The Italian Presence in American Art, 1760-1860

By Irma B. Jaffe | Go to book overview

part of his growth: "The good news that great sculpture brings us is that man is perfectible, that the animal in him can be the instrument, not the foe, of the spirit." 47 "Sculpture is not a matter of surfaces." Like philosophy, it is a synthetic art; it is the realm of the "patent expectancy," of "eternal memory" -- in sum, of the archetype. The language of sculpture is silence: "Statues speak by gesture; and we must be silent to understand." If, as Coleridge discovered at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Rome is "the silent city," it is especially the city of the "white silence" of the statues, which incarnate the archetypes and speak in silence. 48


NOTES
1.
Among other analyses of American images of Italy as Arcadia, see Travelers in Arcadia: American Artists in Italy, 1850-1875, edd. E. P. Richardson and O. Wittmann Jr., Detroit and Toledo, 1951; V. W. Brooks , The Dream of Arcadia: American Writers and Artists in Italy, 1760-1915, New York, 1958; A. Lombardo , "Il sogno d'Arcadia," Il diavolo nel manoscritto, Milan, 1974; B. Novak, "Arcady Revisited; Americans in Italy," Nature and Culture: American Landscape and Painting, New York, 1980; Twilight of Arcadia: American Landscape Painters in Rome, 1850-1880, ed. J. W Coffey, Brunswick, Me., 1987. See the essays in this volume by Professors Staley, Hevner, Staiti, and Parry.
2.
G. Perrotta, Storia della letteratura greca, Milan, 1960, 387. See also L. Fiorentino, Teocrito, Milan, 1970, and S. F. Walker, Theocritus, Boston, 1980.
3.
The best analysis of Pan's ambiguity and its extremely significant psychological implications is in J.Hillman and W. H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare. Two Essays, Zurich, 1972. See also P. Merivale, Pan, the Goat-God: His Myth in Modern Times, Cambridge, Mass., 1969.
4.
G. Leopardi, "The Lonely Life," Poems of G. Leopardi, trans. F. Townsend, New York and London, 1887, 65. See also "The Infinite,"ibid., 56.
5.
C. Segal, Poetry and Myth in Ancient Pastoral: Essays on Theocritus and Virgil, Princeton, N.J., 1981; D. M. Halperin, Before Pastoral. Theocritus and the Ancient Tradition of Bucolic Poetry, New Haven, Conn., 1983.
6.
Paris, National Library, Cabinet des Médailles et Antiquités, second century A.D. Cf. R. Graves, Greek Myths, Harmondsworth, 1962 ( 1st ed. London, 1958); G. Prampolini, La mitologia nella vita dei popoli II, Milan, 1942, 198-200.
7.
N. Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, New York, 1961 ( 1st ed. 1860), 15.
8.
Cf. Virgilio nell'arte e nelia cultura europea, ed. M. Fagiolo, Rome, 1981.
9.
Dante, Purgatory, Cantos 7-8.
10.
W. Iser, Spenser's Arcadia: The Interrelation of Fiction and History, Berkeley, Calif. 1980.
11.
L. Marx, The Machine in the Garden, Oxford, 1964. See G. Inness, The Lackawanna Valley, Washington, D.C., 1855.
12.
J. Sannazaro, "A la Sampogna,"10-11, in Arcadia (1504); cf. Opere volgari, ed. A. Bari Mauro, 1961; see also Arcadia and Piscatorial Eclogues, trans. R. Nash, Detroit, 1966.
13.
E. A. Poe, "Sonnet: To Science," The Complete Tales and Poems, ed. H. Allen, New York, 1938, 992.
14.
G. Toffanin, L'Arcadia: Saggio storico, Bologna, 1958.
15.
Bierstadt was at Olevano and in the Campagna in the 1850s. Later he chose to paint the "grand scenarios" of the American West. In a letter of his, the Rockies are compared to the Bernese Alps, a landscape of sublime and picturesque Arcadia. W Whittredge found an Arcadian landscape in New Mexico; H. T. Tuckerman observed that his Old Hunting Ground ( 1864, Winston-Salem, N.C., Museum of American Art) had "been well called an idyll"; cf. H. T. Tuckerman , Book of the Artists, New York, 1867, 58.
16.
J. G. Chapman, Harvesters on the Roman Campagna

-79-

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