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The Queen of the Air by John Ruskin

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to be free!" Your individuality was given you by God, and in your race,
and if you have any to speak of, you will want no liberty. You will want
a den to work in, and peace, and light--no more,--in absolute need; if
more, in anywise, it will still not be liberty, but direction,
instruction, reproof, and sympathy. But if you have no individuality, if
there is no true character nor true desire in you, then you will indeed
want to be free. You will begin early, and, as a boy, desire to be a
man; and, as a man, think yourself as good as every other. You will
choose freely to eat, freely to drink, freely to stagger and fall,
freely, at last, to curse yourself and die. Death is the only real
freedom possible to us; and that is consummate freedom, permission for
every particle in the rotting body to leave its neighbor particle, and
shift for itself. You call it "corruption" in the flesh; but before it
comes to that, all liberty is an equal corruption in mind. You ask for
freedom of thought; but if you have not sufficient grounds for thought,
you have no business to think; and if you have sufficient grounds, you
have no business to think wrong. Only one thought is possible to you if
you are wise--your liberty is geometrically proportionate to your folly.

154. "But all this glory and activity of our age; what are they owing
to, but to freedom of thought?" In a measure, they are owing--what good
is in them--to the discovery of many lies, and the escape from the power
of evil. Not to liberty, but to the deliverance from evil or cruel
masters. Brave men have dared to examine lies which had long been
taught, not because they were free-thinkers, but because they were such
stern and close thinkers that the lie could no longer escape them. Of
course the restriction of thought, or of its expression, by persecution,
is merely a form of violence, justifiable or not, as other violence is,
according to the character of the persons against whom it is exercised,
and the divine and eternal laws which it vindicates or violates. We must
not burn a man alive for saying that the Athanasian creed is
ungrammatical, nor stop a bishop's salary because we are getting the
worst of an argument with him; neither must we let drunken men howl in
the public streets at night. There is much that is true in the part of
Mr. Mill's essay on Liberty which treats of freedom of thought; some
important truths are there beautifully expressed, but many, quite vital,
are omitted; and the balance, therefore, is wrongly struck. The liberty
of expression, with a great nation, would become like that in a
well-educated company, in which there is indeed freedom of speech, but
not of clamor; or like that in an orderly senate, in which men who
deserve to be heard, are heard in due time, and under determined
restrictions. The degree of liberty you can rightly grant to a number
of men is in the inverse ratio of their desire for it; and a general
hush, or call to order, would be often very desirable in this England of
ours. For the rest, of any good or evil extent, it is impossible to say
what measure is owing to restraint, and what to license where the right
is balanced between them. I was not a little provoked one day, a summer
or two since, in Scotland, because the Duke of Athol hindered me from
examining the gneiss and slate junctions in Glen Tilt, at the hour
convenient to me; but I saw them at last, and in quietness; and to the
very restriction that annoyed me, owed, probably, the fact of their being
in existence, instead of being blasted away by a mob-company; while the
"free" paths and inlets of Loch Katrine and the Lake of Geneva are
forever trampled down and destroyed, not by one duke, but by tens of
thousands of ignorant tyrants.

155. So, a Dean and Chapter may, perhaps, unjustifiably charge me
twopence for seeing a cathedral; but your free mob pulls spire and all
down about my ears, and I can see it no more forever. And even if I
cannot get up to the granite junctions in the glen, the stream comes down
from them pure to the Garry; but in Beddington Park I am stopped by the
newly-erected fence of a building speculator; and the bright Wandel,
divine of waters as Castaly, is filled by the free public with old shoes,
obscene crockery, and ashes.

156. In fine, the arguments for liberty may in general be summed in a
few very simple forms, as follows:

Misguiding is mischievous: therefore guiding is.

If the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch: therefore, nobody
should lead anybody.

Lambs and fawns should be left free in the fields; much more bears and

If a man's gun and shot are his own, he may fire in any direction he

A fence across a road is inconvenient; much more one at the side of it.

Babes should not be swaddled with their hands bound down to their sides:
therefore they should be thrown out to roll in the kennels naked.

None of these arguments are good, and the practical issues of them are
worse. For there are certain eternal laws for human conduct which are
quite clearly discernible by human reason. So far as these are
discovered and obeyed, by whatever machinery or authority the obedience
is procured, there follow life and strength. So far as they are
disobeyed, by whatever good intention the disobedience is brought about,
there follow ruin and sorrow. And the first duty of every man in the
world is to find his true master, and, for his own good, submit to him;
and to find his true inferior, and, for that inferior's good, conquer
him. The punishment is sure, if we either refuse the reverence, or are
too cowardly and indolent to enforce the compulsion. A base nation
crucifies or poisons its wise men, and lets its fools rave and rot in the
streets. A wise nation obeys the one, restrains the other, and cherishes

157. The best examples of the results of wise normal evidence in Art
will be found in whatever evidence remains respecting the lives of great
Italian painters, though, unhappily, in eras of progress, but just in
proportion to the admirableness and efficiency of the life, will be
usually the scantiness of its history. The individualities and liberties
which are causes of destruction may be recorded; but the loyal conditions
of daily breath are never told. Because Leonardo made models of
machines, dug canals, built fortifications, and dissipated half his
art-power in capricious ingenuities, we have many anecdotes of him;--but
no picture of importance on canvas, and only a few withered stains of one
upon a wall. But because his pupil, or reputed pupil, Luini, labored in
constant and successful simplicity, we have no anecdotes of him;--only
hundreds of noble works. Luini is, perhaps, the best central type of the
highly-trained Italian painter. He is the only man who entirely united
the religious temper which was the spirit-life of art, with the physical
power which was its bodily life. He joins the purity and passion of
Angelico to the strength of Veronese: the two elements, poised in perfect
balance, are so calmed and restrained, each by the other, that most of us
lose the sense of both. The artist does not see the strength, by reason
of the chastened spirit in which it is used: and the religious visionary
does not recognize the passion, by reason of the frank human truth with
which it is rendered. He is a man ten times greater than Leonardo;--a
mighty colorist, while Leonardo was only a fine draughtsman in black,
staining the chiaroscuro drawing, like a colored print: he perceived and
rendered the delicatest types of human beauty that have been painted
since the days of the Greeks, while Leonardo depraved his finer instincts
by caricature, and remained to the end of his days the slave of an
archaic smile: and he is a designer as frank, instinctive, and
exhaustless as Tintoret, while Leonardo's design is only an agony of
science, admired chiefly because it is painful, and capable of analysis
in its best accomplishment. Luini has left nothing behind him that is
not lovely; but of his life I believe hardly anything is known beyond
remnants of tradition which murmur about Lugano and Saronno, and which
remain ungleaned. This only is certain, that he was born in the
loveliest district of North Italy, where hills, and streams, and air
meet in softest harmonies. Child of the Alps, and of their divinest
lake, he is taught, without doubt or dismay, a lofty religious creed, and
a sufficient law of life, and of its mechanical arts. Whether lessoned
by Leonardo himself, or merely one of many disciplined in the system of
the Milanese school, he learns unerringly to draw, unerringly and
enduringly to paint. His tasks are set him without question day by day,
by men who are justly satisfied with his work, and who accept it without
any harmful praise, or senseless blame. Place, scale, and subject are
determined for him on the cloister wall or the church dome; as he is
required, and for sufficient daily bread, and little more, he paints what
he has been taught to design wisely, and has passion to realize
gloriously: every touch he lays is eternal, every thought he conceives is
beautiful and pure: his hand moves always in radiance of blessing; from
day to day his life enlarges in power and peace; it passes away
cloudlessly, the starry twilight remaining arched far against the night.

158. Oppose to such a life as this that of a great painter amidst the
elements of modern English liberty. Take the life of Turner, in whom the
artistic energy and inherent love of beauty were at least as strong as in
Luini: but, amidst the disorder and ghastliness of the lower streets of
London, his instincts in early infancy were warped into toleration of
evil, or even into delight in it. He gathers what he can of instruction
by questioning and prying among half-informed masters; spells out some
knowledge of classical fable; educates himself, by an admirable force, to
the production of wildly majestic or pathetically tender and pure
pictures, by which he cannot live. There is no one to judge them, or to
command him: only some of the English upper classes hire him to paint
their houses and parks, and destroy the drawings afterwards by the most
wanton neglect. Tired of laboring carefully, without either reward or
praise, he dashes out into various experimental and popular works--makes
himself the servant of the lower public, and is dragged hither and
thither at their will; while yet, helpless and guideless, he indulges his
idiosyncrasies till they change into insanities; the strength of his soul
increasing its sufferings, and giving force to its errors; all the
purpose of life degenerating into instinct; and the web of his work
wrought, at last, of beauties too subtle to be understood, his liberty,
with vices too singular to be forgiven--all useless, because magnificent
idiosyncrasy had become solitude, or contention, in the midst of a
reckless populace, instead of submitting itself in loyal harmony to the
Art-laws of an understanding nation. And the life passed away in
darkness; and its final work, in all the best beauty of it, has already
perished, only enough remaining to teach us what we have lost.

159. These are the opposite effects of Law and of Liberty on men of the
highest powers. In the case of inferiors the contrast is still more
fatal: under strict law, they become the subordinate workers in great
schools, healthily aiding, echoing, or supplying, with multitudinous
force of hand, the mind of the leading masters: they are the nameless
carvers of great architecture--stainers of glass--hammerers of iron--
helpful scholars, whose work ranks round, if not with, their master's,
and never disgraces it. But the inferiors under a system of license
for the most part perish in miserable effort;* a few struggle into
pernicious eminence--harmful alike to themselves and to all who admire
them; many die of starvation; many insane, either in weakness of insolent
egotism, like Haydon, or in a conscientious agony of beautiful purpose
and warped power, like Blake. There is no probability of the persistence
of a licentious school in any good accidentally discovered by them; there
is an approximate certainty of their gathering, with acclaim, round any
shadow of evil, and following it to whatever quarter of destruction it
may lead.

* As I correct this sheet for press, my "Pall Mall Gazette" of last
Saturday, April 17, is lying on the table by me. I print a few lines out
of it:

"AN ARTIST'S DEATH.--A sad story was told at an inquest held in St.
Pancras last night by Dr. Lankester on the body of . . ., aged
fifty-nine, a French artist who was found dead in his bed at his rooms in
. . . Street. M. . . ., also an artist, said he had known the deceased
for fifteen years. He once held a high position, and being anxious to
make a name in the world, he five years ago commenced a large picture,
which he hoped, when completed, to have in the gallery at Versailles; and
with that view he sent a photograph of it to the French Emperor. He also
had an idea of sending it to the English Royal Academy. He labored on
this picture, neglecting other work which would have paid him well, and
gradually sank lower and lower into poverty. His friends assisted him,
but being absorbed in his great work, he did not heed their advice, and
they left him. He was, however, assisted by the French Ambassador, and
last Saturday, he (the witness) saw deceased, who was much depressed in
spirits, as he expected the brokers to be put in possession for rent. He
said his troubles were so great that he feared his brain would give way.
The witness gave him a shilling for which he appeared very thankful. On
Monday the witness called upon him, but received no answer to his knock.
He went again on Tuesday, and entered the deceased's bedroom and found
him dead. Dr. George Ross said that when called into the deceased he had
been dead at least two days. The room was in a filthy, dirty condition,
and the picture referred to--certainly a very fine one--was in that room.
The post-mortem examination showed that the cause of death was fatty
degeneration of the heart, the latter probably having ceased its action
through the mental excitement of the deceased."

160. Thus far the notes of Freedom. Now, lastly, here is some talk
which I tried at the time to make intelligible; and with which I close
this volume, because it will serve sufficiently to express the practical
relation in which I think the art and imagination of the Greeks stand to
our own; and will show the reader that my view of that relation is
unchanged, from the first day on which I began to write, until now.




161. Among the photographers of Greek coins which present so many
admirable subjects for your study, I must speak for the present of one
only: the Hercules of Camarina. You have, represented by a Greek
workman, in that coin, the face of a man and the skin of a lion's head.
And the man's face is like a man's face, but the lion's skin is not like
a lion's skin.

162. Now there are some people who will tell you that Greek art is fine,
because it is true; and because it carves men's faces as like men's as it

And there are other people who will tell you that Greek art is fine,
because it is not true; and carves a lion's skin so as to look not at all
like a lion's skin.

And you fancy that one or the other of these sets of people must be
wrong, and are perhaps much puzzled to find out which you should believe.

But neither of them are wrong, and you will have eventually to believe,
or rather to understand and know, in reconciliation, the truths taught by
each; but for the present, the teachers of the first group are those you
must follow.

It is they who tell you the deepest and usefullest truth, which involves
all others in time. Greek art, and all other art, is fine when it makes
a man's face as like a man's face as it can. Hold to that. All kinds of
nonsense are talked to you, nowadays, ingeniously and irrelevantly about
art. Therefore, for the most part of the day, shut your ears, and keep
your eyes open: and understand primarily, what you may, I fancy, easily
understand, that the greatest masters of all greatest schools--Phidias,
Donatello, Titian, Velasquez, or Sir Joshua Reynolds--all tried to make
human creatures as like human creatures as they could; and that anything
less like humanity than their work, is not so good as theirs.

Get that well driven into your heads; and don't let it out again, at your

163. Having got it well in, you may then further understand, safely,
that three is a great deal of secondary work in pots, and pans, and
floors, and carpets, and shawls, and architectural ornament, which ought
essentially, to be unlike reality, and to depend for its charm on quite
other qualities than imitative ones. But all such art is inferior and
secondary--much of it more or less instinctive and animal, and a
civilized human creature can only learn those principles rightly, by
knowing those of great civilized art first--which is always the
representation, to the utmost of its power, of whatever it has got to
show--made to look as like the thing as possible. Go into the National
Gallery, and look at the foot of Correggio's Venus there. Correggio
made it as like a foot as he could, and you won't easily find anything
liker. Now, you will find on any Greek vase something meant for a foot,
or a hand, which is not at all like one. The Greek vase is a good thing
in its way, but Correggio's picture is the best work.

164. So, again, go into the Turner room of the National Gallery, and
look at Turner's drawing of "Ivy Bridge." You will find the water in it
is like real water, and the ducks in it are like real ducks. Then go
into the British Museum, and look for an Egyptian landscape, and you will
find the water in that constituted of blue zigzags, not at all like
water; and ducks in the middle of it made of blue lines, looking not in
the least as if they could stand stuffing with sage and onions. They are
very good in their way, but Turner's are better.

165. I will not pause to fence my general principle against what you
perfectly well know of the due contradiction,--that a thing may be
painted very like, yet painted ill. Rest content with knowing that it
must be like, if it is painted well; and take this further general law:
Imitation is like charity. When it is done for love it is lovely; when
it is done for show, hateful.

166. Well, then, this Greek coin is fine, first because the face is like
a face. Perhaps you think there is something particularly handsome in
the face, which you can't see in the photograph, or can't at present
appreciate. But there is nothing of the kind. It is a very regular,
quiet, commonplace sort of face; and any average English gentleman's, of
good descent, would be far handsomer.

167. Fix that in your heads also, therefore, that Greek faces are not
particularly beautiful. Of that much nonsense against which you are to
keep your ears shut, that which is talked to you of the Greek ideal of
beauty is the absolutest. There is not a single instance of a very
beautiful head left by the highest school of Greek art. On coins, there
is even no approximately beautiful one. The Juno of Argos is a virago;
the Athena of Athens grotesque, the Athena of Corinth is insipid; and of
Thurium, sensual. The Siren Ligeia, and fountain of Arethusa, on the
coins of Terina and Syracuse, are prettier, but totally without
expression, and chiefly set off by their well-curled hair. You might
have expected something subtle in Mercuries; but the Mercury of AEnus is
a very stupid-looking fellow, in a cap like a bowl, with a knob on the
top of it. The Bacchus of Thasos is a drayman with his hair pomatum'd.
The Jupiter of Syracurse is, however, calm and refined; and the Apollo
of Clazomenae would have been impressive, if he had not come down to us,
much flattened by friction. But on the whole, the merit of Greek coins
does not primarily depend on beauty of features, nor even, in the period
of highest art, that of the statues. You make take the Venus of Melos as
a standard of beauty of the central Greek type. She has tranquil,
regular, and lofty features; but could not hold her own for a moment
against the beauty of a simple English girl, of pure race and kind heart.

168. And the reason that Greek art, on the whole, bores you (and you
know it does), is that you are always forced to look in it for something
that is not there; but which may be seen every day, in real life, all
round you; and which you are naturally disposed to delight in, and ought
to delight in. For the Greek race was not at all one of exalted beauty,
but only of general and healthy completeness of form. They were only,
and could be only, beautiful in body to the degree that they were
beautiful in soul (for you will find, when you read deeply into the
matter, that the body is only the soul made visible). And the Greeks
were indeed very good people, much better people than most of us think,
or than many of us are; but there are better people alive now than the
best of them, and lovelier people to be seen now than the loveliest of

169. Then what are the merits of this Greek art, which make it so
exemplary for you? Well, not that it is beautiful, but that it is
Right.* All that it desires to do, it does, and all that it does, does
well. You will find, as you advance in the knowledge of art, that its
laws of self-restraint are very marvelous; that its peace of heart, and
contentment in doing a simple thing, with only one or two qualities,
restrictedly desired, and sufficiently attained, are a most wholesome
element of education for you, as opposed to the wild writhing, and
wrestling, and longing for the moon, and tilting at windmills, and agony
of eyes, and torturing of fingers, and general spinning out of one's
soul into fiddle-strings, which constitute the ideal life of a modern

* Compare above, sec. 101.

Also observe, there is an entire masterhood of its business up to the
required point. A Greek does not reach after other people's strength,
nor outreach his own. He never tries to paint before he can draw; he
never tries to lay on flesh where there are no bones; and he never
expects to find the bones of anything in his inner consciousness. Those
are his first merits--sincere and innocent purpose, strong common-sense
and principle, and all the strength that follows on that strength.

170. But, secondly, Greek art is always exemplary in disposition of
masses, which is a thing that in modern days students rarely look for,
artists not enough, and the public never. But, whatever else Greek work
may fail of, you may always be sure its masses are well placed, and their
placing has been the object of the most subtle care. Look, for instance,
at the inscription in front of this Hercules of the name of the town--
Camarina. You can't read it, even though you may know Greek, without
some pains; for the sculptor knew well enough that it mattered very
little whether you read it or not, for the Camarina Hercules could tell
his own story; but what did above all things matter was, that no K or A
or M should come in a wrong place with respect to the outline of the
head, and divert the eye from it, or spoil any of its lines. So the
whole inscription is thrown into a sweeping curve of gradually
diminishing size, continuing from the lion's paws, round the neck, up to
the forehead, and answering a decorative purpose as completely as the
curls of the mane opposite. Of these, again, you cannot change or
displace one without mischief; they are almost as even in reticulation as
a piece of basket-work; but each has a different form and a due relation
to the rest, and if you set to work to draw that mane rightly, you will
find that, whatever time you give to it, you can't get the tresses quite
into their places, and that every tress out of its place does an injury.
If you want to test your powers of accurate drawing, you may make that
lion's mane your pons asinorum, I have never yet met with a student who
didn't make an ass in a lion's skin of himself when he tried it.

171. Granted, however, that these tresses may be finely placed, still
they are not like a lion's mane. So we come back to the question,--if
the face is to be like a man's face, why is not the lion's mane to be
like a lion's mane? Well, because it can't be like a lion's mane without
too much trouble,--and inconvenience after that, and poor success, after
all. Too much trouble, in cutting the die into fine fringes and jags;
inconvenience after that,--because, though you can easily stamp cheeks
and foreheads smooth at a blow, you can't stamp projecting tresses fine
at a blow, whatever pains you take with your die.

So your Greek uses his common sense, wastes no time, uses no skill, and
says to you, "Here is beautifully set tresses, which I have carefully
designed and easily stamped. Enjoy them, and if you cannot understand
that they mean lion's mane, heaven mend your wits."

172. See, then, you have in this work well-founded knowledge, simple and
right aims, thorough mastery of handicraft, splendid invention in
arrangement, unerring common sense in treatment,--merits, these, I think,
exemplary enough to justify our tormenting you a little with Greek art.
But it has one merit more than these, the greatest of all. It always
means something worth saying. Not merely worth saying for that time
only, but for all time. What do you think this helmet of lion's hide is
always given to Hercules for? You can't suppose it means only that he
once killed a lion, and always carried its skin afterwards to show that
he had, as Indian sportsmen sent home stuffed rugs, with claws at the
corners, and a lump in the middle which one tumbles over every time one
stirs the fire. What was this Nemean Lion, whose spoils were evermore to
cover Hercules from the cold? Not merely a large specimen of Felis Leo,
ranging the fields of Nemea, be sure of that. This Nemean cub was one of
a bad litter. Born of Typhon and Echidna,--of the whirlwind and the
snake,--Cerberus his brother, the Hydra of Lerna his sister,--it must
have been difficult to get his hide off him. He had to be found in
darkness, too, and dealt upon without weapons, by grip at the throat--
arrows and club of no avail against him. What does all that mean?

173. It means that the Nemean Lion is the first great adversary of life,
whatever that may be--to Hercules, or to any of us, then or now. The
first monster we have to strangle, or be destroyed by, fighting in the
dark, and with none to help us, only Athena standing by to encourage with
her smile. Every man's Nemean Lion lies in wait for him somewhere. The
slothful man says, There is a lion in the path. He says well. The quiet
unslothful man says the same, and knows it too. But they differ in their
further reading of the text. The slothful man says, I shall be slain,
and the unslothful, IT shall be. It is the first ugly and strong enemy
that rises against us, all future victory depending on victory over that.
Kill it; and through all the rest of your life, what was once dreadful is
your armor, and you are clothed with that conquest for every other, and
helmed with its crest of fortitude for evermore.

Alas, we have most of us to walk bare-headed; but that is the meaning of
the story of Nemea,--worth laying to heart and thinking of sometimes,
when you see a dish garnished with parsley, which was the crown at the
Nemean games.

174. How far, then, have we got in our list of the merits of Greek art

Sound knowledge.
Simple aims.
Mastered craft.
Vivid invention.
Strong common sense.
And eternally true and wise meaning.

Are these not enough? Here is one more, then, which will find favor, I
should think, with the British Lion. Greek art is never frightened at
anything; it is always cool.

175. It differs essentially from all other art, past or present, in this
incapability of being frightened. Half the power and imagination of
every other school depend on a certain feverish terror mingling with
their sense of beauty,--the feeling that a child has in a dark room, or
a sick person in seeing ugly dreams. But the Greeks never have ugly
dreams. They cannot draw anything ugly when they try. Sometimes they
put themselves to their wits'-end to draw an ugly thing,--the Medusa's
head, for instance,--but they can't do it, not they, because nothing
frightens them. They widen the mouth, and grind the teeth, and puff the
cheeks, and set the eyes a goggling; and the thing is only ridiculous
after all, not the least dreadful, for there is no dread in their hearts.
Pensiveness; amazement; often deepest grief and desolateness. All these;
but terror never. Everlasting calm in the presence of all fate; and joy
such as they could win, not indeed in a perfect beauty, but in beauty at
perfect rest! A kind of art this, surely, to be looked at, and thought
upon sometimes with profit, even in these latter days.

176. To be looked at sometimes. Not continually, and never as a model
for imitation. For you are not Greeks; but, for better or worse, English
creatures; and cannot do, even if it were a thousand times better worth
doing, anything well, except what your English hearts shall prompt, and
your English skies teach you. For all good art is the natural utterance
of its own people in its own day.

But also, your own art is a better and brighter one than ever this Greek
art was. Many motives, powers, and insights have been added to those
elder ones. The very corruptions into which we have fallen are signs of
a subtle life, higher than theirs was, and therefore more fearful in its
faults and death. Christianity has neither superceded, nor, by itself,
excelled heathenism; but it has added its own good, won also by many a
Nemean contest in dark valleys, to all that was good and noble in
heathenism; and our present thoughts and work, when they are right, are
nobler than the heathen's. And we are not reverent enough to them,
because we possess too much of them. That sketch of four cherub heads
from and English girl, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, at Kensington, is an
incomparably finer thing than ever the Greeks did. Ineffably tender in
the touch, yet Herculean in power; innocent, yet exalted in feeling; pure
in color as a pearl; reserved and decisive in design, as this Lion crest,
--if it alone existed of such,--if it were a picture by Zeuxis, the only
one left in the world, and you build a shrine for it, and were allowed to
see it only seven days in a year, it alone would teach you all of art
that you ever needed to know. But you do not learn from this or any
other such work, because you have not reverence enough for them, and are
trying to learn from all at once, and from a hundred other masters

177. Here, then, is the practical advice which I would venture to deduce
from what I have tried to show you. Use Greek art as a first, not a
final, teacher. Learn to draw carefully from Greek work; above all, to
place forms correctly, and to use light and shade tenderly. Never allow
yourselves black shadows. It is easy to make things look round and
projecting; but the things to exercise yourselves in are the placing of
the masses, and the modelling of the lights. It is an admirable exercise
to take a pale wash of color for all the shadows, never reinforcing it
everywhere, but drawing the statue as if it were in far distance, making
all the darks one flat pale tint. Then model from those into the lights,
rounding as well as you can, on those subtle conditions. In your chalk
drawings, separate the lights from the darks at once all over; then
reinforce the darks slightly where absolutely necessary, and put your
whole strength on the lights and their limits. Then, when you have
learned to draw thoroughly, take one master for your painting, as you
would have done necessarily in old times by being put into his school
(were I to choose for you, it should be among six men only--Titian,
Correggio, Paul Veronese, Velasquez, Reynolds, or Holbein). If you are a
landscapist, Turner must be your only guide (for no other great landscape
painter has yet lived); and having chosen, do your best to understand
your own chosen master, and obey him, and no one else, till you have
strength to deal with the nature itself round you, and then, be your own
master, and see with your own eyes. If you have got masterhood or sight
in you, that is the way to make the most of them; and if you have
neither, you will at least be sound in your work, prevented from immodest
and useless effort, and protected from vulgar and fantastic error.

And so I wish you all, good speed, and the favor of Hercules and of the
Muses; and to those who shall best deserve them, the crown of Parsley
first and then of the Laurel.

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