Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Dentatus. This vigorous effort, painted of service, which the vigilance of oppoby commission for Lord Mulgrave, sition produces in a free government. evinced the great capabilities of the Thus opposed to one of the great artist; the story is admirably represent- national institutions for promoting the ed, and the figure of Dentatus is a fine fine arts, it might have been expected personification of valour, strength, and that he would have courted the favour rage. Treacherously attacked by his of the other with obsequious attention. own soldiers in a narrow defile, the But Haydon was much more an artist Roman veteran rushes on his assailants than a man of the world. Observing with irresistible fury, determined to sell in the Edinburgh Review of August his life dearly. A villain is seen in the 1810, an article by Mr. Payne Knight, act of hurling from above a huge piece on the works of Barry, which he conof rock, to crush the hero beneath its ceived to be of a pernicious tendency, ponderous mass. This picture shewed and calculated both to mislead and disthe great improvement which the painter courage young artists, Haydon forgot had derived from his assiduous study of that Mr. Payne Knight was a distinthe works of Titian at the Marquess of guished connoisseur, and director of the Stafford's, particularly the Diana and British Institution; and came forward Actæon, and the Four Ages. His me- in defence of the art, and the memory thod was to examine a piece of colour- of a neglected, but great artist, with ing, then paint it from recollection at overwhelming energy and truth, in a home, and afterwards compare his own series of letters published in the Exaperformance with that of the master. miner Sunday newspaper, under the It was also during the progress of this signature of “ An English Student.” picture that he first had an opportunity Mr. Knight's criticism was certainly a of studying the Elgin marbles, then at fair object of censure; it appeared to Lord Elgin's house in Piccadilly. On have no other object tnan that of deprethe first view of these treasures of art, ciating the greatest efforts of art, and he declared to Mr. Hamilton that they confining the ambition of the painter to would overturn the authority of the an- a successful imitation of visible objects; tique statues, which had till then been and this on a small scale. These abregarded as the perfection of art. Ca- surd dogmas were most successfully nova afterwards confirmed this opinion. controverted by Haydon; but it is to be From these works, Haydon persevered, feared, that the freedom and poignancy indefatigably, in drawing ten, twelve, of his style gave offence in a quarter and even fifteen hours at a time. The where it was his interest to conciliate. Dentatus was designed upon principles In 1812 he finished the picture of Macderived from these assiduous labours, beth for Sir George Beaumont, and sent and obtained the first prize at the British it to the British Gallery to compete for Institution.

the prize. But the directors unaniEncouraged by this success, Mr. Hay- mously voted, that no picture worthy of don offered himself as an associate of their prizes of 300 or 200 guineas had the Royal Academy; but his reception been exhibited; and adding those preby some of the academicians was so far miums together, purchased with the from satisfactory, that he relinquished amount the picture of Christ healing his intention. The impression which the Blind, by Mr. Richter. This disthis treatment made on his ardent mind, appointment was by no means alleviated has been often declared to the public by the considerate offer made by the most unequivocally in his numerous Institution to allow Mr. Haydon thirty writings. An additional offence was un- guineas for his frame, which proposal fortunately given to him the following was indignantly refused. year, by the refusal of a place in the At this time Mr. Haydon was nearly great room for his picture of Romeo destitute. The purchaser, of his picture and Juliet. Upon this new affront, had not taken it, in consequence of he withdrew his pictures, and com- some misunderstanding about the size. menced a system of open warfare against He no longer received any assistance the academicians, which has ever since from his family; and was engaged on been carried on by him and his friends, his great picture of the Judgment of particularly in the periodical work en- Solomon, without any prospect of

suptitled “ Annals of the Fine Arts." We port during its progress. Few artists have no doubt that his censures have would have resisted such an accumulabeen too severe and indiscriminate ; ne- tion of motives for employing their lavertheless, they have been of that sort lents in the lucrative business of portrait

painting. Haydon hesitated for some unconnected with public bodies. His time, but nobly determined to adhere to picture being advantageously sold, he the more elevated pursuit, and strenu- visited Paris for the restoration of his ously persevered, under the pressure of health at that favourable period, in great privations, in finishing his picture. 1814, when the choicest works of art, His efforts proved injurious to his the spoils of all the Continental nations, health, which has never since been enriched the Louvre, while the city completely re-established.

itself abounded in objects of study and Whatever might have been Mr. Hay- interest for a painter, in the concourse don's errors, every member of the direc- of military from all parts of Europe, and tory of the British Institution must have some of Asia, which filled its streets. felt, on witnessing the exhibition of the On his return to England he comJudgment of Solomon, how completely menced his grand historical work, lately that establishment had abandoned the exhibited in Piccadilly, from the scriptuobjects of its institution, in abandoning ral subject of “Christ's Triumphant an artist capable of producing such a Entry into Jerusalem.” But a general work., As some reparation, they now debility and extreme weakness of sight voted him a present of 100 guineas. It with which he was afflicted during is unnecessary for us to describe the almost the whole of 1815, retarded the picture, which is almost as well known progress of this work. About this time ir this country as the subject it repre- Canova visited England, and became sents, and will be regarded centuries acquainted with Haydun, who afterhence with a degree of admiration which wards sent him a cast of the Ilyssus. twenty years ago it was scarcely hoped In the following year, when the purthat a British picture would ever elicit. chase of the Elgin marbles became a Its depth, harmony, and richness, as a subject of parliamentary, discussion, picture, can scarcely be excelled ; it is Lord Elgin requested that Mr. Haydon, designed in a style of simple grandeur; whom he knew to be well acquainted it contains nothing like bombast on the with those works, should be examined. one hand, or meanness on the other; But Mr. Haydon was not called ; and the variety of expression which the sub- this neglect has always been ascribed by ject so liberally affords is faithfully and his friends

to the influence of Mr. Payne nobly rendered; the easy dignity, and Knight. This gentleman had long preprompt unerring sagacity of the youthful viously declared his unfavourable opinion monarch are admirably conceived; the of these marbles in his “ Specimens of contrasted countenances and attitudes Ancient Sculpture, published by the of the mothers, the living and dead Dilettanti Society," pronouncing them child, the figure of the executioner, to be “merely architectural sculptures, and even the subordinate personages, executed from the designs of Phidias, are all admirable. The figures are nei- under his directions probably, by workther crowded nor scattered ; they are men scarcely rarked among artists." contrasted, but not ostentatiously or As he gave a similar opinion in his exaffectedly We are not to learn that amination before the select committee unqualified praise is often indicative only of the House of Commons, Haydon of the critic's ignorance; but the faults came forward eagerly in their defence, of this work are so trifling in compari- nothing loth, we suspect, to have anson with its merits that they have faded other round with his old antagonist. from our memory, while the beauties He accordingly published a letter, enremain indelibly impressed. The Mayor titled “The Judgment of Connoisseurs and Commonalty of the Borough of upon Works of Art compared with that Plymouth, Haydon's native town, voted of Professional Men; in reference more him the freedom of their corporation as particularly to the Elgin Marbles.” a testimony of their admiration of his With more justice than prudence this talents, and particularly of “The Judg- enthusiastic artist declared, that the ment of Solomon."

patrons of art laboured under the disThe appearance of this work at the advantage of a defective education, since Exhibition of the Society of Painters in painting formed no part of their studies; Water-colours at Spring Gardens, was and that when they have occasion to an era in the history of the fine arts of appreciate works of art, being too proud this country. It was hailed with gene- to consult the artist of genius, they reral admiration and delight, as a national sign their judgment to the gentlemen

The Royal Academy would of pretension." He reminds them that now have received the painter with in no other professions but those of the pleasure ; but he determined to remain fine arts, is the opinion of amateurs pre

success.

ferred to that of professors ; and con- burgh Review t, which has revived (for cludes by declaring, that while he lives, the sake of contradiction) the old exor has an intellect to detect a difference, ploded doctrine of the influence of climate, or a hand to write, he will never suffer will actually gain some attention; and a leading man to put forth pernicious the writer who has amused himself with sophisms on art without doing his best calling the Triumphant Entry into Jeruto refute them, or unjustly to censure salem " the ground-work and scaffolding fine works by opinions, without doing of a noble picture, but no more," and his best to expose them; that is, if they tells us that our artists want only " to be of sufficient consequence to endanger have their pictures exhibited and sold,” the public taste. This pamphlet caused will no longer appear so pre-eminently a very strong sensation among the patrons dull as at present. But we hope for and professors of the fine arts, and pro- better things. Leaving the worthy rebably influenced the decision to which viewer out of the question, the taste of this country is indebted for the posses- the British public, as well as the British sion of the noblest works of antiquity. artists, has increased, is increasing, and

The President of the Imperial Acade- will increase. my of St. Petersburgh wrote to Haydon The multitudes who crowded Hayin 1818, on the subject of the Elgin don's exhibition-room during the whole marbles; at the same time sending of last summer, afford the best refutahim two beautiful casts. In return, the tion of those who would persuade us English artist presented the Russian that the fine arts are not the natural with two casts from the Elgin marbles. growth of our country. We learn,

In a former part of this volume * we with much satisfaction, that another have fully expressed our opinion of Mr. proof in our favour will shortly be forthHaydon's picture of Christ's Triumphant coming, in a picture of Christ's agony Entry into Jerusalem. It has received in the garden, which Haydon is now from other writers approbation still more painting for Mr. Phillips, M.P., and unqualified than ours. We are happy will be exhibited in the spring. He is to record Mrs. Siddons's entire approba- also employed on a picture of the Raising tion of the expression of the principal of Lazarus, of 19 feet by 144, also to be figure, the only point on which we felt exhibited when finished. it difficult to enter into the conceptions The private character of this artist of the painter ; such an authority would has not been spared in the acrimonious greatly overbalance that of all us periodi- contests which have been alluded to in cal critics together. We are not, how- the preceding pages. Unable to resist ever, in possession of the reasons on the proofs of his talents as a painter, which that lady's opinion is founded, some adversaries have called 'him a while our own have been candidly stated radical reformer, and others a deist. We to our readers. The subscription raising believe that, when he has found associby the Marguess of Stafford, Sir C. ates of talent and worth, he has seldom Long, Sir G. Beaumont, Lord Mulgrave, inquired into their opinions on politics Lord Ashburnham, the Bishop of Lon- and religion. As to his own, we have don, and other distinguished patrons of reason to know that he is sincerely atthe arts, for the public purchase of this tached to the British constitution, and grand picture, is a touchstone which considers the principal reform of which will try the real state of British know- it is capable to be an extension of naledge and feeling on the subject of the tional encouragement to historical paintfine arts. If it should not be completely ing. So much for his politics. His resuccessful, the absurdities of the Edin- ligion may be discovered in his pictures.

THE NEW ADVENTURER.-NO. III.

“ Disputez maintenant, colériques argumentans ; présentez des requêtes les uns contre les autres, dites des injures, prononcez vos sentences, vous qui ne savez pas un mot de la question."-Voltaire.

Sir,-We live in the age of alembi- myopic, and can with difficulty preserve cated systems, and the plainest matters our heads from a post, we are, metabecome the subjects of far-fetched re- phorically, increasing every day in longsearches ; so that, while by poring over sightedness, and are as telescopic in our our books we have, physically, become notions as the inhabitants of Laputa. To this reflection I was led by the fairly dislodge the said faculties from metaphysico-physiological reveries of the all and every of the aforesaid preGallists ; not indeed that the fault is mises, and demonstrate beyond" all, peculiarly theirs, for philosophers of possibility of dispute, that they do not almost every colour and shade of doc- “ run up and down concealing themtrine, almost the whole genus quod exit selves” (to use the law cant of my old in ologist, are infected with the same master the attorney) in that part of the error, and seem agreed to overlook and microcosm. The idea is perfectly abdespise knowledge which is too easily surd, and can only have arisen from obtained, or which, being obtained, is that tendency in mankind, before not too transcendental to be intelligible. noticed, of overlooking what is near at

* P. 72.

t Edin. Rey. No. 07. Art. IV.

I was looking the other day at one of hand, and, according to the proverb, those prepared casts of heads in which of not seeing the bear till it bites them. the habitat of our several faculties is As long ago as in the days of Shakspeare ticketed according to the system of the the implication of the brain in the inGerman professor; and while I ponder- tellectual processes seems to have been ed over the immense regions assigned to doubted, as appears from the following a few dirty animal propensities, and passage :marvelled at the number of useful and

" and his pure brain, noble capabilities “pent up” in that which some suppose the soul's fair dwelling-house : Utica the sinciput, (without entertaining which could not have been written a very high notion of my own acquire- among a people with whom such a no ments)

tion was very generally prevalent " Still the wonder grew

This conjecture is still farther sup

ported by a passage in Coriolanus, where True it is that the soul was infinitely speaking of the most intellectual part of less at ease when it was perched a-cock- the inhabitants of Rome, the poet says horse upon the pineal gland; and its “the senators of Rome are this good lodgings in the ventricles of the brain belly;" plainly allusive to an opinion must have been both damp and aguish, to which I shall presently call your atas well as more cramped and confined tention.-If however, instead of purthan those of which Dr. Gall has given suing abstractions, or poring with a it a lease *. Still, however, the matter scalpel over "filthy corpses,

we but is not much mended; for in any man, open our window and look abroad into who in the least degree has soul the streets, the first man that passes above buttons," such a nest of pigeon- may serve as a testimony that the soul: holes as the Doctor has crowded be- has no certain or fixed habitation, but neath the os frontis, must be deemed both wanders at pleasure over every part of an unsuitable and an uncomfortable ha- the body, halting for the time being in bitation. Sir, 1 defy him to swing the that particular member or organ which idea of a cat in such a tenement t. may best suit its present views and con

It does not require much learning to venience. Do we not see the soul shew that all this is error, and error of changing its quarters at the different

grossest description ; and I think I periods of the day? He whose soul: shall convince you that the brain has is in the morning God knows where, nothing to do with the business. In finds it very regularly return about the the first place we are told, and I my- hour of dinner to his stomach ; where, self have seen it, that so many parts of taking possession of the esophagus, it the brain are diseased, while the facul- is wholly occupied in the examination ties remain sound and unaffected, as of the morsels as they descend; and be

One little head contain'd the whole I knew."

a

the

Dryden seems to have had this notion of the soul and its habitation within the malaria of the ventricles; for he distinctly ascribes all the perturbations of the mind to an inter-, mittent.

" These heats and colds still in our breasts make war,

Agues and fevers all our passions are."- Indian Emperor. On this account for “breasts” read “brains”-sic corrige meo periculo.

+ Foote, the actor, having purchased a house made up of very small rooms, ie was ob jected to him, that he could not swing a cat in them. “Sir," said he in reply, “I don't ins. tend to swing cats.” But the case is very different with the soul, which, if it be a “ choice soul,” or a “ merry soul,” a “convivial soul,” or any soul but the soul of a weaver, has caprices for which it cannot answer beyond ten minutes at a time.

"A catch that will draw three souls out of one weaver."-Shakspeare.

Venter.

comes grave or gay, morose or good- incompatibilities if this faculty of locohunioured, in the combined ratio of motion be obstinately denied to their their quantity and quality. Follow this animating principle. same gentleman to the theatre when his

Taking the species however in the favourite actress is on the stage, you general, and passing over the peculiariwill find his soul concentrated in his ties of individuals, I am inclined to eyes. At a concert it shifts to his ears; trace the finer and more subtle of the and though I do not think with Horacé soul's faculties to the stomach ; an opithat it can actually take a hop, step, nion, indeed, of which I cannot claim and juinp, from Thebes to Athens, the merit, since it is to be traced in the while the body remains tranquilly sitting authors of the greatest acumen in all in the front row of the pit; yet am I ages. perfectly convinced that it can extend Magister artis ingenique largitor itself from the hand into a dice-box, or a pack of cards, and suffer the most extraordinary sympathetic perturbations the lead in our pleasures and pains; and

The stomach, says Aretæus, takes from their shuttlings and revolutions.

we know this organ to be the centre of It is however not less true that there are certain parts in each individual which tibly compelled to make it the head

so many sympathies, that we are irresisthe soul habitually prefers (whether by quarters of animation. So also Virgil the force of habit, or by innate peculiari- uses hunger for desire, Auri sacru FAMES; ty, this deponent saith not), removing and the Roman satirist, in endeavouring occasionally from part to part, but re

to exalt the intellectual subtlety of the turning speedily to its favourite spot; Greeks to the highest pitch, takes care just as the master of the house visits his

to indicate the state of the gastric stables and offices, but lives in his draw

organsing-room or library. No one will, I

Græculus esuriens, in cælum jusseris, ibit. presume, deny that the soul of a dandy, though generally expanded over the sur The analogies between the intellecface of his body, resides more especially tual and gastric functions are very many. in the neck; passing from the skin to A man is said to be at his wits end, the innermost folds of the cravat, and when he wants a dinner; and it is upon animating it with a living grace of stiff- this occasion that Plautus energizes the ness that starch alone could never intellects of his parasite, making him effect. Neither will it be disputed that say, unum ridiculum dictum de dictis methe soul of the warm men, of the other lioribus. As a little learning is a danend of the town, lurks about the upper gerous thing, and too much drives a part of the thigh; since the fact is man mad, so the stomach is equally proved by the great air of satisfaction embarrassed with too small or too large with which their hand ever and anon a supply of nutriment. If this analogy buries itself in the breeches pocket; did not subsist, why, it may be asked, and this idea is confirmed by the habit are we so cross the last half-hour before of such persons, when at a loss for an dinner, when that dinner is protracted argument, of seeking their wits in the by a lingerer? and why so pleasant after same quarter, and trusting the victory a full meal ? to the argumentum ad crumenam, a large Farther proof of this verity lies in wager. Thus the soul of a pickpocket that judicious practice of students at resides chiefly in his finger's ends, the law and of fellow-commoners, who eat soul of a lover in his lips, the soul of a their way to university and legal honours; gourmand in his palate, and the soul of

a practice totally inexplicable without a critic in his eye-brows. So strongly this close and necessary connexion beindeed was St. Augustin convinced of tween the intellect and the stomach. this truth, that he makes it an argument The common language of mankind to refute a prevalent opinion among the points to the same truth in the frequent ancients that the human soul was in recurrence of metaphors founded upon substance a portion of the divinity. “ Ita the hypothesis : Digests of law, connon eos movet tunta mutabilitas animæ, stipated imaginations, undigested ideas, quam Dei naturæ tribuere nefas est.” feasts of reason, hunger and thirst after After such an authority it is hardly ne- rightcousness, are phrases which pass cessary to cite the case of acephalous current alike among the learned and the monsters, which being born alive must vulgar. So likewise we are told not to have souls, but which having no brains stomach an insult; and we are sick of for them to inhabit, would embrace an argument, when it does not meet our

« ZurückWeiter »