Thursday, August 24, 2023

Gerard on Good Taste

 Thus taste, like every other human excellence, is of a progressive nature; rising by various stages, from its seeds and elements to maturity; but, like delicate plants, liable to be checked in its growth and killed, or else to become crooked and distorted, by negligence or improper management. Goodness of taste lies in its maturity and perfection. It consists in certain excellences of our original powers of judgment and imagination combined. These may be reduced to four, sensibility, refinement, correctness, and the proportion or comparative adjustment of its separate principles. All these must be in some considerable degree united, in order to form true taste. The person in whom they meet acquires authority and influence, and forms just decisions, which may be rejected by the caprice of some, but are sure to gain general acknowledgement. This excellence of taste supposes not only culture, but culture judiciously applied. Want of taste unavoidably springs from negligence; false taste from injudicious cultivation. 

[Alexander Gerard, An Essay on Taste, Part II, Sect. III, pp. 104-105.]