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made, the knowledge that he obtained, form a remarkable page in the annals of energy and perseverance. He returned to Philadelphia in March, 1810, and has continued to reside there ever since, an object of honour and esteem no less for his qualities as a gentleman and member of society, than for his professional merltS.
“Many are the vicissitudes which a portrait painter has to undergo even after he has attained eminence. How necessary is it for him to catch and hold fast a portion of the product of the flood tide, that when the ebb comes he may not be left stranded and destitute like a shipwrecked mariner. Perhaps no painter of Mr. Sully's acknowledged merit has experienced the fluctuations of fashion, or the caprices of the public, in so great a degree. At one time overwhelmed with applications for portraits, at another literally deserted, not because he deteriorated, as some have done, for all acknowledge progressive improvement to the present hour. In 1824 Mr. Sully's business had decreased fearfully, and his embarrassments increasing in proportion, had become so onerous that he had determined to leave America. He had pressing invitations to come to Edinburgh, and there take up his permanent residence. While he hesitated, a plan was proposed by some of his friends for a second visit to England, instead of a removal of his family. It was thought he might leave his family at home while he went to London and painted the portraits of eminent men, origimals, and copies from good pictures by artists of known talents, of deceased worthies, the Lockes, the Newtons, the Miltons, the Cromwells, the Hampdens, and others that we claim as our countrymen, and revere as our benefactors. He was to be supported by sums subscribed for the purpose by those who wished such pictures, and who wished to encourage the art and the artist. “This plan was so far matured that the painter carried it in the form of a subscription paper to a wealthy and professing friend for his signature. He was coldly received, and time asked for deliberation. Sully took his leave with his subscription paper in his hand; and if the patron looked from his window upon the man whose expectations he had raised but to disappoint, whose manly spirit rose as his hopes were crushed, he might have seen the heart-stricken husband and father tear the paper to pieces, and dash it in the kennel before his door. “He now thought of accepting invitations from Boston promising him employment, and having made known his intentions, packed up and made all ready for the journey, he was waited upon by Messrs. Fairman, Fox, and Childs, engravers, who were determined to prevent what they justly considered a loss to the city. “You must not leave us,’ they said. “I have no employment here.” “If you had gone to England, you would have returned. If you go to Boston, and take your family, you will stay there. Will you paint our portraits?’ ‘Certainly.” It was agreed upon. The painter unpacked his materials, and from that time to this he has had uninterrupted success—full employment, increased prices, increased reputation, and increasing skill. “Mr. Sully is, as we believe and sincerely hope, anchored safely in port for life. He has portraits engaged in succession for years to come at liberal prices. His fellowcitizens of Philadelphia justly appreciate him as an artist and a man. The late wealthy, eccentric, benevolent, and munificent Stephen Girard caused to be built in addition to one of his houses, purposely for the artist, an exhibition and painting room, and in that house he resides surrounded by his numerous family, and by all those conveniences which are so dear and necessary to a painter. “With a frame apparently slight, but in reality strong, muscular, athletic, and uncommonly active, Mr. Sully does not stand over five seet eight inches in height, but he walks with the stride of a man of six feet. His complexion is pale, hair brown, eyes grey, approaching to blue, and ornamented with uncommonly long eyelashes, and his whole physiognomy marked with the wish to make others happy. At the age of fifty-one, he enjoys the cheerfulness and activity of youth. Two of his daughters are married, one to Mr. John Neagle, a first rate portrait painter, another, herself a painter, to Mr. Darley. The oldest son of the artist has followed the example of his father in rejecting the counting-house for the painter's attelier, and we doubt not will follow his example in industry and virtue.”
The grace and delicacy of Mr. Sully's pencil render his portraits, of females particularly, equal if not superior to those of any of the most distinguished of his contemporaries, either in the old world or the new. But that his vigour and strength are of corresponding excellence, is abundantly manifested by his male heads, and especially by some of the full lengths of men which have come from his hands. That he might also have contended with success for the historical palm is evinced by his fine picture of Washington crossing the Delaware—a work executed “in many respects in the most perfect style of art,” but which was painted under an evil star, as far as the artist’s reward is concerned, whose malign influence has defrauded him in great measure of his due. “If it was an old instead of a modern picture, the winter landscape would alone stamp it as a jewel; but in the old pictures one good part redeems—in the modern, one part faulty condemns.” There are other painters mentioned in these volumes besides those we have indicated, who are entitled to particular commemoration—Jarvis, King, Ingham, Morse, Inman, Neagle, Harding, Alexander, Chapman, in portrait and other branches, and Birch, Cole, Doughty, Weir, in landscape. But the length to which this article has already run, will not allow us to do more than record their names. The lives of Cole, Alexander, and Weir, are especially replete with interest, and furnish admirable instances of the truth of the poet’s phrase, “Che sempre 'l bravo, el saggio, el forte Fabbro a se stesso ê di beata sorte.” Had we space we should like also to extract some parts of their communications to our author, and likewise an interesting letter concerning Alexander Wilson, the ornithologist, written by Dr. J. W. Francis, the eminent physician of New York. Neither can we do more than refer to the portions of Mr. Dunlap's work respecting the other arts of design, great as would be our pleasure in paying an humble tribute to the genius of one who has engraved the name of America in lofty characters upon imperishable marble—the sculptor Greenough. His Medora is worthy of the age which has produced a Canova, a ThorwaldSen, a Chantrey. We shall not easily forget the first time we beheld it in the studio of the gifted author at Florence, soon after it was finished. Closing the windows to exclude the day, and placing a light near the chiselled form, he created almost an illusion that we were in a room where a spirit had just escaped from its mortal bonds, bending “o'er the dead,”
“Ere the first day of death had fled.”
The mild angelic air, the rapture of repose, and the sad, clouded eye, that “fires not, weeps not, wins not now,” were there pre
sented with a pathos and a truth equal to those of the exquisite
for the source of the distinction eminently conducive to its benefit, so that inducement sufficient may be provided to retain native talent at home, and thus prevent other nations from reaping the advantage, and in some respects the glory, of its labours, as has hitherto in a great degree been the case. Could the general government be influenced to bestow some care upon the subject—and a small sum, if judiciously invested, would do much— an additional impulse of a potent character would be given.
As to the power of judging of works of art which exists in this country, Stuart used to complain that it was too nice and exacted too much. Speaking upon this point to a friend, he observed, “In England my efforts were compared to those of Vandyke, Titian, and other great painters—but, here! they compare them to the works of the Almighty!” And these are the works to which they ought to be compared, for these are the only standard of true perfection. Nature is but the consummation of art, the work of an infallible artist, and they who can most assimilate their productions to its unerring excellence, are most entitled to that name. Where, too, may such comparison more properly be made than in a region where the Omnipotent hand has lavished his grandest as well as his loveliest works— whose mountains and whose valleys, whose forests and whose streams, in varied sublimity and beauty, are unrivalled upon the globe?" where forms may be witnessed to which it is the richest praise of the ultimate effort of Grecian art—the statue of “ the God of life, and majesty, and light”—to display a resemblance 2 and where the full development of the immortal energies which distinguish man from the brute, may be contemplated in its most inspiring, most ennobling shapes? These are strong considerations for believing that amateurs as well as artists should be of a high order in America.
ART. VII. —A Winter in the West. By A NEw-York.E.R. In two vols. New York: Harper & Brothers: 1835.
THE flood of human life, which, springing from a thousand Sources, but gathering immensely in volume from the “old settlements” of our own country, is continually pouring in upon the exuberant plains and valleys of “ The West,” has created a necessary interest in the bosoms of those who are left behind, as to its condition, and civil and physical improvement. We say necessary; for what family is there in the Atlantic states, but has been called upon to yield up some one, at least, of its members, as an offering to the anthropocal requirements of this
WOL, XVII. —No. 33. 23
still unsettled region? Mayhap a daughter, or a son, “the fa-
and varied plumage of its feathered tribes; and of its zoological
richness, -who that has heard of these, but must burn to in-