This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
Mr. Boughton told me a story of Whistler the other day that I do not think has appeared in print before. The famous little American was visiting an art school in Paris, and his entrance, of course, caused a sensation. Most of the students stood by their easels at "attention" as he passed down the room, eager to catch any word that might fall from his lips. His remarks were few but kindly, until he paused before an easel at which a big, florid Englishman was alternately painting and puffing at a huge cigar. Whistler regarded him silently for a moment or two; then, amid the breathless silence of the rest of the class, the following dialogue was overheard: -
Whistler: I see you can paint and smoke at the same time.
Student (cheerfully): Oh yes.
Whistler: How do you manage it ?
Student: Oh, easily enough.
Whistler: Doesn't your cigar go out sometimes ?
Student: Oh, I manage to keep it going.
Whistler: Well, you should be careful, you know.
Some day you may get interested in your painting, and before you know it, your cigar will go out.
And the Master, flourishing his ebony staff before him, like a miniature drum-major, sauntered to the next easel, while the room fairly resounded with the laughter of the class.
The Editor's Table.
A pictorial representation of the life and death of the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the painters and sculptors of Christendom, in more than 500 of their works. The text translated from the Italian of Adolfo Venturi. With an introduction by Alice Meynell. Burns & Dates, Ltd., 28, Orchard Street. Merely to glance at the glowing pages of this striking quarto, with its half a thousand or more photographic reproductions of mosaics, paintings, and sculpture, almost wholly of the Italian schools, is to understand the wonderful hold on Christendom so long exercised by the representation in art of the gracious figures of the Virgin and Child. As Mrs. Meynell observes, "there is no other group in history or in Art that has so made for chivalry, or that has so nourished the sense of generosity and forbearance in mankind. . . There is no more wonderful unanimity in ancient or modern civilization than that which made .Mother and Babe paramount for seven centuries." But their pictorial representation, of course, is to he traced back very much earlier - to the latter part of the second century indeed. Assigned to that period, in the catacomb of Priscilla, is the curious fresco traced by some Christian neophyte, showing the Holy Mother tenderly nursing her Child, both pose and type being curiously suggestive of similar groups by Raphael, thirteen centuries later. In the interim, decadent art lost the simplicity of the ideal of noble motherhood. At the end of the fourth century and at the beginning of the fifth century, certain images of the Madonna, of a pagan type, were found at Jerusalem, and attributed to St. Luke. The type in course of reproduction became less and less comely. Byzantine art bestowed upon the Madonna jewels and rich array and heavenly satellites, but it left the face of the image without animation. Giotto made Mary less a priestess and more a woman of the people, but he composed the figure symmetrically, as was done of old. In Tuscan art, the Madonna of Luca delta Robbia, in a by-play of tenderness and grace, sports with her Babe and laughs with Him. The Madonna of Donatello was natural, but more solemn. With Angelico the mystical Virgin finally disappears. Michael Angelo exalts and crowns the ideal of Donatello. In Tuscany. Lorenzo di credit; at Bologna, Francia; in Lombardy, Borgognone; in Venice, Giovanni Bellini, alike give to their Madonna an air of devotion. On the threshold of the sixteenth century, Italian art set up the type of beauty in the works of Raphael, Leonardo, Giorgione, Correggio and Titian. To sum up, in the words of our author: " the well-bred women of Italian Courts, the beautiful mothers adorned with their household virtues, the girls with their smiles, brought throughout the great century their beauties together and offered them to the Madonna, so that the sacred image might inherit them all."
Here, for the present at least, we must take leave of this very attractive volume, congratulating the translator on the fluent rendering of the Italian original, and the publishers on the handsome manner in which they have done their share of the work, which is excellently printed and generously illustrated. Nothing is lacking but an index to make it complete as a valuable work of reference which should be in the library of every art lover.
The story of a Mediaeval Monastery.
By George Hodges, D.D., Dean of the Episcopal
Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. John
Murray. l0s. 6d. net.
Delightfully picturesque is this account of old monastic life in the once famous Cistercian retreat in Yorkshire, and so sympathetically told, and in such nervous, beautiful English, that we venture to hope its reverend author may some day, out of the abundance of the material that is available, give us a companion volume which may receive as tasteful a setting as to type, illustrations, and binding as Mr. Murray has lavished upon this. If we may venture further, we would suggest that no better subject c could be found the purpose than " Old St. Bartholomew's," in the City. About the same age as Fountain's Abbey, it is no less interesting architecturally or archaeologically, and it enjoys the advantage that its history, unlike that of the latter, does not cease with the Disestablishment. This noble building has in our own time been restored with noteworthy discretion, and divine service is held daily within its ancient walls. Yet not one Londoner in a thousand has crossed its threshold. English Furniture, Decoration. Woodwork and Allied Arts, during the last half of the 17th and 18th Centuries and the earlier part of the loth Century. French Interiors, Furniture, Decoration, Woodwork and Allied Arts, during the 17th and 18th Centuries and the earlier part of the Nineteenth. By Thomas Arthur Strange. Published by the Author, at 24, Christopher Street, Finsbury Square. The author, or compiler, of these two quarto volumes has done a useful service in collecting from widely scattered sources on both sides of the Channel a veritable treasury of designs bearing on his subject. This being so, we wish that we could speak only in terms of praise of his own share in the work. Evidently he is without experience as a writer; but even with the help of a fairly well informed printer one would imagine that he might have avoided the more glaring defects of these volumes, which afford, indeed, a curious example of amateur bookmaking. Mr. Strange seems to be an enthusiast in regard to historical furniture, and of his industry as a draughtsman we find abundant testimony. But what shall we say of a specialist who tells us that " a carriage-painter named Vernis-Martin (sic) invented a process which is called after his name ?" and who apparently, does not know that the famous national collection of French furniture, tapestries, bronzes, and bijouterie, formerly at the Garde Meuhle is now in the Louvre? The most cursory glance reveals such typographical curiosities as "lit a Colounes" for "lit a colounes," "avanturine" (lacquer) for "aventurine" and the substitution for such familiar proper names a Cipriani and Laguerre of "Cipriana" and "Laquerre." "Guessing competitions" are still the rage, and what kind of a bed a "it ten double tombeau " is intended to describe we leave to the ingenuity of the reader to discover.
But, in spite of such defects, the average amateur of old furniture, as well as the average dealer in the same, will find these volumes, on account of their wealth of illustration, invaluable for purposes of reference and comparison. For the French division, " L'Art pour Tons " and similar Parisian publications have been drawn upon freely, while for the English branch of the subject, hundreds of designs have been reproduced from the more or less rare folios of Chippendale, luce and Mayhew, Sheraton, Heppelwhite, Crunclen, Manwar-ing,and Shearer. By no means the least interesting of the illustrations in the volume on old English furniture and decoration are Mr. Strange's own drawings of wood carving in old London churches. They cannot, indeed, compete either in completeness or in artistic value with the similar treatment of the same subject by Mr. George H. Birch. F.S.A., in his monumental work on old London churches, but the opportunity of consulting a twenty guinea volume is not open to everyone.
"The Painter's Philosophy" is .a sympathetic translation by Ina May White of the "Impressions sur la Peinture" by Alfred Stevens: there is no art student but would be the better for assimilating these tabloids of a painter's wisdom. The illustrious Belgian from whom they are derived must not be confounded with our great English artist of the same name. the little volume is beautifully printed, and there is a good portrait in photogravure of the author. (Elkin Matthews. 2s. 6d. net).
"Standards of Tastes In Art," By E.S. P. Haynes,is the ltest of the dainty Vigo Cabinet Series. In point of literary excellence, the essay is in no respect inferior to its predecessors, and it is no less worthy of its faultless typographical setting. (Elkin Matthews. In . net).