Studio: international art — 1.1893

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Sketching from Nature

and the stronger the development of those qualities before the student, and it is curious to note the

the more must the standpoint from which he looks way in which some object, familiar perhaps from

at Nature attract us, even if it fail to charm. This one's earliest years, and interesting by some asso-

power to see beautifully I take to be the first ciated idea alone, is one day suddenly beheld in

quality of all in an artist, and the power of putting an entirely new manner. The object itself may

down or recording his impressions to be a second- have changed in no kind of way ; it is the mode of

ary matter. I yield to none in my admiration of viewing it which has altered, and its appearance when

the skilful hand, but the result of such skill may be, seen in relation to its surroundings, which may have


and I think is, powerless to really interest us by
itself alone, and, however brilliant, can certainly
never save what is otherwise commonplace from
being so; on the other hand, the man to whom it
is given to see things in a lofty and beautiful way,
even though his technique fall far short of excel-
lence, will always satisfy us, provided only that his
power to record what he sees be sufficient to carry
us along with him. We forgive or forget his manner
of saying through the interest inherent in the
thing said. When both powers are found in the
same individual, then indeed the gods have been

How few, however, possess the capacity for
seeing in this large and broad way; and even those
who do, acquire the power, seemingly, only by
much training of the mind and eye. It is as rea-
sonable to expect the uncultivated ear to be
capable of appreciating the subtlest harmonies of
sound as to suppose that the untrained eye can
behold the finest harmonies of colour and form.

That the appreciation of the finer qualities of
things is gradual, is continually being brought

suddenly made it look beautiful to us. Alone it
may be of little worth, as a part of a larger scene it
may be of the utmost importance—a key-note to
the whole.

It is this ability to see things in their relation to
each other, of estimating justly the value of one
thing as compared with others for the purposes of
Art, which has all along marked the great artist.
It matters not what period of ancient Art we study,
we find this largeness of view characterising the
finest productions of the time; the search for the
essential triumphing always over the impulse to
reproduce the trivial.

It is in this respect that modern Art compares so
much to its disadvantage with most of that which
has preceded it.

All this is obvious, I am aware, to thinking
persons, but the thinking person will allow that it
needs insisting upon, especially if he be at the pain
of visiting some of our collections of modern

He will there find how little power of selection
there is amongst our painters; and in front of those
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