Page 15 - The Studio First Edition - April 1893
P. 15

Artists as Craftsmen—No. I. Sir Frederic Leighton

                                                            it fulfils this first essential of sculpture, that what-
                                                            ever its size, it has the distinction and nobility
                                                            of the highest form of art, all other questions may
                                                            be left untouched, for any work of art possessing
                                                            these greater virtues is apt to include those lesser
                                                            qualities which otherwise assume importance beyond
                                                            their rightful proportion.

                                                              It is too late in the day to talk of Sir Frederic
                                                            Leighton's house, which has been described and
                                                            illustrated as often as its neighbour, Holland House
                                                            itself. The interior of the fine studio, that has an
                                                            air of home rather than of a mere show-place, is
                                                            familiar to thousands who have never crossed its
                                                              " You are early," were his first words. " I have
                                                            so many engagements, I am compelled to keep

                 approve them. The grace of their pose and the
                 sculpturesque treatment, which distinguishes them,
                may be more readily appreciated from the illustra-
                tions than from any effort to explain in words why
                the position of a limb or the flow of a drapery gives
                that critical pleasure which we admit by calling the
                work that provokes it beautiful. The dignity of
                the figures is apparent without any analysis. This
                large repose is not merely supreme inaction, as
                exemplified in the great bronze idols of Japan, but
                  quality that may be preserved even when the
                subject is represented in more or less violent action.
                It is hard to describe it since the words we oftenest
                employ are, as a rule, borrowed from the art : monu-
                 mental simplicity, statuesque dignity, and the like,
                are but verbal phrases to express that the supreme
                merit of sculpture is to be sculptural. Therefore
                in claiming for Sir Frederic Leighton's work that      THE SLUGGARD" (SKETCH IN CLAY)
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