« 上一頁繼續 »
despite the most opposite moral and physical influences.
5. That permanence of type is accepted by science as the surest test of specific character.
6. That certain types have existed (the same as now) in and around the valley of the Nile, from ages anterior to 3500 B, C., and consequently long prior to any alphabetic chronicles, sacred or profane.
7. That the ancient Egyptians had already classified mankind, as known to them, into four races, previously to any date assignable to Moses.
8. That high antiquity for distinct races is amply sustained by linguistic researches, by psychological history, and by anatomical characteristics.
9. That the primeval existence of man, in widely separate portions of the globe, is proven by the discovery of his osseous and industrial remains in alluvial deposits, and in diluvial drifts; and more especially of his fossil bones, embedded in various rocky strata, along with the vestiges of extinct species of animals.
10. That prolificacy of distinct species, inter se, is now proved to be no test of a common origin.
11. That those races of men most separated in physical organization, such as the blacks and the whites, do not amalgamate perfectly, but obey the laws of hybridity ; and hence,
12. There exists a genus homo, embracing many priinordial types or species.
These positions, it is obvious at a glance, if they can be sustained. overturn many popular theories and theological dogmas, and give an entirely new phase to the science of the natural history of
The Mosaic account of the derivation of all men from a single pair-Adam and Eve; of the deluge and destruction of all animals and men, save Noah, and those he took into the ark; of the building of Babel, and the dispersion of nations, are brought into dispute, as well as the chronology of the Hebrew and Septuagint Scriptures. These positions have also a vital connection with the prevailing interpretations of the Bible, and scarcely less with many accepted ancient histories. They bear with peculiar emphasis on the questions which are agitated in regard to Āfrican slavery, and the general progress of civilization. They will be canvassed, therefore, with the keenest scrutiny, and not a little polernic bitterness and prejudice. The Church is openly dared to the issue, and scientific men will find much to disturb their traditional faiths.
Whether the positions are sustained,
we shall not venture to say, in this place, because the subject is one which requires an elaborate and extended notice, and which some of our contributors, we hope, fully qualified for the task, will undertake. In the mean time, however, we will remark as critics, that the volume, as a whole, does great credit to the literary and scientific attainments of the country. It is marked by unusual learning, by profound research, and by an independent spirit. But there are two defects in it at least, which ought to have been avoided. In the first place, coming from different contributors, there is a great deal of needless repetition, which a more careful editorship would have pruned; and, in the second place, the tone of Mr. Gliddon's Biblical criticisms is repulsively flippant and inflated. They sound more like the pert paragraphs of a country newspaper, than the wise elucidations of science, and aim at a wit which is entirely out of place in discussions of such a nature. As the matter of the volume is calculated to arouse many animosities, it was extremely injudicious to add to the offence, by the manner of it. No one doubts, that theological writers have fallen into many absurd mistakes and grave errors, and that they are sometimes arrogant and bigoted; but a scientific man, in exposing their errors, or in controverting their opinions, is not called upon to imitate their example. His duty is simply to declare the truth, as he has learned it, leaving the task of ridicule and banter to the smaller wits. Both editors have also mingled with their more strictly scientific researches, a variety of opinions and conjectures, not directly connected with the main subject, which it would have been better to suppress. It is a universal remark, that men are apt to speak most dogmatically on the abstrusest subjects, while they are satisfied with the plainest terins, and the most unpretending assertions, when they declare what they really know. We are sorry to see the scientific value of the volume depreciated by impertinences.
The destruction of Metropolitan Hall seems to have paralyzed music. There has been no recent season in which there was so little to hear as during the past winter. With the exception of the Philharmonic Concerts and the Quartette Soirees of Eisfeld, and an oratorio by the Harmonic Society, and the two complimentary concerts for the prima donnas of
two fashionable churches, there is really nothing to record. Meanwhile the Opera House advances rapidly to completion, and the passages of Grisi and Mario are already reported taken. But as we remember to have heard the same delightful rumor a year since, and as these artists are now engaged at Covent Garden, we postpone faith and wait for sight. The daily papers have given fulland, doubtless, accurate details of the Opera House. The great experiment of its success is yet to be tried. In ourselves we confess our scepticism as to the result. In New York the Opera cannot be profitably maintained as a luxury, and it remains to be proved that it can be made attractive enough to the popular taste to secure its success. Among civilized nations there is, probably, none so little musical as the American. In any company of a score of men the chance is that not one sings. It may be assumed that a glee is impossible among them. In Italy, Germany, France, Spain, in all the northern nations, and, perhaps, England, the chances are precisely the reverse. We do not regard the Ethiopian opera and the popularity of Old Folks at Home as proof of a general musical taste. At the concerts of the Philharmonic Society at least half of the audience is German, and at the Opera, if the number of those who go in obedience to fashion and from other unmusical notions, is deducted, there is not a large audience left. But we do not wish to decide too soon. The experiment of ihe best artists with low prices is yet to be tried. We are sure of one thing, as we have been from the beginning, that it will be a sad failure if it be attempted to base the success of the undertaking upon any sympathy or support other than musical. The structure of society in this country is really so different from that of other countries, that any such effort must fail, as it deserves to fail.
If, however, we have not heard much music during the winter, there has been a musical correspondence as bitter and fierce as the doings of musicians are so sure to be. It commenced by a notice, by Mr. Willis, Editor of the Musical World and Times, of Mr. Fry's music. That gentleman responded in desence of his music, and, in the course of the correspondence claimed a position as a composer, which Mr. Willis would by no means allow. Assertions were made to the effect that the Philharmonic Society gave no countenance to American productions, which drew Mr. Bristow and the Society into the correspondence. The Editor of Dwight's
Journal of Music, published in Boston, had a word to say, in the most goodhumored manner; but Messrs. Fry and Bristow, who pursued the subject with great ardor, took everything in sad seriousness, and the latter gentleman, as we understand, resigned his connection with the Philharmonic Society. Whether Mr. Fry succeeded in establishing the point that his music is as good as any body's music, we are unable to say. It seems to us, however, that he mistook the means of doing so. If a man can compose as well as Mozart and Beethoven, let him do it. If a man can paint as Titian painted, let him paint and not talk about his painting. If he has composed and painted, anil insists that the result is as good as Titian's and Mozart's, but that, of course, we are so prejudiced in favor of the old and foreign that we will not recognize the excellence,—then, equally, it is foolish to argue the matter, for the very objection proposed, proves the want of that critical candor which can alone justly decide the question. like music because it is old and foreign, it is clear that we do not like it for its essential excellence. But Mr. Fry claims to compose fine music,—why, then, should he heed the opinion of those who do not determine according to the intrinsic value, but by some accidents of place and time? Why does he not go on composing, and leave his works to appeal to the discriminating and thoughtful both of this and of all ages ? Burke advised Barry to prove that he was a great painter by his pencil and not by his pen. "It was good advice, we think, because it was common sense.
We are glad to state that the Philharmonic was never more flourishing than it is now.
It is unfortunate that their concerts were given in the Tabernacie. that most dingy and dreary of public halls. But the music performed was of the best. It was German music, most of it, it is true, - but then, German music comprises so much of the best of all instrumental compositions, that it was almost unavoidable. Has Mr. Fry, and those who complain of over-much German in the selections of this Society, yet to learn that art is not, in any limited sense, national ?” Raphael's Transfiguration is as much American as Italian. A devout Catholic of the western hemisphere feels its meaning and enjoys its beauty as much as the Pope. Homer celebrates events occurring before America was discovered, but he is much dearer to a thoughtful American than Joel Barlow. In the realm of art it is not possi
ble to introduce distinctions so invidious. tion. His musical taste was early deThe best of every great performance in veloped, and he became, while yet young; art is, human and universal. It is not the pupil of the Abbé Vogler, one of what is local and temporary which makes the most eminent teachers of Germany. the fame of a great artist, but it is that Weber was his inseparable companion. which the world recognizes and loves, and Meyerbeer went to Venice in 1813, while there is nothing more pernicious to the Rossini's Tancredi was making the fame cause of real culture than this effort to
of that composer. It appears, according institute a mean nationality in art. Mr. to M. Scudo, that the young German was Fry may be very sure that we shall pre enchanted by the brilliancy of the Italian fer Shakespeare, and Mozart, and Michel composer, and after devoting himself to Angelo, whether they were born in the closest study, produced at Padua, in Greenland or Guinea, to any American 1818, an Italian opera, Romilda e Coswho does not do as well as they.
tanza, written confessedly in the style of This reminds us of a note we meant to Rossini. After many other attempts he have made long since upon the success brought out at La Scala, in Milan, in achieved by Mr. Joseph Duggan (brother the year 1812, Marguerite d'Anjou, of Professor Duggan, of our Free Academy) which increased his fame; and in 1826, at the St. James' Theatre, in London, last at Venice, Il Crocciato confirmed his poNovember. His name had become known sition as an eminent composer. Appato us by the report of his successful set rently not yet satisfied with his success ting of Tennyson's Oriana—a dangerous and the extent of his fame. Meyerbeer attempt-but of which a London critic worked privately, for five years, and alsays: " the grandly dramatic spirit of the though Robert le Diable was ready in words is represented by music as sugges 1828, it was not represented until the tive in purport as
is felicitous in effect." evening of the 21st September, 1831, and Mr. Duggan has recently attempted a instantly elevated the composer to the theme of greater scope, and his operatic highest rank among contemporary comsketch of Pieree, was produced with a posers. It was played two hundred and success “ perfectly well deserved."
fifty times with undiminished enthusiasm. have seen long and caresul criticisms of On the 29th February, 1836, it was folthis performance, and the sincerity of the lowed in popularity and success by Les commendation bestowed is unquestion Huguenols and Le Prophite, in May, able. We quote: "He, however, appa 1849. In 1844 the Camp de Silescé, an rently labors to be the imitator of no one. opera de circonstance, was produced at There is a rich dramatic vein in all he Berlin, -and now we have l'Etoile du writes, especially in his recitations which Nord. are full of truth and meaning. *
Of this opera Scudo apostrophising the There is abundance to show that he has composer, says:
As to the Etoile du both fame and ability, and that he is Nord, posterity, believe it, will not rank likely to win fame in the portrayal of the it with your most beautiful chef melo-dramatic and the roniantic-to which d'ouvres, because in the hierarchy of we fancy we perceive his yearnings chiefly the creations of human genius, the Last tend.” Another says: "Throughout the Judgment is below the Transfigurawhole piece Mr. Duggan's music is full tion.” The other noticeable item is the of melody: even in the highest portions death of Rubini. He was sixty years it is elegant and graceful, while his or old, and a very rich man. Tradition is chestral writing is masterly, rich, varied, so enthusiastic about his singing, that and free from the noisy exaggerations of those who have never heard him will althe ultra-modern school."
ways hear that nothing can properly comThe other musical news from Europe, pare with the effort he produced. Cerduring the last four months, is not of tainly the description of his voice and its great importance. The chief event is the effect give an idea of something that is production of Meyerbeer's Etoile du not equalled by Mario, who is usually Nord, a comic opera, in Paris. It was a considered to be his successor. By 1820 triumph in every respect. But we are he had made a great impression at Rome curious to hear how his large and solemn in La Gazza Ladra, and in October, phrasing will adapt itself to the buffa 1825, appeared for the first time in Paris, style. It may be interesting to our read the most illustrious theatre of his career, ers to know that Meyerbeer was born in in La Cenerentola. He was immediateBerlin, on the 5th September, 1794, and ly triumphant. Then came Bellini, who is consequently sixty years old. His was the friend of Rubini, and in Il Pirata family was rich and of good social posi and La Somnambula he achieved his
most enthusiastic success. In 1831 he came and conquered London. and for the next ten years was engaged every year six months in Paris and six months in England. Then he went to St. Petersburgh. But he sang in Bellini's last opera I Purituni upon the scene of his Parisian triumphs with even more success, and in 1872, when at the height of his power and fame, he withdrew from London and Paris. It was a few years afterward that he left St. Petersburgh, and retired to his native place, Bergamo, where he died.
Those of our readers who wish to inform themselves of current musical news in detail, to become familar with musical history, or to enjoy intelligent and admirable criticisms of contemporary musical composition and performance, cannot do better than to consult Duight's Journal of Music, or millis's Musical Ilorld f. T'imes, the former published in Boston and the latter in New York. They are weekly Journals, full of desirable information conveyed in an agreeable way. They address themselves to somewhat different audiences. The Boston paper aims at high ästhetic criticism ; and the New York at popularization of the art to which both are devoted. It is pleasant to record their continued and merited
tory. The portrait will, at least, have some likeness to nature, and the costume will possess a certain archæological value, but the historical composition may have no merit whatever. Portraiture is, in truth, the highest order of art, and the most beneficent, as it is the only legitimate kind of historical painting. The finest of our so-called historical pictures are historical absurdities and falsehoods; for, the first requisite of history is truth, either general or particular, and we have not many of the kind that possess enough of either to entitle them to preservation.
The historical paintings in the present exhibition would be worth very little, a century hence, compared with some of the portraits which it contains. Two among them all are likely to be preserved ; and, hundreds of years hence, when we, and the subjects, and the artists will all be forgotten, the beaming faces of Mayor Kingsland and friend Trimble will be looking out of the canvas upon our great-grandchildren, who will be quizzing the Mayor's bright blue cravat and friend Trimble's straight brown coat. The portrait of Mayor Kingsland is to be placed in the City Hall, among the civic and gubernatorial worthies, whose semblances adorn the walls of the Governor's Room. It is one of the best of Elliott's portraits; and we hope that the Mayors of a hundred years hence will fall into the hands of so capable an artist: few of our civic magistrates have hitherto been so fortunate. The portrait of Mr. Trimble has been painted for the New York Public School Society, by Mr. Hicks, and it will, of course, be preserved. It is a full length of a very tall and severelooking old gentleman, in a brown suit and a white cravat. Ile stands stark and stiff, with a book in his hand, in which he is not looking. As he is neither a pedagogue, an author, nor a lecturer, but a merchant, the book may possibly mislead future generations as to its meaning. The artist, doubtless, gave it to him to hold because he was at a loss what other use to put his hand to. Most awkward things hands are, in a full length. The feet are naturally enough used to support the body; but painters and sculptors are put to their trumps in disposing of two dangling arms, which always seem de trop when they are not doing something. Is it not possible for these pendulums of the human body to hang naturally in absolute repose, to correspond with the other' members ? In a portrait, there should be neither an arrested motion of the limbs, nor a suspended emotion in
FINE ARTS. THE NATIONAL ACADEMY. -“ IIalcibiades sat to Praxiteles, and Pericles to Phridjas,” says Mr. Gandish, grandly, as an apology for his abandonment of “high art,” and following the low business of portraiture; and, to our artists, who do the same, it should be a consolation that Washington sat to Stuart, and all the surviving heroes of the Revolution to Trumbull. Pope Julius sat to Raphael, and Francis First to Titian ; all the wits and great men of Reynolds's day sat to him, and our great grandmothers sat to Copley. These thoughts should be enough to reconcile our painters to portraiture, and save their annual exhibitions of heads from the sneers of ignorant critics, who imagine that it is the subject which dignifies art, and not art the subject. But artists, themselves, will talk absurdly about high art, and forget Halcibiades and Phridjas. A “portrait of a gentleman” may or not be a work of high art: that depends not upon the subject but the artist. An indifferent picture is an indifferent thing to look upon, whether it be the portrait of a gentleman or the representation of an episode of his
the face. Absolute and intentional re 153—which promise better than any pose will alone give an absolute likeness. thing from the younger brood of our When a man sits for his portrait, he artists; but we do not know what may should not pretend to be doing any be imitation in these lovely heads and thing else. There is a notable instance what originality ; but, being the work of of the impropriety of departing from this a new hand, they are at least very prorule in Elliott's portrait of Bryant in mising, and indicate a pure taste in color this exhibition. The poet is represented and a firm hand for execution. Our exwith his eyes upturned and a grim smile hibitions are always rich in landscape, on his face, as though he were listening but there is nothing new even in this to the promptings of the Muse. But that department of art, which the Earl of is not the way in which poets receive the Ellsmere good-naturedly says, in his divine afflatus ; the eye in a fine frenzy Crystal Palace report, we ought to exrolling, although a bold and beautiful im cel in, because our scenery is so fineage of one who had the right, above all as though there were not fine scenery others, to describe the manner of the poet wherever there is sun and sky: even on in his ecstatic moments, is not to be taken the ocean. We say there is nothing new, as a literal fact; the glancing from heaven although there is one landscape which to earth is an operation of the mind's vis will always be
fresh, and enchantual organ, and not an ocular demonstra ing while there are eyes capable of retion. There are no new comers in por ceiving delight from the glorious aspects traiture this year, nor any thing new of external nature. No. 64, in the catafrom our old exhibitors. The old exhi- logue, by Church, called a
“Country bitors are doing about as well, and the Home ”—too homely a name for such a new ones not much better than they splendid view, which contains glimpses did a year ago ; and all their pictures are of many homes—is the landscape we altwice-told tales. But we have no right lude to. It is the great work of the year, to look for a new man every year; genius and fully justifies the utmost that has is a perennial but not an annual. We been anticipated from this true artist. hoped to see, among the works of our Mr. Church is not content to paint“ bits artists who are abroad, something from of nature,” he does not give us portraits Page, who, according to verbal reports, of blasted trees, with indefinite perspecand letters from Rome, is doing wonders tives of affairs in general, but broad exin Italy. But, our artists abroad, of panses of out-door nature: woods, hills, whom there are more now than ever be streams, rocks, all bathed in glowing fore, have sent us hardly any thing this light, and with a sky which looks deeper year, and nothing worthy of notice, ex and clearer, and more real, the longer cepting the Cardinal Mazarin, by E. H. you look into its bright depths. There are May, who, we learn, is in Paris. This two things which afford especial satisfacpicture shows a very great improvement tion in Church's landscapes ; in the first over any of his productions which we place, we see that the artist understands have hitherto seen. It is evidently the perfectly well what he is about—that he result of his French studies, and has aims at certain effects and succeeds in nothing in it of American feeling. The producing them ; we neither wish he had color is superficial and chalky, and the taken more pains, nor remain in doubt of subject is a bad one, because the meaning his meaning; and then we feel that he of the artist cannot, or is not, explained has sufficient respect for us, who are to without the help of a legend. But it is look at his pictures, to do the best he can well drawn, and the figure of the Cardi to please us. He respects us, and we renal is well posed, and his face expres spect him for it. He has not carelessly sive, when we know what it should ex dashed off his picture, with the remark press. It has been objected to this that “it will do for a pot-boiler." “The picture, that the paintings on the wall, Forest Spring,” No. 301, by W. J. Stillwhich the Cardinal should be gazing at, man, who is neither an N. A., an A., nor are too indistinct; but it was the aim of an H., is a marvellous piece of greenery, the artist to make the figure of Mazarin in which every object is represented with the sole object of attention, and it is not a degree of accuracy and beauty which just criticism to object to his having we hardly imagined to be compatible done it. The eye rests, unavoidably, upon with such a breadth of effect and appahis figure, because there is nothing else rent freedom of touch. It is a little to divert it. Among the heads exhibited clear spring of pure water, whose unthis year, are two, not portraits, by a ruffled surface reflects objects like a miryoung artist, named Greene-Nos. 129,
ror; and the mosses, leaves, flowers, and