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Full text of "The ministry of art"

THE MINISTRY OF ART 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

BY 

RALPH ADAMS CRAM 

LITT.D., F.A.I. A., F.R.G.S. 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 
dbe ftitoergibe preg 
1914 



COPYRIGHT, 1914, BY RALPH ADAMS CRAM 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

Published May 1914 



SANTA 



To 

HER GRACE ADELINE MARIE 
DUCHESS OF BEDFORD 



PREFACE 

IN bringing together for publication lectures 
and addresses delivered at different times, be- 
fore various audiences, and in places widely 
separated from each other, the question inevit- 
ably arises whether they shall be printed as they 
were given or, instead, wholly recast through 
the elimination of ideas and passages that are 
common to several or even all of them. To fol- 
low the latter course is almost impossible with- 
out total destruction of such chain of thought 
as may exist, and, therefore, it seems better to 
rest under the charge of indulging in vain repeti- 
tions than to lay one's self open to the opposite 
charge of incoherency of thought. 

After all, there is no longer the possibility of 
novelty in ideas, except where these are inde- 
fensible by any argument based on history and 
precedent : the fundamental laws spiritual, 
ethical, philosophical were long ago either 
revealed or determined, and the only excuse for 
their reiteration to-day is that so many of them 

vii 



PREFACE 

have been forgotten and overlaid by the detri- 
tus of loose thinking, it must fall to some to 
rescue them from their temporary (but curiously 
periodic) oblivion. In bringing them forward 
once more, the best one can hope to do is to 
clothe them in some new dress that, however 
defective it may be, shall yet serve to arouse 
interest and attract attention. 

So these fugitive papers must stand in their 
original estate, repetitions and all, on the chance 
that whatever things are in them worthy of 
attention (assuming such qualities to exist) 
shall at least be heard for their much speaking. 

So far as the title is concerned, if any explana- 
tion or justification is necessary other than what 
will, I trust, appear from the contents of the 
essays themselves, let me say that by the words 
"The Ministry of Art" I mean that function 
which I think art has performed, and always 
can perform, as an agency working toward the 
redemption of human character; and in this 
aspect (which is, of course, only one of several) 
it takes on something of that quality which 
characterizes the ministers of the Christian 
Church. 

viii 



PREFACE 

From the earliest times there have always 
been three major orders of this ministry, bish- 
ops, priests, and deacons, who at their several 
ordinations receive "Character" which is indel- 
ible, which may not be repeated, and which 
gives them, severally, certain definite author- 
ity, with power to administer certain sacra- 
ments. These are the major orders, but there 
are minor orders as well, as acolytes, exorcists, 
readers, who, without special sacramental 
power, are yet definitely "ministers " of religion. 

Now, as there are also seven major sacra- 
ments, which nevertheless do not in themselves 
take up and include all that sacramentalism 
which is, indeed, not only the most essential 
element in the Church, but also the very under- 
lying law of life itself, extending into the far- 
thest fringes of being, so the ministerial quality 
is not monopolized by the divinely established 
orders, but reaches out in weakening degree 
amongst many classes of men, whereby they 
themselves are, or may become, "ministers" 
in potency and in fact. 

And this I conceive to be the highest function 
of the artist and the art that is his agency of 

ix 



PREFACE 

operation. Not that I would for a moment 
make this an exclusive property; art has suffi- 
cient reason for existence in its quality as a crea- 
tor of simple, sensuous joy and refreshment; as 
a beneficent force expressing itself through - 
and absolutely restricted to pure beauty. As, 
however, each material thing in the universe 
has its sacramental quality, expressing a secret 
spiritual grace through an outward and visible 
form, from the crystalline snowflake that sym- 
bolizes the fancy of playful angels working 
under inexorable law, to the mind of man which 
is but the crude, material type of the very- 
Mind of God, so abstract art may do more than 
make life beautiful (at times), in that it can 
act symbolically, tropically, sacramentally, and 
so become the supreme means of expressing, 
and of inciting and exalting, those emotions 
which transcend experience and may not in any 
degree find voice through those channels of 
expression which are entirely adequate for the 
purposes of the intellect. 

In this aspect the master of art (the word 
"artist" has acquired a sickly connotation 
which almost rules it out of use in this connec- 

x 



PREFACE 

tion) wields a power of most astonishing mag- 
nitude, and he may, if he likes, become through 
his works one of the greatest agencies of right- 
eousness and light, and, conversely, he may too 
easily become the servant of damnation. That 
he has so often become the latter is less his own 
fault, perhaps, than that of society itself, which, 
when it periodically strikes its downward course, 
becomes actually poisonous, and very swiftly 
metamorphoses the best of arts and the most 
willing of artists into Circean beasts. If the 
master of art himself, and the world he would 
serve, were more clearly and persistently con- 
vinced of the great educational, expressive, and 
dynamic force of art as art and as a sacra- 
mental agency, it is even possible that, though 
they might not be avoided, the depths to 
which civilization periodically falls might not 
be so abysmal as history records, the crests 
more enduring and prolonged, the nodal points 
less closely set together. 

And now again, as the descending curve meets 
the ascending swell and we confront a crossing 
of tendencies with all this ever has implied of 
cross-currents and confusion, it is particularly 

xi 



PREFACE 

important that the higher aspects of art in all 
its forms should be brought to mind, while we 
call upon it to exercise its just and unique func- 
tions of expression and eduction. There is a 
new strength in all the arts, as always happens 
when the power that created them is losing 
force, and while this cannot possibly arrest the 
fall of one dynasty or the rise of the other, it 
has a great part to perform, if it wholly realizes 
itself, in giving expression to all that is worth 
preserving in an era so fast becoming history, 
and in bridging the inevitable chasm now open- 
ing between one definite epoch and the next. In 
the interregnum we may expect a general break- 
down of what we now consider a triumphant 
civilization, but the artist has the same part to 
play here that was so splendidly performed by 
the monasteries of the Dark Ages. In his work, 
whatever it may be, he must record and preserve 
all that was and is best in a shattered era, that 
this may be carried over into the next and play 
its new part, no longer of conservation but of 
re-creation. 

So, in a sense, the artist stands as a minister 
in minor orders, and so his life and acts take 

xii 



PREFACE 

hold of that sacramentalism that is the founda- 
tion of both the Church and the world: if he 
plays his part honestly and as one so charged 
with duties and privileges, he may see the art 
to which he is sworn become once more, not 
only a great recorder of true civilization, but the 
surety of its eventual restoration. 

RALPH ADAMS CRAM. 

WHITEHALL, 
SUDBURY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



CONTENTS 

I. ART THE REVEALER i 
II. THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE GOTHIC 

RESTORATION 19 

III. THE PLACE OF THE FINE ARTS IN PUBLIC 

EDUCATION 65 

IV. THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 103 
V. THE CRAFTSMAN AND THE ARCHITECT 141 

VI. AMERICAN UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 167 

VII. THE MINISTRY OF ART 213 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

I 

ART THE REVEALER 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 



ART THE REVEALER 1 

AFTER what fashion shall I, follower of art 
in a sense, speak on this debatable sub- 
ject, here at the inauguration of a great institu- 
tion of culture and learning, and before you, 
its earliest and forever most honoured guests, 
who personally and officially represent Church, 
State, and School, and here and now pay tribute 
to that great power whose duty it is to lead 
onward and forward every[child born of man, 
until, man at last, he is worthy to play his part 
in the life that opens before him of service and 
charity and righteousness and worship. 

I might speak of art historically, as the per- 
fect flowering of sequent epochs of civilization, 
as the evanescent record of man's power of 
great achievement, as a glory of history in 
Homer and Pheidias, in Virgil and Anthemius of 

1 Address at the inauguration of Rice Institute, Houston, 
Texas. 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

Tralles, in Ambrosian chant and Gregorian 
plain-song, in the Arthurian legends and the 
Nibelungenlied, in Adam of St. Victor and 
Dante, in Cimabue and Giotto and their great 
successors, in the cathedrals and abbeys of 
mediaevalism, in the sculptures of Pisa and 
Paris and Amiens, in Catholic ceremonial, in 
the glass of Chartres, the tapestries of Flanders, 
the metal-work of Spain, in the drama of Mar- 
lowe and Shakespeare, in the music of modern 
Germany, in the verse of the English Victori- 
ans. I might speak of art as an ornament and 
amenity of life, a splendid vesture covering 
the nakedness of society. I might speak of it 
in its economic aspect, or as the handmaid 
and exponent of religion. 

Art is so great a thing, so inalienably a heri- 
tage and a natural right of man, it has all these 
aspects, and more; but for the moment I nar- 
row myself to yet another consideration, the 
function of art as an essential element in edu- 
cation. 

The adjective may strike you strangely - 
"an essential element" not an accessory, an 
extension ; but I use it with intention, though to 

4 



ART THE REVEALER 

justify such use I must hasten to disavow any 
reference to the teaching of art as this now ob- 
tains either in art schools or under university 
faculties of fine arts. It is, I admit, hard to con- 
ceive such teaching as being of necessity an in- 
tegral part of any scheme of general education, 
however efficient it may be when viewed in 
the light of its own self-determined ends, and 
I should expect, from no source, endorsement 
of any argument for the universal necessity of 
an art education conceived on similar lines ; but 
I plead for a higher, or at least broader, type 
of such teaching, because I try to place myself 
amongst those who set a higher estimate on 
art, conceiving it to be not an applied science 
or a branch of industrial training, or yet an ex- 
treme refinement of culture study, but simply 
an indispensable means toward the achieve- 
ment of that which is the end and object of 
education, namely, the building of character. 

There were days, and I think they were very 
bad old days, when it was held that education 
should take no cognizance whatever of charac- 
ter, of the making of sane, sound, honourable 
men and women, but only of mental training 

5 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

and mental discipline. Then it was said with 
grave assurance that it was not the province of 
public education to deal with religion, ethics, 
or morals, except from a strictly historical and 
conscientiously non-sectarian standpoint, and 
that the place for the teaching of those things 
was the HOME spelled with very large capi- 
tals. After a while the compulsion of events 
forced a readjustment of judgments, and we 
became conscious of the fact that a combina- 
tion of influences amongst them our very 
schools themselves had resulted in the pro- 
duction of homes where neither religion nor 
ethics was taught at all, and where conscious 
character building was of the most superficial 
nature, while the concrete results were some- 
what perilous to society. Struck at last by the 
fact that our most dangerous criminal classes 
were made up of those who were thoroughly 
well educated, we were compelled, as Walt 
Whitman says, "to reexamine philosophies and 
religions/* and some of us came to the conclu- 
sion that if the schools were to save the day 
as they certainly must and certainly could a 
new vision was necessary, and that what they 

6 



ART THE REVEALER 

were set to do was the bending of all their en- 
ergies and powers toward character-building, 
toward the making, not of specialists, but of 
fine men and women, and good citizens. 

Under the old system the significance of art 
and the part it could play in' education were 
generally ignored ; it was treated either as an 
"extra," as a special study like Egyptology or 
Anglo-Saxon, and so regarded as the somewhat 
effeminate affectation of the dilettante, or as 
a "vocational course," ranking so with mining 
engineering, dentistry, and business science. 
So taught, it was, indeed, no essential element 
in general education, but if we are right in our 
new view of the province thereof it may be that 
our old estimate of art and its function and its 
significance needs as drastic a revision, and that 
out of this may come a new method for the 
teaching of art. 

What is it, then, this strange thing that has 
accompanied man's development through all 
history, always by his side, as faithful a servant 
and companion as the horse or the dog, as in- 
separable from him as religion itself? this baf- 
fling potentiality that has left us authentic his- 

7 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

torical records where written history is silent, 
and where tradition darkens its guiding light ? 
Is it simply a collection of crafts like hunting 
and husbandry, building and war ? Is it a pas- 
time, the industry of the idle, the amusement of 
the rich ? None of these, I venture to assert, but 
rather the visible record of all that is noblest in 
man, the enduring proof of the divine nature 
that is the breath of his nostrils. 

Henri Bergson says in speaking of what he 
calls inadequately, I think intuition : " It 
glimmers wherever a vital instinct is at stake. 
On our personality, on our liberty, on the place 
we occupy in the whole of nature, on our origin, 
and perhaps also on our destiny it throws a 
light, feeble and vacillating, but which never- 
theless pierces the darkness of the night in 
which the intellect leaves us." Here lies the 
province of art, where it has ever lain ; for in 
all its manifestations, whether as architecture, 
painting, sculpture, drama, poetry, or ritual, it 
is the only visible and concrete expression of 
this mystical power in man which is greater 
than physical force, greater than physical mind, 
whether with M. Bergson we call it intuition 

8 



ART THE REVEALER 

or with Christian philosophers we call it the 
immortal soul. 

And as the greatest of modern philosophers 
has curbed the intellectualism of the nineteenth 
century, setting metes and bounds to the prov- 
ince of the mind, so he indicates again the 
great spiritual domain into which man pene- 
trates by his divine nature, that domain re- 
vealed to Plato and Plotinus, to Hugh of 
St. Victor and St. Bernard and St. Thomas 
Aquinas. As Browning wrote, "A man's reach 
must exceed his grasp, or what is a heaven for," 
and so, as man himself, transcending the lim- 
itations of his intellect, reaches out from the 
world of phenomena to that of the noumenon, 
as he forsakes the accidents to lay hold on the 
substance, he finds to his wonder and amaze- 
ment the possibility of achievement, or at least 
of approximation, and simultaneously the over- 
whelming necessity for self-expression. He has 
entered into a consciousness that is above con- 
sciousness ; words and mental concepts fail, fall 
short, misrepresent, for again, as M. Bergson 
says, "The intellect is characterized by a nat- 
ural inability to comprehend life," and it is 

9 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

life itself he now sees face to face, not the iner- 
tia of material things, and it is here that art in 
all its varied forms enters in as a more mobile 
and adequate form of self-expression, since it 
is, in its highest estate, the symbolic expression 
of otherwise inexpressible ideas. 

Through art, then, we come to the revelation 
of the highest that man has achieved ; not in 
conduct, not in mentality, not in his contest 
with the forces of nature, but in the things that 
rank even higher than these in spiritual 
emancipation and an apprehension of the ab- 
solute, the unconditioned. The most perfect 
plexus of perfected arts the world has ever 
known was such a cathedral as Chartres, before 
its choir was defiled by the noxious horrors of 
the eighteenth century; when its gray walls 
were hung with storied tapestries, its dim vaults 
echoed to solemn Gregorians instead of operatic 
futilities, and the splendid and dramatic cere- 
monial of mediaeval Catholicism made visible 
the poignant religion of a Christian people. 
And in this amazing revelation of consummate 
art, music was more than "a concord of sweet 
sounds," painting and sculpture more than the 

10 



ART THE REVEALER 

counterfeit presentment of defective nature, 
architecture more than ingenious masonry. 
Through these, and all the other assembled 
arts, radiated, like the coloured fires through 
the jewelled windows, awe, wonder, and wor- 
ship, of men who had seen some faint adum- 
bration of the Beatific Vision, and who called 
aloud to their fellows, in the universal language 
of art, the glad tidings of great joy that, by art, 
man might achieve, and through art he might 
reveal. 

Now if art is, indeed, all this, and the 
proof lies clear in itself, then its place in lib- 
eral education becomes manifest and its claims 
incontestable. If education is the eduction of 
all that is best in man, the making possible the 
realization of all his potentialities, the building- 
up of personality through the dynamic force of 
the assembled achievements of the human race 
throughout history, and all toward the end of 
perfecting sane and righteous and honourable 
character, then must you make art, so under- 
stood and so taught, as integral a part of your 
curriculum as natural science, or mathematics, 
or biology. Not in dynastic mutations, not in 

II 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

the red records of war, not in economic vacilla- 
tions, or in mechanical achievements, lies the 
revelation of man in his highest and noblest 
estate, but in those spiritual adventures, those 
strivings after the unattainable, those emanci- 
pations of the human soul from the hindrance 
of the material form, which mark the highest 
points of his rise, presage his final victory, and 
are recorded and revealed in the art which is 
their voicing. 

The Venus of Melos, "Antigone," Ay a 
Sophia, Gregorian music, Latin hymnology, the 
" Divina Commedia," Giotto's Arena Chapel, 
Chartres, Westminster Abbey, "Hamlet," 
Goethe's "Faust," "Parsifal," "Abt Vogler" 
all great art, and as great art beyond price ; 
but greater, more significant by far as living in- 
dications of what man may be when he plays 
his full part in God's cosmogony. 

Where is art taught in this sense and to this 
end? I confess I do not know. Indeed, I find 
in many places laboratories of art industry 
where, after one fashion or another, ambitious 
youth and not always well advised is 
shown how to spread paint on canvas ; how to 

12 



ART THE REVEALER 

pat mud into some quaint resemblance to hu-^ 
man and zoological forms ; how to produce the 
voice in singing ; how to manipulate the fingers 
in uneven contest with ingenious musical instru- 
ments; how to assemble lines' and washes on 
Whatman paper so that an alien mason may 
translate them, with as little violence as possi- 
ble, into terms of brick and stone or plaster 
and papier mache. And I find names, dates, 
sequences of artists taught from textbooks, and 
sources and influences taught from fertile imag- 
inations, together with erudite schemes and 
plots of authorship and attribution ; but where 
shall we find the philosophy, the rationale of 
art, inculcated as an elemental portion of the 
history of man and of his civilization ? 

Categories, always categories; and we con- 
fuse them to our own undoing. There have been 
historians who have compiled histories with no 
knowledge of art and with scant reference to its 
existence; there have been artists who have 
taught art with no knowledge of history and 
with some degree of contempt for its preten- 
sions ; yet the two are one, and neither from 
an educational standpoint is intelligible with- 

13 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

out the other. It is through Homer and ^Eschy- 
lus that we understand Hellas; through Aya 
Sophia that we understand Byzantium ; through 
Gothic art that we know medievalism; through 
St. Peter's and Guido Reni that the goal of the 
Renaissance is revealed to us. And so, on the 
other hand, what, for example, is the art of the 
Middle Ages if we know nothing of the burgeon- 
ing life that burst into this splendid flowering ? 
What are the cathedral builders to us, and the 
myriad artists allied with them, when severed 
from monasticism, the Catholic revival, the 
crusades, feudalism, the guilds and communes, 
the sacramental philosophy of Hugh of St. 
Victor, and the scholastic philosophy of St. 
Thomas Aquinas ? We build our little categori- 
cal box-stalls and herd history in one, art in 
another, religion in a third, philosophy in a 
fourth, and so on, until we have built a laby- 
rinth of little cells, hermetically sealed and se- 
curely insulated, and then we wonder that our 
own civilization is of the same sort, and that 
over us hangs the threat of an ultimate burst- 
ing forth of imprisoned and antagonistic forces, 
with chaos and anarchy as the predicted end. 



ART THE REVEALER 

Again we approach one of those great mo- 
ments of readjustment when much that has 
been perishes, and much that was not, comes 
into being. For five centuries the tendencies 
set in motion by the Renaissance have had 
full sway, and as the great epoch of mediae- 
valism ended at last in a decadence that was 
inevitable, so is it with our era, called of En- 
lightenment, the essence of which was analysis 
as the essence of that was synthesis. As medi- 
aevalism was centripetal, so is modernism cen- 
trifugal, and disintegration follows on, faster 
and ever faster. Even now, however, the falling 
wave meets in its plunge and foam the rising 
wave that bears on its smooth and potent surge 
the promise and potency of a new epoch, nobler 
than the last, and again synthetic, creative, 
centripetal. 

No longer is it possible for us to sever being 
into its component parts and look for life in 
each moiety ; for us, and for our successors, the 
building-up of a new synthesis, the new vision 
of life as a whole, where no more are we in- 
terested in isolating religion, politics, educa- 
tion, industry, art, like so many curious fever 

IS 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

germs, but where once more we realize that 
the potency of each lies, not in its own dis- 
tinctive characteristics, but in the interplay 
of all. 

And with this vision we return to the con- 
sciousness that all great art is a light to lighten 
the darkness of mere activity, that at the same 
time it achieves and reveals. So, as art shows 
forth man's transfiguration, does it also serve 
as a gloss on his actions, revealing that 
which was hid, illuminating that which was 
obscure. 

So estimated and so inculcated, art becomes, 
not an accessory, but an essential, and as such 
it must be made an integral portion of every 
scheme of higher education. A college can well 
do without a school of architecture, or music, or 
painting, or drama, and the world will perhaps 
be none the poorer ; but it cannot do without 
the best of every art in its material form, and 
in the cultural influences it brings to bear upon 
those committed to its charge, nor can it play 
its full part in their training and the develop- 
ment of their character unless out of the his- 
tory of art it builds a philosophy of art that is 

16 



ART THE REVEALER 

not for the embellishment of the specialist but 
for all. 

"Man is the measure of all things," said Pro- 
tagoras, and with equal truth we can say: Art 
is the measure of man. 



II 

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE GOTHIC 
RESTORATION 



II 

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE GOTHIC 
RESTORATION 1 

THIS is a stimulating subject that you 
have set me; it may lead us far it has 
led me far, as you are destined to discover; for 
there is this about art and particularly archi- 
tecture, anyway, it refuses to stay in its neat 
little category of aesthetics, and branches out 
amazingly until it sends its roots deep down 
into the beginnings of things, its flower-tipped 
branches high up into the free air of prophecy. 
You may think it ought to be easy enough for 
me to give you a succinct account of the erratic 
growth of the new Gothic spirit in architecture, 
from the early nineteenth-century Pugins down 
to the latest neo-mediaevalist practising to-day ; 
easy enough for me to content myself with what 
is really a very interesting history (and task 
enough, too, for that matter), but if you do 
think this you little know the provocative na- 

1 Read before the Contemporary Club of Philadelphia. 
21 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

ture of the subject or the susceptible nature 
of your speaker. No, it is impossible to deal with 
the matter in a superficial way, for it is not a case 
of adventuring into a new wonderland of style 
from sheer ennui, for the sake of a new sensation : 
the inception and growth and culmination of the 
new Gothic mode is not a whimsey of chance, 
a sport of erratic fancy ; it was and is a manifest- 
ation in art forms of a world impulse, as fun- 
damental as that which gave itself visible form 
in the Renaissance, as that which blossomed 
in the first Gothic of the twelfth century, as 
that which created Aya Sophia or the Parthe- 
non. It meant something when it happened, it 
means something to us to-day, it will mean more 
to our children ; and deliberately I am going to 
disappoint you I fear by trying to show 
what this is, instead of telling you, and demon- 
strating to you in pictures, what our forbears 
have done, what some of us are trying to do 
to-day. 

I am convinced there is nothing accidental in 
our stylistic development, or in the universe, 
for that matter. There was once a very wise 
man who, on speaking of a miracle to a friend, 

22 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

and being confronted by the assertion that the 
event was not that but rather a coincidence, 
devoutly said that he thanked God he was not 
so superstitious as to believe in coincidences. 
So, chaotic and illogical as our devious wander- 
ings after the strange gods of style may be, I 
am disposed to think that even here we may 
find evidences of design, of a Providence that 
overrules all things for good; "an idea," as 
Chesterton would say, "not without humour." 
For chaos is the only word that one can justly 
apply to the quaint and inconsequent conceits 
in which we have indulged since that monu- 
mental moment in the early nineteenth century 
when, architecturally, all that had been since 
the beginning ceased, and that which had never 
been before, on land or sea, began. A walk up 
Fifth Avenue in New York, from Madison 
Square to the Park, with one's eyes open, is an 
experience of some surprises and equal illumi- 
nation, and it leaves an indelible impression 
of that primal chaos that is certainly without 
form, if it is not wholly void. Here one may see 
in a scant two miles (scant, but how replete 
with experiences !) treasure-trove of all peoples 

23 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

and all generations : Roman temples and Paris- 
ian shops; Gothic of sorts (and out of sorts) 
from the "carpenter-Gothic" of 1845, through 
Victorian of that ilk, to the most modern and 
competent recasting of ancient forms and re- 
stored ideals ; Venetian palaces and Louis Seize 
palaces, and Roman palaces, and more palaces 
from wherever palaces were ever built ; delicate 
little Georgian ghosts, shrinking in their un- 
premeditated contact with Babylonian sky- 
scrapers that poise their towering masses of 
plausible masonry on an unconvincing sub- 
structure of plate glass. And it is all contempo- 
rary, the oldest of it dates not back two 
generations, while it is all wildly and im- 
probably different. 

The experience prompts retrospection, and 
we turn over the dog-eared leaves of the imme- 
diate past ; apparently it was the same, only 
less so, back to the decade between 1820 and 
1830, and there we find a reasonably firm foot- 
hold. Here at last, at the beginning of the cen- 
tury, we discover actual unanimity, and with 
some relief we go back century after century, 
tracing variations, but discovering no precedent 

24 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

for the chaos we have left. From time to time, 
even to the first Olympiad, we suddenly find 
ourselves at some brief period where a fight is 
manifestly going on ; but there were never more 
than two parties to the contest, and this once 
passed, we have another four or five centuries 
of peaceful and unified development. Our own 
Colonial merges without a shock in English 
Georgian; this, through Inigo Jones, in the 
Renaissance of the Continent. A generation of 
warfare lands us in Flamboyant Gothic, and 
so to real Gothic that stretches back through 
logical vicissitudes to the twelfth century. 
Another upheaval, and in a moment we are 
with the Romanesque that touches Rome 
itself, and behind Rome lies Greece. No chaos 
here; definite and lawful development; infin- 
ite variety, infinite personality, and a vitality 
that demands a more illimitable word than 
"infinite." What happened, then, in 1825; 
what is happening now; what is going to hap- 
pen, and why ? 

We may try for an answer, but first we must 
lightly run over the well-thumbed leaves again. 

We all know what our own Colonial was like; 
25 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

perhaps we do not fully realize how varied it 
was as between one section and another, but 
at least we appreciate its simplicity and direct- 
ness, its honesty, its native refinement and 
delicacy, its frequent originality. It is not the 
same as English Georgian ; sometimes it is dis- 
tinctly better; and, however humble or collo- 
quial, it is marked always by extreme good 
taste. If anything it improved during the al- 
most two centuries of Colonial growth, and 
when the nineteenth century opened it was still 
instinct with life. A half-century later where 
were we? Remember 1850, and all that that 
date connotes of structural dishonesty, barbar- 
ism, and general ugliness ! Here is the debatable 
period, and we may narrow it, for in 1810, in 
1820, good work was still being done, while in 
1840, yes, in 1830, the sodden savagery diluted 
with shameless artifice was generally preva- 
lent. To me this decade between 1820 and 1830 
is one of the great moments in architectural 
history, for then the last flicker of instinctive 
art amongst men died away, and a new period 
came in. Such a thing had never happened 
before: it is true Rome never matched Greece 

26 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

in perfection of art ; the Dark Ages after her fall 
were dark, indeed ; the second Dark Ages after 
the death of Charlemagne were equally black, 
while the transition from Gothic to Renaissance 
was not without elements of disappointment, 
but at none of these transitional moments were 
people absolutely wrong-headed, never was the 
work of their hands positively shameless. Even 
now we put their poor products in our art 
museums, where they are not outfaced by the 
splendid monuments of the great and crescent 
epochs. In a word, what happened about 1825 
was anomalous ; it happened for the first time ; 
and for the first time whatever man tried to do 
in art was not only wrong, it was absolutely and 
unescapably bad. 

I should like to deal with this matter in 
detail, but we have no time. In a word, what 
had happened, it seems to me, was this : The 
Renaissance had struck a wrong note and 
in several things besides architecture ; for the 
first time man self-confidently set to work to 
invent and popularize a new and perfectly arti- 
ficial style. I am not concerned here with the 
question whether it was a good style or not ; the 

27 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

point is that it was done with malice afore- 
thought ; it was invented by a cabal of paint- 
ers, goldsmiths, scenic artists, and literary 
men, and railroaded through a stunned society 
that, busied with other matters, took what 
was offered it, abandoned its old native ways, 
and later, when time for thought offered, found 
it was too late to go back. Outside Italy there 
was as little desire for the new-fangled mode 
as there was for the doctrinal Reformation 
outside Germany. In France and England good 
taste still reigned supreme, and though the 
dogmatic iconoclasts took good care that the 
best of the old work should be destroyed and 
that suspicion should be cast on what from 
sheer exhaustion they allowed to remain ; 
though for one reason and another the new 
Classic style came in, the good taste of the 
people still remained operative, and while 
Italy and Germany were mired in Rococo and 
Baroque, they continued building lovely things 
that were good in spite of their artificial style, 
because their people had not lost their sense or 
their taste. 

It could not last, however: certain essential 
28 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

elements had been lost out of life during the 
Renaissance and the Reformation; the Revo- 
lution third act in the great melodrama 
was a foregone conclusion. It completed the 
working-out of the foreordained plot, and after 
it was over and the curtain had been rung 
down, whatever had been won, good taste had 
been lost, and remained only the memory of a 
thing that had been born with man's civiliza- 
tion and had accompanied it until that time. 

You cannot sever art from society ; you can- 
not make it grow in unfavourable soil, however 
zealously you may labour and lecture and sub- 
sidize. It follows from certain spiritual and 
social conditions, and without these it is a dead 
twig thrust in sand, and only a divine miracle 
can make such bloom, as blossomed the staff of 
St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury. 

Well, Alberti and Palladio and Inigo Jones 
had dissolved and disappeared in the slim re- 
finements of American Colonial. What fol- 
lowed ? For a brief time and in one or two cate- 
gories of activity the spacious and delusive 
imitations that Jefferson more or less popular- 
ized, the style sometimes known as "Neo- 

29 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

Grec," but more accurately termed because 
of its wide use for Protestant meeting-houses in 
country districts the "Graeco-Baptist" style. 
You know it ? Front porticoes of well-de- 
signed, four-foot Classical columns made of 
seven-eighths-inch pine stock, neatly nailed 
together, painted white, and echoing like a 
drum to the incautious kick of the heel; slab 
sides covered with clapboards, green blinds to 
the round-topped windows, and a little bit of a 
brick chimney sticking up at the stern where 
once, in happier days, stood the little cote that 
housed the Sanctus bell. 

Then came what is well called "Carpenter- 
Gothic," marked by the same high indifference 
to structural integrity, and with even less reli- 
ance on precedent for its architectural forms; 
a perfectly awful farrago of libelous details, 
pointed arches, clustered columns, buttresses, 
parapets, pinnacles, and all of the ever- 
present pine lumber painted gray, and usually 
sanded as a final refinement of verisimilitude. 
And with these wonderful monuments, cheek by 
jowl, Italian villas, very white and much bal- 
conied ; Swiss chalets, and every other imagin- 

30 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

able thing that the immortal Batty Langly, or 
later the admirable Mr. Downing, could invent, 
with, for evidence of sterling American inge- 
nuity, the "jig-saw-and-batten" refinement of 
crime. We really could not stand all this, you 
know, and when the Centennial in Philadelphia 
finally revealed us as, artistically speaking, the 
most savage of nations, we began to look about 
for means of amendment. We were not strik- 
ingly successful, as is evidenced by the so-called 
"Queen Anne" and "Eastlake" products of the 
morning after the celebration ; but the Ruskin- 
ian leaven was working, and a group of men did 
go to work to produce something that at least 
had some vestiges of thought behind it. There 
is much of this very strange product now at 
large; it is generally considered very awful, 
indeed, and so it is but it was the first 
sincere and enthusiastic work for generations, 
and demands a word of recognition. Its vivid 
ugliness is due to the fact that in the space of 
seventy-five years the last faintest flicker of 
sense of beauty had vanished from the Amer- 
ican citizen; its intensity of purpose bears 
witness to the sincerity of the men who did 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

it, and I for one would give them praise, not 
blame. 

We are approaching in our review an- 
other era in the development of our architec- 
ture. Let us gather up the many strands in 
preparation therefor. Here were the "wild and 
whirling words " of Hunt, Eidlitz, Furness ; here 
is the grave old Gothic of Upjohn's following, 
Renwick, Congdon, Haight, admirable, much 
of it, in little country churches; here is the 
Ruskinian fold, Cummings, Sturgis, Cabot, 
rather Bostonian, you will note; here was the 
old Classical tradition that had slipped very, 
very far from the standards of Thornton, Bui- 
finch, McComb, now flaring luridly in the ap- 
palling forms of Mullet's Government buildings, 
and the Philadelphia City Hall. Let us pursue 
the subject no further: there were others, but 
let them be nameless ; we have enough to indi- 
cate a condition of some complexity and a cer- 
tain lack of conviction, or even racial unity. 
Then the Event occurred, and its name was 
H. H. Richardson. The first great genius in 
American architecture, he rolled like an aes- 
thetic Juggernaut over the prostrate bodies of 

32 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

his peers and the public, and in ten years we did 
have substantial unity. We were like the vil- 
lage fireman who did n't care what colour they 
painted the old tub, so long as they painted her 
red : we did n't care what our architecture was 
so long as it was Romanesque. For another ten 
years we had a love-feast of cavernous arches, 
quarry-faced ashlar, cyclopean voussoirs and 
seaweed decorations; village schools, railway 
stations, cottages, all, all were of the sacro- 
sanct style of certain rather barbarous peoples 
in the south of France at the close of the Dark 
Ages. 

And in another ten years Richardson was 
dead, and his style, which had followed the 
course of empire to the prairies, and the alkali 
lands, and the lands beyond the Sierras ; and a 
few years ago I found some of it in Japan ! It 
was splendid, and it was compelling, as its dis- 
coverer handled it, but it was alien, artificial, 
and impossible, equally with the bad things it 
displaced. But it did displace them, and Rich- 
ardson will be remembered, not as the discov- 
erer of a new style, but as the man who made 
architecture a living art once more. 

33 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

Eighteen hundred and ninety, and we start 
again. Two tendencies are clear and explicit. 
A new and revivified Classic with McKim as its 
protagonist, and a new Gothic. The first splits 
up at once into three lines of development : pure 
Classic, Beaux Arts, and Colonial, each vital, 
brilliant, and beautiful in varying degrees. The 
second was ? and remains, more or less one, a 
taking-over of the late Gothic of England and 
prolonging it into new fields, sometimes into 
new beauties. So matters run on for another 
ten years. At the end of that time the pure 
Classic has won new laurels for its clean and 
scholarly beauty; the Beaux Arts following has 
abandoned much of its banality of French bad 
taste and has become better than the best con- 
temporary work in France; the neo-Colonial 
has developed into a living thing of exquisite 
charm, while the Gothic advance has been no 
less than that of its Classical rival or should 
I say, bedfellow ? 

And now two new elements enter ; steel-frame 
construction on the one hand, on the other, 
the secessionist. The steel frame is the enfant 
terrible of architecture, but like so many of the 

34 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

same genus it may grow up to be a serious- 
minded citizen and a good father. It is n't that 
now; it is a menace, not only to architecture, 
but to society, but it is young and it is having 
its fling. If we can make it realize that it is 
a new force, not a substitute, we shall do well. 
When it contents itself in its own proper sphere, 
and the municipality says kindly but firmly, 
"thus far and no farther," the "thus far" 
being about one hundred and twenty-five feet 
above street level, as in my own wise town of 
Boston, then it may be a good servant. Like 
all good servants it makes the worst possible 
master; and when it claims as its chiefest virtue 
that it enables us to reproduce the Baths of 
Caracalla, vaults and all, at half the price, or 
build a second Chartres Cathedral with no 
danger from thrusting arches, and with flying 
buttresses that may be content beautifully to 
exist, since they will have no other work to do, 
then it is time to call a halt. The foundation of 
good architecture is structural integrity, and it 
does not matter if a building is as beautiful as 
the Pennsylvania Station in New York; if its 
columns merely hide the working steel within, 

35 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

if its vast vaults are plaster on steel frame and 
expanded metal, then it is not architecture, it is 
scene-painting, and it takes its place with that 
other scene-painting of the late Renaissance 
to which we mistakenly apply the name of 
architecture. 

The secessionist one might sometimes call 
him Post-Impressionist, Cubist, even is the 
latest element to be introduced, and in some 
ways he is the most interesting. Unlike his 
confreres in Germany, Spain, and Scandinavia, 
he shows himself little except in minor domestic 
work for at heart we are a conservative race, 
whatever individuals may be, but here he is 
stimulating. His habitat seems to be Chicago 
and the Pacific Coast ; his governing conviction 
a strongly developed enmity to archaeological 
forms of any kind. Some of the little houses of 
the Middle West are striking, quite novel, and 
inordinately clever; some of the Far Western 
work, particularly around Pasadena, is exquis- 
ite, no less. Personally I don't believe it is 
possible wholly to sever one's self from the past 
and its forms of expression, and it certainly 
would be undesirable ; on the other hand, how- 

36 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

ever, the astute archaeology of some of our best 
modern work, whether Classic or Gothic, is 
stupefying and leads nowhere. Out of the inter- 
play of these two much of value may arise. 

And there you are : three kinds of Classic, two 
kinds of Gothic, skeleton-frame, and secession- 
ist, all are operative to-day ; each with its strong 
following, each, one admits, consummately 
clever and improving every day ; for there is no 
architectural retrogression in America ; there is 
steady and startling advance, not only in facil- 
ity for handling and developing styles, but in 
that far more important matter, recognition of 
the fact that styles matter far less than style. 
From a purely professional standpoint the most 
encouraging thing is that breadth of culture, 
that philosophical insight into the essence of 
things, that liberality of judgment that mark so 
many of the profession to-day. Gone are the 
old days of the "Battle of the Styles"; the 
swords are beaten into pruning-hooks, and these 
are being used very efficiently in clearing away 
the thicket of superstitions and prejudices that 
for so long choked the struggling flower of sound 
artistic development. The Goth and the Pagan 

37 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

can now meet safely in street or drawing-room 
without danger of acute disorder; even the 
structural engineer and the artist preserve the 
peace (in public) ; for all have found out that 
architecture is much bigger than its forms, that 
the fundamental laws are the same for all good 
styles, and that the things that count are struc- 
tural integrity, good taste, restraint, vision, and 
significance. No one now would claim with the 
clangour of trumpets that the day of victory 
was about to dawn for the Beaux Arts, Gothic, 
or steel-frame styles, or for any other, for that 
matter; each is contributing something to the 
mysterious alembic we are brewing, and all we 
hope is that out of it may come the Philoso- 
pher's Stone, that, touching base metal, shall 
turn it into refined gold which, by the way, 
is the proper function of architecture and of 
all the arts. 

Chaos then confronts us, in that there is no 
single architectural following, but legion ; and in 
that fact lies the honour of our art, for neither 
is society one, or even at one with itself. Ar- 
chitecture is nothing unless it is intimately 
expressive, and if utterly different things clam- 

38 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

our for voicing, different also must be their 
architectural manifestation. You cannot build 
a Roman Catholic or Episcopal church in the 
Beaux Arts vernacular (it has been done, but it 
is extremely silly); because the Church is the 
eternal and fundamentally immutable thing in 
a world of change and novelty and experiment, 
and it has to express this quality through the 
connotation of the forms it developed through a 
thousand years to voice the fulness of its genius 
that was developing simultaneously. Neither 
can you use the steel frame or reenforced con- 
crete to the same ends, though this very sordid 
wickedness has also been perpetrated, I have 
grounds for believing. On the other hand, 
think of using the consummate art of Chartres 
Cathedral for a railway terminal, or the Ste. 
Chapelle for a stock exchange, or Haddon Hall 
for an Atlantic City hotel, or the Ducal Palace 
in Venice for a department store, or the Erech- 
theion for a fire-engine house. The case has 
merely to be stated to be given leave to with- 
draw, and with it goes, for the time, the talk 
we once heard of an "American Style." Styles 
come from unity of impulse ; styles come from a 

39 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

just and universal estimate of comparative 
values ; styles come where there is the all-envel- 
oping influence and the vivid stimulus of a clear 
and explicit and compelling religious faith ; and 
these occur, not at the moment of wild confu- 
sion when one epoch of five centuries is yield- 
ing to another, but after the change in dynasty 
has been effected, and the new era has begun 
its ascending course. The only premeditated 
architecture I know, the only style that was 
deliberately devised and worked out according 
to preconceived ideas, the style of the 
Renaissance, was yet not half so artificial 
as it looks (and as some of us would like to 
think), for in a sense it was inevitable, granting 
the postulates of the humanists and the flimsy 
dogmas of the materialists of the fifteenth 
century. It did not develop insensibly and 
instinctively like Hellenic and Byzantine and 
Gothic and Chinese Buddhist art, the really 
great arts in history, but once the great 
parabola of mediaeval civilization curved down- 
ward to its end, once Constantinople fell, some- 
thing of the sort was not to be escaped. 
Now I do not feel that we shall be content 
40 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

with an art of the scope of that of the Renais- 
sance; I do not feel that we shall be content 
with a new epoch of civilization on Renaissance 
lines. There are better ways of life, and saner, 
and more wholesome, and after Constantinople 
has fallen again (God send the day quickly), so 
marking the end, as the other fall in 1453, five 
centuries ago, marked the beginning, of the 
epoch now nearing the moment of its dissolu- 
tion, I believe all the wonderful new forces, now 
working hiddenly, or revealing themselves spo- 
radically, will assemble to a new synthesis that 
will have issue in a great epoch of civilization as 
unified as ours is disunited, as centripetal as 
ours is centrifugal, as spiritually efficient as ours 
is materially efficient, and that then will come, 
and come naturally and insensibly, the inevit- 
able art that will be glorious and great, because 
it shows forth a national character, a national 
life that also is great and glorious. 

Reduced to its simplest terms, our architec- 
ture is seen to have had two epochs; the first 
the attempted conservation of a definite style 
which, whatever its genesis, had become an 
essential part of our racial character, and its 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

complete disappearance exactly at the time 
when the serious and conservative nature of the 
people of the United States gave place, with 
almost equal suddenness, to a new quality born 
partly of political independence, partly of new 
and stimulating natural conditions, partly of 
the back-wash from Continental revolution, and 
above all of the swift working-out, at last, of 
powers latent in the Renaissance-Reformation 
itself. Second, the confused activities of many 
men of many minds, who had cut loose from 
tradition become moribund, and who were in 
the position of the puppy sent by express, whose 
destination could not be determined because, as 
the expressman said, he "had eat his tag." 
Communal interests, the sense of solidarity 
inherited from the Middle Ages (which gives 
us the true pattern of the only possible social- 
ism) persisting in strange new forms even 
through the Renaissance epoch itself, had 
yielded to a crescent individualism, and archi- 
tecture, like a good art, followed close to heel. 

This is really all there is to our architectural 
history between Jamestown and Plymouth 
Rock at one end, and syndicalism and the 

42 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

Panama Exposition at the other, and I have 
used many words in saying what might have 
been expressed in a sentence. The old solidarity 
in life which expressed itself for four thousand 
years in a succession of quite distinct, but al- 
ways sequent, styles died out at last, and the 
new individualism of pigeonhole society and 
personal followings came in. What lies before 
us? More pigeonholes, more personal follow- 
ings, more individualism, with anarchy at the 
end ? I do not think so, but rather exactly the 
reverse. Architecture, I insist, is always expres- 
sive; sometimes it reveals metaphysical and 
biological truth, when in itself there is no truth 
whatever. If we built Independence Hall in 
Philadelphia there was something in us of the 
same nature, and we glory in the fact. If we 
built the City Hall in Philadelphia, there was 
something in us like that, arresting as the 
thought must be. If we are doing three Classics, 
and two Gothics, and steel-frame, and Post- 
Impressionism (not to mention the others) at 
the present moment, then that is because our 
nature is the same. Now, can we again prove 
the truth of the saying, "Ex pede Herculem," 

43 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

and, using our present output as the foot, (I ad- 
mit the connotation is of the centipede) , create 
the Hercules ? I mean can we, from what we are 
doing to-day, predict anything of the future? 
Not of our future style ; that will be what our 
society makes it; but of society itself? For my 
own part, I think we can. To me all that we are 
doing in architecture indicates the accuracy of 
the deduction we draw from myriad other mani- 
festations, that we are at the end of an epoch 
of materialism, rationalism, and intellectualism, 
and at the beginning of a wonderful new epoch, 
when once more we achieve a just estimate of 
comparative values; when material achieve- 
ment becomes the slave again, and no longer 
the slave-driver; when spiritual intuition drives 
mere intellect back into its proper and very cir- 
cumscribed sphere; and when religion, at the 
same time dogmatic, sacramental, and mystic, 
becomes, in the ancient and sounding phrase, 
"One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic," and as- 
sumes again its rightful place as the supreme 
element in life and thought, the golden chain 
on which are strung, and by which are bound 
together, the varied jewels of action. 

44 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

Everywhere, and at the very moment when 
our material activity and our material triumphs 
seem to threaten the high stars, appear the evi- 
dences that this wonderful thing is coming to 
pass, and architecture adds its modicum of 
proof. What else does it mean, that on every 
hand men now demand in art better things than 
ever before, and get them, from an ever increas- 
ing number of men, whether they are Pagans, 
Goths, or Vandals ? What is the meaning of the 
return to Gothic, not only in form, but "in 
spirit and in truth"? Is it that we are pleased 
with its forms and wearied of others? Not at 
all. It is simply this, that the Renaissance- 
Reformation-Revolution having run its course, 
and its epoch having reached its appointed 
term, we go back, deliberately, or instinctively, 
back, as life goes back, as history goes back, 
to restore something of the antecedent epoch, 
to win again something we had lost, to return to 
the fork in the roads, to gain again the old 
lamps we credulously bartered for new. Men 
laugh (or did ; I think they have given it over of 
late) at what they call the reactionary nature 
and the affectation of the Gothic restoration of 

45 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

the moment, and they would be right if it meant 
what they think it means. Its significance is 
higher than their estimate, higher than the con- 
scious impulses of those who are furthering the 
work, for back of it all lies the fact that what 
we need to-day in our society, in the State, in 
the Church, is precisely what we abandoned 
when, as one man, we arose to the cry of the 
leaders and abettors of the Renaissance. We 
lost much, but we gained much ; now the time 
has come for us to conserve all that we gained of 
good, slough off the rest, and then gather up 
once more the priceless heritage of medievalism, 
so long disregarded. 

And that is what the Gothic restoration 
means, a returning to other days not for the 
retrieving of pleasant but forgotten forms, but 
for the recovery of those impulses in life which 
made these forms inevitable. Do you think 
the Pugins in England in the early part of 
the nineteenth century chose to build Gothic 
churches because they liked the forms better 
than those of the current Classic then in its last 
estate ? Not at all, or at all events, not prima- 
rily ; but rather because they passionately loved 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

the old Catholic religion that voiced itself in 
these same churches they took as their models. 
And the same is true of those of us who build 
Gothic churches to-day : instinctively we revolt 
from the strange religion that, under Medici 
and Borgia, built the Rococo abominations of 
Italy, and equally from that other religion that 
found adequate self-expression in the barren 
meeting-houses of Puritan England and Amer- 
ica; and when again we try to restore to our 
colleges, as at Princeton and the University of 
Pennsylvania and Chicago and Bryn Mawr, 
something of the wonderful dynamic architec- 
ture of Oxford and Cambridge and Eton and 
Winchester, we do it far less because we like the 
style better than that or rather those of 
Columbia and Harvard and Yale, than because 
we are impelled to our course by an instinctive 
mental affiliation with the impulses behind the 
older art and with the cultural and educational 
principles for which they stand. 

I want to emphasize this point very fully : the 
Gothic restoration is neither a fad nor a case 
of stylistic predilections. Of course,~we like it 
better than any of the others to which we have 

47 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

any shadow of right, and we think it better art 
than anything the Renaissance ever produced ; 
but back of this is either a clear conviction or a 
dim instinct (one is as good as the other as an 
incentive) that the power that expressed itself 
through Gothic forms was a saner and more 
wholesome and altogether nobler thing than 
that which expressed itself through the art of 
the Renaissance and all that has succeeded it. 
In other words, the world is coming to realize 
something of the significances of art, and its 
import as human language, not spoken, for 
the audible tongue has its own function of ex- 
pressing mental concepts, but conveying its 
message symbolically, and to the imagination, 
the intuition if you like, to the soul. 

In a way it is all a part of a great revolution, 
or restoration, that is even now taking place, 
and is far more significant than many of the 
more conspicuous and loudly heralded trans- 
formations with which the century is rife, a 
revolution that was inevitable, that is part of 
the great rhythm of human life that is the 
underlying force of history. By some mysteri- 
ous law this vast vibration seems to divide itself 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

into epochs of about five centuries, during each 
of which a tendency initiated in the preceding 
period rises to the surface, submerges its pred- 
ecessor, lifts on an enormous swell, crests, 
and then in its turn breaks down and disap- 
pears, giving place to its successor whose 
inconspicuous beginnings have already been 
disclosed, though dimly. In this great rhythm 
there are, of course, periodical nodes which are 
the points where the ascending wave passes 
that which is descending, and these nodes come 
almost exactly at five-hundred-year intervals, 
before and following the Christian era. To 
speak only of what has been since that date, we 
find the years 450 to 550, 950 to 1050, and 1450 
to 1550 fraught with enormous significance and 
containing within their span those sudden and 
violent activities that spelled at the same time 
the death of one epoch, the birth of another. 
Similarly we may assume that at least from 
1950 on we, or our descendants, shall confront 
a revolution of the same nature, during which 
what we now call "modern civilization" 
(which may be dated roughly from the fall of 
Constantinople in 1453) will dissolve and disap- 

49 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

pear as completely as the Roman Empire van- 
ished at the first node after the birth of Christ, 
the Carolingian empire at the second, and 
medievalism at the third ; while what takes its 
place will be as radically different as happened 
in each of these historic instances. As I have 
said before, however, the antecedents of revo- 
lution and re-creation run far back of the node 
itself, and as at the cresting of mediaevalism we 
may find in Abelard and the Albigenses, and 
veiled even in scholasticism, the seed that was 
not to germinate for many generations, so now, 
although the great convulsion may be half a 
century away, we can, if we look, discover the 
leaven at work and from its manifestations 
make some estimate of what it will produce 
when it is in full operation. 

Now this leaven shows itself in many forms, 
and the revival of Gothic architecture is one of 
them. It is a wide fellowship, this of the proph- 
ets, the path-breakers : if, on the one hand, we 
find, as we should expect, close kin in all the 
arts, from the nineteenth-century Romanticists 
in literature and the Pre-Raphaelites and the 
artist-craftsmen of Morris's following, and 

50 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

Richard Wagner, down to the horde of lesser 
lights to-day in literature and painting and 
music who have broken away from the classical- 
agnostic type of the latter part of the last cen- 
tury and are returning to the Catholic Middle 
Ages for their inspiration and their models, so, 
on the other, do we find an infinity of move- 
ments of similar impulse but in far-sundered 
fields : socialism, for instance, which is a rather 
insecure and blundering revolt against the whole 
economic theory and material practice of the 
last epoch of history ; the monastic revival, one 
of the most significant and amazing episodes of 
the present day, ignored by the world, yet 
forging onward year after year with a vitality 
matched only in the seventh, the twelfth, and 
the seventeenth centuries ; radicalism in politics 
which, however stupid it may be in its passionate 
panaceas, is still a real mediaeval revolt against 
the impossible governmental system engendered 
in the centuries between the Renaissance and 
our own ; the new literature of spiritual dynam- 
ics with Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc at the 
head, battling gloriously against the paynim in 
the shape of Bennett, Wells, and their kind ; 

Si 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

the new-old religious propaganda of such men 
as Fr. Figgis, Fr. Waggett, the Abbot of Caldey, 
and Fr. McNabb, withering with its prophetic 
breath the plausible and ingenious heresies of a 
Campbell, a Canon Henson, and a Mrs. Eddy; 
finally, though there is much unnamed be- 
fore, the new philosophy, James, Eucken, 
Bergson, the last the greatest figure, perhaps, 
since St. Thomas Aquinas. 

A varied list, is it not? And much still re- 
mains unspecified ; but it all hangs together ; it is 
all part of a great movement; and the most 
interesting thing is the fact that it all happens 
synchronously with the very culmination of its 
antithesis, the thing it is destined to destroy, 
the apotheosis of that materialism that is the 
essence of the epoch now closing in triumphant 
glory, in war and anarchy, and in the despera- 
tion of unrevealed but inevitable defeat. 

And here is a point worth noting and that may 
be made useful. To-day we are surrounded by 
a very cyclone of reform : from the four winds 
of heaven we are battered and tempest-tossed 
by hurtling reforms that leave us no peace and 
it must be confessed afford us scant bene- 

52 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

fit. We seize them all, we are voracious for 
reforms, we accept them at their face value, and 
again to change the simile wolf them down 
like one o'clock. The result is usually unfortu- 
nate, for as a matter of fact all is not reform 
that revolutionizes. There are two kinds of 
reform, the first that is protective, preventive: 
reactions' engendered by a dying force to save 
itself, tangents springing from a falling curve 
and striving to arrest the inevitable descent; 
the second that engenders tangents that leap 
upward from the ascending curve, each one of 
which actually lifts the curve more lightly into 
the air. At this moment the descending and 
ascending curves cross, the tangential reactions 
are very much mixed, and no wonder helpless 
humanity is confused. But it all becomes clear 
if we can segregate them in their proper cate- 
gories. Half the so-called reforms of to-day, 
and those most loudly acclaimed and avidly 
accepted, are really no more than the desperate 
efforts of a dying force to prolong for an hour 
its pitiful existence, to postpone for a day its 
inevitable plunge into the sea of oblivion. On 
the other hand, the other half, who shall 

S3 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

estimate its vast significance, its illimitable 
dynamic force ? Under its varied forms lie the 
promise and potency of a new era, a new epoch 
of civilization ; and I honestly think the great 
question that confronts every man to-day, and 
that must be promptly answered is "On which 
wave are you riding?" If on that whose crest 
loomed in the immediate past, then you are 
riding down the swift glissade of dissolution 
and your day is nearly done ; if on that which 
only lately has risen out of the dark, then before 
you lifts an ascent that cannot be checked and 
whose cresting is perhaps two or three centuries 
ahead. And in choosing your wave, the isola- 
tion of reforms in the two categories I have 
named will be of assistance towards the deter- 
mination; for, once accomplished, you will see 
how many of those alluring panaceas that 
promise well are but the eloquence of a patent 
medicine circular, are but dregs and ashes, while 
things you had little noted, or noted with 
amused contempt, are actually those centres of 
vitality, of dynamic force, that are at the same 
time the guaranty of the termination of a dy- 
nasty become corrupt and festering, and of the 

54 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

initiation of another that shall be strong with 
new and crescent life. 

You see? I told you the word "Gothic" 
would lead me far: farther than you asked, or 
will like, or will agree to; but to some of us it 
is like an oriflamme, a standard set up by the 
king for the rallying of loyalty : the fiery cross 
of Constantine with its prophetic legend, " By 
this sign conquer!" Whether we know it or 
not, and some of us act by instinct rather 
than conviction, we are fighting the battles of 
a new civilization, which, like all true civiliza- 
tion, is also the old. And it is for this very rea- 
son that, unlike our forbears of the beginnings 
of the crusade, we cannot urge our Gothic as 
either a universal style, fitted for all conceiv- 
able purposes, or as a final thing which consists 
in the restoration and perpetuation of a mode 
of art sufficiently determined in the Middle 
Ages, as Greek, for example, was determined in 
the Hellenic epoch. Let me say a word on these 
two points. 

The argument one might almost say the 
passionate prayer fora "National Style" is 
based on an insufficient apprehension of the 

55 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

premises. A national style implies unity of 
civilization, such, for instance, as happened 
in the fourth century B.C., the fourth cen- 
tury A.D. in the Eastern Empire, or the thir- 
teenth century throughout Christian Europe: 
such a condition does not exist to-day is as 
far from existence as then it was near. This 
twentieth century is like a salad dressing : com- 
posed of two opposite ingredients which, nev- 
ertheless, assembled in unstable equilibrium, 
produce a most interesting and even useful 
condiment. On the one hand, we have all the 
amazing precedents of the last four centuries, 
from materialism, intellectualism, atheism, and 
democracy to "big business," syndicalism, and 
" Votes for Women " ; on the other, we have an 
inheritance from alien and far-distant times: 
the Home (as distinguished from the uptown 
flat), the School (when it has not surrendered to 
manual, vocational, and business training), and 
the Church, in its ancient aspect, untouched 
by rationalism, the social club idea, and emo- 
tional insanity. There are infinite ramifications 
of each branch, but the branches are distinct, 
and like a trunk grafted with apples and roses (I 

56 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

believe this may be done), the flowers are differ- 
ent, and the fruit. Now, as I have said before 
(and as my hour prolongs itself more strenuously 
maintain), art is expressive, the highest voicing 
of the highest things, and if it has two opposites 
to make manifest it must be true to each and 
express them in different ways. I do not know 
what may be the exact and perfect architec- 
tural expressions of Wall Street, yellow journal- 
ism, commercial colleges, the Structural Steel 
Union, Christian Science, and equal suffrage : I 
dare say they are, or may be made, as beautiful 
as Hellenic or Byzantine or Buddhist architec- 
ture ; but I am reasonably sure they are not like 
any of these, and I am firmly persuaded that 
they cannot be Gothic in any form. On the 
other hand, as I think I have said before, I am 
equally sure that a Christian home, a con- 
scientious and high-minded ( university, and 
the Catholic Faith are not to be put forward 
in the sight of men clothed in the Rococo rai- 
ment of a Medici-Borgia masquerade or the 
quaint habiliments of the Ecole des Beaux 
Arts. 

" Every man to his taste," and to each cate- 
57 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

gory of human activity its own stylistic expres- 
sion, for each has its own and nothing is gained 
by a confusion of categories. Because, we will 
say, the art of Imperial Rome best expresses 
the spirit and the function of a metropolitan 
railway station, it does not follow that it must 
also be used for the library of a great univer- 
sity; because the soul of the Ecole des Beaux 
Arts as made manifest through the apartment 
houses of the Boulevard Raspail, must also in- 
spire the material form of the town house of a 
"Captain of Industry," it need not inevitably 
perform the same function in the case of a 
cathedral ; because Gothic of some sort or other 
best reveals the lineage, the impulse, and the 
law of an Episcopal parish church, we are not 
compelled to postulate it for a stock exchange 
or a department store. In fact, the very reverse 
is true in all these instances, and those who are 
most zealous in urging the cause of Gothic for 
church and school and home are also most jeal- 
ous of its employment elsewhere ; for they know 
that only those elements in modern civilization 
which still retain something of the spirit that 
informed their immediate forbears -in the Mid- 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

die Ages have any right to the forms that spirit 
created for its own self-expression. 

And now, just a word as to these forms them- 
selves, lest you should think, as others have, 
that the Gothic restoration aims not only at 
universal sovereignty, but that it is content as 
well with the restoration as such, aiming to 
bring back in all its integrity both a dead 
civilization and its forms. Such an idea would 
be far from the facts ; it is true that at present 
those that are engaged in the Gothic restoration 
seldom diverge very far from historical methods 
and forms. Perhaps the late J. D. Sedding, and 
George Scott, architect for Liverpool Cathe- 
dral, and Leonard Stokes, sometime president 
of the Royal Institute, diverge farther in this 
direction; but even they venture but a little 
way into untrodden paths, while the great 
majority of practitioners, such as the late 
George Bodley in England, and Vaughan in 
America, adhere very closely, indeed, to what 
has been, adapting it rather than transforming 
it. This is not because there is anything sacro- 
sanct in these forms and methods, it is not be- 
cause, as individuals, the men I have named 

59 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

lack either inspiration or power of invention; 
it is simply because, in the first place, they know 
that man must not only destroy but restore 
before he can rebuild, and, in the second place, 
because they lack the great push behind them 
of a popular uprising, the incentive of a univer- 
sal demand, which alone can make individual- 
ism creative rather than destructive, dynamic 
rather than anarchical. This is a fact that is 
frequently forgotten in categories of activity 
other than those purely aesthetic, and if in 
economics, politics, and philosophy men would 
realize its truth, we should less often be threat- 
ened by plausible reforms that are actually 
deformatory in their character. However this 
may be, it is certainly so in architecture, and, 
therefore, we are content at present to restore ; 
for we know that by so doing not only do we 
regain a body of laws, precedents, and forms 
that are the only foundation for the superstruc- 
ture of which we dream, but also because 
through these very qualities we may, in a meas- 
ure, establish and make operative again, by 
analogy and suggestion, those stimuli that in 
time may react on society itself, transforming it 

60 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

into a new estate, when man will enter into the 
new spiritual life which will demand a creative 
and revealing art, such as that of the Middle 
Ages, and in accordance with law this demand 
will guarantee the supply. 

For art of all sorts is not only expressive, it is 
also creative : if it is in one sense the flower of a 
civilization, it is in another the fruit, and in its 
burgeoning lies also the promise of a new life 
after the winter of the declining curve is past 
and the new line begins its ascending course. 
Bad art for there is such, though it is a con- 
tradiction in terms works powerfully for bad 
living and bad thinking, while, on the other 
hand, good art is in its very nature regenera- 
tive and beneficent. It cannot save the age of 
which it is the flower from inevitable decay, 
but, even as the treasures of classical civiliza- 
tion were preserved in the monasteries of the 
Dark Ages until better days, so does it lie fal- 
low for generations only to rise again into the 
light for the inception of a new civilization. 

This, then, is the significance of the contem- 
porary Gothic restoration, and we who believe 
in it, who give it our most earnest support, do 

61 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

so less as artists than as missionaries, confident 
that if we can bring it back, even at first on the 
old lines, we shall have been working in the serv- 
ice of humanity. 

Shall we rest there ? Shall we restore a style, 
and a way of life, and a mode of thought ? Shall 
we re-create an amorphous medievalism and 
live listlessly in that fool's paradise ? On the con- 
trary. When a man finds himself confronting a 
narrow stream, with no bridge in sight, does he 
leap convulsively on the very brink and then 
project himself into space ? If he does he is very 
apt to fail of his immediate object, which is to 
get across. No; he retraces his steps, gains his 
running start, and clears the obstacle at a 
bound. This is what we architects are doing 
when we fall back on the great past for our 
inspiration ; this is what, specifically, the Goth- 
icists are particularly doing. We are getting our 
running start, we are retracing our steps to the 
great Christian Middle Ages, not that there we 
may remain, but that we may achieve an ade- 
quate point of departure; what follows must 
take care of itself. 

And, by your leave, in following this course 
62 



THE GOTHIC RESTORATION 

we are not alone, we have life with us; for at 
last life also is going backward, back to gather 
up the golden apples lost in the wild race for 
prizes of another sort, back for its running start, 
that it may clear the crevasse that startlingly 
has opened before it. Beyond this chasm lies a 
new field, and a fair field, and it is ours if we 
will. The night has darkened, but lightened 
toward dawn ; there is silver on the edges of the 
hills and promise of a new day, not only for 
architects, but for every man. 



Ill 

THE PLACE OF THE FINE ARTS IN 
PUBLIC EDUCATION 



Ill 

THE PLACE OF THE FINE ARTS IN 
PUBLIC EDUCATION l 

AS the strange madness we call the Renais- 
sance prevailed increasingly over Europe, 
blotting out the last faint flickerings of that 
artistic fire that had been a lamp to the feet 
of innumerable generations, and substituting 
therefor the pale ignis-fatuus of conscious and 
scholastic artifice, synchronously grew an origi- 
nal and hitherto unheard-of theory of the nature 
and function of the fine arts, carrying with it the 
novel and alien idea of concrete, specific, pre- 
meditated "art education." A new thing, in- 
deed, as though one should establish schools of 
gastronomy, lectureships on the art of sleep, 
academies of inhalation and exhalation. Novel, 
yes; but imperative both then and now, owing 
necessity, however, not to a more liberal and 
enlightened conception of art in itself, but 

1 Read at Commencement, Yale University School of 
Fine Arts. 

6 7 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

rather to the ominous and most unwholesome 
revolution that, in the tempest of change, had 
hurled from their enduring pedestals the proven 
laws of life, substituting in their place the 
brazen images of a dumb idolatry; robbing 
man of his divine birthright in beauty, the her- 
itage of ages unnumbered, the indelible mark 
and token of God in His world. 

When the great epoch of paganism crumbled 
and sunk into dust and ashes, tried and found 
wanting by the touchstone of divine revelation, 
St. Benedict was raised up for the founding of a 
new institution, based on the stern rejection of 
the dearest privileges of man, but, because of 
this very rejection and denial, competent to 
meet in the highest degree the desperate needs 
of a racked and shattered era. But for the 
monks in their hidden monasteries, the very 
seed of civilization would have perished from 
the earth; and so we may say with equal truth 
that, however false the new view of art, how- 
ever unwholesome the new idea of premeditated 
art education, but for these same schools of art, 
from the days of the Medici until now, the 
world would have lost that which was even of 

68 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

greater value than the Greek and Roman manu- 
scripts and the dim traditions of perished glory, 
that lay for centuries in monkish cloisters and 
in monkish hearts. 

But the pious conserving of shards and shreds 
is not all, and with the mediaeval monks in their 
first estate, we have sometimes been content 
with such conservation, forgetting that some- 
thing lies behind, and that, the inner meaning 
of the stores in our treasure-house ; their func- 
tion, their message, their significance. 

Nothing else, indeed, would have been pos- 
sible, for with the Renaissance came into the 
world a new theory of art: and this was that, 
instead of being what it is, the touchstone of 
civilization, it was simply an amenity of life, a 
conscious product, and a marketable commod- 
ity. This novel idea has persisted until to-day, 
and the result is that the real nature of art has 
remained forgotten, and in spite of the protests 
of the artist and of the teacher, we have per- 
sisted in regarding our art schools much as we 
do our "commercial colleges" and our schools 
of applied science; that is, as agencies' of special- 
ization maintained for the benefit of those who, 

69 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

by their mental temper, are biased in favour of 
architecture or painting or the industrial arts, 
on the one hand, or of bookkeeping, stenog- 
raphy, mechanical engineering, on the other. 
This is to miss the entire significance of art and 
to relegate it to a position where it is mean- 
ingless, impotent, dead. We study Greek and 
Latin, history, literature, philosophy, mathe- 
matics, not, primarily, that we may become 
specialists in the use of one or the other, at a 
given rate of pecuniary compensation, but that 
we may become cultivated men, and this should 
be our attitude toward the fine arts ; for the day 
is not far distant when the school of art will be, 
not an accessory or an adjunct to a university, 
as is the school of mines or the dental school, 
but as absolutely and intimately a part of its 
prescribed curriculum as the ancient languages 
or philosophy or letters. 

Art is, I repeat, neither an industry nor a 
product ; it is a mystery, a manifestation, and a 
result. Through it alone we come face to face 
with the spiritual output of the racial soul, 
through it is revealed all that endures in civili- 
zation. I claim for it, therefore, a coordinate 

70 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

position with all other branches of learning, as 
indispensable in a complete curriculum, since 
it is at the same time inerrant as a record of 
achievement, inspiring toward effective action 
to a degree unmatched in other categories, and 
finally, a great language for the voicing of the 
greatest things, a language for which there is no 
substitute, and he who is not learned therein, 
either in its active or its passive aspect, is to 
that extent ignorant, unlearned, uncultured. 

Art is the revelation of the human soul, not a 
by-product of industrialism. 

During the great period of Christian civiliza- 
tion, this truth was held universally; not con- 
sciously, of course, nor as the outcome of a 
scientific demonstration; the Christian centu- 
ries worked after another method. To the sane 
men of medievalism there were two categories 
of phenomena : axioms and mysteries ; and the 
frontiers of the two domains were fixed and 
final. Very fortunately for the future, the mys- 
teries were themselves held to be axiomatic, 
and so long as this was true a just balance ex- 
isted in life. It was not until the daimon of a 
haunting paganism rose from the tomb of a 

71 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

dead past, bringing the bright fruit of the tree 
of knowledge in its hands, and on its lips the 
words the serpent had said before, " Eat thereof, 
then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be 
as gods, knowing good and evil, " it was not 
until then, the fruit eaten, that man swelled in 
pride and said, " Behold, there is no mystery," 
and the victory of the Renaissance was accom- 
plished. 

As the nineteenth century takes its place in 
history, we obtain a certain effect of perspec- 
tive and we see how wholly it was meshed in 
that web of futility and error, "There is no 
mystery." Truly, to us of the new century it 
begins to seem that nothing else rightly exists. 
At all events, we realize that the things of 
worth and moment are the mysteries; the 
things of indifference the demonstrable facts. 
So medievalism held art ; a thing universal and 
inevitable; inseparable from life and bound up 
in the being of every man ; but a thing so potent, 
so sovereign, and in its effects so dispropor- 
tioned to its palpable means, that it became one 
with all the other inexplicable potencies a 
mystery. 

72 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

Now, it is a curious fact that when we come 
to understand a thing finally and explicitly, we 
are unable to use it to our spiritual advantage, 
or to the ultimate welfare of the race. Here lies 
the most serious stigma upon the last century, 
which was so given over to the inordinate man- 
ufacturing of the most exquisite and technically 
faultless theories, devices, and machines for 
the production of quite useless institutions and 
commodities. The phenomenon we accept but 
cannot comprehend ; the looming wonder that 
compels us but eludes hand and brain forever; 
this is the momentous thing, the driving 
impulse of all that splendid spiritual and in- 
tellectual activity that, through its immortal 
products, endures eternally as the ever-grow- 
ing heritage of man. Where knowledge ceases, 
mystery begins, and the better part of man 
never emerges from those cloud confines where 
amid the lightning and the tempest God is seen 
face to face ; that magical castle of cloud and 
mist across whose dim portals the rainbow 
writes, "Knowledge abandon, ye who enter 
here." 

This revelation of the eternal, impassable 
73 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

limitation of human knowledge, combined with 
that other which is its perfect compensation, 
the doctrine that all things are sacramental, 
possessing an "inward and spiritual grace" that 
is apprehended through the "outward and vis- 
ible sign," was and is the essential element in 
Christianity which made it victor over the pa- 
ganism that believed all things were possible 
to the human mind. So mediaevalism held, and 
holding brought into being St. Thomas Aquinas 
and St. Francis, Dante and Giotto and Fra 
Angelico ; the cathedral builders of France and 
the abbey builders of England. For the two es- 
sential truths in the world are religion and art, 
and these two are mysteries; rationalize them 
and they cease, for their motive power is gone. 
Of this rationalizing, of this Pandora's quest 
for the facts in the case, there was nothing, and, 
therefore, misled in no degree as to the sup- 
posed existence of a science either of religion or 
of art, mediaevalism raised both to the highest 
point yet attained by man. 

With the outbreak of the Renaissance came 
the catastrophe, for behind the recrudescent 
pagan forms, behind the cry of humanism and 

74 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

emancipation, lay the old pagan theory that to 
human reason all things are possible. Mystery 
was abolished by edict, and the " light of pure 
reason" took its place, though three centuries 
and more were necessary wholly to effect the 
substitution. Little by little the Renaissance 
modulated into the Reformation, and this in 
its turn merged in the Revolution. Each of 
these several aspects of one primary impulse 
played its own necessary part in the great 
breaking-up of the just and well-balanced order 
Christianity had brought into being. The Re- 
naissance of Borgia and Medici destroyed the 
whole system of natural morality and made for 
the moment the Church herself a stench to the 
nostrils and a scandal. The Protestantism of 
Luther and Calvin, frantic against the flagrant 
immorality raging like a pestilence around the 
very throne of St. Peter, turned, the ethical 
regeneration inaugurated, into a propaganda 
for the substitution, in place of the wonder and 
the mysticism of the Catholic Faith, of hard, 
mechanical, logical, and literal dogmas; easily 
framed in words, clearly demonstrable to the 
most cloudy mental faculties. Finally, the Rev- 

75 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

olution came to deny everything: Catholic, 
Renaissance, Protestant alike; law and order, 
obedience, honour, even the palpable decencies 
of life; one thing only it did not deny, the basic 
principle of the Renaissance, "There is no 
mystery." Then the Revolution passed like a 
paralyzing nightmare, leaving the field swept 
clear of all that Christianity had brought into 
existence, and since then we have been per- 
mitted year by year to watch the unshackled, 
untrammelled mind struggling to build a new 
heaven and a new earth over the ruins of the old. 
Now the reaction comes, and the gray dawn 
that glimmered fitfully through the storm 
wrack of the nineteenth century brightens to 
another day. The light falls on every domain 
of life, shining through the still buffeting 
storm; on industry, economics, philosophy, 
ethics, politics, education, letters, religion; but 
nowhere does it lie with a kindlier radiance than 
on the great domain of art. It is not alone that 
once more man clamours for beauty and its 
ministry, and men rise up to answer the demand 
in kind: beyond this lies the fact that the old 
dogmas no longer hold; and the question goes 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

forth, "What is art, what does it signify, what 
are the laws of its causation?" Everywhere 
men are searching the answer, poring over the 
art records of the past that the great cataclysm 
has left us, comparing them with the times that 
brought them forth, testing these times again 
by the spirit that led them, building up by slow 
degrees a new biology that is in very fact the 
science of civilization. 

In the process strange things are revealed; 
no longer bound by inherited prejudice, and 
not wholly in bondage now to the intellectual 
superstitions of the period of modern enlighten- 
ment, while acquiring a measure of Christian 
humility in the matter of the omnipotence of 
mentality, we go back to the original records, 
draw our own independent inferences, and, 
comparing these with long accepted authori- 
ties, discover that the deductions and conclu- 
sions that served for past generations satisfy us 
no longer. Are we right in thinking it all a sys- 
tem of specious special pleading, this mass of 
august testimony to the essential barbarism of 
Christian civilization and to the essential glory 
of the threefold epoch that took its place ? To 

77 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

such a new conclusion we tend beyond a doubt ; 
and while we still admit the great necessity of 
many post-mediaeval principles and motives, 
we are coming to believe that these developed 
through the Renaissance, the Reformation, and 
the Revolution, not by reason of them ; while 
each has left us, on the other hand, a heritage 
of evil to the extinction of which the present 
century is consecrated. 

It would be a facile task and fascinating to 
examine, one by one, the several categories of 
contemporary spiritual, mental, and physical 
activity, pointing out in each how the evil as- 
pects, that force themselves on us with such in- 
sistency to-day, hark back inevitably to one or 
the other of the three allied dominations that 
controlled the destinies of the world from the 
exile of the Popes at Avignon to the battle of 
Waterloo. It is sufficient for the moment for us 
to deal only with the question of the fine arts, 
since my object in speaking to you is to draw 
your attention to certain aspects of the question 
of the place the study of the philosophy and 
history of art should have in the scheme of 
liberal education. 

78 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

Before all else, however, we must disabuse 
our minds of that idea of the nature of art which 
has maintained itself so firmly during the last 
four centuries. Art is not a possibly desirable 
amenity of life, to be acquired as a gloss to a 
commercial and industrial supremacy; neither 
is it a series of highly specialized professions. 
Art is a result, not a product; and it is also a 
language. Given a certain degree of individual 
or racial or national civilization and the in- 
evitable reaction is art in the abstract. The 
demand for expression is instant and, under the 
same civilized conditions, the manifestation is 
immediate and instinctive, and this is art in 
the concrete. Art is, therefore, a language, but 
it deals with emotions, concepts, and impulses 
that cannot be expressed through any other 
medium known to man, because these emotions, 
concepts, and impulses are the highest, and 
therefore the most mysterious and tenuous, of 
which the soul has cognition. "There is a phys- 
ical body and a spiritual body"; and so also 
there is a physical mind and a spiritual mind. 
The former deals with all that lies between the 
cradle and the grave, the latter with the treas- 

79 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

ured consciousness of the innumerable aeons 
of life that preceded this little hour of earthly 
habitation, and with the innumerable aeons 
that shall succeed. Natural science is the con- 
crete manifestation of the first, religion of the 
second, and art in all its forms is the perfect 
manifestation of this spiritual mind, as the 
written and spoken language is the voicing of 
the physical mind until, indeed, it takes upon 
itself symbolical quality, when it becomes one 
with the fine arts and consecrated to other serv- 
ice. 

Art, then, is language and its mode is symbol- 
ism, and the thing that lies behind is the es- 
sential man in his highest estate. 

As we became more and more ignorant of the 
very meaning of the word, we, as children of 
the Renaissance, slowly and arduously evolved 
the nineteenth-century theory of art which, even 
more than the Renaissance and the Reforma- 
tion, was instrumental in stamping out the last 
smouldering embers of the thing itself. Where 
once art had been as natural and inevitable an 
attribute of man as religion or love or war or 
children, it now found itself an exotic, an ap- 

80 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

panage of the elect few, a thing too tenuous and 
aloof for common humanity. Such a theory 
as this means simply the extinction of art, 
which cannot live in the thin air of Brahmini- 
cal exclusiveness ; it is the exact, the instant, 
and the complete language of man in his spirit- 
ual experiences ; and while to only one in a thou- 
sand is it given now, or ever was given, to 
become a creative artist, behind such a one lies 
the clamouring world of men, and it is this that 
manifests itself through his art, not his own 
solitary soul. If, like Phidias, Sophocles, Dante, 
Giotto, Shakespeare, Wagner, Browning, he is 
a true and faithful interpreter of the best, the 
race answers instantly, unless it has lost or 
stultified this sixth and highest sense, as has 
happened in history only in modern times. To 
bring back this marvellous gift of God to a 
hungry generation, to win again the old lamps 
foolishly bartered for new, the old lamps 
that, at a touch, brought genii and afrits and 
all the magical spirits of fire and air to the serv- 
ice of the summoner, this is the task before 
us. And the labour is not, as the amateurs and 
savants and literati of the Renaissance, or the 

81 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

aesthetes of the nineteenth-century decadence 
would have held, because it is a polite accom- 
plishment and a facile means of class distinc- 
tion, but because it is the immutable mark of 
civilization, the infallible touchstone of human 
achievement. Art means civilization, the lack 
of it barbarism, and year by year, in spite of 
splendid sporadic manifestations, this lack has 
become ever more and more marked since the 
middle of the fourteenth century, when the old 
lamps were sold for the new. 

Now, it is quite clear that to endeavour to 
foster the passion for beauty and the instinct for 
art, by the deliberate and scientific methods 
that have held for some five centuries, is to con- 
tinue our self-indulgence in the vain repetition 
of history. By taking thought we cannot add 
one cubit to our stature, devise a new religion 
(though of late some have thought otherwise), 
or re-create art. We can do many things, but 
none of these. Art is the result of certain condi- 
tions: bring these into being, and you cannot 
escape great art ; eliminate them, and no power 
on earth can make art live. For five centuries we 
have been bending all our energies toward the 

82 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

extinction of these conditions, and the success 
that has followed has been very considerable. 
If we desire a vital art we must reverse our pol- 
icy. Art cannot exist side by side with atheism, 
agnosticism, or infidelity; it is impossible in 
conjunction with our contemporary conception 
of what constitutes democracy : it dies before 
defiance of law and order and denial of the 
principle of subservience to authority; before 
the individualism of the nineteenth century 
and contemporary standards of caste; it is 
trampled to death in the economic and indus- 
trial Armageddon that surges over the stricken 
field of contemporary life. In a word, the evils 
of the Renaissance-Reformation-Revolution, 
which for the moment are somewhat more con- 
spicuous in their activity than the virtues, are 
the negation of art-producing conditions. 

We may put to one side the thought of a con- 
scious propaganda for the restoration of art, 
devoting ourselves to the achievement of art- 
producing conditions, the solving of the re- 
ligious, governmental, economic, industrial, and 
social problems that confront us, like the solid 
ranks of a conquering army. If we solve 

83 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

them aright, art follows as the guerdon of 
victory. 

And here emerges from the mist of theory the 
new doctrine of the importance of the fine arts 
in every scheme of liberal education. I am not 
speaking now of the creative artist or of the 
manner of his education ; indeed, I am not sure 
that to him education is a necessity, or that by 
such methods can he be created. He will occur, 
however unfavourable the conditions or incle- 
ment and forbidding the time. The question 
before us is the place of the fine arts in general 
education, in their function as contributors to 
the making of a well-founded man. Now, in 
the process of development, we have reached a 
point where we no longer sound the tocsin, 
plant the standard of battle, build barricades 
in city streets, and go forth killing and, if it 
may be, to conquer. We have another way, we 
teach ; substituting education for coercion, and 
until the event dethrones our theory, we shall 
believe the way a better one, and that by our 
schools and colleges and universities we shall 
build such character as will restore those just 
and wholesome conditions that will express 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

themselves through that great paean of joy and 
exultation and worship we call art. 

There are certain schemes of education that 
tend inevitably to this end; there are others 
that work as inevitably against it. Art-pro- 
ducing civilization is engendered by educational 
systems that are conceived on the lines of eter- 
nal truth, not on those of time-serving expedi- 
ency. During the nineteenth century a new 
theory came into vogue, the theory, novel and 
without recognizable ancestry, that the object 
of education is the breeding of specialists, 
whether they be dental surgeons or bacteriolo- 
gists, bankers, or veterinarians ; and that, to this 
end, everything not conspicuously contributory 
to intensified specialization should be elimin- 
ated ; that the years given to education should 
be shortened, and again shortened, in order that 
a man might the sooner hurl himself into the 
struggle for life. From this point of view every- 
thing not obviously practical was discredited : 
Latin and Greek became matters of indifference 
when 'an electrician or a financier was in the 
making; the history of civilization, the develop- 
ment of organized religion, comparative litera- 

85 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

ture, philosophy, were eliminated from the edu- 
cation of the architect and the engineer. That 
the result was a great body of men of unbal- 
anced intellect and very flimsy culture is, I 
think, a statement that may be defended, and 
the present century, even in its extreme youth, 
gives evidence of a radical revolt from the once 
popular standards of its predecessor. A new 
principle has come, or rather an old princi- 
ple has been restored ; and we confront the def- 
inite dogma that specialization is almost wholly 
a matter for post-graduate education, while 
the object of the school and the college and 
the university is above all else the develop- 
ment of gentlemen of well-rounded personali- 
ties, who, grounded and fixed in all that pertains 
to general culture, rendered conversant with all 
the civilization of the past and its monuments, 
trained and disciplined in all that pertains to 
intellectual and spiritual experience, may be 
prepared for entering at a later time into that 
course of specialization which is imperative 
and inevitable. 

Professor William James has of late shown 
very clearly the questionable results, in the do- 

86 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

main of pure science, of a system of education 
too highly specialized and too contemptuous of 
other fields of mental and spiritual activity; 
and already a movement has begun amongst 
architects and engineers two of the most 
highly specialized of professions in favour 
of a scheme of training which shall extend over 
a far longer term of years and be devoted, for 
the major part of this period, to the assimila- 
tion of those elements of pure culture which ap- 
parently, and in the nineteenth-century view, 
have no direct bearing on the case, but tend 
only toward the goal of general cultivation. 

The old system of electives, specialization, 
and short-term training has brought us to a de- 
batable pass; our civilization is menaced by 
strange and ominous tendencies and impulses; 
if we are to stem the tide of crescent barbarism, 
which in spite of our vast and penetrating edu- 
cational organism has risen up against us, we 
must follow, not the nineteenth but the twen- 
tieth century in its educational tendencies. 
And so following, we shall find that it is not a 
question of conservation that confronts us, but 
of extension, of the acceptance of new or long- 

87 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

forgotten agencies toward the development of 
pure culture, and of these none quite stands on 
the level of the history and theory and phil- 
osophy of the fine arts. Abandoning forever 
the idea of the arts as a product, and accepting 
them as a manifestation, we shall soon realize 
that without a full familiarity with their history 
and of the philosophy of their being, liberal 
education is an impossibility. These things can 
no more be omitted from the education of the 
prospective merchant and financier and scien- 
tist than from that of the professional educa- 
tor; for they are the basis of culture, and with- 
out culture we are barbarians, however much 
the balance of trade may be in our favour at 
the end of any given fiscal year. 

And of all these great educational agencies 
I place at the head, art, in its history, its philos- 
ophy, its practice ; for it is the summing-up of 
all that goes before : the true history of the true 
man ; and its records are infinitely more reliable 
and significant than are those chronicles that 
concern themselves with the unimportant de- 
tails of the rise and fall of dynasties, the fabri- 
cation and annulment of laws, the doings and 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

death of kings. The Middle Ages are inex- 
plicable unless you read their revelation in 
Chartres and Amiens and Paris and Westmin- 
ster and Wells, and in the shattered vestiges of 
monastic glory that cast their wistful glamour 
over the English counties while they blot a 
nation's history with the enduring annals of 
a stupendous crime. The Renaissance is an 
impossible interlude of horror, dissociated 
from the splendid vesture the painters and 
sculptors and poets wrought out of the inheri- 
tance of medievalism to clothe its pagan naked- 
ness. And why? Simply because through art 
alone has been expressed those qualities which 
reach above the earth-circle, those things 
which are the essential elements of the race and 
time. 

For art is the voicing of the oversoul, the 
manifestation of the superman, and through art 
alone can we read of essential things. Monasti- 
cism, the crusades, feudalism, chivalry are to us 
matters aloof and incredible, but they brought 
into being an art that rises even higher than the 
art of Greece ; and through study of this art we 
are able to see into the soul of the time-spirit 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

that created it, and, so seeing, we are no longer 
able to call the great institutions of mediaeval- 
ism barbarous and darkened, for their real na- 
ture is revealed, and we know them for what 
they were, foundation stones of civilization. 

For many generations we have been taught 
to look on the Dark Ages, mediaevalism, the 
Renaissance, the Reformation, the Revolution, 
from certain definite standpoints. We have been 
led to believe that with the climax of the Middle 
Ages, the great epoch associated with the names 
of Greece and Rome, which had slowly crumbled 
after Rome herself had received her deathblow 
at the hands of Northern barbarians, had, in its 
long-continued degeneration, reached at last its 
pit of final fall, whence it has been steadily 
emerging by virtue of the impulse imparted by 
the Renaissance, established by the Reforma- 
tion, and guaranteed by the Revolution, until 
at last it has mounted to the dizzy height where 
now it stands poised for further flight. Now this 
theory, so simple, so cheerful and gratifying, is 
challenged ; men are not wanting to declare the 
Middle Ages to be one of the starlike points of 
man's achievement, the Renaissance but the 

90 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

first aspect of a great catastrophe that was to 
overwhelm Christian civilization in ruin. Now, 
even if this theory is extreme and but the 
natural revulsion of feeling sequent on the sud- 
den discovery of a false path followed too long, 
it is still true that the present estimate of the 
Renaissance is quite as different from the old as 
is the new view of medievalism. For this radi- 
cal and most salutary change we are indebted 
in a great degree to the rediscovery of the 
fine arts that occurred in the last century, and 
to the resulting conviction that through them 
we might scrutinize the history of the times 
that employed them, to our own advantage 
and to the extreme benefit of our historical per- 
spective. Already through our study of mediae- 
val art we have come to learn something of 
what medievalism really was, and now we are 
applying the same test to the Renaissance; 
though with a difference, for here we have for- 
given Alexander VI and Leo X, Torquemada 
and Machiavelli, for the sake of Leonardo, 
Botticelli, Donatello, and Mino da Fiesole, 
whereas, when we come to study the philos- 
ophy of the art of the Renaissance, we find that 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

the major part of it was, not the fruit of the 
" Revival of Learning/* but in simple fact the 
very flowering of medievalism ; acquiring little 
from the Renaissance beyond certain accidents 
of form, the soul remaining mediaeval still. 
Shorn of the great names of the cinquecento, 
and with little left of artistic glory save the 
transitionals (Michelangelo, Raphael, Cellini), 
the Renaissance seems gaunt enough, for its 
true artistic expression appears in such doleful 
form as Guido, the Caracci, Salvator Rosa, and 
the so-called "architects" of Roman grandi- 
osity. Here are two examples of the radical 
change in our view of comparative civilization 
that has been effected through the study and 
appreciation of art; and if a third is needed, 
witness Japan, where, through art apprecia- 
tion, our eyes became opened to the existence of 
a great and wonderful civilization unparallelled, 
almost, in its intensity and its enduring nature. 
But it is not only as the test of history, the 
measure of comparative civilization, that the 
study and appreciation of art in all its forms is 
of inestimable value. Above all this, it is the 
touchstone of life, the prover of standards, the 

92 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

director of choice. Accepted, assimilated, it 
becomes one of the great builders of character, 
linked indissolubly with religion and philosophy 
toward the final goal of right feeling, right think- 
ing, and right conduct. The false principles of 
the sixteeeth century, the savage hatred of 
the seventeenth, the chaos and violence on the 
one hand and the empty formalism on the other, 
of the eighteenth, the materialism and the men- 
tal self-satisfaction of the nineteenth century, 
all worked together to crush out of humanity 
this greatest gift of God ; but the revulsion has 
come, the fruit of the tree of knowledge has 
been eaten and it is very bitter, and once more 
men rise up to proclaim the existence and the 
glory of the unsolvable mysteries, and to de- 
mand again their heritage in beauty and art. 

For from the beginning of things beauty has 
been the last resort of man when he has risen 
above his earthly limitations and has laid hold 
on immortality. In Eastern philosophy we read 
of karma, that essential thing that persists 
through death and beyond dissolution, linking 
life to life in an endless sequence of change and 
evolution; and whether, with the East, we be- 

93 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

lieve this golden chain to be woven of myriads 
of sequent lives that are yet one, or whether, with 
the West, we hold it to be but the persisting 
inheritance from equal myriads of ancestors, 
the thing itself we accept, and art, itself a sacra- 
ment, shows through the outward and visible 
sign, which is beauty, the inward and spiritual 
grace that is built up of sequent lives and com- 
bined experiences. 

Beauty is a mystery, for it is a great symbol. 
Why, we do not know, but the fact is there. 
Out of the accumulated approximations to 
infinity that have marked ten thousand thou- 
sand forgotten lives, we have reared a Great 
Approximation, which may be called the Inti- 
mation of the Absolute, and beauty is the mode 
of its manifestation, art the concrete expres- 
sion thereof. Regarded in this light and not as a 
group of specialized activities, we see at once how 
absolutely it becomes a part of a liberal educa- 
tion, perhaps even the highest part. In them- 
selves the facts of date and method and au- 
thorship are secondary and unimportant when 
we study the cathedrals of France, the abbeys 
of England, the sculpture of Greece and that 

94 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

of thirteenth-century Europe and of Fuji- 
wara Japan, the Gregorian music of Italy and 
the nineteenth-century music of Germany, the 
painting of the Italian cinquecento, and of the 
Hangchou epoch in China and the Ashikaga 
period in Japan. These are but the documents 
in the case, the data furnished us by genera- 
tions unnumbered; and through them, by 
the processes of pure philosophy, we may lay 
hold of that which we cannot acquire through 
any other means whatever the spiritual ex- 
periences and the spiritual achievements of 
dead civilizations. 

And this is history, its acquisition and assimi- 
lation, culture. Dynastic facts, material pro- 
ducts, the historical kaleidoscope of changing 
laws and customs, ecclesiastical councils, fluc- 
tuant heresies and defiant counter-reformations, 
what are these but the dry bones religion 
and art make beautiful and alive? The art of 
a time is the touchstone of its efficiency and by 
that art shall it be judged. And more: through 
study of the philosophy of beauty and through 
a recognition of what art signifies of any race 
or time, we shall come to that revision of stand- 

95 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

ards which is the inevitable precursor of a new 
epoch of civilization. Neither socialism nor 
public-school education, secularism nor ethical 
culture, free silver nor the strenuous life, can 
serve as antidote to the ills that confront us; 
but only that fundamental revision of standards 
that will show us the true inwardness of the 
trust and the labour union, the professional 
politician and the grafter, the money test of 
social distinctions, and contemporary news- 
paper journalism. By acceptance of the artis- 
tic tests, and by proficiency in that philosophy 
of art which makes the application of these tests 
possible, we are put in possession of a kind of 
universal solvent, a final common denominator, 
and before our eyes the baffling chaos of chron- 
icles, records, and historic facts opens out into 
order and simplicity; for the facts in the case 
prove only what was done, the art testimony 
reveals what was thought and felt and imagined 
in other words, why the things were done. 

And so we return to our original proposition : 
the statement that the Renaissance brought 
into being a theory of art categorically false 
and inevitably destructive of that which it 

96 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

strove to patronize. To do this, to foist this 
profound and far-reaching heresy on the world, 
it had first to destroy the sound and lucid view 
of art that had been inherited from paganism 
by Christianity and maintained intact until the 
fifteenth century. The time has come at last 
for a return to the ancient ideals, for the falsity 
of the substitute has proved itself; and to effect 
this end the first thing we have to do is to admit 
that beauty is one of the sacraments in a uni- 
verse wholly and absolutely sacramental in its 
nature; the second is to realize that this same 
sacrament of beauty is the symbolical expres- 
sion of the experiences and the achievements of 
the human soul ; and the third is to reject the 
Renaissance idea that art is an affair of caste 
as already we have rejected the Protestant idea 
that it is a snare of the devil, recognizing it, as 
in truth it is, the evidence of true civilization 
and its only unerring record. 

Then follows the new building-up ; the study 
and formulating of the philosophy of art as a 
result, a manifestation, and a language. And 
in the process greater things will follow than a 
revision of our historical estimates, than a new 

97 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

vision of the essential things in human life. 
We shall, I believe, change our attitude toward 
the great thousand years of Christian domina- 
tion, toward the Renaissance and the several 
modifications thereof which we know beneath 
a different nomenclature. It is conceivable, 
also, that our estimate of the nineteenth cen- 
tury itself may be modified in certain particu- 
lars ; but, however desirable these changes may 
be, and to me it seems that their importance 
can hardly be estimated in words, there is yet 
another thing that will follow, of importance 
paramount and inestimable, and that is the 
great revision of standards, the reestablishing 
of that proper sense of proportion that alone 
can guarantee the continuation and the onward 
development of civilization itself. 

It has been sometimes said, though without 
a deep sense of conviction, and certainly with- 
out enthusiastic response on the part of the 
general public, that whatever we have gained 
through our great eras of the dominion of in- 
dustrialism and of natural science has been at 
the expense of a sense of proportion. To me 
this seems axiomatic, despite its unpopularity. 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

Scrutinize closely the standards that reveal 
themselves through contemporary journalism, 
Pennsylvania politics, San Francisco graft, the 
Cceur d'Alene affair, the life insurance and rail- 
road and trust investigations, the present pro- 
tective tariff, the congressional attitude toward 
pensions, river and harbour improvements, and 
colonial import duties, the divorce epidemic, 
Dowieism, Eddyism, Sanfordism ; and, contrast- 
ing these, as they reveal themselves, with the 
standards of the monasticism of the Dark Ages, 
the crusades and the chivalry of medievalism, 
answer whether or no "lack of sense of propor- 
tion " is not the gentlest term that may be ap- 
plied to the contemporary spirit of the world. 
I began by saying that to me the inalienable 
rights of man were religion, art, and joyful 
labour. We have rejected the first, destroyed 
the latter, and I am willing to defend the thesis 
that our action in these directions is primarily 
responsible for the disappearance of the third 
from life as we know it. How are we to regain 
our birthright; how reestablish once more the 
consciousness of the impassable barrier between 
the knowable and the unknowable; restore 

99 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

again acceptance of the eternal truth that the 
seen is but the pale type of the unseen ; over- 
throw the great heresy, "There is no mystery" ? 
how rebuild that essential sense of proportion 
and of relative values, how effect that revision 
of standards that must precede a new epoch of 
civilization? History gives record of but two 
methods that have been effective in the past; 
the vast religious revolution and the purging 
fire of national disaster and barbarian invasion. 
As for the first, no St. Benedict, St. Bernard, 
or St. Francis is for the moment visible, but 
only false prophets of a false dawn ; and as for 
the latter, God forbid that we should await 
this last resort of divine justice. There is, 
theoretically speaking, a third way, but one 
which has, I believe, never yet been essayed 
with success; still, the chance is there, and, if 
we are wise, we shall take the chance. From 
the standpoint of pure reason it would seem 
possible for us to learn a lesson from the past 
and so avert that vain repetition of history to 
which we claim to be averse. And what the real 
past was, not what it seems through its mere ma- 
terialization, art most potently helps us to know. 

100 



THE FINE ARTS IN EDUCATION 

To art men turned when the joy of living and 
the wonder of spiritual experience and the pas- 
sion of religious ardour became intolerable in 
their poignancy and clamorous for perfect ex- 
pression; to art we must return, that, by its 
talismanic potency, it may unlock the barred 
gates of human experience. This also is the 
primary object of liberal education, and when 
we have achieved this knowledge, we shall find 
that the veil is lifted, that our sense of propor- 
tion has returned, that our standards are again 
at one with the standards of all history and need 
no further revision. Once more we shall find 
religion and art and joyful labour the restored 
essentials of life, and then the higher mission of 
our schools of art will have been accomplished, 
and our burgeoning civilization will blossom 
gloriously in the painters and the sculptors and 
architects, the musicians and poets and crafts- 
men, who, no longer voices crying in the wilder- 
ness, will become the inspired mouthpieces of 
an emancipated race, proclaiming the wonder 
and the glory of a noble and a beautiful and a 
joyful life. 



IV 

THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 



IV 

THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD l 

ITVDR two generations we have watched the 
-*- crescent enthusiasm for art, and the fever- 
ish widening of art interest and art activity 
that are the continuance in a new community 

Nrf a movement engendered in the Old World, 
now nearly a century ago. The significance of 
the movement is profound, its possibilities for 
good almost unlimited, but its dangers are no 
less, and it is of these dangers I desire to speak 
at this time. 

t propose to say something as to the relation 
of the artist to society, to the world of men 
and women that is at the same time his environ- 

- ment, his inspiration, and his opportunity. Of 
the artist, whatever one of the seven great arts 
he follows, for artistic differentiation is acci- 
dental, the artistic impulse is one. 

We hear very much of the relation of the artist 
to his own particular art, to art itself, to history 

i Read at Commencement, Yale University School of 
Fine Arts. 

105 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

and tradition : I myself have had the honour of 
speaking in this place on the position art should 
hold in its relation to education ; in season and 
out of season I have urged the intimate bond 
that unites art and religion in a common service. 
With your permission we will broaden the scope 
of our persistent inquiry, and ask as to the func- 
tion of the artist as an integral member of that 
human society which is so much greater and 
more momentous than he or any other indi- 
vidual ; that common life of humanity of which 
the artist is the product and that he is bound 
to serve with all the great and singular powers 
that mark his personality. 

It is not inappropriate that such an inquiry 
should be made in this place and at this time. 
The Yale School of Fine Arts is not a centre of 
empirical theorizing, an archaeological gymna- 
sium, a laboratory of scientific research ; it is a 
school of artists ; it aims to reveal something of 
the eternal significance of art, to arouse those 
aesthetic faculties that have lain dormant in our 
race so many generations, in order that they 
may become creative agencies, manifesting 
themselves in time and space for the service of 

106 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

man, and therefore for the glory of God. Such 
a school I conceive to be the only type that is 
justifiable, since schools we must have for 
the regaining of our lost heritage, but it is 
precisely here that perils intrude themselves 
most insidiously, wherefore they must always 
be held clearly in mind; for not even religion 
itself is more endangered by the "false doctrine, 
heresy, and schism" from which we rightly pray 
to be delivered. 

Do not misunderstand me, I beg of you. I 
do not dream of postulating of art schools in 
general, still less of this Yale school in particu- 
lar, a primacy in error or a peculiarity of sole 
possession. The dangers lie, not in the schools 
as such, but in society itself; in the very bone 
and sinew of man as he is to-day. They are part 
and parcel of our own contemporary civiliza- 
tion, and they show themselves in Church and 
in state, in business and professional and social 
life, more generally, perhaps, than in the life 
of art ; but it is in the latter category that they 
may be most fatal in their operation. It matters 
comparatively little if for the moment the 
Church or some sect abandons itself to evil 

107 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

artistic tendencies ; if a combination of illiter- 
ate legislators and a temporarily omnipotent 
politician are victorious in their schemes for 
defeating the ends of culture and civilization ; 
if the preponderating weight of public opinion 
degrades the drama, prostitutes music and 
poetry to the most ignoble ends, and makes of 
the great art of religious ceremonial a barren 
desert or a riot of degenerate taste. All these 
pass; they are the froth of a churning mael- 
strom of new activity ; but if the artist is him- 
self false to the ideal of his art, if he yields to the 
insidious influences that surround him, then 
not only is he faithless to the trust imposed 
in him through the gift of artistic expression, 
but he engenders a poison that courses subtly 
and far through the veins of the society he came 
into the world to serve. 

During the last century it is hard to suppose 
that a true philosophical conception of art 
should have achieved popular acceptance, and 
as a matter of fact it did not, the proudest 
products being similar in their nature to that 
definition of beauty evolved by Grant Allen: 
"The aesthetically beautiful is that which af- 

108 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

fords the maximum of stimulation with the 
minimum of fatigue or waste, in processes not 
directly connected with vital functions " ; surely 
the most grotesque example of serene incapac- 
ity anywhere recorded in that congeries of 
incapacities, the literature of aesthetics. It is, 
however, of great value as putting in concrete 
form the spiritual inefficiency of the dominant 
influence in the nineteenth century, and it is 
just because a new tendency now is visible that 
we may take heart of hope and believe that a 
saner and more penetrating view is possible. 

As a matter of fact, a profound revolution 
is now in process, a revolution that is inter- 
penetrating every category of intellectual and 
spiritual activity, and by the glare of the red 
conflagrations that are crumbling the tall towers 
of our intellectual pride, we see revealed the 
cloud-capped mountains of spiritual endeavour, 
piercing that very heaven of mystery we with 
infinite labour had striven to scale with our 
Babel-towers of misguided ingenuity. 

Very slowly it is dawning on us that for 
several centuries we have been confusing our 
categories and, by methods and agencies ade- 

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THE MINISTRY OF ART 

quate to the estimating of phenomena, have 
been trying to weigh and determine the Abso- 
lute Truth that lies behind and above. Failing 
miserably, we have come to doubt, not the effi- 
ciency of our methods, but the very existence 
of anything they could not demonstrate. This, 
I think, is the essence of the great revolution 
now going on about us, and even more within 
ourselves: the discovery that those brilliant 
products of our epoch, natural science and natu- 
ral philosophy, have their limitations ; that be- 
yond the uttermost radius of their possible ac- 
tivity lies the vast and mysterious domain 
of the real, the Absolute ; as vital to man and as 
unconquered as ever it was in the past ; as un- 
conquered, but neither forbidden nor beyond 
achievement, since by the grace of God even 
that Absolute, that final mystery of ultimate 
truth, reveals itself symbolically to those who 
open their hearts in reverence and with humble 
spirit, even though it is denied to that insolence 
of assumed wisdom that presumes to set metes 
and bounds to the infinite majesty of God. 

And it is this high function of superhuman 
revelation to which I refer when I speak of all 

no 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

art as the natural, and, indeed, the only ade- 
quate, expression in time and space of spiritual 
things. This it has been in all the great past; 
this it must be in the great future. Adopting 
this final view of the essential function of art, 
we shall see, I think, how great the danger that 
follows from the acceptance of any less lofty 
view, how incalculable the loss to society, and 
how much a matter of moment is the question 
of the relation of the artist to the world of men 
and women in which he lives, how limitless the 
field that opens before him, how far-flung and 
wide-reaching the lines of his service. 

Master of the great language, articulate 
amongst the tongueless, it is for him to express 
all the spiritual essays, ventures, and dis- 
coveries ; all the dreams, aspirations, and visions 
of the mounting wave of humanity that bears 
him on its crest toward the stars. Seer, spokes- 
man, and prophet, he divines in scientific tri- 
umphs the inner significance that gives them 
value and that the scientist himself some- 
times sees not at all ; material, industrial, eco- 
nomical development are to him but husks 
hiding a precious kernel ; democracy, socialism, 

in 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

anarchy but the ugly outward form of the 
enchanted prince in the fairy tale. Through 
crabbed shards he penetrates to the hidden 
jewel, snatches it forth, and uplifts it in the 
sight of wondering men. This he does in his 
function as seer : as mouthpiece he proclaims the 
hidden mysteries of the soul, the quests and pil- 
grimages and adventures of the knights-errant 
of the spirit ; not his own alone, less his than 
those of all his fellows, to whom, by- some 
mystical affinity, his consciousness is delicately 
attuned, answering the faint and distant call, 
voicing it in the universal language he alone 
commands, though every God-given soul wholly 
and instantly comprehends. And as prophet 
he distances the runners in the race of life, 
mounting the crags and cliffs of the cloud- 
capped hills until he sees the far horizons of 
the promised, the inevitable, but as yet the 
unachieved. 

Sophocles and Phidias, Virgil, Anthemius of 
Tralles, the unknown builders of mediaeval ab- 
beys and cathedrals, the forgotten creators of 
the Nibelungenlied and the Arthurian legends ; 
St. Gregory and his masters of music ; St. Bene- 

112 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

diet Biscop and St. Dunstan with their crafts- 
men: Cimabue and Giotto and Leonardo; 
Dante and Shakespeare; Bach, Beethoven, 
Wagner, Browning what are they and their 
fellows and peers but divinely constituted seers, 
clamant trumpets, prophets whose lips have 
been touched with the live coal of the altar of 
God ; speaking now in the Pentecostal tongues 
of art, the which every man hears as his own 
language ; hears and understands ? 

To every artist it is given so to voice some- 
thing of that which is best and highest in man. 
To the sculptor no less than the poet, to the 
architect no less than the painter, to the drama- 
tist and the maker of liturgies and ceremonial 
no less than the master of music. Each art has 
its own peculiar methods, the ordained instru- 
ments of its operation ; but each is but a dialect 
of a normal language that reveals, in symbolical 
form and through the unsolvable mystery of 
beauty, all that men may achieve of the mysti- 
cal knowledge of that Absolute Truth and Ab- 
solute Beauty that transcend material experi- 
ence and intellectual expression, since they are 
of the essential being of God. 

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THE MINISTRY OF ART 

The artist is bound and controlled by the 
laws of his art, but doubly is he bound by his 
duty to society. If he is prohibited as he is 
under penalty of aesthetic damnation from 
denying beauty or contenting himself with ex- 
pedients, or sacrificing any jot or tittle of the 
integrity of his art to fashion, or vulgarity, or 
the lust of evil things, still more is he bound to 
mankind by the law of noblesse oblige, and by 
the fear of God, to use his art only for the high- 
est ends, to proclaim only the vision of perfec- 
tion, to cleave only to the revelation of heav- 
enly things. The architect who abandons 
himself to the creation of ugliness, however 
academic may be its cachet ; the painter who 
"paints what he sees" or makes his art the 
ministry of lust; the sculptor who regards the 
form and sees nothing of the substance ; the poet 
who glorifies the hideous shape of atheism, or 
the grossness of the accidents of life ; the musi- 
cian who exalts the morbid and the horrible; 
the maker of ceremonials who assembles de- 
praved arts in a vain simulacrum of ancient and 
noble liturgies, these are but traitors to man 
and God, and however competent their craft, 

114 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

they are enemies of the people, and to them 
should be meted the condemnation of their 
kind. 

For many generations there has been too 
much of this, and the plea offered in extenua- 
tion, "The public demands it," is not a justifi- 
cation, but an intensification of criminality. 
It is vicious enough in journalism and politics, 
since it is the death-warrant of society, but it 
is ten times more evil in art, for the life-blood 
of art is the giving of something a little better 
than men consciously desire; the expression of 
the subconscious, which so often is the real man 
working deeply in the mysterious fastnesses of 
the soul. If the artist sells himself for bread, if 
he is driven by the harsh compulsion of poverty 
to sacrifice his art to Hydra, there should be 
pity for him on earth as there surely is mercy 
for him in heaven, but I know of no other justi- 
fication for his sin. Even in the golden days 
when men could rename a road, calling it the 
Street of Rejoicing, because in a singing pro- 
cession all the people of the quarter had carried 
through it to its altar in the parish church a 
new picture by a new painter, the art they ac- 

"5 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

claimed was good to them, not because it was 
the old and familiar art they knew, given them 
by the mechanical purveyors of Byzantine tra- 
dition, but because it was a newer and better 
thing, the picture in their hearts, not the pic- 
ture in their minds. How much more, then, now 
that the popular instinct for beauty has become 
a craving for the hideous and the uncouth, how 
much more is it necessary that every artist, 
whatever the mode of his work, should lay 
down his life, if need be, in a last defence of the 
"something better," knowing his day, his 
year, his life to have been misspent if at the 
end of either one he could not say, "I have 
given better than was asked or expected of 
me." 

Yet even in this, in the impulse that drives 
ever onward, that marks the artist as does his 
sense of beauty and his creative power, there 
is danger of the sharpest kind ; the peril that 
lurks on the serpent tongue of the time-spirit, 
luring men into vain imaginings of "new art." 
It is a subtle and specious temptation ; it comes 
with all the support of popular enthusiasms 
for breadth and liberality, personal emanci- 

116 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

pation and intellectual independence, human- 
ism, and a certain temporal and racial self-con- 
sciousness. It is of the same ilk as that eco- 
nomic nervousness that devises pseudo-scientific 
panaceas for social and industrial ills; as that 
religious hysteria that fills the Saturday edi- 
tions of the evening papers with astonishing 
advertisements of unearthly cults and wild 
philosophies : it asserts the need of new modes 
of expression for new manifestations of life, cast- 
ing doubt and disfavour on old philosophies, 
old religions, old arts. Plato and Aristotle 
and St. Thomas Aquinas were well enough for 
their own time, and doubtless quite wonderful. 
The Catholic Faith, yes, Christianity itself, 
whatever its form, served excellently in an unde- 
veloped stage of society and mental accomplish- 
ment. Gothic architecture was a good expres- 
sion of its peculiar time. But we, now that the 
shackles of superstition have been shattered, 
now that the intellect is really emancipated and 
we have produced a civilization in comparison 
with which Hellas and the Roman Republic 
and the Christian Middle Ages were but as 
tentative beginnings, full of false steps and 

117 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

vagarious wanderings, we must create our own 
philosophy, our own religion, our own art. 

And we try: whether Monism and Pragma- 
tism, New Thought, Christian Science, and 
the "Church of the Higher Life," Matisse, 
Richard Strauss, and D'Annunzio achieve a 
degree of vital and enduring expression of essen- 
tial things that gives them place above the 
philosophy, the religion, and the art of the 
past, is, I submit, a question susceptible of dis- 
cussion. For my own part I am persuaded that 
they do nothing of the kind, but rather that 
what they produce is in no respect either new 
philosophy, new religion, or new art, but simply 
the troubled ferment of an epoch that, having 
lost its sense of proportion, fails to grasp either 
its own deficiencies or the notable advantages 
that are attributable to the times and the men 
and the works it now regards with a patronizing 
toleration. 

And in holding this I do not lose sight of cer- 
tain elements of value that exist in each one 
of the revolutionary and sometimes anarchical 
protests against a frozen tradition, the value 
of precisely this protest. As a matter of fact, 

118 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

we are bound hand and foot to a traditionalism 
that is Byzantine in its rigidity and mounts 
often to the level of an historic superstition. 
The nineteenth century, instead of being an 
era of emancipation, was the very age wherein 
were forged the most efficient shackles on true 
freedom of thought and action. Then were fixed 
in final form all the narrowing tendencies of 
modern life: the stolid formulae that are mak- 
ing of parliamentary government a synonym 
for corruption and inefficiency ; the pretensions 
of physical science that have turned religion out 
of house and home; the carnival of industrial 
activity that has threatened to revolutionize 
education into a wilderness of "institutes of 
commerce*' and "vocational schools"; that has 
brought in a new and awful form of serfage and 
slavery and has almost overturned the ethical 
standards of society; the fanatical exaggeration 
of the value inherent in "free speech and a free 
press" that has built up an irresponsible and 
unprincipled engine that is fast becoming a 
menace to civilization ; the literary standard of 
the "best seller," the dramatic standard of the 
"successful run," the academic and mechanical 

119 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

theories of art that metamorphose the gift of 
God into a series of hidebound formulae that 
are taught as one teaches sanitary engineering 
or stenography. 

In so far as the suffragettes and Mrs. Eddy 
and Matisse and Debussy and the prophets of 
"art nouveau" are a protest and a rebellion 
against the mordant superstitions of the nine- 
teenth century, we may wish them well in their 
revolt, but when they assume to rebuild as well 
as to destroy, then we must arise to do them 
battle. The Renaissance broke a splendid path 
through a fast-thickening jungle, but once in 
the saddle, Machiavelli followed, and Alexan- 
der VI ; the Reformation was a mighty destroyer 
of evil, but its substitutions were calamitous; 
the Revolution swept Europe clear of a pesti- 
lence that bred death and hell, but, conquering, 
it engendered a poison that still runs in the veins 
of society. The power that destroys can never 
under any circumstances rebuild ; the conquer- 
ors in battle may never organize the victory, 
a lesson the world seems never to learn even in 
its gray hairs. And so, for the artist, the very 
plausibility of the new revolutionists, the mani- 

120 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

fest righteousness of their crusade, wins a con- 
fidence in their constructive propaganda that 
is justified only in their campaign of destruc- 
tion. It is true the Old Salon is simply an ever- 
renewed museum of mechanical toys that re- 
fuse to go, and when Matisse in decent scorn 
and disgust paints his protest in a kind of pic- 
torial anarchy, when Cezanne thrusts gratuitous 
ugliness in the face and eyes of smug imbecility, 
we cheer them on, and are bound to come to 
their aid ; but we are no more bound thereafter 
to their following than we should have been to 
that of Marat and Robespierre because we had 
taken part in the affair of the Tennis Court. 

It would be folly to deny that our own era 
has innumerable elements of conspicuous nov- 
elty, many of them admirable and deeply to 
be desired, others no less loudly acclaimed, but 
essentially worthy only of condemnation. That 
the novel things are so radical in their nature, 
so Minerva-like in their spontaneous genera- 
tion, that before them antiquity stands wonder- 
ing and impotent, I venture to deny. Neither 
the hand, nor the mind, nor the soul of man has 
created or revealed during the last four centuries 

121 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

any single truth or aspect of truth that trans- 
cends the powers of expression of the philosophy, 
the religion, or the art of the past. New modes 
of expression, yes, quite possibly; indeed, 
surely ; but variety of expression does not in- 
volve a revolution in the fundamental law. The 
philosophy of St. Thomas did no violence to 
that of Aristotle; the religion of St. Bernard, or 
St. Francis, or St. Bona venture was one with the 
religion of the Apostles ; the art of the Middle 
Ages was based on the fundamental law of the 
art of Hellas ; and yet how infinitely varied, how 
bright with the clear light of new dawns, how 
infused and palpitant with new blood, new 
visions, new revelations. The eternal laws that 
control the operations of the universe were 
effective before the nineteenth century, and 
they were perceived and acted upon before the 
invention of printing and the popularizing of 
experimental science and the emancipation of 
the intellect. New foundations there are none, 
new superstructures there must always be, end- 
less in variety, better intrinsically, perhaps, than 
those we have known before, but if they are to 
be this, if they are to rank even in the same 

122 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

category with the wonders of the past, they 
must be wrought in obedience to the same 
laws that have held from the beginning of time. 

Therefore, the artist who, fired by the out- 
ward diversity and the crescent vitality of the 
life that environs him and of which he is a part, 
steps beyond the bounds of possible variation 
in method and violates the eternal law of his 
art, ceases at that instant to be an artist and 
becomes a charlatan, and as such an enemy of 
the people. 

All the art of every time is founded on some 
specific art of the past ; without this there is no 
foundation save that of shifting sands. If it re- 
mains in bondage to this older art, if, like the 
Munich painting, the English architecture, the 
American sculpture of half a century ago, it 
wanders in the twilight of precedent or, in fear 
and trembling, chains itself to the rock of 
archaeology, then again it ceases to be art 
ceases? no; it has never even begun: it is only 
a dreary mocking of a shattered idol, a futile 
picture-puzzle to beguile a tedious day. 

Between these perils on either hand, the 
temptation toward anarchical novelty, and the 

123 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

temptation toward archaeological sterility, the 
artist falls often to the ground ; to steer a safe 
course between Scylla and Charybdis, is hard, 
indeed, the more so in that the old landmarks, 
the old buoys and beacons have disappeared. 
If we only possessed at least the conviction that 
art is never wholly an end in itself, the problem 
would be simpler, but this knowledge we do 
not have. We are taught, indeed, the nobility 
of art, the varied and wonderful and hardly 
acquired methods of its accomplishment; but 
when our schools (which in several of the cate- 
gories of art are vastly superior to any that 
have existed before) have accomplished their 
due task, life itself, either in its material or its 
spiritual aspect, does not step in to show the 
artist how to use his art toward the highest 
ends. In France, for example, architecture is 
taught more brilliantly and efficiently than 
anywhere else in the world ; yet when a young 
man graduates from the Ecole des Beaux Arts 
and seeks to put into practice the art he has 
acquired, what does he find for an environ- 
ment, what are the powers and influences of 
society that are brought to bear on him for 

124 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

the development of his personality? Anarchy 
thinly veiled by socialistic nomenclature; reli- 
gion a scorn and a laughing-stock; materialism 
supreme in nearly every department of life; 
education that is mechanical, and supposedly 
scientific, but with no faintest cognizance of 
the spiritual side of human nature ; immorality 
rampant, and unchecked in its appalling in- 
crease. Is it any wonder that no French archi- 
tect bred in the Ecole since it was organized 
has brought into being any work whatever that 
belongs in the same class with that of the un- 
learned master-masons of the time four cen- 
turies ago when France was still a Christian 
nation ? 

Something of the same danger confronts us 
here in our own country, though nowhere in the 
world are the powers of evil marshalled so mas- 
sively against righteousness as in unhappy 
France. So long as it is true, even in a measure, 
that the obvious and salient forces of society 
are leagued against the development of the 
spiritual and idealistic elements in man, so 
long will our schools of art fail of accomplishing 
their mission. They frame the law, but right- 

125 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

eous life is itself the "enacting clause," and 
without this, legislation is inoperative. 

There is a certain hedonistic view of life that 
breeds the doctrine that art is the product of 
luxury, culture, and ease. No more poisonous 
heresy was ever devised. The springs of art lie 
in right living and good citizenship and the 
fear of God. We may organize schools of archi- 
tecture in every state ; crowd the villas of Rome 
with ambitious young sculptors, and the Pari- 
sian ateliers with potential painters; we may 
patronize poets even to the point of giving 
them a living wage, and endow opera-houses 
and theatres in every village; our millionaires 
may shed their golden rain over a thirsty land, 
and public opinion may demand high art even 
if it has to get it with an axe it is all 
but "vanity; feeding the wind and folly," 
as Sir Thomas has it, if beneath it all, the 
only enduring foundation, we have not a right 
attitude to ourselves, to our fellows, and to 
God. 

But, men may say, perhaps, this is the affair 
of the Church and the school, of the teacher 
of ethics, the social reformer, the philosopher, 

126 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

and the priest. Not altogether, by any means. 
Art, rightly understood, rightly practised, is 
so wonderful a thing that it has many and 
varied aspects. Not only is it a revelation, it 
is an incentive: not only is it the flower, it is 
also the seed. Every art is at the same time 
vocative and dynamic: it voices the highest and 
the best; it subtly urges to emulation; it is 
perhaps the greatest "civilizing influence in the 
world. Yet if it is a seed, it must fall neither 
amongst thorns, nor on stony ground, nor yet 
in a soil so rich that the weeds spring up and 
choke it. We deny this manifest truth of the 
civilizing potency of art for the very reason to 
which I alluded earlier, namely, that we esti- 
mate art by its highest reaches, and since these 
always came like the aftermath of harvest, 
when the fields of civilization had been reaped 
and the frosts of winter were at hand, the fer- 
tile seed shrivelled and perished and the fields 
remained barren and dead. When art was 
crescent, when it was the great outpouring 
through the chosen few of the spiritual experi- 
ences of a people, then it found its fertile soil, 
and the reward was an hundred fold. 

127 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

If we believed, which God forbid ! that 
we of this race and time and generation could 
offer nothing but an unfruitful soil, then were 
our labours vain ; but while we know we come 
at the decadent end of one epoch of five centu- 
ries, it is gloriously true that we are at the very 
beginnings of yet another: the night is deep, 
but there is dawn on the uttermost hills. Before 
us lies the choice of fields for our sowing : if we 
turn to those that are exhausted by five cen- 
turies of reckless husbandry, to the fields of 
materialism and anarchy and infidelity, then 
our future is without hope ; but if we go forward 
to the new lands of the new day, then there are 
no limits that may be placed on our service 
and our accomplishment. 

In the very fact we deplore, that we have no 
immortal artists such as those of the great 
moments of the past, lies the cause of our 
greatest courage. Were this a time of art such 
as that which flung the radiant glamour of its 
matchless glory over the charnel-house of the 
Italy of the pagan Renaissance, then we might 
despair, for we should know that the issue was 
hopeless ; but because of this, because we must 

128 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

lament our lack of art instead of exulting over 
its triumphant possession, we are full of cour- 
age, knowing that the tide has turned and that 
we are at the beginning of things, not at the 
lamentable end. 

Before every artist of this day and generation 
open limitless and glittering possibilities. There 
is a new light on the hills, a new word on the 
wind, a new joy in the heart. France goes her 
way to the pit she has digged; England crum- 
bles daily before our eyes; anarchy looms in 
the Latin countries of Europe ; and we ourselves 
are for the moment staggered by persistent 
and mordant corruption in public, private, 
commercial, and industrial life; and yet we 
know these are the last things of an epoch 
only, not of a race; that they are episodes of 
a phase of growth and sequent decay, not the 
final revelation of the genius of a people. Al- 
ready, though sometimes in baffling and devi- 
ous ways, the new impulse is manifesting itself: 
again men turn to religion and to the everlast- 
ing things of the spirit, to law and order, to a 
new righteousness of life. For ourselves, the 
crash of crumbling superstitions and persistent 

129 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

error: for our children, the building of new 
mansions of righteousness and truth. 

Therefore, there is for the artist a clear field : 
man is in revolt against materialism; thinking 
thoughts and dreaming dreams and seeing 
visions that cry aloud for utterance through 
that great agency of art that always in the past 
has answered the call and recorded in enduring 
monuments all that makes for nobility and 
righteousness in any race or time. Also, the 
ground is prepared for the sowing, and all that 
art can do toward furthering the process of a 
great regeneration may now be done with full 
effect. Rightly conceived and nobly executed, 
every work of art that is created in answer to 
the great new call of man may become an active 
agency in the momentous crusade. Church and 
college and school are, it is true, the prime edu- 
cational and regenerating influences, but no 
one of these agencies, great as it is, can accom- 
plish its completest destiny unless it recognizes 
the educational potency of art, and effects 
with it that alliance against which the powers 
of evil cannot prevail. Every church nay, 
every building of whatever kind that is 

130 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

infused with beauty and significance; every 
picture or statue that tells of eternal things 
through the same quality of sacramental 
beauty; every poem, every musical creation, 
every drama that exalts the sacred and hidden 
things of the soul over the flamboyant and 
futile phantasms of the world, becomes a living 
energy, an irresistible influence toward those 
very ends for the attainment of which the 
Church and the school exist. 

Art may no longer remain "cribbed, cab- 
ined, and confined" in the private possession 
of those who can pay its price: as it is the lan- 
guage of the people, so must it become their 
free possession. Architecture has always been 
for all men, for none could hide its light 
or darkness, perhaps under a bushel ; but all 
the other arts must come forth into the open, 
and in the Church, the school, the public build- 
ings of city and state, offer themselves and 
their wide beneficence to all humanity. For 
centuries we have made great music, great 
pictures, great sculpture either an appanage 
of the rich, or the professionally venerating 
paraphernalia of an aesthetic curiosity shop, 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

to be seen on payment of twenty-five cents 
on week days, free on Sundays and holidays. 
This is the nadir of civilization : better almost 
a generation that knew not even the name of 
art than one that so utterly misjudged it as 
so to misuse it. There may be some question 
as to whether free speech, a free press, and the 
electoral franchise are inalienable rights of the 
people; there is none as to the nature of art: 
either it is the divine heritage of all men, or it 
is nothing ; if it is the ear-mark of a class, the 
privilege of a caste, it is no more than the 
monster of Frankenstein, a dead horror, moving 
and sentient, but without a soul. 

This also is a part of the duty of the artist 
to the public, the giving back of the seven old 
lamps, heedlessly bartered for new. They can- 
not raise the potent genie of the fire and air, 
these new lamps, for all their rubbing. Give 
back the old lamps, and once more the 

" Djins and Afrits of the enchanted deep " 

bow obedient, filling our hands with the over- 
flowing treasures of the wonderland of the 
spirit and the soul. 

132 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

To voice, to reveal, to prophesy; yes, and to 
fight manfully in the new crusade. There is 
besotted ignorance in the high places of the 
city and the state and the nation ; there is an 
illustrated journalism that is working insidi- 
ously and overtime to break down not alone 
the new-found sense of beauty, but civilization 
itself; there is a popular drama not the good 
old melodrama, that had some rough semblance 
of truth and beauty, but the new and horrible 
thing exploited by the racial enemies of Chris- 
tianity that finds its parallel only in the 
dark annals of toxicology; there is an insane 
rationalism in painting and sculpture that 
builds on the mad formula that the measure 
of art is its fidelity to the observed facts of 
nature; there is the on-rushing pestilence of 
bill-boards, the gross humbug of the art fakir, 
and a score of other depressing things of similar 
nature against which every civilized man must 
contend, but the artist more than all, for each 
is to him a personal insult, and he can see more 
clearly than others the menace they are, not 
only to him and to his art, but to the whole 
life of man that speaks through him. 

133 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

There is war enough, God knows, and a 
field for good fighting. The artist who cares 
for his art, who knows what it means and why 
it is given him, knows also that his work is done 
not only in the studio, but on the field of action, 
in fierce fighting against the marshalled enemies 
of society and civilization, and for the bringing 
back to the people of their long-lost heritage. 

And specifically there is one field where all 
these ends are furthered in one: I refer, of 
course, to art in its association with religion. 
A few years ago there was not this possibility: 
then religion reviled art and would none of it ; 
then also it was the fashion to sneer at relig- 
ious things and to consider them unworthy the 
attention of an emancipated intellect and 
beneath the dignity of a reputable artist. The 
results were not such as to encourage a per- 
sistence in these courses. Now it is no longer 
fashionable to sneer at religion, nor is it a mark 
of intelligence. Infidelity, agnosticism, indif- 
ference are now notes of an outgrown supersti- 
tion, while the Church, roused from her long 
nightmare of iconoclasm, and worse, clamours 
for the aid of her old ally. 

134 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

Above all things I pray that she may have 
it, both for her own sake and that of the artist, 
and that of society itself. If art is, indeed, as 
I have said, one of the really great agents of 
civilization, the Church is preeminently the 
place where its work may be made most effec- 
tive. Beautiful buildings, pictures, and sculp- 
ture in schools and libraries, popular produc- 
tions of the Greek and Elizabethan dramas, 
all are good and powerful influences toward 
education and regeneration; but the Church 
is more than all, for it has been, and is coming 
to be again, the great centre of spiritual energy. 
Each art is fine in itself, but a great and beauti- 
ful church, living with pictorial and sculptured 
decoration, where the sublime, appalling mys- 
tery of the Christian Faith is solemnized 
through the assembling of all the other arts 
music, poetry, drama, and ceremonial in 
one vast, organic work of art built up of every 
one of them raised to its highest level of possi- 
bility, and all fused in one consummate opus 
Dei, this, the Catholic Mass in a Gothic 
church, is, in simple fact and in plain speech, 
the greatest artistic achievement, the most 

135 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

perfect proof of man's divine nature thus far 
recorded in the annals of humanity. 

Here, above all other places, art performs 
its highest function, becomes most intimately 
the art of all the people, and gives to every 
artist his most perfect opportunity both for 
artistic expression and artistic service. In the 
new epoch that is even now at dawn, it will be, 
not in the palaces of captains of industry, or 
in any secular capacity whatever, that each 
and every art will find its opportunities both 
for creation and for service, but, as in the golden 
past, in churches and monastery chapels and 
cathedrals, themselves once more become, as 
also in that same past, the most essential, 
intimate, and important single thing in the 
life of every man. 

Therefore, if the artist is to serve the public, 
he must become the proud and reverent ally 
of organized religion ; first of all, winning back 
for himself the faith filched from him, and 
learning once more to speak the tongue God 
gave him and as it was taught him whatever 
his art by this same Church herself. 

Is this too great a thing to ask? It has 
136 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

happened over and over again in the past, and 
it must happen again: if not to-day, then 
to-morrow. Religion and the sacramental 
vision of Absolute Truth and Absolute Beauty 
are knit together by indissoluble bonds, and 
with them art is involved in a union that 
neither man nor devils may break asunder. 
The effort is made, and for a time it seems to 
be successful, but always and invariably the 
result is incalculable loss ; to art, to religion, to 
the world. Religion wavers, yields to insidious 
heresies, breaks up into futile sects, fails to 
enforce its appeal to men ; while art loses, first 
its highest ideals, then all ideals whatever; and 
finally follows after false leaders and silly 
theories, and so breaks down in ruin. This is 
the thing that has happened in the centuries 
that have followed the fall of Constantinople, 
and now once more begins the great recovery, 
the new epoch of restoration: already the 
ground gained amongst those of our own 
Northern blood and speech is enormous, but 
it must continue farther yet, infinitely farther, 
and the next step is inevitable. Alone, 
isolated, neither religion nor art can accom- 

137 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

plish its destiny, which is to seize upon society 
and lift it to those heights of righteous achieve- 
ment that have made and marked the eras of 
the past. Religion lacks its Pentecostal tongue ; 
art lacks the Pentecostal flames of divine in- 
spiration. The Church is conscious now of 
what this alliance will mean, for herself, for 
art, and for humanity: she is ready, with wel- 
coming hands; and if the artist answers in 
kind, if he breaks the bonds of plausible ma- 
terialism and rationalism, forsaking the ex- 
hausted fields of a squandered past for the 
fertile soil of a burgeoning future, then he will 
achieve that new life in his own spirit and in 
his art that is the guaranty of the fulfilment of 
the destiny that brought him into the world. 

And here we find the revelation of the func- 
tion of the artist in his relation to the world ; 
in his choice between the two fields offered for 
his sowing. If he is false to the light within 
him, yielding his divine art for the pleasure of 
the votaries of pleasure; binding himself in 
servitude to the defiant corruption of a lost 
and ended cause ; sitting in darkness and in the 
shadow of death; his reward is as theirs and 

138 



THE ARTIST AND THE WORLD 

he goes down to his appointed place with all 
other unfaithful servants. But if he chooses 
otherwise, making himself the mouthpiece of 
the new crusaders who march ever onward 
for the redemption of the holy places of the 
soul, answering the call of the best in man with 
the best that is in himself, revealing to human- 
ity, through sacred beauty, the truth that shall 
make men free, consecrating himself to the 
showing, through whatever art where God has 
given him craft, "the light which lighteth 
every man that cometh into the world, " then, 
for a time his reward may be poor in material 
measure, but in the end for him is reserved 
that crown of righteousness that is for them 
that are faithful and true, and that serve God 
through the serving of them that He made in 
His image and redeemed in the darkness and the 
thunderings of Calvary. 



V 

THE CRAFTSMAN AND THE ARCHITECT 



THE CRAFTSMAN AND THE ARCHITECT 1 

IN its last Annual Report the Committee on 
Education of the American Institute of 
Architects laid particular emphasis on the re- 
lationship between the architect and the crafts- 
man, pointed out the almost complete lack of 
good artificers in America and the shocking 
disparity between educational agencies in Eu- 
rope and this country, and urged upon the 
architectural profession the paramount neces- 
sity of taking heed of the existing condition 
and the necessity of amending it without delay. 
The Report said in part : 

From time to time we have referred more or 
less casually to the fact that while we have the 
most copious and widespread architectural edu- 
cation to be found in any country, we have practi- 
cally no agencies for the education of craftsmen. 
The result must be, and is, extremely injurious, 
if not fatal, to architecture itself. We may on 

1 Address at the convention of the American Federation 
of Arts in Washington. 

143 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

paper create visions that rival those of Coleridge's 
Kubla Khan; we may on arising from a weary 
drawing board, our creative task accomplished, 
say with Justinian (and believe ourselves in the 
saying), "Solomon, I have surpassed thee," but 
when we see our drawings and our designs ma- 
terialized in three dimensions we realize that, 
were we buried within their walls, the globe- 
trotting New Zealander, a century hence, looking 
for our personal monuments, would hardly say 
with Sir Christopher's eulogist, "Circumspice." 
In the good old days when an architectural 
monument was a plexus of all the arts, the archi- 
tect was pretty much at the mercy of the crafts- 
man, and he still is, with a difference; for then 
every bit of sculpture or painting or carving or 
metal-work and joinery, and glass and needle- 
work when these latter came into play 
enhanced the architecture, glorified it, and 
sometimes redeemed it as well; now either our 
carving is butchered, our sculpture and painting 
conceived on lines that deny their architectural 
setting, our metal-work turned out by the com- 
mercial ton, our stained-glass work defiant of 
every law of God, man, or architect, or it is all 
reduced to a dead level of technical plausibility, 
without an atom of feeling or artistry and we 
are glad to take it this way, for the sake of escap- 
ing worse. 

Every architect knows that the success or 
failure of his work depends largely on the crafts- 

144 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

men who carry it out and complete it with all 
its decorative features of form and colour, and 
yet in a nation of one hundred million people, 
with a dozen schools of architecture, practically 
nothing is done toward educating these same 
craftsmen, and we either secure the services of 
foreign-trained men, accept tenth-rate native 
work, or go without. Take a case in point; it is 
decided to build a metropolitan cathedral, with 
little regard to cost; plans are made (we will say 
satisfactorily), what then? If it is to be a great 
and comprehensive work of art it needs (and 
exactly as much as it needs its architect) sculptors, 
painters, carvers in wood and stone, glassmakers, 
mosaicists, embroiderers, leather-workers. Are 
there enough schools in America to train all the 
craftsmen needed on this one monument, is there 
one school, and if so, where? One of the foolish 
arguments against Gothic is that it is quite de- 
pendent on artist craftsmen, and as we have 
none we must abandon the style; one of the 
foolish arguments in favour of Classical design 
is that anybody can learn to carve an acanthus, 
therefore we had better stick to what we know we 
can do. Neither argument is sound; if we have 
no artist-craftsmen, then it would be better for 
us to close up half the schools that are turning 
out architects and employ the funds for the 
training of the only men who can give life to the 
architects' designs. 
Apart from the industrial arts in their rela- 

145 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

tionship to architecture, their importance in this 
country, where art manufactures or products 
are so enormously in demand, is too obvious to 
need demonstration. Nearly all our expert labour 
in the artistic trades is imported from Europe. 
We pay large wages to foreign workmen, but 
refuse to educate our own people so that this 
financial benefit may accrue to them. In other 
words, our prosperity results in benefiting the 
alien, and we allow our own citizens to degenerate, 
furnishing no new employment for the rising 
generation, but fitting it only for those limited 
callings which are already overstocked, and in 
which it can command but a minimum wage. 

The Report then summarized the educational 
activities of France, so far as the arts allied 
with architecture are concerned, and although 
even there some of the most important crafts 
are as yet unrecognized, it appeared that in 
three alone there were in Paris four hundred 
and twenty-five students with an annual budget 
of seventy-two thousand dollars. It then con- 
sidered what is being done (or not done) in 
New York in the line of architectural modelling 
and painting, and after showing its extreme 
inadequacy, it continued : 

Now, if all this is true of architectural model- 
146 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

ling and painting, it is at least equally true of 
the other arts, such as wood-carving, the making 
of stained glass, and metal-work of all kinds; 
obviously little is done educationally in any of 
those directions, and as a consequence when we 
want really good work we go abroad for it, or 
employ foreign-trained men who have taken up 
their residence in this country. Some time ago, 
a member of this Committee was asked to give 
a list of artist-craftsmen who were competent 
in design and execution, and who were willing 
to work with due regard to the architectural 
environment of their products; he reported that 
there were two Americans who were doing well 
as beginners in stained glass, but that it would 
be safer to go to England where the ancient 
tradition in design and workmanship still main- 
tains in a measure; he named two good sculptors 
in wood, one a Bavarian, one a German; one ad- 
mirable iron-worker, a German; one goldsmith, 
an Englishman; and two architectural sculptors, 
one a Welshman, the other American. 

Of course, this is all wrong; there should be 
an hundred craftsmen in each category, if archi- 
tectural dreams are to be properly materialized 
and embellished, and these should be our own 
people, not imported aliens, however competent 
they may be. 

It should be understood that we are not refer- 
ring to the sculptor and painter as architectural 
allies; we have great men in both categories, and 

147 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

their relationship to the profession was considered 
by the Committee on Allied Arts of last year; 
we are speaking of the craftsmen whose work 
enters more intimately into the ordinary archi- 
tectural practice, and so speaking we do not 
hesitate to say that the present state of things 
is barbarous, uneconomical, and in the last de- 
gree discreditable to the architectural profession. 

"Barbarous, uneconomical, and discredita- 
ble, " these words are none too strong to apply 
to a condition of things which has endured for 
long, and even now fails to arouse indignation, 
or even a measure of recognition. I could make 
a strong case against the present system, or 
lack of system, on economic grounds alone, 
showing how unpatriotic, unbusinesslike, and 
unpractical it is for America to deny to its own 
citizens a field of work that is remunerative 
and that must be filled, so putting a premium 
on the alien workman who has been able to 
acquire his dominant proficiency in his native 
and more generous land; a strong case also 
against the labour unions that disparage the 
apprentice system, and discourage the spirit 
of emulation that results in individual advance- 
ment and consequently increased returns to 

148 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

the specially able men; a strong case, finally, 
against a system that simply means that for 
many products of the artist-craftsman the 
owner or architect must perforce go across 
the ocean, paying his money not even into the 
hands of foreign-born American citizens, but to 
foreign residents, and then paying his further 
tax as well to the National Government for 
the protection of American producers, who, so 
far as the essential element in the product is 
concerned, quality, simply do not exist. 

It would be interesting to go into the matter 
in detail and show the barbarism and the dull 
ignorance of the present condition, but, for the 
moment, I must waive this and confine myself 
to the matter that more closely affects the 
owner and the architect, and that is the heavy 
handicap that is placed on every one, lay or 
professional, who tries to create some work of 
art that shall be not only acceptable in idea, 
but even tolerable in its working-out. 

Now, why is it that in spite of the most com- 
plete and effective architectural education the 
world has ever known, wealth that could buy 
the labour that built the pyramids, that made 

149 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

Chartres Cathedral almost a revelation of 
Divinity, and fretted the lacey fabric of the 
Taj Mahal, and as many practising architects 
in the directory of a great city as all Europe 
numbered during the whole epoch of medi- 
aevalism, how is it that with these notable 
advantages we cannot succeed in building one 
structure to match a minor Greek temple, 
a second-class mediaeval monastery, or a pro- 
vincial Buddhist shrine of twelfth-century 
Japan? There are, I think, three reasons; the 
first two do not concern us at this moment, 
the third very much does. I name the two first, 
for nobody can stop me, an abandonment 
of definite and concrete and inspiring religious 
conviction, and our disregard of the sound 
principles of law and order and obedience, 
and having named them, we shall hear no more 
of them at this time. The third is precisely 
that which is the subject of this paper, the 
disappearance of the individual, independent, 
and self-respecting craftsman, and by this 
third loss, we are left helpless and hopeless, 
indeed; for as the Renaissance demonstrates, 
the real craftsman can do much, as he did do 
150 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

much, to make amends for the loss of greater 
things, and, so long as he endures, as through 
the Renaissance he did endure, can raise an 
inferior architecture to a level of credit that in 
itself it could not claim, while giving to an 
equally inferior civilization a glamour of glory 
that rightly could not proceed from its own 
inherent nature. 

We may sit spellbound before the august 
majesty of the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and to 
it, by grace of a generous French Government, 
we may send our boys by hundreds; we may 
found, equip, and endow schools of architect- 
ure in every college in America; we may rear 
architectural museums in every state, estab- 
lish architectural lectureships that will subject 
the railways to an unfair test of their carrying 
capacity, and crowd the transatlantic steam- 
ships with eager holders of travelling student- 
ships, it will be of little avail if we cannot 
entrust our dreams and our working drawings 
to genuine craftsmen for the carrying-out, but 
instead find ourselves compelled to hand them 
over to the tender mercies of general con- 
tractors, "Ecclesiastical Art Decorators and 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

Furnishers," and department stores where 
the watchwords are "efficiency," division of 
labour, and "You give us sketches. We do the 



rest." 



, By itself architecture is nothing; allied with 
the structural crafts and the artist crafts, it 
is everything, the greatest art in the world ; 
for it is a plexus of all the arts; it assembles 
them in a great synthesis that is vaster than 
any art by -itself alone, that gathers them 
together in the perfect service of God and man. 
Without the craftsman an architectural de- 
sign is worth little more than the paper on 
which it is drawn; it is an ephemera, a simu- 
lacrum of glory. From a distance, or at first 
sight, it may have majesty of form, power of 
composition, impressiveness of silhouette, and 
richness of light and shade, but close at hand, it 
is a dead thing, without a vivifying soul, and 
it neither reveals the heart of a people, nor eats 
itself into their affections so that for them or 
their successors it becomes what to us to-day 
are the monuments of Greece and Byzantium 
and the Catholic Middle Ages. With the artist- 
craftsman, working independently but in close 

152 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

alliance, we may have again a San Marco, a 
Chartres, or a Seville if, as well, our faith 
and our works are as those of them that built 
those wonders and enriched them with their 
splendour of decoration. 

We exercise ourselves over the manifold 
questions of the faculties and the curriculums 
of the architectural schools in which we take 
such justifiable pride; we found one scholar- 
ship after another, and incessantly multiply 
our architectural lectureships and exhibitions; 
we even animatedly discuss the possibility of 
that plainly desirable thing, a post-graduate 
school of architecture in Washington ; and all 
the while we see with equanimity our designs 
butchered or frozen to death, our ornaments 
and furnishings provided by others than our 
own people, and usually in a perfectly com- 
mercial and mechanical manner at that; and 
finally we are content that our buildings should 
become, not the rich and opulent showing- 
forth of a great civilization through innumer- 
able allied arts, but, instead, academic essays 
in theoretical design expressing nothing but 
the genius or otherwise of the architect, 

153 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

even to the machine-chiselled carving, the 
stencilled colour and the cast-plaster ornaments, 
all from his own full-size designs worked out 
by his own draughtsmen. 

Think how the carved capitals of Lincoln, 
the statues of Wells and of Rheims, the inlay 
of Monreale, the mosaics of Ravenna and of 
the Trastevere, the glass of Bourges and of 
Chartres, the frescoes of Assisi, the grilles and 
"retables" of Seville and of Salamanca and of 
Mexico, the joinery of Henry the Seventh's 
Chapel and of Toledo, the metal-work of 
Nuremberg consider how all these were 
made, and why and when, and then exult over 
our triumphant civilization, or marvel that all 
the wealth and all the architects and artists 
of the world could not rival to-day or equal the 
Capella Palatina in Palermo, which was merely 
the private chapel of a second-rate prince, in a 
frontier land in the dusk of the Dark Ages. 

Of course, the basic reason for this deplorable 
condition of things is economic; it finds its 
root in the fantastic substitution, during and 
after the Renaissance, in place of a communism 
that developed true personality, of an indivi- 

154 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

dualism that destroyed personality. As the 
splendid liberty of v mediaeval society has hard- 
ened into a mechanical and irresponsible des- 
potism that preserves only the empty name 
of liberty, so the triumphant individuality of 
the Renaissance has hardened into an economic 
system that, through mechanics, capitalism, 
the wage system, and division of labour, has 
become a very sordid kind of slavery. To effect 
a vital, comprehensive, and enduring reform, 
we should have to strike deep, and elsewhere 
than in the domain of art; but something can 
be done in a tentative and partial sort of way, 
pending the coming of that inevitable revolt 
and revolution that will "make all things new," 
for in minor ways, both the public that builds 
and the architect that serves this public are to 
blame. As a result of the economic revolution 
of the past three centuries, the architect has 
fallen into the habit of thinking that architec- 
ture is all there is to architecture; that planes 
and contours and spacings of light and shade 
make up his art ; that ornament and furnishings 
are adventitious, anyway; and that, in any 
case, whatever is to be done by way of embel- 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

lishment can best be done by highly specialized 
draughtsmen, under his own direction, with 
adequate photographs and reliable books and 
plenty of brown paper, charcoal, and tube 
colours, together with a system of supervis- 
ing the human and mechanical engines that 
turn these two-dimension creations into three 
dimensions during an eight-hour day and sub- 
ject to the regulations of the labour unions. 

Well, perhaps it can as conditions now 
are; but if so we had better change the condi- 
tions. Just so long as the architect makes a 
blanket contract with a general contractor, or 
turns over his carving and sculpture to a well- 
capitalized corporation of stone-masons, or 
abandons his colour embellishment to some 
plausible organization of "decorators," or his 
church or palace to an august Fifth Avenue 
establishment, or his windows and his metal- 
work to an admirably advertised syndicate of 
artists with sufficient capital behind it to in- 
sure easy and pleasant conditions for all con- 
cerned, just so long will he produce nothing 
that will outlast his lifetime, or give joy to any 
one concerned. 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

For it is not a case of no alternative ; there are 
real craftsmen living to-day, and in this coun- 
try, and turning out exquisite work after the 
ancient fashion, though Heaven knows why it 
should be so. I know three makers of tiles and 
other products of burnt clay and glazes, who 
are consummate artists (one of them is a 
woman), and who are to be dealt with only as 
individuals, and who, if they are treated as 
allies, not as commercial purveyors of trade 
goods, can glorify any building with which they 
come in contact ; I know two workers in forged 
and wrought iron who are blood brothers of 
Adam Kraft; three goldsmiths who would 
gladden the heart of Cellini ; a woodcarver who 
is Peter Vischer restored to life ; two sculptors 
who are really architectural sculptors as were 
the men who immortalized Chartres and Wells ; 
a stone cutter whose craft matches that of the 
masons of Venice and Rouen ; a maker of stained 
glass who needs only opportunity to restore 
some measure of the wonder of this lost art ; a 
maker of ecclesiastical vestments whose needle- 
work is that of the fifteenth century; a scribe 
who can do real missals and other illumina- 

157 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

tion as these once were done long ago. And 
not one of them has really enough to keep 
him busy or return him more than a living 
wage, while by default thousands of dollars 
worth of work they could do consummately 
goes weekly to factories and similar places 
where it becomes simply so much plausible 
sham. 

Now, it is the manifest duty of the architect 
to search out these individual craftsmen and to 
bring them into alliance with himself. You will 
note that I speak of an "alliance," for this is 
almost the crux of the whole matter ; whoever 
the craftsman is he must work with and not for 
the architect, although the latter must exercise 
a general oversight over everything, and form 
in a sense the court of last resort. Really an 
architect is, or should be, more a coordinator 
than a general designer; he should be a kind of 
universal solvent, by means of which architec- 
tural designers, workmen, artificers, craftsmen, 
and artists should come together, and, while 
preserving their own personality, merge their 
identity in a great artistic whole, somewhat as 
the instruments of a great orchestra are as- 

158 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

sembled to the perfect rendering of a sym- 
phony by the master and conductor. 

This free field for the exercise of personality 
was always accorded the artist and the crafts- 
man during that greatest and most successful 
of building epochs, the Middle Ages, and that 
it is now denied is due quite as much to the 
grasping nature of the architect as it is to 
the progressive degeneracy of the craftsman. 
The two elements are interrelated ; as the crafts- 
man decayed, the architect more and more took 
into his own hands the work he could not get 
well done elsewhere, and as he did so he dis- 
couraged and destroyed the craftsman already 
on the downward path. 

Now, there is no reason why the architect 
should have to design his carving and tiles and 
glass and metal-work and joinery and colour 
decoration, except that no one else can do it, 
and when he does, by default, the result is 
only a poor and unenduring expedient. Now 
that true craftsmen are beginning to emerge 
from the welter of commercialism, it is, as I 
have said, the manifest duty of the architect to 
search them out and give them not only the 

159 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

preference, but the utmost measure of liberty 
of action of which they are worthy. What we 
are looking for, and what was always obtained 
in the epochs of high civilization, is not merely 
technical proficiency, but such proficiency 
united to creative capacity. There is no true 
craftsman who is not the personal designer of 
what he fashions, and it is the negation of this 
principle that vitiates so much of the work 
produced through the so-called "arts and 
crafts" societies of the present day. For my 
own part, I have lost much of my confidence in 
a movement that once seemed to promise so 
much, just because I have found there the same 
old vicious system ; one man making the design, 
the other carrying it out. This is fatal, and I 
believe that the arts and crafts movement is 
doomed to immediate failure unless it prohibits 
absolutely the showing or selling or approval of 
any work that is not fashioned by the man who 
designed it, or is not designed by the man who 
fashioned it. 

It is better to accept work that is in a meas- 
ure defective, if it is so created, than a more 
perfect and plausible product that involves 

160 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

division of labour. I have in mind a certain 
woodcarver who cuts his statues directly from 
baulks of oak, without the intervention of 
either sketch or model, and though I am not 
always wholly in sympathy with what he does, 
though sometimes there is a naivete in what he 
does that would scandalize a trained sculptor 
or a purist architect, I would not change this 
for a moment; for if I did, it would mean the 
achievement of efficiency and regularity at the 
expense of a better thing, and that is person- 
ality. 

Of course, there are at present very few men 
who can be trusted implicitly, but there are 
many who have, and show, promise of possible 
development, and such men should be en- 
couraged and given the widest possible latitude. 
They will repay this confidence tenfold, and 
considerate guidance linked with confidence 
and opportunity will give surprising results. I 
should like to suggest, therefore, that a kind of 
"White List" be compiled and published, and 
added to from time to time, of those craftsmen 
who have shown the ability and the promise ; 
that it be given the widest publicity amongst 

161 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

architects, and that they should consider them- 
selves bound in honour to go to these men, and 
work with them, rather than over them, in 
preference to the more august and widely 
heralded concerns that commend themselves 
rather by their financial than their artistic 
capital. 

In the end, and that we may finally get back 
to the old and ideal state of things, we shall 
have to restore the ancient guild idea, and as 
well the workshops assembled around some 
great architectural undertaking. If a cathedral 
is to be built, or a university, or a public library, 
with the turning of the first sod should go the 
raising of temporary workshops, and the as- 
sembling of the varied workers that will be 
brought into play for the embellishing of the 
fabric. Think what a future cathedral close 
might be ; in the midst, the slowly rising walls, 
and all around, busy workshops; here a group 
of stone-carvers under a competent foreman 
(but minus special designers and modellers), 
surrounded by casts and photographs and 
drawings of the carving of Chartres and Rheims 
and Venice and Wells and Lincoln ; here glass- 

162 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

workers with their models from Bourges and 
Chartres and York, slowly fashioning (each 
man his own window) the jewelled filling for the 
tracerized apertures of the temple ; here join- 
ers and woodworkers with the same kind of 
surroundings, and workers in wrought and 
forged iron, and in gold and silver; tilemakers, 
with their Dutch and Persian and Spanish 
models; and so on, until all the varied list is 
filled. Each group would form its own inde- 
pendent guild, self-governing, self-controlled; 
all united then in a general guild which would 
have a broad supervision of all that was done, 
and provide models, books, teachers, while the 
architect Jiimself would go daily through all 
the works, suggesting here, correcting there, 
inspiring everywhere. And with the primary 
craft activity would go also certain social ele- 
ments, that would bind the several guilds to- 
gether and give them coordination ; educational 
elements, religious elements, and those features 
of assurance against loss through sickness and 
of participation in a division of profits, that 
were fundamental in the guilds of the Middle 
Ages. Can there be any doubt as to the result? 

163 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

If such a thing as that could come into being in 
connection with one great contemporary build- 
ing, it would mean that the problem was solved, 
and that for the future there would be enough 
real craftsmen and a better art, and a higher 
civilization. 

You will say this is a dream impossible of 
achievement; that no owner would for a mo- 
ment think of financing such a venture; that 
enough workmen could not be found to man 
any one of the workshops even if an adequate 
foreman could be obtained; that the idea of 
team work has so utterly died out of a hyper- 
individualized generation that a communal 
spirit could not be built up; and that such a 
scheme, if started, would immediately disin- 
tegrate through jealousy, suspicion, and ava- 
rice; and finally that the labour unions would 
refuse to permit anything of the kind and would 
destroy it, if initiated, by the simple method of 
calling a strike amongst the labourers on the 
works but outside the guilds. 

I admit the force only of the last claim, and 
even here I think it is exaggerated. I cannot 
believe that organized labour could be so short- 

164. 



CRAFTSMAN AND ARCHITECT 

sighted as to fail to see that such a scheme was 
quite in harmony with the high ideals they 
openly avow ; and if they were, I am sure the 
time is close at hand when the growing force of 
public opinion will suppress with a heavy hand 
the corruptions of unionism which are so un- 
representative of, and injurious to, its better 
principles. 

However this may be, the thing must come 
and will come, for we cannot much longer sub- 
mit to a condition so unwholesome and so de- 
plorable in its results, or even to a type of civili- 
zation that makes this condition inevitable. 
If individualism or commercialism or division 
of labour or the trade unions stand in the way, 
they will be swept out of existence, going down 
in defeat before the resolution that will surely in 
its progress bring back again many of the old 
conditions that marked, as they will ever mark, 
estates of high civilization. In the mean time, 
we can and I close as I began do much 
toward the amelioration of no longer endurable 
conditions, much even toward the bringing-in 
of the great and fundamental reforms. I doubt 
if the state can do this, for its achievements in 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

the line of popular education are not such as to 
enlist confidence; it is too blackly tarred with 
the same stick of secularism, mechanism, and 
the division of labour. I doubt if the schools 
and colleges can do it, or would do it. But the 
architect can, and the owner, for both can make 
the demand and foster and further the supply. 
It is to them, therefore, that we must turn in 
our emergency; to the owner, in the hope that 
he will demand real craftsmanship and accept 
no commercial or syndicated substitute; to the 
architect, in the confidence that he will search 
out the individual craftsman, give him the pre- 
ference, and accord him the greatest measure of 
liberty of which he is worthy and even a 
little more. And in these hopes we shall not be 
disappointed, for once the condition is recog- 
nized there is no alternative, action, imme- 
diate, comprehensive, and persistent, becomes a 
matter of honour. 



VI 

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 



VI 

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 1 

IT would be impossible for me to express in 
any adequate fashion my deep apprecia- 
tion of the honour you do me in asking me to 
supplement, in some small degree, the penetrat- 
ing and comprehensive paper Mr. Warren al- 
ready has read before you, with a consideration 
and a showing of that other collegiate architec- 
ture over-seas which, as he so justly says, is 
in its impulse and its achievement a natural 
continuation of British tradition. We have in 
America, as you in your colonies, the residential 
college the early, the perfect, the indestruct- 
ible type elsewhere abandoned, and with 
great loss in respect to those results in charac- 
ter-building (and therefore national civiliza- 
tion) for which no intensive scholarship can 
ever make amends. The foundations of sane 
and sound and wholesome society are neither 

1 Read before the Royal Institute of British Architects, 
London, 1912. 

169 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

industrial supremacy, nor world-wide trade, nor 
hoarded wealth ; they are personal honour, clean 
living, fearlessness in action, self-reliance, 
generosity of impulse, good-fellowship, obedi- 
ence to law, reverence, and the fear of God, 
all those elements which are implied in the 
word "character," which is the end of educa- 
tion and which is the proudest product of the 
old English residential college, and the old 
English educational idea that brought it into 
being, maintained it for centuries, and holds it 
now a bulwark against the tides of anarchy and 
materialism that threaten the very endurance 
of civilization itself. 

From time to time we have yielded more or 
less to novel impulses, coquetting with that 
questionable lady sometimes known as the 
"Spirit of the Age," accepting even her insidi- 
ous doctrine that, after all, the object of educa- 
tion is not the building of character, but the 
breeding of intensive specialists, or the turning 
of a boy at the earliest possible moment into a 
wage-earning animal. We still hold to the dam- 
nable opinion that education may be divorced 
from religion, and ethics inculcated apart from a 

170 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

dogmatic religious faith, and having sown the 
wind of an insane secularism, we are reaping 
the whirlwind of civic corruption and industrial 
anarchy. I do not mean to say that we were 
alone in our error: you yourselves know that 
across narrower seas than the Atlantic the same 
is true, and in greater degree, while even here, 
in these narrow islands that so often have been 
the last refuge and stronghold of Christian 
civilization, I have heard strange rumours of 
those who would sacrifice Latin and Greek and 
the humanities to applied science and voca- 
tional training ; who would drive the very name 
of religion from the schools ; who would, in the 
ringing words of an eminent French statesman, 
"put out the lights in heaven," and, to quote 
Karl Marx, "destroy the idea of God which is 
the keystone of a perverted civilization." We 
have, I think, rather got beyond taking this 
sort of thing seriously, and I doubt if you ever 
will do so even for a moment ; for when we stop 
doing things long enough to think, we all realize 
that, as the Dean of St. Paul's has recently said, 
"The real test of progress is the kind of people 
that a country turns out," and the product of 

171 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

secularized and intensive education is not of 
a quality that develops in sane and healthy 
minds a sense either of covetousness or emula- 
tion. 

So, in spite of our backing and filling, we are, 
I think, in America, well beyond the turn of the 
tide. I myself have seen it at its flood, and I 
have seen the ebb begin. It is not so long ago 
that our ideal seemed to be a kind of so-called 
education that might be labelled "made in Ger- 
many": we prescribed nothing, and accepted 
anything a freshman in his wisdom might elect ; 
we joined schools of dental surgery and "busi- 
ness science " (whatever that may be) and jour- 
nalism and farriery to our august universities; 
we ignored Greek and smiled at Latin ; we tried 
to teach theology on an undogmatic basis (an 
idea not without humour), and we cut out re- 
ligious worship altogether. It was all evanes- 
cent, however; now the "free electives" are 
passing, even at Harvard where they began and 
ran full riot ; at Princeton the preceptorial sys- 
tem has been restored, and is coming elsewhere ; 
there, also, a great college chapel is contem- 
plated, while at the University of Chicago one is 

172 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

about to be built at a cost of some three hun- 
dred thousand pounds. Everywhere residential 
quads are coming into existence: one ancient 
college Amherst is considering abandon- 
ing all its scientific schools and falling back on 
the sound old classical basis, while lately our 
own American Institute of Architects has en- 
dorsed the principle that our schools of archi- 
tecture should grant degrees only to those rea- 
sonably proficient in Latin. 

And so we return step by step to the old ideals 
and sound methods of English colleges ; return to 
the mother that bore us, just as we return year 
after year to our old home for refreshment and 
inspiration; return, even in a wider sense, to 
those eternally battered but eternally enduring 
principles in life and thought and aspiration 
which make up the great Anglo-Saxon heritage 
of which we proudly claim to be joint heirs with 
yourselves. And in this return we find our- 
selves recurring once more to the very forms of 
the architecture or rather, we hope, to its 
underlying spirit through which this great 
tradition has manifested itself. In our earliest 
days we followed, as closely as we could, the 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

work going on at home ; then we yielded to our 
new nationality and wandered off after strange 
gods, some of them very strange, indeed, 
expressing our experiments in experimental 
styles until the last shadow of a memory of 
England seemed wholly gone ; and then, as the 
last flicker died, behold a new restoration! for 
with the reaction toward a broader culture 
comes the return to the architecture of Eton 
and Winchester, Oxford and Cambridge, that 
so fully expressed that very culture itself. 

Consider for a moment and you will see that 
no other course was possible: not because the 
fifteenth and sixteenth and early seventeenth 
century collegiate architecture of England is 
the most perfect style ever devised by man to 
this particular end. It is this, of course, but the 
real reason for our return lies deeper, and it is 
simply that it is the only style that absolutely 
expresses our new-old, crescent ideals of an edu- 
cation that makes for culture and makes for 
character. I myself have been coming back to 
Oxford and Cambridge year after year now for 
a full generation, others for even longer terms ; 
and every year I send, from my own and from 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

other offices, boys and young men, to the same 
shrines of causes, not lost, but gone before, 
who are vail of them beginning the same cycle of 
periodicity that has marked the lives of their 
elders ; and to all of us, young and old, these 
gray and wonderful cities mean, not great art 
alone, but, even more, the greater impulse that 
incarnated itself in such personalities as Duns 
Scotus and Henry V; Sir Philip Sidney and Sir 
Walter Raleigh; Grocyn, Linacre, and Eras- 
mus ; Laud, and Strafford and Falkland ; Hamp- 
den and Cromwell, the Duke of Wellington, 
John Keble, and Cardinal Newman. For one 
thing we know, at least, and that is that archi- 
tecture, together with all art, is no matter of 
fashion or predilection, no vain but desirable 
amenity of life, but rather an unerring though 
perishable record of civilization, more exact 
than written history, and the only perfect show- 
ing of the civilization of a time. By its fruitage 
of art we know the tree of life, and further we 
know that this fruit is not seedless, but the 
guaranty of life to such ages as use it rightly. 
We love it for what it is in itself; more for what 
it reveals to us of a great past ; most of all, for 

175 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

what it promises our future. Art has dynamic 
potency; it records, indeed, but it is evocative 
also ; and we who would have Sidneys and Straf- 
fords and Newmans to redeem and defend and 
ennoble our civilization use the architecture 
that is their voicing that it may re-create their 
spirit in a later age and in a distant but not 
alien land. 

So much, then, by way of the introduction 
you did not bring me over-seas to say; and now 
let us turn to the work itself of which you 
expect me to speak. 

And first of all let me show you from Harvard 
one or two examples of what we did for a begin- 
ning. It was n't very much, I suppose, but we 
care for it extremely, just because it spells our 
own brief antiquity, while it was honest and 
sincere, and not without a certain pathetic 
element of far-away longing for an old but not 
forgotten home. English it was, of course, so 
far as we could make it, for we were all English, 
or^rather British, in bone and blood and 
tradition, down to half a century ago. The old 
artistic impulse that had remained with man 
from the beginning was slowly dying, for the 

176 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

first time in recorded history ; it had been losing 
vitality ever since the Renaissance and Refor- 
.mation, but it was still instinctive, and so re- 
mained until that Revolution, which included 
so much more than the French Terror, came to 
give it its quietus. This day or night was 
still far off, and in the seventeenth and eigh- 
teenth centuries there was still exquisite delicacy 
and refinement and wealth of invention. I wish 
I could show you some proofs of this in the 
shape of domestic and ecclesiastical work from 
Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Virginia and 
Maryland and the Carolinas, for it is true that 
little of this appears in our collegiate work. 
Here funds were scant and dearly obtained, 
while the planters of the South and the great 
merchants of the North were more lavish in 
their outlay ; as it is, our early college buildings 
make their appeal through their fine propor- 
tions and their frank simplicity. 

Of course practically all the seventeenth-cen- 
tury work, and nine -tenths of that of the eigh- 
teenth is gone, including much of the best, and 
we must re-create our vision of the past from 
shreds and patches; but fortunately at Harvard 

177 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

there remains a notable group that has yielded 
neither to vandalism nor conflagration. As 
you will see from the plan of the old " Yard," 
the typical English quadrangular arrangement 
was abandoned for a grouping of isolated build- 
ings, at first more or less formal, then develop- 
ing into final chaos as other men with other 
minds came on the scene and placed their 
buildings, and designed them also, at their own 
sweet will. As for the material, it was almost 
invariably brick, at first imported from the old 
country, for the visible stone supply in New 
England was intractible granite, and even 
where a kinder material was available, there was 
in the beginning little skill in cutting, and later 
little money to pay for the labour involved. 
With few exceptions the trimmings of doors 
and windows and cornices were of delicately 
moulded wood painted white, the Vignolan 
laws as to proportion being intelligently modi- 
fied to fit the new material, while the roofs were 
covered with split shingles. 

The first evidence of decadence appears, I 
think, in the advent of that more pompous 
style Jefferson did so much to advance. 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

Hitherto what had been done was done simply 
and unaffectedly; now came the conscious 
desire for architecture, which is a dangerous 
ambition at best. At the University of Vir- 
ginia we have the original setting out, almost 
intact, and if we deplore the unnecessarily 
unreasonable classical porticoes, with columns, 
entablatures, and pediments complete, and 
all built of deal boards framed up in the sem- 
blance of a newly discovered paganism, we 
must admit the great dignity of the plan and 
the singular charm of the ensemble. 

This "Jeffersonian" style rapidly took the 
place of the old Georgian, but its day was brief; 
and somewhere between 1820 and 1830 oc- 
curred that ominous point when the last flicker- 
ing tradition of good taste and the last weak 
impulse of instinctive art vanished, and the 
new era began wherein the desires and predil- 
ections of society as a whole were no longer for 
good things and beautiful things, but explicitly 
and even clamorously for bad things and ugly 
things, while the uncertain offices of the archi- 
tect were the only agencies that from time to 
time redeemed the general chaos. 

179 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

Fortunately, there was little collegiate build- 
ing with us during this dismal second quarter 
of the nineteenth century, or rather, and also 
fortunately, little of it has survived ; and when 
first the architect appears on the scene as the 
mentor rather than the exemplar of public 
opinion, it is in novel guise, nothing less, in- 
deed, than as the protagonist of Gothic. He 
was not very Gothic, I must admit, and in the 
beginning he contented himself with a few 
apologetic and quite casual buttresses, pointed 
arches over his door and window openings, an 
octagonal turret or two, and of course battle- 
ments, usually of two-inch deal neatly painted, 
and sometimes sprinkled with sand as a conces- 
sion to appearances. What took place in do- 
mestic and ecclesiastical architecture, I dare 
not even reveal to you, but the college work was 
a shade less horrific ; for sometimes, as at West 
Point, it was of stone, and good stone work will 
cover a multitude of sins as it still does in 
our own day and generation, I believe. 

Perhaps it is hardly fair to attribute this first 
"Gothic" to architects; really it was the work 
of the ambitious builder who, after crystallizing 

1 80 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

under the immortal Batty Langley's handbooks 
on classical architecture, suddenly expanded 
with almost explosive force beneath the influ- 
ence of that amazing work of the same gifted 
author wherein he reduces Gothic also to a sys- 
tem of "orders" and demonstrates how by a 
few simple rules one can easily learn to pro- 
duce "genteel and appropriate Structures in the 
Gothic Taste." But the Oxford Movement and 
Pugin's Gothic Revival soon passed beyond the 
admirable Batty Langley, and the influence of 
Pugin himself entered America, largely through 
a really great architect, Upjohn. I think he did 
no collegiate work, but John Ruskin produced 
those that did, and from the close of our War 
between the States down to about 1880, the new 
Gothic that expressed his really enormous influ- 
ence might be said to have run riot through our 
colleges. There were those like Renwick and 
Congdon, and Mr. Haight (who is still living), 
that held conscientiously to the grave and 
archaeological type established by the Pugins; 
there were others who tried to incorporate 
Ruskinian doctrines in more personal, original, 
and mobile work, as Blomfield and Butterfield 

181 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

were doing here in England . The results were at 
least lacking in monotony, but few of them 
achieved the simplicity and the dignity of Mr. 
Haight's work, while many of them reached a 
point of violence and anarchy hardly to be 
matched in history. 

It was all a "false dawn," however, and 
ceased almost in a moment (though for a brief 
period only, as we shall see) when that great 
genius and greater personality, Richardson, 
flashed like an unpredicted comet across the 
sky. The later seventies were desperate, no 
less ; and the group of conscientious men could 
not withstand the flood of falsity and bad taste 
and artificiality that involved the whole art of 
architecture. Richardson alone turned the tide, 
brushed away the whole card-house of artifice, 
and deliberately forced a new and alien style on 
a bewildered people. He did great work, some 
of it immortal work, in his powerful mode ; but 
he died before his mission was accomplished, 
and though he killed the " French roof style " 
and the futile Gothic, and all the other absurdi- 
ties, he left behind no one of his own calibre to 
carry on the crusade, but instead a multitude of 

182 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

imitators who, though at first doing fine work 
under the memory and inspiration of their mas- 
ter, gradually turned away into other fields, 
leaving the Romanesque propaganda to the 
most inadequate exponents imaginable. For a 
decade we wallowed in lilliputian cyclopeanism, 
and then, to change the simile, the summer 
storm swept west and south, and over the deso- 
lation it had left loomed, almost simultaneously, 
three new tendencies, Colonial, Perpendicular 
Gothic, and "Beaux Arts." Three less well- 
assorted bedfellows it would be hard to find, but 
with a magnanimity rare in history these three 
rivals more or less succeeded in establishing a 
modus vivendi, Colonial taking over part of the 
new, and again triply divided, Gaul, in the shape 
of domestic work; Gothic annexing, so far as it 
could, all collegiate, scholastic, and ecclesiasti- 
cal building; while to the Beaux Arts propa- 
ganda fell all it could get of the rest par- 
ticularly Carnegie libraries, town houses, and 
banks. As a matter of fact, this partitioning of 
architectural activity was not the result of 
amity, nor was it in the least definitive: the 
Colonial style claimed the patronage of our 

183 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

nonconformist brethren (with show of reason 
and propriety), Gothic tried vainly to break 
into the library fold, while the Beaux Arts 
architects made unavailing eyes at the Church, 
and, indeed, claimed everything in sight. Their 
pretensions did not go without questioning, 
however, for in the mean time the old and most 
classical Classic was re-born (it had never wholly 
died), and at the hands of that great man, 
Charles McKim, it suddenly achieved a height 
of serene nobility where it could and did chal- 
lenge the claims of its rivals. And there were 
other claimants for the architectural crown now 
so completely "in commission": there was the 
Spanish pretender with its doubtful offspring, 
the quaintly denominated "Mission style"; 
there was the secessionist Americanism of the 
inspired but unguarded Mr. Sullivan; there 
was a kind of neo-Byzantinism ; there was a 
hidden but persistent Japanese propaganda. In 
fact I was wrong when I said that the architec- 
tural Gaul was divided into three parts : it is not 
such a triple partition that confronts us now, it 
is an omnivorous eclecticism that bears some 
of the ear-marks of anarchy. To use one of our 

184 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

own phrases, "everything goes," and much of it 
goes exceedingly well, amazingly so, in fact ; but 
the result is somewhat lacking in the qualities of 
unity and lucidity. 

Fortunately, we have to do with few of the 
varied schools, for though all of them have foot- 
holds in the several colleges, only two have 
established their claims, Georgian and Gothic, 
and at the present time the latter has the call 
and has produced the most notable results: it 
may almost be said that, except where lack 
of funds or climatic conditions argue against 
Gothic, this has the field absolutely to itself. 
The ascetic and fastidious classicism of McKim 
created Columbia University and occurs spo- 
radically elsewhere ; the Boulevardesque of the 
Beaux Arts men appears in a single building at 
Yale, and in the slow-growing University of 
California and the Naval College at Annapolis ; 
Spanish elements go to the making of Leland 
Stanford ; and in Texas my own firm is doing "a 
deed without a name " that you must judge for 
yourselves and justify if you can and as we do 
ourselves. Elsewhere it is, as I said, Georgian 
or Gothic, and to the college trustee it is now 

185 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

the question, "under which King, Bezonian." 
Harvard, after swinging the circle of every pos- 
sible architectural dogma and heresy, seems to 
have settled down, as she should, to Georgian, 
as has Williams, and so many of the smaller and 
poorer preparatory schools and colleges, par- 
ticularly in the South; but Yale, West Point, 
Pennsylvania, New York, Princeton, Bryn 
Mawr, Washington University, St. Louis, and 
Chicago, together with all the larger prepara- 
tory and Church schools, and the newer Roman 
Catholic institutions, are uncompromisingly 
Gothic of the type made immortal in England. 
Before showing you the nature of this work, 
it may be well to examine a typical American 
university, in its setting-out, in its component 
parts, and in its organization. I will choose for 
this purpose Princeton, of which I am a mem- 
ber by adoption and where I have the honor 
to act as supervising architect. The title itself 
will indicate at once one of the many points of 
divergence between the English and American 
systems, for I fancy there is no university in the 
United Kingdom where one man is given almost 
complete authority over all matters of the 

1 86 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

choice of architects, supervision of their work 
both in design and execution, acceptance or 
rejection of gifts and their placing if accepted, 
the development of roads and paths, and the 
planting of trees and shrubs. Until recently 
such an office was unknown in America, but 
since Princeton took the lead, some five or six 
years ago, others have followed rapidly and the 
practice has now become an established cus- 
tom. 

It was time, too, that something should be 
done : as I have already indicated, our colleges 
were like Topsy they "just growed" 
without rhyme or reason, subject to the most 
vacillating fashion and the quaint whims of 
emancipated individualism, while the results 
were generally shocking. In the plan of Prince- 
ton you will easily see how lawless had been the 
growth, and conditions were even worse at Har- 
vard and Yale. You will note at once from the 
wide spacing and the lack of coordination an- 
other point of difference : with us almost every 
college has begun in open country, as an original 
foundation. We have nothing like Oxford and 
Cambridge, partly because of this fact, and 

187 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

partly because each college is with us a unit ; we 
have no gathering up of many and independent 
foundations, loosely knit together for admin- 
istrative purposes: we have instead self-con- 
tained units, sometimes of enormous size, and 
each new benefactor founds, not a new college, 
but a dormitory, a library, a school of law or 
medicine or forestry or journalism. Person- 
ally, I think this plan must be abandoned, and 
a breaking-up into more manageable units take 
place. It seems to me demonstrable that in 
schools that have from four to six thousand stu- 
dents half the character-building qualities of 
education are lost, and that the personal ele- 
ment must be regained by breaking up these 
unwieldy masses into working units of not 
more than two hundred men each, at least for 
living and social purposes. This was attempted 
two years ago at Princeton, but the time was 
not ripe and the reform failed ; still the leaven 
is working at Harvard and Cornell and else- 
where, and is, I think, within measurable dis- 
tance of accomplishment. 

In the new plan of Princeton, which shows 
the university as it now is, and indicates its fu- 

188 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

ture lines of development, you will see at once 
how strong the tendency is toward the standard 
type: here the dormitories are assuming quad- 
rangular form, and in time may become full 
residential colleges, each with its common room 
and great hall and, when times have still further 
changed, perhaps its chapel. In the beginning 
our dormitories were simply barracks, with liv- 
ing rooms opening off long halls, with startling 
results so far as order and discipline were con- 
cerned. Now the "entry" type is almost uni- 
versal, the type that holds in England, while 
the old sequence of regular cells serving both as 
study and bedroom for one or even two men, 
with a common necessarium two or three hun- 
dred yards away, has given place to the stand- 
ard type of suites consisting of a study and two 
bedrooms for two undergraduates, and a study 
and bedroom for each graduate student. In 
the former case each stairway is separated from 
the next by a party wall, unbroken except in the 
basement to which all staircases descend, and 
here a general corridor gives access to groups of 
baths and toilets, and to the box-rooms, and to 
the other staircases in the quadrangle as well. 

189 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

In the newest of our buildings for graduate stu- 
dents every two suites have a private bath 
between. Of course, we pride ourselves very 
much on our plumbing, and I sometimes 
wonder if we are not becoming almost Roman 
in our luxuries for bathing: it is possible we 
have gone too far, and that in time we shall 
return to more Spartan arrangements; but at 
present there is no denying the fact that we 
give nine tenths of our students more than 
they are accustomed to at home. 

Another thing that will strike you is the mag- 
nificence of our gymnasiums and the dominat- 
ing quality of our schools of science. There is 
really a rivalry amongst our colleges as to which 
shall have the biggest and most perfectly 
equipped gymnasium and swimming-pool, but 
this is partly excused by the fact that our 
winters are so severe that for three or four 
months skating, snow-shoeing, and ice-boating 
are about the only possible forms of out-of-door 
exercise in the North. Then we have general 
physical directors, as well as special trainers for 
the varied forms of athletics, and in many col- 
leges regular and searching examinations of the 

190 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

men for physical and functional weaknesses, 
and as a result the health of our schools is well 
above normal. As for our science buildings, you 
know, as we know only too well, how almost 
unbalanced we have become in our devotion to 
practical and "vocational" training, and how 
obsessed we have become with the mania for 
natural science. Here at Princeton there is less 
of this than elsewhere, but two of our newest 
and most magnificent buildings are devoted, 
the one to biology, the other to physics, though 
as yet we have no schools of mechanical and 
electrical and mining engineering, as happens so 
often elsewhere. 

One novelty you will not notice on the 
Princeton plan, and that is the clubs and fra- 
ternities. We have as many "Greek-Letter So- 
cieties" (which are very awful and very secret 
organizations) as we have colleges, and there 
are some institutions in America where these 
fraternity houses almost outnumber the aca- 
demic buildings themselves. At Princeton no 
Greek-letter societies are allowed, but there are 
two old secret organizations, the Whig and the 
Clio, whose white marble mausoleums form the 

191 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

very centre of the campus, while to the east 
stretches a great street absolutely lined with the 
private clubs which grew up when the fratern- 
ities were taboo. These clubs take in only a cer- 
tain number of new members each year ; they 
are distinctly aristocratic in their tone, though 
aristocratic of a sound and healthy type ; and 
the buildings generally follow the lines of an old 
and palatial country house. 

From all these points of difference you will 
see, then, that our American university is a very 
different matter, in its architectural form, from 
those in this country. Our newest graduate col- 
leges come nearer, as you will see when I show 
you the now rising buildings for Princeton which 
lie half a mile to the west. 

In the mean time let us examine the begin- 
nings of what has been a notable Gothic renais- 
sance amongst our colleges, and we need not 
forsake Princeton to do this, for it was here, in 
the shape of the new library, that it came into 
being. Alexander Hall had just been completed 
in the verbose and turgid style that followed 
the memory of Richardson like a Nemesis, and 
its architect was given orders to abandon this 

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UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

and revert to what we sometimes call "Ox- 
ford Gothic." It was not a style with which 
he had either sympathy or familiarity, and he 
produced a work which, while acceptable in 
its mass and general composition, fails sadly 
through its coarse scale and its mechanical 
ornamentation. Almost simultaneously, how- 
ever, certain new dormitories were put in hand 
Blair and Little Halls ; and here the archi- 
tects were two young men of Philadelphia who 
most unaccountably could think and feel in 
Gothic terms. I like to record their names 
whenever I can, John Stewardson and Wal- 
ter Cope, for in addition to being singularly 
lovable fellows, they were geniuses of no infer- 
ior order; they brought into being, at Princeton, 
Bryn Mawr, and the University of Pennsyl- 
vania, structures that are to me singularly beau- 
tiful and inspiring, and they left their mark for 
all time on American architecture. Both are 
dead, and at a pathetically early age, while the 
profession of architecture is the poorer thereby. 
About the same time a transplanted English- 
man, Mr. Vaughan, sometime pupil of that 
immortal master of the new Gothic, the late 

193 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

George Bodley, and still with us I am glad to 
say, began the introduction of the same style 
into our great preparatory schools, which you 
here would call "public schools." His work at 
St. Paul's marked a new era in this category 
of scholastic architecture, and was continued 
later in more sumptuous fashion at Groton. 
My own firm has been following his leadership 
in the convent school of St. Mary at Peekskill, 
and theTaft School in Connecticut, while there 
are innumerable examples of the same sort of 
thing all over the country. 

It was really Cope and Stewardson's work 
at Princeton that set the pace, however, and 
so beautiful was it, so convincing as to the 
possibilities of adapting this perfect style to 
all modern scholastic requirements, that the 
Princeton authorities, with a wisdom beyond 
their generation, passed a law that for the 
future every building erected there should fol- 
low the same general style. "Seventy-nine" 
Hall, Patton, McCosh, and the Gymnasium 
followed in quick succession; then came the 
great Palmer Physical Laboratory, the Biolog- 
ical Laboratory Guyot Hall Upper Pyne 

194 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

and Lower Pyne, and a little later, after I had 
become supervising architect, Campbell Hall, 
by my own firm, and the altogether wonderful 
quadrangles of Holder and Hamilton Halls, by 
Messrs. Day Brothers and Klauder, of Phila- 
delphia. These latter buildings mark one of the 
very high points we have achieved in Collegiate 
Gothic in modern times. When the great quads 
are completed, we shall, I think, confront a 
masterpiece. 

The most recent Princeton work is the great 
Graduate College my own firm is now building 
on the crest of a low hill, half a mile from the 
college campus, and commanding a gently slop- 
ing lawn of about eighty acres. This new col- 
lege is, of course, only for graduate students; 
it has an endowment of over half a million 
pounds; it is conceived and organized on the 
most liberal, cultural, and scholastic lines, far 
away, indeed, from the popular schemes of "vo- 
cational" training; and it should go far toward 
restoring the balance in favour of sound learning 
and noble scholarship. The plan shows only 
the work now in hand, the first quad, with the 
great hall and its kitchens, together with the 

195 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

Cleveland Tower, which is a national memorial 
to one of our greatest Presidents, who spent his 
years, after retiring from office, in Princeton, as 
a trustee of the university and a devoted friend 
of the new Graduate College on the lines that 
had been determined by its Dean, Dr. West. 
At present the placing of the great tower seems 
a little too like that of the Victoria Tower at 
Westminster to be wholly satisfactory, but in 
some distant future a second quadrangle will be 
constructed to the south and east, containing 
the Chapel, the Library, and quarters for Fel- 
lows, which will restore the tower itself to the 
centre of the composition. Some day, also, a 
third quad will be developed to the northeast, 
and then the group will be complete, for the 
Dean's lodgings, with their private gardens, to 
the southwest of the great hall, are already 
under construction. 

Let us now turn from Princeton to some 
others of our many colleges ; but before we take 
up the Gothic tale, let us see what has been 
done in other stylistic directions, for I would 
not give you the idea that the restoration of 
what one of your own great Gothicists, Mr. 
196 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

Champneys, has called so well the "Oxford 
Mixture," is all plain sailing, or that splendid 
work has not been done in other directions. 
Columbia University in New York the old 
King's College of Colonial days stands, of 
course, as the noblest type of the pure Classi- 
cal idea, and its majestical library will always 
remain a national monument. Unfortunately, 
the site is crowded and fatally restricted: the 
mistake was made of fixing this when the 
change was necessary a generation ago too 
near the outposts of the advancing city, which 
like a conquering army has already swept up to 
its gates and miles beyond. For myself I can't 
imagine a great centre of higher education in 
the howl and war of a great city, or anywhere, 
in fact, except in the quiet country or in the vil- 
lage environment it has built for itself, and I 
fancy another generation will see another mov- 
ing on of Columbia ; .and when this happens I 
venture to predict that, in spite of the grave and 
scholarly mastery of McKim, Mead, and White's 
work, the new housing will be on the lines that 
Oxford and Cambridge have not only made 
their own, but universal and eternal. 

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THE MINISTRY OF ART 

There is little else that is purely Classical 
amongst our universities, though Carrere and 
Hastings have built a most engagingly Parisian 
Alumni Hall at Yale, the Naval Academy at 
Annapolis is strictly French, and the University 
of California is growing on scrupulously ficole 
des Beaux Arts lines, afar on the Pacific Coast. 
Georgian, however, has established itself as a 
determined rival of the "Oxford Mixture," and 
some of its products are not only logical and 
lovely, but genuinely scholastic as well. Har- 
vard, as I have said, is beginning to follow 
this line, and so is Williams, where we ourselves 
are trying to show we have no hard feelings, 
by building a Commencement Hall, and a new 
quadrangle, in this quite characteristically 
American style. In Virginia, also, we are slowly 
constructing a great college for women, while 
we are using the same style for another of 
our oldest and most famous "preparatory 
schools" at Exeter, as well as at yet another 
girls' college, Wheaton, in Massachusetts. 
Georgian also, with rather quaint Roman ele- 
ments, has been used by McKim, Mead, and 
White for the vast War College at Washing- 

198 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

ton, and altogether it is, as we say in our 
colloquial way, giving Gothic "a run for its 
money." 

The University of Pennyslvania shows still 
more of Cope and Stewardson's wonderful 
work, though here it is couched in an extremely 
rich Elizabethan vernacular; and I am sure you 
will admit that the style is handled in a magnifi- 
cent and competent fashion. Here it is all red 
brick and yellow stone, and the same materials 
are used in Mr. Day's beautifully proportioned 
and very reserved Gymnasium. Bryn Mawr 
again is built of the wonderful stone that un- 
derlies all Pennsylvania and New Jersey, putting 
a premium on good architecture. Here in Eng- 
land all building stone is finely dressed, but in 
America we have adopted the practice of using 
"ledge stone" for our ashlar, our trimmings 
only being tooled. Fortunately, we have a wide 
variety of singularly beautiful stones, ranging 
in colour through all shades of gray, brown, pur- 
ple, and tawny, easily obtained, inexpensive 
and durable. In a way I think we gain a rich- 
ness in colour and texture that is obtainable in no 
other way, while we also acquire something of 

199 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

that effect of age, which is, after all, so essential 
a part of architecture. 

Washington University, St. Louis, is later 
work of this same firm of Cope and Steward- 
son, after the latter had died, and good as it is, 
it shows the loss of the peculiar poetry that 
marked everything Stewardson touched. The 
plan is exceedingly interesting and very mas- 
terly, you will admit. It was laid out de novo, 
and after our college authorities had experi- 
enced a change of heart. With Chicago Univer- 
sity we come to another of those institutions 
where the reverse course was followed : here the 
first buildings were distributed without any 
regard to architectural effect, and Shepley, 
Rutan and Coolidge, in taking over the work, 
have been badly handicapped. This is the most 
archaeological of the "College Gothic" in Amer- 
ica, accurate, conservative, and reserved. For 
contrast consider Mr. Post's "College of the 
City of New York," which is as poetical, fantas- 
tic, and imaginative as the other is austere and 
cautious. I am afraid I think that here is an 
example of carrying a good thing too far in the 
use of one stone for ashlar and another for 

200 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

trimmings. Here the ashlar is almost black (the 
trap-rock that forms a great dyke along the 
geological "fault" that forms the Hudson 
River), while the trimming stones are not stone 
at all, but a pure white terra-cotta with a sur- 
face like ivory. In itself the design is so striking, 
so forceful, so full of life and spirit, one rather 
wishes it might have been expressed in mate- 
rials of greater coherency. 

Fortunately, both for education and architec- 
ture, practically all our collegiate work is fixed 
in the country, where there is land enough and 
we are able to keep down to those modest walls 
and few ranges of windows that are so essentially 
a part of the models we now follow : at Prince- 
ton, for instance, the residential buildings are 
seldom more than two stories in height, even 
when perhaps three would be better ; but we are 
very afraid, and justly, of the aspiring tenden- 
cies, in our light-footed land, that lead to the 
building of Towers of Babel, sometimes, I re- 
gret to say, Gothic in style or rather with 
passably acceptable Gothic detail. In one in- 
stance, however, that of the Union Theologi- 
cal Seminary (a Presbyterian institution), in 
201 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

New York, strange counsels prevailed as to 
site and this was chosen well within the city, 
and where land already possessed an altogether 
artificial value. As a result the architects, 
Messrs. Allen and Collens, were confronted 
with the very grievous necessity of piling up 
their levels into a total with which, I think, 
Gothic, either in spirit or in method, has little 
sympathy. They have a fine chapel, however, 
and when the enormous corner tower is built, 
it will probably do much toward reducing the 
other buildings to a more reasonable frame of 
mind. 

At the beginnings of another theological 
seminary, Roman Catholic this time, Messrs. 
Maginnis and Walsh have already completed 
one building, the tower of which is, I think, 
very beautiful. The general plan is not yet 
wholly determined, but it includes a huge parish 
church and will give a great opportunity for the 
architects to strike another blow for Roman 
Catholic Emancipation. I should shrink from 
trying to give you any faintest idea of the career 
of architectural crime that has been led by the 
Roman Church in America until now and 

202 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

the stars of promise are even yet dim and 
widely scattered. It has been a carnival of hor- 
ror unbroken by any ray of light except, 
perhaps, St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Paul- 
ist Church in New York ; but it is much that 
so good a thing as Boston College should come 
into existence, and it may serve as a leaven 
until we Anglicans in America, as you here in 
England, may have to look alive to prevent 
Rome outdoing us at our own game, which has 
always been good architecture and plenty of it. 
Near this Roman college, another great insti- 
tution is rising, not strictly collegiate, though 
certainly educational, the " Perkins Institution 
for the Blind," where Mr. R. C. Sturgis is 
developing a singularly personal and intimate 
piece of semi-domestic Gothic. In fact, as I said 
at the beginning, good Gothic is encroaching 
steadily on the preserves of Classicist, Boule- 
vardier, and Colonial, and this in spite of the 
fact that, with the single exception of Harvard, 
every one of our schools of architecture abso- 
lutely disregards every type and phase of 
Gothic, both in design and in theory. Of course, 
it can't quite be suppressed in history and ar- 

203 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

chaeology, but it is treated rather as the madcap 
escapade of a callow youth, and passed over as 
lightly as possible. In spite of this, architects 
do appear who love Gothic, and, what is more, 
know about it also. Religion clamours for it, 
education annexes it, and even, in one instance, 
the Government of the United States itself 
accepted it with alacrity, and has found it not 
half so bad as it looked. For an end, therefore, 
of this casual showing, I want to place before 
you some views of the United States Military 
Academy at West Point, of which, as a military 
training-school, we are so inordinately and so 
justly proud. I cannot begin to give you any 
idea of the extravagant beauty of the site of 
West Point: it is like the loveliest part of the 
Rhine, only bolder and more dramatic. Moun- 
tains rise from the river on either hand, deeply 
forested, Storm-King and Dunderberg lifting 
highest of all; and on a narrow plateau, one 
hundred and fifty feet above the river, stands 
the Academy, its buildings forming a rampart 
along the cliff and creeping up the mountain- 
sides all around. Of course there was n't any- 
thing one could do there except Gothic, of 

204 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

sorts, though others had thought differently, 
as one who built there a lovely pagan fane like 
a dream of Imperial Rome. Moreover, most of 
the old work was pseudo-Gothic, and it had 
made a tradition, everything does this at 
West Point, I am glad to say, so it was not 
startling after all that our Classical Govern- 
ment should have endorsed a Gothic school. 

I am not sure they got it: I think the chapel 
on its crag, dominating the whole group, would 
pass, though it surely is not archaeological ; the 
site is compelling, however, and really what we 
tried to do was to translate the rocks and trees 
and ribbed cliffs into architectural form. In the 
interior there is perhaps something more of the 
scholastic quality: in any case it is all honest 
masonry throughout, floor, walls, and vault, 
and it ought to stand for all time. Just what 
the cavalry and artillery buildings may be, I 
don't know, nor does it much matter: they are 
an attempt to express outwardly their function 
and in the simplest terms ; the stables sweep in 
an enormous arc around one side of the cavalry 
plain, and at the back, against the towering 
hills, are the barracks, one for each branch of 

205 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

the service. The riding hall is no more, archi- 
tecturally, than a rampart of rock, heavily but- 
tressed, and six hundred feet in length, a di- 
mension that is prolonged to the south by the 
tower, and the power-house that breaks down 
step by step, along the coal-conveyor, to the 
water level and the railway tunnel. The cadet 
barracks are the result of an amour (perhaps 
illicit) between ironclad military regulations 
and a very free and easy Gothic, but their inter- 
minable ranges of windows and buttresses show 
not unpicturesquely through the great trees 
that border the Infantry Plain. The gymna- 
sium is something freer still, but not unpleasing 
in its colour, of tawny brick of a kind of velvet 
texture, and creamy stone trimmings. Unfortu- 
nately some of the most important work is not 
yet begun. There are scores of semi-detached 
quarters for married officers, from many of 
which the views are such as one crosses con- 
tinents to see ; but the new academic building 
is not yet finished, while no funds have been 
made available for the vast quadrangles of the 
quartermaster's department, the cadet head- 
quarters which will, from the plain, form the 
206 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

structural base for the chapel (though this will 
be well behind and above), the hotel, and 
most needed of all the staff headquarters. 
This latter group will terminate the main axis, 
which will stretch a full half-mile from the land- 
ing on the upper level at the elevator tower and 
below the hotel, past the infirmary, between the 
old and the new academic buildings connected 
by their vast triumphal arch with its niched 
statues, past the enormous post headquarters, 
and so across the middle of the Infantry 
Plain. The group will be made up of residen- 
tial quarters for the superintendent, comman- 
dant of cadets, quartermaster, adjutant, and 
surgeon, all grouped around an open court 
that contains the state apartments of the Presi- 
dent, the secretary of war, and distinguished 
guests. There will be a great tower pierced 
by an arched sally-port, a banqueting-room 
vaulted and walled in stone, state reception- 
rooms, and all the other accommodations neces- 
sary at a place that appeals with singular force 
to all the people of the Republic, from its Chief 
Magistrate down to the humblest taxpayer. 
Lacking these buildings, West Point is, of 
207 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

course, quite incomplete, but it is worth seeing 
even now, and for my own part I think, of the 
finished buildings, the post headquarters is not 
the least interesting. It is built on the edge of 
the cliff, and the entrance by the base gate is 
four stories below the main court, which is 
entered from the upper level. It is a pretty big 
building, but it is wholly occupied by the ad- 
ministration of the Academy and the military 
museum, and I want particularly to say that, 
massive as it is, it is all real masonry: it is no 
steel-frame skeleton clothed indifferently with 
a veneering of masonry; it is all of stone dug 
from the reservation cliffs and shot down to 
these lower levels. 

And the same is true not only of the rest of 
the buildings at West Point, but of practically 
all the other work I have shown you as well. 
We do, indeed, indulge in skeleton construction 
and reinforced concrete and other structural 
expedients and substitutes, but deep in our 
racial consciousness, as in that of all other 
Anglo-Saxon peoples, is the solid conviction 
that, after all, there are but three real things 
in the world, the home, the school, and the 
208 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

Church, and that when we are dealing with 
eternal verities honest and enduring construc- 
tion is alone admissible. And it is to the same 
consciousness, I think, that we may attribute 
the very universal return to Gothic of some 
form for our churches and our colleges and our 
schools. After all, there have never been but 
three real styles of architecture in the West, 
noble in impulse, organic in structure, perfect 
in detail ; and these three are Greek, Byzantine, 
and Gothic : everything else is either a patois or 
a form of slang. Greek and Byzantine are in es- 
sence alien to our blood and temper, and Gothic 
alone remains. Over-seas, flushed with a new 
and half-unconscious recognition of the revolu- 
tion that is slowly lifting the world out of ma- 
terialism to the high free levels of a new ideal- 
ism and spirituality, we instinctively revert to 
the very style which came into being to voice 
the old idealism and the old spirituality of the 
great Christian Middle Ages. Thus far we have, 
perhaps, done little more than reproduce; re- 
cording our reverence for the great works of 
our common ancestors, in buildings that hold 
closely to type. We have not hammered out 
209 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

our own intimate style, or national and con- 
temporary architecture, any more than have 
any other modern races and peoples ; but this 
will come by and by. At present we architects 
are, I conceive, no longer as in the past the 
mouthpiece of a people, creating the visible 
form for a great dominating social impulse that 
is the mark of supreme civilization : rather are 
we the voices crying in the wilderness, the 
pioneers of the vanguard of the new life, the 
men who re-create from antiquity the beauty 
that is primarily educational, that so it may 
work subtly through the consciousness of those 
who come under its influence, slowly building 
up a new civilization that, when it has come 
full tide, will burst the shell of archaeological 
forms and come forth in its new and significant 
and splendid shape. 

We have not now, nor have had for three 
centuries, a civilization that demanded or could 
create such artistic expression ; but the light is 
already on the edges of the high hills, and we 
know that a new dawn is at hand. In the 
mean time, like the monks in the dim monas- 
teries of the Dark Ages, we cherish and con- 
210 



UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE 

serve all that was great in our greatest past, 
building as well as we may new Oxfords and 
new Westminster Abbeys, new Lincolns, new 
Richmond Castles, new Haddon Halls, not for 
a last new word in architectural expression, but 
as schoolmasters and as prophets, content with 
the educational work we are accomplishing, 
leaving to our successors the equal but not 
more honourable task of voicing in novel and 
adequate form the new civilization we are help- 
ing to create. 



VII 

THE MINISTRY OF ART 



VII 

THE MINISTRY OF ART 1 

\ RCHITECTURE, even in a title, can 
** hardly be disassociated from the other 
component parts of that wonderful gift of God 
that, in our indifferent use of words, we denom- 
inate "art." In each one of them, whether it 
be sculpture, painting, or architecture, poetry, 
music, the drama, or ceremonial, there is, of 
course, one peculiar mode whereby it manifests 
itself, the instrument of its operation ; but each 
of these is but a dialect of a normal language ; 
together they are the Pentecostal tongues 
through which the Holy Spirit manifests Him- 
self in a peculiar way to all nations and kindreds 
and peoples. Art is not only a function of the 
soul, an inalienable heritage of man, an attri- 
bute of all godly and righteous society; it is 
also the language of all spiritual ventures and 
experiences, while, more potently than any 
other of the works of man, it proclaims the 

1 Read before the American Church Congress, Troy, N.Y. 
215 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

glory of God, revealing in symbolical form some 
measure of that absolute truth and that abso- 
lute beauty that are His being. 

Through all the varied qualities of this seven- 
fold mystery of art runs one unchanging and 
unchangeable principle, and the nature of this 
principle we must define before we consider the 
particularities of one art alone and the scope 
and potency of its service. 

In this necessity there is, let us admit, some- 
thing unnatural. Never in the past has there 
been a great art that was clearly conscious of 
its nature: none that by taking thought has 
added one cubit to its stature. Art that is self- 
conscious halts on the perilous rim of artifice. 
The intensive activities of art analysis and art 
education have brought into being never an art 
and never an artist of the measure of the artist 
and the art of a past so absorbed in spiritual 
adventures and material accomplishments that 
it lacked the time for self-analysis. And yet, so 
novel is the basis of our contemporary life, so 
severed from the spiritual succession of history, 
so bound by the chains of analysis to the rock of 
definition, we are compelled by circumstance to 

216 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

analyze and define as never before ; nor can we 
keep our curious hands from the Pandora's box 
of very mystery itself, forgetting that the lifted 
lid means, not the clear revealing of strange and 
hidden wonders, but their instant and implaca- 
ble flight. 

The curious inquiries of Calvin wrought 
hopeless havoc with the heavenly vision of St. 
Augustine ; the insolent brutalities of eugenics 
are the Nemesis of wholesome humanity; the 
picking and stealing fingers of the Renaissance 
broke the Psyche wings of art ; and yet, in defi- 
ance of precedent, we essay again the excuseless 
and the impossible. What do we mean by "art," 
the thing once so instinctive that it needed no 
more definition than did " thought " or " action " 
or "prayer"? Well, we have made of an in- 
stinct an accessory, and since such it has be- 
come, and since it has almost been lost in the 
process, we may, in defiance of fate, define 
again. 

Now, none of us, here and now, means what 

the word has been held to imply since the dawn 

of the debatable epoch above named. We know 

it is neither a commodity, a form of amusement, 

217 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

an amenity of life, or even the guinea stamp of 
civilization. Of course, it is, in a measure, the 
last, to the extent that it is not a product, but a 
result of that quality of life that is the manifes- 
tation, in time and space, of righteous impulses 
and modes of human activity. In its high 
estate it is never a by-product of barbarism; 
though it sometimes seems so, as in the case of 
the Renaissance where we find most noble art 
synchronizing with an almost complete col- 
lapse of Christian civilization. The same thing 
has happened before, and will again, for while 
all sound and wholesome and well-balanced life 
of necessity expresses itself in that instinctive 
art which is the art of the people, this great art 
product seldom achieves its perfect fruition 
until after the great impulse that created it has 
broken down and yielded to inevitable degen- 
eration. Thus we find the most splendid, if not 
the most noble, Gothic architecture blossoming 
in the fourteenth century after the high tide of 
mediaevalism had begun to ebb ; while painting 
reached its climax during the unspeakable bar- 
barism of the epoch of the Medici and the 
Borgia ; Shakespeare and his circle soul- 

218 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

children of the Catholic Middle Ages weav- 
ing the glamour of their divine genius over the 
decadent era of Elizabeth; and music, most 
subtle of all the arts, giving to Protestant Ger- 
many a glory that by her intrinsic nature she 
could scarcely claim. 

In these and the similar cases in earlier his- 
tory there is no discrepancy, no ground for 
arguing that art is a natural product either of 
heresy, immorality, or disorder : born of right- 
eousness of impulse and sanity of life, it is the 
longest to endure, lingering like the afterglow 
long past the actual setting of the sun, a 
memory and at the same time a hope. 

In a time that is curiously prone to false esti- 
mates of comparative values, that is positively 
triumphant in its capacity for misjudging the 
quality of essentials, we measure nearly all the 
arts by the dazzling products of the last great 
geniuses who linger beyond their time, quite 
forgetting the centuries of less splendid activity 
that, manifesting, as they did, the art instinct 
of a people, were intrinsically nobler, and in 
themselves were the energy behind the corus- 
cating stars of a rocket that had already burst. 

219 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

In judging art, in determining its function, in 
estimating its potency, it is necessary, there- 
fore, to go behind the evidences of Rouen and 
the chapel of Henry VII, of Botticelli and Tin- 
toretto, of Shakespeare and Marlowe, of Bach 
and Beethoven, to name only the latest of 
the great periods of history, and to regard 
that wonder-work of the great centuries from 
Gregory VII to the exile at Avignon, which is 
the true product of a triumphant Christian 
civilization. 

And so regarded, we find that art, as I have 
already said, is neither a commodity, nor a form 
of amusement, nor an amenity of life, but a 
wonderful attribute of man who is made in 
God's image, a subtle language, and a mystery 
that, in its nature, we may with reverence call 
sacramental. 

This, I believe, is the secret and the function 
of art. It is a language of divine revelation, the 
great sequence of mystical symbols that alone 
are adequate and efficient when the soul of man 
enters into the infinite realm of eternal truth. 
To each its proper tongue: to reason, dealing 
with phenomena and their knowable relations, 

220 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

the language of natural science and of natural 
philosophy; to the soul, by the grace of God 
penetrating beyond the veil that limits our 
mortal sense, achieving the quest of the Holy 
Grail of ultimate truth, the language of art, 
which is beauty, sacramentally comprehended, 
sacramentally employed. Other language there 
is none : before the Beatific Vision, even though 
now we see it as in a glass, darkly, even though 
the symbol alone is all our undeveloped spirit- 
uality can apprehend, the language that is so 
adequate for dealing with the mere accidents 
and phenomena of the Absolute fails utterly 
before the dim vision of the substance that lies 
behind, informing all. Natural science and 
natural philosophy are sufficient unto them- 
selves: they need no aid from the Pentecostal 
tongues of art ; but religion, which deals alone 
with ultimate realities, finds in the "form of 
sound words" only her panoply of defence 
against the insolence of insubordinate reason; 
for her self-revelation, for the communicating 
of her infinitely higher and more subliminal 
reason, she turns to the tongue God gave her 
to this end, to painting, sculpture, and archi- 

221 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

tecture ; to poetry, music, the drama, and cere- 
monial; to art, the great symbol; to art, the 
language of the soul. 

Postulating this of art in its intrinsic nature, 
let me say at once that I do not confine the 
thing itself simply to the great arts already 
named; as there are seven sacraments defined 
by the Church, while nevertheless the sacra- 
mental quality extends, in varying degrees, 
into infinite ramifications throughout creation, 
so art itself, which is made up of seven major 
modes, reaches out into innumerable fields of 
potent activity. Beauty is the instrument of 
art ; without it art does not exist, and wherever 
beauty is used either for self-revelation or for 
the communicating of spiritual energy, there is 
art, whether it be in the majestic modes of mu- 
sic and architecture, or in the modest ministry 
of woodcarving or embroidery. The existence 
and manifestation of beauty is the one test, the 
philosopher's stone that transmutes the base 
metal of reason into the fine gold of spiritual 
revelation. 

Now, I do not mean to involve myself in the 
perilous definition of this mystical and incom- 

222 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

prehensible thing, beauty; says St. Thomas a 
Kempis, in writing of the sublime Mystery of 
the Catholic Faith, "'Twere well not to in- 
quire too curiously into the nature of this holy 
sacrament "; and the same warning may well 
be held in mind when we approach the mystery 
of beauty. It is, and its operations are acknowl- 
edged; this is really all we need to know. In 
this paper I am supposed to deal only with this 
operation, and in the one category of architec- 
ture, so all that is needed is the confession we 
all can make that beauty exists and that it is the 
great symbolic language of the soul, whether it 
manifests itself through colour or form or light 
and shade, through tone, melody, harmony and 
rhythm, or through any combination of these, 
or any other of the numberless modes of its ex- 
pression. 

It may be said that not the half of art is thus 
specifically spiritual in its activity ; that in whole 
schools and for long periods of time art of noble 
quality is followed and determined solely for 
the sheer joy of pleasurable sensations. This 
we may admit, for conscious revelation of higher 
things is no essential part of art ; my only con- 
223 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

tention is that it alone has been so used, and 
may be again, even though for generations we 
may, in our hardness of heart, deny the very 
existence of any realm of truth beyond that 
accidental domain of the material and the con- 
ditioned, which from time to time obsesses men 
with the delusion of its own finality. And even 
here I think the thesis might be defended that 
this very sensuous satisfaction, as we call it, is 
not sensuous at all, but the blind answering of 
an atrophied soul to a spiritual stimulus, the 
noble nature of which is disregarded or denied. 
The obvious melodies of popular music, the 
rudimentary colour-harmonies of popular paint- 
ing, the superficial jingles of popular verse, are 
pleasurable to those who like them, not because 
of some satisfying titillation of the sensory 
nerves, but because they, even they, are in- 
formed with some faint and far-blown scent of 
mystical fields, and strange gardens seen in for- 
gotten dreams ; because each one, however nar- 
row the vista it reveals, is in some sense one of 
those 

" Magic casements opening on the foam 
Of perilous seas, by faery lands forlorn " 

224 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

that are the avenues of spiritual revelation 
through the mystical agency of art. 

On this very matter writes that beautiful 
soul, Sir Thomas Browne: "For even that 
vulgar and Tavern-Musick, which makes one 
man merry, another mad, strikes in me a deep 
fit of devotion, and a profound contemplation of 
the First Composer. There is something in it of 
Divinity more than the ear discovers: it is an 
Hieroglyphical and shadowed lesson of the 
whole World, and creatures of God; such a 
melody to the ear, as the whole World, well 
understood, would afford the understanding. 
In brief, it is a sensible fit of that harmony 
which intellectually sounds in the ears of God." 

This by the way, for our inquiry is not 
here, and I try to return to the path that may, 
in the end, lead at the very last to our subject. 

I have said enough to indicate what I mean 
when I speak of all art as the natural, and, in- 
deed, the only adequate, expression in time and 
space of spiritual things. If it is this, then it fol- 
lows of necessity that it is the ordained language 
of religion, for religion, through theology, is the 
divine science which is higher than all natural 

225 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

sciences, in that it deals with Absolute Truth 
through perfectly adequate agencies, while the 
natural sciences deal only with finite phenom- 
ena through agencies adequate to this end and 
to this alone. It follows, then, that preemi- 
nently and in a very special fashion art is, or 
should be, a matter of absolutely vital import- 
ance to religion, since it is ordered by God Him- 
self as its mode of visible manifestation. As a 
matter of fact, this always has been so from 
the very beginnings of recorded history. "God 
has never left Himself without a witness"; and 
even in the ethnic religions of antiquity, or the 
paganism that preceded the Incarnation, or in 
the pseudo-religious philosophies of the East, 
the dim witnesses of God have made for them- 
selves out of art in all its forms witnesses before 
men of whatever shadowy glimmerings of truth 
were given to them. Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, 
all wrought for themselves great art, but always 
the beginnings were at the hands of priests and 
prophets, and however great the secular art 
that ensued, always its greatest glories were 
achieved in religious service. And so through 
history, century after century, through the 

226 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

fastidious and exquisite temples of Greece and 
the half-barbarian "grandeur that was Rome," 
to the solemn basilicas of Constantine, the 
golden and glimmering shrines of Justinian, the 
grave majesty of the churches of Charlemagne, 
the towering abbeys of Frank and Norman 
Benedictines, the first fine Gothic of the Cister- 
cian monasteries, to the crowning glory of the 
mediaeval cathedrals of France and the abbeys 
of England. Even when civilization was break- 
ing down under the assaults of the new pagan- 
ism after the exile at Avignon and the fall of 
Constantinople, it was religion, whatever we 
may think of its momentary condition, that was 
still, through the visible Church, leading the 
van in the building-up of a new though fictitious 
form of art ; and it was not until the Reforma- 
tion that, for the first time in the history of the 
world, organized religion turned against art, 
and, denying its virtue or its efficacy, devoted 
itself to the destruction of what it had created 
and what had been, in solemn fact, one of its 
most potent agencies of operation. And then 
followed, also for the first time in history, that 
ominous thing, the extinction of all art, of every 

227 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

kind whatever, as an attribute of human life, as 
a heritage of civilization. Indeed, what actu- 
ally ensued was worse even than extinction : it 
was the substitution, first, of something with 
little beauty and with no art at all in place of 
the perfect beauty man already had perfectly 
made manifest; then the wild yet deliberate 
beating down and utter destruction of these 
dumb memorials of a great material and spirit- 
ual past; and finally, the setting-up, for the 
worship of degenerate society, of the brazen 
images of ugliness. A stranger and more omin- 
ous thing than this history has hardly recorded. 
We have seen, and many times, the perishing 
of great civilizations : the flowering of art during 
some epoch of splendid development, and its 
slow dissolution after that epoch had yielded 
to the law of the world, which is the law of de- 
generation, in opposition to the law of the 
spirit, which is the law of regeneration and de- 
velopment. We have seen the exquisite art of 
Greece go down in the wake of Greek civiliza- 
tion, while the art of Rome that followed on was 
immeasurably less noble and complete. In its 
turn we have beheld the fall of Rome and the 

228 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

coming of the Dark Ages, with even here, at the 
height of such culture as came during a barbar- 
ian cycle, art that was art still, though less ad- 
mirable even than that which developed under 
"the drums and tramplings of three conquests/' 
Then at last this also was gone with the dying 
of the "false dawn" of Carlovingian civiliza- 
tion, and night fell again, deeper than ever 
before ; night that was to be dispelled for cen- 
turies, a little later, when the mingling of 
Northern blood with the great life-current of a 
regenerated monasticism was to make possible 
the first great triumph of Christian civilization. 
Time upon time it has seemed that art has 
been lost ; but even in the deepest depths it has 
struggled for light, and never once has it been 
false to its own nature. There might be little, 
and that little poor, but its impulse was always 
right, until that great world-drama (the three 
acts of which we call the Renaissance, the 
Reformation, and the Revolution) took posses- 
sion of the stage ; and since then the tale has 
been different. The Renaissance, by its false 
doctrine of the sufficiency of the intellect, set up 
a scholastic and artificial theory of the nature 
229 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

of beauty and the function of art ; the Reforma- 
tion, by its substitution of a manufactured 
religion for that of God's Revelation, dried up 
the springs of spiritual energy which are the 
source of the art-impulse ; the Revolution shook 
the very foundations of religious society and 
established economic conditions in which art 
could no longer endure; while all these cata- 
clysms, as a by-product of their activity, an- 
nihilated a good half of the monuments of 
past generations, and denied the virtue of the 
poor remainder they did not destroy. 

It was the greatest break-down on record, 
and the results were commensurate with the 
cause. Art was gone, for the first time in his- 
tory; and with the opening of the nineteenth 
century not only was the world more empty 
than ever before, but there were false gods in 
every shrine, hideous idols of the worship of 
ugliness and lies. Here and there was a voice 
crying in the wilderness, but when it became 
audible over the din of an uncouth saturnalia, 
it was the voice of a painter, a poet, or a musi- 
cian ; sculptor and architect had "none so mean 
as to do them reverence." 

230 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

And now the wheel has come full turn, and 
everywhere is a feverish effort at artistic res- 
toration. We are ashamed, and we seek for 
the wherewithal to cover our aesthetic naked- 
ness ; more than this, the old virus is working 
itself out : the fruits of the Renaissance, Refor- 
mation, and Revolution have been eaten, the 
good is by way of being assimilated, the evil 
rejected, and the gray dawn of a new day light- 
ens on the hills. In spite of the curial inepti- 
tudes of Rome, the invincible Erastianism of 
the East, the uncertainties of our own estate ; in 
spite of the momentary triumph of atheism and 
anarchy in France, the outbreak of unearthly 
heresies and superstitions in Russia and New 
England, and the apparent victory of secular- 
ism in education ; in spite of the ethical, politi- 
cal, industrial, and economic disorder, the doom 
of the post-Renaissance era is sealed, and in the 
midst of all our uncertainties one thing is glori- 
ously certain, and that is that a new epoch is 
dawning when religion will once more achieve 
its due supremacy over man and nations, the 
Catholic Faith regain its beneficent dominion 
over the souls that God made in His own image. 
231 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

It is this conviction, whether avowed or hid- 
den, whether conscious or latent, that lies at 
the base of the great turning of religion to art 
once more in these latest days. Not the desire 
of emulation, not the hunger for refinements of 
culture, but the dawning consciousness that 
each one of the arts is by right a paladin of the 
new crusade, that they are all, by the nature 
given them by God, soldiers of the Cross, and 
that their hearts and their swords are not 
lightly to be despised in the new winning of the 
world to Christ. 

Michelet has somewhere said that "history is 
only a series of resurrections " ; and this is what 
the Church is doing to-day returning to the 
old and tried methods of the past, when the 
builder and painter and carver, the musician 
and poet and maker of liturgies, marched side 
by side with the prophet and monk and mis- 
sionary into the strongholds of barbarism and 
infidelity, putting into visible and audible 
form the faith they practised. 

No other course was possible. Since beauty 
is the revelation of all that lies beyond the hori- 
zon of our finite vision, art, which is beauty 

232 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

organized and made operative, becomes the 
great language of the soul, and therefore it is 
crushed, mutilated, impotent when it remains 
in bondage to material things, while without it 
religion is shorn of one of her greatest agencies 
of self-expression and of influence. This is the 
meaning of the wonderful revival of religious 
art of every kind that began simultaneously 
with the spiritual upheaval of the Oxford 
Movement, and has kept pace, step by step, 
with the growing consciousness of her Catholic 
heritage which, for now three quarters of a cen- 
tury, has penetrated the Church of the English- 
speaking race. This is the meaning of the new 
life in religious painting and sculpture ; in glass- 
making and metal-working and embroidery; in 
architecture, music, and ceremonial. We look, 
sometimes with amusement, sometimes with 
horror, on the ecclesiastical fabrics of the early 
nineteenth century, on the barren and hideous 
forms, the apologetic music, the thin and enerv- 
ated ceremonial. Now we, and not we alone, 
but all Protestantism with us, are building 
churches as near in spirit and in form to those 
of the great Middle Ages as the somewhat lim- 
233 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

ited capacities of our architects will permit : we 
demand the glass of Chartres and York, the 
sculptures of Amiens and Wells, the gold and 
silver and brass and iron of Hildesheim and 
Venice and Dalmatia, the pictures of Umbria, 
the music of Milan, the vestments of the treas- 
uries of Spain. Daily our ceremonial grows 
richer and more beautiful, and its widening 
ring takes in, one after another, men and places 
that but a few years ago were staunch defenders, 
if not of Calvinistic theology, at least of Calvin- 
istic art. Even the old shibboleth of "Roman- 
izing, Romanizing," is heard no more, for its 
absurdity is recognized, and the basic impulse 
of religious art is seen to be other than a pre- 
liminary symptom of disaffection. It is not 
because we want something that Rome alone 
has got, but because at last we know we have it 
also, the thing itself, that we return to our sis- 
ter, Beauty, and call upon her once again to cry 
to all the manifold products of God's hand, 
"O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord, 
praise Him and magnify Him forever." 

The theological peculiarities of Geneva and 
Edinburgh can adequately be communicated by 

234 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

the spoken and unadorned word: the marvel- 
lous mysteries of the Catholic Faith breathe 
themselves into the spiritual consciousness 
through the mediumship of art. 

To every movement, then, toward the 
restoration of diplomatic relations between 
religion and art, the Church must give her 
earnest support. Everywhere the artist and 
the craftsman are looking wistfully toward the 
old-time mistress of their art. Usually they 
have lost their faith, and they are not wholly to 
blame for it ; but in their art lies the possibility 
of their conversion, or at least the assurance 
that, accepted, it will be easier for those that 
follow to regain their faith, or hold it whole and 
intact. To all the workers in all the arts the 
Church must now go, saying, "We made you; 
we forsook you ; we are sorry; and now we need 
you again : give us of your best that we may 
offer it on the altar of God." 

"The best." Here, perhaps, lies the kernel of 
it all. For centuries we have taken the worst, 
and as little of that as possible ; now we take 
anything that comes along, not from perver- 
sity but from lack of knowledge, and from a 

235 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

certain innocent trustfulness that takes a man 
and particularly an artist at his own 
valuation, or at least at the valuation placed 
upon him by some person or thing of which we 
stand in awe. Late Italian Mass music and 
decadent ceremonial ; plausible and loudly her- 
alded stained glass of barbaric splendour ; com- 
mercial products in metal and woodwork, sac- 
charine statues sometimes of plaster of 
the type dear to the heart of the Latin "par- 
rocchio"; imitation Gothic architecture also 
sometimes of plaster, with a little harmless, 
necessary steel or iron encased within. We want 
the real thing, the real beauty, the real art, but 
the trouble is we sometimes can be induced to 
accept a substitute, while sometimes also the 
best of us know too well what we like, and this 
is always dangerous. 

" The first battle has been won the battle 
for Beauty; we know now that this we must 
have ; now let us establish the victory by win- 
ning the battle for Truth. 

And this does not mean the easy victory over 
plaster and papier-m&che, gold-leaf and lac- 
quer, imitation marble, steel covered with con- 

236 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

crete, and all the other substitutes that are now 
so tempting to the eye hungry for beauty com- 
bined with the emaciated purse. It means the 
far more arduous battle for the fundamental 
truth of aesthetic ideals, for art that shall be 
significant, and vital with the breath of the 
great art of the past. 

It is not the fault of the priest, or the building 
committee, or the altar society that here we so 
often fail ; it is the fault, in great measure, of the 
artist ; but I honestly believe he himself is only 
a victim of that most pernicious and devil- 
engendered principle of the present age, namely, 
"Give the people what they want." Of course, 
any society that acts on that basis has its end- 
ing in the pit of perdition ; but this we do not 
see with perfect clarity, and so the artist pros- 
titutes his God-given art to the false ideal of 
what is demanded of him. He is wrong; no one 
nowadays wants anything but the best in art 
which is one of the most encouraging signs in 
a dubious day; but this demand is not always 
couched in unmistakable terms. Be specific, 
make it clear that you look on the artist as 
a minister in minor orders, and that on him 
237 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

alone rests the obligation to make his work, in 
however small a degree, a revelation of spiritual 
truth, and I do not think he will fail you. 

I do not mean that as yet any artist can 
safely be given his head ; least of all, the ar- 
chitect. Art is still in bondage to that spirit of 
the Renaissance-Reformation-Revolution the 
Church has now freed herself from to so sur- 
prising a degree; but I do mean that the time 
has come when a principle only may safely be 
enunciated, the details being left wholly to the 
artist. It is not so long ago that priests who had 
read Parker's "Glossary," or some handbook 
on church-building, or had spent a summer in 
England, felt it their duty to instruct an archi- 
tect as to the working-out of his plans, even 
in some cases demanding that some church or 
other in England should be duplicated. Well, 
this was bad enough, but I dare say better than 
the terrible things that might have happened 
and did happen, for that matter when the 
architect was permitted to give free rein to his 
fervid imagination. In any case, this time has 
gone, and in spite of the schools of architecture 
there are now many artists of every kind and 

238 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

paiticularly architects who may safely be 
trusted to do honourable and competent work. 
Nevertheless, there is still one function that the 
priest, or, better still, the Church, must per- 
form, and that is the laying-down of the funda- 
mental law of all religious art. 

What is this law ? It is a very simple one, 
namely, that religious art must express, not the 
predilections of one man, or the arbitrary the- 
ories of a school, but the Church herself; in 
other words, a divine institution unchangeable 
in essentials, infinitely adaptable in everything 
else. And this means that whatever is done 
must be faithful, first of all, to the universal 
laws of Christian art ; then, that it must pre- 
serve an unbroken continuity with the art of 
our own blood and race; and finally, that it 
must declare itself of our own time as to the 
accidents of its expression. 

Several principles develop from this: under 
the first heading we are forced back five cen- 
turies to the time when Christian art came to 
an end ; across the desert wastes of Protestant- 
ism and the opulent gardens of neo-paganism, 
back to the Middle Ages, when the living 
239 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

stream, that had refreshed a thirsty land from 
before the days of Hellas and Byzantium, disap- 
peared below the surface into some subterra- 
nean channel wherefrom comes now only the 
murmur of troubled waters impatient for 
release. So far as the art expression of religion 
is concerned, nothing has happened since the fall 
of Constantinople in which we need display any 
particular interest. Back to medievalism we 
must go, and begin again. And as to continuity, 
that indispensable succession that alone insures 
the vitality of art while it parallels that apostol- 
ical succession which alone insures the divine 
vitality of the Catholic Church, it means that 
we are not at liberty to pick and choose among 
the tentative styles of a crescent Christianity, 
but that we must return to the one style our 
forefathers at last created for the full expres- 
sion of their blood and faith. Lombard we may 
like, or Byzantine, or Norman, or Romanesque, 
but they are not for us, for they were stepping- 
stones only, not accomplished facts. Those that 
were of the South or the East are of alien blood. 
Our Church and we ourselves are of the North, 
northern. We are of them that purged the 
240 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

world of a great paganism, dead, and infecting 
all Europe with the miasma of its corruption. 
Frank and Teuton, Norman and Burgundian, 
Celt and Saxon and Dane are in our blood and 
bone and our very flesh, and for the major part 
of what we are we owe an everlasting debt to 
this fierce blood of the Baltic shores, tamed and 
turned into righteous courses by the monks of 
St. Benedict, St. Robert, St. Bernard, and St. 
Norbert. 

We forget it all, for a time, but we return at 
last, and as now perhaps the most significant 
thing in the development of our own moiety of 
the Church is the restoration of that monasti- 
cism which was the engendering fire of Chris- 
tian medievalism, so by inevitable analogy we 
return to the art that blossomed in the gardens 
the monks made in the wilderness ; to the heri- 
tage of our name and race, the Gothic of 
France and England and of all our own north 
countries, washed by our own north seas. Yet 
there is danger in this the danger of archaeo- 
logical dry rot. We must begin somewhere ; we 
no longer have within ourselves the power of 
artistic generation ; and even if we had, if we 
241 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

could produce an art like that of Paris or Can- 
terbury or York out of our own inner selves, we 
should lack the right, for we must above all 
things show that our religion stretches, without 
a break, through mediaevalism and the Dark 
Ages, to Calvary. Gothic architecture and 
Gothic art do this, for in them are gathered up 
and perfected all the tentative efforts of all 
Christendom ; but if we stop there we deny the 
Faith, for we know that in accordance with the 
promise of Christ He is with His Church even 
unto the end of the world, and that through the 
abiding presence of the Holy Spirit she is being 
led into all truth. The Christian life is a life of 
progressive development ; the life of the Church 
is no other ; and little by little new aspects of old 
wonders are opened before our eyes. Therefore, 
our art must content itself with no finalities ; it 
must grow ever and onward, from the highest 
point thus far it has reached, the mountain 
summit of mediaevalism, from whose cloud- 
encircled top dim visions already unroll of still 
loftier summits, accessible at last, once we for- 
sake the mistaken path that long ago opened 
out, broad and inviting, only to disappear in the 
242 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

morass of artificial paganism. And so our new 
art, refounded on the old, must be mobile, 
adaptable, sensitive to all righteous influences, 
repellent of all that are evil ; not a simulacrum, 
but a living thing. 

Is this too much to ask? Greater has been 
before, and with faith we may move mountains. 

The part that art is to play in the rebuilding 
of a new civilization is hardly to be estimated in 
words, and of all the arts the one that is des- 
tined to do the greatest work is architecture. 
Why this is so I confess I do not know, but so 
it has been in the past. There is some strange 
quality in architecture that makes its spiritual 
efficiency dominant over the other arts. Music 
is more poignant, painting more human in its 
appeal, while each art in its turn exerts some 
special influence beyond the province of the 
others. Architecture binds them in one, har- 
monizing, controlling, directing them, and lift- 
ing them up in a great structural Te Deum. 

A perfect church, within whose walls is pass- 
ing the ordered pageantry unnumbered genera- 
tions have built up in beauty, and through the 
seven arts, to do honour and reverence to the 

243 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

Creator and Redeemer of the world, there 
present in the Holy Sacrament of the altar, is 
the greatest work of man. Into it enters every 
art raised now to the highest point of achieve- 
ment, and as architecture, painting, and sculp- 
ture assemble for the building of the tabernacle 
itself, so do music, poetry, the drama, and cere- 
monial gather into another great work of art, 
that prefigures the infinite wonder of Heaven 
itself. 

And we threw it all away, once, in our blind- 
ness of heart and contempt of God's word 
and commandment : blowing up the matchless 
fabrics with gunpowder; beating out the 
jewelled windows and shattering with hammer 
and axe the fretted altars and shrines and tombs 
and chiselled images of saints and martyrs, even 
the Crucifix itself, the sign of our Redemption ; 
filching the jewels from vestments and sacred 
vessels, casting consecrated gold and silver into 
the melting-pot, turning copes and chasubles 
into bed-hangings, and altar-cloths into chair- 
cushions, leaving the few churches we did not 
destroy barren, empty, desolated. 

Now we are doing what we can by way of 
244 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

amendment. We are handicapped by the deeds 
of our fathers, and by their consequences, but 
the restoration must be accomplished, however 
arduous the effort. 

And the reward is worthy the effort. Create 
in imagination the figure of what may be again: 
cathedrals like those of Paris and Chartres and 
Gloucester and Exeter; sculptures like the 
marshalled saints of Amiens and Wells, pic- 
tures and altar-pieces like those of Giotto and 
Fra Angelico; windows that rival those of 
Bourges and York; the beating of sublime 
Gregorian chants like the echo of heavenly 
harmonies ; and ceremonial that absorbs half of 
the regenerated arts, composing them into a 
whole that is the perfection of all that man can 
do to honour in material and sensible form the 
central mystery of the Catholic Faith. 

Once more at the hand of man all the works 
of the Lord shall praise Him and magnify Him 
forever, and from every cathedral or monastery 
or parish church shall go out the vast, subtle, 
insistent missionary influence of art, again 
restored to her due place as the handmaid of 
religion ; breaking down that pride of intellect 
245 



THE MINISTRY OF ART 

that will not yield to intellectual attack; win- 
ning souls hungry but defiant; dissolving the 
barriers that man in his insolence has reared to 
make of no avail the prayer of Christ that all 
His children might be made one ; manifesting to 
the world the Absolute Truth and Beauty that 
are the Revelation of God. Architecture, with 
all the arts, is the God-given language of 
religion. It has been too long in bondage to the 
world ; let it now serve God again through the 
Holy Catholic Church. 



THE END 



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RE 



20: 




3 1205 00394 9466 



. r:.--E='.=E3:-.i. 



A 000 653 065 3