« 이전계속 »
and sure in its teaching, that I know not where, within the whole compass of his works, he has stowed away so mnch of sterling treasure within so small a space.
The fifth volume of Modern Painters somewhat hurriedly concludes the Book. "Feebly and faultily," says Ruskin, after mentioning the drawbacks under which he had worked, "yet as well as I can do it under these discouragements, the book is at last done." During the seventeen years in which he had been engaged upon it, he had experienced "oscillations of temper and progressions of discovery," but he warns the reader against inferring that the book is worse on that account. f "All true opinions are living, and show their life by being ca'pable of nourishment; therefore of change. But their change is that of a tree—not of a cloud." In the "main aim and principle of the book" there had been no change. "It doi lares the perfectness and eternal beauty of the work of God; and tests all work of man by concurrence with, or subjection to that."
The fifth volume formally completes the framework of the book as originally outlined. It contains four Parts: Of Leaf Beauty; Of Cloud Beauty; Of Ideas of Relation, under the head of formal invention; Of Ideas of Relation, under the head of spiritual invention. These, however, are not treated on the same scale as the divisions of the subject handled in the earlier volumes, and the author is sensible that there has been a certain amount of huddling up in the completion of the author's scheme. The materials accumulated were not, he found, reducible to a single volume, and he contemplated the treatment in separate books of questions suggested by the section on vegetation, and of questions suggested by the section on the sea.
These arc grave omissions. Nevertheless, the volume is one of abounding and intense interest, replete with genius. Here, finally, Ruskin pronounces against the pre-Raphaelites. In the
fourth volume, he bad schooled them sharply, talking, as he had made others afraid to talk, with almost contemptuous anger, of their sitting down "to sacrifice the most consummate skill" on studies of duck-pond weeds, of their leaving "all of lovely and wonderful" to be painted by vile incompetence, and of their forcing us to behold "nettles and mushrooms, which were prepared by nature eminently for nettle porridge and fish sauce, immortalized by art as reverently as if we were Egyptians, and they deities." In the fifth volume he expresses himself more calmly because he has lost hope. He has conclusively ascertained "that they were almost destitute of the power of feeling vastness, or enjoying the forms which expressed it. A mountain or great building only appeared to them as a piece of color of a certain shape. The powers it represented, or included, were invisible to them. In general they avoided subjects expressing space or mass, and fastened on confined, broken, and sharp forms; liking furze, fern, reeds, straw, stubble, dead leaves, and such like, better than strong stones, broad-flowing leaves, or rounded hills: in all such greater things, when forced to paint them, they missed the main and mighty lines; and this no less in what they loved than in what they disliked; for though fond of foliage, their trees always had a tendency to congeal into little acicular thornhedges, and never tossed free." Great composers, on the other hand, "not less deep in feeling, are in the fixed habit of regarding as much the relations and positions, as the separate nature, of things; reap and thresh in the sheaf, never pluck cars to rub in the hand; fish with net, not line, and sweep their prey together within great cords of errorless curve." So that the inarticulate instinct of the world, which, while acknowledging the greatness and pathos of such exceptional works as Millais's Autumn Leaves and Holman Hunt's Light of the World, pronounced inexorably against the affectations, and conceits, and cliquish sectarianisms of the brethren, had been in the right, after all; and the prophecy of the Edinburgh Lectures had failed !*
Less gracefully opulent and easy—less boy-like in freshness and careless magic of fascination, and lavish sowing of the page with orient pearl—than the first volume, the fifth displays no failure in real power of eloquence, rather is it more concentrated and commanding. Yet its power touches me less than its tenderness. That poetry which welled up in Ruskin's youth now makes music of finest sympathy—delicate and deep as Wordsworth's best—as we wander with him through glades of pine. He gives life to the trees and buds and leaves. The young pines, delicate in their beauty, human in their fellowship, " follow each other along the soft hill - ridges, up and down." In exalting his dearest pines, he cannot help doing some injustice to other trees. "Lowland trees may lean to this side and that, though it is but a meadow breeze that bends them, or a bank of cowslips from which their trunks lean aslope. But let storm and avalanche do their worst, and let the pine find only a ledge of vertical precipice to cling to, it will nevertheless grow straight. Thrust a rod from its last shoot down the stem; it shall point to the centre of the earth as long as the tree lives." This of course is not the case. All trees grow straight, and every stem points to the centre of the world. There is in this respect no peculiarity in pines.
This volume, as well as the third and fourth, is enriched with pictorial illustrations of great interest and value, a large proportion of them from Ruskin's own hand. These vary in excellence. The best, I think — though many of the cloud drawings arc superb—is in the fourth volume, numbered 46, The Buttresses of an Alp. The long ridge of mountain, rising as it retreats, along which we feel that we could walk mile after mile, with its steeps of precipice, wrinklings of rain
course, and bossy work of woodland, is altogether masterly. The mountain recalls Turner, the foreground Diirer, but the work is Ruskin's own, and he is worthy to stand between those two sons of the mighty. Having said which I think Ruskin's best drawing, I shall say also which I think his worst. It is surely that in the fifth volume, numbered 84, and named Peace. This is the weakest bit of draughtsmanship I have ever seen from Ruskin's hand. It has some fine quality, or it could not be his; but the ineffectuality of literalism is written on its counted stones, and wriggling bits of iron, and lifeless trees.
Modern Painters has, questionless, its shortcomings and defects; but less cannot be said of it than that it is one of the monumental books of the century, one of the imperishable masterpieces of English literature. Its teaching on art is in the main, in so far as I can satisfy myself on that point by long years of study and consideration, right. But more important, or at least more influential than its express teaching on art, is that passion of enthusiasm for nature's beauty with which it vibrates from its first page to its last. Goethe and others may have spoken with as much accuracy of the laws and principles of painting; but Ruskin took up the art of his country and laid it on the bosom of its mother, nature, to rise inspired with new ardor, braced with new strength, and to begin anew to scale the heights of the ideal.
HIS LOVE OF NATURE AND OF MAN.
T N the fifth volume of Modern Painters, Mr. Ruskin declared that the distinctive character of his books on art is "their bringing everything to a root in human passion or human hope." This speciality of his writings—their supreme interest in humanity—he alleged to have been, " of all their characters, the one most denied."|^2\Tot a few, I dare say, were surprised to hear that Mr. Ruskin's interest in humanity exceeded his interest either in the taste of the public, the reputation of Turner, or the abstract principles and particular facts of beauty; but I cannot charge myself with having failed to recognize that intense and rugged sympathy with his kind which led him to dwell with a glow of affectionate wonder on "the fisherman's boat and the grimy practicality of the collier brig," and the brave hearts tossing in them at the mercy of wind and wave, and which made him rejoice in the Gothic workman, as he struck from the stone rude semblances of flower and flame, incomparably more than in the Greek slave, though he moulded a capital that would give the law of beauty for thousands of years. The subtlest essence of Mr. Ruskin's originality is connected with the two passions which, to his own consciousness, may have seemed to work in harmony, but which, to the world of hasty readers, appeared often to contend with each other for the mastery—namely, love of man and love of landscape beauty. In a description of what he saw and felt in looking upon a pine forest in the Jura, he presents to us these two passions in their harmonious action. Believing the key to a great deal that has caused perplexity and offence in his writ