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duced. Our pleasure will be increased according as that art will be seen to be refined. Thus, in wondering over the Cartoons of Raphael, nothing astonishes us so inuch as the depth and grandeur of the prominent objects. We speak now of the Draught of Fishes. The figures are majestic; the sea appears infinite in its expansion. How is this effect produced ? Principally, we answer, by the minute size of the little boat, which is so placed as to communicate an apparent increase of size to the other objects. Who, that understands the judgment, the skill, the tact, the delicacy, which are thus displayed, will not have his admiration raised an hundred fold compared with the spectator, who, from not cultivating a taste for art, cannot dive so deeply into the merits of the picture.* look at the Raising of Lazarus, by Del Piombo, and we shall see how vastly the sepulchral solennity of the scene is enhanced by those patches of light with which the draperies are here and there touched. All that Mr. Cunningham says about a noble scene and a troubled sky, is the mere rant of a poetic imaginaticn, uninformed by the least ray from genuine philosophy. Burke, in one of his letters to Barry, has, with his usual unerring aim, exactly struck the point of this ill understood question.
«“Without the power of combining and abstracting, the most accurate knowledge of fornis and colours will produce only uninteresting trifles ; but without any accurate knowledge of forms and colours, the most happy power of combining and abstracting will be absolutely useless; for there is no faculty of the mind which can bring its energy into effect, unless the memory be stored with ideas for it to work upon. These ideas are the materials of invention, which is only a power of combining and abstracting, and which, without such materials would be in the same state as a painter without canvas, boards, and colours. Experience is the only means of acquiring ideas of any kind, and continued observation and study upon one class of objects, the only way of rendering them accurate. The painter who wishes to make his picture what fine pictures must be-nature elevated and improved—must first of all gain a perfect knowledge of nature as it is. Before he endeavours, like Lyssipus, to make men as they ought to be, he must know how to render them as they are; he must acquire an accurate knowledge of all parts of their body and countenance. To know anatomy will be of little use, unless physiology and physiognomy are joined with it, so that the artist may know what peculiar combinations and pro
The following, from the pen of one in whose mind a true perception of beauty in art, is almost the only valuable one of his qualifications which affectation has not distorted, may be quoted as in no slight degree justifying the confession of Reynolds.
“The spectator of the Cartoons (of Raphael) will be woefully disappointed, if he expects to fall in love with them at first sight. As they themselves are amongst the highest triumphs of art, so duly to feel and appreciate their transcendent excellencies is among the highest triumphs of a judicious cultivation of the senses and imagination."— British Galleries of Art.
portions of features constitute different characters, and what effect the passions and affections of the mind have upon those features. This is a science which all the theorists in the world cannot teach, and which can only be acquired by observation, practice, and attention. It is not by copying antique statues, or by giving a loose to the imagination, in what are called poetical compositions, that artists will be enabled to produce works of real merit, but by a laborious and accurate investigation of nature upon the principles observed by the Greeks,-first, to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the common forms of nature, and then, by selecting and combining, to form compositions according to their own elevated conceptions. This is the principle of true poetry, as well as of painting and sculpture.” '-pp. 115, 116.
At thirty years of age, after the most laborious and unceasing efforts at attaining excellence, Sir Joshua Reynolds was unquestionably the most famous portrait painter, and certainly the most deserving of reputation of his time. His bold and vigorous genius tranfused itself into all his works, and immediately vindicated its supremacy above the efforts of all his cotemporaries. Reynolds had the good sense to remember how much his professional views could be assisted by manners; and the vulgarity of Wilson shewed him the necessity of a courteous address; as the impatience of Hogarth proved to him how much could be gained by subduing his temper. In his associations he was peculiarly fortunate, as any man must be esteemed to be who has enjoyed the friendship of such a man as Johnson and Burke. As, after all, the private history of every eminent man, is that which is the most generally interesting, we will be content to refer the reader for an account of the professional career of Reynolds to the work before us, confining ourselves to those traits of character and manners, which serve so well to elucidate the man. The following description applies to that period of Sir Joshua's life, when he had attained the summit of his fame:
His study was octagonal, some twenty feet long, sixteen broad, and about fifteen feet high. The window was small and square, and the sill nine feet from the floor. His sitter's chair moved on castors, and stood above the floor a foot and a half; he held his palettes by a handle, and the sticks of his brushes were eighteen inches long. He wrought standing, and with great celerity. He rose early, breakfasted at nine, entered his study at ten, examined designs or touched unfinished portraits till eleven brought a sitter; painted till four; then dressed, and gave the evening to company.
• His table was now elegantly furnished, and round it men of genius were often found. He was a lover of poetry and poets; they sometimes read their productions at his house, and were rewarded by his approbation, and occasionally by their portraits. Johnson was a frequent and a welcome guest : though the sage was not seldom sarcastic and overbearing, he was endured and caressed, because he poured out the riches of his conversation more lavishly than Reynolds did his wines. Percy was there too with his ancient ballads and his old English fore ; and Goldsmith with his latent genius, infantine vivacity, and plum-coloured coat. Burke and his bro. thers were constant guests, and Garrick was seldom absent, for he loved to be where greater men were.
It was honourable to this distinguished artist that he perceived the worth of such men, and felt the honour which their society shed upon him ; but it stopt not here—he often aided them with his purse, nor insisted upon repayment. It has, indeed, been said that he was uncivil to Johnson, and that once on seeing him in his study, he turned his back on him and walked out; but to offer such an insult was as little in the nature of the courtly painter, as to forgive it was in that of the haughty author. Reynolds seems to have loved the company of literary men more than that of artists; he had little to learn in his profession, and he naturally sought the society of those who had knowledge to impart. They have rewarded him with their approbation; he who has been praised by Burke, and who was loved by Johnson, has little chance of being forgoiten.' -vol. ii. pp. 248, 249.
A description of one of the painter's dinners, from Courteney, who often attended them, will give the reader a very different idea of Sir Joshua's hospitality.
• “There was something singular in the style and economy of his table that contributed to pleasantry and good humour: a coarse inelegant plenty, without any regard to order or arrangement. A table prepared for seven or eight, often compelled to contain fifteen or sixteen. When this pressing difficulty was got over, a deficiency of knives and forks, plates, and glasses, succeeded. The attendance was in the same style ; and it was absolutely necessary to call instantly for beer, bread, or wine, that you might be supplied before the first course was over. He was once prevailed on to furnish the table with decanters and glasses for dinners, to save time and prevent the tardy manœuvres of two or three occasional undisciplined domestics. As these accelerating utensils were demolished in the course of service, Sir Joshua could never be persuaded to replace them. But these trifling embarrassments only served to enhance the hilarity and singular pleasure of the entertainment. The wine, cookery, and dishes, were but little attended 10; nor was the fish or venison ever talked of or recommended. Amidst this convivial animated bustle amongst his guests, our host sat perfectly composed, always attentive to what was said, never minding what was eat or drank, but left every one at perfect liberty to scramble for himself. Temporal and spiritual peers, physicians, lawyers, actors, and musicians, composed the motley group, and played their parts withont dissonance or discord. At five o'clock precisely, dinner was served, whether all the invited guests were arrived or not. Sir Joshua was never so fashionably illbred as to wait an hour, perhaps, for two or three persons of rank or title, and put the rest of the company out of humour by this invidious distinction."
• Of the sluttish abundance which covered his table, Courteney says enough ; as to the character of the guests, we have the testimony of Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashburton. He had accepted an invitation to dinner from the artist, and happened to be the first guest who arrived; a large company was expected Well, Sir Joshua,” he said, “and who have you got to dine with you to day? The last time I dined in your house, the company was of such a sort that by I believe all the rest of the world enjoyed peace for that afternoon.” “ This observation,” says Northcote,
was by no means ill applied, for as Sir Joshua's companions were chiefly men of genius, they were often disputatious and vehement in argument.' vol. ii. pp. 264, 265.
As a proof of the command of temper which Reynolds possessed in an eminent degree, we have the following anecdote
• Sir Joshua, supreme head, as he was, of the academy, and unrivalled in fame and influence, was doomed to experience many crosses and vexations. but his sagacious spirit and tranquil temper brought him off triumphant, Barry, a man of great natural talents, and one who flew a flight even beyond Reynolds in his admiration of Michael Angelo, differed with him in every thing else. Becoming Professor of Painting on the resignation of Mr. Penny, he had it in his power to annoy the Chair, and was not slow in perceiving his advantage. Reynolds, in the performance of his duty as President, could not fail to remark how very backward the Professor of Painting was in the performance of his undertaking—he had not delivered the stipulated lectures and he inquired if they were composed. Barry, a little man, and full of pride, rose on tiptoe—it is even said he clenched his fist to give stronger emphasis to his words—and exclaimed, “If I had only in composing my lectures to produce such poor mistaken stuff as your discourses, I should have my work done, and be ready to read." To reply suited neither the dignity nor the caution of Reynolds. The world praised him for his mildness and moderation, and censured his fiery opponent, on whom they laid the whole blame of this indecent and unusual scene.'-vol. 1.
A very interesting portion of Sir Joshua's life was that which is connected with the foundation and progress of the Royal Academy. He was the first president, having been raised to that honour in a manner the most complimentary ; and we think that the course of his conduct, which, under his peculiar circumstances, it must have been extremely difficult for him to regulate, was such as to reflect credit on his head and heart. It was at the Academy, too, that Reynolds delivered those admirable discourses on art which give him a title to our deepest gratitude in his literary character.
• His last visit to the Academy seemed once on the point of ending tragically. There were present, besides members and students, a number of persons of rank and importance. The multitude was large, the weight great, and just as the President was commencing his discourse, a beam in the floor gave way with a loud crash. The audience rushed to the door, or to the sides of the room ; lord tumbled over student, student over lord, and academicians over both. Sir Joshua sat silent and unmoved in his chair; and as the floor only sunk a little, it was soon supported—the company resumed their seats—and he recommenced his discourse, all with perfect composure. He afterwards remarked, that if the floor had fallen, the whole company must have been killed, and the arts in Britain thrown two hundred years back in consequence.'- vol. 1. p. 306.
Sir Joshua did not neglect to exemplify his own precepts, in several pieces, painted in the historic style ; they are generally regarded as being deficient in design. But it is always the fate of a man who succeeds eminently in one branch, to have his efforts in all others unduly depreciated. Reynolds's historical works would have been the boast of this country, if their tints had not been lost in the splendour of his portraits.
Sir Joshua died in the 69th year of his age, in February, 1792, of the unusual disease of an enlargement of the liver. “Ile was,' says Burke,
• " On many accounts, one of the most memorable men of his time. He was the first Englishman who added the praise of the elegant arts to the other glories of his country. In taste--in grace-in facility-in happy invention--and in the richness and harmony of colouring, he was equal to the greatest masters of the renowned ages. in portrait he went beyond them; for he communicated to that description of the art, in which English artists are most engaged, a variety, a fancy and a dignity, derived from the higher branches, which even those who professed them in a superior manner did not always preserve when they delineated individual nature. His portraits remind the spectator of the invention and the amenity of landscape. In painting portraits he appeared not to be raised upon that platform, but to descend upon it from a higher sphere.'”— vol. i. p. 317.
The life of “ Gainsborough,” is chiefly derived from the works of Philip Thicknesse, Governor of Landguard Fort, who was one of those odd compounds of vanity and simplicity, which Nature sometimes throws in the midst of circumstances that are calculated to shew them in the most amusing forms. The governor patronized Gainsborough, who, it seems in his childhood, made some noise in the town of Sudbury, where he was born.
“ I was the first man who perceived through clouds of bad colouring what an accurate eye he possessed, and the truth of his drawings, and who dragged him from the obscurity of a country-town at a time when all his neighbours were as ignorant of his great talents as he was himself.”vol. i. pp. 325, 326.
Gainsborough succeeded in portraiture and landscape, of which there remain a very considerable number of specimens; and notwithstanding the rivalship of such an artist as Sir Joshua, he was highly appreciated by the public. Neither was be by any means deficient in that spirit of independence which geneally accompanies true genius.
• He had customers who annoyed him with other difficulties than those of too radiant loveliness. A certain lord, whom one of our biographers, out of compassion for rank, calls an alderman, came for his portrait; and that all might be worthy of his station, he had put on a new suit of clothes, richly laced, and a well-powdered wig. Down he sat, and put on a practised look of such importance and prettiness, that the artist, who was no flatterer either with tongue or pencil, began to laugh, and was heard to mutter, " This will never do !" The patient having composed himself, in conformity with his station, said, “ Now, sir, I beg you will not overlook the dimple on my chin!" • Confound the dimple on your chin," said Gainsborough—" I shall neither paint the one nor the other." And he laid down his brushes, and refused to resume them. Garrick, too, and Foote,