An essay on the picturesque by Sir Uvedale Price

By Sir Uvedale Price

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Additional resources for An essay on the picturesque

Sample text

The two characters which Mr. Burke has so ably discussed, had, it is true, great need of investigation; but they did not want to be recommended to our attention. What is really sublime or beautiful, must always attract and command it; but the picturesque is much less obvious, less generally attractive, and had been totally neglected and" despised by professed improvers: my business therefore was to draw forth, and to dwell upon those less observed beauties. From that circumstance it has been conceived (or at least asserted) that I not only preferred such scenes as were merely rude and picturesque, but excluded9all others.

CHAPCHAPTER II. IT seems to me, that the neglect, which prevails in the works of modern improvers, of al l ^ is owing to their exclusive attention to (high polish and flowing linesj the charms of which they are so engaged in contemplating, as to make them overlook two of the most fruitful sources of human pleasure; the first, that great and universal source of pleasure, variety, whose power is independent of beauty, but without which even beauty itself soon ceases to please; the other, intricacy, a quality which, though distinct from variety, is so * connected connected and blended with it, that the one can hardly exist without the other.

It is not a mere observation of Cicero ; it is an exclamation: Quam multa vident pictores! it marks his surprize at the extreme difference which the study of nature, by means of the art of painting, seems to make almost in the sight itself. It may likewise be observed, that his remark does not extend to form, in which the ancient painters are acknowledged to be our superiors: not to colour, in which they are also conceived to be at least our rivals; but to light and shadow, the supposed triumph of modern over ancient art; an which account the professors of painting, since its revival, have a still better right right to the compliment of so illustrious a panegyrist, than those of his age.

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