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

The First Discourse 8

answer his expectations, yet, at least, our
industry may deserve his protection.
But whatever may be our proportion of
success, of this we may be sure, that the
present Institution will at least contribute to
advance our knowledge of the Arts, and
bring us nearer to that ideal excellence, which
it is the lot of genius always to contemplate
and never to attain.
The principal advantage of an Academy
Is, that, besides furnishing able men to direct
the Student, it will be a repository for the
great examples of the Art. These are the
materials on which Genius is to work, and
without which the strongest intellect may be
fruitlessly or deviously employed. By
studying these authentick models, that idea
of excellence which is the result of the accu-
mulated experience of past ages, may be at
once acquired ; and the tardy and obstructed
progress of our predecessors may teach us
a shorter and easier way. The Student
receives, at one glance, the principles which
many Artists have spent their whole lives in

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