What is Art? We owe, what we consider the best definition, to one who never meddled with paints, or marble, yet who helped on the cause of art in his day with an energy of practice and a blaze of enthusiasm which has rarely been equalled before or since. This was Benvenuto Cellini, the immortal jeweller of the sixteenth century, and he says in effect that the aim of art is "to produce a representation of a beautiful human figure, with correctness of design and in a graceful altitude." If we approve this definition, and keep it in mind, it will greatly simplify our estimate of the men and works we shall ltavc to discuss in the present work—The History of Art,
But, "What is the history of painting to me?" maybe the remark of a worthy citizen whose eye lights on the title-page of our history: "I leave all that to artists, to picture-dealers and their customers, and perhaps to a few young ladies who arc learning to sketch." Softly, my good sir; with your leave, it may be possible to show that a great many more people than you think for arc gifted by nature with a capacity for deriving enjoyment from Art; and that their indifference, it maybe, to it is due quite as much to want of opportunity, as to inaptitude. Who can have failed to notice the intense delight children take in harmonious combinations of colors? How catching is a broad grin reflected from a Teniers, or a Van der Meer, to the eye of a holiday gazer!