Art in France
Art in France
Certain kindly disposed confreres who have taken an interest in the following work have asked me now and then whether I intended to deal with French Art in fifty volumes or fifty pages. I have written a good deal less and a good deal more -- too much or too little, it may be objected. Compared with works which exhaust the material and those which condense it into a few drops of elixir, this little book has but one merit -- that of existing. For the art of our country has never been treated as a whole, save in treatises on universal art, where the French chapters appear in their due order, or in general histories of France, where the names of artists defile at the end of a volume, like baggage at the rear of a convoy. Why has it not been thought necessary to co-ordinate these different chapters, as has been done so efficiently and so frequently in the history of our politics and our literature?
It may be that the very variety of French Art invites to special studies rather than to general appreciations. It does not present that unity of character which is so striking in most other countries. In England, in Germany, in Italy, in Holland, in Spain, art reveals itself as the work of a single race, and even in some cases of a single century. In France, artistic continuity embraces very different styles, all equally original and sincere. No one would hesitate to . . .