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the Greeks drew all that physiological science, of which they have left us such exquisite illustrations, even in the small remains of their art, which barbarism and bigotry have spared.

This working from inference, instead of observation, not only engenders falsehood generally, but peculiarity of manner of the worst kind:-not that which exhibits, more or less exclusively, any individual peculiarities, or those of any particular rank, class, or nation of men; but that which exhibits peculiarity of character, or rather of no character, which never existed but in the painter's misconceptions :-not man, exalted and refined from the dross of nature, and abstracted from the peculiarities and defects of each individual of the species, as in the Grecian statues; but a new and peculiar species of defective, though uniform individuals, observable only in the productions of one artist, or of one school or academy. To this new creation every thing in nature and in art is made to conform; and as all feeling for either is concentrated to one point, and absorbed by one idea, whether the artist copy a figure in the academy, or a scene in the country, he only takes an attitude from one, and an arrangement of parts from the other, but copies both the parts themselves, and the general character of the whole, equally in each, from his preconceived idea; which has been so long the sole object of his contemplation, that neither can his eye perceive, nor his hand imitate any thing else. Continued practice in one mode gives him manual dexterity and precision, which renders him popular with his pupils and associates; and his manner becomes that of a school, or academy, where it is soon established by rule; and every member who grows weary of his own monotony, and feels the want of a stimulant to his invention, betakes himself to some such expedient as that of Mr Mengs, in whistling a sonata of Corelli.

Such has been the progress, and such, we believe, is the actual state of all the schools and academies on the Continent; and it gives us no small comfort and satisfaction to observe, that our own continues entirely free from this negative vice of sameness and monotony. Every other is curable; but this is a sort of paralysis, which leaves no hope. We observed too, with equal satisfaction, in late exhibitions, instances of the utmost purity and dignity of heroic character and composition, embellished and not impaired by the most rich and splendid harmony of colouring, in Mr Westall's Grecian Marriage, &c.; and no less decisive instances of the grandeur and majesty of the highest style of historical composition, preserved on a small scale, in Mr Bird's Job, and Burghers of Calais before Edward III.

It was also with still increased satisfaction and pleasure, that

we learned, that this last excellent picture, not unworthy certainly of the greatest of the Bolognese school, had been purchased by the Presumptive Heir of the British throne. Happy are the subjects of a sovereign, whose taste is gratified by such objects, instead of silly and unmeaning shows, and wasteful and expensive pageants;-who seeks to employ the surplus of what is raised for the exigences of the state in promoting useful and elegant art, cherishing virtuous talent, and rewarding honest industry; instead of multiplying indulgences for vicious sensuality, or idle curiosity; and extending crime and immorality by temptations to dissipation, or examples of profusion ;-and who is guided, even in matters of amusement, by the noble ambition of adorning her age and country with the permanent productions of genius, skill, and intellect; and not by the childish vanity of diverting and distracting it with the transitory glitter of operose and costly follies, only remembered for their absurdity, and the disgrace which they entail on those who contrive, and those who can relish them.

That real good taste, which is the offspring of sound sense and just feeling, is as moderate in its means, as moral and beneficent in its ends. All that the Directors of the British Institution asked of Government, to extend and promote it, by giving employment to artists of acknowledged ability, in works of public ornament worthy the attention and respect of the most accomplished prince, and most enlightened people of Europe, was five thousand pounds a year for four years:-and for what nobler purpose was this mighty sum withheld?-to be squandered, in a single night, on squibs and crackers;-in a wanton waste of timber, gunpowder, and lamp-oil-to attract the stupid gaze of a dissolute populace-encourage the profligate and the prodigal in their depraved habits and propensities-and excite the scorn and indignation of all the rest, for those whose rank and situation should ensure esteem, and command respect.

But it is said that there are precedents for it:-similar exhibitions, upon as large a scale, followed the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. Unquestionably, there are precedents for every folly that wealth and power can commit. History is full of them:

Rarus enim fermè fenfus communis in illa

Fortuna.

Nero, Domitian and Commodus, exceeded all that the most gigantic vanity of any modern potentate can hope; and, by diverting the public expenditure from the promotion of useful and liberal arts, plunged the world gradually into barbarism.

It is not by the magnitude or importance of single instances of prodigality and folly, that we are to estimate their effects;

it is by their principle and progress. Every one is made the precedent for another, till they become systematic and habitual, corrupting the stream, as well as the fountain. The unassuming charms of all that is addressed to the rational faculties of the mind then appear tame, insipid, and unattractive. Noise, tumult, glitter and bustle, become the sole objects of taste; and all the quiet elegances of liberal art, and intellectual gratification, sink neglected, and expire.

We do not mean to stimulate discontent, or inflame indignation for what is past; but to prevent, as far as our humble animadversions can prevent, a repetition of such causes of them for the future. The appetite for tawdry and nonsensical show and glitter, like every other vicious and depraved appetite, grows more voracious, the more it is pampered and indulged. One repletion only furnishes precedent, and points out new occasions for another. Every royal birth, christening, marriage, or visit, creates a festival; and centennial, decennial, annual, and even monthly and weekly celebrations arise in succession; each to be distinguished by increased extravagance of device, and profusion of expense. The restless inanity of minds, which can neither use, retain, nor even receive any of the materials of intellectual enjoyment, require, as the gratifications of sensuality cease, a continued and endless succession of novelties, at once violent and frivolous, to relieve them from the painful sense of that vacancy which it is impossible to fill, and that lassitude of self-disgust which it is impossible to fly.

The desires of avarice have an end; but those of prodigality have none: The one is a monogastric bloodsucker; which fills itself, grows torpid, and falls off: the other is a living syphon, which discharges as fast as it receives; and enlarges its tube, and accelerates its transmission, the longer it adheres, and the more copiously it exhausts. It is like the lust of impotence, which is never satiated, because it never enjoys; and ever covets what is absent, because it can never relish what is present.

So long, however, as the evil is confined to private station and limited power, it is only ruinous to itself, and contemptible to others but when let loose to revel in the unbridled license of despotic sway, it becomes productive of the most atrocious crimes, and extensive calamities. Spectacula, assiduè magnifica et sumptuosa edidit-deinde inopia rapax, metu sævus, is the summary history of most of the tyrants, whose names are uttered with a mixture of abhorrence and contempt. Their parent vice was a taste for frivolous and expensive shows.

Even the monster Nero, had he occupied a private station of iddle rank in this age and country, would have been neither

more nor less than a well-bred, well-drest, accomplished, and selfish voluptuary; who gave splendid entertainments, frequented polite assemblies-sung and danced like a gentleman, and talked and wrote like a singer or dancer-bilked taylors, toymen, and upholdsters-squandered his patrimony, and died insolvent, in prison, or in Parliament. All those enormities, which, in the lord of universal empire, shook the civilized world to its centre, had no higher or deeper origin, than similar va nities, frivolities, and depravities of taste, indulged upon a more extended scale of prodigality.

Under similar circumstances, similar causes will always produce similar effects. Intellectual pursuits and occupations will strengthen, regulate, and organize the mind; and fit it alike for enjoyment and exertion; while those of vain ostentatious frivolity and gross sensuality will relax and disorder it at first; and ultimately harden, debase, and demoralize it. Whenever, therefore, early indications of a sound, discreet, and well directed taste, manifest themselves in those who may inherit power, it is equally the duty and the interest of all who may become subject to it, to spare no means that may serve to cultivate, extend, and gratify it. Let the young and Illustrious Personage, who has given so honourable a specimen of it, proceed as she has begun; and the most parsimonious public economist will be proud to enable her to do it in a style of munifi cence suited to her high rank and expectations.

The truth, the chastity; the moral as well as technical purity of the pencil which she has so honourably distinguished, render it every way worthy of her patronages and form a notable contrast with the false and tawdry glitter, and glaring licentiousness of that of a certain foreigner; who, with a degree of proficiency in his art, which would scarcely qualify him to be elected into the Royal Academy, has been honoured, or has honoured himself, with the title of Historical Painter to the Prince Regent! By whatever tenure, or under whatever authority, this high title is, or has been held, we equally hope that it has been so far sinecure and inefficient, that none of the performances, which principally distinguished his own house, have been suffered to pollute the walls of one, which being the sanctuary of public honour, must be deemed no less so of private virtue; and that, whether the late short abode there of the above mentioned Illustrious Personage was voluntary or compulsory, so much respect was paid to her sexual and moral, if not to her critical delicacy, as to exclude all such objects, as innocence must blush to recollect. When an alien, who, compared with any of our own countrymen, hath not reached even mediocri

ty in his art, becomes thus distinguished, astonishment naturally excites surmise and conjecture concerning motives and causes; and if none that are worthy and honourable occur, others necessarily will, even without the prompting which this case affords. Fortunately, however, titular distinctions only confer honour in proportion as they receive it; so that the prostitution of them, without lucrative employment or endowment, neither raises the dauber, nor debases the art. It only degrades the dispenser :-all else remains as it was.

..In commending moral purity, and reprehending licentiousness, let us not be understood to favour, in the slightest degree, that hypocritical prudery, or sour fanaticism, which, because nudities may be indecent, would exclude the human form from the imitations of art. Decency or indecency to ordinary observers depends entirely upon the character and expression; and not at all upon the degree of exposure of the figure; and it is only in the pruriently vicious imagination, or stupidly perplext understanding, that the nudity of the savage is confounded with that of the prostitute; or the heroine of Milton with that of Aretine. In the representations of painting and sculpture, the difference arises entirely from association; which is regulated by the disposition, not the exposition of the body, limbs, and features.

The only moral and beneficial effect of either of these arts, beyond the furnishing matter of intellectual amusement to withdraw the mind from pursuits of low sensuality or wasteful frivo◄ lity, consists perhaps in raising man in his own estimation, by exhibiting the perfections of his nature in the abstract; exempt from those faults and defects, with which almost all individual instances more or less abound. There is in every product of creation a certain central combination and proportion of relative form, which we are taught by observation and inference to consider as most appropriate to its particular species; and where this is most complete, the object appears most perfect and beautiful in its kind. This, painting and sculpture can express, as far as it consists in exterior structure; which is, indeed, but a comparatively humble and unimportant part in a rational and intellectual being; but is nevertheless all that can express the qualities of the higher and more important, to the most universal medium of perception, vision. To accomplish this end, the artist must exhibit the genuine man, as formed originally by his Creator, undisguised by any adscititious trappings of ornament or concealment; and if such exhibitions excite any improper associations, it will only be in those whose minds are more habituated to such associations, than to any of a purer kind;-vicehunters, who still delight in the pursuit of what they are no long

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