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other there is the same difference as between the sun and the moon." 1
It was long before the dispute ceased to set artists and critics by the ears. Vasari, Bronzino, Pontormo, Tribolo, and a crowd of others, Aretino2 included, took part in the fight. After the death of Michelangelo, who had ended by condemning the whole sterile discussion, the question of precedence was settled in favour of the painters, which brought Cellini into the lists to break a lance for sculpture.3 In the time of Voltaire the discussion was renewed by the sculptor Falconet; 4 "adhuc sub judice lis est."
Leonardo distrusted inspiration. He thought it necessary to control and corroborate it by a criticism which never slept, a criticism exercised both by the artist himself and by strangers. So he begins with a series of precepts calculated to give the painter the greatest possible independence, and to make him an impartial and, as it were, outside judge of his own productions. "We know, as a fact, that one sees the faults of others more quickly than one's own; we even go so far as to blame small errors in our neighbours when we ourselves possess them in a still greater degree. To escape this ignorance, master perspective first of all, and then learn thoroughly the measurements of men and animals; become also a good architect, at least so far as the general forms of buildings, and of other things which stand upon the earth are concerned. These forms are, in fact, infinite. The more various your knowledge is, the more will your work be praised. Do not disdain to copy slavishly from nature those details with which you are not familiar."
"To come back," he adds, " to the point from which we smarted, I
1 Lettere, Milanesi's edition, p. 522. 2 See P. Gauthiez, L'Aretin, p. 261.
3 / TrattatidtW Oreficeria, Milanesi's edition, p. xx.-xxxiv., 229, 233, 321, 331. 1 See Francis Benoit : Quas opiniones et quas controversias Falconet de arte habuerit, Paris, 1897, p. 11-12.
tell you that you should always have beside you a flat mirror, and should look continually at the reflection in it of your work. Being reversed, the image will appeal to you as if it were done by some one else. By this means you will discover your faults much more readily. It will also be useful to leave off work pretty often and amuse yourself with something else. When you go back you will judge what you have done more fairly, for too much application lays you open to mistakes. Again, it is good to look at your work from a distance, for
it then appears smaller and can be more easily embraced as a whole by the eye, which will recognise discords, faults of proportion in limbs, and bad quantities in the colours more easily than when close at hand" (cap. 407).
In his discussion of the weight to be given to remarks made by others, Leonardo, I should think, does some little violence to his own convictions. Seeing how he worked himself, it is pretty safe to assert that he laid very little store indeed by the advice of his colleagues, whether they were professional artists or amateurs. Did he not know more of the secrets of art than the whole of them put together? The most he did was to ask, now and then, for some little technical guidance, as, for instance, when he took the advice of Giuliano da San Gallo on the process of casting in metal.
However this may be, this is what he actually says on the function of criticism: "As a painter should be desirous of hearing what others think of his work, he should not repulse an external opinion while he is painting. For we can see clearly that even a man who is not