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CHAPTER I ART AND THE DRAMA I always agree with that man who said, “Let me make the nation’s songs and I care not who frames her laws,” or words to that effect, for, in my opinion, nothing so well indicates national character or so keenly accentuates the difference between individuals and nations as the way in which they spend their leisure hours; and the theatres of Japan are thoroughly typical of the people’s... more...

INTRODUCTION It is hardly necessary to apologise for the miscellaneous character of the following collection of essays.  Samuel Butler was a man of such unusual versatility, and his interests were so many and so various that his literary remains were bound to cover a wide field.  Nevertheless it will be found that several of the subjects to which he devoted much time and labour are not represented in these pages.  I have not... more...

INTRODUCTION. The origin of painting is unknown. The first important records of this art are met with in Egypt; but before the Egyptian civilization the men of the early ages probably used color in ornamentation and decoration, and they certainly scratched the outlines of men and animals upon bone and slate. Traces of this rude primitive work still remain to us on the pottery, weapons, and stone implements of the cave-dwellers. But while... more...

I THE PRECURSORS OF IMPRESSIONISM—THE BEGINNING OF THIS MOVEMENT AND THE ORIGIN OF ITS NAME   It will be beyond the scope of this volume to give a complete history of French Impressionism, and to include all the attractive details to which it might lead, as regards the movement itself and the very curious epoch during which its evolution has taken place. The proportions of this book confine its aim to the clearest possible summing... more...

ESSAYS ON ART "The Adoration of the Magi" There is one beauty of nature and another of art, and many attempts have been made to explain the difference between them. Signor Croce's theory, now much in favour, is that nature provides only the raw material for art. The beginning of the artistic process is the perception of beauty in nature; but an artist does not see beauty as he sees a cow. It is his own mind that imposes on the chaos of nature... more...


INTRODUCTION It is a happy memory that associates the foundation of our Royal Academy with the delivery of these inaugural discourses by Sir Joshua Reynolds, on the opening of the schools, and at the first annual meetings for the distribution of its prizes.  They laid down principles of art from the point of view of a man of genius who had made his power felt, and with the clear good sense which is the foundation of all work that looks... more...

Art

I THE AESTHETIC HYPOTHESIS It is improbable that more nonsense has been written about aesthetics than about anything else: the literature of the subject is not large enough for that. It is certain, however, that about no subject with which I am acquainted has so little been said that is at all to the purpose. The explanation is discoverable. He who would elaborate a plausible theory of aesthetics must possess two qualities—artistic... more...

LECTURE I. THE DISCOVERY AND APPLICATION OF ART. A Lecture delivered at Manchester, July 10, 1857. 1. Among the various characteristics of the age in which we live, as compared with other ages of this not yet very experienced world, one of the most notable appears to me to be the just and wholesome contempt in which we hold poverty. I repeat, the just and wholesome contempt; though I see that some of my hearers look surprised at the... more...

CHAPTER I VENICE AND HER ART Venetian painting in its prime differs altogether in character from that of every other part of Italy. The Venetian is the most marked and recognisable of all the schools; its singularity is such that a novice in art can easily, in a miscellaneous collection, sort out the works belonging to it, and added to this unique character is the position it occupies in the domain of art. Venice alone of Italian States can... more...

Introduction No more accurate account of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition has been given than one that was forced from the lips of a charming Eastern woman of culture. Walking one evening in the Fine Arts colonnade, while the illumination from distant searchlights accented the glory of Maybeck's masterpiece, and lit up the half-domes and arches across the lagoon, she exclaimed to her companion: "Why, all the beauty of the world has... more...