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spur, moving each to continue laboring worthily, and to seek to advance continually from good to better." Surely it is safer to try to learn something about art and artists from one moved by these good aims, than from some mere maker of books.

The fund of sprightly anecdote, by which Vasari illustrates the character of both artist and patron, the lively pictures he presents of the Italian life, and customs, of the time, and his frequent references to important social and political events, let us into the history, and the spirit, of the Italian renaissance. We become familiar with the great men, hear them speak, see them act. When we have finished "The Lives," we have learned more of the springs that moved men's minds in those days, than we can learn from any ordinary history of the period. Indeed, it may be safely said that one must have read Vasari, fully to appreciate certain sides of the renaissance.

His simple style wins our favor. From the first page, we feel secure of his truthfulness, and of his honesty of purpose. He is modest, too, and always Christian. He glorifies great men; but much more God, whose work they are. As we read of his relations with Salviati, Angelo, Gherardi, and the Medici, we cannot but be moved by the warmth of his friendship, his kindness of heart, his lively sense of gratitude; but these rare good qualities do not impress us more than does his constant, manly sense of religion. His acts gave proof of the sincerity of his words. When he had become easy in fortune, he built, at his own expense, and endowed a chapel and decanate in the Deanery at Arezzo, painting the chapel with his own hand. Therein he lovingly entombed the bodies of his father, mother, and immediate relatives. This work he did, "as an acknowledgment (although but a small one) of the Divine goodness, and an evidence of his thankfulness for the infinite favors and benefits which God has vouchsafed to confer upon him."

It would be hard to find a man better equipped for his work; would it not? Honest, truthful, conscientious, generous, patient, thorough, having a rare position among artists, rare facilities to pursue a well considered object, and a serious aim,-what was there wanting? Nothing, if his knowledge of the principles and practice of art fitted him to judge the things of art. Now, it is true that, notwithstanding all that Vasari painted, he has not taken rank among the greatest painters. It would be singular if he had. His talent of ready composition, and facility of brush, with his willingness to undertake everything for everybody, made it impossible that he should produce master-works. These are born of calm reflection, or enthusiasm, and of leisurely execution. Still,

Vasari painted more than one creditable picture. To be among the first, where the first were so great, was not easy; it was even less easy for him, whose admiration for the design of MichelAngelo made him more a follower of that rare genius than an original master. To hold place among the men of second rate is, however, no mean tribute to his talent and ability. This talent, this ability, his severe studies under the most competent masters and by himself, his large acquaintance with ancient masterpieces, and with the best work of his own country, made him rarely fitted to form a judgment on every work of art. Time has not failed to establish this; for, while new researches have, not infrequently, corrected his facts, his judgments are still the judgments of the best. His mind was cultivated, open, appreciative not of any one art alone, nor of any one time, or school, or country, but of everything great and good. Michel-Angelo's design might be the greatest, but Giotto's art was beautiful, and Fra Angelico's showed not the hand of man, but rather that of saint or angel. From such a teacher, and only from such a teacher, can the beginner in art learn how to form that true taste which is based, not on the vain likings of the self-sufficient and uninstructed, but on the experienced judgment of the trained and thoughtful student.

The practical information, so requisite to the understanding of works of art, Vasari also gives us, and, in few and clear words. Half-a-dozen handbooks will not as well instruct us in approved methods in sculpture, technic in the various kinds of painting, processes of engraving, of modelling, or of casting. Rightly to appreciate art, we must know and appreciate the arts; and the arts, not only of one period, or of one country, but of all countries, and all times. No one knew this better than he whose busy liferecord we have so hastily run over. As a help to this large view, he was careful to sketch out the history of ancient art. Archæology was in its infancy when Vasari wrote. We cannot expect from him the solid, detailed learning, or the painfully refined criticism, of the German of to-day; still, he gives the beginner all that is needful, and more than he might gain from more labored work. To complete his intelligent plan, Vasari not only reviewed the varying phases of the arts in Italy, but he also traced their growth in Germany and the Netherlands, and marked the mutual influences of the northern and the southern technic and ideals.

Critics who are taken up with questions about certainty of attribution, exactness of dates, and manufacture of impasto, may find satisfaction only in more modern and more soulless writers; but even these cannot advance one page without recurring to Vasari. He is, and will continue to be, the authority on the art of Italy

during its blooming-time. The book-makers of to-day but paraphrase him, more or less diffusely or succinctly.

Doubtless we cannot master art from one book, or from any number of books. The eye must be educated as well as the mind. Good things must be looked upon. But, rightly to see, we must know how to look and what to look for; and to know how to look and what to look for, we must have art in mind and eye. How is the eye to be trained? By looking on master-works. There shall we learn what beauty is.

It is not possible to know anything of art worth knowing, without a thorough acquaintance with the art of the past; nor to estimate the present good, or bad, without knowledge of the best. The inspection of miles of wall-space, hung with works of Millet, Diaz, Knaus, Bouguereau, Watts, and Meyer von Bremen, can never give us more than what they have of knowledge, or inform us of ideals, or expression, beyond their own. The viewing of pictures by popular painters makes neither lovers of art, nor knowers of art. These are made only by patient study of the best of every time and country, and by communion with great artistic souls. This communion Vasari's book affords, and, therefore, it is as fresh and useful to-day as on the day it first was printed.

Michel-Angelo, in his beautiful sonnet to Vasari, rightly estimated its purpose and its permanence :

"If with the chisel and the colors, thou

Hast made Art equal Nature, now thy hand
Hath e'en surpassed her, giving us her beauties
Rendered more beautiful. For with sage thought
Now hast thou set thyself to worthier toils,
And what was wanting still, hast now supplied,
In giving life to others; thus depriving

Her boast of its last claim to rise above thee.
Is there an age whose labors may not hope
To reach the highest point? Yet, by thy word
All gain the limit to their toils prescribed.
The else extinguished memories thus revived
To new and radiant life, by thee, shall now
Endure, with thine own fame, throughout all time."

VOL. XI.-15

Very Rev. Edward Jacker


Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. XVIII. Article "Philology." Part I.
Science of Language in General. By W. D. Whitney.


HE" Encyclopædia Britannica," of which the ninth edition is in process of publication, shows in its later volumes a somewhat closer approach towards that cosmopolitan or international character which, at the present day, is almost a requisite for any work of its kind. To make a cyclopædia the true exponent of contemporaneous learning, none but the leading minds of the age should be engaged for the treatment of at least all the more important subjects; and, surely, no single nation can lay claim to the possession of the foremost scholars in each branch of learning. How far a reasonable regard for unity and doctrinal soundness may be consistent with such a desire for the highest scholarship, is another question; for, as few will doubt, the progress of modern science has neither been very harmonious, nor invariably in a healthy direction. But, however this may be, in conformity with that international plan, the article on "Philology”— in the eighteenth volume of the British "Cyclopædia "—comes from the pen of two scholars of diverse nationality, and neither of them an Englishman ;—the first part, on the science of language in general, being written by the veteran Sanscrit professor of Yale College, W. D. Whitney; the second, on the comparative philology of the Aryan languages, by Professor E. Sievers, formerly of Jena, now of Tübingen. It is upon the American contribution, as the more generally interesting, we propose to offer some remarks. Our highly esteemed countryman's treatise—as a matter of course, admirably written-deals largely with a problem that concerns not the philologist only, but also the philosopher, the historian, the theologian,-in fact, any serious inquirer into the nature and destiny of man. Professor Whitney has, heretofore, in several of his well-known publications on linguistic science, set forth the result of his inquiries into the same question more at length, and, perhaps, here and there, with some slight degree of diffidence; in the article to be reviewed he favors us with a shorter, but most unhesitating and categorical answer. Since, then, the solution of the problem, as therein presented, may be looked upon as the last word in the debate by a scholar of undisputed eminence in his branch, it will be well worth our while to consider his views with

all the attention due to so able a writer. The question referred to is this: How did man come into the possession of language?

Professor Whitney places the problem before us in a form that plainly forebodes the solution he arrives at. With him, the study of language is a division of the general science of anthropology, and the problem of anthropology is this: "How natural man has become cultivated man; how a being thus endowed by nature should have begun and carried on the processes of acquisition which have brought him to his present state." Now, language, according to our author, is one of those attainments that distinguish "man the child of nature" from "man the creature of education;" hence, the science of language must solve the question how man, "by implanted powers, directed by natural desires, and under the pressure of circumstances," has made, changed, and enriched his speech, until, from the first spoken sign, the first sound consciously and purposely uttered to signify conception, it has become that wonderfully rich and multiform body of expression which it is at the present day.

So much for the problem. As to the method of investigation, Mr. Whitney likewise draws the lines closely enough to secure a certain result to the exclusion of all others. "It is," he says, "by studying recent observable modes of acquisition, and transferring them, with due allowance for different circumstances, to the more primitive periods, that the question of first acquisition is to be solved, for language as for tools, for arts, for family and social organization, and the rest. For there is," he adds, "just as much and just as little reason for assuming miraculous interference and aid in one of these departments as in another."

After these preliminary remarks, the learned Professor proceeds to set forth the cause of language-making, which he shows to be simply the desire of communication. He then adverts to the analogy of the beginnings of speech with those of writing, the superiority of voice above all other instrumentalities of expression, and the imitative character of the first spoken signs. He further describes the progress of speech, from what he terms the spontaneous or arbitrary stage, to the traditional or conventional, and points out the peculiar character of human language as distinguished from "brute speech." After this he devotes a paragraph to the important statement that language, far from having played the part of a physical cause in the evolution of man's faculties, is but the necessary product of his natural endowment. He then enters upon the question as to the rate of progress made by man in the art of speaking, “after he came into being such as he now is, physically and intellectually." This question the Professor hesitates to answer, even conjecturally; yet he sees good reason to

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