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Studio: international art — 15.1899

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Reviews of Recent Publications

such as his has its source in nature and in life
themselves. In the highest sense of the word he
was an observer; instead of making instantaneous
" notes " of every-day life and manners, he preferred
to take up his post in a remoter period, out of the
world, caring only to seize, amid the ever-changing
spectacle of reality, its most harmonious and ex-
pressive and beautiful phases. One would not feel
so profoundly moved in presence of the Sainte
Genevieve in the Pantheon, or the Amphitheatre de
la Sorbonne, or the Bois Sacre, were it not that
these magnificent allegories are vivified by the
sincerest, most ardent sense of Nature. This love
for all that is natural—for Nature, in a word—it
is which gave the great and lamented artist his
sense, at once exquisite, refined and grandiose, of
decorative harmony, which he carried to rarest
perfection. It was this same sentiment which made
him one of the foremost landscapists of the present
century, and moreover an incomparable plein-air
painter. Recall L'Ete, LHiver, and Inter artes
et naturam, in the Rouen Gallery; or Marseille,
colonie grecque; Marseille, porte de l Orient, or
Vision Antique, or UInspiration chretienne, or Indus
pro patria ; think of his Pauvre Pecheur, that work
so much decried and misunderstood ! Would you
retain so clear, so lively a remembrance of them
were they not full of truth and marked by the
completest " modern " intelligence of reality and
nature ?

He was accused of being "primitive" ; and well
might he glory in the charge. Truly he looked on
life with primitive eyes, that is to say, altogether
spontaneously, honestly, independently; he had the
simplicity, the logical sense, the precision, the
regard for exactness, the grand familiarity of a
primitive being. His real master, the artist he
most resembled, was Giotto, the Giotto of the
Chapelle de l'Arena at Padua, the Giotto of Santa
Croce.

Puvis de Chavannes has died at the age of
seventy-four in the fulness of his genius. His
Sainte Genevieve veillant snr Paris, which caused
so much enthusiasm at the last Salon, proved him
to be in complete possession of his faculties, all
untouched by age. Therein he seemed indeed to
have attained a masterfulness even more serene
than before, a more expressive simplicity, a com-
pleter emotional force; and there was reason to
hope that we might long watch in admiration
the accomplishment of similar triumphs. But the
vigorous artistic temperament, the solid constitution
which had resisted the effects of half a century of
ceaseless work, succumbed before a grievous sorrow.

The death of Madame Puvis de Chavannes struck
the great painter to the heart.

He was working down till the last hour of his
life, sustained by the love of his art. Octave
Mirbeau has recently told us the following episode,
which cannot be read without emotion.

" Peeling himself very ill he sent for his medical
adviser. ' My dear friend,' said he, ' I want to
know exactly how long I have to live. For weeks
past, in order that I might take better care of
myself, I have neglected my work. I want to com-
plete my fresco before I die. I ask you for the
truth—the real truth !' ' Eh bien !' gravely re-
plied the doctor, 'you perhaps have eight more
days to live.' The same day he went into his
studio and commenced to work furiously. For a
whole week he painted ten hours a day, only
abandoning his canvas when with increasing weak-
ness the brush fell from his hands."

I saw him last on August 31 of this year, the
day of his wife's funeral. And as I write I recall
but dimly the happy hours spent in his studio in
the Place Pigalle, forget the smiling face, so full of
life and power, forget the charming familiarity of his
greeting, his never-failing kindness; for in fancy I
see him now in another guise. My memory for ever
pictures the grand old man standing 'neath the light
of the funereal tapers under the cupola of the
Russian Church, crushed with grief, his face bathed
in tears. I forget all else when I remember his
gesture of despair as he staggered to his feet after
kneeling at the bier of her who was the true half of
himself.

Gabriel Mourey.

REVIEWS OF RECENT

PUBLICATIONS.

lectures on Landscape. By John Ruskin, D.C.L.,
LL.D. With twenty-two plates. (London : George
Allen.)—These lectures, delivered to the under-
graduates at Oxford in 1871, were at the time of
their delivery illustrated by pictures from the Ruskin
collection, some of which are reproduced in the
present volume. The lectures are respectively upon
"Outline," "Light and Shade," and "Colour."
With the exception of a beautiful drawing of Gneiss
Rock, by the author, a Madonna and Child, by
Filippo Lippi, a Lady with Brooch, by Sir Joshua.
Reynolds, a landscape from Raphael's Holy Family,,
and a cartoon, Psyche received into Heaven, by Sir
E. Burne-Jones, the whole of the illustrations are.
after works in various mediums by J. M. W. Turner.
Some are reproduced by chromo-lithography, some;

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