previous next

[401] school in which his education in plastic art was obtained—the school to which Rauch is indebted for his style, and which was kept alive by Rietschel at Dresden, Drake and Albert Wolff at Berlin, and Blaeser at Cologne—whose influence was felt by Schadow and Schwanthaler, and whose disciple at Copenhagen was Bessen, and at Rome Pierre Galli and others—the school that really drew its inspiration from the genius of Thorvaldsen. Taking the figure in its whole proportions, Mr. Valentine has resorted to none of the artifices of art; and while one may not feel so quickly touched by it-speaking in the accepted aesthetical sense as opposed to the idea of being impressed—its eminent beauties constantly reveal themselves by study. A celebrated sculptor, in comparing Canova and Thorvaldsen, once said that before Canova's work he was always on the defensive, fearing that his judgment might be taken captive by the excessive airs and grace of the figures and by the extreme skilfulness of the execution, which often conceal faults, and which were neither natural nor antique. With Thorvaldsen, on the contrary, he continues: ‘I do not fear any such artifices; my mind is tranquil. I prefer him for his greater breadth of style and because his work is truer and more correct.’ To the artistic judgment in the abstract tranquility of mind is expressive of the feeling in gazing upon Mr. Valentine's creation. The breadth, purity, and truth of modelling is that of an artist who does not fear his own conception. His ambition was of the most exalted character, and he searched for his ideal in a field of art where the dividing line between success and failure is so exact as to render the ground treacherous and the undertaking dangerous. Between the extremes of the mediaeval and the modern sarcophaghi, it is true, there is a wide difference, but the art movement involved in the present undertaking was not strictly to be found in the intermediate ground. The contact was between an antique principle reflected through the solid grandeur of the German intellectualism in sculpture and an immense deal of originality. Had he failed to find it his failure would have been complete. That he has not failed, but has achieved a most wonderful triumph, we believe will be the best art judgment in the country. Leaving the abstract artistic question of the merits of the figure, we can say little more of it without repeating ourselves. The most casual observer must, upon viewing it, be filled with a solemnity touched with awe; must feel that it is the creation of a great genius; that it is a noble effort in art. It appeals to the strongest sense of reverence, and has made the reputation of Virginia's sculptor.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Dresden, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Copenhagen (Denmark) (1)
Cologne (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Edward Virginius Valentine (2)
Canova (2)
Albert Wolff (1)
Schadow (1)
Rauch (1)
Rome Pierre Galli (1)
James H. Drake (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: