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that most picturesque of all effects—the combination of pure distinct Gothic forms with all the disorder of artistic activity. Rough wooden piles contrasting with delicate stone shafts; here a broad smooth expanse of wall, beautiful in its colourless colour, with a single female figure cast gracefully upon it; below a fragment of a distant landscape-not a line nor an indication, according to the necessary laws of fresco, to tell what is to connect them; there a similar space cloaked over with a huge sheet-beautiful, too, in its dirty tints and unstudied folds-a pair of vast wings rising solemnly from behind it; while between the steps and stages of the scaffolding we catch glimpses of mysterious figures, mitred heads, and seraphic faces—now the base of a priestly robe—now the fluttering of an azure garment-figures and scaffolding rising higher and higher, till, above them all, the golden stars of the roof look fixedly down from their deep blue ground.
Yet with all these signs of activity there is a staidness and silence and gloom perfectly in unison with the solemnity of the building. The artist himself is an atom in the undertaking he conducts; the work seems to proceed from unseen hands. All you hear is the dull grinding of the colours in the little chapterhouse below, or the sepulchral wbispers of those engaged in the task-both sounds too much in unison with the silence to break it ;-or an attendant, in Russian-like blouse and long beard, crosses the saw-dusted space with noiseless steps-opens the western door—a ray of bright light pours in for a moment-it falls heavily on its hinges, and you are left to greater quiet and mystery than before.
Although far from completed, some portions of the work are sufficiently so to show the merits of the artists engaged, and the pre-eminent excellence of one of them. We mean Ernst Deger; whose Crucifixion on the end wall of the north transept is, we are inclined to think, the greatest religious painting that modern Germany has yet produced. It is the moment when the Saviour has just expired, before the side is pierced, while the grief of those around is apparently staid in the awe of watching the departing breath. The penitent thief is looking towards the Saviour with gratitude—the centurion is pointing at him in astonishment the Magdalen is cast at the foot of the cross more in resignation than in despair-all show various expressions of the power of religion over the heart; but on the Virgin all eyes centre: she shows its whole power. Her attitude is a perfectly new conception ; she is not struggling with her grief, or fainting under it, as has been a favourite idea with all painters from Pietro Cavallini in the Crypt at Assisi, to Correggio in our National Gallery. She has overcome it. She is gazing at the Son with uplifted face and clasped hands. There is no agony nor ecstasy in her expression;—there is only entire trust. The mother of the Saviour is the first whose weakness is made perfect in His strength. The thought has boundless beauty; it embraces the whole compass of affliction and of support-for if her grief could look steadily at the Cross, whose may not?
The most entire unity reigns throughout this grand picture. The centurion's figure is one of the finest action: the penitent thief's that of ineffable grace-he looks as if rising from the Cross. His companion has impenitence in every rigid limb, but the face is wisely averted.
Two other modern Crucifixions we know-Cornelius's at Munich, and Sättegast's, already mentioned, at Düsseldorf. Cornelius's is one of action and bustle-every possible incident crammed together, without regard even to historical accuracy. The Virgin is fainting-the centurion pointing—the soldiers casting lots—the spear is going up on one side—the sponge on the other. He has not suited his powers to the subject, but made the subject suit them. Rubens did the same, it is true, in the same subject; but, then, what were not Rubens' powers? Sättegast's can still less be compared, for the very good reason that it is a mere plagiarism from Deger in all the principal parts.
Deger is by no means a stranger to the English public, though his name may not convey any immediate association. The beautiful Madonna standing on clouds supporting the child, who gazes full into the world with outstretched arms, is well known among us in a small print form. This is Deger's; the original is over the altar in the south aisle of the Church of the Jesuits at Düsseldors, and proves at once that Deger can do what no other German of the day has attained, viz. paint both in oils and fresco. This is a most exquisite picture, and, like his Crucifixion, addresses itself especially to the feelings. The action of the child is inexpressibly persuasive; that peculiar gaze also which looks at you and beyond you, and which has never been given except in the Sistine Madonna. But that awful babe compels your belief—this plaintive child entreats your love.
The performances of his brother artists, the two Müllers and Itterbach, have also much promise of beauty. One of the Müllers has finished four compartments of single figures-Saint Conrad, Saint Hubert, Saint Elizabeth, and Saint Walpurgis, with admirable grace. And Itterbach has painted the four Evangelists and Saint Apollinaris at the altar end with great grandeur and meaning. These four artists are all working singly and independently; they have no inferior artists as assistants under them. This recalls to us the opinion of Mr. Eastlake, given before the
Select Committee on Fine Arts in 1841, when stating the necessity, in a series of frescoes designed for the same gallery or apartment, for all the artists engaged to work under one head; he also doubts whether such a proceeding be feasible in England. We doubt the same, and wish it less; and should rather recommend to the Committee the Church of St. Apollinaris as a precedent, than those series of historical and religious frescoes at Munich and elsewhere, which bear far more the stamp of the manner than of the excellence of the one head to which the many hands have submitted. As long as we have no Michael Angelo or Raphael in the world, it is far more presumptuous than praiseworthy to follow modes of proceeding which only their genius rendered efficacious. On this account the rumour of a schismn between the older and younger members of the academy at Munich may be heard with considerable satisfaction, as a harbinger of what they most need more originality.
Art. II.- The Geology of Russia in Europe and the Ural
Mountains. By Roderick Impey Murchison, F.R.S., Correspondent of the Royal Institute of France, &c. &c. ; Edouard de Verneuil, V.P.G.S. Fr., and Hon. M.G.S. Lond.; and Count Alexander von Keyserling, &e. London, 2 vols. 4to.
1845. THIS monster publication may be characterized in more senses
1. than one as the opus magnum of geology. It consists of two enormous quartos, the first of 764 pages, with two coloured maps, plates of sections, and near one hundred other illustrations on the geological structure of European Russia and the conterminous districts, by Sir Roderick Murchison ;* the second of 548
pages pages and seventy plates of organic remains, on the palæontology of the same countries, chiefly contributed by his French ally M. de Verneuil.
* Since these volumes were printed Mr. Murchison became by Imperial Ukase an effective Member of the Royal Academy of St. Petersburgh, with the rank in the Russian service attached to that position. His own sovereign, in consequence of this recognition of him as employed actually in the service of ber friendly ally, could, without any departure from established and perhaps very necessary rules, grant Mr. Murchison permission to wear the cross of St. Anne, 2nd class, in diamonds, bestowed on him by the Emperor in 1841, and the grand cross of St. Stanislaus given on the presentation of the book in 1845. Her Majesty did so accordingly; and she was pleased at the same time to confer the honour of British knigbthood on one whose application of British science to a vast foreign field bad so well deserved those previous marks of external favour. We hear of a general murmur in the scientific world that a baronetcy might have been offered upon this occasion : but it should be remembered by the sarans that during the present government no hereditary bonour whatever has been conferred, except a very few for military or diplomatic services of great moment ; and that, with all the attendant circumstances, the knighthood of Sir R. Murchison
comes comes by no means under the category of what a legal wit has laughed at as “knighthood au naturel. We ought to mention that the Emperor Nicholas gave the cross of St. Anne also to M. de Verneuil in 1841,
The feeble energies and slight library tables of us poor reviewers of the nineteenth century may indeed shrink and fail beneath the appalling mass. But we should be content to gird ourselves to our task ; for the importance of the work more than rivals its gigantic bulk. It embraces the physical geography, the mineral structure, and the history of the ancient organized beings of nearly two-thirds of Europe; and the information thus communicated for the first time to the scientific public will enable them to form more complete and just views on all the geological relations of this vast portion of our continent than we could possibly have obtained concerning our own little island alone when the «Quarterly Review' had reached its twentieth volume.
It is agreeable to our national pride to find the original conception and principal share in the execution of this grand design for the completion of European geology due to a distinguished member of the English school; and while we rejoice in the example here afforded to us of the zealous and effective co-operation of eminent naturalists of France and Courland, we may rest for a moment on the causes which have enabled our own country to take so decided a lead in the progress of geology as, we are certain, will be candidly accorded to it by our continental brethren. In our small island all the great groups of rock formationsmall save one-are displayed with a compact completeness which we elsewhere should seek for in vain over a space of ten-fold the same extent; indeed the southern half of England alone, if cut off by a parallel from the Wash to Cardigan Bay, exhibits in the most striking manner the whole series, if we except the gneiss and mica slate of our highlands. And the numerous sections of verification, which exhibit at once to the eye the true positions and rela. tions of the various members of all these formations, in the cliffs of our coast, afford a most important additional advantage unknown of course to any inland country. Even France, which in this and other respects most nearly approaches us, is very far from rivalling the double section of our series from the tertiary to the transition order, presented by the north-eastern coast from Flamborough Head to Berwick, as compared with the south-western line from the Isle of Wight to Torbay.
Such are our physical advantages. Nor must we forget the moral and social causes which concur in giving peculiar facilities to the cultivation of pursuits which imply extensive and expensive journeys. In other countries it is comparatively rare to meet with independent gentlemen devoting their time and means to the advancement of any science, unless stimulated by the call of some official station which should require and requite such esertions. But with us many ride these hobbies with as flowing a rein as any other steeds. This has been strikingly exemplified in the investigations of Russian geology; for the Hon. Henry Fox Strang. ways was at once the earliest and most efficient precursor of Murchison in exploring the Baltic provinces; and Sir Roderick himself has reforged the sword of the old Peninsular soldier into the hammer of the geologist-having, in urging his hunter over the wide enclosures and stiff fences of Sedgefield, Raby, and Melton Mowbray, acquired the activity which has sped his tarantass and six so many hundred miles across the steppes.
Since his earliest communication to the Geological Transactions in 1827, he has presented to the public more than seventy memoirs on the various departments of this extensive field, and on the sister science, Geography; but his principal attention has, during the last fifteen years, been devoted to the full illustration of the lower groups of the fossiliferous deposits, which before had been confusedly thrown together and very imperfectly described under the general name of transition limestones and slates. These were by him first distinctly classified into well-marked subdivisions, amounting altogether to more than 8000 feet in thickness; nor, having already reviewed his Silurian System' (1839), need we now recur to the importance of the classification and clear details therein first given of the phenomena connected with the earliest developments of organic life preserved in the strata of our planet so far as they are yet known. Geological investigation may at the present time be considered as having fully exhausted Europe and the greater part of America; and the general uniformity of the geological series in all the various regions hitherto explored, extending as they do over a full third of both the Eastern and Western hemispheres, reduces to a very low degree of probability the anticipation that we shall hereafter discover any new and important term of that series.
Ever since the publication of 1839, the importance of the strata therein first fully and accurately described has been rendered more and more manifest by our growing acquaintance with the enormous spaces which they occupy on the surface of the globe. In North America alone, as Mr. Lyell informs us, they form a zone surrounding its vast coal-fields on the west of the Alleghany mountains, and over the valley of the Mississippi, extending for 1000 miles from Kentucky to the extreme Arctic