תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

nation, it may not, in some respects, contribute more to devotion then the natural and elegant forms of Grecian architecture; I mean only to show that this mode of architecture was adventitious, and not the in: vention of the nations where it appeared.

When, after the revival of science, and the fine arts, the ancients came to be studied by the great Mia chael Angelo, it was the glory of that artist to regenerate the art completely, and not to tamper with the vicious forms that he found in Italy. Neither was it Vitruvius that he studied, but the remains of Athenian perfection, which he traced in the rubbish of Rome, and wherever they were to be discovered in Italy. St Peter's and other fine modern buildings were the fruits of his study, and of that of his associates and successors; but he copied them in their chaste simplicity, and did not jumble forms together, as has been done by our modern architects.

He could not resist adopting the rotunda of the temple of Agrippa for St Peter's, without which I am apt to believe it would have been more perfect. The dome is a clumsy heavy form, that fills the eye without enlarging the imagination, and has been unfortunately too much a favourite with the successors of Michael Angelo.

Michael Angelo and Raphael, though worshipped by artists, are not admired, I believe, in the way they themselves would have chosen. They are admired for their genius, but would have claimed to be praised for their good sense and discernment. They did not fill their portfolios with drawings of their own composition, but with studies from the antique. From these without deviation (except where they

: were forced by their employers,) they brought forth

those master pieces that immediately charmed the · eye of every beholder. They applied, as it were, the spear

of Ithuriel to the latent forms of Greek and Roman art, and produced them once more to be the admiration of the universe.

The same observations are applicable to the chizzel of Bernini, and to the pencils of the best scholars and successors of Raphael. The mind of Michael Angelo, * filled with the images of that noble simplicity whick characterises the stile of Grecian architecture, saw the deformity and meanness of double tiers of columns and arches ; and the poverty of a façade with

out deep columnar shadows, and projecting parts in the whole, to obviate that flatness which nature abhors in all her works: that nature which was the model from which' his great masters originally copied, and which we must copý, if we fhall dare to invent with the hopes of excellence.

Neither was it the buildings of the ancients alone that Michael Angelo studied, or that formed his transcendent taste.

He studied the beautiful forms of the ancient sta. tues.

“ The quiver'd God in graceful art who stanis,
His arın extended with the slacken'd bow,
Light Aows his easy robe, and fair displays
A manly soften'd forin. The bluom of gods
Seems youthful o'er the beardless cheek to wave;
His features yet heroic ardour warms;
And sweet subsiding to a native smile,
Mix'd with the joy elating conquest gives,
A scatter'd frown exaks his matchless air." THOMSON.

[ocr errors]

Taste in architecture, therefore, is the child of sensibility, of nature, of experience, of the study of the antique, of good sense and propriety.

It will languish in a rude climate, where there is not wealth to promote great undertakings; it will be debauched and enervated in any country where sudden wealth has checked its progressive improvement, and prescribed plans to it, that are inconsistent with classick examples ; and it will be finally destroyed by the introduction of patch work ornament, and diminutive parts, even though every individual part may be taken from the best models.

As I write for no particular country, I fhall escape the censure that I might incur by blaming artists; but these, in all countries, if not blinded by vanity or corrupted by vicious practices in architecture, will read their chastisement in the luminous principles that are drawn from the history of the art, and its connection with the inexterminable principles of the human understanding and the human heart.

As the fine models of antiquity were, from the wealth of individuals, and the general diffusion of that wealth in Britain, more copied in the internal decorations of apartments, than in the verification of great models and in public edifices ; so almost all our artists have been faulty in the poverty of their designs, in the want of noble columniation, shadowy division of parts, and in what I would beg leave to call the perspective of architect re.

Thus, have I completed the sketch of my reflections, on the sources of improvement in architecture, and concerning that taste by which it must be

VOL. xi.

H

[ocr errors]

regulated to render it noble, convenient, and delightful. I have shown that the original elements of its perfection are to be sought for, and discovered only in nature and sensibility; and that nature, in the high example of the Greeks, can never be relinquished without deformity and disappointment. I might have dilated these observations to swell into a book, and sold them to a bookseller, escaping the sneer of prouder authors, as a periodical dangler ; but in the business of writing, I am of the opinion of St Augustine, " that a great book is a great evil ;” and being exceedingly desirous of giving a proper direction to the overflowing wealth of my countrymen in architecture, I have systematically chosen the most sudden and extensive channel of communication. To many there will seem to be little contained in this last efe say, and to a few there will seem a great deal ; I will not, I cannot, conceal that I am, and always have been desirous of pleasing only a few. I am, Sir, Your obedient humble servant,

B. A.

ON SHOOTING PIGEONS.

[ocr errors]

SIR, To the Editor of the Bee. I HAVE observed for these two or three years past, advertisements in the news-papers

from an associa. ted body of proprietors, threatening to prosecute the shooters of pigeons; and which, as these advertisements appear only at this season of the

year,

it

may be presumed that it is thereby intended to intimidate

[ocr errors]

the farmers from taking that mode of protecting their crop, from the ravages of these destructive creatures.

With respect to the law, in this case, I must take the liberty to observe that the old Scots acts on this, subject, still unrepealed, are totally silent as to foota ing or destroying pigeons, although they guard with abundance of precision against the breaking of pigeon bouses

To judge then from the dictates of reason alone : is it at allreasonable that the poor tenant should be obliged to suffer the pigeons of the opulent landlord, not merely to feed on his crop, but to destroy it? for. it is a well known circumstance that a flock of pigeons alighting among a field of wheat, destroy at least fifty times as much as they eat. Thus, to save the: great man one Thilling, his poor tenant must suffer a lofs of fifty !

I am positively certain, that in my own farm,, which is not very extensive, I lose every year, at this time, fifty bolls of wheat, not eaten, but destroyed by pigeons. I aver also, that all the pigeons for a mile around me, do not produce a revenue to their wealthy owners of ten pounds the whole

These are facts that I can well substantiate ; nor is my situa, tion at all singular ; it is the case of the whole of the low country in general. In this manner there is at least five thousand bolls of wheat in this county.

year:

* The British statute on this subject, which was made, I think, in: 1962, besides that it does not repeal the old Scois acis, it makes the pea. nalties recoverable only in Westminster-ball, so that it cannot possibly be construed to extend to Scotland.

« הקודםהמשך »