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French critic and poet . He was one of the earliest Salon critics, publishing between 1748 and 1757 his commentaries on the exhibitions of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture—often anonymously, because of harsh censorship. An abiding principle in his sometimes contradictory stance is that artists should base their work on nature rather than slavishly following Classical antiquity or the Old Masters: in this he sided with his immediate precursor, the Abbé Jean-Bernard Le Blanc, against the founder of French art criticism, Etienne La Font de Saint-Yenne. He believed that critics should develop an understanding of artists’ techniques and problems, here anticipating Denis Diderot and parting company with Le Blanc. He devoted as much attention to developing a critical methodology, often by attacking fellow critics, as to analysing works of art on exhibition; in this he was typical of his time. He particularly admired Jean-Siméon Chardin, Maurice-Quentin de Latour, Claude-Joseph Vernet and Jean-Baptiste Oudry, none of them an exponent of history painting, the genre that stood highest in the traditional academic hierarchy. He became increasingly ready to criticize adversely, but his comments on individual works tend to be banal, whether he is praising or blaming. He praised the efforts of the Direction des Bâtiments du Roi (the French government’s arts administration) to promote the visual arts through regular exhibitions and generous commissions, and he exhorted wealthy individuals similarly to provide worthwhile work for artists....

Article

T. P. Connor

Scottish architect and writer. He was the key propagandist for the Palladian revival in early 18th-century England (see Palladianism). First as an architectural publisher and then as an architect, he did as much as any contemporary to determine the lines of development of secular architecture for a generation....

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Franco Bernabei

Italian writer. The brother of the playwright Carlo Gozzi, and the husband of the poet Luisa Bergalli, he was a theatrical impresario, an essayist, novelist and short story writer and the editor of La Gazzetta veneta and L’Osservatore veneto, journals in the new style of the Enlightenment. His most successful works were short stories, rich in pungent dialogue and sharp observations of contemporary society and morals. At a time when admiration for French culture and political thought had a strong influence on opinion in Italy, he recognized the greatness of Dante’s poetry, appreciated the originality of Carlo Goldoni’s plays, and translated many European literary texts into Italian. He was interested in the moral implications of painting, which he believed should be concerned with the significant moments of everyday life and express the advanced social ideals of the Enlightenment. He disliked the Baroque, and two essays he wrote for ...

Article

English collector, antiquary, patron and editor. He pursued humanistic and scientific studies under Dr John Ward, and in 1739/40 he was admitted at Lincoln’s Inn as a law student, and lived in chambers until 1748. During a trip to Venice, in 1750 or 1751...

Article

French, 18th century, male.

Born 7 May 1694, in Paris; died 10 September 1774, in Paris.

Engraver, print publisher, writer, art lover.

Pierre-Jean Mariette occupies a position of great importance in the 18th century, representing as he does the archetype of the French connoisseur. His literary legacy forms an invaluable record of the art of the period; for example, the notes that he added to P. Orlandi's primer, which were published in the ...

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Angela Lohrey

German publisher, writer and art historian. After obtaining a doctorate in law from the University of Altdorf, he travelled (1756–7) to Strasbourg, the Netherlands and England, where he met well-known figures in science, art and politics. In 1758 he set off again from Nuremberg to Vienna and northern Italy. Besides his employment as a Nuremberg weighmaster and customs official from ...

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Howard Caygill

German writer and publisher. As an apprentice bookseller in Frankfurt an der Oder in the late 1740s, he attended Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten’s lectures on aesthetics. His first and only important critical work, Briefe über den jetzigen Zustand der schönen Wissenschaften in Deutschland (Berlin, 1755), earned him the friendship of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn for its irenic posture in the controversy over aesthetics between Joachim Christoph Gottsched and the Zurich School. However, Nicolai is significant less for his own writings than for publishing some of the most influential critical ...

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Dutch timber merchant, collector, printmaker, print publisher, draughtsman and art theorist. He was one of the most important Dutch dilettanti of the 18th century. His interest in art began at an early age, and from the age of 12 he was taught drawing by Norbert van Bloemen (...

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Leo John De Freitas

English printer and writer. In the early 1820s, he published Practical Hints on Decorative Printing (London, 1818–22). As a practising printer concerned with the quality of printing inks (specifically for coloured work), he experimented with non-oil-based inks which would be easier to manufacture and to use in the printing of plates and illustrations. He published the ink recipes and results of these experiments in the first practical ...

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Norihisa Mizuta

Japanese seal-carver, poet and editor. Afflicted by poverty in Kyoto, he moved to Osaka, where he studied Confucianism and Chinese literature with Katayama Hokkai (1723–90) and Hosoai Hansai (1727–1803) and joined the society of Chinese poetry, the Kontonshisha. He learnt seal-carving from ...