The new path
Sculpture, pp. -110
PUBLISHED BY THE Society for the Advancement of TRUTH IN ART. "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, FT 1864. No. 9.1 and the things that shall be hereafter." [Jal.? 1864. SCULPTURE.* WHAT we call Gothic sculpture is the carved decoration of the buildings and furniture of the nations of western Europe, which was produced between the middle of the twelfth and the close of the fifteenth centuries. The best of it was produced in a more limited area, iamely, in northern and central Italy, northern and central France, and in England; and in a more limited space of time, different in different countries. B3ut while all attempts at Gothic work outside the territorial limits mentioned, show marked inferiority in every way, thle temporal limits are not so absolute; for a century before the best time the w ork was strong in spirit and purpose, and was gallantly pushed forward to- wards perfection, and for a century after the best time its forms were re- tamined and its life simulated. This work thus widely scattered over time and space, is varied enough in character, as we shall discover: its materials, sentiment and purposes all differ widely in different places and times. But it is all of one school, when we Consider the Art of the world, and differs as completely from the Greek Wvork which we have been consider- ng, as sculpture can differ from sculp- ture. Until within a few years it would have been impossible to speak with any confidence of the principles that govern Gothic sculpture. Its amount is S0 great, its manifestations are so many and so varied, its spirit so subtle and so removed from the spirit of our nine- teenth century work, that, up to the middle point of the century, now only thirteen years over-past, all dis- cussion of it took the form of puzzled half-admiration of this or that carving or series of carvings. The carefnl examination, abundant recording and generous criticism of very recent tinies have given us new insight into the middle ages, and have made as- certainable the principles of their work. We propose only such state- ment of these principles as will be agreed to by all lovers and students of Gothic Art. Gothic sculpture began like all sculpture, in the desire felt by all people called barbarous to decorate their buildings and utensils, a desire which is more or less weakened, it seems, as the people become what is called civilized. Feudal and ecclesi- astical Europe was fond of decorating its walls reared for shelter, defence, and pride, and the merchant towns rivalled in their splendor, the priests and barons whom they rivalled in arms and diplomacy. Churches built with the slowness of lavish expense and care by wealthy and leisurely chapters, were carved all over, of course. But also castles and cloisters hurried to com- pletion for protection against weather or foe, had their square cushion capi- tals softened by the lines of suggested *Continued from December number.
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