Arts - Rise And Growth Of Each Correspondingly Proceed
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
A further and very striking coincidence between each of the arts is afforded by the similarity in their several corresponding characteristics which they exhibit during their youth, and at each period of their growth, as they respectively proceed from infancy to maturity.
In nature the connection which an identity as to their individual species establishes both between particular animals and particular plants, is nowhere so fully evinced as by the similarity of their growth. Thus, all beasts, all birds, all reptiles, all fishes, originate and grow up in the same manner. So also do all trees, and all plants and herbs. But they each differ altogether in this respect from those of a different species ; thus, also, it is with the arts. Indeed, in nothing is the close connection, the sisterhood between the several arts, more strikingly shown than by the mode in which they correspondingly proceed in their youth, however remote from one another as regards the material in which they exist. In each art, the same causes and influences produce the same results, and in each characteristic traits mark their successive stages of in-fancy, maturity, and decline. Thus the same blood seems to flow in their veins, and the same spirit to animate them all alike.
Each art in its growth and progress developes the several traits of the particular species to which it belongs; but it differs in its peculiar individual characteristic qualities only from the other members of the same species. All the arts, however, resemble one another as members of the same species. They differ, nevertheless, during their progress, from the sciences and other pursuits of mankind; just as animals, although allied to those of another species, differ entirely from plants and trees.
In Greece, each of the arts progressed and reached perfection together; and each obtained the attention, commanded the love, and influenced the minds of the people alike. As each art is dependent for its most important qualities and extensive influence on the condition of the national mind, it is impossible that in any nation, at any period of the world's history, their progress should be otherwise than thus mutual and contemporaneous.
It appears therefore desirable in every civilized society, that the arts should not only all rise at once, but that they should be all cultivated together. Each art not only affects the condition of, and serves to promote the progress of the other, but contributes to expand, and invigorate, and liberalize it; this occurs more especially at those periods when the arts are most susceptible of influences so beneficial. The history of art of each kind, whether painting, poetry, eloquence, sculpture, architecture, music, acting, gardening, or costume, more-over, evinces not merely the manner in which their progress was directed, but also records the general tone of thought and feeling and opinion of the nation in which they are cultivated. Thus certain orders of architecture not only exhibit the original forms and materials resorted to in the construction of religious edifices, but testify also the turn of mind and sentiment which that religion induced. The genius of a people, too, is ever reflected by its art, as is also the condition of its civilization.