Braun, Emil
Explanatory Text and Additional Plates to Lewis Gruners̕ Specimens of Ornamental Art — London, 1850

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a means of soothing the mind when too great an excitement threatens to exhaust the mental
faculties of the spectator. He it is who shows us the real nature and aim of that manifold
framework by which the highest efforts of art may be relieved, magnified, and embellished.

But it may be asked, what has a pattern-drawer or artisan to do with High Art—
with Raphael and the Cinque-cento ? Cannot all that is wanted by such a class of men, or
by pupils of a school of design, be more easily and better found among the stereotyped
designs of the Mosque and Alcagar, or the stencilled repetitions of mechanical art, or, indeed,
anywhere rather than in these regions of the sublime poetry of art, in which those who have
no vocation to enter upon this dangerous career are oftener misled than instructed ?

The question may be answered by reference to that law of analogy, which regulates alike
the study of languages, literature, and art. It is well known that a profound knowledge
can never be attained by the help of mere phraseologies and scanty class-books, which serve
only for the instruction of superficial students. A teacher who proceeds upon sound prin-
ciples, will, from the first, place in the hands of his pupils specimens of the purest, and even of
the highest, poetry—not with the idea of their becoming poets, but to make them acquainted
with the very pith and marrow of the language, and with the power of words, not handed
down traditionally, but vivified by the poetical exaltation of the moment. To those who
are able to employ the work before us in such a spirit, and to pursue the method required
by the nature of the subject, we may promise a success, far beyond what the richest store
of mere pattern-formulas can ever afford.

The study of the best models of classical literature has formed the taste of our modern
poets, and powerfully influenced the literature of England, France, and Germany. The
works of Milton, the immortal poem of " Comus " more especially, breathe the very spirit
of classical antiquity, without having on that account less claim to originality. To emulate,
therefore, but not to imitate, according to the spirit of those bright exemplars, is the aim
which we propose to the youthful student, who should on his part cultivate the habit of
critically considering these elegant works, with a view to penetrate the course of thought
and the poetical imagination which have animated the inventor. Thus the collection of
choice models now laid before the public for the education of those devoted to the study of
art, is intended, not for servile imitation, but for the reproduction of similar excellence.
In conclusion, we may venture to hope that this work may become useful to the various
societies now in operation for the encouragement of art in its application to manufactures.
Under the patronage of the illustrious Prince who has taken a lead in their advancement,
these associations have already widely influenced and improved public taste, and are rapidly
bringing within the sphere of graceful and refined artistic decoration, even the most common
and ordinary objects of daily utility.
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