Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

“ trait he went beyond them; for he com“ municated to that description of the art, “ in which English artists are the most en

gaged, a variety, a fancy, and a dignity “ derived from the higher branches, which

even those who professed them in a su

perior manner, did not always preserve, “ when they delineated individual nature. “ His Portraits remind the spectator of the “ invention of history, and the amenity of " landscape. In painting portraits, he appeared not to be raised

upon

that platform, “ but to descend to it from a higher sphere. “ His paintings illustrate his lessons, and, " his lessons seem to be derived from his

paintings.

“ He possessed the theory as perfectly as “ the practice of his art. To be such a

painter, he was a profound and penetrating philosopher.

“In full affluence of foreign and domestick

“ fame, admired by the expert in art, and

by the learned in sciencé, courted by the “ great, caressed by Sovereign Powers, and “ celebrated by distinguished Poets, his

68 Goldsmith, Mason, T. Warton, &c.The encomi. ums on our author in prose, are not less numerous. When the DISCOURSES were mentioned in a former page, I did not recollect that they have been very highly commended by my learned and ingenious friend, Dr. Joseph Warton, one of the few yet left among us, of those who began to be distinguished in the middle of the present century, soon after the death of Pope, and may now therefore be considered as the ultimi Romanorum. The praise of so judicious a critick being too valuable to be omitted, I shall introduce it here:

“ One cannot forbear reflecting on the great progress the Art of Painting has made in this country, since the time that Jervas was thought worthy of this panegyrick: [Pope's Epistle to that Painter, in 1716:] a progress, that, we trust, will daily increase, if due attention be paid to the incomparable Discourses that have been delivered at the Royal Academy; which Discourses contain more solid instruction on that subject, than, I verily think, can be found in any language. The precepts are philosophically founded on truth and nature, and illustrated with the most proper and pertinent examples. The characters are drawn with a precision and distinctness, that we look for in vain in Felibien, De Piles, and even Vasari, or Pliny himself. Nothing, for example, can be more just

1

1

“ native humility, modesty, and candour,

never forsook him, even on surprise or provocation ; nor was the least degree of arrogance or assumption visible to the most

scrutinizing eye, in any part of his con* duct or discourse.

“ His talents of every kind, powerful “ from nature, and not meanly cultivated by " letters, his social virtues in all the relations " and all the habitudes of life, rendered him “ the centre of a very great and unparalleled

variety of agreeable societies, which will “ be dissipated by his death. He had too " much merit not to excite some jealousy, “ too much innocence to provoke any enmity. " The loss of no man of his time can be felt

and elegant, as well as profound and scientifick, than the comparison between Michael Angelo and Raffaelle in the fifth of these Discourses. Michael Angelo is plainly the hero of Sir Joshua Reynolds, for the same reason that Homer by every great mind is preferred to Virgil.” Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, ii. 394.

“ with more sincere, general, and unmixed sorrow.

'HAIL !' AND FAREWELL!

QUEEN-Anne-STREET, East,

February 10, 1798.

« ForrigeFortsett »