Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

The Exhibition at Somerset-House. In this age of absurd scepticism, it But the execution, partially beautiful, has become the fashion to doubt the is partially embarrassed and unnatuvalue of Exhibitions, as auxiliaries to ral. Phæbus sits in the centre, touchthe progress of the Arts. But we ing his lyre, but with the face of a fat should first doubt the value of com- milkmaid. The Sun is by his side, a petition, of publicity, of purchase, of clumsy reservoir of light; and the the comparison of styles, of public floating gatherers of the radiance seem criticism, and of the assurance of a perplexed between the double service fair trial of merits. An exhibition on of filling their urns, and sailing round the scale of that at Somerset-House their ring. The Sun lies beside Phecomprehends all those advantages; bus, like a beer-barrel. Light and and to its annual display may be at the God of Light should not have tributed at once the increased popular been disjoined. feeling for the Fine Arts, and the in- No. 22.- The Dawn, by Fuseli. creased general excellence of the Bri- The subject is suggested by the lines tish School. Exhibitions do not crc- in Lycidas, ate genius; but they cherish it ; they “ Under the opening eye-lids of the morn, give it the immediate power of attract What time the gray fly winds her sultry ing the public eye; they render it su horn." perior to cabal, and place in the first A youth is asleep on the foreground. rank the man who deserves to stand The air is filled with rolling mists; in the first rank, without delay, and the grass is deep and dewy; a long without difficulty. The English School pyramidal flash of pale purple shoots has now thrown all those of the con- up from the verge of the horizon. tinent altogether out of competition. The youth is profoundly asleep, and The French is learned, accurate, la- the general expression of the picture borious, and meagre; the Italian, dry, is touching and true. loose, and feeble ; the German, a No. 34.-John Knor remonstrating compound of the French and Italian; with Queen Mary on her intended marthe English, in its vigour and simpli- riage with Darnley. city of conception, its adherence to This is one of the most spirited picnature, and its command of colouring, tures in the room. Knox, with the has had no superior since the days of Bible in his hand, and in an action of Titian.

great force, bends towards the Queen. In the present Exhibition, there His countenance is remonstrative and are about a thousand pictures. The imperious. At the opposite side of great majority are portraits. These the picture stands Erskine, leaning are, of course, almost beyond observa- over Mary in an attitude of conciliation. Of the others, I'mention only tion. Mary sits at a table, with her those which catch the general eye. head supported by her hand. She is

No. 21.-The Solar System, by in tears, and the youthful freshness of Howard. This artist has distinguish- her countenance forms a striking coned himself by the study of the more trast to the withered and acrid phyfanciful parts of fable, ancient and siognomy of her persecutor. But modern." His Pleiades, a delicious Mary's face is the chief failure of the composition, first brought him into picture. It altogether wants the ronotice ; and he seems never to have mantic and lofty beauty that tradition exceeded that early effort. His Solar has given to the Queen. The breadth System represents the planets by male of the cheek is rustic and heavy, and and female figures, floating in a circle the colour is neither the flush of inround Phæbus, and drawing light in dignation, nor the floridness of early urns from the Sun. The conception beauty.* The details of the furniture is from Milton,

and architecture are minute and ac“ Hither, as to their fountain, other stars curate ; but the subject is, on the Repairing, in their golden urns draw light.” whole, repulsive. Mary's sufferings

• Such is our correspondent's opinion, and much may be said on both sides. Our own opinion is, that Allan is right throughout that he has made her cheek-bones broad, because she was a Scottish Beauty, and because coins (better authority than vague tradition) give Mary the characteristic outlines of her country's physiognomy-and that Allan has not painted the Queen as in the full glow of natural passion, simply because he had adopted Dr M‘Crie's belief, that, throughout the whole of this scene with Knox, she was acting a part. The picture of Archbishop Sharpe's death, bowever, is still the best that has been painted from the History of Scotland. C. N.

are less forgotten than her errors, if Enchanter is offering the cup, the lashe had any errors beyond those of dy shrinks from him, and a whole inexperience, and the natural im- host of fauns and satyrs are gambolpulses of a confiding and loving heart. ling round them both. This picture is

The Scotch Novels have made the inferior to the Una of the same artist, Covenanters distasteful to the multi- though the manner is remarkably and tude, and, sincere as they might have injudiciously similar. The lady is a been in their conventicles, the art- feeble and heavy figure, with a counteist should look to other times and Dance totally the reverse of captivaInen for the most popular exercise of ting. Comus is colossal, and thrown his genius. The days of Scottish mag- into an attitude of awkwardness and disnificence and chivalry, her court ce- tortion. But the surrounding groups lebrations, her huntings through her are highly animated, their general copicturesque and mountainous districts, louring luxuriant, and the depths and the adventures of the Bruce, the Wal- green alleys of the forest painted with lace, and the Montrose, offer a suc- a rich and verdurous beauty. cession of subjects of the richest cha- No. 261.-L'Improvisatrice, by Pice racter to an aspiring national artist. kersgill;- A rising artist who seems to The world are weary of the bitter mix- possess a peculiarly fine conception of ture of politics and religion. ' female loveliness, one of the rarest fa

No. 78.–Portrait of the Duke of culties of painting. The poetess is York, by Phillips.—The Duke is young and handsome, her dress is Itapainted in the full robes of knight- lian, her hand is resting on a guitar, hood, the likeness is striking, and the and her large eye and glowing countearrangement of the robes at once state. nance, fixed upon a brilliant southern ly and graceful. Phillips is one of our sky, are full of inspiration. first colourists, and he has exhibited No. 272.-Shakespeare's Jubilee ; all his powers on this picture.

with portraits of the performers of CoNo. 131.-Portrait of the Duke of vent-Garden, by Sharp.--This pic. York, by Wilkie.—This picture is of ture represents its groups forming a the Cabinet size. The Duke is look- procession to the temple of Shakeing over some papers. The light is speare. The arrangement is tasteful. thrown from a window behind the fi- But the merit of a work of this kind gure, and the Duke's costume, and the is to be looked for in the fidelity of the furniture of the apartment, are'admi likenesses ; and here lies the weakness rably treated. But the face has esc of the picture. The portraits are tracecaped Wilkie, and the resemblance is able in general with difficulty, and in lost in a mass of a heavy and feature, some instances they completely evade less sbade.

the eye. No. 151.- Arthur Lord Capel de No. 135.-The Parish Beadle, by fending Colchester, in 1648, by Coo- Wilkie.—The Beadle is arresting an per. This artist has obtained repu- Italian boy with a monkey; the whole tation by painting battle-pieces of ca- family of adventurers are following valry. He has spirit and general fi- him in great indignation ; the father, delity to nature and costume. But if a pale, nervous, strong-featured gipsy, he be emulous of the fame of Wou is on the point of attacking the Beadle; vermans, he must follow him in the the mother is in the full tide of scoldselection of a noble and generous class ing. A youth behind leads their bear; of the horse. Cooper's horses are, al- two boys of the rabble hooting at the most without exception, the rudest Italians, complete the group. Wilkie models of their kind; the short hack has done nothing since his Rent-day, ney, or the rough and crabbed moun- superior to this picture. The story is tain horse, with more vice than blood, told with perfect clearness, the characand more hair than sinew. His hea ters are fully sustained, and the covier chargers are mere dray-horses. In louring is probably the happiest effort this picture his knights are stately, of his pencil. though clumsily mounted, and the at- Canova's Danzatrice is the princitempt to express the stirring business pal sculpture, and is unworthy of his of the time is nearly a failure. His name; it curiously combines the vulbattle has the composure and gravity garity of a rustic, and the affectation of a pageant.

of an opera girl. No. 196.-Comus, with the Lady in the enchanted chair, by Hilton.-The Haydon's misfortunes have been

VOL. XIV.

made só public, that there is no indes mathematician's. The countenance in licacy in the topic. It directly arose which the first painters in the world from two things: his idle scorn of fol- bad given their finest impression of lowing the common courses of his pro- the united nature of God and man, fession, and his determination to paint and which had become by habit idenonly Scripture-pieces, and those on the tified with the name, was profaned; most colossal and hazardous scale and a heavy and repulsive physiognoMuch may be forgiven to the errors of my substituted for the features of an ambitious spirit, resolved on free- manly beauty and celestial virtue. ing itself from what had been, however This palpable fault degraded his picchildishly, called the degradation of its ture of the Entry into Jerusalem, á art. But cooler sense would have work of great design, and vigorous taught him, that exclusively to paint execution. The physiognomy of the subjects, for which none but cathé- principal figure was fatal to the popudrals and churches could be purcha- larity of the powerful groups that sers, and which, from the custom of the filled the canvas; and piety and taste country, neither would purchase, was alike turned away. a hazardous speculation. The mere If Haydon had selected the Old Tessize of his pictures puts them beyond tament, he might have found the conall hope of admission into private col- genial field for his boldness, originalilections ; for what could be done with ty, and breadth of design. The Hethree or four hundred square feet of brew kings and warriors, the gorgecanvas, covered with whatever majes- ous ceremonials of the Hebrew rituals, ty of prophet or apostle ? Even if he the mighty events of a history illusmust paint Scripture-pieces, his choice trated by human pomps and divine of subjects was injudicious. The New glories, the united crownings and conTestament was his selected field. But secrations, the magnificence of Perthe character of the New Testament is sia, Egypt, and India, in the midst of beyond the power of painting. The the scenery of Palestine, the perpetual highest grandeur clothed in the most miracles, the intercourse of men and extreme simplicity; prophets and apos- angels, the ascent to heaven, have all tles wearing the aspect of fishermen formed the most sublime efforts of and peasants. All magnificence of mind the pencil. They all address the eye. under all humility of body, even a Dei. Where there is grandeur of purpose, ty veiling himself under the semblance there is grandeur of person. Acts worof a harassed and outcast man, are all thy of kings and prophets are done in beyond the reach of an art which speaks palaces, or in the presence of classes only to the eye. No force of the pen- and companies of magnificent shapes, cil can make, or ought to make, those mortal or immortal, that relieve the beings look otherwise than men, whom mind from all doubt of the nobleness we yet know to be more. The nearer of the agent, and invest him with a the painting is to probability, the far- magnificence suitable to the minister ther it is from reality. The little ar- of God, or the ruler of nations. tifices of haloes and glories round saint- Haydon has petitioned the House ly and divine heads, are at once repul- of Commons to extend its patronage sive to truth, and evidences of the con- to History-painting. One of the obscious inability of painting. Yet these jects of this petition may have been unconquerable disadvantages Haydon to bring his case before the country. undertook to combat, and to combat it is to be hoped that this object will with the addition of a difficulty en not be disappointed, and that a man tirely his own. He conceived for him- of his ability will not be suffered to self a head of the Saviour, repugnant linger under the depression of hopeto all those fine imaginations of the less ill fortune. But when Haydon Italian school which had already esta- shall re-appear, he must altogether blished the countenance. The result change his conception of the way to was total, undeniable failure. For the fame. He must be undone, or listen combined loftiness and suavity, the to the advice which tells him, that no mild superiority, and the dignified individual can triumph by resisting sorrow, that alternately predominated the taste of a civilized age; that if he in the pictures of Raphael, Corregio, expect to sell his pictures, he must reand Guido, he gave us a head model. strict them to the size of sale ; that if led on some fantastic conception of he will live by the public favour, he craniology, and a visage as dull as a must consult the public taste in the choice of his subjects, and that if his the salutary conclusion, that his past patrons are weary of historical pic- progress has been constructed upon tures, he must, like Lawrence, and erroneous principles ; and if the hour Phillips, and Shee, or like Rubens that sends him among the world again and Rembrandt, occasionally stoop to shall send him out as a new man, to paint portraits. He is a man of ta- commence a new career, young with lents, from which much may be hoped the experience of years, and vigorous for still. The severity of his present from the excitement of new hope, he lesson, however to be regretted, may may yet rejoice in his temporary cahave the advantage of forcing on him lancity, and do honour to his age.

THE PYRENEES.* THERE is some old and absurd at the rights of independent nations, and traction in all that relates to Spain. swears by Monarchy and la Charte. Nous Anglois talk of it in a universal His work is written with some ingespirit of romance; and it is the only nuity, with the eye of an artist, and topic on which we do not ridicule and with a profound admiration for France, scorn romance in word and deed. But, the great man now no more, and himsomething mingled of Moor and Chris- self. But his descriptions are better tian chivalry, as theorbos touched to than his politics. His coup-d'ail of the Sultanas, and bowers and alcoves fret- south is graphic. ted over with Arabesques and Saracen “ The soil of Provence, though copoetry, the remnants of the manners vered with mountains, is essentially of a brilliant, fierce, jewelled, and different in character from that of the nailed people haunt our imaginations; Alps and Pyrenees. It does not present and it is thenceforth allowed and al- continual heights and defiles, like the lowable for every man to be an enthu- great mountainous countries, nor mosiast for Spain, for its beauty and van derate eminences, gradually declining lour, gallantry and guitars, the lux- to the plain, as we see on the north uriance of its yalleys, and the proud side of the Pyrenees. There are plains, brows of its sierras, provided he has hills, and, above all, some stray ridges never been within the borders of the of the Alps, which terminate in the land. Romance in an actual traveller is Mediterranean. Hence the prospect beyond all mercy. In our closets, and over this diversified soil, is not always with a volume of Gongora or Calderon bounded by masses of rocks, confined on the table, we may be forgiven for within valleys, or lost in immense the folly of dreaming the Spaniard of plains. It alternately contracts and the 19th century into the bard, the extends over a soil which is sometimes hero, and the enthusiast of the 15th. level, sometimes covered with perpenBut the testimony of the eye should dicular mountains, and sometimes loses be fatal ; and he who resists it is itself over the expanse of a sea, when equally desperate of cure and pardon, the darkest azure is contrasted with The Spanish war is already extinguish- sparkling light. ed, cast away, gone down with its

°*"

. - whole revolutionary cargo. But some « In the midst of an immense openpamphlets have been brought out by ing between two great chains of rocks, it, descriptive of features and adven- which stretch into the sea, lies Martures that deserve to survive the Cortes, seilles. When a traveller arriving from their Constitution, and their burlesque the north reaches the first chain, he war. One of these gives a few cu- suddenly perceives this immense barious details of the frontier, when sin, and is astonished at its extent and the French kept watch, during the dazzling brilliancy. Soon after, he is past year, over the plague and the re- struck with the structure of the soil, volution together. The writer, Thiers, and its singular vegetation. An imis a Frenchman, and is what would mense mass of grey and bluish limeonce have been a philosopher, and stone forms the first enclosure ; lower would have been worshipped in the branches diverge from it, and extend Pantheon, but that fashion has passed into the plain, composing an unequal away, “ nous avons changé tout cela ;” and very varied soil. On every emiand M. Thiers is now a respecter of nence there are tufts of Italian pines,

• The Pyrenees, and the South of France, during the months of September and De. cember 1822. By A. Thiers. 8vo. Treuttel and Wurtz, London, 1823.

which form elegant parasols of dark, repaired a considerable part of them ; and almost blackish green. Pale green he has replaced most of the towers by olive trees, of a moderate height, de- bastions ; protected the ramparts by scend along the hills; and, by their means of terraces or excavations ; has paleness and little round masses, con- made covered ways and outworks. trast singularly with the slender sta. The citadel is now very strong; a triture, and magnificence, and dome of ple enclosure renders it able to resist the pines. At their feet is a low, three attacks; and, by its position, it thick, and greyish vegetation ; it is commands the town. The works were the sage, and the odoriferous thyme, carried on with extreme activity duwhich, when trodden on, emits a power- ring the latter end of the autumn; alful and agreeable perfume. In the most all the batteries were armed; the centre of the basin, Marseilles, almost supplies of powder, cartridges, and concealed by a long and straggling hill, provisions, were completing ; wood appears in profile ; and its outline, was cutting in the country for making sometimes hidden in the vapour, some gabions, and a park of field-artillery times appearing between the undula- was forming in a plain to the east of tions of the ground, terminates in the the town. A considerable number of blue of the sea, with the handsome waggons was already collected, and town of St John. Indentations of the twenty, or twenty-five, pieces of concoast are washed by the waves of the non, were placed on their carriages. Mediterranean, which extends to the Though these preparations are not so west, with the Isles of Pomegue, Ra- considerable as had been reported, it tonneau, and the fort of If. It is un- is nevertheless equally desirable that der those beautiful pines, and in these the same were done in the fortresses innumerable country houses, that the on the Rhine ; for it is probable that Marseillese come every Sunday to for- our real enemies are rather in the get the bustle of the quays, their dis north than on the south. However, putes with the officers of the customs, the works of Perpignan are said to be and the business of the counting- nothing more than the completion of house.

plans long since made, for the repairs “As the tourist approaches the Spa- of our fortresses; and the expense does nish frontier, he is reminded of the not perhaps amount to above 150,000 state of things by groups of Spanish francs. Monks flying into France, by aides- “ Perpignan is certainly not of so de-camp filling the inns, by waggons much political importance as Touand droves of mules choking up the louse. The latter city, with its Traproads, and all the bustle of fugitation pist, its two journals, and its pious and war. He reaches Perpignan. souls, is the centre of vast projects.

" I immediately walked through However, Perpignan is, for the mothe town. It is an ancient place, ment, a place of great interest, if not which was always fortified, because it political, yet picturesque; and I ofis the passage between Roussillon and ten wished for the pencil of M. CharCatalonia. It is situated in a beauti let, to paint the numerous fugitives ful plain, bounded on the west by with which it is filled. Mount Canigou, one of the highest “ The monks, who are the forerunof the Pyrenees; to the north, by the ners of every emigration, swarmed at mountains of Corbieres; to the east, Perpignan, and preceded the Regency. by the sea, hidden behind fertile hills; At Narbonne, I had already met the to the south, by the road to Catalonia. Capuchins, with their ample brown The temperature of the climate is en- flowing robes, their large hoods hangtirely southern. Some leagues from ing down to the middle of their backs, it, the orange grows in the open air, their rosary, and their bare head and and in the very basin in which it feet. At Perpignan, I saw monks of stands, there are immense plantations all colours; black, blue, white, grey, of olives, which extend to the foot of and reddish brown; the Curés, in large Canigou. Thus, while the summit of surtouts and 'immense French hats. this mountain is buried under the I remarked a singular habit in them snow, its base is covered with the finest when I met them; they followed me productions of the south.

with their eyes, as if ready to answer “ The fortifications of Perpignan are a question, and their extended hands, of brick, and their form and system are as if ready to give the benediction. In ancient. A skilful engineer has lately Spain, they bless all the peasants; and

« ZurückWeiter »