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education which, whether it approached near to or fell far short of the greater sculpture in stone, undoubtedly was the means of keeping up a high standard of taste amongst them. What still remains for our admiration is evidence, when we consider the facilities it offers for decay and destruction, that at one time the abundance must have been almost incredible. With the disappearance of the multitude of images in this material coincided—account for it as we may—the decline in general taste. From the other side of the mountains came the invasion of classical ideas which demanded marble as the great medium of plastic expression. Great, no doubt, was this art, unsurpassed in its appeal to the intellect, but it was caviare to the general. Wood and even stone were abandoned: wood was good enough for the cabinet-maker, and to him it was relegated. With it died also the age of colour in sculpture.
Besides the question of durability, the paucity of early examples of wood sculpture may be accounted for by causes from which all sculpture had suffered in common with the other arts, owing to the unsettled state of the western world. There had been everywhere almost a total want of originality, a copying from antique bas-reliefs by men who in artistic intelligence were hardly above the level of the artisan. It was not until the close of the eleventh century that a real awakening of the sculptural arts begins to be apparent. Then came the crusades and the intercourse with the east. Workmen of all kinds accompanied the armies and brought home with them the oriental systems of ornament, which they adapted to their already existing methods and national feeling. Syria was able to furnish friezes, bas-reliefs, the capitals of columns and other architectural details, and figure work, but for pure statuary there was no indebtedness. It will not be wholly without value to remind ourselves of the capture of Antioch and Jerusalem, and of the virtual occupation of the Holy Land in the first crusade, of the second crusade preached by St. Bernard, of the third under our own King Richard, of the fourth, and of the fifth which will bring us to the fall of Constantinople in the third year of the thirteenth century. During all this time the influence of the monastic establishments on the arts was gradually diminishing and guilds were organizing. They were the true revivalists who restored the art of sculpture to the position it had lost: a restoration which, though apparently a sudden one about the beginning of the twelfth century, had no doubt been prepared for by long years of persistent training. The Cluniac order, already established more than a century, was the most active centre, and exercised a powerful influence on the arts of the whole region of the west. It was the most learned, if not indeed the only, order of the time really learned in the arts. Its houses covered France and Spain, and at a later period Italy, Germany, and England, while at the same time its relations with the east were constant. We should expect then to find in those examples of wood sculpture that can be adduced, the influence of Byzantine hieratism, and the conventional systems of draperies. It is not easy to resume in a few words these influences, nor should an undue weight be given to those resulting from the operations of the crusades. Other causes had, since a long period, caused an immense influx of Greek monks into Europe, who had brought with them manuscripts and other works of Byzantine art, and the commercial relations with Italy—with Venice especially —had helped to spread these things in Germany, France, and England. The southern schools of France — Limoges, Toulouse, Poitiers, Provence — and the Rhine provinces were at the close of the eleventh century absolutely Byzantine. We must suppose that, in the wood-carving of those days, there were also those long-limbed emaciated figures, pearl-bordered long clinging robes and pointed shoes that we find in our ivories. It is to the monks of Citeaux and of Cluny that we owe the beginnings of an observation of nature, some attempts at least at dramatic movement, some attention in their figures to the life which they saw around them. It is indeed against these very methods that St. Bernard fulminated his famous diatribe. The statuary sculptor, turning to nature, had begun to draw from it under idealized forms what he saw with his eyes. It is the age of idealism which will lead, slowly but surely, as suggested in the introductory chapter, to realism. The monastic artists of the twelfth century prepared the way by the partial emancipation at least from Byzantine formulae. They must have contributed the earliest impulse, for they alone were the instructors and employers of labour. The beginning of the thirteenth century was the beginning of a new order of things. The control of art initiative has to pass out from the cloister into the world. Lay corporations and lay workers supersede the monk in the direction of works, though still almost the only art is that which is devoted to the service of religion. The courts of kings and nobles are too much occupied with warlike pursuits to make much demand for the luxuries of domestic establishments. But a spirit of communism is abroad. Guilds are established—trade unions in fact —which bind themselves to obey codes of regulations which they themselves have drawn up, instead of submitting to the orders of enclosed corporations, ignorant of the life outside and of the demands which it is beginning to make. Independent schools are formed, entirely emancipated from the monastic yoke. It must, however, be admitted that it is not easy to be absolutely precise regarding the relations between these independent workers and the great abbeys. The general direction of architectural and sculptural work for the use of the Church must still have been in the hands of the latter, and the changes were gradual. But a more settled condition of social life had begun to prevail. In the troublous dark ages, between the seventh and eleventh centuries, the producers in every craft took refuge under the shadow of the monasteries, where they followed their apprenticeships and worked afterwards in submission to what was the ruling power. Continual wars and local strifes hindered any kind of artistic activity among the mass of the people. With the new era new ideas took the place of the former rigidity of rules, and the freedom was everywhere welcomed, even by the secular clergy. Yet, though the lay element had come in, sculptor monks still moved about from province to province, from country to country, and we cannot be precise regarding the question how far this or that work is peculiar to the locality in which it appears to have been introduced. For direction, the science must still have come from the learned, the travelled ones of the monastery. Geometry, drawing, the principles of Greek art, the science of symbolism and the rest—all these it was their province to transmit to the lay apprentice, who might then be left to his individual inspiration. The lay artists, following, no doubt, the principles in which they had been educated, enjoyed a greater amount of intellectual liberty, and used their intelligence to discard whatever hide-bound regulations they considered to be no longer up to date. They wanted a freer choice of subject and of methods of expressing it. One must imagine also that the workmen moved about more freely from place to place, forming themselves into bands under a master craftsman whenever they heard that some great work—as for example the building of Canterbury—was in progress.
THE THIRTEENTH, FOURTEENTH, AND FIFTEENTH CENTURIES—GUILDS AND CORPORATIONS
AT the close of the twelfth and in the opening years of the thirteenth century there was a wave of enthusiasm, an immense activity in church-building everywhere. Abundant liberality provided for the erection of imposing cathedrals in the cities, of magnificent parish churches even in the most remote districts and amongst sparse populations. The spirit which was the real moving one in all this—in our own country especially—has always been a difficult one to account for. With every allowance made for the piety of the age, there can be no doubt that it was largely due to the development of civic life, the prosperity of trade generally, the crusades and intercourse with the east, and to a new-born understanding of, and enthusiasm for, the industrial arts, which procured a call for their employment, and a response to demands consequent on increasing luxury and ideas of comfort. It was a national movement. But the Church in those days was the only centre of life and movement, and afforded the chief medium of expression for the artistic tendencies which had become so developed. If, then, there were piety and a desire to beautify the house of God, there was also an appeal to the judgment and admiration of men, which in this regard had hitherto, in conformity with monastic rules, been rigidly suppressed. As Dr. Jessopp writes: 'The immense treasures in the churches