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A gift to the Library of the University of California, 
Los Angeles, from Elmer Belt, M.D., ig6i 


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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 
Miscellaneous Observations. 

Landscape, &c. - - 224 
General Table of Chapters, with References 

to the corresponding Chapters in the original 

Italian . . - . 227 


Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci 


to face t 

he Title. 

PI. 1. to fa 

ce Chap 37. . . 

2. ... 


3. ... 


4. .. . 


5, ... 


6. ... 


7. ... 




9. ... 


10. ... 


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. 
A 3 


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. 



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 


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 


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- 
turned periods. 

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 


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 


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. 



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. 



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 ;" 


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. 


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. 


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 


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 
his exertions. 

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 


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- 


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 


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 
b 5 


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 
Portland Museum. 


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 


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 


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. 


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. 


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 
slightest power. 

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 


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 
with all." 


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. 


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 


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 


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." 


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 


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- 
guished writers. 

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 


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 
been mentioned. 

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. 


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. 


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 


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. 


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." 



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 


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," 


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 
scalpta," &c. 

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. 


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 
at Vienna. 

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 


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 


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- 


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 


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 


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 


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 
Vinci's contemporaries. 


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 



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. 



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- 


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 


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 


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 


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. 


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 


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 
great mortification. 

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 


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. 


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, 


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. 

d . 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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. 


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. 


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 


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* 
able preservation. 

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 


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 


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 


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. 


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 


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 


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 


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* 


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 


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 


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 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. 


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. 


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 


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 


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- 


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 


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 


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- 
tinguished himself. 

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 




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. 


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- 

At Bologna. 
In the Hall of the Gonfaloniere, the portrait of a Boy. 
At Florence. 

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 


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 Germany. 

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 


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 
Francis I. 

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- 


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 


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. 

In England. 
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 


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 



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 
royal patronage. 

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." 


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. 



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 


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. 


Francesco Melzi. 

Andrea Salaj'no, known in England by the 

name of Solario. 
Marco Oggioni. 
Giau Antonio BeltrafBo. 
Cesarc da Sesto. 
Pietro Ricci detto Gianpedrino. 
Lorenzo Lotto. 
Nicolo Appiano. 

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, (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- 


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 


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. 


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. 




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, 
or shadowing. 

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 
B 2 


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 
of Members. 

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 
human body.* 

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. 
B 5 


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. 


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 
in Figures. 

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- 


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 
the Painter. 

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 
which lean. 


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 
natural length. 

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, 
Plate II. 

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- 
come apparent. 

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. 



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- 
c 2 


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- 


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- 
ports him. 

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 
the ground. 

Chap. LXVIII. — Of the Centre of Gravity in Men 
and Animals, 

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. 


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 

of Motion. 

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 


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- 


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- 
parate bookf. 

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. 


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, 
Plate IX. 

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. 
c 5 


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 


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 
opposite side. 

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 


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, 
Plate XIII. 
In the same proportion as that part of the 
naked figure marked D A^ lessens in height from 


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 


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 


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 
back foot. 

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. 


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 
any thing. 

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 ; 


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. 


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 
the hip. 

Chap. XCYl.— The greatest Twist ivhich a Man 
can 7nake, in turning to look at himself behind. 
Plate XVII. 

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 


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. 


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 
the body. 

Chap. XCIX. — Of the Gracefulness of the 

The members are to be suited to the body in 


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 


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. 


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- 
ferent effects. 

Chap. CIII. — Of simple Motions. 

Simple motion is that which a man performs in 
merely ])ending backwards or forwards. 

* See chap. xx. civ. 


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 


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 
young People. 

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 
shew modesty. 

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. 



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 


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 
D 2 


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. 


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 
that line. 

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 


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. 


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 


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 
those matters. 

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 


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. 

D 5 



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, 


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 


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 
particular Spot. 

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 


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 



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 


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 


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 


Chap. CXXXYl.—Of the Variety of Figures in 
History Painthig. 

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 


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 


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 
for others. 

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- 


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 
human Body. 

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 


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 
and Folds. 

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 


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 
curved lines. 

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 


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 
other part. 

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, 
Plate XIX. 

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- 


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 


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 


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- 
E 2 


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 


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. 


Chap. CLIV. — Of Attitudes and the Motions of 
the Members. 

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. 


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 


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 
in hand. 

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 


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, 
£ 5 


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 


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- 
ceive it. 

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 
trailed along. 

The countenances of the vanquisned will appear 
pale and dejected. Their eyebrows raised, and 
much wrinkled about the forehead and cheeks. 


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 


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 


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- 
nerable beard. 

Chap. CLX. — Of demonstrative Gestures. 
The action by which a figure points at any thing 


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 


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 


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- 


titude of actors, possessed, as it were, of a brutal 


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. 


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 
little extended. 

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. 


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 


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 
square caskets. 

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. 


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 
his passion. 

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 


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. 



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. 


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. 


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. 


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- 
rent separation. 

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. 

F 2 



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 


])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 
be any. 

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 


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 
present work. 


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. 


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 


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 
from beneath. 

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- 
F 5 


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 
great beauty. 

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 



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. 


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. 



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 



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. 




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 


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. 


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. 


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 


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 


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 
hardly perceptible.* 

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 
really are.* 

Chap. CCXYlll.—TFhat Part of a Reflex is to he 
the lightest. 

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 
of Light. 

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. 



IC£1* L£iX£jS« 

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. 

o 2 




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 
natural colour. 

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 
and practice. 

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 

G 5 


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 
large works. 

* 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 
different colour*. 

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 
the sight. 

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 
and yellow. 

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 
mirror itself. 

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 
to it. 

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 
polished surface). 

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. 



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 


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. 


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 


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. 


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 

H 2 




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 


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 


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 


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. 



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 
dark outlines. 

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 
the Ground. 

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. 

H 5 


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. 



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. 


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 


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. 


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- 
dowed Bodies. 

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 


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 
and Reflexes. 

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 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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 
more remote. 


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. 


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 


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 
darker lighter. 

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. 


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. 


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 


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, 



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 
various manners. 

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. 


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 


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- 



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 


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, 


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 


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. 


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 
from it. 

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 
I 5 


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 
most distinct. 

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. 


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. 



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. 


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. 


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 


than the thinner air, because its beams meet with 
more resistance. 

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 


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 lightest. 

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. 


will appear less distinct than another part seen 
through a thinner air. Therefore the eye, N, 


- :::;-vv-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 


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 


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 
distant Objects. 

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. 


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 


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. 


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 
the fog. 

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. 


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. 


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 
they are. 

* This proposition, though uiuloubtedly intended to form apart 
of some future work, which never was ckawn up, makes no part of 
the present. 

t See chap, cccvii. 



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 
thick Air. 

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 

K 2 


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 
different Aspects. 

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. 

K 5 


either lighter or darker than that of the neigh- 
bouring objects. 

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. 


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 
thirteen yards. 

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. 


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 


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. 


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- 
mote thickest. 

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. 


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 
its magnitude.* 

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 
the sun.f 

Any object receiving the liglit from the sun, 

• See chap, cccxx. f See chap, cccxvii. 


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- 
condary shadows. 

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 
its light. 

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 



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- 
ferent angles. 

* The braccio is one foot ten inches and seven-eighths English 


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. 


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 


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- 


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 
the best. 
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. 


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- 
not penetrate.f 

Secondly, that by the order and disposition of 
* See chap. x. t See chap. cci. 


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 
known animal. 

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 another. 

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 

L 2 


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 
you discover. 

Remember, that when, by the exercise of your 


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 
pursuits ! 

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 


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 


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 


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. 


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. 

L 5 


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 

Painting. 4. 

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. 



14. The Danger of forming an erroneous Judgment in 

regard to the Proportion and Beauty of the 
Parts. 42. 

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 

Body. 229. 

32. Memorandum to be observed by the Painter. 57. 

33. The Shoulders. 171. 

34. The Difference of Joints between Children and 

grown Men. 168. 



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 

Belly. 230. 

48. Of a Man's complex Strength, but first of the 

Arm. 234, 

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, 



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- 

lance. 198. 

80. Of a Man bearing a Weight on his Shoulders, Plate 

X. 200. 

81. Of Equilibrium. 206. 

82. Of Motion. 195. 

83. The Level of the Shoulders. 196. 



84. Objection to the above answered, Plate XL and 

XII. 197. 

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. 



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 

Contours 291. 

11.5. Of linear Perspective. 322. 

116. What Parts of Objects disappear first by Dis- 
tance. 318. 

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 

Painting. 71. 

126. How to draw accurately any particular Spot. 32. 

127. Disproportion to be avoided, even in the accessory 

Parts. 290. 


1 28. Precept for avoiding a bad Choice in the Style or 
Proportion of Figures. 45- 



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 

Painting. 90. 

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 

Group. 212. 

156. On the Attitudes of the human Figure. 218- 

157. How to represent a Storm. 66. 

158. How to compose a Battle. 67. 



159. The Representation of an Orator and his Au- 
dience. 254. 

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. 


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. 


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 

Shadow. 56. 

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. 



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 

Execution. 18. 

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 

Nature. 27. 

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- 

tion. 289. 

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 

Light. 337. 

206. How to make Objects detach from their Ground, 

that is to say, from the Surface on which they 
are painted. 342. 


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- 

ness. 7Q. 

216. Of the reflected Lights which surround the Sha- 

dows. 78. 



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. 



222. What Surface is best calculated to receive most 

Colours. 123. 

223. What Surface will shew most perfectly its true 

Colour. 125. 

224. On what Surface the true Colour is least ap- 

parent. 131. 

225. W^hat Surfaces shew most of their true and genuine 

Colour. 132. 

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 

ever. 352. 

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 

Beauty. 114. 

235. How any Colour without Gloss, is more beautiful 

in the Lights than in the Shades. 115. 



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 

Lights. 118. 

239. Of Colours. 111. 

240. No Object appears in its true Colour, unless the 

Light which strikes upon it be of the same 
Colour. 150. 

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. 


249. Of the Light proper for painting Flesh Colour from 

Nature. 36. 

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 

Shade. 105. 

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, 



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. 


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 

Surfaces. 304. 

268. Of Back-grounds suitable both to Shadows and 

Lights. 137. 

269. The apparent Variation of Colours, occasioned by 

the Contraste of the Ground upon which they 
are placed. 1 12. 


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. 



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. 


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 

Landscape. 317. 

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. 



299. Contrary Opinions in regard to Objects seen afar 

oflF. 142. 

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 

Air. 309. 

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. 



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 

Clouds. 310. 

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 
Water. 348. 



.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 
itself. 341. 

349. Universality of Painting. A Precept. 9. 

350. In what Manner the Mirror is the true Master of 

Painters. 275. 

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 

Parts. 39. 

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, 


J. B. Nichols and Son, 23, Pailiament-strdet. 


Publishe.l by NnchoJs *: firm. Parliara'^ni Crr^.^'r 183;^: , 

I-ublishrd by J^i,;hob k Sou, tirl.ajnent Sw 


.b'l'^n''^ by Nichols ^:Soti. Parliajxiwt, .''TXfT„1836. 


'ub)i:^lie.'i by Nichols k Son. Parliajuent Streei.1835. 

PruUxJ /rem Strru; fiy Stnrji^it/^f Jh C JeruioTi . 


PublJGhed by Nichols *: Sod, PaxHaxaem Sr.rftf-t.183.^. 

(hti/i ttfi. 

Published by Nirhols fc^'.oii. I'arlia.nient, rire,e,i.,183,' 

JyinJ^i/ frem S/fnf by St.jn.itdjf,- d- Cf M'nJ, n . 



Putlislipil liy Nichols *: Son, Farliament SLrBei..l835. 

iTmp- 7/ ■ 

Putlisliei \!j HicTiols k. Soti, Parliament Streec.1835. 

JiinitJ fi-en). Stent fy StanJid^i A: C° Z/nJcn . 


Piatt: „. 


Eutlishe.d by Njchols k^ozi. i'arliajiient Sirest.1835. 


h^iblisiiei] ty Nichols k Son, ParL'ameixt Su:6et.l835. 

- — V.Ws-:i»4J!^j55) 

Chap. 84-. 

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i3ia))S4 . 

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Plate 13- 


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I1.U^ J 

.Putlashed by Wichols k Son. Paxliamwa cJiXP.e.t.lS.W 


Published by Nichols & Son. Parliament Stree,t,1835. 

Fri7!bS. frcm_ Stpnr fy Sbindidar ^ C Zandi/n. 

I 'A,i/i Of'. 

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/"nn/rJ firm Stme fv .'landidfe Jt Cf JanArii. 

Publislied. by Nichols k Son. Parliamem StrBe.t,1835 . 

fW/zirJ from Stent fy Stwidiji^/f ^ Cf JanJen 

Chap. 14;. 

Published ty Nichols k Son, ParLameat STr«e.T.,1335. 

iWnJ-ed fivm, Stm/: fy Staruiijiff * C Jjtndon 

PlaJe 10. 

f hap. 1^3. 

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Tlau a. 


■ Publisliea Ly I^ictols fcw^on, l-u-liament 3iieet,1836. 


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