Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/765

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743
THE FESTAL DEVELOPMENT OF ART.

this is true to a surprising extent of later art also. Among primitive peoples, with very little leisure and with almost no wealth, art can develop, beyond the mere decoration of the person and the ornamentation of personal weapons, only in a social and festal way. But, as leisure and wealth increase, art rises to bolder heights, especially if the faculty for art production be native among the people.

We have seen that even the domestic animals, like cats and dogs, "dramatize" in their play. So do children in their sports. The mimetic dance carries this on another step, involving the representation of characters, absent or superhuman, and the reproduction of ideal scenes. As intelligence and skill increase, this becomes more and more removed from the simple beginnings. The Attic ceremonials in their origin were merely crude efforts at dramatization, but with advancing culture the spectacles became more elaborate. There is an interval between the dance of the Brazilian Indians around their earthen pot of smoking kawi liquor and the Attic festival of Bacchus, performed in a great marble theatre, or temple of Bacchus, with a sculptured statue of the god in the center, the full chorus chanting to the accompaniment of many instruments, the walls of the temple adorned with heroic-size paintings of the exploits of the divinity; but it is only the interval between the first and the middle chapter of the same history. If, in a great modern city like Paris, we were to select the places where all the fine arts are most fully represented at once, we should not choose the palaces and the museums—for here the arts of movement are not represented—but the great churches and play-houses, especially Notre-Dame and the Grand Opera House. In Notre-Dame we should find music, poetry, architecture, sculpture, and painting, all combined. Only dancing is eliminated as an outgrown element of ceremonial. In the Grand Opera House we should find all the arts, and the one omitted at Notre-Dame would be most conspicuous there. The festal dramas of early times have been specialized, the religious ceremonial being separated from the secular, which finds its modern equivalent in the opera, where all the arts remain united. It is not meant that the best art in Paris is to be found at the opera house, but it is the kind which at the present time best represents the art appreciation of that city. Its attractions are offered every night, those of the salon once a year.

However paradoxical it may seem at first, reflection confirms the statement that the drama is the synthesis of all the fine arts, and the festival the common air from which all have drawn their first breath of life. If we start with the opera, for example, as a present fact, and inquire when and how it combined in itself the separate arts which it certainly unites, we shall find no point