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Full text of "How to understand sculpture"

UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME 

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Stan 



LONDON: G. BELL AND SONS. LTD. 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 



LONDON: G. BELL AND SONS, LTD. 
PORTUGAL STREET, KINGSWAY, W.C. 
CAMBRIDGE : DEIGHTON, BELL & CO. 
NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO. 
BOMBAY : A. H. WHEET.ER & CO. 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND 

SCULPTURE 



BY 



MARGARET THOMAS 



AUTHOR OF "TWO YEARS IN PALESTINE AND SYRIA," "A 
SCAMPER THROUGH SPAIN AND TANGIER," "DEN- 
MARK," " HOW TO JUDGE PICTURES," 
" A PAINTER'S PASTIME," 

ETC., ETC. 



"Clay is the Life; Plaster the Death; Marble and Bronze 
the Resurrection of the work of Art." CANOVA. 





LONDON 

G. BELL AND SONS, LTD. 
1911 



CHISWICK PRESS : CHARLES WHITT1NGHAM AND CO. 
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON. 



TO 

DOUGLAS SLADEN 
IN MEMORY OF LONG UNFAILING FRIENDSHIP 



PREFACE 

r I ^HE title of this book speaks for itself; I 
JL have only to add here that it differs from 
most works of the kind in being the production of 
an artist endeavouring to explain the technicalities 
of a beautiful and little understood art ; for this 
reason it is hoped that it will not be judged from 
a purely literary standpoint. No attempt has been 
made to give a complete history of sculpture, 
or a perfect list of artists and their works; the 
treatise is concerned only with the principles 
which underlie all art and are the foundations of 
criticism. 

As I have mentioned in the text, famous 
authors have written profound and erudite trea- 
tises on the same subject, all of which seem to 
lack that intimate touch which artists only can 
supply. An example of this is to be found in 
Lessing's "Laocoon" a book quite useless to 
a man seeking to work out his own inspiration, 
for its sonorous periods and acute syllogisms 
would have no other effect than to confuse his 

vii 



PREFACE 

mind as to the real aims of living art. There is much 
useful matter in the Lectures of the Academicians, 
but unfortunately it is so obscured by old-fashioned 
verbiage and rhetoric that the reader who would 
find it, has to dig very deeply indeed. Biographies 
of artists are always useful and of intense interest 
to those struggling along the path which their 
victorious feet have trod. 

The present upheaval in art known as the Post- 
Impressionist movement, to whose blandishments 
a few of our foremost critics have unfortunately 
succumbed, seems to call for some remark, because, 
as in all revolutions, these eccentric artists, in 
the excitement of their contest against the Past, 
have pushed their efforts to excess, and the 
calm necessary to right judgement can be attained 
by them only after the fiery struggle is over. 
Dr. Theodore B. Hyslop's valuable contribution 
to the February number of the " Nineteenth 
Century," so admirably justifies and amplifies 
the opinion of this movement expressed in the 
" Addendum," that only want of space prevents me 
from making copious quotations from its illumin- 
ating pages. 

The Past can never, to borrow Mr. Holbrook 
Jackson's unmelodious slang, ''go pop," The 
labour and suffering of past ages, despite his in- 
gratitude, have not been vain, and continued and 

viii 



PREFACE 

progressive work marks the stages to perfection. 
The artist departs from the traditions of the past 
at his own deadly peril. 

In conclusion I have to thank Dr. G. C. 
Williamson for several valuable suggestions, and 
my publishers, Messrs. Bell, for the interest they 
have shown in my work. 



LYCEUM CLUB, 
March 1911. 



IX 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xiii 

CHAP. 

I. INTRODUCTORY i 

II. A BRIEF SURVEY 6 

III. MODELLING IN CLAY AND PLASTER- 

CASTING 13 

IV. CARVING IN MARBLE AND CASTING IN 

BRONZE 19 

V. SENTIMENT, SUBJECT, STYLE, SIMPLICITY, 
BEAUTY, PROPORTION, ORIGINALITY, 

ETC 30 

VI. GREEK SCULPTURE 46 

VII. THE RENAISSANCE OF SCULPTURE ... 62 

VIII. BRITISH SCULPTURE 89 

IX. FRENCH SCULPTURE 104 

X. GERMAN AND FLEMISH SCULPTURE . . . 113 

XL SPANISH SCULPTURE 119 

XII. CANOVA, THORVALDSEN, AND GIBSON . . 128 

XIII. SCULPTURE IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM . . 140 

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SCHOOLS OF SCULP- 
TURE . . . 163 

ADDENDUM 165 

INDEX 169 



XI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



MICHELANGELO. Moses. San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome 

Frontispiece 

Granite Statue of Rameses II. Luxor 6 

Assyrian Lion. British Museum 8 
Wax Bust, attributed to RAPHAEL or LEONARDO DA 

VINCI. Musee de Lille 14 

The Death of Osiris. Philae 18 

Draped Figure. Vatican, Rome 36 

Tomb of Hegeso Proxeno. Athens 40 

Diana and Actaeon. Palermo 46 

The Venus of the Capitol. Capitol, Rome 48 

The Landolina Venus. Syracuse 50 

The Venus of Milo. The Louvre 52 

The Belvedere Antinous or Mercury. Vatican, Rome 54 

Graeco-Roman Bust. Vatican, Rome 56 

Actaeon. Capitol, Rome 58 

Apollo. Vatican, Rome 58 

The Victory of Samothrace. The Louvre 60 

DONATELLO. Gattamelata Monument. Padua 62 

DONATELLO. Pulpito Delia Cintola. Duomo, Prato 64 

DONATELLO. St. Mark. Or San Michele, Florence 66 
DONATELLO. St. John Baptist. 

Church of the Vanchelo?ii, Florence 68 
LUCA DELLA RoBBiA. Portion of the Singing Gallery. 

Duomo Museum, Florence 72 
ANDREA DELLA ROBBIA. A Bambino. 

Hospital of the Innocenti, Florence 74 
xiij 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

TO FACE 

PAGE 

ANDREA VERROCCHIO. Bronze Statue of Bartolommeo 

Colleoni. Venice 74 

MATTEO CIVITALI. Adoring Angel. Lucca Cathedral 76 
MICHELANGELO. Pieta. St. Peter's, Rome 78 

MICHELANGELO. Wax Model for Statue of Giuliano 

de' Medici. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 80 
A. BUSTI (!L BAMBAJA). Detail of the Tomb of Gaston 

de Foix. Milan 82 

TULLIO LOMBARDO. Tomb of Guidarello Guidarelli. 

Ravenna 8 2 

MONTORSOLI. The Fountain of Orion. Messina 84 
BARTOLOMMEO BUON. The Judgment of Solomon. 

Palace of the Doges, Venice 86 
STEFANO MADERNO. Tomb of St. Cecilia. 

Church of St. Cecilia, Rome 88 

ALFRED STEVENS. Decorative Figure. Dorchester House 96 
HOUDON. Terra-Cotta Bust of Rousseau. 

The property of Mr. E. M. Hodgkins 108 
HOUDON. Marble Bust of Voltaire. 

The property of Mr. E. M. Hodgkins no 

CHAPU. Joan of Arc at Domremy. Copenhagen 112 

PETER VISCHER. Statue of King Arthur. Innsbruck 116 
From the tomb of the Emperor Maximilian. 

The Capilla Mayor. Toledo 120 

Toledo Cathedral. 

Chapel of the Condestable. Burgos 122 

Burgos Cathedral. 

Bust found at Elche, Spain. The Louvre 126 

Design for the Minerva of the Parthenon attributed to 

PHEIDIAS. National Museum, Athens 154 

Funeral Monument. Athens 156 

xiv 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND 
SCULPTURE 



CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTORY 

WHILE the art of painting is admired and 
appreciated by the whole of the civilized 
and even half-civilized world, her more retiring 
sister sculpture appears to appeal only to the few 
who, besides possessing a certain refined cast of 
mind, have given some study to her more sober 
fascinations. Indeed it might almost be said that 
it requires a special education and knowledge of 
form to understand her cold and classic charms, 
her pure impassive dignity. The man in the street 
who does not lift his head to look at Marochetti's 
great Cceur-de-Lion will yet spend his Saturday 
afternoon in the National Gallery, happily and 
intelligently; and among thousands of visitors 
who crowd round the canvases representing the 
drunken festivities of Dutch boors, scarcely one 
remarks the marble busts which adorn the vesti- 
bule. 1 

The reason is not far to seek; it lies in our crass 

1 " Why so little is known about the great art of sculpture 
by the general public in this country it is difficult to say." Dr. 
Georg Gronau. 

I B 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

ignorance as a nation of the human form, in the 
limited appeal made by sculpture to our experi- 
ence, and in the difficulty found in England of 
studying the masterpieces of this refined art. 
Colour, independent of form, has a far greater 
attraction for the uneducated mind than the finest 
Greek statue; because to appreciate thoroughly or 
even partially the greatness of the sculptor's art, 
requires an education in itself. Its appeal is rather 
to the intellect than to the senses. " Great art 
requires knowledge and sympathy for its under- 
standing." 

The art of painting is adequately represented 
in the National Gallery, the Wallace Collection, the 
Tate Gallery, and other collections, but there is 
no gallery of sculpture in London to be compared 
with these together in comprehensiveness and 
in completeness. The dingy halls of the British 
Museum contain numerous masterpieces of Greek 
art, but for one person who seeks them there, 
thousands pour through the cheerful rooms in 
Trafalgar Square where painting is indeed nobly 
housed. In France, sculpture is considered worthy 
of no less regard than painting, and the interest 
evinced in it by the public is the same as that with 
which they regard the productions of the sister 
art. 

The unpopularity of sculpture lies among other 
causes in the fact that a statue or bust would 
occupy more space than could be afforded in small 
houses and flats, and also that these works can 
seldom be placed in the high light necessary to 
show them to advantage. The modern house fur- 
nisher considers pictures as indispensable as a 
dining table, but works of sculpture are to him in- 

2 



INTRODUCTORY 

convenient possessions for which it is beyond his 
ingenuity to find appropriate places. 

The coldness of our climate too, renders the 
whiteness of marble and the dark tint of bronze 
less satisfactory to the eye than the glowing warmth 
of pictures. Northern artists have never attained 
the same excellence in sculpture as they have in 
painting, while the races of Southern Europe have 
reached perfection in both arts. 

There is no entirely satisfactory out-door monu- 
ment in London except the Richard Cceur-de- 
Lion near the Houses of Parliament by an Italian, 
Marochetti. We add to these effigies year by year, 
but without improvement in spirit, in knowledge, 
in beauty. 

Having now pointed out the neglect to which 
sculpture has been condemned among us, a pro- 
position which cannot be controverted, and the 
causes, it remains to consider how, if at all, this 
can be remedied no easy task! Personally, I 
believe that want of knowledge is the root of 
the evil, and that if once people could be taught 
to study its principles, its history, its technique, 
they would not be slow to take an intelligent 
interest in an art that is perhaps the noblest of 
all. Later on I shall return to this subject. 

Sir Joshua Reynolds puts the question more 
explicitly in his " Discourses," where he tells us, 
" it may be said that this pleasure" (appreciation of 
sculpture) "is reserved only to those who have 
spent their whole life in the study and contempla- 
tion of this art; but the truth is, that all would 
feel its effects if they could divest themselves of 
the expectation of deception and look only for 
what it really is a partial representation of Nature. 

3 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

The only impediment of their judgement must 
then proceed from their being uncertain to what 
rank, or rather kind of excellence it aspires; and 
to what sort of approbation it has a right. This 
state of darkness is, without doubt, irksome to 
every mind ; but, by attention to works of this kind, 
the knowledge of what is aimed at comes of itself, 
without being taught, and almost without being 
perceived." 

If one could take the student to the base of a 
Greek statue, explain why this is so and so, how 
and wherefore it is thus and no other, point out the 
exquisite lines and balance of the figure, the simple 
appropriate folds of the drapery, the beauty of ex- 
pression and composition, the purity of outline, the 
perfection of anatomy, and the wonderful skill of 
execution, the object perhaps might be achieved 
by the learner becoming interested, and continuing 
for himself investigations of other works on the 
same lines. He would then at least have a canon 
for his guidance. In default of such an opportunity 
I have written this book, in which I propose to 
give a sketch of the rise of the art, its development 
in different nations, its characteristics and principles, 
and such description of the methods of producing 
works in sculpture as may seem necessary to lend 
an interest to them. I will then, metaphorically, take 
my reader by the hand and lead him through a 
gallery of sculpture, illustrating what I have said 
and describing the chief attractions, and leave him 
where he can study Greek sculpture to nearly the 
best advantage the British Museum. 

Another and most serious reason for my writing 
this book, is to endeavour to correct the mistakes 
into which literary and other people often fall by 

4 



INTRODUCTORY 

explaining to them how to avoid the inaccurate 
use of terms in sculpture, such as, " moulded" for 
"cast," "cast" for "modelled," "modelled" for 
" moulded," etc., both in writing of the art itself, 
and in using such words in metaphors only. Since 
I began this chapter I have met with two instances 
which exhibit perfect ignorance of all that apper- 
tains to the art, one in a book which asserts that 
the walls of a certain room were "lined with the 
veined marble used by Michelangelo," which the 
writer adds " is only found at Serravezza " ! where, 
in point of fact, the sculptor went to procure the 
purest possible marble ; the other in an advertise- 
ment for the sale of " clear cut casts." 

If any author should perchance happen to read 
my unpretending book, I trust it may enable him 
to avoid these and similar errors which, while the 
general public endure them, really hurt the pro- 
fessors of the plastic art. 



CHAPTER II 

A BRIEF SURVEY 

ENOUGH no doubt has been written already 
on the subject of antique sculpture to ex- 
haust all available contemporary knowledge, and 
to leave no source unexplored whence we might 
reasonably expect to obtain further information. 
But these recondite treatises treasuries of erudi- 
tion to the scholar and the artist have so far 
failed to popularize their delightful subject. 

Yet who, reading a description of the athletic 
contests so characteristic of ancient Greece, would 
not desire to judge for himself of the physical 
development resulting from those renowned exer- 
cises of which so many types still remain in the 
statue-peopled halls of the Vatican? Or who, 
studying the invasion of the Attic States by the 
mighty hosts of Philip of Macedon, and learn- 
ing how they were defied by the patriotism of 
Demosthenes, would not wish to see the portrait 
of the greatest of Greek orators and know what 
manner of man he was, who by the mere power 
of his eloquence could hold an army in check? 
Even the reader of the daily papers, learning how 
in that last terrible siege of Paris, the thoughts of 
its art-loving inhabitants turned, even amid the din 
of battle, to their incomparable treasure the Venus 

6 




[Luxor 



GRANITE STATUE OF RAMESES II 



A BRIEF SURVEY 

of Milo, and how they placed the statue in a cellar 
for safety till the awful contest had ceased, when 
it arose serene and immortal once more from the 
sheltering earth would not even he like to see 
for himself what charms it possesses to enslave so 
completely the hearts of the volatile Parisians? 
Indeed, we shall have unprofitably studied ancient 
history and that glorious literature of which antique 
art is the only worthy illustration, if they have not 
aroused in us an earnest desire to behold those 
representations of geniuses, heroes, and divinities, 
which the great sculptors of Greece have enshrined 
in marble for us, and even the cruel hand of time 
has spared. 

Sculpture is the oldest of the arts. Before writing 
was invented, prehistoric man carved rude out- 
lines of the human figure and of animals on the 
bones from which he had stripped the flesh, and 
on the smoke-blackened walls of the cave which 
gave him shelter. Carvings very much resembling 
these are still produced by the Lapps and other 
undeveloped races. 

The Assyrians and Egyptians practised the art 
of sculpture extensively, hewing their colossal gods 
and kings out of granite. A certain sombre mag- 
nificence, due chiefly to the enormous size of these 
works is their chief characteristic. The Egyptian 
Antinous, of which a cast may be seen in the 
Victoria and Albert Museum, so nearly approaches 
Greek work, that it was probably produced under 
the influence of that school of art, and the wooden 
statue, Es SMkh el Beled, in the museum at 
Cairo is as good a piece of realism as early sculp- 
ture has produced. Nevertheless Assyrian and 
Egyptian sculpture remained always more or less 

7 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

archaic, relying for its effect on size, simplicity of 
line, and the dignity of repose. 

The same remarks apply to Etruscan sculpture, 
but having myself found figures in an Etruscan 
tomb at Volterra closely resembling Greek work 
in feeling and execution, I was led to inquire if 
there was any probability of that people ever 
having influenced Etruscan art. Dennis gives all 
the information to be obtained on the subject and 
says : " antiquaries endeavour to reconcile con- 
flicting facts by imagining an extensive population 
of Greeks settled for ages in Etruria. But after 
all what are the speculations of most antiquaries 
worth, where there are no historic records for 
guidance, and few other palpable data from which 
to arrive at the truth . . . where in a word, the 
question resolves itself into one of artistic feeling, 
as much as of archaeological erudition? Not to 
every man is it given to penetrate the mysteries 
of art ... to distinguish the copy from the original 
in painting or sculpture." 1 

Till the epoch of Daedalus about the sixth cen- 
tury B.C. Greek sculpture had, broadly speaking, 
no existence; from then the history of this art is 
closely interwoven with that of Greece herself, 
which country carried it to the highest perfection 
it has ever attained. 

The first statues made by the Greeks were carved 
in wood. These have perished but we know what 
they were like from contemporary stone copies. 
The oldest is, perhaps, the statue of Artemis found 
at Delos. From those rigid, shapeless figures, the 
progress is slow but sure to the famed sculptures 
of the Parthenon which were produced in the 

1 Dennis, " Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria," vol. i, Intro. 

8 



A BRIEF SURVEY 

meridian of the sculptor's art. " Five centuries 
only saw the rise, the perfection, and the decline 
of Greek sculpture, from the metopes of Selinus 
belonging to the seventh century B.C. to the dram- 
atic works of Rhodes, Pergamon, and Tralles, in 
the second century B.C.'* 

With the wealth which poured into Rome when 
she became the mistress of the world, came the 
demand for objects of art and luxury, for repre- 
sentations of her ever- increasing number of gods, 
for portraits of her victorious emperors and generals, 
and of her patriots, poets, philosophers, and his- 
torians. During the long struggle for supremacy 
and conflicts with the hordes of barbarians who 
attacked her from every quarter, the arts of peace 
had been neglected, and the Romans, absorbed by 
their warlike ardour and owing perhaps to a want 
of aptitude, were incapable of supplying this de- 
mand. They therefore brought over artists from 
Greece, who however never succeeded in creating 
in an alien atmosphere such masterpieces as those 
with which they had ennobled their own more 
congenial land; the style of art called Graeco- 
Roman was the result. Many of these productions 
are very fine, but altogether wanting in the purity, 
refinement, and elegance of the old Greek art. 

Rome in her turn fell before the throng of Goths 
and other barbarians who assailed her; with her 
temporal supremacy expired such artistic powers 
as she still possessed. 

During the Middle Ages, that long period of 
darkness, ignorance, and turmoil which lay like a 
pall over Europe for many centuries, the arts of 
painting and sculpture were lost. 

In all modern nations the first rude attempts at 

9 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

producing sculpture have a strong similitude; in 
early Italian, early English, early German, and 
early French, Gothic influence asserted itself, and 
the forms and compositions of the artists of each 
nation are hardly distinguishable one from the 
other. It is only in its development that the styles 
became differentiated according to the genius of 
the nation to which they belong. As infants in all 
countries begin with the same babblings but after- 
wards learn the tongues their mothers speak, so in 
its childhood all art expresses itself alike, differing 
only when it receives the impression of the age to 
which it belongs and when it begins to act in 
harmony with its environment. 

The Goths developed a style of sculpture at 
once powerful and original, but separated by in- 
finite degrees from the classical. Its characteristics 
depths of feeling, roughness, and strength- may 
be studied in many a cathedral and other ecclesi- 
astical buildings in France, Spain, and Italy, and 
of it the reliefs on the fagade of the Cathedral at 
Orvieto, in that of Chartres, and the well-known 
Beau Christ at Amiens are favourable examples; 
our own country also furnishes us with many. 

A more glorious resurrection was however at 
hand. The year 1383 saw the birth of Donatello 
and with him sculpture sprang to life again almost 
in perfection, like Minerva ready armed from the 
head of Jupiter. It is true that Niccolo Pisano 
had previously made the pulpit in the Baptistery 
at Pisa, and that Ghiberti had executed his mar- 
vellous gates for that at Florence, but rarely has 
such perfection been reached at almost one bound 
as sculpture displayed at the command of the 
supreme genius of Donatello. 

10 



A BRIEF SURVEY 

The greatest of all Italian sculptors, Michel- 
angelo, flourished just after the period of Donatello. 
Far from following in the path traced by that pro- 
found student of nature, his fiery genius disdained 
all control, and he neither became a follower of 
that master, nor a copyist of the Greeks whose 
perfect works were at that time being torn in 
numbers from the teeming soil of Italy. 1 Nature 
was at first his master, but of her his stupendous 
genius soon made a slave, with the result that he 
has created a world of heroes and demi-gods for 
whose prototypes we search in vain amid the 
ordinary humanity which surrounds us and which 
we know. Michelangelo stands alone in the world 
of art, a supreme, gigantic figure who forces our 
wonder and admiration but defies us to approach 
or imitate. Let him who would study this divine 
master go to the Medici Chapel in Florence where 
the figures of Giuliano and Lorenzo de Medici y 
the one like "an eyeless basilisk" the other a 
victorious warrior, sit in splendid majesty above 
the stupendous giants which represent Night and 
Day and Dawn and Twilight, and say if the world 
holds another shrine of art and genius equal 
to this. 

Since the days of these two artists of supreme 
achievement, sculpture has made no advance per- 
haps because it had attained the highest ; rather 
it has retrograded. 

In its long struggle through the ages, it has 
passed through many phases, worst of which was 
the pseudo-classicism of Gibson, Canova, and 

1 Even last year (1910) a number of statues and fragments 
have been discovered in making excavations for the new Rome, 
but none of surpassing excellence. 

II 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

Thorvaldsen, which in its vacuity and lifelessness 
has yet found many imitators. A violent reaction 
against this style arose in France, always with the 
courage of her convictions, and later in England. 
In France, however, are found the foremost sculp- 
tors of the present day. Whether a period of 
perfect sculpture like the eras of Pheidias and 
Donatello will ever return is a question for the 
future, and for those who love and study the art 
those supreme masters made divine. 



12 



CHAPTER III 

MODELLING IN CLAY AND PLASTER CASTING 

ANYONE who has watched the panting bul- 
locks dragging the marble down the pre- 
cipitous roads of Carrara, or seen the rough blocks 
lying in the golden sunlight of the Marmorata in 
Rome, or has even looked at them casually in the 
cold recesses of an English stone merchant's yard, 
must almost involuntarily have drawn a comparison 
between the raw material before him and the ex- 
quisitely finished statues and groups he has seen, 
and have marvelled at the wonderful art which, out 
of the rude rock, could hew those glowing master- 
pieces which seem as if they only needed life to 
move and speak. The mechanical part of this 
marvellous transformation is the subject of this 
and the following chapter. 

Pliny gives the following account of the invention 
of modelling. The daughter of Butades, a potter 
of Corinth, had a sailor lover who was about to 
depart on a dangerous voyage. As he bade her 
farewell the light of a lamp threw the shadow of 
his profile on the wall ; she traced the outline, 
which her father filled in with clay and baked with 
his pots. 

The materials used in the art of sculpture are 
uniformly of the simplest kind, and we will for the 
present suppose a bust to occupy the attention of 

13 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

the sculptor. He takes some very finely beaten- 
up clay, generally of a gray colour, 1 and presses it 
firmly round a strong stick fixed on a board, adding 
more and more till it gradually attains the form 
and dimensions of a human head. The " bust- 
stick " he places on what is technically called a 
"banker," that is a high stool, the top of which turns, 
so that he may work at any part of his model with- 
out changing his own position. During the progress 
of the modelling the clay is kept moist by wrapping 
it in damp cloths when the artist is not at work. 
His tools are of the simplest, pieces of boxwood 
or bone fashioned in various convenient shapes 
and sometimes toothed, but above all his fingers 
and thumbs, for in artistic work the least complex 
tools are ever the best. 

Wax is a very convenient material in which to 
model small objects, such as medals, coins, etc., it 
retains the sharpness of the artist's touch better 
than clay, may be left without casting, and is 
manipulated with greater certainty. In the Victoria 
and Albert Museum at South Kensington are some 
wonderful anatomical studies in wax by Michel- 
angelo, and in the Mus6e de Lille is a marvellously 
beautiful bust said to be by Raffael or Leonardo 
da Vinci and evidently a portrait, which shows 
how much may be attained in this material. The 
suggestive treatment of the hair is particularly 
happy. 

There is a common error about sculpture which 
I should like to refute ; it is that when a portrait 
bust is to be made a cast in plaster is taken of the 
subject's face, which the sculptor in some mys- 

1 In Italy brown clay is used, and Hiram Powers, the sculp- 
tor of the Greek slave, preferred a pink composition. 

14 



ATTRIBUTED TO RAPHAEL OR LEONARDO DA VINCI 




\MustedeLilte 



WAX BUST 



MODELLING AND CASTING 

terious way converts into the finished work. No- 
thing can be further from the fact. A sculptor takes 
a sitting exactly as a painter does ; he looks at his 
subject, and renders what he sees in clay instead of 
paint. It is a most painful operation to have the 
cast of one's face taken, and the result is far from 
being satisfactory; in fact, the cast is sometimes un- 
recognizable, for the weight of the plaster presses 
against and alters the form of the yielding flesh, 
and, as to the involuntary expression thus recorded, 
disgust and fright mingled in about equal propor- 
tions give but a faint idea of it. After death casts 
are frequently taken, and are of great use for 
modelling from as they preserve the proportions 
of the features and the size of the bones; besides, 
the flesh being firmer they are truer than those 
taken from life. 

It is said that in Chantrey's studio, a model a 
black man was once cast from head to foot, and 
the result was fatal. A cast of great utility is one 
of an corch figure, taken from a man who had 
been hanged and before he became stiffened, placed 
in the attitude of the Dying Gladiator. This 
interesting object is in the schools of the Royal 
Academy. 

Having given his work in clay the final touches, 
rendered the flowing freedom of the hair, modelled 
the drapery, and caught, if he was able, the best 
expression he has ever seen on his sitter's counten- 
ance, the artist entrusts the precious result of his 
labours to the plasterman to be cast. This is merely 
a mechanical process though requiring great care 
and experience, since the work of months or even 
years, is then entirely at the mercy of the workman. 
He takes strips of zinc or bands of clay and with 

15 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

them divides the bust in two parts, usually in a 
line running across the top of the head, behind the 
ears, and along the shoulders. The well-known 
property of plaster of paris to become hard, or "set" 
as it is called, after it has been blended with water is 
the basis of his operations. He mixes a basinful to 
the consistence his experience has taught him, and 
before it sets manages with his hollowed hands 
and a brush to cover up the back part of the bust 
up to the line of zinc. This soon hardens ; he takes 
away his division, rubs a little clay-water over the 
edge of his mould to prevent the other half stick- 
ing, and proceeds to cover the front with plaster 
in a similar manner. The plaster used in making 
the mould is coloured in laundresses' blue, pow- 
dered light red, or anything of the kind, so that in 
the future operation it may be distinguished from 
the cast. 

The mould being thus complete, the plasterman 
lifts the back half off, pouring water over it when- 
ever it sticks, and then digs the clay out of the front 
half; the clay being thus destroyed the sculptor's 
work is now represented by the mould alone. This 
is washed very thoroughly, the two pieces tied 
together, and white plaster poured in it ; it is turned 
round and round till every portion of the inner 
surface is covered arid an empty space left only in 
the middle. If strengthening is required, a bar of 
iron, covered with shellac to prevent its rusting, is 
inserted. The plaster is again allowed to harden, 
and the delicate process of chipping off the mould 
with chisel and mallet commenced. Now the use 
of the colour in the plaster of the mould is apparent ; 
it can easily be distinguished from the cast, and 
injury to the beautiful delicate surface avoided. 

16 



MODELLING AND CASTING 

The pedestal one sees under some busts is turned 
and affixed by the plasterman, and the completed 
work delivered to the artist for a few final touches 
if he chooses, this time with steel tools instead of 
wooden ones. 

In taking a bust as my illustration of modelling 
and casting, I have chosen the easiest form pos- 
sible, but the principles are the same in the most 
colossal groups. Of course the moulds of these 
huge works are in numerous pieces, and they are 
held together with iron. The figures in groups are 
cast separately and afterwards joined together. 
The frame or skeleton which supports the clay is 
of very elaborate construction, got up to scale from 
the artist's sketch-model; it is made of iron bars 
screwed firmly to a stand; lead piping, fastened 
with copper wire, is used where bends and joints 
are found. 

The kind of moulding I have endeavoured to 
describe is called " waste-moulding," because the 
mould is destroyed in making one cast only. " Piece- 
moulding" is a more elaborate extension of the 
same method. Supposing a number of casts of the 
same work to be required, the plasterman, after 
thoroughly saturating the original with oil, proceeds 
to make a mould of it in small pieces, piece by 
piece, which he fits most carefully and accurately 
together; the whole is afterwards covered with a 
"case-mould," to keep the small pieces together. 
The mould is filled with plaster; when it sets, the 
case is removed, the small pieces taken off one by 
one, and as taken off replaced in the outer mould, 
the whole to be filled with plaster for another cast, 
a process which may be continued almost ad in- 
finitum. This proceeding requires so much time 

17 c 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

and experience that I should advise the amateur 
plasterman never to attempt it ; the skill necessary 
to accomplish successfully that which I first de- 
scribed may be attained easily by practice. Of 
course little seams of plaster find their way into 
the interstices of even the best fitting mould, and 
these may easily be cleaned off with steel tools and 
sandpaper, but had better never be touched. Do 
not buy a cast from which some unartistic hand 
has rubbed the marks of the seam. 

Sculpture is unlike painting in this: the master- 
pieces of the painter are unique, and but an in- 
different idea of them can be conveyed by engrav- 
ings, copies, or photographs, while works of sculp- 
ture admit of very adequate reproduction by means 
of plaster casts ; these, though they may be wanting 
in the glowing warmth of the marble poetically 
toned by the lapse of years, are yet in every other 
detail, absolute reproductions of the originals. 

The best collection of casts from the antique in 
England is that in the possession of the Royal Aca- 
demy, presented by Pope Pius VII to George IV 
and by that monarch given to the newly formed 
academy. Flaxman says of this collection that " it 
was executed with great skill and precision from 
the original marbles to supply their places on the 
pedestals of their prototypes when those originals 
became the prey of barbarous rapacity. The 
pillage was restored by the interference of British 
justice and the Regent's magnanimous councils. 
The Sovereign Pontiff, in acknowledgement, pre- 
sented the casts to the Regent." 

The Gallery of Casts is accessible only to mem- 
bers and students of the Academy, but another very 
fine collection is now to be found in the Victoria 
and Albert Museum at South Kensington, 

18 



CHAPTER IV 

CARVING IN MARBLE AND CASTING IN BRONZE 

r I "HE art of carving figures in stone is of the 
highest antiquity. To prove this we need 
not go back with the scientist to the days when 
primeval man outlined objects familiar to him on 
the walls of his cavern, and on the bones of the 
animal which had served him for his meals, but 
simply to Herodotus, who tells us "the Egyptians 
erected the first altars and temples to the gods, 
and carved the figures of animals in stone." 
Thence passing to Greece, the first sculptor of 
whom we have any knowledge is Daedalus, who 
scarcely comes within the range of history. 
Dipoenis and Scyllis, his pupils, are known to 
have exercised the art of sculpture 776 years B.C. 
Specimens of their work exist in the British 
Museum. The Etruscans also, before the founda- 
tion of Rome, attained considerable skill in carving, 
as we know from statues found in tombs, and the 
three colossal heads on the Porta dell' Arco, 
Volterra. Leaving the dim and misty regions of 
such remote antiquity, we find sculpture flourish- 
ing in its highest perfection in the time of Pheidias, 
800 years from the date of Daedalus. 

The supply of marble required for artistic pur- 
poses throughout the world is obtained almost 
exclusively from the quarries of Carrara. A very 

19 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

hard crystalline-looking marble is found on Mount 
Pentelicon in Greece, but it is so difficult to work 
that it is not often used now, though many of the 
most famous antique statues are made of it. 

Carrara is a small town entirely dedicated to 
the interests of marble merchants and quarrymen. 
The houses are built of this material, streets paved 
with it it lies in huge blocks on both sides of the 
roads, and the mountains, which rise like an amphi- 
theatre around, are masses of the same beautiful 
stone. The road up these mountains to the caves 
is, or was when I visited Carrara, impassable by 
any vehicle except the rough drays drawn by bul- 
locks used for the conveyance of the stone. The 
ruts caused by their wheels range from one to two 
feet in depth; close on each side the mountains 
rise almost perpendicularly, and, as if more im- 
pediments to traffic than these were wanted, huge 
blocks awaiting conveyance lie almost across the 
road, while during rain a muddy torrent rushes 
impetuously down the centre. The marble is blasted 
in caves in the sides of the mountains and rolled 
down into this road, causing a noise like that of 
perpetually recurring avalanches; it is conveyed 
by train or bullock-drays to Leghorn and thence 
shipped to its destination. 

The caves belong to the Commune of Carrara 
and are let to those who work them. The quarries 
worked by the ancient Romans are at Serravezza 
close by, and it is said some Latin inscriptions 
may still be deciphered in them. It was these 
caves that Michelangelo reopened during that 
portion of his life so cruelly wasted in excavating 
the marble necessary for his stupendous works, 
and they are used again at the present day. 

20 



MARBLE AND BRONZE 

The blocks are brought down the mountains in 
a most picturesque but inhuman manner, in heavy 
drays drawn by twelve or fourteen bullocks, 
driven by men sitting on the yokes between each 
pair, provided with iron-pointed sticks which they 
do not fail to use. The poor beasts only last for 
six months at this fearful labour; they are then 
fatted and killed, for your Italian is no connoisseur 
of beef. 1 

About 8,000 men are constantly employed at 
the marble quarries, and, as may easily be im- 
agined, accidents occur every day. 

It would be remarkable if Carrara had not pro- 
duced sculptors, born as its inhabitants are where 
they hear of and see little besides marble. As a 
matter of fact, it has its academy which sends de- 
serving students to Rome to study, amongst whom 
was the celebrated Tenerani, the pupil of Thor- 
valdsen. 

There seems marble enough in Carrara to supply 
the world for centuries even were the sculptor's 
art better appreciated than it is at present. The 
women work as hard, or, as I have also seen in 
more refined places, harder than the men, and 
seem able to carry as great weights on their heads 
as the Eastern atdl carries on his back. Perhaps 
their lives of inordinate labour is the reason why 
people here look so prematurely old and are so 
deeply wrinkled; goitre is common. The land- 
scape around Carrara is exceptionally lovely even 
for Italy. 

We will suppose the sculptor to have finished 
the model of a bust as described in the previous 

1 A horse-tramway now replaces the bullock-drays on some 
of the roads. 

21 -~" 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

chapter and selected at his marble merchant's a 
block which he thinks of the right size to contain 
his work. It is brought to the studio and a work- 
man proceeds to " rough it out," that is, he takes 
the outer measurement of the bust with his calipers 
and hews off from the mass of marble the super- 
abundant stone. While doing this, he carefully 
examines it to see if there are any flaws, spots, 
etc., and often has to change the position of the 
head, turn the marble at every imaginable angle, 
or upside down, and sometimes throw away a 
block or two till he has found a place for the face 
which is absolutely flawless and spotless. This is 
entirely the labour of the pointer, it has nothing 
whatever to do with the artist, who meanwhile 
may be exercising his talent on other models. 
The " backing out" or shaping the back portion 
of the bust is also now proceeded with. 

The model and roughly hewn block of marble 
are now set on two strong bankers and a number 
of pencil marks, half an inch to two inches apart, 
made on the former in certain suitable places. A 
perfectly level piece of wood or stone is next 
fixed on the front of both bankers, and to these 
the pointing instrument is screwed. This consists, 
roughly speaking, of an upright metal rod up and 
down which another slender-jointed rod moves in 
every direction ; it can be fixed in any position 
by a screw. Having placed this instrument on the 
level piece of wood in front of the banker which 
holds the model, the pointer takes the exact posi- 
tion of the pencil dots ; he then transfers it to the 
plane in front of the block of marble, having first 
screwed the needle firmly in the place it occupies, 
and proceeds to cut with his chisel or drill nearly 

22 



MARBLE AND BRONZE 

down to the spot it marks. This he continues 
to do over the whole surface of the marble, re- 
moving the instrument alternately from the model 
to the block, and from the block to the model, till 
at last a rough likeness of the bust appears. The 
pointing instrument is not much used in Italy, 
but the same result obtained by means of com- 
passes. 

The block of marble thus prepared is delivered 
over to the carver, who, with the model in front of 
him, aided by compasses and working from pencil 
mark to pencil mark, does his best to make an 
exact representation of the master's model. For 
this purpose, files and rasps, as well as chisels are 
used. This part of the work is anxiously super- 
vised by the artist, who himself takes the tools at 
this stage, and renders the minuter shades of ex- 
pression and forms of features. This then " is the 
resurrection of the work of art," which lived a 
little while in the ductile clay, died in the hard and 
chalky whiteness of the plaster, but in soft-toned 
marble arises into immortality, 

It is commonly known that Michelangelo 
alone disdained to avail himself of mechanical aid 
and hewed his conceptions at once in marble which 
seemed plastic beneath his chisel. As it is 
well put in Professor Rossini's somewhat tedious 
but historically accurate story " Luisa Strozzi," 
the great artist's statue of Lorenzo de Medici " e 
creato nel marmo e non nel modello." But 
Michelangelo lived " when the days were longer, 
(for time like money, is measured by our needs), 
when summer afternoons were spacious, and the 
clocks ticked slowly in the winter evening." 
Besides, to the tremendous genius of this demi- 

23 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

god of art was happily united an' unusually pro- 
longed existence; to none other have similar gifts 
been granted in such overwhelming profusion. 
Woe to the student who at the commencement of 
his career takes Michelangelo for his guide and 
example, for that supreme artist stands alone on 
the pedestal to which his superhuman genius and 
profound study have raised him; to none is it 
granted to reach the same elevation. Nature is 
the Alpha and Omega of the student of art; like 
a kind mother, she gives of her best to those who 
humbly, simply, and devoutly love and study her. 
Style, which Flaxman, and there is no greater 
name in the sparse literature of sculpture than 
his, defines as " art conducted by science and en- 
nobled by philosophy," may be super-added when 
the power of exactly copying nature has been 
attained. 

If the art of carving in stone is of ancient 
origin, that of casting in metal can also claim 
great antiquity, for it was practised in the pre- 
historic period called the " Age of Bronze," which 
immediately succeeded the " Age of Stone " eras 
to which it is impossible to assign even an ap- 
proximate date. The relics of .the "Age of 
Bronze" are of comparatively recent discovery, 
most having been found in the deposits in the 
lacustrine villages of Switzerland and Savoy; 
and then, as now, bronze was an alloy of copper 
and tin, mixed in some specimens with a little 
lead. 1 

Assyrian bronzes, which are very beautiful ex- 
amples of the art, were produced, scholars assure 

1 The proportion now used is generally ninety-one of copper 
to nine of tin. 

24 



MARBLE AND BRONZE 

us, as far back as the twenty-fourth century B.C. 
Small bronze figures made by the Egyptians and 
as old or older than the Pyramids, may be seen in 
the British Museum. Indeed the art of casting 
figures in bronze was probably introduced into 
Greece from Egypt, though Pausanias says the 
first to cast statues in molten bronze were the 
Samians, Rhoecus the son of Phileas, and Theo- 
dorus the son of Telecles. However this may be, 
the Greeks certainly received the art of sculpture 
from the Egyptians. 

A bronze bust of a lady has been found in the 
Polledrara tomb near Vulci in Etruria. " The 
antiquity of this bust is proved, not only by its 
style, but by its workmanship ; not being cast, but 
formed of thin plates of bronze, hammered into 
shape, and finished with the chisel the earliest 
mode of Etruscan toreutics. The first works of 
the Greeks were probably so formed, for we know 
that the most ancient statue in bronze that of 
Jupiter in the Acropolis of Sparta was wrought 
in separate pieces, nailed together (Pausan., iii, 17), 
and so, on the revival of the arts in the fourteenth 
century of our era, says Moncali, the earliest 
statues in this material, as that of Boniface VIII 
in Bologna, erected in 1301, were formed of 
plates." 1 

One of the first references to metal-working is 
to be found in the Old Testament, where we are 
told Tubal Cain was an " artificer in brass and 
iron." The golden calf of Aaron was cast from 
the women's ear-rings; and the description of 
Solomon's Temple and its accessories indicates 

1 Dennis, " Cities and Cemetries of Etruria," vol. i, chap. 
xxi. 

25 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

that considerable skill in the working of metals 
must have been attained by the Israelites at that 
period. The Greeks were also acquainted with 
the art as now practised; there may be seen in 
the Vatican a portion of a bronze horse in which 
the core still remains, and other evidences of 
their method. The best collection of bronzes of 
the same and a later date, is in the Museo Reale 
at Naples. When Greek artists followed the rising 
fortunes of the Romans to their great capital, they 
took the art of casting in bronze with them ; and 
Pliny tells us of a colossal statue of Nero there 
no feet in height. 

With the fall of the Roman power came the 
total eclipse of art, and the next interesting men- 
tion of bronze casting is found in the " Memoirs of 
Benvenuto Cellini " written by himself. Ghiberti 
had previously cast the grand doors of the 
Baptistery in Florence by a process known as " en 
cire perdue," and in this manner Cellini proceeded 
to cast his group of Perseus. His amusing account 
of his severe illness at the time of the casting, 
how at a most critical moment metal and fuel ran 
short, and how he leaped from his bed to throw 
his tables and chairs into the waning fire is well 
known. He appears to have been as usual so 
well satisfied with his work that it rather pains me 
to add, what on close examination I have found 
to be the case that the surface is not all that 
would be desired by a sculptor of to-day. 

Michelangelo made only one bronze statue, 
that of Pope Julius II. It was ten feet in height, 
and was destroyed by the inhabitants of Bologna 
in a fit of popular indignation against that Pontiff 
an irreparable loss to art. The fragments were 

26 



MARBLE AND BRONZE 

sent to the Duke of Ferrara who cast pieces of 
ordnance with them. 1 

Sir Saville Lumley in his most valuable report 
to the Houses of Parliament on " Bronze casting 
in Belgium," thus describes the manner known as 
casting "en cire perdue" in which the great 
works of the Middle Ages were produced. 

" The artist who intended producing a work in 
bronze, began by making a model of it in clay; 
this was baked and served as the core, which was 
then covered with wax, and the work was com- 
pleted by the artist in that material. The wax 
itself was then covered with repeated layers of 
prepared earth to form a mould, and the whole 
mass was then fired in a furnace, when the wax 
melted and in melting left between the mould and 
the core a space of the required thickness of the 
bronze, and into this space the molten metal was 
run. It is to be remarked that each bronze statue 
of that period was unique, since the model itself 
as well as the mould were broken up in casting, 
consequently enhancing the value of every work 
of art thus produced." 

This process is still much practised in Belgium. 

The method of casting in bronze, as at present 
practised in England, has been fully described by 
the late Henry Weekes, R.A., at one time Profes- 
sor of Sculpture to the Royal Academy, in his 
prize treatise on the Fine Arts Section of the 
Exhibition of 1851. I transcribe his description 
almost at length, for reasons which Professor 
Weekes himself explains. 

" Bronze-casting is a distinct process in the fine 
arts, little understood by artists themselves, and 
1 R. Duppa, " Life of Michael Angelo." 
27 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

requiring, moreover, considerable accommodation 
in the way of premises, furnaces, apparatus, etc. 
For these reasons it is frequently entrusted to 
regular trade-founders. 

" Moulding for bronzes requires frequently that 
the plaster model should be cut into parts; it 
rarely happens in fact, that a statue or group can 
be cast in one piece, owing to difficulties that 
arise, first from the moulding itself, and secondly 
from the running of the metal into the mould. In 
moulding these pieces, two or three points require 
special care and attention; and by attending to 
these we shall at once enable the reader, aided by 
what has been already said, to understand the 
whole business. One of them is the necessity of 
fully providing for the free entrance of the liquid 
metal into the mould, as well as for the easy and 
perfect escape of the air out of it as it be- 
comes displaced by the metal. For this reason 
channels have to be made in the joints of the 
mould, down which the metal is first made to run, 
whence, entering the vacancy left to form the cast 
at the lowest point, it rises upwards through all 
the parts, and the air can thus easily escape through 
other channels cut for that purpose. It should be 
mentioned here, that there must always be pro- 
vided an inner mould, or core as it is termed, to 
regulate the thickness of the metal. This is man- 
aged by laying, on the surface of the outer mould, 
clay of the required thickness, and then filling up 
the interior with the same material as the mould 
itself; after which the outer mould is removed, 
and the clay taken away, leaving the necessary 
vacancy for the metal between the two when they 
are put together again. A mixture in equal pro- 

28 



MARBLE AND BRONZE 

portions of plaster of Paris and brick-dust best 
serves all the purposes of the mould. When com- 
plete it is bound round with iron hoops and put 
into an oven to dry for five or six weeks. At the 
end of this time the mould is lowered into a pit, 
and tightly embedded in sand, channels are made 
of sand, from the orifice of the furnace to the 
mouth of the mould; the furnace is tapped, and 
the liquid flame rushes out through the roads so 
formed for it. This is the anxious moment, upon 
which the result of many weeks' work depends. If 
the metal run quietly down the mould, and appear 
again up the passages formed for the escape of 
the air, it is but reasonable to infer that it has 
travelled through every part, and that a good cast 
will be the result ; but if by chance a beautiful jet de 
feii takes place, it may be as well to retire to a 
respectful distance, and the moulder may recom- 
mence his work; for waiting till to-morrow when 
the mould and the cast are to be dug out of the 
pit, will be scarcely worth while. 

" The last proceeding is to join together the 
various parts so cast. Chasing in fact all tool- 
work on the metal tends to destroy freedom of 
manipulation, and to produce in its stead a stiff, 
mechanical style, the reverse of all semblance to 
flexibility." 



29 



CHAPTER V 

SENTIMENT, STYLE, SIMPLICITY, BEAUTY, PROPORTION, 
ORIGINALITY, ETC. 

HAVING now slightly, traced the evolution of 
sculpture and its mechanical production, I 
approach my subject on a much higher plane and 
proceed to study its aim, such rules as control it, 
and the science necessary to produce and under- 
stand it. 

Old writers, such as Flaxman and Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, give a number of rules and precepts 
as to composition, style, etc. ; but the former at the 
end of one of his formal discourses casts aside 
academical restraint, and adds " every painter and 
sculptor feels the conviction that a considerable 
portion of science is requisite to the production of 
liberal art; but he will be equally convinced that 
whatever is produced from principles and rules 
only, added to the most exquisite manual labour, 
is no more than a mechanical work. Sentiment 
is the life and soul of fine art; without it, it is all 
a dead letter." 

Sentiment then is the first thing to look for in 
a work of art. This subtle quality is not to be 
expressed in words ; if it be there it must also be 
reflected on the work from the mind of the be- 
holder himself. What he brings to it that will he 
find. Sentiment is entirely apart from technique. 
We are all fascinated by the little Tanagra figures 

30 



SENTIMENT AND STYLE 

now happily so well known among us. Yet their 
charm is not due to perfect execution or skilled 
modelling, indeed, many of them are very rough 
indeed, but to the sentiment with which the artists 
have endowed them. But the sentiment or im- 
pression intended by the artist being understood, 1 
the student is then perfectly justified in using his 
powers of criticism as to whether the knowledge 
of anatomy, manual skill, and ability in modelling 
on the part of the sculptor, were commensurate to 
the sentiment he conceived. Here the function of 
educated criticism and the application of scientific 
rules commence. 

Yet mature art may fail to express sentiment, 
and great feeling, an artistic term for the same 
thing, may be found in the sketch of the tyro; 
wherever it exists, it is valuable and incommunic- 
able. In the greatest work we demand exquisite 
sentiment united to perfect execution. 

After the description of the different processes 
by which works of sculpture are produced, and of 
their capacity for attaining to the noblest repre- 
sentation of the human figure, the most perfect, 
beautiful, and complicated form in existence, it 
follows that the art should be employed only on 
objects worthy of its powers. Caricatures may be 
safely left to the pen and pencil, and landscapes 
with their fleeting effects to the brush; they are 
unworthy of the eternity of marble, and the im- 
mortality of bronze. 

This criticism applies forcibly to the beflounced 
and bewigged figures in the Campi Santi of Italy, 

1 " If you make a picture or a statue, it sets the beholder in 
that state of mind you had when you made it." EMERSON'S 
Essays. 

31 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

notably that at Genoa, which, however, we may 
regard them as pious tributes to the beloved dead, 
are yet but records of ugly passing fashions, worthy 
only of note in a woman's paper. 

Among these marble horrors maybe seen widows 
weeping for their husbands in realistic dress, with 
tears of polished stone streaming from their eyes. 
Mr. D. W. Stevenson tells us that an admiring 
friend, in an ecstasy of admiration, asked him if 
the tears were not natural. " Not quite," replied the 
artist, " or they would have dropped off." " When 
you go to Italy," said a travelled friend to me, " go 
to the cemetery at Genoa, it is the finest thing in 
the country." Possessing no merit but the manipu- 
lative, these grotesque works have many admirers, 
and will continue to have until the art of sculpture 
is better understood. 1 

One of the most curious spectacles in Italy is the 
cemetery at Milan. On entering you are struck by 
what seems a number of figures on the ground in 
every possible attitude of lamentation ; on exami- 
nation they prove to be bronze monuments, a very 
madness of bronze. Many are extremely costly, 
and. not wanting in cleverness of manipulation. 

Style again is a subject which it is almost im- 
possible to define in words, but a conception of 
what it consists in is inherent in every true artist. 

Every one understands what is meant when we 
say "the style of the Pre-Raphaelites," "of Michel- 
angelo," " of the Dutch Masters," but the meaning 
becomes more difficult when it is said, "there is 
no style in this work," " there is style in that." 

1 "The essential goodness and badness of art are independent 
of epochs, fashions, opinions, or revolutions." Sesame and 
Lilies. 

32 



SENTIMENT AND STYLE 

Flaxman, in his old-fashioned way, calls style 
" art conducted by science and ennobled by philo- 
sophy." Sir Joshua Reynolds tells us " there are 
excellences in art beyond what is generally called 
the imitation of nature." It is precisely these ex- 
cellences which constitute style. Any work that 
is poor, mean, imperfect, has no style. 

Style is perhaps a certain noble way of rendering 
nature, of knowing what to select and what to omit, 
of working broadly, largely, with skill and know- 
ledge. It is more important in sculpture than in 
painting. Michelangelo was a master of style. 

The style of a work of art consists not in what 
it represents, but on how the subject is represented. 
To artists who naturally love technique, style ap- 
peals quite as much as sentiment. To quote modern 
examples, busts by Chantrey, Weekes, and Behnes 
are distinguished by this quality, but in Gibson's 
and Woolner's work it is entirely absent. 1 

If it is true, as I have written in a former book, 2 
that simplicity is one of the first qualities of paint- 
ing, it is doubly true of sculpture; limited as this 
art is in means of expression, it must trust to sim- 
plicity for its impressiveness. The ancient Greeks 
considered simplicity as a characteristic of per- 
fection. Simplicity is the greatest charm in Gothic 
art, and in the pictures of the Primitives. So 
highly did Michelangelo esteem this quality in all 
art that he said, " the nearer painting is to sculp- 

1 A quotation from Northcote may help to illustrate this 
difficult subject. Comparing Reynolds with Lawrence he said, 
" Lawrence's heads want roundness as well, for the back part 
of the head is almost as near as the nose; they seem done too 
much by piece meal, there /s no greatness of style in them."- 
NORTHCOTE'S Conversations. 
" How to Judge Pictures." 

33 D 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

ture the better it is, and the nearer sculpture is to 
painting, the worse." 

Simplicity should be a far more marked charac- 
teristic of sculpture than of painting. Sir Joshua 
Reynolds' opinion here is of great value: " Sculp- 
ture is an art of much more simplicity and uni- 
formity than painting." And in another place he 
remarks, " the uniformity and simplicity of the 
materials on which the sculptor labours, prescribe 
bounds to his art, and teach him to confine himself 
to a proportionable simplicity of design." Sim- 
plicity is the watchword of sculpture. 

It also consists in leaving out all ornament un- 
necessary to the expression of the artist's sentiment, 
and in a broad and simple rendering of his subject, 
both in the whole and in the details. Breadth and 
simplicity are nearly allied. We have only to 
compare the works of Bernini with those of the 
Greeks to be convinced, if we have taste, of the 
profound truth of the great academician's remarks. 
Necklaces of polished marble, flying draperies, 
carefully carved lace, gilt ear-rings, and a hundred 
other vices of the modern Italian school, are thus 
condemned as at once inartistic and false to the 
canons of sculpture as practised by the Greeks 
and formulated by the greatest masters. 1 The 
philosopher, Nietzsche, hit upon a profound artistic 
truth when he said, "Artists should not see things 

1 Spielmann supports this opinion. " What can be said of the 
tricks of that section of the modern Italian school, and their 
frivolous followers abroad, who revel in * The Veiled Face,' or 
the laborious imitation of Brussels lace on a child's frock, that 
draw spectators like bees around the sculpture stalls at the 
exhibitions, or secure them as victims at the open sale rooms, 
so called, in the City of London." British Sculpture and 
Sculptors of To-Day. 

34 



SENTIMENT AND STYLE 

as they are, they should see them simpler, fuller, 
stronger." 

On beauty, I have already written in my little 
book on painting, and what I have there said ap- 
plies equally well to sculpture. 

" Beauty is the true aim of art." A recent critic 1 
justly remarks: " the quality fundamentally neces- 
sary to a picture is that whatever message it has 
to bear, it shall carry it pictorially. The sight of 
beauty is itself enough for a painter to behold and 
to transmit ! " 

"The Ideal of Beauty is Simplicity and Repose," 
said Goethe with the most profound truth. 

" Art must be lovely, a delight to the eye," re- 
marks one of beauty's most famous devotees, Lord 
Leighton. 

D'Annunzio says he has found "una pura verita," 
when he formulates the idea, " Quando la Bellezza 
si mostra, tutte le essenze della vita convergono in 
lei come in un centro; ed ella ha quindi per tribu- 
tario Tintero Universe." 

How is it possible to define that most adorable 
gift? It may roughly be described as perfection of 
form, of colour, and of expression, the most perfect 
soul in the most perfect body. 

Unfortunately, the sense of beauty innate in the 
true artist is often beyond his skill to render, to 
materialize as it were, for the study of art gives 
him the power of seeing far more and deeper than 
other men. 

This opinion is confirmed by the art critic who 

wrote under the name of Leader Scott. " The 

perpetuation of ugliness, in any form," she said, 

"is ruin to the high mission of art; how much 

1 Sir W. Martin Conway. 

35 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

more if transient forms of ugliness, such as grins, 
sneers, crying and screaming faces, are rendered 
eternal in marble as the Italians are fond of 
doing?" 1 

The nobility of Greek and Italian art is, as I 
have remarked elsewhere, due in great part to the 
high type of the models the artists were able to 
procure. Their eyes, accustomed to this type, 
could tolerate nothing mean or inferior, and they 
subconsciously transferred it to their canvases and 
their marbles. Where the popular type is insist- 
ently low, sculpture is much less noble and in- 
spiring. The Hermes of Praxiteles, the Moses of 
Michelangelo, the Christ of Donatello, are sub- 
limized Greek and Italian types. 

.It now becomes apparent that we must look for 
sentiment, style, simplicity and beauty in the per- 
fect statue, and we have a slight clue to a proper 
understanding of works of sculpture. Its other 
qualities are not so easily appreciated and belong 
to the realm of science, such as anatomy, balance, 
proportion, etc. ; and it would only weary the lay 
reader to enter into a detailed description of them. 
A few suggestions may, however, be offered for 
consideration. 

" Composition in the arts of design is the group- 
ing of figures in succession or action." 

In the composition of a figure or group, right 
angles are disagreeable. Thus the sculptor of the 
Apollo Belvedere, forced by the action of his figure 
to place the left arm at that angle from the body, 
has disguised the unpleasant form by covering it 
with a piece of drapery. " If," says Fuseli, " a com- 
position does not contain all that distinguishes 
1 " Sculpture, Renaissance and Modern." 

36 




[1'atica.n, Rome 



DRAPED FIGURE 



SENTIMENT AND STYLE 

it from other subjects, if it leave out aught that is 
characteristic and exclusively its own, and admit 
what is superfluous or commonplace ... it is no 
longer composition, it is grouping only, an osten- 
tatious or useless scaffolding about an edifice with- 
out a base." This sentence, I think, contains all 
that need be said on a subject which every artist 
will treat as his own taste dictates. 

The balance of a figure is another point to be 
noticed. An imaginary line from the gullet should 
touch the inner ankle of the standing foot when a 
man is upright. " Motion is the change of position, 
caused by inequality of parts about the centre of 
gravity." 

Drapery forms an important part of the study 
of the sculptor, and simplicity should be its char- 
acteristic. Drapery which does not follow the lines 
of the form but destroys it, like modern trousers, 
is ugly; it should express form, gathering into 
groups of folds at the joints and lying closely over 
the broad planes of the body. Fine materials may 
be expressed in marble or bronze; they fall into 
many little folds, thus giving variety from the 
heavier and larger folds of thick drapery. 1 

The treatment of hair in sculpture is difficult 

1 "All noble draperies, either in painting or sculpture (colour 
and texture being at present out of our consideration) have, so 
far as they are anything more than necessities, one of two great 
functions; they are the exponents of motion and of gravitation. 
They are the most valuable means of expressing past as well as 
present motion in the figure, and they are almost the only means 
of indicating to the eye the force of gravity which resists such 
motion. The Greeks used drapery in sculpture for the most 
part as an ugly necessity, but availed themselves of it gladly in 
all representation of action, exaggerating the arrangements of 
it which express lightness in the material and follow gesture in 
the person." RUSKIN. 

37 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

and varied. The Greeks represented it in little 
mechanical curls and knots and our pseudo-classic 
sculptors down to Chantrey, folio wed their example. 
Donatello and his followers, however, introduced 
another style and succeeded in rendering the soft- 
ness and natural manner of growth of hair; in this 
many modern sculptors have also been successful. 

One of the tests of modelling is the ear. If this 
organ be really well modelled, correctly placed, 
and its character preserved, there will rarely be 
anything very much amiss with the execution of 
the remainder of the figure. 

In ancient Egypt sculptors worked according 
to invariable rules, and the son always succeeded 
the father in the same employment. Genius had 
no opportunity of asserting itself and was super- 
seded by mechanism, hence the monotony both in 
conception and execution of Egyptian art. This 
is an example of the abuse of rules ; their use may 
be found in the sculpture of the Greeks, the best 
of which was produced according to their national 
and inviolable canons of art. Polycletus of Sicyon 
made a statue called Doryphorus or the Spear- 
bearer, now in the Naples Museum, from which 
sculptors deduced the rules of art. It is an ac- 
cepted tradition that Vitruvius has given us a cor- 
rect version of the canon of this sculptor. " Nature 
has so composed the human body that the face 
from the chin to the top of the forehead and the 
roots of the hair should be a tenth part; also the 
the palm of the hand from the wrist joint to the tip 
of the middle finger; the head from the chin to 
the highest point, an eighth; from the top of the 
chest to the roots of the hair, a sixth." 

Notwithstanding the ideal of Polycletus, I have 

38 



SENTIMENT AND STYLE 

never measured a model whose proportions were 
more than seven heads and three-quarters. 

However, Michelangelo said in reference to 
these rules of proportion, that the sculptor should 
have his "compasses in his eye," and M. Charles 
Blanc remarks with profound truth that " sculptors 
and painters especially dread the rule of geometry. 
They regard rules as a fetter upon the liberty of 
their invention, but without dreaming that this 
great man, Michelangelo, before he expressed him- 
self thus, had for so long a time had the com- 
passes in his hand." 

The correct proportion of the figure is seven 
and a half heads, seldom, however, found in mod- 
ern nature. From the os pubis to the top of the 
head is one half, from the same point to the sole 
of the foot another half. The breadth of the 
shoulders is two heads, across the hips a head and 
a half. The shoulders and loins should be nar- 
rower and the hips wider in the female than in 
the male. The hand is equal in length to the face 
from the chin to the roots of the hair. The foot 
is a head and a third of a nose long. The head 
has four equal divisions, from the chin to the base 
of the nose, thence to the eyebrow, from the eye- 
brow to the hair, and from the roots of the hair 
to the top of the skull. 

These rules are the commonplaces of the art- 
student but are not always well known to the lay 
observer, and are given here to assist him in un- 
derstanding sculpture. 

Anatomical details should never be too strongly 
insisted on, yet every bone, muscle, and tendon 
must be in their places when looked for. As 
Northcote, whose witty conversations James 

39 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

Ward has so wisely preserved, well remarked: 
" Anatomy is very well in its place, and very 
proper certainly, as a man cannot understand too 
well that which he has to represent, but it is only 
one thing amongst many, and not by any means 
the first. . . . Besides, those who think so much 
about anatomy are apt to be too fond of displaying 
their knowledge, and often, indeed, represent 
their figures as if going about without their skins, 
which is very disgusting to me." 

Originality is one of the attributes of genius. 
"Original work," says Ruskin, "is on the whole 
the cheapest and the best worth having." 

On this subject Northcote, whose forcible and 
illuminating expressions I always use in prefer- 
ence to my own when he confirms my opinion, 
says: 

" An artist brought me a book of prints after 
-Thorvaldsen, the Danish sculptor, the other day, 
and he thought they would delight me, whereas I 
could scarcely bear to look at them. They are 
exactly the Venuses and Herculeses we are so 
harassed with in the antique, and without one 
original idea in them. If we want such things we 
can go to a better shop we can go to the antique 
itself! Now, Bernini and Fiammingo had immense 
originality, whatever their merits might have 
been in other respects, and it is this quality that 
has done so much for our own sculptor, Chantrey." 

Repose is essential in a good work of sculpture. 
To quote Ruskin whose words apply more nearly 
to sculpture than to painting. " I say fearlessly 

1 " Conversations of James Northcote, R.A., with James 
Ward." 

2 " The Political Economy of Art." 

40 




[Athens 



TOMB OF HEGESO PROXENO 



SENTIMENT AND STYLE 

respecting repose that a work of art is great in 
proportion to the appearance of it." * 

It would take long practice and much profound 
observation to judge the merits of the modelling, 
carving, and casting of a work of sculpture. One 
thing may be said, however, that in work taking so 
much time to perform, the finish should be exactly 
right, neither smooth nor polished like the modern 
Italian, nor left rough and half immured in the 
block like some modern French figures and busts. 

A sketch in clay is agreeable, a sketch in mar- 
ble a mistake. Marble is too severe a material for 
sketching in it requires the long labour of love 
necessary to carry it to perfection, so that it may 
endure for ever. A minor consideration is that all 
roughnesses in marble collect dust and dirt, and 
betray the intention of the artist as to light and 
shade. That Michelangelo left some of his works 
unfinished is no rule for us; harassed as he was 
with continual labour and worry, it is scarcely to 
be wondered that the mighty master sometimes 
threw his chisel aside as soon as his conception 
was expressed and turned to other subjects which 
attracted his genius or as the reigning Pope gave 
command. Whether his unfinished figures would 
have gained or lost, had he completed them him- 
self, is an unanswerable question; however, in 
grandeur and mystery they leave nothing to be 
desired as they are, and Michelangelo was 

" piu che mortal, divino." 

I hope I do not appear to dogmatize; dogma 
would destroy art as it has destroyed religion. 
Rules are not made for genius, and every artist 

1 Modern Painters." 
41 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

must do as his inner consciousness dictates. Be- 
sides, a natural aptitude for art, a keen appre- 
ciation of things of beauty and of the aims of the 
artist, the feeling which is innate in the artistic 
temperament to impart or explain which is im- 
possible, render formulae superfluous. 1 Yet I 
believe there are many who, without these gifts, 
love art; this love properly directed might lead 
perhaps to knowledge, and the consequent re- 
jection of meretricious and encouragement of good 
work which would be the most decided gain to 
art itself. I write simply as an artist, but have re- 
inforced my own opinions by the study of the 
works of such authors as have treated this subject, 
among which, and not the least, are the discourses 
of the Academicians, Reynolds, Flaxman, North- 
cote, Fuseli, Barry, Opie, and the German critic 
Lessing's " Laocoon." 

1 " An artist is a being whose power of imagination is better 
developed than that of ordinary mortals, a being more suscept- 
ible than others to impressions, more sensuous, more passion- 
ate; a being who in the kingdom of happiness and the joys of 
life knows everything and strives for everything with the force 
of utmost intensity. This is an artist. He must possess a 
three-fold strength of character and will-power to withstand 
temptation and conquer it. But as there is little reason why a 
flower more beautiful than the rest should therefore possess a 
larger power of resistance against the storm, there is just as little 
reason why an artist should be of stronger character than an 
ordinary man. On the contrary, it is easy to explain why he 
often has less character, for his vital strength is exhausted in 
the double fight in the world of art, and in the every-day world. 
Art gives him a repugnance to dust and the gutter, but every 
day life robs him of the power to rise and fly. Hence this dis- 
cordant fight between the inner and outer lives. The world 
that demands more from the artist than from others and con- 
demns him, may be right, but Christ will be just when he saves 
him." SIENKIEWICZ. 

42 



SENTIMENT AND STYLE 

I do not think we can fairly expect the art- 
student or the amateur to read these tedious old- 
fashioned books. The former, in the full burst of 
his artistic enthusiasm burning to use his tools and 
create, has neither leisure nor inclination to do so; 
the latter might easily become bewildered by the 
variety and abstruseness of the opinions he would 
there find discussed. 

One of the few authors who have occupied them- 
selves with English sculpture, Mr. Marion H. 
Spielmann, says justly: "It is not surprising that 
sculpture is not fully appreciated in England or 
indeed by the general public anywhere. The eye is 
ever more flattered by colour (that is by painting) 
than by form (that is by sculpture). To produce bad 
sculpture is as it were, easier than bad painting, 
and the power to discriminate between the bad 
and the good in sculpture, appears to be a rare 
gift." * 

"The charm of antique sculpture and that of 
classic scholarship are pretty much on the same 
level, both are equally incomprehensible to the 
ignorant." 2 

If the continual pleading'of artists were listened 
to and a Valhalla of sculpture erected in London, 
where monuments to the good and great of our 
land might be worthily housed instead of being 
crowded into Westminster Abbey which they spoil, 
or relegated to the cold aisles of St. Paul's where 
they are not noticed, the demand for these works 
would create the supply, and the taste of both ar- 
tists and the public be stimulated and educated. 
Besides, the effigies of all great men do not find 

1 " British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day." 

2 Lady Eastlake. 

43 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

their fittest abode in places dedicated to religious 
worship. What is wanted is a vast national hall 
properly lighted and free of access to all. Its 
value for educational purposes would be incalcu- 
lable. Owing to keener artistic perception the 
French and Italians apprize sculpture at its true 
value, and never ignore that beautiful art as we 
dare to do. 

As it is sculpture is homeless and despised 
among us, and at one time reached in England 
the lowest depths of degradation ; her fortunes ap- 
pear to be changing slightly now, but only by ex- 
treme attention and encouragement can she be 
raised to the place among the arts to which she is 
entitled. While painting and architecture flourish, 
we have only to look at the statue of Napier in 
Trafalgar Square, by Theed, a statue which it has 
been proposed to take down in order to do honour 
to the hero it represents, to realize the inferiority 
of our portrait sculpture. What shall we say of 
Dr. Johnson masquerading in the dress of a 
Greek hero in St. Paul's, or the ballet girl who 
does duty as a Victory in the same Cathedral? 
Perhaps the most intolerable of all London's monu- 
ments is the figure of George I on the summit of 
St. George's Church, Bloomsbury, of which Wai- 
pole wrote: 

When Harry the VIII left the Pope in the lurch 
In England they made him " The Head of the Church," 
But George's good subjects, the Bloomsbury people, 
Instead of the Church, made him " Head of the Steeple." 

The portrait statues on the Embankment are 
almost sufficient excuse for the Londoner's in- 
difference when he is asked to supply funds for the 
erection of similar effigies. Meantime, instead of 

44 



SENTIMENT AND STYLE 

setting up sculptured monuments the natural re- 
cords of departed greatness, to the glorious dead 
such as were and are erected in Italy and France, 
the funds which flow in so generously for a mem- 
orial to a popular king, hero, or author, are 
diverted after many preliminary disputes and de- 
bates to the making of clocks, obelisks, stained- 
glass windows, and endowment of hospitals, ob- 
jects of utility, no doubt, which any millionaire 
might create without their being in memory of 
any one, but poor substitutes to hand down to pos- 
terity in place of such priceless works as the statue 
of Colleoni in Venice, or the tombs of the Dukes 
of Burgundy at Dijon. 

As Ruskin pithily says, " There is no chance of 
our getting good Art unless we delight in it." 



45 



CHAPTER VI 

GREEK SCULPTURE 

I WOULD not have approached the already 
over-written subject of Greek sculpture had 
I not been convinced that no appreciation of 
sculpture is possible without study of that art in 
its highest development, which, the great Italian 
cinquecentists notwithstanding, was in Greece 
during the time of, and a little later, than Pheidias. 
But for the reason already given, I will pass over 
this part of my subject as briefly as may be, and 
treat it critically rather than historically. 

Nor will I dwell on early Greek sculpture; 
memory, however, vividly recalls the great Metopes 
from Selinonte in the Museum at Palermo, and the 
noble Charioteer at Delphi, as giving the splendid 
promise afterwards so magnificently fulfilled in the 
golden age of Pheidias and his successors. These 
works were executed long before 490 B.C., the date 
at which that master flourished. 

Anterior to him also are the exquisite sepulchral 
monuments at the Ceramicus in Athens, reliefs 
full of dignity and feeling. Among them, two are 
worthy of especial notice; one, the Monument of 
Dexileos, a youthful warrior on horseback, the 
other that of Hegeso Proxeno, a lady who is repre- 
sented taking a jewel from a box held by an attend- 








DIANA AND ACTAEON 



[Palermo 



GREEK SCULPTURE 

ant. To this date, called the transition period, 
belongs the fine Relief from the Temple of Demeter 
at Eleusis, representing Demeter, Persephone, and 
Triptolemus, which is unique of its kind, for it is 
neither a Metope nor a sepulchral slab, but appears 
to have been used as an altar-piece. 

Two hundred and fifty years elapsed between 
the rude beginnings of Daedalus and his pupils 
and the perfect development of sculpture at the 
hands of Pheidias and his contemporaries and 
pupils. The golden period of Greek art lasted till 
330 B.C., after which, however, a few fine groups 
and statues were produced. The scope of this work 
permits only of the mention of a few of these. 

Of the colossal statues made by Pheidias in 
ivory and gold few traces remain. The sole record 
of his Zeus of Olympia, which was sixty feet in 
height, is on a small coin of Elis ; his Minerva of 
the Parthenon, which was thirty-eight feet high, 
we only know by a statuette in the Museum at 
Athens. Epictetus tells us it was the custom of 
the Athenians to make journeys to Olympia to 
behold the works of Pheidias and that " they con- 
sidered it a misfortune to die without a knowledge 
of these things/' The acute philosopher also 
makes another remark which admirably suits the 
purpose of this book. " Some art," he says, " is 
necessary to view a statue skilfully." One of the 
colossal Dioscuri on Monte Cavallo, Rome, and 
a statue of Anacreon in the Vatican complete the 
list of this master's known works till we arrive at 
their crowning glory, the sculptures of the Par- 
thenon. These will be treated of at length in the 
chapter on sculpture in the British Museum. 

In the second century B.C. Pausanias, a Roman, 
47 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

made a tour in Greece, and his celebrated " Itin- 
erary," which still exists, proves him to have been 
an acute and diligent observer; it is from this 
source that we obtain nearly all our information 
about works of art which have since perished. 
He tells us that most of the sanctuaries in Greece 
were perfect museums of artistic treasures, in- 
cluding works of native artists, as well as gifts 
from foreign potentates. His description of the 
lost works of Pheidias are well known. 

The contemporaries of Pheidias were Alca- 
menes (probably the artist of the Venus of Milo 
in the Louvre), Critias, Nestocles, and Hegias; 
their immediate successors were Ageladas, Gallon, 
Polycletus, Phragmon, Gorgias, Lacon, Myron, 
Pythagoras, and Perillus. This list certainly con- 
tains the names of the sculptors employed on the 
Temples of Minerva and of Theseus. 

Polycletus the sculptor of the Doryphorus, was 
working at Argos when Pheidias was employed 
on the Parthenon. Two more of his works have 
come down to us, the Diadumenus in the British 
Museum, and the Wounded Amazon in Berlin. 
He worked principally in bronze. 

The Niobe Groitp in Florence is now said to be 
a Roman copy of the work of Scopas, who, to the 
grand style of Pheidias, added grace and variety. 
It consists at present of seventeen statues, and 
probably formed part of a temple or tomb, as from 
the unfinished appearance of their backs they could 
not have been intended to be seen from behind. 
The mother defending the child who runs to her for 
protection against the blinding shower of arrows, 
is far and away the best of these figures. Another 
very fine one is the Glyptothek at Munich. 




[Capitol, Rome 



THE VENUS OF THE CAPITOL 



GREEK SCULPTURE 

Two figures called Discobuli or Disk Throwers, 
well known in every art school, are attributed 
the one to Myron, the other to Naucydes. They 
are distinguished by much vigour and breadth, 
but the actions are somewhat dubious in intention, 
and they are wanting in the refinement which 
characterizes the finest examples of Greek sculp- 
ture. 

The noble torso in the Vatican called the Bel- 
vedere Torso, which has been the admiration of all 
artists ever since its discovery, is the work of 
Apollonius. 

The Statue of a Dying Hero in the Museum of 
the Capitol, celebrated in the oft-quoted verses of 
Byron beginning, " I see before me the gladiator 
lie," is properly a dying hero according to Winkel- 
man. To perfection of form Ctesilaus has here 
added pathos and dignity which raise this figure 
far above those of the Disk Throwers. 

Praxiteles, like Pheidias, carried sculpture to a 
point of perfection which had never been reached 
before, and has never since been excelled. We are 
fortunate in having an undoubted work from his 
hand the immortal Hermes of Olympia; the Eros 
and Fame of the Capitol, and Apollo Sauroctonos 
of the Louvre are ascribed to him. 

To this era or near it belong the different 
statues of Venus or Aphrodite, of which almost 
every gallery in Europe boasts an example. The 
most beautiful of these is, in my opinion, the 
Venus of the Capitol. Art in this sublime figure 
has touched its extreme limit; where all is so per- 
fect I should like to draw especial attention to the 
softness, delicacy and truth of the modelling of the 
back. It may, perhaps, be said the head looks 

49 E 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

rather large, but this is due to the thick mass of 
hair with which the sculptor has endowed his 
creation, which is replete with charm and radiant 
with youthful beauty. To her the following lines 
of Shelley apply : 

Muse, sing the praise of crowned Aphrodite 
Who wakens with her smiles the lulled delight 
Of sweet desire, taming eternal kings 
Of heaven and men, and all the living things 
That fleet along the air, or whom the sea 
And earth with her maternal ministry 
Nourish innumerable. Thy delight 
All seek of crowned Aphrodite. 

Perhaps the Venus of Milo in the Louvre comes 
next in order of merit; it is in fact a larger (I don't 
mean in point of size but of style), grander figure 
than the former, but is not quite so delicate in the 
modelling. 

She smiles and smiles, and will not sigh 
While we for hopeless passion die: 
Yet she could love, those eyes declare, 
Were men but nobler than they are. 

Richard Jeffries, the apostle of Nature, thus 
enthusiastically describes this figure. " Here is a 
woman perfect as a woman, with the love of 
children in her breast, her back bent for their 
delight. An ideal indeed, but real and human. 
Her form has the full growth of wide hips, deep 
torso, broad shoulders. Nothing has been re- 
pressed or fined down to a canon of art or luxury. 
A heart beats within her bosom ; she is love ; with 
her neither gold nor applause has anything to do; 
she thinks of the children." 1 

1 "The fact that this beautiful work, notwithstanding its 
great excellence, is not one of those which have been specially 

50 




[Syracuse 



THE LANDOLINA VENUS 



GREEK SCULPTURE 

Interesting, as showing the influence of sculp- 
ture over literature, is the same distinguished 
author's appreciation of the Venus Accroupie in 
the same collection. " It is simply," he says, "a 
woman stooping to take a child pick-a-back, the 
child's little hand remaining upon the back, just as 
it was placed, in the act of clinging. . . . Few 
have even heard its name, for it has not been 
written and lectured into the popular mind like 
the Venus de Medici. . . . But I hope and believe 
there are thousands of people in the world in full 
possession of their natural eyesight, and capable 
of appreciating the Accroupie when once their at- 
tention is called to it." 

Compared with these sublime figures, the Venus 
de' Medici is small and sensual, and represents 
Aphrodite without her divinity. 

The Venus of Capua at Naples is not nearly so 
subtle in workmanship as any of these, but is never- 
theless a noble figure, grandly and broadly treated. 

We owe the beautiful, youthful athlete called the 
Apoxyomenos in the Vatican to Lysippus; it is the 
only one of his many works that has been iden- 
tified and one of the finest Greek statues that 
remain. 

The Apollo Belvedere, " the lord of the unerring 
bow " of Byron, probably belongs to this period, as 
well as the Diana Hunting. Critics now aver that 
these statues are debased copies of famous originals, 
but no record in history or tradition is to be found 
respecting them. If the student will compare these 
figures with an undoubted work of the best period 

extolled by ancient authors, affords us an approximate idea of 
the beauty of those lost masterpieces which formed the great 
marvel of antiquity." LUBKE. 

51 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

of Greek art the Hermes of Olympia, for example 
he will see the difference between what is merely 
great art and the greatest. 

Affectation, absence of repose, a certain arti- 
ficiality and smoothness of execution may be said 
to be the faults of the Apollo Belvedere. No such 
faults can be found with the Mercury or Belvedere 
Antinoiis, as it is sometimes called, in the same 
gallery in the Vatican, its repose of attitude and 
dignity of expression place it very high in the 
short catalogue of the best Greek works which 
have come down to us. Unfortunately, the artist 
who restored the standing foot where the leg was 
broken off has done so without due regard to the 
proper balance. The name of the sculptor is un- 
known, but it belongs undoubtedly to the finest 
period of art, and completely realizes the ideal of 
masculine beauty. The same remark applies to 
the Meleager in the same gallery. 

The group of the Laocoon is the work of three 
sculptors of Rhodes towards the decline of sculp- 
ture in Greece. The unfortunate restoration of 
the father's arm is now remedied by the late dis- 
covery of the real arm in another attitude. Fine 
as is the principal figure in modelling and design, 
the boys are wanting in the characteristics of 
children. 

Agasias was the sculptor of the Fighting 
Gladiator now in the Louvre. The figure is in 
violent action, which some critics seem to think 
that of running, but I incline to the idea that he is 
warding off a blow with the left arm on which we 
see traces of a shield, and about to strike with the 
right. The Wrestlers, Sleeping Ariadne, Barberini 
Faun, and many other figures and groups of this 

52 




Alinari plioto} 



[ The Louvre 



THE VENUS OF MILO 



GREEK SCULPTURE 

date mark the commencement of the decadence of 
sculpture which set in about 290 B.C. Though 
good work was executed after this date, notably 
at Samothrace, where the glorious Victory of the 
Louvre was discovered, no statues of supreme 
greatness were produced. The golden age had 
lasted two hundred and fifty years. 

In the small museum on the Acropolis of 
Athens are fourteen singular painted figures, 
coloured as seems to have been the practice of 
the Greeks from the earliest period down to the 
time of Praxiteles. A red tint still remains on the 
lips and hair of the Hermes at Olympia by that 
artist, and marks on the foot show he wore sandals 
of gilt bronze. It is strange an artistic nation such 
as Greece should have adopted a custom so con- 
trary to our ideas, which insist that sculpture 
should depend for its effect on form alone. Modern 
attempts to resuscitate this practice, such as 
Gibson's in his Tinted Venus, have only ended in 
disaster. On this subject Flaxman is decisive. 
" We have all been struck by the resemblance of 
figures in coloured wax-work to persons in fits . . . 
But the very reasons which prove that colour in 
sculpture may have the effect of supernatural 
visions, fits, or death, prove at the same time that 
such practice is utterly improper for general re- 
presentations of the human figure; because, as the 
tints of carnation in nature are consequences of 
circulation, wherever the colour of flesh is seen 
without motion, it resembles only death, or suspen- 
sion of the vital powers. 1 

Greek sculptors worked in bronze as well as in 
marble, and that fewer works in metal than in the 
1 " Lectures on Sculpture." 
53 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

less useful material have come down to us is due 
to the fact that bronze has, in all ages, excited the 
cupidity of men who melted down groups and 
statues for their own base purposes. The finest 
collection of those that remain is to be found in 
the rich museum at Naples, and we owe their 
preservation to the guardianship of the lava of 
Vesuvius, most, or all of them, having been found 
at Herculaneum or Pompeii. 

A colossal Head of a Horse in that museum is 
so large in style, so noble in its breadth of treat- 
ment and knowledge of anatomy as to mark it one 
of the finest Greek works which has been dis- 
covered ; it recalls the perfection of the Elgin 
frieze. Nearly the same words serve to criticize 
the Equestrian Statue of Alexander the Great. A 
bust called Plato, a noble and dignified head, is 
one of the finest portraits antiquity has bequeathed 
us; it bears a haunting resemblance to the medi- 
aeval likenesses of Christ. The treatment of the 
hair is conventional and archaic. No one who has 
visited this museum can fail to have been struck 
by the charming statuette of Narcissus, perfect in 
modelling and in complete preservation. The 
Mercury, Dancing Faun, Two Deer, and a few 
other works testify to the skill of the old Greeks 
in bronze-casting as well as to their pre-eminence 
in all that concerns the art in which they remain 
unrivalled. 

As to their merit as mere castings it is now 
difficult to judge, for the heat of the lava in which 
they were imbedded has destroyed and discoloured 
the surface of the metal. The cores and the cross- 
pieces for supporting them may, in some cases, still 
be seen as the ancient craftsmen left them. 

54 




Anderson pkoto} [Vatican, Rome 

THE BELVEDERE ANTINOUS OR MERCURY 



GREEK SCULPTURE 

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius on 
the Capitol in Rome stands as an indisputable 
memorial of the eminence attained by Graeco- 
Roman artists. Like the statue of Colleoni at 
Venice, it marks the supreme point reached by 
the art of the era which produced it to this day 
it remains and will probably remain for ever, the 
highest perfection attainable by the worker in 
bronze. 

In the Vatican Gallery are a gilt bronze statue of 
Hercules, only remarkable for its colossal propor- 
tions, and a bust of Augustus^ considered the best 
portrait of this Emperor. 

The British Museum possesses a small but 
choice collection of Greek bronzes. Among them 
is a beautiful head of Aphrodite dating from the 
fourth century B.C. and a very remarkable winged 
head, thought to represent Hypnos, the God of 
Sleep. The modelling and treatment of this bust 
are very broad, rendering it one of the finest 
bronzes extant. 

Mention must also again be made in this con- 
nection of the Charioteer recently discovered at 
Delphi, a grand realistic figure, simple and sincere 
in treatment. 

The ancient Greeks also used terra-cotta for 
the expression of their thought. The charming 
little figures, found by thousands in the graves at 
Tanagra, first opened in 1874, bear witness to the 
diffusion of art throughout the country; scarcely one 
of them is bad, few indifferent, and the majority are 
distinguished by grace of attitude, elegance of 
design and correctness of proportion. Every 
museum in Europe possesses examples of this 
class of sculpture. 

55 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

When the Romans under Mummius took pos- 
session of Greece, they transmitted many master- 
pieces of ancient art to Rome. " Corinth was filled 
with them ; but Mummius was so insensible to their 
surpassing excellence as to stipulate with those 
who contracted to convey them to Italy, that if 
any were lost in the passage they should be re- 
placed by others of equal value!" 1 From the little 
island of Rhodes alone 3,000 statues were taken 
away. 

Greek sculptors also emigrated to Rome, carry- 
ing with them the principles of their art. But 
Graeco-Roman sculpture never attained superla- 
tive excellence; its faults are violent action, deep 
undercuttings, flying draperies, and a debasement 
of conception and execution easily recognized by 
the skilled observer. Roman artists also executed 
copies of the most popular Greek works, and it is 
mostly these that have come down to us instead 
of the original statues and groups. 

Art critics, blinded by the " glory that was 
Greece," are accustomed to regard Graeco-Roman 
sculpture with some degree of scorn. One of them 
indeed has remarked, " when we reach the Alex- 
andrian, the Hellenistic, and finally the Graeco- 
Roman period, our interest flags, it is time to shut 
the book, leave the museum, and wend our way 
homewards." 2 But it is not easy for the artist to 
sneer at the school which produced the grand figure 
of Marcus Aurelius on the Capitol who sits his 
horse with the grace and majesty of the youths in 
the frieze of the Parthenon, the collection of busts 
in the gallery there whose subjects will live for 

1 Smith's " History of Greece." 

2 Albinia Wherry, " Greek Sculpture with Story and Song.' 

56 




[Vatican, Rome 



GRAECO-ROMAN BUST 



GREEK SCULPTURE 

ever in the truthful marble, the Barbarians on the 
Arch of Constantine, and many an effigy of the 
warriors and poets of old Rome. 

I have watched the equestrian statue of the great 
Emperor at all seasons and in all hours; in the 
summer light, when it seemed to glow with more 
than mortal glory, in the winter when its firm out- 
lines were marked by tender flakes of snow, in the 
morning, when the level sunrays touched it into 
life, and in the evening, when its vast mass blended 
with the surrounding gloom, and I have never 
ceased to feel grateful to Time who has spared the 
noble form and features of the author of the " Medi- 
tations." 

The most debased examples of Graeco- Roman, 
more properly perhaps called Graeco- Phoenician 
sculpture are those which once adorned the temples 
and long colonnades of Palmyra. Produced to order 
and in great numbers, they are coarse and barbaric, 
and retain hardly any trace of artistic feeling. 

After these few cursory notes there naturally 
arises the inquiry, " In what then does the great 
perfection of the statues the Greeks have be- 
queathed us consist? It consists in their represent- 
ing every beauty which belongs to the form made 
in the image of God, when fashion and pseudo- 
civilization have not degraded it; in perfect pro- 
portion, in symmetry, in grace, in strength, in that 
suppleness of limb we admire in the tiger; and, 
moreover, they are informed with that grandeur 
of sentiment and sublimity of thought which can 
only be expressed by profound scientific and me- 
chanical knowledge and the richest imagination. 

Greek art, as the embodiment of a people's 
living thought, perished with the nation that gave 

57 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

it birth. The only great school which succeeded 
it was the Italian of the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries, and this could not in any way claim 
descent from it, but was the outcome of another 
civilization, another temperament. If we compare 
the former with the glorious summer of art, the latter 
may be represented by the shorter but scarcely less 
beautiful season called the Indian summer. Works 
such as those of Pheidias and Praxiteles ceased to 
be produced with the heroic civilization whose 
legitimate offspring they were, to be succeeded 
only after many centuries by the more naturalistic 
models of Donatello, and the fiery heroes and 
Sibyls of Michelangelo. 

While the completed perfection of Greek sculp- 
ture, dead now in spirit and in thought, defies re- 
suscitation, the Italian cinquecento school, founded 
upon nature and uninfluenced by the traditions of 
the antique, shows to us who live in these later 
days, the true basis for a school of art suited to our 
present needs and refinements; a modern school 
in which fresh nature shall be our teacher, not the 
effete cultivation of the Greek for he exhausted 
nature in one direction. We must begin afresh 
where he began, not where he ended, if we would 
avoid the deadness of the copyist, 1 and endeavour 
to work up to a result in which we too shall com- 
bine style with nature; not perforce to the same 

1 That earnest student James Russell Lowell remarks on 
this subject that " every attempt at reproducing a bygone ex- 
cellence by external imitation of it, or even by applying the 
rules which analytic criticism has formulated from the study of 
it, has resulted in producing the artificial, and not the artistic." 
And Victor Hugo's advice on the same subject is "Admirons 
les grands maitres ; ne les imitons pas. Faisons autrement. Si 
nous russissons tant mieux; si nous echouons, qu'importe?" 

58 




[Capitol, Rome 



ACTAEON 



GREEK SCULPTURE 

result which he achieved, but that to which our 
studies, under modern auspices, will naturally lead 
us. We work under less favourable influences than 
he did, the typical physique created by the exer- 
cises of the Palaestra is not at our service. Our 
climate is ruder, our habits more artificial than his 
were, but nature remains, her we must love and 
study, and from her derive our inspiration. Lowell, 
though he is writing of literature, yet indicates 
with true artistic feeling the manner in which we 
should approach and study antique sculpture: 

"It is the grace of the Greeks, their sense of 
proportion, their distaste for the exaggerated, their 
exquisite propriety of phrase which steadies im- 
agination without cramping it it is these that we 
should endeavour to assimilate without the loss of 
our own individuality. We should quicken our 
sense of form by intelligent sympathy with theirs, 
and not stiffen it into formalism by a servile sur- 
render of what is genuine in them. A pure form, 
says Schiller, helps and sustains; an impure one 
hinders and shatters. But we should remember 
that the spirit of the age must enter as a modify- 
ing principle, not only into ideas, but into the best 
manner of expression. The old bottles will not 
always serve for the new wine. A principle of life 
is the first requirement of all art, and it can only 
be communicated by the touch of the time and a 
simple faith in it. No effort to raise a defunct past 
has ever led to anything but just enough galvanic 
twitching of the limbs to remind us unpleasantly 
of life." 1 

The largest collection of ancient Greek sculpture 
is in the Vatican, in whose vast and magnificent 
1 "My Study Windows." 
59 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

halls, built for their reception, is accumulated a 
whole population of groups and statues. Inferior 
in quantity but not in interest are the renowned 
Galleries of the Capitol and the new Roman Na- 
tional Museum housed in a part of the Baths of 
Diocletian, which is added to year by year as the 
spade reveals more and more of the treasures of 
Italy's fecund soil. The Museum of Naples, formed 
by King Ferdinand IV and enriched by consecu- 
tive Bourbons, enshrines some superb master- 
pieces. In the Pitti and Uffizi Galleries in Flor- 
ence, which owe their foundation to the Medici 
Family, are a few very celebrated works, such as 
the Venus de Medici, the Dancing Faun> and the 
Niobe group. 

The National Museum at Athens contains a rich 
collection of Greek work of the very finest quality; 
not exiled under leaden skies, the majestic figures 
appear to the greatest advantage under the sun of 
the land that gave them birth. The sculptures 
are arranged chronologically; passing from room 
to room the visitor is able to trace the evolution 
of Greek art from the archaic stage to its incom- 
parable development. The Hermes of Andros 
and the Diadumenos, a victor in the games who 
is binding a fillet round his head, are of the best 
period. A bronze figure of a youth has a curious 
story; it was found in the sea off the island of 
Cerigotto by a fisherman, who noticed the en- 
amelled eyes gazing at him through the water, 
like those of the pretty little Nymph of the 
Eibsee in the Austrian Tyrol; it had been wrecked 
on its way from Athens to Rome with other spoils 
of the conquerors. 

The collection of funeral stelae here is unique 

60 



THE VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE 




GREEK SCULPTURE 

and exceedingly interesting. Among these pathetic 
memorials is one representing a child held up by 
the nurse for its mother's last kiss, another shows 
two friends clasping their hands in silence for the 
final parting, in yet another a slave sits at his 
dying master's feet in the very ecstasy of grief. 
No more touching monuments to the dead can be 
found in all the world, no truer expression of 
sorrow for the departed into that dread silence of 
which all the philosophers of Greece could tell 
nothing, and whom all the survivor's agony could 
not recall. 

The best collection on this side of the Alps is 
that in the British Museum, the honoured resting- 
place of the perfect Frieze of the Parthenon. 

The Louvre is the enviable possessor of the 
Venus of Milo, the Victory of Samothrace, and the 
Fighting Gladiator, besides other treasures. 

In the Glyptothek at Munich are a few fine 
examples of Greek art; among them is one of the 
best figures of the Niobe group, the head of 
Medusa admired by Leonardo da Vinci, and the 
sculptures from the pediment at Egina. 

A few gems of Greek sculpture are in private 
collections, but the most important works which 
time has mercifully spared are in the museums 
above enumerated. 



61 



CHAPTER VII 

THE RENAISSANCE OF SCULPTURE 

IN this elementary book on sculpture, I have 
not proposed to myself to write a history of the 
art but simply to give the amateur who loves it, 
or who may love it if he understand it, a few 
principles for his guidance to a rational apprecia- 
tion of the best works. Sir Walter Besant, who 
wrote more understandingly of art and artists than 
many novelists, says with profoundest truth : " be- 
tween the professional critic who can neither paint 
nor draw and the smallest of the men who can paint 
and draw, there is a gulf fixed that cannot be 
passed over." This is the reason of my endeavour 
as an artist to write on a subject I know as an 
amateur cannot know it, and therefore my sketches 
of the lives of the artists which follow, and the 
history of the various schools, is more or less 
perfunctory the subject has often been treated 
by far abler pens than mine and in a more purely 
literary spirit. 

When the student of history has traversed the 
long period of darkness and ignorance, which com- 
menced with the fifth centurya period of blood- 
shed, barbarity, and the frenzied fury of the Cru- 
sades he comes, in the middle of the thirteenth 
century, to the renewal of art and literature known 

62 



DONATELLO 



GATTAMELATA MONUMENT 




THE RENAISSANCE 

as the Renaissance. At that date NiccoI6 Pisano 
revived the lost art of the Greek, and Cim- 
abue and Giotto awakened painting from her long 
and death-like slumber. It seemed as if spring 
suddenly arrived to give life to flower and tree 
after a long and stormy winter, or as if a flood of 
sunshine penetrated into a dark and foetid dungeon. 

The word " Renaissance " must not be con- 
sidered to mean the revival of antique art but the 
re-birth of art under different conditions. Litera- 
ture, science, and the whole trend of life itself felt 
the impulse of the age, and joined in the common 
movement. 

Given a work of sculpture, the period when it 
was produced can of course be approximately fixed 
by the critic ; or given a date, the style of a work 
executed then can be diagnosed. During a period 
of, roughly speaking, three centuries, from 1250 
to 1550, all that is best in Italian art was produced. 

The greatest sculptors of the Renaissance were : 

Niccolo Pisano (d. 1278) and his relations, 

Giovanni and Andrea. 
Jacopo della Quercia (1374-1438) 
Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) 
Donatello (1386-1466) 
Antonio Rossellino (1427-^. 1478) 
The Delia Robbia Family Luca (1400 

1482) Andrea (1435-1528) Giovanni 



Andrea Verrocchio (1435-1480) 
Mino da Fiesole (1430-1484) 
Desiderio da Settignano (1428-1464) 
Matteo Civitali (1436-1501) 
Giovanni Antonio Amadeo (d. 1475) 
Andrea Sansovino (1460-1529) 

63 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

Pietro Torregiano (1472-1522) 
Michelangelo Buonaroti (1475-1563) 
Andrea Briosco (Riccio) (1480-1532) 
The Lombardi. Alfonso (1488-1537) 

Pietro (d. 1519) Tullio (d. 1559) 
Antonio Busti (Bambaja) (c. 1470) 
Baccio Bandinelli (1493-1560) 
Antonio Gagini (1478-1536) 
Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) 
Montorsoli (d. 1563) 
Alessandro Vittoria (1525-1607) 
Giovanni da Bologna (1524-1608) 

With the private lives of these great artists the 
records of which are often obscure and contradic- 
tory, we have nothing to do here. But their works 
in which they still live possess an interest only 
surpassed by Greek art, for all who seek to under- 
stand sculpture. 

THE PISANI 

To the quaint old town of Pisa belongs the 
honour of giving birth to the father of Italian 
sculpture, Niccolo Pisano. That his genius for art 
was developed by the study of some reliefs on a 
Graeco-Roman sarcophagus in the Campo Santo 
of his native city cannot, I think, be doubted, but, 
be this as it may, his strong and naturalistic style 
of modelling shows little trace of its influence. 
What it was hoped would have proved the second 
renaissance of sculpture in Italy initiated by 
Canova, failed from a too slavish adherence to 
imitation of the antique, an error impossible in the 
time of Pisano because the statues of the Greeks 
were still awaiting discovery; thus the older 



THE RENAISSANCE 

artist boldly and freely accepted nature alone as 
his guide and inspiration. Hence the vitality and 
truth of his work and that of his pupils, which 
have sometimes caused these artists to be desig- 
nated " humanists." 

Niccolo Pisano, as was customary in those days, 
combined architecture with sculpture. His first 
authentic work was the beautiful Pulpit in the 
Baptistery of Pisa, produced in 1260. It consists 
of a hexagon supported by nine columns; in its 
architectural features it somewhat resembles two 
earlier pulpits, one at Bari, the other at Amalfi. 
Probably I am wrong, but I cannot help a feeling 
of compassion for the poor lions who are made 
to support the pillars and their superincumbent 
weight; it would, I think, have given more dignity 
to the work had these masses of marble rested on 
the floor as is the case with the plain but superb 
pulpit in St. Mark's, Venice. The figures in the 
subjects on the panels are higher in relief than a 
Greek would have modelled them, but are replete 
with feeling and expression. 

His next work was the celebrated Arco di San 
Domenico at Bologna. This is a square sarcopha- 
gus with six compartments of reliefs, so delicate in 
design and execution that it may be called gold- 
smiths' work in marble. The group of the Madonna 
and Child between two of the reliefs, is one of the 
sculptor's finest compositions. The canopy is by 
Niccolo da Bari, after his work upon it called in- 
variably "dell Arco"; to it Tribolo and Michel- 
angelo contributed statues about 200 years after- 
wards. 

The Pulpit in the Cathedral at Siena resembles 
in architectural form that at Pisa, but is much 

6 5 F 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

more ornate. Niccolo's last authentic work was the 
noble fountain in the Piazza at Perugia which well 
bears comparison with Quercia's glorious Fonte 
Gaia at Siena. 

The following eulogy pronounced on Niccolo 
Pisano by a recently deceased writer * on sculpture 
is neither exaggerated nor unmerited: 

" Truly Niccolo did marvellous service to his 
age. He found sculpture dead and lifeless, and 
left it renovated and bearing the seeds of a new 
life. His whole life was spent in rearing up beau- 
ties in Italy which have been a joy to all subse- 
quent ages. In fact he laid the foundation-stone 
of that renaissance of sculpture which culminated 
in Michelangelo." 

Niccolo's son, Giovanni, was the architect of 
that perfect little Gothic gem, Sta Maria delta 
Spina, at Pisa which rises above the waters of the 
river like a frozen fountain. He next designed the 
Cloister, which surrounds the Campo Santo in the 
same city and encloses the earth brought from 
Jerusalem by Archbishop Ubaldi Lanfranchi. 
The Campo Santo is a perfect museum of medi- 
aeval art and many works by Giovanni himself 
have found a resting-place within its walls. In 
S. Giovanni Evangelista at Pistoja is a Pila for 
holy water by him which is very classical in feel- 
ing, and over the western door of the Duomo at 
Florence a fine figure of the Madonna. 

Andrea, the pupil of Giovanni, was the sculptor 
of the reliefs which represent the life of St. John 
on the south doors of the Baptistery at Florence, 
on which he is said to have worked for twenty- 
two years. In simplicity and true sculptural feel- 
1 Leader Scott. 
66 



DONATELLO 




A linari photo\ 



[ Or Sau Michele, Florence 



ST. MARK 



THE RENAISSANCE 

ing they are superior to the more celebrated and 
more ornate doors of Ghiberti. 1 Andrea was also 
the sculptor of some lozenge-shaped reliefs and 
four statues of prophets on Giotto's Campanile. 
He was Capo Maestro of the Opera del Duomo 
at Orvieto where his son Nino worked and after- 
wards succeeded him. 

" In the works of these artists " (the Pisani), says 
Flaxman, " the compositions are simple and intel- 
ligible; the female figures are frequently elegant 
in their movements and their drapery. In them 
are occasionally seen an originality of idea, and a 
force of thought seldom met with when schools of 
art are in the habit of copying from each other." 

JACOPO BELLA QUERCIA 

This sculptor has been called, and with reason, 
the precursor of Michelangelo, who is said to have 
made drawings from Delia Quercias bas-reliefs 
at Bologna. Perkins remarks " It is not only in 
single figures but also in the general style of the 
reliefs which represent the creation of Eve, the 
expulsion from Paradise, and Eve spinning while 
her two children cling about her knees, that we 
feel between these two great men a similarity." 

Born at Siena, he was one of the competitors 
for the gate of the Baptistery at Florence; his 
work was considered to stand next in merit to 
those of Ghiberti and Brunelleschi. In 1343 
Quercia was appointed by the Signory of Siena 
to make a fountain for the great piazza, and the 
superb Fonte Gaia was the result. In form it 

1 A far better effect for outdoor purposes is obtained by the 
low relief invented by the Egyptians, and the stiacciato relief of 
the Italians, than by high relief. 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

is a square reservoir; the centre wall is divided 
into niches containing statuettes, and two side 
parapets are covered with reliefs, the subjects 
of which are taken from the Old Testament. Be- 
coming greatly dilapidated in the course of time, 
it has lately been restored by the modern Siennese 
sculptor, Tito Sarrocchi. In novelty of design and 
beauty, Fonte Gaia is one of the model fountains 
of the world. 

In the Cathedral at Lucca is the beautiful Tomb 
of Ilaria del Carretto by this artist. It consists of 
the simple and pathetic figure of Ilaria recumbent 
on a tomb decorated with a relief of children 
carrying festoons of flowers. 

" I name it," says Ruskin, " not as more beauti- 
ful or perfect than other examples of the same 
period, but as furnishing an instance of the exact 
and right mean between the rigidity and rudeness 
of the earlier monumental effigies, and the morbid 
imitations of life, sleep, or death, of which the 
fashion has taken place in modern times." 

At Bologna he sculptured fifteen bas-reliefs for 
the great doorway of the Basilica, the subjects of 
which are taken from the Book of Genesis. The 
last three years of his laborious life were spent at 
Siena, where he held the office of Operajo del 
Duomo, and where several of his works may be 
seen. 

LORENZO GHIBERTI 

This artist commenced life as a painter, to 
which circumstance it is probably due that the re- 
liefs in his renowned doors of the Baptistery at 
Florence are pictorial rather than sculpturesque in 
treatment. If the statement be not too daring 

68 



DONATELLO 




A linari photo \ 



[Church of the Vanchetoni, Florence 

ST. JOHN BAPTIST 



THE RENAISSANCE 

with regard to a work which Michelangelo him- 
self called " worthy to be the gates of Paradise," 
I feel disposed to say that the figures and heads 
of prophets and sibyls are finer than the reliefs. 
This opinion has the support of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, who says of the reliefs, " Ghiberti's 
landscape and buildings occupied so large a por- 
tion of the compartments, that the figures remained 
but secondary objects, entirely contrary to the 
principle of the ancients." In one of these panels 
(the top on the left hand) no less than five events are 
represented as taking place at once, the creation of 
Adam, the creation of Eve, the Temptation of Eve, 
the Expulsion, and God the Father surrounded 
by angels. " This form of sculpture," it has been 
truly remarked, " into which perspective is so 
freely introduced, is by some considered meretrici- 
ous and contrary to the canons of art, and in the 
hands of other and lesser men, it does indeed 
seem to be so, and such work is generally more 
or less of a failure. Ghiberti, however, by his 
complete mastery of technique, and his poet's 
touch, has overridden the canons, and in spite of 
all produced what, in its way, can only be called 
perfection." l 

The border of fruit and foliage which runs round 
these doors is a masterpiece of delicate and in- 
tricate modelling. These doors occupied the best 
part of the sculptor's time for a period of twenty- 
nine years. He himself says: 

" I strove to imitate Nature to the utmost, and 
by investigating her methods of work to see how 
nearly I could approach her. I sought to under- 
stand how form strikes upon the eye, and how the 
1 Hope Rea, " Tuscan Artists." 
69 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

theoretic part of sculptural and pictorial art should 
be managed. Working with the utmost diligence 
and care, I introduced into some of my composi- 
tions as many as a hundred figures, which I 
modelled upon different planes, so that those 
nearest the eye might appear larger, and those 
more remote smaller in proportion." 

Ghiberti's next works were the statues of 
St. John the Baptist and St. Matthew for two of 
the niches in Orcagna's church of Or San Michele. 

The Monuments of Ludovico degli Obizzi and of 
the Gonfaloniere Bartolommeo Valori in Santa 
Croce, and the Tomb of S. Zenobius, Bishop and 
Patron Saint of Florence, were executed by him. 
He also made two reliefs, the Baptism of our 
Lord and St. John before Herod for the font of 
the Baptistery at Siena, beautiful in modelling and 
composition. Much of Ghiberti's time seems to 
have been employed on goldsmiths' work. 

DONATELLO 

Costui 
Die vita ai marmi, e i marmi a lui. 

The art of sculpture which the Pisani and 
Ghiberti had brought to such a pitch of excellence, 
was carried to still greater perfection by Donatello, 
" scultore rarissimo e statuario maraviglioso," " il 
maestro di chi sanno," one of the giants of the 
Renaissance. He improved upon the older artists 
by earnest study of nature and severe rejection of 
the immaterial or merely picturesque, and gave to 
sculpture that impetus which culminated in the 
mighty works of Michelangelo. Inclose observa- 
tion of nature, in truth of modelling, in charm of 

70 



THE RENAISSANCE 

expression, his works have never been excelled. 
There is a certain mannerism about them from 
which we recognize a work by Donatello at a 
glance, which is perhaps only an added grace. 
His severe and simple style may have had its 
foundation in the fact that at an early age he ac- 
companied Brunelleschi to Rome, and there drew 
and studied every fragment of antique art he could 
find, though he never allowed his genius to be 
dominated by the influence of the Greeks. He 
was the centre of the art-world of his period, and 
the object of its profound homage. 

His first commission on his return to Florence 
was a figure of David. This is on the Campanile, 
and is known as lo Zuccone (the bald head). A 
Daniel, a Joshua, the Four Evangelists on the 
fa$ade of the Duomo, Abraham with Isaac at his 
feet, and a Prophet followed in quick succession. 
The Guild of Armourers gave him an order to 
make a statue of St. George for Or San Michele, 
which is esteemed by many critics his chef d* ceuvre. 
Its vigour, simplicity, good proportions, and origin- 
ality of design, entitle it to take very high rank 
indeed among the masterpieces of Renaissance 
sculpture. The Tomb of Pope John XXI II vs\ the 
Baptistery of Florence, and that of Cardinal 
Rinaldo Brancacci in St. Angelo in Nilo at Naples 
were his next important works. 

Donatello then made a second visit to Rome, 
and, while there, executed the Tomb of the Arch- 
deacon Giovanni Crivelli for the church of Ara 
Celi, a statue of 3 1 . John the Baptist for S. Gio- 
vanni in Laterano, and a Tabernacle of the Sacra- 
ment for St. Peter's. 

On his return to Florence, he commenced the 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

Reliefs for the Singing Gallery over the doors of 
the sacristy of the Duomo which may now be seen 
in the National Museum of that city. He also 
executed a similar series for the outer pulpit of 
the Cathedral at Prato. These charming figures 
of children are full of purity and vivacity and seem 
to express the very ecstasy of motion. 

His group of Judith and Holof ernes in the 
Loggia dei Lanzi is a comparative failure; the 
figures are confused and restrained in attitude. 
The figure in wood of a Magdalen in the Bap- 
tistery and the bronze St. John now in the Bar- 
gello, are specimens of realism carried to excess. 

In 1444 we find the artist at Padua, where he 
executed many important commissions. These 
include two bas-reliefs, a Dead Christ between 
Angels and the Four Miracles of St. Antonio, four 
Symbols of the Evangelists, an Ecce Homo, and 
many other works. His largest work at Padua 
was the bronze statue of Gattamelata, the first 
equestrian statue made since the days of the 
Romans. The figure is fine, but the horse has the 
failing of moving both legs together on the same 
side, and its colossal proportions seem to dwarf 
the rider. The curve of the tail, too, is unhappy. 

Few who have visited Tuscan churches can 
have failed to notice the memorial slabs, some- 
times of marble, sometimes of bronze, laid in the 
pavement like brasses in our own cathedrals, the 
difference beingthat they are carved in low relief in- 
stead of being incised. The authors of these works 
are mostly unknown, a very beautiful one, however, 
in the Duomo of Siena is by Donatello. Worn by 
the tread of innumerable feet through the centuries, 
these old memorials, defaced as they are, show 

72 



LUCA DELLA ROBBIA 




Brogi photo} \_Diiomo Museum., Florence 

PORTION OF THE SINGING GALLERY 



THE RENAISSANCE 

traces of firm draughtsmanship and masterly de- 
sign. In Santa Croce in Florence there are many 
specimens, and Mr. Ruskin is chiefly responsible 
for the admiration awakened in most English 
tourists for one near the door, now nearly worn 
away. 

Fortunately, however, we can still form an idea 
of the original beauty of these monuments. In the 
Certosa di Val d'Ema are three perfectly preserved, 
in which critics trace with certainty the hand of 
Donatello himself. The best, called the Sleeping 
Warrior, represents a youth in armour lying in a 
position of perfect rest; his armour is covered 
with the richest and most delicate ornament. The 
other two are scarcely less beautiful and have 
been preserved to us in almost perfect condition; 
they serve to show how great a loss has been 
sustained by the obliteration of those monumental 
slabs in which Tuscan churches were particularly 
rich. Probably the Monument to Fra Angelica da 
Fiesole in Sta Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, was 
originally one of these memorial slabs. 

Donatello was a most prolific artist. He ex- 
celled in modelling in low relief; his Sta Cecilia * in 
Lord Wemyss' possession and St. John in the Bar- 
gello are known, by casts at least, to every student 
of art. A purer profile, a more charming contour, 
a sweeter expression than those of the St. Cecilia 
have never been rendered. His portrait busts are 
strikingly life-like, and are treated with originality 
and truth unattempted before. Among his finest 
productions is a Head of Christ, one of the most 
profoundly felt presentments of this difficult sub- 

1 Experts differ as to whether this is a genuine Donatello or 
not. 

73 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

ject in the whole range of art. Suffering and hope, 
divinity and humanity, are all expressed in the 
noble features of this supreme work. 

A collection of casts from Donatello's works, 
nearly complete, may be seen in the National 
Museum, Florence. 

THE ROSSELLINI 

A family of five brothers all devoted to art, of 
whom Bernardi, the eldest, rose to eminence as an 
architect. Antonio, the youngest, was the most 
gifted, and to him we owe the fine Monument to 
Cardinal Jacopo di P or togallo in San Miniato near 
Florence. For the Duke of Amalfi he executed a 
similar work in memory of the Duchess, in the 
Church of Santa Maria di Monte at Naples. He 
also sculptured three panels for the Pulpit at Prato, 
and three or four more of his works are in the 
Florentine Gallery. 

THE DELLA ROBBIA FAMILY 

Luca della Robbia commenced his artistic career 
as a sculptor in marble, and in that material 
executed the lovely figures of children for the 
Cantoria or Singing Gallery in the Duomo at 
Florence, now in the Museum of that city, and 
afterwards the Tomb of Bishop Federigki in the 
Church of S. Francisco di Paola. But, either 
because he found carving in marble too long a 
process to satisfy the impatience of his creative 
genius, or because of some more material con- 
sideration, he ceased to employ it, and invented 
the quicker method of modelling in terra-cotta 
and afterwards coating it with a glaze of which he 

74 



ANDREA DELLA ROBBIA 




Brogi photo] 



{At the Hospital of the Innocenti, Florence 

A BAMBINO 



THE RENAISSANCE 

alone possessed the secret. This white glaze is 
far from equalling the mellow tone of marble or 
deeper hue of bronze, and, away from the position 
for which they were intended, his works lose the 
charm of their effect. Neither are the coloured 
fruit and flowers with which he surrounded many 
of his reliefs altogether pleasing. As Dr. William- 
son most justly remarks: 

" Luca's work does not well bear removal. It is 
peculiarly suited to the places for which it was 
made, and under the brilliant sky of Italy is at 
home." No doubt, however, this clever artist, 
whose modelling and sentiment are always superb, 
invented a style of art which became universally 
popular, which no one has ever rivalled, and the 
secret of whose production perished with the 
family who gave it its name. 

In my opinion the Altarpiece of the Church of 
the Osservanza near Siena is his chef cTozuvre, and 
I entirely agree with those art critics who ascribe 
it to the master himself. 

The Infants in swaddling clothes in the Spedale 
degli Innocenti are among the best works of his 
nephew Andrea. 

ANDREA VERROCCHIO 

To Andrea Verrocchio, a pupil of Donatello, be- 
longs the distinction of having produced the finest 
bronze equestrian statue in existence that of 
Bartolommeo Colleoni in the Piazza of the Scuola 
di S. Marco, Venice. The only work of the kind 
comparable to it is the Marcus Aurelius on the 
Capitol, Rome. The magnificent seat and calm 
majesty of the rider, the grand action of the horse, 

75 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

the nobility of the whole conception, place this 
work far and away above Donatello's Gattame- 
lata. The handsome pedestal is by Leopardi, and 
merits attention. 

HisDavid'm the National Museum is a mean and 
flippant rendering of the youthful hero; his well- 
known Boy with a Dolphin, in the Palazzo Vecchio, 
Florence, is a much stronger work. The Tomb oj 
Piero and Giovanni de Medici by him, in the sac- 
risty of S. Lorenzo, is a simple porphyry sarcopha- 
gus; the statuettes in silver executed for Pope 
Sixtus IV and almost all his works in metal have 
disappeared. But his Colleoni ensures him a splen- 
did immortality. 

MlNO DA FlESOLE 

The original and delicate works of this sculptor 
are the delight of the amateur and the connoisseur; 
their truth to nature, finish and elegance compel 
the admiration of both classes. The advance in 
the art of sculpture from the period when the 
Pisani covered the facade of the Duomo at Orvieto 
with a riot of foliage, is well marked in the charm- 
ing, almost classical, scrolls and arabesque of Mino. 

His Tombs of the two Bishops Salutaii, which are 
in the Duomo at Fiesole, exhibit his peculiar style 
of excellence both in portraiture and in that deli- 
cate ornamentation with which he delighted to 
adorn his monuments, Marble seems to have be- 
come soft under his chisel, and as responsive to 
his touch as clay itself. For these old craftsmen 
did not employ hired labour; the work they did 
not do themselves was performed by pupils under 
their immediate supervision. 

76 



MATTEO CIVITALI 




Alinari photo] 



[Lucca Cathedral 



ADORING ANGEL 



THE RENAISSANCE 

The Tombs of Bernardo Guigni and of Count 
Ugo in the Badia, Florence, are highly ornate ex- 
amples of his characteristic manner. His Tomb of 
Paul II is one of the treasures of the crypt of St. 
Peter's, Rome. In the church of Sta Maria in 
Trastevere is one of his most charming tabernacles, 
inscribed " Opus Mini"; another ornaments the 
Duomo of Volterra. The A Itar-piecefor the Chapel 
of the Baglioni family in the Cathedral of Perugia, 
does not reach his usual level of excellence. Many 
portrait busts, all with the stamp of verisimilitude, 
are attributed to this excellent artist. 

DESIDERIO DA SETTIGNANO 

He was a pupil of the great Donatello. Though 
most of his works are lost, one of the best is hap- 
pily still extant the Monument of Carlo Marzup- 
fiini in Santa Croce, Florence. The workmanship 
resembles that of Mino da Fiesole of whom he 
was either a friend or pupil, but is less delicate 
and tender; the Virgin and Child with adoring 
angels is, however, a charming composition. In 
the Church of S. Lorenzo at Florence is an altar 
by him on which stands a figure of the Infant 
Jesus formerly so highly esteemed that it was only 
shown on Christmas Day. 



MATTED CIVITALI 

The first known work of this architect and 
sculptor was the Tomb of Pietro da Noceto in the 
Cathedral at Lucca, where stands also his master- 
piece, the Temple which contains the Volto Sacro. 
In the same church is a charming Adoring Angel 

77 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

which exhibits all his merits of expression and 
high finish, and also his mannerisms, such as 
hardness of drapery, ornamental treatment of hair, 
and exaggeration of the extremities. In Genoa he 
decorated the chapel where the ashes of S. John 
the Baptist are supposed to be, with six life-sized 
statues, of which the Zachariah is the best. 

GIOVANNI ANTONIO AMADEO 

Amadeo's title to fame is his huge Monument 
to Bartolommeo Colleoni in the Church of Santa 
Maria Maggiore at Bergamo, considered one of the 
best Renaissance sculptures in Lombardy. 

ANDREA SANSOVINO 

The principal achievement of this sculptor was 
the design for the Marble Shrine atLoreto, but the 
only work by his hand there is the Annunciation 
and one of the figures of prophets. His Tomb of 
Cardinal Ascanio Sforza in Santa Maria del 
Popolo, Rome, is wanting in that purity and ele- 
gance of style which distinguish similar works by 
sculptors of this period. The recumbent figure of 
the Cardinal, though broadly treated, is constrained 
in attitude. 

PlETRO TORREGIANO 

Torregiano, " the roving soldier-sculptor of 
Florence," was a fellow student of Michelangelo 
in the gardens of St. Mark and, being of a jealous 
and irascible disposition, owing to a slight dispute 
struck the great sculptor such a blow upon his 
nose that he became disfigured for life. After a 
period of fighting in the army, for which pursuit he 

78 ' 



MICHELANGELO 




Brogt pttoto\ 



[St. Peter's, Rome 



PIETA 



THE RENAISSANCE 

seems to have been particularly fit, he took up 
sculpture again, went to England, entered the ser- 
vice of King Henry VIII and was commissioned 
to make a Monument to Henry VII in West- 
minster Abbey. This tomb, which is considered 
the best example of Renaissance style in Eng- 
land, is of black marble surrounded by a chantry 
chapel of brass. The armorial bearings and orna- 
ments of every kind are finely wrought, the effigy 
of the king is not wanting in dignity and repose, 
but the lines of the drapery are terribly hard and 
cutting. Fuller, in his " Church History," calls it 
" a pattern of despair for all posterity to imitate." 
From its similarity of style he is supposed to have 
made the Monument of Margaret, Countess of 
Richmond which stands in the adjoining chapel. 
A fine specimen of this sculptor's work may be 
seen in the Rolls' Museum, London. 

Torregiano spent the rest of his life in Seville, 
whither he had gone in hopes of securing the 
commission for the monuments to Ferdinand and 
Isabella. That he did some work of sculpture in 
that city seems certain, but there is no document- 
ary evidence to show which they are. Sir W. 
Stirling- Maxwell relates that a group by him of the 
Virgin and the Infant Saviour so pleased the Duke 
of Arcos that he ordered a repetition of it for his own 
palace, and when the work was delivered, sent the 
artist away rejoicing with as much copper coin as 
two men could carry. But on arriving at his own 
house, and discovering that this weighty recom- 
pense amounted to only thirty ducats, Torregiano 
in a fit of passion flew back, hammer in hand, and 
dashed the statue to pieces before the Duke's face. 
For this outrage on a sacred image the unhappy 

79 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

sculptor was seized by the Inquisition, condemned 
as a lunatic, and died soon after in its dungeons 
by voluntary starvation. 1 

MICHELANGELO BUONAROTI 

The mere name of Michelangelo inspires ad- 
miration, wonder, and awe. 

We reach the culmination of the Renaissance 
with this supreme artist who carried sculpture to 
a point beyond which it seems impossible to ad- 
vance. Whether we consider painting, sculpture, 
or architecture, in all three arts he has excelled 
whoever preceded or succeeded him. When we 
stand before the Medici Tombs in Florence, gaze 
at the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or enter the 
Basilica of St. Peter 's, at Rome, we are face to face 
with miracles of art which have never before been 
equalled, and which will in all probability never 
be approached. Sir Joshua Reynolds, himself an 
artist of consummate ability, rises to unusual elo- 
quence in speaking of Michelangelo. "Were I 
now to begin the world again," he exclaimed, " I 
would tread in the steps of that great master : to 
kiss the hem of his garment, to catch the slightest 
of his perfections, would be glory and distinction 
enough for an ambitious man." And his last words 
addressed to the students of the Royal Academy 
were : " I feel a self congratulation in knowing my- 
self capable of such sensations as he intended to 
excite. I reflect, not without vanity, that these 
discourses bear testimony of my admiration of that 
truly divine man; and I should desire that the last 
words which I should pronounce in this Academy, 

1 " Annals of the Artists of Spain." 
80 



MICHELANGELO 




{National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 

WAX MODEL FOR STATUE OF GIULIANO DE' MEDICI 



THE RENAISSANCE 

and from this place, might be the name of Michel- 
angelo." 

The mighty master's first works were sculpture, 
a Sleeping Cupid, a Bacchus and young Faun, the 
colossal David, and a Pieta. His wonderful com- 
position, the Cartoon of Pisa, foreshadowed that 
tremendous conception the Ceiling of the Sistine 
Chapel, of which Flaxman says it is " unparalleled 
in the history of art, ancient or modern, in the 
vastness of the idea the grandeur of the subject, 
comprehending the entire scheme of divine revela- 
tion, the dignity of the characters, among which, 
our reason is convinced, are those which cannot be 
represented." v 

His Last Judgement is less admirable, because 
the composition is somewhat scattered. But in the 
Medicean Tombs and in the statue of Moses, in S. 
Pietro in Vincoli, he rises to those heights of 
sublimity where none has ever been able to follow 
him. 

The mighty master's Two Slaves, now in the 
Louvre, which were intended, like the Moses, to 
form part of the magnificent monument to Pope 
Julius II, are sublime in sentiment and marvellous 
in conception. In fertility of imagination he has 
never been excelled, and in facility of execution 
none has surpassed him. 

Let the name of Michelangelo, like that of 
Shakespeare, never be pronounced without rever- 
ence. 

Language has been exhausted in praise of 
Michelangelo, and volumes written in his honour; 
it would be an impertinence to add more here on 
this subject. 

What we are now concerned with is to observe 
81 G 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

that the art which we are studying, having reached 
its zenith in the hands of this unrivalled genius, 
began almost immediately to decline, whether be- 
cause his stupendous style, badly imitated as it was 
by innumerable copyists, contained within it certain 
elements of decay, or whether, despairing of reach- 
ing his imposing eminence, artists ceased to struggle 
after the highest as their own genius indicated, is 
a question impossible of solution. Probably both 
considerations helped to hasten the catastrophe. 
Overshadowed by his mighty spirit, sculpture lan- 
guished to decay; no artist had courage to strike 
out an original path for himself, but all, degenerat- 
ing into mere imitators, produced works of little or 
no merit. For in art, as in life, to stand still is to 
retrograde, and once the highest is reached, if it 
cannot be maintained, the only path is downward. 

ANDREA BRIOSCO (Riccio) 

His most famous work is the ornate bronze 
Easter Lamp, eleven feet high, at Padua. For St. 
Fermo at Verona he executed bronze Monu- 
ments for two Members of the Delia Torre Family, 
four reliefs relating to the finding of the Cross, 
and an Ascension of the Virgin, are in the Academy 
at Venice. In this artist's work the influence of 
the antique almost completely supersedes the con- 
ventional Christian style. 

THE LOMBARDI 

Whether this name implies a real family con- 
nection, or is merely the collective designation of 
a company of artists, is uncertain. Pietro Lombardi 

82 



s 

o 

h I 

2 
p 




THE RENAISSANCE 

executed the enormous Monument of the Doge 
Pietro Mocenigo in SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice 
in 1488. Tullio, his son, was the sculptor of the 
important Tomb of Guidarello Guidarelli, in the 
Institute of Fine Arts at Ravenna. The simplicity 
and dignity of the recumbent warrior place this 
work high amid the examples of contemporary 
art. 

AGOSTINO BUSTI (BAMBAJA) 

the sculptor of the monument to Gaston de Foix, 
which is now scattered, some parts being in 
the Ambrosiana and others in the Brera Gallery. 
"Never," says a German critic, "has a more perfect 
conception of individual life been produced than 
the youthful figure of the hero. To this is added 
the most wonderful skill in execution." The Monu- 
ment to Cardinal Caracciolo in Milan Cathedral is 
another work of his. On the sarcophagus the figure 
of the deceased lies in calm sleep, behind him 
stand Christ, St. Peter, and St. Paul, while above 
is a medallion of the Madonna and Child. 

Busti was also employed on the Certosa of Pavia, 
that supreme achievement of wealth and bad taste. 

BACIO BANDINELLI 

made a long stride in the downward course. The 
very names of his works, Orpheus in Hades, Her- 
cules and Cacus, indicate the return to classicalism 
which was caused by his early studies in Rome. 
He mistook size for grandeur, the muscles of his 
figures are like blown bladders, and they them- 
selves are devoid of all grace and proportion. The 
dispute between him and Michelangelo for the 

83 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

possession of a huge block of marble, out of which 
he carved the second of these groups, is too well 
known to need repetition. 

The best works of Bandinelli are the reliefs he 
executed for the balustrade of the choir of the 
Duomo in Florence. How little religious sentiment 
animated this sculptor can be imagined when it is 
narrated that he changed statues viAdam and Eve, 
which did not please him, into the Bacchus and 
Ceres still to be seen in the Boboli Gardens. 

ANTONIO GAGINI 

was the most famous sculptor of Sicily. His prin- 
cipal work is the Tribune behind the High Altar 
at Santa Cita in Palermo ; others are in the Cathe- 
dral, Messina. He founded a school of sculpture 
which was carried on with much success by his 
sons and nephews. " Taking both sides of Antonio 
Gagini's work," says Mr. Sladen, who has made 
himself thoroughly acquainted with Sicilian art, 
" his sculptures of the human form and his low 
relief arabesques and other conventional orna- 
mentations, it is doubtful if any of the great fif- 
teenth-century Florentines excelled him when at 
his best." 

BENVENUTO CELLINI 

Cellini's chief claim to our gratitude lies not in 
the works of art he produced, but in the graphic 
account he has bequeathed us of his blustering, 
roving life. As frank as Rousseau, he brings all 
the details of his assassinations and amours sin- 
cerely before us, always to his own glorification. 
He does not scruple to tell us of his vices, his 



MONTORSOLI 




[Messina. 



THE FOUNTAIN OF ORION 



THE RENAISSANCE 

cowardice and treachery, or ever hesitate to ex- 
press his profound appreciation of himself and his 
works. However, his autobiography is a powerful 
picture of the stormy and dissolute times in which 
he lived and bore part. 

Cellini excelled chiefly in goldsmith's work; the 
effect of his study of that art can easily be traced 
in his bronze Perseus with the Head of Medusa in 
the Loggia de' Lanzi. Perseus is represented as an 
elegant youth, whose poise is unhappy; modelled 
a few inches high, the figure would seem admirably 
in place on the top of a vase. His Nymph at Fon- 
tainebleau, in the Louvre, is about two heads too 
tall. 

In the choir of the chapel in the Escorial is his 
celebrated Crucifix; wonderful for skill of execu- 
tion, like most works of this master, it is too orna- 
mental in style to express profound religious feel- 
ing. Cellini himself admired this work of his, but 
as he was in the habit of liking all his own pro- 
ductions exceedingly, this is scarcely a satisfying 
opinion. 

H is busts of Duke Cosimo in the N ational M useum, 
Florence, and of Bindo Altoviti gained the approval 
of Michelangelo himself, who wrote, " that he had 
always known him as the finest goldsmith in the 
world, and that henceforth he should recognize 
him as a great sculptor." 

MONTORSOLI 

Montorsoli was a pupil of Michelangelo, who 
executed numerous works in Sicily, the best of 
which is the superb Fountain of Orion in the 
Piazza del Duomo, Messina. It consists of two 

85 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

highly ornamented basins with a group of figures 
on the top. There are few more finely executed 
female figures in the whole range of sculpture than 
those which support the upper basin. Montorsoli 
also sculptured the grand figure of Neptune, which 
adorns the sea-front of the same city, having hap- 
pily escaped the great earthquake. These works 
give evidence that in this artist Michelangelo had 
no unworthy pupil. 

ALESSANDRO VITTORIA 

One of the best sculptors of his age. His nobly 
poised and modelled figures may be seen on many 
a holy water stoup and tomb in Venice, and im- 
mediately attract attention by their breadth and 
largeness of style. Two fine examples are in the 
Church of S. Zaccaria S. Zaccaria and S. Gio- 
vanni Battista. H is Monument ofPietro Bernardo 
is in the Church of the Frari. The student of 
sculpture will be well rewarded if he seeks for the 
works of this glorious artist, who is not so well 
known to English travellers as his merits deserve. 

GIOVANNI DA BOLOGNA 

The two colossal equestrian statues of Cosimo I 
in the Piazza della Signoria, and Q{ Ferdinand I \\\ 
the Piazza della SS. Annunziata, Florence, are the 
admirable works of this artist, to whose genius we 
also owe the charming little Mercury, poised on 
one foot and pointing upwards, in the National 
Museum. The god is represented alighting on the 
earth as he descends from the realms above, and 
the lightness and elegance of the action are mar- 

86 



BARTOLOMMEO BUON 



I 




So. Ivia ti photo] 



THE JUDGEMENT OF SOLOMON 
(PALACE OF THE DOGES, VENICE) 



THE RENAISSANCE 

vellously rendered. The same sculptor's other 
works, the Rape of the Sabines and Hercules and 
the Centaur, are not equal to any of those first 
named, but his Fountain of Neptune at Bologna 
takes high rank among productions in the florid 
style of these decadent times. 

Giovanni da Bologna died in 1594, the last of 
the great masters who revived the art of sculpture 
in Italy. During the sixteenth century little or 
nothing of importance was produced, while the 
seventeenth saw the utter abasement of the art in 
the works of Bernini (1598-1680) and his school. 

This Neapolitan artist having exerted so long 
and powerful an influence over sculpture, unex- 
ampled except by that of Michelangelo, seems to 
need mention here, if it were only to add another 
page to the volumes of condemnation with which 
art-critics have justly overwhelmed his work. Yet 
he was universally regarded during his lifetime as 
the chief artist of the period, and filled both Rome 
and Paris with his meretricious productions. Some 
idea of the quantity of his output may be obtained 
from the facts that he designed a hundred and sixty- 
two figures for the colonnade of St. Peter's, the 
angels on the Bridge of St. Angelo, the figures in 
the Lateran, and devised the principal fagade of 
the Louvre. His youthful work, Apollo pursuing 
Daphne, indicates the native bias of his taste, and 
shows a profound misunderstanding of the limits of 
his art. The dramatic and ridiculous colossal Statue 
of Constantine at the entrance to the Vatican, the 
vicious Rape of Proserpine, and, in fact, the whole 
series of Bernini's works are false in taste, mere- 
tricious in conception, and repulsive to the finer 
feelings of humanity. The Monuments of Urban 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

F///and of Alexander VII, in St. Peter's, in both 
of which a skeleton in action appears, and curtains 
made of different coloured marbles, can only serve 
one purpose to show the student of sculpture what 
to avoid. Bernini's treatment of drapery was one of 
his most vicious points, he never makes it indicate 
form, but, resembling crumpled paper more than 
textile fabric, it disturbs the eye and destroys all 
sense of repose and beauty. One great quality he 
had, however, unparalleled dexterity in the me- 
chanical part of his art ; we can also credit him with 
a certain amount of originality. 

Two sculptors of the period only seem to have 
escaped the fatal influence of Bernini. One, Stefano 
Maderno(i57i-i636), succeeded in producing the 
really simple and pathetic Statue of St. Cecilia, in 
the church of that name in Rome; the other, 
Frangois Duvernay (1594-1644) of Brussels, called 
ilFiammingo, is celebrated for his skilful modelling 
of children. 

With these exceptions we may accept the words 
set cento art as synonymous with exaggeration and 
mannerism. 



88 



CHAPTER VIII 

BRITISH SCULPTURE 

INTO the dim past of the beginnings of 
English Sculpture I do not think it would be 
useful to my present purpose to attempt to pene- 
trate; it is sufficient to indicate that its earliest 
development may be seen in many a cathedral and 
on numerous sepulchral monuments. Flaxman 
cites Wells Cathedral as possessing the finest early 
English statuary, and says it was finished in 1242 
at the same time "that Niccolo Pisano, the Italian 
restorer of sculpture, exercised that art in his own 
country." Interesting to the historian and an- 
tiquarian, a study of these works would scarcely 
benefit the overtasked artist, who in these days is 
nothing if not practical. Nor, on the other side, 
are those who live in our own age, whose hands 
we may perhaps shake in the common intercourse 
of society, legitimate subjects of criticism. Our 
present range of study with regard to English 
sculpture is thus limited to those sculptors about 
whose lives and work we have definite information 
and whose careers have ended. 

Long after the completion of our Gothic cathe- 
drals, and just as the tomb of Henry VII in 
Westminster Abbey was finished (which, as we 
have seen, is the work of Italians) the art of sculp- 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

ture in England underwent the chill eclipse of the 
Reformation. Henry VIII issued an injunction in 
1538 to the effect that all images which had been 
worshipped should be pulled down; and, a still 
greater misfortune, in the reign of Edward VI, the 
Protector and Council ordered all statues to be de- 
stroyed. From this date to 1735 a period of two 
hundred years the records of the art are almost 
blank, Rysbrack and Roubilliac, two foreigners, 
executing such monuments as were desired. 

In 1735 Thomas Banks, R.A., whom we may 
fairly reckon as the first of our genuine English 
sculptors, was born. Having gained the gold 
medal of the Royal Academy, Banks went to 
Rome and studied there for seven years, in the 
meantime executing several important works. 
His relief, Thetis rising from the sea to comfort 
Achilles^ highly praised by Flaxman, is in the 
National Gallery of British Art, and serves to 
show how completely the artist failed to resist 
the influence of the antique, under whose supreme 
domination Canova and Thorvaldsen were then 
working. His statue of Achilles is also executed 
in imitation of the antique, but the Falling Giant, 
his diploma work in the Academy, is a stronger 
and more original conception. Various public 
monuments of questionable taste were also exe- 
cuted by Banks, and the Empress Catherine II of 
Russia purchased a statue of Cnpid'by him. Banks 
died in 1805. 

Joseph Nollekens, R.A. (b. 1737, d. 1823), de- 
veloped a style of modelling full of individuality 
and freshness. He succeeded best in portrait 
busts, which are distinguished by simplicity and 
truth to nature. John Smith, who has written a 

90 



BRITISH SCULPTURE 

most entertaining biography of this artist, asserts 
that he modelled one thousand busts in the course 
of his long life. 

John Flaxman, R.A. (b. 1755, d. 1826), is per- 
haps the best known of English sculptors, owing 
to his designs for Wedgwood's pottery and to his 
once-popular outline illustrations of Homer. Early 
in life he executed a colossal group of four figures, 
The Fury of Athamas from Ovid's " Metamor- 
phoses." This, after a period spent in Rome, was 
followed by Cephalus and Aurora, the Monuments 
of Earl Mansfield and of Captain James Montague 
in Westminster Abbey; of Lord Nelson, Earl 
Howe, and Captain Millar in St. Paul's Cathedral, 
and many other statues and groups. His finest 
colossal work is the Archangel Michael and Satan, 
executed in marble for the Earl of Egremont, the 
original model of which, and many others, may be 
seen in the Flaxman Museum, London University. 
His Shield of Achilles is a proof of how strongly 
his mind was saturated with classical learning; 
yet he owes his finest inspirations to Christian 
literature. Beautiful examples of these are in 
Micheldever Church, Hants, forming a monument 
to the family of Sir Francis Baring. In the centre 
is a sitting figure representing Resignation-, on 
either side are reliefs, " Thy Kingdom Come " and 
"Deliver us from Evil" In purity of sentiment 
and feeling these compositions would be difficult 
to surpass. Flaxman's outline illustrations of the 
" Iliad " and " Odyssey " are well known ; they do 
not possess that wealth of imagery which hits the 
popular taste, and, being severely denuded of the 
charms of light and shade, are essentially a sculp- 
tor's work. 

91 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

The industry of the man was marvellous; when 
hot carving or modelling, a pencil was always in 
his hand. Ever beside a wife most devotedly 
loved and loving, the ordinary amusements of life 
had no attractions for him. 

In a direct line from Flaxman we find M. L. 
Watson (b. 1804, d. 1847), a man of whom the 
public has heard little, and who, always suffering 
from bad health, died young, but who was a 
sculptor of most undoubted talent. His colossal 
group of Lords Eldon and Stowell, at Oxford, is 
one of the finest monumental works we can boast, 
and his bas-relief, Sleep and Death carrying away 
the Dead Body of Sarpedon, one of the best works 
English sculpture has produced. Previous to his 
death, he saw with his own eyes every model and 
unfinished work destroyed, so that nothing might 
be left behind him on which he had not exerted 
his utmost skill, or might be unworthy of his name. 
I shall always remember the circumstance as re- 
lated to me by an eye-witness, of the dying sculp- 
tor wrapped in blankets and propped up with 
pillows while his men held his models one by one 
before him, indicating with feeble hands which he 
wanted saved and which shattered. 

John Gibson, R.A. (b. 1790, d. 1866), resided 
during almost his entire life in Rome, but his 
works may be sufficiently studied here, for he be- 
queathed a large collection of casts and a fund of 
money for their preservation to the Royal Academy . 
He repeatedly said that "the desire for novelty 
destroys pure taste; what is novel diverts us; 
truth and beauty instruct us," and this axiom 
sufficiently explains his pseudo-classic statues, 
little else than inferior imitations of the antique. 

92 



BRITISH SCULPTURE 

A Hunter with his Dog and Jason are the best 
examples of his style, but his most important 
works are the Tomb of Clement F//in St. Peter's, 
Rome, and a colossal statue of Queen Victoria 
seated between two standing figures, which repre- 
sent Justice and Mercy, in the Houses of Parlia- 
ment. Gibson's career is more fully treated in 
another chapter. 

By far the most pecuniarily successful man in 
the profession was Sir Francis Chantrey, R.A., a 
sculptor who devoted his great talents almost en- 
tirely to portraiture. Originally a wood-carver, he 
gained for himself both name and fortune. His 
busts are distinguished for breadth of modelling, 
dignity, and morbidezza in the rendering of flesh 
and drapery, but his treatment of hair is mannered. 
Nearly everybody of eminence in his day sat to 
Chantrey. His noble statue of Watts is badly 
placed in a small side chapel in Westminster 
Abbey; it would be difficult to name a work more 
distinguished for breadth and dignity of expression. 
The great inventor looks as if he could sit there 
and meditate in calm repose for ever. Every great 
monumental work should, I think, express rest 
the life-work done, repose achieved. Besides, 
action interferes with dignity, and we cannot 
examine with such profound attention a figure 
which the next moment would see move were it 
alive, as we can one which, like Donatello's 
St. George, looks as if it could stand in the same 
attitude for hours. 

Chantrey's Sleeping Children, in Lichfield 
Cathedral, is perhaps his most popularly admired 
work. 

Behnes (died 1864) excelled in portrait sculp- 
93 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

ture. His bust of Queen Victoria when a child is 
one of the finest representations of childhood in 
marble. Of his statues may be mentioned Sir 
William Follett, and Dr. Bell in Westminster 
Abbey, and Major-General Sir T. Jones and Dr. 
Babington in St. Paul's. 

E. H. Baily, R.A. (b. 1788, d. 1867), was the 
friend and assistant of Flaxman. He derived his 
style less from the antique than from nature, and 
his Eve at the Fountain gained him a very wide 
reputation. But his chief works were portrait 
statues and busts, of which his Charles J antes Fox 
and Lord Mansfield in St. Stephen's Hall may be 
taken as examples. 

R. J. Wyatt (b. 1795, d. 1850) was invited by 
Canova to Rome, and finally adopted that city as 
his home. His Flora, Nymphs, Penelope, and 
Musidora may be cited as the best works of an 
artist of whom Redgrave remarks that "he attained 
great purity and finish; his compositions were 
marked by their harmony and beauty of line, com- 
bined with great truth and nature." 

Sir Richard Westmacott, R.A. (b. 1775, d. 1856), 
was another of our sculptors who studied in Rome. 
He executed several statues for St. Paul's, one 
of Nelson for the Liverpool Exchange, of Lord 
Erskine for Lincoln's Inn, and many other works, 
all distinguished by a certain grandeur of propor- 
tion but wanting in individuality. 

Henry Weekes, R.A. (b. 1809, d. 1877), was the 
pupil and friend of Chantrey, and replaced him 
when he died as a sculptor of portrait busts. Two 
fine specimens of his work stand in the National 
Gallery of British Art busts of Stothard and 
Mulready the painters. They mark the culmina- 

94 



BRITISH SCULPTURE 

tion of Weeke's art; as age advanced his works 
became less powerful in execution. He also pro- 
duced some ideal figures ; his Sardanapalus raising 
a wine cup high above his head, a female figure 
called The Naturalist and A Mother and Child take 
high rank among English works of imaginative art. 

It may be worth while to remark that the three 
best modellers of portrait busts England has pro- 
duced, viz., Chantrey, Behnes, and Weekes did not 
study in the classic school of Rome. 

J. H. Foley, R.A. (b. 1818, d. 1874), excelled in 
portrait statues, many of which are equestrian. His 
bronze equestrian statues of Outram and of Lord 
Hardinge are in India, which opulent country pos- 
sesses many of the finest examples of sculpture 
produced in England. His colossal sitting statue 
of the Prince Consort in Hyde Park is familiar to 
most of us, and all may inspect the noble marble 
figure of the chivalrous Lord Falkland in the 
Houses of Parliament; where, by the way, is a 
fine collection of statues accessible to the public. 
In front of Trinity College, Dublin, Foley's statue 
of Goldsmith attracts universal admiration for its un- 
affected and masterly treatment. Being of bronze, 
the support at the side, indispensable to a marble 
or stone figure, is done away with a manifest 
gain in lightness and naturalness. The same city 
boasts his magnificent Daniel O'Connell. I had 
almost omitted his charming ideal group in marble, 
Ino and Bacchus and the Youth at the Stream, be- 
cause Foley's portrait statues are infinitely superior 
to his works of imagination. 

Alfred Stevens occupies a unique position in the 
annals of British sculpture, for he alone seems to 
have gone back to the artists of the Italian Re- 

95 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

naissance in search of inspiration. We have the 
result in his Monument to the Duke of Wellington 
in St. Paul's Cathedral, and whatever may be our 
opinion as to the taste of putting an equestrian 
statue over the dead recumbent figure below, none 
can deny the vigour and originality of the whole 
work. The sarcophagus is a masterpiece of delicate 
invention and elegance, and reminds us forcibly 
of the beautiful arabesques with which Mino da 
Fiesole adorned his superb monuments. The figures 
he has placed at the corners are hardly so satis- 
factory, their violence of action somewhat detract- 
ing perhaps from the repose necessary to a sepul- 
chral subject. Be this as it may, the monument 
is unique in English art. 

At Dorchester House, Park Lane, are some 
magnificent masterpieces executed by Stevens. 
The finest consists of two crouching female figures 
in white marble, on a mantelpiece, modelled and 
carved with all the truth and delicacy of which 
the art is capable. There is a suggestion of the 
influence of Michelangelo in the compact attitudes 
and superb strength of the limbs ; the figures are 
perfect in style, and no English artist but Stevens 
was capable of a work of such supreme sincerity 
and freedom at the date of their production. 

Other British sculptors were Patrick McDowell, 
John Thomas who combined sculpture with archi- 
tecture, Spence, Thornycroft, Lough, Noble,Theed, 
Philip, and E. B. Stephens. 

Sir Edwin Landseer (died 1873), though a 
painter, shows great knowledge of the resources of 
the sculptor's material in his colossal Lions. The 
attitude of the animals is noble, the modelling large, 
and the outlines simple and grand. 



ALFRED STEVENS 




W. A. Mansell&> Co. photo} 



[Dorchester House 



DECORATIVE FIGURE 



BRITISH SCULPTURE 

Another painter, George Frederick Watts (1817- 
1904), executed some of the finest works of sculp- 
ture that England in the last century can boast. 
His Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, an equestrian statue 
in bronze, his Energy, erected at Cape Town as a 
monument to Cecil Rhodes, and his colossal bust 
of Clytie will recur to the memory of any one inter- 
ested in art. In them is the true spirit of the an- 
tique, but no works can be further from the mere 
copying the masterpieces of antiquity. 

Among works of sculpture by painters those of 
Lord Leighton (d. 1896) are distinguished by their 
decided return to the principles of the antique, 
also the predominating note of his paintings. Like 
a Greek born out of due time, his genius was fired 
only by the thought and spirit of the people he ad- 
mired, hence his appeal to modernity is weak and 
fleeting, notwithstanding the beauty and skill of 
his productions. 

We are not entitled to add the name of Sir 
Edgar Boehm (1834-1890) to the list of British 
sculptors as he was a German, nor would it lend 
additional lustre to the record. 

The Italian, Baron Marochetti( 1805- 1868), lived 
and worked for some time in London, and has left 
us two of the finest monuments we possess the 
Richard Cceur-de-Lion at Westminster and the 
Monument to Lord Melbourne in St. Paul's. The 
vigorous modelling, truth, and grandeur of the first 
virile conception contrast well with the tender 
grace of the two angels who, with folded wings, 
watch the door of the sepulchre in the latter work. 

A study of the lives of British sculptors urges 
the question upon us as to how far persistent study 
of the antique, both at home and abroad, is re- 

97 H 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

sponsible for our mediocrity in the art of monu- 
mental sculpture, the want of study of nature, of 
originality, of style, which stamps our work? We 
have seen that most of the English sculptors who 
have made names for themselves, such as Banks, 
Flaxman, Gibson, Baily, Wyatt, Westmacott, and 
others, pursued at least their initial studies in Rome, 
where none may escape the all-powerful influence 
of classic sculpture; we also know that the Italian 
artists to whom we owe the Renaissance of this 
art lived before the Greek masterpieces were un- 
earthed; and that the modern French, successful, 
though not in comparison with the former school, 
have drawn their inspiration entirely from nature. 
Indeed, in the classes of Paris to-day, the study of 
the antique is almost completely ignored. Such 
being the case, would it not be well for us to recon- 
sider our position, alter the curriculum which insists 
on two years' training from the antique alone, and 
replace it by continual study of the living model ? 
That British sculptors have produced some good 
imaginative work, and the finest portrait busts 
since the Graeco- Roman period, renders their want 
of ability in the execution of outdoor statues and 
monuments the more inexplicable. Berlin may in- 
deed be proud of her monument to Frederick the 
Great by Rauch, and Denmark congratulate her- 
self on possessing the Danske Landsoldat of Bissen. 
Mainz has her Guttenburg, Antwerp her Rubens, 
Paris many good memorial statues, but to what 
monument in London can we point with pride or 
even satisfaction ? * 

1 A diligent observer has counted eighty-seven portrait 
statues in London, from the Achilles in Hyde Park to Irving 
behind the National Gallery. Daily Chronicle. 

9 8 



BRITISH SCULPTURE 

SCULPTURE IN THE TATE GALLERY 

(NATIONAL GALLERY OF BRITISH ART) 

" Among the most pathetic figures in the world," 
says Mr. Witt, in his " How to Look at Pictures/' 
" must be counted the men and women who may 
be seen in any picture-gallery slowly circumam- 
bulating the four walls, with eyes fixed upon cata- 
logue or guide-book, only looking up at intervals 
to ensure that they are standing before the right 
picture." If, however, the author had been visiting 
a gallery of sculpture instead of painting, he would 
have become aware of the most pathetic figures of 
all men and women passing by the finest works 
in marble and bronze, without so much as turning 
over the leaves of catalogue or guide-book to see 
what they represent or who created them. Such 
objects as trees, water, animals, portraits, and 
genre subjects, they are familiar with, and are 
pleased to recognize in their pictorial reproduction, 
but not one person in twenty cares for or under- 
stands the perfection of colourless form. To the 
majority of people a sculpture-gallery is a place of 
meeting, of gossip, of repose after the fatigue of 
looking at pictures. If modern sculpture has no 
attraction for them, antique sculpture is still less 
suited to their capacities, for the appeal of paint- 
ing is alluring to the senses, facile, insistent; that 
of sculpture calm, cold, and intellectual. 

These considerations were impressed upon me 
for the hundredth time during a recent visit to the 
Tate Gallery where there is a small but interesting 
collection of British sculpture. The rooms of 
paintings were crowded with visitors, from con- 
noisseurs with noses close to the canvas, to boys 

99 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

in search of fun and frolic; but the Sculpture 
Gallery was abandoned to silent solitude, or only 
used as a passage from one gallery of pictures to 
another. 

In the Central Hall are four statues of artists, 
two of which are of great merit, that of Flaxman, 
by Weekes, and that of Sir Joshua Reynolds, by 
Foley. It might, perhaps, be objected to the 
Flaxman that the expression of the whole figure is 
too despondent, and that if Sir Joshua's palette 
were larger it would improve the composition and 
give the figure a more workmanlike appearance, 
but this is hypercriticism of what are probably the 
best portrait statues in London. 

The large busts of Mulready and Siothard by 
Weekes, formerly in the National Gallery, Trafal- 
gar Square, are fine examples of the artist and 
serve to illustrate my previous remarks as to his 
style of work, always reminiscent of his master, 
Chantrey. The relief by Banks, Thetis and her 
Nymphs rising from the Sea to console Achilles, is 
too high in relief, according to the canon set by the 
greatest Greeks and acquiesced in by the cinque 
cento sculptors. The art of modelling in relief is 
far more difficult than that of modelling in the 
round, demanding, as it does, perfect draughts- 
manship, united to a keen sense of values and 
perspective. 

No more apt illustration of my criticism on 
Gibson's work could possibly be found than his 
group, Hylas and the Water-Nymphs. Here we 
have the artist's determined choice of a classical 
subject, carried out in as classical a manner as his 
talent could achieve ; added to this is perfect 
knowledge of the management of his material. 

100 



BRITISH SCULPTURE 

But, notwithstanding, the lay spectator is quite 
reasonably left cold and uninterested, while the 
artist- turns for relief to genuine works of the 
ancient Greeks. These pseudo-classicalities born 
out of due time are mere ghosts, and have the 
appearance of having been produced according to 
rule by clever Italian carvers. The imitators of 
the Greeks have much to answer for in the neglect 
of sculpture, for which their works create a positive 
distaste. 

Lord Leighton's two bronzes, The Sluggard and 
An Athlete struggling with a Python, avowedly 
classical in composition and execution, have a 
much closer affinity to Greek work than the 
Gibson group; the inspiration of the artist was 
true and innate, not fictitious or assumed. The 
figures are not lofty in sentiment, the rendering 
of physical, not intellectual perfection being the 
artist's object, but they are well composed and 
modelled. The sculptor has insisted too strongly 
on showing his anatomical knowledge, the veins 
of the feet in particular are too swollen, and the 
muscles too turgid even for the violent actions of 
both figures, actions chosen, perhaps, for this par- 
ticular display. The little Sketch for the Athlete, 
placed near the bronze statue, in which these 
details are not so vigorously marked, is like most 
sketches I have seen, more suggestive, and there- 
fore more artistic. 

Calder Marshall's Prodigal Son seems meant to 
portray the meagreness characteristic of the sub- 
ject; but the sculptor has only succeeded in repre- 
senting the mean meagreness of the street Arab, 
not the picturesque attenuation of the ascetic sons 
of the desert. 

101 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

Pandora, by Bates, is a prettily-conceived figure, 
and the attitude graceful, but too smooth in work- 
manship, and the simplicity of the modelling verges 
on emptiness. His Hounds in Leash is a far more 
virile work, though the subject is not one that 
would commend itself to every one. 

Watt's heroic bust of Clytie is, like all that great 
painter's work, very grandly conceived. The turn 
of the head and the modelling of the neck where 
it joins the hair are admirable, but it is somewhat 
forced in action, and the shoulders seem too colos- 
sal for the front of the figure, which has all the 
delicacy of form of a young girl. 

The student who would care to trace the birth 
of an idea in the mind of an artist, has an excel- 
lent opportunity of doing so by studying the col- 
lection of drawings by Alfred Stevens in this 
gallery. In them the imagination of the man runs 
riot, while his hand is tentative yet skilful, and we 
are reminded of similar works by Leonardo da 
Vinci and Michelangelo. As might be expected 
from his portrait, so closely resembling in charac- 
ter some of the early Italian masters, his works 
are conscientious and full of feeling. In contrast 
to the rough drawings, which are simply sugges- 
tions or records of ideas, hangs the Head of a 
Dead Child, the high finish of which shows im- 
mense capacity and knowledge of detail, besides 
giving, with absolute truth, the impression of death. 
The versatility of Stevens is shown by two oil 
paintings here, one, the Head of a Man, very re- 
miniscent of the Venetian masters, the other, 
King Alfred and his Mother, recalling the Ma- 
donnas of Raffael. 

His Isaiah seems to me too like the frescoes of 
102 



BRITISH SCULPTURE 

Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel to be reckoned 
a work of great genius; and here again, if one 
turns to the sketch for the angel in this picture, it 
is at once seen to be infinitely superior to the 
finished composition, the poise of the head is more 
graceful, the features more refined. 

The two sketch models of Valour and Coward- 
ice and Truth and Falsehood, for the Wellington 
Monument in St. Paul's, are even more vigorous 
and forcible than the finished work. 

It is true that Stevens worked under Thorvald- 
sen, and called him his only master; his best in- 
spiration, however, came from the great artists of 
the Renaissance in Italy, and, above all, from 
Michelangelo. 



103 



CHAPTER IX 

FRENCH SCULPTURE 

AT the risk of repetition I wish to point out that 
it is by no means the object of this book to 
give a history of the art of sculpture; many and 
able are the pens which have already done so: 
the writer can sit in his own library and do excel- 
lent work in this direction. Therefore in the few 
sketches of artists and their works which follow, 
only just sufficient matter to illustrate my previous 
remarks will be found. 

Nor do I wish to dictate to the reader what to 
like and what to avoid, but to give him principles 
to assist his judgement, and if he is so happy as to 
be born with taste enough to know intuitively 
what is good, to give him, in my informal way, the 
reasons why he does so. That many people, ex- 
cellent critics also, will differ from my conclusions 
I am well aware, but suum cuique. "To know 
what you prefer," said Stevenson, " instead of 
humbly saying * Amen ' to what the world tells 
you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your 
soul alive.'* 

As I pursue my inquiries into the facts concern- 
ing sculpture and sculptors, I am struck with the 
paucity of the material except of that which, in- 
teresting to Literati, concerns Greek and Roman 

104 



FRENCH SCULPTURE 

sculpture. Dictionaries of painters abound, but 
the authorative dictionary of sculptors is yet to 
be written. Palaces are built to enshrine the more 
attractive and popular productions of artists in 
colour, but the neglected worker in stone and 
metal has yet to find a gallery in London worthy 
of the name, for the exhibition of the creations of 
his genius and labour. 

It is a truism,;that he who would study a work of 
art thoroughly, must first try to penetrate the 
thought of the artist, and then ask himself how 
far he has been successful in realizing it ; thus the 
student will be able to gauge the artist's power of 
expression. The perfect work of art should be, be- 
sides expressive of thought and suggestion, carried 
out with all the skill at the artist's command in 
whatever material he uses as his medium. Of course 
a good idea, imperfectly expressed for want of 
technical knowledge or because of the immaturity 
of the art, is far higher in its appeal than execu- 
tion perfected with all the twentieth century's 
appliances, and with no thought behind its elabor- 
ate vacuity. 

It may perhaps be asked why I refer to the 
imitation of Greek sculpture as a subject of re- 
proof, since I have extolled that art, as it deserves, 
far above all others. It is because any imitation 
is a mistake ; with Greek life and Greek religion, 
their art also died, and the corpse, under the 
different conditions of modern life, cannot be 
resuscitated. All such attempts must end in 
disaster, as we see in the cases of Gibson and 
Canova; we have no use for modern repetitions 
of Jupiters, Apollos, Dianas, Venuses, and the 
other celebrated personages of the mythological 

105 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

Olympia. The strength of the great humanistic 
sculptors lay in the fact that they created their 
art themselves in order to express the dominant 
sentiments of the age in which they moved and 
had their being. 

French artists early attainedjdistinction in archi- 
tectural sculpture, witness the noble cathedrals of 
Chartres, Amiens, Rouen, and many another 
glorious building elevated by them into veritable 
shrines of art. 

The Renaissance of the art of sculpture due to 
the genius of the illustrious Italian artists in the 
thirteenth century, naturally influenced France 
before the movement reached our further shores. 
The triumphant armies of Louis XII and Francis I. 
" came back from Italy with the wonders of the 
South upon their lips and her treasures in their 
hands. They brought with them armour inlaid 
with precious metals, embroidered clothing, and 
even household furniture. Distributed by many 
hands in many different places, each precious 
thing became a separate centre of imitative power. 
The chateaux of the country nobles boasted the 
treasures which had fallen to the share of their 
lords at Genoa or at Naples; and the great women 
of the court were eager to divide the spoil. The 
contagion spread rapidly. Even in the most fan- 
tastic moment of Gothic inspiration, the French 
artist gave evidence that his right hand obeyed 
a national instinct for order, for balance, for 
completeness, and that his eye preferred, in 
obedience to a national predilection, the most re- 
fined harmonies of colour. Step by step he had 
been feeling his way; now the broken link of 
tradition was again made fast; the workmen of 

1 06 



FRENCH SCULPTURE 

Paris and the workmen of Athens joined hands, 
united by the genius of Italy." 

Michel Colombe (1431-1514) and his contem- 
poraries, Jean Texier and Jean juste, were the only 
noteworthy predecessors of Jean Gonjon (1530- 
1572) who is the typical sculptor of the French 
Renaissance. He worked on the Church of St. 
Maclou and Rouen Cathedral, and afterwards 
went to Ecouen where he perfected himself in his 
profession. His next work was the Caryatides in 
the Louvre, serious and dignified figures which 
have been as highly praised by some critics as they 
have been condemned by others. His masterpiece 
is the Diana which exemplifies all the faults and all 
the beauties of his style. The torso is well modelled 
but like the limbs, attenuated, the arrangement of 
the hair is affected and incompatible with the 
character of the divine huntress, but not perhaps 
with that of Diane de Poitiers whom the statue 
has been traditionally supposed to represent. The 
Fountain of the Innocents, Paris, is one of his 
best works. In the Salle Goujon in the Louvre 
are preserved five reliefs by him, a Deposition from 
the Cross, and the Four Evangelists, excellently 
modelled in true bas-relief style, and conceived 
with great imagination. 

The greatest genius though not the most versa- 
tile artist of this epoch was Germain Pilon (1515 ?- 
1 590). He executed a number of monuments, most 
of which are at the Church of St. Denis; that of 
Rene 1 Birague and his Wife is in the Louvre. But 
the work by which he is best known is the cele- 
brated group of the Three Graces, female figures 

1 "The Renaissance of Art in France." MRS. MARK 
PATTISON (Lady Dilke). 

107 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

standing back to back, clasping each other's 
hands, which originally bore an urn containing 
the hearts of Henri II and Catherine de Medici. 
Equally artificial with Jean Goujon's Diana, these 
figures are yet more perfect specimens of woman- 
hood, but their affected pose and meretricious 
grace adapt them better to support a flower vase 
or a lamp, than to bear the ghastly burden of a 
monarch's heart. " 'Gratiae decentes ' is the quota- 
tion perpetually applied to these figures," says 
Lady Dilke, and she adds most convincingly, 
" they are the highly artificial rendering of a 
highly artificial product. Both attitude and ex- 
pression are cultivated, polished, finished, butwith- 
out truth, without simplicity, without honesty." 

The works of the sculptors who succeeded these 
two towering figures call for no remark here; as 
they had no immediate predecessors so they left 
no one worthy to succeed them. 

It would be interesting to inquire why the Re- 
naissance of sculpture, flourishing supremely in 
Italy till it culminated in the sublimity of Michel- 
angelo and the tender realism of Donatello, should 
have produced no better result in France than the 
affectation of Pilon's Graces, the artificiality of 
Goujon's Diane Chasseresse, and the production of 
a few monumental works. The cause lies prob- 
ably in the fact that the Renaissance in Italy 
sprang spontaneously from the hearts and thoughts 
of that eminently artistic race, while the move- 
ment was simply transplanted to France, and there 
reaching at once an artificial stature, soon drooped 
and died like a plant on a foreign soil. Amid the 
corruption of the French court and church, artists 
were oblivious of the high mission of art. As 

1 08 



HOUDON 




TERRA-COTTA BUST OF ROUSSEAU 
(THE PROPERTY OF MR. E. M. HODGKINS) 



FRENCH SCULPTURE 

Holman Hunt said, speaking of another but less 
important Renaissance, " The purpose of art is, in 
the love of guileless beauty, to lead man to distin- 
guish between that which, being clean in spirit, is 
productive of virtue, and that which is flaunting 
and meretricious and productive of ruin to a 
nation." Such sentiments were utterly foreign and 
impossible to the French artists of the fifteenth 
century, and the tale of their degeneracy is clearly 
told in the works of art they have left behind them. 

The work of the early sculptors of the French 
Renaissance was theatrical in design and false in 
sentiment, yet amazingly clever in execution. But 
a better period was approaching. 

During the interval which followed the death of 
Pilon no artist of eminence appeared in France, 
when suddenly a master arose in the person of 
Jean Antoine Houdon (1741-1828), who carried 
the art of sculpture to a perfection which in modern 
days it has seldom reached. Throwing aside the 
florid, artificial, and meretricious style of the artists 
who laboured before him, he returned to the sane, 
pure, and true traditions of the ancient Greeks, 
and to this he added a profound study of nature 
for these two, let it never be forgotten, must ever 
go hand in hand. He was the sculptor of the 
celebrated Statue of Voltaire in the Theatre 
Franais ; he seems to have caught the very spirit 
of the cynical old philosopher as, seated, and 
placing both hands on the arms of his chair, he 
darts his piercing gaze into futurity. It is life 
itself, Voltaire is himself before us; indeed, all 
Houdon's works are instinct with vitality. His 
Bust of Rousseau is beyond all praise for its truth 
and vigour. Even more impressive than his por- 

109 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

traits is the noble colossal statue of S. Bruno in 
Sta Maria degli Angeli, Rome. A statue of Moliere 
and a nude bronze Diana are his other best-known 
works, except perhaps the celebrated Ecorche* 
Figure used in every academy and art school in 
the world. Houdon succeeded in giving to his 
subjects a general impression of truth and life 
without slavishly copying nature, or imitating the 
antique indeed, his work resembles some of the 
best Graeco- Roman busts, except in the workman- 
ship of the hair, a difficult subject in which Houdon 
is skilful beyond all praise, and the antique sculp- 
tors were not. Breadth and vitality are the noble 
characteristics of his work. 

Pierre Puget (d. 1697) was a most decided fol- 
lower of Bernini; carefully finished as they are, 
his works are exaggerated, superficial, and un- 
sculpturesque. 

The fatal influence of Bernini is also apparent in 
the style of Baptiste Pigalle (d. 1785). The huge 
Monument of Marshal Moritz of Saxony, which 
fills one side of the choir of the Church of St. 
Thomas at Strasburg, is pictorial and theatrical, 
faults which no skill in carving or modelling can 
redeem. I have, however, seen some Cupids 
modelled by him in a masterly style, which prove 
that when the Neapolitan's influence was less felt, 
Pigalle was really a master of his art. 

Charles Antoine Coysevox (d. 1720), though 
tainted with the affectation of the period in which 
he lived, modelled with more simplicity and truth 
than many other sculptors of his epoch. His 
largest work is the Monument of Cardinal Mazarin y 
which is excellent in design and masterly in execu- 
tion; his busts, in which branch of sculpture he 

no 



HOUDON 




MARBLE BUST OF VOLTAIRE 
(THE PROPERTY OF MR. E. \r. HODGKINS) 



FRENCH SCULPTURE 

excelled, of Bossuet, Lebrun, Mignard, and Marie 
Serre, are truthful, noble, and characteristic, though 
their effect as works of art is somewhat injured by 
the wigs with which the fashion of the day obliged 
him to invest them. His Nymph with a Shell is a 
well-composed figure, far richer in artistic qualities 
than any work of either Gibson or Canova. 

The French Revolution marks the commence- 
ment of another impulse in the art of sculpture; 
in place of the deification of monarchs and of 
inane allegories, sculptors began to represent ideas, 
and to study nature sincerely in order that they 
might do so worthily. Perfect in technical skill, 
James Pradier (1792-1852) excelled in the repre- 
sentation of female beauty. His Phryne, Psyche, 
Atalanta, and Sappho are gems to be found in 
every plaster-shop, and the grand Caryatides which 
surround the tomb of the Emperor Napoleon at 
the Invalides are proofs of his capacity as a 
sculptor of colossal works. 

P. H. Lemaire (b. 1798) also reverted to the 
classic school, with the result which may be seen 
in the great relief of the Pediment of the Made- 
leine. 

Francois Rude (1784-1855) was one of the most 
excellent of the sculptors of the period who united 
the severity of the classic style with the sincere 
study of nature. His bronze Mercury in the 
Louvre, Neapolitan Fisherman, and Maid of 
Orleans, are excellent in design, and most ably 
executed, but he was not successful in the Reliefs 
for the Arc de r Etoile, which are confused and 
theatrical. 

David d' Angers (1789-1856) pursued a natural- 
istic style, and succeeded in avoiding that con- 

iii 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

ventionality which has been the downfall of so 
many artists. He modelled busts of nearly all the 
celebrated men of his time, which are excellent in 
style and execution. The Relief on the Pediment 
of the Pantheon in Paris is by him ; his most suc- 
cessful work is the Guttenburg Memorial at 
Strasburg. 

Of the school of David d' Angers was A. E. Barye 
(1795-1875), unequalled as a sculptor of animals 
by any artist in the same branch of art. 

Henri Michel Antoine Chapu (1833-1891) was 
the sculptor of the well-known Joan of Arc at 
Domremy, a figure which, by its originality and 
simplicity, quickly attracted public attention and 
became famous. Statues of Queen Alexandra and 
the Dowager Empress of Russia by him are in the 
Ny Glyptothek at Copenhagen, both very charm- 
ing in pose and sound in execution. In these 
works the sculptor has cleverly reconciled modern 
costume with the exigences of art. 

With Chapu I end my list, though it is far from 
including all the celebrated sculptors of France. 

In conclusion, Paris is strewn with sculptured 
monuments, each more or less distinguished by 
cleverness or genius, and the best modern school 
of sculpture is the French. 



CHAPU 




[Copenhagen 



JOAN OF ARC AT DOMREMY 



CHAPTER X 

GERMAN AND FLEMISH SCULPTURE 

IN a history of sculpture it would be necessary 
to devote some time to the study of the old 
bronze workers of Nuremberg, Innspruck, etc., 
who have made their names perennially famous. 
But as this book professes to be a guide to taste 
and not a history, we need not dwell long on a vast 
and difficult subject except in the aspect which 
concerns that aim. 

The art of sculpture properly so called, is a pure 
product of the south of Europe. In colour and 
execution northern artists have excelled; witness 
the glorious master pieces of Holland and the 
Netherlands and the not less splendid productions 
of our own school in the days of Reynolds and 
Turner. But for equally perfect sculpture we 
must turn to the south. 

In 1391 a Flemish master, Jacques de Baerze 
and a Netherland sculptor, Claus Sluter, executed 
x those marvellous Gothic Tombs of Jean SansPeur 
and of Philippe le Hardi, Dukes of Burgundy, 
which now form the greatest treasures of the 
Museum at Dijon. 

About this period the Tombs of Charles the Bold 
and of Marie of Burgundy, his daughter, works 
far in advance of others of the same date, were 

113 i 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

produced in Bruges. In this town too, may be seen 
a fine specimen of wood-carving by Herman Glos- 
encamp, The Chimney-piece of the Assize Courts ; 
there is another nearly as fine, by Launcelot 
Blondeel of Bruges in the Palais de Justice. 

In the early part of the fourteenth century a 
school of workers in copper arose, whose produc- 
tions were known as dinanderie> or dinanterie, 
from Dinant, the town in which they lived. Their 
colonies and workshops spread in many Belgian 
towns, notably at Louvain, St. Trond, Mechlin, 
and Brussels. 

German artists first made use of wood as a 
vehicle for their ideas. The art of wood-carving 
was carried to the highest perfection it attained 
by Veit Stoss who, the Poles assert, was born in 
Cracow, but who, it has lately been proved, was a 
citizen of Nuremburg. His greatest achievement 
is the High Altar of the Frauenkirche at Cra- 
cow executed between the years 1472 and 1484. 
Michael Wohlgemuth, the master of Albert Diirer, 
executed several altars in a mixed style of sculp- 
ture and painting. 

A decided advance in the art is seen in the 
work of Adam Krafft (c. 1430-1507). Little is to 
be ascertained as to his life, but his first and best 
known work is the Seven Stages of the Cross, on 
the road leading to the Cemetery of St. John at 
Nuremburg. " They are crowded compositions in 
strong relief, much injured and partially restored, 
nevertheless thrilling in effect from their power and 
depths of feeling. One of the finest is the third, 
in which Christ is uttering the warning words to 
the mourning women, ' Daughters of Jerusalem, 
weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and 

114 



GERMAN AND FLEMISH SCULPTURE 

for your children.' Everything in this scene is full 
of profound emotion and dramatic expression/' x 

Krafft's next works were the extensive reliefs on 
Schreyers Monument in the choir of the Church of 
St. Sebald, Nuremberg, and the Sacramentarium, 
sixty-four feet high, called his masterpiece, in that 
of St. Laurence. In the latter work three life-size 
figures are introduced, full of character, skilful in 
technique. 

Destree, in his recent work on " The Renais- 
sance of Sculpture in Belgium," calls the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries the golden age of sculpture 
in the Netherlands. " Not only do we find muni- 
cipal buildings and cathedrals arising throughout 
Belgium, not only do we see these adorned with 
reredos, tabernacle, rood-screen and monuments 
by native artists, but we hear of these same artists 
in all great foreign centres. They were employed 
at Dijon, Rouen, and Brou, and also in Germany, 
Bohemia, Denmark, and even so far afield as 
Sweden. We trace them also in Spain.'* 

One of the greatest masters of German art, 
Peter Vischer (d. 1529), carried bronze casting to 
its highest perfection. His early works betray no 
acquaintance with Italian sculpture, but his son 
Herman visited Italy, and on his return thence, 
brought with him casts and drawings which materi- 
ally iufluenced Vischer's style. Ten years of his 
life were spent in the execution of the Shrine of 
St. Sebald at Nuremburg. The architectural de- 
sign is Gothic and it is adorned with beautifully 
executed statues and reliefs. " Never has a work 
of German sculpture " remarks Dr. Llibke, " com- 
bined the beauty of the south with the deep feel- 
1 " History of Sculpture." DR. WILLIAM LUBKE. 
"5 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

ing of the north more richly, more thoughtfully, 
and more harmoniously." 

The genius of Peter Vischer, together with his 
study of Italian art, taught him to correct the 
mannerisms of the older craftsmen who modelled 
their figures about six heads in height ; he gave 
them the more elegant and true proportion of from 
seven to seven and a half heads. He also simpli- 
fied the treatment of drapery, and avoided the 
hard angles of the folds which seemed to charac- 
terize art in its immaturity. The noble figures of 
the Apostles in his great shrine are worthy to be 
ranked with the figures with which Ghiberti en- 
riched the bronze doors of the Baptistery at 
Florence, but the German was no servile imitator 
of the great Italian, a true northern feeling pene- 
trates all his work. 

*As bronze founders, Peter Vischer and his 
school are world famous for their masterly com- 
mand of their material. 

The beginning of the sixteenth century marks 
the date of the commencement of the Emperor 
Maximilians Monument in the Palace Church 
at Innsbruck. It is probably one of the finest 
memorials ever erected to the glorification of a 
prince. A colossal marble sarcophagus erected in 
the middle of the church is surrounded by twenty- 
eight bronze statues of famous heroes or relatives 
of the Imperial House of Austria. The most beauti- 
ful of these are the figures of King Arthur, who 
seems " moulded in colossal calm," said to be 
by P. Vischer, and of Theodoric the Goth, possibly 
by the same hand. 

Even in a brief analysis such as this, mention 
must be made of Francis Duquesnoy (1594-1644) 

116 



PETER VISCHER 







[Innsbruck 



STATUE OF KING ARTHUR 
(FROM THE TOMB OF THE EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN) 



GERMAN AND FLEMISH SCULPTURE 

called " II Fiammingo," who is unrivalled in the 
representation of children. No sculptor before 
or since, has been equally successful in rendering 
the proportions, morbidezza of the flesh, and the 
playful actions of infancy. His Sta Susanna in 
the Church of Sta Maria di Loreto in Rome is a 
good specimen of modern classical sculpture, and 
his St. Andrew in St. Peter's is one of the best 
statues there. 

The Thirty Years' War and the religious con- 
fusion caused by the Reformation may be assigned 
as the causes why German art at this period 
ceased to be productive of great works. 

In studying the achievements of the early German 
masters, one seems already to detect the genesis of 
the style which characterizes the art of that nation 
even to our own day. There is evident sincerity of 
purpose, but always a certain stiffness or frigidity 
of style; accuracy and truth, but no softness of sen- 
timent; matter of fact realism, but no suggestive 
qualities. In losing the archaism of Peter Vischer 
they also lost his admirable feeling and power of 
expression. 

Since the date of the Emperor Maximilian's 
tomb, Germany has produced numerous sculptors 
who have erected the necessary monuments to 
its great men and enriched their country with 
many ideal works which more or less recall the 
antique. But this work is all so level in quality, so 
mechanical, that the eye would perhaps welcome an 
error of which genius might be guilty. Schadow, 
Tieck, Rauch (whose monument to Frederick the 
Great in Berlin is one of the finest works of its kind 
in Europe), Drake, A. Wolff, Kiss of Amazon 
fame, Dannecker the author of the celebrated 

117 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

Ariadne, Rietchel, Von Bandel, Schilling and 
Schwanthaler, have done steady, honest work, 
but there is no spark of the divine fire in any one 
of them, no inspiration like that of the Italians of 
the Renaissance, or of the great bronze-workers of 
their own Nuremburg. 



118 



CHAPTER XI 

SPANISH SCULPTURE 

TO the student in search of the sublime beauty 
of the Greek, or of the sincerity and purity of 
Italian Renaissance art, Spanish sculpture, apart 
from any historical interest it may possess, is an 
almost negligible quantity. Ford hazards the as- 
tounding assertion that it "has never been properly 
appreciated," and that it has " at least as much 
importance as Spanish painting!" However, he 
was certainly not an artist, and could not have 
realized the superb positions of Velasquez and 
Murillo in the sister art. 

" If Spain has won a supreme position in the 
art of painting, in that of sculpture she has neither 
obtained nor deserved pre-eminence. To the neg- 
lect of the permanent materials of sculpture, such 
as bronze and marble, the Spanish sculptor wrought 
his figures in wood or in equally perishable terra- 
cotta, offering little resistance to the hand of time. 
These materials he painted over the colour of life, 
to suit the taste of the ignorant populace or vulgar 
clergy, with the result that his work was startling 
but never perfect or even artistic." 1 

In architecture the Spaniards possessed re- 

1 Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, the greatest authority on this 
subject. 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

markable skill, and also in the florid ornament 
and expressive figures with which they adorned 
their magnificent buildings. Their coros and altars 
are marvellous specimens of ability in this direc- 
tion, but they have never produced a separate 
statue or group worthy to be reckoned among the 
great works of the kind by artists of other nations. 

From Berruguete onwards Italian influence per- 
vaded Spanish sculpture. When this artist returned 
from studying in Rome and Florence after Michel- 
angelo and the antique, he brought with him the 
canons of Italian art, and his principles were fol- 
lowed by most of the artists of Spain who have 
attained eminence. These men united in their own 
persons the three arts of painting, sculpture, and 
architecture, and to their familiarity with colour I 
cannot but attribute the detestable fashion of paint- 
ing their statues. 

When wood was employed, it was sometimes 
covered with canvas on which the colour was laid; 
real draperies and wigs were also used. In some 
cases only the heads and extremities were finished, 
the rest being often left a mere block. Sir W. 
Stirling-Maxwell's words on this subject may serve 
as a precept to the reader besides illustrating my 
remarks. " But,'* he says, in his "Annals of the 
Artists of Spain," " it is the business of the sculptor 
to deal with form alone, to mould the clay into 
beauty, and to breathe life into the colourless 
marble; as it is the business of the painter to deal 
with colour. Neither sculpture nor painting can 
invade the province of the other without loss and 
a sacrifice of the dignity of art, for which no illu- 
sion, however perfect, can recompense." 

When in Spain, my impression of these pro- 

120 




THE CAPILLA MAYOR 
(TOLEDO CATHEDRAL) 



SPANISH SCULPTURE 

ductions was that in the places for which they were 
designed they were certainly effective, and that in 
expression and modelling they are often admir- 
able, but that they do not reach the standard of 
freat works of art. Here is a description of typical 
panish religious sculpture, written on the spot 
and taken from my diary : 

"The Church of St. Nicolas della Villa in 
Cordoba is particularly rich in religious figures. 
I cannot deny them a certain amount of expression, 
and having said that I will describe them. There 
are figures which are simply of wood coloured 
according to nature the next step is to images 
clothed in real clothes and wearing real hair. They 
vary from life size to that of a medium size Dutch 
doll, and all are very Spanish in character. There 
is one group, the middle figure of which repre- 
sents Jesus Christ sitting in a melancholy atti- 
tude, dripping with blood, and having hair reach- 
ing to the waist. On one side stands the Virgin, 
robed as a nun and holding a rich lace pocket- 
handkerchief; on the other, St. Joseph, dressed 
in the richest brocade. Another life-size figure 
represents the Virgin dressed in regal robes and 
crowned; and yet another, about eight inches 
high, is dressed in silver brocade. Many other 
saints, also in real costume, figure in this church. 

" The retablos of the Cathedrals and Churches 
are huge masses of carved wood, heavily gilt and 
painted, in some places so as to imitate marble. 
At the Church of San Salvador in Seville is one 
in the worst imaginable taste. Gilt scrolls, piled 
up and projecting, are mingled with flying angels 
and cherubs painted the colour of life; below is a 
life-sized figure of Christ bearing a gilt cross, 

121 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

wearing a velvet robe embroidered with gold, and 
with three (apparently) large gilt hair-pins stuck 
in his head." 

The glorious Gothic tombs which enrich the 
cathedrals of Spain are, most of them, of foreign 
workmanship. Thus the wonderful Chapel of the 
Condestable in Burgos Cathedral is by John of 
Cologne, the Sepulchre of the Infante Don Juan in 
the Church of Santo Tomas at Avila, a master- 
piece of Messer Domenico a Florentine sculptor, 
and the superb Tomb of Ramon de Cordona at 
Belping by John Nola, a Neapolitan. 

In the twelfth century Master Mateo laid the 
foundations of Spanish architectural art, and his 
fine doorway of the Cathedral of Santiago may be 
studied from the cast in the Victoria and Albert 
Museum at South Kensington. At Burgos, Toledo, 
Leon, Navarre, and Catalonia, important speci- 
mens of this style of sculpture may be found. 

In 1408 the brothers Rodriguez ornamented the 
great portal of the Cathedral at Toledo (the Puerta 
del Perdon) with groups and figures, archaic in 
design but rich in effect. 

Alonzo Berruguete (1480-1561), called the 
Spanish Michelangelo, studied in the school of 
that master in Florence. He was among the sculp- 
tors chosen by Bramante to model the Laocoon 
for the purpose of having it cast in bronze, a suf- 
ficient proof of his ability, though Sansovino gained 
the victory. After spending many years in Italy 
he returned to Spain, where he was soon engaged 
on numerous works. The finest are the High 
Altar, which he erected in the Church of S. Benito 
el Real, the Sculptures in the Collegio Major at 
Salamanca, the Monuments of the Marquis and 

122 




CHAPEL OF THE CONDESTABLE 

(BURGOS CATHEDRAL) 



SPANISH SCULPTURE 

Marchioness of Poza at Palencia, and of the Cardi- 
nal Archbishop Juan de Tavera, which last was 
completed in his eightieth year. Berruguete is 
universally allowed to have been the greatest 
artist of his age in Spain. 

Caspar Becerra (1520-1570), also educated in 
Italy, executed the High Altar of the Cathedral 
of Astorga\ his masterpiece is considered to be 
the Statue of Our Lady of Solitude, carved in wood 
for Queen Isabella de la Paz. He also wrote a 
" Book of Anatomy," which was published in 
Rome. 

Juan Martinez Montanes (d. 1614), called, with 
Spanish hyperbole, the Pheidias of Seville, was 
employed in the cathedral of that city; on one of 
the side walls of the choir is an exquisite figure of 
the Virgin by him, the head of which is of remark- 
able beauty. St. Dominic scourging himself and a 
Crucifixion are in the Museum at Seville, the city 
in which he lived and died. According to Waagen, 
he was a sculptor of the highest rank. 

Filipe de Vigarny was the renowned sculptor of 
the great Monument of Ferdinand and Isabella in 
the Chapel Royal at Granada. On a sarcophagus 
of Carrara marble, adorned with scrolls, bas-reliefs, 
and weeping cherubs, repose the two great Catholic 
sovereigns. On each side of the high altar kneel 
carved effigies of the same monarchs, remarkable 
as being exact representations, also attributed to 
this artist. 

Juan de Juni (d. 1614) was educated, like most 
of his predecessors in the art of sculpture, in Italy; 
his first important work in his native country was 
the High Altar for the Church of Nuestra Senora 
de las Antiguas at Valladolid. It is of great size, 

123 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

being fifty feet high and thirty wide, and provided 
with concealed staircases. It has the fault of ex- 
travagant distortion, for like that of all Spanish 
sculptors, his style is florid, mannered, and exag- 
gerated, so much so that he has been called the 
Bernini of Spain. In a chapel to the right of this 
altar-piece is his theatrical Virgen de los Cuchillos 
so called from the seven swords piercing her breast. 
He executed a number of religious groups and 
retablos, the whole with such success that a recent 
critic has said of him: " Perhaps no modern sculptor 
has ever so nearly approached Michelangelo in 
genius ; like him he wielded a fearless and furious 
chisel and delighted to dare every difficulty of 
attitude, and he loved to body forth energy and 
strong emotion rather than repose." 

The fame of Castilian sculpture was maintained 
by Juni's successor, Gregorio Hernandez (1566- 
1614). Purer and more restrained in style than 
Juni, orders poured in upon him faster than he 
could execute them, and his works are to be 
found in most of the principal churches and con- 
vents of Valladolid, Santiago, Medina del Campo, 
Tudela, Plasencia, Salamanca, Avila, and Madrid. 

AlonzoCano (1601-1667) also, like the previous 
artists, combined the arts of painting, sculpture, 
and architecture, and excelled in the two first. He 
was largely employed in the convents of Seville 
and soon attained the first place amid the artists 
of Spain. " In the sacristy of the cathedral at 
Granada are several statuettes by him, the colour- 
ing of which, in the manner called by the Spaniards 
estofado, imparts the softness of enamel and is 
highly extolled." 

Philip IV conferred the stall of a minor canon 
124 



SPANISH SCULPTURE 

upon Cano in his later years which, however, did 
not prevent his continuing his artistic career. A 
tale is told of him to the effect that he once received 
a commission to model a statue for which, when 
finished, he demanded a hundred doubloons; the 
patron inquired how many days labour it had cost. 
" Twenty-five," replied Cano. " Then it appears," 
returned the other, " that you count your labour at 
four doubloons a day, and I who am an auditor 
a far nobler profession than yours I can earn 
each day barely a doubloon." " Yours a nobler 
profession than mine!" cried Cano. " Know that 
the king can make auditors of the dust of the 
earth, but that God reserves to himself the creation 
of Alonzo Cano ! " 

I like that tale about the old artist which relates 
that he could not die in peace so long as the priest 
held before him a badly modelled and inartistic 
crucifix. As soon as it was changed at his request 
for a simple cross, he made a most edifying end. 

Paintings by Alonzo Cano are to be found in 
many of the galleries of Europe, a wonderfully 
beautiful Ecce Homo is in La Caridad, Seville ; of 
his sculpture, the Altar at Lebrija, and the few 
figures already mentioned in the Cathedral of 
Granada are said to be all that remain. I have, 
however, seen a very fine work attributed to him 
in the Ny Glyptothek, Copenhagen, a collection 
of sculpture made by that skilful connoisseur 
Dr. Jacobsen. It represents a Monk Reading and 
is one of the finest examples of Spanish sculpture 
to be found out of Spain. 

Francis Zarcillo (b. 1707) was born at Murcia 
where he lived and worked. He found numerous 
patrons in his native city, and, working all his life 

125 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

with unwearied diligence, produced no less than 
seventeen hundred and ninety-two separate works. 
His style may be best studied in the Ermita de 
Jesus in Murcia. " In chapels round this church," 
says Mrs. Main, a sympathetic traveller in Spain, 
"are deposited the wooden statues which are 
carried in procession through the streets of the 
town on great festivals. Those by Zarcillo are ex- 
tremely fine. He carved them about 1763, and the 
best of his groups seemed to me to be those of 
The Last Supper, The Agony in the Garden, and 
The Betrayal!' Baedeker says : " Those who have 
not seen the groups in the Ermita de Jesus, have 
no complete idea of Spanish sculpture. Groups 
such as that of The Agony in the Garden and The 
Kiss of Judas, may for the moment, through the 
captivating truth and inwardness of their curious 
conception, throw all other known representations 
into the shade, and that in spite of the fact that 
the Saviour wears an embroided velvet mantle." 
One of the Roman soldiers is in mediaeval armour. 
Cean Bermudez remarks of this artist that " had 
he lived in times of purer taste and enjoyed greater 
advantages of instruction, he might have been one 
of the first sculptors of Spain." I quote thus largely 
on this subject because I regret to say I have not 
seen these celebrated sculptures. 

" Spanish sculpture after Cano and his school is 
hardly worth mentioning," says Ford, and this 
time I most heartily agree with him. 

This sketch of the history of Spanish sculpture 
would be more incomplete than it is, if I omitted 
to refer to the celebrated Elche bust which was 
dug up in 1897 and immediately purchased for the 
Louvre for 4,000 pesetas. Dr. Williamson, the 

126 




Giraudon photo} [ The Louvre 

BUST FOUND AT ELCHE, SPAIN 



SPANISH SCULPTURE 

eminent art critic, pronounces it of Spanish work, 
and says: "it is the most beautiful, original, and 
important piece of sculpture which has ever been 
unearthed in Spain. It is life-sized, and bears traces 
of colour, and the chiselling upon it is of very extra- 
ordinary quality." He adds that the curious head- 
dress resembles that still worn by the natives of 
Elche. The Louvre catalogue calls it Graeco- 
Phoenician work; however that may be, the bust 
shows evidence of profound Greek influence, but 
the expression, the delicacy of the modelling of the 
nose, and the superb drawing of the mouth, recall 
the purest period of the Italian Renaissance. 

Writing of the so-called " Lady of Elche," the 
author of a descriptive pamphlet describes it as 
" Type indigene, modes indigenes, art Espagnol, 
profondement empreint d'influences orientales et, 
plus a la surface, d'influences Grecques." In the 
Campana collection in the Louvre are some gold 
ear-rings embroidered with pearls, closely resem- 
bling the remarkable ear-rings of this bust. It 
seems to be allied with the famous sculptures, the 
Cerro de los Santos in the Madrid Museum. 



127 



CHAPTER XII 

CANOVA, THORVALDSEN, AND GIBSON 

r I "HE three celebrated sculptors whose names 
X head this chapter are grouped together natur- 
ally, both from the similarity in the circumstances 
of their lives, and from their devotion to and 
imitation of classic sculpture. All were the child- 
ren of parents in poor circumstances, all passed 
their existence in Rome at nearly the same period ; 
absorbed entirely in their art, none of them married ; 
they attained a ripe age; all, curiously enough, 
acquired wealth, and on the first two, honours were 
showered without stint. 

Canova, called by Italians with exaggerated 
emphasis the " Reformer of Art," was the best all- 
round artist of the three, though he never pro- 
duced so sublime a work as Thorvaldsen's Christ 
in the Frue Kirke of Copenhagen, nor so natural- 
istic a one as the same sculptor's Byron at Cam- 
bridge. Gibson comes last of the triad in the order 
of genius, but to him, too, were confided important 
public monuments. Thorvaldsen and Gibson both 
came to the paradise of sculpture from the bleak 
North, but Canova was a son of the country which 
was the scene of his labours. How close was the 
connection between these famous men may be 
judged from the fact that Gibson studied for five 

128 



CANOVA 

years under Canova, and afterwards under Thor- 
valdsen. Gibson, too, succeeded Canova in the 
occupation of the same studio in the Via de' 
Greci, Rome. 

It is difficult for the visitor to Rome who only 
knows it in its present unpicturesque state to 
realize what the old city was like in their day. 
Completely surrounded by walls, and without 
suburbs, it stood alone on the wide Campagna, 
into which it was dangerous to penetrate unarmed. 
The yellow Tiber, spanned by a few bridges, 
rolled unembanked, and occasionally invaded the 
streets as far as the Barcaccia in the Piazza di 
Spagna. On its bank, towards the Porta di 
S. Paolo, was the Marmorata or wharf, where 
from time immemorial artists went to select the 
marble landed there from ships which brought it 
from Carrara. The Palatine was a mass of form- 
less ruin, amid which goats and cattle grazed, a 
few monasteries only gave variety to the scene of 
desolation. The Colosseum was unexcavated, and 
its massive walls were brilliant with wallflowers 
and many another wild plant. Around the arena 
were the Stations of the Cross, at which gaily- 
dressed contadine or long-robed monks might 
be seen kneeling in prayer. The Forum was a 
green field (Campo Vaccino) planted with trees, 
where, on market days, the peasants gathered 
to buy and sell. The Baths of Caracalla, where 
Shelley wrote his " Prometheus Unbound," were 
huge masses of formless masonry draped with 
hanging foliage, and gay with wild flowers ; amid 
the ruins yawned black abysses where the sun 
never penetrated. The Castle of S. Angelo was 
hemmed in close with houses, as was also the 

129 K 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

Pantheon. The Mausoleum of Augustus, once an 
amphitheatre for bull-fights, served as an open-air 
theatre. 

The pomp of the Papal Court was very great, 
and the Roman princes lived in unbridled luxury. 
The balls of the Torlonia in Rome, Stendhal 
writes in 1827, "are, in my opinion, superior to 
those of the Tuileries." The streets were gay, 
cardinals in purple robes, followed by servants in 
garish liveries, took exercise, while their carriages 
came behind them; even the Holy Father him- 
self might be encountered, as, robed in purest 
white, he leaned from his gorgeous coach to bless 
the kneeling crowd. The narrow, tortuous streets 
were nearly empty of all traffic at an early hour in 
the evening, and only illuminated at night by a 
few oil lamps suspended on a rope across them, or 
placed in front of a picture or image of the Ma- 
donna. Occasionally a scuffle might be heard, and 
a crying-out as some one fell beneath the stroke of 
the ever-ready knife. A story told by Gibson con- 
firms this: " One night a friend of mine was going 
to his home along the Corso about midnight, when 
his attention was arrested by a faint voice. He 
then saw a man lying full-length in the middle of 
the street; the man said: 'I am stabbed and can- 
not move.' He was faint from loss of blood, and 
was afraid a carriage might drive over him. He 
begged my friend to drag him to the footpath. 
My friend instantly took him by the ankles and 
dragged him to the side, and then walked off as 
quick as possible. ' But why did you leave him 
so? ' I said. He then explained that had he been 
seen with the wounded man, and had the poor 
man expired, he should have been arrested and 

130 



CANOVA 

confined a considerable time to be examined: to 
avoid such annoyance he instantly fled." 

When work was over for the day, all the artists 
in Rome met at the famous Cafe Greco in the Via 
Condotti to discuss art over their wine till the 
deepening shadows told them it was time to seek 
the safety of their homes. 

The thousands of tourists who now crowd Rome 
were represented in those days by a few English 
milords with their retinues, some rich and titled 
foreigners, ( and a sprinkling of such artists and 
authors as fortune enabled to get there. 

Amid the surroundings I have endeavoured to 
describe, the three artists led happy and industri- 
ous lives, honoured and flattered by emperors and 
kings, and admired by the rest of the world. 

Antonio Canova was born in 1757 at Possagno, 
a village situated at the foot of the Venetian Alps. 
He very early showed decided talent for sculpture, 
and to study his art went to Rome in 1 780, " little 
imagining," as Cicognara says, "that he was 
destined to attain there to the highest rank, and 
to establish rules of art, by his . example, which 
would extend their influence to the remotest pos- 
terity/' 

Be this as it may, it is certain that before his 
death at the age of sixty-five Canova produced 
statue after statue, group after group/ 176 in all, 
stamped with the seal of the devoteVof the an- 
tique. His contemporaries united in a chorus of 
praise of these works; honours were showered 
upon him, Pius VII created him a Marchese and 
Count Palatine, medals were coined in his honour, 
the Roman ladies worshipped him, and men of all 
classes respected and admired him. 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

" After the battle of Waterloo, when the Allies 
entered Paris, it was Canova who negotiated the 
return of the statues and pictures, the glory of the 
land. It was most difficult. The Russian Emperor 
Alexander would have liked them transplanted to 
Petersburg. It was only through the English who 
supported Canova, that he made himself heard: 
at last he prevailed, and the rescued gods and 
goddesses returned to their desecrated altars." 

The dictum of Cicognara has hardly been veri- 
fied, and Canova's fame was at its highest during 
his lifetime. The gods and goddesses in whom 
his soul delighted had already been sculptured by 
the Greeks with supreme mastery, and the portrait 
statues which he produced rival his deities in 
classical feeling. A very shrewd observer, Mrs. 
Minto Elliot, writes as truly as wittily of the 
famous Statue of the Princess Pauline B^t,onaparte 
as Venus Vincitrix in the Villa Borghese, Rome, 
" To my mind nothing Canova ever did comes up 
to this pseudo-antique, classic in its affectation, 
and natural in its want of truth! Whether the 
story of the ' stove ' is true, I will not take upon 
myself to say, but we are told that in reply to some 
remark on the absence of drapery, Pauline an- 
swered with perfect naivete, ' I was not cold, there 
was a stove.' " I 

Affected in pose, over-smooth in execution from 
the artificially-curled hair to the manicured toe- 
nails this statue is an insipid combination of 
vacuity and vanity. 

Canova's Boxers, in the Vatican, belong to an- 
other style of art, but they too are treated in the 
usual classical manner. Brutal in subject, they do 
1 " Roman Gossip." 
132 



THORVALDSEN 

not take front rank in art, but the actions are just 
and they are very finely executed. 

All visitors to S. Peter's, Rome, know his 
monument to Clement XII, which is as good, if 
not better than others there. The artist considered 
the Mourning Genius his best work. There is 
much grandeur, too, in the Sepulchral Monument 
which Canova executed as a memorial to Titian, 
but which, owing to political events and the death 
of its principal promoter, now serves as a monu- 
ment to Canova himself in the Church of the Frari, 
Venice. 

No man, kings and emperors excepted, ever re- 
ceived greater adulation than this most prosperous 
artist, and when he was buried in the church he 
had himself erected in his native village, Venice 
decreed him a public funeral. Far from being 
spoilt by fame and honour, his nobility of char- 
acter and goodness of life earned for him the 
appellation, " il buon Canova." " Anima bell' e 
pura " were his last words, and they apply well to 
himself. 

Canova is described as "pale, with that fine 
olive tint of the south, calm, grandly- featured, with 
lofty forehead, speaking eyes, and abundant locks 
of blackest hair, parted in the middle a la mer- 
veilleuse" 

Bertel Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen in 
1770. As he showed great promise when a stu- 
dent, a subscription was raised to enable him to 
continue his studies in Rome, then the art centre 
of the world, and the Danish Academy which 
does so much to assist native talent, awarded him 
a small pension. He lived in Rome for twenty- 
three years without returning to his native country; 

133 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

he was accustomed to say that he dated his birth 
from the first day he saw the Eternal City. Here 
he worked in the studio which had once been 
Flaxman's. Canova, then in the zenith of his fame, 
and the English sculptors, Gibson and Wyatt, 
were his co-temporaries. Living as these artists 
did amid the classical statues with which Rome is 
peopled, many of which were being unearthed day 
by day from the teeming soil, it was natural that 
they should draw their inspiration from these im- 
mortal works, and believe that to create some- 
thing which should resemble them, was the high- 
est aim of art. Thorvaldsen was sincere according 
to his light, but not sufficiently original to escape 
the tendency of his age ; he was led captive when 
a more powerful genius would have been con- 
queror. He was accustomed, like Gibson, to insist 
on the absolute perfection of Greek art and Greek 
art only, and, it is said, used to walk through the 
galleries of the Vatican as one lost in reverie. 

Gibson thus describes the grand Scandinavian 
artist: " The old man's person can never be for- 
gotten by those who saw him. Tall and strong, 
he never lost a tooth in his life he was most ven- 
erable looking, His kind countenance was marked 
with hard thinking, his eyes were grey, and his 
white locks lay on his broad shoulders. At great 
assemblies his breast was covered with orders." 

In 1793, Gibson tells us, in the fragment of 
autobiography which has been edited by Lady 
Eastlake, Thorvaldsen paid a visit to his native 
land, and returned to Rome accompanied by a 
countrywoman of his own, a Baroness von Stampe, 
who declared she intended to take him back to 
Copenhagen. For this end she set to work to 

134 



THORVALDSEN 

make him uncomfortable in his domestic arrange- 
ments, but without success, as he was the most 
disorderly of men. She then tried to make him 
too much the reverse by introducing reforms for 
which he had little relish. One morning Gibson 
went to pay him a visit, and observed a maid-ser- 
vant a new innovation carpets, order, and clean- 
liness, Thorvaldsen himself was reformed. In a 
new green velvet cap, beautifully worked and or- 
namented, a superb dressing-gown, Turkish slip- 
pers, and gold ear-rings, he looked like a grandee, 
of Persia. " Gibson," said he, " I am ill." He then 
rebelled against his Baroness, threw away the 
carpets and amazed his visitors by his dirty 
appearance. However, the Baroness succeeded in 
the end and carried him back to Copenhagen. 

His native city outdid itself in efforts to do 
honour to its famous son. His arrival was like the 
home-coming of some victorious general or be- 
loved monarch, processions were organized, flags 
unfurled, poems written, and wreaths showered 
on the unappreciative sculptor; never before had 
an artist received such an ovation, an ovation 
which did equal credit to the Danish nation and 
to him who was deemed worthy of it ; the govern- 
ment also chartered the vessel which brought his 
collection of casts to Copenhagen. He died in 
that city in 1844 at seventy-three years of age. 

The Museum of his works, in the midst of which 
he is buried, is one of the chief attractions of the 
Danish capital, and was built partly at the expense 
of the community of Copenhagen. It was com- 
menced during the artist's lifetime, and he be- 
queathed to it his models, art collections, and the 
furniture of his house. 

135 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

Whether from his inherited Scandinavian ten- 
dencies, or from artistic conviction, Thorvaldsen's 
work was sometimes more virile than that of the 
polished Italian Canova, who had assimilated 
Greek art with the first breath he drew. His classic 
figures indeed resemble those of Canova, but he 
knew how to, throw servile imitation aside when 
he chose, and so produced his Christ 1 and the statue 
of Byron at Cambridge. The calm of the " white 
Christ " who, stretching out his arms, seems to 
express by the action the words written at his 
feet: " Kommer til Mig" (" Come unto Me"), its 
simplicity, reverence, and nobility make this fig- 
ure approach very nearly the divine conception 
of Leonardo da Vinci in his picture of the Last 
Supper at Milan. Personally I find it the most 
moving conception of the subject I have ever seen 
in marble. Thorvaldsen's Christ is of course not 
realistic it is a divine abstraction. This statue 
stands in the apse of the Frue Kirke in Copen- 
hagen, along the aisles of which are the same 
sculptor's twelve Apostles ; there is also, his fine 
Baptismal Angel. In completeness, in grandeur, 
in unity of design, no artist has ever executed a 
monument more honourable to himself and to his 
country than this of Thorvaldsen's. His Hebe, 
Venus, Mercury, Jason, etc., are of the usual clas- 
sic type, and may be ranked with works of the 
same kind by Canova and Gibson, but his Byron 
" looking upwards in search of a thought," is a far 
better work, because it is both original and natural- 
istic. 

Many of his reliefs are well known. His Night, 

1 The original model of this figure is in the Church of Sta 
Martina, Rome, to which the sculptor bequeathed it. 

136 



THORVALDSEN 

a flying angel bending over the sleeping babes 
which she carries in her arms, is a poetical render- 
ing of a graceful subject. The Morning, too, is 
charming, but has not equal pathos. Looking at 
these works, the glamour of the old artist's genius 
subdues us, and we realize that he was not un- 
worthy of the immense fame he succeeded in 
achieving. 

Tenerani, a pupil of Thorvaldsen, attained con- 
siderable distinction, and executed the tomb of 
Pius VIII for St. Peter's. His best work is The 
A ngel of the Resurrection, waiting, trumpet in hand, 
for the signal when the graves shall give up 
their dead, and stand before the Lord for judge- 
ment. His seated statue of Count Rossi is also a 
noteworthy work. Tenerani died in 1870, and his 
funeral at night was attended by two hundred ar- 
tists, the same number of painters and carvers, 
more than five hundred priests and monks, and 
thirty carnages of the nobility. Thus Rome did 
honour to her great artist. 

Wilhelm Bissen (b. 1798), a Danish sculptor of 
great merit, was admitted to the studio of Thor- 
valdsen, but though he knew the value of that 
great artist's friendship and advice, he soon pre- 
ferred to work alone. To this fact it is probably 
due that his statue of Gnttenburg at Mainz, his 
Frieze in the Hall of the Knights at Christiansborg 
(now destroyed by fire), his grand equestrian 
statue of Frederick VII, the bronze statues of 
Holberg and Oehlenschlager, all in Copenhagen, 
and his pathetic Danske Landsoldat erected at 
Fredericia to commemorate a Danish victory in 
the Slesvig-Holstein war, have escaped classic 
influence and are inspired by nature herself. 

137 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

The life of John Gibson has already been 
sketched, but a few more particulars may be added. 
After a little preliminary study in Liverpool he 
made his way to what he called the true home of 
the sculptor, Rome, and was admitted to the 
studio of Canova. There he spent his peaceful 
happy life. " In my art," he said, " what do I feel? 
what do I encounter? happiness." 

When Sir Francis Chantrey visited Gibson's 
studio in Rome, he asked the latter how long he 
had been there. Gibson replied, " three years." 
Chantrey then observed, " One three years is 
enough to spoil you or any man." Gibson then 
asked whether he thought he was in a bad school, 
to which the other artist made no reply. 

Evidently the shrewd old sculptor foresaw that 
Gibson would become what he did, a professed imi- 
tator of the antique. " There is but one road," 
Gibson writes, " to arrive at a lofty degree in 
sculpture, there is but one road to it, and this was 
travelled by the Greeks. All those men of genius 
who have deviated from the principles of Greek 
art, have left us works not superior, but inferior 
to the ancients." 

"Who of that day," said one who knew him, 
" does not recall the pale contemplative face of the 
great pupil of Canova, his tightly compressed lips 
and regular features? His manner, aristocratic in 
its philosophic self-respect, those far-seeing grey 
eyes, and the little action of the hand as he demon- 
strated his favourite topic, colour in marble/' 

Knowing that the Greeks coloured their statues, 
he made attempts, much ridiculed at the time, to 
re-introduce the practice, saying, " whatever the 
Greeks did was right." He thought the Tinted 

138 



GIBSON 

Venus his most ideal and highly-finished work and 
would sit for hours in the twilight in contempla- 
tion of her. " I cannot screw up my courage," he 
remarked, " to send away my goddess." The ir- 
reverent called the statue " Mrs. Gibson." His 
best work is, however, as before remarked, A 
Hunter and Dog; if none of his works survived ex- 
cept that alone, his fame would not deteriorate. 

Gibson was a singularly absent-minded man, and 
his pupil Miss Hosmer's definition of him is very 
apt. " He is a god in his studio, but God help him 
when he is out of it." 

Harriet Hosmer was an American, and her 
principal work was a marble recumbent figure of 
Beatrice Cenci, which, however, strongly recalls the 
beautiful Santa Cecilia of Stefano Maderno in the 
Church of Sta Cecilia in Trastevere. 

Mention should also be made in this connection 
of the works at this period of Giovanni Dupre 
(1817-1882) theSiennese. They mark a return to 
naturalism from the conventionality and exaggera- 
tions of Bernini and the classicism of Canova. 
His modelling of the figure is always accurate and 
full of feeling. The pathetic figure of the Dead 
Abelis a finished study of the nude; the Cain is 
not so successful. His masterpiece is a Pieta in 
the Cemetery of the Misericordia at Siena. The 
grouping is admirable, the figure of the dead Christ 
magnificent in modelling and proportion, and the 
whole inspired with profound religious sentiment. 



139 



CHAPTER XIII 

SCULPTURE IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

No judgment of art is possible to any person who does not 
love it. RUSKIN. 

r I "HIS fine collection of sculpture is studied 
under somewhat unfortunate conditions, not 
the least among which are a dark, cold, unsym- 
pathetic atmosphere, and the dirt caused by fog 
and smoke. 

The marble sun-imbued, 
Which holds the thought of some immortal Greek, 

is. in Italy and especially in Greece, of a warm 
yellow tone like wax, transparent, and having rich 
reflections; in northern lands, cold and gray, it 
scarcely seems the same kind of stone. In this 
connection it may be mentioned that marble is 
unadapted to outside work in England, the fog 
and damp of the climate soon blacken it, and the 
effect intended by the artist is destroyed. 

A bright and sunny day should if possible be 
chosen for a visit to these galleries, and I propose 
only to mention such works as seem to me the 
finest, and so save the hasty visitor the time and 
trouble of inspecting those of less merit. 

Turning to the left after passing the entrance 
door we come immediately to the 

140 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

ROMAN GALLERY 

The Romans excelled in portrait sculpture, and 
some of the busts here are among the finest 
specimens extant. All bear the stamp of being 
good likenesses, the features are well modelled, 
the characters strongly marked, and the expressions 
excellent. It is to be regretted that these fine 
works are shown in a light exactly opposite to 
them, the delicacy of the modelling is thus partly 
lost. All have great historical interest, but artistic- 
ally speaking Caracalla (1917), Pertinax (1916), 
A ntoninus Pius ( 1 90 1 ), and Julius Caesar ( 1 8 70), 
seem to me the best. The bony head of this last 
is extremely well rendered. Two fine statues also 
adorn this gallery, that of Hadrian (1381), and of 
a Priestess (1988), the broad thick drapery of the 
male figure forms a decided contrast to the tiny 
folds of the finer material worn by the female, 
which it is useful to study. The restored noses of 
Hadrian and of Julia Sabina must of course be 
conjectural in form, but they seem very well done. 
" Upon the pedestal of each statue, or bust, are 
inscribed, when known, the name of the person 
represented, the dates of such persons, birth, death, 
and (if an Emperor) of his reign, and the site where 
the sculpture was discovered." 

FIRST GRAECO-ROMAN ROOM 

It is important to note the remarks made in the 
Museum Guide book. " This and the two succeed- 
ing rooms are appropriated to Statues, Busts, and 
Reliefs, for the most part of the mixed class termed 
Graeco- Roman, consisting of works discovered 
elsewhere than in Greece, but of which the style 

141 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

and subject have been derived, either directly or 
indirectly, from the Greek schools of sculpture. 
Some few of these may, perhaps, be original Greek 
works, but the majority were certainly executed 
in Italy during the Imperial times, though gener- 
ally by Greek artists, and in many instances from 
earlier Greek models." 

The most important statue in this room is the 
Satyr Dancing (1655), known also as the Rondinini 
Faun. The torso and right thigh only are antique, 
but how perfect they are! Notice the tension of 
the muscles, the slimness of the proportions, the 
wiriness of the form. Surely this gay and slender 
youth must have danced from his childhood up 
and loved the exercise. The restored portions 
seem a little heavier than the original fragment 
warranted. 

Venus preparing for the Bath (1578) is one of 
those ugly inane copies of a favourite subject of 
the Greeks met with in most Continental galleries. 
Why preparing for the bath ? Her attitude is rather 
reminiscent of a bather taken by surprise, or of a 
model posing for admiration. The figure is heavy, 
and the action affected. 

The Apollo Citharoedus (1360) is a powerful 
but somewhat inelegant figure. 

The bust of Homer (1825) is one of the best of 
the many representations of the poet. The blind, 
aged, and travel-worn bard is here exactly realized, 
but the head is less intellectual than would have 
been expected. 

SECOND GRAECO- ROMAN ROOM 

The Townley Venus (1574), found at Ostia, is a 
youthful and charming presentment of the goddess. 

142 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

Not yet fully developed, the figure gives more 
than promise of future beauty; the falling drapery 
is well treated, the face lovely, and the action 
graceful. Broad and simple in treatment, this 
statue is a charming representation of youthful 
beauty and innocence. 

The Discobolos (athlete hurling the discus) (250) 
is a Graeco-Roman copy of the bronze made by 
Myron in the first half of the fifth century B.C. 
The head, which is antique but of a different style, 
has been incorrectly added, the true position and 
correct type of head are shown in another copy 
of this statue now in the Lancilotti Palace, Rome. 

Lucian, in an argument about another statue, 
explains the action of this. " Surely," he says, 
" you do not mean the quoit-thrower, who stoops 
in the attitude of one who is making his cast, 
turning round towards the hand that holds the 
quoit, and bending the other knee gently beneath 
him, like one who will rise erect as he hurls the 
quoit? No, said he, for that quoit-thrower is one 
of the works of Myron." 

The Laughing Satyr (1647) is an epitome of 
mirth, and expresses well the joie de vivre which 
seems to have been the heritage of the Greek 
nation. 



THIRD GRAECO-ROMAN ROOM 

The Westmacott Athlete (1754), so called from 
the name of its former owner, is the graceful figure 
of a youth not yet arrived at maturity. We are told 
that it is to be " especially admired for the beauti- 
ful line of his back and shoulders when seen from 
behind," but, alas! this is impossible in its present 

143 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

position. How much it is to be regretted that one 
cannot walk round all these figures and thus study 
them more thoroughly! 

Here, as so often, a lesson in sculpture is afforded, 
by comparing the two busts next to each other, 
Aphrodite, formerly known as Dione (1596), and 
an Amazon (503). The softness of modelling and 
tender treatment of the former work contrast very 
favourably with the hard outlines, especially of the 
eyes, and coarseness of the latter work. 

The heroic Head of a Youth (1755), found at 
Ostia and restored by Flaxman, is one of the finest 
representations of youth and beauty left to us by 
antique sculptors. Nobility of form, intensity of 
expression, and pure style of modelling, lend this 
bust the very highest interest and excite the 
greatest admiration. 

H ere we have another Discobolos ( 1 7 5 3 ), of which 
only the torso, however, is antique. The action is 
that which precedes the movement of Myron's 
figure of the same subject. The statue has been 
ascribed to Alcamenes. 

The beautiful and well-known bust called Clytie 
(1874) is most certainly a portrait, probably of 
Antonia, the daughter of Marcus Antonius, for 
lovely as the face is, it is not divine, or of the 
type given by the Greeks to their divinities. The 
modelling of the hair is especially exquisite and 
reproduces nature exactly. 

A Maenad in frenzy ( 2 1 94) , a small relief, strikes 
me as being a perfect little work. She is seizing 
the hind legs of a goat in one hand and appears to 
be about to whirl the animal round with her in her 
frantic dance in worship of Dionysos. The drapery 
which floats round her as she moves is so marvel- 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

lously executed that you imagine you see it moving 
and twisting about the young and lissome form. 

At the end of this room stands the fine statue 
of Mercury (1599) from the Farnese Palace, which 
is perhaps the best work in the museum next to 
the Elgin marbles. The head is particularly beau- 
tiful. The Guide Book says the statue " is copied 
from an original which must have been famous in 
antiquity as it is repeated in several copies." Be 
this as it may, it is certainly a very noble and im- 
pressive work. 

The relief, the Apotheosis of Homer (21 91), is 
more interesting and curious than artistically 
beautiful. The scene represents the summit of Par- 
nassus where Zeus is represented, and below him, 
in various characteristic attitudes, are Mnemosyne, 
the mother of the Muses, and the Muses them- 
selves. Beneath them Homer is seated on a throne, 
and beside him kneel figures representing the Iliad 
and the Odyssey, while Time and the World crown 
the poet, and Myth, History, Tragedy, Comedy, 
Nature, Virtue, Memory, Good Faith, and Wisdom, 
unite to do him homage. 

ROOM OF ARCHAIC GREEK SCULPTURE 

The sculpture in this room belongs for the most 
part to the sixth century B.C. 

Though all the work here is archaic, some of it 
is greatly in advance of the rest. The two sitting 
figures from the Sacred Way (9-11), produced 
580 or 520 years B.C., are scarcely more than un- 
formed masses of stone. The artist seems to have 
struggled with his material without sufficient means 
or knowledge. From these rough figures, scarcely 

145 L 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

recognizable as human, to certain reliefs from the 
Temple of Selinus, as great an advance is shown 
as from the latter to the frieze of the Parthenon. 

On the sides of the room are casts from the east 
and west pediments of a temple in the island of 
Aegina (175-183), the originals of which are at 
Munich. They are assigned to the beginning of 
the fifth century B.C., and are not reliefs but little 
figures in the round, isolated from each other with- 
out regard to composition. They are later works, 
however, than the four celebrated metopes from 
two of the temples at Selinus in Sicily, which are 
on the east wall. 

Rude as these are in execution they are not 
wanting in a certain vigour of conception, and the 
power of telling a story. No. 1 35 is almost ludicrous. 
Hercules is represented carrying off the Kerkropes, 
robbers who haunted the neighbourhood of Ephe- 
sus. It is said that while he was carrying them off 
they began telling each other how their mother 
had warned them that if they continued in their 
evil courses some dreadful fate would befall them, 
which so amused the hero that he set them at 
liberty. Hercules has a robber in each hand, hang- 
ing straight down, and each robber has three ring- 
lets on each side of his head which also hang 
straight down. 

The best metopes from Selinus are in the mu- 
seum at Palermo. 

The Harpy Tomb brought from Xanthus in 
Lycia, though not artistically beautiful, is of great 
interest as perhaps indicating belief in the immor- 
tality of the soul. The winged figures or harpies 
appear to represent the angels of death, who bear 
away in their arms the souls of the departed, 

146 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

represented as tiny human figures. Other au- 
thorities, however, declare that the harpies are 
carrying off the daughters of Pandareus on the 
day after their wedding, to be the slaves of the 
Furies. 

A cast of the bronze Charioteer, discovered by 
the French during their excavations at Delphi, is 
far and away the most advanced work in this room. 
The figure is perfect except for the left arm which 
is broken off above the elbow, the right is extended 
in the act of guiding the horses, the long Ionic 
chiton falls in straight simple lines to the feet. The 
original, which I saw at Delphi shortly after it was 
discovered, is remarkable for the beautiful green 
iridescent colour of the bronze and the curious 
effect produced by the enamelling of the eyes, all 
of which is of course lost in the cast. 

Having finished our inspection of the Archaic 
Room, and before entering that which contains the 
crowning glories of Greek sculpture, it would be 
well to pause and consider why an art which com- 
menced as we have just seen should have had so 
widely different a development from that which 
followed its renaissance under the Pisani and 
others in Italy. The first works are not totally dis- 
similar, the best of the metopes from Selinus re- 
semble in the vigour of their execution, shortness 
of the figures, exaggerated size of the heads, and 
rough modelling of the extremities, the reliefs on 
the fagade of the Duomo at Orvieto. But immedi- 
ately there is a divergence, then a complete change 
of style. The Greek, occupied solely with the 
human form which he had deified, improved in his 
representation of it from generation to generation 
till he reached perfection ; the Italian, falling under 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

the powerful influence of the Church, sought rathe r 
to portray the stirring episodes of his religious 
faith in the manner that Church demanded, and to 
this his study of nature was subordinate. And the 
nearer the Italian approached the Greek, so much 
the more spiritless and faithless was his work. This 
is evident if we but look at the Christ of Michel- 
angelo in the Church of Sta Maria sopra Minerva 
in Rome, a figure which might very well have been 
called a Mercury or an Athlete, and could stir the 
imagination of no one but an artist, who would 
admire it for its superb technical qualities. In the 
works of Pheidias and Praxiteles, Greek sculpture 
reached its highest point, in those of Michelangelo 
and Donatello the Renaissance, and the difference 
between the styles of those artists lies in worship 
of deified humanity by the first, and obedience to 
the traditions of the Church by the latter. 

ANTE- ROOM 

Here is a seated statue of Demeter ( 1 300) found 
at Cnidos, in Asia Minor. So majestic, so noble, 
is this figure, that critics have declared it may 
perhaps be the work of Praxiteles himself. Pro- 
fessor Brunn, standing before it, exclaimed: " At 
last I have found what I have been looking for all 
over Europe, the pure Greek conception of the 
goddess Demeter as embodied in sculpture. Up 
to this time I have only seen Roman translations 
of the original type." 

The pose of the figure is most dignified, the 
long lines of drapery on each side of the head 
adding greatly to the effect. The folds over the 
left shoulder contradict the turn of the head and 

148 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

help the action, the small ones crossing the thighs 
foreshorten the legs. 

The sculptor sure 
Was a strong spirit, and the hue 
Of his own mind did there endure 
After the touch whose power had braided 
Such grace. SHELLEY. 



EPHESUS ROOM 

At a first glance this room seems full of masses 
of marble, " without form and void." On further 
examination, however, the visitor stands amazed 
before the magnificent sculptured figures on the 
drum of a column (1206) from the Temple of 
Artemis at Ephesus, reckoned one of the seven 
wonders of the world, and which was visited by 
St. Paul. The use of the sculptured drums was 
suggested by an earlier archaic temple. The 
four figures before us probably represent Death 
and Mercury conducting Alcestis from Hades. 
Alcestis, wife of Admetos, consented to die in 
place of her husband, but Hercules overcame 
Death, and Alcestis was restored to life. They 
are much mutilated, but critics are not wanting 
who assert them to be the genuine work of Scopas, 
who, history asserts, made some of the columns : 
" The expression of pathos in the mouth of the 
winged figure, the upturned eye of Hermes with 
its slightly-contracted eyebrow, and the strong 
resemblance they all bear to the heads from 
Tegea by the same master, make the conjecture 
almost a certainty." 

Among the contents of this room is a remark- 

1 Wherry, " Greek Sculpture." 
149 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

able Sculptured Capital with projecting bulls' - 
heads found at Salamis, in Cyprus. The Head of 
Alexander looks like a portrait, but is not so fine 
in feature and expression as a bust with the same 
name in the Capitol, Rome. 

ELGIN ROOM 

The sculptures of the Parthenon are to Greek 
what the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is to Re- 
naissance art its supreme achievement. 

When, by successive victories, the Greeks suc- 
ceeded in repelling the Persian invasion, the 
Athenians became the head of the confederated 
states, and decided to adorn their city with build- 
ings and sculptures. The finest of these was the 
Parthenon, or Temple of the virgin goddess Athene, 
the most perfect example of a Peripteral Octa- 
style Doric temple, that is, entirely surrounded 
by a colonnade, and having a double row of eight 
columns at each end. The architect was Ictinos, 
but the whole of the sculptural decorations were 
confided to the greatest sculptor of that or any 
other age, Pheidias. 

" As the building rose," Plutarch tells us, " stately 
in size and unsurpassed in form and grace, the 
workmen vied with each other that the quality of 
their work might be enhanced by its artistic beauty. 
Most wonderful of all was the rapidity of con- 
struction. Pheidias managed everything, and was 
the overseer in everything." 

Defaced by time, injured by wanton mutilation, 
dilapidated by warfare and an explosion of gun- 
powder, and damaged by the various religious 
bodies which in turn took possession of the grand 

150 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

old pagan shrine, these works of the great Greek 
sculptor remain the most perfect examples of the 
art the world contains. In praise of Pheidias the 
voices of the past and present are unanimous. 
"The sculptures of the Parthenon," the official 
guide informs us, " are accounted, by the consent 
of artists and critics, to be the finest series in the 
world. In the art of Pheidias complete technical 
mastery has been acquired, and sculpture is freed 
from its archaic fetters, while it is still pervaded 
by a certain grave dignity and simplicity which is 
wanting in the works of a later time." 

The group of figures on the Eastern Pediment 
represented the birth of Athene. Of these there 
remain to us, in a very mutilated condition, a 
male figure reclining, popularly called Theseus, two 
goddesses, Demeter and Persephone, sitting on low 
seats, a figure in rapid motion (perhaps Iris), a 
torso of Victory, a most beautiful group of one 
recumbent and two seated female figures called 
the Three Fates, and a fine Head of a Horse. 

The Western Pediment represented the contest 
of Athene and Poseidon for the soil of Attica; 
some of the statues still remain on the temple in 
Athens, but we have casts of them here. The 
Ilissos is comparable to the Theseus only in magni- 
ficence of attitude and nobility of design. These 
two male figures, the best preserved fragments, 
seem indeed imbued with divinity. 

The finest of the female figures are the Demeter 
and Persephone, and they are so because of the 
dignity and nobility which inspires them, because 
of the divinity with which they are inspired, the 
exaltation of their conception. And the mechanical 
execution is commensurate with all these. Head- 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

less, handless, footless, hurled to earth from their 
mighty pediments, brought from their sunny land 
to the sullen atmosphere of England, these mighty 
fragments still reign, yes, reign and dominate, and 
will, so long as a single portion of them shall exist. 
England has given the mighty exiles an honoured 
home, as she has done to many another. 

By good fortune a clever artist named Jacques 
Carrey made sketches of the pediments in 1674 
before they were injured by the explosion of 
gunpowder. These drawings are now in Paris, 
but facsimiles of them are hung in this room, and 
may be studied with advantage. An excellent 
model of the Parthenon also shows the exact 
position of all the sculptures. 

The metopes, of which the Museum possesses 
fifteen in marble and five in plaster casts, seem 
to me to require less attention. In all there were 
originally ninety-two, and are probably the work 
of sculptors under the direction of Pheidias. Their 
subject is the combat of the Lapiths with the 
Centaurs, and the Greeks with the Amazons, 
favourite subjects of the ancients. They seem 
too high in relief for pure art in their present 
position; on the outer wall of the temple for 
which they were intended, the effect would no 
doubt be accurate. 

The Frieze of the Parthenon, probably the last 
portion of the sculpture completed and the work 
of Pheidias himself, is the masterpiece of that 
artist. The subject is the Panathenaic procession 
which was held every year to celebrate the birth- 
day of Athene and present her with a new peplos 
or robe. The frieze ran round the outer wall of 
the cello,-, its total length was five hundred and 

152 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

twenty-two feet, and of this, between marbles and 
casts, the British Museum possesses four- fifths. 

On panels IV- VI the deities of Olympus are 
represented seated, and a priest receives from a 
boy the new robe. Towards these the procession, 
consisting of Canephori, maidens bearing offerings, 
victims for the sacrifice, youths, musicians, magis- 
trates and horsemen, moves. The cavalcade of 
horsemen is considered the finest portion of this 
immortal work. 

The noble and graceful personages who form 
the procession seem to pass before the spectator 
with a slow rhythmic motion. All proceed with the 
calmness of conscious strength, the dignity of a 
lofty purpose. There is no hurrying, no crowding, 
all is calm, restrained, and inspired with the spirit 
of beauty. The females are lovely, the youths are 
handsome, the old men wise. There is no striv- 
ing after mere effect, no under-cuttings, no limbs 
modelled in the round; the chisel of the sculptor 
never faltered, the mind of the artist never 
wavered. He knew what he wished to do, and 
knew also that he had the power to carry out his 
inspiration. Hence a feeling of perfect satisfaction 
and enjoyment is communicated from him to the 
spectator who stands before this supreme produc- 
tion of art. 

The excellence of the work consists in nobility 
of design, perfect mastery of the difficult art of 
relief, exact proportion and exalted type of the 
personages represented who seem a race of heroes, 
consummate style, profound knowledge of anatomy 
and movement, simplicity of treatment, and com- 
plete control of the material employed. The horses 
are grandly modelled, their action free and true, 

153 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

while the seat of the riders is worthy of an 
Arab. All this has been better said thousands of 
times before, but if I succeed in attracting the 
reader's intelligent observation to these great 
works, my purpose in repeating these phrases will 
be attained. 

" By carefully observing them," says Flaxman, 
in his old-fashioned manner, " the student will 
accustom himself to a noble habit of thinking, and 
consequently choose whatever is beautiful, elegant, 
and grand, rejecting all that is mean and vulgar; 
by thus imbibing an electric spark of the poetic 
fire, he will learn to choose fit subjects for the 
employment of his talents, and to convert the 
beauty and grace of ancient poetry and genius to 
the service of the morals and institutions of our 
own time and country." 

The complete justification of Lord Elgin in re- 
moving the marbles from Athens is found in a com- 
parison of the casts of portions of the frieze which 
he had made in 1801, with those made in 1872. In 
the former are much more sharpness and detail ; in 
panel XII the whole of a youth's face has been 
destoyed in the interval, and they are much more 
damaged by vicious treatment and the action of 
time and weather. 

A noble bust of Pericles, made in Roman times 
from a Greek original, fitly stands among works 
executed during his enlightened rule. 

The Caryatid (407) brought from the Erech- 
theum, strong, erect, and simple, is a perfect ex- 
ample of architectural sculpture. If the visitor will 
look at her in a side view, he will notice the 
straight lines of drapery at the back which give 
such strength and repose to the figure that she 

154 



ATTRIBUTED TO PHEIDIAS 




tional Aluseum, Athens 
DESIGN FOR THE MINERVA OF THE PARTHENON 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

does not appear to feel fatigue under her superin- 
cumbent burden, but to be capable of supporting 
it to eternity. I can better express my feeling 
with regard to this figure in a sonnet. 

To THE CARYATID IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

Pale pris'ner ravished from thine own fair shore 
Perchance to perish in our northern gloom, 
Dost thou in silence mourn the heavy doom 

That from thy sister Caryatid's tore 

Leaving thee scared and lonely evermore, 
In thy mute beauty, thine eternal peace 
Witnessing to the " glory that was Greece," 

And genius of the hero race she bore? 

In thy distress thou still art eloquent 

Of arms, of art, of song; thy war-stained frame, 

Thy time-worn marble are a monument 
Which cannot lie, to her immortal name; 
Sad Caryatid, lone, and worn, and spent, 
Point for us too the glorious path of fame. 

I find myself quite unable to realize that the 
cast of the Varvakeion Athene, which stands in 
this room, gives any adequate representation of the 
great statue of the goddess by Pheidias which 
stood in the cella of the Parthenon, and which was 
described by Pausanias. The huge shield destroys 
one side view, the pillar which supports the right 
hand is an awkward contrivance, the figure is too 
short and the modelling archaic, faults impossible 
to the sculptor of the immortal Frieze. 

PHIGALEIAN ROOM 

That the Frieze (532-139) from the Temple of 
Apollo Epicurios (the Helper) near Phigaleia in 
Arcadia is not equal to that we have just been 
studying, is little in its disfavour. The east and 

155 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

south panels represent combats of Greeks and 
Amazons, the west and north have for their sub- 
ject the contest between the Centaurs and La- 
piths. Though the execution of these works is 
somewhat coarse, and the relief high, the action 
of the figures throughout is wonderfully vigorous. 
The imagination of the sculptor was in advance of 
of his powers of execution. 

The following passage from the book of a re- 
cent writer on sculpture, gives a correct impres- 
sion of this work. "It is interesting to con- 
trast the inequality of the work on this frieze, the 
want of proportion in the figures, and above all, 
the restless motion which pervades the whole 
composition, with the perfect harmony that pre- 
vails on the Parthenon. There every individual 
person, every group, is moving on, but it is with 
the calm, even motion of waves rolling in one 
after another on a level shore. In the Phigaleian 
frieze it is as if a heavy gale were blowing; the 
drapery is wind-tossed, the horses are unmanage- 
able, all is confusion ; there is neither dignity nor 
repose. It is true that the subject of the Parthenon 
is a peaceful procession, and that of Phigaleia a 
series of battle scenes; but the metopes of the 
Parthenon, which contain the same subject, serve 
equally to show the different spirit of the Attic 
sculpture and of the society in which he lived and 
worked." 1 

The student who can fully appreciate this 
illuminating criticism is not far from understand- 
ing sculpture. 

There are a few stelae or tombstones in this 
room which serve to give a good idea of those in 
1 Wherry, "Greek Sculpture." 
156 




[Athens 



FUNERAL MONUMENT 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

the wonderful collection of similar works in the 
Museum at Athens ; they possess the same pathos, 
the same sense of beauty, the same feeling of 
domesticity. On the tomb of Agathemeris and 
Sempronius Niketes (630), the husband and wife 
are represented as about to set out on a journey 
their last sad journey to the underworld. The 
two monuments to youths (625-626) are pervaded 
with a sentiment of lassitude and resignation which 
is not without pathos. On another tombstone (6 1 9) 
is a woman receiving a jewel casket from an attend- 
ant, we may suppose she is attiring herself for her 
departure. On a still finer one (620) an attendant 
is putting on her mistress's sandals, while she 
touches the servant's head with a gesture of infinite 
tenderness; another attendant stands behind hold- 
ing a box which perhaps contains the lady's most 
cherished trinkets. 

Four marble slabs and the cast of a fifth are 
from the Temple of the Wingless Victory on the 
Acropolis. 

MAUSOLEUM ROOM 

On the death of Mausolus, Prince of Caria, in 
351 B.C. his wife Artemisia raised a monument to 
him which exceeded in magnificence any other 
erection of the kind. 

It was reckoned one of the seven wonders of 
the ancient world, and the name Mausoleum after- 
wards applied to all similar monuments. 

The very site was lost, till, in the sixteenth 
century, the Knight de la Tourenne and his friend 
d'AHscamp searching for material to make lime 
for the castle of Budrum, built by the Knights of 

157 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

St. John, came upon a flight of marble steps, 
which led to an apartment decorated with sculp- 
tures, and thence to an inner chamber containing 
a sarcophagus. Before they had time to complete 
their examination, robbers in search of treasure 
rifled it of its contents. 

In 1857 Sir Charles Newton made an exhaustive 
exploration of the site, and rescued the fragments 
of sculpture now in this room. 

On leaving the Phigaleian room and descending 
a few steps, we enter a small gallery containing 
colossal busts, two of which must not be passed 
unnoticed. These are the magnificent Barbarian 
(i 770) from the Forum of Trajan, and the Hercules 
(1736) found in the lava at the foot of Vesuvius. 
The last with its curiously treated, tightly curling 
hair is a complete presentment of physical strength 
and is attributed to Myron. 

The Barbarian on the contrary, though full of 
power, appears to suggest the hero's suffering and 
patience, which gives it very high rank indeed 
among antique busts. 

Again descending, we enter the Mausoleum 
room, and are at once attracted to the friezes on 
the wall which are such as none but Greeks could 
have produced, and which the British Museum is 
fortunate in possessing. Infinitely superior to the 
Phigaleian, they hold in artistic merit a middle 
place between them and the glorious Frieze of the 
Parthenon. The action of the figures is supremely 
good, the relief is perhaps too high, some of the 
limbs being sculptured in the round, the type 
represented, especially of the heads, is very noble. 
A draped and long-haired charioteer, placed low 
down on the wall that he may be better seen, is, 

158 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

from the extreme beauty of his features, thought 
to be the work of Scopas. 

The colossal Statues of Mausolos (1000) and of 
Artemisia (1001) are most impressive. Mausolos 
himself is the better preserved, his figure is broadly 
treated and is distinguished by dignity and repose. 
The statue called Artemisia, but which may be a 
goddess acting as charioteer, is remarkable for the 
perfect arrangement of the voluminous drapery 
which resembles a Roman toga ; unfortunately her 
face is completely shattered. Mausolos with his 
long hair and broad face is sublime in his barbarity, 
Artemisiamore graceful but scarcely less imposing. 
The best view of this impressive group is from the 
top of the steps leading into the Nereid room. 
Seen from there against the gray background, 
some idea may be formed of the effect produced 
in their original position on the top of the monu- 
ment. In the case of the Mausoleum and all other 
sculptural remains in the Museum, the visitor will 
be much helped if he examine the various plans 
and restorations exhibited with them. 

The two Lycian Tombs (950-1) which stand at 
the end of this room have good reliefs on their 
roofs and sides. The history of these monuments 
is obscure, but it is interesting to observe that in 
them the construction of earlier timber-built tombs 
is imitated by reproducing in stone the ends of 
cross-beams. 

NEREID ROOM 

The Nereid Tomb found at Xanthos was built 
by Pericles, a Satrap of Lycia, about 370 B.C. 

The frieze (909-91 2) here, though good in parts, 
is inferior in composition to any we have hitherto 

159 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

discussed, and shows traces of Oriental influence 
on the minds of the Greek artists who executed 
it. The graceful intercolumnar figures are in violent 
action and appear to be dancing. The official 
guide book suggests that they may be intended 
to represent sea-breezes as under their feet are 
marine creatures, probably to indicate the sea over 
which they are moving. So good is the execution 
and design of the drapery of these maidens, that 
they may perhaps claim some affinity with the 
glorious Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre. 



There is a small but unique collection of sculp- 
ture in the Soane Museum, more interesting, how- 
ever, to antiquarians than to artists. 

The number of artistic treasures which exist in 
private collections in England is not universally 
realized. Acquired by noblemen and other wealthy 
persons when it was the custom for such as could 
afford it to make the " grand tour," and when mas- 
terpieces of art might be bought on the Continent 
perhaps for a hundredth part of the sum they now 
fetch, they still enrich the galleries and adorn the 
homes of the descendants of these far-sighted con- 
noisseurs. Permission to view them may easily be 
obtained by any accredited student. 

Foremost among these treasure-houses of art 
are Chatsworth, Lansdowne House, Brocklesby 
Park, Wilton House, and Petworth; more recent 
collections have also been formed. 

At the Burlington Fine Arts Club Exhibition 
held in 1904 the Duke of Devonshire exhibited 
a magnificent bronze Head of Apollo in excellent 
preservation, pronounced by critics to belong to 

1 60 



IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 

the period between the Olympian sculptures and 
those of the Parthenon ; and a fine Head of Hermes 
apparently the production of the Attic School of 
the fifth century. Mr. E. P. Warren sent a 
Stat^cette of Hercules supposed to be the work, or 
the replica of a work, of Myron. An important 
fragment from the frieze of the Parthenon dis- 
covered in Colne Park, Essex, was shown by 
Mr. J. C. Bothwell. 

From Petworth came a Head of Aphrodite, re- 
cognized by Professor Furtwangler as an original 
by Praxiteles, of supreme beauty and perfect finish. 
A Head of an Old Man belonging to Sir J. C. 
Robinson, an antique replica of a famous portrait 
of the third century; Mr. Claude Ponsonby's 
Idealized Female Portrait, worthy to be ranked 
with the splendid examples of the skill of the 
ancient masters in that branch of art in the British 
Museum; Mr. Pierpont Morgan's bronze Statuette 
of 'the Winged Eros, absolutely true in the render- 
ing of a difficult momentary action; the Earl of 
Wemyss' fine Head of Dionysos ; the Marquis of 
Lansdowne's relief Athene holding a Helmet, called 
by Michaelis "an excellent piece of the noblest 
style"; the same owner's Head with part of a 
Sepulchral Stele, notable for the distinction of the 
modelling; 

Some serene 

Creation minted in the golden moods 
Of sovereign artists. TENNYSON. 

and a Head of a Goddess, an Attic original of about 
460-450 B.C., belonging to Mr. Humphry Ward, 
adorned this most notable exhibition, and proved 
how important are the accumulated art-treasures 
of the country which it was far from exhausting. 

161 M 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

This short list of Greek sculptures shown at 
the Burlington Club's Exhibition would be greatly 
extended if every important work were noticed; 
however, I think I have remarked on enough to 
answer my present purpose, which is simply to 
guide the taste of those interested in the art, and 
to create, if possible, a like emotion in those in 
whom it does not yet exist. Whoever has real 
intuitive feeling for sculpture will recognize a good 
or bad work without knowing why I have tried 
to give such a one a reason for the faith that is 
in him; while he who does not yet care for the 
divine art may perhaps be led by my little book 
to inquire into the motives for enthusiasm, and add 
yet another delightful interest to their lives. 



CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SCHOOLS 
OF SCULPTURE 

EGYPTIAN. Largeness, simplicity, want of detail. 

GREEK. Perfection of form, composition and 
execution. 

GRAECO- ROMAN. Virility, coarseness of execution. 

ITALIAN RENAISSANCE. Depth of sentiment, realism, 
and force of imagination. 

BRITISH. Sincerity, want of artistic perception. 

FRENCH. Floridness, vitality, fertility of imagina- 
tion, cleverness of execution. 

GERMAN. Stolidity, precision, sincerity of purpose, 
hardness of execution. 

SPANISH. Good in expression, dominated by 
ecclesiasticism it is undeveloped and always 
religious in subject. 

THE MODERN ITALIAN SCHOOL, though it has 
produced some striking works, is character- 
ized by a commercial spirit, and a degrada- 
tion of the material employed. 



ADDENDUM 

WHILE the foregoing pages were passing 
through the press, a new influence in art 
has assumed some importance as evidenced by 
exhibitions at the Grafton and Chenil Galleries 
and by the violent propaganda of Signor Marinetti 
that of the Post- Impressionists and Futurists. 

That some active reform is imperative, especially 
in the art of sculpture, the tenor of this book 
will have already made abundantly evident, and 
as is also proved by the remarkable energy of 
the present reaction. The rebellion of the French 
against a corrupt monarchy led to the imbecile 
worship of the goddess of reason, yet France has 
since settled down into a reasonable republic; so 
the Post- Impressionist's and Futurist's revolt 
against the chocolate box inanites of the mid-Vic- 
torian epoch, which results in works produced in 
such a manner as to suggest the avoidance of the 
time and study indispensable to the production of 
great art, may in time lead to a less insane method 
of artistic creation. 

A critic, writing on one of the exhibitions of 
this school, the Salon d'Automne, trenchantly re- 
marks: " The great majority of the works showed 
on the part of the exhibitors a total lack of the 
knowledge and ability necessary to the production 
of a work of art. The knowledge they apparently 

165 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

possess is that any attempt on their part to pro- 
duce a genuine work of art would only result in 
lamentable failure, and so in their ridiculous striv- 
ing for notoriety they adopt a senseless eccen- 
tricity of subject and treatment. The exhibits dis- 
played absolute ignorance of the laws of linear and 
aerial perspective, inability to draw correctly, and 
colouring that a right-minded child would be 
ashamed to show in his penny painting book. 
And we are told this is 'The Art of the Future! " 
Truth is not always ugliness, and ugliness does 
not need perpetuation. Beauty is what we need, 
in life, in thought, in art. There is little profit in 
looking at a canvas and trying to guess whether 
the blotches on it are meant to represent houses, or 
cows, or trees. Conversely, Pre-Raphaelitism is 
dead, but a Velazquez is still worth a king's ran- 
som, and for its possession nations contend. 

Our little systems have their day 
They have their day and cease to be 

but the firm foundations of art as laid by the 
Greeks nearly two thousand years ago remain un- 
shaken against the attacks of Pre-Raphaelites, 
Impressionists, Post- Impressionists, Futurists, et 
hoc genus omne. The banalities of the Victorian era 
have already passed into the limbo of obscurity, 
so also will pass the crude productions of these 
schools when the present craze has departed, for 
let us be thankful there is no such thing as fashion 
in art truly so called. 

Probably artists quietly at work in their studios, 
unknown, but trying to realize their conceptions 
and work out their ideals patiently, sincerely, and 
industriously, are doing better service for art than 

1 66 



ADDENDUM 

those iconoclasts who hastily fling a few colours on 
canvas and shriek to you to admire their system, 
or who cut a head and a few limbs roughly out of 
a block of marble and hurl defiance at the Greeks. 
Great is the responsibility of those who would form 
the taste of the public. 

Sincerity, one of the first desiderata in art, 
these young revolutionists no doubt possess, but 
they must reflect that to destroy is easier than to 
create, to spout fiery anathemas than to produce 
good work. And their own inchoate creations from 
which beauty, science and poetry are utterly absent, 
will never take the place of the works of the great 
masters which have stood the test of the ages, 
and are founded on studies their very principles 
disclaim. The lovers of true art may possess 
their souls in patience ; like the revolt of the Pre- 
Raphaelites which rendered much service in its 
day, their craze too will perish like a plant without 
a root, leaving, let us hope, some little seed of 
good behind. 

It is certain that art is not one but manifold; yet 
underlying all true art is the principle that it 
must give pleasure, a fact these new schools entirely 
ignore. 

All honour, however, to these enthusiastic re- 
formers for proving that in this twentieth century 
art is still a living force, even though the goal 
already reached is far from our struggling feet. 
But by its own violence their movement must 
ultimately fail, and the great masters of art stand- 
ing supreme on their eternal heights, will be once 
more vindicated and reign. 

Let me conclude with Mrs. Humphry Ward's 
pregnant words : " Range the whole world see 

167 



HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCULPTURE 

everything, learn everything till at the end of 
years and years you may perhaps be found worthy 
to be called an artist ! But let art have her ends, all 
the while shining beyond the means she is toiling 
through her ends of beauty or of power." 



168 



INDEX 



ADDENDUM, Post-impression- 
ism, 165. 

Agasias, 5 2 ; The Fighting 
Gladiator ', 59. 

Amadeo, Giovanni Antonio, 
77; Monument of Barto- 
lommeo Colleoni, 77. 

Anatomical details, 39. 

Apollonius, 49 ; The Belvedere 
Torso, 49. 

Assyrian Sculpture, 3, 24. 



Baily, E. H., 94; Eve at the 
Fountain, 94; Statue of 
C. J. Fox, 96; of Lord 
Mansfield, 94. 

Balance, 37. 

Bandinelli, Bacio, 83; Adam 
and Eve, 83; Bacchus and 
Ceres, 83; Hercules and 
Cacus, 83; Orpheus in 
Hades, 83. 

Banks, Thomas, 90; Statue of 
Achilles, 90; Cupid, 90; A 
Falling Giant, 90; Thetis 
rising from the Sea, 90, 
100. 

Barye, A. E., 112. 

Bates, Harry, 102; Hounds in 
Leash, 102; Pandora, 102. 

Beauty, 35. 

Becerra, Gaspar, 123; The 
High Altar of the Cathedral 



of Astorga, 123; Our Lady 
of Solitude, 123. 

Behnes, William, 93 ; Bust of 
Queen Victoria, 94; Statue 
of Dr. Babington, 94; of 
Dr. Bell, 94; of Sir W. 
Follett, 94; of Major- General 
Sir T.Jones, 94. 

Bernini, Giov. Lorenzo, 87; 
Apollo pursuing Daphne, 
87; Monument of Alex- 
ander VII, 87; of Urban 
VIII, 87; The Rape of 
Proserpine, 87; Statue of 
Constantine, 87. 

Berruguete, Alonzo, 120, 122; 
The High Altar of San 
Benito el Real, 122; Monu- 
ment of the Cardinal Arch- 
bishop Juan de Tavera, 123; 
of the Marquis and Mar- 
chioness of Poza, 122; Sculp- 
ture in the Collegio Major, 

122. 

Bissen, Wilhelm, 98, 137; The 
Danske Landsoldat, 98 ; 
Frieze, 137; Statue of Fred- 
erick VII, 137; of Gutten- 
burg, 137; ofHolberg, 137; 
of Oehlenschldger, 137. 

Bologna, Giovanni da, 86; The 
Fountain of Neptune, 86; 
Hercules and the Centaur, 
86 ; The Rape of the Sabines, 



169 



INDEX 



86; Statue of Cosimo, 86; 
of Ferdinand I, 86; of Mer- 
cury, 86. 

Briosco, Andrea (Riccio), 82; 
The Ascension of the Virgin, 
82; Easter Lamp, 82; Monu- 
ment of the Delia Torre 
Family, 82. 

British Sculpture, 89. 

Buonaroti. See Michelangelo. 

Busti, Agostino (Bambaja), 
Monument of Cardinal 
Caracciolo, 83; of Gas ton 
de Foix, 82. 

Campi Santi of Italy, 31, 32. 

Cano, Alonzo, 1 24 ; The Altar 
at Lebrija, 125; Anecdotes 
of, 1 2 5 ; The Ecce Homo, 125; 
A Monk Reading, 125. 

Can ova, Antonio, 128; The 
Boxers, 132; Monument of 
Clement XI 1, 133; of Titian, 
133; The Mourning Genius, 
133; Statue of the Princess 
Pauline Buonaparte, 132. 

Carrara, 13, 20. 

Carving in marble, 19. 

Casting in bronze, 24. 

Cellini, Benvenuto, 26, 84; 
Bust of Bindo Altoviti, 85 ; 
of Duke Cosimo, 85; The 
Nymph of Fontainebleau, 85; 
Perseus with the Head of 
Medusa, 84. 

Chantrey, Sir Francis, 93; The 
Sleeping Children, 93; Statue 
of Watts, 93. 

Chapu, H. M. A., 122; Joan 
of Arc at Domremy, 112; 
Statue of Queen Alexandra, 
112; of the Dowager Em- 
press of Russia, 112. 



Characteristics of the Schools 
of Sculpture, 163. 

Chimney piece of the Assize 
Courts, Bruges, 114. 

Civitali, Matteo, 77; An Ador- 
ing Angel, 77; Statue of 
Zachariah, 7 7 ; Temple of 
the Volto Sacro, 77; Tomb 
of Pietro da Noceto, 77. 

Colombe, Michel, 107; Carya- 
tides, 107; The Deposition 
from the Cross, 107; The 
Fountain of the Innocents, 
107; The Four Evangelists, 
107; Statue of Diana, 107. 

Colour in Sculpture, 53. 

Composition, 36. 

Contemporaries of Pheidias, 
48. 

Coysevox, Charles Antoine, 
no; Bust of Bossuet, in; 
of Lebrun, in; of Mignard, 
1 1 1 ; of Marie Serre, 1 1 1 ; 
The Monument of Cardinal 
Mazarin, in; A Nymph 
with a Shell, in. 

Ctesilaus,^; The Dying Hero, 
49- 

D'Angers, David, in; The 
Guttenburg Memorial, 112; 
Relief on the Pediment of the 
Pantheon, 112. 

Delia Robbia Family, The, 74; 
The Altarpiece in the Os- 
servanza, 74; Infants in 
swaddling clothes, 74; Sing- 
ing Boys, 74. 

Desiderio da Settignano, 77; 
The Infant Jesus, 76 ; Moun- 
ment of Carlo Mazzuppini, 
76; The Virgin and Child, 
76. 



170 



INDEX 



Dinanterie, 114. 

Donatello, 70; Abraham with 
Isaac at his feet, 7 1 ; Dead 
Christ between Angels, 72; 
EcceHomo, 72; Gattamelata, 
72; Head of Christ, 73; The 
Magdalen, 72; Miracles of 
St. Antonio, 72; St. Cecilia, 
73; St. John, 73; Sleeping 
Warrior, 73; Statue of 
Daniel, 71; of the Four 
Evangelists, 71; of St. 
George, 71; of Joshua, 71; 
Symbols of the Evangelists, 
7 2 ; Tabernacle of the Sacra- 
ment, 71; 70#/< of the Arch- 
deacon Giovanni Crivelli, 
7 1 ; 0/ /><?/* /^ XXIII, 
71; <?/" Cardinal Rinaldo 
Brancacci, 7 1 ; LoZaccone, 7 1 . 

Drapery, 37. 

Dupre, Giovanni, 139; /fc/0, 
139; Statue of Abel, 139 ; 
of Cain, 139. 

Duquesnoy, Francois (II Fiam- 
mingo), 116; Statue of St. 
Andrew, 117; of Sta Sus- 
anna, 117. 

Egyptian Sculpture, 7, 38; 

^ ^^ */ .*//, 7. 
Elche Bust, the, 126. 
Etruscan Sculpture, 8 ; Bronze 

Bust, 25. 

Flaxman, John, 91 ; The Arch- 
angel Michael and Satan, 9 1 ; 
Cephalus and Aurora, 91; 
Deliver us from Evil, 91; 
The Fury of Athamas, 9 1 ; 
Monument of Earl Mans- 
field, 91; of Captain J. 
Montague, 91; of Lord Nel- 



son, 9 1 ; Resignation, 9 1 ; 
.S/foV/tf of Achilles, 91; 
Kingdom Come," 91. 

Flemish Sculpture, 113. 

Foley, J. H., /<? and Bacchus, 
95; Sforf^ of Daniel OCon- 
nell, 95; #/" Goldsmith, 95; 
0/ Ztfr^ Falkland, 95; <?/" 
Lord Hardinge, 95; of Out- 
ram, 95; 0/V^e Prince Con- 
sort, 95; <?/" jS/r Joshua 
Reynolds, 95 ; 7%^ K?^/^ / 
/^ Stream, 95. 

French Sculpture, 104. 

Funeral Stelae, 60. 

Gagini, Antonio, 84; Tribune 
at Santa Cita, 84. 

Galleries: of the Capitol, Rome, 
60; National Gallery of 
British Art, 99; of Naples, 
60; of the Pitti and Uffizi, 
60; of the Vatican, 59. 

Gallery of casts in the Royal 
Academy, 18. 

German Sculpture, 113. 

Ghiberti, Lorenzo, 68; The 
Baptism of our Lord, 70; 
Doors of the Baptistery, 
Florence, 68; Monument of 
Ludovico degli Obizzi, 70; 
St. John before Herod, 70; 
Statue of St. Matthew, 70; 
of St. John the Baptist, 70; 
Tomb of St. Zenobino, 70. 

Gibson, John, 53, 92, 138; 
Hunter with a Dog, 93; 
Hy las and the Nymphs, 100; 
Jason, 93; Justice and 
Mercy, 93; Tinted Venus, 
53, 138; Tomb of Clement 
VII, 93- 

Glyptothek, The, Munich, 61. 



171 



INDEX 



Gothic Sculpture, 10; in Spain, 
122. 

Goujon, Jean, 108; Diane 
Chasseuresse, 108. 

Graeco-Roman Sculpture, 9, 
56; Apollo Citharoedus, 142; 
Bust of Antoninus Pius, 
141; of Augustus, 55; of a 
Barbarian, 158; of Cara- 
calla, 141; of Hadrian, 141; 
of Homer, 142; of Hercules, 
55; of Julia Sabina, 141; 
of Julius Caesar, 141; #/" 
Pertinax, 141; of a Priestess, 
141; Dancing Faun, 142; 
Laughing Satyr, 143; ./?0- 
danini Faun, 142; Statues 
of the Barbarians on the 
Arch of Constantine, 57; 
Statue of Marcus Aurelius, 
55, 75; Townley Venus, 142; 
Venus preparing for the 
Bath, 142 ; Westmacott 
Athlete, 142. 

Greek Sculpture, 46 : Amazon, 
144; Anacreon, 47; ^/z- 
/ztf&tf, 52; Aphrodite, 144; 
Apollo Belvedere, 51, 52; 
Apotheosis of Homer, 145; 
Ariadne, 59; Barberini 
Faun, 52; ^^/ <?/" ^/<?.#- 
ander, 150; <?/ Clytie, 144; 
of Hercules, 158; of Hypnos, 
55; <?/ /%*/<?, 54; <?/ a 
Youth 1 4 2 ; Caryatid, 154; 
Charioteer of Delphi, 46, 
55, 147; Diana Hunting, 
51; Dancing Faun, 54; Zte- 
w^r, 148, 151; Demeter 
and Persephone, 151; Z?/- 
dumenos, 60; Dioscuri, 46; 
Drum from the Temple of 
Ephesus, 149 ; Equestrian 



Statue of Alexander the 
Great, 54; Four Slabs from 
the Temple of the Wingless 
Victory, 157; Frieze of the 
Temple of Apollo Epicurios, 
156; of the Parthenon, 152; 
Harpy Tomb, 146; Head of 
a Horse, 54; Hermes of An- 
dros, 60; Laocoon, 59; 
Maenad in Frenzy, 144; 
Meleager, 52; Mercury or 
Belvedere Antinous, 54, 
145; Metopes from Seli- 
nonte, 46; Minerva of the 
Parthenon, 46; Monument 
of Dexileos, 46 ; ^/" Hegeso 
Proxeno, 46; Narcissus, 54; 
Nereid Tomb, 159; Pediment 
of Selinus, 146; Relief from 
the Temple of Demeter, 47; 
Sculptured Capital, 150; 
Steiae, 156; Theseus, 151; 
Three Fates, 151; jT&/0 .Z^r, 
54; Venus Accroupie, $i', of 
the Capitol, 49 ; of Capua, 5 1 ; 
dk' Medici, $i', of Milo, 48, 
50; Varvakeion Athene, 
155; Victory, 151; Victory 
ofSamothrace,^; Wrestlers, 
52; Z<?z<tf of Olympia, 46. 

Hernandez, Gregorio, 124. 

Hosmer, Harriet, 139; .Zfoz- 
/nVtf Cenci, 139. 

Houdon, Jean Antoine, 109; 
Ecorche Figure, no; ^z/5/ 
of Rousseau, 109; Statue of 
St. Bruno, no; of Moliere, 
no; of Voltaire, no. 



Juni, Juan de, 123; 

Altar of Nuestra Senora de 



172 



INDEX 



las Antiguas, 123; Virgen 
de los Cuchillos, 124. 

Kraft, Adam, 114; Reliefs on 
Schreyer's Monument ', 115; 
Sacramentarium, 1 1 5 ; Seven 
Stages of the Cross ; 114. 

Landseer, Sir Edwin, 96; Lions 
in Trafalgar Square, 96. 

Leighton, Lord, 101; An Ath- 
lete struggling with a Python, 
101; Sketch, 101; The Slug- 
gard, 1 01. 

Lemaire, P. H., 1 1 1; Pediment 
of the Madeleine, 1 1 1 . 

Lombardi, The, 82; Monu- 
ment of the Doge Mocenigo, j 
82; Tomb of Guidarello i 
Guidarelli, 82. 

Louvre, The, 61. 

Lysippus, 5 1 \Apoxyomenos, 5 1 . 

Maderno, Stefano, 88; Statue 
of St. Cecilia, 88. 

Marochetti, Baron, i; Eques- 
trian Statue of Richard 
Cczur-de-Lion, i, 3, 97; 
Monument of Lord Mel- 
bourne, 97. 

Marshall, Calder, 101; Prodi- 
gal Son, 101. 

Master Mateo, 122. 

Mausoleum, 159; Statue of 
Artemisia, 159; of Mau- 
solus, 159. 

Michelangelo, 5, n, 23, 79; 
Basilica of St. Peter, 80; 
Bacchus and Young Faun, 
80; Ceiling of the Sistine 
Chapel, 80; David, 80; 
Dawn and Twilight, 11; 
Last Judgment, 8 1 ; Moses, 



81; Ntght and Day, 11; 
Pieta, 80; .Ste/to? 0/ Giu- 
liano of Lorenzo de' Medici, 
n, 23, 80; Two Slaves, 81. 

Mino da Fiesole, 76; Altar- 
piece for the Chapel of the 
Baglioni, 76; Tomb of 
Bernardo Guigni, 76; of 
Count Ugo, 76; of Paul II, 
76; of the Two Bishops 
Salutati, 76. 

Modelling]: in clay, 13; in wax, 
14. 

Montanes, Juan Martinez, 
123; St. Dominic scourging 
himself, 123. 

Montorsoli, Fra Giov. Aug., 
85; fountain of Orion, 85; 
Statue of Nepttme, 85. 

Monument of the Emperor 
Maximilian, 116. 

Museums: of Athens, 60; 
British, 140; Roman Na- 
tional, 60; Soane, 160; 
Thorvaldsen's, 135. 

Myron, 49; Discobulus, 49. 

Naucydes, 49; Discobulus, 49. 
Nollekens, Joseph, 90. 
Ny Glyptothek, Copenhagen, 
125. 

Originality, 40. 

Pausanias, 47. 

Pheidias, 47; Dioscuri, 47; 

Frieze of the Parthenon, 152; 

Minerva of the Parthenon, 4 7 ; 

Statue of Anacreon, 47; 

Zeus of Olympia, 47. 
Pigalle, Baptiste, no; Cupids, 

no; Monument of Marshal 

Moritz of Saxony, no. 



173 



INDEX 



Pilon, Germain, 107; The 
Graces, 107; Monument of 
Rene Birague and his Wife, 
107. 

Pisani, The, 64; Arco di S. 
Domenico, 65 ; Life of St. 
John, 60; Madonna and 
Child, 65; Madonna, 66; 
Pulpit in the Cathedral of 
Siena, 65, in the Baptistery, 
Pisa, 65; Sta Maria della 
Spina, 66. 

Plaster-casting, 13. 

Polycletus, 48; Doryphorus,A$; 
Diadumenos, 48; Wounded 
Amazon, 48. 

Post-impressionism, 164. 

Pradier, James, in; Ata- 
lanta, in; Caryatides, 1 1 1; 
Phryne, in; Psyche, in; 
Sappho, in. 

Proportion, 39. 

Puget, Pierre, no. 

Quercia, Jacopo della, 67; 
Fonte Gaia, 67; Relief at 
Bologna, 68; Tomb of Ilario 
del Caretto, 68. 

Rauch, C., 98; Monument of 
Frederick the Great, 98. 

Renaissance of Sculpture, the, 
69. 

Rodriguez, the brothers, 122. 

Rome at the beginning of the 
last century, 129. 

Rossellini, the, 74; Monument 
of Cardinal Jacopo di Porto- 
gallo, 74; Pulpit at Prato, 

74- 

Rude, Francois, in; Maid of 
Orleans, 1 1 1; Mercury, 1 1 1; 
Neapolitan Fisherman, in; 



Reliefs of the Arc de VEtoile 
in. 

Sansovino, Andrea, 78; An- 
nunciation, 78; Shrine at 
Loreto, 78; Tomb of Car- 
dinal Ascanio Sforza, 98. 

Scopas, 48 ; The Niobe Group, 
48. 

Sculpture: in London, 44; in 
private collections at the 
Burlington Fine Arts Ex- 
hibition, 1904, 1 60. 

Sentiment, 30. 

Simplicity, 33. 

Sketches, 41. 

Sluter, Glaus, 113; Tomb of 
Jean Sans Peur, 113; of 
Philippe le Hardi, 113. 

Spanish Sculpture, 119. 

Stevens, Alfred, 95; Head of 
a Dead Child, 102; Head 
of a Man, 102; Isaiah, 
102; King Alfred and his 
Mother, 102; Monument of 
the Duke of Wellington, 96; 
Sculpture at Dorchester 
House, 96; Truth and 
Falsehood, 102; Valour and 
Cowardice, 102. 

Style, 32. 

Tanagra figures, 55. 

Tate Gallery. See National 
Gallery of British Art. 

Tenerani, 137; Angel of the 
Resurrection, 137; Statue of 
Count Rossi, 137. 

Thorvaldsen, Bertel, 133; 
Baptismal Angel, 136; Re- 
lief of Morning, 136; of 
Night, 137; Statue of the 
Apostles, 136; of Byron, 



174 



INDEX 



136, 138; of Christ, 136; 
of Hebe, 136; of Jason, 
136; of Mercury, 136; of 
Venus, 136. 

Tomb of Charles the Bold, 
113; of Marie of Burgundy, 

IJ 3- 

Torregiano, Pietro, 78; Monu- 
ment of Henry VII, 78; of 
Margaret, Countess of Rich- 
mond, 78; Virgin and the 
Infant Saviour, 79. 

Vatican Gallery, 59. 

Veit, Stoss, 114; High Altar of 
the Frauenkirke at Cracow, 
114. 

Verrocchio, Andrea, 75; Boy 
with a Dolphin, 7 5 ; David, 
75; Equestrian Statue of 
Bartolommeo Colleoni, 75; 
Tomb of Piero and Giovanni 
de' Medici, 75. 

Vigarny, Filipede, 123; Monu- 
ment of Ferdinand and Isa- 
bella, 123. 

Vischer, Peter, 115; Statue 
of King Arthur, 116; of 
Theodoric the Great, 116; 
Shrine of St. Sebald, 115. 

Vittoria, Alessandro, 86; 
Monument of Pietro Ber- 



nardo, 86; Statue of St. 
John the Baptist, 86; of St. 
Zaccaria, 86. 

Waste-moulding, 17. 

Watson, M. L., 92; Group of 
Lords Eldon and Stowell, 
92; Sleep and Death carry- 
ing away the dead body of 
Sarpedon, 92. 

Watts, George Frederick, 97 
Bust of Clytie, 97, 102; 
Equestrian Statue of Hugh 
Lupus Grosvenor, 97; 
Energy, 97. 

Weekes, Henry, 94; Bust of 
Mulready, 94, 100; of 
Stothard, 94, 100; Mother 
and Child, 95; Naturalist, 
95; Sardanapalus,^; Statue 
of Flaxman, 100. 

Westmacott, Sir Richard, 94; 
Statue of Lord Erskine, 94 : 
of Nelson, 94. 

Wohlgemuth, Michael, 114. 

Wyatt, R. J., 94; Flora, 94; 
Musidora, 94 ; Nymphs, 94 ; 
Penelope, 94. 

Zarcillo, Francis, 125; Sculp- 
ture in the Ermita de Jesus, 
126. 



175 




CHISWICK PRESS: CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND co. 

TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON. 



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