« PreviousContinue »
has many enemies among liis colleagues. The very misfortunes which have come over the Holy See, in part from measures •which he has really disapproved of, furnish ready charges of indictment against him. We should say confidently that Cardinal Antonelli can count his sincere friends only by units among the Sacred College. It would not therefore surprise us if the jealousy and ill-feeling which we fancy lurks in the breasts of many cardinals, were to prove an immediate element for anyhow preventing an instantaneous election by previous arrangement. It is enough, however, to have once introduced an element of difference in a conclave, to lead easily to lengthened discussions. Everything concurred to prognosticate an instantaneous election on the death of Pius VI. The state of the world counselled imperatively concord—extraordinary arrangements among the cardinals had been made to secure it—when the circumstances of the pre-designated candidate having failed to get at the first balloting the requisite majority by one vote, sufficed to spin out the conclave three mouths and a half. On the other hand, it must be expected that the antagonisms which we have dwelt on above, between those who are creatures of the Jesuits and those who are disposed to look with an evil eye on that society—between the prelates of Italian origin and those from over the mountains—will show themselves in a conclave of any duration, and will introduce into it many cross influences, the practical action whereof can not be calculated. It is, indeed, a common opinion that the dislike against the non-Italian cardinals is so great that it will, more than any other consideration, have weight with those in Rome to accelerate an election at once on the Pope's demise, in accordance with arrangements already made. It is very probable that secret arrangements have been made, with the Pope's wish, for the purpose of raising to the Chair a man according to his heart. We are quite ready to expect that the cardinals of the Jesuit party will act together with superior discipline and compactness, were it from no other reason than that they will from the first know exactly what they want, while the others would
have to acquire organization in the Conclave. Still it would be rash to trust in the certainty of any previous combination being carried out, however strong it 'may appear at present The chances that can materially affect the Conclave, and to which it is particularly liable, are innumerable. It is very well for a faction now in the ascendant to have cunningly-laid plans for carrying the election by surprise, as it is supposed, thrpugb. means of an already signed Papal rescript, absolving the Sacred College from the obligation of waiting the prescribed nine days after the Pope's decease before proceeding to an election; yet in these days of telegraph and steam, unless the Pope dies in a fit, it will beimpossible to hurry the proceedings so as not to give time to cardinals at a distance to reach Rome. But leaving mere manoeuvres out of consideration, it is evident that a Conclave can not avoid being affected by the political conditions of the moment, and these in our times are liable to sudden modifications quite beyond foresight. For instance, a Conclave before the Convention would have met under conditions to produce a different array of parties from what would probably be seen now. Several cardinals who before would have gone without reservation with the zealots, are likely now to demur from their policy in some degree. The truth is that in Rome the possibility of an abiding Italy has not presented itself hitherto as a livelihood. It is only since the Convention, and especially the transfer of the capital, that the idea of such an event being possible, is beginning to be entertained. Every fact, therefore, which may tend to confirm this impression will strengthen an element that hitherto has exercised no influence, but which, as its action extends, will directly operate to relax the tenacity of a nosurrender spirit. Almost exactly half the Safcred College bowed to Napoleon I., figured at his Court, accepted salaries at his hand under the belief that he was permanent lord of the ascendant, and the same thing will happen towards Victor Emmanuel the day he can get himself to be considered as a king that really has a probability of continuing in power. The present position of affairs is of a nature where every day an occurrence may happen greatly to modify its aspect and materially to disintegrate the solidarity of the elements that have been defiantly rejecting all appeals towards a spirit of compromise. At the very moment we are writing an incident is happening which may have great consequence. We mean the attitude which Cardinal Andrea has publicly taken up. It can not be apprehended for an instant that he has any prospect of becoming Pope; but he has the prospect before him, provided he does not lose himself by indiscreet conduct, such as Passaglia was guilty of when he had himself elected deputy, to become the influential mouthpiece of opinion in the Sacred College, which when once expressed many of his colleagues will be likely to assent to, who would not have had the courage to speak them first. It is evident from the authorized report given in the French press of a conversation with the Cardinal that he is prepared to take publicly the responsibility of his views. These amount simply to a recognition of what has been fulfilled, and a desire for the Holy See to come to an understanding on this base which will secure to it a fixed establishment for the future. No cardinal has yet uttered anything even remotely approaching these opinions in distinctness; but not a few we apprehend have been affected with them dimly, and inwardly recognize therein, more or less, the expression of their own instincts. Hence the position taken up by Cardinal Andrea is a very grave incident, and we can not help anticipating that if he were to appeal1 in a conclave, as certainly he means to do, without having lost credit by any act unbecoming his peculiar station, and with the kind of authority that could not fail to appertain to a confidential representative of his character, able to communicate in the intimacy of the conclave, the terms which the King of Italy was ready to offer the cardinals for the security of their dignities—that the impression produced would be great and lead to much discussion and serious consideration. But how different is a temper not indisposed to take note of propositions of kind from the frantic humor which
m:ide the bishops of the Church declare I the Temporal Power little less than a j divine institution. It is in such insensi, ble changes that the pitiless might of itime marks itself even upon the stubborn I constitution of Rome.
We have supplied the reader, to the best of our power, with an account of parties in the Court of Rome, and must I leave him now to draw his own conclu( sions as to the precise shape into which coming events will there fall. His boldj ness may venture upon casting a horoscope, the particularities of which we are too short-sighted to be able to decipher at this distance. All that we can dis! tinguish are certain marked currents of influence which seem destined to come j into collision, but are liable to be mateI rially affected for better or for worse by numerous incidents that can be said to : be in the air of the times, but can not be prognosticated with certainty. Undoubtedly the next Conclave will be a capital event; but the impression at this moment is that its importance will rather be in affording a field on which opinions in favor of modification will show themselves and acquire influence for a future moment than in actual and immediate result. The feeling of those who might form a judgment seems to be, that the next Conclave will be marked with conclusive evidence of the progress made by the sense for a necessity to strike out of the groove in which matters have been allowed to run, but that yet the election is likely to rest with the retrograde party, which, however, will itself have to make concessions to its opponent before carrying a candidate. The victory would in this case be a modified one, and the Pope be more or less neutral, a character in accordance with a reign of tacitly-admitted transition between an obsolete constitution to be allowed to drop out of sight, and new forms which have to be manufactured. But a reign once penetrated with a consciousness, however suppressed, of transition, can hardly fail to be more than a reign of accelerated decomposition in which the elements of disintegration must perforce ripen fearfully fast.
THE PRESENT POSITION OF LANDSCAPE PAINTING IN ENGLAND.
It would be difficult to say much more than lias been said by Mr. Huskin on the modern tendency to Landscape Painting. Any one who touches on this theme must re-arrange, collect, and criticize •what he has scattered up and down his works. In comparing our arts with those of the Greeks and Romans, and indeed •with those of the mediaeval and Renaissance periods, we can not but perceive how much of our attention is directed to inanimate nature. The ancients were occupied with affairs of civil life almost exclusively. The passions, sentiments, and thoughts of men seemed to them the only fitting subjects of art. Nor did they regard the outer world, except as conducing to the luxuries and comforts of daily life. The beauty of mountain, sea, and sunlight they no doubt appreciated, but they did not care to represent it as it stood before them. Every fact of nature became humanized before the Greeks admitted it within the pale of art. It was not the river, or the tree, or the cloud they sought to reproduce; but the god of streams, the Dryad, and the master of the clouds. With these personages the Greeks could sympathize. A divine being, not very different in kind from himself, was always present to a Greek. The notion of personality in God, in nature, and in man so filled his intellect that it left room for none beside. Very little of this sentiment remains to us. Our monotheistic religion, and the dogma of the creation, have entirely destroyed the belief in deities of woods, and waves, and mountains. Spiritual conceptions have supplanted the concrete forms of Greek mythology, and art has sought to represent subjects of a more reflective and less external character. We have little power over sculpture, but music, poetry, and landscape painting flourish.
Again, the beauty of man was always prominent to the Greeks in their gymnastic grounds, in the dances and processions of their religious ritual, and on the plains of Elis, where all Hellas met to watch the contests of her athletes. To the development of the body they paid an almost exclusive attention. Gymnastics
constituted the whole education of a Spartan youth, and the music which Plato added to this training consisted for the most part in a cultivation of harmonious sentiments, and of .in a?sthetical enjoyment of the beautiful. Modern society in this respect is placed upon quite a different footing. Instead of seeing the human form constantly bare before us, and of rejoicing by experience and by sympathy in the loveliness and strength of well-trained limbs, to uncover the person is considered a disgrace, and mediaeval Christianity has taught us an almost mor' bid contempt for the flesh. Our clumsy clothing, and the awkwardness of our movements, distract attention from the beauty of man, and leave it free to occupy itself with other kinds of natural grace.
Again, it must be remembered that every man of Greece and Rome had political and military interests, which absorbed his activity, and prevented him from becoming self-engrossed in meditation, or in merely private matters. Each j individual citizen was of vast importance to the state when wars were frequent and the families from which the soldier and the statesman came were few. In modern days the size of nations relieves each individual from those responsibilities which weighed upon a citizen of Greece or Rome. The business of public life is not sufficient to exercise the faculties of all the cultivated classes. There remains a large body of men who have to seek I within themselves1 the object of their interest, and to whom politics presents no attractions. Hence solitude of soul, and introspection, and the melancholy which loves to be alone with nature, have a place in modern psychology. A morbid sense of isolation results, which has been admirably depicted by Goethe in his Faust. This character, to classic thinkers, would have seemed unreal and monstrous in the last degree. They would have shrunk from its unhealthy self-analysis and constant brooding over private pains. But in modern society it has a deep and far-spread truth. It represents a condition of human life which is almost universal, and which constitutes the special gravity of modern, as distinct from ancient modes of thought. The vast importance of the individual in the face of the lineaments of men down to the outlines of the meanest herb.
It has been well said that every picture ought to be a painted poem. For poetry is truth appealing to the intellect, reflected from it, and partaking of the thoughts and feelings of mankind. To be true poetry it must excite the imagination, and connect itself with sympathies that are universal in the world. It stands midway between reality and thought Poetry has well been called "the beautiful investiture of fact." In this sense a picture is half an idea, and half a thing. To give in words or forms a full description of any natural object would be impossible. The mind must select; and the process of selection resolves itself into a representation of mental impressions. Whatever conduces to the vividness and completeness of the impression renders the poem more exact and true. But multitudes of details foisted in, observed with undue- reference to their individual importance, and copied with neglect of the main purpose of-the work in hand, disturb the conception. Unity and the controlling intellect are necessary for a work of art. Plato, when describing a good essay, compared it to an animal. He meant that it should be an organic whole, dominated by some central thought, and cohering in such a way that the abstraction or addition of any important part would mar its symmetry. And this metaphor may be applied to every work of art. We often hear people say that some landscape is well copied from a beautiful scene, but that it does not make a picture. It has too much or too little in it. Yon can not trace its meaning. Your eye does not rest upon some central fact to which all others are subordinate. In the same way we might condemn a poem which called itself an idyll, or a picture of life, because an episode distracted our attention from the current of the story, or because the author had turned aside to talk of flowers when great interests were at stake. It would be useless for the artist to exclaim, "I saw things as I painted them;" or for the poet to answer that the story as he heard it first was encumbered with extraneous incidents. We should reply, "So it might have been in nature and in life; but what we want in art is some one object for our contemplation, some choice
piece of beauty, some instructive thought Your intellect was not enough at work. You painted everything you saw before you. You did not paint the one impression which it made upon your mind, and carefully avoid all matters that might interfere with its transmission to your fellow-men."
Furthermore, a poem must contain some idea. And this includes the question of how far landscapes can be made the vehicles of thought and feeling. It is clear that, in order to make them play this part, some human sentiment must be /connected with the scenes they represent The earliest landscape painters sought to give their pictures interest by placing a group of persons in the foreground, en- .
figed in some suggestive occupation, hus Claude filled up his pastorals with shepherds, and with dances under trees, while Salvator Rosa peopled the gloomy ! caverns and dark chestnut woods he loved i to paint, with bandits and soldiers. Rubens, in the celebrated landscape of the i Pitti Gallery at Florence, has painted the
• story of Ulysses landing after his ship
• wreck .on the shores of Phaeacia beneath
1 storm is broken overhead; vast rain-
eastward. Between the sunset and the moonlight a black steamer-tug is drawing an old ship-of-war to her last resting-place. The sun is going down, and night is coming on ; but the red beams of the evening fall upon the steamer, while the white rigging and gigantic hull of the veteran ship look spectral in the pale light of the moon. The pathos of this picture depends upon the sympathy which it excites in us for the vast, helpless manof-war. Men have always felt a personal attachment to their ships. Argo was respected as a kind of goddess, and Catullus wrote a sonnet to his favorite skiff. Equally in modern times are battle-ships regarded as actual personalities by the men who fight in them.
But, again, it is possible to make a poem in landscape from even simpler elements. The mind of man serves for nature's mirror, but it can not reflect her scenes precisely aa they are. They waken some feelings in his heart •which he endeavors to transfer to canvas, in connection with the forms and colors that excited them. We all know how calm, solemnity, and rest are associated with sunset; and how sunrise produces different emotions of a more active and joyous character. This is the simplest instance which can be found of human feeling insensibly connected with external scenes. To a painter, these associations by long communing in solitude with nature become more intense in degree and more varied in kind. Every mood of mind, grave, gay, sublime, languid, tender, or impassioned, receives its echo in some phase of natural beauty. These he paints, and these it is the critic's and spectator's task to read. Of course these different animating ideas can not be of a very complex or multiform description. Like the thoughts which music represents, the themes of landscape must be simple and confined within a narrow sphere. But they admit of exquisite gradations and the most delicate expression. In a summer afternoon, such as Giorgione painted, we find peace, the peace of pensive contemplation. Alter the tone, make it gayer and less rich, then a fresh kind of peace suggests itself, less majestic and luxurious 'than the calm of the Venetian's thought, more commonplace and fit for daily uses. Sunsets over broad
flat lands; a promontory running out in' td a cloudy sky, with waves beneath, and seagulls wheeling at its base; a solitary ship at sunrise; cypress-trees or poplars bent by winds, beside a ruined tower— strike different notes of loneliness and melancholy. Branches dashed together in the forest, or surf strewn with spars chafing against stones, tell us of strife and anguish, danger and unrest. In sunlight on broad meadows \>re see plenty and content, recalling days of quiet toil, and harvests crowned with happiness. It seems superfluous to spend more time in such illustrations of the poetical thoughts which may be conveyed through landscape painting. Association governs all the actions of our mind, and if the artist but feels strongly, and expresses to the bast of his ability what he has felt,
i his work can scarcely fail to be of value.
! It is only to the greatest men that high poetic inspiration is vouchsafed. They must stand alone. Their intuitions into
i nature, whether expressed in form and color as by Turner, or in music as by Beethoven, or in words as by Shelley, are the highest utterances of art. But the priesthood of the beautiful has many ranks; and it is the painter's privilege that, even though he do not stand among the poets of the world, he yet can embody in his works those emotions which vast numbers feel, which few can express in words, and which, from their purity, universality, and nobleness, are truly poetical.
Though we have dwelt upon the poetry which every picture ought to aim at,
! many valuable works may be produced
j which can be estimated only as clear and lucid descriptions of scenery and natural objects. So much has been said respecting the place and purposes of "topographical" painting by Mr. Ruskin, and by the able author of a Painter's Camp in the Highlands, that we need not enter into a further discussion of its merits. A good critic will always discern the picture which aims at nothing more than topographical exactitude. But it is not an uncommon fault of the people who pretend to criticize our exhibitions, that they class pictures almost entirely by reference to their subject, awarding higher praise to some transcript of grand scenery, which
is simply a good map, than they bestow