Of the Features. -Although in the search after the bodily ideal, the Student was recommended to receive with confidence and study with care those statues which we have received from Greece, he must be warned of the danger of taking the embodiment of Pagan Deities as his guides in the expression of greatness and elevation of soul. To whatever page of Heathen Mythology we turn, the exhibition of some sensual passion seems to constitute the claim to Deity, or if not to constitute the claim, yet that it was the exclusive privilege of the Divine prerogative so to influence the economy of human affairs that their own animal desires might be fully gratified. How can we expect otherwise of a religion whose Heaven was the empyrean of earthly enjoyments ? -To embody such beings as these, it was only necessary to idealize the human figure and impart to it a certain degree of power and dignity.
But Revelation has opened a more extensive sphere for the exhibition of mental expression, and whatever inspiration is breathed from the presence of the "High and Holy One" "who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity," must be displayed in the annihilation of passions such as these. The Angelic being will move, not in the fury of mortal revenge, but in the radiance of eternal love and in the repose of resistless power ; â€” and the earthly being will walk not in impurity of heart, but with his face heavenward. The ceaseless warring between the passions and the judgment of man, and the final victory of the spirit over the body, are subjects unknown to ancient Greece. The dignity of reposing faith, and the elevation of soul, not inherent but imparted, which radiates from the Christian's face, is a nobler subject for idealization than all the fabled gods of Greece.
It is useless however to give verbal receipts for the lines of these higher expressions ; if not felt, they cannot be embodied; and if felt, directions will be useless.
Expression, though inseparably connected with Invention in the composition of a figure, forms a separate study, but is useless unless displayed in conjunction with good drawing ; and for this reason the Student was recommended in the chapter on outline not to attempt it before he is able to draw. At the same time the figure may be well drawn and its proportions may be correct and yet it may be wanting in expression or the animation necessary to convey the language of the mind.
The muscles of the face, unlike those of the limbs which obey the will, act often involuntarily, subject only to the affections of the mind, and without reference to motion in the bones ; their complicated fibres, many of which serve no end but that of expression, acting upon one another and upon the skin.
The erect forehead being peculiar to man, more than any other feature distinguishes him from the brutes. Its elevation is indicative of intellectual power, a projecting one of idiotcy, and a low and receding one of deficiency in intellect.