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guarded in his expressions, and paid a greater deference to public opinion; especially as, in both these cases, such opinion, at least professedly, is not merely that of the populace. There are many very exceptionable assertions in his note above quoted; the propriety of promulgating which he might find it very difficult to maintain. We are sorry alto, for the same reason, that our ingenious Biographer has treated respectable characters and great authori. ties, particularly those of the Church, with to little ceremony *; not to say, in some cases, with great flippancy: a stile of writing neither conciliating to readers in general, 'nor, in our opinion, very proper to the subject. But we shall take our leave of him for the present, in the words of Peachum respecting Macheath, “ the Captain's a bold Man.”
Pieces written by Mons. Falconet, and Mons. Diderot, on Sculp
ture in general, and particularly on the celebrated Statue of Peter the Great, now finishing by the former at St. Petersburg. Translaied from the French, with several Additions, By William Tooke, Chaplain to the Factory at St. Petersburg; and illustrated by an elegant Plate of the Statue. 4to. 45. Payne and Son.
The first of the picces before us, is entitled Reflexions on Sculpture : delivered several years ago, in a speech to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture at Paris, by Mr. Falconet, fince famous for the Equestrian Statue of Peter the first ; which he has, inany years, been employed in executing, for the embellishment of the capital of Russia. It has been long the
• This has been even unnecessarily extended to the suffcrings of holy Martyrs, and the truths of divine revelation, the most sacred and incon-, trovertible. Speaking of John Bradford, a Divine and Martyr at the Re. formation, họ says: “ We, of this lukewarın age, are not more aftonished at the cruelty of these pious executioners, than at the more pious folly of those poor victims to opinion. Bradford chofe rather to be burnt alive, than admit the word transubstantiation into his creed, because it was abfurd; but he wroie a book in defence of predestination. Query, which is the most absurd "We might here Query what our ingenious doctor means. Does he mean the word transubstantiation and Bradford's book on predestination? Or docs he mean the two doctrines, when he asks which is the most absurd:-If the latter, the question is calily answered. Tranfubftantiation is a doctrine neither supported by Scripture nor reason, and Predestination a doctrine supported by both.-By predestination, however, perhaps Dr. B. means the dainnable doctrine of Reprobation, that infernal fuccedaneum, which our religious empirics fooften substitute instead, of it.
general notion, as Mr. Falconet obferves, that an artist should not speak but with the pencil or chiffel in his hand; leaving to enlightened admirers the task of discoursing on his talents: This truly ingenious Sculptor, however, having been required to furnish an article, on the subject of his art, for the Ditlionaire Encyclopedique, was induced to transgress common forms and opinions, and to assume the privilege of the Amateur, by way of adding dignity to the Artist. Nor did he betray the want of sufficient knowledge in the theory of his art, to prescribe proper rules for its practice ; proving himself equally a mafter in the laws of design as in those of execution.
The purpose of this oration is to shew that the imitation of natural objects, in subjection to the rules of the antients, conftitutes the true beauties of Sculpture. That our artist is not, however, so implicitly attached to the Antique, as to adopt its defects, like many of our modern virtuosi, appears from the following judicious reflections on this subject. **
“ The Grecian statues are the most certain guide ; they are, and will ever be, the rule of precision, of grace and elegance, as being the most perfect representations of the human body. To a man fatisfied with a superficial examination of them, there ftatues will not appear to be very extraordinary things, nor even difficult to imitate : but the intelligent and attentive artist will discover in some of them the most profound knowledge of design, joined to all the energy of Nature. Thus those Sculptors who have most studied, with choice, the antique figures, have ever been the most distinguished in their profession, I say, with choice; and I believe the remark to be well founded.
" However fine the statues of antiquity may be, they are still but human productions, and consequently sulceptible of the imperfections of humanity : it would therefore be dangerous for an artist to bestow his admiration indifferently on every thing thar bears the name of antique. It might happen, that, having admired the pretended won. ders of certain antiques, and which they do not poflels, he would make efforts to render them his own, and would fail of being admired. It is a discernment, enlightened, judicious, and unprejudiced,' that must discover to him the beauties and the defects of the ancients; and, haying once learned how to appreciate them, he will tread in their steps with to much the more confidence, as being convinced that they will conduct him to whatever is great and sublime. It is in this judicious discernment that a delicacy of taste appears; and the talents of the Sculptor are always in proportion to this delicacy. A very moderate knowledge of the state of our arts among the Greeks is sufficient to convince us that they too had their moments of drowsiness and Jangour. The faine taste reigned, but an equal knowledge was not imparted alike to every artist : the pupil of an excellent Sculptor may possess the manner of his master, without having the fame head. 2 2 2
46 Of 6. Of all the antique figures, the most adapted to give the grand principle of the Naked, are, the Gladiator, the Apollo, the Laocoön, the Hercules Farnese, the Torso, the Antinoüs, the groupe of Caitor and Pollux, the Hermaphrodite, the Venus de Medicis. I think I can discover the traces of these works in the perforinances of some of our great modern Sculptors. In Michael Angelo I discover a consummate Itudy of the Laocoön, of the Hercules, and of the Torso. Can one doubt for a moment, on seeing the works of Francis Flamand, that he made the Gladiator, the Apollo, the Antinous, the Castor and Pollux, the Venus, and the Hermaphrodite, his study ? Le Puger certainly took for his obje&ts, the Laocoön and other antiques: but his principal conductress was Nature, whose springs and movements he had continually before his eyes in the Galley-llaves at Marseilles : so much does the frequent sight of objects, more or less relative to the - true system of this arts, form the taste or stop its progress. For us, who fee nothing but shapes invented as it were in contradiction to the beauty of the human form, we must make considerable efforts before we can take off the mask; and fee, and become acquainted with Naiute in her proper elegance, that we may express in our works this Beautirul only, independent of any inode whatever. It belongs to great artists, before whom all Nature stands uncovered, to give laws to taste * ; they are to receive none from the caprices and extravagances of Fashion,
66 I inust not bere forget an important observation respecting the Ancients; it relates to the manner in which their Sculptors expresied the carnations. They were so little attentive to particularities, that they often neglected the folds and movements of the kin in those places where it extends and replicates, according to the motion of the limbs. This part of Sculpture has been brought in our time to the highest degree perhaps of perfection. An example shall decide whe. ther or not this be a rash observation. We will take it from the works of Puget.
" In what piece of Grecian Sculpture do we perceive the implications of the skin, the softness of the carnations, or the fluidity of the blood, so well expressed as in the works of this celebrated modern Sculptor :- It is impossible not to perceive the blood circulate in the veins of the Milo ai Versailles. What man of sentiment would not be apt to be mistaken on seeing the carnations of the Andromeda? while one may produce many fine antiques in which these expressions are not to be found. It would then be a fort of ingratitude, if, while acknowledging the sublimity of the Grecian Sculptors on so many other accounts, we were to refuse our homage to a merit which is regularly superior to them in the works of a French artist."
The good taste and good sense of this celebrated artist are evidently displayed in the above reflections ; as they, indeed, are throughout the whole discourse.
* By great artists is meant, not only Painters and Sculptors, but capital masters in all the arts.' He who fyng, fo subimely, the wrath of Achilles was a great artijl.
Thc The second piece is a letter from Mr. Diderot to Mr. Falconet, on the Equestrian Statue abovementioned; of which that coinpetent judge observes, that “ the hero and the horse together make a beautiful centaur, the human and thinking part of which, forms an astonishing contrast, by its tranquillity, with that of the animal and spirited.”
So great, indeed, are Mr. Diderot's Elogiuins on this famous piece of Sculpture that the Artist himself modeitly confesses, that he shall be very well contented to abate one half the praise.
To two other little pieces, on the same subject, of little moment, are added Oblervations on Lord Shaftesbury's letter from Italy, concerning the Art, or Science, of Design. These we suppose, also, to come from Mr. Falconet, tho' we are not expressly told so. Their tendency is to ridicule his Lorde ship's scheme of having a picture executed from his own defign by the hand of a painter. " A talk, he says, nobody but a poor workman, defective in genius, would be engaged in. On this occasion, he thus delineates the character of a genuine artist.
" It is generally remarked, that those who profess the arts have a greater or less degree of pride and spirit, and at the same time more or less modesty, according to the compound ratio of their genius, and the praises or cenfures to which they are liable. Why have great artists, as well as great men of every kind, commonly the greatest share of modefty? It is, because it belongs only to souls of a certain ftamp, to
feel what they are worth, to have a just idea of perfection, and of the · impossibility of ever reaching it. Praise a great man, and you will be
astonished at his modesty. At that time he is measuring what he knows, and what he does, with what he sees before him yet to know and to do. But, if you be fo filly, or so presumptuous, as to despise him, his pride becomes then fuperior to every thing, because then he compares himself with the person that judges him; he recollects him. self, and finds within the qualities which Du Fresnoi gives to the great artist *.
As Mr. Tooke, the translator, modestly apologizes for such defects of style as may arise from his not being himself an artist, and therefore versed in the technical expressions of the art, we pass over a slight inaccuracy or two of that kind : but we think a fimilar apology equally necessary for the casual offences against English idiom that occur through the whole. His attachment, indeed, to the original French is, in many places, so servile as to give his version a bald and pedantic appearance. Our reverend translator even appears to have already
* Judicium, docile ingenium, cox nobile, fenfus fublimis. De arte graphica v. 488.
been so long abroad, as to have, in senc degree, forgot the ver. nacular use of his own language : a common thing with those whose conversation in it is chiefly held with books. Of this we have a fingular instance in his apostrophe to the Reviewers. “ As I must be answerable, says he, for every impropriety of this kind, ye gentlemen Reviewers, be as pitiful as ye can.' Now, if this be not a pitiful pre tension to wit and irony, for which we see no good reason, the epithet is most unidiomati. .cally and improperly used : so very much so, indeed, that we are amazed Mr. Tooke could adopt a mode of expreffion that has been a ftanding joke ever since the days of that fingularly· absurd fpeechifier, Judge Page. " I must sentence. you,"
said he, to a penitential conviet, 66 to be hanged: but you may get recommended to the King's mercy; for we have a pitiful King, a very pitiful King indeed !"- The use of the word pitiful, for merciful or compaffionate, is now quite obsolete, and ought never to be adopted by good writers. At leaft, we warn all writers against applying it in that sense to us Reviewers, left' we should convince them de fallo of their errour. The most pitiful Critics are those who have no pity!
· Poetical Amusements at a Villa near Bath. Printed for the Benefit
of the Pauper Charity in that City. Vol. III. 8vo. zs. Dilly, : London.-Frederic, Bath. ' • We are glad to learn, from the Editor's preface to this vo
lume, that the laudable scheme, projected for reviving a de. cayed Charity, is likely to turn out a more considerable object than at first conceived. The Editor's account is this: ...“ The General Hospital of this City was founded in 1742, for the - reception of such diseased and indigent perfons, from all parts of the
kingdom (the Poor of BATH only excepted), to'whose relief the use of its ...waters might be supposed peculiarly conducive. . .
« The attention, humanity, æconomy, fo confpicuous at all times in the conduct of that pious foundation, reflects the highest honour upon
its promoters and protectors, and will remain a lasing monument of * public benevolence and charity. Nor can we doubt that an establifment fo universal and so liberal, can ever want a revenue adequate to the importance of its objects. But whilst we feel, in its full extent, all that exalted Philanthropy, which would extend local blessings to those, whose distance, or whose poverty, take from them every bope of that affistance only attainable to wealth and to condition must we not regret the fituation of the resident poor, who in this great and flourishing City, have neither Hospital and Infirmary for acute or chronical • disorders, nor any appropriated fund or place for the reception and reliefo lcasualties?
" A laud