University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

Hogarth, William, 1697-1764 / The analysis of beauty : written with a view of fixing the fluctuating ideas of taste
(1753)

Chap. XIV: of colouring,   pp. 113-122


Page 121

ANALYSIS of -BEAUTY, 
attain it, not above ten or twelve painters have happily 
fucceeded therein, Corregio (who lived in a country- 
village, and had nothing but the life to ftudy after) is 
faid almoft to have ftood alone for this particular ex- 
cellence. Guido, who made beauty his chief aim, was 
always at a lofs about it. Pouffin fcarce ever obtained 
a glimpfe of it, as is manifeft by his many different at- 
tempts: indeed France hath not produced one remark- 
able good colourift 2. 
in which there is but little art or expence, have, and will always have,
the fame properties in every age, and without accidents, as damps, bad 
varnifh, and the like, (being laid feparate and pure,) will fland and keep
together for many years in defiance of time itfelf. 
In proof of this, let any one t"w a iew ofthe cieling at Greenwich-
hofpital, painted by Sir James Thornhil, forty years ago, which ftill 
remains freflh, ftrong and clear as if it had been finhlied but yefterday:
and altho' feveral french writers have fo learnedly, and philofophically
proved, that the air of this ifland is too thick, or---too fomething, for
the genius of a painter, yet France in all her palaces can hardly boaft of
a nobler, more judicious, or richer performance of its kind. Note, the 
upper end of the hall where the royal family is painted, was left chiefly
to the pencil of Mr. Andrea a foreigner, after the payment originally 
agreed upon for the work was fo much reduced, as made it not worth 
Sir James's while to finifh the whole with his own more mafterly hand. 
2 The lame excufe writers on painting have made for the many great 
mafters that have fail'd in this particular, is, that they purpofely 
deaden'd their colours, and kept them, what they affe&edly call'd cbafte,
that the correfnefs of their outlines might be feen to greater advantage.
Whereas colours cannot be too brillant if properly difpofed, becaufe the
diftinftion of the parts are thereby made more perfeft; as may be feen 
by comparing a marble bufro with the variegated colours of the face 
either in the life, or one well painted: it is true, uncompofed variety,
either in the features or the limbs, as being daubed with many, or one 
colour, will fo confound the parts as to render them unintelligible. 
R                        Rubens 


Go up to Top of Page