Hired to Depress: A Digital Scholarly Edition of William Blake's Annotations to Sir Joshua Reynolds' Discourses

The First Discourse 17

graceful folds, which shall give the most
grace and dignity to the human figure.
I must beg leave to submit one thing
more to the consideration of the Visitors,
which appears to me a matter of very great
consequence, and the omission of which I
think a principal defect in the method of
education pursued in all the Academies I
have ever visited. The error I mean is,
that the students never draw exactly from
the living models which they have before
them. It is not indeed their intention; nor
are they directed to do it. Their drawings
resemble the model only in the attitude.
They change the form according to their
vague and uncertain ideas of beauty, and
make a drawing rather of what they think
the figure ought to be, than of what it ap-
pears. I have thought this the obstacle that
has stopped the progress of many young men
of real genius ; and I very much doubt,
whether a habit of drawing correctly what
we see, will not give a proportionable power
of drawing correctly what we imagine.
who endeavours to copy nicely the figure 

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