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The following little piece has been constantly annexed to M. Du FRESNOY's Poem. It is here given from the former Editions : but the liberty has been taken of making some alterations in the Version, which, when compared with the original in French, appeared either to be done very carelessly by Mr. DRYDEN, or (what is more probable) to be the work of some inferior hand which he employed on the occasion.
CHARLES ALPHONSE DU FRESNOY,
ON THE WORKS OF THE
PRINCIPAL AND BEST PAINTERS OF THE TWO
PAINTING was in its perfection amongst the Greeks. The principal schools were at Sycion, afterwards at Rhodes, at Athens, and at Corinth, and at last in Rome. Wars and luxury having overthrown the Roman Empire, it was totally extinguished, together with all the noble arts, the studies of humanity, and other sciences.
It began to appear again in the year 1450, amongst some painters of Florence, of which Domenico Ghirlandaio was one, who was master to Michel Angelo, and had some kind of reputation, though his manner was Gothic, and very dry.
Michel Angelo, his disciple, flourished in the times of Julius II. Leo X. and of seven successive popes. He was a painter, a sculptor, and an architect, both civil and military. The choice which he made of his attitudes was not always beautiful or pleasing ; his gusto of design was not the finest, nor his outlines the most elegant : the folds of his draperies, and the ornaments of his habits, were neither noble nor graceful. He was not a little fantastical or extravagant in his compositions; he was bold, even to rashness, in taking liberties against the rules of perspective; his colouring is not over true, or very pleasant: he knew not the artifice of light and shadow; but he designed more learnedly, and better understood all the knittings of the bones, and the office and situation of the muscles, than any of the modern painters. There appears a certain air of greatness and severity in his figures, in both which he has oftentimes succeeded. But above the rest of his excellencies, was his wonderful skill in architecture, wherein he has not only surpassed all the moderns, but even the ancients also; the St. Peter's of Rome, the St. John's of Florence, the Capitol, the Palazzo Farnese, and his own house are sufficient testimonies of it. His disciples were, Marcello Venusti, Il Rosso, Georgio Vasari, Fra. Bastiano (who commonly painted for him), and many other Florentines.
Pietro Perugino designed with sufficient know