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the actualities of landscape and all that appertains to landscape. As in Egypt the human shape of the presiding genius superseded the tree shape of the symbol, so tree legends of dryad and hamadryad, of wood nymph and oread clustered round the growths of grove and forest and glade. Legends of water and river and fountain and flower grew and multiplied, and blotted out the seen images of realities with the phantoms of unseen presences. Spirit was in a new manner, and after a new guise, re-wedded to matter as the myths of popular credence arose on every side; as divinities of sea and air and earth, personal vitalities and sentient existences, were re-attached to the elements and to the forms of the elements and to the products of the earth, in fables that challenged the faith of the multitude, not by reason of their more or less obvious allegorical signification, but as literal narratives of actual facts.
* Dans le mythe en effet les divers phénomènes du monde extérieur sont conçus comme autant d'actes individuels, ayant pour auteurs libres des êtres animés qui, plus grands et plus forts que l'homme, participent cependant à ses sentiments, à ses passions, à toute sa vie morale. La création du mythe implique donc une profonde sympathie entre la vie de l'âme humaine et celle de la nature qu'elle suppose unies par une étroite parenté.'* Thus, and in virtue of that unity, without doing violence to the credulity of the common crowd, Daphne could in very deed be metamorphosed into her laurel, Phyllis into an almond tree, or Syrinx be incorporated by a reed.
How far such creeds were indeed working beliefs, how far they practically transfigured earth's aspect for the earth dweller, as well as for the poet, limiting men's capacity for seeing things outward and visible by directing their imaginations to the things unseen, moulding their perceptive faculties and instincts by spiritual preconceptions, may be questioned. Yet it can scarcely be doubted that to a certain extent some such modification of vision was an inevitable result of mythical beliefs; that 'the clear view of nature as she is ' was restricted.' That as symbolism had effaced the true semblance of matter, so by the myths all surface aspects were overshadowed by phantom figures of separable and individualised vitalities. What sympathy and fellowship 'man had were always for the spirit in the stream, not ' for the stream ; always for the dryad in the wood, not for - the wood.' † So in the passage from the hymn to Aphrodite * Decharme, ‘Mythologie de la Grèce antique.' Paris : 1879.
cited by Mr. Palgrave: 'Together with the birth of [the
mountain nymphs) are born pine trees or tall oaks, fair, 'flourishing on the lofty mountains of the immortals; and these mortals never cut with iron. But when the fated
death has reached them, first these fair trees dry up on the 'ground, and the bark perishes round them and the sprays 'fall, and the soul [of the nymph) at the same moment quits 'the sunlight,' we feel conclusively it is for that fitting spirit rather than for pine or oak, however fair, that the Greek poet lamented. And while imagination—or it may be faith-was focussed upon its own handiwork of fables and legends, men yielded only a surplus attention to actualities of leaf or stem, of blossom and fruit, of running water or white-crested wave, and the intellectual appreciation of landscape was fettered to its rudimentary phase.
It was with the rise of pastoral poetry that perceptions of nature, hitherto exceptional and only here and there discernible in the art of earlier days, seem to have quickened to new life. A keener appreciation of nature as a background to human life found expression in the Idyllic poets.
What seems conscious sensibility to nature now reveals 'itself,' says Mr. Palgrave, prefacing his fragmentary landscape-scenes taken from Theocritus and the poets of the Greek Anthology. And the elder French historian of art* points out that avec la décadence de la poésie les versificateurs s'étendent complaisamment et hors de propos sur
les descriptions de la nature, qui dans les ouvrages des 'anciens n'occupaient qu'une place restreinte et faisaient 'corps avec le sujet ...,' while, as regarded pictorial representations in the reign of Augustus, ‘Ludius, selon Pline, 'introduisit à Rome l'usage de décorer les intérieurs par
des vues de scènes champêtres,' and landscape proper, traité isolement, established itself, the germ of landscapes to come in the centre of Latin civilisation.
So in art and in literature those transition stages have been recorded when features and objects of nature, superAuous to symbolic significance, meaningless as emblems or suggestions of mythical personifications, were assuming a place of importance, arresting men's fancy and forming new alliances with the human life at once of fact and of fiction; when nature, emancipating herself from the servitude of symbolism, discarding all mythical disguises, was claiming her right to pictorial treatment, to presentment, if it were
* Deperthes, 'Histoire de l'Art du Paysage,'
art. wide windoof thosed foregr
only as framework to a central human theme, in her own shapes and forms and colours.
The tendency to recognise her claim can in truth be divined in remoter ages. “Singular developements of • landscape in poetry were displayed,' we are told, long before the Christian era in the Indian Vedas, in the epics
Ramayana and Mahabharata, and with greater fulness in • the poems of Kalidasa, contemporaneous with Virgil and 'Horace...' And in the plates, drawn from many sources, with which M. Creuzer illustrated his history of ancient religions, an inclination to dwell not alone on the decorative but on the pictorial aspect of landscape backgrounds is clearly manifest. In the section devoted to images of Indian devotion, the delineation of tree and flower, of outlined wave, of the curving or pinnacled summits of hills, of herb-fringed rocks, of reed-bordered, lotus-carpeted waters, and grass-tufted foregrounds, more than preludes the sentiment of those landscapes seen through open door or wide window in the sacred pictures of early Italian art. Where, as in Plate xiii., a divine Mother and Child are seated beneath the ornamented architecture of an open court, beyond whose high boundary of sharply defined foliage a wide lake washes the shores of distant hills while from the wooded height two giant palms upraise dark silhouettes against a blank monotony of cloudless sky, the emotional resemblance becomes almost hauntingly complete.
Yet it was not until, with the lapse of centuries, naturegods had been finally dethroned that the tendency formularised itself into the aim of Western art. The old deities were dead-the immortals had put on mortalitywoods, streams, and mountain were depeopled of their spiritual denizens. Myths survived only as allegories, the faiths of a past world had become the fables of a new. And the impulse towards the pictorialisation of nature expanded in a closely knit association with the recognition of the relationship nature bore no longer to gods, but to man-to his activities, toils, and pleasures, to his imaginations and his emotions.
Christianity had secularised and deconsecrated earth, prohibited its worship, and anathematised its worshippers. But earth, if it lost its devotees, gained in their place its lovers; and the eyes of men found ever in her a new beauty and a new grace. All in vain austere preachers emphasised the declamation of the Hebrew king, reasserting the worthlessness of ephemeral treasures ; of grasses that wither and
Yet it wa been finate the a
• broting and plas that do bot the “ flowe trellis
daisied she moss tapestrie to the authorsthurian cycle, to
Nicoletalric romanestried grottoded valleys, the close, the
of flowers that fade. The love men bore to transient and perishing beauty increased rather than declined. The art of gardens—the living landscape-an art pre-eminently cultivated in the East, had spread westwards. The joy of
pleasant places, planted with trees, watered with fountains, made fragrant with herbs, variegated with flowers, became a characteristic of mediæval civilisation. As an active senti. ment it invaded mediæval art. Even the saints, renegades to the contempt of the temporal world inculcated by desert ascetics, conspired with the human instinct of their day.
Yea,' wrote Brother Leo of Assisi, ‘he [Francis] said that • brother gardener ought always to make a fair little garden,
setting and planting therein of all sweet-smelling herbs and of all herbs that do bring forth fair flowers . . . for love of Him that is called the “flower of the field” and «« the lily of the valley.”! But rose trellis and clipped hedge, smooth lawn, clear stream, the flowers and herbs “ so
deep that the horses sank in them,' the orchard close, the daisied greensward, the fair wooded valleys, the hawthorn brakes, the moss tapestried grotto-all the scenery dear to the chivalric romance, to the authors of 'Aucassin and · Nicolette,' of the romances of the Arthurian cycle, to a William of Lorris or a Vasco de Lobeira, were still but a phase-a narrow phase-in the progress of thought. The features of nature tamed, cultivated, and enclosed, the landscape mood mediævalism may have inherited from the landscape moods of Roman poets with their meadow scenes, their soft hillside slopes, purple with grape vines, their apple-red orchards and white poplar shades, were to hold no monopoly of men's hearts. New methods of treatment especially tracked by Mr. Ruskin in those fifteenth-century manuscripts, which represent in a central manner' the landscape art of the time—heralded new developements in the choice of themes. As the coloured chequer (which in fourteenth-century manuscripts had superseded the gold backgrounds of the thirteenth) gave way in turn to the blue skies of the fifteenth century, other analogous changes in the landscape backgrounds of pictures at large everywhere asseverated the latent bent of men's minds towards a freer appropriation, an enlarged apprehension, of nature. Painted landscape emancipating itself from its inherited traditions of symbolic form, allegorical formula, and archaic convention, multiplying its provinces and extending its horizons, inaugurated at length the establishment of principles of Imitation as opposed to those of symbolic art; while
a sisteenth ite prisii, to be as to water is of
literary landscape-from Dante's time onwards-emerged from its place as mere background, and became pointedly 'united with human emotion ... this conception (though 'not always expressed) yet rarely henceforth fails to make 'itself felt in poetry.'
But this new period of art-defined by Mr. Ruskin as the Imitative Period—inclined in no wise towards uniformity, the high road bifurcated. Sections were severed from sections by chasms as deep as those dividing modern life from the life of antiquity. As the history of modern landscape, exemplifying men's attitude towards nature, has been told and retold, from its birth amongst the great Venetians of the sixteenth century, through all its vicissitudes, its eclipse in the country of its pristine glory, through all its journeys southward and northward, to the schools of Flanders, Rome, Florence, Bologna, the tendency to naturalism and the tendency towards idealism are the landmarks of criticism. As it gained foothold more and more as a genre à part, we see everywhere men standing at the place where two ways meet; year by year, each choosing for himself his path, consciously or unawares, according to the dictates of personal temperament or the incitement of contemporary fashion, electing for the ultimate goal of his art the presentment of a conception or the reproduction of a material actuality; each according to his choice, some, in truth, consistently, but many with devious backward wanderings, developing the traditions of what historians designate as le paysage historique, where theme and scene are alike transposed into an imaginary harmony of dignity and sentiment appropriate to the ideal of both; or following the contrary school of le paysage champêtre, where the literal and exact presentment of common surroundings and familiar aspects of river and hillside, of village, wood, and field, is the primary purpose and prevalent intention of the artist. And in the seventeenth century the general reader, unmindful of finer distinctions, finds a landmark none can miss in the divergent tendencies of thought which reached their climax, on the one hand, in 'l'empire de Spiritualisme,' the artificial idealisms of Claude, Poussin, and Salvator Rosa ; on the other in l'empire de Naturalisme,' the works of the Dutch School, "l'art protestant, bourgeois, populaire.'* M. Fromentin has summed up, as critic, painter, and writer, the contrasts of those two schools of thought-realist and
eat work to