Imatges de pÓgina
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ing to Lord Warwick, is a direct study from the model, touched into the glow of life itself by the dexterous use of two colours of chalk, and in quite perfect preservation; it may be fruitfully compared with the larger drawing (118), which repeats, with a colder and more mechanical touch, the same figure with the addition of a companion. Of the Giorgione drawings, that with three wayfarers conversing beside a lake, and with a distance of lofty hills, is the more poetical and original in composition; but the other upon its glowing rose-coloured ground, and with its lovers at their music, separated by a low line of shore from the picturesque group of steep gables on the right, is likely to give more general delight. And now, since we have found our way to Venice, it would be natural to call attention to the groups of noble landscape drawings in the characteristic manner of Titian which are to be found both here and at the Academy. But to do so is needless, and the fourth great master especially represented on the walls is waiting for his turn-I mean Rembrandt. So let us change our climate, and pass with a plunge out of the region of the classic and the ideal, the ardent and the suave, into the company of the common and the mean, the piteous or the grotesque, represented in the inmost dramatic significance of their lives and movements. There are some dozen of Rembrandt drawings at the Academy, most of them good, but the great gathering of the master is in Bond Street. The drawings of Rembrandt hold a somewhat peculiar relation to the rest of his art. He differed from the other Dutchmen, in the midst of whom he was the greatest, by lifting the raw and suffering humanity which he painted in common with them into an atmosphere of poetry; and this he did by two means: first, by an unrivalled gift of pathetic and dramatic observation, by a power such as none else possessed of arresting and defining the significant moment in life and action; and secondly, by a treatment of the elements of light and shade which combined the most consummate knowledge of their effects and relations in nature, with the most thoroughly arbitrary manner of altering or concentrating those effects and relations as it suited his imaginative purpose. In his studies on paper, of which there exist many hundreds, his peculiar effects of chiaroscuro play the lesser part, his peculiar genius for expressing life and action the greater. It is only in a highly finished portrait study like that numbered 204 at the Grosvenor Gallery, or in studies of landscape shadow and atmosphere like 206, 215, 298, or in compositions for night subjects, as 293 and 294—it is only in occasional examples like these that the light and shade are highly wrought. Generally, the drawing consists of the swiftest brush or pen work, coarse-looking at first sight, and without linear beauty or distinction; but when you look at it, it has the distinction of consummate expressiveness; it fixes a look, a group, a gesture, a character, in unerring lineaments; and when your eye gets somewhat accustomed to the hand, it soon

becomes impossible that you should accept for the original the weaker substitutes which often pass current, as, for example, the 'Adoration of the Magi' by some French imitator (199), or the confused group from Christ Church (289). Among so many perfect examples of Rembrandt's dramatic observation and certainty of hand, it is hard to choose. My own favourites are the Crucifixion' (207), in which, though the principal figure is a mere scrawl, the soldiers casting lots for the raiment of Christ are very masterly; the portrait above mentioned; the two designs for Christ with St. Peter in the Storm' (292 and 299); the Christ before the Doctors,' a design of which there exist other versions, and which is signally original in its conception of a child-Christ backed against the foot of a tall desk, over which a doctor peers to look at him with curiosity; the 'Nathan and David' (303); the 'Unjust Steward' (301), and the studies on No. 320. Of the landscape studies, most that are exhibited are in Rembrandt's best manner, although a few that are claimed for him in the catalogue are probably the work of Koningh and other pupils.

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With these insufficient words for Rembrandt, I shall leave the Dutch school, richly represented as it is in all its developments. I shall leave the miscellaneous Flemings; the Italians, primitive and late; the Frenchmen, from the beautiful sets of foliage and landscape studies by Claude to the work of the modern master Ingres, whose title to a place in the ranks of the classics of all time, as well as his relations to his contemporaries, it would be so interesting to discuss. And in what I have yet to say I shall confine myself to a few drawings of various schools which have a special interest from their relation to the art of engraving.

We have seen how several of the Raphael drawings were made on purpose to be engraved by Marcantonio. North of the Alps, and to a certain extent south of them too, up to the time when Marcantonio became a kind of engraver-in-chief to Raphael, it was the custom for painters to engrave their own designs, and not to entrust them to another hand for that purpose. (I speak, of course, of engraving not on wood, but on metal.) The master of all these painter-engravers of either north or south was Dürer. Dürer is represented by one very masterpiece, the water-colour drawing of a kingfisher's wing, lent by Mr. A. Morrison to the Academy (315); but of designs for metal engraving, there is only the rough sketch from Windsor of a Virgin and Child with a Bird,' dated 1515, and not used till five years afterwards. The most refined predecessor of Dürer in this art was the goldsmith painter Martin Schongauer, of Colmar in Alsace; and of Martin Schongauer the Grosvenor Gallery has one precious and genuine example in the shape of a drawing for the head of a bishop's crozier. The master's own engraving from this drawing, though it enhances the crispness of the curves in the Gothic crockets and fretwork of the design, yet scarcely preserves the full delicacy of expression in the

heads of the angels within the circle, making music on either side of the throne of Christ, or of the saints Margaret and Barbara figured in niches on the stem. Compare with this Mantegna's design for a sacramental chalice, long in the Arundel Collection, and apparently intended, like such designs in general, first to be engraved and then to serve as a pattern to goldsmiths. Mantegna, working without any model before him, has got the perspective of his chalice quite wrong; but he has filled the upper border of the cup with scenes from the Passion, and its lower part with cherubs' heads and scroll-work; he has adorned its stem with a row of babies and another of apostles in niches, and covered its foot with prophets and apostles among more scroll-work; all in a way at once so minute, masterful, and beautiful that it is really one of the miracles of art. The design has been engraved by a contemporary hand, but by one of the very feeblest. And when it belonged to Lord Arundel the indefatigable Hollar actually engraved it twice-once as it is drawn and once in reverse. Other drawings resembling the engraved compositions of Mantegna have the air of being copied by pupils; though that at the Grosvenor Gallery of the famous Entombment' is so good that it may be original (28); but the only other thing quite worthy of the master's hand is the splendid tinted design of Hercules slaying the Lion' from Christ Church (14). A drawing from Chatsworth exhibited at the Academy, and bearing a false signature of Mantegna (58), is put down in the catalogue to Giulio Romano, to whose work it bears no resemblance; it is a study for an engraving of a rare Italian master, Mocetto. An original design, also literally engraved by the same Mocetto, is numbered 56 at the Grosvenor Gallery and attributed to Squarcione; it is taken from a bas-relief of a Roman sacrifice, with the addition of a Venetian architectural background. Lastly, one of the loveliest drawings in either exhibition, though not, so far as I know, actually engraved, belongs to the class which used to be engraved by Marcantonio when he was a young man working in the school of Francia at Bologna, as well as by Jacopo, the son of the same Francia, himself. It is a simple group of four figures-three men and a maiden grouped about an altar in the act of sacrifice. It has been freely copied from some ancient bas-relief; and to the grace and purity of classic art, which have here been mastered perfectly, though still with a lingering timidity, it adds much of the sweet and yearning emotion of the Christian sentiment of Italy.

SIDNEY COLVIN.

THE POOR IN FRANCE.

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Μᾶλλόν ἐστι τοῦ ἐλευθερίου τὸ διδόναι οἷς δεῖ ἢ λαμβάνειν ὅθεν δεῖ, καὶ μὴ λαμβάνειν ὅθεν οὐ δεῖ· τῆς γὰρ ἀρετῆς μᾶλλον τὸ εὖ ποιεῖν ἢ τὸ εὖ πάσχειν.-ARISTOTLE'S Eth. Nicom. iv. 1.

WHEN the proposal was made a year or two ago to abolish the Poor Law and substitute for it a system of thoroughly organised charity, it was received with a shout of derision. One set of critics observed that the Poor Law had so become a part of the constitution of the country, and the people had so fully learned to rely upon it, that it could not be rooted out. Another saw no advantage to be gained by substituting an army of beggars for an army of paupers. A third regarded the present system as a safeguard against revolution. All agreed that a serious scheme of abolition was Utopian, whilst the organisation of charity in so complex a state of society as ours would be a practical impossibility. The strange thing is that, whilst these and a dozen similar criticisms are being made, the very system which is so much decried is in full operation on the other side of the Channel. In France there is no Poor Law. Public aid is to a small extent granted by the State to indigent persons, but no one has a right to claim relief: no man, however poor, can do more than appeal to the charity of those who possess the means of assisting him. There is, therefore, no heavy burden on real property such as that which in England forms a serious tax on industry. On the other hand, the French nation fully recognises the claim which the indigent have upon their charity, and has therefore organised a scheme by which real distress is sure to be discovered and relieved with the least possible cost of time and money to the donor, and of self-respect to the recipient. This is in fact the very perfection of charity organisation. The French have gone a long way towards solving the question of pauperism once for all.

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Before proceeding to examine the system, it is advisable to clear the ground of a difficulty which lies at the outset of every discussion of Poor Law principles. There are not a few persons who are of

1 Land formed in 1868 only 33 per cent. of the real, and therefore rateable, property of England; houses, including mills &c., are nearly 50 per cent.

opinion that the principle of a Poor Law is one which is founded on natural justice, and that therefore it is unjust, as well as impolitic, for any nation to live without one. J. S. Mill states the case with perfect clearness when he says that the claim to help, created by destitution, is one of the strongest that can exist, and that there is primâ facie the amplest reason for making the relief of so extreme an exigency as certain to those who require it as by any arrangements of society it can be made. But, whilst thus admitting the principle of a Poor Law, he goes on to remark that the problem to be solved is one of peculiar nicety as well as importance-how to give the greatest amount of needful help with the smallest encouragement to undue reliance on it.

Now we may be willing to allow that destitution gives a certain claim upon us as men, but is it not conceivable that the concession of the right to claim relief may be highly injurious? Has the problem stated by Mr. Mill ever been solved? Is it possible to give needful help, as a right, without encouraging the recipients to rely unduly upon it? Mr. Ricardo, Dr. Chalmers, and others foresaw long ago that such a question could never be answered in the affirmative. They prophesied that just such a state of things would be brought about as has actually been established. It has not been worth while for the English or Scottish working man to cultivate the virtues of thrift and forethought. The working classes of Great Britain rely, to an extent which is probably little suspected by many, upon the fact that they have a public system of relief to fall back upon in all the crises of life. It is often used as an argument in favour of the continuance of our system that it is so entwined into our national life that it would be impossible to remove it. We are justified in retorting that the very fact of the extent to which it has grown into and influenced the national life is a proof of the harm it is doing. It has substituted dependence for independence, extravagance for economy, waste for thrift. This is the answer to Mr. Mill's proviso that the Poor Law is to be administered without encouraging undue reliance on it. The task is an impossible one. If once you give a man the right to demand assistance, you have infected his life, and taken away the mainstay of human character, self-reliance. It is better to have an army of beggars to deal with 2 than an army of paupers. The beggars we can deal with and control, and by degrees. lead into better ways; the latter are our masters. It might be held to be a sufficient answer to the assertion that a Poor Law keeps off revolution, if we simply alleged the harm that obligatory public charity does to the national character and to individuals; we have no right to protect ourselves against revolt by wrong-doing, by binding our victims in the chains of a Poor Law. We may go a step further,

2 Infrà, page 336, where the French method of dealing with mendicants is described.

VOL. V.-No. 24.

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