« PreviousContinue »
made so public, that there is no inde- mathematician's. The countenance in licacy in the topic. It directly arose which the first painters in the world from two things: his idle scorn of fol- had given their finest impression of lowing the common courses of his pro- the united nature of God and man, fession, and his determination to paint and which had become by habit idenonly Scripture-pieces, and those on the tified with the name, was profaned ; most colossal and hazardous scale. and a heavy and repulsive physiognoMuch may be forgiven to the errors of my substituted for the features of an ambitious spirit, resolved on free- manly beauty and celestial virtue. ing itself from what had been, however This palpable fault degraded his picchildishly, called the degradation of its ture of the Entry into Jerusalem, a art. But cooler sense would have work of great design, and vigorous taught him, that exclusively to paint execution. The physiognomy of the subjects, for which none but cathe- principal figure was fatal to the popudrals and churches could be purcha- larity of the powerful groups that sers, and which, from the custom of the filled the canvas; and piety and taste country, neither would purchase, was alike turned away. a hazardous speculation. The mere If Haydon had selected the Old Tessize of his pictures puts them beyond tament, he might have found the conall hope of admission into private col- genial field for his boldness, originalilections; for what could be done with ty, and breadth of design. The Hethree or four hundred square feet of brew kings and warriors, the gorgecanvas, covered with whatever majes- ous ceremonials of the Hebrew rituals, ty of prophet or apostle ? Even if he the mighty events of a history illusmust paint Scripture-pieces, his choice trated by human pomps and divine of subjects was injudicious. The New glories, the united crownings and conTestament was his selected field. But secrations, the magnificence of Perthe character of the New Testament is sia, Egypt, and India, in the midst of beyond the power of painting. The the scenery of Palestine, the perpetual highest grandeur clothed in the most miracles, the intercourse of men and extreme simplicity; prophets and apos- angels, the ascent to heaven, have all tles wearing the aspect of fishermen formed the most sublime efforts of and peasants. All magnificence of mind the pencil. They all address the eye. under all humility of body, even a Dei- Where there is grandeur of purpose, ty veiling himselt under the semblance there is grandeur of person. Acts wor of a harassed and outcast man, are all thy of kings and prophets are dove in beyond the reach of an art which speaks palaces, or in the presence of classes only to the eye. No force of the pen- and companies of magnificent shapes, cil can make, or ought to make, those mortal or immortal, that relieve the beings look otherwise than men, whom mind from all doubt of the nobleness we yet know to be more. The nearer of the agent, and invest him with a the painting is to probability, the far- magnificence suitable to the minister ther it is from reality. The little ar- of God, or the ruler of nations. tifices of haloes and glories round saint- Haydon has petitioned the House ly and divine heads, are at once repul- of Commons to extend its patronage sive to truth, and evidences of the con- to History-painting. One of the obscious inability of painting. Yet these jects of this petition may have been unconquerable disadvantages Haydon to bring his case before the country. undertook to combat, and to combat It is to be hoped that this object will with the addition of a difficulty en- not be disappointed, and that tirely his own. He conceived for him- of his ability will not be suffered to self a head of the Saviour, repugnant linger under the depression of hopeto all those fine imaginations of the less ill fortune. But when Haydon Italian school which had already esta- shall re-appear, he must altogether blished the countenance. The result change his conception of the way to was total, undeniable failure. For the fame. He must be undone, or listen combined loftiness and suavity, the to the advice which tells him, that no mild superiority, and the dignified individual can triumph by resisting sorrow, that alternately predominated the taste of a civilized age; that if he in the pictures of Raphael, Corregio, expect to sell his pictures, he must reand Guido, he gave us a head model- strict them to the size of sale ; that if led on some fantastic conception of he will live by the public favour, he craniology, and a visage as dull as a must consult the public taste in the choice of his subjects; and that if his the salutary conclusion, that his past patrons are weary of historical pic- progress has been constructed upon tures, he must, like Lawrence, and erroneous principles; and if the hour Phillips, and Shee, or like Rubens that sends him among the world again and Rembrandt, occasionally stoop to shall send him out as a new man, to paint portraits. He is a man of ta- commence a new career, young with lents, from which much may be hoped the experience of years, and vigorous for still. The severity of his present from the excitement of new hope, he lesson, however to be regretted, may may yet rejoice in his temporary cahave the advantage of forcing on him laniity, and do honour to his age.
There is some old and absurd ate the rights of independent nations, and traction in all that relates to Spain. swears by. Monarchy and la Charte. Nous Anglois talk of it in a universal His work is written with some ingespirit of romance; and it is the only nuity, with the eye of an artist, and topic on which we do not ridicule and with a profound admiration for France, scorn romance in word and deed. But, the great man now no more, and himsomething mingled of Moor and Chris- self. But his descriptions are better tian chivalry, as theorbos touched to than his politics. His coup-d'æil of the Sultanas, and bowers and alcoves fret- south is graphic. ted over with Arabesques and Saracen “ The soil of Provence, though copoetry, the remnants of the manners vered with mountains, is essentially of a brilliant, fierce, jewelled, and different in character from that of the mailed people haunt our imaginations; Alps and Pyrenees. It does not present and it is thenceforth allowed and al continual heights and defiles, like the lowable for every man to be an enthu- great mountainous countries, nor mosiast for Spain, for its beauty and va- derate eminences, gradually declining lour, gallantry and guitars, the lux- to the plain, as we see on the north uriance of its valleys, and the proud side of the Pyrenees. There are plains, brows of its sierras, provided he has hills, and, above all, some stray ridges never been within the borders of the of the Alps, which terminate in the land. Romance in an actual traveller is Mediterranean. Hence the prospect beyond all mercy. In our closets, and over this diversified soil, is not always with a volume of Gongora or Calderon bounded by masses of rocks, confined on the table, we may be forgiven for within valleys, or lost in immense the folly of dreaming the Spaniard of plains. It alternately contracts and the 19th century into the bard, the extends over a soil which is sometimes hero, and the enthusiast of the 15th. level, sometimes covered with perpenBut the testimony of the eye should dicular mountains, and sometimes Ioses be fatal ; and he who resists it is itself over the expanse of a sea, when equally desperate of cure and pardon. the darkest azure is contrasted with The Spanish war is already extinguish- sparkling light. ed, cast away, gone down with its whole revolutionary cargo. But some
- In the midst of an immense openpamphlets have been brought out by ing between two great chains of rocks, it, descriptive of features and adven- which stretch into the sea, lies Martures that deserve to survive the Cortes, seilles. When a traveller arriving from their Constitution, and their burlesque the north reaches the first chain, he .war. One of these gives a few cu- suddenly perceives this immense barious details of the frontier, when sin, and is astonished at its extent and the French kept watch, during the dazzling brilliancy. Soon after, he is past year, over the plague and the re- struck with the structure of the soil, volution together. The writer, Thiers, and its singular vegetation. An imis a Frenchman, and is what would mense mass of grey and bluish limeonce have been a philosopher, and stone forms the first enclosure ; lower would have been worshipped in the branches diverge from it, and extend Pantheon, but that fashion has passed into the plain, composing an unequal away, nous avons changè tout cela ;” and very varied soil. On every emiand M. Thiers is now a respecter of nence there are tufts of Italian pines,
• The Pyrenees, and the South of France, during the months of September and De. cember 1822. By A. Thiers. 8vo. Treuttel and Wurtz, London, 1823.
which form elegant parasots of dark, repaired a considerable part of them; and almost blackish green. Pale green he has replaced most of the towers by olive trees, of a moderate height, de- bastions ; protected the ramparts by scend along the hills; and, by their means of terraces or excavations ; has paleness and little round masses, con- made covered ways and outworks. trast singularly with the slender sta- The citadel is now very strong; a triture, and magnificence, and dome of ple enclosure renders it able to resist the pines. At their feet is a low, three attacks; and, by its position, it thick, and greyish vegetation; it is commands the town. The works were the sage, and the odoriferous thyme, carried on with extreme activity duwhich, when trodden on, emits a power- ring the latter end of the autumn; al. ful and agreeable perfume. In the most all the batteries were armed; the centre of the basin, Marseilles, almost supplies of powder, cartridges, and concealed by a long and straggling hill, provisions, were completing ; wood appears in profile; and its outline, was cutting in the country for making sometimes hidden in the vapour, some- gabions, and a park of field-artillery times appearing between the undula- was forming in a plain to the east of tions of the ground, terminates in the the town. A considerable number of blue of the sea, with the handsome waggons was already collected, and town of St John. Indentations of the twenty, or twenty-five, pieces of concoast are washed by the waves of the non, were placed on their carriages. Mediterranean, which extends to the Though these preparations are not so West, with the Isles of Pomegue, Ra- considerable as had been reported, it tonneau, and the fort of If. It is un- is nevertheless equally desirable that der those beautiful pines, and in these the same were done in the fortresses innumerable country houses, that the on the Rhine ; for it is probable that Marseillese come every Sunday to for- our real enemies are rather in the get the bustle of the quays, their dis- north than on the south. However, putes with the officers of the customs, the works of Perpignan are said to be and the business of the counting nothing more than the completion of house.
plans long since made, for the repairs “As the tourist approaches the Spa- of our fortresses; and the expense does nish frontier, he is reminded of the not perhaps amount to above 150,000 state of things by groups of Spanish francs. Monks flying into France, by aides- “ Perpignan is certainly not of so de-eamp filling the inns, by waggons much political importance as Touand droves of mules choking up the louse. The latter eity, with its Traproads, and all the bustle of fugitation pist, its two journals, and its pious and war. He reaches Perpignan. souls, is the centre of vast projects.
“ I immediately walked through However, Perpignan is, for the mothe town. It is an ancient place, ment, a place of great interest, if not which was always fortified, because it political, yet picturesque; and I ofis the passage between Roussillon and ten wished for the pencil of M. CbarCatalonia. It is situated in a beauti- let, to paint the numerous fugitives ful plain, bounded on the west by with which it is filled. Mount Canigou, one of the highest “ The monks, who are the forerunof the Pyrenees ; to the north, by the ners of every emigration, swarmed at mountains of Corbieres ; to the east, Perpignan, and preceded the Regency. by the sea, hidden behind fertile hills; At Narbonne, I had already met the to the south, by the road to Catalonia. Capuchins, with their ample brown The temperature of the climate is en- flowing robes, their large hoods hangtirely southern. Some leagues from ing down to the middle of their backs, it, the orange grows in the open air, their rosary, and their bare head and and in the very basin in wbich it feet. At Perpignan, I saw monks of stands, there are immense plantations all colours; black, blue, white, grey, of olives, which extend to the foot of and reddish brown; the Curés, in large Canigou. Thus, while the summit of surtouts and immense French hats. this mountain is buried under the I remarked a singular habit in them snow, its base is covered with the finest when I met them; they followed me productions of the south.
with their eyes, as if ready to answer “The fortifications of Perpignan are a question, and their extended hands, of brick, and their form and system are as if ready to give the benediction. In ancient. A skilful engineer has lately Spain, they bless all the peasants ; and
I understood they were, inclined to be finer features of landscape, which make equally generous in France. Two of the true province of painting; with them, with whom I conversed, said some points of gigantic height and carelesely, The Spaniards like it, savage solitude, with glaciers and avaa and we give it to them. In France, lanches, its general height is that whicha they do not care for it, and we keep it allows the harmonies of forest colourto ourselves. In general, I did not ing, of luxuriant valleys, and of spark find them very fanatical. They have a ling and gentle streams. The Alps are kind of indolence, which excludes vio- too wild and lofty for this; the Apen lent sentiments. They are very little nines are perhaps too low, too naked affected by the diminution of the of forest, and too steril. Our artists King's power ; but the happy theo- have now exhausted the prominent. cratic influence which they enjoyed, subjects of the pencil at home; a dia has been disturbed. Several of their ligence and a week will place them convents have been visited ; the ma- in the midst of a new world of characjority have suffered for the crimes of teristica nd glorious scenery; and I a few, and they have fled ; in no great should not be surprised to see Mount hurry, however, and contented with Canigou, and the Cerdagne, monks, the quiet and easy pace of their mules. mules, fortresses and all, transformed The profession of a monk is very ge- to English walls. neral in Spain, because it is easy, plea- “ One of the finest sights that I sant, and favours all kind of idleness. met with in the Pyrenees, was that If a man has committed any irregula- which struck me when I first left Pera rities, or if he be still more lazy than pignan to penetrate into the mounhis lazy countrymen, he is received tains. It was about six in the morninto a monastery, and displays his ing. The cold was severe; a violent tranquil sanctity in the eyes of the and icy wind blew from the mountains people. A portion of the land is allot- of Capsir, which were covered with ted for their support; and voluntary snow; and a young man of Rousillon, donations add considerably to their with a short jacket, a hanging cap, established income. This lazy mode of and a short and lively face, drove at a life gives most of them a happy en bon gallop four horses, which carried us point ; a lively red to their cheeks, round Mount Canigou. The plain had effaces the fine lines of the Moorish not yet received a ray of the sun, countenance; renders those happy bo- when suddenly the top of Canigou was dies difficult to be moved ; and in lit with a rose-coloured tint,
which, their untroubled reign, takes from blending with the white of the snow, them even the 'hatred of heresy, the produced a shade inexpressibly soft. very name of which is unknown to The luminous band increasing as the the greater part of them. In others, sun rose higher, the upper peak seemthe cloister appears to have made the ed to enlarge in proportion as it was complexion sallow, bollowed and in- illuminated. The whole mountain was ftamed the eyes, depressed the cheeks, speedily covered with light and purand thus produced the ideal of fana- ple. Then all its forms, hitherto conticism. I have never seen anything cealed by the darkness, became inarkfiner than some of these heads project- ed at once; all its projections rose, all ing from the large robes of the capu- its hollows seemed to be deeper. The chins, with an ample forehead, a long cold, the wind, and our rapid motion, straight nose, large black fixed eyes, a added to the effect of this fine scene. little, strong, and thick beard. Among “ After having proceeded a long time them are those men, who, by turns, round the foot of Canigou, the mounmonks and guerillas, have quitted the tains of Caspir, which are at first in mountains since the return of Ferdi- front, appear at the side. We then ennand, and now go back to them, to ter the defiles, and the plain disappears, satisfy an ardent temperament, which, not to appear again till a hundred under other institutions, would have leagues off, that is to say, at Bayonne. shewn itself in great actions and noble Advancing to the defiles which lead to enterprizes."
Cerdagne, we find a people who are This Frenchman describes with some entirely Spanish. The women, whose feeling of picturesque beauty,
and his faces are round and animated, wear a sketches of scenery have a clearness handkerchief, which, spreading like a rare among his countrymen. The veil at the back of the head, is fastenrange of the Pyrenees is full of those ed, by two corners, under the chin,
and hangs in a point over the shoulders. A bow of black ribbon, taste- The traveller then penetrates into fully fastened at the root of the hair, the defiles, and finds, as he advances, ornaments the forehead; the waist is the increasing evidences of the confustrongly compressed by a corset, laced sion and misery brought upon the poin front ; and they shew peculiar grace pulation by the
giddy and unnational in their Sunday dances.'
attempt of the Cortes. M. Thiers now comes rapidly into “ I resumed my way among the the centre of operations.
mountains. The roads were covered “ Prades is the first place at all con- with the poor stragglers who had residerable that we meet after Perpig- mained behind. To these were added, nan, and it is the last. Carriages can- officers, monks, curés, students with the not pass beyond it; the way of travel- large Arragonese hat, and the gown ling is on horseback. At the moment tucked up. of my arrival, news had been received of the late defeats of the Regency, and “ In the midst of this melancholy of the flight of the insurgents into the scene, I was much struck with a young French territory. I heard the moun- man, dressed in rather a handsome taineers speaking of it with warmth, uniform, and well mounted, who, and with the fullest disposition to find though unarmed, was distinguished by something marvellous in it. Every one a loftiness and grace entirely African, told his own story, but all spoke with put his horse on all his paces, and wonder of the cavalry of Mina, which, seemed to amuse himself with the road they said, ran upon the points of the and the fugitives.” rocks. Without, however, being so mi- Our extracts must close, though the raculous, it is certain that this cavalry pamphlet contains many interesting traverses the mountains with surpri- details. But the flight of the Regency, sing rapidity and ease. They also an- is too curious an event in the chapter nounced the approach of several ge- of revolutionary accidents, not to be nerals, the Regency itself, and, above worth transferring. The traveller has, all, El Rey Mata Florida, as the pea- set out early to pass the defiles lead-, sants here called him."
ing to the valley of the Cerdagne. In those days, “ Rebellion was “ I left Olette in the morning, after good-luck ;" and the Cortes were having, with great difficulty, procured,
viceroys over the King.” The scale a mule and a guide. The sky was dark, has turned since, and the kingly Cor- and stormy; an impetuous wind blew, tes are now playing the fugitive, in through the defiles. I took the road to place of El Rey Mata Florida. The Mount Louis. There the mountains tourist is at last indulged with a view draw closer together, and rise. The of an emigrant rebellion.
road is cut out on one side of the rocks, “I was anxious to get to the place at one third of their height, and alwhere those celebrated insurgents were lows room for one mule at most. to be seen. After travelling very ra- Above, are inaccessible eminences pidly, towards night-fall, I met with below, are torrents—and beyond, are the first encampment, in a small field, other mountains. The scene is most at the foot of the mountains, and in diversified. Sometimes you rise, and the midst of the snow. I never saw a seem to command the abyss; at others, more melancholy and original sight. you descend, and seem to have it over It was distinguished, at a distance, by your head. Sometimes, following the the floating pennons of our lancers, sinuosities of the defile, you come inwho were placed as sentinels at the to an obscure enclosure, apparently four corners of the itinerant village. without an outlet; then, suddenly Twelve or fifteen hundred poor crea- doubling a point, you discover an untures, men, women, children, and old expected and immense prospect; vast people, were stretched upon the ground, amphitheatres of dazzling snow, black with their baggage spread out; some pines, and a succession of mountains, were lying on a little straw; others which crowd together, and lock into added their clothes, and endeavoured each other. The confusion of cubic to make beds of them. Some mules and broken masses of limestone; blocks were fastened outside the circle, with of granite; the schistus, detached in their heads covered with ornaments, slabs, or broken into little flakes, addand their eyes with plates of copper, ed to the roaring of the torrents, the according to the Spanish fashion. disorder of the winds, and the pressed