Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

the Hon. Mrs. J. Macdonald, by gence and the rare merit of this F. Grant. We have intentionally simple and truth-seeking artist, reserved the mention of several every student and lover of art portraits, the closing works of Sir should go to South Kensington, John Watson Gordon, in order to where the pictures, drawings, and pay a tribute to the memory of this sketches of William Mulready have great and honoured painter. Iv been collected. The whole course style this artist possessed the charm of a long and laborious life is here of simplicity and the vigour of illustrated," from the first boyish truth ; few painters the world has fancy to the picture that stood un. known could model a head with a finished on the easel", when the firmer or bolder pencil. His name artist died, — a collection which will henceforth go down to posterity forms "a worthy memorial of the not only as President of the Royal great painter, who from his youth Academy of Scotland, not only to the evening before his death was through the grateful remembrance of a workman in the service of art.” the many services he conferred on "I have,” said Mulready, in the art in the city of his birth, but like evidence given before the Royal wise, as was the lot of Reynolds, Academy Commission, " from the through the illustrious men whose first moment I became a visitor in portraits will to future generations the Life School, drawn there as if testify to the rare pictorial powers I were drawing for a prize." The of this master-hand. The annals of evidence of this untiring devotion Scotland owe to John Watson Gor- lies before us in the instructive series don the noble portraits of Wilson, of paintings and studies wherein one De Quincey, Cockburn, Chalmers, of the greatest among our British and Scott - pictures which now artists has transcribed, as it were, a more than ever will be prized for detailed autobiography. It is intwo-fold reasons and accumulative deed most interesting to mark how associations. John Watson Gordon the nascent thought, as it first was, even to the last days of his dawned, was jotted down in the long and active life, in the full post short-hand of the painter's art; how, session of that vigour of hand and at a subsequent stage of developof intellect which have ever given ment, the embryo idea grew into a to his works universal power and draughtman's study or cartoon, till worth. Within á comparatively at length colour-and a colour bow few hours of his death he was able subtle and exquisite those who to devote to his profession his know these works most intimately wonted zeal. The Academies of will best appreciate -- being added, Scotland and of England, which his the picture, thoroughly mature, beportraits have for many years adorn- came, after its kind, little short of ed will now mourn his loss — a perfect. Mulready assuredly, in all loss which not only falls on the the technical qualities of his art, public at large, but a bereavement was not surpassed by the most that cannot fail to be felt most dexterous of the Dutch masters. acutely among private friends, to. And then, in forming a just estiwhom his simple straightforward mate of his concerted powers, it must character made him very dear. not be forgotten that to the skill

This seems a fitting place to of his brush and the rich harmonrecord another loss, which the Aca- ies of bis palette were superadded demy has sustained. William Mul- traits of sagacious wisdom, of thought realy died in July last, full of serious and profound, ant yet wont years and crowned with honours. to sparkle in sportive wit and playThe present Exibition is bereaved ful satire upon the surfic. He is of those works which for half a gone, this master who touched each century have been endeared to the note upon the gamut with a light public eye.

To judge of the di!i- yet pensive hund, who passed from

grave to gay, claiming a tear for will at once indicate. There are, in pity, and winning a smile from the fact, pictures placed in positions of face of joy.

command, which, wholly beneath Two Academicians we mourn over criticism, call aloud for the reform as dead: other Academicians, who of an Academy which, strange to shall be namneless, we lament over say, is not ashamed thus to proas living. Melancholy is it that claim its incapacity and corruption. men whose brains are out, should go We must now, in rapid survey, on, year after year, painting pictures again turn to individual works which proclaim little else than an which ought not to escape commenenfeebled and incoherent intellect. dation. The public has usually to Professions there are of mere me- thank Mr. Millais: for some startling chanical routine, which, so long as pictorial prodigy. This year, howthe wheels of life" manage to rotate, ever, he relies for his effects upon however slowly, can be carried on the force of literal facts, and, like even to the very last without seri- some of the greatest painters, bis ous detriment to the public weal. predecessors of old, finds the means But the practice of the artist's call- of making a simple portrait a coning is not of this lower nature. A summate piece of art. Leaving sevepicture is the very · life-blood of ral such works, we at once go to the genius; and when the flood of charming little picture, in praise of manhood's prime stagnates, the which every tongue is loud. 'My image cast upon the canvass shows Second Sermon' had been a homily, itself decrepid. We shall not, for were it not a satire. A little girl, reasons which good taste dictates, who last year listened, all attention, direct individual attention to works in this same place, to her “first serwhich it is mercy to pass un- mon," has now under the infliction noticed: but in general terms we of a “second," gone fast asleep; may denounce one of the worst and never was slumber more proabuses known to creep into institu- found in its depths, or more peacetions that after a time, it may be al on its placid surface, upruffled by feared, are sustained, not so much breath of conscious thought or care. to promote the best interests of art, For technical qualities of colour and as for the protection of individual handling the picture can scarcely members unable to stand without be surpassed. The works contribadventitious support. The outcry uted by Mr. Millais may be taken in raised against the Academy for its illustration and in extension of the persistent maintenance of vested foregoing remarks upon schools of private rights, whatever public portraiture. Other and widely difwrongs be thereby inflicted, grows Terent productions, which we now every year louder as each succeed- proceed to mention, exemplify the ing Exhibition comes round. It is various phases of that school which certainly a grievance past tolera- we have ventured to designate the tion, that hundreds and tens of Anglo or Scottish Dutch. One of hundreds of pictures should be re- the very choicest examples of this jected altogether for want of space, popular style is T. Webster's serioand that other paintings of first-rate comic little picture, 'A Penny Peepmerit, even when admitted, should show of the Battle of Waterloo. be thrust out of sight, simply be- Other works of a like class demand cause Academicians and Associates no stinted praise, such as Evening,' have the privilege of inundating by G. Hardy; Try dese Pair,' by the rooms with works of boundless F. D. Hardy; The Banquet Scene, mediocrity. How greatly the quali- Macbeth,' by C. Hunt; Interior ty of the present Exhibition is dete. near Penmachno," by A. Provis; riorated by this flagrant injustice, and Among the Old Masters,' by inflicted upon the outsiders in the E, Nicol. The two brothers, Mr. profession, a glance round the walls Thomas Faed and Mr. John Faed,

in manner different the one from late as having reverted to his hap. the other, 'call for more express piest manner. These two leading notice. The authors which these masters of animal painting are, how. artists, in the present Academy, ever, as unlike the one to the other illustrate — Thomas quoting lines as if their studios and easels were from Ballantine, a poet after the planted in opposite hemispheres. Burns type, and John choosing a Landseer romances with his subpassage from Scott's 'Abbot'- will ject; Cooper is as literal, though not indicate the diverse paths in which so hard, as Paul Potter. Yet Cooper, the two brothers severally walk. too, has his moods of poetry, as Mr. Thomas Faed's picture, indicat- when he makes his herds repose in ed by the homely quotation, “He peaceful meadows, lying beside still was faither and mither and a' things waters - a landscape which, for tae mne," is humble in scene. The flooding daylight, Cuyp would have tenants or visitors in this honest loved to look on. shoemaker's shop are children of Furthermore, the present Acathe poor rustics of a village, and demy is fortunate in the possession all the accessories such as Wilkie of masterpieces by four of its foremight have hit upon in his happiest most members, Stanfield, Roberts, moments, or Teniers and Ostade Creswick, and Cooke. Stanfield's painted when in their best manner. two contrasted yet companion picThe brother, Mr. John Faed, we tures, 'Peace and War,' show the have said, as a contrast somewhat, genius of this honoured and veteran in his pleasing and polished picture, artist great and grand as ever in Catherine Seyton,' aims at a more intent; only the hand which once lofty mark. We surely have never dashed so boldly among the stormy seen this artist to better advantage elements, shows now more timor. than in 'Catherine' in the act of ous solicitude. David Roberts has "glancing her deep-blue eyes a little seldom concentrated so much matowards Roland Græme." The pic- terial, or in one picture so fully tures of Mr. Horsley, especially deployed his various powers and re*The Bashful Swain,' are agreeable sources, as in “The Mausoleum of through a like polish of exterior, Augustus,' which is indeed little which is indeed more than external, short of an epitome of the entire , reaching beneath the surface down city of Rome. This picture disto the underlying sentiment—a sen- plays the artist's habitual largeness timent not only refined and smooth, of manner; it triumphs in a certain but bright with laughter and spark- broad histrionic treatment, the reling in wit.

verse of that penny-a-lining which Landseer, whose lions for Trafal- some painters, having in their eye no gar Square have been so long looked fine frenzy, believe to be the signfor, presents to the Academy polar manual of genius. T. Creswick's bears and squirrels. It is not for 'Beck in the North Country' is a some years that this consummate giant among landscapes, yet quiet in painter of animal life has been so manner and unobtrusive as English much himself. As of old, he here pastorals are wont to be, especially not only gives smoothness of coat when this Wordsworth of painters, and texture of hair, but seems at with truth-loving pencil, follows the same time, by an art too subtle after nature in beauty unadorned. for analysis, to portray the inner Lastly, among the few memorable nature and mute consciousness of pictures of the year which lapse of the brute creation, making the si- time from the mind will not efface, lent actors in the scenes he deline- must rank pre-eminent The Ruins ates move the spectator to terror; of a Roman Bridge, Tangier,' by or, on the other hand, by beauty E. W. Cooke. This artist seems in and pathos awaken to sympathy. no ordinary degree to unite an imMr. Cooper, also, we may congratu- agination of fine intuition with

mind made accurate by science. His jet, her lips of coral, and her skin pictures are painted with an intel- of copper. Pigeons of spangled lectual purpose—they contain even plumage, irridescent in purple, emedidactic truth; and thus, while they rald, and gold, flock into the foredelight the fancy, they add to the ground. The sun has set, and now stores of the intellect.

kindles “the after-glow," burning as A word may be devoted to three a fire on the dusky brow of twifestive compositions, products of light. It may be objected that this the Royal Marriage-works wbich, picture, even like the Christ in like laureate odes, have to contend the Temple,' is realistic, and nowith materials untractable in the thing more. Yet by its marvellous hands of either painter or poet. Pic- brilliancy, by its superb colour, and tures of state-ceremonials serve up, even by its detail, true to deceptive of necessity, the fashions and the illusion, does the work acquire forms found in milliners' show. power, and even attain to poetry. rooms, in barbers' shop-windows, We have spoken of The Landing or on the lay figures of a tailor's at Gravesend,' of 'The Triumph on fitting - establishment. It is fair, London Bridge,' and now we come however, to admit, that the artists to a third scene, The Royal Marengaged on the recent auspicious riage,' painted by G. H. Thomas. occasion have acquitted themselves This certainly is a masterly performwith more than usual credit. In ance; accurate in its drawing, firm order of time, the first scene is in outline, brilliant in light and * The Landing of the Princess Alex. colour, yet quiet in well-tempered andra at Gravesend,' by H. O'Neil

, general effect. The style is not unexhibited in the Academy-a cheer- like that of Frith, only less elabo. ful, pleasing picture to be com- rate in finish. The picture has promended especially for the full- bably been painted so as to present length figure of the Prince, su- as few difficulties as possible to its premely gentlemanly in bearing, “fac-simile reproduction in full colwhich, considering the pictorial ours;" therefore the outlines, as parodies to which Royalty has to we have stated, are preserved in unsubmit, is saying a great deal. The broken continuity, and the finish is next event commemorated is "The kept within the limits of the chromoSea - King's peaceful Triumph on lithographic process. London Bridge,'-a picture which, The two Water-Colour Exhibinotwithstanding the sentimentality tions we have declared to be above of its title, must be accepted less as usual average. In " the Institute," a loving chronicle

than as a laugh- the most ambitious drawing is Mr. ing comedy. Mr. Holman Hunt has, Tidéy's Night of the Betrayal,' in the choice of a Hogarth-subject, composed as 4 triplych in three mistaken his vocation. The inci- parts, a centre and two wings, after dents are scattered and confused; the manner which obtained in the the execution wants dexterity and altar-pieces of the middle ages. facile play; and the colour is black, the first of the series, the Garden opaque, and crude. The artist of Gethsemane, Jesus, a noble should graduate in the Frith school figure gently bowed in sorrow, ere he ventures to repeat a like comes and finds the disciples sleepattempt. "The After - Glow in ing. This serves as a prelude to Egypt, however, exhibited by the the central composition, Christ same artist in the same gallery, brought before Caiaphas,' which in may be received as some set-off to treatment fails as somewhat melothe affair on London Bridge. Here dramatic. The third and closing is a single life-size figure of a Coptic act in the trilogy discloses Peter, girl bearing a sheaf of corn upon after his denial, wandering forth, in her head through the rich harvest- the bitterness of his soul, to weep valley of the Nile. Her eyes are of over his apostasy. This conception

In of the impetuous apostle is the derick Taylor gave strength to the bolde t and most original we have body and chivalry to the mind; met with in the roll of modern art. "The Brittany Interior,' by Mr. Mr. Tidey, however, were wise to Walter Goodall

, is homely, simple, forsake the vaporous light and and happy; the camels of Mr. Cari shade to which he is addicted, and Haag might satisfy the critical to brave in their stead the difficul- eye of a pilgrim to Mecca; and the ties of a style more severe in its out- Falstaff of Mr. Gilbert was not surlines and forms. His drawing must passed by Mr. Phelps in the revival become more certain and precise; of Henry IV.' at Drury Lane. and he should submit to the labour Landscape art, in its changing of making elaborated studies, such 'moods of gay and grave, florid and 23 Perugino, Raphael, and' Leo- sober-narrow as a homestead, or nardo are known to have executed, wide-stretching and sky.soaring as as needful preliminaries to tho- mountain, lake, or campagna - is roughly mature works. Mr. Cor. faithfully and nobly represented by bould's Morte d'Arthur' is an- George Fripp, Whittaker, Birket other ambitious flight into the Foster, Naftel, Palmer, Richardson, upper regions of the painter's and Branwhite and Newton. The last the poet's art. The forms are of these painters this year shows lovely, and the finish, minutely himself a little unequal; his 'Loch detailed, bespeaks infinite labour. Leven,' however, is up to his accusWe could have wished, however, tomed pitch of solemn power. Mr. that the shadows had not been Richardson and Mr. Palmer each forced up to the last pitch of opaque glory in the shower of purple and blackness. But the drawing which gold which they shed over the face in this gallery, if not indeed in the of a glorified nature. Mr. George wide metropolis, stands supreme Fripp still stands alone for the for rare artistic qualities, is Mr. purity of tone which he preserves Jopling's Fluffy. This fancy title through fidelity to the old and now is taken from a little doll of a dog almost obsolete use of transparent which a lady is in the act of holding colour. The careful drawings of up to the gaze of doating affec- Mr. Whittaker belong to the same tion. The head of the sweet and abstemious school. As & contrast, sympathetic girl, dowered with a Mr. Branwhite gains in power more erown of golden hair, is painted than he loses in tone or unity, by exquisitely. The colour cannot be the bold use of pigments laid on surpassed for delicious harmony, with the free admixture of body, and the execution is both facile white. "A Gleam of Winter Sunand firm.

light' is, for colour and vigour, one Entering the gallery of the Old of the grandest works this artist has Water-Colour Society, many are yet executed. Mr. Birket Foster's the subjects which would tempt to Kite-Flying' must rank among long tarriance, did time permit. Mr. this artist's most charming efforts, Barton's Meeting on the Turret whether we delight in the exquisite Stairs' is a work which, by its detail of the landscape, or in the precision of drawing, and by the drawing of the graceful and wellmental expression which intelligent placed figures. Other of his comform can alone impart, will serve to positions attain what some crities enhance the reputation which this have called breadth. To our eye, artist, through like high qualities, however, they show but signs of has already acquired. The tasteful increasing, haste -- an attempt to . compositions of Mr. Alfred Fripp reach desired ends more rapidly --are delicious in delicate harmony of a courting of those ready means colour; the peasants of Mr. Topham which most men are compelled to are hearty and healthful; the hunt- have recourse to at that period ing and sporting scenes of Mr. Fre when overwhelming success brings

« AnteriorContinuar »