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fact that this is a portrait of his mother, painted by her son, gives an added charm to the picture, and detracts in no way from it as a work of art. Without this knowledge the painting loses a great deal of interest and does not express fully the thought of the artist. It is a case where the use of the illustrative idea seems necessary to enable the observer to understand the picture, and it shows how difficult it is to keep these ideas altogether out of pictorial art.
Delacroix is said to have believed as Whistler did about this, yet we find him painting a beautiful picture called the “Death of Ophelia,” while the picture itself could only tell that a girl had fallen into the water, but whether it were the melancholy sweetheart of Hamlet or not, it could not explain by itself to anyone not acquainted with the details Shakespeare gives of the event. The fact is, there is truth in each view. There are many subjects used by painters that are not pictorial subjects and should not be used by them, and there are subjects purely pictorial that should not be used in literature; but there is a border land between the two that seems common property, and to deprive painting of all literary interest would take from it one of its great charms.
But whatever views are held about this, we would like to make it very clear that the subjective view of art is not concerned in the dispute. Whether the artist is conscious of it or not, he does in some way put into his picture very often his own personal feeling, and people can find this in the picture. The subjective view merely holds that we find in the picture itself certain things that are selfexplanatory, personal traits put into it by the artist and found in it by the observer. Whistler's nocturnes are an example of this in an extreme degree. They show the poetical feeling he had, and how sensitive his temperament was to the effect of moonlight.
“We feel the movement of Even, the very
steps of the goddess, and almost seem to hear “ Edin. the trailing of her violet stole," as a reburgh
cent writer very beautifully says about them. Review.” April, 1905. Whistler tells us himself how the coming on
of night on the Thames affected him: “And “Ten O'Clock.” when evening mist clothes the riverside with
poetry, as with a veil, and the poor buildings lose themselves in the dim sky, and the tall chimneys become campanili, and the warehouses are palaces in the night, and the whole city hangs in the heavens, and fairy-land is before us ... nature sings her exquisite song." When he felt like that, it is little wonder that he put something of this feeling into his pictures, and that we find it there, and see how subjective his painting is. In these landscapes he is at his greatest and unrivalled.
This poetic, reflective, and imaginative representation by the artist of what he sees and feels, united with mastery of his materials, constitutes great art as distinguished from merely technical dexterity, and shows the ordinary observer of nature, to his greatly added delight, much more than he can see for himself. We have all often seen and passed with little notice groups of trees on the margin of a lake, or others throwing their shadow over a still pond; or calm stretches of a river with its banks of verdant foliage; or meadows with peaceful cattle; or lonely seashores. But we never realized the full beauty, the poetry
and deep feeling that lay in them, until we were shown by Corot the witchery of romance that invested his lovely mysterious corners of nature; by Daubigny the charm of those quiet reaches of water; by William Maris the light falling in brilliant patches on cattle in the fields and on the foliage and grass; by Mauve the gentle sadness that broods over the country plains; by James Maris and Weissenbruch the loneliness of the meeting place of the restless waves of the ocean and the sandy shore that stays their progress and bounds their desires. Those who are fond of pictures and have come to understand them do indeed learn a great deal from them, and owe them a debt of gratitude; for besides the pleasure they afford in themselves they add also
greatly to the enjoyment of nature, the sym1 For such a pathetic observer finding out that the poet paintdiscussion ers have given him their own eyes to see with, see the “ Revival of and their own mighty thoughts to conjure with! Art,” by W. This is a very important matter, when J. Stillman, in “The people are actually discussing the necessity Old Rome and the
for art at all, a subject seriously enough conNew."
sidered. Some hold that the usefulness of art was great in the past, but now exists no more, and that outside of a comparatively small circle art is little known about and less cared for, and is not necessary. It is hardly possible to see how this view can be maintained, as we must and do derive pleasure and good from the beautiful wherever it is found around us. The additional pleasure and happiness that great art gives us, in enabling us to see for ourselves what would be otherwise hidden and unknown, is surely a strong claim for the necessity of art. Under its kindly influence we learn, as we also do in other schools in which we are taught our lessons in the journey through the world, many things that are for our lasting good as well as that add to our enjoyment, many things that help us materially in our efforts to lead a higher life. It is a matter of surprise that so many lovers of pictures ignore or actually look down on the grandest and rarest quality they possess, the feeling* or sentiment in them, expressed by