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government of the art, there is every reason feeling; it is the settled expression of celestial to believe that it ultimately wim rival the cele- beauty, and even the smile on her lip is not brity of foreign genius: And it is in this view the fleeting smile of temporary joy, but the that the continuance of the gallery of the lasting expression of that heavenly feeling Louvre, in its present situation, is principally which sees in all around it the grace and love to be wished by the English nation--that the liness which belongs to itself alone. It apEnglish artists may possess so near their own proaches nearer to that character which somecountry so great a school for composition and times marks the countenance of female beauty design; that the imperfections of foreign when death has stilled the passions of the schools may enlighten the views of English world; but it is not the cold expression of past genius; and that the conquests of the French character which survives the period of mortal arms, by transferring the remains of ancient dissolution; it is the living expression of pretaste to these northern shores, may throw over sent existence, radiant with the beams of imits rising art that splendour which has hitherto mortal life, and breathing the air of eternal been confined to the regions of the sun. happiness.
The great object, therefore, of all the modern The paintings of Raphael convey the most schools of historical painting, seems to have perfect idea of earthly beauty; and they debeen the delineation of an affecting scene or in- note the expression of all that is finest and teresting occurrence; they have endeavoured to most elevated in the character of the female tell a story by the variety of incidents in a mind. But there is a “human meaning in single picture; and seized, for the most part, their eye,” and they bear the marks of that the moment when passion was at its greatest anxiety and tenderness which belong to the height, or suffering appeared in its most ex- relations of present existence. The Venus cruciating form. The general character, ac- displays the same beauty, freed from the cares cordingly, of the school, is the expression of which existence has produced; and her lifeless passion or violent suffering; and in the pro- eye-balls gaze upon the multitude which sur secution of this object, they have endeavoured round her, as on a scene fraught only with the to exhibit it under all its aspects, and display expression of universal joy. all the effects which it could possibly produce In another view, the Apollo and the Venus on the human form, by the different figures appear to have been intended by the genius which they have introduced. While this is of antiquity, as expressive of the character of the general character of the whole, there are mind which distinguishes the different sexes; of course numerous exceptions; and many and in the expression of this character, they of its greatest painters seem, in the representa- have exhausted all which it is possible for tion of single figures, or in the composition human imagination to produce upon the subof smaller groups, to have had in view the ex-ject. The commanding air, and advanced step pression of less turbulent affections; to have of the Apollo, exhibit man in his noblest aspect, aimed at the display of settled emotion or per- as triumphing over the evils of physical namanent feeling, and to have excluded every ture, and restraining the energy of his dispothing from their composition which was not sition, in the consciousness of resistless power: in unison with this predominant expression. the averted eye, and retiring grace of the Ve
The Sculpture Gallery, which contains above nus, are expressive of the modesty, gentleness two hundred remains of ancient statuary, marks and submission, which form the most beautiin the most decided manner the different ob- ful features of the female character. jects to which this noble art was applied in
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed, ancient times. Unlike the paintings of modern For valour He, and contemplation, formed, Europe, their figures are almost uniformly at For beauty She, and sweet attractive grace,
He for God only, She for God in Him. rest; they exclude passion or violent suffering from their design; and the moment which they These words were said of our first parents select is not that in which a particular or tran- by our greatest poet, after the influence of a sient emotion may be displayed, but in which pure religion had developed the real nature of the settled character of mind may be expressed. the female character, and determined the place With the two exceptions of the Laocoon and which woman was to hold in the scale of na the fighting Gladiator, there are none of the ture; but the idea had been expressed in a statues in the Louvre which are not the repre- still finer manner two thousand years before, sentation of the human figure in a state of by the sculptors of antiquity; and amidst all repose; and the expression which the finest the degradation of ancient manners, the pro. possess, is invariably that permanent expres- phetic genius of Grecian taste contemplated sion which has resulted from the habitual that ideal perfection in the character of the frame and character of mind. Their figures sexes, which was destined to form the boun. seem to belong to a higher class of beings than dary of human progress in the remotest ages that in which we are placed; they indicate a of human improvement. state in which passion, anxiety, and emotion The Apollo strikes a stranger with all its are no more; and where the unruffled repose grandeur on the first aspect; subsequent exajo of mind has moulded the features into the per- mination can add nothing to the force of the fect expression of the mental character. Even impression which is then received. The Ven the countenance of the Venus de Medicis, the nus produces at first less effect, but gains upon most beautiful which it has ever entered into the mind at every renewal, till it rivets the the mind of man to conceive, and of which no affections even more than the greatness of its copy gives the slightest idea, bears no trace unequalled rival. of emotion, and none of the marks of human The Dying Gladiator is perhaps, after the two which have been mentioned, the finest stroy. The poor Russian soldier, whose knowstatue which the. Louvre contains. The mo- ledge of art was limited to the crucifix which ment chosen is finely adapted for the expres- he had borne in his bosom from his native sion of ideal beauty, from a subject connected land, still felt the power of ancient beauty, and with painful ideas. It is not the moment of in the spirit of the Athenians, who erected an energy or struggling, when the frame is con- altar to the Unknown God, did homage in sivulsed with the exertion it is making, or the lence to that unknown spirit which had touched countenance is deformed by the tumult of paso a new chord in his untutored heart. sion; it is the moment of expiring nature, The character of art in every country apwhen the figure is relaxed by the weakness of pears to have been determined by the disposidecay, and the mind is softened by the approach tion of the people to whom it was addressed, of death; when the ferocity of combat is for- and the object of its composition to have vagotten in the extinction of the interest which ried with the purpose it was called on to fulfil. it had excited, when every unsocial passion is The Grecian statues were designed to excite stilled by the weakness of exhausted nature, the devotion of a cultivated people; to imbody and the mind, in the last moments of life, is their conceptions of divine perfection; to realfraught with finer feelings than had belonged ize the expression of that character of mind to the character of previous existence. It is which they imputed to the deities whose tema moment similar to that in which Tasso has ples they were to adorn: it was grace, or so beautifully described the change in Clorin- strength, or majesty, or youthful power, which das mind, after she had been mortally wound- they were to represent by the figures of Venus, ed by the hand of Tancred, but in which he of Hercules, of Jupiter, or of Apollo. Their was enabled to give her the inspiration of a artists accordingly were led to aim at the exgreater faith, and the charity of a more gentle pression of general character : to exclude pas. religion :
sion, or emotion, or suffering, from their deAmico h'ai vinto: io te perdon. Perdona
sign, and represent their figures in that state Tu ancora, al corpo no che nulla pave
of repose where the permanent expression of All' alma si: deh per lei prega ; e dona Battesmo a me, ch'ogni mia colpa lave;
mind ought to be displayed. It is perhaps in In queste voci languide risuona
this circumstance that is to be found the cause Un non so che di flebile e soave
both of the peculiarity and the excellence of Ch' al cor gli scende, ed ogni sdegno ammorza, the Grecian statuary. Egli occhi a lagrimar gl' invoglia e sforza.
The Italian painters were early required to The statues of antiquity were addressed to effect a different object. Their pictures were the multitude of the people; they were intended destined to represent the sufferings of nature; to to awaken the devotion of all classes of citi- display the persecution or death of our Saviour, zens to be felt and judged by all mankind. the anguish of the Holy Family, the heroism They are free, therefore, from all the peculiar- of martyrs, the resignation of devotion. In ities of national taste; they are purified from the infancy of the arts, accordingly, they were all the peculiarities of local circumstances ; led to study the expression of passion, of they have been rescued from that miserable suffering, and emotion; to aim at rousing the degradation to which art is uniformly exposed, pity, or exciting the sympathy of the spectators; by taste being confined to a limited society. and to endeavour to characterize their paintThey have assumed, in consequence, that ge- ings by the representation of temporary pasneral character, which might suit the universal sion, not the expression of permanent characfeelings of our nature, and that permanent ex- ter. Those beautiful pictures in which a difpression which might speak to the heart of ferent object seems to have been followed-in men through every succeeding age. The ad- which the expression is that of permanent miration, accordingly, for those works of art emotion, not transient passion, while they cap. has been undiminished by the lapse of time; tivate our admiration, seem to be exceptions they excite the same feelings at the present from the general design, and to have been time, as when they came fresh from the hand suggested by the peculiar nature of the subject of the Grecian artist, and are regarded by all represented, or a particular firmness of mind nations with the same veneration on the banks in the artist. In these causes we may perhaps of the Seine, as when they sanctified the discern the origin of the peculiar character temples of Athens, or adorned the gardens of of the Italian school. Rome.
In the French school, the character and Even the rudest nations seem to have felt manners of the people seem to have carried the force of this impression. The Hungarians this peculiarity to a still greater length. Their and the Cossacks, during the stay of the allied character led them to seek in every thing for armies in Paris, ignorant of the name or the stage effect; to admire the most extravagant celebrity of those works of art, seemed yet to and violent representations, and to value the take a delight in the survey of the statues efforts of art, not in proportion to their imitaof antiquity, and in passing through the long tion of the qualities of nature, but in proporline of marbled greatness which the Louvre tion to their resemblance to those artificial presents, stopt involuntarily at the sight of the qualities on which their admiration was Venus, or clustered round the foot of the pe- founded. The vehemence of their manner, on destal of the Apollo ;-indicating thus, in the the most ordinary occasions, rendered the expression of unaffected feeling, the force of most extravagant gestures requisite for the that genuine taste for the beauty of nature, display of real passion; and their drama acwhich all the rudeness of savage manners, and cordingly exhibits a mixture of dignity of senall the ferocity of war had not been able to de-timent, with violence of gesture, beyond mea: sure surprising to a foreign spectator. The | play of the living mind. It is an abstractior. same disposition of the people has influenced of character which has no relation to present the character of their historical painting; and existence; a shadow in which all the perma it is to be remembered, that the French school nent features of the mind are expressed, but of painting succeeded the establishment of the none of the passions of the mind are shown: French drama. It is hence that they have ge- like the figures of snow, which the magic of nerally selected the moment of theatrical effect Okba formed to charm the solitude of Leila's sathe moment of phrenzied passion, or unpa- dwelling, it bears the character of the human ralleled exertion, and that their composition is form, but melts at the warmth of human feeling. distinguished by so many striking contrasts, While such is the object to which statuary and so laboured a display of momentary effect. would appear to be destined, painting einbraces
The Flemish or Dutch school of painting a wider range, and is capable of more varied was neither addressed to the devotional nor expression: it is expressive of the living form; the theatrical feelings of mankind; it was it paints the eye and opens the view of the neither intended to awaken the sympathy of present mind; it imitates all the fleeting changes religious pity, nor excite the admiration of which constitute the signs of present emotion. artificial dispositions -- it was addressed to It is not, therefore, an abstraction of character wealthy men of vulgar capacities, capable of which the painter is to represent; not an ideal appreciating only the merit of minute detail, form, expressive only of the qualities of per: or the faithfulness of exact imitation. It is manent character; but an actual being, alive hence that their painting possesses excellencies to the impressions of present existence, and and defects of so peculiar a description; that bound by the ties of present affection. It is in they have carried the minuteness of finishing the delineation of these affections, therefore, to so unparalleled a degree of perfection; that that the power of the painter principally con: the brilliancy of their lights has thrown a sists; in the representation, not of simple chàsplendour over the vulgarity of their subjects, racter, but of character influenced or subdued and that they are in general so utterly destitute of by emotion. It is the representation of the joy all the refinement and sentiment which sprung of youth, or the repose of age; of the sorrow from the devotional feelings of the Italian of innocence, or the penitence of guilt; of the people.
tenderness of parental affection, or the graThe subjects which the Dutch painters titude of filial love. In these, and a thousand chose were subjects of low humour, calcu- other instances, the expression of the emotion lated to amuse a rich and uncultivated people: constitutes the beauty of the picture; it is that the subjects of the French school were heroic which gives the tone to the character which it adventure, suited to the theatrical taste of a is to bear; it is that which strikes the chord more elevated society: the subjects of the which vibrates in every human heart. The Italian school were the incidents of sacred object of the painter, therefore, is the exhistory, suited to the devotional feelings of a pression of EMOTION, of that emotion which religious people. In all, the subjects to which is blended with the character of the mind painting was applied, and the character of the which feels, and gives to that character the art itself, was determined by the peculiar cir- interest which belongs to the events of present cumstances or disposition of the people to existence. whom it was addressed: so that, in these in- The object of the painter being the represtances, there has really happened what Mr. sentation of emotion in all the varied situations Addison stated should ever be the case, that which life produces, it follows, that everything of the taste
should not conform to the art, but in his picture should be in unison with the the art to the taste."
predominant expression which he wishes it to The object of statuary should ever be the bear; that the composition should be as simsame to which it was always confined by the ple as is consistent with the development of ancients, viz. the representation of CHARACTER this expression; and the colouring, such as The very materials on which the sculptor has accords with the character by which this emo: to operate, render his art unfit for the expres- tion is distinguished. It is here that the genius sion either of emotion or passion; and the of the artist is principally to be displayed, in figure, when finished, can bear none of the the selection of such figures as suit the general marks by which they are to be distinguished. impression which the whole is to produce; It is a figure of cold, and pale, and lifeless and the choice of such a tone of colouring, as marble, without the varied colour which emo- harmonizes with the feeling of mind which it tion produces, or the living eye which passion is his object to produce. The distraction of va animates. The eye is the feature which is ried colours the confusion of different figures expressive of present emotion; it is it which the contrast of opposite expressions, completevaries with all the changes which the mind ly destroy the effect of the composition; they undergoes; it is it which marks the difference fix the mind to the observation of what is par. between joy and sorrow, between love and ticular in the separate parts, and prevent that hatred, between pleasure and pain, between uniform and general emotion which arises life and death. But the eye, with all the end- from the perception of one uniform expression less expressions which it bears, is lost to the in all the parts of which it is composed. It is sculptor; its gaze must ever be cold and life in this very perception, however, that the source less to him; its fire is quenched in the stillness of the beauty is to be found; it is in the undeof the tomb. A statue, therefore, can never be fined feeling to which it gives rise, that the expressive of living emotion; it can never ex- delight of the emotion of taste consists. Like press those transient feelings which mark thel the harmony of sounds in musical composi
tion, it produces an effect, of which we are the countenance is moulded into the expresunable to give any account; but which we sion of permanent feeling, and the existence feel to be instantly destroyed by the jarring of this feeling is marked by the permanent sound of a different note, or the discordant expression which the features have assumed. effect of a foreign expression. It is in the ne- The greatest artists of ancient and modern glect of this great principle that the defect of times, accordingly, have selected, even in the many of the first pictures of modern times is representation of violent exertion, that moto be found in the confused multitude of un- ment of temporary repose, when a permanent necessary figures—in the contradictory ex- expression is given to the figure. Even the pression of separate parts--in the distracting Laocoon is not in a state of actual exertion : brilliancy of gorgeous colours: in the laboured it is represented in that moment when the last display, in short, of the power of the artist, and effort has been made; when straining against the utter dereliction of the object of the art. an invincible power has given to the figure The great secret, on the other hand, of the the aspect at last of momentary repose; and beauty of the most exquisite specimens of mo- when despair has placed its settled mark on dern art, lies in the simplicity of expression the expression of the countenance. The fightwhich they bear, in their production of one ing Gladiator is not in a state of present actiuniform emotion, from all the parts of one vity, but in that moment when he is preparing harmonious composition. For the production his mind for the future and final contest, and of this unity of emotion the surest means will when, in this deep concentration of his be found to consist in the selection of as few powers, the pause which the genius of the figures as is consistent with the development artist has given, expresses more distinctly to of the characteristic expression of the com- the eye of the spectator the determined chaposition; and it is, perhaps, to this circum-racter of the combatant, than all that the stance, that we are to impute the unequalled struggle or agony of the combat itself could charm which belongs to the pictures of single afterwards display. figures, or small groups, in which a single ex- The Grecian statues in the Louvre may be pression is alone attempted.
considered as the most perfect works of Both painting and sculpture are wholly human genius, and every one must feel those unfit for the representation of Passion, as higher conceptions of human form, and of EXPRESSED BY MOTION; and that to attempt to human nature, which the taste of ancient stadelineate it, necessarily injures the effect of tuary had formed. It is not in the moment of the composition. Neither, it is clear, can ex- action that it has represented man, but in the press actual motion: they should not attempt, moment after action, when the tumult of therefore, to represent those passions of the passion has ceased, and all that is great or mind which motion alone is adequate to ex- dignified in moral nature remains. It is not press. The attempt to delineate violent Hercules in the moment of earthly combat, passion, accordingly, uniformly produces a when every muscle was swollen with the painful or a ridiculous effect: it does not strength he was exerting; but Hercules, in even convey any conception of the passion the moment of transformation into a nobler itself, because its character is not known by being, when the exertion of mortality has the expression of any single moment, but by passed, and his powers seem to repose in the
en turbed state into which the mind is thrown. straining his youthful strength in drawing the It is hence that passion seems so ridiculous bow; but Apollo, when the weapon was diswhen seen at a distance, or without the cause charged, watching, with unexulting eye, its of its existence being known: and it is hence, resistless course, and serene in the enjoythat if a human figure were petrified in any ment of immortal power. And inspired by of the stages of passion it would have so these mighty examples, it is not St. Michael painful or insane an appearance. As painting, when struggling with the demon, and marring Therefore, cannot exhibit the rapid changes the beauty of angelic form by the violence of in which the real expression of passion con- earthly passion, that Raphael represents; but sists, it should not attempt its delineation at St. Michael, in the moment of unruffled tri. all
. Its real object is, the expression of emotion, umph, restraining the might of almighty of that more settled state of the human mind power, and radiant with the beams of eternal when the changes of passion are gone when I mercy,
66 Venice once was dear,
It is a common observation, that the cha- pusillanimous race by which they are now racter of a people is in a great measure influ- inhabited, he looks in vain for the descendants enced by their local situation, and the nature of those great men who leapt from their of the scenery in which they are placed ; and gallies on the towers of Constantinople, and it is impossible to visit the Tyrol without being stood forth as the bulwark of Christendom convinced of the truth of the remark. The against the Ottoman power; and still less, entrance of the mountain region is marked when he surveys the miserable population hy as great a diversity in the aspect and man- with which he is surrounded, can he go back ners of the population, as in the external in imagination to those days of liberty and objects with which they are surrounded.; nor valour, when is the transition, from the level plain of Lombardy to the rugged precipices of the Alps, The pleasant place of all festivity, greater than from the squalid crouching ap
The revel of the earth, the masgue of Italy." pearance of the Italian peasant to the mar
From such scenes of national distress, and tial air of the free-born mountaineer.
from the melancholy spectacle of despotic This transition is so remarkable, that it power ruling in the abode of ancient freedom, attracts the attention of the most superficial it is with delight that the traveller enters the observer. In travelling over the states of the fastnesses of the Alps, where liberty has imnorth of Italy, he meets everywhere with the printed itself in indelible characters on the symptoms of poverty, meanness, and abject character and manners of the people. In depression. The beautiful slopes which de- every part of the Tyrol the bold and martial scend from the Alps, clothed with all that is air of the peasantry, their athletic form and beautiful and luxuriant in nature, are inha- fearless eye, bespeak the freedom and indebited for the most part by an indigent and pendence which they have enjoyed. In most squalid population, among whom you seek instances the people go armed; and during in vain for any share of that bounty with the summer and autumn they wear a musket which Providence has blessed their country; hung over their shoulders, or some other ofThe rich plains of Lombardy are cultivated fensive weapon. Universally they possess by a peasantry whose condition is hardly offensive weapons and are trained early to the superior to that of the Irish cottager; and use of them, both by the expeditions in search while the effeminate proprietors of the soil of game, of which they are passionately fond waste their days in inglorious indolence at - and by the annual duty of serving in the Milan and Verona, their unfortunate tenantry trained bands,'to which every man capable of are exposed to the merciless rapacity of bai- bearing arms is, without exception, subjected. liffs and stewards, intent only upon augment. It was in consequence of this circumstance, ing the fortunes of their absent superiors. In in a great measure, that they were able to towns, the symptoms of general distress are, make so vigorous a resistance, with so little if possible, still more apparent. While the preparation, to the French invasion; and it is opera and the Corso are crowded with splen- to the same cause that is chiefly to be ascribed did equipages, the lower classes of the people that intrepid and martial air by which they are are involved in hopeless indigence :-The distinguished from almost every other peasantchurches and public streets are crowded with
in Europe. beggars, whose wretched appearance marks Their dress is singularly calculated to add to but too truly the reality of the distress of this impression. That of the men consists, which they complain—while their abject and for the most part, of a broad-brimmed hat, crouching manner indicates the entire politi- ornamented by a feather; a jacket tight to the cal degradation to which they have so long shape, with a broad girdle, richly ornamented, been subjected. At Venice, in particular, the fastened in front hy a large buckle of costly total stagnation of employment, and the misery workmanship; black leather breeches ana of the people, strikes a stranger the more gaiters, supported over the shoulders by two forcibly from the contrast which they afford broad bands, generally of scarlet or blue, to the unrivalled splendour of her edifices, which are joined in front by a cross belt of and the glorious recollections with which her the same colour. They frequently wear pishistory is filled. As he admires the gorgeous tols in their girdle, and have either a rifle or magnificence of the piazza St. Marco, or winds cloak slung over their shoulders. The colours through the noble palaces that still rise with of the dresses vary in the different parts of undecaying beauty from the waters of the the country, as they do in the cantons of SwitAdriatic, he no longer wonders at the astonish- zerland; but they are always of brilliant ment with which the stern crusaders of the colours, and ornamented, particularly round north gazed at her marble piles, and feels the the breast, with a degree of richness which rapture of the Roman emperor, when he ap: appears extraordinary in the labouring classes proached, “where Venice sat in state throned of the community. Their girdles and clasps, on her hundred isles;" but in the mean and with the other more costly parts of their cloth.
* Blackwood's Magazine, Sept. 1819. Written from ing, are handed down from generation to notes made during a tour in Tyrol in the preceding year. generation, and worn on Sundays and festi