PAINTERS AND OTHER ARTISTS IN THE REIGN OF CHARLES II.
THE arts were, in a manner, expelled with the royal family from Britain. The anecdotes of a civil war are the history of destruction. In all ages the mob have vented their hatred to tyrants on the pomp of tyranny. The magnificence the people have envied, they grow to detest, and mistaking consequences for causes, the first objects of their fury are the palaces of their masters. If religion is thrown into the quarrel, the most innocent are catalogued with sins. This was the case in the contests between Charles and his parliament. As he had blended affection to the sciences with a lust of power, nonsense and ignorance were adopted into the liberties of the subject. Painting became idolatry; monuments were deemed carnal pride, and a venerable cathedral seemed equally contradictory to Magna Charta and the Bible. Learning and wit were construed to be so heathen, that one would have thought the Holy Ghost could endure nothing above a pun. What the fury of Henry VIII. had spared was condemned by the Puritans : ruin was their harvest, and they gleaned after the reformers. Had they countenanced any of the softer arts, what could those arts have represented? How picturesque was the figure of an Anabaptist! But sectaries have no ostensible enjoyments; their pleasures are private, comfortable, and gross. The arts that civilize society are not calculated for men who mean to rise on the ruins of established order. Jargon and austerities are the weapons that best serve the purposes of heresiarchs and innovators. The sciences have been excommunicated, from the Gnostics to Mr. Whitfield.
The restoration of royalty brought back the arts, not____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists. Volume: 2. Contributors: Horace Walpole - Author. Publisher: Swan Sonnenschein. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1888. Page number: 76.
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