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THE CONSOLATIONS OF
A CRITIC



BY THE SAME AUTHOR

ADVENTURES AMONG PICTURES

CONTAINING 24 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS

(8 IN COLOUR), SQUARE DEMY 8\'O, CLOTH

PRICE 78. 6D. NET.

DAYS WITH VELASQUEZ

CONTAINING 24 FULL-PAGE REPRODUCTIONS
OF THB ARTIST'S WORK (8 IN COLOUR),
SQUARE DEMY 8VO, CLOTH

PRICE 78. 6D. NET.

REMBRANDT

AN ESSAY ON THE LIFE AND WORK OF THE

ARTIST. CONTAINING 16 EXAMPLES OF THE
MASTER'S WORK REPRODUCED IN COLOUR
FACSIMILE BY MORTIMER MENPES. DEMY
4TO, CLOTH PRICE I2S. 6D. NET.



LIFE'S LITTLE THINGS
LIFE'S LESSER MOODS

TWO VOLUMES OF ESSAYS. PRICE ys. 6D.

CROWN 8VO, CLOTH NET EACH

THE EDUCATION OF AN ARTIST
A PRACTICAL PICTORIAL ROMANCE.

CONTAINING 91 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
VMM PHOTOGRAPHS OF PICTURES. DEMY
8VO, CLOTH PRICE ?S. 6D. NET.

A. AND C. BLACK, SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W.







CLAUDE WILLIAMSON SHAW'S FRIEND AND BIOGRAPHER COMPOSING
HIS WOHK CALLED "GOOD-BYE, MY FANCY''

Kniui tin- pic-tun- by Florvuw K. Upton



THE CONSOLATIONS OF
" A CRITIC



BY

C*'LEWIS HIND

AUTHOR OF
1 THE EDUCATION OF AN ARTIST " ETC. ETC.



WITH
THIRTY-TWO FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS




LONDON

ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK
191 1



TO
H. R. H. AND A. Y. H.

IN MEMORY OF A DAY IN THE DUNES

BETWEEN THE PASTURES AND

THE SEA, WHEN THE IDEA

OF THIS LITTLE BOOK

SEEMED POSSIBLE



A/



CONTENTS

FIRST WEEK

PAGE
HE TAKES TO HIS BED, AND CONSOLES HIMSELF WITH ART . I

SECOND WEEK

HE CONSIDERS THAT MIST-WREATHED MAASEYCK SHOULD
HAVE MADE HIM A POET, AND DESCRIBES "THE MOST
BEAUTIFUL BOOK IN THE WORLD" . . * ... 14

THIRD WEEK

HE RECALLS THE BEGINNING OF LANDSCAPE PAINTING, AND

EXTOLS A SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY MASTERPIECE . . 25

FOURTH WEEK

HE WONDERS IF DEPTH OF FEELING IS ESSENTIAL TO GREAT

ART AND FALLS ASLEEP WONDERING . . . . .38

FIFTH WEEK

HE DREAMS OF A PORTRAIT BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, AND

SOLACES HIMSELF WITH SOME OLD, QUIET MASTERS . 52

SIXTH WEEK

HE ESTIMATES SOME PORTRAITS OF WOMEN AND CONTRASTS
THOSE RELATED TO THEIR FROCKS WITH THOSE RELATED
TO LIFE . . . . .... . "63

V



Contents



SEVENTH WEEK

HE GLANCES AT THE MODERN MOVEMENT IN ART, BECOMES

MUCH INTERESTED, AND RATHER GIDDY . . -74

EIGHTH WEEK

HE RECOVERS, IS FASCINATED BY THE NEWEST MANNER OP

LANDSCAPE PAINTING, AND IS WILD TO PAINT AGAIN . 85



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Artist

1 Claude Williamson Shaw's friend

and biographer . , . F. K. Upton Frontispiece

2 Bronze Head from a Figure of the Facing page

Sleep-God . . . School of Praxiteles . 9

3 Sleeping Fury . . . Second Century B.C. . 1 1

4 St. Barbara before a Gothic

Cathedral ....

5 Figure in Rock Creek Cemetery,

Washington . . .

6 June (Le Palais et la Sainte

Chapelle) .... Pol de Limbourg

7 October (Le Louvre) . . Do.

8 Christ in the Garden of Olives . Do.



School of Praxiteles
Second Century B.C.

Jan Van Eyck
Augustus Saint Gaudens



9 St. Luke Painting the Madonna Roger Van der Weyden



10 The Flight into Egypt

11 The Visitation . . .

12 A Dutch Village

13 Vermeer of Delft in his Studio .
'Philip IV . ' . . .
[Portrait of a Young Girl . ,

15 Tobit Blind . . . . .

vii



Giovanni dl Paolo .
Master of the Life oj Mary
Hercules Segers .
Vermeer of Delft . ,
Velasquez 1

Vermeer of Delft]
Rembrandt



14
16

19

22

*5

27

30
32

35
38



43



List of Illustrations



16 Christ Mocked

17 Mother and Child .

1 8 The Artist and His Family

19 Willem Van Heythuysen .

20 Portrait of a Man

21 St. Matthew Inspired by an

Angel ....

22 A Concert ....

23 Victory Tying her Sandal . ,

24 Detail from the Fresco " The

Birth of St. John " .

25 A Quaker Lady

26 The City of Sleep .

27 Balzac ....

28 Henri Matisse

29 Cannon Rock . . .

30 Landscape Decorations

31 The Dutch Shore .

32 Whiteways, Rottingdean . .



Artiit Ft

Daumler
Gari Melchers .


w<vAv
. 46

48


Adriaen Van de Welde


5i


Frans Hals .


54


Giorgione .


- 57


Rembrandt . .
Mono da Feltre .


59
. 62


Unknown . .


64


Ghirlandaio . .
Josef A E. Southall .
Spencer Pryse

Rodin . . ,


. 67
. 70

73
. 80


Henri Matisse .
Wmslow Homer


. 83
. 86


Emile Menard .


. 88


7. H. Weissenbruch
William Nicholson .


9i
94



vn;



THE CONSOLATIONS OF
A CRITIC



FIRST WEEK

HE TAKES TO HIS BED AND CONSOLES
HIMSELF WITH ART

WHEN I consider the educational vicissitudes, aesthetic
and spiritual, of my friend Claude Williamson Shaw,
1 know not whether to smile or to be sorrowful.
He means so well ; his enthusiasms are so rushing,
his intentions so admirable, but they seldom last
longer than morning freshness. The day wanes into
commonplace ; his fury of appreciation sinks to
indifference.

I believe that his writings upon art have pleased
a few, but his excursions into ideality do not seem
to have any permanent effect upon his own character.
He remains an inquirer, a pursuer. He follows the
gleam, but it eludes him ; it does not hover before
his path to illumine and direct. He will always be
an amateur. I am sure now that the book I wrote
about sanguine, soft-hearted Shaw should have been
called The Education of an Amateur, not The
Education of an Artist.

I A



First Week

He is an eager, dim-sighted pilgrim, seeking the
soul of the universe, thinking he can find it here and
there, from this utterance, from that utterance,
not knowing that the goal of the search is within
himself, in the relation of his own minute centre to
the centre of all being.

" Art ! " he is fond of saying, " What is Art ?
Merely something that helps us to live, meeting a
want when the want is there, showing to world-
dulled eyes what clairvoyant eyes have seen." I, his
life-long friend, have watched his many odd flirtations
with art and ethics, his progressions and retrogressions,
his few triumphs, his many failures. He spent
months over the book that was to be called Orvifto
in the Sky, a rhapsody on the vision of Turner, with
a faint story of one he loved woven into it. That
ramble of art and sentiment came to nothing, and
unfinished also is his book called Fifty Second-Rate
Pictures^ and his studies of the Lesser Masters. His
agent said: "But who knows anything about Lesser
Masters, about Jan Van Scorel and Vroom the Seaman,
and Boursse, and Simon Marmion ? I don't, and if I
don't the public don't, and don't want to know."
Then there was his Vermeer of Delft craze, and his
passing passion for Leeds, Lustre, and Lowestoft
china, which revealed him as a precipitate collector.
And all the while he was writing incessantly in papers
and magazines. Prolific ? He is a pluralist. Without
a tremor he turns from Margaritone to Monet, from
doubts about Cimabue to certainties about Cezanne.

2



He Takes to His Bed

Yes ; Shaw is popular, he makes as much money
in a year as an auctioneer's clerk. He is always
being asked for articles, and the applications always
upset him, for he has a curious timidity, a nervous
half-acknowledgment of self-mistrust which inter-
mittently paralyses him. I think he always refuses
a commission at first, and usually accepts it by the
next post.

One day I noticed a queer change in him. He
talked of brain-storms, and brain-fag, and he informed
me that he found more pleasure in Tennyson's
Flower in the Crannied Wall than in any other poetry
except that of Crashaw. He also spoke of a new
ethical society which he and his sisters, Faith and
Honour, fresh from their great grief, were founding,
the tenet of which was an entire reliance upon the
source of life for more life. When I suggested
that novelty was not the chief characteristic of the
new society, he retorted that nothing was new, that
everything was bat a re-statement of old truths,
that all art was derivative, that William Orpen
was merely an early -Victorian of genius, and that
Augustus John was but another pupil of Giotto.

At this point, being a man of peace, I turned the
conversation to the subject of his collection of photo-
graphs of works of art, one of his hobbies, in the
pursuit of which he has never faltered.

" I've rearranged them all on a perfect system,"
he cried gaily ; " come and see the rearrangement ! "

We passed a delightful evening. I do not suppose

3



First Week

any private person owns such a collection of mounted
photographs of works of art. We burrowed in art,
declaiming our appreciations, insisting on them,
recalling through the photographs the works we
loved, tracing the pedigrees of our favourite artists
through their art ancestry, and coming always in
the end to the miracle of personality, the rare, the
essential thing, the vital principle. Art that evening
was what it should be always refreshment, joy,
consolation, a lifting of the curtain to visions of
beauty, strength, austerity, encouragement, peace,
and I know not what.

Then we turned from the photographs to consider
the works on the walls. It was Claude's way to
change them periodically. That evening, on one
space hung six large reproductions of Michelangelo's
frescoes on the Sistine vault the majesty of art, the
great, the simple idea greatly and simply done; on
the facing wall were three of Rembrandt's etchings
the Tobit Blind, the Sacrifice of Isaac, and the Prodigal
Son the intimacy of art, poignantly pathetic: near
them was the awful intensity of Durer's Melancholia,
with his Knight, Death, and the Devil, and his Christ
upon the Mount. And on a chair, a recent purchase,
was a drawing by Peter De Wint, merely a tree-
trunk, a few background bushes, and a quiet sky,
an exquisite example of the tact of omission, making
one wonder how so slight a thing can be so signi-
ficant. " I can never change them," he said, waving
from the Michelangelos to the Rembrandts ;

4



He Takes to His Bed

" they encourage me ; they extend the horizon.
One never tires of great art ; it is a perpetual re-birth
of emotion. Why is it that we cry over books and
music, but never over pictures ? What is there in
pictures that "

At this point his servant entered with the evening's
post. As he read the letters the change in his manner
was pitiable. He paced the room, his shoulders
worked, his arms gesticulated, as if he were struggling
to ease himself of a burden. " I can't stand it,"
he cried. " Write ! Write ! Write ! I've nothing
more to say on anybody, from Praxiteles to Puvis.
I'm exhausted ; I'm dry as a dried-up Greek river-
bed and now look here."

He tossed the letters to me. One was an appli-
cation from an evening newspaper for an article
on The Hoardings as the Poor Man's Picture-gallery ;
another was a request from the publisher of a costly
work for a sectional essay on ?he Desire to Please :
being some Aspects of Eighteenth -Century French
Art ; the third suggested that he should write a
series of papers on The Art Sense : its Nature,
Development, and Value. There was also an appli-
cation from the Secretary of " The Lend-a-Hand
Club," asking if he would deliver an address before
the members on that saying of Alfred Stevens (the
Belgian, not the Englishman) " In the studio of
the most indifferent painter you will find some
discarded sketch which is superior to the finished
work."

5



First Week

" Well," I said, " why not ? Lots of men would
be delighted at this fourfold compliment. The Art
Sense : its Nature, Development, and Value seems to
me a delightful subject."

" 'The Art Sense : its Nature " he repeated,

moaning the words as if he had received a personal
injury. " Nature ! I'll go back to Nature, to the
simple life. That's the only kind of existence that
gives any lasting satisfaction. Simple faith, simple
living, simple thoughts. I'll go back to Nature.
I'll grow things for money, and paint for love. This
incessant writing about other people's productions is
desiccating. I'll be myself. I'll produce. I'll go
back to Nature."

My experience is that when a man talks of going
back to Nature, it is wise to acquiesce in his departure,
and to await with equanimity his early return in an
L.C.C. tramcar. So I masked my amusement and
bade my distressed friend a cheerful good-night.

Strange as it may seem, Claude Williamson Shaw,
in his own practical-idealistic way, did return to
Nature. He apprenticed himself to the proprietor
of a French garden in the south of England for one
year, and proposed to announce to his editors that
he had ceased to write about art, and was devoting
his energies to intensive culture. >*-

I pictured him in the French garden at six in the
morning, carrying loads down the gravel paths ;
had visions of him peering through cloches at cos
and cabbage lettuces, and lifting frames to assure

6



He Takes to His Bed

himself that noble carrots and cauliflowers were
still growing, and I wondered how soon this healthy
change of occupation would brace his nerves.

The answer came sooner than I had expected.
His sister Faith or was it Honour ? I could never
tell the difference between the twins wrote to me
to announce that Claude had caught a severe cold,
which developed into a mild attack of pleurisy, that
he had fought against it, but that he had been placed
hors de combat by falling on the garden path and
straining a tendon in his leg. I hastened to his bed-
side and found him in a very comfortable environment,
tended by his sisters, with the prospect of eight
weeks' inaction. The roomy house on a spur of
the Downs, which he had rented for a year, had been
furnished and decorated by a doctor as a Home of
Rest for his hypochondriacal patients ; but, as the
loneliness of the situation had added melancholy to
their other ailments, the experiment failed financially,
and the doctor had been quite willing to assign his
Home of Rest to my restless friend. It was precisely
what he desired. There^were no muslin curtains to
the tall windows: from two sides vast views of the
Down country were visible, while the south prospect
overlooked the French garden. There was one
scheme of colour only in his large bedroom his
favourite green relieved by white.

I found Claude chastened, repentant, reflective,
and inclined to be more interested in art than in
intensive culture. He persuaded me easily to be his

7



First Week

guest for a time. I consented readily, as no publisher
was pressing me for my redoubtable work entitled
Good Bye, my Fancy. The change from London,
which I had left in the turmoil of an election, to
this quiet retreat, where the soul could occasionally
hear itself speak, was most agreeable. And the
presence of those two grave ladies, who moved so
noiselessly, and whose voices were so low ; the one,
the sufferer, who had cast her burden upon her
Lord, and the other! her livelier individuality was,
as it were, subdued, and from her now passed to her
sister endless waves of sympathy, mutely articulate,
that harmonised exquisitely with the aura of that
quiet house.

And Claude was being restored: his desire to
write seemed to be returning. Indeed, on the third
morning of my visit, after a walk over the Downs,
I found him sitting up in bed, scribbling on a pad
with a lead pencil. The floor was strewn with sheets.

" Yes ! " he said, " I'm making notes for The Art
Sense. The desire came to me in the night, and
Faith has gone to London for my photographs and
art books. My idea is to lie here quietly, to recall
pictures, drawings, sculptures, and to select from my
photographs some that have for me a particular
message of enjoyment or consolation. The chosen
will not necessarily be well-known works, but each
will have some particular significance. They will
be," he added laughingly, " The Consolations of a Critic.
Yes: that's better than The Art Sense. One of the

8



Plate 2




He Takes to His Bed

girls will arrange the photographs on that screen,
and there each group will remain for a week, and
I'll write about them. Oh ! the jpy of lying here
and brooding on their meaning ana value. For art
is very simple, isn't it ? A man makes something,
and the emotion call it what you will that he had
in making it just passes on to us. We hear his whisper
or his cry, and something in us answers. Being
dead, yet they speak. It's immortality, eh ? "

It was some time before the first group was finally
settled. It seemed an impossible task to select
seven or eight from the hundreds of photographs
so carefully arranged in their cases, and at one
time Faith and Honour were almost in tears at
the disarray of the room. Finally, Claude decided
that the first group should exemplify repose, qui-
etude, beatitude, eternal rest ; and one morning
I was called to his room to inspect the final
selection.

" Behold," he cried, " The Consolations of a Critic
material for Chapter I. I've made the notes. I shall
begin the autobiography this afternoon."

" Rather a mixed bag," I remarked.

" True ! They range haphazardly from before the
birth of Christ to the dying years of last century ;
but each has its significance."

" I feel strangely drawn to the Guidarelli reproduc-
tion. There is one way only, you agree surely, to
portray death the recumbent position. That prone
figure of Guidarello Guidarelli, so still, has haunted

9 B



First Week

me since I first saw it at Ravenna Guidarelli, soldier
and scholar, who was assassinated at Imola in 1501.
Life in Death it has been called, for he looks as if
the soul is still restless, despite the peace of the limbs ;
but how beautiful is the repose of the figure, so calm,
so content to be in peace, unmindful of the suggestion
of his uneasy end, marvellously shown on the face.

" Austere, inspired by the idea of remote, unmoved
Deity, not of suffering man, is the bronze head of
Hypnos, the Sleep-God, which may be the work of
Praxiteles. They say that the beautiful figure of
Sleep Sit Madrid, full-length, white, moving noise-
lessly, bending, as if hovering over the sleeper, is
derived from this head of Hypnos and the statue
which it once crowned. Gone is the figure, gone
one of the night-hawk's wings that were attached
to each temple, gone the bright paste that once
filled the eyes. But what a fragment, what a head !
With what a shock of delight one comes upon it
suddenly in the British Museum !

" And how well I remember my first glimpse of
the Sleeping Fury in the Museo delle Terme in Rome.
It was a spring morning, and I, free and unspoilt,
was wandering through those cloisters that Michael
Angelo built. I came to a little room, and there
hanging upon the wall was a slab of stone with this
Furia Addormentata carved in relief upon it by some
nameless craftsman, to show the transition, while
sleeping, of the Erinnyes into the Eumenides, ven-
geance into justice, agony to repose, contempt

10



Plate 3




SLEEPING PUKY
Second Century B.C. Museo tlellc Terme, Rome (see p. 10)



He Takes to His Bed

to compassion, wildness to wisdom. Look at her.
She will awake to peace, her anger gone, her eyes
clear.

" Do you wonder to see little Barbara here ? I
couldn't leave her out. She lingers so sweetly and
so modestly in Van Eyck's water-colour at Antwerp.
She is so quietly happy, little St. Barbara, so absurdly
large that she could hide easily in the folds of her
ample garment most of the busy little workmen so
busily building the Gothic cathedral. Yet it all
seems quite natural. Van Eyck's deep sincerity did
that, made the quaint vision credible.

" Why, I could have chosen all my examples from
the Flemish and German primitives ! Whatever
their lives may have been, their art is all repose and
serenity, and they loved to paint their holy women
kneeling in quiet landscapes, dark here, golden there,
always unruffled, such a scene as that which the
Master of the Life of Mary pictures. Love and
tranquillity, gentle flutterings of adoration, worship
well attired, and nature always in harmony with the
spirit of the pretty worshippers.

" Then you pass for art, like loneliness, is really
one family, and knows no frontier from the six-
teenth to the nineteenth century, from the Master
of the Life of Mary to Gustave Courbet, to nature
solemn, serious, realistic to Courbet's Old Oak
at Ornans. It fills the picture: that massive tree
has no moods, its repose is eternal. I remember how
fatherly it seemed hanging at the Pennsylvania

II



First Week

Academy among the fresh, lyrical pictures of the
modern American landscape school.

" And I remember the day how well I remember
it when I went out from Washington to seek in
Rock Creek Cemetery the figure by Saint Gaudens,
a memorial to one whose life and death are unrecorded.
Nobody has ever given a name to this initiate woman.
What is she Nirvana, Silence, Peace, Rest, Know-
ledge ? One might easily miss the little path that
leads to the cloistral bower where she sits. No
sound from the outside world reaches to that fastness.
I ascended two steps and stood upon a hexagonal
paved plot, with a massive stone bench filling three
sides of the hexagon. On the fourth sits the nameless
figure waiting."

For a few moments we sat silent. It was quiet
without. The sun was poised above the topmost
hill. It was quiet within. Our hearts were at peace.
Claude, motionless in his bed as Guidarelli on his
couch of stone, the light of ecstasy in his eyes, looked
beyond the windows as if he saw a vision : as if (he
spoke of it afterwards) he had a sudden vision of
that figure of Christ in the porch of Amiens Cathedral,
kind, comprehending, standing with uplifted finger
waiting. I saw only slender, black-gowned Faith and
Honour ; and there was no past, only present, for
as I looked, the twain in their long, straight black
gowns, clear brows, rapt looks, and steadfast eyes,
seemed in face and figure to be that very Florentine
lady, Giovanna Tornabuoni, painted by Botticelli,

12



He Takes to His Bed

she who stands, luminous as if in the sunshine, in
the cracked fresco on the staircase of the Louvre.

Claude's eyes were still gazing through the window
at the radiance of light that flooded all the land.
And he whispered : " How certain things said and
done in literature and art seem to add something
to one's life: a head by Scopas, a landscape by
Memlinc, an interior by Vermeer, a scribble of
lines by Rembrandt, a lake by Turner, a cliff by
Monet, the panoramic omissions of Lacoste, a modern
room by Hammershoy, a Cameron silhouette, Sargent's
vision of the dry East. And now, this moment, that
saying of Sir Thomas Browne's has been flashed to
me * Light is the shade of God.' "



SECOND WEEK

HE CONSIDERS THAT MIST- WREATHED MAASEYCK
SHOULD HAVE MADE HIM A POET AND DESCRIBES
" THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK IN THE WORLD "

CLAUDE was better. When I entered his room, after
an early morning stroll round the French garden,
I found the injured critic declaiming poetry. His
spirits were buoyant, his fancy was on the wing.

Ignoring my presence, he continued to repeat in
a basso sing-song :

" O thou, our Athens, violet-wreathed, brilliant,
most enviable city ! "

" That's a magnificent line," he said at last, " I'm
trying to adapt it to Maaseyck or to Bourges, or
to Tours, or even to the Duchy of Limbourg. But
I can't. I'm no poet."

" Rest content with being a dilettante," I re-
marked. " Why attempt so formidable a task ? "

" A whim ! a mere whim ! O, mist-wreathed

Maaseyck, aureoled, forgotten . The Van Eycks

were born at Maaseyck, and that hamlet, that ' out-
post of population,' on a bend of the Maas was in
the Duchy of Limbourg, and somewhere in the
Duchy the de Limbourgs were born. Pol de



Plate 4







n



y.

n* , I








ST. BARBARA BKFORE A GOTHIC CATHEDRAL
From the water-colour by Jan Tan Eyck, Antwerp



The Most Beautiful Book in the World

Limbourg was the eldest of three brothers ; so was
Hubert Van Eyck. Two families of genius, living
at the same time, each out-distancing all rivals.
World-famous then world-famous now. About
1415, when Hubert Van Eyck was beginning that
marvel of painting The Adoration of the Lamb, Pol
de Limbourg and his brothers were finishing their
share of the Due de Berry's Book oj Hours. There's
something to think about. The Van Eycks, with
whom as Fromentin said * art achieved perfection
in a first effort,' and the de Limbourgs who, in the
priceless prayer-book known as Les Ires Riches Heures
du Due de Berry, set the crown of perfection on the
art that had been developing for centuries. I've
seen the Ires Riches Heures, and I proclaim that
it is the most beautiful book in the world. This
week you will see photographs of that missal on
the screen. I hunted all Paris to get them. Did


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