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HAVING finished the preceding lecture with observations on Fresco, a method of painting almost as much out of use as public encouragement, and perhaps better fitted for the serene Italian than the moist air of more northern climates, I now proceed to Oil Painting. The general medium of paint is Oil; and in that, according to the division of our illustrious commentator on Du Fresnoy, "all the modes of harmony, or of producing that effect of colours which is required in a picture, may be reduced to three, two of which belong to the Grand style, and the other to the Ornamental. The first may be called the Roman manner, where the colours are of a full and strong body, such as are found in the Transfiguration. The next is that harmony which is produced by what
the ancients called the corruption* of the colours, by mixing and breaking them till there is a general union in the whole, without any thing that shall bring to your remembrance the painter's palette or the original colours: this may be called the Bolognian style, and it is this hue and effect of colours which Ludovico Carracci seems to have endeavoured to produce, though he did not carry it to that perfection which we have seen since his time in the small works of the Dutch school, particularly Jan Steen, where art is completely concealed, and the painter, like a great orator, never draws the attention from the subject on himself. The last manner belongs properly to the ornamental style, which we call the Venetian, being first practised at Venice, but is perhaps better learned from Rubens: here the brightest colours possible are admitted, with the two extremes of warm and cold, and these reconciled by being dispersed over the picture, till the whole appears like a bunch of flowers."
As I perfectly coincide with this division, and the practical corollaries deduced from it, * Φθορα.
what I have to say relatively to each of these classes or styles will rather be a kind of commentary on it than a text containing a doctrine of my own.
If the Roman style of Historic colour be the style of Raffaello in the Transfiguration, it died with him; it is certainly not that Roman style which distinguishes that school from Giulio Romano to Carlo Maratti.
Though the Transfiguration be more remarkable for the characteristic division of its parts than for its masses, yet it has more than the breadth, a closer alliance and larger proportion of correspondent colours, and a much purer theory of shade than we meet with in the subsequent pictures of the same school; the picture at Genoa of the Lapidation of St. Stephen, by Giulio Romano, only excepted, which was probably soon after framed on the principles of the Transfiguration.
The crudeness of colour and asperity of tone observable in the Roman School, though founded on simplicity, is perhaps a greater proof of their want of eye and taste than of a pure historic principle. Harmony of colour consists in the due balance of all, equally re