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its contents. Such an Institutution means the collection of the choicest works of art that the nation contains or can procure; it is also meant to exemplify the past and present state of the arts in the country. The latter is perhaps the most legitimate and true object of a National Gallery, it is at least the one which the circumstances of Ireland would more readily admit, as the expense of forming a gallery of the works of the Old Masters would be enormous--that is, supposing really good and genuine specimens were obtained--and if they were not of this character, it would be far better to have none. The genuine productions by the celebrated of the Old Masters are scarcer than is imagined; and from the great demand to fill the various galleries now formed, or being formed, throughout Europe, they will inevitably become more scarce, and still higher priced. The immense sum recently paid by the French government for a Murillo is in every body's recollection-a price utterly beyond what any painting, however excellent, ought to be worth, and sufficient to purchase a very excellent, and tolerably numerous, gallery of more modern art. Therefore a National Gallery in Dublin exemplifying art as it was, and is, in Ireland, would for many reasons be the most desirable. English art should also form a portion of its contents, as it is in point of fact our art. Irishmen have contributed to form the excellence of the British School; and we have Scotch and English artists localised in Ireland. The time has gone by for nationality being converted into antagonism English, Irish, and Scotch, are one people.

The Vernon Gallery, if joined with the works of the earlier English artists will give a fair idea of the sort of collection that should, in our opinion, be formed. Those who think all excellence is in the works of the Old Masters will, of course, cavil most loudly at our proposal; especially when they happen also to be collectors, willing to gratify the nation by disposing of, for a due equivalent, some of their gems; but we are of these who think that the present race of men are just as capable of excellence as those who lived two or three centuries ago; and that a gallery of comparatively modern works, judiciously selected and arranged, will answer every purpose of a more ancient collection, and at a tithe of the cost. To the student of art, ambitious of becoming an artist, it is perhaps useful to enjoy opportunities of studying the celebrated works of the Old Masters; and a little travel, with a trifling expenditure, in


those days of rapid communication, will place him in the Louvre-in Belgium-in the Gallery of Munich-or even in Italy but let it be borne in mind, that the utility of much studying, or copying, of the Old Masters, is greatly overrated-many of our best artists only saw the chefs d'œuvre of antiquity when they had themselves reached the height of their fame; and very many others, after years of study from the same works, came home, and never achieved any reputation whatever.*

With regard to the architectural features of a National Gallery in Dublin, we have no doubt that in externals it will not be inferior to the various public edifices which already adorn the city, and of which we have really some just reason to be proud, without falling into the too prevalent fault of glorifying everything Irish-but as to the internal arrangement, we are by no means assured of propriety of adaptation; for nearly all the galleries, specially designed for the display of art, by architects, are unfitted for that end. Architects seem to think a lofty room the grand desideratum, utterly forgetful of the works which must, in such circumstances, be placed high. Loftiness of proportion in a building, without special fitness for the intended purpose, cannot be held as architectural art, it is then merely ornamental; but there is no reason why lofty proportions should not be conjoined with utility. A room caculated for the proper exhibition of paintings, should allow of nearly all being looked at from a point not much above the level of the eye; it is the position in which a work has been paintedand therefore only in a similar one can the picture have its due effect for an artist insensibly, almost inevitably, makes his composition and arrangement of light and shadow, to suit the point of view from which habitually he sees it and most difficult it would be so to arrange his effect as only to look well from a different one. Exhibition rooms should, therefore, be sixty feet in width, at the least, lofty in proportion, and of any length. This will surely afford sufficient scope for architectural beauty-which a building for such a purpose should pre-eminently possess. From each wall should project a gallery, supported upon piers, in height from twelve to fourteen feet ; the space between the piers walled up, and on that wall should

*To learn its effect on Barry, see IRISH QUARTERLY REVIEW, No. X., Art. Barry, The Historical Painter.

hang the pictures, the tops of which would not, of course, be higher from the ground than about twelve feet; the space underneath the galleries could be made available for the various rooms and offices that might be required; and on the main wall in the galleries, pictures could also be hung to the same height as in the lower compartment. The breadth of the galleries would be about fifteen feet, and upon the ballusters, at intervals, busts and small pieces of sculpture might be appropriately placed. It would also be requisite that the entrance to such a room should be at one end, upon a half-pace; so that from it an equal number of steps would lead down to the central hall, and up to the galleries. The large sculpture would occupy the vestibule. The present disposition of the octagon Gallery of the Antique, in the Royal Hibernian Academ, will, on a small scale, give an example of the arrangement we have endeavoured to describe. We have not referred to the matter of light, because the arrangement in that essential has hitherto been very good: the desideratum is to have the lantern windows at a great height.

The Fine Arts Hall, in the Great Industrial Exhibition, is no exception to the usual faulty arrangement of Galleries of art, and it must be regretted, that in designing this structure, Sir John Benson did not, by the exercise of a little thought and research, make it more adapted for its peculiar purpose; a lengthy room is the only thing produced or intended-not even appropriately painted, as the spotty and varied effect of the pictures is most harshly and disagreeably contrasted with the monotonous drab color of the walls and ceiling. A deviation was made from the general plan in the Machinery court, in order to render it more adapted for its special use, and a similar procedure ought to have been followed in that of the Fine Arts-much more room would have been gained, and no necessity would have existed for placing the works of the Old Masters apart in their present ill chosen position. Appropriateness of arrangement did not, however, appear to have given much concern to those who hung the pictures: they seem to have been most hurriedly and indiscriminately placed, like disagreeable work to be got through, no matter how. In some instances, it is true, that pictures of a class and school, are hung in proximity-but a great deal of this improvement is of latter origin, under the superintendence of Mr. John Gernon-whose arrangements are most excellent; but, unfor

tunately, that gentleman's efforts have been principally confined to remedying former mistakes, and making the best of a bad bungle. A great portion of the real utility of an exhibition, containing such excellent material, is educational; to spread a popular knowledge of the history of arts, and to develope a sense of the beautiful. Such is the paramount object, we conceive, of displays like the present, and not mere raree shows. The arranging, therefore, into well marked and defined schools, so that he who runs may read, would have been a primary essential: at present, even with the aid of a catalogue, and some knowledge of art likewise, it is difficult to distinguish the different schools, so closely are the pictures placed and intermingled; and how few, comparatively, possess a catalogue. It is too much a practice in all Exhibitions, for the managers to attach great importance to a catalogueand it seems as if it were looked to as a means of revenue. Every exertion is used to make it necessary, as, in multitudes of instances, where information by means of labels could easily be afforded, none is given. Generally speaking, people think the price paid for admission a sufficient expenditure, and resist the additional demand for a catalogue as an imposition, apart from which, appealing incessantly to it for an explanation, and searching for numbers, is a most intolerable nuisance. Not one in twenty of the visitors to any exhibition have catalogues, and, therefore, a great deal of the interest, and much of the utility, is lost to those so situated. The study of all managers of exhibitions ought to be to render a catalogue as much as possible unnecessary, especially in art displays, where money getting is not supposed to be the primary object. We write thus of a National Gallery, and of the Exhibition Fine Art display, as we consider the former must spring from the interest excited by the latter, and we are anxious that the errors of the one should not be repeated inthe other.

In the Dargan Exhibition there is almost a total absence of works illustrative of the British Water Color School-a want the more to be regretted as it is peculiarly a British Art-and_has_reached a degree of excellence quite unexampled. The British school, generally, is not so well, nor so fully represented as might be expected; however, we are inclined to think the committee can scarcely be held responsible for this, as only a very small portion of the works contributed have been forwarded by artists; for the

most part, private collections have been the source from which the committee derived most assistance; although now, when an exposition has been formed, far beyond what could have been anticipated, numbers are willing to co-operate who then held back. The committee are blameable in this wise-that they were so ill advised as to prohibit the admission of portraits-thereby giving a most uncalled for, and gratuitous insult to a large class of the artists-the rule appears to have been relaxed in various instances, which is unfair, but the committee were plainly placed in a dilemma by their hasty resolve as by observing the rule they would be obliged to exclude numbers of most desirable contributions-for instance, the Portrait of a Friar (380), by Titian, and Portrait of a Burgomaster (553) by Rembrandt, both master-pieces of art; and, beyond all doubt, the committee should have formed a gallery of portraits of eminent Irishmen. This resolution of excluding portraits is much to be deplored. However, the specimens of British art show that we can bear comparison with any foreign school; but were other works added, which we could name, our pre-eminence would have been most apparent. Those who compare the ancient with the modern schools of painting will, most probably, give the palm to the moderns, unless in those instances where a peculiar bias of mind has created a taste in art that only the old paintings can gratify, The antiquarian will, for a similar reason, be always a great admirer of the more ancient productions. Schlegel says that all the arts and sciences have improved except Sculpturemeaning, probably, that as the Greeks attained to perfection in this art, moderns can do no more. But Painting has unquestionably improved, and in nothing is this so evident as in the greater knowledge and education of the modern artist:anachronisms, mistakes of costume, of national customs, and of peculiarities of race, abound in even the finest works of the Old Masters, which would not be tolerated in modern works. An artist now a days requires to be almost a universally informed man. A much greater attention to naturalness, and truth of expression in all objects, is apparent in modern paintings-especially evident in the landscapes which are immensely beyond any similar productions of the old masters. When the lower animals are introduced with human figures, they are most accurately rendered by the modern schools. In the olden works any animals that happen to be represented are most inferior and

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