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monkey, the bear, the doe, the bird, the crocodile, or the bee-any one of the sociable animals-will take all possible care of the manbrother in the critical circumstances of his life, sending his or her animal brothers of different tribes to warn him or help him out of a difficulty. And if the warning comes too late, or is misunderstood, and he loses his life, they all will try to bring him back to life, and if they fail they will take the due revenge, just as if the man had been one of their own kin.
When I journeyed in Siberia I was often struck, without understanding it, with the care which my Tungus or Mongol guide would take not to uselessly kill any animal. The fact is that every life is respected by a savage, or rather it was before he came in contact with Europeans. If he kills an animal, it is for food or for clothing ; but he does not destroy life, as the whites do, for the mere excitement of the slaughter. True, the Red Indians have done that with the buffaloes; but it was only after they had been for a long time in contact with the whites, and had got from them the rifle and the quick-firing revolver. Of course, there are rascals among the animals—the hyæna, for instance, or the shrew-mouse, or the man-eating tiger ; but these do not count: they are outlaws. As to the great animal world as a whole, savage children are taught to respect it and to see in it an extension of their own kin.
The idea of 'justice, conceived at its origin as revenge, is thus connected with observations made on animals. But it appears extremely probable that the idea of reward for 'just' and ' unjust' treatment must also have originated, with primitive mankind, from the idea that animals take revenge if they have not been properly treated by man, and repay kindness by kindness. This idea is so deeply rooted in the minds of the savages all over the world that it may be considered as one of the most primitive conceptions of mankind. Extended from a few animals to all of them, it soon embodied the whole of nature—the trees and the forests, the rivers and the seas, the rocks and the mountains, which are all living. Gradually it
grew to be a conception of the great whole, bound together by certain links of mutual support, which watches all the actions of the living beings, and, owing to that solidarity in the universe, undertakes the revenge of wrong deeds. It became the conception of the Eumenides and the Moirai of the Greeks, the Parcae of the Romans, and especially the Karma of the Hindoos. The Greek legend of the cranes of Ibikus, which links together man and birds, and countless Eastern legends are poetical embodiments of the same conception.
This is what primitive man saw in nature and learned from it. With our scholastic education, which has systematically ignored nature and has tried to explain its most common facts by metaphysical subtleties, we began to forget that lesson. But for our Stone Age ancestors sociability and mutual aid within the tribe must
Vol. LVII-No. 337
have been a fact so general in nature, so habitual, and so common, that they certainly could not imagine life under another aspect. The conception of an isolated being is a later product of civilisation-an abstraction, which it took ages to develop in the human race. To a primitive man isolated life seems so strange, so much out of the usual course of nature, that when he sees a tiger, a badger, a shrewmouse, or a kingfisher leading a solitary existence, or when he notices a tree that stands alone, far from the forest, he creates a legend to explain this strange occurrence. He makes no legends to explain life in societies, but he has one for every case of solitude. The hermit, if he is not a sage or a wizard, is in most cases an outcast of animal society. He has done something so contrary to the ordinary run of life that they have thrown him out. Very often he is a sorcerer, who has the command of all sorts of dangerous powers, and has something to do with the pestilential corpses which sow disease in the world. This is why he prowls at night, prosecuting his wicked designs under the cover of darkness. All other beings in nature are sociable, and human thought runs in this channel. Sociable life—that is, we, not 1-is, in the eyes of primitive man, the normal form of life. It is life itself. Therefore 'We' must have been the normal form of thinking for primitive man: a 'category' of his understanding, as Kant might have said. And not even “We,' which is still too personal, because it represents a multiplication of the 'I's, but rather such expressions as 'the men of the beaver tribe,' “ the kangaroo men,' or 'the turtles.' This was the primitive form of thinking, which nature impressed upon the mind of man.
Here, in that identification, or, we might even say, in this absorption of the 'I' by the tribe, lies the root of all ethical thought. The self-asserting 'individual' came much later on. Even now, with the lower savages, the individual' hardly exists at all. It is the tribe, with its hard-and-fast rules, superstitions, taboos, habits, and interests, which is always present in the mind of the child of nature. And in that constant, ever-present identification of the unit with the whole, lies the substratum of all ethics, the germ out of which all the subsequent conceptions of justice, and the still higher conceptions of morality, grew up in the course of evolution.
But these further steps, as well as the various aspects of sociability itself, and their teachings, will have to be discussed separately on some other occasion.
GEORGE FREDERICK WATTS
* FROM THE UTMOST TO THE HIGHEST
PASSING out of the turmoil and congestion of the highway of Piccadilly, visitors stream into the court of Burlington House, the quiet abode of votaries and representatives of Art, Science, and Antiquarian researches—the Royal Academy, the Royal Society, and the Society of Antiquaries. In the centre of this court there stands an impressive monument to ' Vital Energy ;' this original creation serves as a prologue, as an epilogue also, to a considerable portion of the lifework of a great man, the Æschylus of English artists, George Frederick Watts. It is an embodiment in bronze of the symbolic thoughts, impressive and noble delineations of humanity, of a singularly original as well as restrained genius, interpreting many and various aspects of Design, which we shall presently see expressed in colour and shape.
As we examine this intense and rugged achievement, strong in its realisation of a far-reaching conception, a desire rises that it might remain for all time where it now stands as a protest against ephemeral and useless art, an incentive to clevated endeavours, a symbol of a strenuous life, and of the march of all that is most true and permanent to a final issue of perfection. It serves as a type of the creative mind, full of hope and endurance, of faith also that, however dark a veil may momentarily obscure it, the eternal light of intelligence beams, ready to break forth and illumine darkness with enduring streams of light. It is a fitting monument to a great artist whose 'vital energy' was phenomenal, whose progress was sure, whose courage was unflinching, and whose inspiration derived its source, as Phidias, Titian, and Tintoretto derived theirs, from the divine spirit of Intelligence.
Annual exhibitions have been held within the walls of the Academy containing masterpieces of ancient and modern art. Since 1868 some, if not all, of the productions of the best artists have been enjoyed or criticised. The life-work of two great painters, Leighton and Millais, has been shown herein, enjoyed, appreciated, or criticised. The intelligent public has been given the chance during every winter season of becoming conversant with the astounding wealth of Old Masters' contained in private collections, being masterpieces of the
art of Italy, Flanders, and Holland. In this respect the members of the Royal Academy have been benefactors; they have given to the public opportunities to derive pleasure and cultivation. How far the public has accepted or secured advantage from such a stimulus remains with them to show by a higher standard of good taste; the opportunity has been given to them !
This winter we are regaled with a splendid feast indeed, rare in all it offers to us, and singularly opportune. Comparison would be as futile as it would be unseemly. Let us partake of this feast, appreciate its luxury and variety, and try to digest all that is offered us, and come away certain that we have been feeding on the mind of a great thinker, and have been admiring the consummate excellence of a great craftsman. And may we hope that this inspiring work of a great master may kindle enthusiasm and illumine emulations ?
Not only are the thoughts great, the art with which they are clothed is adequate. The spirit as well as the matter are in complete harmony. The painting is as thorough and rare in quality as the inspiration is elevated and serene ; if it were not so the value of these works would be only that of transcendental, inchoate dreams; but it is not so, Watts fulfilled in his art that admirable saying of Charles Lamb's, “The poet dreams awake.' The dream is there, and the vision of it is portrayed with enough resemblance to nature, but not too much. Essence and structure are expressed with dignified restraint, the thought being never degraded by the 'fleshy' appearance of superficial reality, so unwholesome and depressing in much of the art at present in transient vogue.
While passing swiftly through the galleries of the Royal Academy we are arrested by a thought and exclaim, “How consistent is the purpose, how similar in vision is the first promise to the latest achievement, and how welded together are the links of the chain which binds the enterprise and accomplishment of sixty-eight years of strenuous and tranquil labour!' There is no hint of hurry, no halting by the way. The calm atmosphere which surrounds the art of Watts is attractive and appealing, and yet is redolent with an intense conviction that the problem to be solved was worth an infinity of pains to illumine by technical perfection. Laborious, yes, but simple too, and often singularly spontaneous, are the means employed to balance an impression with judicious handling. There is no 'smear' or ambiguity, no nebulous chance in the technique, which is elaborate but simple in its final aspect.
A feeling for the grand style' and all the noble traditions of it is evident from the first; a certain bigness of aspect and treatment of both form and colour were inherent. Watts was born with big ideas. Although the surviving portions of the noble cartoon Caractacus evince some mannerisms caught from the study of the later work of Raphael and the manly, if sometimes exaggerated, forms of Giulio Romano, the style' of drawing is impressive and interesting, if superabundant; such overstatements were chastened as time went on, as the purity and restraint of Greek art grew more and more to be an essence in the master's education. But the intensity of conviction, the virility of purpose, the subjugation of the unnecessary to the essential never weakened. Thus, in some cases, notably in the superb conception of Cain's Repentance, though there is exuberance of form and something outside nature, it is justified by an impressive result.
Of self-conscious Academic correctness there is little to be seen in the whole collection; it was not the aim of Watts to be accurate for the sake of accuracy. Any commonplace counterpart of a model is entirely absent; 'style,' as a means to express an emotion or conception, and to be in harmony with either, is always present. Wherever deviations from canons of proportion or formulas of construction occur, they are not the results of haste or ignorance: they are deliberately accepted, and are never ignoble or unreasonable. Phidias was purposeful when he deviated from matter of fact. The sculpture of Michael Angelo exhibits structural exaggerations and intentional divergence from Academic canons and rigid compliance with measurable proportions. Both Titian and Tintoretto, although they never drew weakly or meanly, can be justly accused of deviations from 'matter of fact,' but somehow these do not matter, because the design of those great masters was always intelligible and consistent.
The foregoing atmosphere of approach has been chosen by the writer of this article: to appreciate, to understand, and not to carp or eriticise, which is easy to do and also obvious. Watts's words, once spoken to the writer, sum up his desires : ‘I would like my work to appeal to the eye and mind as music appeals to the ear and heart. I have something that I want to say which may be useful to and touch mankind, and to say it as well as I can in form and colour is my endeavour; more than that I cannot do.'
The first portrait in the collection was painted and exhibited in 1836; it is of Watts's father. The last two pictures painted in 1904 ere also portraits, one of Lilian, the other of The Painter. Although the technique employed upon all three differs, there is the same breadth of vision, large interpretation of details, and noble drawing evident in the early as well as in the late work; development and mastery are achieved, but no change of conception or of presentment af either character, beauty, or colour is evident. The Lilian is nobly designed and delightfully painted; it achieves the high standard which the painter conceived and pursued. For maidenly and frank outlook and dignified grace there is no portrait in the exhibition more attractive than this.
If the hand of the painter was less certain in these last than in earlier hours of his career, the nervous and refined vision is as active,