Art: Universal Mind

In 1894 Walter Horatio Pater died at Oxford, having contributed to the "PreRaphaelite" revival an ideal of Art for Art's sake expressed in cloistral and cadenced prose. Young Englishmen by the score grew pale at his famous description of the Mona Lisa* of Leonardo da Vinci, who was in fact a precursor of Raphael by about 30 years.

In the year of Pater's death, one Edward MacCurdy, an obscure student at Oxford's Balliol College, was moved by the Paterian vogue to depart for Italy and the golden light of masterpieces, where he wrote a book...

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