Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 1, 1876)
ujyii J, i . -7?z i.-LiLLrzasrr rrmm 11 minn
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many of the most' famous sculptors of
Romu never cbisellud u chip from the cel
ebrated works iittrlouteil to them. Tltc
model was their own, but the rougher
labor was dno by men hired for the pur
pose. Labor is necessary to make genius
available, but it is far from being genius
itself. As a cause, it will do a great deal
towards the accomplishment of any re
suit but it cannot do all. There" is a pow
er in the work of a genius which cannot
be found as a result of industry and prac
tice, unguided by a natural fitness for the
work. Why do thousands of admirers
annually visit the Apollo Bclvidero at
Home, or the Venus de Mcdlcl at Flor.
ence? Are these statues so much better
finished than many others? No, others
arc as smothly chiselled as they. But it is
because they are perfect in symmetry.
The Grecian ideals from which they
sprung havo never been surpassed in the
conceptions of human physical beauty.
Hcie is the real power, which shows the
gifted fashioning of a pchlus.
We stand before the Laocoon and see
death depicted in the most terrible ago
nies. As we gaze upon the marble forms,
they seem to assume life and motion We
are botli charmed and terrified: and
shudder as thu folds of the enormous ser
pents arc wound round and round the old
priest's writhing body. His two sons cr
for help, but Laocoon is powclcss to ren.
der it, and ho sees them moan and die
almost within his grasp, while his own
muscles arc strained and distorted in his
vain endeavors to extricate himself from
the plicate knots of the serpents. Our
own flesh creeps as wo seem to see the
ugly heads raised to strike, and then the
deadly fangs buried deep in his quivering
flesh. What a wonderful poWer is' here
hidden away in these cold, inanimate
torms of marble. As we look upon this,
the work of some unknown artist's hantl,
wc see through il his ideal. Wc sec La.
ocoon, his two S0113 and their dying ago
nies, as he saw them. The bouI of thu ar
tist's genius has found lodgement in the
wofk of ills hand ; just as the bouI of man
finds lodgement in the1 tabcrnaclo of clay
which thu divine artist ha modelled for
it, and it is this soul of.genius,'if I may so
call it, that' we behold through the out
ward form which gives such celebrity to
Qrcccian aud Roman art. Wc arc told by
persons visiting the Vatican that wheyi -looking
upon one of those most celebrated
paintings of Angel lo, and Raphael they
are led to feel themselves before thu living '
reality. So exactly and exquisitely have
tho great master painters sketched the
ideal creations of their own genius, that
in giving them form, they havo almost
given them life. lie was a great genius
who could lnvo produced the play of
Hamlet, and he must be a genius who can
fully comprehend it.
It is tho excellent ideal character,
which makes Shakespeare thu master
dramatist; audit was the excellent con.
ccptlon of Shakespeare's ideal character,
so perfectly acted, which made Roothethe
genius of the stage.
Neither the Laocoon',' tho play of Ham.
let, nor those celebrated paintings of An
gcllo and Raphael could have been pro
duccd by mere htftor, or the most indefat
igablo industry There ias something be
hind the form and thp language, which
wc feci, and recognize from the uellnea
lion, just as PhideuV noble conception of
the physical man could be iecn in the
Btfttuo of Jupiter Olympus.
There are geniuses In every department
or human knowcedge. The humblest oc
cupation has its chances for the exercise
of superior skill and ability. The day
has passed when literature, 'oratory, uiili
tary tactics and the fine arts alone claim
geniuses of the finer metal alouc invite
the labor of genius artd scholar. Time
has proved that commercial, mechanical
and agricultural interests have abundant
scodo for tho exercise of tlfo best talcnts.
I have no doubt but what il requires as'
much genius for n Stewart or a Vandcr
hilt to hoard their millions, as for a Scott
to write a Waverly, or n Dickens an Oliver
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