Lectures on Landscape - Delivered at Oxford in Lent Term, 1871
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lampblack. He takes a piece of brown paper, works for about two minutes with his white brush, passes the black to his right hand, and works half a minute with that, and, there you are! You would like to be able to draw two swans in two minutes and a half yourselves. Perhaps so, and I can show you how; but it will need twenty years’ work all day long. First, in the meantime, you must draw them rightly, if it takes two hours instead of two minutes; and, above all, remember that they are black and
virtue of patience and to all the difficulty of precision. There is more real relation to the great schools of art, more fellowship with Bellini and Titian, in the humblest painter of letters on village signboards than in men like these. 38 Lectures on Landscape Do not, therefore, think that the Gothic school is an easy one. You might more easily fill a house with pictures like Constable’s from garret to cellar, than imitate one cluster of leaves by Van Eyck or Giotto; and among all the
National Gallery as one of the six best existing of the purist school, being wholly felicitous and enjoyable. In the foreground of it indeed is the martyrdom of Peter Martyr; but John Bellini looks upon that as an entirely cheerful and pleasing incident; it does not disturb or even surprise him, much less displease in the slightest degree. Now, the next best landscape to this, in the National Gallery, is a Florentine one on the edge of transition to the Greek feeling; and in that the distance
provided only the passion you bring to it be true and pure. The degree of it you cannot command; the genuineness of it you can—yes, and the depth of source also. Tintoret’s passion may be like the Reichenbach, and yours only like a little dripping Holywell, but both equally from deep springs. 13. But though the virtue of all painting (and similarly of sculpture and every other art) is in passion, I must not have you begin by working passionately. The discipline of youth, in all its work, is in
others, and even sometimes thick and sometimes slender, a scientifically accurate outline is perfectly equal throughout; and in your first practice I wish you to use always a pen with a blunt point, which will make no hair stroke under any conditions. So that using black ink and only one movement of the pen, not returning to thicken your line, you shall either have your line there, or not there; and that you may not be able to gradate or change it, in any way or degree whatsoever. 24. Now the