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presence of Moscs, exalt her soul to the highest pitch of national pride. The chords had of late been strung to their greatest tension, by the series of prodigies wrought in behalf of the nation of which her family is now the hoad. Of these the last and grand. est had just taken place before her eyes.
Imagine the stately and solemn beauty with which such nur. lure and such a position might invest the Jewish Miriam. Ima. gine her at the moment when her soul would burst at last the shackles in which it had learned to move freely and proudly, when ler lips were unsealed, and she was permitted before her brother, deputy of the Most High, and chief of their assembled nation, to sing the song of deliverance. Realize this situation, and oh, how far will this beautiful picture fall short of your demands ! [ The most unimaginative observers complain of a want of depth in the eye of Miriam. For myself, I make the same complaint, as much as I admire the whole figure. How truly is she upborne, what swelling joy and pride in every line of her form! And the face, though inadequate, is not false to the ideal. Ito beauty is mournful, and only wants the heroic depth, the cavern. ous flame of eye, which should belong to such a face in such a place.
The Wuch of Endor is still more unsatisfactory. What a tra. gedy was that of the stately Saul, ruined by his perversity of will, despairing, half mad, refusing to give up the sceptre which he feels must in a short time be wrenched from his hands, degrading himself to the use of means he himself had forbid as unlawful and devilish, seeking the friend and teacher of his youth by means he would most of all men disapprove. The mournful significance of the crisis, the stately aspect of Saul as celebrated in the history, and the supernatural events which had filled his days, gave authority for investing him with that sort of beauty and majesty proper to archangels ruined. What have we here? I don't
know what is generally thought about the introduction of a ghost on canvass, but it is to mo as ludicrous as the introduction on the stage of the ghost in Hamlet (in his night-gown) as the old play book direction was. The effect of such a representation seems to me unattainable in a picture. There cannot be due distance and shadowy softness.
Then what does the picture mean to say? In the chronicle, the witch, surprised and affrighted at the apparition, reproaches the king, “Why hast thou deceived mc ? for thou art Saul.”
But here the witch (a really fine figure, fierce and prononcé as that of a Norna should be) seems threatening the king, who is in an attitude of thcatrical as well as degrading dismay. To me this picture has no distinct expression, and is wholly unsatisfac. tory, maugre all its excellencies of detail.
In fine, the more I have looked at these pictures, the more I have been satisfied that the grand historical style did not afford the scope most proper to Mr. Allston's genius. The Prophets and Sibyls are for the Michael Angelos. The Beautiful is Mr. Allston's dominion. There he rules as a Genius, but in attempts such as I have been considering, can only show his appreciation of the stern and sublime thoughts he wants force to reproduce.
But on his own ground we can meet the painter with almost our first delight.
A certain bland delicacy enfolds all these creations as an at. mosphere. Here is no effort, they have floated across the painter's heaven on the golden clouds of phantasy.
These pictures (I speak here only of figures, of the landscapes a few words anon) are almost all in repose. The most beautiful are Beatrice, The Lady reading a Valentine, The Evening Hymn, Rosalie, The Italian Shepherd Boy, Edwin, Lorenzo and Jessica. The excellence of these pictures is subjective and even feminine. They tell us the painter's ideal of character. A graceful repose, with a fitness for moderate action. A capacity
of emotion, with a habit of reverie. Not one of these beings is in a state of epanchement, not one is, or perhaps could be, thrown off its equipoise. They are, even the softest, characterized by entire though unconscious self-possession.
While looking at them would be always coming up in my mind the line,
"The genius loci, feminine and fair
Grace, grace always.
Mr. Allston seems to have an exquisite sensibility to colour, and a great love for drapery. The last sometimes leads him to direct our attention too much to it, and sometimes the accessories are made too prominent; we look too much at shawls, curtains, rings, feathers, and carcanets.
I will specify two of these pictures, which seem to me to indi. cate Mr. Allston's excellences as well as any.
The Ilalian Shepherd boy is scated in a wood. The form is almost nude, and the green glimmer of the wood gives the flesh the polished whiteness of marble. He is very beautiful, this boy; and the beauty, as Mr. Allston loves it best, has not yet unfolded all its leaves. The heart of the flower is still a per. fumed secret. He sits as if he could sit there forever, gracefully lost in reverie, steeped, if we may judge from his mellow brown eye, in the present loveliness of nature, in the dimly anticipated ecstasies of love.
Every part of nature has its peculiar influence. On the hill. top one is roused, in the valley soothed, beside the waterfall ab. sorbed. And in the wood, who has not, like this boy, walked as far as the excitement of exercise would carry him, and then, with “ blood listening in his frame," and heart brightly awake, seated himself on such a bank. At first he notices everything, the clouds doubly soft, the sky deeper blue, as seen shimmering through the leaven, the fyttes of golden light seen through the
long glades, the skimming of a butterfly ready to light on some starry wood-flower, the nimble squirrel peeping archly at him, the slutter and wild notes of the birds, the whispers and sighs of the trees,-gradually he ceases to mark any of these things, and becomes lapt in the Elysian harmony they combine to form. Who has ever felt this mood understands why the observant Greek placed his departed great ones in groves. While during this trance, he hears the harmonies of Nature, ho seems to booome her and she him ; it is truly the mother in the child, and the Hamadryads look out with eyes of tender twilight approbation from their beloved and loving trees. Such an hour lives for us
) again in this picture.
Mr. Allston has been very fortunate in catching the shimmer and glimmer of the woods, and tempering his greens and browns to their peculiar light.
Beatrice. This is spoken of as Dante's Beatrice, but I should think can scarcely have been suggested by the Divine Comedy. The painter merely having in mind how the great Dante loved a certain lady called Beatrice, embodied here his own ideal of a poet's Love.
The Beatrice of Dante was, no doubt, as pure, as gentle, as high-bred, but also possessed of much higher attributes than this fuir being
How fair, indeed, and not unmeet for a poet's love. But there lies in her no germ of the celestial destiny of Dante's saint. What she is, what she can be, it needs no Dante to dis.
She is not a lustrous, bewitching beauty, neither is she a high and poetic one. She is not a concentrated perfume, nor a flower, vor a star; yet somewhat has she of every creature's best. She has the golden mean, without any touch of the mediocre. She can venerate the higher and compassionate the lower, and do to all honour due with most grateful courtesy and nice tact. She is
velvet-soft, her mild and modest eyes have tempered all things round her, till no rude sound invades her sphere ; yet, if need were, she could resist with as graceful composure as she can fa. vour or bestow.
No vehement emotion shall heave that bosom, and the tears shall fall on those cheeks more like dew than rain. Yet are her feelings delicate, profound, her love constant and tender, her resentment calm but firm.
Fair as a maid, fuirer as a wife, fairest as a lady mother and ruler of a household, she were better suited to a prince than a poet. Even if no prince could be found worthy of her, I would not wed her to a poet, if he lived in a cottage. For her best graces demand a splendid setting to give them their due lustre, and she should rather enhance than cause her environment.
There are three pictures in the comic kind, which are good. It is genteel comedy, not rich, easily taken in and left, but hav. ing the lights and shades well marked. They show a gentle. munlike playfulness. In Catharine and Petruchio, the Gremio is particularly good, and the tear-distained Catharine, whose head shoulder, knee, and foot seem to unite to spell the word Pout, is next best.
The Sisters-a picture quite unlike those I have named-does not please me much, though I should suppose the execution remarkably good. It is not in repose nor in harmony, nor is it rich in suggestion, like the others. It aims to speak, but says little, and is not beautiful enough to fill the heart with its present mo. ment. To me it makes a break in the chain of thought the other pictures had woven.
Scene from Gil Blas-also unlike the other in being perfectly objective, and telling all its thought at once. It is a fine painting.
Mother and Child. A lovely little picture. But there is to my taste an air of got up naiveté ang delicacy in it. It seems
selected, arranged by “ an intellectual effort." It did not flow into the artist's mind like the others. But persons of better taste than I like it better than I do!
Jews—full of character. Isaac is too dignified and sad ; gold never rusted the soul of the man that owned that face.
The Landscapes. At these I look with such unalloyed delight, . that I have been at moinents tempted to wish that the artist had concentrated his powers on this department of art, in so high a degree does he exhibit the attributes of the master; a power of sympathy, which gives cach landscape a perfectly individual character. Here the painter is merged in his theme, and these pictures affect us as parts of nature, so absorbed are we in con. templating them, so difficult is it to remember them as pictures. How the clouds float ! how the trees live and breathe out their mysterious souls in the peculiar attitude of every leaf. Dear companions of my life, whom yearly I know better, yet into whose heart I can no more penetrate than see your roots, while you live and grow, I feel what you have said to this painter ; I can in some degree appreciate the power he has shown in repeating here the gentle oracle.
The soul of the painter is in these landscapes, but not his char. acter. Is not-that-the highest.art. L. Nature and the soul.com. bined; the forner freed from slight crudities or blemishes, the latter from its inerely human aspect.
These landscapes are too truly works of art, their language is too direct, too lyrically perfect, to be translated into this of words, without doing them an injury.
To those, who confound praise with indiscriminate eulogium, and who cannot understand the mind of one, whose highest expres. sion of admiration is a close scrutiny, perhaps the following lines will convey a truer impression, than the foregoing remarks, of the feelings of the writer. They were suggested by a picture pain.ed by Mr. Allston for a gentleman of Boston, which has