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sible arguments for and against them may be adduced; nor should we have a right to quarrel with any opinion on that subject. We find them established here and elsewhere, and being established, we must not, cannot, abolish them. Annihilate the Royal Academy to-morrow, others will be immediately set up, and you will get no good for your wrong. Not that we admit that they are disadvantageous-we believe quite otherwise. One good we see every day-the distressed widow and orphan of departed genius, eating their bread in peace and quietness. This is much. And of the good to art-the numbers who gain their bread by the profession, are beyond calculation more than they could have been had the Academy never existed. We know not what deadness of feeling there might have been for art, had not the Aca. demy promoted a love for it. We look back to Hogarth, Wilson, Gainsborough, and Sir Joshua Reynolds ; and some assert they owe nothing to the Academy. But we would say, that Wilson at least owed the comfort of his latter days to it, and all owe the estimation in which their works are now held, to that improved taste which the Academy has engendered in the public mind. The increased value of the works of Hogarth, Wilson, and Gainsborough, is a test of that improvement. It is very easy to find fault with minor matters, and there are some matters which it has been the democratic fashion to consider as high crimes and misdemeanours, which are yet, perhaps, harmless-perhaps beneficial in their result. The very word dinners, in allusion to corporations and societies of any kind, has become synonymous with mal-appropriation of funds. We are not, therefore, at all surprised that the painter of the great Reform Dinner, and who, while daubing with all his frenzy, witnessed the fullblown corruption of that, and had but the reeking steam for his share, should be quite wroth that the Academy should have expended, in seventy years, L.19,750 in annual dinners. But not so hasty, Mr Haydon. Though you never did, and probably never will, digest any portion of their dinners, they are not so undigestible, and unconvertible into good, as you suppose. It is all humbug-and that you know-catchwords for the reforming mania to take up-but you really
know better. "What do you do," said a little wondering boy to a drover, "with all those cattle?" "I eat them all myself," said he. So would you have the public believe that the Academy are the greatest of gourmandizers, and bid all beware of cannibalism. However, if you have not seen them eat, you really know little about it; and if you have, why, in that case, you have been in good company. Failing in convicting them as the "Forty Thieves," dub them gluttons and cannibals. But who can doubt either the object or the success of these dinners, cheaply obtained, for they tend greatly to create the funds? The wealth of the country is here brought into social contact with art-a_more than common interest created-a knowledge imparted, and taste diffused. The conversation makes patrons, not patrons for the academicians alone, but for art generally. The dinners are, in fact, a wise policy. One was given to Mr Hume, the other day, to promote a feeling of reform. Had he a surfeit, and cannot see the policy in another line?
As to other complaints, doubtless there may be some truth in them; they may not be very important. Where there is proof, in the distri bution of funds and general arrange. ments, of a disinterested spirit, we may reasonably expect that faults pointed out, in a friendly manner, will meet at least with consideration. There are two things, we think, well worthy the attention of Academicians, from both of which we think they are sufferers, and mostly sufferers themselves. We allude to their hanging the pictures, and to their privilege of repainting upon the walls. We would suggest, with all respect, that they should abolish the latter altogether; it is an invidious, an indiscreet privilege, and one which, we are persuaded, is injurious, in a high degree, to Art itself; and, we verily believe, has engendered that artificialness, that attempt to outdo all modesty, and to become conspicuous, which is the great error of the English schools. For the former, in the advanced state of the general taste, a ready remedy offers itself. Let the Academicians entirely forego the hanging the pictures, and annually appoint a Committee of Taste for the purpose, of persons not artists nor exhibitors. Such a committee
would be above the suspicion of partiality, and could not be themselves interested beyond their desire to make the exhibition as good and worthy of the public admiration as possible. And we might venture to suggest that, if they would limit the portraits to one room, they would rescue art from the blight of vanity, which it is scarcely expected that artists can themselves do. They would thus have a greater scope for the various branches of art. Sir M. A. Shee, the President of the Royal Academy, in his Rhymes on Art, and in the notes, has strongly animadverted on some of these mistakes; and, it must be confessed, he has furnished a handle of satire, which the opponents of the Academy now very adroitly use. It may not be quite fair, to insist upon the opinions of 1809 to be necessarily the opinions of the same man in 1839; yet, as great advantage has been taken of them, we would refer the reader to the examina. tion of Sir M. A. Shee before the Committee of the House of Commons, as given in the Report, of which we have before made mention. Sir M. A. Shee may there comment on his own opinions, The examination of the President and Secretary are specimens, on their parts, of good taste, good temper, truth, and talent, which their adversaries have not exhibited. The Academy have, after all, but few adversaries. Disappointment may have created some, who yet, at one time, did not object to be members. Allowances may even here be made for sore feelings and prejudices. We should be the last to find fault with a man because he is an opponent, and
because we differ from all his conclusions. But the dirty petty warfarethe warfare of pretence, of harassing by insult, by insisting on a scrutiny of accounts, when thereby an injury is meant, with which the accounts have nothing to do, we cannot too strongly reprobate. We think, in this respect, Messrs Haydon and Hume cut very sorry figures, and, in unhappy fraternity, are entitled to the designation that the wrathful Mr Bumble bestowed upon the law. It is a great thing to have a good "mouthpiece" in a proper place. Pan was no great warrior in himself, but he did mighty feats, and routed many hosts, by riding an ass, who knew how, when, and where to bray.
A word to the Society of British Artists. They petitioned the House not to sanction the removal of the Royal Academy to their new apartments. And upon what plea? ~ Because a rival exhibition so near to them would injure their property !! About as wise and reasonable as if Mr Jones, the surgeon at No. 5, should petition Parliament, in its omnipotence, not to permit Mr Thomas, accoucheur, now removing his goods to No. 10, to set up business in the same street with him. Let this Society, however, beware how they petition Parliament to interfere with any other Societies, and reflect upon the "yes" of Mr Hume, which is meant to include all exhibitors and exhibitions within the rule of Parliamentary enquiry. We would remind them of the fable of the horse, who, in his enmity to the stag, suffered the saddle to be put upon his back, and never could shake it off again.
We do not hesitate to say that we have been more gratified by the pre sent exhibition of the Royal Academy, than we have been with any of its preceding. There is a vast improvement in the most essential character of art in mind. Vulgarities are much more rare. The unmeaning is vanishing. We greatly rejoice at this, and look forward with strong hopes to the future fruits of so great promise. Our artists are taking that range of historical painting that is the most engaging, not truly in the divine walk of Raphael, in whose days both the pub
lic desires and devotion inspired the painters to works of superhuman character; but still are our artists rapidly progressing in that next best line, the line of human sympathies. When love, pity, fortitude, tenderness, innocence, as well as the greater energies of cultivated worth, engage the genius of the painter, as we see they do, and will do, the British artist is raised to a higher profession; his venture is great; and he will elevate himself, the art, and society. Oh what a scope has the painter still, though he paint not Madonnas, even in earthly. female
purity, innocence, and grace! With visions like the patriarch's dream, where angel's foot just touched and blessed the earth, from that ladder whose highest step was in the glory of heaven! Thinking thus highly of the present Exhibition in comparison with any former, we shall not be the less critical where we think there are great aberrations from the sound principles of taste; nor the less lament the almost entire deficiency in Landscape. There is not, properly speaking, a single landscape in this Exhibition. Views, indeed, there are, and river scenes, but not many; and some very clever garden-scenes, somewhat in the style of Watteau, though in many respects better-but Landscape, for its own sake, for the poetry it contains and imparts, there is none. There is no view of this earth, but such as the uncultivated clown sees it. It is un
visited by genius, and its old divinity hath left it. And why is this? will venture to give one reason. There is a modesty in nature that is averse to rivalry and glare. Even the superhuman power of nature is something subdued a mystery partly veiled; but the taste of the day is to attract, and be conspicuous. The landscape painter is not the idler who may say,
Flumina amem sylvasque inglorius. He may indulge his passion for woods and rivers; and, inspiring others with the same love, acquire a fame worthy his ardent ambition. We could wish that greater temptation were held out to this deserted walk of art, by devoting one room solely to it-nor would it be a bad practice, as much as may be, to concentrate the portraits, that, by their largeness, they may not overpower, as they do generally, all that is beneath and about them. We might partly have attributed this lack of landscape to the eccentricities of so great a name as Turner's; but we do not see that he has many precise imitators now. Yet he has too many admirers, blind in their admiration, who strangely reconcile themselves to his entire abandonment of all the known principles of art. We should have passed him by, in our remarks, with sorrow, were it not that the conspicuous places he holds upon the walls too strongly demand the public attention, and show that the able professors yet bow to a name, where little else is left, and that we know the evil influence he
still exercises over the public taste. It is an idle thing to argue with his worshippers. They take high ground, and tell you, you have not yet arrived at sufficient knowledge of art to admire Turner-inferring, of course, that they have. We can understand what the education of the eye means, but that is subservient to the educa tion of the mind. The great rules of poetry, are rules of all art, of every branch. Where these are defied, we ought not to be pleased; or we are children delighted with gewgaw, the tinsel and beads in a glass, that look very pretty, and mean nothing. We suspect, however, that there must be some defect, some disease in Mr Turner's eyes, or it would be next to impossible that he should commit to canvass such infant efforts of colour and execution, such a sick man's dreamCujus velut ægri somnia, vanæ Fingentur species; ut nec pes nec caput uni
Yet these have their very substantial admirers, while we cannot but think the powerful mind of Turner must
condemn his own works.
"At mihi plaudo
Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplor
If we really have not reached the proper point of taste to discern beauties in Turner's pictures, we ought to be ashamed to tell so plain a truth, as that for any pleasure we can extract from them, we would not purchase them at twopence the dozen. What the illegitimate sons of taste see, we cannot tell; but there are so many on our side who have spent not very short lives in the legitimate studies that have led them up to the admiration of the great masters, of Raphael, of Titian, of Coreggio, and in landscape to the admiration of Claude, and Poussin, and Berghem, and others, whose works the world still earnestly seek for, and purchase at large sums, and yet have not come up to Turner that we feel ourselves sufficiently numerous to set up for ourselves, and to protest against the inference. We have stood before Turner's pictures at this Exhibition with one of his worshippers, one of the initiated, and were quite astonished at all he saw, not an iota of which crossed our vision. Fancy goes a great way-but all that! -it is truly wonderful!-are we legitimate in taste? Let us speculate by
a tale. Oelen Spiegel, in one of his adventures, came to a prince who was very ostentatious, and was then employed in building a palace to increase the splendour of his court. He credulously received all who flattered him and complimented him on his magnificence. Being ambitious to engage celebrated artists, Oelen Spiegel made up to the court, and introduced himself to the Prince as a distinguished painter. He offered him the painting of a grand hall, which the pretended artist readily undertook, and proposed to the Prince a design of many wonderful things, triumphal processions, palaces, gardens, rivers, fountains, cascades, mountains, valleys, suns, moons, and stars, in wondrous variety of effects, yet all in the best order of arrangement. But he made it a condition that no one should be admitted till the painting was finished, and the Prince himself had inspected the performance, excepting, as it might be, some few of his nobles, who might be qualified to give him some advice. Oelen Spiegel locked himself into the hall, where none should see him work, and where the best fare, the richest viands, were taken to him, and there he occasionally splashed and daubed a few splatches of any colour that happened to be near him, on the walls. After some time, great impatience was expressed to see this work of art, which the long shutting himself up, and secret working, had led the imagination to conjecture to be far above all that had ever been done before. Oelen Spiegel then selected the most foolish and vain of the courtiers, and informed them that those who were base-born would not be gifted with the power of seeing the picture-his art having been acquired from an alchymist whose colours were peculiarly compounded, and possessed properties different from all others, so that the work could only be visible to those who were not base-born. Oelen Spiegel then took them into the hall, and, pointing to the daubed and disfigured walls, desired them to observe, here the Prince on his throne-there warriors-there philosophers-there groups of ladies-there palaces, terraces, gardens, fountains, rivers, mountains, valleys, sun, moon, and stars; and all in the best order of arrangement. After some time lost in this complication of bewilderment, they acknowledged that they saw, and ad
mired all that he said, privately convinced that there were some flaws in their birth; and so away they went, and expressed to the Prince their astonishment at the wonderful work and genius of the painter, reckoning up, without the omission of an item, all the beautiful things Oelen Spiegel had enumerated to them. After this, others were admitted, who acted in the same manner; and last of all the Prince came. At first he doubted how he should act, but determined very wisely declared that Oelen Spiegel was the greatest of painters, and rewarded him most amply; and all the courtiers vied to confer honour upon him, and concluded that their Prince was the most, if not the only, legitimate prince in the world.
What, then, must be said of No. 43. Here is a Turner; "The Fighting 'Temeraire,' tugged to her last berth to be broken up. 1838." "The flag which braved the battle and the breeze,' no longer owns her." Is this, then, one of the dozen held so cheap? No; we retract. It is very beautiful -a very poetical conception; here is genius. But we think it would have lost none of its beauty, had it been more true. The unsubstantial and white look of the vessel adds nothing to the feeling-rather removes it; and the sky, glorious as it is, would not be less so, if the solemnity were kept up on both sides. It is, however, a work of great effect and feeling, and worthy of Turner when he was Turner. How painful is it to turn from such a picture as this, and look at 360,"Pluto carrying off Proserpine?" Here we have a redhot Pluto frying the frigid Proserpine. Fire hissing in contact with ice. Why is all the ground (how unlike the plains of Enna) an iceberg? but that fire may blaze to represent the passion of the god, and that heaven and earth should personify the unmelting heart of the cold goddess. But here is something very miraculous. Here are red-hot stones, and clothes upon them unburnt. Turner's draperies are all asbestos: and here are figures that look like sulphureous tadpoles. It is really detestable and childish in colour, composition, and in every thing belonging to it. And here, 463, "Cicero at his Villa"-of the same character. Poor Cicero !-leaving the
"Fumum, et opes, strepitumque Romæ,"
to find his Villa and all his neighbours' domains reduced to powder, alternating from red to white heat; the slightest shake, and all will sink like ashes into a shapeless nothing, and is very near it already. Poor Cicero! whose Villa, he fondly thought, would have yielded him a green and shady repose and there he stands, having dipped his head and arms into a vermilion pot, as red-hot as a salamander, with his slave behind him, that cannot help him to a drop of water to plunge them in! How lucky it is their garments are asbestos; but he must lose his head and arms, they are turning to red cinders: and, looking closer, we see down below that such must have been the fate of his domes tics, for they seem to have leaped upon the inverted flower pots from the earth in its conflagration, and there they stand-vitrified tadpoles. Are they meant for statues? Poor Cicero! his Villa vanishing before him, and he crying out, uncertain which will vanish first, he or his Villa, "Fumus et no, not "Umbra sumus," for there is no shadow-crying out, his red-hot poker arms uplifted in his agony to heaven and earth-no, not that; it would puzzle geologist, architect, and horticulturist to say what is there neither heaven, earth, nor any known element. And this is Cicero's Villa! If it is come to this, let not man here after take pride in any thing. Now, is this either nature or art? and such confusion-such fuzzy unmeaning execution! it looks scratched in with old
with his wet, his dripping textures, and drab colours; but he can and ought to attend to expression. He is very kind in the catalogue to tell us what Sir David Baird is doing in his great picture, for we should not have found it out; never was there a figure less like a hero, insignificant, in the middle of the picture. Yet in this picture, so deficient as a whole, are beautiful parts, especially in grouping, though, we think, colour is wanting. But, is it possible that 503, Portrait of "Master Robert James Donne," can be by Sir David Wilkie? It is most childish and weak-hard dots for eyes, and scratches for nose, and mouth, and hair! Straw dipped in mud!! Wondrously bad. He must have scratched it in joke, and exhibits it to win a wager. We can easily imagine that a painter from working too much upon one picture, may not only lose his correct judgment with regard to that picture, but temporarily in art generally. The eye, by intensity of observation, loses its nice perception of colour. This may partly account for the eccentricities of great men in art.
There is a sad story in one of Balzac's Tales (le chef d'œuvre) of an old painter, who had devoted years of his life to one picture, meant to represent perfect female beauty. The old man's fame, and the real learning and knowledge of art shown in his conversation, led to the most extravagant expectations of the perfection of the picture, which he had never shown to any eye, and which he always declared to be yet unfinished. Daily did he shut himself up with his wonderful work, adoring his own creation. At that time, Nicholas Poussin, being in Paris, a young man, with his newly married beautiful wife, is induced, after being delighted with the scientific conversation of the old painter, to suffer his wife to sit to enable the old man to complete his work. The inducement to Poussin is, the permission afterwards to see the picture, now, as the painter said, complete, all but one foot. Poussin is admitted. He sees a canvass daubed over and splashed with colours, without form; at the bottom of the canvass there is to be seen one beautiful foot-this was the part the enthusiast had not completed. Doubtless, all the rest had been equally well painted, the impression of the figure