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if the government possess the power to create a market, and that the success of the manufacture be essential to the interests and honour of the state, it would be wiser to open a mart than to let the machinery lie useless and inactive, bringing down on the possessors an imputation of their being disqualified by nature from turning it to their own advantage. We may reason from this illustration to present circumstances. All our invaluable purchases of ancient marbles and paintings for a national gallery, are but the machinery to enable the British artists to vie with the ancients, not merely to be their imitators in the highest style of art. The sculpture of the Townley, Phygalian, and Elgin collections, and the Angerstein paintings, were purchased only as a means towards the accomplishment of that great national end. But there are no commissions given for paintings in the public style, and there are neither churches nor public edifices open' to receive them. There is no market for them. We are not to be surprised, therefore, if the prospect of neglect, poverty, and imprisonment, is sufficient to terrify every young man of highminded feelings, from risking the capital of his hopes and genius in so desperate an undertaking.
From present circumstances it would seem, that all the elevated examples of design and execution in marble and canvas, which have been so liberally purchased by Government, and are now amassed in England, were collected for no other purpose, but to prove that the formation of magazines of the best materials for the erection of an edifice consecrated to national glory, will neither lay the foundation nor perfect the building, unless the builders who are to be employed are sure of being rewarded for their labour. If there be no fund for paying them, and no prospect but indigence and obscurity for their industry, they will leave
the projected structure to rise miraculously by itself, and will hasten to erect humbler habitations for private individuals, by whom they are sure to be paid for their time and labour. This is the state in the high department of history painting. The British Institution have conferred rewards and prizes in discharge of their duty, but that public-spirited body, although bakedone so much good, cannot work imposa sibilities. The young historical painters have exerted themselves in the outset, so long as there was the least prospect of obtaining a livelihood; but there being no productive field for their exertions, no commissions in the public style, they have found it necessary to accommodate themselves to the taste of the time, and to devote their pencils to the lucrative task of furnishing the private apartments of their patrons with elegant embellishments.
Where then is the remedy? We presume not to offer any thing beyond a very humble suggestion. We discover this remedy in the paternal bosom of our gracious Sovereign, in the wisdom of his Government, and in the liberality of Parliament. That which pulled down, alone has power to re-build. The royal will, under Edward VI. and Elizabeth, crushed the public style of history painting, by the exclusion of pictures and statues from churches. The power of the state alone, in 1825, can counteract the effect of church exclusion.
A nation may clothe herself in a robe of honour from Greece, Rome, and the golden days of Leo, but her majestic array will only turn out to her discredit, unless she can show a robe of as rare an invention from the looms of her own people. A rich man, by purchasing a poem, a painting, or a piece of sculpture, cannot acquire the fame of having written, painted, or chiseled the objects of his purchase : por can a nation acquire any claim to superior genius by
having enriched herself with the painting and sculpture of another people. She can only become illustrious in the highest style of those arts by the performances of ber native painters and sculptors. She cannot become renowned for excellence in those intellectual refinements by importing the admirable productions of foreigners. She may grow rich in foreign collections, and be a loser in reputation, unless her munificent patronage of her native artists, and their improvement in the highest department of art, keep pace with her importations. It was not by foreign valour that England won the bloody laurels of Cressy, of Poictiers, and Agincourt. It was not by mercenary aliens she triumphed at Trafalgar. These victories would not shed so bright a lustre on the page of British history if they had not been obtained by British heroism. It is by a national patronage of British genius, by affording a constant encouragement to the British pencil and the British chisel alone, that the British empire can hope to vie with the ancients in painting and sculpture. We can never vie with the old schools so long as the highest department of painting is closed against the exertion of living genius, by the exclusion of pictures from churches and public halls. It is in a NATIONAL GALLERY of BRITISH HISTORICAL PAINTINGS that her great national triumphs in the arts will be accomplished, and that she will lead the way to the cultivation and establishment of the public style.
It is a glorious boast for England to possess the Townley, Phygalian, and Elgin Marbles, the Cartoons of Raphael, and a National Gallery of Paintings, by the great masters. of the renowned ages ! But if all the fine sculpture and paintings in Italy were transported to the British capital at this moment, and added to our present treasures, the accession would only increase our materials for educating artists in the highest style; it would not add a jot to our means of affording them employment in that department when educated. Unless the importation opened a field for the patronage of the British pencil and chisel in the highest department, it would only overlay and repress the spirit of British genius, by multiplying the means of invidious comparison between its discouraged and desultory efforts in the public style, with the most perfect productions of the celebrated old schools. Unless the Government of this country forms a national gallery of British historical paintings, her national gallery of acquisitions from the ancients, may be converted into a handle by her enemies, for reviving the exploded calumnies of Du Bos, Winkleman, Montesquieu, and Voltaire. Our envious competitors may say, the great authority of the Royal Academy of England bas inculcated that “the language of Michael Angelo, is THE LANGUAGE OF THE GODS;" he has exerted his eloquence to urge his countrymen to study “THIS GRAND STYLE OF INVENTION." Nearly forty years have passed since he pressed them to this proof of their taste, this trial of their great historical powers. They have imported a rich treasure of ancient sculpture and painting, as a means of enabling their artists to rival tho old schools, and to carry off the palm of genius from all other nations. But where are the results of their first President's eloquence and of their exertions? The few of their artists who have ventured to follow his precepts and to climb the steeps of fame to which he pointed, have been neglected and discouraged in their progress, and finally abandoned as visionary enthusiasts to poverty and disgrace!!!
The Elgin Marbles are deservedly admired, and I trust that they will be every day more admired, and better understood : but many objects are admired and highly prized by the public without possessing any influence on the national taste. Men visit and value the tombs of their ancestors, but cease to think of them in the business of life. The town crowded lately to an exbibition of ancient armour, but we have not heard that any of the admirers cased himself in steel, and marched forth, armed cap-d-pie, to visit his friends. The spectators for years admired John Kemble in the Roman costume, but they continued to employ the dandy tailors of Cork-street, to fit them in the newest fashion, for the dining apartment and ball room. The best Dutch and Flemish painters travelled to Italy for improvement, and during their studies there, extolled and admired the antique statues and the paintings of the great old masters. But after their return home, with all their admiration of the gusto grande of Italy, they painted familiar life in the German, Dutch, and Flemish taste. This is not mentioned as their fault, but as a result of circumstances formed by the spirit of their country. If Teniers, Jan Steen, Ostade, Berghem, and Wouvermans had visited Rome, and successfully exchanged their own country manner for the grand style, they must have resumed the Dutch and Flemish subjects at the Hague and Amsterdam; for the grand Italian style and subjects would not have found a market in Holland and Flanders. We need only instance the Prince of the Flemish school, that truly great master, Rubens, as a proof that it is one thing to see, admire, and praise the masterpieces of the grand style, and another thing to adopt their purity and elevation as a rule of practice. That whole nations, and schools of eminent painters and sculptors may fall into this strange inconsistency of seeing and admiring the grand style, and neglecting to adopt it, there are quite proofs enough to be found, not only