« ZurückWeiter »
6 They tell us here he thought and wrote,
On this low seat-reclining thus ;
“ Perhaps the balıny air was fraught
With breath of heaven; -or did he toil
“Did zephyrs bear on golden wings
“ And here he suffered !--this recess,
Where even Nature fail'd to cheer,
“ Here are no richly sculptured urns
The consecrated dust to cover ;
[As it was found inconvenient to insert the following article in the Magazine department of our journal, we have given it a place in the Review. We know no reason why pictures may not be reviewed as well as books.]
Art. XXVII.-FINE ARTS. UNDER this head we will notice Mr. Morse's Lectures on Painting, which he is now reading every Monday evening at the Atheneum. By exhibiting the relative place in which painting stands to her sister arts, Mr. Morse has varied his treatinent of the subject from that of his predecessors, and has added an interest, which is to us unexpected. His two first lectures, all we have heard, do bim great honour.
The present seems to be an auspicious era for the Fine Arts in our city. Our corporation have always liberally encouraged every attempt at improvement; and now we have, in our chief magistrate, Philip Hone, Esq. a man whose taste and knowledge make him competent to judge of merit, and whose liberality has displayed itself by the patronage of living artists. Mr. Hone is no collector of old pictures. The picture dealers, smokers, menders, puffers, and varnishers, have not in him a dupe or a customer. He encourages painters, by employing
the meritorious; and his walls honour, and are honoured by, the works of Leslie, Newton, Wall, Cole, Peale, and other artists, who are thus stimulated to persevere in the road to perfection.
Nothing will tend more to make artists put forth their strength, (after such encouragement,) than that union, blended with liberal competition, which has taken place in the formation of the National Academy of Design. We have been present at one of their evening schools; we have seen, what is altogether new in this city, a numerous class of students from the antique, each with his lamp, his crayon, and paper, intent upon
the casts of the Apollo, the Laocoon, the Hercules, or the Niobe; while many of our first artists were either interiningled with tyros, and teaching by example, or walking from desk to desk, and instructing by precept. "We likewise heard from the professor of anatomy an elegant and instructive lecture. This institution, formed and directed by artists, has, without aid or patronage, commenced an academy, which they will maintain by the individual exertions of the artists concerned, and all such, whether artists or others, as are well-wishers to the arts. Notice has been given, that they will exhibit the works of living artists in May and June next, when such liberal individuals as the gentleman whom we have named above, may do themselves honour, and the public a benefit, by lending the works they possess. This is the only patronage the National Academy asks--they are individuals unchartered, relying upon their own exertions, paying their own expenses, and only calling upon the public, by an exhibition, to judge of their respective merits, and encourage them as they are worthy. The receipts of the exhibition will be appropriated solely to the support of schools for the arts of design, that students may receive the best instruction, free of all expense.
We are happy to be enabled to speak of the progress of every branch of the arts with pleasure and pride. Modelling, sculpture, engraving, and painting, we have been called upon to witness in a state of flourishing improvement.
Some of our painters are absent, and others we have not had an opportunity of visiting; we can therefore only mention a few who are now employed in works which will honour their country.
The merits of Mr. Coyle, as a scene painter, have been witnessed by thousands; we may say the same of Mr. Reinagle. These gentlemen, with Messrs. Wall, Cole, Evers, and others, in the department of original landscape, are rivalling the artists of any part of the world.
Mr. Morse is now employed in portrait, and has several public characters on the easel, which evince in him an improvement inconceivable to any person not acquainted with his studies and resources. His full length of La Fayette will be ready for the exhibition of the National Academy, and his portraits of Clinton, Paulding, and others; with several compositions, partaking both of nature and fancy.
Mr. Ingham is one of those men of talents for whom we are indebted to the emerald isle. Educated in the principles of his art in Dublin, he has formed his taste with us, and has now attained a style of portrait painting, which, for a combination of truth and exquisite finishing, scarcely has a parallel at the present day. His fascinating nymph, with the flaxen locks and bewitching smiles, exhibited last year, cannot be forgotten. He will exhibit with the National Academy several portraits, and particularly a full length of La Fayette, in his finest style of composing and finishing. We hope hereafter to speak of its merits—we now pronounce it a master-piece of the art of portraiture.
Mr. Dunlap is engaged on a work which all pronounce superior in design and in execution, as far as it has proceeded, to either of his former great paintings. It is the Saviour of the World on Mount Calvary, at the point of time immediately preceding the crucifixion, when the four soldiers have already seized on his outer robe, and he stands with extended arms, praying, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." This is a composition not only original, but the scene has never been painted before. So happy a choice of subject will, we hope, stimulate to exertions which may be crowned with success. This artist will exhibit with the National Academy finished studies of groupes for the above mentioned painting, with other specimens of the art in fancy and portrait painting.
Mr. Marsiglia, an Italian artist, who enriches our city by his well grounded knowledge of his profession, has exhibited some highly finished specimens, both in fancy and portrait composition. He is, as we observe by the public notice, one of the committee of arrangement for the National Academy.
Messrs. Waldo and Jewett continue to gratify the public and their employers, by portraits, which excel in taste and in truth.
Mr. Rembrant Peale has laid aside the bistoric crayon, and is occupied in completing several portraits, which evince an improved and improving knowledge in his art. His pictures now are incomparably better than those he last exhibited. The public is not to be informed, that Mr. Peale has for many years ranked among the foremost in his profession.
Mr. Inman is likewise preparing to exhibit, with his associates, several specimens of the art in oil and miniature. Those who remember the heads exhibited by him last year, need only be told that Mr. Inman is not behind his brethren in the race of improvement.
Mr. Dickenson, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Trott, Mr. Potter, and Mr. Cummings, are all exercising their talents in miniature painting, and several of them add to it the practice of oil. Among the younger artists, none promise fairer than Messrs. Cummings, Potter, and Agate—the last gentleman is a pupil of Mr. Morse.
This list of painters would not be complete, should we omit the names of Parisen and Paradise, both known for several years by a faithful representation of nature in portrait painting.
Mr. Durand, so distingaished as an engraver, has found time to devote to painting, and with a success which might have been anticipated by those who have seen his drawings. He is an invaluable member of the school for the Arts of Design.
Mr. Frazee has executed a specimen of monumental statuary, which does him inuch honour. This branch of the fine arts is almost new in our country. Like the others, it only needs the fostering encouragement of our citizens, many of whom are yet to be taught the value of these ornaments and supports of refined civilization, and the rank which their professors claim, and must hold, in the best and highest order of society.
Among the many artists of our city now exercising their profession, there are some. whom we may have omitted to · mention through ignorance. The establishment of the new Academy has collected most of any note in one association, and has made known to themselves and the public their numbers and their merits.
The American Academy of the Fine Arts, under the guidance of its venerable president, and a board of directors, composed of many of the most respectable and enlightened characters among our lawyers, physicians, and merchants, continues to pursue its undeviating and very useful course with a steadiness most honourable to all concerned.
This institution has existed about twenty-five years. It is now about ten years since its revival, (for it did once sleep,) and in those ten years it has accumulated much valuable property. Under the auspices of the corporation of the city, and with the aid of a numerous list of patrons, contributing by their
countenance and cash to its support, this academy has annually exhibited many choice pictures and beautiful casts from the antique. Public taste has been improved, and artists have had the liberty of visiting the statues and busts, except at such times as the gallery has been let out to private adventurers. Some of the potentates of Europe have been complimented by being made honorary members, as may be seen by the published list, and some of these have, in return, added to the riches of the institution, in pictures, casts, and books. By this, and other judicious management, aided by the liberality of public and private patronage, the institution is now, as we understand, out of debt. We may hope, that in a short time, with the same enlightened direction, schools may be founded, and instructors appointed, with a due portion of professors and lecturers.
The gallery, loaned to this institution by the corporation of the city, has been leased out this winter, first to Mr. Dunlap, for the exhibition of his Death on the Pale Horse, and since to some French gentlemen, for the purpose of exhibiting the great picture of the Coronation of Bonaparte, by the celebrated painter, David, who has lately died in exile. This last mentioned work now occupies the gallery.
We would willingly be pleased with so great a picture by so great a master, and the critic must be fastidious who does not derive much pleasure from the contemplation of most of the parts; but the whole is flat, and in general the effect far from agreeable.
No man but must look with pleasure upon the figure of Josephine, and the figures of her attendants. Beauty, grace, taste, elegance in attitude and dress, all combine to fascinate the eye; and the painter has exerted his utmost skill, in drawing, painting, and carefully finishing the groupe. The principal figure, the hero of the drama, is likewise painted with eminent skill and care; but, unfortunately, although he is the hero, the spectator has to look for him; the eye is caught, first by the pope, who is an unwilling actor in the scene, and next by the groupe we have first mentioned. There is more force and relief in the figure of the pope, than in any other part of the painting, yet he is not intended as the principal. The eye wanders over gold and jewels, and silks and velvets, and feathers; the mind is unsatisfied; the heart takes no interest in the scene; busy thought asks, “Who, and what are these sparkling and feathered figures ??? and is answered by memory, in the homely words of truth, “ Actors in a great tragi-comedy, some hired, some forced, to play the parts assigned them br