Cornhill Magazine,  8 (1863), 334–43.

Art Criticism

P G H, pseud.  [Philip G Hamerton]




Chemistry, Mathematics, Expertise, Specialization, Popularization, Progress, Ancient Authorities, Natural Philosophy, Experiment

    Claims that, contrary to the public perception of painting, other 'profound studies, as, for instance, chemistry or mathematics, are seen to be difficult by every one, and persons who have not studied them, never labour under the illusion that they know all about them' (335). Indeed, 'Men devoted to pure science, as for instance mathematicians, are spared [the] unpleasant necessity' of informing a popular audience of their ignorance of the subject and thereby of seeming to exhibit a 'contempt for the public' ('An accusation often brought against Mr. Ruskin'). After all, 'no one who has ever learned mathematics ever dreams of setting himself up as a judge of merit in mathematicians' (335–36). Also states that 'There is a vast critical movement in our age, the general object of which may be defined as the emancipation of the living intellect from the tyranny of the dead. Nothing whatever is safe from this movement [...] no dead natural philosopher will pass conjecture for experiment, for the human race is advancing to ripe years, and no longer accepts as infallible the authorities that governed its infancy' (338–39).

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