Who can tell us what is the standard of beauty ? That " there is beauty all o'er this delectable world" no one can doubt; it is seen in every bounding line of the exquisite statue; in the waving lines of distant dark blue mountains rising up against the red setting sun; in waving fields of golden corn; in the flowing river and the winding rill. But how are we to judge ofthe beautiful, who is the umpire of ferae taste; in short, as we have said before, what is the standard 1 There is a quality of wind which can perceive and appreciate the really beautiful.— This mental quality belongs perhaps to the few; it at least is only fully developed in those who have a fine imagination combined _ with common sense. This is the mentaLpowgr, Efcn gives opinions thaTnever die ft can" be cultivated and improved, and we must say that we would like to see it more cultivated among our people than it is. There can be no doubt that at the present moment this quality of mind belongs, pre-eminently, to many Americans. If the Crystal Palace in this city had done no more than it now has in exhibiting the unrivalled works of our countrymen, Hiram Powers, along with those of many foreign sculptors, it has done enough to make us feel grateful and honestly proud. Within the past fortnight, statues ol the " Greek Slave," "Eve," the "Fisher Boy," and a bust of " Proserpine," all the works of Powers have been erected in the Palace.— There are no works in sculpture in the exhibition that can approach them; they bear the impress -of lofty genius and the finest taste. Yet for all this, we believe that the great majority do not appreciate such works. We noticed that a finely dressed wax boy in " Genin's Clothes Case," met with more admirers than the finest pieces of sculpture. The velvet coat, with spangles, and the satin pantalettes finely embroidered, seemed to attract the attention of more men and women—eliciting from them such remarks as " how pretty," il beautiful," c—than the " Greek Slave " the " Fisherman's Boy," and "Mother Eve," looking iondly on the tempting apple—a sample of the finest poetry of art. Our countrymen and women, we feel saddened for you! Lift up your eyes and hearts from the showy and the tawdry, to the sublime and the beautiful; seek to cultivate true taste, and you will the more often drink in, with heaving breasts, emotions of pleasure that will make you happier and better for life. A city cotemporary recently remarked that a beautiful statue of a girl at prayer, was passed by with but a glance, by scores, who at once were delighted with weighing themselves in a pair of large scales. From what we have seen for ourselves, it does not appear that a fine taste—an eye for the beautiful—is a common property, noi does it belong to any class. We noticed, we think, more men and V women who were arrayed very extravagantly in costly apparel, display (judging lrom their remarks) a lower appreciation of the beautiful, than many who were less gaudily mounted. We have made these remarks, because in our opinion they are called for at the present moment; the taste for the sublime and the beautiful can be cultivated, and we have had evidence presented, that such a cultivation ot the mind in many ot both sexfts is demanded, in order that they may be able to form a proper estimate of the genius of some of our countrymen.
This article was originally published with the title "Taste—American Sculpture"