Studio: international art — 28.1903

Page: 70
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and crafts, has grown in volume and in force, and
has spread over the whole continent of Europe.
And its effect has been to sweep away in large
and growing measure those conventions of design,
those traditions of thought and method that had
bound inventiveness, as applied to decorative art
and the various crafts, in the strong ligatures of
style. In the treatment of furniture, for instance,
of stained glass, of metal-work, of jewellery, it is
possible for the craftsman to ask for his work
other praise than that it is a faithful approach to
the work of this century or of that. He need
not work weighted by a fear that the critic or
the purchaser will necessarily reject his work as not
being true to the ancient canons of design, or
condemn it as not being " correct" when measured
by the standard of some dead-and-buried style.

But, having—and, indeed, with no great rush
of enthusiasm, but somehow grudgingly—granted
freer and wider expression to the craftsman and
the decorative artist, it is very sternly refused him
who needs it most—the architect. What is said
of him by general public and brother-artist alike,
if he ventures to plead that he also has something
of himself, not culled either from a library-book of
" Orders," or from his own sketch-book, which he
would like to make his buildings express? He
meets with short shrift indeed. There are many
weapons at hand with which to castigate him.
He is ignorant—though he claims that the more
educated you are the more will be your know-
ledge, the less you need "lift" other men's work.
He is affected—though his work is in very truth
less of an affectation than the thirteenth or the
eighteenth century design his critic produces. He
is "trying" to be "original"—though he declares
his principles are not an attempt at originality,
but—a vastly different thing—a refusal to copy.

So rarified is this atmosphere of chilling non-
recognition that few amongst English architects
but prefer the level safety of the plains, rather than
attempt the heights of imagination and invention.
That within the limits of tradition, dealing with
the columns and entablatures, the styles and shib-
boleths of the past, much fecundity of cleverness
in adaptation and appropriation is exhibited the
plates in Mr. Muthesius' book give evidence. The
canal side of Haarlem and the old Georgian home
of many an English county, the sixteenth century,
the seventeenth still more (so the fashion runs
to-day), the eighteenth—each in turn is called upon
as basis for the manufacture of a design. And
for the producers of this " Architekturmacherei "
it still holds good that " der hochste Ehrgeiz ist sie
70

'rein' zu handhaben." How seldom, how very,
very seldom, do we come upon anything which
puts in evidence English design speaking to-day
in its own terms, and without recourse to the
language of other times and other countries ! Of
the no large plates in the " Englische Baukunst
der, Gegenwart," a bare half-dozen show their
authors actuated by such an ideal,—a fact no less
deplorable than humiliating, when we realise that it
was English craftsmen some fifteen years ago that
infused new life and vigour into the nearly mori-
bund decorative arts, and all but recreated the
crafts.

And yet in Architecture, the head and front of
these, it is England—Mr. Muthesius' book is witness
to it—that lags behind the world.

The Study and Criticism of Italian Art. By
Bernhard Berenson. Second series. (London :
George Bell & Sons.) The new volume by
the accomplished author of the monograph on
Lorenzo Lotto, and other critical works, has all the
peculiarities of its predecessors. It is in some
respects unique, giving much valuable information
in an attractive form, but it is at the fame time
incomplete, and its st)le is often irritating to the
student who hopes to be guided to a final opinion
on the vexed question of the authorship of the
works described. Mr. Berenson has the somewhat
remarkable habit, bewildering to his readers, of
beginning at the end, or, rather, ending at the
begirning of his subject-;. His preface in the
present instance explains, or attempts to explain, his
reasons for sandwiching a " Word for Renaissance
churches " between two chapters of what he calls
constructive, but which is really destructive, criticism
of certain typical examples of Italian painting. His
last chapter was originally intended to be the first
section of a book on the Methods of Constructive
Art Criticism, and the author includes it here
because he says the aim of his Lorenzo Lotto was
not recognised by his critics, although " this work
in a special introduction, in the introductory
paragraphs to each chapter and here and there
throughout, speaks of methods, yet," he adds, "to
my no small astonishment not a single reviewer
of either the first or second edition has made the
slightest reference to the general theory on which
the book is based. And yet, but for the general
theory, I scarcely should have allowed a second
edition of ' Lotto' to appear; for I originally
selected this painter more for his excellence as an
illustration in methoi than for his actual achieve-
ments, although they are considerable, as an artist."
Surely it would have been better had Mr. Berenson
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