George Fuller, by Sidney Dickinson, 1884, continued.
interrupted only by three winter trips to the South, whither he went in the hope of securing some commissions for portraits, was an uneventful experience of very modest pecuniary success, and brought him as the only official honor of his life an election as associate of the National Academy of Design. He then went to Europe, where, for eight. months, he' carefully studied the old masters in the principal galleries of England and the Continent. This visit to the Old World was of incalculable value to him in the method of painting which he afterward made his own, and, in point of fact, gave him his first decided inclination toward it. Its best influence, however, was in giving him confidence in himself, and assurance of the reasonableness of the views which he had already begun to entertain. He had been led before to regard the old masters as superior to rivalry and incapable of weakness, superhuman characters, indeed, whose works should discourage effort. Instead of this, however, he found them to be men like himself, with their share of defect and error, yet made grand by inspiration and idea, and this knowledge greatly encouraged him, a man who of all painters was at once the most modest and devoted. Most painters who resort to Europe to study the old art find there one or two men whose works make the strongest appeals to their liking, and, devoting their attention chiefly to these, they show ever after the marks of an influence that is easily traced to its source; Fuller, however, observed with broader and more penetrating view, and, as his works show, seems to have studied men less than principles, and to have been filled with admiration, not so much for particular practices as for the common and lofty spirit in which the greatest of the world's painters labored. The colorists and chiaroscurists, such as Titian on the one hand and Rembrandt on the other, seem to have impressed him particularly, and of all men Titian the most strongly, as many of his pictures testify, and as such glowing works as the Arethusa and the Boy and Bird unmistakably show. Yet it was not in matter or in manner, but in the expression of a great truth, that the old masters most strongly affected him. He felt at once, and grew to admire greatly, their repose and modesty, calm strength and undisturbed temper, and drew from them the important principle that true genius may be known by its confessing neither pride nor self-distrust. The serenity of their style he sought at once to appropriate, and. thereafter worked as much as possible in imitation of their evident purpose, striving simply to do his best, without any question of whether the result would please, or another's effort be reckoned as greater than his own. It became a governing principle with him never to seek to outdo any one, or to feel anything but pleasure at another's success, for he was not a man who could fail to recognize the truth that envy is fatal to a fine mood in any labor. Few artists, we may well believe, study the great art of the world in this spirit, or derive from it such a lesson.
On his return to America, he betook. himself to his native town of Deerfield, to assume for a time the care of the ancestral farm, which the death of his father had placed in his hands. He had returned from Europe full of inspired ideas, and was apparently ready to go on at once in new paths of labor; but the voice of duty seemed to him to
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