Evolution in Italian Art: (With Sixty-Five Reproductions from Photgraphs)
GRANT ALLEN, who has been described as naturalist, anthropologist, physicist, historian, poet, novelist, essayist, and critic, in the following pages applies his versatile mind, the mind of an expert in natural science, to kindred problems in artistic method. He was not a specialist in the criticism of pictures, yet a trained power of observation and a mind sensitive to life in all its aspects, gives interest and point to his attitude. He had the sympathetic imagination of a born teacher: he was also a constant learner, and the fact that he was not professionally a critic of art, brought him in some ways nearer to the student, and enabled him to understand the difficulties of the beginner.
The present series of papers appeared originally in the Pall Mall Gazette and the English Illustrated Magazine. They were based on observations made in Italian and other galleries, during many journeys arising from the sad necessity of spending winters abroad on account of ill-health. Many years before these journeys were undertaken, preparation for such studies had been made in an investigation into the physiology of aesthetics, a treatise published in 1877. The treatment of the present subject was not intended as an authoritative criticism, it was rather a carefully planned suggestion to help those who desire to have some clue in the study of such a complex thing as Italian art.
The object of this introductory chapter is to suggest in brief outline some of the forces affecting the painters of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, so that the reader may be assisted to place Grant Allen's detailed examination of the subjects in a general view of the period.
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