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To return to the scheme. At the left hand is placed the controlling regulative principle of ‘ Order’ in its various manifestations, and it is not till this brings its influence to bear on the ‘Activities’ that we begin to get forms of art. Thus mere expression by voice or gesture, or mere aimless adornment with dabs or scratches is not art, but the song and the dance and decoration in colour and form are artistic, because in them the indispensable second element is already apparent. From this point the scheme explains itself. The instinct of imitation operating simul— taneously with the impulse to the song and dance leads at once to the mimic dance, accompanied, as the dance always is accompanied in early times, by rhythmical chant. From this a rapid process of development results under conditions to be presently noticed (§ 30) in that important form of highly advanced art—the Drama. Meanwhile Imitation— not in itself artistic—combines with other elements to produce new forms of art. Decoration (that is to say adornment made artistic) in colour and in form, with the addition of the imitation of nature, produces the arts of painting and of sculpture, but in the case of some forms at any rate of the latter an additional monumental quality attaches to it (§ 19), and it must be held to borrow a share of that which is, as we have seen, the chief ingredient in architecture. Lastly architecture herself springs partly from the instinct of monument-making and partly from a utilitarian source, and only rises to the dignity of an art when governed by the principle of proportion. Though this is all that is essential to the art, yet it derives so much added beauty and significance from a union with the sister arts of form, that we may make a final division by uniting it as ‘advanced architecture ’ with decoration in form and colour.
THE FESTIVAL, IN ITS RELATION TO THE FORM AND SPIRIT OF CLASSICAL ART
§23. The Festival creates the artist.
THE source of art in a condition of ideal excitement in which the individual is carried out of the circle of his ordinary existence; the contagious nature of this excitement as it is developed and intensified in the festival, and the consequent stimulus to all forms of artistic production, have already been briefly indicated.
It was not only that the festival gave new tasks to the constructive artist in the temporary apparatus and permanent monument, in the recording picture or glorifying statue, and in all the thousand forms of symbolic or decorative art invoked to aid; but it called the artist, so to say, into being, gave him breath and nurture, surrounded him with exquisite forms and glowing colours, and with everything that could quicken the activity of eye and hand. Under the forcing atmosphere of the festival the plant of art shot up apace. Every one was to some extent an artist, for every one could at any rate move in the rhythmical cadence of the dance, and could in general accompany such movement by a. rhythmical chant. The dance and song are the most universal of all the forms of art con-I nected with the festival and claim a word in this place.
We cannot turn over the pages of a book of travels amongst uncivilised races without finding soon a description of some festival, jocund or melancholy, with which are connected such simple, though often graceful and telling, forms of art. Celebrations almost exactly similar meet us in the pages of Homer and Herodotus, of Plato and Pausanias, and in our own day in southern lands where classical tradition still lingers, or where temperaments are naturally more vivacious and expressive, we find the population still ready to cast off the serious business of life and indulge in the dance and song, in procession or in scenic show.
Here is a specimen passage from the narrative of a recent African explorer that exhibits a primitive festal rite as it has probably been performed from time immemorial under similar circumstances. ‘The 23rd was spent by all the people of the plain country as a thanksgiving day, and the Bavira women met at the camp to relieve their joy at their deliverance from their inveterate enemy with dancing and singing which lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each woman and child in the dance circles was decked with bunches of green leaves in front and rear, and was painted with red clay, while their bodies were well smeared with butter. The dance was excellent and exciting and not ungraceful, but the healthy vocal harmony was better. The young warriors circled round the female dancers and exhibited their dexterity with the spear.’1
can. 11 Greek Dancing 43
§ 25. and among modern and ancient Greeks.
A picture almost exactly similar, drawn from the practice of a more civilised modern race, is supplied by Mr. Theodore Bent, who has resided in the Grecian Cyclades, where if anywhere in the Hellas of our own time old customs remain unchanged, and who finds dancing still in some places a passion among the people. At Naxos, he tells us ‘one of their local dances, here called the tirla, is interesting, being danced by men and women in a semicircle, with their hands on each other’s shoulders . . . the charm of it is the singing, which the dancers carry on in parts as they move to the time of a syrzwlion or drum.’1 Mr. Bent notices that this figure is really only a survival of a famous old Greek dance, as old as Homer and described by Lucian under the title of the Chain (5pm). In the ‘ Shield of Achilles’ episode in the Iliad2 occurs the wellknown description of the youths and fair maidens circling hand in hand, the girls flower-crowned, the youths with golden swords in silver belts, and following each other as lightly as runs the potter’s wheel; while Lucian in his dialogue ‘ On Dancing’ describes the same sort of figure as familiar in his own clay, in the second century of our era. ‘The Chain is a dance in common of youths and maidens, linked one to another in order like a flexible band. The youth leads the round with the step of an athlete footing it as he will afterwards foot it in war, while the girl follows with steps trained in all maidenly decorum, so that the ' chain is wovq; of valour and modesty.’ a
1 The Cyclader, Lond. 1885, p. 366. 2 Book xviii. ad/in.
§26.. Characteristics of the ancient Dance as a
The dances here described are of the simplest kind, the most direct artistic outcome of physical excitement, springing from some definite cause or merely from abounding bodily vigour. The Greeks, whose special gift it was to develop to the utmost perfection of form all media of artistic expression, evolved from these beginnings a number of elaborate figure dances, as well as other forms of art based essentially on the dance, and at the same time made this a stepping stone to the more advanced branches of sculpture. To regard the dance as a form of art may seem strange to the civilised Western reader who understands by the term little more than a social function gone through at stated times without much interest or effort after variety. In the sense in which the term applies to the performances of the Greeks, the dance is a mode of artistic expression that is both free and varied and beautiful. The dance indeed as a form of art lacks permanence, but when it is reduced to a System it can be repeated at will in the same outward show. In all but permanence it is like sculpture, the presentation of the beautiful human form in gestures and positions that may be of the most graceful and expressive kind. Beauty was secured in the old Greek dances first through the actual physical comeliness of the performer, and next through the smoothness and rhythm of his controlled and calculated movements. Lucian demands for the dancer a figure like the ‘ Canon” of Polycleitus—a typical representation in sculpture of the youthful athletic form; he must be ‘nicely finished off at 'every point, fair of mien, full of grace and symmetry, nowhere wanting, never less than himself.’ 1 Such natural graces would be trained and