International studio — 81.1925

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soapily and—considering the hour of the morn-
ing, the temperature or rather lack of tempera-
ture and his complete nudity (soap is a poor
protection against inquisitive draughts)—quite

"What," asked the philosopher, "is art?"

"That," shivered the young man, "is a

"Put the matter differently," said the phil-
osopher. "What is the origin of art?"

The young man soaped diligently for a few
moments, then, with a lathery attempt at pro-
fundity, "Life," he said.

"Good," said the philosopher, by way of
encouragement. "But in what way does art
spring from life?"

The young man, older by a decade and freed
from the necessity of soaping himself in draughty
corridors with the thermometer two points
above zero, has forgotten just what his answer
was. He had, as he remembers, drunk deep ol
the mystics and it is possible that his then
philosophy was clouded by a lathery vagueness
which he mistook for metaphysics. On the
other hand it is quite possible that the positive
strain in his nature had at the time the upper
hand, in which case he would likely have stam-
mered of "Life made purposeful," "an oasis ol
order in the chaos of existence." Be that as it
may, the philosopher's verdict remains a classic
utterance. "Your answer," said he, saluting
the sun with one final gesture whilst his other
hand washed the last suds from his lean body,
"is right. Your reasons are wrong."

P. S.—The young man was destined never
to learn from the lips of the philosopher just
why his reasons were wrong, but his own experi-
ence of that mysterious thing Life have broad-
ened somewhat, and he has learned for example
that its functions, even from the vantage ground
of philosophy, are less immaculate than he had
wished to believe them. So, when he says that
a work of art possesses or does not possess Life,
he is using the word, at least to the extent of
one-half, in a physical, not to say grossly
physical sense. And for this half, at least, the
qualities which he attributes to it are tangible,
palpable and capable of immediate verification.

--(Definition of Mr. Bert Allen oj Minneapolis)

The vast unknown, popular in summer art
colonies and studio apartments renting at more
than $5,000 a year.

Light—Simply stated, that which renders forms
visible and defines their contours. This defini-

tion holds for all art up to the Renaissance. The
hypersensitive sixteenth century, however, re-
fused to be satisfied with so utilitarian a view
of the matter and conceived light as having a
separate existence of its own, apart from and
independent of the object which it happened to
be illuminating. To give effect to this concep-
tion the science of chiaroscuro was invented,
with the end of isolating and defining the
qualities of light by contrast with surrounding
areas of comparative lightlessness. Whence the
"savant distribution of light and shade" and
other learned phrases which earned for our illus-
trious predecessors in the critical field their daily
bread. But if Leonardo enfranchised light, it
remained for Monet, with the aid of Chevreul
and the spectrum, to attempt its canonization.
In a moment of spiritual elevation (the exact
nature of the preceding consommation is not
recorded) he is reported to have exclaimed:
"The Sun is the most important person in the
picture." Thence the science of Impressionism
and a new harvest for the critics, who were, as
usual, the only ones to understand it thoroughly.
See also under Chiaroscuro, Impressionism,
Neo-Impressionism, Optics, Science.

Luminous—Literally a surface which throws off
light, its traditional use is bound up with the
dark shadows in a chiaroscure picture, which in
point of fact carry only a very small stock of
this commodity. An obsolete compliment, the
modern equivalent for which is probably Trans-
lucent or Pellucid.

Line—Vulgarly, a synonym for outline or con-
tour. The more subtle critic will, however,
imply the addition of the qualifying adjective,
junctional, an invention, if we are not mistaken,
of Mr. Bernard Berenson, and one the use of
which might profitably be extended.

--Functional—The functions are three-fold:

(i) The firm demarcation of contour. (2) The
implication of the inner forms which it clothes,
the outward pressure of which conditions every
variation of its direction, speed and tensity.
(3) The cooperation as of members of one body
with other lines similarly conditioned, in the
sense of the living organism of which it forms

Linear—Of or appertaining to line, whether
functional or otherwise. When otherwise, when,
that is, the painter's preoccupation with line is
one of line for line's sake, with no more reference
to inner necessity than a string of paste pearls

MAY 1925

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