Imágenes de páginas

The struggle in the breast of Orchamus, and the malignant joy that Clytie expresses, are natural ; and the measures are well adapted to the sentiments.

In the interval of the Acts, Leucothoe being convicted, and condemned to be buried alive, the first scene of the third act opens with a representation of a rocky shore, the sea, and a city, at a distance. Several men and women appear in affiction; who after describing the wintry horrors of the place and cavern where Leucothoe was to be shut up, the chorus laments(s) the occafion, till one of the men defires them to defift, as he saw the royal facrifice approach. The scene concludes with this notable address of one of the women.

Now, Sun, eclipse !
At once the Lover, and the God assume,

And snatch her trembling from th' untimely tomb. Scene fecond, a procession appears at a considerable distance, confisting of priests, youths, virgins, &c. Leucothoe in the center, covered with a black veil : as the procession approaches the audience, the femichorus fings, with frequent pauses.

The whole of this scene is masterly; the parts, femichorus, and chorus, in Strophe, Antistrophe, and Epode, are well maintained. Were we to give the best fpecimen of our Author's poetical abilities, it should be taken from these.

Leucothoe then putting aside the veil, and appearing in white, with fillets, after the manner of a sacrifice, fings a.pathetic air.

Oh, mighty God! that guides the day, &c. The lamentation of the virgins and youths that follow, is, in general, well appropriated; only the doubt they express, as to the future destiny of Leucothoe, seems to be a little impertinent, at least in their mouths, as the Persians believed in the soul's immortality.

LEUCOTHOE. Weep not my dear companions ! Chorus of youths and virgins.

Cruel stroke!
Can nothing then thy destiny revoke !
Her answer is pleafingly folemn. The Chorus then addresses
Sorrow to come from her gloomy cell, and with her

Frantic gestures, fullen mvans,
Fury of conflicting pafsions,
Sighs, and tears, and lamentations,

(s) Would Horace allow his moral Chorus to lament on such an occasion ? Rev. Aug. 1756.


Sighs, Join with us in doleful lay,

Řage and death triumph (1) to day. The procession then disperses, and the music strikes dead and folemn. The second scene, though less pompous is more affecting ; for Orchamus, having acted the Judge, and Sovereign, now appears the Father. We forgive the King, the fentence he had passed, and pity the daughter.

The good old King having vented his sorrow, commands the priests to do their office, and retires. A rock being accordingly removed, the mouth of the cavern appears ; Leucothoe Starts—but advances towards it; then resolutely desiring it to receive her in its horrid jaws, the priests prepare to put her down. Upon this the distressed King bursts in again, defires them to delift but one instant; and kneeling, fervently implores the Gods to stop the sacrifice, if he is too severe in his sentence. The Chorus begs the same; but no signs of mercy appearing, Leucothoe is thrown in ; while her father turning afide as the disappears, breaks into an apostrophe that is nobly wild, and pathetic.

Here, we are inclined to think, the Poem should have end. ed; but the Author has added three pretty long scenes; in which Clytie goes mad, and is turned into a statue by Apollo; who, with the affistance of the Horæ, having in vain attempted to bring his beloved Leucothoe to life, changes her into a tree of (u) Frankincense, and the desolate landichape into a beautiful champaign country. This is succeeded by a dance proper to the subject, and the Chorus finishes with a song.

(1) Here the accent is placed on the last syllable; Milton once uses it in chat way.

(u) As the laws of the Opera require a happy ending, and admit of the marvellous, we could rather have wished that Apollo had brought Leucothoe to life; the one was as easy as the other.

[ocr errors]

T is with great pleasure we observe, that our countrymen

at prelent, more universally, and more successfully, than ever, apply themselves to the culture of the graphic arts, and that in the number of our present painters, sculptors, gravers, and designers, there are fome who excel any whom these islands could boast, before the present age.

Nor is this pleasure derived to us merely by the ideas excited in our minds, on seeing an excellent performance: the confideration of the advantages, as well as honour, that our country may attain by the culture of arts, in which every poJite and learned nation has endeavoured to excel, and witha out which, many very considerable manufactures cannot ar

rive to a tolerable degree of perfection, greatly augments the satisfaction we feel on this occcasion.

This confideration enhances the value of these arts to a trading nation, and sets the artists themselves in the most advantageous light; for they hereby appear not only to merit our esteem, as ingenious men, but to claim our attention and encouragement, as useful members of society, and ornaments to their country,

The perfection of manufacture may, in some fenfe, be defined, The giving such an elegance of form to matter, as may fender it truly ornamental, at the same time that it is useful; or, in other words, that not only its matter, and texture, be fine, but its form beautiful. Is it not then extraordinary, that in a country like ours, on the flourishing state of whose manufactures fo many national advantages depend,

-that the ftudy, whose peculiar object is, elegance of form, should have been, till now, so little encouraged by our ministry, our men of fortune, and our merchants, and so much neglected by our artists !--The latter, indeed, is only the consequence of the former.

We cannot suppose this deficiency owing to any want of genius in our countrymen ; or that they, as some foreigners have afferted, are deftitute of thofe dispositions of mind, those exquisite sensations, that are necessary, in order to excell in these arts ; for, whoever will analyse painting, for instance, must be convinced, that there is no talent, no knowlege, requisite to the forming an excellent painter, which our countrymen have not poffefsed in a very high degree:-Who will fay, that our poets have wanted imagination, sublime or fo. rid; that our geometricians and anatomists are inferior to those of

any other nation; or that our mechanics are any where furpassed for the truth and delicacy of their workmanship? We even doubt, if in France and Italy (our most formidable and most jealous rivals in fcience) the general fuffrage would not acquit us of vanity, tho' we should insists that in each of these particulars, Britain has produced some geniuses superior to any that other countries can boast; and we are fully persuaded, that whenever our countrymen shall apply themselves properly to painting, they may equal, nay, furpass, all that have any where appeared, since the revival of the arts among the moderns.-A fertile imagination, a knowlege of anatomy and optics, and what the antients understood by the terms etbe*,

* Æqualis ejus fuit Ariftides Thebanus. Is omnium primus animum pinxit et sensus omnes expresfit, quos vocant Græci Eshe. L 35. c.9.

or mores f-joined to a happy execution with the pencil; these make up the sum of the painter's accomplishments.

Nor are we destitute of facts, that strongly support this advantageous opinion we entertain of our countrymen; for, without wounding the modesty of any truly ingenious artist now living, or gratifying the vanity of any pretender to merit, it may be affirmed, that in perspective (one of the essential parts of painting) we have greatly furpassed every foreign writer; and that the method which Brook Taylor has happily deduced, from a few fimple principles, is, for its universality, exactness, and facility, notwithstanding the modest affertion of a certain transator, inconceivably superior, not only to Sirigatti, but to Barbaro, to Ignatio Dante, to Pozzi, to Bibiena, or any other subsequent Italian writer : but of this more, on a future occasion.

We shall at present content ourselves with taking notice of a book entitled, The Practice of Painting and Perspective made easy: In which

is contained, the art of painting in oil, with the method of colouring, under the heads of, First:Painting, or Dead Colouring; Second-Painting; Third, or Laft-Painting ; Painting Back-grounds; On Copying, Drapery-painting, Landschape-Painting; and a new, short, and familiar account of the Art of Perspective, illustrated with copper-plates, engraved by Mr. Vivares. By Thomas Bardwell, Painter. 4to.1os. 6d. Printed for the Author, in Lower-Brook-street.

The practice of colouring, is one of the most effential branches of painting. It is that part in which, according to fome Authors, feweit artists have excelled; fo that we shall be, doubtless, much obliged to any one, who, with precision and perspicuity, will communicate the precepts of colouring to the public. But if any man should suppose himself equal to this task, without poflefling, in any adequate degree, the rationale of the art, and without rightly conceiving the intimate connection between the theory and the practice of it, he will miserably expose his own presumption, and egregiously mislead those who shall trust their genius to his culture.--If, indeed, he should, in excufe for his attempt, urge the goodness of his intention, and, with many other pretenders, plead his pro bono publico ;-let us allow him all the indulgence he can claim on this account:-But if such a man should assume the character of a rigid censor, and, full of that conceit which is generally the companion of craffitude and ignorance, presume to indulge his spleen, by an attack on our best artists, or their excellent performances, he would then certainly deserve the severest reprehenfion, if not the most abfolute contempt.

Mr. + In qua pinxiffe mores videtur. 35.9.

Mr. Bardwell's book, as we have feen in the title, is divided into two parts; the defign of the first is to teach the practice of painting in oil; and of the second, to instruct the reader in the principles of perspective. To each of these parts there is an introduction.

The first introduction seems intended to prove, that the art of colouring has gradually degenerated, and sunk, from Rembrandt down to Mr. Richardson; and were now in danger of being totally lost, but for the small portion of it remaining with the communicative Mr. Bardwell.

The principal caufe of this degeneracy, he assigns in the following words. Those painters who had acquired so fine

a manner of colouring, might, if they pleased, have com'municated it to pofterity in writing * : but I never heard,

that any attempt was made towards it; tho' it is probable, there might be fome. It is astonishing, nevertheless, all Europe should suffer alike at the fame time, for want of that noble frankness and generous spirit, which might have been expected from those masters.' --

Another cause for this pretended degeneracy seems to be hinted, in the following curious paragraph.

• Sir Godfrey Kneller, in Lely's time, studied his manner, 's and prepared his grounds, and first lay of colours, on such o cloths as Lely used: but after his death, he soon fell into

a slighter manner, which was more agreeable to his † genius

and inclination, and invented the cold grey-coloured cloths, • on which he established his slight expeditious manner. Then

was the time when the painters exposed their understanding, in

neglecting the charming ftile of Vandyck to followKneller. < But tho'colouring was not his talent, yet he was in his time I • the best face-painter in Europe: nor has there been an artist

since him, whose heads can itand comparison with his. Af" ter him, colouring hung here for some time between the 'manners of Mr. Richardson and Rosalba ; the followers of • the latter failing in oil, established her method.'

* A man who is guided by principles can surely convey his knowlege to the world by writing; and in truth there are many excellent books on this subject, in the language of every country that has produced artists. A catalogue of no fewer than 300 books on painting, sculpture, and architecture, is published in the Abecedario Pittorico. + Who is the gentleman talking about, Kneller, or Lely?

He seems to be exposing his understanding in admiring so fuperlatively the works of Kneller; and his affertion, tho' pofitive, is false. M 3


« AnteriorContinuar »