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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 effec-
aim at producing a mere bare copy of their
subject at some accidental moment, for
they know that the thing itself is better
than such a copy would be. They attempt
to seize and reveal its character at the
very best, to represent what it strives to
be, to express its truest truth, not what
is transitory and conditioned by circum-
stance, but what is permanent and freed
from limitations in it.

tuate perfection. Here at last we touch idealism in its essence. But such idealism, when sound and healthy, is only realism in the intensest phase of veracity; it is truth quintessenced and raised to the highest power. And such art is the ultimate expansion of those factors which we found to be co-existent in the simplest sketch from nature.

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 in to 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 personified, an Aphrodite who should be partly defect of manual ability, partly addi- the consummation of feminine attractivetion of mental sensibility—which dis-ness, a faun which should be light and tinguish a drawing from a cast or a active as the creatures of the woodland photograph. They are the deliberate without ceasing to be man in shape. The elaboration of the subjective ingredient which is inevitable in every imitation by the hand of man.

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 membered that Haydon grew up in Engoes Zeus," or "There goes Aphrodite "? gland at a time when Reynolds, Fuseli, What we do say is rather "majestic as and West had saturated the art schools Zeus, beautiful as Aphrodite." In other with false doctrine about the "beau-ideal," words, the living person suggests hints to "the grand style," "the superiority of art the artist for working out "that type of to nature." Haydon, though he never perfect in his mind." The artist, then, is worked out the problems of design succompelled to create a body for the idea he cessfully in his own practice, was conhas to express; more majestic or more vinced that realism, or truth to actual beautiful than any single body he has ever fact, formed the only solid basis for sculpseen; more completely adequate to the ture and painting. Consequently, when idea; more thoroughly penetrated with he found the closest observation of nature the specific qualities of the spiritual type combined with the loftiest heroic style in in all its parts. At the same time this the fragments of the Parthenon, these had form must not, at any point, be discordant for him authentic inspiration; they dewith the structure of the human body as livered him from what was specious and he learns to know it from his models. It misleading in the idealism of his epoch; must, on the contrary, be most faithful to they confirmed him in his own instinctive those models, enhancing and accentuating | belief that genuine grandeur was not only

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compatible with the most painstaking imi- of realism and idealism. We have already tation of the model, but that such devotion to the truth of nature formed an indispensable condition of masterly creative work. Here was an apocalypse of the right method for all art and in all ages. Here was a demonstration of the indissoluble and organic link between the sublimest idealism and the humblest realism.

learned that every work of figurative art contains both elements, whether this be a simple pencil-drawing from a single model, or a composition so complex as the friezes of the Parthenon. Yet it is clear that the artist may lean more to the one side than the other. He may choose to concentrate his powers upon the literal imitation of There is so much of a curious sort of objects rather than upon the development pathos, combined with so much of pas- of subjective qualities. Or, on the other sionate and sudden enthusiasm, in Hay-hand, he may devote his whole attention don's narrative, that I venture to reproduce to the refinement of an intellectual type of a large portion of it textually. It should beauty or to the expression of thoughts, not be forgotten that to this man, in no remaining content with slovenly execution small measure, English people owe the and feeble grasp on fact. At one period presence in their midst of the Parthenon of art, and in one school, tendencies in sculptures, and all that flows therefrom favor of crude realism will prevail; at for better and for worse: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.

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.

I saw

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.

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. 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 I may pause to remark that the distincnothing else, I had beheld enough to keep me tion implied in these definitions is as old to nature for the rest of my life. But when I as Aristotle. In the Poetics we read: turned to the Theseus and saw that every "Sophocles used to say that he depicted form was altered by action or repose I saw that the two sides of his back varied, men as they ought to be, Euripides as one side stretched from the shoulder-blade they are." In other words, Sophocles rebeing pulled forward, and the other side com-garded himself as an idealist, Euripides pressed from the shoulder-blade being pushed as a realist. Again: "Polygnotus painted 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.


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.

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 fiction.

they are able either to keep this in abey- | cipally concerns us here is its final maniance or to emphasize it. They can swerve festation in what is now called realism. 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 schools have reacted upon practice. Notwithstanding the impossibility of separating 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 centuries. 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.

A reaction was necessitated. The world had been filled with manneristic technicalities and with shallow academical pomposities with ideal figures, ideal faces, ideal draperies, ideal landscapes, ideal trees which were only ideal because they resembled nothing real precisely. The reaction assumed many forms; it showed itself earliest in a revived admiration for Dutch painting and in the English school of landscape; it took definite shape in the romanticists of France and Germany and in the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood of England. But that which prin

Realism, being a revolt against the false principles of that phthisical idealism 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.

And thus it is with

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. 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.

Resuming what I have attempted to establish, we find in the art-history of the present century a false idealism superseded by a false realism. Both are false, because neither recognizes the correlation of those elements which in the work of Pheidias we have seen to be supremely harmonized. The idealist sought to dispense with the necessary interrogation of nature; the realist seeks to ignore the fact that art must aim at selection and 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. 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 our age. On various lines, in many divers ways, since the reaction against false idealism set in, have attempts been made to solve the problem of combining the twin factors in a due and vital correlation. Together with improved conditions of 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 penetrating 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.

so far as we can get it. Art, obliged to obey the mental stress of the epoch, deprived of a widely accepted body of sensuous religious thoughts, leans of necessity more to realism than it did in the Athens of Pericles or in the Florence of Lorenzo dei Medici.

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.



[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

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 imag

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. Per-
haps they were more beautiful in an earlier
stage than they are now; or I may so
think and feel, through the general pref-ination:
erence 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.

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Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown!
It must, or we shall rue it :
We have a vision of our own,

Ah! why should we undo it?
The treasured dreams of times long past,
We'll keep them, winsome Marrow!
For when we're there, although 'tis fair,
'Twill be another Yarrow.*

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,
They melt, and soon must vanish;
One hour is theirs, nor more is mine-
Sad thought! which I would banish,
But that I know, where'er I go,

Thy genuine image, Yarrow!
Will dwell with me, to heighten joy

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, through groves and glades, through bushes and underwood, among fern, and foxglove, and bounding deer; where, perhaps, every "minutest circumstance of

A still more solitary spot, which had especial charms for me, was the deep forest dell already mentioned, on the borders of Winkfield Plain. This dell, I 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 tom was a watercourse, which was a stream only in times of continuous rain. Old trees clothed it on both sides to the summit, and it was a favorite resort of deer. I was a witness of their banish

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.

itself, but has recalled some association of
can only pass between high fences and
early friendship, or youthful love, — we
dusty roads, I think it best to avoid the
sight of the reality, and to make the best
of cherishing at a distance.

The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.


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." They are like most events in this world, "Good to some, bad to others, 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.

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