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of a man, the keep of two horses, and the extra expenditure incurred by the diminished amount of work performed in the day. No longer ago than 1835, Sir Robert Peel presented a Farmers' Club at Tamworth with two iron ploughs of the best construction. On his next visit the old ploughs with the wooden mould-boards were again at work. “Sir,' said a member of the club, 'we tried the iron, and we be all of one mind that they made the weeds grow.' On Young recommending the Dorsetshire agriculturists to fold their ewes in the winter they treated the idea with contempt; and on pressing them for their reasons, they replied, that the flock, in rushing out of the fold, would tread down the lambs,' though no such accident had ever been heard of, 'and that the lambs would not be able to find their dams in a large fold,' though certainly, says Young, 'a lamb in Dorsetshire has as much sense as a lamb elsewhere.'. Whether the method had been beneficial or not, the grounds for rejecting it were equally absurd. Of two neighbouring counties one was sometimes a century behind the other. A lazy desire to creep with sluggish monotony along an established path, and a feeling of impatience at being pushed into a novel track, helped to maintain hereditary prejudices, and tenants invented fanciful excuses for not doing what was plainly advantageous to be done, because they preferred present sloth to future profit. They were like a man who had lain upon one side till he shrunk from the trouble of turning over to the other, though when the process was performed the new posture might be easier than the old. But once roused and put in motion, and the inherent reluctance to stir being overcome, the gain in interest as well as in pocket was felt to be great. He who has profited by one innovation is ready to try another, and his pride and his pleasure is to improve where his fathers gloried in resisting improvement. There are still large districts of England which have yet to be converted to a rational system of agriculture-landlords who are ignorant of the principles of management which attract or create intelligent tenants—and tenants who are ignorant of the methods by which the land is made to double its increase. But the wave of agricultural progress has acquired irresistible might, and they must mount it or it will sweep them away. The best thing which can be done for these laggards in the race is to persuade them to take in an agricultural newspaper, to get them to consult the commercial travellers who collect orders for the manufacturers of artificial manures, to talk them into replenishing their worn-out implements from the mart of the great makers, to prevail on them to visit the annual shows of the Royal Agricultural Society, to throw them, in short, in the way of seeing the products of advanced husbandry, and of hearing
the ideas of enlightened cultivators. By some or all of these means they may be put upon the high-road to improvement, and when they have gone an inch there is little fear, unless they are afflicted by a hopeless incapacity, that they will refuse to go the ell. He who lives within the diameter of a little circle has ideas as narrow as his horizon, but the influence of numbers and skill together is irresistible, and no impersonation of ignorance or bigotry has probably ever visited a single great agricultural exhibition without returning a wiser and a better farmer.
Art. V.-1. The Life of Michael Angelo Buonarroti, with Trans
lations of many of his Poems and Letters. By John S. Harford,
Esq., D.C.L., F.R.S. In 2 vols. London, 1857. 2. Illustrations, Architectural and Pictorial, of the Genius of
Michael Angelo Buonarroti. With Descriptions of the Plates by the Commendatore Canina, C. R. Cockerell, Esq., R. A.,
and John S. Harford, Esq., F.R.S. THE 'HE two volumes upon Michael Angelo, by a gentleman
of Mr. Harford's station, are no slight testimony to the enlightened attention now devoted to the subject of art by the class most at liberty to choose their own studies and recreations. Such free-will offerings are the more valuable from the circumstance that they are usually presented with a liberality as regards time, trouble, and money which the more professional contributor can seldom afford, and which this work offers to us in more than common abundance. Mr. Harford's name was previously known to the public in honourable connexion with that of the illustrious object of his labours for services rendered in the same liberal spirit to artists as well as to art. In 1854 he published, at considerable expense, a plate of the Sistine ceiling, no less remarkable for its large size than for the effect of colour produced by an elaborate application of the chromo-lithographic process. Considering the double difficulty of giving any adequate idea of a work, itself seen under so many disadvantages, Mr. Harford's plate may be pronounced the most successful, as a general representation of the ceiling, yet produced. The profits of the sale are devoted to the benefit of the Artists' General Benevolent Institution. This fine lithograph is now incorporated with a folio of engravings accompanying the Life, in which no pains have been spared to assist the public to comprehend Michael Angelo as architect as well as painter, and which, having the advantage of a careful and enthusiastic essay from the pen of Mr. Cockerell, is valuable with or without the work it illustrates.
But it is not in generosity of labour or liberality of illustration alone that Mr. Harford shows the independent amateur; the mode in which he has conceived bis subject is strictly true to that character also. He may be said to lead the reader up to Michael Angelo by every avenue, except that wbich most appertains to connoisseurship. We approach the great Florentine by little help of criticism, and by few standards of comparison, either with himself or others, but rather through the literature, philosophy, and salient forms of thought of his day; the author touches on none of the disputed points in his history; he gives us no list of the works of this unprecedented pluralist in art; but, on the principle that a man is best known by his associates, be introduces him surrounded by those living characters whom he believes to have influenced his mind as well as his destiny. Thus the chief personages of that mysterious Florence of the 15th century are successively evoked before us-Lorenzo de' Medici, the magnificent Egotist, the devotee chiefly of a spurious Platonism, the patriot only in art and learning-Politian, the Medicean laureate, and tutor to the future Leo X.-Ficinio, the high-priest of the philosophic Academy-Pico de Mirandola, the lesser Italian Crichton-Matteo Franco-Bartolommeo Scala -Luigi Pulci-with minor literati, sparkling, profligate, and classic-and, finally, the melancholy figure of the puritanic martyr Savonarola, whose stern trumpet-call of Christian protest is beard in harsh opposition to the lulling Pagan tones, which, floating on the surface of Italian society, show the deep moral corruption beneath.
Nor are the results of Mr. Harford's labours dependent for interest on the nature of his subjects only. No matter what the theme-and our short summary comprehends the very antipodes of the dull and interesting in systems and men—from the dreariest dreams of modern Platonism equally as from the stirring echoes of the Reformation yon side the Alps (bis favourite and leading topic), this hard-working volunteer extracts a narrative so lucid and elegant as to afford little conception of the obscurity, wordiness, and pedantry through which he himself has forced his way.
In this desire to reflect light on the life he has undertaken, from every form of intellectual depth or sophistical surface at all coincident with it, Mr. Harford expresses not only his own feelings, but that of an important and highly-cultivated class. To such thinkers great part of the interest inspired by art consists in its supposed connexion with the mind of its period; and though not prepared to agree unreservedly with this belief, it may be accepted as one of those cases in which an opinion may bear good fruit without being strictly founded on truih. Whatever reason, indeed, leads the educated and the excellent to take
an interest in art is a good reason, though it may not be one of sound philosophy. Interesting, therefore, as are Mr. Harford's volumes on various grounds, there is nothing in them more so than the fact that one in his position should devote his best energies to detail the minutest particulars of a great artist's existence; while, on the other hand, we can imagine no tribute more honourable to the memory of the great Florentine than is thus paid by the learning, the liberality, and the piety of so thorough an English gentleman.
As respects the tone of earnest piety which pervades the work, it is no trifling indication of the religious feeling of our 19th century that, in the desire to vindicate taste by a bigher principle, by reconciling the life and works of Michael Angelo with the pure doctrines of Christianity-the true solution of Mr. Harford's labours—this gentleman does not stand alone among modern writers on art. The same desire, however different in application, may, be seen in M. Rio's work on • Léonardo da Vinci et son École.' If Mr. Harford fondly aims to glean from the emanations of Michael Angelo's mind, both as an artist and poet, the indications of an incipient Protestant, M. Rio as fondly claims the art of Leonardo and his school as the only consistent result of true Catholic doctrine. Both, by these means, invest their subject with an interest beyond the reach of art; both inspire the reader with the most respectful convictions of their sincerity; and both, perhaps, lead us somewhat to ponder upon the absence of all philosophical connexion between such premises and conclusions.
While the impure mythology of ancient Greece is known to have enlisted in its service the highest development of art the world has ever known, it would be vain to try and trace any logical consequence between the excellences of the artist and those of his faith. Art may derive her support, in a worldly sense, from the foulest superstition or from the purest Christianity; but in the impossibility of tracing the sources of her inspiration to both these extremes alike is shown the fallacy of ascribing it to either. The fuller the Pantheon, or the more numerous the legends, the more abundant are her materials; but as regards the elements which transmute these materials into art, we see no rule which adjudges them to the principles of one form of faith, superstition, or idolatry, more than to those of another. Byzantine art, it is true, may be characterized as the strict exponent of Byzantine religious principle from the 6th to the 12th century; that, however, which, properly speaking, was no art, can constitute no example. If, on the other hand, obedience to prescription and tradition be the banner of the Roman Church, and liberty of thought and progress that of the Protestant, it would puzzle any competent analyser, in considering the highest forms of Italian art, to separate one from the other. In adherence to established types and subjects, both Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo were faithful Catholics ; in innovations of every kind in the practice of their great language they were arrant Protestants. It may be thought that we here infer that the Protestant principle is, of the two, as much the more important for the expansion of art, as the practice of the artist is more important than the subject on which it is exercised. The great Italian masters carried on the forms of Papal tradition as the Greek sculptors those of heathen mythology, because they found them ready to their hands; but the very existence of art, as Byzantium again exemplifies, is dependent on the artist's freedom of speech. There is, however, a fallacy in the mere admission of these doctrinal ideas into reasoning upon art which cannot be too much deprecated. The definitions of blackness and whiteness would not be more out of place applied to music, nor those of hardness and softness to perfumes, than the ideas involved by the terms Roman Catholic and Protestant as applied to art. There are feelings in man and appearances in Nature which, joined together in holy wedlock, engender art; but, however the union may be stimulated by fervour, encouraged by piety, and favoured by a holy life, articles of belief have nothing whatever to do with it. If we were asked to define which are the painters in the whole range of art who have most imbued their works with the expression of religious fervour, we should name two as far severed by creed as by country and time-Fra Angelico and Ary Scheffer. Only, indeed, by recognising the instinct of art in its true dignity as the inheritance of the natural man can the apparent discrepancies in its sources and aliment be reconciled, and only thus can it be freed from those theories which, however attractive to the fancy, serve but to clog it with mysticism and confusion. In no respect, therefore, does the faithful follower of Rome more pervert both history and philosophy than by the fond assumption that in the difference between the doctrines of the Papacy and those of the Reformation lies the great secret of Christian art from Giotto upwards. One is tempted to ask in return, if that difference in doctrine be answerable for their production, why it has not been more zealous for their preservation? This, however, is too large a question to be pursued here, and we return to Mr. Harford.
In admitting that the title of this gentleman's work might more appropriately have been that of the History of Michael Angelo and his Times, and that it renders far more service to literature than to art, it is necessary to remind the reader that Mr. Harford bas not only taken that view of his subject most congenial to his own mind, but that which every writer must, more
Vol. 103.-No. 206.