The artists repository and drawing magazine: exhibiting the principles of the polite arts in their various branches — 4.1790

Page: 63
DOI Page: Citation link: 
https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/artists_repository_drawing_magazine1790/0071
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COM 63

rnuft choofe the raoft favorable and interefting, accord-
ing to the rules of art : for although the moft pathetic
may be, in recital, the moft interefting and ftriking, yet
it may be void of thofe neceffary groups, diftributions,
characters, and effects, which are indifpenfable to a
good picture.

The unity of action forbids the admifiion of two
inftants which may divide the attention of the fpectator,
and which, by offering two principals, fuffer neither to
be principal: for, fo much attention as is gained by the
fecond, is infallibly loft to the fir ft; confequently the
main object propofed by the whole plan, is vacated and
deftroyed.

This rule is not to be underftood as forbidding the
introduction of circumftances, or of objects, whofe
relation to the bufinefs in hand is immediate, and
intimate, and whofe omiffion would render any part of
the main action unintelligible, and obfcure.

The confideration of this unity fhould render
Painters very fcrupulous in the choice of epifodes and
acceffories. If introduced only for ornament, they are
often worfe than ufelefs; or if they are not well kept
down, they become great defects; and the greater, the
more they are in their nature interefting.

It is true there are alfo fubjects wherein the ftrictnefs
of rules is difpenfable in a certain degree ; fuch are
thofe whofe expreffions areneceffarily varied, or mixed ;
where different paffions fhew themfelves in different
perfons; yet here the action is one, taken by itfelf,
however diverfified may be its natural effects on the
parties concerned in it: this diverfity however muft be

I 2 fuch

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