The Literary Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds: First President of the Royal Academy

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Page 131 - The Italian, attends only to the invariable, the great and general ; ideas which are fixed and inherent in universal nature; the Dutch, on the contrary, to literal truth and a minute exactness in the detail, as I may say, of nature modified by accident. The attention to these petty peculiarities is the very cause of this naturalness so much admired in the Dutch pictures, which, if we suppose it to be a beauty, is certainly...
Page 134 - Among the various reasons why we prefer one part of her works to another, the most general, I believe, is habit and custom : custom makes, in a certain sense, white black, and black white ; it is custom alone determines our preference of the colour of the Europeans to the .(Ethiopians, and they, for the same reason, prefer their own colour to ours.
Page 259 - Nomentanus?" pergis pugnantia secum frontibus adversis componere. non ego avarum cum veto te fieri, vappam iubeo ac nebulonem. est inter Tanain quiddam socerumque Viselli : 105 est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines, quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum.
Page 423 - Bid her be all that cheers or softens life, The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife : Bid her be all that makes mankind adore; Then view this marble, and be vain no more ! Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage; Her modest cheek shall warm a future age. Beauty, frail flower ! that every season fears, Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years.
Page 410 - Preserved; but I must bear this testimony to his memory, that the passions are truly touched in it, though, perhaps there is somewhat to be desired both in the grounds of them, and in the height and elegance of expression ; but nature is there, which is the greatest beauty.
Page 132 - As we are then more accustomed to beauty than deformity, we may conclude that to be the reason why we approve and admire it, as we approve and admire customs and fashions of dress for no other reason than that we are used to them...
Page 403 - A happy genius is the gift of nature : it depends on the influence of the stars, say the astrologers ; on the organs of the body, say the naturalists ; it is the particular gift of heaven, say the divines, both Christians and heathens. How to improve it, many books can teach us ; how to obtain it, none ; that nothing can be done without it, all agree — Tu nihil invita dices faciesve Mintrva.
Page 51 - Though I have been led on to a longer digression respecting this great Painter than I intended, yet I cannot avoid mentioning another excellence which he possessed in a very eminent degree ; he was as much distinguished among his contemporaries for his diligence and industry, as he was for the natural faculties of his mind. We are told, that his whole attention was absorbed in the pursuit of his art, and that he acquired the name of Masaccio*, from his total disregard to his dress, his person, and...
Page 125 - You would not then have seen an upright figure standing equally on both legs, and both hands stretched forward in the same direction, and his drapery^ to all appearance, without the least art of disposition.
Page 128 - ... minute exactness in the detail, as I may say, of Nature modified by accident. The attention to these petty peculiarities is the very cause of this naturalness so much admired in the Dutch pictures, which, if we suppose it to be a beauty, is certainly of a lower order, which ought to give place to a beauty of a superior kind, since one cannot be obtained but by departing from the other.

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