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The Gentleman's and Connoisseur's Dictionary of Painters, Vol. 1 (Classic Reprint)

The Gentleman's and Connoisseur's Dictionary of Painters, Vol. 1 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Gentleman's and Connoisseur's Dictionary of Painters, Vol. 1

An early admiration of the Art of Painting, and an eager inclination to improve myself in the knowledge of it; were my inducements to search for instruction, among the writers on that subject. Those writers I soon found to be extremely numerous, and very few of them in our native language; yet every author I consulted, inspired me with an impatience to proceed; and I extracted from each, what appeared to me most likely to prove either instructive, or entertaining.

However, I observed in most of those authors, a tedious account of the artists, in respect of their singularities in publick or domestick life; their morals, or manner of living; their families, or the repositories of their works; but, I observed also, that the description of their particular excellencies or defects in the execution of their art; in their style of painting; in their colouring, or penciling; were so blended with other unimportant circumstances, as rendered it exceedingly difficult, to reflect what might prove instructive. For, the life of each artist appeared encumbered with a load of descriptions, which could neither improve the taste or judgement of a lover of the Art, nor scarcely keep the attention of a judicious inquirer awake.

Whoever has carefully read, Vasari, Vanmander, Ridolfi, Sandrart, and some other writers on the subject, will, I believe, recollect, that they were compelled to contend with abundance of unimproving and untertaining narrative, to acquire such a degree of information, in regard to any artist, as perhaps they ardently fought after.

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