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. XV: of the face,   pp. 122-134


Page 129

ANALYSIS of          BEAUTY.                 129 
there is exhibited that infinite variety of human forms 
which always diflinguifhes the hand of nature from the 
limited and infufficient one of art; and as thus fhe for 
the fake of variety upon the whole, deviates fometimes 
into plain and inelegant lines, if the poor artift is but 
able now and then to corre& and give a better tafte to 
fome particular part of what he imitates, by having 
learnt fo to do from her more perfed works, or copying 
from thofe that have, ten to one he grows vain upon it, 
and fancies himfelf a nature-mender; not confidering, 
that even in thefe, the meaneft of her works, fhe is 
never wholly deftitute of fuch lines of beauty and other 
delicacies, .as are not only beyond his narrow reach, but 
are feen wanting even in the moft celebrated attempts 
to rival her.  But to return, 
As to what we call plain lines, there is this remark- 
able effe& conflantly produced by them, that being 
more or lefs confpicuous in any kind of character or ex- 
preflion of the face, they bring along with them certain 
degrees of a foolifh or ridiculous afpec. 
It is the inelegance of thefe lines which more pro- 
perly belonging to inanimate bodies, and being feen 
where lines of more beauty and tafte are expe&ed, that 
renders the face filly and ridiculous. See chap. 6, p. 3 1. 
Children in infancy have movements in the mufcles 
of their faces peculiar to their age, as an uninformed 
and unmeaning ftare, an open mouth, and fimple grin: 
all which expreffions are chiefly formed of plain curves, 
S                       and 


Go up to Top of Page