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love to raise a monument worthy of the family name in the tomb of Giovanni Averardo dei Medici, and Piccarda Bueri, his wife, putting into it his most careful and beautiful workmanship, so as to make it one of the rarest works of art.
last episode is characterized by those great masterpieces of art, worthy forerunners of the works of Michael Angelo and Raphael, which were the result of a second series of sudies in Rome, late in life, but still under the guidance of Brunel
The decorations of the Sagrestia Vec-lesco. chia, the busts representing the patron We may, for example, trace in the Mosaints of the Medici family San Loren- ses of Michael Angelo a resemblance to zo, Santo Stefano, San Cosimo e Damiano the San Giovanni and San Giorgio of - the marvellous gates of bronze divided Donatello. The David is recalled by the into ten compartments with forty-six Perseus, of Cellini; while Raphael is said statues of apostles, martyrs, confessors, to have also borrowed from the San Giand saints, were the next production of his orgio ideas for his fresco in the Museo fertile conception and his lavish facile Vaticano. The study of the life of Donahand. tello reveals the secret of the power of his work. He allowed nothing to interfere with the aim and object of his life, the perfection of his art. Simple to an incredible degree in his habit and method of life, he, the first sculptor of the age, lived in a squalid lodging, the rent of which he was not always able to discharge. His modesty, his retiring disposition, his plain, rough dress, contrasted curiously with the honors which were showered upon him on all sides on account of his great talent.
The Ambones, or pulpit, were the work of a later period, the last design of his old age, and their execution was entrusted to a pupil, Bertoldo di Giovanni, who showed himself worthy of so great a mas
Those who have had the good fortune to visit the Mostre Donatelliane in the Palazzo Pretorio will knew that Florence can boast many other works by Donatello, besides those already cited. Nor was the fame of this prolific artist confined to his native city. He worked for the cathedral at Siena; he adorned the Baptistery at Orvieto; commissions were showered upon him from Mantua, Ferrara, Modena, and Faenza.
One of the most memorable periods of his life was the call to Padua, where he cast the celebrated statue of Erasmo di Narni, called Il Gattamelata, a celebrated condottiero of the Venetian republic, which not only rivals the statue of Bartolommeo Colleoni, by Verrocchio, but has been favorably compared with the Marcus Aurelius at Rome. Moreover, to Donatello belongs the credit of the first modern equestrian statue, a task worthy of his powerful genius and undaunted energy.
A careful study of the works of Donatello reveals characteristics which show three distinct epochs in his long and industrious career, and the alteration of his manner by which he gradually attained the ideal type ever steadfastly before him. The first type of the crude realism is determined by the statues in the Campanile, the San Giovanni Evangelista in the Duomo, and the other religious statues belonging to that period. The lesson of the "Crocifisso delle Uova," from Brunellesco, further enhanced by the chastening influence of the companionship of Michelozzo, marks the second episode of Donatello's life as a sculptor. The third and
It is said that Cosimo dei Medici, who loved his society, being distressed at the shabbiness of his dress made the occasion of some great feast an excuse for sending him a rich mantle and vest, imploring him to put them on. Donatello complied once or twice, to please him, but ended by refusing them, saying that they were too luxurious for him, and hindered him in his work. Again, Piero dei Medici, in return for his services to his father, Cosimo, endowed him with a small estate, that he might never want; but Donatello had been possessed of it only a short time when he begged to be delivered from it, because the complaints of the contadino who managed it for him, now on this ground, now on that, disturbed him so much that he could not attend to his work.
He was ever moderate in the terms he fixed for his statues; but these once settled, he never would suffer a reduction, and those who tried to bargain with him received a lesson which they were not likely to forget. Such was the anecdote of the Genoese merchant, who haggled over the price of a bronze statue, and applied to Cosimo dei Medici to decide the question. Cosimo had the statue set up between the battlements overlooking a terrace whence the beauty of the work could well be seen, but the merchant continued obstinately to repeat that it could not be worth the price, because Donatello
had only been at work upon it a month. | whereas the modern artists are full of pride, Donatello, exasperated by this remark, envy, and insolent ambition, Donato was ever observed in reply that that was no argu- courteous and humble, never seeking renown; ment, for in a minute the work of a year where these delight in injuring their fellow could be destroyed; and, giving a push to artists, his one wish was to assist them, being the head, it fell upon a terrace below and always careful to give encouragement and disbroke in pieces. While the merchant cerning praise to those who worked for him.* stood agape, Donatello advised him to haggle over merchandise he understood,
and not over statues.
Another instance occurred at Padua, when the Signoria at Venice sent repeatedly to him to make haste with the statue they had entrusted to him; Donatello at last, angered, took a hammer and broke the head in pieces. The Signoria sent for him, and as he had broken the head of their statue threatened him with the loss of his own, to which Donatello replied that he was quite content, if they could make him a new one as he would for their condottiero.
But this independence of character was perfectly consistent with that innate modesty, common to all the great artists of those times, which veiled a powerful genius, a marvellous intellect, and a soul overflowing with the love of art.
It is related of him that, when at the height of his fame at Padua, he determined to return to Florence, because there he would receive blame and not praise; that would be an incentive to greater study, and so he would áttain to a greater summit of perfection.
He was indefatigable in his art, and those who would undertake to give a list of all his works would find it no easy task; for, not to speak of the great and known works which he has left behind him, he was always at work upon some ornament, coat of arms, or decorative details, which, although of not the same calibre as his other work, yet being devised by the same fertile brain and executed by the same unerring hand, each had a special value as a work of art.
Vasari closes the life of Donatello by observing that in everything he did he attained to such perfection that both in design and practice, judgment and knowledge, he was the first to draw forth and exhibit the latent capacities of the divine art of sculpture to the modern world.
No selfish pride [he adds] marred the gift he had received from Heaven, such as to induce him to work in secret lest others should acquire his beautiful method and so become his rivals; on the contrary, all his great productions were executed in public, so that all might see them. His every action was marked by gentleness, simplicity, and grace, and
After such a tribute to his character we read without surprise the further record that when he died (1466) at the great age of eighty-three, all Florence mourned, "as a mother weeping for her first-born child."
Five hundred years pass; and now it is in the hour of her splendor and solemn rejoicing that the heart of the city is again stirred to commemorate her great sculptor, and to exhibit anew, like jewels taken out of their case and held up to the light, the treasures of art he entrusted to her care, before they are again consigned to the keeping of posterity.
The memorable festivities, with all their gay pageant, have vanished out of sight; but there yet lingers a fond and grateful recollection round the name of one who, perhaps, of all his great brotherhood in art, was the most faithful to the injunction,
Trace beauty's beam to its eternal spring, And pure to man the fire celestial bring. CATHERINE MARY PHILLIMORE.
Opere di G. Vasari, vol. ii., p. 398. Milanesi, 1878.
From The Fortnightly Review. REALISM AND IDEALISM.
SOME years ago I visited an exhibition of Italian pictures at Turin. There was not much to arrest attention in the gallery. Yet I remember two small companion panels by the same hand, labelled respectively "L' Ideale" and "Il Reale." The first of these paintings represented a consumptive, blonde-haired girl of the Teutonic type, in pale drapery, raising her romantic eyes to a watery moonlit sky. She was sitting near a narrow Gothic window which opened on a garden. From the darkness below sprang cypresses and a tangle of unclassified vegetation in vaporous indistinctness. The second picture introduced the public to a naked woman, flaunting in provocative animalism. She lolled along a bed, with hard light beating on her body, intensified by hangings of a hot red tone. Under the glare of that illumination her flesh shone like cop
per, smooth as satin; and the blue-black | name ideal, must be the legitimate sphere curls upon her shoulders writhed like of a logical and sober realism. Nay more, snakes. it is just these things which are the most real in life, and which realistic art is consequently bound to represent; for they are the source of strength, and permanence, and progress to the species. Science teaches us convincingly that the superiority of each race in the struggle for existence consists precisely in its aptitude for the development of virtues. Badness, in one word, is less real than goodness.
Both of these pictures were ugly; but while the ideal was tamely conceived and feebly executed, the real displayed enthusiasm, joy in the subject, something of the vigor derived from sympathy, and from revolt. The artist had evidently studied this symbolic figure from the life, whereas her foil and pendant, the sentimental maiden, was a figment of his scornful fancy. It seemed clear that he intended to caricature the ideal, and to record his preference for the real as men find it in some mauvais lieu.
Here, then, was an allegory of the antithesis between idealism and realism, as these are vulgarly conceived. Idealism, a mawkish phantasm of hectic virginity, of moonshine, violet-scent, and dewdrops. Realism, a brawny bit of carnal actuality, presented with sensual gusto as the truest truth of life and art.
Is there any solid foundation, I asked myself, for this current conception of the antithesis between the ideal and the real? Is there at bottom any antagonism between the two terms? Are they not rather correlated and inextricably interwoven both in nature and in art? Suppose we concede for the sake of argument that they may be regarded as exclusive each of the other, are we therefore to assume that idealism is moonshiny and insipid, realism meretricious and revolting? There must surely be some deep misconception of the problem on both sides. Why have the idealists exposed their principles to such caricature as this by pretending to dispense with nature? Why do the realists so confidently assert that nothing has truth in it but what is libidinous or ugly, commonplace or vicious?
Realism dares not separate itself from the ideal, because the ideal is a permanent factor, and the most important factor, in the reality of life. What indeed has the realistic artist to do but to seek out and to represent the whole reality of human nature, extenuating nothing, setting nothing down in malice? His object is to reach and to express the truth. He may not shirk what is ugly and animal in his fellow-creatures. But he ought not to dote upon these points. Far less ought he to repudiate those select qualities which men in their long struggle with their environment and with each other have gained as the most precious spoils of a continued battle.
Furthermore, it is worth considering whether the artist, if he dares and wishes to escape from idealism, is able to do so. I am convinced that he cannot, and this conviction emboldens me to attempt once more the treatment of a threadbare problem.
consecrated priests concerning mysteries no mind has clearly grasped. Plain people are not unjustified in turning from such discussions with a shrug of the shoulders and a yawn.
HE must indeed be a bold man who invites the world to listen while he talks about idealism and realism. The very terms have an obsolete scholastic flavor, like those famous hobby horses of the metIn the reality of human nature it is cer-aphysicians, subject and object. Worse tain that beauty and modesty, the chastity even: they suggest the impostures of æsof saints and the severe strength of ath-thetic coteries, the sermonizing of selfletes, the manhood of Regulus and the temperance of Hippolytus, are quite as much in their own place as ugliness and impudicity, the licentiousness of harlots and the flaccid feebleness of debauchees, the effeminacy of Heliogabalus and the untempered lusts of Roderigo Borgia. What we call the intellectual and moral attributes of men are no less real than their appetites and physical needs. The harmony of a sane mind in a sane body is as matter-of-fact as the deformity derived from cramping and distorting limitations. All those things, therefore, to which our nature aspires, and which we
And yet there still remains something to be studied in this hackneyed antithesis. Just as subject and object stand for moments in our apperception of the universe, so the ideal and the real indicate conditions under which the arts fulfil their function. It is not therefore a hopeless task, though it may demand a sanguine spirit, to throw light upon the correlation of these terms.
I shall attempt to demonstrate that the warfare waged about them in æsthetic schools arises from a false conception of their mutual relations. In the philosophy of being, subject and object are posed as antithetical only to be resumed as the conditions of experience. Even so idealism and realism, in the philosophy of art, denote an antagonism which is more apparent than actual, and upon the resolution of of which in practice excellence depends. Both, in fact, and both together, are present in every effort which we make to reproduce and represent the outer world through art.
In order to gain limitations for the treatment of this topic, I shall here confine myself to sculpture and painting. The principles arrived at will be found applicable in some measure to literature. But music and architecture, as is manifest, do not fall immediately within the sphere of these ideas.
This is the beginning of his task. But he very soon discovers that he cannot imitate things exactly as they are in fact. The reason of this is that the eye and the hand of sculptor or painter are not a photographic camera. They have neither the qualities nor the defects of a machine. In every imitative effort worthy of the name of art, the human mind has intervened. What is more, this mind has been the mind of an individual, with specific aptitudes for observation, with specific predilections, with certain ways of thinking, seeing, feeling, and selecting, peculiar to himself. It is precisely at this point, at the very earliest attempt to imitate, that idealism enters simultaneously with realism into the arts. The simplest as well as the most complex work contains this element of ideality. For when a man reproduces in art what he sees in nature, he inevitably imports himself into the prod uct. Thus the object and the idea exist as twin-born factors in the merest rough sketch pencilled on a scrap of paper. Strive as he will to keep himself out of the imitation, the man is powerless to do so. The thing imitated has of necessity become the thing imagined by the act of his transferring its outline to paper.
Realism, to begin with, forms the substratum and indispensable condition of all figurative art. The very name figurative, which we apply to sculpture and painting, indicates that these arts proceed by imitation of external objects, and mainly by imitation of the human form. Now it would be absurd to contend that imitation We may properly compare chiaroscuro is the worse for being veracious, the drawings with photographs, since in each worse for recalling to our minds the imi- case the result is a reproduction of form tated thing, or in other words, for being under certain conditions of light and in the right sense realistic. Nobody wants shadow without color. Now, given the a portrait which is not as precisely like same advantages of illumination, chemithe person represented, as exactly true to cals, exposure, and so forth, twenty phothat person's entire appearance, as it can tographic cameras of equal dimensions possibly be made. We may want some- and equal excellence will produce almost thing else besides; but we demand re- identical representations of a single model. semblance as an indispensable quality. But set twenty artists of equal skill in Nobody again want the image of a god or draughtsmanship to make studies from saint which is not as accurately adequate one model, then, though the imitation may to the human form in which that godhead in each case be equally faithful, there will or that sanctity might have resided as be a different intellectual quality, a differknowledge and skill can make it. What- ent spiritual touch, a different appeal to ever else we desire of the image, we shall sympathy, a different order of suggestion not think the better of it for being ana- in each of the twenty drawings. Some tomically wrong. In other words, the fig-specific ideality has formed an unavoidable urative arts, by the law which makes them feature of each artist's work, while all imitative, are bound at every step of their have aimed, in like manner, at merely reprogress to be realistic. The painter must producing the object before them. depict each object with painstaking atten- This is perhaps the simplest way of tion to its details. He must aim at delin-presenting the truth that realism and eating the caper and the columbine as idealism are as inseparable as body and faithfully as Titian did, armor as accu- soul in every product of the figurative arts. rately as Giorgione, pearls and brocade In art it is not a machine but a mind with the fidelity of John Van Eyck, hands which imitates. Nay, even the hand with the subtlety of Leonardo da Vinci, which draws is itself no mechanical infaces with the earnest feeling after char-strument, but part of a living organism, acter displayed in Raphael's Leo or Velas- penetrated with intellectual vitality, inquez's Philip. stinct with ideas. No draughtsman can
rival the camera in bare accuracy; but every draughtsman is bound to do what the camera cannot do, by introducing a subjective quality into the reproduction. We must not pause here in our analysis of what the draughtsman brings of ideality to his work. I have tried to show that the bare attempt by a human being to imitate what he sees before him, introduces of necessity the element of mind into his transcript from nature. But no human being stands alone in this world. His own particular mental quality is influenced by the thought of his race and epoch. The intellectual atmosphere in which he lives determines him. He cannot help being to some extent the creature of his age, the child of antecedent ages. Thus, in addition to the specific quality introduced by an artist into his imitation of any object, there are universal elements, tending towards idealism, which affect the whole function of art in each race and each epoch. Should sculptor or painter try to be merely imitative, crudely realistic, he cannot succeed so well as the photographic camera does. Should he never so obstinately cling to the art for art principle, he cannot avoid suggesting thoughts-good, bad, or indifferent, noble or ignoble, pure or foul- through the form his thinking brain and intelligent fingers have evolved from studies of reality. Artists, their works, and the people who survey their works, are environed by a common atmosphere of ideas, which makes an art devoid of ideality impossible. In art spirit communicates with spirit, the spirit of the artist with the spirit of the spectator.
The demonstration of this deep-seated bond between idealism and realism is so important that I must approach it from a somewhat different point of view. Twenty draughtsmen, we have seen, will not imitate the same object with the same identity of result as twenty photographic cameras. The draughtsman cannot be so literally realistic as the machine; he is bound to modify his reproduction of the object by some note indicative of his own mental and moral nature. He will not rival the machine in accuracy; but he cannot avoid adding something which the machine is powerless to give. It is precisely by emphasizing this quality which differentiates the draughtsman from the machine that the arts arrive at idealism. Art supplements its mechanical deficiencies, and exerts the specific faculties of human beings, by seeking after beauty and by aiming at the expression of thought. It
deliberately cultivates the subjective element which is inevitably present in every reproduction of an object by the human brain and hand. In acting thus it utilizes what might be described as man's inferiority to a machine in graphic accuracy, while it exercises man's superiority to the machine in power of intellectual sugges tion. To turn defects into forces by the exertion of mind is the privilege which man possesses, rendering him the lord over brutes and the controller of mechanical instruments. So idealism in art is the ultimate elaboration of that comparative inaccuracy and that imported subjec tive quality, both of which distinguish the most literal drawing from a photograph.
Artistic beauty is mainly a matter of selection, due to the exercise of those free mental faculties which the machine lacks. The sculptor or the painter observes defects in the single model; he notices in many models scattered excellences; he has before him the most perfect forms invented by his predecessors. To correct those defects, to reunite those excellences, to apply the principles of those perfected types, becomes his aim. He cannot rival nature by producing anything exactly like her work, but he can create something which shall show what nature strives after. Βούλεται μὲν ἀλλ' οὐ δύναται, wrote Aristotle about Nature: "She has the will but not the power to realize perfection." The mind of man comprehends her effort, and though the skill of man cannot compete with her in the production of particulars, man is able by art to anticipate her desires, and to exhibit an image of what she was intending. As Tennyson wrote in "The Two Voices:"
That type of perfect in his mind
"To disengage the elements of beauty," says Sainte-Beuve; "To escape from the mere frightful reality," says Joubert. That is the function of the arts. Reality, however, is never, in a true sense, frightful. Reality is always the sole sound schoolmaster which brings us to a sense of ideal beauty. Sculptor and painter are indeed found to pass beyond the model. They cannot, as I go on reiterating, even if they would, abide by it as the camera or the plaster cast does. The mere touch of the brush or the chisel, of "the hand which obeys the intellect," prevents that. What they can do, and what a mechanical process cannot do, is to interpret it; not to contradict it, nay, rather to obey its leading, — but to supplement its shortcom.