Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/65

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11
THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

his success in it being a matter of opinion, it will require some care to give a fair account. Oil painting was recommended to him as the only medium through which breadth, force, and sufficient rapidity could be obtained. He made several attempts, and found himself quite unequal to the management of it. His great objections were that the picture, after it was painted, sunk so much that it ceased to retain the brilliancy and luxury that he intended, and also that no definite line, no positive end to the form could, even with the greatest of his ingenuity, be obtained: all his lines dwindled and his clearness melted. From these circumstances it harassed him; he grew impatient and rebellious, and flung it aside, tired with ill success and tormented with doubts. He then attacked it with all the indignation he could collect, and finally relinquished it to men, if not of less minds, of less ambition. He had Michael Angelo on his side, without doubt, and a great many of the old genuine painters. Desiring that his colours should be as pure and as permanent as precious stones, he could not with oil obtain his end. The writer of this being a sculptor, he has not had the opportunity of collecting materials for Mr. Blake's defence, but he has no doubt that his hatred to oil as a vehicle was produced by some great defect in it, as he has also no doubt, in spite of what cavillers