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HISTORY OF THE FINE ARTS.
A VIEW OF THE RISE, PROGRESS, AND INFLUENCE OF THE ARTS
WORKS OF MANY CELEBRATED
IN FIVE PARTS.
PART I.-ARCHITECTURE. II. SCULPTURE.
ILLUSTRATED BY WOOD ENGRAVINGS.
BY BENSON J. LOSSING.
HARPER AND BROTHERS, 82 CLIFF-ST.
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1840,
BY HARPER & BROTHERS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern
District of New York.
The aim of the writer of the following pages has been, to compress within a small compass, and present in a perspicuous manner and a cheap form, a mass of information respecting the history of the progress and influence of the Fine Arts, which has hitherto, in this country, been widely scattered in detached fragments, and thus rendered unattainable to the great majority of readers, and especially youth.
The cultivation of the Fine Arts, and a general dissemination of a taste for such liberal pursuits, are of the highest importance in a national point of view, for they have a powerful tendency to elevate the standard of intellect, and consequently morals, and form one of those mighty levers which raise nations as well as individuals to the highest point in the scale of civilization. In every age and in every country the cultivation of the Fine Arts has been invariably attended with a corresponding improvement in the social, moral, and intellectual character of the people; and our country is now, happily, the recipient of all the refinements of antiquity embellished with the beauties of modern civilization. When the venerable Bishop Berkeley, in view of the rapid settlement of our country, sung,
“ Westward the star of Empire takes its way,"
he might with propriety have added, that such also was
the direction of art, science, and literature, not only as applied to us, but to the people of antiquity. As the sun first sheds its beams upon the eastern world, so also did the first ray of intelligence break forth in the east, and with the full splendor of its luminaries, art, science, and literature, coursed westward, infusing life and vigor into society, until Europe and America have become radiant with light. As we are the last and most favoured of these recipients, gratitude, self-love, and patriotism should prompt us to give these muses a cordial reception, and foster them with the greatest care till they shall erect a superstructure of eternal honour to the American name, more pleasing, more refined, more influential than that of classic Greece. To do this, the popular taste must be favourable, and to create and improve the taste for this object, it is necessary by facts to produce a conviction that to the Fine Arts all civilized nations are greatly indebted for their advancement in political and social greatness. If by this brief view of the history of the arts the author shall aid, in the least, the cultivation of a taste for them, then will he feel that his leisure moments, employed in this pleasing task, have not been mispent. He has aimed at usefulness, and if he has missed the mark, it is an error of the head, not of the heart.
NEW YORK, 1840.