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ings, to elucidate its latent suggestions of their suggestions, interpreting with loyal significance and loveliness. They do not conscientiousness nature's effort to effecaim at producing a mere bare copy of their tuate perfection. Here at last we touch subject at some accidental moment, for idealism in its essence. But such idealthey know that the thing itself is better ism, when sound and healthy, is only than such a copy would be. They attempt realism in the intensest phase of veracity; to seize and reveal its character at the it is truth quintessenced and raised to the very best, to represent what it strives to highest power. And such art is the ultibe, to express its truest truth, not what mate expansion of those factors which we is transitory and conditioned by circum- found to be co-existent in the simplest stance, but what is permanent and freed sketch from nature. from limitations in it.
In the right understanding of this corThe figurative arts are thus led to what relation between realism and idealism the is after all their highest function, the Greek sculptors are our surest teachers. presentation of thought and feeling in It was incumbent upon them to create beautiful form. Statues and pictures must images of gods and goddesses and heroes, fall short of life in flesh and blood reality. each of whom represented in perfection But these same works of human industry some one psychological attribute of hucan transfigure particular realities by in- man nature. For these spiritual essences fusing into them the elements of gener- they were bound to find fit incarnation alization, selection, sympathetic emotion, through the means available by art. They interpretative insight. These elements, therefore always had before their minds in the language of discredited schools, are the problem how to invest such isolated expression and idealization. According attributes with appropriate forms-how to the demonstration I have attempted into fashion a Zeus who should be all-majesthis essay, they may be better described tic, a Herakles who should be strength as the final outcome of those qualities partly defect of manual ability, partly addition of mental sensibility—which distinguish a drawing from a cast or a photograph. They are the deliberate elaboration of the subjective ingredient which is inevitable in every imitation by the hand of man.
personified, an Aphrodite who should be the consummation of feminine attractiveness, a faun which should be light and active as the creatures of the woodland without ceasing to be man in shape. The solution of this problem forced them to idealize, while their exquisite sense for the beauty, grace, and dignity of the living model kept them realistically faithful to minutest facts in nature.
Figurative art, in its most vital epochs, lent itself to the expression of religious ideas. The artist had to find corporeal In order to illustrate how the best Greek investiture for the generalized and divin- work exhibits that right blending of the ized qualities of human nature. Such ideal with the real on which I am insistexact corporeal investiture for a spiritualing, I will quote a passage from Haydon's type of human energy or passion is rarely, autobiography, which records the impresif ever, offered by a single living person. sion made upon his mind by the first sight Who, for example, has seen a man or of the Elgin marbles. It must be rewoman of whom he could say, "There goes Zeus," or "There goes Aphrodite "? What we do say is rather "majestic as Zeus, beautiful as Aphrodite." In other words, the living person suggests hints to the artist for working out "that type of perfect in his mind." The artist, then, is compelled. to create a body for the idea he has to express; more majestic or more beautiful than any single body he has ever seen; more completely adequate to the idea; more thoroughly penetrated with the specific qualities of the spiritual type in all its parts. At the same time this form must not, at any point, be discordant with the structure of the human body as he learns to know it from his models. It must, on the contrary, be most faithful to those models, enhancing and accentuating VOL. LX. 3076
membered that Haydon grew up in England at a time when Reynolds, Fuseli, and West had saturated the art schools with false doctrine about the "beau-ideal," "the grand style," "the superiority of art to nature." Haydon, though he never worked out the problems of design successfully in his own practice, was convinced that realism, or truth to actual fact, formed the only solid basis for sculpture and painting. Consequently, when he found the closest observation of nature combined with the loftiest heroic style in the fragments of the Parthenon, these had for him authentic inspiration; they delivered him from what was specious and misleading in the idealism of his epoch; they confirmed him in his own instinctive belief that genuine grandeur was not only
compatible with the most painstaking imi- | of realism and idealism. We have already tation of the model, but that such devotion learned that every work of figurative art to the truth of nature formed an indis- contains both elements, whether this be a pensable condition of masterly creative simple pencil-drawing from a single model, work. Here was an apocalypse of the or a composition so complex as the friezes right method for all art and in all ages. of the Parthenon. Yet it is clear that the Here was a demonstration of the indisso- artist may lean more to the one side than luble and organic link between the sublim- the other. He may choose to concentrate est idealism and the humblest realism. his powers upon the literal imitation of objects rather than upon the development of subjective qualities. Or, on the other hand, he may devote his whole attention to the refinement of an intellectual type of beauty or to the expression of thoughts, remaining content with slovenly execution and feeble grasp on fact. At one period of art, and in one school, tendencies in favor of crude realism will prevail; at another time, or in another region, the bias will be toward unsubstantial idealism. We cannot always expect that perfect synthesis which makes the work of Pheidias exemplary. It is therefore profitable to define the two factors which are forever being brought by the practice of art into more or less complete accord.
There is so much of a curious sort of pathos, combined with so much of passionate and sudden enthusiasm, in Haydon's narrative, that I venture to reproduce a large portion of it textually. It should not be forgotten that to this man, in no small measure, English people owe the presence in their midst of the Parthenon sculptures, and all that flows therefrom for better and for worse:
To Park Lane then we went, and after passing through the hall and thence into an open yard, entered a damp, dirty pent-house, where lay the marbles ranged within sight and reach.
The first thing I fixed my eyes on was the wrist of a figure in one of the female groups, in which were visible, though in a feminine form, the radius and ulna, I was astonished, for I had never seen them hinted at in any female wrist in the antique. I darted my eye to the elbow, and saw the outer condyle visibly affecting the shape as in nature. I saw that the arm was in repose and the soft parts in relaxation. That combination of nature and idea which I had felt was so much wanting for high art was here displayed to midday conviction. My heart beat! If I had seen nothing else, I had beheld enough to keep me to nature for the rest of my life. But when I turned to the Theseus and saw that every form was altered by action or repose when I saw that the two sides of his back varied, one side stretched from the shoulder-blade being pulled forward, and the other side compressed from the shoulder-blade being pushed close to the spine as he rested on his elbow, with the belly flat, because the bowels fell into the pelvis as he sat- and when, turning to the Ilissus, I saw the belly protruded from the figure lying on its side and again when in the figure of the fighting metope I saw the muscle shown under the arm-pit in that instantaneous action of darting out, and left out in the other arm-pits because not wantedwhen I saw, in fact, the most heroic style combined with all the essential detail of actual life, the thing was done at once and forever. I felt as if a divine truth had blazed inwardly upon my mind, and I knew that they (the marbles) would at last rouse the art of Europe from its slumber in the darkness.
Realism is the presentation of natural objects as the artist sees them, as he thinks they are. It is the attempt to imitate things as they strike the senses.
Idealism is the presentation of natural objects as the artist fain would see them, as he thinks they strive to be. It is the attempt to imitate things as the mind interprets them.
I may pause to remark that the distinction implied in these definitions is as old as Aristotle. In the Poetics we read: "Sophocles used to say that he depicted men as they ought to be, Euripides as they are." In other words, Sophocles regarded himself as an idealist, Euripides as a realist. Again: "Polygnotus painted men better than they are, Pauson worse than they are, Dionysius as they are." In other words, Polygnotus was an idealist, Pauson a caricaturist, Dionysius a realist. Once again, speaking more generally of painters, Aristotle gives a clear account of idealists: "While making men like mer they paint them fairer."*"
Now this distinction, which is based upon the fundamental properties of human as distinguished from mechanical imitation, has been fruitful of results both in the practice and the theory of the arts. Draughtsmen very soon discover that they cannot wholly eliminate an idealistic or subjective element from their work; but
These passages will be found in cap. xxvi. and
AT this point it is necessary, for the sake of clearness, to attempt the definition | cap. ii.
cipally concerns us here is its final manifestation in what is now called realism. This, of a truth, is rather a phase of literature than of figurative art; yet it may be studied in contemporary sculpture and painting no less than in poetry and fic
Realism, being a revolt against the false
they are able either to keep this in abeyance or to emphasize it. They can swerve more to the side of literal delineation, or more to the side of imaginative selection. Theorists and writers upon art, noticing this power of choice, have divided into hostile camps; and the doctrines of the tion. schools have reacted upon practice. Notwithstanding the impossibility of separat-principles of that phthisical idealism ing the twin-born factors of every human imitative product, antagonistic standards of the real and the ideal came thus into existence. The warfare of opinion on this crucial point diverts practical artists from consistently aiming at that just balance between the careful study of nature and the effort to interpret nature, which is the mark of supreme art.
I will illustrate my meaning by referring to European art in the last three centu ries. When sculpture and painting declined in Italy, after the death of Michelangelo, artists began to withdraw from the study of life. Theories were promulgated to the effect that nature hampers the freedom of genius, and obscures the inspiration which illuminates the artist's soul. It was maintained that he ought only to know so much of nature as would save his work from monstrosity. He was told that art bettered nature, and that the painstaking imitation of details lowered style. This led to superficial, slovenly, conceited compositions being palmed off as sublime. The frigid abstractions of the Bolognese eclectics passed for heroic, because they avoided literal painstaking transcripts from reality. The doctrine of the beau-idéal was preached in France. Sir Joshua Reynolds dilated on the grand style. David, with his pseudo-classicism, imposed on Paris as the reviver of the Greek manner. West in England, vacuous and feeble, took rank among the great religious painters. A spurious idealism reigned supreme; and through the starvation of her twin sister, realism, art fell into decay.
which claimed the empire in despite of nature, has attached itself to the ugly, the commonplace, the vicious in human existence; it has set its face steadily against selection and interpretation; it has striven to represent things merely as they are, and not the best things.
In so doing the realists have chosen an illogical and untenable position; for nothing is more manifest than that beauty is as real as ugliness, purity as obscenity, virtue as vice, health and harmony as disease and discord. Indeed, as I have remarked above, the whole history of the world proves that the good possesses more of reality, more of permanence, than the bad. Reactions and revolutions, however, are never just. And thus it is with contemporary realism. Conscious that idealism, in the effete forms of the last century, was a sham-conscious that this impostor claimed the monopoly of beauty, purity, virtue, harmony-the reactionaries studied reality where it is most painfully apparent and least capable of being confounded with the idealistic object of their hatred. They chose the sphere of vulgarity and pathology as though this were eminently real. Philosophers, meanwhile, can welcome even Zola's "Nana" for the sake of its reactionary force. We know that the pendulum must swing back from that extreme point. The arts are bound to recognize the truth that it is not their duty and their glory to represent deformity. But the arts will have been the better for those drastic studies which force them to face their problem in its crudest shape.
A reaction was necessitated. The Resuming what I have attempted to world had been filled with manneristic establish, we find in the art-history of the technicalities and with shallow academi- present century a false idealism supercal pomposities-with ideal figures, ideal seded by a false realism. Both are false, faces, ideal draperies, ideal landscapes, because neither recognizes the correlation ideal trees which were only ideal because of those elements which in the work of they resembled nothing real precisely. Pheidias we have seen to be supremely The reaction assumed many forms; it harmonized. The idealist sought to disshowed itself earliest in a revived admira- pense with the necessary interrogation of tion for Dutch painting and in the English nature; the realist seeks to ignore the school of landscape; it took definite shape | fact that art must aim at selection and in the romanticists of France and Germany and in the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood of England. But that which prin
must disengage the elements of beauty inherent in nature. The one regarded man's incapacity to rival a machine with
pride, and deemed his power of indepen- | or obsolescent fancy. Science has rendent imagination sufficient for itself. The dered our sense of veracity acute. Under other, indignant at the miserable conse- its influence we tend to become positive, quences of such arrogance, strives to re- shy of anything which seems untrue to duce man's mind, so far as possible, to fact, intolerant of a merely allegorical use the condition of an imitative machine.* of known things to express visions howMeanwhile, this uncompromising real- ever beautiful, or aspirations however ism is by no means the most hopeful or honorable. We require the vraie vérité the most prominent feature in the art of so far as we can get it. Art, obliged to our age. On various lines, in many divers obey the mental stress of the epoch, deways, since the reaction against false prived of a widely accepted body of senidealism set in, have attempts been made suous religious thoughts, leans of necesto solve the problem of combining the sity more to realism than it did in the twin factors in a due and vital correlation. | Athens of Pericles or in the Florence of Together with improved conditions of Lorenzo dei Medici. study in our art-schools, the attention paid to the monuments of sculpture and painting in their best periods (Hellenic, mediæval, early Italian, Flemish, French), has been progressively helpful; while no one can exaggerate the importance of such teaching as Mr. Ruskin gives so copiously to the student.
The task of forming a sound style is one of peculiar difficulty under the conditions of our epoch, because the arts have no longer a sphere of such thoughts to work in as will stimulate the exercise of the highest imaginative faculties. We saw how Greek sculptors were compelled to idealize by their obligation to incarnate the Olympian divinities, and how at the same time their exquisite feeling for nature kept them within the limits of sober realistic truth. Like them, the earlier Italian painters dealt with the mythology of an anthropomorphic religion; their task was only a trifle less favorable to the right elucidation of the ideal from the real than was that of Pheidias. But we live at a period when theistic conceptions, or, in other words, the most deeply penetrat ing and universally accepted thoughts of the race, no longer lend themselves to æsthetic presentation. They have grown too rarefied, too abstract, too purely intellectual, for adequate treatment by the figurative artist. In the place of Hellenic myth and Christian legend, the vast scientific theory of the cosmos has arisen, itself pregnant with a new metaphysic and a new theology, but as yet imperfectly appropriated and ill-adapted to the plastic presentation of its fundamental ideas. Science, moreover, has made one fact manifest, that the more we come to know instead of dreaming about things, the less can we tolerate to have those things misrepresented in accordance with some whimsical
Many writers of fiction appear, in their dialogue,
to be vainly competing with the phonograph.
On a future occasion I hope to return to this subject, and to point out those elements of ideality in modern life and thought which lie ready to the uses of the arts, and on which the arts have already seized with profit.
JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS.
From The National Review. THE LAST DAY OF WINDSOR FOREST.
[The original MS. of the following paper is extant among the MS. remains of the author, the late Thomas Love Peacock, and is the only one of them absolutely complete and ready for publication. It was in all probability intended for Fraser's Magazine, but never appeared there, nor, so far as can be discov ered, elsewhere. The probable date of composition is about 1862.
and its interest as a record of forgotten cirApart from the literary merit of the paper, cumstances, it is a fitting conclusion to the literary life of the veteran author, ending it where it may be said to have begun. Peacock's first and only school had been at Englefield Green, on the verge of Windsor Forest, and there he imbibed that love for river and sylvan scenery in general, and for that of
the Thames and Windsor in particular, which colors nearly all his writings. — R. G.]
MANY of my younger, and some of my maturer years, were passed on the borders of Windsor Forest. I was early given to long walks and rural explorations, and there was scarcely a spot of the park or the forest with which I was not intimately acquainted. There were two very different scenes to which I was especially attached; Virginia Water, and à dell near Winkfield Plain.
The bank of Virginia Water which the public enter from the Wheatsheaf Inn, is bordered, between the cascade to the left and the iron gates to the right, by groves of trees, which, with the exception of a
few old ones near the water, have grown up within my memory. They were planted by George the Third, and the entire space was called the King's Plantation. Perhaps they were more beautiful in an earlier stage than they are now; or I may so think and feel, through the general preference of the past to the present, which seems inseparable from old age. In my first acquaintance with the place, and for some years subsequently, sitting in the large upper room of the inn, I could look on the cascade and the expanse of the lake, which have long been masked by
Virginia Water was always open to the public, through the Wheatsheaf Inn, except during the regency and reign of George the Fourth, who not only shut up the grounds, but enclosed them, where they were open to a road, with higher fences than even the outside passengers of stage-coaches could look over, that he might be invisible in his punt, while fishing on the lake. William the Fourth lowered the fences, and reopened the old access.
While George the Third was king, Virginia Water was a very solitary place. I have been there day after day, without seeing another visitor. Now it has many visitors. It is a source of great enjoyment to many, though no longer suitable to les rêveries d'un promeneur solitaire.
I shrink from the ghosts of my old associations in scenery, and never, if I can help it, revisit an enclosed locality with which I have been familiar in its openness. Wordsworth would not visit Yarrow, because he feared to disappoint his imagination:
Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown!
Ah! why should we undo it?
Yet when he afterwards visited it, though it was not what he had dreamed, he still found it beautiful, and rejoiced in having seen it:
The vapors linger round the heights,
Thy genuine image, Yarrow!
And cheer my mind in sorrow.t
for the difference of the imagined scene; He found compensation in the reality but there is no such compensation for the disappointments of memory; and where, in the place of scenes of youth, where we have wandered under antique trees, A still more solitary spot, which had through groves and glades, through bushes especial charms for me, was the deep and underwood, among fern, and foxforest dell already mentioned, on the glove, and bounding deer; where, perborders of Winkfield Plain. This dell, I haps, every "minutest circumstance of think, had the name of the Bourne; but I always called it the Dingle. In the bot-place" has been not only "as a friend" in itself, but has recalled some association of tom was a watercourse, which was a early friendship, or youthful love, stream only in times of continuous rain. can only pass between high fences and Old trees clothed it on both sides to the dusty roads, I think it best to avoid the summit, and it was a favorite resort of deer. I was a witness of their banish-sight of the reality, and to make the best cherishing at a distance.
ment from their forest haunts. The dell itself remained some time unchanged; but I have not seen it since 1815, when I frequently visited it in company with Shelley, during his residence at Bishopgate, on the eastern side of the Park. I do not know what changes it may have since undergone, not much, perhaps, being now a portion of the Park. But many portions of the Park and its vicinity, as well as of the immediate neighborhood of Windsor, which were then open to the public, have ceased to be so, and such may be the case with this. I have never ventured to ascertain the point. In all the portions of the old forest, which were distributed in private allotments, I know what to expect.
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be. (Wordsworth.) I do not express, or imply, any opinion on the general utility of enclosures. For the most part, they illustrate the Scriptural maxim: "To him that hath much, much shall be given; and from him that hath little, shall be taken away even the little he hath." this world, "Good to some, bad to others, They are like most events in and indifferent to the majority." They are good to the land-owner, who gets an addition to his land; they are bad to the poor parishioner, who loses his rights of
Yarrow Unvisited. ↑ Yarrow Visited.