Page 19 - The Studio First Edition - April 1893
P. 19

The Growth of Recent Art

               nature. The earlier realism took a more piece-  to be counted with. In the " Illusions Perdues "
               meal view of things than the later impressionism  (1843) Gleyre had sounded the first note of that
               and so more willingly put up with rugged or hap-  Neo-classicism which has shot out so many
               hazard handling.                            branches. Other schools sprung from Millet's
                 Landscape led the way, and, of all the school of   Winower  (1848) or from Courbet's  Stone
               183o, it was Corot who was the main instrument in  Breakers,  185o, and  Funeral at Ornans,  185o.
               bringing about a revolution. Compare him with  These pictures and others by the same men, no
               those who showed landscape imagination before  less than Corot's work, had marked out as it were
               him. Since Corot, we can no longer quite look at   by 1855 the foundations of a new art. Now we
               a tree with the eyes of Rubens, Rembrandt, Claude,  begin to hear more of Velasquez ; and now portrait-
               Hobbema, Watteau, or even Constable. It has  painters contribute much to experiments in figure-
               become, for ever, something else, and stands in a  painting and to the establishment of technique.
               different relation to what is round it. We have  Chaplin, Puvis de Chavannes, Baudry, Henner,
               learnt that truths will assume, on our canvases,  Bonnat, Vollon, Carolus-Duran, E. Delaunay,
               just the proportion of importance which we have  Legros, Whistler, Manet, Fortuny, and H. Regnault,
               accorded them in our observation of nature. If  occur to me as men whose influence was paramount
               we are as earnest in observation of the trivial as of  with the artists of the sixties and seventies. Bonnat,
               the essential, we shall infallibly overstate the small  Duran, Regnault, and other masters of this time
               and let the large go unexpressed. Painters who  cultivated a solid firm technique. Its logical ex-
               offer the goodness of their eyesight as an excuse  pression of the construction of a figure afforded a
               for niggling work, should rather confess their blind-  sound necessary basis for modern teaching. To
               ness to broad effects. Indifferent to large shapes,  equip painters for treating more ethereal kinds of
               they pore over surface markings ; blind to the  impressions, there was need of something else.
               general aspect of sky and earth, they ostentatiously  Whistler was there and threw a glamour over
               note small shades of local colour. He who feels  things with his more filmy, suggestive, and mys-
               strongly the effect of the whole will take care not  terious manner which seems to partake of the
               to over-estimate the value of parts. But, to the  methods of Tiepolo, Corot and Velasquez. Puvis
               man observant only of small corners, who yet  de Chavannes, Henner, Legros, and Carolus-
               paints panoramic scenes, breadth must seem mere  Duran have affected the ideals of picture-making
               wilful emptiness. He cannot know that it is swept  as well as of technique. With these immediate
               clear to show a big thing and just depths of space.  precursors of recent art we may mention the land-
               If we admire a detail we should compose it as a  scapist Pelouse whose work and teaching has been
               separate picture. Otherwise we allow fifty en-  useful in preparing methods favourable to impres-
               sembles of impression to fight it out on one canvas.  sionistic treatment. To Edward Manet, however,
               We drown in confusion the character of the larger  unquestionably belongs the chief honour of the
               shapes, the big trend of the ground, and all the  initiation of the impressionistic quality that charac-
               mystery and envelopment of nature. It is no  terises the new schools. Manet is the great modern
               longer permitted to build together little separate  originator of that mosaic of just open-air tones
               pieces of picturesqueness like Claude, even with all  which finally supplanted lines and object-painting.
               his exquisite art. Corot has shown us a better sort  It is remarkable that he no less than Duran was a
               of Claude.                                  continual student of Velasquez. How to see was,
                 Meantime, figure-painting no less than land-  however, what Manet chiefly sought, though he
               scape clamoured for a new cult of style. Let us  became no less eminent in style of expression. To
                pass over the classics and romantics, Ingres and  speak of the ramifications of the later art which
                Delacroix, and the temporary reconciliation of  owns Manet as its first exponent, trespasses on the
               their methods by T. Couture, and speak of what  bounds of another subject and would require all
                more directly concerns our own day. Modern Art  the space I have at command. The reader will
                has been mainly the work of France, and that free  know to what art I allude if I but mention the
                expressive manner of handling according to the  names of Duez, Butin, Boudin, Claude Monet,
                sentiment of the form as shown by real light, was  Bastian Lepage, Dagnan-Bouveret, Degas, Roll,
                worked out by Frenchmen ; not fantastically but,  Besnard, Cazin, Raffaelli, Carrière, Kroyer, Boldini,
                by their own admission, under the guidance of  Montenard and the brothers Maris, to which he
                the ancients. Nor was this copying ; a new way  can add any others that may occur to him. One
                of seeing and a new notion of picture-making had   could fill pages in speaking of the Anglo-Saxon
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