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most difficult to keep up in the region of art and out of the region of imitation. Nothing is more tiresome than any sculpture but the best. A painter may be far from possessing the highest genius, yet find in some part of his manysided art an escape from the commonplace and the real, but a mediocre sculptor is lost. The sculptor must be a genius or a nobody.
Here, then, has been the great problem of the sculptors of all ages, and they have met it in various ways. The noble abstraction of Pheidias degenerated, in the later Greek and Roman work, into a dead conventionality, and, the works of Pheidias being unknown to them, the artists of the Italian Renaissance struck out a new road for themselves and found the means by a vague elusiveness of modeling to express all their new and peculiarly modern interest in individuality of character and the personality of their models without ever falling into the dry literalness of the plaster cast. In the earlier part of this century dead-alive conventionalism was again regnant, and when the sculptors of to-day, following the lead of the painters who had already begun the movement, turned again to the independent study of nature, they naturally reverted to the study of Renaissance models. In the sculpture of the Renaissance only could they find nature represented as she appeared to them. There only could they find the modern man with his pronounced individuality and his special development of character, and there only could they find the means of representing him in their art. And so, jumping over four hundred years, jumping over the inroad of academicism and all the subsequent degradation of art, the best sculpture of to-day is the legitimate successor to that of the fifteenth century, its successor, not its imitator. The sculptors of to-day are working in the spirit of the Renaissance, but the very essence of that spirit is personality individualism — independent study. Now, having a general view of the movement of which he is a part, we are prepared to approach the work of St. Gaudens himself, and to search there the qualities of his school and their particular development by his own personality. The feeling for individuality,- the modern idea that a man is not merely one of a species but is a character,- the caring less for the perfection of a race and more for the man himself as he is, with his faults as well as his merits, is one of the noticeable qualities of Mr. St. Gaudens's work. It is easy to see in his Farragut how he has been penetrated with the personality of his model and has bent himself to its expression. The statue is as living as vital as one of the Mino da Fiesole's Florentines, who died four hundred
years ago, and whom we should be quite prepared to meet in the streets as we come out of the museum where his likeness is preserved. There is no cold conventionalism, neither is there any romanticism or melodrama, but a penetrating imagination which has got at the heart of the man and given him to us "in his habit as he lived," cool, ready, determined, standing firmly, feet apart, upon his swaying deck, a sailor, a gentleman, and a hero. In his Randall statue at Sailors' Snug Harbor, there is much of the same quality, for though, from the lack of authentic portraits this latter was necessarily a pure work of imagination, yet it is none the less a portrait of a man an individual - if not precisely the Randall whose name it bears. There is nothing of the ideal Greek hero about this rugged block of humanity. This kindly, keen, alert, old man, sharp-eyed, hooked-nosed, firm-mouthed, with a sea breeze in his look, is a modern and an American and, one would say, an old sailor, with crotchets and eccentricities as well as a good head and a good heart.*
Another and a more recent work in the same line of what we may call ideal portraiture is the "Deacon Chapin," which is perhaps the finest embodiment of Puritanism in our art. Surely those old searchers for a "liberty of conscience" that should not include the liberty to differ from themselves could not fail to recognize in this swift-striding, sternlooking old man, clasping his Bible as Moses clasped the tables of the law, and holding his peaceful walking-stick with as firm a grip as the handle of a sword surely they could not fail to recognize in him a man after their own hearts. But he is not merely a Puritan of the Puritans, he is a man also, a rough-hewn piece of humanity enough, with plenty of the old Adam about him; and one feels that so and not otherwise must some veritable old Puritan deacon have looked.
In these statues it is easy, I say, to see the spirit of the Renaissance, but to show the appropriation of Renaissance methods and the rare technical skill with which they are employed in the embodiment of this spirit is a more difficult task, and to attempt it, I wish more especially to draw attention to a class of work which was particularly characteristic of the Italian Renaissance and in the revival of which Mr. St. Gaudens seems to me one of the most successful of modern sculptors. I mean low-relief. Something of what he can do in this way any one may see in the allegorical figures on the base of the Farragut monument, and, I remember, these figures were even more * I believe that, in point of fact, Randall was not a sailor, but the text refers to the type of the statue rather than to the historic character.
one can never be quite sure that the answer is the true one; but the question whether a sculptor has the knowledge and the skill to handle low-relief, that one can quite definitely settle. One can even hope to convince another that his conclusion is correct. I own, myself, to being quite enamored of the charm of Mr. St. Gaudens's reliefs, but I hope that this reason will acquit meofthecharge of mere partiality for the graceful above the grand in dwelling on what many would think a minor phase of his work.
The sculptors of the Italian Renaissance may be said, in a sense, almost to have invented low-relief. In the struggle to depict the infinite variety of things that was necessary to their modern nature, and yet to avoid the mere matter-of-fact, which is fatal to art,-in their desire to be real without being realistic, they naturally turned to a part of their art which is the nearest akin to painting, and they pushed it to a degree of perfection which has never been known before or since. Lowrelief does not deal with actual form but with the appearance of form, and the more perfect it is the farther it is apt to be from an actual copying of the forms of nature. The common conception of a medallion is probably that it is half of a head placed upon a flat surface, but this conception is the farthest possible from being the true one. Even the idea that while the projection is much less than in nature the relations of projection remain the same, is not much nearer the truth. In good relief work, for instance, the head constantly projects more than the shoulder. The fact is that lowrelief is a kind of drawing by means of light and shade, the difference between it and any other kind of drawing being that the lights and shadows are produced not by white paper or crayon strokes, but by the falling of the light upon the elevations and depressions of the surface of the relief; and these elevations and depressions are regulated solely by the
PORTRAIT IN BAS-RELIEF OF A YOUNG LADY.
of a revelation to me of his ability than was the statue itself. For the question whether or not a given statue is great and heroic in conception one can only answer to one's self, and