Imatges de pÓgina

composition. A great portion of the for it a place between the Claudes? It picture is occupied with a poor, reedy, is a picture, also, even as regards the scrambling kind of—I know not what detail of which Mr Ruskin has enlarged to call it, for it is not underwood - upon the painter's epic power. The stock stuff, by way of stem and foliage subject, " The Building of Carthage.” for a bank—that agrees with nothing, At first view this is a striking work. It unless it be with the vulgarity of the has power; there is much atmospheric women washing their shifts. The light in it-perhaps not quite perspecmajesty of woodland—that "severitively true to the actual distances. religio loci"-had less power over But, not to be too critical as to its him; he loved not to commune with pictorial effect, pray sit before it; “th' unseen genius of the wood.” study it as a composition: you will

see the main idea of it, as a composi“ Towers and cities pleased him then, And the busy hum of men.”

tion of lines, is taken from its neigh

bouring Claudes, with an exaggeraI throw no blame upon him that he tion of pile upon pile of buildings, inmade his choice where his feeling lay; stead of the better simplicity of the but do not let any run away with the model. Then for the sea in Claude, notion that be alone painted every- you have a river; and such a river i thing. “Every landscape-painter be- But of that hereafter. There is the fore him had acquired distinction by same position of the sun, and of the confining his efforts to one class of sub- water beneath it, and, as usual, his ject. Hobbima painted oaks; Ruys- dark tree on the right; whereas dael, waterfalls and copses; Cuyp, Claude concealed much of his within river or meadow scenes, in quiet after- bis architecture. But passing by this noons ; Salvator and Poussin, such borrowing of the lines of his composikind of mountain scenery as people tion, pray, my post-Raphaelite friend, could conceive who had lived in towns look at it, both as a whole, and in its in the seventeenth century. But I parts, which are supposed to make up am well persuaded that if all the the poetic sentiment, and what will works of Turner, up to the year 1820, you see? It belies history, it mars all were divided into classes (as he has poetical thought-for you perceive himself divided them in the Liber that Queen Dido, far from taking adStudiorum), no preponderance could vantage of her marine position, built be assigned to one class-over another.” her city upon either side of a ditchIf this means anything, it is this, that a positively dirty narrow ditch. That in their respective efforts, Turner the architects had so little taste, that successfully vied with all the above instead of bringing their masonry pamed, and immeasureably distanced down flush with the water, they left the two last. Nay, even the first bits of dirty, scruffy, refuse-growing named also ; for thus speaks the rocks, interrupting the masonry, and author of Modern Painters: A rendering more conspicuous, as they single dusty roll of Turner's brush is are also characteristic of the city sewermore truly expressive of the infinity age. The very leafage about these porof foliage, than the niggling of Hob- tions looks offensive, and Carthage is bima could have rendered his canvass built on and piled up from this ditch. if he had worked on it till dooms. You learn also that the climate was day."

of that dirty white fog which enI said that Turner was deficient in genders fever, and such as would high poetic feeling. In all his attempts rather become a description of Sierra at this kind of painting, there is for Leone, than Carthage, the rival of the foundation, imitation, melo-dra- Rome. The air is of a pestilential matised by exaggeration, and offen- heat—not an inch of pleasant azure to sive vulgarities in the minor parts. be seen; and in this he forgot Claude. Shall I make out my case by an ex- But the pile upon pile, mounting to amination of the picture which it may the very top of the canvass—if the be presumed be considered to be his day be hot-will pain you to contemmost, or one of the most, important plate how people are to reach_such of his works for he has bequeathed it very high " frying-pan rows." There to the National Gallery, and required is not a pleasant level anywhere,

either for garden recreation, or for I will, I say, tell this great sequays of commerce. The Cartha- cret epic thought of higher aim than ginians clung to their ditch. It must the boy and his paper-boat - and have been quite terrible to encounter, more expressive of that peculiar comwithout possibility of escape, that mercial greatness, which Carthage or fever sky, in that fever-breeding ditch. any other city may be supposed to One-half of the city was cut off from have reached, simply by the “flying communicating with the other; for of kites," a boy flying his kite. although there is a bridge, it must Messrs Pre-Raphaelites, adopt it, and have been scorching to cross it—and you will have an essay upon your high there was no electric telegraph in and sublime epic from the pen of the those days. As to horses and car- graduate Ruskin, in which your fame riages, how could they, and where will float and shine for ever in the could they ascend? Did the painter "palpitating" light of a “Chrysowish to insinuate a new version of phrase" glory. Nevertheless, let me the tale of Queen Dido, that she say, I do think the Graduate has committed suicide simply because the been rather severe upon the leaperfidious Trojan did not remove her ther trunks of Claude, wbich I humfrom such a detestable spot ? The bly conceive to be as good an inci“Infelix Dido," left in such a “ditch- dent, as by their apparent weight delivered" Carthage! But the epic! they may have containe some such It is an epic incident. It is a thought hundred and forty pounds' weight of -and such a thought-as Mr Ruskin nuggets as have been so packed from has thus described : “Such a thought our Australia. The trunk may have as this is something far above all art; contained the “Pygmalionis opes." it is epic poetry of the highest order.” I fear the author likes no wealth that Of course this grand thought ought comes not from the Turner diggings. to reconcile you to those few and Now, the fault I find with Mr Tur. otherwise main defects, which I ven- per's works (and I admit his great ture, only for the sake of truth in cri- ability, at least at one period, and a ticism, to show. It is a thought—to certain skill at all times) is, that he tell you at a glance what is not, but is ever repeating this one idea, for what is to be—that fleet which, like which he was originally, without the Armada, was invisible, and for the doubt, indebted to Claude. Pray same reason. It is a thought preg- walk to Marlborough House, to the nant with prophecy,

Vernon Collection ; you will see there

Turner's "Golden Bough"-a pallid “ Big with the fate (of Carthage or) of Rome.”

white picture-almost ghost-like seen It is an incident which the Graduate at a little distance, it is so faint: see pronounces “exquisite choice of inci- it at such distance, for the study of dent, expressive of the ruling pas- the composition. There is the same sion "- Of what ? Boat-building sky, the same middle space beneath nothing more or less. If this be the it—the mounting up each side-the bathos in the epic art, let your imagi- particular tree on the right; and, as a nation rise out of the boat-building whole, the picture is chalky and colsewer ditch, if it can, to picture the ourless. I would entreat Messrs maritime power of Carthage. The - whom I will not name not to incident is a boy sailing his paper imagine they can disguise an imitation, boat. Now, my good friend, do you or a theft, simply by changing sides; for not think an epic incident of a much it really matters very little on which higher flight would have told as well, side the peculiar tree breaks the risand one that may for a momenting hill, nor on which side the guitarsoar out of this pestilent ditch ? player is placed. Mr Turner was an And I will offer it, now I think of eccentric man: some of his eccentriit, to Messrs So and So, the imi- cities of character are visible in his tators, who love the sun in the middle works. It would have been an agreeof a foggy sky-and cities on each able task to have been able to say all side of a river—and the tree, for va- pleasant things about his works, now riety's sake, on the left, instead of that he is no more; but I do not acthe right, to look like originality; knowledge that such an event as the


decease of an artist, is any justifica- —and the parts are out of harmony tion for false and flattering criticism. with each other. Yet, to be just : I Let no man who takes up the critical know not where to lay the blame pen, be so false to the Arts as to com

I doubt if the cleaner could pliment away the manliness of truth. help doing mischief. The mistake I, for one, believe from my heart, has been one of long standing, and I there is a great deal of bad taste going, have long foreseen the mischief. and a great deal of ignorant pre- Years ago there was a notion prevasuming humbug employed to keep it lent that old pictures should be emgoing; and I feel I have both a right browned. There are many in the Naand a duty to make my protest, and •tional Gallery which have been thus in my own way; and I do not see treacled over. Probably ruinous aswhy one man's reprehension is not phaltum has been at times used to to be tolerated, as well as another obtain this effect; but whether pur. man’s praise, if it be given in since- posely or not, the Seguier recipe for rity, with an honesty in which there varnishing, long in use, would be sure, is no malice. I do not see why we, in the end, not only to embrown to who have studied the subject for filthiness, but to make that filthiness years, should submit to be put down, most difficult to remove-impossible, nor allow Prince Humbug to spout without the risk of great injury. The sounding inanities, uncontradicted and mixing of drying-oil with the varunrefuted. I do not reprehend with- nish, under the notion of preventing out giving reasons-let arguments chill, is a most pernicious practice. speak for themselves. I believe there Such varnish is penetrable by foul air, is much to be put right in the public and readily receives stains, yet forms taste. No man is thought deficient in over pictures a skin, perfectly hard at modest propriety, because he speaks the bottom, which becomes brown as out boldly his political opinions; and leather in time. why should he be blamed who unhe- I well remember, although it is now sitatingly speaks out his opinions on very many years ago, the dismay of a the Fine Arts ?

Royal Academician upon the return As I have made the criticism on the of his picture from the Exhibition. “ Carthage” in the National Gallery, He had been advised to varnish it, it may be in place here to offer some previous to its being sent off, with remarks upon the state of the pictures this boiled oil and mastic-varnish. It in the Gallery, before I proceed to was indeed in a miserable state-a any other pre or post Raphaelite cri- brown skin all over it. I believe he ticism. The Claude is certainly very did not take it off without great lamuch damaged. Original paint has not bour and damage, and that he might only been removed, but the picture has in as short a time have repainted been painted upon; I do not pretend the picture. Thus it may be that the to say when, but the touches are vi- present authorities in the Gallery are sible enough. Claude painted his not so much in fault; the cause of the waves not at all in solid colour, but, damage is of an older date. If any doubtless, in semi-transparent work- one doubts the fact, let him turn his ings. The underground may have been eye from the cleaned Claude, to the very azure, but on that azure the uncleaned Gaspar Poussin close by it; waves were afterwards made out, with and if he remembers what that picture their endless varieties of lines running was, he will now see it quite another into lines, and delicately losing them- thing. Let him look at the sky, and selves. Much of these lines—these he will see the boiled oil exuded, as it drawings—have been obliterated, and were, through the mastic, and visible some portions may yet be seen in enough in patches as big as the palm greenish spots. So, if the upper part of his hand. The whole picture is of the sky be as Claude left it, the more or less obfuscated by MrSeguier's lower cannot be. It is quite dis- recipe ; how to repair this mischief is coloured, and I think a new painting another matter. If the cause be known may be discovered in the weak edg- -and I believe the cause to be no ings of the clouds. The picture looks other than that I have stated—let the crude and cold-has lost its richness most scientific men be consulted as to



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what chemical preparation may be atmosphere, and brilliancy, and harmost safe. I would venture to say mony-not the brilliancy of crude, also, with all deference to the profes- positive colouring, but the brilliancy sion, that individual artists, be they acquired by the process I have menRoyal Academicians or not, are rarely tioned. the best judges as to methods of clean- There is another thing I wish to say, ing pictures of the old masters. Few while I am upon this subject: Ought of them have been able to devote their there to be a necessity of entirely retime to examine either the mode in moving varnish? I think not, if picwhich pictures were painted, or the tures are properly varnished. The vehicles used. But a competent know- surface may be well washed-it will ledge on this point is very needful, without doubt, especially in the atmobefore undertaking the cleaning and sphere of a national gallery, acquire repairing of pictures. Some able and dirt; but it may be tolerably clean learned men have written much upon under, and this upper surface of the the subject :-in France, Merimée, De varnish may be very safely removed Burtin, and others; Sir C. Eastlake's without coming near the paint. There researches will certainly give valuable are many methods of removal pracinformation. But there is another tised- friction with the finger, and objection to leaving the cleaning the solvents; but I conceive the safest to pictures to the decision and judgment be one which, on first hearing of it, of any artist. It is well to ask what may frighten the connoisseur-neverhas been his own practice. Some theless, it is the safest. A handful of painters glaze much, some scarcely at common kitchen sand, thrown over all. Now those who are of the latter the picture, and delicately rubbed over practice are not likely to have a cor- the surface-not dry, but with a good rect eye to discover all the glazings, quantity of water-will remove so and the positive drawings, made out much of the varnish as it may be adby semi-transparent glazings, in many visable to remove, and clean all. I of the pictures of the old masters. have said delicately, rather for the Those who are accustomed to the use sake of the fears of the reader, than of oil alone, will not easily see the from a necessity of the case ; for even partly distemper-methods of the Ve- with pictures newly painted, and what netian painters, whose pictures, when is called tacky, the sand so used will the varnish is removed, it is not very be found not to touch the paint. And safe to wash. Then if the superin- I say common kitchen sand; because tending artist be addicted to vivid, some persons may suppose that, the strong, and unmixed colours, the bluest finer the sand, the less chance of inblue, the brightest red, and crudest jury. But it is quite the reverse. yellow-his eye is not likely to dis. The finest sand may be a flint sand, cover the niceties of those mixed co- and may cut like diamond dust. The lours whose compound hues have no common red and yellow sand is soft, name, and for whose beauty, by habit, and will do no harm. And here I he has little perception. Thus in would throw out a hint for “modern cleaning a Claude, he will of course painters," not to be found in the flatthink, when he has come down to the tering volumes with that title. Oil, raw colours, that he has brought the like port-wine, throws off — I will call work to its primitive condition, and it-its crust. A picture painted to-day, its best. To one who will examine will a few days hence be greasy from with care, and without bias to any this cause. Sand and water, as I have practice, it will not be very difficult recommended its use, will at once reto see, in the pictures of Claude, that move this bad quality of the oil; but much of the work was done, not by a few days after, exudation again takes solid, but semi-transparent painting, place, and it is a long time before all and that over a previously solid work- the foul part of the oil is discharged, ing; for Claude did not, as Poussin so that continual sanding with water, and other Italian painters, leave his as described, may be required. But original ground to be seen, and he when after a lapse of time, upon apwent over and over his picture till he plying a sponge with water, the surbrought it into a fine mellow tone, and face is no longer greasy, the picture may be varnished with safety, and ing impudence-because their nonsenwill, I believe, never change after- sical dicta, by word or by paint, are wards, at least from any effect of the not received by all—to malice the oil. And if this be strictly true, as criticisms which they seek. They from many years' experience I believe affect thereby to show the world what it to be, it follows that painters may painting should be. Their chief adbe less afraid of oil than they are; and vocate pours his contempt upon all the oil, if unchanging, certainly tends to usual " idiot Londoners” are doing, enriching the picture. And even with or causing to be done, and then with a newly painted picture, if this prac- an affected eccentricity takes you, not tice be taken up, the artist will be to any picture of the new school, but quite surprised at the purity of the to look at something quite different, surface of his picture—the ungreasi- and what probably few have beheld; ness, to coin a word. For, in fact, by and that as a drop-scene to the ridithis constant removal, you do what culously mock-sentimental of really time does, and what time has done, idiotic fine writing, which bids you with those old works, which look so break every fibre of your heart. Nay, very different from the newly painted, if you doubt, you post-Raphaelite, from this cause alone. I hope these read. Here it is-speaking of subremarks will induce both artists, and jects—" Or mountain sceneries, with those who have the care of pictures, young idiots of Londoners, wearing to make trial of the method recom- Highland bonnets and brandishing mended. It may tend to the preser- rifles, in the foregrounds. Do but vation of all pictures.

think of these things in the breadth It is, however, time, my good friend, of their inexpressible imbecility, and not forgetting that you are a post- then go and stand before that broken Raphaelite, and a Raphaelite too, to bas-relief in the southern gate of Linleave the National Gallery, wbich has coln Cathedral, and see if there is no given rise to the above thoughts, to fibre in the heart in you that will the mercy of Mr Seguier's famous break too." Now, any young Lonrecipe-which, if it saves the pictures doner would be guilty of inexpresfrom chilling, is enough to make taste sible imbecility indeed, and so

something and genius shudder. Methinks I see more, that should choose there and aspirants for fame, looking one day then to stand (if he could) and cut to hang their shields in this temple of through his waistcoat into his heart, the Fine Arts. It is a bold thing for to look for his fibres, and only to any living to approach the gates with break them. This is really "inexsuch a desire. Thin-skinned or thickpressible imbecility.” The man who skinned, they will be sure to be flayed writes about breaking his heart or his sooner or later. Mr Uwins and his fibres over a work of art, has no heart men stand above the portcullis, with to break about the matter. Shall we their boiled oil, ready to be poured ever see a donkey break the fibres of upon the heads of all who atte his heart with his own braying ? No entrance. And there I must be con- one will give him credit for caring one tent to let them stand for the present; farthing for the said bas-relief. He while one of Mr Ruskin's Lamps is only wishes you to picture him standsuspended in another gallery, illumi- ing there, for the notoriety of it. This nating the public path that leads to it, is not the heart of a man, but fulland commanding all people to come budded vanity bursting into expanded and fall down before it and worship.

Yet this is the self-constiThat lamp, as you have seen by the tuted arbiter elegantiarum, who has too quotation from Mr Ruskin's “ Pre. long had listeners or readers—writes Raphaelitism," is Joseph Everett Mil- bombastical confusion on what he lais. There is the authority of Mr Rus- knows nothing about, and misleads kin that Mr Millais and his school call people by the ears. But, my postthemselves pre-Raphaelite. The as- Raphaelite, I lend you my eyes, for a sumption of a title, and such a title, few minutes, while I attempt to deprovokes criticism. I do not see why scribe what I see-the wonder of they, or their promoter, advocate, and wonders to those led admirers who defender should ascribe, with astonish- think not and feel not, Mr Millais's



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