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(Aunt Malvina being surgeon-in-chief and head-nurse in one) devoting all their time and skill to him, his legs dressed, his right wing in splints, his neck swathed and swaddled up like diphtheritic sore throat. For two or three days it looked serious. But Uncle Caleb laughed. "Never you worry about Jim," he said; "he 'll come through without a dent on him. Why, Malviny, you could feed that bird through a thrashin'-machine and never hurt him a mite. He'd blow out through the strawcarrier chirp as a chickadee, declarin' it was the loveliest little glade he 'd been in yet, just the spot he 'd been lookin' for."
It was true. Jim was very much surprised (after he 'd had time to get acquainted with himself again) at our queer notions about that battle. Injured? Pshaw! A scratch or two, a feather here and there. But why this foolish fuss? You'd 'a' thought he was killed; you expect that of women, but he supposed Billy and I had some sense. He had more feathers than he wanted anyway, dog-days coming on.
And what did I want to interfere for,idiot!-spoiling his guard? Did I not see what a terrific right wing swing he had handed Kartoffel at the climax? Knocked her half-way to the barn-yard gate.
Kartoffel? Oh, yes, Kartoffel was all right in her way; rather interesting, pep
pery old girl; considerable force; quite a pile-driver way with her, in fact, at times; but no insight; no brains. There was the rub. How few were gifted that way! But of course Jim had n't repeated the performWhy go over the same ground twice? Only geniuses of the second order repeat; Jim, and Shakspere, never!
But what pleased Jim most was that he had now solved the old problem which had so troubled him as to the raison d'être of such inharmonious matters as watertanks, rip-saws, and gunpowder-kegs going about with lighted fuses. The truth washe had it thought out now-that at times Providence had a little too much to think about, and at such times needed help. That was the truth of it; needed help and advice; and Jim would give it to him. Perched upon the axle-end of creation, which visibly stuck up through our dooryard, high above the roof-tree, he would watch the world go round, so intensely interesting it was, and from time to time, as he looked, and found Providence puzzling over some difficulty, wondering what on earth was to be done about it, Jim, perceiving the root of the matter plainly, would kindly furnish a solution.
Thus the way of wisdom led on, winding and beautiful, over hill and dale, to the very prime-ministership of heaven. Gifted bird! Well might he be pleased!
THE ROMAN ART EXPOSITION
F you can conceive of a valley running at right angles to the Tiber in the cup of the hills beyond the Borghesi Gardens, edged with Claude-like stone-pines and bordered by yellow villas; and in the depth of this valley the pleasure-houses which twenty or thirty nations have dediIcated to the glory of art and of Rome, shining white under the azure sky of Italy, with the Sabine Hills as a remote rampart-then you have an impression of the art exposition made to celebrate fifty years of Italian independence.
In the midst of the group is the Palazzo delle Belle Arti, contributed by Rome and to remain a permanent memorial. On the slopes are England, Japan, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Russia, Belgium, Servia, France; and on an eminence looking up and down the entire valley and across to the blue crests of the mountains the United States has built herself a house such as we in America call a home. It is an adaptation of a house designed by Carrère & Hastings, and while it necessarily loses some native traits in submitting to the introduction of galleries, it is essentially a "tapistry-brick" country house, dear to American sentiment and to American landscape.
Hardly ever, I suppose, in the history of the fine arts has a more general pilgrimage of the nations been made to any Mecca of art. Paris and Chicago and St. Louis have had their devotees of many
races; but Rome is the mother of the world, and when she calls, her children come from every border. As one of the impassioned Romans said at a luncheon in the "Castle of the Cæsars," "Rome is the cradle of art, and is jealous of her praise," and the cradle that has rocked us through our infancy holds us in its spell forever.
PERHAPS it is thus that through the benign agencies of art the races of men are in the way to become better acquainted. You would suppose that the globe-trotting American had made himself pretty well known to Europe; but no greater fallacy ever existed. They know the outside of us, our independence, our liberal purses, our dress, and our traveling needs; but the reality of us is as far away from them as our shores.
An intelligent-enough Italian lady said she had been three months in America. "Where?" we inquired. "The Philippine Islands."
And that we were usually spoken of as "North Americans" leads to a quite mercantile inference that some of our hustling business men might well draw. The volume of trade from South America to Europe makes the distinction very necessary to a Dutchman or an Italian, though, as I frequently explained, it left us in the category of the redman.
But even the English, our racial cousins, are slow enough to grasp us. Said
one very polite Lady (with a capital L) in her inquiries about America:
the German pavilion at the inauguration, one of the French officials hailed me with
"I wonder if any of our other colonies good cheer in English: will become independent."
I have thrown in these specimens of "imperfect sympathies" as a prelude to the statement that the knowledge of our native art in Europe is as limited as that of our native life; and if I were to assert that, outside the narrow boundaries of France, our own acquaintance with the contemporary art of Europe and Asia is as restricted as theirs of us, I suppose I should be severely corrected. But it is the very purpose and value of such an exposition as this at Rome to enlighten mankind about his fellow-man, and those who see the exposition, and see it thoroughly, will find as much profit from its neighborly uses as from its art.
As an impression is all that can be attempted, I can only say how that art affected me at first, and how it appeared to me afterward on a more careful analysis. As a whole, and without reference to separate works or individual artists, I should briefly summarize it as disappointing-not the exposition, nor the life and color and the babel of languages under the unifying Roman walls, but the total tendency, the spirit which the various groups unite in forming, the composite photograph of the art of the world as it exists to-day. This is disappointing because it shows no lofty ideals, and, if one may prophesy on such slippery ground, no school in the making.
My revered old friend Halsey C. Ives, Dean of International Expositions, visited me in Rome, and after a day at the exposition I asked how it struck him.
"Misguided energy," he said; "with the exception of America and England I see no promise. If that is all it comes to after forty years of effort, I wonder if my time has been misspent."
And that is the feeling with which I came away from my first tour through the pavilions. America easily leads; England comes next, and Germany; then France far behind, and then all the rest as you choose. The spirit of the European work is unprogressive, and its Zeitgeist is saddening.
Yet every nationality thinks its own geese are swans. As I walked through
"How goes it?"
I supposed he referred to the crowd and the long waits for the king and queen to be conducted from room to room; so I said:
"Badly. How is it with you?"
"Same thing by me," he said in broken accents; and then I knew that he referred to the pictures.
On the other hand, a high German official confided to me his opinion of the English art in the laconic words, "Too sweet."
But allowing for national prejudice, there is, underneath all this and much other kindred criticism, the real cause for objection which I have put forward: the art of Europe does not seem to be advancing. It strikes me that it has a past, but no visible future, and this leads to the reflection that cannot fail to arise in every thinking mind which observes existing conditions: why is it that artists who are living in daily touch with the great masterpieces of the world fail to be influenced by their simplicity, their technical beauty, and their imaginative perfection?
One answer is, that the contemporary mind gives up in despair the attempt to originate beauty and truth equal to that which the past has produced, and that its only resource is the vulgarization of what was once pure and good.
Another answer is, that the race has advanced beyond ideals of beauty to ideals of political liberty, and that the two tendencies are incompatible.
But neither of these theories is the last word, and when one contemplates the healthy, sane, and temperate, as well as beautiful, art of the United States, the intelligent and advancing ideals of Great Britain, and the clean and wholesome aims of Germany, neither of whom possesses in common contact the great master-works of antique beauty as do the artists in Italy and France and Spain, one must search elsewhere for an explanation of the degenerate art of continental Europe.
BUT I do not mean to tie all European art by the neck and cut off its head collectively. I have been speaking generally, not specifically; of tendencies, not of individuals. To come to individuals, I should
perhaps pick out Zuloaga, the Spanish leader, as one of the significant personages who stands forth conspicuously in this showing of the world's art. His lead is not altogether due to the fact that the Italian committee have done him the honor to invite him to have a gallery to himself. If one or two of his canvases were placed in company with a general collection, as in the case of our Abbott H. Thayer, and George de Forest Brush, I feel sure they would arrest the intelligent observer.
They are not cheering in color and they are not rotund in form, but there is about them an air, a style, that cannot be reduced to words, but which, after all, is the essence of art. His group, while often ugly in subject and degenerate in impulse, may stand for the better sort of a bad sort of tendency. He acknowledges artistic antecedents, but he is the creature of his age and of his entourage.
And so, in less artistic degree, it is with his fellow-countryman Aglada, whose title to particular remark is due perhaps more to the committee's indulgence of a room to himself than to his overwhelming merit. They are merry in the Roman press over his "green horse," and well they may be;
and as well, over his prismatic matadors and crazy-quilt donnas, and the size of his colossal canvases, the value of which is mentioned in dollars as denoting their artistic claims. But the secret is there in the corner, where two exquisite, large charcoal drawings of early Paris days show that the artistic insanity of the oils is half-assumed, one could not venture to say for the purpose of gaining réclame, though how else reconcile the recognition of real things, with the production of unreal?
And it is just this which characterizes the conscious work of all these capable men. You feel that they are embarrassed to say the simple words which they have been taught at the knee of the madonnas, at the shrine of Perugini, and the simple threshold of Ghirlandajo and Pinturicchio. They are appalled by the genuine originality of the masters. They have no ideas of their own to express; hence they go the way madness lies. And thus we have that able artist and ingenious experimenter Mancini. He is a Roman who has been, I am told, much praised by Mr. Sargent, and justly for many qualities of surprising technical adroitness. If you cannot paint with the inspired craftsmanship of Leo