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Ribera," a merry Spanish beggarboy, among a crowd of his like, drawing sketches of them under a gardenwall. The figures are very prettily thought and grouped; there is a fine terrace, and palace, and statues in the background, very rich and luxurious; perhaps too pretty and gay in colours, and too strong in details.
But the king of the painters of small history subjects, is M. Robert Fleury; a great artist indeed, and I trust heartily he may be induced to send one or two of his pieces to London, to shew our people what he can do. His mind, judging from his works, is rather of a gloomy turn; and he deals somewhat too much, to my taste, in the horrible. He has this year "A Scene in the Inquisition." A man is howling and writhing with his feet over a fire; grim inquisitors are watching over him; and a dreadful executioner, with fierce eyes peering from under a mysterious capuchin, is doggedly sitting over the coals. The picture is downright horror, but admirably and honestly drawn; and in effect rich, sombre, and simple.
"Benvenuto Cellini" is better still; and the critics have lauded the piece as giving a good idea of the fierce, fantastic Florentine sculptor; but I think M. Fleury has taken him in too grim a mood, and made his ferocity too downright. There was always a dash of the ridiculous in the man, even in his most truculent moments; and I fancy that such simple rage as is here represented scarcely characterises him. The fellow never cut a throat without some sense of humour, and here we have him greatly too majestic to my taste.
Old Michael Angelo watching over the Sick-bed of his servant Urbino," is a noble painting; as fine in feeling as in design and colour. One can't but admire in all these the manliness of the artist. The picture is painted in a large, rich, massive, vigorous manner; and it is gratifying to see that this great man, after resolute secking for many years, has found the full use of his hand at last, and can express himself as he would. The picture is fit to hang in the very best gallery in the world; and a century hence will no doubt be worth five times as many crowns as the artist asks or has had for it.
Being on the subject of great pictures, let us here mention, 712. "Portrait of a Lady," by Hippolyto Flaudrin.
Of this portrait all I can say is, that if you take the best portraits by the best masters-a head of Sebastian or Michael Angelo, a head of Raphael, or one of those rarer ones of Andria del Sarto not one of them, for lofty character and majestic nobleness and simplicity, can surpass this magnificent work.
This seems, doubtless, very exaggerated praise, and people reading it may possibly sneer at the critic who ventures to speak in such a way. To all such I say, Come and see it. You who admire Sir Thomas and the Books of Beauty will possibly not admire it; you who give ten thousand guincas for a blowsy Murillo will not possibly relish M. Flandrin's manner; but you who love simplicity and greatness come and see how an old lady, with a black mantilla and dark eyes, and grey hair and a few red flowers in her cap, has been painted by M. Flandrin of Lyons. If I were Louis-Philippe, I would send a legion-of-honour cross, of the biggest sort, to decorate the bosom of the painter who has executed this noble piece.
As for portraits (with the exception of this one, which no man in England can equal, not even Mr. Samuel Lawrence, who is trying to get to this point, but has not reached it yet) our English painters keep the lead still, nor is there much remarkable among the hundreds in the gallery. There are vast numbers of English faces staring at you from the canvasses; and among the miniatures especially one can't help laughing at the continual recurrence of the healthy, vacant, simpering, aristocratic English type. There are black velvets and satins, ladies with birds of paradise, deputies on sofas, and generals and marshals in the midst of smoke and
cannon-balls. Nothing can be less to my taste than a pot-bellied, swaggering Marshal Soult, who rests his baton on his stomach, and looks at you in the midst of a dim cloud of war. The Duchess de Nemours is done by M. Winterhalter, and has a place of honour, as becomes a good portrait; and, above all, such a pretty lady. She is a pretty, smiling, buxom
blonde, with plenty of hair, and rather too much hands, not to speak disrespectfully; and a slice of lace which goes across the middle of her white satin gown seems to cut the picture very disagreeably in two. There is a beautiful head in a large portrait of a lad of eighteen, painted by himself; and here may be mentioned two single figures in pastel by an architect, remarkable for earnest, spirituel beauty; likewise two heads in chalk by De Rudder; most charming sketches, full of delicacy, grace, and truth.
The only one of the acknowledged great who has exhibited this year is M. Delacroix, who has a large picture relative to the siege of Constantinople, that looks very like a piece of crumpled tapestry, but that has nevertheless its admirers and its merits, as what work of his has not?
His two smaller pieces are charming. "A Jewish Wedding at Tangiers," is brilliant with light and merriment; a particular sort of merriment, that is, that makes you gloomy in the very midst of the hey-day: and his "Boat" is awful. A score of shipwrecked men are in this boat, on a great, wide, swollen, interminable sea-no hope, no speck of sail-and they are drawing lots which shall be killed and eaten. A burly seaman, with a red beard, has just put his hand into the hat, and is touching his own to the officer. One fellow sits with his hands clasped, and gazing-gazing into the great void before him. By Jupiter, his eyes are unfathomable! he is looking at miles and miles of lead-coloured, bitter, pitiless brine! Indeed one can't bear to look at him long; nor at that poor woman, so sickly and so beautiful, whom they may as well kill at once, or she will save them the trouble of drawing straws; and give up to their maws that poor, white, faded, delicate, shrivelled carcass. Ah, what a thing it is to be hungry! Oh, Eugenius Delacroix ! how can you manage, with a few paint-bladders, and a dirty brush, and a careless hand, to dash down such savage histories as these, and fill people's minds with thoughts so dreadful? Ay, there it is; whenever I go through that part of the gallery where M. Delacroix's picture
is, I always turn away now, and look at a fat woman with a parroquet opposite. For what's the use of being uncomfortable?
Another great picture is one of about four inches square "The Chess players," by M. Meissonnier
truly an astonishing piece of workmanship. No silly tricks of effect, and abrupt startling shadow and light, but a picture painted with the minuteness and accuracy of a daguerréotype, and as near as possible perfect in its kind. Two men are playing at chess, and the chess-men are no bigger than pin-heads; every one of them an accurate portrait, with all the light, shadow, roundness, character, and colour, belonging to it.
Of the landscapes it is very hard indeed to speak, for professors of landscapes almost all execute their art well; but few so well as to strike one with especial attention, or to produce much remark. Constable has been a great friend to the new landscape-school in France, who have laid aside the slimy, weak manner formerly in vogue, and perhaps have adopted in its place a method equally reprehensible that of plastering their pictures excessively. When you wish to represent a piece of old timber, or a crumbling wall, or the ruts and stones in a road, this impasting method is very successful, but here the skies are trowelled on; the light vapouring distances are as thick as plum-pudding, the cool clear shadows are mashed-down masses of sienna and indigo. But it is undeniable that by these violent means, a certain power is had, and noon-day effects of strong sunshine are often dashingly rendered.
How much pleasanter is it to see a little quiet grey waste of David Cox than the very best and smartest of such works! Some men from Düsseldorf have sent very fine scientific faithful pictures, that are a little heavy, but still you see that they are portraits drawn respectfully from the great, beautiful, various, divine face of Nature.
In the statue-gallery there is nothing worth talking about; and so let us make an end of the Louvre, and politely wish a good morning to every body.
A SERIO-COMIC REVIEW OF THE SAYINGS AND DOINGS OF THE SCOTCH NON-INTRUSIONISTS IN, AND CONNECTED WITH, THE LAST GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
BY A STRATHBOGIE CHURCHMAN.
THE WITNESS-SIR DAVID BREWSTER-DR. CHALMERS: HIS DIVINITY HALL, HIS HEADMR., alias PROFESSOR, CANDLISH: HIS DIMENSIONS BY MILTON'S COFFIN MR. CUNNINGHAME: HIS LOGICAL SEQUENCES-DR. WELSH MAITLAND MACGILL - DR. MACFARLANE-ANDREW GRAY AND SOCRATES-THE PHARISAIC WITNESS-ASSEMBLY EXPLOITS-DR. COOK-THE "SEVEN DEPOSED FOR DOING THEIR DUTY.
THE Witness, be it understood, is the principal newspaper organ of the Non-intrusionists, or (as we shall henceforth generally style them for the sake of brevity) the Nons. Its conductor, as in propriety he ought, is himself a Non-intrusionist; and it therefore follows by the most cogent logical deduction, that his "Sketches" aforesaid make part and parcel of the sayings specified in our title. That title was indeed framed with an express view to comprehend them; for they are in fact most curious documents, and well worthy of attention.
Placing them, then, in the van of the matter which we have to discuss, one of the first Nons which the Witness brings under our notice is Sir David Brewster; who, not being a clergyman, sat in last Assembly as a ruling elder. Of this great personage the sketcher informs us that his hair is quite grey, and that he has
a slight stoop of the shoulders ;"* defects which, we are happy to be told, are compensated by such personal advantages as a compression of mouth indicative of firmness;"
a cast of sober thought which dwells in the singularly significant lines of the forehead;" “a deeply contemplative expression of eye," &c. &c.; "all" of which, it is affirmed, "indicate an intellect in its prime;" a remark of which the correctness will be appreciated, when it is known that Sir David had fallen consider
knowing organs, stands out like a tower, shading the locks, as it were, to either side, and strongly catches the light on its rounded upper line, as in the portraits of Burke and Franklin." That the owner of a head like this should be "a man of more than European reputation," and that "no writer of the present age" should unite "in a higher degree literary ability to exact science," is no doubt exceedingly natural. We feel inclined, notwithstanding, to give Sir John Herschel, and Professor Whewell, and half-a-dozen other philosophers we could name, some preference over Sir David, both as regards science and literature. This, however, may be all mere prejudice, united with want of discrimination on our part.
But to proceed with the picture :
"We stake," says the Witness, "the intellect and accomplishment of that one man, not merely against those of any other individual on the opposite side, but against the intellect and accomplishment of the whole opposite side put together, appealing confidently to the country for its verdict in the case, and yet confining our statement of the merits to the mere pronunciation of a name."
You are a gentleman, Mr. Witness, we are aware, of very great acumen, and can see farther into a stone, especially if it be a red sandstone,† than most
men But prav sir hy what peculiar
united intellects of all the Moderate side of the church. What way, then, we beseech you, do you solve the problem, for it really appears to us to be as difficult as it is undoubtedly interesting? In physics, as you are well aware, two or more forces, and their several directions being given, their united effect can easily be estimated, supposing them to proceed in one direction. Is it by some process analogous to this that you obtain the resultant of all the intellects on the constitutional side of the church, so as to enable you to compare them to that of Sir David Brewster? Or do you proceed by what is called the resolution of forces, and parcel out Sir David's into as many separate parts (each corresponding in momentum and direction to some entire intellect) as there are individual minds in the party against which you stake him? If you adopt none of these methods, what other plan do you follow? Do you employ balances, or use measures of capacity? would press these questions; for if you have no means either of combining or breaking down intellects, your proposal to stake Sir David against the Moderates is a mere empty boast, and you will get no one to take a bet on the other side. Your appeal to the verdict of the country upon the point regarding which the country knows nothing is as sheer folly as it would be to make a blind man arbiter in a dispute concerning colours; or one born deaf and dumb, an umpire between musicians in a contest about musical sounds.
The Witness, we think, has left Sir David's portrait incomplete. We are told in the phrenological description of his head of "high, broad, and full causality, based upon large knowing organs" but we hear nothing of protuberances on the fore part of the "coronal region," nor of bumps either in flank or rear of the skull. Now, though the reason of the former of these omissions is obvious enough, as benevolence, conscientiousness, and all the moral and nobler sentiments, are well known to Occupy the situation first mentioned, why a silence so profound should be preserved about the back settlements and lateral regions, it is not easy to conjecture. It is impossible that
VOL. XXIV. NO. CXXXIX.
these can be flat countries; they must be hilly-even mountainous. Sir David Brewster has been a Whig all his days; and it was for his Whiggery, quite as much as for his science, that he was, in the first place, made a Guelphic knight; and, secondly, the principal of a college at St. Andrew's. But every Whig has, by the necessity of his nature, a liking for the main chance. He has not only the propensity to "do what he will with his own," but likes to grab all he can of what belongs to the country, as some small return for his patriotism, public spirit, and hatred of abuses. Sir David, then, as having been from youth to age, with some lucid intervals, known to us as a Whig-a most consistent, out-and-out, undeviating Whig,-one, as the Witness says, who was born a Reformer, and has been throughout life the determined opponent of sinecurists ;" -this same Sir David must, or phrenology is not worth a pin, have the organ of acquisitiveness very prominent indeed, and rearing its lofty peak like an Atlas or a Mont Blanc over the lesser hills that surround it. But the Whigs are also proverbially tenacious of office; they make every sacrifice of policy and principle to retain it; and cling to it like drowning men to a plank, amidst every kind of opposition, obloquy, and disgrace. Now all this betokens a very powerful developement of adhesiveness, which Sir David must of course possess, otherwise he would be a monster among his Whig brethren. Why, then, has the Witness, in giving us his portrait, taken no notice of this most characteristic organ? Farther: Sir David, as is well known, is fonc of controversy. He wrote as keenly against those who denied him the merit of inventing that foolish, and now nearly forgotten toy, the kaleidoscope, as most people would have done had some matter of real importance been at issue. His reviews in the Edinburgh are as remarkable for their severity, at the very least, as for their fairness. In his Encyclopædia he demolished, or attempted to demolish, Lord Bacon himself. What phrenologist can be cognisant of such facts without deciding at once in the fullest confidence of being borne out by the principles of his science, tha they indicate a large developemen
behind the ears combativeness of
But calling a truce in the meantime to phrenology, we must now state our honest conviction that the portrait which the Witness has drawn of Sir David Brewster is not a true likeness. It errs both in excess and in defect; the merits of the original being ludicrously exaggerated, and the demerits entirely concealed from view. There is nothing venerable or striking about Sir David's personal appearance. His outward man is plain (we speak from personal acquaintance); and whatever our sketcher may say about "the contemplative expression of his eye," he was, if we are not grossly misinformed, short-sighted from his youth. That he has considerable merit as a theoretical optician, will not be denied; but it is there that his great strength lies, and in no other department of science is his name mentioned as of any account. He may have a fair knowledge of many branches of philosophy; but in none has he risen above mediocrity, except in his researches regarding the polarisation of light.
But we have looked at Sir David long enough, and will now, with the reader's permission, turn to another portrait. But here we must quote a passage or two :
"The Moderator," says the Witness, very solemnly, "has again risen. A loud ruffing noise has broken out in the galleries; at least two-thirds of the Assembly have joined in it, and the business of the court is interrupted. A very distinguished member has just entered."
Who this very distinguished member is, we are not yet told; but here
heads around it seem but of moderate size. The front portion, however, from the ear to the forehead, is considerably massier in proportion than the posterior region, and stands up more conspicuously, and there is a noble developement a-top."
When a name is given in a portrait it is commonly placed at the foot of the picture, and to this rule the Dü majorum gentium throughout his Witness adheres in regard to all his picture-gallery. As it would, however, be inconvenient for the developement of our remarks, that he should remain anonymous till in the process of quotation we reach his toes, we here divulge the secret that the man with the largest head in Europe (by the way, can he fit himself with a chapeau in a retail hatseller's shop, or must he get that indispensable article of dress made to measure like his shoes?), that man we say is no other man than Dr. Chalmers. Now the great mystery being solved, let us go back to our first extract, and take notice that the Doctor has no sooner entered, than "a loud ruffing* noise has broken out in the galleries" (an indecency we may remark, en passant, that would not be tolerated in the galleries of the reformed House of Commons), that at least two-thirds of the Assembly (the Non-intrusion members, of course) have joined" in the disturbance, and that "the business of the court is interrupted." Now, considering that the "venerable' Assembly constitutes itself in the name of One, none of whose sacred titles or designations we dare introduce among these light remarks; that they profess to carry on all their proceedings by the appointment and under the special direction of that Great Being; and that at the Or