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approaches to it; they are healthy and comely women, but seldom, if ever, possess any degree of elegance: the same may be said of his young men and children: his old men have that sort of dignity which a bushy beard will confer; but he never possessed a poetical conception of character. In his representations of the highest characters in the christian or the fabulous world, instead of something above humanity, which might fill the idea which is conceived of such beings, the spectator finds little more than mere mortals, such as he meets with every day.

The incorrectness of Rubens in regard to his outline oftener proceeds from haste and carelessness, than from inability: there are in his great works, to which he seems to have paid more particular attention, naked figures as eminent for their drawing as for their colouring. He appears to have entertained a great abhorrence of the meagre dry manner of his predecessors, the old German and Flemish Painters; to avoid which, he kept his outline large and flowing: this, carried to an extreme, produced that heaviness which is so frequently found in his figures. Another defect of this great painter is his inattention to the foldings of his drapery, especially that of his women: it is scarcely ever cast with

any

choice or skill. Carlo Maratti and Rubens are in this respect in opposite extremes; one discovers too much art in the disposition of drapery, and the other too little. Rubens's drapery, besides, is not properly historical; the quality of the stuff of which it is composed, is too accurately distinguished; resembling the manner of Paul Veronese. This drapery is less offensive in Rubens than it would be in many other painters, as it partly contributes to that richness which is the peculiar cha

racter of his style, which we do not pretend to set forth as of the most simple and sublime kind.

The difference of the manner of Rubens, from that of any other painter before him, is in nothing more distinguishable, than in his colouring, which is totally different from that of Titian, Correggio, or any of the great colourists. The effect of his pictures may be not improperly compared to clusters of flowers; all his colours appear as clear and as beautiful: at the same time he has avoided that tawdry effect which one would expect such gay colours to produce: in this respect resembling Barocci more than any other painter. What was said of an ancient painter, may be applied to those two artists, – that their figures look as if they fed upon roses.

It would be a curious and a profitable study for a painter to examine the difference and the cause of that difference of effect in the works of Correggio and Rubens, both excellent in different

ways.

The

preference probably would be given according to the different habits of the connoisseur: those who had received their first impressions from the works of Rubens would censure Correggio as heavy; and the admirers of Correggio would say Rubens wanted solidity of effect. There is lightness, airiness, and facility in Rubens, his advocates will urge, and comparatively a laborious heaviness in Correggio: whose admirers will complain of Rubens's manner being careless and unfinished, whilst the works of Correggio are wrought to the highest degree of delicacy: and what

may be advanced in favour of Correggio's breadth of light will by his censurers be called affected and pedantic. It must be observed that we are speaking solely of the manner, the effect of the picture; and we may conclude, according to the custom in pastoral

236

A JOURNEY TO FLANDERS AND HOLLAND.

poetry, by bestowing on each of these illustrious painters a garland, without attributing superiority to either.

To conclude: I will venture to repeat in favour of Rubens, what I have before said in regard to the Dutch school, - that those who cannot see the extraordinary merit of this great painter, either have a narrow conception of the variety of art, or are led away by the affectation of approving nothing but what comes from the Italian school.

THE

ART OF PAINTING,

OF

CHARLES ALPHONSE DU FRESNOY;

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH VERSE

BY

WILLIAM MASON, M. A.

WITH ANNOTATIONS

BY

SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.

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