Page 14 - The Studio First Edition - April 1893
P. 14

Artists as  Craftsmen—No. I. Sir Frederic Leighton

                                                                fairly pitted against each other for competition, it is
                                                                safe to say that had the young student chosen to
                                                                begin his career with sculpture instead of painting
                                                                there can be little doubt but that the instant success
                                                                which he won by  Cimabue carried in Procession
                                                                through Florence,  would have been gained as
                                                                readily in clay, marble, or bronze.
                                                                  For various reasons the statuette, whether as
                                                                we know it in the terra-cottas of Tanagra, or the
                                                                bronzes of the Renaissance, has but rarely attracted
                                                                the attention of the foremost modern sculptors. It
                                                                is best to qualify the assertion for two reasons ; first,
                                                                because instances by Rodin and not a few others
                                                                come to mind at once as brilliant exceptions, and
                                                                secondly, because without intimate knowledge of
                                                                the less important essays of famous sculptors, those
                                                                only shown to intimate friends, it would be foolish
                                                                to assume that they had invariably neglected the
                                                                statuette. The whole army of French bronzes
                                                                might be quoted in proof, not only of the attrac-
                                                                tion miniature sculpture still possesses for many
                                                                excellent craftsmen, but also that it is, roughly
                                                                speaking, the only form of the sculptor's art which
                                                                can be considered widely popular to-day ; unless
                                                                indeed one includes the portrait bust, a monument
                                                                more often of vanity or of notoriety than of art.
                                                                  That mere size is in no way concerned with
                                                                dignity or greatness needs not to be advanced.
                                                                In our museums are bronzes by Michelangelo,
                                                                scarce half a foot in height, which are as large in
                                                                feeling as his  David.  Again, it is not needful to
                                                                instance the terrible examples which confront us in
                          THE CHORAGUS FOR THE "DAPHNEPHORIA "
                                                                London especially, to show that tons of material
                     by special permission, we reproduce for the first  fail in themselves to impart dignity and stateliness.
                     time. It would be ungraceful to ask whether  To say of Sir Frederic's works that the size scarce
                     the art Sir Frederic has chosen for his life's  comes to mind in recalling them, is to credit them
                     work, is apparently more or less sympathetic to  indirectly with the chief essential of sculpture.
                     his ideal, than this which may be considered, it   It would be easy to point out the more technical
                     not as a pastime, almost a holiday task. But  merits, and to linger over the charm of their idea
                     without comparison, which were absurd for other  and its presentation. The technical qualities how-
                     reasons, since no creations in sister arts can be  ever may be left to experts, who are not slow to

                                                   MODEL IN CLAY FOR " IPHIGENIA "
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