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branch, the anchor, the fish, the while He sojourned upon earth. ship. There too were painted the We have known students in Rome series of types and antitypes from who would not surrender the conthe Old and New Testaments: Noah viction that the early heads of in the ark, Moses striking the rock, the Saviour retain at least some Jonah swallowed by the fish, Jonah shadowed memory of their divine thrown from the fish's mouth, original. We have ourselves searchDaniel between the lions, Christ ed the Catacombs in the hope restoring Lazarus to life, the mir- that evidence might be collected acle of the loaves, the lame man which should justify a belief so taking up his bed, with a central accordant with the desires of the figure of Christ as the Good Shep- human heart. Yet we are bound herd bearing a sheep upon His to say, the further the inquiry was shoulders.

prosecuted the more untenable beAffectionately, as we have said, came the assumption that any one does the mind cling to these forms, of the many presumed portraits however crude, through which the of Christ were trustworthy. The first Christians speak to us in their calm and impartial manner in ashes. Yet, if ever there were which Lady Eastlake has need for circumspection, it is here : ducted the difficult inquiry which just in proportion to the sym- brings her to the same conclusion, pathy which moves to easy and is worthy of all commendation. pleasant credulity is the necessity We recollect that the first tentafor the coolness of judgment tive proposition at which we ourwhich shall guard against apoc- selves arrived was, that the many ryphal pretence. There cannot and somewhat conflicting portraits be a doubt but that the Romish could scarcely point to one and Church has sought to make capital the same person ; and, that each out of the Catacombs ; with this, individual work simply reflected however, we have here nothing to and reproduced the type, style, and do. Our duty is to declare the treatment peculiar to the period simple truth, even though appa- and the people which had given it rently to the prejudice of Christian birth. _Under the same persuasion art. Let us say, then, once for all, Lady Eastlake tells us that “the that Christian art is not like the first known conception of the Savtables of the law, written by the iour's features was inspired by the finger of God—not like those tongues lingering feeling for classic forms, of fire which came at Pentecost; and is found in the earlier monubut, of more mundane birth, it rises ments of the Roman Catacombs. among the mists and vapours of Here the type of Christ is simply earth, it shares the infirmity of that of a youth, and of the expresour race, it is darkened by human sion proper to that period.” Then, passion, it falls in the decay of na- coming into “ the wide realm and tions, and only reaches its divine long reign of Byzantine art—though form when man, in the perfect- in many respects allied with classic ing of Christian civilisation, grows traditions--we enter into another strong in arm and noble in soul. distinct form of the human coun

The one question in the pic- tenance, and therefore of that of torial history of our Lord which the Lord. The hair divided in the above all others incites to specu- centre of the forehead may here be lation — the authenticity of the said to constitute an unfailing sign early portraits of Christ-has re- of identity. At the same time there ceived from Lady Eastlake dispas- was nothing in this feature to presionate consideration. The mind, vent the utmost possible difference as we have said, clings fondly tó in every other. We find, accord

, the belief that some record or re- ingly, in the works of Byzantine liable tradition may have been left origin, as much diversity as might of the personal appearance of Jesus be expected from the differing con

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ditions to which art was subjected ing any precision, there is a sort of an

-from the mere mechanical repro- alogy between the heads of Christ and duction of the same ever-copied of the principal northern nations,

even

the generally received characteristics and ever-deteriorating pattern, to

to this time. The conception of Christ's the work of such artists who, though

countenance in English miniatures has conforming in treatment of subject a certain earnest downrightness; in to the overruling laws of the Greek French works it is decidedly gay; Church, yet infused into it a feel- while the German have an expression ing for beauty and elevation of of thought.” character.” Passing northward of the Alps, It will by this time have become

enter on distinct races and evident that the number and the nationalities, and are in the midst variety of these heads of the Savof schools—if arts so untutored can

iour mutually overthrow any exbe said to belong to any school- clusive claim to personal fidelity. marked by a vigour which inheres In the absence, then, of any specito naturalism and begets a rude fic testimony in support of historic originality.

truth, the mere fact that, by the

sixth century, every principal Chris“The Anglo-Saxon period,” continues Lady Eastlake, “which, in respect of " pictures of Christ made with

tian community was in possession of Art, seems to mingle both classical reminiscences and Byzantine traditions

out hands," is sufficient to indicate with a grandly fantastic element, offers that these creations were but the more interest. Christ is here more prolific offspring of fertile imaginastrictly separate: the disciples have tion. Among the many claimants, one class of features, being chiefly given which, asks Lady Eastlake with with classically - formed profiles, the angels and archangels another, and

reason, was the true portrait ? Christ a third. This is of an abstract

That possessed by the Romans ? and weird character, conveying a or that represented by the Hestrange sense of the supernatural, per- brews ? or that treasured by the fectly in keeping with the abstract na- Greeks ? or that worshipped by ture of the more general conception, the Ethiopians ?—since all in turn which represents our Lord in glory. maintain that Christ had borne the The head rises grandly above the stony features of their particular race! stare, the divided head is cinctured with a fillet and jewel, and the beard

Thus it need only be observed, that is formed into three points. The lines at the seventh General Council, are few and equal, as if by a hand ac- held at Constantinople in 754, all customed to incise them on a harder

the pictures purporting to have dematerial. Another form, with a bushy scended direct from Christ or His wig of hair, is more fantastic, though apostles were condemned.” And not without a certain grandeur. We now enter streams of Art too numerous

here may be allowed to end a conand self-intersecting to be pursued in troversy which, for the deep interthis brief notice. The human head ests involved, has scarcely an equal here serves, of course, as in all Art, to in the entire range of Christian art. distinguish one school from another, Yet, rightly viewed, is this endbut it would be perilous to attempt any ing but the starting-point to a new nicety of connoisseurship.”

beginning. The ground which the Then referring to a woodcut critical intellect surrenders is at taken from an English MS. of the once taken possession of by creafourteenth century, the following tive imagination, and the blank left contribution is made to the ethno- on the page of history is at length logy of Christian iconography :- supplied by the pencil of art. A

writer conscious of original power “ Other illustrations of Christ in this likes not to be bound strictly within work will supply ample proof of the diversities of representation during this

a prescribed barrier of facts ; he and previous" centuries. Generally desires rather to call forth his speaking, however, and without affect- characters out of the dimness of VOL. XCVI.NO. DLXXXIX.

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distance. And so likewise the artist divine beauty; he is permitted to rejoices in themes remotely re- form for himself an image of all moved from the foreground of that is most fair on earth and in actual and immediate experience, heaven; he is bidden to enter, as subjects which transcend the life Fra Angelico, the house of prayer, of common day. Perhaps the total and there seek in vision for ababsence of any portrait of Christ, solute perfection; and then, after which in some moods of mind we all, behold, the infinite rises still are tempted to mourn over, may above and beyond him. He strives on the whole be regarded as a after it in vain. But even in providential denial of what had his failure have we the measure proved a dangerous, though a of the summit to which he has priceless possession. But whatever ascended. The finite may have doubt we may have on this point, failed to circumscribe the infinite ; assuredly there can be no question art may have faltered as it essayed that art could scarcely receive a to transcribe the nature which is higher boon, or be intrusted with above all nature. Yet does the a nobler mission, than that of form- effort bring its own reward; and ing for itself, and not for itself the artist who waits for whisperssit only, but for the entire world, from the world of spirits shall, as a tabernacle wherein the Eternal Beato the Blessed, have power to Word might find an earthly dwell- paint in forms and colours which ing. We have already shown that speak as revelations. Thus it will Christianity brought fulfilment to be seen that, instead of a porthe art-aspiration of the nations; trait which, from generation to it satisfied the desire for the union generation, should lose its original of the perfect God and the perfect worth, art commenced with a man. Here, then, as we have said, germ which, though at first rude, is a theme before which genius may gathered around it the accumubow the head ; here a subject that lative thought and devotion of imagination strives after in vain; successive minds and masters, borhere a goal towards which every rowing, assimilating, and rejectfoot tends, and yet no pilgrim shall ing from each in turn, till at ever reach. Yet he who is per- length, after the lapse of wellnigh mitted to converse with the Lord in fifteen centuries, was attained the the mount shall, perchance, as the fully developed type, the highest lawgiver of old, descend with glory pictorial manifestation yet known round the brow. We repeat that, of the divine nature incarnate in in the truest interests of art, no- human form. “The fifteenth centhing better could have been de- tury," writes Lady Eastlake, “ did sired than that the image of the not elapse without bequeathing the Saviour should be left as now in profoundest conception of the Son the uncertainty of conjecture. In- of Man which mortal hand has ever stead of a portrait marred, which, executed. Most of our readers will century by century, should receive, think of that dim ghost of a head, like the suffering Saviour himself, still lingering on the walls of an old cruel indignity, until shorn, there refectory in Milan, which, like its may be reason to fear, of the last divine original, has suffered the conrays of Godhead — instead of a tempt and injury of man, yet still form thus disfigured, lying even, it defies the world to produce its may be, as a stumbling-block at equal.” the gate of heaven, an impediment Art, whether she assume the rather than an aid-each mind is guise of prose or of poetry, whether left to enjoy its own ideal; each she be content to limit herself to a artist is told to go forth and simple narrative of facts, gather throughout creation every description the colour of imagiscattered member of the body of nation, still is ever performing

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the function of a language ; not, legion, we are scarcely able to de

indeed, a language of sounds, but tect a single break or blank in the 2 the silent speech uttered through all-embracing picture. A rapid

forms. Pictures and the plastic sketch of the volumes before us,

arts being thus the embodiment of whereof, as we have seen, the outline cice thoughts, they necessarily follow was drawn by Mrs Jameson, and the 19. closely upon the ebb and flow of details and enrichments furnished

the great tidal ideas which from age by Lady Eastlake, will best elucito age sweep over seas and conti- date the line of thought to which

nents. The arts of Greece swelled we have here given but imperfect *** with the outburst of poetry, rose expression. :with the elevation of philosophy, Even as the entire Bible, from

and as a mirror reflected the master the first book of Genesis to the last

thoughts of the national religion. verse of the Revelation, points to So What rhapsodists sang, what wise or portrays the history of our Lord ;

men taught, what the people be- so does art, which is, as we have lieved and worshipped, the painter seen, a mirror set up to reflect the delineated and the sculptor carved. collective thought of Christendom, Thus it is that any complete cycle of depict Jesus first as the creator of art is as a book, perchance of many the world and finally as its judge. chapters and divided under diverse Indeed, the Son being coeval with heads, wherein may be read the the Father, the history of our Lord ideas which have accumulated into is made to stretch back beyond the a system, grown into a history, and days of creation into the depth covered, as it were, a wide territory of an unfathomed eternity. Thus of national thought. And if this the fall of Lucifer and his rebel be true of art in general, more espe- angels, as in the epic of our great

cially is it true of those arts which English poet, constitutes the opende congregate around Christianity, and ing scene to the drama of a paradise

have come to illustrate and glorify lost and won. “ The fall of Lucifer
the history of our Lord. The thick is found in all forms of the specu-
and closely packed volumes now lum salvationis, always commenc-
before us are indeed convincing ing the history of the world :"
testimony, if evidence were want Michael Angelo intended to have
ing, of the abounding materials executed the overthrow of the an-
out of which Christian artists gels on the vast wall of the Sistine
reared visible bulwarks to faith. which faces the ‘Last Judgment;'
It seems, indeed, that whatever the Spinello Aretino painted that
prophet in vision had seen, what- in heaven, when Michael and his
ever Christ and His apostles did angels fought against Satan ;" Ru-
and suffered—whatever, indeed, the bens poured forth cataracts of
Church believed and held most figures," the overthrow of the damn-
sacred, just so much was the painter ed: and then as a typical incident
and the sculptor ready to set forth in the great battle which over-
and proclaim in the language which whelmed the sky in its fury, we
the unlettered multitude could best have various pictures of St Michael
understand. Hence it is that the crushing Satan, among which we
history of our Lord as narrated may mention as pre-eminent the
by the artist stands out the com- well-known designs by Raphael
plete counterpart of the story told and Guido.
by the theologian, and of the faith The connecting idea between this
held dear by the people. Taking first act, the overthrow of Satan,
the survey, indeed, of the vast and the second act, the creation of
Christian diagram which through man, is supplied by one of those
the lapse of eighteen centuries has fictions in which legendary art
received re-touchings and addi- abounds. God created

it tions from artists whose name is is said, to repair the breaches in

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heaven occasioned by the lapse in the mind's eye to re-fashion, and of so many angelic spirits ! The to clothe again, those scenes which six days' creation, together with the amanuensis of Deity may have the temptation, the fall, and blotted in the writing. This

, we the expulsion, which constitute a think, is specially evident in the cycle, closing in the climax of a various treatments, some mean, catastrophe, have received curi- others grand, of the theme just ous and occasionally lovely illus- mentioned the creation of Eve. tration both in painting and The genius of Michael Angelo sculptured bas-relief. The dis- has given to this subject his wonted tinction already indicated between largeness and power. Again, in the literal prose narrative with the doors of Ghiberti - declared, which early art was content, and it is well known, worthy to be the poetic amplifications and adorn- the gates of heaven-creation is less ings to which later and more devel- a physical operation than a supreme oped periods became addicted, is act of thought. God speaks, and it specially obvious in subjects of this is done; the Almighty, with outseries such as the creation of Eve. stretched hand, calls Eve into being, When sculptors and painters were and forthwith she rises a form so as yet tentative of their powers, beauteous that the angels bend they gave to the Biblical story a from heaven to gaze on her; she reading which savours in its un- floats upborne by attendant ministempered grossness of the grotesque. ters, and bends to give to her Maker For example, in the bas-reliefs on thanks for life bestowed. the facade of the Cathedral of The group of subjects closing Orvietto, executed in the thir- with the expulsion from Eden and teenth century by the school of the the death of Abel, is succeeded by Pisani, Adam lies under profound the series of Biblical types which sleep, his side yawns open in a deep point to the coming of Christ, and gash, an actual rib protrudes from prefigure His mission and office

. the wound, and the Creator, as More correctly speaking, indeed, accoucheur, is found in the act of the one series overlaps and runs “performing the operation with a into the other; for the first Adam,

a kind of surgical intensity. This whose side was opened at the ribs, direct translation of a verbal myth became, by an ingenuity which in into a visual reality, is one of the this legendary art is as amazing as most egregious examples of a blunder it is but too frequently amusing, common to all times, the confound- the symbol of the second Adam ing of the conditions prescribed to whose side was pierced upon the separate arts, the transferring of This straining after distant the shadowy metaphor of words analogies we cannot but regard as into the substantial body of visible puerile. Such childish conceits, forms. We may rest assured that which do violence to rational reif, instead of a revelation through ligion, and mar the beauty of poetic the instrument of speech, the thought, must, however, be laid to Creator had spoken through the the charge of theologians rather language of art-a state of things than against artists, who, at the not impossible to conceive of-the worst, were merely but too ready imagery and figures appropriate to to do as they were bid. the medium of words would have of types having been once started, assumed plastic and pictorial forms. the indefinite multiplication of the And those artists have approached symbol was matter of little else most nearly to the divine mind than fictitious conjecture. It were who dared to use somewhat of hard, indeed, that a lawgiver, a the poet's licence, who brought to prophet, a priest, or a king under the verbal text the suggestions of the old dispensation should not, at fancy, and who thus were enabled least in some one or more points,

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