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into his picture,—of the plants which spring from their crevices or grow at their base, and of those flowers in their native grace and beauty, which hitherto he has either drawn from recollection, or copied from the formal representations of the botanist.
In addition to their correctness as true representations of natural forms, photographs have a peculiar value, for which no labour or skill on the part of the artist can compensate. In drawing the sketch of a landscape, or delineating the trees, rocks, and foliage which are near him, or the objects in the middle or remote distance, several hours must be spent. During this period, the landscape and its individual parts are undergoing no inconsiderable change. A breeze may disturb the masses of his foliage, and bend his tree stems, and ruffle his verdure, and throw new reflected lights upon the waving crops, while every direct light is changing in intensity and direction during the culmination or descent of the sun. What he has delineated in the morning will hardly correspond with what he draws at noon, and the distances which at one time are finely marked in aerial perspective, will disappear, or even suffer inversion by variations in the intensity and position of the haze. If cottages, or castles, or buildings of any kind, enter into the picture, the shadows of their projections, and the lights upon their walls and roofs will, in sunshine, undergo still greater variations, and the artist will be perplexed with the anachronisms and inconsistencies of his choicest materials. The landscape thus composed in patches will, in its photograph, have a very different aspect, as much in its forms as in its lights and shadows. The truths of nature are fixed at one instant of time; the self-delineated landscape is embalmed amid the co-existing events of the physical and social world. If the sun shines, his rays throw their gilding on the picture. If the rain-shower falls, the earth and the trees glisten with its reflexions. If the wind blows, the partially obliterated foliage will display the extent of its agitation. The objects of still life, too, give reality and animation to the scene. The streets display their stationary chariots, the esplanade its military array, and the market-place its colloquial groups, while the fields are studded with the forms and attitudes of animal life. The incidents of time and the forms of space are thus simultaneously recorded, and every picture from the sober palette of the sun becomes an authentic chapter in the history of the world.1
so exquisitely painted, that nature only could have furmshed the originals. We may examine them at a few inches' distance, and recognise forms and structures with which we have been long familiar. A water-ousel, peculiar to Scottish brooks and rivers, perched upon one of them, looks as anxiously around as if a schoolboy were about to avail himself of the missiles at his feet.
But, however valuable photography has become to the artist, science has recently given him another important auxiliary. In order to make this available, he must employ a small pocket binocular camera, to take double pictures to be united in the stereoscope. His trees will thus exhibit the roundness of their trunks and stems, the leaves and branches will place themselves at their proper distance, and he will discover the reason of peculiar effects which in the plane photograph he has been unable to understand. Seeing that his own picture is to be upon a plane surface, I can hardly expect to convince the artist that he will obtain more information by reproducing the original in relief. It is a fact, however, beyond dispute, that effects are produced by the stereoscopic union of two plane photographs which are invisible in the single picture. These effects, which are chiefly those of lustre and shade, are peculiarly remarkable in Daguerreotype, and it is by no means easy to explain the cause. In a Daguerreotype, for example, of two figures in black bronze, with a high metallic lustre, it is impossible, by looking at the single picture, to tell the material of which they are made; but the moment they are united into stereoscopic relief their true character is instantly seen. In a Daguerreotype of Alexander and Bucephalus, portions of the figure seem as if shaded with China ink of a nearly uniform tint, but when seen in relief the peculiar shade entirely disappears. The stereoscopic combination of two surfaces of different intensities, though of the same colour, produces effects which have not yet been sufficiently studied. But, independently of these peculiarities, the artist will certainly derive more aid from his landscape in relief, and from the study of its individual parts, in their roundness and relative distances, than when he examines them in their plane representations. The shadows which the branches of leaves cast upon the trunks and stems of his trees he will be able to trace to the causes which produce them. Effects in outline, as well as in light and shadow, which may perplex him, will find an explanation in the relative distances and differences of apparent magnitude of individual parts; and, after becoming familiar with his landscape in relief, as it exists in Nature, he cannot fail to acquire new principles and methods of manipulation. Nature flattened upon paper or metal, and Nature round and plump, as if fresh from the chisel of the Divine sculptor, must teach very different lessons to the aspiring artist.
1 These views are well illustrated by the remarkable photographs of the Crimean
The historical painter, or the more humble artist who delineates the scenes of common or domestic life, will derive from the photographic camera and the stereoscope advantages of equal importance. The hero, the sage, and the martyr, drawn from living originals, may be placed in the scenes where they suffered, or in the localities which they hallowed. The lawgiver of Egypt, though he exists only in the painter's eye, may take his place beside the giant flanks of Horeb or the awe-inspiring summit of Mount Sinai; and He whom we may not name may challenge our love and admiration amid the sun-painted scenes of his youth, of his miracles, and of his humiliation. The fragments of ancient grandeur which time and war have spared, the relics of bygone ages which have resisted the destructive elements, will, as the materials of art, give reality and truth to the pictorial history of times past, while the painter of modern events can command the most accurate representations not only of the costume, but of the very persons of the great men whose deeds he is called upon to immortalize. The heroes of the Crimean war, whether friends or foes, will be descried in the trenches in which they fought, amid the ranks which they led to victory, or among the wrecks of the fatal encounter in which they fell. The sun will thus become the historiographer of the future, and in the fidelity of his pencil and the accuracy of his chronicle, truth itself will be embalmed and history cease to be fabulous.
But even in the narrower, though not less hallowed sphere of domestic life, where the magic names of kindred and home are inscribed, the realities of stereoscopic photography will excite the most thrilling interest. In the transition forms of his offspring, which link infancy with manhood, the parent will recognise the progress of his mortal career, and in the successive phases which mark the sunset of life, the stripling in his turn will read the lesson that his pilgrimage too has a term which must close. Nor are such delineations interesting only as works of art, or as incentives to virtue; they are instinct with associations vivid and endearing. The picture is connected with its original by sensibilities peculiarly tender. It was the very light which radiated from her brow,—the identical gleam which lighted up her eye,—the hectic flush or the pallid hue that hung upon her cheek, which pencilled the cherished image, and fixed themselves for ever there.