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many arrangements of the features which are merely momentary; and to eternise them in statuary or painting is to offer a violence to the passions, which is always disgustful to the man of taste and sobriety. We believe our readers will unanimously agree that such is the effect of many of Mr. Fuseli's produce tions, which as far overstep Michael Angelo as this latter ever overstepped nature herself. The question ought not to be, what position the human form will admit of, or what violence certain passions may impart to the features, but what position and what violence will bear to be perpetuated in sculpture or painting? Yet this plain argument seems always and totally to have escaped the recollection of Mr. Fuseli, whose radical fault consists in a constant opposition to it. We need not go far for an example ; for in the title-page of this very volume is a female figure damned to such a posture as no human being could sustain for five minutes, without the most excruciating head-ach. Mr. Fuseli thus reminds us of those wonderful artists on the violin, who make it exhibit every thing except the production of good melody. If the cause of this defect be the want of good sense, our lecture will be vain ; but as Mr. Fuseli has great capabilities, we hope he will profit by it, and dismiss those extravagant postures and contortions which, if they could ever occur in real life, would be viewed with utter disgust, and which become still more disgusting by being perpetuated.
As the question of just taste is a principal object in a treatise on painting, we have been constrained to estimate the taste of the new professor of painting in the Royal Academy by that best criterion his own works. We now return to this book merely as a literary production, after expressing the deepest sorrow and the most unfeigned regret that the professor of painting to the English school should be a foreigner, and that foreigner a Swiss ! -Boni Dü! a Swiss teach the principles of taste! In how many strange points of view might an Italian, or even a French or Spanish painter place this singular phænomenon! With an utter contempt for all national prejudices, and an open heart for the learned and ingenious of every climate under the sun, we still must think it the height of absur, dity that our English schools should have any instructor but one of their own countrymen.
As a specimen of the work before us, we shall select the bea ginning of the first lecture, which presents the plan, and is, upon the whole, the most favorable that could have been produced.
• The difficulties of the task prescribed to me, if they do not preponderate, are at least equal to the honour of the situation. If, to discourse on any topic with truth, precision, and clearness, before a mixed or fortuitous audience, before men neither initiated in the subject, nor rendered minutely attentive by expectation, be no easy task ; how much more arduous must it be to speak systematically on an art before a select assembly composed of professors whose life has been divided between theory and practice; of critics whose taste has been refined by contemplation and comparison; and of students, who, bent on the same pursuit, look for the best and always most compendious method of mastering the principles, to arrive at its emoluments and honours. Your lecturer is to instruct them in the principles of " composition; to form their taste for design and colouring; to strengthen their judgement; to point out to them the beauties and imperfections of celebrated works of art; and the particular excellencies and defects of great masters ; and, finally, to lead them into the readiest and most efficacious paths of study."--If, gentlemen, these directions presuppose in the student a sufficient stock of elementary knowledge ; an expertness in the rudiments not mere wishes, but a peremptory will of improvement and judgement with docility-how much more do they imply in the person selected to address them, knowledge founded on theory, substan. tiated and matured by practice; a mass of select and well-digested materials'; perspicuity of method and command of words; imagination to place things in such views as they are not commonly seen in; presence of mind, and that resolution, the result of conscious vigour, which, in submitting to correct mistakes, cannot be easily discountenanced. As conditions like these would discourage abilities far superior to mine, my hopes of approbation, moderate as they are, must in a great measure depend on that indulgence which may grant to my will what it would refuse to my powers.
• In the arrangement of my plan I shall prefer a progressive method, that may enable me, on future occasions, to treat more fully those parts which the pressure of others, seemingly or really more important, has obliged me to dismiss more abruptly or with less consideration than they have a right to claim. The first lecture exhibits a more critical than an historic sketch of the origin and progress of our art, confining research to that period, when fact and substantial information took place of conjecture ; it naturally divides itself into two parts, the art of the ancients, and its restoration among the moderns : each is divided into three periods, that of preparation, that of full establishment, and that of refinement, The second lecture treats on the real subjects of painting and the plastic arts, in contradistinction to the subjects exclusively belong. ing to poetry-endeavouring to establish the reciprocal limits of both from the essential difference of their medium and materials. It establishes three principal classes of painting—the epic, the drama. tic, and the historic; with their collateral branches of characteristic portrait and landscape, and the inferior subdivisions of imitation, In the third, design, correctness, copy, imitation, style, with its degrees of essential, characteristic, ideal, and deviation into manner, are considered, and the classes of the models left us in the remains of ancient sculpture, arranged. The fourth is devoted to invention, in its most general and specific sense, as it discovers, selects, combines the possible, the probable, and the known materials of nature, in a mode that strikes with novelty. The fifth follows with com
position and expression-the dresser and the soul of invention. The sixth concludes with observations on colour, drapery, and execution.
• Such is the regular train of observations on an inexhaustible art, which-if life and circumstances sanction the wish-I mean to submit to your consideration in a future course : at present, the exube. rance of the subject, the consideration due to each part, the various modes of treatment that presented themselves in the course of study, my necessary professional avocations, and some obstacles which I could as little foresee as avoid, grant scarcely more than fragments to lay before you. The first lecture, or the critical history of ancient and modern style, from its extreme richness' and, as it appears to me, importance, is at present divided into two. The third will contain mati rials of the proper subjects of the art, and of invention, extracted from the second and the fourth, and connected by obvious analogy.
• But before I proceed to the history of style itself, it seems to be necessary that we should agree about the terms which denote its object, and perpetually recur in treating of it; that my vocabulary of technic expression should not clash with the dictionary of my audience : mine is nearly that of your late president. I shall con. fine myself at present to a few of the most important; the words nature, beauty, grace, taste, copy, imitation, genius, talent. Thus, by nature I understand the general and permanent principles of visible objects, not disfigured by accident, or distempered by disease, not modified by fashion or local habits. Nature is a collective idea, and, though its essence exist in each individual of the species, can never in its perfection inhabit a single object. On beauty I do not mean to perplex you or myself with abstract ideas, and the romantic reveries of Platonic philosophy, or to inquire whether it be the result of a simple or complex principle. As a local idea, Beauty is a despotic princess, and subject to the anarchies of Despotism, en. throned to-day, dethroned to-morrow. The beauty we acknowledge is that harmonious whole of the human frame, that unison of parts to one end, which enchants us--the result of the standard set by the great masters of our art, the ancients, and confirmed by the submissive verdict of modern imitation. By grace I mean that artless balance of motion and repose sprung from character, founded on propriety, which neither falls short of the demands nor overleaps the modesty of nature. Applied to execution, it means that dextrous power which hides the means by which it was attained, the difficul. ties it has conquered. When we say taste, we mean not crudely the knowledge of what is right in art : taste estimates the degrees of excellence, and by comparison proceeds from justness to refinement. Our language, or rather those who use it, generally confound, when speaking of the art, copy with imitation, though essentially different in operation and meaning. Precision of eye and obedience of hand are the requisites of the former, without the least pretence to choice, what to select, what to reject; whilst choice directed by judgement or taste constitutes the essence of imitation, and alone can raise the most dextrous copyist to the noble rank of an artist. The imitation of the ancients was essential, characteristic, ideal. The first cleared nature, of accident, defect, excrescence; the second found the stamen which connects character with the central form; the third raised the whole and the parts to the highest degree of unison. Of genius I shall speak with reserve, for no word has been more indiscriminately confounded; by genius I mean that power which enlarges the circle of human knowledge, which discovers new materials of nature, or combines the known with novelty; whilst talent arranges, cultivates, polishes the discoveries of genius.' P.I.
We shall not repeat the trivial and common-place accounts of the origin and progress of painting. In p. 26, &c. our author enters into a dispute with M. Falconet concerning the sacrifice of Iphigenia painted by Timanthes. Falconet thinks that the circumstance of her father's face being concealed is rather objectionable than laudable, and savours of sophistrythe chief object of art being to overcome a difficulty. This question we shall not stop to examine ; but when we reflect that Falconet's statue of the Russian czar has been allowed, even by prejudiced spectators, to excel in novelty, grandeur, and effect, we could not repress indignation on observing our Swiss professor style it the ridiculous colossus of Peter the Great. It is a vulgar but sensible remark, that a man who has a glass head should not throw stones; and as Mr. Fuseli uses such unwarrantable freedoms, we must beg leave to inform him that this statue will be greatly admired in the year 2000 ; at which time his ridiculous pictures, whether colossal or dwarfish, will be sold at mean prices by the brokers, or perhaps collected by some crack-brained connoisseur, who may arise to emulate the famous Sicilian prince in a new collection of monsters.So much for the retort courteous, and so much in revenge of insulted genius.
After this fatal proof of want of taste, or, what is perhaps worse, the sacrifice of common candour to a trifling literary question, we shall not stop to examine the rest of our author's opinions, though many are extremely controvertible ; and in the progress of the work we meet with singularities of style which evince that Mr. Fuseli is not master of the English language, or is resolved to violate its dignity as much as his paintings do that of nature. The character of Salvator Rosa may be given as another proof of candour and taste.
The wildness of Salvator Rosa opposes a powerful contrast to the classic regularity of Poussin. Terrific and grand in his conceptions of inanimate nature, he was reduced to attempts of hiding, by boldness of hand, his inability of exhibiting her impassioned, or in the dignity of character : his line is vulgar: his magic visions, less founded on the principles of terror than on mythologic trash and caprice, are to the probable combinations of nature what the paroxysms of a fever are to the flights of vigorous fancy. Though so much extolled and so ambitiously imitated, his banditti are a medley made
up of starveling models, shreds and bits of armour from his lumber room, brushed into notice by a daring pencil. Salvator was a satyrist and a critic; but the rod which he had the insolence to lift against the nudities of Michael Angelo, and the anachronism of Raphaël, would have been better employed in chastising his own misconceptions.' P. 76.
Equally ridiculous is the note (p. 78) on portrait-painting, in which the writer shows a total unacquaintance with its very nature and principles. But our author is a most determined critic; and few names have escaped his censurés, either direct or oblique. If we remember rightly, sir Joshua Reynolds was accustomed to blame by his silence alone; and surely nothing can be more indecent than to convert the chair of a professor into the tub of a satirist. But Mr. Fuseli's satirical turn seems connected with the bias of his taste ; and never is malignity accompanied with true genius. This, however, is only another violent posture ; and the whole is of a piece. It would form a good subject for a Hogarth, to delineate Mr. Fuseli in the professor's chair.
Art. X. - Sermons on various Subjects. By Edward Pye
Waters, A. B. &c. 8vo. 75. Boards. Whites. IN the first discourse we meet with the following, among other questions of similar import. • Has not a whole powerful and civilised nation, assembled in council, impiously decreed that there is no God?'--The nation to whom the preacher alludes most assuredly never did; and the late rebellion in Ireland is, with an equal ignorance of facts, termed “a dire union of atheism and bigotry. But allowing the representations of the preacher to be true, what good end could it possibly answer to divert the attention of an audience, on a Sunday, from truths of the highest importance, inculcated by Scripture authority, to the affairs of France and Ireland—subjects which every good man would wish to kecp removed from his sight on the day devoted to religion, to the ennobling intercourse between himself and his Maker? -- Equally injudicious are the ensuing queries. "Where are we to look for pure and undefiled religion? Is it within the pale of the established church ?-Most assuredly there, if any where,' is the answer promptly given by the preacher to himself, forgetting the maxim of Scripture, ''Let another man praise thee, and not thy own lips.' The proper reply would have been, that true religion is to be found only in the word of God; and that men may profess to be members of any church, may boast of being within the pale of