Imatges de pÓgina


not even mutual love can lighten. The solator" is the best known of this class love wbich made them one in guilt, one of pictures. It is cold, abstract, and inin condemnation, is stronger than death, harmonious; but its religious spirit and stronger than hell; but it cannot bring

the beautiful truth which it expresses peace and joy to these souls shut out have won for it a welcome which it seems from heaven and God.

hardly to merit. Yet it has touching

beauty in the separate figures. The “ Se fosse amico il Re dell'universo,

woman who leans so trustingly on her Noi pregheremmo."

Saviour's arm has a very high and holy But even prayer is denied to him who face, whose type we recognize in more feels that he has not God for a friend. than one of his pictures; and the mother There is no mark of physical torture; it and her dead child form a very touchis pure spiritual suffering,— restless, aim- ing group. But the various persons are less weariness,— the loss of hope; it is not connected by any common story or death, and love demands life. How mutual relation, and we feel a want of strangely appropriate is this punishment unity in the whole work. Perhaps the of spirits driven hither and thither by strongest tribute to its power of expresthe winds, with no hope of rest, to those sion is the story, that religious publishers who reject the firm anchorage of duty found it necessary to blot out the figure and principle, and allow themselves to of the slave who takes his place among float at the mercy of their impulses and the recipients of Christ's blessing, in orpassions! The overpowering compassion der to fit their reprint for a Southern and sympathy of the poets is shown in market. As a companion to it, he painttheir earnest faces. Neither here, nor in ed the “ Christus Remunerator,” which is the well-known “ Dante and Beatrice," less interesting. To this same class of which is too familiar to need descrip- pictures we should probably refer “ The tion, does Scheffer quite do justice to Lamentations of Earth to Heaven," our ideal of the sublime poet of Heaven which we have nerer seen, but which and Hell; but neither do the portraits is thus described by M. Anatole de la which remain of him. The picture was Lorge:first exhibited in 1835. As it had suf- “ There are also treasures of disapfered very much in 1850, Scheffer paint- pointed pleasure and of bitterness in ed a repetition of it, with a few slight this picture of The Lamentations of alterations, in which, however, his prog- Earth to Heaven,'- dim symbol of huress in his art during twenty years was man suffering. How does one, in the very evident. This copy is very far su- presence of this poem, feel filled with the perior to the engraving.

spirit of St. Augustine, the nothingness About this period Scheffer seems to of what we call joy, happiness, glory, here have wandered a little from the true below,- delights of a moment, which at mission of Art, and to have esteemed it most only aid us to traverse in a dream her province to represent abstract theo- this valley of tears ! Certain pages, of logical truths. His religious feeling seems • The City of God,' funeral prayers of to have become morbid, and his natural Bossuet, can alone serve us for a commelancholy intensified. The death of parison, in order to express the effect his wife, and consequent loneliness, may produced upon those who have visited have given this ascetic tinge to his feel- this chef d'aucre in Ary Scheffer's ateings. But we must acknowledge, if it were

Before producing it, the artist 80, that the sorrow which oppressed did must have thought long, suffered long; not embitter his heart, and that a brave for each stroke of the pencil seems to and humane spirit appears even in those hide a grief, each figure speaks to you works which have the least artistic merit in passing, and utters a complaint, a sigh, to recommend them. The "Christus Con- a prayer,--- sad echoes of the despair of



life! The religious tendency of the to his powers. Of those works which he thinker is here fully shown ; his poetic produced within the last twelve years, sympathy, bis aspirations, his dreams, very few are yet engraved. When thus have found a free course. We must placed before the public, we believe the mark, also, with what freedom his lam- popular estimate of Scheffer will be raisentations spring from the ground, to ed even higher than at present. carry even to the feet of the Creator His pictures of Christ are of very suthe overwhelming weight of earthly woe. perior merit. His representation of the Ary Scheffer's picture is like the epi- person of Jesus was not formal and contaph destined some day for the obse- ventional, but fresh in expression and quies of the world; it breathes of death, feeling, and full of touching pathos and and has the sombre harmony of the sentiment. He has neither the youthful Miserere. And nevertheless,- a strange beauty with which the Italians represent thing! — this dreaming painter, who seiz- him, nor the worn and wasted features es and afflicts us, is the same man who at which the early Germans often gave him, the same time reassures and consoles us, but a thoughtful, earnest, tender beauty. - without doubt, because by dint of spir- The predominant expression is the love itualizing our thoughts he raises them and tenderness born of suffering. Three above our sufferings, by showing the con- of his finest representations of the life soling light of eternity to those whom he of Jesus of Nazareth are, “ The Christ would sever from the deceitful joys of weeping over Jerusalem," the “ Ecce Hoearth."

mo,” and “ The Temptation.” The last is If the picture be not overcolored by as original in design and composition as the critic's eye, we must believe this it is noble in expression. The two figto be the culmination of the morbidly ures stand on the summit of a mountain, spiritualistic tendency which we meet and the calm, still air around them gives in Scheffer's works. Yet it never ex- a wonderful sense of beight and solitude. ists unrelieved by redeeming qualities. You almost feel the frost of the high, rare Many will remember the original picture atmosphere. Satan is a very powerful figof the “Dead Christ,” which was exhibit- ure, -- not the vulgar devil, but the detered here by an Art Union about ten mined will, the unsanctified power. The years ago. The engraving gives but a figure of Christ is simple and expressive, faint idea of the touching expression of even the flow of the drapery being the whole group. The deathly pallor of full of significance and beauty. Another the corpse was in strange harmony with composition of great beauty represents the face of the mother which bent over a group of souls rising from earth, and it, her whole being dissolved in grief soaring upwards to heaven. The highand love. No picture of this scene re

are already rejoicing in the calls to us more fully the simple account heavenly light, while those below seem in the Gospels. The cold, wan color of scarcely awakened from the sleep of the whole scene seems like that gray pall death. The whole picture is full of which a public grief will draw across the aspiration ; everything seems mounting sky, even when the meridian sun is shin- upwards. ing in its glory. We have seen such Scheffer also painted a few pictures days even in Boston. No wonder that which can hardly be called his own. darkness covered the land to the be- Such are " • The Battle of Tolbiac," and lieving disciples even until the ninth Charlemagne dictating his Statutes." hour.

These were painted by the command His “ St. Monica,” which appeared in of Louis Philippe, who was his constant 1846, met with great success. “ Ruth and friend and patron. The young princes Naomi" is yet unknown to us, but it were his pupils; and Scheller was careseems to be a subject specially adapted ful to form them to better taste than that

est ones

of his age.

of the citizen monarch who has lined nious with the expression of the scene. Versailles with poor pictures. For the

This defect in color has led many to King he painted “ The Battle of Tolbiac,” prefer the engravings to Scheffer's origand we can only regret the time which inal pictures ; but no copy can quite was thus wasted; but for his pupils he reproduce the nice touches of thought designed “ Francesca da Rimini” and and feeling given by the master's hand. the " Mignons."

Color is supposed by many to belong A few masterly portraits by Scheffer's mainly to the representation of physical hand indicate his power of reproducing beauty ; but has not Allston proved to individual character. Among these we us that the most subtile and delicate may name that of his mother, which is harmonies of color may be united with said to be bis finest work, – one of the ethereal grace and spiritual beauty ? Queen, - a picture of Lamennais, — and Compare his “ Beatrice” with that of another of Emilia Manin, to which we Scheffer. But, in truth, the whole spirshall again refer. He occasionally mod. itual relation of color is yet but dimly unelled a bust, and sometimes engaged in derstood ; and there are, perhaps, influliterary labor, contributing some valu- ences in the climate and organization of able articles on Art to “ La Revue Fran- the French nation which have rendered çaise.”

them inferior in this department of Art. It would be impossible for us to ana- Allowing this deduction, - a great one, lyze or even enumerate all of Scheffer's certainly, — still, if the expression of the works. They are scattered throughout highest thoughts in the most beautiful France and Holland, and a few have forms be the true aim of Art, Scheffer found their way to this country. Most must rank



first painters of the engravings from his pictures are

Delaroche may surpass him too well known to require description; in strength and vigor of conception, and and we feel that we have said enough to in thorough modelling and execution ; justify our placing Scheffer in the high but Scheffer has taken a deeper hold of rank which we claim for him. Engrav- the feelings, and has risen into a higher ings give us a juster idea of the French spiritual region. than of the Dutch or Italian artists; for It has been reproachfully said that their merit is rather in design and com- Scheffer is the painter for pretty womposition than in color. We agree with en, for poets, and for lovers. The reM. Vitet, that color need not be a prom- proach is also a eulogium, since he must inent excellence in a work of high spirit- thus meet the demand of the human soul ual beauty, and that it should always be in its highest and finest development. toned to a complete harmony with the Others have accused him of morbid senprevailing feeling of the picture. In this sibility. There is reason for the charge. aspect we look upon the cold color of He has not the full, round, healthy, dethe “ Dead Christ” as hardly a defect; velopment which belongs to the perfect it is in keeping with the sad solemnity of type of Art. Compare the “ St. Cecilia” the scene.

But if color should not be so of Scheffer- this single figure, with such brilliant as to overpower the expression womanly depth of feeling, such lofty inof form and sentiment, still less should it spiration, yet so sad — with the joyous be so inharınonious as to distract the and almost girlish grace of Raphael's repmind from it, as is sometimes the case resentation of the same subject, and we with Scheffer. The “Dante and Bea- feel at once the height and the limitation trice” is a familiar instance. We can of Scheffer's genius. There is always see no reason why Beatrice should be pathos, always suffering; we cannot recall dressed in disagreeable pink, and Dante a single subject, unless it be the group of in brick-red. Surely, such color is nei- rising spirits, in which struggle and sorther agreeable to the eye nor harmo- row do not form the key-note.


We say

“In all your music, one pathetic minor tray it. A faithful and intimate friend of Your ears shall cross;

a now fallen dynasty, (that of Orléans,) And all fair sighits shall mind you of diviner,

proud, even distrustful towards men in With sense of loss."

power, indifferent to their opinion, inThis is one view of human life, but it accessible to their offers, Ary Scheffer, is a transitional and imperfect one,- nei- in his original individuality, is one of ther that of the first healthy unconscious- the most independent and most honorness of childhood, nor of the full con- able political men of our country. His sciousness of a soul which has risen to studio is the rendezvous of all opinions, that height of divine wisdom which feels provided they are honest,- of all religthe meaning of all suffering, of all life. ions, provided they are sincere. There The music of Beethoven expresses the each one is received, not according to struggle, the contest, the sufferings of the habit which he wears, as the ancient humanity, as Art has never done before; proverb says, but according to the mind but it always contains an eternal prophe- (esprit) which he has shown. cy, rather than a mournful regret,- and mind, but it is heart that we should in the last triumphant symphony it swells say; for Ary Scheffer seems to us to esonward and upward, until at last it bursts timate the latter more highly than the forth in all the freedom and guish of song, foriner. His whole life proves it.” Aland its theme is “ The Hymn to Joy." ways an ardent friend of liberty, he was How much the fatherless home of Schef- also a lover of law and order, and he fer's childhood, how much his own deso- rendered good service in their preservalated life, when his beloved companion tion in the capital during the Revolution was so early taken from his side, may of 1848, for which he received honorable have had to do with this melancholy cast distinction. of thought, or how far it belonged to his The same writer quoted above gives delicate physical constitution, we are not an interesting description of his meeting prepared to say. It becomes less promi- with Ary Scheffer in the sick-room and nent in his later compositions, “as faith by the death-bed of an Italian refugee, became stronger and sight clearer”; and Emilia Manin. A young Venetian girl, perhaps in those pictures yet unknown full of devotion to her country and her to us we may find still brighter omens of proscribed father, she supported her exthe new life of rest and joy into which ile with all a woman's courage, buoyed he has entered.

up by the hope of returning to her counIf we turn from Scheffer's works to try, redeemed from its misery. She is his life, our task is no less grateful and described as possessing extraordinary pleasing. The admiration and affection powers of mind and great beauty of perwhich his countrymen express for his There were no questions, however character surpass even what they feel sublime or abstract, which she did not for bis works. He was a noble, generous, treat with a surprising depth and sagaciactive, benevolent friend of humanity. ty. " Her speech, ordinarily timid and He gave freely to all who were in need, feeble, became emphatic and stirring; counsel, money, advice, personal care, her great, dreamy eyes suddenly acand love. Young artists found him ever quired unequalled energy; she spoke of ready to help them. • He gave them," the misfortunes of her country in terms says M. Vitet, “ home, atelier, material, so moving as to draw tears from our sympathy', -- whatever they needed.” An- eyes.” But the body which contained other writer, M. Anatole de la Lorge, this burning soul was very frail, “and said of him, while yet living, -—“ Ary the poor Emilia, the silent martyr, turnScheffer has the rare good luck not to ed her head upon her pillow, and took be exclusive. His heart can pity every her first hour of repose. When no lonsuffering as fully as his pencil can por- ger able to speak, she had traced with


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a trembling hand on a paper these last which most deeply affect and most truly words, — Oh, Venice ! I shall never see express a man's inmost nature. We close thee more !' She yet retained the posi- this notice with some slight sketch of his tion in which she drew her last breath, life in the atelier. when Ary Scheffer came, as Tintoret for- None could enter this room without a merly came to the bedside of his daughter, feeling of reverence and sacredness. In to retrace, with a hand unsteady through the failing light of a November afteremotion, the features of Emilia Manin. noon, all was subdued to a quiet and reThis holy image, snatched by genius ligious tone. Large and commodious in from death, is one of the most admira- size, it was filled with objects of the ble works we have ever seen. She lies deepest interest. Nothing was in disorthese, extended and cold, — the poor der; there was no smoke, no unneceschild !- in that peace unknown to the sary litter; yet everywhere little sketches life which she had lived in the body. or hints of pictures were perceptible It is, indeed, the intelligent brow from among the casts, which one longed to which the inspiration of her soul seemed bring forth into the light. A few porto speak. It is the delicate mouth and traits especially dear to him — best of all, the pale lips, which, never uttering a that of his mother — were on the walls; murmur, betrayed the celestial goodness a few casts of the finest statues

among of her heart. In truth, it would have others, that of the Venus de Milo been difficult to hide our emotion, in around the room. His last copy of the recognizing — thanks to the pure devo- “ Francesca da Rimini," and the origition of the painter — the touching feat- nal picture of " The Three Marys," and ures of this innocent victim, whom we the yet unfinished “ Temptation on the had known, loved, and venerated dur- Mount," were all there. On the easel ing her life. Some hours later, we again stood the picture of the “Group of Spirits found Ary Scheffer sustaining with us ascending to Heaven.” Such was the asthe tottering steps of Manin upon the pect of this celebrated atelier, as we saw it freshly removed earth which was soon to in 1854. But “the greatest thing in the cover the coffin of his child.”

room was the master of it.” Ary SchefBy the same loving and faithful hand fer was then about sixty years of age, were traced the features of the Abbé de but was still healthy and fresh in appearLamennais, a name so dear to those who ance. His face was rather German than live in the hope of new progress and lib- French, and bore the stamp of purity erty for humanity. “ At the moment,” and goodness in every line; but the eyes says M. de la Lorge, “ when death was especially had the fire of genius temyet tearing this great genius from the pered by gentleness and love. It was a earth, the pencil of the artist restored face which satisfied you at once, answerhim, in some sense alive, in the midst of ing to all you could ask of the painter of us all, his friends, his disciples, his ad- " Mignon," and the “ Christus Consolator.” mirers. Hereafter, thanks to the inde- His manner was quiet and reserved, but fatigable devotion of Ary Scheffer, we courteous. Unconscious modesty was the shall be permitted to see again the mea- peculiar charm of his appearance. One gre visage, the burning eyes, the sad and of our party said that he reminded him energetic features of the Breton Apos- strongly of Allston. It was a reverend tle.”

presence, which forbade common topInto the domestic life of Scheffer it ics, and strangers thus meeting had few is not at present our privilege to enter.

As we turned away, we Some near friend - the brother, the knew that we should never meet again daughter, the wife —-may, perhaps, here- on earth; but we had gained a new life, after, lift the veil from the sacred spot, and we had beheld, as it were, the face and reveal him to us in those relations of an angel.

words to say

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