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expression in Gothic architecture, at another in a grand and original music. One might almost believe that an original architecture could only spring up among a simple and devout people, of an unmixed race; but that a perfect expression in music requires the full development of an older people. We may remark, moreover, that as we find the religious, the artistic, and the active principles developed in different individuals, so is it with nations, in an observable degree. The Jews were a religious race, the interpreters of the revelations of God to man; the Greeks artistic. The Romans, the great active race of antiquity, borrowed their Art; the English and French, the great active races among the moderns, have originated very little in Art; save only in Poetry, the art of arts, which is least subject to these laws. May not this continent see a development of the English race in which the three parts of our nature shall not be so widely separated; and a new art spring from a new order of things?
To recur to our classification of admirers and critics of Art; we can perceive that our first great class is the most important to Art. The finished connoisseur may know and appreciate all that is best in what has gone before us in Art, and his province is to interpret it, and spread its refining influence through the world ; but when a new Art springs up it has always to educate new and fresh minds to an understanding of itself; and thus we see in all such cases renewed the ancient strife between new and old. Just in proportion as Art springs from and appeals to the genius of a people, it will be high and ideal in its character; whilst Poetry, or works of art that appeal to a cultivated audience, will always be elegant and conventional; though it must be conceded that the period of transition, if it have never produced the greatest, has often given birth to the most exquisite and pleasing, works.
In our age no man is satisfied to admire and be instructed, but all must judge and criticize. This being so, a conscientious mind will still prescribe to itself certain rules ; — for human judgment, if once it leaves the region of instinct, can be trusted only by reference to principles.
The first natural question is, how does this please me? But we are already in danger, for how do you know that what pleases yourself is good and true? Your taste
may rupted. Your feeling may demand something false and exaggerated.
The next step is to compare. But still we are in danger.
Things of the same kind may be compared, but an original work of art is different in kind from any thing that has gone before. The Venus de Medici and Mr. Powers' statue cannot be compared, except in certain external particulars; for they express ideas as different as possible ; ideas different in kind.
Where, then, lies the difficulty ? Simply in this ; that supposing a work to be a true work, and a new work to us, we approach it in a false position when we come to criticize it. We should come to learn from it, and to admire it. We criticize because we are afraid we shall admire amiss. We are not simple-minded; we are afraid of being taken in to admire something not admirable. Only make it certain to men that they can make no mistake in admiring, and admiration may be had cheap. This hasty criticism is always the fault of the partially cultivated class.
Most artists will in their hearts admit, that contemporary criticism is for the most part worthless in itself, and injurious to the artist who listens to it. He must know better than his audience, or he knows nothing.
We believe that it is a difficult matter to criticize aright. What is left us? To each man his suffrage and nothing more. But let each one remember, in giving that suffrage, that to a clear and instructed eye his opinion shows plainly enough his own range of apprehension and insight; but can show nothing of the relative value of the work, with reference to other works.
In brief, our advice would be, on seeing a new work which you believe to be an important one — take time. Try to see it. Do not think it incumbent upon you to think or feel about it. Do not dwell upon it long at a time, for the attention becomes fatigued; but return frequently, and each time you will find that you understand it better since you last saw it. It has been with you in the interval. It has lived with you, and educates you to itself. And when you have learned from it all it can teach you, write down your thought about it, and see how impossible to compass it in words; how paltry and insignificant criticism at sight seems to you !
It is only works which we have thus lived with that we can truly criticize; and such criticism is very different from finding fault. If a work is not worth this, it may be worthy of consideration, but not of criticism.
Can we hold ourselves guiltless, if after this we say a few words concerning the statue which suggested our subject ?
What do we demand when an American man, of this century, takes hammer and chisel, and gives us in white marble his idea of a lovely woman? Certainly not a Grecian goddess; but Woman, such as two thousand years, and the Christian religion, have made her since; a modern woman. Not an exquisite generalization of all that is most lovely in the female form, to stand boldly in the public gaze and receive the homage of all worshippers; but rather, an ideal individual. The ancient Venus suggests no need of dress; but we feel that this woman has laid aside her dress and is conscious of it, yet she stands the image of chastity. Her purity awes you like the Lady in Comus. The form is full of individualities, all blending in an exquisite whole, and by the very peculiarities which strike the eye as differing from the Greek ideal, claiming our affection and sympathy.
We learn that this is a slave, exposed for sale in the marketplace; and supposing her a captive, torn from her home, we can imagine few scenes that shall call for so much pity, admiration, and tenderness; all these feelings must be called forth in the highest degree, but yet, pervading all, and beyond all these, the sense of Beauty must everywhere be satisfied. And so it is; and indeed most persons go away with the idea that they have been called upon to see and admire nothing but a beautiful naked female figure. But visit it again and again, and you will find this marble figure steals gradually into your affections. There is no theatrical air, no forcing of the story upon you, no open demand of your sympathies; you see before you only this exquisitely delicate form, self-dependent, armed only with its purity, and needing no other shield than this in the most touching of all situations.
We close with the hope that our artist has ere this received tangible demonstration that he can depend upon the growing taste and love of Art in his own countrymen both for praise and bread.
ART. III. -- THE POLITICAL CONDITION AND
PROSPECTS OF GREECE.
The independence of Greece is one of the most glorious events in the European history of the nineteenth century. The success of the revolution against Mohammedan domination reflects honor both on the Greek nation and on the human race ; but the actual political condition of the Hellenic kingdom is the disgrace of European statesmanship. France, Great Britain, and Russia combined to transform a republic into a monarchy, and their creation commenced in misgovernment, and promises to end in anarchy.
The discordant statements published from time to time concerning the condition of the Greek people, and the adverse opinions offered on the conduct of the Greek government, induce us to believe that we can render some service to our fellow-citizens by presenting them with an impartial description of the new monarchy, freed from the false coloring of French and English diplomacy. To us, the cause of Greece is one of the deepest interest, but, separated as we are from the political intrigues of eastern Europe, we cannot feel any very lively concern about the party contests at the Greek court. This very circumstance may perhaps enable us to establish some landmarks of truth amidst the haze of misrepresentation which hangs over Greek affairs. To us, King Otho, General Colletti, Prince Mavrocordato, Monsieur Piscatory, Pair de France, and Sir Edmund Lyons, Baronet the five leading political characters in Greece - are only interesting as their actions affect the political and social condition of the Greek people. Pisistratus, Themistocles, Phocion, Æmylius Paulus, and Mummius only occupy a different position in our minds because their reputations cast a wider and brighter light.
It is not our intention to say any thing at present concerning the Greek revolution. The citizens of the United States gave substantial proofs of their good wishes for the cause, by the abundant aid they furnished to Greece in the hour of her greatest peril. Many fought and several perished in her service ; and in 1827, the supplies of provisions poured into Greece from America, cargo after cargo, contributed to prolong the desperate struggle until the tardy assistance of European diplomacy terminated the war. Those who witnessed the utter destitution of the people at the period when the American supplies reached the country, can alone form an idea of the dreadful state of misery to which the population was reduced. Thousands of families were saved from starvation, - and we here mean, not from a lingering death brought on by want and its concomitant diseases, - but literally, from perishing by immediate and absolute starvation. Even in spite of the arrival of these supplies, famine had already made such progress, that the fearful spectacle of death from hunger has been witnessed by more than one of our countrymen who visited the provinces of Greece to distribute these cargoes. Our present task is only to review the state of affairs from the time the three great powers of Europe, France, Great Britain, and Russia, determined to assume the protection of Greece; and to examine in what manner they have executed the trust they assumed. The work of the most celebrated ministers in Europe is a study worthy of profound attention.
* The best work on the subject of the war with the Turks is the “ History of the Greek Revolution, by Thomas Gordon, F. R. S.” 2 vols. 8vo. Edinburgh. 1832. Mr. Gordon of Cairness was a gentleman of considerable fortune, who had spent much of his youth in the east, and was well acquainted with Turkish as well as Greek literature. He repaired to join the Greeks with a supply of arms and ammunition as soon as the revolution broke out. He died in 1842, at his estate of Cairness in Scotland, holding the rank of Major-General in the Greek service. His work is universally regarded as the best authority on Greek affairs, on account of his freedom from all party feelings.
The first interference of the three protecting powers was to assume an authority to mediate with Turkey, by a treaty signed at London on the 6th of July, 1827. That treaty was followed by the battle of Navarino, in which the allies destroyed a considerable part of the Turkish fleet, and frightened the British ministry to such a degree, by the damage inflicted on their old friend the Sultan, that the victory was called in a fit of remorse “an untoward event.” The dictatorship of Capodistrias, the election of Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg (now King of Belgium) to be prince sovereign of Greece, his sudden resignation, and the perplexities of a mass of protocols, kept Greece for some years in a state of political disorder as injurious to the population as the war itself.*
* The treaties and protocols, as well as some financial papers and correspondence, have been printed for the British Parliament. This collection of papers on the affairs of Greece, from 1827 to 1844, embraces five folio volumes. The most important documents, from 1827 to 1833, were printed at the Greek Gov. ernment prens.
This small but valuable collection is entitled Recueil des Traites, actes, et pièces concernans la fondation de la Royauté en Grèce. Nauplie. 1833. 8vo.