« 이전계속 »
them as of men who commune with something superior, and for whom the frivolous idols of the multitude have no attraction. I have found them usually fond of music and if not addicted to general literatúre, ardently attached to a particular poet. They read so constantly the book of nature, that written lore is not so requisite for them. The human face, the waving bough, the flower and the cloud, the fantastic play of the smouldering embers, moonlight on a cornice, and the vast imagery of dreams, are full of teachings for them.
wli There is a definiteness in the art of sculpture, that renders its language more direct and immediate than that of painting. Masses of stone were revered as idols, in remote antiquity; and men soon learned to hew them into rude figures. When architecture, the elder sister of sculpture, had given birth to temples of religion, the statues of deities were their chief ornaments. Images of domestic gods existed as early as the twenty-third century before the Christian era. The early Indian and Hindoo idols, as well as the gloomy sculpture of the Egyptians, evidence how naturally the art sprung from the human mind, even before a refined taste had developed its real dignity. Sculpture was a great element of Grecian culture. In the age of Pericles, it attained perfection. In the square and the temple, on the hill-top and within the private dwelling, the beautiful productions of the chisel met the eye. They addressed every sentiment of devotion and
patriotism. They filled the soul with ideals of symmetry and grace, and the traces of their silent eloquence were written in the noble air, the harmonious
costume and the very forms of the ancient Greeks. IThe era of ideal models and a classic style passed away! In the thirteenth century, the art revived in Italy, and there are preserved some of the noblest specimens of Grecian genius, as well) as those to which M. Angelo and his countrymen gave birth. The Apollo looks out upon the sky of Rome, while the Venus “ loves in stone and *Niobe bends over her clinging babe in the Florence gallery. Shelley used to say, that he would value a peasant's criticism upon sculpture, as much as that of the most educated man.
Form is, indeed, more easily judged than color. There is a certain vagueness in painting, while sculpture is palpable. bold and clear. There is a severe nobility in the art ; its influence is to calm and elevate rather than excite. The Laocoon, Niobe and Allesandro doloroso are findeed expressions of passion but they are striking exceptions. Sculpture soothes the impetuous soul. The heads of the honored dead wear a solemn dignity. The stainless and cold marble breathe a pure repose, stamped with the calm of immortality. In walking through the Vatican by torch-light, we might deem ourselves, without much exercise of fancy, in a world of spirits. The tall white figures stretching forward in the gloom, the snowy faces, upon which the flambeaux glare, the winding drapery and the outstretched arm, strike the eye in that artificial light, with a startling look of life. One feels like an intruder into some hall of death, or conclave of the great departed. A good bust is an invaluable memorial; it preserves the features and expressions without their temporary hue. There is as.
sociated with it the idea of durability and exactitude. Though the most common offspring of sculpture, it is one of the rarest in perfection. Few sculptors can copy na. ture so faithfully as to give us the very lineaments wholly free from caricature or embellishment. (Those who have an eye for the detail of expression, often fail in general effect) To copy the form of the eye, the texture of the hair, every delicate line of the mouth, and yet preserve throughout an air of veri-similitude and that unity of
effect which always exists in nature is no ordinary achievement. The requisite talent must be a native endowment; no mechanical dexterity can ever reach it. " A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.” This sentiment spontaneously fills the heart in view of the great products of the chisel. We contemplate the Niobe and Apollo, as
billions have before us, with growing delight and the han most intense admiration. They have come down to us
from departed ages, like messengers of love; they asasure us, with touching eloquence, that human genius and affection..the aspirations and wants, the sorrow and the enthusiasm of the soul, were ever the same; they invoke us to endure bravely and to cherish the beautiful and true, as our best heritage. So speak they and so will they speak to unborn generations. In the silent poetry of their expressive forms lives a perennial sentiment. They keep perpetual state, and give the world audience, that it
may feel the eternity of genius, and the true dignity of . man. It is delightful to believe that sculpture is destined
to flourish among us. It is truly the art of a young republic. Let it perpetuate the features of our patriots, and
people our cities with images of grandeur and beauty. Worthy votaries of the art are not wanting among us : on the banks of the Arno, they speak of Greenough and Powers: from the studios of Rome come praises of Crawford, and beside the Ohio is warmly predicted the fame of Clevenger. Let us cherish such followers of the art with true sympathy and generous patronage. The national heart will not then be wholly corroded by gain, and a few places will be kept green for repose and refreshment upon the great highway of American life
I have just parted with one of those insensible beings who profess perfect independence of the weather,--a class, one would think, by their manner of treating this popular topic, differently organized from the majority of mankind. It is really provoking to remark the complacency with which they declare that the atmospheric vicis. situdes affect them not, that they are too busy to note the course of the wind, and that half the time they know not whether it rains or shines ; as if it were a fit subject for congratulation—this unnatural insusceptibility to what human beings should, from their very constitution, consciously feel. Much pleasure do these weather-despisers lose. It is true, they suffer not the throe; but, be it remembered, they enjoy not the thrill. Welcome are they to their much vaunted indifference to the state of the elements. Better, methinks, to suffer somewhat, and even fancifully, from the weather, than to be wrapped up in a mantle of unconcern-to walk forth regardless of the temperature, and without any more interest in the existent face of the heavens, than if they were changeless and