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A Treatise on Painting, by Leonardo da Vinci
Senex and Taylor, London


LDE T1013   CID92  Of the Variety necessaty in History Pieces

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In Pieces of History, a Painter must show something of a Genius and a Talent at Invention, by the abundance and variety of his Figures; studiously avoiding all Repetition of the same thing, and striving to please the Eyes of his Spectators, by an appearance of Novelty. Where the Subject will bear it therefore, let him venture to mingle Men different in Age, Air, and Dress, with Women, Children, Dogs, Horses, Buildings, Landskips, Hills, and the like; taking care that there be something of Dignity in the appearance of a Prince, or a Per son of Quality, and that he be distinguish'd from the Populace. He must further observe, that in the same*Group, be never seen the Gay and Sprightly, mix'd with the Pensive and Melanchollick; it being natural for People of jovial Dispopositions, to associate with those of their own kind, and on the contrary, for the serious and grave to shun those of a different Humour.

Group, An Assemblage or Knot of Figures, gathered together in one Pelotoon, Globus, or Bottom, as it may be called. One may illustrate it by a Consort of Voices in Musick, which altogether sustain one another, and from which, if you take away any one the Harmony, becomes defective; so if a Group be not well ballanced with Figures, something or other will appear disagreeable.