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there are charms in the realism of this painter, or in the sentiment of another; but I find the first too self-asserting. There are none of Nature's surprises. She has been tamed and trained to serve the school; and the second bears reminiscence of previous favourite effects. Troyon is a manufacturer of metallically over-coloured foliage to give effect to some white patched cows. Israels is a man with one good undertaker's stock in trade, without any eye for the world but what is funereal. In any case, there is no painting in the sense that the work of Titian, Rembrandt, De Hoogh, Reynolds, and Turner is painting ; there is no joy of thankfulness in spirit, and no subtilty and profundity of variety in the handling and the treatment of ocular impressions. There is not an example of what truly constitutes the artistic stamp, the presence of human expression and tenderness, which makes the spectator forget everything but a thrill of divine love passing through him in tacitly acknowledging a new appeal to his heart. When you have looked your best at Gerôme's gladiators, do you feel that you have singled out one of the victims to wonder about, as Byron did of the Dying Gladiator, as to his distant home and loved ones? The merit of French work commends itself greatly to the literary mind, and so all our Press praise it to the skies. The detail of Meissonier's work they can peer into and estimate; it is too perfect for human eyes. You need a magnifying glass to see its fullest beauty, but the strongest lens will bring you no nearer to the true artist's limitations. In other cases the French advocates take palpable dabs, all of one shape and size, with undisguised paint as a sign of masterliness in the school that indulges in dash. As well might the meaningless scribbling of children, done in imitation of the hasty writing of parents, be regarded as a sign of accomplishment. I know that in writing thus broadly there is some injustice done to many mcdest masters of France. One painting by Jules Breton of “ Les Moissoneurs is really great, poetically and artistically. I pass by some others that deserve commendation, but then how many I avoid to cite that could only be mentioned with execration. Yes! honest eyes, indeed, there are in France who look with perfect bewilderment upon the rage among young men of England to turn from the individualism of their predecessors and the exquisite taste for human beauty in English work, to acquire instead the trade of painting as it is taught in Paris. But the common critics, playing into the hands of French and Frenchified picture-dealers, are responsible, who have so cried up the Croûtes as to take away the fair chance of any English painter getting a living with the competition from abroad, unless he in some way will adopt the style. For this is a fact that is too much ignored, there is not demand enough in England for Art for her own sons; not now even to keep the disappointed among foreigners from taxing the funds of the Benevolent Society; and many most capable English artists are driven from the opportunity of continuing their profession by the inroad of foreigners, amongst whom Americans would not be classed did they not first go to Paris and lose all the character of the common race by their training in denationalising mannerism. The Chinese soldier, after the storming of the Tekoa forts by the English, gave as his reason for the hasty flight of the defenders, “No two people stand in one place; you come, we go." However righteous and valiant an army may be, there is no resistance possible after betrayal.
The ideals of Art are best shown by example. Men write about the matter too much without showing what they really mean, and so they darken counsel with words, like the celebrated critic Ruskin refers to, who, praising a landscape with quadrupeds in it, to justify their particular shape said they were not exactly sheep, nor cows, nor horses, but animals, as they should be. I have ventured to refer to the Duke of Marlborough's article because it so frankly and typically states his case that there could be no hesitation in the conclusion that he would be glad to have it as freely examined.
The true ideal of Art is the outcome of a spirit of love and reverence for Nature. It must be inexhaustible in its illustration of the variety and perfection of life and the world. Walt Whitman somewhat amusingly speaks of the true poet as being part of everything of vital force he meets with in his walks. He is just, for the poet must sympathise with all the carth, not like the passer-by, but as being part of himself, and he must give what his surroundings have taught him, as his own eyes show them, and as they affect the nature which with his fellows he inherits from his ancestors. Every great Art so far has been strictly national. It is by honest cmulation among different races that progress and culture is obtained, and the fact forms a great reason against Cæsarism in thought and invention. Every race is diverse in its nature, and each can only truly express its own. There are outside of this line large principles common to the aim of all nations. These are to be studied by the serious as of universal value, and the want of them must be condemned because no great Art has been destitute of them. If Art deals with the misfortunes and wickednesses of the human race, it must do so to illustrate the irrepressibleness of the soul of good fighting against evil, not as though it gloated over the vice. It may be humorous and jocular in turns to any extent. It is not forbidden by any means to represent the human figure of either sex, for these are the highest developments of creation, but this must not be done without the stamp of unquestionable purity of mind. Art may be connected with religion or morality, but this is not a necessity. Yet in “the making for righteousness of destiny it must never work for the retarding of the onward action—for the taking us back to brutedom-under penalty of being a witness against itself when the judgment comes, showing that it never had claim to indulgence as an ennobling influence in its day. So far I would dogmatise, and no farther.
A MODEL CITY; OR, REFORMED LONDON.
A BIRD'S EYE VIEW.
'S it impossible to hope that something may be done to make
London, as a whole, more attractive—not in the sense of drawing a greater number of labourers from the agricultural districts to its squalid labyrinths, nor greater troops of pleasure-seekers to its more fashionable quarters for a few weeks in each year; for in both these directions it has apparently an ever-increasing magnetic power—but attractive to its own citizens, to those who, by compulsion or choice, reside there for eleven, or even, as vast numbers do, for twelve months in the year ? May we not hope that it will become a city in its outward aspect worthy of its position as the centre of the Empire, of which all, whether rich or poor, throughout the whole of its great expanse, may feel proud, and which shall minister to and encourage a sense of the beautiful even amongst the humblest?
That large parts of it must, under any conceivable scheme of improvement, be ugly, mean, and squalid cannot be avoided, for we can no more hope in our generation to turn such vistas of drearydom as Harley Street, Baker Street, and Eaton Place and the like into picturesque, beautiful, and interesting quarters, than we can expect to be without the endless dull lines of two-storeyed houses in Camberwell and other districts, in which dwell the average artisans, or the yet lower and more squalid districts of Whitechapel and Bethnal Green.
But there is no reason why London, when treated as a whole, should not have within easy reach of every part of it something to be proud of in respect of dignity and beauty, and at least the means by which fresh air and sunlight-without which there can be no touch of beauty and little enjoyment of life-can penetrate.
That London has many elements of grandeur, and even beauty, no one who is not deeply prejudiced or stricken with blindness can deny. The Thames, from Chelsea to Greenwich, with its historic features of Lambeth, Westminster, the Temple, and the Tower; its architectural triumphs in the Houses of Parliament, Somerset House and Greenwich Hospital; its views of two such rivals as the Abbey of St. Peter and the Cathedral of St. Paul, and the noble cluster of classical spires surmounting Wren's churches; its bridges of such splendid proportions as those of Waterloo and London, and the noble Embankment, are a match, and perhaps more than a match, for anything that can be found in any city in the world for historic interest, architectural effect, and grandeur.
What city, also, has a more beautiful street approach than that by Pal! Mall, Charing Cross, the Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, and Cheapside, with the beautiful churches of St. Martin's-in-the Fields, St. Mary-le-Strand, St. Clement's, St. Paul's, and St. Maryle-Bow? I know few drives in any city in Europe better worth taking than one on the top of an omnibus (by far the best, if not the only way of seeing London) by this route.
Then, again, in our parks, the prototypes of similar parks in almost every other city in the world, we have, including in the list Richmond, Bushey, Greenwich, and Kew, as well as those more central, every variety of natural and artificial landscape, combined with historic interest. In the suburbs, also, and well within the range of “Greater London," we have almost a zone of beautiful commons and open spaces, remaining to us as relics of a past agrarian system, where the wastes of manors, with their common of pasture and rights of turbary appendant or appurtenant in their tenants, have fortunately been preserved for the enjoyment of the public by a series of most important decisions in the law courts during the last twenty years. In the east of London we have Epping Forest, with 6,000 acres of sylvan scenery, and the old Lammas lands of London Fields, Hackney Downs, and Hackney Marshes; to the north, Hampstead Heath, with its recent great addition of Parliament Hill, and WormVOL. IV.NO. 24.