Puslapio vaizdai

the picturesque is closely connected with the power of association, and does not appeal to the eye only. Mr. Ruskin's definition of it is the best to be had, as is usual, where beauty or human delight in beauty are analysed; or viewed on their intellectual or moral side; or in their connection with psychology. He says the picturesque is the parasitical sublime-that beauty or sublimity which may attach itself to any object from circumstances, and not from the nature of the object itself. In the old days of Oxford, when we used Aldrich's Logic, picturesqueness would have been a good example of an accident as opposed to the property or quality of beauty. An accident is a contingency; a property belongs naturally to its subject, results from the essence of the thing. A well-made man is beautiful when he has nothing on at all, but not pictur esque, unless he is in a picture—that is to say unless he is surrounded by 'accidents' or circumstances which give him the proper environment. He may be bathing in some brown and bottomless pool of a Highland river. He is then part of a scene. When he gets out and dresses himself, if he puts on old grey, green, or russet shooting things, he becomes picturesque; if he puts on a swallow-tailed coat and patent leather boots, he is the very contrary. But still if he has a good face and figure a certain amount of beauty belongs to him; it remains 'connected with his essence,' as Aldrich said, and is inalienable, except through vice or some destructive accident' in the popular sense of the term. His good looks are his own, like the hand of Douglas, in another sense from his clothes or his watch; and nothing but some extreme disguise (such as that of a clown in a pantomime) can deprive him of them, or veil such beauty as is in him.

The simplest example of a picturesque object given in the Stones of Venice is that of a cottage on a wild hill-side, roofed with stone instead of slates. The irregular features and varied forms of the split pieces of shale give the roof some of the interest, charm, or beauty (for all these words in this case practically mean the same thing) of the hillside itself. The hut is part of a sublime natural object, and gains beauty from its grand environment; that is actual picturesqueness. If it stood on flat ground in the middle of a field it would not look so well. Still it might even there remind one of the beauty of the stony banks and screes of its native mountains; it would have picturesqueness of association. I think one feels this in looking even at a new roof of the old Oxford material of split oolite limestone, which, as I am delighted to see, is still in use. It is rather expensive from its great weight, and not very convenient from its porous nature, which makes the weight vary in rain or dry weather; but no one can doubt that it looks much better than any other covering for a stone house; perhaps from local association, perhaps because it necessitates a high pitched roof. The convent in S. Giles' Road, W., is a capital example; and in the new Examination Schools some more convenient method of

dividing the stone has been used, so that the broad and massive roofs are one of their best features.

It is a rather unhappy illustration of the truth of this definition of picturesqueness as the 'accidental' or 'parasitical' sublime, that it is so very easily taken away. It is indeed a separable accident, to go back to our Logic once more. One of the occasions of my beginning these papers with talk about the picturesque is this—that I learned to look for it with great eagerness and pleasure on the Rhine thirty years ago, and on going up the Rhine this autumn, 'after long years,' I find it is utterly lost and gone-at least for my time, and in fact for ever;or until the banks of the abounding river return to their original desolation

'When the race of Thor and Odin did hard battle by his side,
And the blood of man was mingling warmly with his chilling tide.'

All the Childe Harold associations of the river are spoilt; very many of its essentially national characteristics are gone; there are no students, no pipes, no kittels; none of that poetry of the grape which filled one's mind so pleasantly, and made Rhine, as Hood says, rhyme all day in one's head to land of the vine, extremely fine, and very divine. It is worse on this highway of war and commerce than elsewhere; and indeed the military necessity of a railroad on either side has hastened innovation as much as increasing trade could do.

Antwerp was not very grievously changed from my first memories of it. Aachen had the intense interest of its architectural transitions from Roman to German Gothic; Cöln, Mainz, and Trier had a great deal of their old feeling, though the grand completed 'Dom in its web of scaffolding hardly made up for the lost picturesque of the great choir, half-finished towers, and well-remembered crane. Beauty and historical interest seem in these cases inalienable. The Porta Nigra of Augusta Trevirorum only looks mightier, more impassive and enduring, graver in appeal, because you come jingling under it in a bus. The Romanesque of S. Martin's at Cöln or Mainz Cathedral bears as important witness as ever to us, about where our fathers learned to build. But it is hardly unjust laudation of the past to say that though some beauty and sublimity may be left in the cities, and the side valleys of the Rhine, the picturesque has departed from the main stream, and fled from the presence of new hotels with enormous letters, new villas and residenzs all along the banks, just like Putney; interspersed with iron works and chimneys as gloomy and eruptive as at Poplar.

People travel, I know, for all sorts of reasons. Christopher North of old, who knew nothing about pictures, but had as strong a feeling for beauty as can well be conceived, once said that the real object of a tour to the English lakes was the eating and drinking, of course; and I daresay a good many of our contemporaries go up the Rhine with due

regard, at least, to various liquids, whose names generally end in heim or steiner. Many may not regret the changes which have taken place, but they certainly deprive a landscape-painter of a great deal of work and pleasure, and make him feel very empty and weary of his life. And one more source of historical interest is gone. One sees the last of a period and its somewhat beautiful and delightful paths and ways of life, without return or record; or without record enough. And as the same thing has taken place in my time, in Munich, Venice, Florence, and all over Europe, it seems reasonable to take some note of what we are losing or gaining. The great loss seems to be that of our first delightful lessons in the picturesque, which led us so pleasantly into the world of picture. But it is no use giving way to despair or temper about it. There is a great deal of good in these changes, no doubt; sometimes there is necessity for them; that is to say, worse will happen if they are not carried out. One quite agrees with the members of the Anti-Restoration Society on main issues, as on the operations on S. Mark's at Venice.* Antiquities of historical value, great massive portions of the actual past, important evidences of that which has been, must unavoidably be lost by sweeping reconstruction or even repair. But you cannot make things last for ever. One of the most picturesque street scenes in Northern Europe, celebrated in endless sketches and paintings-in Erckmann-Chatrian's Conscrit, and in the adventures of Brown, Jones, and Robinson-used to be the old Judengässe at Frankfort. Well, no restorer ever laid his sacrilegious hands on it; and the other day half one side of the street fell down into a heap of rotten ruin all at once; twenty or thirty Hebrews were killed and wounded, and the picturesque of the Frankfort Ghetto came to a bitter and abrupt termination. It is very hard to say that it ought not to have ended before, without destroying so many harmless though stuffy persons. And in fact, many attractive forms of the lower picturesque may depend on conditions which are bad for human life. The nearer a building is to tumbling down, the better it looks; but it must not transgress a certain line of instability. And where what the Professor calls parasitic sublimity becomes, in fact, entomologically

*The following detail of ancient construction seems interesting enough for a note at least. I wrote to Mr. Street on the subject; and he well knew the passage in question, though I believe even he had not been very long in possession of it.

There is a note in Hodgkin's Italy and her Invaders, vol. i. p. 542, on the ancient account of Galla Placidia's Basilica of S. John the Evangelist in Ravenna (not her better-known sepulchral chapel). She built the Basilica in fulfilment of a vow made in peril at sea on her voyage from Constantinople in 424, after Honorius' death, and this passage occurs in the Spicilegium Ravennatis Historia, apud Muratori, tom. i. pars ii. p. 568, where the Church of S. John is mentioned, Jubet Augusta ubique naufragii sui præsentari formam, ut quodammodo tota operis facies Reginæ pericula loqueretur. Pavimentum undosum, undique mare, quod quasi ventis agitatum, procellosæ tempestalis gerit imaginem.' This is decisive as to the original symbolic intention of the pavements of S. Mark and Murano at Venice.

parasitic, and is derived from narrow overcrowded streets and build. ings and rooms in a state prejudicial to health, it ought to go, for artistic reasons as well as for others. The lesser beauty should give way to the greater. Healthy people in a new street are more beautiful than sickly people in an old one. Suffering and disease may take grotesque forms, but health alone is beautiful; nor ought any painter to desire the preservation of the most exquisite ruin or melancholic slum, if the ruin is likely to fall on the top of any Christian or Hebrew person, or the pathos of the ruelle to result in diphtheria.

Nevertheless, the picturesque is a very good and delightful thing in the wide sense of the term, where it means the homelier, easier, and more transitory phases of sublimity or beauty. This is a more popular view of it than Professor Ruskin's, but by no means goes against it. We mean by the term, beauty as we can find it or make it in everyday things, or rather in the circumstance and environment of things-in dress and surroundings rather than in the men and women they belong to; in accidental aspects which may be endlessly varied. In this sense anything which will make a picture is picturesque. Only then we must distinguish between a lower and a higher picturesque, according to the congruity and nobleness of the aspect and circumstances which the picture consists of, or at least contains. And to this end we entreat all readers who have the opportunity to go carefully through the first three or four chapters of Ruskin's Modern Painters, vol. iv.

Higher or lower, we are always investing objects with special interest, and it is often possible to find beauty in them, or even attach it to them. A great many of us really like scenery, many more care a good deal for history, almost all have a certain belief in the past or some eye for form and colour, some thought of the great majority gone before them, who lived in and loved such places as the banks of the Rhine once were. It is a matter of experience that life is made beautiful, delightful, or better-endurable by these tastes, strangely distributed as they are, and curiously as their balance of happiness varies. The owners of Wharfedale or Loch Maree may not get more pleasure from all that beauty than a pupil teacher from Bradford or an undergraduate from Oxford, who may see it for a fortnight's holiday. Being quite used to a lovely place may make you indifferent to it if you do not continually attend to its loveliness. And on the contrary, how singular it is that Blake and Turner, the idealist and the naturalist, should both have been born so near each other, not in beauty, but in sordid ugliness, in small streets near Covent Garden, in the dreariest life in the world. No wonder that one was the painter of Sunset, and the other the poet of Thel and Eritharmon, that one

I cannot think that Mr. Hamerton has ever read these chapters; they seem entirely to anticipate all he has written about Turner as an Idealist, though that is excellent in itself. He seems to read Professor Ruskin's pamphlet on Pre-Rafaelitism so exclusively as to overlook the existence of its author's other works.

threw himself into the nameless glories of colour, the other occasionally transgressed the bounds of common sense.

It does not in the least signify to us whether Blake was mad or not, though it may be well not to use that epithet too recklessly, since Plato calls all the higher inspirations maniai, or possessions by the spirit of music, philosophy, or love. At all events I have lately read, and lost my reference for, an anecdote of that 'old man eloquent,' which seems to suit us well here, and may excite or comfort some of us who complain of wanting subjects for art, and of the unpicturesqueness of life, generally speaking. It is a reminiscence by a lady who had been been taken, as a little girl, to see Blake in some of the last days of his life, while his health was still pretty good, as it continued till a few hours of his departure. She said she remembered a poor little lodging in Fountain Court, and in it a shabby old man with bright eyes, who blessed her for her youth and pleasant face, and prayed that she might find life as beautiful as it had been to him; in old clothes and a London attic, poor and dear to the gods, and possessed about that time of 38. 6d. surplus, all debts being paid, sixpence of which, the day before he died, he invested in the luxury of a new lead pencil. He did well; he knew what he was buying. To him the pencil and his mind had been for many years not only a kingdom but a fairyland. That bit of cedar was a pretty effective broomstick, to carry him east of the sun, and west of the moon, and beyond the paths of all the stars, until he died.

However, all I mean to say here is, that the picturesque may do much for us, even if we are not very eager about the ideal. It will certainly open our eyes to accessible beauties; it will show us many more things of that kind than we thought of, and so far make life happier. One good admiration, one conspicuously beautiful scene or object, may open our eyes to the great Quest. But such scenes have very decidedly diminished in number along the pathways of modern commerce; and no one feels it more than elderly wanderers long accustomed to sketching, when they resume their walks to and fro in the earth after many days. One is almost reconciled to the old familiar smells, which seem to be compounded exactly as before, in the city of Cöln more particularly. Perhaps it is a good thing, on the whole, that so much of the enthusiam which used to attach to Roman architecture is now transferred to sanitary engineering-which is a truly Roman science, by the way. A well-made sewer may not be exactly, in one sense of the word, 'an entirely holy thing,' as Mr. Herbert calls it in the New Republic, but it is quite an indispensable thing; and now that the great Dom is completed, the very next thing which the Catholic city should commence is a good system of drainage.

The worst of it is, that one or two new houses in cheap modern material are quite destructive eyesores among older and more beautiful, though still serviceable, buildings. The German picturesque (which is


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