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Title: A Manual of the Historical Development of Art - Pre-Historic—Ancient—Classic—Early Christian; with Special Reference to Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, and Ornamentation
Author: Zerffi, G. G. (Gustavus George)
Language: English
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DEVELOPMENT OF ART***


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A MANUAL OF THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ART.


[Illustration: CHART OF THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ART.]


A MANUAL OF THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ART

Pre-historic--Ancient--Classic--Early Christian

With Special Reference to Architecture, Sculpture, Painting,
and Ornamentation

by

G. G. ZERFFI, PH.D., F.R.S.L.

One of the Lecturers of H. M. Department of Science and Art.



London:
Hardwicke & Bogue, 192 Piccadilly, W.
1876.

London: Printed by
Spottiswoode and Co., New-Street Square
and Parliament Street

The right of translation is reserved.



    This Book is Inscribed
    TO
    E. J. POYNTER, ESQ., R.A.

    DIRECTOR OF THE ART TRAINING SCHOOLS,
    SOUTH KENSINGTON,

    IN RECOGNITION OF HIS GENIUS AS A PAINTER,
    AND OF
    HIS UNTIRING EFFORTS IN PROMOTING
    HIGHER ART EDUCATION.



PREFACE.


An experience of more than eight years as Lecturer on the ‘Historical
Development of Art,’ at the National Art Training School, South
Kensington, has convinced me of the necessity for a short and concise
Manual, which should serve both the public and students as a guide to
the study of the history of art. In all our educational establishments,
colleges, and ladies’ schools, the study of art-history, which ought to
form one of the most important subjects of our educational system, is
entirely neglected. To suggest and to excite to such a study is the aim
of this book. It would be impossible to exhaust in a short volume even
that section of the subject which I propose to treat, and the most that
can be done is to give outlines, which must be filled in by further
studies.

Art is at last assuming a better position with us, thanks to the
influence of the lamented Prince Consort, to whom we undoubtedly owe
the revival of the culture of sciences and arts, and the indefatigable
exertions of the Government, aided by munificent grants of Parliament.
But much more is to be desired from the public. If the ‘National
Association for the Promotion of Social Science’ is a faithful mirror
of our intellectual stand-point, we certainly have not yet attained a
very high position as an artistic national body. For twenty years the
Association has met and has discussed a variety of topics, and this
year, for the _first_ time, it occurred to the learned socialists that
there was such a factor in humanity as art, and the congress allowed
an art-section to be opened under the presidency of Mr. E. J. Poynter,
R.A., the director of the ‘National Art Training School.’ _Four_
questions were proposed for discussion, and I gave anticipatory answers
to these, before the congress was opened, in my introductory lecture to
the students of the Art Training School. These answers will serve as so
many reasons for the issue of this book, and I therefore reproduce them
here, with the questions to which they refer.

1. ‘What are the best methods of securing the improvement of Street
Architecture, especially as regards its connection with public
buildings?’

_Answer._--Architects must be trained in art-history to prevent them
from committing glaring anachronisms in brick, mortar, stone, iron,
wood, or any other building material. Our street architecture cannot
improve so long as we allow any _original_ genius to _copy_ mediæval
oddities, and revive by-gone monstrosities at random, in perfect
contradiction to the spirit of our times.

2. ‘How best can the encouragement of Mural Decoration, especially
Frescoes, be secured?’

_Answer._--This might be attained by enlarging the area of national
interest beyond horse-racing, pigeon-shooting, and deer-stalking, the
buying of old china, mediæval candlesticks, ewers and salvers, or of
old pictures, that can scarcely be seen; and extending our general
art-support to our own talented artists, even though they may not
all be Michael Angelos or Raphaels. We could allow them to decorate
the walls of our town-houses, public buildings, chapels, churches,
banks, and museums. We must, however, first train their minds to a
correct appreciation of art-history, of the world’s history, and of the
glorious History of England, thus enriching their imaginations with the
illustrious deeds of the past, in which they may mirror our present
state, and foreshadow a continually progressing glorious future. For
there is a mysterious and marvellous ‘one-ness’ in the religious,
social, and artistic development of humanity which I have tried in the
pages of this book continually to point out.

No civilised and wealthy country on the surface of our globe, can
boast of more heroic deeds on sea and land, in and out of Parliament;
of more splendid conquests by warlike and peaceful means than ours.
The Wars of the Roses, the colonisation of America, the occupation
of India, the peopling of Australia, the struggles of conformists
and non-conformists, of Cavaliers and Roundheads, of Churchmen and
Puritans, of Independents and Royalists, of Papists and Covenanters,
of Iconoclasts and Free-thinkers, all offer stirring scenes; and yet,
if we want to see on canvas pictures of our past, we must turn to
France or Germany for them. I am sorry to say that until lately the
Iconoclasts have borne all before them. As, however, the ‘National
Association’ has at length consented to allow the discussion of art,
and as words are in general precursors of deeds, we may expect some
results from our awakened interest in art-matters.

3. ‘What is the influence of academies upon the art of the nation?’

_Answer._--Academies have no influence whatever, if the nation itself
takes no interest in art, and has no art-education from a general,
theoretical, and historical point of view. So long as art is considered
a mere luxury, because a house does not keep out cold and wet better,
if it be outwardly decorated; so long as it is thought that a parlour
need but have red curtains to be a parlour; that our walls may be
covered with any description of hideously-shaped, realistically-wrought
Chinese or Japanese flowers, if they are only kept in greenish or
brownish neutral tints; so long as we fancy that our wainscotings may
be bright light, though the paper above be dark; and that a window is
admirable, if only provided with a pointed arch, and some trefoil or
quatrefoil to keep out as much light as possible; academies can do
nothing. So long as we neglect higher esthetical culture and training
in our public schools, our academy will but reflect this neglect.
In reviewing the past I have throughout endeavoured to show the
close connection of art-forms with the general, social, religious,
intellectual, and moral conditions of the different nations and periods
in which they appeared. It is erroneous to suppose that art has only to
treat of straight or waving lines, of triangles, squares, and circles,
of imitations of flowers, animals, and men, of nature and nothing but
nature. The study of art comprises man in all his thoughts and actions,
and has to add to this the phenomena of the whole outer world, from
crystallisations to the heavenly vault, studded with innumerable stars
at night, or glowing with light and life in colours at day-time. If our
academy were to take this to heart, and expand its curriculum so as to
have the students taught the beauties of Greek, English, and German
poetry, we should not be obliged to turn to foreigners for worthy
illustrations of our immortal Shakespeare, Milton, or even Tennyson.
The art-historian knows that academies neither produced a Pheidias
nor a Praxiteles, neither a Raphael nor an Albert Dürer; neither a
Rubens nor a Holbein; neither a Gainsborough nor a Hogarth; neither a
Canova nor a Flaxman. For art-academies, as mere outgrowths of fashion,
unless rooted in the earnest, artistic spirit of a nation, only foster
mannerism, pander to the general bad taste of the wealthy classes, and
one-sidedly cultivate portrait-painting, whilst they shut out landscape
or historical figure-painting. Academies have rarely encouraged grand
ideas; they create a kind of parlour or bed-room art, with nice, but
very small, sentiments, water-colour effusions and flower imitations,
in which the Chinese surpass us by far. So long as our academy will
have great names on its programmes, as nominal lecturers, so called
because they do not lecture; so long as it will systematically neglect
to teach our rising artists Universal History, Art History, Archæology,
Comparative Mythology, Symbolism, Iconography, Esthetics from a higher
scientific point, and Psychology with special reference to artistic
composition, and so long as these subjects are ignored in our general
educational establishments, we shall in vain try to compete at large
with other nations, however many isolated great artists we may produce.
Artists in all ages reflected in their products the general sentiments
of the times in which they lived, and of the people for whom they
worked; every page of this book bears out this assertion. Art is a
mighty civiliser of humanity and elevates the whole of our earthly
existence, for it purifies passions and pacifies our mind. Art is the
eternally-active genius of humanity. Let our academy acknowledge this,
and it will at least try to imitate the Art Training School at South
Kensington, which has continually worked in the direction of enlarging
the range of the studies of its students.

4. ‘What is the influence upon society of Decorative Art and
Art-workmanship in all household details?’

_Answer._--If this question had been asked with an eye to business,
we might answer that decorative art makes trade brisk, induces people
to buy ornaments, and fills the pockets of dealers in curiosities.
But this is not our aim. So long as we fail to look upon art as an
earnest and serious study, as important and necessary to our social
wellbeing as either ethics or science, the influence of decorative art
must be confined to enticing people to plaster their walls with all
sorts of China plate, or pay dearly for Japanese trays, screens, or
cupboards, because they have not learnt to distinguish between the
quaint and the comical, the beautiful and the ugly. Their taste is
still on a level with that of untrained children, who have plenty of
money in their pockets, do not know what to buy, and rush to purchase
the ugliest monstrosities. If half the money that is wasted in these
directions were to be devoted to the encouragement of our hard-working
rising artists, we might soon boast of still greater successes than
we can proudly point to, despite the adverse circumstances under
which artists have to labour amongst us. Art with us is still looked
upon as an extravagance, a luxury, as it was with the Romans of
old, and this produces a craving for oddities. We hang up big china
cockatoos, or place big china dogs, or stags with big china antlers,
on our hearth-rugs. We have coarse china frogs and lizards, crabs or
lobsters, from which we eat our fruit or fish; or a life-like salmon
with staring eyes is brought on our table, its back takes off, and we
scoop out the real cooked salmon with which its inside is filled. Form
of dish, association of ideas, and action of the host are more worthy
of anthropophagi than civilised beings of the nineteenth century. So
long as art-history and esthetics are not made regular studies, not
only in art-schools but also in general educational establishments,
and especially ladies’ schools, our national consciousness of art in
general and the requirements of our age in particular cannot improve.
Art is a branch of human knowledge, ingenuity, and creative force
in which ladies, trained to appreciate beauty, might be made better
‘helps,’ than in the kitchen, the pantry, or the larder. The national
wealth of France consists in the nation’s superiority in taste and
artistic skill. The French arrange a few artificial flowers with
an exquisite understanding of the juxtaposition of colours and the
combination of forms, and make us pay for a ‘bouquet’ on a bonnet from
fifty to sixty francs, whilst the raw material costs from five to six
francs; they do the same in terra-cotta, bronze, or iron. So long as
everyone with us thinks himself justified in having his own bad taste
gratified, because he can pay for it, decorative artists will serve
that bad taste in all our household details. Art-history comprises
not merely measurements of temples, heights of spires in feet, or of
statues in cubits and inches.

We have of late years made gigantic strides in the advancement
of street-architecture, though we do not yet know how to create
perspective views of artistic beauty; we still indulge too much in
mediæval crookedness and unintelligible windings. We still decorate
too gaudily, or, falling into the other extreme, too much in neutral
colours; but we are beginning to understand that man does not live on
stone and brick alone, but also on taste in arranging and decorating
the stone. London, with the exception of some of our monstrous railway
bridges and railway stations, begins to look worthy of its position
as the centre of the world’s commerce. Our streets have lately put
on some stately ‘Sunday clothing’ in terra-cotta, Portland cement,
and iron railings. Our glass and china, our furniture and carpets,
begin to have more variegated patterns, though I am sorry to hear that
foreigners are still generally appointed as the principal modellers. I
base this assertion on the Report on the National Competition of the
Works of Schools of Art for 1876, in which the examiners say: ‘Our want
of that workman-like power over the material, which is so noticeable
in all French productions in modelling, is still very conspicuous. As
long as this continues a large proportion of the decorative figure or
ornamental designs in relief made for the English market will be in
the hands of foreign artists.’ The panacea of this evil will and can
only be a higher intellectual training, not merely of the faculty of
imitating and combining given forms in nature, but of endowing them
with ideal beauty, fostered by a correct study of art-history.

There are no illustrations to this work, but I have annexed a long
list of illustrated works on art. My aim in teaching, and writing,
has been consistently to induce my hearers and readers to think and
study for themselves. Bad or even good wood-cuts are by no means
essential in art-books, for we possess in the British, Christy’s,
and South Kensington Museums such invaluable art-collections, that
we may write books without illustrations if we can induce readers
and students to verify what we say by a diligent study of these
specimens. Theoretical generalisation ought always to precede our
special studies. We only then know when we are able to systematise, to
group, to draw analogies, or to arrange our details according to some
general principle. If we enter on any study without having prepared
our mind to grasp the connecting links in an artistic or scientific
subject, our knowledge of an incoherent mass of details will only dwarf
our understanding, instead of brightening and clearing it, and we
shall become technically-trained machines, instead of self-conscious
and self-reasoning creators in any branch of art. The Art Library
at the South Kensington Museum is, without any exaggeration, the
completest in the world; it abounds in the best illustrated works of
all nations. Art-books with bad or indifferent illustrations, or even
with good illustrations, are not so much needed as art-books with
unbiased theories, esthetical principles, and philosophical ideas,
which may awaken the power of reasoning in both readers and students.
It is only too often the case that, in seeing bad illustrations, the
student imagines he knows everything about the work spoken of and
produced in outlines. He must, however, go and see for himself. Art
has its own fairy domain and its own most catholic realm, in which
everyone is welcome who can contribute to the improvement, delight,
and happiness of man. To induce readers and students to visit, with
some fore-thought and fore-knowledge, our vast and unparalleled
art-collections, and to convince them, that to detach the study of art
from a correct appreciation of the ideas that engendered its forms, is
an impossibility, was the task I set myself in writing the pages of
this book.

    LONDON: _October 1876_.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

  PROLEGOMENA.
                                                                PAGE
  The phenomena of destruction and combination in Nature--The
    difference between the sublime and beautiful--Without man
    no beauty--Science, industry, and art--The utilitarian
    principle--Choice--The realistic, historical, and critical
    points of view in art--Crystallisations and their elements
    --Symmetry and eurythmy--Proportion, action, and expression
    --Man is the symbol of earthly perfection                      1


  CHAPTER II.

  ETHNOLOGY IN ITS BEARING ON ART.

  The Negro, the Turanian, and the Aryan: their characteristics,
    facial angle, amount of brain, and artistic capacities--
    Space and time--Art treated historically--Pottery in its
    development--Generalisation and its advantage                 22


  CHAPTER III.

  PRE-HISTORIC AND SAVAGE ART.

  Traces of man’s inventive and decorative force in by-gone
    ages--Classification of pre-historic products--The old
    stone age--The new stone age--The bronze and iron ages--
    Man’s first dwellings--Houses and temples--Lake-or
    pile-dwellings in their gradual development--Cranoges
    or wooden islands--Art in the western hemisphere--The
    stucco in the rock-hewn temple at Mitla in Mexico--
    Difference between art-products in North, Central, and
    South America--Cuzco, near Lake Titicaca--Pottery as a
    reliable historical record--The wild and fantastic mode
    of ornamentation in America, and its causes                   32


  CHAPTER IV.

  CHINESE ART.

  The Chinese language--The holy books of the Chinese--The
    sacred number five--Principle of ornamentation--Their
    towns--The wall with the Chinese not yet a completing
    part of the building--The enclosure, the frame, and
    the substructure--The trellis-work of the Chinese and
    its subdivision--Their Tshao-pings and Miaos--Mode of
    colouring--Silk-weavings and their usual patterns--
    Feather works and embroideries--Their deficiencies in
    painting--Their pottery--Causes of their failings in
    art in a higher sense.                                        45


  CHAPTER V.

  INDIA, PERSIA, ASSYRIA, AND BABYLON.

  The Aryans on this and the other side of the Himâlâyan
    Mountains--Science and art the offsprings of religion--
    Endeavours to express abstract phenomena in concrete
    signs--The symbolic, dialectic, and mythological periods--
    The Indian trinity--The principal divinities of India, and
    their analogy with the Egyptian, Persian, and Greek gods--
    Indian epic poetry--The rock-hewn temples and Buddha--
    Stucco ornamentation--Causes of the gorgeousness of
    Indian art--Persia and the Persians--Their five cosmical
    elements--Historical development--The Zend-Avesta--
    Persepolis and its oldest monuments--Zoroaster--The
    Persian trinity--Light and darkness--Why no temples
    were constructed--The Babylonians and Ninivites--Their
    principles of ornamentation--Their wall decorations           60


  CHAPTER VI.

  EGYPTIAN ART.

  The sphinx the emblem of Egyptian art--Long and short
    chronologists--Lepsius and his list of Egyptian dynasties--
    State of Egypt under Menes, who ruled 3892 B.C., according
    to Lepsius--Division of Egyptian art into periods--The
    forty-two holy books of the Egyptians--Their gods of the
    first, second, and third orders--The Egyptian trinity--The
    pyramidal period--The hieratic style--The Ptolemaic style
    --Their mode of ornamentation and symmetrophobia             103


  CHAPTER VII.

  HEBREW ART.

  The Hebrews are a mixed race--Social and political condition
    of the Jews during 6,000 years--Description of the country
    and aspect of nature--Rabbi Manasseh Ben Israel--
    Architecture a sure measure of a nation’s social and
    political development--Egotistical character of nomadic
    traders--The temple and palace of Solomon, the only
    architectural efforts of the Jews--Sketch of their history,
    divided into eight periods--The tabernacle a tent--The
    first temple constructed on its plan--Ben David on the
    mysterious empty room above the Holy of Holies--Causes why
    the Jews had no art, and never attempted to have any         132


  CHAPTER VIII.

  GREEK ART.

  Meshiah (humanity) was first freed by the Greeks in form,
    and by Christ in spirit--Aspect of nature--India, Egypt,
    and Persia as the component parts of Greek development--
    The different dialects of the Greeks--Their mythology--
    Traces of intelligible facts and historical events in the
    Greek myths--Zeus and his character--Prometheus and
    Faust--The nine muses and their leader--Greek life a
    continuous festivity--Greek poetry and philosophy--Greek
    artistic development--The Olympian, Pythian, Nemæan,
    and Isthmian games--Greek architecture: the temple--
    Building materials--Site of temples--Proportion--Plan
    of temples--The Doric, Ionic, and Korinthian orders and
    their subdivisions--The Attic style--Greek pottery and
    Greek sculpture--Different periods--The British Museum
    and Greek art--Onatas, Ageladas, Kalamis, Pheidias,
    Praxiteles, Skopas, and Lysippus--The Parthenon--
    Aphrodite no longer draped--The groups of Niobe, Laokoön,
    and the Farnese bull--Causes of the decline of Greek art     153


  CHAPTER IX.

  ETRUSKAN ART.

  The first settlers in Etruria--Their gods of the first and
    second orders--The ritual of thunder--Temples and tombs--
    Subdivision of tombs--Cinerary chests--Excavations at
    Præneste--Pottery and metal works--Their style either
    Archaic or Etruskan--Division of Etruskan works of art
    into five principal categories                               212


  CHAPTER X.

  ROMAN ART.

  Characteristic differences between Greeks and Romans--The
    triple theocracy of Rome--The mythical period of the seven
    kings of Rome--Rome as republic--Roman mythology--Rome
    under the emperors--Roman public games--Roman literature
    the outgrowth of Greek literature--Polylithic wall
    decorations--The arch, cross-vault, and cupola--Periods of
    Roman art and their subdivisions--Temples--Fora and
    theatres--The mausoleum of Augustus--Hadrian, the divine
    architect--Triumphal arches--The baths of Caracalla--The
    advent of Christianity                                       228


  CHAPTER XI.

  EARLY CHRISTIAN ART.

  North and south of our globe--Buddhism and Christianity--
    Christ’s divine teachings--Romanesque and Byzantine
    art-forms--Symbols, allegories, emblems, and myths--
    Catacombs at Rome and Naples--The sacredness of the number
    seven--Christian art in its essence and different phases--
    The spiritual element predominates--The first Christian
    churches--Constantine--Ravenna and its early churches--
    St. Sophia in the Byzantine style--Migration of northern
    nations--Their religious notions--The Teutons turn
    Christians--Wood and ivory carvings--Art in its relation
    to the progressive development of mankind--Summary and
    conclusion                                                   264


  BIBLIOGRAPHY for the study of the historical development of
    Art                                                          301


  INDEX 305



MANUAL

OF THE

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ART



CHAPTER I.

PROLEGOMENA.


Gazing at the heavens on a starry night, we see, in addition to
myriads of sparkling worlds floating in the air, a great quantity of
nebulæ--either decayed systems of worlds, or worlds in formation.
Worlds which have lost their centre of gravity and fallen to pieces; or
worlds which are seeking, according to the general law of gravitation,
to form a central body by the attraction of cosmical ether. The one
phenomenon is that of destruction, the other that of new formation.

This double process is continually repeating itself in the development
of art. Consciously or unconsciously, the artists of the different
nations, at different periods, devote themselves to the dissolution
or reconstruction of artistic products. To become acquainted with
this process, to trace the elements from which art is built up, or the
influences which engender a dissolution of artistic forms, is of the
greatest importance.

Art must be looked upon as the phenomenal result of certain religious,
social, intellectual, and natural conditions. To trace these
conditions, their origin, influence, and gradual development, by means
of a critical and historical investigation into the causes which
produced them, will be our task. For art is like a mirror: whatever
looks into it is reflected by it. If a poor, untrained imagination
stares into it, no one must be astonished that poor and distorted
images result.

It is usually accepted as a truism that the essence of art is the
reproduction of nature. Wherever, then, nature were reflected in
the ‘Art-mirror,’ we should have the best work of art. But this is
not so. For art has to reflect the phenomena of the makrokosm as
a subjectively-conceived mikrokosm. We do not see matters as they
really are, as each thing is surrounded by a thick fog of incidental,
objective, and subjective peculiarities. This fog must be cleared
away, to show us nature in the bright colours of intellectual and
self-conscious idealisation.

Nature furnishes us with mortar and stones for the building, but the
architect’s intellectual power has to arrange these elements, and to
bring them into an artistic shape. Nature furnishes us with flowers,
trees, animals and men; but the ornamental designer or painter has to
reproduce and to group them so as to impress the forms of nature with
an intellectual vitality.

Before the artist proceeds to his work he must become thoroughly
conscious of the distinction between the SUBLIME and the BEAUTIFUL.
It is essential that he should draw a strict line of demarcation
between the two conceptions; in order not to waste his energies on the
reproduction of objects which are beyond the powers of art.

During the long period of the cosmical formation of the earth, when
mountains were towered upon mountains, rocks upheaved, islands
submerged; when air, water, fire, and solid matter seemed engaged in
never-ending conflict--nature was _sublime_. The dynamic force appeared
to be the only element, and the counterbalancing static force was
without influence. Gradually vegetable and animal life, in their first
crude forms, commenced to show themselves.

Zoophites were developed into megatheriums and mastodons. Mammoths
and elks sported on plains which now form the mountain tops of our
continents. Scarcely visible coral animals were still engaged in
constructing mountain chains, and a luxuriant vegetation covered the
small continents. Such transformations, convulsions, and changes are
gigantic, grand, awe-inspiring--sublime, but not beautiful. Whenever
nature is at work, disturbing the air with electric currents or shaking
huge mountains, so that they bow their lofty summits, or when the dry
soil is rent asunder, and sends forth streams of glowing lava, we
are in the presence of the sublime, not of the beautiful. Whenever
man’s nature is overawed, whenever he is made to feel his impotence
by the phenomena of nature, he faces the sublime. In art, only a few
divinely-gifted and chosen geniuses have ever reached the sublime.

When, however, the cosmical forces had expended their exuberant
powers--when a diversified climate had produced those plants and
animals that surround us--when man appeared on this revolving
planet, and by degrees reached self-consciousness as his highest
development--then only beauty acquired existence and dominion on earth.
Without men capable of understanding what is beautiful, art would have
no meaning.

The aim of science is to vanquish error; the province of industry to
subdue matter, and the vocation of art to produce beauty. The artist
must not neglect science, for he has to be truthful, as error is ugly;
he must make himself well acquainted with matter, for he has to use,
to transform, and to modify it; and, finally, he has to hallow this
scientifically-treated matter by impressing it with the stamp of ideal
beauty.

The attainment of this, the perfection of art, has been slow and
gradual. Though art, like all the inventions, took its origin in
want and necessity, the _utilitarian_ spirit is the very bane of
art, for art flourishes only under the influence of the very highest
intellectual culture.

Nature produces like art; but the products of nature are the
unconscious effects of the immutable law of causation. The products of
art are the results of the conscious intellectual power of the artist.
It is the free, yet well-regulated, consciousness of the artist that
elevates his productions into works of art. Undoubtedly the great
store-house of the artist is nature; he learns from nature how to
ornament, but he has to discern, to combine, to adapt, to select, his
forms. The whole success of the artist, in whatever branch he works,
must depend on an earnest and severe use of the word CHOICE.

‘He is truly great who knows the value of everything, and distinguishes
what is more or less great, and what is most estimable, so as to
begin from that, and to apply the genius, and fix the desires upon
the execution of things worthy and great.’ This mode of thinking was
followed by the most celebrated and enlightened artists from the
ancient Greeks to our own time. They knew to distinguish that which
was most worthy in nature, and to this they directed their study,
diligence, and industry. Inferior geniuses, because they are attached
to mediocrity, believe that a mere clinging to nature constitutes all
art; and the lowest artists are enchanted with the minutiæ of little
works, taking them for principal things; so that human ignorance passes
from the trifling to the useless, from the useless to the ugly, and
from the ugly to the false and chimerical.

In treating of the historical development of art, to enable artists
to distinguish and to choose the best, and not only to imitate but
to create consciously for themselves, it is necessary to make them
_theoretically_ acquainted with the progress of art.

To trace historically the changes art had to undergo is necessary
for all really self-conscious artists. Art with us is still looked
upon as entirely subject to individual taste. Everyone thinks himself
competent to have an opinion on products of art. ‘_De gustibus non
est disputandum_’ is heard not only in our drawing-rooms, but also in
art-circles. This false and utterly untenable adage is the cause of the
chaotic anarchy in our art-world.

So little as there can be differences in truth, can there be
differences in beauty. It is the duty of philosophy to strive for
truth; it is the task of the theoretical artist to point out what is
beautiful.

We may treat art from three different points of view:--

1. From a _realistic_ point of view, taking nature and geometry as its
basis.

2. From an _historical_ point of view; showing by antiquarian and
archæological researches its gradual development.

3. From a _critical_ point of view; propounding abstract principles of
speculative philosophy and esthetics as applied to art.


A.

The _realistic_ school has in later years had an immense influence
with us. Art-critics have almost gone so far as to demand from the
artist a correct rendering of the very stratification of rocks; or
of the different kinds of soil, to such a degree that the farmer
should be able to recognise the ground in which to sow oats or wheat.
Pictures, according to these estheticists, should be geological maps,
mineralogical collections, and, so far as flowers are concerned,
perfect herbariums. When this school takes up the archæological
view, it clings with indomitable tenacity to given forms, and checks
imagination. Art is then only to be handled as the Greeks or Romans
practised it. Either the Gothic or the Renaissance style is to be
slavishly imitated. This school has one great drawback: it considers
all things natural beautiful, and looks upon an imitation of that which
_was_ as better than an exertion of the self-creative originality of
the artist.


B.

The _historical_ school endeavours to bring before our eyes the past,
so as to enable us to understand the present, and to influence the
future of art. This school has followed two divergent directions, the
Antique and the Gothic, the classical or romantic; the one holding that
everything beautiful must be based upon Greek patterns; the other that
all beauty is confined to the Gothic. The writers of these two schools
bewilder the students; either driving them into a cold, soulless
imitation of classic forms, or forcing them to sacrifice everything to
trefoils, pinnacles, tracery, finials, buttresses, thin spires, painted
windows, and pointed arches.


C.

The _critical_ school indulges in tall phrases, mere hypothetical
paradoxes, often startling the world with speculations of the wildest
sort. Art-critics frequently roam in the spheres of surmises; they have
their good points, but often neglect reality, or the historical ground;
they sacrifice everything to the idea, which is with them the only
productive basis of everything existing in art.

We shall try to be realistic, as it would be vain to attempt to detach
art from the influences of nature; for art borrows its principal
elements from the impressions of natural phenomena. We shall be
historical, and point out the progressive development of art; and,
lastly, we shall endeavour to be critical. Speculative philosophy has
its merits in art. Esthetical criticism suggests new ideas, and new
ideas engender new forms. We shall endeavour to adopt from each of the
three schools what is best. Our age is an age of eclecticism in art. We
must, however, try to prepare for a period of original vitality, which
can only be done by avoiding one-sidedness and heedless originality.
We shall try to suggest and to excite in our readers new thoughts. As
music speaks in sounds, poetry in words, so art in forms; but music,
poetry, and art are subject to certain rules, without which harmony
would become dissonance, poetry an inflated prose, and art a tasteless
entity, of which quaintness will be the only distinguishing attribute.
What we call our sense of beauty is based on those laws which make the
existence of the universe possible.

The Greeks used for beauty in art the same word, as for order, or the
perfect arrangement of the universe. The word κόσμος {kosmos} (from
which we have ‘cosmetic,’ any beautifying application) may teach us how
we should look upon works of art, which ought to be a reflection of the
general laws ruling nature.

Two forces guide our material and intellectual life. We possess
two means of acquiring knowledge and of practising art: reason and
experience. Impressions from without are the everlasting source of all
our conceptions. Hunger and thirst drive us to seek nourishment, to
become fishers, hunters, herdsmen, or agriculturists. Cold and heat
force us to seek a shelter, to construct wigwams, huts, dwellings on
piles, cottages, houses, palaces, and temples.

Though order and harmony prevail in the outer world, every atom of
the universe is endowed with an unconscious will or life of its own.
Atoms seek atoms according to inherent laws, or fly from or annihilate
one another. The whole process of life around us appears to be one
never-ending struggle. Apparently there rules only the law of chance
and might; what cannot conquer is conquered.

History is one long catalogue of appearing and disappearing nations, of
devouring and devoured kingdoms and empires. It is as though generation
after generation had emerged from the spectral past into the sanguinary
present, to destroy or to be destroyed. This conflict in the outer
world is seconded by everlasting conflicts in our inner world. Fear,
hope, love--passions of all kinds, imagination and reality, ignorance
and knowledge, pride and humility, prejudice and wisdom, form an
intellectual hurricane not less destructive than the warfare of the
cosmical elements. Religion, Science, and Art, this divine triad,
step in. Religion excites in us the hope of higher and better morals;
science creates consciousness of the laws according to which we are
governed; the link between cause and effect is traced, and the rule of
arbitrary chance narrowed. Lastly, art throws its beautifying halo on
everything. Thus these three are instrumental in elevating our mind,
expanding our intellectual powers, and bringing harmony and beauty into
the eternal conflict. Faith is the element of religion, experience the
element of knowledge, and beauty the element of art. Whilst faith and
experience are possible without an artistic elevation of the mind, art
must combine the elements of religion and science, and form through
beauty a visible link between these elements.

The sublime, as we have said, rules in the universe. Clouds chase one
another and are subject to everlasting changes. Trees cover the surface
of our globe, forming woods at random. Mountains are towered up, as if
hurled together by chance. Seas form a bewildering variety of coasts.
Streams wind their paths through mountains and valleys with capricious
irregularity. All these phenomena confuse and oppress us, they engender
an incomprehensible, indistinct feeling in us. But so soon as we begin
with our intellectual force to sift, to separate, and to detach single
phenomena from the general mass--as soon as _choice_ begins to work,
the isolated phenomenon displays at once its symmetrical beauty.

[Illustration: (Snowflakes)]

This is the case with crystallisations, the _first_ artistic products
of unconscious nature. If we look at a vast plain covered with snow,
a feeling of sublime cold and wretchedness overcomes us; but if we
take up one isolated snow-flake, and place it under a microscope, we
find that the elements of the crystallised drop of water surround
with harmonious regularity a common centre, which is the body,
from which radiate as integral parts the diversified forms of the
flake. In studying snow-flakes, we find that the three dimensions of
space--height, breadth, and depth, limited by symmetry, proportion and
direction--are the principal elements of every form which in itself has
to represent a detached total. In all the crystallisations there is one
‘momentum’ of formation--the centre, from which all the parts emanate
perfectly well-balanced and complete in themselves. The elements
of which all artistic works, whether natural or produced by men,
are composed, are the straight line and the waving line. With these
elements we can obtain the three principal conditions of every work of
art--symmetry, proportion, and direction. Snow-flakes may be used in
any direction, and therefore they may be set down as without distinct
direction. The rays with their radiation, however, are formed according
to the principal law of the universe. They represent the _dynamic_
force; they strive at isolation from the centre which must be looked
upon as their _static_ momentum. Thus in the first artistic products of
nature positive and negative, or rather dynamic and static forces are
clearly perceptible. The horizontal line is the representative of the
static, whilst the vertical line is the indicator of the dynamic force.

SYMMETRY _is a perfect equality of form to the right and left of a
vertical line on a horizontal base_.

EURYTHMY _consists in a repetition of variegated forms_.

In order to produce eurythmy we must confine symmetry within a certain
compass; for this purpose we have the _frame_. Our doors are nothing
but frames for the entering or departing individuals; as our windows
are frames for the landscape, sky, or walls on which we look, or for
ourselves when seen from without. The frame, whether it be real or
imaginary, as the correct limitation of forms, is of the very highest
importance in decorative and pictorial art.

Eurythmy may be alternating. This alternating principle is observed in
metopes and triglyphs. The alternation may be interrupted by a cæsura
(a mark or sign of rest). Masks, heads of lions, or any other figures
may form the cæsura, as decorative elements in the long lines of the
tops of houses, palaces, or temples. The cæsura, combined with eurythmy
and symmetry, will give us the best patterns for flat decorations, as
in carpets, paper-hangings, keramic works and metal or wood ornaments.

Applying what we have said of crystallisations to plants and animals,
we find that symmetry is undoubtedly the predominant element in every
flower. The plant developes itself from the ground, which is its
horizontal basis. It shoots up generally in a vertical direction, as a
radiation from our globe. In trees the branches, leaves, flowers, and
fruits are clustered around a central line in eurythmical proportion.
In flowers symmetry predominates, whilst in trees eurythmy prevails. In
considering the branches of a tree in relation to its trunk, we find
the same symmetry and eurythmy, though the direction be changed. We can
study these forms best in plants of the coal formation--the Sigillaria,
Stigmaria, Lepidodendra, and Calamites; and in ferns, fir-trees,
cedars, &c.

In the palm tree we see most distinctly the working of the conflicting
forces of nature. The dynamic force of vitality drives the stem
upwards, and the static force of gravitation towards a common centre is
expressed in the beautifully-drooping curves of the leaves. Symmetry is
further to be observed in the lowest animals, in polyps, radiata, &c.,
but never in higher species, in which it is not planimetrical (viz.,
cannot be treated on a plane) but linear, none of them being perfectly
regular in any of the three dimensions of space.

Man is altogether different from the products of the mineral or
vegetable kingdoms, which give us the prototypes of conventional art.
Man is not in all directions symmetrical in the strict sense of the
word. He has not two heads, two noses, or two mouths. The component
elements in man are different. His very nature revolts against a
planimetrical treatment. This was perfectly understood by the masters
of arabesque, who have always turned man half into a fish, a plant,
a serpent, a tendril, or some other form adapted for planimetrical
treatment. Eurythmy and _Proportion_ are the elements of higher organic
forms--to which must be added direction or _Action_, and finally
_Expression_.

In most of the lower animals the vertebræ are horizontal, and
coincident with the moving direction of the whole creature. In man, on
the other hand, the vertebræ are vertical, in opposition to the moving
direction which is horizontal; so that the vertebræ and line of motion
are at right angles.

In men, detached as they are from their horizontal basis, the
soil--carrying their static force with them, and able to change it
either from below, upwards, or from front to back--_direction_ is of
a complicated nature, and must be well studied, so as not to produce
incongruities.

If a woman or man were painted with the most beautiful and expressive
face, but having it twisted round, so as to crown the spine, we should
turn from it with disgust, as anyone endowed with the sense of beauty
turns from acrobats, because the natural laws of gravitation and
symmetry would be violated. This illustration may serve to prove, that
there are laws in art with which we must make ourselves acquainted,
and that the mere ‘right of taste,’ in the general sense of the words,
cannot promote the understanding and appreciation of our artistic
productions.

Next to direction we have to take into account _motion_. This element
is in animals and men produced by their inherent dynamic force,
counteracted by the body itself, which represents the static force, or
the ‘_vis inertiæ_,’ chaining them to the centre of gravitation in the
earth.

Motion again leads to _expression_ and _action_.

_Expression_ is the effect of the conflicting static or dynamic
(passive or active) state of the mind, so far as this state is revealed
in the lineaments of the face.

_Action_ is the effect of the same conflicting force so far as it is
expressed in the limbs and the position of the body.

A third force, which is often used unconsciously, necessarily grows out
of these elements--the controlling or ruling element, or, as Vitruvius
has it, ‘_the principle of authority_.’ This element points out the
preponderance of certain forms as the visible representatives of the
general principles which we have stated, bringing into the _variety_
of details, harmony and _unity_. This controlling element stands to
the surrounding and united parts in the same relation as the key-note
to a harmonious melody. Without that key-note no harmony--without the
controlling element no beauty, were possible.

Having proceeded step by step from the formation of matter in crystals
to man, we may set down the following as the five principal elements
necessary to beauty in art:--

    1. Symmetry.
    2. Eurythmy.
    3. Proportion.
    4. Direction or motion.
    5. Expression.

α. Symmetry has already been amply treated.

β. Eurythmy is either stereometric or planimetric. It is stereometric
in balls and in regular solid bodies, such as the tetrahedron, a figure
of four equal triangular faces, or the polyhedron, a figure with many
sides. These forms are symmetrical without any controlling element.
Such an element shows itself first in the ellipsoid--distinct from the
oval--in the prism, and the pyramid. Planimetric eurythmy preponderates
in snow-crystals, flowers, plants, trees, and the lowest animals.

The controlling element shows itself in the grouping of the single
parts round a common centre, which is often distinguished by a contrast
in forms or colours. It is unconsciously expressed by a sign or mark.

Ornamentation takes its origin in the effort to express, to designate,
or to mark out the controlling element. The ornamented object has
only then a meaning, when it expresses visibly the hidden idea of the
controlling element, say the idea of fastening or keeping together,
as in clasps, brooches, buckles; or the idea of equilibrium, as in
earrings. Such signs or marks were very early used, and are spread
all over our globe; they developed into the rough tombs in Phrygia,
Greece and Italy; took a higher form in Central America and Assyria;
became crystallised in the Pyramids; and attained the highest
perfection in the tombs of Mausolus, Augustus, and Hadrian. The mark
or sign is also used in games, as on race-courses, in the stadium,
the circus, or the amphitheatre. A more distinct expression is gained
when the mark or sign, as divine statue, altar, &c., is surrounded by
rhythmically-arranged circles or encompassing walls, as the visible
expression of the union of the many, or variety, for one religious
or ceremonial purpose. The mark or sign reflects, on the one hand,
the idea of harmony, whilst, on the other, the rhythmically-arranged
surroundings form an impressive total, heightening the force of the
controlling element. This law explains the awe, veneration, mysterious
feeling, and secret fear with which men at all times have looked upon
the central mark or sign, whether in the simple stone-circles of Abury,
Stonehenge, and Carnac, the rock-hewn temples of India, the temples
of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, or the synagogues and churches of our own
times.

Next to the controlling element, we must take into consideration
the grouping of the whole object on a horizontal basis around a
vertical axis. This axis becomes the seat of the linear, symmetrical,
controlling element. It is especially marked by richly ornamented
reliefs or by gaudier colours, so pronounced that the other parts of
the ornamented object appear as mere accompaniments of the horizontal
and vertical lines. Remarkable in their incongruity, but often
unsurpassed in the application of this principle, are the tattooed
heads of savages, in which the linear central line is ornamented
symmetrically on both sides of the face--the prominent parts being
marked by spirals to make them appear still more prominent.

γ. Proportion, as an element of art, cannot work by itself, but must
be considered in relation to its parts and the controlling element.
Proportion consists of a basis, a middle piece, and a dominant. To
illustrate this, we have in plants and trees, the root (basis), the
stem or trunk (middle piece), and the top, crown or flower (dominant).

The basis represents the cosmical element of gravitation by powerful
masses, simplicity of forms, and dark colouring. This law was
especially observed in the excellent decoration of the Roman houses
at Pompeii, and is still followed in our wainscoting. We try
unconsciously to express the static force from which the dynamic rises.

The middle piece, growing out of the basis, is supported and
supporting; it unites the elements of the basis with the top or
dominant; it is the connecting link between these two extremes. The
basis stands in the same relation to the middle piece, as the latter to
the dominant.

The dominant harmoniously reconciles the conflicting forces of striving
upwards, and being drawn downwards. Variations in these relations are
not only allowable, but form the very element of the artist’s creative
originality--so long as he clearly marks the purpose of the three
elements.

δ. Direction, or motion, in its highest form is only to be found in
man. In fishes the axis, or seat of the controlling element, is not
fixed as in plants. If fishes pursue some point of attraction, they
shoot forward in a straight line, so that a conflict between the static
and dynamic forces is never visible in them, because the axes of these
two forces are always one and the same. This is entirely different with
birds, quadrupeds, and especially with men, who, to a great extent, are
masters of their motions; for will, as the force of their conscious
intellect, changes their static as well as their dynamic direction.

Man is the symbol of earthly perfection. In him all laws and elements
of the universe are united. What is with inanimate nature a static
point of attraction, is with man _moral_; the dynamic force of
activity, is with him _intellect_. Animals also work, but their works
are in general the result of their instinct; whilst with man, though he
may also be ruled by unconscious impulses, intellect--self-conscious
intellect--is the mainspring of all his actions. These have a
reflecting mirror in the glance of his eyes, whilst the changing
and changeable effects of scorn, love, wrath, delight, happiness,
or despair are pictured in the mysteriously-woven lineaments of his
countenance.

ε. Expression, of intellectual and moral impressions, is most
concentrated in MAN.



CHAPTER II.

ETHNOLOGY IN ITS BEARING ON ART.


Man is placed on this globe as a radius,--a detached radius. The
axis of his body is part of the diameter of the earth, and divides
him into symmetrical halves. A line, that passes at an equal
distance through the double organs, also divides the single ones
into two equally-arranged portions. We possess two eyes, to receive
the impression of light; two ears, to be touched simultaneously by
the waves of sound; two tubes are opened, to receive the refined,
imponderable bodies producing odour; the lips are grouped round a
marked central line to the chin. We have two shoulders, two arms,
two hands, two legs, two feet; both hands have the same number of
fingers, and both feet the same number of toes. On the other hand, the
parts, taken by themselves, break through all the laws of symmetrical
uniformity. The arms are longer than the trunk; the legs are longer
than the arms; hands end in unequally-subdivided fingers; feet in
similarly-treated toes. But notwithstanding this want of symmetry there
is perfect harmony in the relations of the parts to the whole, so that
man may be said to be the very master-piece of creation. In considering
the controlling linear elements, in the three grand groups into which
humanity may be best divided for a comprehensive study of art, we find
that the very fundamental facial lines differ.


I.

We have first the Negro, the fossil, the _black_, or antediluvian man.
The eyes, nostrils, and lips are drawn downwards in melancholy lines.
He is cross-toothed (_prognathous_), triangular-headed, has flat feet,
long heels, an imperfect pelvis, but a very powerful digestive organ,
and a correspondingly enormous mouth.

[Illustration]

The Oceanic Negro is the best example of this group. He is slow of
temperament, unskilled, his mechanical ingenuity being that of a child;
he never goes beyond geometrical ornamentation; builds tumuli or
triangular wigwams; lives on what he finds by chance, and, at the best,
hunts or fishes. His reasoning faculty is very limited, his imagination
slow, but his perceptive faculties (the senses) are highly developed.
He is altogether incapable of rising from a fact to a principle. He
cannot create beauty, for he is indifferent to any ideal conception.
He possesses only from 75-83½ cubic inches of brain, his facial angle
being about 85½ degrees. This lowest group of mankind branches off into
different types. The general features of the group have neither changed
nor improved. The Negro is still the woolly-headed, animal-faced being,
represented on the tombs of the Pharaohs, because his bodily structure,
his facial lines have not altered during thousands of years. In
studying the artistic products, the customs and manners of this group,
we can picture to ourselves the state in which Asiatics and Europeans
must have lived during the oldest stone period. The Negroes use the
same kind of flint instruments, manufacture the same crude kind of
pottery, adorn their clubs, paddles, and the cross-beams of their huts
with the same rope and serpent-like entangled windings and twistings,
that are found in various parts of the globe of pre-historic times. The
ruling lines of the face and head of the Negro are reflected in his
triangular or mound-like architectural constructions.


II.

[Illustration]

Next we have the Turanian (from _tura_, ‘swiftness of a horse’),
the Mongol, the square or short-headed (_brachikephalous_), the
traditionary, the _yellow_ man. His face is flat, his nose deeply
sunken between his prominent cheeks; his reasoning faculty is
developed only to a certain degree. He has small, oblique eyes, the
lines being turned upwards, expressing cunning and jocularity. His
mouth is less powerful than that of the negro. He has broad shoulders,
an expansive chest, thin and small bow legs, as if formed to use those
of horses instead of his own; he is an excellent rider, but a slow
though steady walker. He looks on nature with a nomadic shepherd’s eye,
and not with that of a settled artist. He excels in technical ability,
has great powers of imitation, can produce geometrical ornamentation
of the most complicated and ingenious character, and a realistic
imitation of flowers, butterflies, and birds, but has no sense for
perspective and no talent for shading. He is incapable of drawing the
human form. Sculpture of a higher kind is unknown to him, though he can
execute perfectly marvellous carvings, which, though quaint in design
and composition, are wanting in proportion and expression. Faithful
to his nomadic traditions, and the lines of his head and face, his
architectural constructions take an according form. Like his facial
lines, the roofs of his houses are twisted upwards.

The amount of brain in the Turanian averages 83½ cubic inches, and his
facial angle is 87½ degrees.


III.

[Illustration]

Finally we have the Aryan, the long or oval-headed man
(_dolichokephalous_), the historical, the _white_ man, the crowning
product of the cosmical forces of nature. His facial lines are composed
of the two conflicting elements, the horizontal and the vertical line,
and are framed in by an oval. His amount of brain is on an average 92
cubic inches, and his facial angle 90 degrees. His development is not
limited. This group of mankind, though divided into many different
types (races or nations), which have arisen from an intermixture with
the other two groups, or through the influences of climate, food, and
the aspect of nature, stands at the highest point of civilisation. As
the lines of his face are admirably counterbalanced, and his body is a
master-piece of regularity and proportion, he has tried to establish
a perfect balance between the conflicting forces in his moral and
intellectual nature. To him exclusively we owe art in its highest
sense. Once he stood on the same level with the primitive black savage,
then he advanced to the ingenuity of the yellow man, and left both
far behind him in his gradual but always progressive development. He
surpasses the other two groups of humanity, not only in technical
skill, but especially in inventive and reasoning power, critical
discernment, and purity of artistic taste. The white man alone, has
produced idealised master-pieces in sculpture and painting.

The white man in his architecture uses either the horizontal or the
vertical line, or both; he takes the triangular building of the negro
and places it on the square tent of the yellow man, making his house
as perfect as possible; he goes further, and, in accordance with
his powerfully-arched brow, over-arches not only rivers and chasms,
but builds his magnificent cupolas and pointed arches, the acme of
architectural forms.

Ethnology then serves us as a foundation for the study of art in its
different phases.

Conforming to the general tendency of modern science, we have tried to
express the cause of the artistic development of the three groups of
humanity by figures; we have measured the seat and instrument of our
intellectual faculty, and have thus tried to leave the sphere of mere
conjecture, or unfounded opinion, in order to place the phenomena of
art-history on a firm basis. Though art, undoubtedly, belongs ‘to the
magic circle of the imagination, and the inner powers of the mind,’
those powers are dependent on our very bodily construction, the amount
of brain and the facial angle. We do not deal in mere hypothesis, but
submit to our readers a complete theory borne out by facts.

In considering the frontispiece of our manual, representing the ‘TREE
OF ART,’ we can visibly trace the slow and gradual development of the
white man. The negro fixes our attention only as savage; the yellow
man has a line of his own, and has remained stationary in his artistic
development; the white man has passed through the savage stages, and
by his own exertions, undergoing various phases of rise and decline
(the real signs of historical vitality), has steadily progressed till
he began to attempt, and to succeed in bringing about, ‘a harmonious
connection between the representation of nature and the expression of
awakened emotion, and a mysterious analogy between the emotions of his
mind and the phenomena perceived by his senses.’

As all phenomena must take place in _space_ and _time_ (the two
fundamental forms of all existence), the products of art must also have
been executed under these two conditions, and can therefore be treated
_historically_.

Space is the expansion and extension of the forces of nature into the
infinite. Time is the limitation of this activity. Without space no
object could arrive at completion. Without time the subject would be
eternal. These are the two counteracting elements. The one, space,
is positive--the other, time, negative. Time is either relative or
absolute. If relative, it can be measured by an ascertained succession
of events. If absolute, it becomes measurable by years. In both we
can trace a gradual and successive development of artistic forms.
In general, time relative, with its succession of products, is more
reliable than time labelled with voluntary and more than doubtful
dates. For instance, we cannot measure the periods of the formation
of the earth’s crust by years, and still we are perfectly convinced
that the _tertiary_ formation could not have taken place before the
_primary_; thus we are justified in assuming that the iron period must
have succeeded the stone or bronze period; bronze instruments never
being found with iron handles, whilst iron blades have ornamented
wooden or bronze handles. Man naturally scarcely ever uses the worse
material for a practical purpose when he has once found a better one;
but he will use the softer material as a means of ornamentation.

That we have plenty of ‘survivals’ in art, as well as in nature,
does not in any way militate against the strict logic of facts. The
lowest forms of animals have mostly survived (like the lowest forms
of ornamentation), yet no one can doubt or deny the gradual and
systematic development of the vegetable and animal kingdoms. If we find
no fragments of pottery in Australia, New Zealand, or the Polynesian
islands, we cannot assume that a grand and powerful civilisation has
perished there, leaving no traces behind. In finding different kinds of
pottery, gradually improving even in the quality of the material--the
clay being first unwashed, then mixed with grains of quartz and
felspar, next carefully washed, then sun-baked, then fire-baked;
first hand and then wheel turned, and at last glazed, unornamented
or ornamented--we cannot assume that the order was inverted, and
that man first ornamented glazed pottery, which he turned out on the
wheel, and then went back to unwashed clay and hand-made pottery. The
‘degeneration theory’ has exploded as entirely as the geocentric and
anthropocentric theories have vanished. We know that man, like flowers,
trees, rocks and animals, is the product of the combined forces of
nature and the influences of climate and food, and that his religious,
social, and political conditions are closely reflected in his art. As
little as our globe is the centre of the universe, or man the centre of
creation, so little did art or science spring at once perfectly armed,
provided with spear and shield, from Jupiter’s head like blue-eyed
Athene. In a certain sense art and science are both of divine origin,
but only so far as the originating and creative power is concerned,
which, once set in motion, had to grow and to develop according to
definite and immutable laws. To trace this development step by step in
general outlines, from time relative to the mythical and traditional
periods, and thence to the age of history, is the aim of our manual. In
generalising thus, and separating the special from the universal, we
are enabled to embrace at once with greater clearness a wider range of
knowledge, and to give to the treatment of art-history a more elevated
and useful character. By a suppression of details, the great periods
and features of a common development are rendered more intelligible,
and our reasoning faculty is enabled to grasp that which might
otherwise escape our limited powers of comprehension.



CHAPTER III.

PRE-HISTORIC AND SAVAGE ART.


Art, like nature, is its own interpreter. A well-finished pattern has
not preceded a more simple one; circular ornamentations are of a later
date than ornamentations with straight lines. The cave-habitation
must have been in use before the construction of independent temples.
Art must have had a beginning like language; for it is a language--a
language in forms, speaking to our eyes. If what the Arabs say is true,
that the best description is that in which the ear is transformed into
an eye, the best picture will be one that transforms our eyes into
ears. Art speaks through light, as language through sounds. We have
tried to discover by means of philology--which in modern times has
become a science--a more or less close relationship between idioms and
idioms; in the same way we try to trace some general primitive types
from which we may deduce the innumerable works of art.

In times long by-gone we find traces of man’s inventive and decorative
force. The products of that force even in pre-historic ages widely
differ in their degrees of workmanship. There are more or less finished
hatchets, chisels, knives, arrow-heads, paal-stabs, celts and armlets.
The ornamentation, from mere varying straight lines, goes over into
spiral forms of different direction and combination. We have therefore
no difficulty in classifying the products of pre-historic art in the
following way:--

    _a._ The Palæolithic, or old stone age.
    _b._ The Neolithic, or new stone age.
    _c._ The Bronze age, and
    _d._ The Iron age.

The first two subdivisions belong to savage life, the third to the
mythical or traditionary, and the fourth to the historical periods.

During the old stone age we have scarcely any traces of ornamentation;
during the new stone age we find some attempts at geometrical lines,
and some sketches of animals on ivory blades; during the bronze age we
have winding and twisting patterns of excellent geometrical design;
and, finally, during the iron age, animals and even human forms are
used as means of ornamentation.

During the pre-historic period of man’s artistic development we find a
peculiar similarity between his dwellings and his tombs. The mountain
cavern, and the hut constructed of beams and boughs, covered with
skins, were undoubtedly men’s first stately palaces. The very oldest
traditions bear out this statement. The earliest inhabitants of
Greece dwelt in mountain caverns. The people of Siberia, anterior to
the Samoyedes, lived, according to Erman, in subterranean caves. The
Kyklops of Homer are but nomads, residing in mountain caverns. Of the
Hittites, a tribe in Canaan in the times of Abraham, it is recorded
that they buried their dead in caves. But it is an incontestable fact
that the burial-places resembled the dwellings of the pre-historic
man. Crypts, catacombs, and rock-hewn temples may be set down as
having originated from man’s first mountain home. The tombs of the
Tartars in Kasan resemble their houses on a small scale. A Circassian
tomb resembles a Circassian cottage. The tombs of the Karaite Jews in
the valley of Jehoshaphat, are like their houses. Laplanders live in
caves. The aborigines of Germany and France, the contemporaries of the
mammoth, rhinoceros, auerochs and elk, dwelt in caves, as their bones
are found mingled with those of these now extinct animals, together
with various implements, such as adzes, flint arrows, stone knives, and
even, as in the cave at Perigord on the borders of the Dordogne, works
of art of great artistic power. Jordanes, in his ‘De Rebus Geticis,’
mentions people in Sweden (Scania) living like wild animals in caves,
cut out in the rocks. But the nomad savage could find such dwellings
only where there were mountains. If he wandered out of such a district
into the plains, and wanted to shelter himself from the inclemency of
the weather, he had to collect blocks of stone, and to form with them
artificial caves. In this manner cromlechs, Dös, Dyss or dolmens, and
gallery chambers arose, in which the long, narrow gallery corresponds
to the confined entrance of the mountain-cave, and the chamber to the
cavern.

By degrees man began to construct detached houses for himself, and
at last temples for his god or gods. No traces of temples are found
in pre-historic times, except in the Western hemisphere. The Stiens
of Cambodia, in the central parts of Cochin-China, have no temples.
From the southern promontory of Africa to far beyond the banks of the
Zambesi no temples are found. The pastoral and agricultural people
of Madagascar have no temples, though they have huts and houses,
ornamented pottery, and are to a certain degree acquainted with
textile art. Before man constructs a temple he constructs a house,
to protect himself, his herds, and family from wild animals, but
above all from his still more dreaded fellow-creature, in whom he
sees a dangerous rival. This propensity serves to explain the origin
of lake-dwellings--the most ancient proofs of man’s constructing
capacity, and of his talent to unite for a certain purpose, and to
enclose a given space. Herodotus already tells us of a settlement on
Lake Prasias, the modern Tachyno (in Rumelia, European Turkey), where
men lived on platforms, supported by tall piles. Abulfeda, the Syrian
geographer (b. 1273; d. 1313), speaks of Christian fishermen living in
wooden huts, built on piles in one of the Apamean lakes on the Orontes
(in Asia). The Papuans of New Guinea still live in such pile-dwellings,
the floors of which are supported by rudely-carved human figures, an
attempt at telamons. These are ‘survivals,’ but the lake-dwellings in
Italy and Switzerland belong to pre-historic times. In tracing their
different modes of construction, we find three periods of a progressive
architectural development recorded.

We have pile-dwellings of the most primitive construction. Rough piles
were used, pointed with the aid of fire or with stone hatchets, later
with bronze, and finally with iron tools. They were placed either close
together or in pairs, or wide apart--generally in regular order. The
heads of the piles were brought to a level above the water to receive
the beams of the platform, which were fastened down with wooden pins.
Later, as an improvement, mortices were cut in the tops of the vertical
piles to receive the cross-beams.

Other constructions, especially those near Nidau (niedere Au, lower
meadow), are built on a foundation artificially strengthened with
stones, which is, undoubtedly, an improvement on the former method.

Experience taught the pre-historic architects that the piles were
not quite safe, and ought to have some support against the turbulent
risings of the lake. This produced the still more improved fascine
constructions, which certainly gave still greater strength to the
dwelling. The platform did not rest on mere piles but on artificial
foundations, built up from the bottom with horizontal layers of sticks
or small branches of trees, the vertical piles serving as connecting
links to the whole construction.

Cranoges, or wooden islands, are chiefly found in Ireland and Scotland.
They differ from the fascine constructions in that they frequently were
built on natural islands, or on shallows approaching to this character.
The huts built upon these pile-constructions were rectangular; some may
have been round, like the huts of savages, in imitation of mole-hills,
the prototypes of the numerous mounds strewn all over the globe. The
huts contained an artificial hearth, made of three or four slabs of
stone.

That the inhabitants of the lake-dwellings were acquainted with
textile art, is proved by the discovery of an innumerable quantity of
clay-weights for weaving purposes, and by pieces of burnt woven flax.
The crude pottery, tools and wooden pegs, fibres twisted into ropes,
remains of different cereals, fruits, and domestic animals found in
these settlements, clearly prove that a certain kind of family life
must have existed. At all events, the inhabitants must have reached a
higher degree of civilisation than some of the South-Sea Islanders of
our century, who, on receiving some iron nails, planted them, in the
expectation of reaping a rich crop of this valuable vegetable.

We see that in pre-historic times art was already practised, not only
for a merely utilitarian but also for an ornamental and artistic
purpose.

This may be said, in a much higher sense, of the pre-historic
art-remains in the Western hemisphere. Art had there a threefold
development, corresponding to the three groups of humanity. We find the
mounds of the Negro; the pottery of the yellow man, with its quaint
ornamentation; and the remarkable temples, fortresses, viaducts, and
aqueducts of the Aryan group. We possess in our museums abundant
specimens of the works of these three groups, as also of their singular
hieroglyphic writings, resembling the first attempts of the Chinese
and Egyptians to represent ideas in forms. Imagination with savages
supplies the form; the mere outlines therefore suffice. The horse drawn
in this way (_a_) is a real horse; (_b_) this forms a real goose; (_c_)
this is the sun; and (_d_) this a real man. It is a kind of pictorial
writing or ideography, to be seen for miles and miles hewn in rocks at
Massaya, and practised by humanity at large, as by our own children, in
the first stage of awakening consciousness.

[Illustration]

We find not only ethnological, but also philological and artistic
traces of the fact, that at an unknown pre-historic period, the Western
hemisphere must have been in close connection with the Eastern. The
name of the supreme Divinity, Dyaus, Θεός {Theos}, Deus, is in the far
West _Teotl_.

Art in the _North_ of the Western hemisphere is primitive, kyklopean
walls and sepulchral mounds being the principal remains.

In the _Centre_ of the Continent, art bears all the traces of a
gradually-developed progress. It almost reached the forms of Egypt,
but stopped half way. By some means Atalanta was separated from the
East, and the pyramids, temples and palaces of central America remained
in the same relation to the pyramids, temples and palaces of Egypt as
the _tapir_ to the elephant; the _alligator_ to the crocodile; and the
_llama_ to the camel.

The West possessed a knowledge of astronomy analogous to that of the
Chinese, and their mode of ornamentation in excellent stucco reached
a high degree of technical and even pictorial skill. They went so far
as to represent scenes of an historical character with some degree
of dramatic power; as the stucco of the rock-hewn temple of Mitla in
Mexico proves. Their ornamentation is irregular and confused, like
their wild vegetation, in which creepers predominate.

Some figures are striking in their resemblance to Egyptian forms.

A sculptured divinity of granite, 3½ feet high, found near a
finely-built pyramid not far from Guatusco or Huatusco, is excellently
worked and finished in a simple style. Still more curious is a small
statue executed in lava, with a head-dress resembling those of Isis,
the Sphinx, the capitals of the temple of Denderah, or at a later
period those of Antinous. Even the position of the feet reminds us of
the sphinx, and proves the absence of a knowledge of proportion.

In South America, in the regions of Lake Titicaca in Peru, lying at an
elevation of 13,000 feet above the level of the sea, i.e. about four
times as high as Snowdon, we have proofs of a very high civilisation.
Artificially-constructed causeways lead over the surrounding marshes to
the sacred town of Cuzco, the capital and central spot of the empire
of the fabulous yet real Incas. Of those times we have a garden of the
Incas, in the warmest and most sheltered part of the island, ‘with its
baths, and its fountains still flowing with silvery sheen and murmur.’
Not far from Titicaca is the island of Coati, sacred to the moon.
Here stood the famous palace of the Virgins of the Sun (reminding us
of the Vestals instituted by one of the Roman rulers), flanked by two
shrines dedicated to the sun and moon. These are the best-preserved
specimens of American pre-historic architecture. Round Lake Umayo, on a
peninsula, we find a remarkable group of ancient square burial towers,
known as the Chulpas of Silustani.

Cuzco was the Rome of the south of the Western hemisphere. The town was
traversed by four high-roads in the direction of the four points of the
compass. It was divided into an upper (_Hanau_) and a lower (_Hurin_)
town. Grouped around the central square in the form of an oval were
twelve subdivisions (_Carrios_). Here stood the great palace, one mile
in length and a quarter of a mile broad; the _Yachahuasi_ (_Huasi_,
houses) dedicated to the instruction of the youth; the _Galpones_,
edifices in which festivals were held; the convent of the Virgins of
the Sun, the _Corichanca_ or Palace of Gold, and the temple dedicated
to the sun, surrounded by chapels dedicated to the moon, the stars,
and to thunder and lightning. Here also stood the eighth wonder of the
world--the great fortress _Sacsahuaman_; the entrances with slanting
jambs, and a large plinth, constructed like inverted stairs, sometimes
in stone, sometimes in excellent stucco, either with or without
ornament. The three lines of massive walls round the town, forming
the defence, were constructed ‘en tenaille,’ the entering angles all
being ninety degrees; the very best European fortifications, planned
by Vauban or Moltke, could not surpass the terrace-like arrangement
of these three lines of defence. The polygonal blocks, of which the
walls are constructed, are of blue limestone, from eight to ten feet
in length, half as much in width and depth, and weigh from fifteen
to twenty tons each. The first wall has an average height of about
twenty-five feet, the second eighteen feet, and the third fourteen
feet. Total elevation of walls, fifty-seven feet.

However cursorily we have touched upon art as it developed in the
Western hemisphere, the reader must be impressed by two facts. (1) That
there are analogies between East and West which are too striking to be
attributed to mere chance; and (2) that those who built the edifices
of Uxmal, Palenque, Copan, Chichen, Itza, and Cuzco must have been far
beyond a mere nomadic state. They had palaces, temples, and therefore
a kind of social organisation and religion. Their religion must have
been of a low and cruel character, judging from the representations
of their divinities, and from their using detached limbs of the human
body as arabesques; though we can trace in their calendar, as in their
conceptions of the personified powers of nature, Eastern influences,
connecting the pre-historic West with the historic East. Whilst the
Eastern world used incense at its religious ceremonies, the West used
tobacco smoke. In both hemispheres some mysterious power was attributed
to animals. The helmets of all nations took their origin in this common
belief. Eagles, vultures, wolves, tigers, lions, dragons and serpents
are used to adorn the fighter or to charm his weapons. The custom of
wearing masks and helmets or head-dresses of some terrifying form,
exaggerating the size of the head, is of purely barbarous origin. In
the remains of ancient Mexico, Peru, and the South Sea Islands we
find a variety of carved masks; some resembling human faces, adorned
with false hair, beards and eyebrows; others representing the heads
of birds. They are generally painted, often ornamented with pieces of
foliaceous mica to make them glitter, or with turquoises and other
precious stones.

That the pre-historic man, whether of the East or the farthest West,
had some sort of civilisation may be best studied in his keramic
products. Earthenware vessels, pots, jugs, vases, urns, and amphoræ are
as interesting to the art-historian as fossil plants and animals to the
paleontologist, or the different strata of the earth’s crust to the
geologist.

Pottery is one of the most reliable historical documents for fixing the
degree of civilisation of a nation. Fossil pottery very much resembles
antediluvian animals--it is without shape and form. Shells, leaves
and fruits suggested it. By degrees gourds and eggs gave man better
patterns. At a certain period it must have been the fashion in Egypt,
Etruria, Greece, China, Mexico and Peru to use animal and human forms
for vases, bottles, jugs and goblets, whilst horns, skulls and boots
are found amongst Teutons and some savage tribes. The Teutons hoped to
drink sweet honey out of the skulls of their slain enemies in Walhalla.
We cannot wonder that so amiable a creed should have engendered quaint
drinking vessels. We see in our own times plates and dishes adorned
with frogs and lizards, which indisputably prove that there are
pre-historic ‘survivals.’ From Kyprus we have, in the Imperial Cabinet
of Antiquities at Vienna, an urn with a human face, which is very
much like those found in Mexico, of which the South Kensington Museum
and the Christy collection of the British Museum possess excellent
specimens.

The wild and fantastic mode of ornamentation in the Western hemisphere,
in pre-historic times, is entirely due to the aspect of nature. Man
seems to have received patterns from India, Egypt and Greece, and
worked them out by reflecting the impressions of an exuberant nature.
Flowers, feathers, pearls, trinkets, hieroglyphs, animals, human
bodies--all are mingled together in endless confusion. Here and there a
symmetrical echo of times long by-gone can be traced. Though, however,
the Western artists of pre-historic times sometimes attained symmetry,
they continually sin against eurythmy. Of proportion and action they
have no conception. They have a style, but a style of their own, devoid
of all those requisites which elevate a product to artistic beauty.



CHAPTER IV.

CHINESE ART.


The Chinese undoubtedly reached a high degree of culture earlier than
all the historical nations, and still they are in a state of civilised
infancy. They possess reliable historical records referring to periods
when branches of the Aryan group of humanity were still nomads. They
knew that our globe is flattened at the poles, at a time when we
thought it to be a square supported by pillars; they were acquainted
with the properties of the magnet-needle; worked metal; cultivated
the mulberry-tree, systematically fed the silk-worm with its leaves,
weaving its product into the very best silk. In pottery they have
attained the greatest perfection so far as the material is concerned.
In engineering they were not less clever. They have aqueducts, executed
with great daring; innumerable bridges span their rivers; they drained
and irrigated the land at a time when other people assumed a universal
deluge; and yet they remained babies in thoughts and customs, whilst
they grew older and older in age. They have all the manners of
precocious children with prematurely aged faces. This phenomenon can
be explained in figures. There are 400,000,000 of Chinese, nearly all
Turanians. Taking an equal number of Aryans, we shall find that they
are not less than 3,400,000,000 cubic inches short of brain, of which
each inch represents a certain amount of intellectual force. This
deficiency in ‘brain-force’ shows itself in their totally different
development, and the stationary character of their institutions. They
ingeniously _play_ in science, art, politics, and religion. 4,500 years
ago they reached a high degree of civilisation, and they remained
stationary in their civilised childhood, which they preserve with a
pious veneration. To look back, to believe that the past was better
than the present, has become the static law of China, and has checked
every progress. Their language is agglutinative, only one degree
higher than the savage monosyllabic, and forms a link between this
and the flexible languages. The 450 monosyllables are used to form
1,230 word-sounds, out of which they compose from 40,000 to 60,000
compounds. They cannot pronounce certain consonants, resembling in this
some badly-taught European children. They say: ‘Yoo-lo-pa’ instead of
Europe; ‘Ya-me-li-ka’ instead of America; ‘Ma-li-ya’ instead of Maria;
‘cu-lu-su’ instead of crux; ‘Ki-li-tu-su’ for Christus. Their mode of
writing has developed from pictorial signs. They preserved these; and,
although arbitrary characters have supplanted picture-writing, or
hieroglyphs, they still retain the clumsiness of this form, and have
for every word a special sign.

Notwithstanding these drawbacks they possess an encyclopædia in 5,000
volumes, and a collection of works of fiction amounting to 180,000
volumes. They can boast of a Socrates in Confucius, of a Plato in
Mem-tsu, and of a Xenophon in Tsem-tsu.

Five is with them a holy number: they had five emperors during their
Golden Age; there are five great principles on which they base the
possibility of a regulated social existence, viz. humanity, justice,
conformity, uprightness, and sincerity. They have five holy books: the
Shoo-King (political precepts); the Y-King (a philosophy of emanations
based on figures); the Shi-King (a collection of didactical odes and
songs about 3,000 years old); the Li-King (a record of ceremonial
customs and social manners); and the Yo-King (a book on music,
regulating harmony on the most discordant principles). They have five
domestic principles, five elements, five primitive colours, five
seasons of the year, five ruling spirits, five planets, five points
of the compass, five sorts of earth, five different precious stones,
five degrees of punishment, five different kinds of dresses; and their
whole principle of ornamentation is based on five points [Illustration:
(five points forming a rectangle with one point in the middle)]. By
uniting these five points they produce that ingenious system for the
conventional treatment of flowers and animals, which has been divided
by Owen Jones into--

    _a._ The continuous stem system;
    _b._ The united fragmentary system; and
    _c._ The interspersed fragmentary system.

In these three systems they observe the natural laws of radiation and
tangential curvature.

But in all their works of art appears the spectre of childishness, with
wrinkles in its withered face. Their patterns in textile art are such
as some people delight in for the sake of their quaint originality.
They altogether neglect the laws of ornamentation; and we never know
whether in ornamenting a vase they did not intend to dress a Chinese
lady for a tea party, or whether in dressing a high-standing mandarin,
or a lady in stiff brocade, they did not intend to ornament one of
their peculiarly-shaped tea-pots. In fact their vases are ladies in
brocade dresses, whilst their gentlemen and ladies look like ambulatory
vases. We often see on a lady, ‘doves as big as bustards, cooing;
flowers and trees growing on plates and vases upside down, and inside
out.’ We see a mandarin strutting about, adorned with an embroidered
tree with fifty different foliages. One screen is decorated with fishes
with feathers, another with birds with fins, or monstrous dragons creep
on the ground or fly in the air. Everything in art is done as it ought
not to be done. It is as if some merry and mischievous hobgoblin had
instructed the Chinese to make up a kind of artistic patchwork out of
all the odds and ends of ornamental fancies, distorted figures, and
incomprehensible combinations.

Their towns look like large encampments of nomad hordes, ready at
a moment’s notice to take up their tents and run away. Though they
have constructed a huge wall, which is 25 feet thick at the base,
diminishing to 15 at the platform, provided at distances of 100 yards
with towers about 40 feet square at the base, diminishing to 30 at the
top, and about 37-48 feet in height; though they have carried this over
the ridges of lofty hills (one of them 5,000 feet above the level of
the sea), and led it through the deepest valleys, or upon arches over
rivers--their architecture is still in its very infancy. It is a kind
of toy-architecture. The walls of their houses may be pulled down, and
the houses still remain standing. For architecture with the Chinese
is in no way an organic total; it is not even a chemically-united
composition; but a mechanically-joined something, without any ruling
and connecting idea. Contrary to all rules of good architecture, they
express in their constructions the principle of the separation and
independence of the active elements of the building, instead of their
union and harmony. It is variety without unity. Their walls are mere
screens in bricks or wood, mere frameworks for tapestry. The wall
with them does not support; it appears movable and totally distinct
from the roof. The scaffolding which supports the horizontal, as also
the vertical enclosures, belongs more to textile than to tectonic art
The Turanian is still addicted to fascine work, like the pre-historic
lake-dweller, or our contemporary aboriginal New Zealander. The
divisions in the interior of the house are movable; either consisting
of real carpets, lattice-work, wooden-jointed leaves, or boards,
ornamented to imitate carpets or movable screens. Imitations of
flowered woven-stuffs, lacquered panels with impossible perspectives,
bamboo tress-work, with protruding knobs, carved and turned into
gaping and grinning fantastic monsters, are also among the principal
characteristics of Chinese architectural ornamentation. Chinese
trellis-work has a fairy-like appearance. The patterns are infinitely
varied, either closely fitting or perforated, dividing and enclosing
spaces, surrounding terraces as railings, running up the staircases, or
forming large borders between column and column.

The trellis-work of the Chinese may be divided into three classes:--

1. The bamboo _wicker_-work, a close imitation of textile fabrics; in
fact, woven wood-work.

2. The _lattice_-work, a kind of transition or metamorphic work between
trellis and cross-barred work. The patterns are of a grosser kind.

3. The _mixed_-work, a combination of the two classes.

The first is generally used in ornamenting the interior of the
basements of the houses. The natural bright yellow tint of the bamboo
is either left, or it is lacquered in variegated colours to heighten
the effect of the patterns.

The lattice-work is used for door and window-frames. In the latter case
the holes are filled up with transparent shells, coloured paper, or
painted glass, which has been in use since 3000 B.C.

The mixed-work runs along the walls, forming a frieze of gilt metal
or alabaster. The last-named material is employed in summer-houses
as a finish to the outer space, connecting bright red or light blue
columns. When thus used the effect is undoubtedly charming. The roofs
are tinted dark green, an unconscious reminiscence of by-gone times,
when they were made of the leafy branches of trees or the broad foliage
of plants. The dark azure of heaven shining through the perforated
trellis-work, contrasting with the white marble of the substructure and
the red columns, forms a combination both striking and agreeable. The
upper parts of a building appear to swim in the air.

The brick walls of the Chinese are bare of stucco; the void
predominating. They use the walls either as enclosures for court-yards,
as isolated protecting walls before the entrances of houses--reminding
us of the gates of India or the propylæa of Egypt--as substructures,
or as enclosures and partitions for dwelling-places. All these
walls are constructed of air-dried, fire-baked, or glazed tiles and
bricks. The latter are only used for temples or imperial buildings.
Whilst we possess a Board of Public Works that unfortunately has
no administrative power, and cannot prevent our thoroughfares
from being constructed according to the principles of a most
inveterate symmetrophobia (hatred of all order, shape, style, and
homo-geneousness), the law in China goes so far as to regulate even
the use of building material, not according to any esthetical rule,
but pandering merely to rank and class interest. White marble may only
be used for imperial substructures, the enclosure of imperial courts,
and in the construction of imperial bridges, and must never be used
as wall-decoration. Their cement for coating walls is like ours; the
stucco flat coloured, and the colours mixed with the plaster before
laying on. According to his station in the State, the owner of a house
may surround it with a wall of clay or lime, or with one of air-dried
or fire-baked bricks. Only the walls of princes may have stone plinths.
The encircling walls of imperial palaces have a roof of bright yellow,
and light-green glazed tiles. The Tshao-Pings, or protecting walls,
placed before the entrance doors of houses, like screens before our
fire-places, have large protruding plinths. They differ in colour
according to the rank of the owner. Generally they are white, with
painted ornamentation. Before the houses or palaces of princes the
colours are red with gold, and the covering green or yellow. Before
_Miaos_, temples of honour, they are nearly always of bright yellow.
The outer walls are mostly white, decorated with incrusted landscapes
or other conventional decorations. The inner walls are red and richly
ornamented with gold; they have a kind of frieze ornamented with
trellis-work, so as apparently to detach the support from the supported
roof. In the houses of the higher classes the walls are decorated with
damask, and in those of the commoners with paper-hangings, which latter
we have adopted. Drapery is also freely used, hanging down and serving
to divide the interior spaces of the houses. Doors and windows are
still formed of curtains, as in the primitive times of civilisation in
Assyria, India, and Babylon.

We are all acquainted with the excellence of Chinese silk-weaving,
interspersed with golden threads, as also with the brightness and
originality of some of their patterns, whenever they keep to an
imitation of nature in their floral forms. They are generally,
however, too realistic, the material not unfrequently appearing like a
botanist’s herbarium, or like a collection of butterflies or stuffed
birds. Their embroidery is not less old than their silk-weaving. As
early as 2205 B.C. in their statistical records (numbering about 4,768
volumes) gold, silver, copper, ivory, precious stones--_five sorts of
pigments_ of mineral extraction--silk, hemp, cotton, weavings of these
materials, and the feathers of all sorts of birds are mentioned. The
woven stuffs are of one colour. Silk is either red, black, white, or
yellowish, weaving in colours not being known. The frequent mention
made of birds’ feathers may serve as a proof that they were used for
embroidery, which in primitive times was more an ‘opus plumarium’ than
embroidery proper, which is the forerunner of the art of painting.
Feather crowns, kilts, and dresses are still in use amongst the savages
of our own times. The colours are given by nature, and suit the
grotesque taste of the undisciplined mind by their bright variegations
and incongruities.

The oldest Chinese embroidery in colours was perfectly plastic. The
plants, flowers, animals, and even figures, formed a polychromatic
relief on the flat surface of the stuff. This style is still
fashionable in China, though, instead of feathers, artificially
coloured threads are used, always so as to make the objects appear
raised from the surface. Even at present life-size figures in relief,
or whole scenes, are executed with the needle in brightly-coloured
silk threads. We are here involuntarily reminded of the reliefs of
Nineveh, and we may assume that they are nothing but a transformation
of embroidery into stone or alabaster.

The dresses, furniture, saddles, tea-pots, shoes and boots, jackets,
covers, weapons, doors, and windows of the Chinese are all
ornamented with patterns which have had their origin in this kind of
relief-embroidery, traces of which are found even in their lacquered
and keramic products.

The roofs of their houses are curved and drawn up like their features;
they are copies of lids of baskets, tea-caddies, urns, or of caps and
hats. The protruding parts are richly ornamented with dragons. The
dragon with the Chinese is the prototype out of which man developed;
the dragon is therefore the symbol of the imperial power.

Whilst the Chinese are altogether deficient in painting, because they
have no idea of perspective or shading, they certainly excel in the
technical treatment of keramic works of art, especially in the paste,
which they make of kaolin, a decomposed feldspathic granite. The forms
of their genuine pottery are most primitive in outline; dishes, cups,
plates, and bowls are cylindrically shaped, as are their bottles and
jars. Our South Kensington Museum abounds in specimens illustrating
this.

Sharp naturalism and an exact reproduction of the forms of nature,
without any skill in the conventional treatment of flowers, creepers,
leaves, stems, fruits, and animals, prevail in all Chinese and Japanese
works. The artist, if he intends to work in the Chinese style, must
divest himself of all considerations for the higher esthetical
principles of art; he must stoop to the tastes and delights of
children, must study thoroughly their every-day customs and manners,
enter into their mode of thinking, try to make the quaint quainter,
and the grotesque still more grotesque. A big sun with thick rays in a
corner to the right; some sharply-drawn trees in the middle; a bridge
up in the clouds with a dog running over it; some children with large
heads playing to the left; a bright stream marked with rough waves,
through which fishes are peeping; the whole excellently finished so
far as the lacquered work goes--and a Chinese tray is complete. The
coloured enamel on keramic works, and their lacquered or varnished
ware, notwithstanding their unimaginative naturalism and monstrously
fantastic delineation, surpass anything we are capable of producing in
the West of Europe. Their magnificent folding-screens, trays, tubs,
wash-hand basins, toilet-cases, work-tables, perfume-cases, frames for
looking-glasses; their jewel-tables--full of little drawers, secret
nooks and corners, puzzling openings, and hidden shuttings--are so
many additional proofs of their childish nature. They use the fret,
which they have in common with the Mexicans, Peruvians, and Greeks.
Whilst, however, the latter arrived at a continuous system of fret
ornamentation, the Chinese still use it mostly fragmentarily, either
one link after the other, or one above the other, without forming a
continuous ornament.

We see in the Chinese one of the most interesting phenomena in
the history of mankind, whether we look upon them from a social,
religious, or artistic point of view. They govern their State on
paternal principle, and on the grand rule, ‘Do to another what you
would he should do unto you, and do not unto another what you would
not should be done unto you. Thou only needest this law alone; it is
the foundation of all the rest’ (Confucius in the sixth century B.C.),
and yet they have made no progress in sciences and arts. The paternal
government and home-rule check every thought. A moral principle of
the very highest meaning has, as with many of us, worked badly. They
have done unto others what others have done unto them. They cheated
because they were cheated; they told falsehoods because they were
deceived by others; they were hypocritical because others were so too;
and they robbed and plundered others, because they were robbed and
plundered themselves. In this moral chaos they forgot to cultivate
the intellectual force of reasoning; they thus further disturbed
the already deranged equilibrium between morals and intellect. And
though they had gunpowder before the West of Europe, it remained in
the far East of Asia a mere toy to amuse young and old at festivals,
whilst in the possession of Western Europe it became, next to the
art of printing, the most powerful agent of civilisation. They had
paper before the West of Europe; they knew how to print at least
five centuries before Europe thought of re-inventing this Chinese
invention. They are as polite, if not politer, than the most civilised
Frenchman, and are witty and good-humoured. They have no fear of
death; trade with the same skill and perseverance as we; cultivate the
soil with even greater industry and ability than we; so that their
territory, about equal in extent to the whole of Europe, looks like
one great well-drained and irrigated garden, in which no spot which
can yield some return for assiduous labour is left uncultivated. There
is amongst the 400,000,000 of subjects of one single emperor not
one who cannot read and write. All places in the administration are
assigned after a severe competitive examination, and still they lack
the capacity of self-conscious, independent reasoning both in science
and art. They can paint a tiger-skin with such truthfulness that it
appears a real skin, framed under glass; but in the conception and
reproduction of the head of the ferocious brute, with its bloodthirsty
jaws and its merciless cruelty, they altogether fail. They have an
aversion to a proportionate division of space; they never attempt to
counterbalance their artistic ideas, and to arrange them according to
a law. They abhor spiritual, imaginary, and all higher intellectual
culture to such a degree, that they concentrate all their powers on
mere technicalities. Therefore they have remained stationary, whilst
others, who began their self-conscious national existence thousands
of years later, have left them far behind. The Chinese sacrifice
everything to preconceived ideas of custom--in morals, science, and
art. As our forefathers did, let us do also. The result of this
principle has been that curious, grotesque, and ingenious, but above
all childish art, which we must study as the link between savage and
Aryan art. Whilst the Negro scarcely went beyond geometrical figures,
we find the Turanian already capable of using plants and the lower
kinds of animals in ornamentation, in addition to geometrical figures.
As soon, however, as he approaches beings, in whom proportion, action,
and expression, as the higher elements of form, prevail, he loses his
power of reproduction altogether.

Matter-of-fact prose is the element of the Turanian; he is without
every higher artistic feeling, because his mode of writing, speaking,
and thinking, his religious, social, and political organisation, has
till lately checked all expansion of the imagination, and the use of
the intellectual faculties. Art with him has remained undeveloped, and
however interesting his products may be, they form only a subject for
our curiosity and perhaps momentary fashion, showing what humanity at
large did when in its _infancy_.



CHAPTER V.

INDIA, PERSIA, ASSYRIA, AND BABYLON.


Our tree of art, with its manifold branches, flowers, and fruits,
rooted in the unknown origin of the three great groups of humanity,
shows that the Negro, or black branch, had a very short growth. It
still lives on in savage art, but is crippled, and has no vitality.
Next we have seen the long line of Turanian art, represented by
the Chinese; it originates in the geological age, passes through
the mythical, traditional, and historical periods, and continues
uninterruptedly to modern times. We have up to this point treated of
the artistic productions of the Negro and Turanian groups, both of
which stand without the pale of real history.

We now take up the art-history of the Aryan, the historical group.
The birth-place of this group undoubtedly was Central Asia. Thence
the pure Aryan group took two divergent roads. One division crossed
over the Himâlâya Mountain chain, and settled round the Brahmapootra,
the Indus and Ganges rivers, and the other remained on this side
of the mountains. The Aryans may, therefore, be best divided into
Trans-Himâlâyans and Cis-Himâlâyans. In these two groups we find the
oldest traces of a power slowly awakening to full consciousness. We
can perceive in remote ages, only measurable by means of analogy and
deduction, an endeavour to solve the greatest problems of our existence.

To find answers to these _three_ questions: Where from? What for? Where
to? To measure the _three_ dimensions of space and time; to trace
the cause of which the _three_, ever stable and still ever varying,
phenomena are the effect; and to know what creation, preservation and
annihilation, or rather only transformation, are, has been the chief
aim of the Aryan mind; and, as history teaches us, they have found more
or less distinct answers to these questions. We are not only capable
of philologically tracing the development of the different languages
of the Aryan group step by step to one common parent-language--the
Sanskrit, but the art-historian may trace every mysterious conception
of the powers of nature, every form of personification or incarnation,
and every religious tenet or mystery, symbol or myth, to these same
Indians, who with the words _Pitâ_, _Matâ_, _Brahtâ_, _Duihtâ_,
have taught us the holiest relations of our family life. For words,
like pictures, are only representatives of outward impressions. To
the Trans-and Cis-Himâlâyan Aryans we can trace all theogonies,
cosmogonies, systems of esoteric pathology and mythic anthropology.
They first saw in geometrical forms the phenomena of the material as
well as the spiritual world; gave meaning and interpretation to these
mystic types; peopled heaven and earth with visible and invisible,
good and evil, gods, goddesses, and spirits. They first acknowledged
the ‘noumenal,’ or invisible, divine nature with its creative force;
and recognised the ‘phenomenal,’ or visible, nature of the world
as an emanation, evolution, development, outgrowth, or mere work
of the invisible Creator. All the gods of the Persians, Assyrians,
Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, and a great number of
the customs of Hebrews and Christians, may be traced back to Indian
conceptions, forms, and modes of worship.

Not historical events only, but the whole life of humanity centres
round religion. For science and art were in olden times the direct
offsprings of religion. Neither science nor art can be understood,
unless we have a clear insight into the mythologies and religious
conceptions of the ancient peoples. Our great mistake has been, that
till very lately we detached one of the different branches of the tree
of knowledge. We criticised its bark, leaves, blossoms, and fruits
separately, never concerning ourselves about the ramifications of the
root, the soil in which it first spread, the chemical substances on
which it fed, the conditions of climate under which it flourished or
withered, never enquiring whether it brought forth only flowers and
never fruits, or for what purposes its fruits and flowers were used
by those who gathered both. Now without such understanding artists are
mere unconscious machines, groping in the dark of ignorance, never
capable of a clear reproduction of forms. Education and a higher
conception flow like invisible magnetic streams through the hand,
whether it hold pencil, paint-brush, chisel, or engraver’s needle, and
endow the work of art with a vitality which forms its real charm. It
is never the technical correctness that appeals to us most strongly
when contemplating even the smallest work of art, but the thought which
animated the artist when constructing his forms.

Whilst the savage scarcely ever acquires a correct notion of time and
space, and the Turanian only a limited one, the Aryan gathers from
them the first dim recognition of the Infinite. In time and space
perceptible changes take place, through the influence of an invisible
power which creates all visible things. In time and space all created
things are preserved, and in time and space all either perish or assume
different forms. The Aryans endeavoured to express these abstract,
yet concrete phenomena by signs. A triangle with three equal sides
appeared best to express the mystery of the three equally powerful
forces--creation, preservation, and transformation.

In the very earliest dawn of civilisation, therefore, the triangle
became the hallowed symbol of the Divinity. After the _Symbolic_ and
_Dialectic_ period had given place to the _Mythological_, time and
space were looked upon as the origin of all things, out of which
Brahmā, Vishnu, and S’iva had sprung. These three incomprehensible
forces were expressed by geometrical figures, or, so to speak,
crystallised, before they became incarnate persons. The creator had the
sign of a double triangle [Illustration: (apexes upwards)] which formed
three triangles symbolically representing the three forces in ONE, the
CREATOR. Vishnu was designated by an equilateral triangle with the apex
pointing downwards, [Illustration] meaning the preserver; whilst S’iva
had for his symbol a triangle with the apex upwards, [Illustration]
denoting the transformer.

The divinities were placed in the following order: S’iva first, then
Vishnu, and Brahmā last, to whom no temples were built. This was the
case with nearly all the races of the Aryan group; there are scarcely
any temples to Amn, Brahmă, Zeruane-Akerene, Uranos, Wodan, &c.


The order of the symbols, as given below, with their five
significations--

[Illustration:

  (Triangle apex up,  Triangle apex down,  Three triangles as trapezoid)

         S’IVA.        VISHNU.         BRAHMĀ.

    1. Transformer,   Preserver,      Creator,
    2. Fire,          Water,          Sun,
    3. Justice,       Wisdom,         Power,
    4. Future,        Present,        Past,
    5. Time,          Space,          Matter,]

produced the most sacred word--

    =⋀VM= or =ÔM=,

expressed by this triangular combination--

[Illustration: (Six-pointed star)]

This was the mysterious TRIMURTY of the Indians, from which in time,
according to the influences of nature, the degree of intellectual
development, and the social and political condition of the different
groups of the Aryan races, grew the different mystic conceptions of the
_triune_ power in _one_, working in nature.

Whilst the Trans-Himâlâyans, influenced by a gorgeous nature, allowed
their imagination to run wild, and to distort the primitive mystic
simplicity of these religious conceptions, the Cis-Himâlâyans remained
more faithful to the first impressions of nature, and worshipped Light
and Fire as the symbols of intellect, righteousness, and virtue, in
opposition to Night, as the symbol of ignorance, injustice, and sin.
To the triangular forms, the circle, [Illustration: (circle)] the
serpent, was added, the form without beginning and end; no wonder
that, encircling the equilateral triangle and joined to the square,
it became the symbol of the mysterious, incomprehensible forces of
nature. The [Illustration: triangle, square, and the circle] united,
intersected, combined, isolated, and crossed, formed the fundamental
lines of temples and their decorations. It was only at a later period
that animal and monstrous human forms were conceived to personify
abstract divine powers. The attributes of Ether, Water (Indra), and
Fire (Agni), were transformed into acting persons. The three equal
sides of the triangle, influenced by the imagination of the expounders
of matters divine, were changed into an individual with three heads, so
as to give a more comprehensible form to the incomprehensible divine
power.

[Illustration: (Three heads with pointed caps)]

The Trans-Himâlâyans, once settled on the gigantic triangular peninsula
stretching into the Indian Ocean, had leisure to work out a vast
theogony, which has served the Aryans down to our own days as a
store-house for different mythologies and religious systems.

The _Divespiter_ of India (Deus pater, Jupiter) became the Lord of the
sky, the Lord of hosts; his weapon was the thunderbolt. He possessed a
splendid garden, the paradise, _nandana_.

_Gânesa_ is Janus, the god with two heads. He was the guardian of
ways; he had a _rod_ or _sceptre_ in his hand (the shepherd’s crook
or crosier) and a _key_--symbolic of his power to enter upon all the
important undertakings of mankind.

_S’rî_ or _S’rîs_ (Seris--Ceres), also _Lakshmî_, _Padmâ_, and
_Camalâ_, was the goddess of abundance, sprung from the sacred Lotus.

_S’iva_, the Greek _Zeus_, the Egyptian _Jao_, the Hebrew _Javeh_, the
Roman _Jovis_, with their analogous attributes of revenge, jealousy,
indomitable caprices, terror, and irreconciliation, all point to one
and the same origin. Of S’iva (as of Zeus, Jovis, or Javeh elsewhere)
it is recorded in Indian mythology that he had to fight with Daityas
(Titans, or fallen angels), the children of Dity. Indra, on this
occasion, provided the God of Fire, Justice, and Transformation with
fiery shafts. Again, Jove overthrew the Titans and giants, whom Typhon,
Bisareus, and Tityus led against the ruler of Olympus. The same is done
by Javeh or Jehovah, who hurled the legions of proud and overbearing
angels under Satan’s rule into the infernal regions. The analogy is too
striking to require any further comment.

_Paulastya_ (the Greek and Roman _Pluto_), or _Kuvêra_, the Egyptian
_Typhon_, the Hebrew _Satan_, bears a general family resemblance to the
conceptions of the chiefs of the lower regions.

_Garuda_, the beautiful bird with a lovely human face attending on
Vishnu, is the prototype of the youthful, blooming _Ganymede_ attending
on Zeus, not only in similarity of name, but especially in similarity
of function.

_Durga_, who takes her name from brandishing a lance, is, like _Pallas_
or _Minerva_, the Indian representative of heroic valour and reflecting
wisdom. Both _Durga_ and _Pallas_ slew demons and giants with their own
hands; both protected the wise and virtuous who paid them due respect
and adoration. _Seraswati_ and Minerva have also much in common. The
Minerva of Italy invented the flute, and Seraswati presided over melody.

_Is’wara_ and _Is’i_ of India are undoubtedly the originals of Osiris
and Isis.

_Dypuc_ read backwards gives us _Cupid_. The Indian name is derived
from _De’paka_, the inflamer. The mischief-maker of India and
Greece had one and the same name. We find his name and character in
Shakespeare’s masterly delineation of _Puck_.

These analogies go much farther and deeper than is at first sight
apparent.

_S’iva_ is said to have had three eyes, symbolic of the three
dimensions of time. A serpent, denoting the measurement of time by
years, formed his necklace. A second necklace of human skulls marked
the lapse and revolution of ages, and the extinction and succession
of the generations of mankind. He holds a trident in one hand,
signifying that the attributes of the other gods are united in him.
S’iva is also called _Trilôchana_ (three looks--_lôchan_, the eye, the
look). Pausanias tells us that Zeus was honoured with the name of
_Triophthalmos_ (three-eyed), and that a statue of Jupiter had been
found at the taking of Troy exhibiting the father of the gods with a
third eye in his forehead.

Vishnu appeared on earth in several incarnations. The Indians look
upon the planets as habitable. The sun was set down as the motor,
directing the movements of these planets, furnishing them with light,
and endowing them with the genial heat of vitality. _Krishna_ (the
black or blue one) was, like the Greek Apollo, the symbol of the sun,
of light, of purity, and of love. He is represented as the promised
Saviour, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. According to the Vedas, the
Earth complained to Vishnu, and demanded redress. It then received the
promise of a Comforter and of a total renovation. Time is then said to
have hastened to the birth of _Krishna_, ‘that bright offspring of the
gods, who sets forward on his way to signal honours. The world with
its globular, ponderous frame, nodding signs of congratulation, when
the _sweet babe_ will distinguish his mother by her smiles!’ Krishna,
whom the Samaritans believed to have been Joshua, the long hoped-for
Messiah, at last appeared on earth, where he passed a life of a most
extraordinary and incomprehensible nature. He is said to have been
the son of _Devaki_, a virgin, by King _Vasudévas_, but his birth
was concealed for fear of the tyrant _Kansa_, his uncle, to whom it
had been predicted that a child, born of that mother, would destroy
him, and put an end to his dominion. Krishna had to hide, and was
brought up in _Mal’hurâ_ by honest herdsmen. He performed most amazing
miracles, saved multitudes by his supernatural powers, raised the dead,
and descended into the infernal regions of Pátàla, where the king of
serpents, Séshánàga (suggestive of the name of Satana), ruled, that he
might reanimate the six sons of a pious Brahman, who had been killed
in battle. Krishna obtained a glorious victory on the banks of the
_Yamuná_ over the great serpent _Kaliya Nága_, which poisoned the air,
destroying the herds of that region. _Apollo_ also destroyed with his
arrows the serpent Python. The whole legend, in both instances, took
its origin in the action of the rays of the sun, purifying the air, and
dispersing the noxious vapours of the atmosphere, which bred loathsome
animals. Krishna and Apollo are thus identical in their actions.
Krishna is disappointed by Tulasi, Apollo by Daphne; both conceptions
liked the companionship of shepherds and shepherdesses. The _Tulasi_
(or lotus) was sacred to Krishna, as the _Laurus_ (laurel) to Apollo.

These and similar legends ought to be studied by artists to enable
them not only to understand Indian art from a higher point of view,
but to learn that many a monstrous form had a sacred symbolic meaning,
that outward signs may be hallowed by hidden conceptions; and that,
wherever this is the case, art will not succeed in reaching the
bright spheres of beauty. The finest sculptured Durga without her
necklace of human skulls, the protruding red tongue, the four arms
with outstretched fingers balancing severed human heads, &c., would
no longer convey to the mind of an Indian worshipper the idea of the
goddess of valour and wisdom. Thus we may understand how a baked clay
Indian idol, in spite of its revolting form, may be the symbol of some
grand idea, through which it obtains value in the eyes of the credulous
believer. In considering the causes that produced the peculiar
development of Indian art, we must not omit to refer to the continually
increasing power of the Brahmans.

Symbolism and mysticism were used by the priests of all ancient
nations for thousands of years in preparing intoxicating draughts of
superstition for the people, and proving the necessity for making
sacrifices. At first depraved passions only were to be sacrificed,
but by degrees they tried to typify those passions by animals,
with analogous propensities. Goats became the representatives of
licentiousness; bulls, types of indomitable fury and insubordination;
and these animal types were offered to the gods. As soon as the priests
had convinced the people that the blood of animals, the smoke from
their burning bodies, the odour of roasting sheep, might appease the
anger of S’iva, fanaticism went a step further, and drew human beings
into the awful vortex of prejudice, and thousands of men and women were
crushed, joyfully screaming, under the heavy wheels of Jugurnaut’s,
S’iva’s, or Harris’s cars. Men and women were burned alive;
intellectual progress stopped, asceticism and blind submission to
priestly despotism were enforced, and the possibility of a progressive
art was crushed for thousands of years.

This desolate state of society required reform, and _Manû_ stepped
forward. He divided society into four distinct layers: the Brahmans,
Kshattryas, Vaisyas, and S’udras, of which the two first were Aryans,
the third caste Turanians, and the fourth Negroes; consequently, in
spite of the excellence of his laws, which were assumed to have been
dictated by Brahma himself, no real art was possible.

The Indians have two great national epic poems, containing nearly the
whole substance of all the epic poems of the other Aryan races, and
the many scenes from the Ramâyâna and Mahâbhârata in carvings and
sculptures stand in the same relation to Greek art, as these poems
to the Iliad and Odyssee. In both, scenes of heroism are displayed;
but, whilst symmetry and proportion rule in the Greek poems, fantastic
irregularity, wild incongruities, exaggerations and impossibilities
are heaped up in the Indian. The beauty of some thought is effaced by
overburdened metaphors, gushing forth in an endless stream like the
waters of the Ganges. There are passages in the 28,000 double verses
of the Ramâyâna surpassing anything written.

As an indisputable proof I will quote a few lines from the opening
passages of the Ramâyâna. The gods are assembled before the first,
incomprehensible cause, and address it in the following words:--

    O Thou, whom _three_fold might and splendour veil,
    _Maker_, _Preserver_, and _Transformer_, hail!
    Thy gaze surveys this world from clime to clime,
    Thyself immeasurable in space and time:
    To no corrupt desires, no passions prone:
    Unconquered conqueror, infinite, unknown;
    Though in one form Thou veil’st Thy might divine,
    Still, at thy pleasure, every form is Thine.
    Pure crystals thus prismatic hues assume,
    As varying lights and varying tints illume;
    Men think Thee absent, Thou art ever near;
    Pitying those sorrows which Thou ne’er canst fear.
    Unsordid penance Thou alone canst pay;
    Unchanged, unchanging--old without decay:
    Thou knowest all things--who Thy praise can state?
    Createdst all things--Thyself uncreate!

The endeavour to give forms to such sublime abstractions made the
Indians lose their regulating power in pictorial and plastic art. A god
was to be made powerful, and he was provided with four or twenty arms,
and three heads. The miraculous and symbolic were the greatest enemies
of Indian art.

In the Mahâbhârata, exceeding Homer’s combined poems seven times in
quantity, having not less than 110,000 double verses, we read of
sentiments, feelings, and deeds which are our own--but nothing is
within the pale of the credible. The birth of all the heroes is
miraculous. Their deeds surpass the standard of human acts. They
constantly associate with the gods, talk, argue, and dispute with
them; their palaces are of immeasurable grandeur and splendour: ivory
gates inlaid with jewels, golden pillars, diamond thrones, glittering
with the splendour of a thousand suns; their armies are reckoned by
millions; their heroes uproot trees, and kill hundreds of thousands at
one blow; time and space have no meaning with them. Kings reign 27,000
years; Prathama-Raja reigned 6,300,000 and lived 8,400,000 years.[1]
How could art in a higher sense exist under such conditions?

    [1] By striking off the zeros, which are put on by the
        Brahmans _out of respect_, the figures may be reduced to
        some natural compass of possibility.

Art in a more comprehensible form appeared in India only when Buddha
came to attempt a second regeneration of the people. He abolished
castes, preached equality and freedom, and succeeded in awakening a
high force of artistic activity in the dreamy Indians. But their art
was altogether confined to the construction of rock-hewn temples, of
stupas, topes, and religious buildings--architectural constructions in
comparison with which even our greatest cathedrals dwindle into mere
child’s play. Their works of art are tinged with the same exaggerations
as their great heroic poems, and when Buddhism was stamped out
in its birth-place about the seventh century A.D., the Brahmans
constructed their temples, vying with those of the Buddhist artists in
architectural grandeur. They went back to their monstrosities, but they
could no longer check the artistic power of the Aryan spirit.

The rock-hewn and isolated temples of India have details in stucco,
of ornamentation, foliage, and general decoration, which, like their
mythology, their heroic poems, and their abstruse philosophy, went
through all the artistic metamorphoses of pliable, plastic, elastic and
solid substances. In all we observe an unbounded play of imagination,
uncontrolled by any law of symmetry. The walls are decorated with the
most exquisite shawl and lace patterns, either in stucco or hewn in
stone; a proof that before the application of those delicate forms to
wall decorations they must have existed as textile fabrics of high
finish. The rock-hewn temples exhibit clear imitations of rafters
and cross-beams; wood had, therefore, been long in use before they
attempted to imitate it in stone. Their sculptures are wood-carvings,
terra-cotta or plaster-of-Paris works, turned into stone. The
pliability of the softer materials visibly predominates. The gateways
before the Sanchi Tope (see the masterly cast of one of these in the
South Kensington Museum), though hewn in stone, are a close imitation
of wooden posts and cross-beams joined together. This imitation is so
faithful that even the rough and crooked outlines of the badly-cut
posts and beams are preserved. The richness and variety of their
decorative patterns, as also the minuteness of the details, prove that
such patterns must have been carved in wood or fashioned in clay long
before they were executed in the harder material--stone. Stucco must
have served as a means of transition from wood-carving to sculpture.
In the Ramâyâna the town of Agodhyá, built by _Manû_ (the father
and lawgiver of _man_kind), is thus described: ‘It was adorned with
beautiful palaces, high as mountains, and with houses of many stories;
everything shining as in Indra’s heaven. Its aspect had a charming
effect. The town was enlivened by ever-changing colours; regular
bowers and sweetly-blooming trees delighted the eyes. It was full
of precious stones. Its walls were covered with variegated-coloured
fields resembling a chess board,’ &c.; the latter allusion giving a
description of tesselated or mosaic work with which the walls must
have been decorated. In a description of a palace in the Sakuntalâ,
by Kalidâsa, who lived a century B.C., we read: ‘Over the gate rises
an arch of ivory; above it float flags of a deep yellow hue, the
tassels of which appear to beckon and to call to you: Step in--step
in. The _panels_ of the door are of gold and stucco, glittering like
the diamond breast of a god. Look here! there is a row of palaces
shining like the moon, like shells, like the stem of a water-lily.
_The stucco is laid on as thick as a hand._ Golden steps adorned with
different stones lead to the higher rooms, from which _crystal_
windows surrounded with pearls look down, glittering like the bright
eyes of a beautiful maiden.’ The passage that the stucco was laid
on as thick as a hand can only mean that the ornament was worked in
relief. Richly-painted ornamentation in stucco with mosaic and other
patterns must therefore have existed. These undoubtedly originated,
like the Persian, Assyrian, and Babylonian wall-decorations, in textile
fabrics, which, having been found to perish too quickly, were made of a
stronger, more durable material, preserving, however, all the character
of the original patterns and material.

The Indians are distinguished by a keen observation of nature, and,
so far as the conventional treatment of flowers, fruits, creepers,
trees, and animals is concerned, we may learn much from them; but we
have carefully to avoid their over-ornamentation. In their treatment
of architecture, want of subordination of the single parts to a
well-proportioned total is the greatest fault; in their sculptures
of the human figure, the soft and waving lines predominate, creating
a kind of voluptuous sensuality which is entirely opposed to good
sculpture. Their naturalism is objectionable, and leads to a wild,
fantastic coarseness which can never be pardoned in art. Measure and
harmony are wanting. Gorgeous and mean, powerful and petty, sublime
and ugly, are their products. Indian art, religion, and poetry are so
closely united that it is impossible to understand the one without
a diligent study of the other two. We have in Indian art the first
attempts of humanity to step out of childhood. To children, wisdom
is best communicated in symbols, mystic signs, fables, legends,
and fairy-tales, and therefore Indian art is distinguished by
these characteristics. The _tupo_, _sutupo_ or _sutheouphu_, from
the Sanskrit _stûpa_, a heap (our word _top_) or a pile of earth,
corresponding to a tumulus, was at the same time a symbol of the
religious principles of the Hindoos. It is said of Buddha that he
once preached to his disciples, on the shores of the Ganges, on the
instability of all things, the frailty of human life, on the grief and
sorrows of our existence, comparing life to a water-bubble, consisting
of the four elements and still perishing so quickly. The water-bubble
thus lent its form to the tope and _daghopa_, which latter, according
to W. v. Humboldt, means ‘hider of the body,’ destined for the
reception of Buddha’s relics. The tower which rises inside the tope
is symbolic of the nine incarnations of Vishnu. We have in the Indian
temple, as in our Gothic churches, a homily in stone. The arched dome
has to remind us of the perishableness of life; the daghopa, with its
seven or nine divisions, tells us that there is hope for the immortal
soul to reach heaven through seven or nine degrees of purification. The
protecting canopies (umbrellas) are symbolic of Buddha’s intercession,
which he is sure to accord, if we only recognise the _nihilism_
(nothingness) of our earthly existence.

The religious construction was also extended to every-day utensils, a
tendency which was universal with all the people of the Aryan group.
To these typical ornamentations belong the lotus flower and the tree
and serpent ornament. The religious conception is everything with
the Indian. It is not the form itself that he cares for, but the
religious thought which is expressed emblematically, allegorically, or
symbolically. This is the reason why he clings to his fourteen-armed
divinities. It is God and His powers that he wishes to represent; but,
whenever man attempts to express the incomprehensible or the abstract
in visible and concrete forms, he errs. The soul of the Indian is
absorbed in God: in Him is everything; the world is _without_ Him and
still _within_ Him. All beings take their origin in Him and return
to Him. An everlasting _emanation_ and _absorption_ is continually
proceeding before the eyes of the Indian, and, looking for a type of
this wonderful process, he found it in the ‘_Aswatha_’ tree, the Indian
fig-tree (_Ficus Indica_). The banyan takes root, so to speak, in
the air, grows downwards, grasps the earth with its branches, shoots
upwards again, and repeats this process ‘ad infinitum.’ Everything
coming near its feelers is embraced, covered over, and in this mystic
encircling, annihilated. From time immemorial this sacred tree has
been the _tree of life_, the symbolic tree of the petrifaction,
vivification, and incarnation of God’s spirit in minerals, plants,
animals and man. This pantheistic conception is not favourable to art:
it crushes the powers of the artist, who has to deal with too great an
ideal weight in forms.

There is another species of fig-tree (_Ficus religiosa_) which does not
take root again, but the leaves of which appear eternally to tremble;
it became the symbol of the ever-moving and oscillating spheres filling
the universe. The tree combines two working cosmical forces, it partly
remains the same and still continually changes and varies; it is now
covered only with leaves, by degrees with leaves and blossoms, and at
last with leaves and fruits; then its vitality apparently dying away,
leaves, blossoms, and fruits vanish, to be renewed again with the same
regularity and abundance. The mind, not yet accustomed to account for
every phenomenon by simple or compound gases, globules, or atoms, set
in motion by affinities, is altogether absorbed by the miraculous
phenomena of nature, and, having been kept for thousands of years in
this absorption, is incapable of seeing objects in their proper light.
It sees in every form a metaphysical cause, which leads in ornamental
art to those entwined, confused, monstrous, and bizarre combinations,
which mar _symmetry_, mock _eurythmy_, distort _proportion_, have
no _direction_, and, trying to express the inexpressible, have no
_expression_ at all.

The artist, if he wishes to work in the Indian style, must make himself
acquainted with the feelings that animate the Indian mind. He will
do best by generally using their arabesques, and arranging them after
a careful study of the antique into symmetrical forms. The Indian
conventional treatment of plants in surface-decorations is unsurpassed,
and in this we may learn from them; but we have to beware of their
monotonous excellence, and their everlasting repetitions. We may, here
and there, use their forms, but we must bring order and measure into
the wild and unintelligible chaos. If we want to produce entirely
Indian patterns we must not alter them, or else we destroy their
effect; but we may be original in merely using the form, and endowing
it with a spirit of our own; this being the great advantage of the
historical study of art.

Indian architecture has been well systematised by Mr. Fergusson. We
have in the north the Bengallee, in the south the Dravidian, and in
the west the Chalúkyan style; besides these we have three distinct
religious styles--the Brahmanic, the Buddhistic, and, at a later
period, the Mahomedan.

Turning to the Cis-Himâlâyans, who appear under numberless names of
tribes, nations, and races, and by degrees peopled Assyria, Babylon,
Persia, Greece, Northern Europe, Italy, Spain, France, and England, and
carried religion and civilisation into Egypt; we begin to tread, for
the first time, on really _historical_ ground, for we shall be able to
place events in time absolute.

Persia--the Hebrew Elam, the Indian Paraça, from Pars, or Fars,
or Fardistan--differs entirely in geographical position, climate,
and natural products from China or India. Hekatæos, Artemidoros,
Eratosthenes, and Strabo describe the climate and soil of Persia as
cold and sterile in the north, temperate and fertile in the central
or valley regions, and hot and enervating in the south. We have,
therefore, enterprising activity, energetic courage from the north,
and a counteracting regulating element in the centre, tinged with the
dreamy idleness of the south. The aspect of nature is less oppressive.
Instead of gigantic creepers, the vine, with its juicy grapes, clings
to tall and fruitful trees; bright-eyed gazelles abound; lions and
tigers excite to daring hunts; exquisitely-coloured and fragrant roses
perfume the air, and open the mind to the gentler impressions of a
tender beauty. The Persians, Assyrians, and Babylonians rose to power,
declined, and passed away with all their grandeur; but in these very
changes there were activity and life. The Persians were the first
to proclaim a governing universal _unity_, which endowed men with
forces, enabling them to become virtuous and intellectual _by their own
exertions_. They remained faithful to the first impressions of nature,
in which the Eternal Spirit revealed himself.

The Persians, like the Indians, expressed the cosmical elements of
creation symbolically by means of geometrical signs, which are given
below.

[Illustration: (Five simple shapes, stacked, representing ether, air,
fire, water, and earth)]

[Illustration: (Human-like diagram derived from simple shapes)]

This _five_ in _one_ comprised the creation; it was the work of Chudâ
(Khuda), Choda from the Sanskrit Svadâtta (self-given, God-given).
From the Zend word Chuda, or Choda, we have the words GOTT and GOD.
At a later period man’s imagination soon perceived in these abstract
signs a concrete form; it turned _Cha_ into the head of a being, _Ka_
into the arms, _Ra_ into the chest, _Wa_ into the lower parts of the
body, and _A_ into the feet, and thus the first embryonic, ill-shapen
incarnation, or embodiment, of the creative power of nature was formed.
This embryo, by degrees, developed into the master-pieces of Greek
sculpture.

In Persia, the pure and exalted consciousness of a first,
incomprehensible cause leaving its products, the special manifestations
of its creative power, _free_ in themselves, was fostered and
developed. To the Persians we owe the first clear conception of a God
independent of nature. Spirit and matter are not _one_ with them,
as with the Indians. With the Persians God is separated from His
creation--the universe. God, as the ruling Spirit, acquires subjective
reality; man, His creature, whether good or bad, whether poor or
rich, whether righteous or unrighteous, whether high or low, is, as
His creature, equal and free. Man thus obtained a free position face
to face, if we may say so, with the Supreme Being--the Creator. What
a totally different mode of thinking to that in China or India! In
China man is a mere machine, regulated by stereotyped moral maxims.
In India duties and rights depend on the chance of birth; the Brahman
is a born priest, whether he has talent or not for his vocation; the
Kshattriya, a born soldier, though he may be the greatest coward; the
Vaisya, a born merchant or artisan, in spite of his utter incapacity
for business; and the S’udra, a born slave, though he may be gifted
with greater wisdom than the Brahman, more heroic virtues than the
Kshattriya, and more talent for commerce, trade, or art than the Vaisya.

In Persia the Aryans acquired, for the first time, a kind of collective
freedom, but not yet an individual consciousness as free agents. The
Indian language and Indian metaphysics, in the garb of mythology, were
undoubtedly components of Egyptian, Persian, Assyrian, Chaldæan, and
Babylonian art, and the forms thus produced, in their turn, became
the direct elements out of which Grecian art in its infancy developed
itself.

The Persians are direct descendants of the Zend people. Their language
is nearly the same as Sanskrit. Out of ten Zend words, seven or eight
are Sanskrit.

Persian history may be traced back into time relative; for, when it
passes into time absolute, the advanced state of the people in science,
especially in astronomy, their social condition, and their architecture
and ornamental art, prove that they must have existed in a social bond
for thousands of years, in order to develop and to attain that progress
which excites our astonishment even after the lapse of more than 6,000
years.

Their history may be divided into the following periods:--

1. The mythic period, from an unknown time down to the foundation of
the vast, well-organised, and powerful Persian empire by Kai-Khorus,
or Kyrus, in the sixth century B.C.

2. The second period affords reliable accounts of the existence of the
empire down to Alexander the Great, from 560 B.C.-330 B.C.

3. The history of the Persians, as members of the Greek-Makedonian
empire, ending with the conquest of Persia by the Arabs from 330
B.C.-137 B.C.

4. The empire of Central Persia, under the Arabs, down to its
extinction by the Mahomedans in 651 A.D.

5. The dominion of the Kaliphs down to its destruction in 1258 A.D.

6. The last period continuing to our own time.

The mythic and historical periods of Persia resemble two diverging
lines, of which the undoubted fact of the reign of Kai-Khorus forms
the connecting point. Whilst the historical line grows more and
more distinct as it proceeds, the mythic line retreats farther and
farther into the dim region of the unknown. Passing from the known
to the unknown, we must assign to the development of Zend thoughts,
institutions, mode of writing, and mode of building, a greater
antiquity than to the Assyrian and Babylonian monuments. Of Persian
remains we possess nothing but skeleton buildings, which, from the
entire absence of connecting walls, lead us to infer that they were
still mere tents, and that the textile fabric had not yet undergone the
further process of incrustation in stucco or stone sculpture.

This is not the case with Nineveh and Babylon, the great towns, or,
as we should say, the great empires, on the Tigris and Euphrates.
Through the indefatigable exertions of the Right Hon. Mr. Layard, M.
Botta, Lord Loftus, and Mr. Rassam, we possess now, in London and
Paris, tablets with records more than 3,000 years old. The boundary
stones prove that some fixed laws regulated territorial property,
even at these remote periods. The personal ornaments, consisting
of mother-of-pearl studs, silver rings, bracelets, gold and pearl
earrings, beads, and shell-bosses with bronze pins, testify to a high
civilisation. The mode of writing in Nineveh and Babylon was borrowed
from the Zend people; and the religious conceptions of the Persians are
undoubtedly older than the already-complicated idolatry based on the
astronomical notions of the Assyrians and Babylonians.

The Zend-Avesta (meaning the living word) may be said to be like an
Egyptian Nile-meter, erected on the primeval soil of history, measuring
the yearly deposits and alluvial sediments of by-gone ages. Through
the pure crystals of myth and poetry we may see the inner formation
of society, whilst from without the vast construction of history is
mysteriously going on. We wander through endless lines of Memnon
statues, all resounding with the legends of past ages, in perusing the
Zend-Avesta, and are suddenly led before the fountain of all matter, at
which the high-priest stands, commanding in the harmony of the seven
planets the birth of the world, and the origin of all things.

Our first parents, according to the Zend-Avesta, dwelt in _Eriene
Veedjo_, or _Iran Veji_, or Aria, Aturia, Asshuria, meaning the
_fiery_ or _bright_ land, figuratively the blessed land, in a happy
garden, the paradise, assigned to them by _Ormuzd_--contraction of
_Ahura-Mazda_ (the divine Being or the Great Lord). From this they were
driven by Agrômainyus, _Ahriman_, the murderer from the beginning,
who changed the seasons, transforming the _seven_ beautiful summer
months into _ten_ cold and dreary winter months, leaving only _two_
tolerably warm months. The division of the year into _twelve_ months
is clearly proved by this mythic statement. Can anyone count the ages,
and describe the means by which Persians, Chaldæans, Medes, Egyptians,
and Indians arrived at a systematic arrangement of time, dividing
the year into twelve months? After the reign of the Abads (fathers,
_abbas_) _Azer-Abad_ ruled; then _Dshey-Afram, Kedor-la-Omer_ (Cadam,
Adam) followed; he ruled 560 years, and attained the venerable age of
one thousand years. We find here, as in all old records, the tendency
to ascribe to man a longevity which he has long lost. Like shadows
which are more gigantic in the rising and setting sun than in the
broad mid-day, historical facts in the first dawn of consciousness are
exaggerated and turned into fables, which again vanish in the bright
light of scientific criticism. _Cadam_ was followed by _Siamek_, who
was succeeded by _Tahamur_, who conquered the Devas, or evil spirits.
He learned from them the art of writing and reading, constructed
aqueducts and viaducts, and taught his people music and the use of
iron. The Aryans on this side of the Himâlâyas had passed the savage
state (the _palæolithic_ period of art), entered into the nomadic (the
neolithic period), settled down and used bronze instruments, and then
were taught, _no longer_ as with the Indians, Egyptians, and Greeks _by
a divinity_, but by one of their rulers, to extract iron from the ore
and to work it. With Tahamur we step into the iron or historical age.

_Dshemshid_, the Greek _Achæmenes_, the Biblical _Nimrod_, the
mighty hunter before the Lord, _pierced the earth with a golden
dagger_--allegorically meaning that he improved agriculture. Dshemshid
ruled 616½ years; he built Persepolis, or Takt-i-Dshemshid (the throne
of Dshemshid). He was, however, conquered by _Zahok_ and _sawn into
two pieces_, meaning that the empire of Dshemshid had been divided by
_Zahok_, who was a descendant of the cursed race of Aad. He is said to
have been the _Sesostris_, or _Sesoosis_, of the third dynasty of the
Egyptians, the 332nd king after Menes the builder of Memphis, a great
conqueror who went to India, took possession of Thracia and Skythia,
and united Æthiopia, Libya, and Egypt into one mighty empire in the
fortieth century B.C. He is also said to have been _Ninus_, who with
Semiramis, the night-born queen of doves, and the daughter of the
water-sprung _Derceto_, is set down as the builder of Nineveh, and
the founder of the empire of Babel. Takt-i-Dshemshid existed before
either Nineveh or Babylon; its priority is borne out not only by these
records, but, as we have said, by the very ruins left of the Persian
metropolis. The name _Parsagad_, or _Passagarda_, means ‘_camp_ of the
Persians,’ and points to an early, unsettled state of society; as also
do the ruins, which may be divided into two classes:--

1. The ancient Persian monuments of Dshemshid.

2. The monuments of the reign of the Sassanides.

The name Persepolis was first used by the Greek historiographers who
accompanied Alexander the Great, to denote that part only of the vast
town in which the tomb of Kyrus was situated, and this gave rise to
much confusion.

Passagarda, Isthakr, or Estakar, was situated on the border of one
of the richest and most beautiful plains of Central Asia, watered by
the Bendemir (the Araxes of the ancients), and surrounded by lofty
mountains, ‘whose rugged masses rise from the verdant plain like
islands from the ocean.’

The _oldest_ monuments are:--

1. The ruins of the palace now called by the Arabs _Tshil-Minar_ (the
forty columns), and two great tombs close by.

2. Four other tombs, about four and a half English miles to the
north-west, and in the plains of Murghab the ruins of Passagarda,
built by Kyrus to commemorate his victory over Astyages, who came from
Hamadan (Ecbatana). Here is situated the pyramidically-constructed tomb
of Kyrus, made of white marble blocks. Farther north are the ruins of
_Bisutun_.

Passing to the monuments under the reign of the _Sassanides_; they
consist of reliefs and inscriptions hewn in rock at a distance of about
four and a half miles from the ruins of Persepolis. They are called
_Naksh-i-Rustam_ (the image of Rustam), because it was assumed that the
exploits of this hero were here glorified. De Sacy, in his ‘Mémoires
sur diverses Antiquités de la Perse,’ has explained the inscriptions
as referring to the kings of the Sassanide dynasty. The reliefs are
portraits of these kings, recognisable by their head-dresses.

The distance from Passagarda to Tshil-Minar is about forty-nine English
miles, and this space is crowded with Persian monuments. It is most
probable that the more recently-made subdivisions did not exist, but
that the capital of the ancient Persian empire extended from Passagarda
to Tshil-Minar, including Isthakr, Naksh-i-Rustam, and the king’s
palace, called by the Greeks Persepolis. The palace was cut out of
the beautiful grey marble rock towering over it, and stood on three
well-defined, gradually-rising platforms. The arrangement was like that
of the Indian, Egyptian, and later Greek temples; the first terrace
corresponding to the Pronaos, where the people paid their homage to the
king; the second to the Naos, where the ambassadors of the different
nations assembled; and the third to the Adytum, where the king had his
special temple and private abode. The whole foundation was constructed
of bold Kyklopean masonry.

At the gates stood colossal fabulous animals, fantastic representations
combined of the lion, the bull, the horse, the wild ass, the
rhinoceros, the ostrich, the eagle, the scorpion, and the unicorn.
Besides these there were winged and horned animals, and others having
the winged body of a lion, the feet of a horse, and the head of a man,
with well-curled, long beard and crowned with the tiara--the symbol of
the king’s power, endowed with intellect, force, and swiftness. The
bull with the Persians was, like Nundi with the Indians, Apis with the
Egyptians, and Taurus with the Greeks, a sign of strength and power.

The capitals of Persian columns were not yet made to support a heavy
stone weight, but only a light wooden beam. The foundation walls
were, like those of Nineveh and Babylon, covered with sculptures, the
designs of which were all of textile origin. But in these sculptures,
as in those of Kouyunjik and the Palace of Nimrod, the theological, or
religious, and symbolical element is entirely left in the background.
We have the friends, relations, and servants of the king; tributaries
submitting to kings; officers holding fly-flaps of feathers; horses
crossing rivers; kings hunting and slaying lions; armies before
besieged towns; warriors returning from battle; battering rams; chains
to destroy the action of rams; soldiers mining ramparts; infantry with
bows and shields; removals of cattle and spoil from captured cities;
boats floating on rivers; galleys going to sea; damsels and children
with musical instruments; and mathematical tablets with calculations
of square roots. We have man active, warring, scientific, and only
here and there some scenes of a religious character, and these more
frequently in Nineveh and Babylon.

The cause of this phenomenon was the religion of the Zend people.
Its founder was Zarathustra, Zerdusht, Σοροάθεος {Soroatheos},
Zoroaster--partly a mythical, partly a real person. His name appears to
have been derived from the Sanskrit Sûrya-dêvas, meaning ‘the Sun-god.’
According to Aristotle Zoroaster lived 6,000 years before Plato. The
Biblical Abram, Sesostris the Egyptian king, and Moses, were all
honoured by this name. Svedius mentions a Zoroaster 500 years before
the Trojan war. The historical Zoroaster, the compiler of the religious
tenets of the Zend people in the Zend-Avesta, lived about 589 B.C.; he
was therefore a contemporary of Confucius, Pythagoras, Jeremiah, and
Ezra. He received the holy books from Ormuzd on Mount Elbruz.

The Zend-Avesta assumes _one_ Universal Being, clothed in an outward
form, but this form is _Light_. Light is neither a serpent, nor a
stone, nor a four-handed monster, nor a three-headed Brahmā, nor a
bull, owl, or hawk; it is a simple manifestation, it has no particular
existence, it perceptibly pervades universality. It admits of a highly
symbolical interpretation; it is virtue, it is truth, proficiency,
knowledge, and directing will. Light involves an opposite--darkness,
just as virtue has an antithesis--evil. Both light and darkness took
their origin in the unlimited All (Zeruane-Akerene). We have here
clearly a purer Trinitarian conception. We have (1) the Infinite
All, producing (2) light or good (Ormuzd), and (3) darkness or evil
(Ahriman). With the Indians _Brahmā_ is ether; _Vishnu_, water; and
_S’iva_, fire; and in spite of all spiritualisation we have _matter_
before us. The Persians, in becoming conscious of light and darkness,
destroyed the innocence of mankind, but proclaimed to the world _moral_
consciousness. Without a knowledge of evil there is no knowledge of
good; to be virtuous is to know the evil and to do the good.

This led the Cis-Himâlâyans a step further. The two opposing
phenomena, light and darkness, were placed, like good and evil, purity
and impurity, right and wrong, truth and falsehood, knowledge and
ignorance, in eternal conflict. Creation was thus considered as in
everlasting strife. This strife was life-activity in honour of Ormuzd
or Ahriman. This activity was carried beyond this world; for the
followers of Ormuzd, there was a heaven, and for the followers of
Ahriman, a hell in the future. Ormuzd had _Fervers_ as attendants;
Ahriman, _Dews_ or _Devas_ (in Keltic _Dusii_, devils). On the Persian
and Assyrian slabs we see, floating over the heads of the kings, their
winged portraits; these represent their protecting Fervers, one of whom
continually watched over each good man, and protected him from the
influences of Ahriman’s servants.

The worship of Ormuzd, in whose sight all creatures were _equal_, but
equally dependent, was threefold:--

(_a_) _Pure thoughts_, through which alone we may approach the
beginning of all things, wisdom and light--God.

(_b_) _Pure words_, the word of God (the Logos), which is no longer
personified as some visible form, but is the mere vibration of the
spirit of God, embodied in abstract signs in the Zend-Avesta.

(_c_) _Pure deeds_, accomplished by one’s own efforts, as we are
endowed with perfect individual freedom.

This religion was the cause why the Persians had no special temples,
but only small altars. The vaulted azure heavens were the glorious
temple of Ormuzd, which he was compelled to share with Ahriman.
Neither light nor darkness, however, could be carved or painted; the
dynamic force of the artists was therefore directed to matter-of-fact
scenes, to ornamentations, showing a better balance between forms and
ideas. The rosette, the palmette, the sun with its disc, the moon,
the pine-cone, the pomegranate, intermixed with clearly-defined, and
not much entwined, geometrical patterns, were the principal means of
ornamentation.

At a later period a tendency to allegorical and emblematic figures
appeared. The artists composed cherubim, chimeras, basilisks, griphons,
kentaurs, and sphinxes; undoubtedly influenced by Indian and Egyptian
ideas, for Nineveh and Babylon were the ancient Venice and Genoa of
the far East, situated as they were on the commercial high-roads, the
twin-rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. The Babylonian textile
fabrics were highly appreciated from time immemorial. Serpents and
trees, winged witches and flying-fish, were first spell-bound in
Babylonian tapestry, and then carved in stone on the walls of Nineveh.
The immense riches which we possess in the British Museum, enable
every student of art-history to see before him the active life of the
Cis-Himâlâyans, whether as Assyrians, Persians, Medes, or Babylonians,
in clear and distinct outlines. Their knowledge of embossing gold and
silver was considerable. Their household furniture, drinking cups,
tables, candelabra, bracelets, and rings are of strictly _architectural
construction_. We miss that overburdening confusion in ornamentation
which distinguishes the Indian products; and the more correct
treatment of ornamental outlines, especially to be seen in their
mosaics and tesselated pavements, approaches Greek forms.

The commercial spirit, which swayed this portion of the river-valley of
the Tigris and Euphrates, engendered a powerful activity in a practical
direction. Whilst we build railways--the Babylonians dug canals,
connected the two rivers, and constructed aqueducts. They built palaces
at Nineveh, castles (El Kassr) at Babylon, and an immense nekropolis at
Vurka, about 180 English miles from Bagdad, and about 8 miles to the
east of the Euphrates. At every step in the interior of these ruins
we find clay-coffins piled up to a height of from 15-20 feet. All
these ruins are now covered with saltpetre, small shells and broken
pottery. The remains of the walls are from 12-22 feet thick, partly of
unbaked and partly of baked bricks. The construction everywhere closely
imitates wood-work, and the decoration reproduces textile fabrics such
as carpets and striped tent covers. There are capitals in stucco of the
Ionic and even of the Corinthian type; though the leaves are those of
the palm-tree instead of the Acanthus. The volute of the Ionic capital
is rather in the form of two serpents drinking from a cup, than in the
form of rams’ horns. We might call this old Babylonian stucco capital,
the proto-Ionic type.

On the two shores of the Euphrates, as far as Babylon, coffins of green
glazed clay and small terra-cotta tablets with cuneiform inscriptions
have been found by thousands. These coffins were imitations of
dead bodies, swathed in cloths and tied with cords. In addition
to this reproduction of textile fabrics in clay, we find with the
Cis-Himâlâyans a tendency to overlay wood-carvings with metal coatings.
When they advanced more in metallotechnic they still held to patterns
which clearly had their origin in wood-carvings. The plant-like forms
predominate; then we have the quilloche, palm-leaves, or feathers
arranged in the form of palm-leaves, and the pine-cone, which is often
used in eurythmical variation with the conventionally-treated open or
closed tulips, and open or closed lotus flowers.

The pictorial art of the Assyrians and Babylonians shows us two
distinct periods--an older and a more recent one. The older works had
a bluish-green ground; the later a light, either whitish or yellowish,
ground. In both styles the outlines are marked strongly in black or
dark red. In the older, the sinews are more rope-like and less correct
in their anatomy. In the more recent style a finer treatment, and a
more correct knowledge of the human frame, may be traced. Wild animals
are reproduced with a keen eye of observation, and a strong tendency to
naturalism.

Polychromy was known to them, but it is very difficult to decide
whether they coloured in tempera or in fresco, with wax or by some
other means--perhaps even in oil. The incrustation of clay walls with
baked and painted, and even glazed, tiles it is difficult to explain.
In many instances, as at Vurka, each cone has its own colour, and, by a
proper arrangement, squares, imbrications, diapers, and networks were
produced; but at Babylon and Nineveh the tiles show clear marks of
painting. Diodorus (probably after Ktesias) gives us a description of
the interior circular wall of the royal palace at Babylon, and says:
‘It was decorated with all sorts of coloured human and animal forms
baked in clay, much resembling nature. The whole represented a hunt.
The figures were more than four yards high. Semiramis was to be seen by
the side of her husband Ninus, she killing a panther, he piercing with
his dart a lion.’ The principles of decoration with the Assyrians far
surpass mere ornamentations in geometrical patterns. Dramatic life of
a higher kind is introduced, showing greater artistic power than the
reliefs in stone. The outlines are neither black nor red, the treatment
is tasteful, the colours a tender blue, brown, white or yellow, and the
ground a lightish green. These paintings are not mosaics, as at Vurka.

The baking and glazing must have taken place in the following manner.
The unbaked tiles were arranged and numbered in a horizontal position
on the ground, then they were painted and placed vertically on the
wall as a tapestry decoration. When the wall was finished it must have
been heated, so as to change the light and fluid colours into a kind of
enamel, giving the clay-wall a thin terra-cotta coating.

The utilitarian purpose was everything with the Persians, Assyrians,
and Babylonians. This is evident in their furniture, especially in
their tables, chairs, and footstools. The construction of the frame
was taken from plants and trees, whilst wild animals were used as
silent and obedient domestic creatures. In supporting their furniture
with the legs of the lion, tiger, or leopard, they used these animals
for an excellent ornamental purpose. The legs of the brute were
made to support, the body was turned into a seat, and the head was
conventionally used as a side-ornament for the backs or arms of the
throne or chair. We see in the Cis-Himâlâyans, in accordance with their
greater activity in life, a further progress in art. Merely geometrical
figures do not suffice; not monstrous divinities, but animals and men,
are the most important subjects of sculpture. Their architecture was
without symmetry and proportion, the material of their buildings in
no accordance with the monumental tendencies of their construction,
and their efforts did not carry them further than the vague attempts
of half-settled nomads. Their walls, which once consisted of textile
hangings, retained this character, stretching for thousands of feet
without any interruption, except that the doorways had their colossal
symbolic guards, which to a certain extent relieved the monotony of
the construction. The art of Persia and Assyria is in every sense the
transition-link between nomadic and monumental art.



CHAPTER VI.

EGYPTIAN ART.


‘Anything capable of uniting many souls--is _sacred_,’ says Goethe.
The sacredness of religious tenets or monumental buildings is at once
explained by this. To unite humanity into one great brotherhood was
first attempted by the Babylonians with their huge tower of Belus,
Baal, or Babel. Men for the first time left patriarchal particularism,
and tried to build a beacon reaching up to the stars, calling humanity
together to one spot, by a work produced by their united labour as a
visible sign of their union. This first attempt at a really monumental
building was made in the plains of the Euphrates. Whilst the people
of Asia still struggled to settle down, and changed their habitations
and with them their forms of art, we see monuments emerge from the dim
past, which reflect man for the first time in his grandeur as wielder
of matter.

The sphinx in its incomprehensible, mysterious form, half brute, half
human being, may be looked upon as the very emblem of Egyptian art.

It is written in one of the Hermetic books, ‘O Egypt, fables alone will
be thy future history, wholly incredible to later generations, and
nought but the letter of thy stone-engraved monuments will survive.’
Our knowledge of Egypt is scarcely half a century old. It originated
in a black basalt stone, the so-called Rosetta-stone, deposited, at
the beginning of the century, in the British Museum. Approached by Dr.
Young, of Cambridge, with the wand of investigation, this stone poured
forth a little spring, which has now swollen into a mighty river,
carrying off with irresistible force all those little souls who, on
their small boats of prejudice, with tiny chronological ladles, try
to stop the sweeping power of historical truth. We know something
at least of Egypt; we have _monumental_ evidence, which surpasses
all _written documents_, which may be voluntarily or involuntarily
falsified. Egyptologists may be divided into two parties:--the _long_
and the _short_ chronologists. The _short_ chronologists, in the
face of our advanced knowledge of geology, of the vast accumulation
of pre-historic relics, consisting of flint instruments, pottery,
weavings, and architectural remains (lake and pile-dwellings), deserve
no consideration. They follow the chronological dislocation of Rabbi
_Hillel_, of the first half of the fourth century A.D., with childish
ignorance. This view is the most charitable, as otherwise we should be
driven to accuse them of interested knavery. After the exertions of a
Champollion-Figeac, Böckh, Barucchi, Bunsen, Brugsch, Henry, Lesueur,
Lepsius, Hincks, Kenrick, Uhleman, &c.--who all belong to the _long_
chronologists, to turn to the short chronology is impossible.

_Lepsius_ succeeded in tracing Egyptian history, king by king, event
by event, to Alexander the Great, and hence through the XXXIst,
XXXth, XXIXth, XXVIIIth, XXVIIth, XXVIth, XXVth, XXIVth, and XXIIIrd
consecutive Egyptian dynasties, back to Sheshonk Shishak, founder of
the XXIInd dynasty, who conquered Jerusalem ‘in the Vth year of King
Rehoboam,’ as is hieroglyphically recorded in Karnac. This furnishes
us with a perfect synchronism between Egyptian and Hebrew history up
to 971-3 B.C. From this point we have innumerable Egyptian tablets,
papyri, and genealogical lists, carrying us upward through the XXIst,
XXth, XIXth, and XVIIIth dynasties to Ramses I. (Ramesu) 15th-16th
century B.C. Here we have a short period of anarchy, represented in
the _Disk heresy_, and find sundry royal claimants, at the head of
whom stands Atenra-Bakhan, or Bexen-aten, called by Lepsius ‘Amenophis
IV.’ From the reign of his father Amenophis III. every king is known,
by means of hieroglyphical inscriptions on stone and papyri, back to
the beginning of the XVIIth Theban dynasty, in the reign of AAHMES I.
(Amosis), about 1671 B.C. Here again we have the mysterious period
of the _Hyksos_ or Shepherd kings, who, according to Manetho, ruled
511 years. Three dynasties may be put down for this period--the
XVIth, XVth, and XIVth. But we again step into the broad daylight
of monumental facts when we reach the XIIIth dynasty, and with it
the ‘Old Empire’ in the land of KHAM, Ham, the venerable _Chemnus_,
the Sebakhetps and Hepherhetps of the XIIIth dynasty; whilst the
glories of the XIIth blaze forth effulgently, thanks to the critical
investigations of the _Turin Papyrus_ by the immortal Lepsius.

The XIIth dynasty ends about 2124 B.C.

Though little is known of the XIth, Xth, IXth, VIIIth, and VIIth
dynasties, the VIth and Vth dynasties stand solid as rocks on the
_Turin_ papyrus, and are thoroughly known in consequence of the
recovery of all the kings, but one, from the tombs opened at Memphis.
The remains of the IVth dynasty surpass belief; those who doubt can
refer to the folio plates, the ‘Denkmäler,’ by Lepsius, copies of which
are in nearly all our libraries.

Of the IIIrd, IInd, and Ist dynasties we have no monuments, but
even this unknown age must have been preceded by a long period of
development, till at last MENES is set down as the first Pharaoh of
Egypt about 3892 B.C. according to Lepsius, or 5702 B.C. according
to Böckh; 5613 B.C. according to Unger; Brugsch puts him 4455 B.C.;
Lauth 4157 B.C., and Bunsen 3623 B.C. But before Menes constructed
Memphis; Teni, This, or Thinis, was already a once flourishing and
then decaying town. Menes erected at Memphis a green sanctuary,
ornamented with the figures of men and animals. Memphis (Men-ofer)
means ‘the good station.’ The king in the times of Menes had already
several titles. He was called the great house--_Per-āo_, Pharaoh; as
we speak of the ‘sublime Porte.’ The king was to his subjects _nuter_
(divine), or _neb_ (master). He was addressed by the title of _hon-f_,
corresponding to our ‘Your Majesty’; or only by _on_, which would be
our ‘Sire.’ The Egyptians under Menes had already rewards in the form
of decorations, in _nub_, the golden collar, corresponding to our
‘order of the garter.’ The court consisted of nobles and attendants.
The nobles were _Sez_, and had to distinguish themselves by wisdom and
learning. The house of the king’s children was under a governor, who
was responsible for their health and education. Those belonging to the
highest classes had the title of _erpa_, illustrious, _ha_, chief, or
_set_, your excellency. The affairs of the court were entrusted to
intendants, the _hir-sesta_, the secretary and numerous scribes. The
king 3000 or 5000 years B.C. had a quartermaster-general; a director
of vocal music; a director of amusements; a chief of the chamber of
the robes; a chief hair-dresser; a master of trimming the nails of
H.M., and a superintendent of the baths. Inferior court-officials
were intrusted with the supervision of the granaries, the fruit and
oil-chambers; there were royal purveyors of meat, royal bakers, and
equerries. Architects, who were held in the very highest honour,
because they could marry the daughters of the king, had to inspect the
public works. Judges administered the law, already divided into a civil
and criminal section. The title _hir-sesta_ meant ‘he who is above a
secret,’ There was a hir-sesta of heaven (the royal astronomer), one
of ‘secret words,’ a kind of private secretary, who had to compose
important political or social essays; another of grammar. The scribes
again were divided into different classes. They had to transmit orders
from their superiors; to register dry facts; to keep accounts. The very
titles of these court-officials are enough to convince us that at the
time of Menes, Egypt must have already possessed a highly-complicated
and civilised State-organisation.

The successor of Menes, Atos or Akotus, is recorded to have written
‘books on Anatomy,’ and constructed the royal palace of Memphis.

This was the state of Egypt under _Menes_. His name suggests a more
than merely accidental analogy with _Manû_, _Minos_, or _Man_, and
has reference to the time when _man_ became conscious of law, and
assembled into a social bondship. The Egyptians, before a Menes could
have ruled over them, must have gone through the savage and nomadic,
or pastoral stages, and have passed from the palæolithic, neolithic,
and bronze ages of art into that of iron. When did they invent their
_hieroglyphs_, which must first have been _ideographic_ before they
became _phonetic_? From the first-recorded meeting between the
Hebrews, then still nomads, and the Egyptians, it appears that the
latter already then formed a well-organised State-body. As regards
their monuments, we see them enter the mythical age with their grand
stone-constructions, their pyramids, colosses, temples, palaces,
sphinxes, catacombs and obelisks, as a developed artistic nation. All
these stupendous works are constructed for eternity; there is nothing
nomadic in them, though this element here and there shows itself in
colossal petrifactions. Wood-constructions and textile fabrics form
the bases of their ornamentation, but this influence must have taken
effect in antediluvian, nay, even pre-Adamitic, times, when humanity
everywhere else was sunk in a state of unconscious inactivity. The
mound, constructed with geometrical accuracy as a huge pyramid, must
have had an origin somewhere. The construction itself has a purpose.
The crystal form surrounds an inner kernel, around which the stone
shell is laid; it not only serves to point upwards, but also downwards.
Thus mortality and immortality are already blended into one in these
hoary monuments.

To proclaim the grandeur of the silent inhabitant, once a mighty ruler,
to the four quarters of the globe, was the purpose of these pyramids.

Natural caves must have suggested their tombs and catacombs. The sacred
Nile with its majestic flow is reflected in the endless horizontal
lines of their temples. The rising peaks of mountains seem to have
suggested their huge pylons. The rays of the sun were transformed by
them into stones, recording, as gigantic obelisks, the deeds of their
kings. When did these obelisks shake off the rough shape of mere
huge monoliths, placed in plains to commemorate some grand event?
To point upwards in isolated forms was the secret tendency of these
half-sculptured, half-architectural marvels. Trees and forests were
turned by the Egyptian artists into hypostyle halls, with innumerable
columns, spreading a mysterious gloom about them.

The Chinese were practical; the Trans-Himâlâyans metaphysical; the
Cis-Himâlâyans agricultural, commercial and warlike; and the Egyptians
pre-eminently architectural and _monumental_.

Their whole historical life may be divided into the following
art-periods.

    _(a)_ The Ante-monumental.
    _(b)_ The Pyramidal.
    _(c)_ The Hieratic.
    _(d)_ The Ptolemaic.

A. These four epochs of art-development resemble layers in the
earth’s crust. Whilst with other nations the remnants of art are mere
skeletons, colourless frames of an extinct social organism, with the
Egyptians we have art in all its different phases, with the dried flesh
and the scarcely-faded colours, embalmed like a mummy. Life and death
were with them so closely allied, that we may say, their life was a
continual death, and their death was everlasting life.

The spiritual conceptions of the Egyptians, which might have served
to enable us to understand their art thoroughly, were lost with their
sacred books, of which, with one exception, we have merely the titles.
Plato considered them 10,000 years old in his time. They consisted of:--

1. The _two_ books of the Chanter--like the Vedas and the Zend-Avesta
containing hymns in honour of the gods, and a code of laws like those
of Manû.

2. The _four_ astronomical books of the Horoskopus; treating of fixed
stars, and of solar and lunar conjunctions, making the sun the centre,
round which we revolve.

3. The _ten_ books of the Hierogrammatist, or the Sacred Scribe,
treating of the art of writing, which was: hieroglyphic (sacred),
hieratic (a kind of hieroglyphic tachygraphy--short-hand writing, used
by priests only), and enchorial or demotic, used by the people. These
books contained, further, the elements of cosmography and geography;
tablets, on which the high-roads of the earth were marked; astronomical
records, mentioning, according to Diogenes Laertius, 373 solar and
832 lunar eclipses, referring thus to a period of 48,863 years; a
chorography of Egypt, and the delineation of the course of the sacred
Nile; an inventory of each temple, of the landed property of the
priests, and a treatise on weights and measures.

4. The _ten_ ceremonial books of the Stolists, which were entirely
devoted to religious worship, containing the ordinances as to ‘_the
first-fruits, and the sacrificial stamp, sacrifices, prayers,
processions_,’ and the like. No human sacrifices were offered up from
at least 3000 years B.C.

5. The _ten_ books of the prophets, consisting of thirty-six sections,
called the hieratic writings, with which the prophets, the first
order of the priests, were entrusted. A description of the deities,
regulations for the education of the priests, and general laws formed
their contents.

The oldest books of law, were attributed to _Hermes_ (Toth), implying,
that the first germ of an hierarchical organisation of society sprung
from the sacred songs, and that law was entirely based upon the
religious conceptions of the secret forces of nature by which man
had been impressed. Like the Code of Manû, which took its origin in
the Vedas, or the Laws of Zoroaster based on the Zend-Avesta, or the
injunctions of Confucius founded on the holy records and songs of
by-gone ages, the Egyptian laws took their origin in the first poetical
feelings of awakened humanity, excited by the mysteries of nature under
the rule of an incomprehensible first cause.

6. The _six_ books of the Dead. The only books still extant, written
in hieroglyphs, and divided by Lepsius into 165 sections. The first
fifteen chapters form a distinct and connected whole, with the
superscription: ‘Here begin the Sections of the glorification in the
Light of Osiris.’

It concludes with a book entitled ‘The Book of Deliverance in the Hall
of the _twofold_ Justice (Reward and Punishment), and the Book of
Redemption.’

With such a deep and mystic literature, encompassing the gods, nature,
and man, in life and death, it is no wonder that a mystic and symbolic
art should have succeeded in Egypt.

Their mythology was not less profound than that of the
Trans-Himâlâyans; there was more of symmetry, at least architectural
symmetry, in their conceptions and representations than in those of the
Brahmans, though Egyptian priests and Brahmans have apparently taken
their conceptions from one and the same source. The Egyptian had eight
gods of the first order, twelve gods of the second, and seven gods of
the third order, pointing by these very numbers to an astronomical
basis, thus:--

1. The cosmical forces of creative nature.

2. The twelve months of the year.

3. The seven days of the week.

Astronomy is the first powerful divisor of time and the supreme lord
of agriculture. Only when the ‘Sacred Nile’ deposited its fructifying
alluvium on the barren limestone of the valleys, formed by the Libyan
and Arabian mountain ranges, man could exist and develop in that
region. The regular inundation appeared to have taken place under the
influence of the sun, moon, and stars. The sun (Osiris) was, therefore,
believed to call forth the Nile (Isis) from regions _unknown down to
our own days_, and sun and water became, as with the Indians (_Indra
and Agni_), the first visible, creative forces of nature.

The eight gods of the first order were:--

I. AMN (Brahm), Am-Ra, Ammon, the Greek Zeus (the son of Kronos and
Rhea), the Roman Jupiter; the ‘Concealed God,’ the ‘Lord of Heaven,’
the ‘Lord of Thrones’; the first creative, incomprehensible, invisible
force of the universe. The Brahmă of the Indians, the Zeruane-Akerene
of the Persians.

II. KHEM (Kama), the generative God of Nature, Brahmā. He was
worshipped, under the _second Thinite Dynasty_, under the symbol of the
goat. The primitive, _active_, or male element of nature.

III. MUT (μαῖα {maîa}, matter, Demeter, Leto, Latona, Bhavani), the
primitive, _passive_, or female element of nature.

IV. NUM (Nu, Kneph, ChNUbis, the Indian VischNU, Noah, Neptun).
In Arabic _nef_ means to breathe. The breath of the universe when
condensed--‘water;’ the creative spirit, the Ἀγαθοδαίμων [Greek:
Agathodaimôn]; the πνεῦμα {pneûma}(the wind, the air) of the Greeks.

V. SETI (in Koptic Sate), the ray, the arrow; at a later period
the frog-headed goddess, the consort of Kneph; the sun-beam, the
fructifying heat in union with water (cosmical moisture), producing the
inner force of creation.

VI. PHTAH (Ptah, Phthah, S’iva, Vulcan), the creator of the world,
which sprang from the mouth of Kneph, meaning at his bidding. His
symbol became at a later period the scarabæus. The more numerous this
animal was in the Nile valley after the subsidence of the inundation,
the more fruitful was the year. Phtah was in reality telluric heat.

VII. NET (Neith, Athene, Pallas, Minerva, Doorga), the bright goddess
of intellectual power, wisdom, knowledge, virtue, passionless
happiness. Isis was her substitute. Her temple at Saïs had no roof, but
was vaulted over by the sunny or starry canopy of heaven, and bore the
mysterious inscription: ‘I am all that was, and is, and is to be; no
mortal has lifted up my veil, and the fruit I bore is Helios.’ Past,
present, and future, are mysteriously entwined in the conception of
intellect, pervading and ruling the universe.

VIII. RA (Helios, Apollo, Adonis, Adonaïs, the Lord, Baal, Mithras,
Moloch, Teotl, Toth, Hermes, Odin, Thor, Atys, Janus, Kekrops,
Endymion, &c.), the sun, the reflected light (with the Cabalists
_Hachoser_, in opposition to the expanding light, _Hajashor_).

The representations of these divinities were not monstrous, like
those of the Indians; the human form predominates, but the _symbolic_
is still the most important element. The outward form has an inward,
secret meaning. ‘Meaning’ and ‘meant’ are still in wild conflict. The
sublime forces of the deity were to be hewn in stone, or given in
outlines, or painted; the result was a grotesque product of art, and as
such a complete failure.

The twelve gods of the second order were the children of four of the
gods of the first order.

I. AMN had only one son, Khunsu (Chous, Chaos, the prototype of
Herkules).

II. KNEPH had also only one son, Teth (Toth, Thoth, Hermes), who taught
men to write and to read.

III. PHTAH had two children, Atumu (Atum, Atmu), and Pecht, the
cat-headed goddess of Bubastis (the Greek Artemis or Diana).

IV. RA had eight children, Hat-her (Athyr, Athor, Aphrodite); Mau
(Jao); Ma (Truth); Tefun (the lion-headed goddess); Muntu (Mant); Sebak
(Sebek), the crocodile-headed god; Seb (Kronos), and Nutpe (Rhea).

The seven gods of the third order, emanations from those of the second,
as these were emanations from those of the first, were:--

1. Set, Nubi, or Typhon, celebrated for his struggle with Horus, the
son of Osiris, in the infernal regions. (See what is said of Krishna,
p. 70.)

2. Hesiri, Osiris (also the solar year), HSR.

3. Hes or Isis, HS, the Nile, the moon (the lunar year).

4. Nebt-hi or Nephthys, the sister of Isis; sister and wife of Typhon.

5. Her-Her (Aroëris, Arueris).

6. Her (Horus, the child of Osiris and Isis, Harpokrates), who, with
Isis and Osiris, formed the great, incomprehensible, mystic trinity of
the Egyptians, of which we have the following record:--

OSIRIS was the father, husband, brother, and son of ISIS.

ISIS was the mother, wife, sister, and daughter of OSIRIS.

HORUS was the brother and son of Osiris and Isis, and was OSIRIS
himself.

7. Anubis (Anupo) the dog-star.

Who does not understand at once that, out of these half-astronomical,
half-cosmogonical conceptions, a religion and art full of mysticism,
blending into one _Fetishism_, _Astrology_, and _Anthropomorphism_,
must have grown? Only through a careful study of Egyptian mythology are
we enabled to comprehend that gigantic power which urged the people to
construct those temples and palaces, those labyrinths and catacombs,
as mystic in themselves, as the hidden powers of nature. The masses in
Egypt were kept in a degraded state of passive obedience; they were
overawed by metaphysical subtleties, and by huge stone monsters, which
filled them with horror, and made them subservient to the dictates of
a gloomy priesthood. Religion and art, both supported by a vast store
of natural science, were the exclusive property of the priests, of
whom the Pharaoh was the merely _tolerated_ head, a kind of stone idol
in the flesh. Egyptian art was an echo of priestly caprices, which,
wrapt in symbolism, had a powerful hold on the untutored minds of the
people. Careful investigations have proved that these priests were of a
different race to the aborigines; their mythological analogies point to
immigrated Brahmans, who brought some religious notions with them from
the Ganges, and transferred them to the Nile.

Egyptian art reflects in every form the gorgeous influences of
religion. The whole life of every Egyptian was placed, in seven phases,
under the protection of seven divinities. The _first_ period of man’s
life was under the influence of _Isis_, the moon (Luna, Selene). The
_second_ was devoted to _Hermes_; during this period man had to learn
to read and to write, to play the harp, to dance, to develop the
body in the gymnasium, and to make himself well versed in knowledge
according to his station in life; but the only station that granted
man an insight into knowledge was that of the _priest_. During the
_third_ period man was under the care of _Hat-her_ (Athyr), or Venus.
Love was to rule the youth; the world was to appear to him in the
rosy hue of a mystic foam of incomprehensible longing. The _fourth_
period was under the dominion of _Ra_ (Helios); when love had ceased
to disturb the mind, and to fill this world with illusions, the light
of truth and earnest activity was to ripen man, and to prepare him for
the _fifth_ period, under the protection of _Man_ or Mars, the God of
War; man was to learn either to conquer others, or to conquer his own
passions, and to work in the State as a useful member. Few only reached
the _sixth_ period, guided by _Amn_, the supreme representative of
abstract wisdom; during this period man was admitted to act as a judge,
to sit at the board of a hierarchical council, or to teach priests
as high-priest. At last man became, during the _seventh_ period,
vapour--breath--air--under the dominion of _Num_ (Kneph), and was
detached from reality; if good, transferred into a state of ideality;
if not, doomed to begin life anew as a loathsome animal, till he atoned
for his evil deeds, and, purified, reached the bright abode of Osiris.

B. The _pyramidal period_, the most ancient of Egyptian art, is the
outgrowth of these mystic religious conceptions. Nature was to be
reproduced, and surpassed in her sublime grandeur. The mountain was
brought into a geometrical shape.

The three principal pyramids were built during the reign of the fourth
dynasty, 3426 B.C.-3220 B.C.; the first, by Shufu (Cheops), was, in
extent, 13 acres 1 rood and 22 perches, more than twice the area of St.
Peter’s at Rome. The original quantity of masonry was 89,028,000 cubic
feet. Total height 480 feet; 16 feet higher than St. Peter’s, and 120
feet higher than St. Paul’s (London); 360,000 human beings worked at it
for twenty years. The stones are from 9 to 12 feet in length, and 6½
to 8 feet in breadth. The second pyramid was smaller, built by Shafra
(Chephren), only 454 feet high; and the third by Menkare (Mykerinus),
218 feet high. The mode of fitting the polished stones together is a
perfect master-piece of architectural construction.

Osiris was to be worshipped in all halls of festival, in all creation,
in all places. Temples were erected in honour of the gods, which were
approached through avenues of sphinxes. These sphinxes were of six
different kinds. 1. The pure lion (symbol of Amn). 2. The lion with
the ram’s head (Krio-sphinx--symbol of Khem or Amn). 3. The lion with
hawk’s head (symbol of Ra). 4. The lion with a male human head (the
symbol of Osiris or Horus). 5. The lion with a female human head (the
symbol of Mut or Isis). 6. The lion’s half-body and legs, with female
human head and arms, as in the reliefs of Karnack, and on the Campesian
obelisk (probably the symbol of Net).

The tombs were, more or less deeply, hewn into rocks. They generally
begin with a small sanctuary, from which an inclined passage leads
down into the sepulchral chamber. The decoration is an imitation of
wooden trellis-work in very gay colours. The threshold also distinctly
bears the traces of a primitive wood construction; a round, trunk-like
beam generally unites the two door-posts, and even the ceilings of the
apartments are repeatedly made in imitation of wooden boards fastened
together. The pillars are square, and united either by a rectangular
architrave or by circular beams.

The temples point, by their forms, to a civilisation which took its
course from south to north. This bears out the theory that Meroe was
once the seat of a colony of priests, who spread religion, and with
it science and art, from Upper into Lower Egypt. Thebes appears to
have been the most ancient seat of the Egyptian Pharaohs, one of the
first of whom was perhaps Osiris, though he has been placed amongst
the gods, and was said to have been, like Krishna, an incarnation of
the Supreme Being, who revealed himself in love and kindness, and was
to put an end to the dominion of Typhon, the Eternal Evil. Might not
this myth conceal some historical fact--the advent of a wise hero, who
conquers a wild and reckless tyrant? For Osiris had to go through all
the sufferings of humanity, and even to suffer death, so as to become
the saviour, the deliverer of his people; and then only was he able
to turn the earth into a powerful kingdom. By _Earth_, we may assume,
Upper Egypt was meant, where the god-man Osiris presided, who, in spite
of his having become man, and belonging to the third order of the
gods, was placed on an equality with the gods of the first order. The
temple or tomb of Ipsambul may be considered the very oldest rock-hewn
construction; it has a figure of Osiris twenty feet high over the
entrance door. We pass over the remains of Philæ, Elephantine, and
Edfou, and come to those of Karnac and Luxor, the venerable Thebes,
which, in the fifth century B.C., during the times of Herodotus, were
already in a state of dilapidation.

Upon extensive brick terraces, raised high above the flat banks of the
Nile, the Egyptian temple stood, a strictly secluded building. Strong
walls, rising in pyramidal form, crowned with an overhanging fluted
cornice, gave the mural enclosure a mysterious and stern character. No
opening for windows, no colonnade interrupted the monotonous flatness,
which is covered, as by one long tapestry, with hieroglyphs, and
representations of gods and Pharaohs. The entrance to these buildings,
like that of the temple of Edfou, was placed between two tower-like
structures called propylæa, the walls of which were decorated with
sculptured figures--in three or more rows. Then followed a court,
surrounded by pillars, placed at a distance from the walls on both
sides, roofed over with stone, and forming a gallery. Thence we reach
the pronaos or portico, after which we enter the cell, divided into
the naos and adytum. The naos was generally a kind of hypostyle hall,
with a flat roof raised in the middle. The pillars and columns had a
variety of capitals, but these were generally of one pattern throughout
the temple. The quadrilateral Isis-headed capital, as at Denderah,
was often used. The monuments of the ‘hundred-gated’ Thebes are the
best school for the study of genuine Egyptian art. The temples on the
eastern side of the river are symbolical of the dawn of life; on the
western side we find tombs, catacombs, and Memnoniums. At Karnac we
have one of the grandest constructions of the world in the ruins of
the hypostyle hall, with its gigantic stone ceiling supported by 134
columns, of which the twelve middle ones, about 65 feet high and 11
feet in diameter, are larger and taller than the others, supporting a
loftier central nave. The width of this hall is 338 feet, the depth
170½ feet, and the area 57,629 feet, or about five times as large as
the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London. Columns and walls
are completely covered with sculptured forms of deities; Osiris
predominates. Pylons, propylæa, obelisks, colossal statues of red,
grey, and black granite cover the courts; chapel-like apartments,
connected and unconnected, are strangely intermingled.

Next to the temples we must mention one of the most gorgeous buildings,
the _Labyrinth_, containing between three and four thousand chambers
in rows, facing inwards the winding alleys, which ascended in a spiral
line to the middle, and descended from it in the same way. It has
been minutely described by Herodotus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny, and
Ezekiel. The building was to be a strict architectural imitation of the
planetary system. The inner 1,500 chambers were divided into twelve
courtyards, corresponding to the twelve signs of the zodiac, six of
which were towards the north, and six towards the south.

The Memnons were monolith statues of imposing size, symbolic of
the rising sun--of Horus or Osiris. Homer mentions Memnon, for his
remarkable beauty, as the son of the east. Diodorus speaks of him
as Tithonus, a general, sent out to aid Priamus of Troy against the
besieging Greeks.

The walls of temples, palaces, tombs, and catacombs were partly
decorated with reliefs _en creux_, and partly with tapestry-like
patterns, using geometrical figures, sometimes, though rarely,
intermixed with plants, or plants treated with conventional stiffness.
The walls with the Egyptians had a different purpose than merely to
encircle or to enclose; they served as huge blackboards of stone, on
which the priests wrote their mystic records. The superfluous thickness
of the walls suggests that they were once made of brick, like those
of Nineveh or Babylon, and, further, the overlaying of these immense
granite blocks with stucco, serves to bear out this supposition. The
walls of the enclosures of temples and the sarcophagi were covered
with hieroglyphs or scenes from life, both on the inside and outside;
tombs and catacombs were decorated on the inside only. These scenes
are framed in with borders, reminding us of the broad seams in woven
stuffs. In temples the scenes refer to burial rituals, or the judgment
of the dead; in palaces to hunts and conquests of the kings. We see the
Asian and African conquests of Ramses II. represented on the walls of
Ipsambul (Aboosimbal in Nubia) in bright-coloured pictures. The king
brandishes a pole-axe over the heads of Negroes, Hebrews, and Aryans,
that is, over one mixed and two pure groups of mankind. Above his head
runs the hieroglyphic scroll: ‘The beneficent living God, guardian of
glory, smites the South; puts to flight the East; rules by victory,
and drags to his country all the earth, and all foreign lands.’ High
officials and private persons ornamented the walls of their houses
and tombs with scenes of every-day occurrences. We may study in these
their whole domestic and public life, their customs and manners, their
amusements and toils. The ceilings of the chambers are not covered
with _symbolic_ pictures, but generally with patterns of conventional
wall-decorations. In temples they are sometimes decorated with zodiacs,
as at Denderah--the best-preserved Egyptian temple, of which, however,
the date is doubtful.

C. The _hieratic style_ of the Pharaohs substituted a greater amount of
very tasteful symbolic ornamentation.

The Hathor-masks, the names of kings in cartouches, the viper as a
symbol of divine or royal power; serpents, scarabæi, winged globes,
either symbolic of the sun, the moon, or the earth, formed the
principal elements of the innumerable variety of severe ornamentation.
In addition to these the following were used:--

1. The papyrus, as the symbol of bodily and intellectual food.

2. The lotus, as a symbol of the creative mysteries of the universe.

3. The palm-tree, with its graceful and simple form, served as the
prototype of their columns, the capitals of which were either open or
closed lotus-buds or flowers.

4. Lastly, the feather ornament, as the emblem of sovereignty.

The columns during the _pyramidal_, or old style expressed with
distinct clearness their purpose to serve as a support; in the
_hieratic_, or new style this purpose is detached from the outer form
of the column, which no longer has to support, but merely to serve
as an ornament, or to proclaim some mysterious tenet in symbolic
types. The face of Isis is to look to the four quarters of the globe;
the closed or open lotus to symbolise the mystery of creation, the
fountain of life, the cup of plenty, and the fount of all blessings.
In this treatment they went so far as to imitate the very dew-drops
on the lotus, in granite. A strict naturalism was the foundation of
all Egyptian conventionalism, and in many instances they succeeded in
producing perfectly astonishing effects. In their columns we recognise
the very plant which must have suggested the forms. When made circular
and of granite, these columns still retained the triangular shape of
the papyrus by means of three raised lines on the round surface. At a
later period they were fluted, and apparently tied together under the
capital with a strap, cord, or band of a broad fibrous substance; the
capital above rose in four divisions in the form of a closed lotus.
In the hieratic style the fluting of the columns disappears--they
are smooth, round, and covered with hieroglyphs, but the base still
discloses the plant origin, disguised in an ornament of palm or reed
leaves. Characteristic in these columns is the expression of tension
in the swelling shaft, which was probably an unconscious imitation of
wood-construction; the heavy cross-beams pressing on the thin posts
produced this effect, which has been slavishly copied in stone. With
the Greeks this swelling of the column became one of the elements of
its beauty, because with them it was an abstraction of symmetrical
proportion, consciously done, to express the conflicting powers of
pressure and resistance. With a proud obstinacy the Egyptians, during
their hieratic period, insisted on separating the ornamental from the
architectural part of the building, so that no organic connection
existed between sculpture and architecture. This is most striking
in those colossal sitting figures which are placed in the front and
at the back of propylæa, or before the walls of pylons. It is a
clear separation of matter and spirit, of purpose and form, which is
altogether contrary to the fundamental principles of good architecture.

Art with the Egyptians was thoroughly _polychromatic_; they tinted
granite, of whatever colour, with a red pigment, so that the stone
might have its proper divine colour, hallowed by the priests. They
coloured in flat tints, and used no shading or shadow; they had,
however, no difficulty in conveying to the mind the original forms
which they intended to copy. _Priestly canons_ regulated the size,
form, colour, and expression of every statue, and every attribute
had its prescribed form, the meaning of which was concealed from the
artist, turning him into a mere unconscious machine, a tool in priestly
hands. This is the reason why their works of art look monotonous,
and everything with them is impressed by the crushing influence of
over-regulation. The Typhonic blast of uniformity killed every higher
aspiration in the artist. The human figure had to consist of nineteen
units; the _second finger was that unit_. Squares of this unit were
drawn on the flat, and according to these measurements the human figure
was constructed with geometrical accuracy, looking as flat as possible.
Dreary deserts of religious prejudices, gloomy superstitions, and
childish formalities hindered all progress, and marked their sculpture
and ornamentation with fixed, stereotyped stiffness, until the last
period of their art.

D. The _Ptolemaic_ style began to develop a little more life and taste.
The statues did not look as if cast in a general mould; the gods were
allowed to have their feet asunder, the one in advance of the other,
which gave them some appearance of motion. How taste may be degraded
by prejudice and custom, can be seen in the fact, that when this
innovation in Egyptian art was settled by a general law of the Pharaoh,
with the connivance of the high ceremonial courts, the masses, on
seeing their gods with legs apart, as if ready to walk, rushed from all
sides with strong ropes, and tied the divinities to their pedestals,
horrified at the possibility of their leaving the country altogether.
And the gods did leave the country. Anything based on superstition
or prejudice, anything having for its vivifying element symbolism or
mysticism, must die away in time.

What we said of Indian art holds good of Egyptian forms. Take away
from the Uræus, the lotus, papyrus, palm, crocodile, cat, and bull
their symbolic meaning, and these elements of ornamentation lose their
vitality. The Greeks, and more especially the Romans, have shown us how
we may use some of their patterns to advantage: how an entrance hall
may be decorated with silent and mournful-looking sphinxes, and what
an unsurpassed charm there is in the obelisk, directing the thought
upwards. A pyramid still remains one of the finest monuments for one
who has filled the four quarters of the globe with his fame.

In their every-day ornaments, rings, bracelets, necklaces, head-dresses
and furniture, the architectural straight lines prevail; variety is
not much required, the forms as well as the patterns must be the
same. Just as we reproduce horse-shoe upon horse-shoe because they
bring ‘luck,’ the Egyptian jeweller reproduced the scarabæus, and
the Turin Museum has not less than 180 different kinds of scarabæi.
In their architecture they suffered from one great evil--from a
horror of symmetry. Their grand palaces or temples have no ruling
element; everything is out of proportion, and though in their detailed
ornamentation they were symmetrical, and even eurythmical--the
harmony of purpose is often wanting. The thought of building for
eternity, however, is always present, whilst no one can deny that
in our buildings the ninety years’ lease is to be traced in every
corner. The Egyptians tried to represent the forms of monumental
architecture, and they certainly succeeded in reaching the sublime,
but they did this in neglecting the beautiful. Their symmetrophobia,
which many of our architects imitate only too successfully, spoilt
everything. Their weavings were excellent; their wood-constructions,
as far as furniture was concerned, faultless; music was known to them;
they worked gold, and ornamented it in the so-called ‘champ-levé’
manner, and were acquainted with enamel ‘cloisonné.’ They also fixed
thin layers of gold thread on metal, and filled the remaining spaces
with enamel of different colours, which method the ancients called
‘encaustum.’ Notwithstanding all these advantages Egyptian art never
reached the ideal of beauty; it has only the charm of the _mysterious_
for us. To keep this sentiment alive is the duty of any modern artist
who wishes to work in the Egyptian style. He must try to convey
some mystic cosmogonical or incomprehensible religious thought in
diapers, and floral ornament, or in the use of animals or the human
frame in outlines, he must place his ideas and forms under a strict
linear canon. He may then succeed in reproducing the artistic forms
of a nation, during a period, in which humanity did not go beyond
the hierarchical in religion, and the practical in art; during which
mankind struggled to find forms, but was prevented from the freer
exercise of its innate artistic force by the dictates of a despotic
priesthood, and was tied with merciless tyranny to monotonous canons,
crushing under the weight of symbolism and mysticism every higher
artistic aspiration.



CHAPTER VII.

HEBREW ART.


Little, or rather nothing, can properly be said of Hebrew art, for it
is a non-entity. The Hebrews are a mixed race. They assert themselves
to be of the Semitic group of mankind, but ethnologically they are a
composition of black, yellow, and white men, and are closely related
to the Arabs and Phœnicians. They were generally slaves. For 450
years they were in bondage in Egypt, whence they first emerged into a
national existence. From Moses to Saul, for 450 years, they lived under
a kind of theocratic democracy: God, the supreme ruler in heaven, and
the Jews on earth his _chosen_ people. For another 450 years they had a
kind of theocratic monarchy: God ruled in heaven, as the king ruled on
earth. This period lasted from Saul to Zedekiah, and gives us--

(α) A period of 100 years under the first three kings, when
the twelve tribes were yet united; and

(β) Another period during which they formed two separate
kingdoms. Of these

(_a_) Israel, in this condition, lasted 220 years under twenty kings,
who ruled at Samaria, and was destroyed by the Assyrians.

(_b_) Judæa, as a separate State, existed 350 years under twenty-one
kings, and was annihilated by the Babylonians.

Not less than 650 years intervened between the destruction of Jerusalem
and its second destruction by the Romans. During this period the chosen
people were

1. 200 years under Persian sway.

2. 170 years under the dominion of Alexander the Great and his
successors.

3. 130 years they enjoyed a certain independence under the Maccabees.

4. 100 years they were ruled by the Herodes and Romans. After the
second destruction of Jerusalem the Jews ceased to have an independent
State of their own, and were scattered all over the earth. They in
reality enjoyed only 550 years of freedom, as a grand and united
nation, out of a period of not less than 6,000 historically-known years.

Intellect came to absolute consciousness for the first time amongst
the Jews, and in this their historical importance and weight lie. Man,
created in the image of God, lost his state of innocence, absolute
contentment and immortality, by eating of the tree of knowledge. The
Jews were the first to recognise in a higher sense the double nature
of man--his godhead and his animal nature. The country in which they
developed is a perfect geological marvel. The region in which they
settled was divided by a river and a sea. This sea is 1,400 feet
below the level of the Mediterranean. The river flows downwards, like
the Stygian river, far beneath the level of the ocean. The banks of
the Jordan and the lake Asphaltites are the lowest regions of the
habitable globe. In the west the Jews found some fertile plains, but
they never could obtain full and peaceful possession of them, nor of
the sea-coast. They were shut out from the world in a mountainous
region as in a gloomy Puritan chapel, and had ample leisure for
self-contemplation, and for attempting to solve the riddle of man’s
destiny with the help of Egyptian wisdom, Persian, Assyrian and
Babylonian theories. Rocks and sand formed the foreground of their
earthly existence; the background was made up by a gloomy river and a
still gloomier sea--the sea of death, the Acherusian, the Plutonian
lake. A sea too low, too mephitic and poisonous for art to exist round
it. A region of sorrow, sinfulness, and abject wretchedness cannot
be the abode of art and science. The fine art of the Jews was like a
migratory bird in its passage over the sea of death.

Not only with the Jews, but also with the Egyptians, Persians, and
early Greeks, to represent a god in the likeness of man was considered
sinful. The Persians abhorred idols in any shape. The Egyptians gave
their gods shape and form, but a merely symbolic form, expressing in
concrete signs some higher abstract conception. The human head, the
body of a beast or fish, the horns of a ram, or the ears of a cow; the
human leg with the foot of a goat, or the human arm with the claws of a
bird of prey, were sacred, because symbolical. They had a metaphysical
theology written in hieroglyphs. All this was prohibited with the Jews.
They allowed some exceptions, and borrowed the figures of the cherubim
from the Assyrians, the oxen of the temple from the Egyptians, and the
sculptured lions of Solomon’s palace from the Persians; their artists
were foreigners, and the imitation of these works was ever after
forbidden.

‘All those things,’ says Rabbi Manasseh Ben Israel, one of their most
learned commentators, ‘which are esteemed holy in the presence of
God, or idea of man, may not be imitated in any known form or shape,
although made without the intention of adoring them, so as to preclude
the possibility of their being worshipped or deified hereafter. Thus
the figure of the divine chariot, which Ezekiel saw, may not be made,
nor the likeness of angels of any degree, nor of man, for these
creatures are all superior from being made in the image of God.’ ...
The prohibition is further applied by him to everything appertaining to
the holy temple, and no house or palace could be built of its size or
proportions.

Poetry and music were exempt from this enactment. The importance
and influence of the social and religious condition on the
development of art may best be studied in the Jews. They had no great
architects, sculptors or painters, no inventors, no philosophers in
natural science, but many excellent poets, theologians, cabalists,
necromancers, philologists and composers. In our times, however,
influenced by the vivifying spirit of Christianity, they count amongst
themselves, in addition to an inordinate number of picture-dealers,
some creditable painters.

They possessed legitimately only _one_ temple. Their first temple was
a portable tent. The second was almost entirely of cedar-wood, richly
provided with metallic ornaments, made by artists from Tyre and Sidon.
They possessed one palace, that of Solomon. Babylonian or Assyrian
architecture was probably reflected in this, and we may thus form a dim
idea of what Solomon’s palace must have been. First the temple, then
the palace was constructed.

The fact that the first temple was a mere tent, shows at once the
nomadic character of the Jews, at a period when the Egyptians had
possessed their architectural marvels for thousands of years. To the
student of history, architecture is a sure measure of the degree of
artistic and social development of a nation. We may boldly say, show
us the plans of the houses, palaces, and temples of any nation, and we
can determine the degree of its civilisation; we can do even more, we
can read its character and religious fervour in these wood, brick,
or stone records. That the Jews, having been compelled to witness all
the misery and superstitious dulness which the Egyptian hierarchy and
theocracy produced, should have detested architecture, and looked upon
sculpture or any stone and brick as a curse to humanity, was quite
natural; and that, once escaped from the bondage of Egypt, they should
have hated any monumental, architectural, or artistic sculptural
attempt, is equally obvious.

The egotistical character of the nomadic trader may be traced in the
architectural constructions of the Jews. Any nation that loves its
god or gods with zeal and self-denial will be sure to build grand
temples to his or their glorification. The Persians had no temples,
because they spiritualised the divine conception to such a degree,
that they thought the first cause present everywhere like light. The
Jews borrowed the same idea, and yet to fix the Eternal Spirit visibly
amongst themselves, they assigned him a permanent abode, where he was
exclusively to dwell; to be near them and to watch over them. Religious
egotism was the mainspring of their national existence, and this
general egotism made every individual Jew an egotist; and egotists are
always bad supporters of anything by which the masses generally may
benefit. Such people look only to the satisfaction of their momentary
wants; they will collect trinkets, earrings, bracelets, armlets,
goblets, gold and silver vessels, but the divine art of architecture,
which binds masses together, will be neglected. We see them at first
contented with a mere tent, and, when they undertook to construct a
lasting building, it was done with all the pomp and gaudiness of a
_parvenu_; they borrowed from all the surrounding rich people anything
they could lay hands upon, merely to be able to say, without reason or
taste--‘Look, my special God has also his special house.’ In the most
powerful period of their national existence, which was a very short
one, the Jews roused themselves to the construction of at least _one_
temple to their Javeh. They wished at last to possess an Akropolis like
the Egyptians, who had so many, or the Greeks, Persians, Assyrians and
Babylonians. Their God was at last to be housed, like the gods of the
despised Gentiles.

The temple of Solomon has been much written upon. Prejudice, religious
fanaticism, blind faith, and unconscious or _voluntary_ ignorance,
dictated the descriptions and guided the reconstructions. Michaelis,
one of the greatest Jewish authorities on Scriptural matters, tells us
that ‘all the representations which we possess of the temple of Solomon
are ornamented with arbitrary forms, and if we ask for authority or
proof of this or that ornamental form, we invariably receive the
answer: It must have been so, for I would have built in this way.’ It
is naturally very difficult to obtain a correct description of the
temple of Solomon, for with regard to its construction we must rely
on the records of the Jews themselves. Unfortunately the Books of the
Kings, Chronicles, Ezekiel, and the writings of Josephus, the varying
descriptions of the translators, and the host of commentators, who
generally obscure the simplicity of the simplest subject, are all at
variance.

We may divide Jewish history into the eight following periods.

During the _first_ period we find them as nomads on the shores of the
Euphrates and Tigris.

During the _second_ period they were received as shepherds in Egypt
Here they learnt for the first time the arts of a settled people. They
found a mighty hierarchy already established; astronomy, chemistry,
architecture, and sculpture were practised by priests, who were
well-versed theologians, lawyers, physicians, and philosophers. Not
only the Jews, who lived amongst the Egyptians, but also the wisest and
most learned men of Greece, owed much to the land of hidden wisdom,
which was undoubtedly the cradle of the Jewish faith and of Greek
philosophy. Moses, Lykurgus, and Solon sat piously listening to the
oracular instructions of the Egyptian priests, who taught in mystic
symbols. Thales, Pythagoras and Plato borrowed their philosophical
theories and systems largely from the Egyptians. The Egyptians worked
out the incarnation theory with mystic refinement. Osiris, the
concealed Lord of heaven, had to become flesh, to conquer evil. He
condescended to become a redeemer--had to suffer a cruel death in order
to paralyse the influences of Typhon. The Greeks and Jews never could
grasp the mystery of a god changing his almighty subjectivity into an
objective human form, in order to attain, through suffering and death,
what he could have fulfilled in a thousand other ways. Osiris was
not only the supreme ruler in heaven, but he was also the supremely
just and inexorable judge in hell. The division of the universe into
an abode of bliss for the departed just, and of eternal darkness and
fire for the unjust, was an Indian, Persian, and Egyptian dogma. To
the blessed it was promised that they should pluck the sweetest fruits
in heaven, ‘for they have given food to the hungry, and water to the
thirsty; they clothed the naked, and lived in truth; for their heart
was with God and God was with them, and they will enjoy eternal life in
his presence,’ Of the wicked, on the contrary, it was said: ‘that they
could not see the countenance of the Lord of heaven, nor ever hear his
voice; they would go about without heads, drag after them their hearts,
be boiled for ever in a cauldron, be hanged for ever by their legs.’

From these metaphysical and mystic Egyptians, the immortal Jewish
lawgiver borrowed the division of his nation into twelve tribes, in
imitation of the twelve zodiacal signs, and the division of Egypt into
twelve nomes. In Egypt he learnt to distinguish between clean and
unclean animals; to practise circumcision, which was with the Egyptians
confined to their priests; but Moses promised to make his compatriots
‘a nation of priests.’ He established the tribe of the Levites, in
imitation of the Egyptian priest-caste; and regulated their income,
mode of living, and duties according to the ten books of the prophets
(see p. 112); he divided the priests into four different classes, which
at a later period were called _Peshat_, exegists, _Remes_, expounders
of dubious points, _Derush_, composers of homilies, and _Sod_, the
hierophants, or those versed in the real mysteries. The initials of the
four names are taken from the Persian word PRDS (paradise) which may be
adduced to prove that what Moses originally instituted was worked out,
and systematised, at a later period, under Persian influence. The whole
arrangement of the tabernacle was Egyptian; the serpent-worship was
Egyptian, and so was the idolatrous predilection for the golden calf.
Moses in his wise gratitude forbade the Jews ever to be hostile to the
Egyptians.

During the _third_ period they left Egypt, and though they were
acquainted with all the smaller arts of their Egyptian task-masters,
and knew how to weave, to cut stones, to model, to cast, and to found
gold and silver, they had to seek and to gain by hard fighting a new
home to settle in. During this period they forgot everything; their
accomplishments were gone when they settled in the Holy Land. For
during times of war the growth of sciences and arts was never fostered.

During the _fourth_ period they reached the very climax of their
national glory. David became master of a large empire which extended
from the shores of the Euphrates to the frontiers of Egypt; this
expansion was accomplished by the force of arms. His successor Solomon
administered and consolidated the empire, founded on blood and iron,
by wisdom and the culture of the arts of peace. After a Cæsar, the
Jews had an Augustus. Solomon lived in friendship and peace with the
surrounding mighty kingdoms, especially with Hiram, King of Tyre. It
was Solomon who began to build Tadmor (afterwards Palmyra, the queen of
the East), to establish in the desert a common emporium for Phœnician
wares, and to enable the Jews to trade with them.

During the _fifth_ period the vast empire was divided into two parts,
the one of which was altogether annihilated, and the other fell into
the hands of the Babylonians, and the temple of Solomon was destroyed.
Slaves and captives are rarely good artists.

During the _sixth_ period, after Kyrus had freed the Jews and permitted
them to return to their native country, their national position
improved. Under Darius, Zorobabel received permission to reconstruct
the temple of Solomon on the foundations of the one erected by that
wise king, and it was accordingly rebuilt, but this could only be done
in accordance with the impoverished condition of freed captives.

During the _seventh_ period, under Alexander the Great and his
followers, the Jews, attacked by Persians, Egyptians, and Syrians,
showed that they could rise to the very highest deeds of heroism and
self-sacrifice.

Finally, during the _eighth_ period, under the Romans, they gave up all
hope of maintaining their position as a chosen people; they revolted
sometimes, but more for theological than political reasons. Pompey
treated them with great kindness and consideration after the capture of
Jerusalem. During the reign of Augustus the town attained a grandeur
and extension which it had never possessed, even in its brightest
days under the sway of Solomon. But stubborn and arrogant as the Jews
always were in times of prosperity, though enjoying a certain amount of
freedom, they revolted, and the town and temple were destroyed. Nothing
was left but the candlestick with seven branches, symbolic with the
Egyptians of the seven planets, and with the Jews of seven archangels,
or of the seven days of the week, sculptured in marble on the Arch
of Titus, together with a facsimile of the holy ark, and some of the
trumpets, used in religious ceremonies. It would be most interesting if
the original relics, which it is assumed are buried in the Tiber, could
be recovered; and, as so many venerable relics of by-gone ages have
been brought to light, we do not despair of once seeing these remains.

The tabernacle, or earliest temple of the Jews, was entirely
constructed on the plan of an Egyptian temple. To convince ourselves
of this truth we need only compare its plan with that of the temple at
Edfou. The triple division into a Pronaos, Naos, and Adytum, or the
Holy of Holies, was strictly observed in both. The Adytum was a cube
10 cubits, or 15 feet each way; an outer temple, as Naos, consisted
of two such cubes, 15 feet broad by 30 feet long. Adytum and Naos
were covered by a sloping roof, which projected 5 cubits (7½ feet) in
every direction beyond the temple itself, making the whole 40 cubits,
or 60 feet, in length, by 20 cubits, or 30 feet, in width. Adytum
and Naos stood in an enclosure--the Pronaos, 100 cubits (150 feet)
long, by 50 cubits (75 feet) broad. From Moses to Solomon, for 600
years, this tabernacle was the only temple of the Jews. When Solomon
began to construct the temple, he adhered strictly to the above
arrangement, only doubling all the dimensions. The temple partook more
of the character of a square shrine, or a store-house intended to
contain precious works in metal; a kind of opisthodomos. The principal
ornaments were two brazen pillars, Jachin and Boaz (sun and moon),
by the skilful Hiram of Tyre. They were said to have been marvels of
metal-work. The pillars of Susan or Persepolis, which had capitals
of the same relative proportions, may give us some idea of these. In
Egyptian temples it was also usual to place propyleæ at the porch of
a temple, and the same custom prevailed with the Phœnicians, as in the
case of the celebrated Venus (Astarte or Astharote) shrine at Paphos.
After the construction of the temple by Solomon, Jerusalem became the
holy and exclusive central point of Judaism. There only, and nowhere
else, did they allow their God to be present. Zorobabel erected on
the very spot another altar and temple in the same spirit, and this
is the reason why the erection of a second temple at Heliopolis by
Onias, under the Ptolemæians, caused such animosity and jealousy
amongst Egyptian and Judaic Jews. It is said that the necessary marble,
wood, and stone, and also the gold, silver, and brass vessels had
already been weighed and prepared for the construction of the temple
during the reign of King David, who gave his son the plan of the
whole architectural construction. According to Chronicles, however,
it appears that David made little or no preparation, and that Solomon
only found some of the brass-work ready for use. This latter assertion
is clearly verified by the correspondence between Solomon and Hiram.
Solomon asks for wood for building in general, as also cedars and
cypress trees from Mount Lebanon; adding that he wishes that Sidonians,
as experienced carpenters, should help his own workmen, whom he
designates as less able. This does not say very much in favour of the
artistic skill of the Jews, who at the period of Solomon’s reign had
not yet attained the same degree of proficiency as the pre-historic
constructors of pile-dwellings. The request of Solomon was granted by
the King of Tyre, and Adoniram was sent as foreman of the Sidonian
carpenters, of whom 30,000 were appointed by Solomon; 10,000 of these
worked alternately from month to month. Besides the 30,000 carpenters,
there were 80,000 sculptors, or rather stone-cutters and masons, and
70,000 journeymen, making altogether 180,000 working men, under 3,300
overseers, employed in the construction of the temple, all tributary
_strangers_ whom David had conquered. The construction began 592 years
after Exodus, about 975 years B.C. Mount Moreah, or Moriah, was the
site chosen, and the temple was completed in _seven_ years. The inner
temple was 60 cubits (90 feet) long, 20 cubits (30 feet) broad, and 30
cubits (45 feet) high. Josephus says it was 120 cubits (180 feet) high;
this would make the edifice resemble a square tower. The Pronaos may
have been 120 cubits high. The space, 60 cubits long and 20 broad, was
separated into two divisions. Of these the rear was 20 cubits square,
forming the Holy of Holies, the ‘sekos’ of the Egyptian temples. The
other division, 40 by 10, formed the Naos, the holy place, which was
preceded by a hall, the Pronaos. The division: One God, one priesthood,
and one people, was thus expressed. Rooms were constructed round the
temple three stories high, corresponding to the rooms in the Egyptian
Labyrinth, and the Brahmanic and Buddhistic choultries, or cloisters.
There were thirty rooms on each floor. The height of the temple having
been 30 cubits, this would give 15 feet for each story, walls included.
Josephus doubles all these dimensions, and adopts inconceivable
measurements. The ninety rooms were used as receptacles for the sacred
vessels, and the temple was thus literally a holy treasury. The Holy
of Holies having been only 20 cubits high, a space of 10 cubits, or
15 feet, would have been left above it; of this room no intelligible
mention is made. In the Septuagint there is an allusion, which differs
from the Vulgate and the different translations. In Chronicles we
have upper chambers mentioned, which were overlaid with gold; this
might have been the rooms or chambers above the Holy of Holies. No
special staircase led to this room. It was undoubtedly a mysterious
apartment, and, like all mysteries, excited some writers to very varied
speculations on its possible nature. Amongst others the learned Ben
David, in a letter to Lichtenberg in the Berlin ‘Archive der Zeit,’
asserted that this chamber must have contained an electric battery, for
golden chains connected the room with the pillars of Jachin and Boaz,
which were hollow, and could be placed in communication with the altar
of brass. The points of the temple were golden. At the consecration
of the temple, clouds, produced by incense, suddenly filled the
interior of the temple, and a flash of lightning ignited the sacrifice.
Michaelis tells us that the temple was never struck by lightning--the
lightning, therefore, setting fire to the sacrifice must have been
produced within the temple.

No stone roofs or vaults are mentioned in connection with the temple
or palace built by the Jews; architecture was, therefore, in its most
primitive stage. The inner temple and the Holy of Holies were entered
through folding-doors. The Holy of Holies was entirely empty, symbolic
of the incomprehensibility of the nature of the Deity. This was also
the case in Egypt with the ‘sekos,’ which was, in fact, a shrine either
quite empty, or containing a scroll, on which were written the words:
‘I am that was, that is, and that shall be.’ Two courts surrounded
the temple, an inner and an outer court. The outer court was open
to every Jew, but the inner court to the priests only. The former
was surrounded by a double row of pillars overlaid with cedar-wood.
It is said that Solomon had valleys filled up in order to make the
concrete subconstruction of the length even. Each side of the outer
wall surrounding the whole temple was 4 stadia or 1 stadium (606 feet
9 inches English) in length, giving 2,427 feet all round. The pillars
Jachin and Boaz stood on the staircase of the inner court; each was 36
feet in circumference, 54 feet in height without the capital, which
was 15 feet high. The shafts were hollow and the brass 4 inches thick.
On the south-eastern side stood the round brass basin, called the sea,
30 feet in diameter, in which the priests used to wash their hands.
Besides the ‘sea,’ there stood on pedestals on either side of the
temple five cups, 12 feet in diameter and 9 feet high. The altar of the
burning sacrifice, in the middle of this space, was 60 feet broad and
as many feet long; all these secondary necessaries of the temple stood
in the east. The surrounding courts rose in terraces like those of
the palace of Persepolis. The temple, whatever its magnificence might
have been in precious stones, gold, silver, carved cherubim, brass and
silver vessels, washing-basins and candlesticks, was architecturally an
utter failure, whether compared with the monumental temples of Egypt,
the grand and splendid palaces of Assyria, Babylon, or Persepolis,
or the temple of Diana at Ephesus. The latter, which was built on a
marsh, that it might not be endangered by earthquakes, was 425 feet
in length and 220 in width, and had 127 columns 60 feet high, each
the gift of a king. This is the account given by Pliny, who, however,
describes either the seventh or eighth temple. Stable as was everything
in religious matters with the Jews, they did not venture in rebuilding
their temple to make any alterations; a stone displaced, an ornament
improved, might have driven their God from his chosen abode. With such
ideas art is impossible. The additions made to the temple under the
Romans, in order to render the building more in harmony with their
street architecture, were only outer courts with rich colonnades of
Corinthian columns, and had nothing to do with the temple itself.
These formed the Stoa-Basilica, with the court of the Gentiles, which
is spoken of as imposing and forming a mighty group, and must not be
confounded with the temple itself, which was certainly no specimen of
architecture, either in dimension, in plan, or in decoration, if we
except some stiff vine foliage on capitals, which was exceptionally
characteristic of the Jewish style.

The numerous tombs in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem are rock-hewn,
clearly betraying their Egyptian origin; they are provided with
numerous hollows for the reception of the bodies. These sepulchres are
without any artistic stamp; on some façades we can see the Egyptian
fluted corona. The façades of the so-called royal tombs of Jacob or the
judges are decorated in a Greek style, as are the tombs of Zacharias
and Absalom; the latter stand out from the rock as independent
structures, ornamented with Ionic pillars, and above the Egyptian
corona rises a pyramidal or conical structure; a combination of the
pre-historic tumulus with Egyptian and classic elements. Something is
borrowed from everyone to make up a chosen national element.

In books or in conversation this may avail, but in art, where the outer
impression is to create a corresponding sensation, assertions must be
borne out by visible productions, and to falsify architectural records
is much more difficult than to interpolate passages, alter dates, or
make assertions in utter defiance of probability and possibility. The
Hebrews, whether as Jews or Israelites, had no art, and never pretended
to have one; they were contented with the art-products which other
nations made for them, in perfect accordance with the clearly-expressed
promise of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: ‘That He would give
them great and goodly cities, which they would not build; and houses
full of good things, which they would not fill; and wells digged, which
they would not dig; and vineyards and olive trees, which they would
not plant.’ With such principles neither architecture, sculpture, nor
ornamentation could flourish. Art in Asia never became master of matter
from an esthetical point of view, for, in all these works, matter sways
the mind; it is either an exhibition of precious stones on walls,
or lace-work in marble, or endless heaps of huge granite blocks and
columns without purpose, or decorations in wild, fantastic, and endless
combinations. The Eastern mind could not free itself from the influence
of a mighty hierarchy. In the East it was the eternal _Hermes_, the
_Logos_, the _priest_, who read truth in the stars, manufactured
gods and goddesses, wrote the language of heaven, drew up plans for
temples, squared out the proportions of the human body, and gave laws
to sculptors and painters, to stone-cutters and masons, to joiners and
carpenters, weavers and dyers. Hermes, with his followers, was the
physician, the lawgiver, and the judge of the masses; he prayed, he
sacrificed for them, he prophesied, circumcised, married, embalmed,
and buried them. The priest in the East, whether as Brahman, Buddhist,
Hierophant, Magi, or Levite, generally placed the idea, the spirit, the
word, the λόγος {logos} above the form, which, in itself, crippled the
form the more effectually, because the form, however revolting, was
the mere symbol of some sacred mystery. The creative genius of art was
thus almost extinguished under the stifling and petrifying influence of
hierarchical formalism, and, until it had been freed from this, could
neither develop nor prosper. The process of freeing humanity from this
formalism was first begun and accomplished by the Greeks.



CHAPTER VIII.

GREEK ART.


Art has appeared to us till now under peculiar circumstances.
We have seen it in Asia and Africa, and in both parts of the
world it represented the uninterrupted struggle of humanity for
self-consciousness. Humanity was too much under the influence of the
marvellous and incomprehensible, and neither the marvellous nor the
incomprehensible can be brought into shape. The Indians tried to give
forms to the metaphysical phenomena of nature; the Persians were bent
on the glorification of the power of one visible earthly despot;
the Egyptians tried to copy the realistic phenomena of nature, and
inscribed them with mystic signs, uniting Indian abstractions with
the real phenomena of nature. When a thought was fixed into a form;
the thought, being at the same time a religious conception, could no
more be changed; it became in art what a technical name for a natural
phenomenon is in science. Oxygen is oxygen, and designates only that
element; so when once a form was settled, as that of Vishnu or Amn,
S’iva or Osiris--or the serpent fixed as a symbol of eternity, or the
hawk as a symbol of light--the inner or spiritual life of the artist
was fettered down to outward forms with special inward meanings. Thus
the constraining sway of misunderstood nature on one side, and the
stationary precepts of an omnipotent hierarchy on the other, entangled
the artist’s imagination and paralysed every effort of his subjective
power of production. The different nations began to be wrapped up
in their different artistic forms, which became by degrees hard and
impenetrable _national_ and religious incrustations; the masses, held
in abeyance, led by theocratical art, had only to glorify one visible
or invisible tyrant, with whom the universe was blessed. Eastern art
was to a certain degree plastic, only too plastic as in India; but
it was too penetrated with an incomprehensible spiritualism to find
the right objects for its plastic tendencies. Even where geometrical
figures, flowers, or trees were used, the effect of their simple
combination was marred by a want of harmony between thought and form,
or idea and body. This harmony between outward form and inner spirit,
wherein real beauty consists, this balance between the dynamic and
static cosmogonical elements, was wanting in Eastern art. The East rent
nature asunder, and looked upon _matter_ as _evil_; and yet matter was
to be used, to bring spirit into form. The element of S’iva, Ahriman,
or Typhon was to give visible form to the conceptions of Brahmă,
Ormuzd, or Osiris, and could not do this, because the connecting
link to blend the apparently-opposed powers into one, was wanting. A
uniting force for this mysterious antagonism, a mediator between heaven
and earth, divinity and humanity, was sought for, but not found. The
Persian unconsciously set Meshiah (man, _mensch_) down as that element,
but Meshiah was not yet allowed to come to any free development, and
he sank into the pitiful and degraded position of a slave to despotic
oligarchs, or still more intolerant spiritual hierarchs. Meshiah
(humanity) was first freed by the _Greeks_ in _form_ and by _Christ_ in
_spirit_.

There can be no doubt that the Greeks were, for a short time at least,
the ancient representatives of the well-balanced static and dynamic
forces in humanity. Of all the geographical districts of the world,
whether in the Eastern or Western hemisphere, none are so admirably
adapted for the cultivation of social intercourse as the Grecian
isles, and the Grecian peninsula, the classical region of the Ægean
Sea. Nowhere is so large a coast-line found, surrounding so small
a territorial surface; nowhere such a variety of creeks, capes,
promontories, inlets, and harbours as round the Peloponnesus, and the
islands uniting Asia Minor with Greece and Italy. No streams like the
Ganges, or the Hoang-ho; no mountains like the Belur Tag or Himâlâya.
Gorgeous uniformity is the characteristic of China and India; variety
and change the very element of the Greek world. Mountains, plains,
valleys, streams, are all of a limited size; there rules a sweet,
eternal harmony between spirit and form; nothing is exaggerated,
nothing overawes man; he feels at home; the dark-blue sky over-arches
his verdant, hilly, amiable earth, adorned with brooks and hills,
boskets and flowers. Valley chases valley; rivulet pursues rivulet;
clouds follow clouds; the morning dawn flies before the bright noon,
and the noon dies away, in the cool sighs of the evening breezes, into
the embrace of dark night. The self-conscious spirit of _youthful_
humanity came into life for the first time in Greece. Everything with
the Greeks was _feeling_, but a feeling, conscious of a real purpose
in religion, the State, the family, and in art. We shall see that
intuitive feeling grow by degrees into _critical reflection_, but in
the first instance everything with the Greeks was ingenuous, or, as the
French call it, ‘naïve.’ This classical ‘naïveté,’ this unconscious,
unaffected simplicity, enabled them to become masters of intuitive
productions, and to look upon this world with an unbiassed eye, prone
only to see what was harmonious and beautiful. The whole life of
the Greeks was thus one long _ideal_ dream of poetical and artistic
_reality_. They took an interest, however, in objective individuality
only; the beauties of nature as one great total did not yet affect
their subjective comprehension. They could not grasp the pantheistic
notion of the Indians, who saw in every detailed phenomenon of the
universe the working of ONE indivisible and incomprehensible first
cause. They shuddered at the Egyptian monsters, which were to serve
as symbols of that sublime conception which lost on the Nile all its
primitive grandeur. They found the Persian absorption of the universe
into a conflict between light and darkness too dreary, and ascribed
to it the loss of all individual freedom. They worked out a system of
their own, based on Indian grandeur, Egyptian symbolism, and Persian
abstractions. To be thoroughly acquainted with this combination of
influences is the very first step towards an understanding of Greek art.

The Greeks were Aryans in language, and in mode of thinking; Aryans
who had detached themselves very early from their Cis-Himâlâyan
brethren, and peopled Asia Minor and the surrounding islands. They were
strengthened by Egyptian and Phœnician immigrations, and invigorated by
Thracia’s warlike spirit.

Like a plant that only lives and grows by means of the antithetic
activity of air, light, and water, the Greek State-body had air
supplied by Orpheus from Thracia, light by Kekrops from Egypt, and
water by Kadmus from Phœnicia. Independent freedom and love of the
arts were the gifts of the North; the South furnished them with deep
knowledge, and Phœnicia gave them the vivifying spirit of commerce.
Their language is an offshoot of the Sanskrit, but stands in a more
distant relation to it than the Zend--to which it is closely allied.
They are principally distinguished from the Asiatic nations by their
decided hatred of everything arbitrary and chaotic. From their love for
individuality and diversity of customs, manners and modes of thinking,
sprang the national unity of the Greeks in the fairy realms of Poetry
and Art. When they began to feel themselves a people, they assumed the
name of Hellenes; and their first historical deed was the admirable
completion of a language which, for simplicity, power, and beauty,
has remained up to our own days a model for all other languages, for
it alike possesses eurythmy and power of expression. The overwhelming
metaphysical subtleties of the Sanskrit are simplified; the variety
of consonants and vowels reduced, and the mode of writing corrected;
everything proving a deep sense for order, clearness, and moderation.

They had three dialects: the Doric, distinguished by a broader
pronunciation; the Ionic, possessed of softness and a melodious
richness; and the Æolic, a kind of mixture without a special character.
The Dorians came southwards from the hoary mountains of Thessaly, and
gained step by step an influence and dominion over the other tribes
of Greece. The Ionians occupied the east, and were considered the
connecting link between Hellas and Asia; but whatever the Hellenes took
from Byblos, Sidon, Tyros or the Libanon, assumed a really Hellenic
form, after it had passed through the purifying element of Doric
correctness. The south gave _ideas_, and the north brought them into
_form_.

Whatever the Hellenes touched they beautified. The powerful giant Bhîma
of the Mahâbhârata is the prototype of Herakles; but in the myths
concerning Herakles we recognise the mere personification of commercial
daring and enterprise. Accompanied by his dog, he finds the cochineal;
the goblet in which he sails to Erytheia is but the Phœnician
merchantman; the Phœnicians are referred to, when it is recorded of
him that he had broken the devastating horn of the mountain-streams.
Moloch, to whom Assyrians, Indians and Hebrews sacrificed, without ever
being capable of investing the fire-spitting monster with anything like
poetry, was destroyed by Herakles. The gods of Asia became with the
Hellenes demons, from whom they learned some useful trades. Poseidon,
the god of the sea, is, like the element over which he rules and in
which he dwells, of a sinister, implacable character; he requires
human sacrifices, annihilates horses (meaning ships), in fact does,
as incarnate divinity, what the sea does in our own times. The Titans
are acquainted with astronomy, and are personifications of a certain
knowledge in maritime matters. Proteus, the Egyptian Pharaoh, is
with them the keeper of the seas, and Atlas the father of nautical
astronomy, and both were companions of the Tyrean Herkules. In all
the myths and legends of the Greeks we can trace some facts. The
divinity they could only comprehend in the well-proportioned form of a
human being, and a hero or benefactor of humanity became with them a
divinity. This blending into one of the divine and human is the most
important feature in Greek thought. Vishnu and Osiris also became
incarnate--but their deeds were supernatural; the principal feature
of their ‘man-godhead,’ or ‘divine manhood,’ is an incomprehensible
mysticism. Their anthropomorphism had in it something gloomy. When the
divine Apollo uttered the memorable words: ‘_Man, know thyself_,’ the
Greeks became suddenly conscious of the inborn spark of the divine
intellect in man; the gods were intelligible to them, and the Asiatic
world of abstractions emerged in a thousand different human forms of
divine conceptions.

_Uranos_ (_Varuna_ in Sanskrit) is heaven, or rather space--_Kronos_,
time, and _Gæa_, earth. _Uranos_ as well as _Kronos_ and _Pontos_ were
offsprings of the Earth. So far we have to deal with the same mystical
elements which engendered all the Asiatic cosmogonies. But Uranos and
Gæa are set down as male and female, and are endowed with powerful
children--the Titans and Titanides, the Hekatoncheires (or Kentimanos,
hundred-handed, powerful giants with fifty heads), and the Kyklopes,
who were very clever, and invented many useful arts.

The most important gods were Okeanos, Japetós, and Kronos. The human
character of Greek mythology begins even before the birth of Zeus.
Uranos was afraid of his own children, and had them confined in eternal
darkness in Tartaros; their mother, Gæa, had pity on them, and armed
the youngest, Kronos, with a sickle, with which he attacked Uranos,
and deprived him of his creative power. From that moment Uranos was
idle, could produce no new forms, and was neither worshipped by gods
nor men. The fact which underlies this dramatic scene, in which gods
are the actors, is a cosmical phenomenon. In time all things were
created, and in time the creative force, as far as our earth was
concerned, ceased with the creation of man, to be productive of new
forms. Kronos had five children--Hestia, Demeter, Here, Pluton, and
Poseidon, and these he devoured. In this cruel image we see represented
the revolving movements of time, in which the present is everlastingly
the prey of the past, engendering the future. The sixth son of Kronos,
Zeus (creative ether), was saved by his mother’s cunning, for she gave
the inhuman god a stone instead of her child; Metis, however (Maya,
Matter), afterwards the wife of Zeus; rescues the children that Kronos
had swallowed, and he is obliged to give them back again in an eternal
circle. These children of Kronos are years, months, weeks, days and
hours. We have here an instance of the manner in which phenomena were
turned by the Hellenes into living beings. Kronos was an old man with
a long flowing beard, and held a sickle or scythe in his hands, with
which he cut down everything. And as symbol of eternity a serpent lay
by his side.

Zeus serves us even more as a specimen of the anthropomorphic tendency
of the Greeks. He was the _father_ of the gods, and had to _fight_
with the Titans. He led the immortal gods, who assembled on Mount
Olympus against these terrible Titans, who mustered in great strength
on Mount Othrys. For ten years the battle raged without result; heaven,
earth, and sea resounded with the frightful struggle. Gæa advised
the gods to call in the Kyklopes and Hekatoncheires. These presented
Poseidon with the trident, Pluton with the helmet that had the power
to make the wearer invisible, and Zeus received from the depths of
the earth the flaming thunderbolts. Then only the Titans had to yield
to storms and lightnings, and were chained down at last in Tartaros.
We read a chapter of geology when we peruse Hesiod’s description of
this struggle. In the Titans, Kyklopes, and the hundred-handed giants
we recognise the antediluvian monsters--the mastodons, megatheriums,
and saurians, petrified for ever in the strata of the earth’s crust.
Zeus, after his conquest, began to rule the Olympian gods and mankind.
He himself was full of passion and wrath, of human failings and
shortcomings; but, after all, he was kind, dignified--even in his
weakness, just and grand. He smiled, and love and joy pervaded the
universe; he frowned, and the universe shook to its very foundations.
He indulged in freaks, and still was afraid of his haughty and jealous
wife, who acted in many instances as a well-bred lady would, who had
the misfortune to be wedded to an amorous husband. Zeus was frequently
so troubled by his riotous gods and goddesses, that he had a bad
headache, and was once obliged to call in Hephaistos to cure him with
a heavy blow, and on this occasion Minerva (wisdom) sprang forth armed
with spear, helmet, and shield. The truth that intellect and reason are
of divine origin was proclaimed in this myth. In the Greek legends the
poet’s imagination has turned the forces of nature into beautiful men,
women, or children. How much the gods, with them, were the creatures
of man’s fancy, may be seen in the fear of the opinions of their
earth-born children with which the gods were endowed. The Almighty
Thunderer, when his heavenly subjects made too much noise, often cried:
‘What will my earthly sons say?’ and for fear that they might find
fault with him he yielded, and made concessions, and heaven and earth,
sun, moon and stars were again at peace.

It is true that in Indian lore the same characters are drawn, but,
like their supernatural gods, they are gigantic and monstrous. Men
and women in the Indian fables, behave like unwieldy spectres, that
frighten us during an uneasy dream; we must first divest them of their
inhuman forms in order to comprehend them. The conceptions are too
marvellous to impress us with moral lessons; we are lost in allegories,
metaphors, symbols and double meanings. This occurs less in Greek
mythology. _Atlas_ was the representative of patience; he had for
ever to carry the world on his shoulders, and was turned at last into
a rocky mountain range. _Epimetheus_ was the prototype of senseless
carelessness, and was destroyed by his own folly. _Prometheus_ at last
was the embodiment of considerate prudence; he was devoured by the
_vulture_ of ‘care and sorrow for the morrow.’ Prometheus may be said
to be the best, most intelligible emblem of classic humanity, as Faust
may be considered as the incarnation of romantic mankind. Prometheus
wanted to bring matter into form; Faust to _know_ what held spirit and
matter together. Prometheus stole fire from heaven, made man of clay,
and vivified him. Faust knew that this heavenly fire was a force over
which he had no control, and he called in a spirit to teach him ‘how
all one whole harmonious weaves, each in the other works and lives.’
The ‘_formal_’ is the longing of the Greek Faust, and the ‘_spiritual_’
the aspiration of the Teuton Prometheus. All the Greek eîdola embodied
some power of nature. Philomela was a pining woman. The Laurel was
formed out of the lovely Daphne (from the Sanskrit Dahanah, our word
‘dawn’). In every tree a Dryad dwelt, in every wave a Naiad sported.
Demeter’s tears for her lost daughter Persephone nourished rivulets.
On the bright heights of Mount Olympus, on Helikon, or Parnassus, or
Pindus, above the petty cares of every-day life, sat the earnest _Klio_
with an open scroll and a stylum, recording with lovely patience the
events of the past. _Euterpe_, with her two flutes, brought harmony
into the discordant sounds of the earthly spheres, and filled the world
with songs and tunes; _Melpomene_, armed with gloomy mask and dagger,
presided over the fictitious sufferings of humanity struggling with
the inexorable fates, reflecting in an artificial mirror--reality.
_Thalia_, with a shepherd’s staff and a Silenus’ mask, endowed with an
eternal smile, comforted man with more cheerful views. _Terpsichore_,
with a lyre of seven chords, taught him to express joy, happiness, and
pious veneration by the rhythmical movements of his body. _Erato_, on
her Kythera with nine chords, warbled love-songs, and inspired and
aided young poets to pour out in measured language the immeasurable
feelings of their souls. _Polyhymnia_, or Polymnia, protected orators,
philosophers, and stage-players, and enabled them to keep within the
boundaries of moderation, for she placed the first finger of her right
hand on her lips, impressing them with the necessity for caution.
_Urania_, with her eyes lifted to the starry heavens, tried to draw
man’s attention to the well-regulated courses of the heavenly bodies,
proclaiming in eternal silence with fiery tongues the glories of the
universe. _Kalliope_ finally taught man to record heroic deeds in
epic poetry. These _nine_ muses, presided over by the manly and wise,
valorous and glorious Apollo, nursed, taught, and accompanied the
Hellenes through life; they met them as lovely charmers in a thousand
different forms, in temples, on friezes, metopes, goblets, pateras,
amphoræ, and urns; nothing possessed a meaning for them that had not a
poetical, artistic, and scientific aim.

Life with the Greeks was one continual festivity. They worshipped their
gods in singing joyous songs, in running, playing, and wrestling. They
thought it a duty to develop both body and intellect, the gifts of the
immortal gods. They deeply loved poetry, wrote it if they could, or
recited it, or listened to it and imbibed it with their whole souls.
They rejoiced in athletic sports; influenced by Terpsichore, they
showed the wondrous beauty of their harmoniously-constructed bodies.
Joy and delight swelled their muscles when they wrestled, and throbbed
through all their veins when they moved in rhythmical simplicity, like
the stars in heaven. They prayed when they composed epic poems; they
worshipped when they wrote tragedies or comedies; they honoured the
gods when they built temples; they humbly beseeched their blessing
when they sculptured. The whole life of the Greeks was one grateful
act of artistic devotion. Their temples were so many hymns in stone
and marble; their ornamentations in reliefs, sculptures, winding
frets and meanders, are epic poems, dramatic representations, and
lyric effusions of the very highest intellectual refinement. Art with
the Greeks was cherished, cultivated, and loved for its own divine
sake. Rich and poor, old and young, men and women, boys and girls,
used art and poetry, science and philosophy, as the plastic language
of their ever-praying lips, hands and minds. Whenever the life of a
nation is thus inspired; when the comprehensive culture of intellect,
the harmonious development of the body, and the mysterious feelings of
existence are guided by the mighty and productive energy of an awakened
and excited imagination, and regulated by a consciousness of order; art
must attain that expansive, noble, and beautiful form which we admire
in the Greeks.

Greek poetry and philosophy had the same basis of reality as their
mythology. That which was asserted by the Asiatic and African
law-givers to have been directly dictated by the gods, was gradually
acquired by the Greeks through deductive and inductive reasoning. Soon
the mythological conceptions of the poets were turned into eîdola.
Aphrodite was set down as the representative of matter, out of which
all things were formed. Pallas-Athene lost her individuality, and
became intellect pervading humanity. Apollo was no more the ‘god-man’
or the living sun, but cosmical heat. The forms of fearful monsters
that originated in Asia, with ferocious jaws, with three heads,
spreading fear and awe, looking as if nothing but human flesh could
satisfy their voracity, also terrified the Greeks during the mythic
period of their national existence, and human flesh was accordingly
sacrificed. Such sacrifices were prevalent wherever monster-gods,
without human shape, without legs or arms, with fishes’ tails, dog’s
or cat’s heads, with round and glaring eyes, and many arms, inspired
the masses with fear and trembling. This was the case in Greece when
monsters and pirates peopled the sea-coasts; when _Geryon_, the giant
with three bodies, three heads, six hands, six legs, and two wings;
_Echidna_, the wife of Typhon; the _Lernean_ serpent, with nine or with
fifty heads; the _Chimera_, with a lion’s or goat’s head; the _Sphinx_,
with a woman’s head and bust, the body of a lion, and the wings and
tail of a dragon; and the fearfully howling _Skylla_, with six heads
and six long necks, formed part of their pantheon. As soon, however, as
poetry threw a glittering veil of beauty over the forces and phenomena
of nature, no one thought of sacrificing human flesh to the gods. Who
could have slaughtered a human being in the sight of the Olympian Zeus
or the Pallas-Athene of Pheidias, the Venus of Alkemenes, or the Apollo
of Praxiteles?

The Greek mind, once on the road to progress through a correct
appreciation of beauty, developed with incredible rapidity.

The elements of art as well as of science are threefold. We have:--

α. The reign of _imagination_ through the emotional element,
more or less regulated;

β. That of _intellect_, the reflective element, more or less
influenced by imagination; and

γ. That of _reason_, the speculative element, discerning
between imagination and intellect, and binding the two into one.

The first element is the province of the unconscious artist. He
trusts his own subjective imagination, and sees things only from his
individual point of view.

The second tries to compare the different products of art, to draw
analogies between them, and to assign causes for certain forms. This is
the province of the chronicler, the antiquary, and the art-historian.

The third reaches the sphere of philosophical consciousness. In it the
esthetical writer combines a correct appreciation of art as a grand
total, with all its essential details. He sees distinctly its inner
element based on immutable general laws, and comprehends the necessary
organism, without which an artistic work cannot exist.

Poetry and philosophy, like art, passed through these developments in
Greece. First we have the epic and lyric poets: Homer, Hesiod, Sappho,
Alkæus, and Pindar; next the dramatic poets: Æschylus, Sophokles, and
Euripides. At last the philosophers and historians: Plato, Aristotle,
Herodotus, Thukydides, and Xenophon.

In analogy with these purely mental phases we have in art: the
architect, who constructs a small world of organic coherence out
of inorganic matter by means of his imagination; the sculptor, who
reproduces with discernment the organic world around him in inorganic
matter, but endows it with individual expression and feeling; the
painter at last, who creates with his colours a union of spirit and
matter, of idea and form.

Beauty was in all Greek products the vital element. ‘True beauty, the
companion of the gods, must be sought for,’ says Pausanias, and makes
no advances; it is too elevated to communicate itself,’ And Plato
propounds: ‘The Supreme has no image; he converses only with the wise;
with the vulgar he shows himself proud and forbidding; always equal, he
expresses the emotion of the souls, he wraps himself in the delicious
calm of that divine nature of which the great masters in the arts,
according to ancient writers, endeavoured to seize the type.’ This
delicious calm may be traced everywhere in Greek art, and forms its
essential element.

The temples of the Greeks were national and public buildings. They were
not mere shrines destined as exclusive dwelling-places for some visible
or invisible, concrete or abstract, theocratic monster. They were the
central spots for their national assemblies, their gatherings, and for
the celebration of their public festivities.

The Olympian, Pythian, Nemæan, and Isthmian games attracted visitors
to these temples. These games did not consist of mere exhibitions of
athletic prowess; but poets like Pindar--tragedians like Æschylus and
Sophokles--historians like Herodotus--read to enraptured audiences the
masterly products of their intellectual powers. Wrestlers and runners,
sculptors and poets, and tragic and comic writers vied with one another
to be crowned with a laurel wreath, or to receive a palm-twig, some
a crown, or a tripod. No sordid feeling of gain mingled with their
yet unalloyed pleasure in being distinguished for mere distinction’s
sake; the commercial question was unregarded. The prizes, given away
in the sight of the delighted masses, were for everything--for bodily
as well as for intellectual excellence--even for proficiency in the
art of kissing. At the festival of the Philesian Apollo a prize for
the most exquisite kiss was conferred upon a young lady. At Sparta
and at Lesbos, in the temple of Here, and also among the citizens
of Parrhasia, women contended for the prizes with men. How much we
try to imitate Greek customs may be judged from the fact, that we
also give prizes for exquisite dogs, cats out of proportion, and fat
babies; but we are sorry to say, that this is done with a keen eye to
business--to advertise a baby-food or a dog-or cat-fancier. That art is
not altogether Greek with us need astonish no one. We are trained for
practical purposes, but the Greeks were trained to appreciate beauty,
symmetry, and harmony, not in verses only, but also in the human frame
and in every product of art. Architecture with them was thoroughly
plastic; it was never subservient to some metaphysical subtlety; it
was finished in itself; a total of which every part formed, as in the
human body, a completing element--without which the whole conception
of a temple would be as incomplete as a man without arms, legs, or
toes. The Greek temple entirely differed from the gloomy buildings of
Egypt or India, which were constructed as symbols of hell, earth, and
heaven; hell was for the sinners, the outcasts and the poor; earth for
the respectable middle-classes; and heaven for the priests, the kings
and their high officials. The constructions never made any attempt
at symmetrical beauty, but aimed only at gorgeous pomp, in order to
overawe the credulous mob--mystery was their essence. Sudden turnings
placed the terrified worshipper, unawares, face to face with some
colossal idol, looking to the excited and surprised imagination twice
as large as it was, and ascending and descending staircases visibly
divided the temple into abodes of splendour and horror. With the
ancient Greeks in constructing a temple, the first question was the
aim of the building; to whom was it to be dedicated--to Zeus, Apollo,
Poseidon, Minerva or Venus? This question once decided, the most
convenient spot, in accordance with the character of the god to whose
worship the temple was to be dedicated, was chosen. The building to be
erected was always to be in harmony with the surrounding scenery.

The temple with the Greeks generally stood on a terrace-like base of
several steps.

The Doric, Ionic, and Korinthian orders, as architectural subdivisions,
are most usual. So far as the different styles are concerned, a
fourth must be added, which modern art-historians call the Attic. The
Greeks were undoubtedly the first people who succeeded in producing
architectural works of art; they were also the first:--

(_a_) To distinguish the material;

(_b_) To bring about symmetry and proportion; and

(_c_) To construct with a clear consciousness of purpose.

Marble was most profusely made use of; wood also, but the latter by
degrees disappeared altogether. The Athenians completed even the roofs
of their temples in stone.

The Greeks availed themselves of soft materials, such as clay, chalk,
gypsum, and marble dust, for stucco (κονίασις {koniasis}), in which
they excelled all other nations.

Metal too formed an important element in their decorations. It is
asserted by many authorities that the Korinthian capital was not the
latest development of Greek architecture; but that on the contrary
it was older than the simplified and more correct Doric capital,
which, showing no traces of wood-construction, is altogether of a
pure ‘stone-feeling,’ whilst the forms of the Korinthian capital bear
undoubted traces of wood-carving and metallotechnic.

We see that the Greeks employed pliable, plastic, elastic and solid
materials; the great secret of their success lay in the fact that they
made use of these elements appropriately.

The vertical and horizontal were the principal lines used by the
Greeks. The curved line was not altogether excluded. The uprising
straight lines in columns were cylindrical or conical. The relation
of the lines to one another, and to the whole of the building, was
regulated by a strict observation of the laws of proportion.

The diameter or half-diameter of the column (the module) served as the
unit for the whole building. As in the human body the general law of
proportion does not exclude an infinite diversity of forms, so in the
Greek temples regulation did not preclude variety. In man the height is
limited, and, to a certain extent, determined by his bones. This was
the case in the Greek temple. The height was limited by the diameter of
the column. Taking two columns of the same height, the one thin and the
other thick, the thin column will appear high and the other short, but
both will have a certain proportion, taken from their own body; the one
will be, say, nine times the diameter of its body, and the other only
seven times. Proportion in no way fetters the artist; it allows him
perfect freedom, but _freedom in order_, without which no good building
is possible. All architectural elements are of geometrical origin.
These elements are to be divided into those that support, and those
that are supported. The column is the most perfect supporting body;
surrounding a vertical axis in a slightly conical form. Through the
‘_contractura_,’ the swelling or tapering, it assumes the most perfect
expression of the dynamic force in the striving upwards. Through the
square plinth (Abacus) a harmonious union is effected between column,
as supporter, and architrave, as the supported, or static, element of
the building.

The Greek temple was pre-eminently the house of the man-like god. The
god in the most exquisite idealised human form was visibly present. A
forecourt (pronaos) led to the cella (naos); there was a rear-court
(posticum), and occasionally a special court (the opisthodome) was
added. Architecture and sculpture were closely allied in Greece; and
still so clear and rational a separation between these two art-sisters,
as existed there, has nowhere been observed. Through this apparent
contradiction, architecture gained an independent soul, full of emotion
and life, whilst sculpture obtained a well-proportioned body, the
closely united artistic product being thus endowed with solidity and
firmness.

The general architectural arrangement of a Greek temple was invariably
the same. The cella, the abode of the divinity, was of smaller
or larger dimensions. Two rows of columns adorned the interior,
supporting an upper gallery. If the central space was left roofless,
to supply the temple with light, it was called _hypæthral_. A temple,
surrounded by one row of columns, was designated a _Peripteros_;
if two rows of columns ornamented it, a _Dipteros_. With a front
portico it was _Prostyle_; provided with a court, both front and back,
_Amphiprostyle_. The pillars projecting on the side walls were _antæ_;
and a temple having this decorative element was styled an _Antætemple_.
The colonnade surrounding the temple at smaller or greater distances,
represented a combined power of support. The base marked the
independent existence of the separate columns. The shaft was covered
with channelled flutings, and rose vertically with a convex extension
of its circumference (called _entasis_). It then strongly contracted,
thus expressing in the most perfect manner not merely passive
sustaining, but an active and lively support. Above the capitals the
mighty beams of the architrave (epistyle) were held together by a broad
band, on which rested the frieze, sometimes adorned with triglyphs and
metopes, or with reliefs; above it projected the overhanging plinth
of the principal cornice. On the narrow sides of the oblong building,
bordered by a cornice (the corona, geison) and the roof-gutter,
rose the pediment with its groups and statues. On the front edge of
the roof, both at the corners and in the middle, there stood smaller
sculptures or marble palm-trees; whilst at the sides the rain-water
was ejected through lions’ heads; the finishing horizontal lines were
eurythmically crowned with palm-shaped tiles (antifixæ). The roof and
the rest of the building, in the noblest works, were of marble, the
architectural product being thus transformed into an elegant chiselled
work of sculpture.

The Greeks had in their mythology:

1. Powerful gods and goddesses, as Zeus, Pallas, Poseidon, and Mars.

2. Charming and lovely divinities, as Aphrodite, Eros, and Persephone.

3. Mixtures of sublime power and beauty, of manly dignity and
womanly grace, as Here, Diana, Bacchus, and Apollo. In studying
the characteristics of these three groups of divinities we become
acquainted with the principal features of the three orders of their
architecture.

I. The _Doric_ order is full of power and monumental dignity. Force is
its most prominent characteristic.

II. The _Ionic_ order mingles southern imagination with northern
severity; this order, with its voluted capital instead of the simple
abacus, is of a more complicated character and livelier expression.

III. The _Korinthian_ order exhibits, instead of the tapering Doric, a
slender column--ending in a richly-decorated, upward-striving capital.
There is something of the Doric style in the Ionic, and something of
the Ionic in the Korinthian. The Doric was, however, the basis of Greek
architecture.

_A._ The _Doric_ order had six distinct developments of style.

_a._ The _proto-Doric_, compressed and heavy.

_b._ The _lax Archaic-Doric_, slender, with more distinctly-tapering
columns.

_c._ The _stern Archaic-Doric_, more finished and graceful in its
proportions.

_d._ The _pure Doric_, most correct in all its details.

_e._ The _Attic-Doric_, during the rule of Perikles, combining utmost
severity with the very highest refinement in execution.

_f._ The _Makedonian-Doric_ style; not correctly proportioned, the
columns becoming elongated, and the distances narrowed. Gorgeousness
and vanity predominate.

_B._ The _Ionic_ order had three distinct phases of development in
style.

_a._ The first _simple_ in form, with the strongly-pronounced volute.

_b._ The _richly ornamented_ style, as in the temple of Minerva Polias.

_c._ The _compound_ style; half Doric and half Ionic.

_C._ The _Korinthian_ order passed through four phases of style:

_a._ The _undecided_ style; half Ionic and half Korinthian.

_b._ The _finished_ style; graceful and rich.

_c._ The _over-decorated_ style, with strong Ionic forms.

_d._ The _variegated_ style, with decorative additions of trophies,
winged-horses, dolphins, and eagles; half northern and half
southern--combining Asiatic with Greek forms.

_D._ The Doric intermingled with Ionic forms produced in Attica a
peculiar order, or rather mere style, neither Doric, nor Ionic, nor
Korinthian--a kind of eclectic style which we may very properly call
the _Attic_ style. The Erechtheium of Athens was in this style. There
are six principal distinctions in this style, which justify us in
treating it as totally distinct from those mentioned under _A_, _B_ and
_C_:--

1. A particular plinth is wanting in the base.

2. Instead of this, a double contraction is transformed into one,
united to the common support by means of a strong circular ovolo. The
contractura is expressed on a small scale in the base.

3. The shaft is more slender in proportion.

4. The volutes are more projecting.

5. The frieze is considerably higher than it is generally in any of the
other orders.

6. The corona is without the dentated ornament; but the projecting
plinth is strongly undercut, and powerfully overhangs the finishing
member of the frieze.

In all classifications of this kind a narrow-minded pedantry is to be
avoided; canons, of whatever sort, hinder the natural growth of art.
Still worse than strict canons is ignorance. Without a correct and
thorough knowledge of Greek literature, no man can aspire to an exalted
position in poetry and science; and without a correct and thorough
study of Greek art, no man can become an artist. We do not recommend a
slavish imitation of the Greeks, but a thorough understanding of their
slow development, through the phases of unconscious reproduction and
systematically conscious creation, to the philosophical appreciation of
beauty, which enabled them to reflect in their works of art the eternal
types of Nature in an idealised form.

The same gradual development which we remarked in their architecture
also took place in Greek keramic art. The oldest pottery was coarse,
the material generally taken from the most recent formation of the
soil, the Cainozoic period. These older specimens are very much alike
amongst all the Aryan nations. The forms are undecided, and made by the
hand; the ornaments, as in pre-historic times, consisted of points,
zigzags, spirals and knobs. At a very early period, however, the Greeks
as Pelasgians, Achaians, Danaians and Argeians, possessed more defined
outlines, and a more perfect symmetry, even in their very coarsest
pottery.

In the oldest, so-called Tyrrhenian, vases we have already a decided
plastic improvement. The ornamentation takes its patterns from
metallotechnic, and we recognise Asiatic influences in the winged
horses and lions, stamped in the clay as flat ornaments. The Greek
taste improved; leaves and flowers were treated with a delicate,
idealising conventionalism; the vine, ivy, anthimion, and masks
and festoons, were used for decorative purposes, and gave to the
well-shaped vessel a high artistic value. This was the most successful
period of pottery for Greece. Samos appears to have been the principal
place for its manufacture. The use of the wheel was long dispensed
with; the Greeks trusting more to the delicacy of their touch than to
the technical accuracy of a machine. In Asia the wheel had long been
known, and it had exercised rather a detrimental than an improving
influence on pottery, as the forms, settled by religious prejudices, or
venerable custom, did not change, but remained stationary. As soon as
the Greeks adopted the wheel--it must have been in use before Homer,
for he speaks of it--their better-trained minds brought a new spirit
into the handicraft of the potter, which was then turned into real art.

Korœbos, of Athens, a mythic person, is said to have elevated keramic
art to high perfection. Dibutades is said to have been the first
modeller in clay, and Talos, his nephew, is mentioned as the inventor
of the potter’s wheel in Hellas.

With reference to the process of colouring we have two distinct classes
of Greek pottery:--

1. The _oligochromatic_, from ὀλίγος {oligos} (small), and χρῶμα
{chrôma} (colour).

2. The _polychromatic_, from πολύς {polus} (many), and χρῶμα {chrôma}
(colour).

I. The _oligochromatic_ class of Greek pottery may be divided into two
distinct styles: _a._ The Archaic; _b._ The Hellenic.

_A._ As soon as the wheel became generally used, a finer paste was
required, fit for exposure to a greater heat, and for the production
of a greater variety of vessels. In the beginning the paste was
coarse-grained and of a yellowish-grey; later it was fine, and the
colour homogeneous. The glazing was without lustre, brownish-black,
and spotted, proving a want of experience in baking. We have violet,
brownish-red, and white tints badly fixed on the black glaze. With
the exception of Pithoi (wine jars) found at Thera, the vessels
belonging to the Archaic style are generally of moderate size, broad
and compressed, with sudden and bold interruptions of the curves, and
abrupt unions of the extremities. The ornament is not yet an integral
part of the vessel. The general forms are cups, pots, flasks, &c.,
all being entirely black. Some are ornamented with yellowish or white
points, or with simple lines drawn all over the vessel. By degrees a
clearer understanding of the laws of ornamentation is perceptible;
the ornamentation becomes restricted to the bulge, whilst rings,
meanders, and floral ornamentations mark the upper and lower parts
of the vessel. A further progress may be seen in the treatment of
ornamentation in the animals which surround the vessels in parallel
circles. Highly interesting are the flowers, balls, and _crosses_
on these oligochromatic vases. With the progress of civilisation we
find the human figure introduced, surrounded, however, by monstrous
combinations of Asiatic origin. Genii, with and without wings, make
their appearance; then divinities amongst lions, panthers, ostriches,
and a profusion of symbolic representations. Swans are either
tamed, chased, or killed. The spirit of Persepolis and Nineveh, of
Phœnicia and Egypt, animates these pre-Homeric compositions; they are
entirely incomprehensible. This pottery of the Greeks is of the very
highest interest; we may advantageously study in it the progress of
civilisation amongst them.

We have a period in which monster chases monster; then a period in
which men kill monsters; then, when men begin to settle down, and to
pass from the barbarous state of mere hunters into a more settled mode
of living, freed from obnoxious wild animals, they fight against men.
The conquerors have decidedly Aryan features, whilst the conquered
have unmistakably Turanian faces. (See the work of Lord Hamilton.)
At length we suddenly surprise them before the walls of Troy; the
incidents of the Iliad are known, and furnish the potters with heroic
subjects. Achilles and Hektor, Penelope and Ulysses, may be recognised;
the first two in deadly combat, the two latter meeting after a long
separation. The subject, in these Archaic vases and vessels, is not yet
thoroughly purified, for amongst the heroes we see Gorgons with spread
wings and lolling tongues. Other monsters, destroying animals, surround
the principal actors of the drama as mere unconcerned ‘dummies.’
We accompany the development a step further, and observe that the
monsters have a share in the action; they seem to take part _pro_ and
_con_, like the gods in the Iliad, and, later, they appear in yet more
purified forms as protecting divinities. It is as if the Iliad had
first been drawn in clay by potters and improved upon, till at last it
was shaped in its divine form, and edited under the name of Homer.

_B._ The Hellenic, or classic, style of Greek pottery, based on
the Archaic, shows great improvements in every direction. The
paste is harder, finer, and well glazed, and the colours are less
discordant. The red is of a fiery brightness, and the black without
any spots--sometimes with a greenish hue. In the decoration great
delicacy of shape and feeling is prominent. The figures are laid on
with anatomical accuracy. The limiting frame is dispensed with, giving
ampler scope to a freer and still more connected ornamentation. The
curves are less protruding, and the transition from concave to convex
lines is gentler. The canon of this period, that the vessel had to form
in all its parts one continuous line, rendered these products sometimes
stiff and over-regulated. The influence of the progress in the Attic
style, however, soon corrected this evil, and the potters of Greece
vied with the very best sculptors and painters in beautiful works.
The Asiatic types of winged or unwinged monsters were merely used as
grotesque or comical friezes, and soon began to disappear altogether,
to make room for some useful animal, and, finally, to give place to
frets or garlands of the most beautiful combinations. For the monstrous
creations of an overheated imagination, heroes, gods, and goddesses
were substituted. Perseus destroying Medusa; the Forge of Hephaistos;
a triclinium with Herakles and Alkmene, Hermes and Athene; diskoboli
and their teachers; Aphrodite at her toilette; Ares, Herakles, Athene,
and Zeus driven in their quadrigas by Nikê; Elektra at the tomb of
Agamemnon; Aphrodite crossing the sea on a swan; the blind Chiron
healed by Apollo; the weighing of Cupids--‘young loves for sale;’ and
rows of well-sketched warriors, representing the victories of valour,
beauty, and honesty over barbaric roughness, dishonesty, and despotism,
form the subjects of pictorial ornamentation. What an immense field
for the student of art to peruse, to fill his imagination with lively
classical scenes!

II. The _polychromatic_ style took its origin in the very first
attempts in pottery, when white pipe-clay was painted over. The colours
used were red, violet, and yellow oxides of iron. At the period when
marble was introduced in architecture, and ivory in sculpture, during
the middle of the fifth century B.C., we find these highly-coloured
and richly-decorated vases. The paste was very fine, originally white,
and the colouring encaustic. Not only mineral pigments and metallic
oxides, but also vegetable colours, requiring only a very slow fire,
were known and used. The encaustic consisted of a polychromatic paste
more or less opaque, containing, in addition to wax, also flint,
whether as principal or secondary element it is difficult to decide.
This polychromatic treatment is to be observed on some smaller vessels,
and vases known under the name of Lekythus (with a narrow mouth), and
on saucers of large dimensions, the outsides having reddish figures
on black grounds, and the insides, coloured figures on white grounds.
Pottery led to fashioning in clay, and this to modelling in bronze and
sculpture.

Architecture took its origin in religion, as also did sculpture.
Opposed to the inorganic, objective productions of human intellect, as
embodied in architecture, is spirit aspiring to a subjective existence
in sculpture. The inorganic sternness of architecture is far surpassed
by plastic art, which embodies spirit in a less fixed form. Spirit
is not yet absolutely free, for it requires a tangible body to show
its existence. Unlike music and painting, which by a mere movement
of the air, or a mixture of tints, produce bodies, plastic art has to
fill the three dimensions of space, and does this by means of coarse
matter--with clay, wood, bronze, or stone.

Sculpture stands higher in the scale of art than architecture, for it
is not obliged to transform inorganic matter for a utilitarian purpose.

At a certain period the Greeks were contented with shapeless
divinities; a pointed stone, a square piece of wood, the deformed root
of a tree, a pillar with a circular finish, or a cone, sufficed for
their piety. Even Plato indulged in the untenable proposition that art
was mere mimicry, and therefore a falsehood, and detrimental to virtue;
as truth ought to be the only aim of humanity. The Beautiful with
Plato was a mere abstraction, applicable exclusively to the absolute
‘good’; artistic beauty was looked down upon by him as something bad
and altogether objectionable. The Kynic and Kyrenæic schools held to
a certain degree the opinions of Plato. The Kynics said that anything
good was beautiful--anything bad ugly; whilst the Kyrenæics propounded
that everything beautiful must be good--anything ugly must be bad; and
in this way the notions, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, changed
places. This dialectic difference led at last to Aristotle’s deeper
appreciation of art.

Aristotle, who rarely started from pre-conceived, _à priori_ ideas,
but attached his deep reasonings and admirable inductions to something
tangible and really existent, pronounced, in opposition to the
idealistic Plato, more correct thoughts on art. Imitation, mimicry
(μίμησις {mimêsis}), is with him the subjective formation or creation
of an idea, and therefore a process far superior to that of imperfect
reality; in fact it is a sublimated, idealised representation and
reproduction of reality. Next to the ‘mimesis’ he required purification
from all passion (κάθαρσις {katharsis}) to be the aim and purpose of
art. Genius and imagination were the means by which alone a work of art
could be produced. The principal element in every work of art was with
him ἦθος {êthos}, and wherever Ethos, the ethic or moral principle, was
wanting, the product failed to be artistic in the highest sense of the
word.

The development of Greek sculpture has borne out the sublime views of
Aristotle on art. As soon as the merely naturalistic and sensational
began to rule supreme, the Katharsis was neglected, the Ethic no longer
swayed works of art, and the Antique died out.

The priests at Delphos, at a time when Greece abounded with the most
exquisite Apollo-statues, still held to a pointed pillar as the emblem
of the god of wisdom and the leader of the muses. Anthropomorphism
was long opposed by the hierarchy of Delphi, but they encouraged the
artists to produce beautiful vessels, tripods, lamps, sacrificial
basins, &c., which had to be made according to certain prescribed
forms. By degrees the Asiatic idea ‘that God created man in his own
image’ was inverted by the Greeks, ‘and man began to create the gods in
his own image.’ This one sentence embodies the cause of the progressive
development of Greek sculpture on the one hand, and the ever-stationary
forms of the East on the other. The Greeks had also idols that dropped
from heaven, puppet-like forms or symbolic carvings, like the Artemis
of Ephesus or the _four-armed_ Apollo of the Lakedemonians, reminding
us of Vishnu.

The discoveries at Athens, Kyprus, and most recently at Hassarlik by
Dr. Schliemann, prove the gradual and slow progress of Greek sculpture
in all its different phases. The first Parthenon, destroyed by the
Persians, was adorned with divinities entirely different in shape
from those which surrounded it after it had been rebuilt 444 B.C. The
dresses, ornamentations, jewels, and pearls are of Assyro-Egyptian
and Indo-Persian patterns. The faces of the divinities show far more
of the Turanian than of the Aryan type. The eyes are protruding,
the cheek-bones high, the drapery is extremely stiff, the anatomy
doll-like, and the features bear a kind of repulsive grin. In the
gigantic, rock-hewn bull, near Smyrna, we have a proof that the Indian
Nundi and the Egyptian Apis must have had their worshippers in Greece.

Of Daidalos it is reported that he was the first who improved upon
these symbolic carvings. He made winking gods and walking images
by means of mechanical contrivances. He is said to have been a
contemporary of Theseus; both belong therefore to the mythical period.
Though a statue of Herakles, holding in his right arm a club, whilst
his left extended bears a lion’s skin as a shield, is attributed to
him; and though Homer mentions Daidalos, of Krete, as having wrought a
dance in metal for Ariadne, which formed the model for that wrought by
Hephaistos on the shield of Achilles; the fact that the very word to
‘embellish’ is taken from his name, points less to a distinct person
than to the period in which Greek art began to free itself from Asiatic
bondage.

The historical periods into which we may group Greek sculpture
correspond to those of their architecture.

First period, from the 8th century B.C. to the Persian wars, 470 B.C.

Second period, from Kimon to the end of the Peloponnesian war, 470
B.C.-400 B.C.

Third period, from the delivery of Athens to the conquest of Greece
by the Romans, 400 B.C.-146 B.C. This third period comprises Greek
sculpture in its decline.

Struggle into existence, growth and development, acme and decline,
follow in rapid succession. Wood-carvers and potters begin; then we
have a transition to bronze-works under _Glaukos_, who was the first to
solder the separate parts of the statues, which prior to him had been
always beaten into union. Following up this improvement, the artists
of Samos succeeded in making a clay-model, and then in covering it
with the fluid metal. As if by a supernatural charm the bright metal
statue grew out of the gloomy clay, and formed an everlasting monument
to adorn temples, squares, and streets. _Rhœkos_ and _Theodorus_ of
Samos, with _Smilis_, built the Labyrinth at Lemnos, which they adorned
with 150 columns, which were turned out by an ingenious mechanism, an
improvement on the art of casting in bronze. Pliny describes a bronze
figure by _Theodorus_, which held in its right hand a file, and in its
left a quadriga with a charioteer, which was so small that the car,
with the four horses and the driver, could be covered by the wing of
a fly. The celebrated ring of Polykrates, admirably wrought gold and
silver sacrificial vessels, and a vine with golden leaves and grapes
of precious stones, were also attributed to this artist. At Chios, the
birth-place of Glaukos, the family of _Mêlas_ worked for the first
time in Parian marble; whilst _Byzes_ of Naxos cut marble into thin
slabs for architectural purposes, giving a more exquisite finish to the
houses of the gods. On every side a marked improvement took place. The
head-dress of Apollo was still that of the Egyptian sphinx. The faces
of the statues were placid, mask-like, as if modelled separately and
then fixed on; the eyes looked as if first cut out, and then placed
into their sockets; but the anatomy of the body was treated with
greater care and a more refined feeling. The legs were close together
and the arms hung down perpendicularly, with a prescribed stiffness,
but there were details in the treatment of the stone surface, which
promised well for the future of Greek art, and the promise was most
faithfully kept.

The struggling art freed itself from the fetters of stern canons.
Custom, struck by the lightning of genius, had to vanish, and life,
truth, and beauty as essential elements ruled the Greek mind. To
blend the isolated perfections of the two sexes into one became the
aim of Greek art. Women were sculptured with the colder lines of
manly firmness, and men received gentler forms through a less angular
treatment. The artists conscientiously purified their works from all
passions and second thoughts, expressing nothing that could divert
the mind from the simple admiration of idealised nature. At this
period they only succeeded in animating the limbs of their statues:
action was expressed with great power in strained muscles and swelling
veins. The faces were still without life, and without a comprehension
of those emotions which vibrate electrically in the countenances of
excited humanity. They could not yet petrify the thinking soul, but
they undoubtedly already succeeded in sculpturing the animated body to
perfection.

The _second_ period was ushered in by the versatile and productive
talents of Onatas, Ageladas, Kalamis, Iphikrates, Pythagoras of Regium,
and Myron. Greece had attained her independence, the Persian hordes of
despotism were vanquished, and Athens enjoyed her hegemony. Freedom
and national exultation produced Sokrates, Plato, and Anaxagoras in
philosophy; Kimon, Perikles, and Themistokles in politics; Æschylus,
Sophokles, and Euripides in dramatic poetry; and Pheidias, Praxiteles,
and Skopas in sculpture. If we add to this fourfold triad Herodotus,
Thukydides, and Xenophon, we have given an array of names each of
which singly would have filled the world with its fame, and become a
landmark in the progressive development of humanity. Athens was at
this period the most brilliant centre of intellectual and artistic
life. Men were inspired by the general animation; they began to modify
old thoughts, to transform eîdola, and to give birth to numberless
productions which in beauty and striving for truth surpassed anything
attempted before. Schools of arts vied with the schools of wrestlers,
poets, and thinkers, and all excited the dramatists to their grand
conceptions, which again reacted on plastic art. Under these influences
the imaginary theogony yielded to a more scientific inquiry into
the origin of all things, which led to the recognition of the first
incomprehensible, immutable, eternal cause, no longer based on mere
belief, but on the immovable rock of scientific conviction. No wonder
that art was also inspired by this spiritual movement. The conceptions
of the priests and philosophers were to be loudly proclaimed in visible
forms, and the sculptor, from a deep feeling of veneration for the
Supreme Artist of the Universe, became the expounder of the divinity,
and the exclusive high priest of beauty and truth. Instead of singing
Vedantic hymns or Egyptian psalms and litanies to the glory of God,
the Greek sculptors hewed the gods in majestic forms, and every touch
of their chisels on the lifeless marble, every blow of their hammers,
became an eternally resounding prayer in honour of God.

Wood, metal, clay, precious stones, and marble had by degrees yielded
to the creative power of the Greek masters; and matter could no longer
resist in any way their ruling intellectual force. At this moment,
under these circumstances, Pheidias, the son of Charmides of Athens,
the pupil of Hegias and Ageladas, stepped forward, and was raised by
the superiority of his genius to the dignity of king of Greek plastic
art. The Zeus of Olympia and the Athene of the Parthenon qualified
Pheidias as _the_ sculptor of the concrete _form_ of the divinity;
for if the father of the gods had had a visible form, and his wisdom
and intellect had been incarnate in Athene, both must have looked as
they were sculptured by Pheidias. In symbolic emblems he poetically
expressed the powers of the two divinities; and used the mineral, the
vegetable, and animal kingdoms to glorify their power.

Nothing is left us of these two master-pieces but the glowing
descriptions of those who saw and admired them. That which a
combination of thousands of our artists, with all our technical
advancement, can scarcely accomplish; the drawing of thousands and
thousands of _intellectual_ human beings together to admire their works
of art; was done by Pheidias. Men flocked from all parts of the world
to see and admire his statues, and to offer fervent thanks to the
Father of all for having endowed one of his creatures with the power to
give a correct form to Homer’s lines:

    He (Zeus) spoke, and awful bends his sable brows;
    Shakes his ambrosial curls and gives the nod,
    The stamp of fate, and sanction of the god;
    High heaven with trembling the dread signal took,
    And all Olympus to the centre shook.

We possess in the Vatican a copy of the original head of the Jupiter,
and what a master-piece even this _bad_ copy is! What a power in the
bold, arched brows; the large eyes with their benevolent, forgiving,
and yet commanding glance; the full, parted lips ready to bless and to
forgive; the luxuriant beard, the mighty locks inspiring veneration,
and the beautifully-rounded cheeks, expressive of creative force
and eternal manly beauty! The independent works of Pheidias were
very numerous. Besides the two colossal divinities of bronze (Athene
Promachos, 50 feet high, and Athene ἡ Λημνία {hê Lêmnia}), we find
twelve others mentioned: of these, six were statues of Athene; one
colossal Apollo of bronze, 70 feet high; one marble Hermes; three of
Aphrodite (two of marble, and one of ivory and gold); a mother of the
gods, material unknown; and an Asklepios (Æsculapius) of gold and
ivory. Of sacrificial statues, a group of thirteen bronze figures, in
commemoration of the victory of Marathon, is mentioned as having been
executed by him. In this work twelve mythical characters surrounded
_one_ historical figure--that of Miltiades; a proof that the Greeks
attributed their victory far more to the help of the gods than to the
exertions of their leaders. They were much more inclined to adorn
the courts of their temples and their public places with the statues
of orators, wrestlers, poets, artists, and philosophers, than with
those of men who, in defending their country against invading hordes
of barbarians, did their duty and nothing more. What a scope for our
artists if we were to adorn our town-halls, courts of justice, our
museums, universities, academies, public places, and churches with the
statues of those who had devoted their energies to religion, oratory,
science, art, politics, and the general welfare of their country! If
gratitude were to prompt us to do this, and not childish vanity or
egotistical pride, we should shortly have many Pantheons with excellent
sculptures.

In no town in Europe can the artist study the sculptural splendour
of ancient Greece with greater ease than in London. Of the ninety-two
metopes which adorned the Parthenon on the Akropolis at Athens we
possess seventeen; of the frieze of the cella 3-1/5 feet high and
524 feet long, representing the Panathenaic procession, we possess
fifty-three plates and casts of the whole western side. In all
these sculptures what a clear power of grouping, what a variety of
characters, what handsome men and women! The flower of Athens is seen
assembled to do homage in joyous excitement to the supreme divinity of
the State, the embodiment of wisdom and intellect. Some are crowned
with wreaths; others carry sun-shades, chairs, splendid pitchers,
ornamented vases, or decorated pateras; some are ready to start;
others, preparing in animated haste to take their places, are in the
act of mounting their prancing horses, or, already mounted, eagerly
await the arrival of their friends. On the eastern side, under the
entrance to the temple, there was an admirable group of gods and
goddesses, in whose presence _peplus_, or sacred veil, is delivered to
the authorities of the temple; animals are led to be sacrificed--flute
and kythara-players follow. Amongst the hundreds and hundreds of
figures not one is like the other; the exquisite variety in the folds
of the dresses of the sitting, standing, walking, riding, driving
groups is in general unsurpassed for beauty of design, and perfection
of execution. None of the figures are raised more than _three_ inches
from the background, and yet the most correct perspective is observed.
There is such a softness and truthfulness, such a firmness and ideal
vitality in this frieze, that we may at least attribute the composition
to Pheidias himself. Some plates of the western side are less excellent
in execution; the forms are marked with roughness and dryness, and some
faults in the outlines are also apparent to the critic. Some of the
horses have legs too long, and bodies too thin; in one of the horses,
which is bending its neck to rub its head against one of its fore feet,
the curves are much too stiff. The execution of these reliefs must have
been left to some inferior artist. What we must admire is, that there
are so few faults. The correct study of this frieze ought to serve us
as an example in grouping, and would teach us how to arrange a marble
strip round some monument for the sake of decoration. Little of this
influence, however, is to be observed in our sculptors. We intend
to evolve sculpture from our own inner consciousness, and neglect
these ancient books with their glorious poems in Pentelic marble; we
prefer ‘_going to nature_’ as the popular phrase runs, and ignore or
despise the study of the antique. Now the Greeks had an opportunity of
going to real nature--not with the darkened eye of Asiatic prejudice,
despising matter and exalting _spirit_--but with a prejudice in the
very opposite direction, cultivating spirit only so far as it served
to embellish and to reproduce form. In this they attained perfection,
and to surpass them in sculpture is after all impossible; we can only
try to equal them, and to learn from what they have left us, to produce
other combinations. In this spirit we ought to study the nine figures
from the eastern pediment of the Parthenon, in the British Museum.
What forms, what exquisite drapery! The finest tissue of pliable
stuff is reproduced in hard Pentelic marble. The drapery disguises,
and at the same time reveals, the beautiful forms of the human frame.
Softness and sensationalism were equally avoided by Pheidias and his
school. The study of anatomy was not yet degraded to coarse realism.
It was not yet the aim of Greek sculptors to distort the human body
so as to exhibit expanded muscles, over-strained sinews, and swelling
veins, as expressions of pain, grief, distress, or contortions of
the death-agony. Anatomy served Pheidias as a mould, into which he
poured his beautiful conceptions--the spiritualised forms of gods and
men. Katharsis was the principle of his school. The very heights of
perfection were reached by Pheidias, Polykletus, and Alkemenes. Gods
and goddesses were the subjects of their chisels. They were not only
the high-priests of art--but inspired prophets, to whom divine beauty
was revealed in all its brightness and splendour.

The existence of the Greek State was suddenly shaken to its very
foundation. Internal dissensions weakened the safety of the citizens;
sophistry destroyed philosophy, and mannerism grasped Greek art,
dragged it down from its heights of idealised beauty and hurled it
into the abyss of sensational realism. The best specimen of this
school is the frieze from the temple of Apollo at Bassæ, near Phigalia
in Arkadia. (Found 1812, now in the British Museum.) It represents
Kentaurs fighting with Amazons. The old Indian Ghandarvas, the moist
and heavy clouds that hinder the sun from breaking forth in all his
glory, and are conquered by his fiery shafts, became in time monsters,
half-men, half-horses, fighting against loveliness and civilisation.
The Amazons in this instance represent fair Greece rushing into civil
strife. Passion is predominant in action and expression. Amazons are
dragged by the hair and by the legs from their horses; a Kentaur is
seen biting a warrior in the shoulder. Bold naturalism and vulgar
realism go hand-in-hand in these sculptures. How sensitive art is--how
faithfully it reflects the social condition of a nation! and the
feelings by which the artists were pervaded may be studied in this
frieze. The nude is treated with exquisite truthfulness, but there is
heaviness in the sudden, too violent movements. Action and expression
lose the balance of the symmetrical. The women are common; their
drapery floating and yet stiff, deranged for the sake of effect. The
artists worked no more with love and security. The political party
spirit troubled their imagination. The chisel trembled with rage or
fear, with hatred or passion, in their hands; they saw prophetically
the national downfall of their country, and with it science, art,
poetry, and philosophy were to be rendered for thousands of years
houseless and homeless.

Once more art revived under Skopas, Praxiteles, and Lysippus, but in
a totally different shape. Greece had lost through her civil war the
proper balance between her moral and intellectual forces. Simplicity
and refinement of thought had vanished. In literature metaphors
prevailed; in politics Aristides had to yield to the double-tongued
Alkibiades; in tragedy Sophokles was superseded by Euripides; in
sculpture the immortal Pheidias was followed by Praxiteles. The
national spirit of the Greeks, inspired by common interests, swayed by
the very highest aspirations in arts and sciences, suddenly collapsed
into a narrow-minded, particularising egotism. Tribes cared only
for tribes, parties for parties. The public buildings began to be
neglected, whilst the private dwellings gained in ornamentation and
comfort, what was denied to the grand national enterprises. The public
places were no longer adorned with the statues of those who had gained
the general approbation of the masses. The artist, doubtful whom to
please, tried to please everyone, or to satisfy the individual fancy
of a paying patron. Art was no more the chaste virgin sacrificing to
beauty, but became a courtesan seeking general and special favour
at all hazards. The divinities were no more the representations of a
spiritual eîdolon, but a glowing sentiment of sensual love was poured
over their frames; they were no longer ideal conceptions in marble, but
beautiful flesh forms in stone or bronze. They lost all generalisation,
they were more correct in the anatomical outlines, but a passionate
sentiment of sensuality thrilled through every point. Kephisodotus
(the elder), probably the father of Praxiteles, embodied the change in
Greek thought in a beautiful group. Eirene (peace) fondles the child
Pluton (riches)--a splendid allegorical representation of the political
condition of Greece at this time. ‘Let us put an end to our quarrels;
let us have peace, and enjoy life once more.’

Skopas, born on the island of Paros, expressed the modern flow of ideas
in Greece with greater clearness. Violent scenes of deadly struggle
filled the pediments of the temple of Athene Alea at Tegea. In front,
the hunt of the Kalydonian boar by Herakles, at the back Achilles
fighting with Telephos was represented. An under-current of thought,
a kind of allegory, may be traced in this composition, for the boar
to be hunted was the opposition. Art was no longer to exalt the mind
unconditionally, but to fulfil another purpose--to irritate, to excite
to hatred, and to arouse passion; thus placed, art must lose its
civilising influence, and it did this step by step. Even the divinities
sculptured by Skopas were not to inspire veneration, but to please
by little allegorical additions; his Apollo (Smintheus) stood on a
mouse; Apollo, the leader of the muses, the representative of vivifying
light in art, science, and the universe, degraded to a beautiful
‘_mouse-killer_.’ Aphrodite, the mother of humanity, was sculptured
sitting on a goat--the vilest emblem of passion in union with the
purest eîdolon of tender love. Another Apollo was represented in the
long waving robes of an elegant Grecian lady playing the lyre; this was
still more objectionable. Though the drapery excites our admiration
by its exquisite softness and finish, the statue appears to have been
chiselled to show the artist’s skill in carving a heap of waving
drapery. Whenever art condescends to such tricks it is on the high-road
to degradation. Skopas composed a splendid group for a pediment,
representing Achilles receiving from his mother the arms forged by
Hephaistos. The principal figures are Thetis, the queen of the bright
green waves, Poseidon, and Achilles; they are surrounded by a crowd of
Nereids and Tritons, all in harmonious arrangement. Richer in grouping
are some marble reliefs (now in the Glyptothek at Münich), representing
the wedding of Poseidon and Amphitrite. The mother of the bride, Doris,
is seated on a Hippokamp (sea-horse), holding two torches towards the
couple; Tritons play on shells and lyres a merry wedding tune. Nereids
surround them. One rides on a sea-bull, led by a mischievous-looking
Eros, standing on its left fore-foot; another, mounted on a fantastic
sea-monster, is accompanied by another, borne by a Triton; other
Nereids follow, pointing towards the principal group, one sitting
on a Hippokamp, with an Eros on its curled tail; a dragon carrying
a Nereid is led with self-conscious pride by another Eros, whilst a
Triton carries another sea-nymph on his winding body with placid and
contented looks. The composition in general, and in all its details,
is perfect. Without over-crowding the allotted space, it could not be
better filled up. There is a striking freedom in the lines, and lively
contrast of forms. We may consider this relief the prototype of all
those fantastic compositions of the pure renaissance style, in which we
see dragons and monsters, bulls and horses, entwined with plants and
flowers, nymphs and gods, everything real and imaginary, beautiful and
graceful, united into one great dissonant harmony. Skopas was the first
(so far as we know) who sculptured Venus in the full beauty of her nude
body. Pheidias would have considered such a treatment of the mother
of mankind blasphemy. In a group of Eros, Himeros, and Pothos (Love,
Longing, and Desire), we find a classification of a general feeling
into three distinct subdivisions, executed with conscious discernment
in order to produce a sensational effect. A raving Bacchante appears to
rush away with dishevelled hair, in flowing robes; the head is thrown
backwards in delirious delight; the marble lives and breathes maddening
joy, but is vivified with sensual feelings, and not inspired with the
elevating spirit of artistic simplicity and purity.

Of this period we may study another master-piece in the British Museum;
the frieze of the tomb of Mausolos at Halikarnassus. The greater part
is in London and the remainder at Genoa. The subject is a battle
between Greeks and Amazons. The composition is nearly as good as
that on the Parthenon. There is a continuous symmetrical stream of
action and reaction, as in the dashing waves of a stormy sea. _Skopas_
worked the eastern, _Bryaxis_ the northern, _Timeotheos_ the southern,
and _Leochares_ the western side. Many mistakes may be found in the
details, but the whole is a master-piece of manly thought;--it may be
said to have been the _last manly_ product of the period.

_Praxiteles_ altogether turned the scale; Aphrodite, Demeter,
Persephone, Flora, Eros, Dionysius, and Apollo, are the divinities
mostly sculptured by him. Everything is smooth, young, and effeminate.
All harshness of line is avoided, all loftier ideas discarded. The
flesh become stone is placed before us in charming and full roundness.
Aphrodite was no longer draped--but with the concealing drapery the
higher conception of the divinity fled. Venus, conscious of her charms,
with a smile on her lips, and a coquettish movement of her hand, sinks
to the level of an every-day woman. Venus had eaten of the tree of
knowledge; with the consciousness of her particular womanly charms the
ideal of divine universality was gone.

We possess of Praxiteles, an Eros in the Vatican, and his celebrated
Apollo with the lizard (Saurokthonos) in the Louvre. Both these statues
are more women than men. The lines are too soft; the bodies as though
without muscles or bones, composed only of flesh and fat. It is true
that the older artists also softened down the too marked lines of the
sexes, and in blending them together created ideal forms of beauty; but
now the mere surface of the woman’s body was used for both sexes, to
affect the senses exclusively.

Three groups (the one probably for the pediment of a temple, the other
two forming independent works of art) deserve special mention.

The group of Niobe and her dying children, attributed to Skopas or
Praxiteles. Greece was fast sinking. _Niobe-Greece_ sees her children
struck down one after the other by the inexorable decree of the
gods, who are bent on punishing the _proud mother_ who only cared
for the _outward_ beauty of her children, and neglected their moral
_inner_ grandeur. Niobe, amidst a harmonious confusion of misery and
endless woe, stands erect, and presses the youngest child to herself,
turning her proud looks upwards, her eyes filled with tears of heroic
resignation--for she knows the gods have willed her downfall, and
their will is unalterable. This moment of agony, of mental rather than
bodily suffering, makes the group a master-piece of antique beauty and
grandeur.

This cannot be said of the sensational Laokoön, the joint work of
Agesander, Athenodorus, and Polydoros (of which there is a copy in
the Vatican), and the so-called ‘Farnese Bull,’ the joint work of
Apollonios and Tauriskos (a copy of which exists in the museum at
Naples). Bodily anguish is the dominating element in these two groups.
If it were the province of art to depress the soul, and to fill us with
pain and horror, nothing could surpass the technical skill with which
these two are arranged.

In the first we have:--

1. In the father a stifled _death scream_.

2. In the younger son, to the right, the last _convulsions_ of a dying
boy.

3. In the elder son, to the left, an unbounded _horror_ at witnessing
the frightful death of father and brother.

There is no psychological necessity in this group to indemnify us for
the pathological and anatomical truthfulness of so great an amount of
horrible suffering. Art has never to serve as a hospital ward, and to
force us to witness the contortions of a poor family dying poisoned
by strychnine or arsenic. Not less objectionable is the revenge of
a mother and her two sons on a defenceless woman. In this group we
have:--

1. The horror-stricken, half-dying, half-imploring look of poor Dirkê.

2. The merciless glance of the jealous Antiope, wrapt in placid
satisfaction to see herself revenged on her rival.

3. The ferocious anger of the two passionate sons; and, lastly,

4. The wild look of the furious bull, ready to dash the beautiful frame
of a frail woman to pieces. Dramatic justice is here meted out by the
artist in a most revolting way. A bull is called in to help to punish;
it is the vulgarity of the cruel revenge that degrades the technically
masterly work of art. The free grouping of marble statues is one of the
most difficult tasks, and was never attempted during the classic period
of ancient art. A mixture of men and animals is even more to be avoided.

As soon as the gods of Egypt changed their architectural and monumental
position, they lost their sway over the superstitious masses; as soon
as the Greeks lost that balance of morality, which, in the form of the
beautiful, regulated their life, science, and art, they lost at the
same time their productive power. Form and idea as in Asia came into
conflict; the _formal_ had attained the extreme of perfection, and the
new _ideas_ had not yet ripened.

Art was either to touch the feelings or to speak to reason--it was
to be based on a mere imitation of nature, or to be the expression
of some thought in some form. This ‘either,’--‘or,’--or this
‘neither,’--‘nor,’ which divided art-critics during this period, made
an end of art altogether. The Asiatics rent the universe asunder
with conflicting abstractions based on the phenomena of nature; the
Greeks lost their power, when they once recognised that there was
something higher than the mere _form_. A new sphere was felt to open
new spiritual beauties--but this sphere was to be attained through
totally different means. The formal was however so highly developed by
the Greeks that we shall see the new spirit, after more than a thousand
years, become incarnate in those forms.

We see then clearly that art, the product of the creative force of
men, requires a certain moral and intellectual condition, under which
alone it can actively live. Change the moral temperature through the
superstitions of a terrified populace, the aspect of nature, the
despotic organisation of government, or the rule of a wild, uneducated
mob, and the artistic force will also change or die out altogether. The
artist acts only to a certain degree on the public; the public reacts
with a greater combined _vis inertiæ_ on the artist, who is merely the
reflection of certain ideas floating in the intellectual atmosphere
around him. Is a man who sees nothing but emaciated, beggarly, or
sanctimonious faces, thin limbs, hungry looks, dwellings bare of
all domestic comfort, decayed brick-houses and crumbling walls, to
paint convivial scenes of happiness and joy? Or let him change this
atmosphere and live in a sphere of so-called respectability; having
always the same bland smile before him, the same trimmed whiskers, the
same business-like self-contentment, the same stiff collars and cuffs;
hearing the same stereotyped, insignificant phrases about the weather
or the funds, the price of coals or meat--will he, influenced by such
an atmosphere, not draw or paint only caricatures, and never grand
and heart-stirring historical paintings, recording in glowing colours
scenes full of life, excitement, passion, and dramatic action? In such
surroundings it is necessary for an artist to create for himself a
world of his own--an intellectual world--by turning to the glorious
records of the past, and devoting every spare hour to the study of
the ancients and the reading of history. His imagination, deadened
by reality, must be fed and nourished by the poets, poetry, works of
art, and historical facts of the past. Our meagreness and poverty in
artistic productions take their origin in our unpardonable neglect
of the study of history; through this neglect we have deprived art
altogether of its firmest basis.

The very moment that the Greek artists lost their historical and
poetical ground, they took to and excelled in painting barbers’ and
shoemakers’ shops; oyster shells, vases, little combinations of chairs
and musical instruments, and small things, with great accuracy. In
fact the same causes produced the same pictorial effects; the mind
of the Greek nation had dwindled, and their works of art embraced
decorations of household furniture and pottery. In these ornamentations
the reminiscences of a by-gone age may be traced; they are still
symmetrical to the highest degree, plants are still treated with
great conventional freedom, but the Greeks only worked as skilful
workmen--artists they produced no more.



CHAPTER IX.

ETRUSKAN ART.


The first question that here suggests itself is, who were the
Etruskans? Their name Tuskan, from Tuisko, points at once to an Aryan
branch of Teutonic race. But ethnologists differ. Some say they were
Phœnicians, others assert they were Egyptians; some that they were
pure Teutons, and others that they were pure Kelts. Taking their old
pottery into consideration, as given in Lord Hamilton’s admirable
plates, or in the collection of the Museum at Clusium (Chiusi), we are
induced to pronounce the aborigines of Etruria to have been Turanians,
conquered by immigrant Aryans. This mixture of Aryans and Mongols under
the influence of a totally different aspect of nature, on a different
soil, under different social and religious conditions, produced a type
quite different from the Greek--a kind of transition link between the
Pelasgians and the Romans.

Two distinct immigrations of Aryans into Etruria are recorded. The
first about 1650 B.C., when Pelasgians and Thyrrenians settled amongst
the aborigines; and the second, 400 years before Herodotus, about the
times of Thales and Lykurgus. Of the first immigration we have scarcely
any relics; the second time the immigrants succeeded in forming an
organised social state; they brought with them Greek mythological
notions, and a kind of Greek writing. Their language and writing
died out after Augustus, and disappeared altogether before Julian,
fourth century A.D. Nature forced them to industry and enterprise.
The Etruskans had to cultivate their fields by individual exertion;
in spring they had to ward off the devastating waters of overflowing
rivers, and in summer they had to provide water for their parched
valleys. They consequently became masters in constructing aqueducts and
irrigating the land, at an early period.

Their mythology was composed of Assyrian, Persian, and Egyptian
notions, strongly tinged with gloomy superstitions. Petrifactions of
the most astonishing forms abound in the plains where they settled.
Near Cortona the bones of a whale have been found. The Arno valley
resembles a vast elephant burial-place; and the bones of the mastodon,
rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, are scattered broadcast all over old
Etruria, and are still used to fence in the fields. Besides the bones
of these huge monsters, those of hyænas, panthers, bears, and wolves
are found in such abundance, that the peasants to this very day believe
they grew like mushrooms over night, having been sown by invisible
spirits to give the poor the trouble of picking them up. The aspect
of nature and the remains of an antediluvian world gave the Etruskan
priesthood an irresistible sway over the minds of the people. Whilst in
Greece, under the influence of a happy aspect of nature, the Indian,
Assyrian, and Egyptian embodiments of the forces of nature lost their
fearful forms; in Etruria they gained even more gloomy and melancholy
figures in the presence of everlasting thunder and lightning, and
volcanic disturbances.

The Etruskans had two sets of gods.

_a._ The veiled gods, with ‘_Asar_’ at their head, representing the
cosmognical forces of nature; especially fire, water, earth, and ether,
like the divinities of India and Egypt.

_b._ Twelve lower divinities presiding over the order of existing
and visible things. Their gods have a great resemblance to those of
the Scandinavians, uniting in one distinct chain the Aryans on the
Ganges, those on the Nile, and those round the Delphic oracle, with the
Hyperboreans of the farthest north. They all believed in an ‘inferno,’
only with the Greeks this was an Elysium, a land of shadows, a land of
happiness. The divinities of the Etruskans were phantoms of horror.
The whole of their creed was devoid of a comforting union between gods
and men. This despairing faith impressed the people with a ferocious
character. Their art under such impressions never could reach the
beautiful. A tribe of whom it has been said that their priests
attacked the Romans with hissing serpents and burning torches--a tribe
that crouched in fear before invisible gods, and hated every other
tribe--could never take an interest in the gentler emotions produced by
poetry or art. They remembered the Greek expedition against Thebes, and
adorned their _burial_ urns with scenes from the battle at Marathon;
they commemorated the heroic deed of a ploughman, who, in the midst of
the battle, took up his plough and drove the Persians before him like
a flock of frightened sheep, whilst the Greeks remembered the deed in
mentioning _Echetlos_ in connection with Marathon, but possessed no
record of the fact on any of their monuments. The Etruscans, however,
delighted in such scenes. At their funerals they had no dances, but
sanguinary fights.

No less than twelve different thunderbolts were known to them. They
believed in a thunderbolt of prophecy, one of authority, one of law,
one of wish, one of admonition, one of approval, one of help, one of
prosperity, one of falsehood, one of plague, one of threats, and one
of murder. Every transaction in life, with the best or the worst of
mankind, might have been accompanied by an approving or disapproving
thunder-clap. They firmly believed the thunderbolts used by the Supreme
Deity were all manufactured in the fiery interior of Mount Ætna. They
possessed no ritual of the dead like the Egyptians, but a thunderbolt
ritual. Every day of the year that brought thunder had its special
signification. All the veiled gods, and _nine_ of the secondary gods,
had the power of thundering.

Their conception of angry, jealous, persecuting, thundering, and
lightning divinities has much in common with the Jewish and Phœnician
ideals of the Supreme Deity. This peculiarity the Northerns shared in
their conception of Thor. The Etruskan belief, that aërolites were
thunderbolts sent by the angels against the Titans, has a great analogy
with the Persian legends assuming these to have been hurled by the
Fervers against the Devas.

Their superior divinities are, like the kings or priests of Persia,
Assyria, and Babylon, provided with wings. Jupiter, Diana, Minerva
(a kind of female Mercury with the Etruskans, who had wings not only
on her shoulders, but also on her feet) and Venus were all winged;
others, like Proserpina (Persephone), Amor (Eros), and the Furies, had
wings on their heads. White and black winged genii (angels and demons)
are plentiful in the subterranean tombs of the old Etruskan town,
Tarquinium. According to Dempster, their cars even are often provided
with wings. What was a metaphor with the Greeks was turned by the
Etruskans into matter-of-fact. Euripides in his ‘Orestes’ speaks of the
winged car of Phœbus, and on some Eleusian coins Ceres is seen sitting
in a winged car, drawn by two serpents.

From a gloomy contemplation of supernatural matters the Etruskans
turned their minds to extremely worldly and practical purposes.
They wished to secure their towns and to protect them against real
and imaginary monsters, and they constructed excellent walls and
most comfortable houses. The ‘_cavœdium_’ (‘cavum œdium’), with the
_impluvium_ and _compluvium_ (the one for collecting and the other for
preserving water), was altogether an Etruskan invention, and was called
by the Romans who adopted it, _Tuscanicum_. They constructed temples
differing only in some details from those of the Greeks. The cella was
generally _square_; sometimes they had more than one cella; one in the
Postica and one in the Antica (the rear and front of the temple). The
portico was often filled with columns. The architectural style was a
rough and primitive Doric. They never attained the majestic simplicity
which distinguished this order in Greece. The columns had a base, were
more slender (about fourteen moduli), stood more apart, and supported a
wooden roof with clumsily-protruding beams, an unwieldy cornice, and a
high pediment.

Cinerary chests they had in abundance with divinities on them, worked
in reliefs of a decidedly Egyptian type. They used brazen tablets
representing Osiris and Isis. Little clay figures were put into the
graves to protect the dead. Amongst these has been found a winged
Harpokrates or Horus, with the fore-finger of one hand on his lips, a
lotus on his head, and a cornucopia in his other hand.

Their ancient pottery is more in the Egyptian than the Greek style.
Their jars represent sphinxes and women; their drinking cups are in
the form of human legs, with human faces replacing the knee; some are
in the form of Mercury with a pointed, attached beard, like those
to be seen in Egyptian divinities. Some of the patterns of their
ornamentation, in general as well as in detail, are perfectly Mexican.
On one of their lamps we have a winged Kentaur holding a rabbit, whilst
four rabbits running after one another, form the spirited ornamentation
of the border, intermixed with triangles, rosettes, or solar circles.

With their religious notions, it is not surprising that the Etruskans
should have devoted the greatest care to their tombs and burial-places.

These tombs were:--

1. _Subterranean_; hewn into the tufa on plains. Steps led underground,
where a vestibulum, consisting of several chambers, sometimes provided
with columns, led into the vault. The ceiling of this was either
horizontal or pointed, in imitation of a wooden roof. Many such tombs
are found at Volci, Clusium, and Volaterra.

2. A second species of their subterranean tombs consisted of those
_provided with tumuli_ above-ground; simple graves as found in
Scandinavia and the north of the Western hemisphere, the corpses lying
on simple stone beds.

3. _Burial chambers_ (cucumella) with artificial hills above them, and
provided with a tower-like construction, or with conical columns. They
are found near Volci, Tarquinii, and Viterbo.

4. _Chambers, vertically hewn into the rocks_, with a simple or
decorated entrance near Tuskania.

5. Rock-hewn chambers _with façades screening the entrance_, as at
Aria, or with Doric fronts as at Orchia. Asia furnished patterns for
the decoration and construction of these tombs. The reliefs are full
of lively scenes, reminding us of Assyrian and Babylonian sculptures.
The figures are heavy, the legs short and thick; the upper part of the
statues is placed ‘en face,’ whilst the legs and feet are in profile.
The monstrous element predominates. Harpies, chimeras, winged lions,
sphinxes, and griffins abound; but they are void of any symmetrical
arrangement, and are dry, stiff, and as revolting as possible in their
coarse outlines.

With regard to the construction of their walls it is remarkable that
they improved very early on the Kyklopean mode, and constructed the
very best regular freestone walls. They had arched gates, built with
wedge-shaped stones, which produced by their span a firmly-vaulted
construction. The Etruskans thus acquired a lasting merit in the
history of art by the new epoch which they inaugurated with the
introduction of this decidedly progressive element in the technical
construction of architectural works. As _potters_ and _metal-workers_
they distinguished themselves more than either as architects or
sculptors. As the Chinese are considered as the potters _par
excellence_ of the farthest East, the Etruskans may be called the
potters of the West. In burning, painting, and fashioning clay they
appear to have acquired a speciality, so that their trade in vases
extended all over the then known world, and even the Greeks furnished
their houses with Etruskan pottery in preference to their own. The
gloomy mythology of the Etruskans was far better suited to potters,
manufacturing black vases with red figures, or red vases with black
figures, or for casting dark bronze figures, than to sculptors handling
white marble. They also distinguished themselves in chiselling and
founding metal. Innumerable chests, candelabra, metal frames for
looking-glasses, and other utensils show their cleverness in working
gold, silver, and bronze. Some ivory carvings, described in a report
of the Archæological Society at Rome, 1862, are of great interest.
They were found at Præneste (Palestrina), where also silver vessels in
the purest Egyptian style, and an ivory tablet with Assyrian patterns,
were excavated. More important even than these discoveries are four
ivory tablets found at Corneto, showing traces of gilding and painting.
The carvings represent scenes of every-day life, mixed with mystic
figures. We see on the tablets a lady and gentleman sitting at dinner,
served by a little boy; a huntsman chasing game; a kind of sea-divinity
holding in each hand a fish; and a man in a biga driving winged horses.
These figures might have formed representations concerning the zodiac,
namely: the Twins, Sagittarius, Pisces, and the Sun (Phœbus or Horus).
The receding forehead of the driver and his manner of holding the whip
are types which we constantly meet in Egyptian sculptures and reliefs.

About 660 B.C. Eucheir, Diopos, Eugrammos and Demeratos were driven
from Korinthum into Etruria, and from that date we note a decided
improvement in the artistic productions. The Etruskans began to excel
in terra-cotta and bronze works. Their vases, amphoræ, statuettes,
cinerary and mystic chests, prove this. Their mystic chests (cistæ
mysticæ, corresponding to the quippa-chests of the Mexicans) were made
of embossed bronze. The lids were ornamented with mysterious animals,
and the legs formed of the claws or paws of mythical brutes. Foliage
and Greek frets in good arrangement were also used. Their candelabra
are of a superior design. Other works of art, such as ornamented backs
and handles for mystic mirrors, in gold, silver, or bronze, are of
excellent technical execution.

There was, however, too much of the aborigine Turanian element left in
the Etruskans. The noble and elevating rhythmus of Greek idealisation
is everywhere wanting. Cooking utensils, small pieces of furniture,
tables, chairs, and couches, aqueducts and viaducts, and even cloacas,
were made and constructed to perfection, but as soon as they attempted
the production of human forms, or of higher works in architecture,
they did not succeed. The heads of their figures are either too small
or too large. The legs are short; the drapery in stiff lines hangs
down with rope-like regularity. Animals are much better executed;
but the human form, in consequence of a scrupulous and constrained
conception, and an exaggerated attention to detail, had a cold,
lifeless appearance, void of all spiritual animation. Their imagination
was one-sidedly directed by nature and religion to take a gloomy and
distorted view of creation, and their products bear this spiritual
stamp. In everything they touched we recognise the Egyptian mythology
with its stifling breath, and the influence of the volcanic ground
on which the Aryans were thrown, amongst a number of superstitious
Turanians. The rumbling, fire-spitting Vesuvius and Ætna worked on the
brains of the new immigrants. The sudden, devastating bursts of fire
and water filled their minds with horror; they were forced to ponder
over the instability of human things. The beauty of the Italian sky,
the exuberant luxury of the vegetation, heightened in them a feeling of
dumb despair. The contrast between life and death was too striking, and
filled the souls of the artists with awe and dread, reflected in their
artistic compositions.

Their representations were often divided into two distinct
compartments. On one side were scenes from the lower regions. Mantus,
Mania, and furies pursuing the deceased with hammers. Mantus of the
Etruskans, probably a descendant of Radamanthus, was an infernal
divinity. Mania (whose name we have preserved in the words _mania_
and _maniac_) was the mother of the Lares and persecuted the dead.
Our readers must begin to see whence many of the horrifying scenes
of the middle ages took their origin. On the other side were scenes
from life in the upper regions--joyous, triumphal processions and
festivities. Drunkenness and licentiousness are always twin-sisters of
superstition and bigotry. These arrangements recall the same custom of
dividing subjects in antithetical groups observed in Assyria, where
we find on the slabs hunts in the upper compartments, and joyous
festivities in the row below. The subjects chosen with the Assyrians
were undoubtedly much healthier. Hard work first, and joy and happiness
afterwards. The Etruskans kept to the old Egyptian customs, reminding
man continually of the short duration of his life. The mummy placed
in Egyptian banqueting halls, with the inscription: ‘Eat and drink;
such a one wilt thou be,’ had a pernicious ethical effect; instead of
sobering man down, it drove him to reckless and despairing gaiety and
extravagance. The Etruskans, though filling their imaginations with
horrors, could never master art in life. They had the savage fondness
for adorning their persons with innumerable trinkets. The desire to
shine conspicuously for the short and uncertain time of their existence
absorbed their artistic endeavours, and this fashion prevails amongst
the peasants in Italy at the present day. The patterns are now filigree
Moresque; in ancient times they were in a clumsy Greek style. To wear a
ring was considered essential to man’s and woman’s existence.

This led them very early to cultivate glyptics, or the art of
stone-cutting. The subjects were partly mythological, partly heroic;
the artists delighted in strong muscles, attitudinizing groups, and
theatrical postures.

In the paintings and mosaics, with which they adorned their burial
chambers, we may distinguish, in reference to their treatment:

a. An Archaic style;

b. An Etruskan style.

A. In the _Archaic Style_ they exhibit a thorough acquaintance with
Greek mythology and classical poetry. Orpheus, Homer, Hesiod and Pindar
furnish the scenes, but the dead play the most conspicuous part.
We have, in another world, festivities in vine bowers and blooming
gardens; processions, gymnastic games and races amongst the departed.
The grouping is spirited so far as variety is concerned, but the
execution is rough, and bare of all higher artistic feeling.

B. In the _Etruskan Style_, stern simplicity and roughness yield to
a freer treatment of the human form. The thick-set, short figures
are replaced by better drawn and lighter forms; the subjects are
exclusively taken from Etruskan mythology. White and black spirits
(angels and devils), armed with big hammers, are represented as
fighting for the souls of the departed. In one of the graves (see
Dempster and Agincourt) we have a soul hanged, and tormented with iron
instruments, roasting over a brisk fire. In these products, in spite
of the intervention of the Roman period of history, we find the direct
connecting link between the old Assyrian, Egyptian, Etruskan, and early
Christian arts.

The Etruskans indulged in fantastic conceptions, and rejoiced in forced
and cruel scenes, and in bizarre compositions. Art with them was
exclusively technical. We may arrange their works into the following
five groups:--

1. The original _Tuscanica_ (as Strabo has it) or Etruskan works. Heavy
in form and details; dresses very stiff; figures without beards. Of
this group we have many bronze figures, very few sculptures in stone,
some gems, and some very old wall-paintings.

2. The Oriental group. Imitations of Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian
patterns. Tapestry, for floor and wall-decorations, was much used. The
imitations were good, but without any effort at originality. Remains
plentiful.

3. Caricatures distinguished by grotesque quaintness. This style
predominates at periods, when nations look upon art as superfluous;
not as one of the most important factors of civilization. Taste
degenerates, and the higher aspirations of art are crippled by
distorted products. The quaint is preferred to the beautiful, and the
dynamic force of the artistic element, driven into this direction,
loses itself in a broad grin at everything sacred and elevated in
State, religion, and science, fostering a deplorable spirit of vulgar
egotism, which looks down upon the sublime exertions of artists, as the
mere vagaries of simpletons or madmen.

4. Works in the best Greek style, but only in bronze, as frames and
handles of mirrors. Whenever the higher spirit of art is neglected,
the power of the artist is directed to small matters; he serves trade
and nothing but trade. We have in these ‘Articles of Etruria’ the
prototypes of our ‘Articles de Paris.’

5. Mechanical products, such as helmets, weapons, swords, shields,
hatchets, clubs, wall-breakers, cooking utensils, pots, pans, and
saucers, were of exquisite workmanship, but without any attempt at
artistic forms. The utilitarian incubus is as bad as the hierarchical
canon; both expel all higher aspirations from the realm of art.

The Etruskans thought, with many of us, that if the house were only
built of dry bricks, the carpet thick, the furniture solid and heavy,
and the knife sharp, it was unnecessary to care for anything else.
Whilst such ideas exist, art, in a higher sense, will remain as little
possible, as it was with the Etruskans.



CHAPTER X.

ROMAN ART.


The Greeks, from a poetical, artistic, and esthetical, and the Romans,
from a social, legal, and political point of view, are still our
masters. Historical art-critics, and a certain class of writers, who
would wish to see the whole universe one great court of justice with
an infinite variety of crimes, subdivided into felony, misdemeanour,
petty larceny, &c., will never agree as to the place that should be
assigned to the Romans in the world’s history. We are bold enough to
assert that the whole of the criminal and sanguinary history of Rome,
with her products in literature and art, might be wiped out, and yet
philosophically, poetically, and artistically, not the slightest gap in
the progressive development of humanity would be found. Socially and
legally, we should be sorry to miss a state, which had a mission of its
own, which, if well understood, may teach us the causes why the gentler
feelings of morality were oppressed, imagination defiled, and every
higher artistic aspiration deadened in Rome.

From beginning to end, ROMA, read backwards AMOR, was an ambiguous
‘state-abstraction,’ which absorbed the individual. The State with the
Greeks was a concrete association of freemen. With the Romans, it was
the abstract principle of an imaginary union of heterogeneous citizens.
The Greeks fostered science and art, poetry and philosophy. The Romans
despised science, mocked art, scorned poetry, and never condescended
to trouble themselves about philosophy. The Greeks colonised and
civilised their colonies, which became the free daughters of a free
mother-country, attached to it by the ties of a common worship of
beauty and intellectual enjoyment. The Romans conquered, and the
conquered provinces were to furnish soldiers or labourers, and were
tied by means of despotism to the wheels of the proud state-carriage.
The Greeks humanised; the Romans demoralised and organised. The Greeks
played at soldiers in a spirit of glorious patriotism. The Romans were
soldiers for the sake of conquest, plunder, and vain glory. Spirited
youthfulness was the Greek element. Stern and calculating manliness
the essence of the Roman. The Greek was free in life, in art, in the
worship of his gods, in poetry and philosophy. The Roman was cowed
down in religion, politics and life, by the inexorable despotic
force of legal phantoms, which turned men into mere machines. The
despotism of the East was the despotism of some invisible god, or
some visible ruler; and it often overlooked the individual in its
almighty position. The democracy of Greece gave fair play to individual
talent and genius in art and science; but the Roman self-constituted
aristocracy, or rather triple theocracy, invented the inexorable and
meddlesome monster authority, to which everything was to be sacrificed.
Under the tragi-comical sobriquet, _Salus reipublicæ suprema lex_ (in
free translation, ‘whatever we in authority find good, is good’), they
committed the blackest crimes, which no historian could venture to
commit to paper in their whole truthfulness.

This triple theocracy presented itself in the shape of seven mythical
kings; in the form of a nominal republic, which was in reality a
military and theocratic aristocracy; and lastly in the theocracy of the
Cæsars, which in course of time was changed into a papal theocracy.

The Romans had to reverence and submit to theocracy under the form of a
triple authority--the political authority; the paternal authority; and
the legal authority. Wherever the Roman turned to, in that vast empire,
which was bounded in the west by the Atlantic, in the north by the
Rhine and the Danube, in the east by the Euphrates, and in the south by
the deserts of Arabia and Africa, he met his triple crown of authority.
He was confronted by some consul or proconsul, some law, some edict,
some whim or caprice of an invisible something, that always had a
visible _lictor_ at its command with a bundle of sticks, ready for
flogging, or, in urgent cases, with a well-sharpened axe to sever the
head from the trunk. He had to obey a power, with innumerable soldiers,
ready to punish whole provinces if they resisted that ever present,
ever vigilant, and ever-active State abstraction. Whilst in Greece,
the individual man was developed with all his bodily and intellectual
faculties in science and art, Rome disturbed and hindered this
individual development, concentrating the static and dynamic forces of
her citizens on brutal military enterprises.

Rome, through its theocratical spirit, oppressed the conquered by
the conqueror, the poor by the rich, the ‘nihil habentes’ by the
‘possedentes,’ the client by the patron, the plebeian by the patrician,
humanity by priests and gods, and the individual by the State. The
Roman as individual was never a self-acting, self-conscious, and
free-thinking entity, but a mere cipher after the State unit; a wheel
in a large and complicated machine; a drop of water in an ocean;
an atom in the universe. The Greek recognised in the State only an
agglomeration of men like himself; this sum total of citizens had
to serve _him_; the State was to him a means, not an aim. The Greek
demanded of the State that it should protect him in the free and
perfect use of his bodily and intellectual faculties. He was, if he
liked, poet, magistrate, athlete, judge, dancer, philosopher, fighter,
priest, wrestler, tragedian, soldier, or singer; all for his own sake,
without ever becoming an over-regulated or over-regulating pedant.
He worshipped his gods without restraining dogmas; he never allowed
his individuality to be absorbed by some incomprehensible, shapeless,
universal theocracy; his whole scientific and artistic national career
was one glorious struggle against such an accomplishment. All this was
the very reverse with the Romans. That Rome had no art or science of
her own, was the effect of those causes which we have here tried to
sketch in a general way.

The Romans, like the Greeks, were a mixture of Aryans and Turanians,
with this difference, that with the Greeks the Aryan element
predominated, whilst with the Romans the Turanian, and even the black
elements formed a considerable portion of the national State body. The
Greek element, which, at the time of the earliest formation of the
Roman State, was very powerful, soon became absorbed in the Gallic,
Iberian, African, Egyptian, and Syrian elements. The enervating south
was not counterbalanced by the energetic north, but, on the contrary,
the south predominated; and as in the south-east theocratic despotism
flourished, the same principle was adopted by the Romans, and worked
into a perfect system.

That the language of the Romans had a common origin with that of
the Greeks, Persians, and Indians is evident from the consideration
even of a few words. The verbs _sum_ (I am), _do_ (I give), and the
words _pater_, _mater_, _frater_, are Sanskrit. The most important
pastoral and agricultural expressions are Sanskrit, showing that a
certain degree of civilisation must have been brought with them by the
settlers, after their separation from their Trans-Himâlâyan brethren,
when they peopled the shores of the Mediterranean, and occupied that
small coast-land which was probably once connected with the African
continent through Sicily.

_Pecus_, _sus_, _taurus_, and _canis_ are Sanskrit words. The Sanskrit
_agras_ (meadow) is the Latin _ager_ (Germ. _acker_, acre). The
Sanskrit _kurnu_ (Germ. _korn_, corn, grain) is the Latin _granum_. The
settlers were undoubtedly acquainted with even higher elements of a
steady and civilised life. The Sanskrit word _aritram_ (ship and oar),
survived as _aratrum_ the plough, cutting through the ground like the
aritram through the waves. The Sanskrit _damas_, δόμος {domos} is the
Latin _domus_; _naus_ is _navis_; _akshas_ is axis (Germ. _achse_) a
coach or cart; and we have in the Sanskrit _vastra_, the Latin _vestis_
(vestment), not only a proof of the connection between the Aryans
of the Ganges, and those on the shores of the Tiber, but a living
testimony that the former had left off tattooing their bodies and used
textile fabrics. The Romans were first called Ramnes. Three races may
be said to have furnished the first settlers on the Seven Hills, the
Ramnes, Titians, and Lukeres. From this threefold confederation we have
the word tribuere, tribus (tribe). Later Pelasgians, Sabines, Albans,
Etruskans, and Hellenes joined the first settlers, and formed by
degrees the Roman State.

As the Britons at one time earnestly believed that they were the
direct descendants of Brutus, the son of Æneas, we need not wonder that
the Romans should have indulged in the flattering faith that they were
the direct descendants of Æneas himself. They had scarcely attained a
settled state, when they began to work out their legends and myths,
concerning the divine foundation of their town, which had taken place
under _seven_ kings.

1. Romulus, a god-man, for he and his brother, Remus, were incarnations
of the war-god Mars and miraculously born of a virgin. Their uncle
Amulius, fearing that they might deprive him of his throne, had them
exposed in the swollen Tiber in a cradle. The river subsided, and the
cradle was caught by a sacred fig-tree at the foot of the Palatine
hill, and a she-wolf had pity on the boys, and suckled them. The
founders of Rome thus mythically imbibed, with their foster-mother’s
milk, that savage brutality and thirst for blood which distinguished
the citizens of the Holy City for thousands of years. Romulus and Remus
were found by shepherds, and brought up by them. Subsequently a town
was founded by the twins, and Romulus then killed his brother and ruled
alone. He divided the people into curiæ.

2. Numa Pompilius enlarged the town and introduced a settled form of
worship, not out of piety, but in order to subject the citizens to the
will of the State.

3. Tullus Hostilius improved upon the theocratical institutions of
Numa, and gave Rome a military organisation, as the secret tool with
which her will was to be enforced throughout a vast part of the globe.

4. Ancus Martius commanded the citizens to have taste and to beautify
the town, or rather had this done, superintending the improvements
himself. He is stated to have been a grandson of Numa.

5. Tarquinius Priscus, of a Korinthian family, showed in his very
infancy that he was destined by supernatural influences to become a
benefactor of the chosen people, the Romans. When a tender boy sleeping
in his cradle, his head was surrounded by a brilliant halo of flames.
He conquered many Latin and Sabine towns, and showed himself worthy
of his exalted position. He introduced the golden diadem, the ivory
throne, the sceptre adorned with an eagle, and the purple toga, as
distinctive marks of the supreme authority.

6. Servius Tullius was also of supernatural origin. He was the son of
a female slave, and the protecting divinity of the royal castle. He
divided the people into five classes or castes; instituted tribunes,
and founded the orders of senators, knights, and commons.

7. Tarquinius Superbus, like the Chinese tyrant Ly-wang, who succeeded
the five good emperors, defiled the imperial dignity, outraged all
laws, divine and human, and was rebelled against by the patricians,
who abolished the regal authority. The innocent Lucretia is said to
have been the direct cause of the expulsion of the tyrant, and the
establishment of the republic.

In the myths concerning these seven kings we have abundant elements for
the most beautiful songs, epic poems, and artistic subjects full of
dramatic power and vitality. The remarkable fact with the Romans was,
that they preserved these myths as _historical_ truths, recorded them
in dull _prose_, affixing to them dates, each of which was a flagrant
falsehood, and used them in good earnest as the basis of their national
existence.

The royal period ended with the seven kings. Rome had prepared in
perfect silence her murderous weapons, and, suddenly dashing forward
a well-trained prize-fighter, inaugurated the military theocracy. The
history of this second period, with its appalling monotony, may be
condensed into one terrible word--WAR.

From 342-340 B.C. war with the Samnites. From 340-337 B.C. war with
the Latins. From 325-290 B.C. the second and third Latin war. From
288-264 B.C. war with Carthage and Syrakuse. From 264-241 B.C. the
first Punic war. Peace was made, and to fill up the leisure hours,
there was a Gallic war. From 218-201 B.C. the second Punic war.
Peace was again concluded, and during the interval (183 B.C.) Greece
and the Makedonian empire were subjugated. From 149-146 B.C. the
third Punic war. The world was conquered, and the boundaries of the
vast empire extended in all directions; but the warlike spirit of
the Romans had not learnt to rest and to enjoy these conquests in
peace; industry, arts, and sciences, had no charm for these wild and
indomitable conquerors, and wanting a foreign enemy, they quarrelled
amongst themselves. The internal dissensions began. There were the
Numantian troubles, the tumults of the Gracchi, and the feud between
Marius and Sulla. A foreign war happily put an end to these internal
struggles. From 112-106 B.C. war with Jugurtha. From 88-80 B.C. war
with Mithridates. From 72-71 B.C. the slaves rebelled and called for
bread and for revenge. This was the first civil war--individual egotism
conspired against the supreme power, faction fought against faction;
a dissolution of all law and order threatened the State. From 54-51
B.C. the Gallic war amused the Roman spectators and war-comedians. From
49-48 B.C. there was a second civil war; from 43-30 B.C. a third; and
the republic was at last absorbed by a Cæsarian theocracy.

That arts and sciences did not flourish in a state of continual warfare
is quite natural. The houses were mean and low, here and there adorned
with clumsy Etruskan pillars; the temples had some Greek forms;
sculpture was not cultivated, and Greeks had to chisel or to carve
the scanty embellishments. On the other hand, high roads of great
excellence, and bold bridges with magnificent arches, were constructed,
for everywhere the spirit of practical realism was served; in every
stone, every column, every pillar, every statue, the spirit of
theocratic despotism predominated. The charming gods of the Greeks were
turned into haughty military commanders, not inviting love through
beauty, but demanding blind obedience with a thundering ‘_sic volo, sic
jubeo_’ (‘as I will it, so I command it’).

The period of imperial theocracy showed Rome in her pomp and splendour,
covering inner hollowness and gradual decay with marble slabs. Palaces
and temples, basilicæ and arcades, triumphal arches and amphitheatres,
arenas and baths (of the latter Rome alone had about 768), naumachiæ
and circuses, theatres and arenas, hippodromes and magnificent tombs
abounded; but in all these architectural marvels, the monumental spirit
of pride, self-glorification, vain ostentation, and theatrical display,
is to be traced; the love of beauty, of artistic moderation, and
simplicity being everywhere conspicuous by its absence. Roman art and
decoration are to be carefully studied, that we may learn ‘how not to
do it,’ if we earnestly intend to produce works of art, and not works
of ornamentation, forming a very Paradise for ‘parvenus’ with bad taste.

We have asserted that the Romans never produced anything original in
art and science. Their religion, their literature, and their products
of art, bear this assertion out to the very letter.

The word ‘religion’ is of Roman origin. The Teutons have _faith_
or trust in God. The Roman word meant the tying down of everyone
to certain formulas or dogmas. They borrowed their dogmas and
superstitions, their gods and ceremonies, from all parts of the world;
especially from the Greeks and Etruskans, and later from the Egyptians.
Everything served their purpose so soon as it helped to overawe the
masses. They had augurs, auspices, and sibylline oracles. From the
entrails of beasts and human beings they predicted the future. Flashes
of lightning, the rolling thunder, the flight of birds, meetings with
hares, goats, dogs, or cats, announced the will of the gods. The
conceptions of the Eastern gods were disfigured, and they were made
more jealous, threatening, merciless, revengeful, and inexorable.
Jupiter the thunderer (Jupiter tonans) did not govern by any moral law,
but by mere force; he spoke in flashes of lightning and in thunder,
in terrifying earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Amongst the 30,000
deities with which the Roman triple theocracy peopled the visible and
invisible world, there was not ONE divinity of kindness, mercy, and
comfort.

They had a divinity of peace, to urge them on to war; they had
divinities of plague, hunger, fever, mildew, and death. In their
practical spirit they went even so far as to have a ‘Dea Cloacina.’

What subjects to paint or sculpture!

A pale-yellow woman with dishevelled hair, protruding ghastly eyes,
wasted lips, fleshless and emaciated limbs, may represent the goddess
of hunger; another woman deliberately and slowly tearing the limbs of
helpless creatures from their bodies with diabolical delight, may be
a goddess of plague; another, placidly playing with human skulls in a
field surrounded by dying men, women, and children, may be the goddess
of death.

In the illustration of a Dante or a Milton, a knowledge of the Roman
mythology may prove full of suggestive power.

The Greeks had a principle in their anthropomorphic worship; the Romans
had no aim. Roman high-priests were spiritual butchers, who tried to
appease the angry gods with the smoke of burning bullocks, to nourish
them with fat, with which they literally besmeared the statues, and
to quench their thirst with blood which they poured over the altars.
When already educated enough to consider all these divinities with a
cold and sceptic indifference; when the augurs could no longer meet
without laughing and sneering at each other and their sacred office,
then the Roman mind became eager for a more concrete god than these
stone figures, and they found a corresponding living divinity in the
person of their Emperors. Earth certainly could offer nothing more
divine in the form of visible majesty, recognised and obeyed, as
soon as clothed in the imperial purple and crowned with the imperial
diadem, than the irresponsible ‘god-man,’ who sat on the throne of
the Cæsars. The creative force of the Universe, and the phenomena of
nature, were moulded in visible forms; and now for the first time a
political abstraction had become incarnate in the Emperor _pro tem_.
The hordes of courtiers, courtezans, flatterers, poets, philosophers,
historians, juris consults, orators, prætors, and consuls, supported
by the thoughtless mass of the people, rendered _divine_ honours to
a _mortal_, in whom, however, the _immortal_ principle of theocratic
authority was concentrated. Not even the Egyptians, crouching in
grateful admiration before the crocodiles of the Nile, outraged
humanity to such a degree as these polite Romans, rendering divine
honour to an Emperor, like Aurelius Commodus, who fought 735 times as
a common gladiator in the arena before his enervated people. The Roman
religion was, in fact, a cosmopolitan mixture of all the atrocious
superstitions of the world.

The Romans also instituted public games in imitation of the Greeks,
on the degrading ‘panis et circenses’ principle. In Greece, Apollo
with his nine muses presided over the public games. The Romans had
specially-trained gladiators, wrestlers, dancers, and prize-fighters.
The competitors at the Greek games were free and independent citizens;
with the Romans they were either criminals, runaway slaves, or men
condemned to death. Bears, lions, tigers, and elephants were starved,
and set against one another, to delight the spectators with their
savage brutality. Soon an improvement was effected, and men were
arrayed against men with deadly weapons, to amuse men and women, boys
and girls, with their skill in murdering; and at last, as a further
progressive development in taste, men were pitted against wild beasts.
In the Greek tragedy, the ideal sufferings of humanity, struggling in
an unequal combat with omnipotent and inexorable fate, were prominently
set forth to purify men from their passions by showing the consequences
of even unconscious guilt. The Greek tragedy was the national moral
conscience brought into the most perfect poetical form. The Romans
instituted a cruel reality of _bodily_ suffering; _real_ blood
streaming from _real_ limbs; the _real_ rattle in the throat, which
signals death; and the _real_ last gasp of an expiring man, afforded
them amusement.

Like their religion and public games, their literature, with
the exception of their satires and law-codes, was matter of
fact and imitative. The generation of the Roman products of
poetry and prose was the following: Homer engendered Virgil,
Hesiod--Lucretius; Pindar--Horace; Æsop--Phædrus; Euripides--Terence;
Aristophanes--Plautus; Xenophon--Sallust; Thukydides--Titus Livy;
Demosthenes--Cicero. Ovid and Tacitus were the only really original
writers; the first faithfully depicted the hollowness of Roman ethics;
and the other, in unsurpassed language, drew a historical sketch of the
Teutons, mercilessly exposing the contrast between noble simplicity,
grandeur and honesty, and the demoralised state of his own country.

If art is the outgrowth of the intellectual and moral condition of a
people, what kind of art could the Romans have produced? None. And
this was the case. Roman art is altogether a misnomer; it is in fact
Etruskan, Greek, Assyrian, and Egyptian art, dressed in an eclectic
Roman garb by foreign artists. Art with the Romans was never the
glorious emanation of the poet’s sacred ideal of the gods, or the
irresistible civilising power of beauty; it was merely the handmaid
of power, wealth, pomp, and vanity. Art was with them a slave, well
fed, well clad, well housed, well paid, to make power more powerful,
to dazzle the people, to proclaim the universal dominion of Rome over
the world. The Roman character was dry and geometrical, and therefore
in its artistic taste architectural and monumental. Anything that
could serve, by means of technical perfection, to promote art, was
encouraged, adopted, and supported by the Romans.

We have given a drastic picture of the evils of the Roman spirit; we
must be just to the great mission which it fulfilled unconsciously
and against its will. The centralisation in language, customs, and
manners produced a cosmopolitan spirit. Greek artists and philosophers
spread taste and learning. Distant nations were brought into closer
connection. The roads constructed to facilitate the march of legions,
bent on devastating a province, served as means of communication; so
did their aqueducts and bridges. The wants of an increasing population
forced the Romans to improve agriculture, and commerce was found
necessary. Corn had to be brought from one quarter, textile fabrics
from another; Greece and Egypt were pillaged of their innumerable works
of art, and Rome may be said to have been at that period the greatest
museum of the universe. The superstition and credulity which existed
among the people, by degrees disappeared. Africa had been considered a
land of monsters, with serpents large enough to entangle a whole army
and to crush it; other regions of the accessible world had been thought
inhabited by men without heads. Giants, kyklops, and enchantresses had
been said to perform incredible feats, but were found to be without
supernatural power; the golden apples of Spain turned out to be mere
oranges, and graced the tables of the wealthier, and in time even of
the poorer classes. The mouth of hell had been placed on the shores
of the Euxine (Black Sea), but when those regions were occupied by
Roman soldiers, the mouth of hell had to be removed elsewhere. East
and west, south and north, were united under one great Roman vault,
the four quarters of the globe were over-arched, and the broad cupola
of universalism set over them. Man was made a common slave to one
grand and common abstraction, typically foreshadowing the time when
men would be brought as free agents under one great dome of universal
brotherhood.

For this grand and really majestic soldering of humanity into one
total, the Romans found the spiritual as well as the material form in

    1. The arch.
    2. The cross-vault.
    3. The cupola.

Through the _arch_, which was used by the Etruskans, but which under
the Romans became a most important part of architecture, the art of
constructing was suddenly freed of all hindrances. Courts could be
formed with more ease, and the ground-plan drawn with greater variety.

The _cross-vault_ may be considered a specially Roman form. Two
cylindrical arches were constructed intersecting each other at right
angles in a quadrangular space. The intersection takes place at the two
diagonal lines, thus uniting the opposite corners. The arches in their
cross-form rise from four points of support, and divide the arch into
four curved triangles, called calottes.

The _cupola_, a third form of the vault, was called forth in the Romans
by their preference for _circular_ buildings. The ancient mound was
revived by them. It was the application of the arch to a circular
ground-plan. A powerful larger or smaller member of decoration was
produced, interrupting the flatness of walls, and allowing a rich
variety of statuary to be used as ornament. This refers to the use of
the half-cupola for semicircular niches and the apsidæ. These merely
geometrical constructions would have been monotonous and without grace,
like our railway stations; and would have been classed as works of
engineering, but never of art; had not the Romans employed Greek forms
in the shape of columns and pilasters, to adorn them. The Doric, Ionic,
Attic, and Korinthian styles were all used, and a so-called composite
or Roman order was added. The composite stood in the same relation to
the proto-Korinthian, as Plautus to Aristophanes. The Romans, with
arrogant clumsiness, placed a coarser and more contracted form of the
Ionic capital on two rows of richly carved acanthus leaves. This was a
bad composition, and left room for much improvement, which was effected
more than fifteen hundred years later.

Nothing is known of art during the mythical period of Roman history.

During the first centuries of the Republic, the Etruskan style is said
to have been prevalent, introduced by Tarquin. Square wooden huts with
a rounded and tumulus-like roof of straw, were the first palaces of the
Roman citizens. Only after the conquest of Greece 183 B.C., Grecian
architecture and sculpture were introduced. From this date we may
classify Roman art, under Greek, Assyrian, and Egyptian influences,
into the following periods.

_a._ The _first_ begins in the second century B.C., under the Republic,
after the destruction of Korinthum by Mummius, and ends with the reign
of the Augustan house, and the beginning of the rule of the Flavians,
69 A.D. This was the _Græco-Roman Period_ of architecture and sculpture.

_b._ The _second_ period commences with the _Flavians_, 69 A.D. After
the tyrannical reigns of Tiberius and Nero, the cosmopolitan Imperial
state acquired an apparent stability in new social forms, which found
expression in gigantic artistic constructions. This period, which
lasted down to Septimus Severus, 193 A.D., has three distinct phases.

α. A phase of powerful development under the Flavians.

β. A phase of brilliant success under _Trajan_ (98-117 A.D.)

γ. A phase of revival of classic Greek forms under _Hadrian_
(117-138 A.D.)

We may designate these phases of development as the _Romano-Greek_
period.

_c._ The _third_ period under the military despotism of the prætorian
guards, during which Rome ceased to be the centre of universal
dominion, and each province began to feel its own vitality, lasted
from _Septimus Severus_ (193-211 A.D.) to Constantine the Great.
Art lost every basis--degenerated into luxurious pomp, and became
heavier with each new product, and more fantastic in incredible
details and impossible executions. We may best designate this as the
_Romano-eclectic_ period.

A. After the destruction of Korinthum, Rome abounded in Greek
immigrants, and in Greek marble and bronze statues, friezes, pillars,
and various movable works of art. The spoils of Greek temples and
houses were set up in Roman houses built of bricks and mortar. The
contrast between the unartistic architecture of the Romans, and the
master-pieces of Greek art, was so striking, that they were forced
to endeavour to improve their architecture, and art became to a
certain degree _fashionable_. The wealthier classes began to study
it _theoretically_, and to affect an immense amount of _patronizing_
enthusiasm, without any deeper understanding of the laws of taste and
beauty, but with a determination to outdo all other nations in the
profession of works of art. Such sentiments often engender a _brisk
trade_, but they fail to promote real art, or to benefit genuine
artists. The walls of the houses of this period were generally white,
with red painted ornamentations. Red is the favourite colour with
children, savages, and butchers in mind. This led to the making of
red bricks, which were mixed with others of different colours, and
thus originated polylithic wall-decoration. The spaces between the
red bricks were filled in with a black composition in imitation of
different textile patterns, and this mode of decoration was called
Niello. By degrees, bricks and cement were superseded by marble, and
the houses became so rich, that a Puritan party of Roman ἰδιώταις
{idiôtais} formed itself, and thundered against corruption and
enervation, luxury and degradation. The power of this party was so
great that Cicero, fearing lest these stern and dull Roman worthies
should think him acquainted with the principles of artistic refinement,
declared his utter ignorance of art, and expressed his high contempt
for all such futile ‘allotria.’

The art of ornamentation became more and more universal. The fora and
atria were overcrowded with bronze and marble statues and groups.
These efforts, however, were not genuine; they did not grow out of the
artistic wants and love of the people--the whole movement was strange
to their minds--and was altogether a heterogeneous element grafted on
their natures by the force of circumstances. They succeeded by degrees
in ornamenting grandly, but there was always something in contradiction
to, or in conflict with, really good taste. They used patterns meant
for floors on their walls, and wall patterns on their ceilings, and
that which would have fitted a ceiling, they laid on their floors;
creating by this means a sad confusion. Asia always excelling in bright
colours, and in a secret talent for matching them correctly, excited
the admiration of the Romans, and they began to paint their walls. They
often cut out the decorated parts of a pillaged Greek temple, and fixed
these pieces at random in their houses, caring very little whether
there was a congruity between these and their own wall-decoration
or not. We have, during this period, an attempt at ‘scenography.’
The walls were painted over with architectural views, representing
colonnades, interiors, landscapes, and later, Greek mythological and
even historical scenes. In these, Perseus and Andromeda, or Medea
meditating the murder of her children, or Herkules destroying the
serpent, or some other _sensational_ deed, formed the cherished
subjects. Under the influence of the Greeks of Alexandria, another
custom became prevalent. The walls were more and more panelled, and the
panels filled with works of art.

This ‘mania,’ or fashion, became so universal with the Romans that
they could find no more works of classic art, and had to engage living
artists to reproduce antique cornices, metopes, colonnades, capitals,
shields, helmets, tripods, sphinxes, and griffins; but even these
artists were so overwhelmed with commissions, that it was impossible
for them to satisfy the feverish demand. To produce works of art more
quickly, they began to paint the panels, and the Roman empire became a
complete manufactory of wall-decorations. Light colonnades of slender
reeds, baldachins with pointed arches and fantastic monsters, filled
the walls, and sometimes mere combinations of colours were used in a
conventional style. Art again sank into mere trade. The panels and
walls were not decorated with the works of the good old Greek masters,
but with mere imitations. Mannerism supplanted style, and arabesques,
flourishes, insignificant chequered patterns, or geometrical puzzles,
took the place of historical paintings--poor wall-decorations in a
theatrical style, without any attempt at higher art.

The use of marble as a means of decoration was not always customary
with the Romans, and was introduced by L. Crassus, the censor, who had
his house decorated with six small columns of marble from Hymettus,
and was very much blamed for this extravagance. M. Scaurus, the ædile,
who built the famous wooden theatre, decorated with 360 pillars of
marble, glass, and bronze, and about 3,000 statues and images, had the
atrium and peristyle of his private house richly adorned with exquisite
columns. Manurra, prefect of the armourers, under Julius Cæsar in
Gaul, is set down as the first who had his walls decorated with marble
incrustations; whilst M. Catulus could boast of the first marble
flooring, and of thresholds in Numidian marble. Of temples, one of the
first constructed of marble blocks in a purer Greek style was that of
Jupiter Tonans. The temple of _Fortuna Virilis_ which rose on a lofty
substructure on the banks of the Tiber, was in the Ionic style. The
Vesta temple at Tivoli, enthroned on a steep and rocky height above the
foaming waters of the Anio, was a circular building in the Korinthian
style.

Theatres, public halls, baths, and Fora were found necessary, either
to distract the public mind from political matters, or to gain the
suffrages of the fickle mob, eager for amusement and excitement. The
first theatre in stone was erected by Pompey. Julius Cæsar surpassed
all his predecessors and rivals in magnificence. He began the theatre
of Marcellus, which was completed by Augustus, and so enlarged and
beautified the _Circus Maximus_ that it could accommodate 150,000
spectators; he built the beautiful Basilica Julia, a public law-court
for the Centumviri or Judges to sit in, and hear causes, and for the
counsellors to receive their clients, and had a new Forum constructed,
and adorned it with a temple dedicated to Venus Genetrix. The Roman
Forum (in imitation of the Greek Agora) was a building about three
times as long as broad. The interior was surrounded by arched porticos,
and flanked by the most stately edifices, such as theatres, basilicæ,
and temples.

These Fora were devoted to special purposes, as Fora _civilia_ or Fora
_venalia_, and were used for public meetings, or as market-places.
Cæsar tried to become a Roman Perikles, but was distanced in this by
the Emperor Augustus. Up to the establishment of Cæsarism, Rome had
been literally a city of ‘bricks;’ now it became a ‘city of marble.’
Temples were profusely built and rebuilt. The Cæsarian theocracy
required these abodes of splendour and self-glorification. One of the
most imposing specimens of this _Græco-Roman_ architecture was the
Pantheon, built by Agrippa, the son-in-law of Augustus. Originally
it was to have been an entrance-hall to splendid Thermæ, but on its
completion it was turned into a temple, and dedicated to the avenging
Jupiter. It was a circular building 132 feet in diameter, and 132
feet high, and triumphantly proclaimed Rome’s wealth and might. It
contained a statue of Minerva by Pheidias, and a Venus, who it is said
had in her ear the half of the pearl left by Cleopatra. The pearl was
valued at 125,000_l._ That a Greek marble statue should have been
ornamented with part of the _ear-ring_ of an Egyptian princess, is
highly characteristic of Roman taste in matters of art. One of the most
splendid remains in the style of good Greek Korinthian ornamentation
is the temple of Augustus at Pola in Istria. Triumphal gates, these
Roman specialities, were at this period simple in design, and perfect
in execution. Of the Mausoleum of Augustus nothing is left but the
substructure, 220 feet in diameter, now used as a circus for equestrian
performances. ‘Sic transit gloria mundi,’ if based on mere ostentation
and vain pride.

During this period Nikopolis was planned and built; the Temple of
Solomon was adorned with colonnades in the Greek Korinthian style,
and at Nîmes (Nemausus) we possess the most complete remains of a
prostylos pseudipteros temple of Roman architecture, with the purest
Korinthian columns. Under Tiberius the camp of the prætorians was
turned into a marble palace. Under Claudius harbours and moles were
enlarged, built, and decorated. Nero burned Rome, to reconstruct
it with greater pomp. The architects Celerus and Severus had to
build the _golden houses_, of which the porticos were miles long.
The dining-rooms surpassed in splendour anything dreamt of in Indian
poetry. In the decoration of this palace, or rather cluster of palaces,
we trace the greatest mistake an artist can be guilty of. The error
is of Asiatic origin. It may be designated as a conscious ‘_lying_’
in the constructive elements. They tried to hide the costly material
under a cheap disguise; a tendency as bad and objectionable, as a
‘lying’ in cheap substances to represent costly materials. The Romans
used tortoise-shell as veneer for their furniture, and painted it to
make it appear like wood; we, on the other hand, use wood, and paint it
over to make it appear ‘giallo antico,’ (yellow marble), or any other
costly stone. Ornamentation began to lose all symmetry and proportion.
Confusion and profusion ruled supreme. The walls of the rooms looked
like exhibitions of oriental carpets, tapestry, and jewelry. Art
retrograded to the over-painted, over-decorated, over-ornamented
shrouds, in which the mummies of old were buried. For a time art was
carried with Asiatic splendour to a grave of tasteless pomposity.

B. With the Flavians, down to Septimus Severus, a new spirit of
artistic universalism pervaded the Roman world. The Greek element
waned, and the circular forms of the Romans, ornamented with an
indiscriminate mixture of Doric, Ionic, and Korinthian columns,
predominated. The Colosseum, a Flavian amphitheatre, begun by Vespasian
and finished by Titus, belongs to this period. Three rows of arcades,
the first of Doric, the second of Ionic, and the third of Korinthian
half-columns, with their entablatures, crowned with a fourth story,
adorned with Korinthian pilasters, and furnished with windows,
encompassed an oval, 600 feet long by 500 feet broad, capable of
holding 80,000 spectators. The circus was so constructed that it could
also be used as a naumachy. In this over-decorated pompous building,
the great fights of the gladiators took place; here men and wild beasts
met in deadly struggle; here men, if killed, were dragged away by ropes
fixed in their bodies with iron hooks; here the Imperators sat with all
the nobility of Rome, and delighted in sports, which, at a later period
of Rome’s spiritual dominion, were only surpassed in _cruelty_ by the
pious ‘auto-da-fés’ of misguided priests.

The triumphal arch of Titus, on the heights of the Via Sacra; with
one arch broken through the massive walls, ornamented on each side by
half-columns; was the first to be decorated with the coarser form of
the Roman _composite capital_. The ornamentation keeps within certain
limits; the inner side walls of the arch have excellent reliefs,
referring to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Everything yet enumerated was surpassed in splendour and magnificence
by the ‘Forum Trajanum’ (A.D. 98-117), of which Apollodorus, born
at Damaskus, was the architect. The great basilica Ulpia, with its
_five aisles_, formed part of it. In a small courtyard, surrounded by
pillars, rose the gigantic column of Trajan to a height of 92 feet.
The reliefs, which in spiral windings surround the richly ornamented
column, are a kind of Imperial record, chronicling with historical
accuracy and dryness, scene after scene of the Dacian war. The
figures are two feet high and not less than 2,500 in number; they are
sculptured in a simple naturalistic style, void of all idealisation,
and show the artist’s talent for grouping. The heads of the figures, as
was generally the case in all sculptures by the Romans, are too small
for the bodies.

The triumphal arch of Constantine, with three openings, is undoubtedly
the most splendid monument of its kind. It was of Pentelic marble,
taken from the fragments of an arch in honour of Trajan. The
proportions are noble, and the execution is technically precise;
the ornamentation, however, is too profuse. The second phase of
this period degenerated very quickly. Cornices began to be fluted;
triglyphs and indentations were used alternately in endless rows; even
the central volutes of the Corinthian capitals (the caulicoli) were
over-decorated. Everything ran wild; rosettes, cassettes, shields,
consols, stereobates, and stylobates were used abundantly, without
sense and reason, to heighten the effect of the horizontal lines of
the buildings. Everything was out of shape, out of proportion, and out
of place. An eternal repetition of the same forms proclaimed the same
desperate _deification_ of the omnipotent power of the theocratic ruler.

Hadrian, the emperor, whose position constituted him a _divine_
architect, and who by his very dignity must have known art better than
any other mortal, did not share, with many a self-conceited artist of
our time, the idea that the ‘work and labour done’ was all that was
required in art, and that any knowledge of correct principles, any
feeling of beauty, any acquaintance with esthetics or with art-history,
was useless, and that money and power of execution were the only things
required. On the contrary, though Emperor of the Romans, he diligently
studied the antique, and tried to revive classic art.

We had an _imperial architect_, with an unlimited amount of gold,
silver, marble, wood, and precious material at his command, and yet he
had to go back to the Greeks for elegant forms in ornamentation. He
had Apollodorus executed for daring to find fault with the confused
plan of the temple of Venus (_Amor_) _and Roma_, which was a building
surpassing, so far as splendour went, any construction of those times.
The double temple had certainly something whimsical in its plan. The
Emperor was too forcibly struck by the discovery that _Roma_ read
backwards gave _Amor_, and wanted to express this discovery in an
architectural allegory, placing _two_ temples back to back so that
they made _one_, to typify _two_ words with _two_ meanings, that yet
were _one_ word. The success, so far as correctness of plan went, was
doubtful. The cassettes of the bronze roof which united the _two_
temples into _one_, were most elegantly finished. The court of the
temple was 500 feet by 300. Another tower-like circular monument,
based on a square sub-structure, formed the Mausoleum (now the Castle
of St. Angelo). The diameter of the circular part was 226 feet. The
construction vies in solidity and grandeur with the Egyptian monuments.
The blocks of travertin are colossal, and the immense building was
covered with Parian marble, and crowned with a huge quadriga.

Under the Antonines architecture, and art in general, gradually
declined. The people occupied themselves with entirely different
topics. Stoicism and Christianity--the old world of heathen formality,
and the new world of spiritual redemption--were placed in conflict.
A disturbed state of the public mind rarely favours plastic art.
A specimen exhibiting this conflict may be seen in the temple of
Antoninus and Faustina, built by Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161). A
second edition of Trajan’s column is given in that of Marcus Aurelius
(A.D. 161-180), which stands on the field of Mars. The reliefs, winding
round the shaft, represent scenes from the war against the Markomanni.
There is a certain liveliness in the execution, but the composition
is wanting in clearness and precision, and above all in idealisation.
Rivers, fields, and enclosures of walls, are marked with great
accuracy; and the reliefs take, in style, the forms of geographical
maps. Strict realism is the leading feature in this monument.

C. During the third period architecture and sculpture, ornamentation
and painting, had soon to yield to a continual use of arms. The proud
mistress of the world no more expanded her sway; she was once more
busy in decorating her rich palaces, but in care and sorrow, and
with an anxious brow, haunted by the necessity for exerting all her
powers to keep what she possessed. The provinces had learnt to do
without Rome; the consuls and pro-consuls had so well imitated their
_divine_ masters, that they thought themselves gods, and the supreme
deity, the Imperator, lost his power over them. The State--based on
an abstraction--began to vanish like a midnight phantom at daybreak.
The one-sided deification of matter, during the old heathen times, had
to yield to a totally new mode of feeling, thinking, speaking, and
acting. The new times were seeking new forms, and had to pass from a
savage state, through that of barbarism, symbolism, and mysticism,
into self-consciousness, in order to find such shapes as would express
a perfect harmony between spirit and matter. In the meantime, art
dragged on its existence in copying what the old masters of Greece
and the artists of Rome had done. The chisel, ruler, nay the very
stones, trembled in the hands of the artists. They felt that they
worked without a basis; that they heaped up blocks to see them soon
crumble into the dust; that they constructed streets of pompous
columns, some of them 3,500 feet long, to see them empty and deserted;
they ornamented, but did it with a heavy heart; their soul was no
more in the work. They heard already the deep _spiritual_ whisper
of other tidings resounding through the world on one side, and the
terrible _temporal_ shout of powerful barbarians, not yet enervated by
luxury and licentiousness, armed with swords and iron clubs, on the
other. The footsteps of avenging phantoms were heard in the North;
the ‘hallelujahs’ of redeemed humanity in the South. This period is
ushered in with the triumphal arch of Severus, on which the reliefs are
placed without any regard to the architectural arrangement. Caracalla
(A.D. 211-217) had baths constructed, with gigantic halls, furnished
with 1,600 marble seats, with shady promenades, pompous reading-rooms,
and places for games of every variety. This was to be a paradise on
earth, to detach men from that _spiritual_ Eden of love and happiness,
the gates of which were opened by Christ. In feverish excitement,
streets, palaces, basilicæ, halls, market-places, monuments, and whole
towns, were built by the heathens. The pomp of worship was increased.
Diocletian constructed baths with 2,400 seats; the principal hall
was under three cross-vaults, with a span of 80 feet each, resting on
granite columns. Sensationalism seized upon both people and artists;
a sensationalism tinged with Roman vulgarity. All the principles of
architecture, sculpture, and ornamentation were neglected. Columns and
arches were mixed together in doleful incongruity. The arch rested
on the architrave, or often rose without interruption directly from
the capital. Columns were made in spiral or screw form; the variety
of details was oppressive; no rest, no cæsura distinguished their
ornamentation. It was, in fact, _an ornamentation over-ornamented_. The
technical execution was everywhere splendid, but utterly mechanical;
principles were neglected in art, because Roman life had lost even the
one guiding principle of its existence--expansion by brutal force. The
vulgar in mind and taste will always be charmed by huge and imposing
masses, by the richness of the material, the daring of geometrical
combination, and by startling feats of mechanical contrivance. The
gorgeous mouldings, the friezes of endless decorations, the capitals
with their rich foliage, marshalled in precise architectural lines,
like Roman legions placed in battle array, have a peculiarly mystic
charm for all those, who care more for effect than for taste or
severity of style, or more for show than for symmetry and proportion;
but if they love the old Roman style, and wish to work in it, let
them above all insist on genuine materials. Let them work in real
granite, travertin, and marble; let them not work in iron and glass,
or in plaster of Paris, instead of Carrara marble; or in wood painted
and varnished to represent granite, _lapis lazuli_ (azure-stone), or
_giallo antico_. An artist’s first duty is to know and master his
material, and not to try and bring about Roman architectural effects
with substances that require an altogether different treatment.
Whenever we endeavour to shirk this law, we are sure to produce
something small and mean, thin and wasted, notwithstanding gorgeous
dimensions. Whilst trying to look grand and haughty, substantial and
pompous, we tell ‘falsehoods’ in bricks and mortar, in painted friezes,
sham columns, and meretricious porticos; and we are then astonished
that our artistic product, instead of being admired, is laughed at as a
caricature.

In Greece the dynamic force was concentrated on the reproduction of
_ideal beauty_; in Rome it was exhausted in conquests and politics.
Only so long as the moral force of beauty--equivalent to that of
virtue--counterbalanced the eccentricities of a wild fantastic
imagination, the Greeks were capable of producing models of art. The
Romans never cultivated this balance; they disciplined themselves,
but in a totally different direction. This technical, mechanical, and
military discipline is, at a certain period of an individual’s or a
nation’s life, highly necessary, in order to place the bodily and
intellectual capacities under the guidance of some authority, although
this may be a mere abstraction. The results which may thus be attained,
can be studied in Roman art, in spite of all its shortcomings.

CHRISTIANITY now illuminated the world with its clear light; but,
dazzled by the divine brilliancy, everything in art, science and social
life appeared at first dark, black, and hopeless. By degrees the minds
of men began to grasp the newly proclaimed eternal law, through which
alone the disturbed inner and outer, spiritual and material, moral and
intellectual, static and dynamic forces of humanity were to attain
a perfect balance. In time man became conscious of his nature, and
emancipated his spirit in life and in art. He began to strive upwards,
to detach himself from mere forms, however beautiful, if there was
no meaning, no soul, no sense in them; he sought in everything the
redeeming IDEA, without which no _modern_ work of art is possible.
Thus, ancient art had to yield to different principles. We shall have
in future to distinguish between artistic products of _reality_,
_feeling_, and _intellect_, till we shall find ourselves obliged to
seek for a combination of these elements in order to understand modern
art.



CHAPTER XI.

EARLY CHRISTIAN ART.


Historically and philosophically, from the point of view of whatever
religious denomination; in the eyes of the devout believer, as well as
in the eyes of the sceptic; by the thinker, and by the mere automaton
of blood, flesh and bones; it must be admitted, that the two most
important events in the history of humanity were the foundation of
Christianity, and the great migration of the Northern people. The one
was a _spiritual_ movement, the other thoroughly _material_.

It is usual, in tracing the historical development of mankind in
science and art, to follow the apparent course of the sun, and to
assume that progress travelled with Indra, Ormuzd, Horus and Phoibos
Apollo, from East to West. This is, however, a mere phrase. To
understand and appreciate the history of man, it is better to divide
the globe into a southern and northern hemisphere; for we find, that in
analogy with this subdivision, the material as well as the intellectual
development of life on our globe took place. We may even go further,
and trace a distinction between the development of life and art in
the south and north of the northern and southern hemispheres. In the
farthest south of the southern hemisphere we have animal life and
man, in the very lowest scale of progressive development; whilst the
further we travel towards the north, the more animal life and the
intellectual capacity of man increase. This is also the case in the
northern hemisphere, up to the frigid zone, where a reaction sets in.
In the south the moral power was more developed than the intellectual.
In the south the predominant static force, joined to an ill-disciplined
imagination, drove man to the field of metaphysical speculation; the
misunderstood laws of nature, and the ignorance of the sluggish and
indolent masses, gave free play to superstition and priestcraft. Thus
the south (or south-east) was the birth-place of various theogonies,
and religious systems. Idolatry, zoolatry, Sabaism, theism, pantheism,
astrology, symbolism, mysticism, alchemy, magic, and cabalism
originated in the south. The intellectual power in humanity, with a
strong tendency to regulate itself by moral force, decidedly prevailed
in the north, or north-west of our globe; and we received philosophy,
as well as art, in their highest perfection, from Greece, the then
most northern dwelling-place of civilized humanity. All the sciences
which, through their beneficial influence have promoted the welfare
and progress of humanity, were fostered in the North. In the North,
astronomy, geography, history, botany, zoology, physiology, anatomy,
chemistry, geology, and cosmogony were developed.

The savage of the South, up to our days, does not go beyond an
ornamentation with geometrical figures; he can neither produce
animals nor the human figure. The Egyptians surpassed the Assyrians
and Babylonians in their monumental architecture, but in the plastic
reproduction of the human form they never succeeded. Their sitting
figures had legs and thighs forming right angles in the side view,
while in front they were parallel; the drapery was merely marked by
lines, rarely interrupted by folds. In their historical and allegorical
bas-reliefs the composition is devoid of elegance and correctness
of outlines; but they already showed a remarkable power in drawing
animals. The Indians reached a higher stage of progress in sculpture;
their mythology and poetry furnished them with a variety of subjects,
with which they covered the walls of their shrines and temples; after
the doctrines of Buddha became more universal, they attained grandeur
in their architecture, combined with a certain degree of elegance. The
human form is reproduced with ease; the proportions, though too soft,
too sensual, are more correct than with the Egyptians.

So long as the Greek artists worked with reverence and modesty,
inspired by faith in the gods, they were capable of understanding
God’s revelation of beauty in man’s outer form. So long as the Romans
unconsciously worked in this spirit, they produced their stupendous
architectural monuments. When, however, State and citizens were forced
by false principles to war with reality for a beggarly existence, or
to plunge into mere sensuous enjoyments, man came to an open rupture
with his destiny, and humanity might have perished altogether in sin
and iniquity, had not Providence mercifully interfered by freeing,
through Christ, the ‘inner man’--that is, the intellectual and moral
force in man--thus preparing humanity for a higher progressive life.
The south of Asia had to go through the same religious and artistic
phases of development. Buddhism stands to Brahmanism in the same
relation as Christianity to Mosaism and Heathenism. Excepting, however,
that both religions were reformations of older established creeds,
all analogy between them ceases. The proof of the difference lies
in the diametrically opposed development produced by Buddhism and
Christianity. It is true that Buddhism teaches us not to kill, not
to steal, not to lie, and not to be drunken. Christianity does the
same. Buddha, in twelve other ordinances, extols self-abnegation,
poverty, and commands all to meditate amongst the tombs on the fleeting
transitoriness of our earthly existence. Christianity does the same.
Christ, however, redeemed and freed our spiritual nature, and brought
it into a self-conscious, vivid activity; whilst Buddhism degraded this
higher _individual_ nature into a nonentity, denying that there was an
independent moral agent in us; teaching that we were phenomena of an
all-pervading divine power, by which universality we should be absorbed
after life. So long as Christianity held, though in a different shape,
nearly the same mystic principles as Buddhism, the results in art
were the same; for our ecclesiastical art was a revival of Buddhistic
temples, with all their divisions and sub-divisions, their pointed
arches, their variegated columns and pillars, the triforium, the altar
(Daghopa), cloisters, chapels, and crypts.

Christ’s divine words resounded at a period when the Greeks had long
turned their minds to the licentious worship of the sensuous. The
Egyptians, sighing under their Roman taskmasters, had taken refuge
in dark mysticism, the meaning of which had been long lost to them;
the Jews were divided into quarrelling sects, sunken in religious
indifference, or occupied with mere outward formalities, hating
everyone and hated by everyone. The Romans knelt tremblingly before
an imperial divinity, slaves and poor being considered mere burdens
on society; the rich were merciless, debauched, and revelled in
amusements; infanticides, suicides, murder and decay, despair and
annihilation, were every-day occurrences. At this period, under such
circumstances, the divine Master died on the cross, sealing with his
death the one great tiding of love: ‘that we are all children of _one_
Father, who is in heaven.’ The god of revenge of the old world was
transformed into a God of inexhaustible love. With the Jews and the
ancients, he only was blessed who had plenty on earth; now, the pure
in mind, whether poor or rich, weak or mighty, beautiful or ugly, was
extolled. God was not merely present in the universe as its living
soul, or in a burning bush, in thunder and lightning, in growling
volcanoes, in an ark, a carved idol, a statue or in a temple. God
was present, wherever a kind, loving, and forgiving mind was ready
to be His ark or temple. Christ repudiated all local gods; did not
require any sacrifices of plants or animals; did not prescribe any
diet, or outward sanguinary sign; did not allow polygamy; did not
proclaim his followers the only _chosen_ children of the _Father of
All_; but taught the one and indivisible, and ever-true law of peace,
love, and tolerance. This doctrine is as universal as intellect; it
must be of as divine origin as intellect itself; it is, and can be,
the only faith which must once unite Humanity into one great loving
and beloved brotherhood. What a change! Not only a change; it was the
building up of a new glorious future; it was the re-establishment of
the lost balance between the working forces of humanity; it was the
redemption of our individual, moral, and intellectual capacities; it
was the enunciation of an eternal law, under which humanity had, till
then, unconsciously developed, but of which it became conscious in word
as well as in spirit, through Christ. Slavery in body or mind was,
at least in principle, for ever abolished; and one of the noblest
edifices of Byzantine architecture in Italy, the church of St. Vitale
at Ravenna, was dedicated by Justinian, a Roman Emperor, to the memory
of a slave, who was martyred for the sake of his piety and love.
Hospitals for the poor and sick, Xenodochia (refuges for strangers)
began to be built--architectural constructions of which the whole
ancient world could not boast.

The Christian spirit at first struggled to find a corresponding form
in art; the new wine was put into the old vessels till it burst the
decaying fetters and issued forth in a life-giving art-stream, in two
directions:--

(_a_) As Romanesque art in the West, a decaying continuation of Roman
art;

(_b_) As Byzantine art in the East, a revival of Asiatic art.

The beginning of Christian plastic and pictorial art is to be looked
for in subterranean caves; in catacombs, used by Egyptians, Assyrians,
Persians, Greeks, Etruskans, and Romans as burial-places. The deep but
simple doctrines of Christ were at first hidden in symbols, types,
allegories and emblems. In a SYMBOL we try to express a general idea by
a special outward sign, totally heterogeneous in form to the meaning.
Geometrical figures, plants, and animals, furnish the elements of
symbolism. In the ALLEGORY the artist represents congruities, traces
connections, unites analogies and separates differences. Imagination
has in allegories an inexhaustible field for composition. TYPES are
signs, arbitrarily interpreted as meaning something, which they may or
may not mean. EMBLEMS with the Greeks were golden or silver figures
which could be detached from vessels. With the Romans the word was used
as a synonym for symbol or metaphor. They became with us Christians
signs in colours. White or blue was the emblem of innocence, red of
joy, black of mourning, green of hope, and purple of power or dignity.

MYTHS generally had their origin in symbols and allegories, which found
interpreters, commentators, exegists, and expounders in the priests of
the ancient world. Later, the myths were taken up by poets and artists,
and the dogmatic explanations of mystic signs were transformed into
legends, tales, sagas, or even into historical facts. Nothing affords
greater delight to the inquisitive mind of man than a mystic sign!
The more unintelligible such a sign is, the more welcome it is to the
childish creature. Anything veiled in doubt, shrouded in a symbol or
type, has a peculiar charm. Anything that can only be guessed at, or
dimly felt, is more admired than that which lies clearly before our
perceptive faculty. ‘Mysteries were taught in symbols, in darkness
at night-time; the symbolic itself is to be compared to night and
darkness,’ says Demetrius. No wonder that symbols were adopted by the
first followers of Christ. They were too near to Egypt; the ancient
world had not yet altogether lost its hold on the minds of the masses,
and they could not have avoided availing themselves of forms which were
used by Indians, Greeks, Egyptians, or Romans.

In the old catacombs of St. Sebastiano, St. Calisto, St. Lorenzo, and
Sta. Agnese at Rome, extending altogether to about 750 miles, and in
those of St. Gennaro de Poveri, Sta. Maria della Sanitá, and Sta. Maria
della Vita at Naples, we find some attempts at symbolism; the cross,
the monogram of Christ’s name ΧΡ {CHR}; or an ΑΩ {AÔ}, symbolical of
the beginning and the end of all things; a palm branch, doves, the
piscis vesica, and here and there a lamb. But these signs belong to the
fourth and fifth centuries A.D. The inscriptions do not go farther back
than the second century. The homely simplicity of the early Christians
is distinctly to be traced in the absence of all symbolic decoration
during the first two centuries. Gradually the Christians passed through
the phase of geometrical ornamentation. Triangles and circles, crosses
and squares, squares divided into four squares, or the square taken
three times, giving twelve points, which number contains the sacred
numbers; three (the Trinity), five (the five sacred wounds of Christ),
seven (the seven cardinal virtues, or the seven days of Creation),
and twelve (the twelve apostles), made their appearance. Seven was a
holy and mystic number with all the ancient nations. There were seven
planets, and seven colours in olden times; Apollo’s lyre had seven
strings; Pan used seven pipes for his flute. There are seven days of
the week; seven or three times seven are the critical days in medicine;
there were seven branches to the candlestick of the Jews in the Temple
of Jerusalem. Seven years Jacob had to serve for Leah; and seven others
for Rachel; seven were the ears and kine of which Pharaoh dreamt; seven
were the gods in Scandinavian mythology; seven were the sufferings of
the Virgin Mary; seven the cardinal virtues; seven the deadly sins;
seven are the sacraments of the Romish Church. We cannot fail to see
in the minutest details of history and art, philosophy and religious
systems, an eternally progressing ‘one-ness’ pervading humanity as a
great whole.

Scarcely had the Christians adopted these signs, when they passed on to
the next phase, adorning churches and tombs, altars and sacred vessels,
with emblems taken from the vegetable and animal kingdoms, to serve as
the holy visible outward signs of some sacred inward grace or virtue.
What was immortal was to be expressed in mortal forms, and the finite
was to embody the infinite. Again, the meaning hallowed the form;
again, by degrees, the _form_ became all, and the spirit was altogether
lost through the mere outward sign. Art suffered for centuries under
the gloomy pressure of symbolism, and in striving to disentangle
itself, produced marvels, but it was only freed and attained higher
forms of beauty again, when humanity had gone back to those laws, which
when followed out had produced forms perfect in themselves.

For centuries art revelled in the reproduction of symbolical crows,
eagles, peacocks, doves, gridirons, pitchers, beehives, oxen,
pigs, bulls, geese, violins, fishes, &c., as the attributes of St.
Sebastian, St. John, Sta. Barbara, St. Thomas of Aquin, St. Cyprian,
St. Narcissus, St. Bernard, St. Sebaldus, St. Anthony, St. Martin,
St. Genesius, St. Chrysogonus, &c. A whole science arose out of these
symbols and emblems: _Iconology_, which differs only in form from
mythology. The mere phenomena of nature were no longer embodied; the
individual spirit that lived in the form, became all in all. We were
thus introduced to a two-fold world by Christian art.

(1) Into a spiritual world, in which our intellect moved, as it were,
in a circle. We took our beginning in the infinite, lost our transitory
bodily form, and returned to the infinite from which we emanated--a
kind of idealisation of the corporeal.

(2) A world of external forms, which in their individual phenomena had
only a meaning as the fragile temporary vessels of the eternal Spirit;
this Spirit was no longer a universal sum total by which the individual
was hereafter absorbed, but was assumed to remain _individualised_
through all eternity. Artists and men worked not only for this world,
but their deeds were to outlast all time to come. In this two-fold
world, Christian art went through the following phases:--

(_a_) Through a _historical_ phase, which commenced with Christ’s
birth, life, death, and resurrection, as the new central point of all
things. The eternal Spirit was embodied, worked in a finite form, and
freed from it, regained its absolute divinity. This led in time to
sublime historical sketches in sculpture and painting.

(_b_) Through a _religious_ phase. The spirit, freed and redeemed by
Christ, sought in deeds of harmonious love totally new spheres of
action. Crystals, flowers, trees, landscapes, animals and men, were
interwoven to proclaim not only outward beauty, as with the Greeks,
but a union of the inorganic and the organic, the ancient and the new
worlds, in honour of one God in three emanations or personifications.

So long as bishops, priests, elders, deacons and laymen, were occupied
in trying to shape the new spirit into words, art appeared to slumber.
A too strong storm-wind of dissension on metaphysical niceties, of
mystic and dogmatic hair-splittings, hindered a plastic treatment of
Christianity. Gnostics, Nestorians, Manichæans, Donatists, Arians, and
Athanasians, &c., wasted the energies of the early Christian artists,
with their wild distinctions, their incomprehensible differences.
Quarrels as to whether a blessing was more efficacious when bestowed
with _three_ or only with _two_ uplifted fingers; whether crosses of
equal parts, or crosses in which one division was smaller than the
other, were more powerful, did not promote the productive ability of
artists. When, under Constantine, Christianity was elevated to the rank
of a State religion, churches were built in honour of the new faith.
In the West the Roman Basilicæ were given up to the religious worship
of the Christians, and in time, mixed with Teuton forms, produced the
Romanesque style. In the East a lively revival of Asiatic forms, of
Indian, Assyrian, and Babylonian patterns, took place, and from these
combinations we have the so-called Byzantine style.

The general characteristics of the early Christian style, in which
the form of the Roman basilica predominated, were the following:--The
apsis, the seat of the bishop and clergy, was semicircular. Between
the apsis and the nave stood the altar, or rather the common table,
canopied by a baldachin supported by columns. The walls were covered
with figures of Christ. The main body consisted of a broad and lofty
central nave, on the two sides of which there were two lower passages,
divided by rows of columns, supporting the upper wall of the nave
either by a common architrave, or by strong circular arches. The upper
wall was provided with large broad windows, some being also placed
in the low walls of the side-aisles. The apsis was kept in mystic
darkness.

The threefold division of the Indian, Egyptian, and Hebrew temples was
carefully kept up. The priests assembled in the apsis; the worshippers
in the hall or the galleries; and the penitents or sinners stopped at
the entrance. Of this period, we have the Basilica of Reparatus, in
Tingitanum (now Orléansville) in Algeria, and another in El Hayz, on
a small oasis, in the Libyan desert. In the former the pillars were
probably square, and the apsis is not marked outside. The latter is
furnished with vaulted aisles, adorned with pilasters and niches in the
Romano-Egyptian style.

Under Constantine, Christian churches of larger dimensions were
constructed; marble decorations and a profusion of columns were common.
The five aisles still predominated, the Athanasians not having yet
succeeded in establishing the Trinitarian doctrine. St. Peter’s at Rome
(rebuilt in the 16th century); Sta. Croce at Jerusalem, and the Church
of Sta. Maria at Bethlehem, built by Helena, the wife of Constantine,
were splendid specimens of the pure early Christian style. The transept
before the raised apsis was an innovation. The central aisle (the nave)
rises in independent loftiness. The galleries are dispensed with, as
the dimensions of the building are considerably increased. Light is
admitted through windows in the lofty central aisle. The lines all
tend towards the altar, and the high tribune. The nave is separated
from the transept by a lofty arch supported by pillars. The transept
is provided with broad windows, throwing the greatest amount of light
on the altar, by which means a sublime effect is attained. St. Peter’s
at Rome, and Sta. Maria at Bethlehem, are provided with cross-beams,
which do not accord with the superstructure, which is too heavy. Before
these churches, in a court-yard, stood the fountain. These fountains
were common to all the Indian, Egyptian, and Hebrew temples, because
the _sanctity of water_ was recognised by all the religious sects of
the Southeast. _San Paolo fuori le mura_ belonged to this class of
churches. It was constructed by Theodosius and Honorius. ‘The mighty
apsis, about eighty feet in breadth, is increased in effect by a lofty
transept, which stretches in front of it, across the whole nave. The
body of the church has five aisles. Eighty granite columns, connected
by circular arches, rise in four rows in order to divide the aisles,
and to support the upper wall of the central aisle, and the framework
of the roof. The main aisle opens into the transept with a broad and
lofty triumphal arch, which rests on two colossal columns. A splendid
atrium, surrounded with colonnades, was added to the front, completing
the plan of this basilica.’ The high walls above the central isle
fulfilled a double purpose: they vividly expressed an expanding
tendency upwards, and filled the soul with the idea of the infinite.
This tendency was still more strongly expressed in ecclesiastical or
Gothic architecture. Scenes from the life of Christ and his disciples
were painted, and, in imitation of Roman decoration, gilded panels and
marble pavings were freely used. After the fourth century the five
aisles were gradually abandoned, and only three were used, symbolic
of the Trinity. We have here a kind of Indian or rather Buddhistic
renaissance.

When Ravenna became the seat of the Byzantine Exarchs (viceroys), the
Ostrogoth influences which were perceptible under Theodoric vanished,
and a freer organisation of the sacred edifices was introduced by the
addition of an independent bell-tower, reminding us of the Buddhistic
towers or pillars, the Irish round towers, the minarets of the
Mahomedans, and the obelisks of the Egyptians. The tower rose in a
cylindrical form, without tapering. The roofs of the churches were
generally flat. Strong wall pillars, connected by _circular_ arches,
framed the windows as a repetition of the arcades below. The capitals
retained a double row of acanthus leaves, but the imposts became
stronger, taking the form of a coffin or a small altar, adorned with
crosses, or the monogram of Christ. The churches of St. Vitale and
St. Apollinare in Classe, are models of this transition style, which
formed the link between the Romanesque and the Byzantine. In these we
find Greek marble columns, profuse mosaics on gold grounds, panels and
medallions filled with historical scenes, or the portraits of bishops,
prophets, saints, and martyrs; the decoration is heavy in outlines,
the forms and figures too naturalistic; the taste gorgeous without
refinement; and the technical treatment rough and defective.

Whilst the architectural and ornamental styles were receiving fixed
forms as the pure Romanesque of the West--through the influence of
the Teutons, who became masters of Italy and worked with greater
stiffness, simplicity, and angularity--Byzantine architecture assumed,
from the time of Justinian, a peculiarly pompous, Asiatic type. The
dome prevailed; the ground-plan was composed of squares and circles.
Ceremonies and mysteries borrowed from the Egyptians, Persians, and
Romans, and the division of priests into different castes, required
a different arrangement of the building. There was a place for the
high and one for the low clergy; another for the laymen; the galleries
were, in the old Jewish fashion, assigned to the women; and, lastly,
there was a place for the penitent. These divisions and subdivisions
induced confusion and disunion in the whole plan. Many of the Christian
buildings have become, in their turn, Mahomedan mosques, just as the
Roman basilicæ of old were turned into Christian churches.

The mightiest and the most gigantic of all Byzantine churches is
undoubtedly that of St. Sophia, at Constantinople. First the building
was a temple dedicated to ‘Holy Wisdom,’ in the ancient or classic
meaning of the word. The edifice was destroyed by fire, and rebuilt
by Justinian in five years (A.D. 532-537). Twenty years later it was
much damaged by an earthquake. The injured dome was removed, raised
somewhat higher upon strengthened counterfoils, and finished A.D. 563.
The architects were Anthemis of Tralles, and Isidorus of Miletus. The
ground-plan, ornamentation, and construction, aim in combination at
one single result--surprise. There is a contradiction between lengths
and circles, destroying all effect of simple perspective. The various
cupolas, arches, and half-cupolas, connected with great technical
skill, have no organically united life. An antediluvian world opens its
gates to us. There is everywhere something astounding and gorgeous,
but we are unable to discern the necessity for the existence of the
parts, to form a coherent total. The galleries with their colonnades
puzzle us. The outer square-form, overtowered by a mighty cupola,
and by half-cupolas, is as incongruous as the ornamentation of the
interior. The shafts of the columns are amongst the finest specimens
of Roman architecture. Walls and pillars are adorned with variegated
marble panels in mosaic patterns. The roofs of the dome and semi-domes
are covered with gold mosaics, set in coloured ornamented frames,
interspersed with figurative tapestry-like representations. Christ,
saints, and prophets, are suspended in golden clouds. The effect on an
untutored mind is perfectly intoxicating. Though we do not underrate
the fully developed system of stone-roof construction, we must draw
the attention of our readers to the heavy and shapeless capitals with
the scarcely recognisable Ionic volutes, combined with Corinthian
leaf-work; all outlines being smothered by over-ornamentation,
destroying the beautiful effect of the antique by a clumsy impost.
Byzantine architecture remained stationary for hundreds of years. The
religious spirit went hand in hand with their stiff, lifeless art.
Ignorance and credulity engendered in the East a boundless intolerance
of all divergence of opinion, to which was added an equally boundless
toleration of falsehoods and frauds, so soon as these means served
to support the received opinions. An intellectual standstill was the
result of these principles, and acted on art, rendering it in general
as well as in detail an unwieldy mixture of Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek,
and Roman forms, overloaded with Asiatic filigree composed of lines
drawn from Christian symbolism. The Byzantine style of ornamentation
will always be, like that of China, a strange element to us. However
much the ingenuity of the winding, coiling, and recoiling lines,
interspersed with small and large jewels, may interest us, though we
may gaze at the profusion of gold mixed with gaudy colours with a kind
of vague bewilderment, Byzantine art can never appeal to our sense of
beauty.

A most important branch of Byzantine ornamentation was the treatment
of metals. For flat decoration, in the style of embroidery, nothing
can excel the use of metal, be it gold, silver, bronze, or steel, or
a combination of all these. There was a fantastic originality in
these productions which, when combined with an assiduous study of the
antique, may aid us in many instances to produce excellent specimens
of book-covers, patterns for ornamented salvers, caskets, cups,
candlesticks, crosses, &c. Byzantine art, however, is the very opposite
of classic art. Repose, as a consequence of the liveliest vibration
of forms, and uniformity through a rich variation of patterns, are
the real elements of Byzantine and Oriental art; in contradistinction
to classic art, which is based on the authority of purpose and a
correct subordination of details. This is the reason why the free but
well-systematised ornaments of classic Greece were revived at this
period with Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian textile patterns in
metal, stone, or colours. Nothing could be more appropriate for this
mode of ornamentation than leaf-work, flowers, creepers, &c., in the
arrangement of which, the stern law of a well-regulated distribution of
the repeated forms must be observed, to bring about a thorough balance
between rest and vibration, variety and uniformity.

Whilst Byzantium was exhausting all its powers, and socially and
artistically preparing to fall a prey to iconoclasts and Mahomedans;
the movement, next in importance to the establishment of Christianity,
viz. the migration of the Northern Teutons, took place.

We intend to group Kelts, Normans, Franks, Ostrogoths, and Westrogoths
or Visigoths, Alemanni, Burgundians, Vinilians, Ingavorians,
Istavorians, Vandals, Saxons, Anglo-Saxons, Markomanni, Rugi, Ubi,
Gurgerni, Herulians, Bojoarians, Gepidi, Quadi, Marsingi, Sclavons,
&c., all under the one name of North-European Ayrans. It is an
imperative duty, with the art-historian, to group these scattered
elements together, according to some visible signs, which serve to
prove that, wherever we find an average facial angle of 90°, and
an amount of brain averaging 92 cubic inches, we have to deal with
the Aryan group of humanity. We avoid by this means divisions and
sub-divisions _ad infinitum_, and the danger of losing ourselves
in a labyrinth of petty national animosities and jealousies. Art,
based on ethnology, and a study of climatological influences, has
an immensely Christianising power. We see in the common language of
forms, a common bond between those who formed themselves into small
political communities, each in turn arrogating to themselves a kind
of _‘chosen-people’ superiority_, and turning their powers against
that very mother-stock from which they received life, vigour, a common
language, and a common mode of thinking on supernatural matters, and
the phenomena of nature. The Kelts, Normans, Saxons, Danes, Swedes,
Teutons, Germans (Garmans, Wahrmans, or Wehrmans, Brahmans), are all
of the same stock. Separated at different periods from their Trans-and
Cis-Himâlâyan ancestors, they lost more or less of their old religious
notions, customs, and manners, according to their lesser or greater
intermixture with the Turanian substrata of aborigines, who peopled
the countries wherein they settled. Next to the aspect of the country
in which they established themselves, its climate must be taken into
consideration. The Aryan, snowed in for six months in Scandinavia, or
living on the coasts of the Baltic, obliged to fight for every foot
of fertile ground with a boisterous and obstinate nature, must have
developed otherwise than the self-same Aryan who, as Kelt, took up his
abode on an island everlastingly green with refreshing verdure, and was
insulated from outer influences for long periods, being thus led to
look upon this detached spot as the very centre of the universe around
which the five parts of our globe, the myriads of suns, stars, planets,
and comets revolved. Between the Aryan-Kelt and the Aryan-Frank or
Norman, there will be a difference, brought about by the progress of
time and a freer intermixture with other branches of the mother-stock
who attained a higher kind of civilisation. The Aryans in India lost
themselves in metaphysical abstractions, and made of fire, water, and
air a theogony in which the anthropomorphic element was altogether
effaced. The Aryans in the north of Europe, in their cosmogony, held
to the original conceptions. They had to battle with fire, water, and
air, in the form of volcanoes, seas, rain, snow, hail and storms; and
finding that with their intellectual power they could master these
elements, they soon deprived them of their individual godhead, and
the whole earth, with its loves and passions, its kindnesses and
destructive tendencies, was looked upon as a living being. They also
knew of two regions on earth--not of a spiritually created paradise and
hell, but of a _Muspel-heim_ in the south, and a _Nifel-heim_ in the
north: the one giving warmth, heat, life; the other cold and death;
the one light, the other night; the one summer, and the other winter.
According to the Aryans of the north of Europe the first cosmical
heat produced the giant _Ymir_, or _Angelmir_, who was nourished by
the sacred cow _Audumbla_, from which ran four streams of milk, the
four seasons. Like Brahmă, Ymir had a son and a daughter; the daughter
grew out of his arm, and the son out of his foot. The Brahman was the
outgrowth of Brahmă’s mouth: the Kshattriya sprung from his arms,
the Vaisya grew out of his thighs, and the S’udra out of his feet.
Ymir’s son became the father of the Hirmthursen (giants). By licking
huge rocks of sandstone the cow became the mother of Buri. We thus
pass from the pastoral into the agricultural state, and have the
legend of Jupiter and Io before us. Buri had a son, Bor, who had three
sons. _Odin_, Guodan, Wuodan, Wodan, the All-pervader--the ‘Allvater’
(father of all), _Willi_ and _We_--air, fire and water. Wodan was
also Baal, or the sun-god, in which capacity he had only _one eye_
(the sun); he was also Apollo, the god of poetry, and of all things
that love light and goodness. He was also the warfaring god who led
the people to battle, and protected the valorous and virtuous. He had
to fight against the giant Ymir with his brothers. A reminiscence of
the wars of the Greek gods with the Titans, &c.; the Indian Vritaghna
or the Persian Veretaghna, with the evil spirits of darkness, or the
Egyptian Horus with Typhon. Out of the dead body of Ymir, the sons of
Bor created everything. They formed the earth of his flesh, the rocks
of his bones, the skull became heaven, and his blood furnished seas,
rivers, and streams. They then took four dwarfs and placed Austri (in
the East), Westri (in the West), Sudri (in the South), and Nordri (in
the North), to guard the four corners of the heavens. Wuodan then
embraced the earth, and created his mighty son _Thor_, Donar, Thunder,
the protector of his mother-earth, and the enemy of the wicked. He sent
his lightnings against giants, purified the air, dispersed frost and
cold, killed the demons of heat, silenced the destructive storms, built
bridges, made high-roads, furthered the intercourse of man with man,
and promoted civilisation. The second son of Wuodan was _Zio_ (Ziu,
Zeus, Jovis, Síva, also Tyr-Tiu or Tusco), the god of battles, the
destroyer. The third son was _Fro_ (Froho, Freyr, free), the happy god,
the god of love and marriage. Who does not recognise in Thor, Froh, and
Ziu--Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva--Jupiter, Apollo and Mars? As with the
Aryans on the Ganges, so also with those on the Rhine, the Elbe or the
Weser, and in Scandinavia, the passive element of nature was embodied
in female divinities. _Hertha_, Nerthus (the earth), corresponds
to S’ris, Hera, Ceres, Isis; _Holda_ is closely allied with Hilda,
Hela, Hell (the hidden), the goddess of death, Durga; and _Freyja_
represents Venus, the goddess of love. These Aryans of northern Europe
were known to the ancients as Hyperboræans. They were tall, blue-eyed,
fair-haired, addicted to fighting, and sport. Some of them erected,
in analogy with Buddhists and Egyptians, long thin towers reaching
high into the air, pointing mystically upwards. The ‘Crux Ansata’ is
reproduced in the Irish crosses, and their mode of ornamentation, with
its twisted rope-like windings, and its serpent-like entanglements,
points to Indian patterns of a very ancient type. When these Aryans
of the north of Europe first dashed into the south, and destroyed
the Roman colossus, they embraced Christianity with all the fervour
of their unbiassed hearts. Entirely given up to the culture of the
wild powers of nature, free from all metaphysical subtleties--the
genuine men of wild oak, pine, and beech forests--they had no Vedas,
no Homer, no Zoroaster, no Hermes, and no Moses to forget; they, in
fact, only knew of an Allvater, because no two Teuton tribes held
the same opinions on metaphysics. They had only one common ground,
honest work--_industry_ (at those times concentrated on warfare); and
therefore they received Christianity with the greatest eagerness, and
became the only upholders, expounders, and propagators of a religion
for which their hearts were created. They recognised in Christ’s words,
what they heard in whispers in their legends, and in the experiences
of their wild life--that we ought to love others as ourselves. They
added some of their old superstitions to the pure faith, which they
found already much impregnated with Egyptian, Roman, and Indian signs
and symbols. In the beginning, whilst Christianity was spreading all
over Europe, they cultivated a mixture of North European and Roman
forms in architecture as well as in ornamentation. They constructed
their churches with plans borrowed from ancient times, and freely used
geometrical symbols--for the sign of the Indian Trimurty, that of the
shields of David or Solomon, and that of the Trinity, did not differ.
The pentagram is still made on every loaf the Germans bake; it was
a Druidical mystic sign, and now serves good Christians to protect
their bread from being eaten by evil spirits. If we look at our Tudor
roses, or St. Katherine’s wheels, we may clearly trace their origin
to the Zodiacs of Egypt, used as signs of the _Makrokosm_. The Teuton
minds found themselves suddenly dazzled by Christian theology. Greek,
Alexandrian, Nestorian, Arian, Athanasian, Jewish and Christian mystics
and casuists, already abounded in the sunny Muspel-heim, in which the
Teutons settled, and they had to exchange their gloomy, foggy, and
stormy Nifel-heim of reality, for a spiritual Nifel-heim of doctrinal
controversies. They turned their elfs and sprites, their kobolds and
gnomes, their spirits of air, water, and fire, into so many evil
spirits. They looked upon the literature of the Greeks and Romans,
of which they knew nothing, as the work of Beelzebub. Art was an
enchantress of the senses, and sculpture invented by the father of all
‘lies,’ to deceive us with mock-creatures, to seduce men, and to cheat
them of their share in everlasting salvation. In this gloomy spirit the
newly converted Teuton Christians built churches, and, sunken in the
most atrocious superstition, occupied themselves with the casting out
of devils. Nature was, in fact, one grand dwelling-place for demons.
Plague, poverty, and sickness, were attributed to the agency of the
enemy of mankind. Epileptic fits and insanity were signs that the demon
had taken possession of unfortunate wretches, who were either tormented
or put to death. Satan, with his legions of devils, continually
harassed mankind. To mortify and kill the body by fasting, chanting,
whipping, praying, and self-inflicted mortification, was thought the
only worthy and cheerful occupation of mankind. In addition to these
religious tendencies, wars were waged with merciless cruelty, either in
favour of, or against the new Christian superstition. A few so-called
_learned_ theologians studied the Jewish Cabala, Egyptian mysteries,
Zoroastrian magical calculations, Greek sophisms, and Alexandrian
Neo-Platonism. How could art have flourished under such circumstances?
Incantations, astrological calculations, alchemical experiments, were
the order of the day. The few learned men, whether architects or
others, as soon as they produced anything astounding, were said to have
received their ideas or plans, or their powers, from the devil. Who was
to create any beautifully shaped product of art, surrounded by such
misgivings?

This struggle lasted for several centuries; until, stimulated by
movements in the far East, the Christian world left its secluded haunts
in cloisters, monasteries, churches, and castles, and mixed once more
with the outer world, and the whole gloomy medley of Christianised
northern mythology had to yield to new forms in art.

Of this period we have a quantity of wood and ivory carvings, swords
in the form of crosiers, and crosiers in the form of swords, cups and
candlesticks, censers and pastoral staffs, diptichs and triptichs,
recording scenes from the life of Christ or of some saint. From the
third century down to the twelfth, year by year, artistic products of
ornamentation grew worse and worse. In the third century there was some
naturalness in the drapery, the folds being well executed; but in the
fifth century the treatment of the human figure deteriorated; folds
became more rope-like; Christ was represented as very young, with or
without a beard, often retaining the form of Apollo, or of Hermes,
carrying a lamb (the good shepherd). Bodies of saints and holy persons
grew more and more emaciated; the anatomy was altogether neglected.
After the Crusades in the twelfth century a marked improvement took
place, but everything was then impregnated with Mahomedan forms.
We should look with deep interest, and a sense of filial piety, on
these primitive attempts of Christian art; the execution is bad, but
the sentiments spread by their carvings, faulty designs, and poor
ornamentations, are always excellent. The artists address us in a rough
and unskilful manner, yet some spiritual truth awakens our better
nature to exalted feelings of love. This, however, teaches us that a
good feeling, a devout spirit, or a religious sentiment in the artists,
is not alone enough to produce works of art.

Whilst Europe was expending its powers in the re-arrangement of the
disturbed social and religious relations of humanity, a new movement
arose which threatened to overwhelm the whole world.

The new movement produced new art forms, which in their turn serve to
prove that art is a most important factor of civilisation. Till lately,
the erroneous notion that art is a mere superfluous luxury has appeared
to prevail with us. Art was placed by the ethicists in opposition to
morals, and scientists either altogether ignored it, or regarded it as
diametrically opposed to science--a pretty but useless toy. Art is
as necessary to man as either ethics or science. For man is endowed
with an emotional element, which must be satisfied and cultivated, in
order to raise him to the dignity of a human being using his esthetical
and intellectual faculties. It is vain to attempt to draw lines of
demarcation, between our component material and spiritual elements.
We recognise, or become conscious, through our _senses_; we sift the
impressions made on our senses by the power of our _intellect_: and we
regulate and arrange these impressions with the aid of our _reason_.
We may, therefore, strictly treat art scientifically, as well as
historically. For works of art may be considered under the following
heads:--

(_a._) As the concrete embodiments of man’s thoughts; the importance of
the historical study of which cannot be too strongly insisted upon, for
through it we can best become acquainted with the past, from a social
and religious point of view.

(_b._) As products that act upon our emotional, intellectual, and
reasoning faculties. It is our duty to endeavour to ascertain what
forms at different times, and under various impressions, acted most
agreeably on us. We must learn to know the causes that produced certain
art forms at certain periods, amongst certain people, under certain
intellectual, social, and religious conditions. We must inquire why
such forms flourished, decayed, or revived at different times.

(_c._) We may examine the relations in which our subjective impressions
stand to the products of art, and learn how far such sensations
developed, in time and space, to lead us to the consciousness of beauty.

From pre-historic times to the advent of Christ humanity was always
engaged as a busy artist. In studying the history of man we find that
art ushers us into life, gladdens the child, inspires the youth,
and interests the man. All our public actions, all our religious
ceremonies, our Court pageantry, our battles and funerals, all our
useful or useless surroundings, pass more or less through an artistic
process. In analysing the historical development of humanity at large,
or that of a nation, or even that of single individuals, we find that
our sensations, intellect, and reason have always been at work to
create something in their respective spheres. From the times of Plato
to our own all great thinkers have more or less occupied themselves
with the endeavour to establish the principles of beauty; just as from
Thales of Miletus, and Demokritos to Bacon, Kant, Darwin, and Häckel,
they have sought to discover the principle of truth; or from Manû,
Confucius, Moses, the Apostles, and Mahomet, to our own theologians,
they have striven to decide what is right or wrong. Art worked
synchronically with these endeavours, and its products are as numerous
and variegated as our philosophical systems, or our creeds and sects.
Moreover, works of art are, in many instances, far less perishable than
works of mere speculation. It becomes an imperative duty, therefore, to
study historically one of the most important branches of human activity
and ingenuity, which furnishes us in its very products with a record
in lasting forms, with at least the same ardour, earnestness, and
veneration, with which we devote ourselves to more varying, changing,
and perishable products. One fact must be obvious to every reader of
these pages--that real art has so exalted a sphere that it can only
exist to perfection wherever sciences and morals are highly cultivated.

In cursorily summarising these pages, we find that wherever and
whenever beauty as the _ideal_, truth as the _real_, or goodness as the
_ethical_ element in humanity, has been one-sidedly cultivated, works
of art have not succeeded, for the harmony and union of these three can
alone be the aim of humanity. This harmonious union it is difficult to
attain, but we must endeavour to become historically conscious of the
continuous striving of humanity to bring it about. We find two forces
constantly at work in humanity--the one static (morals), the other
dynamic (intellect)--bent upon leading us to culture, progress, truth,
goodness, and beauty. In the fifth and at the beginning of the fourth
century B.C., for once in our development, and then only for a short
period, humanity undoubtedly succeeded in attaining a perfect balance
of its moral, intellectual, and esthetical faculties. We may well call
that period the golden age of mankind in art. We still live on the
mere interest of that immense capital which was left by the Greeks as
an imperishable legacy to humanity. Whatever the Greeks touched at
that period they transformed into pearls of beauty, gold of truth, and
jewels of goodness. They mounted the winged steed of imagination, and
were taken up to the bright heaven of pure idealisation, where they
saw boundless beauty in forms, and acquired an immortal striving after
truth and the eternal laws of goodness, based on the very organisation
of our complicated double nature. This dream of reality was short but
vivid. Humanity lives still in an ineffaceable longing and a burning
desire to regain that period. Like diamonds dropped in unknown ages in
small crystallisations into the sand of rivers, the works of Greece
appear in the stream of time, serving as a fundamental basis of beauty,
truth, and goodness.

The well-balanced harmony was unfortunately soon disturbed.

Giddy with victory and joy, the Greeks discarded ethics; truth was made
the handmaid of sophistry, superstition, and scepticism; and beauty,
in losing her ideal glory, sank into the depths of sensualism and
realism. The harmony of the triad, which artists, philosophers, and
moral teachers had succeeded in establishing, was destroyed, and a
discordant strain of melancholy woe resounded through history, echoing
here and there some remnants of the old and charming melodies. The
conquests of Philip of Makedon and Alexander the Great brought the
East into contact with the Greek spirit. The East furnished mystic
incomprehensibilities, and an egotistic hatred of all art that could
not be turned into money, or used for serving some deity to buy up its
good graces. Buddhistic tenets joined hands with Brahmanic conceits;
Egyptian symbols were intermingled with Hebrew practical enactments,
without any ideal aspirations. Greek philosophical diatribes were
used to prove the impossible possible, and the ‘supernatural’ most
natural. Some Greeks attempted to revive the antique mode of thinking,
but they were silenced by the Neo-Platonists, and thus the Greeks
themselves became the most successful apostles of unnaturally-shaped
superstitions, deadening the vivifying spirit of Christ’s teachings.

The Romans had only one aim in history--to regulate their conquests.
The State was everything with them; they taught us how to systematise
the actions of men, to make them useful citizens in this world, and,
when they left their legacy of infallible authority to the Romish
Church, how to prepare fit inhabitants for another world. The outward
realistic form, proclaiming some inward mystic grace or meaning, became
everything. Base hollowness in art and morals, vapid verbiage in
philosophy, unnatural profligacy and licentiousness, mean covetousness
and heartless egotism, brought humanity intellectually, morally, and
spiritually, to the brink of destruction. Everyone thirsted for a
change--reality was unbearable.

Men strove, in deadening their bodies, to seek the salvation of their
souls. The realistic tendency of the degenerated ancient times gave
way to blind faith, which by degrees obtained an exclusive hold on the
ideal in man, ignoring his reflective and reasoning nature, working
only on the emotional, and burying antiquity under the gloomy ruins
of the Middle Ages. For more than 1000 years beauty had to yield to
mystic symbolism, truth to superstitious prejudice, and ethics to a
morbid sentimentality and a cruel hierarchical despotism. Dogmatic
scholasticism sought to foster elegance of forms; to create artistic
enthusiasm; but this attempt was vain. When, however, the dogmatic
ice began to melt in the burning rays of the rising sun of a freer
inquiry; when the Romish Church, anxious for some powerful helpmate to
check the rays of this sun, and work on the gloomy, stupified emotions
of the masses, called in to aid her the spirit of the Greeks in art,
she prepared a bright and happy future for humanity. The reformation
in art-forms, and the revival of the antique spirit in poetry, was
soon followed by a revival in science and ethics. Philosophy began to
unravel the mysteries of nature, and to make natural forces subservient
to man’s wants and happiness. Ethics, based on freedom of thought, grew
day by day more powerful, and Greek forms were used in the purified
spirit of Christ, divested of strange and unintelligible dogmas.

Having secured the right freely to store up the results of our
intellectual investigations, we must devote our artistic energies,
through an assiduous study of the historical development of art, to
a corresponding culture of our sense of beauty. This is essential,
if we hope to stand as high artistically, as we do technically and
mechanically. Without culture we cannot hope to vie with other
nations in high art, in historical paintings, frescoes, sculpture,
and architecture. A thorough knowledge of art-history will destroy
tasteless prejudices, and enable us progressively to develop the
past without becoming guilty of anachronisms. Inspired by the firm
conviction that the culture of taste leads to the very highest
development of ethics, and that art can only flourish in strict harmony
with truth and goodness, we can progress, but not otherwise.

In this volume we have brought the reader down to the art of the
Mahomedans, and trust in a future work to trace the historical
development of art to our own times. What we have said in praise
of Greek art, must not be misunderstood to imply that, since it
flourished, we have not made gigantic progressive strides in
sculpture, architecture, and painting; but we have done so only when
we have worked in the Greek spirit, that is, on the principles which
stamped their works of art with perfection.



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INDEX.


  A, 84

  ΑΩ {AÔ}, 272

  Abulfeda, 35

  Absolom, 150

  Achaians, 180

  Acherusian, 134

  Achilles, 184

  Action, 16

  Adoniram, 146

  Æneas, 234

  Æsop, 242

  Ætna, 215

  Agamemnon, 185

  Ageladas, 193

  Agesander, 207

  Agincourt, 225

  Agodhyá, 77

  Agrômainyus, 89

  Ahriman, 89

  Ahura-Mazda, 89

  Albans, 233

  Alemanni, 283

  Alexander the Great, 87

  Alkibiades, 201

  Alkmene, 185

  Allegory, 270

  Allvater, 286

  Amn, 114

  Amphiprostyle, 176

  Anaxagoras, 193

  Ancus Martius, 235

  Andromeda, 250

  Angeians, 180

  Angelmir, 286

  Antætemple, 176

  Anthemis of Tralles, 281

  Antiope, 208

  Antonines, 258

  Anubis, 117

  Apis, 189

  Apollo at Bassæ, 200

  Apollo (Saurokthonos), 206

  Apollo (Smintheus), 203

  Apollodorus, 256

  Apollonius, 207

  Archaic-Doric, 178

  Arch (Roman), 245

  Ariadne, 190

  Arians, 275

  Aristotle, 187

  Arkadia, 200

  Arno, 213

  Artemis of Ephesus, 189

  Aryan, 26

  Asar, 214

  Asioatha, 80

  Asklepios, 196

  Asphaltites, 134

  Athanasians, 275

  Athene Promachos, 195

  Athenodorus, 207

  Atlas, 164

  Atos (Akotus), 108

  Attic-Doric, 178

  Audumbla, 286

  Augustus, 252

  Aurelius Commodus, 241

  Azer-Abad, 89


  Babylon, 97

  Baltic, 285

  Barucchi, 105

  Bachante, 204

  Basilica of Reparatus, 277

  Beautiful, 3

  Beelzebub, 290

  Bendemir (Araxes), 91

  Bengallee, 82

  Bhîma, 159

  Boaz, 148

  Böckh, 104

  Book of Deliverance, 113

  Bor, 286

  Botta, M., 88

  Brahmă, 64

  Brahman, 85

  Brahmapootra, 60

  Bronze (age), 33

  Brugsch, 105

  Bryaxis, 205

  Buddha, 75

  Bunsen, 105

  Burgundians, 284

  Buri, 286

  Byzantine, 270

  Byzes of Naxos, 191


  Cadam, 89

  Cainozoic, 180

  Caracalla, 260

  Carthage, 236

  Carrios, 41

  Catulus, M., 251

  Cavœdium, 217

  Celerus, 254

  Chalúkyan, 82

  Champ-levé, 131

  Champollion, 104

  Cheops (Shufu), 119

  Chephren (Shafra), 120

  Chichen, 42

  Chimera, 168

  Chinese language, 46

  Chinese trellis-work, 50

  Chiron, 185

  Choda (Gott, God), 84

  Christianity, 263

  Chuda (Khuda, Svadâtta), 84

  Cicero, 242

  Cis-Himâlâyans, 61

  Claudius, 253

  Cleopatra, 253

  Cloisonné, 131

  Clusium, 218

  Coati, 40

  Colosseum, 255

  Compluvium, 217

  Confucius, 47

  Constantine (triumphal arch), 256

  Contractura, 175

  Copan, 42

  Corichanca, 41

  Corneto, 220

  Cortona, 213

  Cranoges, 37

  Crassus, L., 251

  Critical (School of Art), 8

  Cross-vault (Roman), 245

  Crusades, 292

  Crystallisations, 12

  Cupid, 69

  Cupola (Roman), 245

  Cuzco, 41

  Cynerary chests, 217


  Daghopa, 79

  Daidalos, 190

  Danaians, 180

  Dante, 240

  Dea Cloacina, 239

  Dead (book of the), 112

  Delphos, 188

  Demeratos, 221

  Demeter, 161

  Demetrius, 271

  Dempster, 225

  Derush, 141

  Devaki, 70

  Dews (Devas), 96

  Dialectic, 63

  Dibutades, 181

  Diodorus (Siculus), 100

  Diogenes Laertius, 111

  Diopos, 221

  Dipteros, 176

  Diptichs, 291

  Dirkê, 208

  Disk heresy, 105

  Divespitar, 67

  Donatists, 275

  Dös (Dyss, or Dolmens), 35

  Dordogne, 34

  Doric, 173

  Dshemshid, 90

  Dshey-Afram, 89

  Dravidian, 82

  Durga, 69

  Dypuc, 69


  Echidna, 168

  Eight Periods of Jewish History, 139

  Echetlos, 215

  Eirene, 202

  Elbruz, 94

  Elektra, 185

  El Hayz, 277

  El Kassr, 98

  Encaustum, 131

  Entasis, 176

  Epimetheus, 164

  Epistyle, 176

  Erato, 165

  Erechtheium, 179

  Eriene Veedjo (Iran Veji), 89

  Eros, 204

  ἦθος {êthos}, 188

  Etruskans, 212

  Etruskan style, 225

  Euchier, 221

  Eugrammos, 221

  Euripides, 201

  Eurythmy, 13

  Euxine, 244

  Euterpe, 165

  Exarchs, 279

  Expression, 16

  Ezekiel, 139


  Farnese Bull, 207

  Fascine constructions, 37

  Faust, 164

  Feather ornament, 126

  Fervers, 96

  Ficus Indica, 80

  Ficus religiosa, 81

  Figeac, 104

  Flavians, 247

  Fora (Civilia), 252

  Fortuna Virilis (temple of), 251

  Forum Trajanum, 255

  Franks, 283

  Freyja, 288

  Froh (Freyr), 287


  Gæa, 160

  Galpones, 41

  Gânesa, 67

  Ganges, 60

  Ganymede, 68

  Garuda, 68

  Gepidi, 284

  Geryon, 168

  Ghandarvas, 200

  Giallo antico, 262

  Glaukos, 191

  Glypthotek, 203

  Gnostics, 275

  Gurgerni, 284


  Hadrian, 247

  Hal-her, 116

  Hamadan (Erbatana), 92

  Hamilton (Lord), 183

  Hanau, 41

  Harris, 73

  Harpies, 219

  Hassarlik, 189

  Hathor-masks, 125

  Herakles, 159

  Hekatoncheires, 162

  Hektor, 184

  Hermetic books, 104

  Here, 161

  Herodotus, 35

  Hertha (Nerthus, Earth), 288

  Herulians, 284

  Hes (Isis), 117

  Hesiri (Osiris), 117

  Hestia, 161

  Hieratic style, 125

  Hieroglyphs, 108

  Hierogrammatists, 111

  Hillel (Rabbi), 104

  Himeros, 204

  Hincks, 105

  Hirmthursen, 286

  Historical (School of Art), 7

  Hittites, 34

  Holda, 288

  Horace, 242

  Horoskopus, 111

  Horus, 117

  Hurin, 41

  Hyksos, 105

  Hypæthral, 176


  Ideography, 108

  Iphikrates, 193

  Iliad, 184

  Impluvium, 217

  Ingavorians, 284

  Indus, 60

  Ionic, 173

  Iron (age), 33

  Isidorus of Miletus, 281

  Istavorians, 284

  Is’wara, 69

  Itza, 42


  Jachin, 148

  Janus, 67

  Japetós, 160

  Jordan, 134

  Jordanes, 34

  Jugurtha, 237

  Julius Cæsar, 251


  Ka, 84

  Kadmus, 157

  Kalamis, 193

  Kaledonian (boar), 202

  Kaliphs, 87

  Kaliya Nága, 71

  Kalliope, 166

  Kansa, 70

  κάθαρσις {katharsis}, 188

  Kentaur, 218

  Kekrops, 157

  Kelts, 283

  Kenrick, 105

  Kentimanos, 160

  Kephisodotus, 202

  Kha, 84

  Kham (Ham, Chemnus), 106

  Khem, 114

  Khai-Khorus (Kyrus), 87

  Kimon, 190

  Klio, 165

  Kneph, 116

  κονίασις {koniasis}, 173

  Korinthian, 173

  Korœbus, 181

  Kouyunjik, 93

  Krishna, 70

  Kronos, 160

  Kshattriya, 85

  Ktesias, 100

  Kynic, 187

  Kyprus, 44

  Kyrenæic, 187


  Labyrinth, 123

  Lake-dwellings, 35

  Laokoön, 207

  Lapis lazuli, 262

  Laplanders, 34

  Lauth, 106

  Layard, R. H., 88

  Leah, 273

  Lekythus, 186

  Leochares, 205

  Lepsius, 105

  Lernean serpent, 168

  Li-king, 47

  Lotus, 126

  Lukeres, 233

  Lysippus, 201


  Maccabees, 133

  Mahâbhârata, 73

  Makedonian-Doric, 178

  Makrokosm, 289

  Mal’hurâ, 71

  Man (Jao), 116

  Manasseh Ben Israel, 135

  Mania, 223

  Manichæans, 275

  Mantus, 223

  Manurra, 251

  Marcus Aurelius, 258

  Markomanni, 258

  Masaya, 39

  Mastadon, 213

  Mausoleum (of Augustus), 253

  Mausolos at Halikarnassus, 205

  Medea, 250

  Medusa, 185

  Mêlas, 191

  Melpomene, 165

  Memnonium, 123

  Memnons, 124

  Memphis, 106

  Mem-tsu, 47

  Menes, 106

  Menkerynus (Menkare), 120

  Meshiah, 155

  Metis, 161

  Metopes, 176

  Miaos, 53

  Miltiades, 196

  Milton, 240

  μίμησις {mimêsis}, 188

  Module, 174

  Moltke, 41

  Moses, 141

  Motion, 16

  Murghab, 92

  Muspel-heim, 286

  Mut, 114

  Myths, 271


  Naksh-i-Rustam, 92

  Negro, 23

  Neolithic, 33

  Nero, 253

  Nestorians, 275

  Net, 115

  Nifel-heim, 286

  Niké, 185

  Nineveh, 97

  Ninus, 90

  Niobe, 206

  Normans, 283

  Num (Nu), 114

  Numa Pompilius, 234

  Nundi, 189


  Odin, 286

  Okeanos, 160

  Oligochromatic, 182

  Olympian, Pythian, Nemæan, and Isthmian games, 171

  Onatas, 193

  Opisthodome, 175

  Opus plumarium, 54

  Orchia, 219

  Ormuzd, 89

  Orpheus, 157

  Ostrogoths, 283

  Ovid, 242


  Palenque, 42

  Palm-tree, as ornament, 126

  Palæolithic, 33

  Pantheon, 253

  Paphos, 145

  Papyrus, as ornament, 126

  Parsagad (Passagarda or Persepolis), 91

  Parthenon, 197

  Pátála, 71

  Paulastya, 68

  Pelasgians, 180

  Penelope, 184

  Pentagram, 289

  Per-ao (Pharaoh), 107

  Perigord, 34

  Perikles, 193

  Peripteros, 176

  Peshat, 141

  Perseus, 185

  Perseus, 250

  Phædrus, 242

  Pheidias, 193

  Phigalia, 200

  Philesian Apollo, 171

  Phtah, 115

  Pile-dwellings, 36

  Pindar, 224

  Planimetric, 17

  Plato, 187

  Plautus, 242

  Pluton, 161

  Pluton, 202

  Polychromatic, 182

  Polydoros, 207

  Polyhymnia, 165

  Polykrates, 191

  Pompey, 143

  Pontos, 160

  Poseidon, 161, 203

  Posticum, 175

  Pothos, 204

  Prasias, 35

  Prathama-Raja, 75

  Praxiteles, 193

  Præneste (Palestrina), 220

  Prometheus, 164

  Prophets, 112

  Proportion, 19

  Prostyle, 176

  Proteus, 159

  Proto-Doric, 178

  Ptolemaic style, 129

  Punic war, 236

  Pythagoras of Regium, 193


  Quadi, 284

  Quatusco, or Huatusco, 40


  Ra (with the Persians), 84

  Ra, 115

  Rachel, 273

  Radamanthus, 223

  Ramâyâna, 73

  Ramnes, 233

  Ravenna, 279

  Realistic (School of Art), 7

  Remes, 141

  Rhœkos, 191

  Roma (Amor), 229

  Romanesque, 270

  Romulus and Remus, 234

  Rosetta-stone, 104


  Sabines, 233

  Sacred books (of the Egyptians), 111

  Sacsahuaman, 41

  Sallust, 242

  Samoyedes, 34

  Sanchi Tope, 76

  San Paolo fuori le mura, 278

  Saul, 132

  Scandinavia, 285

  Scaurus, M., 251

  Schliemann (Dr.), 189

  Seb (Kronos), 116

  Semiramis, 90

  Septimus Severus, 247

  Servius Tullius, 235

  Seti, 115

  Shi-king, 47

  Shoo-king, 47

  Siamek, 90

  Skopas, 201

  Skylla, 168

  Smilis, 191

  Sod, 141

  Solomon, 138

  Sophokles, 171

  Sphinx, 168

  Sphinxes (six kinds of), 120

  S’rî, 68

  Sta. Agnese, 272

  Sta. Barbara, 274

  Sta. Croce at Jerusalem, 277

  Sta. Maria at Bethlehem, 277

  St. Apollinare in Classe, 279

  St. Calisto, 272

  Stereometric, 17

  Stiens (of Cambodia), 35

  St. John, 274

  St. Katherine’s wheel, 289

  St. Lorenzo, 272

  Stolists, 112

  St. Peter’s at Rome, 277

  St. Sebaldus, 274

  St. Sebastian, 274

  St. Sebastiano, 272

  St. Sophia, 280

  St. Vitale, 279

  Sublime, 3

  S’udra, 85

  S’wa, 64

  Symbol, 270

  Symbolic, 63

  Symmetry, 13

  Syrakuse, 236


  Tachyno, 35

  Tahamur, 90

  Tarquinius Priscus, 235

  Tarquinius Superbus, 235

  Tartaros, 162

  Tauriskos, 207

  Tacitus, 242

  Telos, 181

  Temple, Egyptian, 122

  Teni (This, Thinis), 106

  Teotl, 39

  Terence, 242

  Terpsichore, 165

  Teth (Toth, Hermes), 116

  Thales, 213

  Thalia, 165

  Thebes, 123

  Themistokles, 193

  Theodorus, 191

  Thera, 182

  Thermæ, 253

  Thor, 287

  Thukydides, 193

  Tiberius, 253

  Timotheos, 205

  Tingitanum, 277

  Titicaca, 40

  Titians, 233

  Titus Livy, 242

  Tombs, Egyptian, 120

  Trajan, 247

  Trans-Himâlâyans, 61

  Tree of Art, 28

  Triglyphs, 176

  Trilôchana, 69

  Trimurty, 65

  Triophthalmos, 70

  Tritons, 203

  Tsem-tsu, 47

  Tshao-Pings, 52

  Tshil-Minar, 91

  Tudor roses, 289

  Tulasi, 71

  Tullus Hostilius, 234

  Turanian, 24

  Tuscanicum, 217

  Types, 271

  Typhon (Nubi, or Set), 116

  Tyrrhenian, 181


  Uhleman, 105

  Ulpia (Basilica), 256

  Ulysses, 184

  Unger, 106

  Urania, 165

  Uranus, 160

  Uræus, 129

  Uxmal, 42


  Va, 84

  Vaisya, 85

  Vandals, 284

  Vauban, 41

  Veretaghna, 287

  Vesta, 251

  Vesuvius, 222

  Via Sacra, 255

  Vinitians, 284

  Virgil, 242

  Vishnu, 64

  Viterbo, 219

  Volaterra, 218

  Volci, 218

  Vritaghna, 287

  Vurka, 98


  Xp, 272

  Xenophon, 193


  Yachahnasi, 41

  Yamuná, 71

  Y-King, 47

  Ymir, 286

  Yo-king, 47

  Young, Dr., 104


  Zacharias, 150

  Zahok, 90

  Zarathustra (Zerdusht, Zoroaster), 94

  Zedekiah, 132

  Zend-Avesta, 88

  Zeruane-Akerene, 95

  Zeus, 162

  Zorobabel, 142

  Zui (or Tui, Tuisco), 287


    LONDON: PRINTED BY
    SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE
    AND PARLIAMENT STREET



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Transcriber-added descriptions of some illustrations are in
parentheses, like this: [Illustration: (description)].

Some words were printed both with and without accent marks. The ones
clearly meant to be the same (e.g., Index references to the other form)
were changed; the rest appear both ways.

Greek and symbols not in the Latin-1 or ASCII character sets have
been transliterated or substituted in those versions of this eBook.
The original letters and symbols might appear in the UTF-8 and HTML
versions. Devices unable to display such characters may substitute
question marks or other placeholders.





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