Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

progress of a noble art--who clears its subsequently imported; but they did not path and leads it into the broad highway afford sufficient scope to develope the caof truth and simplicity, is entitled to uni- pabilities of the art. After the Reforversal applause: to the gratitude of his mation, the pictures and images in country, nay, of the world for the fine churches were destroyed, and sculpture arts speak an uviversal language and are was thenceforth contined to monumenat peace with all nations for discover- tal representations, in which every speing and opening new sources of pure cies of bad taste was abundantly intropleasure and instruction : and to the duced. particular veneration of those who pro A new impulse was at length given fess his art, for raising its importance to the arts by the discoveries made by and increasing its attractions by adapt- the King of Naples, in clearing the ruins ing it to the taste, the philosophy, and of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and the feelings of the age. Such improvements excavations which were afterwards eahave in our time been effected in the art gerly, prosecuted in Rome. These reof SCULPTURE; and we are indebted for searches fortunately recovered from oblithem to CHANTREY.

vion innumerable pieces of exquisite · The very high degree of excellence to sculpture, which excited universal attenwhich this art was carried by the Greeks tion, and comparison of modern works is to be attributed to the universal de- with these relics of antiquity. Enormand for fine works of sculpture which, mous prices were paid for these antiques, from various causes, existed amongst and for many wretched counterfeits of them. Their worship, their politics, them; and while an important advance their manners, and the state of other in taste and judgment was actually made, arts in those times, were all favourable we must not be surprised that many to the increase and improvement of wealthy men affected virtù, and readily sculpture ; and the works which were paid whatever was demanded for a geproduced in those auspicious times are nuine antique, in the hope of being consequently characterized by those cir- numbered among the cognoscenti. Ali cumstances. They relate to ideas of this, however, brought in a new and which we are ignorant, to feelings with severer mode of study among the artists, which we cannot sympathize, to super- with a more diligent attention to nature stition which to us appears contemptible, and the antique, and has enabled some and to purposes which we effect more of them to exhibit performances much readily by other arts of modern inven more on a level with the merit of those tion. But the antient sculpture retains works than the insensible can feel, or our admiration by the beauty of its exe- the interested choose to own. The cution alone. After the revival of the establishment of the Royal Academy arts in Italy, the gorgeous pomp of the settled a course of study both at home Roman Catholic worship called forth and abroad, which developed the powers anew the powers of sculpture, and the of English genius, till then unknown to discovery of many fine works of the an the natives, and denied by foreigners.* cients produced the taste to which we But notwithstanding the respectable owe the works of Michelangelo and advance thus made by the English in his disciples. Still it was in general to art, it must be allowed that little prothe eye only that sculptors thought of gress was made by any of its numerous appealing; and they were as frequently eminent sculptors towards adapting employed on the figures of Venus,Cupid, sculpture to our own times, by freeing and Mercury, as on those of the pro- it from the dull devices and frigid conphets and saints. By an easy transition ceits which effectually separated it from this taste degenerated into the insipidi- all human feelings, until the appearance ties of Bernini and his followers, and of the subject of this memoir; one whose the affected vagaries of the French school only school was nature, whose course of the age of Louis the Fourteenth. of study was acute observation and di

In our English cathedrals we find ligent labour, and who by the unassistmany beautiful statues, recumbent and ed vigour of his own powers has changed kneeling figures, of a date earlier than the course into which the current of his the Reformation; some of which are known, and most are supposed to be, the work of foreign artists. The appro- particularly' Sculpture, in England, previ

* Cursory Strictures on Modern Art, and priate solemnity of these works is farously to the establishment of the Royal Acasuperior to the vain futter of clouds. demy in 1769. By Mr. Flaxman, R. A. cherubim, and seraphim, which was The Artist, No. XII.

art had been misdirected, and conduct his only encodragement; but at length ed it into a new channel, in which it is the merit of the groups and figures which recognized on all hands as a source of he produced attracted some notice. He delight and benefit. We shall endeavour continued three years with Ramsay, and to trace the progress of this original then purchased the remainder of his genius, from the earliest consciousness engagement; they separated with muof power and first ambitious wish to ex« tual satisfaction. cel, to the enviable pinnacle of success B y the advice of his more judicious and reputation on which he stands es friends, particularly of Mr. Raphael tablished by his meritorious exertions. Smith, he came to London in 1802, and

Mr. Chantrey was born at Norton, a began to apply himself diligently to small village on the borders of Derby- the study of sculpture. But in the same shire, on the 7th of April 1782. His year he commenced an intended tour ancestors were in respectable circum- through Ireland and Scotland, which, stances, and engaged in agricultural however, extended no farther than Dubpursuits. He was very young when he lin, where his progress was stopped by lost his father, and being an only child, a dangerous fever. Upon his recovery was brought up with great tenderness he returned to London, and recom and care by his mother, (who is still menced his studies with renewed ardour. living to rejoice in his success,) until he His application was rewarded with rapid was old enough to adopt a profession, and important attainments. Already he when that of the law was fixed upon, conceived those unerring principles of and it was resolved to place him in the art on which his present reputation is so office of a respectable solicitor at Shef- solidly founded. The bust of his friend field. He had previously attended the Raphael Smith, one of his earliest proschool at Norton, and in his intervals of ductions, evinces, by its free and natural leisure had amused himself with model style, a hand guided by truth. The bust ling in clay. We never heard, however, of Horne Tooke also belongs to this that his works were then very wonder- period, and is remarkable for its expresful, or that, like the late worthy presi- sions of acuteness and profundity. In dent of the academy, he was accounted 1810 Mr. Chantrey fixed his residence a prodigy in childhood.

in Pimlico. The easy, natural, and exOn the day appointed for the com- pressive style of his busts immediately mencement of those legal pursuits obtained for him extensive employment. from which he has so providentially in this department it is generally adescaped, he arrived at Sheffield an hour mitted that he stands unrivalled. He before the time his friends had appointed soon afterwards presented, in public for meeting him. In the course of his competition, a design for a statue of the endeavours to pass this tedious, anxious King, for the City, which was approved hour, he stopped to look at some figures in preference to all the others; and he in the window of one Ramsay, a carver accordingly executed that fine statue and gilder. Whilst he gazed on these, now in Guildhall. with simple admiration, he resolved to The county-committee for erecting a become an artist; and forgot in a mo- monument to commemorate the public ment the chancellor, his woolsack, and services of the late Lord Nelson, having all the train of dignities with which the invited designs for a monument to be young fry of lawyers regale their imagi- raised in the sea at Yarmouth, near the nations. His determination was fortu shore of the hero's native county, Mr. nate for his country, which has never Chantrey furnished a design which wanted attornies, barristers, or judges, evinces the boldness and originality of but really stood in need of such a sculp his genius. On the extremity of a winda tor. He was soon established with ing mole, considerably advanced in the Ramsay as an apprentice, but the em- sea, he proposed to erect a colossal statue ployment which he found in his service of the great admiral one hundred and was little calculated to advance his pro- thirty feet high. Beneath his feet, and gress in sculpture. His ardour was so composed as to form an extensive however indefatigable : all his leisure base, were to be seen the prows of the time was devoted to drawing and models ships taken by him from the enemy. ling, and he omitted no opportunity of The star on his left breast was to be studying from nature. Much of this illuminated during the night as a Pharos study was necessarily secret, on account for mariners. The sublimity of these of the envy or ill huinour of his master : ideas was quite beyond the comprehenthe approbation of his mother was long sion of the committee, who committed

server.

the lamentable error of dedicating an Hebes ; but they faithfully and feelingly Athenian Doric column to the memory resemble the persons of young and lovely of a British admiral.

maidens. These are represented as lying * But the sublimity of Chantrey's con- on a couch: the head of the eldest imceptions was first developed in all its pressing the downy pillow; and that of splendour in the celebrated monument the youngest reclining on the other's to the memory of Mary Ann, daughter bosom. One of her arms is beneath her of Mr. Johnes of Hafod. This simple, sister's head, and the other extends over unaffected, pathetic composition, repre- the body. In one hand is a bunch of sents the melancholy incident of a lovely, snow-drops, the blossoms of which are apaffectionate, accomplished maiden ex- parently just broken off, but not withered. piring in the arms of her afflicted parents. The faces of both incline towards each What is there in ancient art to affect us other with apparent affection ;-the eyelike this heart-rending scene?- The agon- lids are closed, and every muscle seems ized mother presses to her lips the hand lulled into still and serene sleep: all the of the beautiful sufferer, thus nearly con- other bodily members partake of the same cealing her own face; while the father, serenity and repose. The arms and the in calmer but not less profound grief, legs, the fingers, the very toes, are alt bends over his child, and supports her alike equally slumbering the drapery is dying head. Her pallet and pencils, in- also smooth and unruffled, and is strictly. dicative of the cultivated elegance of her in unison and harmony with every other mind, lie abandoned by her side, with part of the design. The whole expression a roll of music, on which appears the seems to induce silence, caution, and appropriate inscription

almost breathless solicitude in the 'ob“ Angels ever bright and fair

A fascinating and pathetic sym“ Take, oh take me to your care!"

pathy is excited ;-at least these were the This group invariably costs the spectator effects and sentiments produced on mya tear; and when had English sculpture self in contemplating it alone, and tothis power till Chantrey gave it? wards the close of day. Analyzing it as Mr. Chantrey availed himself of the a work of art, and endeavouring to estihrstopportunity afforded by circuin- mate its claims to novelty, beauty, and stances, to examine the great works of art excellence, I must own that all my abroad, and this opportunity occurred in powers of criticism were at length sub1814, when the fall of Buonaparte had dued by the more impressive impulses of placed within the reach of our in- the heart. With these sensations, and quisitive countrymen the spoils with with mingled emotions of admiration at which that plunderer had enriched the the probable effects of English art, and Louvre at the expense of the enemies of the appeals of nature through this meFrance. He again viewed these works dium, 'I was turning away from the fasin 1815, previously to their partial re- cinating group, when the plaintive song storation to their owners. It was on his of a robin which had perched in the adreturn from this second tour, that he joining window, diverted the train of res modelled the famous monument of the flection, but touched another chord of two female children of the Rev. W. the heart, which vibrated in perfect harRobinson and Ellen Jane, his widow, mony." now in Lichfield cathedral, a work suffi Another admirable production of this cient alone to immortalize its author. master is in the chancel of Caverswell? Never shall, we forget the sensation church, in Staffordshire. It is a kneeling which it produced when first exhicited figure of Lady St. Vincent, delightfully at Somerset-house: nany a tear did these simple and unaffected in its devotional lovely sisters call forth, and many a expression. The statue of Lady Louisa parental heart they reminded of irrepara: Russell, one of the daughters of the ble loss. The public discovered with Duke of Bedford, is also a most happy surprise, that marble could affect their effort. This pretty.sprightly child stands feelings, and the fame of Chantrey was on tiptoe, fondly cherishing a dove in her " widely and rapidly spread.

bosom ; a beautiful personification of inThe following observations of a judira nocence, grace, and simplicity. This cious critic on this exquisite work were statue is now at Woburn Abbey in compenned, as he assures us, in Lichfield cathedral, on a fine summer's evening, Britton's Lichfield Cathedral, pp. 500, with the e monument directly before him, 51011:Pl. xvic is a very clever representation

These are not cominon-place fornis, of this beautiful monument, engraved by nor imitations of Venuses, Graces, and Lc Keux, after Mackenzie. 169 NEW MONTHLY MAG.-NO. 81. Vol. XIV.

3 K

pany with a group of the Graces from the tractions. His latter productions are of chisel of Canova; an association which a far more natural and exalted character affords no inadequate estimate of the two than his earlier works; and his fame is artists. The Graces may attract our ad- wronged by his masterly statues which miration, but the child will interest our are now common in England. He is exhearts. We owe this most lively figure celling in simplicity and in grace every to the artist's determination to refute the day. An Endymion, for the Duke of puny critics who pretended to think he Devonshire, a Magdalen, for Lord Livercould not represent a child awake. The pool, and a Nymph, are his latest works, monument of the two children at Lich- and his best. There is also a noble field procured Mr. Chantrey several com- equestrian statue of the King of Naples missions for similar subjects. Perhaps the revolutions of its head have kept no representation of a lost child can be pace with those of the kingdom. A poet so grateful to the eyes, so soothing to the in Rome has published a book of sonheart of a mourning parent, as the sleep- nets on Canova's works; each production ing figure, which records the melancholy has its particular sonnet-of their excelseparation of affectionate hearts in the lence I can give you no information." gentlest manner, and suggests the con- Our limits will not permit us to describe solatory hope that the beloved object minutely the excellent statues of Presishall hereafter awake to eternal happiness. dent Blair, Lord Melville, Dr. Anderson, A beautiful figure of this description, the Mr. Horner, and others, in which, relyinfant daughter of Sir T. Acland, was ing on truth and nature, on characteristic this year exhibited at Somerset-house, resemblance, and dignified and easy atand is noticed in our last volume, (p. 716.) titudes, he has represented British digWe think it superior to either of the Lich- nitaries, statesmen, and philosophers, in field figures taken separately; but there their British dresses, without derogation is a charm in the combination of these, from the dignity which other artists have a sentiment in their sisterly fellowship, imagined to be exclusively imparted by their union in death, most propitious for Greek and Roman costume. His monuthe artist who knew so well how to avail ment in St. Paul's to Major-gen. Haughhimself of the ideas it suggested. The ton is generally known; and he has sleeping child of Mr. Boswell of Auchyn- others in great forwardness in memory of leck, is another delightful personification Generals Bowes and Gillespie, and Col. of infant innocence, beauty, and repose. Cadogan, destined for the same national In all these recumbent figures, the atti- repository. Among his busts, those of tudes are varied so judiciously, naturally, John Rennie, the civil engineer, of Proand gracefully, that when viewed alto- fessor Playfair, and West, and his mogether in the sculptor's room, nothing is dels for Wordsworth and Walter Scott, farther from the spectator's mind than are selected by some connoisseurs as suany impression of monotony or repetition. perior; but they are all so natural, easy,

It was not till the year 1818, that this expressive, and characteristic, that we great artist was elected a Royal Academi- believe a preference can only be founded cian. We know that great bodies move on the subject, not the manner in which slowly, and that the mere act of incor- it is executed. poration frequently benumbs the facul. Several commissions have been given ties of individuals; otherwise we should to Mr. Chantrey for poetic groups and find it difficult to account for the impolitic figures of his own choice, and we conficonduct of the academicians in neglect- dently anticipate from some of these, ing so long to strengthen their corps work's which will rival the most famous (exposed as it has frequently been to an- performances of the ancient sculptors. noying attacks) by such an accession of Warned by our decreasing space, we retalents.

luctantly quit this subject; and if we In 1818, he visited Rome, Venice, have refrained from touching on the priand Florence, and many other places in vate character of this distinguished inItaly, to examine the choice works of dividual, it is because he is yet living, art which they contain. It is pleasing and will, we hope and believe, long reto observe the warmth of admiration main amongst us. The public has little with which he speaks of his great come to do with the private lives of artists; petitor Canova, who is said to be equally but every spectator of Chantrey's works iust to his English friend. “ Above all must feel that the artist possesses a heart, modern art in Rome," writes Mr. Chan- and many will own with us that it cantrey, “ Canova's works are the chief at- not be a bad one.

?

THE DRAMA.

any

worthy partner of his greatness," MR. KEAN'S FAREWELL PERFORM we have seen no performer in this ANCES-(concluded from last month.) - play who did not shock all our recollecThe next of Mr. Kean's performancestions and sympathies, since that unforafter those which we noticed in our last gotten night when Kemble and Mrs. was Reuben Glenroy in Town and Siddons last appeared together on the Country. To the larger portion of this The greater part of Mr. Kean's fantastical character his powers are de- performance was butchery. There was cidedly unfitted. He has no majesty of nothing in him for supernatural solicitperson to shine through a coarse or a ings to work on—no sensibility to unrustic garbmno pomp of utterance to earthly impulses--no eye for things ungive importance to tríte sentiment-no seen by ordinary vision. The glory and dignity of manner which can preserve the dream of the character were gone, distinction to its possessor among the and he was left a common murderer. familiar scenes of modern existence. He started at the air-drawn dagger, as if He cannot look like a deity in broad- it had been real and wielded by a morcloth-nor make common-place seem tal hand ; spoke of the “ jump” from oracular wisdom—nor gracefully wave “ this end and shoal of time” to “ the vulgarity aside—like the great actor for life to come,” as though it were a leap whom this part was written. Yet it for harlequin; played tricks with the sohas two scenes of terrific passion, and liloquy on life; and fiercely contested several little touches of real pathos scat- with the ghost of Banquo, as with an tered amidst its dull moralities, in enemy of flesh and blood. The scene which he amply vindicated the truth of after the assassination of Duncan is a nature, and his own intimate communion noble exception to the general censure; with her sanctities. Nothing could be -and, indeed, when we think on it, we more heart-searching than the manner are almost ashamed to have spoken in which he told the story of his wrongs slightingly of any piece of acting which to their author, or more affecting than includes so awful and tear-moving a pichis gentle way of stopping the elder ture. The voice heard on the stair-case Glenroy from making any inquiries half-choaked with guilt and terror, which which might touch on the cause of we feel at once to be a recent murhis own miseries. The piece-with the derer's—the wild eagerness of the ensignal exceptions of Kean and Munden trance with the daggers—the frightful

DRURY LANE THEATRE.

scene.

-was miserably cast; and has not been stupor in which he almost mechanirepeated.

cally replies to Lady Macbeth's questions Mr. Kean's approaching departure -the more frightful recurrence to sense, occasioned the revival of Macbetha when agonizing recollections rush on tragedy seldom of late acted at this him as he looks at his bloody, handstheatre. The idea of this play, as we his instinctive stopping at the word first saw it acted, has a vaster space in prayers” in his description of the atour memories than that of any other, tendants, as though he felt his utter diand we go to its representation with an vorce from all holy things—and his bitever-recurring yet ever disappointed hope ter expression, “ I could not say Amen, of seeing again some dim image of what when they did say God bless us,” every we remember. We contemplate the syllable of which seems to fall in strange vast sweep of the green curtain, as we distinctness on the soul-are unequiwere wont to look on it with greedy vocal proofs of that genius which Mr. eyes, and prepare ourselves for a visual Kean, in his least successful efforts, gaze on that majestical crime and suffer- never suffers to be doubtful.—Mr. Ellising-that iron majesty of the North in ton's performance of Macduff highly the olden time—which once awed and pleased us. It was truly energetic, spithrilled our souls. The curtain rises— rited, and affecting. As this old favourthe blasted heath is discovered — the ite has not of late been thought able to music plays among the hills, approach- perform tragedy-in which he once diing nearer and nearer, to usher in the vided public opinion with the best of hero—and we feel our old sensations the serious actors we were extremely reviving. But the illusion is dissipated, glad to see this idea so well refuted. at once, on the appearance of the prin- There is nothing more pleasant than to cipal actors. Except in Mr. Macready's find one whom we long have admired Macbeth, which was unsupported by thus coming out, as it were afresh, to

« ZurückWeiter »