ESPRIT (fra.)
/ · WITTY (eng.)



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De opperste volmaecktheyd der Schilderyen is voornaemelick daer in gheleghen, dat dese vijf hoofd-stucken malckander in ’t werck soo vriendelick ontmoeten en soo wel met malckander over een draghen, datse door haeren onderlinghen eendraght een sekere soort van aenghenaemheyd ofte welstandigheyd (die ghemeynlick de Gratie ende Bevalligheydt der Schilderyen ghenaemt wordt) ’t saementlick uytstorten: Soo en is oock dese Gratie in haeren eyghen aerd anders niet, dan een soete en gantsch vriendelicke over een stemmige van allerley volmaecktheden in een stuck wercks op een ghehoopt: Het is de beste versaemelingh van d’aller beste dinghen. […] Ghemerckt dan dat de gheestigheyd der Inventie ons ghemoed soetelick plaght te verlocken, dat de nettigheyd der Proportie onse ooghen vaerdighlick plaght tot sich te trecken, dat de bequaemheyd der verwen onse fantasie door een aenghenaem bedrogh seldsaemlick plaght te beguychelen, dat de levendigheyd des Roersels onse ziele kraghtiglick plaght te verrucken dat de ordentelickheyd der schickinghe onse sinnen op een gantsch wonderbaerlicke wijse plaght te belesen; hoe en sal doch die Schilderye gheen sonderlinghe kracht in onse herten uytstorten, daer in sich alle dese hoofd-stucken eensaementlick laeten vinden:

[Suggested translation, Marije Osnabrugge:] The highest perfection of the paintings lies foremost therein, that these five chief principles meet eachother so pleasantly in the work and coincide so well with eachother, that they extent a certain kind of agreeability or convenance (which are commonly called the Grace and the Charm [NDR: both would be translated as Grace in English] of the paintings): As such this Grace is nothing else in nature, than a sweet and rather friendly harmony of all sorts of perfections combined in one piece of work: It is the best collection of the very best things (…) Seen that the spirit of the Invention tends to sweetly seduce our mind, that neatnes of the Proportion tends to capably pull our eyes towards it, that the adequate use of colours tends to confuse our fantasy extraordinarily by a pleasant deceit, that the liveliness of the mouvement tends to enchant our soul powerfully, that the order of the composition tends to instruct our senses in a rather miraculous way; how than can the Painting not spread a remarkable power in our hearts, in which all these principles can be found together:

While moving towards the conclusion of the third Book, Junius explains that the perfection (volmaaktheid) of an art work lies in the agreement (overeenstemming) of the five chief principles (hoofdstuk), as described in the previous chapters. He uses different terms for this perfection: aangenaamheid (agreeability), propriety (welstand), grace (gratie), charm (bevalligheid). He goes on to list the most perfect state of the different principles: spirit (geestigheid) of invention, neatness (netheid) of proportion, an adequate use (bekwaamheid) of colours, liveliness (levendigheid) of the movements and order (ordentelijkheid) in the composition. In the English edition, this term is described as 'the aire of the picture'. [MO]

Conceptual field(s)

CONCEPTS ESTHETIQUES → génie, esprit, imagination