Sketchings

B., B. E. N.
1859 The Crayon  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. THIS OH^YON. Art closed on the 10th of July. The most notable feature of the exhibition this season is the lottery by which a number of works of Art have been distributed, that would not otherwise have found a market. About fifty works have been bought and distributed. England.?The decorations and frescoes to adorn the in terior of the new houses of parliament are to be executed under the direction of the Commissioners of the Fine Arts. Mr. Ma clise is to receive ?3,500 for two large frescoes, to be painted on the lower part of the walls of the Royal Gallery. One com partment is to illustrate " Waterloo, the meeting of Wellington and Blucher," and the other subject is, " Trafalgar, the Death of Nelson." In the Peers' robing-room the subject is " Justice on Earth and its development in Law and Judgment," to be painted by J. R. Herbert, for ?9,000. Mr. Cope is to depict the " Great Contest which commenced with the meeting of the Long Parliament," in a corridor which contains eight compart ments, the sum appropriated for a fresco in each one being ?600. Germany.?We obtain a few critical remarks on German Art from the Brussels correspondent of a foreign periodical. He discourses upon an exhibition in that city, last July, of car toons, by leading artists of Germany,?Steinle, Sohnorr, Bendeman, Von Sohwindt, H?bner, and more particularly of its masters, Rethel, Kaulbach and Cornelius. The last named represent the German school in its highest development ; they are its great masters ; one can scarcely err in his appreciation of them. We find in their compositions and in their interpre tation of the beautiful, every quality of superior minds, energy, an almost terrific power, and a degree of boldness before which everything seems compelled to yield. Regarding the entire German school as homogeneous, that is to say, considering the labor of all its artists as the work of science and study rather than the inspiration of feeling, the result of which is to lead one to fancy that all its paintings might have been the work of one hand, the writer says that Rethel, Kaulbach and Cornelius are the climax of a system, the perfection of an art which has its fixed laws like algebra and the movements of the stars. Among the cartoons exhibited at Brussels, Cornelius has seven, of which " The Destruction of Troy " is the most important. In Germany, Cornelius is compared with Michael Angelo ; he has, indeed, some of the qualities of the Italian Giant, his savage grandeur which overwhelms you, and a masterly expression of human anatomy. Cornelius is more a sculptor than a painter, and Greek art pursues him like a nightmare or like a mentor. Kaulbach exhibits in this exhibition two cartoons, " Greece in . the time of Homer," and " The Satirical History of Humanity." This last is an allegorical frieze, executed in color upon the walls of the new museum at Berlin, and is a composition full of spirit, humor and thought, when one is familiar with the expla natory text. In it Kaulbach has portrayed every folly, every weakness, every glory, every misery of man and of society. A^d yet who would assert that this frieze would not have be?n more successful if its ideas had been embodied in writing inst aad of in painting? We now come to the cartoons of Rethel he who, perhaps, among all the talent that has sprung from these inflexible laws, has the mo3t individuality. He exhibits .four cartoons, the subjects of which are drawn from the history of Charlemagne, intermingled with legends. There is moro sim plicity in the grandeur of Rethel's figures than in those of Cor nelius ; they aim less to impress the observer, and for tl jat rea son, perhaps, impress one the more ; he is less preoccupied with the style of other artists, and seems to abandon himself with more sincerity to his own natural inspiration. To sum up, the Germans are not painters; they are philosophers and litt?rateurs who make use of certain processes to render ideas. They appeal only to the reasoning faculty. Their cartoons (drawings) are remarkable ; their frescoes are horrible to look at ; these are colored with violent, discordant, impossible tints, without any harmonic refinement or grace. With reference to the distinctions and influence of style, the writer says : Each country, or rather each degree of latitude, ha3 its specific charac ter, its laws, its customs, its range of thought. The French, neo-Greek equally with the English pre-Raphaelite systems are simply absurd ; these systems are maintained by artists who thus consciously avow their impotence. Unable to be themselves, they try to borrow from others qualities which have not come to them through observation ; they strive for a talent which has not germinated in the study of the natural phenomena of human machinery, of its enlightenment, of effects, and of causes. And is it characteristic of our epoch that we must ever do over again what has once been done ? Is it obligatory on us to encourage such weaknesses ? Whenever artists are to be em ployed, all that can be done is to say to them, " Work accord ing to your own inspiration !" What would Rembrandt have said if anybody had ventured to tell him that the work he was doing was not high Art, that it was absolutely essential to imitate the style of Raphael ? Literary painting, in conclusion, is only possible in Germany, where they love complicated designs, where history is lax by being coupled with legends, where allegory is regarded as the chief instrument with which to impress the multitude, and where mysticism, reflected by Overbeck, is still one of its great forces. . THE CRAYON. NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER, 1859. Mttt\inp. DOMESTIC AET GOSSIP. Being somewhat behindhand in our chronicle of artistic pro ductions, we recall to mind various works that have been noted for our gossip. Eastman Johnson had upon his easel (when we were last in his studio) a small canvas that glows with beauty. The subject is a girl of the Evangeline order, spinning. She is looking out of the canvas with full lustrous eyes, and presents such beauti ful features in such an atmosphere of low-toned, harmonious color, that one quite forgets whether there was any action in tended by the artist, to meet the common inquiry, " What is she doing?" It is one of these works of art that appeal to us silently, without the aid of symbol or story. Gray has completed a small picture, designed to illustrate a passage in Longfellow's poem of " The Building of the Ship ;" one of the best specimens of coloring that our school can ex hibit. The lines of the poem which have suggested the picture afford the best description of it. " And when the hot, long day was o'er, The young man at the master's door Sat with the maiden, calm and still ; And within the porch, a little more Removed beyond the evening chil'
doi:10.2307/25527949 fatcat:orqshig3mvdxtnyusucjtqfrha