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noble dimness begins. They see more than others, but they feel they cannot see all, and the more intense their perception the more the crowd of things which they partly see will multiply upon them, and their delight may at last principally consist in dwelling on this cloudy part of their prospect, somewhat casting aside what to them has become comparatively common, but is perhaps all that other people see.” "It is impossible to go too finely or think “Modern
+ Painters." too much about details in landscape so that they be rightly arranged and rightly massed; Page 199. but it is equally impossible to render anything like the fulness or the space of nature, except by that mystery or obscurity of execution which she herself uses."
“The aim of the great inventive landscape Ibid. painter must be to give the far higher and
na Vol. IV. deeper truth of mental vision, rather than that of the physical facts, and to reach a representation which, though it may be, when tried by rule and measure, totally unlike the place, shall yet be capable of producing on the beholder's mind the impression which the reality
would have produced, had he verily descended into the valley from the gorges of Airolo.”
“Yet, here and there, once in a couple of centuries, one man will rise past clearness and become dark with excess of light.”*
And indeed Ruskin's lofty ideas about art are only fully seen in his splendid appreciation of the greatness of Turner, whose reputation stands supreme, not for the accurate knowledge of form which he undoubtedly possessed, but for his unrivalled power of imagination, which, with his great gift for colour, enabled him to paint on canvas what Wordsworth dreamed of in verse:
* The following extract is from an article in the New York Evening Post:
“He (Ruskin) was one of the inspiring voices of his own generation when it was young. He was among the rare men out of whom virtue goes at the touch of the life of their time upon them. Whatever the fate of his teachings, the tradition of his stimulating personality will long remain. He dawned on too many lives as the great awakener to be soon forgotten. We can never lose the memory of it, even if we do not always find it the "gleam” by which to guide our lives. Art critics as a whole rate him low; political economists and theologians shake their heads over him. He was often fallacious, self-contradictory, and inconsistent, yet no ordinary ranter could have set the art world by the ears as his writings on painting and architecture did. As in the case of Carlyle's prophet-bursts, you saw that the doctrine was doubtful, but the sacred inspiration was always there and that was the main thing."
“Ah! then if mine had been the painter's hand “Stanzas
To express what then I saw; and add the gleam, suggested
by a picture
Castle.” M. Henri Taine, Professor in the École des WordsBeaux-Arts, Paris, gives us his views in his worth. instructive lectures on art:
“All the great arts possess a common charac- “The Phiter, that of being more or less imitative arts. losophy of
Art.” For it is plain that a statue is meant to imitate Translated accurately a really living man, that a picture Durand.
by John is intended to portray real persons in real attitudes, the interior of a house and a landscape such as nature presents. Must we conclude that absolutely exact imitation is the end of art? If this were so, absolutely exact imitation would produce the finest works” ... “But in fact it is not so. Art is intellectual, not mechanical” ... “The province of art is to render the essential character. In order to accomplish this, the artist must suppress whatever conceals it, select whatever manifests it . . . There is one gift indispensable to all artists; no study, no degree of patience, supplies its place. In confronting objects the artist must experience original sensation; the