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left hand, clenched, is pressed firmly upon the rude stone altar from whose victim the smoke of sacrifice rises. In his right hand he holds a golden censer. His whole attitude strongly expresses a manly faith and trust in God. He is really the central figure but not the central thought of the picture. The central thought of the picture, admirably interpreted, is the sublimity of faith in God. Without the clear and full expression of this idea, the picture could be nothing but a piece of posture painting, well done, perhaps, but without purpose, and so without real greatness. As it is, in spite of its crudity and want of sufficient study in some portions, it may, without hesitation, be called a sublime work of Art, full of suggestion, and whose deep inner meaning can never be exhausted.
At the right of the picture are grouped the wives of Noah's sons. They are natural, pleasing figures, but are not characterized sufficiently, as the wives of the men who were to found three great empires, each with its peculiar civilization. They are simply three handsome Irish girls— they might have been made something more. A pretty bit of sentiment is introduced in this portion of the picture. The only plant that can be seen, a delicate vine, has sprung up at the feet of these girls, a lamb lies down beside them, and two snow-white doves have come to pick up food close to them. The signification of these incidents is clearly pronounced, while the incidents themselves are skillfully and naturally managed.
At the left of the picture stand the three sons of Noah. SHEM, a youth of fairer skin than his brothers, dressed in the light garb of a shepherd-huntsman, leans eagerly forward, supported by his spear. He carries at his side a knife with a handle of stag's He is horn and a gourd water-bottle. His countenance young and beardless. expresses reverent faith, and intense interest in the ceremony. JAPHET stands next him, an erect and noble figure, clothed in a long mantle which completely covers him. His hair is black and his beard is thick. His attitude and face express, if not indifference to what is going on, at least an intellectual questioning. He is the philosopher-not denying, not asserting, but waiting with quiet dignity for the proof which he demands as the condition of his assent. HAM kneels on one knee
and rests his arms on the other. He is half draped in a mantle-a rich bracelet circles one arm-his beard is slight, his dark-brown hair falls over his forehead. He looks up at the ascending smoke with a countenance earnest in its action, but too sensuous to be fully sympathetic. He exults in life and is thankful for it, but it is with a languid delight. The sweet savor of the sacrifice is to him its greatest charm.
In front of the picture, at the left hand, Noah's wife is seen kneeling. Even if the rest of the work were poor, the sentiment of this figure would redeem it. The attitude is that of one who is saved from peril after long and anxious watching and inward struggle. A different and perhaps grander mode of treatment would have represented her as triumphing in the fulfillment of her belief in God's power, and in the answer to her prayers. But the action chosen by Maclise brings her nearer to our human sympathies and experience. Her expression is that of tearful thankfulness. She fully joins in the offering of sacrifice, but she is too much prostrated in body and mind to exult. She is looking nowhere -her mind is busied, and absorbed in thought.
The detail of the picture demands a moment's notice. In the background the Ark rests upon Ararat, and the animals are leaving it. The domestic animals remain quietly grouped together, nearest to what is left of mankind. The giraffes, lions, panthers, elephants and camels, take up their march to the East and South; the elks, stags and deer, are on their way to the North-a group of chamois and ibexes stands on a cliff. On the Ark the domestic birds are gathered quietly in one placethe others fly off with multitudinous This whole arrangescream and whirr. ment shows careful study and poetic thought. The dead birds and animals in the foreground, with the wonderfully executed silver vase, are almost too well done. They dangerously lure the eye away from the more important statements of the picture, and cause the mind to waver between the contemplation of merely material facts, and those sublime spiritual ideas which underlie and permeate the whole scene.
Both these pictures, "The Brethren of Joseph," and "The Sacrifice of Noah," are to be engraved by Goupil & Co.
PARIS stops midway in Lenten mortification, puts off sack-cloth and ashes, dons three-pile and motley, and, during the mi carême, dances and sings with the frantic zest of a schoolboy's play during his fifteen minutes noon recess. But New York is more persistent in its abstinence. It was not so of olden time; for those of us who yet write ourselves young remember when, all innocent amusements, public or private, were as openly enjoyed, even among our High Church Gothamites, during Lent (excepting Passion Week, perhaps) as in any other part of the year, sacred or secular. With the advent of Gothic church-architecture, however-real Gothic, wrought in stone, which causes note-shaving, porkselling churchwardens to talk of naves and transepts, corbels and finials—the gusty forty days which usher in our only month of Spring have attained a new sacredness in the eyes of the Rev. Cream Cheese, and the flock to whom he dispenses the mild curds and whey of doctrine, and Upperten-dom now goes the entire Lent.
It is for this reason, in part at least, that the serried ranks of seats in the new Opera House, which we absurdly call the Academy of Music, have been in a great measure vacant during the last month, in spite of Steffanone and Vestvali, Brignoli and Badiali. The Committee of Management boldly lifted the concern out of the mire of the Ole Bull-Maretzek "row," and seemed determined to show the public that the affairs of an opera house could be conducted at once quietly and with vigor, generously and with prudence. But as far as regards the pecuniary result of their labors, they were in vain. They piped unto the people, but they would not dance, they sang unto them, but they would not answer.
Steffanone, whom we all remembered with pleasure, whose great, good-natured, lazy way never offends us, even when she sings sluggishly, and who, when she is finally aroused, which usually happens about the finale of the first act, or the beginning of the second, displays a dramatic force and intensity inferior only to Grisi's of all the prima donnas that Fortune and the Collins line of steamers have brought us, this good Steffanone made a bad impression when she first appeared this season. She sang, as one fair auditor said,
"like a drowning woman," while a blondebearded gentleman, who looked as though he had studied, and fought, and drunk, at Heidelberg, thought that her voice sounded as if she were singing in a huge tun. The case was deplorable, and the tenderlings of Gotham ran about the house chirping out, that "Steffanone had been living too fast," coaxing their moustache the while, and looking wicked and knowing, as if they, each one of them, could tell who and what was at the bottom of it all; but-though they did not say so they were evidently on their honor, and were discreet. But an evening or two extinguished their pretensions; for Steffanone was again Steffanone the Magnificent,-a little coarse, perhaps, and more sensuous than intellectual in style; but still glorious, in a large, full, sympathetic voice, a fine declamatory vocalization, a striking manner, imperturbable good nature, and unflagging faithfulness. She has lost somewhat of her freshness both of voice and person; but we still see in her potential ministrations to more than one season of operatic pleasure.
The change which has taken place in the taste of our musical public during the last ten years, and the exacting demands for which operatic managers are obliged to cater, are in no respect more decidedly shown than in the manner of Signorina Vestvali's reception by the town. Ten years ago, Vestvali, "solitary and alone," would have filled a theatre. She is quite a phenomenon, this fair Sclave, (she is a Pole, a Varsovienne,) and, in appearance, at least, is the prominent personage upon the stage whenever she appears. Of almost heroic stature for a woman-she is full half a head taller than Grisi-she is, nevertheless, one of the most beautifully formed creatures that the eyes of happy men ever looked upon. Her voice, a contralto, assigns her to more masculine than feminine characters; and not only does she become the dresses which she wears, but she is splendid in them-radiant. In truth, it is impossible to conceive anything more beautiful than the things which Vestvali uses to walk with. Fully conscious of her beauty, too, and never mincing matters when propriety of costume requires its display, she yet seeks no opportunities to reveal it, seeming to be entirely unconscious about the matter, and, when on the stage,
to take no thought about the conventionalities of this day and generation. And when she is dressed like a man, she walkes like a man. No ambling, pacing prettiness; but a good manly stride, at which men smile, and women wonder and despair; for they ask, how can limbs which have lived and moved and had their being under the shadowing embrace of petticoats, swing so clear and free? To all this boldness of manner upon the stage in manly costume, Signorina Vestvali unites a bearing equally womanly in the drawing-room. She came here well introduced, and was made much of in the society of our most estimable and cultivated people for some time before she obtained an opportunity of appearing in public. Her first triumphs were those of her intelligence, pleasing manners, and womanly beauty in the social circle. When to all this we add that she has a fine, richtoned voice, and sings with great spirit and feeling, it would seem as if Signorina Vestvali must needs have turned the town topsy-turvy. Not a bit of it. The brains of some very young gentlemen, who have pheezed and fretted around her, like little steam-tugs round a splendid clipper ship, which they want to seize and carry off, may have softened under her influence; but the public, although they always welcome her heartily, and take delight in listening to and looking at her, yet keep their senses and their dollars, and will not throng the theatre, even when she and Steffanone and Brignoli sing together. Who is Brignoli? A very nice little tenor, who sings in a very nice little way, and tries to imitate Mario, and succeeds wonderfully, except as regards voice, and vocal skill, and good looks. The three, with Badiali, form an excellent company; and, as we said before, either one of them, ten years ago, would have filled a theatre. But now, we demand one artist, at least, of the very first class; and that artist must be supported by others as good as either of these three, and by a full and well-conducted chorus and orchestra; and we want all this for one dollar. Like a lady of whom we heard, who could not find a nurse to satisfy her; and it proved that she wanted intelligence, good looks, ability to read and write, good judgment, neatness in dress, and propriety of manner-in short, a good person, a good mind, and all the cardinal virtues, for seven dollars a month.
The music which these people have given 'us has been all old, and of that sort which gets old very quickly-Donizetti's. We have had one new opera, Rigoletto, by Verdi, but, with the exception of a pretty romance and a carefully-written trio, it is poor stuff, and fell dead upon the public ear.
A German Opera Company has possession of Niblo's Theatre. The enterprise has been very successful as to money. The house has been full almost nightly, and the audiences have been more fashionable than those at the Academy of Music. The management has been "aristocratic," too, on that very important point-subscribers, and subscribers' seats. There have been three hundred of these; twice as many as there were at Astor Place, and fifty more than there are in Irving Place; yet the public are not disgusted, and a certain press has refrained from personal attacks upon the manager and the audience. Why is this? "For particulars, see small bills."
This German Opera Company has not been intensely German in its performances -the frequent occurrence of words ending in icht being the strongest Teutonic trait to be found in them. True, Flotow's Martha was pretty well, and Weber's Freyschutz was pretty badly done; but the staple has been the French Brewer of Preston, and the Italian Romeo et Giulietta, done into German. Excepting Miss Caroline Lehman, a very conscientious and well-instructed vocalist, the artists have all been of an inferior grade.
THOSE Who look up as they pass St. Paul's Chapel-and who does not?-see upon the front of Barnum's Museum, about the time we write, amid huge transparencics of the American Giantess, who looks as if she need only caper a little to shake the house down, and the Mammoth Girl, whose accumulation of feminine fat evidently protects the roof tree from any danger consequent upon her capering, another huge transparency upon which appears a ship, bearing at her mizen peak a black flag with a death's head and crossbones, while a goodly part of the canvas is occupied by a very fierce-looking gentlemen, much larger than the ship, who wears a peaked hat and wide breeches, and carries another black flag with another
death's head and cross-bones. The ship is the Flying Dutchman's Ship, the man is the Flying Dutchman, and the transparency means that Mr. Barnum has been getting up a Great Flying Dutchman-ic Revival in the Theatre-we beg his pardon, the Lecture Room of his Museum. We do not propose to criticise the Flying Dutchman,—either the picture or the play: we merely refer to the Great Revival as entitled to notice among the other Great Revivals of the day,--Mr. Wallack being the reviver in the others. We seriously believe that the Flying Dutchman is as good a play, as worthy of the careful attention of good actors, and generous stage appointments and costumes, as the majority of the comedies which Mr. Wallack revives. It seems incredible that a gentleman of experience and ability should devote his theatre and a good company to the performance of the smart, feeble, unnatural inanities produced by Congreve and Colley Cibber, and the tribe which followed them. Devoid of humor, devoid of character, without one touch of nature, dependent for the success which they once had upon repartee, grossness and intrigue in a half-century given up to repartee, grossness and intrigue, these comedies have been consigned to the grave, where they should be allowed to lie and rot in peace. Why will Mr. Wallack dig them up and bring their unmannerly corses before the world! He does his best with them, we are happy to admit. He dresses them unexceptionably, and dazzles us with lace, and velvet, and brocade, perukes and lappets; but it is beyond his skill to put real men and women in all those fine clothes: the author has prevented that, by filling them with conventional puppets. Mr. Wallack tries to purge these plays of their grossness and indecency, and he succeeds pretty well; but such is the nature of the material with which he has to deal, that in eliminating its grossness, he takes away all its little character, and in purifying its indecency he extinguishes all its feeble wit, giving us, perforce, decent dullness instead of prurient smartness. Pray let us have done with this, Mr. Wallack. Give us plays that have kept the stage; do not waste your strength in attempting to lug back those that have been kicked off it. Or if you must "revive," let us have the Flying Dutchman.
MR. FORREST has been playing at the Broadway Theatre one of his periodical engagements. His popularity appears to be undiminished. Evening after evening, the capacious house has been filled with people who applauded and cheered Mr. Forrest to the echo. If strenuous endeavors merit success, he certainly deserves all he has attained. His playing is more like hard muscular working; and he earns his bread by the sweat of his brow, as much as any gintleman of the Anti-Know-Nothing party who condescends to come over here and get a living by filling a dirt cart. But the time has passed for criticism upon Mr. Forrest's acting. He has long since made his position and his fortune; and in the former he is firmly fixed. His style is well known, and can exercise no influence upon public taste; for he plays to those who will have such playing from some one, and others cannot be induced to go and see him on any terms. Upon each character in which he has appeared, the Tribune has given its readers an elaborate criticism, generally very condemnatory and very just, but in the articles upon Shakespeare's plays, displaying, with a fine appreciation of the poet's thought, a lamentable ignorance of the materials out of which he built his dramas, and of the purpose with which he produced them. In its judgment of Mr. Forrest, the Tribune has but reiterated decisions passed by men of taste, before that journal had an exist
MR. BURTON has brought out a play by MR. BOURCICAULT, Janet Pride, in a manner which ought to give complete satisfaction to the author. Janet Pride is a mild melodrama, the action of which is so much broken that the author calls its first two Acts, the Prologue. Janet Pride, although she gives the play its name, is but a secondary character in it: the principal being Richard Pride, her father.
This play is entirely one of incident and situation. It has but one character, Pride remarkably well played by Mr. Burtonor at most two; the second being Bernard, the old French watchmaker, which was a very happy effort on the part of Mr. Moore. Janet Pride will add nothing to Mr. Bourcicault's reputation as a man of letters. although it may bring him some jobs as a playwright.
A Magazine of Literature, Science, and Art.
VOL. V.-JUNE, 1855.-NO. XXX.
HE Englishman is at once the most rational and the most cosmopolitan of men. Wherever he goes, he takes his prejudices and his tea-pot with him; but he sees more, and tells his story of sight-seeing better, than the traveler of other nations. The same spirit and training that sent the six hundred, the Earl of Cardigan at their head,
"Into the jaws of death,
Into the mouth of hell,"
at Balaklava, is the spirit which has sent the solitary Englishman to penetrate the loneliest deserts, and to climb the loftiest mountains. In Switzerland, if your guide stimulates your ambition to cross an unfrequented and dangerous pass, he assures you that it can be done, for Mr. Bull, in the year of grace 1810, or in some other traditional year, went that very way, and Mrs. Bull could hardly be dissuaded from accompanying him. In the East, it is always an Englishman who lived for two or three years at Damascus, for the whim of the thing-and certainly it was an Englishwoman who made herself the greatest queen of the East since Cleopatra.
The traveler of twenty years since, who recalls the Guide Book of Mrs. Starke, or the curious reader, who to
day turns its pages, can easily estimate the advantage to the world of English travel. It is John Bull who has made traveling easy. It is John Bull who has taught the kitchen of Italy to reek with the fumes of biftecca, and the mouldy rooms of the Locanda to own the perfume of Bohea. It is John Bull who has set up Felix and rosbif in the very shadow of the Madeleine, and within scent of the Café de Paris. It is John Bull who has put Frenchmen upon high-trotting horses, and crowded the Bois de Boulogne with agonized equestrians, rising in the stirrups, and coming down hard at the wrong time. It is John Bull who awakens the venerable Roman echoes of the Campagna with the tally-ho of the huntsman, and the distant, flickering bay of hounds; and John Bull who rides steeple-chases over the old granary of the world. He has put clean sheets upon continental beds, and caused continental doors to shut, and windows to open. He has introduced carpets, and cold water. Wherever Mr. Bull has been, he has left a track of comfort, high prices, liberal swearing, intelligent observation, sullen endurance, and triumphant achievement. Twenty years ago, Mrs. Starke was the traveler's Vade Mecum. The pilgrim of poetry and
Journey to Central Africa. By BAYARD TAYLOR. G. P. Putnam & Co.: New York.-The Lands of the Saracen. By BAYARD TAYLOR. G. P. Putnam & Co.: New York.-Travels in Europe and the East. 2 vols. By SAMUEL IRENEUS PRIME. Harper & Brothers: New York. Another Budget; or, Things which I Saw in the East. By JANE ANTHONY EAMES. Ticknor & Fields: Boston.-Cosas de España; or, Going to Madrid via Barcelona. Redfield: New York. -Art, Scenery, and Philosophy in Europe, being fragments from the Portfolio of the late HORACE BINNEY WALLACE, ESQ., of Philadelphia. Herman Hooker: Philadelphia.-Notes of a Theological Student. By JAMES MASON HOPPIN. Appleton & Co.: New York.--Gan Eden; or, Pictures of Cuba. J. P. Jewett & Co.: Boston and Cincinnati.