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many artistic masterpieces, and if the golden treasure be put in an earthen vessel, at least the quaintness and charm of the vessel's form go far to redeem the trumpery of its material. These plaster-palaces have an ephemeral charm, and fill us with a child's sense of amusement and festivity. They will fade almost as soon as flowers ; they are as brittle as the toys on a Christmas-tree. Follow de Vigny's advice :
Aimons ce que jamais on ne verra deux fois !' and let us admire them while they last.
Let us stand on the Pont Alexandre, looking from the northern end of the bridge to the vast hemicycle of snowy domes and minarets leading up to the not disagreeable discord of the old grey façade and gilt-splashed dome of the historic Invalides. The glance should follow the river towards Passy. 'Tis surely an architect's Walpurgis Night! A great Venetian palace with the Seine at its feet, its round gilt domes and lace-like rosaces framed in the elms of the Quai d'Orsay, elbows a Turkish mosque: so that long-talkedof marriage between the Republic of Venice and the Grand Turk has actually taken place! The American eagle and George Washington look on only faintly surprised, for history never surprises them, and besides, they are full of their own greatness and glory. Otherwise they might stare to find themselves neighboured by a Bosnian manor, with an Austrian palace beyond, very regal and stately in its baroque magnificence. Between a time-stained swart Hungarian fortress and a lofty soaring Belgian town hall, behold dropped (like plums in ladies' laps ') a tiny Jacobean country house which would look exceedingly well with a great green stretch of rising park behind it, and, in front, a terraced garden of roses and clipped yew-trees; but it is somewhat dwarfed by these gigantic neighbours. Spain is throned in a spacious Renaissance palace, next a German manor, all gables, from the Rhine, and further on we see a crowd of Oriental domes blown together like a cluster of soap bubbles. Drawn to one point from all the corners of the earth, nearly all these palaces illustrate the period of the Renaissance. See how in the north the lines aspire as if sucked up towards the sun! How, in the south, they spread themselves in wide low masses as if to offer rest and shade! Before them the waters ripple, laden with darting pleasure boats, to that bend of the Passy hill where they seem to slip away in a mysterious gulf beneath the towers of the Trocadero.
This is the outside, and a fine coup d'æil in the way of
stucco and plaster, interesting enough in its way to the student of national characteristics. The half-timbered Danish house; the Swedish building all clothed in fine overlapping scales of wood shingling, curiously soft and pleasant in effect; the Norwegian chalet, very simply carved and painted in red and green; the Finnish pavilion with its low wide circular archways, quaint carvings of bears, squirrels, and frogs, and steep-pitched roofing of wood-shingle -these are not merely a surprising object lesson in wood architecture. They have the very aroma of the north. Woodwork of a different kind, almost wholly oriental in treatment, is used in the Bosnian manor. And the combination of warm-coloured terracotta and glazed and coloured bricks which decorate the Servian and Greek pavilions will doubtless interest the architect. But the real treasures are within. The Hungarian, German, Spanish, and English palaces are museums of the rarest art: they are also an invaluable subject to the student of national psychology.
Let us enter first the British pavilion. It contains some excellent samples of two great schools of British art, separated from each other by the space of a century. Look first at Sir Joshua's ladies, with their powdered hair above their natural glance and a hint of rouge above the engaging familiar good-breeding of their smile. It will be interesting to compare these amiable faces, so full of ease and humour, with their contemporaries in the German palace. They cannot be so distant from them as they appear-removed, one would suppose, by every circumstance of race and civilisation—from their great-granddaughters, the women of BurneJones. The 'Laus Veneris' hangs here with other fine pictures. Are they English women, these magnificent, dreamy, perverse, and yet candid Sibyls, habited like sorceresses in garments of strange scarlet and bright prismatic mauves patterned with gold? What'hollow faces burning • white,' what a fixed and visionary gaze, what serpentine enchanted hair! They are the priestesses of a disillusioned and morbid form of art. But modern Europe has not seen their equal for sheer beauty, charm, and haunting magic.
The German pavilion is a Gothic manor from the Rhine, painted like a Nuremberg toy, and rather aggressively effective in that style of artless bad taste and poetic grandeur which distinguishes the Fatherland. It is echt
Deutsch,' in a sense which is shared by everything German (even the greatest) outside the classic trio Mozart, Goethe, and Heine. Let us enter the three saloons which
reproduce the State rooms of Sans-Souci and the cabinet of Frederic the Great. They were copied in the eighteenth century by the cabinet-makers of Berlin from German models. The style is rococo and French, but it has suffered a change into something rich and strange. For instance across the backs of their gilt and highly ornate court furniture these naïve workmen, inspired by the branch. ing fioritura of the style, have cast great bunches of gardenpoppies, carved like nature, and coloured red, grey-blue, and mauve, with pale green buds and leaves! The same poetry of feeling and the same defective taste are visible in the furniture of the great saloon, all rococo, twisted and twirling, no longer gilt, but silver-chairs, mirror frames, picture frames, ornaments, all silvered as bare trees in hoarfrost. The upholstery is of pale moonlight-tinted satin, bordered with silver galloon. The strange branchy forms of the furniture, the tints of rime, water, and moonlight harmonise with the great silver-framed mirrors-one would say a mermaid's palace. But the walls are hung with oldgold satin, and half the picture frames match the walls.
The pictures which these frames contain are eloquent not of Germany, but of France. There are better Chardins in the Louvre. But is there any other Watteau to match this young violinist fiddling under a tree to the most adorable shepherdess in the world, dressed in blue, lifting her bewitching kitten face to look at her idyllic serenader? Not Watteau, but Lancret, however, will chiefly interest the student of national psychology. Watteau is above all himself. He has the languor, the beauty, the voluptuousness of a Giorgione. Amid his painted music and his garden festivals he never forgets his tædium vitæ. And it is true that young gentlemen in France
Are wont to sigh and be as sad as night
Out of mere wantonness.' But the man who really reflects his country and his age is Lancret, nowhere to be studied so adequately as in these three rooms-Lancret, with his delicate precision, his fine grace (a little precious and yet so free), the justness and variety of his restricted harmonies.
Spain in her great palace harbours things of enduring beauty—tapestry from Flanders, Moorish arms, the tunic of Boabdil of Granada-symbols of her conquest and of her possessions, not of her manufacture. The tapestries here are the most admirable that we have ever seen.
look at them we see what the Morris tapestries in the English palace intended to be, and, after all, come nearer to being than the Gobelins of our time. It is not the richness of the tissue, woven of wool and silk and gold; it is not only the splendour of the colouring, whose greens and browns are relieved by a liberal use of red, rose-pink, white, grey, and dull blue; it is the drawing of the figures, the exquisite expression and sentiment of the faces, that keep us spellbound before these miracles of the loom, as attractive as the painter's art. Look at that enthroned Justice, with her great angel receiving the homage of kings and princes! Look at that Lady Chastity on her snow-white unicorn, followed by the dreamiest, most girlish Judith, with sweet blue eyes and golden braids, who surely forgets what burden dangles from her saddle, although, through the meshes of the net in which she has tied it, we discern the dark and gory head of Holophernes! Look at the movement and passion of that Crucifixion ! No wonder that the Emperor Charles V., when he renounced the world and all its works, carried with him to his solitary cell in the monastery of San Yuste some two or three of the tapestries before us.
Certainly M. Renan would admit and admire the claim of this Exhibition to be a school of beauty. Nor would he have been insensible to its pretension, no less solidly grounded, to be a school of social duty. We herald the twentieth century with an international conclave such as never yet has been gathered together to discuss the wage of the workmen, the risks of labour, the rearing of the young, the refuge of the old, the housing of the poor, and the nursing of the sick. Congress after congress meets in Paris this summer, and the Exhibition is a comparative anatomy of the different social methods of civilised peoples. It is as necessary to the philanthropist as attractive to the artist and useful to the trader. Charity, science, and art visit hand in hand these halls of industrial competition.
Renan was mistaken in supposing that an exhibition could only register the details of material progress. The wonderful electrical instruments displayed by Germany are not a greater improvement on their inexact and halting forerunners than this almost universal concert of altruistic sentiment is an advance beyond Guizot's Enrichissez-vous. The times are at hand when man may hope to escape beyond himself; his feelings appear to enlarge in an immense centrifugal circuit. He begins to understand
that, in reality, all progress leads him beyond the per-
• Ultima Cumæi venit jam carminis ætas;