« AnteriorContinuar »
the artist and found by those in sympathy with him. They seem only to find pleasure in the skilful workmanship and the colour; but the skill is only the perfection of handi
craft," and if the picture does not reflect the form of
artist's feelings, it is the lower and not the death that keeps a higher kind of art that is admired. If people body and
would only look always for the higher element, loses the soul.”
the thought and feeling that filled the artist “ The Revival of
and compelled him to its expression, as well Art,” by as for artistic merit and skill, a brighter day W. J. Still
would soon dawn for art. Emerson expresses " The Old
the higher truth when he says, “The painter Rome and the New.” should give the suggestion of a fairer creation 2." Essay on than we know.” And this is the meaning of Art."
Turner when he answered the critic who said Emerson.
that he never saw such colours in nature as in
as the ideal. But the essential condition of all the arts of design becoming true art is in their being expression, not imitation; creation, not repetition. The form of materialism which menaces the arts of design is therefore science. “The letter killeth, the spirit giveth life,' and though artistic creation does not involve the creation of the prime material, no more does, so far as science teaches, the creation of the world: the old material takes new forms, that is all. The idealist gets his materials from nature, but he recasts them in expression; the realist who is no artist repeats them as he gets them. The copyist is not an artist.” The “ Revival of Art.” W. J. Stillman.
his pictures, “Don't you wish you could see them?” Yes! that is the great prerogative of genius, to be able to see what is invisible to the ordinary mortal. We feel this when we are in the presence of such a picture as Millet's "Sower.” Many of his own paintings and in the many of those of other artists are as fine in colour and as clever in drawing as this, but lection,
Metropoliare wanting in its peculiar charm. For Millet had a grand conception in his mind of the seum, New typical sower, and after numerous attempts, resulting in different versions of his thought, he at last gives on this canvas his perfect idea. A man of heroic size comes striding over the ground, his arm swinging round him and scattering the seed in the ground, where, under the influence of the sunshine and the rain, it will fructify and grow into an abundant harvest. The figure of the sower is shown against the brown earth, and his features can hardly be made out in the dark shadow under his cap. Here we have the great master's idea of the labourer doing his allotted share in the ever recurring mystery of the spring. He has not attempted to tell any story, but simply
shows us the sower going forth to sow. Yet as we sit before this wonderful creation of Millet, it has the mysterious power of setting our thoughts wandering over the past and the future, and we feel that he has painted an epitome of life with its labour and toil, its successes and failures, its hopes and its fears. Thinking over the effect such a picture produces, it is quite useless to tell us that art consists only of beautiful decoration in fine colours. No! It must be decorative, but the greatest quality in a picture is the grandeur of its idea, and its speaking power to us. The idea must of course be artistically expressed and in glowing colour, but without it the painting sinks to mere cleverness.
But in much of the art criticism of the inner circles it is held that fancy and passion have no place in painting. Technical ability remains the great standard of judgment. Notwithstanding this, the forces that have moved the world in all matters have been the dreamers and the imaginers, since the time when the great statesman of Egypt, the dreamer of dreams, showed the close connection between
Plate XVIII. – The Sower. J. F. Millet. After an etching by Matthew Maris. By permission of Messrs. Cottier & Co., New York.