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sentation of form, requires that the subject chosen should be faultless both in form and proportion, to which a healthful constitution of mind and of body are essential. If in representing Beatrice, the artist is true to this requirement of the art of sculpture, and gives a perfect form, sbe must contradict the character chosen, or rather the circumstances that envelop it with interest. If Beatrice were destitute of sensibility, she could excite no interest. If, on the contrary, she had sensibility, she could not have escaped severe suffering, and suffering will have its effect on the physical frame. Indeed that is nature's index of the life within, and the one which we naturally make the criterion of our judgment. Therefore Beatrice Cenci is not a subject for the chisel, but for the pencil, and Guido has proved by his world renowned picture, that history furnishes none more exquisite. The painter may choose the most ethereal subject, for the pictorial art represents form by means of light and shade and color, and the form, wasted by severe mental suffering, may, in that art, be so represented as to excite the liveliest and tenderest sympathy for the sufferer, and at the same time avoid all that is repulsive. In the art of sculpture this is impossible. Ancient sculpture, in the famous statue of Niobe, furnishes one fine example of this class, but the subject of that, according to fable, was, from a state of joyous exultation changed at once to stone, thus preserving in the form the fullness of life and health. In the Beatrice, the choice of subject is not the artist's only mistake. The anatomy of the figure is exceedingly faulty. The body above the hips is flat, and the natural angle of the left shoulder entirely wanting. The deficiency of these parts makes the thigh appear disproportionately large. The attitude is a matter of taste. Let the reader contrast it with the grace of the sleeping Ariadne. We accept Guido's representation of Beatrice Cenci, and can associate with it a gentle, sen. sitive girl, driven by desperation to crime, and then suffering till wasted to the shadow of her former self. But this block of marble-whose heart has it touched?
The artists have lately proposed the formation of a National School of Art. This is just what should be done, and if they will found a school that will be as thorough in all departments of instruction as that of the Carracci, it will be the greatest move of the nineteenth century in the cause of education. This brings the question, where are the teachers who are capable of establishing such a school? What have the Schools of Design, so called, accomplished for the promotion of art ?—or, for "suffering needle-women," charity for whom was the ostensible object of the movement? Since their establishment, there has been no great advance in any art,—no important teachers furnished, and the demand on the benevolent for "poor seamstresses" seems not at all diminished. A successful and useful school of art may be founded and perpetuated as well as a collegiate institution, provided the plan and object are the same, viz., thorough and scientific instruction to all scholars, geniuses included, requiring them to go to the root of the matter, as is done in the studies pursued at college. This plan, and no other, will make a school of art successful. The false idea, that genius is all-sufficient, and that great works are the result of inspiration, is the rock on which true art has been wrecked. Every one, no matter what his native ability may be, if he would attain complete success, must have a thorough knowledge of the rules and principles that govern the practice of art. The works that are produced by each one so educated, will show who has talent and who has genius, for "genius plays and talent labors,” but the guide of the play and the labor must be, the absolute laws of art. If left to fancy, the productions of the
so-called artist, will have their day, like the fashion of the hat he wears, and then be laughed at and shoved aside for something more pleasing to the prevailing taste of another time. Let any one inform himself of the rules of sculpture and painting, and then study those works of art called “immortal," and he can not fail to see the true reason for their being the delight of successive generations. And, if he will go further, and analyze the reason for this, he will find that the philosophy of it lies in the fact, that their authors were guided wholly by that great and true teacher, nature. The Creator in his wisdom formed us with certain tastes designed to promote our pleasure, and then for their gratification created the wonderful beauties of nature in their infinite variety, and so long as the world exists, the one will correspond to the other. Guided by this beautiful law of adaptation, the ancient artists studied nature, learned her laws, and in obedience to her teachings produced works that will never fail to gratify the natural tastes of man to the end of time. Knowing that the ancients were students of nature, the young artist is told to study nature. But he does not know how to study her. A student in astronomy might, with the same propriety, be told to look at the stars and learn that science without guide or teacher. In each case, he needs the benefit of the observations and study of those who have preceded him in the same paths for centuries. Again, the young artist is sent to Italy to copy pictures, and what does he acquire then but “surface contact ?” True, his taste may have become cultivated, but he has learned nothing of principles, and has nothing to guide him in his efforts at original composition.
The books that are universally read and accepted as authority, are considered an index of the state of the mental progress and cultivation of the time, and judging from the popularity of Ruskin's works, so far as art is concerned, the present day may be considered as the second period of the dark ages. In the preface to his “ Elements of Drawing,” he says:
“One task, however, of some difficulty, the student will find I have not imposed upon him : namely, learning the laws of perspective. It would be worthwhile to learn them if he could do so easily; but, without a master's help, and in the way perspective is at present explained in treatises, the difficulty is greater than the gain. For perspective is not of the slightest use, except in rudimentary work. You can draw the rounding of a table in perspective, but you can not draw the sweep of a sea bay; you can fore-shorten a log of wood by it, but you can not fore-shorten an arm. Its laws are too gross and few to be applied to any subtle form; therefore, as you must learn to draw the subtle forms by the eye, certainly you may draw the simple ones. No great painters ever trouble themselves about perspective, and very few of them know its laws; they draw every thing by the eye, and naturally disdain in the easy parts of their work, rules which can not help them in the difficult ones. It would take about a month's labor to draw imperfectly by laws of perspective, what any great Venetian will draw in five minutes, when he is throwing a wreath of leaves around the head, or, bending the curves of a pattern in and out among the folds of drapery. It is true that when perspective was first discovered, every body amused themselves with it, and all the great painters put fine saloons and arcades behind their madonnas, merely to show that they could draw in perspective; but even this was done by them only to catch the public eye, and they disdained the perspective so much, that though they took the greatest pains with the circlet of a crown, or the rim of a crystal cup, in the heart of their picture, they would twist the capitals of their columns and towers of churches about in the back
ground in the most wanton way, wherever they liked the lines to go, provided only they left just perspective enough to please the public. In modern days, I doubt if any artist among us, except David Roberts, knows so much perspective as would enable him to draw a gothic arch to scale at a given angle and distance. Turner, though he was professor of perspective in the Royal Academy, did not know what he professed, and never, so far as I remember, drew a single building in true perspective in his life. He drew them only with as much perspective as suited him. Prout also knew nothing of perspective, and twisted his buildings as Turner did, into whatever shapes he liked. I do not justify this, and would recommend the student at least to treat perspective with common civility, but to pay no court to it.”
In the first place, leaving out perspective in a book of instruction for “beginners," which carries them on to composition, is like leaving out the multiplication table in an arithmetic, or like saying, that the rules of time are of no importance in the study of music; they are well enough, but if you can sing or play by the ear, it will answer all purposes. Why could not Ruskin speak the honest truth, and say, that he was perfectly ignorant of perspective, and incapable of giving them one single rule for it, and was, therefore, obliged to leave it out of his book? In the next place, he tells these learners an absolute falsehood in regard to the practice of the great masters, as their works will show. The artists of modern days, who, he says, know nothing of perspective, can speak for themselves. And, lastly, if Turner accepted the professorship of perspective in the Royal Academy, when ignorant of the subject, we can only say, that he had no more uprightness of mind than Mr. Ruskin, his great admirer and worthy trumpeter.
The book on all points, is equally true in theory, sound in reason, and definite in instruction,-yet the leading papers and periodicals vie with each other in praising the work, recommending it to the public, and the ancients who consulted their oracles, would as soon have thought of appealing from the decision given, as the admirers of Ruskin of appealing from his opinion. If one is bold enough to venture a doubt, the reply is, “Ruskin says so:" on every other subject, people use their own reason and common sense, and if teachers should adopt a book for another branch of study that was equally bad, these same editors would think them benighted, and lose no time in exposing its shallow fallacy. (If it were not for soiling your chaste pages with impertinent questions, we should like to ask them if they have ever made practical drawing a pursuit, or art a study ?) If, at this enlightened day, the leaders of public opinion agree in endorsing so blind a guide in this department of instruction, it is surely time for educationists to arouse themselves and establish schools that shall be accessible to all classes of people, where they can receive thorough instruction in every department of art. Let it also include "A professor of Æsthetics or the History and Criticism of Art," who is competent to discuss the works of ancient artists, giving an opportunity to learn whether they too were versed in " those profound laws which make the foundation of modern science."
M. A. D.
MISS M. A. DWIGHT'S ART INSTITUTE,
MI Dwight is now located in Hartford, Conn., as a teacher of drawing, where she is prepared to give instruction to those who may wish to learn the principles of art in connection with a course of practice that will secure skill of hand. Those who do not wish to give their time to drawing, can, by learning the theory and principles of art, become qualified to judge the merits of a picture. Instruction in this department is given in a course of familiar lectures, when the principles of composition are illustrated by engravings from the works of the old masters.
All well educated people, particularly those who have traveled abroad, can realize the importance of a more thorough system of instruction in art, than has hitherto been adopted, and if they would join in a united effort to accomplish this object, they would rank among the great benefactors of the age. Among the advantages gained by this knowledge of art is the power of appreciating and enjoying the works of the old masters that are so valued for their intrinsic merit, the beauties of which are lost to those who know nothing of the subject. Again, the beauties of nature, open and free to all, are more highly enjoyed when the laws by which they are produced are better understood, as they must be after studying the principles of art, of which they form the foundation.
Of the pecuniary advantages gained by a knowledge of art, it is useless to say much, so long as our people are content to depend on the skill of French designers instead of cultivating their own native ability. It is well known that the work of the French designers and artizans commands the market, and that this skill, founded on a thorough knowledge of the theory and practice of art, brings to their country an immense revenue, while our people, in their helpless ignorance, are cheated of heavy sums in exchange for worthless trash, duped with the fallacious idea of possessing “a genuine Raphael or Guido.” We ask, why should not all acquire a knowledge of art that will save them the disgrace of gross imposition ?
Miss M. A. Dwight will receive scholars at her house, Hartford, Conn., for the purpose of giving them instruction in Art. Those who wish to become accomplished in artistic skill, and those who wish merely to study the subject previous to visiting Foreign Galleries, will, under her tuition, find the facilities required.
The instruction given in the arts of Drawing and Painting, is thorough and scientific
The course of general instruction embraces the rules of Form, Light, and Shade, Color, Expression, and Composition, illustrated by Pictures, and by Prints, from the Antique and from the Old Masters. Also, Lessons in the Higtory of Art from the earliest period to the present time, which will include some knowledge of Architecture and of Coins, Gems, and Engravings.
TERMS.—Price for Board and Tuition, $120, for a term of Twelve Weeks, commencing May Ist, September 7th, and January 6th. PAYMENTS ADVANCED.
HARTFORD, Conn., 1858.
Moses Brown Ives,* whose life presents a beautiful example of the true uses of wealth, education, and social influence, by one content to live as a public spirited citizen, an accomplished merchant and a Christian gentleman, was the eldest son of Thomas Poynton Ives and Hope Brown Ives.
Thomas P. Ives, who died in 1835, was endowed with a clear and discriminating mind ; delicate taste ; unerring sagacity ; consummate knowledge of men ; bland, but retiring manners ; scrupulously methodical in the transaction of business; and of such truthful integrity, that an intimation of what he would do, was considered as good as his bond ; it is not remarkable that, for the greater part of his life, he was the acknowledged head of the mercantile interest in Providence. To his example, that city owes more than it can well appreciate. If there attaches, both at home and abroad, a peculiar sacredness to the promise of a Providence merchant; if caution in decision, and energy in action have, in an unwonted degree, crowned our enterprises with success ; if the financial prosperity of this city has been checked by but few, and these, unavoidable reverses; and if diligent attention to business has, in any manner, repressed the love of vulgar sensuality and the riot of luxurious extravagance; there is no man to whom we are so much indebted for all this, as the late Thomas Poynton Ives.
Hope Brown Ives was the sister of the late Nicholas Brown—a name intimately associated with almost every benevolent institution of which this city can boast. To the tenderest sympathy for every form of suffering, and a humility which none but those who knew her well would have conceived possible ; she united that fearlessness of danger, which is hereditary in her family. During the long years of her widowhood, the labor of her life was beneficence. She seemed to place no other value on money than as it was the means of increasing the happiness of her friends, or of relieving the sorrows of the destitute. Venerated by the public, beloved by the good, and mourned by the widow and the orphan; at the age of eighty-two, on the 21st of August, 1855, an entrance was ministered to her into the everlasting kingdom of her Saviour and her God.
Moses B. Ives was born in Providence, on the 21st of July, 1794. He was early trained to liberal studies, and received an academical education at Brown University, where he graduated in 1812. Although early designated by his father to aid and succeed him in his own businesss, he wisely saw that no one can attain to eminence in this profession, without large knowledge and a thoroughly disciplined mind. He could perceive no reason why a merchant should not be as highly cultivated in his habits and tastes as any other man; while he believed that the range of information which his occupation demands, is almost unlimited. To understand accounts and to be familiar with all the forms of business, is the smallest part of his preparation. His office is, to understand and supply the physical wants of man; and, in the widest sense, to negotiate between the producer and consumer. Hence, he requires an intimate acquaintance with all the productions of the globe, both natural and artificial ; the habits of nations which modify
• This memoir is only an abridgment of "A Discourse in commemoration of the life and character of Moses Brown Ives, by Francis Waylund, D. D. Providence, 1857."