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their beloved forms still retain the semblance of animation, they still bloom in the expressive colours of the ingenious artist, and their features excite the recollection of their dispositions, manners, and characters."
Blest be the pencil! which from death can save
The semblance of the virtuous, wise, and brave;
That youth and emulation still may gaze
On those inspiring forms of ancient days,
And from the force of bright example bold,
Rival their worth, and be what they behold.
Blest be the pencil! whose enchantment gives
To wounded love the food on which he lives.
Rich in this gift, tho' cruel ocean bear
The youth to exile from his faithful fair,
He in fond dreams hangs o'er her glowing cheek,
Still owns her present, and still hears her speak.
HAYLEY. It is well observed by Kett, that “a good picture produces a momentary enchantment, carries us beyond ourselves, and either transports us into the midst of the most delightful scenery, or places us by the side of saints, martyrs, and heroes. It brings before us the most eminent persons, either living or dead, charms the imagination with their ideal presence, and assists us (while we contemplate their persons, and examine the expression of their features) to recal the memory of their virtues. The influence of the pencil is so great and extensive, that its productions have constantly been the delight of all countries of the world, and of all seasons of life.
Landscape-painting amuses the eye with the views of nature, however remote the original scenes may be from the spectator, and gives to the Swede or the Russian the fair portrait of Circassian beauty, or the bright and smiling objects of Italian scenery:
(None more admires) the painter's magic skill,
Who shews me that which I shall never see;
Conveys a distant country into mine;
And throws Italian light on British walls.
COWPER. Mr. Shee, who eminently excels in the sister arts of Poetry and Painting, has the following beautiful apostrophe to Painting :
Bless'd be the skill which thus enshrines the great,
And rescues virtue from oblivious fate!
Which seems to fix the falling stars of mind,
And still preserve their lustre to mankind !
Immortal art! whose touch embalms the brave,
Discomfits death, and triumphs o'er the grave!
In thee our heroes live--our beauties bloom,
Defy decay, and breathe beyond the tomb !
Mirror divine ! which gives the soul to view,
Reflects the image, and retains it too!
Recals to friendship's eye the fading face,
Revives each look, and rivals every grace.
In thee the banish'd lover finds relief,
His bliss in absence, and his balm in grief.
Affection, grateful, owns thy sacred pow'r,
The father feels thee in affliction's hour;
When catching life ere some lov'd cherub flies,
To take its angel station in the skies,
The portrait soothes the loss it can't repair,
And sheds a comfort-even in despair.
How bursts the flood of sorrow past control !
What sense of anguish rushes o'er the soul !
When, turning from the last sad rite that gave
His heart's best joy for ever to the grave,
The widow'd husband sees bis sainted wife,
In picture warm, and smiling as in life :
Yet tho''tis madness on that form to dwell,
Now cold and mould’ring in its clammy cell ;
Tho' each soft trait that seems immortal there,
But deeper strikes the dagger of despair ;
Say–if for worlds he would the gift forego,
That mocks his eye, and bids the current flow?
No-while he gazes with convulsive thrill,
And weeps and wonders at the semblance still,
He breathes a blessing on the pencil's aid,
That half restores the substance in the shade.
This poet, as well as others, with great propriety denounces the “ unmusical man."
unmusical man.” A portion of savageness always characterizes the mind that is neither moved nor moveable by the liberal arts; that has no relish for the productions of taste :
Immortal art ! nor sense of taste has he,
Nor glow of soul, who finds no charm in thee;
His heart is shut to nature-coarse and cold,
A clumsy cast of her half-finished mould:
For such in vain the beams of beauty rise,
Adorn the earth, and glitter in the skies:
In vain her charms th' enchantress Fancy flings,
To deck the rough reality of things ;
To lure from low delights of sense, and raise
Th' ambrosial relish of immortal praise.
Well husk'd, and hard to ev'ry touch of grace,
They live a sordid, sensual, selfish race;
Their passions grov'ling and their pleasures gross,
Their very virtues, like their minds, morose ;
With evil eye they view the gentler train
Of peaceful joys, and pant for riot's reign :
Foment the civil feud-the factious jar,-
Harsh heard in discord still--and ripe for war.
The following lines on the art of Painting are taken from Mason's Translation of Du Fresne:
Rise then, ye youths! while yet that warmth inspires,
While yet nor years impair, nor labour tires,
While health, while strength, are yours, while that mild ray
Which shone auspicious on your natal day,
Conducts you to Minerva's peaceful quire,
Sons of her choice, and sharers of her fire,
Risc at the call of art : expand your breast,
Capacious to receive the mighty guest,
While, free from prejudice, your active eye
Preserves its first unsullied purity ;
While new to beauty's charms, your eager soul
Drinks copious draughts of the delicious whole,
And memory on her soft, yet lasting page,
Stamps the fresh image which shall charm through age.
When duly taught each geometric rule,
Approach with awful step the Grecian school;
The sculptur'd relics of her skill survey,
Muse on by night, and imitate by day;
No rest, no pause, till all her graces known,
A happy habit makes each grace your own :
As years advance, to modern masters come,
Gaze on their glories in majestic Rome :
Admire the proud productions of their skill,
Whịch Venice, Parma, and Bologna fill;
And, rightly led by our preceptive lore,
Their style, their colouring, part by part explore :
See Raphael there his forms celestial trace,
Unrivali'd sov'reign of the realms of grace.
See Angelo with energy divine
Seize on the summit of correct design;
Learn how, at Julia's birth, the Muses smild,
And in their mystic caverns nurs'd the child;
How, by th' Aonian pow'rs their smile bestow'd,
His pencil with poetic fervour glow'd;
When faintly verse Apollo's charms convey'd,
He ope'd the shrine, and all the gods display'd.
His triumphs more than mortal pomp adorns,
With more than mortal rage his battle burns ;
His heroes, happy heirs of fav'ring fame,
More from his art than from their
Bright beyond all the rest, Correggio Alings
His ample lights, and round them gently brings
The mingling shade. In all his works we view
Grandeur of style, and chastity of hue.
Yet higher still, great Titian dar'd to soar,
He reach'd the loftiest heights of colouring's pow'r ;
His friendly tints in happiest mixture flow,
His shades and lights their just gradations know;
He knew those dear delusions of the art,
That round, relieve, inspirit ev'ry part;
Hence deem'd divine, the world his merit own'd,
With riches loaded, and with honours crown'd:
From all their charms combin'd, with happy toil,
Did Annibal compose his wondrous style :
O’er the fair fraud so close a veil is thrown,
That every borrow'd grace becomes his own.
If then to praise like theirs your souls aspire,
Catch from their works a portion of their fire;
Revolve their labours all, for all will teach,
Their finish'd picture, and their slightest sketch.
Yet more than these, to meditation's eyes
Great Nature's self redundantly supplies :
Her presence, best of models! is the source
Whence genius draws augmented pow'r and force;
Her precepts, best of teachers ! give the pow'rs,
Whence art, by practice, to perfection soars,
It may be productive of some amusement to enumerate a few of the laughable blunders which have originated in the ignorance or inadvertence of different artists.
Tintoret, in a picture which represents the Israelites gathering Manna in the Desert, has armed the Hebrews with guns! and a modern Neapolitan artist has represented the Holy Family, during their Journey to Egypt, as passing the Nile in a barge as richly ornamented as that of Cleopatra!
Brengheli, a Dutch painter, in a picture of the Eastern Magi, has, according to the grotesque fashion of his country, drawn the Indian King in a large white surplice, with boots and spars, and bearing in his hand, as a present to the Holy Child, the model of a Dutch seventy-four!
Lanfranc has thrown churchmen in their robes at the feet of our Saviour, when an infant; and Algarotti relates, that Paul Veronese introduced several Benedictines among the guests at the Feast of Cana.
An altar-piece in a church at Capua, painted by Chella delle Puera, representing the Annunciation, is a curious collection of absurdities. The Virgin is seated in a rich arm-chair of crimson velvet, with gold flowers; a cat and parrot, placed near her, seem extremely attentive to the whole scene; and on a table are a silver coffee-pot and cup!
A modern Italian has painted the same subject in a similar way. The Virgin is on her knees near the toilette; on a chair are thrown a variety of fashionable dresses; which shew, that, in the painter's opinion at least, she must have been a practised coquette: and at a little distance appears a cat, with its head lifted up towards the angel, and its ears on end to catch what he has got to say !
Paulo Mazocchi painted a piece representing the Four Elements; in which fishes marked the sea, moles the earth, and a salamander the fire. He wished to have represented the air by a cameleon ; but not knowing how to draw that scarce animal, he contented himself, from a similarity of sounds, with introducing a camel, who, extending bis long neck, snuffs up the breezes around him!
But of all the blunders which artists have committed, none is perhaps so great as that of the painter, who, in a picture of the Crucifixion, represented the confessor holding out a crucifix to the good thief who was crucified with our Saviour !
There are other anachronisms of a rarer sort, which owe their existence to the barbarous transformations which pictures, originally correct, have under