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the greater part are overwhelmed with quantity and deficient in emotion. The Crossing the Brook is one of the best of these hybrid pictures ; incomparable in its tree drawing, it yet leaves us doubtful where we are to look and what we are to feel; it is northern in its color, southern in its foliage, Italy in its details, and England in its sensations, without the grandeur of the one, or the healthiness of the other.
The two Carthages are mere rationalizations of Claude, one of them excessively bad in color, the other a grand thought, and yet one of the kind which does no one any good, because everything in it is reciprocally sacrificed ; the foliage is sacrificed to the architecture, the architecture to the water, the water is neither sea, nor river, nor lake, nor brook, nor canal, and savors of Regent,s Park ; the foreground is uncomfortable ground,—let on building leases. So the Caligula,s Bridge, Temple of Jupiter, Departure of Regulus, Ancient Italy, Cicero,s Villa, and such others, come they from whose hand they may, I class under the general head of "nonsense pictures." There never can be any wholesome feeling developed in these preposterous accumulations, and where the artist,s feeling fails, his art follows; so that the worst possible examples of Turner,s color are found in pictures of this class; in one or two instances he has broken through the conventional rules, and then is always fine, as in the Hero and Leander ; but in general the picture rises in value as it approaches to a view, as the Fountain of Fallacy, a piece of rich northern Italy, with some fairy waterworks; this picture was unrivalled in color once, but is now a mere wreck. So the Rape of Proserpine, though it is singular that in his Academy pictures even his simplicity fails of reaching ideality; in this picture of Proserpine the nature is not the grand nature of all time, it is indubitably modern,* and we are perfectly electrified at anybody,s being carried away in the corner except
* This passage seems at 'variance with what has been said of the necessity of painting present times and objects. It is not so. A great painter makes out of that which he finds before him something which is independent of aU time. He can only do this out of the materials ready to his hand, but that which he builds has the dignity of dateless age. A little painter is annihilated by an anachronism, and is conventionally antique, and involuntarily modern.
by people with spiky huts and carabines. This is traceable to several causes; partly to the want of any grand specific form, partly to the too evident middle-age character of the ruins crowning the hills, and to a multiplicity of minor causes which we cannot at present enter into.
Neither in his actual views of Italy has Turner ever caught
her true spirit, except in the little vignettes to Rogers,s Poems.
The Villa of Galileo, the nameless composition with stone pines,
the several villa moonlights, and the convent com
$ 43. His views of
Ftaiv destroyed positions in the Voyage of Columbus, are altogether
by brilliancy and l . .A ,.,,.. - , . a ,, . .
redundant quan- c.\<|uisite : but this is owing chiefly to their simplicity and perhaps in some measure to their smallness of size. None of his large pictures at all equal them ; the Hay of Baiae is encumbered with material, it contains ten times as much as is necessary to a good picture, and yet is so crude in color as to look unfinished. The Palestrina is full of raw white, and has a look of Hampton Court about its long avenue; the modern Italy is purely English in its near foliage ; it is composed from Tivoli material enriched and arranged most dexterously, but it has the look of a rich arrangement, and not the virtue of the real thing. The early Tivoli, a large drawing taken from below the falls, was as little true, and still less fortunate, the trees there being altogether affected and artificial. The Florence engraved in the Keepsake is a glorious drawing, as far as regards the passage with the bridge and sunlight on the Arno, the Cascine foliage, and distant plain, and the towers of the fortress on the left; but the details of the duomo and the city are entirely missed, and with them the majesty of the whole scene. The vines and melons of the foreground are disorderly, and its cypresses conventional; in fact, I recollect no instance of Turner,s drawing a cypress except in general terms.
The chief reason of these failures I imagine to be the effort of the artist to put joyousness and brilliancy of effect upon scenes eminently pensive, to substitute radiance for serenity of light, and to force the freedom and breadth of line which he learned to love on English downs and Highland moors, out of a country dotted by campaniles and square convents, bristled with cypresses, partitioned by walls, and gone up and down by steps.
In one of the cities of Italy he had no such difficulties to
encounter. At Venice he found freedom of space, brilliancy of light, variety of color, massy simplicity of general form ; and to Venice we owe many of the motives in which his highest powers of color have been displayed after that change in his system of which we must now take note.
Among the earlier paintings of Turner, the culminating period, marked by the Yorkshire series in his drawings, is distinguished by great solemnity and simplicity of subject, preva$44. changes in- ^en^ gloom in light and shade, and brown in the !n>dtiwdreceiv!etd nvie, tne drawing manly but careful, the minutiae system of art. sometimes exquisitely delicate. All the finest works of this period are, I believe, without exception, views, or quiet single thoughts. The Calder Bridge, belonging to E. Bicknell, Esq., is a most pure and beautiful example. The Ivy Bridge I imagine to be later, but its rock foreground is altogether unrivalled and remarkable for its delicacy of detail; a butterfly is seen settled on one of the large brown stones in the midst of the torrent. Two paintings of Bonneville, in Savoy, one in the possession of Abel Allnutt, Esq., the other, and, I think, the finest, in a collection at Birmingham, show more variety of color than is usual with him at the period, and are in every respect magnificent examples. Pictures of this class are of peculiar value, for the larger compositions of the same period are all poor iu color, and most of them much damaged, but the smaller works have been far finer originally, and their color seems secure. There is nothing in the range of landscape art equal to them in their way, but the full character and capacity of the painter is not in them. Grand as they are in their sobriety, they still leave much to be desired; there is great heaviness in their shadows, the material is never thoroughly vanquished, (though this partly for a very noble reason, that the painter is always thinking of and referring to nature, and indulges in no artistical conventionalities,) and sometimes the handling appears feeble. In warmth, lightness, and transparency they have no chance against Gainsborough ; in clear skies and air tone they are alike unfortunate when they provoke comparison with Claude ; and in force and solemnity they can in no wise stand with the landscape of the Venetians.
The painter evidently felt that he had farther powers, and pressed forward into the field where alone they could be brought into play. It was impossible for him, with all his keen and longdisciplined perceptions, not to feel that the real color of nature had never been attempted by any school; and that though conventional representations had been given by the Venetians of sunlight and twilight, by invariably rendering the whites golden and the blues green, yet of the actual, joyous, pure, roseate hues of the external world no record had ever been given. He saw also that the finish and specific grandeur of nature had been given, but her fulness, space, and mystery never; and he saw that the great landscape painters had always sunk the lower middle tints of nature in extreme shade, bringing the entire melody of color as many degrees down as their possible light was inferior to nature's ; and that in so doing a gloomy principle had influenced them even in their choice of subject.
For the conventional color he substituted a pure straightforward rendering of fact, as far as was in his power ; and that not of such fact as had been before even suggested, but of all that is most brilliant, beautiful, and inimitable; he went to the cataract for its iris, to the conflagration for its flames, asked of the sea its intensest azure, of the sky its clearest gold. For the limited space and defined forms of elder landscape, he substituted the quantity and the mystery of the vastest scenes of earth ; and for the subdued chiaroscuro he substituted first a balanced diminution of oppositions throughout the scale, and afterwards, in one or two instances, attempted the reverse of the old principle, taking the lowest portion of the scale truly, and merging the upper part in high light.
Innovations so daring and so various could not be introduced without corresponding peril : the difficulties that lay in his way were more than any human intellect could altogether surmount. «45. Difficulties or In his t'me there has been no one system of color RosuMantdlSn- generally approved; every artist has his own oies- method and his own vehicle ; how to do what
Gainsborough did, we know not; much less what Titian ; to invent a new system of color can hardly be expected of those who cannot recover the old. To obtain perfectly satisfactory results in color under the new conditions introduced by Turner, would at least have required the exertion of all his energies in that sole •direction. But color has always been only his second object. The effects of space and form, in which he delights, often require the employment of means and method totally at variance with those necessary for the obtaining of pure color. It is physically impossible, for instance, rightly to draw certain forms of the upper clouds with the brush ; nothing will do it but the pallet knife with loaded white after the blue ground is prepared. Now it is impossible that a cloud so drawn, however glazed afterwards, should have the virtue of a thin warm tint of Titian,s, showing the canvas throughout. So it happens continually. Add to these difficulties, those of the peculiar subjects attempted, and to these again, all that belong to the altered system of chiaroscuro, and it is evident that we must not be surprised at finding many deficiencies or faults in such works, especially in the earlier of them, nor even suffer ourselves to be withdrawn by the pursuit of what seems censurable from our devotion to what is mighty.
Notwithstanding, in some chosen examples of pictures of this kind, I will name three : Juliet and her Nurse; the Old Temeraire, and the Slave Ship: I do not admit that there are at the time of their first appearing on the walls of the Royal Academy, any demonstrably avoidable faults. I do not deny that there may be, nay, that it is likely there are; but there is no living artist in Europe whose judgment might safely be taken on the subject, or who could without arrogance affirm of any part of such a picture, that it was wrong; I am perfectly willing to allow, that the lemon yellow is not properly representative of the yellow of the sky, that the loading of the color is in many places disagreeable, that many of the details are drawn with a kind of imperfection different from what they would have in nature, and that many of the parts fail of imitation, especially to an uneducated eye. But no living authority is of weight enough to prove that the virtues of the picture could have been obtained at a less sacrifice, or that they are not worth the sacrifice; and though it is perfectly possible that such may be the case, and that what Turner has done may hereafter in some respects be done better, I believe myself that these works are at the time of their first appearing as perfect as those of Phidias or