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eastern sentiment. The mart of Oriental traffic-the means of transfusing throughout Europe the magnificence and refinement of India and the East, so far as they were then known-Venice existed by administering not more to the needs of physical life than to the desire of variety and the de. mands of luxury. From the marriage of its doge, wedded to the Adriatic by a ring-its lengthened carnivalits Duomo-the hoary St Mark's, dark, unequal in its parts, and time-marked, with dome after dome, and arch upon arch, in gold and mosaic, heaped up from time to time during five centu ries, figured with the most infantine efforts of art to those of its decadence the walls of marble of all colours-the pillars of all forms and materials, granite, porphyry, bronze, brass, and cedar-the pavement lined and circled over, swelling and falling, as if every part were to express fluctuation and change-from these traits of its state, its enjoyments, and its religion, to its licensed descendent followers of As. pasia and Lais, with their added numbers imported by order of the senateall are indicative and impressive of this character, exemplified in connexion with a high state of civilisation.
But it may here be necessary to anticipate an objection which may be made that the works of no individual school or master altogether conform to one intention. This, however, is by no means intended to be asserted; and it will be observed, that while the validity of the usual distinctions of the greater names in art are thus called in question, and the discriminations built upon them are held to be unsatisfactory and inconclusive, those distinctions which have been advanced are in conformity with the general sense of the relative station of each. This has necessarily taken place; the data which have been adverted to, being infallibly and universally recognised. The opinion, or in many instances more properly the predilection, is influenced by them, although they may not be apprehended by the understanding. But that the operation of this may have assumed a definite form, time must have sufficiently distanced things to admit of a distinct and separate view being taken of them.
On removing from the usually accepted grounds of discrimination, and the accredited boundaries of excellence, it has not been to invalidate rules of criticism, which are already sufficiently indefinite and unfixed, but to endeavour to establish a foundation for the decisions of the judgment, in essential and ultimate principles-to quit immediate and partial distinctions, in order to gain those by which the different purposes of the various works of painting may be seen in an uninterrupted and distinct view - to endeavour to lead to the possibility of at once perceiving the extent to which those final relations have been approached and sustained in each particular instance, and the various subdivided branches into which art separates under their general laws, with the comparative completeness of style manifested in obedience to them. With this object, those great divisions of the signification of painting intimated by Michael Angelo, Raphael, and Titian, have thus been entered into; but it must be distinctly observed, that, amidst their general exemplification of those characteristics which have been assigned to them, there are many exceptions. There is no sphere which is not, in particular instances, deviated from; and those which we have already assigned, (and, in connexion with the prosecution of the subject, which it may be necessary to assign to others,) are only asserted to be such as within which the proper or distinguishing nature of each is exemplified: not that there is no other in which they may appear and even take a place with success. The ecphonesis of the one is not unfrequently made by the other. Raphael visits the circle of Titian, and Titian enters into that of Raphael. Both have attempted that of Buonarotti, who at times quits his own sphere.* Besides, it must be kept in view, that the substance, or body, of the works of all are the same; not the means or material alone—form, colour, and light—but the unchangeable emotions and passions, which constitute the subject-matter of art; and that it is through the intervention of these, which constitute a general source of sameness, that those distinctions which have been referred to are
In the sculptures of Christ with the Cross, and the colossal David, his spirit is scarcely to be traced.
It must also be recol
lected, that the modes of art (as has been already noticed) of every particular period, in many important respects, cause an uniformity, beyond which it is necessary to look, in order to arrive at the detection of the true grounds of difference or distinction.
In the nature of the painting of Titian, as now stated, according to what we consider that to be, in its essential distinction, the originating cause of those particular modes of form, colour, light, and composition, which it exemplifies, and the species of influence which it exerts, will be found.
It is in obedience to, and in giving expression to the outward or material, as a primary object, that colour becomes the very necessary and eminent portion, of the means of signification in this school. Expression by colour involves a diversity of direct impressions of sense, which are altogether coincident with those of the objects signified, which expression by form is not accompanied by. The distinctions of visual form are mediately produced, and constitute a mental act or perception — those of colour are immediate, and may terminate with a sensation.* It is essentially specific and individualizing; and its im portance here arises from these qualities which do not include the wide field of comparison which dependence upon the distinctions of form demands; and also from its power of immediate reference, in connexion with a varied scale of sensation. This is its value in Venetian painting. While the colour of Michael Angelo, in connexion with sensation, approximates to a unity of degree, by an equivalence of tints, upon which a large quantity of light appears to operate; that of
Titian presents that wide variety of sensible impressions, both in kind and in degree, by which the specification of particular classes of things, as expressed by colour, is entered into with forcible discrimination.† Thus, in connexion with those peculiar methods adopted in its practice, which endows the colour of the Venetians with a capacity of imitation, which neither the intention nor mode of any other school, (if that of Coreggio is in certain respects excepted,) admitted, or carried into effect; and the science of its combinations; constitutes colour the principal means of their art, in the hands of the Venetians.
Of the instruments or means of expression, the next in importance in the practice of this school, is light and shade. It is made to reproduce individual impressions-to discriminate peculiarity. It exemplifies contrast and opposition; by which a vivid sensation is made. The forcible dismemberment or union of parts is adopted: a varied combination is presented, which at first, like the diversity of nature or individuality, appears to be under no law. Irregularity, and an apparent subjection to accident, seem to deny system or method, and to adopt those unpremeditated combinations which are the result of particular circumstances and occasions.
Form in Venetian painting is generally transcribed or literal, but rendered with a reference to the expression of bulk or of strength. In Titian and Giorgione this is most obvious: a preponderance towards solidity and heaviness, with interruption and discontinuity of parts is the manner, in connexion with which their signification is rendered. ‡
In composition, the same princi
* It may be argued, that animals perceive difference by visual form only in a very inferior degree.
†The separation which has been made of sensible qualities into primary and second ary, to the first of which form has been considered to belong, and colour to the last; if tenable at all, must be, not on the grounds of any knowledge that the senses can arrive at as to what is external to, and what is dependent upon, the mind; but in the difference of the mental process itself, which is elicited or brought forth in the apprehension of the different qualities.
The criticism made by Michael Angelo on the Danae * of Titian, that "the Ves netians should adopt a better method of study," was judging them by himself; and from their design, the observation of necessity carries an objection to their art alto
In the Gallery of the Studii, Naples.
ples which are pursued in respect to light and shade obtain; individuality and accident are its primary laws.
In addition to their adoption of these portions of the means which, as here employed, are in distinct subserviency to the purpose of their art, the Venetians in their practice present a peculiarity intimately connected with that purpose, which was first and most distinctly exemplified by them. This is the signification of variety of surface and texture, which the pros cesses adopted in the practice of Ves netian painting afforded superior facis lities towards carrying into effect, and which was eminently adapted to assist in the expression of its distinctive character.
But, as before adverted to, each of these elements, or means of the art, on particular occasions, hold a station in the productions of this school which is distinct, being altogether dependent upon its material character. In nus merous instances colours, facts of light and shade, individualities of form, and detail of decoration or ornament, become the field of its expression. They are recognised to be identical with the most thorough signification of its intention-the final end to be gainedthe meta of its purpose. The pecu liarity of a colour, a texture, or a kind or effect of light, in this instance, becomes an ultimate fact, beyond which there is no connected significa tion, it being directly and wholly res impressive of the object or the idea intended to be referred to. Thus the expression of either of these frequent、 ly, but most often that of colour, which alone characterises many objects to vision, becomes ultimate, in connexion with that intimation of material and physical qualities which is here pursued. On occasions, they separate Îy become one with the distinctive nature of this range of painting-the law of its law.
Such are the wider features of the
means as adopted in the material and sensuous art of the Venetians, which, in their varied combinations, are the instruments through which that character is kept up, in connexion with an extensive range of subjects; and (as frequently takes place in the instance of the other schools) it must be seen to result, that the idea or the sentiment of the subjects of their pictures was necessarily very often not at all sustained, or even attempted. Each looks from his own point of view towards the horizon which bounded his domain, beyond which he was apparently either indifferent in respect to what existed, or unapprehensive of it. Thus Titian, in carrying to its highest consummation that particular reference which constitutes the characteristic of the school to which he belongs, is frequently altogether at variance with the just expression demanded by the subjects of his pictures.* But the character of his time admitted, and even very much favoured the predominance of those qualities which he was most adapted to express, in addition to their generally insinuating nature. Indeed, after a certain period, throughout all Italian art, there is a decided preponderance towards rendering ideas, which have their existence only in the mind, by substantive realities of an ordinary and unelevated character. It is this, but in a refined application, which led to the deviation from an ideal representation, and dictated the substitution of moral beauty, signified in the Madonnas of Raphael, in which there is no attempt to quit the region of human feeling; their elevation consisting in the strength of their sentiment, not in its being of a superhuman nature, which may, in most respects, be considered to have been their proper sphere. In the same subject, which, in the hands of his predecessor and master, Giovanni Bellini, still retained a mythic character to a considerable degree, Titian be
gether. As far as mere correctness is concerned, within a certain sphere which does not embrace science or selection, the design of Venetian painting has been more objected to than it merits. But this has arisen from its reference or purpose not having been recognised,
* Here has arisen another of those stumbling-blocks in the way of judgment on art, which have led to preposterous results. The expression of the figure of the Christ crowned with Thorns, in the gallery of the Louvre, one of the greatest of the works of Titian, has been commended as divine, because he was known to be one of the most eminent painters; while in reality it is the reverse of that, in every respect, in counte nance and action.
comes altogether earthly. His Madonnas are certainly womanly, and full of animal vigour; but it was the worshipped head of canonized holiness, represented by the mistress of the painter. Without, however, in the present instance, entering into a reference to particular works, it may be observed, that it has been seen, that in the attempt to characterise the works of Titian, different qualities have been brought forward, and different appellations bestowed upon them, which, from their nature, may separately be resolved into the more extensive and ultimate grounds of distinction that have been recognised; in which the cause of that deficiency of mental signification and intercommunion, which has always been brought against this school, becomes fully apparent. It has been noticed, that colour and ornament have been singly considered to present the distinctive quality of Venetian painting; while, it must be observed, that the nature of its light and shade, design, composition, and varied surface, have been left without being referred to any cause. But it is impossible that different qualities can alike essentially distinguish one subject; and it is no less that those qualities which have remained without being taken into consideration, should be entirely with out any connexion or originating source of those particular features which they present. This we have endeavoured to supply but, in separately considering the individual works of this school, while the essential characteristic which most strikingly distinguishes them is recognised, it must be recollected that such is only a part, though the most distinct part, of their whole combination; and their greatness in other respects (but which come upon a ground common to different schools and masters) must be distinct ly kept in view.
From the nature of the painting of Titian, and his immediate predecessors and followers, as it has now been stated, its particular tendency, and the
cause of its engrossing influence, become apparent. The elevated relation of the works of Michael Angelo and Raphael (for their distinction is such, that unless in particulars it cannot be expected to be common to any class or school) is of necessity generally admitted; but individually, in most instances, as the more permanent or operating law, it is only nominally. The sensible world surrounds the consciousness of every one. In it, it may be said almost entirely, the many move and have their being. But, amidst the less vital manifestation of the beautiful in intellect and in human relation-morals, still none can be without their moments, although the general rule of their action is not under such influence, when the soul or mind recognises its proper being in rejoicing energy, and in these-the confession and triumph of its final relation-the distinction of humanity is sustained, throughout all; but which, existent in an eminent degree, constitutes the source of human dignity, giving birth to the great and good in contemplation and in action, through intellectual and moral power. Truly to touch the heart-strings by either, is an inheritance of fame. It is this which has enkindled a pharos-light from humble deeds, and made the voice of the poet thunder.* But all effort is not alike borne upwards by this strength. The range of human consciousness may be figured as a segment of the circle of being, the angle of which meets the centre, or intelligence, whence existence proceeds; and its basement, the widest and most extended and outward portion of its quantity, reaches that distance from the centre, beyond which humanity is lost, and mere animal life commences. To this wider or more diffused range outward being belongs, while mental existence may be said to reach, by different gradations, to a nearer approximation to the centre.† But the angle narrows as it advances. While all are necessarily existent in the outward-proceeding, the participation in the inward-proceeding is limit
⚫ Some of those poems, usually denominated minor, in virtue derived from this source, become the Lares and Penates of the mind; and, were there one general language, would far outvie in effect or influence the destruction of a navy, or the burning of a capital, the means of the animal assertion of the right-war. Every word of Gray's Elegy, vainly criticised as it may be, is worth thousands of carronades and bayonets.
†The gods, demons, and heroes of the Greeks, might supply a filling up or completion of an analogy of this kind,
ed. Here, then, we are landed on the area of conflicting preferences-of fixed and of temporary reputation-of ultimate value, or that which is contingent of permanency and fashionof worth and worthlessness. But at the same time we recognise their division and separateness; and, in recognising this division, an immediate standard of judgment is supplied, by which the station and reference of the differ ent objects of human exertion must be assigned.
Judged by this standard, the influence of the works of the head of the Venetian painters are found to take a station which is subordinate and unelevated. Still, keeping in view their necessity in painting, and importance as one of the greatest exemplifications of the re-production of the constituent, or condition of the operation of all knowledge and art, sensible images, (although that had even limited their intention, which, on many
occasions, it does not,) their separate or distinct reference holds its place in that portion of the human constitution, which is immediately constitutive of sensible existence, and which is without direct reflex operation. It proceeds upon the unvarying necessity of exterior life, and descends in its appeals to that circle of perception where the union of the human with the merely animal nature takes place. It has not a part in the distinction of humanity. This is the degradation of the genius of Titian. Its elevation consists in the width of the circle to which his works belong, and in their being exemplifi cations of an intention or object, consummated to a degree which places them among the most eminent instances of human exertion :-not that it is meant to be implied that this intention was adopted and effected through a premeditated purpose, but that such is the result by different steps arrived at, in Venetian painting.
WALTER AND WILLIAM.
""TWILL be a wild rough night upon the Moor:
Of that deep-booming surge. God's mercy keep
Off the striplings ran,
As the door closed upon them: Then his head,
Facing her husband, sate a Matron fair,
(Drawn by that sigh) they wander'd, quick to trace
Reading his heart's thoughts by her own heart's light,