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The few notes which the Translator has inserted, and which are marked M., are merely critical, and relate only to the Author's text or his own version.
THE ART OF PAINTING.
NOTE 1. VERSE 1. Two Sister Muses, with alternate fire, &c. M. Du Piles opens his annotations here, with much learned quotation from Tertullian, Cicero, Ovid, and Suidas, in order to show the affinity between the two arts. But it may perhaps be more pertinent to substitute in the place of it all a single passage, by Plutarch ascribed to Simonides, and which our author, after having quoted Horace, has literally translated : Ζωγραφιαν ειναι ΦΘΕΓΓΟΜΕΝΗΝ την Ποιησιν, Ποιησιν δε ΣΙΓΩΣΑΝ την Ζωγραφιαν. . There is a Latin line somewhere to the same purpose, but I know not whether ancient or modern :
NOTE II. VERSE 33.
To magic colouring, and persuasive song.
first detected the false translations of Du Piles and Dryden, which say,
so much have these divine arts been honoured ;" in consequence of which the Frenchman gives a note of four pages, enumerating the instances in which painting and its professors have been honoured by kings and great men, ancient and modern. Fresnoy had not this in his idea. He says, “ tantus inest divis honor artibus atque potestas," which Wills justly and literally translates, Such powers, such honours, are in arts divine.
NOTE III. VERSE 51.
For ancient taste those forms has best applied. The Poet, with great propriety, begins by declaring what is the chief business of Theory, and pronounces it to be a knowledge of what is beautiful in nature :
That form alone, where glows peculiar grace,
The genuine Painter condescends to trace. v. 9. There is an absolute necessity for the Painter to generalise his notions; to paint particulars is not to paint nature, it is only to paint circumstances. When the Artist has conceived in his imagination the image of perfect beauty, or the abstract idea of forms, he may be said to be admitted into the great Council of Nature, and to
Trace Beauty's beam to its eternal spring,
And pure to man the fire celestial bring. v. 19. To facilitate the acquisition of this ideal beauty, the Artist is recommended to a studious examination of ancient sculpture.
NOTE IV. VERSE 55.
How all one wretched, blind barbarity! The mind is distracted with the variety of accidents, for so they ought to be called rather than forms; and the disagreement of those among themselves will be a perpetual source of confusion and meanness, until, by generalising his ideas, the painter has acquired the only true criterion of judgment: then with a Master's care,
Judge of his art, through beauty's realms he flies,
Selects, combines, improves, diversifies. It is better that he should come to diversify on particulars from the large and broad idea of things, than vainly attempt to ascend from particulars to this great general idea : for to generalise from the endless and vicious variety of actual forms, requires a mind of wonderful capacity ; it is perhaps more than any one mind can accomplish: but when the other, and, I think, better course is pursued, the Artist may
avail himself of the united powers of all his predecessors. He sets out with an ample inheritance, and avails himself of the selection of ages.
NOTE V. VERSE 63.
Of all vain fools with coxcomb talents curst, The sententious and Horatian line, (says a later French editor, which in the original is placed to the score of the Ancients, to give it greater weight, is the Author's own.
I suspect, however, that he borrowed the thought from some ancient prose writer, as we see he borrowed from Plutarch before at the opening of his poem.