Full text: Zeitungsausschnitte über Werke von Herman Grimm: Essays

is sonn. The brotherhood of art is no empty word; each 
artist is a Student of the same Science, the Science which 
gives sonn. The learner of to-day can stand in spirit 
without efifort by the teacher of the Tast. But he who 
enteis on the study of art through the gate of literature has 
ever to create for hirnseif by a mental process the conditions 
which complete the work under Observation, before he can 
see its import. As a consequence he Stands admiring, 
moved rather by cold and conscious pressure than because 
he has given himself over unreservedly to his impressions. 
The skilled musician, on the contrary, reads a sonata of 
Mozart’s unchecked by reflections on the conditions of life 
in Austria when Mozart wrote; and the Venus of Milo is to 
the artists of England as she was to the sculptors of Greece. 
And even when we speak strictly of the Content—the 
“ geistige Inhalt"—we must remember that works of the finest 
art develop generally some simple strahl of passion, eternal 
in human nature, which, as such, speaks straight to the heart 
of all time in spite of unaccustomed mode of manifestation. 
It is only after having made these limitations that we can 
give a qualified assent to Dr. Grimm’s proposition—" the 
art of the day is the best for the day." It is, indeed, the 
outcome of the day’s striving, fashioned of the thoughts 
common to us all. Doubtless to the German, Potsdam is 
more lovely than the Parthenon; the frescoes of the Lud 
wigskirche surpass the hand of Raphael in the Vatican; 
and Frederick, brave in the Berlin square, breathes a hoher 
inspiration than the god-born sorrow of Niobe. 
Yet, out of what may seem to some onesidedness and 
defect, comes the special point and value of these essays. 
Dr. Grimm has confined himself to criticism and Interpre 
tation in that province in which he is a master. He does. 
not pretend to offer us here speculative theories, or aesthetic 
criticism for which he has no gift, but seizes on the relätion 
of the artist to the thought and life of his time. And he 
has given us in every instance a suggestive and vivid picture, 
without affectation in thought or mannen In the paper on 
Michel Angelo and Raphael he has indicated the relative 
Position of both by happy touches, which discriminate them 
not only as artists but as men. The grand figure of Michel 
Angelo is treated with a sympathy rare even in those ready 
to do Ihm just honour, and the stress which is laid on the 
depths of tenderness and sensitiveness in his nature shows 
considerable power of insight into character. Wherever 
there is any falling short in judgment, it would seem to 
arise rather out of the influences of early association and 
training than from any defect of natural power. It appears, 
indeed, in the highest degree improbable that one who 
so warmly enjoys modern German work, and who can 
speak of the Cornelius movement in terms of such en- 
thusiastic admiration, should be able to bring to his task 
full appreciation of the qualities which are essential to 
a genuine work of art. If, however, certain signs are here 
noted which the English critic, in common with the non- 
German world, holds to be. marks of imperfect or improperly 
trained perception, it is with much reserve of judgment, 
and with a strong desire to bring into full relief the valuable 
qualities of Dr. Grimm’s book. No one who reads it will 
fall to see its freedom from pretension and phrase-making, 
or to be attracted by the way in which he Sketches the 
leading lines of each age, the power with which he in- 
dividualises each man, connects Ihm with his time, and reads 
him in his work. E. F. S. Pattison.

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