Lectures on Landscape - Delivered at Oxford in Lent Term, 1871
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natural to suppose that the main interest of landscape is essentially in rocks and water and sky; and that figures are to be put, like the salt and mustard to a dish, only to give it a flavor. Put all that out of your heads at once. The interest of a landscape consists wholly in its relation either to figures present—or to figures past—or to human powers conceived. The most splendid drawing of the chain of the Alps, irrespective of their relation to humanity, is no more a true landscape than a
and Veronese, when they paint on dark grounds, continually stop short with their tints just before they touch others, leaving the dark ground showing between in a narrow bar. In the Paul Veronese in the National Gallery, you will every here and there find pieces of outline, like this of Holbein’s; which you would suppose were drawn, as that is, with a brown pencil. But no! Look close, and you will find they are the dark ground, left between two tints brought close to each other without touching.
for the sake of color, there is enough to show you the nature and the value of the method. They are two pieces of study of the color of marble architecture, the tints literally “edified, “ and laid edge to edge as simply on the paper as the stones are on the walls. 73. But please note in them one thing especially. The testing rule I gave for good color in the “Elements of Drawing, “ is that you make the white precious and the black conspicuous. Now you will see in these studies that the moment
the Rock; his shoulders like its pinnacles; his belly deep into its every fissure—glued down—loaded down; his bat’s wings cannot lift him, they are rudimentary wings only. 90. Before I tell you what he means himself, you must know what all this smoke about him means. Nothing will be more precious to you, I think, in the practical study of art, than the conviction, which will force itself on you more and more every hour, of the way all things are bound together, little and great, in spirit and in
farther still. In both these high mythical subjects the surrounding nature, though suffering, is still dignified and beautiful. Every line in which the master traces it, even where seemingly negligent, is lovely, and set down with a meditative calmness which makes these two etchings capable of being placed beside the most tranquil work of Holbein or Dürer. In this “Cephalus” especially, note the extreme equality and serenity of every outline. But now here is a subject of which you will wonder at