« AnteriorContinuar »
Carracci, if it be correct to attribute to him that impressive, pathetic Mater Dolorosa (No. 141).
Outside of the Italian painters, there are examples of the Dutch, German, and Spanish schools, in Holbein, Rubens, Durer, Velasquez, and Murillo, which furnish points of contrast and comparison with each other and the schools of Italy. These may be regarded as the beginning of a series to illustrate the above-named schools on the same plan as the Italian.. The portraits of the collection are exceedingly interesting. Among them are to be seen the heads of Cortez, Vespucci, Vittoria Colonna, Charles V., Cosmo de' Medici, and that of a lady, attributed to Cesare da Sesto, which, on account of its exquisite finish, fine modelling, and scientific handling, might plausibly be put down to Leonardo himself, instead of his chief pupil.
We have thus shown, by reference to the variety and value of this collection, and the system upon which it has been established, how valuable it may one day become, if retained in America, to the student of art, and for the cultivation of a more correct taste and a higher standard than now obtains among us. The Turin art-journal whose title is given at the heading of this article devotes several columns to remarks upon the Jarves Gallery. The article bears the initials of a distinguished professor of fine arts of one of the Royal Academies in Italy, and fully indorses, from personal examination, the importance, authenticity, and value of the collection, noticing the series as a whole, and criticising particularly, as of great rarity and esteem, even amid their own wealth of art, and as of special beauty," due tavole di Giotto; una di Raffaello di maniera peruginesca; una di Luca Signorelli da Cortona, gran compositione di venti tre figure, rappresentante l'adoragione dei Magi, lavoro pregevolissimo per non essere stato mai assassinato da restauratori; una del Francia; una stupenda di Leonardo da Vinci, e soprattutto una di Gentile da Fabriano col nome del pittore, le cui opere sono estramamente rare,' - and more in this vein, regretting the while that Italy should lose them. A collection which has borne, we are told, European criticism for years, in direct comparison with the works of established reputation in public galleries, and comes to this country
thus strongly indorsed, not to speak of the evidence it offers in itself to every mind alive to the worth and beauty of high art, should meet with a hospitable reception.
Were we to wait long enough, fashion and interest here, as in England, would provide galleries and means of instruction in art for the people. But the spirit which animates such efforts is too egotistical. Better is it by far that the people act for themselves, supplying their own demands for æsthetic enjoyment, after a manner which, while it offers to the taste a perpetual joy, stimulates the mind to enlarge its scope and deepen that sympathetic feeling and comprehension of genuine art, without which its appeals are as fruitless of life as water poured upon sand. To stop until some rich man shall bequeath the means to erect a monument to his memory, to be called his gallery of art, would be as unwise a thing as for the thirsty traveller to deny himself the water he could dip up in his gourd, because he had not a crystal goblet for that purpose. Leave egotism to do after its kind, but as far as possible free art from any motive in its support other than that which springs from perfect love and appreciation. The means already exist among us for a beginning of an institution which could in time grow to be the people's pride.
For immediate wants it would be sufficient to provide a suitable locality where such wealth of art as we possess could be got together in orderly shape, and opened freely to the public for a sum within the compass of the most moderate means. As the people grow into an appreciation of the value of art institutions, as schools of design and sources of elevated enjoyment and means of educating taste, they will as freely provide for their permanent support and growth as they do for the more common and prosaic branches of education. And that New England, especially, possesses the population calculated to sustain and enjoy such institutions, we have evidence in the progressively increasing interest awakened by every appeal to its sympathies and taste, and disposition for intellectual training of an elevated character.
In conclusion, we append a few statistics in regard to some of the principal galleries of Europe, as showing the sums of money periodically devoted, to their increase, and the number of paintings each contains.
In the National Gallery, London, the average cost of recent acquisitions is about $6,000 each. The largest sum expended for one painting was $70,000, for the Pisani Veronese. The gallery now numbers about 700 paintings.
The Louvre boasts of nearly 2,000. Since the first Empire 217 have been added, at an expense of $ 260,000, of which the Sebastiani Murillo alone cost $125,000. Versailles has upwards of 3,000 paintings illustrating French history. The Gallery of Turin has 369 pictures, mostly repainted by one hand, and in consequence of comparatively little value. In the Ufizzi, at Florence, there are 1,200; in the Pitti, nearly 500; and in the Belle Arti, about 300. The Vatican contains only 37 pictures, and the Capitol 225. In the Academies of Venice and Bologna, there are about 280 each; in that of the Brera, at Milan, 503; and at Naples, exclusive of those of ancient Greece and Rome, 700. The Pinacothek at Munich, of recent origin, already numbers 1,270, and the Berlin Gallery, still younger, has acquired 1,350 paintings. Vienna (the Belvidere) has 1,300 and upwards, and Madrid about 1,900. The Dresden Gallery outnumbers all the others, exceeding 2,000. At Amsterdam there are 386; at the Hague, 304; Antwerp has 387; and Brussels, 400. Some of the private galleries of Europe in number and value excel the public. The Borghese has 526 pictures; the Sciarra has few, but choice; the Bridgewater Gallery counts 318; the Duke of Sutherland's, 323; the Grosvenor Gallery, 157; and that of the Marquis of Exeter, upwards of 600. Lord Dudley's (formerly Ward) is one of the most choice and valuable in London.
This list could be indefinitely extended, for there is scarcely a city of repute in Europe which has not public or private galleries of established reputation, examples for us to follow, not only for our æsthetic satisfaction, but as investments materially contributing to the prosperity of their respective cities, by the numberless travellers they attract. The city of America which first possesses a fine gallery of art will become the Florence of this continent in that respect, and it will reap a reward in reputation and moneyed returns sufficient to convince the closest calculator of the dollar that no better investment could have been made.
ART. IV. DR. STANLEY AND ARIUS.
Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church, with an Introduction on the Study of Ecclesiastical History. By ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, D. D., Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the University of Oxford, and Canon of Christ's Church. London. 1861. 8vo. pp. 508.
THIS Volume has been already noticed in our pages,* and we wish not to retract anything we have said of Dr. Stanley's animated and glowing style and power of picturesque description. These are his great merits. The work is not a continued narrative; but topics having very little connection with each other have been selected from the great field of ecclesiastical history, apparently for no other reason than that they can be clothed with interest, and are susceptible of the heightenings of a brilliant rhetoric. Whatever may be the writer's faults, he is not chargeable with the unpardonable sin of dulness. He is not a dry writer; he is anything but that. But we do not propose to write an encomiastic article on his book, or indulge in any strain of enthusiastic admiration. Its merits have been so well set forth in the notice to which we have already referred, that we shall at present only attempt to point out some of its defects.
We do not find fault with its fragmentary character, or complain of the author's selection of topics. Doubtless he knows best what he is capable of, where his strength lies, and what he can most successfully accomplish. And we heartily thank him for his very attractive book. We only wish that he had sometimes been a little more careful of his statements, and shown a little more discrimination and a more kind and just appreciation of character. We are aware that the charges here implied are of a somewhat grave character, and we shall proceed to substantiate them by an examination of portions of his volume.
His worst offence, we think, is his treatment of the person and character of Arius. We confess to strong sympathies with * Christian Examiner for November, 1861.
the down-trodden and persecuted, and would see justice done them. Especially would we vindicate them against the attempt to connect with their names and memory associations of a ludicrous or degrading character.
Dr. Stanley's description of the person of the Alexandrian heretic may be pronounced a bold caricature, or an unscrupulous fiction. We will quote two passages. In the first he
"In appearance he is the very opposite of Athanasius. He is sixty years of age, very tall and thin, and apparently unable to support his stature; he has an odd way of contorting and twisting himself, which his enemies compare to the wriggling of a snake.* He would be handsome but for the emaciation and deadly pallor of his face, and a downcast look, imparted by a weakness of eyesight. At times his veins throb and swell, and his limbs tremble, as if suffering from some violent internal complaint, the same, perhaps, that will terminate one day in his sudden and frightful death. There is a wild look about him which at first sight is startling. His dress and demeanor are those of a rigid ascetic. He wears a long coat with short sleeves, and a scarf of only half size, such as was the mark of an austere life; and his hair hangs in a tangled mass over his head. He is usually silent, but at times breaks out into fierce excitement, such as will give the impression of madness. Yet, with all this, there is a sweetness in his voice, and a winning, earnest manner, which fascinates those who come across him. . . . . . This strange, captivating, moonstruck giant is the heretic Arius, or, as his adversaries called him, the madman of Ares, or Mars." pp. 115, 116.
The only authorities produced for this strange picture, as given below, are Epiphanius, and the letter ascribed to Constantine in Gelasius of Cyzicus.
Now we do not think that these authorities, to whatever respect they may be entitled as historical documents, (of this we shall speak presently,) justify Dr. Stanley's description; certainly not all parts of it. Dr. Stanley sometimes writes for effect; he wants calmness and repose, the old Greek repose. He exaggerates, he intensifies, he distorts. In the present
*This description is put together from the two different, but not irreconcilable, accounts of Epiphanius (LXIX. 3), and the letter ascribed to Constantine in Gelasius, III. 1. (Mansi, II. 930.)