Billeder på siden

symphonies of heavenly voices, and lose ourselves amidst the splendours and fruitions of the beatific vision !

• To that state all the pious on earth are tending; and if there is a law from whose operation none are exempt, which irresistibly conveys their bodies to darkness and to dust, there is another, not less certain or less powerful, which conducts their spirits to the abodes of bliss, to the bosom of their Father and their God. The wheels of náture are not made to roll backward ; every thing presses on towards eternity ; from the birth of time, an impetuous current has set in, which bears all the sons of men towards that interminable ocean. Meanwhile heaven is attracting to itself whatever is congenial to its nature, is enriching itself by the spoils of earth, and collecting with. in its capacious bosom whatever is pure, permanent, and divine, leaving nothing for the last fire to consume, but the objects and the slaves of concupiscence; while every thing which grace has prepared and beautified shall be gathered and selected from the ruins of the world, to adorn that eternal city," which hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God doth enhghten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. Let us obey the voice that calls us thither; let us seek the things that are above, and no longer cleave to a world which must shortly perish, and which we must shortly quit, while we neglect to prepare for that in which we are invited to dwell for ever. Let us follow in the track of those holy men, who, together with your beloved and faithful pastor, have taught us by their voice, and encouraged us by their example, " that, laying aside every weight, and the sin that most easily besets us, we may run with patience the race that is set before us. While every thing within us and around us reminds us of the approach of death, and concurs to teach us that this is not our rest, let us hasten our prepa. rations for another world, and earnestly implore that grace, which alone can put an end to that fatal war which our desires have too long waged with our destiny: When these move in the same direction, and that which the will of heaven renders unavoidable, shall become our choice, all things will be ours; life will be divested of its vanity, and death of its terrors.', 48-50.

One of Howe's most beautiful discourses is that which he preached on the occasion of the death of Dr. Bates,-a man of most John-like sweetness and benignity of character. Mr. Howe states, that he had had but little time, since he received, at two hundred miles distance, the overwhelming tidings of his friend's death, to reduce his thoughts to order. he adds, had I had never so much time and leisure, I cannot * but reflect on what was said of that famous Roman,-To give * the just praises of Cicero, Cicerone laudatore opus fuerit,

there was need of Cicero himself to be the encomiast.' No mán knows how to speak becomingly of Dr. Bates, that bath

not the eloquence of Dr. Bates. He did that office most 4 laudably, for divers others, for those reverend and truly great



[ocr errors]

"men, Dr. Manton, Mr. Clarkson, Dr. Jacoinb, and the admi• rable Mr. Baxter. But now, there is no man left to do it

suitably for him.' Long may it be before the occasion shall arise for a similar lamentation !

Art. IV. 1, Studies of Figures, selected from the Sketch Books of

the late Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. Executed in Lithography

by Richard Lane. Folio. Nos. I. and II. London. 1825. 2. The Rivers of England. From Original Drawings by J, M. W:

Turner, R.A., and the late T. Girtin. Royal 4to. Nos. I. to V.

10s, each, London. 1823-1825. 3. Select Views in Greece. By H. W. Williams. Imperial 8yo,

Parts I. to IV. London, 1825. 4. Graphic Illustrations of Warwickshire. Royal 4to. Parts I. to III,

128 6d. each. Birmingham 1824. 5. Views in Provence and on the Rhone. From Drawings by P. 17. Dewint, after the Sketches of John Hughes, A.M. Royal 410.

Nos. I. to VI. 8s. 6d. each, London. 1822-1825. 6. Paradise Lost : by John Milton. Illustrated by John Martin, Esq.

Imperial 8vo. Nos. I. to VI. 10s. 6d. each, London. 1825. THE Arts of Design, in the various moods and tenses of their

cultivation, form a section in the great history of literature, too important to be neglected, and too delightful for us to con tent ourselves with a distant or cursory regard. Man is a poet, in the very elements of his intellectual being; an imitator, in the earliest development of his faculties; a labourer, from the daily necessities of his existence; and, from the combination of all these primitive essentials of character, an architect, sculptor, and painter ;--the order in which, as it appears to us, invention would naturally travel, in its advance through the different forms and stages of Art. Architecture, in its gradations of shelter, security, convenience, comfort, ornament, would be the object of primary attention. Sculpture, to a considerable extent identified with architecture in character and progress, would derive its origin from the employment of hard materials in the different processes of structure, and their local as well as relative adaptation. Whether applied to wood or to stone, the principle is the same, and the carving of some accidental projection might be the first step in ornamental sculpture. A thousand casual circumstances would suggest the feasibility of imitating the proportions and attitudes of living figure 'by the manipulation of a solid and shapeless block; and, the practicability once experimentally ascertained, the varieties of chiselling, fusion, modeling, would be mere matter of common sequence.

The invention of Painting is an affair of greater difficulty. The intertwining of the roots of a tree, will sometimes assume a grotesque image of the human form; the circles and fissures of a fractured branch will shape out the lineaments of the hu. man countenance; a detached rock will stand forth in attestation of the wild legend that transformed some giant or genius into everlasting stone; and these freaks of nature or of accident may be easily supposed to have afforded the first idea, not only of sculptured form, but of pictorial outline. Nothing, however, of this can be taken in illustration of the discovery of Painting, considered as the art of representing relieved objects on a plane surface. Unless we choose to adopt the beautiful fiction of the Maid of Sicyon as a more convenient and attractive text, we shall probably be satisfied with referring the origin of this captivating art, partly to casualty, and partly to the usual course of improvement. To make an outline, is so obvious an exertion of eye and hand, as scarcely to entitle it to the dignity of a discoverer, the first savage who sketched his rude imitations on the sides of his cave. Colour, he would soon transfer from his own stained and ochred skin, to the corresponding surfaces of his uncouth forms; but, to give relief and projection, to make an entrance on the mysterious region of light and shade, was an advance in Art beyond the fairly conceivable range of adventitious suggestion.

Engraving, taken in a large sense, as including all the mechanical methods of multiplying one and the same design, seems to have escaped the inventive activity of ancient genius. Proofs enough remain to shew that they possessed the art, so far as the representation of figures on a metallic surface was concerned, hut, beyond this, they were not able to proceed; and their failure supplies one striking illustration of the liability of invention to stop short precisely at the very point where its effectiveness begins, and where the transition to the next and most important stage had become both comparatively and positively easy. If, too, as appears highly probable, the discovery of impression is justly assigned to the goldsmith of Florence, Finiguerra, this will afford a further illustration of the way in which accident will often suggest the critical improvement that skill and experience had failed to effect. He Hourished in the fifteenth century, and was remarkable for his talent as a worker in niello,-a mode of filling up with a metallic fusion, lines previously indented with the graver on the exterior of ornamented plate, chiefly, if we recollect rightly, of such as was used in the ceremonials of religion. While

these engraved traces were as yet unfilled, the artist was accustomed to take off an impression in sulphur, and some of these interesting relics yet remain. But, in addition to these, paper impressions of the same subjects have been met with ; and hence a question arises, whether they have been taken from the metal or from the sulphur. Bartsch of Vienna, with a view to the maintenance of some favourite hypothesis respecting priority in the specific discovery of Engraving, as due to the Germans, pleaded for the latter; while Mr. Ottley, in his admirable work on the early history of the art, has, we apprehend, established the claim of the Italians, by satisfactorily proving the former. It appears, in fact, quite gratuitous to suppose, that Finiguerra should risk the fracture of a brittle material, and the injury of a singularly frail surface, while equal; and equally obvious facilities were afforded him by a substance whose power of resistance was so much greater. An accidental mark upon a cloth or rubber, in cleaning, or polishing the metal, might lay open that wide field of art which has since been so successfully 'cultivated.

The history of Engraving forms a seductive subject, and we might find occasion for much interesting discussion in the course of a protracted article; but, having taken up the works enumerated at the head of these paragraphs, merely, as the text of a few gossiping observations, intended to give our readers some general intimation of the present state of things touching the art graphical, we must not suffer ourselves to be diverted from our first design.

Although it is, in our opinion, nothing better than affectation, to deny the mechanical superiority of later artists, it were, at least, equally unjust, to question the excellence of the earlier engravers in the higher qualities of Art; albeit that we could name some even of our own degenerate day, who have combined both in a greater degree than those who are the favourites of fame. Who that looks upon the incomparable Van• dyk as Paris' of Lewis Schiavonetti, with his fine rendering of the Cartoon of Pisa, and his spirited etching of Stothard's master-piece, will affirm that his superior is to be found in the

Abcedario' of his admirable art ? Bartolozzi, too, whose life. was wasted in the manufacture of petty popularities, and in whose extensive' auvre,' as given in 1788 by Heineken, we find-drowned in a deluge of Bunburys and Ciprianis, Cosways and Kauffmans--one Michael-Angelo, and two Raffaelles,

- was inferior to none in the science of his profession and the command of his burin. His facility was his fault, both in disposition and in the exercise of his art. We have known him prevailed upon to give a benevolent testimony to the VOL. XXIV. N.S.

2 Z

merit of a very indifferent engraver ; and his skill in drawing has too often led him to rectify a crude or faulty original, and sometimes to introduce questionable improvements into works where change was injurious. Nor shall our own lamented Sharp be forgotten in this brief tribute to recently departed excellence. Others may poise and trim and hesitate, but we shall affirm at once, that he was second to none.

He combined with singular felicity, richness, gracefulness, and vigour. His feeling for high art was intense, and its influence upon his eye

and hand may be traced in his productions. His portraits of Charles I. after Vandyk, (perhaps his finest productions, his engravings after Dominichino, Michael-Angelo, and Guido, are all of the highest order; and if an uncurbed imagination led him astray to immortalize the vulgar features of Richard Brothers, we can only lament that there should be, on any point, a warp in a mind so powerful. A clearer evidence of Sbarp's great talent can scarcely be given, than by placing him in direct competition with another great artist, Giacomo Frey. They have both engraved from Guido's noble picture, called, we believe, the Doctors of the Church; and though Frey's may not be exactly his finest print, yet, it is a spirited and satisfactory transcript from his original, and we had been accustomed to hold it in high estimation. He is, however, entirely eclipsed by our countryman, who has combined with all the vigour of his rival, a beauty and finish which accord admirably with the style of Guido. It is gratifying to observe how completely these great men guarantee, to those who have not seen the painting, each other's tidelity. Notwithstanding the difference and almost opposition in their styles, they have respectively rendered the attitudes, draperies, expression, and general character with almost perfect identity.

No qualification is more indispensible to the engraver, than skill in the principles and practice of design, and in none does this class of artists, with some illustrious exceptions, exhibit greater negligence. The history of Art affords important elucidation of the value of this quality, and the injurious consequences of its absence. The ablest of the earlier engravers, Marc Antonio Raimondi, was the diligent and skilful disciple of Raffaelle, and the inestimable value of such a training was impressively manifested in the works which he executed from the paintings of his great master. In the mechanical excel. lences of his art, Marc Antonio has been subsequently surpassed; but, in the expression of character, the truth and purity of his outline, and the correct drawing of the extremities, he has never been out-done; perhaps he has never been equalled. Frey and Gerard Audran studied in the school of

« ForrigeFortsæt »