Pagina-afbeeldingen
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came.

She was silent, her face and eyes lifted to the in modelling, and his evenings with his starry heavens. The perfume of the flowers, pencil. the silence of the evening, and her sweet and chaste ecstasy so touched me, that, impelled It was indeed a life full of agitations, anxie. by an irresistible force, I reached my lips ties, fears, and privations, but animated with towards hers. My movement was instantane. what joyous hopes! Every evening when I ous, but I failed to carry out my purpose ; she came back from my work, I devoted myself at turned away her face, and my lips only brushed home to making anatomical drawings from against a lock of her hair, and then she imme- casts, while my wife did her ironing in the diately moved away and seated herself beside same room; and I drew till the hour of supper her mother. After forty years this comes It was a pure sweet pleasure to me to back to me as if it had just happened. see that strong and lively creature coming and When she perceived that I was serious and a going with her fatirons from the fireplace to little mortified, she said with calm benignity,- the table, and gaily ironing and singing as she “Do you like verbena ?”

smoothed and beat with the flatiron on the “Oh yes; I like it so much.”

linen, while her mother sat silently spinning in Then quickly rising, she cut off a sprig, put the corner. Truly that blessed woman was it in the button hole of my coat, and said, - right when she said, “We are so happy as we “There, that looks well!”

are” - for one of the purest joys that cheers

my present life is the memory of those days, The marriage took place shortly after, No joy is purer than that which comes from in the year 1836, when the young bride. the memory of that past time of work, of groom was but nineteen. “ This,” he study, and of domestic peace. Those days of says, was in truth the great event of my narrow means and agitations now shine upon life, and that which exercised the most

me with a serene and lovely light; and I bless salutary influence over my studies, over the Lord, who softens by His grace the bittermy peace, and over the prosperity and ness of poverty and the harshness of fatigue, morality of my family.” He never altered in the heart, that neither time nor fortune has

and so preserves this sweetness of remembrance this opinion; and throughout all the long the power to extinguish it, or even to diminish after course of his life there are a series it. of charming glimpses of the excellent wise, the good mother, the wise and syin. Experiences of this kind have another pathetic companion, whose lowly origin advantage beyond the higher one which made her a no less fit mate for the labori- the good Duprè acknowledges so grateous artist. (We are a little at a loss to fully. Such a pretty scene, lighted by the know why the translator should give her three-beaked lucerna of native use, high the name of Marioa, when, except in the up in one of the many stories of a tall brief conversation quoted with the laun. Florentine house, is infinitely more charmdress, who uses the diminutive, she is ing and touching to hear of than the flat called Maria by her husband; but this is evenings that so often follow the honey. a trifling matter.) As soon as the tremors moon for Edwin and Angelina in another and agitation of the love episode were sphere, in which there are no privations calmed by marriage, the young artist re- nor hard work to encounter, where the turned to the ambitious, nay, audacious, young husband starts off to his club, half hopes which had already risen confusedly ashamed of himself, now that there is no in his mind, – to be a sculptor. It was more uncertainty of love-making to oce “the dream of my life,” he says; but as cupy him, and the young wife goes dully yet, this dream had gone no “further to bed with nothing to do. Marina's ihan merely to be a workman in marble.” bright face, as she puts down her flatiron His mother listened, half sympathizing; with a little thump, keeping time to her his father frowned and objected; his song, is much more interesting and pleas. young wife “would look at me sadly, and, ing to behold. This is perhaps a comquietly smiling, would say, "We are very pensation for hard work which the worker well off as we are ; "" but the fire of am- rarely thinks of, and which indeed only bition in the youth's heart was not to be comes in, in rare cases, when one of the thus easily quenched. Without slacken- pair has the faculty of speech. ing in the work by which he made four We must not, however, allow ourselves pauls (two francs) á day, and many pretty to be seduced any further by Signor Duthings in wood-carving, he began to em- prè's delightful domestic interiors. The ploy his evenings and every moment of honest and kind Italian is not discon. leisure in study. Marina carried on her certed, it will be perceived, even by that own occupation, thus aiding in the ex. silent figure of the mother-in-law spinning penses of the little establishment, while in the corner, which is the bugbear of all her young husband spent his dinner hour the wits, any more than he was afraid of

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the little band of daughters who after a | lutely necessary that your calling should be im. while filled his house. His progress in perious, tenacious, persistent; that it should art was rapid. His first work done in enter into all your thoughts; that it should these hours of recreation, was a little give its form and pressure to all your feelings; statuette which gained him a word of that it should not abandon you even in your

sleep; and that it should drive from your mempraise from Bartolini, then the great name

ory your hour of dinner, your appointments, in sculpture, the leader of the rising your ease, your pleasures. If, when you take school of realists, who had begun to a walk in the country, the hills and groves do rebel against the excessive dominion of not awaken in you in the least the idea that it the classical ideal. All this gradually would be pleasant to own them; but instead worked in the mind of the young workman of this, if you feel enamored by the beautiful an impatience with his trade, not, he is harmony of nature, with its varied outlines, careful to tell us, because he thought and swelling bosoms, and slopes sadly illumiwood a less worthy material than marble nated by the setting sun, and all seems to you

an exquisite picture — then hope. If at the " for the exceilence of a work depends theatre you see a drama represented, and you upon the skill and knowledge of the artist, feel impelled to judge within yourself whether and not upon the material he has used”

this or that character is well played — whether – but “because it was my business at the gestures, the expression of face, and the the shop to make all sorts of little things, inflections of voice are such as properly belong such as candlesticks, cornices, masks, to the character, and accord with the affections etc.” Wheo by rare good fortune he was that move him, or the passions that agitate him employed to make a crucifix, he threw his - then hope. If, while you are walking along, whole beart into it, — worthy work was you see the face of a beautiful woman, and if what he wanted. His preparations for his it does not immediately awaken in you the future art life, made in so much humility but, on the contrary, you idly or improperly

idea of a statue with its name and expression, and ignorance, and as yet only with the admire it — then fear. . . . And if you do not hope of achieving the modest position feel your faculties debilitated by the long and of assistant in a studio, were checkered thorny path of study, but, on the contrary, with discouragements as well as success. tempered and strengthened every day by conHere is one which he recounts with nat. stant and patient labor, then hope — liopeural satisfaction :

hope. Otherwise, if you have property, attend

to the management of it. If you are poor, One day, in the studio of Magi, I and an learn some trade. It is better to be a good other young man were modelling together a carpenter than a bad artist. man's torso which had been cast from nature. A friend of Magi, a painter, as he passed by sistent struggle - a struggle in which the

The record that follows is one of a perus paused, and after looking at our two copies, said, turning to my rival and patting him high-spirited young man was often dis. gently on the shoulder, “I am delighted: this couraged and cast down, but always got is an artist!” Then turning to me with an up again and struggled on, gaining a little expression of regret, he said, A rivederla.” way after every downfall. He had to fight My good reader, do you think that made me his way through all the early mysteries of despair? No, by the Lord! I tell you rather an artist's training, almost at hazard, find. that these words were seared upon my brain as ing out a hundred things laboriously by with a red-hot iron, and there they still remain biinself, which are the earliest elements

– and they did me a great deal of good. The of academical training. He had no art Professor who spoke them (yes, he was a Pro- education whatever except that of the carv. fessor), three years afterwards embraced me in the Accademia delle Belle Arti before my er's workshop, and of those interminable “ Abel.” My rival?. My rival is perfectly studies on paper and in clay, which he sound in health, and is fatter and more vigor- pursued to the sacrifice of every moment ous than I am, but he is not a sculptor. So, of leisure, at the time when he should my dear young artist, courage !

have been eating or resting, and in the We must quote the passage which fol- evenings, while his wife ironed her fine

linen. The authorities frowned, or, when lows, not only because it is in itself admirable, and well worthy of the study of a smile was extorted from them, smiled

but coldly upon the indomitable young the young artist whom he addresses, but

fellow, who was of no school, who called also as

an excellent specimen of the " thoughts on art” with which Signor by the light of simple genius, and that

no man master, and who struggled along Duprè accompanies his personal records: inborn perception which all the academies

But be careful to consider well what your in the world cannot give. In no branch vocation really is, and do not allow yourself to of art is it so difficult to struggle against be deluded by false appearances. It is abso- the conventional, the accepted laws oi

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tradition, as in the art of sculpture. It | assert, that a hunchback was beautiful. He says something in favor of the popular said that it was as difficult to copy a hunchprejudice against the testimony of experts, back well as a well-formed person, and that a that had young Duprè been produced youth ought to copy as faithfully the one as before a tribunal of art professors and the other; and when the eye had been educognoscenti in Florence, it would certainly in the infinite variety of nature, and the hand

cated to discover the most minute differences have been proved against him that he able to portray them, then, but only then, was knew little or nothing about art." The the time to speak, and select from nature the imitation, the character, and the form of most perfect, which others called the bello this statue show that you are not of the ideale, and he the bello naturale. But that Academy,” said the most favorable critic. blessed hunchback still remains, who, in the When, by incredible exertions, be had strict sense of the word, is not the real truth; managed to complete and exhibit bis first for in what is deformed there is something statue, the “Abel,” the art world of Flor. deficient, which removes it from the truth, ence was rent in two by a bitter contro. however natural it may be. It is a defect in versy as to whether this work was not a nature, and therefore not true to nature. ...

But nevertheless, this Bartolinian reform was mere cast from the life, and not a work of of great advantage. Let us reinember how art at all. “This scandalous talk, which sculpture was then studied. The teaching of was as absurd as malign, originated among Ricci was only a long and tedious exercise of the artists, and especially among the copying wholesale the antique statues, good sculptors,” who went so far as to measure and bad; and what was worse, the criterion of the model in an attempt to prove their Greek art was carried into the study of nude theory. It was a moment when the work life — the characteristic forms of the antique of the self-taught artist answered the pur. The outlines were added to and cut away with

statues supplanting those of the living model. pose of both parties in one of those strug: a calm superiority which was even comical. gles which diversify the history of art. The abdominal muscles were widened, the base After a long reign of the classic conven- of the pelvis narrowed, in order to give strength tional, the sculptor Bartolini bad upset the and elegance to the figure. The model was gods, and established, with all the fervor never copied; the head was kept smaller, and and some of the violence and extravagance the neck fuller, so that, although the general of a revolution, the one goddess, nature, effect was more slender and more robust, the in their stead. His description of this character was falsified, and was always the movement, and of its effect upon contem

same and always conventional. This restricporary art, is one of the best things in tion of nature to a single type led directly to Signor Duprè's book. Bartolini had been taken, and this habit of working from memory,

conventionality; and once this direction was quite recently appointed to the professor- following always a pre-established type, the ship of sculpture in the Florentine Acad. artist gradually disregarded the beautiful va. emy, and had “taken possession of the riety of nature, and not only did not notice it, school with the air of a conqueror." His but held it in suspicion, believing that nature appointment to the post was in itself a is always defective, and that it is absolutely proof of the triumph of the principles by necessary to correct it; and in this, they said, which he had made his reputation, and he lies the secret of Art. And yet Bartolini cried began at once to overturn all the land- aloud, and, so to speak, strained his voice to marks established by his predecessor.

make himself understood, and stood up on a

table and beat his drum for the hunchback. He altered everything, theories and sys. But as soon as a sufficient number of people is tems. . . . He prohibited all study from stat collected to make a respectable audience, one ues, and restricted the whole system of teaching must lay aside the great drum and begin to to an imitation only of nature; and he pushed speak seriously. And this is just what the this principle so far, that he introduced a maestro did: he gave up the hunchback, incul. hunchback into the school and made the young cated the imitation of beautiful nature in all students copy him. This daring novelty raised its varieties of sex, age, and temperament. a shout of indignation : they cried out against But in the ears of the greater number of perthe profanation of the school, of the sacred sons the beat of the great drum still sounded, principles of the beautiful, etc. ; said that he and the words of Bartolini were not underwas ignorant of his duties as master, and that stood. From that time to this there have been he misled the youths, extinguishing in them no more statues of Apollo, Jove, and Minerva. the love of the beautiful by the study of de Chased from this earth, they returned to their formity. . . Bartolini was right in carrying place on Olympus - and there they still reback art to its first source - that is (and we main. should thank him for that), to the imitation of Still the seed of deformity had been sown, - he went beyond bounds in proposing and struck strong roots.

There are some men a deformed person as a model. It is very true who grub in filth and dirt with pure delight, that Bartolini never affirmed, as his enemies and have for the ugly and evil a special pre.

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dilection, because, as they say, these are as | artist's hands, his enemies maintaining, true representatives of nature as what is beau- though disproved, this injurious assertion tiful and good, and are in fact a particular about the cast, and a chill of doubt as to phase of that truth which, as a whole, consti- whether he would be able to produce antutes the truly beautiful. And reasoning thus, other statue subduing even his friends. this school, or rather this coterie, has given us; He had, however, many encouragements and still gives us, the most strange and repulsive productions, a servile copy of such

as well as drawbacks, a certain Count del offensively ugly models as Mother Nature pro- Benino voluuteering an advance of money duces when she is not well. What would you to go on with, and other easements and say, dear reader, if you were ever to see a hideous help of various kinds falling in bis way, little baby crying with his ugly mouth wide open, for his honest devotion to his art, and because his bowl of pap has fallen out of his simplicity of endeavor to " frame, he knew hand ? or an infamous and bestial man, with not what excelling thing," had won bim the gesticulations expressive of the lowest and many friends. His wife, perhaps not able most vicious desires ?. For myself, I am not a fanatic for ancient Art: on the contrary,

to rise to the fervor of this bope, looked I detest the academic and conventional; but i on with doubting, though always tender confess that, rather than these horrors, I should eyes, while the fate of her little household prefer to welcome Cupid, and Venus, and was thus held in suspense. “ Without Minerva, and the Graces, and in a word all saying it, she made me understand that Olympus.

she would greatly have preferred my con

tinuing as a wood-carver, without trouWe in this country have never got so bling myself about an art which hitherto far as Professor Bartolini carried his stu- had given me only disappointment and dents. We have never got rid of Apollo worry. With her eyes she seemed to say and Minerva; but we too have suffered to me, Don't bother yourself, Nanni, from his hunchback. Who has not seen about it." However, in a happy hour some hideous replica of the “Dirty Boy," the grand duchess Maria of Russia, with that famous group which has proved more her husband the prince of Leuchtenberg, popular than any heroic marble? Be came to Florence. They heard the con. tween such vulgar caterings to the lowest troversy with interest, as perhaps some tastes, and those dreadful pieces of task. barbarous princess might have heard a work in the shape of busts, the smirks controversy of a somewhat similar kind, and whiskers of the male, the simpers and which not long ago set Englislı society by lace collars of the female subjects, which the ears; and seeing, on a visit to the line all our exhibitions, the art of render. young artist's studio, not only the “ Abel” ing what is least beautiful in nature is but the first bozzo of the “Cain," which thoroughly well understood amony us. It he had set to work upon in a half frenzy has been proved in recent days that Lon- of indignation and ambition, immediately don may ring with an art controversy as bought the completed statue, and gave the hot as Florence ever saw: but abstract happy young sculptor a commission for principles of art are not likely, perhaps, the other. “The grand duchess, pressing to be very warmly discussed among us: my hand, said, “The Abel and the Cain Duprè's first work, the “ Abel,” carried are mine." out the nobler principle of this return to This great success and triumphant vinnature, and, as such, was taken up by the dication of his powers — for the “Cain " new school with enthusiasm, as a statue when completed was as successful as the " made by a youth who knew nothing of " Abel,” and there were no longer any Phidias or Alcamenes, nor of the others, dis paraging doubts about his power of who had not breathed the stilling air of modelling a standing or any other figure the Academy, but had trusted himself – did, our good Sor Giovanni confesses, to beautiful nature, and copied her with a little turn his head. He received a comfidelity and love." On the other hand, mission shortly after for the “Giotto" the opposition party seized upon Signor which stands under the colonnade of the Duprè's model, and stripped and meas. Uffizi, and seemed to have entered the ured him in the endeavor to make out that way of triumph. He was still young this famous return to nature was a cast enough, though the father of a family, to from the life. They failed, however, sig. be excused a little soolish elation, and de. pally in this effort, and awoke the indig. light in his own surpassing powers. Here nation of the authorities, whose critical is a little penitential picture of what hapjudgment was thus by a side wind set at pened on the occasion of a visit made io nouglit.

Rome in 1844, in order to make studies "Abel” hung for some time on the for a statue of Pope Pius II.:

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I must confess, whatever it costs me, that of artistic irresolution." He

was dis. the Eternal City did not make the most favor- turbed at the same time in his tranquil able impression upon me; and except the ruins home, which had always been a fountain of ancient Rome, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, of peace and consolation. He had with the Forum, with its triumphal arches and col. admirable feeling insisted that his wife onnades, all the rest excited in me no enthusi

But I must admit I had been spoiled by should give up her trade as he prospered too much praise ; and I was so vain, that while in his; but their means were scarcely sufI accepted everything with apparent modesty, ficient as yet to permit the loss of one I was so puffed up internally with pride that source of income, and the good Maria at times it would show itself in spite of me. was troubled and unhappy. Then the I remember once at the house of the Signora other members of the Duprè family, — the Clementina Carnevali, where every evening brother, who had ambitions too, but no were to be seen all the most distinguished per power to back them, as is so often the case sons in Rome, either in letters or art, strangers among the insignificant members of a famas well as Italians, - I remember, I say, to have replied in a most impertinent manner to

ily which has had the luck to produce some one who asked me how I liked the mon.

one person of genius, the father, who was unients and the art of Rome, and what above always a discouraging and feeble person. all lad most pleased me. I replied — and I age, sowed embarrassments in the path blush to repeat it -“What I like best is the of the young artist. And the men of the stewed broccoli,” - -a reply as outrageously schools, even Bartolini, to whose theo. stupid as insolent, and I wonder that those ries Dupré had brought an unexpected whò heard it could have taken it in good part support, looked jealously with no real unFor myself, as I feel to-day, if a young artist derstanding or approval upon the young had replied to me in such a manner, he would have got little good out of it and so much

man who was without the hail-mark of a the better for him !

regular training, and had made his way by But I had better luck; my foolish reply was the force of natural genius alone. Those repeated by every one, and so clouded by van- who are conscious of having spent a great ity and pride were my eyes, that I fancied it deal of time and trouble in education, are excited inirth and approbation, while it really apt to regard with a doubtful eye him who deserved only compassion.

pushes past them on the road to fame O Minardi'! O Tenerani ! O Massimo d'Aze- without any training, at all. And perhaps glio! you who were present, but now dead, the self-made man is never free from a cannot see the amende which I make. Howo doubt whether he might not have done ever, you knew me later, and were aware of better had he adopted, though without full my repentance.

acquaintance with the meanings and moEvery one who can remember a similar lives of them, the ways of the schools. outburst of youthful folly, which still dyes The good sense and natural judgment, even elderly cheeks to think of, will sym. however, of the young Florentine, eventupathize with Sor Giovanni in his shame ally brought him out safely into the right and penitence.

paih ; but he is very eager to warn young After the triumph, however, came a artists of the dangers of premature apchill. His “ Giotto” had been censured plause, and of attaching too much imporas being "100 naturalistic,” and this, as tance to early successes. the real Gioito was not an ideal of human beauty, troubled and disturbed the young

The young artist should take heed of all the artist, who felt that truth or at least fact praise that he receives. He should hold it in - and the bello ideale did not always cor: suspicion, and weigh it, and make a large derespond, and who began to ask himself the sense ; but it is better to inhale it but lit

duction. Eulogy is like a perfume, grateful to whether, after all, the classic conventional tle, little, little, because it goes to the head, were not the safest way. For a moment lulls us to sleep, and sometimes intoxicates us it seemed as if he were about to fall be and bewilders us so that we lose our compass. tween two stools, unable to accept the One must be prudent. Flowers of too strong traditions of the classicists on one hand, an odor must be kept outside the room, Air and revolted by the license of the natura is necessary air. I hope that these words listi, to whom “the first ruffian or harlot will fall into the ear of some to whom they of the streets" was good enough for a may do good – I mean, of those who not only type of humanity, on the other. The

sniíf up praise with eagerness, but are discon.

tented because they do not think it sufficient, signs of this wavering and doubtful state and who re-read it and talk of it with others are to be seen, he tells us, in the works so as to prolong their pleasure, and preserve executed at this time," in which are re

all the papers and writings which speak of flected my want of faith, uncertainty, and them, without perceiving that this is all vanity weakness of mind during these three years and pettiness of heart.

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