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Studio: international art — 34.1905

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Studio-Talk

Frederick William IV. He does not believe in
mobs from Posen or Inovratzlaw.

"This very day, fifty years have passed since
that on which I returned to Berlin and painted
that 1" he said. " The Crown Prince kept looking
at it, very often for a quarter of an hour at a time,
sighingly."

" He and his son have done everything to honour
you," I said, "and to make up for any past
neglect."

"They have, indeed," said the simple-minded
old man, and led me into an adjoining room,
where, in a casket with red velvet trimmings, was
the escutcheon of the ennobled court-painter. It is
a horrid object—I suppose these things always are
—and when I looked up I saw His Excellency in
tears.

" Dear me !" I said, " did your Excellency de-
sign it yourself? "

" No ! no ! no ! " he cried, and slapped down
the lid with a shudder.

Thus he was often agitated by contrasting
emotions.

But why must such things, meant to embellish
life, remind sensitive creatures of torture- and Star-
chambers ? Alas! the pedigree office has flared
up into ominous prominence in poor Germany.
That frozen grenadier presiding over Menzel's
glory is a theme awaiting an Offenbach.

Most of Menzel's pictures hung for years in his
studio. He has been known to send for them
after they have been paid for and delivered, in
order to give them a touch, a light, a stroke, about
which he had been ruminating over his solitary
wine. He had much in common with Bocklin in
his tenacity and conscientiousness to the observation
of truth to the inner nature of things.

But for all his love of detail and his unparalleled
delight in looking at the exquisite elaborations of
the old Dutch school through big lenses, Menzel's
ambition was patriotic monumentality. And in
this he was curbed. He had worked for years to
cover the walls of the mansion-house and of the
new museum, but after 1870 all his splendid
designs had run to waste. Hochkirch had been
hung up to be smoked. The scullery was felt like
imprisonment.

But the music of life carries farther than its
noise. What is it that makes the cinquecento so
dear to us ? Not its battles and deeds oi horror.
Numberless and atrocious as they were, when blood
was gloried in, they have gone to oblivion ; but
cinquecento art will live for ever in the love and
esteem of humanity. And Menzel was fully aware

of the fact that he had done deeds as lasting and
great as the giant Bismarck.

He never would condescend to embellish a face.
He would paint a painted face painted. And that
is the reason why he was never allowed to paint
those who painted themselves. He even satirised
his special hero, Frederick the Great.

"I was to see Carlyle," he told me, "a meeting
had been arranged by Magnus, but I had to leave
town. I would have told Carlyle many a thing.
I think the Great King and greatest of all strate-
gists was not a good soldier, or else he would have
abolished the pigtail.

"His men had to rise at three o'clock in the
morning, merely for the preparation of that ob-
noxious appendix, and were tired out before they
had a chance of getting into the battle line.
That's why these tactics never succeeded, except
once (at Leuthen)."

King Frederick William IV. and his councillor,
Olfers, never stopped Menzel, when he satirised
the Great King. They certainly treated the artist
as became his genius, though he was not a courtier.

"Nevertheless," he said, "I do not go to the court
balls without putting on some of my decorations.
They have said so in the papers. I would think
it improper to do so. I am thankful to have
been divorced from those severer muses. I have
found youth and joy and a new life (wealth, he
might have added) in following a new line of art.
(Eisenhiiite, Market in Verona, etc.) If I had
had my own will, I would be dead long ago. And
(pointing to the blank figure in the Leuthen canvas)
I will not begin to bury myself again."

It was time to take my leave. But I took away
with me a general permission to visit the altmeister,
of which I was not slow to avail myself—in order
to take a course in the study of stoical philosophy.

We have been sitting together in his studio, talk-
ing about Frederick, till the stars did shine and
people came to ask what was the matter with us.
There was a hidden greatness in Menzel which
made him well worthy of the big title conferred
upon him by the magnanimity of the present
Emperor. O. Beta.

STUDIO-TALK

(From our Own Correspondents.)

LONDON.—The annual exhibition of water-
colour drawings at Messrs. Agnew^ gal-
lery is always important as a display of
admirable achievements by past and
present masters of the medium. The show this
year is fully up to the high average which has

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