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and touch, that constitutes all the difference be-
tween a good and a bad work? These things can-
not be left to any assistant ; they require the ar-
tist's own mind and hand.

B. In a word, all that any assistant does is
purely mechanical, under the direction of the sculp-
tor. He invents nothing, he designs nothing, and
he only copies at best, or prepares the parts for the
hand of the sculptor to finish. He is no more the
creator of the statue than the copyist of a rough



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162 CONVERSATIONS IN A STUDIO.

manuscript is the author ; or the mason who exe-
cutes the material work of a building after the
plans of an architect is the architect.

M. Precisely. If he attempt to do anything
more, the artist is sure to pull down all his work
and do it over again as he wishes to have it, just
as an author would erase any interpolation or mis-
reading by the copyist. I think I have stated the
outside limits within which any sculptor I know
uses the hands of others. But, after all, the small
model or sketch is the creation, though no artist
limits himself to making that, but carries out him-
self personally the same thing in the full -sized
statue. Another artist might, of course, do it, if
the small model be carefully thought out, and in
such case he would be entitled to a certain merit
of interpretation and workmanship ; but he could
not claim to be the author, designer, or creator of
it. But besides this, many artists work at the
marble, and finish it themselves ; for when it comes
to the last finishing touches, a little more or less
makes an enormous difference in expression and
feeling, and this the sculptor or creator of the
work alone can feel ; he cannot even explain.

B. Was it always the practice with sculptors to
use the hands of others ?

M. Undoubtedly, when they could command
them. Phidias, and all the sculptors of his day,
had many scholars who assisted them in all their
work to a very great extent, and some of the
scholars' works were attributed to their masters.



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THE WORKMAN IS NOT MASTER. 163

SO near were they to them in excellence and talent.
No one, however, ever dreamed of saying or think-
ing that the Athena and Zeus o f Phid ias were not
his works, despite the numbers oi 8culplk>rs whom
he employed to assist him. The same practice has
obtained ever since, in all the studios of all the dis-
tinguished artists, as, for instance, in our own day,
in the studios of Canova, Thorwaldsen, Bauch,
Gibson, Tenerani ; and it is certainly a very novel
notion that lately has been started, that when as-
sistants, even though they were scholars of a dis-
tinguished artist, possessing themselves great tal-
ent, have been employed on any work of their
master, the master was not entitled to call the work
his own. Tenerani and Gibson, among others,
worked in the studios of Canova and Thorwaldsen,
under the direction and on the works of those ar-
tists ; but they never dreamed of claiming such
works as their own in any sense. It would have
been too absurd.

B, Was not Michel Angelo an exception to
this rule ?

M. Michel Angelo was accustomed himself to
do a great deal of his own work in the marble ;
an d he thus w^ r fit^<^ hia g rrn t p o w nrn in innrlj •
m echanical labor, w hich jwould^avQ.beeaiJaeiiter .
done by any pompptPTit ^ workmen, .becaua^tbfijL.
would have been more careful and mechanical.
Through his impatience and enthusiasm, he ruined
block after block of marble by working with too
great vehemence near the surface. He had a won-



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164 CONVERSATIONS IN A STUDIO.

derful faculty as a mere workman in marble, but
his genius and impetuosity of temperament would/
not brook the opposition of so stubborn a materialJ
and unfitt3d him for those first processes of roughJ
ing out into shape the block, which require parj
tience and precision. Too eager to arrive at a'
point where his true genius would find play, he as-
sailed the marble with such violence that he often
struck off pieces which trenched into the just limits
of the surface ; and as they could not be replaced,
he was forced to finish as he could, — not as he
would. Had he confined himself more to elabo-
rating his work in clay, and then intrusting the
blocking out in marble to a mechanical workman,
we should have had not only a much larger num-
ber of grand works by him, but they would have
been freer of great defects. For instance, the
back of the head of Moses has been chiseled away
until it is an impossible head. Again, the David
is sacrificed to the exigencies of the marble ; and
the head of his famous Day was probably left un-
finished because he perceived that it was turned
beyond the limit permitted to nature without break-
ing the neck.

B. Still it produces a magnificent effect, finer
than if it had been finished. It seems as if day
were struggling out from clouds and darkness.

M. I am quite of your opinion. I did not mean
to criticise it, but only to state a fact. The defect
is not now so apparent as it would have been had
he attempted to finish it, and certainly its very im-



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IX



THE UNIQUENESS OF MICHEL ANGELO, 165

perfection lends it a singular power and character.
Michel Angelo is one of those mighty geniuses
that is above criticism. He impresses you in his
^aFworfe so |>owurful ly thatrygtl ' tecve Tio^ wisET"
"to criticise him. 3Lny sculptor can point ouTTiis
defects, they are so plain and manifest ; but no-
body has ever managed so to wreak himself upon
marble, and to stamp so tremendous an energy into
any works of art. The Sistine Chapel is to me
the most gigantic work that ever was accomplished
in art. The intellect, the force of will, the vigor
and grandeur, stamped upon these frescoes is so
great that they overpower you. Everything else
seems feeble after them. So, too, the Day and
Night in the Medici Chapel have something terrible
in their solemnity. They are all wrong, if you
please, full of defect s, impossible, unnatural, but

they are grand thoughts and mighty in thf jr f,hf^^-

acter, and they overawe you into silence. I would
counsel no artist to attempt to copy them or form
his style upon them ; let him rather absorb them
as impressions than study them as models. They
will fill him with a sense of grandeur, so taken in ;
but they afford no basis for a school. The works
of Michael Angelo's followers were characterized
by wild exaggeration and intemperance of style.
They strove by excess to arrive at grandeur. They
imitated his defects and lost his spirit. Bernini
was almost a maniac in his art. He observed no
restraint, and would not limit his talent by the
true boundaries of sculpture. There is no doubt



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166 CONVERSATIONS IN A STUDIO.

that he was a man of great talent, if not of genius;
but his genius all went astray and in a false direc-
tion. His attempts were beyond his powers, and
he has left us almost nothing but exaggerated and
oppressive works. Sculpture owes a great debt of
platitude to Canova, who led it back into quieter
Infields, and taught it self - restraint, and preached
agai n the gospel of temperance, according to the
, fi-f^^l^q Theirs is the true school of form and
method, simple, dignified, and strong*^ JLi^t us, if
*possiBIe,~uifu*se'mto this form the modem spirit of
intensity, emotion, and passion, which they did not
attempt. That, in my opinion, is the problem we
should seek to solve.

B. Why do you suppose they never attempted
this?

M. Plainly because it was in contradiction with
their religion. Religion and art go hand in hand
through all history. The loftiest religious sent i-
ment of the Greeks was passionless_repose. They
" strove to get to a centre where all was calm^ajid
removed from liEe wild whirl of human passions
and excitement. Sculpture was consecrated first
to the gods, and it represented them, in their char-
acter of calmness and dignity, superior to mere
human influences. From this basis it never wan-
dered far, even in^the representation of demi-
gods and heroes. (Their very portraiture partook
of this character. The sternness of the stone de-
manded serious subjects, and in the best period
of their art they never degraded it to triviality



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ART AND RELIGION INTERACT. 167

and genre/) They sought to express character and
repose, not agitations or incidents. The religion
^ nf tliP, (^ftftlrg w5 ^,^ likft SL mYf^ lft with a Centre of
repo se. The Christian religion, on the contrary^
is like a sp iral generated V >y an ft^r^^*"Pf ^^^^'^^'
Their bi^hest ideal :y as calm ; ours is unrest and
Inngnng. They sought the peace of tranquilized
passions and feelings, and the quiet acceptance of
life within its limits here ; we look forward with
longing to another life, and our thoughts and
hopes project themselves beyond into the infinite.
Their ideal was heroic, self-contained manliness, a
dignified bearing under the inevitable decrees of
fate, and a clear development of their own in-
terior natures ; ours is found in self-surrender and
other -worldliness. Of course all this must ex-
press itself in the highest products of art. We
see, therefore, in Greece grand, simple, dignified
forms, — manly, seK-contained, and agitated by no
passions or violent emotions. Christian art, on
the contrary, abounds in contortions of form, and
embodies abnegations, sorrows, seM-tormentings,
and martyrdoms. Simple manliness has departed.
We are worms not worthy to be considered. This
life is a contemptible afiPair. Hitherto, at least,
this has been the character of Christian art. But
another era seems now to be dawning, — of sim-
plicity, of self-restraint, of nature. The danger
of the present day, however, is lest we subordinate
art too much to mere imitation, and decline into
the trivial and sentimental. The true sphere of



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168 CONVERSATIONS IN A STUDIO.

art to-day is to fuse into the grand forms and
moulds of the Greek a deeper emotion, a more
natural feeling, and a higher enthusiasm, — to lift
ourselves to great subjects, and to treat them with
intensity as well as with simplicity. But to stop
preaching, for I am afraid I am giving you what
Lamb translated sermoni propriora to mean, —
things properer for a sermon. Let us go back to
what we were saying about the assistance which
great artists have ever accepted from other hands.
There used to be schools, and great masters had
many pupils, all working together harmoniously.
This was the case in Greece in the ancient days,
and in Italy in the revival of art. Leonardo and
E^ffaelle, Gian Bellini and Titian, as well as Poly-
gnotus and Zeuxis, or Phidias and Lysippus, and
the rest, had all of them pupils who worked with
them and for them ; and by this consentaneous la-
bor and thought they were able to achieve their
great works. We at the present are for the most
part individuals,^ each working for himself and by
himself, in competition with all others ; and the
moment any one works in accord with another.
Envy cries out, or crawls and hisses in secret,
and tries to defraud the master of his right. But
Leonardo worked for Verrocchio in his studio,
as Eaffaelle did for Perugino, and Luini for Leo-
nardo; each helped the other, each was taught
by the other. Art was then a great guild. Now
every artist "fights for his own hand," to use
the phrase of Harry Gow.



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TOPSEY-TURVlNESa IN CRITICISM. 169

B. It is the fashion now to pull down the idols
of the past and set up new and hitherto compara-
tively unknown ones in their place ; to rehabilitate
the degraded, and to reverse the decisions and the
decrees of history. Speculation and criticism seek
out dark spots, and drag new heroes into light,
while they who stand in the light of fame are scru-
tinized so closely that they seem but common
things, after all. If we go on at this rate much
further, we shall not have a villain left, nor a
beauiy, nor a hero. Helen was an old hag past
sixty at the beginning of the Trojan war. Judas
is already on his feet. Nero is absolved from his
murders. Henry VIII. has become a noble, free-
hearted spirit ; and as for his wives, the new ver-
dict is, " Served them right." William Tell has
vanished into the darkness of myths. Eugene
Aram is a dramatic sentimentalist who couldn't
help himself. No one but maniacs in their fits of
madness are now guilty of murder. Even Byron's
perfect puriiy has been called in question. Al-
most no villain is left us except Cain, and let us
grapple to him with hooks of steel. Let no man
try to take Cain from us. What would life be
worth without him ? Alas 1 we are getting weak
in our faith.

M. Your words recall to me, though it has lit-
tle to do with what you were saying, a story of
an ardent Presbyterian who was discussing with a
brother churchman the character and religious be-
lief of X, their common friend. The first of them



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170 CONVERSATIONS IN A STUDIO,

thought X was going all wrong ; that his life was
well enough, but on questions of doctrine and faith
he was very shaky. " Ah, no ! I don't agree with
you," said the other ;" X is all right, I am sure.
He thoroughly believes in total depravity." *' He
may believe in it," was the answer, " as a dogma ;
but the question is. Does he act up to it in his
life ? I am afraid he does n't."

5. I am becoming so confused of late as to who
is good and who is bad, and the cards are getting
so shuffled as to what anybody did and said, that
I scarcely venture now to allude to any historical
statement, or to speak of any historical personage,
without a fear that I may be utterly mistaken in
common with nearly everybody else, at least of my
age. But there is a pleasure in paradox as much
as there is " in the pathless woods," or in " the
ocean's roar." Mr. Hayward, in a delightful es-
say, has clearly shown that there is scarcely a
single famous sentence which History has put into
the mouth of anybody that was erer really spoken ;
and that generally the legends and pretty stories
about great men are inventions. So one by one
all the old props are giving way, and nothing will,
be left but original sin, and the three apples, of
Eve, and Venus, and Discord, which are so far
away that we cannot quite reach them.

M. The role that apples play in old myths is
very strange ; of aU fruits they would seem to be
the least tempting.

B. Do you mean to imdermine all the founda-
tions of our faith ?



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THE GREEKS DID NOT DOUBT OF HOMER. 171

M. Sir, — as Dr. Jolinson would say, — would
you limit the investigation of truth by the legends
of history? If so — to use another of his brief
and piquant sentences — you are a fool.

B. I know I am. I have the foUy still to be-
lieve that Homer really existed, despite Profes-
sors Wolf and Lachmann and their followers.
And, do you know, it strikes me as rather odd
that we, as late as the latter part of the nine-
teenth century, after the old Greek language has
suffered such change, should still, though foreign-
ers in clime and time, be able to detect, philologic-
aUy, discrepancies and contradictions which did
not strike the ancient Ghreeks themselves, in their
own familiar tongue. Undoubtedly they believed
Homer to be an actual person, who wrote a con-
tinuous poem, which was quite familiar to them.
Whether the foundation of these verses was leg-
endary and traditional or not, does not touch the
question, any more than the fact that the plays of
Shakespeare were founded upon traditional history
and old stories, and even on prior compositions,
partially in some cases imbedded in them, would
invalidate his claim to their authorship. None the
less, the Greeks deemed that Homer had existed,
and had put the story into this poetic and rhythmic
form, and that is what is meant by authorship in
every poem. Is it not probable that they were far
better judges of all questions relating to language
and imity of character, and other similar points on
which the new theory is founded, than we can pos-



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172 CONVERSATIONS IN A STUDIO,

sibly be ; and is it probable that they would have
been deceived in regard to a poem which was so
familiar to them, and so constantly recited before
them and read by them ? *^ Credat Judseus
Apella," Vastly superior, as no doubt we are, to
the ancient Greeks in our knowledge of their lan-
guage, poetry, and history, and everything else
which concerned them, I am fool enough to stick
to Homer with them, rather than to throw him
over with the learned professors of our day. I
prefer to be imposed upon with Plato, Pericles,
^schylus, Aristotle, and the rest of those igno-
rant boys, rather than to be right with the philoso-
phers and critips of to-day.

M. Your illustration of the case by reference
to Shakespeare and his plays is very imfortunate.
Are you not aware that Shakespeare himself never
wrote any of his plays, but only lent his name to
them to conceal the true author, who was Lord
Bacon? The poor fellow was weak and good-
natured. The very epithets given him by his
friends of gentle or sweet Will plainly show this ;
and Bacon bought him, or his name, to use as a
cloak and a shield. It is ridiculous to imagine
that a fellow like him, bom and bred in Stratford-
on-Avon, and a hanger-on and second-rate actor at
theatres, could possibly ever have written anything
like what is ascribed to him. Ben Jonson, in-
deed, and aU his contemporaries, were fearfully
deceived ; but then Ben Jonson was only a brick-
layer. Greene, too, called him an upstart crow,



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BEN JON SON ON THE STAND. 173

who beautified himself with the feathers of others ;
and Greene must have known, as he assisted Shake-
speare in rewriting and readapting parts of some
old plays, — though it is strange that he should not
have known that Shakespeare did not really write
the remainder, and should not have suspected the
real author, Bacon. It is very doubtful whether
there ever was such a person ; and if there was, he
was not the author of the poems and plays ascribed
to him. Lord Bacon wrote them.

B. I had forgotten this. You are right. But
what a pity! The portrait, after all, that forms
the frontispiece to the plays does not look like a
perfect fool. It is not a bad nor a mean forehead,
is it ? If the person it represents did not do some-
thing remarkable, one cannot help wondering why
not, with that great brain, and that speaking face.
What did Ben Jonson mean by those verses of his,
saying that this " was for the gentle Shakespeare
cut " ? Did he mean by gentle, silly ? When he
spoke of his wit, did he speak ironically ? Or did
Bacon buy up him too, and get him to write this
lie? Joking apart, I think nothing more mon-
strous was ever conceived than this theory. It is
too foolish even to be entitled to consideration.

M. Yet I understand that Judge Nathaniel
Holmes has lately written a long book to uphold
this preposterous theory. I have not seen it, but I
do not doubt, from what I hear, that he has argued
the question with skill. But, after all, is it not to
be put in the category of Whately's historic doubts
as to the existence of Napoleon ?



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174 CONVERSATIONS IN A STUDIO.

B, It is said that Lord Palmerston was a con-
vert to this theory ; but I fancy it was with him —
if the report be true — merely through a love of
paradox, as it is with some others I know, who
profess to believe in it. One of the chief grounds
for assuming the possibility of such a notion is
drawn from the difficulty of supposing any single
man could be possessed of sufficient genius, know-
ledge, and culture to be able to produce such
works. But by supposing these plays to have
been written by two persons, we simply double the
difficulty. Then there must have been two ex-
traordinary geniuses at work, — one in the dark,
and one in the light. If we suppose them to have
been written by Bacon, and not Shakespeare, we
run into still greater difficulties. We must sup-
pose that, avid of fame as Bacon was, he utterly
concealed his authorship of works immeasurably
superior to aU his other works put together, and
which would have given him a world-wide fame ;
that he was a great poet, which is contrary to his
known character and to aU his writings ; that he
employed a man named Shakespeare falsely to as-
sume the authorship, which makes Shakespeare a
very contemptible personage, contrary to the ex-
press testimony of aU who knew him; that the
complete manuscripts of the original plays which,
at Shakespeare's death, were in his possession, and
from which they were printed by his friends after
his death, were not written by him, — which is pre
posterous, — or at least were copied by him from



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SHAKESPEARE'S NOT A BIOGRAPHIC AGE. 175

the original MSS., which were destroyed ; that
Bacon was familiar with all the life and scenery of
Stratford; that not only aU Shakespeare's famil-
iar friends, — authors and collaborators, actors and
noblemen, — but the whole world — were deceived
willfully by both; that this lie was acted out
through the life of both for no plausible reason,
and after their death continued to be acted for
centuries; that Bacon was guilty of all the mis-
takes in the plays, such as that Bohemia is a sea-
port, and many more difficulties and impossibili-
ties.

M. It is not worth while to argue the question.
I am surprised that you take the trouble ; we are
in the habit of supposing that our ignorance in
respect to the life of Shakespeare is very excep-
tional. But it is not so at all ; we know no more,
nay, not even so much, about Ben Jonson, Mar-
lowe, Webster, Heywood, Ford, Dekker, or any of
the other authors of his day, of the same social
rank and position in life.^ As to Webster, for
instance, we do not know when or where he was
bom, how long he lived, or even what works he
wrote. A few are accredited to him, as those won-
derful and ghastly plays, "Vittoria Corombona,"
" The Duchess of Malfi," and one or two others ;
but whether certain other works in prose were

^ The ag^ was not one of biography, and of none of the great
authors of the period have we any but the most cursory and
meagre records, unless those authors were in public life, held
government ofiElces, were attendant upon the court, and of aristo-
cratic position ; such, for instance as Sidney, Raleigh, and Bacon.



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176 CONVERSATIONS IN A STUDIO.

written by him or not is quite problematical. Our
knowledge as to Marlowe is equally obscure, and
the few facts relating to him which are known are
by no means clear or sure. The same remarks
may be made in regard to Peele and Greene, and
Shakespeare's associates on the stage, Burbage
and the rest. We really know little or nothing
about any of them, more than a few questionable
facts. It may be said as truly that Bacon wrote
all their works as that he wrote Shakespeare's.

£, I have no doubt he did; and, to use the
legal form of question, if not, why not ?

M. So, too, what do we know of Thomas Hey-
wood, whom Charles Lamb calls a sort of prose
Shakespeare, beyond the few avowals he makes
about himself in one or two of his prefaces ? Out-
side of these confidences we really know next to
nothing. Yet he was a dramatic author of high
repute in his own day, and he tells us that he had
" an entire hand, or at least a main finger, in two
hundred and twenty plays." Yet not only about
nine tenths of his plays are lost, but also all the
history of his life, except some very few facts and
dates.

B. Only some twenty-three plays left out of two
hundred and twenty, are there not ?

M. I will not be sure of the exact number of
plays we stiU possess by Heywood, but it is about
this nimiber.

B, How do you account for this ?

M. He gives us one reason himself in one of



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WHY SHAKESPEARE DID NOT PRINT. 177

his prefaces, I think to " The English Traveller,'*
in which, after a covert sneer at Ben Jonson and
others who " expose unto the world their volumes
under Hiq name of works," he goes on to say that
^^ many of his writings, by shifting and change of
companies, have been negligently lost ; others have
been retained in the hands of some actors who
think it against their peculiar profit to have them
come into print ; and a third, that it was never


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