Studio: international art — 10.1897

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Reviews of Recent Publications

a cupola rising to the height of a hundred feet; and
four minarets connected by " prospect bridges."
This hall, which was designed by MM. Ferdinand
Boberg and Fredrik Lilljekvist, is the largest
wooden building that has ever been constructed.
The " Fishery Hall" lies on the shore, more than
half of it being built out over the water which
forms a vast basin in the centre of the building
designed by Eugen Thorburn. The " Art Hall,"
designed by M. Ferdinand Boberg, has about a
thousand feet of wall surface and contains a series
of large galleries with excellent top-lights. When
completed this will be the finest building in the
Exhibition grounds. B. M.


Drawings by Sandro Botticelli for Dante's Divina
Commedia. Reduced facsimiles after the originals
in the Royal Museum, Berlin, and in the Vatican
Library : with an introduction and commentary by
F. Lippmann (London : Lawrence and Bullen).—
Dr. Lippmann has rendered a great service to
lovers of art in following up his expensive facsimile
edition of Botticelli's drawings for Dante's Divina
Commedia by another which comes reasonably
within the means of almost every one who concerns
himself at all seriously with art studies. It is true
that in this second publication the reduction of the
drawings to half their real size deprives them of a
certain' amount of their charm. The silver-point
under drawing is scarcely visible, and one or two
of the more complicated designs have grown con-
fused. But these defects may well be pardoned in
view of the fact that in this form the drawings will
give delight to so many who have not the oppor-
tunity of seeing the originals in Berlin or the means
to purchase the larger edition. Dr. Lippmann is
also to be congratulated upon the lucidity of his
notes and explanations, and upon the happy idea
he has had of embodying in them reproductions of
the nineteen plates from the famous Landino Dante
of 1481, so directly inspired by Botticelli. For all
that editor and printer have done we have nothing
but praise.

But what of the illustrations themselves ? We
have noted their frequent failure to please even
cultivated and artistic people, and we have come to
the conclusion that the trouble lies in their being
approached in the wrong spirit. Those who go to
Botticelli's illustrations expecting to find a poetic
interpretation of Dante are usually too shocked by

the externality of his treatment, by the literal, ser-
vile following of the mere incidents, and the com-
plete failure to convey the characteristic mood
which pervades each Book—the mood of dread
and indignation against evil of Dante's Infenio, the
solemn expectancy of his Fitrgatorio, and the sub-
limity of his Paradiso— to enjoy anything else. In
like manner, those who demand of the artist, if not
interpretation of the poet, at least fidelity to life,
grow too impatient with the badly articulated
figures, the queer perspectives, the childish adher-
ence to the text in defiance of all visual possibility,
to look further.

But it is hopeless to quarrel with a work of art
for not being something else. Granted that these
designs are, as a rule, puerile as interpretation, and
impossible as illustration (and even here there are
notable exceptions), is there nothing left ? Yes !
Botticelli at his best, " the greatest artist of lineal
design that Europe has ever had " exercising un-
trammelled his marvellous talent for swift and
pure line and for decoration. If we approach his
drawings in the hope of finding this, no disappoint-
ment awaits us ! To them, as pure art, the lover of
beauty will return again and again, long after he
would have exhausted even the most poetic inter-
pretation or the most realistic illustration.

•Jeanne d'A?r. An Album for Children, containing
forty-eight paintings by M. Boutet de Monvel.
(Paris: E. Plon, Nourrit et Cie, 10 Rue Garanciere.)
Price 10 francs.—No French artist is more fitted
than the one who has planned and carried into
execution this series of drawings to produce works
of art for children. M. Boutet de Monvel has
made the study of the French child the work of a
lifetime; no detail of the dress and the habits of
children of all ages and in all periods of French
history has escaped his notice. Thus, his pictures
have become the delight of young and old alike;
for, in addition to the simplicity of the design, so
essential for the mind of the child, an erudition
has been shown which pleases those who have left
childhood far behind them. No better means of
teaching a child the story of the Maid of Domremy
as it has come down to us, clothed in the poetry of
the centuries, could be found than to place this book
in its hands.

There has been a revival recently in sceptical
modern France of the interest taken in Joan of
Arc. Many are the learned volumes which have
been written on the subject. That some one should
set about presenting the story of the peasant child
in a form suitable for children was, therefore,
only fitting, and the three years' work which M.

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