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of far higher consideration, we shall eventually see in all Art Schools the employment of naked female models abandoned.
I believe that throughout the academies of Italy the use of them is forbidden in the name of religion and morality, and at none of the foreign academies I have named, nor at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, in Paris, is a female student ever admitted. I make no reference to art schools outside these academies.
In conclusion, greatly as I desire to trace for you the rise (may we soon chronicle the fall) of the art mania we have been consideringready as I am to anticipate argument by showing how far removed this mania is from the noble traditions of art, and how needless for the progress of modern art—and still more anxious as I am to speak of the grace and charm of woman's art work, and its title, when kept within proper bounds, to general admiration-I am reminded that the time allotted to me on the present occasion is nearly expended, and must, therefore, look forward to another opportunity for discussing these and other cognate subjects. I trust, however, that I have said enough to rouse to action those who have power to deal with the very grave facts I have laid before you. Ministers of religion well know their awful responsibility as to the religious and moral view of my subject, and will meet it in the strength of Christian faith and perseverance. Parents and other guardians of the young will, I devoutly hope, exercise far more zealous care in the selection of means for their art education than they have hitherto done. Men of public position can question the application of public funds in Parliamentary or municipal councils, and demand investigation into the working of public institutions for which the Government is responsible, and one and all of us can exercise the voice of prayerful and persuasive influence, in season and out of season. Let my last words be an expression of the deep and heartfelt confidence we here must feel that, in however great danger we stand in this and all our works from the wave of unbelief ever seeking to engulph us, it will in God's own time dissipate in foam, dashed against the Rock of Ages.
W. J. COURTHOPE, Esq.
Using the word art in its broad sense, to cover all kinds of ideal representation, I wish, in the short time at my disposal, to consider the reasons for that separation and antagonism between religion and art, which is so marked a feature of the present day. The quarrel between the two, to use Plato's phrase respecting the antagonism between philosophy and poetry, is one of long standing. Traces of it are visible in the satirical portraits of the Puritans, common in the dramatists of the early part of the seventeenth century; in Jeremy Collier's attack on the comic stage after the Restoration ; in the Iconoclasm practised by the Roundheads; and in Hogarth's caricatures of Whitefield and the Methodists. It survives, on the side of religion, in the spirit that has virtually banished music from the devotion of the Church of Scotland and of the various dissenting denominations in England ; and in the prejudice against all theatrical performances entertained by a very large section of
those who belong to the Church of England itself. On the other hand, the indifference, if not the hostility, of art to religion is equally conspicuous. The painter neglects the advice of Sir Joshua Reynolds to select his subjects from the Scriptures.* The musician seems inclined to make his art as secular as that of the painter. As for the general imaginative tendency of the times, it is sufficiently indicated in the words of Mr. Matthew Arnold. “The future of poetry,” says he,—and what Mr. Arnold says
about poetry obviously applies to painting, sculpture, and music—“is immense, because in poetry, when it is worthy of its high destinies, our race, as time goes on, will find an ever surer and surer stay. There is not a creed which is not shaken, not an accredited dogma which is not shown to be questionable, not a received tradition which does not threaten to dissolve. Our religion has materialised itself in the fact, in the supposed fact, and now the fact is failing it. But for poetry the idea is everything; the rest is a world of illusion, of Divine illusion. The strongest part of our religion to-day is its unconscious poetry.”
I think we have here conclusive evidence of the completeness of the separation of which I have spoken.
Now as to the causes that have made a considerable portion of a Protestant community look with suspicion on art, something, no doubt, is to be set down to what Collier called "the immorality and profaneness” with which art has occasionally been perverted from its true ends, as in the drama after the Restoration; something to the readiness with which painting, sculpture, and music, surrendered themselves to the service of the Roman Church in the days of its deepest corruption. But a profounder cause of antipathy lies, I think, in the genius of Calvinism—that form of Protestantism which has taken the strongest hold of the English imagination, on account of the intensity with which it realises spiritual truths, and its almost Manichean attitude towards the objects of sense and matter.
In the same way the alienation of art from religion may, be in part, the consequence of a dislike to Calvinism, the exclusive aspect in which religion exhibited itself in the early days of the Reformation; in part of the harshness with which artists have been judged and treated by those who disapproved of them on religious grounds. But on the side of art, too, there is a pedigree of spiritual antagonism. We must remember how large a portion of our artistic ideas and sentiments comes to us from classical literature. The revelation of Greek form and beauty in the middle ages was justly felt to be a kind of Gospel; and ever since there has been a tendency, in what is known as “ Culture," to revive the Pagan ideal, and to establish a worship based on the study of life as
an end in itself. On the other hand, the Christian religion tells us plainly: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Hence we find two rival forms of idealism, both seeking to satisfy the spiritual cravings of human nature, one by crushing out bodily sense and instinct, the other by making these the chief, indeed the sole, objects of cultivation.
Sir Joshua Reynold's Fourth Discourse.
As regards the reasonableness of these opposing systems, I do not deny that Calvinism may, under certain conditions of society, be the most practical and elevating principle of belief. I do not deny that, for the early Christians, forced to practice their religion amid the cruel animalism of Nero's Rome, or for the Pilgrim Fathers, abandoning their country to maintain a conflict with savage life in the forests of America, the vivid sense of an immediate ever present personal relation to God must have acted as a sustaining influence that could only have been weakened by the distractions and embellishments of art. But I do deny that the natural temptations to which men, living in an ancient, free, and civilised nation, are exposed by the promptings of sense and instinct, can be best encountered by separating oneself from society, or by refusing to countenance innocent forms of art and amusement, which are the necessary product of the social instinct. To endeavour to enforce such an unsocial rule of life is to fall into the error of the Pharisees, who condemned our Saviour as “a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.” It is to ignore what St. 'Paul tells us of the attributes of God, who "left not Himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."
But if the rigidity of Calvinistic idealism be unreasonable, what is to be said of the idealism of culture, which would persuade art that it can dispense altogether with the aid of religion? Art, we are told, is to take the place of religion; art is to administer hope, delight, consolation to men's spirits, long after they have ceased to believe in the reality of the promises of Scripture. Let us see, then, what are the grounds of this confident forecast. When Mr. Arnold says that in poetry the idea is everything, I imagine that he means much the same as Coleridge, who declares that the object of poetry is to procure a momentary suspension of disbelief. It is indeed the aim of all creative art to awaken that belief of the hearer or spectator in an ideal fact, that forgetfulness of the facts of time and sense, which allows the poet, or painter, or musician,
"To snatch us through the earth, or in the air,
To Thebes, or Athens, when he will, and where." But to accomplish this involves the exercise of powers that have only been vouchsafed to the greatest artists. Consider, then, the works in which success has been most completely attained, and the means which the artist has employed. What is the inspiring motive in the sculptures on the frieze of the Parthenon? The religion of the people. Whence comes the sublimity in the plays of Æschylus, the greatest of the Athenian dramatists? From the religious sense of the poet and the people. Look at the history of Italian painting, and say in what work, in spite of all the imperfectness of the means of expression, is the idea felt to be so completely real as in the frescoes of Giotto, the man for whom religion had “materialised itself in the fact." What is the greatest production of the Italian language? Will anyone hesitate to name the poem in which the rendering of ideal facts is so startling and distinct that its author was said to have seen Hell? Or turn to music. The father of modern music is Palestrina. Think, then, of Palestrina letting his imagination struggle after Divine forms in the midst of the
vacuities and trivialities of the fashionable art of his age: the road seems barred to his efforts : he writes down on his score, “O Lord, open thou mine eyes !”: he tries again : and the result is the mass of Pope Marcellus. Even when the subject is not immediately drawn from sacred sources, it is easy to recognise how strongly the sense of religion has influenced the idea in the greatest works of art. No one can read “Hamlet” or “ Macbeth ” without feeling that the most noble passages in them have been inspired by what is revealed to us in the Scriptures of the nature of the unseen world. Or how could we bear to look on that profound and tragic picture, Rembrandt's “School of Anatomy,” if it were not for the deep sense of religion shown in the conception, and expressed in the falling of light and shadow on the dissected body, in the noble elevation of the lecturer's face, and the intense eagerness in the countenances of the spectators as they listen to the explanation of the mysteries of life and death?
On the other hand, we see that the decline of art is always at hand when it loses the religious sense, and begins to exhibit that defiant selfconsciousness which asserts that nothing can be known of the facts of the universe beyond the ideas of the individual mind. For instance, the poetry of Euripides is full of the irreligious speculation of his time, of conflicts between the instinct of conscience and the casuistry of reason, and of doubts whether life is not death and death life. How immeasurably does such poetry fall beneath the sublime simplicity of Æschylus! And Euripides is himself the last of the great Athenian dramatists ; after him you get-nobody. So in Italian painting. The scholars of Raphael chose to ignore the long religious tradition that had come down to them from Giotto; art became identified with the worship of Form; the consequence was that it rapidly declined into insipidity or brutality : Raphael was the last of the truly great Italian painters.
The reason of these things appears to me to be simple. The source, the foundation of art, is belief: the influence that destroys this foundation, is doubt. Once doubt, and it becomes impossible to create. I do not believe that any candid enemy of Christianity will deny that, setting aside revelation, everything, except the impression of the instant, must be as doubtful for us as it was for the Greek philosophers. I know, indeed, that the school of Culture, the successors of the old Cyrenaics, adopt the saying of their founder, Goethe, the modern Aristippus, “ America is here, is now ; is here or nowhere ;" meaning that we should make the most of the present moment. But, if we exclude all positive belief in a Personal God or a future state, what meaning can be attached to the words "here” and "now"? All things seem to melt beneath our feet; our eyes, like Hezekiah's, “ fail with looking upwards ;” life becomes a series of hurried sensations, and the only form of art possible to it a vulgar and soulless imitation of what is actually before the senses.
To conclude with a practical question : What should be the attitude of the Church of England in the presence of these two antagonistic forms of idealism? The Church of England is the Church of the nation, and she would be false to her moderating mission if she did not seek to unite, in the service of humanity, spiritual forces between which there is no essential contradiction. I think she may fairly ask the
Calvinistic members of her communion, whether, looking at human nature as it is, and at the condition of society in these latter days, it is expedient to continue hostilities with the power that produced the paintings of Fra Angelico, the “ Messiah ” of Handel, and Milton's “ Paradise Lost.” On the other hand, she may reasonably plead with the artist, if only for the sake of refinement, to cultivate in himself the instinct of faith and reverence. It can hardly be maintained that the ancient historical religion which was ample enough to satisfy the intellects of such philosophers as Bacon, and Newton, and Locke ; which has been defended by the reasoning and genius, not only of a Butler, but of a Coleridge; is too shallow or too contracted for the fullest range of modern Culture. The Church of England need not require of art anything like missionary service. Such service was indeed once voluntarily yielded by Culture to the Church of Rome under the reforming Popes, and no one may speak slightingly of the remarkable revival both in art and religion manifested in such a poem as Jerusalem Delivered,” or in the paintings of Ludovico Caracci and his scholars. But such an effort of conscious learning and devotion is scarcely to be expected from the genius of our age and nation. It is unnecessary to require that the painter should always devote himself to the delineation of sacred subjects, or the musician to the composition of oratorios. What we want, and what the Church of England, with its refinement and scholarship, is able to inculcate, is an increased sense of reverence, simplicity, and belief in the artist; a perception that the resources of art are not bounded by the ideas of the individual mind, but that, as art derived its being from religion, it is by the inspiration of religion that it must continue to exist. We need that religious temper, which solemnises the secular work of Shakespeare and Rembrandt, and that submission of the intellect to a Power above itself with which the author of the most sublime of epic poems calls on the Holy Spirit for inspiration : “Instruct me, for Thou knowest.”
The Rev. E. R. CHRISTIE, Head-Master of the West Kent
Grammar School, Brockley, S.E. Early in His Ministry, Christ put forth a manifesto, that seems an eloquent expression of the real alliance between religion and art. He declared that the Family of God was founded for little children, and for those who, like these, were pure in spirit and strong in love. It is this vivid simplicity that is the charm of Christ-likeness, and the heart of all enduring effort, whether in poetry, in painting, or in music. We have heard touching thoughts on the place of the painter in the City of God, and I trust I may add something, not useless, on the unity of the Christian spirit with the poetic sentiment, and show that to be in serene sympathy with the Archetypal man is to be in high harmony with all who have power to “ make the thing that is not as the thing that is. First, then, the joy of the Christian, like the glee of the child, springs from his faculty of fresh receptiveness. The Christian walks through the world, seeing the invisible, hearing the unheard, feeling the inconceivable. The child's heart is open to the breaths and lights of Heaven, and he knows that Nature is alive. The Christian sometimes feels the very pressure of Christ's Hand in his palm, and, walking with God, hears the rustle of the glorious robes. The child has a like imperial idea,