Manual of the Jarves Collection of Early Italian Pictures, Deposited in the Galleries of the Yale School of Fine Arts

By RUSSELL STURGIS, JR. New Haven : Published by Yale College.
EVEN if we had not to praise the excellent taste with which Mr. Sturgis has performed a task not to be estimated in its difficulties by the size of his book, we should wish to speak of this Manual as making a fresh claim upon public attention for a gallery of pictures which was remarkable in Europe, and is unique here. In this collection Yale College has secured the sole series of pictures by which Italian art, from Giunta da Pisa to Domenichino, can be studied and enjoyed in America, and offers an attraction which must be enhanced by whatever growth we make in cultivation and elegance. The Jarves collection would be a thing to go from One Italian city to another to see; and we hope that it shall not be very long till any person within a day’s journey of New Haven shall be ashamed not to have seen it. We rate very highly its capacity for pleasing a generally intelligent public like ours, because its works are mostly of the early period of art, when sentiment was more than execution, and have qualities of religion, tenderness, and sincerity which strongly appeal to the earnest natures predominating with us. On the other hand, a gallery which includes paintings of Paolo Veronese, Bassano, Bordone, the Caracci, Guido; Rubens, and Velasquez cannot be lacking in those splendors of art and triumphs of skill in which the student and connoisseur find great part of their satisfaction.
It is not easy to say how Mr. Sturgis in his Manual puts his reader in possession of those quite primary facts of artistic history and technics necessary with the average American for the appreciation of such a gallery, and yet contrives not to offend those already cognizant of them. His introductory essay, which is full of admirable suggestion and criticism, is unambitious in itself, and modest for the collection, while it rates the pictures at their just intrinsic value, and indicates their incomparable worth here ; and the brief biographical and critical notice of each painter which is given with the mention of his picture is enough for the present intelligence of those who have known nothing of the subject, and excellent even for the memory of such as may charitably suppose themselves to have forgotten a great deal.