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and taste of poetry. And if, perchance, it be his blessing to meet with choice companionship, what reward in listening to suggestive words, what gathered strength in sympathy, and how does sensitive thought gain redoubled value as it finds in some congenial mind a fit response!

We dwell upon these considerations because, in our experience, it is neither in Paris, in London, nor other of the great capitals of Europe, that this same artistic attitude of life can be cherished. In Rome, the Prophets and Sibyls of Michael Angelo, the Madonnas and Saints of Raphael, the Cæsars of the Palatine, and even the gods of Greece, are made our daily companions. We come home, after a morning in the Vatican or a walk in the Forum, and talk of the heroes of antiquity, and dwell upon the personal creations of the artist's imagination, as if they had just been our associates. By living thus closely side by side with the great painters and sculptors, we grow intimately acquainted with the lineaments of their genius; we recognise, and even anticipate, each movement in their thoughts; we enter into their inner life; and thus at length we can speak of their works as of the doings of a friend whose motives are understood, whose character is endeared by familiar intercourse. The student who holds himself as an alien from the works towards which he would aspire, who looks on as a distant stranger, denied near companionship, must necessarily rest content to serve in outer courts. He will be a hireling and perhaps a slave to genius, but can never, in the immunity of liberty, enter upon equal rights. We must dwell hour by hour with the great master-works, they must become partakers in our thoughts, till our ideas are at length fashioned upon them. We must look at pictures so intently that, closing the eye, their form lives again in the mind's vision. It is thus that the mind grows consonant with the noblest examples, that

well-stored memory feeds creative imagination, and the intellect, habituated to the thoughts of the greatest masters, accustomed to the facile use of grand ideas, is able at length to emulate what first it but strove to imitate. Upon this point Sir Joshua Reynolds has written with his usual wisdom: "Instead," says he, "of copying the touches of those great masters, copy only their conceptions; instead of treading in their footsteps, endeavour only to keep the same road; labour to invent on their general principles and way of thinking; possess yourself with their spirit; consider with yourself how a Michael Angelo or a Raphael would have treated this subject, and work yourself into a belief that your picture is to be seen and criticised by them when completed: an attempt of this kind will rouse your powers."

A residence in Rome we consider essential to the formation of that "grand style" for which, it must be confessed, our English school has hitherto shown itself so unequal. We have already quoted the recentlyexpressed opinion, that in the province of sculpture our public monuments evince the lack of thorough education. We do not hesitate to say that our most ambitious works in the sister art of painting show a like deficiency. Fuseli's big, eloquent words, uttered in lectures before the students of the Royal Academy, became mere vaulting ambition when translated into his own pictures. The large scenic works by Barry in the Adelphi, which he fondly hoped would have redeemed his country's art, are monstrous rather than grand. They show, it is true, a certain rude uncultured power, which, allied to a purer style, might have secured intrinsic excellence. To complete a melancholy catalogue, we must mention the weak pretentious conceptions painted by Sir James Thornhill, in the dome of St Paul's, recently restored, and now taking permanent rank with the profuse meretricious works of the Italian decadence.

Haydon, too, was another lost misguided genius, shipwrecked in London after a tossed life without anchorage. And coming down to the present moment, our English House of Commons is voting larger sums than were ever received by Raphael and Michael Angelo in the Vatican. And with what result? Why, the production of fresco-paintings which want the best qualities of the fresco art, the multiplication of pretended historic works which are deficient alike in historic dignity and architectural fitness. And then, lastly, the other day, in the hall of Lincoln's Inn, is unveiled a noble composition by Mr Watts, possessing, it is true, just the qualities to which the frescoes at Westminster can make no claim, yet betraying, on the other hand, we are bound to say, in cast of draperies and the putting together of individual figures, powers wholly unequal to contend with the difficulties inherent to so arduous an attempt. Such, then, has been, and still is, the present state of historic art in this country.

It is to the lasting honour of Sir Joshua Reynolds that he strove, in his public discourses, to create within the English school a passion for the grand historic style. He well knew the deficiency upon which we have insisted. He felt it painfully even in his own person. Thus, on his arrival in Rome, he made the following confession: "I found myself," he says, "in the midst of works executed upon principles with which I was unacquainted. I felt my ignorance, and stood abashed. All the indigested notions of painting which I had brought with me from England, where the art was at the lowest ebb,-it could not indeed be lower, were to be totally done away with and eradicated from my mind. It was necessary, as it is expressed on a very solemn occasion, that I should become as a little child. Notwithstanding my disappointment, I proceeded to copy some of those excellent works. viewed them again and again-I even affected to feel their merits, and to


admire them more than I really did. In a short time a new taste and new perceptions began to daw upon me; and I was convinced that I had originally formed a false opinion of the perfection of art, and that this great painter, Raphael, was well entitled to the high rank which he holds in the estimation of the world." That matters have not improved since the days of Reynolds, we have sufficient assurance in the teaching and practice of our English Pre-Raphaelite school. To denounce Raphael, and to reverse all that he established, is the lasting glory of some at least among our British painters, with Mr Ruskin as their guide.

We have seen that the great sculptors, Canova, Thorwaldsen, Flaxman, and Gibson, made lengthened tarriance in Rome, the essential capital of their art. In painting, the aspirants to the grand historic style owe, as we have seen, a like allegiance. Barry, under the kind patronage of his friend Burke, spent in the Italian capital five years, and received from Reynolds— previously, as we have already seen, a student in the Sistine and the Vatican-a letter with these remarkable words: "Whoever has great views," says Reynolds, "I would recommend to him, whilst in Rome, rather to live on bread and water than lose those advantages which he can never hope to enjoy a second time, and which he will find only in the Vatican." We do not hesitate to say that historic painting, in its noblest form, is for us in England almost a lost art. The grand Italian style was not easily arrived at: it took three hundred years for its maturing. The works of Raphael and Michael Angelo were no accidental phenomena-no mere exceptional results without previous pedigree or antecedents. They were the consummation of anterior centuries; they were the perfecting of pre-existing methods; they were the concentration of Italian genius which had long been struggling into freedom and power.


Italy was the cradle of the arts; the Church the patron; Rome the capital to which all talent crowded for fame and reward; and the Vatican, as the palace of the popes, became naturally the place of honour. is no mere capricious fancy which exalts the fresco paintings of Raphael and Michael Angelo into the pre-eminence they so long have occupied. They were enthroned by history; they have ever since been worshipped by posterity; and it is now too late to overturn the unanimous verdict of mankind. It was these works which our own simple Reynolds, with the true-minded artists of all countries, came to study. And he tells us, in the closing words to his last discourse, that it was cause for self-congratulation to know himself susceptible of the emotions which such grand conceptions were intended to incite.

succeeding ages, seem never to have relented one moment from their labours, nor their pencil to have paused a single instant over the busy work. Folio volumes contain the drawings of Leonardo in Milan; and no forms of human face, whether in beauty or caricature, seem to have escaped the keenness of his observation. And all these accumulated materials were made to subserve a well-conceived and maturely calculated purpose. These sketches are not the mere mechanical product of the hand-the head was working while the fingers were executing. Lines were combined into symmetrical composition; forms were balanced in just proportion and thrown into bright position; and thus the picture was matured from step to step by long study and careful forethought. In conclusion, we wish it to be ever remembered that the works which have so long stood before the world as examples of the grand style of art did not take their origin in mere happy chance, in fortuitous combination of circumstances, or in a daring stroke of ambitious genius; but that Leonardo, Raphael, and Michael Angelo laboured arduously, even to the completing of minutest details; that to them, as to all true workers, life was short and art long, for high was their aim, and the absolute perfection towards which they aspired still ever retreated at their approach into infinite distance.

And if, in the present day, we would strive after the same goal, we must walk in the same path. There has not yet been discovered, even in this nineteenth century, a royal road to art. On the contrary, the old avenues of approach would seem to be blocked up, and aspirants now stumble along a beaten but broken way, sometimes guided in wilfulness, sometimes scrambling in haste, or sometimes groping in ignorance, till at last they wander widely astray, and at length are more or less contentedly lost in pleasant places, glorying in a low order of remunerative success. But

But labour is the price which the gods have set upon all things excellent. Michael Angelo, if any man, had a right to rely on genius, yet of himself he said that all was due to study. The original drawings of the old masters, now so widely known through photographic reproductions, ought to convince every tyro in the arts that unflagging industry can alone secure a high position. Pictures painted with a command which at first sight might imply facility—Raphael's "School of Athens," for example-are yet discovered to be the result of long and careful elaboration. Minute studies have been made for every figure; separate drawings for the complex masses of drapery; accurately shaded outlines were executed for the hands and feet. In the collection of the Archduke Albert in Vienna is a well-known sketch for the Transfiguration: the Apostles nude, with other more detailed studies on a larger scale, marking with utmost precision the anatomy of limbs which subsequently imposed drapery would wholly conceal. The artists, indeed, whose creations have borne the scrutiny and obtained the admiration of all

we again repeat, if the arts of sculpture and of painting are to rise in this country to any high pitch of excellence, it is by fulfilling the laws which art herself imposed upon the Greek sculptors and the Italian painters as the conditions of success. We do not for a moment presume to limit the possibilities of future progression; still it is not too much to assert that the fundamental principles of art are already fully and finally established. The rules which must guide the sculptor throughout all time are put last ingly on record in the statues of the Vatican; and the principles of pictorial composition can be fully deduced from the frescoes of Raphael and Michael Angelo in the Stanze and the Sistine. It is the mere presumption of untutored youth which would pretend, in the present day, to the making of any signal discoveries, or would attempt radical revolution. It is a mere Cockney art which opposes the Roman school; it is, after all, but a narrow coterie which, by new-fangled dogmas, sets at nought the judgment of three centuries.

Thus, we think, it becomes desirable, on many grounds, that the scene of action and study should be extended, and that pupils should exchange a London for an Italian residence. No one will contend that our English modes of life or habits of mind are conducive to æsthetic culture. In our large cities-the pride of our modern civilisation-countinghouse drudgery, with parish business, the reading of the daily penny paper, the attendance on improvement and sanitary committees, suffice to make for our prosperous commercial man a crowded anxious day. And so the morning passes in busy work. At the dinner-table conversation usually turns upon hackneyed topics of popular interest-"High Church," "Low Church," "Parliamentary Reform," vote by ballot," interspersed with the pleasing polemics provoked by Essays and Reviews. A man who should venture across the cloth to indulge in poetic or artis


tic observations touching Apollo, Psyche, the Sibyls, or other such topics, would be taken as lightheaded. The paths of actual life are too eagerly crowded to allow of quiet retreat into the byways of fancy; the pressure of events is too urgent, the light of day too coldly crude, for men to step aside to gaze on sleeping Endymion in the moonlight. Our very prosperity is unpoetic, and few of the boasted products of civilisation can pretend to the picturesque. Mr Hawthorne felt this the other day when he laid the scene of his last romance in Italy. No author, he tells us, without trial, can conceive of the difficulty of writing a fiction about a country where there is no shadow, no mystery, no picturesque and gloomy wrong, nor anything but a commonplace prosperity in broad and simple daylight. He chose Italy, he says, as the site of his fancied creation, because it afforded a sort of poetic and fairy precinct wherein ivy, lichens, and wallflowers might find ruins to make them grow. The difficulties which Mr Hawthorne shunned are seen even in the facilities which other writers have found. Our present English school of novelists Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, and others are strong in the merits which, from a more imaginative point of view, are taken for blemishes. Such writers daguerrotype actual scenes just as they are; they photograph the details of the homely cottage by the wood, or the clattering mill on the running stream; they paint with a PreRaphaelite love of ugliness the horrors of the crowded city; they thus give in word pictures, enhanced by high lights and darkened with black shadows, the tumultuous life which is now throbbing around


After such high-seasoned food, Addison, we fear, tastes flavourless.

This literal art, whether it be the art of romance writing or that of picture-making, has of course a sterling worth, which we would not for one moment deny to it. But

yet, no one will pretend that it is all that may be fairly hoped for in the wide domain of creative genius. The worthy Pickwick and the inimitable Mrs Poyser, whatever may be their other qualifications for posterity, are not in their own persons precisely fitted for Greek or Carrara marble; and we must confess that we do not desire to see Miss Becky Sharp, with her devoted "Jos," immortalised in fresco in the robing-room of the House of Lords. Each style is good of its kind, and everything should be assigned its fitting place. All we contend for is this, that if Englishmen will have marble statues in public streets, at least let not the works be of a character which a first-class tailor or shoemaker would be ashamed to own. And if our Houses of Parliament are to be enriched by frescoes, let us have some regard to the dignity which befits a nation's history. It would seem to be generally supposed that the qualification for a historic painter is nothing more than access to a few family portraits, to a curiosity shop of old clothes, with a suit or two of medieval armour. It is no wonder that Raphael is superseded and abused.

It is full time, we think, that a certain class at least of our students should change the scene of their studies. It is needful that "high art" should become for them something more than a name; and in order to eradicate the lower styles by which they have been so long surrounded, English youths of the best promise should, as we have said, be brought into the immediate presence of those great masters who strove to embody the noblest of thoughts in the grandest of forms. It is only, as we have seen, in Rome the student can be fired into ardour by the contemplation of the greatest efforts of pictorial genius, and feel how mean are those lower methods, how unworthy those minor details, by which inferior artists seek to captivate the eye and to allure the multitude. It is chiefly in this

ancient centre of the world's history-in the very midst of wrecks of a vast empire, temples, and arches, and theatres, where the very soil seems gorged with blood, and tears, and agony, and every crumbling stone is a monument to a people's power-it is in this seat of decaying empire that the artist can best raise his contemplation to the true historic level, where things of to-day and of yesterday, in the presence of past centuries burdened with heroic story, sink into relative proportion. And it is with a mind thus solemnised, with thoughts thus raised, with tastes thus cultured, that the student will be fitted duly to value and humbly to rival the works of the great Italian masters.

In this spirit alone, best caught by an Italian residence, can the "grand style," in its full meaning, be rightly estimated. A mind raised to this pitch can be satisfied only by true excellence- the noblest forms of nature brought under the treatment of the purest art. Herein lies the secret of the best art products, and herein likewise the difficulty. the difficulty. For who shall determine which are the noblest forms of nature, when nature, in all her forms, is so marvellous? And how shall the inexperienced student decide which are the purest modes of art, when each in turn is supported by authority? The case is perplexing, but, we think, less puzzling in Rome than elsewhere. In sculpture, the supposed pensioner, brought under the direct tuition of the Greek and Roman schools, may safely ignore, at least for a time, later and lower examples. The painter studying the compositions of Raphael and Michael Angelo, under the sanction of Reynolds, Barry, Fuseli, and others, has little else to do than to shut out all distraction, and give himself up to diligent work. But the task he has set himself is by no means easy, for the reward he seeks is high, and can be attained by few. His hand, in drawing, must learn certitude and power. The greater the difficulty

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