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her strength and was not sure of her conclusions. Like Amos Barton she could think herself strong but not feel herself so.

Her religious belief cannot be put into a formula. As Mr. Cross says: "Her whole soul was so imbued with, and her imagination was so fired by the scientific spirit of the age-by the constant rapid development of ideas-that she could not conceive that there was, as yet, any religious formula sufficient to be final." She herself says: "Speculative truth begins to appear but a shadow of individual minds. Agreement between intellects seems unattainable, and we turn to the truth of feeling as the only universal bond of union."

Her religion was a growth. "I have always been finding out my religion since I was a little girl." And in the same place she defines that religion to be, "That by desiring what is perfectly good, even when we don't quite know what it is, and cannot do what we would, we are part of the divine power against evil-widening the skirts of light and making the struggle with darkness narrower."

Thus George Eliot living in a period of change and upheaval represents the conflict. By her antecedents and early surroundings she is joined in the bonds of love to her countrymen; by her intellectual development she is linked to the democratic, active spirit of her mature age. Her innate love of truth, her fearless avowal of it, and her contempt for dogmatism, are common attributes of her contemporaries. By her capability for deep emotion, and by her lingering affection for the old, she more truly represents her countrymen than more skeptical thinkers do. Like the mass of the people through all the conflict she held latent in her the capability of evolving a new religion. In her faith in the truth of feeling she foreshadows the present era, which would guide, not repress emotion by reason. If she had lived after the struggle of opinions was over, and a new peace and joy were lighting the world with promise, we know not how much more perfect her life and philosophy would have been.

But: "Many Theresas have been born, who found for themselves no epic life, wherein there was a constant unfolding of far-resonant action; perhaps only a life of mistakes, the offspring of a certain spiritual grandeur, ill-matched with the

meanness of opportunity; perhaps a tragic failure, which found no sacred port and sank unwept into oblivion. With dim lights and tangled circumstances, they tried to shape their thoughts and deeds in noble agreement; but after all, to common eyes their struggles seemed mere inconsistency and formlessness; for these later-born Theresas were helped by no coherent social faith and order which could perform the function of knowledge for the ardently willing soul. Their order alternated between a vague ideal and the common yearning of womanhood; so that the one was disapproved as extravagance, and the other condemned as a lapse."-Middlemarch (Prelude).

"Certainly those determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful. They were the mixed result of young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feeling will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. For there is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it."-Middlemarch (Finale).

IDA M. STREET.

VOL. XVII.

12

ARTICLE IV.-WHAT IS ATMOSPHERE IN A PICTURE?

WITHOUT atmosphere, no outdoor picture can be accurate or faithful; nor, it may be added, can it be successful. As is the case in nature's own work, this same atmosphere must abound -even more than that, it must literally be omnipresent.

Without this presence, whether in broad effect or minute detail, there can be no truthful reproduction of any view as God made it—no genuine work of art-no picture worthy the

name.

This is a point which has been, at times, singularly ignored by painters of too much experience not to know better, and that too under circumstances where ignorance is not to be excused.

And as ink, in literary work, when unfecundated by brains, must always be sterile or unfruitful, so, in the case of a picture, pigment untempered by atmosphere may be applied to canvas not only without profit, but with positive waste of good material.

It may be said, in passing, that the word atmosphere is often employed in metaphor and for expression of thought wholly foreign to the matter in hand-as, for instance, "the entire neighborhood was drowsy with an atmosphere of peace." But that meaning or idea has nothing in common with the atmosphere of which we now speak. The one we are now concerned with is an entity, actual, and copied from nature as closely as ability allows.

Mathematically stated and reduced to lowest terms, our equation reads-pictorial atmosphere = sky reflexions.

Foliage is no inconsiderable factor in the production of visible atmosphere. It is, therefore, interesting to note the different effect on the grand total produced by trees wholly unlike in limb and leaf. The maple leaves, for instance, are broad, numerous and close. They overlap each other and thus form a substantial thatch over the rafter twigs and branches. These leafy roofs, regularly irregular, mount like a flight of

stairs to the very top. Every step of these sweeping, graceful arches invites and receives the sunlight. In clear sunshine, each separate leaf seizes upon its own high-light of blue-gray or gray-blue.

To see into all this movement and surprise our tree-leaves in the very act, there is no better moment than just after a passing shower, when the hidden sun again breaks out, and when, glancing round a tree, its brilliance seems everywhere caught on nature's own fresh varnish.

Now it cannot be difficult to conceive that a quantity of gray reflexions should be given off by this tree, and thus, as atmosphere, pass into the landscape, or to remember that this tree is one of uncounted millions.

And besides, the maple leaves being large, the inner shadows made by them will be dense, sombre, and in marked contrast with the outer, sun-lit surface. Consequently, the self-assertion of this tree will be positive, and as part of the landscape it will be strong and heavy, or as painters say "harder" than its neighbor the elm. Elm leaves being smaller, less pendulous, and attached to a more open construction of twigs and branches, the tree exhales atmosphere less sensibly, but melts into it more freely. When both are in easy sight and equally distant from the eye, the inner shadows of the elm are weaker, warmer, and more transparent than those of the maple.

But now another look, still farther away, brings us to the horizon. There the terminal line of foliage, in spite of gaps and breaks and general unevenness, appears, in various lights, darker and more substantial than it really is.

And here, before this view the beginner adjusts his easel. Working with more or less inexperienced sight, he paints what he thinks he sees, and in tone as he really supposes it to be. It is possible that he may hit upon the actual tint visible in nature. But even then he may be counted upon to leave out the atmosphere, and of course the work cannot fail to look unnatural, or to be hard. Thus painted, no sketch can reproduce the effect of nature. The sketcher is at his wits end to know why. But to those who are in the secret, the reason is not far to find.

Now, if such be the case on terra-firma-if the moderately shiny surfaces of land and leaf thus receive the sunlight and give it back in pictorial atmosphere, what may not be expected from shimmering swells on lake or sea, or from the broad expanse of ocean?

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There the ever-present vapor or mist, peculiar to bodies of water, has its own softening effect on all surroundings. This all-becoming haze really is exaggerated atmosphere and suggests as a second definition, pictorial atmosphere visible air. In theatric effect, we are familiar with the expedient of interposing invisible lace between the stage-scene and the audience. This beauty-giving artifice is common to pageants on the grandest public stage, and to modest "tableaux" at home. In the effect thus produced, this lace curtain for the time being practically becomes atmosphere. Its excellent imitation acts on and sets off the mimic scene indoors very much as the genuine article assimilates and combines everything in the widest view.

Of course, what is true in landscape is true in figure-painting. Flesh tints are always and distinctly toned by sky-reflexions, and this is especially the case when the model is out of doors. It follows, therefore, that studio efforts to reproduce natural color in portraiture without the tone reaction of these reflexions, must prove to be only waste of time. To the layman or nonstudent, it may seem strange to be assured that woman's fairest forehead, cheek, and chin-and lips as well-are gray with pictorial atmosphere! On the warm reds and yellows that largely compose flesh tints and combine to produce what painters call the local tone, fall countless and ubiquitous skyreflexions. These blue-grays are simply pictorial atmosphere. They soften the complexion on canvas, and, of themselves, go far to supply the natural look that is so much prized in the painted likeness. They introduce tone reaction according to color-law.

Thus, in a line or two, there is revealed one of the grand secrets of nature in portraiture!

Nor is it difficult to imagine the hardness-the metalic or wooden hardness-the stony stare of the unhappy likeness painted without abounding atmosphere.

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