Jonathan Richardson [1719]

What is Beautiful, and Excellent is naturally adapted to Please; but All Beauties, and Excellencies are not naturally Seen. Most Gentlemen see Pictures, and Drawings as the Generality of People see the Heavens in a Clear, Starry Night, they perceive a sort of Beauty there, but such a one as produces no great Pleasure in the Mind: But when one considers the Heavenly Bodies as other Worlds, and that there are an Infinite Number of these in the Empire of God, Immensity; and Worlds which our Eyes assisted by the best Glasses can never reach, and so far remote from the most distant of what we see (which yet are so far removed from us that when we consider it our Minds are fill’d with Astonishment) that These Visible ones are as it were our Neighbours, as the Continent of France is to Great Britain; When one considers farther, That as there are Inhabitants on this Continent tho’ we see whem not when we see That, ’tis altogether unreasonable to Imagine that those Innumerable Worlds are Uninhabited, and Desart; there must be Beings There, Some perhaps More, Others Less Noble, and Excellent-than Man: When one Thus views this Vast Prospect, the Mind is Otherwise affected than Before, and feels a Delight which Common Notions never can administer. So those who at Present cannot comprehend there can be such Pleasure in a good Picture, or Drawing as Connoisseurs pretend to find, may Learn to see the same thing Themselves, their Eyes being once open’d ’tis like a New Sense, and New Pleasures flow in as often as the Objects of that Superinduc’d Sight present themselves, which (to People of Condition Especially) very frequently happens, or may be procur’d, whether Here at Home, or in their Travels Abroad. When a Gentleman has learn’d to see the Beauties and Excellencies that are really in good Pictures, and Drawings, and which may be learnt by conversing with Such, and applying himself to the consideration of them, he will look upon That with Joy which he Now passes over with very little Pleasure, if not with Indifference: Nay a Sketch, a Scrabble of the Hand of a Great Master will be capable of administering to him a Greater Degree of Pleasure than those who know it not by Experience will easily believe.–Discourse II. An argument in behalf of the science of a connoisseur; wherein is shewn the dignity, certainty, pleasure, and advantage of it.

Source: https://archive.org/details/twodiscoursesies00rich

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