Sunday 27 April 2014

Goeree, Chapter I

transcribed by Lala Ragimov, original spelling kept

An introduction to the general art of drawing

A 1674 English translation of
a drawing treatise by Willem Goeree (1635-1711)

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What the Art of Drawing is, and in what it doth consist.

THE ART of Drawing, (of which very little for fundamental Instruction i(s) written, of which notwithstanding never can be written sufficient enough) may justly be called a bearing Mother of all Arts and Sciences whatever, for whatsoever is made begets thorow the same a good Aspect and well-being; and besides all this, the Art of Drawing is the Beginning and End, or Finisher of all things imaginable, wherefore she may be called a Sense of Poesie, a Second Nature, a Living Book of all things past. She is called a Poesie, because that she thorow falshoods and masked faces, represents unto the Beholder the Truth of things present and past, and by pleasant resemblances makes us in a manner believe to see that, which indeed we see not. A Second Nature she is called, because she teacheth thorow Drawings, to imitate and to set forth all the Works of the Creation. A Living Book she is called, of things present and past; because that she brings into remembrance the beholder of her, thinks long since past, so that at sight, or the least Aspect of any praise-worthy History (in our minde, and in our understanding) we receive a profitable exercise, a fair invitation to imitate their laudable Acts, and a Pleasure in beholding; and more then this, she brings to remembrance the deeds of People and Nations, dead long since; and the features and resemblance of our Fathers, Grandfathers, and great Grandfathers, she represents as living in dead shades long after their time.

Wherein the Art of Drawing doth consist.

The Art of Drawing doth consist in this, that she (by means of Drawing, Shades and Heightnings, all shapes and forms that are in being, or imaginable) doth express in plain, as if they were really those things which they only represent.

The Art of Drawing necessary to all men.

The knowledge of this Art is necessary to all men, let them be of what trade or science whatsoever, and not only to those that are necessitated thorow the same, to procure their daily subsistence; but she is necessary to be known and understood of all men, as I said before; and therefore she, as the Rudder of a Ship, giveth judgement and reason about all proposals distinctively, and produceth the end of her intended work to appear in a compleatness.

Principally to Picture-drawers.

Forasmuch then as she is so necessary, having the seed of all Arts and Sciences inclosed in her womb, who then will not judge that she must be the beginning and end of that famous and high-esteemed Art of Picture-drawing: certainly she is useful in all Sciences, but here she is most necessary: here she must do all, here she must be the soul that giveth life to the Art of Picture-drawing.

The Art of Drawing is the soul of the art of Painting.

For as the soul dwelleth in a man, and makes the body amiable and pleasant, so likewise the Art of Drawing maketh the Art of Painting have life and lively representations; and as much as the soul liveth without the body, but the body without the soul is dead; so likewise the Art of Drawing can live in a compleat draught, without Painting, but painting without drawing is dead; and in short, as the soul and body maketh a perfect man, so the Art of Drawing and the Art of painting produceth a famous picture, nevertheless, it is, and remains indisputable, that the Art of Drawing doth surpass the Art of painting (each Art in particular by it self considered) by far.

The Art of Drawing needeth the whole man

Now forasmuch as the Art of Drawing extendeth it self very far, and containeth in her self many, not imaginable mysteries and secrets, and therefore requireth the entire judgement of the whole and sole man; for to learn to understand the same judicially, it is requisite therefore that young Learners receive a short and easie introduction, but judicial, and that the Instructors, (forasmuch as may be possible) shew and teach their young Learners the properties and peculiar Observations belonging to this Art, so naked and clear, that even the dullest and stupids of wit and understanding, might reap good benefits thereby in time, tempore & labore.

The Art of Drawing ought to have his Fundamental Rules as well as other Arts.

For this art ought not to be wanting in this, less then other Arts and Sciences are, which have their Books, Beginnings and Fundamental Rules:

In the instruction you must go from step to step

And in respect, that the manner of instruction is a great matter, I have purposed to proceed slowly, by degrees, from step to step, judging this to be the easiest and the best way: for it is certain, that in all the operations of our senses, none is more ready then the sense of feeling, which in a moment discloseth things innumerable, yet in such a manner, that it doth distinguish but one at once:

A Simile or Similitude.

By example, if you with the opening of your eyes cast your eyes upon this leaf of writing, you shall be able to judge, that the whole leaf is fill'd with many and sundry Letters, without observing what letters they be, or what they express; so that it is necessary the same to reade from word to word, and from line to line, before you can understand or judge of the contents of the same.

You must begin for the first step and go not the second before you well understand the first.

In the same manner, I speak to all such as by nature are inclined unto this Art, and have a desire to attain to a compleat understanding in this Art of Drawing, that they make their beginning from the extremest parts, and keep such a rational order in the same, as not to step from this to a second, before the first be well-known and judicially understood and performed by them.

The Art of Drawing, beloved of all men.

It is known also, and daily experience doth teach us, that most men even from their youth, love the Art of Drawing, so that we may behold children compelled by natural inclination to draw shapes of man and beast, and many times draw such things which causes many times great admiration in us; but notwithstanding that this Art is pleasant to all men, yet is she difficult in her Perfection, because she undertakes to do all things: so by consequence a man must understand every thing to that Art appertaining.

The first Mover in this desire which comes of a natural inclination.

Therefore desire must possess here in the first place, viz. such a desire, which together with a good disposition of a natural inclination, is well-affected to this Art, in respect then that Children in their youth by nature are inclined to something more particular then afterward they will be.

Parents ought to observe the natural inclination of their children.

How you may know whether a child be born to the Art of Drawing or not.

The parents therefore should diligently observe the natural inclination of their young children, forasmuch as it is not in the power of the young children, neither in the power of the Parents to make of them a good Draughtsmen, much less good Limners or Picture-drawers, but onely to make notice how by nature they are inclined toward the same; I say therefore, that if the Childrens Practice come from some natural instinct or inclination, they may promise unto us something that is good; not as we behold them playing, and without pain or trouble to draw out anything with single-strokes, but when we observe them to be inclined that, which they out of their head, have drawn to shadow and to lightning also, and so to continue to the finishing of that work: And those we call Drawers and Picture-Drawers born by nature.

Drawers and Picture Drawers must be of a singular nature.


What a young Learner must do.

In respect then, that in the beginning as well as in the ending of this study, they must be of a singular nature, viz. of a gentle, quiet and speculative spirit, devoutly observing all things before him, ruminating in himself how he shall remember, and keep in remembrance at least the best figures as are presented to his view, doing by imagination like a Looking-Glass, which changes himself in such a form as is put before him, and thus represents a Second Nature, therefore a young learner as would make a good Progress in this Art, must use himself to have his thoughts continually occupied, and make so many projections, and several inventions of Figures in his brain, as he meets withal, and are worthy the beholding. Then he must use himself to stay, for to see the same in a better posture, enclining the same by his draught to some common rules, well observing the business, plane, circumstances, light, and shade, whereof in this place I shall teach further and plainer.

How instruction is given.

This exercise doth consist in two general Members: the one is the Instruction, the other is the practice of the Learner; the Instruction is done by a Master of the Nature; after that, the life is the instruction it self; the instruction of the Master is by word of mouth, or active shewing the Learner by drawing

Observation of this introduction.

before him, or likewise of writing: by the last of these we intend to shew all things briefly and in short, that thorow this short instruction of mine, of the Art of Drawing, Limning and Painting, you may be led to the commendable art of limning, graving and painting, never enough to be praised and exalted, being the whole scope and drift of our intended work.

The Learner must apply himself to a good Master.


It is fit and necessary, that the Learner apply himself to a good Master, under whose experience, care and good instruction he may gain a good hand in drawing, and well-grounded knowledge in ordering his Figures, and making them of actions requisite, that after he comes to behold the life it self, he thorow his own genius, and his own exercised reason, all things nakedly and compleatly, might see and understand to be like formed with those things, of which he was formerly instructed.

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