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sculptor has thrown into the agon- essayed the most arduous of subised features of the Laocoon. Now jects, this artist bas for some time we should be sorry to bind a paint- attracted to his works a wondering er down to strict compliance with gaze. It always becomes a curious conditions which may prove a question, as it long was and still bondage even to the sculptor; but is with a brother artist, the painter as Mr. Armitage of his own free of 'The Vale of Rest,' and of St. will puts himself under the law, Agnes' Eve,' What astounding work we need have less scruple in saying Mr. Leighton may do next? Will that the ordinance imposed as a he show us a harem, will be introcanon of high art-which is, after duce us to houris, will he conduct us. all, not artificial, but essential-be to Hades, or will he bid us take a has transgressed, and that much to walk on Parnassus ? Certain it is the loss of dignity and quiet power. that whoever presumes to follow in The figure of Jezebel, especially in the eccentric flight of this artist will the passionate spasm of the hand, do well to provide himself with is melodramatic. Mr. Watts, in his wings. As for the ordinary faculties design, Time and Oblivion,' also of humanity, plain sober eye-sight, challenges severe criticism. The clear common sense, and the like, very explanation which he gives of they may be dispensed with altohis intent, that this personification gether, and the adventurer through of: Time and Oblivion,' is “a de- space or across the broad field of sign for sculpture," "to be executed history need only take to himself in divers materials after the man- a copious supply of transcendental ner of Phidias," alone suggests reason and gaseous imagination. comparisons which it is difficult for As in other aeronautic expeditions, any work to sustain. Yet may we the chief danger lies in the apat least accord to this perilous at., proach to, and the coming in contempt somewhat of the largeness in tact with, mother earth. But whatmasses and the grandeur of manner ever lawlessness may have marked which are peculiar characteristics of Mr. Leighton's past career, we are the Phidian era. Only we must be bound to concede that the courses permitted to object that the artist on which he has now entered claim has essayed & Herculean labour from the critic respectful homage. considerably beyond his powers. The powers which bave hitherto The figures are not ill conceived, been scattered are at length conthe idea is not inaptly expressed; centrated, so that in the latest of but the drawing is certainly want- Mr. Leighton's works, 'Dante in ing in mastery, and the difficult Exile,' the vapourings of genius passages in the composition appear now shine as true visions. The slurred rather than solved. The artist here reverts with maturer aspirations of Mr. Watts, as seen in power to the country and the epoch the fresco executed in the dining- chosen in his earliest and hitherto hall of Lincoln's Inn, are ever lofty; most successful picture, The Probut technical power, which would cession of Cimabue.' Italy of the give to his noble ideas adequate middle ages, crowded with illustripictorial development, seems lack- ous characters, poets, painters, paing. A small head hy this artist, triotsa country whose very stones called • Choosing,' is altogether are eloquent in undying memories lovely, and especially to be com- --such are the scenes congenial to mended for harmony of colour. the genius of this painter. The
The genius of Mr. Leighton has theme he has here selected is ardufor years lain in chaos, or broken ous, the style to which he aspires out only in rebellion. Possessed ambitious. Imagination has inof more than ordinary erudition, vested Dante in no ordinary digniimpelled by an ambition which ty; a historic halo shadows and yet soared to the highest style, , and shines upon that brow awful in
He in the rise of any transcendent power, or in the display of creative originality by the artists themselves. The impetus to progression, on the contrary, comes, as we have seen, from without; the painter is merely the child of the age in which he lives, the mirror that reflects the form and fashion of his time and country. Thus it is that our English school is emphatically English, and that our annual Exhibitions serve as pictorial chronicles to the day and generation in which our lot is cast. This is, indeed, high commendation — yet, after all, not the highest; for there is an injunction which Schiller lays upon the artist that we would here repeat by way, if not of censure, at least of eaution. “Live,” says this poet philosopher, “with your century, but be not its creature; bestow upon your contemporaries not what they praise, but what they need. Though you may regard them as they are if you are tempted to work for them, imagine them as they should be if you are to influence and raise them.” Our Exhibitions, it must be admitted, show little indication that painters are striving for this command over the intellect of their age. Content to follow, few desire to lead. For the most part, they paint in order to win the where withal to live, and, thus living for the present, few, it may be feared, will survive the century which has witnessed the beginning and will see the close of their labours. Armitage, Watts, and in some measure Leighton, have a right to rank among those disciples of high art who, fulfilling the behest of Schiller, work less for present times than for posterity. Forsaking forms positive and individual, they seek truths generic and absolute; they make the accident of nature submit to the proportions prescribed by aesthetic law; they require rude reality to bend to ideal beauty; and thus they ascend to the sphere of historic or philosophic art, a lofty region which only a few venturous spirits dare to tread. Edward
Armitage, in the picture of “Ahab and Jezebel,' attains heroic proportion, and with size comes commensurate dignity. King Ahab, a figure seven and a half feet high, reclines on a couch: his wife, the infamous Jezebel, stands at his head with the fury of a tigress and the appetite of a vulture, uttering the upbraiding words, “Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let thine heart be merry; I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” But the king lies sad and sick, and the grapes and the wine are put aside untasted. Mr. Armitage has sought, and not without success, to reconcile the broad generic treatment of the older historic style with the literal detail which is now dominant in our modern school. Rich regal robes and sumptuous palatial decorations are studiously transcribed from the works of Mr. Layard, or taken direct from the Assyrian remains in the British Museum. It is also interesting to mark how the artist has given to his picture the manner of an ancient bas-relief, how he has brought the liberty allowed to the one art under subjection to the severity imposed by the other. What we mean will be better understood by an appeal to the designs on Greek vases, the purest and best examples of which illustrate the transformation through which sculpture emerged into painting; or, in other words, these monochrome pictures of the Greeks reveal sculpture as the elder and the parent art. Mr. Armitage deserves praise for the courage required in the adoption of this self denying manner, for experience proves that a facile pictorial treatment is in the present day the surest road to popular applause. We are sorry, however, to see that in one vital point he submits to a compromise. Repose and equanimity, Winckelmann tells us, the Greeks deemed inseparable from the noblest art; and our own Reynolds offers some apology, or at least explanation, for the violence of passion which the
Ward's Princes in the Tower'' is well-considered intent, can put toa picture of tender pathos, painted gether an episode just as it might with rare skill and care, and ad- have happened in the side-scenes of mirable for an even moderation, our national drama "La Reine Malwhich bespeaks calm strength and heureuse' represents the devoted balanced judgment. J. Hayllar's queen of Charles I. a victim to the Queen's Highway in the Sixteenth Parliament wars. She had just reCentury,' a road then deemed mår- turned from Holland, whither she vellously good, but which we should had been seeking supplies, and was now hold as villanously bad, the scarcely landed when five ships Queen's coach being by the country entered Burlington Bay and com"hinds and folks of a base sort lifted' menced an active cannonade. The with poles out of the mire, is a cle- Queen and her companions take ver composition, spiced with satire: shelter in a ditch, yet in this humi. In the same room, not far distant, liation is no safety: "the 'cannon is G. Storey's Meeting of William bullets," writes Henrietta Maria in a Seymour and the Lady Arabella letter to the King, "fell thick about Stuart at the Court of James I.' us, and a servant was killed within We are told that “the nearness of seventy paces of me.” Mr. Yeames the Lady Arabella to the English contributed a noteworthy picture throne seems to have inspired James to the Academy of last year; his with an unworthy jealousy, and to present work evinces steady adhave caused him to form the reso- vance: we shall expect of this artist lution of keeping her single.” How- good fruit in coming seasons. E. ever, here at the Court she meets Crowe has also been quietly winning with a friend of her childhood, Mr. his way to renown, and must now William Seymour; they converse, rank among the expectants upon they fall in love, they are secretly whom the Academy will at no dismarried, then separated and im- tant period confer well-won honour. prisoned, and five years after the His chief picture of the year, Lady Arabella dies in the Tower a ‘Luther posting his Theses on the pitiable lunatic! Mr. Storey has Church-door of Wittenberg,' is contold the incident of the meeting at scientious and literal even to the the Court with point and perspicu- portraits well known in the land of ity, but the execution of the paint- the Reformation. Mr. Crowe is a ing is so sketchy as barely to little hard in his execution, and escape being slovenly. J. Pettie's rather forbidding and unalluring in picture of George Fox refusing to his treatment, as specially seen in take the Oath at Houlker Hall' a smaller composition, Dean Swift belongs to that class of works in looking at a Look of Stella's Hair,' a which biography widens into his picture callous and devoid of emotory, wherein an act in the life of tion as the Dean of St. Patrick's an individual is made to stand for a himself. Lastly, among our rising principle, and to operate as a public artists who give themselves to the protest. This picture, like the last, pages of history, we must mention would have been better for more P. H. Calderou, this year repreelaborate detail : canvasses on this sented by a powerful and impresmoderate scale have no right to sive work "i'he Burial of John indulge in a large dashing hand. Hampden.' The sun has gone Ranging as they do between the down among the hills and woods of wide region of history and the når- the Chilterns just as the bier which row confines of domestie incident, carries the patriot's corpse is borne they ought to reconcile a certain by his devoted followers to its largeness of manner with somewhat last resting-place. His comrades in of the finish which was bestowed arms, sturdy fellows of bold bands on a Dutch interior. W. F. Yeames and brave hearts, are bowed down is another of our artists who, with in sorrow. Their heads are un
covered, their drums muffled, their respect. Thus, Mr. Elmore's Exensigns furled, and as 'they march, celsior' is altogether a different the ninetieth psalm is chanted: sort of thing from what we have the colour, which sinks into sombre, been accustomed to see done on has been kept in consonance with music-covers. This, indeed, is a the solemnity of the scene. o figure which redeems once more
Painting, when it passed, some to our admiration lines which have two centuries ago, from the sacred been sadly massacred and mouthed. to the secular sphere, ran the dan- A youth bears, ger of becoming coarse or common
"Mid snow and ice, place, as witness the schools of A banner with the strange device, Caravaggio in Italy and of Teniers .
Excelsior!" in Holland. An escape from the The spectral glaciers shine, and dark lower world of everyday life was the tempest lowers, yet onward, by for a season sought in the regions an upward impulse borne, towers of Greek and Roman mythology. the brave head, and climbs the firm But of late years gods and god- foot to the mountain-beight around desses have fallen to a discount, which the eagle floats. Mr. Elmore and so the painter is once again has eschewed all grandiloquence brought down to the level and of manner, and by an unadorned reality of earth. To soar upwards, simplicity escapes the dangers of however, is the instinct of imagina. a subject fatal to a band less firn). tion, to spurn the ground is the Contemplation,' by O. W. Cope, impulse of winged genius; and ac- is another figure which calls for cordingly our painters essay pretty commendation less vigorous, inpoetic flights, just as fledglings deed, than the brave mountaineer venturing from their mother's nest we have just left; for Contemplamay be seen with a hop and a chirp tion is of the valley, serene and to launch into air. A Royal Aca- lovely, her eyes gazing heavenwards demician, however, or even an As- in rapt devotion, her bodily frame sociate, is generally a bird of full and the gentleness of her spirit not growth, and so when he flies let fitted to wrestle in the warfare of no ignoble groundling croak. Mr. the world. This is a head which Richmond, a venerable name, in might have been painted by Carlo dulges in "a light fantastic round.” Dolce, who loved å liquid eye, from Comus'
tearful, and yet beaming as with "Break off, break off! I feel the different
pensive starlight.. pace
Undoubtedly the picture of the of some chaste footing near about this year pre-eminent for power and
ground: Ran to your shrouds, within these brakes' display is 'La Gloria, a Spanish and trees;
*Wake, painted by J. Phillip, who Our numbers may affright; some virgin
seldom indeed has been seen in Benighted in these woods ! "
such force. The subject is well
chosen, and the scene skilfully laid. Another of our Associates, Mr. Pat- The shadow of death on the one ten, who, we think, might by this hand is thrown in contrast to the time have known better, attempts sunshine of the dance on the other. semi-nudity-a saps culottism which Woe has bowed down the head of a obtained more favour with the gods bereaved mother, couched nigh to of Greece than in our modern eyes. her little child, lying ready for the 'The Youthful Apollo,' by Jove, burial. But the eye passes by this what a genius! Look at him, and group given to mourning, to feast love him if you can, as he prepares on the beauty and delight in the to show his power “in a musical joy which fills to overflowing the contest with Paris"! Some pic- remainder of the canvass. Here tures, nevertheless, there are, which, does the painter exult in the reinstinct with noble aspiration, merit velry of the Spanish danco, mad
dened by the stirring stroke of shade upon the green and gold of music, and passionate with love's the lady's robe-a dazzling effect, outburst. Here are lavished the gay. of which this artist has been long est of colours; here are arrayed the fond, here carried to consummate most picturesque of costumes, here perfection. Several other' painters, shine faces bright as flowers, spark such as Webb, Herbert junior, ling with eyes brilliant as gems. Walton, Fisk, and Goodall, have In a scene such as this, which most either visited the East in person, or travellers witness in Seville or sent as their delegate a photogra. Granada, Mr. Phillip is triumphant. phic apparatus. With one excepMr. Lewis may have portrayed Spain tion, we must pass these respective with minute detail, but no one has products by, and that exception we caught, like Mr. Phillip, the very of course make in favour of F. life of these children sporting in Goodall's "Messenger from Sinai the passionate south.
at the Wells of Moses.' Mr. Good The post of honour in the large all may be quoted as the represenroom has, by an error in judgment, tative of that careful, well-balanced, been assigned to "The Courtyard and eclective style, towards which of the Coptic. Patriarch, Cairo,' by our English school is now tending; J. F. Lewis-a canvass which, as a a style in which accurate drawing mirror shattered in a thousand frag- gives truth and attaids expression, ments, shows the too crowded life in which close and detailed study is of Cairo in direst confusion. Mr. directed to strict topographic accu. Lewis, to our mind, has never been racy, wherein colour is forced up able to give to his oil pictures the to a pitch little short of decorative matchless qualities possessed by his splendour; and lastly, where com. drawings. Even the opacity of his position becomes an intricate cal. water-colour pigments was redeem- culation, whereby all these several ed by a brilliancy which in oil- elements may be set off to best ad. paints is lost in dead density. We vantage. It is notorious that in incline to the opinion, indeed, that art the world has arrived at an age for works within the limits of a in which everything has been in cabinet size, no medium which the generations past already attempted world has yet known attains ex- and done. The Roman school was cellencies which equal those now pre-eminent in form, the Venetian reached by the water-colour pro- resplendent in colour,' the Bologcess, which is, in fact, tempera paint. nese skilful in composition, and ed on paper in lieu of the ancient perhaps in any one of these sepapanel. Therefore in the interest rate qualities it is hard for us now of art, and with the remembrance in these last days to make an adof such drawings as the 'Encamp- vance on the attainments of former ment on Mount Sinai,' we have again times. Yet a super-excellence which to question the policy of the step may be impossible in dissevered taken by Mr. Lewis, when he trans- units becomes practicable in a ferred his allegiance from the Old balanced and collective whole. And Water-Colour Gallery to the Acade- this is just that eclecticism to which my in Trafalgar Square, Perhaps, our English schools, whether of however, the very best work which painting, of sculpture, or of archi, this artist has yet executed in oil, tecture, are now tending—a procli. is to be met with in the present vity, moreover, not limited to the doExhibition, under the title *Caged main of the arts, but extending into Doves, Cairo;' doves of two species every realm of knowledge, - found caged in a diverse sense--a winged in science, through her accumuladove, the pet of a houri, who is tive stores; in metaphysics, by the herself caged in a harem. The lat- mass of chop-logic and seedy chaff; tice-work of the window floods & in political philosophy, by the heap sparkling light, and casts a dappled of compiled maxims and tabulat