Like To Paint The Lessening Square Of The Wheat-Field, The Reaping
Machine Continually Cutting The Square Smaller, As If It Traversed The
People of the easel would not find it easy to depict the
half-green, half-made hay floating in the air behind a haymaking machine.
Sunlight falls on the modern implements just the same as on the old
wooden plough and the oxen.
To be true, pictures of our fields should
have them both, instead of which all the present things are usually
omitted, and we are presented with landscapes that might date from the
first George. Turner painted the railway train and made it at once ideal,
poetical, and classical. His 'Rain, Steam, and Speed,' which displays a
modern subject, is a most wonderful picture. If a man chose his hour
rightly, the steam-plough under certain atmospheric conditions would give
him as good a subject as a Great Western train. He who has got the sense
of beauty in his eye can find it in things as they really are, and needs
no stagey time of artificial pastorals to furnish him with a sham nature.
Idealise to the full, but idealise the real, else the picture is a sham.
All the old things remain on the farm, but the village is driven out - the
village that used to come as one man to the reaping. Machinery has not
altered the earth, but it has altered the conditions of men's lives, and
as work decreases, so men decrease.
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