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departure in the arts, Rubens, Claude, the two Poussins, and Salvator Rosa. Before their appearance landscape painting had here and there been practised with great ability and sense of beauty on both sides of the Alps, by Van Eyck, Durer, Titian, Giorgione, Tintoretto, Raphael, and da Vinci. But it had not occurred to masters of the sixteenth century that landscape might be treated as an object in itself. The importance of these five artists is that they emancipated landscape from its traditional dependence upon human motives, and proved that nature in herself is worthy of our sympathy and admiration. However critics may be inclined to estimate the value of their work, this at least is incontestable. The relation between the human motive and the landscape is reversed. The figures are carelessly sketched in. Man takes his position as a portion of the world, not as the being for whom the earth and heavens were created. Contemporaneous in date, or somewhat later than these men, the Dutch contributed even more to the emancipation of art. They frankly ignored the old tradition
of historical motives in landscape. The aspects of the earth and sea and sky, the common occupations of mankind upon the fields or in their dwellings, proved for them sufficient sources of inspiration. Dutch painting filled the seventeenth and a portion of the eighteenth century with powerful production. It delivered art from the pedantry of humanism, and anticipated the European revolt against classical canons of perfection. Still, the first essentially modern enthusiasm for nature came with the English Norfolk school which culminated in Turner. Now, in the work of the landscape painters, spirit still speaks to spirit; the spirit of the artist who perceives, interprets, and preserves the beauty of earth, sea, and sky, to the spirit of men ready to receive it. What we owe to these hierophants of nature is incalculable. They are continually training our eyes to see, our minds to understand the world. They show how sympathy, emotion, passion, thought, may be associated with inanimate things — for a masterpiece of landscape painting, like a symphony in music, is penetrated with the maker's thought and feeling. Having passed through the artist's intellect, the scene becomes transfigured into a symbol of what the artist felt. His subjectivity inheres in it for ever after.
FROM THE ESSAY ON “REALISM AND IDEALISM," IN “ESSAYS SPECULATIVE AND SUGGESTIVE.”
BY JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS.
Is there any solid foundation for the current conception of the antithesis between the Ideal and Real? Is there at bottom any antagonism between the two terms ? Realism dare not separate itself from the ideal, because the ideal is a permanent factor, and the most important factor, in the reality of life. Realism forms the substratum and indispensable condition of all figurative art, sculpture, and painting. The very name figurative indicates that these arts proceed by imitation of external objects, and mainly by imitation of the human form. Now it would be absurd to contend that imitation is the worse for being veracious, for being in the right sense realistic. Nobody wants a portrait which is not like the person represented. We may want something else besides, but we demand resemblance as an indispensable quality. The figurative arts, by the law which makes them imitate, are bound at every step of their progress to be realistic. The painter must depict each object with painstaking attention to its details. This is the beginning of his task. But he very soon discovers that he cannot imitate things exactly as they are in fact. The reason of this is that the eye and the hand of the sculptor or painter are not a photographic camera. They have neither the qualities nor the defects of a machine. In every imitative effort worthy of the name of art, the human mind has intervened; what is more, this mind has been the mind of an individual with specific aptitudes for observation, with specific predilections, with certain ways of thinking, seeing, feeling, and selecting, peculiar to himself. No two men see the same woman or the same tree. Our impressions and perceptions are necessarily coloured by those qualities which make us percipient and impressible, individualities, differing each from his neighbour in a thousand minute particulars. It is precisely at this point, at the very earliest attempt to imitate, that idealism enters simultaneously with realism into the arts. The simplest as