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too unsavory for well nurtured children destitute of perambulators (for such means of conveyance exist not in Venice), and unpalatable to the gutter children, whose quarters surround the gardens, they preferring to play on the small pieces of foreshore afforded by the boat builders' yards that interpose themselves so picturesquely (as artists know) between the gardens and the Riva degli Schiavoni.
George Sand in her Lettres d'un Voyageur, speaking of these gardens, informed the world that the Venetian ladies feared both heat and cold, for they were so frail and delicate that a ray from the sun hazarded their complexion, and a breath of wind their life -hence they never ventured to gardens where they might have benefited their health, and consequently the place was deserted save "pour quelques vieillards grognons, quelques fumeurs stupides et quelques bilieux mélancoliques."
only of the cities of Turin and Milan but those of lesser size, and the recognition and utilization of the benefits which Nature has bestowed upon the whole valley of the Po.'
The Municipality of Venice (owing perhaps to the enjoyment of the gardens being made so little of) has of late years assigned the greater part of them to other uses, although by so doing they have raised the ire of a certain section of their constituents, who see in this utilization an encroachment on rights of free access of which they never availed themselves.
Italy just now is filled with an activity strangely in contrast to its former lethargy-activity in the fields of thought, religion, politics, industry and art-an activity in some of these domains which, perhaps, tends towards destruction as much as construction. It permeates the whole peninsula, but is most in evidence in its northern provinces of Piedmont, Lombardy and Venetia. No one can traverse the southern watershed of the Alps without seeing from west to east the energy that is being displayed, and the prosperity evidenced in the expansion not
Venice thirty years ago seemed to those who then visited it a city of the dead. Yriarte in his Venise, published in 1880, spoke of its inhabitants as "un monde qui semble d'avoir perdu son âme et sa vie," and added that it was permeated with a "tristesse douce et constante, qui gagne peu à peu le cœur le plus viri et s'impose à l'esprit le moins sentimental."
But the Venetians, now that they form part of Italy, have not only shared with their countrymen in the Renaissance but appear determined once more to dominate the Northern 'Adriatic. 'Unfortunately they have more than one serious difficulty to contend with. Whilst other cities can extend their borders north, south, east and west, cover them with houses of the well to do, and factories with dwellings for those who toil therein, and can carry these workers far afield by means of tramways and other forms of cheap locomotion, Venice has no such possibilities. Every yard of her soil that emerges above her waterways is already covered, and remunerative industries on any large scale that require large ground space appear impossible. The stillness that is one of the charms and attractions of the city remains unbroken by the riveting of girders, or even the clink of the trowel, and save for a large new railway terminus and the doubling of the viaduct which carries the line over the lagoons-in themselves testimonies to the increasing prosperity of the place the builder's occupation seems non-existent.
Again, the increasing size of ships and the decreasing depth of the approaches to the city render the future
1 Venice obtains her electric supply from water-power in the Euganean Hills, many miles away.
of the shipping industry, for which they have been so renowned in the past, a very uncertain one.
To the outsider, therefore, the perspicuity of the Venetians, in seeing a way out of the impasse that Nature had placed in the way of outlets such as these to their energies, through the medium of a huge Biennial International Art Exhibition, appears little less than a heaven-born inspiration.
In formulating such a world-wide scheme, however, Venice had abundant reason to expect success, whether she regarded it from a political, geographical, or artistic standpoint. No other nation in Europe has so few political antipathies as Italy. An International Exhibition in France, for instance, could not command the cordial co-operation of Germany or vice versa. England is too far afield, and besides, as a nation is only now beginning to show that she is not altogether a negligible quantity in all matters pertaining to Art. Besides the capitals of these countries have already old established exhibitions, whose domains and personnel it would be impossible either to annex or ingratiate. Venice has the advantage in this respect of being able to start with no vested, hide-bound interests to contend with.
From a geographical point of view also she has everything in her favor, for she stands almost at the central point of Europe, having connection by land or sea with every quarter of the globe, to such an unequalled extent that works of art even from America or Japan can, if desired be unloaded at the gates of her Exhibition grounds.
And as her artistic advantages, it is almost a waste of ink and paper to set them down.
It has been said of Japan
Art is Art all over this quaint country, Art is almost air, for everybody breathes it.
To Venice such words not only apply to-day but have done ever since she rose from the sea. Where in Paris, Berlin, London, or any of the world's capitals, nay, even in that of Italy itself, shall we find such magnificent specimens of the Art of all the ages, not displayed in a single example, nor in a single branch, but covering the whole range of architecture and painting, as expressed in Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, and Rococo times, and all of which chefs-d'œuvre are placed in settings such as it is the aspiration of every lover of art the world over to see before he dies? A city unique in its inspiration, its beauty, its seductiveness. A city endowed by the hand of Nature quite as much as of man, owing its existence to an enchanted wand, concerning whom every poet who has sung has dwelt as much upon the setting,
Roofed with clouds of rich emblazonry,
as upon the
Temples and palaces, Fabrics of enchantment piled to heaven.
Lastly, a city the home of such giants of painting as Giorgione, Titian, Tintoret and Veronese, not to mention Tiepolo, Canale, or Guardi.
Thus it came to pass that when in 1893 it was a question amongst all the cities of Italy how to commemorate fittingly the twenty-fifth anniversary of the marriage of their sovereigns, those in power at Venice were sage enough to inaugurate a policy which should not only carry on the old æsthetic traditions of their city but should attract to its portals a host of participants who would bring honor as well as prosperity in their train. And so every other year since then a considerable part of the city's efforts has been spent in organizing an International Fine Arts Exhibition, until it has not only
assured itself of the cordial co-operation of the nations of the world but provided a biennial congress of Art which it is impossible for any country to ignore if it wishes to take a share in the world's progress in Art, to show what its countrymen are doing, and to obtain an accurate estimate of its position in comparison with other nations.
Every artist on the Continent now knows that Venice dominates the situation, and English artists are slowly beginning to realize that fact. The recognition too by the profession of the benefits that have accrued to them through the Venice Exhibition has been spontaneous, whole-hearted, and unanimous, as was evidenced in the enthusiasm that prevailed at the breakfast given to Professor Fradeletto at the opening of the present Exhibition, enthusiasm unknown in art circles in England. On that occasion some 200 artists from every nation, save our own, assembled to tender their indebtedness and thanks to the Professor, and the plaudits which greeted every mention of his name, and punctuated every sentence of his eloquently expressed thanks, must have been very grateful to the Member of Parliament for Venice and the Honorary Secretary of the Exhibition, for it is mainly due to his unwearied efforts that the present achievement has been arrived at.
What this achievement is may thus be summarized. Venice has herself expended over a million and a half lire on the erection and decoration of her main buildings. She has been the medium whereby artists have effected sales during the last seven exhibitions to the extent of three million lire. For British artists, hitherto a very small section of the whole, she has obtained recognition in the shape of many decorations granted to them; her King and Queen have purchased no fewer than fifteen British pictures; Venice, for its modern Art Gallery, has acquired twen
ty-seven, and many others have passed into municipal and private collections in Italy.
But having labored so hard to secure this fruition she now naturally feels herself in a position to dictate her terms to those who wish to participate in her success. Hitherto she has admitted to a place on the walls of her Exhibition buildings the work of all nations, but now she finds even the thirty-seven galleries insufficient for the needs of the kingdom of Italy and certain privileged artists who on each occasion she invites to fill galleries with their productions. Many countries foreseeing this have been quick to recognize the importance of acquiring permanent habitations of their own, and the Governments of Belgium, Hungary, and Bavaria, countries where Art is just now in a very vital condition, have secured and built for themselves suites of galleries which their artists have been glad to decorate most sumptuously. The Government of France and probably Germany will at the next Exhibition be also the possessors of their own buildings.
Such being the condition of affairs, the authorities at the close of the last Exhibition felt themselves, in fairness to other nations, unable to extend any longer to Great Britain hospitality on any such extended scale as her Art demanded, and an intimation was conveyed to those who then represented her that steps must be taken to provide a locale of their own. At the same time a building, in what is undoubtedly the best situation in the gardens, was offered to them for the sum of 29001.
The task of providing this sum, and the further amount necessary to furnish and decorate the interior and instal a fitting collection of pictures, should not have been a difficult one, but it proved to be so, and it was only at the last moment, through the liber
ality of Sir David Salomons, who came forward and offered to find a sum sufficient to secure the building in perpetuity for the adequate representation of British Art, that Great Britain was not deprived of further participation in this all-important show.
Sir David Salomons gave as his reasons for making the gift that
English artists should not be placed in a worse position than foreign artists at such an important International Exhibition.
They might extend their means of becoming known and earning their livelihood.
Their Art might be improved by competition of a healthy character.
Other contributors provided a further sum of 500l., which enabled the Committee to decorate and furnish the interior of the building in a measure, not of course comparable with that of buildings which rely on Government aid, but sufficient to present a quiet and dignified setting to the 150 pictures by which our artists are now represented, and also to pay the expenses of supervision and upkeep during the present Exhibition.
The complete success of any undertaking of this kind cannot be assured without much being done for the artist. He is too often indisposed (perhaps by the nature of his profession) to combine, in any matter requiring much expenditure of time or trouble. The Venetian authorities, aware of this artistic trait, doubtless owe much of their success to its recognition. For in contrast to the treatment of the artist elsewhere (in Great Britain, for instance, where he has to deliver his picture unpacked at the Exhibition doors, or in France, where at the Salon a stranger has to pay ten francs before he can get his picture as far as submission to the jury) they have arranged that, in the case of a picture
for Venice, it is fetched, packed, sent thither, and returned to the studio without one pennyworth's expense to the artist, even though he may reside at the furthermost point of the British Isles. Of this considerable expense the Venetian Municipality bears 75 per cent., the remainder being defrayed by the British Committee. In fact, the only tax imposed on the artist is one of 5 per cent. if he sells his picture. More than this: In case the artist should wish to visit the Exhibition he is furnished with a voucher, which enables him to obtain a rebate of from 40 per cent. to 60 per cent. on Italian railways, not only on his journey to and from Venice, but wherever he may wish to travel in Italy during the continuance of the Exhibition."
To secure these benefits for the artist and organize the English section has entailed an amount of work and expense for the British Committee that can hardly be expected to be renewed · with each recurring Exhibition. Fortunately, since the task was entered upon, the English Government has determined to interest itself in the exhibition abroad of Great Britain's arts and industries, and has founded a Department under the Board of Trade for that purpose. Italy, curiously enough, will be the first country over two of whose Exhibitions this ægis has been cast. It would seem proper, therefore, that to Rome and Turin should be added Venice, where British Art could be very materially assisted in the future at a very small expenditure to the nation, now that the preliminary outlay has been met out of private purses. Great Britain would then fall into line with other countries, whose sections are all under governmental control.
As no account of any fulness has appeared in any of the English news2 An appeal by the Venetians to our railway companies to grant a similar advantage met with a polite refusal.
sheets as to the Exhibition itself, it may be of interest in conclusion to say a few words, not of criticism, but merely of description, to show its cosmopolitan character, its completeness as representing European Art of today, and its value as an educational factor for artists all the world over.
by their owners (for they are for the most part loans) at some 60,000l. Besides these we have galleries assigned to native artists from all parts of Italy, some living, some deceased; amongst these may be named Camillo Innocenti (who recently exhibited in London), Jerace the sculptor, Tallone, Tito and Ciardi (foremost among Venetian artists), Bergler (a Sicilian), as well as Passini, Fattori, and Cairati, who have all passed away. The distinction of a "one man" show is now a much sought for honor by Italian artists. The only nationality that still has a place to itself in the main Palace is America, a gallery being placed at the disposal of a collection organized by the National Academy of Design, New York, and a smaller room to American artists resident in Paris.
The main Palace consists of thirtyseven galleries of varying dimensions, the visitor entering through two large halls, the first the Salon of the Cupola, domed and with decorations just completed of the most sumptuous kind from the brush of Galileo Chiri, an Italian artist of much repute. The whole of this gallery is furnished with hangings of magnificent Genoese velvet, made in Venice. Passing on we come to a fine, well-proportioned hall, which forms a cool and quiet lounge. It is decorated with frescoes, the gift of the King of Italy, by Aristide Sartorio, an artist whose work is well known in England, and who is now engaged on a colossal frieze for the Chamber of Deputies in Rome. What are known as the "International Galleries" open out on either side of this and contain works by artists of various countries, who are practically hors concours. Italian pictures are for the most part separated in rooms according to the schools they represent, and we find chambers assigned to the artists of Rome, Piedmont, Naples and Venice. But the most interesting feature is the "one man" shows, where selected artists have each a room placed at their disposition for the exhibition of some fifty canvases. The artists selected this year for this distinction are the well-known Frenchman, Paul Albert Besnard; Anders Zorn and Peter Kroyer, Scandinavians; and Franz Stuck, now the most sought after painter in Germany, who combines the idealism of Boechlin and Klinger with the realism of Max Liebermann, and whose thirty-one pictures are appraised
Flanking the Palace on either side are the handsome pavillons of Hungary and Belgium, and further afield those of Great Britain and Bavaria. Our pavilion stands on an eminence approached by a broad avenue of planes. The galleries are five in number, three of which are occupied by oil-paintings, one by water-colors, and one by black and white.
The collection selected by a committee in England consisting of Sir George Frampton, R. A., Frank Brangwyn, A. R. A., and Grosvenor Thomas may be termed unacademic in character, with a Scottish flavoring, but is remarkable for the high level of attainment, for the absence of eccentricities which so frequently mar the exhibits of other nations, and for the reserve of power it suggests. Every picture is spaced and hung on the line. "Un grand succès" was the verdict unhesitatingly given by the authorities at the opening, and this has been endorsed by the Commission appointed to acquire pictures for the National Gallery of Italy selecting as its first choice an English picture. It was the only pic