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All this thou wert; and being this before,
I shall add a dialogue by Mr. Pope, in verse, that is genuine:
old friend is grown so great,
6 Alas ! if I am such a creature,
grow the worse for growing greater ;
WITH MR DRYDEN'S TRANSLATION OF FRESNOY'S ART OF
Tuis Verse be thine, my friend, nor thou refuse This, from no venal or ungrateful Muse. Whether thy hand strike out some free design, Where Life awakes, and dawns at ev'ry line ;
EPISTLE TO MR. Jervas.) This Epistle was originally printed in 1717.
P. Jervas owed much more of his reputation to this Epistle than to his skill as a painter. “ He was defective,” says Mr. Walpole, " in drawing, colouring, and composition ; his pictures are a light, flimsy kind of fan-painting, as large as the life: his vanity was excessive.” The reason why Lady Bridgewater's name is so frequently repeated in this Epistle is, because Jervas affected to be violently in love with her. As she was sitting to him one day, he ran over the beauties of her face with rapture; but added, “ I cannot help telling your Ladyship you have not a handsome ear."
No!–Pray, Mr. Jervas, what is a handsome ear ?" He turned aside his cap, and shewed his own!
Mr. Mason has translated Fresnoy with elegance and fidelity ; and Sir Joshua Reynolds added to the translation, learned, useful, scientifical, and ingenious notes.
Warton. Jervas was one of the most intimate friends of Pope, and appears from his own letters to have been a man of good sense and sincerity. He was distinguished by his knowledge of works of art, and was sent to Italy at the expense of Dr. Clarke, Member of Parliament for the University of Oxford. He is also well known by his excellent translation of Don Quixote.
Or blend in beauteous tints the colour'd mass,
Smit with the love of Sister-Arts we came,
20 How oft review ; each finding like a friend Something to blame, and something to commend ?
Ver. 13. Smit with the love] These fine lines are read with additional pleasure, when we reflect that they are true representation of the manner in which Pope and his friend were accustomed to pass their time at the period they were written. Of the proficiency made by Pope, and of his character of his own attempts at painting, some account is given in his Life, prefixed to this edition.
Ver. 13. Sister-Arts] To the poets that practised and understood painting, the names of Dante, of Flatman, of Butler, of Dyer, may be added that of our author; a portrait of whose painting is in the possession of Lord Mansfield: a head of Betterton.
Warton. There is also another portrait by Pope in the possession of his Grace the Duke of Norfolk, at Arundel castle. Bowles.
What flatt’ring scenes our wand'ring fancy
wrought, Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought! Together o'er the Alps methinks we fly, 25 Fir'd with Ideas of fair Italy. With thee, on Raphael's Monument I mourn, Or wait inspiring Dreams at Maro's Urn: With thee repose, where Tully once was laid, Or seek some Ruin's formidable shade:
30 While Fancy brings the vanish'd piles to view, And builds imaginary Rome a-new, Here thy well-study'd marbles fix our eye; A fading Fresco here demands a sigh ; Each heav'nly piece unwearied we compare,
35 Match Raphael's grace with thy lov'd Guido's air,
Ver. 25. Together o'er the Alps] An excursion together to Italy was the frequent subject of conversation between them, and would in all probability have been carried into effect, had not the infirm constitution of Pope prevented him from undertaking the journey.
Ver. 36. Match Raphael's grace] If the character of Raffaelle were to be given in one word, this was the only one suited to the occasion. This is the characteristic in which he stands unrivalled. The works of Giulio Romano, and his other pupils, please the imagination and gratify the judgment, but the inimitable grace of Raphael touches the heart.
Ver. 36. With thy lov'd Guido's air,] The poet proposes to compare the grace of Raffaelle with the air of Guido. In the former Raffaelle stands pre-eminent; in the latter Guido is allowed to excel. The figures of Raffaelle, although chastely designed, and correctly drawn, appear occasionally short and heavy; those of Guido are beautifully proportioned, and abound with every variety of attitude; but in point of sensibility and grace, the inferiority of Guido is appa
Carracci's strength, Correggio's softer line,
rent. It may also be observed, that in the instances where the works of these great masters do not fully satisfy our conceptions, it arises from causes precisely the reverse of each other. In Raffaelle from a simplicity of style which seems to fall short of the subject; whilst in Guido we too often perceive an excess of art, which is much more discordant to our feelings. We readily admit of whatever indicates excellence, though it may not attain perfection ; but we reject whatever exceeds the limits of truth and nature. Affectation is the bane of excellence in all the arts.
Ver. 37. Curracci's strength.] “ Give me a good outline, and bricks in the middle,” said Annibale Carracci. Agostino has left an elegant sonnet on painting.
Warton. If Annibale Carracci ever made use of the expression above attributed to him, which is at least doubtful, it confers no honour on him as an artist. He would indeed have had more reason on his side in asserting the direct contrary, and saying “give me correct light and shadow, and let the outline take care of itself.” Outline is only a ladder; when the building is finished it is taken away.
By Curracci's strength, Pope probably meant to refer to Annibale only; the most distinguished of the three for his knowledge of the human figure. In elegance of style he was rivalled by his brother Agostino; and was excelled in feeling and taste by his cousin Lodovico. Together, they formed what has been called the eclectic School, by which they proposed to unite the excellencies of all preceding masters; an idea which Agostino has endeavoured to express in the sonnet above referred to.
Ver. 37. Correggio's softer line,] The works of Correggio are well characterized by this epithet ; the excellence of bis chiaroscuro, and just approximation of light and shadow, softening and dispensing with that outline which is often too strongly expressed in the works of many eminent painters. It has been said that the line of Correggio is incorrect; but they who have made this assertion have probably not sufficiently attended to the circumstances