Page:Life of William Blake 2, Gilchrist.djvu/224

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166
SELECTIONS FROM BLAKE'S WRITINGS.

court the comparison, and fear not the result,—but not in a dark corner. Their effects are, in every picture, the same; mine are in every picture different. That vulgar epigram in art, Rembrandt's Hundred Guelders has entirely put an end to all genuine and appropriate effect: all, both morning and night, is now a dark cavern; it is the fashion.

I hope my countrymen will excuse me if I tell them a wholesome truth. Most Englishmen, when they look at pictures, immediately set about searching for points of light, and clap the picture into a dark corner. This, when done by grand works, is like looking for epigrams in Homer. A point of light is a witticism: many are destructive of all art; one is an epigram only, and no good work can have them. Raphael, Michael Angelo, Albert Dürer, Giulio Romano, are accounted ignorant of that epigrammatic wit in art, because they avoid it as a destructive machine, as it is.

Mr. Blake repeats that there is not one character or expression in this print which could be produced with the execution of Titian, Rubens, Correggio, Rembrandt, or any of that class. Character and expression can only be expressed by those who feel them. Even Hogarth's execution cannot be copied or improved. Gentlemen of fortune, who give great prices for pictures, should consider the following: When you view a collection of pictures, painted since Venetian art was the fashion, or go into a modern exhibition, with a very few exceptions every picture has the same effect—a piece of machinery of points of light to be put into a dark hole.

Rubens's 'Luxembourg Gallery' is confessed on all hands to be the work of a blockhead; it bears this evidence in its face. How can its execution be any other than the work of a blockhead? Bloated gods, Mercury, Juno, Venus, and the rattletraps of mythology, and the lumber of an awkward French palace, are thrown together around clumsy and rickety princes and princesses, higgledy-piggledy. On the contrary, Giulio Romano's 'Palace of T. at Mantua' is allowed on all hands to be the production of a man of the