Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

1250. The testimony of Maimonides is very curious, as to the variations being numerous, and as to the custom, in Paleftine and Egypt, of correcting all other manuscrip's by one, which had itself been under correction for many years.

Nor was this Apher manuscript the only standard; because Kimchi had in Spain another, to which the disagreeing copies were conformed in that country. This Hillel manuscript is fufficiently disgraced, by its wanting the two neceffary verses in Foshua. After taking notice of the several true readings preferved by these four Rabbies, our Author introduces Meir Hallevi who died in 1244), with his pathetic lamentation over the many variations in the Hebrew manuscripts. And it is remarkable, that, at the end of Meir's work, printed but a few years ago, an account is given of an inquiry made amongst the Jews, from Italy to Conftantinople, as to the true way of writing the name of the High Priest Aaron-whether it should in one single place be expressed differently from what it was in 300 other places,

As the fifth and last period, from 1450 to 1780, includes the . printed Hebrew text, Dr. Kennicott, under this period, takes particular notice of the five first editions of different parts, and of the first edition of the whole together. It is added, that the Pfalms, as first printed in 1477, contain above 600 variations ; and that the Hebrew Bible, as first printed in 1488, contains above 12,000. These and some other very early editions agree with the older manuscripts, much more than the editions after, the year 1500, but still more than that by Jacob ben Chaim in 1526; which has been, in general, the standard down to the prefent time. About the year 1500 began the fuperftitious regard for the Mafora ; and such manuscripts as had been Masoretically corected, were preferred for the editions of Cardinal Ximenes and Felix Pratensis. But the Mafora being highly ve. nerated by Ben Chaim, he chose for his text such manuscripts as had the Mafora molt perfect; which manuscripts were the latest and the worst. And yet this text became unfortunately the general standard for the Antwerp, Paris, and London Polyglotis ; as well as of other editions of less note afterwards. The Jews have not, however, been satisfied of the correctness of Chaim's edition, For Rabbi Lonzano was afcerwards encouraged to visit many countries, and to cullate ien manuscripts, in order to render the text more perfect: and yet this complaint of errors was again renewed, in 1635, by Manalleh Ben Izrael. Thefe testimonies are finally concluded with the Mantuan edition, called Ninchath Shai; in which are about 2000 various readings, collected, from manuscripts and early editions, by Solomon Menorzi, in the last century: but it was not printed till So that, at the time when Christians were generally insisting on

N 3

the

the perfection of the Hebrew text, the Jews were labouring to correct it, and lamenting its great imperfection in the manner following:- Quis restituet decus ? Quis ejiciet raphanos et spinas? Horror confudit me; quum viderem multitudinem variantium, quæ ceciderunt in libros ! - Editores eunt obscurati, neque lux eft eis ; neque eft qui quærit cessationem hujus diverfitatis !-Ecce nos palpantes tanquam cæci, in obscuritate diverfitatum! Deus auferat tenebras noftras !

[To be continued.]

[ocr errors]

Art. III. Conclusion of the Account of Mr. Walpole's Anecdotes of

Painting in England. Ņ our last month's Review we gave an account of the Ad

vertisement prefixed to the fourth volume of this ingenious work, with some extracts from the first chapter of it: we now proceed to the second chapter, which contains a short view of the architects and other artists, in the reign of George I. Our Author introduces it in the following manner:

The stages of no art have been more distinctly marked than those of architecture in Britain. It is not probable that our nrafters, the Romans, ever taught us more than the construction of arches. Those, imposed on clusters of disproportioned pillars, composed the whole grammar of our Saxon ancestors. Churches and castles were the only buildings, I hould suppose, they erected of stone. As no tafte was bestowed on the former, no beauty was fought in the latter. Masses to refift, and uncouth towers for keeping watch, were all the conveniencies they demanded. As even luxury was not secure but in a church, succeeding refinements were folely laid out on religious fabrics, till by degrees was perfected the bold scenery of Gothic ar. chitecture, with all its airy embroidery and pensile vaults. Holbein, as I have thewn, checked that false, yet venerable stile, and first attempted to sober it to measures ; but not having gone far enough, bis imitators, without his talte, compounded a mongrel species, that had no boldness, no lightness, and no system. This lafted till Inigo Jones, like his countryman and cotemporary Milton, disclosed the beauties of ancient Greece, and established fimplicity, harmony, and proportion. That school, however, too chaste to flourish long Sir Chistopher Wren lived to see it almost expire before him ; and after a mixture of French and Dutch ugliness had expelled truth, without erecting any certain file in its stead, Vanbrugh, with his ponderous and unmeaning masses, overwhelmed architecture in mere masonry. Will posterity believe that such piles were erected in the very period when St. Paul's was finihing?"

Our Author goes on to give a short account of Gibbs, Campbell, James, Christian Reisen, &c. and then enters, in his third chapter, upon a more shining period in the history of arts, upon a new æra, viz. the reign of George the Second, in which he tells us, that, though painting made but feeble efforts to

wards

ers.

wards advancement, yet architecture revived in antique purity; and an art unknown to every age and climate not only started into being, but advanced with master-steps to vigorous perfection, he means, the art of gardening, or rather, the art of creating landscape, as he chuses to call it.

• Rybrac and Roubiliac, says Mr. Walpole, redeemed ftatuary from reproach, and engraving began to demand better painters, whose works it might imitate. The King, it is true, had little propensity to refined pleasures ; but Queen Caroline was ever ready to reward merit, and wished to have their reign illustrated by monuments of genius. She enshrined Newton, Boyle, and Locke; the employed Kent, and fat to Zincke. Pope might have enjoyed her favour, and Swift had it at first, till infolent under the mask of independence, and not content without domineering over her politics, she abandoned him to his ill-humour, and to the vexation of that misguided and disappointed ambition, that perverted and preyed on his excel. lent genius.

• To have an exact view of so long a reign as that of George the Second, it must be remembered, that many of the artists already recorded lived past the beginning of it, and were principal performs

Thus the file that had predominated both in painting and architecture in the two preceding reigns, ftill existed during the first years of the late King, and may be considered as the remains of the schools of Dahl and Sir Godfrey Kneller, and of Şir Christopher Wren. Richardson and Jervas, Gibbs and Campbell

, were still at the head of their respective professions. Each art improved, before the old professors left the stage. Vanloo introduced a better style of draperies, which by the help of Vanaken became common to and indeed the same in the works of almost all our painters; and Leoni, by publishing and imitating Palladio, disencumbered architecture from some of the weight with which it had been overloaded. Kent, Lord Burlington, and Lord Pembroke, though the two first were ng focs to heavy ornaments, restored every other grace to that improving science, and left the art in possession of all its rights-yet ftill Mr, Adam and Mr. Chambers were wanting to give it perfect delicacy, The reign was not closed, when Sir Jolhua Reynolds ransomed portrait-painting from inapidity, and would have excelled the greatest masters in that branch, if his colouring were as lafting as his taste

nd imagination are inexhaustible-but I mean not to speak here of living masters, and this is the reason why no account is given here of that able matter Mr. Scott, painter of sea-pieces, who ought to make a principal figure in this reign.'

Mr. Walpole now proceeds to give a short account of a great number of inferior artists,--Huyfling, Collins, Dandridge, Damini, Philip Mercier, Barrett, Wootton, Amiconi, John Baptift Vanloo, Joseph Vanaken, Canalletti, &c. &c.

Speaking of Lambert, he says, it is extraordinary, that in a country so profusely beautified with the amænities of nature, we have produced fo few good painters of landscape. As our poets warm their imaginations with funny hills, or figh after grottos N 4

and

and cooling breezes, our painters, says Mr. Walpole, draw rocks and precipices, and caftellated mountains, because Virgil gasped for breath at Naples, and Salvator wandered amidst Alps and Apennines.

• Our ever verdant lawns, continues he, rich vales, fields of haycocks, and hop-grounds, are neglected as homely and familiar objects. The latter, which I never saw painted, are very picturesque, particularly in the season of gathering, when some tendrils are ambitiously climbing, and others dangling in natural festoons; while poles, despoiled of their garlands, are erected into easy pyramids that contrast with the taper and upright columns, In Kent such scenes are often backed by fand-hills that enliven the green, and the gatherers dispersed among the narrow alleys enliven the picture, and give it various distances.

Lambert, who was instructed by Hafel, and at first imitated Wootton, was a very good master in the Italian style, and followed the manner of Gaspar, but with more richness in his compositions. His trees were in a great taste, and grouped nobly. He painted many admirable scenes for the playhouse, where he had room to display his genius; and, in concert with Scott, executed fix large pictures of their feculements for the East-India Company, which are placed at their house in Leadenhall-itreer.'

Mr. Walpole closes this chapter with a short account of Thomas Worlidge, who died at Hammersmith, Sept. 23, 1766. He inserts a compliment to Mrs. Worlidge, on seeing her copy a landscape in needlc-work, printed in the Public Advertiser, and bestows a very high and deserved encomium on Caroline Countess of Ailesbury, some of whose performances have appeared in our public exhibitions.

The fourth chapter contains an account of Hogarth, and a catalogue of his Prints.---'Having dispatched the herd of our painters in oil, says our Author, I reserved to a class by himself that great and original genius, Hogarth; considering him rather as a writer of comedy with a pencil, than as a painter. If catching the manners and follies of an age living as they rise, if general fatire on vices, and ridicules, familiarized by itrokes of nature, and heightened by wit, and the whole animated by proper and just expressions of the passions, be comedy, Hogarth composed comedies as much as Moliere ; in his Marriage à-la-mode there is even an intrigue carried on throughout the piece. He is more true to character than Congreve ; each personage is difinet from the rest, acts in his sphere, and cannot be confounded with any other of the dramatis persone. The Alderman's footboy, in the last print of the set I have mentioned, is an ignorant ruftic; and if wit is struck out from the characters in which it is not expected, it is from their acting conformably to their fituation, and from the mode of their pallions, not from their having the wit of fine gentlemen. Thus there is wit in the figure of the Alderman, who, when his daughter is expiring in the agonies of poison, wears a face of folicitude, but it is to save her gold-ring, which he is drawing gently from her finger. The thought is parallel to Moliere’są

where

where the miser puts out one of the candles as he is talking. Moe liere, inimitable as he has proved, brought a rude theatre to perfection. Hogarch had no model to follow and improve upon. He created his art; and used colours instead of language. His place is between the Italians, whom we may consider as epic poets and tragedians, and the Flemish painters, who are writers of farce, and edi. tors of burlesque nature. They are the Tom Browns of the mob. Hogarth resembles Butler, but his subjects are more universal; and, amidst all his pleasantry, he observes the true end of comedy, reformation : there is always a moral to his pictures. Sometimes he rose to tragedy, not in the catastrophe of Kings and Heroes, but in marking how vice conducts insensibly and incidentally to misery and shame. He warns against encouraging cruelty and idleness in young minds, and discovers how the different views of the great and the vulgar lead by various paths to the fame unhappiness. The fine lady. in Marriage à-la-mode, and Tom Nero in the Four Stages of Cruelty, terminate their story in blood . . . . the occasions the murder of her husband, he assassinates his mistress. How delicate and superior too is his satire, when he intimates, in the college of physicians and surgeons that preside at a dissection, how the legal habitude of viewing socking scenes hardens the human mind, and renders it unfeeling. The President maintains the dignity of infenfibility over an executed corpse, and considers it but as the object of a lecture.

In the print of the Sleeping Judges, this habitual indifference only excites our laughter.

• Je is to Hogarth's honour, that, in so many scenes of satire and ridicule, it is obvious that ill-nature did not guide his pencil. His end is always reformation, and his reproofs general. Except in the print of The Times, and the owo portraits of Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Churchill that followed, no man, amidit such a profusion of characteristic farce, ever pretended to discover or charge him with the caricatura of a real person ; except of such notorious characters as Chartres and mother Needham, and a very few more, who are acting officially and suitably to their profeflions. As he must have observed so carefully the operation of the passions on the countenance, it is even wonderful that he never, though without intention, delivered the very features of any identical person. It is at the same çime a proof of his intimate intuition into nature : but had he been too levere, the humanity of endeavouring to root out cruelty to animals would atone for many satires. It is another proof that he drew all his stores from nature and the force of his own genius, and was indebted neither to models nor books for his style, thoughts, or hints, that he never succeeded when he designed for the works of other men. I do not speak of his early performances at the time that he was engaged by booksellers, and rose not above those they generally employ; but in his maturer age, when he had invented his ari, and gave a few designs for some great authors, as Cervantes, Gulliver, and even Hudibras, his compositions were tame, spiritiess, void of humour, and never reach the merits of the books they were designed to illustrate. He could not bend his talents to think after any body else. He could think like a great genius rather than after one. I have a sketch in oil that he gave me, which he intended to eru.

« ZurückWeiter »