صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

raises the dead, and bids Lazarus and "The Return from Egypt.” This come forth, till at last the final is the explanation of the blank in scene opens with the entry into the pages of Lady Eastlake, which, Jerusalem, to be quickly followed however much to be deplored, beby the agony in the garden and the came, of course, inevitable. Fordeath on Calvary. These are the tunately the more thrilling acts in themes which artists from age to the sacred story, commencing with age have treated—sometimes in hu- the entry intoJerusalem,closing with mility, and ofttimes in the pride the crucifixion, the resurrection, and and glory of intellect. Fra An- the last judgment, yet remained ingelico, or Gentile da Fabriano, in tact to give to the final volume of trembling fear, scarcely ventures to the series crowning import. These approach the Madonna, spotless in events, happening on the confines beauty and purity; in contrast, of two worlds—that world which artists less attentive to the still inflicted the agony and the shame, small voice, painters of genius and that other world in the heamore impetuous, such as Titian, or vens which promised glory and the Veronese, or Tintoret, or Rubens, crown — these events, which bore with full brush, pour out torrents the shadow of the grave, and yet copious as mountain floods, make caught brightness from the light of the strait and narrow way broad, lights, have naturally kindled writ. exalt every valley, transmute the ers, preachers, and painters into self-denying fast into the luxury of more than wonted ardour. The a feast, and change the garment of Crusader endured hardship in orsackcloth into golden raiments, der to save for the love of Christbright as the rainbow. Thus do endom those holy places where we see how the history of our Lord, the promise of the prophets had even to its ininutest incidents, has found fulfilment; and pilgrims and been transcribed in characters home travellers, in all times, have enterly as a child's primer, and in colours ed the garden of Gethsemane, and redolent as a paradise of flowers. walked the way to Calvary, with The area covered is indeed great. hearts full to overflowing, and lips Multiply the subjects treated by eloquent in pathos. Therefore is the number of the artists engaged, it that painters, though they knew each after his individual style, upon not the spot, and though studiously this great labour, and then we may regardless of local verities, bave perhaps comprehend the length, eagerly taken possession of these last the breadth, and the fulness of that and memorable days; have laid firm art which tended our Lord in His grasp at least, through power of birth, ministry, death, and glory. sympathy and spell of imagination,

The subject which fell into the on the successive scenes in our hands of Lady Eastlake was some- Lord's passion, and held up to view what shorn of its honours by the the agony and bloody sweat, the volumes previously published by her crown of thorns, the cross, the bupredecessor. Mrs Jameson's work, rial. And perhaps it is impossi“The Legends of the Madonna,” by ble, in the whole range of history, anticipation appropriated the charm- whether sacred or secular, to find, ing scenes which lie at the threshold impossible indeed for fancy to conof the history of our Lord, such, ceive of, an epic so touching, so terfor example, as “The Annuncia- rible, so sublime. That way to Caltion," “ The Salutation of Eliza- vary was the bridge which spanned beth,” “The Journey to Beth- the abyss dividing two kingdoms ; lehem," "The Nativity,” “The Ado- the Christ on the cross was God ration of the Shepherds,” “The reconciling the world ; the rising Adoration of the Magi,” « The Pre- from the tomb was the victory over sentation in the Temple," “ The the grave, given as the pledge of Flight into Egypt,” “ The Riposo,” immortality. And artists, we think, notwithstanding the many infirmi- sinners may come, not only the ties of the flesh, have found grace greatest of saints, but the grandest to portray these scenes in the two- of painters. If, indeed, the impefold relation of earth and of hea- tuosity of unbridled genius be but ven. They have been able to give turned from its perversity, how will to the finite the extended sphere of it not rise to a full tide of inspirathe infinite. They have placed a tion, and fill the desert, the waste fact in time as seen in the theatre and the foul places of the soul, with of eternity. They have shed on the fertilising flood. The painters, in sunset of humanity somewhat of fact, who, in the degeneracy of art, the sunrise of divinity. They have indulged in the profligacy of a brush thrown into the grave the un- which ran unruly riot, sometimes quenched embers of resurrection. brought to the treatment of subThey have cast into the countenance jects imposing wholesome restraint of human sorrow more than human an impulse and a power which, in serenity; and the weakness of the more timid days, were necessarily body which would sink under chas- unattainable. It was as when a tisement is upheld by an arm mighty mighty wind filled a house, or rushto save.

ed over sea or across the forest, We can easily believe that the great was the noise, and terrorspirit by which alone the artist may striking the grandeur. Tintoretto worthily treat the passion of our is one of those men unto whom Lord is given to few. And themes inspiration came as a whirlwind, which thus bow the soul in reve- and he has left works which bear rence, cannot but be desecrated by the tempest's mark. Veronese was unhallowed touch. Emotions lying another artist whose genius was protoo high for this world, and too digal and golden as autumn; and deep for earthly tears, can find when he touched upon the passion expression, if at all, only in words of our Lord, as in the panoramic heartfelt and few, or through forms pictures in Dresden, he showered and colours chastened and solemn. down, as did the kings of the East, The rhetoric of the tongue and the rich gifts at the Saviour's feet. Rublandishments of the brush have no bens, again, in the two great paintplace here. And therefore those art ings in Antwerp, gives the same ists prove themselves most worthy proof that scenes such as these of the heavenly mission who in- sanctify an artist, and raise him trude least of themselves, who are above his ordinary level. Comleast ostentatious of the resources of positions of this character, portentheir art, who, in fact, like the evan- tous in pomp and circumstance, gelists, overawed with the consci- thunder like the Hallelujah Chorus; ousness of the great truths to be pictures of an earlier date, painted spoken, sit down and find utter- by the school of spiritualists, speak ance in the simplest of language. in voice gentle and low, like the Thus it is frequently that the ear- witness of truth within the conscilier masters in a school, coming ence. with less of guile, bring into their Renan, in his recent work, borne treatment more of spiritual unc- down by the curse of scepticism, tion. Yet must we acknowledge that from which eloquence gives no dethe scenes in the passion of Christ liverance, says that at the crucifixhave a power to subdue paintersion of Christ the historian's task is otherwise of obdurate heart, and to ended. With an audacity almost regenerate the pencil often given beyond parallel, he adds that the up to mere carnal allurements. In belief which grew up in Christensuch cases do we feel indeed how dom in a risen Saviour is but a meit is that the wrath of man may morable proof of the unquenchable praise God, and that even in the power of love within the human world of art, out of the greatest of heart. Thanks be unto God, art,

unlike philosophy, falsely so called, painters and sculptors have celenever put to the question the mi brated in the grandest of all comracles which confounded the wis positions—Last Judgments. Fra dom of the wise. Artists, impelled Angelico, Orgagna, Luca Signorelli, by the genius which is strong in and Michael Angelo, have put forth the trust of a little child, threw them- their utmost power to magnify this selves not only into the grave of a consummation of all things—that crucified Saviour, but rose, as it day of wrath, yet of redemption, were, with Christ into glory. The when man to judgment wakes from French sceptic is denied, as we clay. With this theme Lady Easthave seen, an entrance into the king- lake fitly ends 'The History of our dom of light. But the world's Lord,' a story which, as we have painters, true to the best intuitions seen, was taken up in the eternity of universal humanity, have entered of the past, and is here laid down on the life beyond life, have given only when it reaches the eternity of the works of their hands, in testi- the future. This history, then, mony of a risen Christ, to the build- we all gratefully admit, receives ing up of the mansions in the hea- an amplification never knowu bevens, to the peopling of the regions fore. One deficiency, however, has of the sky with the redeemed of been felt, which, we trust, may yet the Lord,-a blessed company who, be supplied. The sermops in stones clothed in white raiments, and engraven on the fronts, and prowith palms in their hands, bow be- claimed indeed upon every wall of fore the throne of the Lamb. Inex- Gothic churches and cathedrals, pressibly beauteous and consoling have not been made to swell the are these works in Christian art, testimony of ages to Christian veriwhich take from death its sting, ties. Here are stores which, long and from the grave its victory, a closed as a sealed and despised series commencing with the declara- book, shall now be opened to tion of the angel unto the women give to Christian iconography an at the sepulchre, “He is not here, accession of grandeur and erudifor He is risen as He said.” During tion. We all know how thronged are the few remaining days on earth, the arches and pinnacles of our midChristian art, pursuing the Biblical dle-age churches with statues of pronarrative, seeks the risen Saviour as phets, fathers, saints, martyrs, and He talks with the disciples on their the winged host. Why, this very journey unto the village, joins Him subject of which we have just at the supper of Emmaus, makes spoken, the Doom or the Last note of the apostle's incredulity, Judgment, is to be seen multidraws nigh as Jesus stood by the plied a thousand-fold over cathedSea of Tiberias, listens to the ral doors, which thus, as the encharge given unto St Peter, and, trance from the world without to finally, beholds the open clouds as the church within, are made to the Saviour ascends into heaven, speak the words of the Judge where He sits on the right hand of of the whole earth, “Come, ye the Father.

blessed of my Father; and depart, The creed of our English Church, ye cursed.” These bas-reliefs are which is indeed a summary of easily brought within the sphere of Christian art, carries, like art itself, literary history by that most faiththe history of our Lord into the ful of chroniclers, the truth-giving shadowy future. On every Sun- photograph. As we now write, day morning do Protestants give there lie before us these sun-printed their assent to the belief that Christ transcripts of the west portals of “shall come again with glory five churches in France, and the to judge both the quick and the number might probably be multidead : whose kingdom shall have plied by ten, on each of which is no end." This is the faith which set forth the ecstatic vision seen by


St John in the Apocalypse, with wave while it mingles in the broad the signs and the wonders which waters of essential truth and unprophets foretold should come to clouded beauty. Furthermore, let pass in the last days. Christ, on a us all remember as we partake of throne encircled by rainbow glory, the benefits, that Christian art is is seated in the midst of the as- not only a gift to past ages,-it is sembled multitude of earth and equally a promise reserved for preheaven, who wait the coming doom. sent and future times. Firm is our Round about the throne are the four persuasion that the day will come, mystic beasts and the elders and the though the signs of its advent are as angels of God. And they that sleep yet but dimly seen, when Christian in Jesus rise to life eternal ; they, art shall reach to a majesty and a too, who died in sin, awake and rise beauty which hitherto the world at the archangel's trumpet - but has not witnessed. For art, indeed, weighed in the balance, they are as for each human soul, there are given over to everlasting torment, prophecies yet unfulfilled. No comwhere the worm dieth not and the ing work of the human hand or fire is not quenched. Nothing in intellect will perish for lack of the whole range of art is more appal- knowledge; but even at this ling than this literal rendering, this present time, art is blighted and visible and tangible transcribing, withered from want of faith-not even on the mercy-door, of that doom from want of faith in dogmas dead, which shall make the earth to shake but from want of trust in truths

nay, not the earth only, but also which, living, are to genius a well heaven. The fires wherewith Dante of life. There is then, we say, reawrote, thunders like to which Mil- son to hope that the day shall appear ton spake, even denunciations which when art will cast off the outer crust, came as outpourings from vessels which is of the earth, earthy, and be of wrath, have fashioned these bright as the light, and pure as a fire rough-hewn stones into desperate kindled on an altar of sacrifice. vigour. “He who denies me Whether or not there shall come an before men, him will I also deny outward millennium such as some before my Father and the holy men have curiously defined, we care angels.” Christian art also denies not to inquire; but that there shall him in the presence of the Church come in the progress of the human and in the assembly of the saints. race a period when the love of the

The sacred and the legendary true, the beautiful, and the good, art which, as we have seen, encir- will cover the earth as the waters cles the History of our Lord, cover the sea, is for all who in the ought to be used by each one of us mean time watch and work a steadas the means of high mental culture, fast and a consoling persuasion. This art is not only art : it is reli- This is the hope and the prophecy gion : it is poetry. At this sacred which for art, awaiting like all things fountain fed from the sky, the a final fruition, remain as yet unmodern painter and sculptor may fulfilled. And of this at least we quench the thirst for that divine may be sure, that whensoever, in knowledge which shall give to his the language of the prophet, wisworks a spirit not of earth. On the dom shall like the light of the sun banks of this stream may the be sevenfold, even as the light of Christian pilgrim, torn by the thorns seven days, then will Christian art, that lie in the way, find rest, and purged from dross and cleared from gather for his wounds many a heal- the fogs of superstition, wax in ing herb; on its margin, too, shall strength and loveliness, and shine the poet linger weaving garlands, with clearer light just as it apand murmuring melodious songs; proaches nearer to the fountain of and as the river rolls onward to the light. sea, the sage walks by the swelling





THERE was a little French vaude His enthusiasm and his blunders, ville which, some years ago, used his ecstasy and his mistakes, make to amuse the audiences of the up a most laughable picture, and all Palais-Royal, and send them home the time the audience can never laughing as they went over its drol- perfectly divest themselves of a leries. It was called 'Le Voyage certain sympathy for one who, if à Dieppe.' The chief incidents of he had really seen the sea, would the piece revolved round a long- have hailed the sight with such a promised trip to Dieppe, which a racy and honest enjoyment. Parisian shopkeeper bad bound Now you will perhaps wonder himself to make, to show his family what it was that could have rethe sea. It had become the day- minded me of this little bygone dream of their lives, and no subject piece, and, in this age of prolific could be discussed amongst them farce-writing, could have carried me without its reference to Dieppe be- back to the glories of some fifteen ing duly weighed and considered. years ago. I will tell you. 'Le Voy

The happy day at last arrives, age à Dieppe' was brought forcibly to and they start. It was before the my mind by the new Franco-Italian time of railroads. A malicious Treaty. It is said to be among the friend has, however, bribed the prerogatives of kings to avail themcoachman, and instead of taking selves of all the varied acquirethe road to Dieppe, he passes the ments of their subjects; and here whole night in driving round Paris, we have the great Emperor of and ends by depositing the weary France not disdaining to take a and exhausted travellers at a small hint as to his policy from a vaudesuburb, where, from the window of villiste of the “Palais." The a mean-looking little inn, a toler- new treaty may be briefly summed ably extensive pond can be des- up thus : Within two years the cried, duckweeded and dreary, the French army is to be withdrawn distance being closed by a low-ly- from Rome. The Pope is to be ing swamp. Whatever disappoint- left to his own devices, but Victor ments the others may feel, the Emmanuel is not to molest him. honest Bourgeois himself will admit A secret article, it is alleged, says of none, and he throws aside his that, to give his Holiness a stronger window and exclaims, “ Ah, que assurance of his safety, the Italians c'est beau de voir le mer !” and are to transfer the capital to Flobursts forth with an apostrophe to rence, and in this way recognise the the ever-restless sea that would fact that they are not to continue have done honour to a Greek their pretensions to Rome, nor perchorus. He rushes out to the petuate the popular impulse to beach to inhale the invigorating seize on the Eternal City. breezes of the ocean, and comes Here is the Voyage à Dieppe.' back with an appetite for oysters, Here are the poor Italians thirsting which he naturally imagines to be for Rome, as the Bourgeois thirsted the appropriate effect of sea air. for the sea, promising it to them

« السابقةمتابعة »