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Kingsley in his republished Mis- committed. To go further into this cellanies, as manicheism in art. question as it here opens before us And certainly, it is a principle is of course now impracticable. We little in accordance with the prac- have said, we trust, sufficient to show tice of his chosen favourites — the that in the theory and the practice English pre-Raphaelites--and little of the arts, evil cannot be ignoredconsonant with their well-known that its existence once admitted, it love for original sin under their must be overruled for good, the serchosen symbol of inveterate ugli- pent head crushed, the devil cast ness. But we care not for a term of out, Satan, as in Raphael's wellmere theological opprobrium. The known picture, thrown beneath the principle itself, by whatever name feet of the victorious Michael. The called, is a fundamental doctrine art, indeed, which would say to evil, in religion, an acknowledged fact in Be thou my good, is like to the man humanity, and lies as the corner-stone impure of leprosy, or to him whose to all sound philosophy of art. A dwelling, was among the tombs, priociple of evil, whether or not it be possessed by an unclean spirit whose actually personified under the form name was legion, whom no man of Devil, is universally admitted as could bind, no, not with chains. existent in the world. This principle We say that in Christian art this of evil our daily experience but too devil must be cast out;; that in clearly tells us is in perpetual con- all religious art it has been cast flict against the good, and revelation out; and that thus an artistic ideal indicates that the same warfare has has been sought after and attained, even divided heaven itself. Call it like unto, if the comparison be perwhat you will, evil is a fact and a mys- mitted, the new birth preached by tery in the ordination of providence Christianity itself. Mr Kingsley from which you cannot escape. It is may call this manicheism if he will"; an admitted difficulty in theology, in but at least it is the principle which life it is a call to continual warfare, Fra Angelico and the holy painters and not less in art must the stern of old have uniformly preached fact be admitted, and when admitted, throughout their works. It is the met as best it may. The great typi- principle, not of evil triumphant, cal event of Christ tempted by Satan but of evil overcome. And thus in comes to us in ten thousand forms; these early pictures, like unto one and the serpent in nature, as a syin- indeed published by the Arundel bol of evil
, is entwined round the tree Society--the Madonna, with attenof the forest, and lurks beneath the dant angels and the heavenly host, flower. To every true artist endowed -original sin has given place to a with spiritual or æsthetic insight, pristine beauty, and art is made the each ontward form in creation is in- mirror of that first nature which God deed a symbol and a manifestation pronounced as good. of an inner life. The human face is This is one of the important lesthe mirror of the soul within, and so sons which these early Christian the outward face of nature-every works can teach to the present geneflower that smiles, and each beast ration. All that exists is good, constithat roars from lurking thicket, is the tutes the ultimate axiom in the reexpression of essential harmonies or ceived art philosophy of the present discords. Evil is a fact, and the only day. Everything which is found in question is how it shall best be met nature is suited for a picture,--this is and overcome. It is truly a curse, an assumed dogma from which there yet manifestly not an unmitigated is now no permitted appeal. Everycurse. In life we know that it rouses thing that lives is beautiful, every de. to heroism and even to virtue by tail that can possibly be transcribed antagonism. In literature and in is worthy of all reverence,- these are art, in like manner, it alone renders the guiding maxims which now govtragedy possible; and all the valourern the artist in his work. But the and the virtue iinplied in suffering great masters of old, as we have relieved and overcome, take their shown, preached a very different first origin in evil existent and sin doctrine. The true artist works, in
deed, in the spirit of the great Arti- travelled Englishman can become ficer of the unirerse. He studies acquainted with these master pronature in order todiscover the typical ductions only through the intervenideas, those original and perfect con- tion of copies ; and hence the special ceptions in which all created varie- and important service which the ties take their first origin, from which Arundel Society seeks to confer upon each departs, and yet towards which the general public. Its operations again all created beings tend. The may thus be viewed as auxiliary to true artist seeks for the restitution of the general intent of the National all things-the removal of those de Gallery. In a recent article we have fects and blemishes which mar the ab- shown that the historic series so solute perfection. And in many of the wisely brought to Trafalgar Square earlier Christian works of which we enables the student to trace the have been speaking, the painter loved progress of the art of painting, from to enthrone in the upper portion of his its first precarious rise to its triumcanvass, a glorified sphere of patri- phant consummation--to educe the archs, prophets, and apostles, resting saws that have governed, the infrom their labour and their earthly fluences which have promoted, this conflict, fashioned according to the vital development—to connect into type of the heavenly places, without one consecutive chain the works of spot or blemish, perfect even as the divers schools and epochs; and thus, sons of God.
We should, indeed, in finally, as in a panorama, to view the present day, hesitate thus to art as the pictorial history of a write, were there not still ancient country, the reflex of its clime, and works to bear a living testimony to the mirror of its landscape, the the truths we venture to enforce. offspring of its race, the last and And these updying truths, proclaim- triumphant manifestation of its ed by all Christian art, our English wealth and civilisation. What the pre-Raphaelite school, to its cost, has directors of the National Collecchosen to ignore.
tion have accomplished upon the Once more, reverting to the pro- walls of the Gallery itself, the Counjects of the Arundel Society, we find cil of the Arundel Society will atabundant cause why, the fresco art tempt for the portfolio of their subof Italy should be brought to the scribers. The private libraries of our knowledge of the English public. country gentry may now glow as Fresco-painting was, to the Italian with the fresco art of a southern artist, the ready language by which clime, and men even of moderate he rapidly expressed his thoughts and means may possess, as in a developemotions. Easel - pictures were by ed history, illustrations of the rare comparison but subordinate and oc- Italian masters. By such means the casional productions. And it is well choicest works become diffused and known that the greatest masters, from popularised, and are brought, as Giotto down to Raphael and Michael it were, to the very door of every Angelo, executed their most import- Englishman. The dissemination of ant works through the medium and such productions may be deenied an material of fresco. Fortunately for important, if not, indeed, an essential Italy, but unhappily for England, part of that general education, that these wall-pictures admit of no ready extension of cultured taste which has removal. Our National Gallery, as for some years been among the most we recently took occasion to show, happy results of the art revival in has become richly endowed with a this country. consecutive historic series painted These frescoes of Italy, moreover, upon panel or canvass; but the concern the professional artist not less grand contemporary Italian frescoes than the public at large. As comin convents and churches, in loggia positions specially designed for an and stanza-works which, in fact, architectural position, they serve as constitute the glory, and evince the the very best precedents of that picpower of Italian art-must ever re- torial decoration which is now, year main, in legal phrase, attached as by year, more generally applied to fixtures to the freehold. The un- the adornment of our civil and eccle
siastical edifices. Space will not are now threatened with destruction. permit us to criticise the frescoes But this, the calamity of Italy, may which have been executed by some be England's opportunity. We are of our most skilled artists in the endowed with wealth and power, and Palace at Westminster. Suffice it to we must be ready to save and to seize say that a more intimate knowledge the treasures offered for our use. We of the fresco process and treatment must wait, ever eager on the watch. in Italy would have corrected those Dynasties are overthrown, and old errors and misconceptions which families have fallen, and heirlooms, have unfortunately marked many of the riches of art, may in sore need be those works for national failures. put to a bidding. Democracy, which The best Italian frescoes are wholly sold in our own country the gallery of free from rawness and crudity, the a Charles, may not always in Florence colours and shadows are pure and conserve the pictures of the Pitti. transparent. These works in compo- The authorities of our National Galsition are distinguished by a balanced lery, we say, must be upon vigilant harmony suited to the symmetry of watch. The “autonomy" established architectural arrangement; and in in Tuscany may yet, like many other severe dignity they are consonant grand conceptions, fall short of with the lines, the proportions, and money; nobles, who have still somethe stability of a structure designed to thing to lose, may yet be glad to fly endure for ages. Thus raised above from pillage, with pictures rolled in the common level of everyday exist- their portmanteaus. But some works ence, the types of humanity ennobled cannot be carried into safety; and with somewhat of senatorial dignity, therefore it was a happy thought they partake of that grand historic which led the Arundel Society to manner, which, in art, no less than secure by copies those frail and fadin literature, is best fitted for the en- ing frescoes which now, almost at during record of a nation's greatness. any moment, a cannon-shot may de
These fresco-pictures we have seen stroy.
EVERYBODY hears, and perhaps refinement, and failed entirely in utters, a dozen of these portentous hiding for a moment the original sentences every day, and yet, per- selfishness and stolidity of his nature, haps, never took the trouble to con- you would say, "No wonder he failed; sider what a proverb is—what it is you can't make a silk purse out of a that makes it so popular among all sow's ear,” and immediately the classes, high and low, among all the saying becomes full of meaning. The nations of the world. Lord John application is so apparent-made more Russell defined a proverb, by saying apparent by the very truthfulness of it was the wit of one man and the the assertion; and we find that a dull wisdom of many : a very clever- enunciation of a commonplace has
a looking, and neatly - expressed de- suddenly grown philosophy, natural scription, but liable to be questioned, history, knowledge of character, and if we take it in the sense that a pro- wit. And another, and perhaps verb was originally a coruscation of greater, the charm of a proverb is, wit, and became cooled and condensed that it enlists our vanity on its in the course of time into a solid behalf by calling forth the faculties nucleus of wisdom ; for one remark- of our own minds. It is something able peculiarity of a proverb is, that in the nature of a puzzle or ridin its first intention, it is almost uni- dle, which everybody thinks good versally the veriest prose that the when they have had the cleverness greatest blockhead could give utter- to guess it; and here it is so easy, ance to-the flattest, dullest, most and yet so pat, so metaphorical, and unquestionable truth; and the essence yet so striking, that we feel proud of the proverb resides in that very of the double exertion by which quality. It must be almost as un- we see both its primary sense and deniable as the fact that two and its far livelier intention. “Ha! ha!” two make four, or the learned obser- we say, “you thought I didn't know vation of one of the fools in Shak- what you meant; you fancied I did not speare, who says "Tis ten o'clock, know which was the purse, and which and in another hour 'twill be eleven ;' was the ear ; but a nod's as good as a for you will observe, that the whole wink to a blind horse.” Why, there's force and pungency of a proverb lies another proverb, as utterly incapable in its application, and not in the of disproof as the other; a most stardepth and ingenuity of its original ing, glaring, unquestionable truism ; form. If a man were to attend the for who in the world ever supposed silk-mills at Manchester, and observe that a blind charger saw any difference the process of the manufacture of the between a shake of the head and a threads, then proceed to London, and twinkle of the eye? You can never see those elegant filaments knitted call these platitudes wisdom as reinto a vari-coloured receptacle for gards the profundity of the abstract money; and then were to continue truth contained in them. If a prohis studies into market-place like verb indeed required serious meditaancient Smithfield, and examine the tion, first to ascertain the meaning pendent auricles of a prodigious pig; of its terms, secondly, the exact corand after all this preliminary study rectness of its statement, you would were to announce the startling fact, have no time to make its application. that you could not make a silk purse If a man by some miracle of stupidity out of a sow's ear, you would give did not know what a bird was, or what him very little credit for ingenuity a bush was, or even how utterly valuein making such a discovery. But if less a canary, or a bird of Paradise he were to tell you of a fellow, famous itself, on the upper branch of a bramfrom his birth for clownishness and ble would be, however pleasant it ill temper, who, by some circumstance would prove if he had it fairly beor other, had been called on to fill a tween his palms, he would never resituation requiring generosity and cognise the propriety of preferring a
present gain to an uncertain hope, ternal advantages to recommend which is contained in the words them; yet we have seen the French “A bird in the hand is worth two in soldiers slacken their pace as they the bush.” Original dulness and un- met these devoted ministrants, and deniable accuracy are therefore the respectfully give them way. French proper foundations for a homely pro- gentlemen touched their hats as they verb. Who can hesitate to agree glided by ; and we will answer for it with a man who tells you that that those thoughtless Zouaves and man may take a horse to the water, light-hearted Chasseurs would have but twenty can't inake him drink ?” been rather difficult to appease, if any Is there a schoolboy so obtuse as not one had maintained before them that to perceive the fact that “when the the most ancient and plainest of the cat is away the mice will play ?” Js Sisters was one whit inferior to the there a bookkeeper or housewife who Venus de Medicis. does not feel that“ many a little makes And
our own poor fellows at Scua mickle ?" There may be another tari! What must they have thought class of proverbs which move just of such apparitions of heavenly beauone step farther forward towards the ty as were presented to them, when intellectual, inasmuch as they do not the English Sisters of Charity—bound rely for their reception entirely on by no vow but the obligation they a mere statement of a fact. There is voluntarily incurred to risk life and one which goes so far as to attribute health in the alleviation of human external beauty to an internal virtue, sorrow - the gentle-nurtured, kind—which equalises the gift of nature. voiced, calm-eyed daughters of fine by placing on a par with thein the old manor-houses, who had left the charms of character, and shows that refinements of their station, and the even the shape of a nose, the colour hopes of their youth, on this holy of a cheek, the expression of an eye, mission - when these unpretending may be altered by liberality of con- ladies, we say, walked with quiet duct. “Handsome is that handsome steps between the rows of their beds? does” is not a very elegant, but it is We do not know; and it would be a very terse, enunciation of the self- superfluous to inquire if the charms apparent truth, that gratitude is a of female beauty are added to the greater beautifier than paint or pearls; far higher charms of godly life and that for every favour we receive, a heroic endeavour, which are the new improvement takes place in the glory of Florence Nightingale and benefactor's, or more likely the bene- her friends; but of this be surefactress's, appearance, til), when we the British soldier recovered of his have been benefited by repeated acts wounds, and the British soldier's of beneficence, the homeliness, if there mother left at home, and his widow is any, disappears, the brow becomes in her silent cottage, and his children Grecian, the motions become grace- at their village-school, have a deep ful; we don't perceive the squint-and persuasion that no painter and no as to the limp and stutter, they are poet have ever designed such noble mere delusions of the eye and ear, features, or idealised so divine an and have no existence in the reality expression, as belong to that self-deof things. We have been delighted voted band. Such is the innate to see in Paris the respectful atten- power of the apparently vulgar protion paid to the Sisters of Charity verb-"Handsome is that handsome even in the street. These are gene- does.” But there are some proverbs rally poor women, and sometimes which, though universal in their apladies of a strongly religious bias, plication, are so local in their colourwho devote themselves to the care of ing and language, that their meaning the sick and wretched. They go is not so easily seen by the uninitinoiselessly about their work, dressed ated. When a Scotchman wishes to in the most unbecoming raiment they tell you that the object you aim at is could select. Their faces are nearly not very easily attainable, he gives hidden_beneath a deep fall of white you a little geographical information linen. Their other garments are black. in the words,“ Ít's a far cry to LochThey are often old, and have no ex- aw”—which was the proud boast