The marvellous productions of Photograph) continue to engross the attention of the lovers ol Art in a high degree. The apprehensions once entertained that this art would, to a certain extent, thrust the artist and his vocation aside, are now no longer indulged; but, on the contrary, it is seen that Photography, so tar from being a rival, is in truth a most important auxiliary to the resources of the artist.
If it en- croaches on any department of Art, it is that of the engraver; lor books illustrated by photography, in place of the productions of the graver, are finding their way into the book market. But even this application is limited to the mere reduction and copying of works previously engraved or drawn ; for, however ingenious the processes or surprising the results of photography, it must be remembered that this art only aspires to copy, it cannot invent. The camera, it is true, is a most accurate copyist, but it is no substitute for original thought or invention.
Nor can it supply that refined feeling and sentiment which animate the productions of a man of genius, and so long as invention and feeling constitute essential qualities in a work of Art, Photography can never assume a higher rank than engraving. As an auxiliary to Art, Photography comes opportunely to the aid of the artist in those preparatory studies always necessary in the pro- duction of a work of Art.
It obtains for the painter or sculptor, in a few moments, a number of studies of all kinds—landscapes, poses, draperies, &c.; for the architect, models and de- tail, without which they would, perhaps, have remained but imperfectly known ; to the engra- ver, it furnishes reductions of pictures, &c., of all sizes. These results are attained with the utmost accuracy of form and correctness of effect, such as the most accomplished artist could have attained only by an enormous expenditure of time and labor.
It is in Fi ance that the applications of Photography have taken their widest and most practi- cal extension. Not the least interesting and important of these is the production of fac similes of rare engravings, such as the productions of Rembrandt, Albert Durer, Callot.
Among those now in course of reproduction are the works of Marc Antonio Raimondi. It is well known that a single impression of one of this artist’s plates can only be obtained by much persevering assiduity, and at great expense; but a photographic fac simile can be procured for as many shillings as the engraving costs pounds.
Anything like a complete collection of the works of the artists we have named, is only possible to the wealthy amateur. But the taste. and appreciation for these things is not confined to that class ; and photography comes to the aid of the pictorial art as printing did to literature, and the enjoyment of such works, hitherto the exclusive privilege of the few, is now, by the aid of the new art, extended to a large circle of admirers.