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Opera, are either German or Italian; canvas with outrageous mixtures of and it will place French pretensions scarlets, violets, yellows, blues, and in rather a ludicrous point of view, greens, is immediately upheld as the when it is known that even their vanquisher of a Paul Veronese, and Comic Opera is indebted for most of the equal, at least, of Raphael. The its best music to Italians: Cherubini, grand tableau is the subject of every Nicolo, Dellamaria, and others of one's thoughts and conversation for less note! One name they possess, at least a week, or till it is cast into and one of which they may well be shade by another grand tableau a proud-GRETRY, the gay, the tender, foot higher or wider, and nothing the witty, the unaffected. Nor must else is to be heard of but the suMehul and Boildieu be forgotten. premacy of the French in the Fine But if a national reputation for ex- Arts. That the French attempt much cellence in any particular art may be in matters of art is not to be denied, obtained by the possession of two or nor can it be contested that their three men of a certain genius, whose efforts are often rewarded with a works, and, perhaps, whose names certain degree of success; but that are unknown out of the country which they have attained to that point of gave them birth, then might England superiority of which they are unherself stand boldly forth, nor fear to ceasingly boasting, and which, upon come successfully out from the strug- their own bare assurance, they would gle for musical superiority over her have the rest of Europe accord to boasting and uncompromising rival. them, may be disproved by the But England must be content to rest slightest examination of anything her fame on the simplicity, tender. they have yet produced. ness, truth, and beauty of her ballad They set forth their gallery of the tunes; while that of France must works of modern French artists, at not aspire beyond her Romances, and the Luxembourg, as a collection of those little Vaudeville airs, so admi- their best ; surely, therefore, they rably adapted to the expression and cannot accuse us of unfairness in seeffect of epigrammatic couplets.* lecting it as an example. Now will

A real lover of the Arts loves them any one picture there stand a compafor their own sake. With him a fine rison with the works of any of the picture is still a fine picture, whe- great Italian masters? Decidedly ther it be Italian, English, French, not.t It may be objected that this or Dutch. He decides on its merits is a hard and an unfair test: but, no: before he enquires about its school. the unlimited pretensions of the He entertains no exclusive prejudices French authorise us in judging in favour of the Arts of his own coun- them by a severe standard ; and try. Not so the French. They talk when they stun us with their boasts eternally about the Fine Arts, but of the unrivalled productions of the their ideas seldom wander beyond French school, we may be allowed the Fine Arts of France. They appear to reject David, Gérard, or Girodet, almost to be ignorant of their present as the points of perfection (though existence. beyond the walls of Paris. all men of considerable talent) and Even the classic names in painting to appeal to Titian, Guido, Raphael, are scarcely ever alluded to but as and Michael Angelo. comparisons, generally to the ad- With respect to their Exhibition vantage of their own artists. A mere lately closed, comprising the result of inspection of any of their reviews of three years' labour, it is not too much their works of art will prove this; to say, that it was the worst collecand there it may be seen how every tion of pictures ever brought together pigmy, who bespatters an enormous for public inspection. We have oc


* Generally speaking, English music is unlearned and undramatic : that of the French is stiff, harsh, mannered, and affected. The English must greatly improve their musical education ; the French must reform theirs altogether : until this is effected, they had both better retire from the field, and relinquish the palm of musical excellence to those who alone deserve it the Germans and Italians.

+ To those who have not examined this gallery, any particular notice of its contents would avail nothing in support of this assertion : to those who have, it would be Inedices.

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casionally found an unfortunate pre and next to him a captain of the ponderance of bad works at Somerset National Guard, painted to look fierce House ; but at no time, though there and warlike, foaming like a battery, the exhibition is annual, was there seemingly stuffed with gunpowder ever seen so small a proportion of like a Congreve rocket, and almost good ones. At the Louvre, from a threatening to go off! representations mong fourteen hundred subjects, it of death in all its forms, by sword would have been difficult to select and shot, fever, famine, and the fisty as rising above mediocrity, and plague; and pictorial illustrations of of these but a very small number disease and suffering in all their deserving the character of really good stages.* Add to these, Saint Louis', pictures. The best of them were, a François-Premiers, and Henri Quacouple of portraits painted several tres by dozens; traits of French valour, years ago by Gérard-one of Dr. Du- French glory,t French generosity, bois, and one of Mlle. Mars, the cele- by scores; and a quantity of vast brated actress, in a Russian costume frames, each encompassing several (the engraving from which is well square feet of canvas, tastelessly known in London); some portraits daubed over with glaring colours, by Prudhon; a fine head of the and epigrammatically termed historigreatest tragedian of the age (it is cal pictures,& and a pretty correct idea almost needless to add the name of may be formed of the result of three Talma), by Picot, worthy of ranking years' labour of the nation, self-styled with the best efforts of modern por- the foremost in the world of Art. trait-painting; an Interior or two Their efforts in Sculpture and En(subjects in which the French de- graving may be passed over by a word: Jight), by Granet and Truchot; two in the latter art they are notoriously or three fruit and flower pieces ; a inferior to the English, and in the series illustrating the intluence of the former not to be compared either passion of love on the arts, a poetical with the English or Italians. They idea poetically treated, by Ducis; have no name capable of supporting and some pretty trifles-a black- a comparison with Chantrey or Canosmith's shop, a sportsman bewailing va; and Raimbach's engraving after his dog, &c. For the rest, the exhi- Wilkie's Blind-man's-buff, exhibited bition was made up of rows of bad in one of their rooms, left every other portraits of uninteresting people, at an immeasurable distance behind Mr. A-, the Countess of B- it. Mrs. C- and her children, and Repeating that, with the one or the whole alphabet through (very two exceptions already stated, they like Somerset-house); here and there did not exhibit a picture of transa brave officer in a simple costume, cendent merit in any branch of paint

* This is no exaggeration. One artist, apparently ambitious of gratifying a greater variety of distastes than any of his rivals, happily imagined the exhibition of a whole collection of diseases on one canvas. The subject was ingeniously chosen—the clinical lecture outside the hospital of Saint Louis · where several poor suffering wretches, stained with the digusting signs of disease, were supported by the attendants, or scattered about upon litters. Do not we now and then hear and read about le bon gout François

+ The French marine painters were hard put to it for a naval victory, and, at last, were obliged to content themselves with two or three by American ships over English. fiad they been desirous of working on a grand scale they might have choseu better.

# Literally speaking, there was not one great historical work worthy of the name, or capable either of making or sustaining a reputation. Some frames there were of most promising dimensions, but their presumptuous magnitude only served to contrast more ridiculously with the littleness of the talent they encompassed.' Heads so devoid of character and meaning, attitudes so forced and unnatural, one would have thought that bad actors of melodramas had served for models. Such violent contrasts of light and shade! Such glaring and inharmonious combinations of colour! These materials do not constitute a great picture, though every figure on the canvas be six feet high. After gazing for a few minutes at these things, the wearied eye was obliged to seek repose among the Italian pictures in the next gallery. A French gentleman, in reply to the observation of an English amateur, that the exhibition was not a very good one, said “Why Sir, for France, it is even a bad ane; yet it would make the reputation of Engand or any other country.”

ing, in history, not even one worthy tive people, diligently set about the of selection—it is necessary, in order to task of imitation. The present peace, render this sketch of the present state by facilitating the communication of the Fine Arts in France complete between the two countries, has been (and not the less so for being a rapid of considerable advantage to them. one) to notice their claim to superio- Their legislators, their men of science, rity in three of the minor departments their artists and artisans, have visited of Fine Art, Medalling, Miniature England; her laws have been ex. painting, and Painting on Porcelain. plained, her manufactories exposed In these their superiority is willing to them; English social life, its very ingly acknowledged, because it is mechanism (so to express it), has been justly merited. The French medal- laid open to their inspection, and lists are unrivalled ; in all the various from all these they have had the good kinds of miniature portrait-painting sense to profit. But like Voltaire, they excel; and in the very difficult who after pilfering the best scenes of art of copying pictures on porcelain his best plays from Shakspeare ri(if we except the Chinese, who, for diculed and abused him,—as a thief truth of imitation and brilliancy of (touse Mrs. Montague’spowerfulilluscolour, excel even the French) they tration) sets fire to the house he has surpass all other people in the world. robbed' to prevent detection, most

The French have lately taken it of these gentlemen, who have greatly into their heads to boast of their su- benefited their country by the inforperiority over other nations (and mation in various matters freely afwith a particular reference to the forded them, have gratified their illEnglish) in the useful arts! This concealed jealousy of their instrucboast is rather a novel and a very tors by the publication of a little vounexpected one; and, while we wish lume or a little pamphlet-full of them the full enjoyment of all the slander and misrepresentation. This, pleasure they can derive from it, we however, may, in some instances, be must admit that they deserve high accounted for in a way less discreditpraise for the attempts they are make able to the French character than ing, and the habits of useful industry would, at first sight, be supposed; they begin to appear desirous of ac- it is not always to be attributed to quiring. A quarter of a century back, an ungracious or ungrateful return the whole circle of their useful labours for the hospitality accorded them, embraced the manufacture of snuff. nor to a wilful bias towards misrepreboxes, tooth-pick cases, and scented sentation: the truth is, that many pomatums. The beauty and perfec- very intelligent Frenchmen who have tion of these articles acquired for visited England and written about it them a reputation tout-à-fait Euro- are totally ignorant of the languagepéenne, and, even to this day, these a circumstance which must necessaare the objects in which they par- rily involve a traveller in the grossest ticularly excel. But the Revolution errors and misconceptions; and some having scattered vast numbers of other persons, the mere hirelings of Frenchmen about various countries the book-stalls of the Palais Royal, of Europe, chiefly in England, these have set about their task with three ingenious people soon perceived the eminent disqualifications - ignorance, inferiority of their own country in want of understanding, and their own all those arts and institutions which rank in life, which latter has boundpromote the comfort of life, and con- ed their views of English society, fer dignity on man. English snuff- manners, &c. to what the streets, boxes, it is but too true, were ill-fa. the third or fourth-rate coffee-houses, shioned and clumsy; English tooth- or an introduction to some servants pick cases in the very worst taste; hall through a lucky acquaintance and English pomatums, to say the with the French cook or valet, may best of them, detestable; but the have afforded them. But to quit this constitution of England, her wise and digression. equal laws, the unparalleled charms If the French do not excel in the of English domestic life, and above Useful Arts, they deserve praise for all, her useful, well-directed, and pro- what they have hitherto accomplishductive industry, excited their admi. ed, and the desire (apparently a seriration, and they, naturally an imita- ous one) they evince to do more. It




is impossible to pass through the English say?"<«The English cannot streets of Paris without being struck equal this!"-"The English will burst by the vast display of imitations, some (creveront) with jealousy" -- were of them tolerably well executed, of somewhat' alleviated by the inscripEnglish manufactures, which, but à tions attached to every third stall: few years ago, could in no shape or This article imitated from the English quality be procured but from England. - This article almost equal to the EngEvery thing must have a beginning, glish-ôr, This article fully equal to and this is but a beginning; and at the English: thus, perhaps without whatever degree of excellence in the intending it, implying an acknowuseful arts the French may, in the ledgment of English superiority. course of time, and by study and serious In the Useful Arts, the French of application, arrive, they have as yet the present time, compared with the done nothing to excite in an Eng French of thirty years ago, have lishman the feelings they foolishly made an enormous progress ; but a attribute to him-jealousy of their comparison with the English cannot pre-eminence, and alarm for the com- fail of being lamentably to their dismerce of his country, which their in- 'advantage. They do many more dustry, as they somewhat premature- things than they did formerly, it is ly boast, must speedily overthrow. true; they do but few things well;

It is not very long since an Exhi. and the great distinction between bition-rather an ostentatious, and in them and the English-(a distinction most respects a very trumpery one, which will be found to pervade the was made in the galleries of the characters and general habits of the Louvre of the produce of the indus- two people)—is, that the latter contry of all France. Here were to be sider utility as the paramount object found, ranged in order, and with an 'of attainment, while the former are air of extreme, nay, absurd preten- satisfied with the flimsy qualifications sion, quantities of fiddles, gilt clocks, of the eye. For instance: French mock-diamonds, toasting-forks, paintó knives are mounted on showy haned papers, pickled cucumbers, velvets, dles, but they disdain to cut, and are wooden shoes, carpets, mouse-traps, immovable to the most pathetic inporcelain, dried herrings, cutlery, treaties of the grinder; French boots yards of calico, silks, sugar-plums, are very spruce and well-pointed, but &c. &c. &c. Notwithstanding the they are the sworn allies of the pudjealous fears of an Englishman on an dles, and surrender at discretion to occasion of such fatal import to poor the first - water; French razors, England, it would have been difficult tastefully disposed in glittering cases, for him to suppress a smile at the are overpowered in the first encounwonder and astonishment of the ter with the beard, leaving the chin, French as they gazed around them, a neutral country and the seat of and the amusing excess of their ad- war, the greatest sufferer in the inefmiration of objects neither curious fectual contest; French locks are in nor rare, most of which they might a state of open rebellion, and laugh see in any London chandler's shop to scorn the commands of their liege window, and better than their best lord the key :-and so of almost every on half one side of Fleet-street or other French article intended for utiLudgate-hill every day in the year. lity. Utility, durability, and cheapThe bold and enterprising quackery ness-the best commodity at the least of many of the exhibitors was fully price-it is upon this that commeranswered by the good-tempered, un- cial supremacy is founded ; and when reflecting gullibility of the visitors; the French have attained these points, and even they must have laughed in in all of which they are notoriously detheir sleeves at hearing “ Superbe” ficient, they may boast of an equality “Magnifique!" "Mon dieu, que c'est with England—to say nothing of subeau !” lavished on rows of penny periority-and begin to think of a pipkins, copper saucepans, piles of commercial rivalry with her, but not currant jelly, and pyramids of earthen till then. pots-de-chambre. But the agonies The 'last French pretension we inflicted on the Englishman by the shall notice is that of being the poreiterated exclamations, half exulta- litest people in the world. They tion, half pity, of “ What will the once had the reputation of being so,

and so long as it was deserved it lite: the foreigner, unless he be a was unaffectedly acknowledged by fool, percelves that the comparison is every other nation. It was freely made to his disadvantage,—that he is admitted, and in its fullest force, by held as an inferior in the estimation the English themselves; and through of the Frenchman,--and consequently the period of the Revolution, and till becomes ill at ease with himself, for the conclusion of the last peace, La a time at least. A polite Frenchpolitesse Française remained a phrase man will not hesitate to abuse a traditional in England as it is still in whole nation, for some supposed inFrance. Now the circumstance which feriority to the French, in the very has most forcibly struck the most en- face of a native of it; and considers lightened travellers from all quarters, that the terms of French politeness who have visited France within the are amply fulfilled if he concludes by last few years, expecting to find the assuring Monsieur,“ that he is people the paragon of politeness, is charmed and delighted with him, and the enormous depth below their re- that he has the honour of declaring putation at which they actually are that he is a very striking exception to placed. This is to be accounted for the general rule.” Now here the in three ways:-first, people depend blow has been struck-the amour Jess upon hearsay than formerly; they propre of the foreigner has received a judge with their own eyes; they take wound:- he feels that his country is nothing upon trust, and describe undervalued, and the shallow excepthings as they find them ; secondly, tion gives him no pleasure. The poother nations are greatly advanced liteness is formal and conventional; in politeness,-a circumstance in itself the incivility is real. Yet this the sufficient to render the distinction less French do not consider as incompatiobvious ;—and lastly, French polite- ble with what they call politeness. ness is really fast decaying. This is Now a polite Englishman, if he cana melancholy truth, but a truth it is not say a civil thing, will be silent. So far, indeed, as politeness is the It is needless to multiply instances; work of the dancing-master, they are but an anecdote related by Sir Joshua .still super-eminent: they bow, and Reynolds, in which true and false sidle, and shuffle, and grimace, and politeness are exquisitely distinguishin conversation use an abundance of ed, may not be misplaced here. unmeaning phrases, the conventional Reynolds, when a young man and signs of politeness; but this is not the just rising into notice, was invited true quality; it is merely poli, polish, by two noblemen to call upon them. an artificial quality communicated He went to the first, was announced, to the surface, and which does not and with great ceremony ushered exist beneath it. The very word it into my lord's presence, who, with self, poli, they use indifferently to many profound bows, expressed his 'express polite and a polished outside ; deep sense of the honour Mr. Reyand are not aware that mere manners nolds had done him. He instantly alone no more constitute politeness, conducted the painter round the than mere gloss does the value of a room, obligingly pointed out his best metal. The true politeness is a com- pictures to him, requested his opinion bination of delicate feeling with good of them, and listened to him with the sense — an intuitive sentiment of most condescending attention. The kindness and propriety. It is unpre- visit lasted for nearly an hour, and tending. A polite man, by a natural my lord conversed with him all the impulse, as it were, and without any time about Vandyke and pictures, manifestation of effort, at once sets pictures and Vandyke, and when you at ease with yourself and with Reynolds took his leave my lord him. This, modified into a thousand even bowed him to the very hall door. various forms, is the general effect of He went away deeply impressed with politeness. Does French politeness a sense of his lordship’s condescenperform this? Without hesitation it sion towards a painter - towards a may be answered—No. The very man of his own comparative littleness. boast a Frenchman will make to a He paid his next visit. He found the foreigner about French politeness- nobleman in his library, who just no matter for the form of words in receiving him with “ Ha! Mr. Reya which it may be conveyed-is impo- nolds, I'm very glad to see you,"

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