THE ELMER BELT LIBRARY OF VINCIANA
A gift to the Library of the University of California,
Los Angeles, from Elmer Belt, M.D., ig6i
Pit^fj^he^ ij J.JS.NicAcU tr Sun ^url^mmT So-ctf..
LEONARDO DA VINCI:
FAITHFULLY TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL
AND DIGESTED UXDER PROPER HEADS,
By JOHN FRANCIS RIGAUD, Esq.
ACADEMICIAN OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF PAINTING AT LONDON,
AND ALSO OF THE ACADEMIA CLEMENTINA AT BOLOGNA,
AND THE ROYAL ACADEMY AT STOCKHOLM.
ILLUSTRATED WITH TWENTY-THREE COPEER-PLATES,
AND OTHER FIGURES.
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,
WITH A CRITICAL ACCOUNT OF HIS WORKS,
Bv JOHN WILLIAM BROWN, Esq.
J. B. NICHOLS AND SON, 25, PARLIAMENT STREET.
SOLD ALSO BY
\V. PICKERING, CUAXCERY LAXE ; J. WEALE, HIGH HOLBORX ;
AND J. WILLIAMS, CHARLES STREET, SOHO.
Ars est habitus ariDAM faciendi vera cum rationk.
Aristot. Ethic. Lib. 6.
Preface -_„..- v
Preface to Rigaud's Trauslation - - viii
Life of Leonard! da Vinci, by J. W, Brown, Esq. xiii
Catalogue of the principal Works painted by Leonardo
da Vinci - _ - - - xc
Memoir of J. F Rigaud, Esq. R. A. - - c
Treatise on Painting.
Drawing — Proportion - - -
Anatomy - - - - 13
Motion and Equipoise of Figures - - 27
Linear Perspective - - - .50
Invention, or Composition - - - 63
Expression and Character - - 90
Light and Shadow - - 96
Contraste and Effect - - - 11 4
Reflexes - - - - 116
Colours and Colouring _ - _ 124
Colours in regard to Light and Shadow - 143
Colours in regard to Back* grounds - lo2
Contraste, Harmony, and Reflexes in regard to
Colours - » - - 1.5.5
Perspective of Colours - 163
Aerial Perspective - - 1 80
Landscape, &c. - - 224
General Table of Chapters, with References
to the corresponding Chapters in the original
Italian . . - . 227
DIRECTIONS TO THE BINDER.
Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci
to face t
PI. 1. to fa
ce Chap 37. . .
4. .. .
Pl.ll.tofaceChap.84. . P. 36
12 ib ib.
13 85 ib.
14 89 39
15 90 ib.
16 92 40
17 96.. .. 42
18 145... 7I
19 147... 72
20 153... 76
21 ib ib,
22. ..c 346. ..212
Since the former edition of this work was pub-
lished, the able Translator has paid the debt of
Mr. Rigaud being himself a painter, and highly
appreciating the merits of Leonardo da Vinci, felt
that he should derive pleasure from exhibiting
his well-known Treatise on Painting to the Brit-
ish public with superior advantage. He, there-
fore, not only gave a new translation, but formed
a better arrangement of the materials. The merits
of Mr. Rigaud' s Translation ha^nng been duly ap-
preciated by the public, and the work having been
long out of print, another edition, in a neater and
more condensed form, is now produced, which,
the Publishers pi'esume, may prove a desirable
acquisition to students and amateurs.
The principal novelty, however, of this edition
is the new Life of the Author, by the late J. W.
Bro"v\m, Esq., which was first published, in a se-
parate volume, in 1828. A long residence in
Italy, an intimate acquaintance with its language
* See a memoir of Mr. Rigaud, p. c.
and literature, together with a constant oppor-
tunity of studying the most finished specimens
of Art, induced that gentleman to undertake the
hiography of Leonardo da Vinci, who so
largely contributed to form a new sera in the His
tory of the Fine Arts. This distinguished Italian
i s not so well known in England as he deserves.
Among the various l)iographical sketches of this
celebrated character, that written by Giorgio Va-
sari is perhaps the most authentic, as he had the
advantage of contemporaneous information. But
this also is rather an account of his works than of
himself, containing little more than what is gene-
rally known, and forming only one article in Va-
sari's Lives of celebrated Painters.
To most of the editions which have been pub-
lished of Da Vinci's writings a short biographical
notice is prefixed, but they are chiefly copied ver-
batim from Vasari.
The Signor Carlo Ammoretti, hbrarian of the
Ambrosian Library at Milan, has prefixed the best
and most ample account of Leonardo da Vinci to
the edition of his "Trattato della Pittura," pub-
lished at Milan in 1 804 ; which he has entitled
" Memorie storiche su la Vita, gli Studj, e le
Opere di Leonardo da Vinci."
In addition to many sources of information, Mr.
Brown had the privilege of constant admittance
not only to the private library of his Imperial and
Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany, but
also to his most rare and valuable collection of
Manuscripts in the Palazzo Pitti, where he was
permitted to copy from the original documents
and correspondence whatever he conceived useful
to his subject.
In selecting from the mass of documents rela-
tive to the subject of the present work, Mr.
Brown rejected whatever appeared unsupported by
sufficient proof ; and he has given such historical
anecdotes of that period as were necessary to the
subject, from their having materially influenced
the private fortunes of Da Vinci.
Sept. 5, 1835.
Mr. RIGAUD'S TRANSLATION.
The excellence of the following Treatise is so well
known to all in any tolerable degree conversant
with the Art of Painting, that it would be almost
superfluous to say any thing respecting it, were it
not that it here appears under the form of a new
translation, of which some account may be ex-
Of the original Work, which is in reality a selec-
tion from the voluminous manuscript collections
of the Author, both in folio and in quarto, of all
such passages as related to Painting, no edition
appeared in print till 1651, though its Author died
so long before as the year 1519; and it is owing
to the circumstance of a manuscript copy of these
extracts in the original Italian, having fallen into
the hands of Raphael du Fresne, that in the
former of these years it was published at Paris in
a thin folio volume in that language, accompanied
with a set of cuts from the drawings of Nicole
^ TRANSLATOR S PREFACE. IX
Poussin and Albert! ; the former having designed
the human figures, the latter the geometrical and
other representations. This precaution was pro-
bably necessary, the sketches in the Author's own
collections being so very slight as not to be fit for
publication without further assistance. Poussin's
drawings were mere outlines, and the shadows and
back-grounds behind the figures were added by
Errard, after the drawings had been made, and, as
Poussin himself says, without his knowledge.
In the same year, and size, and printed at the
same place, a translation of the original work into
French was given to the world by Monsieur de
Chambray (well known, under his family name of
Freart, as the author of an excellent Parallel of
ancient and modern Architecture, in French, which
Mr. EveljTi translated into English). Tlie style
of this translation by Mons. de Chambray, being
thought, some years after, too antiquated, some
one was employed to rcAise and modernise it ; and
in 17H> a new edition of it, thus polished, came
out, of which it may be truly said, as is in general
the case on such occasions, that whatever the sup-
posed advantage obtained in purity and refine-
ment of language might be, it was more than
counterbalanced by the want of the more valuable
qualities of accuracy, and fidelity to the original,
from which, by these variations, it became further
X TRANSLATOR S PREFACE.
The first translation of this Treatise into English,
appeared in the year 1721. It does not declare
by whom it was made ; but though it professes to
have been done from the original Italian, it is
evident, upon a comparison, that more use was
made of the revised edition of the French transla-
tion. Indifferent, however, as it is, it had become
so scarce, and had risen to a price so extravagant,
that, to supply the demand, it was found neces-
sary^, in the year 17^6? to reprint it as it stood,
with all its errors on its head, no opportunity then
offering of procuring a fresh translation.
This last impression, however, being also dis-
posed of, and a new one again called for, the
present Translator was induced to step forward,
and undertake the ofiice of fresh translating it, on
finding, by comparing the former versions both in
French and English with the original, many pas-
sages which he thought might at once be more
concisely and more faithfully rendered. His ob-
ject, therefore, has been to attain these ends, and
as rules and precepts like the present allow but
little room for the decorations of style, he has
been more solicitous for fidelity, perspicuity, and
precision, than for smooth sentences, and well-
Nor was this the only advantage which it was
found the present opportunity would afford ; for
the original work consisting in fact of a number
TRANSLATOR S PREPACK. XI
of entries made at different times, without any
regard to their subjects, or attention to method,
might rather in that state be considered as a chaos
of intelligence, than a well-digested treatise. It
has now, therefore, for the iirst time, been at-
tempted to place each chapter under the proper
head or branch of the art to which it belongs
and by so doing, to bring together those which
(though related and nearly connected in substance)
stood, according to the original arrangement, at
such a distance from each other as to make it
troublesome to find them even by the assistance
of an index ; and difficult, when found, to com-
pare them together.
The consequence of this plan, it must be con-
fessed, has been, that in a few instances the same
precept has been found in substance repeated;
but this is so far from being an objection, that it
evidently proves the precepts were not the hasty
opinions of the moment, but settled and fixed
principles in the mind of the Author, and that he
was consistent in the expression of his sentiments.
But if this mode of arrangement has in the pre-
sent case disclosed what might have escaped ob-
servation, it has also been productive of more
material advantages; for, besides facihtating the
finding of any particular passage (an object in
itself of no small importance), it clearly shows the
work to be a much more complete system than
Xll TRANSLATOR S PREFACE.
those best acquainted with it had before any idea
of, and that many of the references in it, appa-
rently to other writings of the same Author, relate
in fact only to the present, the chapters referred
to having been found in it. These are now pointed
out in the notes, and where any obscurity has oc-
curred in the text, the reader will find some assist-
ance at least attempted by the insertion of a note
to solve the difficulty.
No pains or expense have been spared in pre-
paring the present work for the press. The cuts
have been re-engraved wdth more attention to
correctness in the drawing, than those which ac-
companied the two editions of the former English
translation possessed (even though they had been
fresh engraven for the impression of 17^6); and
the diagrams are now inserted in their proper
places in the text, instead of being, as before, col-
lected all together in two plates at the end.
J. F, RlGAUD.
LEONARDO DA VINCI.
Among the many distinguished individuals who
flourished in Italy during the early part of the six-
teenth century, there is none more worthy of com-
memoration than Leonardo da Vinci, whether we
consider his splendid and almost universal talents, or
the excellence of his character. Through a long and
active life his mind was zealously devoted to the re-
vival of the arts, to which he contributed in a greater
degree, perhaps, than any single individual of ancient or
modern times. The arts of poetry, music, and especially
painting, were embraced by him with an enthusiasm
which awakened that of others, and gave a mighty
impulse to the mental energies, not only of his con-
temporaries and countrymen, but of distant nations
and posterity. Every incident in the life of such a
man must be full of interest to the lovers of biography :
the more so from the very remarkable fact, that in no
language have those incidents been properly collected,
though abundant and authentic sources of information
exist on which such a work might be founded. To
supply in some degree this deficiency, is the object of
the following pages.
XIV THE LIFE OF
Leonardo da Vinci was born in the year 1452, at
Vinci, in the Val d'Arno Inferiore, on the confines of
the Pistoiese territory, not far from the Lake of Fu-
cecchio. He was the natural son of Pietro da Vinci ;
and it is said that his mother was a servant in his
father's family ; but this must remain uncertain, from
the length of time that has since elapsed, and the
numerous reports that contradict each other, not only
in what relates to his origin, but even to the year of
his birth, in which there is a difference of no less than
ten years. It is, however, certain, that he was entirely
brought up in his father's family ; a fact attested by
an old and well authenticated register, found among
the ancient archives of Florence by Signore Dei, who
has written largely on the subject of Leonardo's
genealogy. It is a matter of some regret, that, amidst
all his learned and elaborate researches, that gentle-
man has not been able to procure any documents to
prove that Da Vinci was subsequently declared legi-
timate, which from various circumstances appears to
be extremely probable. If we may believe the regis-
ter, and there is no better authority, Leonardo was
seventeen years old when his fother was forty ; so
that he must have been born when Pietro was a young
man, and most likely before his marriage.
His father had three wives, Giovanna daZenobi Ama-
dori, Francesca di SerGiulianoLanfredini,and Lucrezia
di Guglielmo Cortigiani ; and a proof that Leonardo
still formed a part of his family after his third marriage,
is afforded by a passage in one of Belincionni's son-
nets, addressed to Madonna Lucrezia da Vinci, which
" A Fiesole con Piero e Leonardo ;"
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. XV
and relates the pleasures he enjoyed at their villa near
Florence. It is hardly probable that he would have
received such unvarying attentions, had he been con-
sidered merely as a natural child. Moreover, we find
from several documents in the " Codice Atlantico,"
that his family were at all times proud of his relation-
ship, and his uncle Francesco da Vinci left him an
equal share of his property with his other brothers and
Leonardo was gifted with one of the finest forms
that can be imagined, in which strength and symmetry
were beautifully combined ; his face was strongly ex-
pressive of his ardent mind, and of the frankness and
energy of his character. He would, it may be pre-
sumed, have distinguished himself in the literary world
while in his youth, had he not been as unsteady as he
was enthusiastic in his various pursuits. He made
such wonderful progress in arithmetic, that when a
child he frequently proposed questions which his mas-
ter himself was unable to resolve. He next attached
himself to music as a science, and soon arrived at such
perfection in playing on the lyre, which was his
favourite instrument, as to compose extemporaneous
accompaniments to his own poetical effusions. The
following sonnet is one of the very few which are
" Chi non jnio quel die vuol, quel che pu6 voglia;
Che quel che non si pub folle i^ il volere.
Adunque saggio ^ I'uomo da tenere
Che da quel che non puo suo voler toglia.
Pero che ogni diletto nostro e doglia
Sta in si e no, saper voler potere,
Adunque quel sol pu6 che ^ col dovere,
Ne trae la ragion fuor di sua soglia.
XVI THE LIFE OF
Ne sempre ^ da voler quel che I'uom pi)te,
Spesso par dolce quel che torna amaro,
Piansi gii quel che io volsi, poiche io I'hebbi.
Adunque tu, letter di queste note,
Se a te vuoi esser buono, e ad altri caro,
Vogli sempre poter quel che tu debbi."
But, although an ardent admirer of the arts in general,
painting appeared to be his favourite pursuit, to which
he more particularly applied himself in all its different
branches 5 and in which he soon attained great excel-
lence^as well as in the art of forming models and designs.
The praiseworthy exertions of Cimabue^ Giotto, and
Masaccio, had already begun to revive the art of
painting in Italy, and particularly in Tuscany, where
the arts were most certain to find protection and en-
couragement, from the powerful patronage of Lorenzo
de' Medici, so justly styled '' the Magnificent." His
liberality had already acquired for his native Florence
the honourable appellation of the " Modern Athens;"
and his taste for literature and the fine arts consider-
ably influenced the state of public opinion among his
The Signore Pietro, perceiving that his son's abilities
and inclinations might lead to future wealth and fame,
determined to show the productions of his self-culti-
vated talents to Andrea Varocchio, one of the most
celebrated painters, sculptors, and architects of that
age.* Masser Andrea, surprised at the strong indi-
* Andrea del Varocchio, or Verrocchio, a Florentine painter,
architect, and jeweller, died at Venice in 1488, where he was
enoiployed in forming the equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Cog-
lioni in bronze. He was more celebrated as an architect and
sculptor than as a painter. — See his life by Vasari.
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. XVll
cations of original talent and hope of future excellence,
which these early productions evinced, gladly con-
sented to receive the young Leonardo into his
"studio," convinced that a pupil of so much merit
could not fail of increasing his master's celebrity; but
he soon found that his scholar had very little need of
his instructions, and that he would ere long surpass
him in his own works.
It happened about this time that Messer Andrea
was employed to paint a picture of St. John baptizing
our Saviour ; and anxious to stimulate his young pupil
to greater exertion, he desired his assistance in this
composition. Leonardo executed the part assigned
him with such extraordinary skill, that, as Vasari
relates, the angel painted by him greatly excelled all
the rest of Andrea's picture, which, he says, " was
the occasion of Messer Andrea's leaving off paint-
ing, enraged that a child should know more than
Having given this proof of wonderful abilities, he
employed himself in studying the different branches
of the art to which he now intended more particularly
to devote his attention. But the natural inconstancy
of his disposition frequently impelled him to desert his
studio, and indulge in imaginary speculations. His
time, however, was never unemployed ; and though
his occupations were always various, and sometimes
inconsistent, he nevertheless most assiduously culti-
vated whatever was calculated to adorn his mind or
increase his accomplishments. He must also have
worked very diligently at his profession, as his father
could not have afforded him much money for his
amusements ; and he is known, if we may believe his
XVm THE LIFE OF
contemporaries, to have led rather a gay life. The
dehght of society wherever he went, and an extraor-
dinary favourite with the fair sex, he became too fond
of dress and parade ; he maintained a numerous retinue
of servants, a sumptuous equipage, and purchased the
most spirited horses that could be procured. These
extravagances were, however, extremely pardonable
in a young man flushed with success and conscious of
his superior acquirements, particularly as they could
only be supported by the produce of his own industry,
and must therefore have greatly tended to stimulate
Like most people who are endowed with great na-
tural talents, he undertook much more than he was
able to accomplish ; and we find him continually
changing his occupations : at one time diligently em-
ploying himself in astronomical observations, to ascer-
tain the motion of the heavenly bodies, at another
intently pursuing the study of natural history and
botany, yet with all his versatility of talent and incon-
stancy of disposition, never permitting himself to neg-
lect his favourite pursuit. With the utmost perse-
verance he sought every possible means of improving
himself in painting, from the time he left the studio
of Andrea Varocchio, and became his own master,
Tlie numerous works on scientific subjects that
Leonardo has left to posterity, sufficiently prove how
well he must have employed his youth, though very
little is to be found in the writings of his contempo-
raries to give us any information of the occurrences of
his every-day life. Both Vasari and Lomazzo relate
that he invented various machines for lifting great
weights, penetrating mountains, conducting water from
LEOXARDO DA VINCI. XIX
one place to another, and innumerable models for
watches, windmills, and presses. Two of the many
projects which he had in contemplation, some of which
were almost too wild for belief, deserve to be parti-
cularly noticed. One of them was to lift up the Ca-
thedral of San Lorenzo bodily, or rather en masse,
by means of immense levers, and in such a manner
that he pretended the edifice would not receive the
slightest injury. The other, which was more feasible,
was to form the Arno into a canal as far as Pisa, and
which would have been extremely beneficial to the
commerce of Tuscany.
That Leonardo continued to reside at Florence, or
at least in its neighbourhood, is confirmed by the
story Vasari relates of the " Rotella del Fico," which
was a round piece of wood cut from the largest fig-tree
on his father's estate. The Signore Pietro was very
fond of field sports and country amusements; and one
of his " conladini" who was particularly useful to
him on these occasions, brought him a piece of wood,
requesting him to have something painted on it as an
ornament for his cottage. Willing to gratify his
favourite, he desired his son to do as the man wished ;
and Leonardo determined to paint something that
should astonish his father by the great progress he
had made in his art. This piece of wood must have
been roughly made and badly put together, as our
young artist was obliged to have it planed off and
the insterstices filled up with stucco, so as to leave a
surface sufficiently smooth for his purpose. He then
considered for some time what he should represent,
and at length determined on painting a monster that
should have the effect of Medusa's head on all be-
XX THE LIFE OF
holders. For this purpose he collected every kind of
reptile, vipers, adders, lizards, toads, serpents, and
other poisonous or obnoxious animals, and formed a
monster so wonderfully designed, that it appeared to
flash fire from its eyes, and almost to infect the air
with its breath. When he had succeeded to his
wishes in this horrible composition, he called his father
to try its effect upon him ; who, not expecting what
he was to see, started back with horror and affright,
and was just going to run out of the room, when Leo-
nardo stopped him by assuring him it was the work of
his own hands, exclaiming, " that he was quite satis-
fied, as his picture had the effect he anticipated."
The Signore Pietro was, of course, too much delighted
with his son's performance to think of giving it to his
" contadino," for whom he procured an ordinary
painting, and sold Leonardo's to a merchant of Flo-
rence for one hundred ducats. This was a very large
sum to give for a picture, when the value of money at
the time is remembered ; but it was soon after sold to
the Duke of Milan for three times the original cost.
The life of a painter, however celebrated, cannot
be expected to furnish the same variety of incidents
as that of a warrior or a statesman, though the civil
virtues and splendid talents of Leonardo da Vinci
were probably more useful to his country than the
warlike qualifications of his more ambitious contempo-
raries, which were usually accompanied by violence
and follor/cd by remorse.
Leonardo da Vinci had now reached his thirty-first
year, and was most indefatigable in the study of what-
ever might tend to his improvement or increase his
knowledge in the art oi' painting, to which he almost
LEONARDO DA VINCI. XXI
exclusively devoted himself. One of his first under-
takings was the celebrated " Cartone," pasteboard or
rather thick paper, which he designed, by the orders
of the King of Portugal, for a piece of tapestry that
was to be worked in Flanders for that monarch. This
drawing represented the story of Adam and Eve when
first tempted to sin, and surpassed every thing which
had been seen of the kind.
One of his first pictures was a painting of the Ma-
donna, in which he introduced, among other acces-
sories, a vase of flowers, so inimitably executed that
the dew seemed glittering on the leaves. This pro-
duction became afterwards the property of Pope Cle-
ment the Seventh, who purchased it at an immense
price. For his friend Antonio Segni he formed a
design of Neptune drawn in his car by sea-horses
through the ocean, surrounded by Tritons^ Mermaids,
and all the other attributes of that deity which his
fertile imagination could invent. It was some time
after presented by Segni's son, Fabio, to Messer Gio-
vanni Gaddi, with this epigram : —
" Piaxit Virgilius Neptunum : pinxit Homerus
Diim maris undisoni per vada flectit equos :
Mente quidem vates ilium coaspexit uterque ;
Viaoius est oculis, jureque viucit eos,"
Da Vinci always took great pleasure in delineating
the most grotesque figures and extraordinary faces, so
that, if he met a man in the street with any peculiarity
of ugliness or deformity of countenance, he would
follow him until he had a correct idea of his face, and
would then draw the person, on his return home, from
memory, as well as if he had been present. He not
XXn THE LIFE OP
only studied to perfect himself in giving the mere
beauty or deformity of the likenesses he painted, but
he sought to give the very air, manner, and expression
of the persons represented. He at all times preferred
studying from nature to following rules that were then
but imperfectly understood ; and he was in the habit
of inviting the contadini, and people of the lower
orders, to sup with him, telling them the most ridicu-
lous stories, that he might delineate the natural ex-
pressions of rude delight undisguised by the refine-
ments of good breeding. He would then show them
their own likenesses, which no one could possibly
behold without laughter at the ridiculous faces which
he had caricatured, but with so much truth that the
originals could not be mistaken.* He was so inde-
fatigable in pursuing the object of his ambition, that
he neglected no means of procuring fresh studies
for his pencil. He would sometimes put himself to
the pain of accompanying criminals to the place of
execution, and would remain with them in their last
moments, that he might catch the expression of their
countenances, and delineate the agony of their suffer-
ings. In short, there was no branch of his art which
he considered unworthy of his attention, aware that
perfection in any thing is only to be attained by un-
wearied industry and application. We find from
Vasari, that it was about this time that he painted a
picture for the Grand Duke Cosimo the First, repre-
senting an angel in strong light and shade, which was
* The best of these caricatures were published by Clarke, in
17?6, from drawings by Wenceslaus Hollar, taken from the
LEONARDO DA VINCI. XXUl
placed by that prince in the collection of the " Palazzo
Vecchio," from whence it had been missing for up-
wards of a century. Most probably it was turned out
of its place from the oversight or carelessness of the
directors, who had condemned it to be put aside with
a quantity of rubbish, old furniture and frames, which
are occasionally sold by order of the Duke's guarda-
roba. It was not long since bought by a " rivendi-
tore" for twenty-one quatrini, about three pence, and
resold to its present possessor, the Signore Fineschi,
a drawing-master of Florence, for five pauls, two shil-
lings and sixpence. There is no doubt of the origin-
ality of this painting, both from the particular style of
colouring Leonardo made use of, and the sort of stucco
with which it is covered behind, a chemical compo-
sition which he is well known to have used to preserve
his pictures from the worms when they were painted
on wood. It is also most accurately described in
Vasari'sLife of Leonardo, in these words: — " Among
the best things in the Duke Cosimo's palace is the
head of an angel with one arm lifted up in the air,
shortened off about the elbow, and the other with the
hand on the bosom. It is a very extraordinary thing
that this great genius was in the habit of seeking for
the very darkest blacks, in order to effect a sort of
chiaro scuro, which added more brilliancy to his pic-
tures, and gave them more the appearance of night
than the clearness of day; but this was in order to
increase the relief, and so improve the art of painting."
The celebrated picture of the Medusa's head, which
is now in the Public Gallery at Florence, was executed
about this time, but, as it was a work that required
great labour, it, like too many of his undertakings, is
XXIV THE LIFE OF
in an unfinished state. It is a most extraordinary
subject, and the snakes are interwoven and grouped
together instead of hair with such wonderful skill, that
it excites almost as much disgust as admiration.
The fame of Leonardo's extraordinary abilities
spread through Italy, and he was invited by several
princes to reside at their courts, and enrich their palaces
with his works. The example of the great Lorenzo
had raised an emulation among the princes of Italy for
the encouragement of literary men ; and whoever was
distinguished by talent was sure not only of wealth
and preferment, but was flattered and caressed by
all his superiors. The unusual tranquillity Italy en-
joyed from the wise precautions and conciliatory
policy of Lorenzo de' Medici, left her turbulent rulers
at leisure to cultivate the arts of peace. Their habitual
restlessness required employment; and reduced to
inaction by the temporary cessation of their petty wars
and intrigues, their ambition consisted in drawing to
their respective courts the greatest men of that lumi-
nous period. Lorenzo may therefore be justly styled
not only the Maecenas of Florence, which he governed,
but of the age in which he lived, as his politics so ma-
terially influenced the revival of literature and the
progress of general civilization.
Anxious to secure to himself a certain provision for
his expensive style of living, Leonardo addressed a
letter to Ludovico Sforza, surnamed II Moro, offering
his services to that prince, who governed Milan during
his nephew's minority, and whom he knew to be most
desirous of attracting to his court all the literati of the
age, under the pretence of assisting him in the young
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. XXV
Duke's education.* None of the writers of that period
have given any reason why Leonardo preferred the
patronage of Ludovico to that of the house of Medici,
particularly as the latter were distinguished by their
liberal encouragement of the arts. Perhaps Lorenzo
might have sent him to II Moro, with whom he was
in strict alliance, or Leonardo might have preferred
Milan himself, where he would have hoped to have
found a more extensive field for the exercise of his
talents, and less competition than he must have had to
contend with at Florence. The uncertainty of his
birth perhaps influenced so high minded a man ; and
he prubablv wished to establish his own fortunes at a
strange court, where he was only known as an illus-
trious Florentine distinguished by his sovereign for
the superiority of his talents and acquirements.
Whatever migiit have been Da Vinci's motive, it is
certain that he entered the service of the Duke of
Milan, and consented to receive an annual salary of
five hundred scudi, which was then by no means a
contemptible sum. He was, moreover, entitled to
various privileges and immunities, and permitted to
appropriate to his own use the produce of such of his
paintings as were not executed by the Duke's order.
It is important to the history of Leonardo da Vinci
to fix, as nearly as possible, the period of his arrival at
Milan. From the most authentic sources it appears
that he must have taken up his residence there pre-
* It is a curious fact, that Leonardo da Vinci always wrote
from riglit to left, like the Persians, for which no one has Jjeen
able to account. It was most probably a lo.e of singularity;
and, although it increases the difficulty of decyphering his ma-
nuscripts, it also serves to place their identity beyond dispute.
XX\1 THE LIFE OF
vious to the year 14-87 j for we find in an old treatise
entitled " Delia Luce e dell' Ombra," in his oHn
hand-writing, the following observation : " A di 2'J
d' Aprile 1490, chominciai questo libro, e richominciai
il Cavallo." * In this memorandum he no doubt
alludes to the equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza
the First, which, if he recommenced in 1490, he must
have begun long before, as it must have consumed
much time to form the necessary moulds and designs.
Moreover, he is alluded to b}' Belincionni, a Florentine
poet, who resided at the court of Ludovico il Moro,
and celebrated most of the principal events of that
period, under the name of the " Apelle Florentine : "
" Qui come 1' apeal miel viene ogni dotto,
Di virtuosi ha la sua corte piena :
Da Fiorenza un Apelle ha qui condotto ;" &c. f
and the editor Tantio, or Tanzi, has added in the
margin, fearing it might not be understood, " Magistro
Leonardo da Vinci."
There is also another authority not less respectable
than the former, in the RIcordi of ^lonsignore Sabba
da Castiglione, which dates his coming to Milan as far
back as 1483, from the circumstance of his having
been an eye-witness to the destruction of this un-
finished equestrian statue, when the French under
Charles the Eighth took possession of Milan, in 14'99,
There is no evidence to confirm the assertion of this
* " On the 23rd of April, 1490, I began this book, and re-
commenced the horse."
f " Like bees to hive, here flocks each learned sage,
With all that's great and good his court is throng'd :
From Florence fair hath an Apelles come," &c.
LEONARDO DA VINCI. XXVll
noble Milanese writer that liis contemporary Leonardo
had worked at this model for sixteen years ; but there
is no reason to disbelieve him when he declares he saw
the bowmen of Gascony make use of this magnificent
production as a target.
Ludovico il Moro, at whose request Leonardo went
to the court of Milan, although only nominally Regent,
governed that state with absolute authority ; for his
nephew, Giovan Galeazzo, possessed merely the title,
and enjoyed the pageantry of sovereignty, without the
Ludovico Sforza, surnamed '' II Moro," not from
his darkness of complexion, as is erroneously stated
by Gibbon, but from his having taken a mulberry-tree,
in Italian " Moro," for his de^■ice,* was a prince of
great talents, and one of the first politicians of the
age. Although the more noble qualities of his mind
were obscured by ambition, he was greatly beloved
by all who were about his person, and admitted to his
intimate society. He was frank and pleasing in his
manners, easy of access, and liberal even to profusion
to those who possessed his confidence. To a very
handsome and prepossessing exterior he united the
most powerful eloquence. He successfully cultivated
* " The Signore Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, adopted
a mulberry-tree, Moro, as bis device, from its beiug considered
wiser than all other trees, as it buds later, and does not flower
until it has escaped the injuries of winter, when it immediately
bears fruit : thereby demonstrating itself of a nature to do no-
thing hastily, but rather maturely to reflect, and then promptly
execute. This wise prince made use of this device as emblematic
of a similarity of disposition." — See Giovio, Vi(e d'Uomini
XXVlll THE LIFE OF
the arts of peace, and lost no opportunity of drawing
to his court those who had most distinguished them-
selves in the arts and sciences. It was his opinion
that much more might be done by council than by
arras; and that the pen was frequently of more weight
than the sword ; he was therefore averse to warlike
enterprises, and always preferred obtaining his object
by overreaching his adversaries in politics and intrigue.
To such a man Leonardo da Vinci must have been
invaluable. His various talents, to a prince who so
well knew how to appreciate them, were of the great-
est importance, and he was received at his court with
every possible demonstration of favour and affection.
It would far exceed the limits of this work to enumerate
all the celebrated men whom Ludovico had drawn
around him under the laudable pretence of his ne-
phew's instruction and amusement. The poet Belin-
cionni has enumerated them in his various composi-
tions ; and Leonardo is also mentioned in most ho-
nourable terms .
" Del Vinci e suoi pennelli e suoi colori,
I moderni e gli auticlii hanno paura."*
The Padre Luca Paciolo, who was the friend and
companion of Leonardo and the great restorer of ma-
thematics in Italy, places our hero before all his con-
temporaries, and makes the following playful allusion
to his name : " H Vince in scoltura, getto, e pittura,
con ciascuna il nome verifica." f
Vasari is greatly mistaken in supposing that Ludo-
* Vinci and his pencils and his colours, both moderns and
ancients have in dread.
t " Vinci in sculpture, casts, and painting, verifies his name
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. XXIX
vico sent for Da Vinci merely to amuse him with his
musical talents ;* for it appears very improbable that
this prince, who was so well aware of Leonardo's
knowledge and taste for the fine arts, from having the
famous " Rotella del Fico" in his possession, which
was painted by him when a young man, should have
considered him in the light of a musician. Whatever
reputation he might have gained for playing on the
lyre, it is evident that he himself considered that
accomplishment a mere pastime, as he never makes
the slightest mention of his musical abilities in the
celebrated letter addressed by him to the Duke of
Milan : and if the enlightened politics and vast ideas
of Ludovico il Moro are considered, it will be readily
conceived that Leonardo was sent for with the view of
giving instruction to others as well as of working him-
self, by instituting an academy of arts and sciences,
of which he was to have the chief direction. We
know also from the best historians of the period, that
this wary prince, from the moment of his brother
Galeazzo Maria's assassination, had formed the plan
of usurping his throne, and therefore was particularly
anxious to draw over to his party the most celebrated
men in Italy 3 as the protection and patronage of such
* '* It is true that he was an excellent musician and a particularly
good performer on the lyre ; so much so, that Lommazo reputes
him superior to every one in that art. A note is to be seen in
his Codex, marked Q. R. p. 28, where a new viola is mentioned
of his construction ; and in another place there is a drawing by
him for a lyre. Vasari speaks of a lyre which belonged to him
in the form of a horse's head, the greatest part of which was
silver ; and I saw his portrait done with a guitar in his hand for
the frontispiece of an old parchment manuscript dedicated to
Cardinal Ascanio Sforza." See Ammoretti.
XXX THE LIFE OF
eminent persons could not fail to increase his reputa-
tion and strengthen his power. The advantage of
such a mode of proceeding had been ah-eady seen in
the popularity of the Medici at Florence, and of his
own ancestors the Visconti at IMilan. That painting
was never neglected in Lombardy, is shown by the
Abbate Lanzi, in his " Storia Pittorica," in which he
observes, that " while the whole of Europe was ob-
scured by the grossest ignorance, Lombardy still pre-
served the use, and cultivated a general taste for
the art of painting, of which there are several monu-
ments still existing ; amongst others the church of
Galiano, about six miles to the south of Como, painted
in the year 1007."
When Giotto came to Milan, which undoubtedly
was previous to 1334, to paint the Visconti palace,
that art assumed a superior character, and created a
school which has produced many great men, whose
works are still preserved in some of the ancient
churches and in the private collections of several indi-
viduals. There is a lasting monument of the revival
of sculpture in the church of San Francesco, done in
the year 1316, representing the transit of the Blessed
Virgin, in marble, and two other monuments, the work
of Giovanni da Pisa, finished in 1339. The improve-
ment of architecture may be dated from the time
when Gian Galeazzo Visconti invited the first masters
to Milan in order to construct the cathedral ; but they
had not then abandoned the Gothic style. The Abbate
Lanzi's work just cited, will show the pi'ogress made
in the arts and sciences until the arrival of Leonardo ;
but a great deal is to be gathered from the inedited
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. XXXI
Memoirs of the Painters, Sculptors, and Architects of
Milan, by the late Antonio Albuzzi.
Leonardo now found himself in possession of what
was then considered an affluent fortune, which relieved
his mind from the consideration of being obliged to
provide for liis own support. He found Ludovico an
easy patron, and was much delighted with his situa-
tion. Caressed and flattered by the whole court, he
entered with all the energy of his character into the
pleasures and amusements of the gay world, and made
almost daily progress in the confidence and good
opinion of Ludovico, by flattering his wishes and
sharing his amusements. By turns a poet, a painter,
a musician, and always a most accomplished courtier,
he completely gained II JNIoro's favour, who, although
a crafty politician and a man of sense, was, neverthe-
less, open to flattery, and unable to resist the fascina-
tions of such versatile talents. Ludovico was a great
lover of pleasure, and was almost as much distin-
guished by the dissolute intrigues and lascivious
amours of his private life, as by the sagacity and
steadiness of his public conduct ; and whilst Da Vinci
assisted at his councils, and adorned the city with
public buildings, he likewise painted his mistresses,
and diverted his leisure hours with music and poetry ;
in short, he was always ready either for his patron's
service or pleasure.
The first public work in which Leonardo was em-
ployed after his arrival at Milan, was the celebrated
equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza the First, which,
if we may believe the authority before cited of Mon-
signore Sabba da Castiglione, he began in 1483. Ac-
cording to the poet Taccone, it would have been
XXXn THE LIFE OF
sooner commenced had any one been found capable of
undertaking it : —
" E se pill presto non s' ^ principiato,
La voglia del Signore fu sernpre pronta :
Non s'era ua Leonardo ancor trovato,
Che di presente tanto ben I'impronta," &c.*
From the high opinion entertained of his taste, Leo-
nardo was made director of all the public fetes and
entertainments either given by the sovereign, or to
him by the lords of his court j of which Belincionni
has preserved the recollection in the poems written by
him on these occasions ; and if Tantio, who collected
and published them, has observed a proper chronolo-
gical order, we may date the two representations in
praise of Patience and Labour, given by the Sanse-
verini family in honour of the nuptials of Isabella and
Beatrice, to the first year of his residence at Milan.
To this period we may also refer Leonardo's celebrated
portraits of Ludovico's two favourites, Cecilia Gal-
lerani and Lucrezia Crevelli, so frequently celebrated
by the poets of that age,
Belincionni's sonnet on the picture of the former
does more honour to the painter than the poet :
" Di che t' adiri, a chi invidia hai Natura !
Al Vinci che ha ritratto una tua stella.
Cecilia si, bellissima, oggi & queUa
Che a' suoi begli occhi, il sol par ombra oscura.
L' onor d tuo, sebben con sua pittura
La fa che par che ascolti, e non favella.
* " And if this work was not sooner begun,
The sovereign's will was always ready,
But a Leonardo had not then been found,
Who at this time so well undertakes it."
LEONARDO DA VINCI. XXXIII
Pensa quanto sara piU viva e bella,
Pill a te fia gloria nell' eta futura.
Ringraziar dunque Lodovico, or puoi,
E 1' ingegno e la man di Leonardo
Che a' posted di lei voglion far parte.
Che lei vedra cosl, bench^ sia tardo,
Vederla viva dirk : basti a noi
Comprender or quella, ch' e naturaed arte."
This portrait was at Milan at the end of the last cen-
tury, in the Marchese Bonesana's collection, and
there is a fine old copy in tlie Public Gallery. The
Gallerani married Count Ludovico Pergamino ; she
was a lady of very great talents, and a poetess. Da
Vinci painted one of his best pictures for her, repre-
senting the Virgin and Child in the act of blessing one
of those roses, vulgarly called " Rose della Madonna;"
and this picture was in the possession of a wine-nner-
chant at Milan when the French occupied that city
during the late war. It is framed in the fashion of
those times, witli a scroll bearing this inscription :
" Per Cecilia qual te orna, lauda, e adora
E'l tuo unico figlio, o beata Vergine exoi-a! "
The portrait of Lucrezia Crevelli, which was not less
celebrated and admired than that of her fair con-
temporary, is now in the Louvre at Paris.
The greatest proof of the esteem and consideration
in which II Moro must have held Leonardo, not only
as a painter, sculptor, and mechanic, but also as a
man well versed in all the arts and sciences, is his
having chosen him to be the founder and director of
the academy he caused to be established. The Padre
Luca Paciolo informs us, that that prince had long
been desirous of forming a union of learned men and
XXXIV THE LIFE OF
skilful artists, who might reciprocally communicate
their knowledge, and forward the progress of literature
and the arts. That such an academy existed at Milan,
the first that was ever known in that city, and to
which Leonardo gave his name, is proved by the tes-
timony of Vasari, and by several manuscripts still
existing in the Ambrosian Library, and also by six
engravings representing several ingenious devices, in
the centre of which is inscribed " Academia Leonard!
It is most probable, that for the use of this academy,
and for the purpose of argument with his colleagues
and instruction to his pupils, Leonardo wrote all those
tracts which are to be found, not only in his " Trattato
della Pittura," but in several manuscript volumes
which are now preserved in the Public Gallery at
Milan. This would easily explain his reasons for
undertaking so many and such various argimients ;
and would also account for the number of unconnected
ideas, unfinished sketches, memoranda, and materials
for the composition of future works, as well as several
complete and highly finished discourses. Among the
latter, his " Trattato della Pittura," is generally consi-
dered as one of his best and most useful compositions ;
so much so that the Count Algarotti has not hesitated
to declare, that even in the present day he should not
desire any better elementary work on the art of paint-
ing ; an opinion entertained by many other distin-
Although it is now almost impossible to fix the
exact epoch of the foundation of the Vincean aca-
demy, it must have been about the year 1485 or 1486,
as, previous to that time, we know that Leonardo was
LEONARDO DA VINCI. XXXV
engaged in forming the model of the equestrian statue
of Francesco Sforza, and afterwards in painting the
two portraits of Ludovico's mistresses which have
In 1489 we find Da Vinci occupied by his patron's
orders in preparing a grand fete wl)ich was to be given
in celebration of the young Duke Giovan Galeazzo's
marriage with Isabella of Arragon. For this enter-
tainment he invented a moving representation of the
planets, which, as they approached the royal party in
their evolutions, opened of themselves, and discovered
a person dressed to represent the deity attributed to
each planet, who recited verses composed by Belin-
cionni in honour of the occasion.* We also learn
from an old manuscript, in which there is a memoran-
dum in his hand-writing, that he invented and directed
a sort of joust, or tournament, given by Messer Gale-
azzo da Sanseverino to the Duke and his court ; which
he incidentally mentions from the circumstance of his
servant Jachomo having committed a theft on the
In 1492, II Moro having formed a plan to turn the
waters of the Ticino, in order to fertilize the country
to the right of that river, had recourse to Leonardo's
knowledge of hydraulics to carry his intentions into
execution. We know from his notes, that about that
time he visited Sesto Calende, Varal pombio, and
* The reader will find an account of these f^tes in the Ricordi
of Monsignore da Castiglione ; and Beliucionni's verses are in-
cluded in his works, collected and published by Tantio, at Milan,
in 1495, which are now extremely scarce.
XXXVl THE LIFE OF
Vegevano, where " ai 20 di Marzo del 1492," he
observes that " nella vernata le vigne si sotterano."
In this manner Ludovico continued to avail himself
of Da Vinci's various talents, and kept him constantly
employed, not only as a painter, but also in superin-
tending the magnificent entertainments given either
by himself or his nobles, in directing the public works,
and in ornamenting his palaces.^
It is generally supposed that Leonardo first in-
troduced the art of engraving on wood and copper,
and that the designs of several old plates, representing
the most celebrated literary men at Ludovico's court,
were of his composition. It is also said that these
were the first examples of an author's portrait being
prefixed to his works, unless we credit Pliny's account
that the Romans were accustomed to make use of
engravings on wood. His beautiful picture of the
Virgin and Child with St John and St. Michael, now
in possession of Count San Vitale, of Parma, is dated
in that year 5 and, what is almost without example
* To give some idea of the manner in which the Hall of the
Castle of Milan was painted, and of the prices in those days, the
following note is transcribed, viz.
" The narrow border round the top of the room, 30 lire. The
moulding underneath, each square separately, 7 do. ; and the
expense of blue, gold, bistre, indigo, and gum, 3 do. Three
days' labour. — Pictures under the pannels, 12 lire each. Each
of the arches, T lire. The cornice under the windows, 6 soldi
the brace. For 24 stories from the Roman History, 10 lire.
An ounce of blue, 10 soldi. Gold, 15 soldi. Black, 2^ do. Five
days' labour in the composition," &c. &c.
N. B. The Italian lira is about S^d. English, and the soldo is
as nearly as possible a French sous.
LEONARDO DA VINCI. XXXVU
in his works, is inscribed, " Leonardo Vinci fece^
About the end of the autumn in 14-94:, Charles the
Eighth invaded Italy, and repaired to Pavia, where 11
Moro had prepared the most magnificent fetes and
entertainments for his reception, and the arrangement
of the whole was entrusted to the elegant taste of Leo-
nardo da Vinci.
During his residence at Pavia, Leonardo, who never
permitted any opportunity to escape him by which he
could acquire information, determined to employ his
time in studying the anaton)y of the human frame
under the instructions of Marc' Antonio della Torre,
a learned Genoese, and one of the most celebrated
professors of that university. These two great men
were equally pleased with each other ; the professor
deriving much benefit from the correct drawings
Leonardo executed to illustrate their studies, and the
latter being greatly improved by the thorough know-
ledge of the human frame which he thus acquired.
It was always Da Vinci's opinion that a perfect
acquaintance with anatomy was essentially necessary
to a painter, and that without it he could not hope to
attain any excellence in his art, — a doctrine which he
has enforced in a manuscript now existing in the Am-
brosian Library at Milan. " It is necessary that a
painter should be a good anatomist, that in his atti-
tudes and gestures lie may be able to design the naked
parts of the human frame, according to the just rules
of the anatomy ol the nerves, bones, and muscles ;
and that in his different positions he may know what
particular nerve or muscle is the cause of such a par-
ticular movement, in order tl)at he may make that
XXXVm THE LIFE OF
only marked and apparent, and not all the rest, as
many artists are in the habit of doing ; who. that they
may appear great designers, make the naked limbs
stiff and without grace, so that they have more the
appearance of a bag of nuts than the human superficies,
or rather more like a bundle of radishes than naked
In this manner Leonardo and his learned instructor
pursued their studies together, deriving equal advan-
tage from the exertion of their respective talents. Da
Vinci used to draw the naked parts of the human frame
in red chalk ; while his friend described them with
such admirable skill, that Vasari declares he was the
first who brought the science of anatomy into general
repute, by rendering it plain to all. Some of these
drawings are preserved in the Royal Library in Lon-
don, as the celebrated Dr. Hunter, in his course of
Anatomical Lectures published in 1784, mentions
having seen them, and greatly admires the precision
with which they are executed, particularly in the most
minute parts of the muscles.
From Pavia Charles, still accompanied by Ludovico
and his court, repaired to Piacenza, and there soon
after received intelligence of Giovan-Galeazzo's death.
This occasioned II Moro's immediate return to Milan ;
when the Ducal Council, privately suborned, decreed
that the crown should be confirmed to him in prefer-
ence to Giovan-Galeazzo's infant children, as they
considered it necessary to the general good to place
the government in the hands of a powerful prince,
who could defend the state and provide for its security
amidst the broils and misfortunes which threatened the
tranquillity of Italy.
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. XXXIX
In the mean time Leonardo had returned to ?»Iilan
from Pavia, where he left his friend Marc' Antonio
della Torre, and recommenced his exertions for his
patron Ludovico, who, now firmly established as Duke
of iMilan by the voice of the people, the connivance of
the French King, and the Emperor's grant, had greater
leisure for the cultivation of the fine arts. He was a
prince of quiet habits, mild in his manners, and parti-
cularly averse to bloodshed — so much so, that we may
doubt his having been at all concerned in his nephew's
death. In order to gain the favour of the people, he
amused them with continual entertainments, and col-
lected around him the greatest men from all parts of
Italy, who by their talents and accomplishments might
contribute to the embellishment of his city, or the
refinements of his court. The poet, the historian, and
the painter, equally shared his patronage, and were
equally zealous in their demonstrations of gratitude.
The court of Milan became what that of Florence
had ceased to be ; the latter being desolated by in-
ternal broils, the arts of peace fled to a more congenial
soil, and Ludovico was now the great patron of the
fine arts, and the restorer of literature in Italy.
Shortly after his return to Milan, Leonardo was
called upon to celebrate the Duke's virtues, and de-
signed a picture of which we find a description in his
own writing: " II Moro representing Fortune, with
flowing hair and his hands extended, and Messer
Gualtiere in the act of doing homage to him in the
foreground ; Poverty in frightful guise is pursuing a
youth whom II Moro is sheltering under his robe, while
with his golden rod he menaces the monster, and warns
him not to approach."
xl THE LIFE OF
From several memoranda and remarks which are to
be found among his manuscripts, such as, "A di 24-
Marzo l^S^, venne Galeazzo a stare meco, con il
patto di dare 5 lire il mese, pagando ogni l^ di del
mese. Datemi da suo padre fiorini due di Reno ; *'
and a little lower down, " A di 14' di Luglio ebbe da
(jaleazzo fiorini 2 di Reno," — it is evident he was in
the habit of receiving scholars who paid him for the
benefit they derived from his instructions, and the
information they gained by frequenting his studio.
In the year l^QS there is no mention of any parti-
cular work having been undertaken by Leonardo, It
is most probable that he was occupied in perfecting
the Vincian Academy ; as it is supposed he wrote his
famous Treatise addressed to the Duke about this
time, in which he examines the respective merits of
the two arts, painting and sculpture. It is much to
be lamented that this book is no longer extant, as it
would have been highly interesting to know the opi-
nion of one so capable of forming a proper judgment
from his extensive knowledge of the fine arts. Leo-
nardo's treatise was composed for the use of the Aca-
demy, and is even now held in general estimation. In
the collection of his works lately published at Paris,
there are several tracts comparing the different merits
of the sister arts, both considered relatively and indi-
vidually, which prove that this treatise really existed;
and it is moreover frequently alluded to in the " Trat-
tato della Pittura," written by Lomazzo, who was his
friend and scholar.
Leonardo's pencil was not, however, unemployed
during this year, as the Duke ordered him to paint
his own and the Duchess's portraits on each side of a
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Xli
large picture representing Mount Calvary, which
Montorfani had painted on the wall of the refectory in
the Convento delle Grazie. This task he very unwil-
lingly undertook, if we may believe Padre Gattico, a
Dominican friar, who has left an account of this con-
vent in manuscript, in which he says : " Quelle pitture
si sono infradiciate per essere dipinte all' olio, perche
V olio non si conserva in pitture fatte sopra mure e
pietra." * About the end of this year, a curious work
was printed at Milan on music, by Franchino Gaforio,
which was preceded by an engraving, supposed to have
been done by Leonardo, or by one of his scholars under
his direction and with his assistance.
In the year 1496, Da Vinci derived much pleasure
from the arrival of his friend and countryman the
Padre Luca Paciolo, who has been before mentioned
in these pages. As they had studied together, and
were equally well versed in mechanics, mathematics,
and architecture, they were mutually delighted with
each other's society, and Leonardo had sufficient in-
fluence with the Duke to persuade him to receive his
friend into his service. Engaged in the same pursuits,
they lived in the same house, shared the same studies
and amusements, and assisted each other in their
separate undertakings. Paciolo prevailed on his friend
to draw all the geometrical figures for his Treatise on
Architecture, as he well knew there was no one cap-
able of executing them with the same precision ; and
he acknowledges this assistance in the following well-
merited eulogium : " As in the disposition of the
* " These pictures have mouklered away in consequence of
their being painted in oil, because oil does not keep in paintings
made upon walls and stone,"
xlii THE LIFE OF
regular bodies, you will observe those which are done
by that most worthy painter, architect, musician, and
universally endowed Leonardo da Vinci, a Florentine,
at the city of Milan, when we were both in the pay of
the most excellent Duke Ludovico Maria Sforza, in
the year of our salvation HQG,"
A little further on he mentions the drawings which
Leonardo made for his work on the " Divina propor-
tioned" which he dedicated in manuscript to the Duke
Ludovico. They were sixty in number, and were
published in 1509, with a new dedication to Pietro
Soderini, Gonfaloniere of Florence, to whom he writes :
"^ Libellum .... Ludovico Sportiae nuncupavi tanto
ardore, quoque sua Vincii nostri Lionardi manibus
To this period also belongs the drawings, or rather
illustrations, of the celebrated " Codice Triulziano,"
which was written by the Duke's eldest son, Maximi-
lian, when a child studying the Latin language. This
manuscript forms a small quarto volume written on
parchment, which, besides being ornamented with
numerous highly finished devices and heraldic embla-
zonments, is enriched with several pictures relating to
the youth and occupations of the young prince, who
then possessed the title of Count of Pavia. Among
these there are two which are generally considered
the production of Leonardo's pencil : one representing
the Count in the act of doing homage to his cousin
the Emperor Maximilian 5 and the other, of the same
prince amusing himself catching birds, while his tutor,
Count Secco di Borella, is advising him to leave off
his diversions and attend to his studies. This manu-
script is held in the greatest estimation, and is still
preserved at Milan.
LEONARDO DA VINCI. xliii
About the end of this year Ludovico il Moro went
to Pavia, attended by all his court, to meet the Em-
peror Maximilian, whom he had invited into Italy.
Triumphal arches were prepared everywhere on his
road, and most magnificent fetes awaited his arrival
wherever he stopped ; as Ludovico disguised his true
reason for this conference under the pretence of merely
doing homage to his feudal lord. Leonardo, who
accompanied his patron on this occasion, had no
doubt a principal share in arranging these festivities.
That he was not forgotten by the Duke is proved by
his having ordered him to paint a picture of the Nati-
vity, which he presented to the Emperor in honour of
the occasion, and which is now in the Imperial cabinet
Leonardo's residence at the court of Milan, although
extremely agreeable to himself, was highly detrimental
to his fame as a painter; as he was so constantly
occupied in different works for the good of the state
and the amusement of the court, that he could not
devote so much of his time to painting as his admirers
wish. A number of those pictures which are really
his own, are left in an unfinished state, from the ex-
treme nicety of his taste. His imagination went so far
beyond what it is in the power of man to execute,
that he was seldom or ever contented with his own
works, and he would frequently lay aside a picture
altogether, if it did not equal his ideas of the subject.
At other times he would hastily abandon an under-
taking, if his design did not embrace all that his ima-
gination had preconceived. Hence there remain so
few pictures by this inimitable artist ; but these few
are so very highly finished, that no one since has been
xliv THE LIFE OF
supposed to have surpassed him. Many of the pictures
wliich are shown in Italy as Leonardo's paintings, are
falsely considered so, particularly in Milan, where they
are generally the work of some of his scholars, with
the advantage of receiving the last touches from
There could have been no part of Da Vinci's life
more pleasant to himself than the time he spent at
Milan previous to the misfortunes of the house of
Sforza. In the full enjoyment of his princely patron's
confidence and favour, he lived in the most splendid
manner, beloved and respected by every body. Free
from all care for present wants, and too little accus-
tomed to consider the future, he passed his time in
the gratification of his favourite pursuits, and devoted
his leisure to the entertainment of his friends, Ex-
pensive in his habits, he kept a most liberal table ; his
house was always open to whoever was distinguished
for talents or accomplishments J and he drew around
him the best society in Milan during that brilliant
period. He sought for merit wherever it was to be
found, for the rust of envy never corroded his noble
heart, and the poorest artist was always welcome to a
seat at his board and a share of his purse.
His principal object in life was the encouragement
of literature and the arts, in all their various branches j
and, enthusiastically desirous of promoting what he
most loved, he assisted the poor, encouraged the weak,
and brought forward the unknown. It is only to be
regretted that his means did not equal his inclinations j
for his profuse liberality rendered him but ill qualified
to give assistance to others ; and unfortunately his
friend and patron Ludovico il Moro had exactly the
LEONARDO DA VINCI. xlv
same propensities. He also undertook more than
he was capable of finishing ; his ideas were too much
enlarged for his situation, which impoverished his
treasury, diminished his revenues, and became the
principal cause of his ultimate ruin. A proper atten-
tion to his expenditure is as necessary to a prince as
to an individual, without which, even with the very
best intentions, neither can be certain of remaining
honest. The one must oppress his subjects, the other
must defraud his equals ; and both must risk the loss
of that claim to assistance in the hour of need which
both may occasionally require. Upon no one was this
truth more severely impressed than on Ludovico il
Moro, who, although he had exhausted his finances in
beautifying his city and encouraging the arts, was
neglected by his subjects when they found he had ex-
hausted his resources ; and they left him to pay the
forfeit of his imprudence and ambition with the loss of
his dominions and his life.
On his return to Milan from Pavia, the Duke was
desirous of enriching his capital with some great work
that should be considered worthy of Da Vinci's talents,
and serve to perpetuate the fame of the artist and the
liberality of the prince. With this idea Ludovico de-
sired Leonardo to paint his celebrated picture of" The
Last Supper," on the walls of the refectory in the
Dominican Convent of the " Madonna delle (jrazie."
It was almost impossible to have selected a subjec
more adapted to Leonardo's taste and genius, and he
had certainly never before undertaken so interesting a
work. lie proposed to represent the moment when
our Saviour exclaims " Amen dico vobis quia unus
vestram rae traditurus est." This gave him an oppor-
xlvi THE LIFE OF
tunity of exercising his peculiar talent, of representing
the different passions that agitate the human frame,
and of giving to each individual of his picture the
merit and interest of a separate composition, without
disturbing the harmony of the whole.
It is not exactly known when he commenced this
picture, but from various circumstances it appears that
it must have been about the year 1497, as Bottari tells
us there is a rude engraving bearing that date, and
supposed to be Leonardo's own work. The Padre
Luca Paciolo mentions, in one of his manuscripts, that
in 1498 Leonardo had already considerably advanced
in drawing the outlines of this composition j and who-
ever observes it now, at least as much as is spared to
us from the ravages of time and the attacks of ignor-
ance, will easily perceive that three or even four years
are very little to have employed on such an under-
taking ; the more so when we consider Leonardo's
extreme difficulty in being satisfied with his own pro-
ductions. It is also to be remembered, that he was
obliged to form a cartoon of the same size as his
The general disposition of this admirable work is
considered extremely simple, and therefore the more
appropriate to the subject. Our Saviour is repre-
sented seated in the middle, which is the place of
honour : his attitude is tranquil and majestic , a kind
of noble serenity appears to pervade his countenance
and action, which impresses respect. The Apostles,
on the contrary, are in extreme agitation, and their
attitudes and countenances are expressive of various
emotions. Fear, love, anxiety, and a desire to pene-
trate the full extent of our Saviour's meaning, are
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. xlvii
easily distinguishable in their looks and gestures. But
when Leonardo wished to pourtray the character of
the divinity on the figure and countenance of our
Lord, his hand was too weak to represent the concep-
tions of his mind, and whatever he executed was still
very far from satisfying the sublimity and delicacy of
his ideas. At length, despairing of success, he un-
burthened his mind to his friend Bernardo Zenale,*
who, not believing that he could surpass what he had
already done, advised him to leave the head of Christ
unfinished. Leonardo, after much consideration, re-
solved to follow his friend's counsel : in imitation of
Timanthes, of whom it is related, that in his picture
of the Sacrifice of Iphigenia, having employed every
possible expression of grief in the attendants, he con-
ceived he could not do more justice to the fathers
feelings, who was to behold the sacrifice of his own
child, than by covering his face with his mantle, and
leaving the effect to the beholder's imagination.f
Nothing can be more impressive than the idea of the
impossibility of representing our Saviour's countenance
by human means ; and this very imperfection becomes
a greater beauty in a country ^where one is too much
accustomed to see the Deity represented, or rather
misrepresented, in all sorts of extraordinary and fan-
tastic forms, in the old frescoes and mosaics. J
* This painter and architect was a native of Treviso, and was
working at the same time as Leonardo in the Convent of the
" Madonna delle Grazie." Lomazzo mentions him as the author
of a treatise on Perspective, of which he had a thorough know-
ledge. See Lomazzo Idea del Tempio della Pittura, book 5, chap.
t Plin. lib. 35, cap. 10.
X As an example of the paintings alluded to, it is sufficient to
Xlviii THE LIFE OF
Having settled this difficulty, he found himself
speedily embarrassed by another, which was to find a
countenance sufficiently wicked to convey an idea of
the man who was about to betray his divine master.
This feeling, to one who was always in the habit of
long reflection before he attempted any thing of con-
sequence, greatly delayed his work, and gave rise to
the story Vasari tells of the Prior of the Dominicans,
who became impatient whenever he saw Leonardo in
contemplation instead of continuing his picture ; he
being one of those who imagine that a painter must
be neglecting his work whenever his hands are not
actually employed on it. He therefore complained of
Leonardo's indolence to the Duke, who, in order to
satisfy him, inquired about the picture, and found that
the artist never passed a day without working at it at
least for two hours. Still, however, its progress did
not keep pace with the Prior's impatience, who con-
tinued to persecute the Duke with his complaints until
he prevailed on him to send for Da V^inci, and remon-
strate with him on his delay. But Ludovico did this
with so much kindness and affability that Leonardo
was quite charmed with the prince's condescension,
and willingly explained to him, that a man of genius
is, in fact, never less occupied than when he appears
to be entirely so, particularly in painting, where so
much depends on a just and proper conception of the
subject. He concluded by telling the Duke, " There
remain, Sir, only two heads unfinished in the whole
mention an old picture on wood of the Annunciation, in which
the Almighty is represented as an old man looking in at the
window, while the angel is delivering the divine message to the
LEONARDO DA VINCI. xllX
picture. That of Christ I have long despaired of ever
being able to complete, as I am quite convinced of the
utter impossibility of finding a model on earth capable
of representing the union of divinity with humanity,
and much less can I hope to supply the deficiency
from my own imagination. Nothing therefore is want-
ing but to express the character of Judas, and I have
for some time sought without success, among your
prisons and the very refuse of the people, for a coun-
tenance such as I require ; but if your Excellency is
so impatient that the picture should be finished, I can
take the likeness of the Dominican Prior, who richly
deserves it for the impertinence of his interference."
The Duke could not avoid laughing heartily at this
sally, and being fully convinced how much labour and
judgment Leonardo bestowed on each individual, was
only impressed with a still greater respect for his
talents. It may also be easily supposed that the fear
of being handed down to posterity as Judas, effectually
silenced the Prior's importunities.* Da Vinci, how-
ever, was a man of too much honour to have had any
idea of putting his threat in execution, as has been
erroneously asserted } besides which, the Prior of the
Dominicans is described by the writers of that period
as having too noble an appearance for such a purpose.
Some little time after, Leonardo found a face such as
he required, so that by adding something from his
imagination, he finished the head of Judas, completed
his picture, and excelled all his former productions.
In this wonderful composition, which was then con-
* This story is to be found in Bottari's " Lettere Pittoriche,"
and its truth is confirmed by Vasari and several of Leonardo da
1 THE LIFE OF*
sidered almost a miracle of human perfection, Leo-
nardo derived the greatest assistance from his previous
studies. These he found a perfect treasure of intel-
ligence to him ; and, whenever he was at a loss for any
particular trait of countenance, he had recourse to
his tablets, and there found ample reason to applaud
his former industry ; for, as has before been ob-
served, he never lost an opportunity of drawing every
remarkable countenance that he could meet with.
This he considered to be of such utility, that he always
carried a small sketch-book in his girdle, in which he
drew whatever made the most impression on his ima-
gination 3 and he advised all artists to do the same.
It was his opinion that nature was the best teacher ;
and for that reason he obliged his scholars to delineate
the most extraordinary as well as the most beautiful
features they could meet with, which he considered
the best means of taking good likenesses. Had he
entertained any doubt of the usefulness of this system,
the assistance he derived from it in his great work of
" The Last Supper," where he had so many different
feelings and passions to pourtray, would have been
sufficient to confirm his opinion.
This inimitable picture has been so frequently de-
scribed, and so universally eulogised, that there is
little which is new to be said upon the subject, and
any description of that painting would be superfluous
after the beautiful engraving made from it by the
Chevalier Raphael Morghen. It therefore only re-
mains to join in the general regret excited by its too
speedy decay, which has deprived the world of what
formed the glory of Da Vinci, and the wonder of the
age in which he lived. As far back as the middle of
LEONARDO DA VINCI.
sixteenth century, Armenini speaks of this picture as
halt' destroyed : if we may believe Da Vinci's friend and
scholar Lomazzo, who frequently mentions it in his
Treatise, the colours soon disappeared, so that the
outlines only remained to indicate the excellence of
the drawing. In the early part of the seventeenth
century, both Cardinal Borromeo and Padre Gattico,
who resided some time in the Dominican Convent at
Milan, agree in saying of this picture, " che del Ce-
nacolo vedeansi solo le reliquiej" and that from its
continually mouldering away, copies had been taken
of it in all sizes by most of the celebrated artists of
that time, and which are now dispersed throughout
Italy.* In 1624, Bartolomeo Sanese, who saw both
the original and the famous copy in the Chartreuse
Convent of Pavia, by Marco Oggioni, declared that
more praise was due to the Chartreuse than the Do-
minicans ; as, while Leonardo's own work was so
* The following is the most authentic list of the ancient copies
still extant : —
1. In the Franciscan Convent at Milan, by Lomazzo, in 1561.
2. In St. Barnabas, a small copy by Marco Oggioiii.
3. At St. Peter's, a copy by Santagostino.
4. In the Grand Monastery, by Lomazzo.
5. In the Public Library, done by order of Cardinal Borromeo.
6. In the Monastery of the Jesuits, two miles from Milan, by
7. In the Grand Chartreuse at Pavia, by the same.
8. At St. Benedetto, at Mantua, by Monsignori.
9. At Lugano, by Bernardino Luino.
10. In Spain, at the Escurial, by Luino.
11. In France, at St. Germain's, painted by Luino, by order of
Francis the First.
12. At Ecoens, painter unknown.
THE LIFE OF
much destroyed by age and damp as to be scarcely
discernible, the copy would be the mean? of handing
it down to the admiration of posterity. The picture
became gradually so much worse, that Scannelli, who
saw it in 1642, observes, that ♦' There are but few
vestiges remaining of the figures ; and the naked parts,
such as heads, hands, and feet, are almost entirely
annihilated." This is the only excuse the Dominicans
could possibly have for cutting off the feet of our
Saviour and several of the Apostles near him, in order
to enlarge their entrance into the refectory. Nothing
but the extreme decay of the picture itself could
palliate so senseless an act ; and it is most probable
that it remained in this neglected state until 1726,
when the painter, Bellotti, succeeded in cleaning and
restoring it so well that it appeared to revive, and
almost to regain its former beauty. Many writers
assert that Bellotti simply repainted it on Da Vinci's
outlines ; but this is denied by his contemporaries,
and Padre Pino assures us that he " made the picture
revive by some secret of his own, retouching with the
point of his brush only those places where the colour
was quite peeled off."
Notwithstanding Bellotti's labours to preserve this
painting, it soon began to lose its newly acquired
beauty, and to peel otF and moulder away in such a
manner that the Abbate Luigi Lanzi, in his celebrated
work of the " Storia Pittorica dell' Italia," observes,
that there were only three heads in the whole picture
that could be considered as Leonardo's painting.
However, it remained tolerably discernible until the
Dominicans themselves were driven out of their Con-
vent when the French army invaded Italy under Na-
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. lui
poleon. The Convent was then used as a cavahy
depot, and the refectory turned into a stable ; so that
the brutah'ty of the soldiery soon completed what the
ignorance of the priesthood and the ravages of time
had commenced. With a spirit of destruction scarcely
to be accounted for, the troops of republican France
had no hesitation in firing at our Saviour and all the
Apostles, leaving more proofs of their skill as marks-
men than of their feelings as Christians or civilized
It is now so much destroyed that it is even a matter
of dispute whether it was originally painted in oil,
fresco, or tempera. That it was done in oil is most
probable, from it always having been said so in the
earliest engravings, and spoken of as such in contem-
poraneous writings, and also from its speedy decay,
there being rarely an instance of the durability of oil
painting upon walls. Many authors pretend that the
colours faded so soon from Da Vinci's having made
use of some particular varnish or chemical preparation,
as he was always considered too fond of experiments.
Had Leonardo been merely a painter, he would have
been contented with the usual methods of painting;
but his lofty genius and love of new inventions tended
on this, as on many other occasions, to eclipse his
fame ; for, had it been otherwise, this great work
might have been spared to the present age. Much of
the destruction which this picture has suffered must
doubtless be attributed to bad restoration ; and con-
siderable allowances should be made for the envy
of his contemporaries.
We may endeavour to trace the progress of its
decay, as the only consolation which remains to us for
liv THE LIFE OF
such a loss ; and when we consider the time in which
it was executed, it must be allowed to have been one
of the greatest works of art ever undertaken. Ra-
phael's " School of Athens," is considered by some as
a work of greater merit ; but it should be recollected
that a number of years had elapsed between the paint
ing of these two pictures, and that great progress had
been made in the arts during that period. Besides, it
is scarcely just to Leonardo da Vinci that Raphael
should claim superiority from having profited by the
improvements which his predecessor had introduced.
It is a curious coincidence that the two invasions of
Italy by the French should have been equally detri-
mental to Da Vinci's two great works, although so
many centuries intervened between them ; as Monsig-
nore Sabba da Castiglione, a noble Milanese, tells us
in his " Ricordi," that " he saw the bowmen of Gas-
cony make use of Da Vinci's model for the colossal
statue of Francesco Sforza as a target," and many
noble Milanese of the present day could tell us in
their "ricordi," that they saw the troops of republican
France make a somewhat similar use of his magnificent
picture of " The Last Supper."
In 1497, Ludovico's wife, Beatrice of Este, died
after a short illness, and the Duke honoured her me-
mory, according to Coi'io, with a " stupendissime
ossequie." From several notes in his tablets we find
that these were directed by Leonardo, which affords
an additional proof of his patron's confidence.
It was about this time that he became acquainted
with Andrea Salaj'no, whom he received into his stu-
dio, and soon admitted to his intimate friendship. He
had the greatest regard for this young man, and look
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Iv
great pleasure in teaching him every thing relating to
painting ; in which he acquired such proficiency, that
some of his works in Milan have been falsely attri-
buted to Leonardo. The probability is, that some of
them were corrected by him, or had the advantage of
receiving his finishing touches. Salaj'no was so grate-
fully attached to his master, that he never quitted him
from that period, and was the constant companion and
sharer of his fortunes.
Da Vinci's principal occupation during this year was
the navigation of the Adda, between Brizzio and
Frezzo. This was a most difficult undertaking, from
the rapidity of the stream, and the numerous shoals
which impeded its progress, and obliged him to ex-
cavate a new canal, and form strong supports to pre-
vent the banks from falling in. From different cir-
cumstances we may believe that he formed plans to
overcome all these difficulties, though it does not
appear that they M'ere carried into effect at that period,
as the political troubles which embarrassed his patron
obliged him to put a sudden termination to many of
the works of art which he had previously undertaken.
It is not known that Leonardo painted any thing of
consequence subsequent to his grand work of " The
Last Supper," before the misfortunes of the house of
Sforza obliged him to return to his own country, ex-
cept another portrait of the beautiful Cecilia Galler-
ani, on wood, which is at present in the possession of
the Palavicini family at San Calocero,
The greatest mortification to Leonardo was his
being obliged to abandon all idea of finishing the
equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza, which was to
have been cast in bronze, and had already occupied
Ivi THE LIFE OF
him so many years. His mould was prepared, and
nothing was wanting but the metal, which the Duke
was no longer able to furnish, as, according to Da
Vinci's own calculation, it would have taken 200,000
pounds weight of bronze. In vain did Leonardo solicit
his friends to use their utmost influence with the
Duke ; in vain did the poets of the court endeavour
to flatter him into acquiescence with Da Vinci's
wishes ; Ludovico no longer had it in his power to
expend money on the fine arts, but was obliged to
employ the little that remained in his own defence.
Da Vinci's situation must now have been extremely
unpleasant, as it appears from a fragment of one of his
own letters, that the Duke owed him more than two
years' salary. He must have been in great pecuniary
embarrassment before his pride would have permitted
him to have written " that he was no longer able to
continue his works at his own expense, as he had not
the means either of paying his workmen or purchasing
his materials." It must have been a most bitter dis-
appointment to him to have found his time so thrown
away, as he could no longer entertain any hope of
making his cast of this statue, on which he had be-
stowed so much labour, and from which he had ex-
pected to have derived so much fame. His enemies
assert that his design was too grand and speculative
to have been ever carried into effect ; but great allow-
ances should be made for the envy excited by his
talents and success at the court of Milan.
It appears, however, from several memoranda in his
own hand-writing, that Leonardo himself not only
considered it possible, but had made his calculations
with the greatest nicety, and would have, no doubt.
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. Mi
succeeded in his undertaking, had not the political
events of the times put it entirely out of his power.
In the following year, 1495, the Duke gave Leo-
nardo a proof of his friendship and generosity, by
making him a present of a small estate near the Porta
Vercellina, with full power to bequeath it to whom he
pleased, or to dispose of it in any way he thought
proper.* Whether this land was given as a compensa-
tion for the arrears that were justly his due, or as a gift
for services received by the state, is immaterial ; most
probably the Duke wished to avert as much as possible
the want and misery to which he feared Da Vinci
would be exposed in the event of his own ruin, as he
had been exclusively employed for the benefit of the
house of Sforza and the government of Milan. It is
a proof, however, of II Moro's goodness of heart, that
he could remember the wants of his friends when pur-
sued on all sides by his enemies. Shortly after he
was forced to fly from the city.
The flight of his patron, and the subsequent change
in the government of Milan, must have caused the
greatest regret to Da Vinci and his friends, who had
equal reason to lament his fate as a prince and an in-
* This gift is registered in the public office at Milan as fol-
lows : —
" 1429, 26 Aprilis, Ludovicus Maria Sfortia, dux Mediolani,
done dcdit D. Leonardo Quintio (sic) Florentio, pictori celeber-
rinio, pert. n. 16 soli seu fundi ejus vinae quam ab Abate seu
Monasterio S. Victoris in suburbano porta; Vercellinse proxime
acquisierat, ut in eo spatio soli pro ejus arbitrio aedificare, colere
hortos, et quicquid ei vel posteris ejus, vel quibus dederit ut supra,
libuerit, facere et disponere possit." — Copied verbatim from the
Iviii THE LIFE OF
dividual, as they were all obliged to him for the means
of continuing their studies and exercising their talents.
He had been their patron and friend j and although his
enemies accuse him of having encouraged the fine arts
solely from ostentation, the greatest praise is due to
him for the manner in which he promoted general
knowledge. His worth must have also been more
appreciated by his literary friends when brought into
comparison with their new masters ; for Louis the
Twelfth, after he had made his grand entry into Milan,
thought of nothing but fetes and entertainments during
the time he remained there ; and the French in general
were extremely indifferent to the progress of literature
and the arts. They destroyed a magnificent building
which Leonardo had designed for Galeazzo da San
Severino, and wantonly broke up his model for the
equestrian statue, both of which must have caused him
Finding his talents neglected, himself unrewarded,
and his works no longer esteemed, without any imme-
diate prospect of his former patron's re-establishment
in Milan, Leonardo determined to leave a city where
his finances were so much reduced, and his situation
so unpleasantly altered. It appears, however, that he
delayed his departure until the year 1500, and that he
waited the issue of II Moro's return to Milan at the
request of his faithless subjects, when they revolted
against the French. Hoping to maintain himself by
force, the ex-Duke raised a body of Swiss mercenaries,
who, instead of fighting in his defence, basely sold
him to his enemies, by whom he was taken in disguise
with his brother the Cardinal Ascanio, and several of
his followers. II Moro was imprisoned in the castle of
LEONARDO DA VIXCI. Ixix
Loches, in France, where he died of a broken heart at
the unhappy issue of all his wild dreams of ambition,
after ten years' confinement.
During the uncertainty of this revolution, while
awaiting the result ofhispatron's laststruggleforpower,
Da Vinci remained at Vaprio,* to be out of the way of
the cabals and disturbances of the capital. This would
have given him an opportunity of studying the source
of the Adda, which had always been a favourite object
of his researches. Or perhaps he lingered behind in
hopes of seeing Milan again restored to tranquillity,
and the love for the arts revived in a place where he
had so highly distinguished himself. He must also
have been extremely unwilling to lose the fruits of his
long services to this state, as he considered himself
attached to the court of Milan, whatever sovereign
might be at the head of that government. But, per-
ceiving at length that the French thought of nothing
but their amusements, he made uj) his mind to return
to his own country ; and shortly after, accompanied
by his friends Salaj'no and Luca Paciolo, set out for
Florence, where he resolved to take up his residence,
and hoped to find emploj'ment.
In the mean time the government of Florence had
passed into other hands, and had undergone an almost
* The Melzi Villa, at Vaprio, is half-way hetwwen Milan and
Bergamo, on the canal of the Martesana, which was the work of
Leonardo, and which, as well from its utility as from the diffi-
culties he surmounted in its execution, would have been sufficient
to immortalize his memory. The situation was extremely plea-
sant, and this place was a great favouiite with Da Vinci, who
frequently retired there.
Ix THE LIFE OF
entire change. Disgusted with the arrogance and
imbecility of Pietro dei Medici's conduct, his fellow-
citizens had revolted from his sway, and banished him
and his whole family, declaring them enemies to the
state. They had elected Pietro Soderini, one of their
principal citizens, as their Lord, with the title of
" Gonfaloniere Perpetuo," and the city was now en-
joying more tranquillity than it had experienced since
the death of Lorenzo the Magniticent. The immense
wealth produced by their extensive commerce enabled
the Florentines to cultivate the fine arts, and adorn
their city with public buildings, notwithstanding the
miseries and disturbances occasioned by the perpetual
struggles of contending parties to obtain a preponder-
ance in the government of the state. Their patriotism
and public spirit overcame every difficulty, and the
pride of all was interested in enriching their country
with works of art, and in giving employment to the
first artists of the age.
Leonardo da Vinci was received with every distinc-
tion by the Gonfiiloniere, who immediately enrolled
him in the list of those artists who were employed by
the government, and assigned him a sufficient pension
to provide for his subsistence, which enabled him to
form a tolerably comfortable establishment, with his
friend Paciolo and his scholar Salajno. On the subject
of this pension, Vasari relates the following anecdote.
" Leonardo was very high-minded, and extremely
generous in all his actions. It is said that, going one
day to the bank for the monthly provision that he was
accustomed to receive from Pietro Soderini, the
cashier wanted to give him some bundles of halfpence,
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Ixi
which he refused, saying, I am not a halfpenn}-
It is a great pity that Da Vinci allowed his pride
to have so much ascendency over his better judgment.
His irritable sensibility was his greatest enemy through
life, and was the occasion of his losing many friends,
who had both the power and inclination to assist him.
This prevailing foible was also extremely detri-
mental to his fame in his profession, as it frequently
blinded him to the difficulties of executing the vast
conceptions of his all-comprehensive mind. His bril-
liant imagination made him suppose that every thing
must give way to his abilities, and led him into errors
which have deprived posterity of some of his best
works. His ideas were too gigantic for the age in
which he lived, and it would have been much better
for his reputation as a painter if he had been a less
universally accomplished man.
After his return to Florence, he pursued his studies
with unremitting assiduity, and diligently worked at
his profession, which he was the more obliged to
attend to from no longer having the advantage of so
good a salary as he had enjoyed at Milan. Instead of
the luxuries and extravagances of II Moro's splendid
court, he had now to accommodate hiwjself to the
more prudent restrictions of a republic, whose slmp-
tuary laws were enacted in a spirit of economy quite
different to what he had seen at Milan.
* " lo non sono un dipintore per quatrini." The quatrino is
translated in the text as a halfpenny, to make it the more intel-
ligible ; its real value is the fifth part of a grazia, which is the
eighth of a franc, valued at G^d. English.
Ixii THE LIFE OF
The first work of consequence in which he was en-
gaged, was an altar-piece for the church of the
" Annunziata." Unfortunately, however, he only
formed the design of this picture, which is generally
called the Cartoon of Santa Anna, which was so ex-
quisitely finished, that Vasari says, " not only all the
artists, but the whole city, men and women, young
and old, flocked to see it in such crowds, that for two
days it had almost the appearance of a public festival,"
The same author describes the artist's having suceess-
fully expressed in the countenance of the Virgin Mary
" all the grace which simplicity and beauty could pos-
sibly give to the mother of Christ, anxious to show the
modesty, humility, and thankfulness, which she might
be supposed to feel in contemplating the beauty of
her child, which she is supporting in her lap ; while
she is looking down at St. John, a little boy playing
with a kid, encouraged by the smiles of Santa Anna,
who is delighted to see her terrestrial progeny thus
become almost celestial." •* A consideration," he
further observes, " truly worthy of Leonardo's talents
and genius." This picture was carried to France in
the time of Francis the First ; but it must have found
its way back to Italy, as it belonged to Aurclio Luino,
when Lomazzo wrote his Treatise on Painting.
About this time Da Vinci applied himself more par-
ticularly to portraits, and painted two of the most
celebrated beauties of Florence ; the Lady Ginevra,
wife of Amerigo Benci, which, according to Vasari,
was " una cosa bellissima," and the Madonna Lisa, wife
of Francesco del Giocondo, which all the artists and
writers of that period considered as the perfection of
portrait-painting. Vasari describes this picture in so
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Ixiii
very minute and lively a nnanner, that it is impossible
to give a more accurate description of it, than by
making use of his own words, written on the spot
shortly after it was finished : " In this head the be-
holder may observe how nearly it is possible for art to
approach nature. The eyes have the lustre and ex-
pression of life. The nose, and more particularly the
mouth, have more the appearance of real flesh and
blood than painting, from the beautiful contrast of the
Vermillion of the lips with the clear red and white of
the complexion. Whoever attentively looks at the
throat, can almost see the beating of the pulse. As
the Madonna Lisa was a very beautiful woman, Leo-
nardo studied all possible means of making her picture
surpass every thing that had been then seen of the
sort. He was in the habit of having music, singing,
and all kinds of buffoonery to make her laugh and re-
move the air of melancholy so frequently to be observed
in portrait-painting; which produced so pleasing an
effect in this picture, that it gave to the canvass an
almost superhuman expression, and the only wonder
seemed to be that it was not alive."
Francis the First bought this picture for his collec-
tion at Fontainbleau, and paid 4000 gold crowns to
the family for whom it was painted, a sum that would
be equal to 45,000 francs in the present day. It is
now in the Louvre, and is considered one of the finest
specimens of Leonardo's painting extant; it is called
" La belle Joconde," and there is a landscape in the
After remaining two years at Florence, Da Vinci
travelled over the greater part of Italy, and made
notes and drawings of whatever he found instructive
Ixiv THE LIFE OF
and amusing. It would have been highly interesting
to have had an opportunity of collecting the remarks
of a traveller so perfectly capable of describing what-
ever he saw, and who united in himself the different
qualifications of a painter, mechanic, and architect,
with the philosophical feelings of a liberal-minded
man. He must have visited the whole of Romagna, as
we find from his notes he was at Urbino on the 30th
July, 1502, where he designed the fortress. He went
to Pesaro, Rinucci, and Cesena, where he remarks
*' the picturesque manner in which the vines were sus-
pended in festoons." It would have been difficult to
have assigned a reason for his having consumed his
time and money in travelling, if it were not sufficiently
explained by the fact of the Duca Valentino's having
appointed him his surveyor and engineer general, as
that would have obliged him to visit all the strong
places, of which the Duke had usurped the dominion
as Gonfaloniere or Captain-General of the ecclesias-
tical army. The immoderate ambition of the house of
Borgia was, in this instance, of material service to
Leonardo, enabling him to see more of his country
than he had hitherto done, without any expense to
himself J as it is well known that, whatever were Valen-
tino's vices, he was, either from policy or ostentation,
liberal even to excess to those who were in his service.
Pope Alexander the Sixth died 18th August, 1503,
in the seventy-first year of his age, a victim, it is sup-
posed, to his own treacherous intrigues, as he is said
to have taken a goblet of poisoned wine which he had
prepared for one of his guests. This circumstance
destroyed all the brilliant projects of the house of
Borgia, and occasioned the sudden downfall of Valen-
tino and his dependents. He was succeeded by Julius
LEONARDO DA VINCI. IxV
the Second, whose wisdom and integrity partly in-
demnified Christendom for the profligate enormities
by which his predecessor had disgraced the pontificate.
The Pope's death also speedily terminated Da Vinci's
commission, as in 1503 we find him returned to Flo-
rence, and engaged to paint one side of the council-
hall in the Palazzo Vecchio, by the desire of the Gon-
faloniere Pietro Soderini.
This was the origin of all the jealousies and disputes
between Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo Buo-
narroti, who had also been employed to make designs
for the same purpose ; and hence arose a rivalry be-
tween these two great men which caused them to
exert their utmost abilities in the cartoons they respec-
tively executed. As these paintings were intended as
a sort of national monument, it was necessary to select
some trait in the Florentine history, which might at
once serve to commemorate the glory of the republic
and the fame of the painter. From a long memoran-
dum in Leonardo's handwriting, we find that he had
chosen for his subject the defeat of Nicolo Picinino,
the Milanese General, near Anghiari, in Tuscany, and
that he had collected every circumstance of this battle,
either real or fictitious, in order to delineate it pro-
perly. We can easily perceive from his remarks the
labour he must have bestowed on collecting materials
for this picture, which, it is much to be regretted, was
never executed, as Vasari relates that having tried his
preparations on the wall, for painting it in oil, he
found it did not succeed, and therefore abandoned the
undertaking altogether.* Here is another instance of
* The memorandum for this picture is given in Brown's Life
(Appendix, No. III.), from Leonardo's manuscript. It is curious
Ixvi THE LIFE OF
his versatility of talent interfering with his fame as a
painter ; for, had he been entirely ignorant of che-
mistry, he would necessarily have been obliged to
content himself with the ordinary rules of fresco paint-
ing, and he might again have left a work that would
have immortalized his name.
As these cartoons no longer exist, a description of
them may prove interesting. Vasari tells us that Leo-
nardo represented a combat of horsemen fighting for
a standard, which group was only intended as a part
of the historical design just alluded to. It was so
wonderfully executed, that the horses themselves
seemed agitated with the same fury as their riders, and
were fighting as hard with their teeth as their riders
with their swords, to obtain possession of the contested
flag. " Neither is it possible," continues Vasari, " to
describe Leonardo's designs, in the soldiers' dresses
so beautifully varied, as well as in the incredible skill
he showed in the forms and attitudes of the horses, as
no other artist could delineate the muscles and actions
of the horse with such uncommon beauty and fide-
lity." * Michael Angelo's cartoon represented a troop
of soldiers suddenly called to arms when bathing, and
the scene of his picture was the siege of Pisa by the
Florentines, and has been so fully described by Mr.
Duppa in his Life of that great artist, that it need not
be here repeated. Both these cartoons were shown
to observe the minute details he entered into in his compositions,
and with what extreme accuracy lie studied to increase the in-
terest of his historical performances.
* One part of Leonardo's cartoon was engraved by Marc An-
tonio, the other by Agostino Veneziano. The former is called
*' Les grimpeurs," and both are exceedingly rare.
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Ixvii
in the Medici palace until the death of the Duke
Giuliano, when they disappeared without any person
being able to account for it. Vasari says that Michael
Angelo's was torn in pieces, and that in his time there
was a small piece, remaining in the hands of a dillet-
tante at Mantua, It may be supposed in what esteem
they must have been held, when their fame was suffi-
cient to induce Raphael to come to Florence for the
sole purpose of studying them. Pie was so much sur-
prised and delighted at their freedom of manner and
boldness of execution, that from that moment he is
said to have resolved to abandon the stiffness and po-
verty of his master Pietro Perugino's style.
During his stay in Tuscany, Leonardo renewed his
former friendship with Giovan Francesco Rustici,*
who had been his fellow-student with Andrea Varoc-
chio when they were both young men. Rustici was
a man of good family, and more an artist from inclin-
ation than necessity. He had the good taste to listen
to Da Vinci's criticism, to whom he was particularly
attached; and was also well acquainted with the worth
of his observations. He was esteemed a good sculp-
tor and architect by his contemporaries, as well as by
his friend Leonardo ; and the three statues which he
cast in bronze for the baptistery at Florence, remain
to this day memorials of his fame.
In 1504< Leonardo da Vinci lost his father, with
whom he had always continued on the most affectionate
• Giovan Francesco Rustici was a man of a very extraordinary
turn of mind ; he became the founder of a society or club called
the Pajuolo, of which the account, given by Vasari, is very illus-
trative of the manners of the times.
Ixviii THE LIFE OF
terms. Whatever might have been his birth, he had
made a point of keeping up a constant correspondence
and perfectly good understanding with his family. It
appears that soon after the Signore Pietro's death, he
placed a considerable sum of money at interest with
the chamberlain of Santa Maria Nuova, as there are
several memoranda among his papers of his having
received small payments at different times from this
person, and he afterwards disposed of this particular
property in his will. From this we may suppose that
some of his works had been very liberally rewarded,
as this money could only have been acquired by his
own exertions. It is .Ammoretti's opinion that he
visited France in 1506, but there is not sufficient proof
of his having undertaken that journey, in the several
memoranda on which this gentleman hazards his
assertion ; for they might have as easily referred to
his subsequent residence in that country, although he
certainly considered himself in the service of the King
of France as sovereign of Milan. In whatever way
he employed the intermediate time, it is certain that
Leonardo was again in Lombardy in 1507, as there is
the following memorandum in his own handwriting :
" Canonica di Vaprio, a di 5 Luglio 1507, cara mia
diletta Madre et mia Sorella et mia Cognata avvissovi
come sono sano per la grazia di Dio," &c. ; which
sufficiently proves the fact of his having been staying
at that time with his friends the Melzi. That he was
frequently in the habit of residing with them, not only
;it their house at Canonica, but also at their palace at
Vaprio, there remains a proof as glorious to the artist's
i'eelings as to his generous patrons, in the picture of
ihe Madonna and Child which he painted on the wall
LEONARDO DA VTXCI. Ijdx
of his apartment in their palace. The head of the
Madonna is six palms in height, and that of the Child
four. This painting suflFered considerably in 1796, by
some soldiers having made a fire close to the wall on
which it is executed ; but the faces are still in toler*
In 1507 Louis the Twelfth of France, finding him-
self continually disturbed in the possession of his
Lombard dominions by the Venetians and the States
of the Church, joined the famous league of Cambray,
that he might be at more liberty to invade Italy
with a sufficient force to establish his affairs on a
firmer bas's of political security. At Agnadello, near
the Adda, the King gained a complete victory over
the Venetians, and returned to Milan to celebrate his
triumphs and revive the drooping spirits of its inha-
bitants by the presence of his splendid court. These
fetes and entertainments must have again called forth
Leonardo's exertions, for they are described with great
pomp by Arluno, in a manuscript now in the Ambro-
sian Library, who talks of the triumphal arches and
paintings executed by the first masters in honour
of the occasion. Although he does not mention Leo-
nardo da Vinci's name, he evidently alludes to him by
his making use of the phrase " pitture mollissime,"
which that author was accustomed to apply to him
alone. Besides which, it is well known that he was
in great favour with his Majesty at that time, as he
appointed him painter to the court of France, and gave
him twelve ounces of water from the canal of the Mar-
tesana, which was a sort of right of property extremely
valuable to its possessor. As far as this gift can be
at present understood, it appears that he was entilled
IXX THE LIFE OF
to as much water as could be drawn off by a tunnel
that measured one foot in diameter, which is equal to
twelve ounces, and that he had the right of applying
this to whatever purpose he pleased. To an engineer
of his talents this was of the greatest value, as he
might have either applied it to hydraulical purposes,
or sold it to the proprietors of the neighbouring lands
to enrich the cultivation of their soil by its irrigations.
By his letters from Florence it would appear that he
intended making the former use of it, but the latter
would also have yielded him a handsome revenue. It
is not likely that he ever realized this property, but he
showed that he considered it belonged to him, by dis-
posing of it in his will. While in attendance on the
French court at Milan, he painted the portrait of
Gian Jacopo Triulzio, which is mentioned by Lomazzo,
and is now in the Public Gallery at Dresden.
The death of his uncle, Messer Francesco da Vinci,
a share in whose inheritance his brothers contested
with him, on the ground of his illegitimacy, determined
him to go to Florence to settle the dispute. It is not
known how the affair was determined between them,
but we may be allowed to conjecture that it must have
been in an amicable manner, from the circumstance of
his leaving his property in and near Florence to be
equally divided between his brothers at his death. In
1512 he returned to Milan, where he principally em-
ployed himself in hydraulical researches, in order to
perfect the canal by which he had brought the Adda
to the walls of the city. But he was again destined to
be interrupted in his professional occupations ; for he
had scarcely time to see his friends, and get settled in
his habitation, before the new government of Milan
LEONARDO DA VINCI. IxXl
was broken up, and the tranquillity of Lorabardy so
much destroyed, that he was again obliged to seek
refuge in a more peaceful quarter.
The Princes of Italy, jealous of the presence of a
foreign army, whose power might become inimical to
their interests, concluded a league with the Emperor
to replace the house of Sforza on the throne of Lom-
bardy. In a short time Maximilian, the eldest son of
II Moro, returned in triumph to take undisputed pos-
session of his paternal inheritance, escorted by the
same Swiss mercenaries who had so shortly before
betrayed his father. He was received with acclama-
tions and rejoicings by the inhabitants of Milan.
Leonardo himself, although belonging, as he con-
ceived, to the court of France, was sufficiently attached
to the remembrance of his old patron, to paint two
portraits of the young Duke Maximilian, one of which
is now in the Gallery of Milan, and the other in the
private collection of the Melzi family. But the situa-
tion of Milan, and the disturbed state of politics ia
Italy, were so extremely detrimental to Da Vinci's
projects, that he vvas almost unable to procure a sub-
sistence by his profession. Between the two govern-
ments he had already lost what he considered as a pro-
vision for his old age, as he vvas now more than sixty,
and no longer possessed that buoyant feeling and
ardent disposition that carried him through every
thing in youth. It was quite in vain for Leonardo, or
any of his followers and companions in the Academy,
to think of remaining in a place where nothing was to
be expected but tumults and revenge. Literature and
the fine arts are nurtured by peace and tranquillity
alone : where these cease to exist, the artist who
Ixxii THE LIFE OF
desires to increase his reputation had better depart
also. Accordingly, we find by the following memo-
randum, that Leonardo at last set out for Rome,
accompanied by his principal friends and scholars :
■" Partii da Milano per Roma ad di 24 di Settembre
1514, con Giovanni, Francesco Melzi, Salaj, Lorenzo
ed il Fanfoia." *
Leonardo arrived in safety at Florence, where he
found the power of the house of Medici restored by
the election of the Cardinal Giovanni to the pontificate,
under the name of Leo the Tenth, after the decease
of Julius the Second. The Pope's brother, Giuliano
de' Medici received him into his household and took
him to Rome. Every individual possessed of either
talents or reputation was then hastening to that capital
to recommend himself to the notice of Leo the Tenth ;
a pontiff whose name must ever be respected in the
annals of literature and the arts, and whose princely
liberality, by completing the restoration of learning,
made Rome once more mistress of the civilized world.
Although advanced in years, and the ardour of feel-
ing considerably abated by the experience which can
only be acquired from a knowledge of the world and
its disappointments, Da Vinci yet hoped to distinguish
himself amongst those who contended for the Pope's
On his arrival he was well received by Leo, both
from the high reputation he enjoyed, and the circum-
stance of his being presented to the Pontiff by his brother
* Probably this Giovanni means " il Beltraffio," but there is
no mention of any person called Fanfoia, unless it is a mistake
for Fojano, who is frequently spoken of by Lomazzo and others
in their manuscripts.
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Ixxiii
Giuliano, whose favour da Vinci had completely
gained. But his talents excited the envy of all those
who surrounded his Holiness's person and had already
secured his confidence, as they considered his ap-
proach as a sort of invasion of what they had appro-
priated to themselves as a right : so seldom can men
of genius bear with any sort of competition. No one
was more free from this unworthy feeling of envy than
Leonardo himself; no one more anxious to do ample
justice to the merits of others ; but, most deservedly,
accustomed to hold the first place at Milan, and con-
scious that many of the improvements in the arts
which he now saw brought into use, were owing to
his own inventions and to the improvements which he
himself had introduced, he could not avoid feeling
most acutely that he no longer possessed the same
superiority over others which he had done in his
youth. If he had given himself time to think, he would
have been consolc^d by the reflection that this was the
natural consequence of the progress of the arts, to
which he, more than any other person, had eminentl}'
contributed. Instead of feeling mortified at the prac-
tice of the theory which he himself had first propa-
gated, he ought to have rejoiced at its having met
with the success which he had originally contemplated.
But his bodily health was no longer equal to the
energy of his mind, and his increasing infirmities made
him more than usually irritable, for he had naturally
too much pride to indulge any feelings of vanity.
Under these circumstances it was not to be expected
that Da Vinci could have felt himself happily situated
at Rome, Harassed by disappointments, his genius
was overcast by the praises he heard on all sides
Ixxiv THE LIFE OP
bestowed on others, whom he could not have consi-
dered in any way superior to himself. But they en-
joyed a greater share of his Holiness's favour, and
kept Leonardo in the back-ground by persuading the
Pope that he embraced too many branches of science
to be able to succeed in any, and that he was become
much too speculative in his ideas to execute any work
of importance. By these and similar calumnies, un-
worthy their own fame, and prompted solely by jea-
lousy, they contrived to keep Da Vinci without any
employment worthy of his talent?.
Of all the celebrated persons who at that time orna-
mented tlie court of Rome, RafFaelle enjoyed the
greatest share of the Pope's confidence and esteem,
although he was more considerably indebted to his
predecessor Pope Julius the Second. That Pontiff
first brought him into notice at the recommendation
of his kinsman, Bramante da Urbino, who was then in
his service, and employed him to paint a suite of
rooms in the Vatican. He executed this commission
with such extraordinary taste and skill, that the fres-
coes he then painted are generally considered superior
to any of his subsequent productions under the reign
of Leo the Tenth.
The great Michael Angelo, who was also at Rome
at that period, had not the good fortune to be so much
distinguished by Leo as he had been by Julius, who
was his friend and patron ; and it ought to be ob-
served, in justice to the latter, that many of the great
works, the whole praise of which has been unthink-
ingly bestowed on Leo, more properly belonged to
his predecessor, he having originally undertaken them,
though Leo had the liberality and generosity to carry
LEONARDO DA VINCI. IxXV
them into effect. If Leonardo da Vinci had enjoyed
the advantage of the protection of Julius the Second,
he would, no doubt, have been in a much better situ-
ation ; and had he employed that time in his service
which lie lost during the disturbances at Milan, he
would not only have been at the head of his profession
as an artist, but his knowledge of military tactics, and
his talents as an engineer, would have made him an
invaluable acquisition to that warlike Pontiff.
The reign of Leo the Tenth forms so striking an
era in Italian literature, that one is too apt to con-
found him personally with the age in which he lived.
Without at all wishing to deteriorate the good qualities
which this magnificent Pontiff undoubtedly possessed,
it appears from the history of those times, that the age
contributed more to his elevation, than he did indivi-
dually to the advancement of learning. Had Julius
lived a few years longer, we should have talked of the
Julian age of Rome, instead of " the golden days of
Leo," and the advantages to mankind would have
been much the same. The ruling principle of Leo's
policy was the aggrandisement of the house of Medici ;
and by simply following the taste of the age, and act-
ing up to the spirit of the times, he could most easily
attain his object, while he gratified his own taste for
splendour by becoming the liberal patron of men of
letters. It is easy to be generous, even to profusion,
of what does not belong to us ; and few of St. Peters
representatives have ever made a freer use of his patri-
mony. Circumstances made Leo what he was, and
unless he had abandoned the pontificate altogether
he must have been talked and flattered into virtues
which he might not have otherwise possessed. It is
IxXVi THE LIFE OF
certainly no proof of his discernment or good taste,
that he either could not or did not appreciate the
talents of Leonardo da Vinci sufficiently to fix him
near his person ; while it is well known that he neg-
lected those of Michael Angelo Buonarroti.
Leonardo, however, during his short stay in Rome
was not altogether unemployed, as he painted a pic-
ture for Messer Baldassare da Pescia, the Pope's da-
tario (almoner), who seemed to have more feeling for
his merits than his master. This picture was painted
on wood, and represented a Holy Family, consisting
of the Virgin and Child, with St. Joseph and St. John
behind, in which group was a portrait of a young lady
in full length, of singular beauty and noble features.
De Pagave, in speaking of this picture, observes that,
" although the Vincian style is perfectly discernible, it
is evident that he had imitated RafFaelle in this com-
position 5" and for this reason he probably chose to
distinguish it by the monogram of his own name, that
it might not be taken for the work of any other artist.
The beautiful lady whose portrait he introduced in
this picture, is supposed to be the Pope's sister-in-law,
as it is very natural that Leonardo should have paid
this compliment to his patron's wife, Giuliano de' Me-
dici having just married Filiberta of Savoy. Whoever
the lady might have been, the picture was so wonder-
fully executed that it attracted the Pope's attention,
and occasioned him to employ Da Vinci, old as he was,
in preference to Raffaelle and Michael Angelo, in the
execution of a work which afterwards became the
cause of his disgrace and of his departure from Rome.
Vasari relates the story, that Leonardo, with his usual
love of experiments, began to distil different herb*
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Ixxvii
and oils to make a particular kind of varnish, and that
some ill-natured persons told this to the Pope, who
exclaimed, " Oh ! this man will never do any thing,
for he begins to think of the end of his work before
the commencement." This hasty remark was imme-
diately repeated to Leonardo, who, already disgusted
with his Holiness for having sent for Michael Angelo
to Rome, with whom he was on bad terms, determined
on leaving it.
It is not to be wondered at, that so high-minded a
man as Leonardo should have been offended at such
an observation. Conscious of his own merits, and in-
dignant at the neglect with which he had been treated
during his residence at the papal court, he could not
do otherwise than resolve to quit a place where he
had met with so many vexations, and seek another
patron in spite of his age and infirmities. There is
nothing to be collected, either from his notes or the
manuscripts in the Ambrosian Library, to prove that
he undertook any thing more of consequence at Rome,
except some improvements he introduced in the mint
for purifying and embellishing the Roman coin. Be-
fore his misunderstanding with the Pope, he had most
likely painted the fresco of the Virgin on the walls of
St. Onofrio, of which nothing now remains; as well as
several other pictures for various individuals, who still
cherished his name, and were anxious to possess some
specimen of his abilities.
It was most unworthy of Leo's character, as the great
Maecenas of the whole Christian world, to have treated
Leonardo da Vinci with so little consideration. If for
no other reasons but his former works, long experi-
ence, and great reputation, he should have received
Ixxviii THE LIFE OF
him with kindness. The extreme amiabihty of his
manners towards all might have at least blunted the
shafts of envy and ill-nature. That he was himself
superior to such meanness, he had given a proof in the
last picture he painted, where he had, in a great mea-
sure, adopted the ease of Raffaelle's style, in addition
to the exquisite softness and minute finishing of his
own. It was no small compliment to Raffaelle that
Leonardo, even in his old age, should have conde-
scended to imitate him ; for in such a man it was con-
descension to alter his style in imitation of any one.
Although it would be impossible to deny that Raffaelle
excelled Da Vinci in painting nearly as much as
Michael Angelo did in sculpture, still it must be gener-
ally allowed, that, if they were the greater artists, he
was the greater man, without derogating from the high
character of either. When we consider the state in
which Leonardo da Vinci found the arts when he first
engaged in painting as a profession, the improvements
which he introduced, the scholars whom he educated,
and the prejudices which he annihilated, we are all
lost in admiration of his various merits. Even Michael
Angelo and Raffaelle are obliged to him for a part
of their glory ; because they first became the great
men they were from studying his works. Raffaelle
borrowed from him that almost divine giace, which
Leonardo so well knew how to impart to the counte-
nances he painted ; Michael Angelo took from him
that daring style of drawing by which he astonished
mankind; and if afterwards both surpassed him, they
were nevertheless infinitely indebted to the advantages
they derived from his original inventions. Yet, such
is the ungrateful reward of talent in all times, this man
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Ixxix
was obliged to expatriate himself when more than
seventy years of age !
The politics of Italy were now again becoming em-
broiled. King Louis the Twelfth of France died on
the first day of the year 1515, and he was succeeded
by Francis the First. It was not to be supposed that
a young King of only twenty-two years of age would
feel inclined to submit quietly to the loss of his Italian
dominions, particularly as he had assumed the title of
Duke of Milan on his accession to the throne, both in
right of his predecessor and of the Emperor's conces-
sion of that duchy at the league of Cambray. Having
concluded an advantageous peace with the King of
England and the Archduke of Austria, afterwards
Charles V., the young monarch advanced towards
Italy, determined to make light of every difficulty.
His successes induced Leo to incline towards an
accommodation. Francis was already in possession of
Pavia ; and his armies were proceeding with rapid
strides to reconquer the whole of Lombardy.
These political events no sooner became public than
Leonardo da Vinci resolved to profit by the successes
of his former patrons, the French, in whose service he
still considered himself He therefore set out for
Pavia, where he was received by Francis with every
mark of friendship. He soon became a great favourite
with his Majesty, who delighted in his society and
conversation ; and Da Vinci's spirits began to revive
at again finding himself in a situation where all his
excellent qualities were duly appreciated. He felt
himself of the same consequence he had formerly
been; and presiding over the revels and entertain-
ments of a magnificent court, he exerted his utmost
IXXX THE LIFE OF
taste and skill to please his chivalrous patron aind his
It is supposed that the Lion, spoken of by Lomazzo,
was contrived by Leonardo on this occasion to increase
the pomp of some of the fetes given in honour of the
King's successes. This piece of mechanism was so
admirably contrived, that the lion walked of itself up
to the King's throne, and threw open its body, which
was filled with " fleurs de lis," in compliment to his
Majest)^ This pageant is frequently mentioned by
the writers of that period, when it was, no doubt,
considered as a most wonderful invention.
Both the Pope and the King of France were ex-
tremely desirous of an interview, and Bologna was
fixed upon as the place where the congress should be
held. The King came attended with very little pomp,
and only a small part of his brilliant court, but among
them was Leonardo da Vinci,''' who must have been
highly gratified in being able to show himself to the
Pope's followers as the friend and favourite of a
powerful monarch, after having been almost compelled
to quit Rome. To the young King his experience
was doubtless of the greatest use in treating with so
wary a politician as Leo ; and his general knowledge
of Italy^ both in politics and literature, must have
increased his favour with Francis, to whose interest he
was now most firmly attached, and from that time
* Among Leonardo's papers was found a design for the por-
trait of Signore Artus, under which is written, in his own hand,
writing, " Ritratto diM. Artus, Maestro di Camera del Re Fran-
cesco primo, nella Giunta con Papa Leon decimo," which fully
proves that Da Vinci was present on that occasion.
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Ixxxi
Leonardo considered himself as belonging to the
French court. Conscious of his own deserts, Leonardo
da Vinci felt as an insult what was merely the effect of
an envious cabal ; but his sensitive mind was so deeply
wounded, that he determined to abandon his country
for ever, and establish himself at the court of France
for the rest of his days. If his pride could have sub-
mitted to prove his superior merit by his works, in-
stead of showing that he was offended by leaving the
court of Rome, there is every probability that he
must have triumphed over his enemies and regained
the Pontiff's favour. But most likely he considered
himself too old to begin the struggle anew, and he
was perhaps too proud to submit to a competition for
fame in a country where he had for so many years
held the first place, and which was so much indebted
to his exertions for many of the advantages which she
possessed in the fine arts. Another reason that must
have naturally influenced him at his time of life, was
the instability of the Italian courts, the disadvantages
of which he had sufficiently experienced in the down-
fall of the house of Sforza, and the continual changes
of the government of Milan. By these circumstances
he had lost all the fruits of his long services to that
state during the best part of his life ; and even his
reputation had considerably suffered by it, in the de-
struction of his works. The equestrian statue of
Francesco Sforza, which he was to have cast in bronze,
and by which he hoped to have established his fame
as a sculptor, never proceeded any further than the
model, and even that was destroyed by the brutality
of the soldiery. The evils of war and the miseries of
civil dissension had dispersed his friends and scholars.
Ixxxii THE LIFE OF
and nothing remained of the Academy which he had
founded, but the effects wliich it produced on the arts
in laying a foundation for the improvement of painting,
by which all subsequent artists have more or less
benefited. The friends of his brighter days were all
either dead or no longer able to struggle against the
misfortunes which they had met with from the un-
settled state of their country ; so that it was not to be
wondered at that Da Vinci should have preferred
sheltering himself under the protection of a powerful
monarch who promised to provide most generously for
the rest of his life, to the precarious subsistence which
Italy could afford him.
Previous to his departure from Milan, the King
tried every means in his power to remove the painting
of " The Last Supper," in order to send it to France.
Every thing was done to deprive Milan of this magnifi-
cent work which she has so badly taken care of j but it
was found impracticable, although Francis would have
spared no expense to have succeeded in his designs,
and Leonardo did all in his power to gratify his new
patron. However, all their efforts were ineffectual,
and, as Vasari says, " the picture having been done
immediately on the wall, his Majesty was obliged to
depart with his wish ungratified, and leave the paint-
ing to the Milanese." *
About the end of January 1516 Leonardo accom-
panied Francis the First to Paris, as painter to the
court of France, with an annual salary of 700 crowns,
and a liberal provision for all his wants ; where he met
with a reception equal to his merits. The King
* An excellent copy of the Last Supper was purchased in Italy
by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and is now at the Royal Academy.
LEONARDO DA VINCI. Ixxxiii
treated him with distinguished favour, and the cour-
tiers vied with each other in following his Majesty's
From the time of his arrival in France, his health
began to deteriorate, so much so, that he was incap-
able of applying himself to any thing of consequence.
It is known from the direction of a letter found among
his papers, " A Monsieur Lyonard Peintre, par Ara-
boise," that he must have been at that place; as also
from the circumstance of his will being dated from
thence, in which he speaks of the furniture and
valuables he possessed at " Du Cloux," about a mile
from Amboise, where he most likely resided.
It does not appear probable that he painted any
thing in France, as Vasari tells us that the King himself
could not prevail on him to finish his cartoon of Santa
Anna, which he had brought from Italy, and which
was afterwards painted by some of his scholars on his
outlines. It is also most likely that Leonardo, finding
himself growing old, and much oppressed with sick-
ness, would not have wished to undertake any work
that he no longer felt himself able to complete without
almost compromising his former reputation. We may
therefore suppose that the painting of Francis's
mistress, " La belle Furoniere," is the work of some
of his scholars.
Towards the latter end of his life, Leonardo's health
was so much broken, that his infirmities no longer
permitted him to take any part in the pleasures of the
world, and he began to prepare himself for that awful
change which he expected to be soon called upon to
make. Vasari tells us, that believing himself near
death. Da Vinci devoted the remamder of his days to
Ixxxiv THE LIFE OF
a more strict observance of the precepts of the Ca-
tholic religion ; which would almost imply that he had
lived the greater part of his life without any. But this
inference is strongly contradicted by the morality and
propriety of his general conduct. For although his
person, talents, and accomplishments would have given
him every probability of success, particularly when
united with the example of a most libertine court, it is
well known there was no man of his time less addicted
to gallantry and intrigue. His writings also are all of
a more serious nature than could have been expected
from the vivacity of his disposition in early life. And
even his paintings are entirely free from any sort of
lascivious or indecent ideas. He seldom painted naked
figures ; but whenever he did undertake such subjects,
they were always remarkable for the purity and mo-
desty of their attitudes ; as in the Leda, which is men-
tioned by Lomazzo, where he painted the eyes cast
down from shame. Vasari must, therefore, have in-
tended to express a total abandonment of the present
to fix his mind exclusively on the future, rather than
to insinuate any want of religion in his youth. Na-
turally enthusiastic in his feelings, he turned his
thoughts to his Maker with the same ardour which
had distinguished him in all his actions ; and his death
was as glorious as his life had been virtuous and useful.
Having accompanied the court to Fontainbleau, he
expired in the arms of Francis the First, who came to
visit him during his illness, and happened by accident
to be with him when he was seized with a mortal
paroxysm that speedily terminated his existence.
What a triumph to the arts ! and what an honour to
the King! who had the pleasing remembrance of
LEONARDO DA VINCI. IxXXV
having comforted the last moments of one of the
greatest artists that had then enlightened the world ;
and Francis must have looked back with more real
satisfaction and self-approbation, to the recollection
of his having supported and soothed Leonardo da
Vinci in the hour of death, than to many of the more
brilliant events of his reign. If at such a moment,
when all artificial distinctions are at an end, Leonardo
could have entertained one worldly thought, it must
have alleviated his sufferings and encouraged his
hopes, to know that he breathed out his soul in the
arms of one of the greatest monarchs in Europe, who,
while livincr, regarded him with the warmest admira-
tion, and when dying lamented him with the sincerest
Such was the enviable fate of Leonardo da Vinci,
who died at the age of seventy-five, universally
esteemed and as universally regretted. His whole
life was spent in advancing the happiness of his fellow-
creatures by furthering the progress of science. Few
men have done more good in the world : a generous
patron, an affectionate friend, and a liberal-minded
man, he was as ready to promote the views of others
as he was to acknowledge their merit ; and he had
scarcely a wish beyond the advancement of general
knowledge and the encouragement of the fine arts.
Several authors, and among others Ammoretti,
attempt to deprive Leonardo of the honour of having
died in the arms of Francis, which they treat as a fic-
titious story invented to amuse the lovers of the mar-
vellous; but it is too well confirmed by contemporary
writers and general tradition to be destroyed by these
sceptics. We have, moreover, the testimony of Va-
IXXXVl THE LIFE OP
sari, who relates the circumstance in these words : —
" At length, seeing himself near death, he confessed
himself with much contrition ; and although he was
unable to stand, he desired his friends and servants to
support him, that he might receive the holy sacrament
out of bed in a more reverent posture. When fatigued
with this exertion, the King came to visit him, and
Leonardo, raising himself up in his bed out of respect
to his Majesty, began to relate the circumstances of
his illness, and the wrongs he had done both to God
and man, by not making better use of his talents. In
the midst of this conversation he was seized with a
paroxysm, which proved the messenger of death 3 on
seeing which, the King hastened to assist him, and
supported him in his bed, in order to alleviate his suf-
ferings. But his divine spirit, knowing he could not
receive greater honour, expired in the King's arms
in the seventy-fifth year of his age."
Leonardo's having made his will at Amboise, is no
proof of his having died at Cloux, particularly as it
was written some months before his death. And as it
is well known that Fontainbleau was the favourite re-
sidence of Francis, there is every reason to suppose
that he would have desired Leonardo's assistance in the
embellishment of that place. As he was also attached
to the court and to the King personally, he would in
all probability have been wherever his master was.
Another reason Ammoretti gives for discrediting this
anecdote, is the circumstance of Francesco Melzi's
having written from Amboise to inform Da Vinci's
brothers of his death. But is it not possible, and even
probable, that Melzi, as his executor, should have gone
to the place where his effects were, and of which he
had also to give an account? At any rate, this story
LEONARDO DA VINCI. IxXXvi
is too pleasing a fiction, if it be one, to be slightly
discredited ; and few would wish to disbelieve what
tradition has handed down to us, Avhat all the poets
and painters who have since touched on the subject
have confirmed, and what is besides as glorious to
Leonardo, as it is creditable to Francis.
To a noble presence and beautiful countenance. Da
Vinci united uncommon strength both of body and
mind. His eloquence was so persuasive, that Vasari
says, " Con le parole sue volgeva al si e al no ogn'
indurata intentione ;" and his physical force was so
great, that he could bend a horse-shoe as if it were
lead. He was very magnificent in his attire, and
rather too fond of adorning his person in early life ;
but these foibles were more than counterbalanced by
the hospitality and liberality of his disposition. The
founder of an academy over which he presided for
some years, he may be supposed to have left a great
many literary works, which are most of them in ma-
nuscript, and preserved in different public libraries
throughout Europe, Among these are a treatise on
Hydraulics, with designs, another on Anatomy, and
another on the Anatomy of the Horse, which is noticed
by Vasari, Borghini, and Lomazzo ; and a treatise on
Perspective and on Light and Shade. But his best-
known work is the Trattato della Pittura, of which
there are several editions ; an old one with etchings
by Stefano della Bella, and a more recent one printed
at Paris by Du Fresne in 1651, with figures by Nico-
las Poussin. This was translated into English and
published in London by John Senex in 172L The en-
suing translation, by Rigaud, was first published in
London in 1802.
As an engineer, the canal of the Martesana, by
Ixxxviii THE LIFE OF DA VINCI.
which he conducted the waters of the Adda to the
walls of Milan, a distance of nearly two hundred miles,
would have been alone sufficient to establish his repu-
tation. In this great work he obliged the impediments
of nature to give way to the efforts of genius, and he
succeeded to the admiration of all Italy.
As a painter, Leonardo da Vinci may be considered
the first who reconciled minute finishing with gran-
deur of design and harmony of expression. His was
the very poetry of painting. His exquisite taste, by
continually making him dissatisfied with his works,
urged him on to a nearer approach to perfection than
had ever been attained. For this reason his scholars
were superior to those of any other master, as he
exacted from them the same profound attention to
nature, and laborious minuteness of style, which dis-
It is to be remembered, to the immortal honour of
Leonardo da Vinci, that he first dissipated the film of
ignorance which impeded the progress of the arts ;
and if Raffaelle and Michael Angelo afterwards sur-
passed him in his own line, it is to him that justly
belongs the merit of having first pointed out the road
which they so successfully followed. It is easier to
improve than to invent ; but to him who had the
talents to imagine and the courage to overcome the
prejudices of ages, ought to belong the gratitude of
posterity, more than to those who, by following his
precepts, increased their own reputation. To no one,
in short, arc the arts more largely indebted than to
Leonardo da Vinci, whose virtues endeared him to all
who knew him, and whose exertions so mainly con-
tributed to the refinement and civilization of future
OF THE PRINCIPAL
WORKS PAINTED BY LEONARDO DA VINCI.
It is difficult to give a correct catalogue of the works
of any artist who lived at so distant a period as Leonardo
da Vinci, and also to point out the different places where
they are to be found, with the names of their respective
owners : the more so, as works of art, as well as states
and kingdoms, have so frequently changed masters of
late years, that it is almost impossible to trace them
through so many revolutions.
The most considerable of Leonardo's undertakings
were those painted on the walls of the refectory in the
Convent of the Madonna della Grazia, at Milan ; but,
unfortunately, little remains of them to establish his
fame in the present day. His grand painting of " The
Last Supper," and his portraits of the Duke Ludovico il
Moro, the Duchess Beatrice, and their children, are
nearly defaced ; and in addition to the ravages of time,
the figure of our Saviour, which he painted on the wall,
is destroyed by the enlargement of a doorway.
At the Canonica de Vaprio, he painted his own por-
trait by the side of a window, in the house of his friends
the Melzi ; and in Vaprio, his colossal painting of the
Virgin Mary is still to be seen in the palace belonging
to the same family. In Rome he painted a figure of the
Virgin on the wall of the cloisters in the Convent of St.
Xe CATALOGUE OF THE
Onofrio. But of all these little remains but the outlines,
from the circumstance of their having been painted on
walls, and as difficult to remove as to preserve.
His oil paintings are much more numerous, as he
painted on wood, on canvass, and on paper. As Milan
was the place where he resided longest, it may be sup-
posed that he painted most of his pictures there ; but the
greater part of those which could be removed, have long
since been transported into other countries.
In the Public Gallery of Milan, are the portraits of
the Duchess Beatrice and the Duke Maximilian. An-
other copy of the latter is in the Melzi Gallery. There
is also the portrait of an Old Man, and a half figure of
St. John the Baptist, which is considered as Leonardo's
work, in the Public Gallery ; but by some authors they
are supposed to be only painted on his outlines.
In the Archbishop's Palace, a Virgin and Child, un-
In the Palazzo Belgioso, a Holy Family that was at
Piacenza ; and innumerable smaller pictures dispersed
among the private collections in Milan, most of which
have now found their way to England.
At Isola Bella, in the possession of the Boromeo family,
there is a half figure of a Young Man, in very good pre-
In the Hall of the Gonfaloniere, the portrait of a Boy.
In the Public Gallery. — The Medusa's Head. A
small picture in the Tribune representing Herodias re-
ceivin'' the head of St. John tlie Baptist : by some this
WORKS OF DA VINCI. XCl
picture is attributed to Luino. The outlines, or rather
the unfinished sketch of a large painting, representing
the Epiphany, in the Scuola Fiorentina. And his own
portrait, in the Hall of the Painters.
In the Palazzo Pitti^ a Magdalen ; most beautiful.
In the Palazzo Nicolini, the portrait of a Man.
In the IMozzi Gallery, the portrait of a Lady.
In the possession of Signor Fineschi is the famous
picture of the Angel, described by Vasari, from the col-
lection in the Palazzo Vecchio. This picture was for
sale in 1828.
In the Palazzo Borghese, a Holy Family. This is
considered one of Leonardo's best pictures, and formerly
belonged to Pope Clement the Seventh.
Palazzo Aldobrandinl. — Jesus Christ disputing with
the Doctors of Law ; and the celebrated painting of La
Vanitk et la Modestia. The former picture is now in
the National Gallery in Loudon, and the latter was in
1828 in the possession of the late Earl of Dudley.
In the Giustiniani Gallery, a Holy Family ; now in
England, in the collection of the Earl of Suffolk.
A very fine portrait of a Lady was in the possession of
the late Count D'Albany ; and there was also a St. John
in the collection of the Signora Angelica Kauffraann ; but
these pictures are both removed ; the latter probably to
In the Imperial Gallery at Vienna — a picture of the
Birth of our Saviour ; and an Herodias.
In the collection of Prince Kaunitz, the celebrated
XCU CATALOGUE OF THE
In the Gallery of Prince Lichtenstein, the Head of
our Saviour. This is the picture so much praised by
Winkelman as a model of manly beauty.
At Dresden, in the Public Gallery, the portrait of Gian
Jacopo Triulzio, General of the French army under
At Munich, in the Public Galler)', a painting of the
In the Royal Collection at Berlin, a veiT fine picture
of Vertumnus and Pomona.
At St. Petersburgh, in the Emperor's collection at the
Hermitage, a Holy Family.
There ai'e several smaller pictures of less uote^ which
are considered as the work of his scholars, some of them
perhaps finished upon his outlines.
At Madrid, in the Royal Gallery — Jesus Christ brought
before Pilate. Tho pictures of the Virgin. A Head of
St. John. This is most probably the picture that was
in the collection of the Sigiiora Angelica Kauffmann, as
most of her pictures were sent to Spain. A San Giro-
lamo in the grotto.
At Paris, in the Louvre — the portrait of Mona Lisa,
wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine, usually
called " La belle Joconde." This is generally considered
as Leonardo's best work. It w as purchased by Francis I.
far four thousand gold crowns, a sum which would now
be equal to forty-five thousand francs. In the back-
WORKS OF DA VINCI. XCIU
ground is a landscape. Sir Abraham Hume^ Bart., has
a copy of this picture.
The portrait of a Lady, supposed to be Lucretia Cre-
velli. She is dressed in red.
A St. John holding the cross in one hand, and point-
ing to heaven with the other.
A Holy Family, representing the infant Jesus giving
his benediction to St. John, who is presented to him by
Elizabeth. This picture is engraved by Desnayers.
A Holy Family, representing the Archangel Michael
presenting Jesus the scales to weigh the good and evil
actions of man : he is seated on the Virgin's lap, and they
are both looking at Elizabeth and John the Baptist
playing with a lamb.
Two pictures called Leonardo's, which are attributed
rather to his school than to himself. One is St. John
presenting the Cross of rushes to our Saviour. The
other is St. Catharine of Alexandria at prayers.
A picture of the Virgin Mary sitting on the lap of
Santa Anna, our Saviour and St. John playing at their
feet. This is undoubtedly an original of Leonardo's :
but has suffered very much from being over-cleaned, and
is now greatly discoloured.
The Chevalier Gault relates that Monsieur de Chamois
possesses one of Da Vinci's pictures representing Joseph
and Potiphar's wife. He also says there is a group of
Contadini in the Royal Gallery, but it exists there no
The portrait of King Charles the Eighth of France,
who died in 1497, for some time attributed to Leonardo,
is now considered as the work of Perugino.
There are also several pictures in private collections
in Paris, esteemed the works of Leonardo da Vinci ; but
XCIV CATALOGUE OF THE
the author has endeavoured to name only those Avhich are
well known, and can be easily traced.
A picture has lately been discovered at Fontainebleau,
which had long been given up as lost ; the subject is
Leda, and it is spoken of in the highest terms of praise.
The picture of Christ disputing with the Doctors of
Law, formerly in the Aldobrandini Palace at Rome, is
now in the National Gallery, having been bequeathed by
the Rev. Holwell Carr, who purchased it from Lord
Northwick, for 3,000 guineas.
La Colombina — purchased for 250 guineas by Robert
Uduey, Esq. from the Orleans collection.
The Virgin, Child, and Angels, from the Escurial pa-
lace, in the collection of Lord Ashburton.
Portrait of IMona Lisa, the wife of Francesco del Gio-
condo, in the collection of Sir Abraham Hume, Bart.
This picture is a repetition of the one at Paris, and,
although a very fine painting, is not equal to it.
At Stowe, in the collection of his Grace the Duke of
Buckingham, a Holy Family.
A Holy Family, in excellent preservation, and one of
Leonardo's best compositions. This picture was pur-
chased from Mr. Justice Crawley, of Luton in Bedford-
shire, and came originally from Italy. It was lately in the
possession of Mess. Woodburn, of St. Martin's-lane, who
have caused it to be engraved, and have sold the picture
to an Enghsh Nobleman. A smaller picture on this sub-
ject, said to be painted by Da Vinci, is in the FitzwilUam
Collection at Cambridge.
In the collection of the late Duke of Bridgevvater, was
the portrait of a Woman, purchased by his Grace from
WORKS OF DA VINCI. XCV
the Orleans Collection, for 60 guineas, which is now
in the possession of Lord Francis Egerton, at Cleveland
Herodias, in the Orleans collection, passed into the
possession of Edward Coxe, esq. of Hampstead, and
was sold again at his sale.
A Laughing Boy, with a play-thing in his hand. No-
thing can exceed the masterly execution of this picture.
It has the correctness of Raphael's drawing, and the
graces and softness of Correggio's pencil. This picture
was in the Arundel Collection, inherited by Lady Betty
Germaine, who bequeathed it to Sir William Hamilton ;
at whose sale, in April, 1801, it was purchased by Mr.
Beckford for 13G.5/. It was at Fonthill, and is now at
the Duke of Hamilton's. There are two drawings after
the same Boy in the drawing book of Leonardo da Vinci,
in the Ambrosian Library at Milan.
The Holy Family, that was in the Giustiniani Palace
at Rome, is now in England in the collection of the
Earl of Suffolk, at his seat at Charlton, near Malmesburv.
The pictuie of the Conception, originally in the church
of San Francesco at Milan, is likewise in this country.
A fine picture of Francis I. in the character of our
Saviour, was in 1828, in the possession of H. C. An-
di'ews, Esq. of Sloane-street.
Several of the scholars of Leonardo da Vinci painted so
like himself, that many of the pictures attributed to him
belong more properly to his school, as his own occupa-
tions were so various that he could not possibly have
painted all the pictures that are reputed to be his own
XCVl VALUABLE DRAWINGS.
A volume of valuable Drawings by Leonardo da Yinci,
once the property of Pompeo Leoni, is now in the pos-
session of his Britannic Majesty, and is at present kept
at Cumberland Lodge. In it are contained 234 leaves, on
which are pasted 779 drawings. It consists "' of a variety
of elegant heads, some of which are drawn with red and
black chalks, on blue or red paper ; others with a metal
pencil on a tinted paper ; a few^ of them are washed and
heightened with white, and many are on common paper.
The subjects are miscellaneous, as portraits, caricatures,
single figures, tilting, horses, und other animals ; botany,
optics, perspective, gunnery, hydraulics, mechanics, and
a great number of anatomical subjects, which are drawn
with a more spirited pen, and illustrated with a variety
of manuscript notes in his usual left-hand writing, in
very fair characters. This volume contains the ver)-
characteristic portrait of Da Vinci, by himself, which
was engraved by Bartolozzi ; * together with sixteen
other subjects, as male and female heads, characters, and
caricatures ; and published by Mr, Chamberlaine under
His Majesty's drawing of the Lord's Supper is accu-
rately executed on paper with black lead, and highly
finished ; and formerly did honor to the Bonfiglioli col-
lection at Bologna, f
* Chamberlaine 's Life of Da Yinci, p. 11.
t Rogers' "Collection of Prints in imitation of Drawings, 1778,"
in which work is a copy in imitation of this drawing of the Last
Supper, " W. W. Ryland sc. 1768."
BY LEONARDO DA VIXCI. XCVli
In 1778, Robert Uduey^ esq. possessed a coUectiou of
11 admirable Cartoons, containing 13 Heads in the Last
Supper, which had been bought by the Procurator Sagre-
do at Venice, with the rest of the Marquis of Casinidi's
collection.* These were bought at Mr. Udney's sale by
the late Mr. \Voodburu, who sold them to the Duke of
Hamilton ; the latter bequeathed them to the Duke of
Somerset, in whose possession the greater part, if not the
whole, are at present.
In the collection bequeathed to the British Museum
by Richard Payne Knight, esq., are three small drawings
by Leonardo da Vinci ; 1 . a front portrait of Artus, chanj-
berlain of Francis the First, remarkably fine ; 2. anotherj
a profile head, fine ; and 3. in pen and ink, a fanciful bat-
tle of monsters, a dragon, a bear, an unicorn, &c. A seated
figure holds a shield, on which is reflected the sun, which
is seen raging in the sky.
A valuable series of Leonardo's Drawings for the
" Last Supper," which was in the Ambrosian Library
at Milan, has since been purchased by Sir Thomas Ba-
ring, Bart. They ^^•ere afterwards bought of Sir T. Ba-
ring by the late Sir Thomas Lawrence. As that grand
painting is so much destroyed, these drawings are of the
highest interest. They have since, with about forty other
drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, and the whole of Sir T.
Lawrence's collection, come into the possession of Mess.
^Voodburn, St. Martin's-lanc. One of Leonardo's draw-
ings for the Last Supper, is still in the Ambrosian Libra-
ry at Milan. The late Sir T. Lawrence was desirous of
adding it to his collection.
* Rogers's " Prints in Imitation of Drawings," vol. i. p. 9.
XCVUl WORKS OF DA VIXCI.
Fourteen MS. volumes by Leonardo da Vinci are in
the National Library at Paris, whither they were re-
moved from the Anibrosian Library at Milan. J. B*
Venturi (p. 4.) says, that they contain speculations
in those branches of natural philosophy nearest allied
to geometry ; that they are first sketches and occa-
sional notes, the author always intending afterwards
to compose from them complete treatises. They are
written backwards from right to left, in the man-
ner of the oriental writers, probably with intention
that the curious should not rob him of his discoveries.
The spirit of geometry guided him throughout, whether
it were in the art of analysing a su|DJect in the connexion
of the discourse, or the care of always generahzing his
ideas. As to natural philosophy, he never was satisfied
on any proposition if he had not proved it by experiment.
Venturi has given extracts from Da Vinci's MSS.
arranged under the following heads : Sect. \. Of the
descent of heavy bodies, combined with the rotation of
the earth. 2. Of the earth divided into particles. 3. Of
the earth and the moon. 4. Of the action of the sun on
the sea. 5. Of the ancient state of the earth. 6. Of
the flame and the air. 7. Of statics. 8. Of the descent
of heavy bodies by inclined planes. 9. Of the water
which one draws from a canal. 10. Of whirlpools. IL
Of vision. 12. Of military architecture. 13. Of some
instruments. 14. Two chemical processes. 15. Of
In the Arundel collection of MSS. in the British Mu-
seum, No. 263 is a paper Volume in 8vo^ ff. 2S3, written
backwards, and illustrated by diagrams and delineations.
It Is his rough book of observations and demonstrations
SCHOLARS OF DA VINCI. XCIX
on subjects chiefly of mixed mathematics ; being uncon-
nected notes written by him at different times, com-
mencing 22 jMarch 1508, on the mechanical powers of
forces, percussion, gravityj motion, optics, astronomy, ike.
with various arithmetical and geometrical propositions in
Italian. Several memoranda occur in this volume, (noticed
in the printed Catalogue of the Arundel MSS. p, 79,)
particularly the death of his father Pietro da Vinci.
LIST OF LEONARDO DA VINCI S SCHOLARS, COLLECTED
FROM HIS OWN NOTES AND MANUSCRIPTS.
Andrea Salaj'no, known in England by the
name of Solario.
Giau Antonio BeltrafBo.
Cesarc da Sesto.
Pietro Ricci detto Gianpedrino.
Bernardino Foxolo, Fanfoya, Jachomo, and Bernardino
Luino, wlio was not his scholar, properly speaking, but
who painted after his manner, studied him closely, and
coloured a great many of his drawings and cartoons, witli
ahnost as much grace and softness as he could have done
Lomazzo was more his friend and contemporary than
his scholar, although he derived great benefit from his
JOHN FRANCIS RIGAUD, ESQ. R.A.
John Francis Rigaud, (whose excellent
Translation of the Treatise on Painting, by Leo-
nardo da Vinci, forms the principal part of this
Volume,) was born at Turin, in the kingdom of
Sardinia, on the 18th of May, 17"<2. His father
was a respectable merchant, the descendant of a
Protestant family, which had left France at the
revocation of the Edict of Nantz, and had settled
at Turin, where they flourished among the first
merchants of that celebrated city.
It was intended that the subject of this narrative
should have followed the mercantile vocation
of his father; and, for that purpose, he had been
brought into the counting-house ; but, manifest-
ing an unconquerable love for the art of painting?
his father liberally consented to indulge his incli-
nation, and afforded him every possible faciUty
for prosecuting his favourite study. He immedi-
MEMOIR, &C. Ci
ately placed him under the care of one of the first
Artists of that day, the Chevaher Beaumont, prin-
cipal Painter to the King of Sardinia. Under his
instructions he made rapid progress ; and leaving
Turin, -when properly grounded in the art, he
set out on his travels to visit the principal
cities of Italy, to examine the most celebrated
pictures of the great Masters ; and, with that
•view, he stopped principally at Rome, at Bo-
logna, and at Parma, where he successfully copied
the famous picture of St. Jerome, by Corregio ;
and, in consequence of his merit, he was elected,
in 1766, a Member of the Clementine Academy of
Bologna. In 177- he left Italy, and visited Paris,
where he had offers of considerable employment •'
but his tliirst for knowledge and fame being predo-
minant, he rejected the patronage that was offered
to him, determined to see the productions of the
British School, and partake of the advantages of
the establishment of the Royal Academy at Lon-
don ; of which he hoped to become, by his assi-
duity and abilities, a deserving Member. The
first Picture that he exhibited in England, was
the Hercules, which secured him great praise.
In November of the same year, he was elected an
Associate: and in 17S5 he was chosen a Royal
From the moment he received his first academic
honours in this country- he was determined to settle
in it, and continued to follow the Historic line of
Cll MEMOIR OF
Painting, which was his great dehght; occasionally
painting Portraits, which he undertook with reluct-
ance, regretting every moment that was not em-
ployed in the higher department of Art.
Always anxious for improvement, he left Eng-
land in the year 1782, to make a tour through
Flanders and Germany, visiting all the great Col-
lections : and having thus gratified himself with
the sight of them, he explored the grand beauties
of Nature in Switzerland. From Switzerland he
returned to England, and from that time con-
tinued the exercise of his professional talents
with vigour and diligence. He painted some ceil-
ings, which then, fortunately for Art, was the
fashion of the time ; particularly one for the late
Marquis of Donegal, at Fisherwick; the Library
at Packington, in encaustic, for the present Earl
of Aylesford ; and the ceiling of the Court Room
at the Trinity House, on Tower Hill.
Having studied so much in Italy, where Fresco
Painting was still practised, he was completely ac-
quainted with its process ; and, by the encourage-
ment of the Earl of Aylesford, who honoured him
with his friendship and patronage, he was induced
to paint for his Lordship an Altar-piece, in Fresco,
for the Parish Church at Packington, his Lord-
ship's Seat in Warwickshire ; which is svipposed
to be the first Painting in Fresco executed in this
country. He painted another Altar-piece, after
the same manner, for the Parish Church of St.
J. F. RIGAUD, RA. CUl
Martin Ouhrich, in the city of London. His
celebrated Picture of the Exposing of Moses, was
so much admired by a Swedish gentleman, then
on his travels in England, that he ordered a du-
plicate, which was taken to Stockholm; and such
was the impression it made in that city, that he
was not only immediately elected a Member of
its Royal Academy, but was appointed Historical
Painter to the King of Sweden. In England he
was employed in those great undertakings, the
Poets, Shakspeare, and Historic Galleries.
His love for Painting was not evinced by his
pencil only, his pen was also engaged in its ser-
vice ; for he made an excellent translation of the
Treatise on Painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and
wrote an Essay for the periodical publication in-
titled "The Artist," on the materials for Painting.
He continued in the perfect enjoyment of his
faculties, and in the full exercise of his Art, until
the very last moment of his life ; and he died as
tranquilly as he had lived honourably; he was
found dead in his bed, at the Seat of the Earl
of Aylesford, at Packington in Warwickshire,
on the 6th of December 1810, in the sixty-ninth
year of his age.
As an Artist, his Works will convey his name
with high respect to posterity. Many of his best
Easel Pictures were comprised in a Sale of his Col-
lection by Mr. Peter Coxe, April 3, 1811, (wh«
civ MEMOIR, &C.
prefixed to the Catalogue this memoir, of which
we gladly avail ourselves.)
As a man, he was an agreable member of so-
ciety, had a rich fund of general knowledge, and
showed an urbanity of manners which rendered
him universally pleasing: the recollection of which
will endear his memory to all who had the happi-
ness of knowing him. He was eminently upright,
of quick sensibility, warm and sincere in friend-
ship, a good husband, and an excellent father.
A portrait of Mr. Rigaud, drawn by George
Dance, R.A. in 1/93, and engraved by William
Daniel, R.A., will be found in the second volume
of Dance's Collection of Portraits, fol. 1814.
Throgmorton Street, 1811.
TREATISE ON PAINTING.
Chap. I. — TVhat the young Student in Painting
ought in the first place to learn.
The young student should, in the first place,
acquire a knowledge of perspective, to enable him
to give to every object its proper dimensions : after
which, it is requisite that he be under the care of
an able master, to accustom him, by degrees, to a
good style of drawing the parts. Next, he must
study Nature, in order to confirm and fix in his
mind the reason of those precepts which he has
learnt. He must also bestow some time in ^4ewing
the works of various old masters, to form his eye
and judgment, in order that he may be able to put
in practice all that he has been taught.*
* This passage has been by some persons much misunderstood,
and supposed to require, that the student should be a deep pro-
Chap. II. — Rule for a young Student in Painting.
The organ of sight is one of the quickest, and
takes in at a single glance an infinite variet}'^ of
forms ; notwithstanding which, it cannot perfectly
comprehend more than one object at a time. For
examj^le, the reader, at one look over this page,
immediately perceives it full of different characters;
but he cannot at the same moment distinguish each
letter, much less can he comprehend their meaning.
He must consider it word by word, and line by line,
if he be desirous of forming a just notion of these
characters. In like manner, if we wish to ascend
to the top of an edifice, we must be content to ad-
vance step by step, otherwise we shall never be able
to attain it.
A young man, who has a natural inclination to
the study of this art, I would advise to act thus :
In order to acquire a true notion of the form of
things, he must begin by studying the parts which
compose them, and not pass to a second till he has
well stored his memory, and sufficiently practised
the first ; otherwise he loses his time, and will most
certainly protract his studies. And let him remem-
ber to acquire accuracy before he attempts quick-
licient in perspective, before be commences the study of painting;
but it is a knowledge of the leading principles only of perspective
that the author here means, and without such a knowledge, which
is easily to be acquired, the student will inevitably fall into errors,
as gross as those humourously pointed out by Hogarth, in his
Frontispiece to Kirby's Perspective.
Chap. III. — Hoiv to discover a young Man^s
Disposition for Painting.
Many are very desirous of learning to draw,
and are very fond of it, who are, notwithstanding,
void of a proper disposition for it. This may be
known by their want of perseverance ; like boys,
who draw every thing in a hurry, never finishing,
Chap. IV. — Of Painting, and its Divisions.
Painting is divided into two principal parts.
The first is the figure, that is, the lines which dis-
tinguish the forms of bodies, and their compo-
nent parts. The second is the colour contained
within those limits.
Chap. V. — Division of the Figure.
The form of bodies is divided into two parts ;
that is, the proportion of the members to each
other, which must correspond with the whole;
and the motion, expressive of what passes in the
mind of the living figure.
Chap. VI. — Proportion of Members.
The proportion of members is again divided into
two parts, viz. equality, and motion. By equality
is meant (besides the measure corresponding with
the whole), that you do not confound the members
of a young subject with those of old age, nor plump
ones with those that are lean ; and that, moreover,
you do not blend the robust and firm muscles of
man with feminine softness: that the attitudes and
motions of old age be not expressed with the quick-
ness and alacrity of youth; nor those of a female
figure hke those of a vigorous young man. The
motions and members of a strong man should be
such as to express his perfect state of health.
Chap. VII. — Of Dimensions in general.
In general, the dimensions of the human body
are to be considered in the length, and not in the
breadth ; because in the wonderful works of Na-
ture, which we endeauvour to imitate, we cannot in
any species find any one part in one model precisely
similar to the same part in another. Let us be at-
tentive, therefore, to the variation of forms, and
avoid all monstrosities of proportion ; such as long
legs united to short bodies, and narrow chests with
long arms. Observe also attentively the measure
of joints, in which Nature is apt to vary consider-
ably ; and imitate her example by doing the same.
Chap. VIII. — Motion, Changes, and Proportion
The measures of the human body vary in each
member, according as it is more or less bent, or
seen in difi'erent views, increasing on one side as
much as they diminish on the other.
Chap. IX. — The Difference of Proportion be-
tween Children and grown Men.
In men and children I find a great difference
between the joints of the one and the other, in the
length of the bones. A man has the length of
two heads from the extremity of one shoulder to
the other, the same from the shoulder to the
elbow, and from the elbow to the fingers ; but the
child has only one, because Nature gives the pro-
per size first to the seat of the intellect, and after-
wards to the other parts.
Chap. X. — TJie Alterations in the Proportion of
the human Body from Infancy to full Age.
A man, in his infancy, has the breadth of his
shoulders equal to the length of the face, and to
the length of the arm from the shoulder to the
elboAV, when the arm is bent.* It is the same again
from the lower belly to the knee, and from the
knee to the foot. But, when a man is arrived at
the period of his full growth, every one of these
dimensions l3ecomes double in length, except the
face, which, with the top of the head, undergoes
but very little alteration in length. A well-pro-
portioned and full-grown man, therefore, is ten
times the length of his face ; the breadth of his
shoulders will be two faces, and in like manner all
the above lengths will be double. Tlie rest will
* See Chap, cccli.
be explained in the general measurement of the
Chap. XI. — Of the Proportion of Members.
All the parts of any animal whatever must be
correspondent with the whole. So that, if the body
be short and thick, all the members belonging to
it must be the same. One that is long and thin
must have its parts of the same kind ; and so of
the middle size. Something of the same may be
observed in plants, when uninjured by men or
tempests : for, when thus injured they bud and
grow again, making young shoots from old plants,
and by those means destroying their natural sym-
Chap. XII. — That every Part be proportioned
to its Whole.
If a man be short and thick, be careful that all
his members be of the same nature, viz. short
arms and thick, large hands, short fingers, with
broad joints; and so of the rest.
Chap. XIII. — Of the Proportion of the Members.
Measure upon yourself the proportion of the
parts, and, if you find any of them defective, note
it down, and be very careful to avoid it in drawing
your own compositions. For this is reckoned a
common fault in j^ainters, to delight in the imita-
tion of themselves.
* Not to be found in this work.
Chap. XIV. — The Danger of forming an erro-
neous Judgment in regard to the Proportion and
Beauty of the Parts.
If the painter has clumsy hands, he wiU be apt
to introduce them into his works, and so of any
other part of his person, which may not happen to
be so beautiful as it ought to be. He must, there-
fore, guard particularly against that seK-love, or
too good opinion of his own person, and study by
every means to acquire the knowledge of what is
most beautiful, and of his own defects, that he
may adopt the one and avoid the other.
Chap. XV. — Another Precept.
The young painter must, in the first instance,
accustom his hand to coppng the drawings of
good masters ; and when his hand is thus formed,
and ready, he should, with the ad^^ce of his di-
rector, use himself also to draw from relievos;
according to the rules M'e shall point out in the
treatise on drawing from relievos.*
* From this, and many other similar passages, it is evident,
that the author intended at some future time to arrange his ma-
nuscript collections, and to publish them as separate treatises.
That he did not do so is well known ; but it is also a fact, that, in
selecting from the whole mass of his collections the chapters of
which the present work consists, great care appears in general to
have been taken to extract also those to which there was any re-
ference from any of the chapters intended for this work, or whicli
from their subject were necessarily connected with them. Accord-
ingly, the reader will find, in the notes to this translation, that
Chap. XVI. — The Manner of drawing from
Relievos, and rendering Paper fit for it.
When you draw from relievos, tinge your paper
of some darkish demi-tint. And after you have
made your outline, put in the darkest shadows,
and, last of aU, the principal lights, but sparingly,
especially the smaller ones; because those are
easily lost to the eye at a very moderate distance.*
Chap. XVII. — Of drawing from Casts or Nature.
In drawing from relievo, the draftsman must
place himself in such a manner, as that the eye
of the figure to be drawn be level with his own.f
all such chapters ia any other part of the present work are uni-
formly pointed out, as have any relation to the respective passages
in the text. This, which has never before been done, though in-
dispensably necessary, will be found of singular use, and it was
thought proper here, once for all, to notice it.
In the present instance the chapters, referring to the subject in
the text, are Chap. xv. xvii. xviii. xix. xx. xxvi. ; and though
these do not afford complete information, yet it is to be remem-
bered, that drawing from relievos is subject to the very same rules
as drawing from Nature ; and that, therefore, what is elsewhere
said on that subject is also equally applicable to this.
* The meaning of this is, that the last touches of light, such as
the shining parts (which are always narrow), must be given spar-
ingly. In short, that the drawing must be kept in broad masses
as much as possible.
f This is not an absolute rule, but it is a very good one for
drawing of portraits.
Chap. XVIII. — To draw Figures from Nature.
Accustom yourself to hold a plummet in your
hand, that you may judge of the bearing of the
Chap. XIX. — Of drawing from Nature.
When you draw from Nature, you must be at
the distance of three times the height of the ob -
ject ; and when you begin to draw, form in your
own mind a certain principal line (suppose a per-
pendicular) ; observe well the bearing of the parts
towards that line ; whether they intersect it, are
parallel to it or obhque.
Chap. XX. — Of drawing Academy Figures.
When you draw from a naked model, always
sketch in the whole of the figure, suiting all the
members well to each other ; and though you finish
only that part which appears the best, have a re-
gard to the rest, that, whenever you make use of
such studies, all the parts may hang together.
In composing your attitudes, take care not to
turn the head on the same side as the breast, nor
let the arm go in a line with the leg.* If the
head turn towards the right shoulder, the parts
must be lower on the left side than on the other :
but if the chest come forM'ard, and the head turn
towards the left, the parts on the right side are to
be the highest.
* See Chap. ci.
Chap. XXI. — Of studying in the Dark, on first
waking in the Morning, and before going to sleep.
I have experienced no small benefit^ when in
the dark and in bed, by retracing in my mind the
outlines of those forms which I had previously
studied, particulai'ly such as had appeared the
most difficult to comprehend and retain ; by this
method they wall be confirmed and treasured up
in the memory.
Chap. XXII. — Observations on drawing Portraits.
The cartilage, which raises the nose in the mid-
dle of the face, varies in eight different ways. It
is equally straight, equally concave, or equally con-
vex, which is the first sort. Or, secondly, un-
equally straight, concave, or convex. Or, thirdly,
straiglit in the upper part, and concave in the
under. Or, fourthly, straight again in the upper
part, and convex in those below. Or, fifthly, it
may be concave and straight beneath. Or, sixthly,
concave above, and convex below. Or, seventhly,
it may be convex in the upper part, and straight
in the lower. And in the eighth and last place,
convex above, and concave beneath.
The uniting of the nose with the brows is in two
ways, either it is straight or concave. The forehead
has three different forms. It is straight, concave,
or round. The first is divided into two parts, viz.
it is either convex in the upper part, or in the lower,
sometimes both ; or else flat above and below.
PROPORTION. J 1
Chap. XXIII. — The Method of retaining in the
Memory the Likeness of a Man, so as to draw
his Profile, after having seen him only once.
You must observe and remember well the varia-
tions of the four principal features in the profile ;
the nose, mouth, chin, and forehead. And first of
the nose, of which there are three different sorts,*
straight, concave, and convex. Of the straight there
are but four variations, short or long, high at the
end, or low. Of the concave there are three
sorts ; some have the concavity above, some in the
middle, and some at the end. The convex noses
also vary three ways ; some project in the upper
part, some in the middle, and others at the bot-
tom. Nature, which seems to delight in infinite
variety, gives again three changes to those noses
which have a projection in the middle; for some
have it straight, some concave, and some convex.
Chap. XXIV. — How to remember the Form of a
If you wish to retain with facility the general look
of a face, you must first learn how to draw well
several faces, mouths, eyes, noses, chins, throats,
necks, and shoulders ; in short, all those principal
parts which distinguish one man from another. For
instance, noses are of ten different sorts -.f straight,
bunched, concave, some raised above, some below
* See the preceding chapter.
f See the two preceding chapters.
the middle^ aqueline, flat, round, and sharp. These
afFeci the profile. In the front view there are eleven
different sorts. Even, thick in the middle, thin in
the middle, thick at the tip, thin at the beginning,
thin at the tip, and thick at the beginning. Broad,
narrow, high, and low nostrils ; some with a large
opening, and some more shut towards the tip.
The same variety will be found in the other parts
of the face, which must be drawn from Nature,
and retained in the memory. Or else, when you
mean to draw a likeness from memory, take with
you a pocket-book, in which you have marked all
these variations of features, and after having given
a look at the face you mean to draw, retire a little
aside, and note down in your book which of the
features are similar to it j that you may put it all
together at home.
Chap. XXV. — That a Painter should take Plea-
sure in the Opinion of every body.
A painter ought not certainly to refuse listening
to the opinion of any one ; for we know that,
although a man be not a painter, he may have just
notions of the forms of men j whether a man has
a hump on his back, a thick leg, or a large hand 5
whether he be lame, or have any other defect.
Now, if we know that men are able to judge of the
works of Nature, should we not think them more
able to detect our errors?
Chap. XXVI. — JVhat is principally to be observed
The principal and most important considera-
tion required in drawing figures, is to set the head
well upon the shoulders, the chest upon the hips,
the hips and shoulders upon the feet.
Chap. XXYll.—Mode of Studying.
Study the science first, and then follow the
practice which results from that science. Pursue
method in your study, and do not quit one part
tiD it be perfectly engraven in the memory ; and
observe what difference there is between the
members of animals and their joints.*
Chap. XXVIII. — 0/ being universal.
It is an easy matter for a man who is well versed
in the principles of his art, to become universal in
the practice of it, since all animals have a similarity
of members, that is, muscles, tendons, bones, &c.
These only varj' in lengtli or thickness, as wiU be
demonstrated in the Anatomy.f As for aquatic
animals, of which there is great variety, I shall not
* Man being the highest of the animal creation, ought to be
the chief object of study.
■f" An intended Treatise, as it seems, on Anatomy, which how-
ever never was published ; but there are several chapters in the
present work on the subject of Anatomy, most of which will be
persuade the painter to take them as a rule, hav-
ing no connexion with our purpose.
Chap. XXIX. — A Precept for the Painter.
It reflects no great honour on a painter to be
able to execute only one thing well, such as a
head, an academy figure, or draperies, animals,
landscape or the like, confining himself to some
particular object of study; because there is scarcely
a person so void of genius as to fail of success, if
he apply earnestly to one branch of study, and
practise it continually.
Chap. XXX. — Of the Measures of the human
Body, and the bending of Members.
It is very necessary that painters should have
a knowledge of the bones which support the flesh
by which they are covered, but particularly of the
joints, which increase and diminish the length of
them in their appearance. As in the arm, which
does not measure the same when bent, as when
extended ; its difference between the greatest ex-
tension and bending, is about one eighth of its
length. The increase and diminution of the arm
is effected by the bone- projecting out of its socket
at the elbow ; which, as is seen in figure A B,
found under the present head of Anatomy ; and of such as could
not be placed there, because they also related to some other
branch, the following is a list by which they may be found; Chap-
ters VI. VII. X. XI. XXXIV. XXXV. XXXVI. XXXVIl. XXXVIII.
XXXIX. XL. XLI. XLII. XLIII. XLIV. XLV. XLVI. XLVIII. XLIX.
L. LI, LII. CXXIX.
Plate I. is lengthened from the shoulder to the
elbow ; the angle it forms being less than a right
angle. It will appear longer as that angle be-
comes more acute, and vnll shorten in proportion
as it becomes more open or obtuse.
Chap. XXXI. — Of the small Bones in several
Joints of the human Body.
There are in the joints of the human body cer-
tain small bones, fixed in the middle of the ten-
dons which connect several of the joints. Such
are the patellas of the knees and the joints of the
shoulders, and those of the feet. They are eight
in number, one at each shoulder, one at each knee,
and two at each foot under the first joint of the
great toe towards the heel. These grow extremely
hard as a man advances in years.
Chap. XXXII. — Memorandum to be observed by
Note down which muscles and tendons are
brought into action by the motion of any member,
and when they are hidden. Remember that these
remarks are of the greatest importance to painters
and sculptors, who profess to study anatomy, and
the science of the muscles. Do the same with
children, following the different gradations of age
from their birth even to decrepitude, descril^ing
the changes which the members, and particularly
the joints, undergo; which of them grow fat, and
Chap. XXXIIL— 7%e Shoulders.
The joints of the shoulders, and other parts
which bend, shall be noticed in their places in the
Treatise on Anatomy, where the cause of the mo-
tions of all the parts which compose the human
body shall be explained.*
Chap. XXXIV.— 77^e Difference of Joints
between Children and grown Men.
Young children have all their joints small, but
they are thick and plump in the spaces between
them ; because there is nothing upon the bones at
the joints, but some tendons to bind the bones
together. The soft flesh, which is full of fluids, is
enclosed under the skin in the space between the
joints ; and as the bones are bigger at the joints
than in the space between them, the skin throws
off" in the progress to manhood that superfluity,
and draws nearer to the bones, thinning the whole
part together. But upon the joints it does not
lessen^ as there is nothing but cartilages and ten-
dons. For these reasons children are small in the
joints, and plump in the space between, as may
be observed in their fingers, arms, and narrow
shoulders. Men, on the contrary, are large and
full in the joints, in the arms and legs ; and where
children have hollows, men are knotty and promi-
* See chap, lxxxvii.
Chap. XXXV. — Of the Joints of the Fingers.
The joints of the fingers appear larger on all
sides when they bend ; the more they bend the
larger they appear. The contrary is the case when
straight. It is the same in the toes, and it wiU be
more perceptible in proportion to their fleshiness.
Chap. XXXVI.— Of the Joint of the Wrist.
The wrist or joint between the hand and arm les-
sens on closing the hand, and grows larger when
it opens. The contrary happens in the arm, in the
space between the elbow and the hand, on all sides;
because in opening the hand the muscles are ex-
tended and thinned in the arm, from the elbow to
the \\'rist ; but when the hand is shut, the same
muscles swell and shorten. The tendons alone
start, being stretched by the clenching of the hand.
Chap. XXXYU.— Of the Joint of the Foot.
The increase and diniinution in the joint of the
foot is produced on that side where the tendons
are seen, as D E F, Plate I. which increases when
the angle is acute, and diminishes when it becomes
obtuse. It must be understood of the joint in the
front part of the foot ABC.
Chap. XXXVIII.— 0//^e Knee.
Of all the members which have pliable joints,
the knee is the only one that lessens in the bend-
ing, and becomes larger by extension.
Chap. XXXIX.— 0/ Me Joints.
All the joints of the human body become larger
by bending, except that of the leg.
Chap. XL.— Of the Naked.
When a figure is to appear nimble and delicate,
its muscles must never be too much marked, nor
are any of them to be much sAvelled. Because
such figures are expressive of activity and swift-
ness, and are never loaded with much flesh upon
the bones. They are made light by the want of
flesh, and where there is but little flesh there can-
not be any thickness of muscles.
Chap. XLI. — Of the TJiickness of the Muscles.
Muscular men have large bones, and are in ge-
neral thick and short, with very little fat ; because
the fleshy muscles in their growth contract closer
together, and the fat, which in other instances
lodges between them, has no room. The muscles
in such thin subjects, not being able to extend,
grow in thickness, particularly towards their mid-
dle, in the parts most removed from the extremi-
Chap. XLII. — Fat Subjects have small Muscles.
Though fat people have this in common with
muscular men, that they are frequently short and
thick, they have thin muscles ; but their skin con-
tains a great deal of spongy and soft flesh full of
air ; for that reason they are lighter upon the
water, and swim better than musctdar people.
Chap. XLIII. — JVhich of the Muscles disappear
in the Motions of the Body.
In raising or lowering the arm, the pectoral
muscles disappear, or acquire a greater rehevo. A
similar eff"ect is produced by the hips, when they
bend either inwards or outwards. It is to be ob-
served, that there is more variety of appearances
in the shoidders, hips, and neck, than in any other
joint, because they are susceptible of the greatest
variety of motions. But of this subject I shall
make a separate treatise*.
Chap. XLIV.— 0/ the Muscles.
The muscles are not to be scrupulously marked
all the way, because it would be disagreeable to
the sight, and of A'ery difficult execution. But on
that side only where the members are in action,
they should be pronounced more strongly; for
muscles that are at work naturally collect all their
parts together, to gain increase of strength, so that
* It does not appear that this intention was ever carried into
execution ; but there are many chapters in this work on the sub-
ject of motion, where all that is necessary for a painter in this
branch will be found.
some small parts of those muscles will appear, that
were not seen before.
Chap. XIN.—Ofthe Muscles.
The muscles of young men are not to be marked
strongly, nor too much swelled, because that would
indicate fuU strength and vigour of age, which they
have not yet attained. Nevertheless they must
be more or less expressed, as they are more or less
employed. For those which are in motion are
always more swelled and tliicker than those which
remain at rest. The intrinsic and central line of
the members which are bent, never retains its
Chap. XLVI. — Tlie Extension and Contraction
of the Muscles.
The muscle at the back part of the thigh shows
more variety in its extension and contraction, than
any other in the human body ; the second, in that
respect, are those which compose the buttocks ;
the third, those of the back; the fourth, those of
the neck; the fifth, those of the shoulders ; and the
sixth, those of the Abdomen, which, taking their
rise under the breast, terminate under the lower
belly; as I shall explain when I speak of each.
Chap. XLVIT. — Of the Muscle between the Chest
and the loiver Belly.
There is a muscle which begins under the breast
at the Sternum, and is inserted into, or terminates
at the Os pubis, under the lower belly. It is called
the Rectus of the Abdomen ; it is divided, length-
ways, into three principal portions, by transverse
tendinous intersections or ligaments, viz. the supe-
rior part, and a hgament; the second part, with
its hgaments ; and the third part, with the third
ligament ; which last unites by tendons to the Os
pubis. These divisions and intersections of the
same muscle are intended by nature to facilitate
the motion when the body is bent or distended.
If it were made of one piece, it would produce too
much variety when extended, or contracted, and
also would be considerably weaker. When this
muscle has but little variety in the motion of the
body, it is more beautiful.*
Chap. XLVIII. — Of a Man's complex Strength,
but first of the Arm.
The muscles which serve either to straighten or
bend the arm, arise from the different processes of
the Scapula; some of them from the protuberances
of the Humerus, and others about the middle of
* Anatomists have divided this muscle into four or five sec-
tions ; but painters, following the ancient sculptors, show only
the three principal ones ; and, in fact, we find that a greater
number of them (as may often be observed in nature) gives a dis-
agreeable meagreness to the subject. Beautiful nature does not
show more than three, though there may be more hid under the
the Os humeri. Tlie extensors of the arm arise
from behind, and the flexors from before.
That a man has more power in pulling than in
pushing, has been proved by the ninth proposition
De Ponderibus,* where it is said, that of two equal
weights, that will have the greatest power which
is farthest removed from the pole or centre of its
balance. It follows then of course, that the muscle
N B, Plate II. and the muscle N C, being of equal
power, the inner muscle N C, will nevertheless be
stronger than the outward one N B, because it is
inserted into the arm at C, a point farther removed
from the centre of the elbow A, than B, which is
on the other side of such centre, so that that ques-
tion is determined. But this is a simple power,
and I thought it best to explain it before I men-
tioned the complex power of the muscles, of which
I must now take notice. The complex power, or
strength, is, for instance, this, when the arm is
going to act, a second power is added to it (such
as the weight of the body and the strength of the
legs, in pulling or pushing), consisting in the ex-
tension of the parts, as when two men attempt to
throw doAvn a column ; the one by pushing, and
the other by pulling .f
* A treatise on weights, like many otliers, intended by this
author, but never published,
t See the next chapter.
Chap. XLIX. — In which of the tico Actions, Pull-
ing or Pushing, a Man has the greatest Power,
A man has the greatest power in pulUng, for in
that action he has the united exertion of all the
muscles of the arm, M'hile some of them must be
inactive when he is pushing ; because when the
arm is extended for that purpose, the muscles
which move the elbow cannot act, any more than
if he pushed with his shoulders against the column
he means to throw down ; in which case only the
muscles that extend the back, the legs under the
thigh, and the calves of the legs, would be active.
From which we conclude, that in pulling there is
added to the power of extension the strength of
the arms, of the legs, of the back, and even of the
chest, if the oblique motion of the body require it.
But in pushing, though all the parts were employed,
yet the strength of the muscles of the arms is
wanting ', for to push with an extended arm mth-
out motion does not help more than if a piece of
wood were placed from the shoulder to the column
meant to be pushed down.
Chap. L. — Of the bending of Members, and of the
Flesh round the bending Joint.
The flesh which covers the bones near and at
the joints, swells or diminishes in thickness accord-
ing to their bending or extension ; that is, it in-
creases at the inside of the angle formed by the
bending, and grows narrow and lengthened on the
outward side of the exterior angle. The middle
between the convex and concave angle participates
of this increase or diminution, but in a greater or
less degree as the parts are nearer to, or farther
from, the angles of the bending joints.
Chap. LI. — Of the naked Body.
The members of naked men who work hard
in different attitudes, will show the muscles more
strongly on that side where they act forcibly to
bring the part into action ; and the other muscles
will be more or less marked, in proportion as they
co-operate in the same motion.
Chap. LII. — Of a Ligament without Muscles.
Where the arm joins with the hand, there is a
ligament, the largest in the human body, which is
without muscles, and is called the strong ligament
of the Carpus ; it has a square shape, and serves
to bind and keep close together the bones of the
arm, and the tendons of the fingers, and prevent
their dilating, or starting out.
Chap. LIII. — Of Creases.
In bending the joints the flesh will always form
a crease on the opposite side to that where it is
Chap. LIV. — Hotv near behind the Back one Arm
can be brought to the other, Plate III. and IV.
When the arms are carried behind the back, the
elbows can never be brought nearer than the length
from the elbow to the end of the longest finger ; so
that the fingers will not be seen beyond the elbows^
and in that situation, the arms with the shoulders
form a perfect square. The greatest extension of
the arm across the chest is, when the elbow comes
over the pit of the stomach ; the elbow and the
shoulder in this position, will form an equilateral
Chap. LV. — Of the Muscles.
A naked figure being strongly marked, so as to
give a distinct view of all the muscles, will not
express any motion ; because it cannot move, if
some of its muscles do not relax while the others
are pulling. Those which relax cease to appear
in proportion as the others pull strongly and be-
Chap. LVI. — Of the Muscles.
The muscles of the human body are to be more
or less marked according to their degree of action.
Those only which act are to be shewn, and the
more forcibly they act, the stronger they should
be pronounced. Those that do not act at all must
remain soft and flat.
Chap. LVII. — Of the Bending of the Body.
The bodies of men diminish as much on the side
which bends, as they increase on the opposite side.
That diminution may at last become double, in
proportion to the extension on the other side. But
of this I shall make a separate treatise*.
Chap. LVIII. — The same subject.
The body which bends, lengthens as much on
one side as it shortens on the other; but the central
line between them will never lessen or increase.
Chap. LIX. — The Necessity of anatomical Knoiv-
The painter who has obtained a perfect know-
ledge of the nature of the tendons and muscles,
and of those parts which contain the most of them,
will know to a certainty, in giving a particular
motion to any part of the body, which, and how
many of the muscles give rise and contribute to it;
which of them, by swelling, occasion their short-
ening, and which of the cartilages they surround.
He will not imitate those who, in all the diffe-
rent attitudes they adopt, or invent, make use of
the same muscles, in the arms, back, or chest, or
any other parts.
* It is believed that this treatise, like many others promised
by the author, was never written.
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. 27
MOTION AND EaUIPOISE OF FIGURES.
Chap. LX. — Of the Equipoise of a Figure standing
The non-existence of motion in any animal rest-
ing on its feet, is owing to the equality of weight
distributed on each side of the line of gravity.
Chap. LXI. — Motion produced hy the Loss of
Motion is created by the loss of due equipoise,
that is, by inequaUty of weight; for nothing can
move of itself, without losing its centre of gravity,
and the farther that is removed, the quicker and
stronger will be the motion.
Chap. LXII. — Of the Equipoise of Bodies, VlateY .
The l)alance or equipoise of parts in the human
body is of two sorts, viz. simple and complex.
Simple, when a man stands upon his feet without
motion : in that situation, if he extends his arms
at different distances from the middle, or stoop,
the centre of his weight will always be in a per-
pendicular line upon the centre of that foot which
supports the body ; and if he rests equally upon
both feet, then the middle of the chest will be per-
28 MOTION AND EQUIPOISE.
pendicular to the middle of the line which mea-
sures the space between the centres of his feet.
The complex balance is, when a man carries a
weight not his own, which he bears by different
motions ; as in the figure of Hercules stifling An-
teus, by pressing him against his breast with his
arms, after he has lifted him from the ground.
He must have as much of his own weight thrown
behind the central line of his feet, as the weight
of Anteus adds before.
Chap. LXIII. — Of Positions.
The pit of the neck, between the two clavicles,
falls perpendicularly with the foot which bears the
weight of the body. If one of the arms be thrown
forwards, this pit will quit that perpendicular; and
if one of the legs goes back, that pit is brought
forwards, and so changes its situation at every
change of posture.
Chap. LXIV. — Of balancing the Weight round
the Centre of Gravity in Bodies.
A figure standing upon its feet without motion,
will form an equipoise of all its members round
the centre of its support.
If this figure without motion, and resting upon
its feet, happens to move one of its arms forwards,
it must necessarily throw as much of its weight on
the opposite side, as is equal to that of the ex-
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. '29
tended arm and the accidental weight. And the
same I say of every part, which is brought out
beyond its usual balance.
Chap. LXV. — Of Figures that have to lift up, or
carry any Weight.
A weight can never be lifted up or carried by
any man, if he do not throw more than an equal
weight of his own on the opposite side.
Chap. LXVI. — TJie Equilibrium of a Man stand-
ing upon his Feet, Plate VI.
The weight of a man resting upon one leg will
always be equally divided on each side of the cen-
tral or perpendicular line of gravity, which sup-
Chap. LXVIL— 0/ Walking, Plate VII.
A man walking will always have the centre of
gravity over the centre of the leg which rests upon
Chap. LXVIII. — Of the Centre of Gravity in Men
Tlie legs, or centre of support, in men and ani-
mals, will approach nearer to the centre of gravity,
in proportion to the slowness of their motion; and,
on the contrary, when the motion is quicker, they
will be farther removed from that perpendicular line.
30 MOTION AND EQUIPOISE.
Chap. LXIX. — Of the corresponding Thickness of
Parts on each Side of the Body.
The thickness or breadth of the parts in the hu-
man body will never be equal on each side, if the
corresponding members do not move equally and
Chap. LXX. — Of the Motions of Animals.
All bipeds in their motions lower the part
immediately over the foot that is raised, more than
over that resting on the ground, and the highest
parts do just the contrary. This is observable in
the hips and shoulders of a man when he walks ;
and also in birds in the head and rump.
Chap. LXXI. — Of Quadrupeds and their Motions.
The highest parts of quadrupeds are susceptible
of more variation when they walk, than when they
are still, in a greater or less degree, in proportion
to their size. This proceeds from the obhque posi-
tion of their legs when they touch the ground,
which raise the animal when they become straight
and perpendicular upon the ground.
Chap. LXXII. — Of the Quickness or Slowness
The motion performed by a man, or any other
animal whatever, in walking, will have more or
less velocity as the centre of their weight is more or
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. 31
less removed from the centre of that foot upon
which they are supported.
Chap. LXXIII. — Of the Motion of Animals.
That figure wnll appear the swiftest in its course
which leans the most forwards.
Any body, moving of itself, will do it with more
or less velocity in proportion as the centre of its
gravity is more or less removed from the centre of
its support, lliis is mentioned chiefly in regard
to the motion of birds, which, without any clap-
ping of their wings, or assistance of wind, move
themselves. This happens when the centre of
their gravity is out of the centre of their support,
viz. out of its usual residence, the middle between
the two wings. Because, if the m.iddle of the
wings be more backward than the centre of the
whole weight, the bird will move forwards and
downwards, in a greater or less degree as the
centre of its weight is more or less removed from
the middle of its wings. From which it follows,
that if the centre of gravity be far removed from
the other centre, the descent of the l^ird will be
very oblique ; but if that centre be near the middle
of the wings, the descent will have ver^^ Uttle obli-
Chap. LXXIV. — Of a Figure moving against the
Wind, Plate VIII.
A man moving against the wind in any direc-
32 MOTION AkD EQUIPOISE. .
tion, does not keep his centre of gravity duly dis-
posed upon the centre of support*.
Chap. LXXV. — Of the Balance of a Figure rest-
ing upon its Feet.
The man who rests upon his feet, either bears
the weight of his body upon them equally, or un-
equally. If equally, it will be with some accidental
weight, or simply with his own ; if it be with an
additional weight, the opposite extremities of his
members wiU not be equally distant from the per-
pendicular of his feet. But if he simply carries
his own weight, the opposite extremities wiU be
equally distant from the perpendicular of his feet:
and on this subject of gravity I shall write a se-
Chap. LXXVL— ^ Precept,
The navel is always in the central or middle line
of the body, which passes through the pit of the
stomach to that of the neck, and must have as
much weight, either accidental or natural, on one
side of the human figure as on the other. This is
demonstrated by extending the arm, the wrist of
which performs the office of a weight at the end
of a steelyard ; and will require some weight to be
thrown on the other side of the navel, to counter-
* See chap. Ixiv.
+ See in this work from chap. Ix. to Ixxxi.
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. 33
balance that of the wrist. It is on that account
that the heel is often raised.
Chap. LXXVII. — Of a Man standing, but resting
more upon one Foot than the otJier.
After a man, by standing long, has tired the leg
upon which he rests, he sends part of his weight
upon the other leg. But this kind of posture is to
be employed only for old age, infancy, or extreme
lassitude, because it expresses weariness, or very
little power in the limbs. For that reason, a young
man, strong and healthy, will always rest upon
one of his legs, and if he removes a little of his
weight upon the other, it is only a necessary pre-
parative to motion, without which it is impossible
to move ; as we have proved before, that motion
proceeds from inequality*.
Chap. LXXVIII. — Of the Balance of Figures,
If the figure rests upon one foot, the shoulder
on that side will always be lower than the other ;
and the pit of the neck will fall perpendicularly
over the middle of that leg wliich supports the
body. The same will happen in whatever other
view we see that figure, when it has not the arm
much extended, nor any weight on its back, in its
• See chapters bd. Ixiv.
34 MOTION AND EQUIPOISE.
hand, or on its shoulder, and when it does not,
either behind or before, throw out that leg which
does not support the body.
Chap. LXXIX. — In what Manner extending one
Arm alters the Balance.
The extending of the arm, which was bent, re-
moves the weight of the figure upon the foot which
bears the weight of the whole body : as is observ-
able in rope-dancers, who dance upon the rope with
their arms open, \^dthout any pole.
Chap. LXXX. — Of a man hearintj a iveight on his
Shoulders, Plate X.
The shoulder which Ijears the weight is always
higher than the other. This is seen in the figure
opposite, in which the centre line passes through
the whole, with an equal weight on each side, to
the leg on which it rests. If the weight were not
equally divided on each side of this central line of
gravity, the whole would fall to the ground. But
Nature has provided, that as much of the natural
weight of the man should be thrown on one side,
as of accidental weight on the other, to form a coun-
terpoise. This is effected by the man's bending,
and leaning on the side not loaded, so as to form an
equilibrium to the accidental weight he carries; and
this cannot be done, unless the loaded shoulder be
raised, and the other lowered. This is the resource
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. S5
with which Nature has furnished a man on such
Chap. LXXXI. — Of Equilibrium.
Any figure bearing an additional weight out of
the central line, must throw as much natural or ac-
cidental weight on the opposite side as is sufficient
to form a counterpoise round that line, which passes
from the pit of the neck, through the whole mass
of weight, to that part of the foot which rests upon
the ground. We observe, that when a man lifts
a weight with one arm, he naturally throws out
the opposite arm ; and if that be not enough to
form an equipoise, he will add as much of his OAvn
weight, by bending his body, as will enable him to
resist such accidental load. We see also, that a
man ready to fall sideways and backwards at tlie
same time, always throws out the arm on the
Chap. l^XXXll.— Of Motion.
Whether a man moves with velocity or slow-
ness, the parts above the leg which sustains the
weight, will always be lower than the others on
the opposite side.
Chap. LXXXIII.— 7%e Level of the Shoulders.
The shoulders or sides of a man, or any other
animal, will preserve less of their level, in pro-
portion to the slowness of their motion ; and vice
36 MOTION AND EQUIPOISE.
versdy those parts will lose less of their level when
the motion is quicker. This is proved by the
ninth proposition, treating of local motions, where
it is said, any weight will press in the direction of
the line of its motion ; therefore the whole mov-
ing towards any one point, the parts belonging to
it wiU follow the shortest line of the motion of
its whole, without giving any of its weight to the
collateral parts of the whole.
Chap. LXXXIV. — Objection to the above an-
swered, Plates XI. and XII.
It has been objected, in regard to the first part
of the above proposition, that it does not follow
that a man standing still, or moving slowly, has
his members always in perfect balance upon the
centre of gravity ; because we do not find that
Nature always follows that rule, but, on the con-
trary, the figure will sometimes bend sideAvays,
standing upon one foot; sometimes it will rest
part of its weight upon that leg which is bent at
the knee, as is seen in the figures B. C. But I
shall reply thus, that what is not performed by the
shoulders in the figure C, is done by the hip, as is
demonstrated in another place.
Chap. LXXXV. — Of the Position of Figures,
In the same proportion as that part of the
naked figure marked D A^ lessens in height from
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. 37
the shoulder to the hip, on account of its position
the opposite side increases. And this is the reason :
the figure resting upon one (suppose the left) foot,
thatfootbecomes the centre of all the weight above;
and the pit of the neck, formed by the junction of
the two clavicles, quits also its natural situation
at the upper extremity of the perpendicular line
(which passes through the middle surface of the
body), to bend over the same foot ; and as this
line bends with it, it forces the transverse lines,
which are always at right angles, to lower their
extremities on that side where the foot rests, as
appears in A B C. The navel and middle parts
always preserve their natural height.
Chap. LXXXVI.— 0/ the Joints.
In the bending of the joints it is particularly
useful to observe the difference and variety of
shape they assume ; how the muscles swell on one
side, while they flatten on the other ; and this is
more apparent in the neck, because the motion of
it is of three sorts, two of which are simple mo-
tions, and the other complex, participating also of
the other two.
The simple motions are, first, when the neck
bends towards the shoulder, either to the right or
left, and when it raises or lowers the head. The
second is, when it twists to the right or left, with-
out rising or bending, but straight, with the head
turned towards one of the shoulders. The third
38 MOTION AND EQUIPOISE.
motion, which is called complex, is, when to the
bending of it is added the twisting, as when the
ear leans towards one of the shoulders, the head
turning the same way, and the face turned up-
Chap. LXXXVIL— 0/ the Shoulders.
Of those which the shoidders can perform, simple
motions are the principal, such as moving the arm
upwards and downwards, backwards and forwards.
Though one might almost call those motions in-
finite, for if the arm can trace a circle upon a wall,
it will have performed all the motions belonging
to the shoulders. Every continued quantity
being divisible ad infinitum, and this circle being
a continued quantity, produced by the motion of
the arm going through eveiy part of the circum-
ference, it follows, that the motions of the shoul-
ders may also be said to be infinite.
Chap. LXXXVIII.— O/'^Ae Motioyis of a Man.
^Vhen you mean to represent a man removing a
weight, consider that the motions are various, viz.
either a simple motion, by bending himself to raise
the weight from the ground upwards, or when he
drags the weiglit after him, or pushes it before him,
or pulls it down with a rope passing through a pul-
ley. It is to be obsers'ed, that the weight of the
man's body pulls the more in proportion as the cen-
tre of his gravity is removed from the centre of
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. 39
his support. To this must be added the strength of
the effort that the legs and back make w'hen they
are bent, to return to their natural straight situa-
A man never ascends or descends, nor walks at
all in any direction, mthout raising the heel of the
Chap. LXXXIX.— 0/ the Disposition of Mem-
bers preparinff to act with great Force, Plate XIV.
When a man prepares himself to strike a vio-
lent blow, he bends and twists his body as far as
he can to the side contrary to that which he
means to strike, and collecting aU his strength, he
by a complex motion, returns and falls upon the
point he has in view.*
Chap. XC. — Of Throwing any Thing vAth Vio-
lence, Plate XV.
A man throwing a dart, a stone, or any thing
else with violence, may be represented, chiefly,
two different ways ; that is, he may be preparing
to do it, or the act may be already performed.
If you mean to jilace him in the act of preparation,
the inside of the foot upon which he rests will be
under the perpendicular line of the pit of the neck;
and if it be the right foot, the left shoulder will be
perpendicular over the toes of the same foot.
* See chapters civ. cliv.
40 MOTION AND EaUIPOISE.
Chap. XCI. — On the Motion of driving any thing
into or drawing it out of the Ground.
He who wishes to pitch a pole into the ground,
or draw one out of it, will raise the leg and bend
the knee opposite to the arm which acts, in order
to balance himself upon the foot that rests, with-
out which he could neither drive in, nor pull out
Chap. XCll.— Of forcible Motions, Plate XVI.
Of the two arms, that will be most powerful in
its effort, which, having been farthest removed
from its natural situation, is assisted more strongly
by the other parts to bring it to the place where it
means to go. As the man A, who moves the arm
with a club E, and brings it to the opposite side
B, assisted by the motion of the whole body.
Chap. XCIII.— 77te Action of Jumping.
Nature will of itself, and without any reasoning
in the mind of a man going to jump, prompt him
to raise his arms and shoulders by a sudden mo-
tion, together with a great part of his body, and
to lift them up high, till the power of the effort
subsides. This impetuous motion is accompanied
by an instantaneous extension of the body which
had bent itself, like a spring or bow, along the
back, the joints of the thighs, knees, and feet, and
is let off obliquely, that is upwards and forwards ;
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. 41
SO that the disposition of the body tending for-
wards and upwards, makes it describe a great arch
when it springs up, which increases the leap.
Chap. XCIV. — Of the three Motions in jumping
When a man jumps upwards, the motion of the
head is three times quicker than that of the heel,
before the extremity of the foot quits the ground,
and tw4ce as quick as that of the hips ; because
three angles are opened and extended at the same
time : the superior one is that formed by the body
at its joint Avith the thigh before, the second is at
the joint of the thighs and legs behind, and the
third is at the instep before.*
Chap. XCV. — Of the easy Motions of Members.
In regard to the freedom and ease of motions, it
• The author here means to compare the difiFerent quickness of
the motion of the head and the heel, when employed in the same
action of jumping ; and he states the proportion of the former
to be three times that of the latter. The reason he gives for this
is in substance, that as the head has but one motion to make,
while in fact the lower part of the figure has three successive
operations to perform at the places he mentions, three times the
velocity, or, in other words, three times the degree of eflFort, is
necessary in the head, the prime mover, to give the power of in-
fluencing the other parts ; and the rule deducible from this axiom
is, that where two different parts of the body concur in the same
action, and one of them has to perform one motion only, while
the other is to have several, the proportion of velocity or effort
in the former must be regulated by the number of operation*
necessary in the latter.
42 MOTION AND EQUIPOISE.
is very necessary to observe, that when you mean
to represent a figure which has to turn itself a lit-
tle round, the feet and all the other members are
not to move in the same direction as the head.
But you will divide that motion among four joints,
viz. the feet, the knees, the hips, and the neck.
If it rests upon the right leg, the left knee should
be a httle bent inward, with its foot somewhat
raised outward. Tlie left shoulder should be
lower than the other, and the nape of the neck
turned on the same side as the outward ankle of
the left foot, and the left shoulder perpendicular
over the great toe of the right foot. And take it
as a general maxim, that figures do not turn their
heads straight with the chest, Nature ha\'ing for
our convenience formed the neck so as to turn
with ease on every side when the eyes want to
look round ; and to this the other joints are in
some measure subservient. If the figure be sit-
ting, and the arms have some employment across
the body, the breast will turn over the joint of
Chap. XCYl.— The greatest Twist ivhich a Man
can 7nake, in turning to look at himself behind.
The greatest twist that the body can perform is
when the back of the heels and the front of the
face are seen at the same time. It is not done
without difficulty, and is effected by bending the
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. 43
leg and lowering the shoulder on that side to-
wards which the head turns. The cause of this
motion, and also which of the muscles move first
and which last, I shall explain in my treatise on
Chap. XCVII. — Of turning the Leg ivithout the
It is impossible to turn the leg inwards or out-
wards Avithout turning the thigh by the same mo-
tion, because the setting in of the bones at the
knee is such, that they have no motion but back-
wards and forwards, and no more than is neces-
sary for M'alking or kneeling ; never sideways, be-
cause the form of the bones at the joint of the
knee does not allow it. If this joint had been
made pliable on all sides, as that of the shoulder,
or that of the thigh bone with the hip, a man
would have had his legs bent on each side as often
as backwards and forwards, and seldom or never
straight with the thigh. Besides, this joint can
bend only one way, so that in walking it can never
go beyond the straight line of the leg ; it bends
only forwards, for if it could bend backwards, a
man could never get up again upon his feet, if
once he were kneeling; as when he means to get
up from the kneeling posture (on both knees), he
gives the whole weight of his body to one of the
* It is explained in this work, or at least there is something
respecting it in the preceding chapter, and in chap. cli.
44 MOTION AND EQUIPOISE.
knees to support, unloading the other, which at
that time feels no other weight than its own, and
therefore is lifted up with ease, and rests his foot
flat upon the ground ; then returning the whole
weight upon that foot, and leaning his hand upon
his knee, he at once extends the other arm, raises
his head, and straightening the thigh with the
body, he springs up, and rests upon the same
foot, while he brings up the other.
Chap. XCVIII. — Postures of Figures.
Figures that are set in a fixed attitude, are ne-
vertheless to have some contrast of parts. If one
arm come before, the other remains still or goes
behind. If the figure rest upon one leg, the
shoulder on that side will be lower than the other.
This is observed by artists of judgment, who
always take care to balance the figure well upon
its feet, for fear it should appear to fall. Because
by resting upon one foot, the other leg being a
little bent, does not support the body any more
than if it were dead ; therefore it is necessary that
the parts above that leg should transfer the cen-
tre of their weight upon the leg which supports
Chap. XCIX. — Of the Gracefulness of the
The members are to be suited to the body in
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. 45
graceful motions, expressive of the meaning which
the figure is intended to convey. If it had to
give the idea of genteel and agreeable carriage,
the members must be slender and well turned,
but not lean ; the muscles very slightly marked,
indicating in a soft manner such as must neces-
sarily appear ; the arms, particularly, pliant, and
no member in a straight line with any other ad-
joining member. If it happen, on account of the
motion of the figure, that the right hip be higher
than the left, make the joint of the shoulder fall
perpendicularly on the highest part of that hip ;
and let that right shoulder be lower than the left.
The pit of the neck will always be perpendicular
over the middle of the instep of the foot that
supports the body. The leg that does not bear will
have its knee a little lower than the other, and
near the other leg.
In regard to the positions of the head and arms,
they are infinite, and for that reason I shall not
enter into any detailed rule concerning them ; suf-
fice it to say, that they are to be easy and free,
graceful, and varied in their bendings, so that they
may not appear stifT like pieces of wood.
Chap. C. — That it is impossible for any Memory
to retain the Aspects and Changes of the Mem-
It is impossible that any memory can be able to
46 MOTION AND EQUIPOISE.
retain all the aspects or motions of any member of
any animal whatever. This case we shaU exem-
plify by the appearance of the hand. And be-
cause any continued quantity is divisible ad infi-
nitum, the motion of the eye which looks at the
handj and moves from A to B, moves by a space
A B, which is also a continued quantity, and con-
sequently divisible ad infinitum^ and in every part
of the motion varies to its view the aspect and
figure of the hand ; and so it will do if it move
round the whole circle. The same will the hand
do which is raised in its motion, that is, it will
pass over a space, which is a continued quantity.*
* The eyeball moving up and down to look at the hand, de-
scribes a part of a circle, from every point of which it sees it in
an infinite variety of aspects. The hand also is moveable ad in-
finitum (for it can go round the whole circle — see chap. Ixxxvii),
and consequently shew itself in an infinite variety of aspects,
whica it is impossible for any memory to retain.
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE. 47
Chap. CI. — 77*6 Motions of Figures.
Never put the liead straight upon the shoulders,
but a httle turned sideways to the right or left,
even though the figures should l^e looking up or
down, or straight, because it is necessary to give
them some motion of hfe and spirit. Nor ever
compose a figure in such a manner, either in a
front or back view, as that every part falls straight
upon another from the top to the bottom. But
if you wish to introduce such a figure, use it
for old age. Never repeat the same motions of
arms, or of legs, not only not in the same figure,
but in those which are standing by, or near; if
the necessity of the case, or the expression of the
subject you represent, do not obhge you to it*.
Chap. CII. — Of common Motions.
The variety of motions in man are equal to the
variety of accidents or thoughts affecting the mind,
and each of these thoughts, or accidents, Avill ope-
rate more or less, according to the temper and age
of the subject; for the same cause will in the
actions of youth, or of old age, produce very dif-
Chap. CIII. — Of simple Motions.
Simple motion is that which a man performs in
merely ])ending backwards or forwards.
* See chap. xx. civ.
48 MOTION AND EQUIPOISE.
Chap. CIV. — Complex Motion.
Complex motion is that which, to produce some
particular action, requires the body to bend down-
wards and sideways at the same time. The painter
must be careful in his compositions to apply these
complex motions according to the nature of the
subject, and not to weaken or destroy the effect of
it by introducing figures with simple motions,
without any connexion with the subject.
Chap. CV. — Motions appropriated to the Subject.
The motions of your figures are to be expressive
of the quantity of strength requisite to the force of
the action. Let not the same effort be used to
take up a stick as would easily raise a piece of
timber. Therefore shew great variety in the ex-
pression of strength, according to the quality of
the load to be managed.
Chap. CVI. — Appropriate Motions.
There are some emotions of the mind which are
not expressed by any particular motion of the
body, while in others, the expression cannot be
shewn without it. In the first, the arms fall down,
the hands and all the other parts, which in general
are the most active, remain at rest. But such
emotions of the soul as produce bodily action,
must put the members into such motions as are
MOTION AXD EQUIPOISE. 49
appropriated to the intention of the mind. This,
however, is an ample subject, and we have a great
deal to say upon it. There is a third kind of mo-
tion, which participates of the two already de-
scribed ; and a fourth, which depends neither on
the one nor the other. This last belongs to insen-
sibihty, or fury, and should be ranked with mad-
ness or stupidity ; and so adapted only to grotesque
or Moresco work.
Chap. CVII. — Of the Postures of Women and
It is not becoming in women and young people
to have their legs too much asunder, because it
denotes boldness; while the legs close together
Chap. CVIII. — Of the Postures of Children.
Children and old people are not to express
quick motions, in what concerns their legs.
Chap. CIX. — Of the Motion of the Members.
Let every member l)e employed in performing
its proper functions. For instance, in a dead body,
or one asleep, no member should appear alive or
awake. A foot bearing the weight of the whole
body, should not be playing its toes up and down,
but flat upon the ground; except when it rests
entirely upon the heel.
50 LIXEAR PERSPECTIVE.
Chap. CX. — Of mental Motions.
A mere thought, or operation of the mind, ex-
cites only simple and easy motions of the body ;
not this way, and that way, because its object is
in the mind, which does not affect the senses when
it is collected within itself.
Chap. CXI. — Effect of the Mind upon the Motions
of the Body, occasioned by some outward Object.
When the motion is produced by the presence
of some object, either the cause is immediate or
not. If it be immediate, the figure will first turn
towards it the organs most necessary, the eyes .
leaving its feet in the same place ; and will only
move the thighs, hips, and knees a little towards
the same side, to which the eyes are directed.
Chap. CXI I. — Of those who apply themselves to
the Practice, without having learnt the Theory
of the Art.
Those who become enamoured of the practice of
the art, without having previously applied to the
LINEAR PERSPECTIVE. 51
diligent study of the scientific part of it, may be
compared to mariners, who put to sea in a ship
without rudder or compass, and therefore cannot
be certain of arriving at the wished-for port.
Practice must always be founded on good
theory; to this, Perspective is the guide and
entrance, without which nothing can be well
Chap. CXIII. — Precepts in Painting.
Perspective is to Painting^what the bridle is
to a horse, and the rudder to a ship.
The size of a figure should denote the distance
at which it is situated.
If a figure be seen of the natural size, remem-
ber that it denotes its being near to the eye.
Chap. CXIV. — Of the Boundaries of Objects,
called Outlines or Contours.
The outlines or contours of bodies are so little
perceivable, that at any small distance between
that and the object, the eye will not be able to
recognize the features of a friend or relation, if
it were not for their clothes and general appear-
ance. So that by the knowledge of the whole it
comes to know the parts.
Chap. CXV. — Of linear Pa'spective.
Linear Perspective consists in giving, by
52 LINEAR PERSPECTIVE.
established rules, the true dimensions of objects,
according to their respective distances ; so that
the second object be less than the first, the third
than the second, and by degrees at last they be-
come iuAasible. I find by experience, that, if the
second object be at the same distance from the
first, as the first is from the eye, though they be
of the same size, the second will appear half the
size of the first ; and, if the third be at the same
distance behind the second, it will diminish two
thirds ; and so on,, by degrees, they will, at equal
distances, diminish in proportion ; provided that
the interval be not more than twenty cubits * ;
at which distance it will lose two fourths of its
size ', at forty it will diminish three fourths ; and
at sixty it will lose five sixths, and so on progres-
sively. But you must be distant from your pic-
ture twice the size of it ; for, if you be only once
the size, it will make a great dilTerence in the mea-
sure from the first to the second.
Chap. CXVI. — VFJiat Parts of Objects disappear
first by Distance.
Those parts which are of less magnitude will
first vanish from the sight f. This happens, be-
* About thirteen yards of our measure ; the Florentine braccia,
or cubit, by which the author measures, being 1 foot 10 inches
7-8ths English measure.
t See chap. cxxi. and cccv.
LINEAR PERSPECTIVE. 53
cause the shape of small objects, at an equal dis-
tance, comes to the eye under a more acute angle
than the large ones, and the perception is less, in
proportion as they are less in magnitude. It fol-
lows then, that if the large objects, by being re-
moved to a great distance, and consequently
coming to the eye by a small angle, are almost
lost to the sight, the small objects will entirely
CXVIL— 0/ remote Objects.
The outlines of objects will be less seen, in
proportion as they are more distant from the eye.
Chap. CXVIII.— 0/ the Point of Siyht.
The point of sight must be on a level with the
eyes of a common-sized man, and placed upon
the horizon, which is the line formed by a flat
country terminating with the sky. An exception
must be made as to mountains, which are above
Chap. CXIX. — A Picture is to be viewed from
one Point only.
This will be proved by one single example. If
you mean to represent a round ball very high up,
on a flat and perpendicular wall, it will be neces-
sary to make it oblong, like the shape of an egg,
and to place yourself (that is, the eye, or point of
54 LINEAR PERSPECTIVE.
view) so far back, as that its outline or circumfer-
ence may appear round.
Chap. CXX. — Of the Dimensions of the first
Figure in an historical Painting.
The first figure in your picture will be less than
Nature, in proportion as it recedes from the front
of the picture, or the bottom line; and by the
same rule the others behind it will go on lessen-
ing in an equal degree.*
Chap. CXXI. — Of Objects that are lost to the
Sight in Proportion to their Distance.
The first things that disappear, by being re-
moved to some distance, are the outlines or
boundaries of objects. The second, as they re-
move farther, are the shadows which divide con-
tiguous bodies. The third are the thickness of
legs and feet; and so in succession the small
parts are lost to the sight, till nothing remains
but a confused mass, without any distinct parts.
* It is supposed that the figures are to appear of the natural
size, and not bigger. In that case, the measure of the first, to
be of the exact dimension, should have its feet resting upon the
bottom line ; but as you remove it from that, it should
No allusion is here intended to the distance at which a picture
is to be placed from the eye.
LINEAR PERSPECTIVE. 55
Chap. CXXII. — Errors not so easily seen in small
Objects as in large ones.
Supposing this small object to represent a
man, or any other animal, although the parts, by
being so much diminished or reduced, cannot be
executed with the same exactness of proportion,
nor finished with the same accuracy, as if on a
larger scale, yet on that very account the faults
will be less conspicuous. For example, if you
look at a man at the distance of two hundred
yards, and M'ith all due attention mean to form a
judgment, whether he be handsome or ugly, de-
formed or well made, you will find that, with all
your endeavours, you can hardly venture to
decide. The reason is, that the man diminishes
so much by the distance, that it is impossible to
distinguish the parts minutely. If you wish to
know by demonstration the diminution of the
above figure, hold your finger up before your eye
at about nine inches distance, so that the top of
your finger corresponds with the top of the head
of the distant figure : you will perceive that your
finger covers, not only its head, but part of its
body ; which is an evident proof of the appa-
rent diminution of that object. Hence it often
happens, that we are doubtful, and can scarcely,
at some distance, distinguish the form of even a
56 LINEAR PERSPECTIVE.
Chap. CXXIII. — Historical Subjects one above
another on the same Wall to be avoided.
This custom, which has been generally adopted
by painters, on the front and sides of chapels, is
much to be condemned. They begin with an
historical picture, its landscape and buildings, in
one compartment. After which, they raise ano-
ther compartment, and execute another history
with other buildings upon another level; and
from thence they proceed to a third and fourth,
varying the point of sight, as if the beholder was
going up steps, while, in fact, he must look at
them all from below, which is very ill-judged in
We know that the point of sight is the eye of
the spectator; and if you ask, how is a series of
subjects, such as the life of a saint, to be repre-
sented, in different compartments on the same
wall ? I answer, that you are to place the prin-
cipal event in the largest compartment, and make
the point of sight as high as the eye of the spec-
tator. Begin that subject with large figures ; and
as you go up, lessen the objects, as well the
figures, as buildings, varying the plans according
to the effect of perspective ; but never varying
the point of sight : and so complete the series of
subjects, till you come to a certain height, where
terrestrial objects can be seen no more, except
LINEAR PERSPECTIVE. 57
the tops of trees, or clouds and birds ; or if you
introduce figures, they must be aerial, such as
angels, or saints in glory, or the like, if they suit
the purpose of your history. If not, do iiot
undertake this kind of painting, for your work
will be faulty, and justly reprehensible.*
Chap. CXXIV. — Why Objects in Painting can
never' detach, as natural Objects do.
Painters often despair of being able to imitate
Nature, from observing, that their pictures have
not the same relief, nor the same life, as natural
objects have in a looking glass, though they both
appear upon a plain surface. They say, they have
colours which surpass in brightness the qviality
of the lights, and in darkness the quality of the
shades of the objects seen in the looking-glass ;
but attriljute this circumstance to their own igno-
rance, and not to the true cause, because they do
not know it. It is impossible that objects in
• The author does not me;in here to say, that one histoi'ical
picture cannot be hung over another. It certainly may, he-
cause, in viewing each, the spectator is at liberty (especially if
they are subjects independent of each other) to shift his place so
as to stand at the true point of sight for viewing every one of
them ; but in covering a wall with a succession of subjects from
the same history, the author considers the whole as in fact hut
one picture, divided into compartments, and to be seen at one
view, and which cannot therefore admit more than one point of
sight. In the former case the pictures are, in fact, so many dis-
tinct subjects unconnected with each other.
painting should appear vnth the same relief as
those in the looking-glass, unless we look at them
with only one eye.
The reason is this. The two eyes A B looking
at objects one behind another, as M and N, see
them both : because M cannot entirely occupy
the space of N, by reason that the base of the
visual rays is so broad, that the second object is
seen behind the first. But if one eye be shut,
and you look with the other S, the body F will
entirely cover the body R, because the visual rays
beginning at one point, form a triangle, of which
the body F is the base, and being prolonged, they
form two diverging tangents at the two extremi-
ties of F, which cannot touch the body R behind
it, therefore can never see it.*
* See chap, cccxlviii.
This chapter is obscure, and may probably be made clear by
merely stating it in other words. Leonardo objects to the use of
both eyes, because, in viewing in that manner the objects here
meationed, two balls, one behind the other, the second is seen,
LINEAR PERSPECTIVE. 59
Chap. CXXV. — How to give the proper Dimen-
sion to Objects in Painting.
In order to give the appearance of the natural
size, if the piece be small (as miniatures), the
which would not be the case, if the angle of the visual rays were
not too big for the first object. Whoever is at all acquainted
with optics, need not be told, that the visual rays commence in
a single point in the centre, or nearly the centre of each eye, and
continue diverging. But, in using both eyes, the visual rays
proceed not from one and the same centre, but from a different
centre in each eye, and intersecting each other, as they do a
a little before passing the first object, they become together
broader than the extent of the first object, and consequently give
a view of part of the second. On the contrary, in using but one
eye, the visual rays proceed but from one centre ; and as, there-
fore, there cannot be any intersection, the visual rays, when they
reach the first object, are not broader than the first object, and
the second is completely hidden. Properly speaking, therefore,
in using both eyes we introduce more than one point of sight,
which renders the perspective false in the painting ; but in using
one eye only, there can be, as there ought, but one point of sight.
There is, however, this diflference between viewing real objects
and those represented in painting, that in looking at the former,
whether we use one or both eyes, the objects, by being actually
detached from the back ground, admit the visual rays to strike
on them, so as to form a correct perspective, from whatever
point they are viewed, and the eye accordingly forms a perspec-
tive of its own ; but in viewing the latter, there is no possibility
of varying the perspective ; and, unless the picture is seen pre-
cisely under the same angle as it was painted under, the perspec-
tive in all other views must be false. This is observable in the
perspective views painted for scenes at the playhouse. If the
beholder is seated in the central line of the house, whether in
the boxes or pit, the perspective is correct ; but, in proportion
as he is placed at a greater or less distance to the right or left
of that line, the perspective appears to him more or less faulty.
And hence arises the necessity of using but one eye in viewing
« painting, in order thereby to reduce it to one point of sight.
figures on the fore-ground are to be finished with
as much precision as those of any large painting,
because being small they are to be brought up
close to the eye. But large paintings are seen at
some distance ; whence it happens, that though
the figures in each are so different in size, in ap-
pearance they will be the same. This proceeds
from the eye receiving those objects under the
same angle ; and it is proved thus. Let the large
painting be B C, the eye A, and D E a pane of
glass, through which are seen the figures situated
at B C. I say that the eye being fixed, the figures
in the copy of the paintings B Care to be smaller,
in proportion as the glass D E is nearer the eye A,
and are to be as precise and finished. But if you
will execute the picture B C upon the glass D E,
this ought to be less finished than the picture B
C, and more so than the figure M N transferred
upon the glass F G ; because, supposing the figure
P O to be as much finished as the natural one in
B C, the perspective of O P would be false, since,
thouffh in regard to the diminution of the figure
LINEAR PERSPECTIVE. 61
it would be right, B C being diminished in P O,
finishing Avould not agree with the distance, be-
cause in giving it the perfection of the natural
B C, B C would appear as near as O P ; but, if
you search for the diminution of O P, O P
will be found at the distance B C, and the dimi-
nution of the finishing as at F G.
Chap. CXXVI. — Hoio to draw accurately any
Take a glass as large as your paper, fasten it
well between your eye and the object you mean
to draw, and fixing your head in a frame (in such
a manner as not to be able to move it) at the dis-
tance of two feet from the glass ; shut one eye,
and draw with a pencil accurately upon the glass
all that you see through it. After that, trace
upon paper what you have drawn on the glass,
which tracing you may paint at pleasure, observ-
ing the aerial perspective.
Chap. CXXVII. — Disproportion to be avoided,
even in the accessory Parts.
A great fault is committed by many painters,
which is highly to be blamed, that is, to represent
the habitations of men, and other parts of their
compositions, so Ioav, that tlie doors do not reach
as high as the knees of their inhabitants, though,
according to their situation, they are nearer to tlie
G2 LINEAR PERSPECTIVE.
eye of the spectator, than the men who seem
wilhng to enter them. I have seen some pictures
with porticos, supported by columns loaded with
figures ; one grasping a column against which it
leans, as if it were a walking stick, and other simi-
lar errors, which are to be avoided with the greatest
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
Chap. CXXVIII. — Precept for avoiding a bad
Choice in the Style or Proportion of Figures.
The painter ought to form his style upon the
most proportionate model in Nature; and after
having measured that, he ought to measure him-
seK also, and be perfectly acquainted with his own
defects or deficiencies ; and having acquired this
knowledge, his constant care should be to avoid
conveying into his work those defects which he
has found in his own person ; for these defects,
becoming habitual to his observation, mislead his
judgment, and he perceives them no longer. We
ought, therefore, to struggle against such a preju-
dice, which grows up with us ; for the mind, be-
ing fond of its own habitation, is apt to represent
it to our imagination as beautiful. From the
same motive it may be, that there is not a woman,
however plain in her person, who may not find
her admirer, if she be not a monster. Against
this bent of the mind you ought very cautiously
to be on your guard.
Chap. CXXIX. — Variety in Figures..
A painter ought to aim at universal excellence ;
for he will be greatly wanting in dignity, if he do
64 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION,
one thing well and another badly, as many do, who
study only the naked figure, measured and pro-
portioned by a pair of compasses in their hands,
and do not seek for variety. A man may be well
proportioned, and yet be tall or short, large or
lean, or of a middle size ; and whoever does not
make great use of these varieties, which are all
existing in Nature in its most perfect state, will
produce figures as if cast in one and the same
mould, which is highly reprehensible.
Chap. CXXX. — Hoiv a Painter ought to proceed
in his Studies.
The painter ought always to form in his mind a
kind of system of reasoning or discussion within
himself on any remarkable object before him. He
should stop, take notes, and form some rule upon
it; considering the place, the circumstances, the
lights and shadows.
Chap. CXXXI. — Of sketching Histories and
Sketches of historical subjects must be slight,
attending only to the situation of the figures, with-
out regard to the finishing of particular members,
which may be done afterwards at leisure, when
the mind is so disposed.
Cii.vp. CXXXII. — Hoiv to study Composition.
The young student should begin by sketching
slightly some single figure, and turn that on all
sides, knowing already how to contract, and how to
IXVEXTION, OR COMPOSITION. 65
extend the members ; after which, he may put two
together in various attitudes, we will suppose in the
act of fighting boldly. This composition also he
must try on all sides, and in a variety of ways,
tending to the same expression. Tlien he may
imagine one of them very courageous, while the
other is a coward. Let these attitudes, and many
other accidental affections of the mind, be with
great care studied, examined, and dwelt upon.
Chap. CXXXIII.— 0//Ae Attitudes of Men.
The attitudes and all the members are to be
disposed in such a manner, that by them the in-
tentions of the mind may be easily discovered.
Chap. CXXXW.—VarietAj of Positions.
The positions of the human figure are to be
adapted to the age and rank ; and to be varied ac-
cording to the difference of the sexes, men or
Chap. CXXXV. — Of Studies from Nature for
It is necessary to consider well the situation for
which the history is to be painted, particularly the
height ; and let the painter place accordingly the
model from which he means to make his studies
for that historical picture ; and set himself as much
below the object, as the picture is to be a])ove the
eye of the spectator, otherwise the work will be
66 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
Chap. CXXXYl.—Of the Variety of Figures in
History painting must exhibit variety in its
fullest extent. In temper, size, complexion, ac-
tionsj plumpness, leanness, thick, thin, large,
small, rough, smooth, old age and youth, strong
and muscular, weak, with little appearance of mus-
cles, cheerfulness, and melancholy. Some should
be with curled hair, and some with straight; some
short, some long, some quick in their motions,
and some slow, with a variety of dresses and co-
lours, according as the subject may require.
Chap. CXXXNll.— Of Variety in History.
A painter should delight in introducing great
variety into his compositions, avoiding repetition,
that by this fertility of invention he may attract
and charm the eye of the beholder. If it be requi-
site, according to the subject meant to be repre-
sented, that there should be a mixture of men dif-
fering in their faces, ages, and dress, grouped with
Avomen, children, dogs, and horses, buildings, liills
and flat country ; observe dignity and decorum in
the principal figure; such as a king, magistrate,
or philosopher, separating them from the low
classes of the people. Mix not afflicted or weep-
ing figures with joyful and laughing ones ; for
Nature dictates that the cheerful be attended bv
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION. GJ
Others of the same disposition of mind. Laughter
is productive of laughter, and vice versa.
Chap. CXXXVIII.— 0/Me Age of Figures.
Do not bring together a number of boys with as
many old men, nor young men with infants, nor
women with men ; if the subject you mean to re-
present does not oblige you to it.
Chap. CXXXIX.— 0/ Variety of Faces.
The Italian painters have been accused of a
common fault, that is, of introducing into their
compositions the faces, and even the whole figures,
of Roman emperors, which they take from the
antique. To avoid such an error, let no repeti-
tion take place, either in parts, or the whole of a
figure ; nor let there be even the same face in
another composition ; and the more the figures
are contrasted, viz. the deformed opposed to the
beautiful, the old to the young, the strong to the
feeble, the more the picture will please and be
admired. These diflJerent characters, contrasted
with each other, will increase the beauty of the
It frequently happens that a painter, while he
is composing, will use any little sketch or scrap of
drawing he has by him, and endeavour to make
it serve his purpose ; but this is extremely injudi-
cious, because he may very often find that the
68 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
members he has drawn have not the motion suited
to what he means to express ; and after he has
adopted, accurately drawn, and even well finished
them, he will be loth to rub out and change them
Chap. CXL. — A Fault in Painters.
It is a very great fault in a painter to repeat the
same motions in figures, and the same folds in
draperies in the same composition, as also to
make ah the faces alike.
Chap. CXLI. — How you may learn to compose
Groups f 07' History Painting.
When you are well instructed in perspective,
and know perfectly how to draw the anatomy and
forms of different bodies or objects, it should be
your delight to observe and consider in your
walks the different actions of men, when they are
talking, or quarrelling; when they laugh, and when
they fight. Attend to their positions, and to those
of the spectators ; whether they are attempting to
separate those who fight, or merely lookers-on.
Be quick in sketching these with slight strokes in
your pocket-book, which should always be about
you, and made of stained paper, as you ought not
to rub out. When it is full, take another, for
these are not things to be rubbed out, but kept
with the greatest care; because forms and mo-
INVENTION, OR COMTOSITION. 69
tions of bodies are so infinitely various, that the
memory is not able to retain them ; therefore
preserve these sketches as your assistants and
Chap. CXLII. — Hoto to study the Motions of the
The first requisite towards a perfect acquaint-
ance with the various motions of the human body,
is the knowledge of all the parts, particularly the
joints, in all the attitudes in which it may be
placed. Then make slight sketches in your pocket-
book as opportunities occur, of the actions of men,
as they happen to meet your eye, without being
perceived by them ; because, if they were to ob-
sei^ve you, they would be disturbed from that
freedom of action, which is prompted by inward
feeling; as when two men are quarrelling and
angry, each of them seeming to be in the right,
and with great vehemence move their eyebrows,
arms, and all the other members, using motions
appropriated to their words and feelings. This
they could not do, if you Avanted them to imitate
anger, or any other accidental emotion ; such as
laughter, weeping, pain, admiration, fear, and the
like. For that reason, take care never to be with-
out a little book, for the purpose of sketching
those various motions, and also groups of people
standing by. This will teach you how to compose
70 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
history. Two things demand the principal atten-
tion of a good painter. One is the exact outUne
and shape of the figure ; the other, the true ex-
pression of what passes in the mind of that figure,
which he must feel, and that is very important.
Chap. CXLIII. — Of Dresses, and of Draperies
Tlie draperies with which you dress figures
ought to have their folds so accommodated as to
surround the parts they are intended to cover;
that in the mass of light there be not any dark
fold, and in the mass of shadows none receiving
too great a light. They must go gently over,
describing the parts ; but not with lines across,
cutting the members with hard notches, deeper
than the part can possibly be ; at the same time,
it must fit the body, and not appear hke an empty
bundle of cloth ; a fault of many painters, who,
enamoured of the quantity and variety of folds,
have encumbered their figures, forgetting the in-
tention of clothes, which is to dress and surround
the parts gracefully wherever they touch ; and
not to be filled vdth wind, like bladders pufi'ed up
where the parts project. I do not deny that we
ought not to neglect introducing some handsome
folds among these draperies, but it must be done
with great judgment, and suited to the parts,
where, by the actions of the hmbs and position of
IXVENTIOX, OR COMPOSITION. /I
the whole body, they gather together. Above all,
be careful to vary the quality and quantity of
your folds in compositions of many figures ; so
that, if some have large folds, produced by thick
woollen cloth, others, being dressed in thinner
stuff, may have them narrower ; some sharj) and
straight, others soft and undulating.
Chap. CXLIV.— 0/ the Nature of Folds in
Many painters prefer making the folds of their
draperies with acute angles, deep and precise ;
others with angles hardly perceptible j and some
with none at all; but instead of them, certain
Chap. CXLV. — How the Folds of Draperies
ought to be represented, Plate XVIII.
That part of the drapery, which is the farthest
from the place where it is gathered, will appear
more approaching its natural state. Every thing
naturally inclines to preserve its primitive form.
Therefore a stuff or cloth, which is of equal
thickness on both sides, will always incline
to remain flat. For that reason, when it is con-
strained by some fold to relinquish its flat situ-
ation, it is observed that, at the part of its greatest
restraint, it is continually making efforts to re-
turn to its natural shape ; and the parts most
distant from it re-assume more of their primitive
/J INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
state by ample and distended folds. For exam-
ple, let A B C be the drapery mentioned above ;
A B the place where it is folded or restrained. I
have said that the part, which is farthest from the
place of its restraint, v/ould return more toward
its primitive shape. Therefore C being the far-
thest, wdU be broader and more extended than any
Chap. CXLVI. — How the Folds in Draperies
ought to be made.
Draperies are not to be encumbered with many
folds : on the contrary, there ought to be some
only where they are held up with the hands or
arms of the figures, and the rest left to fall with
natural simplicity. They ought to be studied
from nature ; that is to say, if a wooUen cloth be
intended, the folds ought to be drawn after such
cloth ; if it be of silk, or thin stuff, or else very
thick for labourers, let it be distinguished by the
nature of the folds. But never copy them, as
some do, after models dressed in paper, or thin
leather, for it greatly misleads.
Chap. CXLVII. — Fore-shortening of Folds,
Where the figure is fore-shortened, there ought
to appear a greater number of folds, than on the
other parts, all surrounding it in a circular man-
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION. 73
ner. Let E be the situation of the eye. M N
will have the middle of every circular fold suc-
cessively removed farther from its outline, in
proportion as it is more distant from the eye. In
M O of the other figure the outlines of these
circular folds will appear almost straight, because
it is situated opposite the eye ; but in P and Q,
quite the contrary, as in N and M.
Chap. CXLVIIL— 0/ Folds,
The folds of draperies, whatever be the motion
of the figure, ought always to shew, by the form
of their outlines, the attitude of such figure; so
as to leave, in the mind of the beholder, no
doubt or confusion in regard to the true position
of the body ; and let there be no fold, which, by
its shadow, breaks through any of the members ;
that is to say, appearing to go in deeper than the
surface of the part it covers. And if you repre-
sent the figure clothed with several garments, one
over the other, let it not appear as if the upper
one covered only a mere skeleton ; but let it ex-
press that it is also well furnished with flesli, and
a thickness of folds, suitable to the number of
its under garments.
The folds surrounding the members ought to
diminish in thickness near the extremities of the
part they surround.
The length of the folds, which are close to the
74 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
members, ought to produce other folds on that
side where the member is diminished by fore-
shortening, and be more extended on the opposite
Chap. CXLIX.— 0/ Decorum.
Observ^e decorum in every thing you represent,
that is, fitness of action, dress, and situation, ac-
cording to the dignity or meanness of the sub-
ject to be represented. Be careful that a king,
for instance, be grave and majestic in his coun-
tenance and dress ; that the place be well deco-
rated ; and that his attendants, or the by-standers,
express reverence and admiration, and appear as
noble, in dresses suitable to a royal court.
On the contrary, in the representation of a
mean subject, let the figures appear low and des-
picable; those about them with similar counte-
nances and actions, denoting base and presump-
tuous minds, and meanly clad. In short, in both
cases, the parts must correspond with the general
sentiment of the composition.
The motions of old age should not be similar
to those of youth ; those of a woman to those of
a man ; nor should the latter be the same as those
of a boy.
Chap. CL. — Tlie Character of Figures in
In general, the painter ought to introduce very
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION. 7^
few old men, in the ordinary course of historical
subjects, and those few separated from young
people ; because old people are few, and their
habits do not agree with those of youth. Where
there is no conformity of custom, there can be
no intimacy, and, without it, a company is soon
separated. But if the subject require an appear-
ance of gravity, a meeting on important business,
as a council, for instance, let there be few young
men introduced, for youth wiUingly avoids such
Chap. CLI. — The Motion of the Muscles, when
the Figures are in natural Positioiis.
A figure, which does not express by its position
the sentiments and passions, by which we sup-
pose it animated, wdll appear to indicate that its
muscles are not obedient to its will, and the
painter very deficient in judgment. For that rea-
son, a figure is to shew great eagerness and mean-
ing ; and its position is to be so well appropriated
to that meaning, that it cannot be mistaken, nor
made use of for any other.
Chap. CLII. — A Precept in Painting.
The painter ought to notice those quick mo-
tions, which men are apt to make without think-
ing, when impelled by strong and powerful affec-
tions of the mind. He ought to take memoran-
76 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
dums of them, and sketch them in his pocket-
book, in order to make use of them when they
may answer his purpose ; and then to put a hving
model in the same position, to see the quahty and
aspect of the muscles which are in action.
Chap. CLIIL— 0/ the Motion of Man,
Plates XX. and XXI.
The first and principal part of the art is com-
position of any sort, or putting things together.
The second relates to the expression and motion
of the figures, and . requires that they be well
appropriated, and seeming attentive to what they
are about ; appearing to move with alacrity and
spirit, according to the degree of expression suit-
al)le to the occasion ; expressing slow and tardy
motions, as well as those of eagerness in pursuit:
and that quickness and ferocity be expressed with
such force as to give an idea of the sensations of
the actors. When a figure is to throw a dart,
stones, or the like, let it be seen evidently by the
attitude and disposition of all the members, that
such is its intention; of which there are two
two examples in the opposite plates, varied both
in action and power. The first in point of vigour
is A. The second is B. But A will throw his
weapon farther than B, because, though they seem
desirous of throwing it to the same point, A
ha\'ing turned his feet towards the object, while
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION. 77
his body is twisted and bent back the contrary
way, to increase his power, returns with more
velocity and force to the point to which he means
to throw. But the figure B having turned his
feet the same way as his body, it returns to its
place with great inconvenience, and consequently
with weakened powers. For in the expression of
great efforts, the preparatory motions of the
body must be strong and violent, twisting and
bending, so that it may return with convenient
ease, and by that means have a great effect. In
the same manner, if a cross-bow be not strung
with force, the motion of whatever it shoots will
be short and without effect ; because, where
there is no impulse, there can be no motion ; and?
if the impulse be not ^dolent, the motion is but
tardy and feeble. So a bow which is not strung
has no motion ; and if it be strung, it will remain
in that state till the impulse be given by ano-
ther power which puts it in motion, and it
will shoot with a violence equal to that which
was employed in bending it. In the same
manner, the man who does not twist and
bend his body will have acquired no power.
Therefore, after A has thrown his dart, he will
find himself twisted the contrary way, viz. on the
side where he has thrown ; and he will have
acquired only power sufficient to serve him to
return to where he was at first.
78 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
Chap. CLIV. — Of Attitudes and the Motions of
The same attitude is not to be repeated in the
same picture, nor the same motion of members in
the same figure, nay, not even in the hands or fin-
And if the history requires a great number of
figures, such as a battle, or a massacre of soldiers,
in which there are but three ways of striking, \'iz.
thrusting, cutting, or back-handed ; in that case
you must take care, that all those who are cutting
be expressed in different views ; some turning
their backs, some their sides, and others be seen
in front ; varjang in the same manner the three
different ways of fighting, so that all the actions
may have a relation to those three principles.
In battles, complex motions display great art,
giving spirit and animation to the whole. By
complex motion is meant, for instance, that of a
single figure shewing the front of the legs, and
the same time the profile of the shoulder. But of
this I shall treat in another place.*
Chap. CLV. — Of a single Figure separate from
an historical Ch'oup.
The same motion of members should not be re-
* Chap. xcvi. and civ.
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION. 79
peated in a figure which you mean to be alone ;
for instance, if the figure be represented running
it must not throw both hands forward ; but one for-
ward and the other backward, or else it cannot
run. If the right foot come forward, the right
arm must go backward and the left forward,
because, without such disposition and contrast
of parts, it is impossible to run well. If
another figure be supposed to follow this, one
of its legs should be brought somewhat forward,
and the other be perpendicular under the head ;
the arm on the same side should pass forward.
But of this we shall treat more fully in the book
on motion. *
Chap. CLVI. — Oa the Attitudes of the human
A painter is to be attentive to the motions
and actions of men, occasioned by some sudden
accident. He must observe them on the spot,
take sketches, and not wait till he wants such ex-
pression, and then have it counterfeited for him ;
for instance, setting a model to weep when there is
no cause ; such an expression without a cause will
be neither quick nor natural. But it will be of great
use to have observed every action from nature, as it
• See the Life of the Author chap. xx. and ci. of the present
80 INVENTION OR COMPOSITION.
occurs, and then to have a model set in the same
attitude to help the recollection, and find out
something to the purpose, according to the subject
Chap. CLVII. — Hoiv to represent a Storm.
To form a just idea of a storm, you must con-
sider it attentively in its effects. When the wind
blows violently over the sea or land, it removes
and carries off with it everything that is not firmly
fixed to the general mass. The clouds must
appear straggling and broken, carried according to
the direction and the force of the wind, and
blended with clouds of dust raised from the sandy
shore. Branches and leaves of trees must be
represented as carried along by the violence of the
storm, and together with numberless other light
substances, scattered in the air. Trees and grass
must be bent to the ground, as if yielding to the
course of the wind. Boughs must be twisted out
of their natural form, with their leaves reversed
and entangled. Of the figures dispersed in the pic-
ture, some should appear thrown on the ground, so
wrapped up in their cloaks and covered with dust,
as to be scarcely distinguishable. Of those who
remain on their feet, some should be sheltered by
and holding fast behind some great trees, to avoid
the same fate: others bending to the ground,
their hands over their faces to ward off the dust 3
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION. 81
their hair and their clothes flying straight np at
the mercy of the wind.
The high tremendous waves of the stormy sea
will be covered with foaming froth ; the most sub-
tle parts of which, being raised by the wind, like
a thick mist, mix with the air. What vessels are
seen should appear with broken cordage, and torn
sails, fluttering in the wind ; some with broken
masts fallen across the hulk, already on its side
amidst the tempestuous waves. Some of the crew
should be represented as if crying aloud for help,
and clinging to the remains of the shattered vessel.
Let the clouds appear as driven by tempestuous
winds against the summits of lofty mountains,
enveloping those mountains, and breaking and
recoiling with redoubled force, like waves against
a rocky shore. The air should be rendered awfully
dark, by the mist, dust, and thick clouds.
Chap. CLVIII. — Hoio to compose a battle.
First, let the air exhibit a confused mixture of
smoke, arising from the discharge of artillery and
musquctry, and the dust raised by the horses of
the combatants ; and observe, that dust being of
an earthy nature, is heavy; but yet, by reason of
its minute particles, it is easily impelled upAvards,
and mixes with the air ; nevertheless, it naturally
falls downwards again, the most subtle parts of it
alone gaining any considerable degree of elevation,
82 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
and at its utmost height it is so thin and transpa-
rent, as to appear nearly of the colour of the air.
The smoke, thus mixing with the dusty air, forms a
kind of dark cloud, at the top of which it is distin-
guished from the dust by a blueish cast, the dust
retaining more of its natural colour. On that part
from which the light proceeds, this mixture of air,
smoke, and dust, will appear much brighter than
on the opposite side. Tlie more the combatants
are involved in this turbulent mist, the less dis-
tinctly they will be seen, and the more confused
will they be in their lights and shades. Let the
faces of the musketeers, their bodies, and every
object near them, be tinged -with a reddish hue,
even the air or cloud of dust ; in short, all that
surrounds them. This red tinge you will diminish,
in proportion to their distance from the primary
cause. The group of figures, which appear at a
distance between the spectator and the light, will
form a dark mass upon a light ground ; and their
legs will be more undetermined and lost as they
approach nearer to the ground ; because there the
dust is heavier and thicker.
If you mean to represent some straggling
horses running out of the main body, introduce also
some small clouds of dust, as far distant from each
other as the leap of the horse, and these little
clouds will become fainter, more scanty, and dif_
fused, in proportion to their distance from the
INVEXTIOX, OR COMPOSITION. 83
horse. Tliat nearest to his feet will consequently
be the most determined, smallest, and the thick-
est of all.
Let the air be full of arrows, in all directions ;
some ascending, some falling down, and some
darting straight forwards. The bidlets of the mus-
ketry', though not seen, will be marked in their
course by a train of smoke, which breaks through
the general confusion. The figures in the fore-
ground should have their hair covered ■uith dust,
as also their eyebrows, and all parts liable to re-
The victorious party will be running for-
wards, their hair and other light parts flpng in
the wind, their eyebrows lowered, and the motion
of every member properly contrasted; for in-
stance, in moving the right foot forwards, the left
arm must be brought forward also. If you make
any of them fallen dowTi, mark the trace of his
fall on the shppery, gore-stained dust ; and where
the ground is less impregnated with blood, let the
print of men's feet and of horses, that have passed
that way, be marked. Let there be some horses
dragging the bodies of their riders, and leaving
behind them a furrow, made by the body thus
The countenances of the vanquisned will appear
pale and dejected. Their eyebrows raised, and
much wrinkled about the forehead and cheeks.
84 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
The tip of their noses somewhat divided from the
nostrils by arched wrinkles terminating at the
corner of the eyes, those wrinkles being occasi-
oned by the opening and raising of the nostrils ;
the upper lips turned up, discovering the teeth.
Their mouths wide open, and expressive of violent
lamentation. One may be seen fallen wounded
on the ground, endeavouring with one hand to
support his body, and covering his eyes with the
other, the palm of which is turned towards the
enemy. Others running away, and with open
mouths seeming to cry aloud. Between the legs
of the comhatants let the ground be strewed
with all sorts of arms ; as broken shields, spears,
swords, and the like. Many dead bodies should
be introduced, some entirely covered with dust,
others in part only ; let the blood, Avhich seems
to issue immediately from the wound, appear of
its natural colour, and running in a winding
course, till, mixing with the dust, it forms a red-
dish kind of mud. Some should be in the ago-
nies of death ; their teeth shut, their eyes wildly
staring, their fists clenched, and their legs in a
distorted position. Some may appear disarmed,
and beaten down by the enemy, still fighting with
their fists and teeth, and endeavouring to take a
passionate, though unavailing revenge. There
may be also a straggling horse without a rider,
vunning in wild disorder ; his mane flying in the
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION. 85
wind, beating down with his feet all before him
and doing a deal of damage, A wounded soldier
may also be seen falling to the ground, and at-
tempting to cover himself with his shield, while
an enemy bending over him endeavours to give
him the finishing stroke. Several dead bodies
should be heaped together under a dead horse
Some of the conquerers, as having ceased fighting
may be wiping their faces from the dirt, collected
on them by the mixture of dust with the water
from their eyes.
The corps de reserve will be seen advancing
gaily, but cautiously, their eyebrows directed for-
wards, shading their eyes with their hands to ob-
serve the motions of the enemy, amidst clouds of
dust and smoke, and seeming attentive to the
orders of their chief. You may also make their
commander holding up his staff, pushing forwards
and pointing towards the place where they are
wanted. A river may hkewise be introduced, with
horses fording it, dashing the water about between
their legs, and in the air, covering all the adjacent
ground with water and foam. Not a spot is to
be left without some marks of blood and carnage.
Chap. CLIX. — The Representation of an Orator
and his Audience.
If you have to represent a man who is speaking
to a large assembly of people, you are to consider
86 INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION.
the subject matter of his discourse, and to adapt
his attitude to such subject. If he means to per-
suade, let it be known by his gesture. If he is
giving an explanation, deduced from several rea-
sons, let him put two fingers of the right hand
within one of the left, having the other two bent
close, his face turned towards the audience, with
the mouth half open, seeming to speak. If he is
sitting, let him appear as going to raise himself up
a little, and his head be forward. But if he is
represented standing, let him bend his chest and
his head forward towards the people.
The auditory are to appear silent and attentive,
with their eyes upon the speaker, in the act of
admiration. There should be some old men, with
their mouths close shut, in token of approbation,
and their Ups pressed together, so as to form wrin-
kles at the corners of the mouth, and about the
cheeks, and forming others about the forehead, by
raising the eyebrows, as if struck with astonish-
ment. Some others of those sitting by, should be
seated with their hands within each other, round
one of their knees ; some with one knee upon the
other, and upon that, one hand receiving the elbow,
the other supporting the chin, covered with a ve-
Chap. CLX. — Of demonstrative Gestures.
The action by which a figure points at any thing
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION. 87
near, either in regard to time or situation, is to be
expressed by the hand very little removed from
the body. But if the same thing is far distant, the
hand must also be far removed from the body, and
the face of the figure pointing, must be turned to-
wards those to whom he is pointing it out.
Chap. CLXL— 0/ the Attitudes of the By-
standers at some remarkable Event.
All those wlio are present at some event deserv-
ing notice, express their admiration, but in various
manners. As when the hand of justice punishes
some malefactor. If the subject be an act of de-
votion, the eyes of all present should be directed
towards the object of their adoration, aided by a
variety of pious actions with the other members ;
as at the elevation of the host at mass, and other
similar ceremonies. If it be a laughable subject,
or one exciting compassion and mo^ang to tears,
in those cases it will not be necessary for all to
have their eyes turned towards the object, but
they will express their feelings by different ac-
tions ; and let there be several assembled in groups,
to rejoice or lament together. If the event ])e ter-
rific, let the faces of those who run away from the
sight, be strongly expressive of fright, -vAath vari-
ous motions ; as shall be described in the tract on
88 INVENTION^ OB COMPOSITION.
Chap. CLXII. — Hoio to represent Night.
Those objects which are entirely deprived of
lights are lost to the sight, as in the night ; there-
fore if you mean to paint a history under those
circumstances, you must suppose a large fire, and
those objects that are near it to be tinged with its
colour, and the nearer they are the more they will
partake of it. The fire being red, all those objects
which receive light from it will appear of a reddish
colour, and those that are most distant from it
will partake of the darkness that surrounds them.
The figures which are represented before the fire
will appear dark in proportion to the brightness of
the fire, because those parts of them which we see,
are tinged by that darkness of the night, and not
by the light of the fire, which they intercept.
Those that are on either side of the fire, will be
half in the shade of night, and half in the red light.
Those seen beyond the extent of the flames, will
be all of a reddish light upon a black ground. In
regard to their attitudes, let those who are nearest
the fire, make screens of their hands and cloaks,
against the scorching heat, with their faces turned
on the contrary side, as if ready to run away from
it. Tlie most remote will only be shading their
eyes with their hands, as if hurt by the too great
INVENTION, OR COMPOSITION. 89
Chap. CLXIII. — Tlie Method of awakening the
Mind to a Variety of Inventions.
I will not omit to introduce among these pre-
cepts a new kind of speculative invention, which
though apparently trifling, and almost laughable,
is nevertheless of great utility in assisting the ge-
nius to find variety for composition.
By looking attentively at old and smeared walls,
or stones and veined marble of various colours,
you may fancy that you see in them several com-
positions, landscapes, battles, figures in quick mo-
tion, strange countenances, and dresses, with an
infinity of other objects. By these confused lines
the inventive genius is excited to new exertions.
Chap. CLXIV. — Of Composition in History.
When the painter has only a single figure to re-
present, he must avoid any shortening whatever,
as well of any particular member, as of the whole
figure, because he would have to contend with the
prejudices of those who have no knowledge in that
branch of the art. But in subjects of history, com-
posed of many figures, shortenings may be intro-
duced with great propriety, nay, they are indis-
pensable, and ought to be used without reserve,
as the subject may require ; particularly in battles,
where of course many shortenings and contortions
of figures happen, amongst such an enraged mul-
90 EXPRESSION AND CHARACTER.
titude of actors, possessed, as it were, of a brutal
EXPRESSION AND CHARACTER.
Chap. CLXV. — Of expressive Motions.
Let your figures have actions appropriated to
what they are intended to think or say, and these
will be well learnt by imitating the deaf, who by
the motion of their hands, eyes, eyebrows, and the
whole body, endeavour to express the sentiments
of their mind. Do not ridicule the thought of a
master without a tongue teaching you an art he
does not understand ; he will do it better by his
expressive motions, than all the rest by their words
and examples. Let then the painter, of whatever
school, attend well to this maxim, and apply it to
the different qualities of the figures he represents,
and to the nature of the subject in which they are
Chap. CLXVL — Hoio to paint Children.
Children are to be represented with quick and
contorted motions, when they are sitting; but when
standing, with fearful and timid motions.
EXPRESSION AND CHARACTER. 91
Chap. CLXVII. — How to represent old Men.
Old men must have slow and heavy motions ;
their legs and knees must be bent when they are
standing, and their feet placed parallel and wide
asunder. Let them be bowed downwards, the
head leaning much forward, and their arms very
Chap. CLXVIII. — How to paint old Women.
Old women, on the contrary, are to be repre-
sented bold and quick, with passionate motions,
like furies*. But the motions are to appear a great
deal quicker in their arms than in their legs.
Chap. CLXIX. — How to jmint Women.
Women are to be represented in modest and
reserved attitudes, with their knees rather close,
their arms drawing near each other, or folded about
the body; their heads looking downwards, and
leaning a little on one side.
Chap. ChXX.—Of the Varietij of Faces.
The countenances of your figures should be ex-
* The author here speaks of unpolished nature ; and indeed it
is from such subjects only, that the genuine and characteristic
operations of nature are to be learnt. It is the effect of educa-
tion to correct the natural peculiarities and defects, and, by so
doing, to assimilate one person to the rest of the world.
92 EXPRESSION AND CHARACTER.
pressive of their different situations : men at work,
at rest, weeping, laughing, crying out, in fear, or
joy, and the Hke. The attitudes also, and all the
members, ought to correspond with the sentiment
expressed in the faces.
Chap. ChXXl.— The Parts of the Face and their
The motions of the different parts of the face,
occasioned by sudden agitations of the mind, are
many. The principal of these are Laughter, Weep-
ing, Calling out, Singing, either in a high or low
pitch, Admiration, Anger, Joy, Sadness, Fear,
Pain, and others, of which I propose to treat.
First, of Laughing and Weeping, which are very
similar in the motion of the mouth, the cheeks,
the shutting of the eyebrows, and the space be-
tween them ; as we shall explain in its place, in
treating of the changes which happen in the face,
hands, fingers, and all the other parts of the body,
as they are affected by the different emotions of the
soul ; the knowledge of which is absolutely neces-
sary to a painter, or else his figures may be said
to be twice dead. But it is very necessary also
that he be careful not to fall into the contrary ex-
treme ; giving extraordinary motions to his figures,
so that in a quiet and peaceable subject, he does
not seem to represent a battle, or the revellings of
drunken men : but, above all, the actors in any
EXPRESSION AND CHARACTER. 93
point of history must be attentive to what they
are about, or to what is going forward ; with ac-
tions that denote admiration, respect, pain, suspi-
cion, fear, and joy, according as the occasion, for
which they are brought together, may require.
Endeavour that different points of history be not
placed one above the other on the same canvass,
nor walls with different horizons*, as if it were a
jeweller's shop, she^nng the goods in different
Chap. CLXXII. — Laughing and Weeping.
Between the expression of laughter and that of
weeping there is no difference in the motion of
the features, either in the eyes, mouth, or cheeks ;
only in the ruffling of the brows, which is added
when weeping, but more elevated and extended
in laughing. One may represent the figure weep-
ing as tearing his clothes, or some other expres-
sion, as various as the cause of his feeling may
be ; because some weep for anger, some through
fear, others for tenderness and joy, or for suspi-
cion ; some for real pain and torment ; whilst
others weep through compassion, or regret at the
loss of some friend and near relation. These
different feelings will be expressed by some with
marks of despair, by others with moderation ;
some only shed tears, others cry aloud, while an-
* See chap, cxxiii.
94 EXPRESSION AND CHARACTER.
other has his face turned towards Heaven, with
his hand depressed, and his fingers twisted. Some
again will be full of apprehension, with their
shoulders raised up to their ears, and so on, ac-
cording to the above causes.
Those who weep, raise the brows, and bring
them close together above the nose, forming
many wrinkles on the forehead, and the comers
of the mouth are turned downwards. Those who
laugh have them turned upwards, and the brows
open and extended.
Chap. CLXXIII.— 0/ Anger.
If you represent a man in a violent fit of anger,
make him seize another by the hair, holding his
head writhed down against the ground, with his
knee fixed upon the ribs of his antagonist ; his
right arm up, and his fist ready to strike ; his
hair standing on end, his eyebrows low and
straight; his teeth close, and seen at the corner
of the mouth; his neck swelled, and his body
covered in the abdomen with creases, occasioned
by his bending over his enemy, and the excess of
Chap. CUOilY.— Despair.
The last act of despondency is, when a man is
in the act of putting a period to his own exist-
ence. He should be represented with a knife in
one hand, with which he has already inflicted the
EXPRESSION AND CHARACTER. 95
wound, and tearing it open with the other. His
garments and hair should be already torn. He
will be standing ^^'ith his feet asunder, his knees a
httle bent, and his body leaning forward, as if
ready to fall to the ground.
LIGHT AND SHADOW.
Chap. CLXXV.— The Course of Study to be
The student who is desirous of making great
proficiency in the art of imitating the works of
Nature, should not only learn the shape of figures
or other objects, and be able to delineate them with
truth and precision, but he must also accompany
them with their proper lights and shadows, accord-
ing to the situation in which those objects appear.
Chap. CLXXVI. — Which of the two is the most
useful Knowledge, the Outlines of Figures, or that
of Light and Shadotv.
The knowledge of the outline is of most con-
sequence, and yet may be acquired to great cer-
tainty by dint of study; as the outUnes of the
different parts of the human figure, particularly
those which do not bend, are invariably the same.
But the knowledge of the situation, quality, and
quantity of shadows, being infinite, requires the
most extensive study.
LIGHT AND SHADOW. 97
Chap. CLXXVII. — WJdch is the most important^
the Shadows or Outlines in Painting.
It requires much more observation and study
to arrive at perfection in the shadowing of a pic-
ture, than in merely drawing the hnes of it. The
proof of this is, that the Unes may be traced upon a
veil or a flat glass placed between the eye and the
object to be imitated. But that cannot be of any
use in shadowing, on account of the infinite gra-
dation of shades, and the blending of them, which
does not allow of any precise termination ; and
most frequently they are confused, as will be de-
monstrated in another place.*
Chap. CLXXVIII. — What is a Painter's first
Aim and Object.
The first object of a painter is to make a sim-
ple flat surface appear like a relievo, and some of
its parts detached from the ground ; he who
excels all others in that part of the art, deserves
tlie greatest praise. This perfection of the art
depends on the correct distribution of lights and
shades, called Chiaroscuro. If the painter then
avoids shadows, he may be said to avoid the glory
of the art, and to render his work despicable to
real connoisseurs, for the sake of acquiring the
esteem of vulgar and ignorant admirers of fine
colours, who never have any knowledge of relievo.
* See chap, cclxiv.
98 LIGHT AND SHADOW.
Chap. CLXXIX. — The Difference of Superficies,
in regard to Painting. •
Solid bodies are of two sorts : the one has the
surface curvilinear, oval, or spherical ; the other
has several surfaces, or sides producing angles,
either regular or irregular. Spherical, or oval
bodies, will always appear detached from their
ground, though they are exactly of the same colour.
Bodies also of diiferent sides and angles will always
detach, because they are always disposed so as to
produce shades on some of their sides, which
cannot happen to a plain superficies.*
Chap. CLXXX. — Hoiv a Painter may become
The painter who wishes to be universal, and
please a variety of judges, must unite in the same
composition, objects susceptible of great force in
the shadows, and great sweetness in the manage-
ment of them ; accounting, however, in every in-
stance, for such boldness and softenings.
Chap. CLXXXI. — Accuracy ought to be learnt
before Dispatch iti the Execution.
If you wish to make good and useful studies,
use great deliberation in your drawings, observe
* See chapter cclxvii.
LIGHT AND SHADOW. 9^
well among the lights, which, and how many, hold
the first rank in point of brightness ; and so
among the shadows, which are darker than others,
and in what manner they Ijlend together ; com-
pare the quality and quantity of one with the
other, and obser\'e to what part they are directed.
Be careful also in your outUnes, or di\nsions of
the members. Remark well what quantity of parts
are to be on one side, and what on the other ; and
where they are more or less apparent, or broad,
or slender. Lastly, take care that the shadows
and lights be united, or lost in each other ; with-
out any hard strokes or lines ; as smoke loses
itself in the air, so are your lights and shadows to
pass from the one to the other, without any appa-
When you have acquired the habit, and formed
your hand to accuracy, quickness of execution
will come of itself,*
Chap. CLXXXII. — Hoiv the Painter is to place
himself in regard to the Light, and his Model.
Let A B be the window, M the centre of it, C
the model. The best situation for the painter
will be a little sideways, between the window and
his model, as D, so that he may see his object
partly in the light and partly in the shadow.
* Sir Joshua RejTiolds frequently inculcated these precepts in
his lectures, and indeed they cannot be too often enforced.
LIGHT AND SHADOW.
Chap. CLXXXIIL— 0/ the best Ught.
The light from on high, and not too powerful,
will be found the best calculated to shew the
parts to advantage.
Chap. Ch^X.Xl\ .— Of Drawing bij Candle-
To this artificial light apply a paper blind, and
vou will see the shadows undetermined and soft.
Chap. CLXXXV. — Of those Painters ivho draw
at Home from one Light, and afterwards adapt
their studies to another Situation in the Country,
and a different Light.
It is a great error in some painters who draw
a figure from nature at home, by any particular
light, and afterwards make use of that drawing
in a picture representing an open countr^^ which
receives the general light of the sky, where the
surrounding air gives light on all sides. This
LIGHT AND SHADOW. 101
])ainter woxild put dark shadows, where Nature
would either produce none, or, if any, so very faint
as to be almost imperceptible ; and he would throw
reflected hghts where it is impossible there should
Chap. CLXXXVI. — How high the Light should he
in drawing from Nature.
To paint well from Nature, your window should
l)e to the North, that the lights may not vary. If
it be to the South, you must have paper blinds,
that the sun, in going round, may not alter the
shadows. The situation of the light should be
such as to produce vipon the ground a shadow
from your model as long as that is high.
Chap. CLXXXYll. —TFhat Light the Painter
must make Use of to give most Relief to his
The figures which receive a particular light show
more relief than those which receive an universal
one ; because the particular light occasions some
reflexes, which proceed from the light of one ob-
ject upon the shadows of another, and help to
detach it from the dark ground. But a figure
placed in front of a dark and large space, and re-
ceiving a particular light, can receive no reflexion
from any other objects, and nothing is seen of the
figure but what the light strikes on, the rest being
102 LIGHT AND SHADOW.
blended and lost in the darkness of the back
ground. This is to be applied only to the imita-
tion of night subjects with very little light.
Chap. ChXXXYlll.— Advice to Painters.
Be very careful, in painting, to observe, that be-
tween the shadows there are other shadows, almost
imperceptible, both for darkness and shape ; and
this is proved by the third proposition/ which
says, that the surfaces of globular or convex bodies
have as great a variety of lights and shadows as
the bodies that surround them have.
Chap. CLXXXIX.— 0/ Shadoivs,
Those shadows which in Nature are undeter-
mined, and the extremities of which can hardly be
perceived, are to be copied in your painting in the
same manner, never to be precisely finished, but
left confused and blended. This apparent neglect
will show great judgment, and be the ingenious
result of your observation of Nature.
Chap. CXC. — Of the Kind of Light proper for
drawing from Relievos, or from Nature.
Lights separated from the shadows with too
much precision, have a very bad eifect. In order,
* Probably this would have formed a part of his intended Trea-
tise on Light and Shadow, but no such proposition occurs in the
LIGHT AND SHADOW. 103
therefore, to avoid this inconA^enience, if the object
be in the open country, you need not let your
figures be illumined by the sun ; but may suppose
some transparent clouds interposed, so that the
sun not being visible, the termination of the sha-
dows will be also imperceptible and soft.
Chap. CXCI. — TVhether the Light should be ad-
mitted in Front or sideways ; and which is most
pleasing and graceful.
The light admitted in front of heads situated
opposite to side walls that are dark, will cause them
to have great relievo, particularly if the light be
placed high -, and the reason is, that the most pro-
minent parts of those faces are illumined by the
general light striking them in front, which light
produces very faint shadows on the part Avhere it
strikes ; but as it turns towards the sides, it begins
to participate of the dark shadows of the room,
which grow darker in proportion as it sinks into
them. Besides, when the light comes from on
high, it does not strike on every part of the face
alike, but one part produces great shadows upon
another ; as the eyebrows, which deprive the whole
sockets of the eyes of light. The nose keeps it off
from great part of the mouth, and the chin from
the neck, and such other parts. This, by concen-
trating the light upon the most projecting parts,
produces a very great relief.
lOJ LIGHT AXD SHADOW.
Chap. CXCll.— Of the Difference of Lights
according to the Situation.
A small light will cast large and determined
shadows upon the surrounding bodies. A large
light, on the contrar}^, will cast small shadows on
them, and they will be much confused in their ter-
mination. When a small but strong light is sur-
rounded by a broad but weaker light, the latter
will appear like a demi-tint to the other, as the
sky round the sun. And the bodies which receive
tlie light from the one, will serve as demi-tints to
those which receive the hght from the other.
Chap. CXCIII. — How to distribute the Light on
Tlie lights are to be distributed according to the
natural situation you mean your figures should
occupy. If you suppose them in sunshine, the
shades must be dark, the hghts broad and ex-
tended, and the shadows of all the surrounding
objects distinctly marked upon the ground. If
seen in a gloomy day, there wiU be very Httle dif-
ference between the hghts and shades, and no
shadows at the feet. If the figures be represented
within doors, the lights and shadows will again l)e
distinctly divided, and produce shadows on the
ground. But if you suppose a paper blind at the
window, and the walls painted white, the effect
LIGHT AND SHADOW. 105
will be the same as in a gloomy day, when tlie
lights and shadows have little difference. If the
figures are enlightened by the fire, the lights must
be red and powerful, the shadows dark, and the
shadows upon the ground and upon the walls must
be precise ; observing that they spread wider as
they go off from the body. If the figures be en-
lightened, partly by the sky and partly by the fire,
that side which receives the light from the sky
Avill be the brightest, and on the other side it will
be reddish, somewhat of the colour of the fire.
Above all, contrive that your figures receive a
broad light, and that from above ; particularly in
portraits, because the people we see in the street
receive all the light from above ; and it is curious
to observe, that there is not a face ever so well
known amongst your acquaintance, but woidd be
recognised with difficulty, if it were enlightened
Chap. CXCIV.— 0///iC Beauhj of Faces.
You must not mark any muscles with hardness
of line, but let the soft light glide upon them, and
terminate imperceptibly in delightful shadows :
from this will arise grace and beauty to the face.
Chap. CXCV. — How, in drawing a Face, to give it
Grace, by the Management of Light and Shade.
A face placed in the dark part of a room, ac-
106 LIGHT AND SHADOW.
quires great additional grace by means of light and
shadow. The shadowed part of the face blends
with the darkness of the ground, and the light part
receives an increase of brightness from the open
air, the shadows on this side becoming almost in-
sensible; and from this augmentation of light and
shadow, the face has much relief, and acquires
Chap. CXCVI. — Hoio to give Grace and Relief to
In streets running towards the west, when the
sun is in the meridian, and the walls on each side
so high that they cast no reflexions on that side
of the bodies which is in shade, and the sky is not
too bright, we find the most advantageous situa-
tion for giving relief and grace to figures, particu-
larly to faces; because both sides of the face will
])articipate of the shadows of the walls. The sides
of the nose and the face towards the west, will be
light, and the man whom we supposed placed at
the entrance, and in the middle of the street, will
see all the parts of that face, which are before him,
perfectly illumined, while both sides of it, towards
the walls, will be in shadow. What gives addi-
tional grace is, that these shades do not appear
cutting, hard, or dry, but softly blended and lost
in each other. The reason of it is, that the light
which is spread all over in the air, strikes also the
LIGHT AND SHADOW.
pavement of the street, and reflecting upon the
shady part of the face, it tinges that slightly with
the same hue : while the great light which comes
from above being confined by the tops of houses,
strikes on the face with different points, almost to
the very beginning of the shadows under the pro-
jecting parts of the face. It diminishes by de-
grees the strength of them, increasing the light
till it comes upon the chin, where it terminates,
and loses itself, blending softly into the shades on
all sides. For instance, if such light were A E,
the Une F E would give light even to the bottom of
the nose. The line C F will give light only to the
under lip; bvit the line A H would extend the
shadow to all the under parts of the face, and
under the chin.
In this situation the nose receives a very strong
light from all the points A B C D E.
108 LIGHT AND SHADOW.
Chap. CXCVII. — Of the Termmation of Bodies
upon each other.
When a body, of a cylindrical or convex sur-
face, terminates upon another body of the same
colour, it will appear darker on the edge, than the
body upon which it terminates. And any flat
body, adjacent to a white surface, will appear very
dark; but ujion a dark ground it will appear lighter
than any other part, though the lights be equal.
Chap. CXCVIII. — Of theBack-grounds of painted
The ground which surrounds the figures in any
painting, ought to be darker than the light part of
those figures, and lighter than the shadowed part.
Chap. CXCIX. — Hoiv to detach and bring fonvard
Figures out of their Back-ground.
If your figure be dark, place it on a light ground;
if it be light, upon a dark ground; and if it be
partly light and partly dark, as is generally the
case, contrive that the dark part of the figure be
upon the fight part of the ground, and the liglit
side of it against the dark.*
Chap. CC. — Of proper Back-grounds.
It is of the greatest importance to consider well
* See chapiters cc. and ccxix.
LIGHT AND SHADOW.
the nature of back-grounds, upon which any opake
body is to be placed. In order to detach it pro-
perly, you should place the light part of such opake
body against the dark part of the back-ground, and
the dark parts on a light ground;* as in the cut.f
Chap. CCI. — Of the general Liyht diffused over
In compositions of many figures and animals,
observe, that the parts of these different ol)jects
ought to be darker in proportion as they are lower,
* See chap. ccix.
t This cannot be taken as an absolute rule ; it must be left in
a great measure to the judgment of the painter. For much grace-
ful softness and grandeur is acquired, sometimes, by blending the
lights of the figures with the light part of tlie ground ; and so of
the shadows; as Leonardo himself has observed in chapters cxciv.
cxcv. and Sir Joshua Reynolds has often put in practice with
LIGHT AND SHADOW.
and as they are nearer the middle of the groups,
though they are all of an uniform colour. This is
necessar)^, because a smaller proportion of the sky
(from which all bodies are illuminated) can give
light to the lower spaces between these different
figures, than to the upper parts of the spaces. It
is proved thus : A B C D is that portion of the
sky which gives light to all the objects beneath ;
M and N are the bodies M'hich occupy the space
S T R H, in which it is evidently perceived, that
the point F, receiving the hght only from the
portion of the sky C D, has a smaller quantity of
it than the point E which receives it from the
whole space A B (a larger portion than C D) ;
therefore it will be lighter in E than in F.
LIGHT AND SHADOW.
Chap. CCII. — Of those Parts in Shadoivs which
appear the darkest at a Distance.
The neck, or any other part which is raised
straight upwards, and has a projection over it,
will he darker than the perpendicular front of
that projection ; and this projecting part will be
lighter, in proportion as it presents a larger sur-
face to the light.
For instance, the recess A receives no light from
any part of the sky G K, Ijut B begins to receive
the light from the part of the sky H K, and C
from G K ; and the point D receives the whole of
F K. Therefore the chest will be as hght as the
112 LIGHT AND SHADOW.
forehead, nose, and chin. But what I have par-
ticularly to recommend, in regard to faces, is, that
you observe well those different qualities of shades
which are lost at different distances (while there
remain only the first and principal spots or strokes
of shades, such as those of the sockets of the
eyes, and other similar recesses, which are always
dark), and at last the whole face becomes ob-
scured; because the greatest lights (l)eing small
in proportion to the demi-tints) are lost. The
quality, therefore, and quantity of the principal
lights and shades are by means of great distance
blended together into a general half-tint ; and this
is the reason why trees and other objects are
found to be in appearance darker at some dis-
tance than they are in reality, when nearer to the
eye. But then the air, which interposes between
the objects and the eye, will render them hght
again by tinging them with azure, rather in the
shades than in the lights ; for the lights will pre-
serve the truth of the different colours much
Chap. CCIII. — Of the Eye viewing the Folds of
Draperies surroundiny a Figure.
The shadows between the folds of a drapery
surrounding the parts of the human body will be
darker as the deep hollows where the shadows
are generated are more directly opposite the eye.
LIGHT AND SHADOW. 113
This is to be observed only when the eye is placed
between the light and the shady part of the
Chap. CCIV.— 0/ the Relief of Figures remote
from the Eye.
Any opake body appears less relieved in pro-
portion as it is farther distant from the eye ; be-
cause the air, interposed between the eye and
such body, being lighter than the shadow of it, it
tarnishes and weakens that shadow, lessens its
power, and consequently lessens also its relief.
CiiAP. CCV. — Of Outlines of Objects on the Side
toivards the Light.
The extremities of any object on the side which
receives the light, will appear darker if upon a
lighter ground, and lighter if seen upon a darker
ground. But if such body be flat, and seen upon
a ground equal in point of light with itself, and of
the same colour, such boundaries, or outlines,
will be entirely lost to the sight.*
Chap. CCVI. — Hoiv to make Objects detach from
their Ground, that is to say, from the Surface
on ivhich they are painted.
Objects contrasted with a light ground will
appear much more detached than those which are
* See chap, cclxv.
114 CONTRASTE AND EFFECT.
placed against a dark one. The reason is, that if
you wish to give rehef to your figures, you will
make those parts which are the farthest from the
light, participate the least of it ; therefore they
will remain the darkest, and every distinction of
outhne would be lost in the general mass of sha-
dows. But to give it grace, roundness, and effect,
those dark shades are always attended by re-
flexes, or else they would either cut too hard upon
the ground, or stick to it, by the similarity of
shade, and relieve the less as the ground is dark-
er ; for at some distance nothing would be seen
but the light parts, therefore your figures would
appear mutilated of all that remains lost in the
CONTRASTE AND EFFECT.
Chap. CC\ll.—A Precept.
Figures vnW have more grace, placed in the
open and general light, than in any particular or
small one; because the powerful and extended
light will surround and embrace the objects : and
works done in that kind of light appear pleasant
CONTRASTE AND EFFECT. 115
and graceful when placed at a distance*, while
those which are drawn in a narrow light will re-
ceive great force of shadow, but will never appear
at a great distance, but as painted objects.
Chap. CCVIII. — Of the Interposition of transpa-
rent Bodies between the Eye and the Object.
The greater the transparent interposition is be-
tween the eye and the object, the more the colour
of that object Avill participate of, or be changed
into that of the transparent medium ■\.
When an opake Ijody is situated between the
eye and the luminary, so that the central line of
the one passes also through the centre of the
other, that object will be entirely deprived of
Chap. CCIX. — Of proper Back-grounds for
As we find by experience, that all bodies are
surrounded by lights and shadows, I would have
the painter to accommodate that part which is
enlightened, so as to terminate upon something
dark ; and to manage the dark parts so that they
may terminate on a light ground. This will be of
* See chap, cxcvi.
t He means here to say, that in proportion as the body inter-
posed between the eye and the object is more or less transpa-
rent, the greater or less quantity of the colour of the body inter-
posed will be communicated to the object.
great assistance in detaching and bringing out his
Chap. CCX. — Of Back-grounds.
To give a great effect to figures, you must op-
pose to a hght one a dark ground, and to a dark
figure a hght ground, contrasting white with
black, and black with white. In general, all con-
traries give a particular force and brilliancy of
effect by their opposition.f
Ch AP. CCXI. — Of Objects placed on a light Ch'ound,
and why such a Practice is useful in Painting.
When a darkish body terminates upon a light
ground, it will appear detached from that ground ;
because all opake bodies of a curved surface are
not only dark on that side which receives no light,
and consequently very different from the ground ;
but even that side of the curved surface which is
enlightened, will not carry its principal light to
* See the note to chap. cc.
f See the preceding chapter, and chap. cc.
the extremities, but have between the ground and
the principal light a certain demi-tint, darker than
either the ground or that light.
Chap. CCXIL— 0/ the different Effects of White,
according to the Difference of BacTc-grounds.
Any thing white will appear whiter, by being
opposed to a dark ground ; and, on the contrary,
darker upon a light ground. This we learn from
observing snow as it falls ; while it is descending
it appears darker against the sky, than when we
see it against an open window, which (owing to
the darkness of the inside of the house) makes it
appear very white. Observe also, that snow ap-
pears to fall \ery quick and in a great quantity
when near the eye ; but when at some distance, it
seems to come down slowly, and in a smaller
CiiAP. CCXIII. — Of Reverberation.
Reverberations are produced by all bodies of a
bright nature, that have a smootli and tolerably
hard surface, which, repelling the light it receives,
makes it rebound like a foot-ball against the first
object opposed to it.
* The appearance of motion is lessened according to the dis-
tance, in the same proportion as objects diminish in size.
Chap. CCXIV. — Where there cannot be any
Reverberation of Light.
The surfaces of hard bodies are surrounded by
various quahties of hght and shadow. The lights
are of two sorts ; one is called original, the other
derivative. The original light is that which comes
from the sun, or the brightness of fire, or else from
the air. The derivative is a reflected light. But
to return to our definition, I say, there can be no
reflexion on that side which is turned towards
any dark body; such as roofs either high or low,
shrubs, grass, wood, either dry or green ; because,
though every individual part of those objects be
turned towards the original light, and struck by
it ; yet the quantity of shadow which every one of
these parts produces upon the others, is so great,
that, upon the whole, the light, not forming a com-
pact mass, loses its effect, so that those objects
cannot reflect any light upon the opposite bodies.
Chap. CCXV. — In what Part the Reflexes have
more or less Brightness.
The reflected lights will be more or less appa-
rent or bright, in proportion as they are seen
against a darker or fainter ground ; because if the
ground be darker than the reflex, then this reflex
will appear stronger on account of the great diffe-
rence of colour. But, on the contrary, if this re-
flexion has behind it a ground Ughter than itself,
it will appear dark, in comparison to the bright-
ness which is close to it, and therefore it will be
Chap. CCXVI. — Of the reflected Lights which
surround the Shadows.
Tlie reflected lights which strike upon the midst
of shadows, \\all brighten up or lessen their obscu-
rity in proportion to the strength of those lights,
and their proximity to those shadows. Many
painters neglect this observation, while others at-
tend to and deduce their practice from it. This
difference of opinion and practice di\'ides the sen-
timents of artists, so that they blame each other
for not thinking and acting as they themselves do.
The best way is to steer a middle course, and not
to admit of any reflected light, but when the cause
of it is evident to every eye ; and vice versa, if you
introduce none at all, let it appear evident that
there was no reasonable cause for it. In doing so,
you will neither be totally blamed nor praised by
the variet)'- of opinion, which, if not proceeding
from entire ignorance, will ensure to you the
approbation of both parties.
Chap. CCXVII. — IVhere Reflexes are to he most
Of all reflected lights, that is to be tlie most ap-
* See chap, ccxvii. and ccxix.
parent^ bold, and precise, which detaches from the
darkest ground ; and, on the contrary, that which
is upon a hghter ground will be less apparent.
And this proceeds from the contraste of shades,
by which the faintest makes the dark ones appear
still darker ; so in contrasted lights, the brightest
cause the others to appear less bright than they
Chap. CCXYlll.—TFhat Part of a Reflex is to he
That part will be the brightest which receives
the reflected light between angles the most nearly
equal. For example, let N be the luminary, and
A B the illuminated part of the object, reflecting
the light over all the shady part of the concavity
opposite to it. The light which reflects upon F
will be placed between equal angles. But E at
the base will not be reflected by equal angles, as it
is evident that the angle E A B is more obtuse
than the angle E B A. The angle A F B, however,
though it is between angles of less quality than the
angle E, and has a common base B A, is between
angles more nearly equal than E, therefore it will
be lighter in F than in E; and it will also be
brighter, because it is nearer to the part which
* See chap, ccxv. and ccxix.
gives them light, According to the 6th rule,*
which says, that part of the body is to be the
hghtest, which is nearest to the luminary.
Chap. CCXIX. — Of the Termination of Reflexes
on their Grounds.
The termination of a reflected light on a ground
lighter than that reflex, wiU not be perceivable ;
but if such a reflex terminates upon a ground
darker than itself, it will be plainly seen ; and the
more so in proportion as that ground is darker,
and vice versa.\
Chap. CCXX. — Of double and treble Reflexions
Double reflexes are stronger than single ones,
* This was intended to constitute a part of some book of Per-
spective, which we have not ; but the rule here referred to will be
found in chap cccx. of the present work.
t See chap. ccxv. and ccxvii.
and the shadows which interpose between the com-
mon light and these reflexes are very faint. For
instance, let A be the luminous body, A N, A S,
are the direct rays, and S N the parts which re-
ceive the light from them. O and E are the places
enhghtened by the reflexion of that light in those
parts. A N E is a single reflex, but A N O, A S O
is the double reflex. The single reflex is that
which proceeds from a single light, but the double
reflexion is produced by two different lights. The
single one E is produced by the light striking on
B D, while the double one O proceeds from the
enlightened bodies B D and D R co-operating to-
gether ; and the shadows which are between N O
and S O will be very faint.
Chap. CCXXI. — Reflexes in the Water, and
particularly those of the Air.
The only portion of air that will be seen re-
flected in the water, will be that which is reflected
by the surface of the water to the eye between
equal angles ; that is to say, the angle of incidence
must be equal to the angle of reflexion.
COLOURS AND COLOURING.
Chap. CCXXIL — WJiat Surface is best calculated
to receive most Colours,
White is more capable of receiving all sorts of
colours, than the surface of any body whatever,
that is not transparent. To prove it, we shaU say,
that any void space is capable of receiving what
another space, not void, cannot receive. In the
same manner, a white surface, like a void space,
being destitute of any colour, wiU be fittest to re-
ceive such as are conveyed to it from any other
enlightened body, and will participate more of
the colour than black can do; which latter, like a
broken vessel, is not able to contain any thing.
Chap. CCXXIIL — What Surface ivill shew most
perfectly its true Colour.
That opake body will show its colour more per-
fect and beautiful, which has near it another body
of the same colour.
Chap. CCXXIV. — On lohat Surfaces the true
Colour is least apparent.
Polished and glossy surfaces show least of their
genuine colour. This is exemplified in the grass
of the fields, and the leaves of trees, which, being
smooth and glossy, Avill reflect the colour of the
sun, and the air, where they strike, so that the
parts which receive the light do not show their
Chap. CCXXV. — What Surfaces show most of
their true and genuine Colour.
Those objects that are the least smooth and po-
lished shew their natural colours best ; as we see
in cloth, and in the leaves of such grass or trees
as are of a woolly nature ; which, having no lustre,
are exhibited to the eye in their true natural co-
lour ; unless that colour happen to be confused by
that of another body casting on them reflexions
of an opposite colour, such as the redness of the
setting sun, when all the clouds are tinged with its
Chap. CCXXVL— 0/Me Mixture of Colours.
Although the mixture of colours may be ex-
tended to an infinite variety, almost impossible to
be described, I will not omit touching slightly upon
it, setting down at first a certain number of simple
126 • COLOURS.
colours to serve as a foundation, and with each of
these mixing one of the others ; one mth one, then
two with two, and three with three, proceeding in
this manner to the full mixture of aU the colours
together : then I would begin again, mixing two
of these colours with tAvo others, and three with
three, four with four, and so on to the end. To
these two colours we shall put three ; to these
three add three more, and then six, increasing
always in the same proportion.
I call those simple colours, which are not com-
posed, and cannot be made or supphed by any
mixture of other colours. Black and White are
not reckoned among colours ; the one is the repre-
sentative of darkness, the other of light : that is,
one is a simple privation of light, the other is light
itself. Yet I wiU not omit mentioning them, be-
cause there is nothing in painting more useful and
necessary ; since painting is but an effect produced
by lights and shadows, viz. chiara-scuro. After
Black and White come Blue and Yellow, then
Green, and Tawny or Umber, and then Purple
and Red. These eight colours are all that Nature
produces. With these I begin my mixtures, first
Black and White, Black and Yellow, Black and
Red ; then Yellow and Red : but I shall treat
more at length of these mixtures in a separate
work,* which will be of great utility, nay very ne-
* No such work was ever published, nor, for any thing that
"Vf^ars, ever written.
cessary. I shall place this subject between theory
Chap. CCXXVII. — Of the Colours produced by
the Mixture of other Colours, called secondary
The first of all simple colours is White, though
philosophers will not acknowledge either White
or Black to be colours; because the first is the
cause, or the receiver of colours, the other totally
deprived of them. But as j)ainters cannot do
without either, we shall place them among the
others; and according to this order of things,
White will be the first, Yellow the second. Green
the third. Blue the fourth, Red the fifth, and Black
the sixth. We shall set down White for the re-
presentative of light, without which no colour can
be seen; Yellow for the earth; Green for water;
Blue for air; Red for fire; and Black for total
If you wish to see by a short process the variety
of all the mixed, or composed colours, take some
coloured glasses, and, through them, look at al^
the country round : you will find that the colour
of each object will be altered and mixed with the
colour of the glass through which it is seen ; ob-
serve which colour is made better, and which is
hurt by the mixture. If the glass be yellow, the
colour of the objects may either be improved, or
greatly impaired by it. Black and White will be
most altered, while Green and YeUow will be
meliorated. In the same manner you may go
through all the mixtures of colours, which are in-
finite. Select those which are new and agreeable
to the sight ; and following the same method you
may go on with two glasses, or three, till you have
found what will best answer your purpose.
Chap. CCXXVIII.— 0/ Verdegris.
This green, which is made of copper, though it
be mixed with oil, will lose its beauty, if it be
not varnished immediately. It not only fades,
but, if washed with a sponge and pure water only,
it will detach from the ground upon which it
is painted, particularly in damp weather; because
verdegris is produced by the strength of salts,
which easily dissolve in rainy weather, but still
more if washed with a wet sponge.
Chap. CCXXIX. — How to increase the Beauty of
If you mix with the Verdegris some Caballine
Aloe, it will add to it a great degree of beauty. It
would acquire still more from Saffron, if it did not
fade. The quality and goodness of this Aloe will
be proved by dissolving it in warm Brandy. Sup-
posing the Verdigris has already been used, and
the part finished, you may then glaze it thinly
with this dissolved Aloe, and it will produce a very
fine colour. This Aloe may be ground also in oil
ty itself, or with the Verdegris, or any other co-
lour, at pleasure.
Chap. CCXXX. — Hov) to paint a Picture that
will last almost for ever.
After you have made a drawing of your in-
tended picture, prepare a good and thick priming
with pitch and brickdust well pounded; after which
give it a second coat of white lead and Naples
yellow; then, having traced your drawing upon it,
and painted your picture, varnish it with clear and
thick old oil, and stick it to a flat glass, or crystal,
with a clear varnish. Another method, which
may be better, is, instead of the primipg of pitch
and brickdust, take a flat tile well vitrified, then
apply the coat of white and Naples yellow, and all
the rest as before. But before the glass is applied
to it, the painting must be perfectly dried in a
stove, and varnished with nut oil and amber, or else
^vith purified nut oil alone, thickened in the sun.*
* The French translation of 17 10' has a note on this chapter,
saying, that the invention of enamel painting found out since the
time of Leonardo da Vinci, would better answer to the title of this
chapter, and also be a better method of painting. I must beg
leave, however, to dissent from this opinion, as the two kiads of
painting are so different that they cannot be compared. Leo-
nardo treats of oil painting, but the other is vitrification. Leo-
nardo is known to have spent a great deal of time in experiments,
of which this is a specimen, and it may appear ridiculous to the
Chap. CCXXXI. — The Mode of painting on
Canvass, or Linen Cloth *.
Stretch your canvass upon a frame, then give
it a coat of weak size, let it dry, and draw your
outlines upon it. Paint the flesh colours first;
and while it is still fresh or moist, paint also the
shadows, well softened and blended together.
The flesh colour may be made with white, lake,
and Naples yellow. The shades with black, um-
ber, and a little lake ; you may, if you please, use
black chalk. After you have softened this first
coat, or dead colour, and let it dry, you may re-
touch over it with lake and other colours, and gum
water that has been a long while made and kept
liquid, because in that state it becomes better,
and does not leave any gloss. Again, to make
the shades darker, take the lake and gum as
above, and ink*; and with this you may shade or
glaze many colours, because it is transparent;
such as azure, lake, and several others. As for
practitioners of more modern date, as he does not enter more
fully into a minute description of the materials, or the mode of
employing them. The principle laid down in the text appears to
me to be simply this : to make the oil entirely evaporate from the
colours by the action of fire, and afterwards to prevent the action
of the air by the means of a glass which in itself is an excellent
principle, but not applicable, any more than enamel painting, to
* It is evident that distemper or size painting is here meant
t Indian ink.
the lights, you may retouch or glaze them shghtly
with gum water and pure lake, particularly vermi
Chap. CCXXXlh— Of lively and beautiful
For those colours which you mean should ap-
pear beautiful, prepare a ground of pure white.
This is meant only for transparent colours : as for
those that have a body, and are opake, it matters
not what ground they have, and a white one is of
no use. This is exemphfied by painted glasses ;
when placed between the eye and clear air, they
exhibit most excellent and beautiful colours, which
is not the case, when they have thick air, or some
opake body behind them.
Chap. CCXXXIII. — Of transparent Colours.
When a transparent colour is laid upon ano-
ther of a different nature, it produces a mixed
colour, different from either of the simple ones
which compose it. This is observed in the smoke
coming out of a chimney, which, when passing
before the black soot, appears blueisli, but as it
ascends against the blue of the sky, it changes its
appearance into a reddish brown. So the colour
lake laid on blue will turn it to a violet colour ;
yellow upon blue turns to green ; saffron upon
white becomes yellow; white scumbled upon a
dark ground appears blue, and is more or less
beautiful, as the white and the ground are more
or less pure.
Chap. CCXXXYV.—In what Part a Colour will
appear in its greatest beauty.
We are to consider here in what part any co-
lour will shew itself in its most perfect purity;
whether in the strongest light or deepest shadow,
in the demi-tint, or in the reflex. It would be
necessary to determine first, of what colour we
mean to treat, because different colours differ
materially in that respect. Black is most beau-
tiful in the shades ; white in the strongest light ;
blue and green in the half-tint; yellow and red
in the principal light ; gold in the reflexes ; and
lake in the half-tint.
Chap. CCXXXV. — How any Colour without a
Gloss, is more beautiful in the Lights than in the
All objects which have no gloss, shew their
colours better in the light than in the shadow,
because the light vivifies and gives a true know-
ledge of the nature of the colour, while the sha-
dows lower, and destroy its beauty, preventing
the discovery of its nature. If, on the contrary,
black be more beautiful in the shadows, it is be-
cause black is not a colour.
Chap. CCXXXVI.— 0/ the Appearance of
The lighter a colour is in its nature, the more
so it will appear when removed to some distance;
but with dark colours it is quite the reverse.
Chap. CCXXXMll.—What Part of a Colour is
to be the most beautiful.
If A be the light, and B the object receiving it
in a direct line, E cannot receive that light, but
only the reflexion from B, which we shall suppose
to be red. In that case, the light it produces
being red, it will tinge with red the object E; and
if E happen to ])e also red before, you will see
that colour increase in beauty, and appear redder
than B ; l)ut if E M^ere yellow, you will see a new
colour, participating of the red and the yellow.
Chap. CCXXXVIII.— ^Aa/ the beauty of a Co-
lour is to be found in the Lights.
As the quality of colours is discovered to the
eye by the light, it is natural to conclude, that
where there is most light, there also the true qua-
lity of the colour is to be seen ; and where there
is most shadow the colour will participate of, and
be tinged with the colour of that shadow. Re-
member then to shew the true quality of the
colour in the light parts only*.
Chap. CCXXXIX.— 0/ Colours.
The colour which is between the light and the
shadow will not be so beautiful as that which is
in the full light. Therefore the chief beauty of
colours will be found in the principal lights f-
Chap. CCXL. — No Object appears in its trite
Colour, unless the Light which strikes upon it
be of the same Colour.
This is very observable in draperies, where the
light folds casting a reflexion, and throwing a
light on other folds opposite to them, make them
appear in their natural colour. The same eflfect is
produced by gold leaves casting their light reci-
procally on each other. The eflfect is quite con-
* This rule is not without exception : see chap, ccxxxjt.
t See chap, ccxxxviii.
trary if the light be received from an object of a
Chap. CCXLI. — Of the Colour of Shadows.
The colour of the sliadows of an object can
never be pure if the body which is opposed to
these shadows be not of the same colour as that
on which they are produced. For instance, if in
a room, the walls of which are green, I place a
figure clothed in blue, and receiving the light from
another blue object, the light part of that figure
will be of a beautiful blue, but the shadows of it
will become dingy, and not like a true shade of
that beautiful blue, because it will be corrupted
by the reflexions from the green wall ; and it
would be still worse if the walls were of a darkish
Chap. CCXLIL— 0/ Colours.
Colours placed in shadow will preserve more
or less of their original beauty, as they are more
or less immersed in the shade. But colours si-
tuated in a light space will shew their natural
beauty in proportion to the brightness of tliat
light. Some say, that there is as great variety in
the colours of shadows, as in the colours of ob-
jects shaded by them. It may be answered, that
• Sec chap, ccxxxvii.
colours placed in shadow will shew less variety
amongst themselves as the shadows are darker.
We shall soon convince ourselves of this truth, if,
from a large square, we look through the open
door of a church, where pictures, though enriched
with a variety of colours, appear all clothed in
Chap. CCXLIIL — Whether it be possible for all
Colours to appear alike by means of the same
It is very possible that all the different colours
may be changed into that of a general shadow ; as
is manifest in the darkness of a cloudy night, in
which neither the shape nor colour of bodies is
distinguished. Total darkness being nothing but
a privation of the primitive and reflected lights,
by which the form and colour of bodies are seen ;
it is evident, that the cause being removed the
effect ceases, and the objects are entirely lost to
Chap. CCXLIV. — Why White is not reckoned
among the Colours.
White is not a colour, but has the power of
receiving all the other colours. When it is placed
in a high situation in the country, all its shades
are azure ; according to the fourth proposition*,
which says, that the surface of any opake body
participates of the colour of any other body send-
ing the hglit to it. Therefore white being de-
prived of the light of the sun by the interposition
of any other body, \at11 remain white ; if exposed
to the sun on one side, and to the open air on
the other, it -u-ill participate both of the colour of
the sun and of the air. That side which is not
opposed to the sun, will be shaded of the colour
of the air. And if this white were not surrounded
by green fields all the way to the horizon, nor
could receive any light from that horizon, with-
out doubt it would appear of one simple and uni-
form colour, viz, that of the air.
Chap. CCXLV.— 0/ Colours.
The light of the fire tinges every thing of a red-
dish yellow ; but this will hardly appear evident,
if we do not make the comparison with the day-
light. Towards the close of the evening this is
easily done ; but more certainly after the morning
twilight ; and the difference will be clearly distin-
guished in a dark room, when a httle ghmpse of
daylight strikes upon any part of the room, and
• See chapters ccxlvii. ccLxxiv. in the present work. Probably
they were intended to form a part of a distinct treatise, and to
have been ranged as propositions in that, but at present they are
not so placed.
there still remains a candle burning. Without
such a trial the difference is hardly perceivable,
particularly in those colours which have most si-
milarity ; such as white and yellow, light green and
light blue; because the light which strikes the
blue, being yellow, will naturally turn it green ; as
we have said in another place,* that a mixture of
blue and yellow produces green. And if to a
green colour you add some yellow, it will make it
of a more beautiful green.
Chap. CCXLVI. — Of the Colouring of remote
The painter who is to represent objects at some
distance from the eye, ought merely to convey
the idea of general undetermined masses, making
choice, for that purpose, of cloudy weather, or to-
wards the evening, and avoiding, as was said be-
fore, to mark the lights and shadows too strong
on the extremities; because they would in that
case appear like spots of difficult execution, and
without grace. He ought to remember, that the
shadows are never to be of such a quality, as to
obliterate the proper colour, in which they origi-
nated ; if the situation of the coloured body be not
in total darkness. He ought to mark no outline,
not to make the hair stringy, and not to touch
with pure white, any but those things which in
* See chap, ccxlviii.
themselves are white ; in short, the hghtest touch
upon any particular object ought to denote the
beauty of its proper and natural colour.
Chap. CCXhYll.— The Surface of all opake Bo-
dies participates of the Colour of the surrounding
The painter ought to know, that if any white
object is placed between two walls, one of which
is also white, and the other black, there will be
found between the shady side of that object and
the light side, a similar proportion to that of the
two walls; and if that object be blue, the effect
will be the same. Having therefore to paint this
object, take some black, similar to that of the wall
from which the reflexes come ; and to proceed by
a certain and scientific method, do as follows.
When you paint the wall, take a small spoon to
measure exactly the quantity of colour you mean
to employ in mixing your tints ; for instance, if
you have put in the shading of this waU three
spoonfuls of pure black, and one of white, you
have, without any doubt, a mixture of a certain
and precise quality. Now having painted one of
the walls white, and the other dark, if you mean
to place a blue object between them with shades
suitable to that colour, place first on your pallet
the light blue, such as you mean it to be, without
any mixture of shade, and it will do for the lightest
part of your object. After which take three spoon-
fuls of black, and one of this light blue, for your
darkest shades. Then observe whether your object
be round or square : if it be square, these two ex-
treme tints of light and shade will be close to each
other, cutting sharply at the angle ; but if it be
round, draw lines from the extremities of the walls
to the centre of the object, and put the darkest
shade between equal angles, where the lines inter-
sect upon the superficies of it ; then begin to make
them lighter and lighter gradually to the point
N O, lessening the strength of the shadows as
much as that place participates of the light A D,
and mixing that colour with the darkest shade
A B, in the same proportion.
Chap. CCXLVIII. — General Remarks on Colours.
Blue and green are not simple colours in their
nature, for blue is composed of light and dark-
ness ; such is the azure of the sky, \Az. perfect
black and perfect ^A'hite. Green is composed of a
simple and a mixed colour, being produced by blue
Any object seen in a mirror, wiU participate of
the colour of that body which serves as a mirror ;
and the mirror in its turn is tinged in part by the
colour of the object it represents ; they partake
more or less of each other as the colour of the
object seen is more or less strong than the colour
of the mirror. That object vAVi appear of the
strongest and most liA'ely colour in the mirror,
which has the most affinity to the colour of the
Of coloured bodies, the purest white will be seen
at the greatest distance, therefore the darker the
colour, the less it will bear distance.
Of different bodies equal in whiteness, and in
distance from the eye, that which is surrounded
by the greatest darkness wdU appear the whitest ;
and on the contrary, that shadow will appear the
darkest which has the brightest white round it.
Of different colours, equally perfect, that will
appear most excellent, which is seen near its direct
contrary. A pale colour against red, a black upon
white (though neither the one nor the other are
colours) ; blue near a yellow; green near red; be-
cause each colour is more distinctly seen, when
opposed to its contrary, than to any other similar
Any thing white seen in a dense air full of va-
pours, will appear larger than it is in reality.
The air, between the eye and the object seen,
will change the colour of that object into its own;
so will the azure of the air change the distant
mountains into blue masses. Through a red glass
every thing appears red ; the light round the stars
is dimmed by the darkness of the air, which fills
the space between the eye and the planets.
The true colour of any object whatever will be
seen in those parts which are not occupied by any
kind of shade, and have not any gloss (if it be a
I say, that white terminating abruptly upon a
dark ground, will cause that part where it termi-
nates to appear darker, and the white whiter.
COLOURS IN REGARD TO LIGHT AND
Chap. CCXLIX. — Of the Lirjht proper for paint-
ing Flesh Colour from Nature.
Your window must be open to the sky, and the
walls painted of a reddish colour. The summer-
time is the best, when the clouds conceal the sun,
or else your walls on the south side of the room
must be so high, as that the sun-beams cannot
strike on the opposite side, in order that the
reflexion of those beams may not destroy the
Chap. CCL. — Of the Painter's Window,
The window which gives light to a painting-
room, ought to be made of oiled paper, without
any cross bar, or projecting edge at the opening,
or any sharp angle in the inside of the wall, but
should be slanting by degrees the whole thickness
of it; and the sides be painted black.
Chap. — CCLI. — llie Shadows of Colours.
The shadows of any colour w hatever must par-
ticipate of that colour more or less, as it is nearer
144 COLOURS IN REGARD TO
to, or more remote from, the mass of shadows ;
and also in proportion to its distance from, or
proximity to, the mass of hght.
Chap. CCLII.— 0/Me Shadows of White.
To any white body receiving the hght from the
sun, or the air, the shadows should be of a blueish
cast ; because white is no colour, but a receiver of
all colours ; and as by the fourth proposition * we
learn, that the surface of any object participates of
the colours of other objects near it, it is evident
that a white surface will participate of the colour
of the air by which it is surrounded.
Chap. CCLIII. — Which of the Colours will pro-
duce the darkest Shade.
That shade will be the darkest which is pro-
duced by the whitest surface; this also will have
a greater propensity to variety than any other sur-
face ; because white is not properly a colour, but
a receiver of colours, and its surface will partici-
pate strongly of the colour of surrounding objects,
but principally of black or any other dark colour,
which being the most opposite to its nature, pro-
duces the most sensible difference between the
shadows and the Ughts.
* See chap, cclxxiv.
LIGHT AND SHADOW. 145
Chap. CCLIV. — How to manage, ivhen a White
terminates upon another White.
When one white body terminates on another of
the same colour^ the white of these two bodies will
be either alike or not. If they be alike, that object
which of the two is nearest to the eye, should be
made a little darker than the other, upon the round-
ing of the outline; but if the object which serves
as a ground to the other be not quite so white,
the latter mil detach of itself, without the help of
any darker termination.
Chap. CCLV. — On the Back-grounds of Figures.
Of two objects equally light, one will appear less
so if seen upon a whiter ground ; and, on the con-
trar}^, it wiU appear a great deal lighter if upon a
space of a darker shade. So flesh colour will ap-
pear pale upon a red ground, and a pale colour
will appear redder upon a yellow ground. In short,
colours will appear what they are not, according
to the ground which surrounds them.
Chap. CCLVI. — The Mode of composing History.
Amongst the figures which compose an histo-
rical picture, those which are meant to appear the
nearest to the eye, must have the greatest force ;
according to the second proposition* of the third
* Although the author seems to have designed that this, and
many other propositions to which he refers, should have formed
146 COLOURS IN REGARD TO
book, which says, that colour will be seen in the
greatest perfection which has less air interposed
1)etween it and the eye of the beholder ; and for
that reason the shadows (by which we express the
relievo of bodies) apj^ear darker when near than
when at a distance, being then deadened by the
air which interposes. This does not happen to
those shadows which are near the eye, where they
will produce the greatest reUevo when they are
Chap. CCLVII. — Remarks concerning Lights and
Observe, that where the shadows end, there be
always a kind of half-shadow to blend them with
the lights. The shadow derived from any object
will mix more with the light at its termination, in
proportion as it is more distant from that object.
But the colour of the shadow will never be simple;
this is proved by the ninth proposition,* which
a i)art of some regular work, and he has accordingly referred to
them whenever he has mentioned them, by their intended nume-
rical situation in that work, whatever it might be, it does not
appear that he ever carried this design into execution. There
are, however, several chapters in the present work, viz. ccxciii.
cclxxxix. cclxxxv. coxcv. in which the principle in the text is
recognised, and which propably would have been transferred into
the projected treatise, if he had ever drawn it up.
* The note on the preceding chapter is in a great measure appli-
cable to this, and the proposition mentioned in the text is also to
be found in chapter ccxlvii. of the present work.
LIGHT AND SHADOW. 14/
says, that the superficies of any object participates
of the colours of other bodies, by which it is sur-
rounded, although it were transparent, such as
water, air, and the like : because the air receives
its light from the sun, and darkness is produced
by the privation of it. But as the air has no co-
lour in itself any more than water, it receives all
the colours that are between the object and the
eye. The vapours mixing wdth the air in the lower
regions near the earth, render it thick, and apt to
reflect the sun's rays on all sides, while the air
above remains dark ; and because light (that is,
white) and darkness (that is, black), mixed toge-
ther, compose the azure that becomes the colour
of the sky, which is lighter or darker in propor-
tion as the air is more or less mixed with damp
Chap. CCLY1U.—Wh7j the Shadoivs of Bodies
upon a vjhite Wall are blueish towards Evening.
The shadows of bodies produced by the redness
of the setting sun, will always be bluish. This is
accounted for by the eleventh proposition,* which
says, that the superficies of any opake body parti-
cipates of the colour of the object from which it
receives the light j therefore the white wall being
deprived entirely of colour, is tinged by the colour
• See the note on the chapter next but one preceding. The
proposition in the text occurs in chap, ccxlvii. of the present
COLOURS IN REGARD TO
of those bodies from which it receives the Hght,
which in this case are the sun and sky. But be-
cause the sun is red towards the evening, and the-
sky is blue, the shadow on the wall not being en-
lightened by the sun, receives only the reflexion
of the sky, and therefore wiU appear blue ; and
the rest of the wall, receiving light immediately
from the sun, will participate of its red colour.
Chap. CCIAX.—Ofthe Colour of Faces.
Tlie colour of any object will appear more or less
distinct in proportion to the extent of its surface.
This proposition is proved, by observing that a
face appears dark at a small distance, because, be-
ing composed of many small parts, it produces a
great number of shadoAvs; and the lights being
the smallest part of it, are soonest lost to the sight,
leaving only the shadows, which being in a greater
LIGHT AND SHADOW, 149
quantity, the whole of the face appears dark, and
the more so if that face has on the head, or at the
back, something whiter.
Chap. CCLX. — A Precept relating to Painting,
Where the shadows terminate upon the Hghts,
observe well what parts of them are lighter than
the others, and where they are more or less soft-
ened and blended ; but above all remember, that
young people have no sharp shadings : their flesh
is transparent, something like what we obser\'e
when we put our hand between the sun and eyes ;
it appears reddish, and of a transparent bright-
ness. If you wish to know what kind of shadow
will suit the flesh colour you are painting, place
one of your fingers close to your picture, so as to
east a shadow upon it, and according as you wish
it either lighter or darker, put it nearer or farther
from it, and imitate it.
Chap. CCLXI. — Of Colours vn Shadow,
It happens very often that the shadows of an
opake body do not retain the same colour as the
lights. Sometimes they will be greenish, while
the lights are reddish, although this opake body
be all over of one uniform colour. This happens
when the light falls upon the object (we will sup-
pose from the East), and tinges that side with its
own colour. In the West we will suppose another
150 COLOURS IN REGARD TO
opake body of a colour different from the first, but
receiving the same light. This last will reflect its
colour towards the East, and strike the first with
its rays on the opposite side, where they will be
stopped, and remain with their full colour and
brightness. We often see a white object with red
lights, and the shades of a blueish cast ; this we
observe particularly in mountains covered with
snow, at sun-set, when the effulgence of its rays
makes the horizon appear all on fire.
Chap. CCLXIL— 0//^e Choice of Lights.
Whatever object you intend to represent is to
l)e supposed situated in a particular light, and that
entirely of your own choosing. If you imagine
such objects to be in the country, and the sun be
overcast, they will be surrounded by a great quan-
tity of general light. If the sun strikes upon those
objects, then the shadows will be very dark, in
proportion to the lights, and will be determined
and sharp ; the primitive as well as the secondary
ones. These shadows wiU vary from the lights in
colour, because on that side the object receives a
reflected light hue from the azure of the air, which
tinges that part; and this is particularly observ-
able in white objects. That side which receives
the light from the sun, participates also of the
colour of that. This may be particularly observed
in the evening, when the sun is setting between
LIGHT AND SHADOW. -l5l
the clouds, which it reddens ; those clouds being
tinged with the colour of the body illuminating
them, the red colour of the clouds, with that of the
sun, casts a hue on those parts which receive tlie
light from them. On the contrary, those parts
which are not turned towards that side of the sky,
remain of the colour of the air, so that the former
and the latter are of two different colours. This
we must not lose sight of, that, knowing the cause
of those hghts and shades, it be made apparent in
the effect, or else the work will be false and absurd.
But if a figure be situated within a house, and
seen from without, such figure will have its sha-
dows very soft ; and if the beholder stands in the
hne of the hglit, it will acquire grace, and do credit
to the painter, as it will have great relief in the
lights, and soft and well-blended shadows, parti-
cularly in those parts where the inside of the room
appears less obscure, because there the shadows
are almost imperceptible : the cause of which we
shall explain in its proper place.
152 COIiOURS IN REGARD TO
COLOURS IN REGARD TO BACK-
Chap. CCLXIII. — Of avoiding hard Outlines.
Do not make the boundaries of your figures
with any other colour than that of the back-ground
on which they are placed; that is, avoid making
Chap. CCLXIV.— 0/ Outlines.
The extremities of objects which are at some
distance, are not seen so distinctly as if they were
nearer. Therefore the painter ought to regulate
the strength of his outUnes, or extremities, accord-
ing to the distance.
The boundaries which separate one body from
another, are of the nature of mathematical lines,
but not of real lines. Tlie end of any colour is
only the beginning of another, and it ought not to
be called a line, for nothing interposes between
them, except the termination of the one against
the other, which being nothing in itself, cannot be
perceivable; therefore the painter ought not to
pronounce it in distant objects.
Chap. CGLXN. —Of Back- grounds.
One of the principal parts of painting is the
nature and quality of back-grounds, upon which
the extremities of any convex or soHd body will
always detach and be distinguished in nature,
though the colour of such objects, and that of the
ground, be exactly the same. This happens, be-
cause the convex sides of solid bodies do not re-
ceive the light in the same manner with the
ground, for such sides or extremities are often
lighter or darker than the ground. But if such
extremities were to be of the same colour as the
ground, and in the same degree of light, they cer-
tainly could not be distinguished. Therefore.
such a choice in painting ought to be avoided by
all intelligent and judicious painters ; since the
intention is to make the object appear as it were
out of the ground. The above case would pro-
duce the contrary effect, not only in painting, but
also in objects of real relievo.
Chap. CCLXVI. — Hotv to detach Figures from
All solid bodies will appear to have a greater
relief, and to come more out of the canvass, on a
ground of an undetermined colour, with the great-
est variety of lights and shades against the con-
fines of such bodies (as will be demonstrated in
its place), provided a proper diminution of lights
in the white tints, and of darkness in the shades,
be judiciously observed.
Chap. CCLXVII. — Of Uniformity and Variety
of Colours ujjon plain Surfaces.
The back-grounds of any flat surfaces which
are uniform in colour and quantity of light, will
never appear separated from each other; vice
versa, they will appear separated if they are of
different colours or lights.
Chap. CCLXVIII. — Of Back-grounds suitabk
both to Shadows and Lights.
The shadows or lights which surround figures,
or any other objects, will help the more to detach
them the more they differ from the objects ; that
is, if a dark colour does not terminate upon an-
other dark colour, but upon a very different one ;
as white, or partaking of white, but lowered, and
approximated to the dark shade.
Chap. CCLXIX. — The apparent Variation of
Colours, occasioned by the Contraste of the
Ground upon which they are placed.
No colour appears uniform and equal in all its
parts, unless it terminate on a ground of the same
colour. This is very apparent when a black ter-
minates on a white ground, where the contraste
of colour gives more strength and richness to the
extremities than to the middle.
'CONTRASTE, HARMONY^ AND REFLEXES. I').')
CONTRASTS, HARMONY, AND REFLEX-
ES, IN REGARD TO COLOURS.
Chap. CCLXX. — Gradation in Painting.
"What is fine is not always ijeautiful and good:
I address this to such painters as are so attached
to the beauty of colours, that they regret being
obhged to give them almost imperceptible sha-
dows, not considering the beautiful relief which
figures acquire by a proper gradation and strength
of shadows. Such persons may be compared to
those speakers who in conversation make use of
many fine words without meaning, which altoge-
ther scarcely form one good sentence.
Chap. CCLXXL — How to assort Colours in such
a Manner as that they may add Beauty to each
If you mean that the proximity of one colour
shoxdd give beauty to another that terminates
near it, observe tlse rays of the sun in the compo-
sition of the rainbow, the colours of which are
generated by the falling rain, when each drop in
its descent takes every colour of tliat bow, as is
demonstrated in its place*.
* Not in thiff work.
156 CONTRASTE, HARMONY, AND REFLEXES.
If you mean to represent great darkness, it
must be done by contrasting it with great light ;
on the contrary, if you want to produce great
brightness, you must oppose to it a very dark
shade : so a pale yellow will cause red to appear
more beautiful than if opposed to a purple colour.
There is another rule, by observing which,
though you do not increase the natural beauty of
the colours, yet by bringing them together they
may give additional grace to each other, as green
placed near red, while the effect would be quite
the reverse, if placed near blue.
Harmony and grace are also produced by a ju-
dicious arrangement of colours, such as blue with
pale yellow or white, and the like ; as will be no-
ticed in its place.
Chap. CCLXXII. — Of detaching the Figures.
Let the colours of which the draperies of your
figures are composed, be such as to form a pleas-
ing variety, to distinguish one from the other;
and although, for the sake of harmony, they should
be of the same nature*, they must not stick toge-
* I do aot know a better comment on this passage than Feli-
bien's Examination of Le Brim's Picture of the Tent of Darius.
From this (which has been reprinted with an English translation
by Colonel Parsons, in 1700, in folio,) it wiU clearly appear, what
the chain of connexion is between every colour there used, and its
nearest neighbour, and consequently a rule may be formed from it
CONTRASTE, HARMONY, AND REFLEXES. 157
tlier, but vary in point of light, according to the
distance and interposition of the air between
them. By the same rule, the outhnes are to be
more precise, or lost, in proportion to their dis-
tance or proximity.
Chap. CCLXXIII.— 0/ the Colour of Reflexes.
All reflected colours are less brilliant and
strong, than those which receive a direct light, in
the same proportion as there is between the light
of a body and the cause of that light.
Chap. CCL,XX\\ .—What Body will be the most
strongly tinged trith the Colour of any other
An opake surface will partake most of the ge-
nuine colour of the body nearest to it, because a
great quantity of the species of colour will be con-
veyed to it; whereas such colour would be broken
and disturbed if coming from a more distant ob-
Chap. CCLXXV.— 0//?e/e.z'e*.
Reflexes will partake, more or less, both of
the colour of the object which produces them, and
of the colour of that object on Avhich they are
with more certainty and precision than where the student is left
to develope it for himself, from the mere infection of different
examples of colouring.
158 CONTRASTE, HARMONY, AND REFLEXES.
produced, in proportion as this latter body is of a
smoother or more polished surface, than that by
which they are produced.
Chap. CCLXXVL— 0/ the Surface of all sha-
The surface of any opake body placed in sha-
dow, will participate of the colour of any other
object which reflects the light upon it. This is
very evident ; for if such bodies were deprived of
light in the space between them and the other
bodies, they could not shew either shape or co-
lour. We shall conclude then, that if the opake
body be yellow, and that which reflects the light
blue, the part reflected will be green, because
green is composed of blue and yellow.
Chaf. CCLXXVIL— 77m/ no reflected Colour is
simple, but is mixed with the nature of the other
No colour reflected upon the surface of an-
other body, will tinge that surface with its own
colour alone, but will be mixed by the concurrence
of other colours also reflected on the same spot.
Let us suppose A to be of a yellow colour, which
is reflected on the convex C O E, and that the
blue colour B be reflected on the same place. I
say that a mixture of the blue and yellow colours
will tinge the convex surface ; and that, if the
CONTRASTE, HARMONY, AND REFLEXES. 159
ground be white, it will produce a green reflexion,
because it is proved that a mixture of blue and
yellow produces a very fine green.
Chap. CCLXXVIIL— 0/ the Colour of Lights
When two lights strike upon an opake body,
they can vary only in two ways ; either they are
equal in strength, or they are not. If they be
equal, they may still vary in two other ways, that
is, by the equality or inequality of their brightness;
they will be equal, if their distance be the same ;
and unequal, if it be otherwise. The object placed
at an equal distance, between two equal lights, in
point both of colour and brightness, may still be
enlightened by them in two different ways, either
equally on each side, or unequally. It will be
equally enhghtened by them, when the space which
160 CONTRASTE, HARMONY, AND REFLEXES.
remains round the lights shall be equal in colour,
in degree of shade, and in brightness. It will be
unequally enhghtened by them Avhen the spaces
happen to be of different degrees of darkness.
Chap. CCLXXIX. — Why reflected Colours seldom
partake of the Colour of the Body where they
It happens very seldom that the reflexes are of
the same colour with the body from which they
proceed, or with that upon which they meet. To
exemplify this, let the convex body D F G E be
of a yellow colour, and the body B C, which re-
flects its colour on it, blue ; the part of the convex
surface which is struck by that reflected light, will
take a green tinge, being B C, acted on by the
natural light of the air or the sun.
CONTRASTE, HARMONY, AND REFLEXES. 161
Chap. CCLXXX.— 7%e Reflexes of Flesh Colours.
The lights upon the flesh colours, which are re-
flected by the hght strikuig upon another flesh-
coloured body, are redder and more hvely than
any other part of the human figure ; and that hap-
pens according to the third proposition of the
second book,* which says, the surface of any opake
body participates of the colour of the object which
reflects the light in proportion as it is near to or
remote from it, and also in proportion to the size
of it ; because, being large, it prevents the variety
of colours in smaller objects round it, from in-
terfering with, and discomposing the principal
colour, which is nearer. Nevertheless it does not
prevent its participating more of the colour of a
small object near it, than of a large one more re-
mote. See the sixth proposition f of perspective,
which says, that large objects may be situated at
such a distance as to appear less than smaU ones
that are near.
* See chap, ccxxiii. ccxxx\ai. ccbcxiv. cclxxxii. of the present
work. We have before remarked, that the propositions so fre-
quently referred to by the author, were never reduced into form,
though apparently he intended a regular work in which they were
to be included.
t No where in this work.
162 CONTBASTEj HARMONY, AND REFLEXES.
CiiAP. CCLXXXL— 0/ the Nature of Compa-
Black draperies will make the flesh of the human
figure appear whiter than in reality it is ; * and
white draperies, on the contrary, will make it
appear darker. Yellow will render it higher co-
loured, while red will make it pale.
Chap. CCLXXXII. — TVhere theReflexes are seen.
Of all reflexions of the same shape, size, and
strength, that will be more or less strong, w^hich
terminates on a ground more or less dark.
The surface of those bodies will partake most of
the colour of the object that reflects it, which re-
ceive that reflexion by the most nearly equal
Of the colours of objects reflected upon any
opposite surface by equal angles, that will be
the most distinct which has its reflecting ray the
Of all colours, reflected under equal angles, and
at equal distance upon the opposite body, those
will be the strongest, which come reflected by the
lightest coloured body.
That object will reflect its owm colour most pre-
cisely on the opposite object, which has not round
* This is evident in many of Vandyke's portraits, particularly
of ladies, many of wliom are dressed in black velvet ; and this re-
mark will in some measure account for the delicate fairness which
he frequently gives to the female complexion.
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS. 163
it any colour that clashes with its own ; and con-
sequently that reflected colour will be most con-
fused which takes its origin from a variety of bo-
dies of different colours.
That colour which is nearest the opposed object,
will tinge it the most strongly ; and vice versd :
let the painter, therefore, in his reflexes on the
human body, particularly on the flesh colour, mix
some of the colour of the drapery which comes
nearest to it ; but not pronounce it too distinctly,
if there be not good reason for it.
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
Chap. CCLXXXIIL— ^ Precept of Perspective
in regard to Pumting.
When, on account of some particular quality of
the air, you can no longer distinguish the diflfe-
rence between the lights and shadows of objects,
you may reject the perspective of shadows, and
make use only of the linear perspective, and the
diminution of colours, to lessen the knowledge of
the objects opposed to the eye ; and this, that is
to say, the loss of the knowledge of the figure of
each object, will make the same object appear
164 PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
The eye can never arrive at a perfect knowledge
of the interval between two objects variously dis-
tant, by means of the linear perspective alone, if
not assisted by the perspective of colours.
Chap. CCLXXXIV.— 0/ the Perspective of
The air will participate less of the azure of the
sky, in proportion as it comes nearer to the hori-
zon, as it is proved by the third and ninth propo-
sition,* that pure and subtile bodies (such as com-
pose the air) will be less illuminated by the sun
than those of thicker and grosser substance : and
as it is certain that the air which is remote from
the earth, is thinner than that which is near it, it
will foUow, that the latter will be more impreg-
nated with the rays of the sun, which giving light
at the same time to an infinity of atoms floating
in this air, renders it more sensible to the eye.
So that the air will appear lighter towards the
horizon^ and darker as weU as bluer in looking up
to the sky ; because there is more of the thick air
between our eyes and the horizon, than between
our eyes and that part of the sky above our heads.
• These propositions, any more than the others mentioned in
different parts of this work, were never digested into a regular
treatise, as was evidently intended by the author, and consequently
are not to be found, except perhaps in some of the volumes of the
author's manuscript collections.
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS. 165
For instance : if the eye placed in P, looks
through the air along the line P R, and then lowers
itself a little along P S, the air will begin to ap-
pear a little whiter, because there is more of the
thick air in this space than in the first. And if it
be still removed lower, so as to look straight at
the horizon, no more of that blue sky will be per-
ceived which was observable along the first line
P R, because there is a much greater quantity of
thick air along the horizontal line P D, than along
the obhque P S, or the perpendicular P R.
Chap. CCLXXXV. — The Cause of the Diminu-
tion of Colours.
The natural colour of any visible object will be
diminished in proportion to the density of any
166 PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
other substance which interposes between that
object and the eye.
Chap. CCLXXXVI.— 0/ the Diminution of Co-
lours and Objects.
Let the colours vanish in proportion as the
objects diminish in size, according to the distance.
Chap. CCLXXXVIL— 0/Me Variety observable
in Colours, according to their distance or proxi-
The local colour of such objects as are darker
than the air, will appear less dark as they are more
remote; and, on the contrary, objects lighter than
the air will lose their brightness in proportion to
their distance from the eye. In general, all ob-
jects that are darker or lighter than the air, are
discoloured by distance, which changes their qua-
lity, so that the lighter appears darker, and the
Chap. CCLXXXVIII. — J/ what Distance Co-
lours are entirely lost.
Local colours are entirely lost at a greater or
less distance, according as the ej-e and the object
are more or less elevated from the earth. This is
proved by the seventh proposition*, which says
* See chap, ccxciii. cccvii. cccviii.
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS. 167
the air is more or less pure, as it is near to, or
remote from the earth. If the eye, then, and the
object are near the earth, the thickness of the air
which interposes, will in a great measure confuse
the colour of that object to the eye. But if the
eye and the object are placed high above the
earth, the air will disturb the natural colour of
that object very little. In short, the various gra-
dations of colour depend not only on the various
distances, in which they may be lost ; but also on
the variety of lights, which change according to
the different hours of the day, and the thickness
or purity of the air, through which the colour of
the object is conveyed to the eye.
Chap. CCLXXXIX.— 0/Me Change observable
in the same Colour, according to its Distance
from the Eye.
Among several colours of the same nature,
that which is the nearest to the eye wall alter the
least ; because the air which interposes between
the eye and the object seen, envelopes, in some
measure, that object. If the air, which interposes,
be in great quantity, the object seen will be
strongly tinged with the colour of that air ; but if
the air be thin, then the ^dew of that ol:)ject, and
its colour, mil be very little obstructed.
168 PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
Chap. CCXC. — Of the blueish Appearance of re-
mote Objects in a Landscape.
Whatever be the colour of distant objects,
the darkest, whether natural or accidental, will
appear the most tinged with azure. By the na-
tural darkness is meant the proper colour of the
object; the accidental one is produced by the
shadow of some other body.
Chap. CCXCI. — Of the Qualities in the Surface
which first lose themselves by Distance.
The first part of any colour which is lost by
the distance, is the gloss, being the smallest part
of it, as a light within a light. The second that
diminishes by being farther removed, is the light,
because it is less in quantity than the shadow.
The third is the principal shadows, nothing re-
maining at last but a kind of middling obscurity.
Chap. CCXCII. — From what cause the azure of
the Air proceeds.
The azure of the sky is produced by the trans-
parent body of the air, illumined by the sun, and
interposed between the darkness of the expanse
above, and the earth below. The air in itself has
no quahty of smell, taste, or colour, but is easily
impregnated with the quality of other matter sur-
rounding it ; and will appear bluer in proportion
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS. 169
to the darkness of the space behind it, as may be
obsen-ed against the shady sides of mountains,
which are darker than any other object. In this
instance the air appears of the most beautiful
azure, while on the other side that receives the
light, it shews through that more of the natural
colour of the mountain.
Chap. CCXCIIL— 0/ the Perspective of Colours.
The same colour being placed at various dis-
tances and equal elevation, the force and effect of
its colouring will be according to the proportion
of the distance which there is from each of these
colours to the eye. It is proved thus : let A B
E D be one and the same colour. The first, E,
is placed at two degrees of distance from the eye
A; the second, B, shall be four degrees; the
third, C, six degrees ; and the fourth, D, eight de-
grees ; as appears by the circles which terminate
upon and intersect the line A R. Let us suppose
that the space A R, S P, is one degree of thin air,
and S P E T another degree of thicker air. It
will follow, that the first colour, E, will pass to
the eye through one degree of thick air, E S, and
through another degree, S A, of thinner air. And
B will send its colour to the eye in A, through
two degrees of thick air, and through two others
of the thinner sort. C wiU send it through three
degrees of the thin, and three of the thick sort,
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
while D goes through four degrees of the one, and
four of the other. This demonstrates, that the
gradation of colours is in proportion to their dis-
tance from the eye*. But this happens only to
those colours which are on a level with the eye ;
as for those which happen to be at unequal eleva-
tions, we cannot obserA^e the same rule, because
they are in that case situated in different quaUties
of air, which alter and diminish these colours in
2 3 4-56 7 8
Chap. CCXCIV.— 0/ the Perspective of Colours
in dark Places.
In any place where the light diminishes in a
gradual proportion, till it terminates in total dark-
ness, the colours also will lose themselves and be
dissolved in proportion as thej recede from the eye.
* See chap, cclzxxvii.
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS. 171
Chap. CCXCY.— Of the Perspective of Colours.
The princii^al colours, or those nearest to the
eye, should be pure and simple; and the degree of
their diminution should be in proportion to their
distance, viz. the nearer they are to the principal
point, the more they will possess of the purity of
those colours, and they will partake of the colour
of the horizon in proportion as they approach to it.
Chap. CCXCVL— 0/ Colours.
Of all the colours which are not blue, those that
are nearest to black will, when distant, partake
most of the azure; and, on the contrary, those will
preserve their proper colour at the greatest dis-
tance, that are most dissimilar to black.
The green therefore of the fields will change
sooner into blue than yellow, or white, which will
preserve their natural colour at a greater distance
than that, or even red.
Chap. CCXCVII. — IIoiv it happens that Colours
do not change, though placed in different Quali-
ties of Air.
The colour will not be subject to any alteration
when the distance and the quality of air have a re-
ciprocal proportion. ,AVhat it loses by the distance
it regains by the purity of the air, viz. if we sup-
pose the first or lowest air to have four degrees of
172 PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
thickness, and the colour to be at one degree from
the eye, and the second air above to have three
degrees. The air having lost one degree of thick-
ness, the colour will acquire one degree upon the
distance. And when the air still higher shall have
lost two degrees of thickness, the colour will ac-
quire as many upon the distance ; and in that case
the colour m^U be the same at three degrees as at
one. But to be brief, if the colour be raised so
high as to enter that quahty of air which has lost
three degrees of thickness, and acquired three de-
grees of distance, then you may be certain that
that colour which is high and remote, has lost no
more than the colour which is below and nearer ;
because in rising it has acquired those three de-
grees which it was losing by the same distance
from the eye ; and this is what was meant to be
Chap. CXCVIII. — Why Colours experience no
apparent Change, though placed in different
Qualities of Air.
It may happen that a colour does not alter,
though placed at different distances, when the
thickness of the air and the distance are in the
same inverse proportion. It is proved thus : — let
A be the eye, and H any colour whatever, placed
at one degree of distance from the eye, in a qua-
lity of air of four degrees of thickness ; but be-
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
Air of one degree of
-£^ s density.
Two degrees of ditto.
Three degrees of ditto.
3 degrees of distance.
cause the second degree above, A M N L, con-
tains a thinner air by one-half, which air conveys
this colour, it foUows that this colour will appear
as if removed double the distance it was at before,
viz. at two degrees of distance, A F and F G, from
the eye ; and it wiU be placed in G. If that is
raised to the second degree of air A M N L, and
to the degree O M, P N, it will necessarily be
placed at E, and will be removed from the eye
the whole length of the line A E, w^hich will be
proved in this manner to be equal in thickness to
the distance A G. If in the same quality of air
the distance A G interposed between the eye and
the colour occupies two degrees, and A E occu-
pies two degrees and a half, it is sufficient to pre-
serve the colour G, when raised to E, from any
change, because the degree A C and the degree
A F being the same in thickness, are equal and
alike, and the degree C D, though equal in length
174 PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
to the degree F G, is not alike in point of thick-
ness of air ; because half of it is situated in a de-
gree of air of double the thickness of the air
above : this half degree of distance occupies as
much of the colour as one whole degree of the air
above would, which air above is twice as thin as
the air below, with which it terminates ; so that
by calculating the thickness of the air, and the
distances, you vnll find that the colours have
changed places without undergoing any alteration
in their beauty. And we shall prove it thus :
reckoning first the thickness of the air, the colour
H is placed in four degrees of thickness, the co-
lour G in two degrees, and E at one degree. Now
let us see whether the distances are in an equal
inverse proportion ; the colour E is at two degrees
and a half of distance, G at two degrees, and H at
one degree. But as this distance has not an exact
proportion with the thickness of the air, it is ne-
cessary to make a third calculation in this man-
ner : A C is perfectly like and equal to A F ; the
half degree, C B, is like but not equal to A F, be-
cause it is only half a degree in length, which is
equal to a whole degree of the quahty of the air
above ; so that by this calculation we shall solve
the question. For A C is equal to two degrees
of thickness of the air above, and the half degree
C B is equal to a whole degree of the same air
above; and one degree more is to be taken in,
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS. 175
viz. B E, which makes the fourth. A H has four
degrees of thickness of air, A G also four, viz.
A F two in value, and F G also two, which taken
together make four. A E has also four, because
A C contains two, and C D one, which is the half
of A C, and in the same quality of air ; and there
is a whole degree above in the thin air, which alto-
gether make four. So that if A E is not double
the distance A G, nor four times the distance A H,
it is made equivalent by the half degree C E of
thick air, which is equal to a whole degree of thin
air above. This proves the truth of the proposi-
tion, that the colour H G E does not undergo any
alteration by these different distances.
Chap. CCXCIX. — Contrary Opinions in regard
to Objects seen afar off.
Many painters will represent the objects darker,
in proportion as they are removed from the eye ;
but this cannot be true, unless the objects seen
be white; as shall be examined in the next
Chap. CCC. — Of the Colour of Objects remote
from the Eye.
The air tinges objects with its otvti colour more
or less in proportion to the quantity of interven-
ing air between it and the eye, so that a dark
object at the distance of two miles (or a density of
176 PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
air equal to such distance), will be more tinged
with its colour than if only one mile distant.
It is said, that, in a landscape, trees of the same
species appear darker in the distance than near;
this cannot be true, if they be of equal size, and
divided by equal spaces. But it wiU be so if the
first trees are scattered, and the light of the fields
is seen through and between them, while the others
which are farther off, are thick together, as is often
the case near some river or other jaiece of water :
in this case no space of light fields can be per-
ceived, but the trees appear thick together, accu-
mulating the shadow on each other. It also hap-
pens, that as the shady parts of plants are much
broader than the light ones, the colour of the plants
becoming darker by the multiplied shadows, is
preserved, and conveyed to the eye more strongly
than that of the other parts ; these masses, there-
fore, will carry the strongest parts of their colour
to a greater distance.
Chap. CCCI. — Of the Colour of Mountains.
The darker the mountain is in itself, the bluer
it will appear at a great distance. The highest
part will be the darkest, as being more woody ;
because woods cover a great many shrubs, and
other plants, which never receive any light. The
wild plants of those woods are also naturally of a
darker hue than cultivated plants ; for oak, beech.
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS. 177
fir, cypress, and pine trees are much darker than
olive and other domestic plants. Near the top of
these mountains, where the air is thinner and
purer, the darkness of the woods will make it
appear of a deeper azure, than at the bottom,
where the air is thicker. A plant will detach very
little from the ground it stands upon, if that
ground be of a colour something similar to its
own ; and, vice versa, that part of any white object
which is nearest to a dark one, will appear the
whitest, and the less so as it is removed from it j
and any dark object wiU appear darker, the nearer
it is to a white one; and less so, if removed
Chap. CCCII. — W7iy the Colour and Shape of
Objects are lost in some Situations apparently
dark, though not so in Reality.
There are some situations which, though light,
appear dark, and in which objects are deprived
both of form and colour. This is caused by the
great light which pervades the intervening air ; as
is observable by looking in through a window at
some distance from the eye, when nothing is seen
but an uniform darkish shade ; but if we enter the
house, we shall find that room to be fuU of light,
and soon distinguish every small object contained
within that window. This difference of effect is
produced by the great brightness of the air, which
178 PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
contracts considerably the pupil of the eye, and
by so doing diminishes its power. But in dark
places the pupil is enlarged, and acquires as much
in strength, as it increases in size. This is proved
in my second proposition of perspective.*
Chap. CCCIII. — Various Precepts in Painting,
The termination and shape of the parts in gene-
ral are very little seen, either in great masses of
light, or of shadows ; but those which are situated
between the extremes of light and shade are the
Perspective, as far as it extends in regard to
painting, is divided into three principal parts ; the
first consists in the diminution of size according
to distance; the second concerns the diminution
of colours in such objects ; and the third treats of
the diminution of the perception altogether of
those objects, and of the degree of precision they
ought to exhibit at various distances.
The azure of the sky is produced by a mixture
composed of light and darknessjf I say of hght,
because of the moist particles floating in the air,
which reflect the light. By darkness, I mean the
pure air, which has none of these extraneous par-
ticles to stop and reflect the rays. Of this we see
an example in the air interposed between the eye
* This book on perspective was never drawn up.
•f See chap, ccxcii.
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS. 179
and some dark mountains, rendered so by the
shadows of an innumerable quantity of trees ; or
else shaded on one side by the natural privation
of the rays of the sun; this air becomes azure,
but not so on the side of the mountain which is
light, particularly when it is covered \\'ith snow.
Among objects of equal darkness and equal
distance, those will appear darker that terminate
upon a lighter ground, and vice versd*
That object which is painted with the most
white and the most black, will shew greater rehef
than any other ; for that reason I would recom-
mend to painters to colour and dress their figures
with the brightest and most lively colours ; for if
they are painted of a dull or obscure colour, they
will detach but Httle, and not be much seen, when
the picture is placed at some distance ; because
the colour of every object is obscured in the
shades ; and if it be represented as originally so
all over, there will be but little difference between
the lights and the shades, M-hile lively colours will
shew a striking difference.
* See chap, ccxii. ccxlviii. cclv.
80 AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.
Chap. CCCIV. — Aerial Perspective.
There is another kind of perspective called
aerial, because by the difference of the air it is
easy to determine the distance of different objects,
though seen on the same line ; such, for instance,
as buildings behind a wall, and appearing all of
the same height above it. If in your picture you
want to have one appear more distant than another,
you must first suppose the air somewhat thick,
because, as we have said before, in such a kind of
air the objects seen at a great distance, as moun-
tains are, appear blueish hke the air, by means of
the great quantity of air that interposes between
the eye and such mountains. You will then paint
the first building behind that wall of its proper
colour ; the next in point of distance, less distinct
in the outline, and participating, in a greater
degree, of the blueish colour of the air ; another,
which you wish to send off as much farther, should
be painted as much bluer ; and if you wish one of
them to appear five times farther removed beyond
the wall, it must have five times more of the azure.
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE. 181
By this rule these buildings which appeared all of
the same size, and upon the same line, will be
distinctly perceived to be of different dimensions,
and at different distances.
Chap. CCCV. — The Parts of the smallest Objects
will first disappear in Painting.
Of objects receding from the eye the smallest
will be first lost to the sight; from which it fol-
lows, that the largest will be the last to disappear.
The painter, therefore, ought not to finish the parts
of those objects which are very far oif, but follow
the rule given in the sixth book.*
How many, in the representation of towns, and
other objects remote from the eye, express every
part of the buildings in the same manner as if they
were very near. It is not so in nature, because
there is no sight so powerful as to perceive dis-
tinctly at any great distance the precise form of
parts or extremities of objects. The painter there-
fore who pronounces the outlines, and the minute
distinction of parts, as several have done, will not
give the representation of distant objects, but by
this error will make them appear exceedingly near.
Again, the angles of buildings in distant towns
are not to be expressed (for they cannot be seen),
* There is no work of tliis author to which this can at prescut
refer, but the principle is laid clown in chapters cclxxiv. cccvi. of
the present treatise.
182 AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.
considering that angles are formed by the concur-
rence of two lines into one point, and that a point '
has no parts; it is therefore invisible.
Chap. CCCVI. — Small Figures ought not to be
too much finished.
Objects appear smaller than they really are when
they are distant from the eye, and because there
is a great deal of air interposed, which weakens
the appearance of forms, and, by a natural conse-
quence, prevents our seeing distinctly the minute
parts of such objects. It behoves the painter
therefore to touch those parts slightly, in an unfi-
nished manner ; otherwise it would be against the
effect of Nature, whom he has chosen for his guide.
For, as we said before, objects appear small on
account of their great distance from the eye ; that
distance includes a great quantity of air, which,
forming a dense body, obstructs the light, and
prevents our seeing the minute parts of the
Chap. CCCVII. — Why the Air is to appear whiter
as it approaches nearer to the Karth.
As the air is thicker nearer the earth, and be-
comes thinner as it rises, look, when the sun is in
the east, towards the west, betw^een the north and
south, and you will perceive that the thickest and
lowest air will receive more light from the sun
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE. 183
than the thinner air, because its beams meet with
If the sky terminate low, at the end of a plain,
that part of it nearest to the horizon, being seen
only through the thick air, will alter and break its
natural colour, and will appear whiter than over
your head, where the Ansual ray does not pass
through so much of that gross air, corrupted by
earthy A^apours. But if you turn towards the east,
the air will be darker the nearer it approaches the
earth ; for the air being thicker, does not admit
the light of the sun to pass so freely.
Chap. CCCVIII. — How to paint the distant Part
of a Landscape.
It is evident that the air is in some parts thicker
and grosser than in others, particularly that nearest
to the earth; and as it rises higher, it becomes
thinner and more transparent. The objects which
are high and large, from which you are at some
distance, will be less apparent in the lower parts ;
because the visual ray which perceives them, passes
through a long space of dense air; and it is easy
to prove that the upper parts are seen by a line,
which, though on the side of the eye it originates
in a thick air, nevertheless, as it ascends to the
highest summit of its object, terminates in an air
much thinner than that of the lower parts ; and
for that reason the more that line or visual ray
184 AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.
advances from the eye, it becomes, in its progress
from one point to another, thinner and thinner,
passing from a pure air into another which is
purer ; so that a painter who has mountains to re-
present in a landscape, ought to observe, that from
one hill to another, the tops will appear always
clearer than the bases. In proportion as the dis-
stance from one to another is greater, the top will
be clearer ; and the higher they are, the more they
will show their variety of form and colour.
Chap. CCCIX. — Of precise and confused Objects.
The parts that are near in the fore-ground
should be finished in a bold determined manner ;
but those in the distance must be unfinished, and
confused in their outlines.
Chap. CCCX.— Of distant Objects.
That part of any object which is nearest to the
luminary from which it receives the light, Mali be
The representation of an object in every degree
of distance, loses degrees of its strength ; that is,
in proportion as the object is more remote from
the eye it will be less perceivable through the air
in its representation.
Chai\ CCCXI: — Of Buildings seen in a thick Air.
That part of a building seen through a thick air.
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE. 185
will appear less distinct than another part seen
through a thinner air. Therefore the eye, N,
looking at the tower A D, will see it more con-
fusedly in the lower degrees, but at the same
time lighter; and as it ascends to the other de-
grees it AviU appear more distinct, but somewhat
Chap. CCCXIL— 0/* Toums and other Objects
seen through a thick Air.
Buildings or towns seen through a fog, or the
air made thick by smoke or other vapours, will
appear less distinct the lower they are ; and, vice
versa, they wdU be sharper and more visible in
proportion as they are higher. We have said in
chapter cccxxi. that the air is thicker the lower
it is, and thinner as it is higher. It is demon-
strated also by the cut, where the tower, A F, is
186 AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.
seen by the eye N, in a thick air, from B to F,
which is divided into four degrees, growing thicker
as they are nearer the bottom. The less the quan-
tity of air interposed between the eye and its object
is, the less also will the colour of the object parti-
cipate of the colour of that air. It follows, that
the greater the quantity of air interposed between
the eye and the object seen, is, the more this ob-
ject will ^participate of the colour of the air. It is
demonstrated thus : N being the eye looking at
the five parts of the tower A F, viz. A B C D E,
I say, that if the air were of the same thickness,
there would be the same proportion between the
colour of the air at the bottom of the tower and
the colour of the air that the same tower has at
the place B, as there is in length between the line
M and F. As, however, we have supposed that
the air is not of equal thickness, but, on the con-
trary, thicker as it is lower, it follows, that the
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE. 187
proportion by which the air tinges the different
elevations of the tower B C F, exceeds the propor-
tion of the hnes ; because the Une M F, besides
its being longer than the Hne S B, passes by un-
equal degrees through a quality of air which is
unequal in thickness.
Chap. CCCXIII. — Of the inferior Extremities of
Tlie inferior or lower extremities of distant ob-
jects are not so apparent as the upper extremities.
This is observable in mountains and hills, the tops
of which detach from the sides of other mountains
behind. We see the tops of these more deter-
mined and distinctly than their bases ; because the
upper extremities are darker, being less encom-
passed by thick air, which always remains in the
lower regions, and makes them appear dim and
confused. It is the same with trees, buildings,
and other objects high up. From this effect it
often happens that a high tower, seen at a great
distance, will appear broad at top, and narrow at
bottom ; because the thin air towards the top does
not prevent the angles on the sides and other dif-
ferent parts of the tower from being seen, as the
thick air docs at bottom. This is demonstrated
by the seventh proposition,* which says, that the
thick air interposed between the eye and the sun,
• See chapters cccvii. cccxxii.
188 AERIAL. PERSPECTIVE.
is lighter below than above, and where the air is
whiteish, it confuses the dark objects more than
if such air were blueish or thinner, as it is higher
up. The battlements of a fortress have the spaces
between equal to the breadth of the battlement,
and yet the space will appear wider ; at a great
distance the battlements will appear very much
diminished, and being removed still farther, will
disappear entirely, and the fort show only the
straight wall, as if there were no battlements.
Chap. CCCXIY .—Which Parts of Objects disap-
pear first by being removed farther from the Eye,
and which preserve their Appearance.
The smallest parts are those which, by being
removed, lose their appearance first ; this may be
observed in the gloss upon spherical bodies, or
columns, and the slender parts of animals ; as in
a stag, the first sight of which does not discover
its legs and horns so soon as its body, which, be-
ing broader, will be perceived from a greater dis-
tance. But the parts which disappear the very
first, are the Unes which describe the members,
and terminate the surface and shape of bodies.
CiiAP. CCCXV. — Why Objects are less distin-
guished in proportion as they are fart her removed
from the Eye.
This happens because the smallest parts are lost
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE. 189
first ; the second, in point of size, are also lost at
a somewhat greater distance, and so on succes-
sively; the parts by degrees melting away, the
perception of the object is diminished ; and at last
all the parts, and the whole, are entirely lost to
the sight.* Colours also disappear on account of
the density of the air interposed between the eye
and the object.
Chap. CCCXVI. — IVhy Faces appear dark at a
It is evident that the similitude of all objects
placed before us, large as well as small, is percepti-
ble to our senses through the iris of the eye. If
through so small an entrance the immensity of the
sky and of the earth is admitted, the faces of men
(which are scarcely any thing in comparison of such
large objects), being still diminished by the dis-
tance, will occupy so little of the eye, that they
become almost imperceptible. Besides, having to
pass through a dark medium from the surface to
the Retina in the inside, where the impression is
made, the colour of faces, (not being very strong,
and rendered still more obscure by the darkness
of the tube) when arrived at the focus appears
dark. No other reason can be given on that point,
except that the speck in the middle of the apple
i»f the eye is black, and, being full of a transpa-
• See chap. civi. cxxi. cccv.
190 AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.
rent fluid like air, performs the same office as a
hole in a board, which on looking into it appears
black; and that those things which are seen
through both a light and dark air, become con-
fused and obscure.
Chap. CCCXVIL— 0/ Towns and other Buildings
seen through a Fog in the Morning or Evening.
Buildings seen afar off in the morning or in the
evening, when there is a fog, or thick air, show
only those parts distinctly which are enlightened
by the sun towards the horizon ; and the parts of
those buildings which are not turned towards the
sun remain confused and almost of the colour of
Chap. CCCXVIII.— 0/ the Height of Buildings
seen in a Fog.
Of a building near the eye the top parts will
appear more confused than the bottom ; because
there is more fog between the eye and the top
than at the base. And a square tower, seen at a
great distance through a fog, will appear narrower
at the base than at the summit. This is accounted
for in chapter cccxiii. which says, that the fog
will appear whiter and thicker as it approaches the
ground; and, as it is said before,* that a dark
object will appear smaller in proportion as it is
* See chap, cccxiii. and cccxxiii.
placed on a whiter ground. Therefore the fog
being whiter at bottom than at top, it follows that
the tower (being darkish) will appear narrower at
the base than at the summit.
Chap. CCCXIX. — Jlliy Objects which are high,
appear darker at a Distance than those which
are loiv, though the Fog be uniform, and of equal
Amongst objects situated in a fog, thick air,
vapour, smoke, or at a distance, the highest will
be the most distinctly seen : and amongst objects
equal in height, that placed in the darkest fog, wall
be most confused and dark. As it happens to the
eye H, looking at A B C, three towers of equal
B ■:::-■-■■ c''"" /
height ; it sees the top C as low as R, in two de-
grees of thickness ; and the top B, in one degree
only ; therefore the top C will appear darker than
the top of the tower B.
192 AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.
Chap. CCCXX.— 0/ Objects seen in a Foy.
Objects seen through a fog will appear larger
than they are in reality, because the aerial perspec-
tive does not agree with the linear, viz. the colour
does not agree with the magnitude of the object;*
such a fog being similar to the thickness of air in-
terposed between the eye and the horizon in fine
weather. But in this case the fog is near the eye,
and though the object be also near, it makes it
appear as if it were as far off as the horizon ; where
a great tower would appear no bigger than a man
placed near the eye.
* To our obtaining a correct idea of tbe magnitude and distance
of any object seen from afar, it is necessary that we consider how
much of distinctness an object loses at a distance (from the mere
interposition of the air) , as well as what it loses in size ; and these
two considerations must unite before we can decidedly pronounce
as to its distance or magnitude. This calculation, as to distinct-
ness, must be made upon the idea that the air is clear, as, if by
any accident it is otherwise, we shall (knowing the proportion in
which clear air dims a prospect) be led to conclude this farther off
than it is, and, to justify that conclusion, shall suppose its real
magnitude correspondent with the distance, at which from its de-
gree of distinctness it appears to be. In the circumstance remarked
in the text there is, however, a great deception ; the fact is, that
the colour and the minute parts of the object are lost in the fog,
while the size of it is not diminished in proportion ; and the eye
being accustomed to see objects diminished in size at a great dis-
tance, supposes this to be farther off than it is, and consequently
imagines it larger.
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE. 193
Chap. CCCXXl— Of those Objects ivhich theEijes
perceive through a Mist or thick Air.
The nearer the air is to water, or to the ground,
the thicker it becomes. It is proved by the nine-
teenth proposition of the second book,* that bo-
dies rise in proportion to their weight ; and it fol-
lows, that a light body will rise higher than another
which is heavy.
Chap. CCCXXII. — Miscellaneous Observations.
Of different objects equal in magnitude, form,
shade, and distance from the eye, those will ap-
pear the smaller that are placed on the lighter
ground. This is exempUfied by observing the sun
when seen behind a tree without leaves ; all the
ramifications seen against that great light are so
diminished that they remain almost invisible. The
same may be observed of a pole placed between
the sun and the eye.
Parallel bodies placed upright, and seen through
a fog, will appear larger at top than at bottom.
This is proved by the ninth proposition, f which
says, that a fog, or thick air, penetrated by the
rays of the sun, will appear whiter the lower
* This proposition, though uiuloubtedly intended to form apart
of some future work, which never was ckawn up, makes no part of
t See chap, cccvii.
194 AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.
Things seen afar off will appear out of })ro-
j)ortion, because the parts which are the lightest
will send their image with stronger rays than the
parts which are darkest. I have seen a woman
dressed in black, with a white veil over her head,
wliich appeared twice as large as her shoulders
covered with black.
Chap. CCCXXIIL — Of Objects seen at aDistance.
Any dark object will appear lighter when re-
moved to some distance from the eye. It follows,
by the contrary reason, that a dark object will ap-
pear still darker when brought nearer to the eye.
Therefore the inferior parts of any object what-
ever, placed in thick air, will appear farther from
the eye at the bottom than at the top ; for that
reason the lower parts of a mountain appear far-
ther off than its top, which is in reality the farthest.
Chap. CCCXXIV. — Of a Town seen through a
The eye which, looking downwards, sees a town
immersed in very thick air, will perceive the top
of the buildings darker, but more distinct than the
bottom. The tops detach against a light ground,
because they are seen against the low and thick
air which is beyond them. This is a consequence
of what has been explained in the preceding
Chap. CCCXXV. — How to draw a Landscape.
Contrive that the trees in your landscape be half
in shadow and half in the light. It is better to
represent them as when the sun is veiled with thin
clouds, because in that case the trees receive a
general light from the sky, and are darkest in those
parts which are nearest to the earth.
Chap. CCCXXVL— 0/^Ae Green of the Country.
Of the greens seen in the country, that of trees
and other plants will appear darker than that of
fields and meadows, though they may happen to
be of the same quality.
Chap. CCCXXVIL— ^A«jf Greens will appear
most of a blueish Cast.
Those greens will appear to approach nearest to
blue which are of the darkest shade when remote.
This is proved by the seventh proposition,* which
says, that blue is composed of black and white
seen at a great distance.
Chap. CCCXXVIIL— 7%e Colour of the Sea from
When the sea is a little ruffled it has no same-
ness of colour ; for, whoever looks at it from the
shore, wiU. see it of a dark colour, in a greater de-
* Vide chap, ccxcii. ccciii.
gree as it approaches towards the horizon, and
will perceive also certain lights moving slowly on
the surface hke a flock of sheep. Whoever looks
at the sea from on board a ship, at a distance from
the land, sees it blue. Near the shore it appears
darkish, on account of the colour of the earth re-
flected by the water, as in a looking-glass ; but at
sea the azure of the air is reflected to the eye by
the waves in the same manner.
Chap. CCCXXIX. — Why the same Prospect ap-
pears larger at some Times than at others.
Objects in the country appear sometimes larger
and sometimes smaller than they actually are, from
the circumstance of the air interposed between
the eye and the horizon, happening to be either
thicker or thinner than usual.
Of two horizons equally distant from the eye,
that which is seen through the thicker air will
appear farther removed ; and the other will seem
nearer, being seen through a thinner air.
Objects of unequal size, but equally distant, will
appear equal if the air which is between them and
the eye be of proportionable inequality of thickness,
viz. if the thickest air be interposed between the
eye and the smallest of the objects. This is proved
by the perspective of colours,* which is so deceit-
ful that a mountain which would appear small by
* See chap, ccxcviii.
the compasses, will seem larger than a small hill
near the eye ; as a finger placed near the eye will
cover a large mountain far off.
Chap. CCCXXX.— Of Smoke.
Smoke is more transparent, though darker, to-
wards the extremities of its waves than in the
It moves in a more oblique direction in propor-
tion to the force of the wind which impels it.
Different kinds of smoke vary in colour, as the
causes that produce them are various.
Smoke never produces determined shadows, and
the extremities are lost as they recede from their
primary cause. Objects behind it are less appa-
rent in proportion to the thickness of the smoke.
It is whiter nearer its origin, and bluer towards its
Fire appears darker, the more smoke there is
interposed between it and the eye.
Where smoke is farther distant, the objects are
less confused by it.
It encumbers and dims all the landscape like a
fog. Smoke is seen to issue from different places,
with flames at the origin, and the most dense part
of it. The tops of mountains will be more seen
than the lower parts, as in a fog.
Chap. CCCXXXI. — /w what Part Smoke is-
Smoke which is seen between the sun and tlie
eye will be hghter and more transparent than any
other in the landscape. The same is observed of
dust, and of fog ; while, if you place yourself be-
tween the sun and those objects, they will appear
Chap. CCCXXXII. — Of tlie Sun-beams passing
through the Openings of Clouds.
The sun-beams which penetrate the openings
interposed between clouds of various density and
form, illuminate all the places over which they
pass, and tinge with their own colour all the dark
places that are behind : which dark places are
only seen in the intervals between the rays.
Chap. CCCXXXIIL— O/Me Beginning of Rain.
When the rain begins to fall, it tarnishes and
darkens the air, giving it a dull colour, but receives
still on one side a faint light from the sun, and is
shaded on the other side, as we observe in clouds;
till at last it darkens also the earth, depriving it
entirely of the light of the sun. Objects seen
through the rain appear confused and of undeter-
mined shape, but those which are near will be
more distinct. It is observable, that on the side
where the rain is shaded, objects will be more
clearly distinguished than where it receives the
light ; because on the shady side they lose only
their principal lights, whilst on the other they lose
hoih their lights and shadows, the lights mixing
with the light part of the rain, and the shadows
are also considerably weakened by it.
Chap. CCCXXXIV.— 7%e Seasons are to be
In Autumn you will represent the objects ac-
cording as it is more or less advanced. At the
beginning of it the leaves of the oldest branches
only begin to fade, more or less, however, accord-
ing as the plant is situated in a fertile or barren
country; and do not imitate those who represent
trees of every kind (though at equal distance) with
the same quality of green. Endeavour to vary
the colour of meadows, stones, trunks of trees, and
all other objects, as much as possible, for Nature
abounds in variety ad infinitum.
Chap. CCCXXXV.-T/^e Difference of Climates
to be observed.
Near the sea-shore, and in southern parts, you
will be careful not to represent the Winter season
by the appearance of trees and fields, as you would
do in places more inland, and in northern coun-
tries, except when these are covered with ever-
greens, which shoot afresh all the year round.
Chap. CCCXXXYL— Of Dust.
Dust becomes lighter the higher it rises, and
appears darker the less it is raised, when it is seen
between the eye and the sun.
Chap. CCCXXXYIL—Hoiv to represent the
In representing the effect of the wind, besides
the bending of trees, and leaves twisting the WTong
side upwards, you will also express the small dust
whirling upwards till it mixes in a confused man-
ner with the air.
Chap. CCCXXXVIII.-0/« miderness.
Tliose trees and shrubs which are by their na-
ture more loaded with small branches, ought to be
touched smartly in the shadows, but those which
have larger fohage, will cause broader shadows.
Chap. CCCXXXIX.— 0/ the Horizon seen in the
By the sixth proposition,* the horizon M-ill be
seen in the water as in a looking-glass, on that
side which is opposite the eye. And if the painter
has to represent a spot covered with Water, let
him remember that the colour of it cannot be
* This was probably to have been a part of soire other work,
but it does not occur in this.
either lighter or darker than that of the neigh-
Chap. CCCXL. — Of the Shadow of Bridges on
the Surface of the Water.
The shadows of bridges can never be seen on
the surface of the water, unless it should have lost
its transparent and reflecting quality, and become
troubled and muddy j because clear water being
polished and smooth on its surface, the image of
the bridge is formed in it as in a looking-glass,
and reflected in all the points situated between
the eye and the bridge at equal angles ; and even
the air is seen under the arches. These circum-
stances cannot happen Avhen the water is muddy,
because it does not reflect the objects any longer,
but receives the shadow of the bridge in the same
manner as a dusty road would receive it.
Chap. CCCXIA.—How a Painter ought to put in
Practice the Perspective of Colours.
To put in practice that perspective which teaches
the alteration, the lessening, and even the entire
loss of the very essence of colours, you must take
some points in the country at the distance of about
sixty-five yards* from each other; as trees, men,
or some other remarkable objects. In regard to
* Cento braccia, or cubits. The Florence braccio is one foot
ten inches seven-eighths, English measure.
VARIOUS PRECEPTS IN PAINTING, 203
the first tree, you will take a glass, and having
fixed that well, and also your eye, draw upon it, with
the greatest accuracy, the tree you see through it;
then put it a little on one side, and compare it
closely with the natural one, and colour it, so that
in shape and colour it may resemble the original,
and that by shutting one eye they may both ap-
pear painted, and at the same distance. The same
rule may be apphed to the second and third tree
at the distance you have fixed. These studies
will be very useful if managed with judgment,
where they may be wanted in the ofFscape of a
picture. I have observed that the second tree is
less by four-fifths than the first, at the distance of
Chap. CCCXLII . — Various Precepts in Pain ting.
The superficies of any opake body participates
of the colour of the transparent medium interposed
between the eye and such body, in a greater or less
degree, in proportion to the density of such me-
dium and the space it occupies.
The outlines of opake bodies will be less appa-
rent in proportion as those bodies are farther dis-
tant from the eye.
That part of the opake body will be the most
shaded, or lightest, which is nearest to the body
that shades it, or gives it light.
204 VARIOUS PRECEPTS IN PAINTING.
The surface of any opake body participates more
or less of the colour of that body which gives it
light, in proportion as the latter is more or less
remote, or more or less strong.
Objects seen between lights and shadows will
appear to have greater relievo than those which
are placed wholly in the light, or wholly in shadow.
When you give strength and precision to objects
seen at a great distance, they will appear as if they
were very near. Endeavour that your imitation
be such as to give a just idea of distances. If the
object in nature appear confused in the outlines,
let the same be observed in your picture.
The outlines of distant objects appear undeter-
mined and confused, for two reasons : the first is,
that they come to the eye by so small an angle,
and are therefore so much diminished, that they
strike the sight no more than small objects do,
which though near can hardly be distinguished,
such as the nails of the fingers, insects, and other
similar things : the second is, that between the eye
and the distant objects there is so much air inter-
posed, that it becomes thick; and, like a veil,
tinges the shadoAvs with its own whiteness, and
turns them from a dark colour to another between
black and white, such as azure.
Although, by reason of the great distance, the
appearance of many things is lost, yet those things
which receive the light from the sun will be more
VARIOUS PRECEPTS IX PAINTING. 20i»
discernible, while the rest remain enveloped in
confused shadows. And because the air is thicker
near the groiind, the things which are lower will
appear confused ; and vice versa.
When the sun tinges the clouds on the horizon
with red, those objects which, on account of their
distance, appear blueish, will participate of that
redness, and will produce a mixture between the
azure and red, which renders the prospect lively
and pleasant ; all the opake bodies which receive
that light Mall appear distinct, and of a reddish co-
lour, and the air, being transparent, v/ill be impreg-
nated with it, and appear of the colour of lilies.*
The air which is between the earth and the sun
when it rises or sets, will always dim the ol^jects
it surrounds, more than the air any where else,
because it is whiter.
It is not necessary to mark strongly the outlines
of any object which is placed upon another. It
ought to detach of itself.
If tlie outline or extremity of a white and curved
surface terminate upon another white body, it will
have a shade at that extremity, darker tlian any
part of the light ; but if against a dark object, such
outline, or extremity, will be lighter than any part
of the light.
Tliose objects which are most different in colour,
will appear the most detached from each other.
* Probably the Autliorhere means yellow lilies, or fleurs de lis.
206 VARIOUS PRECEPTS IN PAINTIxVG.
Tliose parts of objects which first disappear in
the distance, are extremities similar in colour, and
ending one upon the other, as the extremities of
an oak tree upon another oak similar to it. The
next to disappear at a greater distance are, objects
of mixed colours, when they terminate one upon
the other, as trees, ploughed fields, walls, heaps of
rubbish, or of stones. The last extremities of bo-
dies that vanish are those which, being light, ter-
minate ujion a dark ground ; or being dark, upon
a light ground.
Of objects situated above the eye, at equal
heights, the farthest removed from the eye will ap-
pear the lowest; and if situated below the eye,
the nearest to it will aj^pear the lowest. The
parallel lines situated sidewise will concur to one
Those objects which are near a river, or a lake,
in the distant part of a landscape, are less appa-
rent and distinct than those that are remote from
Of bodies of equal density, those that are nearest
to the eye will appear thinnest, and the most re-
A large eye-ball will see objects larger than a
small one. The experiment may be made by look-
ing at any of the celestial bodies, through a pin-
* That point is always found in the horizon, and is called the
point of sight, or the vanishing point.
VARIOUS PRECEPTS IN PAINTING. 207
hole, which being capable of admitting but a por-
tion of its light, it seems to diminish and lose of
its size in the same proportion as the pin-hole is
smaller than the usual apparent size of the object.
A thick air interposed between the eye and any
object, will render the outlines of such object un-
determined and confused, and make it appear of
a larger size than it is in reality; because the linear
perspective does not diminish the angle which
conveys the oljject to the eye. The aerial per-
spective carries it farther off, so that the one re-
moves it from the eye, while the other preserves
When the sun is in the West the vapours of the
earth fall down again and thicken the air, so that
objects not enlightened by the sun remain dark
and confused, but those which receive its light
will be tinged yellow and red, according to the
sun's ap2)earance on the horizon. Again, those
that receive its light are very distinct, particularly
public buildings and towns in houses and villages,
because their shadows are dark, and it seems as if
those parts which are plainly seen were coming
out of confused and undetermined foundations,
because at that time every thing is of one and
the same colour, except wliat is eidightened by
Any object receiving the liglit from the sun,
• See chap, cccxx. f See chap, cccxvii.
208 VARIOUS PRECEPTS IN PAINTING.
receives also the general light; so that two kinds
of shadows are produced : the darkest of the two
is that which happens to have its central line di-
rected towards the centre of the sun. The central
lines of the primitive and secondary lights are the
same as the central lines of the primitive and se-
The setting sun is a beautiful and magnificent
object when it tinges with its colour all the great
buildings of towns, villages, and the top of high
trees in the country. All below is confused and
almost lost in a tender and general mass ; for, be-
ing only enhghtened by the air, the difference l^e-
tween the shadoAVs and the lights is small, and for
that reason it is not much detached. But those
that are high are touched by the rays of the sun,
and, as was said before, are tinged with its colour;
the painter therefore ought to take the same co-
lour with which he has painted the sun, and em-
ploy it in all those parts of his work which receive
It also happens very often, that a cloud Avill ajj-
pear dark without receiving any shadow from a
separate cloud, according to the situation of the
eye; because it will see only the shady part of the
one, while it sees both the enlightened and shady
parts of the other.
Of two objects at equal height, that which is the
farthest off will appear the lowest. Observe the
VARIOUS PRECEPTS IN PAINTING.
first cloud in the cut, though it is lower than the
second, it appears as if it were higher. This is
demonstrated by the section of the pyramidical
rays of the low cloud at M A, and the second
(which is higher) at N M, below M A. This hap-
pens also when, on account of the rays of the set-
ting or rising sun, a dark cloud appears higher
than another which is light.
Chap. CCCXLIII.— r/^e Brilliancy of a Land-
The vivacity and brightness of colours in a land-
scape will never bear any comparison with a land-
scape in nature when illumined by the sun, unless
the picture be placed so as to receive the same
light from the sun itself.
Chap. CCCXLIV.— ^F^^y « painted Object does
not appear so far distant as a real one, though
they be conveyed to the Eye by equal Angles.
Ira house be painted on the pannel B C, at the
apparent distance of one mile, and by the side of
it a real one be perceived at the true distance of
one mile also ; which objects are so disposed, that
the pannel, or picture, A C, intersects the p)Ta-
midical rays with the same opening of angles ; yet
these two objects will never appear of the same
size, nor at the same distance, if seen with both
* This position has been already laid Aovra in chapter cxxiv.
(and will also be found in chapter cccxlviii.) ; and the reader is
referred to the note on that passage, which will also explain that in
the text, for further illustration. It may, however, be proper to re-
Chap. CCCXLV. — How to draw a Figure standing
upon its Feet, to appear forty Braccia * high, in
a Space of twenty Braccia, ivith proportionate
In this, as in any other case, the painter is not
to mind what kind of surface he has to work upon j
particularly if his painting is to be seen from a
determined point, such as a window, or any other
opening. Because the eye is not to attend to the
evenness or roughness of the wall, but only to
mark, that though the author has here supposed both objects con-
veyed to the eye by an angle of the same extent, they cannot, in
fact, be so seen, unless one eye be shut; and the reason is this :
if viewed with both eyes, there will be two points of sight, one in
the centre of each eye; and the rays from each of these to the
objects must of course be different, and will consequently form dif-
* The braccio is one foot ten inches and seven-eighths English
212 MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS.
what is to be represented as beyond that wall ; such
as a landscape, or any thing else. Nevertheless a
curved surface, such as F R G, would be the best,
because it has no angles.
Chap. CCCXLVI. — How to draw a Figure twenty-
four Braccia high, upon a Wall twelve Braccia
high. Plate XXII.
Draw upon part of the wall M N, half the
figure you mean to represent -, and the other half
upon the cove above, M R. But before that, it
will be necessary to draw upon a flat board, or a
paper, the profile of the wall and cove, of the same
shape and dimension, as that upon which you are
to paint. Then draw also the profile of your
figure, of whatever size you please, by the side of
it ; draw all the Hnes to the point F, and where
they intersect the profile M R, you will have the
dimensions of your figure as they ought to be
drawn upon the real spot. You will find, that on
the straight part of the wall M N, it will come of
its proper form, because the going off perpendicu-
larly will diminish it naturally ; but that part which
comes upon the curve will be diminished ujDon your
drawing. The whole must be traced afterwards
upon the real spot, which is similar to M N. This
is a good and safe method.
Chap. CCCXLVII. — IJ hy, on measuring a Face,
and then painting it of the same Size, it will
appear larger than the natural one.
A B is the breadth of the space, or of the head,
and it is placed on the paper at the distance C F,
where the cheeks are, and it would have to stand
back all A C, and then the temples would be car-
ried to the distance O R of the lines A F, B F; so
that there is the difference C O and R D, It fol-
lows that the line C F, and the Hne D F, in order
to become shorter,* have to go and find the paper
where the whole height is drawn, that is to say,
the lines F A, and F B, where the true size is ;
and so it makes the difference, as I have said, of
C O, and R D.
i. e. To be abridged according to the niles of perspective.
Chap. CCCXLVIII.— ^«y the most perfect Imi-
tation of Nature will not appear to have the same
Relief as Nature itself.
If nature is seen with two eyes, it will be impos-
sible to imitate it upon a picture so as to appear
with the same relief, though the lines, the Hghts,
shades, and colour, be perfectly imitated.* It is
proved thus : let the eyes A B, look at the object
C, with the concurrence of both the central visual
rays A C and B C. I say, that the sides of the
visual angles (which contain these central rays)
will see the space G D, behind the object C. The
eye A will see all the space F D, and the eye B all
the space G E. Therefore the two eyes will see
behind the object C all the space F E; for which
reason that object C becomes as it were transpa-
rent, according to the definition of transparent
* See chap, cxjcii.
MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS. 215
bodies, behind which nothing is hidden. This
cannot happen if an object were seen with one eye
only, provided it be larger than the eye. From
all that has been said, we may conclude, that a
painted object, occupying all the space it has be-
hind, leaves no possible way to see any part of
the ground, which it covers entirely by its own
Chap. CCCXLIX. — Universality of Painting ; a
A painter cannot be said to aim at universaUty
in the art, unless he love equally every species of
that art. For instance, if he delight only in land-
cape, his can be esteemed only as a simple inves-
tigation; and, as our friend Botticellof remarks,
* The whole of this chapter, like the next but one preceding,
depends on the circumstance of there being in fact two points of
sight, one in the centre of each eye, when an object is viewed with
both eyes. In natural objects the effect which this circumstance
produces is, that the rays from each point of sight, diverging as
they extend towards the object, take in not only that, but some
part also of the distance behind it, till at length, at a certain dis-
tance behind it, they cross each other ; whereas, in a painted re-
presentation, there being no real distance behind the object, but
the whole being a flat surface, it is impossible that the rays from
the points of sight should pass beyond that flat surface ; and as the
object itself is on that flat surface, which is the real extremity of
the view, the eyes cannot acquire a sight of any thing beyond.
•\- A well-known painter at Florence, contemporary with Leo-
nardo da Vinci, who painted several altar-pieces and other public
21G MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS.
is but a vain study ; since, by throwing a sponge
impregnated with various colours against a wall, it
leaves some spots upon it, which may apj^ear like
a landscape. It is true also, that a variety of com-
positions may be seen in such spots, according to
the disposition of mind with which they are con-
sidered; such as heads of men, various animals,
battles, rocky scenes, seas, clouds, woods, and the
like. It may be compared to the sound of bells,
which may seem to say whatever we choose to ima-
gine. In the same manner also, those spots may
furnish hints for compositions, though they do not
teach us how to finish any particular part ; and the
imitators of them are but sorry landscape-painters.
Chap. CCCL. — Imvhat Maimer the Mirror is the
true Master of Painters.
When you wish to know if your picture be like
the object you mean to represent, have a flat look-
ing-glass, and place it so as to reflect the object
you have imitated, and compare carefully the ori-
ginal with the copy. You see upon a flat mirror
the representation of things which appear real;
Painting is the same. They are both an even su-
perficies, and both give the idea of something be-
yond their superficies. Since you are persuaded
that the looking-glass, by means of lines and
shades, gives you the representation of things as
if they were real ; you being in possession of co-
MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS. 217
lours which in their different lights and shades are
stronger than those of the looking-glass^ may cer-
tainly, if "you employ the rules with judgment, give
to your picture the same appearance of Nature as
you admire in the looking-glass. Or rather, your
picture will be like Nature itself seen in a large
This looking-glass (being your master) will show
you the lights and shades of any object whatever.
Amongst your colours there are some Ughter than
the lightest part of your model, and also some
darker than the strongest shades ; from which it
follows, that you ought to represent Nature as
seen in your looking-glass, when you look at it
with one eye only; because both eyes surround
the objects too much, particularly when they are
Chap. CCCLI. — Ifldch Painting is to be esteemed
That painting is the most commendable which
has the greatest conformity to what is meant to be
imitated. This kind of comparison will often put
to shame a certain description of painters, who
pretend they can mend tlie works of Nature ; as
they do, for instance, when they pretend to repre-
sent a child twelve months old, giving him eight
heads in height, Avhen Nature in its best propor-
* See chapters ccxxiv. and cccxlviii.
J18 MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATION'S.
tion admits but five. The breadth of the shoulders
also, which is equal to the head, they make double,
giving to a child a year old, the proportions of a
man of thirty. They have so often practised, and
seen others practise these errors, that they have
converted them into habit, which has taken so
deep root in their corrupted judgment, that they
persuade themselves that Nature and her imitators
are wrong in not following their own practice.*
Chap. CCCLII. — Of the Judgment to he made of
a Painter^s Work.
The first thing to be considered is, whether the
figures have their proper rehef, according to their
respective situations, and the light they are in :
that the shadows be not the same at the extremi-
ties of the groups, as in the middle ; because be-
ing surrounded by shadows, or shaded only on one
side, produce very different effects. The groups
in the middle are surrounded by shadows from the
other figures, which are between them and the
light. Those which are at the extremities have
the shadows only on one side, and receive the light
on the other. The strongest and smartest touches
of shadows are to be in the interstice between the
figures of the principal group where the fight can-
Secondly, that by the order and disposition of
* See chap. x. t See chap. cci.
MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS. 219
the figures they appear to be accommodated to
the subject, and the true representation of the
history in question.
Thirdly, that the figures appear aUve to the occa-
sion which brought them together, with expres-
sions suited to their attitudes.
Chap. CCCLIII. — How to make an imaginary
Animal appear natural.
It is evident that it will be impossible to invent
any animal without giving it members, and these
members must individually resemble those of some
If you wish, therefore, to make a chimera, or
imaginary animal, appear natural (let us suppose
a serpent) ; take the head of a mastiff, the eyes of
a cat, the ears of a porcupine, the mouth of a hare,
the brows of a lion, the temples of an old cock,
and the neck of a sea tortoise.*
Chap. CCCLIV. — Painters are not to imitate
One painter ought never to imitate the manner
of any other ; because in that case he cannot be
called the child of Nature, but the grandchild. It
is always best to have recourse to Nature, which
* Leonardo da Vinci was remarkably fond of this kind of in-
ventions, and is accused of having lost a great deal of time that
220 MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS.
is replete with such abundance of objects, than to
the productions of other masters, who learnt every
thing from her.
Chap. CCCLV. — How to judge of one's own
It is an acknowledged fact, that we perceive
errors in the works of others more readily than in
our own. A painter, therefore, ought to be well
instructed in perspective, and acquire a perfect
knowledge of the dimensions of the human body;
he should also be a good architect, at least as far
as concerns the outward shape of buildings, with
their different parts ; and where he is deficient,
he ought not to neglect taking drawings from
It will be well also to have a looking-glass by
him, when he paints, to look often at his work in
it, which being seen the contrary way, will appear
as the work of another hand, and will better shew
his faults. It will be useful also to quit his work
often, and take some relaxation, that his judgment
may be clearer at his return ; for too great apph-
cation and sitting still is sometimes the cause of
many gross errors.
Chap. CCCLVl. — Of correcting Errors which
Remember, that when, by the exercise of your
kiSCELLANEOtTS OBSERVATIONS. 1?21
own judgment, or the observation of others, you
discover any errors in your work, you immediately
set about correcting them, lest, in exposing your
works to the public, you expose your defects also.
Admit not any self-excuse, by persuading yourself
that you shall retrieve your character, and that by
some succeeding work you shall make amends for
your shameful negligence ; for your work does
not perish as soon as it is out of your hands, like
the sound of music, but remains a standing monu-
ment of your ignorance. If you excuse yourself
by saying that you have not time for the study
necessary to form a great painter, having to strug-
gle against necessity, you yourself are only to
blame ; for the study of what is excellent is food
both for mind and body. How many philoso-
phers, born to great riches, have given them
away, that they might not be retarded in their
Chap. CCCLVIL— T^e best Place for looking
at a Picture.
Let us suppose, that A B is the picture, re-
ceiving the hght from D ; I say, that whoever is
placed between C and E will see the picture very
badly, particularly if it be painted in oil, or var-
nished ; because it will shine, and will appear al-
most of the nature of a looking-glass. For these
reasons, the nearer you go towards C, the less you
222 MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS.
will be able to see, because of the light from the
window upon the picture, sending its reflection to
that point. But if you place yourself between
E D, you may conveniently see the picture, and
the more so as you draw nearer to the point D,
because that place is less Uable to be struck by
the reflected rays.
Chap. CCCLVIIL— 0/ Judgment.
There is nothing more apt to deceive us than
our own judgment, in deciding on our own works;
and we should derive more advantage from having
our faults pointed out by our enemies, than by
hearing the opinions of our friends, because they
are too much like ourselves, and may deceive us
as much as our own judgment.
Chap. CCCLIX. — Of Employment anxiously
wished for by Painters.
And you, painter, who are desirous of great
MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS. 223
practice, understand, that if you do not rest it on
the good foundation of Nature, you will labour
with little honour and less profit ; and if you do it
on a good ground, your works will be many and
good, to your great honour and advantage.
Chap. CCCLX. — Advice to Painters.
A painter ought to study universal Nature, and
reason much within himself on all he sees, making
use of the most excellent parts that compose the
species of every object before him. His mind will
by this method be like a mirror, reflecting truly
every object placed before it, and become, as it
were, a second Nature.
Chap. CCChXl.— Of Statuary.
To execute a figure in marble, you must first
make a model of it in clay, or plaster, and when
it is finished, place it in a square case, equally ca
pable of receiving the block of marble intended tr
be shaped like it. Have some peg-like sticks to
pass through holes made in the sides, and all
round the case ; push them in till every one
touches the model, marking what remains of the
sticks outwards with ink, and making a counter-
mark to every stick and its hole, so that you may
at pleasure replace them again. Then having
taken out the model, and placed the block of mar-
ble in its stead, take so much out of it, till all the
224 MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS.
pegs go in at the same holes to the marks you had
made. To faciUtate the work, contrive your frame
so that every part of it, separately, or all together,
may be lifted up^ except the bottom, which must
remain under the marble. By this method you
may chop it off with great facility*.
Chap. CCCLXII. — On the Measurement and Di-
vision of Statues into Parts.
Divide the head into twelve parts, each part in-
to twelve degrees, each degree into twelve mi-
nutes, and these minutes into seconds f.
Chap. CCCLXIIL— ^ Precept for the Painter.
The painter who entertains no doubt of his own
ability, will attain very little. "VNTien the work
succeeds beyond the judgment, the artist acquires
nothing ; but when the judgment is superior to
the work, he never ceases improving, if the love
of gain do not retard his progress.
* The method here recommended, was the general and com-
mon practice at that time, and continued so with little, if any
variation, tiU lately. But about thirty years ago, the late Mr.
Bacon invented an entirely new method, which, as better answer-
ing the purpose, he constantly used, and from him others have
also adopted it into practice.
t This may be a good method of di%ading the figure for the
purpose of reducing from large to small, or vice versa ,- but it not
being the method generally used by the painters for measuring
their figures, as being too minute, this chapter was not introduced
amongst those of general proportions.
MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS. 225
Chap. CCCLXIV. — On the Judgment of Painters.
When the work is equal to the knowledge and
judgment of the painter, it is a bad sign; and
when it surpasses the judgment, it is still worse,
as is the case with those who wonder at ha^^ng
succeeded so weU. But when the judgment sur-
passes the work, it is a perfectly good sign ; and
the young painter who possesses that rare dispo-
sition, wiU, no doubt, arrive at great perfection.
He will produce few works, but they will be such
as to fix the admiration of every beholder.
Chap. CCCLXV. — That a Man ought not to trust
to himself, but ought to comult Nature.
Whoever flatters himself that he can retain in
his memory all the effects of Nature, is deceived,
for our memory is not so capacious ; therefore
consult Natvire for ever)' thing.
TABLE OF CHAPTERS.
The Number at the End of each Title refers to the corres-
ponding Chapter in the original Edition in Italian.
D R A A^M N G.
1. What the young Student in Painting ought in the
first Place to learn. Chapter 1.
2. Rule for a young Student in Painting. 3.
3. How to discover a young Man's Disposition for
4. Of Painting, and its Divisions. 47.
.5. Division of the Figure. 48.
6. Proportion of Members. 49.
7. Of Dimensions in general. 173.
8. Motion, Changes, and Proportion of Members. 166.
y. The Difference of Proportion between Children and
grown Men. 169
10. The Alterations in the Proportion of the human
Body from Infancy to full Age. 167.
1 1. Of the Proportion of Members. 1 Jo-
12. That every Part be proportioned to its Whole. 250.
13. Of the Proportion of the Members. 185.
228 TABLE OF CHAPTERS.
14. The Danger of forming an erroneous Judgment in
regard to the Proportion and Beauty of the
15. Another Precept. 12.
16. The Manner of drawing from Relievos, and render-
ing Paper fit for it. 127.
17- Of drawing from Casts or Nature. SI.
18. To draw Figures from Nature 38.
19. Of drawing from Nature. 25.
20. Of drawing Academy Figures. 30.
21. Of studying in the Dark, on first waking in the
Morning, and before going to Sleep. 1 7.
22. Observations on drawing Portraits. 188
23. The Method of retaining in the Memory the Like-
ness of a Man, so as to draw his Portrait, after
having seen him only once. 189.
24. How to remember the Form of a Face. 190.
25. That a Painter should take Pleasure in the Opinion
of every Body. 19.
26. What is principally to be observed in Figures. 213.
27. Mode of Studying. 7.
28. Of being universal. 22.
29. A Precept for the Painter. 5.
30. Of the Measures of the human Body, and the bend-
ing of Members. 1 74.
31. Of the small Bones in several Joints of the human
32. Memorandum to be observed by the Painter. 57.
33. The Shoulders. 171.
34. The Difference of Joints between Children and
grown Men. 168.
TABLE OF CHAPTERS. 229
35. Of the Joints of the Fingers. 170.
36. Of the Joint of the Wrist. 176.
37. Of the Joint of the Foot. 177.
38. Of the Knee. 178.
39. Of the Joints. 179.
40. Of the Naked. 220.
41. Of the Thickness of the Muscles. 221.
42. Fat Subjects have small Muscles. 222.
43. Which of the Muscles disappear in the dififerent Mo-
tions of the Body. 223.
44. Of the Muscles. 226.
45. Of the Muscles. 224.
46. The Extension and Contraction of the Muscles. 227.
47- Of the Muscle between the Chest and the lower
48. Of a Man's complex Strength, but first of the
49. In which of the two Actions, Pulling or Pushing, a
Man has the greatest Power, Plate II. 235.
50. Of the bending of Members, and of the Flesh round
the bending Joint. 236.
51. Of the naked Body. 180.
52. Of a Ligament without Muscles. 228.
53. Of Creases. 238.
54. How near behind the Back one Arm can be brought
to the other. Plate III. and IV. 232.
55. Of the Muscles. 225.
56. Of the Muscles. 194.
57. Of the bending of the Body, 204.
58. The same Subject. 205.
59. The Necessity of anatomical Knowledge. 43,
230 TABLE OF CHAPTERS.
MOTION AND EQUIPOISE OF FIGURES.
60. Of the Equipoise of a Figure standing still. 20.3.
61. Motion produced by the Loss of Equilibrium. 208.
62. Of the Equipoise of Bodies, Plate V. 263.
63. Of Positions. 192.
64. Of balancing the Weight round the Centre of Gra-
vity in Bodies. 214.
65. Of Figures that have to lift up, or carry any Weight.
C6. The Equilibrium of a Man standing upon his Feet,
Plate VL 201.
(^7. Of Walking, Plate VII. 202.
68. Of the Centre of Gravity in Men and Animals. 199.
69. Of the corresponding Thickness of Parts on each
Side of the Body. 269.
70. Of the Motions of Animals. 249.
71. Of Quadrupeds and their Motions. 2G8.
72. Of the Quickness or Slowness of Motion. 267.
73. Of the Motion of Animals 299.
7 A. Of a Figure moving against the Wn\^,PlateVIII. 295.
75. Of the Balance of a Figure resting upon its Feet. 266.
76. A Precept. 350.
77 . Of a Man standing, but resting more upon one Foot
than the other. 264.
78. Of the Balance of Figures, Plate IX. 209.
79. In what Manner extending one Arm alters the Ba-
80. Of a Man bearing a Weight on his Shoulders, Plate
81. Of Equilibrium. 206.
82. Of Motion. 195.
83. The Level of the Shoulders. 196.
TABLE OF CHAPTERS. 231
84. Objection to the above answered, Plate XL and
85. Of the Position of Figures, Plate XIII. 89.
86. Of the Joints. 184.
87. Of the Shoulders. 172.
88. Of the Motions of a Man. 207.
89. Of the Disposition of Members preparing to act with
great Force, Plate XIV. 233.
90. Of throwing any Thing with Violence,PlateXV. 26 1 .
91. On the Motion of driving anything into or drawing
it out of the Ground. 262.
92. Of forcible Motions, Plate XVI. 181.
93. The Action of Jumping. 260.
94. Of the three Motions in jumping upwards. 270.
95. Of the easy Motions of Members. 211.
96. The greatest Twist which a Man can make, in turn-
ing to look at himself behind, Plate XVII. 23 1 .
97. Of turning the Leg without the Thigh. 237.
98. Postures of Figures. 265.
99. Of the Gracefulness of the Members. 210.
100. That it is impossible for any Memory to retain the
Aspects and Changes of the Members. 2/1.
101. The Motions of Figures. 242.
102. Of common Motions. 248.
103. Of simple Motions. 239.
104. Complex Motions. 240.
105. Motions appropriated to the Subject. 241.
106. Appropriate Motions. 245.
107. Of the Postures of Women and young People. 259.
108. Of the Postures of Cliildren. 258.
109. Of the Motion of the Members. 186.
110. Of mental Motions. 246.
111. Effect of the Mind upon the Motions of the Body,
occasioned by some outward Object. 247.
232 TABLE OF CHAPTERS.
112. Of those who apply themselves to the Practice, with-
out having learnt the Theory of the Art. 23.
113. Precepts in Painting. 349,
114. Of the Boundaries of Objects called OutUnes or
11.5. Of linear Perspective. 322.
116. What Parts of Objects disappear first by Dis-
117- Of remote Objects. 316.
118. Of the Point of Sight. 281.
1 19- A Picture is to be viewed from one Point only. 59.
120. Of the Dimensions of the first Figure in an his-
torical Painting. 91.
121. Of Objects that are lost to the Sight, in Propor-
tion to their Distance. 292.
122. Errors not so easily seen in small Objects as in
large ones. 52.
123. Historical Subjects one above another on the same
Wall to be avoided. 54.
124. Why Objects in Painting can never detach as na-
tural Objects do. 53.
125. How to give the proper Dimension to Objects in
126. How to draw accurately any particular Spot. 32.
127. Disproportion to be avoided, even in the accessory
INVENTION OR COMPOSITION.
1 28. Precept for avoiding a bad Choice in the Style or
Proportion of Figures. 45-
TABLli OF CHAPTERS. 233
129. Variety in Figures. 21.
130. How a Painter ought to proceed in his Studies. 6-
131. Of sketching Histories and Figures. 13.
132. How to study Composition. 90-
133. Of the Attitudes of Men. 2 1 6.
134. Variety of Positions. 217-
135. Of Studies from Nature for History, 37.
136. Of the Variety of Figures in History Painting. 94-
137. Of Variety in History. 97.
138. Of the Age of Figures. 252.
139. Of Variety of Faces. 98.
140. A Fault in Painters, 44.
141. How you may learn to compose Groups for History
142. How to study the Motions of the human Body. 95.
143. Of Dresses, and of Draperies and Folds. 358.
144. Of the Nature of Folds in Draperies. 359.
145. How the Folds of Draperies ought to be represented,
Plate XVIII. 360.
146. How the Folds in Draperies ought to be made, 361.
147. Fore-shortening of Folds, P/a^e X/X 362.
148. Of Folds. 364.
149. Of Decorum. 251.
150. The Character of Figures in Composition. 253.
151. The Motion of the Muscles, when the Figures are
in natural Positions. 193.
152. A Precept in Painting, 58.
1 53. Of the Motion of Man, Plate XX. and XXI. 1 82.
154. Of Attitudes, and the Motions of the Members. 1 83.
155. Of a single Figure separate from an historical
156. On the Attitudes of the human Figure. 218-
157. How to represent a Storm. 66.
158. How to compose a Battle. 67.
234 TABLE OF CHAPTERS
159. The Representation of an Orator and his Au-
IGO. Of demonstrative Gestures. 243.
] G 1 . Of the Attitudes of the Bye-standers at some re-
markable Event. 219.
1G2. How to represent Night. fi5.
1G3. Tlie Method of awakening the Mind to a Variety
of Inventions. 16.
1G4. Of Composition in History. 93.
EXPRESSION AND CHARACTER,
165. Of expressive Motions. 50.
166. How to paint Children. 61.
167- How to represent old Men. 62.
168. How to paint old Women. 63.
169. How to paint Women. 64.
170. Of the Variety of Faces. 244.
171. The Parts of the Face, and their Motions. 187.
172. Laughing and Weeping. 257.
173. Of Anger. 255.
174. Despair. 256.
LIGHT AND SHADOW.
175. The Course of Study to be pursued. 2.
1 7&, Which of the two is the most useful Knowledge,
the Outlines of Figures, or that of Light and
177. Which is the most important, the Shadow or Out-
lines in Painting. 277-
178. What is a Painter's first Aim and Object. 305.
TABLE OF CHAPTERS. 235
179. The Difference of Superficies, in regard to Painting.
180. How a Painter may become universal. 10.
181. Accuracy ought to be learnt before Dispatch in the
182. How the Painter is to place himself in regard to
the Light, and his Model. 40.
183. Of the best Light. 41,
184. Of drawing by Candle-light. 34.
18.5. Of those Painters who draw at Home from one
Light, and afterwards adapt their Studies to
another Situation in the Country, and a dif-
ferent Light. 46.
185. How high the Light should be in drawing from
187. What Light the Painter must make use of to give
most Relief to his Figures. 55.
188. Advice to Painters. 26.
189. Of Shadows. 60.
190. Of the kind of Light proper for drawing from Re-
lievos, or from Nature. 29.
191. Whether the Light should be admitted in Front
or sideways ; and which is the most pleasing
and graceful. 74,
192. Of the Difference of Lights according to the Situa-
193. How to distribute the Light on Figures, 279.
194. Of the Beauty of Faces. 191.
195. How, in drawing a Face, to give it Grace, by the
Management of Light and Shade. 35.
196. How to give Grace and Relief to Faces. 287.
1 97. Of the Termination of Bodies upon each other. 294 .
198. Of the Back-grounds of painted Objects. 154.
236 Table of cuAPTfeRS.
199. How to detach and bring forward Figures out of
their Back-ground. 288,
200. Of proper Back-grounds. 141.
201. Of the general Light diffused over Figures. 303.
202. Of those Parts in Shadows which appear the dark-
est at a Distance. 327.
203. Of the Eye viewing the Folds of Draperies sur-
rounding a Figure. 363.
204. Of the Rehef of Figures remote from the Eye. 336.
205. Of Outlines of Objects on the side towards the
206. How to make Objects detach from their Ground,
that is to say, from the Surface on which they
are painted. 342.
CONTRASTE AND EFFECT.
207. A Precept. 343.
208. Of the Interposition of transparent Bodies between
the Eye and the Object. 357.
209. Of proper Back-grounds for Figures. 283.
210. Of Back-grounds. 160.
211. Of Objects placed on a light Ground, and why
such a Practice is useful in Painting. 159.
212. Of the different Effects of White, according to the
Difference of Back-grounds. 139.
213. Of Reverberation. 75.
214. Where there cannot be any Reverberation of Light.
215. In what Part the Reflexes have more or less bright-
216. Of the reflected Lights which surround the Sha-
TABLE OF CUAPTERS. 237
217. Where Reflexes are to be most apparent. 82.
218. What Part of a Reflex is to be the lightest. 80.
219. Of the Termination of Reflexes on their Grounds. 88.
220. Of double and treble Reflexions of Light. 83.
221. Reflexes in the Water, and particularly those of
the Air. 135.
COLOURS AND COLOURING.
222. What Surface is best calculated to receive most
223. What Surface will shew most perfectly its true
224. On what Surface the true Colour is least ap-
225. W^hat Surfaces shew most of their true and genuine
226. Of the Mixture of Colours. 121.
227. Of the Colours produced by the Mixture of other
Colours, called secondary Colours. 161.
228. Of Verdigris. 119.
229. How to increase the Beauty of Verdigris. 120.
230. How to paint a Picture that will last almost for
231 . The Mode of painting on Canvass, or Linen Cloth.
232. Of lively and beautiful Colours. 100.
233. Of transparent Colours. 113.
234. In what Part a Colour will appear in its greatest
235. How any Colour without Gloss, is more beautiful
in the Lights than in the Shades. 115.
238 TABLE OF CHAPTERS.
236. Of the Appearance of Colours. 1 16.
237. What part of a Colour is to be the most beautiful.
238. That the Beauty of a Colour is to be found in the
239. Of Colours. 111.
240. No Object appears in its true Colour, unless the
Light which strikes upon it be of the same
241. Of the Colour of Shadows. 147.
242. Of Colours. 153.
243. Whether it be possible for all Colours to appear
alike by means of the same Shadow. 109.
244. Why White is not reckoned among the Colours. 155 .
245. Of Colours. 156.
246. Of the Colouring of remote Objects. 339.
247. The Surface of all opaque Bodies participates of the
Colour of the surrounding Objects. 298.
248. General Remarks on Colours. 162.
COLOURS IN REGARD TO LIGHT AND SHADOW.
249. Of the Light proper for painting Flesh Colour from
250. Of the Painter's Window. 296.
251. The Shadows of Colours. 101.
252. Of the Shadows of White. 104.
253. Which of the Colours will produce the darkest
254. How to manage, when a White terminates upon
another White. 138.
255. On the Back-grounds of Figures. 140.
256. The Mode of composing History. 92.
257. Remarks concerning Lights and Shadows. 302,
TABLE OF CHAPTERS. 239
258. Why the Shadows of Bodies upon a white Wall are
blueish towards the Evening. 328.
259. Of the Colour of Faces. 126.
260. A Precept relating to Painting. 284.
261. Of Colours in Shadow. 158.
262. Of the Choice of Limits. 28.
COLOURS IN REGARD TO BACK-GROUNDS.
263. Of avoiding hard Outlines. 5 1 .
264. Of Outlines, 338.
265. Of Back-grounds, 334.
266. How to detach Figures from the Ground. "0.
26". Of Uniformity and Variety of Colours upon plain
268. Of Back-grounds suitable both to Shadows and
269. The apparent Variation of Colours, occasioned by
the Contraste of the Ground upon which they
are placed. 1 12.
CONTRASTE, HARMONY, AND REFLEXES, IX REGARD TO
270. Gradation in Painting. 144.
271. How to assort Colours in such a Manner as that
they may add Beauty to each other. 99.
272. Of detaching the Figures. 73.
273. Of the Colour of Reflexes. S7.
274. What Body will be most strongly tinged with the
Colour of any other Object. 1 24.
275. Of Reflexes. 77.
276. Of the Surface of all shadowed Bodies. 122.
240 TABLE OF CHAPTERS.
277. That no reflected Colour is simple, but is mixed with
the Nature of the other Colours. 84.
278. Of the Colour of Lights and Reflexes. 157.
2/9. Why reflected Colours seldom partake of the Colour
of the Body where they meet. 85.
280. The Reflexes of Flesh Colours. 81.
281. Of the Nature of Comparison. 146.
282. Where the Reflexes are seen. 86.
PERSPECTIVE OF COLOURS.
283. A Precept of Perspective in regard to Painting. 354.
284. Of the Perspective of Colours. 134.
285. The Cause of the Diminution of Colours. 136.
286. Of the Diminution of Colours and Objects. 356.
287. Of the Variety observable in Colours, according to
their Distance or Proximity. 102.
288. At what Distance Colours are entirely lost. 103.
289. Of the Change observable in the same Colour, ac-
cording to its Distance from the Eye. 1 28.
290. Of the blueish Appearance of remote Objects in a
291. Of the Qualities in the Surface which first lose
themselves by Distance. 293-
292. From what Cause the Azure of the Air proceeds. 151.
293. Of the Perspective of Colours. 107.
294. Of the Perspective of Colours in dark Places. 148.
295. Of the Perspective of Colours. 149.
296. Of Colours. 152.
297. How it happens that Colours do not change, though
placed in different Quahties of Air. 108.
298. WhyColours experience no apparent Change, though
placed in diflerent Quahties of Air. 106.
TABLE OF CHAPTERS. 241
299. Contrary Opinions in regard to Objects seen afar
300. Of the Colour of Objects remote from the Eye. 143.
301 . Of the Colour of Mountains. 163.
302. Why the Colour and Shape of Objects are soft iu
some Situations apparently dark, though not so
in Reality. 110.
303. Various Precepts in Painting. 340.
304. Aerial Perspective 165.
305. The Parts of the smallest Objects will first disap-
pear in Painting. 306.
306. Small Figures ought not to be toomuch finished. 282
307. Why the Air is to appear whiter as it approache
nearer to the Earth. 69.
308. How to paint the distant Part of a Landscape. 68.
309. Of precise and confused Objects. 72.
310. Of distant Objects. 355.
311. Of Buildings seen in a thick Air. 312.
312. Of Towns and other Objects seen through a thick
313. Of the inferior Extremities of distant Objects. 315.
314. Which Parts of Objects disappear first by being re-
moved farther from the Eye, and which pre-
serve their Appearance. 321.
315. W^hy Objects are less distinguished in proportion as
they are farther removed from the Eye. 319.
3 1 6. Why Faces appear dark at a Distance. 320.
317. Of Towns and other Buildings seen through a Fot?
in the Morning or Evening. 325.
318. Of the Height of Buildings seen in a Fog. 324.
242 TABLE OF CHAPTERS.
319. Why Objects which are high, appear darker at a
Distance than those which are low, though the
Fog be uniform, and of equal Thickness- 326.
320. Of Objects seen in a Fog. 323.
321. Of those Objects which the Eye perceives through
a Mist or thick Air. 311.
322. Miscellaneous Observations. 308.
323. Of Objects seen at g. Distance. 313.
324. Of a Town seen through a thick Air. 314.
325- How to draw a Landscape. 33-
326. Of the Green of the Country. 129.
327. WhatGreens will appear most of a blueish Cast. 130.
328. The Colour of the Sea from different Aspects. 145.
329. Why the same Prospect appears larger at some
Times than at others. 307.
330. Of Smoke. 331.
331. In what Part Smoke is lightest. 329.
332. Of the Sun-beams passing through the Openings of
333. Of the Beginning of Rain. 347-
334. The Seasons are to be observed. 345.
335. The Difference of Climates is to be observed. 344.
336. Of Dust. 330.
337. How to represent the Wind. 346.
338. Of a Wilderness. 285.
339 Of the Horizon seen in the Water. 365.
340. Of the Shadow of Bridges on the Surface of the
TABLE OF CHAPTERS. 243
.341. How a Painter ought to put iu Practice the Per-
spective of Colours. 164.
342. Various Precepts in Painting. 332.
343. The brilliancy of a Landscape. 133.
344. Why a Painted object does not appear so far dis-
tant as a real one, though they be conveyed to
the Eye by equal Angles. 333,
345. How to draw a figure standing upon its Feet, to
appear forty Braccia high, in a space of twenty
Braccia, with proportionate Members. 300.
346. How to draw a figure twenty-four Braccia high, upon
a Wall twelve Braccia high, Plate XXII. 301.
347. Why, on measuring a Face, and then painting it of
the same Size, it will appear larger than the
natural one. 297.
348. Why the most perfect Imitation of Nature will not
appear to have the same Relief as Nature
349. Universality of Painting. A Precept. 9.
350. In what Manner the Mirror is the true Master of
351. Which Painting is to be esteemed the best. 276.
352. Of the Judgment to be made of a Painter's Work.
353. How to make an imaginary Animal ajipear natural.
354. Painters are not to imitate one another. 24.
355. How to judge of one's own AVork. 274.
356. Of correcting Errors which you discover. 14.
357. The best Place for looking at a Picture. 280.
358. Of Judgment. 15.
244 TABLE OF chapters;
359. Of Employment anxiously wished for by Painters.
360. Advice to Painters. 8.
361. Of Statuary. 351.
362. On the Measurement and Division of Statues into
363. A Precept for the Painter. 1 1 .
364. Ou the Judgment of Painters. 273.
365. That a Man ought not to trust to himself, but
ought to consult Nature. 20,
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