Formerly it was the fashion to preach the natural; now it is the ideal. People too often forget that these things are profoundly compatible; that in a beautiful work of imagination the natural should be ideal, and the ideal natural.
There is no more potent antidote to low sensuality than the adoration of the beautiful. All the higher arts of design are essentially chaste without respect to the object. They purify the thoughts as tragedy purifies the passions. Their accidental effects are not worth consideration,there are souls to whom even a vestal is not holy.
What a conception of art must those theorists have who exclude portraits from the proper province of the fine arts! It is exactly as if we denied that to be poetry in which the poet celebrates the woman he really loved. Portraiture is the basis and the touchstone of historic painting.