Sunday 27 April 2014

Goeree, Chapter III

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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Of the Order and Manner to be Observed in the Art of Drawing.

IN respect that in all things there is a manner and order, or at least ought to be, so do we esteem (observing our Promise) it necessary to go forward from step to step, therefore when the young Practitioner is now well-grounded in drawing the Oval, and knows how he must draw a face, and the several part thereunto belonging in the same Oval.

First step. To draw after Draughts very profitable

Then will I  here shew him the first step of his exercise, viz. he must exercise himself to draw with earnest desire and diligence after good Draughts or Prints, which are duly observed, and judicially compleated. And by drawing after draughts (I judge) to be most profitable for those that intend to exercise Painting, but as for those that intend Engraving or Etching, let them follow the best Prints after the ablest Masters, which they intend to practice by: therefore he that teacheth, shall at first shew the young Practitioner the easiest and facilest ways according to his intended Practice, whether for Painting, Engraving, or Etching, according to the capacity of the Practitioner, and so go forward from that which is easie to that which is harder, observing this Order as well in drawing as in the draught which you give unto him to imitate and follow, until at last put before him, observing that which (of the properties belonging to drawing) we shall declare hereafter.

Second step. To draw after Pictures. Requires greater judgement. For what reason

    The second step of his Exercise is, to draw after pictures to bring them out of a great into a small proportion, and by this oftentimes using, they will learn and be accustomed to guess well, and beget a good and sure hand in drawing. And as this is the second step of his Exercise, so it is harder and requires greater judgement and knowledge, for in a picture you finde neither a circumferent stroke, neither manner of drawing, neither difference between light and light. (which in the variety of colours lies hid) although clearly and judicially shewn; and because the just and due shades of a picture must be exprest by a mean of only one single thing, viz. black or red oker, or the like, therefore sensible observations are necessary in the situation, or that which in a picture comes forward or goes backward, to observe the same also in your draught, all which in his due place shall be spoken as thought fit.

The third Step.

Now to come to the third step, we must consider again to learn some new thing, and therefore we commend unto you the Drawing after Rounds of plaister, done by very good Masters; there be the Works of Francisco which has made many fine children in plaister:

A good Figure necessary to draw after.

in like manner the Gladiator of his a very neat and exquisite Figure, the Rape of the Sabina of J de Bolonge, the Laocoon, the Wrestlers, the Greek Venus, the Hercules, the Hermes, the Anatomy of man of several and divers Actions, and several, as well antique as modern faces:

Plaster is one Introduction to the Life

The reason

after all the young Practitioner with very much profit may practice to draw; and this exercise is therefore the more necessary, because it is an Introduction to learn to draw after the life, as drawing after pictures is harder then to draw after a draught, for the reasons abovesaid.

   In like manner, is drawing after plaister harder then drawing after pictures, because in plaister the certainty of the circumferent stroke is not so apparent, neither the shadows nor lights in such a manner apparent as they are in pictures, draughts or prints; the manner, and what is to be observed in this exercise, shall be taught in another place, when I shall speak or teach of every particular exercise by it self.

The fourth Step.

    Now coming to the fourth step, viz. the life it self of all natural things, the Compleatest, the best Master for imitation and liberty, our only observation, for here is all things to be found, of what is to be found, or ever was enquired after, by brave and famous Masters, and therefore very necessary, (as soon as Practitioner in some means understands the foregoing exercises)

Perswasion to much drawing.

to exercise to draw after the life it self, by the direction and instruction of a good Master, with diligence and continual labour of the young Practitioner, according to the old proverb, Dii laberibus omnia vendunt, the gods for labour sell all things; or Gutta cavet lapidem, non vi sit sape cadende, by continual or often dropping, (and not suddenly) is a stone made hollow; therefore before we go to the instruction of the exercises in particular, we recommend to the young Practitioner diligent and a continual drawing, forasmuch as this is the way to attain to the perfection therein, not imagining that as soon as they begin to have only a glimpse of things, that they have enough, and so desist or decline drawing any more, but forthwith take the Pencil in hand, having a desire now more to painting, and not to drawing, which seeming imaginations now adays many young Painters keep very much down and backward in their practice,

Example to others.

which is lamentable and much deplorable, notwithstanding we have so many famous Masters, which continually during their term of life, have spent much of their time in drawing the last period of their lives followed and visited their weekly Colledges and drawn their Academical Figures.

Custom in Rome.

It was a Custom in Rome, and it is as yet observed and kept inviolated, that youth was kept sixteen, eighteen, nay, twenty years to drawing only, without suffering them to take either colour or pencil in their hand, thorow which means they became so expert in the Art of Drawing, that in a little time afterward, all things appertaining unto Painting, they easily, well and perfectly understood, and Master-like made demonstration thereof by their own hand to the world; and therefore it is not to be admired, that so many brave Masters are come forth out of the Schools of Rome, and yet daily come.

This should invite us to imitation.

Which Examples also should be a spur unto us to a diligent and serious imitation, That the Art of Drawing and Painting here in England may flourish, as much as in any part beyond the Seas, nor have any occasion to give Precedency or preeminence to any foreign Artist whatsoever: which is short I had a desire to speak of, to the rousing and stirring up of all Lovers of Art, and these also that has a desire to practice in the same. Now I will proceed, and with singular attendance observe what is remarkable to be observed in every particular step by it self.

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