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those who have not thus considered made the ultimate standard of judgthe work (or works of art in general), ment; which failing to coincide with feel mistaken and bewildered. And, those which operated towards the pronot being able to perceive wherein the duction of the picture, and from their true strength of this mighty produc. being totally unfit to be brought to tion lies, but fully sensible of the total coalesce with or embrace its extensive discrepancy betwixt their notions and and general purposes and significathe mode of treatment which the pic- tion, the result is misunderstanding ture exhibits; and, at the same time, and false criticism. not allowing themselves to be guided The picture of Michael Angelo is by its impression, but endeavouring not a representation produced with to oppose preconceived and partial the intention to exhibit the Last Judge rules of judgment to its influence, re- ment with scenic effect, and embramain unable to unravel the confusion cing those accessaries which such a in which they find they are involved. purpose would bave demanded; but Hence they probably come to the con consists in the expression of that tre. clusion, that the work is altogether a mendous subject, by exemplified infailure ; because it is not in accord. stances of those sentiments usually asance with associations and modes of sociated with it, which display man thought, which are shortly to become in suffering and in beatitude-in the more obsolete (inasmuch as they are anticipation of bliss or the dread of not in their nature capable of being misery-in fruition or in endurance. united with, or are supported by, the Its different groups must be regarded like great works) than those, the ef- to be, to a certain extent, symbolic, fects and nature of which they are not representative, of the innumerable unable to understand. Or, they promultitudes assembled to “ the Judgbably arrive at a still more unsatisfac- ment of the Great Day." Each part tory conclusion, that opinion in regard must be considered to have, by means to the productions of art is altogether of its particular impression, an ex. arbitrary and unfounded; and they tended signification. In the plan of are swept into a whirl of scepticism, the picture (in accordance with printhat doubts the foundation of all criti. ciples which will afterwards be no. cal preference. But they were al. ticed), a severe parallelism is adopted. most as absurd as the mathematician The whole is divided into equally who expected a poem to be the proof balanced parts. In the lunettes, at of a theorem. They had not recog. the highest angles, are introduced, by nised the fact, that the signification one of those peculiarities of treatment or display of sentiment, most particu. which will also come to be observed, larly in its impassioned expression, figures bearing aloft the Cross, the renders literal truth in what does not pillar of the flagellation, the crown of tend towards that purpose subservient. thorns, and the sponge. Below these, The mixture of that which is essential in the centre, is the judge, surrounded or generic in its nature, with the very by saints and martyrs, and those meet. opposite characteristic-conventional ing for judgment; behind whom, are modes, had been totally unapprehend. brought together those groups which ed. Even the recollection that art express the multitudes of the blessed, had ever been employed as the means and which recede to the distance of the of effecting any great moral aim, was upper part of the picture. Underneath to them become faint and indistinct. this line, of the most important agents Art had been partially, not wholly in the picture, and which is its fore. looked upon. The surrounding influ. ground,' are at the right side, groups ences of the present time had been of the worthy borne upwards; and at
* Michael Angelo has been accused of having violated perspective in this work, by having made the figures which occupy the third division of groups from the bottom of the picture, and which are nearer the upper than the under edge of its area, the lar. gest. But, in answer to this objection, wbich has originated in the misconception of those hy wbom it is made, it may be observed, that Michael Angelo supposed the spectator to view the work from the elevation of the Judge, and those by whom he is surrounded, which is the true foreground of the picture ; and hence the figures here are largest ;-not contrary to perspective, but in obedience to it, and to the most efthe left are the seven deadly sins driven and the music of Europe, to its laws. downwards and seized by demons; It must be considered to be the ori. while betwixt these, in the centre, are ginal and primitive form of all com. the seven angels of the Revelations bination in art. Its origin may be sounding their trumpets ;* and those found to exist in the simplest act of with the book of life in their hands. transition or change of attention, from Towards the under line of the picture, which it became the source of the the resurrection of the dead, who are most powerful and elevated combina. breaking from their graves, occupies tions. It has frequently been conthe right angle; and the left is filled founded with the poetic element, and by the boat of Charon and the damned. in a vague sense has been denomina
In this arrangement, the relative ted poetical treatment. It may be positions of the Heavens, the Earth, designated the lyrical form of imita. the Sea, and Hell receiving its ten- tion. It is sustained by enthusiasm ants, are only partially indicated; be and emotion; and from its exhibition ing subjected to the balanced compo- in an ode or hymn to Jove or the unisition of the whole: and every part versal Pan, the glance of whose eye of the picture is brought as near to' it might be said in such an instance to the eye as possible. This is in obe. attempt to follow, passing without re. dience to the dependence that is placed straint, and with a power of the most upon expression, which is the predo. rapid combination over the face of minating feature of its plan; and also visible existence, to its remote modiin compliance with those principles fication in a bouquet of flowers, may of imitation which may be said to be recognised throughout whatever is have dictated this mode of treatment: connected with the expression of sensome of which are essentially inherent timent, in any degree impassioned. in the nature of pictorial art, while It modifies the epic and dramatic forms others arose from the state of society of composition, and, although totally and the purposes of works connected distinct from what their essential chawith religion.
racter consists in, in some degree Of these modes of representation, frequently even affects that.t The the most remarkable and extensive in chorus of the Greek drama was a diits influence, and which has often stood rect derivation from the ode, which a stumbling-block in the way of cri. was founded in this mode of representicism on art, but which arms art with tation, and from which the whole dra. its greatest power, and is connected matic form of the ancients may be with its very existence as a means of said to have been gradually evolved. affecting the mind, is universally ex. This manner of imitation may be hibited, either directly or in its various considered to be the attempt of man, modifications, throughout ancient poe. in his productions, to pursue the laws try, painting, and sculpture-Indian of thought. It brings time and space and Egyptian as well as Greek: and under its control : they are travelled in more modern times alike subjected over, hinted at, or omitted, as suits the ceremonies of the church, the lithe train of ideas to be pursued, or the terature, the painting, the sculpture, general sentiment which is to be en
fective treatment of the subject. The perspective recedes both from below, and above, these large foreground figures,-an instance of the invention of the painter, that from its boldness has left the perceptions of those who object to it at fault. The various groups diverge from this elevation, which is somewhat above the centre of the immense surface of the picture.
* So says Vasari ;-" Sono sotto i piedi di Cristo i sette angeli scritti da S. Gio. vanni evangelista, con le sette trombe." But there are more than that number in the picture.
† Fuseli's definitions of the epic and dramatic sentiments are most discriminative and just. “ The aim of the epic painter is to impress one general idea, one great quality of nature or mode of society, some great maxim, without descending to those subdivisions which the detail of character prescribes...... For as in the epic, act and agent are subordinate to the maxim, and in pure history are the organs of the fact ; 60 the drama subordinates both fact and maxim to the agent, his character, and pas. sion. What in them was end is but the medium here."-Lectures.
forced. It frequently consists in the rit, which has been styled the mystic, subjection of detail to the more im. in the art of the revival. It is this portant features of a subject, by sacri. which encircled the figure of the ficing unessential particulars or inci. Holy Virgin with a quire of angels in dent to expression.* By its union the tablets of Rico, Cimabue, or Taffi, with the dramatic in poetry and paintand which gave birth to those arrangeing, they assume the rapidity of allu- ments which bring together Divinity, sion possessed by the ode. This is angels, and saints, so often repeated exemplified in the olden painters (who from the times of these early names, were guided by this mode of combi. down to those of Michael Angelo and nation, not probably from any defined Raphael. Among the many instances understanding of its principle, but by of the exemplification of this method a sense of its power, and from the in such arrangements indeed all art freedom with which it was generally of these times was a continual exhiemployed in these times), by the in- bition of it-the picture of the Madon. troduction of the various scenes of a na da Foligno (so called from its hav. transaction into the same composition ing been painted for the town of that
an instance of which occurs on the name is a beautiful example; the roof of the Cappella Sistina, in the most exquisite feature of which is, the picture of the expulsion from the gar. introduction of a cherub stationed on den, where also, Eve is seen offering the ground below, addressing the Vir. the fruit to Adam. It is the predo. gin and the Infant who are above, and minance of this with the religious spi. which might almost be considered to
• M. Quatremere De Quincy, in his very able work on “ the Nature, the End, and the Means of Imitation in the Fine Arts,"'• has treated of a particular phase of this mode of imitative representation, under the name of generalization; and he seems at times almost to recognise it in its full extent; but, in his observations upon Shakspeare, he appears to have diverged altogether from an extended view of the subject, and finally to resolve his opinion in regard to it, into a certain limited standard, into a somewhat with which his use of the word ideal is synonymous. This he finds accords with the forms of the classic drama ; but that it will not do so with the works of Shakspeare ; hence the latter are considered defective. But Shakspeare's dramas are not the ideal of any particular features of nature, but embodiments of the idea (in its original and Platonic sense) of whatever the fiery light of his mind passed over, towards evolving the great purpose of his works the expression of the dramatic ; not merely in the mode or form of his productions, but as their peculiar end-their ultimate object. His dramas are much more essentially dramatic than those of the ancients; which were more the harmonious exposition of an incident or act, or of a sentiment, to which the expression of character was necessary, but to which it was always more or less subjected. Shakspeare is different from this. The distinctive essence of his dramatic works consists in the display of character perfectly unsubordinated. The incident only serves to evolve this, and is merely a field for its display; and, in accordance with this purpose, is brought into that total subjection, or regarded with that indifference, which has given rise to criticism in respect to the freedom with which scenes and characters are alternated. But such is only in obedience to his law. Caliban, Prospero, Miranda, Trin. culo, and Stephano, appear in the same great work, brutish, powerful, loving, jesting, and drunken ; each brought forward powerfully to display character, and each of whom must be regarded to be specific features of such, placed in contact with the purpose that should be recognised to be the law of the author-not the conformation to regularity in the production of a plot or story, nor the elucidation of any general sentiment- but force and truth in tracing the windings of the most varied source of imitation that art pursues, the dramatic, of which his works are the greatest and most complete expo. nents. Of this they exhibit the idea, and, by occasionally sacrificing other purposes, which are in many instances necessarily connected (it is seldom endeavoured to blend them with this ultimate intention), to use the word in the signification of M. De Quin. cy-in this they are ideal. Objections-general or theoretical - such as originated the discussions betwixt the Classicists and the Romanticists, can only be made to the works of Shakspeare, by the application of rules of judgment, that his intention can not be subjected to.
* Translated by J. C. Kent, 1837.
be a visible impersonation of lyric In painting, unlimited scope was rapture, illustrating at once the senti. given to this lyric, or inspired, or enment and the mode, of both of which thusiastic mode of imitation, partly the greater number of votive pictures from its having been the form in which are examples. Raphael followed this art was revived (in some measure the mode when he brought the mountain effect of ancient example, but more of the Transfiguration, and the strictly directly from the dependence that must dramatic scene of the maniac toge- be placed upon this, in what everin art ther, which has been attempted to be endeavours to express sentiment or accounted for in various unsatisfactory passion with warmth or power), and ways, but which, had it occurred in partly from the place which painting less distinct connexion with a subject held in the general appreciation, and that is otherwise treated in a manner the objects towards which it was diso purely dramatic, would never have rected. Pictures were visible offer. attracted notice, or have been referred ings up of the devotional spirit-of generally to, what have often been con- prayer or of praise-or enunciations sidered, unaccountable anomalies con of the doctrines of the Church. They nected with art, that it was impossible were put forth not to be questioned or to understand.
to be criticised, but to be believed in. In Greek art, also, this manner of They may be said to have been a porimitation was no less predominant. It tion of the apostolic exertions of the is exemplified in the group of the Church. Their dictates were not to Laocoon, which is epic in sentiment; be in any respect doubted, and the but the figures of which, in obedience form in which they were delivered was to a modification of this method, are always that which most directly and represented naked. The sculptures readily embraced the end desired. of the Parthenon strikingly exhibit They were the manifestation of the it: their whole arrangement and ex- mind of the painter operating outpression are dictated by it. Those wardly, not to meet the dictates of labours of Phidias (setting aside mi. others, but to dictate to them, they nute distinctions which may be made, were met by implicit faith. in regard to the interpretation of par. In the picture of the Last Judgticulars connected with their significa ment this mode influences its whole tion, which are now impossible to be plan. It at once, from an extended recovered) must be considered to be scene, concentrates the whole into the a grand announcement, after the lyri. expression of human sentiment and cal form, of the glory and power of passion. It brings together, without Minerva-of her city and its hero. the smallest attempt at particular or They conform to this, as has been identical representation, those parts already observed, in respect to the which picture heaven, earth, and votive pictures of Roman Catholic hell; and opens the way throughout art, both in their sentiment and in the whole work, for the operation of their form, and probably were the most other modes adopted in the treatment extended, harmonious, and complete of its subject, which depend upon example of such that has existed. causes less general and more imme. Nor is the operation of this method of diately connected with the particular representation less observable in the purposes to which it was devoted. ceremonies of the Christian church. It These, however, in various instances, had obtained in the sacrificial observan. may almost be said to be merely mo. ces and mysteries of the ancients. At difications of this, the most extended one sweep it brought the representative and radical of those means by which period of the life of Christ within the the arts are endowed with powers yearly service of the Church of Rome, similar to nature, in the production and frequently merges, within the space of forcible signification, and expresof a few hours, dramatic ceremonies sion. which allude to or signify lengthened The most important of these more transactions. Its most distinctive ex. subordinate means, and the next peemplification in modern literature, culiarity, or more properly law, in the and which does not recognise any an method pursued in the picture which cient prototype, is exhibited in the comes to be observed ; will likewise metrical ballad, which it endows with be found to be common to Greek, much of its power and vivid effect. and to Roman Catholic art. It may be considered to result from the oper. upon it, subversive of the distinctive ation of the more extended mode just character and object of art ; but the noticed, the general principle of which mind is operated upon in a manner is to remove interruption, and cut the that is analogous, or at least some. way direct to unobstructed and essen. what equivalent, by association or tial expression; and of which this, in direct impression, to the sentiment or. particular instances, is only a modifi. the object from which the change has cation ; but in others, from the dis- been made. tinct character which it assumes, it. In conformity with this mode, the must be considered to be an ultimate various groups of the picture must be or original form of imitation. It was held to signify the numberless “ mulgenerally adopted, and is constantly titudes of all tongues and kindreds" exemplified in the ceremonies of the assembled to judgment. They must Church, and this probably in some be regarded (and every part of the measure became the cause of its being picture) as having to a certain extent, very widely received as a mode of an ulterior reference. To exemplify painting in its connexion with reli. this : the descent of the seven deadly gion, at the time of the revival of the sins into hell, in one sense, must be arts. It consists in the substitution considered to typify all transgression. of a part to signify a whole : it places But this is not to be obtrusively taken dependence upon a portion of a sub. into consideration ; nor in this inject as a means of expressing the stance can it: their dreadful expreswhole to its full extent; either by the sion is sufficient to fill the mind. intensity which may be thus arrived They are the only groups expressive at, or by the power of association of the fall of the damned. They are Or, as in other instances, it consists all brought together in figures of the in an almost arbitrary substitution of same size,-and dreadful is the toil of one object to express another. Thus those representatives of the condemnmusic, in many of the Church cere. ed, driven, falling, and dragged downmonies, was frequently the medium by wards, in the anticipation of eternal which lengthened acts of its great misery. Their concentrated horror, drama were expressed. As instancing anguish, and despair, leave the mind both these forms of this method : no retreat. It is wound into the sense during the Easter festival, the Cruci. of their agonized suffering with a fixion is signified by darkening the mighty strength, froin which remorse lights of the Cappella Sistina, and must shrink in confused identity. The by the sublime Miserere; and, after separate groups of the blessed ascend. the Entombment has been expressed ing, or helped up to the presence of during another day of ceremony, by the Judge--the dead rising from out the host having been deposited in the the earth-and hell with the damned Pauline chapel as the tomb (all ex. must all be considered to be brought emplifying this mode of representa, under this method of treatment. tion, in distinction from that of the These modes of signification or re. purely dramatic, of which the scene presentation wbich have been noticed, of the Pope washing the feet of the and which may be considered peculi. pilgrims is an instance connected with arities, in distinction from what is the same festival), a peal of the bells generally exemplified in modern art; of Rome, which before had been kept are the most important in their effects silent, on the morning of the third on the picture, and are most promiday, announces the Resurrection. The nently observable. Others less exdifference of this species of imitation tended in their nature, but which were from the purely allegoric is, that it very prevalent in the painting of that is usually connected with parts which time, and of which the exemplification are literally representative of the sub- in the picture is limited to particular ject, and that a sentiment is always instances; present different convenexpressed by means of the substitution tional forms or processes of augmentwhich is made. It does not consisting or of illustrating a subject, which in the adoption of a mere symbol, the principles of the more universal sign, or letter; a thing which is akin methods which have been considered, to hieroglyphic writing, and which tended in some instances to originate produces of itself no impression, and and to render general. becomes, if much dependence is placed By a species of episode, the cross,