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and dignity were the characteristics. By the painters of the last century all subjects were made to bend to the Greek and Roman dresses. This practice was convenient when no more was looked for in a picture by the employer or the painter than the effect to be produced in the folding of the draperies, and the distribution of the light and shade.

From the era of these pictures of Wolfe and Penn, for an era it undoubtedly forms in the art of painting, we must fix a revolution in the dressing of figures in historical pictures, not only in England, but in Italy, France, and other countries, where the art of painting is cultivated. Mr. West has ever considered that the purpose of all art is to promote virtue, and that it is the duty of every man to leave the world better than he finds it; that the chief duty of the historical painter is to instruct mankind in honourable and virtuous deeds, by placing before them the bright examples of their predecessors or contemporaries, and by transmitting the memory of their virtues through a long succession of generations. Such are the objects of painting which have inclined the good and wise in all countries to esteem the character of Mr. West, and to appreciate with justice those historical compositions with which he has enriched the world. It was for this that Mr. West was so honourably distinguished by the first men in arts and science, as well as by the lovers of arts in Paris, when he went abroad with his youngest son to visit the national gallery of the arts in the autumn of 1802. He was received among them as a man who had conferred an honour on his country; and they bestowed upon him the appellation of the "Reviver of the Dignity of Historical Painting;" adducing as examples the pictures of Regulus, Wolfe, Penn, &c.

(To be continued.)

THE DEATH OF GENERAL WOLFE.

BY B. WEST, ESQ. PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY.

THIS picture may justly be considered as forming an era in the Art of Painting, since its revival in Great Britain. The painter has selected an illustrious event of English history, and treated it with a correspondent dignity.

The death of Wolfe is not the death of a common man: it is the death of a hero in the moment of triumph; magnanimous and tranquil; and submitting with resignation to that fate which sealed, with his own blood, the superiority of the British name, and the triumph of his country's arms.

We see him expiring on the heights of Abraham, in North America, in the midst of heroes like himself, surrounded with every marked appendage of American warfare, and with all the characteristics of Britons in the year 1759.

If we descend to a more particular examination of this illus. trious work of art, we must observe, in a proper analysis of its composition, that it is divided into three groups; being the proper number to be employed in all historical compositions, as best suited to sustain the necessary balance and harmony of the figures that are introduced.

These groups are firmly bound and connected together by the figures and action in the back ground. The centre group is composed of the dying hero; the surgeon administering to his wound, and the officers hanging over him with compassionate tenderness. The second group is composed of some other principal officers, amongst whom is general Monckton, the second in command; the general is severely wounded, but all concern of his own wound seems absorbed in compassion for the fate of his superior officer.-From this group the triumph of the day is announced to the dying hero.

There is one figure which must not be passed over without notice: it is that of the American chief. This figure serves to particularize the scene of action, and mark it for North America; at the same time he exhibits a most impressive singularity of feeling as contrasted with the other officers. There is nothing of sorrow or compassion in the face of this savage; he gazes intently upon the countenance of Wolfe; with an eager wonder and satisfaction at observing his fortitude under his wound, and curious to see how a GREAT MAN WOULD DIE! Simple death seems to this man an occurrence unworthy of regret; but the death of a great hero inflames his curiosity, but without exciting his compassion.

The third group is composed of the grenadier and his comrade. Nothing can be more complete than the figure of the grenadier; his sorrow is not the more tranquil and dignified sorrow of an officer; it is the unrestrained sorrow of a magnanimous heart lodged in a subordinate bosom; it is the blunt, honest, unpolished regret of a British soldier.

The countenance of Wolfe, upon which all eyes are fixed, has been rendered with great success by the painter. It is marked with the triumph of victory shining through the agony of death; his face has nothing of the contortions of pain, it is expressive of sublime heroism, and a most noble resignation.

The "Death of General Wolfe," will long be recorded as a victory by the painter over some of the most stubborn prejudices of the art. From the era of this picture we must fix a revolution in the dressing of figures in historical composition, not only in England, but in Italy, France, and other countries, where the art of painting is cultivated. It dissipated the prejudice which had so long prevailed, that modern dresses could not be admitted into pictures of which heroism and dignity formed the characteristics.

Over a prejudice so rooted and established, which the public had adopted, and artists and men of taste united to confirm, the pictures of Wolfe and Penn have been triumphant; and the British hero and American legislator in these pictures, stand confessed by all as equal to the Greeks and Romans. Falsehood being thus chased away, an axiomatical truth of painting has been established by the labours of Mr. West, that the dress of a picture has no influence over the passions of the mind: it may add to the picturesque, and be made ornamental, but it gives no movement to the energies of the soul. This innovation has been extensive and undisputed, and no painter in Euorpe is now bold enough to dress his figures in a picture contrary to the costume of the age and country in which the event that he delineates took place.

Bell's Magazine.

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FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

MR. EDITOR,

During that scene of sanguinary war which deluged Switzerland with blood, and laid waste the most fertile plains of northern Italy, Venoni, a Swiss patriot, who resided on the borders of Savoy, in returning from one of the many bloody battles of the times, discovered a French officer, severely wounded, at no great distance from his home, whither he humanely conveyed and protected him until he recovered. In requital of his kindness, the officer seduced his only daughter, and bore her from the distracted parent forever! Upon this fact have I founded the following ballad.

VENONI; OR, THE MAID OF SAVOY.

PART I.

The maiden encounters the hermit near his cell, supposed to be upon the banks of the Susquehannah-Solicits his assistance.

MAIDEN. Rev'rend hermit, gray with age,

Do not bid me hence depart;

Canst thou not my grief assuage,

Canst thou heal the wounded heart?

HERMIT. Maiden, though with age I'm gray,
Yet have I a feeling heart;

Rest thec on thy toilsome way,

Thee I'll never bid depart.

MAIDEN. Now the sun, behind the hill,

Sinks beneath the blazing sea;

Tell me, hermit, is there still

Left a ray of peace for me?

Will the storm of frenzy cease,
Will the fever of the brain
Settle into tranquil peace,

Nor disturb my soul again?

See my feet with thistles torn,
Warm the gelid earth with gore;
Pity, lest my heart, ere morn,
Shall not live to vibrate more.

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