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indescrib- had by an effort of the imagination so painted able noth
the scene as to impress the beholder with the ing, that inestimable same feeling of awe and wonder that had something, that consti- inspired him as he looked at this guardian tutes the life giant dominating one of the most beautiful and soul through
of the lakes of Scotland. Hamerton felt that
it was not only grander than his view, but picture gets its immor- that it was in reality more truthful. “I used tality.”
to believe,” he writes, “that if work was truthful it would appear truthful, and if the artist put deep feeling into his picture it would be visible to everyone. I have no remnant of these beliefs now. It becomes clear that the landscape painter must look out for compensations to counterbalance the weakness of his art in conveying the emotions excited by nature. Accuracy in drawing makes simple to
pography the inevitable result. So the artist scape.”
goes to nature for suggestion and materials, Chapter XIII. P. G. and not to draw accurately; but the studentHamerton.
struggle for imitative skill must be over before the soul of the master can make its way through the clogging material pigments. After the first great disappointment caused by the discovery that truthful portraiture in landscape
not from the
painting does not produce the impression conveyed by the natural scene, there comes a return to art, with clearer views of its true power and of its inevitable deficiency. There is something in art of an intimate character that addresses itself to our sympathetic imagination, and it is by this, rather than by the conquest of technical difficulty,' that repre
canon of art sentations of landscape retain their hold on
that a paintthe mind.” This is the position he arrived ing is fine, at, against his own former strongly held absence of opinions. He learned by experience the true faults, but view, and he states it very decidedly. Ruskin's teaching is somewhat contradic-ence of
great tory. He lays too much stress on accuracy qualities. of detail in leaf, tree, and rock forms. ?"Infants in judgment, we look for specific ?“ Modern
Painters.” character and complete finish. As we advance we scorn such detail altogether and look for Preface. breadth of effect. But perfected in judgment, we return in a great measure to our early feelings, and thank Rafaelle for the shells upon his sacred beach, and for the delicate stamens of the herbage beside his inspired St. Catherine."
of the pres
1 “Modern 1“Poussin's picture, in which every vinePainters."
leaf is drawn with consummate skill, produces Vol. I. Preface. a perfect tree group.' 2d Edition. 2 Ibid.
2“The background of Sir Joshua Reynolds's Holy Family, owing to the utter neglect of all botanical detail, has lost every atom of ideal
character." 3 Ibid.
3“Every class of rock, earth, and cloud must be known by the painter with geologic and meteorologic accuracy.'
Too much attention is given to these matters in this beautifully written book, “Modern Painters,” and indeed photographic accuracy in all the details is the chief thing he inculcates, and we are told he was sorry in later life when he saw the effect that was produced by the importance he placed on them. And it is to be regretted that, with all his knowledge of and love for art, he was not able to see
the greatness of such splendid artists as Rem• For Rus- brandt, Ruysdael, Hobbema, and Constable, kin's opin- and that he expressed such slighting opinions ions about these artists, about their works; and also that he should see Appen
speak in a similar manner of modern French landscape. These mistakes and omissions de
tract from the value of his writings. But while we admit this, and also that his ideas that a great artist can be developed by this extreme attention to the correct drawing of details and the acquirement of scientific knowledge, and that any good can be done by teaching the necessity of minute study of phenomena after the artist has once learned the proper use of his materials, are quite wrong, yet how true and noble his opinions on the whole question of art can be at times is shown when he comes under the spell of the overpowering genius of Turner, who with all his knowledge subjected everything to the higher ends of mystery and imagination. Then Ruskin realizes the true power of art and the great achievements of its supreme masters, and sees that his theories only apply to minor matters, and he gives expression to his thoughts in such fine passages as these:
1 “Modern landscape painters, rejecting all - “Modern idea of bona fide imitation, think only of conveying the impression of nature into the mind Page 75.
2 Ibid. Vol. of the spectator.”
I. Pages 43 2“The landscape painter must have two to 46.
Painters." Vol. I.
great and distinct aims - the first to induce in the spectator's mind the faithful conception of natural objects, and the second to inform him of the thoughts and feelings with which they were regarded by the artist himself. The artist talks to him and makes him a sharer in his own strong feelings. He endows him with the impetuous emotions of a nobler and more penetrating intelligence. The artist cannot attain the second end without having previously reached the first, and this is why, though I consider the second as the real and only important end of all art, I call the representation of facts the first end, because it is necessary to the other and must be attained before it. And thus though we want the thoughts and feelings of the artist as well as the truth, yet they must be thoughts arising out of the knowledge of truth, and feelings arising out of the contemplation of truth."
“Nature is always mysterious and secret in her use of means, and art is always likest her when it is most inexplicable.”
“As people try honestly to see all they can of anything, they come to a point where a
“Modern Painters." Vol. I. Page 36. Ibid. Vol. IV. Page 70.