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What Copley said to West

Some 130 years before Eakins painted "The Thinker," two earlier artists discussed questions of working closely from "real life." The following words are from John Singleton Copley to Benjamin West.m

Your cautioning me against doing anything from fancy I take very kindly, being sensible fo the necessity of attending to nature as the fountainhead of all perfection, and the works of the great masters as so many guides that lead to the more perfect imitation of her, pointing out to us in what she is to be copied, and where we should deviate from her.

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