Imatges de pàgina

thority of the Articles, must be reputed heterodox, and cannot, without the utmost inconsistency, adopt the established prayers.

But, though it be incumbent on us to point out the ge- , neral tendency of the work, we must not deny to the writer the credit which is due to him for the attention he has paid, according to his own system, to the interpretation of the Scriptures; and both the Athanasian and Socinian may derive instruction from his pages. It is too customary with persons on all sides of the question to lay a stress on every text which seems to bear at all in their own favour; although by such means they do not in the least increase the confidence of their own abettors, while they alienate in a very high degree the minds of the opposite party. Thus an injudicious advocate for orthodoxy finds in the iwo first words of St. John's Gospel (sv apx?) a proof of the doctrine of the Trinity, and exposes himself to de-. served censure : for, if we may not subscribe to the Arian opi. nion maintained in this work, or to the interpretations of different Socinians, we must concede to both parties that these two words do not refer to the period commonly meant by the terin eternity. The argument, from the application of the definite article to O895, God, in two parts of the first verse, and the absence of it when it becomes the predicate of a proposition to which Agyos is the subject, is reviewed with much precision ; and the observations are sufficient to prevent any great stress from being laid on this verse, as to the mode of divinity predicated of the Agyos in the context. From the reasons given for the writer's interpretation of TWTOs you, that by it nothing but priority of time could possibly be meant, we must bag leave to differ; for, as to mundane and temporal greatness,' says the author, the Baptist was Christ's superior: he was the son of a priest ; whereas our Lord was the supposed son of a very inferior character. Temporal greatness is here falsely estimated ; and besides the supernatural birth of our Saviour, with which John could not be unacquainted, he knew him to be the son of David, which gave him higher pretensions than could belong to any priest whatever, much more to the son of a priest of inferior rank. A most extraordinary turn given to a plain passage in Scripture we find on the confession of Nathaniel; on which our author remarks, that

1-faith in the incarnation of God was then, we find, the great mystery of godliness—all the faith which Jesus himself required of his immediate disciples. But in that faith in the incarnation of the Son of God many articles of belief are included, which were afterwards gradually evolved ; such as redemption from sin, the dispensing power of death and salvation, &c. And after he rose from the dead, belief in his resurrection was added, and particularly insisted en by his apostles as an article of faith necessary to salvation. And

this acknowledgment of Nathaniel's faith accords very closely with the explanation of the doctrines of Christianity, which Justin Martyr, in the second century, delivered to Rusticus, prefect of Rome, on his requisition of them.' P. 25.

But the words of Nathaniel have surely in that passage no reference at all to the prior existence of Christ, whether, as a Jew, that doctrine were open to him or not; for his faith consisted in the confession that the person to whom he spoke was the Messiah, the king of Israel.

Our limits will not permit us to expatiate farther on this extraordinary publication; nor could we well do it, without entering into a controversy in which the public at large seems to take little interest ;-and, indeed, the moment the trinity in the godhead is denied, it seems to be of little consequence whether we adopt the high or low Arian, or the Socinian opinion of the character of Christ. The latitude assumed by this writer in the interpretation of some texts cannot in justice be denied to the Socinian, who will be quite satisfied with the support he receives from his antagonist on the main question, in which they are equally at issue with the church and surely it was not the part of a churchman to put arms into the hands of an adversary to that establishment from which he receives both dignity and emolument! We cannot believe that we are the only per, sons who recommend to the writer to re-consider his opinions, in connexion with his office.

ART. IX.Lectures on Painting, delivered at the Royal Academy,

March 1801, by Henry Fuseli, P. P. With additional 06servations and Notes. 410. 125. Boards. Johnson. 1801.

THESE lectures display a considerable degree of reading and knowledge of the subject; and our ingenious artist even affects to quote Greek. But the chief object in a work of this nature should be to present a just and pure taste ; and we here observe with regret too many traces of that singularity which distinguishes the pencil of Mr. Fuseli. His paintings indeed have attracted more notice from this circumstance than from their pretensions to elegance or sublimity; and in his whole exhibition of devils we did not observe one piece of distin, guished merit. Michael Angelo, comparing the vigour and spirit of the ancient representations with the tameness of his own times, not only recurred to them with superior force and effect, but, as usual in such cases, rather proceeded to the opposite extreme, and outstepped the modesty of nature. There are many positions of which the human form is capable, and many arrangements of the features which are merely momentary; and to eternise them in statuary or painting is to offer a violence to the passions, which is always disgustful to the man of taste and sobriety. We believe our readers will unanimously agree that such is the effect of many of Mr. Fuseli's produce tions, which as far overstep Michael Angelo as this latter ever overstepped nature herself. The question ought not to be, what position the human form will admit of, or what violence certain passions may impart to the features, but what position and what violence will bear to be perpetuated in sculpture or painting? Yet this plain argument seems always and totally to have escaped the recollection of Mr. Fuseli, whose radical fault consists in a constant opposition to it. We need not go far for an example ; for in the title-page of this very volume is a female figure damned to such a posture as no human being could sustain for five minutes, without the most excruciating head-ach. Mr. Fuseli thus reminds us of those wonderful artists on the violin, who make it exhibit every thing except the production of good melody. If the cause of this defect be the want of good sense, our lecture will be vain ; but as Mr. Fuseli has great capabilities, we hope he will profit by it, and dismiss those extravagant postures and contortions which, if they could ever occur in real life, would be viewed with utter disgust, and which become still more disgusting by being perpetuated.

As the question of just taste is a principal object in a treatise on painting, we have been constrained to estimate the taste of the new professor of painting in the Royal Academy by that best criterion his own works. We now return to this book merely as a literary production, after expressing the deepest sorrow and the most unfeigned regret that the professor of painting to the English school should be a foreigner, and that foreigner a Swiss ! -Boni ! a Swiss teach the principles of taste! In how many strange points of view might an Italian, or even a French or Spanish painter place this singular phænomenon! With an utter contempt for all national prejudices, and an open heart for the learned and ingenious of every climate under the sun, we still must think it the height of absur, dity that our English schools should have any instructor but one of their own countrymen.

As a specimen of the work before us, we shall select the bea ginning of the first lecture, which presents the plan, and is, upon the whole, the most favorable that could have been produced.

• The difficulties of the task prescribed to me, if they do not preponderate, are at least equal to the honour of the situation. If, to discourse on any topic with truth, precision, and clearness, before a mixed or fortuitous audience, before men neither initiated in the subject, nor rendered minutely attentive by expectation, be no easy task ; how much more arduous must it be to speak systematically on an art before a select assembly composed of professors whose life has been divided between theory and practice; of critics whose taste has been refined by contemplation and comparison; and of students. who, bent on the same pursuit, look for the best and always most compendious method of mastering the principles, to arrive at its emoluments and honours. Your lecturer is to instruct them in the principles of " composition; to form their taste for design and colouring ; to strengthen their judgement ; to point out to them the beauties and imperfections of celebrated works of art ; and the particular excellencies and defects of great masters; and, finally, to lead them into the readiest and most efficacious paths of study.”_1f, gentlemen, these directions presuppose in the student a sufficient stock of elementary knowledge ; an expertness in the rudimentsnot mere wishes, but a peremptory will of improvement and judgement with docility-how much more do they imply in the person selected to address them, knowledge founded on theory, substantiated and matured by practice; a mass of select and well-digested materials'; perspicuity of method and command of words ; imagination to place things in such views as they are not commonly seen in; presence of mind, and that resolution, the result of conscious vigour, which, in submitting to correct mistakes, cannot be easily discountenanced.-As conditions like these would discourage abilities far superior to mine, my hopes of approbation, moderate as they are, must in a great measure depend on that indulgence which may grant to my will what it would refuse to my powers.

. In the arrangement of my plan I shall prefer a progressive method, that may enable me, on future occasions, to treat more fully those parts which the pressure of others, seemingly or really more important, has obliged me to dismiss more abruptly or with less consideration than they have a right to claim. The first lecture exhibits a more critical than an historic sketch of the origin and progress of our art, confining research to that period, when fact and substantial information took place of conjecture ; it naturally divides itself into two parts, the art of the ancients, and its restoration among the moderns : each is divided into three periods, that of preparation, that of full establishment, and that of refinement, The second lecture treats on the real subjects of painting and the plastic arts, in contradistinction to the subjects exclusively belonging to poetry-endeavouring to establish the reciprocal limits of both from the essential difference of their medium and materials. It establishes three principal classes of painting—the epic, the drama, tic, and the historic; with their collateral branches of characteristic portrait and landscape, and the inferior subdivisions of imitation, In the third, design, correctness, copy, imitation, style, with its degrees of essential, characteristic, ideal, and deviation into manner, are considered, and the classes of the modele left us in the remains of ancient sculpture, arranged. The fourth is devoted to invention, in its most general and specific sense, as it discovers, selects, com. bines the possible, the probable, and the known materials of nature, in a mode that strikes with novelty. The fifth follows with composition and expression—the dresser and the soul of invention. The sixth concludes with observations on colour, drapery, and execution.

• Such is the regular train of observations on an inexhaustible art, which-if life and circumstances sanction the wish-I mean to submit to your consideration in a future course : at present, the exuberance of the subject, the consideration due to each part, the various modes of treatment that presented themselves in the course of study, my necessary professional avocations, and some obstacles which I could as little foresee as avoid, grant scarcely more than fragments to lay before you. The first lecture, or the critical history of ancient and modern style, from its extreme richness and, as it appears to me, importance, is at present divided into two. The third will contain mati rials of the proper subjects of the art, and of invention, extracted from the second and the fourth, and connected by obvioua analogy.

• But before I proceed to the history of style itself, it seems to be necessary that we should agree about the terms which denote its object, and perpetually recur in treating of it ; that my vocabulary of technic expression should not clash with the dictionary of my audience : mine is nearly that of your late president. I shall con. fine myself at present to a few of the most important; the words nature, beauty, grace, taste, copy, imitation, genius, talent. Thus, by nature I understand the general and permanent principles of visible objects, not disfigured by accident, or distempered by disease, not modified by fashion or local habits. Nature is a collective idea, and, though its essence exist in each individual of the species, can never in its perfection inhabit a single object. On beauty I do not mean to perplex you or myself with abstract ideas, and the romantic reveries of Platonic philosophy, or to inquire whether it be the result of a simple or complex principle. As a local idea, Beauty is a despotic princess, and subject to the anarchies of Despotism, en. throned to-day, dethroned to-morrow. The beauty we acknowledge is that harmonious whole of the human frame, that unison of parts to one end, which enchants us--the result of the standard set by the great masters of our art, the ancients, and confirmed by the sub. missive verdict of modern imitation. By grace I mean that artless balance of motion and repose sprung from character, founded on propriety, which neither falls short of the demands nor overleaps the modesty of nature. Applied to execution, it means that dextrous power which hides the means by which it was attained, the difficulties it has conquered. When we say taste, we mean not crudely the knowledge of what is right in art : taste estimates the degrees of excellence, and by comparison proceeds from justness to refinement. Our language, or rather those who use it, generally confound, when speaking of the art, copy with imitation, though essentially different in operation and meaning Precision of eye and obedience of hand are the requisites of the former, without the least pretence to choice, what to select, what to reject; whilst choice directed by judgement or taste constitutes the essence of imitation, and alone can raise the most dextrous copyist to the noble rank of an artist. The imitation of the ancients was essential, characteristic, ideal. The first cleared

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