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permitted from time to time to see a portion of the materials. Mr. Longfellow's "Wayside Inn," it is a specimen of what may be called the conglomerated school of poetry, in which any stray nuggets of verse which may have done servic a magazine or newspaper, but are too few or too slight to be gathered by themselves into a vol
are made available to that end, by being embedded in a connecting and retaining medium of narrative. It is but a cheap device, and cheapens rapidly by repetition. In the present instance, as might well be expected, some of the little pieces are extremely pleasing; and all have Mr. Whittier's never-failing merits of easy and graceful movement, and purity and sweetness of tone. But the most of them, and perhaps all, have been very recently printed in the "Atlantic Monthly," or some other periodical; and few have more than the value and interest which are looked for in such ephemera as magazine verses. And as for the thread of narrative which connects them, it is impossible to help feeling that it is such poetry as a trained versifier like Mr. Whittier could throw off by the page, as easily as Touchstone his doggerel to Rosalind: "I'll rhyme you so eight days together, dinners and suppers and sleeping-hours excepted." Though we do not deny it to be pleasant reading, yet we do not conceive it to be the sort of verse which a true poet like Whittier, with so much of the real poetic temperament, so flavored and strengthened with the pure flame of moral earnestness, should be content to produce; and we look on it as one more proof of the extent to which the commercial spirit pervades and governs the life of this age. We are saying this surely out of no lack of appreciation of the worth of what this noble writer has contributed to the infant literature of his people; and our chief discontent at his later method comes less from what we conceive to be his own decline as a poet, than from the influence of his example upon younger writers whose work is of the future, and not of the present.
C. A. C.
"SPECULATION," says Lessing, "must follow the torch of history." Every philosophy of art must rest upon a thorough study of works of art. To theorize about it from general conceptions merely, can lead only to the most vague and unsatisfactory results. "The Beautiful," as a naked abstraction, a mental essence, is the most empty and unprofitable of metaphysical conceptions. It is nothing to us except in its incarnations. It is only in the presence of the masterpieces of architecture, sculpture, painting, and music, that we
can truly learn any thing of the eternal principles which underlie all artistic creations. The lack of this positive knowledge has always been the bane of æsthetic criticism in America; and the recent work of Dr. Samson, whilst claiming to be a remedy, is in reality only an additional illustration of this defect. As "a text-book for schools and colleges," the book is utterly worthless; and, we fear, the 66 amateurs and artists" will find it rather heavy and indigestible pabulum. An elimination of the wholly irrelevant matter which the volume contains, would diminish its size at least one-fourth. This superfluous stuff is mostly of a semi-theological consistency, as vapid as it is impertinent, and holding about the same relation to "art criticism" that Mr. Tupper's platitudes do to poetry. The author's logical processes are peculiar, and we have rarely found in any book so many instances of naïve non sequitur. Because, in the fourth chapter of Genesis, Jubal, "the father of all such as handle the harp and organ," is mentioned one verse before Tubal-cain, the "instructor of every artificer in brass and iron," therefore, argues Dr. Samson, music is an older art than sculpture, and attained a high state of development at a much earlier period. Upon this narrow and untenable basis he then builds up a classification of the Fine Arts. To say nothing of the absurdity of the syllogism, the conclusion arrived at is in itself false. No doubt, at a very remote date in the world's history, barbaric tribes made horrid dissonance on gong-gongs and tom-toms; but music, as a fine art, is of later growth than sculpture : it is a product of modern times, and did not reach its present perfection till the eighteenth century of the Christian era. The book is not only confused and inconsistent in its method (or rather want of method), but also contradictory in its statements. In one chapter we are told that landscape-gardening is the highest of the arts: first, because Adam, who was "perfect in all his powers," practised this form of art; and, secondly, because architecture, sculpture, &c., are contributory to it and essential to its perfection. In another chapter it is said that Eden was the perfection of landscape-gardening,"long before architecture and sculpture were dreamed of." In other words, this art reached its perfection long before the elements necessary to
*El nts of Art Criticism: A Text-book for Schools and Colleges, and a Handbook for Amateurs and Artists. By G. W. SAMSON, D.D., President of Columbian College, Washington, D.C. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1867. 1 vol., crown 8vo. pp. 840.
its perfection" were dreamed of." These specimens will suffice to illustrate what we mean by vapid theorizings. The thick volume is full of them; but we have no space for further citations,
More useful are those portions of the work in which the author traces the history of the different arts. The reader will here find, for the most part, correct and intelligible explanations of various techuical processes, etching, engraving, photography, &c.; although, as Dr. Samson's book has no index, the same information can be more easily obtained from "Brande's Dictionary," or any other cyclopædia of art. Photography, he thinks, is destined to be the supreme fine art; and, in the gaudy upholstery of "an American river-boat," he discovers an elegance unsurpassed by any "palace apartment" in the world. In the chapter on Italian sculptors and painters, the criticism is all second-hand: he has evidently never seen the works on which he passes judgment; and, in many cases, does not even know their location. The foreign tourist, who should take this "handbook" as his guide, would frequently find himself at his wit's end. The only thing original in this section is the orthography of proper names, in which the author gives free rein to his fancy. The pages devoted to American artists read like extracts from a Fourth-of-July oration of Mr. Jefferson Brick, no discriminating criticism, but only loose and unmeaning laudation. One is a Phidias, another a Praxiteles, and a third unites the excellences of both. But, notwithstanding this offensive tone of national exaggeration, so fretting to the finer filaments of taste, Dr. Samson really does injustice to American art, by omitting the names of some of our best artists.
The limits of a critical notice do not permit us to specify errors. The intelligent reader will find them soon enough. We have done our conscientious duty to the public, in indicating the general scope and character of the work.
E. P. E.
Mr. PALGRAVE's book has been much talked of here, but less since the appearance of the New-York reprint than before, which is perhaps no wonder. The wonder is to find, after all the talk, that the book is, for the most part, a collection of ephemeral notices of successive exhibitions of the pictures of the Royal Academy of Lon
* Essays on Art. By FRANCIS TURNER PALGRAVE, late Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. New York: Hurd & Houghton, 1867.
VOL. LXXXII. -NEW SERIES, VOL. III. NO. III.
don, or of special collections by single artists. These notices are uniformly well written, and have the air of intelligent and well-meant criticism; but one would think that with the disposal of the pictures would vanish the chief interest and value of the notices, and that, even in London, it was hardly worth while to collect them into a book. But that they should be reprinted in America is yet more strange; for they criticize pictures and statues which perhaps not a hundred Americans have ever seen. The only man who could make notices of pictures entertaining to those who had never seen them has unfortunately resigned his place. Mr. Palgrave, in reprinting, was doubtless led by Mr. Ruskin's example in his yearly "Notes on the Royal Academy's Exhibition," which were always delightful, whether we had ever heard the names of the painters or not: the heartiness of his praise, the vigor of his abuse, his exquisite wordpictures, and his sublime dogmatism, made it impossible not to read, from beginning to end, whatever he might choose to say. Sydney Smith was in his best mood when he declined reading the book he was to review, "because it prejudices one so, you know;" and there was to Ruskin's readers perhaps an advantage in knowing nothing of the pictures he criticized, since, having no prejudices to disturb our enjoyment, we could hear, with delightful indifference, Mr. Millais's latest masterpiece, for instance, set down as marking "not Fall, but Catastrophe," and some unheard-of aspirant elevated with judicial sternness to the place from which he was deposed. Mr. Palgrave's notes are much calmer and more dispassionate, but unfortunately they are a little dull. His praise and his blame are feeble, and have sometimes the look of proceeding, not so much from a strong interest in what he is doing, as from the necessity which is upon him of filling the predestined column in the next "Saturday Review."
From this criticism, however, we ought perhaps to except the latter half of the book, which has several very readable papers of general interest. Such are, for example, the slight biographical sketches of Dyce, William Hunt, Flaudrin, Thorwaldsen; the curious paper on "Japanese Art," that on "Lost Treasures," and some others. The best article in the book seems to us to be that on 66 Sculpture and Painting," in which the writer examines the peculiar difficulties which the former has to meet, and which make it "the most arduous, and at the same time the most intellectual," of the Fine Arts; and explains the enormous disadvantage under which an artist labors who attempts to step from the practice of painting to that of sculp
Mr. Palgrave agrees with those critics who have maintained that, in Michael Angelo, "the profoundest of Christian painters was sacrificed (excepting the single instance of the Sistine Chapel) to an attempt to master sculpture."
Considerable space is given, throughout the book, to the position of sculpture in England. Mr. Palgrave is thoroughly convinced of what we suppose few Englishmen of taste would care to deny,- that the English sculpture of the present day is something to be rather wondered at than admired. He is very free in his remarks on the various aspirants for fame in this department, even though they write "R.A." after their names. Two military busts, by Mr. G. Adams, are said to "look more like caricatures on the profession, than monuments to the gallant originals." Baron Marochetti's statue of Lord Clive, at Shrewsbury, has "the attitude of a gentleman performing an eternal pas seul before all the market-women of the city." Mr. Durham's Prince Albert has "a left arm, for the anatomy of which only a compound fracture could account;" and, worst of all, "Mr. J. Adams, by a sort of inversion of Mr. Darwin's theory, appears to lie under the impression, that the human species is rapidly returning to the gorilla type, and has selected Mr. Gladstone, of all people in the world, as a leading instance of this process." All of which is, we dare say, very true, but savors more of the journalist than the teacher. This is not like Mr. Ruskin's severity.
Mr. Palgrave completes his survey of English art by a series of architectural papers, chiefly on Mr. Scott's design for the monument to Prince Albert, in Hyde Park. He is, we think, rather unnecessarily severe on Mr. Scott, although the design in question is, perhaps, among the least successful of the productions of that "fashionable architect." He is led into some very pardonable technical errors, such as his apology for a timber roof over a vaulted nave, on the ground that it keeps the arch from spreading; his assumption that structural deceptions must be admitted into all architecture; and his statement, that the arches of the canopy tombs at Verona are each of a single stone, and have therefore no thrust: the fact being that, in all but the smallest of these famous monuments, the arches are in three or five stones, and the thrust is so great, that Mr. Ruskin, while declaring one of them to be "the most perfect Gothic sepulchral monument in the world," is forced into an elaborately disingenuous apology for the four iron rods which hold the structure together. These errors on Mr. Palgrave's part are more than bal