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ART FOR ART'S SAKE

BY BARRY DANE

Art for Art's sake; but in that art,
The true, the beautiful, the good,
Traced from a throbbing human heart,
Should tint that sky, that field, that wood.

No lens may catch the soul that lies
Hidden in Nature's wondrous breast;
Alone, the lover's reverent eye
May there a blissful moment rest.

And how he wonders and adores,
As to his soul her own replies,
And yields the mystery of her shores,
Her trackless floods, her boundless skies!

CHAPTER I

A BRIEF HISTORY

Ham

“THERE is a passage in Emerson where Landscape. he ingeniously observes that although fields

old. Chap I. and farms belong to this man or that, the land- erton. scape is nobody's private property.” It is a real and lasting possession for all who can enjoy it. Its universality, its grandeur, its loneliness, its responsiveness to the moods of humanity, have drawn to it all the lovers of the beautiful in nature, and the greatest artists have striven to paint its loveliness and the manner in which their own personalities were affected by it. The actual beauty and glory of nature cannot be painted on canvas. A picture can never give this. “Who can paint

“ The Like nature? Can imagination boast,

Seasons. Amid its gay creation, hues like hers?

Spring." Or can it mix them with that matchless skill,

James

Thomson.
And lose them in each other, as appears
In every bud that blows ?"

Landscape art is something quite different from this. It cannot imitate nature. If it tries to do this it must fail, and give but a weak reflection of nature's inimitable pictures. But it can give, and it does give, in a very direct and sympathetic way, the effect produced on the artist by nature. It is the means the artist has of revealing the feelings that possess him in the presence of nature. This is its proper sphere, and in this only can it excel. It is not, as it is often supposed to be, something as like the solid earth as possible. It has a decided resemblance un-

doubtedly, but its essence is spiritual and “ Land elusive. “The whole subject of landscape scape.” Chap. II.

is a world of illusions; the only thing about P. G. Ham- it that is certainly not an illusion being the

effect on the mind of each particular human being who fancies that he sees something, and knows that he feels something, when he stands in the presence of nature. His feelings are a reality, but with regard to that which causes them, it is hard to say how much is reality, and how much a phantom of the

erton.

mind.

[graphic]

PLATE II. — Adoration of the Lamb. Hubert and Jan Van Eyck.

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