Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 54, No. 338, December 1843
Author: Various
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Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes moved to the end of each article.




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At a time when the eye of the public is more remarkably, and we trust more kindly, directed to the Fine Arts, we may do some service to the good cause, by reverting to those lectures delivered in the Royal Academy, composed in a spirit of enthusiasm honourable to the professors, but which kindled little sympathy in an age strangely dead to the impulses of taste. The works, therefore, which set forth the principles of art, were not read extensively at the time, and had little influence beyond the walls within which they were delivered. Favourable circumstances, in conjunction with their real merit, have permanently added the discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds to the standard literature of our country. They have been transferred from the artist to the scholar; and so it has happened, that while few of any pretension to scholarship have not read the "The Discourses," they have not, as they should have, been continually in the hands of artists themselves. To awaken a feeling for this kind of professional reading—yet not so professional as not to be beneficial—reflectingly upon classical learning; indeed, we might say, education in general, and therefore more comprehensive in its scope—we commenced our remarks on the discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds, which have appeared in the pages of Maga. There are now more than symptoms of the departure of that general apathy which prevailed, when most of the Academy lectures were delivered. It will be, therefore, a grateful, and may we hope a useful, task, by occasional notices to make them more generally known.

The successors of Reynolds labour under a twofold disadvantage; they find that he has occupied the very ground they would have taken, and written so ably and fully upon all that is likely to obtain a general interest, as to leave a prejudice against further attempts. Of necessity, there must be, in every work treating of the same subject, much repetition; and it must require no little ingenuity to give a novelty and variety, that shall yet be safe, and within the bounds of the admitted principles of art. On this account, we have no reason to complain of the lectures of Fuseli, which we now purpose to notice. Bold and original as the writer is, we find him every where impressed with a respect for Reynolds, and with a conviction of the truth of the principles which he had collected and established. If there be any difference, it is occasionally on the more debatable ground—particular passages of criticism.

In the "Introduction," the student is supplied with a list of the authorities he should consult for the "History and Progress of his Art." He avoids expatiating on the books purely elementary—"the van of which is led by Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Durer, and the rear by Gherard Lavresse—as the principles which they detail must be supposed to be already in the student's possession, or are occasionally interwoven with the topics of the lectures;" and proceeds "to the historically critical writers, who consist of all the ancients yet remaining, Pausanias excepted." Fortunately, there remain a sufficient number of the monuments of ancient art "to furnish us with their standard of style;" for the accounts are so contradictory, that we should have little to rely upon. The works of the ancient artists are all lost: we must be content with the "hasty compilations of a warrior," Pliny, or the "incidental remarks of an orator," (rhetorician,) Quintilian. The former chiefly valuable when he quotes—for then, as Reynolds observed, "he speaks the language of an artist:" as in his account of the glazing method of Apelles; the manner in which Protogenes embodied his colours; and the term of art circumlitio, by which Nicias gave "the line of correctness to the models of Praxiteles;" the foreshortening the bull by Pausias, and throwing his shade on the crowd—showing a forcible chiaroscuro. "Of Quintilian, whose information is all relative to style, the tenth chapter of the book, a passage on expression in the, and scattered fragments of observations analogous to the process of his own art, is all that we possess; but what he says, though comparatively small in bulk, with what we have of Pliny, leaves us to wish for more. His review of the revolutions of style in painting, from Polygnotus to Apelles, and in sculpture, from Phidias to Lysippus, is succinct and rapid; but though so rapid and succinct, every word is poised by characteristic precision, and can only be the result of long and judicious enquiry, and perhaps even minute examination." Still less have we scattered in the writings of Cicero, who, "though he seems to have had little native taste for painting and sculpture, and even less than he had taste for poetry, had a conception of nature; and with his usual acumen, comparing the principles of one art with those of another, frequently scattered useful hints, or made pertinent observations. For many of these he might probably be indebted to Hortensius, with whom, though his rival in eloquence, he lived on terms of familiarity, and who was a man of declared taste, and one of the first collectors of the time." He speaks somewhat too slightingly of Pausanias,[1] as "the indiscriminate chronicler of legitimate tradition and legendary trash," considering that he praises "the scrupulous diligence with which he examined what fell under his own eye." He recommends to the epic or dramatic artist the study of the heroics of the elder, and the Eicones or Picture Galleries of the elder and younger Philostratus.

"The innumerable hints, maxims, anecdotes, descriptions, scattered over Lucian, Oelian, Athenaeus, Achilles Tatius, Tatian Pollux, and many more, may be consulted to advantage by the man of taste and letters, and probably may be neglected without much loss by the student." "Of modern writers on art Vasari leads the van; theorist, artist, critic, and biographer, in one. The history of modern art owes, no doubt, much to Vasari; he leads us from its cradle to its maturity with the anxious diligence of a nurse; but he likewise has her derelictions: for more loquacious than ample, and less discriminating styles than eager to accumulate descriptions, he is at an early period exhausted by the superlatives lavished on inferior claims, and forced into frigid rhapsodies and astrologic nonsense to do justice to the greater. He swears by the divinity of M. Agnolo. He tells us that he copied every figure of the Capella Sistina and the stanze of Raffaelle, yet his memory was either so treacherous, or his rapidity in writing so inconsiderate, that his account of both is a mere heap of errors and unpardonable confusion, and one might almost fancy he had never entered the Vatican." He is less pleased with the "rubbish of his contemporaries, or followers, from Condior to Ridolfi, and on to Malvasia." All is little worth "till the appearance of Lanzi, who, in his 'Storia Pittorica della Italia,' has availed himself of all the information existing in his time, has corrected most of those who wrote before him, and, though perhaps not possessed of great discriminative powers, has accumulated more instructive anecdotes, rescued more deserving names from oblivion, and opened a wider prospect of art, than all his predecessors." But for the valuable notes of Reynolds, the idle pursuit of Du Fresnoy to clothe the precepts of art in Latin verse, would be useless. "The notes of Reynolds, treasures of practical observation, place him among those whom we may read with profit." De Piles and Felibien are spoken of next, as the teachers of "what may be learned from precept, founded on prescriptive authority more than on the verdicts of nature." Of the effects of the system pursued by the French Academy from such precepts, our author is, perhaps, not undeservedly severe.

"About the middle of the last century the German critics, established at Rome, began to claim the exclusive privilege of teaching the art, and to form a complete system of antique style. The verdicts of Mengs and Winkelmann, become the oracles of antiquaries, dilettanti, and artists, from the Pyrenees to the utmost north of Europe, have been detailed, and are not without their influence here. Winkelmann was the parasite of the fragments that fell from the conversation or the tablets of Mengs—a deep scholar, and better fitted to comment on a classic than to give lessons on art and style, he reasoned himself into frigid reveries and Platonic dreams on beauty. As far as the taste or the instruction of his tutor directed, he is right when they are; and between his own learning and the tuition of the other, his history of art delivers a specious system, and a prodigious number of useful observations." "To him Germany owes the shackles of her artists, and the narrow limits of their aim." Had Fuseli lived to have witnessed the "revival" at Munich, he would have appreciated the efforts made, and still making, there. He speaks of the works of Mengs with respect. "The works of Mengs himself are, no doubt, full of the most useful information, deep observation, and often consummate criticism. He has traced and distinguished the principles of the moderns from those of the ancients; and in his comparative view of the design, colour, composition, and expression of Raffaelle, Correggio, and Tiziano, with luminous perspicuity and deep precision, pointed out the prerogative or inferiority of each. As an artist, he is an instance of what perseverance, study, experience, and encouragement can achieve to supply the place of genius." He then, passing by all English critics preceding Reynolds, with the petty remark, that "the last is undoubtedly the first," says—"To compare Reynolds with his predecessors, would equally disgrace our judgment, and impeach our gratitude. His volumes can never be consulted without profit, and should never be quitted by the student's hand but to embody, by exercise, the precepts he gives and the means he points out." It is useful thus to see together the authorities which a student should consult, and we have purposely characterized them as concisely as we could, in our extracts, which strongly show the peculiar style of Mr Fuseli. If this introduction was, however, intended for artists, it implies in them a more advanced education in Greek and Latin literature than they generally possess. Mr Fuseli was himself an accomplished scholar. How desirable is it that the arts and general scholarship should go together! The classics, fully to be enjoyed, require no small cultivation in art; and as the greater portion of ancient art is drawn from that source, Greek mythology, and classical history and literature, such an education would seem to be the very first step in the acquirements of an artist. We believe that in general they content themselves with Lempriere's Dictionary; and that rather for information on subjects they may see already painted, than for their own use; and thus, for lack of a feeling which only education can give, a large field of resources is cut off from them. If it be said that English literature—English classics, will supply the place, we deny it; for there is not an English classic of value to an artist, who was not, to his very heart's core, embued with a knowledge and love of the ancient literature. We might instance but two, Spenser and Milton—the statute-books of the better English art—authors whom, we do not hesitate to say, no one can thoroughly understand or enjoy, who has not far advanced in classical education. We shall never cease to throw out remarks of this kind, with the hope that our universities will yet find room to foster the art within them; satisfied as we are that the advantages would be immense, both to the art and to the universities. How many would then pursue pleasures and studies most congenial with their usual academical education, and, thus occupied, be rescued from pursuits that too often lead to profligacy and ruin; and sacrifice to pleasures that cannot last, those which, where once fostered, have ever been permanent!

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The FIRST LECTURE is a summary of ancient art—one rather of research than interest—more calculated to excite the curiosity of the student than to offer him any profitable instruction. The general matter is well known to most, who have at all studied the subject. Nor have we sufficient confidence in any theory as to the rise and growth of art in Greece, to lay much stress upon those laid down in this lecture. We doubt if the religion of Greece ever had that hold upon the feelings of the people, artists, or their patrons, which is implied in the supposition, that it was an efficient cause. A people that could listen to the broad farce of Aristophanes, and witness every sort of contempt thrown upon the deities they professed to worship, were not likely to seek in religion the advancement of art; and their licentious liberty—if liberty it deserved to be called—was of too watchful a jealousy over greatness of every kind, to suffer genius to be free and without suspicion. We will not follow the lecturer through his conjectures on the mechanic processes. It is more curious than useful to trace back the more perfect art through its stages—the "Polychrom," the "Monochrom," the "Monogram," and "Skiagram"—nor from the pencil to the "cestrum." Polygnotus is said to be the first who introduced the "essential style;" which consisted in ascertaining the abstract, the general form, as it is technically termed the central form. Art under Polygnotus was, however, in a state of formal "parallelism;" certainly it could boast no variety of composition. Apollodorus "applied the essential principles of Polygnotus to the delineation of the species, by investigating the leading forms that discriminate the various classes of human qualities and passions." He saw that all men were connected together by one general form, yet were separated by some predominant power into classes; "thence he drew his line of imitation, and personified the central form of the class to which his object belonged, and to which the rest of its qualities administered, without being absorbed." Zeuxis, from the essential of Polygnotus and specific discrimination of Apollodorus, comparing one with the other, formed his ideal style. Thus are there the three styles—the essential, the characteristic, the ideal.

Art was advanced and established under Parrhasius and Timanthes, and refined under Eupompus, Apelles, Aristides, and Euphranor. "The correctness of Parrhasius succeeded to the genius of Zeuxis. He circumscribed the ample style, and by subtle examination of outline, established that standard of divine and heroic form which raised him to the authority of a legislator, from whose decisions there was no appeal. He gave to the divine and heroic character in painting, what Polycletus had given to the human in sculpture by his Doryphorus, a canon of proportion. Phidias had discovered in the nod of the Homeric Jupiter the characteristic of majesty, inclination of the head. This hinted to him a higher elevation of the neck behind, a bolder protrusion of the front, and the increased perpendicular of the profile. To this conception Parrhasius fixed a maximum; that point from which descends the ultimate line of celestial beauty, the angle within which moves what is inferior, beyond which what is portentous. From the head conclude to the proportions of the neck, the limbs, the extremities; from the Father to the race of gods; all, the sons of one, Zeus; derived from one source of tradition, Homer; formed by one artist, Phidias; on him measured and decided by Parrhasius. In the simplicity of this principle, adhered to by the succeeding periods, lies the uninterrupted progress and the unattainable superiority of Grecian art."

In speaking of Timanthes as the competitor with Parrhasius, as one who brought into the art more play of the mind and passions, the lecturer takes occasion to discuss the often discussed and disputed propriety of Timanthes, in covering the head of Agamemnon in his picture of the sacrifice of Iphigenia. He thinks it the more incumbent on him so to do, as the "late president" had passed a censure upon Timanthes. Sir Joshua expressed his doubt only, not his censure absolutely, upon the delivery of the prize at the Academy for the best picture painted from this subject. He certainly dissents from bestowing the praise, upon the supposition of the intention being the avoiding a difficulty. And as to this point, the well-known authorities of Cicero, Quintilian, Valerius Maximus, and Pliny, seem to agree. And if, as the lecturer observes in a note, the painter is made to waste expression on inferior actors at the expense of a principal one, he is an improvident spendthrift, not a wise economist. The pertness of Falconet is unworthy grave criticism and the subject, though it is quoted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. He assumes that Agamemnon is the principal figure. Undoubtedly Mr Fuseli is right—Iphigenia is the principal figure; and it may be fairly admitted, that the overpowering expression of the grief of the father would have divided the subject. It might be more properly a separate picture. Art is limited; nothing should detract from the principal figure, the principal action—passion. Our sympathy is not called for on behalf of the father here: the grief of the others in the picture is the grief in perfect sympathy with Iphigenia; the father would have been absorbed in his own grief, and his grief would have been an unsympathetic grief towards Iphigenia. It was his own case that he felt; and it does appear to us an aggravation of the suffering of Iphigenia, that, at the moment of her sacrifice, she saw indeed her father's person, but was never more—and knew she was never more—to behold his face again. This circumstance alone would justify Timanthes, but other concurrent reasons may be given. It was no want of power to express the father's grief, for it is in the province of art to express every such delineation; but there is a point of grief that is ill expressed by the countenance at all; and there is a natural action in such cases for the sufferer himself to hide his face, as if conscious that it was not in agreement with his feelings. Such grief is astounding: we look for the expression of it, and find it not: it is better than receive this shock to hide the face. We do it naturally; so that here the art of the painter, that required that his picture should be a whole, and centre in Iphigenia, was mainly assisted by the proper adoption of this natural action of Agamemnon. Mr Fuseli, whose criticism is always acute, and generally just and true, has well discussed the subject, and properly commented upon the flippancy of Falconet. After showing the many ways in which the painter might have expressed the parent's grief, and that none of them would be decere, pro dignitate, digne, he adds—'But Timanthes had too true a sense of nature to expose a father's feelings, or to tear a passion to rags; nor had the Greeks yet learned of Rome to steel the face. If he made Agamemnon bear his calamity as a man, he made him also feel it as a man. It became the leader of Greece to sanction the ceremony with his presence: it did not become the father to see his daughter beneath the dagger's point: the same nature that threw a real mantle over the face of Timoleon, when he assisted at the punishment of his brother, taught Timanthes to throw an imaginary one over the face of Agamemnon; neither height nor depth, propriety of expression was his aim.' It is a question whether Timanthes took the idea from the text of Euripides, or whether it is his invention, and was borrowed by the dramatist. The picture must have presented a contrast to that of his rival Parrhasius, which exhibited the fury of Ajax.

Whether the invention was or was not the merit of Euripides, certainly this is not the only instance wherein he has turned it to dramatic advantage. No dramatist was so distinct a painter as Euripides; his mind was ever upon picture. He makes Hecuba, in the dialogue with Agamemnon, say, "Pity me, and, standing apart as would a painter, look at me, and see what evils I have,"

[Greek: Oichteiron hemas, os grapheus t apostatheis, Ida me chanathreson, oi echo chacha.]

And this Hecuba, when Talthybius comes to require her presence for the burial of Polyxena, is found lying on the ground, her face covered with her robe:—

[Greek: Aute pelas sou, not echous epi chthoni, Talthubie, keitai, sugchechleismene peplois.]

And in the same play, Polyxena bids Ulysses to cover her head with a robe, as he leads her away, that she might not see her mother's grief.

[Greek: Komiz, Odysseu, m'amphitheis peplois chara.]

But in the instance in question, in the Iphigenia, there is one circumstance that seems to have been overlooked by the critics, which makes the action of Agamemnon the more expressive, and gives it a peculiar force: the dramatist takes care to exhibit the more than common parental and filial love; when asked by Clytemnestra what would be her last, her dying request, it is instantly, on her father's account, to avert every feeling of wrath against him:—

[Greek: Patera ge ton emon me stugei, posin te son.]

And even when the father covers his face, she is close beside him, tells him that she is beside him, and her last words are to comfort him. Now, whether Timanthes took the scene from Euripides or Euripides from Timanthes, it could not be more powerfully, more naturally conceived; for this dramatic incident, the tender movement to his side, and speech of Iphigenia, could not have been imagined, or at least with little effect, had not the father first covered his face. Mr Fuseli has collected several instances of attempts something similar in pictures, particularly by Massaccio, and Raffaelle from him; and he well remarks—"We must conclude that Nature herself dictated to him this method, as superior to all he could express by features; and that he recognized the same dictate in Massaccio, who can no more be supposed to have been acquainted with the precedent of Timanthes than Shakspeare with that of Euripides, when he made Macduff draw his hat over his face." From Timanthes Mr Fuseli proceeds to eulogize Aristides; whom history records as, in a peculiar excellence, the painter of the passions of nature. "Such, history informs us, was the suppliant whose voice you seemed to hear, such his sick man's half-extinguished eye and labouring breast, such Byblis expiring in the pangs of love, and, above all, the half-slain mother shuddering lest the eager babe should suck the blood from her palsied nipple."—"Timanthes had marked the limits that discriminate terror from the excess of horror; Aristides drew the line that separates it from disgust." Then follows a very just criticism upon instances in which he considered that Raffaelle himself and Nicolo Poussin had overstepped the bounds of propriety, and averted the feelings from their object, by ideas of disgust. In the group of Raffaelle, a man is removing the child from the breast of the mother with one hand, while the other is applied to his nostrils. Poussin, in his plague of the Philistines, has copied the loathsome action—so, likewise, in another picture, said to be the plague of Athens, but without much reason so named, in the collection of J. P. Mills, Esq. Dr Waagen, in his admiration for the executive part of art, speaks of it as "a very rich masterpiece of Poussin, in which we are reconciled by his skill to the horrors of the subject."

In the commencement of the lecture, there are offered some definitions of the terms of art, "nature, grace, taste, copy, imitation, genius, talent." In that of nature, he seems entirely to agree with Reynolds; that of beauty leaves us pretty much in the dark in our search for it, "as that harmonious whole of the human frame, that unison of parts to one end, which enchants us. The result of the standard set by the great masters of our art, the ancients, and confirmed by the submissive verdict of modern imitation." This is unphilosophical, unsatisfactory; nor is that of grace less so—"that artless balance of motion and repose, sprung from character, founded on propriety, which neither falls short of the demands, nor overleaps the modesty of nature. Applied to execution it means that dexterous power which hides the means by which it was attained, the difficulties it has conquered." We humbly suggest, that both parts of this definition may be found where there is little grace. It is evident that the lecturer did not subscribe to any theory of lines, as per se beautiful or graceful, and altogether disregarded Hogarth's line of beauty. Had Mr Hay's very admirable short works—his "Theory of Form and Proportion"—appeared in Mr Fuseli's day, he would have taken a new view of beauty and grace. By taste, he means not only a knowledge of what is right in art, but a power to estimate degrees of excellence, "and by comparison proceeds from justness to refinement." This, too, we think inadequate to express what we mean by taste, which appears to us to have something of a sense, independent of knowledge. Using words in a technical sense, we may define them to mean what we please, but certainly the words themselves, "copy" and "imitation," do not mean very different things. He thinks "precision of eye, and obedience of hand, are the requisites for copy, without the least pretence to choice, what to select, what to reject; whilst choice, directed by judgment or taste, constitutes the essence of imitation, and alone can raise the most dexterous copyist to the noble rank of an artist." We do not exactly see how this judgment arises out of his definition of "taste." But it may be fair to follow him still closer on this point. "The imitation of the ancients was, essential, characteristic, ideal. The first cleared nature of accident, defect, excrescence, (which was in fact his definition of nature, as so cleared;) the second found the stamen which connects character with the central form; the third raised the whole and the parts to the highest degree of unison." This is rather loose writing, and not very close reasoning. After all, it may be safer to take words in their common acceptation; for it is very difficult in a treatise of any length, to preserve in the mind or memory the precise ideas of given definitions. "Of genius, I shall speak with reserve; for no word has been more indiscriminately confounded. By genius, I mean that power which enlarges the circle of human knowledge, which discovers new materials of nature, or combines the known with novelty; whilst talent arranges, cultivates, polishes the discoveries of genius." Definitions, divisions, and subdivisions, though intended to make clear, too often entangle the ground unnecessarily, and keep the mind upon the stretch to remember, when it should only feel. We think this a fault with Mr Fuseli; it often renders him obscure, and involves his style of aphorisms in the mystery of a riddle.

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SECOND LECTURE.—This lecture comprises a compendious history of modern art; commencing with Massaccio. If religion gave the impulse to both ancient and modern, so has it stamped each with the different characters itself assumed. The conceptions the ancients had of divinity, were the perfection of the human form; thus form and beauty became godlike. The Christian religion wore a more spiritual character. In ancient art, human form and beauty were triumphant; in modern art, the greater triumph was in humility, in suffering; the religious inspiration was to be shown in its influence in actions less calculated to display the powers, the energies of form, than those of mind. Mere external beauty had its accompanying vices; and it was compelled to lower its pretensions considerably, submit to correction, and take a more subordinate part. Thus, if art lost in form it gained in expression, and thus was really more divine. Art in its revival, passing through the barbarity of Gothic adventurers, not unencumbered with senseless superstitions, yet with wondrous rapidity, raised itself to the noblest conceptions of both purity and magnificence. Sculpture had, indeed, preceded painting in the works of Ghiberti Donato and Philippo Brunelleschi, when Massaccio appeared. "He first perceived that parts are to constitute a whole; that composition ought to have a centre; expression, truth; and execution, unity. His line deserves attention, though his subjects led him not to investigation of form, and the shortness of his life forbade his extending those elements, which Raffaelle, nearly a century afterwards, carried to perfection." That great master of expression did not disdain to borrow from him—as is seen in the figure of "St Paul preaching at Athens," and that of "Adam expelled from Paradise." Andrea Mantegna attempted to improve upon Massaccio, by adding form from study of the antique. Mr Fuseli considers his "taste too crude, his fancy too grotesque, and his comprehension too weak, to advert from the parts that remained to the whole that inspired them; hence, in his figures of dignity or beauty, we see not only the meagre forms of common models, but even their defects tacked to ideal torsos." We think, however, he is deserving of more praise than the lecturer was disposed to bestow upon him, and that his "triumphs," the processions, (at Hampton Court,) are not quite justly called "a copious inventory of classic lumber, swept together with more industry than taste, but full of valuable materials." Yet when it is said, that he was "not ignorant of expression," and that "his Burial of Christ furnished Raffaelle with composition, and even "some figures and attitudes," the severity of the opinion seems somewhat mitigated. Luca Signorelli, more indebted to nature than the study of the antique, "seems to have been the first who contemplated with a discriminating eye his object; saw what was accidental, and what essential; balanced light and shade, and decided the motion of his figures. He foreshortened with equal boldness and intelligence." It was thought by Vasari, that in his "Judgment," Michael Angelo had imitated him. At this period of the "dawn of modern art, Leonardo da Vinci broke forth with a splendour which distanced former excellence; made up of all the elements that constitute the essence of genius; favoured by education and circumstances—all ear, all eye, all grasp; painter, poet, sculptor, anatomist, architect, engineer, chemist, machinist, musician, man of science, and sometimes empiric, he laid hold of every beauty in the enchanted circle, but without exclusive attachment to one, dismissed in her turn each." "We owe him chiaroscuro, with all its magic—we owe him caricature, with all its incongruities." His genius was shown in the design of the cartoon intended for the council-chamber at Florence, which he capriciously abandoned, wherein the group of horsemen might fairly rival the greatness of Michael Angelo himself; and in the well-known "Last Supper," in the refectory of the Dominicans at Milan, best known, however, from the copies which remain of it, and the studies which remain. Fra Bartolomeo, "the last master of this period, first gave gradation to colour, form and masses to drapery, and a grave dignity, till then unknown, to execution." His was the merit of having weaned Raffaelle "from the meanness of Pietro Perugino, and prepared for the mighty style of Michael Angelo Buonarotti." Mr Fuseli is inspired by his admiration of that wonderful man, as painter, sculptor, and architect.

"Sublimity of conception, grandeur of form, and breadth of manner, are the elements of Michael Angelo's style. By these principles, he selected or rejected the objects of imitation. As painter, as sculptor, as architect, he attempted—and above any other man, succeeded—to unite magnificence of plan, and endless variety of subordinate parts, with the utmost simplicity and breadth. His line is uniformly grand. Character and beauty were admitted only as far as they could be made subservient to grandeur. The child, the female, meanness, deformity, were by him indiscriminately stamped with grandeur. A beggar rose from his hand the patriarch of poverty; the hump of his dwarf is impressed with dignity; his women are moulds of generation, his infants teem with man; his men are a race of giants. This is the 'terribile via' hinted at by Agostino Caracci; though, perhaps, as little understood by the Bolognese as by the blindest of his Tuscan adorers, with Vasari at their head. To give the appearance of perfect ease to the most perplexing difficulty, was the exclusive power of Michael Angelo. He is the inventor of epic in painting, in that sublime circle of the Sistine chapel which exhibits the origin, the progress, and the final dispensations of theocracy. He has personated motion in the groups of the cartoon of Pisa; embodied sentiment on the monuments of St Lorenzo; unraveled the features of meditation in the prophets and sibyls of the Sistine chapel; and in the 'Last Judgment,' with every attitude that varies the human body, traced the master trait of every passion that sways the human heart. Though, as sculptor, he expressed the character of flesh more perfectly than all who went before or came after him, yet he never submitted to copy an individual—Julio the Second only excepted; and in him he represented the reigning passion rather than the man. In painting, he contented himself with a negative colour, and as the painter of mankind, rejected all meretricious ornament. The fabric of St Peter's scattered into infinity of jarring parts by Bramante and his successors, he concentrated; suspended the cupola, and to the most complex, gave the air of the most simple of edifices. Such, take him for all in all, was Michael Angelo, the salt of art; sometimes, no doubt, he had his moments of dereliction, deviated into manner, or perplexed the grandeur of his forms with futile and ostentatious anatomy; both met with armies of copyists, and it has been his fate to have been censured for their folly." This studied panegyric is nevertheless vigorous—emulous as that of Longinus, of showing the author to be—

"Himself, the great sublime he draws."

It hurries away the mind of the reader till it kindles a congenial enthusiasm, we have the more readily given the quotation, as it is not an unfair specimen of Mr Fuseli's power, both of thought and language. Our author is scarcely less eloquent in his eulogy of Raffaelle which follows. He has seized on the points of character of that great painter very happily. "His composition always hastens to the most necessary point as its centre, and from that disseminates, to that leads back, as rays, all secondary ones. Group, form, and contrast are subordinate to the event, and common-place ever excluded. His expression, in strict unison with, and inspired by character; whether calm, agitated, convulsed, or absorbed by the inspiring passion, unmixed and pure, never contradicts its cause, equally remote from tameness and grimace: the moment of his choice never suffers the action to stagnate or expire; it is the moment of transition, the crisis, big with the past, and pregnant with the future."

It is certainly true—the moment generally chosen by Raffaelle, is not of the action completed, the end—but that in which it is doing. You instantly acknowledge the power, while your curiosity is not quenched. For instance, in the cartoon of the "Beautiful Gate," you see the action at the word is just breaking into the miracle—the cripple is yet in his distorted infirmity—but you see near him grace and activity of limb beautifully displayed, in that mother and running child; and you look to the perfection which, you feel sure, the miracle will complete. This is by no means the best instance—it is the case in all his compositions where a story is to be told. It is this action which, united with most perfect character and expression, makes the life of Raffaelle's pictures. We think, however, that even in so summary a history of art as this, the object of which seems to be to mark the steps to its perfection, the influence of Pietro Perugino should not have been omitted. He is often very pure in sentiment, often more than bordering on grace, and in colour perhaps superior to Raffaelle. Notwithstanding Mr Fuseli's eulogy of Raffaelle, we doubt if he fully entered into his highest sentiment. This we may show when we comment on another lecture. While Rome and Tuscany were thus fostering the higher principles of art, the fascination of colour was spreading a new charm to every eye at Venice, from the pencils of Giorgione, and of Titian. Had not Titian been a colourist, his genius was not unequal to the great style; perhaps he has admitted of that style as much as would suit the predominant character of his colouring. He worked less with chiaroscuro than colour, which he endowed with all the sentiment of his subject. Mr Fuseli considers landscape to have originated with Titian.

"Landscape, whether it be considered as the transcript of a spot, or the rich combination of congenial objects, or as the scene of a phenomenon, dates its origin from him:" so of portrait, he says—"He is the father of portrait painting, of resemblance with form, character with dignity, and costume with subordination." The yet wanting charm of art—perfect harmony, was reserved for Correggio. "The harmony and grace of Correggio are proverbial; the medium which, by breadth of gradation, unites two opposite principles, the coalition of light and darkness, by imperceptible transition, are the element of his style." "This unison of a whole predominates in all that remains of him, from the vastness of his cupolas to the smallest of his oil pictures. The harmony of Correggio, though assisted by exquisite hues, was entirely independent of colour; his great organ was chiaroscuro in its most extensive sense—compared with the expanse in which he floats, the effects of Leonardi da Vinci are little more than the dying ray of evening, and the concentrated flash of Giorgione discordant abruptness. The bland, central light of a globe, imperceptibly gliding through lucid demi-tints into rich reflected shades, composes the spell of Correggio, and affects us with the soft emotions of a delicious dream." Here terminates the great, the primal era. Such were the patriarchs of modern art. Here, it may be said, terminated the great discoverers. Mr Fuseli pauses here to observe, that we should consider the characteristic of each of these painters, not their occasional deviations; for not unfrequently did Titian rise to the loftiness of conception of Michael Angelo, and Correggio occasionally "exceeded all competition in expression in the divine features of his Ecce Homo." If Mr Fuseli alludes to the Ecce Homo now in our National Gallery, we cannot go along with him in this praise—but in that picture, the expression of the true "Mater dolorosa" was never equaled. Art now proceeds to its period of "Refinement." The great schools—the Tuscan, the Roman, the Venetian, and the Lombard—from whatever cause, separated. Michael Angelo lived to see his great style polluted by Tuscan and Venetian, "as the ostentatious vehicle of puny conceits and emblematic quibbles, or the palliative of empty pomp and degraded luxuriance of colour." He considers Andrea del Sarto to have been his copyer, not his imitator. Tibaldi seems to have caught somewhat of his mind. As did Sir Joshua, so does Mr Fuseli mention his Polypheme groping at the mouth of his cave for Ulysses. He expresses his surprise that Michael Angelo was unacquainted with the great talent of Tibaldi, but lavished his assistance on inferior men, Sebastian del Piombo and Daniel of Volterra. We think he does not do fair justice to the merits of these undoubtedly great men. We shall have occasion hereafter to notice his criticism on the great work of Sebastian, in our National Gallery. We are surprised that he should consider Sebastian del Piombo deficient in ideal colour, and that the lines of Daniel of Volterra are meagre and sterile of idea—his celebrated Descent from the Cross being in its lines, as tending to perfect the composition, and to make full his great idea, quite extraordinary. Poor Vasari, who can never find favour with our author, is considered the great depravator of the style of Michael Angelo.

At the too early death of Raffaelle, his style fell into gradual decay. Still Julio Romano, and Polidoro da Carravaggio, "deserted indeed the standard of their master, but with a dignity and magnitude of compass which command respect."

The taste of Julio Romano was not pure enough to detach him from "deformity and grimace" and "ungenial colour." Primaticcio and Nicolo dell Abate propagated the style of Julio Romano on the Gallic side of the Alps, in mythologic and allegoric works. These frescoes from the Odyssea at Fontainbleau are lost, but are worthy admiration, though in the feeble etchings of Theodore van Fulden. The "ideal light and shade, and tremendous breadth of manner" of Michael Angelo Amerigi, surnamed Il Caravaggi, are next commended. "The aim and style of the Roman school deserve little further notice here, till the appearance of Nicolo Poussin." His partiality for the antique mainly affected his style. "He has left specimens to show that he was sometimes sublime, and often in the highest degree pathetic." Mr Fuseli takes occasion, by contrasting "the classic regularity" of Poussin with the "wildness of Salvator Rosa"—we think unnecessarily, because there seems to be no true point of comparison, and unjustly to censure that great, we may say, that original painter. We have noticed occasionally a capricious dislike in our author to some artists, for which we are at a loss to account. That Salvator should "hide by boldness of hand his inability of exhibiting her (Nature) impassioned," is a sentence that will scarcely meet with an assenting critic. The wealth and luxury of Venice soon demanded of art, to sacrifice the modesty of nature to ostentation. The principle of Titian was, however, followed by Tintoretto, Bassan, Paul Veronese, and then passed to Velasquez the Spaniard, in Italy. From him "Rubens and Vandyck attempted to transplant it to Flanders, France, and England, with unequal success." The style of Correggio scarcely survived him, for he had more imitators of parts than followers of the whole. His grace became elegance under the hand of Parmegiano. "That disengaged play of delicate forms, the 'saltezza' of the Italians, is the prerogative of Parmegiano, though nearly always obtained at the expense of proportion." We cannot agree with the lecturer, that the Moses of Parmegiano—if he speaks of the Moses referred to in the Discourses of Sir Joshua, of which Mr Burnet, in his second edition, has given a plate—loses "the dignity of the lawgiver in the savage." Such was the state of art to the foundation of the Eclectic School by the Caracci—an attempt to unite the excellences of all schools. The principles are perpetuated in a sonnet by Agostino Caracci. The Caracci were, however, in their practice above their precepts. Theirs, too, was the school of the "Naturalists." Ludovico is particularly praised for his solemnity of hue, most suited to his religious subjects—"that sober twilight, the air of cloistered meditation, which you have so often heard recommended as the proper tone of historic colour." If the recommendation has at our Academy been often heard, it has entirely lost its influence; our English school is—with an ignorance of the real object of colour, or with a very bad taste as to its harmony—running into an opposite extravagance, destructive of real power, glaring and distracting where it ought to concentrate through vision the ideas of the mind. Annibal Caracci had more power of execution, but not the taste of Agostino. In their immediate scholars, the lecturer seems little disposed to see fairly their several excellences. They are out of the view of his bias. They are not Michael Angelesque. His judgment of Domenichino—a painter who greatly restored the simplicity and severity of the elder schools, and greatly surpassed his masters—is an instance of blindness to a power in art which we would almost call new, that is very strange to see. "Domenichino, more obedient than the rest to his masters, aimed at the beauty of the antique, the expression of Raphael, the vigour of Annibal, the colour of Ludovico; and mixing something of each, fell short of all." Nor do we think him just with regard to Guercino, or even at all describing his characteristic style, when he speaks of his "fierceness of chiaroscuro, and intrepidity of hand." We readily give up to him "the great but abused talents of Pietro da Cortona," a painter without sentiment, and the "fascinating but debauched and empty facility of Luca Giordano."

The German schools here come under consideration, which, simultaneously with those of Italy, and without visible communication, spread the principles of art. "Towards the decline of the fifteenth century, the uncouth essays of Martin Schoen, Michael Wolgemuth, and Albrecht Altorfer, were succeeded by the finer polish and the more dexterous method of Albert Durer." His well-known figure of "Melancholy" would alone entitle him to rank. The breadth and power of his wood engravings are worthy of admiration. Mr Fuseli thinks "his colour went beyond his age, and as far excelled, in truth and breadth of handling, the oil-colour of Raphael, as Raphael excels him in every other quality. His influence was not unfelt in Italy. It is visible in the style of even the imitators of Michael Angelo—Andrea del Sarto, particularly in the angular manner of his draperies. Though Albert Durer had no scholars, he was imitated by the Dutch Lucas of Leyden. Now it was that the style of Michael Angelo, spread by the graver of Giorgio Mantuano, brought to Italy "those caravans of German, Dutch, and Flemish students, who, on their return from Italy, at the courts of Prague and Munich, in Flanders and the Netherlands, introduced the preposterous manner, the bloated excrescence of diseased brains, which, in the form of man, left nothing human; distorted action and gesture with insanity of affectation, and dressed the gewgaws of children in colossal shapes." But though such as Golzius, Spranger, Heyntz, and Abach, "fed on the husks of Tuscan design, they imbibed the colour of Venice, and spread the elements of that excellence which distinguished the succeeding schools of Flanders and of Holland." So it was till the appearance of Rubens and Rembrandt—"both of whom, disdaining to acknowledge the usual laws of admission to the temple of Fame, boldly forged their own keys, entered, and took possession, each of a most conspicuous place, by his own power." Rubens, with many advantages, acquired in his education at Antwerp, and already influenced by the gorgeous pomp of Austrian and Spanish superstition, arrived in Italy rather as the rival than pupil of the masters whom he travelled to study. Whatever he borrowed from the Venetian school—the object of his admiration—he converted into a new manner of florid magnificence. It is just the excellence of Rubens—the completeness, the congruity of his style—that has raised him to the eminence in the temple of fame which he will ever occupy. A little short of Rubens is intolerable: the clumsy forms and improprieties of his imitators are not to be endured. Mr Fuseli excepts Vandyck and Abraham Drepenbeck from the censure passed upon the followers of Rubens. As Drepenbeck is not so well known, we quote the passage respecting him:—"The fancy of Drepenbeck, though not so exuberant, if I be not mistaken, excelled in sublimity the imagination of Rubens. His Bellerophon, Dioscuri, Hippolytus, Ixion, Sisyphus, fear no competitor among the productions of his master." Rembrandt he considers a genius of the first class in all but form. Chiaroscuro and colour were the elements, in fact, in which Rembrandt reveled. In these he was the poet—the maker. He made colour and chiaroscuro throw out ideas of sublimity: that he might throw himself the more into these great elements of his art, and depend solely on their power, he seems purposely not to have neglected form, but to have selected such as, without beauty to attract, should be merely the objects of life, the sensitive beings in his world of mystery. That such was his intention we cannot doubt; because we cannot imagine the beautiful but too attractive figures of the Apollo or the Venus adopted into one of his pictures. Excepting in a few instances, we would not wish Rembrandt's forms other than they are. They appear necessary to his style. Mr Fuseli speaks very favourably of art in Switzerland; but says there are only two painters of name—Holbein, and Francis Mola. The designs of the Passion and Dance of Death of the former, are instanced as works of excellence. Mola, we are surprised to find ranked as Swiss; for he is altogether, in art, Italian. The influence of the school and precepts of the Caracci, produced in France an abundant harvest of mediocrity. In France was the merit of Michael Angelo first questioned. There are, however, names that rescue France from the entire disgrace of the abandonment of the true principles of art: Nicolo Poussin, Le Sueur, Le Brun, Sebastian Bourdon, and Pierre Mignard. The Seven Works of Charity, by Seb. Bourdon, teem with surprising, pathetic, and always novel images; and in the Plague of David, by Pierre Mignard, our sympathy is roused by energies of terror and combinations of woe, which escaped Poussin and Raphael himself." Of Spanish art he says but little, but that "the degree of perfection attained by Diego Velasquez, Joseph Ribera, and Murillo, in pursuing the same object by means as different as successful, impresses us with deep respect for the variety of their powers." Art, as every thing else, has its fashion. The Spanish school have, of later years, been more eagerly sought for; and a strange whim of the day has attached a very extraordinary value to the works of Murillo—a painter in colour generally monotonous, and in form and expression almost always vulgar.

Art in England is the next subject of the lecture. He takes a view of it from the age of Henry VIII. to our own. No great encouragement was here given to art till the time of Charles I.: Holbein, indeed, and Zucchero, under Elizabeth, were patronized, but "were condemned to Gothic work and portrait painting." The troubles and death of Charles I. were a sad obstacle to art. "His son, in possession of the Cartoons of Raphael, and with the magnificence of Whitehall before his eyes, suffered Verio to contaminate the walls of his palaces, or degraded Lely to paint the Cymons and Iphigenias of his court; whilst the manner of Kneller swept completely what might yet be left of taste under his successors. Such was the equally contemptible and deplorable state of English art, till the genius of Reynolds first rescued from the mannered depravation of foreigners his own branch; and, soon extending his view to the higher departments of art, joined that select body of artists who addressed the ever open ear, ever attentive mind, of our royal founder with the first idea of this establishment." After this little parade of our artists as a body, but four are mentioned by name—"Reynolds, Hogarth, Gainsborough, and Wilson."

We are surprised that, in this summary history of art, no notice has been taken of Van Eyck, and the influence of his discovery on art. Nor are we less surprised that so important a branch as landscape painting should have been omitted; Claude and Gaspar Poussin not mentioned; yet, in the English school, Wilson is spoken of, whose sole merit rested upon his landscape. He should more distinctly have stated his purpose to treat only of high and historical art.

* * * * *

THIRD LECTURE.—In the commencement, there is an unnecessary, and rather affectedly written disquisition of the old question, or rather comparison between poetry and painting, from which nothing is to be learned; nor does it suggest any thing. Nor do we now-a-days want to read pages to tell us what invention is, and how it differs from creation—nor is it at all important in matters of art, that we should draw any such distinction at all. It is far better to go at once "in medias res," and take it for granted that the reader both knows and feels, without metaphysical discussion, what that invention is which is required to make a great painter. Nor are we disposed to look upon otherwise than impertinent, while we are waiting for didactic rules, the being told that "he who discovers a gold mine, is surely superior to him who afterwards adapts the metal for use;" especially when it is paraded with comparisons between "Colombo" and "Amerigo Vespucci," and a misplaced panegyric on Newton. And much of this is encumbered with language that fatigues and makes a plain matter obscure. There is a little affectation sometimes in Mr Fuseli's writing of Ciceronic ambages, that is really injurious to the good sense and just thoughts, which would without this display, come free, open, and with power. Some pages, too, are taken up with a preliminary argument—"whether it be within the artist's province or not, to find or to combine a subject from himself, without having recourse to tradition, or the stores of history and poetry." We have a display of learning to little purpose, quotations from Latin and Greek, really "nihil ad rem;" the "[Greek: phantasias]" of the Greek, and "visiones" of the Romans. Who that ever saw even one work of Hogarth, the "Marriage a la Mode," would for a moment think the question worth a thought. "The misnamed gladiator of Agasias," seems forced into this treatise, for the sole purpose of showing Mr Fuseli's reading, and after all, he leaves the figure as uncertain as he finds it. He once thought it might have been an Alcibiades rushing from the flames, when his house was fired; but is more satisfied that "it might form an admirable Ulysses bestriding the deck of his ship to defend his companions from the descending fangs of Scylla, or rather, with indignation and anguish, seeing them already snatched up, and writhing in the mysterious gripe." In such fanciful humours, it might be made to mean any thing or any body. And we are, after all, quite at a loss to know whether the conjecture is offered as a specimen of "invention." He considers the cartoon of Pisa "the most striking instance, of the eminent place due to this intuitive faculty among the principal organs of invention"—we mark these words in italics, not quite certain of their meaning. The work is engraved for Foster, by Schiavonetti; and a wonderful work it is—the work of Michael Angelo begun in competition with Leonardo da Vinci. The original is said to have been destroyed by Baccio Bandinelli; still there are the ancient prints and drawings which show the design, and there is a small copy at Holkham. Benvenuto Cellini—and could there be a better authority?—denies that the powers afterwards exerted in the Capella Sistina, arrive at half its excellence. Mr Fuseli's description is so good, that we give it entire. "It represents an imaginary moment relative to the war carried on by the Florentines against Pisa; and exhibits a numerous group of warriors, roused from their bathing in the Arno, by the sudden signal of a trumpet, and rushing to arms. This composition may, without exaggeration, be said to personify with unexampled variety, that motion which Agasias and Theon embodied in single figures. In imagining this transient moment from state of relaxation to a state of energy, the ideas of motion, to use the bold figure of Dante, seem to have showered into the artist's mind. From the chief, nearly placed in the centre, who precedes, and whose voice accompanies the trumpet, every age of human agility, every attitude, every feature of alarm, haste, hurry, exertion, eagerness, burst into so many rays, like sparks flying from the hammer. Many have reached, some boldly step, some have leaped on the rocky shore; here two arms emerging from the water, grapple with the rock, there two hands cry for help, and their companions bend over or rush on to assist them: often imitated, but inimitable, is the ardent feature of the grim veteran, whose every sinew labours to force over the dripping limbs his clothes, whilst gnashing, he pushes the foot through the rending garment. He is contrasted by the slender elegance of a half-averted youth, who, though eagerly buckling the armour to his thigh, methodizes haste; another swings the high-raised hauberk on his shoulder; whilst one, who seems a leader, mindless of his dress, ready for combat, and with brandished spear, overturns a third, who crouched to grasp a weapon; one, naked himself, buckles on the mail of his companion, and he, turned toward the enemy, seems to stamp impatiently the ground. Experience and rage; old vigour, young velocity; expanded or contracted, vie in exertions of energy. Yet in this scene of tumult, one motive animates the whole—eagerness to engage, with subordination to command. This preserves the dignity of the action, and from a strangling rabble, changes the figures to men, whose legitimate contest interests our wishes." Another example is given—Raffaelle's "Incendio del Borgo"—a good description follows: "the enraged elements of wind and fire," we do not see in the original, not even in the drapery of the woman with her back to us in the foreground. Speaking of this power of "invention," he says—after having, as we conceive, mistaken the aim of Raffaelle in his Madonnas, and Holy families, which was somewhat beyond even the "charities of father, son, and mother"—"Nor shall I follow it in its more contaminated descent, to those representations of local manners and national modifications of society, whose characteristic discrimination and humorous exuberance, for instance, we admire in Hogarth, but which, like the fleeting passions of the day, every hour contributes something to obliterate, which soon become unintelligible by time, or degenerate into caricature, the chronicle of scandal, the history-book of the vulgar." It seems, strangely enough, to have been the fashion among the, in comparison with Hogarth, puny academicians of that day, to underrate that great painter, that moral painter. We really should pity the infatuated prejudice of the man, who could see in the deep tragedy, the moral tragedy, "Marriage a la Mode," any humorous exuberance; or not understand that the passions set forth, and for a moral end, are not "the fleeting passions of the day," but as permanent as human nature—who could see, in such series of pictures, any "caricature," or that their object is to "chronicle scandal." That it is the "history of the vulgar," we dispute not. For it is drama of the vulgar as of the unvulgar—a deep tragedy of human nature; alas! time has not made "unintelligible" these not "fleeting passions of the day." As long as man is man, will Hogarth be true to nature; and nothing in art is more strange, than that such opinions should emanate from an Academy, and be either ventured upon or received ex cathedra.

Invention, according to Mr Fuseli, receives its subjects from poetry or tradition—"they are epic or sublime, dramatic or impassioned, historic or circumscribed by truth. The first astonishes, the second moves, the third informs." We confess ourselves weary of this sort of classification. They only tend to hamper the writer, painter, and critic. It is possible for a work to admit all three, and yet preserve its unity. And such we believe to be the case with Homer. He is epic and dramatic in one, and certainly historic. It is more ingenious than unquestionable, that Homer's purpose was to "impress one forcible idea of war—its origin, its progress, and its end." Nor will the "Iliad" be read with greater delight, by the reader's reception of such an idea. The drawing forth the purpose of Michael Angelo's design—his invention, in the series of frescoes in the Sistine Chapel—is more happy. That theocracy is the subject—the dispensations of Providence to man—the Creation—life and adoration in Adam and Eve, their sin, their punishment, their separation from God—justice and grace in the Deluge and covenant with Noah—prophets, sibyls, herald the Redeemer—and the patriarchs—the Son of Man—the brazen serpent—and the Fall of Haman—the giant subdued by the stripling in Goliah and David—and the conqueror destroyed by female weakness in Judith, are types of his mysterious progress, till Jonah pronounces him immortal. The Last Judgment, and the Saviour the Judge of man, complete the whole—and the Founder and the race are reunited. Such is the spirit of the general invention. "The specific invention of the pictures separate, as each constitutes an independent whole, deserves our consideration next: each has its centre, from which it disseminates, to which it leads back all secondary points, arranged, hid, or displayed, as they are more or less organs of the inspiring plan; each rigorously is circumscribed by its generic character." The more particular criticism on this great work of Michael Angelo, is very good, and we earnestly refer the reader to it. He thinks the genius of Michael Angelo more generic in its aim—that of Raffaelle more specific. That as M. Angelo's aim was the "destiny of man, simply considered as the subject of religion, faithful or rebellious," admitting only a "general feature of the passions;" so, in the hands of Raffaelle, the subject would have teemed with a choice of imagery to excite our sympathies; "he would have combined all possible emotions with the utmost variety of probable or real character; all domestic, politic, religious relations—whatever is not local in virtue and in vice; and the sublimity of the greatest events would have been merely the minister of sympathies and passions." The latter mode of representing the subject, that of Raffaelle, he considers dramatic. The distinction is, however, doubtful: we do not see why the mode of M. Angelo may not be held to be equally dramatic. The criticism on the comparison between Raffaelle's and Michael Angelo's Adam and Eve, if not quite just, is striking. "The elevation of Michael Angelo's soul, inspired by the operation of creation itself, furnished him at once with the feature that stamped on human nature its most glorious prerogative; whilst the characteristic subtility, rather than sensibility, of Raffaelle's mind, in this instance, offered nothing but a frigid succedaneum—a symptom incident to all, when, after the subsided astonishment on a great and sudden event, the mind, recollecting itself, ponders on it with inquisitive surmise. In Michael Angelo, all self-consideration is absorbed in the sublimity of the sentiment which issues from the august presence that attracts Eve; 'her earthly,' in Milton's expression, 'by his heavenly overpowered,' pours itself in adoration; whilst, in the inimitable cast of Adam's figure, we trace the hint of that half-conscious moment, when sleep began to give way to the vivacity of the dream inspired. In Raffaelle, creation is complete—Eve is presented to Adam, now awake; but neither the new-born charms, the submissive grace, and virgin purity, of the beauteous image; nor the awful presence of her Introductor, draw him from his mental trance, into effusions of love or gratitude; at ease reclined, with fingers pointing at himself and his new mate, he seems to methodize the surprising event that took place during his sleep, and to whisper the words—'flesh of my flesh.'" Not subscribing to any criticism which concludes insensibility of mind to Raffaelle, and which is rather inconsistent with the judgment made by Mr Fuseli, that he was the painter of expression, from the utmost conflict of passions, to the enchanting round of gentler emotion, and the nearly silent hints of mind and character—we look to the object of the painter in this his series of works called his Bible. The first five pictures represent only the act of creation—the Deity, the Creator—all nature, is as yet passive—even adoration, the point chosen by Michael Angelo, might be said scarcely to have begun—the plan is developed, not put in action. As yet, the Deity is all in all—Eve, his gift to Adam, is the last of this division of the series. As in Genesis, there is the bare, short statement, grand from its simplicity, and our knowledge of its after consequences; but in the words unimpassioned—so Raffaelle, that he might make his pictorial language agree with the written book, with utmost forbearance, lest he should tell more, and beyond his authority, in this portion of the series manifestly avoids expression, or the introduction of any feeling that would make the creatures more than the most passive recipients of the goodness of their Maker. Nor is there authority to show, that as yet they were fully, perfectly conscious of the nature of the gifts of life and companionship; and we certainly do not agree with Mr Fuseli, that it was a moment for Adam to show his sensibility to the personal charms of Eve—the pure Adam—nor was he—the as yet untransgressing Adam—to feel fear, in "the awful presence of the Introductor." Raffaelle's aim seems to have been, to follow the text in its utmost simplicity, that the unlettered might read—and this justifies in him the personality of the Creator, and the apparently manual act of his creation, corresponding with the words—"God made." The "allegoric drama" of the Church empire, that fills the stanzas of the Vatican, is praised by Mr Fuseli, with a full understanding of the purpose of the painter, and feeling for its separate parts. He does not cavil, as some have done, at the anachronisms. "When," says an able, reflecting, and very amusing author,[2] "Aristotle, Plato, Leo X., and Cardinal Bembo, are brought together in the school of Athens, every person must admit, that such offences as these, against truths so obvious, if they do not arise from a defect of understanding, are instances of inexcusable carelessness." Here we think this writer has missed the key of explanation. The very picture is the history of the progress of mind, through science and philosophy, to the acknowledgment of an immortal being. The very subject amalgamates, in one moral idea, times, epochs, localities. It treats of that which passes over time, and embodies only its results. Mr Fuseli notices not these anachronisms, but says aptly of the picture—"What was the surmise of the eye and wish of hearts, is gradually made the result of reason, in the characters of the school of Athens, by the researches of philosophy, which, from bodies to mind, from corporeal harmony to moral fitness, and from the duties of society, ascends to the doctrine of God and hopes of immortality." The very entertaining author whom we have quoted above, we must here, somewhat out of place, observe, has, with Mr Fuseli, mistaken the character of Hogarth's works. He says—"Hogarth has painted comedy!" and what is very strange, he seems to rank him as a comedian with "Pope, Young and Crabbe"—the last, the most tragic in his pathos of any writer. The invention in the Cartoons comes next under Mr Fuseli's observation. "In whatever light we consider their invention, as parts of one whole, relative to each other, or independent each of the rest, and as single subjects, there can be scarcely named a beauty or a mystery, of which the Cartoons furnish not an instance or a clue; they are poised between perspicuity and pregnancy of moment." We believe we understand the latter sentence; it is, however, somewhat affected, and does not rightly balance the perspicuity. We must go back, however, to a passage preceding the remarks on the Cartoons; because we wish, above all things, to vindicate the purest of painters from charges of licentiousness. He sees in Cupid and Psyche a voluptuous history: this may or may not be so—we think it is far from being such; but when he adds, "the voluptuous history of his (Raffaelle's) own favourite passion," he is following a prejudice, an unfounded story—one which we think, too, has in no slight degree influenced his general criticism and estimation of Raffaelle. We would refer the reader to "Passavant's Life of Raffaelle," where he will see this subject investigated, and the tale refuted. It is surprising, but good men affect to speak of amorous passion as if it were a crime; by itself it may disgust, but surely coldness is not the better nature. Insensibilities of all kinds must be avoided, even where "Amor," as Mr Fuseli calls him, and Psyche are the subjects. It is the happiest genius that shall signify without offence the necessary existence of passion, and leave purity in its singleness and innocence. How exquisitely is this done by Shakspeare in his "Romeo and Juliet!" He keeps the lovers free from every grosser particle of love, while he throws it all upon the subordinate characters, particularly the nurse, whose part in the drama, in no small degree, tends to naturalise to our sympathy the youth, the personal beauty, and whole loveliness, of the unhappy Romeo and Juliet.

The differences of manner in which the same subject, "the Murder of the Innocents," has been represented by several painters, according to the genius of each, are well noticed. "History, strictly so called, follows the drama; fiction now ceases, and invention consists only in selecting and fixing with dignity, precision, and sentiment, the moments of reality." He instances, by a given subject, that were the artist to choose the "Death of Germanicus," he is never to forget that he is to represent "a Roman dying amidst Romans," and not to suffer individual grief to un-Romanize his subject. "Germanicus, Agrippina, Caius, Vitellius, the Legates, the Centurions at Antioch, the hero, the husband, the father, the friend, the leader—the struggles of nature and sparks of hope, must be subjected to the physiognomic character and features of Germanicus, the son of Drusus, the Caesar of Tiberius. Maternal, female, connubial passion, must be tinged by Agrippina, the woman absorbed in the Roman, less lover than companion of her husband's grandeur. Even the bursts of friendship, attachment, allegiance, and revenge, must be stamped by the military ceremonial, and distinctive costume of Rome." For an instance of this propriety of invention in history, reference is made, we presume as much, to Mr West's "Death of Wolfe." Undoubtedly, this is Mr West's best picture. The praise from Mr Fuseli was, in all probability, purely academic; he frequently showed that he did not too highly estimate the genius of the painter. Having given these outlines of general and specific invention in the epic, dramatic, and historic branches of art, he admits that there is not always a nice discrimination of their limits: "and as the mind and fancy of man, upon the whole, consist of mixed qualities, we seldom meet with a human performance exclusively made up of epic, dramatic, or pure historic materials." This confession, as it appears to us, renders the classification useless to a student, and shows a yet incomplete view of arrangement, and specification of the power, subjects, and means of art.

Indeed Mr Fuseli proceeds to instances wherein his epic assumes the dramatic, the dramatic the epic, and the historic both. There does seem something wanting in an arrangement which puts the Iliad and Odyssey, two works essentially different, in the same category. We do, therefore, venture the opinion, that such distinctions are, more particularly in painting, not available. With Sir Joshua, he considers borrowing justifiable, and that it does not impair the originality of invention. The instances given of happy adoption are the "Torso of Apollonius," by Michael Angelo; of the figure of "Adam dismissed from Paradise," by Raffaelle, borrowed from Massaccio, as likewise the figure of "Paul at Athens;" and for figures of Michael Angelo's, Raffaelle, Parmegiano, Poussin, are all indebted to the cartoon of Pisa. The lecture concludes with some just remarks upon the "Transfiguration," and a censure upon the coldness of Richardson, and the burlesque of the French critic Falconet, who could not discover the point of contact which united the two parts of this celebrated picture. "Raphael's design was to represent Jesus as the Son of God, and, at the same time, the reliever of human misery, by an unequivocal fact. The transfiguration on Tabor, and the miraculous cure which followed the descent of Jesus, united, furnished the fact. The difficulty was, how to combine two successive actions in one moment. He overcame it, by sacrificing the moment of cure to that of the apparition, by implying the lesser miracle in the greater. In subordinating the cure to the vision, he obtained sublimity; in placing the crowd and patient on the foreground, he gained room for the full exertion of his dramatic powers. It was not necessary that the demoniac should be represented in the moment of recovery, if its certainty could be expressed by other means. It is implied, it is placed beyond all doubt, by the glorious apparition above; it is made nearly intuitive by the uplifted hand and finger of the apostle in the centre, who, without hesitation, undismayed by the obstinacy of the demon, unmoved by the clamour of the crowd, and the pusillanimous scepticism of some of his companions, refers the father of the maniac, in an authoritative manner, for certain and speedy help to his Master on the mountain above, whom, though unseen, his attitude at once connects with all that passes below. Here is the point of contact; here is that union of the two parts of the fact in one moment, which Richardson and Falconet could not discover."

It is with diffidence that we would suggest any thing upon a work that has so nearly exhausted criticism; but we will venture an observation, and if we are correct, the glory of the subject is heightened by its adoption. It has ever appeared to us to have purposed showing at one view, humanity in its highest, its divinely perfected state, the manhood taken into Godhead; and humanity in its lowest, its most forlorn, most degraded state, in the person of a demoniac: and this contrast seems acknowledged—abhorrently felt, by the reluctant spirit within the sufferer, whose attitude, starting from the effulgence and the power which is yet to heal him, being the strong action of the lower part of the picture, and one of suffering, throws the eye and mind of the spectator at once and permanently from earth to the heavenly vision, to ascending prophets, and that bright and central majesty, "whose countenance," Mr. Fuseli observes, "is the only one we know expressive of his superhuman nature." This idea of transformation to a higher nature is likewise kept up in the figures of the ascending prophets, and the apostles below.

* * * * *

The Fourth Lecture is in continuation of the subject—Invention; but we have left little space for further remarks. In another number of Maga we shall resume our review of the lectures.


[1] Perhaps the author of the lectures received this ill opinion of Pausanias from Julius Caesar Scaliger, who treats him as an impostor; but he is amply vindicated by Vossius. He lived in the second century, and died very old at Rome. In his account of the numerous representations of the [Greek: Charites], he seems to throw some light upon a passage in Xenophon's Memorabilia, which, as far as we know, has escaped the notice of the commentators. It is in the dialogue between Socrates and the courtesan Theodote. She wishes that he would come to her, to teach her the art of charming men. He replies, that he has no leisure, being hindered by many matters of private and public importance; and he adds, "I have certain mistresses which will not allow me to be absent from them day nor night, on account of the spells and charms, which learning, they receive from me"—[Greek: eisi de kai philai moi, ai oute hemeras oute nuktos aph auton easousi me apienai, philtra te manthanousai par emon kai epodas.] Who were these [Greek: philai]? Had he meant the virtues or moral qualities, he would have spoken plainer, as was his wont; but here, where the subject is the personal beauty, the charms of Theodote, it is more in the Socratic vein that he refers to other personal charms, which engage his thoughts night and day, and keep him at home. Now, it appears too, that Socrates was taken to see her, on account of the fame of her beauty, and goes to her when she is sitting, or rather standing, to a painter; and it is evident from the dialogue, that she did not refuse the exhibition of her personal charms. It seems, then, not improbable, that Socrates was induced to go to her as the painter went, for the advantage of his art as a sculptor, and that the art was that one at home, the [Greek: tis philotera sou endon]. Be that as it may, it is extremely probable that the [Greek: philai] were some personifications of feminine beauty, upon which he was then at work. Are there, then, any such recorded as from his hand? Pausanias says there were. "Thus Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus, made for the Athenians statues of the Graces, before the vestibule of the citadel," And adds the curious fact, that after that time the Graces were represented naked, and that these were clothed. [Greek: Sokrates te o Sophrotonischon pro tes es ten akropolin esodon Chariton eirgasato agalmata Athenaiois. Kai tauta men estin homoios apanta en estheti. Oi de usteron, ouk oida eph hoto, metabeblekasi to schema autais. Charitas goun, oi kat eme eplasson te kai egraphon gumnas]. Did not Socrates allude to these his statues of the Graces?—Pausanias, cap. xxxv. lib. 9.

[2] The Literary Conglomerate, or Combination of Various Thoughts and Facts. Oxford: 1839. Printed by Thomas Combe.


Gentle Christians, pity us! We are just returned from a musical entertainment, and, with aching head and stunned ears, sit down and try to recover our equanimity, sorely disturbed by the infliction which, we regret to say, we have survived. Had we known how to faint, we had done so on the spot, that ours might have been the bliss of being carried out over the heads and shoulders of the audience ere the performance had well begun—a movement that would have insured us the unfeigned thanks of all whom we had rescued from their distressing situation under pretence of bearing us off, splashing us with cold water, causing doors to bang impressively during our exit, and the various other petit soins requisite to the conducting a "faint" with dignity.

But it could not be accomplished. We made several awkward attempts, so little like, that their only result was our being threatened with a policeman it we made any more disturbance; so, after a hasty glance round had assured us of the impracticability of making our escape in any more everyday style, we sat down with a stern resolution of endurance—lips firmly compressed, eyes fixed in a stony gaze on the orchestra, whence issued by turns groans, shrieks, and screams, from sundry foully-abused instruments of music; accompanied by equally appalling sounds from flat, shrill signorinas, quavering to distraction, backed by gigantic "basses," (double ones surely,) who, with voices like the "seven devils" of the old Grecian, bellowed out divers sentimentalisms about dying for love, when assuredly their most proximate danger was of apoplexy.

Well, the affair came to an end, as, it is to be hoped, will every other evil in this wicked world; in a spasm of thankfulness we extricated ourselves from the crush, and reached our home, where, under the genial influence of quiet and a cup of coffee, we can afford to laugh at the past, (our own vehement indignation included,) and ruminate calmly on the "how" and the "why" of the nuisance, which appears to us as well worthy of being put down by act of parliament, as the ringing of muffin bells and crying "sweep!"

It is a perfect puzzle to us by what process the standard of music has become so lowered, as to make what is ordinarily served up under that name be received as the legitimate descendant of the harmony divine which erst broke on the ear of the listening world, when "the morning stars sang together;" and, in the first freshness of its creation—teeming with melody—angels deigned to visit this terrestrial paradise, nor turned an exile's gaze to that heaven whose strains were chanted in glad accordance with the murmuring stream, and music of the waving forest—which, in its greenness and beauty, seemed but "a little lower" than its celestial archetype, for

"Earth hath this variety from heaven."

(Blessings on the poet for that line! We have a most firm belief in Milton, and receive his representations of heaven as we would those of a Daguerreotype.)

But it is even so. There is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous, and this entrancing art, it seems, has taken it; sorely dislocating its graceful limbs, and injuring its goodly proportions in the unseemly escapade. There—we have played over a simple air, one that thrills through our heart of hearts; and as the notes die on our ears, soothing though the strain be, we feel our indignation increase, and glow still more fiercely against this—music, as it is by courtesy called, for Heaven knows it has no legitimate claim to the name!—till it reaches the crusading point, and we rush headlong to a war of extermination against bars, rests, crotchets, quavers—undaunted even by "staves," and formidable inflated semibreves.

We hate your crashing, clumsy chords, and utterly spit at and defy chromatic passages from one end of the instrument to the other, and back again; flats, sharps, and most appropriate "naturals," splattered all over the page. The essential spirit of discord seems let loose on our modern music, tainted, as it were, with the moral infection that has seized the land; it is music for a democracy, not the stately, solemn measure of imperial majesty. Music to soothe! the idea is obsolete, buried with the ruffs and farthingales of our great-grandmothers; or, to speak more soberly, with the powdered wigs and hoops of their daughters. There is music to excite, much to irritate one, and much more to drive a really musical soul stark mad; but none to soothe, save that which is drawn from the hiding-places of the past.

We should like to catch one of the old masters—Handel, for instance—and place him within the range of one of our modern executioners, to whose taste(!) carte-blanche had been given. We think we see him under the infliction. Neither the hurling of wig, nor yet of kettle-drum, at the head of the performer, would relieve his outraged spirit: he would strangle the offender on the spot, and hang himself afterwards; and the jury would, in the first case, return a verdict of justifiable homicide, and, in the second, of justifiable suicide, with a deodand of no ordinary magnitude on the musical instrument that had led to the catastrophe.

There is no repose, no refreshment to the mind, in our popular compositions; they are like Turner's skies—they harass and fatigue, leaving you certainly wondering at their difficulty, but, as certainly, wishing they had been "impossible." There is to us more of touching pathos, heart-thrilling expression, in some of the old psalm-tunes, feelingly played, than in a whole batch of modernisms. The strains go home, and the "fountains of the great deep are broken up"—the great deep of unfathomable feeling, that lies far, far below the surface of the world-hardened heart; and as the unwonted, yet unchecked, tear starts to the eye, the softened spirit yields to their influence, and shakes off the moil of earthly care; rising, purified and spiritualized, into a clearer atmosphere. Strange, inexplicable associations brood over the mind,

"Like the far-off dreams of paradise,"

mingling their chaste melancholy with musings of a still subdued, though more cheerful character. How many glad hearts in the olden time have rejoiced in these songs of praise—how many sorrowful ones sighed out their complaints in those plaintive notes, that steal sadly, yet sweetly, on the ear—hearts that, now cold in death, are laid to rest around that sacred fane, within whose walls they had so often swelled with emotion! Tell us not of neatly trimmed "cemeteries," redolent of staring sunflowers, priggish shrubs, and all the modern coxcombry of the tomb; with nicely swept gravel walks, lest the mourner should get "wet on's feet," and vaults numbered like warehouses, where "parties may bring their own minister," and be buried with any form, or no form, if they like it better. No, give us the village churchyard with its sombre yew-trees, among which

"The dial, hid by weeds and flowers, Hath told, by none beheld, the solitary hours;"

its grassy hillocks, and mouldering grave-stones, where haply all record is obliterated, and nought but a solitary "resurgam" meets the enquiring eye; its white-robed priest reverently committing "earth to earth," in sure and certain hope "of a joyful resurrection" to the slumbering clay, that was wont to worship within the grey and time-stained walls, whence the mournful train have now borne him to his last rest; while on the ivy-clad tower fall the slanting golden beams of an autumnal sun, that, in its declining glory, seems to whisper of hope and consolation to the sorrowful ones, reminding them that the night of the tomb shall not endure for ever, but that, so surely as the great orb of day shall return on the wings of the morning to chase away the tears of the lamenting earth, so surely shall the dust, strewed around that temple, scattered though it may be to the winds of heaven, "rise again" in the morning of the Resurrection, when death "shall be swallowed up in victory."

"'Tis fit his trophies should be rife Around the place where he's subdued; The gate of death leads forth to life."

But we are wandering sadly from our subject; it is perhaps quite as well that we have done so, for we should have become dangerous had we dwelt much longer on it. We were on the point of wishing (Nero-like) that our popular professors of the tuneful art had but one neck, that we might exterminate them at a blow, or hang them with one gigantic fiddle-string; but now, thanks to our episode, our exacerbated feelings are so far mollified, that we will be content with wishing them sentenced to grind knives on oil-less stones with creaking axles, till the sufferings of their own shall have taught them consideration for the ears of other people.

But music, real music—not in the harsh, exaggerated style now in the ascendant, but simple, pure, melodious, such as might have entranced the soul of a Handel, when, in some vision of night, sounds swept from angelic harps have floated around him, the gifted one, in whose liquid strains and stately harmonies fall on our ravished ears the echoes of that immortal joy—such we confess to be one of our idols, before whose shrine we pay a willing, gladsome homage; though now, alas! it must be in dens and caves of the earth, since modern heresy has banished it from the temple of Apollo.

See how Toryism peeps out even in the fine arts! Even did we say? They are its legitimate province; "The old is better," is inscribed in glowing character on the portals of the past. Old Painting! See the throbbing form start from the pregnant canvass—the "Mother of God" folding her Divine Son to her all but celestial arms—the Son of God fainting beneath a load of woe, not his own. Old Poetry! Glorious old Homer, with his magic song; and sturdy, oak-like in his strength, as in his verdure, old Chaucer. Old Music! Hail, ye inspired sons of the lyre! A noble host are ye, enshrined in the hearts of all loyal worshippers of the tuneful god. And yet (we grieve to confess it) we, even we, spite of all our enthusiasm, have been seen laughing at "old music," the aspiring psalmody of a country church singing-pew.

Oh, to see the row of performers, the consequential choir, transcending in importance (in their own eyes) the clerk, the curate, the rector, and even the squire from the great hall, majestic and stern though he be, with his awful wig and gold-headed cane! There are the fubsy boys—copied apparently from cherubim—who, with glowing, distended cheeks, are simpering on the ceiling, doing the tenor, with wide open mouths that would shame e'er a barn-door in the village; their red, stumpy fingers sprawling over the music which they are (not) reading. The pale, lantern-jawed youths, in yellow waistcoats and tall shirt-collars, who look as if they were about to whistle a match, are holloing out what is professionally, and in this instance with most distressing truth, termed counter. "Counter" it is with a vengeance; and not only so, but it is a neck-and-neck race between them and the urchins aforesaid, which shall have done first. The shock-headed man, with chin dropped into his neckerchief, and mouth twisted into every unimaginable contortion, as though grinning through a horse-collar, has the bass confided to his faithful keeping; and emits a variety of growls and groans truly appalling, though evidently to his own great comfort and satisfaction. The bassoon, the clarinet, the flute—but how shall we describe them! Suffice it to say, that they appeared to be suffering inexpressible torments at the hands of their apoplectic-looking performers; who were all at the last gasp, and all determined to die bravely at their posts. And then the entranced audience, with half-shut eyes and quivering palms! Oh, it was too much; we lost our character typo irretrievably that day; half suppressed titters from the squire's pew were not to be borne. In that unhappy moment we sinned away some quarter of a century's unrivalled reputation for good manners and musical taste. Old Fiddlestrings never forgave us, never did he vouchsafe us another anthem, spite of our entreaties and protestations, and the thousand and one apologies for our ill-timed merriment, which our fruitful brain invented on the spot. To his dying day he preserved the utmost contempt for our judgment, not only in this department of the fine arts, but also on every other subject. Not to admire his music, was condemnation in every thing—an unpardonable offence. We, who had been his great friend, patron, (or rather he was ours,) to whom he had so often condescended on the Saturday evening to hum, whistle, and too-too over the tune—of his own composing—that was to be the admiration of the whole parish on the succeeding day—we were henceforth to be as the uninitiated, and left to find out, and follow, as we best might, the very eccentric windings of his Sunday's asthmatic performance; which always went at the rate of three crotchets and a cough, to the end of the psalm, which he took care should be an especial long one.

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