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himself to be a draughtsman little inferior to Ghirlandajo, and if his colouring has stood the test of time less well than has Ghirlandajo's, not the less will that great circular picture in the Uffizzi long delight the gazer. No one who has ever seen it can forget those seven seraphic faces. The Virgin Mother's hand, in writing the Magnificat,’ is gently guided by the Divine Infant, and the angels who crown her, as well as those who hold the manuscript, listen with delight to the song that flows from the prophetess-poet, the greatest mother in Israel.

Mrs. Jameson had always the secret of pleasing her readers. She was a well-read woman, one who had conferred with the master-minds of her day, and who had also travelled a great deal; for she acted on Goethe's saying:

"He who will the poet see

Must in the poet's country be.' To this her pages owed many pleasant illustrations, and even her digressions are not without a charm; the greater that they help us to realise what is the end of all investigations into either history or art—the truth that these men and women were even as we are. In this

way

her book had a success even beyond that which she was aware that it owed to the growing interest in the literature of art in England. Meantime, the collections of the British Museum and of the National Gallery, which daily increased in value and importance, had such advocates in the House of Commons as Sir David Dundas, Lord Elcho, and Mr. Gregory; the Arundel Society prepared its beautiful portfolios ; Mr. Ruskin wrote of Modern Painters' and for modern painters, and taught so well, in his shrill and inspired scream, that landscape art made in consequence great progress, and left far behind those conventional pictures of which Byron laughingly said that they were all made up of vines, olives, precipices, glaciers, volcanoes, oranges, and ices.' Art schools were now proposed all over the kingdom, loan museums opened, the Staffordshire potteries stimulated, and books on painting, wood-engraving, and architecture added largely to the current literature of the day; while by photography the art treasures of foreign countries were rendered familiar to English students. Mrs. Jameson, however, could not regard this sudden popularisation of art without some misgivings, and she sought to anticipate the height of the movement with a few words of warning, addressed, as she said, to the uninitiated. The Art Journal of March, 1849, contained

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these passages, and we quote them here because, in our opinion, Mrs. Jameson never did herself greater justice than in these sober words on the objects of art training and on its individual as well as national importance.

are to have art, it seems, for the million. Now it is certain that this diffusion through all ranks of the love of ornament and beauty will not raise the standard of excellence—that was fixed some two thousand years ago in the days of Phidias—but it will raise the standard in every individual mind; it will bring home and illustrate to the popular apprehension those principles, eternal and immutable as the law of Nature herself, on which that eternal standard is founded. I am not one of those who believe that excellence will become less excellent by being diffused, or that the sense of the true, the beautiful, the pure, will become less valuable by being rendered more familiar-indispensable to the sentient being as love, light, and air.

All human sympathies flowing in a right direction-and in art, as in morals, there is a right and a wrong-gather strength as they flow by the confluence of many minds. It is some comfort that we do not see in these days—at least, we do not so often see—that pretension to the exclusive right to feel and discriminate, that mingled scorn and despair with which the real lover and judge of art was wont to regard the ignorant blunderings of public patronage ; and, on the other hand, I think we have outlived that truly vulgar error, so flattering to indolent mediocrity, that “in matters of art every man with two good eyes in " his head is competent to see;" whereas, where art is concerned, the

, faculty of seeing becomes in itself an art! Yes, it is a good sign when the worshipful many are beginning to feel that the fine arts are not inerely imitative, but involve something more, and far beyond imitation; it is a good sign when a man is no longer affronted by a doubt of his power, and even of his right of judgment, and has candour enough to wish to educate his perceptions up to that point where the just appreciation of comparative excellence first unfolds itself to the delighted intellect. It were too much to expect to find developed alike in all the instinctive sense of beauty in art, or the capacity for enjoying its manifestations. No popularising of art will ever equalise the power to feel and to judge of art; but we may hope that the multiplication and diffusion.of objects through which the taste is exercised will tend to facilitate comparison and quicken sensibility. ..

• The passion and fashion for works of beauty and decoration has been growing among us, assisted by many causes. The invention of most ingenious mechanical processes by which the magnificent remains of antiquity and the productions of living artists may be reproduced with marvellous delicacy and exactitude, and of other processes by which ornamental carving and casting from faultless models may be executed at a trifling expense, the perfection to which modern chemical science has brought the finest preparations of clay—as bisque and terra-cotta-together with the application of new materials, guttapercha, for instance, to the purposes of art; and, though last 'not least, the institution of schools of design all over the country—all these have combined to assist by mechanical means the multiplication of what the French call objets de goût et de luxe. That this growing taste may not be vulgarised is a matter of great importance. We may entertain the deepest sympathy for the artist struggling to live by the proceeds of that art to which he has given his life, and applaud the efforts made by public means to render his works known and give him a fair chance for reputation (it is not for one generation to give fame). But let it ever be borne in mind that we best assist our native artists by placing before them and the public who is to judge them, in every possible form, those productions which bear the stamp of original greatness, and have been consecrated by the admiration of successive generations of men ; things which exist at a distance, or have become so rare and so expensive that they are locked up in national collections or in the portfolios of amateurs. On these the principles of art are founded, or rather by these they are illustrated, for these lead us back to nature pure nature, which is only another name for the pure ideal, and whence all must proceed which is to endure through the vicissitudes of conventional manners and modes of thought. This is the main object of a society lately instituted, the Arundel Society. Between this society and one begun some years ago for the encouragement of modern art and native artists there should be no rivalry, rather the most close and friendly co-operation. Every help to the knowledge of genuine art is a help to the living artist ; and only the meanest, narrowest, and most short-sighted views would make a man think otherwise. .

Art is for pleasure and for contemplation. " To multiply the sources of pleasure and to enlarge the sphere of contemplation are the objects we propose to ourselves in cultivating what we term a taste for the fine arts. But not only must we have pleasure and contemplation associated together, they must be associated in equal measure; for as surely as the one or the other predominates there shall be no full concord, no complete harmonious enjoyment of the object before us. The intense feeling of beauty, merely as such, without a corresponding exercise of the faculties of the intellect, or a due subjection to the moral sympathies, leaves the soul of man unsatisfied, and produces, if not a degraded and frivolous, at least a narrow and defective taste in art.

. On the other band, where the fine arts become subjects of disquisition and analysis, as manifestations of the human powers, as part of the history of human culture, as an instrument available in the hands of government for the amusement or improvement of the people -as a means, in short, to some end out of themselves, be that end what it may—the highest or the lowest—then such a merely speculative utilitarian appreciation of art can lead to nothing very good, I believe, except it be a grant from the Treasury to help Mr. Layard, or a new National Gallery with room for Mr. Vernon's pictures. For individual enjoyment, for individual elevation and improvement, what can it do? But blend with the sensuous pleasures of form and colour thrilling through nerve and fancy a world of awakened thoughts crowding in like divine guests to a divine banquet, and then we have indeed a joy at once subjective and objective, infinite, complete, and worthy of our immortality; a joy which no lower nature can share with us—which higher natures, if they did not share, might envy us.'

It happened that English society contained at this moment another important element, and one which was to suggest to Mrs. Jameson a very congenial topic, and to confer on her latest and her greatest books not only an immediate success, but a lasting value and an enduring name. Since the first quarter of our century a remarkable religious leaven had been at work. To the Evangelicalism of the Venns, Simeons, and Wilberforces, had succeeded that phase of religious life and opinion in England which we call the Tractarian movement, but which was really the revulsion, first of a party at Oxford, and then of the popular mind, not only towards the doctrines of the early Church, but towards mediævalism in all its shapes. Religion assumed a more æsthetic form. The demand for church accommodation in our great towns and in the metropolis was to fall in with this movement. The tasteless chapels of Mayfair were proclaimed to be incongruous as well as unsightly. Gothic art revived in the hands of Pugin and Scott, while for the windows and porches, as well as for the finials, and pulpits, and reredos of all these new or restored churches, old examples were consulted, and modern artists ran their thoughts into mediæval moulds consecrated by the sacred and legendary art of the past.

Sacred and Legendary Art ’ is a vast theme. To classify, to elucidate, and to illustrate sacred and legendary art required not only the facile pen and the lively sympathy which Anna Jameson always brought to her work, but the reading, the experience, the research, and the critical power which she had now been hiving through many studious years, and through many hours spent at the shrines of the early religious masters. may

be that the theme was first suggested to her by her acquaintance with M. Rio. The Neo-Catholicism of France, the school of Cochin and of Lacordaire, that which has since made a painter of Besson and a musician of Gounod, could already boast of its critic in Rio. Perhaps, as Mrs. Jameson trod the galleries of Paris in the company of the historian of Christian art, she reflected that English literature possessed no book that could compare with his devout and beautiful pages. No one had in England attempted to be a guide to those pictures of the great masters which most soothe us, while they exalt the innermost places of the imagination. She set to work in 1847.

The pictures she had to classify are so many formulas of faith, and from the first rude graffiti in the catacombs down to

It

Raphael's Transfiguration’and his great‘ Disputeon the Sacra‘ment,' they form, so to speak, a pictorial history of the Church. Christian art, after being almost hieroglyphic during the first persecutions, then dared to become tentative. It kept at first to few subjects, and had not only its conventional outlines, but its canonical colours, for it loved to blend the blue and red of Faith and Passion with the violet of Repentance, the black of Sorrow, and the white of Purity and Victory. During its third epoch, we see the triumphs of architecture, of mosaic, and of that exquisite miniature painting which has turned into art treasures the choir-books, psalteries, missals, and breviaries of those chevaleresque and devotional ages. The thirteenth century, which is to the history of art what the flower-clusters are to the tree, saw the rise of the Siennese school. To it succeeded the Florentine, and then, through the Bolognese, Venetian, and Umbrian schools, art reached its glory, and

dwelt in the palaces of its strength. It was Mrs. Jameson's task to lead her readers through the Christian centuries; to cull for them the early flowers of Paradise, which Giotto and Cimabue planted; to recall the tenderest forms of mediæval fancy, and the stern thoughts of the men who carried art as a cross, while they looked for the speedy consummation of all things in the second Advent of the Lord. She had also to reproduce the mystic beauties of those studios which were cells, and the dreams of monks who dwelt apart in cloisters,' where a man lives more purely, falls more rarely, ‘and dies more happily. Nor must it be forgotten that art long held a middle place between the exoteric and the esoteric religions of the Christian world. The exoteric, as preached to the vulgar, was full of modern superstitions built upon a foundation of ill-forgotten mythologies, till just as the Hindoo dared not represent the incomprehensible and self-existent Brahma, so the Italian occupied himself with a host of subordinate and created beings. The painters took the subjects thus popularised, but they looked deeper than the form; and while they painted the imaginary deeds of some legendary saint, they gave God the glory. They set boundaries of nature and humanity to the awful formalas of theology, and they evoked living forms out of a boundless contiguity of shade formed by the philosophy of the schoolmen. They glorified the human form which asceticism set at naught, and they retained on their canvas the same simplicity, the same ineffable air of candour in narration, which makes of the Gospels themselves a masterpiece of spontaneous art.

The mere labour of tracing back these legendary pictures to their sources must have been immense. Nor would it suffice

VCL. CXLIX, NO. CCCV.

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