Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/716

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

inner world of constructive thought. The striking peculiarity of the work causes them to overlook the delicate and truthful touches by which the general harmony and fitness are maintained. The unprecedented qualities in a work of genius are always sustained by a certain truth to nature.

Originality generally causes severe criticism from contemporary artists, because its tendency is to displace or weaken the established standards. In fact, the opposition usually becomes so intense that the merit of the old method is overlooked on one side, and the great value of a new insight is overlooked on the other. Conservative critics have very often tried to check venturesome innovators by misusing the word mannerism, which does not properly apply to peculiar work. The word means tasteless uniformity. This can be fairly maintained in opposition to critics who think that any incessantly-recurring effect, even though original and striking, is mannerism. Such critical objections ought not to influence an artist to abandon a forcible system of treatment, because the danger of anything really powerful dwindling into a series of tedious repetitions is very slight.

Where there is merit there is continuous growth, whereby the strong current of individuality or sameness of treatment is accompanied by constant transformations, absorbing new material, and finding new methods of expression.

It seems obvious that, after suitable instruction, during which any school may have sway, the artist must look for natural effects in the world directly around him. and not in Rome or in Paris. Nor should he use the special colors or tones advocated by conformists. Objects appear to him of a certain hue, or a certain action of the human figure appears worth rendering. Let him delineate these as he sees them, and be not discouraged by many failures and defects. His strong point may be discerned by close attention to his natural tendencies. In this way the true representation of his impressions will make others conscious of something which before lacked emphasis. Such development of originality in art, accompanied by hard and conscientious labor, may result in works of great fame, and in the evolution of art to a higher grade of adaptation to nature. In the future, the artist may better express ideal conceptions, because a wider mastery of facts and subjects involves increased power and skill.

 

LITERARY NOTICES.

INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC SERIES, NO. XXX.

Animal Life as affected by the Natural Conditions of Existence. By Carl Semper, Professor of the University of Würzburg. With Two Maps and One Hundred and Six Woodcuts. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 472

We have here a volume that will raise still further the already high character of the series to which it belongs. It is a fresh and original contribution to a most interesting branch of zoölogy, which will be indispensable to every naturalist, and will be prized by all readers who care for the progress of knowledge concerning the general phenomena of life. Professor Semper is a leading German biologist, and, being a master of English, he was invited to come to Boston and give a course of twelve lectures before the Lowell Institute. He availed himself of the occasion to bring forward, in a form as popular as the nature of the materials allows, the results of his studies in a special province, zoölogical science.

The author is, of course, an evolutionist, and recognizes that Darwin's views have revolutionized biological method. But he thinks one of the results has been to give too great an impulse to speculation. He says that enough has been done by Darwinists in the way of philosophizing, and that the task now before us is to apply the test of exact investigation to the hypotheses