Printed Edition



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


LDE T1014   CID93  The Faces in a History-Piece to be Diversified

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'Tis a Fault, to which the Italian Painters are extremely liable, to wit the introducing entire Figures of Emperors and others, imitated from the Ancient Statues, into their Pieces; or at least the giving their Figures, the Air and Appearance by which some of the Ancients are distinguish'd: to avoid this Fault, remember never to repeat the same thing, nor ever give the same Face, to two Figures in the same Painting. And in general you may take it for granted, that the more your Design is Diversified, by having that which is ugly, place near that more beautiful, an Old Man near a Young one, a Robust Man near a Weak one, the more pleasing your Painting will prove. It often happens that a Painter having designed some Animal, will make every stroke of it serve for his Purpose; but herein he is overseen, for the Members of the Animal while he was designing it, were usually in a Posture by no means conformable to the Action represented in the Painting; thus having finish'd the Figure with a great deal of care and justness, he has the Mortification at last, of finding himself under a necessity of effacing it, and supplying its place with another.