Page:The Library, volume 5, series 3.djvu/253
OF WILLIAM BLAKE.
and religion, without plan or arrangement, and the artist's idiosyncracies will in this way be most clearly shown. The vehemence with which, throughout the book, he declaims against oil painting and the artists of the Venetian and Flemish schools is part of the fixed ideas of the author. [The quotations are here given from the text of the ' Descriptive Catalogue,' and not merely retranslated from Crabb Robinson.] His preface begins with the following words [which again do not occur in the 'Descriptive Catalogue' as we know it]:—'The eye which prefers the colouring of Rubens and Titian to that of Raphael and Michael Angelo should be modest and mistrust its own judgement,' but as he proceeds with his descriptions his wrath against false schools of painting waxes, and in holy zeal he proclaims that the hated artists are evil spirits, and later art the offspring of hell. Chiaroscuro he plainly calls 'an infernal machine in the hand of Venetian and Flemish demons.' The following will make it appear that these expressions are not merely theoretical phrases. Correggio he calls 'a soft, effeminate, and consequently most cruel demon.' Rubens is 'a most outrageous demon.' [It is hardly necessary to give the whole of Crabb Robinson's quotations from a work now so familiar. Suffice it to say that he does justice, both in his own words and in his quotations from the Catalogue, to Blake's doctrine of the 'great and golden rule of art, a fine and determinate outline.' Passing on, we come to another point on which Mr. Crabb Robinson's unpublished papers throw a new light;