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to the Earl of Burlington; and that I have myself sometimes profited by his labours. It is also from his edition that I reprint the following Life of the Author, which was drawn up from Felibien and other biographers, by the late Dr. Birch, who, with his usual industry, has collected all they have said on Fresnoy's subject.
MONSIEUR DU FRESNOY.
CHARLES ALPHONSE DU FRESNOY was born at Paris in the year 1611. His father, who was an eminent apothecary in that city, intending bim for the profession of physic, gave him as good an education as possible. During the first year, which he spent at the college, he made a very considerable progress in his studies : but as soon as he was raised to the higher classes, and began to contract a taste of poetry, his genius for it opened itself, and he carried all the prizes in it which were proposed to excite the emulation of his fellow-students. His inclination for it was heightened by exercise; and his earliest performances showed, that he was capable of becoming one of the greatest poets of his age, if his love of painting, which equally possessed him, had not divided his time and application. At last he laid
aside all thoughts of the study of physic, and declared absolutely for that of painting, notwithstanding the opposition of his parents, who, by all kinds of severity, endeavoured to divert him from pursuing his passion for that art, the profession of which they unjustly considered in a very contemptible light. But the strength of his inclination defeating all the measures taken to suppress it, he took the first opportunity of cultivating his favourite study.
He was nineteen or twenty years of age when he began to learn to design under Francis Perier; and having spent two years in the school of that painter, and of Simon Voüet, he thought proper to take a journey into Italy, where he arrived in the end of 1633, or the beginning of 1634.
As he had, during his studies, applied himself very much to that of geometry, he began upon his coming to Rome, to paint landscapes, buildings, and ancient ruins. But, for the first two years of his residence in that city, he had the utmost difficulty to support himself, being abandoned by his parents, who resented his having rejected their advice in the choice of his profession; and the little stock of money which he had provided before he left France, proving scarce sufficient for the expences of his journey to Italy. Being destitute, therefore, of friends and acquaintance at Rome, he was reduced to such distress, that his chief subsistence for the greatest part of that time was bread, and a small quantity of cheese. But he diverted the sense of uneasy circumstances by an intense and indefatigable application to painting, till the arrival of the celebrated Peter Mignard, who had been the companion of his studies under Voüet, set him more at ease. They immediately engaged in the strictest friendship, living together in the same house, and being commonly known at Rome by the name of the INSEPARABLES, they were employed by the Cardinal of Lyons in copying all the best pieces in the Farnese palace. But their principal study was the works of Raffaelle and other great masters, and the antiques; and they were constant in their attendance every evening at the academy, in designing after models. Mignard had superior talents in practice; but Du Fresnoy was a greater master of the rules, history, and theory of his profession. They communicated to each other their remarks and sentiments; Du Fresnoy furnishing his friend with noble and excellent ideas, and the latter instructing the former to paint with greater expedition and ease.
Poetry shared with Painting the time and thoughts of Du Fresnoy, who, as he penetrated into the secrets of the latter art, wrote down his observations; and having at last acquired a full knowledge of the subject, formed a design of writing a Poem upon it, which he did not finish till many years afterwards, when he had con
sulted the best writers, and examined with the utmost care the most admired pictures in Italy.
While he resided there he painted several pictures, particularly the ruins of Campo Vaccino, with the City of Rome in the figure of a woman; a young woman of Athens going to see the monument of a lover; Æneas carrying his father to his tomb; Mars finding Lavinia sleeping on the banks of the Tyber, descending from his chariot, and lifting up the veil which covered her, which is one of his best pieces; the birth of Venus, and that of Cupid. He had a peculiar esteem for the works of Titian, several of which he copied, imitating that excellent painter in his colouring, as he did Caracci in his design.
About the year 1653, he went with Mignard to Venice", and travelled throughout Lombardy; and during his stay in that city painted a Venus for Signor Mark Paruta, a noble Venetian, and a Madonna, a half-length. These pictures showed that he had not studied those of Titian without success. Here the two friends separated. Mignard returning to Rome, and Du Fresnoy to
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* This is the account of Mons. Felibien, Entretiens sur les Vies et sur les Ouvrages deplus excellens Peintres, tom. 11. edit. Lond. 1705, p. 333. But the late author of Abregé de la Vie de plus Fameux Peintres, part 11., p. 284. edit. Par. 1745, in 4to, says, that Fresnoy went to Venice without Mignard; and that the latter, being importuned by the letters of the former, made a visit to him in that city.