Apollo against the Artists, 1857

“I also am a painter!” was said, as all men know
And said by no mean artist, three centuries ago.
But lo! An artist greater far among us now appears;
For after shining quietly on for twice three thousand years
Old Sol takes up his parable, and says – “I’ve now on view
Some pictures that, perhaps, may show that I’m an artist too.”

“If any man shall doubt the fact, let him proceed straightway
To my Great Exhibition-Room and there his shilling pay.
I think I there may promise him his shilling’s worth and more
In Portraits such as mortal eye ne’er looked upon before;
In Temples and in Palaces – in scenes by land and sea –
For nothing that I shine upon can come amiss to me!”

Old Sol had scarcely spoken thus, when forth I went straightway
To his Great Exhibition-Room, my shilling there to pay.
And scarcely had I passed the door, and laid my money down
When I exclaimed  “A shilling’s worth! Why this is worth a crown.
He really is a painter!  His own account is true.
I only wish we saw him here far oft’ner than we do.”

Apollo against the Artists

The Courant, 22 January 1857

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Author: jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space

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