st in the benevolence and candour of my critics, do I present this volume to the public. I hope it will be distinctly understood, that the general plan of the work is merely artistic; that it really aims at nothing more than to render the various subjects intelligible. For this reason it has been thought advisable to set aside, in a great measure, individual preferences, and all predilections for particular schools and particular periods of Art,--to take, in short, the widest possible range as regards examples,--and then to leave the reader, when thus guided to the meaning of what he sees, to select, compare, admire, according to his own discrimination, taste, and requirements. The great difficulty has been to keep within reasonable limits. Though the subject has a unity not found in the other volumes, it is really boundless as regards variety and complexity. I may have been superficial from mere superabundance of materials; sometimes mistaken as to facts and dates; the tastes, the feelings, and the faith of
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