Each Art Springs From The Same Origin
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
However widely one from another, in many respects, all the various branches of the arts when viewed at once appear to differ; there is nevertheless a common bond of union between them which connects them all together, and which, although unseen, runs through the whole order, riveting them by a strong and indissoluble chain, which no difference in their actual nature can ever dissolve, no variety as to their mode of operation ever sunder. This bond of union consists in the several mutual and essential points of coincidence, and indeed identity between them, which do exist, and which will be considered in the present chapter.
But although the connection between each of the arts is thus intimate, yet the precise nature of the bond of union is very different in the case of one art to what it is in that of another; and, on the other hand, in certain instances where the material of the art varies most extensively, the mental coincidence between them is frequently very close. Thus, as regards painting and gardening, the material employed is as different as possible ; but the principles of design and composition applicable to each are identical. So also with respect to music and eloquence. Indeed, there is this important point as regards the connection between the arts, which is deserving of such consideration; and although at first sight it may appear somewhat paradoxical, yet its truth will be evinced when the matter has been fully considered : and that is, that the greater is the difference in the material availed of as the vehicle for any particular arts, the nearer in essence and spirit do they in reality very often approach. For while the difference in material causes them to appear wider apart, and indeed altogether distinct and unconnected; it is the circumstance of their being so powerfully and so indissolubly united in soul and spirit, if we may so term it, which alone serves to preserve the union between them, and which is also alone the essential bond of their connection.
The first of these mutual points of coincidence is the common origin which all the arts alike acknowledge. They coincide with one another in each having their germ in the mind, in the capacities and feelings described, as also as to the mode of their invention. And they further agree in each being either the ornamental appendage to some practical pursuit, or existing by themselves as the means of calling forth the refined ideas and emotions already described. As originating alike in nature, in the representation of her, although in different modes and under different phases, they all further coincide. Each of the arts, moreover, are the product of all nations and all times, and are each found among barbarous as well as civilized people. The same taste in the mind which originates beauty in painting, produces that in arts the most remote from this, in music and in costume. The same emotions which are excited by grandeur in form, are called forth also by this quality in sound. Each of the arts may be correspondingly traced to its source, both as regards its origin in the mind and its invention, according to the principles to which I have referred.
All the arts have, therefore, as I have already in some of the preceding chapters endeavoured to point out, their common origin in the mind, in the faculties and feelings before adverted to; and are invented, and spring up in the same manner, and are affected by like causes, both in respect to their production and their progress.
In their early stages, too, as we have seen, the different arts were united together, both as regards their mutual influence on each other, and their being cultivated together. This more strongly than any other coincidence evinces the identity of their origin.
The arts when united are, moreover, oftentimes each of them more powerful than when practised singly, as they not only aid the effect of each other, but many ideas which are lost or but feebly excited when one art alone is resorted to, as in the case of poetry or music when they are combined, are vividly ex-pressed. Indeed, in each department of skill, whether artistical or scientific, different pursuits which in their origin were conjoined or all followed together, branch off, and are practised separately as they advance, so that the origin from the same spring of these different diverging streams, is at length with difficulty traced.
But at later periods, the union of the different arts often aids the effect of one another. Thus poetry aids music, and music poetry, and both of them dramatic acting. Gardening and architecture, too, essentially assist each other. Gardening is of service to architecture by causing the beauty of the grounds to give effect to the building; and architecture is of service to gardening from the beauty of the building giving effect to the scenery of the grounds. Sculpture, in the same way, befriends both, and both befriend sculpture. This, as has already been observed, is seen in nature even more vividly than in art; and in objects of nature the different qualities which exist separately in distinctive works of art, are here observed to be united in the same composition. And probably, according as in any work of art this is the case, the more efficient it is, as the more closely it resembles nature.
There is the same connection and relation between the different arts, as the various figures in the same composition in painting bear to each other. Or the different arts may be compared to the different members of one family, each of which is quite distinct and independent in himself, and thinks and acts as he deems best; but each of which are connected together by the strongest ties, each of which has the same origin, and in each of which there is a correspondence in form, and a common resemblance which marks every member of that family. And, as in a family so among the arts, while there are some characteristics and endowments which they all possess in common, there are also some which are peculiar only to each.
As all the arts have a connection, being each of them re-presentative of certain qualities which united together constitute an entire object; so are they each, being so connected, most efficient to explain the nature of one another. It is only when united that they are complete, either as a whole or each one by itself. They are, moreover, associated with all the pursuits of civilized life.
Hence, whether painting, sculpture, poetry, eloquence, music, architecture, acting, costume, gardening, be the pursuit, which appear so different in their nature, and seem to be adapted for the study of those of such different ranks and capacities; the same faculties in each person are fitted for each art, and the study of one, as I before observed, prepares the mind for the study of the other ; and without the study of each, perfect knowledge of any one is hardly attainable.
Hence, also, as all alike, of whatever rank or station, are gifted with the same capacities and feelings, and as the same capacities and feelings in each are fitted for the study of each art ; each art is fitted alike for the study of all, and to all equally. And, moreover, this study is to all equally improving, elevating and refining the minds of all who devote themselves to its pursuit. Because a person who is fond of music has no taste for painting or architecture, is no proof that these different arts do not each spring up in the capacities of the mind. It is a proof only that one may be cultivated without the other, and that they are more or less dependent on cultivation for being duly appreciated and brought to perfection.