« ForrigeFortsett »
ples which are pursued in respect to means as adopted in the material and light and shade obtain ; individuality sensuous art of the Venetians, which, and accident are its primary laws. in their varied combinations, are the
In addition to their adoption of these instruments through which that char. portions of the means which, as here acter is kept up, in connexion with employed, are in distinct subserviency an extensive range of subjects; and (as to the purpose of their art, the Vene frequently takes place in the instance tians in their practice present a pe
of the other schools) it must be seen culiarity intimately connected with to result, that the idea or the senti. that purpose, which was first and ment of the subjects of their pictures most distinctly exemplified by them. cessarily very often not at This is the signification of variety of sustained, or even attempted. Each surface and texture, which the pros looks from his own point of view tocesses adopted in the practice of Ves wards the horizon which bounded his netian painting afforded superior facis domain, beyond which he was appalities towards carrying into effect, and rently either indifferent in respect to which was eminently adapted to assist what existed, or unapprehensive of it. in the expression of its distinctive Thus Titian, in carrying to its highcharacter.
est consummation that particular refeBut, as before adverted to, each of rence which constitutes the characterthese elements, or means of the art, istic of the school to which he belongs, on particular occasions, hold a station is frequently altogether at variance in the productions of this school which with the just expression demanded by is distinct, being altogether dependent the subjects of his pictures.* But the upon its material character. In nus character of his time admitted, and merous instances colours, facts of light even very much favoured the predoand shade, individualities of form, and minance of those qualities which he detail of decoration or ornament, be. was most adapted to express, in addicome the field of its expression. They tion to their generally insinuating naare recognised to be identical with the ture. Indeed, after a certain period, most thorough signification of its in- throughout all Italian art, there is a tention—the final end to be gained decided preponderance towards renthe mete of its purpose. The pecu. dering ideas, which have their existliarity of a colour, a texture, or a kind ence only in the mind, by substantive or effect of light, in this instance, realities of an ordinary and unelevated becomes an ultimate fact, beyond character. It is this, but in a refined which there is no connected significa application, which led to the deviation tion, it being directly and wholly re- from an ideal representation, and dicimpressive of the object or the idea tated the substitution of moral beauty, intended to be referred to. Thus the signified in the Madonnas of Raphael, expression of either of these frequente in which there is no attempt to quit ly, but most often that of colour, the region of human feeling ; their which alone characterises many objects elevation consisting in the strength of to vision, becomes ultimate, in con- their sentiment, not in its being of a nexion with that intimation of material superhuman nature, which may, in and physical qualities which is here most respects, be considered to have pursued. On occasions, they separate been their proper sphere. In the same ly become one with the distinctive subject, which, in the hands of his nature of this range of painting—the predecessor and master, Giovanni Bellaw of its law.
lini, still retained a mythic character Such are the wider features of the to a considerable degree, Titian be
gether. As far as mere correctness is concerned, within a certain sphere which does not embrace science or selection, the design of Venetian painting has been more objected to than it merits. But this has arisen from its reference or purpose not having been recognised,
* Here has arisen another of those stumbling-blocks in the way of judgment on art, which have led to preposterous results. The expression of the figure of the Christ crowned with Thorns, in the gallery of the Louvre, one of the greatest of the works of Titian, has been commended as divine, because he was known to be one of the most eminent painters; while in reality it is the reverse of that, in every respect, in countea nance and action.
comes altogether earthly. His Ma.
cause of its engrossing influence, be. donnas are certainly womanly, and come apparent. The elevated relafull of animal vigour ; but it was the tion of the works of Michael Angelo worshipped head of canonized holiness, and Raphael (for their distinction is represented by the mistress of the such, that unless in particulars it can. painter. Without, however, in the not be expected to be common to any present instance, entering into a refe- class or school) is of necessity generrence to particular works, it may be ally admitted ; but individually, in observed, that it has been seen, that most instances, as the more permanent in the attempt to characterise the or operating law, it is only nominally. works of Titian, different qualities The sensible world surrounds the conhave been brought forward, and dif. sciousness of every one. In it, it may ferent appellations bestowed upon ' be said almost entirely, the many move them, which, from their nature, may and have their being. But, amidst separately be resolved into the more the less vital manifestation of the extensive and ultimate grounds of dis- beautiful in intellect and in human retinction that have been recognised ; lation-morals, still none can be within which the cause of that deficiency out their moments, although the genof meutal signification and intercom. eral rule of their action is not under munion, which has always been brought such influence, when the soul or mind against this school, becomes fully ap- recognises its proper being in rejoicing parent. has been noticed, that col- energy, and in these-the confession our and ornament have been singly and triumph of its final relation-the considered to present the distinctive distinction of humanity is sustained, quality of Venetian painting; while, throughout all; but which, existent in it must be observed, that the nature of an eminent degree, constitutes the its light and shade, design, composi- source of human dignity, giving birth tion, and varied surface, have been to the great and good in contemplation left without being referred to any and in action, through intellectual and cause. But it is impossible that dif- moral power. Truly to touch the ferent qualities can alike essentially heart-strings by either, is an inheritdistinguish one subject; and it is no ance of fame. It is this which has less so, that those qualities which have enkindled a pharos-light from humble remained without being taken into deeds, and made the voice of the poet consideration, should be entirely with thunder.* But all effort is not alike out any connexion or originating borne upwards by this strength. The source of those particular features range of human consciousness may be which they present. This we have figured as a segment of the circle of endeavoured to supply: but, in sepa- being, the angle of which meets the rately considering the individual works centre, or intelligence, whence existof this school, while the essential cha- ence proceeds; and its basement, the racteristic which most strikingly dis- widest and most extended and outward tinguishes them is recognised, it must portion of its quantity, reaches that disbe recollected that such is only a part, tance from the centre, beyond which though the most distinct part, of their humanity is lost, and mere animal life whole combination; and their great1
commences. To this wider or more ness in other respects (but which come diffused range outward being belongs, upon a ground common to different while mental existence may be said to schools and masters) must be distinct- reach, by different gradations, to a ly kept in view.
nearer approximation to the centre.t From the nature of the painting of But the angle narrows as it advances. Titian, and his immediate predeces- While all are necessarily existent in sors and followers, as it has now been the outward-proceeding, the participastated, its particular tendency, and the tion in the inward-proceeding is limit
* Some of those poems, usually denominated minor, in virtue derived from this source, become the Lares and Penates of the mind; and, were there one general language, would far outwie in effect or influence the destruction of a navy, or the burning of a capital, the means of the animal assertion of the right-war. Every word of Gray's Elegy, vainly criticised as it may be, is worth thousands of carronades and bayonets. † The gods, demons, and heroes of the Greeks, might supply a filling up or completion of an analogy of this kind.
ed. Here, then, we are landed on the occasions, it does not,) their separate area of conflicting preferences-of fix- or distinct reference holds its place in ed and of temporary reputation-of that portion of the human constitution, ultimate value, or that which is con- which is immediately constitutive of tingent-of permanency and fashion, sensible existence, and which is withof worth and worthlessness.
But at out direct reflex operation. It prothe same time we recognise their divi.
unvarying necessity of sion and separateness ; and, in recog. exterior life, and descends in its appeals nising this division, an immediate stan. to that circle of perception where the dard of judgment is supplied, by which union of the human with the merely the station and reference of the differ- animal nature takes place. It has not ent objects of human exertion must be a part in the distinction of humanity. assigned.
This is the degradation of the genius Judged by this standard, the influ- of Titian. Its elevation consists in the ence of the works of the head of the width of the circle to which his works Venetian painters are found to take belong, and in their being exemplifia station which is subordinate and cations of an intention or object, conunelevated. Still, keeping in view summated to a degree which places their necessity in painting, and im- them among the most eminent in. portance as one of the greatest ex- stances of human exertion :-not that emplifications of the re-production of it is meant to be implied that this inthe constituent, or condition of the ope. tention was adopted and effected ration of all knowledge and art, sensible through a premeditated purpose, but images, (although that had even limit that such is the result by different ed their intention, which, on many steps arrived at, in Venetian painting.
WALTER AND WILLIAM.
“ 'Twill be a wild rough night upon the Moor :
Off the striplings ran,
Facing her husband, sate a Matron fair,
Ten years twice told had pass’d, since Helen Græme
Fit subject for some limnèr's skill had been
As in the good old time, the good old way.
There stood a spinning-wheel, whose humming sound
Alas! was ever spot on earth so bless'd,
Remembrance of these things, and what ensued,
Not yours alone," she soothingly would say,
or But I-but I--that ever it should be