A Manual of the Historical Development of Art / Pre-Historic—Ancient—Classic—Early Christian; with Special Reference to Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, and Ornamentation

 

E-text prepared by David Garcia, Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
(http://www.pgdp.net)
from page images generously made available by the
Google Books Library Project
(http://books.google.com)

 

Note:Images of the original pages are available through the Google Books Library Project. See http://www.google.com/books?id=sqIZAAAAYAAJ

 

The book cover images was created by the transcriber and is placed in the Public Domain.

The transcriber’s transliterations of Greek are shown in {curly braces}.

 


 

 

 

A MANUAL 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?’

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | Single Page

A Manual of the Historical Development of Art / Pre-Historic—Ancient—Classic—Early Christian; with Special Reference to Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, and Ornamentation

 

E-text prepared by David Garcia, Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
(http://www.pgdp.net)
from page images generously made available by the
Google Books Library Project
(http://books.google.com)

 

Note:Images of the original pages are available through the Google Books Library Project. See http://www.google.com/books?id=sqIZAAAAYAAJ

 

The book cover images was created by the transcriber and is placed in the Public Domain.

The transcriber’s transliterations of Greek are shown in {curly braces}.

 


 

 

 

A MANUAL 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?’

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | Single Page