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THE QUIVER 2/1900
[Illustration: (_By permission of Messrs. Henry Graves and Co., Pall Mall, S. W._)
THE LOST PIECE OF MONEY.
(_By the late Sir John E. Millais, P.R.A._)]
[Illustration: (_By permission of William Coltart, Esq._)
JOSEPH INTRODUCING JACOB TO PHARAOH.
(_By Sir Edward J. Poynter, P.R.A._)]
With truth and beauty as the objects of his art, the painter, whatever be the subject he is endeavouring to depict, becomes a guide and helpmeet to his fellow-men. His art is "twice blessed," blessing "him that gives and him that takes." The contemplation of a beautiful and pure work of art acts as a charm upon the mind oppressed with care and trouble. A landscape on canvas, reflecting the sunshine of the countryside, suggesting its freedom of atmosphere, its "fair quiet and sweet rest," when seen in the midst of the toil and grime of a great city, is a sedative to the jaded nerves of the busy worker; it reminds him of the glories of nature which lie outside the boundaries of the man-made wilderness of houses, and brings him for the moment into close commune with Nature herself. A glimpse of blue sea, of clear running stream, or some sweet pastoral scene, carries with it a breath of fresh air, invigorating and refreshing, to those who gaze upon its brightness through the murky atmosphere of the city streets.
The painter, indeed, has a power which competes closely with the eloquence of the preacher, or the soothing rhythm of the poet; it raises the man who approaches his work with a receptive heart from his own petty self, enlarges his sympathies and his hopes, calms his troubles, and sends him back refreshed and invigorated to his struggle with the cares and troubles of his daily life.
A great picture is not so much one that displays the technical skill of the painter as his power to appeal to the emotions of those who look at it. Truth is at all times simple, and he who would expound it, either in sermon, poem, or picture, must do so in language which can be readily understood of the people. This does not make his task any the lighter, for any straining after effects of simplicity betrays his own lack of truth; simplicity must be spontaneous--from the heart.