Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/28

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not the spiritual light and transparency of the real heavens. The aureole encircling the sainted head does not palpitate with the living fire that glows in every sunbeam. Some element there is in nature's beauty that art has failed to catch. It may be, that in attempting to give permanence to impressions which are essentially transitory, a certain violence is done to the constitution of things, which we resent even while we admire. The beauty is too permanent. It is not one with the passing, ever-changeful moods of Nature.

We must not, however, be too exacting and demand the impossible. It is not to be expected that the pupil will equal the master. But the question is not unreasonable as to whether Art can not import into her work some of the life and the eternal ebb and flow which characterize that world of beauty which it is her province to attempt to reproduce. Form and color are large elements, but they do not make up nature. There must be light and motion, else the scene is deficient in its chief charms. True, it is impossible to realize motion in very fact: the strained muscle and unstable poise can only suggest it. Nor is it possible, working with marble and canvas, to realize the life and light of the real ether. This is something too subtile to be simulated. But it may be borrowed. By giving expression to his conceptions in translucent materials, the artist may so strain and filter the sunlight that it shapes itself at his bidding into such pictures as he will. And the beholder, seated on his bench before it, or perhaps kneeling in a reverential mood, loses himself in this fine vision, and under its influence sends out his thoughts over broader ranges and higher planes.

I remember distinctly, as a child, the keen pleasure I used to get from a picture-window that faced me during afternoon church. It was a poor thing, artistically—Zaccheus on the bough of a very inadequate-looking sycamore-tree, with a passing multitude of such dimensions as to make tree-climbing seem absolutely superfluous—but in the early winter twilight I found the picture very beautiful. When the increasing darkness had softened the group in the foreground into a pleasant harmony, there was a strip of sky along the horizon that sprang into glowing life. And in that bit of light I used to wander over the Judean hills in happy abstraction until the music and the benediction called me back again to the more prosaic life of an American city.

It is this added element in glass that makes it so fitting a material for the expression of artistic conceptions. It is a sensitive vehicle for the carriage of a beautiful thought. The material possesses a wealth of the purest color; it permits in its shading the accurate representation of form, and it furnishes something that marble and canvas do not—large possibilities in the way of light