While travelling in Europe, 1815-19, Mr. Ticknor, after having studied the resources, collections, and peculiarities of a city, wrote at length, and with some minuteness, a sketch of what he found in each, of its externals and its society; so now, before leaving Dresden, he wrote at large of its institutions and its splendid collections. Of the state of the arts and character of society we give the following remarks, omitting the rest, though it is interesting and acute:—
The state of the arts in Dresden is not, perhaps, so high as might be expected from the great opportunities offered to form artists, and from the great number of artists who constantly avail themselves of these opportunities. Of sculpture, or sculptors, I heard almost nothing, and certainly nothing that induced me to visit a single atelier. An architect has not been named to me. But a great deal is done in lithography, and well done, as the beautiful work now publishing on the Gallery proves beyond all doubt; and there is at least one distinguished engraver here,—Steinla,—who says that in Weimar, in 1816, he called on me, and asked me if I would advise him to emigrate to America, and that I dissuaded him, on the ground that he showed much promise in his art, and that in America he would not be able to form himself to such eminence as he could at home, —a piece of advice which was, I think, judicious, but which I do not at all remember to have given.1 Of painters there are enough. Retzsch, though his coloring is bad, is undoubtedly at the head of the whole, and one of the most genial, original, and interesting persons I have ever known; but Retzsch has not been formed by Dresden, and has had but little influence on it. Just so is it with Dahl, the Norwegian, who is a very gifted person, but who has taken too much to Northern, wild, and fantastic scenery. Vogel is a true child of the Gallery, and is as stiff and hard as mere imitation need to make a man; but he paints chiefly portraits. . . . .