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called Raphael's Bible finds its place—that series of
—through all its phases, as reflected in its visible local center, the papacy—is alive still as of old, one and continuous, and still true to itself. Ah! what is local and visible, as you know, counts for so much with the artistic temper. Old friends or old foes, with but new faces, events repeating themselves, as his large, clear, synoptic vision can detect, the invading King of France, Louis XII, appears as Attila: Leo X as Leo I: and he thinks of, he sees, at one and the same moment, the coronation of Charlemagne and the interview of Pope Leo with Francis I, as a dutiful son of the Church: of the deliverance of Leo X from prison, and the deliverance of St. Peter. I have abstained from anything like description of Raphael's pictures in speaking of him and his work, have aimed rather at preparing you to look at his work for yourselves, by a sketch of his life, and therein especially, as most appropriate to this place, of Raphael as a scholar. And now if, in closing, I commend one of his pictures in particular to your imagination or memory, your purpose to see it, or see it again, it will not be the Transfiguration nor the Sixtine Madonna, nor even the “Madonna del Gran Duca,” but the picture we have in London—the Ansidei, or Blenheim, Madonna. I find there, at first sight, with something of the pleasure one has in a proposition of Euclid, a sense of the power of the understanding, in the economy with which he has reduced his material to the simplest terms, has disentangled and detached its various elements. He is painting in Florence, but for Perugia, and sends it a specimen of its own old art—Mary and the babe enthroned, with St. Nicolas and the Baptist in attendance on either side. The kind of thing people there had already seen so many times, but done better, in a sense not to be measured by degrees, with a wholly original freedom and life and grace, though he perhaps is unaware, done better as a whole, because better in every minute particular, than ever before. The scrupulous scholar, aged twenty-three, is now indeed a master; but still goes carefully. Note, therefore, how much mere exclusion counts for in the positive effect of his work. There is a saying that the true artist is known best by what he omits. Yes, because the whole question of good taste is involved precisely in such jealous omission. Note this, for instance, in the familiar Apennine background, with its blue hills and brown towns, faultless, for once— for once only—and observe, in the Umbrian pictures around, how often such background is marred by grotesque, natural, or architectural detail, by incongruous or childish incident. In this cool, pearl-grey, quiet place, where color tells for double—the jeweled cope, the painted book in the hand of Mary, the chaplet of red coral—one is reminded that among all classical writers Raphael's preference was for the faultless Virgil. How orderly, how divinely clean and sweet the flesh, the vesture, the floor, the earth, the sky! Ah, say rather the hand, the method of the painter! There is an unmistakable pledge of strength, of movement and animation in the cast of the Baptist's countenance, but reserved, repressed. Strange, Raphael has given him a staff of transparent crystal. Keep, then, to that picture as the embodied formula of Raphael's genius. Amid all he has here already achieved, full, we may think, of the quiet assurance of what is to come, his attitude is still that of the scholar; he seems still to be saying, before all things, from first to last, “I am utterly purposed that I will not offend.”
EDWARD JOHN PHELPs
THE SUPREME COURT AND POPULAR
[Address of Edward J. Phelps, lawyer, diplomatist, Minister to Great Britain, 1885-89 (born in Middlebury, Vt., July 11, 1822; died in New Haven, Conn., March 9, 1900), delivered at the centennial anniversary of the organization of the Supreme Court of the United States, February 4, 1890, held at the Metropolitan Opera-House, New York City, under the auspices of the New York State Bar Association. Grover Cleveland, as Chairman of the Executive Committee, presided.]
GENTLEMEN:—But few words remain to be added to those so well spoken by my distinguished brethren in concluding, on the part of the bar, the expression which this occasion calls for. We have thought it well to mark in a manner thus significant and conspicuous, the centennial anniversary of our highest and greatest tribunal; to review so far as the flying hour allows, its eventful and interesting history; to recall some of its memories, cherished and imperishable; and to consider in the light of a century's experience, what has been, and what is like to be hereafter, its place and its influence as an independent constitutional power in the Federal government of this country.
We cannot forget that in its origin it was an experiment, untried and uncertain. Judicial history has not furnished another example of a court created by an authority superior to legislation and beyond the reach of executive power, clothed with a jurisdiction above the law it was appointed to administer, and charged, not merely with the general course of public justice, but with