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

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

Page 120

,proved -by fuppofing the rules here laid down, all or 
any part of them reverfed. 
I am   apt to believe, that the not knowing nature's 
artful, and intricate method of uniting colours for the 
produ&ion of the variegated compofition, or prime tint of 
.flefla, hath made colouring, in the art of painting, a kind 
.of myftery in all ages; infomuch, that it may fairly be 
faid, out of the many thoufands who have labour'd to 
them as having gained an additional beauty, and call them mended and 
heightened, rather than fouled, and in a manner deftroy'd; how abfurd! 
inf'tead of mellow and foftened therefore, always read yellow and fullied,
for this is doing time the defiroyer, but common jufice. Or fhall we 
defire to fee complexions, whibirifo avo& , literatly as brillant as
flowers above-mention'd, ferved in the like ungrateful manner. In a 
landfkip, will the water be more tranfparent, or the fky rhine with a greater
luftre when embrown'd and darken'd by decay? furely no. I own it 
would be a pity that Mr. Addifon's beautiful defcription of time at 
work in the gallery of pi6tures-, and the following lines of Mr. Drydenj
hould want a fufficient foundation;- 
For time fhall with his ready pencil ftand, 
Retouch your figures with his ripening hand; 
Mellow your colours, and imbrown the tint 
Add every grace which time alone can grant; 
To future ages flhall your fame convey, 
And give more beauties than he takes away. Dryden to Kneller. 
were it not that the error they are built upon, hath been a continual blight
to the growth of the art, by mifguiding both the proficient, and the en-
courager; and often compelling the former, contrary to his judgment, to 
imitate the damaged hue of decayed piaures; fo that when his works un- 
dergo the like injuries, they muff have a double remove from nature; 
which puts it in the power of the meaneft obferver to fee his deficiencies.
Whence anode abturd notion hath taken rife, viz. that the colours now- 
a-days do not fland fo well as formerly; whereas colours well prepared, 

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