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The work makes no pretension to entire originality; much of the labour has been that of careful compilation, and the patient investigation, and delicate, discriminating taste, by means of which so great an amount of confused material has been adapted and arranged into one complete whole, without marring its interest, but rather heightening it, is worthy of all praise.

D. H.

. General. View of the Fine Arts.

ORIGIN OF THE FINE ARTS.

THE word art, derived from the Latin artes, skill with the hand, used in its higher acceptation, is applied to the creations of the imagination, by which nature is reproduced in new forms and combinations, and refers rather to the emanations of the mind and heart, than to the mechanical dexterity of the hand.

Ornamental Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Poetry, and Music, in distinction from the merely useful arts, are called fine, or beautiful arts. Their prime object is the creation and development of beauty in all its subtle forms and evanescent hues. The vast cathedral, the pencilling of a rose-leaf, the peal of the organ, and the spirit harmonies of verse, alike come within their scope. They are addressed through the eye and the ear to that fine inner sense, which can seize the meaning of the artist from his inanimate handiwork, and sympathize with the offspring of his imagination as if they were living realities,

Giving Virtue a new birth,
And a life that ne'er grows old.”

Art enduring.–First practisers.-Grecian apologue.

The idea of their enduringness, also binds us by an indefinite sympathy with all who ever have, or who ever will, ponder with delight the same visions of beauty, and gratifies

“ That instinct of our kind,
To link in common with our own

The universal mind."

Although the sources of the fine arts are to be traced to primal faculties of the mind, as certainly as mathematical and logical sciences, it may not be uninteresting to endeavour to trace their first developments, and to glance at the myths of the ancients, in regard to their origin. “Opinions have differed, as to what people first practised the fine arts; but it is an unnecessary inquiry, as the love of the beautiful is innate with all. Love, celebrated by the mythologists as the governor of nature, was the parent of the arts; and music after their system was his firstborn. According to a Grecian apologue, a young girl was the first artist, who, perceiving the profile of her lover cast on the wall by the strong light of a lamp, drew the first recorded outline from this cherished object of her affections. From such a slight beginning, according to the fable, arose those arts whose softening and humanizing qualities have moderated the barbarism of man, and alleviated the disastrous effects of vice; those arts by which an inspired musician appeased, with the tones of his harp, the ragings of a barbarous prince; by which a poet, by an ingenious apologue, recalled a mob to truth and reason; by which the sculptor and the painter, under the veil of pathetic allegory, presented to the depraved the forgotten traits of virtue."

There is a simple story which ascribes the origin of the Corinthian capital to Callimachus. A votive basket of flowers was

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The Nine.—Promethean fire.—Egyptian priesthood.

left on the grave of a young Corinthian girl, around which the graceful leaves of the acanthus grew, and suggested to her lover the idea of the capital of the most superb of the Grecian orders.

In the Grecian mythology, the sacred Nine of Pieria, who presided over the liberal arts, were the offspring of Heaven and Earth, and infused into the productions of mortals, who drank from their consecrated fountains, the influence of their celestial origin, until their works often partook more of heaven than earth. And the Promethean fire that aroused the souls of men in the infancy of time, failed not to awaken the jealousy of Olympus.

Hermes, or Mercury, may be regarded as, in some degree, a personification of the Egyptian priesthood. He was designated by the name Thot, which signifies in the Egyptian language, an assembly; and more particularly one composed of sages and educated persons, the sacerdotal college of city or temple. Thus the collective priesthood of Egypt, personified and considered as unity, was represented by an imaginary being, to whom was ascribed the invention of language and writing, which he had brought from the skies and imparted to man, as well as the origin of geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, medicine, music, rhythm, the institution of religion, sacred processions, the introduction of gymnastic exercises, and, finally, the less indispensable, though not less valuable, arts of architecture, sculpture, and painting. So many volumes were attributed to him, that no human being could possibly have composed them. All the successive improvements in astronomy, and, generally speaking, the labours of every age, became his peculiar property, and added to his glory. In this way, the names of individuals were lost in the numerous order of priests, and the merit which each one had acquired by his observations and labours turned to the advantage of the whole sacerdotal association, in being ascribed to its

Lyre.- Eden.—Art an effort.—Jubal.- Ark.

tutelary genius. Mercury was the inventor of the lyre. “The Nile," says Apollodorus, “after its overflow, left on the shore a tortoise, the flesh of which being dried and wasted by the sun, nothing was left within the shell but nerves and cartilages, and these being contracted, were rendered sonorous. Mercury, happening to strike his foot against the shell, was so pleased with the sound it produced, that it suggested to him the idea of a lyre, which he afterwards constructed in the form of a tortoise.”

As soon as the physical necessities of man were supplied, the no less importunate cravings of his inte.jectual nature called for gratification. However long, Adam and Eve may have dwelt in the garden of delights, before the fall, we can hardly suppose that they turned their attention in any way to art.

Their souls in perfect harmony with the faultless nature around them, they could have no further wants to be supplied by human invention. And art, in its highest exercise, seems to be an effort to realize and develop a vision of beauty, that haunts the soul as some relic of a pristine state of greater glory and perfection. The struggle is indeed often a fruitless one, the paradisiacal memories, if I may be allowed the expression, float in mystic grace through the brain of the artist, but the material vehicle stubbornly refuses to embody them in all their ideal loveliness.

Soon after man had fallen from a state of innocence, we read of his practising the arts. Cain, we are told, built a city; and Jubal, in the seventh generation from Adam, was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ; his brother, Tubal Cain, was an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron. The vast fabric which Noah framed, with first, second, and third stories, proves that the mechanical arts, at least, had in his day reached a high degree of perfection. Immediately after the deluge, the bold and stupendous attempt to rear the tower on the plains of

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