International studio — 24.1904/​1905(1905)

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J. R. JVeguelin

It is by no means an easy matter to define
exactly the place which Mr. J. R. Weguelin
occupies among present day artists. At one time,
it is true, he might have been ranked with the
classicists, for he showed some tendency to
attempt those reconstructions of the life of the
Greeks and Romans which have engaged the
attention of many painters in this country and
abroad. But this phase of his art was not a lasting
one, and even while it continued was not marked
by pedantic insistence upon the dry facts of
archaeology. He was content for the most part to
realise the classic atmosphere by a comparatively
free adaptation of the records of the antiquarians
and to deal in a more or less irresponsible way with
the material which he collected from the history of
ages long past. At no period of his career did he
fix himself down to strict observation of the
particular formula which satisfies the archaeological
Instead, he preferred to choose subjects which
allowed him to work in the true spirit of classicism

and to enjoy to the utmost the poetic charm of
Pagan fancy. He used the motives of antiquity
with a freshness and daintiness of touch which
gave to them a living interest, and with the keenest
appreciation of the opportunities which he found
in them of presenting beautiful things and attractive
incidents in an essentially personal manner. As
his art has matured the tendency of it to insist
upon beauty for beauty’s sake has become more
pronounced. It has lost the leaning which it had
at first towards classic episode and has grown more
imaginative and more truly expressive of his innate
sestheticism. A student of the classics he was, and
is still, but his study is directed now not so much
to the acquisition of details in the domestic history
of the ancients as to the perfecting of his own taste
by examination of the principles by which their
exquisite achievement was controlled.
Therefore, he can best be described to-day as a
painter of classic abstractions, who has absorbed
so completely the poetic feeling of the men who
lived in remote centuries that he can amid the
materialism of the modern world think and work
as these men did. The delightful sensuousness of
his art, its pure enjoyment of delicacies of form
and subtleties of colour, its charmingly illogical

“old love renewed”
XXIV. No. 95.—January, 1905.


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