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idealist—where the roadways severed, a severance of which the manifestations are emphasised by all modern art.
Il existait une habitude de penser hautement, grandement, un art qui consistait à faire choix des choses, à les embellir, à les rectifier, ... qui apercevait la nature comme elle est, mais se plaisait à la montrer comme elle n'est pas.' Moreover nature was wholly subordinate in point of interest to man.
A peine la considérait-on comme un cadre qui devait diminuer et disparaître de lui-même dès que l'homme y prenait place. Tout était élimination et synthèse. ... A l'heure qui est (the seventeenth century] il s'agit de rendre à chaque chose son intérêt, de remettre l'homme à sa place et au besoin de se passer de lui. ... Le moment est venu de penser moins, de viser moins haut, de regarder plus près, d'observer mieux. ... Désormais le génie consistera à ne rien préjuger, à ne pas savoir qu'on sait, à se laisser surprendre par son modèle. Quant à embellir, jamais; à ennoblir, jamais; à châtier, jamais : autant de mensonge ou de peine inutile. . . . Le but est d'imiter ce qui est, de faire aimer ce qu'on imite. Le style a pour loi d'être sincère, pour obligation d'être véridique.'
In its fulfilment of the obligation, the century of Dutch art, reaching maturity without a childhood, and dying almost without a decadence, illustrates the first decisive adoption by a national art of an attitude towards nature which elsewhere had been mainly individual; the accident of personal instinct more than the observance of an abstract principle. Holland had, in fact, essayed the application of Montaigne's often-quoted aspiration. Si i'étois du mestier,' said M. Michel, of the artists of the day, 'ie naturaliserois
l'art autant comme ils artialisent la nature.' Dutch art, in very fact, applied the rules and processes of simple and sincere portraiture to landscape. Accuracy in detail existed already, such accuracy of detail as that cited by Mr. Ruskin in the veins of Leonardo's agate, the vine leaves and borage blossoms of Titian, Veronese's birch-tree stems, Bellini's ivyleaved toadflax. But the process of naturalisation required not only truth of detail but truth of effect, and moreover it required a recognisable truth of effect. Its themes were chosen and adjusted to these new aims. Subjects of which the truth of representation-being objective—would be apparent to the world at large, were substituted for subjects whose truth of representation-subjective truth to the painter's conception—could only be conjectural so far as other men were concerned. The standard of the inward vision of the idealist admitted of no positive verification-it possessed no unqualified definition, it could be neither measured nor limited. The veracity of its embodiment, analogous to the veracity of a man who recounts the dream he has dreamed, remained a matter for the individual conscience. What one age or one man accepted as the ideal of natural beauty was controverted by another, repudiated by a third ; there was no international code to formulate its laws. The Dutch schoolmen abandoned it. Their standard was actuality (within the necessary limits of technical possibilities), their purpose a literal transcription; the truth they advocated was a truth not of faith but of sight and of knowledge, a truth of representation to be tested by comparisons with truths of visible realities. They abjured scenes and effects in nature which, by virtue of some rarity of beauty, some brilliant caprice of atmospheric transfiguration, produce the sensation of illusion; impressions of earth as if seen through a rainbow of prismatic mist, under cloudilluminated skies which reproduce the phantasmagoria of dream visions, had no part or lot in their scheme of selection. They painted and repainted earth in its most familiar semblances, its most accustomed moods, its most habitual features. They painted these sanely, seriously, and calmly, without languor, fever, excitement, or worship. Regarding the life of man not in its improbable heroisms but in its certain humanity; man not as saint or demi-god, but as man going about his daily routine of toil or pleasure; they painted nature-skies, water, tree and field- from a kindred level. Their river was the river of the angler, in whose depths no nažads dwell. Their pasture was the pasture of the agriculturist, their meadow the meadow of the cattlegrazer, whose blossoms lure no Proserpine to Hades. Their harbour is the haven of commerce; their sea is a navigable ocean, the sea of the fisherman and the merchant and the war fleet, whose westering waves will never wash the shores of distant Avalon ; their foam is of the sand-tinted spray, it carries no possible flowering of divinity within its iridescent whiteness. Their pictures invite the onlooker to see; they forbid him to think, even more they forbid him to feel.
That such realism, naturalism, materialism-call it what men will—of Dutch art should be perpetually modified by the personal temperament of each individual artist was inevitable, and each great painter made his own rent in the ordered tissue of general characteristics. The special ability of the man-that great stumbling-block to the breadth of genius, the power of doing one thing superlatively welldetermined then as now the choice of themes to all the leaders of the new mode. Ruysdaël's recurrent ravine and waterfall, the darknesses of his noondays; the luminous yellow sunlight, the 'dorure continuelle ' of Cuyp; the moonlights, twilights, and dusks of Van der Neer; the forest and the forest road of Hobbema; the ice scenes of Isaac van Ostade, are as headings to the page of Dutch art to every passer-by of picture galleries—the convenient catchwords of every student's manual, of every exhibition catalogue. But if each artist painted each in his own genre, still the essential qualities of Dutch art remain. If the dominance of tendencies other than realistic makes itself felt, now here now there, with a force which justifies Eugène Fromentin in his assertion that for the superiority of Ruysdaël to his compatriots 'cette cause suffit; il y a dans le
peintre un homme qui pense et dans chacun de ses ouvrages 'une conception ... que toujours il a quelque chose
d'important à vous dire ;' which caused another eulogist, M. Viardot, to write that in the landscapes of Adrian Van de Velde 'vous avez sous les yeux une idylle comme
l'écrivait un Théocrite ou un Virgile néerlandais,' that in Van der Neer we have le poète des nuits,' the school, as a school, is nevertheless, for the unprofessional eye, preeminently the school of æsthetic materialism-a luminous materialism-of art. The painting of matter, of its form and of its colour, is the aim of which, the longer we look, we become most conscious. Even in their great mastership of light-painting—and the painting of light for most of us represents in landscape what the painting of expression
represents in the human countenance'-light still assumes its least ideal presentment. We feel that it is merely, or rather primarily, regarded as the accessory of material objects, that it is treated as the revelation of things in contradistinction to that revolutionised and spiritualised realism of modern days in whose gospel things are emphatically regarded in a subordinate rôle as the revelation of light. Moreover, there will always be a minority-possibly a too exacting minority by whom because much has been given more is demanded—who will be aware of a radical incompleteness in the quality of their reality. The sight of nature cannot be, without a definite loss of actuality, divorced from the sensation of nature; the sensation of the great under-vibrations, the under-currents of forces beneath forces; sensations of the mystery of woods ; of the excite
upon his, sinature as lich in mang
ment of colours; of the fundamental infinity beneath the apparently transient; of the inflexible stability of laws beneath the eternal change of their manifestations. The representations that evoke no such sensations-which are as integral a part of the effect of landscape as any of the effects of outward sigbt-may be as materialism true, but are as realism inadequate ; a realism of the eye but not a realism of the emotions. Such pictures move us, indeed, but they move us as pictures only, for the sake of the painting not for the sake of the thing painted. The leaves of the heavily foliaged summer trees never rustle in our ears as we listen; the wind of the sea is in the sails, but no salt is upon our lips; meadowsweet and clover blossom in the fields, but no fragrance of their blossoming drifts through the air. The scene, in a word, is for us always in its frame upon the wall. The painter with “l'obligation d'être
véridique' upon his shoulders may have seen it, may strictly have regarded nature as God made it, though perhaps with that sloth of the eye which in many an artist causes it to reject all images except those to which long custom has habitualised attention; with that partial blindness with which long search for the paintable’ in things indues a man with respect to the infinite residue of things unpaintable. We, too, looking upon his work as he upon nature's, see his pictures, l'obligation d'être véridique' being no less binding on the eye of the spectator than on the hand of the painter, and we see them-criticism apart—as pictures are made. Marvels of consummate skill, marvels as counterfeit images, but marvels only of canvas, brush, and palette. They lack the one thing necessary to that realism which is more than material, that unapparent actuality, ' cette qualité suprême de l'art-la vie.'
But if in the greatest art school of the seventeenth century materiality in landscape asserted an almost uncontested supremacy amongst the rank and file of artists, the landscape of literature, the Italianised literature of Western Europe, differed, so far as realism was concerned, no whit from the conventional landscapes of the romance writers of earlier epochs, while the perpetual subordination of nature to man, its exclusive use as a decorative setting to thought, emotion, or action, is as clearly marked. In prose the armoured figures of Arthurian knights, the grey-clad love-pilgrims of a William of Lorris, the enchanteresses of Vasco de Lobeira and his translator and continuator Montalvo, had disappeared from the scene to give place to new dramatis persone who,
whether or not to the manner born, wore the pastoral garb and spoke the Arcadian tongue as in the typical prose pastorals, the “Diana' of Montemajor, or Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia. But although the human costume had altered its fashion, the point of view from which the landscape background was surveyed remained substantially the same. It was a landscape belonging to that division of imaginative invention which at its highest water-mark is fanciful rather than ideal, and at its lowest preludes and anticipates the apotheosis of artificiality achieved in its full perfection by the art of eighteenth-century France.
It has its own note. The human element is more and more intricately and deliberately blent into the scenes of nature around.
... In this place work a quicksand,
And his ship ploughing it .... So Aspasia, passion-struck as Ariadne, in whose place she pictures herself, would have the scene of Theseus's departing portrayed.
'. . . And let all about me
... And the trees about me
A miserable life of this poor picture.' So the spirit of the time, with regard to such harmonies of pictorial art, is embodied, and if in the pastorals, truly, such passion has no place, the principle of harmonising nature and life, the effort to 'strike a sad soul into senseless pic'tures,' when sadness is in question, to substitute gaiety for sadness when life shifts its keynote to gladness, is no less their aim. A growing accent, too, of a certain literalness is discernible in the very height of their unreality. The scenes are depicted with an assumed accuracy of detail where shadows of thick and leafy myrtles fall in the midst of little meadows, spotted more than sorrowful thoughts could desire with fine golden flowers. Shepherds and shepherdesses loiter in fields traversed by the azure of clear-pebbled, winding streams, fringed with green sycamores and fullfoliaged birches, and the grain is at hand to yield up its desired fruit when a little gale of wind blows the wheat up and down, now in green and now in yellow colours. Lovers rest in pastures whose rose thickets add such a ruddy show
meade with in fields traced within is at