WHO chose the motto on the title page of the catalogue of the Academy exhibition? And is
it always the same each yea!? I have never noticed it before. Anyway in this, the one hundred and seventyfourth publication, Albrecht Miter is quoted as having said: " Art standeth firmly fixed in Nature and whoso can rend her forth thence, he only possesseth her."
" Rend her forth " suggests violence and effort and struggle. The pictures of the Academy have not often given
that impression. They have mostly set a standard of elegance, of quiet security, of technical virtuosity. The violence, the effort, the wrestling with nature is very off-scene in an Academy exhibition.
This year's show is no exception to the general rule. Efficient, gentlemanly and soft-voiced. it forces its attention on none. That does not clean that there arc not things very worth attention, but they are not the difficult or problematic or searching. The ,great virtue of this -year's show is its smallness. The Academy has drawn its voluminous skirts around it and beeause there is less of it to see it is possible to see it better.
Sydney Lee is perhaps the most arresting [matter exhibiting. He doesn't care how theatrical he is. Mustard colour covers a brilliant canvas called Stone Walls, Yorkshire, one of the most pleasant landscapes. Real imagination is shown by Vivian Pitchforth's water-colours—to me the high lights of Burlington House.
Religious subjects do not occupy much space except in the sculpture gallery. I liked particularly two stone bas reliefs by Rosamund M. B. Fletcher, one of Christ the King crucified and crowned with the tiara of the Popes, the other a Nativity. Both lack the violence and strength which Mier believed in, but they have a simplicity which is hard not to find endearing.
War (with exceptions) is pretty well off the map. Allegories are represented by Ethel Walker's murals, the Zone of Hate and the Zone of Love.
They are indeed other-worldly " in their calm serenity of mood. Por traits are few, too, and unobtrusive.
1 wouldn't call it a lively Academy.