Giotto and his works in Padua - lightnovelgate.com
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The series of engravings thus completed, while they present no characters on which the members of the Arundel Society can justifiably pride themselves, have, nevertheless, a real and effective value, if considered as a series of maps of the Arena frescoes. Few artists of eminence pa.s.s through Padua without making studies of detached portions of the decoration of this Chapel, while no artist has time to complete drawings of the whole. Such fragmentary studies might now at any time be engraved with advantage, their place in the series being at once determinable by reference to the woodcuts; while qualities of expression could often be obtained in engravings of single figures, which are sure to be lost in an entire subject. The most refined character is occasionally dependent on a few happy and light touches, which, in a single head, are effective, but are too feeble to bear due part in an entire composition, while, in the endeavour to reinforce them, their vitality is lost. I believe the members of the Arundel Society will perceive, eventually, that no copies of works of great art are worthily representative of them but such as are made freely, and for their own purposes, by great painters: the best results obtainable by mechanical effort will only be charts or plans of pictures, not mirrors of them. Such charts it is well to command in as great number as possible, and with all attainable completeness; but the Society cannot be considered as having entered on its true functions until it has obtained the hearty co-operation of European artists, and by the increase of its members, the further power of representing the subtle studies of masterly painters by the aid of exquisite engraving.