« IndietroContinua »
means are resorted to, in this and in argument is insulting : British artists other countries. It often happens require substantial encouragement, that an opportunity lost never re and are now deserving it ; and a positurns. Many a fine picture has irre- tion in a national gallery will surely trievably gone out of the country, that be a great inducement to exertion. Å might have been secured on fair terms; certain number of modern pictures and many a picture has been pro- should be purchased every year, and cured on unfair terms-on absurd for these works we would have a seterms. The trustees, like most timid parate gallery. We cannot but gladly people, are quite profligate in expen- take every opportunity of urging the diture, under the protection of a great importance of Professorships of Paint
If individually they think for ing in our Universities. Again and themselves, and well, collectively they again do we return to this subject. If act very badly for the nation.
the Trustees of the National Gallery There remains something to be said consider themselves what they ought upon the purchase of modern pictures. to be, trustees of art, guardians of Unquestionably it is a disgrace to a art, it would well become them to nation to withhold encouragement bring this proposition before Parlia. from modern artists. The gallery has, ment. Nothing could be more beneit is true, the work of one great living ficial. It would ensure an education artist, Sir David Wilkie; but that they of art, concurrent with general literadid not purchase. They have recently, ture and the sciences : it would raise likewise, accepted a present of one of the character of artists, by raising the poor Constable's pictures, If that judgment of the true patrons; and work be fit for the nation, it might would engraft upon the educated gen. have been purchased before the artist's erally a new sense, and therefore a death. Why should an honour, if due new, and higher, and more safe means to the genius of the man, be kept back of enjoyment, than those which we too until he can receive neither gratifica- often witness and lament. tion nor pride from it? It is a dis- would it be to confer this very great grace to consider the disputed posses- benefit upon art—if important persons sion of the new apartments held by the would take it in hand. None are more Academy as a sufficient public encour proper than the Trustees of the Naagement to British art. The very tional Gallery,
It is very
There is perhaps no country so rich It is thought this last has had fewer in private collections as
very fine pictures than many precedHence the certainty of an annual ex ing: and it may be so. Still, it is hibition of very fine pictures. That good. We shall not extract from our we are year after year to have so great note-book more than a few observaa variety, is a proof of the extent of tions, and upon a few of the pictures. our private collections.
The large Altar-piece, No. 1, by rarely that a positively bad picture is Guido, appears to have been painted to be found at the Institution. Some for a peculiar light. In that light the there may be to which too much effect must have been very wonderful. importance has been attached, and Now, the lights are a little too strong an adventitious value ascribed, by a yet, when the eye is accustomed to fashion of the day. For instance, we this, the parts in half-tone show them. have had by far too many of Murillo's selves, and with great power. The weak, washy, and ill-coloured pictures; lower part is in perfect harmony of nor do we think those by this master colour, and is very rich and solemn. that have been in this year's exhibi- Nos. 2 and 5, are both curious and tion much above that character. But, beautiful_" From the History of generally speaking, the pictures are Joseph," by Francesco Ubertini. At good; and some are always to be first glance one is inclined to turn found very good. And surely if one from these pictures, as eccentricities really fine picture be exhibited for of art, rather than pictures : but they months, such an Institution deserves are much more, and contain many the public thanks. The Institution is exquisite beauties, of form, of expresthe best exhibition in London.
sion, and of colour. We say, of colour
--though the very strong colours are “ Tobit," to be by the same hand. “The too predominant, and are not very Paul Potter," No. 20, is one of the judiciously arranged, so that they very best of this master. In its kind melt into each other pleasingly. Yet it is perfect. There is poetry in the some of the tones are very mellow, conception of this common subject. and so pure that it is difficult to ima “ The Young Buck," perfectly natural, gine any medium so pure as that with is yet a noble and dignified fellow, which these pictures are painted. The inhaling the air, whose " clouds drop attitudes are, some of them, very fatness,” and make the pastures spring graceful, and would do honour even for his pleasures. There is much mato Raphael, together with whom, nagement to elevate the creature ; he Ubertini was pupil under Perugino. bears his head into the sky; and the It is not difficult, therefore, to trace low horizon at his feet gives him large the peculiarities which Raphael measure. The burst of light over his bronght to so great perfection, arising back, as if to announce his presence, from this more antiquated and quaint brings him nobly forward. He is school. The heads seem all to have worth a whole Georgic upon the nabeen studies from nature, and are ture of the animal. We delight in such some of them very fine. The child noble beasts: but who can delight in riding on the ass is very lovely—these such beasts as “ Brauwer's Musical pictures are finished like miniatures. Boors,” No. 39 ? The subject should Are they in oil ? We noticed, two condemn this, and all other pictures years ago, a very finely coloured pic of the same stamp, to the pothouse. ture by a master whose pictures are This picture has been engraved in not in general much valued-Bassano “ Forster's Gallery,” which work it
“ Moses and the Burning Bush.” deteriorates, being among Italian picThis year has exhibited another of tures. Taste is like the delicate hand, the same master, of similar power, that should not handle pitch. Nos. No. 13. It is a pastoral scene, treated 44 and 50, Landscapes, Ruysdael, are with great vigour. The effect of light as beautifully clear and transparent is very surprising. The sky, drapery. pictures as ever came from the easel of a woman in the foreground, and dog, of the master. Though dark, there is are very strikingly illuminated. There perfect air in every part, and separais here none of that crowding which ting part from part. They are carefully is so common in his pictures. We painted, and with all his fascinating suspect much of this picture is either execution. We greatly admire Ruyscopied or imitated from Titian-cer dael's and Hobbima's wood scenestainly the general style of the whole the former particularly, however homebackground, and positively the figure ly the scene, never vulgar. They of the man coming down the road, is are the haunts of a habitable neighfrom Titian, of which we have the bourhood, and, above all, Nature looks priot. For the effect of light this satisfied with her own homes and picture is very well worth studying. works. We must not pass by 45, We were disappointed with the Titian, 66 St Catharine," Guido.
Faint as “ Diana surprised by Actæon.” The the figure appears at first, we are sabrown is so predominant that it takes tisfied she is purposely so represented; away the clearness and richness of and the sweetness of expression is not colour for which that great master is ill suited to the almost aerial presence. so remarkable. This dulness is the If here the earthly nature of flesh is more striking from the contiguity of ideally undergoing a change from inthe splendidly coloured Paul Veronese, ward celestial thought, his “ Virgin
Susanna and the Elders,” No. 17. and Child,” No. 49, assume too much There are some who very greatly ad. the substance of marble, yet is there mire No. 16, “ Rembrandt's Mill." much good in the picture. But what But, surely, we in vain look for the loveliness have we in No. 53, “ Virgin brilliancy, and variety, and clearness, and Child and St John—Raphael!” It of colouring of the master. The sky is rather dark, and cannot be seen so is heavy, and even dirty- and the well under its glass, yet is it most whole landscape de void of local colour. fascinating. Is the picture in a bad state ? or
We now pass to quite another school. It is difficult to believe the Angel Here are two portraits near each the luminous Angelin No. 18, other, as it should seem purposely so
placed, as if to show the peculiar me picture --- quite a history. Fashion, rits of two opposite styles. No. 28, character, every thing belongs to the “ Head of an Old Woman," by Den- day in which these portraits were taner; and No. 90, “ Man's Portrait,” ken—they are very natural and powerby Vandyke. Nearly viewed, the ful-unlike any other master, and the finish and positive nature of Denner is “ petites Marquises" unlike any spesurprising; the Vandyke a mere hasty cimens of humanity out of France, and sketch, with splashes of paint without these only of that day.
As Watteau apparent meaning. Retire a few paces; has shown how to paint “ Les petites the Vandyke comes out with the ap- Marquises,” so, in as new a way, has pearance of great finish, and the Den. Velasquez, in No. 157, shown how a ner seems to be the imperfect and lapdog should be transferred to canweaker picture, requiring, too, that Gainsborough, then, as a porwhich it certainly does not need, the trait-painter, has become an old masfinishing touches. The Denner is not ter. His portrait of the “ Late Duke a disgusting picture, though more mi- of Norfolk," (146,) is probably as good nute than we should have thought prac a portrait as any in these rooms. It is ticable with any materials. Nor is it luminous and powerful—if we must without freedom; and is even pleasing criticise, we should say the washy in expression. One naturally asks the varnish is too apparent. We have question-How is it painted? A more already fully spoken of Gainsborough perfect representation of life (a very portrait-painter. There are some near view) can scarcely be conceived. pleasing landscapes by Gaspar PousDenner was born in 1685. Was this sin, but not in his best style. There the wonderful specimen he carried are, too, in this branch of art, good about with him in this country, and for specimens of Both and Berghem. which he refused five hundred guineas? Here is a modern German-Stilhe. At the proper distance, nothing can be His “ Joan of Arc' occupies a conspi. inore true than the Vandyke. That cuous station. The face is very exwhich, seen near, is nothing but a dab pressive, and evidently an imitation, or two of lighter colour about the tem- and, so far, a successful imitation, of ples, at a distance appears a highly the school of Raphael; but the detail finished lighting up of the whole charac. of the picture is too conspicuous, and ter—the mental energy brightening up even vulgar, the colour cold and unthe whole region of vigorous thought. comfortable, without any mellowness And this, we suspect, could not have or effect. The sentiment is not assisted been effected by Denner ; and may either by colour or chiaro-scuro. The therefore determine which manner is, attempt to illuminate, by thickening upon the whole, best. Here are four the lights, fails, because all glazing of Murillo, Nos. 101, 104, 105, 108, seems to have been avoided. Yet the 109-in not one of which do we see expression of the countenance is such any thing to admire. If Diana was as as to redeem the picture from its other ugly as Rubens has painted her, (No. disagreeable qualities. We have here 141,) “ Going to the Chase,” she noted but a few of the pictures. Had never hunted a greater beast than her we gone through our note-book at self—and none could doubt her chas- greater length, we should have occutity. No. 145, “ Les petites Mar- pied more space than would be conquises”– Watteau. A very singular venient.
GOETHE'S LIFE AND WORKS.
It is a secret to no one interested in books, that the name of Goethe has for several years been spoken of among us with increasing frequency and eagerness. Nor, even on a distant and external view of the case, is this surprising. He is reputed the greatest author in the most lettered of modern nations. The most philosophic race of contemporary critics, the Schlegels for instance, Tieck, and Göschel, regard him as the greatest European poet of the last two centuries. Besides this, men who have observed the ways and thoughts of others, have often been led to remark, that his hold strongest over the best minds ; that his influence is still more peculiar by the depth to which it works, than by the space it covers. Add, that this author lived for more than eighty years, and was, from his boyhood, not merely a sweet singer of his own feel. ings and fancies, but a laborious student of philosophy, and of many kinds of natural science, without ceasing to be a man of the world, and the friend and counsellor of a prince; and, above all, a keen and patient observer of events and of mankind. We have thus an obvious combination of advantages in his character and story, such as the life of no one else, at least in recent times, appears to present. Indeed, were it only that he had lived through, and noted all the portentous and bewildering changes of European society during the latter half of the last century, and the first quarter of this, the impression of such a series of facts on any sensitive and clear mind could not be other than remarkable. Were there nothing else, it is enough to say that among these events was the rise of democracy in France, feeding its confiagration by the old and stately system which it destroyed. Then the headlong course over the world of its new master, upsetting so many thrones and churches, and awakening by sympathy and antipathy so much new life. And contemporary with, or introductory to these political changes, the burst out of the eighteenth century of a literature totally fresh and unprecedented in its aims and spirit, and consequently, both in its laws and influences, including the whole course of German philosophy, from Kant to Hegel. Of the intellectual life of mankind, in the age which thus displayed itself, Goethe has been held by many, and those not unthinking men, the highest and most complete representative. Whether this be, or be not, a true estimate, must be decided after, not before, the study of his works. But, at all events, what he was, and what he thought, has become a common topic of enquiry, even in England. And among us it has hardly been as much remembered as it deserved, that he has told us his own story, and, by implication, that of the world during his time, with the utmost plainness and sincerity ; and that the books, of which this is the purpose, are printed in his works, and may be read by all who understand German. There is, indeed, a novel English version, from a novel French one, of a part of these Memoirs, which has been advertised for some years among us. But probably a charitable silence is the only humane mode of treating the fabricators of this performance. The translation, now offered, of a portion of the poet's narrative, is free from all intentional omissions and interpolations. That it is greatly inferior in ease, clearness, elegance, and vivacity, to the original composition —that it may possibly contain some mistakes of the meaning, can be neither doubtful nor wonderful. But it has been the writer's wish that Goethe should speak for himself in English, precisely as he has spoken in German.
FROM MY LIFE.
POETRY AND TRUTH.
As preface to the present work, according to certain inverse relations. which may perhaps require one more And not less do we desire that you than most, i place here the letter of a would communicate, in some kind of friend, by which so serious an under- connexion, the states of life and feeling taking was occasioned.
which supplied you the materials, as “ We have now, my dear friend, well as the examples which have inthe twelve parts of your Poetical fluenced you, and also the theoretical Works together, and find in reading principles you have followed. If you them through much of known, much take this trouble for the sake of a narof unknown; nay, much also of for. row circle, perhaps something will gotten, which this collection brings spring from it which may be agree. back to freshness. These twelve able and useful to a larger one. The volumes standing before us, of the author ought not, even in his advanced same size, one cannot but consider as
age, to give up the privilege of cona whole, and one would willingly versing, though at a distance, with draw from them a sketch of the author those whom affection binds to him. and his talent. Now, it is not to be And if it cannot be granted to every denied, that for the vigour with which one, at a certain time of life, to come he began his literary career, and for forward anew with unexpected and the long period which has since strongly effective productions ; yet elapsed, a dozen volumes must appear precisely in the time when knowledge too little. Moreover, as to the single is most complete, and consciousness works, one cannot conceal from one's most distinct, it must be a very enself that particular occasions have tertaining and re-animating task to mostly given rise to them ; that they treat those old results as new material, express both particular outward ob. and to work them into a last labour, jects, and distinct inward steps of serving once more to cultivate those cultivation ; and that no less do cer who have before received their culti. tain temporary moral and æsthetic vation with and from the artist." maxims and convictions prevail in The desire, thus kindly expressed, them. On the whole, in fine, these instantly excited in me the wish to comproductions still remain unconnected; ply with it. For if in earlier times we and often one can hardly even be travel eagerly our own way, and, in orlieve that they have arisen from the der not to swerve, impatiently reject the same writer.
urgencies of others; yet in later days « In the mean while, your friends we cannot but strongly wish that any have not abandoned the enquiry, and such interest in us may rouse us anew, seek, as being better acquainted with and cordially determine us to fresh exyour way of life and thought, to un. ertion. I tijerefore undertook at once riddle many an enigma, to solve many the preparatory labour of distinguisha problem. Influenced by an old ing the greater and smaller poems of liking, and a long-established con. my twelve volumes, and of arranging nexion, they even find an attraction-in them by years. I tried to bring bethe apparent difficulties. Yet here fore me the time and circumstances in and there it would be not unpleasant which I produced them. But the task to us to have that assistance which soon became more difficult, because you cannot well refuse to our friendly detailed notices and explanations were regard.
necessary, in order to fill up the gaps 66 That, therefore, which we first between those already published. For, ask of you, is, that you would range in the first place, all that is wanting in chronological order your Poetic in which I began to practise myself, Works, distributed in the new edition and much that was begun and not