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Studio: international art — 22.1901

Seite: 242
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http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1901a/0278
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Enamelling

and the poet on coming to Laight sat down and
wrote the rough draft of the poem suggested by the
beauty of the scene, the fair copy being finished later
at Nancy Knight's; and the artist's informant told
how his father, then a stable-boy at the change-
house, rode over to Laight with the manuscript of
the verses for the poet's host of the night before.
Burns was no scene painter, and wrote no catalogue
of the objects around, but with the deft touch of
the true nature lover, he caught the spirit of the
place and the hour, and embalmed them in song
for ever, little thinking that in the years to come
an artist of another craft would render in paint, as
he in words, the placid sweetness of a summer
evening by the Afton,

" Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise ;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

" How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
Where wild in the woodland the primroses blow :
There, oft as mild evening sweeps over the lea,
The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me."

Macaulay Stevenson's gamut of colour is not
extensive, he rarely goes beyond his harmonious
greys and silvery greens, his tender blues and
purples, and he produces little but evening land-
scapes bathed in moonlight, or swimming in the
dim radiance of a dead sunset. But this is the
result of the painter's loyalty to truth as he conceives
it; he prefers to touch two strings only and make
them ring true, rather than to play on many and
fail to produce a harmony. This he would deem
almost dishonest. And, as he truly says, there
are two approaches to fine colour, the first road
being that of Turner, from greys that are almost
monochrome to the use of a full palette; the
second starting in a riot of crude pigment which
may perhaps some day end in a perception of
the essentials of true and harmonious colour.
His pictures are always more or less visionary,
but he has had a slight tendency of late years
to etherealise to excess, to give us instead of
the spirit of nature only its ghost; but after
achieving some particularly elusive and delicate
effect, he confesses that he feels the swing of the
pendulum, and flies to some more masculine
subject, treated in a free and vigorous style, large
in design and bold in brushwork. So that, though
there may be at present in Macaulay Stevenson's
work a tendency to attenuation, this indefiniteness
in expression is not indecision; it does not spring
from weakness, but rather from intense spirituality,
and it can in no sense be taken as a retrogression,
242

but rather as a necessary step on the road to a
fuller development on the part of the painter.
It is, probably, nothing but a passing phase of
the artist's career, and we may hope that in the
future his poems on canvas will be true interpreta-
tions of nature—the soul, and not the wraith. If,
too, in days to come, a more extended range of
colour appeals to him, his art may be the gainer.
His projected visit to Kent, and thence to Nor-
mandy, should result in some lovely colour-dreams:
twilight in an apple orchard, when the pearly pink
blossoms foam against a dimly luminous sky, could
be interpreted by Macaulay Stevenson as by few
men. And the choice of some such subjects as
this would add to his art another charm, tor one of
the keynotes of his work, the subdued sense of
sadness in nature which pervades his pictures,
would be supplemented by an equally tender
gladness and joy.

Percy Bate.

HE ART OF TRUE ENAMEL-
LING UPON METALS.—PART I.
BY ALEXANDER FISHER.

In treating 01 this important subject I purpose
to address myself not to the reading public only
and to art connoisseurs and artists, but also and
chiefly to those young students of the schools who
love enamelling for its own sake, and who know
something about its essentials—form, tone, colour,
design. My aim will be to give them, in a short
and direct way, a complete account of my subject
in its varied technical aspects; and some remarks
will be made on its relation to a few of the more
general and abstract truths that form a basis
common to all arts.

In the education of art-students many important
things have to be weighed and considered. What
from a teacher's point of view, is the first of these
things? It is not, I believe, the training of the
hand, the acquiring of manual dexterity; rather
is it the inculcation of such a general knowledge
of art as should fire the students with enthusiasm
for their calling, and with ardent respect for the
kind and high office which they have to perform in
its daily service. Let the study of technique go
hand-in-hand with this stimulating appeal to the
intellect; the craft must not be allowed to super-
sede the art, as it does usually in the thoughts of
academic teachers and their pupils.

Even the humblest article of utility deserves to
be made beautiful—yes, and ought to be made
beautiful; and every student should be made
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