A Treatise on Painting, by Leonardo da Vinci
Senex and Taylor, London
Of all Animal Operations we plainly perceive Sight to be the most quick: It moves with Incredible velocity, and discovers a Thousand Objects in an Instant. But then it sees them very confusedly, and in effect does not discern above one at a time. For Instance, if you glance your Eye over a Page of this Book, you will immediately perceive it full of different Characters; but what these Characters are, or what is intended by them, will be still a Secret: Insomuch that to gain any determinate Knowledge of what you have seen, you must consider them Piece-meal, forming the Letters into Words, and those again into Periods: So a Man who wou'd mount to the Top of a Building, is content to go up step by step, as knowing it impossible otherwise to reach it: In the same manner, a Person who wou'd attain to a Skill in Painting, must begin with the parts of Objects, e'er he can proceed to represent them entire; and must take them in order, never advancing to a second, e'er he has got a good habit of doing the first: For otherwise, his time will be thrown away, or at least, his advances render'd extremely Slow and Imperceptible. He must further inure himself to work with Patience and Steadiness, always remembring that a slow Diligence will ut strip a hasty Negligence.