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Uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary

In general, I believe, it is applied to every object, and every kind of scenery, which has been or might be represented with good effect in painting-just as the word beautiful, when we speak of visible nature, is applied to every object and every kind of scenery that uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary any way give pleasure to the eye-and these seem to be the significations of both words, taken in their most extended and popular sense.

A more precise and distinct idea of beauty has been given in an essay, the early splendour of which not even the full meridian blaze of its illustrious author has been able to extinguish; but the picturesque, considered as a separate character, has never yet been accurately distinguished from the sublime and the beautiful; though no one has ever pretended that they are synonymous, for it is sometimes used in contradistinction to themsuch a distinction must exist.

For instance, it is very true that picturesque objects do please from some quality capable of being illustrated in painting; but so also does every object that is represented in painting if it please at all, otherwise it would not have been painted; and hence we ought to conclude, what certainly is not meant, that all objects which please in pictures are therefore picturesque-for no distinction or exclusion is made.

Were any other person to define picturesque objects to be those which please from some striking effect of form, colour, or light and shadow-such a definition would indeed give but a very indistinct idea of the thing defined; but it would be hardly more vague, and at the same time much less confined that the others, for it would not have an exclusive reference to a particular art. I hope to show in the course of this work, that the picturesque has a character not less separate and distinct than either the sublime or the beautiful, nor less independent of the art of painting.

Si Venerem Cous nunquam posuisset Apelles, Mersa sub acquoreis illa lateret aquis. Uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary the forms of the early Italian painters, or of those who, at a later period, lived where the study of the antique, then fully operating at Rome on minds highly prepared for its influence, had not yet taught them to separate what is beautiful, from the general mass: Compare their landscapes and backgrounds with those of Titian; nature was not changed, but a mind of a higher east, and instructed by the experience of all who had gone before, rejected minute detail; and pointed out, by means of such selections, and such combinations as were congenial to its own sublime conceptions, in what forms, in what colours, and in what effects, grandeur in landscape consisted.

Can it then be doubted that grandeur and uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary have been pointed out and illustrated by painting as well as picturesqueness?

Sir Uvedale Price, 1st Baronet

Yet, would it be a just definition of sublime or of beautiful objects, to say that they were such and, let the words uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary taken in their most liberal construction as pleased from some quality capable of being illustrated in painting, or, that proper subjects for that art?

The principles of those two leading characters in nature the sublime and the beautiful have been fully illustrated and discriminated by a great master; but even when I first read that most original work, I felt that there were numberless objects which give great delight to the eye, and yet differ widely from the beautiful as from the sublime.

The reflections which I have since been led to make, have convinced me that these objects form a distinct class, and belong to what may properly be called the picturesque.

That term, as we may judge from its etymology, is applied only to objects of sight; and, indeed, in so confined a manner as to be supposed merely to have a reference to the art from which it is named. I am well convinced, however, that the name and reference only are limited and uncertain, and that the qualities which make objects picturesque, are not only as distinct as those which make them beautiful or sublime, but are equally extended to all our sensations by whatever organs they are received; and that music-though it appears like a solecism-may be as truly picturesque, according to the general principles of uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary, as it may be beautiful or sublime, according to those of beauty or sublimity.

But there is one circumstance particularly adverse to this part of my essay: I mean the manifest derivation of the word picturesque. The Italian pittoresco is, I imagine, of earlier date than either the English or the French word, the latter of which, pittoresque, is clearly taken from it, having no analogy to its own tongue.

Pittoresco is derived, not like picturesque, from the thing painted, but from the painter; and this difference is not wholly immaterial. The English word refers to the performance, and the objects most suited to it: The words sublime and beautiful have not the same etymological reference to any one visible art, and therefore are applied to objects of the other senses: But should any person simply, and without any qualifying expressions, call a capricious movement of Scarlatti or Haydn picturesque, he would, with great reason, be laughed at, for it is not a term applied to sounds; yet such a movement, from its sudden, unexpected, and abrupt transitions-from a certain playful wildness of character and appearance of irregularity, is no less analogous to similar scenery in nature, than the concerto or the chorus, to what is grand or beautiful to the eye.

There is, indeed, a general harmony and correspondence in all our sensations when they arise from similar causes, though they affect us by means of different senses; and these causes, as Mr.

Burke has admirably pointed out, can never be so clearly ascertained when we confine our observations to one sense only. I must here observe, and I wish the reader to keep it in his mind, that the inquiry is not in what sense certain words are used in the best authors, still less what is their common, and vulgar use, and abuse; but whether there be certain qualities, which uniformly produce the same effects in all visible objects, and, according to the same analogy, in objects of hearing and of all the other senses; and which qualities, though frequently blended and united with others uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary the same object or set of objects, may be separated from them, and assigned to the class to which they belong.

If it can be shown that a character composed of these qualities, and distinct from all others, does universally prevail; if it can be traced in the different objects of art and of nature, and appears consistent throughout, it surely deserves a distinct title; but, with respect to the real ground of inquiry, it matters little whether such a character, or the set of objects belonging to it, be called beautiful, sublime, or picturesque, or by any other name, or by no name at all.

Beauty is so much the most enchanting and popular quality, that it is often applied as the highest commendation to whatever gives us pleasure, or raises uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary admiration, be the cause what it will. Mr Burke has given several instances of uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary ill-judged applications, and of the confusion of ideas which result from them; but there is nothing more ill-judged, or more likely to create confusion, if we at all agree with Mr.

Burke in his idea of beauty, than the mode which prevails of joining together two words of a different, and in some respects of an opposite meaning, and calling the character by the title of Picturesque Beauty. I must observe, however, that I by no means object to the expression itself; I only object to it as a general term for the character, and as comprehending every kind of scenery, and every set of objects which look well in a picture.

That is the sense, as far as I have observed, in which it is very commonly used; consequently, an old hovel, an old cart-horse, or an old woman, are often, in that sense, full of picturesque beauty; and certainly the application of the last term to such objects, must tend to confuse our ideas: In reality, the picturesque not only differs from the uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary in those qualities which Mr Burke has so justly ascribed to it, but arises from qualities the most diametrically opposite.

According to Mr Burke, one of the most essential qualities of beauty is smoothness; now, as the perfection of smoothness is absolute equality and uniformity of surface, wherever that prevails there can be but little variety or intricacy; as, for instance, in smooth level banks, on a small, or in open downs, on a large scale.

I am therefore persuaded, that the two opposite qualities of roughness, and of sudden variation, joined to that of irregularity, are the most efficient causes of the picturesque. This, I think, will appear very clearly, if we take a view of those objects, both natural and artificial, that are allowed to be picturesque, and compare them with those which are as generally allowed to be beautiful.

A temple or palace of Grecian architecture in its perfect entire state, and with its surface and colour smooth and even, either in painting or reality, is beautiful; uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary ruin it is picturesque.

Observe the process by which Time, the great author of such changes, converts a beautiful object into a picturesque one: Next, the various accidents of weather loosen the stones themselves; they tumble in irregular masses upon what the perhaps smooth turf or pavement, or nicely-trimmed walks and shrubberies-now mixed and overgrown with wild plants and creepers, that crawl over, and shoot among the fallen ruins.

Sedums, wall-flowers, and other vegetables that bear drought, find nourishment in the decayed cement from which the stones have been detached; birds convey their foods into the chinks, and yew, elder, and other berried plants project from the sides; while the ivy mantlesover other parts, and crowns the top. The first thing that strikes the eye in approaching any building, is the general outline, and the effect of uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary openings.

In Grecian buildings, the general lines of the roof are straight; and even when varied and adorned by uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary dome or a pediment, the whole has a character of symmetry and regularity.

But symmetry, which in works of art particularly accords with the beautiful, is in the same degree adverse to the picturesque; and among the various causes of the superior picturesqueness of ruins, compared with entire buildings, and destruction of symmetry is by no means the least powerful. Uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary Gothic buildings, the outline of the summit presents such a variety of forms, of turrets and pinnacles, some upon, some fretted and variously enriched, that even where there is an exact correspondence of parts, it is often disguised by an appearance of splendid confusion and irregularity.

In mills particularly, such is the extreme intricacy of the wheels and the wood work — such the singular variety of forms and of lights and shadows, of mosses and weather stains from the constant moisture, of plants springing from the uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary joints of the stones — such the assemblage of every thing which most conduces to picturesqueness, that, even without the addition of water, an old mill has the greatest charm for a painter.

It is owing to the same causes, that a building with scaffolding has often a more picturesque appearance, than the building itself when the scaffolding is taken away; that old, mossy, rough-hewn park pales of unequal heights are an ornament to landscape, especially when they are partially concealed by thickets, while a neat post and rail, regularly continued round a field, and seen without any interruption, is one of the most unpicturesque, as being one of the most uniform, of all boundaries.

But among all the objects of nature, there is none in which roughness and smoothness more strongly mark the distinction between the two characters, than in water. A calm, clear lake, with the reflections of all that uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary it, viewed under the influence of a setting sun, at the close of an evening clear and serene as its own surface, is perhaps, of all scenes, the most congenial to our ideas of beauty in its strictest, and in its most general acceptation.

Nay, though the scenery around should be the most wild and picturesque — I might almost say the most savage — every thing is so softened and melted together by the reflection of such a mirror, that the prevailing idea, even then, might possibly be that of beauty, so uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary as the water itself was chiefly regarded.

On the other hand, all water of which the surface is broken, and the motion abrupt and irregular, as universally accords with our ideas of the picturesque; and whenever the word is mentioned, rapid and stoney torrents and waterfalls, and waves dashing against rocks, are among the first objects that present themselves to our imagination.

The two characters also approach and balance each other, as roughness or smoothness, as gentle undulation or abruptness prevail. Among trees, it is not the smooth young beech nor the fresh and tender ash, but the rugged old oak or knotty wych elm that are picturesque; nor is it necessary they should be of great bulk — it is sufficient if they are rough, mossy, with a character of age, and with sudden variations in their forms.

The limbs of huge trees shattered by lightning or tempestuous winds, are in the highest degree picturesque; but whatever is uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary by those dreaded powers of destruction, must always have a tincture of the sublime.

There is a simile in Ariosto in which the two characters are finely uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary The ass is generally thought to be more picturesque than the horse; and among horses, it is the wild and rough forester, or the worn-out cart-horse to which that title is applied. The sleek pampered steed, with his high arched crest and flowing mane, is frequently represented in painting; but his prevailing character, whether there or in reality, is that of beauty.

In pursuing the same mode of inquiry with respect to other animals, we find that the Pomeranian and the rough water-dog are more picturesque than the smooth spaniel or the greyhound, the shaggy goat than the sheep; and these last are more so when their fleeces are ragged and worn away in parts, than when they are of equal thickness, or when they have lately been shorn.

No animal, indeed, is so constantly introduced in landscape as the sheep, but that, as I observed before, does not prove superior picturesqueness; and I imagine, that, besides their innocent character, so suited to pastoral scenes, of which they are the natural inhabitants, it arises from their being of a tint at once brilliant and mellow, which unites happily with all objects; and also from their producing, when in groups, however slightly the detail may be expressed, broader masses of light and shadow than any other animal.

The reverse of this is true with regard to deer; their general effect in groups is comparatively meagre and spotty, but their wild appearance, their uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary action, their sudden bounds, and the intricacy of their branching horns, are circumstances in the highest degree picturesque. Wild and savage animals, like scenes of the same description, have generally a marked and picturesque character; and, as such scenes are less strongly impressed with that character when all is calm and serene than when the clouds are agitated and variously tossed about, so whatever may be the appearance of any animal in a tranquil state, it becomes more picturesque when suddenly altered by the influence of some violent emotion; and it is curious to observe how all that disturbs inward calm produces a correspondent roughness without.

The bristles of the chafed and foaming boar — the quills on the fretful porcupine — are suddenly raised by sudden emotion, and the angry lion exhibits the same picturesque marks of rage and fierceness.

It is true, that in all animals where great strength and destructive fierceness are united, there is a mixture of grandeur, but the principles on which a greater or lesser degree of picturesqueness is founded may clearly be distinguished; the lion, for instance, with his shaggy mane, is much more picturesque than the lioness, though she is equally an object of terror. The effect of smoothness or roughness in producing the beautiful or the picturesque, is again clearly exemplified in birds.

Nothing is more truly consonant to our ideas of beauty, than their plumage when smooth and undisturbed, and when the eye glides over it without interruption; nothing, on the other hand, has so picturesque an appearance as their feathers, when ruffled by any accidental circumstance, or by any sudden passion in the animal. All these circumstances are in the strongest degree apparent in the eagle; but, from his size as well as courage, from the force of his beak and talons, formidable even to man, and likewise from all our earliest associations, the bird of Jove is always very much connected with ideas of grandeur.

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Many birds have received from nature the same picturesque appearance which in others happens only accidentally; such are those whose heads and necks are adorned with ruffs, with crests, and with tufts of plumes, not lying smoothly over uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary other, as those of the back, but loosely and irregularly disposed.

These are, perhaps, the most striking and attractive of all birds, as having that degree of roughness and irregularity which gives a spirit to smoothness and symmetry; and where in them or in other objects these last qualities prevail, the result of the whole is justly called beautiful.

In our own species, objects merely picturesque are to be found among the wandering tribes of gypsies and beggars; who, in all the qualities which give them that character, bear a close analogy to the wild forester and the worn-out cart-horse, and again to old mills, hovels, and other uvedale price essay on the picturesque summary objects of the same kind.

Most dignified characters, such as a Belisarius, or a Marius in age and exile, have the same mixture of picturesqueness and of decayed grandeur, as the venerable remains of the magnificence of past ages.