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company of some who are accounted very be marked at that office, with a view of its good men now-rather than any tendency being submitted at least to the attention of at this time to Republican doctrines-assisted the proper Law Officers-when an unlucky, us in assuming a style of writing, while the or rather lucky epigram from our pen, aimed paper lasted, consonant in no very under at Sir J-s M- -h, who was on the eve tone-to the right earnest fanaticism of F. of departing for India to reap the fruits of Our cue was now to insinuate, rather than his apostacy, as F. pronounced it, (it is hardly recommend, possible abdications. Blocks, worth particularising,) happening to offend axes, Whitehall tribunals, were covered with the nice sense of Lord, or, as he then flowers of so cunning a periphrasis-as delighted to be called, Citizen Stanhope, Mr. Bayes says, never naming the thing deprived F. at once of the last hopes of a directly that the keen eye of an Attorney guinea from the last patron that had stuck General was insufficient to detect the lurking by us; and breaking up our establishment, snake among them. There were times, left us to the safe, but somewhat mortifying, indeed, when we sighed for our more gentle- neglect of the Crown Lawyers. It was about man-like occupation under Stuart. But this time, or a little earlier, that Dan Stuart with change of masters it is ever change made that curious confession to us, that he of service. Already one paragraph, and had "never deliberately walked into an another, as we learned afterwards from a Exhibition at Somerset House in his life." gentleman at the Treasury, had begun to
BARRENNESS OF THE IMAGINATIVE FACULTY IN THE PRODUCTIONS OF MODERN ART.
HOGARTH excepted, can we produce any reeling satyr rout about him, re-peopling and one painter within the last fifty years, or re-illuming suddenly the waste places, drunk since the humour of exhibiting began, that with a new fury beyond the grape, Bacchus, has treated a story imaginatively? By this born in fire, fire-like flings himself at the we mean, upon whom his subject has so Cretan. This is the time present. With acted, that it has seemed to direct him-not this telling of the story-an artist, and no to be arranged by him? Any upon whom ordinary one, might remain richly proud. its leading or collateral points have impressed Guido, in his harmonious version of it, saw themselves so tyrannically, that he dared not no further. But from the depths of the treat it otherwise, lest he should falsify a imaginative spirit Titian has recalled past revelation? Any that has imparted to his time, and laid it contributory with the present compositions, not merely so much truth as is to one simultaneous effect. With the desert enough to convey a story with clearness, but all ringing with the mad cymbals of his that individualising property, which should followers, made lucid with the presence and keep the subject so treated distinct in new offers of a god,— -as if unconscious of feature from every other subject, however Bacchus, or but idly casting her eyes as upon similar, and to common apprehensions almost some unconcerning pageant-her soul undisidentical; so as that we might say, this and tracted from Theseus-Ariadne is still pacing this part could have found an appropriate the solitary shore in as much heart-silence, place in no other picture in the world but and in almost the same local solitude, with this? Is there anything in modern art-we which she awoke at day-break to catch the will not demand that it should be equal- forlorn last glances of the sail that bore away but in any way analogous to what Titian has the Athenian. effected, in that wonderful bringing together of two times in the "Ariadne," in the uniting; fierce society, with the feeling of National Gallery? Precipitous, with his solitude still absolute; noon-day revelations,
Here are two points miraculously co
with the accidents of the dull grey dawn to battle for indecorous mastery.—We have unquenched and lingering; the present seen a landscape of a justly admired neoteric, Bacchus, with the past Ariadne; two stories, in which he aimed at delineating a fiction, with double Time; separate, and harmonising. one of the most severely beautiful in antiquity Had the artist made the woman one shade the gardens of the Hesperides. To do less indifferent to the God; still more, had Mr. - justice, he had painted a laudable she expressed a rapture at his advent, where orchard, with fitting seclusion, and a veritable would have been the story of the mighty dragon (of which a Polypheme, by Poussin, desolation of the heart previous? merged in is somehow a fac-simile for the situation), the insipid accident of a flattering offer met looking over into the world shut out backwith a welcome acceptance. The broken wards, so that none but a 'still-climbing heart for Theseus was not lightly to be Hercules " could hope to catch a peep at the pieced up by a God. admired Ternary of Recluses. No conventual porter could keep his eyes better than this custos with the "lidless eyes." He not only sees that none do intrude into that privacy, but, as clear as daylight, that none
We have before us a fine rough print, from a picture by Raphael in the Vatican. It is the Presentation of the new-born Eve to Adam by the Almighty. A fairer mother of mankind we might imagine, and a goodlier, but Hercules aut Diabolus by any manner of sire perhaps of men since born. But these means can. So far all is well. We have are matters subordinate to the conception of absolute solitude here or nowhere. Ab extra the situation, displayed in this extraordinary the damsels are snug enough. But here the production. A tolerably modern artist artist's courage seems to have failed him. would have been satisfied with tempering He began to pity his pretty charge, and, to certain raptures of connubial anticipation, comfort the irksomeness, has peopled their with a suitable acknowledgment to the solitude with a bevy of fair attendants, maids Giver of the blessing, in the countenance of of honour, or ladies of the bed-chamber, the first bridegroom; something like the according to the approved etiquette at a divided attention of the child (Adam was court of the nineteenth century; giving to here a child-man) between the given toy, the whole scene the air of a fête champêtre, if and the mother who had just blest it with we will but excuse the absence of the gentlethe bauble. This is the obvious, the first-men. This is well, and Watteauish. But sight view, the superficial. An artist of a what is become of the solitary mystery-the higher grade, considering the awful presence they were in, would have taken care to subtract something from the expression of the more human passion, and to heighten the more spiritual one. This would be as much as an exhibition-goer, from the opening of Somerset House to last year's show, has been encouraged to look for. It is obvious to hint at a lower expression yet, in a picture that, for respects of drawing and colouring, might be deemed not wholly inadmissible within these art-fostering walls, in which the raptures should be as ninety-nine, the gratitude as one, or perhaps zero! By neither old-restored by this mighty artist, they the one passion nor the other has Raphael satisfy our most stretched and craving conexpounded the situation of Adam. Singly ceptions of the glories of the antique world. upon his brow sits the absorbing sense of It is a pity that they were ever peopled. On wonder at the created miracle. The moment that side, the imagination of the artist halts, is seized by the intuitive artist, perhaps not and appears defective. Let us examine the self-conscious of his art, in which neither of point of the story in the "Belshazzar's the conflicting emotions a moment how Feast." We will introduce it by an apposite abstracted!-have had time to spring up, or anecdote.
The paintings, or rather the stupendous architectural designs, of a modern artist, have been urged as objections to the theory of our motto. They are of a character, we confess, to stagger it. His towered structures are of the highest order of the material sublime. Whether they were dreams, or transcripts of some elder workmanship-Assyrian ruins
This is not the way in which Poussin would have treated this subject.
The court historians of the day record, that at the first dinner given by the late King (then Prince Regent) at the Pavilion, the following characteristic frolic was played off. The guests were select and admiring; the banquet profuse and admirable; the lights lustrous and oriental; the eye was perfectly dazzled with the display of plate, among which the great gold salt-cellar, brought from the regalia in the Tower for this especial purpose, itself a tower! stood conspicuous for its magnitude. And now the Rev. the then admired court Chaplain, was proceeding with the grace, when, at a signal given, the lights were suddenly overcast, and a huge transparency was discovered, in which glittered in gold letters—
Imagine the confusion of the guests; the Georges and garters, jewels, bracelets, moulted upon the occasion! The fans dropped, and picked up the next morning by the sly courtpages! Mrs. Fitz-what's-her-name fainting, and the Countess of *** holding the smelling-bottle, till the good-humoured Prince caused harmony to be restored, by calling in fresh candles, and declaring that the whole was nothing but a pantomime hoax, got up by the ingenious Mr. Farley, of Covent Garden, from hints which his Royal Highness himself had furnished! Then imagine the infinite applause that followed, the mutual rallyings, the declarations that "they were not much frightened," of the assembled galaxy.
anxiety for the preservation of their persons,
such as we have witnessed at a theatre, when a slight alarm of fire has been givenan adequate exponent of a supernatural terror? the way in which the finger of God, writing judgments, would have been met by the withered conscience? There is a human fear, and a divine fear. The one is disturbed, restless, and bent upon escape. The other is bowed down, effortless, passive. When the spirit appeared before Eliphaz in the visions of the night, and the hair of his flesh stood up, was it in the thoughts of the Temanite to ring the bell of his chamber, or to call up the servants? But let us see in the text what there is to justify all this huddle of vulgar consternation.
From the words of Daniel it appears that Belshazzar had made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. The golden and silver vessels are gorgeously enumerated, with the princes, the king's concubines, and his wives. Then follows
"In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosened, and his knees smote one against another."
This is the plain text. By no hint can it be otherwise inferred, but that the appearance was solely confined to the fancy of Belshazzar, that his single brain was troubled. Not a word is spoken of its being seen by any else there present, not even by the queen herself, who merely undertakes for the interpretation of the phenomenon, as related to her, doubtless, by her husband. The lords are simply said to be astonished; i. e. at the trouble and the change of countenance in their sovereign. Even the prophet does not appear to have seen the scroll, which the king saw. He recals it only, as Joseph did the Dream to the King of Egypt. "Then was the part of the hand sent from him [the Lord], and this writing was written." He speaks of the phantasm as past.
Then what becomes of this needless multi
The point of time in the picture exactly answers to the appearance of the transparency in the anecdote. The huddle, the flutter, the bustle, the escape, the alarm, and the mock alarm; the prettinesses heightened by consternation; the courtier's fear which was flattery; and the lady's which was affectation; all that we may conceive to have taken place in a mob of Brighton courtiers, sympathising with the well-acted surprise of their sovereign; all this, and no more, is exhibited by the well-dressed lords and ladies in the Hall of Belus. Just this sort of consternation we have seen among a flock of disquieted wild geese at the report only of a gun having gone off!
plication of the miracle? this message to a royal
But is this vulgar fright, this mere animal conscience, singly expressed—for it was said,
"Thy kingdom is divided,”—simultaneously which reduces confusion to a kind of unity, impressed upon the fancies of a thousand and when the senses are upturned from their courtiers, who were implied in it neither proprieties, when sight and hearing are a directly nor grammatically ? feeling only? A thousand years have passed, and we are at leisure to contemplate the weaver fixed standing at his shuttle, the baker at his oven, and to turn over with antiquarian coolness the pots and pans of Pompeii.
But admitting the artist's own version of the story, and that the sight was seen also by the thousand courtiers-let it have been visible to all Babylon—as the knees of Belshazzar were shaken, and his countenance troubled, even so would the knees of every man in Babylon, and their countenances, as of an individual man, have been troubled; bowed, bent down, so would they have remained, stupor-fixed, with no thought of struggling with that inevitable judgment.
Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon." Who, in reading this magnificent Hebraism, in his conception, 'sees aught but the heroic son of Nun, with the outstretched-arm, and the greater and lesser light obsequious? Doubt less there were to be seen hill and dale, and chariots and horsemen, on open plain, or winding by secret defiles, and all the circumstances and stratagems of war. But whose eyes would have been conscious of this array at the interposition of the synchronic miracle? Yet in the picture of this subject by the artist of the "Belshazzar's Feast"-no ignoble work either-the marshalling and landscape of the war is everything, the miracle sinks into an anecdote of the day; and the eye may "dart through rank and file traverse" for some minutes, before it shall discover, among his armed followers, which is Joshua! Not modern art alone, but ancient, where only it is to be found if anywhere, can be detected erring, from defect of this imaginative faculty. The world has nothing to show of the preternatural in painting, transcending the figure of Lazarus bursting his graveclothes, in the great picture at Angerstein's. It seems a thing between two beings. A ghastly horror at itself struggles with newlyBy a wise falsification, the great masters apprehending gratitude at second life beof painting got at their true conclusions; by stowed. It cannot forget that it was a ghost. not showing the actual appearances, that is, It has hardly felt that it is a body. It has all that was to be seen at any given moment to tell of the world of spirits.-Was it from by an indifferent eye, but only what the eye a feeling, that the crowd of half-impassioned might be supposed to see in the doing or by-standers, and the still more irrelevant suffering of some portentous action. Sup- herd of passers-by at a distance, who have pose the moment of the swallowing up of not heard, or but faintly have been told of Pompeii. There they were to be seen- the passing miracle, admirable as they are houses, columns, architectural proportions, in design and hue-for it is a glorified work differences of public and private buildings, do not respond adequately to the action— men and women at their standing occupa-that the single figure of the Lazarus has tions, the diversified thousand postures, been attributed to Michael Angelo, and the attitudes, dresses, in some confusion truly, mighty Sebastian unfairly robbed of the but physically they were visible. But what fame of the greater half of the interest? eye saw them at that eclipsing moment, Now that there were not indifferent passers
Not all that is optically possible to be seen, is to be shown in every picture. The eye delightedly dwells upon the brilliant individualities in a "Marriage at Cana," by Veronese, or Titian, to the very texture and colour of the wedding garments, the ring glittering upon the bride's fingers, the metal and fashion of the wine-pots; for at such seasons there is leisure and luxury to be curious. But in a “day of judgment,” or in a "day of lesser horrors, yet divine," as at the impious feast of Belshazzar, the eye should see, as the actual eye of an agent or patient in the immediate scene would see, only in masses and indistinction. Not only the female attire and jewelry exposed to the critical eye of fashion, as minutely as the dresses in a Lady's Magazine, in the criticised picture, but perhaps the curiosities of anatomical science, and studied diversities of posture, in the falling angels and sinners of Michael Angelo,-have no business in their great subjects. There was no leisure for them.
by within actual scope of the eyes of those present at the miracle, to whom the sound of it had but faintly, or not at all, reached, it would be hardihood to deny; but would they see them? or can the mind in the conception of it admit of such unconcerning objects; can it think of them at all? or what associating league to the imagination can there be between the seers, and the seers not, of a presential miracle?
ferences beyond that of a He Goat and a Cornuto; so from this subject, of mere mechanic promise, it would instinctively turn away, as from one incapable of investiture with any grandeur. The dock-yards at Woolwich would object derogatory associations. The depôt at Chatham would be the mote and the beam in its intellectual eye. But not to the nautical preparations in the shipyards of Civita Vecchia did Raphael look for instructions, when he imagined the building of the Vessel that was to be conservatory of the wrecks of the species of drowned mankind. In the intensity of the action, he
Artists again err in the confounding of poetic with pictorial subjects. In the latter,
Were an artist to paint upon demand a picture of a Dryad, we will ask whether, in the present low state of expectation, the patron would not, or ought not be fully satisfied with a beautiful naked figure recumbent keeps ever out of sight the meanness of the under wide-stretched oaks? Disseat those operation. There is the Patriarch, in calm woods, and place the same figure among forethought, and with holy prescience, giving fountains, and falls of pellucid water, and directions. And there are his agents—the you have a-Naiad! Not so in a rough print solitary but sufficient Three-hewing, sawing, we have seen after Julio Romano, we think every one with the might and earnestness of -for it is long since there, by no process, a Demiurgus; under some instinctive rather with mere change of scene, could the figure than technical guidance! giant-muscled; have reciprocated characters. Long, gro- every one a Hercules, or liker to those tesque, fantastic, yet with a grace of her Vulcanian Three, that in sounding caverns own, beautiful in convolution and distortion, under Mongibello wrought in fire-Brontes, linked to her connatural tree, co-twisting and black Steropes, and Pyracmon. So work with its limbs her own, till both seemed the workmen that should repair a world! either these, animated branches; those, disanimated members-yet the animal and vegetable lives sufficiently kept distinct-his the exterior accidents are nearly everything, Dryad lay-an approximation of two natures, the unseen qualities as nothing. Othello's which to conceive, it must be seen; analogous colour—the infirmities and corpulence of a Sir to, not the same with, the delicacies of John Falstaff-do they haunt us perpetually Ovidian transformations. in the reading or are they obtruded upon our conceptions one time for ninety-nine that we are lost in admiration at the respective moral or intellectual attributes of the character? But in a picture Othello is always a Blackamoor; and the other only Plump Jack. Deeply corporealised, and enchained hopelessly in the grovelling fetters of externality, must be the mind, to which, in its better moments, the image of the highsouled, high-intelligenced Quixote the errant Star of Knighthood, made more tender by eclipse-has never presented itself divested from the unhallowed accompaniment of a Sancho, or a rabblement at the heels of Rosinante. That man has read his book by halves; he has laughed, mistaking his author's purport, which was-tears. The artist that pictures Quixote (and it is in this degrading point that he is every season held up at our Exhibitions) in the shallow hope of
To the lowest subjects, and, to a superficial comprehension, the most barren, the Great Masters gave loftiness and fruitfulness. The large eye of genius saw in the meanness of present objects their capabilities of treatment from their relations to some grand Past or Future. How has Raphael-we must still linger about the Vatican-treated the humble craft of the ship-builder, in his "Building of the Ark?" It is in that scriptural series, to which we have referred, and which, judging from some fine rough old graphic sketches of them which we possess, seem to be of a higher and more poetic grade than even the Cartoons. The dim of sight are the timid and the shrinking. There is a cowardice in modern art. As the Frenchman, of whom Coleridge's friend made the prophetic guess at Rome, from the beard and horns of the Moses of Michael Angelo collected no in