Hypertext Meanings and Commentaries from the Encyclopedia of the Self
by Mark Zimmerman
books that wanted cheap frontispieces. "What could I have done better?" said he afterwards; "it was first-rate practice." He did everything carefully and conscientiously, never slurring over his work because he was ill-remunerated for it. He aimed at learning as well as living; always doing his best, and never leaving a drawing without having made a step in advance upon his previous work. A man who thus laboured was sure to do much; and his growth in power and grasp of thought was, to use Ruskin's words, "as steady as the increasing light of sunrise." But Turner's genius needs no panegyric; his best monument is the noble gallery of pictures bequeathed by him to the nation, which will ever be the most lasting memorial of his fame.
Not less enthusiasm was displayed by Jacques Callot in his determination to visit
He also executed statues in marble of Apollo, Hyacinthus, Narcissus, and Neptune. The extraordinary incidents connected with the casting of the Perseus were peculiarly illustrative of the remarkable character of the man.
condoling with him in his distress, a workman suddenly entered the room, lamenting that "Poor Benvenuto's work was irretrievably spoiled!" On hearing this, Cellini immediately sprang from his bed and rushed to the workshop, where he found the fire so much gone
down that the metal had again become hard.
Excepting, however, in their enthusiasm, no two men could be less alike in character. Cellini was an Ishmael against whom, according to his own account, every man's hand was turned. But about his extraordinary skill as a workman, and his genius as an artist,
there cannot be two opinions.
Becoming restless, and desirous of further improving himself, Poussin, at the age of 18, set out for
professional kind. His own elevation of character, and his profound sensibility, aided him in acting upon the feelings of others through the medium of the pencil." (21)
Shortly after, he appeared in an entirely new character. The little boy who had begun his studies behind the plaster-cast- seller's shop-counter in
Shortly after this event he met an untimely death, and did not live to see the first result of his indefatigable industry and self- culture embodied in stone, - one of the most beautiful and appropriate memorials ever erected to literary genius.
genius and diligent application.
Feeling hampered by his ignorance of the art of reading, and eager to master the contents of Burnet's book, he ceased attending the drawing class at the Institute after the first quarter, and devoted himself to learning reading and writing at home. In this he soon succeeded; and when he again entered the Institute and took out 'Burnet' a second time, he was not only able to read it, but to make written extracts for further use. So ardently did he study the volume, that he used to rise at four o'clock in the morning to read it and copy out passages; after which he went to the foundry at six, worked until six and sometimes eight in the evening; and returned home to enter with fresh zest upon the study of Burnet, which he continued often until a late hour. Parts of his nights were also occupied in drawing and making copies of drawings. On one of these - a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" – he spent an entire night. He went to bed indeed, but his mind was so engrossed with the subject that he could not sleep, and rose again to resume his pencil.
He made his own easel and palette, palette-knife, and paint-chest; he bought his paint, brushes, and canvas, as he could raise the money by working over-time. This was the slender fund which his parents consented to allow him for the purpose; the burden of supporting a very large family precluding them from doing more. Often he would walk to Manchester and back in the evenings to buy two or three shillings' worth of paint and canvas, returning almost at midnight, after his eighteen miles' walk, sometimes wet through and completely exhausted, but borne up throughout by his inexhaustible hope and invincible determination. The further progress of the self-taught artist is best narrated in his own words, as communicated by him in a letter to the author:- "The next pictures I painted," he says, "were a Landscape by Moonlight, a Fruitpiece, and one or two others; after which I conceived the idea of painting 'The Forge.' I had for some time thought about it, but had not attempted to embody the conception in a drawing. I now, however, made a sketch of the subject upon paper, and then proceeded to paint it on canvas. The picture simply represents the interior of a large workshop such as I have been accustomed to work in, although not of any particular shop.
It is, therefore, to this extent, an original conception. Having made an outline of the subject, I found that, before I could proceed with it successfully, a knowledge of anatomy was indispensable to enable me accurately to delineate the muscles of the figures. My brother Peter came to my assistance at this juncture, and kindly purchased for me Flaxman's 'Anatomical studies,' - a work altogether beyond my means at the time, for it cost twenty-four shillings. This book I looked upon as a great treasure, and I studied it laboriously, rising at three o'clock in the morning to draw after it, and occasionally getting my brother Peter to stand for me as a model at that untimely hour. Although I gradually improved myself by this practice, it was some time before I felt sufficient confidence to go on with my picture. I also felt hampered by my want of knowledge of perspective, which I endeavoured to remedy by carefully studying Brook Taylor's 'Principles;' and shortly after I resumed my painting. While engaged in the study of perspective at home, I used to apply for and obtain leave to work at the heavier kinds of smith work at the foundry, and for this reason - the time required for heating the heaviest iron work is so much longer than that required for heating the lighter, that it enabled me to secure a number of spare minutes in the course of the day, which I carefully employed in making diagrams in perspective upon the sheet iron casing in front of the hearth at which I worked."
graven parts with oil. But on examining the plate after one of such intervals, I found that the oil had become a dark sticky substance extremely difficult to get out. I tried to pick it out with a needle, but found that it would almost take as much time as to engrave the parts afresh. I was in great despair at this, but at length hit upon the expedient of boiling it in water containing soda, and afterwards rubbing the engraved parts with a tooth-brush; and to my delight found the plan succeeded perfectly. My greatest difficulties now over, patience and perseverance were all that were needed to bring my labours to a successful issue. I had neither advice nor assistance from any one in finishing the plate. If, therefore, the work possess any merit, I can claim it as my own; and if in its accomplishment I have contributed to show what can be done by persevering industry and determination, it is all the honour I wish to lay claim to."
to gratify his tastes, he was accustomed to borrow a livery and go into the gallery of the Opera, then appropriated to domestics.
Unknown to his father he made great progress with the violin, and the first knowledge his father had of the circumstance was when accidentally calling at the house of a neighbouring gentleman, to his surprise and consternation he found his son playing the leading instrument with a party of musicians. This incident decided the fate of Arne. His father offered no further opposition to his wishes; and the world thereby lost a lawyer, but gained a musician of much taste and delicacy of feeling, who added many valuable
works to our stores of English music.
he must "go on writing."