The French Exhibition 1858
As this picture is designed on the assumption that the universe generally is vulgar, and that the noblest ideal of colour is to be found in dust, it of course puts itself beyond criticism. But it suggests a curious question. It may be I―believe it is―a just view of the depth and purity of Marguerite's character, which assumes that the first whispers of her companions would not flush her face but turn it pale. But, supposing the painter should ever wish to paint a woman "glowing all over noble shame,"(9) how will he reconcile the human crimson with the dusty insensibilities of his background?
(1)[Ary Scheffer (1795-1858) was by birth Dutch, by residence and training French. His well-known picture of "St. Augustine and St. Monica" is in the Tate Gallery (No. 1170). For another reference to him, see above, p. 114. In a letter, written to E. S. Dallas about 1860, Ruskin somewhat mitigates his judgment on Ary Scheffer. "Though one of the heads of the Mud sentiment school, he does draw and feel very beautifully and deeply "(Letters on Art and Literature, p. 38, privately issued 1894, and reprinted in a later volume of this edition).]
(2)[Ida in Tennyson's Princess (vii.). Ruskin again uses the quotation in his address on "The Value of Drawing" to the St. Martin's School of Art (see Vol. XVI.).]