Ruskin, John
The elements of drawing: in three letters to beginners — London, 1857

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letter in.] ON COLOUK AND COMPOSITION. 313

peace: the broken lights of a bad painter fall like
hailstones, and are capable only of mischief, leaving
it to be wished they were also of dissolution.

9. THE LAW OF HARMONY.

This last law is not, strictly speaking, so much one
of composition as of truth, but it must guide com-
position, and is properly, therefore, to be stated in
this place.

Grood drawing is, as we have seen, an abstract of
natural facts; you cannot represent all that you
would, but must continually be falling short, whether
you will or no, of the force, or quantity, of Nature.
Now, suppose that your means and time do not
admit of your giving the depth of colour in the
scene, and that you are obliged to paint it paler.
If you paint all the colours proportionately paler,
as if an equal quantity of tint had been washed
away from each of them, you still obtain a harmo-
nious, though not an equally forcible statement of
natural fact. But if you take away the colours
unequally, and leave some tints nearly as deep as
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