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Of the powerful effects of Painting on the mind, Horace remarks:
“ Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem,
Ipse sibi tradit spectator.” In the decoration of St. Paul's Cathedral with pictured re. presentations of Gospel instruction, and typical calls to morality and to religion, veiled in the emphatic parables delivered by our Saviour, what a field is presented for a fair display of the exertions of the painter! It is said to have been the wish and at one time the hope of Sir Christopher Wren, that an appropriate monumental statue of himself, combined with de. corative accompaniments, should rise from the centre of the pavement immediately under the Dome. --The four principal pannels of the piers which give it support were, as Mr. H. observes, proposed to have been painted gratuitously : but the metropolitan bishop Terrick, like another Spratt, resused admittance to the arts: and though the polished, the refined, the learned, and the philanthropic Lowth shortly afterward adorned the same ecclesiastical station, farther application ceased from Sir Joshua Reynolds, N. Dance, Mortimer, andoibers. Barry, when deserted and defeated in his efforts to serve his country, by adorning the church with the display of national talents in art worthy of its other high considerations, formed the resolution of making a similar gratuitous application to the members of the laudable institution for the promotion of Arts, &c.; of the result of which we have already spoken.
In the second part of his Inquiry, Mr. H. proceeds to inform us of the benefits which the arts have derived from public exbibitions, and gives his opinion of the invigorating effect of the Royal Academy since its establishment :
• In England, they have greatly contributed to ripen the public judgment on all points of art, and appear to have had one very salutary consequence, that of diffusing a general desire (now Grst beginning to assume form and substance, and mixing with the wishes of the artists) to see the arts employed in a manner more worthy of their capacity and extensive powers. For it inust be observed, that unless the objects exhibited be found adequate to the previous state of mind and consequerit expectation of the beholder, little else than discontent can be the result; instead of pleasure smiling in the eye, and pride mantling to the heart, the weapons of critical animadvers should have been wholly confined to images of the kind just mentioned, and the art regarded only in the faculty which it possesses in common with all other attainments (whether of art or science), of contributing, when improperly used, to the corruption of mind.'
sion will soon sparkle in the hands of many who are bidden to the feast.
• This statement will probably suggest the cause of that fastidious sentiment so frequently displaying itself in the Exhibition-room of Somerset-House. Since the commencement of those Exhibitions, an awakened public has formed higher conceptions of art, to which the class of works generally exhibited is not found to correspond.'
It will be conceded that Annual Exhibitions of the state of the Arts are not only partially salutary, but that the best effects connected with general improvement may be derived from them. We are told that similar customs prevailed in Greece, as occasions presented themselves, by exhibiting in the Portico: but in Greece the Arts were unshackled by established Institutions, which in modern times have so often proved only the nurseries of baneful influence. On this seemingly paradoxical point, we cannot better satisfy the curiosity of our readers, than by presenting to them the efficient causes in the words of a well-informed reporter:
.“ Si le bien des arts nécessitait la déstruction des Académies, si vicieuses par leur organisation, leur progrès demandait aussi un moyen d'enseignement clair et facile, qui procurât à tous les Citoyens sans bourse les facilités de consulter les grand mailres ; ces moyens d' étudé se trouvent à faire dans un Musée. Lenoir.
In our own country, we admit that the number of Artists has increased since the establishment of a Royal Academy, but here we must stop; since it cannot be granted that improvement has kept proportionable pace. We refer our readers to a comparison between the past and the present catalogues, and to the productions of the past and the present exhibitors. We cannot forget that, at its commencement, it displayed the works of Hogarth in his peculiar style, of Reynolds and Gainsborough in portrait, and in history of Mortimer, Penny, Dance, and Joseph Wright (of Derby);--of Wilson, the Seasons dancing their round to the lyre of Apollo, the Storm and distresses of Niobe and her unhappy offspring, and the villa of Cicero at Arpinum, where, in the shades of classic retirement amid torrents and romantic scenery, he points out to Atticus the oak planted by Marius ;-Barry's Adam beguiled by the temptation of Eve, Venus rising from the Sea, and Jupiter deluded by the charms of Juno, who had purposely visited Mount Ida ;-the Phaeton of Stubbs ;—the captivating landscapes of Barrett and Gainsborough ;-Marlow's studies in Italy, with Tull's rural scenery ;--and a long list of others, of minor abilities. For productions of similar excellence, we have latterly sought in vain; and we see not, therefore, that annual improvement which should exemplify the advantages stated to exist in the Academy
by by the present eulogizing Secretary. Flattery, however gratifying to the objects which it addresses, ill becomes the pages of a publication purporting to be an Inquiry, and to contain statements deducible from such investigacion.
In our list of the primitive exhibitors, we felt no ambition to avail ourselves of the honest accuracy of Highmore and Hudson, nor the classic correctness of Hoare;' and the names of Dance and Reynolds are insulted by any comparison with Battoni and Mengs, especially with the former, the very dreg of the dregs of impotent Art !-Neither is it advantageous to the honoured name of R. Wilson, that he should share the palm with Vernet and Zuccarelli ; it would be equally odious to class together Raphael and Carlo Maratti, or Michael Angelo and Lémoin. Mr. H. makes judicious mention, however, of our countrymen Scott, Brookings, More, Hodges, Morland, Cozens, Girtin, and Thomas Sandby in landscape and in architecture. Many of these excelled in the management of tinted drawings, of which class of art it is but candid to mention that the venerable and very ingenious Paul Sandby is the father; yet this kind of performances ranks only in the Arts, as in literature the Pastoral may be compared with Epic Poetry.
To the scope of the third Part of Mr. Hoare's Inquiry, we have adverted in the earlier parts of this article, and it is farther connected with his Supplementary Sketch of the present State of the Arts of Design in England, which opens with some Temarks that well illustrate the subject, and confirm our observations:
• The present moment is considered by artists as teeming with the crisis, not of their own destinies, but of the destiny of their Art in England. The accomplished artist, lately Professor of Painting in the Royal Academy, thus warmly expressed his thoughts, in his introductory lecture of last winter:
“ The efficient cause, therefore, why higher art at present is sunk to such a state of inactivity and languor, that it may be doubted whether it will exist much longer, is not a particular one, which private patronage, or the will of an individual, however great, can remove, but a general cause founded on the bent, the manners, the habits, the modes of a nation ; and not of one nation alone, but of all who at present pretend to cultivation.
“ If the Arts are to rise and Aourish, grandeur and beauty must animate the public taste, the artist must be occupied by significant, extensive, varied, important works. What right have we to expect such a revolution in our favour?
“We have now been in possession of an Academy for near half a century : all the intrinsic means of forming a style alternate at our command ; professional instruction has never ceased to direct the student, and stimulate emulation ; and stipends are granted to relieve the wants of genius, and to finish education by excursions to the former seats of Art. And what is the result? If we apply to our Exhibition, what does it present but a gorgeous display of great asid athletic powers, condenned, if not to the beasts, at least to the dic. tates of tashion and vanity ? what, therefore, can be urged against the conclusion, that the Arts are sinking, and threaten to sink still lower, from the want of a demand for great and significant works ?”
Mr. Hoare's estimation of the powers of Sir Joshua Reynolds seems to us so justly appropriate, that we shall transcribe it in his own words:
• The historical efforts of Reynolds discover beautiful, but vague, combinations, and impressive, but desultory grandeur ; these are germs of historic talent which, had they been matured by an earlier disposi . tion of the nation to the encouragement of the Arts, would, no doubt, have risen to a much higher degree of excellence; at the same time it would partake of infatuated partiality, to assert, that the compositions or the conceptions of Reynolds would ever have equalled the Homeric poem of the Capella Sistina, or the no less Homeric drama of the Vatican.'
Of Hogarth, but one opinion can be entertained : a Phenix in the Art which probably never before appeared in any country, he was in painting a moral satirist : not a painter of graphic comedy and farce,' as Mr. H. expresses it. We conceive that comedy had no farther existence in Hogarth's representacions, than as a mere agent to convey to the mind those sublime moral truths, which appear to be the only objects of his endeavours in his particular line of Art. As Shakspeare wro!e to the passions connected with moral sentiment, so did Hogarth paint for the instruction of every age, and “ through the eye correct the heart.” With these qualifications, and a few other exceptions, we admit the propriety of Mr. H.'s remarks:
• In subjects of sportive fancy, and in domestic or familiar history, the native and characteristic powers of our English painters have been chiefly sh-wn. At the head of the latter class stands HOGAN TH, a painter unequalled in the graphic Comedy, and Farce (if the term may be pardoned) of nature. His eulogy has been so often wristen, and lately so amply displayed by a learned and noble author, that it would be here superfluous; but it may be allowable to remark, that in the conspicuous prominence of the intellectual and moral properties of his art, in the wit, humour, and patriotism of his scenes, his powers in other professional points have been chiefly overlooked. The picture of the Boys playing on the Tomb-stone, at the same tine that it lays claim to some of the highest moral historic merits, is an instance of the most skilful, and it may be added, grand composition. In the series of Marriage à la Mode, several of the subjects are painted wüb a breadth, force, and clearness of colour, which have seldom
been surpassed; the Breakfast Table is the most striking instance of these merits.
On the state of Sculpture, and the Artists who have contributed to its rise, with the exception of one name, we heartily concur in the sentiments of the author ; and with the highest satisfaction we quote the following passage:
• Banks was among those who most zealously sought the enlargement of professional knowledge in the stores of Rome. A mind ardently roused to competition with the works of excellence which he behéld, and a hand trained from infancy to a ready expression of his conceptions, imparted to his productions an air of ancient art. He gave to his Cupid the softness of characteristic form, and spirit and manly energy to his Caractacis. But he returned to a country not yet capable of feeling his worth; the statue of Cupid which he brought home in 1779, found no purchaser, and he was induced, in 1781, to carry it to St. Petersburg, where it was bought by the Empress Catharine, and placed in the gardens of Czarsco-zelo. Banks did not remain at Rome late enough to witness the rising glories of Canova, the only sculptor who could then have contested the palm with him in Italy.
• Bacon's genius was of native growth; he traversed no distant regions for improvement of his art, but drew from the researches of others sufficient food for an active and ready fancy. His conceptions were quick and sparkling, his execution polished, and his whole work characteristically graceful. A Britannia brandishing her thunderbolt, and an infant Orphan imploring shelter for his shuddering frame, are alike the productions of graceful and tender feelings.'
The best specimen from Bacon's chisel, and an admirable specimen it is, was erected at the expence of the couptry to William Pitt the great Earl of Chatham, in Westminster Abbey. The design is chaste, classic, and sublime: but the materials are said to have been given to the sculptor by a celebrated dramatic author, which will be readily believed, since the generality of Bacon's compositions exhibit no features of learning, no fine powers of intellecrual faculties, no display of genius curbed by science. His general style of composition, as in Guildhall, is divested equally of the pathos and of the sublime, which are so necessary to the decorous completion of monumental representations. Yet Bacon could not fail to satisfy the generality es observers, by his flowery wreaths and dimpled smiles, garbed in silks and satiins:
“ Æmilium circa ludum faber imiis et ungus
Hori de Arte Poet.