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which the mercenary tribe would follow, flatter, debase, and corrupt, is the ostensible, and who can doubt that it is the real, object, of those gentlemen who have projected, and those who have so handsomely and so patriotically contributed to the formation of, a National Gallery. Pictures are reposited there for the edification, as well as for the entertainment, or superficial and temporary gratification of that public. Of course, the more of refined pleasure and instruction that can be extracted or obtained from them, the better for the people. But if some should lend a willing ear to our cajoling picture-jokers, who are of the same tribe with those sanguine philosophers that would insist upon our inferring that Intellect is marching and Happiness is advancing in England with giant strides, because steam-enginery has put on her seven-league boots, and money is accumulating in certain quarters; will not the more wise and wary among us, at least, be led to doubt whether it be the same in matters of Taste ?

Seeing that corrupt puffery has here usurped the tribunal of criticism, who will assert that we have no reasonable ground for apprehending danger to Fine Art and its votaries? or that we do not, in such matters, actually experience that worst of evils, the influence of ignorant despotism? Or who will believe that British vigilance and prudence, should allow themselves to be lulled into false security in what concerns the just appreciation and national enjoyment of such works?

“ Stars teach as well as shine," saith the poet. Alas! for the stars of Art, when those who undertake to point the telescope, and tell us what they teach; how they are constellated; which are the planets; the orbits in which they revolve; and their relative magnitudes and influences, -do but raise clouds to obstruct our perceptions, and obscure their splendour. Alas! that criticism on the Arts should, in England, be at its lowest ebb, precisely when a National Gallery is forming, and when the operation of sound criticism on the public Taste, is most wanted.

To see Pictures is to enjoy them. True: but then they should be viewed by the mind's eye. Then—as sings he who“ rose to truth and moralised his song,”

~ God is paid when man receives :

To enjoy is to obey." But then man should receive, or he cannot obey or enjoy: in order to which he should read, mark, learn, and inwardly

digest. Unjust criticisms, or bad copies of any kind from such exemplary works as are contained in the National Gallery--it may be thought by those who reflect but little, are, in their consequences, only like bad editions of the consecrated classics: they do no harm to the divine originals: they detract not from their great merits, and long established fame.-But, no! that is not exactly the case. They do the same injury to the reputation of the originals, and subtract as much from the great benefits they are capable of conferring, as would injudicious or mistaken comments upon, or bad translations of, Homer or Virgil, Eschylus or Sophocles. They do the same harm that the prevalence of blighting exhalations do to our vernal hopes in May; which hurt not the Sun, it is true; but effectually preclude us from enjoying his genial influence, precisely when it would most benefit mankind.

Wherefore, with regard to ignorant and empirical pretenders to picture criticism :bold vocabulists, who imagine that they may expediently dispense with truth, if they have but semblance: or forego the real, if they possess but the apparent-with regard to men, who (in the words of the patriarch of old) “darken wisdom, by words without knowledge”-I have not dissembled much; nor shall I insidiously or hypocritically pretend to quote scripture, and say "i those whom I love, I rebuke and chasten." No. If I shall in any degree find myself fortunate enough to rebuke and chasten those who rush into the temples of Taste, where angels and hierophants tread cautiously, it will have been because I love the Arts, and regard such reckless individuals as I would false direction-posts, which would conduct us into devious paths when we are seeking the direct road to Zion, or the Parthenon; and which it is, therefore, public duty either to remove or convert into useful indices. He who sincerely loves the Arts, cannot love also those who by specious semblances obstruct any portion of the social good they are capable of imparting.

When Lucian undertakes to plead in behalf of Rectitude against certain pretended philosophers, he institutes a sort of previous examination into his own qualifications and motives. Philosophy herself is supposed to address him, and the following dialogue takes place.

P. What is your profession? for that is a circumstance I must be informed of.

L. I am the declared enemy of all false pretence; all quackery; all lies, and all puffing: I hate from the bottom of my heart, all and every one who belongs to that infamous tribe-as you know full well.

P. By Hercules ! you follow a most invidious profession!

L. But too true. You see how many enemies I have made by it, and to what perils I am obnoxious on that account; notwithstanding that I also carry on the clean contrary profession: which consists in affection, with equally great diligence and industry; for I am a lover of Truth, of Beauty, of undisguised Nature—in short, of every thing that is lovely. Unhappily, few there are upon whom I can put my talent of loving in practice: whereas those who are qualified for hatred, are as thousands to one.

I am, therefore, actually in danger of losing all my skill in the former; but in the latter, of becoming more expert than I desire.

P. No fear of that. For to love, and to hate, spring from one and the same source : you are therefore wrong making two businesses of them, since, in fact, they are only one. [This is probably the best illustration that is anywhere extant of Dr. Johnson's and Hazlitt's avowal of being “good haters,” and the best explanation of the paradox.]

L. That, O Philosophy! must be best known to you: my business is to hate the bad, and to love and commend the good, and that I stick to.

P. Well: we are now come to the place appointed. Here, under the portico of Minerva, will be the most convenient situation for our present affair.

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Now, one may follow a classic exemplar without pretending to vie with him in talent; and the portico of Minerva is not impertinent to our present purpose on the contrary, it is rather appropriate, since, although Sculpture, Music, Poetry—every Art save Painting, has an appropriate Muse ;-the manifestation of Nature, and of intellect operating upon Nature—by means of form and colour, is derived immediately from the Goddess of Wisdom herself! Not that she used pigments and pencils (any more than Miss Linwood) that we ever heard of. Her fall of the Giants (the painter's prototype] was embroidered, as we are taught to believe. Pigments, pencils, and palette, are only the best mortal and terrestrial mode that has yet been discovered, of imitating her immortal and celestial example. She is, nevertheless, the inventress and patron deity of the art of imitating visible objects by means of form and colour, which is a true definition of Painting:But we are not at present called upon to pursue this antiquarian research into the classical origin of the Art of the Painter.

pursue further

Concerning the arrangement of this Catalogue, and the order of succession which it has been found eligible to adopt—as something beyond mere cursory gratification has been kept in view-Chronological sequence, as nearly as attendant circumstances would admit-as I fancied that this would best illustrate the progress of painting-has guided me, with the exception of Coreggio's “ School of Cupid" and " Ecce Homo !" which, coming too late for this, have been placed among the Claudes.

In being more diffuse and particular than is now fashionable among “ graphic writers,” or picture-critics, I trust I shall not be found to have digressed much into unessential matters; or to have illustrated any of the great masters into obscurity, as has been the reproach of some of Shakspeare's commentators. Should any of my readers of superior taste and intelligence, say, Why are you thus prolix in dwelling upon what we plainly see? Or, should those who follow the picture-jokers, and look at such works for mere momentary amusement, ask, Why these numerous details, as if you were establishing facts upon legal evidence? Why are you so tediously particular ?-I should answer to both, Descriptive Catalogues are rather for those who of themselves discern but little in pictures, than for those who see much.

unto
you,

the whole need not the physician.” Moreover, as we cannot adapt the same book to the varying taste and knowledge of our readers severally, we are necessarily constrained to assume some kind of average in these respects, and endeavour to pitch our speculations and the information we wish to impart, toward the level of that average. I

may have assumed it too high: or perhaps too low. But before I proceed far with my concluding volume, I shall probably be able (from some symptoms or other) to discover whether the judicious portion of my readers, are least, or most, pleased with those criticisms of mine, which

" Verily I say

have run out to the greatest length—of which discovery, I shall not fail to avail myself, so as to share the benefit with those readers.

Most of the few technical words which I have had occasion to employ--such as drawing, keeping, composition, chiar-oscuro—are, I believe, generally, and familiarly understood, having been repeatedly and ably defined in dictionaries and other books that have been long before the public. Yet there are two terms of Art-character and expression, that are very frequently confounded, not merely in colloquial chat, but by those men of words, some of whom affect to contemn“ the slang of the studio, and conventional phrases of the children of St. Luke.” Concerning these, it appears necessary, or at least not objectionable, that I should submit a few sentences, which will, at the same time, require me, in the way of illustration, to treat of a picture or two in the National Gallery by Sir Joshua Reynolds, apart from their chronological place and claims; which, as the Gallery does not yet contain anything like a regular, orderly, series, will amount to no unpardonable violation of the right that every artist, of every age, may reasonably claim from those who minister in the teniple of Taste, to have his works regarded with a general reference to the coexisting state of art at the era of their production.

The friends, or conservators of the fame, of Sir Joshuashould we lift a picture or two of his, into our Prefacewill have no great reason to take umbrage, if we state that they afford us the most pertinent examples, or at least the best subjects of experimental illustration, of the terms which we wish to illustrate. The Gallery is sufficiently rich in the works of this artist, for him to spare the transposition of two heads, without detriment to that closing part of our Catalogue, which will include our estimate-or as much of it as we may feel called upon to offer of his professional merits, as compared with those of his contemporaries of the eighteenth century. Reynolds will still occupy an illustrious niche in our artistical

pantheon. With this exception, and that of the two recently acquired Coreggio's, I have adhered, as nearly as was practicable, to the chronological order of sequence.

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