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but the feeble type. We have heard them say, that, whatever advantages oil may have, it can never make a transparent picture. And they learn to see all nature, or to think they do, as if it were thinly washed over white. But the difficulty with water-color is, that it can never make any thing but a transparent picture, while in oils objects are made opaque or transparent, according to the truth of the fact.
At the proper distance, the canvas or other subjectile of a well-painted picture is never seen or felt to exist; though its gray tone, where it is hardly covered, is often, in the works of the old masters, used as color, with a felicity which could not be reached by any superadded tint. But in the most highly finished water-color drawing, no one, whose eye has not been taught not to perceive it, can fail to see the allpervading white paper through rocks and mountains, as well as through sky and water. To talk of
absolute blance to nature in such a material seems quite absurd. Yet so tenacious are its advocates, that they almost excommunicated Harding, one of the ablest of their school, for introducing the use of an opaque white for his high lights, in aid of the clumsy process of digging into the paper for them. However striking the effect and spirited the touch thus engrafted by him on the feebleness of the general work, it was thought a kind of treason against their craft, and a debauching of the pure transparency of water-colors. In truth, they saw it was the first step towards an abandonment of it; and we are glad to say that we last saw Mr. Harding before an easel, with a palette of good stiff oil-colors on his thumb.
The necessarily limited size, too, of water-color drawings, which can hardly be successfully extended beyond the largest sheet of drawing-paper, -or, at least, practically are not so, but, on the contrary, are usually of much smaller dimensions, - renders this preference of them to the large works of the old masters still more preposterous. Magnitude, not only of the thing represented, but of the representation itself, is essential to the higher effects of art, especially in landscape. A statuette, or a miniature historical picture, never looks like any thing higher than a sketch for a statue or a painting. We have become accustomed, indeed, to genre painting on a small scale, in which the familiarity of the scenes calls upon the imagination for no grand emotions ; and although we cannot paint landscape on a scale as large as nature's, yet VOL. LXVI.'— NO. 138.
the nearer we approach to it, the finer will be the effect. The illuminated dome of St. Peter's may be grand in the distance of a picture, though it be painted on a scale which makes it in fact hardly bigger than a man's hat, because that would require a large landscape, over which the eye must wander to comprehend the whole, something in the manner required by nature ; but when that same object in a little picture shows, to use Fanny Kemble's ingenious simile,“ like a gold thimble," it may be beautiful, but it cannot be grand. In like manner, it is preposterous to compare all that even Turner can do upon a sheet of paper with the Guadagni Salvators, which, though the objects are necessarily far below the scale of nature, are of the largest class of landscape ; by that sinple circumstance they do not, indeed, create emotions of sublimity, but they prepare the mind to be excited to them by the magnificence of the designs.
Moreover, the difficulty and the merit of a picture are in some proportion to its size ; the larger the scale, the stronger are the powers required to act upon it, the more obvious will be the faults, if any, and the bolder must be both the design and the execution. No one can see the immense pictures of the Venetian school, without feeling that they are the work of giants. Who but Titian, Paul Veronese, and Tintoretto could have mastered such fields of space ? And what conceivable power could preserve the grandeur, or even the beauty, of the Assumption, the Presentation, or the Marriage of Cana, within the compass of a drawing-board ? The case is not equally strong when applied to landscape, because this was never painted on so large a scale, nor, we confess, with such transcendent power ; but, applying it to the Baptism, and the Preaching of St. John, in the Guadagni palace, the attempt of this author to degrade them below the best of water-colors can only be the effect of extreme prejudice.
We repeat, that we do not mean to charge him with wilfully misrepresenting the comparative merit of these works, but to state our belief, that, being himself a sketcher in water-colors, while his observation of nature has, by that practice, become exceedingly acute, he has become insensible to the higher qualities of art. The habit of a water-color sketcher is, to copy, in his own conventional way, just what he sees and no more. He rarely ventures on composition ;
his delight is in a real bit, and his idea of high art is an effect, or at most a view. He thinks he is making pictures, when he is only collecting materials; and when he looks upon a painting as a critic, he applies to it a standard like 'his who showed a brick as a sample of his house. He seeks only for the picturesque ; he has no feeling for the ideal ; he never finds it by the road-side, and it never enters into his sketchbook. His is the love of that truth of nature of which we read so much in this book, - just those little truths which an artist drops by the way, as he proceeds, because they interfere with the great truths, equally those of nature, but of a higher aim, which it is his purpose to represent.
If the author had been more faithful to this love of actual and particular nature than to water-colors, he would have done better justice to Constable, who was the most thoroughly true, as the word is here used, of all modern landscapepainters. But he was a mere naturalist ; his pictures are not sketches, nor are they all portraits ; but the parts of which they are composed, and the general effect of the whole, are wonderfully natural. He failed in many of his attempts at rendering the more difficult effects of light, particularly that of the glittering reflection of the noonday sun on foliage ; and this has spoiled some of his best pictures, making them look as if they had been overtaken by a snow-storm in June. Yet the effect even in that is true, so far as white paint can represent light; but it disturbs every thing else by its intensity ; and this is just one of those truths that the naturalist and the sketcher try to copy, and the artist omits.
Having thus stated our general dissent from this author's comparison of the merits of the old landscape-painters with those of the particular modern school which he seeks to elevate above them, we will say a few words for ourselves on the same subject.
Landscape-painting, as a separate department, sprang up in the decline of art, or rather, after its first decline, and in the attempt of the Eclectics to revive it. Among those great masters who lived in the first half of the sixteenth century, and who carried historical painting to a height which it has never since reached, and which we believe it never can reach again, Titian alone painted a few landscapes. Lionardo, Raphael, and Correggio never attempted, in this manner, any thing more than backgrounds to their figures. Of Tintoretto, though the author calls him a landscape-painter, we recollect no work of this class. The landscapes of Titian are too grand, and too far removed from ordinary nature, to come in competition with the author's favorite school. He carried into them that “dignity" which Sir Joshua Reynolds so aptly ascribed to his historical pictures. He disdains to notice trilling effects of light or color. He moves like a giant among primeval forests and primitive mountains. His skies have a depth of azure more awful than the thundercloud. His trees are the only ones that ever were painted, unless we except those of an eminent artist of our own time and country, which have the true expression of vegetable life, - that expression of choice and will in throwing out their branches and bending their trunks, in search of the vital light, which gives to nature's trees such picturesque forins and such an almost human character.
The same mystery of color, that, independently of all form, touches on the sublime in his figures, pervades his landscapes. What his great contemporaries might have accomplished, if they had attempted to paint inanimate nature, we know not ; but we should find it difficult to believe that any one, even of them, could have approached the majesty of Titian. Perhaps the same simple but indefinite grandeur would not satisfy us in any one who wielded color with less of a magician's hand. The author's remarks, which we have already quoted, respecting the minute detail of the foreground in his Bacchus and Ariadne, give a very false notion of his style of landscape ; and indeed, the picture itself, which is in the National Gallery, is so unworthy of Titian, that we should not believe it to be justly ascribed to him but from deference to the authority of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who has made it the subject of comment without expressing any doubt of its genuineness. In tone and color, it is much more like the work of Giorgione, and in the action, if not in the drawing of the figures, it is quite unworthy of Titian ; nothing can be more unlike him than those same wild roses, with every stamen picked out with a hair pencil. If it had been his purpose to express them at all, one stroke of his vigorous brush would have done it, so that, at the proper distance, it would have been ten times more like reality. This minute flower-painting may be found in many of the pictures of Raphael besides the Miraculous Draught of Fishes, - which
last, it must, however, be remembered, grand as the design is, and all by his own hand, was but a pattern for tapestry
In many others, these subordinate parts were the work of his assistants, to whom he committed too much for his fame. The Coronation of the Virgin, in the Vatican, is an example of this, in which there is a tomb full of Aowers painted in the same minute manner, which we think must shock every person of good taste who sees it.
This part of the picture, however, is notoriously by Francesco Penni, and done after Raphael's death. The same thing, less offensive in degree, but more out of place, is seen in the foreground of the Transfiguration ; that, too, was finished after the death of the great artist.
Still, it is not to be denied that such things exist from Raphael's own hand, or under his direction. But we do not remember any other example of it which we think fairly ascribable to l'itian. It is not our present purpose to say which of the two would be the higher authority. Raphael has, by common consent, so long been called the prince of painters, that his claim to that rank should be doubted with the greatest modesty and deliberation. But — Fortes ante Agamemnona — perhaps the friend of Bembo and the favorite of the court of Leo stood a better chance for the throne than the companion of Aretine and of the Venetian nobility. Besides, he bore his faculties so meekly, has impressed upon his works such loveliness, and has left in his own portrait such an image of mild and half-melancholy beauty, that our feelings, as much as our judgment, would be ready to enlist in his defence, if his title should be ques. tioned. There is nothing personally so engaging in the vig. orous old man, who died prematurely of the plague at the age of ninety-nine, as in the delicate youth who filled the world with his praise, and left it at that of thirty-seven. Men, as well as gods, love those that die young. But if we learn to love Raphael at Rome, we stand in awe of Titian at Venice. It is in our own idiosyncrasy, perhaps, but not all Michael Angelo's contorted vastness ever filled us with the sublime emotions we have felt in standing before the great works in the Venetian academy, and the glorious combination of history and landscape in the l'eter Martyr. Nor have we felt, in the room where the Transfiguration was placed over the death-bed of Raphael, more of the lingering