Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

NOTES ON ART AND ARCHÆOLOGY

A

— а

RATHER sensational event in the art world is the purchase and disappearance from Rome of a famous picture.

« Madonna and Child” by Sandro Botticelli. It represents the Virgin Mary with the infant Christ on her knees, to whom an angel offers grapes and ears of grain. The picture belonged to the Chigi collection and was one of the gems of the gallery. A number of competitors were anxious to secure it, and between them an auction was held, the painting being finally knocked down to an agent of the Rothschilds, it is supposed — for the sum of $63,000. As yet no trace of the purchaser has been found, at least so Professor Rudolfo Lanciani affirms. and he is the authority for the story. According to Italian law all works of ancient art to be exported must pass through the hands of government officials, and the government reserves the right purchase at an appraised value, thus preventing the loss to Italy of her most important art-productions. The works that are allowed to cross the frontier are subject to export duty. In the present instance there was danger that the government would claim its right of precedence in purchase, but, even if it had not done so, the export duty would have been heavy. While the officials were slowly coming to a decision the picture disappeared. A system of secret exportation of works of ancient art has been in operation for many years, in order to avoid these liabilities, and has been taken advantage of, as some Americans know, to enrich private and public collections in the United States. Precious works of art are smuggled out of Italy by this underground system, which has evidently benefited the real or feigned purchaser of the Botticelli picture. To increase the mystery of the transaction a fictitious name and address were given, and thus far the smuggler has eluded discovery

女 Florence is to be congratulated on having had the æsthetic energy and wisdom to establish an Association for the Protection of An. cient Florence,” under the presidency of Prince Corsini. It is to be deplored that societies of this kind are usually born of despair, and do not take form until after vandalism has been active in its work of destruction.

In this case it has not come in time to save the numerous records, historic and artistic, of which speculators have denuded the heart of the city. But there is still much to be accomplished, and the

programme of the society seems far-reaching and practical. Everything connected with the ancient culture of Florence falls within its scope. It will strive to prevent the demolition, transformation, or dispersion of all historic and artistic treasures of every age and every kind. Monuments both sacred and secular will be preserved, and restored after the best artistic standards. And - a course that could be followed with profit in other countries — the society urges the value of harmonizing as far as possible the architecture of all future public buildings with the style of historic Florentine art.

It also strenuously advises that in new private houses there shall be a return to the old Florentine standards, and that in the restoration of ancient private palaces the inscriptions, coats of arms, and memorial tablets shall remain in their original places.

I wish that on some points we could follow the example of this Florentine society. Our societies of Colonial Dames and Daughters of the Revolution are doing invaluable service in preserving historic buildings. But we have no society of architects or committee of men of taste to urge the value of congruity and harmony in public and domestic architecture. Especially is such a society needed in our rural towns, where modern crimes against artistic taste are appalling, and in university centres, which ought to be centres of taste as well as of culture and learning.

a

In the field of discovery, news comes from Italy of a wonderful find of so-called Etruscan jewellery at Vetulonia, a city of ancient Etruria. During excavations in the necropolis, or burialground, carried on under the auspices of the Ministry of Public Instruction, the so-called

lictor's tomb » was opened. The skeleton of the deceased lay in a deep chamber covered over with great stone slabs. Near the body was found a small bundle, wrapped in gold leaf, containing a number of exquisitely wrought gold ornaments. Remains of lead, close by, showed that the treasure had originally been deposited in a metal jewel-box. The collection consists of seven gold brooches or fibulæ, four bracelets, a large ornamental hairpin, and a necklace, all of gold. Three of the brooches are of unusual size, about eight inches in length, and are identical in design and workmanship. Everyone is familiar with the shape of the fibula, the typical Etruscan brooch or clasp, made on the same principle as a

modern safety-pin, with its long ornamental impossible to turn up the earth without throwbody ending in a decorative head, underneath ing up some antiquities along with it. Last which is attached the slender pointed pin and spring, at Pozzuoli, near Naples, on the coast the coil that serves as a spring. In the three of southern Italy, farm work was in progress on large fibulæ the decorative motive is a series the broad acres belonging to Cavaliere Migliaof conventional animals with human heads resi. A large field was being ploughed, ready worked in relief, the rows of figures being for planting. The great oxen lumbered slowly divided by a design of lotus leaves.

over the heavy ground, while the peasants The most beautiful fibula of the collection guided the plough. Suddenly the plough struck is the smallest one, measuring about three against something larger than usual; the oxen inches in length. The head represents a winged gave a hard tug, and a marble statue rolled out sphinx in the act of flying, and the body is cov- of the earth. As the work went on, other fig. ered with a design of animals, all the ornamen- ures came to light, and the proprietor found tation being in incrusted gold. The work is of himself in possession of a collection of decorathe most exquisite delicacy and finish, and tive Roman sculptures. Tradition tells us that that it should be the product of an art that from the time of Cicero the bay of Pozzuoli flourished more than twenty-five hundred years was a favorite summer resort of the wealthy ago seems almost impossible, so perfect is its and luxurious families of ancient Rome. Many state of preservation. Another fibula, about beautiful villas crowned the hill that rises absix and a half inches in length, is also in very ruptly and overlooks the bay. It was on the perfect condition, and is decorated with a con- slope of this hill that the sculptures were found; ventional design of animals and scrolls in in- they probably formed part of the architectural crusted work. Like the previous one it is of decoration of one of these sumptuous villas, and pale gold of great beauty. The other two on the destruction of the house the figures fibulæ are of plain gold without ornamenta- rolled part way down the hill and were grad. tion. Of the four bracelets two are composed ually covered with the accumulations of succesof a number of round gold bands attached to sive centuries. Two of the groups represent a flat piece which forms the clasp. The whole the familiar figure of Bacchus. In the most surface is covered with the most delicate in- frequently recurring type of the wine-god he is crustations of gold representing anirr.als in depicted as overcome by the effects of deep Alight. It is a rare thing to find gold hairpins libations, and is supported by an attendant figin Etruscan tombs, and the specimen belong

The statues of Pozzuoli belong to a less ing to the Vetulonia collection is one of unusual common type, in which the god is still master beauty in design and workmanship. The ball of himself; he is represented before the bacchaof the pin, which forms the head, is covered nalia instead of after, and the attendant figure with an ornamentation of animals, birds, and stands apart, while the god assumes a selfscroll-work in three zones of incrusted gold. reliant attitude. The incrustations are also carried down the The first group shows Bacchus standing in a staff of the pin for quite a distance. The neck- natural and graceful posture between small lace is of simpler execution, and is composed figures of Pan and the panther. A wreath of of a hundred and thirty gold beads strung in grapes and vine-leaves crowns the head of the a double row. These female ornaments placed god, his forehead is encircled with a broad in the tomb of a man-evidently a soldier, judg- band, and two locks of curling hair hang down ing by the remains of a sword lying at his side - to his shoulders on either side. His face is can be accounted for as tributes of affection, pleasing and not wanting in dignity. On his all the glory of a past life offered in sorrow and right is the figure of the panther. On his left in token of endless mourning at the grave of a Pan is represented, of small stature, with the beloved one. The examples of jewellery dis- head of an old satyr and the legs and hoofs of covered in ancient Etruria show that the gold- a goat. He is looking up at the god with a smith's art was carried to surpassing perfection, leer on his face. This group is considerably and outstripped all modern productions in damaged in the extremities, as is also the secbeauty of design and in the truly exquisite ond group of the same subject. Here Bacchus delicacy of its finish. That it was a product of is standing in a stronger and more manly attiEtruscan art may be doubted. Some of our

ure.

tude. With his left foot he tramples upon a public museums possess collections of so-called serpent, and in his left hand, which originally Etruscan jewellery of great value and beauty. was raised, he probably held a bunch of grapes. Such a collection, containing fibulæ, bracelets, In other respects this group, including the and a coronet of marvellous workmanship, was panther and the bearded Pan, is similar to the purchased in Italy about two years ago as a first. The third statue of the collection is a projected gift to the new Museum of Art in draped figure of Fortune. She is standing in an Philadelphia, one wing of which is completed easy pose, holding in her left hand a cornucopia and is to be opened this autumn.

filled with fruit, and her head is covered with a A number of interesting sculptures have come long falling mantle. The features are realistic, to light during excavations, or by chance dig- but the face strikes one as not being a portrait. gings, in different parts of Italy. It is almost The general treatment, which is broad though

a

somewhat cold, is well suited to the purposes stones. In the centre of this flooring was of architectural decoration for which these placed a beautiful little mosaic picture, framed statues were evidently intended.

in a narrow border of travertine, and representAt Pompeii was found a small head of glazed ing the head and bust of a woman. Unporcelain, greenish in color. It is a charming doubtedly it is the portrait of the mistress of little head, not a portrait apparently, but the the house. She is a young woman of matronly ideal head of a woman. The hair is parted in appearance, and wears her black wavy hair in the middle, turned back over the low forehead, a large coil at the back of her head, bound and gathered into a loose knot low down in the around with a wide black ribbon.

In her ears neck. The ears are pierced, and were doubt- are pearl earrings set in gold, and around her less originally adorned with earrings; and the neck is a rich pearl necklace with a gold clasp eyes, which are now empty, were probably filled set with emeralds. Her dark dress is open in with a colored substance. The features are the neck, and shows a white veil or fichu emclean-cut, and the mouth and chin quite beau- broidered in gold. Deep, black eyes, full of tiful. The chief interest of the head lies in its expression and half-veiled, look out from under technique; it is the largest piece hitherto found long eyelashes; the small mouth, half-opened of this particular order of work.

with a smile, shows white teeth between the At Pompeii has also been found a beautiful red lips. All this is done in very small mosaic mosaic pavement which formed the centre of cubes. The preservation of this important the flooring of a small bedroom, evidently the mosaic is almost perfect, the execution is reroom of the mistress of the house. The border markably good, and, what is of especial value, it of the pavement was made of common fags, is a portrait from life. then came a rectangle of mosaic-work com

JESSIE P. FROTHINGHAM. posed of small squares of different kinds of PRINCETON, N.J.

SCHUBERT'S MUSIC TO GOETHE'S “ERL-KING »

F

RANZ SCHUBERT was but nineteen years of
age when he composed his wonderful
music to Goethe's “Erl-King.” Critics

of our day can scarcely believe that fact, though it has been proven beyond dispute by Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Robert Franz, and a host of other musical personages. We know of no musician or critic who does not hold this composition to be the sublimest dramatic descriptive setting of these wild, weird stanzas that tone-poet ever conceived. (Schubert received harmony direct from heaven," said his teacher to one of Schubert's friends, when he found that he could teach the boy nothing; and the more students analyze and play his works the more are they impressed with the truth of that statement.

The music to this famous poem of Goethe's was composed in a singular way,-dashed off, in fact, just as Schubert read the poem. The musical equivalent of the words, formed in his mind as he read them, was quickly jotted down, sketched out, and then perfected. Schubert never seemed to have labored for an inspiration, or to have waited for the humor to visit him. Like Heinrich Heine, he did not possess himself of ideas, but was possessed by them. His soul was a rare melodic flower-garden. Thousands of fresh and beautiful songs grew and blossomed there; some most delicately tinted, others rich with strong dramatic color, all of which were creations full of power and character. These melodic flowers grew in such large quantities that Schubert was careless of them. He scattered them about so heed

lessly that he was charged by his contemporaries with squandering them,-with needlessly wasting his blossom-themes, in fact.

The «Erl-King) contains Schubert's intensest dramatic writing. Strange to relate, Goethe did not like the music and spoke disparagingly of it at first. It is presumed that Schubert's novel and original setting of the poem mystified Goethe, as it did all other critics at that time. After many years, however, Goethe saw the pictorial beauty of the work and grew to like it. About that time, too, other critics began to feel those powerful, sublime touches with which the tone-poet had invested the music. It was not until after Schubert's death that this composition, together with hundreds of his other songs, became really famous; and not till then did the world know that one of the greatest musicians of the age, one of the loveliest and most refined of poetic souls, had passed away.

Schubert's treatment of the “Erl-King » caused critics to shake their heads dubiously. They seemed to have recognized in him a new power, but were uncertain whether to praise or censure the composer. They satisfied themselves with mercilessly attacking the novel discords in the work. But their criticism had no effect on Schubert. He never saw fit to alter a note of the music complained of.

The setting, as we have said, is most dramatically descriptive. The introduction begins and rushes fitfully along, ominous, awful, sublime, ghostly, weird, tempestuous. After fifteen allegro common-time measures of triplets

a

in octaves on the minor key-note in the treble, and a sudden, rushing, significant figure reiterated in the bass, the voice begins

"Who hurries so late through tempest wild?
It is a man with his darling child.
The boy is firmly clutched by the arm

And pressed beside him to keep him warm.)* The ghostly, ominous, haunting figure in the bass forces itself through the misty atmosphere of treble accompaniment. It grows into awful outline above the melody. The harmonies begin to throb with excitement. Figures of a horse and rider galloping wildly through the night, the rider clutching a boy with eyes unnaturally bright, flutters into the imagination. The boy's face suddenly pales and grows livid with fright, and the perplexed father asks

« My son, why blanches thy red cheek with fear?» There is powerful descriptive art in the pianissimo harmonies that color the timid and feverish child's reply:

« Oh, father, look, the Erl-King is there.

Dost thou not see him, with crown and train ? » The ghostly figure in the bass still haunts the rushing treble triplets for a few measures. Then comes a lull. The figure fades from sight, and the father tries to soothe the frightened lad thus:

« My son, the mist deludes thy brain." Steadier and softer grows the wild rush of descriptive music, and through it all begins to float a mysteriously seductive melody. It is the coaxing song of the Erl-King:

« Thou lovely boy, come, dwell with me,
And I will play fond games with thee.
The flowers are blooming in every fold,

And my mother keeps a robe of gold.” Then begins the music that startled the critics of that time. The frightened shrieks of the boy are almost realistically imitated by a clash of semi-tones between voice and accompaniment.

The discords accompany these words

“My father, my father, dost thou not hear

The Erl-King's promises tender and clear?" The father seems to make an effort to calm the frightened child, cleverly indicated in the music by a change of key and strong harmonies that have a humor of protection in them; but he no sooner sings,

« My darling, heed not fancies like these;

The breathing night-wind rustles the leaves, -- when, depicted in a sudden, onrushing crescendo, the boy's feverish imagination bursts forth, and again he hears the alluring song of the Erl-King rising above the din of the gallop. The melody is even more seductively sweet.

« Wilt thou go with me, my charming boy?
All my girls will wait on thy steps with joy.
They'll dance and sing where the bright stars peep,
And rock thee and soothe thy tired senses to sleep."

Inviting as the melody is, there lurks within it a grimness that frightens the boy more than before, and again the discordant clash of semitones between voice and accompaniment occurs, but this time a degree higher in the scale, and, of course, with greater dramatic effect. The wonderfully inventive mind of Schubert is no where else shown to greater advantage than in the working out of this dramatic idea. The boy exclaims:

« My father, my father, do you not see

The Erl-King's daughters are beckoning me? The father affects calmness. That there are thoughts of ghostly significance, throbs of agony, feelings ominous with forebodings of death in his heart, is made known by the mysterious tonal transitions, and that thunderous, frantic, terrifying crescendo, in which he replies:

« My son, my son, I see very well

The gray willows wave beside yonder dell.” Then the ghostly figure in the bass, by sheer strength, lifts itself out of the noise. It is the Erl-King, the death-spirit of Danish mythology, in which the superstitious people of north Germany also believe. He nears the boy and stretches out his hand as if to tear him away from his parent, singing at the same time a phrase beginning with the most tender expressions of love, and ending with a dire threat, both of which sentiments are fittingly portrayed in the music. Thus he sings: « My dearest, I love thee, and if thou delay My strong arms shall tear thee from father away."

Then comes the climax. The shrieking dissonances reach their highest point of dramatic intensity. They are the child's death-cries, and all the terror that the imagination of this great tone-poet could conceive was put into that wild outburst, at the point where the Erl-King seizes the boy:

“My father, my father, he seizes me now.

Erl-King has frozen my burning brow.” Terrified by this last outburst of the child, the father's reason gives way for the time being, and he becomes subjective to the superstitious thoughts or imaginations of the child. He urges his steed on faster than ever through the night, believing that the Erl-King is really pursuing him and his child. It was to illustrate this that Schubert continued the rushing triplets and the same ghostly figure in the bass. The remainder of the text describes the tragic outcome of the wild ride, and ends the poem. « The father hurries, and fear lends him speed, Through brook and meadow, o'er mountain and mead, He reaches home through danger dread, But on his bosom the boy is dead."

PenRHY JONES. ST. THOMAS, ONT.

* The translation given here does not do the original text justice. Students are recommended to read it in the German,

Prof. Saintsbury Recent, comparatively, as is controversy he but wasted his time and made

on Matthew Matthew Arnold's death, it enemies by his partisan laudation of the EngArnold

cannot be said that the time lish national church and his girdings at Dissent. has not come to write an appreciation of him Nor were his excursions into the field of Biblical or to comment on the influence he has had upon criticism always profitable, orthodox as he was his age. We say this from no fear that Mr. after his own fashion, and little in sympathy Arnold's writings have as yet lost their hold with either the works or the attitude of agnosupon the literary thought of the time, but from ticism. In the educational field, however, he a dread that not a little of his prose at least did yeoman service, and in literature proper, will fail to interest a new generation, unfamiliar despite his mannerisms, he did fine though not as it must be with much of the religious and tonic work. His chief merit is that he wrote literary controversy of Philistia, in which Arnold at a time when culture was a desideratum and unprofitably, as we think, took part. But when the graces and the high ideals of life were whether or not much of Arnold's work will sur- at a discount. What Arnold's career was, and vive — and we exempt his poetry from any what his general literary position is, Prof. doubt of that — there is no question that he is Saintsbury amply and on the whole fairly sets an interesting as well as influential figure in forth. He praises much of his poetry, expresses the literary thought of the past half-century admiration for his prose style, and is appreciaand fully merits the compliment of being made tive of his work as a critic as well as of his the subject of Prof. Saintsbury's monograph scholarly ideals and tastes. But he is at times in the new series of Modern English Writ- unpleasantly censorious and not infrequently ers.

Admitting the justice of Arnold's claim captious. Occasionally, it is true, Arnold is to the honor of a biography, we could have himself to blame ; for, despite the delightful wished, however, that the theme had fallen to quality of his work and the frequent humor other and more sympathetic hands than has which lights it up, he has many defects and not been the case, though we are not blind to the a few manifest weaknesses. This is shown faults which Prof. Saintsbury exposes in much chiefly in the comparatively trivial or transient of Arnold's work. It is perhaps a fit retribu- topics which for the most part occupied his pen. tion that a great critic should himself be criti- Addressing, for the most part, the English cised, and that he who was fond of laying on middle class, his cry was that they had a the lash should in turn be himself flagellated. «defective type of religion, a narrow range This Nemesis fate will, however, be disconcert- of intellect and knowledge, a stinted sense of ing to Arnold's admirers, who will hardly admit beauty, and a low type of manners.” The the «sweet reasonableness of Mr. Saintsbury's charge is not without its admonition to us of many qualifying estimates, or the “urbanity the New World, for we ourselves, it will be that is only half-concealed under his occasional admitted, have something to learn from the detraction.

jibes and scornings of this high priest of culFrom a critical point of view, and speak- ture, whom perhaps we have deemed too fiing dispassionately, there is little question nicky and dilettante for our prosaic and mathat much of Mr. Saintsbury's censure is terialistic Western world. Are we not also just. Arnold was in manner often provoking, to be found among the Philistines-scorning and there was not a little in his "grand style » culture and scholarship, making light of rare cleverness that, while it amused, was flippant gifts and high ideas, and deeply indifferent to and sometimes trilling, and, to those who loved that depth and breadth of intellectual attainthe man and admired his gifts, an unpardonable ment which makes for the true equipment of waste of critical powers. Aside from this, how- the all-round, perfect man ?

G. M. A. ever, it is unquestionably worth while to know

☆ more of Matthew Arnold. True, as a writer and censor of his age, he had his conceits and

" The age needs heart, 'tis his vanities, and there was not a little about

Mary Cameron :) him that savored of intellectual coxcombry.

This line from Sidney Lanier But, with all that, he was an inspiring and stimu- gives the keynote to that sense of taste unsatislating force in his way, awaking the age out of

fied which many of our so-called best novels its insufferable commonplace ideas, philistin- leave upon the literary palate. They have ism, and respectable dullness. Over religious tickled the intellectual fancy, but leave the

heart untouched. Clever, artistic, often witty, * New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1899.

they present the froth and foam of conventional

tired of head.”

A Novel

« AnkstesnisTęsti »