Imatges de pÓgina

with truth, consistency, and conse- At any rate, this is the march neiquent effect. There is no difference, ther of nature nor of art. It is not in philosophical reasoning, between denied that these antique sculptures the mode of art here insisted on, are models of the ideal; nay, it is and the ideal regularity of such on them that this theory boasts of figures as the Apollo, the Hercules, being founded. Yet they give a flat the Mercury, the Venus, &c. All contradiction to its insipid mediothese are, as it were, personifications, crity. Perhaps some of them have essences, abstractions of certain qua- a slight bias to the false ideal, to the lities or virtues in human nature, not smooth and uniform, or the negaof human nature in general, which tion of nature : any error on this would make nonsense. Instead of side is, however, happily set right being abstractions of all sorts of qua- by the Elgin MARBLES, which are lities jumbled together in a neutral the paragons of sculpture and the character, they are in the opposite mould of form.-As the ideal then sense abstractions of some single qua- requires a difference of character in lity or customary combination of each figure as a whole, so it expects qualities, leaving out all others the same character (or a correspondas much as possible, and imbuing ing one) to be stamped on each part every part with that one predomi- of every figure. As the legs of a nant character to the utmost. The Diana should be more muscular and Apollo is a representation of grace- adapted for running, than those of ful dignity and mental power; the a Venus or a Minerva, so the skin of Hercules of bodily strength; the her face ought to be more tense, bent Mercury of swiftness; the Venus of on her prey, and hardened by being exfemale loveliness, and so on. In posed to the winds of heaven. The rethese, in the Apollo, is surely im- spective characters of lightness, softplied and found more grace than ness, strength, &c. should pervadeeach usual; in the Hercules more strength part of the surface of each figure, but than usual ; in the Mercury more still varying according to the texture lightness than usual; in the Venus and functions of the individual part. more softness than usual. Is it not This can only be learned or practised so? What then becomes of the pre- from an attentive observation of natended middle form? One would ture in those forms in which arty think it would be sufficient to prove given character or excellence is most this, to ask, “ Do not these statues strikingly displayed, and which has differ from one another? And is been selected for imitation and study this difference a defect?”. It would on that account.-Suppose a dimple in be ridiculous to call them by different the chin to be a mark of voluptuonsnames, if they were not supposed to ness; then the Venus should have a represent different and peculiar cha- dimple in the chin ; and she has one. racters: sculptors should, in that But this will imply certain correscase, never carve any thing but the pondent indications in other parts of statue of a man, the statue of a wo- the features, about the corners of the man, &c. and this would be the mouth, a gentle undulation and sinkname of perfection. This theory of ing in of the cheek, as if it had just been art is not at any rate justified by the pinched, and so on: yet so as to be history of art. An extraordinary consistent with the other qualities of quantity of bone and muscle is as roundness, smoothness, &c. ' which proper to the Hercules as his club, belong to the idea of the character. and it would be strange if the God- Who will get all this and embody it dess of Love had not a more deli- out of the idea of a middle form, 'I cately rounded form, and a more lan- cannot say: it may be, and has been, guishing look withal, than the God- got out of the idea of a number of dess of Hunting: That a form com- distinct enchanting graces in the bining and blending the properties of mind, and from some heavenly object both, the downy softness of the one, unfolded to the sight! with the elastic buoyancy of the 4. That the historical is nature in other, would be more perfect than action. With regard to the face, it is either, we no more see than that expression. grey is the most perfect of colours. Hogarth's pictures are true history.



Every feature, limb, figure, group, overcome, viz. in the rapid glance is instinct with life and motion. He over a number of parts subject to the does not take a subject and place it in simultaneous action of the same law, a position, like a lay figure, in which and in the scope of feeling required it stirs neither limb nor joint. The to sympathise with the critical and scene moves before you : the face is powerful movements of passion. It like a frame-work of flexible mac requires greater capacity of muscular chinery. If the mouth is distorted motion to follow the progress of a with laughter, the eyes swim in carriage in violent motion, than to laughter. If the forehead is knit to- lean upon it standing still. If, to degether, the cheeks are puckered up. scribe passion, it were merely necesIf a fellow squints most horribly, the sary to observe its outward effects, rest of his face is awry. The muscles these, perhaps, in the prominent pull different ways, or the same way, points, become more visible and at the same time, on the surface of the more tangible as the passion is more picture, as they do in the human body, intense. But it is not only necessary What you see is the reverse of still to see the effects, but to discern the life. There is a continual and com- cause, in order to make the one true plete action and re-action of one va- to the other. No painter gives more riable part upon another, as there is of intellectual or impassioned appearin the Elgin MARBLES. If you pull ances than he understands or feels. the string of a bow, the bow itself is It is an axiom in painting, that symbent. So it is in the strings and pathy is indispensible to truth of wires that move the human frame. expression. Without it, you get The action of any one part, the con- only caricatures, which are not the traction or relaxation of any one thing. But to sympathise with pasmuscle, extends more or less percep- sion, greater fund of sensibility is tibly to every other:

demanded in proportion to the Thrills in each nerve, and lives along the strength or tenderness of the passion. line.

And as he feels most of this whose

face expresses inost passion, so he Thus the celebrated lö of Correggio also feels most by sympathy whose is imbued, steeped in a manner in hand can describe most passion. the same voluptuous feeling all over This amounts nearly, we take it, to --the same passion languishes in her a demonstration of an old and very whole frame, and communicates the disputed point. The same reasoning infection to the feet, the back, and might be applied to poetry, but this the reclined position of the head. is not the place.--Again, it is easier This is history, not carpenter's work. to paint a portrait than an historical Some painters fancy that they paint face, because the head sits for the history, if they get the measurement first, but the expression will hardly from the foot to the knee, and put sit for the last. Perhaps those pasfour bones where there are four bones. sions are the best subjects for paintThis is not our idea of it; but we ing, the expression of which may be think it is to show how one part of retained for some time, so as to be the body sways another in action better caught, which throw out a and in passion. The last relates sort of lambent fire, and leave a rechiefly to the expression of the face, flected glory behind them, as we see though not altogether. Passion may in Madonnas, Christ's Heads, and be shown in a clenched fist as well what is understood by sacred subas in clenched teeth. The face, how- jects in general. The violences of ever, is the throne of expression. human passion are too soon over to Character implies the feeling, which be copied by the hand, and the mere is fixed and permanent; expression conception of the internal workings that which is occasional and mo- is not here sufficient, as it is in mentary, at least, technically speak- poetry. A portrait is to history what ing Portrait treats of objects as still-life is to portraiture: that is, they are; history of the events and the whole remains the same while changes to which they are liable. you are doing it, or while you are And so far history has a double su- occupied about each part, the rest periority; or a double difficulty to wait for you. Yet, what a difference


is there between taking an original in the latter, it would be rather more portrait, and making a copy of one! perfect, as being more like nature. This shows that the face in its most Suppose a strong light to fall on one ordinary state is continually varying side of a face, and a deep shadow and in action. So much of history to involve the whole of the other. is there in portrait !-No one should This would produce two distinct and pronounce definitively on the supe- large masses in the picture; which riority of history over portrait, with answers to the conditions of what is out récollecting Titian's heads. The called the grand style of composia finest of them are very nearly (say tion. Well, would it destroy these quite) equal to the finest of Ra- masses to give the smallest veins or phael's. They have almost the look variation of colour or surface in the of still-life, yet each part is decided- light side, or to shade the other with ly influenced by the rest. Every the most delicate and elaborate chia thing is relative in them. You can- aro-scuro ? It is evident not; from not put any other eye, nose, lip, in the common sense, from the practice of same face. As is one part, so is the the best masters, and, lastly, from the rest. You cannot fix on any parti- example of nature, which contains cular beauty ; the charm is in the both the larger masses, the strongest whole. They have least action, and contrasts, and the highest finishing, the most expression of any portraits. within itself. The integrity of the They are doing nothing, and yet all whole, then, is not impaired by the inn other business seems insipid in com- definite subdivision and smallness of parison of their thoughts. They are the parts. The grandeur of the ultisilent, retired, and do not court obser- mate effects depends entirely on the vation; yet you cannot keep your eyes arrangement of these in a certain from them. Some one said, that you form or under certain masses. The would be as cautious of your behavi- Ilissus or River-god (of which we our in a room where a picture of Ti- have given a print in a former num tian's was hung, as if there was some ber) is floating in his proper elee body by-so entirely do they look you ment, and is, in appearance, as firm through. They are the least tiresome as a rock, as pliable as a wave of the furniture-company in the world!

The artist's breath might be 5. Grandeur consists in connecting said to mould and play upon the una number of parts into a whole, and dulating surface. The whole is ex® not in leaving out the parts.

panded into noble proportions, and Sir Joshua lays it down that the heaves with general effect. What great style in art consists in the then ? Are the parts unfinished; or omission of the details. A greater are they not there? No; they are error never man committed. The there with the nicest exactness, but great style consists in preserving the in due subordination; that is, they masses and general proportions; not are there as they are found in fine in omitting the details. Thus, sup- nature; and float upon the general pose, for illustration's sake, the gene- form, like straw or weeds upon the ral form of an eye-brow to be com- tide of ocean. Once more: in Titian's manding and grand. It is of a cere portraits we perceive a certain cha. tain size, and arched in a particular racter stamped upon the different curve. Now, surely, this general form features. In the Hippolito de Medici or outline will be equally preserved, the eye-brows are angular, the nose whether the painter daubs it in, in a is peaked, the mouth has sharp cora bold, rough way, as Reynolds or ners, the face is (so to speak) a perhaps Rembrandt would, or pro- pointed oval. The drawing in each duces the effect by a number of hair of these is as careful and distinct as lines arranged in the same form as can be. But the unity of intention Titian sometimes did; and in his in nature, and in the artist, does not best pictures. It will not be denied the less tend to produce a general (for it cannot) that the characteris- grandeur and impressiveness of effect; tic form of the eye-brow would be which at first sight it is not easy to the same, or that the effect of the account for. To combine a number picture at a small distance would be of particulars to one end is not to nearly the same in either case ; only omit them altogether; and is the

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best way of producing the grand not in nature at all. To say that style, because it does this without there is no difference in the sense of either affectation or slovenliness. form except from custom, is like say

6. The sixth rule we proposed to lay ing that there is no difference in the down was, that as grandeur is the sensation of smooth or rough. Judging principle of connerion between differ- by analogy, a gradation or symmetry ent parts ; beauty is the principle of of form must affect the mind in the affinity between different forms, or same manner as a gradation of retheir gradual conversion into each other. currence at given intervals of tones The one harmonizes, the other aggran- or sounds; and if it does so in fact, dizes, our impressions of things. we need not inquire further for the

There is a harmony of colours and principle. Sir Joshua, (who is the a harmony of sounds, unquestionably: arch-heretic on this subject) makes why then there should be all this grandeur or sublimity consist in the squeamishness about admitting an middle form, or abstraction of all peoriginal harmony of forms as the culiarities; which is evidently false, principle of beauty and source of for grandeur and sublimity arise from pleasure there we cannot understand. extraordinary strength, magnitude, It is true, that there is in organized &c. or in a word, from an excess of bodies a certain standard of form to power, so as to startle and overawe the which they approximate more or less, mind. But as sublimity is an excess and from which they cannot very of power, beauty is, we conceive, widely deviate without shocking the the blending and harmonizing differsense of custom, or our settled expec- ent powers or qualities together, so tations of what they ought to be. as to produce a soft and pleasurable And hence it has been pretended, sensation. That it is not the middle that there is in all such cases a mid- form of the species seems proved in dle central form, obtained by leav- various ways. First, because one ing out the peculiarities of all the species is more beautiful than anothers, which alone is the pure stand- other, according to common sense. ard of truth and beauty. A con- A rose is the queen of flowers, in formity to custom is, we grant, one poetry at least; but in this phicondition of beauty or source of sa- losophy any other flower

is as tisfaction to the eye, because an ab- good. A swan is more beautiful than rupt transition shocks; but there is a goose ; a stag, than a goat. Yet if a conformity (or correspondence) of custom were the test of beauty, either colours, sounds, lines, among them- we should give no preference, or our selves, which is soft and pleasing for preference would be reversed. Again, the same reason. The average or let us go back to the human face and customary form merely determines figure. A straight nose is allowed to what is natural. A thing cannot be handsome, that is, one that preplease, unless it is to be found in na- sents nearly a continuation of the line ture; but that which is natural is of the forehead, and the sides of which most pleasing, according as it has are nearly parallel. Now this cannot other properties which in themselves be the mean proportion of the form please. Thus the colour of a cheek of noses. For, first, most noses are must be the natural complexion of a broader at the bottom than at the top, human face ;-it would not do to inclining to the negro head, but none make it the colour of a flower or a are broader at top than at the botprecious stone ;-but among com- tom, to produce the Greek form as a plexions ordinarily to be found in na- balance between both. Almost all ture, that is most beautiful which noses sink in immediately under the would be thought so abstractedly, or forehead bone, none ever project in itself. Yellow hair is not the most there; so that the nearly straight line common, nor is it a mean proportion continued from the forehead cannot between the different colours of wo- be a mean proportion struck between men's hair. Yet, who will say that the two extremes of convex and conit is not the most beautiful ? 'Blue cave form in this feature of the face. or green hair would be a defect and There must, therefore, be some other an anomaly, not because it is not the principle of symmetry, continuity, medium of nature, but because it is &c. to account for the variation from


the prescribed rule. Once more (not titudes of infinite spirit, dignity, and to multiply instances tediously), a grace. John Kemble's figure, on the double calf is undoubtedly the per- contrary, is fine in itself; and he has fection of beauty in the form of the only to show himself to be admired. leg. But this is a rare thing. Nor The direction in which any thing is is it the medium between two com- moved has evidently nothing to do mon extremes. For the muscles sel- with the shape of the thing moved. dom swell enough to produce this The one may be a circle and the excrescence, if it may be so called, other a square. Little and deformed and never run to an excess there, so people seem to be well aware of this as, by diminishing the quantity, to distinction, who, in spite of their unsubside into proportion and beauty. promising appearance, usually assume But this second or lower calf is a the most imposing attitudes, and give connecting link between the upper themselves the most extraordinary calf and the small of the leg, and is airs imaginable. just like a second chord or half-note 8. Grandeur of motion is unity of in music. We conceive that any one motion. who does not perceive the beauty of This principle hardly needs illustrathe Venus de Medicis, for instance, tion. Awkwardness is contradictory in this respect, has not the proper or disjointed motion. perception of form in his mind. As 9. Strength in art is giving the exthis is the most disputable, or at tremes, softness the uniting them. least the most disputed part of our There is no incompatibility between theory, we may, perhaps, have to strength and softness, as is sometimes recur to it again, and shall leave an supposed by frivolous people. Weakopening for that purpose.

ness is not refinement. A shadow 7. That grace is the beautiful or may be twice as deep in a finely coharmonious in what relates to position loured picture as in another, and or motion.

yet almost imperceptible, from the There needs not much be said on gradations that lead to it, and blend this point; as we apprehend it will it with the light. Correggio had be granted, that whatever beauty is prodigious strength, and greater softas to the form, grace is the same Nature is strong and soft, thing in relation to the use that is beyond the reach of art to imitate. made of it. Grace, in writing, relates Softness then does not imply the abto the transitions that are made from sence of considerable extremes, but one subject to another, or to the it is the interposing a third thing bemovement that is given to a passage. tween them, to break the force of the If one thing leads to another, or an contrasi. Guido is more soft than idea or illustration is brought in strong. Rembrandt is more strong without effect, or without making a than soft. boggle in the mind, we call this a 10. And lastly. That truth is, to u graceful style. Transitions must in certain degree, beauty and grandeur, general be gradual and pieced toge- since all things are connected, and all ther. But sometimes the most vio- things modify one another in nature. lent are the most graceful, when the Simplicity is also grand and beautiful mind is fairly tired out and exhausted for the same reason. Elegance is ease with a subject, and is glad to leap to and lightness, with precision. another as a repose and relief from This last head appears to contain a the first. Of these there are fre- number of gratis dicta, got together quent instances in Mr. Burke's writ- for the sake of completing a decade ings, which have something Pindaric of propositions. They have, howin them. That which is not beauti- ever, some show of truth, and we ful in itself, or in the mere form, may should add little clearness to them by be made so by position or motion. any reasoning upon the matter. So A figure by no means elegant may we will conclude here for the prebe put in an elegant position. Mr. sent. Kean's figure is not good; yet we

W.H. have seen him throw himself into at


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