Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

breathing something more of hope, was the last we heard of Mr. GALT, until we learned that he had gone home.' The desired information, which was immediately forwarded, doubtless reached him too late to be of service to him, as might indeed have been anticipated. Mr. Galt was universally and favorably known as an author, and as a man, was highly esteemed by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. He has left numerous friends in America, and several in this city, who bear cordial testimony to his amiable manners, and his goodness of heart.

THE LATE DR. John CUMMING, OF Savannah. - It has not been our custom, since we have generally had neither the space nor leisure, to notice a moiety of the many elegiac tributes, to the memory of persons distinguished for private and public worth, which are, and have been, sent us, from almost every section of the country; but the 'Eulogy on the late Dr. Joan CUMMING, of Savannah, delivered before the Hibernian Society, on the Festival of Saint Patrick, by the Hon. Robert M. CHARLTON,' is a production of too much merit, to pass wholly unregarded. Dr. CUMMING was an Irishman, an early emigrant, of fine education, and a graduate of the Edinburgh Medical University, who subsequently relinquished his profession for that of a merchant, and afterward a factor, at Savannah, where he acquired wealth and distinction, and was honored for his probity, his noble republican principles, and the discharge of high military, civil, and moral duties. But it is not so much with the memory of the lamented deceased, which is in a measure local, that we have to do, as with the style of the 'Eulogy,' of which an impression may be formed from the following passage:

“How truly does the journey of a single day, its changes and its hours, exhibit the history of human life! We rise up in the glorious freshness of a spring morning. The dews of night, those sweet tears of nature, are hanging from each bough and leaf, and reflecting the bright ani myriad hues of the morning. Our hearts are beating with hope, our frames buoyant with health. We see no cloud, we fear no sturm ; and with our chosen and beloved companions clustering around us, we commence our journey. Step by step, the scene becomes more lovely; hour by hour, our hopes becoine brighter. A few of our companions have dropped away, but in the multitude remaining, and the beauty of the scenery, their loss is unfelt. Suddenly we have entered upon a new country. The dews of the morning are exhaled by the fervor of the noon-day sun; the friends that started with us are disappearing. Some remain, but their looks are cold and estranged; others have become weary, and have laid down to their rest; but new faces are smiling upon us, and new hopes beckoning us on. Ambition and Fame are before us, but Youth and Affection are behind us. The scene is more glorious and brilliant, but the beauty and freshness of the morning have faded and for ever. But still our steps fail not, our spirits droop not. Onward and onward we go : the horizon of bappiness and fame recedes as we advance to it; the shadows begin to lengihen, and the chilly airs of evening are usurping the fervor of the noon-day. Still we press onward : the goal is not yet won, the haven not yet reached. The bright orb of Hope that had cheered us on, is sinking in the West; our limbs begin to grow faint, our hearts to grow sad: we lirn to gaze upon the scenes that we have passed, but the shadows of twilight have interposed their veil between us : we look around for the old and familiar faces, the companions of our travel, but we gaze in vain to find them : we have outstripped them all in our race after pleasure, and the phantom yet uncaughi, in a land of strangers, in a sterile and inhospitable country, the night-time overtakes us : the dark and terrible night-time of death, and weary and heavy-laden, we lie down to rest in the bed of the grave! Happy, thrice happy is he, who hath laid up treasures for himself, for the distant and unknown to-morrow. And such duty, we fondly bope, our aged and revered companion had accomplished; and with regrei for his fate, sorrow for our loss, sympathy for his relatives, and respect for his memory, we drop the curtain over his mortal career, and leave him with bis Father and his God.”

We need not ask the reader to admire with us the grace and beauty of this passage. It is only equalled by the admirable comparison of luman life to a river, made by Bishop Heber, in one of his touching discourses.

A M'GRAWLER CRITICISM.— The last number of Blackwood's Magazine has a scorching review, which must make Mr. GARDNER’s last work any thing but . Pleasant RecolJections of a Dilettanti,' to him, at least. A tory bias, however, seems to lie at the bottom of the attack, and especially a little pique, that the author was not better pleased with Edinburgh, which the reviewer defends against his animadversions. Nevertheless, we abide by his sketch of the 'Old Town;' for we have heard his outlines filled up by other travellers. One has said, speaking of the high houses, in a narrow "close' of the ancient part of Edina :

You may call on a friend of some ton, and discover him,
With a shoe-maker over, and a stay-maker uuder him:
My dwelling begius with a periwig-maker;
I'm under a corn-cutter, over a baker;
Above, the chiropodist; cookery too;
O'er that is a laundress, o'er her is a Jew;
A painter and tailor divide the eighth flat,
And a dancing academy thrives over that.'

THE FINE ARTS.

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF Design. This exhibition is not so good as the four or five preceding ; partly because several of the best contributors, among them Mr. Cole, have sent nothing; and partly because most of the artists have become more corrupted by a manner which has grown up of late, prompted and encouraged by an aberration of the public taste, in which the artists sympathizo to a certain extent, and to which they yield, from want of manliness to oppose it. This manner originated among the degenerate Italians of the present century, and was brought hither by some of our own 'enterprising' spirits, who fancied that the country which produced the renowned artists of Leo's age, wonld furnish all applicants with ample instruction, whether they could understand it or not. Beside these worthies, who traversed Italy and France with the expedition of money-collectors, and peeped at England through spy-glasses, sundry Italian, French, aud German humbugs have come among us, to astonish the natives with pictures that have enough likeness of Dature to appear ‘very natural to superficial observers, and sufficient villanous contradiction of nature, to be very striking' to all who have the misfortune to see them. This wretched manner has infected nearly all the New-York artists, and several in other cities, and has done more than all other causes to destroy the power of pleasing which they otherwise might have possessed. But I will postpone farther remarks upon it, until I have occasion to notice it iu some of the pictures.

No. 69. “Mrs. Wood, as Amina,' full length portrait, by T. SULLY, is hung in so bad a light, that I cannot well see its prominent effect. The varnish glistens on the upper part. The face possesses considerable beauty of form and character, and the coloring about the neck has purity and transparency. The general effect of light, dark, and color, is not fine; the lights want brightness, tho shades want depth and purity, being too much tinted with vermilion, and other red and redish-brown colore. The picture was not intended to be brilliant, as it should not be; but it should have been rich and mellow, and the back-ground more like nature. The flesh seems dry, as if the perspiration were obstructed ; the drapery sullied; and the dark masses, generally, are not transparent and rich, but powdery and dull. He has relied too much on the actress and the scene-painter, and not enough on himself, to produce a dramatic representation of the Somnambula; but still there is much in it that is agreeable, and even beautiful. The figure is well drawn, saviug the hands and foot, which are somewhat defective.

No. 57. A child, by Sully, has still more the defect of dryness and feebleness of color, and no redeeming qualities, of much consequence. Generally, this artist gives an air of dignity and gentility to his portraits; and, though defective in color, he is the best portrait-painter in the country.

No. 58, by JAMES FREEMAN. Two boys' heads, with boyish character, but not very refined. The flesh is very well colored, and possesses brightness, without that sacrifice of softness which is genorally made for the purpose of getting this quality to excess. The bands are well imitated; the light on the hair is bad ; too much like a piece of gray-wool stocking; and the drapery is of the same character.

No. 68, by T. C. R. A. Healy, (not George Healy,) portrait of a man, but not a gentleman, if this picture is to be trusted. The right hand is very moderately well drawn, for a portrait-painter. I do not know what muscles can turn up the corners of the mouth in this way, or what flesh bears

much resemblance to the substance of this face. There are many better pictures in the upper tier, and few worse any where. I am therefore unable to see why this should be in so good a place.

No. 63, a Landscape, by H. C. Hows. This picture has many of the merits, and some of the defects, of the present English landscape painters. It has good management of light and dark, good imitation of objects in the fore and middle grounds, and considerable spirit and boldness of execution ; but its tone of color is cold; its shadows, in the flesh and some other objects, are made impure, by excess of red and other colors. The sky is too blue, when seen by common daylight, the clouds are proportiovably cold, and the light in the fore-ground, intended for weak sunlight, is in the same proportion remote from the warmth of real sunlight. When illumined by gas, it is probably even too warm; but this kind of light is fit only for such pictures as are painted expressly for it, and has been applied to others only by the 'well-enough-for-the-public' poJicy of American exhibitions. Clear day-light is much inclined to bluc; and pure white and gray pigments, when illumined by it, reflect the same excess of blue, and are therefore cool enough for the azure tints of the sky; but when the orange-colored light of gas is applied, a great excess of blue paint is necessary, to compensate for the difference of color in the light; and beside this intolerable evil, gas-light makes yellow, orange, and red tints appear much lighter, and blue tints much darker, than they do by daylight, and thus changes the effect of light and dark, and often impairs the bar. mony of coloring. Some years ago, an Englishman obtained a patent for a mode of qualifying gaslight for panoramas, by transmitting it through blue glasses, of such thickness as to absorb the excess of red and yellow rays; and, if there were not more quacks than men of science among the managers of this feeble ape of the Royal Academy, this method would have been adopted here, if known, or invented, if not previously known. But to return to Mr. Hows, (whose name has been misspelled in the catalogue.) lle paints skies very blue, and clouds, distances, etc., of corresponding coldness; consequently, the general hue appears much colder than nature, which may be a great improvement, but which seems to me a great defect; and in this practice, he agrees with most of his countrymen, and nearly all the French and Americans, who study the paintings of their contemporaries more than the optical treatises of Newton and Brewster, or the paintings of Titian, CLAUDE, and the Dutch, or the source of all beautiful art, Nature. The two other pictures of this artist are better than this, in the main; indeed they are very clever; and although I can see defects in them, I can perceive excellencies that afford me great pleasure. The light and dark, (chiaro-’scuro,) he manages well, as English artists generally do; and this alone will make a picture pleasing, if not prevented by offensive color, or some other disagreeable quality.

Nos. 188, 45, 23, 36, by INGHAM, MARSIGLIA, GAMBARDELLA, and Mayr. These gentlemen possess, in perfection, the manner I alluded to, which may be much better than any thing in Titian, Correggio, Paul Veronese, or any of the celebrated masters of color, or even in nature ; but which I cannot see in any of those authorities. It consists in excessive brightness, smoothness, and minuteness, and total absence of mellowness, freshness, tone, and richness. Could I say what it results from, I should expose a chief cause of the corruption of taste and the decay of art, and render a most im. portant service to the world; but I confess my inability to give any thing more than the conjecture, that it arises from bad taste and false theories, and from that narrowness of mind, whicb, in pursuing some good qualities, tramples on all others, and pushes to an offensive excess the few it notices at all. In the fine fine art of painting, or as the French and Italians more aptly term it,' the beautiful art,' the spiritual predominates, the physical is subordinate, as its vehicle; and each pbysical element keeps its rank, and gives its proper aid in bodying forth the emotions of the soul, but is never shown for its own sake. “Beautiful art' is essentially ideal; it makes composition subordinate to expression, imitation to composition, copying to imitation, and has nothing to do with fac-simile. The trade of copying, which these men mistake for art, subjects all things to itself, and never thinks of soul or character. I ask any seusible person if Mr. Ingham's portraits do not generally appear seeble in intellect, affected and ungraceful in expression and action, without just resemblance in substance and color, and false, even in mere shape? And the others of this sect, and more who might be named, are not much more or less distinguished by merit, or by vulgar popularity, than is this idol of those silly women, who chalk their skins until they produce the delicate whiteness' of kid gloves. Take any of their pictures, regard them with your own eyes, unaided by reciprocated puffery, and see if they possess dignity or refinement of character and expression, beauty of form, or the dewy freshness and bloom of healthy flesh; see if they discriminate between the substances of vegetables and minerals; the juicy flower and the sapless rock; the transparent atmosphere and the painted wall; the liquid and the dry; or mark the degrees of transparency which distinguish flesh from images of crockery-ware, or painted wood ; inarble from plaster, or muslin from paper; and do not allow any excuses on the score of defective pigments; for in the hands of Titian, Bassano, Paul

ܪ

Veronese, Correggio, and others, materials less varied and efficient than we possess, were made to rival every beauty that adorns the visible creation.

No. 110. Portrait of a Lady, by DURAND. This possesses gentility, grace, and even beauty ; qualities that do not abound in this show-room. The dress is tasteful and neat, and carefully painted; and the chiaro-'scuro of the picture is effective, yet unobtrusive. I think this the best picture I have seen of Mr. Durand's ; iudeed, no portrait io the room appears more lady-like in character, or more pleasing in its general effect; and had I a hundred dollars to spare for such a purpose, I would rather give it for this than for all Mr. Ingham ever painted. But it grieves me to see that Mr. Durand's taste has suffered by exposure to the pestilent manner of Messrs. Ingham and Company. Even as an accomplished scholar, despite his habitual care to avoid them, will sometimes catch and repeat the vulgarisms of the rabble; or as very refined people in the last century could endure and even admire powdered wigs; or as ancient Lombards were charmed to see heads shaven behind, and ancient Britons to see themselves painted blue, and South-Sea islanders with tattooing, and so forth, and so forth; so this artist, and many others, and most of the public, have beheld this dry, feeble, insipid manner, until they can tolerate, and even like it. At the hazard of appearing vain,

advise him and them to go to Nature; look at her in the morning, when the dew gives moisture and freshness to color; at noon, when her splendor is greatest; and in the vapory twilight, when all things are idealized and mellowed by the shadowy gleam that soothed the eyes of Titian, Carracei, and Reynolds; Go! subject your eyes and feelings to these genial iufluences; and you will be cured of a corruption of taste, which, if allowed to keep its hold, will degrade you from artists to tradesmen ; from amateurs to mere twaddlers for fashion's sake.

No. 40. 'Indiau Captives,' by Werr. Something historical, and of course a treat. The female has good action, drapery, and light and shade; the male has tolerable drapery, but is feeble in drawing, and somewhat statuesque, especially in the right leg and foot. His color has a dry and dirty appearance, and somewhat hurd, like a wooden figure. Of the expression, I had better not speak; as I have little sympathy with those who ascribe the virtues and lofty sentiments of civilization to these half stupid barbarians. The soldier is a very good one, but not remarkable for mellowness of color. His armor, weapons, and the log on which he sits, could hardly be painted with greater truth; but they should have been more subordinate. There is considerable tooe, and unity of shade, which gives simplicity of general effect; but the coloring lacks richuess, mellowness, and force; and the chiaro-’scuro is feeble, monotonons, and unsatisfactory to the eye. Mr. Weir has seen too much of the present Italian school, and its flourishing branch in this city.

No. 42, Portrait by W. H. Powell, has a look severely disagreeable. There is no resemblance to the substance of flesh, and the hands are quite shocking to an anatomist. The coat and etceteras are not so bad; but they are not so difficult to paint. Mr. Powell is young, and has done quite as well as could have been expeciel; but I fear he is a spoiled child, and in a way to miss the art altogether, and become a mere tradesman. He has been wofully deluded by the puffery of several very booorable and warm-hearted friends, who are by no means competent to judge of art, or his progress in it; aud the instruction under which he has suffered, has been of that most dangerous kind, respectably mediocre, with merit enough to win the confideoce of the inexperienced, but not enough to be of any essential service to a truly ambitious studeot, who desires to feel and possess those excellencies by which the great masters have won the admiration of ages. He has wasted his time under no instruction at all, or under that of men who were never well taught themselves, and who know of the art only so much us busy ingenuity could catch from inferior productions, and the casual hints of such as themselves; when he should have been in the schools of Europe, if possible, or under the instruction of Mr. Morse, who is the best educated artist in this city, and the most likely to make a young man sensible of the beauties of nature. Mr. Powell will not feel offended at the apparent severity of my remarks, or at my singling him out from among many who are in the same predicament, and to whom my censures will apply with equal or greater force. I choose him, because he is one of the most promising ; and it is not expedievt to speak of each particularly.

No. 91, by J. T. HARRIS, is a portrait of a gentleman, who seems to think inore of the utile than the dulce. Supposing the color to resemble the original, it is much better than the majority of portraits in the room, being less hard and dry.

No. 59, by W. Hamilton, is a portrait of a little girl, made of something like very five unglazed crockery, and a little dog, made of a mixture of plaster and pipe-clay.

No. 49. Portrait by F. R. SPENCER. Very creditable to him; although the flesh is too much like Sigoor Ingham's.

No. 47, by J. WHITEHORNE, is a portrait of a lady. If this artist would take as much pains to get tolerable expression, as he takes to make his colors glaring, and his substances hard, he might be a respectable manufacturer of portraits. I fear he does not possess a very artist-like ambition. VOL. XIII.

71

[ocr errors]

No. 34. D. DICKINSON. Hylas and Nymphs.' One of the chief vices of our artists, is a propensity to that species of theft, which consists in purloining the materials of their pictures from priots, paintings, or any thing else, and palming them on the public, without stating whether they are or are not original, in order to wiu praise from incautious journalists. But as such deception, whether it result from mean dishonesty, or from ignorance of its impropriety, cappot but excite doubts respecting the originality of worka of artists who would scorn to receive credit that was not their due, it is proper that all who are concerned io such matters should be admonished, and the imposture exposed. This picture is copied chiefly from one by Henry Howard, Royal Academician, which was engraved for Charles Heath's annual, the Keepsake; but there are several figures added, whether original or not, I cannot say, avd some heads and limbs put in different and worse positions. Our artist's other picture, of.Oberon and Titania,'is much io the manner of Mr. Howard, and I must suspect it to be takey from him, although the coloring and execution are so wretched, that one should be slow to think they could have come, even so indirectly, from that clever artist. According to the published rules of this academy, copies are not admissible; therefore, the public have a right to presume that whatever appears in it, is original, or believed to be so, by the committee. I wish to be distinctly understond, that I do not impugn the motives of Mr. Dickinson or the committee. I am bound in courtesy to presume that such free use of intellectual property is considered by him, as it is hy the public at large, perfectly excusable. The committee, however, were not sufficiently guarded.

No. 73. E. Mooney. This portrait has tolerably good imitation of form, substance, and color, excepting in the flesh, with an approach to unity and purity of shade ; but the composition is faulty; the red curtain is too conspicuo's, and in general, the material not subordinate to the mental. You see too distinctly, and feel but vaguely; and although portraiture gives but slight opportunity for the manifestation of the vital principles of art, still almost every respectable person has moments of activity of spirit, which the painter should watch for, and the expression of which be should catch, and adapt to it the whole composition of bis picture, in order that there may be no incongruity, and that the vehicle, form, color, etc., may not draw to itself the attention that is due to the subject, mind.

No. 202. Landscape. E. LIVINGSTON. The lower part very agreeably colored; the water transparent and well managed ; the sky rather too flat and upbroken.

No. 200 and 223. Portraits by J. B. Flagg. The first is very bad ; the other has considerable inerit, but is too pinky in color, and somewhat defective in substanco, especially the nose, wbich is • woodeny.' Mr. Flagg is very young, considerably less than twenty ; and his performances are highly ereditable to him.

No. 22. T. P. Rossiter. This is a very clever sketch; the chiaro.'scuro and color very agreeable to the eye. If, as I am informer, Mr. Rossiter is quite a young man, it may be hoped that be will become an excellent artist, if he will but study; for he certainly bas a good eye for color and effect, and some perception of beauty in forra; but I see by another picture of his, that he seeds to be severely drilled in drawing. If he can muster two hundred dollars a year, for five years, he had better go to London, and study in the Royal Academy, which is the best school in the world, and the only safe one.

No. 64. H. Inman. If tliis resembles the substance and color of flesh, and the shape and construction of a lady's shoulders and neck, the resemblance is not sufficient to deserve such elaborate praise as this artist is accustomed to receive. The dress, bowever, is better painted; as well it may be, for it is easier executed. Mr. Gray, a mere lad, without doing a very extraordinary feat, has painted a head, No. 71, quite as good as this, and a band considerably better. Mr. Inman's picture of children, No. 185, is much more artist-like, at least in the composition and general effect, which are very elever, and far better than most things bere. But the children are not very childlike in expression, nor very well proportioned. The arms aud hands, particularly, are too small, and would become a toy-shop better than a National Academy;' a name, let me add, so pompous, as to remind me of ove I saw over a dingy hole in Paris, 'Case de l'Univers !' But the coloring of the drapery, the carpet, the cushion, the basket, and ribbon, is very good; vay, quite deligbtful to the eye, after looking at the brainless, boneless, fleshless libels on buman substauce and mind, on either side, by Ingham. But why did he paint the necks of these little folks so dirty? Why did he nos first wash them, and wipe them moderately, which would have made the skin more transparent, and given a freshness of color, which is sadly needed.

No. 231. Portrait by F. ALEXANDER, of Bostou. As this artist happens to paint in a deep tone, with some allention to mellowness and harmony of coloring, it has been considered necessary to incline his picture a little more than the one next il — a very little; which diminishes the light from the proper direction ; and to place around it a plenty of bright frames, and staring colors,

« AnteriorContinuar »