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GLACifiRES OR Freezing Caverns Philadelphia 1900 

Antarctica Philadelphia 1902 

Comparative Art Philadelphia 1906 

The North Pole and Bradley Land Philadelphia 1913 

MonNT McKiNLEY and Mountain Climbers' Proofs Philadelphia 1914 

Elise Willing Balch, In Memohiam Philadelphia 1917 

Mocntain Exploration Bull. Geog. Club of Phila. 1893 

A Projected Railroad Across the SAhara Abound The World 1894 

The Highest Mountain Ascent Pop. Sci. Mon. 189.5 

Ascents Near Saas Appalachia 1896 

Ice Caves and the Causes of Subterranean Ice J. Franklin Ins. 1897 

Ice Cave Hunting in Central Europe Appalachia 1897 

Reminiscences of Tyrol Appalachia 1898 

Was South America Sighted Before 14487 J. School Geog. 1898 

Subterranean Ice Deposits in America J. Franklin Ins. 1899 

Ice Breakers in Polar Exploration J. Franklin Ins. 1900 

Antarctica, A History of Antarctic Discovery J. Franklin Ins. 1901 

Evaporation Underground Monthly Weather Review 1901 

Tallow Cave, Etc J Franklin Ins- 1901 

Antarctic Exploration Sci- Amer. Supp. 1903 

Roman and Prehistoric Remains in Central Germany J. Franklin Ins. 1903 

Savage and Civilized Dress J. Franklin Ins. 1904 

The Highest Mountain Ascent Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc. 1904 

Develop the Submarine J. Franklin Ins. 1904 

Antarctica Addenda J. Franklin Ins. 1904 

Termination Land Nat. Geog. Mag. 1904 

American Explorers in Africa Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc. 1904 

Antarctic Nomenclature Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc. 1905 

Wilkes Land Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc. 1906 

The Survival of the Shortest xxx in Language J. Franklin Ins. 1906 

Arctic Expeditions sent from the American Colonies Penn. Mag. Hist. & Bioo. 1907 

Art and Ethnology Phoc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 1907 

Crocker Land Boll. Amer. Geog. ,Soc. 1908 

Art in America before the Revolution Penn. Soc. Col. Wars 1908 

Stonington Antarctic Explorers Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc. 1909 

High Mountain Ascents Appalachia 1909 

Why America Should Rb-bxplore Wilkes Land Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 1909 

Wilkes' Antarctic Discoveries Science 191 1 

Charcot's Antarctic Explorations Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc. 1911 

Palmer L.vnd Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc. 1911 

Hudson Land Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc. 1911 

Antarctic Names Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc. 1912 

Atlantis or Minoan Crete Geographical Review 1917 

Early Man in America Proc. Amer. Philos. .Soc. 1917 

American Explorers of Africa Geographical Review 1918 

The Art of George Catlin Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 1918 



All my life I have been interested in art and in geog- 
raphy. My studies in both fields remained as separate 
pursuits until about the year 1890, when I began to make 
a small collection of Japanese pictures. At about that 
time also I paid several visits to the Mus^e de Saint 
Germain and studied the French prehistoric remains. 
Shortly afterwards, I received from Dr. Vincent, surgeon 
of the third Peary Arctic expedition, a gift of several 
little Eskimo statuettes. Gradually I became impressed 
with the fact that there are certain resemblances be- 
tween these arts, and this led me to an attempt to find out 
whether there were any such resemblances to other arts. 
The matter expanded continuously, but it took some 
years for cold facts to teach me that the fine arts were 
a tremendous field, covering the entire earth, and that, 
apparently, no one had reahzed this before. 

In the year 1904, I published a paper Savage and 
Civilized Dress in "The Journal of the Franklin Institute;" 
in 1906, a book Comparative Art; in 1907, a paper Art 
and Ethnology in "The Proceedings of the American 
Philosophical Society;" and in 1908, a paper Art in 
America before the Revolution in the publications of The 
Society of Colonial Wars of Pennsylvania. Up to that 
date and until the publication of those monographs, 
archseologists and art critics as a rule fought shy of 
dealing with the arts of the African, Australasian and 
American native races, from the art standpoint which 
they used with the arts of Europe or even the arts of Asia. 
The word "art" appears to have been under a sort of 


tabu in ethnological museums, just as works of the primi- 
tive arts were only sporadicallj^ admitted to art galleries. 

After the publication of Comparative Art the eyes 
and minds of ethnologists and of art critics seemed to 
open. In ethnological and archaeological institutions fre- 
quently now the lectures are about art and have the word 
"art" in their titles: an open recognition by ethnologists 
that art is an important part of ethnology. Art critics 
likewise slowly are becoming aware that the arts of the 
races of America, of Australasia, and of Africa deserve 
recognition just as do the arts of Europe and of Asia. 
And in answer to the new demand, we find the Archaeo- 
logical Institute of America publishing a magazine Art 
and Archceology. 'Tis but the edge of the wedge which 
has penetrated so far, but nevertheless it has cut a slit 
which will widen in due time. 

The present work is really a much enlarged revision 
of the theoretical portions of Comparative Art. It is an 
attempt to present the theories and ideas which my wife 
and I, working hand in hand, have developed since 1906 
from innumerable observations in museums and galleries. 
As the observations multiplied, the ideas and theories 
expanded and needed continual alteration. The book 
itself therefore is not finished and never could be finished. 
A hundred volumes would not cover the subject of com- 
parative art. Our aim, in brief, has been, by the exam- 
ination and comparison of as many art specimens from 
as many places as possible, to find out whether thruout 
the world art is one whole or whether there are several 
arts, to trace resemblances and differences between the 
arts of every nook and cranny of our little globe, and to 
formulate therefrom the most apparently accurate deduc- 
tions about art and man. In certain respects therefore, 


this work is a study of the fine arts thruout the world for 
the sake of the fine arts themselves; and in certain other 
respects it is an attempt to trace the story of man as 
far as can be deduced from the fine arts. Preconceived 
notions are eliminated and the statements made are 
either the observations jotted down directly in front of 
specimens of the fine arts, or the ideas which have arisen 
as a study of those specimens. Thruout this book, the 
names "Amerind" — a contraction of American Indian — 
and "Hindu" are used in order to distinguish the natives 
of America from the natives of Hindustan. For the 
name "Indian," generally applied to both, is hopelessly 

Edwin Swift Balch. 




The term "art" covers a vast field. In its broadest 
sense it includes the meclianical arts and the fine arts. 
Of the mechanical arts this work takes little cognizance. 
The fine arts fall into three divisions: the arts of poetry 
and literature; the arts of music; and the arts of sculp- 
ture, painting and architecture. With the poetical and 
literary arts, that is the arts of spoken or written words, 
and with the musical arts, that is the arts of sounds and 
hearing, this work likewise has almost nothing to do. 
This work deals with the fine arts depending on the sense 
of vision or sight, that is the arts of space; the glyptic, 
plastic and graphic arts; the arts of form and color; the 
arts of sculpture, carving, drawing, painting, etching, 
engraving, tattooing, decoration, costume, pottery, archi- 
tecture. And the word "art" in this book is used in this 
limited sense, as applying to the arts of space, and not 
to the arts of thought or sound. 

Dancing is in certain respects one of the plastic arts. 
But it hardly comes within the scope of this book. For 
it is a fleeting art. It offers suggestions for pictures and 
for sculptures, and when done amid sumptuous stage 
decorations, sometimes most pictorial suggestions in 
form and color. Nevertheless, as these pictures vanish 
instanter, they are of little use for artistic comparison. 

Attempts to define art have been made before now, 
but I have never seen a definition which seemed more 
than fragmentary. Art in fact is so complex a subject, 
that I doubt whether any definition which would really 


define it could be compressed into a few words. One can 
say, however, that it is a human product, a form of human 
expression, requiring hfe, work, force, abihty, emotion 
and other quaUties to produce it. Art is an expression 
of taste, of personahty, of individuaUty. It is an expres- 
sion of emotion rather than of intellect. It is generally a 
search for beauty but sometimes it seems to be a search 
for ugliness. It is, like language and music, a means of 
communication. For while language conveys thoughts 
thru words and music awakens emotions thru sounds, 
glyptic art arouses emotions and communicates visible 
facts thru sight. Of the arts studied in this work, sculp- 
ture, drawing, painting, decoration, architecture and 
others, briefly it may be said that they are material 
objects; that they are the external manifestations of 
the emotions, feeUngs and powers of their makers; or to 
paraphrase the thought, art objects are the emotions, 
feelings and powers of their makers made visible. These 
art objects may give pleasure or pain to, or leave indif- 
ferent, those who see and look at them. 

It may be objected that art is not purely a form of 
human expression. Is not a fossil of some plant art: art 
of some power higher than humanity? There are certainly 
many things in the world, springing from some other cause 
than man, which are artistic and might be placed, \\'ithout 
being out of keeping, in an art museum. But while these 
objects are beautiful and artistic, they should not be 
classed under the term art, because this word as a part 
of language, distinctly refers to some product of man, 
and not to some product of nature. 

How much must be included under the term art? 
If the Venus of Milo is sculpture, is a Maori wooden 
figure sculpture? If Edward Whymper's woodcuts of the 


Alps or Meryon's etching of le Vieux Paris are drawing, 
are the Sioux rectangular humans on buffalo robes 
drawings? If "Rain, Steam and Speed" is painting, are 
Masai colored patches on war shields paintings? Up to 
within three or four years, art critics and ethnologists 
by their actions more forcibly than by their words said 
"No." It seems to me this is a complete error. When 
a Maori cut a block of wood roughly into the shape of a 
man, or a Mandan made some lines resembling a box for a 
body with other lines sticking from it as arms and legs, 
or a Masai daubed masses of bright colors on his shield, 
those poor untaught human brothers were doing the 
best they knew how to give expression to an instinct to 
make something not useful but something ornamental 
and probably beautiful to the mind of its maker. It 
seems to me that the arts of primitive races are just as 
much an expression of the art instinct as are the arts of 
advanced peoples and that they vary in degree and not 
in kind from them. And therefore I most unhesitatingly 
class the sculptures, drawings, paintings, decorations, of 
all primitive tribes as belonging to the fine arts, and I 
therefore include them under the term art, recognizing, 
however, that many persons would not accept this 

Art is found in every part of the world except 
Antarctica. Some of its branches, such as modern 
European art, Roman art, Greek art, Egyptian art and 
Assyrian art have been studied carefully and voluminous 
treatises have appeared about them. But when we turn 
to such arts as African art or Brazilian art, there have 
been no special studies or no special pubUcations about 
them. In the case of the wonderful art of China, it is only 
in the twentieth century that the first serious attempt 

14 ■ ART AND MAN. 

was made to trace it back. From an artistic or an ethno- 
logical standpoint, the art of the world as a whole is so 
far almost untouched. The only attempt to study it in 
totality I know of is the one I made in this book's pre- 
decessor : Comparative Art. It is high time that the art of 
the world should be studied as an entity from an esthetic 
and a scientific point of view, not only locally and individ- 
ually, but in totaUty in its broadest relations, in its resem- 
blances and its differences. At present there is a gap in 
knowledge and this gap must be filled in and the art of the 
entire world must be worked out as a whole according to 
its geographical distribution and its historical sequence. 
Our knowledge of man has been largely increased 
during the past century by studies, done from the com- 
parative standpoint, in a number of directions. Com- 
parative pWlology, comparative anatomy, comparative 
archseology have advanced in this way to the dignity of 
separate sciences. Of late years, the comparative study 
of implements, that is of the early mechanical arts, has 
been pushed apace, and this study of implements, if it 
has not furnished much information as to race, has fur- 
nished a great deal of information as to the conditions of 
social development prevaiUng at given times in certain 
locaUties. Now works of the fine arts certainly afford a 
more extended and a more advanced field than the early 
mechanical arts to gauge the condition of man and there- 
fore the fine arts, of all times and all peoples everywhere, 
need to be compared. Comparisons of the arts of to-day, 
the characteristics of whose makers we know, with the 
arts of the past are bound to shed fresh light on the races 
of the past and enable us to fathom more accurately the 
character of our earl}^ ancestors. Comparisons among the 
arts of the past must tell us more of the history and 


Fiii. 1. Snako woman, Miiioan Crot 


geographical distribution of each art and this must 
be of value to ethnology and history. The subject is an 
enormous one and in my opinion it should be recognized 
as a special field of study called "comparative art," a 
name I used already in 1906. 

That resemblances or similarity in art signify more 
and convey more ethnographical information than many 
persons think possible, may perhaps be shown by the 
following occurrence. In 1905 I visited the British 
Museum and in the Sumatra exhibit noticed that some 
Sumatra art, especially two little heads from the Batta 
tribe, resembled the art of Easter Island. I mentioned 
this in Comparative Art* adding that I felt sure that the 
carvers of those heads were blood relations of the artists 
of Hawaii and Easter Island. I heard no more of the 
matter until 1917, when a paper Easter Island was 
read before the Royal Geographical Society, and in the 
discussion of that paper Sir Henry Howarth saidf that 
the only place he knew of where inscriptions in the least 
like those of Easter Island are to be found was among 
some of the wild races of Sumatra, such as the Battas; 
and he infers from this that the Malays may be related 
to or have had relations with the primitive people of 
Easter Island. Here therefore is an opinion based on the 
resemblance of primitive writings which corroborates 
exactly my opinion based wholly on the resemblance 
or similarity between sculpted heads and moreover on an 
exceedingly small number of these. 

Now these Batta, Easter Island and Hawaiian heads 
bring forward some other most interesting problems. No 
such heads are found in America. And why not? If their 

* Page 140. 

t "The Geographical Journal," 1917, Vol. XLIX, page 347. 


makers belong to one family, it implies either that form- 
erly the land connections between Sumatra, Easter Island 
and Hawaii were more complete than they are now or else 
that the makers of these heads could navigate great dis- 
tances. If the latter, unquestionably they could have gone 
to South and to Central America. If their makers carried 
their art instinct with them between three such distant 
places as Sumatra, Easter Island and Hawaii, surely they 
would have carried also their art instinct with them 
intact had they landed either in Chile or Mexico. Had 
they done so, it seems as if some Easter Island or Hawaiian 
heads would have been found there. But there is no 
trace of such heads in America. This evidence, therefore, 
while not conclusive, certainly strongly indicates that 
the American Continent was not reached from the 
Australasian Islands across the South Pacific. 

In speaking of resemblances or similarity between arts, 
one must be careful not to confuse similarity with identity. 
Arts may be similar and not be identical. The art of no 
one race is identical with the art of any other race. Even 
the art of one race, tho it may be similar thruout, varies 
locally: it is not identical anywhere. Every great art 
has a certain family likeness, but each of its offspring 
has its own individuality. Despite the Declaration of 
Independence and the French Revolution, there are no 
two men absolutely equal, there is no perfect egalite in 
the world. Likewise in the fine arts, no two arts are 
identical, indeed no two works of art are identical. 

One of the most interesting phases of studying art 
comparatively is learning to recognize the thousand and 
one varieties of art in the world. The painting of Japan 
is different from the painting of France, even tho there 
are some similarities. The painting of Holland and the 


painting of Italy resemble each other much more closely 
than the painting of Japan resembles the painting of 
France. Yet so different are Dutch pictures and Italian 
pictures that any expert can place at a glance any one of 
them in its own niche. While Eskimo carvings and 
Japanese netzkes are exceedingly similar, yet one becomes 
able to tell unfailingly where each specimen comes from. 
Easter Island heads are unique, and yet there is a family 
resemblance to Hawaiian wicker and feather heads, and 
to Batta heads. And in time one learns to recognize 
the innumerable local arts, solely because each local art 
has its own individuality and identity. 

Comparative art in time doubtless will form a connect- 
ing link between science and art. Practically it will amount 
to forming a new branch of science in wliich art critics 
and ethnologists must work hand in hand in a scientific 
and artistic investigation of art. It is certainly just as 
necessary that there should be a science of compara- 
tive art as a science of comparative anatomy or a 
science of comparative philology. 

Comparative art may be defined as a comparative 
study of the glyptic arts in all forms; painting, sculpture, 
drawing, architecture, decorative art, decoration, tattoo- 
ing, etc. It is not a study of written inscriptions, nor 
primarily of implements, but it can compare implements 
in their forms, and the decorations on implements must 
be one of its chief objects. It must be appUed to every 
district of the globe, not only to the remotest past in 
which there was art, but to the actual present and to the 
future. It must deal ^ith the art of advanced and of 
primitive races: with such arts as those of the 
Egyptians, the Kaldeans, the Chinese, the Greeks and 
the Europeans; and also with those of the Pleistokenes, 


the Bushmen, the Benin negroes, the tribes of the Amazon 
and Kongo forests, the South Sea islanders, and the inhabi- 
tants of Arctic shores. 

Comparative art must not be confounded with com- 
parative archaeology: for altho they touch at certain 
points they are different subjects. Comparative arch- 
aeology is a study of things of the past, based mainly on 
results obtained by digging with the pick and spade. 
It includes studies of certain phases of art and architec- 
ture, of inscriptions, of implements, and of some other 
things. It does not deal with the art of the Bushman 
or the Papuan or the Samoyede of to-day. It is more a 
historic than an artistic study. It can be followed and 
carried forward by persons who are in no Avise art critics. 
Comparative art is the study of the relations of the arts 
of the world and can be advanced only by trained art 
critics who are also ethnologists. It is not going to do 
away with ethnology, or comparative anatomy, or history, 
or archaeology, or anything else of that kind, but properly 
worked out it is certain to throw some new Ught on the 
story of man. It is a field still largely untilled, in which 
there is much work to do, and from which, when it is 
thoroly plowed up, a valuable crop of scientific data will 

In the elucidation of the problems of the origin, evo- 
lution, descent and history of man, geography, geology, 
paleontology, natural history, anatomy, history, philology, 
archaeology, and other sciences have been called upon to 
help clear up somewhat the complex genealogy of the 
human race. Much has been done already, altho the 
problem of man is bound never to be entirely cleared up. 
The evidence which has been gathered already about 
man and his origin can perhaps be divided roughly into 


three classes: that which is extraneous to him personally, 
such as geographical environment, climate, etc., that is 
the terrestial conditions under which he has existed; that 
which is obtained from his own remains and his own per- 
sonality, that is his anatomical and physiological charac- 
teristics, and his relationship in natural history to other 
animals; and that which is obtained from his own works, 
from what he has himself produced. This latter class of 
evidence may be subdivided into three classes, namely, 
language and written records, implements, and art, and 
this monograph deals principally with this third sub-class. 

Language and written records are, of course, most 
available as evidence in tracing the story of the human 
race, and whenever we find written records which we can 
interpret, they bring their part of man's story within the 
domain of history. But when, as in the case of old 
Mexico, we cannot read the records, or when, as in 
the case with primitives, there are no written records, 
the subject changes from history into prehistory and 

Implements form another great class of evidence: 
the term "implements" being used as a comprehensive 
name to describe all the products of the mechanical 
arts. A chair or a boat or an automobile, a stone 
ax or a gun, can be classed as "implements," and 
without some implements at least no man could live. 
All our modern implements have evolved from primitive 
beginnings, as for instance, the modern ocean liner, which 
is the direct descendant of the floating log, the raft, the 
dug-out and the canoe. Much light has been shed already 
and more will be shed on the story of man by comparing 
the various implements used in different places and at 
different times. 


Art is the tliird great source from which much evidence 
about the history of man can be obtained, but so far it has 
been investigated only in a fragmentary manner. A com- 
parative study of the arts of the world has never obtained, 
as it has, for instance, in the case of language with com- 
parative philology, or in natural history with comparative 
anatomy. One reason unquestionably why art, as a 
totahty, is still so largely unstudied, is that it is only 
in our generation that art specimens from wild parts of 
the earth have been collected by scientific expeditions, 
placed in museums, and made accessible to the public. 

Another reason why art is still unstudied as a whole 
is that there never has been, there is not, and there prob- 
ably never will be, a museum of the fine arts from all parts 
of the world. Art specimens are divided : some are placed 
in art museums; others in ethnological museums. There 
is no place where anyone can go and get a compre- 
hensive view of art. The art of at least half the races 
of the world has found its way into ethnological 
museums, where it is not yet culled out as art, but 
where the specimens are looked on mainly as belong- 
ing to the class which is called "implements." This 
rather curious fact, however, shows that there is a sort 
of borderland between art and science, in which much 
art is stranded at present. 

That this is a fact may be verified in almost any big 
city. For instance, in Philadelphia, art specimens are 
divided between the Pennsylvania Academy of the 
Fine Arts and the University Archaeological Museum; 
in Washington, between the Corcoran Gallery and the 
United States National Museum; in New York, between 
the Metropolitan Museum and the American Museum of 
Natural History; in Boston, between the Museum of 

22 AHT A XI) :\rAN. 

Fine Arts and the Harvard University Peabody Museum; 
in London, between the National Gallery and the British 
Museum; in Paris, between the Louvre and the Musee 
de Saint Germain; etc. 

Li other words, much fine art is at present treated 
and looked on as ethnology or natural history, not as art. 
Half of the art of the world is studied by artists and art 
critics, the other half by ethnologists. Artists and art 
critics have so far paid almost no attention to such arts 
as African art or Australasian art. In the majority of 
cases they are unaware of the existence of such arts. 
Moreover, if they did know of them, they would in many 
cases despise them, because these arts do not have the 
qualities of Greek art or Japanese art or French art. Art 
critics haunt art galleries, not ethnological museums; 
they know nothing of ethnology and doubtless care less; 
and it takes a good deal of time and thought and study 
to learn something of ethnology. The result of this is 
that art critics do not study art at all from geographical 
or ethnological standpoints, and that at least half the 
art of the world is entirely without their ken. And it is 
strange to reaUze how completely many of the arts of 
the world have been neglected by art critics. Chinese 
art and Hindu art, for instance, did not attract the 
attention of writers competent to deal with their prob- 
lems until the end of the last century. African art, 
Australasian art, and Amerind art so far have been 
noticed only by ethnologists: their qualities and their 
deficiencies, their relations, their resemblances to and 
differences from the arts of other races, as yet have 
never been taken up by the persons most competent 
to deal with them, namely trained art critics. 

Ethnologists, on the contrary, keep away from art 


museums. As a rule they have not had any art training, 
hence, when they see works of art in ethnological 
museums, usually they treat them from the standpoint of 
implements. Only a scientific speciaUst can really give an 
opinion about any special science, and similarly only a 
trained artist-art-critic can write intelligently about art, 
indeed the present prevailing opinions about art are 
largely the consensus of opinion of many artist-art-critics 
of modern times. Whilst possibly unconscious of this 
fact, ethnologists are usually aware of their inabiUty to 
discuss the esthetic quahties of art specimens — supposing 
that they perceive these esthetic qualities — and hence, 
while they frequently study the decorative art of primi- 
tives, its patterns and its origins, they are apt to leave 
the esthetic qualities of art alone. 

To sum up this matter briefly. Artists see half the 
art of the world from the esthetic but rarely from the his- 
toric or ethnologic standpoint. Ethnologists see the 
other half of the art of the world, from the historic 
or ethnologic but seldom from the esthetic standpoint. 
Neither artists nor ethnologists appear to look at the 
whole of art from an esthetic, an ethnologic, and a his- 
toric standpoint. The result is comparisons are rarely 
instituted and the lessons to be learned from art have so 
far largely remained hidden. The forest is not seen on 
account of the trees. As a whole, the art of the world is 
a still open field, in which may be made further discov- 
eries which will throw much light not only on art but also 
on the story of man. 




Art is universal. Art is found everywhere, among 
all races and in all places. From the Cape of Good 
Hope to Kamchatka, from Grant Land to Cape Horn, 
wherever in historic times the human biped dwells or 
has dwelt, there in some form art is found. Wlierever 
digging with the pick and the spade has revealed in 
any quantity traces of man in Recent times, and in 
some places in Pleistokene times, usually also it has 
brought forth some fragments of art. Of course, buried 
art is rarer than surface art, but aU the evidence goes 
to show that the ancestor of modern man everjTvhere 
soon developed art and that it grew wherever he 
appeared. The only continent where there is no art is 
Antarctica, which is not surprising, since neither in 
East Antarctica nor in West Antarctica have any 
traces of man been found. 

It is indeed one of the most striking facts connected 
with man that all races of men, whatever their con- 
dition, whether advanced or primitive, have some art. 
The most backward tribes have some art instinct and 
some art, even if in some cases this does not get 
beyond rudimentary tattooing or signs intended per- 
haps as property marks. Some primitive races have 
the instinct to decorate their implements and weapons, 
for instance their canoes and shields, i^ith patterns and 
colors. Many races sculpt figures of humans and 
animals; sometimes they reach a pictorial stage; often 
they obtain results which may well take rank as fine 



Fio. i 

Fig. 2. Little Egyptian stone figure. 

Fig. 3. Prehistoric pottery from Etruria: may be Neolithic divinity. 

Fig. 4. Egyptian high relief figure modelled on one side. 

Fig. 5. Egyptian has relief figure twisted into impossible position. 


art. It is a fact, not only that primitive men have 
art, but that sometimes they have good art. 

The first thought ahnost which arises when one 
thinks of art as universal, is whether it is all one art, 
or whether there are several distinct arts. Without 
attempting to answer this question here, it is certain 
that there are many branches or varieties of art. So 
far these have not been thoroly classified. Possibly the 
first attempt at a classification of the arts of the 
world is the one I made in 1906 in Comparative Art. 
Steady work on the subject since then has suggested 
certain modifications in that classification, and these 
are embodied in the present work. They are based 
purely on my own and my wife's observations, as 
tliere is nothing, as far as I know, extant on the sub- 
ject as a whole and our observations and deductions 
must be looked on as original prehminary studies, sub- 
ject to correction and revision. 

Starting now from the basis that all races have art, 
it will be noticed that art varies in different places, 
that these various species grew up more or less in certain 
centers, and that some of them spread thence over 
other territories and to other peoples. The points of 
inquiry in the distribution of art therefore are: how 
many branches of art are there, where did they start 
from, and what com-ses did they take? And to these 
questions definitive answers can not be returned as yet. 
SuflBcient work has not been put on the subject and 
suflBcient specimens are not as yet easily accessible to 
do more than to draw up preliminary conclusions. 

Any classification of the distribution of art as a 
whole must be geographical and historical: geo- 
graphical in relation to space, historical in relation to 


time. It must take into account whether any art is 
sufficiently separate and distinct from other arts as to 
be classified by itself, or whether it is only a part of a 
bigger separate art. As a geographical instance, there 
is an art along the Arctic shores, which is sufficiently 
distinct to be classified as a primary or separate art. 
But of this there are two branches, one in Siberia, one 
in America, and these might be classified perhaps as 
secondary arts. As a historical instance. West Asiatic 
art flourished for several millenniums among the Kal- 
deans, the Hittites, and the Assyrians; West Asiatic 
art standing sufficiently alone to be called one of the 
great primary arts, with Kaldean, Hittite and Assyrian 
art as three secondary divisions. 

From one point of view, namely from that of 
the same kind of development, art might be divided 
into art families as follows: Pleistokene, Bushman and 
Arctic; Neolithic; Egean, Greek and European; Egyptian 
and West Asiatic; South Asiatic; East Asiatic; African, 
Australasian and Amerind. 

Possibly the best way of classifying the main 
arts of the world is geographically, namely in accord- 
ance with their distribution in the five great inhabited 
divisions of the world. In Europe one might perhaps 
specify Pleistokene art; NeoUthic-Bronze Age art; 
Egean art; Graeco-Roman art; Byzantine art; modern 
European art. In Africa: Bushman art, Negro art, 
Zimbabwe art, Egyptian art. In Asia: West Asiatic 
art; Early East-South Asiatic art; South Asiatic art; 
East Asiatic art. In Asia and Africa: Arab art. In 
Australasia: Polynesian art; Melanesian art. In Asia 
and America: Arctic art. In America: Amerind art. 
Whilst there are certainly many more arts than these, 


it seems as if most of them were derived from one 
or more of these primary arts, and that they may be 
considered as secondary arts. Let us now take up 
seriatim the main arts, looking a httlc at their char- 
acteristics, the centers where they probably sprang up, 
their geographical movements, and their divisions into 
secondary arts. 

The oldest art that we know of, without question, 
is European Pleistokene art. This may be divided 
into two periods. The first of these appears to date 
back to the Acheuleen horizon. To explain what this 
means we must mention briefly the archseological 
horizons of Europe. Following the Pleiocene epoch, 
in the Pleistokene we find first several still debatable 
horizons, and then come in turn the Chelleen, 
Acheuleen, Mousterien, Aurignacien, Solutr^en and 
Magdaleneen horizons. These are followed in sequence 
by the transitional Azilien, the Neohthic, Bronze, and 
Iron horizons. Of their dates in years, no one as yet 
can form any estimate much above the character of 
a guess, but the Chelleen may well have begun 
200,000, the Mousterien 100,000, and the Aurignacien 
50,000 years ago. The most up to date anthropological 
investigations of the skeletons and skulls of European 
man* seem to show that while the Chelleen and 
Acheul6en horizons were being laid down, the ancestor 
of modern man was dwelUng in Europe. He appears 
to vanish in the Mousterien, where his place is taken 
by Neanderthal man, a more primitive type than 
modern man. Men of very much the same type as 
the men of today reappear in the Aurignacien, and 
continue to the present time. 

* Arthur Keith: The Antiquity of Man, 1915. 


In the Chelleen horizon, there are no fine art 
remains, but in the Acheuleen, which may easily date 
from 150,000 to 100,000 B. C, or even further back, 
the great Boucher de Perthes* found in the Somme 
Valley stones which very roughly resemble animals. 
And quite recently Mr. W. M. Newton f found similar 
figure-stones in the valley of the Thames. Apparently 
archaeologists and art critics have neglected these relics, 
but the plates in Boucher de Perthes' book seem con- 
clusive. And it appears to be justifiable to assert 
that art began in the European Acheuleen and there- 
fore that it is not less than 125,000 years old and 
that its makers were the ancestors of the man of 
today. In the Mousterien horizon, no art as yet has 
been found. 

The second period of Pleistokene art comes after 
the Mousterien horizon and extends thru the Aurig- 
nacien, Solutreen and Magdal^n^en horizons up- 
wards. The art of this later Paleohthic period has 
become well known of late years. It is much more 
advanced than Acheuleen Paleolithic art and in certain 
respects is on a par with the best French art of today. 
The habitat of the Pleistokene artists was central 
western Europe and at present, therefore, we must 
look on that part of the world as the cradle of art 
and of social organization. Whilst there are not 
sufficient data as yet to connect the Pleistokenes 
positively with any race now in existence, many 
indications lead me to believe that they were the 
ancestors of some of the Europeans of today. 

* Antiquites Celtiques et Antediluviennes. 

t Arthur Keith: The Antiquity of Man, 1915, page 166. 


The next European art in the order of time is that 
of the PoHshed Stone period. The most interesting 
rehcs of this Neolithic art are architectural, namely the 
widely scattered megahths, dolmens and menhirs. What 
little graphic art remains is wholly decorative and 
almost surely does not descend from Pleistokene art. 
The birthplace of Neolithic art is uncertain, but the 
art extends all over central and southern Europe and 
some parts of western Asia, and it may have moved 
from east to west. In the Bronze Age and Early Iron 
Age in Europe, there was also a little exceedingly 
rough, poor art. 

Some 4000 to 3000 B. C. a great art springs up in 
the regions of the Egean sea. Its center appears to 
have been in Crete, which seems to be Plato's lost 
Atlantis.* It is probably mainly native or autoch- 
thonous, but it may have some roots in Neolithic- 
Bronze Age art and it may have received some nourish- 
ment from Egypt. It does not appear to have had 
much relationship with West Asiatic Euphratic art. This 
Egean- art includes the arts of Crete, of Mykene, 
and of adjacent coasts of Asia Minor, and e.xtends 
down to perhaps 1200 B. C. 

In the last millennium B. C. art went thru a 
rebirth in Greece, and developed into what is known as 
Greek art, in which sculpture reached possibly its most 
idealized heights. Greek art was not only almost 
wholly adopted by the old Romans, but it has pro- 
foundly influenced later European art. 

In the Itahan peninsula, before the rise of historic 
Rome, there was some art, most conveniently called 

* Edwin Swift Balch: Atlantis or Minoan Crete: "The Geographi- 
cal Review," 1917, pages 388-392. 


Etruscan art, which must have been partly native, but 
which was also closely in touch with late Egean and 
early Greek art. 

Roman art, from about 300 B. C. to 400 A. D., 
springing from Etruscan art and Greek art, made 
certain innovations, principally architectural, of its own. 

Byzantine art superseded Roman art in Europe. 
The later Roman artists tried to adapt Roman art to 
the religious subjects the early Christian church wished 
to commemorate. Owing to the decadence of social 
conditions, however, their technic in drawing deteriorated. 
But from Byzantium came a great wave of vivid colors, 
whose roots are traceable to Syria and to Persia. And 
despite the weakened naturalistic native European sense 
of form, the later Roman artists produced some art 
which tho imperfect pictorially nevertheless makes 
gorgeous decorations, and of which there are brilliant 
examples at Monreale and Ravenna. Romanesque archi- 
tecture, about 800 A. D.-1200 A. D., was also partly 
due to this Oriental color inroad. 

Towards the beginning of the second millennium 
A. D. European art started afresh in Europe. Gothic 
architecture, about 1150 A. D. to 1450 A. D., evolved 
gradually new forms of structures 'and of embelhshments 
in response to fresh needs and conditions. Sculpture 
and painting, abandoning Byzantine decorative technic, 
turned once more to realism and obeyed more and more 
the natural art instincts of the White races. Beginning 
with Giotto, while the religious subjects are still 
imaginative, the humans and landscapes are studied 
more and more from nature, and realism in the 
handling becomes more and more apparent. And these 
idealistic subject religious pictures, with realistic treat- 


ment, are still produced in Europe. The unearthing 
of Greek and Roman remains, beginning with about 
1500 A. D., and their study by European artists, 
brought about some changes in European art which, 
nevertheless, followed its own course of natural evolu- 
tion and is still progressing, according to its needs and 
environments, as the art of Europe and America of 

In Africa there are several well differentiated arts, 
which cannot, however, be classified like European arts 
according to their historic time. For nothing of the 
beginnings of several of them is known. 

The oldest African art may be Libyan art. It much 
resembles Pleistokene art and may be part of it, altho 
it may perhaps last into Neohthic times. Of this art 
we know very httle. 

Closely in touch with Libyan art is Bushman art. 
Altho positively recognized so far only south of the 
Zambezi, the art of the Kongo pygmies may possibly 
be a branch of it. How far back Bushman art dates is 
unknown, but it certainly belongs to the same artistic 
family as Pleistokene art. Some of the figures in hunt- 
ing disguises show kinship to Egyptian animal headed 

Negro art, or African art proper, is found in the 
whole of Africa south of the Sahara. Except at Benin 
City, it is independent of any European or Asiatic art, 
and must be looked on as one of the great autochthonous 
arts. Almost all the specimens of this art, mostly 
wooden sculptures, are recent in date. Nevertheless, it 
may date back to many thousand years B. C. 

Zimbabwe art, also found south of the Zambezi, 
remains a puzzle, both as to its makers and its date. 


The nearest which can be said of the latter is that it 
probably antedates 1000 A. D. 

One of the oldest arts is Egyptian art. It dates 
back to at least 5000 B. C, and there are indications 
that it may begin even earher. It is possible that there 
may be Libyan, Bushman and Negro ancestry in its 
parentage. While it flourished almost entirely in the 
lower Nile Valley, it must have some cousinship with 
West Asiatic art, and it certainly had some influence on 
art in North Africa and Crete. 

In Asia there are several great distinct arts. One of 
these, West Asiatic art, as far as known at present, 
developed probably on the lower Euphrates, among the 
Sumerians, perhaps 5000 B. C. This art descended to, 
or was reborn among the Hittites in Asia Minor, about 
3000-1000 B. C, and among the Assyrians about 1500- 
500 B. C. Any art the Jews may have had, and it 
was very httle, was part of this West Asiatic art. 
Early Persian art was an offspring of this, as was also 
Phenician art, and the Phenicians apparently carried 
some fragments of West Asiatic art to Carthage and to 
some other places round the Mediterranean. 

In Western Asia also, there sprang up later a great 
almost wholly decorative art which belongs to both the 
continents of Asia and Africa. This is Arab art, which 
arising in Arabia, invaded Egypt about 750 A. D., 
spread westward across North Africa and into Spain, 
and eastward to Central Asia and Hindustan. Arab 
art is certainly not an autochthonous art, but neverthe- 
less it evolved certain new art forms in answer to its 

In southern and eastern Asia there was long ago 
some art which might be called Early Asiatic or Pre- 


historic Asiatic art. There are at least surviving rem- 
nants in Korea, in China, in Cochin China, in Hindu- 
stan, of an art which at one time must have extended 
over a good deal of Asia, and which was not unhke 
Australasian art. It is possible that the South and East 
Asiatic arts developed from this foundation: certain it 
is, I think, that Early Asiatic art is the earliest art 
known in Asia east of Baluchistan. 

South Asiatic art sprang up at some indefinite time, 
doubtless several millenniums B. C, in southern Asia. 
It may or may not be autochthonous. Everything con- 
nected W'ith its origin, however, is totally hazy and 
nebulous. It extends from Persia to Tibet, Siam and 
Java, its center being Hindustan. 

East Asiatic art probably arose autochthonously in 
China, also at some indefinite time, several millenniums 
B. C. From China, East Asiatic art is sujiposed to 
have wandered to Japan, sometime about 500 A. D. 
From southern Asia a wave of the Buddhist reUgion, 
some time after 600 B. C, rolled into China, and 
brought with it a series of religious subjects which 
became part of East Asiatic art. It seems certain, 
however, that these subjects were merely grafted on an 
already developed art, not that they started art. 

Australasia is the home of one of the great autoch- 
thonous arts of the world. It belongs to the same 
artistic family as Negro art and Amerind art, and it is 
closely related to the surviving fragments of what was 
probably the prehistoric Asiatic art. There are two 
main branches of Australasian art, which are most 
distinct and individual in Melanesia and Polynesia 
respectively and which blend to some extent or grow 
weaker in Malaj'a and Micronesia. 



Fig. 6. Afriean nuui with iii-lclc and with ax halted tliru Ixnly. 


Melanesian art is found at its purest in New- 
Guinea, New Caledonia, and New Ireland. It extends 
to Fiji and Australia and is a main factor thruout 
Malaya; it spreads northward to Formosa, perhaps to 
Yezo, and may have been part of the prehistoric art 
of Japan. 

Polynesian art is at its best in Hawaii, New Zea- 
land, Easter Island, Samoa, and some other island 
groups. It is found to some extent in Malaya; in a 
weakened form in Micronesia, and it may also have 
had something to do with the prehistoric art of Japan. 

Probably it would be inaccurate to speak of either 
Melanesian or Polynesian art as superior to the other. 
They have resemblances in being in about the same 
stage of development; and decided differences in technic 
and subjects. But altho they show kinship thruout, in 
every archipelago, often in single islands of an archi- 
pelago, they show also individual distinctions found 
nowhere else in the world. And everywhere, with all 
their apparent ethnologic differences, the Australasians 
reveal an unmistakable art impulse and art power. 

Arctic Asia and Arctic America, as desert and 
inhospitable regions, except Antarctica and the Sdhara, 
as the world offers, nevertheless are the home of a 
distinct art, which may well be called Arctic art. It 
is found among the Chukchees, Koryaks, Yakaghirs 
and Eskimo in northern Siberia, and among the Eskimo 
in Alaska, Greenland and Labrador. Altho the art of 
each tribe and each locaUty has its individual peculiari- 
ties and varies from that of all the other tribes and 
localities, nevertheless it is all one art. It belongs to 
the same artistic family as Pleistokene art and Bush- 
man art, and might be, but probably is not, related 


to them. It has some resemblances to East Asiatic 
art, and only some more superficial ones to European 
art and Amerind art. With the West Asiatic, South 
Asiatic, Negro and Australasian arts, on the contrary, 
it has practically nothing but differences. The Arctic 
races are certainly more closely allied ethnologically to 
the East Asiatic races than to any other races of the 
old world, and this points to their art being a separate 
development of East Asiatic art, rather than a descend- 
ant of Pleistokene art, whose makers are almost surely 
ancestors of the modern European races. 

The American continent is the home of one great 
art, Amerind art, which, altho generically the same, is 
differentiated in a number of places and regions. These 
different branches all more or less dovetail, so that it 
is difficult to specify their exact boundaries. Nor can 
their limits in time be set down but approximately. 

Until within a year or two, Pleistokene art was 
known to exist only in Europe. In 1915, however, at 
Vero, Florida, a Pleistokene horizon was discovered, in 
which not only were there bones of several species 
of extinct animals, but also human bones in the same 
state of fossihzation as those of the animals and 
numerous stone artifacts. There was also unearthed 
with these one tusk on which are a number of marks, 
recalling somewhat the marks of the European Azilien 
horizon, and a small, crude, rather square drawing of 
a head.* The squareness of the drawing suggests rudi- 
mentary Amerind drawing. As the Vero horizon is 
unquestionably Pleistokene and Paleolithic it may be 

* E. H. Sellards: Human Remains and Associated Fossils from the 
Pleistocene of Florida: "Eighth Annual Report of the Florida State 
Geological Survey, 1916." 


that this drawing is Pleistokene and from its square- 
ness the work of a Pleistokene ancestor of the present 
Amerinds. We must await further discoveries for any 
certainty in the matter, but, if this drawing is Pleis- 
tokene, there is a possibility that art was born inde- 
pendently in America a good many thousand years ago. * 

It is exceedingly difficult to divide Amerind art 
into secondary arts, and any classification can be 
considered only an attempt to sjjecify variations in the 
type. In Alaska and British Columbia, art is indi- 
vidual enough to bear one name. West North Amerind 
art. To the south of this, art might be classified as 
Californian art. In the United States, east of the 
Rocky Mountains, there was some prehistoric art made 
by the Moundbuilders which was followed by the vari- 
ation of Amerind art, extending also in Canada, which 
may be called East North Amerind art. In the south- 
western United States there was formerly Cliff Dweller 
art and at present there is Pueblo art which also 
extends into northern Mexico. 

In southern Mexico there were several prehistoric 
branches of art, among which Aztec, Zapotecan, and 
Mayan are prominent. Some of this art may be five 
or six thousand years old, while some of it lasted until 
the time of Hernando Cortez. In Central America and 
in the Antilles there were two local variations of the 
parent Amerind art. 

In South America west of the Andes, there was in 
prehistoric times a great art which culminated in Inca 
art. This was closely alUed to Mayan and Aztec art 
and largely died out with the invasion of the Spaniards. 
It might be called West South Amerind art. East 

* Fig 24. 


of the Andes, to this day, there survives another 
branch of Amerind art, which has certain individual 
characteristics and may be called East South Amerind 

Amerind art has some traits which distinguish it 
from other arts and rank it as one of tlie great arts 
of the world. It resembles most closely in certain 
respects Australasian art, but it has also certain 
resemblances to East Asiatic art and South Asiatic art. 
In Alaska the Australasian resemblances predominate, 
whilst the Asiatic resemblances are most apparent in 
Mexico and Central America. Altho Amerind art must 
be considered as partly autochthonous, yet one must 
also recognize that it gradates away almost imper- 
ceptibly from its nearest western neighbors and thus is 
a proof that all art is one with many subdivisions. 




Among eveiy agglomeration of men, call we them 
as we prefer, races or peoples or nations or tribes or 
clans or families, we find art. Art is infinite in its 
varieties, it is not identical in any two localities, it is 
not identical at any two periods, but the rule seems 
to be absolute that in every clime, at every time, 
among every tribe, we find art in some form or shape. 
Art is not universal among persons, in fact it crops 
out strongly only sporadically among individuals, but 
it is universal in man racially, since it is found every- 
where. How can this be accounted for? Apparently 
there is but one answer, which is that an instinct to 
hke art, and an impulse to make art is ingrained in 
many members of the human family. 

The art instinct might be defined as a love for 
and observation of form and color. It is not a seeking 
after intellectual thoughts and ideas. It is a purely 
human instinct, as no quadruped — except that in a 
few cases some animals seem to distinguish differences 
in colors — ever showed the faintest glimmer of it. 
It varies with different peoples, different periods, 
different circumstances, different environments. Never- 
theless underneath it is always the same thing, a love 
of form and color, a product of the same emotions 
cropping out izi different ways, a mental abiUty to 
appreciate and enjoy the craftmanship and accom- 
plishments of other artists. The art impulse might 


be defined as the desire to express and make visible 
the feelings aroused by the art instinct. When the 
art instinct and the art impulse are found in the same 
person, that person may become an artist. 

This instinct, which appears among all races of men, 
is the same as and is usually called the esthetic sense. 
Certain members of all races appear to have this 
esthetic sense, and those who have it are the ones who 
want to paint or sculpt. They are the men who, because 
forms and colors appeal to their artistic or esthetic 
faculties, try to reproduce in painting or sculpture 
men or animals or landscapes, or who Uke to decorate 
their persons and possessions with patterns and designs. 

The art instinct might be called a primal instinct 
in man. It is certainly universal, as people made or 
make art in every part of the world. It seems to 
spring up instinctively and naturally among men 
much as does for instance speech, indeed art itself 
is a mode of human expression just as is language, 
in fact one might say art is perhaps the most universal 
of languages. 

There is certainly a universal instinct to make art. 
Does now this instinct grow up everywhere of its 
own accord, or is it a transmitted quality? An 
answer to this psychological question might help 
towards solving the problem whether art thruout the 
world is all one art or whether there are many arts. 

All art has its roots in and evolves from an art 
instinct and art impulse, that is from the enjoyment of 
and desire to produce things seen by the eye. All the 
beginnings of every art must spring originally from an 
art instinct and art impulse based on vision. That 
that art instinct and art impulse were born once and 

42 ART AM) UXS. 

since then transmitted to man everywhere is mani- 
festly impossible. On the contrary it appears self 
evident that the art instinct has been born over and 
over again with the individuals themselves who have 
applied it because they also had the impulse. It is 
therefore more probable on the whole, that races like 
the Eskimo or the Melanesians were impelled by their 
own feelings and went to work to make some art of 
their own in their own way, much as a bird sits on a 
branch and sings, rather than that different tribes or 
races should have inherited qualities descended among 
all men generation by generation. 

The art of the European Plcistokenes is the earliest 
art known to us. Admitting that it is the oldest art 
implies that it could not have been influenced by any 
other art, and therefore it must have sprung solely 
from an art instinct and art impulse. It must have 
begun in some of the Plcistokenes becoming interested 
in things they actually saw and a desire to mimic 
these things being aroused. The observation and 
attempted imitation of the animals and men the Plcis- 
tokenes looked at around them must have been the 
elemental factors in the start of naturalistic art. 

Decorative art appears to be due in the main to an 
innocent desire to play with lines and colors. Some of 
it is a degeneration of naturalistic art, but some of it 
does not imitate anything in nature. Many people 
love bright colors and make use of them simply because 
they do like them, without any meaning behind them. 
This may not result in art, or perhaps only in the 
crudest art, but the impulse which prompts applying 
patches of bright color in any way to things, is really 
a result of the art instinct. 


That the esthetic sense is the underlying motive 
power, the art impulse, of all artists in the glyptic 
arts, is easily seen in the procHvities of some young 
children to make pictures. Their first art work is 
observing and trying to delineate in some way what 
they see, because they like to do it. It is the art 
instinct working crudely which finds expression in the 
pictures made by children. At four or five years of 
age, if a boy has the gifts of a sculptor, he probably 
makes extra pretty mud pies, whilst if he is cut out 
for a future painter he begins to draw pictures of 
men or houses or cats on the side-walk. It is this 
desire to imitate, to reproduce figures or scenes he 
observes, which eventually leads an older child to 
become an artist. If he does not have this faculty, 
he turns to some other work, never to art. 

The recognition of this underlying impulse among 
children is of great importance when seeking for the 
starting point of the arts of primitive peoples, of the 
Kongo Negroes, the Papuans, the Amazon Amerinds, etc. 
Their minds in many ways appear to act much like 
the minds of the children of advanced races, and it 
seems therefore prima facie probable that their wooden 
figurines in most cases are simply the outcome of 
their esthetic desire to reproduce the human form. 

But while all art apparently appears to spring 
primarily from an art instinct depending on the sense 
of vision, some art proceeds secondarily from an attempt 
to visualize mental conceptions. This sometimes brings 
forth good results but sometimes it produces dire fail- 
ures in which it is difficult to perceive any art impulse 
due to the eye. The Neolithic European peoples, for 
instance, left a great many pieces of pottery whose 


upper parts vaguely resemble an owl's head. Whether, 
as some ethnologists believe, these potteries personate 
some female anthropomorphic divinity or whether they 
do not, and whether they are or are not decorative 
degenerations, it is difficult to associate a genuine 
ocular art impulse with the specimens themselves.* 

The artist's impulse is not unlike that of a good 
mouser cat, which, as soon as its eyes are opened, 
goes for the first mouse it sees. The artist's impulse 
might also be likened to that of a spider when it 
makes its web, a wonderful and beautiful piece of 
work, which the spider, untrained and untaught, makes 
by its natural instinct and impulse. Why does a duck 
take to water? Why do little cackling ducklings, 
hatched by a hen, waddle off from their distracted 
foster mother to go swimming on the farmyard puddle? 
And the answer is, because it is their nature to! 
Instinct impels them to go swimming. And it is the 
same with the real artist. His instinct drives him to 
art, just as the cat's instinct prompts it to catch mice, 
just as the duck's instinct drives it to water. All the 
best art of the world comes from this impulse, and in 
many cases artists do not know exactly how they do 
their work and are unable to teach others. They 
simply do as they do because it is their nature to. 

Certain men have the art instinct so strongly devel- 
oped as to overbalance their reasoning powers. Things 
seen, the glyptic rudimentary art sense, and not things 
heard or things thought out, control them. The art 
genius of such men sometimes dominates and stalks 
away with them so completely, that in the everyday, 
commonplace affairs of life, they act in the strangest 

* Fig. 3. 




Fia. 7. Woman with dwarfed figure and with dri 
statue from Gold Coast, Africa. 

bead. Large wooden 


way, and are considered eccentric, if not insane. These 
men must follow their instinct. They do not reason 
about art in general: they just do. They can not tell 
others why they do, or how they do. But they do. 

This does not mean that artists never reason. On 
the contrary, some of the best intellects in the world 
have been painters or sculptors or musicians, as for 
instance Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, and Hector Berlioz. 
Leonardo was a great engineer and a good geographer. 
Rubens was as polished a courtier and diplomat as ever 
lived. BerUoz was a witty and incisive writer. These 
men and a great many others also, used their minds 
and reasoned out all they could of the principles of 
their art. The best painting is not all instinct. The 
best paintings show knowledge of composition, masses, 
values, harmony, etc. Without the art instinct these 
would be useless. With the instinct added, great work 
is sometimes produced. It is the same with music. A 
knowledge of harmony, counterpoint, fugue, etc., is 
necessary. But the gift of melody, the underlying musi- 
cal instinct, is imperative. And how few composers 
have had the real gift! 

Turner may be taken as a type of a thoro artist. 
He hved in a httle, dirty, uncomfortable London 
suburban house. After his father's death, he had no 
one with him but an old ignorant housekeeper. But 
he hved in a world of dreams. He probably never 
noticed his surroundings. He saw visions, of rainbows, 
and breaking waves, and rising suns. And he trans- 
ferred those visions to the most heavenly landscapes 
ever shown to the world. His art instinct obhterated 
the man. He was uneducated, gruff, unsociable, and 
illiterate. But what difference does it make if Turner 


in his everyday life often acted like a bear with a 
sore head, since he transposed for us the facts of 
nature into the dream land of Turneria. 

Richard Wagner is another artist who may be 
mentioned here, since many of his scenic effects fall 
within the confines of pictorial art. He was queer 
and eccentric. Some of his biographers have said 
hard things about him. He is reported to have stood 
on his head whilst leading the rehearsal for a concert. 
The fact of the matter is that Wagner had an 
abnormal brain. As an ordinary personage, he was a 
Uttle mad. A man who could hear the Liebestodt, or 
the Pilgrim's Chorus or the Funeral March singing in 
his brain, could not put on his clothes straight or 
talk Like a boarder in a summer hotel. But his 
personal eccentricities do not alter the fact that 
Wagner was the most universally creative artist that 
ever lived . 

Besides the art instinct and impulse which are the 
driving powers within the artist himself, however, 
there is a great extraneous force which has much to 
do with shaping the lives and output of artists. When 
an artistic child begins to grow up, he may turn to 
art as a pursuit. If so, he tries at first to work in 
the field he enjoys the most, whether sculpture or 
painting or architecture, specializing besides in this in 
whatever direction appeals to him most. If he is rich 
and ambitious, he may follow his own chosen path 
without hindrance. But if he is poor, and the 
majority of artists are poor, the need of finding food 
and shelter and raiment, that is the great extraneous 
force of the struggle for existence, is bound to affect 
him. And the necessities for the support of life he 


must obtain from persons who will pay him for his 
art work. These persons are spoken of as "art 
patrons," and this art work, done for pay, is descrip- 
tively termed by artists "potboiUng." 

Potboilers in fact represent a large part of art. 
Artists mainly spend their time in working at something 
which will enable them to live, in fact they have to. 
They paint portraits of old gentlemen in black coats 
or illustrations, or they sculpt clocks and candelabras, 
or they erect skyscrapers, or in fact they do some- 
thing by which they can earn an honest penny. It is 
simply the working of the law of supply and demand: 
the customer wants some kind of art work and the 
artist does the rest. It is the stomach and not the 
brains of the artist which rules in this case, and not 
infrequently with direful consequences. 

Patronage, therefore, is really a main force in regard 
to the output in the fine arts. It is entirely distinct 
from the esthetic sense. It is hostile to it, in the 
sense that it forces many artists to work against the 
grain at things they do not care about, and it is 
largely responsible for much of the inartistic art of 
the world. It is an aid, however, to the artists in 
many cases, in impelling them to work and produce 
something, which if perhaps not their best, is at 
least better than nothing. And in many cases, if it 
were not thru the push of potboiUng, the artistic 
temperament would fritter itself away in laziness and 
the artist accomplish less in his favorite hne than 
he does thru the stress of necessity in some direction 
he is not specially interested in. 




"Soyez naif! — Cherchez Men les masses!" were two 
of the favorite sayings of my first painting teacher, Henri 
Marcette, of Spa, Belgium. And they are sayings which 
might well be taken to heart by all painters. For what 
the French convey in the word naivete is an important 
element in a work of art. Unfortunately there is no 
exact equivalent in English for the French word naif as 
used by Henri Marcette. It can be paraphrased in the 
adjectives sincere, genuine, natural, truthful, individual, 
personal, instinctive, spontaneous, straightforward, but 
none of them renders absolutely Marcette's thought. 
What he meant, however, was that you should look at 
nature and paint what you see in your own way without 
regard to any traditions or anyone else's work. Naivete 
means that an artist allows his art instinct to express 
itself untrammelled by convention. When he does so, 
his individuahty crops out, his work shows freshness 
and is not quite Uke any other work. 

There are three main stages in an artist's hfe. When 
he is a child he is sincere and his one desire is to put 
down and express something that he sees or some idea 
in his head. He works hard to do this and the result, 
even if shapeless, is at least genuine and is not a copy 
of some one else. Then comes his period of training. 
In this he is pretty sure to follow others, in fact he can 
hardly help doing so. Whether working in an academy 


or with one master, he is bound to be more or less 
influenced by his education and to do copying rather 
than original work. He may never get beyond this 
stage, in which he may leave his freshness or person- 
ality behind, except to gain more ease of expression: 
and continuing to follow others, his natural development 
may be arrested. But if he is strong enough, after 
having acquired technical knowledge thru his training, 
he may throw traditions to the wind and obey only his 
own youthful art instincts. In that case he probably 
becomes a real artist, a leader. 

Excellent examples of sincere, genuine personaUty, 
can be found in many of the works of the early Italian 
and Flemish painters, Giotto, Piero della Francesca, 
Pinturichio, the Van Eycks, Memling, etc. These men 
did not know everything. Thej^ had few pictures round 
them to lean on. They had to forge ahead for them- 
selves and do things as they felt them. In other words 
they were thoroly naif and their work has enduring 

An exact contrast to the work of the early Italian and 
Flemish painters is found in that of their imitators, the 
EngUsh Pre-Raphaelites. The early ItaUans and Flemish 
were striving to do the best they could, they used all 
their knowledge, they moved steadily forward towards 
later art. The Pre-Raphaehtes were trying to go back- 
wards, they left out knowledge which was already a 
common possession, in an attempt to attain the quali- 
ties which the Itahans and the Flemish got thru lack 
of knowledge. Their work was not genuine, it was 
imitation. It is like modern printed tapestry as com- 
pared with the old original article. The result was that 
the Pre-Raphaelite machine skidded into the ditch. 


Some of the most artistic art work in the world, 
nevertheless, has been done by one of the least naif 
of races, the Chinese. Probably the same rule apphes 
with them as with us, that the best work is done when 
an artist has been thoroly trained yet is strong enough 
to cause his individuahty to stand out above his train- 
ing. But I suspect that a good deal of Chinese art is 
conventional, precisely from the lack of sincerity among 
the lesser men causing a loss of spontaneity in their 

The art of primitive races depends for its strength 
partly on its freshness and sincerity. It stands to 
advanced European or East Asiatic art somewhat in the 
same relation that the scribbhngs of an artistic child do 
to his matured work. European and East Asiatic art 
show greater intellect, knowledge and training than 
primitive art, but they sometimes lack its freshness and 
sincerity. Primitive art is the result of the art instinct 
and sincerity acting freely without much knowledge or 
training. Much of it is real art, even tho often 
undeveloped. Lots of the art of primitive races, in 
truth, is ever so much better than much of the art of 
civilized races. Primitive men, for instance, do not 
know enough to ruin their instinctive desire for vivid 
colors. And they frequently instinctively make pretty 
things; whilst civilized men, reasoning and putting intel- 
lect into their work, make ugly stuff. 

Sincerity alone, however, without the artistic instinct, 
is useless in art. The Negroes have plenty of sincerity, 
they are in fact all sincerity, and nevertheless much of 
their art is inartistic. This is possibly because appar- 
ently many Negroes lack a sense of beauty. Sincerity 
is only another mental trait urging the art instinct to 


work freely: it does not take the place of the art 
instinct if this is wanting. 

Personality or individuality is closely associated with 
sincerity, and again is closely associated with style. 
Personality is practically synonymous with individuality 
and both terms are used about an artist when he puts 
enough of himself into his work for it to be recognized 
as his work at a glance. Every strong artist has his 
own personal way of working, which is his style, and 
this becomes just as recognizable to an expert as a 
man's handwriting. Style is an expression of the 
artist's taste and it is mainly from the individual style 
that an expert can often see at a glance who it was 
painted a picture. For art is like handwriting. It is 
not a mechanical performance like printing or photog- 
raphy. Like handwriting, art is carried out by the 
hand in obedience to an impulse from the brain, 
and as a result, art reveals character just as does hand- 

Style is found in all arts. Style appUes both to 
schools of art and to individual artists. It means the 
special manner in which a work of art is carried out, 
that is it refers to the technic. When a number of 
works of art come from some one place and epoch, they 
are designated as a school. All glyptic arts from all 
places, all schools of art, have their individual style, and 
by much observation and comparison one may become 
able to tell, almost with certainty, to what art any 
piece belongs and where it came from. 

With personaUty it is different. In ^Modern Euro- 
pean art and in East Asiatic art we can often tell from 
the work the name of the artist. In some other arts, 
like South Asiatic, we can do so occasionallv, but in 


many arts, such as the African, Australasian, and 
Amerind arts we can not do so at all. 

Personality in art, it must be added, refers only to 
the work and not to the moral or mental character of 
an artist. He may be a good man or a bad man, a 
sensible one or a foohsh one, but his work rarely gives 
any clue on which to form a judgment. Many popular 
notions about artists, however, are entirely erroneous. 
The great majority of artists are perfectly decent citi- 
zens, and the amount of labor they are forced to do to 
forge ahead, prevents their being anything else. 

Observation undoubtedly is at the bottom of all 
art. Artists sculpted and drew and painted in the 
beginning what they actually saw. They worked from 
the animals they knew: they sculpted and painted the 
forms and features of their own race. Enlarged ears 
or small waists or long finger nails in art imply that 
they originated in fact. Observation underlies not only 
all sculptural and pictorial art but also most decora- 
tive art, for this is based on human, animal and plant 
forms, or on basketry patterns, and in nearly all cases 
it starts in observation, which, when accurate, is per- 
sonal and sincere. 

A good example of this principle is offered by the 
fabulous animals which are found in many arts over 
the greater part of the globe. So many artists, in so 
many places, could not have dreamed them. They 
must have started in something actually seen. And 
the only apparent solution is that animal headed 
humans and human headed animals originated in 
hunting disguises: while such an unnatural beastie as 
the Chinese dragon was an invention made from 
animals which had been observed, an artistic evolution 


from the crocodiles and pythons, or possibly even from 
now extinct reptiles, which had scared the artists' 

Everything therefore actually represented in art 
must be assumed to be based on something the artist 
or his ancestors actually saw. Artists did not dream 
first. Underlying any use of the imagination or the 
memory there was observation of the things around 
the artist. Art is thus a record of ethnology, of 
zoology, of botany, of customs, of history. 

Nevertheless imagination, invention and memory are 
important vital factors in an artist's make up and 
but little good art is produced without their help. 
The idea commonly accepted among Europeans, that 
all sculpture, drawing and painting must be done while 
looking directly at nature is a fallacy based on the 
equally prevalent fallacy that art must be true to 
nature, must be a photographic imitation of her. It is a 
fact, on the contrary, that great painters and sculptors 
often work largely from memory or imagination. They 
either make studies until they know their subject, or 
they look at it until they memorize it, or they invent. 
Memory and imagination are of perhaps greatest value 
in obtaining hfe and motion, and fleeting effects of 
color and light. When a work of art is produced to 
some extent from memory or imagination, the figures 
are seldom wooden and rarely posing; but when it is 
not so produced, the Ufe is often arrested, and the 
figures seem petrified and are merely models in an 
unhappy state of rest. 

Imagination, invention and memory are more or 
less present in all good art. In European art hundreds 
of artists may be cited as exponents of these qualities: 



Fig. 8. Woman with dwarfed figure and protruding abdomen with glass window 
inserted. West Coast, Africa. 


Giotto, Fra Angelico, Pisano, Tintoretto, Michael 
Angelo, Turner, Bocklin, Millet, Boutet de Monvel, 
Ch^ret, William Morris Hunt, George Inness, etc. 
The Chinese and Japanese masters all painted almost 
entirely from memory and imagination. But the artists 
of other races also show tliese same qualities. The 
Pleistokenes certainly had them, for how otherwise 
could they have painted their wall pictures at Altamira 
and Fond de Gaume, in dark caverns, whose only 
access is a tiny opening no bison nor mammoth could 
possibly have squeezed thru. The Bushman and the 
Eskimo certainly have capital memories. And some 
other races, whose art is less realistic, such as the 
Melanesians of New Ireland with their strange figures, 
or the Alaskans with their totem poles, or the Poly- 
nesians with their wood carvings, or the Arabs with 
their patterns and arabesques, evince the liveUest 
imagination and invention in producing strange, 
original and beautiful works of art.* 

*Figs. 11, 12, 18, 19. 




Training in art has much to do with the shaping 
of art and artists. It is not part of the art impulse, 
but an outside influence. As a rule training is of value, 
but sometimes it has a deleterious effect. The saying 
that as the twig is bent so is the tree inclined, applies 
perfectly to art training. For the training given to 
some artists is not always suitable to them, and makes 
one wonder whether no training would not sometimes 
be best. It seems well therefore to examine training 
from both points of view, from its helpful and from its 
damaging side. 

Technical training up to a certain point is usually a 
good thing. It, at any rate, saves time and often much 
floundering to a beginner. Unfortunately sometimes it 
destroys individual imagination and naivete. It gener- 
ally happens that an embryo artist is recognized because 
he does art work, out of his head or from nature, as he 
himself feels. Then he goes to an art school, where he 
is taught art as at that time understood in that coun- 
try. Sometimes by the time he has got thru with his 
course of study, he has lost his own individuality and 
become conventionalized. Sometimes, however, he keeps 
or recovers his personality and his imagination, and 
then, with his training to boot, he does good work. 
Manet, for instance, shed his academic training and 
showed the absolute sincerity of a child in looking at 
nature: he painted what he saw, not what he was told 


ought to be there or what other people had seen, and 
the result was he did something new, something no train- 
ing of that time could have taught him. 

This is frequently the case with the pioneers in art. 
The art pioneer is the man who is least influenced by 
his artistic predecessors, training and environment. The 
art pioneer is a man who thruout his artistic training 
preserves his own personal way of looking at nature or 
seeing visions of beautiful things. And these art pio- 
neers truly deserve the title of great artists. Some mili- 
tary critics claim that the great soldiers are those who 
found war one thing and left it another, and they assign 
special rank on this account to Alexander, Hannibal, 
Csesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick the Great and 
Napoleon. It is the same with artists and any one of 
them who, like Ruysdael or Diirer or Constable or 
G^ricault, made one, even if but a small, advance in 
art must be considered a pioneer and deserves to rank 
among great artists. All these men had training, but 
they all broke thru training and convention, and went 
into fresh fields. The greatest artists indeed always go 
beyond their training. 

The importance of training can easiest be seen by 
considering the innumerable art academies of the present 
day, and how the thousands and thousands of living 
artists are all trained and taught at first. The history 
of art in Italy, in Flanders, etc., tells the same story: 
that all the successful artists in those countries were 
trained in their youth by older men. Japanese artists, 
it is well known now, are trained for years, in copying 
caUigraphy and works of art, repeating one form over 
and over again, and it is this continual training which 
eventually gives them their power. 


It is evident, therefore, that training has had much 
to do with the forming of the greater arts. When we 
find art of a certain sameness with a certain amount 
of quaUty, it is safe to infer that it shows training in 
its makers. That is, when the general level of art 
in any place is high, it implies that the artists had a 
training which could only have come with a surround- 
ing civilization. 

Judging by the arts whose histories we know, it is 
safe to infer that training was a factor in all the 
greater arts. Whether there are any data in the matter 
or not, we may rest assured that there must have been 
training among the artists of Crete, of Egypt, of 
western Asia and of southern Asia. There may have 
been schools of some sort answering to our art acade- 
mies, or there may have been teaching by older artists 
to pupils as in Italian and Flemish studios, but un- 
doubtedly there was some sort of regular art instruction. 

When one looks at the primitive arts, the problem 
becomes more difficult. Still, by analogy, it seems as 
tho we are warranted in thinking that training played 
a part in Mexican art, Peruvian art and Benin art. 
In the other Amerind and Negro arts, in Australasian 
art, and in Arctic, Bushman and Pleistokene art, it 
seems as tho training must have been a more limited 
force. It scarcely seems as if this could have been 
more than what might come thru propinquity. Younger 
artists in the same community may have followed or 
copied their elders more or less consciously. But there 
could scarcely have been anything like regular instruc- 

Environment is one of the chief factors in the 
making of an artist and of his art. The lie of the 


land, climate, material substances, means of subsist- 
ence, patronage, customs, in fact many surrounding 
causes all have their effect on him. No artist gets 
away really from his environment and available 
materials any more than lie gets away wholly from 
his race. The most original artist at best does work 
only trifiingly different from that of his friends and 
neighbors. An artist is bound to do something hke 
the work of his immediate predecessors and of those 
around him and it is only geniuses who break the way 
by something a little different and new. This may be 
looked on as a universal law, except in some sporadic 
cases, due for instance to transplanting, as where a 
Japanese has settled in Europe. Then he is usually 
influenced by his new environment, altho some of his 
racial qualities may persist. 

Environment is always more or less local. The 
character of countries is different: one is mountainous, 
another flat; one is wooded, another treeless. Climates 
are different, cold or hot, wet or dry. Customs are 
different. Religions are different. Materials are different; 
in one place there is wood, in another stone, in a 
third bone or ivory, or something else. Conditions of 
life are different; in one place an artist lives in the 
wilds by hunting; in another he lives in towns on 
starvation patronage. There are many different factors in 
fact which go to make up the environment of an artist 
and all these as well as his race help to mould his art. 

The influence of the actual physical materials on 
art is of importance and must be looked on as a part 
of environment. A race that hves on open plains, as 
that of the American prairies or that of the Russian 
steppes, and which therefore has no wood or stone 


does not bring forth much sculpture. The marble of 
Greece and the granite of Egypt played definite parts 
in shaping the arts of those countries. The soft paint 
brush and water colors in Asia brought about different 
results from those obtained in Europe with hard points 
and oil colors. In fact the materials offered to an 
artist have much to do with his accomphshment. 

The fact that some one vital condition of life is 
similar in different places, does not necessarily imply 
similarity in art. Take hunting for instance. In the 
Eskimo and the Amerinds of the northern plains, we 
have two races of hunters whose arts are essentially 
different. And this shows that hunting as a condition 
of life does not always develop the same art. The 
reason is, that in each of these cases, there are many 
other environing influences which are different from those 
of the other, as well as a difference in race and hence 
in art instinct. Therefore when we find some race to 
whom hunting is of such prime importance that it 
depends on it for its means of subsistence, we must not 
assume that necessarily this means similarity in art to 
that of some other race equally dependent on hunting 
to keep body and soul together. 

Judging by certain examples, it would seem as if 
commercial prosperity and advanced social organization 
often helped to bring forth great art. The Greece of Phi- 
dias and Praxiteles, the China of the Sung and the Ming 
artists, the Venice of Giorgione and Titian, the Nether- 
lands of Rembrandt and Rubens, are good instances of 
the principle that when art flourishes in any one spot, 
that place is probably in a condition of material pros- 
perity and that some of its inhabitants have reached an 
advanced stage of mental development. 


It sometimes happens, however, that too rigid a civil- 
ization destroys some of the quaUties of art thru con- 
ventionahzing it. This would seem to have been the 
case, for instance, in Egypt and in Assyria. In both 
these countries the artists apparently were so hampered 
by tradition, by custom, by convention, that their art 
never matured to the highest planes. The environment 
was only partly favorable. 

Nor does it necessarily follow that great commercial 
prosperity imphes great art. A certain amount of art is 
pretty sure to follow commercial prosperity, as the latter 
means patronage, but the art instinct and impulse is 
also necessary and may be lacking. In the England 
and America of today, for instance, art is an important 
element in hfe. Art is advancing in these countries, 
partly as a matter of education, and possibly also from 
the increasing immigration of the Mediterranean race. 
For art is not a strong inborn instinct with the Anglo- 
Saxon peoples, who lean more towards business, politics 
and the exact sciences, than towards the more poetical 
and less profitable fine arts. In fact race, as well as 
environment, is one of the factors which plays a part 
in the formation of the fine arts, and an artistic race 
will probably accomplish more in an unfavorable mater- 
ial environment than an inartistic race in a favorable 
material environment. 

Too much stress must not be laid on prosperity and 
ease of life as art developers. Artistic abiUty is far 
more important. For among the Bushmen and Eskimo, 
and some Africans and Australasians, there was some 
decidedly good art, altho there was neither material 
prosperity nor advanced social organization. They must 
therefore have had a tolerably strong art instinct and 


art impulse to counterbalance material disadvantages. 
It follows from this that when we find good art among 
any race, even if we know little of its makers, we may 
be pretty sure, as for instance with the Pleistokenes, that 
some at least of their race had advanced intellectually 
into full fledged modern manhood. Good art in fact 
implies a certain mental ability, but not necessarily 
what might be considered a favorable environment. 




It is an unfortunate fact that the men who pass 
upon the merits of works of art, and especially those 
who use their pen to do so, are called art critics. For 
the word critic now implies condemnation. Criticism 
has come to mean an adverse judgment, and it has 
come to mean this because it is so much easier as well 
as more human to pick flaws in another man's work 
rather than to praise it that most persons pick flaws. 
Much criticism is mere fault finding: often it implies 
an element of hate, of superiority. And the adjective 
most commonly associated with the noun criticism is 
severe: some one criticised "severely" some one else. 
But criticism should be based on love as well as on 
comprehension. For art implies love: no one produces 
real art unless he loves to do it. And anyone writing 
about art or even only studying it should try to feel 
and explain that love and not merely scold about it. 
If that is all one can do, better leave discussing art 
alone. The best critics are the least violent. "Tout 
comprendre, c'est tout pardonner!" 

It is a pity that the term art critic cannot be 
abolished but unfortunately there is no other term in 
the English language which would take its place 
exactly and act as a substitute. There are several 
words, however, which might sometimes be used to 
paraphrase it. These are art lover, art connoisseur, 
art teacher, art judge, art expert, art writer. These 
would all be better in certain respects than art critic. 





Fig. 9. Wooden statuette of man with palm leaf headdress. Nias Island, Sumatra. 


which in some cases almost seems to mean artist hater. 
Anyone of course may be an art lover. An art con- 
noisseur may be perhaps described as the first step 
beyond plain liking, when a person begins to discrim- 
inate. Art judge or art expert might perhaps be used 
when persons have reached an advanced stage of 
knowledge about the fine arts in general, and art 
writer of course apphes to persons who put their 
knowledge into print. 

Accepting, however, as an unfortunate necessity, 
the unpleasant term art critic, the first point that 
suggests itself is: what qualifications entitle a person 
to be considered an art critic? Some persons with a 
general education only and no art training apparently 
assume to a greater or lesser degree that thej^ are 
warranted in discussing and passing upon the merits of 
works of art. Now there are various degrees of 
untrained-in-art persons. Some untrained-in-art persons 
seem to know and to care so little about art that it 
may be doubted whether they would recognize the 
difference between "Botticelh and Chianti." Some 
untrained-in-art persons on the contrary love art dearly 
and even if perhaps they know but little about it, 
yet they can be called art lovers, the most favorable 
state of mind towards good criticism. And some of 
these untrained-in-art-technic persons go a step further 
and by study learn to recognize and to discriminate 
between the works of different painters and different 
schools so that they are entitled to the name of art 

As a general proposition, it may be said that the 
views of persons who have not done any practical art 
work are often of little critical value. I have been 


assured, for instance, on two occasions that Turner was 
color blind. Volumes have been written by untrained- 
in-art-technic persons and many of them are incorrect 
but patronizing. "What people are not up on they are 
down on" someone has said, and it truly appKes to a 
good deal of chatter about art. It is probably accurate 
to say also that, as a rule, the greater the number of 
persons who admire a work of art, the poorer is the 
work; which of course is only another instance of the 
fairly universal law, that the minority is usually right. 

A favorite remark of unfledged talkers about art 
is "I don't know much about art, but I know what 
I like." If artists are present, this generally causes 
them to wink at each other. For it is not infrequently 
followed up by positive, wide of the mark statements. 
Nevertheless "I know what I like" is sometimes a 
criticism of more importance than artists are inclined 
to admit. For it means that to that particular onlooker 
art conveys or does not convey some pleasant or 
unpleasant emotions. And if it happen that that 
particular individual is an art lover, it may also 
happen that his judgment is more accurate than that 
of other more highly trained persons who lack the 
discrimination which proceeds from real feeling. 

There are a certain number of persons, who while 
not having had a practical art training, nevertheless 
are good judges of certain phases of art work. These 
are the art dealers and the art collectors, that is the 
men who sell and the men who buy art works. They 
are forced to study art to pursue either their business 
or their hobby, and the fact that there is sometimes a 
good deal of money involved in the transaction sharpens 
the wits wonderfully. Some of tlie employes in museums 


also become good judges of art. But while such art 
connoisseurs or art experts in their own lines frequently 
are clever and show the keenest possible appreciation, 
still often they are uncertain judges, because they do 
not understand technical points and also because they 
are too apt to be specialists in their sympathies. 

Artists, men who have had a practical training in 
art, are sometimes excellent critics. Often however 
they are poor judges of art: they are too narrow, too 
much wrapped up in their own work; they are too 
much swayed by their emotions and see good only in 
work of the same kind as their own. Whilst often 
able to judge of the technical merits of art works, 
they sometimes seem unable to gauge the relative 
merits of many arts. The mind has sharpened too 
much to a point to enable it to act as a critic's mind 
should, namely from a wide and tolerant standpoint. 
Artists are sometimes jealous and intolerant of other 
artists. I believe they almost always rate highest 
artists whose work, whether for better or worse, is 
on the same lines as their own. And in many cases 
they condemn artists who do not work as they do 
themselves. In other words artists are apt to be 
uncertain critics. 

A common fallacy among artists is to think and 
say that poor art is better than good criticism. This 
remark is often made and is as pointless as it would 
be to say that General Grant's victories were greater 
than Benjamin Franklin's scientific discoveries. One 
cannot compare nor gauge art and art writing by the 
same standards, because they are different things. Art 
is painting, sculpture and architecture: art writing is 
literature. Compare pictures or sculptures as much as 


you please and assign them any relative rank you 
choose. But if you want to judge what merits any 
book on art may have, compare it with other books 
on art: not even with poems or novels: and certainly 
not with paintings or automobiles or anything else 
which it is not. 

Apparently there are two classes of men, namely art 
connoisseurs and artists, who each respectively have 
some of the qualifications necessary for art critics. To 
unite therefore, in one person, all the qualifications 
necessary, implies two kinds of training. One is a 
practical manual training with brush and modelling 
tools, the other is an extensive acquaintance with many 
art works in numerous galleries and museums. That 
is to say, to be a reliable art expert or art writer 
necessitates being both an artist and a connoisseur. 
An artist alone is too narrow; a connoisseur alone is 
lacking in technical knowledge. It is indeed only per- 
sons who have had a long training both in practical 
work and in the study of many works of art who 
really become experts. And it is only experts who can 
tell with any approach to certainty the work of most 
well known painters or sculptors, and this they deduce 
as a rule from the style or quality of the painting or 
sculpture which varies with every art worker. 

An art writer must have an artistic temperament 
and emotions, but he must also have a scientific bent 
and a judicial restraint. All the best art critics are 
practical artists to the extent at least of having had 
a good deal of manual training and practice. They 
are really artists up to a certain point, a point at 
which their intellect seems to overwhelm their art 
impulse. They begin to think, to compare, to reason 


out the why and wherefore of art. They see too much 
and too widel3^ Instead of producing in the narrow 
groove of their art impulse, they spread out over too 
wide a field, they are influenced from too many 
extraneous sources. Sometimes their art production is 
arrested fruitlessly thru this, but occasionally it leads 
to their producing in another direction for which they 
are better suited, namely art writing. And the best 
writers about art, such as Philip Gilbert Hamerton and 
Eugene Fromentin, and great art teachers like Wilham 
Morris Hunt will, I believe, always be found to be 
persons who have had some serious practical training 
but who have studied also extensively the works of a 
great many other artists. 

An art writer, to do good work, requires breadth of 
mind perhaps more than any other quality. He must 
be able to sympathize with — which means to suffer 
with, to enter into the feeUngs of — many different 
artists and their works. He needs the art instinct but 
not the art impulse. He must have the art instinct to 
understand art, but he does not require the art impulse 
which urges a working artist to produce graphic art. 
It is especially necessary for an art writer to look out 
for the good points of all kinds of art works of his 
own race and it would broaden him to study the art 
of other races than his own. And he should always 
remember that if works of art are different from those 
he is used to, it does not necessarily follow that they 
are bad. Art writing should be based on knowledge 
and on an intelligent appreciation of art, and it should 
be an attempt to present the strong points and not 
merely the weak points of art. In fact an art writer 
is an art judge, and he should be towards art matters 


what a law judge is in legal matters, namely a man 
learned in the law who tries to give an impartial 
opinion. It might be, however, the truest wisdom 
for an art writer to cogitate over the Bibhcal text 
"Judge not that ye be not judged": then to keep 
his opinions to himself, since he is certain to displease 
many and to be criticized "severely." 

To write or even to talk intelligently about art is 
intrinsically difficult, and a paramount reason is that 
the basal qualities of the fine arts are intangible and 
elusive. Art writing is really a science, in that it 
should — it does not always — tell the truth. But, from 
the nature of the facts studied, it can never be an 
exact science. Since art does not need to be true to 
nature, and nine-tenths of it is not, one cannot usually 
apply scientific tests in criticising it. Since art may 
seem beautiful to some persons and ugly to others, one 
cannot lay down the law about it from any esthetic 
standpoint. A certain amount of cold fact can usually 
be stated about the externals of a work of art, but 
underneath lies its soul or feeling. And about this soul 
or feeling, an art writer can only feel this feehng as 
well as he can, and then try to express his own feeling. 
And this at best is only his opinion, and not an 
authoritative statement. He needs therefore some of 
the faculties of a scientific man, to deal accurately with 
the technical parts of works of art; he must also have 
the feeling of an artist, to be able to peep into the 
soul of other artists; and he must have some of the 
qualities of a judge on the bench, in order to give a 
well balanced, impartial opinion on the numerous points 
of a work of art. 

An art writer's life work should be modelled on a 


plan which might be Ukened to an open fan or a cart- 
wheel. Starting with a knowledge located at the handle 
or hub, he should try to keep on extending that knowl- 
edge along the ribs of the fan or the spokes of the 
wheel. The more his knowledge widens and spreads, 
the more he compares and gauges the relative values 
and places of different arts, the more likely are his 
opinions to be worth something. But he must see to it 
that his art instinct does not become swamped by his 
reasoning powers: he must make them keep in pace 
together. For if any one lets his esthetic sense be over- 
mastered by his historical or ethnological learning, his 
art writing almost surely will suffer thru his judgments 
becoming scientific rather than artistic. 

Nobody can possibly foretell what his likes and dis- 
Ukes may become with advancing years. For taste 
sometimes widens and sometimes narrows. But, as a 
rule, it is probably correct to say that if a child likes 
certain forms of art before his taste is vitiated or has 
been tampered with, in all UkeUhood he will enjoy the 
same and similar forms of art when he has grown to 
man's estate. He may also learn to Uke manj^ other 
forms of art, besides those he did at first. It may be 
explanatory to mention here how my own sympathies 
have acted in regard to art. Starting out with a love 
for European art, I later became fascinated with East 
Asiatic art, and afterwards gradually got interested in 
all the other arts. And as my eye got more and more 
accustomed to those, I began to see beauties in some 
of the specimens I certainly did not at first. Going on 
one occasion to a museum not far from my own abode, 
in its great hall, besides many pictures by Uttle known 
French painters, there happened to be half a dozen 


Papuan shields from New Guinea labelled "from the 
South Sea Islands." And my impression then was and 
still is that these naive works by untrained wildmen 
were more genuine art than some of the surrounding 
works of the trained civilized painters. 

It seems inevitable that to an observer of many arts 
there comes with time a change of feeling, a change in 
his view point about art. The more he studies art and 
the more arts he studies, the more will his sympathies 
broaden and gradually he will learn to like many things 
unnoticed or perchance despised at first. The average 
European or American grows up with certain feelings 
and notions naturally acquired from the European or 
American art he sees around him. These act as deter- 
rents, so to speak, when he begins to look at African 
art or Australasian art or Amerind art. These arts do 
not conform to our conceptions and at first blush there 
is a tendency to belittle them. But starting out, as do 
most European and American art writers, with the basal 
idea that Greek sculpture and European painting are 
the top notch of art, protracted observation may lead 
an art lover thru East Asiatic art into recognizing that 
many other arts have beauties of their own which are 
entirely unthought of at first. After awhile, when the 
eye has got used to fresh conceptions, one begins to 
reaUze that often there is much feeling for form, for 
color, in art which at first seemed strange, and in time 
one begins to wonder whether sometimes naive untutored 
primitives do not conceive art which, while different from 
our own, may have qualities which are sometimes lack- 
ing in our own more learned, but in some ways less 
natural, modern art. And the realization that a Masai 
shield or a New Ireland paddle may be a pleasing 


work of art need not detract in the least from one's 
appreciation of the Elgin Marbles nor of the portraits 
of Velasquez. In time one gets to understand that these 
are all expressions of the emotion and the knowledge of 
their makers, some in the stone axe and others in the 
shrapnel stage of culture. 



Fig. 10. Large wooden figure from New Guinea or New Ireland. 




Art is a world of its own. Art is in large part 
based on nature, but it is not nature. Art is a 
product of human emotion, thought and work. Art 
starts originall}^ in observation of nature. Some art 
sticks closely to nature and attempts to imitate or 
interpret forms or colors: while some art diverges more 
or less widely from nature. In its extremest forms, 
some art has an almost scientific accuracy of resem- 
blance to nature, while some art is absolute fiction. 
But even in its most naturalistic renderings, art is not 
nature but is only a human interpretation or present- 
ment of it. 

Art is one thing; nature is another. Art is a 
human product: nature is not a human product. But 
man, thruout most of the world, fashions nature to 
suit himself. Does he in so doing make nature more 
artistically attractive? And the answer seems to be 
that, as a rule, he does not. Nature left to itself, in 
mountain, in plain, in forest, in fertile country or m 
desert, is almost invariably artistically interesting. The 
forces of nature, wind, water, fire, carve the surface 
of the earth into forms whose Unes and shapes and 
colors usually are attractive to the eye. In woods, 
in savannahs, in wastes, there is almost always some- 
thing pleasing or terrifying to the eye, something 
which will arouse artistic emotion, something from 
which a landscape painter can make a picture. 


But when man tackles nature, what does he do? 
The numberless, endless, sinuous, artistic Unes of 
nature he intersects with the straight inartistic lines of 
railroads and streets and fences. The beautiful flank 
of a rocky bluff he makes hideous by digging a quarry. 
He takes a piece of moorland, variegated by wild 
roses and burdocks and thousands of beautiful plants 
anathematized as weeds, pulls up all these eye-pleasing 
growths, and changes the bewitching wild ground into 
a green grass lawn which, while excellent as a pasture 
for cattle, is deficient in arousing artistic emotion in a 

In saying this there is no intention of running 
down the works of man nor of denying the interest 
and the beauty of much of what man does fashion 
nature into. What it is proposed to bring out is that 
when man tampers with nature he changes it into 
something radically different. And this different thing 
while generally less beautiful than the original, in 
many cases is beautiful in itself. And this beauty 
comes from the mind of man and is what we call art. 
Wild nature is one thing: nature altered by man is 
another thing. Wild nature is almost always, if not 
always beautiful: nature altered by man is often ugly, 
but sometimes beautiful. But whether ugly or beauti- 
ful, nature altered by man is no longer nature: it is 
something else, and that something else, if beautiful, 
springs from the art instinct. 

There is a rather widespread misconception among 
European peoples that good art means "truth to 
nature." This notion is to a large extent crooked and 
is probably responsible for a great deal of the poorer 
art of Europe. To combat this harmful dictum some- 


what, it may be as well to mention briefly in what 
field of human endeavor truth takes precedence. 

There are three sets of human efforts which can 
be classed as science, ethics and art. While philo- 
sophically these three fields of thought are distinct, 
yet in the actions and works of man they are not 
absolutely separate, but overlap at certain points and 
in certain ways. These three great products of the 
human mind may be placed also under the three head- 
ings of the true, the good and the beautiful, for it 
may be said, speaking in general terms, that truth is 
the foundation of science, goodness the principle of 
ethics, and beauty the mainstay of art. 

It is hardly necessary to tell scientists that truth 
is the bed rock of science. Science might almost be 
called a search for knowledge, and in seeking knowl- 
edge, science is steadily groping for something much 
tried for but never wholly reached, namely that most 
elusive phantom, truth. 

What people really mean when they seak of "truth 
to nature" about the fine arts, is nature as reflected 
in a mirror or as reproduced in an untouched photo- 
graph. Now of course there is some art which is 
an attempt to imitate nature absolutely, and it is 
accurate to say of this art that it is true or is not 
true to nature. But it is wholly inaccurate to say 
that truth to nature, that is mechanical photographic 
imitation, is the basis of all art: for the greater part 
of art is not imitation at all. 

There are several words which convey approximately 
how much any art leans or does not lean towards nature. 
These terms are naturalism, reahsm, imitation and 
interpretation, ideaUsm, imagination. Naturalistic art 


is any art based on nature. Naturalistic art has two 
main subdivisions: realistic art and idealistic art, the 
latter implying imagination, the poetical faculty, also 
as a sponsor. Naturalistic, reaHstic, and idealistic 
are terms applied principally to the sculptural and 
pictorial arts. 

ReaUstic imitative art is art which counterfeits 
nature to the limit of the artist's abiUties. In its 
extremest form it might perhaps be defined as an 
absolute imitation of the reflection in a mirror fixed 
into permanency. Any such slavish imitation, however, 
is rare, as generally almost any artist, no matter how 
imitative, interprets nature to some extent and puts in 
at least some other attributes thru his own feeUngs. A 
purely imitative art work almost always lacks charm, 
and falls into the class of what is termed a study or an 
academy rather than a work of art. 

Reahstic interpretative art is art which interprets and 
suggests nature without pretending to absolutely imitating 
her. Reahstic art is based entirely on observation of 
nature. It does not necessarily need to be done directly 
in front of nature, as it may be carried out thru the 
memory. In fact much of the best reahstic interpreta- 
tive work is memorized observation. 

IdeaUstic art is art in which imagination succeeds 
in inventing something which, tho based on nature, 
was never seen in the natural world. In its extremest 
form, it might perhaps be defined as art made up in 
the artist's head. It is an attempt to represent to 
some extent in the concrete some abstract thought or 
dream about forms and colors. That is the conception 
of an imaginative art work is something dreamed about 
rather than something observed. But the dream is 


always of something which the artist sees in his mind's 
eye. Idealistic art is a mental vision. 

Idealistic art which is good, which has quality, 
implies artistic ability in its maker. An inartistic per- 
son cannot produce idealistic art, any more than an 
ordinary commonplace mind can write great poetry or 
compose great music. " Poeta nascitur, non fit" applies 
perfectly to an artist, and especially to one who works 
idealistically. Inartistic persons, however, arc some- 
times guilty of making certain graphic productions, 
which other inartistic persons sometimes think are 
ideaUstic art. Many things, however, thus looked on as 
idealistic art are mere unintelligent unobserved symbols as, 
for instance, dramngs of a cart with the body and horses 
drawn in profile and with two of the wheels drawn above 
and the other two drawn below the cart. Such drawings 
are not idealistic art, they are merely silly performances 
by inartistic minds, who could not do an ideal drawing 
if they tried to for a thousand years. 

Decorative art, that is the art of decoration or 
ornament, usually is based on nature or on patterns 
produced by man in basketry, etc. Decorative art 
based directly on nature might be called naturalistic 
decorative art, altho no such deUneating terminology 
is of common usage. Some decorative art also, Uke 
the Solomon Islands' human and the Alaska grizzly 
bear, is distinctly idealistic* 

Whatever the nearness or aloofness of any art to 
nature, it may be good, bad or indifferent. This 
depends principally on the ability of the artist, but art 
may also seem good, bad or indifferent to the onlooker, 
according to his temperament and inteUigence. A 

* Figs. 12, 19. 


necessary corollary of this is that no universal rules can 
be laid down for the production of works of art or for 
their appreciation, because the individual mind of each 
person, whether artist or onlooker, is such a varying 
entity. There can be no standard. 

Whether realistic or ideaUstic, art, to be good, 
must convey some artistic sensation, some pleasure or 
emotion, to the mind: there must be some technical 
qualities: there must be form, or color, or drawing, or 
grandeur, or beauty: that is there must be something 

While it is certain that any art, whether imitative 
or imaginative, might be classified thruout by different 
critics as good, bad or indifferent, it is equally certain 
that one can say truthfully that good idealistic art is 
one peg higher than imitative art. And the reason is 
that idealistic art implies imagination: it requires the 
mind of an artist to work poetically. 

The whole of architecture is evolved, without refer- 
ence to nature, out of man's brain for his own 
necessities. Hut or palace or shed or skyscraper or 
cathedral, they are all the invention of man, and not 
in the least the imitation of natural things. Caverns 
and intertwined branches of trees may have given a 
hint in the start, but beyond that nature has not 
aided. The forms and colors of temple and church and 
hotel and private residence are sometimes beautiful and 
artistic. But there is nothing in nature Uke them. 
Architecture is a useful and mechanical art which often 
is also a fine art, but it is never in the least a nature 
art. No one thinks of speaking of the Pennsylvania 
railroad station in New York as true to nature. 

Sculpture proper is one of the most imitative and 


one of the most closely allied to nature of the arts. 
For, as a rule, all sculptures are suggested at least by 
something in nature. Generally they represent a human 
or an animal of some kind, except a certain number 
which are more purely ornaments, carvings for other 
objects. But tho a great deal of sculpture is reaUstic, 
a great deal of sculpture is ideaUstic. Most Greek 
sculpture is surely an attempted improvement on human 
forms, or perhaps rather an attempt to bring together 
into one imaginative composite figure the best points 
of numerous models. And when one turns to the 
sculptures and carvdngs of some of the more primitive 
races, it will be found that they usually diverge widely 
from any objects in nature. 

There is an immense class of objects, which properly 
belong to the mechanical arts, but many of which are 
suflEiciently esthetic in their make up to become semi- 
sculptural fine arts. Many articles of household use such 
as beds, chairs, tables, water pitchers, coffee urns, tea- 
pots, etc., fall into this class and any one of these in its 
forms and colors, independent of any decoration, may 
be good enough to rank as a work of the fine arts. 
And surely no one would claim that a chair or a tea- 
pot resembled anything in nature or was based on 
nature. They are therefore not naturalistic art nor are 
they decorative art. Perhaps they might be classed 
most accurately as semi-sculptural art. 

Painting may or may not be imitative. Which it is 
rests wholly in the volition of the artist. The most 
imitative painting at best only suggests the appearance 
of things and is largely a deception. But there is not, 
in fine art painting, the sUghtest compulsion on an 
artist to be accurate. As long as he does not offend 


his public by departing too widely from recognized con- 
ventions, he can revel in fiction as much as he chooses. 
And it is surprising how much is accepted as "true to 
nature" which is principally made up. It is especially 
to the subjects that this statement applies. All religious 
subjects for instance are wholly inventions of incidents, 
some of which never occurred, and those which did 
occur did not resemble in the least what the painters 
made of them. Most historic subjects equally are 
largely imaginary. And many other pictures, Claude's 
and Wilson's landscapes for instance, are partly dreams 
or visions, which evoke a desire to see such scenes, a 
desire which is never quite fulfilled. 

To obtain deceptive imitation in painting it is neces- 
sary to use, not only line and color, which are the 
essential concomitants of non-imitative pictorial art and 
of decorative art, but also perspective and light and 
shade. The best imitation, however, can never come up 
quite to the reahty. Art therefore should not try to 
literally duplicate nature which it cannot do, but rather 
to suggest something like nature, a something which the 
observer nevertheless never has seen nor will see in the 
real world. 

There is an anecdote which illustrates to some extent 
what idealistic painting should be. The well knowTi 
French impressionist painter Degas, while standing in 
front of a little pool overshadowed by three great willow 
trees, once said: "How beautiful they would be, if 
Corot were to paint them!" 

Most good decorative art is untrue to nature. 
Decoration in itself does not exist in nature. A rock 
on which some beautiful mosses grow, does not thereby 
become a decorated rock: it is one form of nature 


covered by other forms of nature. Only man decorates. 
He decorates sometimes with imitations of certain 
natural objects, but he decorates also with all sorts of 
patterns in lines and curves and rectangles which are 
never found in nature. If one takes some phase of 
decoration, for instance tattooing, what has it to do 
with nature? Nothing! A man may permit his skin to 
be pricked full of colored dots, and these may or may 
not imitate a little something in nature. But they are 
not true to anything in the natural world. 

It would be difficult to state positively the definite 
amount of imitation or imagination underlying any 
individual work of art: one could only point out its 
general tendency. Perhaps a few illustrations may 
clear up a little some of the intricacies of the matter. 
For instance if an artist sits down before nature and 
observes carefully and tries to reproduce imitatively 
what he sees, he is doing a realistic subject in a 
realistic way. Carried to an extreme, this method pro- 
duces sometimes some very inartistic work. When the 
imitation is not pushed to the limit and nature is 
interpreted rather than imitated, especially if memory 
is called to some extent into play, some very fine 
work sometimes results. As examples of this more 
thoughtful method one might cite most of Fortuny's 
and of Manet's pictures and of Barye's sculptures. 

Suppose now an artist paints a picture of some 
historic or rehgious scene. As he did not see his 
subject, he has to invent it, that is his subject is 
imaginative. Then he may turn to nature or to 
models for his details and his figures, in which case his 
picture becomes partly realistic. Holbein's "Madonna," 
or Veronese's "Marriage of Cana," or Rubens' "Descent 





Fio. 11. Paddle from Nissan Island, Solomon Islands 


from the Cross," may be mentioned as widely known 
successful instances of this method. The attempts at 
rehgious pictures by Velasquez and Manet on the other 
hand illustrate the danger even the greatest realistic 
interpretative painters incur in trying to paint subjects 
which require primarily imaginative conception. 

Among modern European artists, there is one, whose 
drawings of mountains are unapproached in their vivid- 
ness and naturalism. This is Edward Whymper, the 
conqueror of the Matterhorn, the Aiguille Verte, Chim- 
borazo and many other great peaks. His merits as 
an artist have been too much overshadowed by his 
fame as the greatest of mountaineers. His composi- 
tion is first class, liis tiny figures on the mountain side 
are portraits, altogether there is no one who comes 
within miles of Edward Whymper in the rendition of 
that most difficult part of all landscape, Alpine scenery. 

The subjects of the great S^\iss artist Bocklin are 
pure pieces of imagination, but his pictures are both 
realistic and idealistic. For his humans and land- 
scapes are admirablj^ done. And tho he invented 
strange figures of mermaids and satyrs, they look as if 
BockUn had actually seen them: that is his work 
looks like reality, even when it was pure invention. 
But it may be well to add that Bocklin was a genius. 

In contrast to these, some perfect examples of 
highly idealized form in art may be seen in Australa- 
sian and Amerind art. The strange human on paddles 
from the Solomon Islands, for instance, is entirely 
imaginative in its subject and decorative technic. So 
are some of the so called deities in Zuni sand pictures* 

* Copies Harvard Univ. P. Mus. 


which do not look like anything seen. They are 
simply dreams, symbols of Zuni conceptions and are 
perhaps less anthropomorphic than any other deities 
ever pictured. 

There is perhaps no art which is absolutely imita- 
tive or absolutely imaginative. All art probably has 
some imitative and some imaginative qualities; only 
usually it leans more, sometimes much more, in one 
direction than in the other. And the fact that some 
arts have imitation tempered by imagination, and other 
arts imagination steadied by imitation, makes it 
difficult to classify the arts of the world by any 
absolute reahstic or ideaUstic standard. It seems to be 
correct, however, to say that the Pleistokene, Bushman, 
and Arctic arts and the arts of Europe are mainly 
reahstic and imitative, and that their makers saw the 
appearance of things and tried to render it: with the 
result, however, that much inferior European art gives 
you what you see, only much better, in nature. The 
arts of southern and eastern Asia, on the contrary, are 
imaginative but with a great deal of reaUsm: with the 
result that much good East Asiatic art gives you what 
you never saw in nature. Finally the African, Austral- 
asian and Amerind arts are mainly imaginative and 
decorative, either because their makers did not look 
at nature at all or at any rate did so more rarely and 
less observingly than the Europeans and the Asiatics. 




Sculptural art, pictorial art and decorative art are 
three classes of art which have certain relations of 
great importance and of great complexity. In speaking 
of these relations, sculptural art must be held to include 
all the arts especially of form, such as architecture and 
pottery, as well as sculpture proper. Sculptural art, 
pictorial art, and decorative art in the main are due 
to the same instinct and the same impulse: and the 
fact that these three classes of art are parts of the 
same thing and yet are different, and that they are 
separate and yet work into each other, makes their 
relationships most compUcated and involved. So com- 
plicated are they in fact, that an attempt to explain 
them a little makes one think of the old definition of 
philosophy "When one fellow explains to another fellow 
what he doesn't understand himself, that's philosophy." 
Sculptural art and pictorial art, because they are almost 
wholly naturalistic arts, are more closely related to each 
other than is either to decorative art: indeed in certain 
ways they may be included under one heading: sculp- 
tural-pictorial art. And also because they are natural- 
istic arts and in the main attempt to represent things, 
sometimes also, not inappropriately, they are called the 
arts of representation. 

The fundamental feature which differentiates func- 
tionally sculptural art and pictorial art from decorative 
art is whether the art work is itself the object, the 


result sought for; or whether the art work is intended 
to beautify some other object. In sculptural art and 
pictorial art the sculpture or picture is the primary 
interest; in decorative art the decoration is the secondary 
interest. In sculptural art and pictorial art everything 
should be subordinated to the sculpture or picture: in 
decorative art the decoration should be subordinated to 
the object decorated. To give some concrete examples: 
the "Dying Gaul" is sculptural art, but the carvings on 
medieval furniture are decorative art; the "Angelus" by 
Jean FranQois Millet is pictorial art, but the color 
daubings by an Amerind on his person are decorative 

One of the complexities of the matter is due to the 
fact that some art is naturalistic, and some art is non- 
naturalistic. And in sculptural, in pictorial and in 
decorative art respectively we find that some of each 
is naturalistic and some non-naturalistic. Nevertheless 
it is possible to lay it down as an axiom that most 
sculptural and pictorial art is naturalistic, while a great 
part of decorative art is non-naturalistic. 

Another complexity of the matter comes from the 
fact that sculptures and paintings are frequently used 
to decorate buildings with. One has only to think of 
the thousands of figures and heads placed on all parts 
of Gothic cathedrals: the Cathedral of Milan is decorated 
with statues all over the roof. Hundreds of great 
buildings have mosaics and frescoes and other paintings 
on their walls. Some painters — Puvis de Chavannes is 
the best known modern instance — have subdued or 
dulled their colors in order to subordinate them to the 
architecture. But many of these wall paintings and 
most of these statues are not decorative art: and yet 


they are unmistakably decorations. Here therefore is 
a case where decorative art and decorations are not 
synonymous terms. 

Sculptural art, pictorial art and decorative art spring 
from the same art impulse and have so many traits in 
common that it is sometimes difficult to specify to 
which class an art work belongs. The very terms used 
in connection with them tend to confusion. For 
instance, leaving aside sculptural art, and speaking only 
of pictorial art and decorative art, some misunder- 
standings arise on account of the word "painting." 
For whether in colors or in monochrome, in lines or in 
patches, all pictorial art comes within the generic term 
painting. But much decorative art also is painting. 
Yet altho they are thus both painting, they are not the 
same thing. Again most decorative art is two dimen- 
sional, and omits perspective, light and shade, and 
values; but some decorative art is three dimensional. 
On the other hand, while a great deal of pictorial art is 
three dimensional, a great deal of it also is two dimen- 
sional. Here therefore are two points on which it is 
impossible to dogmatize and extremely difficult to talk 

Underlying the whole question of pictorial and 
decorative art, is the most fundamental material fact 
in all graphic art, namely that painting is formed of 
spots, or dabs, or patches, or masses, of pigments and 
paints, black or colored, on a flat plane. Every 
painting, whether pictorial or decorative, consists of 
some material, canvas or silk or paper or wood or 
stone or burnt clay or live human skin, with some 
paint or color put upon it. It has, except in the case 
of painted sculptures, only two real dimensions, height 


and width. All other material facts connected with 
painting are secondary to this one that painting is 
nothing but a layer of spots of color on a surface, 
whether that surface is flat or cubical. 

Many pictures however suggest a third dimension, 
depth. An attempt is made in them to cause the 
onlooker to think he sees not a flat plane but a cube 
stretching away into distance. It is with this third 
dimension that many of the technical points of painting, 
such as perspective, atmosphere, distance, are connected. 
These technical attributes which have to do with this 
third dimension, depth, in painting, are not an actual 
part of the hard material substances out of which a 
picture is constructed, they are pictorial learned devices, 
tricks, and conventions intended to produce certain 
illusions. Put all the technical devices suggesting the 
third dimension you can into a picture, yet it remains 
a piece of canvas or paper with paint on it and with 
this paint all in the same plane, that is in two dimen- 
sions, no matter how much people may delude them- 
selves into beUeving that there is distance, atmosphere, 
perspective, etc., and that these have changed a flat 
rectangle into a cube. Depth, or the third dimension, 
in painting, is really an illusion; but an illusion of 
paramount importance. 

It is, however, precisely the use of drawing, line, 
colors, values, light and shade, and many such varied 
devices, which makes a picture. A picture is a paint- 
ing, but it is something more than painting, for 
painting is not necessarily a picture. The word paint- 
ing is used too loosely in this connection. You can 
cover a wall with a coat of paint of one color or of 
two or more colors and it would correctly be a paint- 


ing, but it would not be a picture. If a variegated 
coat of paint is applied to a house wall and sub- 
ordinated to the architecture with the intention of 
enhancing the appearance of the house and not of 
taking the leading place, it would be a decoration, 
it would be decorative art. But if a painting is 
applied on the wall of the house regardless of the 
architecture and is carried realistically or idealistically 
so far forward as to become a work of art standing on 
its o\\Ti merits and not as a part of the architecture 
which it might entirely obUterate artistically, it becomes 
a picture, that is pictorial art. 

Decorations, or decorative art, as the name implies, 
is art used to ornament a person or an object, and 
therefore it should be secondary or subordinate in 
importance to that person or object. A flashily dressed 
man in the street or a frumpily dressed woman at a 
ball, violate this canon of art, and people who see them 
often instinctively comment adversely. Decorative art 
being secondary to some other object utihzes line and 
color to enhance that object. As it is not therefore 
necessarily either sculptural or pictorial, it does not 
need to bring in many other art attributes, which 
belong properly to sculptural or pictorial art. As a 
rule, provided a decoration is pretty and appropriate, 
the simpler it is, the better. 

Perhaps the nearest approach that can be made to a 
definition of painted decorative art is to say that it is 
pattern art. Its special technical points are lines and 
colors, subordinated to the object decorated. It should 
be two dimensional, and perspective, values, and light 
and shade, do not properly belong to it. Persian rugs 
are among the most obvious examples of the special 


technical points of decorative art. It is especially in 
some European art, such as Sevres, Meissen and English 
porcelains, and in some paintings on architecture in 
Europe and possibly in Hindustan, that decorative art 
runs away from its true subordinate function, and is 
clapped on regardless of the object decorated. 

Decorative art is not infrequently looked on as an 
inferior branch of art. Sculptors and painters some- 
times use the term "decorative" as an adverse criti- 
cism, applying it for instance to paintings with brilhant 
colors, or to plein air pictures, or to Chinese and 
Japanese art. But miscalling such works "decorative" 
does not make them decorative art, it does not prove 
they are bad: it only means that those who use the 
term do not feel color, or are unable to produce fine 
color, or at any rate do not Uke that kind of art. 
When one considers that decorative art is something dif- 
ferent from pictorial art, it is hard to see how it could 
be inferior to something which it is not. It is a differ- 
ence of kind, not of degree. 

A classification of the arts of the world according to 
their sculptural, pictorial and decorative quahties is an 
extremely complex matter. For some arts are mainly 
sculptural and pictorial; some are sculptural and decora- 
tive; while some are sculptural, pictorial and decora- 
tive. And in attempting to classify the various arts 
into sculptural, pictorial, and decorative, it should be 
understood that any such classification can be made 
only in the most general way. 

Of the primitive arts, the Pleistokene, Bushman and 
Arctic decidedly lean towards the pictorial and sculp- 
tural. Their makers produced many two dimensional 
pictures and, while they do not achieve perspective, 


atmosphere or values, they arrive at form and some 
color. As part of their instinct and impulse to repre- 
sent natural objects, they seek for correct form in their 
sculpture; while they neglect any arrangements of spots 
of color. 

Neolithic art, in Europe and Western Asia, is almost, 
probably altogether, purely decorative. 

European art is sculptural and pictorial. European 
artists have always shown an instinctive preference for 
sculptural form and for pictorial drawing, rather than 
for decoration. Much of the best European decorative 
art is an exotic. European painting is almost wholly 
three dimensional. In the Egean, in Greece and Rome, 
and in modern times, European painting has sought 
for form, drawing, perspective, values, atmosphere, etc., 
in preference to spots of color. The European artists, 
in fact, often do not appear to understand, or else 
they forget that a painting consists of spots of color 
on a flat plane. In tens of thousands of pictures 
they evidently never thought of making the spots 
of color "a thing of beauty" and "a joy forever;" 
and the most fundamental fact that the materials force 
on the workman is lost sight. The fact that European 
art is three dimensional, and East Asiatic art is mainly 
two dimensional, tends to show that European art and 
East Asiatic art are independent. 

The decorations on the more expensive European 
porcelains, furnish a good example of the lack of the 
decorative sense among Europeans. The whole basal 
idea of what decoration on porcelain should be seems 
to be wanting; pictures instead of decorations are 
attempted. The first thing about a piece of porcelain 
is its fitness and serviceability for actual use, the 




Fig. 12. Figure in black and red on paddle from Solomon Islands 


second is the beauty of its form and color. Any 
decoration put upon it should be an enhancement of 
its form and a part of its color scheme. This, Euro- 
pean porcelain makers apparently do not realize. They 
take a plate or a jar and paint a picture upon it 
"Napoleon's return from Elba," or something equally 
incongruous. As a picture, the work is usually a 
failure, a weak copy of some oil painting; but the 
worst art phase is that it is inappropriate as a decora- 
tion: the picture becomes the thing and the porcelain 
itself is forgotten. Barring certain exceptions, such as 
some Copenhagen porcelain, a frank imitation of Japa- 
nese porcelain, Dutch tiles, a descendent of Arab or 
Chinese tiles, and Valencia pottery, a legacy from the 
Moors, European porcelain decoration, it seems to me, 
is artistically inferior to Chinese or Japanese porcelain 
or even to Zuni pottery decoration The essence or 
spirit of decorative art is lacking, and neither the 
makers nor the purchasers seem aware of what is 
suitable and fit in porcelain decoration. 

Egyptian art and West Asiatic art may be classified 
together as principally sculptural and decorative arts. 
They both have some excellent and some poor sculp- 
ture, and some fine and some ugly decoration. Some 
of their bas reliefs and colored paintings are evidently 
intended to represent events which probably happened 
or scenes which were actually seen, but the artists 
scarcely ever thought of drawing anything in artistic 
perspective, much less in mechanical perspective, and 
they seldom achieved artistic two dimensional, much 
less three dimensional pictorial art. 

Arab art is purely decorative. 

South Asiatic art takes in all three classes of art: 


sculptural, pictorial and decorative. It occasionally 
produces some first class sculpture: it certainly never 
rises to the front rank in pictorial art; but in decora- 
tive art, for instance in Persian rugs, it is unsurpassed. 
Thru its inclusion of the three forms of art, it evinces 
in certain respects a closer relationship to East Asiatic 
art than it does to European art. 

East Asiatic art, like South Asiatic art, is sculptural, 
pictorial, and decorative. It has produced some great 
work in all three hnes, but it seems to me that it is in 
its painting that it is unsurpassed, and in its painting 
it leans towards the two dimensional. East Asiatic 
artists have always placed foremost the arrangement into 
beautiful patterns of the lines and spots of color of 
their pictures. Apparently the art instinct of the 
Chinese and the Japanese led them to discern that 
the underlying material fact in a painting is that it 
consists of spots of pigment on a flat or curved plane, 
and as a rule they appear to try, altho not always 
successfully, to make the arrangement of the spots of 
pigment agreeable to the eye. They have always made 
a more secondary matter of the qualities in painting 
connected with the third dimension or depth, with atmos- 
phere, perspective, values, etc. There is plenty of atmos- 
phere, and values, and artistic perspective in their work, 
especially in their landscapes which sometimes are three 
dimensional, but in the main these quaUties are less 
sought for than is the production of a beautiful arrange- 
ment of lines and spots. As a result their work usually 
suggests flatness and not depth, a picture in a rectangle 
with height and width, rather than a picture in a cube 
with height, width, and depth. 

Of primitive arts, Negro art and Amerind art lean 


towards the sculptural and decorative, and Australasian 
towards the decorative and sculptural. In these arts 
there is almost never any pictorial work; there is 
never a trace of perspective or values or atmosphere 
but, in their stead, there are often most beautiful 
patterns in colors or carvings. In some of the African 
and Amerind sculptures we find imitative attempts, 
which show the faculty of observation, but all the 
painting of these three arts is two dimensional and 
almost all of it is decorative. 

The Negroes have made some good decorative art 
and some poor decorative art, much bad sculptural art 
and some sculptural art which has certain good points. 
The Amerinds have produced some good decorative art 
and some poor decorative art, a good deal of bad 
sculptural art and some sculptural art, namely the heads 
on monoliths in Mexico and Central America, which is 
distinctly good. The Australasians have produced an 
immense amount of really beautiful decorative art, and 
some sculptural art which is usually poor but neverthe- 
less most interesting ethnologically. It is perhaps not 
incorrect to say that the Australasians have the weakest 
sculptural-pictorial art sense and the most distinctly 
decorative art sense of any peoples. 

The geographical habitats and courses of the sculp- 
tural, pictorial and decorative arts are instructive. In 
Europe art is sculptural and pictorial, with decorative 
art as an adjunct; in Asia art is sculptural, pictorial 
and decorative; in Africa, Australasia and America art 
is sculptural and decorative. Sculptural art is thus found 
almost everywhere, a hint that the sense of form is the 
starting point in the fine arts. Pictorial art and decor- 
ative art on the contrary are not so universal. Taking 


Europe as a starting point there is a sort of gradation 
from the pictorial art of Europe into the decorative art 
of Africa, Australasia, and America which suggests a 
gradual change both in the way of looking at things 
and in the impulse in carrying out an artist's ideas. 

In looking over the arts of the world, the specimens 
show that the arts of Europe are mainly sculptural 
and pictorial, the arts of Asia are sculptural, pictorial 
and decorative, the arts of Africa, Australasia and 
America are mainly decorative. The peoples of Europe 
paint pictures; the peoples of Asia paint pictures and 
patterns; the peoples of Africa, of Australasia and of 
America paint patterns. Does this imply that the 
distinction is one of civiHzation? That advanced or 
semi advanced races make imitative art, and primitive 
races decorative art? It might seem so and yet this 
cannot be laid down as an axiom. For three primitive 
races, the Pleistokene tribes of Central Europe, the 
Bushmen of South Africa, and the Chukchees and 
Eskimo of the Arctic regions, make two dimensional 
pictorial art. No statements in regard to the matter, 
however, can be made too baldly nor as more than 
general hints. It is only general tendencies which can 
be stated in words, and to these tendencies in probably 
all cases there are exceptions. 




Subject or theme, and motive, are terms applied to 
certain important phases or attributes of art work. 
Objectively these terms apply to the same thing: 
subjectively they mean different things. The art phases 
these words represent are so dovetailed into one another 
that the terms subject and motive, which are used 
to describe them, are often confused and misunder- 
stood. Nevertheless subject and motive are such vital 
points in comparative art that it is imperative to make 
some attempt to formulate their meanings. 

Subject or theme in the fine arts might perhaps be 
defined as any object or scene in the world of nature 
OT in that of imagination which any person tries to 
sculpt, draw, or paint. Subjects are as universal as art 
itself. Anything is a subject; humans, faces, animals, 
plants, landscapes, whether taken from the real world 
or mere figments of the imagination, may be subjects. 

Motive might perhaps be defined as any object or 
scene in the world of nature or in that of imagination 
which an artist tries to sculpt, draw, or paint because 
he likes that object or scene. Any such object or 
scene may be a subject, but it is only when the 
emotions of the artist are stirred, when he is moved by 
the object or scene, when it appeals to his taste, that 
it becomes a motive to him. Humans, faces, animals, 
flowers, or dreams of the imagination, provided they 
appeal to the artist, may all be motives. One man 


enjoys painting portraits, another animals, a third 
landscapes, a fourth visions of the unseen, and to each 
of the four respectively these different subjects are 

In looking at works of art one can do so from two 
points of view: from the literary standpoint, of from 
the artistic standpoint. One can look at the subject or 
theme, that is for the scientific or historical or religious 
meaning of the work. Or one can look for the esthetic 
motive, that is for the sculptural or pictorial or decora- 
tive value of the work, and in the latter case one 
must perforce examine its technical qualities. In study- 
ing an art work from the literary standpoint, that of 
the subject, one may be studying the ostensible subject, 
while the esthetic qualities of the work were the real 
subject, the motive which the artist was seeking. 
Someone defined genre painting as "Art in its anecdot- 
age" and this dictum in certain ways hints at what is 
meant by subject. 

The subject might also be defined as being that 
part of a work of art which appeals to a literateur or 
a scientist, and the motive might be defined as that 
part of a work of art which appeals to an artist. And 
the remarks made or questions put about a work of 
art show clearly the attitude of an onlooker. If a 
person says: What is the title of this work? What is 
its nam 3? Is this a statue of a god or a king? Does 
this picture represent the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian 
or the Rape of the Sabines? he is thinking of the 
ostensible subject, of what the work illustrates, that is, 
he is looking from the standpoint of the literateur or 
scientist. But if a person says: How is a work of art 
done? Is the color harmonious? Are the figures in 


proportion? Does it hang together? he is thinking of 
the esthetic motive, of the technical quaUties and 
handUng which appeal to the eye, that is, he is looking 
from the standpoint of the artist. 

It is who or what a statue or picture represents or 
illustrates which usually interests primarily an archaeolo- 
gist or historian: its beauty or art value and its tech- 
nical quahties are, to him, only secondary: he wants to 
understand the ostensible subject. In looking too hard 
for the subject and neglecting the motive, it seems as if 
ethnologists and missionaries have often been misled 
themselves and have misled others. For instance, the 
moment missionaries see a rough sculpture of a human 
in the hut of some primitive man, they seem to jump 
to the conclusion that this sculpture must be a repre- 
sentation of some supernatural being and so they call it 
an idol: and many ethnologists follow as close seconds 
on the same trail. That the poor primitive artist may 
have been, and probably was, merely obeying his artistic 
impulse and making the best work of art he could in 
sculpting a man is usually passed by, and the real 
significance of his work as art is thus lost sight of. 

What an artistic person is interested in primarily in 
a work of art, is in what the eye takes in, what can be 
felt wholly thru vision. A statue or a picture, tech- 
nically well done, is, regardless of what it represents, 
interesting to an artist. It is how that statue or pic- 
ture is handled, how it affects the artist by merely 
looking at it, which is the basic cause of his forming a 
favorable or unfavorable opinion of a work of art. It 
is not the Uterary or historic side of a statue or picture, 
it is not its ostensible name, which rouses the esthetic 
feeUng of an artist. An artist may easily tire of a sub- 


ject picture, good tho it may be; but he will not tire 
of a figure or landscape motive he is in tune with. 

An anecdote will perhaps make my meaning clearer. 
An American lady was invited to lunch in Paris at the 
house of a well known American painter. His wife 
received her cordially, but the painter himself came in 
hours behind time, and apologized by saying he had 
been with another painter at the Louvre looking at a 
recently acquired Perugino, whose technical quaUties 
caused him to forget his lunch. When his guest, who 
related the incident to me, asked him what was the title of 
the picture, he said he really had not the sHghtest idea. 
This is a practical illustration of a profound esthetic truth, 
namely, that the best art needs no title for an artist. 

There are, of course, pleasant and unpleasant subjects, 
and a pleasant one is naturally more attractive to an 
artist as well as to a literateur. A peaceful Corot, or 
Titian's "Medea and Venus," would be more agreeable 
to Uve with for any instinctively right minded person 
than would be a representation of an auto-da-fe or a 
gladiatorial show. Whilst unpleasant subjects may be 
equally well done as pleasant ones, yet the graphic arts, 
like Uterature, may be debased and degraded thru the 
choice of unpleasant themes. 

In comparing arts for their resemblances and their 
differences it must be done principally from the artistic, 
not the Uterary side. It is the motive and technic, not 
the subject, which must be the main base of comparative 
art studies. A subject may be similar in different arts, 
but the technic or handhng furnishes endless variations 
and it is largely by comparisons of these variations that 
one may hope to find resemblances and differences in 
art of value to ethnology. 


As an example, take the figure of a man. As an 
art motive, the human is almost universal. In most 
arts we find statues, and in some arts pictures also of 
humans. From the point of view of comparative art, 
what is most important about them is how they are 
done, among different races, at different times, and in 
different places. Their proportions, their various feat- 
ures, their action; whether their legs are too long, or 
their heads too big; or whether they are too rigid, or 
unnaturally soft; these and many other points are the 
vital ones in comparative art. Any man or woman is 
an art motive, but it is the manner in which that 
motive is treated by various artists in all races, which 
underUes any comparison of them. To look for instance 
at a more concrete case, take such a religious subject 
as the mother and child. It is found in Egyptian, in 
Hittite, in East Asiatic, in European art. But while 
the pose may be identical, yet the technic is different 
in all four arts and expresses the race of the artist. 

While placing the motive ahead of the theme in 
studying art comparatively, nevertheless the theme is 
of importance. It often reveals much ethnologic, archaeo- 
logic and historic fact. It may show the fauna sur- 
rounding the artist, or the manner of dressing in a 
country, or the period of history, or the style of 
architecture; in fact it may illustrate many points 
about the manners and customs of the race of the artist 
wliich writings or language or anatomy or implements 
do not. And for this reason, when studying art 
comparatively, it is worth while not only to seek the 
esthetic motives in a work of art but also to see what 
else it can tell us thru its theme. But, despite these 
facts, ethnologists who may happen to study the arts 



v;^ i> 

Fia. Vi. Woodeu 

statue about six feet high, Froiu a M 

oral or cemetery, Hawaii. 


of various races comparatively should never forget that 
motive and technic are much more vital than subject 
in tracing racial characteristics and relationship, and 
they should not allow themselves to be misled by the 
subjects when searchinfi; for resemblances and differ- 
ences in art. 

Choice of subjects, which from the artistic stand- 
point is synonymous with motives, varies with different 
races and peoples according to their characteristics, 
their development, their training, their environment, 
their customs, their reUgion and other circumstances, 
but especially it varies with their taste. The Pleisto- 
kenes and Bushmen were led to draw by a liking for 
animals; the Greeks sculpted from their innate sense of 
the beauty of the nude human figure; the Asiatics 
painted largely because harmonious colors pleased them. 
It is difficult to specify about the subjects and motives 
used by different races. All one can say is that certain 
subjects rather than others appealed as motives to 
various races, and that certain subjects which did not 
appeal as motives were sometimes forced on artists by 
their customs or religion. 

In a certain number of works of art, the visible 
subject, such as a lamb surrounded by kneeling men 
and women, or a dragon amid clouds, is clear and 
definite. There may be no suggestion of mystery thru 
the technic or handUng. Nevertheless the subject may 
be intended to represent something different from what 
it apparently does. The object or model treated may 
seem clearly evident, yet have some hidden meaning, 
express some attribute of a deity or some force in 
nature, which is inteUigible only to the initiated; that 
is it is symbohcal, one thing is used as a symbol for 


another. The lamb and the dove in Christianity, the 
asp in Egypt, the serpent in India, the dragon in 
China, are such symbols. Artistically there is nothing 
mysterious about such works of art, except that the 
apparent subject is sometimes misleading. It is not 
always possible to tell by looking at art specimens 
whether they are symbolic or not, and for this reason 
it is difficult to tell sometimes whether there is sym- 
bolism of this kind in some primitive art. 

There is another form of art symbolism which finds 
expression in repeating or exaggerating that part of the 
human anatomy which is associated with the chief 
quality or attribute of the subject represented. Such 
are the many breasts of Diana of the Ephesians, and 
the numerous arms of some Hindu deities. Something 
very similar is found on some Polynesian figures from 
the Hervey Islands and the Austral Islands;* and these 
tend to prove, that if primitive races have no art 
mystery, some of them have symbolism. And in all 
these cases, the artistic result is absurd and hideous 
and quite lacking in mystery or charm. 

If one looks at the great arts of the world, it 
would seem as if the taste of their makers, which 
may be paraphrased as their ideals of beauty and 
which caused their choice of motives, is always, in 
one locality, at one time, more or less similar. To 
a great extent, taste as manifested by art works is 
racial, that is underlying artistic ideals are a part of 
a race much as is its straight or woolly hair or its 
white or yellow skin. These racial art characteristics, 
however, are sometimes trained out of an individual 
or even out of a race by some external force, the 

* British Mus. 


result to art not being always beneficial. But even 
when they seem to be trained out, they sometimes 
bob up in unexpected ways. 

Taste, or the underh'ing racial ideals of beautj^ 
really rules and makes art. The lowest primitive artist 
unconsciously and the more advanced civilized artist 
often unconsciously follows his taste. Taste leads an 
artist into selection. He has to select his subject, 
select his technic. Selection is one of the most 
important factors in art, a choice of what to put in, 
what to leave out; what to emphasize, what to 
subordinate. It comes entirely from the taste, the 
feeling of an artist; and by his selections, by his 
eliminations, one can tell what his taste and feelings 
were. Selection has a great deal to do with beauty. 
For unconsciously the artist selects what to him seems 
beautiful, and apparently the members of his own 
race as a rule agree with him in their ideals of what 
is beautiful. 

Thus among some of the primitive races, the 
Negroes, the Australasians and the Amerinds, we 
find a predeUction for a distortion of the human 
figure, an exaggeration of certain parts of the anatomy. 
They place a big head on a small body and short 
legs, and insist on certain minor points. It seems 
evident that their selection is made because they are 
most interested in the heads and the other things they 
dwell on. Apparently they are unable to grasp the 
relations of different portions of the human figure as 
a whole. Their attraction to certain details with 
corresponding neglect of the whole, leads them 
frequently to such a lack of proportions as to make 
their figures almost caricatures. Their taste seems to 


be that of a grown up mind in certain ways and of 
a youthful mind in others.* 

With Europeans, taste leads to distortions and 
exaggerations which are the exact opposite of the 
taste of some primitive races for big heads and small 
bodies. English and French fashion plates show this 
taste carried out to its extreme. The female figures 
are elongated sometimes to twelve heads; the heads, 
hands, feet, and waists are Lilliputian, whilst the busts 
and hips are Brobdignagian. In these fashion plates 
one sees one European ideal of beauty carried beyond 
all bounds into unconscious caricature. The bad taste 
of the fashionable dress makers who rule costume 
runs riot, and thru their selection of proportions and 
of increases and diminutions of certain parts of the 
figure, for the sake of supposed elegance and grace, 
the facts of the human figure are distorted out of all 
anatomical reality. As long as Europeans continue 
making fashion plates, they cannot shy bricks at 
primitive artists on the plea of lack of beauty or taste. 

When we turn to artists like Titian or Chardin or 
Sesshiu or Mori-Sosen, it will be found that their 
selection is governed by their taste, just as is the 
case with African or Australasian or Amerind artists. 
The art of the former is more matured and fuller 
and the ideal of beauty is thoughtful instead of purely 
instinctive but the difference in selection is rather one 
of degree than of kind. As examples of selection 
among Europeans one might cite Greek sculptors. 
They liked rather small heads and rather long bodies, 
to enable them to reach an expression of athletic 
grace and strength, points which apparently were to 

* Figs. 7, 8, 13, 26. 


the Greeks the ideal of beauty. Some details are 
somewhat enlarged, others diminished, not as they 
usually are in humans, but as they might be. Rem- 
brandt in his etchings draws carefully all the details in 
the shadows, but leaves his Ughts largely bare paper. 
It was his taste, his selection which guided his needle, 
and his selection was so good that you feel the detail 
all over his plates, even in the places where there is 

The subjects which artists choose when they have a 
free choice, are those which move them, that is they 
select the subjects which appeal to their taste. And 
as a general rule taste leads an artist to pick some- 
thing he thinks is beautiful. Beauty indeed seems to 
hold the same relation to art, that truth holds to 
science, and that goodness holds to ethics and religion. 
Beauty is not the only factor in art, for truth and 
goodness and many other forces also play a part, but 
beauty is certainly a predominating power in the 
shaping of the fine arts. "A thing of beauty is a joy 
forever." Art might be defined in one sense as the 
visible productions of man which seek beautJ^ The 
French recognize this, for they call the fine arts "les 
Beaux Arts." They say of works of art: "Ce n'est 
pas mal": "C'est tres bien": "C'est beau": in gradu- 
ally strengthening praise, and the last and strongest 
"C'est beau" tells the tale. 

One must not, however, assign too absolute a role 
to beauty in the fashioning of the fine arts. To the 
artist, the production of art is largely an expression of 
his emotions, and these may be aroused by something 
in itself ugly. To the layman, the products of art 
are also largely an appeal to his emotions: and if 


these products give pleasure, so much the better. But 
one cannot lay down any dogmatic canon that art is 
a search for beauty. Beauty is not at the bottom of 
all art; for imitation, sometimes of ugly things, causes 
some of it; and ideas, sometimes hideous ones, are also 
responsible for a good deal more. 

In stating that beauty is the base of most art, one 
is immediately confronted by the question: what is 
beauty? To this one can only say that beauty is an 
intangible something, based on feehng or taste, another 
intangible something. Beauty and feehng and taste are 
elusive and variable, changing in different climes, at 
different times and among different races. "One man's 
meat is another man's poison" and "De gustibus non 
est disputandum" are certainly most accurate dictums 
about ideals of beauty when looked at from a broad 
minded standpoint. What beauty is and what taste 
is, it seems impossible to really define. One thing is 
certain, and that is that the taste for external things, 
which one perhaps might call the underljdng ideal of 
beauty, varies in different races. What appeals to one 
race does not appeal to another. Even in the same 
race taste, the ideal of beautj^, varies at different 
times; and in more complex societies, the ideal of 
beauty varies with different individuals. All these 
varying ideals of beauty cause differences in art. 

One test of beauty in art which applies especially 
to decorative art is based on the fact that in decora- 
tive art beauty cannot be divorced from use. There 
is no greater beauty in a decoration than its perfect 
adaptation to the purpose for which it is used. 

One phase of beauty in art results from the 
attainment by the artist of character. Character in 


art is difficult to define but it may perhaps be 
explained. It is mainly associated with imitative art, 
and especially with portraiture. When the sitter is 
really suggested in a portrait, when his living person- 
ality seems to have been transferred to a canvas, 
when the technic in other words is first rate, an artist 
would say the work had character. The model might 
be ugly, but if that ugliness be artistically handled, if 
the figure has vitality, the portrait may be a beautiful 
work of art. Character is one of the intangible some- 
things in art whose presence or whose absence means 
a great deal in the value of many a sculpture or 

The beauty in a work of art is of course a perma- 
nent quality and reveals the feeling and taste of the 
maker. But that very beauty is certainly an intangible 
something, for it is apprehended differently by different 
onlookers, according to their feelings and taste. Some 
examples of how various people see the same thing will 
perhaps illustrate how difficult it is to speak of the 
absolute beauty of a work of art. In the Harvard 
University Peabody Museum is a Ufe size model of an 
Amerind of the northern plains, in full war dress of 
buckskin shirt and eagle feathers. To me this seems 
beautiful, that is artistic. But standing before this 
figure once a stranger chanced to look at it also and he 
said to me that he could not see any beauty in this 
costume, that to him it looked grotesque. The beauty, 
that is the art, which I thought was there, to him was 
a non existent entity. In the Salem Peabody Museum 
is the root of a banyan tree, carved into a number of 
semi-tangible forms by some clever Chinese artist. I 
consider it a great work of art. But whoever wrote the 


label for it evidently did not think so, for the label 
reads "Banyan tree root, grotesquely carved by the 
Chinese." Perhaps the labeler assumed that some coolies 
carved this root when not occupied in other manual 
labor. One can only say that the standpoints of art 
students are many and various. 

Beauty in fact is so uncertain a quality, it seems so 
different to different persons, that there is no positive 
standard of beauty to go by when judging works of art. 
Nevertheless when a number of educated people e.xclaim 
on seeing a work of art, "What a beautiful picture!" 
"What a beautiful statue!" there is some probability 
that that picture or statue deserves the studio adjective 
"good." And in using the word good, or the word bad, 
to particularize a work of art, it should be remembered 
that artists do not refer to the moral or ethical qualities of 
that work. Good or bad or poor really refers to beauty, 
to the quaUties connected with technic, not to the subject. 
Good or bad means whether a picture or statue rouses 
pleasant or unpleasant esthetic emotions in the onlooker, 
not whether it teaches morality or tends to immorality. 
Beautiful and ugly would be more accurate and descrip- 
tive terms than good or bad, nevertheless good and bad 
have been adopted by artists and their meaning must 
be recognized and accepted. And since the words good 
and bad have acquired a specific meaning in reference 
to the technical and esthetic qualities of a work of art, 
the words moral or immoral must be used if one refers 
to its moral significance. 

Now the words moral and immoral present for dis- 
cussion another point connected with subject and 
motive in art, namely ethics. What are the ethics of 
art and what have they to do with morality? 


It would seem to one not learned in either ethics 
or religion, as tho the inspiring force in ethics and 
religion was goodness, to be good oneself and to teach 
others to be good. Ethics and religion both might be 
assumed to try to teach man his duty and to lay down 
rules of conduct, saying what man should or should 
not do, and in the main to urge him to higher and 
better things. 

Art in itself is certainly nothing of the kind. Much 
art teaches nothing whatever. Ordinary architecture 
and decorative art certainly do not. Sculpture pri- 
marily deals with form, and painting with lines and 
colors, irrespective of any ethics or goodness: and they 
deal with human figures, and animals and landscapes, 
from their outside and their appearance, without bother- 
ing about any mental or moral qualities within. 
Glyptic art in itself has nothing to do with morality 
or religion. Glyptic art springs primarily from observa- 
tiop made by the eye and from dehght in things seen. 
Morality and religion come from mental causes, they 
are not the result of sharpened vision. 

The ethics of art, in fact, are different from the 
ethics of human life. Morality in art is different from 
morality in human life. Art is a world of its own 
with its own code of ethics and this has to do with 
other laws than those which govern human conduct. 
The morals of art do exist, they are fundamental, but 
they are not the same as the morals of life. For 
instance "thou shalt not steal" is a law of humanity. 
But "thou shalt not draw the two ej^es on the same 
side of a human face:" "keep the limbs of a figure in 
proportion with the body:" "it is wrong to make mis- 
takes in drawing:" might be considered laws of art. 





2. S, /3. 


Fig. 14. Hei tiki or neck ornament of greenstone, New Zealand. 

Fig. 15. Wood carving, possibly a bear, Amoor River region. 

Fig. 16. Iroquois mask. 

Fig. 17. Koryak mask. 


The right and wrong of art are not the right and 
wrong of Hfe and they differ in different parts of the 
artistic world, but they are estabUshed with variations 
just as moral codes are. The point of departure 
between morality in art and morality among men is 
different, but there is such a thing as ethics in art 
and this consists in not transgressing artistic laws. 

Battle pictures may perhaps be taken as an example 
that morality is not the fundamental basis of art. 
There is certainly nothing more immoral than a war 
of aggression, which besides legalized murder, includes 
burglary, perjury and other crimes. Yet battle subjects 
have appealed to some painters, such as Horace Vernet 
and De Neuville. And altho there is an element of 
patriotism in their work, yet in their case there seems 
to have been a liking for that class of subject, because 
it offers violent action as well as form and color. 
Soldiers appealed to them as motives and as a result 
they did some good painting. 

There have been other artists, however, who have 
painted battle scenes with the avowed intention of 
moralizing and of showing the hideousness of war. 
And tho as moralities their war pictures are successful, 
as art they are inferior to the portrait or landscape 
work of these same men. It is another example of 
the unwritten law that an art work must primarily be 
artistic: if it is primarily didactic, the art is sure to 




Composition might be defined perhaps as the 
planning of a work of art. Composition is a technical 
term and refers to the design or pattern of a picture 
or decoration, or to the placing or grouping of a 
sculpture. Composition is a mental act of an artist, 
the one thru which he decides how he will place or 
arrange the technical parts, the forms, lines, colors, 
light and shade, etc., of his work. 

Composition is one of the points which most 
differentiates art from nature. As soon as an artist 
begins a work of art, he is obhged to compose. He 
may decide to imitate something in nature as nearly 
as possible, but even if he does only that, he has to 
select, an act already on the high road to composition. 
But if he departs in the least from a photographic 
imitation of nature, he perforce selects and changes 
and alters, that is he composes. Composition implies 
therefore that an artist puts his brain to some use and 
does not act wholly mechanically. Composition in 
one sense therefore is synonymous with idealization. 

Composition can be taught or explained only to 
a most hmited extent. There are a few facts which 
can be set down about composition; and these cannot 
be considered as rules or laws, but merely as guides, 
which may be utilized or neglected, according to the 


volition of the artist. Among these facts are such 
ones as the following. Lines running horizontally or 
vertically across a picture attract the attention to the 
foreground: lines concentrating from the edge of a 
picture towards one point of it tend to produce the 
illusion of distance. Straight linos accentuate curved 
lines and vice versa. Darks and lights maj^ be 
darkened or lightened by the placing of other darks 
or lights near by or far off. Coloi"S may be toned 
down or enhanced by other colors, thru similarity or 
contrast. A violent action of a figure may be increased 
or diminished by another figure in repose or action. 

Altho there are a few guiding facts which can be 
told about composing a work of art, yet no one can 
tell another how to compose a picture or statue. The 
art instinct and art impulse must take care of that. 
Anyone who attempted to compose by rule would 
immediately become conventional. Indeed much con- 
ventional art is precisely the result of following set 
rules of composition. The repetition of a subject, 
which has taken place scores of times, especiallj' in 
religious pictures or statues, has enforced time and 
again repeating a composition with merely subordinate 
changes, and nothing has ever crystallized art into 
convention quicker than this. 

As an instance of good composition, one might 
study Giorgione's great picture at Castelfranco, North 
Italy. A mother and child above with a vista of 
landscape on each side; a knight and a monk below, 
with a wall behind them. The hght is whoUy in the 
upper part of the picture, forcing the eye instantly 
to the intended center of interest, the Madonna. 
While the subject is religious, and the picture therefore 


due to the force of patronage, the composition and 
everything connected with technic is magnificent and 
reveal how the art instinct and art impulse were 
stirring Giorgione, regardless of his ostensible subject. 

Composition is found, more or less, in every art. 
Much of it is instinctive racial selection and taste. 
It is mainly in this respect that primitive arts some- 
times reveal incipient instinctive composition. It seems 
doubtful if the composition of the Africans, the 
Amerinds, the Australasians, was ever reasoned out. 
Among the Asiatics and the Europeans, on the con- 
trary, composition is frequently reasoned out. And 
while sometimes great results are obtained thereby, 
often it does more harm than good. Undoubtedly 
when artists were forced to obey certain already 
selected sets of forms and lines and colors it repressed 
their originahty and injured their art. 

Synthesis and analysis are present, in varying degree, 
in all art work. Synthesis means getting the whole cor- 
rect, in preference to the detail; analysis implies elabor- 
ation of detail, sometimes at the expense of the whole. 
Synthesis is more important than analysis because it is 
more important to shape out the masses, the great 
features, than to attend to the smaller bits. It is, for 
instance, more important to get the proportions, the 
swing, the action, the center of gravity of a statue, 
than the shape of the nose or the ear. Tony Robert 
Fleury used to express this to the students at Julian's 
ateher in the catch aphorisms: "Clignez les yeux. Ne 
cherchez pas la petite bete." Analysis, however, is also 
necessary. Detail need not be elaborated, but an under- 
lying suggestion of detail, even if apparently invisible, 
must be present in a work of art: otherwise it is not 


vapory or mysterious, but empty or sloppy. Detail is 
indispensable, but detail subordinated to the whole, or 
the result is poor art. In painters' parlance, a well 
painted picture hangs together and carries across the 
room, but it also reveals, when examined nearby, lots 
of careful detail which at a distance melts into the 

In all the arts we find .synthesis and analysis, vary- 
ing with the different artists, varying with the times, 
varying with the development of the arts. Sometimes 
there is more synthesis, sometimes more analysis. In 
comparing the various arts, there is undoubtedly apparent 
a greater leaning towards synthesis in some arts and 
towards analysis in others. It is impossible to lay 
down any strict dicta about the various arts, but in 
the main it seems correct to say that European and 
Asiatic artists are more apt to get their masses and 
ensemble correct, than either African, Australasian or 
Amerind artists, who often achieve much elaborate 
detail with incorrect wholes. This is synonymous with 
saying that sj^nthesis is more an attribute of natural- 
istic art, and analysis an attribute of decorative art. 

Harmony is essential in any work of art. However 
many elements are introduced they must be blended 
together. Whether the work is roughly hewn out or 
smoothly elaborated matters not, but if all its various 
constituents are not in harmony, it is bad. 

The feeling for harmony seems to be almost universal, 
to be one of the constituents of the art instinct. How- 
ever undeveloped a primitive man's faculties are, how- 
ever rough or elementary his art productions may be, 
he is pretty sure to obtain harmony in his results. It 
is not until he begins to get learning or training from 


some extraneous source, that this great quality seems to 
leave him. A native primitive may draw some outlines, 
or carve a semblance of humanity, or put down some 
splotches of color, but as long as he is not interfered 
with, he will bring them sufficiently in harmony to 
be artistic: and this is one main reason why primitive 
work is generally, to some extent, good. But when he 
no longer follows his feelings, his work gets out of har- 
mony and becomes poor. This may be seen among the 
Amerinds and the Australasians, but the most salient 
example I know of is the deterioration of Japanese art 
thru European contact. 

Decorative patterns are frequently repeated on the 
same object, apparently partly from the instinctive 
desire for harmony or perhaps more accurately sym- 
metry. Thus among the Peruvians, patterns were 
often repeated in sevens. There is some attempt on 
Greek vases also at making symmetrical patterns. 
Among the East Asiatics, there is less of this, showing 
that they do not care for the somewhat commonplace 
harmony obtained thru repetition of mechanical decora- 
tive patterns. In their better decorative work at least, 
the East Asiatics do not attain harmony thru sj^m- 
metrical repetition, but by giving free rein to their 
instinct for form and color. 

Harmony is a chief factor in finish. No art work, 
in one sense, is ever finished. Any art work in 
harmony, is finished as far as it goes. There is abso- 
lutely no rule or law by which an outsider can deter- 
mine when an art work is finished. A vapory myste- 
rious picture, may be elaborated into endless detail. 
A carefully analyzed canvas, labored to minuteness, 
may be all blotted out into vagueness. Finish is a 


question of volition or power on the part of the artist. 
When he feels that he has done what he wanted as far 
as his abiUty permits, when he has carried his work 
forward so as to express his idea, if the work is in 
harmony, it is finished to that extent. About the 
only restriction one can make is to say that a work of 
art which does not give one impression of a harmonious 
whole needs something to be done to it. 

Quality is a technical term applied entirely to tech- 
nical matters. Quality cannot easUy be defined but 
might perhaps be explained as meaning that the 
technical processes used in the making of a work of 
art have been thoroly well carried out. Quality has 
nothing to do with the subject or motive, but every- 
thing with the way a thing is done: it is a matter 
of handling. Quality in a work of art implies that the 
artist knew his business thoroly and had the true art 
instinct. It is often found in the better European 
and East Asiatic art. Some Pleistokene drawing is 
full of quaUty. There is a great deal of it in Arab 
art, and some, altho less, in Egyptian art. It is a 
rarer attribute in African, Australasian, or Amerind 
art, altho it is sometimes present, as for instance in 
some Polynesian wood carving. But it is also rather 
surprising to find how lacking it is occasionally in arts 
where one might expect it, as in AssjTian or Hittite 
and in some Hindu art. 

Conventionality is an important factor in all art. 
All art is more or less conventional, that is, all art is 
more or less similar to the art produced in about the 
same place at about the same time. No artist gets 
entirely away from his environment, but when an artist 
is spoken of as unconventional it generally means that 


he has seen and done something a little dififerent from 
his contemporaries. The principle on which conven- 
tionality acts is that in all arts the master minds, 
urged on by their own power and perhaps tired with 
what has been done before, do something fresh and 
branch off into some unbeaten track. Other artists 
then follow and imitate these leaders, and run into a 
groove forming a so-called school, which in time 
generally becomes mannered and conventional, when 
some other original mind usually breaks away again 
in some new direction. 

In all art there is conventionaUty, but in some arts 
less than in others. The classical or Greek ideal for 
instance is just as much a convention as the Egyptian 
or the Assyrian ideal, altho it is less pronounced, 
because it is closer to nature. In European and East 
Asiatic art, while there is always more or less conven- 
tionaUty, there is also always a constant change, not 
always a progress, but at least a breaking up of set 
customs. But in some art on the contrary, such as 
Egyptian, Assyrian and Mexican, conventionaUty ruled 
with an iron grip. These arts reached a certain point, 
which became accepted as correct, and then the 
patron or potboiling forces of church and state kept 
them in statu quo, and they petrified into pure con- 
vention. In regard to most African, Australasian, and 
Amerind arts, while some of their output was too naive 
and unformed to be due to convention, certain other 
parts of them, such as Alaska totems, foUowed the 
dictates of tribal legends and laws, and became conven- 
tionalized in accordance with the beliefs and customs 
of their makers. 

There are a certain number of paintings which are 


SO undefined that it is hard sometimes to know exactly 
what they mean. The technic is so Uttle carried for- 
ward apparently that one cannot tell what any of the 
details are. But in their very indefiniteness these pic- 
tures have charm, the charm of mystery. 

A little gray landscape, of some trees, a river and a 
sail boat, in perfect harmony, belongs to this class. It 
is scarcely more detailed than this sentence. But it 
sets the mind to thinking of pleasant places, of floating 
down sylvan waters, where vistas open on to cheerful 
landscapes. Its mysteriousness forms its charm. 

Mystery in art, indeed, is one of the most subtle 
attributes of painting. The French have an admirabh' 
expressive term for it, Vau-dela. ]\Iystery is in some 
ways the highest development, almost the vanishing 
point of painting. It is the product of an art which has 
evolved to a degree where some of the artists have 
learned to leave out almost everything: where without 
actual representation of things, by means principally of 
values and colors, the spectator may be made to think 
and to dream: to feel visions which he does not 
actually see. 

Mystery as produced by a few wide washes or spaces 
of colored values without detail is found, I beUeve, both 
in modern European and in East Asiatic painting. 
Turner, Corot, Rembrandt and some of the Sung and 
Ming landscapists may be mentioned among those who 
have given us visions of Vau-dela. 

As a rule, however, the mystery in East Asiatic art 
is of a somewhat different kind from that of European 
art. It is produced mainly by the painting of a few 
details and the omitting of the many details. One streak 
of cloud will suggest a sky. Large empty spaces are 



Via. IS. Drawing of human on skin, Alaska. 


peopled by the mind from seeing a few. East Asiatic 
art when thus simpUfied, can be called perhaps sugges- 
tive more appropriately than mysterious. 

To take an example of mystery from another art. 
Compare the description of the Grail in the Grail Hong 
of Lohengrin, with the representation of the Grail in 
Parsifal. In the first there is the charm of mystery: 
the mind imagines something far away, something entran- 
cing. But in the other, the red glass vase, lit by elec- 
tricity, never comes up to the dream vision of the 
Grail: the real is inferior to the ideal. 

There is no mystery of any account in any of the 
other arts. South Asiatic may perhaps show a glimmer 
of it: but Egyptian and West Asiatic; Egean, Greek 
and Roman; Pleistokene, Bushman and Eskimo; Amerind, 
Australasian and Negro wholly lack mystery. 


When a conclave of artists gets together and damns 
the art productions of theu* brethren with faint praise, 
the point on which their criticism is always first directed 
is technic. And this is correct enough, because all fine 
art consists in the carrying out thru the hands of a 
plastic idea in the artist's brain. This carrying out 
thru the hands, or handUng, or mechanical part of art, is 
what conveys or makes visible to others the artist's con- 
ception, and if this handUng or technic is poor or weak, 
the idea is vitiated and the art is bad. Technic then refers 
to the manner in which a work of art is carried out. 
It deals with such art attributes as form, drawing, outline, 
line, perspective, action, masses, colors, color, values, effect, 
light, and it is by the knowledge and use of these tech- 
nical attributes that artists are able to convey their 
sense of beauty or their emotions to other people. 

Technic is greatly influenced by materials; in fact 
materials have an immense deal to do with the technic 
of art. Where an artist has oil paints, he is apt to 
try for light and shade and often lands in mud, to 
which the bristle brush also may have contributed. 
Where an artist has water colors there is more likeli- 
hood of his securing delicacy. Where oil paints were 
scarce, as among the Itahan primitives, they were put 
on thinly and carefully and with less resulting mud. 
Where a sculptor has a soft, pliable stone, he gets 
flowing, curviUnear sculpture; where he has basalt and 
granite, he gets rigid, rectangular sculpture. While no 


definite dogmas can be laid down about art materials 
it can be asserted that the tools and materials furnished 
to the artist have a great deal to do with his output. 

Drawing and painting are attempts to represent, by 
means of lines, spots and washes, objects on a plane 
surface. Much of this pictorial art takes cognizance of 
two dimensions only, height and width: .some of it 
includes a third, depth. 

The first thing an immature artistic mind, child or 
primitive, tries to grasp and to represent is the form 
of definite objects. This he does by insisting on the 
contours of the objects, and these he tries to define 
with one or more hnes. These lines, which act as 
boundaries, are called outlines. They do not, however, 
exist in nature, which the eye sees only as more or 
less big or minute planes or spots of color. But where 
the planes of color of an object meet the surrounding 
planes of color, a beginner feels an imaginary line 
between, and, for some reason, this is what a beginner 
most seeks after. Later when an artist has realized 
that there is no real outline in nature he still uses 
outline in art, but less strongly and rather as a means 
to an end. And he draws also with spots and masses 
of monochrome or colored lights and darks. 

The drawings of immature inartistic minds are 
almost always done in pure outhne. Frequently they 
reveal no glimmer of a sense of form and show an 
utter lack of observation. For instance drawings of a 
circle for a face with the two eyes looking at you 
from the center and with the nose in profil on one 
side or such like freaks are often done by inartistic 
European children, and we find instances of such mis- 
takes in certain arts, such as in Egyptian art and 


Assyrian art. Blunders of this kind, however, are rare 
among primitive arts, among Amerind, Austrahisian, or 
African arts. The reason for this possibly is that 
among primitive peoples only the artistic members of 
the tribe attempt to make any art at all, and stich 
artistic persons would in the nature of things have 
some gift of observation or imagination. When one 
finds utterly impossible or grotesque drawings anywhere, 
it is wrong to attribute them to any artistic invention 
or imagination and they should be ascribed simply to 
their real cause, lack of artistic feehng. 

Wherever we find drawing, we find outline, and the 
more or less insistence and dependence on outline may 
be used as one gauge of racial artistic development. 
The West Asiatics and the Egyptians stuck mainly to 
hard and often incorrect outlines, and perhaps partly 
therefore they never matured as painters. The Ame- 
rinds, the Australasians and the Africans rarely got 
beyond the simplest outline when they tried to draw 
anything. The Pleistokenes started with outhnes of 
profils, but grew beyond this to a stage using broad 
washes of paint, and broken outlines. The Bushmen 
altho drawing outlines showed rather a distinct leaning 
towards drawing by washes and masses. It is probably 
only the European and the East Asiatic artists who 
ever reached a full comprehension of the function of 
outline, and who use it or not, as they choose. 

Line in art is something altogether different from 
outhne. It refers in a general way to the lengths and 
dimensions of objects and the way in which they point. 
Rivers, roads, trees, fences, for instance, may be 
referred to as lines. Each of these might or might 
not have definite outlines. Groups of animals or of 


humans may be placed in such positions as to suggest 

Lines in art are a most vital point. They are of 
especial importance in composition, particularly in 
producing the illusion of the third dimension, depth, in 
drawings and paintings. If, for instance, a river and 
a road are introduced starting in the foreground and 
vanishing in the background of a picture, a feeling of 
distance and space is produced. It is in fact by some 
such artifice, that an object like a mountain can be 
made to seem big and far away. But if the road and 
river are represented as running across the picture from 
side to side, quite different feelings are aroused; the 
mind concentrates on the foreground, distance is not 
suggested in the same way, and objects in the back- 
ground seem smaller and nearer. 

When Knes suggesting the third dimension, depth, 
are found in art it may be accepted as certain that 
that art is far advanced. They are found in European, 
and in some East Asiatic and South Asiatic art. 
There are perhaps one or two Pleistokene and one or two 
Eskimo drawings which suggest a glimmer of a notion of 
depth, but in every other art this is absent. And it is a 
proof that only the Europeans and the Asiatics ever looked 
into nature as into a cube, and that the Amerinds, Austral- 
asians, and Africans never saw nature except as height 
and breadth. 

In European art and in East Asiatic art we find 
outlines and lines used in two distinct ways, which 
have been termed classical and picturesque lines. Clas- 
sical lines might be defined as long sweeping Unes: 
picturesque Unes might be defined as short broken 
lines. In the history of both arts classical lines appear 


earliest. And this is in accord with the mental develop- 
ment of a painter in regard to nature, for the more he 
looks at nature, the less does he feel the imaginary 
line outlining form. This by no means impHes that the 
picturesque line is the best, for one must always 
remember that art is not nature. As examples of well 
known painters in Europe and Asia using classical lines 
one might cite Ingres and Utamaro and among those using 
picturesque lines one might cite Fortuny and Hokusai. 
All four men are good sound draughtsmen and painters. 
And no critic could lay down the law as to which 
outranked the other, any more than any critic could 
say aught in regard to the superiority of the classical 
or the picturesque line beyond stating his individual 
taste: that is, unless he is more conceited than truthful. 
Perspective perhaps may be defined as the science 
of representing objects on a plane surface in such a 
way that the eye sees them in the same position and 
of the same size as they appear in nature. Perspec- 
tive is mechanical and geometric, as well as artistic. 
It is principally useful in drawing buildings and 
machinery, and some painters of indoor scenes and 
architectural effects go so far as to have their pictures 
put into perspective by professional perspecteurs. In 
free hand drawings of figures and landscapes, scientific 
perspective is seldom resorted to, as an accurate eye 
and ability to draw will obtain a perspective correct 
enough for artistic purposes, the only rule almost 
which it is necessary to remember being that "twice 
the distance, half the size." Moreover, in free hand 
drawing or paintings, artists often purposely violate 
absolute perspective, as they transpose or alter or 
change things to suit their artistic wishes. 


Scientific perspective, if I mistake not, has been 
carried to the full limit only by Europeans. Artistic 
or free hand perspective has been attained not only by 
the Europeans, but by the South Asiatics and the 
East Asiatics. It is also reached in some cases, and a 
start made to it in other cases, among the Pleisto- 
kenes, the Eskimo and the Bushmen, who all were on 
the highroad towards drawing scenes, not merely single 
figures, as they appear. Among the Negroes, the 
Australasians and the Amerinds on the contrary, nothing 
of the kind is apparent, and it is a more noteworthy 
fact that the West Asiatics and the Egyptians were 
also in a pictorial stage in which even artistic per- 
spective had scarcely dawned. 

Action and motion are not quite synonymous terms 
in the fine arts. Action applies to every object 
depicted in sculpture or painting, whether at rest or in 
movement. A man, an animal, a tree or a rock is 
depicted in some attitude or position, and this is 
called its action. The word motion is used in art 
when animate or inanimate things are supposed to be 
in movement. An animal running hard or a tree blown 
by the wind, not only has its position or action, but it 
shows a movement, and this is its motion: movement 
and motion are synonymous. 

Action, of course, therefore, is found in all art. 
Motion, on the contrary, is not so invariably present. 
It is common in European and Asiatic art and in 
Pleistokene, Bushman and Eskimo art. But it is rare 
in Amerind, Australasian or African art, and curiously 
enough in Egyptian art. From one standpoint, action 
and motion, that is life, is the best thing in Japanese 



Curved lines and straight lines play an important 
role in art. All the arts utilize both curved lines and 
straight hues. But certain arts tend more to curved 
Unes, rounded forms, circles and spheres; while other 
arts run to straight lines, angles, rectangles and cubes. 
The first kind might not improperly be called cur- 
vilinear arts and the second kind rectiUnear arts and 
they offer a so far almost unnoticed field of study in 
comparative art. 

Why certain races should prefer certain lines and 
other races certain other Unes is not easy to fathom. 
Apparently, however, the races who observe nature 
and who draw their impressions from it are the ones 
who develop their hues and forms principally in curves. 
And the races who follow mainly the patterns of 
woven or plaited vegetable fibers and grasses in 
basketry work or garments are the ones who develop 
straight lines. That is to say, curved lines coincide 
mainly with the more realistic sculptural and pictorial 
arts while straight lines are found principally in some 
of the more conventional primitive decorative arts. 
But it must be emphasized that only general tendencies 
of arts can be indicated under the terms curvilinear 
and rectilinear: for all arts utiHze some curved and 
some straight lines. 

In Europe, the naturalistic Pleistokene art is dis- 
tinctly curvilinear: straight lines and angles are almost 
lacking. After Pleistokene curves, art goes into straight 


lines in Neolithic decorations and these continue 
thruout Europe well into the Iron Age. Beginning 
with Cretan-Mykenian times and continuing in Greek, 
Roman and modern times, European art, except in 
certain forms of architecture and to some extent in 
the partially Oriental descended Byzantine art, is an 
art of curved lines. The straight line and right angle 
have never been the rulers in classical or modern 

In Africa, Libyan, Bushman and Pygmy art is 
distinctly curvihnear. Likewise the African Negroes, 
in their sculptures of humans, and especially in the 
bronzes of Great Benin, show full recognition of the 
curved line. This is verified by the observations of 
Dr. Livingstone who says of the natives southeast of 
the Kalahari desert that if you want bricks to build a 
house, the people cannot assist you much, for the 
Bakwains have a curious inability to make things 
square and, as with all Bechuanas, their own dwellings 
are round.* This is passing strange, for African 
Negro decorative art is mainly rectihnear. At least 
in their decorations on shields and in bead work, etc., 
the Negroes generally use straight hues. In Egyptian 
art the architecture is generally rectangular: the 
sculpture, on the contrary, is curvihnear. Some of 
the paintings have curved lines but most of them tend 
to straight lines. They have a strongly convention- 
ahzed decorative rigidity and it is not impossible that 
this decorative tendency may, to some extent, have 
come from the Negroes. 

West Asiatic art has both curves and straight Lines. 

* Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, Chap. II. 


' IG. 19. Drawing of giizzly bear on skin, Alaska. 

136 ART AND ^FAN. 

It is much like Egyptian art in those respects. A good 
deal of it is decorative, and in its later phases some of 
it is highly colored. The early art of South and 
East Asia appears to have been a decorative recti- 
linear art. Nevertheless in South Asiatic art and in 
East Asiatic art, the curved or rounded line is 
predominant, a hint that these arts at bottom are 
more realistic than decorative. Arab art is strongly 
curvilinear. At the same time it is wliolly decorative. 
The explanation probably is that the racial art instincts 
of the Arabs were reahstic. They were blocked from 
following their natural bent to the extent of not using 
the human figure as a motive. So they turned to 
plants and flowers and other natural forms for motives and 
apparently they kept on going afresh to nature and thus 
their decorations did not run down into stiff and rigid 

In Australasia there are straight lines but also 
many curves in Polynesian art; while Melanesian art 
is mainly an art of straight lines and rectangles. 

Amerind art is the extremest example of a rectilinear 
art. Straight lines, zigzags, rectangles, diamond shaped 
lozenges, cubes, predominate to such an extent that thej' 
almost swamp any attempts at circles or curves. The 
straight line is king from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, 
and it is only on the Arctic shores of America that 
the curved hne commands. 

Look, for a moment, at the art of Mitla. At first 
blush, the decorations on Mitla walls seem geometric, 
in right angles and sharp points. They imitate nothing 
in the natural world. Some travelers have asserted 
that Mitla art is totally unlike all the other Mexican 
arts. But examined carefully, the Mitla pattern reveals 


itself to be a highly decorative rattlesnake: the head 
of the snake attached to and rising above the body, 
the rattles placed in separate bunches, with the tip 
pointing downwards. Altho the Mitla people used as 
their model, as did the other Mexicans, the most curving 
and sinuous of all living creatures, the snake, yet they 
turned him artistically into right angles. They also 
used the snake markings as decorations. The Mitla 
snake pattern is one of the most curious evolutions in 
all art. 

Of course, there are some curves and rounded lines 
in Amerind art. And they are found as a rule in its 
non-decorative attempts, in Peruvian pottery, sculptures, 
Mexican monolithic heads, and North Amerind pipes. 
Occasionally also, for instance among the Moundbuilders 
and Cliffdwellers, decorations were in curves and rounded 
Hues. But in the main Amerind art is based on the straight 
line and the geometric angle. 




There are some few painters who go far in their 
neglect of outline and even of line, and who work 
mainly by means of light and shade or of colors. 
Among such men was my second teacher, Thomas 
Eakins. He told me many times that he worked out 
his figures on a middle line and let the outline come 
of itself. His idea was rather sculptural than pictorial 
and he sought for form by putting large dabs of paint 
on a broken line giving the center of gravity of a 
figure, much as a sculptor puts big lumps of wet clay 
on an upright wire acting as a support or skeleton 
for his figure. Delacroix also apparently worked on 
somewhat the same principle, only more for color and 
less for light and shade than Eakins. This manner of 
procedure apparently suited these two artists and 
enabled them to express themselves, and their use of it 
goes to show that there is no right or wrong way of 
arriving at good results in the fine arts: everything 
depends on the individual. 

Colors and color are two of the most important 
and vital parts of glyptic art. "Colors" refers to the 
individual shades of the spectrum, represented on the 
artist's palette by pigments such as cadmium yellow or 
cobalt. "Color" is a harmonious arrangement of all 
the "colors." There has always been much confusion 

, ART AND MAN. 139 

in regard to colors, pigments and color. People have 
talked for years about the three primary colors. There 
is no such thing. There are three primary pigments: 
blue, yellow, red. With these three pigments, one can 
produce all intermediate pigment tints, tho with less 
brilliancy than if one has the pure intermediate pig- 
ments, such as green, orange and purple, in addition. 
But there are no primary colors in the spectrum. The 
spectral band consists of any number of colors. The 
eye can perhaps detect plainly, and language can 
express easily the name of about seven of those colors, 
but there are many more. The eye can also see, and 
words can state that there are three masses of colors 
in the spectrum far wider than the others and these 
are green, yellow and red. But the misunderstanding 
of the terms "colors" and "pigments" has, it seems to 
me, up to now misled many a painter as well as the 

Colors are one of the earliest apprehended art attri- 
butes among all races, for they are used almost every- 
where with early or budding art. Almost if not quite 
as soon as man begins to show recognition of form 
and Une, he also begins to show a sense of colors, 
which he is apt to reveal by daubing himself with 
colored earths mixed with grease. Colors are first 
used in patches or spots often with most variegated 
effects without any thought of producing a harmony or 
what is called color. 

About color it is difficult to speak. For what 
pleases one person, displeases another. Moreover color 
is a purely glyptic art attribute, which must be seen 
to be appreciated, and which cannot be described thru 
language. Colors, used in a very simple manner such 


as in heraldry, can be specified in words but no one 
can convey to another in words anything Hke the 
appearance of or the sensation produced by a work in 
color. Pictorial color, that is colors used as a har- 
monious pictorial whole, is only a late development of 
art, and in some cases, drifts so far away from colors 
as to become inferior to less learned but more naive 

This is especially the case where the imitation of 
local colors is carried too far. Matching shades is 
deadly. If one imitates as nearly as possible each spot 
of the colors of a scene in nature, the whole picture 
is apt to suffer. A more thoughtful method of pro- 
cedure is to think of the relations of color. If one 
part of a picture, for instance, is bright yellow, the 
other parts must, of necessity, be more orange, more 
red, more purple, more blue, more green. And atten- 
tion to the relations of the more subordinate tones to 
the dominant color key note of a picture, will more 
certainly produce a good color harmony, than will an 
attempt to imitate on the palette each individual color 
note in nature. 

The sense of colors and color among various 
peoples can be compared only in the most general way. 
Environment has something to do with it; so has 
training; so has the degree of social development: but 
race probably has most of all. 

When a lot of people are herded together in big 
towns of Europe or America the color sense often 
seems lacking; possibly it becomes atrophied: possibly 
also dull colors are used for practical reasons, because 
they show less the dirt of our manufacturing centers. 
Then again cliniale and geographical position liave an 


efifect. There is certainly more color and more sense 
of color in Naples and in Cairo than in London or in 
Stockholm. Then again the sense of color seems often 
better among primitive or semi-advanced races than 
among highly advanced peoples. Moscow is far more 
beautiful in its colors than Vienna. And our own 
surviving Amerinds to this day reveal more liking for 
and sometimes better feeling for color than the 
American descendants of the European invaders. 

From the geographical standpoint, Asia is pre- 
eminently the land of colors and color. The East 
Asiatics and the South Asiatics both have a fine sense 
of color. The Russians, a semi-Asiatic people, have a 
strong inborn love of colors. No peoples perhaps, have 
developed colors more into color harmonies than the 
South West Asiatics, with their beautiful rugs and 
woven fabrics. 

Thruout North Africa, in Egypt, Tunis and Morocco, 
we also find a great sense of color, and this seems 
largely to coincide with the lands inhabited by Arab 

Among the Amerinds, the Australasians, and the 
African Negroes, we find a good deal of feeling for 
colors. In some of their decorations or personal 
ornamentation they not infrequently show a naive, 
untrained liking for colors, and sometimes unconsciously 
they reach harmonious effects of much beauty. 

In Europe we find a lesser feeUng for colors than 
for tone. Form and Ught and shade have ruled in 
European art and have rather deadened the joy in 
beautiful tints. There was a naive liking for colors 
among the primitive Flemish and Italians. But the 
abuse of dark brown, of Imperial Pharaoh dead and 


turned to paint, while conducive to shade, was destruc- 
tive of colors. Europeans get color harmony, but 
generally a dull color harmony. Huysmans said that 
Millet colored in "bone de sabot" and Corot in "Ikgbre 
fumee de pipe" and underneath his flippancy there 
is some truth. Of late years the plein-airistes have 
brought l)ack colors into European art. But the inborn 
racial tendency of the White Race is not towards colors 
and color: it is towards form, drawing, and light and 

Values means the quantity of light or dark, irre- 
spective of colors, in any part of a picture. 
Chiaroscuro, or light and shade, is an artistic arrange- 
ment of values. Atmospheric perspective is a phase 
of values and refers to the softening and increasing 
paleness of colors and lights and darks thru distance. 

No one can realize absolute values, that is the 
absolute relations between lights and darks in nature, 
since the scale of paint does not include light. The 
artist can only transpose into a very limited scale 
what nature gives in a very extended scale. 

To obtain values, that is the relations of lights and 
darks, as reaUstically correct on the limited scale as 
possible, necessitates close observation and also the 
nearly entire covering of the picture by the paint. 
Values may be suggested with only some hues and 
spots, but this means doing without a part of their 
strength. No matter how accurate they are, values 
must always remain an artistic convention. 

It is perhaps by careful attention to values, more 
than to anything else, that the European artist reaches 
his deceptive effects in imitating nature in oil paint, 
that is, well considered values add greatly to making 


a flat painted surface into an illusion suggesting 

Values are not a primal art instinct: they are a 
late phase of art. They come only with advanced 
knowledge, with advanced artistic mental development. 
In primitive arts, in the African, Australasian and 
Amerind arts, they are not found at all. They are 
found only among the European and Asiatic arts and 
in these they come forward only gradually and do not 
become perfected until most other technical points 
have reached full development. 

Effect refers to the appearance of a scene or an 
object at some one time. The time of day, the 
position of objects, the play of light and shade, the 
atmospheric conditions, and many other factors combine 
to make an effect. A commonplace scene, uninterest- 
ing in itself, if seen under some advantageous effect, 
where there is interesting light and shade, may be 
fine and artistic. 

Effect as an art attribute, belongs mainly to the 
modern Europeans and to a slighter extent to the 
South and East Asiatics. It does not seem to have 
ever dawned on any other races or peoples that effect 
has a great deal to do with the picturesque. Curious 
as it may seem, however, there is comparatively Uttle 
use of effect in East Asiatic art, altho the artists 
certainly know of it and use it occasionally. As a 
rule East Asiatics do not represent cast shadows: 
apparently they look on shadows as something too 
transitory to perpetuate in painting. As a result of 
this, their Ught and shade is much less pronounced 
than that of Europeans, and partly also for the same 
reason, they do not imitate nature as closely as do 


the Europeans. Their aim is rather for form and 
color and therefore partly it is that their work is 
usually more briUiant than ours. 

Light plays a leading role both in nature and in 
art. Everything is subordinate to light; unless there is 
natural or artificial light everything is invisible. If a 
person shuts his eyes tight and then opens them slowly, 
he becomes cognizant of light before he recognizes 
any detail whatever. Indeed, if a person with sensitive 
eyes revolves slowly, with his eyes shut, before an 
open window thru which sunlight is streaming, he will 
be aware of when he is facing the room and when he 
is facing the window: that is a person with closed 
eyeUds may be conscious of Ught, when he is uncon- 
scious of any forms or colors. 

In the world of pictorial and decorative art absolute 
Ught cannot be attained. Real light does not exist 
in art. There is, however, what may be called artistic 
light and this is an important attribute in painting. 

The nearest approach to light, the highest value in 
art is pure white and therefore the nearest approach 
which could be made to actual light in pictorial art 
would be to leave a surface of snow white material 
bare of paint. Any work put on this will actually dull 
the Ught of the material and lower the values. And yet 
it is only by so doing that an effect of Ught can be 
suggested in painting. This can be done in two ways. 

One method of suggesting an effect of Ught in black 
and white work is by leaving a piece of bare white 
paper and working darks in around it, as one sees for 
instance in some etchings of Rembrandt. In the same 
way Ught may be suggested in colored work by 
painting a bright, pale spot with darker tones sur- 




rounding it, as is often seen in Turner landscapes. By 
thus centering the brightest spot in a picture in a 
border of darkness, something like an effect of light can 
be produced. 

This method, as far as I know, belongs almost 
wholly to modern European and to later South Asiatic 
art. Both in Europe and in India it probably dates 
back to somewhere about 1500 A. D. Whether it was 
invented independently in both regions or traveled 
from one to the other I do not know but possibly it 
went from Europe to India. Certain it is that it 
occurs in these two arts. It also occurs sporadically in 
East Asiatic art, but it is distinctly rarer. Nothing of 
the kind is found in any African, Australasian nor 
Amerind art; neithei- does it occur, I believe, in any 
pre-Gothic European, nor in West Asiatic art. 

The other method of producing an effect of light in 
a picture is by painting this entirely with brilliant pure 
spectral colors. At bottom this is an attempt to throw 
the spectrum on canvas. By making observations on 
the beveled edge of a mirror and thru a cut glass 
bottle of water, one can see for oneself that the 
center of light of the spectrum is pale cadmium yellow 
placed between emeraude green and vermilion-rose 
madder. By moving the head a trifle the other colors 
appear, and blue and violet lead to darkness. The 
ochres, the earths, black, are not apparent in the 
spectrum, which means that they do not belong to true 
spectral colors. The use of the spectral colors as a 
method of suggesting Ught is thoroly artistic, but it is 
also scientific and is susceptible of the following 
scientific explanation. A ray of sunlight whicli passes 
thru drops of misty water or thru a glass prism, 


becomes decomposed into the rainbow or spectrum; 
that is the rainbow or spectrum is the equivalent in 
colors of a ray of white sunshine. But since painters 
cannot paint a picture by leaving a bare white surface, 
the nearest material approach to white light, they are 
forced to resort to pigments to produce their effects, and 
if they want to suggest light without centering a Hght 
spot in surrounding darkness, the nearest they can do 
with pigments is to paint pictures in the colors of the 
spectrum. A copy in pigments of the spectrum itself, 
would undoubtedly be the closest possible presentation of 
an effect of Hght because the pale colors are centered by the 
dark colors, but since the various accidental forms of nature 
are infinite and as these furnish the basis of all pictures, 
all a painter can do is to clothe all these accidental forms, 
as far as possible, in the colors of the spectrum. 

For an example, suppose we take a clean white 
canvas, and a palette with the following paints: cobalt, 
emeraude green, white, lemon cadmium, cadmium, 
vermilion, rose madder. Then if we paint a picture, 
toning the colors as much as we choose with white, 
but mbcing greens, yellows, reds and blues as little as 
possible, we will obtain a result possibly somewhat garish 
in effect and inaccurate in local color, which however 
will produce something like a suggestion of light. In 
fact the picture would be not so much an attempt to 
suggest the local colors of trees and buildings and 
humans as an attempt to suggest the vibration of light. 

Now it is not necessary to have a picture with 
distinct forms to produce such an effect of hght. Any 
pattern or arrangement of spots and lines formed out 
of the various colors of the spectrum will produce 
something like the sensation of light. In other words. 


this method can be utilized in decorative art. And in 
fact we do find it used to some extent in decorative 
art as well as in pictorial art, altho, except in rare 
instances, probably unconsciously on the part of the artists. 

Among many jirimitive races of Africa, Australasia 
and America, we certainly find some brightly colored 
decorative work. If they have any materials, such as 
beads, they are sure to work them into patterns which 
suggest brilliancy. A great deal of East Asiatic work, 
both decorative and pictorial, is brilUantly colored; 
and a great deal of their pictorial work, therefore, with- 
out any centering of the light with a fringe of dark- 
ness, certainly suggests light. In other words, the 
desire for brilliant colors which suggest light, that is 
the unconscious use of the spectrum in art, is general 
among many races. 

In European art the clothing of pictorial forms 
in colors of the spectrum has quite recently been 
advanced to the point of suggesting not only light but 
also sunshine. This evolution is usually miscalled 
Impressionist painting, but it is also more correctly 
called plein air painting. The reason that the ap- 
pearance of sunshine is attained is because the cast 
shadows as well as the lights are put in in spectral 
colors. It was not the great Turner so much as 
Japanese color prints which set the ball rolling. And 
this is curious, because there are no cast shadows in 
Japanese prints and altho there is plenty of light, 
there is no sunshine. But the latest development of 
European naturalistic art, evolved in France, depends 
in itself on the superseding of bituminous light and 
shade by the vivid coloring which has always belonged 
to the Asiatic, African, Australasian and Amerind arts. 




The sense of form is found more or less in all arts. 
The conceptions due to the sense of form, the way in 
which figures and objects are conceived sculpturally, 
in their proportions, in their action, in their motions, 
quite apart from the ostensible subject, are called by 
the French " idee pZasii^we" which may be translated into 
"plastic thought." In a statue like the Venus of Milo, 
for instance, we see a plastic thought of the highest 
type, showing a most idealized sense of form: altho 
what her ostensible subject is, whether a Venus or a 
Victory or something else, we do not know nor does it 
matter. Altho all races have a sense of form, the 
search for beauty in plastic thoughts is much more 
developed and advanced among the Europeans and the 
Asiatics, than among the Africans, the Australasians or 
the Amerinds. 

Proportions, that is the relative size and length of 
different parts of the human body, vary in different 
arts. The sense of proportion varies among different 
races. Among the European races, the tendency is to 
make the humans rather tall, with relatively small 
heads. Even as early as Minoan Crete, the figures are 
tall and rather thin, with pinched in waists, in fact the 
Cretan type is a forerunner of the elongated Greek type. 
The Greeks, among whom form or sculptural sense was 


the pre-eminent art characteristic, improved on the 
Cretan prototype, and it seems as if they were 
seeking for ideal type forms, rather than for portraits 
of individuals. During the Gothic art period, circa 
1100-1450 A. D., there was a temporary lull in seeking 
for type form: at any rate a good deal of the early 
medieval sculpture is in natural and reaUstic rather 
than in ideal and heroic proportions. WTien Greek 
art became known again, however, classical traditions 
revived. These still continue to a great extent in 
Europe, altho during the last hundred years various 
extraneous influences and increased UberaUsm in art 
have caused many artists to become more interested in 
the individual than in the type. 

The Chinese and the Japanese have an excellent 
sense of form, and in many cases the proportions of 
their humans are fairly accurate, about six to seven 
heads in height. But in some of their art nevertheless, 
notably in the colored prints of certain Japanese 
artists like Koriusai and Utamaro, the humans are 
sometimes eight or nine heads in height. Their 
tendency, however, is to make the head of its natural 
size in relation to the figure, and not to make it 
smaller as is done in European figures of eight or 
more heads in height. The hands and feet, however, 
in much of their work, for instance in many Japanese 
prints, are frequently exaggeratedly slender and short. 

Among the Pleistokenes, Bushmen and Arctics, 
there is always an attempt at purely naturalistic 
proportions. There are so few sculptures or drawings 
of humans among the Pleistokenes, that one can only 
say that apparently they tried to be accurate. With 
Bushman drawings and Arctic sculptures, however, one 


can go farther and say that their makers tried to be 
accurate and to bring out individual and racial char- 
acteristics. There is no parti-pris with them : they merely 
tried naively to reproduce what they saw, and they 
largely succeeded. In neither of these arts does one 
see humans with the big heads, small bodies, and tiny 
legs one finds in other primitive arts. 

In the African, Australasian and Amerind arts, we 
find frequently, altho not invariably, that the humans 
have disproportionately big heads, small bodies and 
tiny legs. The African Negro races, and the Austral- 
asians, both Melanesians and Polynesians, are especially 
prone to make short squat figures, averaging four to 
five heads only in height. Among both Africans or 
Australasians, however, the proportions are sometimes 
fairly accurate, perhaps six or seven heads in height. 
Among the Amerinds, the proportions vary very much: 
sometimes there are big heads, small bodies and tiny 
legs, but often the proportions are good and realistic, 
about the same as naturalistic European art propor- 
tions. On the whole it may be said that Amerind 
proportions are, as a rule, better than either African or 
Australasian proportions. 

It would be hard to say to what causes these 
exaggeratedly short figures are due. I thought at one 
time they implied Negro blood, but this is evidently 
incorrect, as they are found all over Polynesia and in 
Peru and Yucatan. They certainly show lack of 
observation and of comprehension of the human figure 
as a whole. For sometimes African figures with 
enormous heads, with the hands perhaps extending 
as low as the instep, nevertheless have the details 
of each part nicely modelled and worked out. Parts 

152 ART A XL) MAN. 

are observed rather carefully, yet the whole is beyond 
the grasp of the sculptor. There are endless variations 
in these proportions, but on the whole, it seems as if 
realistic proportions were beyond the ken of most 
primitive race artists. 

Proportions usually are considered only in con- 
nection with height, but they should be considered also 
in regard to width and breadth. What do different 
peoples feel artisticallj^ about leanness and obesity? 
Corpulency, except in caricature, is eschewed as a rule 
in European art and in South and East Asiatic art. 
This is certainly a sign that among European and 
South and East Asiatic races corpulency is not looked 
on as an element of beauty. In Egyptian art and in 
West Asiatic art we find many stocky, strong figures 
but no obese figures. Nor do we find any carvings 
among the African negroes, the Australasians or the 
Amerinds which seem to indicate any admiration for 
overfat human models. On the contrary, we often find 
in European fashion plates and in some tcte-de-coiffeur- 
keepsake modern portraits, and occasionally in some 
Japanese prints, figures which cross the border line from 
slimness into exaggerated leanness. It seems as if every 
race on earth preferred normal or below the normal 
girths for their humans rather than exaggerated bulk. 

Nevertheless it is on record that some races deUber- 
ately fatten up their females. John Hanning Speke, for 
instance, describes how the wives of King Rumanika 
were virtually imprisoned in their kraals and how thej^ 
were forced, by the rod if necessary, to drink gallons 
upon gallons of rich milk, until they were perfect moun- 
tains of flesh and could barely waddle. Whether this 
custom is due to esthetic reasons, that is whether cer- 


tain races admire overfat women, is hard to say. For 
it may be due, on the contrary, to the opposite cause, 
namely to the desire to make the women unattractive, 
as has certainl.y been done by various other devices 
among certain savage tribes, in order to make the 
women less desirable for other tribes to steal. 

Nude figures are found more or less in almost all 
arts. In the primitive arts, my impression is that 
nudes simply represent lack of clothing among the 
makers, and not in the least any interest in the figure 
as an art motive. Primitive draughtsmen and sculptors 
generally saw their neighbors in a state of nature, the 
more so the nearer they were to the Equator, and as 
they saw them they tried to make their counterfeit 

This is, to some extent, also the case in East Asiatic 
Art. Nude figures never seem to have been a strong 
impelling art motive for either Chinese or Japanese. To 
them they are simply an incident in the picture; they 
are not the picture. If, for instance, East Asiatics paint 
a bathing scene, they introduce nude figures as part of the 
scene. But they do not study the nude academically 
as a solitary object: they do not paint nude figures in 
front of a meaningless background, as Europeans do, for 
the sake of the nude figure. They also rarely sculpt 
nude figures. They are, in fact, not interested artisti- 
cally in the nude, and their art naturally therefore pays 
much less attention to it than does European art. This 
might perhaps be used as an argument to show that the 
Chinese and Japanese are or were more primitive than 
the Europeans; and it is certainly one of the strongest 
possible proofs that their art is not in the least descended 
from the Greeks. 


It is the Europeans, the Greeks especially, who have 
been inspired by the nude human figure as an art motive. 
The Greeks certainly brought the nude in sculpture to 
perfection. As a race they attached more importance 
than any other race to athletic men and women. The 
strong, well developed man or woman appealed to them 
in nature, and naturally enough it appealed to them 
also in art. The nude in modern European art is per- 
haps rather an inheritance from the Greek nude than a 
spontaneous growth. Modern Europeans undoubtedly 
never see unclothed humans round them to the extent the 
Greeks did, and the attempts of the earlier sculptors, the 
Pisanos, Peter Vischer, etc., were usually at draped figures. 
Still even thus, next to the Greeks, the modern Euro- 
peans have probably made the most of the nude human 

Portraits are the counterfeit presentment of a person. 
In a good portrait, likeness, resemblance, character, are 
sine qua nons; without them there is no portrait. In 
portraiture, likeness and character supersede beauty or 
imagination. But beauty may be put into the technic 
and handling, and character brought out even if the 
subject of the portrait is ugly. To obtain these, it 
does not make any difference whether a portrait painter 
hkes or dishkes his model personally, so long as he 
loves him artistically as a motive. 

Sculpted portraits are found in more arts than are 
painted portraits. Some splendid heads in Egypt date 
back already to the IVth Dynasty. From the Euphrates 
valley come the Goudeas. The Greeks certainly made 
some magnificent portrait sculpture, and the art was 
continued among the Romans. In eastern Asia many 
of the heads are extremely lifelike, altho, as a rule, 



e. s. /3, 

Fig. 21. Painting in black of woman's body with pointed legs, head of white 
wood. Bow of canoe, Alaska. 

^CtS;^?, <=^ C.<:3 c^^-p 

¥iu. 22. Metatc of puma. Central America. 


they are more or less conventionalized. Some of 
these, as heads of the Buddha, of Kouan Yin, of 
Kwannon, etc., with their calm expressions and long 
ear lobes, even tho in some respects sj'mbolic and 
representing a type rather than an individual, are 
handled with breadth, accuracy and dignity. The 
same criticisms also may be made of some, altho 
fewer, South Asiatic heads. 

Of the primitive races, the Amerinds, in Mexico and 
Peru, went furthest in sculpture heads. Most of the 
heads on monohths and bas reliefs in Mexico and 
Central America usually show pronouncedly the racial 
Amerind type, and some of them are really fine 
sculpture altho it could not be stated that they are 
portraits of individuals. The Peruvian Incas went a 
little further in the direction of individuality and 
produced some heads, especially in terra rotta, which 
if less impressive than Central Amerind monolith heads, 
may be considered as sculpted resemblances, that is 
portraits of particular individuals. In this department 
of art, the Amerinds show good observation of nature. 
Among the African negroes, the heads of their wooden 
statuary are not infrequently good representations of 
racial type: they are hardly portraits, but they are 
African negroes. The Australasians scarcely ever reach 
as far as the African negroes in this respect in their 
wooden statuary and it is only very sporadically, as 
for instance in a few small heads from Easter Island, 
that they show anything like real observation. 

The attainment of resemblance to the human head 
among various races is distinctly rarer in drawing and 
painting than in sculpture. There is nothing among the 
Pleistokenes, Bushmen or Arctics, nor among the 

ART AND ilAN. 157 

Amerinds, Africans or Australasians, even remotely 
suggesting pictorial facial portraiture. The West Asiatics 
and Egyptians drew, perhaps with no exceptions, all 
their faces in profil and with the eye, perhaps also 
with no exceptions, full or partly full face: in other 
words they never drew nor painted a head from obser- 
vation: a strange fact, considering their excellent 
sculpted heads. 

It is among the East Asiatics, and the Europeans 
and South Asiatics that we find real pictorial por- 
traiture. There are certain resemblances and certain 
differences in the portraiture in these arts corresponding 
in the main with their technics. Before touching on 
these, however, it must be noted that the underlying 
technical attribute of pictorial portraiture is drawing. 
Form must be brought out in portraiture. Color and 
light and shade are wholly secondary. You can get a 
splendid portrait in few or many lines with neither 
color nor modelling: and in this method Holbein left 
us many brilliant examples. You can also get splendid 
portraits in dabs of color of varying values without any 
visible lines: but those dabs of color must be in the 
place where form requires them. In other words, a 
portrait in dabs of color needs just as accurate draw- 
ing as a portrait entirely in line. 

Among the East Asiatics, portraiture belongs rather 
to Une drawing than to painting. Sometimes the lines 
are left to themselves but sometimes they are strengthened 
by washes of color. As a rule, the East Asiatics, 
dating from far back, drew and painted the face three 
quarters, but sometimes full or in profil. In general, 
their heads are highly conventionalized and do not 
represent the individual: they lack individual char- 


acter: they are typical rather than speciaUzed. And 
since the East Asiatics omit shadows and do not 
model the colors much, the absence of shadows and of 
modelhng produces flatness. And this method is so 
much of a convention with them, that in the inter- 
esting portrait by an American woman of the late 
Empress of China,* the artist, it is said, was prevented 
from putting in the shadows. It has also been said, 
and doubtless accurately, that some East Asiatic so 
called portraits were painted after the person's death 
and were really symbols to memorialize that person 
and not at all an attempt to get a hkeness. 

In many instances, however, the East Asiatics 
reached character and expression and almost certainly 
likeness in some of their heads. With a few lines and 
spots they drew the form. There are some Chinese 
heads that one can call splendid examples of sincere, 
straightforward observation. Many kakemonos of the 
Sung and Ming Dynastiesf show heads worthy of any 
artist. A splendid example of head drawing is a 
"Portrait of Lu Tong-Pin, One of the Eight Immortals, by 
T'eng Tch'ang-Yeou, Northern T'ang Dynasty, IX 
Century. "J That is to say, a thousand years ago, some 
Chinese could draw a head with a snap and a vividness 
which is unsurpassable. 

Among Japanese painters, there is one whose heads 
may be mentioned as among the most original works 
of art ever produced. This is Sharaku, who painted 
towards the end of the eighteenth century A. D. 
Little is known of the man, but he left a number of 

* U. S. Nat. Mus. 
t Boston M. F. A. 
X Met. Mus. N. Y., November 1917. Lent by Mr. A. F. Jacacci. 


colored prints of heads, supposed to be of "No" 
actors, which, with a few vital lines, reach a strength 
of character and expression unsurpassed in art. They 
may or may not be masks: they may or may not be 
likenesses: but they are psychological drawings of the 
very highest type. 

European painted portraiture has its roots already 
in Cretan-Mykenian art. It advanced to the stage of 
being thoroly comprehended in Greek art, as is shown 
by the portraits dug up in the Fayum. It is similar to 
East Asiatic portraiture in that it has good drawing: 
it is different from it in that it has light and shade 
and modelling. And the carrying to the extreme of 
these latter art attributes, gives something of a sculpt- 
ural effe^ct to European painted heads, it makes them 
seem round as the hving head is. European portraiture 
thru these means arrives at a more imitative quality 
than does East Asiatic portraiture without necessarily 
being superior in regard to likeness. In fact in many 
cases it seems as if in the laying on of the colors 
the expressive lines of the face were lost, and likeness 
weakened rather than strengthened. 

Fine pictorial portraiture is one of the highest 
achievements of European art, and great European 
masters of the figure, men like Rembrandt, Velasquez 
and Moroni, have certainly reached the top-notch in 
the painted portrayal of human faces. But to obtain 
anything approaching their results, imphes not only a 
man of ability but also a man having a free rein to 
get character in his own way. Unfortunately patronage, 
the potboiling power, often steps in under the guise of 
the family of the sitter to interfere with and boss the 
artist. And in addition many of the sitters, well 

160 ART AND ]\rAN. 

knowing the defects of their appearance, wish to be 
improved on and instead of seeming commonplace, to 
become handsome and distinguished on canvas. And 
in consequence of such various extraneous causes, 
ordinarily our portraits are apt to be a sort of com- 
promise between what the sitter looks like, what the 
artist thinks the sitter looks hke, what the sitter 
thinks he himself looks like and what he would like 
to look like, and what the friends and relatives of the 
sitter think and want the sitter to look like. As each 
of the persons involved thinks he knows best and each 
wants something different, the portrait is apt to suffer. 
A painter must and can paint a portrait only according 
to his vision, gifts, knowledge and feeUngs. And when 
all the aunts and cousins of the sitter each want 
changes and imaginary beauty instead of character, the 
portrait loses freshness, life and snap. 

Among the South Asiatics, pictorial portraiture has 
much more the qualities of European painted portraiture 
than those of East Asiatic drawn portraiture. This is 
very apparent in the heads of Persian and Hindu 
pictures of the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries A. D.: 
and their characteristics might, it could be argued, have 
come from modern European art. But there are certain 
fragments of Hindu paintings, notably some in a sort 
of fresco in the caves of Ajanta, supposed to date 
from the first to the seventh centuries A. D., which, 
in an incipient form, show the European characteristics. 
They are certainly not descended from East Asiatic art: 
they might be descended from Greek art: but it seems 
far more probable that they are a native indigenous 
growth of a race which is more closely allied to the 
White races of Europe than to tlio Yellow races of Asia. 


Photograph}^ it is sometimes said, is doing away 
with art. It is true that there is some beautiful 
photography now: far removed from what it was only 
two or three decades ago. Certain artistic results are 
obtained by taking photographs out of focus, but the 
photographs which are most admired are photographs 
which have been worked over, which means that many 
of the most artistic results are obtained by retouching. 
The camera made the drawing: and on this the photog- 
rapher drew and painted, softened and accented, 
darkened and lightened, so as to pull the picture into 
an artistic whole. These artistic photographs are no 
longer merely the mechanical performance of a machine, 
but they have the added work of a human intelligence. 
In fact, the artistic value of a photograph is usually in 
inverse ratio to its mechanical accuracy. 

Artistic photography seems to reach its acme in 
portraiture. Photography is a purely imitative mechani- 
cal art, and as pictorial portraiture is based largely on 
imitation, it is more closely in touch with photography 
than is almost any other phase of art. And the very 
beginnings of photography emphasize this point. For 
as soon as Nic^phore Niepce, at Lux on the river 
Saone in France, succeeded in fixing the photographic 
image on a plate, his commercial partner Daguerre 
utilized it in his daguerrotypes of people. The first 
photographs thus were inartistic portraits; and the 
latest ones are many of them artistic portraits which, if 
lacking much that a good portrait painter obtains, never- 
theless have a great many merits Avhich a poor portrait 
painter is not always able to embody in his work. 

The eye has attracted special notice in various arts. 
The eyeball itself, however, without its nuiscular sur- 


roundings and settings of the lids and eyebrow, has no 
expression of its own, excepting what comes from the 
expansion and contraction of the pupil. 

A big single eye, drawn full face, is occasionally used 
for a decoration, in Australasian art, in North West 
Amerind art, in Central Amerind art, etc. Chilkat 
blankets often show the single eye. The European 
Neolithic supposed divinity sometimes consists of little 
more than two great owl like eyes.* 

The most curious artistic freak connected with the 
eye consists in drawing the eye full face, in a face in 
profil. The Egyptians committed this blunder, and are 
perhaps the only people who did so habitually. It may 
have been due to some religious notion with them, but 
artistically it shows lack of observation. 

In some Assyrian slabs the ej^es usually are three 
quarters in faces in full profil. This would seem due to 
want of observation and poor drawing rather than to 
an attempt to draw them in the strange Egyptian way, 
altho of course the Assyrians may have been influenced 
by this in depicting the eye. 

In some arts, the eyes of the humans are inserted 
in some shining substance or are colored differently from 
the heads. For instance, in Polynesian art in New 
Zealand and Hawaii, some of the eyes are of shell or 
mother of pearl, and in Easter Island some eyes are 
made of a stone resembling obsidian. In Amerind art 
there are some Aztec humans with inset eyes and some 
Peruvian pottery figures with colored eyes. There are 
some cases from Africa also; there are some cases in 
Roman art and perhaps in other arts also; in fact it is a 
rather widespread custom. 

* Fig. 3. 


The ear, in some arts, has the lobe lengthened and 
widened, occasionally several times more than its natural 
size. In Asia this distortion is traceable from Baluch- 
istan to the Malay peninsula and Korea; in Australasia 
it is found in various islands, such as Easter Island, and 
notably in Borneo: in America it is most common in 
Mexico and Central America, and sporadic in the Antilles 
and Peru. In a protrait drawing of an Amerind by 
Saint Menin of about A. D. 1800, now in the American 
Philosophical Society, the ear shows a cut extending across 
the lobe and around the edge of the ear up to its top, 
and this ribbon of flesh has been pulled till it rests on 
the shoulder. This appears to be an extreme case. 

The hps of figures are also occasionally found enlarged 
in art, principally among the West North Amerinds and 
the Negroes.* 

The enlarged ear in art some writers have held to 
be due, I believe, to some such rather fanciful notion as 
that the Buddha had enlarged ears in order the better 
to hear the prayers of poor people. In reality it is almost 
surely due to the habit some Asiatics, Australasians, and 
Amerinds had of extending their ear lobes with rings or 
some other inserted article. The same explanation doubt- 
less holds true of enlarged lips. Both these distortions 
of parts of the human body in sculpture are really merely 
renderings of what the artists observed in nature. 

Small waists, that is waists pinched in or con- 
stricted to below normal size, occur in various arts. 
They are common in female figures, and even a little in 
male figures, in Minoan Crete. They are found in 
Egypt both in some prehistoric statuettes and in some 
later dynastic sculptures. Some early Babylonian terra 

* Fig. 6. 

164 ART AND JifAN. 

cotta female figures have exaggeratedly small waists. 
Certain strange drawings from Australia* show pinched 
in waists. Some Papuan men constrict their waists 
with belts, but I have seen no evidence of this in their 
art. It is hardly necessary to mention how frequently 
small waists appear in cheap European art, in fashion 
plates and Meissen porcelain. Undoubtedly all these 
exaggerations of the human form are based on nature, 
and they go to show how widely prevalent is the custom 
of crushing in the inner man regardless of health and 
pain, for the sake of obtaining a fashionable figure. 

The abdomen is sometimes treated abnormally in 
sculpture. From the Pleistokenesf, the Kongo NegroesJ 
and the Alaska Amerinds § there are statuettes where 
the abdomen protrudes, in some cases almost forming a 
cube. Some of the Alaska Amerind protruding abdo- 
mens have a hole cut in them. This is also the case 
with some of the West African statuettes, but more- 
over these also have a piece of glass inserted. None 
of these figures can be considered handsome, and most 
of them are hideous. |1 

There is no certain cause which can be assigned for 
these sculptural freaks. It has been suggested that 
some of these peoples ate mud or clay in times of 
famine and that their abdomens swelled out of pro- 
portion thereby. It has also been thought that the 
cubical abdomen maj^ represent the lines of the feminine 
figure at certain moments. For the glass windows no 

* N. W. Thomas: Natives of Australia, 1906. 

t Musee de Saint Germain. 

X Amer. M. N. H. 

§ Harvard Univ. P. M. 

li Fig. 8. 




explanation, I believe, has yet been offered. Whatever 
the cause of this queer distortion of the figure, however, 
it seems strange that it should appear sporadically in three 
places and races, quite unconnected with one another. 

There is one curious probably unique instance, in 
White Race art, of using the abdomen of a statue for 
utiUtarian purposes. Some crank took a small copy of 
the Venus of Milo and inserted a large watch in the 
center of the abdomen, resulting in an as insane looking 
artistic freak as ever was perpetrated. 

The abdomen also is treated sometimes in another 
abnormal manner. This is where it caves in below 
the breastbone, in some cases hollowing back almost 
to the spine. Such fallen in abdomens are found only, 
I believe, on certain lean and gaunt wooden figures 
from Easter Island.* There seems no reason to doubt 
that they are characteristic of humans in the last 
pangs of starvation, and it requires no stretch of the 
imagination to associate these starvation abdomens with 

The hand is, of course, found in all arts. In 
general it is better in sculpture than in painting. In 
painting it is only the best Europeans and a few East 
Asiatics who have conquered the hand. There is, as a 
rule, little character in Chinese and Japanese painted 
hands: they are much alike and are often dispro- 
portionately small. They are rather a type form, than 
individual hands. Among the East Asiatics the long 
finger nails which a few higher personages indulge in 
are sometimes represented in art. Sculpted hands 
are more frequently rendered successfully than are 

* British Mus. Harvard Univ. P. M. Salem P. M. Univ. Penn. 
M. A. 


painted hands and they are found not only in 
Europe and Eastern Asia, but sporadically in other 
places. For instance, some African Negro wooden 
statuettes' hands are fair and betray observation. 

But there is one pictorial rendition of the hand, 
found among certain races, which is rather strange. 
This is where a single hand is painted or drawn on 
rocks or sculpted by itself. The single hand is found 
in Pleistokene, Australasian, Amerind and Arab, and 
perhaps in other arts. 

Some hands of this type have been observed on 
rocks in Australia, and they are quite numerous in 
Southern California. From Alabama, there is a stone 
known as the "Rattlesnake Disc"* on which is carved 
a single hand. 

Single hands are painted or perhaps rather printed 
on the rock walls of some of the French and Spanish 
caves. Usually they are reddish in color, as a rule 
they point upwards, and they are almost always left 
hands. The inference is that the painter traced his 
own hand on the rock and then colored the tracing. 
Some of these hands are now believed to date as far 
back as Aurignacien Pleistokene art. 

In Arab art, a single hand is frequently modelled 
alone, usually in some metal like silver. It is known 
as the hand of Fatma, and is used as a charm. 
Artistically it is the same thing as the Pleistokene or 
Amerind hands painted on rock walls. 

What now do these hands mean, and why are they 
painted or sculpted thus in a few such widely apart 
places? No definite answer as yet can be given to the 

* Smithsonian Inst. 


query. One can only say that something impelled 
their makers to leave a print or tracing of their hands 
on rocks, and that it is one of the earliest and most 
primitive manifestations of the art instinct. 

One must be on one's guard, however. Some years 
ago, on a rock slab in some forest near Towanda, 
Pennsylvania, I found a black painted hand. As many 
Amerinds formerly lived in the vicinity, I tliought for 
a moment I had made a discovery. But the initials, 
G. B., in the same paint, close by, showed that white 
men occasionally indulge in this primitive form of art. 

The foot as a rule is drawn or sculpted normally 
in almost all arts. There are a few exceptions, however. 

Among these are the rare cases from Alaska, from 
AustraUa and from Egypt, where the legs, instead of 
terminating in feet, finish in sharp points.* 

In some Assyrian and some Egyptian has reliefs, where 
the figures are modelled facing the spectator, the feet are 
modelled in profil. This may be due to the great diffi- 
culty of suggesting a foreshortened foot in a relief, t 

Distorted feet are found in European art and in 
East Asiatic art. From Caen, for instance, comes a 
stone statue of a monk of the fifteenth century, 
which has a pointed toe. J Europeans, in fact, have 
distorted their feet for many centuries. In Moscow is 
a pair of emerald green leather boots of one of the 
early Tsars, dating back to perhaps 1500 A. D., which 
end in the sharpest of points in the middle of the 
foot. And much modern European sculpture shows 
more or less distorted feet, proving that many sculptors 
are unaware of what the natural foot looks like. 

* Fig. 21. t Fig. 5. 

X Met. Mus. N. Y. 


There are some few Chinese drawings which show 
the feet of high class women turned inwards and 
crushed into a stump. As far as I know, these are 
the only representations of distorted feet in Asiatic art. 

Among all primitive peoples, on the contrarj^, the 
feet, when drawn or sculpted, usually are done so nor- 
mally. Primitive peoples may distort their heads or their 
ears, or some other parts of the body. But they never 
distort their feet, probably because under primitive 
conditions of Hfe, a person with damaged feet would 
have but a poor chance in the struggle for existence. 
The Japanese also never show distorted feet in their art. 
On the contrary, in some of the prints of Hokusai, the 
bare foot in action is often to the fore. This is simply a 
record of what Hokusai must frequently have seen. For 
with the Japanese, the toes, untrammelled and undamaged 
by leather shoes, have almost the prehensile qualities of 
fingers and are used by mechanics almost as if they were 
a second set of hands. I have never noticed the foot in 
action in Chinese art, and maybe it is found only in 
Japanese art. 




Hunting disguises have been used from time 
immemorial among many races. A hunter would put 
on the skinned head and sometimes the whole skin 
of some animal or bird in order to stalk his game more 
easily. The idea of such disguises evidently originated 
in many places. The Pleistokenes and the Bushmen 
used them, the Eskimo still use them, they have been 
reported as worn in East Africa, and doubtless in 
other parts of the world liunting tribes have benefited 
by them. Even in Europe of late years, hunting 
disguises have been utilized, as for instance by the 
guide Laurent Lanier of Courmayeur* who, when after 
chamois, donned a cap made of a chamois head with 
horns affixed and on one occasion was nearly shot in 

In certain arts there are representations of men 
wearing the heads and sometimes the skins of animals 
or birds. In most, perhaps in all cases these drawings 
are taken from hunting disguises. 

There are several such drawings from the Pleis- 
tokene Magdaleneen, of hunters wearing chamois skins 
and heads. There are a number of Bushman pictures 
which show hunters dressed up with the skins and horns 
of animals such as antelopes, or the heads and feathers of 
birds such as ostriches. In both these arts, these draw- 
ings are evidently representations of hunting disguises. 

* Alpine Journal, 1911, Vol. XXV., page 676. 


In various arts, monsters or fabulous animals, 
in the form of human headed animals, or animal 
headed humans, are found. There are many such 
monsters, of which the Sphinx is the most noteworthy 
example, in Egyptian art. From Nuffer, Babylonia, 
there are some badly done small sculptures of bulls 
with human heads dating from perhaps 2500 B. C. 
A sort of sphinx is found in Hatti art. From 
Khorsabad, Assyria, come many monsters, among which 
are human headed winged Hons and eagle headed 
humans. From Hindustan, there are some animal 
headed humans, known as Vishnu, Ganesh, etc., whose 
technic, however, is quite different from that of 
Egyptian or West Asiatic monsters. 

These various monsters are usually looked on as 
representations of deities, or as symbolic or allegorical 
figures. Possibly they may be, but their artistic origin, 
it seems to me, must be sought for in something 
actually seen, and the only thing which can be sug- 
gested is the hunting disguise. It is true that in 
Egypt, in Western Asia, and in Southern Asia, statues 
of monsters have got away entirely from hunting dis- 
guises. But altho the original idea was obUterated, 
it seems much more probable that these monsters are 
reminiscent of an early hunting stage, than that they 
were inventions springing out of some religious or 
mystical conceptions. 

Certain other fabulous animals, however, such as 
dragons and griffins, probably are conventionahzed 
memories of wild animals and do not spring from hunt- 
ing disguises. The Chinese dragon, for instance, may 
easily be a degenerate crocodile. 

There are some other statues, such as the Brahm- 


anistic Hindu figures with sometimes as many as forty- 
two arms, which may also be called monsters. But 
they have nothing to do with hunting disguises or 
animals, for they are wholly human. Possibly they 
are intended to symbolize by repetition some special 
attribute of some deity. This would seem the most 
available explanation for these freaks, which certainly 
lack any genuine imaginative invention and artistically 
are hopeless. 

Masks for the face are another widely distributed 
art form which bears relationship to hunting disguises. 
They are found numerously among the Greeks, Romans, 
Europeans, South Asiatics, Chinese, Japanese, Malays, 
Australasians, West North Amerinds, East North 
Amerinds, and Mexicans. Thej' are less numerous 
among the African Negroes. They are still rarer 
among the Egyptians, the West Asiatics and the 
Arctics. Among the latter masks were perhaps im- 
portations: the few among the Alaska Eskimo, for 
instance, being very Ukely imitated from those of the 
West North Amerinds. Among the Pleistokenes and 
the Bushmen, masks proper seem to have been entirely 

Masks, as a rule, appear to be connected with 
religious or dancing ceremonies. Among the Greeks 
and Romans, and the Chinese and Japanese, they were 
largely used for theatrical purposes. It may be that 
masks started in hunting disguises, indeed it seems most 
probable that they did: that originally they sprang up 
because they were useful adjuncts in obtaining food. 
Later they may have drifted away naturally from their 
primal purpose, and have sundved, because thej' were 
utilized foi' something else. But it would seem reason- 


able to think that the makers of dancing or reUgious 
masks got their first idea from seeing hunters equipped 
for the chase. 

Monohths of stone, and carved poles of wood, are 
found scattered over most of the globe. Of the stone 
monoliths or megaliths, some are plain, some are 
carved and decorated. The wooden poles are all more 
or less carved and decorated. Altho the materials out 
of which stone monoliths and wood poles are formed 
are different, the underlying thought is the same, to 
erect an upright monument in one piece. 

Undecorated stone monoliths, usually called megaliths, 
were set up already in early times. In western Europe, 
they are common. Brittany is perhaps the locality 
most famous for them, and Stonehenge and Carnac are 
perhaps the best known places where there are numbers 
of megaliths close together. West European megaliths 
belong to Neolithic times, when art was almost lacking, 
and for that reason perhaps, are not carved in any 

Undecorated megaliths are found in other parts of 
the world. Some are reported from Abyssinia; there 
seem to be some at Zimbabwe; in Hindustan they are 
common; and they occur in still other places. Whether 
these megaliths are all Neolithic is perhaps uncertain, 
but it seems as if they might be. 

Decorated stone monoliths are especially common 
in two localities, Egypt and Central America. The 
Egyptian obelisks are nothing but megaliths decorated 
with hieroglyphs, and the Mayan monoliths are some- 
what of the same nature, except that besides bearing 
hieroglyphs, they are also sculpted occasionally with 
heads or figures. 


There are some Hindu monuments, which are a 
sort of decorated monoUth. There is such a piece, 
called a "Burso," in the Salem Museum, with figures, 
animals, shrines, etc., carved one above the other. 

The art form of wooden posts or poles with sculp- 
tures one over the other, is found in western North 
America, in Korea, in Australasia, in western Central 

The carved wooden pole reaches its acme in Alaska, 
whose totem poles are the best known instances of 
carved wooden post art. They are genuine family 
trees, for the totems carved on them show the descent 
of the owner. These totems represent various animals 
and birds, bear, beaver, seal, eagle, etc., and the 
impelling force to make totems is probably akin to the 
one prompting us to found genealogical societies and 
the Chinese to ancestor worship. The Australian 
Churinga marks are practically totems. The Scotch 
plaid designs are really the surviving totems of the 
clans. All heraldry is totemistic; it is a descent from 
totems; in fact coats of arms are nothing but totems. 

There are some guide posts from Korea, which are 
wooden poles carved at the top into one big head: 
their technic is closely related to Australasian art, and 
they are doubtless a survival of Early Asiatic art. 

From various parts of Australasia, there come carved 
wooden posts. In Borneo, wooden poles with superposed 
decorations are sometimes placed by the Kayans in front of 
their houses. From the Hervey Islands, Polynesia, 
there comes a pole with one big head and two smaller 
heads under it. From New Guinea, Melanesia, there 
are some poles which have as many as three heads and 
three patches of decorative work sculpted one over the 


other: the technic is Melanesian and quite unHke West 
North Amerind work. 

There are a few carved wooden poles from Africa. 
From Nigeria for instance, there come wooden posts 
with several figures carved one above the other.* The 
technic is purely Negro, not in the least Amerind nor 
Australasian. But the idea of several sculptures one 
over the other is the same in Alaska, Australasia, and 

That all the makers of megahths or of carved 
wooden posts are related by blood, is of course impos- 
sible. Unless there is similarity in the artistic manner 
of work, therefore, it is safe to assume a certain 
amount of independent development for megaliths and 
carved poles. 

The makers of plain megaUths appear to be mainly 
European or Asiatic: of decorated megaliths Egyptian 
and Mexican: of carved wooden posts Amerind, Aus- 
tralasian and Negro. In Pleistokene, Bushman, and 
Arctic art there is nothing of the kind. It is a some- 
what curious phase of art, for whose widespread distri- 
bution it is difficult to account, except that big stones 
and tree trunks gave an opportunity for a sculptor to 
display his ingenuity. 

* British Mus. 




Pottery apparently was invented only long after 
the fine arts. For Pleistokene deposits in almost all 
cases have not jdelded any specimens of pottery. It 
has been claimed, however, that Dr. Oscar Fraas, at 
Hohlefels in Wurtemburg, found a few potsherds in a 
Paleolithic horizon.* It is possible, therefore, that some 
of the later European Pleistokenes did have rough pot- 
tery. In Neohthic times, on the contrary, pottery 
was common, and some of it was decorated. 

Not only is it not known when pottery was invented, 
but it is not known where pottery was invented. While 
it may have spread from one center, it seems rather as 
if it grew up in a number of places. Porcelain, which 
may perhaps be looked on as fine pottery, developed 
first in China. 

Pottery is almost, but apparently not quite, universal. 
It is found among the Europeans, Asiatics, Africans, Aus- 
tralasians and Amerinds, with two possible exceptions. 
These are the Pleistokenes and Bushmen. It may be 
that there was some pottery among these races, but 
if so, museums are singularly deficient in specimens. 
The claims mentioned above that potsherds have been 
found in Pleistokene deposits, are rather a surmise than 
a certainty, for the Hohlefels potsherds may be Neohthic. 
And if it is true, and if seems as if it were, that these 
two races, with arts so similar, are lacking in one of the 

* Charles Rau : The Stone Age in Europe: " Harper's New Monthly 
Magazine," Vol. LI, ISTf), page 243. 


most imperative necessities of life, we have a coincidence 
at least of extreme interest. 

Usefulness is the primary quality of all pottery or 
porcelain. Is it useful? might be considered the first 
test in judging any piece of pottery. A practical 
shape, with a sufficiently wide base to prevent over- 
turning easily, seems to be the elementary desideratum. 
Beauty of form and beauty of decoration, in potteries 
as well as in architecture, should be subservient to 
usefulness. If potteries and buildings are not practical, 
do not fulfill their purpose, they are inferior. Useful- 
ness in some branches of art apparently has been con- 
fused by certain writers with truth and has led to 
some erroneous assertions and theories. 

The potteries of primitive peoples thruout the world 
come up well to the level of the test of usefulness. 
Neolithic, Australasian, Amerind and African potteries 
one might say are made invariably for some definite 
purpose and in them beauty of form is not sought for 
to the detriment of the function of the pottery. The 
same apparently is true of Egyptian and West Asiatic 
pottery. It is true also as a rule in the large majority 
of cases of South Asiatic and East Asiatic earthen- 
wares: altho occasionally in both these arts there are 
some potteries which, while pretty, would be of no 
practical benefit to anyone. 

It is in Europe especially, beginning with the Greeks 
and continuing anew among modern Europeans, that we 
find an abandonment of useful for purely ornamental 
shapes in potteries. Many of the Greek potteries and 
of the Meissen, Sevres and English porcelains have such 
small bases that they only barely overcome the attrac- 
tion of gravitation; their delicate handles and necks are 


SO frail that the veriest zephyr would disintegrate them; 
the spouts of jugs and pots for liquids are so contrived 
as to empty the^ contents on the floor or the table 
instead of in the cup: and the shape is planned so 
that the inside cannot well be cleaned. This art, where 
the appearance is placed ahead of the intrinsic purpose, 
is bad. The primitive and the Asiatic races are really 
ahead of the Europeans in this line. 

When we turn to the decoration of pottery, we find 
it as universal as pottery itself. Wherever pottery is, 
there also is pottery decoration. And the essence of 
pottery decoration is that it should be decorative and 
not pictorial. For while a plaque or a tile may be 
used as a surface on which to paint a picture, the 
curves of useful potteries, vases, cups, etc., prevent, by 
distortion, any successful painting of pictures. Such 
attributes of pictorial art as perspective and values are 
not suitable for pottery decorations. 

Among the primitive races who had pottery, the 
Africans, Australasians and Amerinds, and also among 
the more advanced Egyptians and West Asiatics, pottery 
decoration is almost wholly decorative. This comes 
probably from the fact that these races never really 
reached the pictorial art stage. In one or two sporadic 
instances, as among the Zunis, an attempt appears to 
have been made to give a naturalistic rendering of the 
animals they drew as decorations. But the drawings 
are not sufficiently good to be pictures, altho some- 
times they make admirable decorations. Indeed the 
decorative qualities of the drawings of primitive peoples, 
obeying their art instincts and unhampered by too 
much learning, often result in most pleasing and appro- 
priate specimens of decorative pottery art. 


Naturalistic pictures, altho they do not seem to be 
in perfect accord with the spirit of pottery decoration, 
are painted, to some extent in eastern Asia and to a 
much greater extent in Europe, on vases, jars, etc. In 
the best examples, they are done on the flatter surfaces 
of these vases, that is on the central parts or bodies. 
The necks and feet of such vases, being more curved, 
are often handled with purely ornamental designs, or 
with circular bands of various kinds, corresponding to 
collars and belts on humans. This method is found 
commonly in Greek and modern European potteries; 
less frequently in East Asiatic; and exceedingly seldom, 
if indeed ever, among primitive races. It almost seems 
as if the strong pictorial sense of the Europeans entailed 
to some extent a weaker decorative sense. 

While, as already said, it is not known when or 
where pottery was invented but that it may well have 
been in a certain number of places, it may be noticed 
that there are two especially important centers of 
dispersal, western Asia and China. Old Persian pot- 
tery, whose possible birthplace is the Euphrates valley, 
affected Arab glazed pottery, which affected in turn 
Spanish pottery. These are all rather similar in their 
make and also in their decorations, tho, of course, 
there are local variations, such for instance as the 
beautiful golden brown Valencia pottery of about A. D. 
1500. Persian- Arab pottery certainly traveled into 
India, and West Asiatic pottery may have had an 
effect on early Chinese pottery, altho this might be 
difficult to prove. 

It was in China that pottery evolved to its highest 
technical stage, that of true porcelain. We recognize 
this in calling porcelain "china." The material technic 


of porcelain does not seem to have spread to the west- 
ward of China— since Persian, Arab and Spanish pieces 
are glazed pottery rather than porcelain — until it came 
to modern Europe across the seas. The improvement of 
Chinese pottery into porcelain helped largely — just as 
proper tools and materials bring about changes in other 
branches of art — to bring about changes in decorations. A 
comparison of Chinese porcelains and Greek potteries will 
make this clear. When some hall in a museum is filled 
with Chinese potteries and porcelains, there is an efifect 
of briUiant multi-colored variety. When a similar hall 
is filled with Greek potteries, a reddish-black semi- 
monochromatic somewhat monotonous efi'ect is produced. 
As a mass, therefore, Greek pottery must probably be 
ranked below Chinese porcelain, a leading cause perhaps 
being that the Greek artists were fighting with one arm 
tied behind their backs, since they did not have at 
their disposal the tools and substances the Chinese 
artists played with. 

The decoration of pottery in Europe is apparently 
mainly a native growth. In NeoUthic times it may 
have been partly an exotic, to the extent at least that 
it is very similar to the decoration of the Neolithic 
pottery of western Asia. Later also Arab decoration 
and still later East Asiatic decoration had some influence 
on European pottery decoration. But Cretan-Minoan 
pottery decoration was an independent White race art. 
It had a rebirth in Greek pottery and was continued 
in Roman times. Then it revived again with Italian 
faience, which had but httle aflftliation to Persian-Arabic 
pottery, to which it is inferior, whilst it is strongly 
reminiscent of old Cretan-Minoan pottery. The Italian 
potters did not turn to decorative patterns however, 




but attempted rough pictures, and their method and 
manner of decorating evolved or perhaps degenerated 
into Meissen and Sevres porcelains, where the picture is 
painted on an already glazed surface. 

Frames are an invention of man which profoundly 
affect art. Pictorial effects in nature are not framed 
either with rectangles or with circles. Frames are an 
art convention and one of those which most differ- 
entiate art from nature. The Europeans, the Asiatics, 
and perhaps the Egyptians, thought out a surrounding 
border for their pictures. Possibly the earliest idea of 
a frame dates from Minoan-Crete. The Pleistokenes, 
Bushmen, and Arctics; the Africans, Australasians and 
Amerinds, never thought out anything Uke a frame. 
The pictures by the latter races, therefore, all lack a 
certain conventional finish; and may be spoken of as 
drawings, or paintings, or studies, of one or more objects, 
rather than as finished pictures. It seems as if peoples 
who lived out of doors with few clothes did not evolve 
frames, which go together with indoor house trappings. 
Nevertheless, some of the unframed paintings of primi- 
tive peoples are more effective and suggestive than 
some of the framed pictures of more advanced races. 

The technical make up of frames, a difficult prob- 
lem, has perhaps been best solved by the East Asiatics. 
They surround their water colors with a colored silk or 
brocade border, and fasten them to a round stick, on 
which they can be rolled up. From the utiHtarian 
point of view the result is admirable. For the pictures 
can be rolled up and stored away in safety or unrolled 
and hung up in a moment. From the esthetic side, 
the result is equally satisfactory. For the deUcate water 
colors not only look well in their beautiful silk borders, 


but they can be hung up and looked at for only a 
brief spell of artistic enjoyment, instead of hanging on 
the wall until the owner becomes unconscious of their 
presence. They are in marked contrast to the heavy, 
costly and fragile European frames, whose only redeem- 
ing qualit}^ is the gold. 




Evolution in art be held to include the birth, 
life and death of everything connected with art. It 
should take into account the rise and development of 
the faculties of the artists themselves, of how they felt 
and saw, of what caused them to sculpt and paint, of 
their appreciation of form, of their sense of color, etc. 
This phase of art evolution, however, is omitted here, 
as it is sufficiently touched on in other parts of this 
book. Evolution must cover all the beginnings, advances, 
retrogressions and endings of technical processes, how 
sculpture was invented, when drawing appeared, why 
color was employed, how materials were utilized and so 
forth. It must deal with subjects and motives, with 
animals, humans, and landscapes in the various sculpt- 
ural and pictorial arts; and it must include all decora- 
tive art, its starts, its growths and expansions, and its 
innumerable patterns. 

Evolution in art as a whole progresses in certain 
respects as a continuous movement, but in certain other 
respects it progresses rather in a series of steps or 
jumps which might be described as a succession of 
births and deaths. It does not seem as if art having 
begun, as far as we know, among the Pleistokenes, went 
from them by direct descent to the Cretans, the Egyp- 
tians, the Chinese, the Eskimo, and so forth. It seems 
as if it had evolved and disappeared, and re-evolved 


and re-disappeared, in place after place, rather than as 
if it had swept on in one unbroken stream flowing peace- 
fully and uninterruptedly from its source. 

In a majority at least of and probably in all the vari- 
ous arts, the earlier forms of any art were the simplest, 
and in time by self development, and a process of give 
and take, they were followed by more complex forms. 
That is to say the art of each race has, like everything 
else, obeyed the law of evolution. 

The evolution of art technic is one of the most 
comprehensive fields in the domain of comparative art. 
Art technic begins far back in the history of man. It 
is found, of course, in the earliest art works of the 
earliest artists of European Pleistokene times, but in 
fact, art technic antedates the earliest fine arts and 
coincides with the first conscious efforts of the mechan- 
ical arts. Art technic really first appears in stone imple- 
ments. Man was forced, thru his necessities, to evolve 
the mechanical art of chipping or splitting stones into 
implements, and in so doing he unconsciously evolved 
the method of how to chip or engrave stones and bones 
into sculptures or bas reliefs. Stone implements are 
really the first gropings for form and the technical start 
of sculpture, drawing and engraving. And because 
stone implements show the first development of the 
sense of form in man, because the technic of the earliest 
art undoubtedly springs from them, and because they 
must be looked on as the beginnings of the fine arts, a 
brief study of stone implements is imperative. 

Stone implements and a few fossil human remains 
offer the earliest clues of man's presence on the earth. 
Stone implements have been found in Europe, Africa, 
Asia, Australasia, and Anioiica, and altho there are 


some localities where they have not been traced as yet, 
still it may safely be said that they are universal. All 
the evidence afforded by stone implements, however, 
leaves us wholly in doubt as to man's origin. Never- 
theless it goes a good way towards showing that 
there was no hiatus or break in the history of early It also hints that he developed on a large part 
of the earth rather than that he settled the earth by 
migrating and wandering from one spot. Man undoubt- 
edly moved to and fro on the earth to a certain extent 
and did not always remain in just the same places, it 
is true, but, at any rate, at the beginning of the Pleis- 
tokene he was scattered over the whole of Europe. 

Like everything else, stone implements obeyed the 
law of evolution and their evolution must have taken 
place as follows. The earliest man simply picked up 
any convenient stone and used it to hammer nuts or 
to throw at an enemy. Then when he began to exert 
his intelligence, he proceeded to fracture stones to get 
cutting edges and points: that is he invented imple- 
ments, altho at first he gave them no special form. 
In due time he fractured stones into distinct forms 
because he found those shapes convenient, and this was 
really the first application of the sense of form by 
man. Finally he polished his stone implements smooth, 
keeping nevertheless pretty much the same forms he 
had evolved in chipped stones. Later when he had dis- 
covered metals, he began to substitute copper and 
bronze for stone. In accordance with their character- 
istics therefore, stone implements may be divided into 
four classes. First, ordinary stones or pebbles. Second, 
stones chipped or fractured to obtain a cutting edge or 
point, but not fashioned into any special forms. Third, 


stones chipped into definite forms. Fourth, stones 
chipped into definite forms and then poUshed. 

That prehistoric man once had depended on stone 
implements to obtain food and shelter and to struggle 
against wild beasts, had drifted entirely out of the ken 
of present day man. Stone implements had to be 
rediscovered by modern archaeologists and their dis- 
covery was made backwards in the order of their 
evolution. Polished stone implements were the first 
accepted as genuine artifacts by scientists. Then 
formed chipped stones were recognized. And only within 
the last two decades have formless chipped stones been 
accepted also as genuine artifacts by some, not by all, 

The names which are now generally applied to the 
three classes of stones fashioned by man are eolith, 
paleolith, and neolith. EoUth refers to the stones 
without special form, but which may have been chipped 
by man, and the name comes from the Greek 'rjws 
meaning the dawn. Paleolith is used for formed 
chipped or spUt stones and means "ancient stone." 
Neolith is applied to pohshed stone implements and 
means "new stone." It is most convenient to use this 
nomenclature, but the French terms, pierre eclatee, that 
is chipped stone or split stone; and pierre polie, that is 
poHshed stone or smooth stone, are more accurate and 
descriptive. The weak point of the accepted termin- 
ology, however, is that it is associated with time, and 
not with shape or make. Dawn stones, ancient stones, 
new stones, are certainly not descriptive terms like 
formless chipped stones, formed chipped stones, and 
polished stones. Moreover they are inaccurate, for if 
we talk of paleohthic implements, the mind instinc- 


lively assumes that they mean implements dating back 
to Pleistokene times. Now the fact is that all the 
forms of stone implements are in use even in our own 
day. They have survived in Australasia, in Brazil, in 
Central and South Africa, and perhaps in other places. 
We ourselves sometimes act in a pre-implement stage. 
When, for instance, boys shy stones, or a coachman 
picks up a pebble and dislodges with it another pebble 
in a horse's hoof, it is simply a return to the condi- 
tions of life of our earliest forefathers and, therefore, 
when unformed or formed chipped stones or polished 
stone implements are found anywhere, one must be 
very sure before asserting that the implements date 
back so and so niany thousand years to the Pleis- 
tokene or the Pleiocene. 

Stone implements apparently took several hundred 
thousand years for their evolution. The oldest are very 
rough and their advance to polished forms is most gradual. 
In Europe it has been possible, following geologic pre- 
cedents, to classify a number of strata or horizons by the 
stone implements found in them. The lowest strata 
hold only the roughest kinds of stone implements, while 
the horizons above these progressively in regular order 
hold more and more perfect stone implements. But 
while the rougher forms sometimes linger over into later 
horizons, the developed forms are never found below 
certain horizons. They therefore mark certain periods 
of archseologic times in Europe and have thereby an 
important bearing on Pleistokene times and Pleistokene 
art. To how far back the earliest stone implements may 
be assigned is still a moot question. Some ethnologists 
claim that none of the finds antedate the Quaternary; 
others, of whom I am one, think that some of the finds 


show that Tertiary man hved certainly in Europe, and 
possibly in other places, among which may be mentioned 
India and South Africa. Many of the older implements 
found in northern France and in Great Britain are 
marked with glacial striae, an absolute proof that they 
were manufactured before at least the last great ice, and 
possibly much earlier. 

Formed chipped stones or paleoliths make their 
appearance in western Europe towards the beginnings 
of the Pleistokene epoch. The big almond shaped 
chipped stones, known as coups de poing or axes, which 
were among the first to be accepted as genuine artifacts, 
are found in Europe in the so called Chell^en horizon. 
Similar axes have been found in many parts of the 
world, as in Somali Land by Mr. H. W. Seton-Karr, 
and recently in Kansas by Mr. Brower, as proved by 
Dr. Winchell. But tho the European Chell^en, the 
Somali Land, and the Kansas axes coincide as to form, 
there is nothing to show that they coincide as to time. 
They may date from tens of thousands of years apart, 
tho again they may not. It would seem as hkely, 
however, that they were independent discoveries by 
different races at different times, as that they were 
forms transmitted by early travel and commerce. 

As Pleistokene times progress in Europe, the forms 
of chipped stone implements evolve. Scientists at first 
assumed that all chipped stones were weapons, spear 
heads, arrow heads, etc. This was gradually discovered 
to be an error, and it was recognized that many stone 
implements were not weapons, but tools such as 
choppers, flayers, grinders, pestles, etc. Many of 
them are broken away in such a manner as to form 
a handle at one end. Others are so fashioned as to 


suggest that they were imitations of bones, such as the 
scapula, which themselves were probably used as 
implements. The New Zealand patu-patu probably 
evolved from some such bone. Many of the forms of 
these chipped stone implements are continued in 
polished stone implements, that is the form of the 
implement was found long ago and the polishing was 
an afterthought. 

In America likewise, the forms and technic of stone 
implements are an evolution. My friend. Dr. Charles 
Conrad Abbott, discovered this fact before 1870 and 
from his observations he reasoned out that the early 
Amerind must have been a Paleolithic man, a con- 
clusion he published in 1872.* Many further observa- 
tions by Abbott showed that in the Delaware Valley 
there are three horizons of culture, the earHest of 
which is Pleistokene, facts which he pubUshed in 1881. t 
Since then he has been entirely corroborated by the 
patient researches, extending over many years, of Mr. 
Ernest Volk.J The evidence so far goes to show 
that early American man was the ancestor of the 
historic "Indian;" that he was here before at least the 
last glacial period; and that tho he is not nearly as 
old as early European man, yet that he was here in 
later Pleistokene times. § If 500,000 years is con- 
ceded to European man, 50,000 years might readily be 
conceded to American man. 

* The Stone Age in New Jersey: "American Naturalist," 1872, 
Vol. 6, page 146. 

t Primitive Industry, 1881. 

X The Archeology of the Delaware Valley: "Papers of the Peabody 
Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 

§ Edwin Swift Balch: Early Man in America: "Proceedings 
American Philosophical Society," Vol. LVI, 1917, pages 473-483. 




The earliest formed chipped stone implements are 
most interesting in their relation to art, because they 
are the first sign that man puts forth of a budding 
sense of definite form and symmetry. Of course, these 
roughly shaped stones are only specimens of mechanical 
or industrial art, nevertheless with them man first 
shows a recognition of form per se. We can feel 
certain that at about that vague period of time, the 
beginning of the Quaternary, man had evolved to a 
point when he had already a sense of symmetry and 
a recognition of form. He was therefore already 
absolutely distinct from all other animals. Whether he 
had any idea of color at that time, is at present 
uncertain. As far however as actual specimens show, 
form was the first art attribute which man developed. 

As man kept improving the forms of chipped stone 
implements thm the Pleistokene period, he also kept 
improving his technic in chipping or splitting them. 
That is to say he sculpted his stone implements better 
and better. It is perhaps not surprising therefore that 
towards the middle of the Pleistokene epoch, in the 
Acheuleen, man already began to shape stones roughly, 
very roughly, into a semblance of animals. And at the 
beginning of the later Pleistokene, \nth the appear- 
ance of the Aurignacien, we find man already really 
sculpting, engraving and drawing animals and human 
figures. SpUtting or chipping stone implements simply, 
gradually, and naturally evolved into sculpture; that is 
chipped stone implements are the technical beginning 
of sculpture and engraving, or to put it even more 
comprehensively, chipped stone implements are the 
technical starting point of art. 

The knowledge acquired by Pleistokene man of how 


to chip stones into formed implements was certainly the 
starting point of art technic in central Europe. When he 
began to observe animals and men and tried to imitate 
them, by sculpting or engraving them, in wood and 
stone and ivory and bone, he found his tools and mater- 
ials all ready at hand, as also the knowledge of how to 
fashion his materials with his tools. These are now 
lost technical arts. For any sculptor or engraver of 
today who should be presented with some stones and a 
couple of animal skeletons and requested to make his 
tools, sculpt some figures, and carve some bas reliefs 
out of them, would be somewhat embarrassed, and 
doubtless dechne the order. 

That the technic of chipping stones into implements 
was the start of art technic in central Europe implies of 
course that it was the start of any art technic. For 
European Pleistokene art is, as far as we know at 
present, so much older than any other art that any 
quality or attribute connected with it takes precedence 
historically. But the question now arises, did other 
primitive races start their art technic independently in 
the same manner thru their knowing how to chip stones: 
did Pleistokene art technic filter to the early Asiatics 
and to the Australasians, to the Africans and the Amer- 
inds, to the Bushmen and the Eskimo: or did art technic 
among all or some of these primitive races start in some 
different way? It is impossible to answer these ques- 
tions in our present state of knowledge, but if they ever 
are solved, they will go a long way towards proving 
either that art is one, or that art is several. My own 
opinion is that art technic was invented independently 
in a certain number of places, and that its original base 
in each case is possibly the technic of chipping stones. 



The accompanying geological, ethnological, archaeolog- 
ical and artistic classification maj^ help to make the rela- 
tions of early art to stone implements in Europe a little 
clearer. The later horizons come at the top and the 
earlier ones at the bottom of the columns, and our 
knowledge of them becomes progressively more uncertain 
the further down we get. 

Geological Period. 





14 Bronze 




13 Neolithic 
12 AziUen 
11 MagdaUnten 
10 Solutrden 


NeoUthic Art 


Modern Mun 

9 Aurignacien 


Pleiatokene Art. 



8 Mousterien 
7 Acheulecn 

Figure stones. 


Modern Man 

6 Chcll^en 
5 Stripyen 



4 Mesviuien 


Formed Chipped Stones. 



3 Mafflien 
2 ReuteUen 



1 Kentien 


Whether sculpture precedes drawing is uncertain. It 
seems to do so in Pleistokene art, since there are figure 
stones but no drawings from the Acheuleen horizon. 
But the latest finds in French caverns would seem to 
indicate that the earliest Aurignacien drawings are 
cotemporaneous with the earUest Aurignacien sculptures. 
In many cases, for instance among the Amerind or the 
Arctic races, it would be hard to tell whether sculpture 
preceded drawing or whether they were simultaneous in 
their birth, for there are really no assured data to go by. 
On the other hand, some races, like the Negroes, evince 
a greater aptitude for sculpture than for drawing, and in 


fact hardly evolved drawing; while some races, like the 
Bushmen, evince a greater aptitude for drawing and 
painting than for sculpture, so much so that it is con- 
ceivable that they evolved drawing first. But it is also 
a fact, that sculpture in stone or bone has a better chance 
than paintings in black or color of resisting the hostile 
forces of time, and in some cases sculptures may have sur- 
vived when cotemporaneous painting may have perished. 
Whether the sense of color developed as early as the 
sense of form is impossible to ascertain positively. 
Both these artistic attributes are universal and are 
found in all arts, among all races. It is certain, how- 
ever, that there are specimens extant of works in the 
mechanical arts showing the presence of the sense of 
form which long antedate any specimens revealing the 
sense of color. It seems possible that painting origin- 
ated as a useful art, and started from such an inar- 
tistic cause as daubing the body with greasy ochres as 
a protection against cold and insect bites. Color was 
probably first used in daubs and spaces on the person 
as a sort of underclothing, and this may be as old as 
any form of the mechanical arts. Color spots and 
patches doubtless appealed to the artistic eye because 
some of them were brilliant, and the untaught mind 
was attracted to color as a moth is to light. Then 
some persons began to put patches of color on their 
utensils as well as on their persons for decoration, 
because they thought color-patches pretty. This was 
evidently one of the starting points of decorative art, 
as well as the origin of tattooing. Artistic painting 
also almost surely evolved from this elementary color 
daubing, but only after outline drawing had begun to 
give shape to the human and animal forms. 


Still there are some evidences which tend to show 
that art progresses first as sculpture in the round, then 
as drawing, engraving and bas relief, and lastly as 
painting. For instance, modern European art was born 
or rather reborn in Italy in the thirteenth centurj^ 
when Avith Niccolo Pisano, 1206-1278?, and his son 
Giovanni Pisano, 1250-1328?, it reached a maturity in 
realistic sculpture which left such brilliant examples as 
the pulpit in the Cathedral of Siena and the pulpit in 
the Baptistery of Pisa. Painting lagged behind. Neither 
Cimabue, 1240-1302?, nor Giotto, 1267-1336?, attained 
in painting anything like the technical perfection the 
Pisanos did in sculpture. Nevertheless they stand in 
the front rank of painters, because they were leading 
innovators. Painters then did not know as much of 
the principles of imitative picture making, of color, of 
light and shade, of perspective, as sculptors did of pure 
form. Cimabue and Giotto began to solve problems 
which the sculj^tural art did not need to solve, and 
until these problems were solved and were common 
property, imitative painting could not reach the perfection 
of sculpture, which did not require this knowledge. 

ART AND jSIAiSr. 197 



The evolution of the subject and motive in art 
is an immense and involved matter. Subject and 
motive have evolved among different races in different 
ways, according to each race's characteristics, mental 
powers, environment, customs, materials, tools and other 
factors. In such a brief exposition of the matter as the 
present one, one can only say that, in general, art 
turns primarily to animals and to humans, and second- 
arily to landscape, for subjects. This points to the 
sense of form as the dominating force in art: the sense 
of color evolving as a more subordinate attribute. 

In regard to the evolution of the subject as affected 
by the sense of form alone, it seems as if animals 
appealed most strongly to certain primitive peoples. 
They certainly do to the Pleistokene, Bushmen and 
Arctic races. Among none of these races do we find, 
except in the rarest instances, humans treated technic- 
ally as perfectly as animals sometimes are. For some 
Pleistokene animals are quite as good, and some few 
Bushmen and Eskimo animals are nearly as good, as 
European and Chinese animals. In these arts the sub- 
jects best treated are certainly the animals. 

That the drawing or sculpting of animals is far 
superior to that of humans among the Pleistokenes, 
Bushmen and Arctics, may possibly be due to the fact 
that they were or are solely hunters, and that their 


observations were centered on their food supply, namely 
the surrounding wild fauna. On the other hand, among 
the Assyrians who did not live by hunting, animals are 
far better than humans. For their lions and wild 
asses and antelopes are often technically excellent, 
while their humans are conventional in the extreme. 

It is rather cui'ious that in several scarcely related 
arts, especially the European, West Asiatic and South 
Asiatic arts, galloping animals are often depicted with 
their legs stretched out like a pair of open scissors. 
It is now known that this is not the actual motion, 
altho most persons who are ignorant of the true 
motions of animals certainly think they see it. Some 
bulls in Cretan art and some lions in Mykenian art 
have this movement, and in Europe, until the advent 
of instantaneous photography, galloping horses were 
usually drawn with their legs extended horizontally 
parallel to the ground. On some Assyrian slabs of 
hunting scenes, from the palace of Assur-bani-pal, the 
horses and some of the wild asses have this motion. 
Some recent Hindu paintings also represent the horses' 
legs spread out scissor-wise. Why this movement is 
frequently represented in these arts, and rarely or not 
at all in other arts, is something of a puzzle! 

The Africans, Australasians and Amerinds turn to 
humans more than to animals for motives, and in 
general do them about equally well. Exceptions are 
the heads on Old Mexican monoliths, and the animals 
in Benin bronzes, both of which are way beyond the 
level of most Amerind or African art. 

Among the Europeans and the Asiatics, humans 
play the central role in art. In Greek art and indeed 
in all succeeding European arts, animals have a most 


secondary position in quantity altho in quality they 
sometimes are excellent. The Chinese and the Japanese 
reach the highest mark both in their humans and their 

It is difficult to assign reasons for the preference 
which some races have for animals and others for 
humans, but the fact remains. And when the human 
figure reaches a fairly high level in any art, it seems to 
imply that the makers of that art have gone beyond 
the more primitive conditions of life into a more 
settled stage. 

Landscape drawing or painting is almost unknown 
among primitive races. Landscape is really found only 
among the Europeans, the South Asiatics and the East 
Asiatics. This offers a curious problem about the 
racial development and environment of an artist. For 
the more primitive hunting peoples were surrounded by 
landscape, yet never noticed it in their art; whilst it 
was town dwelling agriculturahsts who sought to jot 
down the natural forms, the rocks, the trees, and the 
waters, they saw but infrequently. That people Uving 
in cities turned to landscape may be partly due to a 
sort of reminiscent impulse towards primitive sur- 
roundings, just as people Hving in cities turn today 
towards forests and mountains to escape temporarily 
from the highly artificial conditions of modern life. 
Why primitive races paid so httle attention to land- 
scape is a matter worthy of serious psychological study. 
But at least it can be laid down already as an axiom 
that landscape art is a child of advanced social condi- 
tions and that it may be looked on to a certain extent 
as a gauge of the advance of a race towards a station- 
ary condition of life. 


The evolution of subject and pattern in decorative 
art is an intricate problem. Formerly it was believed 
rather generally that primitive men decorated in so 
called geometric patterns which had no relation to 
pictorial art; then the opinion grew that decorative art 
patterns were nothing but degenerate pictorial art. 
Probably there is truth in both views and it seems 
as if there are certainly two fountain heads for decora- 
tive art. And may be tliere is a third, namely acci- 
dental invention. 

One of the .sources of decorative art patterns is 
surely the hues and patterns formed by woven or 
plaited vegetable fibers and grasses in basketry work 
or in garments. A great many of the so called "geo- 
metric patterns" evolved naturally from the imitating 
or copjdng on substances hke clay or stone or wood or 
skin, of various forms of basketry weaving, etc. Prim- 
itive peoples plait or weave all sorts of grasses and 
fibers into utensils and garments. These grasses form 
long lines, or zigzag lines, or squares, or rectangles, or 
lozenges, etc. When primitive races begin to decorate 
potteries or skin garments or teepees or even their own 
persons, apparentlj^ in many cases they do so instinct- 
ively with patterns similar to those the practice of 
weaving their grass or fiber utensils has taught them. 
Grasses and fibers rarely Aveave easily into circles, 
and it may be that this accounts for there being so 
many fewer "geometric" patterns in curved or circular 
lines than in straight or angular lines. Many of the 
decorations on potteries and skin garments, etc., in 
truth, seem to be nothing but a reduplication in 
another material of patterns evolved before in basketry 
work. The blackening of pots by fire might also, 


possibly, give sometimes a suggestion for decorative 

The other great source for decorative art patterns 
is naturalistic subjects. Sometimes decorative art 
is pictorial art used as a decoration, sometimes it is 
degenerate pictorial art. In myriads of objects, pots, 
rugs or what not, humans, animals, fishes, plants, etc., 
are used as subjects for decorations. Sometimes they 
are poor and crude in form and color from the stand- 
point of pictorial art, and yet they make good decora- 
tions. Such is the case, for instance, with much of the 
pottery from the southwestern United States. Nothing 
like what we would consider realistic pictures has been 
found in that locality. How then did and do the 
Pueblo people decorate so well? It seems as if the 
answer were a simple one. The Pueblo people had a 
certain art instinct and a certain sense of observation, 
sufficient to cause them to want to decorate their 
utensils and to induce them to look at natural objects. 
In their decorations, they made the best reaHstic draw- 
ings they knew how. Their decorative drawings are 
really pictorial to them. When decorating they were 
trying to draw the animals and plants as well as they 
could, and tho their results are inferior to Pleistokene, 
Bushmen or Arctic work, yet they are an attempt in 
the same direction. And as they happened also to 
have a strong decorative sense they succeeded in pro- 
ducing sometimes some most artistic and original decor- 
ative pictorial work. 

But, in the majority of cases, the attempt to por- 
tray humans or animals or plants on pots and cloaks 
promptly runs down hill. Facilis descensus Averno. One 
artist draws or paints human.s or animals or flowers as 


well as he can; another artist copies these drawings, 
in doing which he is sure to leave out or alter some 
parts; a third artist does the same with the second set; 
and this process continues until degenerate decorative 
patterns are evolved which become fixed and conven- 
tionaHzed. And so unhke to the object in nature they 
were originally intended to represent do these patterns 
sometimes become, that their origin can be traced only 
by searching backwards most carefully. 

Not infrequently it is difficult to tell whether con- 
ventional decorative patterns are degenerate pictorial art 
or imitative basketry patterns. From the Guianas and 
Venezuela, for instance, there are some simple but 
pretty decorative patterns on some modern baskets and 
jars.* If these were suggested by and intended to 
represent certain animals and plants, they certainly do 
so most imperfectly. Moreover there is nothing to 
show that these patterns are degenerate pictorial art, 
for there is absolutely nothing like pictures in eastern 
South America. There are in fact many cases where 
careful inspection alone will not reveal the origin of 
decorative patterns and this can be obtained, perhaps, 
only by much questioning of the makers. An instance 
of this is the cross found in some South American art. 
Some rather fantastic explanations have been made 
about this, but it seems to be nothing but a repre- 
sentation of some of the markings on certain reptiles. 
An analogous case is the art of Mitla. I have heard 
American tourists claim that Mitla art was wholly 
different from other Mexican art. The pattern, of 
course, is different, but the motive, namely the diamond 
back rattlesnake, is identical. Only from this motive, 

* Harv. Univ. P. Mus. 


the Mitla people evolved a pretty decoration, and the 
other Mexicans a repulsive one. 

There is possibly a third source from which some 
decorative art may spring, namely invention. Take a 
pencil and make some curvilinear or rectilinear line on 
paper. Repeat this Une in various ways. Some sort of 
pattern will presently evolve almost accidentally. This 
may be ugly and therefore useless as a decoration, but 
it may be pretty and therefore appropriate as a decor- 
ation. I doubt whether much decoration has been 
invented thus but it certainly might be, and I am 
inclined to think that some decoration is due to 
invention and has not sprung from any pictorial motive 
or any basketry pattern whatever. Decorations of this 
kind might be termed invented, accidental decorations. 

There is one cause, not often recognized, which may 
have something to do with the start of decorative art, 
and that is the desire to fix the ownership of an object. 
It seems indeed not unlikely that some of the patterns or 
marks on potteries and utensils are property marks, some- 
what of the nature of totems, placed on them for much the 
same reason that we label trunks with our names.* 

Writing and everything connected with it, letters, 
alphabet, handwriting, printing, is an evolution from 
art. Writing in all known cases, possibly among the 
AziUen Pleistokenes, almost certainly among the Egyptians, 
Cretans, Chinese and Amerinds, started as pictorial writing; 
that is to say rough, elementary drawings were used as 
symbols, and gradually degenerated or evolved into 
letters and writing. But the beginnings of writing 
apparently are drawings, and we can safely say that art 
antedates anything like an alphabet or handwriting. 

* Christopher Wren: Aboriginal Pottery, page 26. 




An important problem in comparative art is whether 
art arose in one spot and spread thence over the world, 
or whether it arose in many spots. To formulate this 
point more fully one might express it in the form of 
questions like these: Is art one or are there several 
arts? Did all art spread from one starting point, or 
did it grow up in a number of spots? Is there one 
fountain head for the whole of art, or are there many 
independent centers of dispersal? Is art autochthonous 
in only one spot and intrusive everj'where else, or is it locally 
autochthonous in many places? These questions pre.sent 
fairly clearly some of the most intricate problems of 
comparative art, and altho it is impossible to answer 
them categorically, yet by examining accessible data 
one can reason out certain theories about them. 

In considering the intricate problems touched on in 
this chapter, it must be remembered that before the 
days of railroads and steamers, any movement of art 
took place under different conditions from present ones. 
An art was affected by the environment under which it 
grew up, it was affected by the arts of places imme- 
diately round it, and in turn it affected them. There 
was give and take all round, but it was a nearby, long 
drawn out process. The spread of any art was slow and 
its influence could not carry far rapidly. 

The questions formulated in the first paragraph of 
this chapter involve considerations in several lines, for 


they really cover the birth, life, movements, history, 
geography and death of arts. Examination must be made 
of local or autochthonous art; of historical and geo- 
graphical movements of art and of geographical I^arriers 
to art; and of gradations in art. These must all be 
considered separately and inferences drawn from them as 
a whole. And as far as I can judge at present from the 
data, art may ))e autochthonous and local, or it may be 

Necessity undoubtedly forced men in different parts 
of the world to invent certain similar objects and imple- 
ments of mechanical art. Jars for holding liquids, for 
instance, must have suggested themselves, on account of 
their purpose, to various persons, and have developed 
independently, thru the needs of their makers, in widely 
distant localities. Many similar useful objects are found 
in places a long ways apart which could not possibly 
have been obtained by either of the makers from the 
other, and which therefore must have been invented in 
those places. For instance the boomerang of the Aus- 
traUans is almost the same implement as the patchoku 
of the Mokis, and the patu-patu of New Zealand is 
duplicated in Colorado. There could not have been 
direct intercourse in either of these cases and therefore 
the only solution of these resemblances is that these 
implements, thru their own merits in filling some neces- 
sity, were invented independently. 

With the decorations on such objects and still more 
with works of art pure and simple we strike a somewhat 
different problem. For decoration, sculpture and paint- 
ing proceed from feeling, not from necessity. They 
come from an artistic impulse to fashion something the 
maker likes to look at, not from the exigencies of life 


driving the maker to fashion something he needs. The 
Greeks, for instance, had pottery jars. So had the 
Hopi-Moki. As a rule, the Greeks and the Hopi-Moki 
decorated their jars with black Unes, but they both in 
certain cases decorated with black, red and white. We 
can accept as fairly certain that Greek jars and Hopi- 
Moki jars were invented independently, but how about 
the decorations. The forms and motives of the decora- 
tions are different. They certainly tend to sliow a 
different artistic impulse in the makers, and that the 
Greeks belonged to a different artistic family from the 

That the art of almost every district of the world 
has an individuality of its own is noticeable. This 
individuality makes every art distinct from every other 
art, even tho it closely resembles the art from many 
surrounding localities and perhaps also some art from 
distant localities. Just as it is possible to tell the 
work of every great master painter by his individual 
quality, so it is almost always possible to tell rather 
closely where any art comes from. This seems to 
point to art being largely local and native in a great 
many spots. Widely extended arts, such as Chinese 
art or Amerind art, however, may have sprung up 
over quite a large territory, but nevertheless have 
sprung up in very similar forms owing to the personaUty 
of the race cropping out. It is conceivable that 
Amerind art may have started from a number of 
points, rather than to have spread from one single 
starting point. 

In many cases however it is difficult to tell whether 
art is native in its habitat or whether it came there 
from some other place. As a typical example of this 


difficulty one might take Zimbabwe art, about which 
authorities are divided. Some explorers of Zimbabwe 
claim the art as local, others claim it is intrusive and 
there are evidences pro and con. 

There are undoubtedly some arts fairly close together 
which are probably of practically separate growth. 
West Asiatic art, Egyptian art, and Cretan art, for 
instance, whilst showing certain resemblances which 
may to some extent be accounted for by the inter- 
course resulting from propinquity, also show enough 
differences to warrant the opinion that they each 
flowed from one separate fountain head rather than 
that they evolved as different branches of the same 

That similarities in arts at great distances apart do 
not necessarily imply any other common origin than 
the universal art impulse, may be inferred from certain 
extremely primitive pottery statuettes, which resemble 
the little figures which some European children knead 
out of bread crumbs. Some of these statuettes from 
Greece,* some from Cyprus, f some from the Huicholsf 
and a Japanese prehistoric terra cotta horse, § belong to 
this class. The artistic resemblance is absolute. If 
these statuettes were placed side by side it would be 
impossible for any art expert to tell where they came 
from or to differentiate them. Now there can be no 
descent nor intrusive influence in these statuettes. It 
can be nothing but the inborn art instinct just budding 
which produces such .similar results at such distances 

* Met. Mus. N. Y. 
t Met. Mus. N. Y. 
t Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 
§ Met. Mus. N. Y. 


apart. It seems as if these statuettes implied the birth 
of art as an independent development in a number of 

Every art is apparently more or less local, even if 
that locality is held to extend over a whole continent. 
Amerind ait is local to America, Melanesian art to 
Melanesia, Negro art to Africa, etc. Art is sometimes 
strongest in one center, as for instance Greek art is 
purest in Greece, but sometimes art is about equally 
strong over a large area. Polynesian art, for example, 
altho varying somewhat in each archipelago, is nearly 
the same thruout Polynesia. To show how local an 
art can be, one might instance the beautiful coiled 
basketry trays or "poata" from the pueblos of Miconi- 
novi and Oraibi. These trays are not only different in 
their respective pueblos, but they are unlike exactly 
any other basketry in the world, and therefore they 
must be a local invention. One might also instance 
the starvation statuettes from Easter Island, those 
where the abdomen falls in, as sculpture which is 
sui generis and a local invention. 

Art, in fact, is usually so local and so related to 
surrounding arts, that it may be laid down almost as 
an axiom, that propinquity causes and shows art 
resemblances and that distance or separation causes and 
shows art differences. Art, in any given spot of the 
world, generally resembles more closely the art immedi- 
ately near it than it does the art far away from it. 
The art of Peru resembles the art of Yucatan, and this 
resembles the art of Arizona more closely than either of 
them resembles any African art. The natural inference 
from this is that: if nearby arts resemble one another, 
they are related; if distant arts resemble one another, 


they may be related but there is less likelihood of it. 
And hence if distant arts have resemblances to each 
other, as for instance Pleistokene art, Bushman art, 
and Arctic art, whilst they may be related, nevertheless 
the chances are greater that they are of separate 
growth and that there is a different autochthonous 
origin for each, than if they were close together. 

When one considers how many decidedly locally 
individual arts there are, it seems as if there must have 
been multiple centers of creation. Art must have been 
a genuine autochthonous growth among the Pleistokenes. 
Without laying down any dictum that it was entirely 
autochthonous anywheres else, it would seem as if it 
must have been of native growth among the Sumerians, 
the Egyptians, the Egeans, the Hindus, the Chinese, 
the Bushmen, the Arctics, the Africans, the Austral- 
asians, the Amerinds. Art may not have been entirely 
autochthonous in all these cases, and it may have been 
autochthonous in other cases than these, but it seems 
probable that art started practically independently in a 
number of places, and that there are some eleven or 
more great racial arts, each with more or less numerous 
subdivisions, rather than one single homogeneous art. 
But all these arts proceed from the same art instinct 
and art impulse, and in that sense therefore, art is one. 

I may be wrong in my opinion, but the more I 
compare the various arts, the more local do they seem 
to me. Art seems to grow in many centers, that is 
people in any given locality, when uninfluenced by 
others, are apt to develop certain original forms of 
purely local art, which, however, are branches of the 
art of their own race and are not widely differentiated 
from it. In the case of arts such as Mavan art or 


even Zimbabwe art, in the absence of other evidence 
I should incline to the opinion that they grew up 
on the spot in answer to the local art impulse, and 
did not come to their abode from without. In almost 
all the arts, it is impossible to specify exactly when, 
where or how they started: possibly, however, it was in 
a number of places thruout their habitat. Difficult as 
these problems are, my own belief is, that unless the 
intrusive connection of an art can be clearly and 
definitely traced, the balance of probability is that art 
is local rather than intrusive. 

Nevertheless it is a fact that the greater arts filtered 
gradually over larger and larger spaces. Whether they 
started in one spot or in many, some of the great arts 
certainly spread from their starting points and descended 
or traveled to other races than their inventors: in 
some cases they went half way round the globe. There 
are indeed two movements among the arts; a historical 
movement, which is vertical, in time; a geographical 
movement, which is horizontal, in space. 

In examining into the undoubtedly genuine historical 
and geographical movements of various arts, it is well, 
however, to be on one's guard and not to be carried 
away beyond the bounds of plausibility. As an example, 
let us see where a too firm behef in intrusive art may 
land us. Take Mayan art. It has been argued that 
Mayan art comes from the Hindu Buddhistic art of 
Boro-Buddur.* It has also been argued that Hindu 
art sprang from Greek art.f If we add these two 
opinions together, we reach logically the conclusion that 
the frightful Mayan skulls and snakes are the direct 

* Arnold, C, and Frost, F. J. T.: The American Egypt, 1909. 
t Theodore Duret: Critiques d' Ava7it Garde. 



Fio. 2(). Prehistoric pottery jar, Peru. 


descendants of the Hermes of Praxiteles and the Victory 
of Samothrace. Is not this a redudio ad absurdum el 
horrendum? Incidentall3% in mentioning the "Victory," 
it may be permitted to suggest how admirably that 
beautiful fragment, with the head gone, the arms 
smashed, and generally "busted," does tj^pify "a 
famous victory." 

Historical art evidence shows that art appears in 
certain places and then dies out. Pleistokene art, 
Sumerian art, Assyrian art, Egyptian art, Zimbabwe 
art, Mayan art, each had its birth, hfe and death. As 
an example, take Egean art. Some six thousand years 
ago or thereabouts, an art developed in Crete and 
Greece. As far as can be gathered from the hmited, 
imperfect sets of specimens now accessible in museums, 
this art does not quite resemble any other. There 
doubtless were ideas brought to Crete, the lost Atlantis, 
from Egypt and Asia Minor. Nevertheless Egean art 
is a European art, not a West Asiatic nor an Egyptian 
art. While we cannot say at present that Egean art is 
a direct descendant of Pleistokene art, we can say that 
it is the ancestor of Greek art and the forerunner of 
American art. The logical conclusion is that it was 
born among the natives of Crete and Greece and was 
not imported from elsewhere. This can not perhaps as 
yet be laid down as a positive fact: it can only be 
said that the balance of probabihties is that it is so. 

Not only does art grow up in certain places and 
then die out, but it sometimes repeats the process, 
possibly several times. This is notably the case in 
Egypt where, according to Dr. Fhnders Petrie,* art has 

* The Revolutions of Civilization, 1911. 


gone through no less than eight successive periods 
during the past seven thousand years. The last wave 
of art in Egypt was Arab, the preceding wave was 
Greco-Roman, and both were clearly intrusive arts, 
differing fundamentally from Egyptian art. But, altho 
some e.xtraneous influences doubtless came in from 
Crete and from western Asia, the earlier periods were 
true Egyptian, and show that Egyptian art was born, 
matured, went into decrepitude, and sprouted afresh 
in consecutive cycles. That is to say the original 
Egyptian art was a local art which kept rising and 
falling until finally it was superseded by the art of 
invading conquering races who put their heel on the 
neck of the subjugated Egyptians. 

Japanese prints are another striking instance of an 
art which started, grew up, matured and faded away 
in its own habitat. The principles of design, line, color, 
etc., in these prints were all taken directly from Japanese 
painting, but the printing processes in color were new. 
Japanese prints went thru a regular cycle between about 
1670 A. D. and 1868 A. D. This cycle is not unlike the 
V or spiel of Lohengrin, so aptly described by BerUoz as a 
chef d'ceuvre. It starts piano, then goes up crescendo to 
a great forte, then dies away piano. It began with the 
black and white work in long sweeping calligraphic 
lines of Moronobu, Kiyonobu and others; evolved, with 
Harunobo and Koriusai among the leaders, into two and 
three color prints; then developed into the polychrome 
prints of many such great designers as Utamaro, Toyo- 
kuni I., Kiyonaga and Kuniyoshi, reaching its highest 
point perhaps in the startling heads of Sharaku; 
finally it passed into the more three dimensional 
landscapes and the more broken picturesque lines 


and cruder colors of Hokusai and the two Hiroshiges. 
After this, this beautiful local art temporarily died out. 
At the present time a new cycle has been started and 
may be it will mature. But it will be a different crop 
from the former one. For the old Nippon, the life, the 
customs, the costumes, that is the inspirations both 
internal and external, have gone. 

As an instance of an art movement in time and space, 
that is as a historical-geographical movement in art, 
take the art of Europe after Neolithic times. Without 
saying that art grew up in Crete and Greece absolutely 
of its own accord, yet Egean art certainly mainly origi- 
nated there, and it is one of the two most vital lineal 
ancestors of European art. Greek art is surely a 
descendant, by renascence, of Cretan-Mykenian art. 
The art of the Latin races was derived mainly from that 
of Greece. This modified Greek art, under Roman 
domination, was carried into North Africa, Syria, Gaul, 
Britain, Germany and Spain. Roman art was super- 
seded by Byzantine art which spread over most of 
Europe and in a modified form is still found in Russia. 
From Byzantine art there sprang in the early Middle 
Ages in Italy, France and the Low Countries another 
living art, Gothic art, which was largely a genuine racial 
rebirth of White Mediterranean race art. Still later 
many artists turned to Greece and Rome for their inspir- 
ation and grafted on Gothic art much of the art culture 
of Greece, so that even today the sculpture of Greece 
stands to a great extent as the foundation of modern 
European and American sculpture. 

Colored tiles also afford an interesting example of 
historical-geographical movement in art. Tile making 
undoubtedly goes back to Sumeria and early Egypt. It 

AET AND MAN". 215 

was a very early industry in China, to which it may or 
may not have come from western Asia. It remained over 
in Assyria and Persia. It was inherited by the Arabs, and 
brought by them from Egypt and Arabia in their con- 
quest of North Africa and Spain. And from the Moors 
of southern Spain the Spaniards learnt how to make 
tiles. Now the Dutch have long been and still are 
amongst the best makers of colored tiles. It is claimed 
by some persons that the Dutch got their taste for tiles 
from the Chinese, with whom they were trading already 
in the seventeenth century A. D. It seems quite as 
hkely, however, that the Dutch learnt this art from the 
Spaniards in the times when Charles the Fifth was their 
ruhng sovereign. At any rate, before the American Revo- 
lution, Hollanders and Germans brought the methods of 
manufacturing colored tiles to Pennsylvania, where this 
art has now been revived. That is to say, tile making, 
starting from its fountain heads in Babylonia, Egypt 
and China, has traveled and spread thence over a great 
part of the civiUzed world. 

Sometimes two or more arts have succeeded each 
other in one spot. Thus Egyptian art entirely died out 
and first Greco-Roman then Arab art wholly superseded 
it. Australasian art and Amerind art are both, unfort- 
unately, on their last legs, and are vanishing before 
European art. That is to say, the art of one race in 
any locahty may in time completely disappear before 
the art of another race in the same locahty. In the case 
of the Australasian and Amerind arts they have not so 
much died out, as been killed. 

For an instance of the geographical spread of art, 
take Arab art. This arose probably first in Arabia and 
Egypt. Then as the Arabs went west and east, thru 

216 ART AND :\rAN. 

North Africa into Spain, and thru Persia into Hindu- 
stan, they took their art with them together with their 
rehgion among the conquered peoples. With the driving 
back of the Arabs to their own lands, the limits of Arab 
art, after having once half encircled the globe, grew less 
and today its only vitaUty is in lands where Muham- 
meddanism still holds sway. It has left no descendants 
to spring anew from its roots, altho on account of certain 
beauties, faint imitations sometimes appear in other lands. 

To some extent, physical geography has had an effect 
on art in helping or hindering it in moving from place 
to place. Oceans, mountains, deserts, have in some cases 
acted as barriers to art expansion. In all such cases, 
however, natural obstructions have acted on art because 
they have acted as obstructions to men. Where races 
have gone and taken their commerce with them they 
have also taken their art. Apparently the only absolute 
obstacle to art before the time of the Vikings was the 
Atlantic Ocean, and it seems entirely correct to call the 
Atlantic Ocean the boundary line of art. Art started at 
the Atlantic Ocean in Pleistokene times: art stopped at 
the Atlantic Ocean in historic Amerind times. Art 
crossed the Northern Pacific Ocean on its eastward 
journej'^: art never crossed the Atlantic Ocean before the 
Vikings. Twelve years ago I felt doubtful of this, but 
much examination of many specimens has gradually led 
me to feel that the evidences are overwhelming that the 
Atlantic was an impassable barrier to art until the White 
race began to explore and to colonize. 

An exceedingly interesting point in comparative art, 
and one which, I believe, has not been seen as yet by 
either ethnologist or art critic, is that the rebirths of 
art chronologically, except possibly in one instance, in 


space are eastward. The oldest art known is the 
Pleistokene art from the Acheuleen strata of. France 
and England. This may easily be more than 100,000 
years old. The later Pleistokene art of Western Europe 
may be perhaps somewheres between 50,000 to 15,000 
years old. The next oldest art centers known, are 
Crete, Egypt, and the Euphrates valley, where art has 
been traced back some 7,000 years. To the eastward 
again, we come to the great art center of China, where 
Chinese historic or legendary evidences points to art 
dating back some 5,000 years. Further east we come 
to Australasia and to America, where there is no 
evidence showing that there is an}^ art more than 
5,000 years old, except the one drawing found at Vero, 
Florida,* which may be Pleistokene, and which there- 
fore may be many thousand years old. But the status 
of this drawing is still too imcertain for scientific deduction 
to be made safely from it. We are not speaking here of 
what may have taken place, for some arts may be older 
than we now have any idea of. We are only estimating 
roughly the dates, from such specimens and historical 
data as are now accessible; and these estimates may need 
revision at any minute, in the light of fresh discoveries. 

It must not be understood, however, that all art has 
invariably spread from west to east. Sometimes, as 
with Arab art, the move has been westward as well as 
eastward, or, as with Egean art, the move has been 
westward. And it may be noted here that the bull 
fight has followed much the same line as Egean art. 
It appears first in Crete, in legend as the Minotaur, 
then it revived in Italy, France, Portugal and Spain, 
from which it crossed the Atlantic to Peru and Mexico. 

* Fig. 24. 


The trend of art eastward in time means that as far 
as we know art appears first in central western Europe; 
then in Egypt, Crete and the Euphrates valley; then in 
eastern Asia, southern Asia and America; and last in 
Africa and Australasia. It may be that art is older 
than we know in some of these places, but our knowl- 
edge is still too limited to formulate more than pre- 
liminary conclusions. 

And in this move of art from west to east, from 
Great Britain and France to Labrador, there is a fact of the 
greatest importance, which so far as I know, except for a 
few lines in Comparative Art has never been discussed 
seriously as yet. This is gradation. Art gradates every- 
where, in space and in time. There are no sharp demark- 
ations, no hard and fast boundaries. Thruout the 
whole world there is a distinct gradation in art. The 
arts of neighboring places, at about the same time, 
even if they belong to different races, often show 
resemblances; they seem to slide into each other more or 
less as the result of propinquity. For instance Egyptian 
and Babylonian arts show resemblances; Hindu and 
Chinese arts gradate into each other in Nepal, Tibet 
and Burma; Australasian art characteristics appear to 
some extent in eastern Asia, Japan, and Alaska; West 
North Amerind art is in close touch with Mexican art, 
etc. In brief, all arts gradate into those near by, that 
is there is a sideways geographical movement in art. 

There is also a gradation in many arts, from those 
before or into those after them, consecutively in time; 
that is there is often a historical gradation in art. For 
an instance, we may cite Egean, Greek, Roman, Byzan- 
tine, Gothic, and Modern European art. 

In any one locality at any one period of its his- 


tory a certain type of art predominates. This may 
change as the centuries roll by and even several times, 
but it is not cataclysmically. An art is not wiped out 
in any spot by an art-quake, unless its makers are 
wiped out, as apparently happened in Crete-Atlantis. 
Art sometimes dies out and is gradually superseded by 
another art. But as long as its own makers survive 
it dies hard. The racial art instinct keeps it alive. 
Equally at any one time, you do not find any one art 
absolutely dwelling in only one locaUty. It radiates all 
around. There is a transitional belt. At one and the 
same time there may be and usually there are great 
differences between the arts of two distant locahties, 
but between these two, arts may be said to gradate 
the one into the other: that is starting from either end, 
art keeps decreasing in resemblance from the art at 
that end, until it does not look in the least like it. 
This is again one of those facts which can only be 
stated in general terms. 

If there is any one set of facts which shows beyond all 
others that there are several arts, it is that the peoples 
of Europe made naturalistic art; the peoples of Asia, 
naturaUstic and decorative art; the peoples of Africa, 
Australasia and America, decorative art. If there is 
any one set of facts which shows that art is one, it is 
gradation. And if we look on Europe as the geographi- 
cal hub, we find consecutive gradation along big Unes 
to the tire in Africa, Australasia and America. And 
this gradation of art, geographically sideways and his- 
torically downwards, is important, because, altho there 
are many local arts which show individuaUty and 
separateness, yet the gradation of art points to the 
oneness of art as a whole. 


According to the evidences of the fine arts also, as 
far as now known, in prehistoric and historic time, 
art started in Europe and moved or was recreated to 
the eastward and to the southward. And it is a point 
of great ethnological significance unnoticed apparently 
so far. For some anthropologists have held and doubt- 
less still hold that man came from a sunken continent, 
the so called Lemuria, near Java and beyond, and that 
he spread from Lemuria to Asia, Europe, Africa and 
America, by a fan shaped migration. But art contra- 
dicts almost directly this anthropological theory that 
man came and spread from Lemuria, for art develops 
in a contrary direction. Again other anthropologists 
claim that man spread from Central Asia into Europe, 
Africa, Australasia and America. But while art does not 
contradict this theory as directly as it does the Lemur- 
ian theory, it distinctly contradicts it in regard to the 
spread of man from Asia into Europe. In art the hub 
is in Europe; and art moved along the spokes into Asia, 
Africa, Australasia and America. 




Fig. 27. Wooden figure. Karaja tribe, Brazil. 




The various beliefs in and worships of higher powers, 
of the supernatural, the superphysical, the occult, the 
unknown, the unseen, the mysterious, by different races, 
are dignified by then- beUevers and their worshipers 
under the name of reUgion, and are sneered at by their 
unbehevers under the name of superstition. In this 
book the term "reUgion" is used to designate and must be 
understood to include all beUefs, faiths and worships. 
Heathen and Pagan, Christian, Buddhist, Muhammedan, 
Zoroastrian, Shinto and others, of all peoples past and 
present, in all parts of the world. 

The relations of art and reUgion need especial con- 
sideration in comparative art, because many ethnolo- 
gists and art critics at present appear to put the cart 
before the horse in regard to the effect of reUgion on 
art. Some of them at any rate seem to be of the 
opinion that reUgious beUefs are fundamental in the 
making of an artist; that great art flourishes only when 
reUgious beUef is also swajdng a race; and that the 
sculptures of primitive peoples are invariably idols. 
These views seem to me to be wrong, and often to lead 
to misconceptions about the art of many races of men. 

The relations of the various beUefs, faiths and wor- 
ships to art are identical in kind if not in degree. That 
they have had ^dde reaching effects on the fine arts is 
unquestionable. But they have not affected them in the 
least in the way ethnologists, art critics and the laity 


think they have. Religion has affected art in one point 
and one point only and that is subject. And it has 
affected subject thru patronage. ReUgion says "I want 
an art work of a certain subject, and I will pay you 
hard cash for it" and the artist answers "I am poor 
and must make the pot boil; and I will paint you a 
picture of any old subject if you will hand me enough 
filthy lucre!" This crude statement lacks Uterary ele- 
gance, but it covers perfectly the business relations of 
art and religion. 

ReUgious beUefs or faiths are certainly not funda- 
mental in the make up of an artist. This is proved 
thru the simple fact that artistic children scribble off 
pictures long before they have any reUgious ideas what- 
ever. The artists who turn to reUgious subjects do so 
when they have left the childish age, when they are at 
least somewhat grown up. They may be still young 
when they begin to produce pictures of reUgious con- 
cepts, when they first attempt to make beUefs in con- 
crete form visible to others, but they are no longer 
children. Children draw houses, or horses, or other 
things they have seen: they do not draw saints. 

Religious pictures are subject pictures: they are not 
motive pictures: they do not spring from something the 
artist himself has seen. It is not the external world 
which moves the artist, it is not nature which appeals 
to his esthetic side to paint reUgious pictures: that is 
it is not the fundamental mainspring of art which is 
acting on him. Artists paint or sculpt because they 
have the glyptic art sense and the desire to make 
pretty things: the two forces which are ahead of aU 
others in impelUng the artist. ReUgious beUefs are 
ideas: they are not visible to the eye: they do not 

224 ART AND :^rAN. 

spring from vision. Ideas are most suitably expressed 
in the spoken or written word. And therefore it is that 
all great religious teachers and reformers, and also all 
the lesser Ughts of all sects and denominations, turned 
to oratory or to writing, not to sculpture or to paint- 
ing, to carry out their mission. And if the religious 
beliefs of artists were more overpowering than thcii' 
esthetic sense, they would do likewise. 

Religious i)ictui'('s aic icall>' illiistiatioiis: they arc 
illustrations of a subject which tlie never has 
seen. Usually the artist receives his subject as an 
order: that is it is a business transaction. (Ten per- 
cent off for cash. Artists, like other human beings, 
must eat.) He thinks out the most picturesque 
arrangement he can, in other words he tries to see a 
picture in the subject ordered, but he also has to 
follow the recognized conventions of that particular 
subject. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he does 
not, but in all cases the picture is a composition follow- 
ing to some extent a formula. This is tantamount to 
saying that it is patronage which prompts artists to 
execute works of religious art. And among the various 
forms of patronage there is none of greater importance 
to art than rehgious patronage. For if there is a ruling 
church, and if this wants works of art, artists naturally 
paint or sculpt them for the sake of their liveUhood. 

That religion is a patronage force in art can be 
exempUfied by comparing the development of one art, 
say modern European art, in different countries. In 
Spain, for instance, in the last three centuries, altho 
we find some fine naturaUsm with Velasquez, Goya 
and Fortuny as the great masters, the chief output 
of art was the religious painting done for churches and 


convents. Among its leaders were Murillo, Ribera and 
Zurbaran. And the simple reason these artists made 
their living by painting and sculpting crucifixions and 
madonnas and saints was because the ruUng church in 
Spain not only admitted paintings and sculptures to its 
buildings, but paid to have them. The reUgious 
pictures and sculptures of Spain, in studio English, 
are simply potboilers. 

The same thing may be said of ItaUan art, with 
the exception perhaps of some Venetian art. From the 
Pisanos and Cimabue, down to Tiepolo at least, the 
artists sculpted and painted principally religious subjects, 
for the same reason as in Spain, namely that the 
church paid for their work. 

A not quite similar example is furnished by the art 
of Greece. The Greeks built beautiful temples and 
adorned them with beautiful sculptures. And their 
nude and draped figures they called Zeus and Hermes 
and Aphrodite and Psyche. But these can be called 
by any other name and remain perfect results of art 
expression in sculptural form. For the human form 
was a motive, not a subject to the Greeks. There is 
nothing rehgious or irreligious in the figure of a nude 
human, but there are the strongest sculptural and 
pictorial possibilities. And the Greeks, with as refined 
a sense of form as was ever possessed by humans, 
seized on these sculptural possibilities and made their 
immortal art. 

In Holland, on the contrary, in the seventeenth 
century A. D., there was a very different status for the 
fine arts. Not only did the ruling church in Holland not 
pay for pictures or sculptures, but it did not tolerate 
them in its buildings, and the zeal of its adherents 


went so far that, if I am not mistaken, in some cases 
these iconoclasts smashed the works of art that had 
come down to them from earUer times. The artists 
therefore naturally turned in other directions for 
patronage thru which to boil the pot, to portraiture, 
to genre, to animal pictures, to landscape, and their 
output, both in quahty and quantity, was of such a 
character that the seventeenth century in Holland must 
be looked on as one of the great art epochs of all times. 
And this great Dutch art, the art of Rembrandt, Hals, 
Van der Heist, de Hooge, Potter, Cuyp, Metzu, 
Vermeer, Hobbema, Ruysdael, was not inspired by 
religion at all. It was inspired by the love of some 
men for drawing and painting, and it was influenced 
from the potboiling standpoint l)y the bourgeois element 
of its patrons into painting the draped people and the 
home life they saw around them. 

Perhaps the most pertinent example of all which 
can be cited to show that art is not the child of 
religion is the European-American art of the nineteenth 
and twentieth centuries. Can anyone contend that this 
is based on reUgion? Look at its leaders in sculpture, 
in painting, and in architecture. Constable, Turner, 
Delacroix, Ingres, Corot, Manet, Bargue, Rude, Car- 
peaux, Rodin, Meryon, Bocklin, Fortuny, Gilbert Stuart, 
Winslow Homer, Eakins: there are hundreds of dead 
and living artists who are great in sculpture or paint- 
ing, but not of religious subjects. Architects no longer 
expend their efforts on cathedrals: it is skyscrapers and 
railroad stations on which they strive: naturally 
enough, since it is no longer the church which spreads 
the butter on their bread. 

That religion in art is a patronage force, can be 


seen in some cases in the work of individual artists. 
Take Rubens, for instance. Among his best pictures 
are his portraits of himself, of his master and wife,* 
of draped Isabel Brandt, and nude Helene Fourment. 
To order, that is as potboilers, he painted the series 
of the wedding of Henry IV and Marie de Medicis 
in the Louvre. To order also, he painted numerous 
pictures of religious subjects, of which the splendid 
"Descent from the Cross" at Antwerp is perhaps the 
most famous. Can anyone maintain that it was 
religion which inspired Rubens? If so, let them com- 
pare his works, and they will find his portraits, or his 
nude ladies, or his suffering saints, all painted and 
handled in the same way. When he had a chance of 
raking in an honest penny he simply did so. 

The fact that many of the best artists, figure, 
animal and landscape men, have never shown the 
slightest sign of religious expression in their works is 
one of the most patent proofs that religion is not the 
original underlying force in art. Nevertheless a number 
of artists have been sufficiently at one with their 
reUgious beliefs to devote their fives to illustrating 
them. And it is those men who have produced perhaps 
the sweetest and most charming works of religious art. 
Among such real believers Giotto and Fra Angelico 
stand out as most perfect examples. And the one at 
Assisi and the other at Florence, have left us those 
naive and exquisite evidences of things not seen which 
are unsurpassed in art. 

Among primitive races the relations between art and 
religion are almost identical with those among advanced 

* Boston Mus. F. A. 1911. 


races. That it is the elementary art instinct, not a 
mystical train of thought, which is primarily responsible 
for the conception in the concrete of sculptural, pictor- 
ial and decorative art objects among primitive races, 
can be inferred to some extent from the art of artistic 
European children. Anyone can find in his own circle 
some young children who hke to draw pictures, and can 
find further that they always work from their immature 
unconscious observation of nature, unbiased and unham- 
pered by any philosophical or religious ideas whatever. 
Now primitive peoples are in many ways Hke children, 
sufficiently so at any rate as to make it certain that their 
art comes from the same source as children's art, namely 
the nascent esthetic sense, undisturbed by extraneous ideals. 
It is frequently accepted, however, as a rule without 
any real examination of the matter, that the art of 
primitive races is based on religion. This is shown by the 
fact that almost all writers, whether in scientific works, 
or books of travel, or novels, speak of any sculpted 
humans by primitive peoples as idols. Whether they 
mention Negro or Maori carvings, or Inca potteries, 
or even Hindu Buddhas, the word "idol" pops in imme- 
diately. This idea that the sculptures of humans by 
Yellow or Bro^^'n or Black races are inevitably idols is 
doubtless due to thoughtlessness, but at any rate it is 
universal among the European nations, and their feehng 
is well expressed in the lines of Bishop Heber "the 
heathen in his blindness, bows down to wood and stone." 
It is probable that, misled by this notion, missionaries, 
who naturally delve into the reUgious ideas of primitive 
peoples while as a rule neglecting their arts, foist on to 
primitive art all sorts of meanings of which the poor 
primitive artists were quite innocent. 

ART AND MAN". 229 

But since much and usually the best art has no 
mj^stical significance, it is all wrong for the Europeans 
to blindh^ label and frequently libel all figures made by 
non European races as idols. If writers would drop the 
reckless use of the term "idol" and substitute therefore the 
term "doll," often they would approximate more nearly to 
the truth. The best commentary on this subject I know 
of is the inscription attached to an early Greek grotesque 
terra cotta statuette in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 
Years ago someone lal)elled this particular figurine "doll 
or idol," and the label has remained as an unconscious 
recognition of the fact that many so called idols are 
nothing of the kind, but are really dolls, that is figures 
made to amuse small or grown up chidren, and also of 
the fact that the mystical significance attributed to the 
dolls is often a pure assumption, based on nothing but 

Some primitive sculptures, indeed a good many of 
them, however, are objects of veneration or worship, 
and these may be called idols. But one should be sure 
of this before damning them thus mth contemptuous 
intolerance. And there is one way by which to tell, 
with some probability of accuracy, whether a primitive 
human figure should be looked on as a doll or an idol. 
If a figurine is somewhat unique, if it is somewhat unhke 
other figurines, if it has some sculptural and realistic 
traits, if it is not one of many with identical traits, there 
is likelihood that it is an attempt at art pure and simple, 
based on nature as taken in thru the sense of vision, 
and if badly done, it may be termed a doll. But if a 
figurine is one of a class, if there are many figurines 
similar in pose, in the parts indicated or laid on as orna- 
ments, and especially if this class of figurine is found 


over a large extent of country, then there is some prob- 
ability that this figurine is symbolic, that it was intended 
to represent some mythical personage, that it may have 
been connected with some form of worship, and there- 
fore there is some justification in speaking of it as an idol. 

The White race is sometimes astute and sometimes 
it is purblind in art criticism. Greek sculptures, for 
instance, are seldom spoken of as idols, and this shows 
discernment. Nor is the term applied to sculptures or 
paintings in the edifices of any White race religious 
bodies, except with the intent of casting a slur on 
these. But this slur is handed out to primitive 
figurines with singular unanimity. Undoubtedly many 
primitive figurines are idols. But so are many figurines 
of advanced races. The anthropomorphic conception of 
deities is widespread, and art has been called on in 
many places to embody it in visible form. 

Religion has done both harm and good to art. 
Some religions have handcuffed artists and curtailed art 
by frowning down on or by forbidding the use of 
certain motives. In Arab art, for instance, the human 
face and figure, the motives which appeal especially to 
most artists, were entirely excluded by Muhammed. 
Here therefore is a religion which restricts art tremend- 
ously, by simply not allowing the use of the most vital 
of all art motives. 

ReUgions, because they are moneyed patrons of the 
fine arts, dictate subjects, and in their choice of subjects 
often they do not recognize the need of beauty in art, 
and to carry out the subject, too frequently alas the 
idea of beauty must be abandoned. Most of the 
horrors in art are religious horrors. In European art, 
blood, burnings, tortures of saints, crucifixions, are 


favorite subjects. Personally I fail to see anything 
specially beautiful, or elevating, or moral, in a man 
being cooked on a gridiron, or in another man being 
stuck full of arrows. Among Tibetan and South 
Asiatic pictures, many are unpleasant representations of 
hell and devils. In India, there are all sorts of beastly 
statues, some with snakes around them. In Guatemala 
and Honduras, the priestly creeds in some way led to 
artists sculpting mainly snakes and skulls. 

Rehgion casts also a most benumbing influence on 
art in that it is the great foster mother of convention- 
ality. This can be seen in the rehgious artg of Europe, 
of Egypt, of western Asia, of southern Asia, of Central 
America, etc. Forms and subjects become stereotyped. 
The churches demand certain conventional subjects 
carried out in certain conventional ways, and art and 
artists invariably suffer in freshness and originahty from 
a monotonous repetition of certain subjects. Liberty 
is just as important in art as in any other phase of 
existence, that is if there is to be the sUghtest individ- 
uaUty, advance, change, progress or improvement. 

But in many ways religion has done good to art. 
It has done good principally thru its patronage, thru 
its demand bringing forth the artistic supply. The 
influence of rehgion on art has been largely commercial. 
Many an artist has earned his living and shaped his 
output because there were funds freely spent to carry 
out rehgious subjects. The Van Eycks, Memhng, 
Murillo, and many other European painters; the 
builders of the Gothic cathedrals and those of the 
Egyptian temples; numerous Asiatic painters of Bud- 
dhist subjects; and many other artists of various races 
were helped and fostered by their church and their 


religion. And many beautiful works of art have they 
left us which would certainly never have been produced 
had it not been for the needs and the determination 
of the various churches to make visible their creeds and 
their historic incidents. And as one thinks of all the 
wonderful art works which religious patronage has 
fostered, it certainly seems as if the good far surpassed 
the harm which religion has done to art. 



In a consideration of the arts of the world there 
are certain points which thrust themselves to the fore. 
How many arts are there, what are their qualities, 
what resemblances and differences are there between 
them, are among the questions which demand priority 
of response. Certain other points hang back, and 
among the Ungerers are how much better or worse is 
one art than another and what are the relative merits 
of all the arts? And while a student of comparative 
art would certainly Uke to know which are the best 
arts and which are the poorest arts and whether a 
definite rank can be assigned to the various arts 
thruout the world, it must be remembered that in any 
discussion about art "de gustibus non est disputandum" 
is always an important precept to bear in mind and in 
none is it more important than in an attempt to 
determine the relative rank of all the arts. For when 
all is said and done, art is a matter of taste. 

How persons may feel about art may perhaps be 
hinted at by chance verdicts given on two occasions 
by educated Americans. One of these men, a director 
of one of our art museums, once said that if you saw 
something particularly hideous, a Japanese would be 
sure to admire it. The other man, a highly successful 
physician, on seeing a very pretty Japanese color print 
by Utamaro, pretended to feel quite ill and said the 
woman seemed to be smelling onions. Now these men, 
of course, would rank East Asiatic art as nowhere and 


non existent. And while one might criticize them by 
saying that a cat can look at a king and a jackass 
can look at a picture but that he should not bray 
about it, yet their remarks tend to show that any 
attempt at assigning any relative rank to any art is at 
best only an individual opinion and one which could 
not be verified and which would certainly not be 
universally accepted. 

Whatever lack of appreciation was shown in these 
criticisms of the poor yellow artists by superior ( !) white 
critics, at any rate they had the merit of being genuine. 
And genuine criticism is rare. The majority of the 
pubUc certainly does not criticize by an independent 
exercise of their faculties so much as by remembering 
what they have read or what they have been taught 
about art. In fact the Chinese proverb "pictures are 
mostly judged thru the ear" conveys an immense deal 
of truth about the average criticism. 

According to a widely spread popular notion, art, 
to be good, must come up to a so called standard. 
About this supposed standard people, including artists, 
are most hazy: corner them and they cannot answer. 
And the reason is really very simple: there is no 
standard: the popular notion is a fallacy. And that 
there cannot be any fixed standard about art may be 
shown by an illustration. Good work and bad work 
have been produced in two dimensional arts and also 
in three dimensional arts. But how could any one 
gauge two dimensional art by three dimensional art 
canons. It cannot be done because they are different 

The so called standards of art have certainly done 
much harm to European art for the past two hundred 


years, by retarding its evolution, by conventionalizing it 
and by frequently keeping in poverty artists of merit. 
Exhibitions have been handed over to a so called jury 
composed of a dozen or so of artists who arbitrarily 
decided what should or should not be shown to the 
pubhc. The matter was left to their preferences and 
their prejudices. The art works and even their makers 
must suit the jury: anything or anybody which did 
not please the jury was anathema. And hundreds of 
young and talented artists have suffered from this 
iniquitous foolishness. In the last century Delacroix, 
Millet, Corot, Rousseau, Manet, Monet, for instance, 
for years saw their works either rejected or skied by 
hostile older men. 

There was an exhibition a few years ago in New 
York, which, for the first time in America, was based 
on the correct idea of exhibiting what artists are 
actually doing, good, bad and indifferent. This was 
the exhibition where the works of Cubists and Futurists 
appeared for the first time, and which may be remem- 
bered by a canvas entitled "Nude descending a stair- 
case." In this exhibition the paintings were not 
required to come up to an artificial standard. And it 
was the first American exhibition, therefore, which was 
really fair. For when men are working to produce art 
works for their bread and butter, it is most unfair to 
prevent them from bringing out their works because 
certain other men do not approve of them. And 
moreover, anyone interested in art wants to know what 
actually is being done and not merely what comes up 
to the conventionalizing standard of academic uni- 
formity. The breadth of feeling of artists about such 
a genuine innovation, however, was well expressed by a 


well-known miniature painter, who said with savage 
emphasis of the Cubists and Futurists in that first 
exhibition "I should like to kill them all." 

The taste of various races is so different, the taste 
of various individuals is so different, that perforce there 
are thousands upon thousands of opinions about art. 
It is rare for any two persons to agree thoroly about 
the merits of numerous works of art of one kind; it 
would be rarer still for two persons to agree thoroly 
about the relative merits of works of art of different 
kinds. In nothing more than in art is it true that 
"one man's meat is another man's poison." And 
when one thinks of the many races who have made 
art, Pleistokenes, Greeks, Eg>'ptians, Hindus, Chinese, 
Australasians and others, and how varied those arts 
are. and how they evidently answer to the taste and 
suit tlie needs of their makers, it seems as if any 
fixing of the rank of arts is an impossible task. 

To hazard some opinions, nevertheless. Of the 
Europeans and the East Asiatics, we can say that their 
mental attitude towards art, their way of looking at 
things and their technic are entirely different; and that 
these facts tend to prove that, as far as can be judged, 
European art and East Asiatic art are independent and 
autochthonous. But this does not help in the least 
towards ranking either of these great arts as a whole 
ahead of the other. 

The Europeans and East Asiatics apparently should 
rank side by side as the greatest painters. Both these 
arts seek form. European art tends to light and shade; 
East Asiatic to color. The best works of each have some 
of the special qualities of the other. When European 
art is most imitative and i-oalistio, it is rarely at its best. 


When East Asiatic art is too unnaturalistic it sometimes 
becomes vapid. When either of these arts includes ideal- 
ized form and color, as with Europeans the works of Rem- 
brandt and Turner, and among East Asiatics the works 
of some of the Sung and Ming and of some Japanese 
painters, then we can only say that in both cases 
painting seems to have reached its topmost pinnacle. 

The Greeks are, perhaps, the greatest sulptors. 
Their genius ran mainly to form and their art is based 
principally on the nude human figure idealized. Never- 
theless when one thinks of the life and action of some 
East Asiatic sculptures, of the reahsm of the West 
Asiatic Goudeas in the Louvre, of the repose and 
dignity of some Egyptian statues, and of the sterling 
quality of some Modern European figures such as 
the "King Arthur" of Peter Visscher at Innsbruck, 
one hesitates about giving any dogmatic opinion based, 
after all, on individual taste. 

The more one studies many arts also, the more does 
one's taste change and with it one's opinion of their 
relative merits. The more one studies the arts of 
primitive races, the more does one like at least some 
of their work. Some of the work of some of the 
primitive races is certainly better than some of the 
work of more advanced races. Some Pleistokene 
paintings surely have merits which, to our eyes, are 
lacking in some Egyptian paintings. Some African and 
Australasian decorations have color qualities not usually 
found in ordinary European decorations. In fact when 
it comes to assigning any relative rank to the arts of 
the world, it seems as if the most accurate statement 
is to say that it is impossible to do so. 

Art might be compared to a great banquet replete 


with rare viands and nectars to tickle the palate, 
each of which has its separate flavor. Oysters, mush- 
room soup, shad, broiled chicken, asparagus, terrapin, 
camembert, ice cream, coffee. Chateau Yquem, Roederer, 
White Rock, for instance, might be mentioned as dishes 
and drinks pleasing to some palates. One man might 
prefer rock fish and madeira: another turkey and 
claret: tastes about food differ! But how could any- 
one decide which individual preference was right? 
Some like one thing, some another! You cannot assign 
any definite rank to the various courses: you cannot 
say which is better and which is best. In the same 
way it seems as if art presented all the elements of a 
feast for the eye and the emotions. The personal 
taste, the environment, the training and other factors 
would affect the judgment of those looking at art, 
and if they judged honestly according to their prefer- 
ences and expressed honestly their judgments, these 
would be endless in their number and variety. The 
rational opinion in regard to the rank of arts is that it 
is mainly optional. 



Man is the only animal who has sculpted or 
painted, and this is one of the traits diflferejitiating 
him from other animals and putting him in a separate 
class. The sculptures and paintings made by man 
shed a great deal of light on his evolution, his ancestors, 
his history, his relationships, and his divisions into 
races. The earliest remaining sculptures and pictures 
especially reveal a great deal about time in the evolution 
of man. No one can say how long it took to evolve 
man, because geology, paleontology and prehistoric 
ethnology, at best, can give us only relative times: 
they cannot tell the definite number of years. Com- 
parative art equally can not give definite dates, but 
it can and does tell that long, long ago men endowed 
with great art faculties lived in south central Europe. 
The direct evidence proves that by the middle Pleis- 
tokene at least some men already had developed intel- 
ligence, and it may therefrom safely be asserted that 
the time during which man became perfected was an 
extremely long one. 

There is nothing in art, however, to show that 
man was ever less a man than he is now. For we 
know that the earliest sculptures and paintings which 
have come down to us were made when man was 
already full fledged, because there are stone imple- 
ments and fossil human bones long antedating any 
art works. Sculptures and paintings therefore do not 
tell the whole story of man. They do not tell whether 
all men evolved or descended from one common ances- 


tor in some definite locality, or whether men evolved 
and descended from different ancestors in different 
localities. Indeed already it may be said with some- 
thing like finality that art comes too late in the history 
of man to reveal a great deal about the origin of man. 
But it does reveal a tremendous amount about the 
development of man. 

Art tells us many things about the psychic traits of 
men in various parts of the world and it can assuredly 
tell us many more about racial affiliations. Yet altho 
we are still much in the dark about these, so far the evi- 
dences of art have been consulted scarcely at all to see 
what light they can shed on race. Some of the points 
to be considered are as follows: Is art racial? Do the 
great arts correspond with the great races? Does art 
point to one or to several original races? Does simi- 
larity or difference in art imply similarity or difference 
in race? Or to put the matter in a still more general 
form, what does art tell us of the evolution, ancestry and 
relationships of mankind? 

In the first place what do we mean by race? It is 
accepted now, from the evidences of geology and of 
paleontology, that the earliest types of life on the planet 
were of a low order and that with successive geological 
epochs higher types appeared. It is probably also 
accepted now, from the evidence of comparative anat- 
omy, that the structure and organs of man and of the 
apes are identical and that the various races of today 
are related to altho not descended from the apes. 
Beyond this point authorities vary and there is much 
difference of opinion and many theories about race. It 
does not seem in the least agreed upon whether the races 
of today all come from one stock or whether they 


descend from several stocks. In fact, not only is the 
origin of races unknown, but the number of races is 
uncertain, and moreover nobody can aught but guess 
where the various races came from. 

Several ways of grouping and dividing mankind have 
been devised by scientists. Some have divided men 
according to nationahty. Others have divided men 
according to language. And undoubtedly there are 
nations and hnguistic families among men. But if one 
uses one's eyes, it is a patent fact that there are dif- 
ferent kinds of men in the world. An Enghshman is 
different from a Chinaman, and both are different from 
a Hottentot. Even to the naked eye, there are dis- 
tinctions in form and color. One can see that some 
groups of men are tall, some short; that some men in 
the color of their skin approximate to white, others to 
yellow, others to brown, others to black; that some men 
have straight black hair, others wavy hair of various 
shades, others woolly hair, etc. To the mind also, there 
are distinctions apparent in the mental traits and 
impulses of the different kinds of men. 

These anatomical, biological and psychical charac- 
teristics are now increasingly accepted as the basic 
attributes of race. It is understood that the political 
divisions of mankind or nations and the linguistic 
families do not necessarily correspond with race. A 
race may be one nation or it may be divided poUtically 
into several nations: a race may speak one language 
or it may hold intercourse in numerous tongues. And 
so it is coming about that the groups of men with 
similar anatomical, biological and psychical character- 
istics are becoming recognized as the ones deserving the 
appellation of race. 


Now art is a product of humanity just as is nation- 
ality or language. There are many arts, exactly as 
there are many nations and many languages. And just 
as the various nations and languages have been formed 
by various bodies of men, so have the various arts been 
fashioned by various bodies of men. Nations and lan- 
guages unfortunately so seldom correspond with race that 
they cannot be used with any certainty as criterions of 
race. And it is therefore of importance to science to find 
out how much the arts correspond to race because the 
arts unquestionably offer many clues to race problems. 

It is axiomatic that an artist is the product of his 
own time and of his own environment. It should 
be equally almost as axiomatic that an artist is 
the product of his own race. For the evidences of the 
fine arts unquestionably show that mental racial 
characteristics play a large part both in the start and 
in the growth of an artist and of his art. No artist, 
without some sudden new external influence, starts out 
and does something very different from his immediate 
artistic forefathers and relatives. No Melanesian sud- 
denly begins to paint kakemonos: no Amerind suddenly 
abandons rectangles to draw circles. A Melanesian 
or an Amerind continues to produce Melanesian or 
Amerind art, unless some other art force, Chinese or 
European or what not, intervenes, and compels some 
new departure. That is to say, the art of any tribe, 
of any set of persons in one locality, belongs to the 
art of their race. White race artists instinctively pro- 
duce a White race art. Yellow race artists a Yellow race 
art, and so forth. A comparative study of art cer- 
tainly warrants the assertion that original art is almost 
invariably, perhaps invariably, racial. 


In two ways art may tell of the characteristics and the 
relationships of mankind. One is in regard to the men- 
tality, the other to the biology of man. Art tells fairly 
clearly about the mental impulses and the psychical 
traits of a race, that is it lets us know with some 
accuracy the kind and degree of development of a race. 
Art also places before us more or less fully and uncon- 
sciously according to the racial ability for portraiture 
the physical characteristics of a race, that is it opens 
our eyes to some extent to the bodily appearance of 
the units of a race. 

When we find resemblances or differences among 
arts, we must therefore look at these from two stand- 
points: resemblances or differences in mentaUty and in 
portraiture. Resemblances or differences in the kinds 
and degrees of art tell fairly accui'ately whether races 
are or are not mentally similar and in the same stage 
of development: resemblances or differences in the por- 
traiture of arts, that is in the sculptures or drawings 
of humans, tell with some accuracy whether the physical 
characteristics of the makers of various arts are similar 
or different. 

Similarity in kind and degree of art, that is in 
mentality, does not necessarily imply similarity in 
racial physique, that is in portraiture. If the arts 
of two peoples are similar in kind it may be that the 
races are related, but it may be also that they are 
not related. But if any arts have even crude por- 
traiture, this offers an almost infallible test as to 
whether the makers are related by blood. In some 
primitive arts, however, portraiture is so exceedingly 
incipient that very little can be gleaned from it. 

In many obvious cases, where we find similarit}'^ in 


art, we find similarity in race; and where we find 
difference in art, we find difference in race. For 
instance, we know that the art of modern France is to 
some extent similar to the art of old Rome; and we 
know also that the French belong partly to the same 
race as the Romans: this then is a case of a partial 
similarity in art and a partial similarity in race. 
Again we know that the art of modern France is 
different from the art of old Mexico; and we know also 
that the races of France and of old Mexico are different: 
here then is a case of difference in art and difference 
in race. 

When we find similarity in the fine arts of two 
geographically distant peoples, it clearly implies kinship 
in their mental traits. When we find similarity in the 
physical appearance of two geographically distant 
peoples, it clearly impUes kinship by blood. When we 
find similarity both in fine arts and in appearance, the 
evidence seems overwhelming that these two geograph- 
ically distant peoples are sprung from the same stock 
and that one of them has become transplanted. In 
support of these statements, I will cite some observa- 
tions of my own. I had the pleasure on one occasion 
of a long talk with Mene Wallace, an Eskimo from 
Etah, North Greenland, who speaks English very well. 
A rather short, strong, stocky man, his physique was 
not in the least that of an Amerind. Moreover, his 
face diverged wholly from the Amerind type face. It 
resembled the Japanese face and what would, I sup- 
pose, be called the Mongol face. Now there is no 
doubt that most Eskimo art is unhke Amerind art 
and, on the contrary, resembles closely some naturalistic 
East Asiatic art. And the inference, it seems to me, is 

ART AND -MAN. 245 

obvious. The Eskimo are not related to the Amerinds, 
but they are related to the Japanese, and perhaps to 
some of the Chinese. And while we cannot say 
definitely as yet that the Eskimo came to America from 
Asia, still the balance of probabiUties is in favor of 
this, because of the numbers of the Asiatic racial 
relations of the Eskimo. 

On the other hand, two or more races may be 
physically different, while their mental development and 
artistic instincts may be very similar. And compari- 
sons show that in such cases races produce art which 
is very similar altho not identical. As an instance, 
consider the African, Australasian, and Amerind arts. 
They might not improperly be termed one great 
artistic family. These arts are principally decorative 
pattern art, evincing a weak sense of form and a 
great love of colors. These arts vary in many respects 
from one another: they are never identical: their por- 
traiture is wholly different: and moreover each one of 
these arts itself varies locally everywhere. But these 
arts each display an art instinct and art impulse 
implying behind them much the same mental power 
and mental traits: in other words, there is great 
similarity, tho no identity between them. Now we 
know positively that the races of Africa and America, 
and that at least some of the races of Australasia and 
America are physically different. Hence we must 
logically conclude that similar arts do not necessarily 
mean physical racial relationship; and also that races 
may be entirely different physically and yet be suffi- 
ciently similar mentally to produce arts similar in 
kind and degree. 

Influences extraneous to a race, however, occasion- 


ally bring about changes in an artist's work or even 
in the art of a race. It is especially external forces 
such as the conquest of one race by another that 
sometimes causes art to depart from its original racial 
basis. The effect of extraneous influences on art may 
be exemplified in South and East Asiatic arts. In 
Hindustan, China, Korea and Japan, we have four 
countries, whose inhabitants are all Asiatics but who 
belong to several separate races. Among the ancestors 
of these several races there seems to have grown up 
at some remote time a pattern decorative art, not 
unUke Australasian art and which might be called 
Early Asiatic art. About this Early Asiatic art we 
are still much in the dark but, judging wholly from 
our own observations, apparently such an art existed 
in Asia east of Baluchistan in prehistoric times. 

On this Early Asiatic art foundation, there grew up 
in China, Korea and Japan the great East Asiatic 
naturahstic art. According to legendary history, this 
art started in China and spread to Korea and Japan. 
In the last two countries it put forth branches varying 
from the parent stem. Altho the makers apparently 
belong to different races, yet we must remember that 
they are all Asiatics and moreover East Asiatics. And 
the ready acceptance and successful fruition of Chinese 
naturalistic art especially in Japan, implies that Chinese 
and Japanese artistic traits are nearly identical. It is 
a case fairly parallel to that of the Dutch and the 
Italians who both belong to the White races, the one 
to the northern the other to the southern family, and 
whose arts generically belong to the same artistic 

On this Early Asiatic art base also, there arose 


in Hindustan some art, principally sculpture, dealing 
mainly with Buddhistic themes. These Buddhistic sub- 
jects crossed the Himalaya with the religion and became 
grafted on the East Asiatic autochthonous naturahstic 
art. It is evident therefore that occasionally extraneous 
causes, as in this instance religious beliefs acting under the 
force of patronage, may introduce foreign subjects into 
the art of a race. But these Buddhistic subjects did not 
affect East Asiatic pictorial technic, which was invented 
in Eastern Asia and which was and remains racial. 

One of the greatest puzzles connected with race is 
that of the Pleistokenes. Who were they? Of the 
Pleistokene race we know but Uttle. Pleistokene art, 
however, has great similarities to Bushman art and to 
Arctic art. These arts might well be called one great 
artistic family, just as one might call the African, Aus- 
tralasian, and Amerind arts one great artistic family. 
But we know that the makers of the African and 
Amerind arts are entirely, and the makers of the 
Australasian and Amerind arts are almost entirely 
physically different races. Therefore also unquestion- 
ably, the makers of the Pleistokene, Bushman, and 
Eskimo arts may be physically different races. More- 
over their habitats are situated at forbidding distances 
from one another. In the Ught of these facts there- 
fore, it seems improbable that the similarities of the 
Pleistokene, Bushman and Arctic arts are due to a 
physical race relationship dating from way back. On 
the contrary, it seems probable that we have three 
distinct physical races with very similar mental art 
impulses and whose struggle for existence was solved 
much in the same way by following the chase. 

Art, however, points to a solution of the Pleisto- 


kene puzzle. Free hand drawing or sketching of an 
advanced type is found especially in two areas of the 
earth: China-Japan, and southern and central Europe. 
The East Asiatics sketch to perfection: so do the 
rather small dark-white peoples dwelling in the southern 
part of Europe: the brancli of the White race now 
usually spoken of as the Mediterranean race. In both 
cases this ability seems to be largely racial. Of the 
Mediterranean race in Minoan Crete there were artists 
who decorated pottery with free hand sketches of plants 
and sea forms; in Italy and Spain dozens of artists 
have shown w^hat free hand drawing can be: no nation- 
ality has ever surpassed the French in free hand 
sketching. And the Pleistokene drawings are typically 
French: some of them might have been done by a 
Barye or a Troyon. Moreover, Pleistokene art flourished 
in precisely the same habitat where the Mediterranean 
race now^ holds sway. 

But especiall}^ important is the fact that there is a 
little Pleistokene portraiture left. And this portraiture 
reveals neither Negroid nor Mongoloid types. When 
Mr. Champion, curator of the Musee de Saint Germain, 
showed me the little Pleistokene ivory heads there, I 
exclaimed "Mais c'est Egyptien!" and he replied "Ah, 
Monsieur, d'autres I'ont dit aussi.'" While it is princi- 
pally the arrangement of the hair that gives the 
Egyptian look, there can be no doubt, it seems to me, 
that the faces suggest a south European type. Artistic- 
ally, geographically and physically therefore, the most 
rational explanation of the Pleistokene race, indeed the 
conclusion which seems to be forced on us, is that the 
Pleistokenes were the ancestors of the Mediterranean 
branch of the White race. 


While many things point out that European Pleisto- 
kene art was the first wave of White race art, many 
other things point out that it was not the father of 
any of the later arts of other races thruout the world. 
Art, it is true, proceeds everywhere from the same 
instinct and the same impulse, and from the creative 
side therefore art is always more or less the same 
thing. But there are a number of arts which are suffi- 
ciently distinct to show that they are mainly autoch- 
thonous and not descended from one another. The 
African, Australasian and Amerind arts, for instance, are 
evidently not the children of European Pleistokene art. 
It is safe therefore to say that the fine arts point to a 
multiplicity of races; and also that the fine arts offer 
no evidence that man sprang from one stock in one 
locahty any more than they offer any evidence about 
the origin of races. If there was one original race, of 
which the others are offshoots, that race antedated any 
art: at least any art of which we have any fragments 

It seems also fairlj- certain that European Pleistokene 
art originated probably more than 100,000 years ago. 
For Boucher de Perthes in the valley of the Somme* and 
Mr. W. M. Newton in the valley of the Thames found 
rudimentary figure-stones in the Acheuleen.f But so 
far apparently no Pleistokene art has been discovered 
in Asia nor in Africa. Not only therefore is Pleistokene 
art coincident with the habitat of the most artistic 
European nationalities of today, but also— unless the 
spade of some archaeologist of the future shows us to 
the contrary — art must be accepted as having begun in 

* Antiquites Celtiques et AntedUuviennes. 

t Arthur Keith: The Antiquity of Man, 1915, ]). l(i(i. 


Europe long before there was any art in Asia or Africa. 
At present all the evidences of art point out that 
Pleistokene art was autochthonous in Europe; that the 
Pleistokene art makers, from Acheul6en times on, were 
autochthonous European races; and that man first 
matured into an intelligent man in Europe. In addi- 
tion to this, if we consider that in the European 
Chell^en and even earher, man showed a sense of form 
in the manufacture of stone implements; that the Heid- 
elberg remains were dug out of the earliest Pleistokene; 
and that the Piltdown skull may date back to the later 
Pleiocene: surely there is food for thought. 

It is perhaps premature and speculative to suggest 
that it seems most in accord with these evidences to 
think that man descended from several ancestors in 
different parts of the world and that these descendants 
stayed to some extent on their native soil, rather than 
that man descended from one ancestor in one spot and 
that his descendants thence spread over the earth. But 
it is timely and correct to say that the evidences of 
the fine arts, of the mechanical arts, and of man's 
own remains directly contradict the commonly accepted 
theory that man wandered from Asia into Europe. 
While there is nothing in art to suggest that man 
wandered from Europe into Asia, all of the artistic 
and much of the scientific evidence is totally at vari- 
ance with the usual belief that Europe was peopled 
from Asia: indeed it points out squarely as a fact, that 
the European races were autochthones, born and bred 
on the continent of Europe. 

This brief study of the relations of art to race 
brings out, it seems to me, certain facts which appar- 
ently are new. But even these few remarks — unampli- 


fied in order to keep them, in accordance with artistic 
law, in harmony with the rest of the book — show that 
much may be learnt about race from art, much more 
than from nationality or language, because while these 
may or may not correspond with race, art almost 
invariably does. And because art is so nearly coinci- 
dent with race, students of man should study art and 
study it along comparative Unes. For by so doing it 
is certain that a great deal which is now unknown will 
be discovered about the ancestors and relationships of 




A R C 1 








Fig. 28. Sketch map of the geographical (li.stributioii 




-4 M £ R r N D /-^ 

A L/^S I AN ^ 
R/1 T I V E t,"^ 

" <i 


f ■ 

of the Fine Arts thriiout the World. 





How this work started 7 

First publications on subject 7 

Change of view among art critics and ethnologists 8 

Book an enlargement of Coiuparnlivr Art. General aim of book 8 

Art and Comparative Art. 

Term "art." What it covers and limited use thereof 11 

Dancing 11 

Definition of art 11 

Art a production of man, not of nature 12 

Primitive art part of fine arts 12 

Art as one whole still unstudied 13 

Necessity of comparing arts 14 

Batta and Easter Island heads 16 

Easter Island art did not cross to America 16 

Similarity does not mean identity 17 

Every art is locally individual and not identical with any other art 17 

Comparative art a link between science and art 18 

Definition of comparative art 18 

Comparative art not comparative archaeology 19 

Many scienc,es used in study of man 19 

Written records 20 

Implements 20 

Art specimens 21 

Art in a borderland 21 

Art specimens divided 21 

Art experts not ethnologists 22 

Ethnologists not art experts 23 

Art as one whole a still open field 23 

The Geographical Distribution of Art. 

Art is universal 24 

All races have art, sometimes good 24 

Is art one or several? 26 

Art varies in different places 26 

Classification must be geograpliical and historical 26 



Various classifications possible 27 

Main arts of the world 27 

Europe. Pleistokene 28 

" Neolithic. Bronze Age 30 

" Egean 30 

" Greek 30 

" Etruscan 30 

" Roman 31 

" Byzantine 31 

" Modem European 31 

Africa. Libyan 32 

Bushman 32 

" Negro 32 

" Zimbabwe 32 

Egj'pt 33 

Asia. West Asiatic 33 

" Arab 33 

" Early Asiatic 33 

" South Asiatic 34 

" East Asiatic 34 

Australasia. Melanesian 34 

Polynesian 36 

Asia and America. Arctic 36 

America. Pleistokene? 37 

" West North Amerind and East North Amerind 38 

Mexican and Central Amerind 38 

" West and East South Amerind 38 


The Evolution OF THE Artist. Instinct and Impulse. P.\tron.\ge. 

Art everjT\'here : hence art instinct in all races 10 

Definition of art instinct and art impulse 40 

Art instinct same as esthetic sense 41 

Art instinct, like language, a primal instinct in man 41 

Does art instinct grow up or is it transmitted? 41 

Art comes primarily from art instinct based on vision and is bom many 

times anew 41 

Pleistokene art instinct 42 

Decorative art from art instinct 42 

Esthetic sense is underlying motive power. Proof from development of chil- 
dren into artists 43 

Primitives act like children about art impulse 43 

Art comes secondarily from visualizing mental conceptions 43 

Artist's instinct like mouser cat's, spider's, or duckling's instinct 44 

Art instinct may swamp reason 44 

Best artists reason 46 

Turner 46 

Wagner 47 

Esthetic sense first: then patronage 47 

Patronage implies demand and supply; stomach versus brains 48 

Patronage hostile, but also friendly to art 48 



The Personal Equation of an Artist. Sincerity. Personality. 
Style. Observation. Imagination. Memory. 

"Soyez naif." Henry Marcette. Naivete or sincerity means that artist 

allows his art instinct to express itself freely 49 

Three stages in artist's work: in childhood, sincerity: in training, copying: 

in maturity, either copying or return to sincerity 49 

Early Italian and Flemish art sincere 50 

Pre-Raphaelites insincere 50 

Chinese art most artistic, yet Chinese not a ttaif race 51 

Primitive art depends largely on sincerity. Often better than advanced art. . 51 

Sincerity without art impulse, useless. Example, some Negro art 51 

Personality implies sincerity and produces style 52 

Style refers to technic and applies to artists and to schools of art 52 

Personality appears only in some arts 52 

Personality in art has nothing to do with moral character of artist 53 

Observation at bottom of all art 53 

Observation of hunting disguises led to fabulous animals 53 

All art based on something seen, and thus a record of ethnology, zoology, etc. 54 
Imagination and memory necessary. Not all art is done from nature. 

Imagination and memory obtain life and motion 54 

Imagination and memory in all good art: Europeans, Bushmen, Australasians, 

etc., have them 56 

Training and Environment. 

Training shapes art and artists for good or bad 57 

Training saves time, but may destroy individualitj'. Best artists leave their 

training behind 57 

Pioneers in art go one step further than their training and their predecessors 58 
Importance of training shown by art academies of today, by Italian and 

Flemish art, etc 58 

Training has played part in forming some great arts 59 

By analogy therefore training must have acted the same in Crete, Western 

Asia, etc 59 

Training more doubtful in Africa, Australasia and America, but must have 

done something 59 

Environment a chief factor in art 59 

What environment is : local, physical, etc 60 

Influence of materials 60 

A hunting stage does not cause similarity in art 61 

Great art sometimes means prosperity 61 

Civilization sometimes blunts art 62 

Commercial prosperity does not necessarily imply good art 62 

Good art implies mental ability 62 

258 ART AXD ]\rAN. 


^ Criticism. „oe 

Term "critic" unfortunate: implies condemnation 64 

Substitute terms for "art critic" 64 

Three stages of untrained-in-art-technic persons 66 

Untrained persons usually incorrect 66 

"I know what I like" 67 

Connoisseurs as critics 67 

Artists as critics 68 

Art and criticism different things 68 

Critic must be both artist and connoisseur 69 

Best writers about art. Men with art instinct and reasoning powers sometimes 

become art critics 69 

Art writer must be broad minded: needs art instinct but not art impulse: 

must act like a law judge 70 

It is difficult to WTite about art because its qualities are intangible 71 

Art writer's work should radiate from center like a fan 71 

Change in view point of the author 72 

Everj' art writer's view point must enlarge 73 


Art and Nature. Naturalism. Imitation. Realism. Idealism 
AND Imagination. 

Art is a world of its own : art is not nature 76 

In pure nature there is always beauty 76 

Man usually spoils nature 77 

Man's alterations of nature sometimes beautiful 77 

Misconception of "truth to nature" 77 

Truth foundation of science: goodness of ethics: beauty of art 78 

Truth the bed rock of science 78 

By "truth to nature" people mean mirror like imitation 78 

Terms naturalistic, realistic, idealistic 78 

Realistic imitative art is reflection in mirror 79 

Realistic interpretative art interprets nature 79 

Idealistic art a mental vision 79 

" Poeta nascilur, non fit" 80 

Decorative art based on nature or on patterns 80 

Whether imitative or imaginative, art may be good, bad or indifferent 80 

Imaginative art higher type than imitative art 81 

Architecture not based on nature 81 

Sculpture closely allied to nature: Greek sculpture idealistic 81 

Chairs, teapots, etc., semi sculptural art which is not "true to nature" 82 

Painting may or may not be imitative 82 

Perspective and hght and shade necessary for imitation 83 

Anecdote of Degas 83 

Most decorative art not "true to nature" 83 

Fortuny. Manet. Barj-e 84 

Holbein. Veronese. Rubens 84 

Edward WhjTnper 86 

BOcklin 86 

Solomon Islands and Zuni figures 86 

No art wholly imitative or wholly imaginative 87 



Sculptural, Pictorial and Decorative Arts. Two Dimensional 
AND Three Dimensional Art. 


Relations between sculptural art, pictorial art and decorative art intricate ... 88 
In pictorial and sculptural art, art work is primary; in decorative art, it is 

secondary ^^ 

Some art naturalistic, some non naturalistic 89 

Sculptures and pictures sometimes decorations for architecture. Puvis de 

Chavannes ^9 

Confusion in terminology ^0 

Painting is spots of pigment: has only two dimensions 90 

Third dimension, depth, a suggestion and illusion 91 

Difference between a painting and a picture on a house wall 91 

What decorative art is. Should be simple 92 

Painted decorative art is pattern art 92 

Decorative art not inferior to imitative: something different 93 

Classification of arts of world 93 

Pleistokene, Bushman and Arctic arts pictorial and sculptural 93 

Neolithic art decorative 9-1 

European art sculptural and pictorial 94 

European decorative art sense weak: shown by decorations on pottery 94 

Egyptian and West Asiatic arts sculptural and decorative 96 

Arab art decorative 96 

South Asiatic art sculptural, decorative and pictorial 96 

East Asiatic art sculptural, pictorial and decorative 97 

Negro, Australasian and Amerind arts sculptural and decorative 97 

Good and bad points of Negro, Amerind and Australasian arts 98 

Gradation from pictorial art of Europe to decorative art of Africa, Australasia 

and America 98 

All statements about these matters can be only general hints 99 


Subject and Motive. Taste. Selection. Beauty. Ethics. 

Subject and motive 100 

Definition of subject 100 

Definition of motive 100 

How to look at works of art. Ostensible subject. Real motive 101 

Questions put show literateur or artist 101 

Literateurs and ethnologists look for subject 102 

Artists look for motive 102 

Anecdote of an American painter 103 

Pleasant and unpleasant subjects 103 

Comparative art should turn mainly to motive 103 

Examples, human figure, mother and child 104 

Subjects nevertheless important, but ethnologists should not be misled by 

them 104 

Choice of subjects by various races 109 

260 ART A^rn >rAX. 


The subject in some art works is symbolical, that is, is something else than 

appears 106 

Symbolism sometimes shown in repeating parts of figure 107 

Taste is racial 107 

Taste rules art. Taste causes selection 108 

Taste of Africans, Australasians and Amerinds 108 

European fashion plates 10!) 

Titian and Sesshiu, Greek sculptures, Rembrandt's etchings: governed by 

taste and selection 110 

"C'estbeau!" 110 

Beauty not an absolute canon of art 1 10 

Beauty and taste undefinable entities: vary thruout world HI 

In decorative art, beauty cannot be divorced from use Ill 

Character a phase of beauty HI 

Beauty in art varies witli taste of spectator: Amerind war dress, banyan root. 112 

Meaning of words good and bad in art 113 

What are the ethics of art? 113 

Human ethics and religion a rule of conduct 114 

Art due to sharpened raion: not to morality 114 

Ethics of art different from ethics of human life 114 

If battle pictures are motives they may be good. V'ernet and de Neuville. 116 

But if battle pictures are moralitie.?, they are apt to be weak 116 


8oME Art Attributes. Composition. Synthesis and Ax-^lysis. 
Harmony and Finish. Quality. Conventionality. Mystery. 

Composition is the planning of a work of art: a mental act of artist 117 

Composition differentiates art from nature: artist must use his brain 117 

Composition cannot be taught: only a few rules can be given 117 

Artist must compose mainly thru his art instinct 118 

Giorgione's Madonna a fine composition 118 

Composition found to some extent in all arts 119 

SjTithesis and analysis in all art: what they are: importance of both 119 

Synthesis and analysis vary in different arts: in which arts most prominent. . 120 

Harmony essential in art 120 

Feeling for harmony universal: part of art instinct 120 

Decorative patterns repeated symmetrically for the sake of harmony 121 

Harmony cliief factor in finish: a work of art in harmony is finished as far 

as it goes 121 

Quality means that technical processes are well done: in which arts it is present. 122 

Conventionality is when art becomes crystalUzed into set forms 122 

Conventional and unconventional arts 123 

Some paintings so undefined one scarcely know.s what they mean Ii3 

Mysteriousness a charm 124 

Mysterj' in some ways a high level mark of art 124 

Mysterj' essentially European 124 

East Asiatic art suggestive rather than mysterious 124 

"Grail song" more mysterious than seeing Grail 126 

No mystery in other arts 126 



The Technic of Form. Materials. Drawing. Outline. Line. 
Perspective. Action and Motion. 

Definition of technic 127 

Materials 127 

Drawing. Outline 128 

Immature mind insists on outline 128 

Drawings of immature inartistic minds 128 

Outline among various races 129 

Line. Difference from outline 129 

Importance of line in composition 130 

Lines suggesting third dimension show advanced art 130 

Classical lines and picturesque lines 130 

Perspective. What it is. Mechanical rather than artistic 131 

Among what races perspective is found 132 

Action and motion. Every object has its action. Mption only when a move- 
ment is depicted 132 

Among what arts found 132 

Curvilinear Art and Rectilinear Art. 

Curved and straight lines in all arts. But more of one kind or the other in every 

art ". 133 

Races who observe nature develop curved lines. Races who follow grass pat- 
terns develop straight lines 133 

European art curvilinear 133 

African arts curvilinear and rectilinear 134 

Asiatic arts mainly curvilinear 134 

Australasian arts mainly rectilinear 136 

Amerind arts strongly rectilinear 136 

Mitla art 136 

Some curves in Amerind art 137 


The Technic of Color. Painting. Masses. Colors and Color. 
Values. Atmosphere. Light and Shade. Effect. Cast 
Shadows. Light. Sunshine. 

Masses. Drawing on a middle line. Eakins. Delacroix 138 

Difference between colors, color and pigments 138 

Colors used early on person and in art 139 

Color late discovery; cannot be described in words 139 

Imitation of local shades dangerous: relations of color must be sought 140 

Hard to compare colors and color among races 140 

Color sense often better among primitives than among civilized: often lacking 

in cities 140 

262 ART AND ]\rAN. 


Asia pre-eminently land of colors and color 141 

Good sense of colors among Arabs, Amerinds, Australasians and Africans... 141 

In Europe preference for tone 141 

Values. Atmospheric perspective 142 

Values never realized. May be suggested 142 

Values a late development of art. Among what arts found 143 

Effect. Appearance of scene or object at one time 143 

Effect is European and South Asiatic. Cast shadows omitted in East Asiatic 

art 143 

Everything is subordinate to light in nature 144 

Light cannot be real in art 144 

Bare white surface nearest approach to light 144 

Light can be centered by surrounding darkness 144 

This is European and South A.siatic 146 

Light suggested by brilliant colors. Explanation of spectrum 146 

How to paint a luminist picture 147 

Any pattern will do for this 147 

Brilliant colors in rather general use 148 

European pictures in spectral colors. Plein air movement 148 


The Human Figure. Proportions. Nude. Portraiture in 

Art and Photography. Eye. Ear. Lip. Waist. 

Abdomen. Hand. Foot. 

Sense of form called by French idee plastique 149 

Proportions vary in diiTerent arts. Europeans make tall figures with small 

heads 149 

East Asiatics usually make realistic proportions. 150 

Pleistokene, Bushmen, Arctics make realistic proportions 150 

African, Australasian, Amerind arts tend to big heads, small bodies, short legs 151 

The wherefore of squat figures is hard to explain 151 

No race seems to record or care for obese humans 152 

Some Negro tribes fatten females 152 

Nudes in all arts. Primitives make them because they do not wear clothes .... 153 

East Asiatics care little for nudes 153 

Europeans especially inspired by nude humans in art 154 

For a good portrait, likeness and character imperative 154 

Sculpted portraiture in more arts than painted portraiture. Egypt, Western 

Asia, Greece, Eastern Asia 154 

Sculpted heads of Amerinds, Africans, and Australasians 156 

Painted portraits lacking among many races 156 

Drawing and form essential in pictorial portrait 157 

East Asiatic portraiture mainly drawing in line 157 

Old Chinese portraits 158 

Sharaku 158 

European portraiture has drawing, light and shade, and color 159 

Portraits largely a compromise between family and artist 159 

South Asiatic heads show European art characteristics 160 

Best photographs retouched by hand : that is are art 161 

Best photographs are portraits 161 

Eye ball has no expression 161 


Single eye, in some arts, a decoration 162 

Full face eye in profil face in Egypt 162 

In some Assyrian slabs three quarter eyes in profil faces 162 

Eyes inserted in some arts 162 

Ear lobe extended in some arts. Portrait of Amerind by Saint Menin 163 

Lips extended in some arts 163 

These distortions not due to religion, due to observation 163 

Waist constricted in various arts: due to observation 163 

Abnormal abdomens: Pleistokenes, Africans, Amerinds 164 

Causes of protruding abdomens not clear 164 

Utilitarian Venus of Milo 166 

Starvation abdomens from Easter Island 166 

Hand in all arts. In most arts best hands in sculpture. Best painted hands 

in Europe and Eastern Asia 166 

Single hands in Pleistokene, Australasian, Amerind, Arab arts 167 

Pleistokene hands probably tracings 167 

Hand of Fatma 167 

Causes of single hands not clear 167 

Hand at Towanda, Pennsylvania 168 

Foot usually normal 168 

Occasionally legs finish in points 168 

In some Egyptian and Assyrian full face reliefs, feet in profil 168 

Distorted feet in European art 168 

Distorted feet in Chinese art 169 

Primitive arts never show distorted feet. Bare foot in action 169 


Hunting Disguises. Monsters. Masks. Monoliths. Carved 


Hunting disguises used since oldest times 170 

Hunting disguises are represented in some arts 170 

Drawings of hunting disguises from Pleistokenes and Bushmen 170 

Monsters are found in several arts, as Egj-ptian, Babylonian, Assyrian and 

Hindu 171 

Monsters looked on as deities: but they spring from hunting disguises 171 

Chinese dragon probably a degenerate crocodile 171 

Many limbed humans spring from other causes 171 

Masks widely distributed: among what peoples found 172 

Masks used in ceremonies: but originate in hunting disguises 172 

Monoliths and carved posts widespread 173 

Megaliths mainly Neolithic: common in Brittany 173 

Undecorated megahths in Abyssinia, Zimbabwe, India 173 

Decorated megahtha in Egypt and Central America 173 

Hindu bursos 174 

Carved posts found in many places 174 

Finest carved posts in Alaska: totems, heraldry 174 

Guide posts from Korea 174 

Carved posts from Australasia 174 

Carved posts from Africa 175 

All makers of monoliths or carved posts not related 175 

Big stones and tree trunks handy materials for sculptors 175 


Pottery and Frames. 


Pottery invented after fine art.'! 176 

Not known where pottery was invented 176 

Pottery almost universal. Not found among Pleistokenes or Bushmen.. 176 

Usefulness primary test of jiottery : beauty secondary 177 

Pottery of primitives, Egyptians and most Asiatics, useful 177 

European pottery less useful 177 

Pottery decoration should be decorative 178 

Among primitives pottery decoration is decorative 178 

Among Asiatics and Europeans some pottery decoration is imitative 179 

Persian, Arab, Spanish pottery 179 

('hinese porcelain: its movements: comparison with Greek pottery 179 

Evolution of European pottery decoration 180 

Frames an art convention. Europeans, Asiatics, and perhaps Egyptians have 

frames: other races have not 182 

Frames best solved by East Asiatics 182 


The Evolution of Technic. Form. Color. Sculpture. Stone 
Implements. Bas Relief. Painting. 

Field covered by term evolution 184 

Evolution a series of steps 184 

Simplest forms first 185 

Stone implements start of art technic 185 

Stone implements universal 185 

Four classes of stone implements 186 

Stone implements forgotten by modern man 187 

Eoliths, paleoliths, neoliths not a good terminology 187 

Stone implements date back to Pleiocene 188 

Paleoliths appear towards beginning of Pleistokene 189 

Stone implements evolve with time 189 

Abbott's discovery of American paleoliths. Ernest Volk 190 

Paleoliths first sign of sense of form 192 

Chipping stones led naturally to sculpture 192 

Chipping stones the start of art technic in Europe 192 

Chipping stones may be start of art in other places 193 

Table showing relations of art to stone implements in Europe 194 

Is form or color first? 194 

Daubs of color protected persons against cold: led to tattooing 195 

Evolution of Renaissance art: sculpture, bas relief, painting 196 

The Evolution of Subject and Motive. Sculptural and Pic- 
torial Art: Animals, Humans, Landscape. Decorative Art: 
Basketry, Pictorial, Degenerate, Accidental. 

.\rt evolves first animals and humans, then landscape: form, then color 197 

Animals better than humans among Pleistokenes, Bushmen, and Arctics. . . . 197 

Also among Assyrians 197 


Scissor action in animals 

Africans, Australasians, Amerinds prefer humans to animals 

Humans among Europeans and Asiatics play central role 

Human figure when well done implies advanced social condition 

Landscape unknown among primitive races 

At least two starting points in decorative art 200 

Basketry a source of decorative patterns 200 

Sculptural and pictorial art a source of patterns 201 

Degenerate decorative patterns : difficulty in tracing some of them 201 

South American patterns. Mitla art 202 

Accidental patterns 203 

Property marks 203 

Handwriting 203 


Local and Intrusive Arts. Autochthonous Arts. Movements 


Is art one or several. Did it rise in one spot or many 204 

Art moved slowly before advent of railroads 204 

Birth, life, movements and death of arts 204 

Necessity caused invention of objects like jars in many places 205 

Decoration comes from feeling, not necessity 205 

Individuality of every art very noticeable 206 

Difficult to tell sometimes whether art is native or intrusive 206 

Some arts close together of separate growth 207 

Some pottery statuettes from different localities resemble each other 207 

Every art more or less local 208 

Propinquity causes resemblance: distance causes difference 208 

Multiple centers of creation 209 

As a rule, art is local rather than intrusive 209 

Historical and geographical movements found among the greater arts 210 

One should not carry this fact into an absurdity 210 

Art appears in some place, then dies out. Egean art 212 

Cycles in art of Egypt 212 

Japanese prints 213 

European art historically and geographically 214 

Colored tiles historically and geographically 214 

Sometimes two arts succeed each other 215 

The geographical spread of Arab art 215 

Geographical barriers. Atlantic Ocean 216 

Rebirths of art to the eastward 216 

Move of art eastward does not apply to branches of art, but to the main 

centers of probable creation 217 

Gradation of art geographically 218 

Gradation of art historically 218 

One type of art predominates in one locality at one time and radiates all 

around 218 

Gradation of art points to oneness of art 219 

Move eastward of art opposes theory that man dispersed from Lemuria or 

theory that man dispersed from Central Asia 220 


266 ART AXD ]\fAK. 


Art and Religion. 

The word religion 222 

\'iewpoint of ethnologists and art critics incorrect 222 

Religion affects mainly the subject in art 222 

Religious belief not fundamental in art: how religious painters grow up. . . . 223 

Religious pictures are subject pictures 223 

Religious pictures illustrations; due to patronage of church 224 

Spanish art depended on church 224 

Italian art depended on church 225 

Greek art had human figure for impelling motive 225 

Dutch art flourished without religion 225 

Nineteenth century art not due to religion 226 

Rubens 226 

Giotto and Fra AngeHco 227 

Religion in same relations to primitive as to advanced art. Primitive art 

from same source as child art 227 

Primitive sculptures of humans miscalled "idols" 228 

"Doll" should be substituted for "idol" 229 

Some primitive sculptures are idols. How to distinguish them from dolls . . 229 

White race also makes idols 230 

Arabs forbidden humans 230 

Religion dictates subjects: often neglects beauty; produces tortures and snakes 230 

Rehgion fosters conventionaUty 231 

Good effects of religion on art; probably superior to ill effects 231 


The Rank of Arts. 

Can definite rank be assigned to arts. " De guslibus" 233 

Remarks by two educated Americans 233 

" Pictures are mostly judged thru the ear" 234 

No fixed standards 234 

Harm of art juries 234 

The new exhibition 235 

No two persons agree: different races have different tastes 236 

Europeans and Asiatics different 236 

Europeans and East Asiatics best painters 236 

Greeks perhaps best sculptors 237 

The arts of primitive races improve on acquaintance. Impossible to rank arts . 237 

Comparison of a banquet and art 237 


Art and Race. 

Art tells of time in evolution of man. Pleistokenes intelligent: hence man's 

development a long one 239 

Nothing in art to show origin of man 239 

Questions for solution thru art about race 240 



What does race mean? Facts geology, paleontology and anatomy tell 240 

Divisions of man into families: nationalistic, linguistic, physical 241 

Bodily characterLstics superseding nationalistic and linguistic as tests of race. 241 
Nations and languages may or may not correspond with race. Is this the case 

with the arts? 242 

Artist product of his own time, environment and race. Melanesian produces 

Melanesian art, etc 242 

Art tells of mental qualities of a race and if there is portraiture of its physical 

characteristics 243 

Resemblances and differences in art must be sought in mentality and por- 
traiture 243 

Similarity of art in kind does not necessarily imply similarity in race 243 

Similarity or difference in art often corresponds to the same in race. France, 

Rome, Me.xico 243 

Similarities in appearance and in arts of distant peoples imply similarity in 

race. Mene Wallace, Eskimo, Japanese 244 

Races maybe physically different, but have similar artistic instincts. Africans, 

Australasians, Amerinds 245 

Extraneous influences may affect art of a race. Hindus, Chinese, Koreans, 

Japanese 245 

Chinese naturalistic art probably spread to Korea and Japan 246 

Hindu Buddhist subjects traveled to China and Japan 246 

Pleistokene, Bushman, Arctic arts very similar: races probably dissimilar 247 

Pleistokenes probably ancestors of Mediterranean race 247 

Pleistokene heads resemble Egyptian heads 248 

Art points to multiplicity of races, but is dumb about origin of races 249 

Pleistokene art points to autochthonous European races 249 

Pleistokene art contradicts theory that early European races came from Asia. 250 
Art surer criterion of race than nationality or language. Comparative art 

should reveal much more about mankind 250 






















































Snake woman, Minoan Crete 15 

Little Egyptian stone figure 25 

Prehistoric pottery from Etruria: may be Neolithic divinity 25 

Egyptian high relief figure modelled on one side 25 

Egyptian bas relief figure twisted into impossible position 25 

African man with pelele and with ax hafted in body. Small 

wooden figure 35 

Woman with dwarfed figure and with drum on head. Large 

wooden statue, Gold Coast, Africa 45 

Woman with dwarfed figure and protruding abdomen with glass 

window inserted. West Coast, Africa 55 

Wooden statuette of man with palm leaf headdress, Nias Island, 

Sumatra 65 

Large wooden figure from New Guinea or New Ireland 75 

Paddle from Nissan Island, Solomon Islands 85 

Figure in black and red on Solomon Island paddle 95 

Wooden statue about six feet high, from a Morai or cemetery, 

Hawaii 105 

Hei tiki or neck ornament of greenstone, New Zealand 115 

Wood carving, possibly a bear, Amoor River region 115 

Iroquois mask 115 

Koryak mask 115 

Drawing of human on skin, Alaska 125 

Drawing of grizzly bear on skin, Alaska 135 

Bird's head on bow of canoe, Alaska 145 

Painting in black of woman's body with pointed legs, head of white 

wood. Bow of canoe, Alaska 155 

Metate of puma. Central America 155 

Stone statuette. Eastern United States 165 

Pleistokene (?) marks and drawing, from Vero, Florida 181 

Statue of Chacmool, Yucutan 191 

Prehistoric pottery jar, Peru 211 

Wooden figure. Karaja tribe, Brazil 221 

Sketch map of the geographical distribution of the Fine Arts thru- 
out the World 252, 253 

University of Toronto 

Acme Library Card Pocket 

Under Pat. "Ref. Index File-