« AnteriorContinuar »
reward, and with reward snares and like are the garments, and so innopenalties.
cent of action is every limb. We This Society, which was never in believe that Mr. Jones has been so strong a position as at the present worshipped by a select brotherhood moment, has admitted within the as a designer for painted glass; last year several new Associates, and a certain blurred quality of some of whom will render the execution would seem to suggest gallery more attractive through close connection with worsted-work merit, others more notorious by also. A range of willow-pattern eccentricity. Of the former class plates, again, as a background to we must rank as pre-eminent F. poor Cinderella,' might indicate an Walker, whose two drawings,'Spring' alliance with the ceramic arts, and and The Church-Pew,' have become point to a long pedigree stretching prime favourites with all visitors. far away towards the Great Wall of The first of these subjects consists China. Certain it is that we shall of a little girl, who, gathering have to go far enough off before primroses on the confines of a wood, we can meet with the prototypes has become entangled in a bush, of these singular works. It is, howthe interlacing branches of which ever, just possible that in the remote cover the figure as by, a network. depths of the darkest of medieval The first effect produced on the centuries, innocent of anatomy, spectator is that of surprise, and perspective, and other carnal know. then-- as in certain works of sculp- ledge, something like these nonture, wherein, for example, a man natural figures might be found. struggles to extricate himself from And so, after all, Mr. Jones may the meshes in which he is entrapped turn out not quite as original as -it is discovered that the artistic he would at first sight seem, by difficulty overcome is of easy mas- these forms so studiously grotesque, tery. In the present instance the by his contempt for beauty, and figure, of course, is drawn first, his persistent pursuit of unmitigated and then, when finished, the inter- ugliness. Yet on the whole, as vening branches are pencilled in witness the Knight,' and 'The front. The other topic treated by Kissing Crucifix,' also The Annun. Mr. Walker - a family seated in a ciation, we incline to the judgment church-pew - is praiseworthy for that Mr. Jones has surpassed all quiet, unostentatious qualities, rely. that ever went before him. ing on accuracy of drawing and are told that these compositions a treatment which, to its minutest should be approached with reverence, detail, is governed by intention, and we think so; especially the
We have reserved the extraordi- angel Gabriel, who seems as simple nary productions of a new Asso- and unadorned as any maid-of-allciate, E. B. Jones, for strong protest. work. This servant, up in the In the name of nightmare, con- morning betimes, was sweeping vulsions, delirium, and apoplexy, one of the outer courts of heaven we would demand to what order of when requested to hook on a pair created beings do these monstrosities of wings and descend to earth with belong? Ought these figures to an errand. We beg to observe that be allowed to walk the earth, or if holy things are here brought to shall they, as lunatics, be put in ridicule, the fault is with the painter, strait-waistcoats and thrust into an not in us. asylum? We are not quite sure, With this egregious exception, however, whether the considerate and with the addition of a few soliartist has not already provided tary examples scattered through against the possibility of harm to other galleries, the much-vaunted quiet neighbours, by binding his Preraphaelite school of figure and incipient maniacs hand and foot, landscape painting may be said to so mighty stiff are they, so shroud. be extinct. The pictures and draw.
We ings of Mr. Hamerton certainly, in- graphic fidelity. We regret that deed, show - as did a book, The space does not enable us to survey Painter's Camp in the Highlands,' in detail two other Exhibitions, to of which Mr. Hamerton was the which, since the close of the Interauthor - decided Preraphaelite and national Galleries at Kensington, Ruskinite proclivities. These pic- the English public have been intorial efforts, kindly submitted to debted for the knowledge of recent public view under the care of the productions of Continental schools. man “Thursday,” must be admitted The French and Flemish Exhibias every way creditable to an amateur. tion of the present year is chiefly to They, however, by no means induce. be remembered by two noble works us to alter the opinion we have of the Belgian Gallait; à cabinet long entertained of the impractica- picture, great, nevertheless, in gen. bilities of this thankless school - a jus, by Gerome, the painter of school which makes of its disciples "The Duel,' 'The Gladiators,' and slaves, and reduces art to drudgery. "Phryne;' and a masterpiece by These penalties, attaching to the Edouard Frere - small, of course, carrying out of certain plausible but choice. To the Scandinavian but essentially false principles, seem Gallery, at a moment when the to have disgusted the leaders of a sympathies of our countrymen are schism which at one time threatened directed towards the sufferings and in its consequences to grow serious, heroism of a brave nation, peculiar if not fatal. However, as we have interest attaches. Denmark, in said, this eccentric school is now literature, science, and the arts, all but extinct. The pictures of can boast of illustrious' antecedents. Mr. Millais, and even of Mr. Holman Thorwaldsen the sculptor, Oersted Hunt, are naturalistic, and nothing the man of science, Worsaae the more. The landscape this year antiquary, and Hans Christian exhibited in the Academy by Mr. Andersen the writer of romance, Brett, an artist hitherto identified have given to this comparatively with the most ultra of dogmas, is small kingdom no inconsiderable wholly free from extravagance, and renown in the realms of intellect, may be commended for a beauty And walking into this Scandinavian which, in the Bay of Naples,' Gallery, it is satisfactory to obtain no Preraphaelite spectacles were ocular proof that genius has not needed to discover. These and abandoned her favourite shores, other vigorous men, it is to be washed by the storm-lashed wave. hoped, bave at length thrown off a A review of the London Art-Seabondage which became intolerable son were incomplete did it not conto bear. Still it is to be feared tain some notice of the great mural that others of the weaker sort have paintings executed in the Palace of foundered in deep and troublous Westminster. Two years since we waters, and will remain for ever spoke in terms of more than comlost. Thus - less fatally, on the mon admiration of the power and whole, than might at one time have mastery displayed in a vast waterbeen expected-ends a drama which glass painting, twelve feet high by was put upon the stage with more forty-five feet wide, The Meeting than ordinary pomp and flourish of of Wellington and Blucher after the advertisement.
Battle of Waterloo,' then recently We have been much pleased with completed in the Royal Gallery by a brilliant series of drawings ere. Mr. Maclise. The companion piccuted by Mr. William Simpson dur- ture, Trafalgar - the Death of Neling a tour of three years through son,' has engaged the untiring lathe most renowned portions of our bour of the same artist during the Indian empire. They are remark. past year, and is now in a forward able alike for their artistic beauty, state. Within the last few months their historic truth, and their topo- have been put up, in the Peers' and
Commons' corridors, the slabs which the admission of Sir Tristram to received on their plaster surface the Fellowship of the Round Tuble ; "The Expulsion of the Fellows of Religion' or 'Faith, as seen in a College at Oxford for refusing to the vision of Sir Galahad and his sign the Covenant, painted by Mr. company; Generosity, extended Cope, and "The Landing of Charles to King Arthur when unhorsed and II.,' executed by Mr. Ward. We spared by Sir Launcelot; 'Courhave limited ourselves to the bare tesy,' as when Sir Tristram harped enumeration of these works, each to La Belle Isonde; and Mercy,' admirable after its kind, in order vouchsafed when Sir Gawaine to leave greater space for the fres. swore on bended knce never to be coes by Mr. Dyce, and the water- cruel to ladies. As an indication glass picture by Mr. Herbert-works of the time and study involved which, long talked of, now on their in these compositions, it may be .completion elicit, as they deserve, the enough to state that the first of the warm encomium of the public. Mr. above subjects, the large picture, Dyce was cut off in the midst of his "The Admission of Sir Tristram to labours, and thus has never been the Fellowship of the Round Table,' permitted to enjoy the honour which contains upwards of thirty life-size years of earnest devotion would figures, each exccuted, after the have amply won. Those who now piecemeal process of frescoe, upon enter, perchance for the first time, something like two hundred slabs the Queen's Robing-Room, in which of wet mortar, each day freshly this artist was immured so long, laid upon the wall to receive the will stand in admiration, not un- painter's colours. A close examimingled with sadness, in the midst nation of this dovetailed mosaic of of works which serve as monu- mortar scarcely reveals the lines of ments to the genius and the per- juuction, so faultless has been the sistent industry of the great painter manipulation of both painter and whose untimely loss we have to plasterer. Neither can the execudeplore. It is a melancholy fact tion be found to betray the haste that the last days of Mr. Dyce were or the incompleteness said to be inembittered by hostile discussions, separable from this fresco method: which arose from the prolonged on the contrary, not only are the elay in the execution of these ar- heads fully mature, in expression, duous compositions. During the but even the accessories of chain last days of Mr. Dyce's life, it was armour, sword-hilts, and horses' our privilege to see him here in the trappings, have been pronounced in midst of his pictures, poletie in hand. elaborate detail. Taken as a whole, His health evidently had been we incline to think that these noble broken, and the feeling which arose and deliberate works may be acdominant in our mind was, not that cepted as a fulfilment of those santhe painter had done so little, but guine hopes which some years since rather with thankfulness wé re- were entertained when fresco was joiced he had been enabled, encom- still in this country a tempting but passed by difficulties, to accomplish untried experiment. It were, of so much, and that so well. We re- course, too much to say that these visited this chamber a few weeks pictures equal the master works since, and the subjects with which executed in the same material by its walls are decorated now lie again the great artists in Italy. In some before us in a series of photographs points, however, they will not be taken from the frescoes themselves. found to suffer by comparison, at The theme allotted to Mr. Dyce was least with any of the modern rethe legend of King Arthur, in illus- vivals in Europe. In .colour they tration of the virtues of chivalry; are certainly less .crude than and the subjects already carried out German frescoes, and in outline are 'Hospitality,' as exemplified in less severe and hard. The style is,
after Mr. Dyce's accustomed man- approach the rulers and the conner, academic. The fault, perhaps, gregation of the people with wooder may be found that these compo- and dismay. The figure of Moses, sitions went vigour and vitality, the personation of a law given amid - deficiencies which usually afflict thunder and lightnings, stands the schools given to careful compila- centre of the composition. Around tion.
him, some retreating back through It remains that we should notice awe, others drawing near by fellowthe great water-glass picture by Mr. ship in office, are grouped the LeHerbert, which has been received, vites and princes of the people, as it deserves, with a favour wax- Aaron and his two sons, Nadab ing to furor. Some ten years ago and Abihu, Joshua, his father Nun, Mr. Herbert' accepted a commis- and Eleazar, Caleb the guide of sion to prepare designs for a the camp, and Miriam, the singer series of paintings to be executed and prophetess, kneeling, her timon the walls of the Peers' Robing. brel lying on the ground. Above Room. The theme committed to rise the heights of Sinai, beneath bis charge was Justice on Earth, stretches the valley in which the and its development in Law and tribes of Israel are seen encamped. Judgment, subjects commencing Such is the subject of this grand with 'Moses bringing down the composition, occupying the entire Tables of the Law, proceeding by end of the room, a space upwards intermediate steps to The Judg- of twenty feet in length by ten ment of Solomon, The Visit of the in height. As a work of art, variQueen of Sheba,' and ending with ous excellencies are worthy of The Vision of Daniel.' Other note. The composition is symmeevents are included in the series, tric and equally balanced. Moses, which, if ever completed, will con- crowned by a nimbus traversed sist of no less than nine composi- with radiant horns, is made the tions. The first of these only is centre or culminating point, and finished, “Moses bringing down the all subordinate or accessory figTables of the Law.' We read in the ures encircle or radiate from him, 34th chapter of Exodus, that "it the hero of the scene. The col. came to pass, when Moses came our is varied, but not decorative; down from Mount Sinai with the serious, as befits the subject, with. two tables of the testimony, that out being austere. The light is Moses wist not that the skin of his luminous to the last degree -- more face shone while he talked with the radiant, indeed, than in any fresco Lord. And when Aaron and all we can recall; qualities, no doubt, the children of Israel saw Moses, in great measure dependent on the behold, the skin of bis face shone, painter having covered the wall as and they were afraid to come nigh a preliminary with a coating of unto him."
This is the moment white paint. For detail, also, we selected by Mr. Herbert. It will must concede that this work, exbe remembered that, for the sake of ecuted in water-glass — a process dramatic action, Leonardo, in the which admits of retouching and composition of his 'Last Supper,' endless elaboration - goes far bechose the time when Jesus said, yond the comparatively broad "One of you shall betray me.” For a sketchy manner which usually conlike reason — that is, for the purpose tents the rival method of fresco. of attaining variety in action and in. This power of expressing the minuttensity of expression-Mr. Herbert cst of facts has by the painter has seized the situation indicated in been turned to good account: not the text, when Moses, having been only does he reproduce the Oriwith the Lord forty days and forty ental turban in its richness and nights, his countenance radiant variety of colour, but he is en. with light and glory, fills at his abled at the same time, in his figures, to mark the anatomy of spects for the future. We had every limb, and in the faces to thought that the Report of the work out delicate traits of expres- Royal Commission, recommending sion. Speaking generally of the bold reforms in the Academy, would style, we should say, it is more have been followed by immediate naturalistic than academic or ideal. and salutary results. But from the Yet at the same time the work notorious incapacity of the present maintains a naturalism which, by Government in the department of its nobility, is delivered from the public works, and from the feeling degradation which Horace Vernet now strong in the House that every and others of the French school plan propounded by the Ministry brought upon sacred art. The fres- demanding supplies for the erection coes of Mr. Dyce we have desig. or purchase of public buildings nated as pertaining to the style must be nothing else than a weak academic. The treatment adopted compromise and a job, the wellby Mr. Herbert is in great degree grounded hope that the Academy free from any such traditional re- and the National Gallery were straint. Thus his picture becomes about to be put in a position as we have said, in the best sense worthy of a great nation has been of the word, naturalistic – that is, once more frustrated. Melancholy it seeks after forms realistic, yet at is it thus to see the arts in this the same time noble, truthful, and country ever made the sport of facbeauteous; and herein art and na- tion, the victims of ignorance and ture are, in the end, shown to be incapacity. By a capricious and one and indivisible. In fine, taken ill-considered vote of the House for all in all, Moses bringing of Commons the well-considered down the Tables of the Law is scheme of the Royal Commissioners the grandest and most satisfactory is rendered, at least for an indemural painting yet revealed in this finite period, absolutely nugatory. country. We bave here, indeed, a And thereby the Academy is now signal example of high historic art again under a premium to maintain in the best and truest sense of the existing abuses in fullest force, in terms.