Henry Fielding Quote

by Kathleen Huebener in Quote for the Day
“It hath been thought a vast commendation of a painter
 to say his figures seem to breathe;
but surely it is a much greater and nobler applause
that they appear to think.”  

                                                               Henry Fielding


This quote reminded me of my fascinating studies on Winslow Homer. Beginning as an apprentice in a lithographic firm, Winslow Homer became an illustrator, chiefly for Harper’s Ferry. Clean outlines, simplified forms, and contrasts of light and dark characterized his illustrations, which were mostly engravings. The characters seem to be alive with action. In other words, they seem to breathe.


His later figures appear to be thinking. For an example there is Winslow Homer’s painting of the Civil War, “Home Sweet Home.”  He portrays two Union soldiers near a rugged tent. In between battles, these figures appear to be deep in thought. This ability to paint the appearance of thought on the subject’s face is a great achievement and should be applauded.


To wrap it up: