Paul and Virginia

Joseph Durham (1814-1877)


Source: 1865 Art-Journal

“There is a class both of pictorial and of sculptured works which commend themselves only to the few; there is another class that interests the multitude as well as the few, because from its nature all can understand it: to this, in sculpture, belongs Mr. Durham's group of 'Paul and Virginia;' it is the parting scene, which may be told in a few brief words, and they are necessary to comprehend the sculptor's intention. Paul had been excluded from the house of Virginia's mother, Madame de la Tour, for several days; he knew not the reason, though he had certain misgivings from a few words accidentally let fall by the priest; . . . No one can look at these two figures without at once comprehending their meaning, though the association with the characters of the charming little tale may not be so immediately recognisable: and hence the appeal they directly make to the com- monest understanding..” [full commentary below]

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