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accented, explained, “ completed” by a great from almost the very earliest. And in a hunartist's soul and sight and touch.
dred other American galleries hang Corots of The “Orpheus” was painted in 1861, and more or less distinction. With the best, of course, in 1866 the splendid "Danse des Amours,” there are many not so good, and others, alas, which is also in New York, owned by Mr. which are Corot's only in name. A superficial Charles A. Dana — a surpassingly fine exam- eye is easily deceived by imitations of Corot's ple of one of Corot's most characteristic themes. slighter works, and such have been foisted on We need not ask whether this wood is of France the public, abroad as well as here, in considor Italy, whether this little temple and these erable numbers. But a really fine Corot has gracious, buoyant figures were painted from qualities beyond the reach of any plagiaristfact or fancy. It is the true ideal world — the qualities of truth on the one hand, of feeling world of actual nature, but seen in one of its most on the other. We run no risk of seeing a fictibeautiful aspects, peopled by joyous figures, tious “St. Sebastian” or a “Danse des Amours" and with all its fair suggestions amplified and which shall deceive a true lover of Corot. fulfilled. The “ Dante and Virgil” in the Boston
l Museum of Fine Arts is much less complete and magnificent than these, and it shows too To understand Corot's influence on art and clearly Corot's shortcomings as a draughts- artists we must recall the times when his work man: the tigers crouching at the poet's feet began. were sketched in by Barye, but his outlines The formalizing, pseudo-classic tendencies were lost in the painting. Nevertheless, the of the school of David had just lost their work is admirable as a whole and most inter- sovereignty. The “romantic” reaction was in esting in sentiment — more strongly dramatic its lusty youth under the leadership of Gérithan any other Corot I have seen. Seldom has cault and Delacroix. The fetters of academic Dante been shown so nearly as he must have tradition were loosened; freedom in thought looked when, as the Florentine children said, and practice was proclaimed for every painter; he went down into hell.
the modern spirit of inquiry and inventiveness, The “ Lake Nemi,” the “ Landscape with the modern gospel of individuality, were daily Cattle," and the “Wood-gatherers," here re- winning new disciples. Oddly enough, as it produced, were all in the Morgan collection. now seems to us, the first fresh impulse in the The “Nemi” seems to be a picture which, we field of landscape came from across the Chanare told, was painted at Ville d'Avray, but aft- nel: certain pictures by Constable and Boningerwards recast as a memory of the nymph- ton, exhibited in Paris, gave the first hint that haunted southland. Its sky is a marvel. The landscape, too, might be painted in free and “Wood-gatherers” is one of Corot's very latest varied fashions, and made the medium for exworks, shown at the last Salon held before his pressing simple local beauties and personal death. The tone is brown and rather dark and ideas. But the fact is easilyexplained: in France the handling very summary; but it has great landscape painting had meant for generations strength and dignity, and impressive sentiment. nothing but a memory of Claude and Poussin, In default of an“ Orpheus," for example, it is a while in England the old Dutch masters --- so good Corot for the American public to possess. much more simple, naïve, yet modern in their The placid, sunny little river landscape, with feeling — had never been lost to sight. Now cattle, is a good type of many of Corot's smaller the hint from England led Frenchmen back to works. Its sky and its distance are its chief the art of Holland, and its fructifying influence beauties, and no distance, no sky, could be soon showed in France as it has never yet lovelier. The “ View of the Coliseum " is a shown in England. Almost instantly a new much earlier work. It is deeper and stronger school was born, a new development began in tone, more solid in handling, more dignified a school and a development which we must in composition-an excellent example to set call the noblest and completest that modern beside the delicate landscape and the poetic painting counts. “Orpheus " as proof that Corot's range in art Georges Michel was one of the very first to was not a narrow one.
feel the new impulse. But he seems a survivor Thus, it appears, there are Corots in America of the old Dutch school rather than a leader of the very highest quality; and, indeed, this in the school of France-a weaker brother of list of them might be greatly lengthened. Mr. Ruysdael, not his modernized descendant; a Jay Gould in New York owns a “ Danse des forerunner, not a fellow of Rousseau, Corot, Nymphes” only less admirable than the“ Danse Troyon, Millet, and Dupré. Paul Huet was andes Amours." In the collection of Mr. Quincy other innovator, but he is better known to us by Shaw at Brookline, Massachusetts, are several the influence he had in his time than by his perfect examples, representing different epochs actual work. Rousseau was the first of the
really complete new masters in landscape, and peculiar value to those who look deeper than almost on a line with Rousseau stands Corot. the surface of paint. No one departed further
It is difficult to say just in how far Corot from that mock classicism which means acawas formed by this influence or by that demic formality, bloodless self-suppression; yet Bonington's spirit seems very near akin to his no one then alive or now alive has done so
Mr. Henry Adams in Washington owns a much to prove the persistent value of true little Bonington which might almost pass for a classicism. David tried for the form of ancient comparatively early Corot. But there can be art and missed its spirit. Corot, the great aposno question as of teacher and scholar in the tle of modernness and personality, caught its case. Corot can have had no more than a mere spirit while casting utterly away its form. A glimpse of Bonington's work, and his own was Greek of the time of Pericles might easily preat once immeasurably wider, deeper, and more fer his paintings to any others we could show subtile. For Rousseau he had an immense him: yet how thoroughly French they are; admiration; but their natures were wholly and yet, again, how close they lie to the heart unlike, and the longer they lived the further of the American of to-day. apart grew the lines on which they labored. There is still another point in Corot's suWe can say no more of Corot than that the premacy. The profound and accurate study of hint of naturalism he got from England, the values - the knowledge how to keep tone perdraught of classicism he imbibed from his first fect and yet keep color complete and true teachers and from the air of Italy, and the is the greatest technical achievement of modern Dutch lesson of simplicity and sobriety, ger- times. Here Corot led all his rivals, and thereminated and grew together in his soul while eye fore he has become the leader and teacher of and hand were training themselves outdoors. all younger painters. In many ways they have
It is impossible, again, to attempt any carried his lesson further than he went himweighing of the intrinsic merits of Corot and self. To paint things truthfully in the open air his great contemporaries. Odious in most con- means to-day tasks of a variety and difficulty nections, a process of definite comparison is which Corot never essayed, results of a vividnowhere so detestable as when applied to ness and splendor he never achieved. But the mighty artists. It is a sin against the first law whole development rests on his own. He was of computation we were taught at school - the first great“ impressionist," and the modern it is an effort to reckon with unrelated quanti- impressionists are but his more daring sons, ties. It is as though we took an apple from a Sometimes we — and perhaps they themselves pile of peaches and declared the number of forget the fact; for there is one great point peaches less, or compared an apple with a fig of difference between him and most of his sons to explain its rank among apples, or gauged in art. He was a poet on canvas, and most of the breadth of one stream by the depth of them are speakers of prose. It is their fashion another. We may like best the peach or the to rave about “realism,” to despise idealismfig or the apple and confidently declare our to exalt the mere facts they chance to see above liking. But when it comes to comparisons, the greater fact which Corot divined and gave. they should be of figs with figs, of Corots with But, do what they will, the best among them Corots. To be an artist means to be individual; are more idealistic than they think; and, say and individuality can be tested only by its own what they will, the world will never agree to standard. A Corot is none the worse whatever rank the reporter above the poet. For the Rousseau or Troyon may have painted; and great body of lovers and students of art Corot's it would be none the better had its creator been supreme merit is that he was the most poetic the only man who ever painted landscapes. soul among those who have ever painted land
But from the historical standpoint the case scapes; and his chief value as a teacher is that is different. If we may not rightly ask of two he showed so well what poetry in painting great contemporaries which was the greater, means. Too many have thought it meant the we may very rightly ask which was the more effort to do with color the same thing that a typical of his time, the more influential upon writer does with words, and have lost the picthe world of art. From this point of view ture in the effort to paint a poem. But with Corot seems to me the most significant figure Corot the picture is the first considerationin his generation. Personal, individual, as were beautiful forms, beautiful tones, beautiful exall his brethren; boldly, beautifully, as they all pression with the brush. The poetry is an inpreached the gospel of freedom and freshness fusion merely, an intangible essence breathed in art, none except Millet was quite so per- from the soul of the maker. Perhaps the time sonal, none quite so fresh as Corot; and to an will come when Corot's teaching as regards individuality as strong as Millet's he added other this point will be more generally heeded than qualities all his own. No art of the time is so it is to-day. But, of course, conscious effort complex as Corot's, and its complexity gives it cannot determine the fact. Any painter can
learn much from Corot in the way of technical ing as we value art or care little for it as a factor secrets; no one can learn from him how to in the progress and aspiration of the world. idealize nature except a man who, like himself, Corot's story is of priceless value as proving chances to be born with a poet's heart; and how far wrong are these ideas; and all the we can do no more than hope that all new more because it is not an exceptional story. Men poets who may be born to paint shall be souls like Corot, in all the essentials of what even of Corot's sort. But we must indeed hope this; a pharisaical world would call good conduct, for what the world needs just now are not have never been rare among artists and are not mournful temperaments, reading into nature rare to-day; nor men as courageous and persethe sorrow of the human race, but apostles vering in disappointment, as simple, modest, of the joy and peace which those who seek and laborious in success. As was Corot, so, in a can always find in her, valiant yet tender more or less marked degree, were almost all singers like Corot-happy singers of a glad the great painters and sculptors of his great new day.
time. Not all of them could be so cheery and happy, but most of them were as single-minded
in their devotion to art, as generous and sincere The more we study Corot's art the more we in their dealings with their fellows. love the man who stands behind it; and I have Let me make a good ending now with a few dwelt at some length on the record of his life more words from Corot's lips : “ Do we know because it completes the revelation of a strong how to render the sky, a tree, or water? No; and serious will, of perseverance, modesty, and we can only try to give its appearance, try to self-reliance, of noble desires, unfailing courage, translate it by an artifice which we must always sincerity, and loving-kindness.
seek to perfect. For this reason, although I do It is a little the fashion nowadays to think not know my craft so very badly, I am always
a of artists as excusing themselves, on the strength trying to go further. Sometimes some one says: of being artists, from the duties and vir- “You know your business and don't need to tues we demand of commoner clay. It is too study more.' But none of that, I say; we always much our way to think of them as eccentric, need to learn. Try to conquer the qualiegotistic, nervously excitable or morbidly sensi- ties you do not possess, but above all obey your tive, at odds with a prosaic world and often at own instinct, your own way of seeing. This is odds with themselves-pushed one way by the what I call conscience and sincerity. Do not artistic impulse, pulled another by mere human trouble yourself about anything else, and you loves and obligations. We think too often of will have a good chance of being happy and them thus to pardon or condemn them accord- of doing well.”
M. G. van Rensselaer.
GENERAL LEE AFTER THE WAR.
"T would not be easy, for one who had 1865 till his death, in 1870, I was cognizant
not been in the midst of it, to of many little instances and scenes which illusrealize the enthusiasm that ex- trate this feeling, and also serve to bring out isted among the Southern people some of the finer points of his character in a for General Lee at the conclusion way no stately biography would condescend of the war. Nothing could exceed to do. It may be worth while to focalize some
the veneration and love, the trust of these minute side-lights, in order to indicate and absolute loyalty, which people and soldiery the less known characteristics of that inner life alike had manifested towards him through the which shrunk from manifesting itself to the struggle. But it was after the war had closed world at large. that the affection of the people seemed more A brief period only had passed after the surthan ever a consecrated one. The name given render at Appomattox when offers of homes to him universally in the army, “ Ole Mars' began to be pressed upon him. His family Robert,” is an evidence of the peculiar tender- was originally English, and he had many relaness with which he was regarded. But after tives among titled people in the old country, defeat came, all this feeling was intensified by who insisted upon his coming and sharing, the added one of sympathy. Nowhere could he for a time, the ease and luxury of their homes. move abroad without being greeted with such But he positively declined to expatriate himdemonstrations of love and interest as always self. “No,” he said, “I will never forsake my touched his generous and gracious heart. people in their extremity; what they endure,
Living near General Lee as I did, from I will endure, and I am ready to break my last crust with them.” And he refused to leave determined to avail himself of his sudden freeVirginia. Nothing ever gave him greater dom. We were all sitting at dinner -- for it was pleasure than to witness personal, strenuous before the General and his family had taken effort to overcome the disasters of the war. possession of Derwent — when Shepherd, the To see a small farmer attempting to fence his man in question, all ready for departure, enfields with green saplings was to him a sight tered the dining-room, to take leave of the asthat made his eyes brighten.
sembled family. I well remember the kindness Many homes were urged upon him in his with which the General rose from his seat, and, native State; but as my sister, Mrs. E. R. shaking the old servant cordially by the hand, Cocke, of Cumberland, said when he accepted gave him some good advice and asked Heaven her offer of a vacant plantation adjoining her to bless him. There was no feeling of bitterown, which was a part of her estate, “He choseness towards him because he was leaving his among these homes one of the most unpre- mistress to much distraction and care from tending.” With furniture from her own house, which he might have saved her; instead of she fitted up for him and his family a com- this, a benediction and a Godspeed." fortable abode at “ Derwent,” Powhatan When homes were being offered to him, both County; and here he gathered together, for abroad and from one end of the late Confedthe first time since they had left Arlington, his eracy to the other, his eldest daughter, who wife and children around him. “ Never shall was visiting in our neighborhood, said one I forget,” she said, “ his unaffected gratitude, day, in the hearing of a trustee of Washington and his gracious acceptance of this simple College, “Why don't they propose to my home I and my sons had prepared for him. father some place in which he can work ? For The plantation of Derwent was only two miles he never will accept the gratuity of a home.” from my own, and our great country gardens The remark was caught up, and conveyed to readily met the wants of the new residents. the board of trustees. This college, situated As I saw the beautiful simplicity with which in the very heart of Virginia, was founded bethese trifling supplies were received, it seemed fore the American Revolution; and after it impossible for me to realize that this was the had received a large endowment from Washman upon whom the fate of the South had ington himself its name was changed from hung; that this was the man for whom thou- Liberty Hall to Washington College - the sands were ready to rush to death; that this first institution of any kind whatever that bore was the man before whom the hearts of all the the name of the great patriot. Thenceforth this Southern Confederacy bowed in reverence. One college was the educator of a large number of day, shortly after he came to Derwent, he rode the prominent men of Virginia. Its buildings over on Traveler(his famous war-horse) to a had been injured, its professors and students neighboring country-store, which was also the scattered, and its resources crippled by the post-office. The desire of the people, black as war. An offer of its presidency was made to well as white, to see the General was intense, General Lee with scarcely a hope that he for this was but a few weeks after the surrender. would accept it; but accept it he did, without He walked quietly into the store, and was en- hesitation, saying, “I may thus influence my gaged with its proprietor in talk about the young countrymen." prospects of the crops, and such like things, I once heard it said by Professor White, the when the place began to be crowded by the professor of Greek in our college, who had country people, intent upon catching a glimpse himself been a Confederate officer: “ The first of the great commander. He seemed not to appearance of the General in our streets was observe them at first ; but turning round, and thoroughly characteristic. As I passed up our noticing the press about him, he said, in an main street one day in the summer of 1865 I apologetic way, “Ah, Mr. Palmer, pardon me was suddenly confronted by General Lee on for keeping you talking about corn and tobacco his fine war-horse Traveler, dressed in white so long; for I see I am detaining you from linen from head to foot, wholly unattended, your many customers.' There was nothing even by his black groom. Nobody in the town whatever to indicate the slightest consciousness knew he was coming. This was as he wished that the crowd had pressed in to see him. it, for it was his desire to shun every demon
“Another incident,” she went on to say, “I stration. Here was the man who for four years recall of General Lee, which seems to me worth had never moved abroad without being atrelating. My head dining-room servant, who tended by a military staff composed of some
а had occupied his post for twenty-five years, of the most brilliant younger men of the South, and whose ancestors for more than a hundred and who never appeared anywhere without years had been born on the plantation, had being received with enthusiastic shouts from
1 For portrait of General Lee on Traveler, see The all beholders - now with only one person to CENTURY MAGAZINE for July, 1886.
greet him, and an old Confederate to hold his
stirrup! But as every man in the town had dren played a part, from which he laughingly been a soldier, it was not long before the street said he retreated, ignominiously defeated. A rang with cheers.”
few miles out of the town he was overtaken in I well remember the first visit I paid to his ride by a thunder-storm, and sought refuge Mrs. Lee on the General's taking possession in the house of a gentleman whom he knew. of the house of the college president. There Mr. W— and his wife were absent, but a were many visitors present, who all came, with group of children who were playing marbles a sort of exalted reverence, to pay their formal on the parlor carpet came forward at once respects to the General and Mrs. Lee. When we and made him welcome. But the attractions of rose to take leave, my little son, who accompa- the game were too powerful for their politenied me, could not find his cap. What was my ness and that of the little visitors they had with surprise to hear Mrs. Lee interrupt her husband them; and as the General begged them not in his animated talk with some distinguished to stop their playing, they took him at his gentlemen present — not to ask him to sum- word and went on with their game. In a little mon a servant to do her errand, but to say: while an altercation arose.
“ Robert, Herbert Preston has lost his cap; Now, Mary,” said Tom, “I call that cheatwill you go into the back parlor and see if ing! You did n't do that thing fairly!” he has left it there?”
“Take that back, Tom !” broke out CharWe were not used then to hear the leader lie. “You sha'n't say my sister cheats !” of our armies bidden to wait on a child ! “ But she did,” cried Tom, with sullen per
Atone of the first Commencements - I think sistence, “and I 'll say it again!” With that the very first — at which General Lee presided Charlie rose in his wrath and collared Tom; after he became president of the college, the hall and Mary, trying to separate the combatants, was filled with an immense crowd to whom he burst into tears and cried out, “O General was the central object of interest. During the Lee, please don't let them fight!” progress of the speeches, a little boy four years “My good fellows," said the General, old became separated from his parents and went grasping each boy by the shoulder, “there 's wandering up one of the aisles in frightened some better way to settle your quarrels than search of them. The General noticed the child's with your fists." But in vain he tried to sepaconfusion, and, gaining his eye, beckoned him rate the little wrestlers. “I argued, I remonto come to him on the platform, where he sat strated, I commanded; but they were like two surrounded by many of the brilliant officers of young mastiffs, and never in all my military the late Confederacy. The tender signal was service had I to own myself so perfectly powirresistible to the child. He instantly made erless. I retired beaten from the field, and let his way to the feet of the General, sat down the little fellows fight it out." there, and leaned his head against his knee, His ability to recall a name, after he looking up in his face with the utmost trust, had once heard it, was peculiar. One of the apparently thoroughly comforted. Thus rest- college professors told me that in riding out ing, he fell asleep, with his protector's arm with him one day they passed an old mill, at around him, and when the time came for the the door of which stood the dusty German General to take his part in the prescribed miller, with the most barbarous of German ceremonies we who were looking on were names, waiting with the hope of receiving a touched in no little degree as we saw him handshake from the leader under whom his carefully rise from his seat and adjust the little sons had served. His wish was gratified, and head softly upon the sofa so as not to waken the old man was made proud and happy. Not the confiding little sleeper.
long after, the same professor was passing the His love for children was one of his most same mill, when at the door the miller again marked traits. He possessed the royal attribute presented himself. By no effort of memory of never forgetting faces or names; and not a could the queer German name be recalled boy in our streets ever took off his cap to salute by the professor ; but before he had time to him as he passed by on Traveler, nor a little speak, the General rode straight to the door, girl courtesied to him on the sidewalk, that he and, with a cheerful “ Good-morning," named did not for a moment check his rein to give an the old man at once. answering salute, invariably naming them, and He had the gentlest way possible of giving perhaps the pleasure of a ride on the saddle be- counsel and administering rebuke. I rememfore him. We found him early one Christmas ber hearing him say, in a presence where morning at our door. He had come to bring such testimony was worth more than a dozen some Christmas presents to my little boys; and temperance lectures: “Men need no stimuI discovered that he had done the same for all lant; it is something, I am persuaded, that the children of his friends. He told me once of they can do without. When I went into the an amusing scene he encountered, in which chil- field, at the beginning of the war, a good lady
VOL. XXXVIII.- 36.