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Wesley as Art Critic

Thursday, 16.--I set out for Luton. The snow lay so deep on the road that it was not without much difficulty and some danger that we at last reached the town. I was offered the use of the church. The frost was exceedingly sharp, and the glass was taken out of the windows. However, for the sake of the people, I accepted the offer, though I might just as well have preached in the open air. I suppose four times as many people were present as would have been at the room; and about a hundred in the morning. So I did not repent of my journey through the snow.

Friday, February 7.--l called on a friend at Hampton Court, who went with me through the house. It struck me more than anything of the kind I have seen in England, more than Blenheim House itself. One great difference is, everything there appears designedly grand and splendid; here everything is quite, as it were, natural, and one thinks it cannot be otherwise. If the expression may be allowed, there is a kind of stiffness runs through the one, and an easiness through the other. Of pictures I do not pretend to be a judge; but there is one, by Paul Rubens, which particularly struck me, both with the design and the execution of it. It is Zacharias and Elisabeth, with John the Baptist, two or three years old, coming to visit Mary, and our Lord sitting upon her knee. The passions are surprisingly expressed, even in the children; but I could not see either the decency or common sense of painting them stark naked. Nothing can defend or excuse this; it is shockingly absurd, even an Indian being the judge. I allow, a man who paints thus may have a good hand but certainly no brains.

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