« ElőzőTovább »
THE DULWICH GALLERY-ITS PICTURES AND THEIR PAINTERS.
Extract from the Parliamentary Report on National Monuments
and Works of Art.
(Parliamentary Paper, No. 416.]
ENTRANCE TO THE NATIONAL GALLERY
Gift - He
Ру pril 2,959
THE NATIONAL GALLERY is open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and the whole of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun weeks, except the Saturdays, to the Public generally; on Friday and Saturday, to Artists ; from 10 till 5 during the months of November, December, January, February, March, April,-and from 10 till 6 during the inonths of May, June, July, August, and first two weeks of September. The Gallery is wholly closed during the last two weeks of September and the month of October.
The contemplation of a fine work of art, becomes far more delightful and instructive, when we are made acquainted with the artist whose performance claims our attention, and the circumstances under which he put forth his energies: but the interest is proportionably greater with a collection of pictures of the various schools accompanied by a good catalogue; together, they form an illustrated history of the genius and civilization of the countries in which they flourished as a consequence of commercial prosperity.
In ages of unmixed ignorance and superstition, no pictorial indications of superior intellect have ever been produced: but whenever the arts have bequeathed their noblest productions to posterity, they are properly considered as the highest testimonials of national greatness. Thus ancient Greece and the commercial republics of Italy from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, when darkness and oppression gave way to the expansiye energy of the human mind, are alike looked to as periods
of national and commercial greatness and of unequalled genius. The history of the French nation is also strikingly illustrative of the benefits derived by men of genius from freedom, commerce, and security of property. There the courts of justice established by Henry IV. in which men of all ranks and creeds found equal protection, led to commerce, to wealth, and to genius, beyond the power
of Francis I. or of Louis XIV. to create by court favor. In 1555, at the accession of Louis, France stood prominent for power and for talent, but after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, the abolition of the equitable courts of justice, and other blessings conferred by Henry, her greatness fell ; her manufactures and her trade dwindled, the arts and literature declined, and state bankruptcy was the result. In the mean time the fantasies of a corrupt court, superseded all manly energy and purity of taste: the Poussins and Lesueurs; the Corneilles and Molieres, were succeeded by men of less originality and more obsequious pliancy to corruption. The arts declined, although schools and academies had been established at the public expense under royal favour: until about the middle of the 18th century, England set an example that has benefitted all Europe. Without support from government or from royalty, Hogarth, Reynolds, and so many others outstripped the artists of other countries.
A well arranged catalogue, is essential to all that is interesting in the arts; their rise, progress, and decline, their connexion with the prosperity of the people, their
influence on the intellect and morals of the public, may be traced in its pages: it is therefore a powerful mode of assisting EDUCATION, and of helping general reference.
The total want of arrangement in our National Collection, precludes the possibility of effecting all this in the most clear and satisfactory manner, but the editor of this catalogue, has endeavoured to supply every deficiency by occasional short remarks or explanations, and additional tabular information, which the public will no doubt appreciate; and where well founded doubts of authenticity or originality exist, he has indicated them, from the conviction, that every great master has a right to be represented in a National Exhibition, by his own fine works alone, and not by the spurious productions of imitators and pretenders.
NUMBER OF PERSONS
WHO VISITED THE NATIONAL GALLERY,
From 1826 to 1840.-From Official Returns.