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in which the delineation of the objects is made in a manner somewhat approaching to perfection—certainly to a degree quite wonderful and even incredible, if proof were not given of the ability of the human hand to attain it. The question which everybody who gets an impression of that kind would do well to ask himself is this: Is this second class of pictures good or bad? If good, why are others better? If not good, what prevents so much goodness from being good? I am not sure that any amount of looking at pictures, or even looking at pictures with your eye as far as possible upon nature, would give you an exact key to the relation of these classes of pictures; at least, I notice this, that an immense amount of the best study of both pictures and nature together does not seem to have given that key to the people most competent to study the subject. But when I looked at them, the question suggested itself to me, not only in respect to painting, but in a more general way. What I observed was, that those painters who painted the third class of pictures had acquired a
rious art—an art of doing right and wrong at once. For there was a palpable wrongness. The first thing which anybody who wanted to paint ought to be taught to do is to draw with exactness and accuracy, and not, when the object is of one shape, to put another shape; so that there lies a distinct duty upon the person who designs to paint. And yet, somehow, the painters manage to paint the best pictures by setting that rule at defiance. It is quite clear, if you generalise the terms, that these people have managed to do at once right and wrong; and we call that being true to nature—we call it Art; and we find in it the highest development of the human faculty. Then in doing at once wrong and right they have succeeded in doing a right that is
righter than the right which they tried to do. You find that right is capable of existing in two quite distinct forms, and that one of them is a true right, and that the other is not a true right. For when you come to look at those pictures which attain such an extreme degree of exactness, you perceive distinctly that though you might be pleased with them so long as you did not see the others, yet that they become at length distinctly unsatisfying, repugnant, tiresome; you get after a time, in spite of their beauty, nay, because of their beauty, to feel a certain anger with them. I notice this about them, that they deserve to make us angry because they profess to be what they are not. They profess to be the representations to us of what nature is, but to our eyes as clearly as possible they do not look like what nature is; they look like pictures; men so drawn do not look like men, they look like dolls-images of men. Clearly something tells us, when we get the chance of comparing a picture of that sort with a picture of the third sort, that what we want from a painter is not something that looks like an image of an object, but a picture that does truly produce upon us the impression of the object. So our eyes become absolutely intolerant of this kind of goodness of the painter.
Well, then, to go on-thinking about this painting, with a glance cast now and then at the moral world, we perceive that the painter has got three ways of painting --that one of them is truly good, and that two of them are bad. This is an important point with regard to painting. Art is different from the business of an architect, who makes designs to be worked by. The right of the architect is the wrong of the artist. The architect has got two ways of drawing-a good way and a bad way-the accurate and the inaccurate way. The painter
counts both of them wrong, and sets up a third way which is his right, and that right is more akin to the architect's wrong than to his right-indeed, so much akin, that, except for some mysterious odd kind of difference (which I have never heard any one define), mere bad drawing might pass for true art. So that what one comes upon is this, as it seems to me that the very nature and becoming of art consists in making right coincident with a wrong. It is the art of doing right and doing wrong together; that is the thing in which the emotional faculties of men find their truest delight, so far as painting goes— I do not mean to speak of other arts. Now I believe, as to the inexplicable charm of a true painting upon us, which it produces quite independently of its subject or of any ideas which it is designed to express, which we feel almost more purely when there is nothing in the painting at all, and when unromantic, unsublime subjects are sought out, because then we get this peculiar charm of art alone, and feel it by itself there is a magic in it, a rightness and a wrongness that fascinates us—we don't know why, but we know this, that it is true to nature. If that fact gets hold of the mind as a really important thing, as a thing worth thinking about, I do not think it is so difficult to see why the artist's right must have a wrong in it. You know that nature is really infinite in its complexity, and that if a person puts down on a piece of canvas simply just so much of what presses upon his eye as he can reproduce upon a plain contracted surface with. extremely gross fingers, as compared with the delicacy of Nature's, he does not represent Nature; he chooses out certain parts of her, and gives them all that belongs to them as far as he is able; but an innumerable number of other things he totally leaves out. He says, "These things have certain rights, and I have given them."
giving them these rights he has left out an immense number of things which he could not put upon his canvas. If he delineates accurately a few objects, he does this at the expense of others. But further, nature does not consist merely of objects, even supposing he was able to put them all on to his canvas, but it consists of objects bathed in light, and the painter has to paint this light as existing, this atmosphere which bathes them. And then there is another thing which seems more important still : when you come to think about what nature is, Science has a word to say; and it turns out, I think from the scientific point of view, that these objects which our eyes seem to see and our hands to handle these separate things, the aggregation and juxtaposition of which make up nature to our apprehension-these are not the true nature at all; Science teaches us quite differently; it represents nature as a constant flux of forces, a constant process and series of changes, in which it can recognise action but knows nothing of substance. Now, if art could be true to nature by representing a destined number of things side by side, there would be a conflicting representation. I think the human sensations would have little tranquillity in the presence of such a fight. As it is, it so happens there is really no fight, because Art has simply outstripped Science, making before her her own affirmations. For Art, whenever it becomes art at all, denies all things, and treats things with the utmost imaginable unconcern, making them to be anything which suits some other truth of nature. The fact is, that Science has struggled up to the position of Art. The affirmation which Art from a long period has been making is, that nature is not "things," because, in order to be true to nature, it is compelled to be false to things—which is only another way of saying that nature is not
things. Art represents nature as a process. The only pictures which your eye can regard with true complacency or judge as being true to nature show that photographic representation of objects is not the secret of art.
The artist repudiates the duty of accurately delineating all the objects before him. But the question really is a moral one. For though morals are one thing and art another, there is nothing which can escape from the dominion of the moral law. There is a right and a wrong —a moral right and a moral wrong-in painting as in everything else. Now the painter affirms this liberty in his pictures; he says, "I concede there is a duty here, out my right is in breaking it." Why is he right in breaking it? I think that also is visible. Granted that the reason a painter must be untrue to things is because nature is a process-a constant flux; yet the painter takes no account of that; he did not wait till Science had found out that nature was forces and not things; that was not the painter's reason; it did not justify him. People meaning a wrong thing may do a right one, but that does not justify them. So you see it is not because nature is a process and not things that a painter would be justified in painting what he believed to be wrong to Clearly he is not at liberty to sacrifice the truth of any object because it suits his purpose; that would be absolutely to set all standard of art at defiance: it would make art lawlessness. Yet still he does quite recklessly set aside the claims of the things that he deals with. He does not do this årbitrarily and merely for his own pleasure; we can see what he sets them aside for, it is what we have said. To present those objects with accuracy,
he would have to set aside and refuse the claims of other objects. He says, "The right of that would be such and such lines, but here is this other object which has claims too; I must use this first object to fulfil the claims of