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Sculpture. Consist'ence, degree of density or rarity. To ascertain when the art of sculpture was first practised, and by what nation, is beyond human research. safely conjecture, however, that it was almost one of the original propensities of man. This will still appear in the ardent and irresistible impulse of youth to make representations of objects in wood, and the attempts of savages to embody their conceptions of their idols. A command from the author of our being was necessary to prevent the ancient Israelites from making graven images; and the inhabitants of the rest of the earth possessed similar propensities. The descriptions in the Scriptures demonstrate that the art had been brought to great perfection at the period of which they treat.

It is necessary to make a distinction between carving and sculpture : the former belongs exclusively to wood, and the latter to stone or marble. It is probable that every essay at imitating animated objects was in each nation made originally in wood. But they soon discovered, doubtless, that wood was incapable of a durability commensurate with their wishes; ihey adopted, therefore, a close grained and beautiful granite, which not only required touls of iron, but those of the most perfectly tempered steel, to cut it; and with such they have left us at this very distant time vast numbers of excavated figures, as complete and as little injured as if executed within our own memory. The acknowledged masters of the sublime art of sculpture are the ancient Greeks, to whom every nation of the earth still pays a willing homage, and from whose matchless works each sculptor is happy to concentrate and improve his observations on the human figure, presented by them to bris contemplation in its most graceful perfection. Such have been the excellence and correctness of their imitations of nature, and the refined elegance of their taste, that many of their works are mentioned, as efforts never to be exceeded or perhaps equalled.

Statuary is a branch of sculpture employed in the making of statues, The term is also used for the artificer himself Phidias was the greatest statuary among the ancients, and

THE LOVE OF NATURE.

271

Michael Angelo among the moderns. Statues are not only formed with the chisel from marble, and carved in wood, but they are cast in plaster of Paris, or other matter of the same nature, and in several metals, as lead, brass, silver, and gold. The process of casting in plaster of Paris is as follows: the plaster is mixed with water, and stirred until it attains a proper consistence; it is then poured on any figure, for instance, a human hand, or foot, previously oiled in the slightest manner possible, which will prevent the adhesion of the plaster : after a few minutes the plaster will dry to the hardness of soft stone, taking the exact impression of every part, even the minutest pores of the skin. This impression is called the mould. When taken from the figure that produced it, and slightly oiled, plaster, mixed with water as before, may be poured into it, and it must remain until it is hardened; if it be then taken from the mould, it will be an exact image of the original figure. When the figure is flat, having no deep hollows or high projections, it may be moulded in one piece, but when its surface is much varied, it must be moulded in many pieces fitted together, and held in one or more outside or containing pieces. This useful art supplies the painter and sculptor with exact representations from nature, and multiplies models of all kinds. It is practised in such perfection, that casts of the antique statues are made so precisely like the originals in proportion, outline, and surface, that no difference whatever is discoverable, excepting in colour and materials.

Questions.-1. What is said of the origin of sculpture ? 2. How does sculpture differ from carving? 3. What is said of this art as it existed among the ancient Greeks? 4. Define the word statuary in both senses. 5. How are statues formed ? 6. What is the process of casting in plaster of Paris? 7. Of what use is the art of casting to the painter and sculptor ?

LESSON 124.

The Love of Nature. When the mind becomes animated with a love of nature, nothing is seen tha does not become an object for curiosity

THE IMPORTANCE OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.

272
and inquiry. A person under the influence of this principle
can converse with a picture, and find an agreeable com-
panion in a statue. He meets with a secret refreshment in
a description : and often feels a greater satisfaction in the
prospect of fields and meadows, than another does in the
possession. It gives him indeed a kind of property in every
thing he sees; and makes the most rude uncultivated parts
of nature administer to his pleasures; so that he looks upon
the world, as it were, in another light, and discovers in it a
inultitude of charms, that conceal themselves from the gene-
rality of mankind. A river is traced to its fountain ; a
ilower to its seed; and an oak to its acorn. If a marine
fossil lies on the side of a mountain, the mind is employed
in the endeavour to ascertain the cause of its position. If a
trce is buried in the depths of a morass, the history of the
world is traced to the deluge; and he who grafts, inoculates,
and prunes, as well as he who plants and transplants, will
derive an innocent pleasure in noting the habits of trees and
their modes of culture; the soils in which they delight; the
shapes into which they mould themselves; and will enjoy as
great a satisfaction from the symmetry of an oak, as from the
symmetry of an animal. Every tree that bends, and every
lower that blushes, eren a leafless copse, a barren plain,
the cloudy firmament, and the rocky mountain, are objects
for his attentive meditation. For,

To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And gentle sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware.

BRYANT.

LESSON 125.

The Importance of Natural Philosophy.
With thee, serene Philosophy, with thee,
And thy bright garland, let me crown my song:

THE IMPORTANCE OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.

273

Effusire source of evidence and truth !
Without thee, what were unenlightened man?
A savage roaming through the woods and wilds,
In quest of prey; and with the unfashioned fur
Rough clad : devoid of every finer art,
And elegance of life. Nor happiness
Domestic, mixed of tenderness and

care,
Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,
Nor guardian law were his; nor various skill
To turn the furrow; nor to guide the tool
Mechanic; nor the heaven-conducted prow
Of navigation bold, that fearless braves
The burning line, or dares the wint'ry pole.

THOMSON.

What can be more gratifying than to become acquainted with the wonderful laws of matter and motion ; with the grand mechanical powers; and the ingenious and admirable application of them to numberless purposes of human industry, convenience, and comfort?' What more pleasing than to know the nature and properties of the element in which we live ; to understand the laws on which the motion and pressure of fluids depend; to be able to ascertain the specific gravities, or the relative weight of different bodies; and to be made acquainted with those newly-discovered principles, by means of which the aspiring genius of man has dared to soar through the trackless regions of the air, and to explore, unhurt, the capacious bosom of the deep? What can be more interesting or more delightful, than to accompany the rays of light in their rapid journey from the sun; to observe the various effects of reflection and refraction ; to analyze distinctly the principle of light; to grasp the fading colours of the rainbow; to understand the laws of vision, and to view the wonderful and happy application, which has been made of the grand principles of optics, to the promotion of physical and astronomical science? What more astonishing than the exquisite nature of that most subtile, all-pervading fluid, which, when collected, produces such powerful effects upon the human frame, which sports in the northern lights, and flashes amidst the storm; and which, by the penetrating genius and art of man, has even been rendered tractable and obedient to his will ? To be

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made acquainted with the surprising laws of magnetic bodies, with the polarity of the needle, and the amazing changes which a knowledge of this most remarkable property has effected in the widely-extended intercourse of different nations by means of improved navigation, are certainly objects of the greatest utility, and interesting and instructive in the highest degree. While you contemplate the admirable laws of the planetary system, you will, doubtless, be strnick with reverence and awe at the great First Cause, which originaliy established, and which continually maintains them in order and in being.

Curious to search what binds old Ocean's tides,
What through the various year the seasons guides,
What shadows darken the palé queen of night,

Whence she renews her orb and spreads her light. You will take a pleasing survey of those grand movements in the heavenly bodies, to which the sweet interchange of day and night, the grateful succession of the seasons, the occurrence of eclipses, and the regular flowing and ebbing of the tides, may be justly ascribed. With the mind's eye you will even cast a glance into that universe of worlds, which, orbit within orbit, system combined with system, the daring genius of philosophy has ventured to descry in the regions of infinite space; and while absorbed in these sublime speculations, you will be ready to exclaim with the inspired poet of Israel, “ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaimeth his handy work :” or to break forth in the beautiful strains of Thomson

"These, as they change, Almighty Father, these
Are but the varied God; the rolling year is full of Thee !"

LESSON 126.

Mythology. Mythology comprehends all those fabulous details con cerning the objects of worship, which were invented and propagated by men who lived in the early ages of the world, and transmitted to succeeding generations, either

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