of external nature or from a knowledge of the principles on which their effect depends.
There are however forms in Composition which are decidedly pleasing, and arrangements in which the draughtsman cannot indulge without ruining his work; among which may be regarded the following.
The forms most agreeable in the grouping of figures are the pyramidal, conical, arched or circular, oval and spiral.
None of the heads of the figures or indeed any of the leading features of the picture should be placed perpendicularly or horizontally with each other, as such an arrangement is destructive of space, distance and variety.
Repetition as well as uniformity in composition is fatal except in allegorical and certain religious subjects, where it may be occasionally used to the furtherance of repose, intensity, and sublimity.
The Student of the Antique must be careful not to apply to painting the principles on which ancient sculpture is based ; the gravity and ideality of style which is necessary for the latter must in most cases give way to natural character and more minute expression. Nor if he fails to perfect himself from the united study of the Antique and the Life, will he benefit himself by having recourse to the stage, for there again the principles on which expression depends are widely different, and his studies there will only lead him to " represent what is fantastic and theatrical."(* Sir C. Bell) It must be within him or it will not be of him; and without depending on others or on other branches of art, deep feeling, observation, and good taste must guide him in his choice, modification, or exaggeration of nature, always accompanied as before remarked by the indispensable study of anatomy.
It is a mistake to regard this pursuit as one which will only serve as a recreation for the indolent and unemployed. There are some indeed who go so far as to deny it a place among useful studies, an objection which is the more surprising when we consider the essentially unpractical nature of a fashionable education. It requires however but little reflection to see that this study constitutes a necessary and important branch of a liberal education; the want of which has been a serious hindrance to the advancement of science, and a subject of regret to many who otherwise would have conferred a much greater benefit on mankind, especially in the pursuit of Surgical and Medical knowledge.
It is with the hope, therefore, that the system here suggested will have a tendency to simplify the study of figure drawing and attract to it many who otherwise would be deterred by the prevailing notions of the difficulties that surround it, that this work is submitted to the public ; in the confident belief that a well directed attention to, and understanding of, the rules here laid down, will furnish the reader with a groundwork, easily attain- able, of proficiency in the art, and of much satisfaction to him- self as he progresses in his studies.