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recent works as his finest, are good and right; and if the prevalence throughout of attack and eulogium be found irksome or offensive, let it be remembered that my object thus far has not been either the establishment or the teaching of any principles of art, but the vindication, most necessary to the prosperity of our present schools, of the uncomprehended rank of their greatest artist, and the diminution, equally necessary as I think to the prosperity of our schools, of the unadvised admiration of the landscape of the seventeenth century. For I believe it to be almost impossible to state in terms sufficiently serious and severe the depth and extent of the evil which has resulted (and that not in art alone, but in all other matters with which the contemplative faculties are concerned) from the works of those elder men. On the continent all landscape art has been utterly annihilated by them, and with it all sense of the power of nature. We in England have only done better because our artists have had strength of mind enough to form a school withdrawn from their influence.
These points are somewhat farther developed in the general sketch of ancient and modern landscape, which I have added to the first section of the second part. Some important additions have also been made to the chapters on the painting of sea. Throughout the rest of the text, though something is withdrawn, little is changed; and the reader may rest assured that if I were now to bestow on this feeble essay the careful revision which it much needs, but little deserves, it would not be to alter its tendencies, or modify its conclusions, but to prevent indignation from appearing virulence on the one side, and enthusiasm partisanship on the other.
I Have been lately so often asked by friends on whose judgment I can rely, to permit the publication of another edition of "Modern Painters" in its original form, that I have at last yielded, though with some violence to my own feelings ; for many parts of the first and second volumes are written in a narrow enthusiasm, and the substance of their metaphysical and religious speculation is only justifiable on the ground of its absolute honesty. Of the third, fourth, and fifth volumes I indeed mean eventually to rearrange what I think of permanent interest, for the complete edition of my works, but with fewer and less elaborate illustrations: nor have I any serious grounds for refusing to allow the book once more to appear in the irregular form which it took as it was written, since of the art-teaching and landscape description it contains I have little to retrench, and nothing to retract.
This final edition must, however, be limited to a thousand copies, for some of the more delicate plates are already worn, that of the Mill Stream in the fifth volume, and of the Loire Side very injuriously; while that of the Shores of Wharfe had to be retouched by an engraver after the removal of the mezzotint for reprinting. But Mr. Armytage,s, Mr. Cousen,s, and Mr. Cuff,s magnificent plates are still in good state, and my own etchings, though injured, are still good enough to answer their purpose.
OF THE NATURE OF THE IDEAS CONVEYABLE BY ART.
§ 1. Public opinion no criterion of excellence, except after long 1
periods of time 1
§ 2. And therefore obstinate when once formed 4
§ 3. The author's reasons for opposing it in particular instances... 5
§ 4. But only on points capable of demonstration 5
§ 5. The author's partiality to modern works excusable 6
Chapter II.—Definition of Greatness in Art.
§ 1. Distinction between the painter's intellectual power and technical knowledge 8
§ 2. Painting, as such, is nothing more than language 8
§ 3. "Painter," a term corresponding to " versifier" 9
§ 4. Example in a painting of E. Landseer's 9
§ 5. Difficulty of fixing an exact limit between language and
§ 6. Distinction between decorative and expressive language 10
§ 7. Instance in the Dutch and early Italian schools 10
§ 8. Yet there are certain ideas belonging to language itself 11
§ 9. The definition 12
Chapter III.—Of Ideas of Power.
§ 1. What classes of ideas are conveyable by art 13
§ 2. Ideas of power vary much in relative dignity 13
§ 3. But are received from whatever has been the subject of
power. The meaning of the word "excellence" 14
§ 4. What is necessary to the distinguishing of excellence 15
§ 5. The pleasure attendant on conquering difficulties is right 16
Chapter IV.—Of Ideas of Imitation.
§ 1. False use of the term " imitation" by many writers on art.... IT
55 2. Heal meaning of the term 18
§ 3. What is requisite to the sense of imitation 18
§ 4. The pleasure resulting from imitation the most contemptible
that can be derived from art 19
§ 5. Imitation is only of contemptible subjects 19
§ 6. Imitation is contemptible because it is easy 20
§ 7. Recapitulation 20
Chapter V.—Of Ideas of Truth.
g 1. Meaning of the word " truth" as applied to art 21
§ 2. First difference between truth and imitation 21
§ 3. Second difference 21
§ 4. Third difference 22
§ 5. No accurate truths necessary to imitation 22
§ C. Ideas of truth are inconsistent with ideas of imitation 24
Chapter VI.—Of Ideas of Beauty.
§ 1. Definition of the term " beautiful" 2i5
§ 2. Definition of the term " taste'* 28
§ 3. Distinction between teste and judgment 2?
§ 4. How far beauty may become intellectual 27
$5 5. The high rank and function of ideas of beauty 28
§ 6. Meaning of the term " ideal beauty" 2ti
Chapter VII.—Of Ideas of Relation.
§ 1. General meaning of the term 29
§ 2. What ideas are to lie comprehended under it 29
§ 3. The exceeding nobility of these ideas 30
§ 4. Why no subdivision of so extensive a class is necessary 31
Chapter I.—General Principles respecting Ideas of Power.
§ 1. No necessity for detailed study of ideas of imitation 32
g 2. Nor for separate study of ideas of power 32
§ 3. Except under one particular form 33