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love to raise a monument worthy of the last episode is characterized by those family name in the tomb of Giovanni Ave- great masterpieces of art, worthy forerardo dei Medici, and Piccarda Bueri, his runners of the works of Michael Angelo wife, putting into it his most careful and and Raphael, which were the result of a beautiful workınanship, so as to make it second series of sudies in Rome, late in one of the rarest works of art.
life, but still under the guidance of BrunelThe 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 Gi. and 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 Dona. hand.
tello reveals the secret of the power of his The Ambones, or pulpit, were the work work. He allowed nothing to interfere of a later period, the last design of his with the aim and object of his life, the
and their execution was entrusted perfection of his art. Simple to an incredto a pupil, Bertoldo di Giovanni, who ible degree in his habit and method of life, showed himself worthy of so great a mas- he, the first sculptor of the age, lived in a ter.
squalid lodging, the rent of which he was Those who have had the good fortune not always able to discharge. His modto visit the Mostre Donatelliane in the esty, his retiring disposition, his plain, Palazzo Pretorio will knew that Florence rough dress, contrasted curiously with the can boast many other works by Donatello, honors which were showered upon him besides those already cited. Nor was the on all sides on account of his great talent. fame of this prolific artist confined to his It is said that Cosimo dei Medici, who native city. He worked for the cathedral loved his society, being distressed at the at Siena; he adorned the Baptistery at shabbiness of his dress made the occasion Orvieto ; commissions were showered of some great feast an excuse for sending upon him from Mantua, Ferrara, Modena, him a rich mantle and vest, imploring him and Faenza.
to put them on. Donatello complied once One of the most memorable periods of or twice, to please him, but ended by rehis life was the call to Padua, where he fusing them, saying that they were too cast the celebrated statue of Erasmo di luxurious for him, and hindered him in his Narni, called Il Gattamelata, a cele. work. Again, Piero dei Medici, in return brated condottiero of the Venetian repub- for his services to his father, Cosimo, en. lic, which not only rivals the statue of dowed him with a small estate, that he Bartolommeo Colleoni, by Verrocchio, might never want; but Donatello had but has been favorably compared with the been possessed of it only a short time Marcus Aurelius at Rome. Moreover, to when he begged to be delivered from it, Donatello belongs the credit of the first because the complaints of the contadino modern equestrian statue, a task worthy who managed it for him, now on this of his powerful genius and undaunted ground, now on that, disturbed him so energy.
much that he could not attend to his A careful study of the works of Dona- work. tello reveals characteristics which show He was ever moderate in the terms he three distinct epochs in his long and in- fixed for his statues; but these once setdustrious career, and the alteration of his tled, he never would suffer a reduction, manner by which he gradually attained and those who tried to bargain with him the ideal type ever steadfastly before him. received a lesson which they were not The first type of the crude realism is de- likely to forget. Such was the anecdote termined by the statues in the Campanile, of the Genoese merchant, who haggled the San Giovanni Evangelista in the over the price of a bronze statue, and Duomo, and the other religious statues applied to Cosimo dei Medici to decide belonging to that period. The lesson of the question. Cosimo had the statue set the “ Crocifisso delle Uova," from Brunel. up between the battlements overlooking lesco, further enhanced by the chastening a terrace whence the beauty of the work influence of the companionship of Miche- could well be seen, but the merchant conlozzo, marks the second episode of Dona- tinued obstinately to repeat that it could tello's life as a sculptor. The third and I 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 artists, his one wish was to assist them, being
where these delight in injuring their fellow could be destroyed; and, giving a push to the head, it fell upon a terrace below and always careful to give encouragement and dis
cerning praise to those who worked for him.* broke in pieces. While the merchant stood agape, Donatello advised him to After such a tribute to his character we haggle over merchandise he understood, read without surprise the further record and not over statues.
that when he died (1466) at the great age Another instance occurred at Padua, of eighty-three, all Florence mourned, “as when the Signoria at Venice sent repeat- a mother weeping for her first-born child.” edly to him to make haste with the statue
Five hundred years pass; and now it is they had entrusted to him ; Donatello at in the hour of her splendor and solemn last, angered, took a hammer and broke the rejoicing that the heart of the city is again head in pieces. The Signoria sent for stirred to commemorate her great sculphim, and as he had broken the head of tor, and to exhibit anew, like jewels taken their statue threatened him with the loss out of their case and held up to the light, of his own, to which Donatello replied the treasures of art he entrusted to her that he was quite content, if they could care, before they are again consigned to make him a new one as he would for their the keeping of posterity. condottiero.
The memorable festivities, with all their But this independence of character was gay pageant, have vanished out of sight; perfectly consistent with that innate mod- but there yet lingers a fond and grateful esty, common to all the great artists of recollection round the name of one who, those times, which veiled a powerful perhaps, of all his great brotherhood in genius, a marvellous intellect, and a soul art, was the most faithful to the injuncoverflowing with the love of art.
tion, It is related of him that, when at the
Trace beauty's beam to its eternal spring, height of his fame at Padua, , he deter
And pure to man the fire celestial bring. mined to return to Florence, because there CATHERINE MARY PHILLIMORE. he would receive blame and not praise ; that would be an incentive to greater * Opere di G. Vasari, vol. ii., p. 398. Milanesi,
1878. 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;
From The Fortnightly Review. for, not to speak of the great and known
REALISM AND IDEALISM. works which he has left behind him, he was always at work upon some ornament, coat of arms, or decorative details, which, SOME years ago I visited an exhibition although of not the same calibre as his of Italian picture at Turin. There was other work, yet being devised by the same not much to arrest attention in the galfertile brain and executed by the same lery:
Yet I remember two small comunerring hand, each had a special value panion panels by the same hand, labelled as a work of art.
respectively “ L' Ideale ” and “Il Reale." Vasari closes the life of Donatello by The first of these paintings represented observing that in everything he did he a consumptive, blonde-haired girl of the attained to such perfection that both in Teutonic type, in pale drapery, raising her design and practice, judgment and knowl. romantic eyes to a watery moonlit sky. edge, he was the first to draw forth and She was sitting near a narrow Gothic winexhibit the latent capacities of the divine dow which opened on a garden. From the art of sculpture to the modern world. darkness below sprang cypresses and a No selfish pride [he adds) marred the gift ous indistinctness. The second picture
tangle of unclassified vegetation in vaporhe had received from Heaven, such as to in, introduced the public to a naked woman, duce him to work in secret lest others should Aaunting in provocative animalism. She acquire his beautiful method and so become his rivals; on the contrary, all his great pro- lolled along a bed, with hard light beatductions were executed in public, so that all ing on her body, intensified by hangings might see them. His every action was marked of a hot red tone. Under the glare of by gentleness, simplicity, and grace, and 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 Both of these pictures were ugly; but real in life, and which realistic art is conwhile the ideal was tamely conceived and sequently bound to represent; for they feebly executed, the real displayed en are the source of strength, and permathusiasm, joy in the subject, something of nence, and progress to the species. Scithe vigor derived from sym athy, and from ence teaches us convincingly that the revolt. The artist had evidently studied superiority of each race in the struggle this symbolic figure from the life, whereas for existence consists precisely in its apher foil and pendant, the sentimental titude for the development of virtues. maiden, was a figment of his scornful Badness, in one word, is less real than fancy. It seemed clear that he intended goodness. to caricature the ideal, and to record his Realism dares not separate itself from preference for the real as men find it in the ideal, because the ideal is a permanent some mauvais lieu.
factor, and the most important factor, in Here, then, was an allegory of the an- the reality of life. What indeed has the tithesis between idealism and realism, as realistic artist to do but to seek out and to these are vulgarly conceived. Idealism, represent the whole reality of human naa mawkish phantasm of hectic virginity, of ture, extenuating nothing, setting nothing moonshine, violet-scent, and dewdrops. down in malice? His object is to reach Realism, a brawny bit of carnal actuality, and to express the truth. He may not presented with sensual gusto as the truest shirk what is ugly and animal in his feltruth of life and art.
low-creatures. But he ought not to dote Is there any solid foundation, I asked upon these points. Far less ought he to myself, for this current conception of the repudiate those select qualities which men antithesis between the ideal and the real ? in their long struggle with their environIs there at bottom any antagonism be. ment and with each other have gained as tween the two terms ? Are they not rather the most precious spoils of a continued correlated and inextricably interwoven battle. both in nature and in art ? Suppose we Furthermore, it is worth considering concede for the sake of argument that whether the artist, if he dares and wishes they may be regarded as exclusive each to escape from idealism, is able to do so. of the other, are we therefore to assume I am convinced that he cannot, and this that idealism is moonshiny and insipid, conviction emboldens me to attempt once realism meretricious and revolting ? There more the treatment of a threadbare probmust surely be some deep misconception lem. of the problem on bothsides. Why have the idealists exposed their principles to such caricature as this by pretending to He must indeed be a bold man who dispense with nature? Why do the real- invites the world to listen while he talks ists so confidently assert that nothing has about idealism and realism. The very truth in it but what is libidinous or ugly, terms have an obsolete scholastic flavor, commonplace or vicious ?
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 æs. of saints and the severe strength of ath. thetic coteries, the sermonizing of selfletes, the manhood of Regulus and the consecrated priests concerning mysteries temperance of Hippolytus, are quite as no mind has clearly grasped. Plain peomuch in their own place as ugliness and ple are not unjustified in turning from impudicity, the licentiousness of harlots such discussions with a shrug of the shoul. and the flaccid feebleness of debauchees, ders and a yawn. the effeminacy of Heliogabalus and the And yet there still remains something untempered lusts of Roderigo Borgia. to be studied in this hackneyed antithesis. What we call the intellectual and moral | Just as subject and object stand for moattributes of men are no less real than ments in our apperception of the universe, their appetites and physical needs. The so the ideal and the real indicate condiharmony of a sane mind in a sane body tions under which the arts fulfil their is as matter-of-fact as the deformity de function. It is not therefore a hopeless rived from cramping and distorting limi- task, though it may demand a sanguine tations. All those things, therefore, to spirit, to throw light upon the correlation which our nature aspires, and which we of these terms.
I shall attempt to demonstrate that the This is the beginning of his task. But warfare waged about them in æsthetiche very soon discovers that he cannot imischools arises from a false conception of tate things exactly as they are in fact. their mutual relations. In the philosophy The reason of this is that the eye and the of being, subject and object are posed as hand of sculptor or painter are not a phoantithetical only to be resumed as the con tographic camera. They have neither the ditions of experience. Even so idealism qualities nor the defects of a machine. In and realism, in the philosophy of art, de- every imitative effort worthy of the name note an antagonism which is more appar- of art, the human mind has intervened. ent than actual, and upon the resolution of What is more, this mind has been the of which in practice excellence depends. mind of an individual, with specific apti. Both, in fact, and both together, are pres- tudes for observation, with specific preent in every effort which we make to re- dilections, with certain ways of thinking, produce and represent the outer world seeing, feeling, and selecting, peculiar to through art.
himself. It is precisely at this point, at In order to gain limitations for the the very earliest attempt to imitate, that treatment of this topic, I shall here con idealism enters simultaneously with realfine myself to sculpture and painting. ism into the arts. The simplest as well The principles arrived at will be found as the most complex work contains this applicable in some measure to literature. element of ideality. For when a man reBut music and architecture, as is inanifest, produces in art what he sees in nature, he do not fall immediately within the sphere inevitably imports himself into the prodof these ideas.
uct. Thus the object and the idea exist Realisin, to begin with, forms the sub-as twin-born factors in the merest rough stratum and indispensable condition of all sketch pencilled on a scrap of paper. figurative art. The very name figurative, Strive as he will to keep himself out of which we apply to sculpture and painting, the imitation, the man is powerless to do indicates that these arts proceed by imi- so. The thing imitated has of necessity tation of external objects, and mainly by become the thing imagined by the act of imitation of the human form. Now it his transferring its outline to paper. 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 bave 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 deliberately cultivates the subjective eleevery draughtsman is bound to do what ment which is inevitably present in every the camera cannot do, by introducing a reproduction of an object by the human subjective quality into the reproduction. brain and hand. In acting thus it utilizes
We must not pause here in our analysis what might be described as man's inof what the draughtsman brings of ideality feriority to a machine in graphic accuracy, to his work. I have tried to show that while it exercises man's superiority to the the bare attempt by a human being to machine in power of intellectual sugges. imitate what he sees before him, intro- tion. To turn defects into forces by the duces of necessity the element of mind exertion of mind is the privilege which into his transcript from nature. But no man possesses, rendering him the lord human being stands alone in this world. over brutes and the controller of mechanHis own particular mental quality is influ- ical instruments. So idealism in art is enced by the thought of his race and epoch. the ultimate elaboration of that comparaThe intellectual atmosphere in which he tive inaccuracy and that imported subjeclives determines him. He cannot help tive quality, both of which distinguish the being to some extent the creature of his most literal drawing from a photograph. age, the child of antecedent ages. Thus, Artistic beauty is mainly a matter of in addition to the specific quality intro- selection, due to the exercise of those free duced by an artist into his imitation of mental faculties which the machine lacks. any object, there are universal elements, The sculptor or the painter observes de tending towards idealism, which affect the fects in the single model; he notices in whole function of art in each race and many models scattered excellences; he each epoch. Should sculptor or painter has before him the most perfect forms try to be merely imitative, crudely real invented by his predecessors. To correct istic, he cannot succeed so well as the those defects, to reunite those excellences, photographic camera does. Should he to apply the principles of those perfected never so obstinately cling to the art for types, becomes his aim. He cannot rival art principle, he cannot avoid suggesting nature by producing anything exactly like thoughts — good, bad, or indifferent, noble her work, but he can'create something or ignoble, pure or foul — through the which shall show what nature strives after. form his thinking brain and intelligent Bούλεται μεν αλλ' ου δύναται, wrote Aristotle fingers have evolved from studies of real- about Nature: “She has the will but not ity. Artists, their works, and the people the power to realize perfection.” The who survey their works, are environed by mind of man comprehends her effort, and a common atmosphere of ideas, which though the skill of man cannot compete makes an art devoid of ideality impossible. with her in the production of particulars, In art spirit communicates with spirit, the man is able by art to anticipate her despirit of the artist with the spirit of the sires, and to exhibit an image of what she spectator.
was intending. As Tennyson wrote in The demonstration of this deep-seated " The Two Voices :". bond between idealism and realism is so important that I must approach it from a
That type of perfect in his mind
Can be in nature nowhere find. somewhat different point of view. Twenty draughtsmen, we have seen, will not imi- “To disengage the elements of beauty," tate the same object with the same identity says Sainte-Beuve; “ To escape from the of result as twenty photographic cameras. mere frightful reality," says Joubert. The draughtsman cannot be so literally That is the function of the arts. Reality, realistic as the machine; he is bound to however, is never, in a true sense, frightmodify his reproduction of the object by ful. Reality is always the sole sound some note indicative of his own mental schoolmaster which brings us to a sense and moral nature. He will not rival the of ideal beauty. Sculptor and painter are machine in accuracy ; but he cannot avoid indeed found to pass beyond the model. adding something which the machine is They cannot, as I go on reiterating, even powerless to give. It is precisely by em- if they would, abide by it as the camera phasizing this quality which differentiates or the plaster cast does. The mere touch the draughtsman from the machine that of the brush or the chisel, of “the hand the arts arrive at idealism. Art supple. which obeys the intellect," prevents that, ments its mechanical deficiencies, and what they can do, and what a mechanical exerts the specific faculties of human process cannot do, is to interpret it; not beings, by seeking after beauty and by to contradict it, nay, rather to obey its aiming at the expression of thought. It leading, — but to supplement its shortcom.