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youth was capable of painting his back-grounds, he stood in no need of his instructions ; that the regulation and management of them required the most comprehensive knowledge of the art. This painters know to be no exaggerated account of a back-ground, being fully apprised how much the effect of the picture depends upon it.
It must be in union with the figure, so as not to have the appearance of being inlaid, like Holbein's portraits, which are often on a bright green or blue ground. To prevent this effect, the ground must partake of the colour of the figure; or, as expressed in a subsequent line, receive all the treasures of the palette. The back-ground regulates likewise where and in what part the figure is to be relieved. When the form is beautiful, it is to be seen distinctly; when, on the contrary, it is uncouth or too angular, it may be lost in the ground. Sometimes a light is introduced in order to join and extend the light on the figure, and the dark side of the figure is lost in a still darker background: for the fewer the outlines are which cut against the ground, the richer will be the effect, as the contrary produces what is called the dry manner.
One of the arts of supplying the defect of a scantiness of dress by means of the back-ground, may be observed in a whole-length portrait by Vandyck, which is in the cabinet of the Duke of Montague; the dress of this figure would have had an ungraceful effect; he has, therefore, by means of a light back-ground opposed to the light of the figure, and by the help of a curtain that catches the light near the figure, made the effect of the whole together full and rich to the eye. R.
NOTE XLIII. VERSE 523.
Hope not that praise to gain by sickly white. All the modes of harmony, or of producing that effect of colours which is required in a picture, may be reduced to three; two of which belong to the grand style, and the other to the ornamental.
The first may be called the Roman manner, where the colours are of a full and strong body, such as are found in the Transfiguration : the next is that harmony which is produced by what the ancients called the corruption of the colours, by mixing and breaking them till there is a general union in the whole, without any thing that shall bring to your remembrance the painter's palette, or the original colours; this may be called the Bolognian style, and it is this hue and effect of colours which Lodovico Carracci seems to have endeavoured to produce, though he did not carry it to that perfection which we have seen since his time in the small works of the Dutch school, particularly Jan Steen ; where art is completely concealed, aud the painter, like a great orator, never draws the attention from the subject on himself. .
The last manner belongs properly to the ornamental style, which we call the Venetian, being first practised at Venice, but is perhaps better learned from Rubens; here the brightest colours possible are admitted, with the two extremes of warm and cold, and those reconciled by being dispersed over the picture, till the whole appears like a bunch of flowers.
As I have given instances from the Dutch school, where the art of breaking colour may be learned, we may recommend heré an attention to the works of Watteau for excellence in this florid style of painting.
To all these different manners, there are some general rules that must never be neglected. First, that the same colour which makes the largest mass, be diffused and appear to revive in different parts of the picture : for a single colour will make a spot or blot. Even the dispersed fesh-colour, which the faces and hands make, requires a principal mass, which is best produced by a naked figure ; but where the subject will not allow of this, a drapery approaching to flesh-colour will answer the purpose; as in the Transfiguration, where a woman is clothed in drapery of this colour, which makes a principal to all the heads and hands of the picture; and for the sake of harmony, the colours, however distinguished in
their light, should be nearly the same in their shadows; of a
“ simple unity of shade, As all were from one single palette spread.”. And to give the utmost force, strength, and solidity to the work, some part of the picture should be as light and some as dark as possible; these two extremes are then to be harmonized and reconciled to each other.
Instances where both of them are used, may be observed in two pictures of Rubens, which are equally eminent for the force and brilliancy of their effect; one is in the cabinet of the Duke of Rutland, and the other in the chapel of Rubens at Antwerp, which serves as his monument. In both these pictures he has introduced a female figure dressed in black satin, the shadows of which are as dark as pure black, opposed to the contrary ex, treme of brightness, can make them.
If to these different manners we add one more, that in which a silver-grey or pearly tint is predominant, I believe every kind of harmony that can be produced by colours will be comprehended. One of the greatest examples in this mode is the famous Marriage at Cana, in St. George's church at Venice; where the sky, which makes a very considerable part of the picture, is of the lightest blue colour, and the clouds perfectly white; the rest of the picture is in the same key, wrought from this high pitch. We see likewise many pictures of Guido in this tint; and indeed those that are $0, are in his best manner. Female figures, angels, and children, were the subjects in which Guido more particularly succeeded; and to such, the cleanness and neatness of this tint perfectly cor· responds, and contributes not a little to that exquisite beauty and delicacy which so much distinguishes his works. To see this style in perfection, we must again have recourse to the Dutch school, particularly to the works of the younger Vandervelde, and the younger Teniers, whose pictures are valued by the connoisseurs in proportion as they possess this excellence of a silver tint. Which of these different styles ought to be preferred, so as to meet every man's ideas, would be difficult to determine, from the predilection which every man has to that mode which is practised by the school in which he has been educated; but if any pre-eminence is to be given, it must be to that manner, which stands in the highest estimation with mankind in general, and that is the Venetian, or rather the manner of Titian ; which, simply considered as producing an effect of colours, will certainly eclipse with its splendour whatever is brought into competition with it. But, as I hinted before, if female delicacy and beauty be the principal object of the painter's aim, the purity and clearness of the tint of Guido will correspond better, and more contribute to produce it than even the glowing tint of Titian.