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Though, then, one of the duties of a picture be that which we are often told is its only duty—to give pleasure by beautiful colour and representation of beautiful form, or by one of these pictures which do no more than this cannot have a deeper or more enduring influence on the large part of the world which does not know how much skill and thought go to the making of a picture, than a primrose has on the culture of the man to whom it is a "yellow primrose,' and 'nothing more.' To have enduring interest, to gain a place on the memory, and to give delight often to the inward eye,' a picture must appeal to memorable thought or feeling, must impress itself on them, and give them grace and intensity, that so it may be remembered when they are again roused into activity. Only on these terms can pictures win much attention from the busy men and women who fill the modern world. A picture should have relation to some body of vital knowledge—knowledge, that is, which does not rest in seldomvisited chambers of the memory, but which acts on, and is reacted on by, habitual thought and feeling. This relation may be illustrated by that which a beautifully illuminated Bible-text bears to its context for readers of the Bible. The illumination, by its beauty, fixes thought, imagination, feeling, on a few words full of deep meaning; and the context then is raised for thought, feeling, and imagination to a higher level. This undoubtedly was the relation which most of the work of Greek sculptors bore to the knowledge of those for whom they worked. To the Greeks who saw the Zeus of Pheidias, Zeus had all their lives been the object of religious or poetical thought and feeling, which the statue roused into activity, and to which it gave intensity and grace. This, too, was the relation borne by the pictures of Cimabue, of Giotto, of Fra Angelico, to the thought and feeling of the men and women for whom they painted. The tradition that part of Florence gained a new name from the glad crowd which flocked to see the Madonna of Cimabue, is only credible to us because we know that there were thousands of Florentines to whose thoughts and feelings a picture of the Virgin could give new and nobler form.

It is because there is no vital knowledge---or very little, and that little not rich in subjects for the painter--held in common by many English people, that pictures have not much influence on English

In the case of the comparatively small number of English people, other than painters, professional or amateur, whose culture is influenced by pictures, the relation between the pictures which interest and impress them, is not less close than that which existed between the pictures of Giotto and Cimabue and the thought and feeling of their contemporaries. A picture like Mr. Holman Hunt's • Light of the World' is popular— that is, dwells in the memory and pleases long after it has been seen--because of the people who have seen it, many have meditated on the relation of Christ to men, of Christianity to the human goodness with which it mingled

PAINTING AND POPULAR CULTURE.

IT

T is impossible for the most enthusiastic admirer of modern pictures

to claim for Painting either a wide or a deep influence on modern culture. It is probable that of the people who clearly remember the pictures which they saw a year, or even a few months, ago, the majority know something of the processes of painting, and remember the pictures because they examined them with an interest due in great measure to their power of more or less rightly appreciating the painter's technical skill. In this respect painting now stands in a relation to culture which is strikingly different from that which exists between poetry and culture. Numerous as are the

persons who understand and take pleasure in the poet's mastery of rhythm and rhyme, they form a very small minority of the lovers of poetry. For every one such person there are probably several hundred who remember poetry only because of its fine expression of beautiful thought and feeling.

The question whether painting can be brought into a relation with general culture more nearly resembling that held by poetry, is very interesting. It is, in other words, the question whether painting shall cease to be merely one of the many sources from which a few thousands of highly educated people draw pleasure, and shall also become, as poetry now is, a source of greatly needed ennobling pleasure to the hundreds of thousands of busy people of the middle and working classes, who have neither time nor will to make themselves acquainted with the technical processes of any of the fine arts.

My object in this paper is to show why few pictures deeply interest the majority of English people now, and by what means painters could be enabled to paint pictures which would interest them.

The conditions which Art must fulfil, if it is to influence the culture of many people, are sufficiently obvious. It is evident that one of the chief conditions of the usefulness of a work of art must be that it shall have enduring interest. It must, of course, give delight in the brief time in which it is seen by the outward eye, but it must do much more than this. However highly we may rate the influence of the beautiful things which we see with keen pleasure and then forget; however potent we may know them to be in keeping our minds-our whole nature—fresh and buoyant, and in making us feel to the end that life is worth living, though many things in it be but vanity-however highly we may rate this function of beautiful things, it is certain that it belongs far less to the picture, 'whose action is no stronger than a flower,' than to rainbows and snow, to the commonest hedgerow in the country, and to the flowers which can be grown in the smallest house in the smokiest town.

Though, then, one of the duties of a picture be that which we are often told is its only duty—to give pleasure by beautiful colour and representation of beautiful form, or by one of these-pictures which do no more than this cannot have a deeper or more enduring influence on the large part of the world which does not know how much skill and thought go to the making of a picture, than a primrose has on the culture of the man to whom it is a "yellow primrose,' and nothing

To have enduring interest, to gain a place on the memory, and to give delight often to the “inward eye,' a picture must appeal to memorable thought or feeling, must impress itself on them, and give them grace and intensity, that so it may be remembered when they are again roused into activity. Only on these terms can pictures win much attention from the busy men and women who fill the modern world. A picture should have relation to some body of vital knowledge—knowledge, that is, which does not rest in seldomvisited chambers of the memory, but which acts on, and is reacted on by, habitual thought and feeling. This relation may be illustrated by that which a beautifully illuminated Bible-text bears to its context for readers of the Bible. The illumination, by its beauty, fixes thought, imagination, feeling, on a few words full of deep meaning; and the context then is raised for thought, feeling, and imagination to a higher level. This undoubtedly was the relation which most of the work of Greek sculptors bore to the knowledge of those for whom they worked. To the Greeks who saw the Zeus of Pheidias, Zeus had all their lives been the object of religious or poetical thought and feeling, which the statue roused into activity, and to which it gave intensity and grace. This, too, was the relation borne by the pictures of Cimabue, of Giotto, of Fra Angelico, to the thought and feeling of the men and women for whom they painted. The tradition that part of Florence gained a new name from the glad crowd which flocked to see the Madonna of Cimabue, is only credible to us because we know that there were thousands of Florentines to whose thoughts and feelings a picture of the Virgin could give new and nobler form.

It is because there is no vital knowledge-or very little, and that little not rich in subjects for the painter--held in common by many English people, that pictures have not much influence on English culture. In the case of the comparatively small number of English people, other than painters, professional or amateur, whose culture is influenced by pictures, the relation between the pictures which interest and impress them, is not less close than that which existed between the pictures of Giotto and Cimabue and the thought and feeling of their contemporaries. A picture like Mr. Holman Hunt's • Light of the World' is popular— that is, dwells in the memory and pleases long after it has been seen—because of the people who have seen it, many have meditated on the relation of Christ to men, of Christianity to the human goodness with which it mingled histories of saints, her allies in Italy--the only ally she can have today, noble literature.

Before considering whether an alliance between painting and literature can be effected, it will be well to consider in what way literature must be known to the people whose culture it is desirable that pictures should influence, if alliance with it is to be of value to painting. In the first place, it is clear that if a picture of any incident in a book is to successfully appeal to thought and feeling, that which follows and that which precedes in the book, the incident represented, must be quite familiar to the people who see the picture The whole book must be so well known that the artist who makes one of its incidents the subject of his picture, need not have to try to make his picture intelligible or interesting, by telling as much of the story as possible, but may be able to confine himself to the painter's right work of making the most beautiful picture he can, of a subject worthy of the praise of beautiful presentation, adding as he likes, that which a painter may, and a writer ought not, to give ; omitting as he likes that which the writer may and the painter ought not to give, with the certainty that, if only his picture be beautiful, it will be understood, enjoyed, and remembered. In other words a book, to be a useful ally for the painter's art, must be known to most of the people who see pictures as the Bible was known to most Puritans, as no book is now known to many English people, and as no book can be known which is not read several times. It is only when a book is thus read several times, that it gives us the best culture which it can give. Could not such a result be secured, and a valuable alliance effected between painting and some of our best literature, if the Royal Academy were yearly to announce that in the following year, or in the next year but one-some of its rooms would be reserved for pictures of subjects taken from some one work :-a book of the Old Testament, a play of Shakespeare, a poem by Wordsworth or Tennyson, a novel by Scott or Thackeray or George Eliot? There would be no difficulty in finding a fit work. I venture to throw out this suggestion, startling as it may appear to some.

It will doubtless be said, by way of objection, that such a plan would fetter the imagination of painters, whose imagination, if once fettered, would—so many people suppose—soon pine and die. But this objection will have little weight with those persons who have some imagination themselves, or who know anything of the history of Art and of Letters. To them imagination must seem a very controllable and guidable thing; a power which always ought to be guided and controlled, and which has done most of its best work under very strict guidance and control. The action of the imagination, it is true, is often involuntary, and so is that of the lungs. Just as they act when they feel air, so it acts when it feels the stimulus of fit conditions. But whether imagination shall act in foul air—this is decided for them by the will. The chief condition of the action of the imagination of an artist is that the subject on which it is to act shall be very interesting to him, and that he shall be able to live with it, and brood over it.

It may be urged that prize poems and birthday odes are almost always poor, and that pictures of subjects from a book chosen for painters will probably have many of their faults. But there is no real analogy between the cases. Such poems are generally poor, because the themes fail to excite the imagination sufficiently. However exalted, they are seldom great enough to be interesting or vitally quickening. But the chosen book would be great, and would be stimulating by its greatness; while the painter would have to occupy only those parts of the subject where his imagination moved most freely and strongly. The painter who cannot find an adequate stimulus to his imagination in any one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, in Job, Isaiah, in Maud,' or 'Comus,' in the · Antiquary,' in `Esmond, or · Adam Bede,' either has very little imagination or has an imagination which is already strongly preoccupied. In the latter case he will probably influence culture more by painting the subject which has preoccupied him than by painting one from the chosen book. It is certainly impossible to believe that any chosen book could offer a painter like Mr. Watts subjects so congenial to him, as are those of his . Angel of Death,' and his Love and Death. But it is at least as hard to believe that most pictures have been painted by men whose imagination has been strongly preoccupied. Many pictures, painted by even able men, show clearly that their subjects have been painfully sought for, and that the accident of being in one place instead of another has finally determined the painter's choice.

Much also might be gained, in the case of landscape painting, if in all exhibitions, except those in London, subjects were mainly chosen from a country easily accessible to the people who see the pictures. For unquestionably pictures of known scenery have a much more powerful effect on thought and feeling, than pictures of unknown scenery can have. A picture of a place known to us revives the associations which we have with the place; and its representation of the place is made fuller by our knowledge of that which is represented. The picture gives us a firmer hold of the place, and probably often fully reveals to us the existence of beauty in it, of which we have been but dimly or not at all aware. And as it is only in pictures of places which are known to us that we see how painters, for the sake of increase of beauty or of truth of effect, make their pictures differ from the places which are their subject, pictures of known scenery give more insight into part of the painter's art than is given by pictures of unknown places.

By such means as I have suggested, the influence of pictures might be greatly extended and reach many more people than at pre

For although many who read may fail to read a great book,

sent.

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