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Suggestions on the Arrangement and Characteristics of Parish Churches/Appendix

APPENDIX.

The revival of Christian art, in latter years, has not been limited to England, although in that country architecture has progressed more than in any other. In France, Italy, Belgium, and Germany great zeal for the study of the works of the great artists of the middle ages—“the era of anonymous celebrities”—has been manifested. Not only has architecture been made the object of revival, but the attendant arts of painting, sculpture, glass painting, &c., have been elucidated by the works of distinguished scholars and antiquaries, and, in many instances, successfully practised by artists. In France, the writings of the Jesuit Fathers, Martin and Cahier, of Montalembert, Rio, and several other eminent clergymen and laymen, have been attended with the most salutary results. Nearly all the bishops of France have made the study of the remains of Christian art, and the propriety of its revival, a subject of pastoral recommendation; and it is well known that, so great has been the influence of these recommendations, more Churches were restored and decorated during the reign of the Orleans family than for upwards of a century preceding. In Belgium, the decree of the Cardinal Archbishop of Malines, forbidding the enlargement of the ancient Churches in any style not conformable with the original, and commanding that, when any new Church is to be erected, or a picture or statue placed in an old one, the design for such Church, picture, or statue must be approved of by the bishop of the diocess, “before the artist lays his hand to the work,” has been in force since the year 1839. Last year a translation of Mr. Pugin's “True Principles of Christian Architecture,” by M. Lebrocquy, edited by Mr. T. H. King, was published at Bruges; and an English gentleman, Mr. Philip, has been very successful in reviving the manufacture of Church plate, vestments, and ecclesiastical ornaments in Leige. Italy has likewise contributed a great deal to the literature of Christian art, especially respecting fresco and mosaic work, those departments for which the Italians have been always celebrated. Father Marchese's learned and brilliant work, “The Lives and Works of the great Christian Artists, of the Order of St. Dominick,” has thrown a new light upon the rise and progress of Christian art, and the lives of many of its successful cultivators.[1] The rapid progress towards completion of the Cathedral of Cologne, and the number of societies for the distribution of religious pictures in Germany, are, perhaps, the best indications of the progress of Christian art in that country. But in no country has ecclesiastical architecture, and the arts in connection with it—such as glass painting, gold and silver smiths' works, and the manufacture of textile fabrics for Church purposes—made such progress as in England. When we reflect on what a fallen state all ecclesiastical art was in twenty years ago, in that country, and observe the change that has been wrought by the genius and energy of one man (Mr. Pugin), often struggling against the most adverse circumstances, we cannot but feel convinced that, long after he shall have passed away, he will be regarded as the most remarkable man of his era, and a great benefactor to the English Catholic Church. Certainly no artist of his day has united in himself so many varied and difficult acquirements, and succeeded in so many arts. In architecture he may justly claim the credit of not only reviving mediæval art, but of having taught its principles, and created a school numbering more disciples than any that has existed since mediæval times. The versatility of his genius is peculiarly striking in the wonderful perfection to which he has brought the art of glass painting, and in the purity and elegance of the works in wood, stone, and metal which have been executed under his direction.



THE END.

  1. I am glad to learn that an English translation of Father Marchese's work, by the Rev. C. P. Meehan, is on the eve of publication.