Описательный Каталог

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Описательный Каталог
автор Уильям Блейк (1757—1827), пер. Д. Смирнов-Садовский
Язык оригинала: английский. Название в оригинале: Descriptive Catalogue. — Опубл.: 1809. Источник: http://www.blakearchive.org/exist/blake/archive/erdgen.xq?id=b12.8
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Поэтических и Исторических Изобретений,

Написанных Уильямом Блейком акварелью с использованием ныне восстановленного древнего метода фресковой живописи, а также рисунков, выставленных на публичное обозрение и для продажи согласно частной договорённости, <в помещении дома № 28 на углу Брод-стрит и Голден-сквер>

Лондон; отпечатано Д. Н. Шури, 7, Берик-стрит, Сохо, для Дж. Блейка, 28, Брод-стрит, Голден-сквер. 1809.

[ page [ii] ]


I. Одна треть цены платится при покупке, остальное при доставке.

II. Картины и рисунки остаются на выставке вплоть до её закрытия 29 сентября 1809 года; а картина Кентрберийские пилигримы, которая будет награвирована, продаётся только при условии, что она останется во владении художника в течении 12 месяцев и затем будет доставлена покупателю.

[The Catalogue]


Poetical and Historical Inventions,

Painted by William Blake, in Water Colours, Being the Ancient Method of Fresco Painting Restored: and Drawings, For Public Inspection, and for Sale by Private Contract, <At N 28 Corner of Broad Street-Golden Square> t

London; Printed by D. N. Shury, 7, Berwick-Street, Soho, for J. Blake, 28, Broad-Street, Golden-Square. 1809.

[ page [ii] ]


I. One third of the price to be paid at the time of Purchase and remainder on Delivery.

II. The Pictures and Drawings to remain in the Exhibition till its close, which will be the 29th of September 1809; and the Picture of the Canterbury Pilgrims, which is to be engraved, will be Sold only on condition of its remaining in the Artist's hands twelve months, when it will be delivered to the Buyer.

[ page [iii] ] PREFACE.

THE eye that can prefer the Colouring of Titian and Rubens to that of Michael Angelo and Rafael, ought to be modest and to doubt its own powers. Connoisseurs talk as if Rafael and Michael Angelo had never seen the colouring of Titian or Correggio: They ought to know that Correggio was born two years before Michael Angelo, and Titian but four years after. Both Rafael and Michael Angelo knew the Venetian, and contemned and rejected all he did with the utmost disdain, as that which is fabricated for the purpose to destroy art.

Mr. B. appeals to the Public, from the judgment of those narrow blinking eyes, that have too long governed art in a dark corner. The eyes of stupid cunning never will be [ page [iv] ] pleased with the work any more than with the look of self-devoting genius. The quarrel of the Florentine with the Venetian is not because he does not understand Drawing, but because he does not understand Colouring. How should he? he who does not know how to draw a hand or a foot, know how to colour it.

Colouring does not depend on where the Colours are put, but on where the lights and darks are put, and all depends on Form or Outline

[Begin Page 530] On where that is put; where that is wrong, the Colouring never can be right; and it is always wrong in Titian and Correggio, Rubens and Rembrandt. Till we get rid of Titian and Correggio, Rubens and Rembrandt, We never shall equal Rafael and Albert Durer, Michael Angelo, and Julio Romano. [ page 1 ] DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE, &C. &C.


The spiritual form of Nelson guiding Leviathan, in whose wreathings are infolded the Nations of the Earth. t

CLEARNESS and precision have been the chief objects in painting these Pictures. Clear colours unmudded by oil, and firm and determinate lineaments unbroken by shadows, which ought to display and not to hide form, as is the practice of the latter Schools of Italy and Flanders.


The spiritual form of Pitt, guiding Behemoth; he is that Angel who, pleased to perform the Almighty's orders, rides on the whirlwind, directing the storms of war: He is ordering the Reaper to reap the Vine of the Earth, and the Plowman to plow up the Cities and Towers.

This Picture also is a proof of the power of colours unsullied with oil or with any cloggy vehicle. Oil has falsely been supposed to give strength to colours: but a little consideration must shew the fallacy of this opinion. Oil will not drink or absorb colour enough to stand the test of very little time and of the air. It deadens every colour it is mixed with, at its first mixture, and in a little time becomes a yellow mask over all that it touches. Let the works of modern Artists since Rubens' time [ page 3 ] witness the villany of some one at that time, who first brought oil Painting into general opinion and practice: since which we have never had a Picture painted, that could shew itself by the side of an earlier production. Whether Rubens or Vandyke, or both, were guilty of this villany, is to be enquired in another work on Painting, and who first forged the silly story and known falshood, about John of Bruges inventing oil colours: in the mean time let it be observed, that before Vandyke's time, and in his time all the genuine Pictures are on Plaster or Whiting grounds and none since.

The two Pictures of Nelson and Pitt are compositions of a mythological cast, similar to those Apotheoses of Persian, Hindoo, and Egyptian Antiquity, which are still preserved on rude monuments, being copies from some stupendous originals now lost or perhaps buried till

[Begin Page 531] some happier age. The Artist having been [ page 4 ] taken in vision into the ancient republics, monarchies, and patriarchates of Asia, has seen those wonderful originals called in the Sacred Scriptures the Cherubim, which were sculptured and painted on walls of Temples, Towers, Cities, Palaces, and erected in the highly cultivated states of Egypt, Moab, Edom, Aram, among the Rivers of Paradise, being originals from which the Greeks and Hetrurians copied Hercules, Farnese, Venus of Medicis, Apollo Belvidere, and all the grand works of ancient art. They were executed in a very superior style to those justly admired copies, being with their accompaniments terrific and grand in the highest degree. The Artist has endeavoured to emulate the grandeur of those seen in his vision, and to apply it to modern Heroes, on a smaller scale. No man can believe that either Homer's Mythology, or Ovid's, were the production of Greece, or of Latium; neither will any one [ page 5 ] believe, that the Greek statues, as they are called, were the invention of Greek Artists; perhaps the Torso is the only original work remaining; all the rest are evidently copies, though fine ones, from greater works of the Asiatic Patriarchs. The Greek Muses are daughters of Mnemosyne, or Memory, and not of Inspiration or Imagination, therefore not authors of such sublime conceptions. Those wonderful originals seen in my visions, were some of them one hundred feet in height; some were painted as pictures, and some carved as basso relievos, and some as groupes of statues, all containing mythological and recondite meaning, where more is meant than meets the eye. The Artist wishes it was now the fashion to make such monuments, and then he should not doubt of having a national commission to execute these two Pictures on a scale that is suitable to the grandeur of the nation, who is the parent of his heroes, in high [ page 6 ] finished fresco, where the colours would be as pure and as permanent as precious stones though the figures were one hundred feet in height.

All Frescos are as high finished as miniatures or enamels, and they are known to be unchangeable; but oil being a body itself, will drink or absorb very little colour, and changing yellow, and at length brown, destroys every colour it is mixed with, especially every delicate colour. It turns every permanent white to a yellow and brown putty, and has compelled the use of that destroyer of colour, white lead; which, when its protecting oil is evaporated, will become lead again. This is an awful things to say to oil Painters; they may call it madness, but it is true. All the genuine old little Pictures, called Cabinet Pictures, are in fresco and not in oil, Oil was not used except by blundering ignorance, till after Vandyke's time, but the art of fresco painting [ page 5 ] being lost, oil became a fetter to genius, and a dungeon to art. But one convincing proof among many others, that these assertions are true is, that real gold and silver cannot be used with oil, as they are in all the old pictures and in Mr. B.'s frescos.

[Begin Page 532] NUMBER III.

Sir Jeffery Chaucer and the nine and twenty Pilgrims on their journey to Canterbury.

THE time chosen is early morning, before sunrise, when the jolly company are just quitting the Tabarde Inn. The Knight and Squire with the Squire's Yeoman lead the Procession, next follow the youthful Abbess, her nun and three priests; her greyhounds attend her.

”Of small hounds had she that she fed ”With roast flesh, milk and wastel bread.“ Next follow the Friar and Monk; then the Tapiser, the Pardoner, and the Somner and Manciple. After these “Our Host,” who oc [ page 8 ]cupies the center of the cavalcade; directs them to the Knight as the person who would be likely to commence their task of each telling a tale in their order. After the Host follow the Shipman, the Haberdasher, the Dyer, the Franklin, the Physician, the Plowman, the Lawyer, the poor Parson, the Merchant, the Wife of Bath, the Miller, the Cook, the Oxford Scholar, Chaucer himself, and the Reeve comes as Chaucer has described: “And ever he rode hinderest of the rout.” These last are issuing from the gateway of the Inn; the Cook and the Wife of Bath are both taking their morning's draught of comfort. Spectators stand at the gateway of the Inn, and are composed of an old Man, a Woman and Children. The Landscape is an eastward view of the country, from the Tabarde Inn, in Southwark, as it may be supposed to have appeared in [ page 9 ] Chaucer's time; interspersed with cottages and villages; the first beams of the Sun are seen above the horizon; some buildings and spires indicate the situation of the great City; the Inn is a gothic building, which Thynne in his Glossary says was the lodging of the Abbot of Hyde, by Winchester. On the Inn is inscribed its title, and a proper advantage is taken of this circumstance to describe the subject of the Picture. The words written over the gateway of the Inn, are as follow:“The Tabarde Inn, by Henry Baillie, the lodgynge-house for Pilgrims, who journey to Saint Thomas's Shrine at Canterbury.” The characters of Chaucer's Pilgrims are the characters which compose all ages and nations: as one age falls, another rises, different to mortal sight, but to immortals only the same; for we see the same characters repeated again and again, in animals, vegetables, minerals, and in men; nothing new occurs in iden [ page 10 ]tical existence; Accident ever varies, Substance can never suffer change nor decay.

Of Chaucer's characters, as described in his Canterbury Tales, some of the names or titles are altered by time, but the characters themselves for ever remain unaltered, and consequently they are the

[Begin Page 533] physiognomies or lineaments of universal human life, beyond which Nature never steps. Names alter, things never alter. I have known multitudes of those who would have been monks in the age of monkery, who in this deistical age are deists. As Newton numbered the stars, and as Linneus numbered the plants, so Chaucer numbered the classes of men. The Painter has consequently varied the heads and forms of his personages into all Nature's varieties; the Horses he has also varied to accord to their Riders, the Costume is correct according to authentic monuments.

The Knight and Squire with the Squire's [ page 11 ] Yeoman lead the procession, as Chaucer has also placed them first in his prologue. The Knight is a true Hero, a good, great, and wise man; his whole length portrait on horseback, as written by Chaucer, cannot be surpassed. He has spent his life in the field; has ever been a conqueror, and is that species of character which in every age stands as the guardian of man against the oppressor. His son is like him with the germ of perhaps greater perfection still, as he blends literature and the arts with his warlike studies. Their dress and their horses are of the first rate, without ostentation, and with all the true grandeur that unaffected simplicity when in high rank always displays. The Squire's Yeoman is also a great character, a man perfectly knowing in his profession:

“And in his hand he bare a mighty bow.” Chaucer describes here a mighty man; one who in war is the worthy attendant on noble heroes.

[ page 12 ]The Prioress follows these with her female chaplain.

“Another Nonne also with her had she, “That was her Chaplaine and Priests three.” This Lady is described also as of the first rank; rich and honoured. She has certain peculiarities and little delicate affectations, not unbecoming in her, being accompanied with what is truly grand and really polite; her person and face, Chaucer has described with minuteness; it is very elegant, and was the beauty of our ancestors, till after Elizabeth's time, when voluptuousness and folly began to be accounted beautiful.

Her companion and her three priests were no doubt all perfectly delineated in those parts of Chaucer's work which are now lost; we ought to suppose them suitable attendants on rank and fashion.

[ page 13 ] The Monk follows these with the Friar. The Painter has also grouped with these, the Pardoner and the Sompnour and the Manciple, and has here also introduced one of the rich citizens of London. Characters likely to ride in company, all being above the common rank in life or attendants on those who were so.

For the Monk is described by Chaucer, as a man of the first rank

[Begin Page 534] in society, noble, rich, and expensively attended: he is a leader of the age, with certain humourous accompaniments in his character, that do not degrade, but render him an object of dignified mirth, but also with other accompaniments not so respectable. The Friar is a character also of a mixed kind.

“A friar there was, a wanton and a merry.” [B]ut in his office he is said to be a “full solemn man:” eloquent, amorous, witty, and satyri [ page 14 ]cal; young, handsome, and rich; he is a complete rogue; with constitutional gaiety enough to make him a master of all the pleasures of the world. “His neck was white as the flour de lis, Thereto strong he was as a champioun.” It is necessary here to speak of Chaucer's own character, that I may set certain mistaken critics right in their conception of the humour and fun that occurs on the journey. Chaucer is himself the great poetical observer of men, who in every age is born to record and eternize its acts. This he does as a master, as a father, and superior, who looks down on their little follies from the Emperor to the Miller; sometimes with severity, oftener with joke and sport.

Accordingly Chaucer has made his Monk a great tragedian, one who studied poetical art. [ page 15 ] So much so, that the generous Knight is, in the compassionate dictates of his soul, compelled to cry out

“Ho quoth the Knyght, good Sir, no more of this, That ye have said, is right ynough I wis; And mokell more, for little heaviness, Is right enough for much folk as I guesse. I say for me, it is a great disease, 5 Whereas men have been in wealth and ease; To heare of their sudden fall alas, And the contrary is joy and solas.” The Monk's definition of tragedy in the proem to his tale is worth repeating:

“Tragedie is to tell a certain story, As old books us maken memory; Of hem that stood in great prosperity. And be fallen out of high degree, Into miserie and ended wretchedly.” 5 [ page 16 ] Though a man of luxury, pride and pleasure, he is a master of art and learning, though affecting to despise it. Those who can think that the proud Huntsman, and noble Housekeeper, Chaucer's Monk, is intended for a buffoon or burlesque character, know little of Chaucer.

[Begin Page 535] For the Host who follows this group, and holds the center of the cavalcade, is a first rate character, and his jokes are no trifles; they are always, though uttered with audacity, and equally free with the Lord and the Peasant, they are always substantially and weightily expressive of knowledge and experience; Henry Baillie, the keeper of the greatest Inn, of the greatest City; for such was the Tabarde Inn in Southwark, near London: our Host was also a leader of the age.

By way of illustration, I instance Shakspeare's Witches in Macbeth. Those who dress [ page 17 ] them for the stage, consider them as wretched old women, and not as Shakspeare intended, the Goddesses of Destiny; this shews how Chaucer has been misunderstood in his sublime work. Shakspeare's Fairies also are the rulers of the vegetable world, and so are Chaucer's; let them be so considered, and then the poet will be understood, and not else.

But I have omitted to speak of a very prominent character, the Pardoner, the Age's Knave, who always commands and domineers over the high and low vulgar. This man is sent in every age for a rod and scourge, and for a blight, for a trial of men, to divide the classes of men, he is in the most holy sanctuary, and he is suffered by Providence for wise ends, and has also his great use, and his grand leading destiny.

His companion the Sompnour, is also a Devil of the first magnitude, grand, terrific, rich and honoured in the rank of which he holds [ page 18 ] the destiny. The uses to society are perhaps equal of the Devil and of the Angel, their sublimity who can dispute.

“In daunger had he at his own gise, The young girls of his diocese, And he knew well their counsel, &c.” The principal figure in the next groupe, is the Good Parson; an Apostle, a real Messenger of Heaven, sent in every age for its light and its warmth. This man is beloved and venerated by all, and neglected by all: He serves all, and is served by none; he is, according to Christ's definition, the greatest of his age. Yet he is a Poor Parson of a town. Read Chaucer's description of the Good Parson, and bow the head and the knee to him, who, in every age sends us such a burning and a shining light. Search O ye rich and powerful, for these men and obey their counsel, then [ page 19 ] shall the golden age return: But alas! you will not easily distinguish him from the Friar or the Pardoner, they also are “full solemn men,” and their counsel, you will continue to follow.

I have placed by his side, the Sergeant at Lawe, who appears delighted to ride in his company, and between him and his brother, the Plowman; as I wish men of Law would always ride with them, and take their counsel, especially in all difficult points. Chaucer's Lawyer is a character of great venerableness, a judge, and a real master of the jurisprudence of his age.

[Begin Page 536] The Doctor of Physic is in this groupe, and the Franklin, the voluptuous country gentleman, contrasted with the Physician, and on his other hand, with two Citizens of London. Chaucer's characters live age after age. Every age is a Canterbury Pilgrimage; we all pass on, each sustaining one or other [ page 20 ] of these characters; nor can a child be born, who is not one of these characters of Chaucer, The Doctor of Physic is described as the first of his profession; perfect, learned, completely Master and Doctor in his art. Thus the reader will observe, that Chaucer makes every one of his characters perfect in his kind, every one is an Antique Statue; the image of a class, and not of an imperfect individual.

This groupe also would furnish substantial matter, on which volumes might be written. The Franklin is one who keeps open table, who is the genius of eating and drinking, the Bacchus; as the Doctor of Physic is the Esculapius, the Host is the Silenus, the Squire is the Apollo, the Miller is the Hercules, &c. Chaucer's characters are a description of the eternal Principles that exist in all ages. The Franklin is voluptuousness itself most nobly pourtrayed:

[ page 21 ] “It snewed in his house of meat and drink.” The Plowman is simplicity itself, with wisdom and strength for its stamina. Chaucer has divided the ancient character of Hercules between his Miller and his Plowman. Benevolence is the plowman's great characteristic, he is thin with excessive labour, and not with old age, as some have supposed.

“He would thresh and thereto dike and delve For Christe's sake, for every poore wight, Withouten hire, if it lay in his might.” Visions of these eternal principles or characters of human life appear to poets, in all ages; the Grecian gods were the ancient Cherubim of Phoenicia; but the Greeks, and since them the Moderns, have neglected to subdue the gods of Priam. These Gods are visions of the eternal attributes, or divine names, which, when [ page 22 ] erected into gods, become destructive to humanity. They ought to be the servants, and not the masters of man, or of society. They ought to be made to sacrifice to Man, and not man compelled to sacrifice to them; for when separated from man or humanity, who is Jesus the Saviour, the vine of eternity, they are thieves and rebels, they are destroyers.

The Plowman of Chaucer is Hercules in his supreme eternal state, divested of his spectrous shadow; which is the Miller, a terrible fellow, such as exists in all times and places, for the trial of men, to astonish every neighbourhood, with brutal strength and courage, to get rich and powerful to curb the pride of Man.

The Reeve and the Manciple are two characters of the most consummate

[Begin Page 537] worldly wisdom. The Shipman, or Sailor, is a similar genius of Ulyssean art; but with the highest courage superadded. The Citizens and their Cook are each leaders [ page 23 ] of a class. Chaucer has been somehow made to number four citizens, which would make his whole company, himself included, thirty- one. But he says there was but nine and twenty in his company.

“Full nine and twenty in a company.” The Webbe, or Weaver, and the Tapiser, or Tapestry Weaver, appear to me to be the same person; but this is only an opinion, for full nine and twenty may signify one more or less. But I dare say that Chaucer wrote “A Webbe Dyer,” that is a Cloth Dyer.

“A Webbe Dyer and a Tapiser.” The Merchant cannot be one of the Three Citizens, as his dress is different, and his character is more marked, whereas Chaucer says of his rich citizens:

[ page 24 ] “All were yclothed in o liverie.” The characters of Women Chaucer has divided into two classes, the Lady Prioress and the Wife of Bath. Are not these leaders of the ages of men? The lady prioress, in some ages, predominates; and in some the wife of Bath, in whose character Chaucer has been equally minute and exact; because she is also a scourge and a blight. I shall say no more of her, nor expose what Chaucer has left hidden; let the young reader study what he has said of her: it is useful as a scare-crow. There are of such characters born too many for the peace of the world. I come at length to the Clerk of Oxenford. This character varies from that of Chaucer, as the contemplative philosopher varies from the poetical genius. There are always these two classes of learned sages, the poetical and the philosophical. The painter has put them side by side, as if the youthful clerk had put him [ page 25 ]self under the tuition of the mature poet. Let the Philosopher always be the servant and scholar of inspiration and all will be happy.

Such are the characters that compose this Picture, which was painted in self-defence against the insolent and envious imputation of unfitness for finished and scientific art; and this imputation, most artfully and industriously endeavoured to be propagated among the public by ignorant hirelings. The painter courts comparison with his competitors, who, having received fourteen hundred guineas and more from the profits of his designs, in that well-known work, Designs for Blair's Grave, have left him to shift for himself, while others, more obedient to an employer's opinions and directions, are employed, at a great expence, to produce works, in succession to his, by which they acquired public patronage. This has hitherto been his lot--to get patronage for

[Begin Page 538] others and then to be left and neglected, and his work, which gained [ page 26 ] that patronage, cried down as eccentricity and madness; as unfinished and neglected by the artist's violent temper, he is sure the works now exhibited, will give the lie to such aspersions. Those who say that men are led by interest are knaves. A knavish character will often say, of what interest is it to me to do so and so? I answer, of none at all, but the contrary, as you well know. It is of malice and envy that you have done this; hence I am aware of you, because I know that you act not from interest but from malice, even to your own destruction. It is therefore become a duty which Mr. B. owes to the Public, who have always recognized him, and patronized him, however hidden by artifices, that he should not suffer such things to be done or be hindered from the public Exhibition of his finished productions by any calumnies in future.

Характер и выразительность этой картины [«Кентерберийские Пилигримы» Блейка] не могли быть достигнуты с помощью светотени Рубенса, [ с. 27 ] Рембрандта или любого венецианца или фламандца. Практика венецианцев и фламандцев — разорванные линии, разрушенные массы, разрозненные цвета. Практика Блейка — неразрывные линии, цельные объёмы, неразрозненные цвета. Искусство первых — утрачивает форму, его же искусство — обретает форму и сохраняет её. Его искусство противостоит первым во всех отношениях.

The character and expression in this picture could never have been produced with Ruben's [ page 27 ] light and shadow, or with Rembrandt's, or any thing Venetian or Flemish. The Venetian and Flemish practice is broken lines, broken masses, and broken colours. Mr. B.'s practice is unbroken lines, unbroken masses, and unbroken colours. Their art is to lose form, his art is to find form, and to keep it. His arts are opposite to theirs in all things.

As there is a class of men, whose whole delight is in the destruction of men, so there is a class of artists, whose whole art and science is fabricated for the purpose of destroying art. Who these are is soon known: “by their works ye shall know them.” All who endeavour to raise up a style against Rafael, Mich. Angelo, and the Antique; those who separate Painting from Drawing; who look if a picture is well Drawn; and, if it is, immediately cry out, that it cannot be well Coloured-- those are the men.

But to shew the stupidity of this class of [ page 28 ] men, nothing need be done but to examine my rival's prospectus. The two first characters in Chaucer, the Knight and the Squire, he has put among his rabble; and indeed his prospectus calls the Squire the fop of Chaucer's age. Now hear Chaucer.

“Of his Stature, he was of even length, And wonderly deliver, and of great strength; And he had be sometime in Chivauchy, In Flanders, in Artois, and in Picardy, And borne him well as of so litele space.” 5 Was this a fop? “Well could he sit a horse, and faire ride, He could songs make, and eke well indite Just, and eke dance, pourtray, and well write. Was this a fop? [Begin Page 539] [ page 29 ] “Curteis he was, and meek, and serviceable; And kerft before his fader at the table.” Was this a fop? It is the same with all his characters; he has done all by chance, or perhaps his fortune, money, money. According to his prospectus he has Three Monks; these he cannot find in Chaucer, who has only One Monk, and that no vulgar character, as he has endeavoured to make him. When men cannot read they should not pretend to paint. To be sure Chaucer is a little difficult to him who has only blundered over novels and catchpenny trifles of booksellers. Yet a little pains ought to be taken even by the ignorant and weak. He has put The Reeve, a vulgar fellow, between his Knight and Squire, as if he was resolved to go contrary in every thing to Chaucer, who says of the Reeve:

[ page 30 ] “And ever he rode hinderest of the rout.” In this manner he has jumbled his dumb dollies together, and is praised by his equals for it; for both himself and his friend are equally masters of Chaucer's language. They both think that the Wife of Bath is a young beautiful blooming damsel; and H[oppner] says, that she is the Fair Wife of Bath, and that the Spring appears in her Cheeks. Now hear what Chaucer has made her say of herself, who is no modest one,

“But Lord when it remembereth me Upon my youth and on my jollity, It tickleth me about the heart root. Unto this day it doth my heart boot, That I have had my world as in my time; 5 But age, alas, that all will envenime, Hath me bireft, my beauty and my pith Let go; farewell: the devil go therewith, [ page 31 ] The flower is gone, there is no more to tell. The bran, as best, I can, I now mote sell; And yet, to be right merry, will I fond, Now forth to tell of my fourth husband.” She has had four husbands, a fit subject for this painter; yet the painter ought to be very much offended with his friend H----, who has called his ”a common scene,” “and very ordinary forms;” which is the truest part of all, for it is so, and very wretchedly so indeed. What merit can there be in a picture of which such words are spoken with truth.

[Begin Page 540] But the prospectus says that the Painter has represented Chaucer himself as a knave, who thrusts himself among honest people, to make game of and laugh at them; though I must do justice to the painter, and say that he has made him look more like a fool than a knave. But it appears, in all the writings of Chaucer, and particularly in his Canterbury Tales, that [ page 32 ] he was very devout, and paid respect to true enthusiastic superstition. He has laughed at his knaves and fools as I do now. But he has respected his True Pilgrims, who are a majority of his company, and are not thrown together in the random manner that Mr. S[tothard] has done. Chaucer has no where called the Plowman old, worn out with age and labour, as the prospectus has represented him, and says, that the picture has done so too. He is worn down with labour, but not with age. How spots of brown and yellow, smeared about at random, can be either young or old, I cannot see. It may be an old man; it may be a young one; it may be any thing that a prospectus pleases. But I know that where there are no lineaments there can be no character. And what connoisseurs call touch, I know by experience, must be the destruction of all character and expression, as it is of every lineament.

The scene of Mr. S------'s Picture is by [ page 33 ] Dulwich Hills, which was not the way to Canterbury; but, perhaps the painter thought he would give them a ride round about, because they were a burlesque set of scare-crows, not worth any man's respect or care.

But the painter's thoughts being always upon gold, he has introduced a character that Chaucer has not; namely, a Goldsmith; for so the prospectus tells us. Why he has introduced a Goldsmith, and what is the wit of it, the prospectus does not explain. But it takes care to mention the reserve and modesty of the Painter; this makes a good epigram enough.

“The fox, the owl, the spider, and the mole, By sweet reserve and modesty get fat.” But the prospectus tells us, that the painter has introduced a Sea Captain; Chaucer has a Ship-man, a Sailor, a Trading Master of a Ves [ page 34 ]sel, called by courtesy Captain, as every master of a boat is; but this does not make him a Sea Captain. Chaucer has purposely omitted such a personage, as it only exists in certain periods: it is the soldier by sea. He who would be a Soldier in inland nations is a sea captain in commercial nations.

All is misconceived, and its mis-execution is equal to its misconception. I have no objection to Rubens and Rembrandt being employed, or even to their living in a palace; but it shall not be at the expence of Rafael and Michael Angelo living in a cottage, and in contempt and derision. I have been scorned long enough by these fellows, who owe to me all that they have; it shall be so no longer.

I found them blind, I taught them how to see; And, now, they know me not, nor yet themselves. [Begin Page 541] [ page 35 ] NUMBER IV.

The Bard, from Gray

On a rock, whose haughty brow Frown'd o'er old Conway's foaming flood, Robed in the sable garb of woe, With haggard eyes the Poet stood, Loose his beard, and hoary hair 5 Stream'd like a meteor to the troubled air. Weave the warp, and weave the woof The winding sheet of Edward's race. Weaving the winding sheet of Edward's race by means of sounds of spiritual music and its accompanying expressions of articulate speech is a bold, and daring, and most masterly conception, that the public have embraced and approved with avidity. Poetry consists in these conceptions; and shall Painting be confined to the sordid drudgery of facsimile re [ page 36 ]presentations of merely mortal and perishing substances, and not be as poetry and music are, elevated into its own proper sphere of invention and visionary conception? No, it shall not be so! Painting, as well as poetry and music, exists and exults in immortal thoughts. If Mr. B.'s Canterbury Pilgrims had been done by any other power than that of the poetic visionary, it would have been as dull as his adversary's.

The Spirits of the murdered bards assist in weaving the deadly woof.

With me in dreadful harmony they join, And weave, with bloody hands, the tissue of thy line. The connoisseurs and artists who have made objections to Mr. B.'s mode of representing spirits with real bodies, would do well to consider that the Venus, the Minerva, the Jupiter, the Apollo, which they admire in Greek sta [ page 38 ]tues, are all of them representations of spiritual existences of God's immortal, to the mortal perishing organ of sight; and yet they are embodied and organized in solid marble. Mr. B. requires the same latitude and all is well. The Prophets describe what they saw in Vision as real and existing men whom they saw with their imaginative and immortal organs; the Apostles the same; the clearer the organ the more distinct the object. A Spirit and a Vision are not, as the modern philosophy supposes, a cloudy vapour or a nothing: they are organized and minutely articulated beyond all that the mortal and perishing nature can produce. He who does not imagine in stronger and better lineaments, and in stronger and better light than his perishing mortal eye can see does not imagine at all. The painter of this work asserts that all his imaginations appear to him infinitely more perfect and more minutely organized than any thing seen by his

[Begin Page 542] mortal eye. Spi [ page 38 ]rits are organized men: Moderns wish to draw figures without lines, and with great and heavy shadows; are not shadows more unmeaning than lines, and more heavy? O who can doubt this! King Edward and his Queen Elenor are prostrated, with their horses, at the foot of a rock on which the Bard stands; prostrated by the terrors of his harp on the margin of the river Conway, whose waves bear up a corse of a slaughtered bard at the foot of the rock. The armies of Edward are seen winding among the mountains.

“He wound with toilsome march his long array.” Mortimer and Gloucester lie spell bound behind their king. The execution of this picture is also in Water Colours, or Fresco. [ page 39 ] NUMBER V.

The Ancient Britons

In the last Battle of King Arthur only Three Britons escaped, these were the Strongest Man, the Beautifullest Man, and the Ugliest Man; these three marched through the field unsubdued, as Gods, and the Sun of Britain s[e]t, but shall arise again with tenfold splendor when Arthur shall awake from sleep, and resume his dominion over earth and ocean.

The three general classes of men who are represented by the most Beautiful, the most Strong, and the most Ugly, could not be represented by any historical facts but those of our own country, the Ancient Britons; without violating costume. The Britons (say historians) were naked civilized men, learned, studious, abstruse in thought and contemplation; naked, simple, plain, in their acts and manners; [ page 40 ] wiser than after-ages. They were overwhelmed by brutal arms all but a small remnant; Strength, Beauty, and Ugliness escaped the wreck, and remain for ever unsubdued, age after age.

The British Antiquities are now in the Artist's hands; all his visionary contemplations, relating to his own country and its ancient glory, when it was as it again shall be, the source of learning and inspiration. Arthur was a name for the constellation Arcturus, or Bootes, the Keeper of the North Pole. And all the fables of Arthur and his round table; of the warlike naked Britons; of Merlin; of Arthur's conquest of the whole world; of his death, or sleep, and promise to return again; of the Druid monuments, or temples; of the pavement of Watlingstreet; of London stone; of the caverns in Cornwall, Wales, Derbyshire, and Scotland; of the Giants of Ireland and Britain; of the elemental beings, called [ page 41 ]by us by the general name of Fairies; and of these three who escaped, namely, Beauty, Strength, and Ugliness, Mr. B. has in his hands poems of the highest antiquity. Adam was a Druid, and Noah; also Abraham was called to succeed the Druidical

[Begin Page 543] age, which began to turn allegoric and mental signification into corporeal command, whereby human sacrifice would have depopulated the earth. All these things are written in Eden. The artist is an inhabitant of that happy country, and if every thing goes on as it has begun, the world of vegetation and generation may expect to be opened again to Heaven, through Eden, as it was in the beginning. The Strong man represents the human sublime. The Beautiful man represents the human pathetic, which was in the wars of Eden divided into male and female. The Ugly man represents the human reason. They were originally one man, who was fourfold; he was self-divided, and [ page 42 ] his real humanity slain on the stems of generation, and the form of the fourth was like the Son of God. How he became divided is a subject of great sublimity and pathos. The Artist has written it under inspiration, and will, if God please, publish it; it is voluminous, and contains the ancient history of Britain, and the world of Satan and of Adam.

In the mean time he has painted this Picture, which supposes that in the reign of that British Prince, who lived in the fifth century, there were remains of those naked Heroes, in the Welch Mountains; they are there now, Gray saw them in the person of his bard on Snowdon; there they dwell in naked simplicity; happy is he who can see and converse with them above the shadows of generation and death. The giant Albion, was Patriarch of the Atlantic, he is the Atlas of the Greeks, one of those the Greeks called Titans. The stories of Arthur are the acts of Albion, ap [ page 43 ]plied to a Prince of the fifth century, who conquered Europe, and held the Empire of the world in the dark age, which the Romans never again recovered. In this Picture, believing with Milton, the ancient British History, Mr. B. has done, as all the ancients did, and as all the moderns, who are worthy of fame, given the historical fact in its poetical vigour; so as it always happens, and not in that dull way that some Historians pretend, who being weakly organized themselves, cannot see either miracle or prodigy; all is to them a dull round of probabilities and possibilities; but the history of all times and places, is nothing else but improbabilities and impossibilities; what we should say, was impossible if we did not see it always before our eyes.

The antiquities of every Nation Under Heaven, is no less sacred than that of the Jews. They are the same thing as Jacob Bryant, [ page 44 ] and all antiquaries have proved. How other antiquities came to be neglected and disbelieved, while those of the Jews are collected and arranged, is an enquiry, worthy of both the Antiquarian and the Divine. All had originally one language, and one religion, this was the religion of Jesus, the everlasting Gospel. Antiquity preaches the Gospel of Jesus. The reasoning historian, turner and twister of causes and consequences, such as Hume, Gibbon and Voltaire; cannot with all their artifice, turn or twist one fact or disarrange self evident action

[Begin Page 544] and reality. Reasons and opinions concerning acts, are not history. Acts themselves alone are history, and these are neither the exclusive property of Hume, Gibbon nor Voltaire, Echard, Rapin, Plutarch, nor Herodotus. Tell me the Acts, O historian, and leave me to reason upon them as I please; away with your reasoning and your rubbish. All that is not action is not [ page 45 ] worth reading. Tell me the What; I do not want you to tell me the Why, and the How; I can find that out myself, as well as you can, and I will not be fooled by you into opinions, that you please to impose, to disbelieve what you think improbable or impossible. His opinions, who does not see spiritual agency, is not worth any man's reading; he who rejects a fact because it is improbable, must reject all History and retain doubts only. It has been said to the Artist, take the Apollo for the model of your beautiful Man and the Hercules for your strong Man, and the Dancing Fawn for your Ugly Man. Now he comes to his trial. He knows that what he does is not inferior to the grandest Antiques. Superior they cannot be, for human power cannot go beyond either what he does, or what they have done, it is the gift of God, it is inspiration and vision. He had resolved to emulate those [ page 46 ] precious remains of antiquity, he has done so and the result you behold; his ideas of strength and beauty have not been greatly different. Poetry as it exists now on earth, in the various remains of ancient authors, Music as it exists in old tunes or melodies, Painting and Sculpture as it exists in the remains of Antiquity and in the works of more modern genius, is Inspiration, and cannot be surpassed; it is perfect and eternal. Milton, Shakspeare, Michael Angelo, Rafael, the finest specimens of Ancient Sculpture and Painting, and Architecture, Gothic, Grecian, Hindoo and Egyptian, are the extent of the human mind. The human mind cannot go beyond the gift of God, the Holy Ghost. To suppose that Art can go beyond the finest specimens of Art that are now in the world, is not knowing what Art is; it is being blind to the gifts of the spirit.

[ page 47 ] It will be necessary for the Painter to say something concerning his ideas of Beauty, Strength and Ugliness.

The Beauty that is annexed and appended to folly, is a lamentable accident and error of the mortal and perishing life; it does but seldom happen; but with this unnatural mixture the sublime Artist can have nothing to do; it is fit for the burlesque. The Beauty proper for sublime art, is lineaments, or forms and features that are capable of being the receptacles of intellect; accordingly the Painter has given in his beautiful man, his own idea of intellectual Beauty. The face and limbs that deviates or alters least, from infancy to old age, is the face and limbs of greatest Beauty and perfection.

The Ugly likewise, when accompanied and annexed to imbecility and disease, is a subject for burlesque and not for historical grandeur; the Artist has imagined his Ugly man; one [ page 48 ] approaching to the

[Begin Page 545] beast in features and form, his forehead small, without frontals; his jaws large; his nose high on the ridge, and narrow; his chest and the stamina of his make, comparatively little, and his joints and his extremities large; his eyes with scarce any whites, narrow and cunning, and every thing tending toward what is truly Ugly; the incapability of intellect. The Artist has considered his strong Man as a receptacle of Wisdom, a sublime energizer; his features and limbs do not spindle out into length, without strength, nor are they too large and unwieldy for his brain and bosom. Strength consists in accumulation of power to the principal seat, and from thence a regular gradation and subordination; strength is compactness, not extent nor bulk.

The strong Man acts from conscious superiority, and marches on in fearless dependance on the divine decrees, raging with the inspira [ page 49 ]tions of a prophetic mind. The Beautiful Man acts from duty, and anxious solicitude for the fates of those for whom he combats. The Ugly Man acts from love of carnage, and delight in the savage barbarities of war, rushing with sportive precipitation into the very teeth of the affrighted enemy.

The Roman Soldiers rolled together in a heap before them: “Like the rolling thing before the whirlwind;” each shew a different character, and a different expression of fear, or revenge, or envy, or blank horror, or amazement, or devout wonder and unresisting awe.

The dead and the dying, Britons naked, mingled with armed Romans, strew the field beneath. Among these, the last of the Bards who were capable of attending warlike deeds, is seen falling, outstretched among the dead and the dying; singing to his harp in the pains of death.

[ page 50 ]Distant among the mountains, are Druid Temples, similar to Stone Hedge. The Sun sets behind the mountains, bloody with the day of battle.

The flush of health in flesh, exposed to the open air, nourished by the spirits of forests and floods, in that ancient happy period, which history has recorded, cannot be like the sickly daubs of Titian or Rubens. Where will the copier of nature, as it now is, find a civilized man, who has been accustomed to go naked. Imagination only, can furnish us with colouring appropriate, such as is found in the Frescos of Rafael and Michael Angelo: the disposition of forms always directs colouring in works of true art. As to a modern Man stripped from his load of cloathing, he is like a dead corpse. Hence Rubens, Titian, Correggio, and all of that class, are like leather and chalk; their men are like leather, and their women like chalk, for the disposition of their [ page 51 ] forms will not admit of grand colouring; in Mr. B.'s Britons, the blood is seen to circulate in their limbs; he defies competition in colouring.

[Begin Page 546] NUMBER VI.

A Spirit vaulting from a cloud to turn and wind a fiery Pegasus--Shakspeare. The horse of Intellect is leaping from the cliffs of Memory and Reasoning; it is a barren Rock: it is also called the Barren Waste of Locke and Newton.

THIS Picture was done many years ago, and was one of the first Mr. B. ever did in Fresco; fortunately or rather providentially he left it unblotted and unblurred, although molested continually by blotting and blurring demons; but he was also compelled to leave it unfinished for reasons that will be shewn in the following.

[ page 52 ] NUMBER VII. The Goats, an experiment Picture.

THE subject is taken from the Missionary Voyage and varied from the literal fact, for the sake of picturesque scenery. The savage girls had dressed themselves with vine leaves, and some goats on board the missionary ship stripped them off presently. This Picture was painted at intervals, for experiment, with the colours, and is laboured to a superabundant blackness; it has however that about it, which may be worthy the attention of the Artist and Connoisseur for reasons that follow.


The spiritual Preceptor, an experiment Picture.

THIS subject is taken from the visions of Emanuel Swedenborgs. Universal Theology, [ page 53 ] No. 623. The Learned, who strive to ascend into Heaven by means of learning, appear to Children like dead horses, when repelled by the celestial spheres. The works of this visionary are well worthy the attention of Painters and Poets; they are foundations for grand things; the reason they have not been more attended to, is, because corporeal demons have gained a predominance; who the leaders of these are, will be shewn below. Unworthy Men who gain fame among Men, continue to govern mankind after death, and in their spiritual bodies, oppose the spirits of those, who worthily are famous; and as Swedenborg observes, by entering into disease and excrement, drunkenness and concupiscence, they possess themselves of the bodies of mortal men, and shut the doors of mind and of thought, by placing Learning above Inspiration, O Artist! you may disbelieve all this, but it shall be at your own peril.

[Begin Page 547] [ page 54 ] NUMBER IX.

Satan calling up his Legions, from Milton's Paradise Lost; a composition for a more perfect Picture, afterward executed for a Lady of high rank. An experiment Picture.

THIS Picture was likewise painted at intervals, for experiment on colours, without any oily vehicle; it may be worthy of attention, not only on account of its composition, but of the great labour which has been bestowed on it, that is, three or four times as much as would have finished a more perfect Picture; the labor has destroyed the lineaments, it was with difficulty brought back again to a certain effect, which it had at first, when all the lineaments were perfect.

These Pictures, among numerous others painted for experiment, were the result of [ page 55 ] temptations and perturbations, labouring to destroy Imaginative power, by means of that infernal machine, called Chiaro Oscuro, in the hands of Venetian and Flemish Demons; whose enmity to the Painter himself, and to all Artists who study in the Florentine and Roman Schools, may be removed by an exhibition and exposure of their vile tricks. They cause that every thing in art shall become a Machine. They cause that the execution shall be all blocked up with brown shadows. They put the original Artist in fear and doubt of his own original conception. The spirit of Titian was particularly active, in raising doubts concerning the possibility of executing without a model, and when once he had raised the doubt, it became easy for him to snatch away the vision time after time, for when the Artist took his pencil, to execute his ideas, his power of imagination weakened so much, and darkened, that memory of nature and of Pictures [ page 56 ] of the various Schools possessed his mind, instead of appropriate execution, resulting from the inventions; like walking in another man's style, or speaking or looking in another man's style and manner, unappropriate and repugnant to your own individual character; tormenting the true Artist, till he leaves the Florentine, and adopts the Venetian practice, or does as Mr. B. has done, has the courage to suffer poverty and disgrace, till he ultimately conquers.

Рубенс, – демон самый неистовый, и населяет разум людей образами своих Картин, препятствуя проявлению у них какой-либо собственной мысли, так, что человек, охваченный этим демоном, перестаёт восхищаться чем-либо иным, кроме Рубенса, его подражателей и подмастерьев. <…>

[Начало с. 548]

Корреджо – мягкий, женоподобный и, следовательно, самый жестокий демон, чьё наслаждение состоит в том, чтобы вызывать бесконечную [умственную] работу у любого, кто бы ни попытался проникнуть в его мысли.

Rubens is a most outrageous demon, and by infusing the remembrances of his Pictures, and style of execution, hinders all power of individual thought: so that the man who is possessed by this demon, loses all admiration of any other Artist, but Rubens, and those who were his imitators and journeymen, he causes to the Florentine and Roman Artist fear to execute; and though the original conception was all fire and animation, he loads it with [ page 57 ] hellish brownness, and blocks up all its gates of light, except one, and that one he closes with iron bars, till the victim is obliged to give up the Florentine and Roman practice, and adopt the Venetian and Flemish.

[Begin Page 548]

Correggio is a soft and effeminate and consequently a most cruel demon, whose whole delight is to cause endless labor to whoever suffers him to enter his mind. The story that is told in all Lives of the Painters about Correggio being poor and but badly paid for his Pictures, is altogether false; he was a petty Prince, in Italy, and employed numerous journeymen in manufacturing (as Rubens and Titian did) the Pictures that go under his name. The manual labor in these Pictures of Correggio is immense, and was paid for originally at the immense prices that those who keep manufactories of art always charge to their employers, while they themselves pay their journeymen little enough. But though [ page 58 ] Correggio was not poor, he will make any true artist so, who permits him to enter his mind, and take possession of his affections; he infuses a love of soft and even tints without boundaries, and of endless reflected lights, that confuse one another, and hinder all correct drawing from appearing to be correct; for if one of Rafael or Michael Angelo's figures was to be traced, and Correggio's reflections and refractions to be added to it, there would soon be an end of proportion and strength, and it would be weak, and pappy, and lumbering, and thick headed, like his own works; but then it would have softness and evenness, by a twelvemonth's labor, where a month would with judgment have finished it better and higher; and the poor wretch who executed it, would be the Correggio that the life writers have written of: a drudge and a miserable man, compelled to softness by poverty. I say again, O Artist, you may disbe [ page 59 ]lieve all this, but it shall be at your own peril.

Note. These experiment Pictures have been bruized and knocked about, without mercy, to try all experiments.


The Bramins.--A Drawing.

The subject is, Mr. Wilkin, translating the Geeta; an ideal design, suggested by the first publication of that part of the Hindoo Scriptures, translated by Mr. Wilkin. I understand that my Costume is incorrect, but in this I plead the authority of the ancients, who often deviated from the Habits, to preserve the Manners, as in the instance of Laocoon, who, though a priest, is represented naked.

[ page 60 ] NUMBER XI.

The body of Abel found by Adam and Eve; Cain, who was about to bury it, fleeing from the face of his Parents. --A Drawing.


The Soldiers casting lots for Christ's Garment.-A Drawing.

[Begin Page 549] NUMBER XIII.

Jacob's Ladder,“>-A Drawing.


The Angels hovering over the Body of Jesus in the Sepulchre.--A Drawing.

The above four drawings the Artist wishes were in Fresco, on an enlarged scale to ornament [ page 61 ] the altars of churches, and to make England like Italy, respected by respectable men of other countries on account of Art. It is not the want of genius, that can hereafter be laid to our charge, the Artist who has done these Pictures and Drawings will take care of that; let those who govern the Nation, take care of the other. The times require that every one should speak out boldly; England expects that every man should do his duty, in Arts, as well as in Arms, or in the Senate.

XV. Руфь — Рисунок / XV. Ruth.—A Drawing

[ Книга Руфь 1:16 ] / [ Ruth 1:16 ]

Руфь, почтительная сноха, 1803, Городская художественная галерея Саутгемптона / Ruth the Dutiful Daughter-in-law, 1803, Southampton Art Gallery


Руфь.— Рисунок.

Сюжет рисунка взят из наиболее патетического фрагмента книги Руфь, где Ноеминь прощается со своими снохами, собираясь вернуться к свою страну; Руфь не может оставить её, и говорит ей: «Куда [с. 62] ты пойдешь, туда и я пойду, и где ты жить будешь, там и я буду жить; народ твой будет моим народом, и твой Бог — моим Богом; и где ты умрешь, там и я умру и погребена буду; пусть то и то сделает мне Господь, и еще больше сделает; смерть одна разлучит меня с тобою».

Различие, которое делается в наше время между живописью и графикой происходит из незнания искусства. Ценность картины такая же, как ценность рисунка. Художник-пачкун вместо рисунков создаёт пачкотню; но искусный рисовальщик умеет также писать и картины. Нет никакой разницы между картонами[1] Рафаэля и его фресками или картинами, разве что фрески, или картины, отделаны более тщательно. Когда г-н Б. ранее выставлял свои картины, написанные им маслом, некоторые художники и ценители искусства говорили, что это замечательные рисунки на холсте, но не картины: однако то же самое они сказали и о картинах Рафаэля. [с. 63] Г-н Б. принял это за величайший из комплиментов, хотя говорившие имели в виду противоположное. Если размывание и разрушение контура составляет суть картины, г-н Б. никогда не будет настолько глуп, чтобы делать это. Таким искусством размывания контура является искусство Венеции и Фландрии; оно теряет всякую характерность, и оставляет то, что некоторые называют, выразительностью: однако это ложное понятие выразительности; выразительность не может существовать без характера, что является её основанием; и ни характер, ни выражение не могут существовать без твердого и определённого контура. Фресковая живопись предполагает более высокую степень отделки, чем рисунок на бумаге, или чем любой другой способ живописи. Но только человек со странным устройством зрения не предпочтёт рисунок на бумаге мазне маслом на холсте того же самого мастера, сделанного предположительно с той же самой тщательностью.

Великое и золотое правило искусства, а также и жизни, заключается в следующем: чем отчётливее, острее, [с. 64] и определённее контур[2], тем совершеннее произведение искусства; и чем эта линия менее чёткая и острая, тем больше она свидетельствует о слабости, подражательности, плагиате и небрежности. Великие изобретатели во все времена знали об этом: Протоген[3] и Апеллес[4] узнавали друг друга по этой линии. Рафаэль, Микеланджело и Альберт Дюрер известны этим качеством и ценились уже только за это. Отсутствие определённой очерченной формы свидетельствует об отстутствии идеи в сознании художника, и служит признаком плагиаторства в любой области. Как мы отличаем дуб от бука, лошадь от вола, разве не по контурам, которым они очерчены? Как мы отличаем одно лицо или его выражение от другого, разве не по очерчивающей линии с её бесконечными изгибами и поворотами? Что такое построить дом и вырастить сад, если не что-то чёткое, определённое? Что отличает честность от плутовства, если не твёрдая и жёсткая линия правоты и уверенности [с. 65] в действиях и намерениях? Уберите линию, и вы уберёте самую жизнь; всё снова вернётся в первобытный хаос; и Всемогущий вновь должен будет прочертить линию, чтобы человек или тварь смогли обрести жизнь. Довольно говорить о Корреджо, Рембрандте или любых других плагиаторах Венеции или Фландрии. Они не более чем неудачные подражатели линий, прочерченных их предшественниками, и их произведения сами доказывают, что они не более чем презренные беспорядочные имитации, неумелые и неверные копии.


Ruth.—A Drawing.

THIS Design is taken from that most pathetic passage in the Book of Ruth, where Naomi having taken leave of her daughters in law, with intent to return to her own country; Ruth cannot leave her, but says, “Whither [ page 62 ] thou goest I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge, thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest I will die, and there will I be buried; God do so to me and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”

The distinction that is made in modern times between a Painting and a Drawing proceeds from ignorance of art. The merit of a Picture is the same as the merit of a Drawing. The dawber dawbs his Drawings; he who draws his Drawings draws his Pictures. There is no difference between Rafael's Cartoons and his Frescos, or Pictures, except that the Frescos, or Pictures, are more finished. When Mr. B. formerly painted in oil colours his Pictures were shewn to certain painters and connoisseurs, who said that they were very admirable Drawings on canvass; but not Pictures: but they said the same of Rafael's Pictures. [ page 63 ] Mr. B. thought this the greatest of compliments, though it was meant otherwise. If losing and obliterating the outline constitutes a Picture, Mr. B. will never be so foolish as to do one. Such art of losing the outlines is the art of Venice and Flanders; it loses all character, and leaves what some people call, expression: but this is a false notion of expression; expression cannot exist without character as its stamina; and neither character nor expression can exist without firm and determinate outline. Fresco Painting is susceptible of higher finishing than Drawing on Paper, or than any other method of Painting. But he must have a strange organization of sight who does not prefer a Drawing on Paper to a Dawbing in Oil by the same master, supposing both to be done with equal care.

[Begin Page 550]

The great and golden rule of art, as well as of life, is this: That the more distinct, sharp, [ page 64 ] and wirey the bounding line, the more perfect the work of art; and the less keen and sharp, the greater is the evidence of weak imitation, plagiarism, and bungling. Great inventors, in all ages, knew this: Protogenes and Apelles knew each other by this line. Rafael and Michael Angelo, and Albert Durer, are known by this and this alone. The want of this determinate and bounding form evidences the want of idea in the artist's mind, and the t pretence of the plagiary in all its branches. How do we distinguish the oak from the beech, the horse from the ox, but by the bounding outline? How do we distinguish one face or countenance from another, but by the bounding line and its infinite inflexions and movements? What is it that builds a house and plants a garden, but the definite and determinate? What is it that distinguishes honesty from knavery, but the hard and wirey line of rectitude and certainty [ page 65 ] in the actions and intentions. Leave out this l[i]ne and you leave out life itself; all is chaos again, and the line of the almighty must be drawn out upon it before man or beast can exist. Talk no more then of Correggio, or Rembrandt, or any other of those plagiaries of Venice or Flanders. They were but the lame imitators of lines drawn by their predecessors, and their works prove themselves contemptible dis-arranged imitations and blundering misapplied copies.


The Penance of Jane Shore in St. Paul's Church.--A Drawing.

THIS Drawing was done above Thirty Years ago, and proves to the Author, and he thinks will prove to any discerning eye, that the productions of our youth and of our maturer age [ page 66 ]are equal in all essential points. If a man is master of his profession, he cannot be ignorant that he is so; and if he is not employed by those who pretend to encourage art, he will employ himself, and laugh in secret at the pretences of the ignorant, while he has every night dropped into his shoe, as soon as he puts it off, and puts out the candle, and gets into bed, a reward for the labours of the day, such as the world cannot give, and patience and time await to give him all that the world can give.



NUMBER. I. The Spiritual Form of Nelson guiding Leviathan PAGE 1 II. The Spiritual Form of Pitt guiding Behemoth 2 III. The Canterbury Pilgrims, from Chaucer 7 IV. The Bard, from Gray 35 V. The Ancient Britons 39 VI. A Subject from Shakspeare 51 VII. The Goats 52 VIII. The Spiritual Preceptor ib. [ page 68 ] IX. Satan calling up his Legions, from Milton PAGE 54 X. The Bramins--A Drawing 59 XI. The Body of Abel found by Adam and Eve, Cain fleeing away--A Drawing 60 XII. Soldiers casting Lots for Christ's Garment--A Drawing ib. XIII. Jacob's Ladder--A Drawing ib. XIV. Angels hovering over the Body of Jesus in the Sepulchre--A Drawing ib. XV. Ruth--A Drawing 61 XVI. The Penance of Jane Shore--A Drawing 65

272. Из «ОПИСАТЕЛЬНОГО КАТАЛОГА» (1809) ПРЕДИСЛОВИЕ Если глаз, предпочитает колорит Тициана и Рубенса колориту Микеланджело и Рафаэля, то он, должно быть, отличается ограниченностью и сомневается в собственных возможностях. Знатоки уверяют, будто Рафаэль и Микеланджело никогда не видели живописи Тициана или Корреджо, но им следовало бы помнить, что Корреджо родился за два года до Микеланджело, а Тициан через четыре года после него1. И Рафаэль, и Микеланджело знали Венецианцев, но презирали и отвергали всё, что они делали с предельным пренебрежением, так, словно это было сфабриковано с целью разрушить искусство.

	Мистер Б[лейк] обращается к Общественности с осуждением той узкой точки зрения, которая слишком надолго загнала искусство в темный угол. Глаза глупого хитреца никогда не будут удовлетворены произведением больше, чем взор посвящённого гения. Ссора Флорентийца с Венецианцем возникла не из-за непонимания Рисунка, но из-за непонимания Колорита. Как может тот, кто не знает, как нарисовать руку или ногу, знать, как раскрасить это? 
	Колорит зависит не от того, где положить Цвета, но от того, как распределить свет и тени, и всё определяется Формой или Контуром – тем, как это сделано. Там, где это сделано дурно, Колорит никогда не может быть правильным; и это всегда дурно у Тициана и Корреджо, Рубенса и Рембрандта. Пока мы не избавимся от Тициана и Корреджо, Рубенса и Рембрандта, мы никогда не станем равными Рафаэлю и Альбрехту Дюреру, Микельанджело и Джулио Романо. 

[с. 38] Пророки описывают то, что они узрели в своих Видениях, как реальных и существующих людей, увиденных ими с помощью своих имажинативных и бессмертных органов; Апостолы делают то же самое, чем чище и яснее этот орган, тем более отчетлив объект. Дух и Видение не являются, как предполагает современная философия, облачным паром или ничем: они организованы и тщательно артикулированы гораздо более совершенно, чем вся эта бренная и преходящая природа может произвести. Тот, кто не способен воображать в более чётких и ясных чертах, и в более ярком и ясном свете, чем преходящий смертный глаз может видеть, тот не имеет воображения совсем. Художник, создавший это произведение, утверждает, что все его фантазии кажутся ему бесконечно более совершенными и более детально организованными, чем любая вещь зримая его смертным глазом. Колорит зависит не от того, где положить Цвета, но от того, как распределить свет и тени, и всё определяется Формой или Контуром – тем, как это сделано. Там, где это сделано дурно, Колорит никогда не может быть правильным; и это всегда дурно у Тициана и Корреджо, Рубенса и Рембрандта. Пока мы не избавимся от Тициана и Корреджо, Рубенса и Рембрандта, мы никогда не станем равными Рафаэлю и Альбрехту Дюреру, Микеланджело и Джулио Романо…

Рубенс, – демон самый неистовый, и населяет разум людей образами своих Картин, препятствуя проявлению у них какой-либо собственной мысли, так, что человек, охваченный этим демоном, перестаёт восхищаться чем-либо иным, кроме Рубенса, его подражателей и подмастерьев. <…> Корреджо – мягкий, женоподобный и, следовательно, самый жестокий демон, чьё наслаждение состоит в том, чтобы вызывать бесконечную [умственную] работу у любого, кто бы ни попытался проникнуть в его мысли.

Великое и золотое правило искусства, так же как и жизни, заключается в следующем: чем яснее, острее и определённее линия, очерчивающая контуры, тем прекрасней произведение искусства, и чем эта линия менее чёткая и острая, тем больше она свидетельствует о слабости, подражательности, плагиате, и путанице... Уберите эту линию, и вы уберете самое жизнь; всё снова вернётся в первобытный хаос; и разве Всемогущий не должен был прочертить линию, прежде чем человек или тварь смогли обрести жизнь?

[Список работ]

1) «Духовная форма Нельсона» 2) «Духовная форма Питта» 3) «Сэр Джеффри Чосер и 29 пилигриммов по пути в Кентербери» 4) «Бард из Грея» [утеряна] 5) «Древние Британцы» [утеряна] 6) «Дух, выскочивший из облака, чтобы повернуть вспять огненного Пегаса» 7) «Козлища» [утеряна] 8) «Духовный наставник» [утеряна] 9) «Сатана, зовущий свои легионы» 10) «Брамины» [утеряна] 11) «Тело Авеля, найденное Адамом и Евой» 12) «Солдаты, бросающие кости, чтобы разделить одежды Христа» 13) «Лестница Иакова» 14) «Ангелы, парящие над телом Иисуса в усыпальнице» 15) «Руфь» 16) «Покаяние Джейн Шор»

[О картине «Кентерберийские Пилигримы»]

Характер и выразительность этой картины не могли бы быть достигнуты с помощью светотени Рубенса или Рембрандта, или любого венецианца или фламандца. Практика венецианцев и фламандцев – разорванные линии, разрушенные массы, разрозненные цвета. Практика Блейка – неразрывные линии, цельные объёмы, неразрозненные цвета. Искусство первых – утрачивает форму, искусство же последнего – обретает форму и сохраняет её. Его искусство противостоит первым во всех отношениях.

IV. «Бард из Грея» На скале, чей хмурый склон Навис над Конуэй-потоком, В соболь горя облачён, Стоял в отчаянье глубоком Бард и сединой в косматых волосах Сверкал, как метеоры в небесах,… «Вейтесь нити, чтобы сшить Мне саван для Эдварда рода...»

Шитьё савана для рода Эдварда с помощью звуков спиритуальной музыки, сопровождающей выражения ясно артикулированной речи, есть смелая, дерзновенная и наиболее мастерская концепция, которую общественность должна принять и одобрить с радушием и жадным энтузиазмом. Поэзия заключается в таких концепциях, и разве Живопись должна ограничиваться лишь жалкой подённой работой рабского копирования простой бренной и преходящей субстанции, а не возвышать, как поэзия и музыка, поднимая в свою собственную сферу изобретения и визионарной концепции? Нет, такого быть не должно! Живопись, как поэзия и музыка, существует и торжествует в бессмертых мыслях. И если «Кентерберийские Пилигримы» М-ра Б<лейка> были написаны с помощью какой-либо иной силы, чем поэтическое видение, это было бы так же скучно, как картина его соперника. Духи убитых бардов помогают прясти смертельную пряжу:

В мой грозный лад они вплетут свой труд, И пряжу для тебя рукой кровавою совьют...

Знатокам и художникам, которые не согласны с тем, как М-р Б<лейк> изображает духов с реальными телами, неплохо бы вспомнить, что греческие статуи Венеры, Минервы, Юпитера, Аполлона, которыми они восхищаются, все являются изображениями духовного существования бессмертного Бога для бренных и преходящих органов зрения; и все же они воплощены и сформированы в твёрдом мраморе. М-р Б<лейк> требует той же терпимости, и тогда всё встанет на свои места. Пророки описывают людей, увиденных ими в их Видениях, как реально существующих, – тех, которых они увидели с помощью своих имагинативных и бессмертных органов; Апостолы делают то же самое; чем чище и яснее этот орган, тем более отчетлив объект. Дух и Видение не являются, как предполагает современная философия, облачным паром или ничем, – они сформированы и тщательно артикулированы гораздо более совершенно, чем вся эта бренная и преходящая природа может произвести. Тот, кто не способен воображать в более чётких и ясных чертах, и в более ярком и ясном свете, чем преходящий смертный глаз может увидеть, тот не имеет воображения совсем. Художник, создавший данное произведение, утверждает, что все его фантазии кажутся ему бесконечно более совершенными и более детально организованными, чем любая вещь, зримая его смертным глазом. Духи – это люди, имеющие форму; в наше время все желают рисовать человеческие фигуры без линий и с большими и тяжелыми тенями; но разве тени не являются более бессмысленными, и более тяжёлыми чем линии? О, кто же может сомневаться в этом!

Король Эдуард и его королева Элинор повергнуты вместе со своими конями у подножия скалы, на которой стоит Бард; они повергнуты от ужаса, исходящего от его арфы на берегу реки Конуэй, чьи воды несут трупы убитых бардов к подножью скалы. Видно, как войска Эдварда разбрелись по горам

Измучены в томительной дороге.

Мортимер и Глостер лежат оцепеневшие от страха позади своего короля. Эта картина также выполнена в технике акварели или фрески.

273. Из «Обращения к Публике» (1809-10)

Неужели Бритт сможет когда-либо найти Совершенство в работе Подмастерьев?

Англичане настолько привыкли к неумелым поделкам Подёнщиков, что теперь они не в состоянии вынести уверенной кисти мастера».

Тот, кто мог представить Христа в качестве кучера, должен иметь довольно сомнительные идеи, и творения такого художника, следовательно, должны быть сомнительного свойства, то же самое можно сказать о тех господах, которые не жалеют денег на такую ерунду, думая, что это прекрасное искусство».

Галлерея Рубенса в Люксебругском дворце [в Париже], как все признают, является работой дебила... Какой разумный человек будет тратить деньги на работы этого слабоумного и его слабоумных подмастерий?

Разве тот, у кого есть глаза, может не видеть, что Рубенс и Корреджо были чрезвычайно слабыми и вульгарными? И неужели мы должны им подражать? Как Франсис Бэкон сказал, что здорового ребёнка следует обучить умению ходить как калека, в то время как калеку нужно научить ходить как здоровый человек. Вот на редкость мудрая мысль! Я не знаю, лжец ли Гомер, и существует ли такая вещь, как благородный спор. Я знаю, что все те, с кем я соперничал в искусстве старались, не превзойти, но уморить меня голодом с помощью клеветы и хитрых торговых махинаций.

Манеру, с которой моя тридцатилетняя репутация как художника и человека была разрушена, можно особенно хорошо увидеть на примере воскресной газеты под названием «Экзаминер», которая печатается в Бофортс-билдингс (мы все знаем, что редакторам газет очень мало дела до искусства и науки, и что им всегда платят за всё, что они ни настрочат на эти неблагодарные темы), и манера, в которой я разделался с этим логовом злодеев будет видна в поэме имеющей отношение к титаническим трудам моего трехлетнего пребывания в Фелфаме, которую я скоро опубликую.

Скрытая клевета и открытые изъявления дружбы достаточно распространены повсюду в мире, и никогда не существовало лучше повода для поэтической образности. Когда низкий человек человек оказывается вашим врагом, он всегда начинает с того, что он ваш друг.

Флаксман не может отрицать, что один из самых первых надгробных памятников, которые он изваял, я безвозмездно спроектировал для него, и тогда же он поносил мой характер Макклину, моему издателю, Макклин сам сказал мне тогда же об этом. Какая часть его иллюстраций к Гомеру и Данте принадлежит мне, я не знаю, поскольку он пошел достаточно далеко, издавая их, даже в Италии, но публика должна об этом знать.

[с. 20]

«ОПИСАТЕЛЬНОГО КАТАЛОГА» (1809) / A DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. «Описательный каталог» – это брошюра из 38 страниц, выдаваемая посетителям выставки 16-ти живописных произведений Блейка (часть из которых ныне утеряна). Выставка была организована в доме его младшего брата Джеймса Блейка, №28, Броад-Стрит, Голден-Сквер. За посещение взималась плата в полкроны. Гилкрист перепечатал каталог в «Жизни Блейка», но без Предисловия. Полностью «Описательный Каталог» впервые опубликован Эллисом в 1907 году.

	1. «Знатокам, которые уверяют, будто Рафаэль и Микеланджело… Корреджо родился двумя годами раньше Микеланджело, а Тициан только четырьмя годами позже» –  информация эта, мягко сказать,  неточная.  Вот для сравнения годы жизни этих художников: Микеланджело Буонарроти (1475–1564), Тициан Вечеллио (1477–1576), Рафаэль Санти (1483–1520), Антонио да Корреджо (ок. 1489–1534). 

См. также стихотворения и комментарии №№ 195, 197, 199, 235, 239.

Характер и выразительность этой картины [«Кентерберийские Пилигримы» Блейка] не могли быть достигнуты с помощью светотени Рубенса, Рембрандта или любого венецианца или фламандца. Практика венецианцев и фламандцев – разорванные линии, разрушенные массы, разрозненные цвета. Практика Блейка – неразрывные линии, цельные объёмы, неразрозненные цвета. Искусство первых – утрачивает форму, его же искусство – обретает форму и сохраняет её. Его искусство противостоит первым во всех отношениях. (Описательный каталог).


  1. Картон в живописи — рисунок углём или карандашом на бумаге или на грунтованном холсте, который делался в качестве эскиза для фресок. Рисунок, прокалывался по контуру, накладывался на влажный грунт и посыпался угольным порошком по проколу, чтобы получить слабый чёрный контур.
  2. Контур — у Блейка: the bounding line — то же, что а́брис (от нем. Abriß) — обводка контуров фигур и предметов в живописи и графике.
  3. Протоген (др.-греч. Πρωτογένης; лат. Protogenes; ок. 373/375 — 297/299 годы до н. э.) — древнегреческий художник, мастер живописи и скульптор; современник и друг живописца Апеллеса. Расцвет деятельности Протогена приходится на 323—303 годы до н. э.
  4. Апелле́с, Апелл (др.-греч. Ἀπελλῆς, лат. Apelles, примерно 370—306 гг. до н. э.) — древнегреческий живописец, друг Александра Великого.

[The Catalogue]

This Catalogue of descriptive commentary on sixteen paintings (“Inventions”) which Blake exhibited at his brother James's shop in Golden Square was included in the half-crown price of admission. It is the only work Blake actually published in printed form (if it is true that was printed for him by friends and never sold). It is alluded to, by the subtitle, in Blake's letter of 19 Dee 1808 to Cumberland as “an account of my various Inventions in Art, for which I have procured a Publisher” (i.e. the printer, D. N. Shury).

Address inserted in Blake's hand, in Huntington Library copy.

PAGE 1 The Spiritual Form of Nelson . . . ] The Spirit of Nelson . . . folds are entangled . . . variant inscription on sketch (Butlin 650).

PAGE 2 ordering the Reaper] commanding the reaper variant in the inscription on back of painting, 1805; but the inscription also uses the spellings “ploughman” and “plough”—favorite words, never spelled thus elsewhere by Blake; so the inscription, which I have not seen, can hardly be his own. (Reported in Bentley, Writings, p 892n.) Perhaps by Palmer (Butlin 651).

PAGE 64 want of idea] idea of want printer's error corrected by Blake by pen (Keynes, p 585)