Imatges de pÓgina

hibited in the Salon of 1851. It was pearance; we must try to imitate them very badly placed, being in the first hall by an artifice that can always be imnear the staircase. Everybody passed proved. Movement is nearly impossiwithout giving it a glance. “One day, ble to render, and yet we ought to give Corot, seeing that no one noticed it, said an idea of it. If I paint a wheel, the to himself: "Men are like flies; if one spokes of which I see in rapid motion lights on a plate, others will follow im- without being able to distinguish them, mediately. Perhaps if I stand here and I ought to show in some way that it is seem to be interested, it will make some turning. As to the sky, it is profound one else stop, too.' So it proved. Very and changeable, full of vibrations, and soon a young couple approached the this effect is not easy to give. This is picture. The gentleman said: “That why, knowing our weak points, I am alis not bad; seems to me there is some- ways trying to go farther, to learn more. thing in it.' But his wife, with a lan- Some have said to me, “There is no guid glance, drew him away, saying, need of your studying more.' It is not 'It is frightful; let us go.' Now,' that; one must be always learning. Ah!" said Corot to himself, “are you satis- said he, pointing to his easel, “all my fied? You wanted to know the opinion happiness is there. I have followed my of the public, and you have it! So much way without changing, and for a long the worse if you don't like it.' After time without success; but it came at hanging on the wall of my atelier for last, the compensation for a neglected several years, without notice, this same youth, and I am the happiest man in picture was bought one day by a cour- the world !” ageous individual, who gave me seven At another time, in talking of certain hundred francs. Afterward he sold it things generally considered essential, at public sale for twelve thousand, and he said: “There are but four principal the purchaser was so delighted with his points: form, by drawing; color, which bargain that he gave a dinner, and I was results from truth in values;' sentiinvited and overwhelmed with kindness. ment, from which comes expression; Yet it was the very picture that once no and last, execution, to render the whole one wanted. I am doing the same things complete. As to myself, I believe I now; only, after forty years of work, they have sentiment—that is to say, a little run after them. It is not I who have poetry in my soul-which shows me how changed; it is the triumph of my prin- to express in a certain way that which I ciples, and I swim in happiness.” see; but I do not always have color, and

This constancy to principles he un- of drawing I have but the elements. My ceasingly preached to his pupils, and to execution, also, is faulty. This is why all young artists. To him the first duty I still work, and say to the young, ‘Seek was sincerity, to render the truth. “It above all that which you feel you lack; is not at once that the artist comes into try to perfect your drawing, for it is of possession of the means to do this, of the first importance, but above all obey the instruments necessary to transmit your instincts in your manner of seeing the thought; but it can be gained little it is what I call sincerity—and do not by little each day, and in the course of trouble yourself with the rest.' It is the life sooner or later his object will be at- same with a head. For a portrait, the tained; but it is only by working without artist ought to study the model, see him ceasing, studying always to make prog- in his joy or sadness, his anger, or when ress. Can you make a sky, a tree, or some other sentiment touches him; and the water? No! We but seek the ap- the brush should indicate all this. It should not be a gay man, or a sad one, of light, but banded with sombre clouds, but the complete man, the entire physi- seemingly full of flashing lightning. The ognomy of this mobile being; not for effect is startling. one moment-photography gives us that During the last war, Corot, foreseeing —but a portrait of all times, each mo- the siege of Paris, returned in August, ment." All this is very simple and just, and remained in the city during those and is what the "masters” have suc- trying times. Speaking of those days, ceeded in doing.

he said: "I took refuge in painting, workThe pictures which he exhibited in ing hard; without that I should have 1859 were remarkable. His horizon gone crazy.” He added very severe seemed to extend, and embraced not things against those who caused the only the tender and poetic side of nat- war, and set folk to cutting each othure, but touched the grand epics of er's throats. This sensitive and deliDante and the drama of Shakspeare. cate nature had a horror of this remnant His fertile imagination had need of the of barbarism; he even found it "beastaliment he found in the creations of the ly.” “Is it not inconceivable that there poets, and he lent a willing ear to their are men who would be proud to destroy songs. He abandoned the open air, the the Louvre, and put cannon, petroleum, running brook, and the broad prairie, to and dead bodies in its place?” While follow Dante into the obscure and murky busy with his work he did not forget the forests of the poet's hell. Struck with wounded and their dire necessities, but the grandeur of the opening of the “Di- visited them and comforted them by his vine Comedy," Corot represented Dante sympathy and presence, allowing nothand Virgil at the entrance of hell, when ing to be wanting for their comfort that Virgil says to his companion, “It is bet- it was possible to procure. Corot openter that you should follow me; I will be ed his purse so willingly, that he had your guide.” They are placed before a clients who did not seem to realize how sombre mass of trees and rocks, which frequent their calls were. He would go occupy the right of the picture. Near simply to the drawer and take out what them are the lion and panther. At the was asked for, and give it to the solicit. left, where the light streams in, is seen

or as a matter of course. One of his the she-wolf which so frightened Dante, friends, who saw this, said: “What a and which is admirably expressed in his generous heart!” “Not at all," he reattitude. Virgil is calm, and with a sim- plied—“it is nothing. It is my temperple gesture indicates the way. This is ament and my happiness. I can earn a faithful translation of the Florentine it again so soon, just in making a little poet. The general effect of the picture branch. All I do costs me nothing, and is grand. The expression of the figures I work better with a heart at ease. At is noble and just, showing to advantage one time I gave 1,000 francs from my the serious side of the artist's nature. little hoard. It was a great deal; but

In another picture, still following the the next day I sold a picture for 6,000. *supernatural, he represents “The ap- You see that made me happy. It is alpearance of the three witches to Mac- ways so." beth and Banquo,” who arrive on horse- Corot scarcely felt the weight of years; back, and find themselves confronted by his faculties remained in their integrity, the spectres, who have scarcely a corpo- and he knew nothing of the usual indifreal substance and will soon disappear ference of the old, when everything has in the air. The painter has understood lost its power to charm, and life becomes the poet. The sky in greater part is full a tale that is told.

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His picture for the Salon of 1874 was tist -a palette and brushes in a wreath very beautiful, but did not bring him the of laurel. When his health was drank grand medal of honor, much to the sur- he was heard to say, in a low voice, prise of everybody. When the decision “What happiness to be so loved!” of the jury became known, a reunion of Soon after this his health failed rapidly, his friends took place, and a letter was but still he finished the pictures intendaddressed to him expressing the warm- ed for the Salon of 1875. They were est admiration of his work and regret at his last work, for even before he had the decision of the jury. This was the signed them he had ceased to go to the general feeling, and proved the germ of atelier, and they were brought to his a movement which spread in the artistic bed-side to receive his name — the last world, and which culminated in offering touch of his brush. After the effort he him a gold medal, to be procured by said: “That is all; I have finished.” subscription.

His disease proved to be dropsy, and About this time his heretofore excel- beyond the reach of medicine. When lent health began to fail; and the death he saw the end approaching, he said: of the sister he so dearly loved, who was “I am almost resigned. It is not easy near his own age and with whom he had to say. I have worked a long time, but always lived, was accepted as a warning I do not complain. Far from it; I have of his own approaching end. It was at had the best of health for seventy-eight this time he made the rule to receive but years; love for nature, painting, and one or two visitors to his atelier at the work. My relatives are good people. same time; by doing this he could talk I have had good friends, and have tried and work, too, without too much fatigue. to do no evil. My lot in life has been

The 29th of December, 1874, a fête excellent, and, far from repining, I am was given in his honor at the Grand grateful. I must go. I don't want to Hotel. There were between three and believe it, and I have yet a little hope." four hundred persons present. At nine During his last days his mind still o'clock Corot entered, leaning on the dwelt on his pictures, and, with fingers arm of M. Marcotte; he was warmly disposed as if holding a brush, he received, and when quiet was restored, traced imaginary lines on the wall, exand the old man seated at the end of claiming: “How beautiful! Never have the hall, near a table on which was a I seen such an admirable landscape !"* small jewel-case, the president of the After this he desired to see the Curé de committee on subscription said, very Coubron, whom he greatly esteemed. simply: “Gentlemen, there will be no “My father died thus ; I wish to do as speech. There is too much to say of the he did !” was his only explanation for man and the artist! This medal will a wish so unexpected. His desire was speak for us!” It was enough-in gratified. There is nothing to be said. perfect taste, and also in harmony with Matters of conscience ought to be abthe character of him for whom the gift solutely respected. According to the was intended. The medal is nearly nine teachings of the Bible, he was good, centimetres in diameter. Upon one side loving, and charitable; what would you is a profile-portrait of Corot, surrounded have more? Creeds have but a relaby the legend :

tive value. Wisdom is the object, and "A. COROT.

there are many examples, Socrates “Ses confreres et ses admirateurs. among others. Corot loved the poetic Juin, 1874."

symbols by which the ancients had On the reverse, the emblems of the ar

*Troyon in his delirium did the same.

written their ideas and hopes, and he The crowd which filled the main body has, under the influence of such feel- of the church was in some respects peings, rendered homage to the gods — culiar, and from a certain style of dress the friends of the arts, venerated in and manner of wearing the hair, the arGreece. One time, “the third day of tistic element could be very readily disthe month, which was in Rome that of covered as being in the majority. The the great ides of April, he took part services were impressive and touching, with his comrades in the inauguration and bore witness to the esteem and reof the antique head of Jupiter Phillios, gret felt for the loss of a good man and protector of friendship, father of the in- a great artist. genious Minerva, the laughing Venus of Unhappily an incident occurred to mar Apollo, the adorable Muses, who was a the solemnity of the occasion. Much to tolerant god, worshiped by Pythagoras everyone's surprise for it is not cusand Phidias, as well as Homer and Or- tomary there to pronounce funeral dispheus. An eloquent invocation was pro- courses in the church-the priest in atnounced by one of the posterity of those tendance mounted the pulpit and began who built the temples. Two torches were to address the people. After having anheld near the venerable image—one by nounced that Corot had confessed and M. Barye, the other by Corot, the author received the communion some days beof the ‘Dance of the Nymphs.'” fore his death, he added: “I ran over

The scene which is thus recalled was all the journals printed in Paris yestersimply an act of respect toward tradition, day, and in the concert of praises given and in one way a salutation addressed to the artist and the man, one alone deby the artists to their ancestorsthe civ- clared that the deceased was a spirituilizers, par excellence. Corot was of their alist; it did not dare to say that he died race, and belonged to those elevated spir- a Christian! Look at the signs of the its who are an honor to humanity. His times! Mark the degradation of the rôle, in a time when there was little place soul -" Here he was interrupted by for the ideal, was to draw us to nature, murmurs and a storm of hisses; but he make us understand her charms, dream continued in a bitter exasperating tone, of her mysteries of eternity.

until another incident put an end to the Corot died in Paris the 23d day of shameful disorder produced by the haFebruary, 1875. His funeral took place rangue. A poor woman, said to be an on the 25th, at the Church of St. Eu- imbecile, excited by the tumult, jumped gene, and was attended by an immense upon a seat, and with piercing cries crowd. Carriages were forced into the attracted the attention of the assembly. adjoining streets by the swaying mass. The curé concluded then to allow the From the Rue du Faubourg - Poisson- service to proceed. The requiem sung niére to the door of the church the side- by Faure did not succeed in calming walks were crowded by a public full of the excitement. After the mass was emotion, and desiring to show their re- concluded, the same crowd followed the spect. The coffin was covered with funeral-car to the cemetery, where M. fresh flowers, and the gold medal struck Chennevières, Director of the Beaux in his honor reposed on a velvet cush- Arts, pronounced a very touching and ion by the side of his cross of officer eloquent address. of the Legion of Honor. In a few mo- As to the place Corot will occupy as ments the three aisles of the church were an artist in the future, it is too soon to filled. The sides had been occupied in judge. It is impossible to form an imadvance by ladies dressed in mourning. partial and correct estimate of a man's



influence on the art of his time, while ready seen in the works of D’Aubigny, still the magnetism of his presence is Francais, and many other prominent round us, and the sound of his voice is names. Corot's work carefully avoids in our ears. That it is a marked one all that is meretricious in treatment and none will deny. A life-work of fifty color, and appeals only to the most eleyears of unceasing industry, with one vated sentiments. An artist of whom aim kept constantly in view, can not this can be said surely merits a high fail of leaving its impress on the next place upon the roll of contemporary generation of painters. Indeed, it is al- painters.


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MONG the many graceful affecta- caution through which minute truth is

tions which haunt the newly-built pursued in the Baconian books of phiwalls of what we may call the structure losophy, and triumphantly conclude that of American intellect, there is none more Francis Bacon loved the truth in all beautiful and harmless than that which things, and was a most honorable upexpresses a full apprehension and com- right man; yet we know, if biography prehension of the motives, emotions, ob- knows anything, that Francis Bacon jects, and convictions which impressed was a moral snob, a social sepulchre, a Shakspeare, while he was writing his character black to rottenness with the great plays for the London stage. To gangrene of official corruption. And stand as a demonstrator of the anatomy yet, withal, Bacon had an architectural, of the Shakspearean intellect is a proud Gothic-like, solemnly high-arched venposition. Except that of preaching the eration for the beauty of sacred things! gospel, there is no more exalted posi- And here, by the by, we may make a tion; nor, we might add, a position more sporadic jump, and break out in a new practically useless or purely ornamental. place, to observe that great veneration Yet, if Shakspeare wrote under the press- for sacred things is often the high ideal ure which commonly weighs upon au- accompaniment of a petty-larceny charthors who write to live, there can be no acter; and that a gushing holy devodoubt that the object he had in view tion and an eloquent pious ardor somemight be expressed thus: £ s. d.—and times walk up the short church stair-way the only questions he put to himself hand in hand with a moist-lipped lechwere: “Will these characters draw ery. crowds to the Globe ?'" “Do these That the dyer's hand may be tempoparts fit the men of our company?" and rarily the color of his dye - stuff is true; “Can Dick Burbage, as chief actor, but you can not tell, by looking into his bring down the house and raise the dye-pots and measuring his yarn, what groundlings with these round sentences manner of man he was, particularly aftof full-chested English?"

er he is dead, and you have read his epIf the character and convictions of au- itaph written by the village curate, and thors, in matters about which they are the scrivener's chronic verbiage in his not writing, are to be found in the gen- last will. eral tone of what they do write about, That Shakspeare was absorbed in his then it were easy to follow the care and art-determined to live by it and die

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