Page:The Library, volume 5, series 3.djvu/254

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
242
AN EARLY APPRECIATION

he continues:] He does not conceal the ground of this preference [for Raphael and Michael Angelo], and the following passage, while it reveals the artist's views on the technique of his art, contains a truth which cannot be denied, and which underlies his whole doctrine. 'The great and golden rule of art, as well as of life, is this: That the more distinct, sharp and wiry the bounding line, the more perfect the work of art' [and so on down to the end of the text to No. XV. of the 'Descriptive Catalogue']. This passage is sufficient to explain why our artist was not permitted to engrave his own designs [for Blair's 'Grave']. In the same spirit he proclaims the guilt of the recent distinction between a painting and a drawing. 'If losing and obliterating the outline constitutes a picture, Mr. B. will never be so foolish as to do one…. There is no difference between Raphael's Cartoons and his Frescoes or Pictures, except that the Frescos or Pictures are more highly finished.' He denies Titian, Rubens and Correggio all merit in colouring, and says, 'their men are like leather and their women like chalk.' In his own principal picture his naked forms are almost crimson. They are Ancient Britons, of whom he says, 'the flush of health in flesh, exposed to the open air, nourished by the spirits of forests and floods, in that ancient happy period which history has recorded, cannot be like the sickly daubs of Titian or Rubens. As to modern man, stripped from his load of clothing, he is like a dead corpse.'

We now pass from the technique of his art to the meaning and poetical portions in which the