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Watteau the eighteenth-century fancy its height of artificiality. In the school which counted Corot, Théodore Rousseau, Jules Dupré, Diaz, Troyon, Daubigny as its apostles and disciples, the nineteenth century marked a new epoch in naturalism—the naturalism at once material and spiritual of a group of men, les éperdus de vérité,' in whose conceptions of actuality the recognition of the outward realities of earth's body were wedded with the recognition of the realities of that vital principle which for want of a more explicit designation mystics of all lands and ages have metaphorically denominated as earth's soul.
For some few men, for perhaps some fewer women, nature possesses, and must always have possessed, the secret of
wakening an insatiable passion. In her finite and sub-
"... Sweet to her sweet may say,
Shall never take him to.'
VOL. CXCIII. NO. Cocxov.
even from her best beloved, even from those elect whom she admits to her most intimate communion.
And it is the consciousness, the felt presence of some such duality-a duality in unity-of passion ; the passion possessive for the near, the passion of invincible craving for the far, that has stamped its impress as never perhaps before in the same measure of intensity upon the greater pictures of the greater painters of nineteenth-century France. What they derived from the Dutch masters of the seventeenth century, what they learnt from the English landscapes of Constable and Bonnington, may have been much or may have been little-critics differ. But what they felt, the feeling with which they were able to inspire others, was their own, and with them, realists not only of sight but of sensation, landscape definitively entered upon that phase which most specially and distinctively expressed an attitude of men's minds towards nature unknown to past ages. They were content to set aside, if it were but for a while, that allintrusive, everywhere encroaching, thought of human life. They viewed the field not for its reaping, harrowing, ploughing, the wood not for what passes in its shadows, the road not its travellers. They saw the day, not its actions; they saw the night, not what lies in it; the earth, not its wayfarers, life, death, joy, and sadness.
And as they regarded the outward forms of tree, hill, plain, and wave, simply, and as they are in and for themselves—trees that transport one's thoughts to primæval forests; an earth evoking visions of what earth was before man came into it, of what earth will be when man has once more passed away from it-so they regarded the effects of storm and calm, of sun and dusk and shade, that give its mood to the scene. They made no fanciful ascriptions of human sentiment to free elemental forces—the point of view from which men endued nature with their own attributes, moral or volitional, or passionnel ( And there's
a rock lies watching under water'), was unknown to their art. To them a rock was bare, or it may chance clothed with sea-weed, brown, coral-tinted, or verdant. It lay dry and rugged under the blueness or greyness of summer or winter skies, or was washed by the innumerable ripples of great unruffled waves. It was starred with the red life of aneinones, emblazoned with the pattern of motionless limpets, or spotted with the fragile shells, yellow and olivegreen, of slow-crawling sea-snails. But it was still for them a rock insentient, unconscious of the waves that beat on it, of the keels that are splintered upon its edges, of the human hands that cling and the human lives that perish around it. For them nature had her own moods ; she could dispense with those of humanity. She was no longer as clay on the potter's wheel to be moulded at will; no longer a passive neutrality to be utilised in art for the expression of the artist's own narrow individuality. And although the change was but slowly progressive, although in the works of this man or that the mood of the landscape was still and often little more than the mood of the painter, a chapter-an autobiographical canvas—of personal emotion-Ce sont 'icy mes fantaisies, par lesquelles je ne tâche point à donner
à cognoistre les choses mais moy,' as the philosopher confessed with the frank eoigsm of his broad humanism; although still in the works of others, the mood of the landscape may be but an embodiment of an abstract mood, impersonal perhaps, but imagined if not shared by the painter; a mood summarised in a shadow, or elaborated in a sunset, the new mode of thought, the new effort to set nature before us free from the alloy of human sentiment, is plainly apparent. And for the first time in the long record of art, eyes, fretted with the passing by of jostling humanity, could seek in landscape-painting the same sensation of indefinable repose nature itself bestows upon those who are its lovers.
Undoubtedly, in this very quality they forfeit certain attractions for certain other sections of the picture-public. They illustrate precisely that divorce between nature and man Mr. Palgrave so urgently deprecates; the absence of that union with human feeling which, whether by way of
sympathy or contrast, art itself and the human soul always 'imperatively call for.' But in so speaking, Mr. Palgrave speaks as a man of literature, as poet and critic of poetry, rather than as the single-minded picture seer, and the landscapes which leave him cold may bring a far other message to other eyes.
It is, indeed, undeniable that pure realistic naturalism is a mode commending itself with greater force to the artist than to the writer. In English literature, great as is its wealth in descriptive passages, it is not easy to find parallels to the nature realism of French landscape art. Amongst the extracts given by Mr. Palgrave few could stand the test of careful analysis, without disclosing man beneath the landscape. Words disengage themselves with difficulty from the lips that utter them; their associations, their traditions cling to man. Moreover, painted landscape appeals to the
nalords disengatheir associandscape a
sense of sight no less than the actual scene it represents. Descriptive landscape appeals to the mind, to the intellectual faculty of creating for ourselves an interior vision corresponding to that of the writer. And for the most of us it is not by the way of the mind, but by the path of the senses, that we make our closest approaches to nature. The smell of the flowering clover, the sound of winds in the poplar-boughs, the touch of sun-warm turf as we lie on it, bring us nearer far to earth than all the mental images of the blurred pink and grey-green summer meadows behind high-hedged lanes, nearer than any verse which tells of the rustle and stir of leaves, or of the sheep-cropped downs. And, in antithesis to the Scripture's sentence of banishment, if flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, it would seem equally that mind and imagination cannot inherit that lesser kingdom of God-earth. • Thus it would appear that, so far as literature is concerned, the intrusion of the human element, of the writer's selfhood in some form or another into landscape, adds a more vivid interest to the scene. And with many the point of view from which the artist, be he painter or poet, has regarded nature; the detection of a man's own characteristics of mind or mood in the characteristics of his perceptive capacities, will challenge an attention outrivalling that accorded to the manner after which he has presented nature. We may never have seen the scenes upon which he has looked, but we may well have shared bis feelings with regard to them by virtue of the common kinship of our common clay. There we stand on the same ground and are aware of kindred experiences. The appeal of humanity to humanity is a surer mode of obtaining a sympathetic response than any appeal based upon the sympathy a simple presentment of nature-of earth and its phenomena-undiluted by alien admixture of emotion or thought, evokes from the majority of men, whose interests are distinctly more centred on ethics than art. And thus it may be that judgements of landscape, either painted or described, will be unconsciously founded more upon affinities and similarities of temperament and standpoint than upon the guidance of technically educated faculties of the eye of the picture seer or the cultivated capacities of criticism in the reader. The artist who sees nature and draws from it an impression steeped in the dyes, impregnated by the atmosphere of his own restlessness or serenity, his own sadness or gaiety of mind, may produce a picture so meta
er be wresting reality seem an illu
morphosed by his personality of fancy, that it may bear as little relation to truth as a dream to life. But the force of its appeal to other men's appreciation is not thereby necessarily lessened, for they, too, have dreamt dreams. Dreams are as integral a part of common life and as universal almost as sleep; moreover they are as recognisable. And to those whose dreams are set in a like key, whose imagination or emotional temperament is of the same race, the artist's representation will seem an illusion possibly, but an illusion suggesting reality with a force reality-which can never be wholly real-lacks. Even more, in many an instance their imagination, travelling the selfsame road, supplements the deficiencies of the artist, bringing its own contribution of completeness to his shortcomings and perfecting his defaults. Following the same track, it does not so much as perceive that he has halted behind and that its own inner vision alone has reached the goal of his conception.
And while to some men the picture remains a blank, while with some judgement is passed in accordance with the axiom of Rossetti's critic-Je tiens que quand on ne com' prend pas une chose c'est qu'elle ne signifie rien '-others read in the poem more than was written there, and see in the painting more than is pictured by it. In poetry, even more than in painting, there is in truth a conspiracy of imagination with imagination. The impressionist painter combining the utmost realism in sight with the utmost climax of illusion in method, compels-on the plane of physical laws—the spectator to take his share in the creation of that optical vision the blots and streaks of colour on the canvas are intended to produce. Seen close, his picture is an unintelligible blur; seen at due distance it lies like a living mirage upon the air, vanishing as phantoms vanish at our too near approach, reappearing as we withdraw, with that unphantasmal persistence which assures us that it is no accidental hallucination but, if one may so express it, a permanent apparition, the result of a science of colour and light and vision transcending lay analysis. The poet of landscape for the most part makes an analogous claim, not on the eye but on the mental faculties; he summons our imagination, our emotions to connive with his. The impressionist painter evokes, where his genius allows it, nature as it is, for its own sake, and in its own apparent semblance. The poet for the most part evokes nature as the hieroglyphic of a human mood, tbought, or feeling, a symbol