Horace Walpole [1825]

I prefer portraits, really interesting, not only to landscape painting, but to history. A landscape is, we will say, an exquisite distribution of wood and water, and buildings. It is excellent–we pass on, and it leaves not one trace in the memory. In historical painting there may be sublime deception–but it not only always falls short of the idea, but is always false; that is, has the greatest blemish incidental to history. It is commonly false in the costume; generally in the portraits; always in the grouping and attitudes, which the painter, if not present, cannot possibly delineate as they really were. Call it fabulous painting, and I have no objection.–But a real portrait we know is truth itself: and it calls up so many collateral ideas, as to fill an intelligent mind more than any other species. – Walpoliana

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