The Battle Is The Interest, The Landscape Merely The
Till the latter days of European life the artist took no notice of
The painting of hills and rocks and rivers, woods and fields, is of
recent date, and even in these scenes the artist finds it necessary to
place some animals or birds. Even now he cannot ignore the strong love of
human beings for these creatures; if they are omitted the picture loses
its interest to the majority of eyes. Every one knows how wonderfully
popular the works of Landseer have been, and he was an animal painter,
and his subjects chiefly suggested by sport. The same spirit that
inspired the Cave-dweller to engrave the mammoth on the slab of ivory
still lives in the hearts of men.
There is a beautiful etching of "The Poacher" (to which I shall have to
recur); he is in the wood, and his dog is watching his upraised finger.
From that finger the dog learns everything. He knows by its motion when
to start, which way to go, what to do, whether to be quick or slow, to
return or to remain away. He understands his master quite as well as if
they conversed in human speech. He enters into the spirit of the
enterprise. 'If you want your business done, go; if not, send' is true
only of men. The poacher wants his business done, and he sends his
agent - his dog - certain that it will be done for him better than he could
do it himself.
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