Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/145

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
125
THE FINE ARTS AND LITERATURE.

art. The religious tradition still prevails to a large extent, though the subjects are now taken from the Scriptures instead of the Bollandists. They are Hagar and Ishmael, the good Samaritan, the Hebrews by the waters of Babylon, and Noah receiving the olive-branch, and the like.

There is in this contemporary work the general fault of an over-delicacy and smoothness of painting, and a lack of realism, while the design is excellent. These voyagers in the ark have not experienced the woes of a deluge, and the shepherds have the complexion of Lady Vere de Vere. Rebull, who studied at Rome under Overbeck, repeats here the dove-colors, violets, and lemon-yellows of the modern decorations of the Vatican done under that school.

The works of the latest period, under the able direction of Señor Salome Pina, a pupil of Gleyre, are much more virile, and the subjects more secular. We have now Bacchus and Ariadne; the death of Atala; the slaying of the sons of Niobe; an arch and dainty Cupid poisoning a flower, by Ocaranza; a charming fisher-boy, by Gutierrez. Some of the artists have had the advantage of study also abroad. The strongest of them all, Felix Parra, now enjoying a grand prize of Rome, produced the masterpiece, a great canvas representing the friar Las Casas protecting the Aztecs (from slaughter by the Spaniards) a work in sentiment, drawing, and color worthy to hang in any exhibition in the world before he had seen any other country than his own.

Velasco has set a powerful lead in landscape. He is especially a master of great distance. His favorite theme is the curious, sienna-colored Valley of Mexico, which he paints to the life. There are some scattered works of the early school, besides, in the houses of a few dilettanti at the capital