On the Old Road Vol. 1 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature
by John Ruskin
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PUBLISHED 1834-1885.

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V. THE CESTUS OF AGLAIA. 1865-66 305

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(University Magazine, April 1878.)

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1st February, 1878.

1. In seven days more I shall be fifty-nine;—which (practically) is all the same as sixty; but, being asked by the wife of my dear old friend, W. H. Harrison, to say a few words of our old relations together, I find myself, in spite of all these years, a boy again,—partly in the mere thought of, and renewed sympathy with, the cheerful heart of my old literary master, and partly in instinctive terror lest, wherever he is in celestial circles, he should catch me writing bad grammar, or putting wrong stops, and should set the table turning, or the like. For he was inexorable in such matters, and many a sentence in "Modern Painters," which I had thought quite beautifully turned out after a forenoon's work on it, had to be turned outside-in, after all, and cut into the smallest pieces and sewn up again, because he had found out there wasn't a nominative in it, or a genitive, or a conjunction, or something else indispensable to a sentence's decent existence and position in life. Not a book of mine, for good thirty years, but went, every word of it, under his careful eyes twice over—often also the last revises left to his tender mercy altogether on condition he wouldn't bother me any more.

2. "For good thirty years": that is to say, from my first verse-writing in "Friendship's Offering" at fifteen, to my last orthodox and conservative compositions at forty-five.[2] But when I began to utter radical sentiments, and say things derogatory to the clergy, my old friend got quite restive—absolutely refused sometimes to pass even my most grammatical and punctuated paragraphs, if their contents savored of heresy or revolution; and at last I was obliged to print all my philanthropy and political economy on the sly.

3. The heaven of the literary world through which Mr. Harrison moved in a widely cometary fashion, circling now round one luminary and now submitting to the attraction of another, not without a serenely erubescent luster of his own, differed toto coelo from the celestial state of authorship by whose courses we have now the felicity of being dazzled and directed. Then, the publications of the months being very nearly concluded in the modest browns of Blackwood and Fraser, and the majesty of the quarterlies being above the range of the properly so-called "public" mind, the simple family circle looked forward with chief complacency to their New Year's gift of the Annual—a delicately printed, lustrously bound, and elaborately illustrated small octavo volume, representing, after its manner, the poetical and artistic inspiration of the age. It is not a little wonderful to me, looking back to those pleasant years and their bestowings, to measure the difficultly imaginable distance between the periodical literature of that day and ours. In a few words, it may be summed by saying that the ancient Annual was written by meekly-minded persons, who felt that they knew nothing about anything, and did not want to know more. Faith in the usually accepted principles of propriety, and confidence in the Funds, the Queen, the English Church, the British Army and the perennial continuance of England, of her Annuals, and of the creation in general, were necessary then for the eligibility, and important elements in the success, of the winter-blowing author. Whereas I suppose that the popularity of our present candidates for praise, at the successive changes of the moon, may be considered as almost proportionate to their confidence in the abstract principles of dissolution, the immediate necessity of change, and the inconvenience, no less than the iniquity, of attributing any authority to the Church, the Queen, the Almighty, or anything else but the British Press. Such constitutional differences in the tone of the literary contents imply still greater contrasts in the lives of the editors of these several periodicals. It was enough for the editor of the "Friendship's Offering" if he could gather for his Christmas bouquet a little pastoral story, suppose, by Miss Mitford, a dramatic sketch by the Rev. George Croly, a few sonnets or impromptu stanzas to music by the gentlest lovers and maidens of his acquaintance, and a legend of the Apennines or romance of the Pyrenees by some adventurous traveler who had penetrated into the recesses of their mountains, and would modify the traditions of the country to introduce a plate by Clarkson Stanfield or J. D. Harding. Whereas nowadays the editor of a leading monthly is responsible to his readers for exhaustive views of the politics of Europe during the last fortnight; and would think himself distanced in the race with his lunarian rivals, if his numbers did not contain three distinct and entirely new theories of the system of the universe, and at least one hitherto unobserved piece of evidence of the nonentity of God.

4. In one respect, however, the humilities of that departed time were loftier than the prides of to-day—that even the most retiring of its authors expected to be admired, not for what he had discovered, but for what he was. It did not matter in our dynasties of determined noblesse how many things an industrious blockhead knew, or how curious things a lucky booby had discovered. We claimed, and gave no honor but for real rank of human sense and wit; and although this manner of estimate led to many various collateral mischiefs—to much toleration of misconduct in persons who were amusing, and of uselessness in those of proved ability, there was yet the essential and constant good in it, that no one hoped to snap up for himself a reputation which his friend was on the point of achieving, and that even the meanest envy of merit was not embittered by a gambler's grudge at his neighbor's fortune.

5. Into this incorruptible court of literature I was early brought, whether by good or evil hap, I know not; certainly by no very deliberate wisdom in my friends or myself. A certain capacity for rhythmic cadence (visible enough in all my later writings) and the cheerfulness of a much protected, but not foolishly indulged childhood, made me early a rhymester; and a shelf of the little cabinet by which I am now writing is loaded with poetical effusions which were the delight of my father and mother, and I have not yet the heart to burn. A worthy Scottish friend of my father's, Thomas Pringle, preceded Mr. Harrison in the editorship of "Friendship's Offering," and doubtfully, but with benignant sympathy, admitted the dazzling hope that one day rhymes of mine might be seen in real print, on those amiable and shining pages.

6. My introduction by Mr. Pringle to the poet Rogers, on the ground of my admiration of the recently published "Italy," proved, as far as I remember, slightly disappointing to the poet, because it appeared on Mr. Pringle's unadvised cross-examination of me in the presence that I knew more of the vignettes than the verses; and also slightly discouraging to me because, this contretemps necessitating an immediate change of subject, I thenceforward understood none of the conversation, and when we came away was rebuked by Mr. Pringle for not attending to it. Had his grave authority been maintained over me, my literary bloom would probably have been early nipped; but he passed away into the African deserts; and the Favonian breezes of Mr. Harrison's praise revived my drooping ambition.

7. I know not whether most in that ambition, or to please my father, I now began seriously to cultivate my skill in expression. I had always an instinct of possessing considerable word-power; and the series of essays written about this time for the Architectural Magazine, under the signature of Kata Phusin, contain sentences nearly as well put together as any I have done since. But without Mr. Harrison's ready praise, and severe punctuation, I should have either tired of my labor, or lost it; as it was, though I shall always think those early years might have been better spent, they had their reward. As soon as I had anything really to say, I was able sufficiently to say it; and under Mr. Harrison's cheerful auspices, and balmy consolations of my father under adverse criticism, the first volume of "Modern Painters" established itself in public opinion, and determined the tenor of my future life.

8. Thus began a friendship, and in no unreal sense, even a family relationship, between Mr. Harrison, my father and mother, and me, in which there was no alloy whatsoever of distrust or displeasure on either side, but which remained faithful and loving, more and more conducive to every sort of happiness among us, to the day of my father's death.

But the joyfulest days of it for us, and chiefly for me, cheered with concurrent sympathy from other friends—of whom only one now is left—were in the triumphal Olympiad of years which followed the publication of the second volume of "Modern Painters," when Turner himself had given to me his thanks, to my father and mother his true friendship, and came always for their honor, to keep my birthday with them; the constant dinner party of the day remaining in its perfect chaplet from 1844 to 1850,—Turner, Mr. Thomas Richmond, Mr. George Richmond, Samuel Prout, and Mr. Harrison.

9. Mr. Harrison, as my literary godfather, who had held me at the Font of the Muses, and was answerable to the company for my moral principles and my syntax, always made "the speech"; my father used most often to answer for me in few words, but with wet eyes: (there was a general understanding that any good or sorrow that might come to me in literary life were infinitely more his) and the two Mr. Richmonds held themselves responsible to him for my at least moderately decent orthodoxy in art, taking in that matter a tenderly inquisitorial function, and warning my father solemnly of two dangerous heresies in the bud, and of things really passing the possibilities of the indulgence of the Church, said against Claude or Michael Angelo. The death of Turner and other things, far more sad than death, clouded those early days, but the memory of them returned again after I had well won my second victory with the "Stones of Venice"; and the two Mr. Richmonds, and Mr. Harrison, and my father, were again happy on my birthday, and so to the end.

10. In a far deeper sense than he himself knew, Mr. Harrison was all this time influencing my thoughts and opinions, by the entire consistency, contentment, and practical sense of his modest life. My father and he were both flawless types of the true London citizen of olden days: incorruptible, proud with sacred and simple pride, happy in their function and position; putting daily their total energy into the detail of their business duties, and finding daily a refined and perfect pleasure in the hearth-side poetry of domestic life. Both of them, in their hearts, as romantic as girls; both of them inflexible as soldier recruits in any matter of probity and honor, in business or out of it; both of them utterly hating radical newspapers, and devoted to the House of Lords; my father only, it seemed to me, slightly failing in his loyalty to the Worshipful the Mayor and Corporation of London. This disrespect for civic dignity was connected in my father with some little gnawing of discomfort—deep down in his heart—in his own position as a merchant, and with timidly indulged hope that his son might one day move in higher spheres; whereas Mr. Harrison was entirely placid and resigned to the will of Providence which had appointed him his desk in the Crown Life Office, never in his most romantic visions projected a marriage for any of his daughters with a British baronet or a German count, and pinned his little vanities prettily and openly on his breast, like a nosegay, when he went out to dinner. Most especially he shone at the Literary Fund, where he was Registrar and had proper official relations, therefore, always with the Chairman, Lord Mahon, or Lord Houghton, or the Bishop of Winchester, or some other magnificent person of that sort, with whom it was Mr. Harrison's supremest felicity to exchange a not unfrequent little joke—like a pinch of snuff—and to indicate for them the shoals to be avoided and the channels to be followed with flowing sail in the speech of the year; after which, if perchance there were any malignant in the company who took objection, suppose, to the claims of the author last relieved, to the charity of the Society, or to any claim founded on the production of a tale for Blackwood's Magazine, and of two sonnets for "Friendship's Offering"; or if perchance there were any festering sharp thorn in Mr. Harrison's side in the shape of some distinguished radical, Sir Charles Dilke, or Mr. Dickens, or anybody who had ever said anything against taxation, or the Post Office, or the Court of Chancery, or the Bench of Bishops,—then would Mr. Harrison, if he had full faith in his Chairman, cunningly arrange with him some delicate little extinctive operation to be performed on that malignant or that radical in the course of the evening, and would relate to us exultingly the next day all the incidents of the power of arms, and vindictively (for him) dwell on the barbed points and double edge of the beautiful episcopalian repartee with which it was terminated.

11. Very seriously, in all such public duties, Mr. Harrison was a person of rarest quality and worth; absolutely disinterested in his zeal, unwearied in exertion, always ready, never tiresome, never absurd; bringing practical sense, kindly discretion, and a most wholesome element of good-humored, but incorruptible honesty, into everything his hand found to do. Everybody respected, and the best men sincerely regarded him, and I think those who knew most of the world were always the first to acknowledge his fine faculty of doing exactly the right thing to exactly the right point—and so pleasantly. In private life, he was to me an object of quite special admiration, in the quantity of pleasure he could take in little things; and he very materially modified many of my gravest conclusions, as to the advantages or mischiefs of modern suburban life. To myself scarcely any dwelling-place and duty in this world would have appeared (until, perhaps, I had tried them) less eligible for a man of sensitive and fanciful mind than the New Road, Camberwell Green, and the monotonous office work in Bridge Street. And to a certain extent, I am still of the same mind as to these matters, and do altogether, and without doubt or hesitation, repudiate the existence of New Road and Camberwell Green in general, no less than the condemnation of intelligent persons to a routine of clerk's work broken only by a three weeks' holiday in the decline of the year. On less lively, fanciful, and amiable persons than my old friend, the New Road and the daily desk do verily exercise a degrading and much to be regretted influence. But Mr. Harrison brought the freshness of pastoral simplicity into the most faded corners of the Green, lightened with his cheerful heart the most leaden hours of the office, and gathered during his three weeks' holiday in the neighborhood, suppose, of Guildford, Gravesend, Broadstairs, or Rustington, more vital recreation and speculative philosophy than another man would have got on the grand tour.

12. On the other hand, I, who had nothing to do all day but what I liked, and could wander at will among all the best beauties of the globe—nor that without sufficient power to see and to feel them, was habitually a discontented person, and frequently a weary one; and the reproachful thought which always rose in my mind when in that unconquerable listlessness of surfeit from excitement I found myself unable to win even a momentary pleasure from the fairest scene, was always: "If but Mr. Harrison were here instead of me!"

13. Many and many a time I planned very seriously the beguiling of him over the water. But there was always something to be done in a hurry—something to be worked out—something to be seen, as I thought, only in my own quiet way. I believe if I had but had the sense to take my old friend with me, he would have shown me ever so much more than I found out by myself. But it was not to be; and year after year I went to grumble and mope at Venice, or Lago Maggiore; and Mr. Harrison to enjoy himself from morning to night at Broadstairs or Box Hill. Let me not speak with disdain of either. No blue languor of tideless wave is worth the spray and sparkle of a South-Eastern English beach, and no one will ever rightly enjoy the pines of the Wengern Alp who despises the boxes of Box Hill.

Nay, I remember me of a little rapture of George Richmond himself on those fair slopes of sunny sward, ending in a vision of Tobit and his dog—no less—led up there by the helpful angel. (I have always wondered, by the way, whether that blessed dog minded what the angel said to him.)

14. But Mr. Harrison was independent of these mere ethereal visions, and surrounded himself only with a halo of sublunary beatitude. Welcome always he, as on his side frankly coming to be well, with the farmer, the squire, the rector, the—I had like to have said, dissenting minister, but I think Mr. Harrison usually evaded villages for summer domicile which were in any wise open to suspicion of Dissent in the air,—but with hunting rector, and the High Church curate, and the rector's daughters, and the curate's mother—and the landlord of the Red Lion, and the hostler of the Red Lion stables, and the tapster of the Pig and Whistle, and all the pigs in the backyard, and all the whistlers in the street—whether for want of thought or for gayety of it, and all the geese on the common, ducks in the horse-pond, and daws in the steeple, Mr. Harrison was known and beloved by every bird and body of them before half his holiday was over, and the rest of it was mere exuberance of festivity about him, and applauding coronation of his head and heart. Above all, he delighted in the ways of animals and children. He wrote a birthday ode—or at least a tumble-out-of-the-nest-day ode—to our pet rook, Grip, which encouraged that bird in taking such liberties with the cook, and in addressing so many impertinences to the other servants, that he became the mere plague, or as the French would express it, the "Black-beast," of the kitchen at Denmark Hill for the rest of his life. There was almost always a diary kept, usually, I think, in rhyme, of those summer hours of indolence; and when at last it was recognized, in due and reverent way, at the Crown Life Office, that indeed the time had drawn near when its constant and faithful servant should be allowed to rest, it was perhaps not the least of my friend's praiseworthy and gentle gifts to be truly capable of rest; withdrawing himself into the memories of his useful and benevolent life, and making it truly a holiday in its honored evening. The idea then occurred to him (and it was now my turn to press with hearty sympathy the sometimes intermitted task) of writing these Reminiscences: valuable—valuable to whom, and for what, I begin to wonder.

15. For indeed these memories are of people who are passed away like the snow in harvest; and now, with the sharp-sickle reapers of full shocks of the fattening wheat of metaphysics, and fair novelists Ruth-like in the fields of barley, or more mischievously coming through the rye,—what will the public, so vigorously sustained by these, care to hear of the lovely writers of old days, quaint creatures that they were?—Merry Miss Mitford, actually living in the country, actually walking in it, loving it, and finding history enough in the life of the butcher's boy, and romance enough in the story of the miller's daughter, to occupy all her mind with, innocent of troubles concerning the Turkish question; steady-going old Barham, confessing nobody but the Jackdaw of Rheims, and fearless alike of Ritualism, Darwinism, or disestablishment; iridescent clearness of Thomas Hood—the wildest, deepest infinity of marvelously jestful men; manly and rational Sydney, inevitable, infallible, inoffensively wise of wit;[3]—they are gone their way, and ours is far diverse; and they and all the less-known, yet pleasantly and brightly endowed spirits of that time, are suddenly as unintelligible to us as the Etruscans—not a feeling they had that we can share in; and these pictures of them will be to us valuable only as the sculpture under the niches far in the shade there of the old parish church, dimly vital images of inconceivable creatures whom we shall never see the like of more.


[1] This paper was written as a preface to a series of "Reminiscences" from the pen of the late Mr. W. H. Harrison, commenced in the University Magazine of May 1878. It was separately printed in that magazine in the preceding month, but owing to Mr. Ruskin's illness at the time, he was unable to see it through the press. A letter from Mr. Ruskin to Mr. Harrison, printed in "Arrows of the Chace," may be found of interest in connection with the opening statements of this paper.—[ED.]

[2] "Friendship's Offering" of 1835 included two poems, signed "J. R.," and entitled "Saltzburg" and "Fragments from a Metrical Journal; Andernacht and St. Goar."—[ED.]

[3] In the "Life and Times of Sydney Smith," by Stuart J. Reid (London, 1884, p. 374), appears a letter addressed to the author by Mr. Ruskin, to whom the book is dedicated:—

"OXFORD, Nov. 15th, 1883.

"MY DEAR SIR,—I wanted to tell you what deep respect I had for Sydney Smith; but my time has been cut to pieces ever since your note reached me. He was the first in the literary circles of London to assert the value of 'Modern Painters,' and he has always seemed to me equally keen-sighted and generous in his estimate of literary efforts. His 'Moral Philosophy' is the only book on the subject which I care that my pupils should read, and there is no man (whom I have not personally known) whose image is so vivid in my constant affection.—Ever your faithful servant,


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(Quarterly Review, June 1847.)


(Quarterly Review, March 1848.)


(Art Journal, March 1849.)


(Cornhill Magazine, March 1860.)

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16. There is, perhaps, no phenomenon connected with the history of the first half of the nineteenth century, which will become a subject of more curious investigation in after ages, than the coincident development of the Critical faculty, and extinction of the Arts of Design. Our mechanical energies, vast though they be, are not singular nor characteristic; such, and so great, have before been manifested—and it may perhaps be recorded of us with wonder rather than respect, that we pierced mountains and excavated valleys, only to emulate the activity of the gnat and the swiftness of the swallow. Our discoveries in science, however accelerated or comprehensive, are but the necessary development of the more wonderful reachings into vacancy of past centuries; and they who struck the piles of the bridge of Chaos will arrest the eyes of Futurity rather than we builders of its towers and gates—theirs the authority of Light, ours but the ordering of courses to the Sun and Moon.

17. But the Negative character of the age is distinctive. There has not before appeared a race like that of civilized Europe at this day, thoughtfully unproductive of all art—ambitious—industrious—investigative—reflective, and incapable. Disdained by the savage, or scattered by the soldier, dishonored by the voluptuary, or forbidden by the fanatic, the arts have not, till now, been extinguished by analysis and paralyzed by protection. Our lecturers, learned in history, exhibit the descents of excellence from school to school, and clear from doubt the pedigrees of powers which they cannot re-establish, and of virtues no more to be revived: the scholar is early acquainted with every department of the Impossible, and expresses in proper terms his sense of the deficiencies of Titian and the errors of Michael Angelo: the metaphysician weaves from field to field his analogies of gossamer, which shake and glitter fairly in the sun, but must be torn asunder by the first plow that passes: geometry measures out, by line and rule, the light which is to illustrate heroism, and the shadow which should veil distress; and anatomy counts muscles, and systematizes motion, in the wrestling of Genius with its angel. Nor is ingenuity wanting—nor patience; apprehension was never more ready, nor execution more exact—yet nothing is of us, or in us, accomplished;—the treasures of our wealth and will are spent in vain—our cares are as clouds without water—our creations fruitless and perishable; the succeeding Age will trample "sopra lor vanita che par persona," and point wonderingly back to the strange colorless tessera in the mosaic of human mind.

18. No previous example can be shown, in the career of nations not altogether nomad or barbarous, of so total an absence of invention,—of any material representation of the mind's inward yearning and desire, seen, as soon as shaped, to be, though imperfect, in its essence good, and worthy to be rested in with contentment, and consisting self-approval—the Sabbath of contemplation which confesses and confirms the majesty of a style. All but ourselves have had this in measure; the Imagination has stirred herself in proportion to the requirements, capacity, and energy of each race: reckless or pensive, soaring or frivolous, still she has had life and influence; sometimes aiming at Heaven with brick for stone and slime for mortar—anon bound down to painting of porcelain, and carving of ivory, but always with an inward consciousness of power which might indeed be palsied or imprisoned, but not in operation vain. Altars have been rent, many—ashes poured out,—hands withered—but we alone have worshiped, and received no answer—the pieces left in order upon the wood, and our names writ in the water that runs roundabout the trench.

19. It is easier to conceive than to enumerate the many circumstances which are herein against us, necessarily, and exclusive of all that wisdom might avoid, or resolution vanquish. First, the weight of mere numbers, among whom ease of communication rather renders opposition of judgment fatal, than agreement probable; looking from England to Attica, or from Germany to Tuscany, we may remember to what good purpose it was said that the magnetism of iron was found not in bars, but in needles. Together with this adversity of number comes the likelihood of many among the more available intellects being held back and belated in the crowd, or else prematurely outwearied; for it now needs both curious fortune and vigorous effort to give to any, even the greatest, such early positions of eminence and audience as may feed their force with advantage; so that men spend their strength in opening circles, and crying for place, and only come to speech of us with broken voices and shortened time. Then follows the diminution of importance in peculiar places and public edifices, as they engage national affection or vanity; no single city can now take such queenly lead as that the pride of the whole body of the people shall be involved in adorning her; the buildings of London or Munich are not charged with the fullness of the national heart as were the domes of Pisa and Florence:—their credit or shame is metropolitan, not acropolitan; central at the best, not dominant; and this is one of the chief modes in which the cessation of superstition, so far as it has taken place, has been of evil consequence to art, that the observance of local sanctities being abolished, meanness and mistake are anywhere allowed of, and the thoughts and wealth which were devoted and expended to good purpose in one place, are now distracted and scattered to utter unavailableness.

20. In proportion to the increasing spirituality of religion, the conception of worthiness in material offering ceases, and with it the sense of beauty in the evidence of votive labor; machine-work is substituted for handwork, as if the value of ornament consisted in the mere multiplication of agreeable forms, instead of in the evidence of human care and thought and love about the separate stones; and—machine-work once tolerated—the eye itself soon loses its sense of this very evidence, and no more perceives the difference between the blind accuracy of the engine, and the bright, strange play of the living stroke—a difference as great as between the form of a stone pillar and a springing fountain. And on this blindness follow all errors and abuses—hollowness and slightness of framework, speciousness of surface ornament, concealed structure, imitated materials, and types of form borrowed from things noble for things base; and all these abuses must be resisted with the more caution, and less success, because in many ways they are signs or consequences of improvement, and are associated both with purer forms of religious feeling and with more general diffusion of refinements and comforts; and especially because we are critically aware of all our deficiencies, too cognizant of all that is greatest to pass willingly and humbly through the stages that rise to it, and oppressed in every honest effort by the bitter sense of inferiority. In every previous development the power has been in advance of the consciousness, the resources more abundant than the knowledge—the energy irresistible, the discipline imperfect. The light that led was narrow and dim—streakings of dawn—but it fell with kindly gentleness on eyes newly awakened out of sleep. But we are now aroused suddenly in the light of an intolerable day—our limbs fail under the sunstroke—we are walled in by the great buildings of elder times, and their fierce reverberation falls upon us without pause, in our feverish and oppressive consciousness of captivity; we are laid bedridden at the Beautiful Gate, and all our hope must rest in acceptance of the "such as I have," of the passers by.

21. The frequent and firm, yet modest expression of this hope, gives peculiar value to Lord Lindsay's book on Christian Art; for it is seldom that a grasp of antiquity so comprehensive, and a regard for it so affectionate, have consisted with aught but gloomy foreboding with respect to our own times. As a contribution to the History of Art, his work is unquestionably the most valuable which has yet appeared in England. His research has been unwearied; he has availed himself of the best results of German investigation—his own acuteness of discernment in cases of approximating or derivative style is considerable—and he has set before the English reader an outline of the relations of the primitive schools of Sacred art which we think so thoroughly verified in all its more important ramifications, that, with whatever richness of detail the labor of succeeding writers may illustrate them, the leading lines of Lord Lindsay's chart will always henceforth be followed. The feeling which pervades the whole book is chastened, serious, and full of reverence for the strength ordained out of the lips of infant Art—accepting on its own terms its simplest teaching, sympathizing with all kindness in its unreasoning faith; the writer evidently looking back with most joy and thankfulness to hours passed in gazing upon the faded and faint touches of feeble hands, and listening through the stillness of uninvaded cloisters for fall of voices now almost spent; yet he is never contracted into the bigot, nor inflamed into the enthusiast; he never loses his memory of the outside world, never quits nor compromises his severe and reflective Protestantism, never gives ground of offense by despite or forgetfulness of any order of merit or period of effort. And the tone of his address to our present schools is therefore neither scornful nor peremptory; his hope, consisting with full apprehension of all that we have lost, is based on a strict and stern estimate of our power, position, and resource, compelling the assent even of the least sanguine to his expectancy of the revelation of a new world of Spiritual Beauty, of which whosoever

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"will dedicate his talents, as the bondsman of love, to his Redeemer's glory and the good of mankind, may become the priest and interpreter, by adopting in the first instance, and re-issuing with that outward investiture which the assiduous study of all that is beautiful, either in Grecian sculpture, or the later but less spiritual schools of painting, has enabled him to supply, such of its bright ideas as he finds imprisoned in the early and imperfect efforts of art—and secondly, by exploring further on his own account in the untrodden realms of feeling that lie before him, and calling into palpable existence visions as bright, as pure, and as immortal as those that have already, in the golden days of Raphael and Perugino, obeyed their creative mandate, Live!" (Vol. iii., p. 422).[5]

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22. But while we thus defer to the discrimination, respect the feeling, and join in the hope of the author, we earnestly deprecate the frequent assertion, as we entirely deny the accuracy or propriety, of the metaphysical analogies, in accordance with which his work has unhappily been arranged. Though these had been as carefully, as they are crudely, considered, it had still been no light error of judgment to thrust them with dogmatism so abrupt into the forefront of a work whose purpose is assuredly as much to win to the truth as to demonstrate it. The writer has apparently forgotten that of the men to whom he must primarily look for the working out of his anticipations, the most part are of limited knowledge and inveterate habit, men dexterous in practice, idle in thought; many of them compelled by ill-ordered patronage into directions of exertion at variance with their own best impulses, and regarding their art only as a means of life; all of them conscious of practical difficulties which the critic is too apt to under-estimate, and probably remembering disappointments of early effort rude enough to chill the most earnest heart. The shallow amateurship of the circle of their patrons early disgusts them with theories; they shrink back to the hard teaching of their own industry, and would rather read the book which facilitated their methods than the one that rationalized their aims. Noble exceptions there are, and more than might be deemed; but the labor spent in contest with executive difficulties renders even these better men unapt receivers of a system which looks with little respect on such achievement, and shrewd discerners of the parts of such system which have been feebly rooted, or fancifully reared. Their attention should have been attracted both by clearness and kindness of promise; their impatience prevented by close reasoning and severe proof of every statement which might seem transcendental. Altogether void of such consideration or care, Lord Lindsay never even so much as states the meaning or purpose of his appeal, but, clasping his hands desperately over his head, disappears on the instant in an abyss of curious and unsupported assertions of the philosophy of human nature: reappearing only, like a breathless diver, in the third page, to deprecate the surprise of the reader whom he has never addressed, at a conviction which he has never stated; and again vanishing ere we can well look him in the face, among the frankincensed clouds of Christian mythology: filling the greater part of his first volume with a resume of its symbols and traditions, yet never vouchsafing the slightest hint of the objects for which they are assembled, or the amount of credence with which he would have them regarded; and so proceeds to the historical portion of the book, leaving the whole theory which is its key to be painfully gathered from scattered passages, and in great part from the mere form of enumeration adopted in the preliminary chart of the schools; and giving as yet account only of that period to which the mere artist looks with least interest—while the work, even when completed, will be nothing more than a single pinnacle of the historical edifice whose ground-plan is laid in the preceding essay, "Progression by Antagonism":—a plan, by the author's confession, "too extensive for his own, or any single hand to execute," yet without the understanding of whose main relations it is impossible to receive the intended teaching of the completed portion.

23. It is generally easier to plan what is beyond the reach of others than to execute what is within our own; and it had been well if the range of this introductory essay had been something less extensive, and its reasoning more careful. Its search after truth is honest and impetuous, and its results would have appeared as interesting as they are indeed valuable, had they but been arranged with ordinary perspicuity, and represented in simple terms. But the writer's evil genius pursues him; the demand for exertion of thought is remorseless, and continuous throughout, and the statements of theoretical principle as short, scattered, and obscure, as they are bold. We question whether many readers may not be utterly appalled by the aspect of an "Analysis of Human Nature"—the first task proposed to them by our intellectual Eurystheus—to be accomplished in the space of six semi-pages, followed in the seventh by the "Development of the Individual Man," and applied in the eighth to a "General Classification of Individuals": and we infinitely marvel that our author should have thought it unnecessary to support or explain a division of the mental attributes on which the treatment of his entire subject afterwards depends, and whose terms are repeated in every following page to the very dazzling of eye and deadening of ear (a division, we regret to say, as illogical as it is purposeless), otherwise than by a laconic reference to the assumptions of Phrenology.

"The Individual Man, or Man considered by himself as an unit in creation, is compounded of three distinct primary elements.

1. Sense, or the animal frame, with its passions or affections;

2. Mind or Intellect;—of which the distinguishing faculties—rarely, if ever, equally balanced, and by their respective predominance determinative of his whole character, conduct, and views of life—are,

i. Imagination, the discerner of Beauty,—

ii. Reason, the discerner of Truth,—

the former animating and informing the world of Sense or Matter, the latter finding her proper home in the world of abstract or immaterial existences —the former receiving the impress of things Objectively, or ab externo, the latter impressing its own ideas on them Subjectively, or ab interno—the former a feminine or passive, the latter a masculine or active principle; and

iii. Spirit—the Moral or Immortal principle, ruling through the Will, and breathed into Man by the Breath of God."—"Progression by Antagonism," pp. 2, 3.

24. On what authority does the writer assume that the moral is alone the Immortal principle—or the only part of the human nature bestowed by the breath of God? Are imagination, then, and reason perishable? Is the Body itself? Are not all alike immortal; and when distinction is to be made among them, is not the first great division between their active and passive immortality, between the supported body and supporting spirit; that spirit itself afterwards rather conveniently to be considered as either exercising intellectual function, or receiving moral influence, and, both in power and passiveness, deriving its energy and sensibility alike from the sustaining breath of God—than actually divided into intellectual and moral parts? For if the distinction between us and the brute be the test of the nature of the living soul by that breath conferred, it is assuredly to be found as much in the imagination as in the moral principle. There is but one of the moral sentiments enumerated by Lord Lindsay, the sign of which is absent in the animal creation:—the enumeration is a bald one, but let it serve the turn—"Self-esteem and love of Approbation," eminent in horse and dog; "Firmness," not wanting either to ant or elephant; "Veneration," distinct as far as the superiority of man can by brutal intellect be comprehended; "Hope," developed as far as its objects can be made visible; and "Benevolence," or Love, the highest of all, the most assured of all—together with all the modifications of opposite feeling, rage, jealousy, habitual malice, even love of mischief and comprehension of jest:—the one only moral sentiment wanting being that of responsibility to an Invisible being, or conscientiousness. But where, among brutes, shall we find the slightest trace of the Imaginative faculty, or of that discernment of beauty which our author most inaccurately confounds with it, or of the discipline of memory, grasping this or that circumstance at will, or of the still nobler foresight of, and respect towards, things future, except only instinctive and compelled?

25. The fact is, that it is not in intellect added to the bodily sense, nor in moral sentiment superadded to the intellect, that the essential difference between brute and man consists: but in the elevation of all three to that point at which each becomes capable of communion with the Deity, and worthy therefore of eternal life;—the body more universal as an instrument—more exquisite in its sense—this last character carried out in the eye and ear to the perception of Beauty, in form, sound, and color—and herein distinctively raised above the brutal sense; intellect, as we have said, peculiarly separating and vast; the moral sentiments like in essence, but boundlessly expanded, as attached to an infinite object, and laboring in an infinite field: each part mortal in its shortcoming, immortal in the accomplishment of its perfection and purpose; the opposition which we at first broadly expressed as between body and spirit, being more strictly between the natural and spiritual condition of the entire creature—body natural, sown in death, body spiritual, raised in incorruption: Intellect natural, leading to skepticism; intellect spiritual, expanding into faith: Passion natural, suffered from things spiritual; passion spiritual, centered on things unseen: and the strife or antagonism which is throughout the subject of Lord Lindsay's proof, is not, as he has stated it, between the moral, intellectual, and sensual elements, but between the upward and downward tendencies of all three—between the spirit of Man which goeth upward, and the spirit of the Beast which goeth downward.

26. We should not have been thus strict in our examination of these preliminary statements, if the question had been one of terms merely, or if the inaccuracy of thought had been confined to the Essay on Antagonism. If upon receiving a writer's terms of argument in the sense—however unusual or mistaken—which he chooses they should bear, we may without further error follow his course of thought, it is as unkind as unprofitable to lose the use of his result in quarrel with its algebraic expression; and if the reader will understand by Lord Lindsay's general term "Spirit" the susceptibility of right moral emotion, and the entire subjection of the Will to Reason; and receive his term "Sense" as not including the perception of Beauty either in sight or sound, but expressive of animal sensation only, he may follow without embarrassment to its close, his magnificently comprehensive statement of the forms of probation which the heart and faculties of man have undergone from the beginning of time. But it is far otherwise when the theory is to be applied, in all its pseudo-organization, to the separate departments of a particular art, and analogies the most subtle and speculative traced between the mental character and artistical choice or attainment of different races of men. Such analogies are always treacherous, for the amount of expression of individual mind which Art can convey is dependent on so many collateral circumstances, that it even militates against the truth of any particular system of interpretation that it should seem at first generally applicable, or its results consistent. The passages in which such interpretation has been attempted in the work before us, are too graceful to be regretted, nor is their brilliant suggestiveness otherwise than pleasing and profitable too, so long as it is received on its own grounds merely, and affects not with its uncertainty the very matter of its foundation. But all oscillation is communicable, and Lord Lindsay is much to be blamed for leaving it entirely to the reader to distinguish between the determination of his research and the activity of his fancy—between the authority of his interpretation and the aptness of his metaphor. He who would assert the true meaning of a symbolical art, in an age of strict inquiry and tardy imagination, ought rather to surrender something of the fullness which his own faith perceives, than expose the fabric of his vision, too finely woven, to the hard handling of the materialist; and we sincerely regret that discredit is likely to accrue to portions of our author's well-grounded statement of real significances, once of all men understood, because these are rashly blended with his own accidental perceptions of disputable analogy. He perpetually associates the present imaginative influence of Art with its ancient hieroglyphical teaching, and mingles fancies fit only for the framework of a sonnet, with the deciphered evidence which is to establish a serious point of history; and this the more frequently and grossly, in the endeavor to force every branch of his subject into illustration of the false division of the mental attributes which we have pointed out.

27. His theory is first clearly stated in the following passage:—

* * *

"Man is, in the strictest sense of the word, a progressive being, and with many periods of inaction and retrogression, has still held, upon the whole, a steady course towards the great end of his existence, the re-union and re-harmonizing of the three elements of his being, dislocated by the Fall, in the service of his God. Each of these three elements, Sense, Intellect, and Spirit, has had its distinct development at three distant intervals, and in the personality of the three great branches of the human family. The race of Ham, giants in prowess if not in stature, cleared the earth of primeval forests and monsters, built cities, established vast empires, invented the mechanical arts, and gave the fullest expansion to the animal energies. After them, the Greeks, the elder line of Japhet, developed the intellectual faculties, Imagination and Reason, more especially the former, always the earlier to bud and blossom; poetry and fiction, history, philosophy, and science, alike look back to Greece as their birthplace; on the one hand they put a soul into Sense, peopling the world with their gay mythology—on the other they bequeathed to us, in Plato and Aristotle, the mighty patriarchs of human wisdom, the Darius and the Alexander of the two grand armies of thinking men whose antagonism has ever since divided the battlefield of the human intellect:—While, lastly, the race of Shem, the Jews, and the nations of Christendom, their locum tenentes as the Spiritual Israel, have, by God's blessing, been elevated in Spirit to as near and intimate communion with Deity as is possible in this stage of being. Now the peculiar interest and dignity of Art consists in her exact correspondence in her three departments with these three periods of development, and in the illustration she thus affords—more closely and markedly even than literature—to the all-important truth that men stand or fall according as they look up to the Ideal or not. For example, the Architecture of Egypt, her pyramids and temples, cumbrous and inelegant, but imposing from their vastness and their gloom, express the ideal of Sense or Matter—elevated and purified indeed, and nearly approaching the Intellectual, but Material still; we think of them as of natural scenery, in association with caves or mountains, or vast periods of time; their voice is as the voice of the sea, or as that of 'many peoples,' shouting in unison:—But the Sculpture of Greece is the voice of Intellect and Thought, communing with itself in solitude, feeding on beauty and yearning after truth:—While the Painting of Christendom—(and we must remember that the glories of Christianity, in the full extent of the term, are yet to come)—is that of an immortal Spirit, conversing with its God. And as if to mark more forcibly the fact of continuous progress towards perfection, it is observable that although each of the three arts peculiarly reflects and characterizes one of the three epochs, each art of later growth has been preceded in its rise, progress, and decline, by an antecedent correspondent development of its elder sister or sisters—Sculpture, in Greece, by that of Architecture—Painting, in Europe, by that of Architecture and Sculpture. If Sculpture and Painting stand by the side of Architecture in Egypt, if Painting by that of Architecture and Sculpture in Greece, it is as younger sisters, girlish and unformed. In Europe alone are the three found linked together, in equal stature and perfection."—Vol. i, pp. xii.—xiv.

* * *

28. The reader must, we think, at once perceive the bold fallacy of this forced analogy—the comparison of the architecture of one nation with the sculpture of another, and the painting of a third, and the assumption as a proof of difference in moral character, of changes necessarily wrought, always in the same order, by the advance of mere mechanical experience. Architecture must precede sculpture, not because sense precedes intellect, but because men must build houses before they adorn chambers, and raise shrines before they inaugurate idols; and sculpture must precede painting, because men must learn forms in the solid before they can project them on a flat surface, and must learn to conceive designs in light and shade before they can conceive them in color, and must learn to treat subjects under positive color and in narrow groups, before they can treat them under atmospheric effect and in receding masses, and all these are mere necessities of practice, and have no more connection with any divisions of the human mind than the equally paramount necessities that men must gather stones before they build walls, or grind corn before they bake bread. And that each following nation should take up either the same art at an advanced stage, or an art altogether more difficult, is nothing but the necessary consequence of its subsequent elevation and civilization. Whatever nation had succeeded Egypt in power and knowledge, after having had communication with her, must necessarily have taken up art at the point where Egypt left it—in its turn delivering the gathered globe of heavenly snow to the youthful energy of the nation next at hand, with an exhausted "a vous le de!" In order to arrive at any useful or true estimate of the respective rank of each people in the scale of mind, the architecture of each must be compared with the architecture of the other—sculpture with sculpture—line with line; and to have done this broadly and with a surface glance, would have set our author's theory on firmer foundation, to outward aspect, than it now rests upon. Had he compared the accumulation of the pyramid with the proportion of the peristyle, and then with the aspiration of the spire; had he set the colossal horror of the Sphinx beside the Phidian Minerva, and this beside the Pieta of M. Angelo; had he led us from beneath the iridescent capitals of Denderah, by the contested line of Apelles, to the hues and the heaven of Perugino or Bellini, we might have been tempted to assoilzie from all staying of question or stroke of partisan the invulnerable aspect of his ghostly theory; but, if, with even partial regard to some of the circumstances which physically limited the attainments of each race, we follow their individual career, we shall find the points of superiority less salient and the connection between heart and hand more embarrassed.

29. Yet let us not be misunderstood:—the great gulf between Christian and Pagan art we cannot bridge—nor do we wish to weaken one single sentence wherein its breadth or depth is asserted by our author. The separation is not gradual, but instant and final—the difference not of degree, but of condition; it is the difference between the dead vapors rising from a stagnant pool, and the same vapors touched by a torch. But we would brace the weakness which Lord Lindsay has admitted in his own assertion of this great inflaming instant by confusing its fire with the mere phosphorescence of the marsh, and explaining as a successive development of the several human faculties, what was indeed the bearing of them all at once, over a threshold strewed with the fragments of their idols, into the temple of the One God.

We shall therefore, as fully as our space admits, examine the application of our author's theory to Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting, successively, setting before the reader some of the more interesting passages which respect each art, while we at the same time mark with what degree of caution their conclusions are, in our judgment, to be received.

30. Accepting Lord Lindsay's first reference to Egypt, let us glance at a few of the physical accidents which influenced its types of architecture. The first of these is evidently the capability of carriage of large blocks of stone over perfectly level land. It was possible to roll to their destination along that uninterrupted plain, blocks which could neither by the Greek have been shipped in seaworthy vessels, nor carried over mountain-passes, nor raised except by extraordinary effort to the height of the rock-built fortress or seaward promontory. A small undulation of surface, or embarrassment of road, makes large difference in the portability of masses, and of consequence, in the breadth of the possible intercolumniation, the solidity of the column, and the whole scale of the building. Again, in a hill-country, architecture can be important only by position, in a level country only by bulk. Under the overwhelming mass of mountain-form it is vain to attempt the expression of majesty by size of edifice—the humblest architecture may become important by availing itself of the power of nature, but the mightiest must be crushed in emulating it: the watch-towers of Amalfi are more majestic than the Superga of Piedmont; St. Peter's would look like a toy if built beneath the Alpine cliffs, which yet vouchsafe some communication of their own solemnity to the smallest chalet that glitters among their glades of pine. On the other hand, a small building is in a level country lost, and the impressiveness of bulk proportionably increased; hence the instinct of nations has always led them to the loftiest efforts where the masses of their labor might be seen looming at incalculable distance above the open line of the horizon—hence rose her four square mountains above the flat of Memphis, while the Greek pierced the recesses of Phigaleia with ranges of columns, or crowned the sea-cliffs of Sunium with a single pediment, bright, but not colossal.

31. The derivation of the Greek types of form from the forest-hut is too direct to escape observation; but sufficient attention has not been paid to the similar petrifaction, by other nations, of the rude forms and materials adopted in the haste of early settlement, or consecrated by the purity of rural life. The whole system of Swiss and German Gothic has thus been most characteristically affected by the structure of the intersecting timbers at the angles of the chalet. This was in some cases directly and without variation imitated in stone, as in the piers of the old bridge at Aarburg; and the practice obtained—partially in the German after-Gothic—universally, or nearly so, in Switzerland—of causing moldings which met at an angle to appear to interpenetrate each other, both being truncated immediately beyond the point of intersection. The painfulness of this ill-judged adaptation was conquered by association—the eye became familiarized to uncouth forms of tracery—and a stiffness and meagerness, as of cast-iron, resulted in the moldings of much of the ecclesiastical, and all the domestic Gothic of central Europe; the moldings of casements intersecting so as to form a small hollow square at the angles, and the practice being further carried out into all modes of decoration—pinnacles interpenetrating crockets, as in a peculiarly bold design of archway at Besancon. The influence at Venice has been less immediate and more fortunate; it is with peculiar grace that the majestic form of the ducal palace reminds us of the years of fear and endurance when the exiles of the Prima Venetia settled like home-less birds on the sea-sand, and that its quadrangular range of marble wall and painted chamber, raised upon multiplied columns of confused arcade,[6] presents but the exalted image of the first pile-supported hut that rose above the rippling of the lagoons.

32. In the chapter on the "Influence of Habit and Religion," of Mr. Hope's Historical Essay,[7] the reader will find further instances of the same feeling, and, bearing immediately on our present purpose, a clear account of the derivation of the Egyptian temple from the excavated cavern; but the point to which in all these cases we would direct especial attention, is, that the first perception of the great laws of architectural proportion is dependent for its acuteness less on the aesthetic instinct of each nation than on the mechanical conditions of stability and natural limitations of size in the primary type, whether hut, chalet, or tent.

As by the constant reminiscence of the natural proportions of his first forest-dwelling, the Greek would be restrained from all inordinate exaggeration of size—the Egyptian was from the first left without hint of any system of proportion, whether constructive, or of visible parts. The cavern—its level roof supported by amorphous piers—might be extended indefinitely into the interior of the hills, and its outer facade continued almost without term along their flanks—the solid mass of cliff above forming one gigantic entablature, poised upon props instead of columns. Hence the predisposition to attempt in the built temple the expression of infinite extent, and to heap the ponderous architrave above the proportionless pier.

33. The less direct influences of external nature in the two countries were still more opposed. The sense of beauty, which among the Greek peninsulas was fostered by beating of sea and rush of river, by waving of forest and passing of cloud, by undulation of hill and poise of precipice, lay dormant beneath the shadowless sky and on the objectless plain of the Egyptians; no singing winds nor shaking leaves nor gliding shadows gave life to the line of their barren mountains—no Goddess of Beauty rose from the pacing of their silent and foamless Nile. One continual perception of stability, or changeless revolution, weighed upon their hearts—their life depended on no casual alternation of cold and heat—of drought and shower; their gift-Gods were the risen River and the eternal Sun, and the types of these were forever consecrated in the lotus decoration of the temple and the wedge of the enduring Pyramid. Add to these influences, purely physical, those dependent on the superstitions and political constitution; of the overflowing multitude of "populous No"; on their condition of prolonged peace—their simple habits of life—their respect for the dead—their separation by incommunicable privilege and inherited occupation—and it will be evident to the reader that Lord Lindsay's broad assertion of the expression of "the Ideal of Sense or Matter" by their universal style, must be received with severe modification, and is indeed thus far only true, that the mass of Life supported upon that fruitful plain could, when swayed by a despotic ruler in any given direction, accomplish by mere weight and number what to other nations had been impossible, and bestow a pre-eminence, owed to mere bulk and evidence of labor, upon public works which among the Greek republics could be rendered admirable only by the intelligence of their design.

34. Let us, for the present omitting consideration of the debasement of the Greek types which took place when their cycle of achievement had been fulfilled, pass to the germination of Christian architecture, out of one of the least important elements of those fallen forms—one which, less than the least of all seeds, has risen into the fair branching stature under whose shadow we still dwell.

The principal characteristics of the new architecture, as exhibited in the Lombard cathedral, are well sketched by Lord Lindsay:—

* * *

"The three most prominent features, the eastern aspect of the sanctuary, the cruciform plan, and the soaring octagonal cupola, are borrowed from Byzantium—the latter in an improved form—the cross with a difference—the nave, or arm opposite the sanctuary, being lengthened so as to resemble the supposed shape of the actual instrument of suffering, and form what is now distinctively called the Latin Cross. The crypt and absis, or tribune, are retained from the Romish basilica, but the absis is generally pierced with windows, and the crypt is much loftier and more spacious, assuming almost the appearance of a subterranean church. The columns of the nave, no longer isolated, are clustered so as to form compound piers, massive and heavy—their capitals either a rude imitation of the Corinthian, or, especially in the earlier structures, sculptured with grotesque imagery. Triforia, or galleries for women, frequently line the nave and transepts. The roof is of stone, and vaulted. The narthex, or portico, for excluded penitents, common alike to the Greek and Roman churches, and in them continued along the whole facade of entrance, is dispensed with altogether in the oldest Lombard ones, and when afterwards resumed, in the eleventh century, was restricted to what we should now call Porches, over each door, consisting generally of little more than a canopy open at the sides, and supported by slender pillars, resting on sculptured monsters. Three doors admit from the western front; these are generally covered with sculpture, which frequently extends in belts across the facade, and even along the sides of the building. Above the central door is usually seen, in the later Lombard churches, a S. Catherine's-wheel window. The roof slants at the sides, and ends in front sometimes in a single pediment, sometimes in three gables answering to three doors; while, in Lombardy at least, hundreds of slender pillars, of every form and device—those immediately adjacent to each other frequently interlaced in the true lover's knot, and all supporting round or trefoliate arches—run along, in continuous galleries, under the eaves, as if for the purpose of supporting the roof—run up the pediment in front, are continued along the side-walls and round the eastern absis, and finally engirdle the cupola. Sometimes the western front is absolutely covered with these galleries, rising tier above tier. Though introduced merely for ornament, and therefore on a vicious principle, these fairy-like colonnades win very much on one's affections. I may add to these general features the occasional and rare one, seen to peculiar advantage in the cathedral of Cremona, of numerous slender towers, rising, like minarets, in every direction, in front and behind, and giving the east end, specially, a marked resemblance to the mosques of the Mahometans.

"The Baptistery and the Campanile, or bell-tower, are in theory invariable adjuncts to the Lombard cathedral, although detached from it. The Lombards seem to have built them with peculiar zest, and to have had a keen eye for the picturesque in grouping them with the churches they belong to.

"I need scarcely add that the round arch is exclusively employed in pure Lombard architecture.

"To translate this new style into its symbolical language is a pleasurable task. The three doors and three gable ends signify the Trinity, the Catherine-wheel window (if I mistake not) the Unity, as concentrated in Christ, the Light of the Church, from whose Greek monogram its shape was probably adopted. The monsters that support the pillars of the porch stand there as talismans to frighten away evil spirits. The crypt (as in older buildings) signifies the moral death of man, the cross, the atonement, the cupola heaven; and these three, taken in conjunction with the lengthened nave, express, reconcile, and give their due and balanced prominence to the leading ideas of the Militant and Triumphant Church, respectively embodied in the architecture of Rome and Byzantium. Add to this, the symbolism of the Baptistery, and the Christian pilgrimage, from the Font to the Door of Heaven, is complete,"—Vol. ii., p. 8-11.

* * *

35. We have by-and-bye an equally comprehensive sketch of the essential characters of the Gothic cathedral; but this we need not quote, as it probably contains little that would be new to the reader. It is succeeded by the following interpretation of the spirit of the two styles:—

* * *

"Comparing, apart from enthusiasm, the two styles of Lombard and Pointed Architecture, they will strike you, I think, as the expression, respectively, of that alternate repose and activity which characterize the Christian life, exhibited in perfect harmony in Christ alone, who, on earth, spent His night in prayer to God, His day in doing good to man—in heaven, as we know by His own testimony, 'worketh hitherto,' conjointly with the Father—forever, at the same time, reposing on the infinity of His wisdom and of His power. Each, then, of these styles has its peculiar significance, each is perfect in its way. The Lombard Architecture, with its horizontal lines, its circular arches and expanding cupola, soothes and calms one; the Gothic, with its pointed arches, aspiring vaults and intricate tracery, rouses and excites—and why? Because the one symbolizes an infinity of Rest, the other of Action, in the adoration and service of God. And this consideration will enable us to advance a step farther:—The aim of the one style is definite, of the other indefinite; we look up to the dome of heaven and calmly acquiesce in the abstract idea of infinity; but we only realize the impossibility of conceiving it by the flight of imagination from star to star, from firmament to firmament. Even so Lombard Architecture attained perfection, expressed its idea, accomplished its purpose—but Gothic never; the Ideal is unapproachable."—Vol. ii., p. 23.

* * *

36. This idea occurs not only in this passage:—it is carried out through the following chapters;—at page 38, the pointed arch associated with the cupola is spoken of as a "fop interrupting the meditations of a philosopher"; at page 65, the "earlier contemplative style of the Lombards" is spoken of; at page 114, Giottesque art is "the expression of that Activity of the Imagination which produced Gothic Architecture"; and, throughout, the analogy is prettily expressed, and ably supported; yet it is one of those against which we must warn the reader: it is altogether superficial, and extends not to the minds of those whose works it accidentally, and we think disputably, characterizes. The transition from Romanesque (we prefer using the generic term) to Gothic is natural and straightforward, in many points traceable to mechanical and local necessities (of which one, the dangerous weight of snow on flat roofs, has been candidly acknowledged by our author), and directed by the tendency, common to humanity in all ages, to push every newly-discovered means of delight to its most fantastic extreme, to exhibit every newly-felt power in its most admirable achievement, and to load with intrinsic decoration forms whose essential varieties have been exhausted. The arch, carelessly struck out by the Etruscan, forced by mechanical expediencies on the unwilling, uninventive Roman, remained unfelt by either. The noble form of the apparent Vault of Heaven—the line which every star follows in its journeying, extricated by the Christian architect from the fosse, the aqueduct, and the sudarium—grew into long succession of proportioned colonnade, and swelled into the white domes that glitter above the plain of Pisa, and fretted channels of Venice, like foam globes at rest.

37. But the spirit that was in these Aphrodites of the earth was not then, nor in them, to be restrained. Colonnade rose over colonnade; the pediment of the western front was lifted into a detached and scenic wall; story above story sprang the multiplied arches of the Campanile, and the eastern pyramidal fire-type, lifted from its foundation, was placed upon the summit. With the superimposed arcades of the principal front arose the necessity, instantly felt by their subtle architects, of a new proportion in the column; the lower wall inclosure, necessarily for the purposes of Christian worship continuous, and needing no peristyle, rendered the lower columns a mere facial decoration, whose proportions were evidently no more to be regulated by the laws hitherto observed in detached colonnades. The column expanded into the shaft, or into the huge pilaster rising unbanded from tier to tier; shaft and pilaster were associated in ordered groups, and the ideas of singleness and limited elevation once attached to them, swept away for ever; the stilted and variously centered arch existed already: the pure ogive followed—where first exhibited we stay not to inquire;—finally, and chief of all, the great mechanical discovery of the resistance of lateral pressure by the weight of the superimposed flanking pinnacle. Daring concentrations of pressure upon narrow piers were the immediate consequence, and the recognition of the buttress as a feature in itself agreeable and susceptible of decoration. The glorious art of painting on glass added its temptations; the darkness of northern climes both rendering the typical character of Light more deeply felt than in Italy, and necessitating its admission in larger masses; the Italian, even at the period of his most exquisite art in glass, retaining the small Lombard window, whose expediency will hardly be doubted by anyone who has experienced the transition from the scorching reverberation of the white-hot marble front, to the cool depth of shade within, and whose beauty will not be soon forgotten by those who have seen the narrow lights of the Pisan duomo announce by their redder burning, not like transparent casements, but like characters of fire searing the western wall, the decline of day upon Capraja.

38. Here, then, arose one great distinction between Northern and Transalpine Gothic, based, be it still observed, on mere necessities of climate. While the architect of Santa Maria Novella admitted to the frescoes of Ghirlandajo scarcely more of purple lancet light than had been shed by the morning sun through the veined alabasters of San Miniato; and looked to the rich blue of the quinquipartite vault above, as to the mosaic of the older concha, for conspicuous aid in the color decoration of the whole; the northern builder burst through the walls of his apse, poured over the eastern altar one unbroken blaze, and lifting his shafts like pines, and his walls like precipices, ministered to their miraculous stability by an infinite phalanx of sloped buttress and glittering pinnacle. The spire was the natural consummation. Internally, the sublimity of space in the cupola had been superseded by another kind of infinity in the prolongation of the nave; externally, the spherical surface had been proved, by the futility of Arabian efforts, incapable of decoration; its majesty depended on its simplicity, and its simplicity and leading forms were alike discordant with the rich rigidity of the body of the building. The campanile became, therefore, principal and central; its pyramidal termination was surrounded at the base by a group of pinnacles, and the spire itself, banded, or pierced into aerial tracery, crowned with its last enthusiastic effort the flamelike ascent of the perfect pile.

39. The process of change was thus consistent throughout, though at intervals accelerated by the sudden discovery of resource, or invention of design; nor, had the steps been less traceable, do we think the suggestiveness of Repose, in the earlier style, or of Imaginative Activity in the latter, definite or trustworthy. We much question whether the Duomo of Verona, with its advanced guard of haughty gryphons—the mailed peers of Charlemagne frowning from its vaulted gate,—that vault itself ribbed with variegated marbles, and peopled by a crowd of monsters—-the Evangelical types not the least stern or strange; its stringcourses replaced by flat cut friezes, combats between gryphons and chain-clad paladins, stooping behind their triangular shields and fetching sweeping blows with two-handled swords; or that of Lucca—its fantastic columns clasped by writhing snakes and winged dragons, their marble scales spotted with inlaid serpentine, every available space alive with troops of dwarfish riders, with spur on heel and hawk in hood, sounding huge trumpets of chase, like those of the Swiss Urus-horn, and cheering herds of gaping dogs upon harts and hares, boars and wolves, every stone signed with its grisly beast—be one whit more soothing to the contemplative, or less exciting to the imaginative faculties, than the successive arch? and visionary shaft, and dreamy vault, and crisped foliage, and colorless stone, of our own fair abbeys, checkered with sunshine through the depth of ancient branches, or seen far off, like clouds in the valley, risen out of the pause of its river.

40. And with respect to the more fitful and fantastic expression of the "Italian Gothic," our author is again to be blamed for his loose assumption, from the least reflecting of preceding writers, of this general term, as if the pointed buildings of Italy could in any wise be arranged in one class, or criticised in general terms. It is true that so far as the church interiors are concerned, the system is nearly universal, and always bad; its characteristic features being arches of enormous span, and banded foliage capitals divided into three fillets, rude in design, unsuggestive of any structural connection with the column, and looking consequently as if they might be slipped up or down, and had been only fastened in their places for the temporary purposes of a festa. But the exteriors of Italian pointed buildings display variations of principle and transitions of type quite as bold as either the advance from the Romanesque to the earliest of their forms, or the recoil from their latest to the cinque-cento.

41. The first and grandest style resulted merely from the application of the pointed arch to the frequent Romanesque window, the large semicircular arch divided by three small ones. Pointing both the superior and inferior arches, and adding to the grace of the larger one by striking another arch above it with a more removed center, and placing the voussoirs at an acute angle to the curve, we have the truly noble form of domestic Gothic, which—more or less enriched by moldings and adorned by penetration, more or less open of the space between the including and inferior arches—was immediately adopted in almost all the proudest palaces of North Italy—in the Brolettos of Como, Bergamo, Modena, and Siena—-in the palace of the Scaligers at Verona—of the Gambacorti at Pisa—of Paolo Guinigi at Lucca—besides inferior buildings innumerable:—nor is there any form of civil Gothic except the Venetian, which can be for a moment compared with it in simplicity or power. The latest is that most vicious and barbarous style of which the richest types are the lateral porches and upper pinnacles of the Cathedral of Como, and the whole of the Certosa of Pavia:—characterized by the imitative sculpture of large buildings on a small scale by way of pinnacles and niches; the substitution of candelabra for columns; and the covering of the surfaces with sculpture, often of classical subject, in high relief and daring perspective, and finished with delicacy which rather would demand preservation in a cabinet, and exhibition under a lens, than admit of exposure to the weather and removal from the eye, and which, therefore, architecturally considered, is worse than valueless, telling merely as unseemly roughness and rustication. But between these two extremes are varieties nearly countless—some of them both strange and bold, owing to the brilliant color and firm texture of the accessible materials, and the desire of the builders to crowd the greatest expression of value into the smallest space.

42. Thus it is in the promontories of serpentine which meet with their polished and gloomy green the sweep of the Gulf of Genoa, that we find the first cause of the peculiar spirit of the Tuscan and Ligurian Gothic—carried out in the Florentine duomo to the highest pitch of colored finish—adorned in the upper story of the Campanile by a transformation, peculiarly rich and exquisite, of the narrowly-pierced heading of window already described, into a veil of tracery—and aided throughout by an accomplished precision of design in its moldings which we believe to be unique. In St. Petronio of Bologna, another and a barbarous type occurs; the hollow niche of Northern Gothic wrought out with diamond-shaped penetrations inclosed in squares; at Bergamo another, remarkable for the same square penetrations of its rich and daring foliation;—while at Monza and Carrara the square is adopted as the leading form of decoration on the west fronts, and a grotesque expression results—barbarous still;—which, however, in the latter duomo is associated with the arcade of slender niches—the translation of the Romanesque arcade into pointed work, which forms the second perfect order of Italian Gothic, entirely ecclesiastical, and well developed in the churches of Santa Caterina and Santa Maria della Spina at Pisa. The Veronese Gothic, distinguished by the extreme purity and severity of its ruling lines, owing to the distance of the centers of circles from which its cusps are struck, forms another, and yet a more noble school—and passes through the richer decoration of Padua and Vicenza to the full magnificence of the Venetian—distinguished by the introduction of the ogee curve without pruriency or effeminacy, and by the breadth and decision of moldings as severely determined in all examples of the style as those of any one of the Greek orders.

43. All these groups are separated by distinctions clear and bold—and many of them by that broadest of all distinctions which lies between disorganization and consistency—accumulation and adaptation, experiment and design;—yet to all one or two principles are common, which again divide the whole series from that of the Transalpine Gothic—and whose importance Lord Lindsay too lightly passes over in the general description, couched in somewhat ungraceful terms, "the vertical principle snubbed, as it were, by the horizontal." We have already alluded to the great school of color which arose in the immediate neighborhood of the Genoa serpentine. The accessibility of marble throughout North Italy similarly modified the aim of all design, by the admission of undecorated surfaces. A blank space of freestone wall is always uninteresting, and sometimes offensive; there is no suggestion of preciousness in its dull color, and the stains and rents of time upon it are dark, coarse, and gloomy. But a marble surface receives in its age hues of continually increasing glow and grandeur; its stains are never foul nor dim; its undecomposing surface preserves a soft, fruit-like polish forever, slowly flushed by the maturing suns of centuries. Hence, while in the Northern Gothic the effort of the architect was always so to diffuse his ornament as to prevent the eye from permanently resting on the blank material, the Italian fearlessly left fallow large fields of uncarved surface, and concentrated the labor of the chisel on detached portions, in which the eye, being rather directed to them by their isolation than attracted by their salience, required perfect finish and pure design rather than force of shade or breadth of parts; and further, the intensity of Italian sunshine articulated by perfect gradations, and defined by sharp shadows at the edge, such inner anatomy and minuteness of outline as would have been utterly vain and valueless under the gloom of a northern sky; while again the fineness of material both admitted of, and allured to, the precision of execution which the climate was calculated to exhibit.

44. All these influences working together, and with them that of classical example and tradition, induced a delicacy of expression, a slightness of salience, a carefulness of touch, and refinement of invention, in all, even the rudest, Italian decorations, utterly unrecognized in those of Northern Gothic: which, however picturesquely adapted to their place and purpose, depend for most of their effect upon bold undercutting, accomplish little beyond graceful embarrassment of the eye, and cannot for an instant be separately regarded as works of accomplished art. Even the later and more imitative examples profess little more than picturesque vigor or ingenious intricacy. The oak leaves and acorns of the Beauvais moldings are superbly wreathed, but rigidly repeated in a constant pattern; the stems are without character, and the acorns huge, straight, blunt, and unsightly. Round the southern door of the Florentine duomo runs a border of fig-leaves, each leaf modulated as if dew had just dried from off it—yet each alike, so as to secure the ordered symmetry of classical enrichment. But the Gothic fullness of thought is not therefore left without expression; at the edge of each leaf is an animal, first a cicala, then a lizard, then a bird, moth, serpent, snail—all different, and each wrought to the very life—panting—plumy—writhing—glittering—full of breath and power. This harmony of classical restraint with exhaustless fancy, and of architectural propriety with imitative finish, is found throughout all the fine periods of the Italian Gothic, opposed to the wildness without invention, and exuberance without completion, of the North.

45. One other distinction we must notice, in the treatment of the Niche and its accessories. In Northern Gothic the niche frequently consists only of a bracket and canopy—the latter attached to the wall, independent of columnar support, pierced into openwork profusely rich, and often prolonged upwards into a crocketed pinnacle of indefinite height. But in the niche of pure Italian Gothic the classic principle of columnar support is never lost sight of. Even when its canopy is actually supported by the wall behind, it is apparently supported by two columns in front, perfectly formed with bases and capitals:—(the support of the Northern niche—if it have any—commonly takes the form of a buttress):—when it appears as a detached pinnacle, it is supported on four columns, the canopy trefoliated with very obtuse cusps, richly charged with foliage in the foliating space, but undecorated at the cusp points, and terminating above in a smooth pyramid, void of all ornament, and never very acute. This form, modified only by various grouping, is that of the noble sepulchral monuments of Verona, Lucca, Pisa, and Bologna; on a small scale it is at Venice associated with the cupola, in St. Mark's, as well as in Santa Fosca, and other minor churches. At Pisa, in the Spina chapel it occurs in its most exquisite form, the columns there being chased with checker patterns of great elegance. The windows of the Florence cathedral are all placed under a flat canopy of the same form, the columns being elongated, twisted, and enriched with mosaic patterns. The reader must at once perceive how vast is the importance of the difference in system with respect to this member; the whole of the rich, cavernous chiaroscuro of Northern Gothic being dependent on the accumulation of its niches.

46. In passing to the examination of our Author's theory as tested by the progress of Sculpture, we are still struck by his utter want of attention to physical advantages or difficulties. He seems to have forgotten from the first, that the mountains of Syene are not the rocks of Paros. Neither the social habits nor intellectual powers of the Greek had so much share in inducing his advance in Sculpture beyond the Egyptian, as the difference between marble and syenite, porphyry or alabaster. Marble not only gave the power, it actually introduced the thought of representation or realization of form, as opposed to the mere suggestive abstraction: its translucency, tenderness of surface, and equality of tint tempting by utmost reward to the finish which of all substances it alone admits:—even ivory receiving not so delicately, as alabaster endures not so firmly, the lightest, latest touches of the completing chisel. The finer feeling of the hand cannot be put upon a hard rock like syenite—the blow must be firm and fearless—the traceless, tremulous difference between common and immortal sculpture cannot be set upon it—it cannot receive the enchanted strokes which, like Aaron's incense, separate the Living and the Dead. Were it otherwise, were finish possible, the variegated and lustrous surface would not exhibit it to the eye. The imagination itself is blunted by the resistance of the material, and by the necessity of absolute predetermination of all it would achieve. Retraction of all thought into determined and simple forms, such as might be fearlessly wrought, necessarily remained the characteristic of the school. The size of the edifice induced by other causes above stated, further limited the efforts of the sculptor. No colossal figure can be minutely finished; nor can it easily be conceived except under an imperfect form. It is a representation of Impossibility, and every effort at completion adds to the monstrous sense of Impossibility. Space would altogether fail us were we even to name one-half of the circumstances which influence the treatment of light and shade to be seen at vast distances upon surfaces of variegated or dusky color; or of the necessities by which, in masses of huge proportion, the mere laws of gravity, and the difficulty of clearing the substance out of vast hollows neither to be reached nor entered, bind the realization of absolute form. Yet all these Lord Lindsay ought rigidly to have examined, before venturing to determine anything respecting the mental relations of the Greek and Egyptian. But the fact of his overlooking these inevitablenesses of material is intimately connected with the worst flaw of his theory—his idea of a Perfection resultant from a balance of elements; a perfection which all experience has shown to be neither desirable nor possible.

47. His account of Niccola Pisano, the founder of the first great school of middle age sculpture, is thus introduced:—

* * *

"Niccola's peculiar praise is this,—that, in practice at least, if not in theory, he first established the principle that the study of nature, corrected by the ideal of the antique, and animated by the spirit of Christianity, personal and social, can alone lead to excellence in art:—each of the three elements of human nature—Matter, Mind, and Spirit—being thus brought into union and co-operation in the service of God, in due relative harmony and subordination. I cannot over-estimate the importance of this principle; it was on this that, consciously or unconsciously, Niccola himself worked—it has been by following it that Donatello and Ghiberti, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michael Angelo have risen to glory. The Sienese school and the Florentine, minds contemplative and dramatic, are alike beholden to it for whatever success has attended their efforts. Like a treble-stranded rope, it drags after it the triumphal car of Christian Art. But if either of the strands be broken, if either of the three elements be pursued disjointedly from the other two, the result is, in each respective case, grossness, pedantry, or weakness:—the exclusive imitation of Nature produces a Caravaggio, a Rubens, a Rembrandt—that of the Antique, a Pellegrino di Tibaldo and a David; and though there be a native chastity and taste in religion, which restrains those who worship it too abstractedly from Intellect and Sense, from running into such extremes, it cannot at least supply that mechanical apparatus which will enable them to soar:—such devotees must be content to gaze up into heaven, like angels cropt of their wings."—Vol. ii., p. 102-3.

* * *

48. This is mere Bolognese eclecticism in other terms, and those terms incorrect. We are amazed to find a writer usually thoughtful, if not accurate, thus indolently adopting the worn-out falsities of our weakest writers on Taste. Does he—can he for an instant suppose that the ruffian Caravaggio, distinguished only by his preference of candlelight and black shadows for the illustration and re-enforcement of villainy, painted nature—mere nature—exclusive nature, more painfully or heartily than John Bellini or Raphael? Does he not see that whatever men imitate must be nature of some kind, material nature or spiritual, lovely or foul, brutal or human, but nature still? Does he himself see in mere, external, copyable nature, no more than Caravaggio saw, or in the Antique no more than has been comprehended by David? The fact is, that all artists are primarily divided into the two great groups of Imitators and Suggesters—their falling into one or other being dependent partly on disposition, and partly on the matter they have to subdue—(thus Perugino imitates line by line with penciled gold, the hair which Nino Pisano can only suggest by a gilded marble mass, both having the will of representation alike). And each of these classes is again divided into the faithful and unfaithful imitators and suggesters; and that is a broad question of blind eye and hard heart, or seeing eye and serious heart, always co-existent; and then the faithful imitators and suggesters—artists proper, are appointed, each with his peculiar gift and affection, over the several orders and classes of things natural, to be by them illumined and set forth.

49. And that is God's doing and distributing; and none is rashly to be thought inferior to another, as if by his own fault; nor any of them stimulated to emulation, and changing places with others, although their allotted tasks be of different dignities, and their granted instruments of different keenness; for in none of them can there be a perfection or balance of all human attributes;—the great colorist becomes gradually insensible to the refinements of form which he at first intentionally omitted; the master of line is inevitably dead to many of the delights of color; the study of the true or ideal human form is inconsistent with the love of its most spiritual expressions. To one it is intrusted to record the historical realities of his age; in him the perception of character is subtle, and that of abstract beauty in measure diminished; to another, removed to the desert, or inclosed in the cloister, is given, not the noting of things transient, but the revealing of things eternal. Ghirlandajo and Titian painted men, but could not angels; Duccio and Angelico painted Saints, but could not senators. One is ordered to copy material form lovingly and slowly—his the fine finger and patient will: to another are sent visions and dreams upon the bed—his the hand fearful and swift, and impulse of passion irregular and wild. We may have occasion further to insist upon this great principle of the incommunicableness and singleness of all the highest powers; but we assert it here especially, in opposition to the idea, already so fatal to art, that either the aim of the antique may take place together with the purposes, or its traditions become elevatory of the power, of Christian art; or that the glories of Giotto and the Sienese are in any wise traceable through Niccola Pisano to the venerable relics of the Campo Santo.

50. Lord Lindsay's statement, as far as it regards Niccola himself, is true.

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"His improvement in Sculpture is attributable, in the first instance, to the study of an ancient sarcophagus, brought from Greece by the ships of Pisa in the eleventh century, and which, after having stood beside the door of the Duomo for many centuries as the tomb of the Countess Beatrice, mother of the celebrated Matilda, has been recently removed to the Campo Santo. The front is sculptured in bas-relief, in two compartments, the one representing Hippolytus rejecting the suit of Phaedra, the other his departure for the chase:—such at least is the most plausible interpretation. The sculpture, if not super-excellent, is substantially good, and the benefit derived from it by Niccola is perceptible on the slightest examination of his works. Other remains of antiquity are preserved at Pisa, which he may have also studied, but this was the classic well from which he drew those waters which became wine when poured into the hallowing chalice of Christianity. I need scarcely add that the mere presence of such models would have availed little, had not nature endowed him with the quick eye and the intuitive apprehension of genius, together with a purity of taste which taught him how to select, how to modify and how to reinspire the germs of excellence thus presented to him."—Vol. ii., pp. 104, 105.

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51. But whatever characters peculiarly classical were impressed upon Niccola by this study, died out gradually among his scholars; and in Orcagna the Byzantine manner finally triumphed, leading the way to the purely Christian sculpture of the school of Fiesole, in its turn swept away by the returning wave of classicalism. The sculpture of Orcagna, Giotto, and Mino da Fiesole, would have been what it was, if Niccola had been buried in his sarcophagus; and this is sufficiently proved by Giotto's remaining entirely uninfluenced by the educated excellence of Andrea Pisano, while he gradually bent the Pisan down to his own uncompromising simplicity. If, as Lord Lindsay asserts, "Giotto had learned from the works of Niccola the grand principle of Christian art," the sculptures of the Campanile of Florence would not now have stood forth in contrasted awfulness of simplicity, beside those of the south door of the Baptistery.

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