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neither a wrinkle nor a crow's-foot, a furrow nor a swelling, a pimple nor a bruise. He puts forward no pretensions to please the eye; for he is-pardon the pleonasm-no painter of the picturesque, but rather a pictorial essayist, a philosopher,—the Aristophanes of the pencil, an author who paints instead of writing his comedies. And what “humour” (sic in orig.), what causticity, what energy of satire, does he not display! It must not, however, be thought that Hogarth, as an executant, is destitute of some purely artistic excellence. Although his drawing is deficient in style, it is not without boldness and precision; and although his colour is often opaque and dull, it has the charm, particularly in those grays of his (sometimes abruptly warmed by reds), of a certain sober harmony. The fashions of his time, in which his personages are draped, are reproduced with scrupulous exactitude; and the irony he means to convey is all the stronger for those fashions being now out of date. In conclusion, how thoroughly English this Hogarth is ! how he seems to have the flavour and odour of his country! what an intimate and familiar knowledge he possesses of its manners! To me, every one of his pictures, in its minutest details, seems to bear the stamp and autograph of the designer, inventor, and proprietor-John Bull.
Sir Joshua Reynolds is infinitely more of a painter than Hogarth, in the strict acceptation of the term, but he is vastly inferior to him in composition, in the knowledge of human life, and in individuality. But be is far more fascinating. He has the “temperament of a colourist," a prodigious facility of pencil, and, which must be inborn and cannot be acquired, the gift of grace. He enjoys the rare ability to paint women and children in all their freshness, in all their suavity, and in all their morbidezze.* In portraiture Reynolds has shown signs of genuine originality. Although this branch of art would seem at first to require little from its professors beyond a strong imitative faculty, he has often created a picture of positively enchanting effect from a single head with a background of sky or of foliage,-a picture, moreover, which will rivet the spectator's gaze to it more firmly than would a work crowded with figures. Reynolds is entitled to be named immediately after the great masters in portraiture--after Titian, Tintoretto, Vandyck, and Velasquez. He may be a natural son of this illustrious family, but he has become legitimatised. No artist ever understood so well as he has done the secrets of English grace and beauty, and no one has ever so successfully transferred them to canvas. His manner is bold and expeditious, tending almost to sketchiness, the colour in one place scarcely concealing the threads of the canvas, and in another loading it with layer after layer of pigment. But this is all done with a happy audacity, and the strong confidence of preconceived determination (sureté de parti pris), with a prompt resolve to refrain from no sacrifice which he deems ne
* There are as many definitions for the term Morbidezza, Morbidezze,-a favourite one among French critics, -as for æsthetics. The best equivalent I can find for it in English is “pulpiness" of flesh.-G. A. S.
cessary, with “delicate brutality," and with an exquisite finesse of tone, even in those touches which at first sight seem as coarse and as baphazard as the scumblings of a scene-painter. Although he studied the works of the old masters with the instinct of an artist and the sagacity of a critic, and although his works occasionally display the reflex of momentary preoccupation, Reynolds never loses the cachet Britannique, the English stamp and sign manual; and it would be almost impossible to avoid singling out one of his works from among those of other schools. In his historical pictures he has not, as a rule, succeeded
. so well as in portraiture and fancy subjects; but this fault he only pos. sesses in common with the great body of his fellow-countrymen. The historical style, properly so called, is the weak side of the English school; but this deficiency of power may be ascribed to causes to which we shall have to call attention on a future occasion.
Close by the side of Reynolds GAINSBOROUGH naturally takes his place. In him we are glad to recognise an eminent artist gifted with the rarest qualities. In portrait as in landscape Gainsborough shows every sign of a superior capacity. His portraits are often the worthy rivals of Reynolds's. Although his colour is less brilliant, it has frequently more delicacy and more harmony than Sir Joshua's. He excels in poetically expressing the languid melancholy of young women, the almost indefinable reveries of young girls. The grace be infuses into his works is more timid and more veiled; it melts as much as it fascinates; and he has the gift of establishing between the spectator and the person represented a strong chord of sympathy. When we look at his portraits, we seem to regret that we have not known the originals, for, assuredly, we should have loved them. In landscape Gainsborough combines with a purely natural expression a kind of idyllic dreaminess, recalling the inmost yearnings of the soul. How often must a wearied imagination, a jaded fancy, sick of the tumult of towns, and tired of a mundane career, have built for itself, with less freshness and poetic feeling it may be, but yet with equal enthusiasm, such a retreat as Gainsborough's “Cottage Door"! How much real happiness seems to dwell in this charming little nest all hung with garlands, which a stray sunbeam comes furtively seeking through the deep shadows of the trees! What tranquil dreams one might indulge in to the music of the rivulet's murmur as it runs before the cottage threshold!
It is to be regretted that Gainsborough (as did Reynolds likewise) should have shown so often in his drawing the defects of laxity, haste, and incorrectness. In colour, in sentiment, and in effect, the painter of the “Cottage Door” was a true master ; but he is not so in outline. It may be urged in his exculpation, that at the epoch during which he flourished a stern rigour in outline was not insisted upon, and that no such rigour was observed by any contemporary school.* Facility,
* Take MM. Boucher, Lancret, Fragonard, &c. &c., for instance, whose outlines seem drawn with floss-silk.-G. A. S.
suppleness, and elegance, were then much more highly esteemed than classic purity or exactitude. Both Gainsborough and Reynolds possessed nevertheless all the instincts of the Grand School, and both succeeded in elevating portraiture to the dignity of history, by endowing it with qualities far superior to those of mere personal resemblance. The chiefest of these was Human Interest, that is to say, the personification of a race or of a caste in a typical effigy; in composition and attitude; in a noble selection of accessories, and in a highly poetical effect. Such portraits are the best memoirs of an age. The
open and all who run may read what were the lives, the habits, the aspirations, and the thoughts of generations which have disappeared, and which, were it not for these canvases, would have left few physical traces of their passage upon earth. Gratitude is due, then, even from beyond the tomb to those admirable artists for their performances. The ghosts of the beauteous dames (belles ladies) of the Georgian era have to thank them for being rescued from an oblivion from which not all their rank or all their wealth could have saved them. Alas! all that remains of them, now, is but a few handfuls of gray ashes; but on the walls of the picture gallery they retain eternal youth and freshness and beauty.
We are curious to know whether these chefs-d'æuvres—for such they really are-enjoyed to the full the appreciation of their contemporaries. To us it seems doubtful. The pride of the British nation was, it may readily be imagined, gratified by the possession of artists so eminent, nor did it fail to bestow sumptuous rewards upon them; but the self-disparaging prejudices to which we alluded at the commencement of this article were by no means extinct, and have not entirely disappeared at the present day.
That which we call in France “ Historical Landscape” was treated most brilliantly and most poetically by RICHARD Wilson. His manner may be described as a combination of the characteristics of Claude, of Gaspar Poussin, and of Salvator Rosa, the whole softened by the sentimental English element. His composition is not so severe, but his appreciation of nature is livelier. Unfortunately the mythological subjects and the conventional idyls which he elected to illustrate deprive his landscapes of much of their sincerity. The alliance of the false and the true is not always a felicitous one. Wilson possesses, however, style, grandeur, and a kind of broad and magisterial aspect, and he is dexterous in the variety both in the scheme and the effects of his pictures.
George MORLAND, on the contrary, scarcely composes his landscapes at all. He takes nature, that is to say, the scenery of his native country, where he finds it, and he paints what he sees with sparkling colour and a full-flowing brush. The extreme freedom of his touch gives some degree of elegance to his pictures, albeit their themes are taken from the most familiar phases of nature, and the simplest episodes of rustic life. A cottage with moss-grown thatch, a tuft of trees, a pond, a hedge, and
in the midst a gray pony, with its flank lit up by a sunbeam,*—these suffice to Morland for the realisation of a charming picture. He seems neither to know, nor to care, any thing about Grecian or Italian sites, or the storms and convulsions of nature.
[To be continued.]
* M. Gautier does not appear to have seen George Morland's pigs.
Amusing " Mossoo."
He is here--Mossoo-there is no doubt about that! The long-expected invasion has peacefully taken place, and the Gaul reigns in the capital. Go where you will you find him, unfolding huge maps, which flap in the wind and wind round him hopelessly, faintly endeavouring with his fat pinchbeck-ringed forefinger to trace out his intended route, painfully trying to reconcile the name painted on the street-corner before him with the orally-pronounced word still ringing in his ear, haggling with cab-ruffians, hailing passing omnibuses which are not in the least going in his intended direction, outwardly making the best of every thing, but inwardly wretched and dull-here is Mossoo! Every country has sent its quota, for “Mossoo" is a generic term. Here is French Mossoo, bright, active, and intelligent, but inclined to be particularly disagreeable. French Mossoo, critic and feuilletoniste, comes and writes back to the journal to which he is accredited the old lies and nonsense, discoursing brilliantly on English life and manners, which he has had a thorough opportunity of making himself acquainted with during a week's sojourn at the Sablonnière Hotel, in the company of his countrymen, and speaking no language but his own; other French Mossoos, who grin and jabber under their little foreand-aft hats, who shrug their shoulders, and shake their heads, and point with dirty and depreciating fingers at every thing and every body, and who only seem pleased and amused when in their own court at the Exhibition, looking at the things they have seen a thousand times before, listening to their own beloved language, and surrounded by a general atmosphere of Mossoo tawdriness and trumpery. German Mossoo is far more inclined to be friendly and pleasant, besides a certain family connexion (I don't know what it is, whether courtly intermarriage, or some resemblance in the language, or a certain staidness common to both nations,—but German Mossoo suits England much better than French Mossoo), besides this German Mossoo comes over here with a sort of notion of what he will see, and with a sort of determination to accept and make the best of it. This arises probably from the fact that German Mossoo does not come over here as a mere solitary alien, but has previously sent over kith and kin, whom he visits, and with whom he is domiciled. Heinrich from the Rhein provinces stops with Lüdwig, who left Hochheim ten years ago as the agent for a wine-grower, and who has now an excellent connexion as a wine-merchant on commission. Andreas knows that he shall find bed, board, and never-ending tobacco, with Karl
, who is a professor of languages at various Ladies' Colleges, and who has shaved himself, and drives in a brougham, and talks Teutonic English, and is by no means the old Karl Spielmann of the Heidelberg student-days, until night permits him to doff the academic black, to don