Studio: international art — 10.1897

Page: 11
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1 cm
Early Scandinavian Wood-Carvings

of tender realism and moving grace with which the
painter has invested it.

The same sweetly pensive, religious tone is in-
troduced into his Bergers (see page 3). Here again,
his manner of representing the story of the Shepherds
is quite novel. The happy and unstudied grouping
of the figures, their various expressions, together
with the similarity of their attitudes, the serene
beauty of the landscape, the ineffable poetry of the
twilight sky with the Guiding Star shining in it, the
delightful sense of Nature in the low hills, in the
sheep-covered meadows and in the watering-places,
glowing with the last light of the dying day—every-
thing combines to produce a most striking impres-
sion. The scene is so truly grand in its touching
simplicity that one cannot possibly look on it un-

Need I mention his Notrc-Dame de Penmarch
(see vol. viii. of The Studio, p. 107), with all its
noble simplicity of style; or his Eve, tempted,
beneath the Tree of Seduction, with the serpent
slowly uncoiling, as, with the golden masses of her
hair around her, she folds her arms tightly upon her
breast; or that lovely and complex piece of senti-
ment and spirituality, the Ricordo da Lionardo da
Vinci; or Raillerie, smiling so archly and wielding
the whip that all the world fears; or again Mechancete,
with snake-encircled brow ; or Pitrete, scorning the
garish beauty of the chrysanthemum for the humble
daisy, innocent flower of the field; or this Princesse
de Legende, so lovely and so fanciful, who dreams,
and smiles at her imaginings ? Shall I recall the
irresistible grace of his Fetes de Ceres (see page 4),
instinct with all the subtle charm of antiquity, full
of the mystical fascination of the Grecian age, and
in so powerful and so characteristic a setting?
And then his Nocturne! (see frontispiece) That
delicate woman's head, with the waving hair spark-
ling with the dews of night, which show like clusters
of stars in the moonlight. And his Fille a la
Medaille (see page 9), symbolising so perfectly the
sweet simplicity of the religion in the Middle Ages,
in striking contrast to the fairyland splendours of
the Hall of Peacocks, where we see bathing the
heroine of the tale—77 ctait une fois i/ne princesse.
And L'Automne, in her long, dull-blue robes,
wandering, dead branch in hand, through the leaf-
less forest, with the stretch of sodden plain, seen
through the naked trunks, and the blood-red hues
of the sinking sun shining on the swampy land.

No one, I hope, nay, I believe, can miss the
meaning—be it deep or fanciful, powerful or
delicate—of works such as these. They are the
manifestation of one of the most remarkable figures

in the art world of to-day. For here we have
something more than promise. This is the work
of an artist in full possession of style and method,
master of himself and of his art.

Now I should like to refer to another side of his
art, that which deals with sheer reality—in other
words, his portrait work. Here, as in all he does,
we find the same striving to express the invisible
and the deep-seated, by means of that which is
visible and on the surface. And this is evident
not only in his constant endeavour to give character
and style—if one may thus term it—to his model,
but also in his special habit of placing his subject
in a setting corresponding with his own particular
temperament and peculiarities and mode of life.

Have I succeeded in conveying a clear and
complete idea of M. Levy-Dhurmer's style ? I
can only hope so most sincerely, for his genius is
such that it deserves to be known and admired.
To be sure, the world of to-day is full enough of
ugliness of all sorts, full enough of social and
individual misery, and thus it is no small pleasure
to honour those artists who, with a full sense of
their mission, strive to fashion for us dreams of
beauty and poetry before which one may forget the
world outside. Such an one is M. Levy-Dhurmer;
and even if he fell short of the full realisation of
his fancies, which is far from being the case, he
would still have earned our homage, if only for his
intentions. But I trust I have shown that praise
higher and completer than this is justly his due.

J At the present time, when a serious
effort is being made to revive the ancient glories of
the Arts and Crafts irt which the Anglo-Saxon was
wont formerly to excel, we cannot afford to neglect
the study of the examples of old work still in exist-
ence. And, in seeking for models—not to be
copied slavishly, but to furnish us with ideas capable
of further development—it is far better to seek
inspiration from the works of art produced either
by our own ancestors, or by those peoples in Europe
who are nearest akin to ourselves—that is to say, to
our nearest blood relations—than to endeavour to
make wholly alien styles, like those of India or
Japan, take root in a soil quite unsuited to their
favourable growth. It is, of course, impossible to
prevent being influenced to a certain extent by the
work of foreigners; but if we are desirous of evolving
a thoroughly national style, it must be built up

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