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season Christ is no longer exhibited as the spotless Lamb, or as the Lord of Life, but as suffering and dead.
By gradual stages the artists who treated this subject advanced from 'dignified reverence' to a morbid attempt to represent the load of suffering which the Saviour bore for man's redemption:
'Whether from the roughness of the times or the false ideal of terror as the only element of power to affect the rudeness of the public mind, the true idea of the crucifixion was missed or ignored. A finer sense could alone conceive and portray the beauty of self-devotion, in a sacrifice self-imposed, a death accepted as the only mode of sacrifice, irrespective of its terror or its pain.'
The young Giotto brought a healthier feeling to bear on art when he painted the subject of the crucifixion on the sacred walls of Assisi. Though his art was still imperfect, he brought the spirit of life and freedom into Southern Europe. Two pictures are selected by Mr. Gambier Parry as showing the influence of Giotto on two men of different natures and times, Beato da Fiesole and Tintoretto. The devotional character of the one and the dramatic character of the other are well described. Nicholas of Pisa represented on a panel, in the thirteenth century, the figure of the Crucified in a calm and dignified attitude without sign of pain. As a fine example of concentration of interest in a single figure, the crucifixion by Guido at Modena is mentioned; and, lastly, a drawing of Michel Angelo, now in the British Museum, is referred to as being 'evidently a design for a great altar-piece in basso-relievo.' The figure of our Lord in this drawing is beautiful. Stretched with its arms. raised upward on a Y-shaped cross, painless, motionless, exquisitely patient.' 'It is the picture of a tragedy indeed, for what else could it be? but composed with such reverence, and expressed with such intensity of mingled tender'ness and power, as to engage the deepest sympathy, and arouse ideas that will not be forgotten.' Thus in all stages of art, from the rude workmen of the slab at Wirkworth to the design of Michel Angelo, the same principle may be traced that beyond and above all power of realistic expression is the idea of reverence, aiming especially at expressing the central thought of the artist. It is in this sense that we can heartily echo the words with which Mr. Gambier Parry concludes this part of the eighth essay :—
Sacred imagery is precious to those who can respond to it; an aid to the weak, a delight to the strong, a store unfailing for art to use, to adorn not walls alone but minds, with thought of what is highest,
noblest, loveliest, that the blessed God had spread along the path of life, to lead them upward to Himself.'
The second part of this essay deals with emblematic figures, style, and motive. The author says, especially with regard to architecture, that the true motive of religious art is Sursum corda.' As art became exclusively realistic, it lost its spiritual influence, till at last it became absolutely vulgar, as may be seen in some of the monuments in our metropolitan churches. It was otherwise in paganism, so long as the spirit of poetry prevailed, and in early Christianity, which suggested by such symbols as the palm, the dove with the olive branch, &c., spiritual realities.
The emblematic figure which was represented longest in Christian art was the Church-Ecclesia, under the figure of an Orante in the Catacombs. The same figure represented a female martyr, or a saint, afterwards the Virgin Mary. Sometimes the Christian Church is contrasted with the Jewish Church-the one as the accepted bride of Christ, the other as the faithless bride. References illustrative of this are given to the churches of Chartres, Mans, Bruges, and St. Denis. Sometimes, as in the Sacramentary of Metz, now in the National Library at Paris, the Church is represented standing close to the cross, and reaching up with her chalice to receive the blood from Christ's wounded side, while the Virgin and St. John stand at a distance to the right and 'left.'
The refinement of taste and labour bestowed upon such works as these shows, as the author says, 'how deeply pene'trated Christendom was with the beauty of idea which 'pervaded the history and doctrines of the faith;' and the enthusiasm of artistic life which characterised the great 'architectural age of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries resembles the sudden burst of joy and beauty to which the world awakes when, in April, Nature breaks the bonds. 6 of winter with the rush of her irrestrainable life.' This is followed by a passage which happily describes the spirit of the age when sculpture and painting worked in entire sympathy with architecture, and produced a grand and reposeful unity of effect.'
Mr. Gambier Parry raises the question, how far we, at the present day, should resort to old styles in applying de'corative arts to sacred buildings.' And he justly remarks that the question is not to be settled offhand. Those styles represent intelligent principles,' and 'grew naturally in the atmosphere of national life.' He shows how and
under what circumstances the noblest works of art were created, and how the various styles and characters of arts mark the stages of national culture, and are the turns and idioms of its phraseology.' He points out the futility of condemning ornament on the ground of its being conventional. Conventionality is not to be confounded with the blemishes of an undeveloped art. Modern art has erred on the side of naturalism. Ancient art was conventional; but it was as complete as it was simple.' Whatever it may
be called, the "Monumental," or the "Sculpturesque," or the "Heroic" style, its genius must be awakened, if ever the great art of painting is to rise again to its level of full 'honour, and to be again what once it was ... a power of abstract and ideal expression, in harmony with that greatest 'creation of man's genius-architecture.'
Mr. Gambier Parry passes in review the early decorative works abroad, in the South and East and North of Europe, and then comes to England, where the Lombard Archbishop Lanfranc gave the first important impulse to art.
Now those arts have been long at rest.' After an eloquent passage, deploring the sad scenes of desolation, where passion and neglect have wrought an equal ruin,' Mr. Gambier Parry asks: What is the good of all these arts? Could such work supply the deficiencies of Christian 'souls, or compensate for the poverty of worship?' And he answers it as follows: In the privacy of communion between the spirit of man and the spirit of his Maker, No; but as "a tribute of reasonable service from humanity to ""God," Yes.' Lastly, he raises the inquiry, What is 'wanted in religious art?' and in the course of his answer, which is continued to the end of the essay, he states that
only in the quietude of a contemplative spirit can a work of really religious art be conceived. In our crowded cities or unquiet homes it is to those sacred fanes that architecture has raised among them that men owe the precious opportunities of spiritual rest. A nation's temples have ever been the centre of the nation's arts. The history, the poetry, the religion of the world have been written in them. The power and devotion of human genius have been lavished upon them, the most pure and favourite handmaids of a nation's faith. Former generations have come and have passed away. It is now our day. The unceasing stream flows by us now, and for our short life we direct its current. The arts are in our hands, to use or to misuse them. Our honour in them will depend upon our motive; and whatever our works may be, we shall live in them to all time-for contempt or for gratitude.
This is the view taken by the author of the province of
art, of its duties and responsibilities, and of its relation to the spiritual life of man. No one can find fault with the essays for lack of enthusiasm, or for the absence of a high sense of responsibility for artistic gifts. Their merits far outweigh their deficiencies, some of which we have pointed out-consisting mainly in the careless construction of sentences and misspelling of words. There are few men living who can bring to the work of art-teaching so much knowledge, so sound a judgement, so much practical acquaintance with methods of painting, and with the proper relation of decorative art to architecture, and, above all, so high and religious a sense of the relation of Art to Christianity, as Mr. Gambier Parry.
We had hoped to notice in this place the congenial work which we have placed at the head of this article, Sir Henry Layard's most valuable and novel edition of Kugler's His'tory of Painting,' full of original matter and criticism, but our limits forbid, and we must content ourselves with bearing our testimony to its great value and interest as a fresh contribution to the history of Art.
ART. VI.-1. Paris Newspapers of 1789-94.
2. Anacharsis Clootz. Par G. AVENEL. Paris: 1876.
3. Etat des dons patriotiques. Paris: 1790.
4. Letter by J. H. Stone to Dr. Priestley. Paris: 1796.
5. Maine Historical Society's Collections. 1859.
6. History of Alnwick. By GEORGE TATE.
7. Histoire de Madame du Barry. Рar CH. VATEL. Paris: 1884.
HE first French Revolution, it is well known, attracted to Paris men from all parts of the world, and of all classes enthusiasts, adventurers, sensation-hunters; some of the best specimens of humanity and some of the worst; some of the most generous minds and some of the most selfish; some of the busiest brains and some of the idlest. Not a few of these moths perished in the flame which they had imprudently approached; others escaped with a singeing of their wings; others, again, were fortunate enough to pass unscathed. Some died in their beds just before the Terror ended, but without any assurance of its ending; others only just saw the end. The foreigners, like the natives, who
fairly survived the Revolution, had very various fortunes. Some were thoroughly disillusioned, became vehement reactionaries, or abjured politics and were transformed into sober or enterprising men of business. Others crossed or recrossed the Atlantic, and lived to a green and honoured old age, or gave way to degrading vices. Others, remaining in France, hailed the rising star of Napoleon, and lived long enough to be disenchanted, but perhaps not long enough to see the restoration of the Bourbons. The characters of these men are an interesting chapter in psychology. The honest among them had left house and parents and brethren, if not wife and children, for the sake of what they believed to be in its way a kingdom of heaven. They appeal to our sympathies more than the cold observers, if indeed there were any such, who foresaw the lamentable collapse of all these highly wrought expectations. No doubt some of these immigrants were restless agitators, empty demagogues, pretentious egotists; but even these are not undeserving of study. There was much base metal, but there was also genuine gold. If of some who underwent imprisonment or death we can hardly avoid thinking that they deserved their fate, there are others whom we must sincerely pity, men to whom the Revolution was a religion overriding all claims of country and kindred.
French historians cannot be expected to take much notice of these aliens. In their eyes they are but imperceptible specks in the great eddy. Their attention is absorbed by their own countrymen; they have none to spare for interlopers, none of whom played a leading role. If they devote a few lines to Clootz or Paine, they consider they have done quite enough. French readers, moreover, while anxious for the minutest details on Mirabeau, or Madame Roland, or Danton, and while familiar at least with the names of the principal Girondins and Montagnards, do not care to hear about a foreigner who here and there sat in the Assemblies, commanded on battlefields, or fell a victim to the guillotine. Yet for us, surely, fellow-countrymen have an especial interest. We would fain single them out on the crowded stage of the Revolution. They are more to us, not than the actors of first rank, but than secondary characters like Brissot or Vergniaud. Here, however, English writers will not help us. If they have not surveyed the field with French eyes, they have at least used French spectacles. French artists have painted the panorama; English connoisseurs give us their opinion of the panorama, but not of the actual