.
The cutis is composed of tender threads like network, filled with different coloured juices. The white juice serves to make the very fair complexion ;-yel. low, makes the brunette;-brownish yellow, the ruddy brown ;-green yellow, the olive ;-dark brown, the mulatto ;-black, the negro : These different co. loured juices, together with the different mashes of the network, and the size of its threads in this or that part, causes the variety of complexions,
P.115 A description of this manner of its shewing the
rosy colour of the cheek, and, in like manner, the bluish tints about the temple, &c. see in the profile *, where you are to suppose the black strokes of the print to be the white threads of the network, and where the strokes are thickest, and the part blackest, you are to suppose the flesh would be whitest; so that the lighter part of it stands for the vermilion-colour of the cheek, gradating every way.
Some persons have the network so equally wove over the whole body, face and all, that the greatest heat or cold will hardly make them change their colour ; and these are seldom seen to blush, though ever so bashful, whilst the texture is so fine in some young women, that they redden, or turn pale, on the least occasion.
I am apt to think the texture of this network is of a very tender kind, subject to damage many ways, but able to recover itself again, especially in youth. The fair fat healthy child of 3 or 4 years old hath it in great perfection ; most visible when it is moderately warm, but till that age somewhat imperfect.
It is in this manner, then, that nature seems to do her work.--And now let us see how by art the like appearance may be made and penciled on the surface of an uniform coloured statue of wax or marble ; by describing which operation we shall still more particularly point out what is to our present purpose: I mean
the reason why the order nature hath thus made use P. 116 of should strike us with the idea of beauty; which by
* Fig. 95. T. p. 2.
the way, perhaps may be of more use to some painters than they will care to own.
There are but three original colours in painting besides black and white, viz. red, yellow and blue. Green, and purple, are compounded; the first of blue and yellow, the latter of red and blue; however these compounds being so distinctly different from the original colours, we will rank them as such. Fig. *, represents mixt up, as on a painter's pallet, scales of these five original colours divided into seven classes, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.-4, is the medium, and most brilliant class, being that which will appear a firm red, when those of 5, 6, 7, would deviate into white, and those of 1, 2, 3, would sink into black, either by twilight or at a moderate distance from the eye, which shews 4 to be brightest, and a more permanent colour than the rest. But as white is nearest to light it may be said to be equal if not superior in value as to beauty, with class 4. therefore the classes 5, 6, 7, have also, almost equal beauty with it too, because what they lose of their brilliancy and permanency of colour, they gain from the white or light; whereas 3, 2, 1, absolutely lose their beauty by degrees as they approach nearer to black, the representative of darkness.
Let us then, for distinction and pre-eminence sake, call class 4 of each colour, bloom tints, or if you please, virgin tints, as the painters call them; and once more recollect, that in the disposition of colours as well as P. 117 of forms, variety, simplicity, distinctness, intricacy,