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The Lamp of Beauty \

John Ruskin, The Lamp of Beauty: Writings on Art

'No amount of expression or invention can redeem an ill coloured picture; while, on the other hand, if the colour be right, there is nothing that it will not raise and redeem; … so that, when an artist touches colour, it is the same thing as when a poet takes up a musical instrument;  he implies, in so doing, that is is a master, up to a certain point, of that instrument, and can produce sweet sound from it, and is able to fit the course and measure of his words to its tones, which, if he be not able to do, he had better not have touched it. In like manner, to add colour to a drawing is to undertake for perfection of a visible music…

…When the colourists painted masses or projecting spaces, they, aiming always at colour, perceived from the first and held to the last the fact that shadows, through the course of darker than the lights with reference to which they are shadows, are not necessarily less vigorous colours, but perhaps more vigorous. Some of the most beautiful blues and purples in nature, for instance, are those of mountain shadows against amber sky; and the darkness of the hollow in the centre of a wild rose is one glow of orange fire, owing to the quality of its yellow stamens…It is an absolute fact that shadows are as much colours as lights are; and whoever represents them by merely the subdued or darkened tint of the light, represents them falsely. I particularly want you to observe this is no matter of taste, but fact. '

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