Studio: international art — 1.1893

Page: 182
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Sketching from Nature

tedious by repetition, beg our art-workers to survey new truth. He stands on the threshold of the

their position with care. We have to face the fact illimitable ; if he be an original observer, that

that the hurry of the time in which we live, the which is spread before him is a vast and infinite

headlong search after novelty, often for its own, domain stored with new beauties, beauties which

sake alone, combined with a commercialism utterly were undreamed of by his predecessors,
unworthy of the high calling of the artist, all con- Alfred Hartley.


tribute to endanger the interests of Art in the
gravest manner. It is idle to imagine for a
moment that the conditions of things under which
the great Art of the past was produced can ever
return. A new set of circumstances surrounds the
craftsman, in which it is perhaps more difficult than
ever for him to be true to himself and faithful to
his Art; but unless he be prepared to take his own
stand and set his face against the influences of the
time his position is a precarious one.

A vortex of speed and hurry is before him, into
which many a one who started with the brightest
promise has been drawn in before our eyes. Let
us then keep well in view those men who, by
much practice and persistent industry, achieved
their high successes in the difficult field of Art.
From them we shall learn that each man has
himself to find out everything which is best for
him, and that there is no near way by which the
artist may shorten the road to his goal. That
which each one may do—and it is this which makes
the artist's life so alluring—is to view Nature for
himself and endeavour to pluck from her some

If the poet has to be born and not
made, the critic—the ideal critic be it under
stood—has to be born and made too. No mantle
falls from heaven upon his shoulders, endowing
him with the gift of criticism; he cannot take up
his parable from any lofty peak for either blessing
or cursing. The fire of genius will not suffice him,
nay, if he be not careful, it will consume all the
critical faculty out of him, leaving nothing behind,
save perhaps a poet or an artist. What must he
do then, this ideal one, to become not only poten-
tially but actually a critic ? Alas ! I have not
data enough to go upon, I have never met one,
and I do not know. He comes so seldom, this
mighty lawgiver, and he comes with no stone
tables in his hands, for what he has to say cannot
be written on stone; we may circumscribe our
lives with maxims and commandments as much as
we like, but the arts we cannot hold within any
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