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racter of Hogarth is highly creditable to him, in all the relations of life in which he was called on to perform a part. He lived to the age of sixty-seven years, having been born in London, on the 10th of December, 1697, and having died on the 26th of October, 1764. The following passages, as illustrating his character, will be perused with interest :
• William Hogarth was rather below the middle size; his eye was peculiarly bright and piercing ; his look shrewd, sarcastic, and intelligent; the forehead high and round. An accident in his youth had left a scar on his brow, and he liked to wear his hat raised so as to display it. He was active in person, bustling in manner, and fond of affecting a little state and importance. He was of a temper cheerful, joyous, and companionable; fond of mirth and good-fellowship; desirous of saying strong and pointed things ;-ardent in friendship-and in resentment. His lively conversation—his knowledge of character his readiness of speech-and quickness of retort, made many covet his company, who were sometimes the objects of his satire ; but he employed his wit on those who were present, and spared or defended the absent. His personal spirit was equal to his satiric talents; he provoked, with his pencil, the temper of those whom it was not prudent to offend ; with him no vice nor folly found shelter behind wealth, or rank, or power. As to the license of his tongue, he himself often said that he never uttered that sentence about a living man which he would not repeat gladly to his face : as to his works, he always felt conscious of their merit, and predicted with equal openness that his name would descend with no decrease of honour to posterity. He loved state in his dress, good order in his household, and the success of his works enabled him to indulge in the luxuries of a good table and pleasant guests.
• No one, save Wilkes, ever questioned his domestic serenity; and his insinuation, which I shall not repeat, appears to have been made without the slightest cause, and for the sake of saying something sharp and annoying. He was a good husband, and Jane Thornbill was an indulgent wife. He felt the injurious insinuations of Wilkes chiefly on his wife's account; and his widow resented the discourteous language of Walpole and the coarse invectives of Nichols, with a temper and a calmness which command all respect:
«« In his relations of husband, brother, friend, and master,” says Ireland, “ he was kind, generous, sincere, and indulgent; in diet abstemious, but in his hospitalities, though devoid of ostentation, liberal and free-hearted: not parsimonious, yet frugal ;—but so comparatively small were the rewards then paid to artists, that after the labour of a long life he left a very inconsiderable sum to his widow, with whom he must have received a large portion.” To this Nichols reluctantly adds, that Hogarth was a punctual paymaster—was uniformly kind to his sisters and to his cousin Mary Lewis ;- and—what I hold, though last, not least—that his domestics had remained many years in his service, and that he painted all their portraits and hung them up in his house.'-pp. 172, 173.
• Hogarth treated those who sat for their portraits with a courtesy which is not always practised now. " When I sat to Hogarth," said Mr. Cole, “ the custom of giving vails to servants was not discontinued. On taking leave of the painter at the door, I offered his servant a small gratuity, but the man very politely refused it, telling me it would be as much as the loss of his place if bis master knew it. This was so uncommon and so liberal in a man of Hogarth's profession at that time of day, that it much struck me, as nothing of the kind bad happened to me before." Nor is it likely that such a thing would happen again—Sir Joshua Reynolds gave his servant 61. annually of wages, and offered him 1001. a-year for the door!
• It was Hogarih's custom to sketch out on the spot any remarkable face which struck him, and of which he wished to preserve an accurate remembrance. He was once observed in the Bedford coffee-house drawing something with a pencil on the nail of his left thumb-he held it up to a friend who accompanied him—it was the face, and a very singular one, of a person in the same room—the likeness was excellent. He had dined with some friends at a tavern, and as he threw bis cloak about him to begone, he observed his friend Ben Read sound asleep and presenting a most ridiculous physiognomy: Hogarth eyed him for a moment, and say. ing softly, “ heavens, whai a character !" called for pen and ink, and drew his portrait without sitting down : a curious and clever likeness and still existing:
• It was in a temporary summer residence at Isleworth that he painted the Rake's Progress. The crowd of visitors to his study was immense. He often asked them if they knew for whom one or another figure in the picture was designed, and when they guessed wrong he set them right. It was generally believed that the heads were chiefly portraits of low characters, well known in town. In the Miser's Feast be introduced Sir Isaac Shard, a person proverbially avaricious: his son, a young man of spirit, heard of this, and calling at the painter's requested to see the picture. The young man asked the servant whether that old figure was intended for any particular person, who answered it was thought to be very like one Sir Isaac Shard, whereupon he drew his sword and slashed the canvas. Hogarth heard the bustle, and was very angry. Young Shard said, “ You have taken an unwarrantable license -I am the injured party's son, and ready to defend my conduct at law.” He went away, and was never afterwards molested.
• With a dissatisfied sitter the artist was more fortunate. A nobleman of ungainly looks and a little deformed sat for his picture; Hogarth made a faithful likeness according to the receipt of Oliver Cromwell; the peer was offended with this want of courtesy in a man by profession a flatterer, and refused to pay for the picture, or to take it home. Hogarth was nettled, and informed his Lordslip that unless he sent for it within three days, he should dispose of it with the addition of a tail to Hare the wildbeast man. The picture was instantly paid for, removed, and destroyed. A similar story is related of Sir Peter Lely.
Concerning Hogarth's vanity some one told the following story 10 Nichols, whose ear was ever open to any thing that confirmed his own theory of the artist's ignorance and want of delicacy: “ Hogarth being at dinner with Dr. Cheselden and some other company, was informed that John Freke, surgeon of St. Bartholomew's hospital, had asserted in Dick's coffee house that Greene was as eminent in composition as Handel. “ That fellow, Freke,” cried Hogarth, “ is always shooting his bolt absurdly one
way or another. Handel is a giant in music, Greene only a light Flori nel kind of composer." " Ave, but," said the other, - Freke declared you were as good a portrait painter as Vandyke." " There he was in the right," '. quoih Hogarth, “ and so I am, give me but my time and let me choose my subject.'"-vol. i. pp. 176-177.
• Heidegger, a Swiss, and the Thersites of his day, had a face beyond the reach of caricatura : his portrait by Hogarth is nature without addition or exaggeration, and it appears, in all its hideousness
“Something between a Heidegger and owl"in the little liumorous print of the masquerasie. This man obtained the management of the Opera House, was countenanced by the court, and amassed a fortune. Being once asked in company what nation had the greatest ingenuity--" The Swiss !” exclaimed Heidegger. “I came to England without a farthing, where I gain five thousand a year, and spend it : now I defy the cleverest of you all to do the same in Switzerland."
Hogarth was fond of making experiments in his profession. He resolved to finish the engraving of the first print of the Election, without taking a proof to ascertain the success of his labours. He had nearly spoiled the plate, and was so affected with the misadventure that be exclaimed “ I am ruined.” He soon, however, proceeded to repair the damage which his haste or obstinacy had caused, and with such good fortune that the print in question is one of the clearest and cleverest of all his productions.'
• “ When Barry, the painter,” says Smith, was asked if he had ever seea Hogarth,“ Yes-once,” he replied, 'I was walking with Joe Nollekens through Cranbourne Alley, when he exclaimed, “ There ! there's Hogarth.'
What,' said I, that little man in a sky-blue coat?' Off I ran, and though I lost sight of him only for a moment or two, when I turned the corner into Castle Street, he was patting one of two quarrelling boys on the back, and looking stedfastly at the expression in the coward's face, cried. Damn him, if I would take it of him-at him again.'"'-vol. 1. pp. 180-181.
Of Wilson, the landscape painter, we have a brief, but interesting account. Neither be, nor the branch of art to which he devoted himself, was appreciated in his day. He felt deeply the neglect, but was saved from the usual effects of public indifference by the accession of a small estate in bis native country, Wales, which fell to him at a seasonable moment, in the decline of life.
Much of the neglect with which Wilson was treated, is to be traced to the enmity of his professional cotemporaries. It was next to impossible that merits such as his, under an exterior the most unpromising, should not call forth jealousy. Fuseli has given the characteristics of his style in a few striking words.
• He observed nature in all her appearances, and had a characteristic touch for all her forms. But, thougli in effects of dewy freshness and silent evening lights few bave equalled and fewer excelled him, his grandeur is oftener allied to terror, bustle, and convulsion, than to calmness and tranquillity.'- vol. 1. p. 202.
Of Wilson's enthusiastic ardour in his profession, the following anecdote will furnish a proof:
• His whole heart was in his art, and he talked and dreamed landscape. He looked on cattle as made only to form groups for his pictures, and on men as they composed harmoniously. One day, looking on the fine scene from Richmond 'Terrace, and wishing to point out a spot of particular beauty to a friend who accompanied him—there," said he, holding out his finger, “ see near those houses—there, where the figures are.” He stood for some time by the waterfall of Terni in speechless admiration, and at length exclaimed, “ Well done: water, by God!” In aërial effect he considered himself above any rival. When Wright of Derby offered to exchange works with him, he answered, “With all my heart ;-I'll give you air, and you will give me fire.”—vol. 1. p. 202.
The life of Reynolds, which follows, is elaborate, and certainly is chargeable with no extravagant admiration of the hero himself. He displayed in earliest infancy, at his native town, Plympton, Devonshire, a singular dexterity in drawing; and his parents, with good sense, took this natural indication as their guide in disposing of the boy. After studying for some time under Hudson, Reynolds took the bold step of proceeding to Rome, there to behold and to be improved by those models of all that is excellent in painting and sculpture, with which that ancient capital abounds. Reynolds has recorded the impressions which this visit produced, and as we have something material to charge upon our author, with reference to these impressions, we shall quote the words of the young painter.
. It has frequently happened (says he)—as I was informed by the keeper of the Vatican,—that many of those whom he had conducted through the various apartments of that edifice, when about to be dismissed-have asked for the works of Raphael, and would not believe that they had already passed through the rooms where they are preserved : so little impression had those performances made on them. One of the first painters in France once told me that this circumstance happened to himself: though he now looks on Raphael with that veneration which he deserves from all painters and lovers of the art. I remember very well my own disappointment when I first visited the Vatican; but on confessing my feelings to a brother student, of whose ingenuousness I had a high opinion, he acknowledged that the works of Raphael had the same effect on him, or rather that they did not produce the effect which he expected. This was a great relief to my mind'; and on inquiring further of other students, I found that those persons only who, from natural imbecility, appeared to be incapable of relishing those divine performances, made pretensions to instaneous raptures on first beholding them. In justice to myself, however, I must add, that though disappointed and mortified at not finding myself enraptured with the works of this great master, I did not for a moment conceive or suppose that the name of Raphael and those admirable paintings in particular, owed their reputation to the ignorance and prejudice of mankind; on the contrary, my not relishing them as I was conscious 1 ought to have done, was one of the most humiliating circumstances that ever happened to me; I found myself in the midst of works executed upon principles with which I was unacquainted : I felt my ignorance, and stood abashed. All the indigested notions of painting which I had brought with me from England, where the art was in the lowest state it had ever been in, (it could not, indeed, be lower), were to be totally done away and eradicated from my mind. It was necessary, as it is expressed on a very solemn occasion, that I should become as a little child. 'Notwithstanding my disappointment, I proceeded to copy some of those excellent works. I viewed them again and again ; I even affected to feel their merit and admire them more than I really did. In a short time, a new taste and a new perception began to dawn upon me, and I was convinced that I had originally formed a false opinion of the perfection of art, and that this great painter was well-intitled to the high rank which be holds in the admiration of the world. The truth is, that if these works had really been what I expected, they would have contained beauties superficial and alluring, but by no means such as would have intitled them to the great reputation which they have borne so long and so justly obtained.'—vul. i. pp. 219–221.
Mr, Cunningham is pleased to find fault with all this, and says that Reynolds's conclusion, namely, that none but an imbecile person can be alive at first sight to the genius of a Raphael, is
certainly rash, and most probably erroneous.” Mr. Čunningham proceeds to reason thus
" True art is nature exalted and refined; but it is nature still. We look on a noble scene-on a high mountain-on a mighty sea-on a troubled sky—or on any of the splendid pictures which the Lord of the Universe spreads before his creatures, and we require no long course of study, no series of academic lectures on light and shade, to enable us to feel their grandeur or their beauty. If the study of many years, and great labour and attention, be absolutely necessary to enable men to comprehend and relish the nobler productions of the poet and the painter-then who has not judged by guess and admired by random some of the most glorious works of the human mind? That it cost Reynolds much time and study to understand and admire them is nothing: he had to banish preconceived false notions; to dismiss idolized and merely conventional beauties, and strip himself of laboured absurdities, with which he had been bedecking himself from his infancy.
He had to rise out of false art into true nature—and this was not to be done in a day. But is it necessary that all men should start with a false theory ? The acquisition of a natural taste in poetry, or a correct musical apprehension, may be the work of time with some, but they are as certainly a kind of inspiration in others.'vol. i. pp. 222, 223.
If there be rashness and error at all in this discussion, they lie altogether with Mr. Cunningham; and it argues, we confess, no little confidence in an unprofessional critic to dispute a point in the metaphysics of painting with such a man as Sir Joshua Reynolds. But, as Mr. Cunningham evidently stands in need of sound information on this subject, it is a happy accident after all, that he has been betrayed into the exposure of his ignorance. The pleasure which we derive from contemplating a picture, arises very considerably from the recollection of the art by which it is pro