154 A Painter's Views on Painting
There are few modern painters who are not greater
technically than Giotto,-but I cannot call to mind a single
one whose work impresses me as profoundly as his does. How
is it that our so greatly better should be so greatly worseŚ
that the farther we go beyond him the higher he stands above
us ? Time no doubt has much to do with it, for, great as
Giotto was, there are painters of to-day not less so, if they
only dared express themselves as frankly and unaffectedly
as he did.
The youth of an art is, like the youth of anything else,
its most interesting period. When it has come to the know-
ledge of good and evil it is stronger, but we care less about it.
It is not enough that the painter should make the spectator
feel what he meant him to feel; he must also make him feel
that this feeling was shared by the painter himself bona fide
and without affectation. Of all the lies a painter can tell the
worst is saying that he likes what he does not like. But the
poor wretch seldom knows himself; for the art of knowing
what gives him pleasure has been so neglected that it has
been lost to all but a very few. The old Italians knew well
enough what they liked and were as children in saying it.