Obrazy na stronie

was not in high and ambitious wise in this Gallery illustrious ex flights, not where it would connect amples. Gordon in his noble head itself in sacred and historic works of Professor Wilson (5); Knight in with the gallery of great masters we the portrait of "Rev. Mr. Locke" (82) have just quitted, but where, as in full of character; and Grant in his portrait and in landscape-art it “Lord John Russell," all worthily simply and truthfully went to nature. bring down the history of portrait Not indeed that, in these portrait or art to the day in which we now live. landscape works, it threw off alle- The art of this country may not be giance to the past; fortunately the ambitious, but it is at least sound, knowledge and the art which, as we and its health and its truth are not a have seen, had been the growth of little dependent on the sure basis it centuries, was here again inherited; has laid in portraiture. An artist and thus arose an art which was who cannot execute a portrait cannot at once national and international, paint a history. It argued well, then, connecting England with Europe, for the future of the English school and originating a new and vital that it commenced truthfully, and school out of the prolific growth of comparatively humbly, with Gains preceding ages. Thus do we find borough and Reynolds. ' in the grand and beautiful land- That future, and indeed the living scapes of Wilson, in “The Niobe” present, here expands before us. After (32), and in “The View on the Arno” passing in review, then, the historie (39), the link which connects Gasper series of other nations, and examining Poussin and Claude with that sub- the credentials of our earliest Acadesequent and present school of land- micians, we naturally inquire, on scape-art, which, in some respects, is entering this more advanced English without equal in the experience of school of the nineteenth century, the world. In like manner the true whence and how did it arise, to what historic relation between the old masters does it owe dependence, how masters and the new-born English art far is it of foreign origin, and to what was not in the unsuccessful attempts extent indigenous ? To Italy at least it of West, Fuseli, and Barry, to rival would seem to claim little allegiance the grand schools in subject, sacred At the outset we at once see, for exand historic, but rather in the hum- ample, that the modern pre-Raphaelite bler walk of portrait-art, which Rey- works, whatever be the theory of their nolds and Gainsborough, as here seen, origin, are practically, in their relation practised with such marked success. to past Italian art, a grotesque parody, Take, for instance, the three admir- evincing more self-will than humble able works which stand at the head historic teaching. Again, the school of of the English Gallery. Reynolds's West, Fuseli, and Barry, is fortunately “ Portrait of Mrs. Anderson Pelham extinct, and high art, so called, having feeding Chickens” (155); Gains- in England under these men once fail. borough’s “Blue Boy" (156), “painted ed, is now, with few exceptions, no to disprove the opinion of Sir Joshua longer attempted. Thus the school of Reynolds, that the predominance of Rome, the art of the Sistine and of the blue in a picture is incompatible with Vatican, has here not a single repre a good effect of colour;" and, lastly, sentative. But, on the other hand, the Gainshorough's " Portrait of Mrs. more decorative and seductive Vene Graha.,” which, perhaps, equally tian manner, nurtured by merchant refutes the notion that the elabora- princes, not cradled in the Church, was tion of satins and silks is irreconcil- at once fostered and naturalised in our able with the highest walks of art. land of commerce. Accordingly Etty, These three works, and others not ambitious in subject and in canrass inferior, serve in portrait-art, as the eschews the dark sky and the cold pictures of Wilson in landscape, to mists of northern Europe; and, dis connect, as we have said, the older porting in the glowing palette of masters with the modern, the works Veronese and Rubens, perpetuates of Vandyck, of Lely, and Kneller, with the nnde simplicity of Eden, and the existing school of portrait-art, knows of no zone north of the tropics. Of that living school we have like- With some such doubtful exceptions,

we recognise in the present collection, tive. Man only, in his diviner asas we have said, little or no allegiance pects, in those high moods and moto Italian art. Turner, it is true, in ments when he holds special interhis earlier manner, of which there are course with heaven, receives from art here choice examples, fell for a time no worship, and gives in return no under the sway of Claude and Poussin, exaltation. and then speedily, as is too well- But let us receive with gladness known, took a wayward course essen- those good things which are here so tially his own. In like manner, East- bounteously set before us. We can at lake's picture of “ Christ weeping least, for example, turn with some over Jerusalem" (152), in character the sense of thankfulness to our indigemost directly Italian painting in this nous school of water colours. The English gallery, seems the result of present collection, in the importance certain elevating reminiscences rather of its masters, the number and the than of any very definite Italian excellence of its examples, is indeed teaching; and, accordingly, in his unrivalled. It contains upwards of other works, he adopts a manner eighty drawings by Turner, choice and essentially his own. Our school of numerous examples by Copley Fieldart, in fact, whenever brought in ing, with some of the best works of direct comparison with the works of all our known artists, both living and other nations, whether ancient, or deceased. The Cattermoles, for exmodern, shows itself the transcript ample, are numerous and good, includindeed of our national character, indi- ing such subjects as “Macbeth and vidual, independent, and, like our the Witches, " « The Refectory," " “Disisland, itself isolated from the conti- tant Music," and "The Giant of the nent of Europe. Thus, in the Paris Forest.” David Cox, whose contribuExposition, exclusively consisting of tions of late years to the Old Waterliving masters, our national art was Colour Exhibition, have been but a in a marked degree distinct from that parody on his former self, is here again of France, Germany, and Belgium. restored to original greatness, by works In most subjects, political, commer- of tender delicacy in grey transitional cial, or social, we possess indeed that colours, such as the “ Hay Time" confident trust in our own powers, (486), or in drawings of mysterious which gives to our people, in their grandeur, such as the “Welch Funemanners and political career, a na- ral” (496). William Hunt is equally tional and independent character. So strong, and equally unlike every one is it likewise in our art. Thus does besides; among many other characthis historic series, commencing with teristic works we marked "The Stable the thirteenth century, suddenly break Boy" (544), "Preparing for the off at the commencement of the Soirée" (521), “The Attack” and nineteenth, and this vast collection, “The Defeat” (526 and 527). Of brought together with so much assi- David Roberts, we have examples of duity, emphatically teaches and pro- his eastern sketches, and subjects claims that, for the most part, with taken from Spain and other countries. the past our present art has now no And, lastly, among a multitude of connection. Our boasted Protestant- works and masters, which at present ism in great measure accounts for this we cannot further notice, is found revulsion. Throwing off all fetters, that marvel of labour and art,“ The losing, indeed, all unity in grigin, art Frank Encampment in the nosert," became a wanderer up and down on by Lewis. It is in some sense a centhe earth in search of a subject, and sure upon our English school of oils, in want of an inspiration. What it that the great Italian manner finds lost in intensity it gained by compen- in us no disciples; but surely it is sation in extent. The entire world, the special glory of this grand gallery as a vast art-domain, is now allotted of water-colour dra ngs that the art out. Stanfield takes the sea; Turner arose and was carried to perfection in the other elements; Landseer, the Britain alone; that a collection like animal creation, and wherever and in the present belongs historically to no whatever form beauty walks the past century, exists in none of those earth, art comes and takes her cap- nations which, more directly modelling


their style upon the accepted ex- mental condition. We may go to the amples of high art, have possibly, in early masters for instruction, we are consequence, failed in that discursive drawn to the modern by enjoyment originality which strikes out a new The old masters are a history which and a bold career. Here, then, let is past; the modern, a living history us find some compensation for our which is now enacting. Even if mo admitted deficiencies.

dern art 'treat of past days, the subWe may likewise, even among our ject is adapted to our present times, oil pictures, find cause for reasonable infused with the thoughts, coloured satisfaction. The historic survey and by the feeling, of the passing hour. comparison already made is indeed We walk along a gallery of old mas not wholly adverse to the claims of ters as through a cloister, rererently our national school. The grand and in pensive meditation, as among picture of "Macbeth” (76), by Maclise, tombs ; in the modern, we talk with for example, is in manner sufficiently the living, one common life beats with novel and startling to create surprise strong pulse; the art of the painter and sensation in any gallery of his- and the thoughts and ways of the toric works, and whatever be its outer world, with the current of pass defects, the other pictures, ancient or ing literature, are here all in unison modern, here brought together, serve Ancient art is to the multitude a closed rather to increase than to diminish book in a dead tongue, requiring its power and originality. Again, knowledge for its reading; modere Wilkie in his “Rent Day" (59), Web- in subject, taken from the last camster in "The Playground" (119), and paign, or the popular novel, is read, Faed in his “School" (4), show a re- understood, and enjoyed by all. finement and a delicacy in the treat- We are conscious that the shortment of character which give to their ness of the time, and the limits of works a higher social position than the space at our command, have pre that of the Dutch masters. It will vented our giving to the English be seen likewise that Sir Edwin school that detailed examination Landseer is at least different from, which it merits. This we propose D and in some respects superior to, Paul reserve for a subsequent occasion. In Potter. In like

David our present paper it has been our obRoberts, in his “Interior of Seville ject in a general review to give a comCathedral” (143), has certainly no parative historic estimate of the leadrival in the other schools; and in ing schools, and the salient works in comparison with this great work, the (this truly great Exhibition. We bave Dutch Neefs is without colour, and endeavoured to educe from each his destitute of space and dimensions. toric and national epoch that instruoAgain, the bold freedom, the dash tion which its position and our pre and the weight of a Stanfield wave sent wants seem to afford and to de or storm have, compared with Back- mand. We once again assert, that huisen, the grandeur and the swell of throughout Europe no one exhibitioz the Atlantic, as contrasted with the affords a like opportunity of testing chopped-water of the Zuyder Zee. each school, whether ancient and Lastly, our landscape-art, while de- foreign, modern and domestic, by its scended, as we have seen, from the comparative position in the world's history of the past, is yet at the same history. In art such a test is specially time essentially national and origi- required. In the organic kingdoms nal: national in its supreme love of we have comparative anatomy; in nature for her own sake, both in her the physical the connection of the details and her grandeur, and original sciences; and it is no less needful, in its ability to see and to seize new that in like manner the connection aspects of truth and new forms of and the comparative philosophy of beauty.

art should be carefully and inlly But whatever may be the compara- elaborated. By the comparative his tive intrinsio merits of ancient and tory of nations we establish a political inodern art, there can be little doubt as philosophy; draw our conclusions as to which is most in harmony with our to the efficiency of the varied formis existent sympathies and our present of government; and thus at length


political knowledge, proverbially pre- than our theories will stand corrected. carious and indefinite, can, through Thus may the inductive process of inthe experience of past success or fail- quiry be directed to the arts, and with ure, be matured to the approaching it will come an approaching certainty certainty of probability. By a cor- to our speculations, and a more detiresponding process of inquiry, which, nite and wider purpose in our practice. through this Exhibition, is now ren- The critic and the artist may be dered feasible, the precarious uncer- thus alike instructed, and with the tainty which proverbially besets all increase of knowledge we can promise art-teachings and philosophy, may in enhanced delight. In an Exhibition like manner be indefinitely diminish- like the present, knowledge is the ed. We have here a standard of ap- condition to enjoyment, labour to peal, a broad basis for our deductions; reward; and just in proportion as and thus not only may we build up a the visitor is prepared to work, not more complete and secure art-system, to idle in vacancy, will he receive but, applying the knowledge thus ma- reward, and with it ennobling pleatured to the wants and failings in our sure from this wide world of thought own living school, our practice no less and beauty.



will see,

Dear reader of Maga, to whom it is given
To feast on the Number for June, fifty-seven,-
Cast your eye on the cover, and there yon
(On the title-page also) a mystical D.
Right over the head of Buchanan the sage,
Appears that astounding announcement of age;
Proclaiming that Maga now dazzles the earth,
For the FIVE-HUNDREDTH time since the hour of her birth!

Far back though the date of her origin be,
Yet never an infant or nursling was she!
Full-clad and accoutred she stepped on the plain,
Like Minerva when springing from Jupiter's brain.
For beauty, and wisdom, and strength were her dower,
And a voice that was thrilling with passion and power:
As Bradamant fearless, as Britomart bold,
So rose the bright virgin in armour of gold !
She spoke—and her words were so witching and sweet,
That thousands knelt down at her conquering feet.
She sang-and her lay was so melting and clear,
Like the nightingale's note when the morning is near,
That the hearts of the sternest grew softened and mild,
And they said, as they gazed on the wonderful child,
"Was ever so peerless a paragon seen?
Let's crown her with laurel,-let Maga be Queen!”
All things that were loathsome and guilty and vile,
They quailed at her glance, and they shrunk from her smile,
They fled from her sceptre in terror and fear,
For its touch was like that of Ithuriel's spear.



And Falsehood and Quackery, rampant till then,
Scowled fiercely upon her and skulked to their den,
And impotent Envy drew off to a side,
As Maga swept by in her pomp and her pride.

Years passed: but no wrinkle was writ on her brow,
It was fair at her birth, it is beautiful now;
And round her was marshalled a generous band,
Of sages and poets, the first in the land,
Of masters whose words, like the dew of the night,
Brought healing, and comfort, and balm, and delight.
O never since Arthur's Round Table was seen,
Has so gallant a fellowship circled a Queen!

[ocr errors]

When blew the loud trump as the signal of war,
And Maga in majesty came from afar,
Then dread and dismay smote the Radical clan,
For they knew the brave banner displayed in the van;
And the Balaks of Whiggery, trembling and pale,
Sent messengers off by the post or the rail,
To bid their false prophets, their Balaams, or worse,
Essay to extinguish the maid with a curse.

But curses, like stones when they upwards are thrown,
Fall back on the heads of the casters alone;
And sad was the plight of the self-stricken crew,
As battered and lame from the field they withdrew.
Still flaunted her banner, still first was it found,
When the eddies of battle were raging around;
And the shafts of the foemen, though heavy as hail,
Ne'er lit on a rivet or chink of her mail.

When Pallas and Juno came down from the sky
For the guerdon of beauty with Venus to vie,
Like maids in their teens, though the years of the three
Were many, ere Tenedos rose from the sea-
So dazzled was Paris, he scarce conld declare,
Which Deity bloomed most bewitchingly fair ;
But a different judgment that day there had been,
If Maga, the peerless, had stepped on the green!

Then long may she flourish in beauty and worth,
The loved of the muses, the pride of the North!
Long, long may she shine in her bountiful light,
Like the ruddy Aurora that kindles the night!
And when she has doubled the span of her age,
With the vigour of youth ever stamped on her page,
May some minstrel in rapture and triumph declare,
That none can with Maga, ONE THOUSAND, compare !

« PoprzedniaDalej »