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Over the Door of the Church.
Funus et Lacrymæ.
En Exuviæ Mortales
Nunquam Humanæ Sortis
Deo Opt. Max.
On the Left-hand side.
Ad Phidiæ Laudem
Si qua Pietas Fides
Jam Non Te Antoni
Nunc Yeneti Tui
Canóva's fine talents were en this group was preserved by Canova hanced by his virtues, and the ge in his gallery, whether from any nerosity of his disposition. He was esteem for it we do not know, but it modest and unassuming ; candid and certainly may serve as a proof of the sincere; disinterested and benevo- immeasurable superiority to which lent, in the extreme. He was free he afterwards attained. The comfrom petty professional jealousies, position of the Mausoleum of Pope and equally free from national vanity Clement XIV. is but indifferent, but and prejudice. He had studied from the fine head of the old man offering the Italian models, and particularly the bust of the Pope was a decided from the works of Michael Angelo. ray of his awakened genius. His -These he held up as the perfection next work, Cupid and Psyche, was of art; but when in the latter part graceful, but it betrayed labour and of his life he had an opportunity of study-faults from which all his seeing the Elgin Marbles, his eleva- subsequent works were free. Psyche tion of mind soared above all his standing, Venus and Adonis, and former prepossessions, and national Mary Magdalen followed in sucpartialities; and, alive to the beau. cession ; this last statue is one of ties of these surprising monuments the happiest productions of Canó. of Greece, he at once pronounced va's chissel. His next work, Cuthat they would infallibly throw all pid and Psyche standing, had the other antique statuary and sculpture unpardonable fault of Cupid's figure into comparative disrepute.
being more delicate than that of the Canova's attempts at painting are female. His Perseus, with the head said to have been abortive. As a of Medusa, was always undervalued sculptor, his genius reached the cor. by its having been destined to rerect and beautiful rather than the place the Apollo Belvidere, after sublime. He had not formed his that antique had been carried to early studies in the severe school of Paris by Buonaparte. His Athletes, Grecian art; fancy and an elegant Krengan and Damaxenes, never imagination pervade his works, and produced much effect upon the pubit is singular, that, although he was lic. His Hebe has been justly adacutely sensible to all the softer mired by all Europe. His statue of emotions and tender sympathies of the Mother of Napoleon is a noble life, he never made any figure which work; it carries in it a conviction can be cited as an example, or even of its being a correct likeness of the an attempt at the pathetic. Canóva individual, and yet bears that stamp had no rival, and it is, at least, pre- of mighty power which would lead mature, to oppose to him an artist the beholder to mistake it for a so little known to Europe in gene work of high imagination, were you ral, as Thorvaldsen, the sculptor of not acquainted with the exalted mind Copenhagen. All comparisons, be- and character of her whom it is detween Canova and our own cele- signed to represent. It is beyond brated artists, are rendered nugatory our limits, however, to indulge in by the different schools in which criticism upon each individual work they respectively excel.
of this great man. If we cannot Canova's genius was not precoce, give him the fame of a Phidias, and his first works not only did not à Praxitiles, or even of a Michael afford any promise of future excel- Angelo, we must acknowledge, that lence, but they did not display any he is destined to occupy a distinof that character of mind which is guished place in the line of great so decidedly stamped upon his ma masters. He had beauties peculiarly turer productions. His two baskets his own; for grace of posture and of of fruit were certainly finished in action, for that perfection of parts an elaborate manner for a boy, of and harmony of union which profourteen; his next work, Eurydice, duce the effect of loveliness, and was without any decided character, for that animation which deludes us and of little merit; and his Orpheus into a belief of reality, his nymphs was by no means a happy produc are unrivalled; they create what tion, even for a student. His Dæ may be called a chaste voluptuousdalus and Icarus was esteemed a ness, and revive in the mind some tame imitation of a bad model inju- of the fictions of the ancient poets. liciously selected The cast from
THE TRAGIC DRAMA.
The Drama, from its first appear-, which appalled the audience, in the ance in the heroic days of ancient presages of fate, the presence of the Greece, down to the present era, furies, and the awful visitations of has occupied more attention than the gods. To them succeeded the any other department of literature. mournful and tender Euripides, less The great productions of Hesiod, terrible in his imagery, but with of Herodotus, of Thucydides, or more of nature ; lofty hymns, in even the Father of Poetry, the im honour of the gods, mixed with the mortal Homer, attracted a less power- chorus, which intimated the moral ful attention than the tragedies of of the play, and instructed and Eschylus and Sophocles, the effu warned the beholders. The Altar sions of the pathetic Euripides, or to the Divinity, which appeared upon, the comedies of the licentious Aris the stage, supported the religious tophanes, and the more chaste and spirit of the performance, and gave elegant Menander. This was to be solemnity to the representation.accounted for by their embodying The interest excited in Greece by: feelings, which were at issue with these exhibitions was intense; in the deepest sensations of the human this colder climate, and more ad-, soul, and the publicity of appeal to vanced state of civilization, the apthe passions of the assembled mul- pearance of actors on an immense titude on representation. . History stage, disguised with masks, formed and poetry have to make their way at the mouth like trumpets for the in the solitude of leisure, and the enlargement of the voice, and elesilence of the closet; they form vated on the lofty buskin to supertheir impressions, not so much by, natural stature, could, from their striking on the senses, and acting want of resemblance to any thing on the passions, as by being ap
like human life, create neither in. proved by our judgment, and agree terest nor effect; but in Greece, in ing with our feelings. The Drama, those days of mythology and heroic though it demands to be censured daring, the impression was different. in judgment, awakes the senses to In that delightful climate, the vast judge. It addresses itself to thou- theatre, whose roof was the cloudsands, who come with feelings too less heavens, was crowded with specstrongly excited for mere sober nar tators, who sate whole days at its ration, or beautiful imagery, and lengthened representations. They which require to be sustained by were delighted to see embodied bepowerful and continued incident fore then the resemblance of Herand action. If the author flag, or cules, of Theseus, of those victors the actor prove unequal, the spirits and heroes who had become immorof the auditory become cold and tal by their valour, and lived in the languid ; the tension of interest re songs and annals of their country. quires to be supported to the last, They looked on their attendance as and the crowded audience to be a worship due to these, their great dismissed with feelings too much progenitors, and grateful to their warmed for discrimination, and too divinities, as a sacrifice offered at rapturous for the niceties of critical their shrine. In Greece, the procoldness or reproof.
fession of an actor carried with it In Ancient Greece, the Drama had respect, and honour, and reward ; its commencement in religion : the the generals and warriors who comFeast of the Goat, the Song of the manded in their armies, and their Vintage, and the Hymns in Honour fleets, often appeared after on their of Bacchus, sung by the rastic re stage; it was consecrated by the vellers, who appeared with their incense of religion, and supported faces stained with the lees of wine, by the fervour of popular yenerashew the humility of its origin. tion. So enthusiastic and devoted It was enlarged by the dark genius was the attachment of the people to of the terrible Eschylus, and the it, that one of their historians re.. divine Sophocles, and those harrow, lates, that, on the fatal intelligence ing representations brought forward, arriving at Athens of the disastrous Eur. Mag. Vol. 82.
failure of an expedition against Mes- mythology; which, thongh then besina in Sicily, at a moment when held by the majority with awe and the people were assembled at the veneration, could scarcely now afford theatre, and when, independent of a theme for the youngest school-boy, the loss sustained by the country, and would be ridiculous as the subeach individual almost of the thou- ject of a modern tragedy. What, sands then present had to mourn according to the celebrated Gibbon, a relative or a friend; they dis was even in that day viewed by condained to quit their seats, or retire temporary philosophers, with cold from the theatre, but spread their and scrutinizing scepticism, would cloaks in mournful silence before now be beheld with incredulous distheir faces, and then desired the re dain. The mythology of the Ancients, presentation to go on.
always at war with sober reason, was The
power and influence of Peri- deeply at issue with morality beside. cles, in latter days, was preserved Those beings, whom their fancy had almost as much by the large sums raised to å rank of supernatural devoted by him to the support of power, they yet represented as posthe theatre, as by his victories in sessed of passions, and stained with the Archipelago, on the coast of crimes, which on earth would be Ionia, or the spoils of those triumphs visited with execration and horror. which he devoted to the erection of They are all drawn as darkly mathe Parthenon, and those works of lignant, meanly vindictive, and jeaimmortal art and genius with which lous to the last degree of their indi, he embellishsd Athens, and which vidual privileges of sacrifice and have handed his name to all suc worship. Always present, either ceeding ages. It is true, that when visibly or invisibly, they constitute wealth and corruption had brought the great material of the Drama, effeminacy and slavery into Greece, presenting characters, which, as and virtue and valour were nearly mortals, we should be sure to exeno more, that the theatre became erate, and which, as divinities, only one of the principal sources of ener excite in us deeper abhorrence and vation and luxury. The comedies detestation. If one dark and overof Aristophanes were directed to powering impression of the power slander and ridicule every thing of those deities (abstracted for a that still survived of patriotism or moment from their benevolence and public virtue in Athens ; and its in- justice) were the result of a reprehabitants are reproached by Demos- sentation of this kind, the grandeur thenes, in one of his imperishable of that impression might, in some orations, for being found crowned degree, atone for its falsity and imwith garlands within its walls, when morality. But nothing like this the arms and policy of Philip were awful singleness of effect.can follow triumphing throughout Greece, and the exhibition of Greek tragedy. carrying conquest and dominion to The gods appear with passions de their very gates. But with the slavery based far below mortals; in power, of Greece came on the slavery of and its exercise, as far and fatally genius also ; and on becoming a above them; in their mutual interprovince of the Roman empire, the course, there is all the littleness of reign of the Drama departed alto- mortality amongst them, and their gether. To the tragic poets and hatred to each other appears heavier, historians of former days succeeded if possible, than that they delight to a race of miserable sophists, and the heap upon their human victims. product of a frail and false philo- One final remark may
be necessary sophy:
on the Greek Drama, founded like On the Greek Drama itself, it may the preceding ones, on that false be necessary to dwell shortly, to and licentious mythology, which account why, possessed as it is of forms its entire essence. There is all the splendour of diction and the no view we can take of the sufferbeauty of poetry, praised by the ings of humanity, amidst its various profoundest scholars and the ablest miseries, more appalling than that, critics, it yet never could be popular in which it is denied all the comforts on any modern stage. The founda- of conscious virtue, and all the contion of ancient tragedy is its endless solations of future happiness and
reward. The deities of the Greek growth or display to them the dyo mythology and Drama are so intent ing gladiator, fed on succulent herbs on spreading universal'wretchedness that his blood on each wound might around them, and aggravating all flow more freely, was an object of the endurance of human existence, far more interest. The bloody comú that they appear neither to have bats of wild beasts within the arena thought nor inclination to give their of the Circus, or å naumachia, a sea" favourites or victims a hope or pros« fight, awakened far deeper feelings.” pect from futurity. Around the hap- The licentious populace of Rome, less personages of that Drama, all is fed with the measures of Africa, suffering, all beyond obscurity and were cruel and sanguinary, and darkness, presenting to the despair- though Nero attired as a singer, ing mind a moral desert, without amid his appalling atrocities, apone green 'spot to cheer or enliven, peared in the theatre and sought in or even the deception of a mirage, that garb for popular applause ; the to allure, for a moment, by the bril- presence of the savage Commodus liancy of its seduction. :
in the amphitheatre, and the slaughRome, that adopted the mytholo- ter of animals by his mooned arrows, gy and religion of Greece, and form. were more congenial to the feelings ed her philosophers and poets on of a Roman populace, and were reher model, did not as warmly adopt ceived with louder expressions of and revive her Drama: dominion and triumph and approbation: conquest were the Roman principles, With the removal of the seat of and to these they thought the com- empire to Byzantium, by Constanbats of gladiators and the bloody tine, the Drama did not follow; with exhibitions of the Circus better an eastern capital oriental manners suited. The tragedies of Seneca, and customs (long prevailing) were the works of Plautus, and the come. also adopted. The freedom of the dies of Terence, formed on the model Drama seems unsuited to Asiatic tyof Menander, may be cited as in- ranny and debasement, and China stances that the Drama flourished appears to be almost the only counand was cherished in Rome; but try in Asia where any representation these exceptions amid the current of the kind was known to prevai). of centuries only prove the asser. In Constantinople the vast Hippotion, that among the Romans it ne- drome and its chariot races supersedver found a genial soil. The trage, ed all other popular exhibitions dies of Seneca, even now, are little there were originated those factions known, and in Rome were never po- distinguished by their respective pular. The works of Plautus sel-emblems of green or blue, which dom appeared on the stage, and, divided the feelings of the spectathough the comedies of Terence tors, and subsequently carried facwere more familiar to the people, tion and bloodshed through every they never succeeded so far as to quarter of Byzantium. It was in the change the general taste and feeling free ages of Greece that the Drama for other exhibitions. The great bad its origin, and that its sublimest Roman actor, Roscius, the friend of efforts were matured, and it fell with Pompey and the first Patricians in the liberties of the country which Rome, has been mentioned as an in. had raised and strengthened it'; Rostance of the celebrity attendant on man freedom had ceased for centu. histrionic genius, and the eminence ries before the western capital was it was sure to attain. But though deserted; and the transfer of the cena few of the enlightened citizens, tre of empire to the shores of the educated in the arts and philosophy Bosphorus brought with it little of of Greece, were able to prize that science or of genius. Greece and distinguished portion of its earliest Byzantium both were debased under literature, and to give due merit and a succession of oriental despots, and protection to the actor who gave it contained little at the fall of the life and being on the Roman stage, eastern empire beyond a crowd of yet the general feeling of the people trembling slaves, incapable alike of of that vast city, or the great capi- virtue or of science: with the captals spread throughout the empire, "ture of Constantinople by Mahomet was any thing but favourable to its ll. and the sabre of his savage