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Hoof illo the oppressions of a decaying feudalism, have #yesilaypes and emblems in the simple habitation of the ve M 11,* as well as in the cathedral and the public
all. The amazing exuberance of fancy displayed did not exhaust the invention of these artists, for the very reason that they were addressing themselves to feelings which all shared, and were not merely ministering to the capricious luxury of opulence or rank. Nor was this spirit confined to the architect and the sculptor.
Nothing but this and the intense emulation it excited in the different States, raised Italy to its proud preeminence in Art. The quarrels of the Guelfs and the Ghibelines were continued with as much anir during the thirteenth as during the preceding ce: yet the Fine Arts continued to progress in the mia. civil strife, and the very same ambition which excited one city to attempt the subjection of another, led it to justify the usurpation by its superiority in the Arts, and by the number and magnificence of its public works. And when, towards the close of this century, many of the communities intrusted civil or military chieftains with large powers of government, these new rulers continued and increased the impulse which had been given; which also received fresh accessions from the institution of new religious orders. The spirit of devotion, and the spirit of political party, alike nourished the love of Art,—the thirst for a new and more satisfying embodyment of the longings of the ardent and just emancipated mind. Strife, indeed, was everywhere; but mental energy was also everywhere; and it was to similar divisions into separate territories, and to similar enthusiastic emulation, that Greece of old owed her crown of immortality.
and fervid sense of the religious." And the dark and solemn shadow of the Hebrew God rests over the towers of Babylon, the vallies of Eden, and the awful desolation of the universal deluge."-England and the English. 2d edit. 1833 ; vol. ii. p. 208.
I believe the genius of Martin has never been so well characterized before, because never with so deep a sympathy. Though it will still be but a fragment, I cannot deny myself the pleasure of quoting a small portion more. “ In him,” continues Mr. Bulwer, “there is the presence of a spirit which is not of this world—the divine intoxication of a great soul, lapped in majestic and unearthly dreams. He has taken a range, if not wholly new, at least rarely traversed, in the vast air of religious contemplation; he has gone back into the drear antique; he has made the Old Testament, with its stern traditionary grandeur—its solemn shadows and ancestral terrors—his own element and appanage. He has looked apon the ebon throne of Eld,' and imbued a mind, destined to reproduce wbat it surveyed, with
“A mighty darkness,
• An excellent work, illustrative of the domestic architecture of this period, is now in course of publication, entitled, “ Die Holzarchitectur des Mittelalters, &c.—von C. Boetticher, Architect. (The Architecture in Wood, of the Middle Ages, by C. Boetticher.) This work abounds with beautiful examples.
Here then we perceive the presence of two important conditions: the one, that the pervading spirit of the nation, and of the age, was at once the spur and the goal of artistic effort; the other, that the product and progress of Art were felt to be of universal interest, greater or less in degree, indeed, but without distinction of rank or of class.
The history of the comparative progress of the Fine Arts in Greece and in ancient Rome, has afforded an excellent illustration of the character of really efficient “patronage.” The comparison has been summed up in the pithy sentence, that, in Greece, Art was treated as
Ayirity: Ple; in Rome, as a harlot. But up to a certain
the history of either teaches the same lesson. lai p*TGreece, the Fine Arts were primarily devoted to the béxpression and excitement of intense love of country; and in ancient, as afterwards in modern Rome, to the representation of the dominant religion of the State. Where, in fact, does the religion of ancient Rome now exist, but in the relics of her gorgeous temples ?
And in regard to modern Rome, where are those gigantic conceptions of papal authority, which the intellect of a Gregory or a Leo gave birth to, so expounded and set forth to us, as in the paintings of Raffaelle and Michael Angelo?-paintings, which embody that most splendid dream of the Almighty Ruler of the Universe governing the world through the instrumentality of one great Vicegerent, all-powerful upon earth. However much of evil such conceptions may have contained, the man is surely not to be envied who can look upon the Vatican without feeling that they were not wholly evil; that the powers which put them forth involved in their exercise, and by the very necessity of their nature, much that was both good and great; and that in their appointed place they have fully subserved the gracious plans of Providence. Suffice it, however, for us, that here, in the Holy City, as formerly in the birthplace of the loftiest civilization the human mind could reach unaided by Revelation, we find men to have attained the acme of perfection in stamping upon the material forms of nature the impress of their Divine intellect, only by bringing all their noblest energies under the government of the one leading principle --the grand idea of their age. And so it must be in this country, if England be destined ever to attain the first rank in Art. That rank never will be attained so long as Art continue to be for the most part the inere minister of ostentatious luxury, or of refined sensuality; and almost as devoid of moral purpose as of na character. *
Our artists must look back upon our own past, forward towards our own probable future, seekinga earnestly to realize both, if men are ever to speak of the British epoch of the Fine Arts.
But what can thE STATE, collectively, do towards the same end? In retracing the progress of the Revival, we see the several rulers occupied in combining and guiding the efforts which the two-fold impulse-religious sentiment and civil rivalry—had given birth to.
Glancing at a later, and a very different period of the history of Art--that of the age of Louis XIV. in France,—we see the personified State, not combining and guiding alone, but itself supplying the initiative impulse. The results at each period are sufficiently contrasted.
At present, and in Great Britain, the predominant impulse of Art is to connect itself with commerce, and herein would seem to be involved the primary duty of THE STATE concerning it. What correlative danger of excess in this direction may demand to be guarded against, is a question deserving of separate consideration.
But, in relation to this primary duty, experience would seem to show that Government can do little more to good purpose than clear away obstructions, and watch that artists and men of letters, no less than merchants, have a clear field for competition; suffer no interruptions, either from oppressive fiscal laws, or from monopolizing institutions; and take no detriment from the want of protection, either national or interlyjority o'tal, for the fruits of their labour. If, in addition of this
* Looked at in this point of view, who can refuse to assent to the saying of Seneca ?- “Non enim adducor, ut in numerum liberalium artium Pictores recipiam, non magis quam Statuarios, aut Marmorarios, aut cæteros lururiæ ministros.”
$, such opportunities as are afforded by useful and la; de povessary public works for the patronage of the highest iorder of merit are honestly employed, then, I submit, the Government, as such, will have done its duty, so far as relates to the direct encouragement of the Fine Arts.
But this will still leave untouched that most important duty—the indirect encouragement of Art, as necessarily arising out of a better and more equable provision of the means of moral and intellectual culture, so as to place a truly qualificative education within the reach of all—which it confessedly is not at present.
I am quite aware that I here enter upon a disputed question, surrounded with not a few difficulties; some of these I shall be led to notice presently, but in this place it is sufficient for me to observe, that all parties to the question are, without exception, agreed that Government has some duty to perform in respect to education; although the extent of that duty is matter of dispute. I contend therefore simply, that in all education reform, come whence it may, the preparation, I say not of an increased number of artists, but of an artloving people, is one object to be aimed at; and that so far as Government interposition shall be eventually found to be beneficial in respect of this reform, and therefore a duty, so far Art must share in the benefit.
As regards the duty of founding and maintaining sufficient public Museums and Galleries, on a liberal scale, as contributive towards this end, there will, I. apprehend, be no difference of opinion.
The importance of making the cultivation of a taste for Art an indispensable part of general education cannot be overrated, if it be plain, that, in order to discharge the responsibilities primarily attaching to human nature, every nation, and each individual of every nation,