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Title: The History of Painting in Italy, Vol. 1 - From the Period of the Revival of the Fine Arts to the End of the Eighteenth Century
Author: Lanzi, Luigi Antonio
Language: English
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  VOL. I.









  From the Original Italian





  VOL. I.







  J. M'Creery, Tooks Court,
  Chancery Lane, London.


After the very copious and excellent remarks upon the objects of the
present history contained in the Author's Preface, the Translator feels
that it would be useless on his part to add any further explanation.

It would not be right, however, to close these volumes without some
acknowledgment of the valuable assistance he has received. Amongst
others, he is particularly indebted to Dr. Traill, of Liverpool, who
after proceeding to some length with a translation of this work, kindly
placed what he had completed in the hands of the Translator, with
liberty to make such use of it as might be deemed advantageous to the
present undertaking. To Mr. W. Y. Ottley, who also contemplated, and in
part executed, a version of the same author, the Translator has to
express his obligations for several explanations of terms of art, which
the intimacy of that gentleman with the fine arts, in all their
branches, peculiarly qualifies him to impart.[1] Similar acknowledgments
are due to an enlightened and learned foreigner, Mr. Panizzi, of
Liverpool, for his kind explanation of various obscure phrases and
doubtful passages.

Notwithstanding the anxious desire and unremitting endeavours of the
Translator to render this work, in all instances, as accurate as the
nature of the subject, and the numerous difficulties he had to surmount
would allow, yet, in dismissing it from his hands, he cannot repress the
feeling that he must throw himself upon the indulgence of the public to
excuse such errors as may be discoverable in the text. He trusts,
however, that where it may be found incorrect, it will for the most part
be in those passages where doubtful terms of art lay in his way,
intelligible only to the initiated, and which perhaps many of the
countrymen of Lanzi themselves might not be able very readily to

[Footnote 1: The following are among the valuable works which have been
given to the public by Mr. Ottley:--The Italian School of Design, being
a series of Fac-similes of Original Drawings, &c.--An Inquiry into the
History of Engraving.--The Stafford Gallery.--A Series of Plates
engraved after the Paintings and Sculptures of the most eminent masters
of the early Florentine School, during the 13th, 14th, and 15th
centuries. This work forms a complete illustration of the first volume
of Lanzi.--A Catalogue of the National Gallery.--Fac-similes of
Specimens of Early Masters, &c.]



  _Advertisement_                                                iii

  _Preface by the Author_                                          i

  _Biographical Notice by the Translator_                        xli




  EPOCH I. _Origin of the revival of painting_--_Association
           and methods of the old painters_--_Series
           of Tuscan artists before the time of
           Cimabue and Giotto._ SECT. I.                           1

           _Florentine painters who lived after Giotto
           to the end of the fifteenth century._ SECT. II.        51

           _Origin and progress of engraving on copper
           and wood._ SECT. III.                                 105

  EPOCH II. _Vinci, Bonarruoti, and other celebrated
           artists, form the most flourishing era of this
           school_                                               147

  EPOCH III. _The imitators of Michelangiolo_                    229

  EPOCH IV. _Cigoli and his Associates improve the
           style of painting_                                    280

  EPOCH V. _Pietro da Cortona and his followers_                 335



  EPOCH I. _The old masters_                                     372

  EPOCH II. _Foreign painters at Siena_--_Origin and
           progress of the modern style in that city_            406

  EPOCH III. _The art having declined through the
           disasters of the state, is revived by the labours
           of Salimbeni and his sons_                            433


When detached or individual histories become so numerous that they can
neither be easily collected nor perused, the public interest requires a
writer capable of arranging and embodying them in the form of a general
historical narrative; not, indeed, by a minute detail of their whole
contents, but by selecting from each that which appears most interesting
and instructive. Hence it mostly happens, that the diffuse compositions
of earlier ages are found to give place to compendiums, and to succinct
history. If this desire has prevailed in former times, it has been, and
now is, more especially the characteristic of our own. We live in an age
highly favourable, in one sense at least, to the cultivation of
intellect: the boundaries of science are now extended beyond what our
forefathers could have hoped, much less foreseen; and we become anxious
only to discover the readiest methods of obtaining a competent
knowledge, at least, of several sciences, since it is impossible to
acquire them all. On the other hand, the ages preceding ours, since the
revival of learning, being more occupied about words than things, and
admiring certain objects that now seem trivial to the generality of
readers, have produced historical compositions, the separate nature of
which demands combination, no less than their prolixity requires

If these observations are applicable to other branches of history, they
are especially so to the history of painting. Its materials are found
ready prepared, scattered through numerous memoirs of artists of every
school which, from time to time, have been given to the public: and
additional articles are supplied by dictionaries of art, letters on
painting, guides to several cities, catalogues of various collections,
and by many tracts relating to different artists, which have been
published in Italy. But these accounts, independent of want of
connexion, are not useful to the generality of readers. Who, indeed,
could form a just idea of painting in Italy by perusing the works of
certain historians of latter ages, and some even of our own time, which
abound in invectives, and in attempts to exalt favourite masters above
the artists of all other schools; and which confer eulogies
indiscriminately upon professors of first, second, or third-rate
merit?[2] How few are there who feel interested in knowing all that is
said of artists with so much verbosity by Vasari, Pascoli, or
Baldinucci; their low jests, their amours, their private affairs, and
their eccentricities? What do we learn by being informed of the
jealousies of the Florentine artists, the quarrels of the Roman, or the
boasts of the Bolognian schools? Who can endure the verbal accuracy with
which their wills and testaments are recorded, even to the subscription
of the notary, as if the author had been drawing up a legal document; or
the descriptions of their stature and physiognomy, more minute than the
ancients afford us of Alexander or Augustus?[3] Not that I object to the
introduction of such particulars in the lives of the great luminaries of
art: in a Raffaello or a Caracci minute circumstances derive interest
from the subject; but how intolerable do they become in the life of an
ordinary individual, where the principal incidents are but little
interesting? Suetonius has not written the lives of his Cæsars and his
grammarians in the same manner: the former he has rendered familiar to
the reader; the latter are merely noticed and passed over.

The tastes of individuals, however, are different, and some people
delight in minutiæ, as it regards both the present and the past; and
since it may be of utility to those who may hereafter be inclined to
give a very full and perfect history of every thing relating to Italian
painting, let us view with indulgence those who have employed themselves
in compiling lives so copious, and let those who have time to spare,
beguile it with their perusal. At the same time, due regard should be
paid to that very respectable class of readers, who, in a history of
painting, would rather contemplate the artist than the man; and who are
less solicitous to become acquainted with the character of a single
painter, whose solitary and insulated history cannot prove instructive,
than with the genius, the method, the invention, and the style of a
great number of artists, with their characteristics, their merits, and
their rank, the result of which is a history of the whole art.

To this object there is no one whom I know who has hitherto dedicated
his pen, although it seems to be recommended no less by the passion
indulged by princes for the fine arts, than by the general diffusion of
a knowledge of them among all ranks. The habit of travelling, rendered
more familiar to private persons by the example of many great
sovereigns, the traffic in pictures, now become a branch of commerce
important to Italy, and the philosophic genius of this age, which shuns
prolixity in every study, and requires systematic arrangement, are
additional incentives to the task. It is true that very pleasing and
instructive biographical sketches of the most celebrated painters have
been published by M. d'Argenville, in France; and various epitomes have
since appeared, in which the style of painting alone is discussed.[4]
But without taking into account the corruptions of the names of our
countrymen in which their authors have indulged, or their omission of
celebrated Italians, while they record less eminent artists of other
countries, no work of this sort, and still less any dictionary, can
afford us a systematic history of painting: none of these exhibit those
pictures, if we may be allowed the expression, in which we may, at a
glance, trace the progress and series of events; none of them exhibit
the principal masters of the art in a sufficiently conspicuous point of
view, while inferior artists are reduced to their proper size and
station: far less can we discover in them those epochs and revolutions
of the art, which the judicious reader most anxiously desires to know,
as the source from which he may trace the causes that have contributed
to its revival or its decline; or from which he may be enabled to
recollect the series, and the arrangement of the facts narrated. The
history of painting has a strong analogy to literary, to civil, and to
sacred history; it too requires, from time to time, the aid of certain
beacons, some particular distinction in regard to places, times, or
events, that may serve to divide it into epochs, and mark its successive
stages. Deprive it of these, and it degenerates, like other history,
into a chaos of names more calculated to load the memory than to inform
the understanding.

To supply this hitherto neglected branch of Italian history, to
contribute to the advancement of the art, and to facilitate the study of
the different styles in painting, were the three objects I proposed to
myself when I began the work which I am now about to lay before the
indulgent reader. My intention was to form a compendious history of all
our schools, in two volumes; adopting, with little variation, Pliny's
division of the country into Upper and Lower Italy. It was my design to
comprehend in the first volume the schools of Lower Italy; because in it
the reviving arts came earlier to maturity; and in the second to include
the schools of Upper Italy, which were more tardy in attaining to
celebrity. The first part of my work appeared at Florence in 1792: the
second I was obliged to defer to another opportunity, and the succeeding
years have so shaken my constitution, that I have scarcely been able to
bring it to a conclusion, even with the assistance of many amanuenses
and correctors of the press.[5] One advantage, however, has been derived
from this delay; and that is, a knowledge of the opinion of the public,
a tribunal from which no writer can appeal; and I have been thus enabled
to prepare a new edition conformable to its decision.[6] I have
understood through various channels, that an additional number of names
and of notices were necessary to afford satisfaction to the public; and
this I have accomplished, without abandoning my plan of a compendious
history. Nor does the Florentine edition on this account become useless:
it will even be preferred by many to that published at Bassano; the
inhabitants, for instance, of Lower Italy will be pleased to possess a
work on their most illustrious painters, without concerning themselves
about accounts of other places.

To a new work, then, so much more extensive than the former, I prefix a
preface almost entirely new. The plan is not wholly my own, nor
altogether that of others. Richardson[7] suggested that some historian
should collect the scattered remarks on art, especially on painting, and
should point out its progress and decline through successive ages. He
has not even omitted to give us a sketch, which he brought down to the
time of Giordano. Mengs[8] accomplished the task more perfectly in the
form of a letter, where he judiciously distinguished all the periods of
the art, and has thus laid the foundations of a more enlarged history.
Were I to follow their example, the chief masters of every school would
be considered together, and we should be under the necessity of passing
from one country to another, according as painting acquired a new lustre
from their talents, or was debased by a wrong use of the great example
of those artists. This method might be easily pursued, if the subject
were to be treated in a general point of view, such as Pliny has
considered and transmitted it to posterity; but it is not equally
adapted to the arrangement of a history so fully particular as Italy
seems to require. Besides the styles introduced by the most celebrated
painters, such infinite diversities of a mixed character, often united
with originality of manner, have arisen in every school, that we cannot
easily reduce them to any particular standard: and the same artists at
different periods, and in different pictures, have adopted styles so
various, that at one time they appear imitators of Titian, at another of
Raffaello, or of Correggio. We cannot, therefore, adopt the method of
the naturalist, who having arranged the vegetable kingdom, for example,
in classes more or less numerous, according to the systems of Tournefort
or of Linnæus, can easily reduce a plant, wherever it may happen to
grow, to a particular class, adding a name and description, at once
precise, characteristic, and permanent. In a complete history it is
necessary to distinguish each style from every other: nor do I know any
more eligible method of performing this task, than by composing a
separate history of each school. In this I follow Winckelmann, the best
historian of ancient art in design, who specified as many different
schools as the nations that produced them. A similar plan seems to me to
have been pursued by Rollin, in his History of Nations, who has thus
been enabled to record a prodigious mass of names and events within the
compass of a few volumes, in the clearest order.

The method I follow in treating of each school is analogous to that
prescribed to himself by Sig. Antonio Maria Zanetti,[9] in his _Pittura
Veneziana_, a work of its kind highly instructive, and well arranged.
What he has done, in speaking of his own, I have attempted in the other
schools of Italy. I accordingly omit the names of living painters, and
do not notice every picture of deceased artists, as it would interrupt
the connexion of the narrative, and would render the work too
voluminous, but content myself with commending some of their best
productions. I first give a general character of each school; I then
distinguish it into three, four, or more epochs, according as its style
underwent changes with the change of taste, in the same way that the
eras of civil history are deduced from revolutions in governments, or
other remarkable events. A few celebrated painters, who have swayed the
public taste, and given a new tone to the art, are placed at the head of
each epoch; and their style is particularly described, because the
general and characteristic taste of the age has been formed upon their
models. Their immediate pupils, and other disciples of the school,
follow their great masters; and without a repetition of the general
character, reference is made to what each has borrowed, altered, or
added to the style of the founder of the school, or at most such
character is cursorily noticed. This method, though not susceptible of a
strict chronological order, is, on account of the connexion of ideas,
much better adapted to a history of art than an alphabetic arrangement,
which too frequently interrupts the notices of schools and eras; or than
the method pursued in annals, by which we are often compelled to make
mention of the scholar before the master, should he survive the former;
or that of separate lives, which introduces much repetition, by obliging
the writer to bestow praises on the pupil for the same style which he
also commends in the master, and to notice in each individual that which
was the general character of the age in which he lived.

For the sake of perspicuity, I have generally separated from historical
painters artists in inferior branches, such as painters of portraits, of
landscape, of animals, of flowers and of fruit, of sea-pieces, of
perspectives, of drolls, and all who merit a place in such classes. I
have also taken notice of some arts which are analogous to painting, and
though they differ from it in the materials employed, or the manner of
using them, may still be included in the art; for example, engraving of
prints, inlaid and mosaic work, and embroidering tapestry. Vasari,
Lomazzo, and several other writers on the fine arts, have mentioned
them; and I have followed their example; contenting myself with
noticing, in each of those arts, only what has appeared most worthy of
being recorded. Each might be the subject of a separate work; and some
of them have long had their own peculiar historians, and in particular
the art of engraving. By this method, in which I may boast such great
examples, I am not without hopes of affording satisfaction to my
readers. I am, however, more apprehensive in regard to my selection of
artists; the number of whom, whatsoever method is adopted, may to some
appear by far too limited, and to others too greatly extended. But
criticism will not so readily apply to the names of the most illustrious
artists, whom I have included, nor to those of very inferior character,
whom I trust I have omitted; except a few that have some claim to be
mentioned, from their connexion with celebrated masters.[10] The
accusation then of having noticed some, and omitted others, will apply
to me only on account of artists of a middle class, that can be neither
well reckoned among the senate, the equestrian order, nor vulgar herd of
painters; they constitute the class of mediocrity. The adjustment of
limits is a frequent cause of legal contention; and the subject of art
now under discussion, may be considered like a dispute concerning
boundaries. It may often admit of doubt whether a particular artist
approaches more nearly to the class of merit or of insignificance; which
is, in other words, whether he should or should not obtain a place in a
history of the art. Under such uncertainty, which I have several times
encountered, I have more usually inclined to the side of lenity than of
severity; especially when the artist has been noticed with a degree of
commendation by former authors. We ought to bow to public opinion, which
rarely blames us for noticing mediocrity, but frequently for passing it
over in silence. Books on painting abound with complaints against
Orlandi and Guarienti, for their omissions of certain artists. Still
more frequently are authors censured, when the Guide to a city points
out some altar-piece by a native artist, who is not named in our
Dictionaries of Painting. The describers of collections repeat similar
complaints in regard to every painting bearing the signature of an
artist whose name appears in no work of art. Collectors of prints do the
same when they discover the name of some designer, of whom history is
silent, affixed to an engraving. Thus, were we to consult the opinion of
the public, the majority would be inclined to recommend copiousness,
rather than to express satisfaction at a more discriminating selection
of names. Almost all artists and amateurs belonging to every city, would
be desirous that I should commemorate as many of their second rate
painters as possible; and our selection, therefore, in this respect,
nearly resembles the exercise of justice, which is generally applauded
as long as it visits only the dwellings of others, but is cried down by
each individual when it knocks at his own door. Thus a writer who is
bound to observe impartiality towards every city, can scarcely shew
great severity to artists of mediocrity in any. This too is not without
reason; for to pass mediocrity in silence may be the study of a good
orator, but not the office of a good historian. Cicero himself, in his
treatise _De claris Oratoribus_, has given a place to less eloquent
orators, and it may be observed that, after this example, the literary
history of every people does not merely include its most classic
writers, and those who approached nearest to them; but it adds short and
concise accounts of authors less celebrated; and in the Iliad, which is
a history of the heroic age, there are a few eminent leaders, many
valiant soldiers, and a prodigious crowd of others, whom the poet has
transiently noticed. In our case, it is still more incumbent on the
historian to give mediocrity a place along with the eminent and most
excellent. Many books describe that class in terms so vague, and
sometimes so discordant, that to form a proper estimate of their claims,
we must introduce them among superior artists, as a sort of performers
in third-rate parts. Such, however, I am not solicitous to exhibit very
minutely, more especially when treating of painters in fresco, and
generally of other artists, whose works are now unknown in collections,
or add more to the bulk than the ornament of a gallery. Thus also in
point of number, my work has maintained the character of a compendium:
but if any of my readers, adopting the rigid maxim of Bellori, that, in
the fine arts, as in poetry, mediocrity is not to be tolerated,[11]
should disdain the middle class of artists, he must look for the heads
of schools, and for the most eminent painters: to these he may dedicate
his attention, and turn his regard from the others like one,

  "Cui altra cura stringa e morda
  Che quella di colui che gli è davante."[12]

Having described my plan, let us next consider the three objects
originally proposed, of which the first was to present Italy with a
history that may prove important to her fame. This delightful country is
already indebted to Tiraboschi for a history of her literature, but she
is still in want of a history of her arts. The history of painting, an
art in which she is confessedly without a rival, I propose to supply, or
at least to facilitate the attempt. In some departments of literature,
and of the fine arts, we are equalled, or even surpassed by foreigners;
and in others the palm is yet doubtful: but in painting, universal
consent now yields the triumph to Italian genius, and foreigners are the
more esteemed in proportion to their approach towards us. It is time
then, for the honour of Italy, to collect in one point of view, those
observations on her painting, scattered through upwards of a hundred
volumes, and to embody them in what Horace terms _series et junctura_;
without which the work cannot be pronounced a history. I will not
conceal, that the author of the "History of Italian Literature"
above mentioned, frequently animated me to this undertaking, as a sequel
to his own work. He also wished me to subjoin other anecdotes to those
already published, and to substitute more authentic documents for the
inaccuracies abounding in our Dictionaries of painting. I have attended
to both these objects. The reader will here find various schools never
hitherto illustrated, and an entire school, that of Ferrara, now first
described from the manuscripts of Baruffaldi and of Crespi; and in other
schools he will often observe names of fresh artists, which I have
either collected from ancient MSS.[13] and the correspondence of my
learned friends, or deciphered on old paintings. Although such pictures
are confined to cabinets, it cannot prove useless to extend a more
intimate acquaintance with their authors. The reader will also meet with
many new observations on the origin of painting, and on its diffusion in
Italy, formerly a fruitful subject of debate and contention; and
likewise here and there with some original reflections on the masters,
to whom various disciples may be traced; a branch of history, the most
uncertain of any. Old writers of respectability often mention Raffaello,
Correggio, or some other celebrated artist, as the master of a painter,
without any better foundation than a similarity of style; just as the
credulous heathens imagined one hero to be the son of Hercules, because
he was strong; another of Mercury, because he was ingenious; a third of
Neptune, because he had performed several long voyages. Errors like
these are easily corrected when they are accompanied by some
inadvertency in the writer; as for instance, where he has not been aware
that the age of the disciple does not correspond with that of his
supposed master. Occasionally, however, their detection is attended with
more difficulty; and in particular when the artist, whose reputation is
wholly founded upon that of his master, represented himself in foreign
parts, as the disciple of men of celebrity, whom he scarcely knew by
sight. Of this we have an example in Agostino Tassi, and more recently
in certain _soidisant_ disciples of Mengs; to whom it scarcely appears
that he ever so much as said, "_Gentlemen, how do you do_?"

Finally, the reader will find some less obvious notices relating to the
name, the country, and the age of different artists. The deficiency of
our Dictionaries in interesting names, together with their inaccuracy,
are common subjects of complaint. I can excuse the compilers of these
works; I know how easily we may be misled in regard to names which have
been often gathered from vulgar report, or even from authors who differ
in point of orthography, some giving opposite readings of the same name.
But it is quite necessary that such mistakes should once for all be
cleared up. The index of this work will form a new Dictionary of
Painters, certainly more copious, and perhaps more accurate than usual,
although it might be still further improved, especially by consulting
archives and manuscripts.[14]

The second object which I had in view was to advance the interests of
the art as much as lay in my power. It was of old observed that examples
have a more powerful influence on the arts than any precepts can
possess; and this is particularly true in respect to painting. Whoever
writes history upon the model of the learned ancients, ought not only to
narrate events, but to investigate their secret sources and their
causes. Now these will be here developed, tracing the progress of
painting as it advanced or declined in each school; and these causes
being invariable, point out the means of its improvement, by shewing
what ought to be pursued and what avoided. Such observations are not of
importance to the artist alone, but have a reference also to other
individuals. In the Roman school, during its second epoch, I perceive
that the progress of the arts invariably depends on certain principles
universally adopted in that age, according to which artists worked, and
the public decided. A general history, by pointing out the best maxims
of art, may contribute considerably to make them known and regarded; and
hence artists can execute, and others approve or direct, on principles
no longer uncertain and questionable, nor deduced from the manner of a
particular school, but founded on maxims unerring and established, and
strengthened by the uniform practice of all schools and all ages. We may
add, that in a history so diversified, numerous examples occur suited to
the genius of different students, who have often to lament their want of
success from this circumstance alone, that they had neglected to follow
the path in which nature had destined them to tread. On the influence of
examples I shall add no more: should any one be desirous also of
precepts under every school, he will find them given, not indeed by me,
but by those who have written more ably on the art, and whom I have
diligently consulted with regard to different masters, as I shall
hereafter mention.

My third object was to facilitate an acquaintance with the various
styles of painting. The artist or amateur indeed, who has studied the
manner of all ages and of every school, on meeting with a picture can
very readily assign it, if not to a particular master, at least to a
certain style, much as antiquarians, from a consideration of the paper
and the characters, are enabled to assign a manuscript to a particular
era; or as critics conjecture the age and place in which an anonymous
author flourished, from his phraseology. With similar lights we proceed
to investigate the school and era of artists; and by a diligent
examination of prints, drawings, and other relics belonging to the
period, we at length determine the real author. Much of the uncertainty,
with regard to pictures, arises from a similitude between the style of
different masters: these I collect together under one head, and remark
in what one differs from the other. Ambiguity often arises from
comparing different works of the same painter, when the style of some of
them does not seem to accord with his general manner, nor with the great
reputation he may have acquired. On account of such uncertainty, I
usually point out the master of each artist, because all at the outset
imitate the example offered by their teachers; and I, moreover, note the
style formed, and adhered to by each, or abandoned for another manner; I
sometimes mark the age in which he lived, and his greater or less
assiduity in his profession. By an attentive consideration of such
circumstances, we may avoid pronouncing a picture spurious, which may
have been painted in old age, or negligently executed. Who, for
instance, would receive as genuine all the pictures of Guido, were it
not known that he sometimes affected the style of Caracci, of Calvart,
or of Caravaggio; and at other times pursued a manner of his own, in
which, however, he was often very unequal, as he is known to have
painted three or four different pieces in a single day? Who would
suppose that the works of Giordano were the production of the same
artist, if it were not known that he aspired to diversify his style, by
adopting the manner of various ancient artists? These are indeed well
known facts, but how many are there yet unnoted that are not unworthy of
being related, if we wish to avoid falling into error? Such will be
found noticed in my work, among other anecdotes of the various masters,
and the different styles.

I am aware that to become critically acquainted with the diversity of
styles is not the ultimate object to which the travels and the eager
solicitude of the connoisseur aspire. His object is to make himself
familiar with the handling of the most celebrated masters, and to
distinguish copies from originals. Happy should I be, could I promise to
accomplish so much! Even they might consider themselves fortunate, who
dedicate their lives to such pursuits, were they enabled to discover any
short, general, and certain rules for infallibly determining this
delicate point! Many rely much upon history for the truth. But how
frequently does it happen that the authority of an historian is cited in
favour of a family picture, or an altar-piece, the original of which
having been disposed of by some of the predecessors, and a copy
substituted in its place, the latter is supposed to be a genuine
painting! Others seem to lay great stress on the importance of places,
and hesitate to raise doubts respecting any specimen they find contained
in royal and select galleries, assuming that they really belong to the
artists referred to in the gallery descriptions and catalogues. But here
too they are liable to mistake; inasmuch as many private individuals, as
well as princes, unable to purchase ancient pictures at any price,
contented themselves with such copies of their imitators as approached
nearest to the old masters. Some indeed were made by professors
purposely despatched by princes in search of them; as in the instance of
Rodolph I., who employed Giuseppe Enzo, a celebrated copyist. (See
Boschini, p. 62, and Orlandi, on Gioseffo Ains di Berna.) External
proofs, therefore, are insufficient, without adding a knowledge of
different manners. The acquisition of such discrimination is the fruit
only of long experience, and deep reflection on the style of each
master: and I shall endeavour to point out the manner in which it may be

To judge of a master we must attend to his design, and this is to be
acquired from his drawings, from his pictures, or, at least, from
accurate engravings after them. A good connoisseur in prints is more
than half way advanced in the art of judging pictures; and he who aims
at this must study engravings with unremitting assiduity. It is thus his
eye becomes familiarized to the artist's method of delineating and
foreshortening the figure, to the air of his heads and the casting of
his draperies; to that action, that peculiarity of conception, of
disposing, and of contrasting, which are habitual to his character. Thus
is he, as it were, introduced to the different families of youths, of
children, of women, of old men, and of individuals in the vigour of
life, which each artist has adopted as his own, and has usually
exhibited in his pictures. We cannot be too well versed in such matters,
so minute or almost insensible are the distinctions between the
imitators of one master, (such as Michelangiolo, for example,) who have
perhaps studied the same cartoon, or the same statues, and, as it were,
learned to write after the same model.

More originality is generally to be discovered in colouring, a branch of
the art formed by a painter rather on his own judgment, than by
instruction. The amateur can never attain experience in this branch who
has not studied many pictures by the same master; who has not observed
his selection of colours, his method of separating, of uniting, and of
subduing them; what are his local tints, and what the general tone that
harmonizes the colours he employs. This tint, however clear and silvery
in Guido and his followers, bright and golden in Titiano and his school,
and thus of the rest, has still as many modifications as there are
masters in the art. The same remark extends to middle tints and to
chiaroscuro, in which each artist employs a peculiar method.

These are qualities which catch the eye at a distance, yet they will not
always enable the critic to decide with certainty; whether, for
instance, a certain picture is the production of Vinci, or Luini, who
imitated him closely; whether another be an original picture by Barocci,
or an exact copy from the hand of Vanni. In such cases judges of art
approach closer to the picture with a determination to examine it with
the same care and accuracy as are employed in a judicial question, upon
the recognition of hand-writing. Fortunately for society, nature has
granted to every individual a peculiar character in this respect, which
it is not easy to counterfeit, nor to mistake for any other person's
writing. The hand, habituated to move in a peculiar manner, always
retains it: in old age the characters may be more slowly traced, may
become more negligent or more heavy; but the form of the letters remains
the same. So it is in painting. Every artist not only retains this
peculiarity, but one is distinguished by a full charged pencil; another
by a dry but neat finish; the work of one exhibits blended tints, that
of another distinct touches; and each has his own manner of laying on
the colours:[16] but even in regard to what is common to so many, each
has a peculiar handling and direction of the pencil, a marking of his
lines more or less waved, more or less free, and more or less studied,
by which those truly skilled from long experience are enabled, after a
due consideration of all circumstances, to decide who was the real
author. Such judges do not fear a copyist, however excellent. He will,
perhaps, keep pace with his model for a certain time, but not always; he
may sometimes shew a free, but commonly a timid, servile, and meagre
pencil; he will not be long able, with a free hand, to keep his own
style concealed under the manner of another, more especially in regard
to less important points, such as the penciling of the hair, and in the
fore- and back-grounds of the picture.[17] Certain observations on the
canvas and the priming ground may sometimes assist inquiry; and hence
some have endeavoured to attain greater certainty by a chemical analysis
of the colours. Diligence is ever laudable when exerted on a point so
nice as ascertaining the hand-work of a celebrated master. It may
prevent our paying ten guineas for what may not be worth two; or placing
in a choice collection pictures that will not do it credit; while to the
curious it affords scientific views, instead of creating prejudices that
often engender errors. That mistakes should happen is not surprising. A
true connoisseur is still more rare than a good artist. His skill is the
result of only indirect application; it is acquired amidst other
pursuits, and divides the attention with other objects; the means of
attaining it fall to the lot of few; and still fewer practise it
successfully. Among the number of the last I do not reckon myself. By
this work I pretend not, I repeat it, to form an accomplished
connoisseur in painting: my object is to facilitate and expedite the
acquisition of such knowledge. The history of painting is the basis of
connoisseurship; by combining it, I supersede the necessity of referring
to many books; by abbreviating it I save the time and labour of the
student; and by arranging it in a proper manner on every occasion, I
present him with the subject ready prepared and developed before him.

It remains, in the last place, that I should give some account of
myself; of the criticisms that I, who am not an artist, have ventured to
pass upon each painter: and, indeed, if the professors of the art had as
much leisure and experience in writing as they have ability, every
author might resign to them the field. The propriety of technical terms,
the abilities of artists, and the selection of specimens of art, are
usually better understood, even by an indifferent artist, than by the
learned connoisseur: but since those occupied in painting have not
sufficient leisure to write, others, assisted by them, may be permitted
to undertake the office.[18]

By the mutual assistance which the painter has afforded to the man of
letters, and the man of letters to the artist, the history of painting
has been greatly advanced. The merits of the best painters are already
so ably discussed that a modern historian can treat the subject
advantageously. The criticisms I most regard are those that come
directly from professors of the art. We meet with few from the pen of
Raphael, of Titian, of Poussin, and of other great masters; such as
exist, however, I regard as most precious, and deserving the most
careful preservation; for, in general, those who can best perform can
likewise judge the best. Vasari, Lomazzo, Passeri, Ridolfi, Boschini,
Zanotti, and Crespi, require, perhaps, to be narrowly watched in some
passages where they allowed themselves to be surprised by a spirit of
party: but, on the whole, they have an undoubted right to dictate to us,
because they were themselves painters. Bellori, Baldinucci, Count
Malvasia, Count Tassi, and similar writers, hold an inferior rank; but
are not wholly destitute of authority: for though mere _dilettanti_,
they have collected both the opinions of professors and of the public.
This will at present suffice, with regard to the historians of the art:
we shall notice each of them particularly under the school which he has

In pronouncing a criticism upon each artist I have adopted the plan of
Baillet, the author of a voluminous history of works on taste, where he
does not so frequently give his own opinion as that of others.
Accordingly, I have collected the various remarks of connoisseurs, which
were scattered through the pages of history; but I have not always cited
my authorities, lest I should add too much to the dimensions of my
book;[19] nor have I regarded their opinion when they seemed to me to
have been influenced by prejudice. I have availed myself of the
observations of some approved critics, like Borghini, Fresnoy,
Richardson, Bottari, Algarotti, Lazzarini, and Mengs; with others who
have rather criticised our painters than written their lives. I have
also respected the opinions of living critics, by consulting different
professors in Italy: to them I have submitted my manuscript; I have
followed their advice, especially when it related to design, or any
other department of painting, in which artists are almost the only
adequate judges. I have conversed with many connoisseurs, who, in some
points, are not less skilful than the professors of the art, and are
even consulted by artists with advantage; as, for instance, on the
suitableness of the subject, on the propriety of the invention and the
expression, on the imitation of the antique, on the truth of the
colouring. Nor have I failed to study the greatest part of the best
productions of the schools of Italy; and to inform myself in the
different cities what rank their least known painters hold among their
connoisseurs; persuaded, as I am, that the most accurate opinion of any
artist is formed where the greatest number of his works are to be seen,
and where he is most frequently spoken of by his fellow citizens and by
strangers. In this way, also, I have been enabled to do justice to the
merits of several artists who had been passed over, either because the
historian of their school had never beheld their productions, or had
merely met with some early and trivial specimens in one city, being
unacquainted with the more perfect and mature specimens they had
produced elsewhere.

Notwithstanding my diligence I do not presume to offer this as a work to
which much might not be added. It has never happened that a history,
embracing so many objects, is at once produced perfect; though it may
gradually be rendered so. The history earliest in point of time,
becomes, in the end, the least in authority; and its greatest merit is
in having paved the way to more finished performances. Perfection is
still less to be expected in a compendium. The reader is here presented
with the names of many artists and authors; but many others might have
been admitted, whom want of leisure or opportunity, but not of respect,
has obliged us to omit. Here he will find a variety of opinions; but to
these many others might have been added. There is no man, of whom all
think alike. Baillet, just before mentioned, is a proof of this, with
regard to writers on literary subjects; and he who thinks the task
worthy of his pains might demonstrate it much more fully with respect to
different painters. Each judges by principles peculiar to himself:
Bonarruoti stigmatized as drivelling, Pietro Perugino and Francia, both
luminaries of the art; Guido, if we may credit history, was disapproved
of by Cortona; Caravaggio by Zucchero; Guercino by Guido; and, what
seems more extraordinary, Domenichino by most of the artists who
flourished at Rome, when he painted his finest pictures.[20] Had these
artists written of their rivals they either would have condemned them,
or spoken less favourably of them than unprejudiced individuals. Hence
it is that connoisseurs will frequently be found to approach nearer the
truth, in forming their estimate, than artists; the former adopt the
impartial feelings of the public, while the latter allow themselves to
be influenced by motives of envy or of prejudice. Innumerable similar
disputes are still maintained concerning several artists, who, like
different kinds of aliment, are found to be disagreeable or grateful to
different palates. To hold the happy mean, exempted from all party
spirit, is as impossible as to reconcile the opinions of mankind, which
are as multifarious as are the individuals of the species.

Amid such discrepancy of opinion I have judged it expedient to avoid the
most controverted points; in others, to subscribe to the decision of the
majority; to allow to each his particular opinion;[21] but not, if
possible, to disappoint the reader, desirous of learning what is most
authentic and generally received. Ancient writers appear to have pursued
this plan when treating of the professors of any art, in which they
themselves were mere amateurs; nor could it arise from any other
circumstance that Cicero, Pliny, and Quintilian, express themselves upon
the Greek artists in the same manner. Their opinions coincide, because
that of the public was unanimous. I am aware that it is difficult to
obtain the opinion of the public concerning the more modern artists, but
it is not difficult with regard to those on whom much has been already
written. I am also aware that public opinion accords not at all times
with truth, because "it often happens to incline to the wrong side of
the question." This, however, is a rare occurrence in the fine arts,[22]
nor does it militate against an historian who aims more at fidelity of
narrative, and impartiality of public opinion, than the discussion of
the relative merit or correctness of tastes.

My work is divided into six volumes; and I commence by treating in the
two first volumes of that part of Italy, which, through the genius of Da
Vinci, Michelangiolo, and Raffaello, became first conspicuous, and first
exhibited a decided character in painting. Those artists were the
ornaments of the Florentine and Roman schools, from which I proceed to
two others, the Sienese and Neapolitan. About the same time Giorgione,
Tiziano, and Coreggio, began to flourish in Italy; three artists, who as
much advanced the art of colouring, as the former improved design; and
of these luminaries of Upper Italy I treat in the third and fourth
volumes; since the number of the names of artists, and the many
additions to this new impression, have induced me to devote two volumes
to their merits. Then follows the school of Bologna, in which the
attempt was made to unite the excellences of all the other schools: this
commences the fifth volume; and on account of proximity it is succeeded
by that of Ferrara, and Upper and Lower Romagna. The school of Genoa,
which was late in acquiring celebrity, succeeds, and we conclude with
that of Piedmont, which, though it cannot boast so long a succession of
artists as those of the other states, has merits sufficient to entitle
it to a place in a history of painting. Thus the five most celebrated
schools will be treated of in the order in which they arose; in like
manner as the ancient writers on painting began with the Asiatic school,
which was followed by the Grecian, and this last was subdivided into the
Attic and Sicyonian; to which in process of time succeeded the Roman
school.[23] The sixth and last volume contains an ample index to the
whole, quite indispensable to render the work more extensively useful,
and to give it its full advantage. In assigning artists to any school I
have paid more regard to other circumstances than the place of their
nativity; to their education, their style, their place of residence in
particular, and the instruction of their pupils: circumstances, indeed,
which are sometimes found so blended and confused, that several cities
may contend for one painter, as they are said to have done for Homer. In
such cases I do not pretend to decide; the object of my labours being
only to trace the vicissitudes of the art in various places, and to
point out those artists who have exercised an influence over them; not
to determine disputes, unpleasant in themselves, and wholly foreign to
my undertaking.

[Footnote 2: See Algarotti, _Saggio sopra la Pittura_, in the chapter
_Della critica necessaria al Pittore_.]

[Footnote 3: For this fault, which the Greeks used to call _Acribia_,
Pascoli has been sharply reproved. He has, in fact, informed us which
among the several artists could boast a becoming and proportionate nose,
which had it short or long, aquiline or snubbed, very sharp or very
hollow. He most generally observes that such an artist was neither tall
nor large of stature, neither handsome nor plain in his physiognomy; and
who would have thought it worth his while to inquire about it? The sole
utility that can possibly attend such inquiries is, the chance of
detecting some impostor, who might attempt to palm upon us for a genuine
portrait the likeness of some other individual. Engravings, however, are
the best security against similar impositions.]

[Footnote 4: In the Magasin Encyclopédique of Paris, (An. viii. tom. iv.
p. 63), there is a work in two volumes, edited in the German language at
Gottingen, announced as well as commended. The first volume is dated
1798, the second 1801, from the pen of note the learned Sig. Florillo,
the title of which we insert in the second index. It consists of a
history of painting upon the plan of the present one; but there is some
variation in the order of the schools.]

[Footnote 5: It was finished in the year 1796, and it is now given, with
various additions and corrections throughout. Many churches, galleries,
and pictures, are here mentioned which are no longer in existence; but
this does not interfere with its truth, inasmuch as the title of the
work is confined to the before mentioned year. Numerous friends have
lent me their assistance in the completion of this edition, and in
particular the cavalier Gio. de' Lazara, a gentleman of Padua, who
possesses a rich collection, both in books and MSS., and displays the
utmost liberality in affording others the use of them. To this merit, in
regard to the present work, he has likewise added that of revising and
correcting it through the press, a favour which I could not have more
highly estimated from any other hand, deeply versed as he is in the
history of the fine arts.]

[Footnote 6: "Ut enim pictores, et qui signa faciunt, et vero etiam
poetæ suum quisque opus à vulgo considerari vult, ut si quid reprehensum
sit à pluribus id corrigatur ... sic aliorum judicio permulta nobis et
facienda et non facienda, et mutanda et corrigenda sunt." Cicero De
Officiis, ii. c. 41.]

[Footnote 7: Treatise on Painting, tom. ii. p. 166.]

[Footnote 8: Opere, tom. ii. p. 108.]

[Footnote 9: A learned Venetian, skilled in the practice of design and
of painting. He must not be confounded with Antonio Maria Zanetti, an
eminent engraver, who revived the art of taking prints from wooden
blocks with more than one colour, which was invented by Ugo da Carpi,
but afterwards lost. He also wrote works, serviceable to the fine arts;
and several of his letters may be seen in the second volume of _Lettere
Pittoriche_. They are subscribed _Antonio Maria Zanetti, q. Erasmo_; but
this is an error of the editor: it ought to be _q. Girolamo_, to
distinguish him from the other, who was called _del q. Alessandro_. This
mistake was detected by the accurate Vianelli, in his Diario della
Carriera, p. 49.]

[Footnote 10: An amateur, who happens to be unacquainted with the fact,
that there were various artists of the same name, as the Vecelli,
Bassani, and Caracci, will never become properly acquainted with these
families of painters; neither will he be competent to judge of certain
pictures, which only attract the regard of the vulgar, because they
truly boast the reputation of a great name.]

[Footnote 11: I do not admit this principle. Horace laid it down for the
art of poetry alone, because it is a faculty that perishes when it
ceases to give delight. Architecture, on the other hand, confers vast
utility when it does not please, by presenting us with habitations; and
painting, and sculpture, by preserving the features of men, and
illustrious actions. Besides, let us recollect, that Horace denounces
the production of inferior verses, because there is not space enough for
them; "Non concessere columnæ," but it is not so with paintings of
mediocrity. In any country Petrarch, Ariosto, and Tasso, may be read,
and he who has never read a poor poet, will write better than if he had
read a hundred. But it is not every one who can boast either in the
houses or temples of his country, of possessing the works of good
artists; and for purposes of worship or of ornament, the less excellent
ones may suffice; wherefore these also produce some advantage.]

[Footnote 12: Like one who thinks of some other person than he that is
before him.]

[Footnote 13: For the improvement of my latest edition, I am greatly
indebted to the Prince Filippo Ercolani, who, having purchased from the
heirs of Signor Marcello Oretti fifty-two manuscript volumes, which that
indefatigable amateur, in the course of his studies, journeys, and
observations, had compiled respecting the professors of the fine arts,
their eras, and their labours, allowed materials to be drawn from them
for various notes, by the Sig. Lazara, who superintended the edition. To
the devoted attachment of these gentlemen to the fine arts, the public
are indebted for much information, either wholly new, or hitherto little

[Footnote 14: Vasari, from whom several epochs are taken, is full of
errors in dates, as may be every where perceived. See Bottari's note on
tom. ii. p. 79. The same observation applies generally to other authors,
as Bottari remarks in a note on _Lettere Pittoriche_, tom. iv. p. 366. A
similar objection is made to the Dictionary of P. Orlandi in another
letter, tom. ii. p. 318, where it is termed "a useful work, but so full
of errors, that one can derive no benefit from it without possessing the
books there quoted." After three editions of this work, a fourth was
printed in Venice, in 1753, corrected and enlarged by Guarienti, "but
enough still remains to be done after his additions, even to increase it
twofold." Bottari, Lett. Pitt. tom. iii. p. 353. See also Crespi _Vite
de' Pittori Bolognesi_, p. 50. No one, who has not perused this book,
would believe how often he defaces Orlandi in presuming to correct him;
multiplying artists for every little difference with which authors wrote
the name of the same man. Thus Pier Antonio Torre, and Antonio Torri, are
with him two different men. Many of the articles, however, added by him,
relating to artists unknown to P. Orlandi, are useful; so that this
second Dictionary ought to be consulted with caution, not altogether
rejected. The last edition, printed at Florence, in two volumes,
contains the names of many painters, either lately dead, or still
living, and often of very inferior merit, and on this account is little
noticed in my history. This Dictionary, moreover, affords little
satisfaction to the reader concerning the old masters, unless he possess
a work printed at Florence in twelve volumes, entitled _Serie degli
Uomini più illustri in Pittura_, to which the articles in it often
refer. The Dizionario Portatile, by Mr. La Combe, is also a book of
reference, not very valuable to those who look for exact information. We
give a single instance of his inaccuracy in regard to the elder Palma;
but our emendations have been chiefly directed towards the writers of
Italy, from whom foreigners have, or ought to have borrowed, in writing
respecting our artists.]

[Footnote 15: See Mr. Richardson's _Treatise on Painting_, tom. ii. p.
58; and M. D'Argenville's _Abrégé de la Vie des plus fameux Peintres_,
tom. i. p. 65.]

[Footnote 16: "Some made use of pure colours, without blending one with
the other; a practice well understood in the age of Titiano: others, as
Coreggio, adopted a method totally opposite: he laid on his admirable
colours in such a manner, that they appear as if they had been breathed
without effort on the canvas; so soft and so clear, without harshness of
outline, and so relieved, that he seems the rival of nature. The elder
Palma and Lorenzo Lotto coloured freshly, and finished their pictures as
highly as Giovanni Bellini; but they have loaded and overwhelmed them
with outline and softness in the style of Titiano and Giorgione. Some
others, as Tintoretto, to a purity of colour not inferior to the artists
above mentioned, have added a boldness as grand as it is astonishing;"
&c. Baldinucci, Lett. Pittor. tom. ii. lett. 126.]

[Footnote 17: See Baldinucci in _Lett. Pittor._ tom. ii. lett. 126, and
one by Crespi, tom. iv. lett. 162.]

[Footnote 18: We must recollect that "de pictore, sculptore, fusore,
judicare nisi artifex non potest," (Plin. Jun. i. epist. 10); which must
be understood of certain refinements of the art that may escape the eye
of the most learned connoisseur. But have we any need of a painter to
whisper in our ear whether the features of a figure are handsome or
ugly, its colouring false or natural, whether it has harmony and
expression, or whether its composition be in the Roman or Venetian
taste? And where it is really expedient to have the opinion of an
artist, which we therefore report as we have either read it or heard it,
will that opinion have less authority in my pages than on his own

[Footnote 19: Abundance of quotations, and descriptions of the minutest
particulars from rarer works is a characteristic of the present day, to
which I think I have sufficiently conformed in my second Index. But in a
history expressly composed to instruct and please, I have judged it
right not to interrupt the thread of the narrative too frequently with
different authorities. The works from which I draw my account of each
artist are indicated in the body of the history and in the first index:
to make continual allusion to them might please a few, but would prove
very disagreeable to many.]

[Footnote 20: Pietro da Cortona told Falconieri that when the celebrated
picture of S. Girolamo della Carità was exhibited, "it was so abused by
all the eminent painters, of whom many then flourished, that he himself
joined in its condemnation, in order to save his credit." See
Falconieri, Lett. Pittor. tom. ii. lett. 17. He continues: "Is not the
tribune of the church of S. Andrea della Valle, ornamented by
Domenichino, among the finest specimens of painting in fresco? and yet
they talked of sending masons with hammers to knock it down after he had
displayed it. When Domenichino afterwards passed through the church, he
stopped with his scholars to view it; and, shrugging up his shoulders,
observed, 'After all, I do not think the picture so badly executed.'"]

[Footnote 21: The most singular and novel opinions concerning our
painters are contained in the volumes published by M. Cochin, who is
confuted in the _Guides_ to the cities of Padua and Parma, and is often
convicted of erroneous statements in matter of fact. He is reproved,
with regard to Bologna, by Crespi, in Lett. Pittor. tom. vii.; and for
what he has said of Genoa, by Ratti, in the lives of the painters of
that city. Commencing with his preface, they point out the grossest
errors in Cochin. It is there also observed that his work was
disapproved of by Watellet, by Clerisseau, and other French connoisseurs
then living: nor do I believe it would have pleased Filibien, De Piles,
and such masters of the critical art. Italy also, at a later period, has
produced a book, which aims at overturning the received opinions on
subjects connected with the fine arts. It is entitled _Arte di vedere
secondo i principii di Sulzer e di Mengs_. The author, who in certain
periodical works at Rome, was called the modern Diogenes, has been
honoured with various confutations. (See _Lettera in Difesa del Cav.
Ratti_, p. 11.) Authors like these launch their extravagant opinions,
for the purpose of attracting the gaze of the world; but men of letters,
if they cannot pass them over in silence, ought not to be very anxious
to gratify their wishes--"Opinionum commenta delet dies." _Cicero._]

[Footnote 22: Of Apelles himself Pliny observes, "Vulgum diligentiorem
judicem quam se præferens." Examine also Carlo Dati in _Vite de' Pittori
Antichi_, p. 99, where he proves, by authority and examples, that
judgment, in the imitative arts, is not confined to the learned. See
also Junius, _De Pictura Veterum_, lib. i. cap. 5.]

[Footnote 23: See Mons. Agucchi, in a fragment preserved by Bellori, in
_Vite de' Pittori, Scultori, e Architetti moderni_, p. 190.]


Luigi Lanzi was born in the year 1732, at Monte dell' Olmo, in the
diocese of Fermo, of an ancient family, which is said to have enjoyed
some of the chief honours of the municipality to which it belonged. His
father was a physician, and also a man of letters: his mother, a truly
excellent and pious woman, was allied to the family of the Firmani. How
deeply sensible the subject of this memoir was of the advantages he
derived, in common with many illustrious characters, from early maternal
precepts and direction, he has shewn in a beautiful Latin elegy to her
memory, which appeared in his work, entitled _Inscriptionum et

Possessed of a naturally lively and penetrating turn of mind, he began
early to investigate the merits of the great writers of his own country;
alike in poetry, in history, and in art. His poetical taste was formed
on the models of Petrarch and of Dante, and he was accustomed, while yet
a child, to repeat their finest passages to his father, an enthusiastic
admirer of Italy's old poets, who took pride in cultivating the same
fervour in the mind of his son, a fervour of which in more northern
climates, we can form little idea. His imitations of these early poets,
whose spirit he first imbibed at the fountain head, before he grew
familiar with the corrupt and tasteless compositions of succeeding eras,
are said to have frequently been so bold and striking, as to deceive the
paternal eye. To these, too, he was perhaps mainly indebted for that
energy of feeling, and solidity of judgment, as well as that richness of
illustration and allusion, which confer attractions upon his most
serious and elaborate works. He was no less intimate with the best
political and literary historians at an early age; with Machiavelli,
Davila, and Guicciardini; with Muratori and Tiraboschi; whose respective
compositions he was destined to rival in the world of art.

Lanzi's first studies were pursued in the Jesuits' College at Fermo,
where an Italian Canzone, written in praise of the Beata Vergine, is
said to have acquired for him, as a youth of great promise, the highest
degree of regard. Under the care of his spiritual instructor, father
Raimondo Cunich, Lanzi likewise became deeply versed in all the
excellences of classical literature, not as a vain parade of words and
syllables; for along with the technical skill of the scholar, he imbibed
the spirit of the ancient writers. In his succeeding philosophical and
mathematical studies he was assisted by Father Boscovich, one of the
first mathematicians of his day. Thus to a keen and fertile intellect,
animated by enthusiasm for true poetry and the beauties of art, was
added that regular classical and scientific learning, inducing a love of
order and of truth, capable of applying the clear logic derived from
Euclid to advantage, in subjects of a less tangible and demonstrative
nature. The value of such preliminary acquirements to the examination of
antiquarian and scientific remains, which can only be conducted on
uncertain data and a calculation of possibilities, as in ancient
specimens of art, can bear no question; and of this truth Lanzi was
fully aware. To feel rightly, to reason clearly, to decide upon
probabilities, to distinguish degrees, resemblances, and differences,
comparing and weighing the whole with persevering accuracy; these were
among the essentials which Lanzi conceived requisite to prepare a writer
upon works of art.

These qualities, too, will be found finely relieved and elevated by
frequent and appropriate passages of eloquent feeling; flowing from that
sincere veneration for his subject, and that love which may be termed
the religion of the art to which he became so early attached. How
intimately such a spirit is connected with the best triumphs of the art
of painting, is seen in the angelic faces of Da Vinci, of Raffaello, and
Coreggio; and the same enthusiasm must have been felt by a true critic,
such as Lanzi. Far, however, from impeding him in the acquisition of his
stores of antiquarian knowledge, and in his scientific arrangements, his
enthusiasm conferred upon him only an incredible degree of diligence and
despatch. He was at once enabled to decipher the age and character, to
arrange in its proper class, and to give the most exact description of
every object of art which passed under his review.

Lanzi thus came admirably prepared to his great task, one of the most
complete models of sound historical composition, of which the modern age
can boast. It was written in the full maturity of his powers; no hasty
or isolated undertaking, it followed a series of other excellent
treatises, all connected with some branches of the subject, and
furnishing materials for his grand design. Circumstances further
contributed to promote his views. Shortly after the dissolution of the
order of Jesuits, to which he belonged, he was recommended by his friend
Fabroni, prior of the church of S. Lorenzo, to the grand duke Leopold of
Florence, who, in 1775, appointed him to the care of his cabinet of
medals and gems, in the gallery of Florence. This gave rise to one of
his first publications, entitled, _A Description of the Florentine
Gallery_, which he sent in 1782 to the same friend, Angiolo Fabroni,
then General Provveditore of the Studio at Pisa, and who conducted the
celebrated Literary Journal of that place, in which Lanzi's DESCRIPTION

His next dissertation, still more enriched with antiquarian illustration
and research, was his Essay on the _Ancient Italian dialects_, which
contains a curious account of old Etruscan monuments, and the ducal
collection of classical vases and urns. This was followed by his
_Preliminary Notices respecting the Sculpture of the Ancients, and their
various Styles_, put forth in the year 1789, in which he pursues the
same plan which he subsequently perfected in the history before us, of
allotting to each style its respective epochs, to each epoch its
peculiar characters, these last being exemplified by their leading
professors, most celebrated in history. He farther adduces examples of
his system as he proceeds, from the various cabinets of the Royal
Museum, which he explains to the reader as a part of his chief design in
illustrating them. He enters largely into the origin and character of
the Etruscan School, and examines very fully the criticisms, both on
ancient and Italian art, by Winckelmann and Mengs.

From the period of these publications, the Grand Duke, entertaining a
high opinion of Lanzi's judgment, was in the habit of consulting him
before he ventured to add any new specimens to his cabinet of
antiquities. He was also entrusted with a fresh arrangement of some new
cabinets belonging to the gallery, which together with the latter, he
finally completed, on a system which it is said never fails to awaken
the admiration of all scientific visitors at Florence. During this task,
his attention had been particularly directed to the interpretation of
the monuments and Etruscan inscriptions contained in the ducal gallery,
which, together with the ancient Tuscan, the Umbrian, and other obsolete
dialects, soon grew familiar to him, and led to the composition of his
celebrated _Essay upon the Tuscan Tongue_. For the purpose of more
complete research and illustration, he obtained permission from the duke
to visit Rome, in order to consult the museums, and prepare the way for
his essay, which he published there in 1789; a work of immense erudition
and research.

It was here Lanzi first appeared as the most profound antiquarian of
modern Italy, by his successful explanation of some ancient Etruscan
inscriptions and remains of art, which had baffled the skill of a number
of his most distinguished countrymen. Upon presenting it to the grand
duke, after his return from Rome, Lanzi was immediately appointed his
head antiquary and director of the Florentine gallery; while the city of
Gubbio raised him to the rank of their first patrician order, on account
of his successful elucidation of the famous Eugubine Tables. In one of
his _Dissertations upon a small Tuscan Urn_, he triumphantly refuted
some charges which had been invidiously advanced against him, and
defended his principles of antiquarian illustration by retorting the
charge of fallacy upon his adversaries.

In the year 1790, Lanzi, at the request of the Gonfaloniere and priors
of Monte dell'Olino, published an inquiry into the _Condition and Site
of Pausula, an ancient City of Piceno_; said to be written with
surprising ingenuity, yet with equal fairness; uninfluenced by any
prejudices arising from national partiality, or from the nature of the
commission with which he had been honoured. This was speedily followed
by a much more important undertaking, connected with the prosecution of
his great design, which it would appear he had already for some time

During the period of his travels through Italy in pursuit of
antiquities, he had carefully collected materials for a general History
of Painting, which was meant to comprize, in a compendious form,
whatever should be found scattered throughout the numerous authors who
had written upon the art. These materials, as well as the work itself,
had gradually grown upon his hands, as might be expected from a man so
long accustomed to method, to criticism, to perspicuity; in short, to
every quality requisite in the philosophical treatment of a great
subject. The artists and literati of Italy, then, were not a little
surprised at the appearance of the first portion of the _Storia
Pittorica_, comprehending _Lower Italy; or the Florentine, Sienese,
Roman, and Neapolitan Schools, reduced to a compendious and methodical
form_, _adapted to facilitate a knowledge of Professors and of their
Styles, for the lovers of the art_. It was dedicated to the grand
duchess Louisa Maria of Bourbon, in a style, observes the Cav. Bossi,
"which recalls to mind the letters of Pliny to Trajan, composed with
mingled dignity and respect; with genuine feeling, and with true, not
imaginary, commendations." _Elogio_, p. 127.

But the unfeigned pleasure and admiration expressed in the world of
literature and art, on being presented with the Pictorial History of
Lower Italy, was almost equalled by its disappointment at the delay
experienced with regard to the appearance of the second part; and which
it was feared would never see the light. Lanzi's state of health had,
some time subsequent to 1790, been very precarious; and he suffered
severely from a distressing complaint,[25] which frequently interrupted
his travels in which he was then engaged, collecting further materials
for his History of Painting in Upper Italy. While thus employed, on his
return from Genoa in December, 1793, he experienced a first attack of
apoplexy, as he was passing the mountains of Massa and Carrara. After
his recovery, and return to Florence, he was advised in the ensuing
spring to visit the baths of Albano, which being situated near Bassano,
afforded him an opportunity of superintending the publication of his
history, in the Remondini Press, and on a more extensive scale than he
had at first contemplated. He likewise obtained permission from the
grand duke Leopold to absent himself, during some time, from his charge
at Florence, in September, 1793. The first portion of his labours he
conceived to be too scanty in point of names and notices to satisfy
public taste, so that upon completing the latter part upon a more full
and extensive scale, he gave a new edition of that already published,
very considerably altered and augmented.

To these improvements he invariably contributed, both in notes and text,
at every subsequent edition, a number of which appeared in the course of
a few years, until the work attained a degree of completeness and
correctness seldom bestowed upon labours of such incredible difficulty
and extent. The last which received the correction and additions of the
author was published at Bassano, in the year 1809.

That a work upon such a scale was a great desideratum, no less to Italy
than to the general world of art, would appear evident from the
character of the various histories and accounts of painting which had
preceded it. They are rather valuable as records, than as real criticism
or history; as annals of particular characters and productions derived
from contemporary observation, than as sound and enlightened views, and
a dispassionate estimate of individual merits. Full of errors, idle
prejudices, and discussions foreign to the subject, a large portion of
their pages is taken up in vapid conceits, personal accusations, and
puerile reasoning, destitute of method.

The work of Lanzi, on the other hand, as it is well remarked by the Cav.
Boni, observes throughout the precept of the _serie et junctura_ of
Horace. It brings into full light the leading professors of the art,
exhibits at due distance those of the second class, and only glances at
mediocrity and inferiority of character, insomuch as to fill up the
great pictoric canvas with its just lights and shades. The true causes
of the decline and revival of the art at certain epochs are pointed out,
with those that contribute to preserve the fine arts in their happiest
lustre; in which, recourse to examples more than to precepts is strongly
recommended. The best rules are unfolded for facilitating the study of
different manners, some of which are known to bear a resemblance, though
by different hands, and others are opposed to each other, although
adopted by the same artist; a species of knowledge highly useful at a
period when the best productions are eagerly sought after at a high
rate. It is a history, in short, worthy of being placed at the side of
that on the Literature of Italy by Tiraboschi, who having touched upon
the fine arts at the outset of his labours, often urged his ancient
friend and colleague to dilate upon a subject in every way so flattering
to the genius of Italy; to Italy which, however rivalled by other
nations in science and in literature, stands triumphant and alone in its
creative mind of art.

It is, however, difficult to convey a just idea of a work composed upon
so enlarged and complete a scale; which embraces a period of about six
centuries, and fourteen Italian schools, but treated with such rapidity
and precision, as to form in itself a compendium of whatever we meet
with in so many volumes of guides, catalogues, descriptions of churches
and palaces, and in so many lives of artists throughout the whole of
Italy. (pp. 130-1.)

It is known that Richardson expressed a wish that some historian would
collect these scattered accounts relating to the art of painting, at the
same time noting down its progress and decline in every age, a
desideratum which Mengs in part supplied in one of his letters, briefly
marking down all the respective eras. Upon this plan, as far as regarded
Venetian painting, Zanetti had partially proceeded; but the general
survey, in its perfect form, of the whole of the other schools, was
destined to be completed by the genius of Lanzi. Here he first gives the
general character of each, distinguishing its particular epochs,
according to the alterations in taste which it underwent. A few artists
of distinguished reputation, whose influence gave a new impulse and new
laws to the art, stand at the head of each era, which they may be said
to have produced, with a full description of their style. To these great
masters, their respective pupils are annexed, with the progress of their
school, referring to such as may have more or less added to, or altered
the manner of their prototype. For the sake of greater perspicuity, the
painters of history are kept distinct from the artists in inferior
branches; among whom are classed portrait and landscape painters, those
of animals, of flowers, of fruits, &c. Nor are such as bear an affinity
to the art, like engraving, inlaying, mosaic work, and embroidery,
wholly excluded. Being doubtful whether he should make mention of those
artists who belong neither to the senatorial, the equestrian, nor the
popular order of the pictorial republic, and have no public
representation, such as the names of mediocrity; Lanzi finally decided
to introduce them among their superiors, like third-rate actors, whose
figures may just be seen, in order to preserve the entireness of the
story. To this he was farther induced by the general appearance of their
names in the various dictionaries, guides, and descriptions of cities
and of galleries; and by the example of Homer, Cicero, and most great
writers; Homer himself commemorating, along with the wise and brave also
the less valiant--the fools and the cowards. (_Elogio_, pp. 129, 130,

After having resided during a considerable period at Bassano, occupied
in the superintendence of the first edition of his great work, Lanzi
found himself compelled to retire to Udine, in 1796, from the more
immediate scene of war; a war which subsequently involved other cities
of Italy in its career. From Udine he shortly returned to Florence,
where he again resumed his former avocations in the ducal gallery, about
the period of the commencement of the Bourbon government.

Lanzi's next literary undertaking was three Dissertations upon _Ancient
painted Vases, commonly called Etruscan_; and he subsequently published
a very excellent and pleasing work, entitled, _Aloisii Lanzii
Inscriptionum et Carminum Libri Tres_: works which obtained for him the
favourable notice of the Bourbon court. Nor was he less distinguished by
that of the new French dynasty, which shortly obtained the ascendancy
throughout all Italy, as well as at Florence, and by which Lanzi was
appointed President of the Cruscan Academy.

Among Lanzi's latest productions may be classed his edition and
translations of Hesiod; entitled _I Lavori, e le Giornate di Esiodo
Ascreo opera con L. Codici riscontrata, emendata la versione latina,
aggiuntavi l'Italiana in Terze Rime con annotazioni_. In this he had
been engaged as far back as the year 1785, and it had been then
announced in a beautiful edition of Hesiod, translated into Latin by
Count Zamagua.

The list will here close with his _Opere Sacre_, sacred treatises,
produced on a variety of occasions, and on a variety of spiritual
subjects. One of these was upon the Holy Sacrament, entitled, _Il divoto
del SS. Sacramento istruito nella pratica_ _di tal devozione_. In truth,
Lanzi was a good Christian, and may be ranked in the number of that
great and honoured band of Christian philosophers, who like Newton,
Locke, and Paley, have triumphantly opposed the whole strength of their
mighty intellect, and vast reach of their reasoning powers to the
specious and witty, but less powerful and argumentative genius of
Gibbon, of Hume, and of Voltaire. Nor was the conviction of these great
truths in the mind of Lanzi the result of sickness and misfortunes, or
sombre reflections in the decline of life. Great as was the reputation
he had acquired by his valuable labours, he was often known sincerely to
declare, among his private friends, that he would willingly renounce all
kind of literary honours for the pleasure of being assured, that his
sacred works had in any degree promoted the cause of Christianity.

Shortly after the last edition of the History now before us, which he
had personally superintended, though at a very advanced age, in the year
1809, at Bassano, Lanzi's health began rapidly to decline, and he
prepared with perfect composure to meet the termination of his earthly
career. He had already attained his seventy-eighth year; but his mind
preserved its usual tone and vigour, though he could with difficulty
pace his apartment. He wrote letters, and even pursued his beloved
studies on the day of his decease, which took place on Sunday, the 30th
of March, 1810, occasioned by a fresh attack of apoplexy. For this he
had long been prepared, and only the preceding evening had taken an
affectionate leave of his friends and domestics, thanking the Cav. Boni
for his kindness in continuing so long to mount his staircase to visit
an old man.

[Footnote 24: It may be proper to observe, that the materials of the
biographical sketch here offered to the public, are extracted from an
extremely pleasing and popular tribute to the memory of Lanzi, of very
general repute in Italy, from the pen of his intimate friend and
associate, the Cavalier Bossi, himself a man of singular merit and
acquirements, whose _Elogio_ upon his distinguished countryman has
deservedly been added to the recent editions of his invaluable history.]

[Footnote 25: Repeated attacks of strangury which often threatened his
life, unless he obtained instant relief.]







  _Origin of the revival of Painting_--_Association and
  methods of the old Painters_--_Series of Tuscan Artists
  before the time of Cimabue and Giotto._

  SECT. I.

That there were painters in Italy, even during the rude ages, is
attested not only by historians,[26] but by several pictures which have
escaped the ravages of time; Rome retains several ancient specimens.[27]
Passing over her cemeteries, which have handed down to us a number of
Christian monuments, part in specimens of painted glass, scattered
through our museums, and part in those of parietal histories, or walled
mosaic, it will be sufficient to adduce two vast works, unrivalled by
any others, that I know of, in Italy. The first is the series of the
Popes, which in order to prove the succession of the papal chair, from
the prince of the Apostles down to the time of St. Leo, this last holy
pontiff caused to be painted; a work of the fifth century, which was
subsequently continued until our own times. The second is the decoration
of the whole church of San Urbano, where there are several evangelical
acts represented on the walls, along with some histories of the Titular
Saint and St. Cecilia, a production which, partaking in nothing either
of the Greek lineaments or style of drapery, may be attributed more
justly to an Italian pencil, which has subscribed the date of 1011.[28]
Many more might be pointed out, existing in different cities; as for
instance the picture at Pesara, of the patron saints of the city,
illustrated by the celebrated Annibale Olivieri, which is earlier than
the year 1000; those in the vaults of the cathedral at Aquileja,[29] the
picture at Santa Maria Primerana at Fiesole, which seems the work of
that or the succeeding age;[30] and the picture at Orvieto which was
formerly known by the name of S. Maria Prisca, but is now generally
called S. Brizio.[31] I say nothing of the figures of the virgin
formerly ascribed to St. Luke, and now supposed to be the production of
the eleventh or twelfth century, as I shall have to treat of them at the
opening of the third book. The painters of those times were, however, of
little repute; they produced no illustrious scholars, no work worthy of
marking an era. The art had gradually degenerated into a kind of
mechanism, which, after the models afforded by the Greek workers in
mosaic employed in the church of St. Mark, at Venice,[32] invariably
exhibited the same legends, in which nature appeared distorted rather
than represented. It was not till after the middle of the thirteenth
century that any thing better was attempted; and the improvement of
sculpture was the first step towards the formation of a new style.

The honour of this is due to the Tuscans; a nation that from very remote
antiquity disseminated the benign light of art and learning throughout
Italy; but it more especially belongs to the people of Pisa. They taught
artists how to shake off the trammels of the modern Greeks, and to adopt
the ancients for their models. Barbarism had not only overwhelmed the
arts, but even the maxims necessary for their re-establishment. Italy
was not destitute of fine specimens of Grecian and Roman sculpture; but
she had long been without an artist who could appreciate their value,
much less attempt to imitate them. Little else was executed in those
dark ages but some rude pieces of sculpture, such as what remains in the
cathedral of Modena, in San Donato at Arezzo, in the Primaziale at
Pisa,[33] and in some other churches where specimens are preserved on
the doors or in the interior. Niccola Pisano was the first who
discovered and pursued the true path. There were, and still are, some
ancient sarcophagi in Pisa, especially that which inclosed the body of
Beatrice, mother of the Countess Matilda, who died in the eleventh
century. A chase, supposed to represent that of Hippolytus, is
sculptured on it in basso relievo, which must be the production of a
good school; being a subject which has been often delineated by the
ancients on many urns still extant at Rome.[34] This was the model which
Niccola selected, from this he formed a style which participated of the
antique, especially in the heads and the casting of the drapery; and
when exhibited in different Italian cities "it inspired artists with a
laudable emulation to apply to sculpture more assiduously than they had
before done," as we are informed by Vasari. Niccola did not attain to
what he aspired. The compositions are sometimes crowded, the figures are
often badly designed, and shew more diligence than expression. His name,
however, will always mark an era in the history of design, because he
first led artists into the true path by the introduction of a better
standard. Reform in any branch of study invariably depends on some rule,
which, promulgated and adopted by the schools, gradually produces a
general revolution in opinion, and opens a new field to the exertions of
a succeeding age.

About 1231, he sculptured at Bologna the urn of San Domenico, and from
this, as a remarkable event, he was named "_Niccola of the Urn_." He
afterwards executed in a much superior style, the Last Judgment, for the
cathedral of Orvieto, and the pulpit in the church of San Giovanni, at
Pisa; works that demonstrate to the world that design, invention, and
composition, received from him a new existence. He was succeeded by
Arnolfo Florentino, his scholar, the sculptor of the tomb of Boniface
VIII. in San Pietro at Rome; and by his son Giovanni, who executed the
monuments of Urban IV. and of Benedict IX. in Perugia. He afterwards
completed the great altar of San Donato, at Arezzo, the cost of which
was thirty thousand gold florins; besides many other works which remain
in Naples and in several cities of Tuscany. Andrea Pisano was his
associate, and probably also his disciple in Perugia, who, after
establishing himself in Florence, ornamented with statues the cathedral
and the church of San Giovanni in that city; and in twenty-two years
finished the great gate of bronze "to which we are indebted for all that
is excellent, difficult, or beautiful in the other two, which are the
workmanship of succeeding artists." He was, in fact, the founder of that
great school that successively produced Orcagna, Donatello, and the
celebrated Ghiberti, who fabricated those gates for the same church,
which Michelagnolo pronounced worthy to form the entrance of Paradise.
After Andrea, we may notice Giovanni Balducci, of Pisa, whose era,
country, and style, all lead us to suppose him one of the same school.
He was an excellent artist, and was employed by Castruccio, Lord of
Lucca, and by Azzone Visconti, Prince of Milan; where he flourished, and
left, among other monuments of his art, the tomb of San Pietro Martire,
at S. Eustorgio, which is so highly praised by Torre, by Lattuada, and
by various other learned illustrators of Milanese antiquities.[35] Two
eminent artists, natives of Siena, proceeded from the school of Gio.
Pisano, namely, the two brothers, Agnolo and Agostino, who are greatly
commended by Vasari as improvers of the art. Whoever has seen the
sepulchre of Guido, bishop of Arezzo, which is decorated with an
infinity of statues and basso-relievos, representing passages of his
life, will not only find reason to admire in them the design, which was
the work of Giotto, but the execution of the sculpture. The brothers
also executed many of their own designs in Orvieto, in Siena, and in
Lombardy, where they brought up several pupils, who for a long period
pursued their manner, and diffused it over Italy.

To the improvement of sculpture succeeded that of mosaic, through the
efforts of another Tuscan, belonging to the order of minor friars, named
Fra Jacopo, or Fra Mino da Turrita, from a place in the territory of
Siena. It is not known whether he was instructed in his art by the
Romans or by the Greek workers in mosaic,[36] but it is well ascertained
that he very far surpassed them. On examining what remains of his works
in Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome, one can hardly be persuaded that it is
the production of so rude an age, did not history constrain us to
believe it. It appears probable that he took the ancients for his
models, and deduced his rules from the more chaste specimens of mosaic,
still remaining in several of the Roman churches, the design of which is
less crude, the attitudes less forced, and the composition more skilful,
than were exhibited by the Greeks who ornamented the church of San
Marco, at Venice. Mino surpassed them in every thing. From 1225, when he
executed, however feebly, the mosaic of the tribune of the church of San
Giovanni, at Florence, he was considered at the head of the living
artists in mosaic.[37] He merited this praise much more by his works at
Rome, and it appears that he long maintained his reputation. Vasari has
not been sufficiently just to the fame of Turrita, in noticing him only
casually in the life of Tafi, but the verses he recites, and the
commissions he mentions, demonstrate how greatly Turrita was esteemed by
his contemporaries. It is maintained that he was also a painter, but
this is a mistake which will be cleared up in the Sienese school, and
both there and elsewhere I shall question the authority of any author
who either greatly commends or underrates him.

From a deficiency of _specimens_, like those above recorded, painting
long remained in a more rude state than mosaic, and was very far behind
sculpture. But we must not imagine, that at the birth of Cimabue, in
1240, the race of artists was entirely extinct, as erroneously asserted
by Vasari: this must be deemed an exaggeration, for he himself has
recounted several sculptors, architects, and painters then living; and
the general scope of his less cautious expressions, against which so
many writers have inveighed, and still continue to declaim, favours this
opinion. I shall be constrained to advert, in almost every book, to
their accusations, and to produce the names of the artists who then
lived. I shall commence with those who then flourished in Tuscany. The
city of Pisa, at this time, had not only painters, but a school for each
of the fine arts[38]. The distinguished Signor Morrona, who has
illustrated the Pisan antiquities, deduces its origin immediately from
Greece. The Pisans, already very powerful by sea and land, having
resolved in 1063 to erect the vast fabric of their cathedral, had drawn
thither artists in miniature, and other painters, at the same time with
Buschetto the architect, and these men educated pupils for the city. The
Greeks at that time were but ill qualified to instruct, for they knew
little. Their first pupils in Pisa seem to have been a few anonymous
artists, some of whose miniatures and rude paintings are still in
existence. A parchment, containing the _exultet_, as usually sung on
Sabbato Santo, is in the cathedral, and we may here and there observe,
painted on it, figures in miniature, with plants and animals: it is a
relique of the early part of the twelfth century, yet a specimen of art
not altogether barbarous. There are likewise some other paintings of
that century in the same cathedral, containing figures of our Lady, with
the holy infant on her right arm: they are rude, but the progress of the
same school may be traced from them to the time of Giunta. This artist
lately received a fine eulogium, among other illustrious Pisans, from
Signor Tempesta, and he was fully entitled to it from the more early
historians. His country possesses none of his undoubted pictures, except
a crucifixion with his name, which is believed to be among his earliest
productions, a print from which may be found in the third volume of
_Pisa Illustrata_. He executed better pictures in Assisi, where he was
invited to paint by Frat' Elia di Cortona, superior of the Minori, about
the year 1230. From thence we are furnished with notices of his
education, which is thus described by P. Angeli, the Historian of that
cathedral: "Juncta Pisanus ruditer à Græcis instructus, primus ex
Italis, artem apprehendit circa An. Sal. 1210." In the church of the
Angioli there is a better preserved work of the same master; it is a
crucifixion, painted on a wooden cross; on the lateral edges and upper
surface of which our Lady is represented, with two other half-length
figures, and underneath the remains of an inscription are legible, which
having copied on the spot, I do not hesitate to publish with its
deficiencies now supplied:

  _Ivn_TINI ME _Fecit_.

I supply _Juntini_, because Signor da Morrona asserts,[39] that about
this time, a _Giunta da Giuntino_ is mentioned in the records of Pisa,
whom by the aid of the _Assisi_ inscription, I conjecture to be the
painter we have now under notice. The figures are considerably less than
life; the design is dry, the fingers excessively long, but these are
_vitia non hominum sed temporum_; in short, this piece shews a knowledge
of the naked figure, an expression of pain in the heads, and a
disposition of the drapery, greatly superior to the efforts of the
Greeks, his contemporaries. The handling of his colours is strong,
although the flesh inclines to that of bronze; the local tints are
judiciously varied, the chiaroscuro even shews some art, and the whole
is not inferior, except in the proportions, to crucifixions with similar
half figures usually ascribed to Cimabue. He painted at Assisi another
crucifixion, which is now lost, to which may be added, a portrait of
Frat' Elia, with this inscription, "_F. Helias fecit fieri. Jesu Christe
pie miserere precantis Heliæ. Juncta Pisanus me pinxit, An. D. 1236.
Indit. IX._" The inscription has been preserved by P. Wadingo in his
annals of the Franciscan order for that year, and the historian
describes the crucifixion as _affabre pictum_. The fresco works of
Giunta were executed in the great church of the Franciscans, and
according to Vasari he was there assisted by certain Greeks. Some busts
and history pieces still remain in the gallery and the contiguous
chapels, among which is the crucifixion of San Pietro, noticed in the
_Etruria Pittrice_. Some believe that those paintings have been here and
there injudiciously retouched, and this may serve to excuse the drawing,
which may have been altered in many places, but the feebleness of the
colouring cannot be denied. When they are compared with what Cimabue
executed there about forty years afterwards, it seems that Giunta was
not sufficiently forcible in this species of painting; perhaps he might
have improved, but he is not mentioned after 1235; and it is conjectured
that he died while yet a young man, at a distance from his native
country. I am induced to believe so from observing, that Giunta di
Giuntino is noticed in the records of Pisa, in the early part of that
century, but not afterwards; and that Cimabue was sent for to paint the
altar-piece and portrait of San Francesco of Pisa, about the year 1265,
before he went to Assisi. It is more likely that Giunta would have
executed this, had he returned home from that city, where he had seen
and perhaps painted the portrait of the Holy Father.[40]

From this school the art is believed to have spread in these early times
over all Tuscany, although it must not be forgotten that there were
miniature painters there as well as in the other parts of Italy, who,
transferring their art from small to large works, like Franco of
Bologna, betook themselves, and incited others to painting on walls and
on panel. Whatever we may choose to believe, Siena, at this period,
could boast her Guido, who painted from the year 1221, but not entirely
in the manner of the Greeks, as we shall find under the Sienese school.
Lucca possessed in 1235 one Bonaventura Berlingieri. A San Francesco
painted by him still exists in the castle of Guiglia, not far from
Modena, which is described as a work of great merit for that age.[41]
There lived another artist about the year 1288, known by his production
of a crucifixion which he left at San Cerbone, a short distance from the
city with this inscription; "_Deodatus filius Orlandi de Luca me
pinxit_, A. D. 1288." Margaritone of Arezzo was a disciple and imitator
of the Greeks, and by all accounts he must have been born several years
before Cimabue. He painted on canvas, and if we may credit Vasari, made
the first discovery of a method of rendering his pictures more durable,
and less liable to cracking. He extended canvas on the panel, laying it
down with a strong glue, made of shreds of parchment, and covered the
whole with a ground of gypsum, before he began to paint. He formed
diadems and other ornaments of plaster, giving them relief from gilding
and burnishing them. Some of his crucifixions remain in Arezzo, and one
of them is in the church of the Holy Cross at Florence, near another by
Cimabue; both are in the old manner, and not so different in point of
merit, but that Margaritone, however rude, may be pronounced as well
entitled as Cimabue to the name of painter.

While the neighbouring cities had made approaches towards the new style,
Florence, if we are to credit Vasari and his followers, was without a
painter; but subsequent to the year 1250 some Greek painters were
invited to Florence by the rulers of the city, for the express purpose
of restoring the art of painting in Florence, where it was rather wholly
lost than degenerated. To this assertion I have to oppose the learned
dissertation of Doctor Lami, which I have just commended. Lami observes,
that mention is made in the archives of the chapters of one Bartolommeo
who painted in 1236, and that the picture of the Annunciation of our
Lady, which is held in the highest veneration in the church of the
Servi, was painted about that period. It is retouched in some parts of
the drapery; it possesses, however, much originality, and for that age
is respectably executed. When I prepared my first edition I had no
knowledge of the work of Lami, which was not then published, and hence
was unable to proceed further than to refute the opinion of those who
ascribed this sacred figure to Cavallini, a pupil of Giotto. I reflected
that the style of Cavallini appeared considerably more modern in his
other works which I had examined at Assisi, and at Florence; yet,
various artists whom I consulted, and among others Signor Pacini, who
had copied the Annunciation, disputed with me this diversity of style. I
further adduced the form of the characters written there in a book,
_Ecce Virgo concipiet, &c._ which resemble those of the thirteenth
century; nor have they that profusion of lines which distinguishes the
German, commonly denominated the Gothic character, which Cavallini and
other pupils of Giotto always employed. I rejoice that the opinion of
Lami confirms my conjecture, and stamps its authenticity; and it seems
to me highly probable that the Bartolommeo, whom he indicates, is the
individual to whom the memorandums of the Servi ascribe the production
of their Annunciation about the year 1250. The same religious fraternity
preserve, among their ancient paintings, a Magdalen, which appears from
the design and inscription, a work of the thirteenth century; and we
might instance several coeval pictures that still exist in their
chapter house, and in other parts of the city.[42]

Having inserted these notices of ancient painters, and some others,
which will be found scattered throughout the work, I turn to Vasari, and
to the accusations laid to his charge. He is defended by Monsignor
Bottari in a note at the conclusion of the life of Margaritone, taken
from Baldinucci. He affirms, from his own observation, "That though each
city had some painters, they were all as contemptible and barbarous as
Margaritone, who, if compared to Cimabue, is unworthy of the name of
painter." The examples already cited do not permit me to assent to this
proposition; even Bottari himself will scarcely allow me to do so, as he
observes, in another note on the life of Cimabue, "That he was the first
who abandoned the manner of the Greeks, or at least who avoided it more
completely than any other artist." But if others, such as Guido,
Bonaventura, and Giunta, had freed themselves from it before his time,
why are they not recorded as the first, in point of time, by Vasari? Did
not their example open the new path to Cimabue? Did they not afford a
ray of light to reviving art? Were they not in painting what the two
Guidos were in poetry, who, however much surpassed by Dante, are
entitled to the first place in a history of our poets? Vasari would
therefore have acted better had he followed the example of Pliny, who
commences with the rude designers, Ardices of Corinth, and Telephanes of
Sicyon; he then minutely narrates the invention of Cleophantes the
Corinthian, who coloured his designs with burnt earth; next, that of
Eumarus the Athenian, who first represented the distinction of age and
sex. Then comes that of Cimon of Cleonæ, who first expressed the various
attitudes of the head, and aimed at representing the truth, even in the
joints of the fingers and the folds of the garments. Thus, the merits of
each city, and every artist, appear in ancient history; and it seems to
me just, that the same should be done, as far as possible, in modern
history. These observations may, at present, suffice in regard to a
subject that has been made a source of complaint and dispute among many

Nevertheless it cannot be denied that there is no city to which painting
is more indebted than to Florence, nor any name more proper to mark an
epoch, whatever may be the opinion of Padre della Valle,[43] than that
of Cimabue. The artists whom I have before mentioned had few followers;
their schools, with the exception of that of Siena, languished, and were
either gradually dispersed, or united themselves to that of Florence.
This school in a short time eclipsed every other, and has continued to
flourish in a proud succession of artists, uninterrupted even down to
our own days. Let us then trace it from its commencement.

Giovanni Cimabue, descended from illustrious ancestors,[44] was both an
architect and a painter. That he was the pupil of Giunta is conjectured
in our times, only because the Greeks were less skilful than the
Italians. It ought to be a previous question, whether the supposed
scholar and master ever resided in the same place, which it would seem,
after the observations before adduced, can scarcely be admitted.[45] It
appears from history, that he learnt the art from some Greeks who were
invited to Florence, and painted in S. Maria Novella, according to
Vasari. It is an error to assert that they painted in the chapel of the
Gondi, which was built a century after, together with the church; it was
certainly in another chapel, under the church, where those Greek
paintings were covered with plaister, and their place supplied by
others, the work of a painter of the thirteenth century.[46]

Not long since a part of the new plaister fell down, and some of the
very rude figures of those Greek painters became again visible. It is
probable that Cimabue imitated them in early life, and perhaps at that
time painted the S. Francesco and the little legends which surround it
in the church of S. Croce. But, if I mistake not, it is doubtful who
painted this picture; at least it neither has the manner nor the
colouring of the works of Cimabue, even when young. I may refer to the
S. Cecilia, with the implements of her martyrdom, in the church
dedicated to that Saint, and which was afterwards removed to that of San
Stefano, a picture greatly superior to that of S. Francesco.

However this may be, like other Italians of his age, Giovanni got the
better of his Greek education, which seems to have consisted in one
artist copying another without ever adding any thing to the practice of
his master. He consulted nature, he corrected in part the rectilinear
forms of his design, he gave expression to the heads, he folded the
drapery, and he grouped the figures with much greater art than the
Greeks. His talent did not consist in the graceful. His Madonnas have no
beauty, his angels in the same piece have all the same forms. Wild as
the age in which he lived, he succeeded admirably in heads full of
character, especially in those of old men, impressing an indescribable
degree of bold sublimity, which the moderns have not been able greatly
to surpass. Vast and inventive in conception, he executed large
compositions, and expressed them in grand proportions. His two great
altar-pieces of the Madonna, at Florence, the one in the church of the
Dominicans, the other in that of the Trinity, with the grand figures of
the prophets, do not give so good an idea of his style as his fresco
paintings in the church of Assisi, where he appears truly magnificent
for the age in which he lived. In these histories of the Old and New
Testament, such as remain, he appears an Ennius, who, amid the rudeness
of Roman epic poetry, gave flashes of genius not displeasing to a
Virgil. Vasari speaks of him with admiration for the vigour of his
colouring, and justly so of the pictures in the ceiling. They are still
in a good state of preservation, and although some of the figures of
Christ, and of the Virgin in particular, retain much of the Greek
manner, others representing the Evangelists, and Doctors instructing the
Monks of the Franciscan Order, from their chairs, exhibit an originality
of conception and arrangement that does not appear in contemporary
works. The colouring is bold, the proportions are gigantic even in the
distance, and not badly preserved; in short, painting may there be said
to have almost advanced beyond what the mosaic worker at first attempted
to do. The whole of these, indeed, are steps in the progress of the
human intellect not to be recounted in one history, and form beyond
question the distinguishing excellence of the Florentine artist, when
put into competition with either the Pisans or the Sienese. Nor do I
perceive how, after the authority of Vasari, who assigns the work of the
ceiling to Cimabue, confirmed by the tradition of five centuries, P.
della Valle is justified at this day, in ascribing that painting to
Giotto, a painter of a milder genius. If he was induced to prefer other
artists to Cimabue, because they gave the eyes less fierceness, and the
nose a finer shape, these circumstances appear to me too insignificant
to degrade Cimabue from that rank which he enjoys in impartial
history.[47] He has moreover asserted, that Cimabue neither promoted nor
injured the Florentine school by his productions, a harsh judgment, in
the opinion of those who have perused so many old writers belonging to
the city who have celebrated his merits, and of those who have studied
the works of the Florentine artists before his time, and seen how
greatly Cimabue surpasses them.

If Cimabue was the Michelangiolo of that age, Giotto was the Raffaello.
Painting, in his hands, became so elegant, that none of his school, nor
of any other, till the time of Masaccio, surpassed, or even equalled
him, at least in gracefulness of manner. Giotto was born in the country,
and was bred a shepherd; but he was likewise born a painter; and
continually exercised his genius in delineating some object or other
around him. A sheep which he had drawn on a flat stone, after nature,
attracted the notice of Cimabue, who by chance passed that way: he
demanded leave of his father to take him to Florence, that he might
afford him instruction; confident, that in him, he was about to raise up
a new ornament to the art. Giotto commenced by imitating his master, but
quickly surpassed him. An Annunciation, in the possession of the Fathers
of Badia, is one of his earliest works. The style is somewhat dry, but
shews a grace and diligence, that announced the improvement we
afterwards discern. Through him symmetry became more chaste, design more
pleasing, and colouring softer than before. The meagre hands, the sharp
pointed feet, and staring eyes, remnants of the Grecian manner, all
acquired more correctness under him.

It is not possible to assign the cause of this transition, as we are
able to do in the case of later painters; but it is reasonable to
conclude that it was not wholly produced, even by the almost divine
genius of this artist, unaided by adventitious circumstances. There is
no necessity for sending him, as some have done, to be instructed at
Pisa; his history does not warrant it, and an historian is not a
diviner. Much less ought we to refer him to the school of F. Jacopo da
Turrita, and give him Memmi and Lorenzetti for fellow pupils, who are
not known to have been in Rome when F. Jacopo was distinguished for his
best manner. But P. della Valle thinks he discovers in Giotto's first
painting, the style and composition of Giunta, (Preface to Vasari, p.
17,) and in the pictures of Giotto at S. Croce, in Florence, which "_he
has meditated upon a hundred times_," he recognizes F. Jacopo, and finds
"_reason for opining_" that he was the master of Giotto. (Vide tom. ii.
p. 78.) When a person becomes attached to a system, he often sees and
opines what no one else can possibly see or opine. In the same manner
Baldinucci wished to refer to the school of Giotto, one Duccio da Siena,
Vital di Bologna, and many others, as will be noticed; and he too argues
upon a resemblance of style, which, to say truth, neither I nor any one
I know can perceive. If I cannot then agree with Baldinucci, can I value
his imitator? and more particularly as it is no question here of Vitale,
or any other artist of mediocrity, almost unknown to history, but of
Giotto himself. Is it likely, with a genius such as his, and born in an
age not wholly barbarous, with the advantages enjoyed under Cimabue,
especially in point of colouring, that he would take Giunta for his
model, or listen to the instruction of Fra Mino, in order to excel his
master. Besides, what advantage can be obtained from thus disturbing the
order of chronology, violating history, and rejecting the tradition of
Giotto's native school, in order to account for his new style?

It is most probable that, as the great Michelangiolo, by modelling and
studying the antique, quickly surpassed in painting his master,
Ghirlandaio, the same occurred with regard to Giotto. It is at least
known that he was also a sculptor, and that his models were preserved
till the time of Lorenzo Ghiberti. Nor was he without good examples.
There were specimens of antique sculpture at Florence, which may be yet
seen near the cathedral, (not to mention those which he afterwards saw
at Rome); and their merit, then already established by the practice of
Niccola and Giovanni of Pisa, could not be unknown to Giotto, to whom
nature had granted such a taste for the exquisite and the beautiful.
When one contemplates some of his heads of men; some of his forms,
proportioned far beyond the littleness of his contemporaries; his taste
in flowing, natural, and becoming drapery; some of his attitudes after
the manner of the antique, breathing grace and tranquillity, it is
scarce possible to doubt that he derived no small advantage from ancient
sculpture. His very defects discover this. A good writer (the author of
the Guide of Bologna) remarks in him a style which partakes of statuary,
contrary to the practice of contemporary foreign artists; a circumstance
very common, as we shall observe, under the Roman school, to those
painters who designed from statues. I shall be told that he probably
derived assistance from the sculpture of the two Pisani; especially as
Baldinucci has discovered a strong resemblance between his style and
that of Giovanni, and some others also have noticed the circular
compositions, the proportions and casting of the drapery which one
perceives in the basso-relievos of the early Pisan school. I would not
deny that he also availed himself of them; but it was perhaps in the
manner that Raffaello profited by Michelangiolo, whose example taught
him to imitate the antique. Nor let it be objected to me that the
dryness of the design, the artifice of concealing the feet by long
garments, the inaccuracy of the extremities, and similar defects, betray
rather a Pisan than an Attic origin. This only proves, that when he
became the founder of a style, he did not aim at giving it the
perfection of which it was susceptible, and which it could hardly be
expected to obtain amid the numerous avocations in which he appears to
have been engaged; in short, I cannot persuade myself, that without the
imitation of the antique, he could in so short a time have made such a
progress, as to have been admired even by Bonarruoti himself.[48]

The first histories of the patriarch S. Francesco, at Assisi, near the
paintings of his master, shew how greatly he excelled him. As his work
advanced he became more correct; and towards the conclusion, he already
manifested a design more varied in the countenances, and improved in the
extremities; the features are more animated, the attitudes more
ingenious, and the landscape more natural. To one who examines them with
attention, the composition appears the most surprising; a branch of the
art, in which he seems not only to surpass himself, but even sometimes
appears unrivalled. In many historical pictures, he often aimed at
ornamenting with buildings, which he painted of a red, or azure, or a
yellow, the colours employed in staining houses, or of a dazzling white,
in imitation of Parian marble. One of his best pictures in this work is
that of a thirsty person, to the expression of which scarcely any thing
could be added by the animating pencil of Raffaello d'Urbino himself.
With similar skill he painted in the inferior church, and this is
perhaps the best performance which has reached our times, though
specimens remain in Ravenna, in Padua, in Rome, in Florence, and in
Pisa. It is assuredly the most spirited of all, for he has there, with
the most poetical images, depicted the saint shunning vice, and a
follower of virtue; it is my opinion that he here gave the first example
of symbolical painting, so familiar to his best followers.

His inventions, which, according to the custom of the age, were employed
in scripture history, are repeated by him in nearly the same style in
several places; and are generally most pleasing when the proportions of
the figures are the least. His small pictures of the Acts of St. Peter
and St. Paul, with some representations of our Saviour, and of various
saints, in the sacristy of the Vatican, appear most elegant and highly
finished miniatures; as likewise are some others in the church of the
Holy Cross at Florence, taken from scriptural history, or from the life
of St. Francis. The real art of portrait painting commenced with him; to
whom we are indebted for correct likenesses of Dante, of Brunetto
Latini, and of Corso Donati. It was indeed before attempted, but,
according to Vasari, no one had succeeded. He also improved the art of
working in mosaic; a piece wrought by him in the Navicella, or ship of
St. Peter, may be seen in the portico of that cathedral; but it has been
so much repaired, that now the design is wholly different, and appears
the work of another artist. It is believed that the art of miniature
painting, so much prized in that age for the ornamenting of missals,
received great improvement from him.[49] Architecture undoubtedly did;
the admirable belfry of the cathedral of Florence is the work of Giotto.

After collecting all the notices he could of the scholars of Cimabue and
Giotto, Baldinucci endeavours to make us believe that all the benefits
which accrued to painting, sculpture, and architecture in Italy, and
even throughout the world, came directly or indirectly from Florence.
The following is the manner in which he expresses himself in his first
pages, with the proofs which he adduces. "During my researches, I have
ascertained beyond all doubt the truth of an opinion I always considered
as indisputable, and which is not controverted by respectable ancient
historians; that these arts in the first place were restored by Cimabue
and Giotto, and afterwards diffused over the world by their disciples;
and I conceived the idea of making it evident by the help of a tree,
which at a glance might shew their progress from the earliest to the
present times." He published the first small part of this tree, just as
I exhibit it to the reader; and promised in each succeeding volume to
give another part, that would establish the connexion with the principal
root (Cimabue), or with the branches derived from it; a promise from
which he adroitly delivered himself; therefore we are without any more
than these few branches that follow:

  |               |       |         |        |         |
  Arnolfo,        |       |         |        |      Oderigi,
  |             Gaddo.   Tafi,   Giotto,  Ugolino.     |
  |                       |         |               Franco
  F. Ristoro,             |         |               Bolognese,
  F. Sisto,            Fra Mino, Gio. Pisano       a miniature
  and                  a worker   a sculptor        painter.
  F. Giovanni,            in         and
  architects.           mosaic.    architect.

But with all his pains he has not satisfied the public expectation, as
is observed by Signor Piacenza, who published the splendid Turin edition
of Baldinucci as far as the life of Franciabigio, accompanied with very
useful notes and dissertations.[50] It is alleged, that to make this
tree fair and flourishing, he has inserted in it branches dexterously
stolen from his neighbours, who have not failed to reclaim their
property. I rejoice to write in an age when the opinions of Baldinucci
have few followers even in Florence. The excellent work entitled
"_Etruria Pittrice_," composed and applauded in that city in proportion
as it is free from the prejudice of former times, proves this
sufficiently. Following in like manner the light of history and of
reason, unswayed by party spirit, I shall in the first place observe,
that among all the scholars of Cimabue, I do not find any named by
Vasari, but Giotto and Arnolfo di Lapo, concerning whom it is certain
that the historian was in error. Lapo and Arnolfo are the names of two
different sculptors, _disciples_ of Niccolò Pisano, who, being already
versed in the art, assisted him in 1266 to adorn with history pieces the
pulpit of the cathedral at Siena, an authentic document of which remains
in the archives of the work.[51] Thus this branch of the tree belongs to
Pisa, unless Cimabue have a claim to it, by contributing in some degree
to the instruction of Arnolfo in the principles of architecture. Andrea
Tafi was the pupil of Apollonius, a Greek artist, and assisted him in
the church of St. John, in some pieces of mosaic, from scriptural
history, which, according to Vasari, are without invention and without
design; but he improved as he proceeded, for the last part of the work
was less despicable than the beginning. Cimabue is not named in these
works, nor in what Tafi afterwards executed without assistance; and as
he was old when Cimabue began to teach, I cannot conceive how he can be
reckoned the scholar of the latter, or a branch from that root. Gaddo
Gaddi, says Vasari, was contemporary with Cimabue, and was his intimate
friend, as well as that of Tafi; through their friendship he received
hints for his improvement in mosaic. At first he followed the manner of
the Greeks, mingled with that of Cimabue. After long working in this
manner, he went to Rome, and there improved his style, while employed on
the façade of S. Maria Maggiore, by his own genius, assisted in my
opinion by imitating the ancient workers in mosaic. He also painted some
altar-pieces, and I saw at Florence one of his crucifixions, of a square
figure, and very respectable workmanship. This circumstance induces me
to consider Gaddo, in some measure, among the imitators of Cimabue, but
not one of his pupils; for it appears to me unjust, should a
contemporary communicate with an artist either as a friend, or for the
sake of advice on the art, to set him immediately down as a branch from
that stock. Vasari relates of Ugolino Senese, that he was a tenacious
follower of the Greek style, and inclined more to imitate Cimabue than
Giotto. He does not on this account, indeed, expressly say, that he had
been his scholar; he rather hints that he had other instructors at
Siena, for which reason it will be better to consider him under that
school, there being no reason to doubt that he belonged to it. In that
of Bologna we should also class Oderigo, who, as a miniature painter,
was more likely to employ some other master than a painter in fresco
like Cimabue. In the mean time it is useful to reflect, that were the
method of Baldinucci to be pursued, nothing authentic would remain in a
history of painting; and the schools of the early masters would increase
beyond all limits, were the scholars of each master to be confounded
with his friends, acquaintances, and contemporaries, who paid attention
to his maxims.

It is still more strange to peruse the account of the connexion between
the first and secondary branches of the tree, or if one may use the
expression, between the children and grandchildren of Cimabue. There is
nothing natural in their succession, and the labour is wholly useless
which derives the professors of every fine art, of whatever country,
past, present, and to come, from one individual. F. Ristoro and F. Sisto
were eminent architects, who rebuilt the grand bridges of the Carraja
and the Holy Trinity, about 1264, when Cimabue was twenty-four years of
age. Baldinucci writes of both, that they were, perhaps, disciples or
imitators of Arnolfo, from the state of their works. But how comes he to
found on a _perhaps_, what he, a little before, had vaunted as a _clear
demonstration_? And then, on what does this _perhaps_ rest? Is it not
more probable that Arnolfo, and Cimabue himself, imitated them? That Fra
Mino da Turrita should appear in his tree as a scholar of Tafi, and as
posterior to Cimabue, is no less absurd. In 1225, a date omitted by
Baldinucci, Mino wrought in mosaic at Florence, fifteen years before
Cimabue was born. In his old age he commenced a similar work in the
cathedral of Pisa, "in the same style in which he had executed his other
labours," says Vasari, who adds, that Tafi and Gaddi (both his inferiors
in age and reputation) assisted him. The work was "little more than
begun," from which we may infer that they were not long associated. It
seems to me extraordinary how Baldinucci could assert, "it appears that
Vasari imagined that Mino was the pupil of Andrea Tafi," which is
contrary to fact: instead of the "_clear demonstration_," which he
promised, he has amused us with "_it appears_," which is evident only to
himself. At length, wishing to make us believe that Giovanni Pisano the
sculptor is a _pupil_ of Giotto the painter, he again turns to Vasari,
from whom he brings evidence that Giovanni, having completed his work in
the cathedral of Arezzo, and being then established at Orvieto, came to
Florence to examine the architecture of S. Maria del Fiore, and to
become acquainted with Giotto: he further notices two pieces which he
executed at Florence, the one a Madonna between two little angels, over
the gate of the cathedral; the other a small baptism of St. John; this
happened in 1297. Here Baldinucci hazards a reflection, that "if one
compares the other works of this artist with the above mentioned figure
of the Virgin Mary ... we may recognize in it such improvement ... and
so much of the manner of Giotto, that there cannot remain a doubt but he
is to be reckoned a disciple of this master, both in respect of his
imitation of him, and his observance of his precepts, _which he followed
during so many years in the exercise of the profession_." Every
attentive reader will discover here not a clear demonstration of the
assumption, but a mass of difficulties. He compares this to the other
figures made by Pisano at Florence, before he was acquainted with
Giotto; and yet this was the first which he there executed. He wishes to
make Giovanni, already sixty years of age, an imitator of Giotto, then
twenty-one, when it is much more probable that Giotto would follow him,
the best sculptor of the age. There is no foundation for the supposed
instruction which Giovanni received from Giotto, who, shortly after,
departed for Rome; where, after some other works, he executed the mosaic
of the _boat_ in 1298. In short, the whole question of preceptorship
rests on no better authority than a single figure. How great are the
inconsistencies in this account, and how absurd the explanations and
repetitions which are offered! What further shall we say? Is it not
lamentable thus to see so many old and honoured artists compelled, in
spite of history, to become pupils to masters so much younger and less
celebrated than themselves? I know that various writers have censured
Baldinucci as an historian of doubtful fidelity, artful in concealing or
misrepresenting facts, captious in expounding the opinions of Vasari,
and more intent on captivating than instructing his readers. I am not
ignorant that his system was controverted even in his own country, as
appears from his work published there, entitled _Delle Veglie_; and that
Signor Marmi, a learned Florentine, strongly suspected his fair dealing,
of which we shall adduce a proof under the Sienese school. Nevertheless
I take into account that he wrote in an age less informed in regard to
the history of painting, and that he defended an opinion then much more
common in Italy than at present. He had promised Cardinal Leopoldo de'
Medici to demonstrate it incontrovertibly for the honour of his country,
and of the house of Medici, and had received advice and assistance from
him in order to encourage him to defend it, and to refute the contrary
opinion. Under the necessity of answering Malvasia,[52] a severe writer
against Vasari, and of proving his assertion, that the people of
Bologna, no less than those of Siena, of Pisa, and other places, had
learned the art from the Florentines, he formed a false system, the
absurdity of which he did not immediately perceive; but he at last
discovered it, as Signor Piacenza observes, and succeeded in escaping
from its trammels. The most ingenious builders of systems have subjected
themselves very frequently to the same disadvantage, and the history of
literature abounds with similar instances.

Having examined this sophism, I cannot subscribe to the opinion of
Baldinucci; but shall comprise my own opinion in two propositions:--The
first is, That the improvement of painting is not due to Florence alone.
It has been remarked, that the career of human genius, in the progress
of the fine arts, is the same in every country. When the man is
dissatisfied with what the child learned, he gradually passes from the
ruder elements to what is less so, and from thence, to diligence and
precision; he afterwards advances to the grand, and the select, and at
length attains facility of execution.

Such was the progress of sculpture among the Grecians, and such has been
that of painting in our own country. When Correggio advanced from
laborious minuteness to grandeur, it was not necessary for him to know
that such was the progress of Raffaello, or, at any rate, to have
witnessed it: in like manner, nothing more was wanting to the painters
of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, than to learn that hitherto
they had pursued a wrong path; this was sufficient to guide them into a
better path, and it was not then untried; for sculpture had already
improved design. We have, in fact, seen the Pisani, and their scholars,
preceding the Florentines; and, as their precursors, diffusing a new
system of design over Italy. It would be injustice to overlook them in
the improvement of painting, in which design is of such importance; or
to suppose that they did not signally contribute to its improvement. But
if Italy be indebted solely to Cimabue and Giotto for its progress, all
the good artists should have come from Florence. And yet, in the
cathedral of Orvieto (to instance the finest work, perhaps, of that
age), we find, from the beginning of the fourteenth century, many
artists from various other places, who would not have been called to
ornament such a building, had they not previously enjoyed the reputation
of able masters.[53] Add to this, if we are to derive all painters from
those two masters, every style of painting should resemble that of their
Florentine disciples. But on examining the old paintings of Siena, of
Venice, of Bologna, and of Parma, they are found to be dissimilar in
idea, in choice of colouring, and in taste of composition. All, then,
are not derived from Florence.

My second proposition is, That no people then excelled in, nor
contributed, by example, so much to the progress of art as the
Florentines. Rival cities may boast artists of merit, even in the first
era of painting; their writers may deny the fame of Giotto and his
disciples; but truth is more powerful than declamation. Giotto was the
father of the new method of painting, as Boccaccio was called the father
of the new species of prose composition. After the time of the latter,
any subject could be elegantly treated of in prose; after the former,
painting could express all subjects with propriety. A Simon da Siena, a
Stefano da Firenze, a Pietro Laurati, added charms to the art; but they
and others owe to Giotto the transition from the old to a new manner. He
essayed it in Tuscany, and while yet a young man, greatly improved it,
to the general admiration of all classes. He did not leave Assisi until
called to Rome by Boniface VIII., nor did he take up his residence at
Avignon, until invited to France by Clement V. Before going there, he
was induced to stop at Padua, and on returning some years after, he
again resided at the same place. At that time many parts of Italy were
under a republican form of government; but abounded in potent families,
that bore sway in various quarters, and which, while adorning their
country, aimed at its subjugation. Giotto, beyond every other, was in
universal request, both at home and abroad. The Polentani of Ravenna,
the Malatesti of Rimino, the Estensi of Ferrara, the Visconti of Milan,
the Scala of Verona, Castruccio of Lucca, and also Robert, king of
Naples, sought to engage him with eagerness, and for some period
retained him in their service. Milan, Urbino, Arezzo, and Bologna, were
desirous to possess his works; and Pisa, that, in her _Campo Santo_,
afforded an opportunity for the choicest artists of Tuscany to vie with
one another,[54] as of old they contended at Corinth, and in Delphi,[55]
obtained from him those historic paintings from the life of Job, which
are greatly admired, though they are amongst his early productions. When
Giotto was no more, similar applause was bestowed on his disciples:
cities contended for the honour of inviting them, and they were even
more highly estimated than the native artists themselves. We shall find
Cavallini and Capanna in the Roman School; in that of Bologna the two
Faentini, Pace, and Ottaviano, with Guglielmo da Forli; Menabuoi at
Padua; Memmi, who was either a scholar or assistant of Giotto, at
Avignon; and we shall find traces of the successors of the same school
throughout all Italy. This work will indicate the names of some of them;
it will point out the style of others; without including the great
number who, in every province, have been withdrawn from our view, for
the purpose of replacing old pictures with others in the new manner.
Giotto thus became the model for students during the whole of the
fourteenth century, as was Raffaello in the sixteenth, and the Caracci
in the subsequent century: nor can I find a fourth manner that has been
so generally received in Italy as that of those three schools. There
have been some who, from the inspiration of their own genius, had
adopted a new manner, but they were little known or admired beyond the
precincts of their own country. Of the Florentines alone can it be
asserted, that they diffused the modern style from one extremity of
Italy to the other: in the restoration of painting, though not all, yet
the chief praise belongs to them; and this forms my second proposition.

I proceed more willingly to the sequel of my work, having escaped from
that part of it in which, amid the contradictory sentiments of authors,
I have often suspended my pen, mindful of the maxim, _Historia nihil
falsi audeat dicere, nihil veri non audeat_. Resuming the subject of
Florence, after the death of her great artist in 1336, I find painters
had there prodigiously multiplied, as I shall presently, from undoubted
testimony, proceed to prove. Not long afterwards, that is, in 1349, the
painters associated themselves into a religious fraternity, which they
denominated the Society of St. Luke, first established in S. Maria
Nuova, but afterwards in S. Maria Novella. This was not the first that
had arisen in Italy, as Baldinucci affirms: in 1290 there was a company
of painters previously established at Venice, of which St. Luke was the
patron, the laws of which, it is believed, are still preserved in the
church of St. Sophia.[56] But neither this, the Florentine, nor that of
Bologna, can be called academies for design; they were only the results
of Christian devotion, a sort of school, such as formerly existed, and
still exist in many of the arts. They did not consist of painters alone;
these always possessed the most elevated rank; but in the same place
were assembled artists "in metal and in wood, whose works partook, more
or less, of design;" as is related by Baldinucci, in describing the
Florentine association. In that of Venice were comprehended
basket-makers, gilders, and the lowest daubers; in that of Bologna were
included even saddlers, and scabbard-makers; who were only divided from
the painters by means of lawsuits and decisions. That unrefined age did
not as yet acknowledge the dignity of painting; it denominated those
artists master workmen, whom we now call professors of the art, and it
called shops what we name studies. I have often doubted, whether the
progress of the arts was so rapid among us as in Greece, because, there,
painting, either from the beginning or a very early era, was considered
as a liberal art: with us its dignity was much longer in being

He who desires to discover the origin of those associations, will find
it in the works composed of different arts then most in use, of which I
shall treat somewhat fully, for the sake of illustrating the history. A
little above I mentioned basket-makers: at that time, all kinds of
furniture, such as cupboards, benches, and chests, were wrought by
mechanics, and then painted, especially when intended as the furniture
of new married women. Many ancient cabinet pictures have been cut out of
such pieces of furniture, and, by this means, preserved to later ages.
As for images on altars, through the whole of the fourteenth century,
they were not formed, as at present, on a separate piece from the
surrounding ornaments. There were made little altars, or dittici,[57] in
many parts of Italy, called _Ancone_; they first shaped the wood, and
laboriously ornamented it with carving. The design was conformed to the
Teutonic, or, as it is called, the Gothic architecture, seen in the
façades of churches built in that age. The whole work was a load of
minuteness, consisting of little tabernacles, pyramids, and niches; and
various doors and windows, with semi-circular and pointed arches, were
represented on the surface of the panel; a style very characteristic of
that period. I have sometimes there observed, in the middle, little
statues in mezzo-relievo.[58] Most frequently the painter designed these
figures or busts of saints: sometimes there were also prepared various
sorts of little forms, or moulds--formelle--in which to represent
histories. Often there was a step added to the little altar, where, in
several compartments, were likewise exhibited histories of our Saviour,
of the Virgin, and of the martyrs, either real or feigned.[59] Sometimes
various compartments were prepared, in which their lives were
represented. The carvers in wood were so vain of their craft, that they
often inscribed their own names before that of the painter.[60]

Even pictures for rooms were fashioned by the carvers into triangular
and square forms, which they surrounded with heavy borders, with rude
foliage, lace, or Arabesque ornaments around them. In that age, pictures
were rarely committed to canvass alone, though some such are to be seen
at Florence, and more among the Venetians and people of Bologna; but
panels were most frequently employed. The borders often inclosed
portions of canvass, not unfrequently of parchment, and sometimes of
leather, which, in all probability, were prepared by those who usually
wrought in such materials; and this is the reason why such artists, and
even in some instances saddlers, were sometimes associated with

History informs us that shields for war, or the tournament, and also
various equestrian accoutrements, as the saddles and trappings of
horses, were ornamented with painting, a custom which was retained till
the time of Francia, as Vasari mentions in his life; hence, armourers
and saddlers became associated with painters. Among them in like manner
might be included those who prepared walls for painting in fresco, and
who covered them with a reddish ground, which not unfrequently is still
discovered in the flaws. On this colour the figures were designed, and
such walls were the cartoons of the old masters. The stucco workers also
assisted them in those relieved ornaments we see in fresco paintings. I
believe they used moulds in those works, which seem nothing else than
globules, flowerets, and little stars, formed with a stamp, such as we
see on gilt plaister, on leather, on board, and on playing-cards. On
whatever substance they painted, some gold was usually added; with it
they ornamented the ground of their pictures, the glories of their
saints, their garments, and fringes. Although painters themselves were
skilled in such labours, it appears that they sought the assistance of
gilders, and therefore gilders were classed with painters, and like them
inscribed works with their names.

This was the practice of Cini and Saracini, just before recorded, and
particularly of a native of Ferrara, who, in the pictures of the
Vivarini, at Venice, subscribes his name before theirs. (_See Zanetti,
Pittura Ven._ p. 15.) And in the cathedral of Ceneda, below an
Incoronation of the Virgin, in which the artist did not care to exhibit
himself to posterity, the engraver, already noticed, left the following
inscription, which Signor Lorenzo Giustiniani, a Venetian patrician of
great taste and cultivation of mind, has very politely communicated to

Towards the end of the fourteenth century, when the gothic style was
disappearing from architecture, the design of the carvers improved, and
they began to erect over altars oblong panels, divided by partitions,
which were fashioned into pilasters, or small columns, and often between
these last feigned gates or windows, so that the ancona or altar bore
some resemblance to the façade of a palace or a church; over them was
placed a frieze, and above the frieze was a place like a stage with some
figures. The saints were placed below, and their histories were painted
in the compartments; and often there appeared their histories painted
upon some little form, or upon the steps. The partitions were gradually
removed, the proportions of the figures enlarged, and the saints were
disposed in a single piece around the throne of our Lord, not so erect
as formerly, after the manner of statues, but in different actions and
positions, a custom which prevailed even in the sixteenth century. The
practice of gilding grounds declined towards the end of the fifteenth
century, but it was increased on the garments, and fringes were never so
deep as at that period. About the close of that century gold was more
sparingly employed, and it was almost wholly abandoned in the following.
No little benefit would be conferred upon the art by any one who would
undertake to point out with accuracy what were the colours, gums, and
other mixtures employed by the Greeks. They were undoubtedly in
possession of the best methods transmitted to them by a tradition, which
though in some measure corrupted, was confessedly derived from their
ancestors. Even subsequent to the invention of oils, their colouring is
in some degree deserving of our admiration. In the Medicean Museum there
is a Madonna, subscribed with the following Latin inscription, _Andreas
Rico de Candia pinxit_, the forms of which are stupid, the folds
inelegant, and the composition coarse; but with all this, the colour is
so fresh, vivid, and brilliant, that there is no modern work that would
not lose by a comparison; indeed, the colouring is so extremely strong
and firm, that when tried with the iron, it does not liquefy, but rather
scales off, and breaks in minute portions. The frescos, likewise, of the
earliest Greek and Italian painters, are surprisingly strong, and more
particularly in upper than in lower Italy. There are some figures of
saints upon the pilasters of the church of San Niccolo, at Trevigi,
quite remarkable for their durability, an account of which is given in
the first volume of Padre Federici, (p. 188). I have understood from
professors that such a degree of _consistency_ must have been produced
by a certain portion of wax, which was employed at that period, as will
be explained in the subsequent chapter, on the subject of painting in
oil. It must, however, be admitted, that we are very little advanced in
these inquiries into the ancient methods of preparing colour. Were they
once satisfactorily explored, it would prove highly useful in the
restoration of ancient pictures, nor superfluous in regard to the
adoption of that firm, fused, and lucid colouring, which we shall have
occasion to commend in various Lombard and Venetian pictures, and more
especially in those of Coreggio.

These observations will not be useless to the connoisseur, who doubts
the age of a picture on which there are no characters. Where there are
letters he may proceed with still greater certainty. The letters
vulgarly called gothic, began to be used after the year 1200, in some
places more early than in others; and characters were loaded with a
superfluity of lines, through the whole of the fourteenth, until about
the middle of the fifteenth century, when the use of the Roman alphabet
was revived. What forms were adopted by artists in subscribing their
names, will be more conveniently explained in the course of a few pages
further. I have judged it proper to give here a sort of paleology of
painting; because inattention to this has been, and still is, a fruitful
source of error. The reader, however, may observe, that though the rules
here proposed, afford some light to resolve doubtful points, they are
not to be considered as infallible and universal, and he may further
recollect, that in matters of antiquity nothing is more dangerous and
ridiculous, than to form general rules, which a single example may be
sufficient to overthrow.

[Footnote 26: See Tiraboschi, _Storia della Litterat. Italiana_, towards
the end of tom. iv. See also the Dissertation of Lami on the Italian
painters and sculptors who flourished from the year 1000 to 1300; in the
Supplement to Vinci's _Trattato della Pittura_, printed at Florence in
1792; and see Moreni, P. iv. p. 108.]

[Footnote 27: See the Oration of Mon. Francesco Carrara _Delle Lodi
delle belle Arti_, Roma, 1758, 4to. with the accompanying Notes, in
which the two Bianchini, Marangoni, and Bottari, their illustrators, are

[Footnote 28: Pointed out to me by Sig. D'Agincourt, a gentleman deeply
versed in antiquities of this sort.]

[Footnote 29: There were similar remains in the choir, the design of
which I have seen. They were covered over in 1733. Among other
curiosities was the portrait of the patriarch Popone, of the Emperor
Conrad, and his son Henry; the design, action, and characters, like the
mosaics at Rome; executed about the year 1030. See Bartoli, _Antichità
di Aquileja_, p. 369; and Altan, _Del vario Stato_, &c. p. 5.]

[Footnote 30: The figure of our Lady is retouched; but two miniatures
attached to it, are better preserved; the one represents a man, the
other a woman: and their drapery is in the costume of that period. The
figures are reversed in the engraving of them, which is published.]

[Footnote 31: See P. della Valle in the Preface to Vasari, p. 51.]

[Footnote 32: A few pictures by superior Greek artists, remain, which
are very good. Of this number is a Madonna, with a Greek inscription, at
the church of S. Maria in Cosmedin at Rome. There is also one at
Camerino said to have come from Smyrna; and I know of no Greek picture
in Italy better executed or better preserved.]

[Footnote 33: The lateral gate of bronze is of very rude workmanship, as
described by the Canon Martini, in his account of that temple, p. 85;
and by Sig. da Morrona, it is with much probability ascribed to the hand
of Bonanno Pisano. From Vasari's life of Arnalfo, we learn that the same
sculptor also executed the great gate of the Primaziale at Pisa, in
bronze, about the year 1180, subsequently destroyed by fire. That of
Santa Maria Nuova at Monreale, is likewise his. It is described by P.
del Giudice, in his account of that church, and bears the name of
Bonanno Pisano, with the date 1186. It is as rudely executed as the
preceding one at Pisa, as I am assured by the Cavalier Puccini,
accurately versed in every branch of the fine arts. If we wish to
estimate the merit of Niccola Pisano, we have only to compare these two
gates with the specimens which he gave us only a few years afterwards.]

[Footnote 34: Several specimens of similar productions also remain in
Sicily, particularly at Mazzerra and Girganti. At Palermo, the tomb of
the Empress Constance II. who died in the year 1222, is decorated with
an antique sculpture in basso relievo, representing a chase, which is
conjectured to represent that of Æneas and Dido, and which is well
engraved. See the work entitled, "I Regali Sepolchri del Duomo di
Palermo riconosciuti e illustrati. Nap. 1784."

Another specimen of this sort is said to be in the collection of Mr.
Blundell, at Ince.]

[Footnote 35: In the new Guide to Milan, Sig. Abate Bianconi observes,
"that these are beautiful works, and that nothing superior is to be seen
in any work of that age. Vasari, by omitting this very eminent Pisan,
and not mentioning these works, although he was according to his own
account at Milan, has given reason to believe, that he was not over
anxious in his researches." p. 215.

See also Giulini and Verri, as quoted by Sig. da Morrona in tom. i. pp.
199, 200.]

[Footnote 36: The mosaic school subsisted at Rome as early as the
eleventh and twelfth centuries. (See Musant. Fax Chronol. pp. 319, 338.)
In this the family of the Cosmati acquired great excellence. Adeodato di
Cosimo Cosmati employed himself in the church of St. Maria Maggiore, in
1290, (Guide to Rome); and several of the same name exercised their
talents in the cathedral of Orvieto. (See Valle Catalogo.) The whole of
these are preferred to the Greek mosaic workers, who were at the same
period engaged in decorating St. Mark's at Venice. (See Valle's Preface
to Vasari, p. 61.)]

[Footnote 37:

  _Sancti Francisci Frater fuit hoc operatus
  Jacobus in tali præ cunctis arte probatus_,

is the inscription on the mosaic.]

[Footnote 38: See _Pisa Illustrata_ of Signor da Morrona, tom. i. p.

[Footnote 39: Tom. ii. p. 127.]

[Footnote 40: In the sacristy of the Angioli is preserved the most
ancient portrait of San Francesco that is extant. It is painted on the
panel which served as the saint's couch until the period of his decease,
as we learn from the inscription. It is there supposed to be the work of
some Greek artist anterior to Giunta.]

[Footnote 41: See Signor Ab. Bettinelli, _Risorgimento d' Italia negli
studii, nelle arti, ne' costumi dopo il mille_, p. 192.]

[Footnote 42: To this list of early painters might perhaps be added the
name of Francesco Benani, by whom there is a whole length figure of St.
Jerome holding a crucifix in his hand. It possesses all the
characteristics attributed by Lanzi to this early age. Near the bottom
of the picture is a label, inscribed, Franciscus Benanus, Filius Petri
Ablada. The size of the picture is 2 feet 8 by 2 feet 2, on panel,
covered with gypsum. The vehicle of the colours is probably prepared
from eggs, which were usually employed for that purpose before the
invention of painting in oil, and to which an absorbent ground of lime
or gypsum seems to have been indispensable. It is surprising how well
the early pictures executed in this style have preserved their colouring
to the present day.]

[Footnote 43: This writer has thrown much light upon the history of our
early painters, from which I have derived and shall continue to derive,
much benefit; but in the heat of dispute, he has frequently depreciated
Cimabue in a way which I cannot approve. For instance, Vasari having
said, that "he contributed greatly to the perfection of the art," della
Valle asserts, that "he did it neither good nor harm;" and that having
closely examined the pictures of Cimabue, "he has found in them a ruder
style than appears in those of Giunta Pisano, of Guido da Siena, of
Jacopo da Turrita, &c." (tom. i. p. 235.) Of the two last I shall speak
elsewhere. With respect to the first, the writer contradicts himself
four pages after; when, commenting on another passage of the historian
relating to certain pictures of Cimabue, executed in Assisi in the
inferior church of S. Francesco, he says, that "he there, in his
opinion, surpassed Giunta Pisano." It is to be remembered that this was
his first work, or amongst the first that Cimabue painted in Assisi.
When he went thither, therefore, he was a better artist than Giunta.
How, then, when he worked in the superior church, in Assisi, and in so
many other places, did he become so bad a painter, and more uncouth than
Giunta himself?]

[Footnote 44: See Baldinucci, tom. i. p. 17, Florentine Edition, 1767,
where it is said that the Cimabuoi were also called _Gualtieri_.]

[Footnote 45: But see Baldinucci in _Veglia_, p. 87.]

[Footnote 46: We read, in the preface to the Sienese edition of Vasari's
Lives, (p. 17) as follows: "To Giunta and to the other artists of Pisa,
as heads of the school, was given the principal direction of adorning
the Franciscan church; and Cimabue and Giotto are known to have been
either disciples or assistants in their school, in which they produced
several important works. Giunta had the direction of his assistant as
long as he resided there, which may have been even subsequent to 1236.
But how are we to suppose that he could have been at Assisi so long as
to permit Cimabue (who was born in 1240, and went to Assisi about 1265)
to assist, to receive instructions from, and to succeed him? Such a
supposition is still more untenable as regards Giotto, who was invited
to Assisi many years afterwards." (Vasari.)]

[Footnote 47: To the testimonies in favor of Cimabue, may be added one
of no little weight, from the manuscript given to the public a few years
since, by the Abbate Morelli. We there find that Cimabue painted in
Padua, in the church del Carmine, which was afterwards burnt; but that a
head of S. Giovanni, by him, being rescued from the flames, was inserted
in a frame, and preserved in the house of Alessandro Capella. Would a
painter, who had done neither good nor harm to the Florentine school,
and to the art, have been invited to Padua? Would the remains of his
works have been held in such esteem? Would he have been so highly
valued, after so great a lapse of time, by Vasari, to whose arts he
seems to wish to ascribe the reputation of Cimabue. Other proofs of this
reputation may be seen in the defence of Vasari, in the present Book,
third Epoch. The writer of history ought completely to divest himself of
the love of system and party spirit.]

[Footnote 48: Vasari, tom. i. p. 322.]

[Footnote 49: A book is mentioned by Baldinucci ornamented by Giotto
with miniatures, with histories from the Old Testament, and presented to
the vestry of St. Peter, by Cardinal Stefaneschi; of this he neither
adduces any proof, nor can I find any record. From the evidence, rather,
of an existing necrology, where, among the presents made by Stefaneschi
to the cathedral, the pictures and the mosaic by Giotto are noticed
without any other work of this artist, the gift of the book is very
doubtful. See Sig. Ab, Cancellieri _De Secretariis Veteris Basilicæ
Vaticanæ_, p. 859, and 2464. Some miniatures of the martyrdom and
miracles of St. George, in another book, are ascribed to him; but I am
uncertain whether there is any ancient document for this; and they
might, possibly, be the work of Simone da Siena, who is often confounded
with him.]

[Footnote 50: See his first volume, pp. 131 and 202; and also P. della
Valle in the preface to Vasari, p. 27; also Signor da Morrona in his
Pisa Illustrata, p. 154; besides many other authors.]

[Footnote 51: D. Valle's preface to Vasari, p. 36.]

[Footnote 52: We may observe, that Malvasia is the champion, not only of
Bologna, but of Italy, and of all Europe. At page 11, volume first, he
has quoted a passage from Filibien, which proves that design always
maintained itself in France, even in rude ages, and that at the time of
Cimabue it was there equally respectable as in Italy.]

[Footnote 53: A catalogue of them is given in P. della Valle, in his
history of that Church, and is republished in the Sienese edition of
Vasari, at the end of the second volume.]

[Footnote 54: This place, which will ever do high honour to the
magnificence of the Pisans, would be an inestimable museum, if the
pictures there, executed by Giotto, by Memmi, by Stefano Florentino, by
Buffalmacco, by Antonio Veneziano, by the two Orcagni, by Spinello
Aretino, and by Laurati, had been carefully preserved; but the greatest
number having been injured by dampness, were repaired, but with
considerable judgment, within the century.]

[Footnote 55: Plin. xxxv. 9.]

[Footnote 56: Zanet. p. 3.]

[Footnote 57: It was a very ancient practice of Christian worship to
place the silver, or ivory dittici, upon the altars during the service
of the mass, and when the sacred ceremony was over, they were folded up
in the manner of a book, and taken elsewhere. The same figure was
retained, even in the introduction of the largest altar pieces, which
likewise consisted of two wings, and were portable. This custom, of
which I have seen few remnants in Italy, has been long preserved in the
Greek church. At length, by degrees, artists began to paint upon one
whole panel. (_See Buonarroti Vetri Antichi_, p. 258, &c.)]

[Footnote 58: In Torrello, one of the Venetian isles, there is an
ancient image of St. Hadrian, which is tolerably carved, and around it
the history of the saint is depicted: the style is feeble, but not

[Footnote 59: I notice this peculiarity, because the histories, either
painted or engraved, belonging to those early times, are apt to perplex
us; nor can they be cleared up without having recourse to books of
fiction, which were, in those less civilized periods, believed. In the
acts of our Saviour, and of the Virgin, it may be useful to consult Gio.
Alberto Fabrizio, in the collection entitled "_Codex Apocr. Novi
Testamenti_;" in the acts of the apostles and martyrs, it is not so much
their real history, as the legends, either manifestly false or
suspected, as recounted by the Bollandisti, that will throw light upon
the subject.]

[Footnote 60: See Vasari in the life of Spinello Aretino: "Simone Cini,
a Florentine, carved it, it was gilt by Gabriello Saracini, and Spinello
di Luca of Arezzo, painted it in the year 1385." A similar signature may
be seen in Pittura Veneziana, page 15.]



  _Florentine Painters who lived after Giotto to the end of
  the fifteenth century._


It is worthy of remark, that Vasari, in the life of Jacopo di Casentino,
quotes the manuscript records of the society of St. Luke, afterwards
printed by Baldinucci, and mentions fourteen painters who were formerly
its captains, counsellors, or chamberlains; yet he takes no notice of
them in his _Lives_, and of but very few of the great number named in
that manuscript. The same selection was employed by Baldinucci, in whose
VEGLIA we are informed that many painters flourished about 1300, the
names of whom he has refused to insert in his anecdotes. It clearly
appears from his writings that he omitted about a hundred, all belonging
to that age.[61] It is therefore incorrect to say, that those two
historians have commemorated many artists of mediocrity, merely because
they were natives of Florence, an accusation alleged against them by
foreigners. The artists of their country whom they have transmitted to
posterity, are not less worthy of record than those ancient ones of
Venice, of Bologna, and of Lombardy, whom we are accustomed to praise in
their respective schools. Among this number I include Buffalmacco, the
wit whose jests, as recorded in Boccaccio and Sacchetti, render him more
celebrated than his pictures. His real name was Buonamico di Cristofano.
He had been the scholar of Tafi, but by living long in the time of
Giotto, he had an opportunity of correcting his own style. He displayed
a most lively fancy, "and when he chose to exert himself (which rarely
happened) was not inferior to any of his contemporaries."[62] It is
unfortunate that his best works, which were in the Abbey and in
Ognisanti, have perished, and there only remain some less carefully
executed at Arezzo and at Pisa. The best preserved are in the Campo
Santo; viz. the Creation of the World, in which there is a figure of the
Deity, five cubits high, sustaining the mighty frame of the heavens and
the elements, and three other historical pictures of Adam, of his
children, and of Noah. A crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of the
Redeemer, may be seen at the same place. Good symmetry is not to be
looked for in them; he knew but little of design, and he drew his
figures by other rules than the roundness and facility seen in the
disciples of Giotto. His heads are deficient in beauty and variety. The
pious women near the cross all have the same mean and vulgar features,
in which the mouths are opened even to deformity. Some of the heads of
the men, especially that of Cain, possess, however, a physiognomical
expression which arrests the eye of the spectator. The air of nature too
in the action, as in the man, who, full of horror, flies from Mount
Calvary, is highly praiseworthy. His draperies are greatly varied, are
distinguished by the difference of stuffs and linings, and are
laboriously ornamented with flowers and with fringes. Before he was
employed in the Campo Santo, he painted in the church of St. Paul, Ripa
d'Arno, where he was associated with one Bruno di Giovanni, formerly his
fellow student, and believed to be the painter of a St. Ursula in a
piece which still exists in the Commenda. Unable to attain the
expression of Buffalmacco, he tried to atone for the defect by the aid
of sentences proceeding from the mouths of his figures, which expressed
what their features and attitudes were incapable of explaining, a
practice in which he was preceded by Cimabue, and followed by the
eccentric Orcagna and several others. This Bruno, together with Nello di
Dino, was associated with Buffalmacco in the jests contrived for the
simple Calandrino. They all owe their fame to Boccaccio, who introduces
them in the eighth day of his Decamerone; and a similar favour was
conferred by Sacchetti on a Bartolo Gioggi, a house-painter, whom he
introduced into his one hundred and seventieth tale. Giovanni da Ponte,
the scholar of Buffalmacco, had some merit, but he was not at all
solicitous to increase it by his diligence. Some remains of his pictures
exist on the walls of the church of St. Francis, at Arezzo.

I believe that Bernardo Orcagna, who rivalled the fame of Buffalmacco,
proceeded from some old school. He was the son of one Cione, a sculptor,
and his brother Jacopo was of the same profession: but the other
brother, Andrea, surpassed them all; and in himself so far united the
attainments of the three sister arts, that he was by some reckoned
second only to Giotto. He is known among architects for having
introduced the circular arch instead of the acute, as may be seen in the
gallery of the Lanzi, which he built and ornamented with sculpture.
Bernardo taught him the principles of painting. They who have
represented him as the pupil of Angiol Gaddi, do not appear attentive to
dates. In the Strozzi chapel in the church of S. Maria Novella, he and
Bernardo painted Paradise, and over against it the Infernal Regions; and
in the Campo Santo of Pisa, Death and the Judgment were executed by
Andrea, and Hell by Bernardo. The two brothers imitated Dante in the
novel representations which they executed at those places; and that
style was more happily repeated by Andrea in the church of Santa Croce,
where he inserted portraits of his enemies among the damned, and of his
friends among the blessed spirits. These pictures are the prototypes of
similar pictures preserved in S. Petronio, at Bologna, in the cathedral
of Tolentino, in the Badia del Sesto, at Friuli,[63] and some other
places, in which hell is distinguished by abysses and a variety of
torments, after the manner of Dante. Several pictures by Andrea remain,
and his name is still on that in the Strozzi chapel, which is full of
figures and of episodes. On the whole, he discovers fertility of
imagination, diligence, and spirit, equal to any of his contemporaries.
In composition he was less judicious, in attitudes less exact, than the
followers of Giotto; and he yields to them in drawing and in colouring.

The same school produced Marinotto, a nephew of Andrea, and a Tommaso di
Marco, whom I pass over, as well as others of little note, no longer
known by existing works. Bernardo Nello di Gio. Falconi of Pisa merits
consideration. He executed many pictures in that cathedral, and is
supposed to be the same with that Nello di Vanni, who, with other Pisan
artists, painted in the Campo Santo in the fourteenth century. Francesco
Traini, a Florentine, is known as much superior to his master, by a
large picture which is in the church of S. Catherine of Pisa, in which
he has represented St. Thomas Aquinas in his own form, and also in his
beatification. He stands in the middle of the picture, under the
Redeemer, who sheds a glory on the Evangelists and him; and from them
the rays are scattered on a crowd of listeners, composed of clergy,
doctors, bishops, cardinals, and popes. Arius and other innovators are
at the feet of the saint, as if vanquished by his doctrine; and near him
appear Plato and Aristotle, with their volumes open, a circumstance not
to be commended in such a subject. This work exhibits no skill in
grouping, no knowledge of relief, and it abounds in attitudes which are
either too tame, or too constrained; and yet it pleases by a marked
expression in the countenances, an air of the antique in the draperies,
and a certain novelty in the composition. Let us now pass on to the
followers of Giotto.

The scholars of Giotto have fallen into an error common to the followers
of all illustrious men; in despairing to surpass, they have only aspired
to imitate him with facility. On this account the art did not advance so
quickly as it might otherwise have done, among the Florentine and other
artists of the fourteenth century, who flourished after Giotto. In the
several cities above mentioned, Giotto invariably appears superior when
seen in the vicinity of such painters as Cavallini, or Gaddi; and
whoever is acquainted with his style, stands in no need of a prolix
account of that of his followers, which, with a general resemblance to
him, is less grand and less agreeable. Stefano Fiorentino alone is a
superior genius in the opinion of Vasari, according to whose account he
greatly excelled Giotto in every department of painting. He was the son
of Catherine, a daughter of Giotto, and possessed a genius for
penetrating into the difficulties of the art, and an insuperable desire
of conquering them. He first introduced foreshortenings into painting,
and if in this he did not attain his object, he greatly improved the
perspective of buildings, the attitudes, and the variety and expression
of the heads. According to Landino he was called the _Ape of Nature_, an
eulogy of a rude age; since such animals, in imitating the works of man,
always debase them: but Stefano endeavoured to equal and to embellish
those of nature. The most celebrated of his pictures which were in the
_Ara Coeli_ at Rome, in the church of S. Spirito at Florence, and in
other places, have all perished. As far as I know, his country does not
possess one of his undoubted pictures; unless we mention as such, that
of the Saviour in the Campo Santo of Pisa, which, indeed, is in a
greater manner than the works of this master, but it has been retouched.
A _Pietà_, by his son and disciple Tommaso, as is believed by some,
exists in S. Remigi at Florence, which strongly partakes of the manner
of Giotto; like his frescos at Assisi. He deserved the name of Giottino,
given him by his fellow citizens, who used to say that the soul of
Giotto had transmigrated, and animated him. Baldinucci alleges that
there was another of the same name, who should not be confounded with
him, and quotes the following inscription from a picture in the Villa
Tolomei, "Dipinse Tommaso di Stefano Fortunatino de' Gucci Tolomei." But
Cinelli, the strenuous opponent of Baldinucci, attributes it, perhaps
justly, to Giottino. This artist left behind him one Lippo, sufficiently
commended by Vasari, but who rather seems to have been an imitator than
a scholar. Giovanni Tossicani of Arezzo, was a disciple of Giottino,
employed in Pisa and over all Tuscany. He painted the St. Philip and St.
James, which still remain on the baptismal font in Arezzo, and were
repaired by Vasari while a young man, who acknowledges that he learned
much from this work, injured as it was. With him perished the best
branch of the stock of Giotto.

Taddeo Gaddi may be considered as the Giulio Romano of Giotto, his most
intimate and highly favoured pupil. Vasari, who saw his frescos and
easel pictures at Florence, in good preservation, prefers him to his
master, in colouring and in delicacy; but the lapse of time at this day
forbids our deciding this point, although several of his pictures
remain, especially in the church of Santa Croce, which are scriptural
histories, much in the manner of Giotto. He discovered more originality
in the chapter house of the Spagnuoli, where he worked in competition
with Memmi.[64] He painted some of the acts of the Redeemer on the
ceiling, and the descent of the Holy Spirit in the refectory, which is
among the finest specimens of art in the fourteenth century. On one of
the walls he painted the Sciences, and under each some one of its
celebrated professors; and demonstrated his excellence in this species
of allegorical painting, which approaches so nearly to poetry. The
brilliance and clearness of his tints are chiefly conspicuous in that
chapter house. The royal gallery contains the taking down of Christ, the
work of his hands, which was formerly at Orsanmichele, and by some
ascribed to Buffalmacco, merely because it was unascertained. Taddeo
flourished beyond the term assigned him by Vasari, and outlived most of
those already named. This may be collected from Franco Sacchetti, a
contemporary writer, who relates in his 136th Tale, that Andrea Orcagna
proposed as a question, "who was the greatest master, setting Giotto out
of the question?" Some answered Cimabue, others Stefano, some Bernardo,
and some Buffalmacco. Taddeo Gaddi, who was in the company, said, "truly
these were very able painters, but the art is decaying every day, &c."
He is mentioned up to 1352, and he might possibly survive several years.

He left at his death several disciples, who became eminent teachers of
painting in Florence, and other places. D. Lorenzo Camaldolese is
mentioned with honour. He instructed pupils in the art; and several old
pictures by him and his scholars are in the monastery of the Angeli. At
that time the fraternity of Camaldulites furnished some miniature
painters, one of whom, named D. Silvestro, ornamented missals, which
still exist, and are amongst the best that Italy possesses. The most
favoured pupils of Taddeo were Giovanni da Milano, whom I shall notice
in the school of Lombardy, and Jacopo di Casentino, who also will find a
place there, together with his imitators. To these two he recommended on
his death-bed his two sons and disciples: Giovanni, who died
prematurely, with a reputation for genius; and Angiolo, who being then
very young, most needed a protector. The latter died, according to
Vasari, at 63 years of age; in 1589, according to the date of
Baldinucci. He did not improve the art in proportion to his abilities,
but contented himself with imitating Giotto and his father, in which he
was astonishingly successful. The church of S. Pancrazio possessed one
picture by him, containing several saints, and some histories from the
Gospel, which may still be seen in the monastery, divided into several
pieces, and coloured in a taste superior to what was then usual. There
is another in the same style in the sacristy of the Conventual friars,
by whom he was employed in the choir of the church, to paint in fresco
the story of the recovery of the Cross, and its transportation in the
time of Heraclius; a work inferior to the others, because much larger,
and to him somewhat new. He afterwards lived at Venice, as a merchant
rather than as a painter; and Baldinucci, who seizes every opportunity
of supporting his hypothesis, says, that if he was not the founder of
that school, he, at least, improved it. But I shall demonstrate, in the
proper place, that the Venetian school was advancing to a modern style,
before Angiolo could have taught in that place; and in the many old
pictures I saw at Venice, I was unable to recal to mind the delicate
style of Angiolo. The Venetians owe to him the education of Stefano da
Verona, whom I shall consider in the second volume; and he gave the
Florentines Cennino Cennini, praised by Vasari as a colourist, of whom
as a writer I shall soon make mention.

In the school of Angiolo Gaddi we may reckon Antonio Veneziano,
concerning whom Vasari and Baldinucci disagree. The former makes him a
Venetian, "who came to Florence to learn painting of Agnolo Gaddi:" the
latter, a systematic writer, as we have seen, asserts that he was born
in Florence, and that he obtained the surname of Veneziano, from his
residence and many labours in Venice, on the authority of certain
memoirs in the Strozzi library, which were, perhaps, doubted by himself;
for had they been of high authority, he would not have omitted to
proclaim their antiquity. However this may be, each of them is a little
inconsistent with himself. As they assert that Antonio died of the
plague in 1384, or, according to the correction of their annotators, in
1383, at the age of 74, it follows that he was born many years before
Gaddi, whose disciple, therefore, we cannot easily suppose him. It is
likewise rendered doubtful by his design in the legends of S.
Ranieri,[65] which remain in the Campo Santo of Pisa, where there is a
certain facility, care, and caprice in the composition, that savour of
another school. Vasari, moreover, notices a method of painting in
fresco, without ever re-touching it when dry, that would seem to have
been introduced from other parts, different from what was employed by
the Tuscan artists, his competitors, whose paintings, in the time of the
historian, were not in as good a state of preservation as those of
Antonio. In the same place he deposited his portrait, which the
describers of the ducal gallery at Florence pretend still to find in the
chamber of celebrated artists. This portrait is, however, painted in a
manner so modern, that I cannot believe it the work of a painter so
ancient. On this occasion I must observe that there was another Antonio
Veneziano, whom this picture probably represents, and who, about the
year 1500, painted, at Osimo, a picture of St. Francis, in the manner of
that age, and inscribed it with his name. I learned this from the
accomplished Sig. Cav. Aqua, who added, that this name had been erased,
and that of Pietro Perugino inserted, who certainly gains no very great
honour by such substitution.

We learn from history[66] that Antonio educated in Paolo Uccello, a
great artist in perspective; and in Gherardo Starnina, a master in the
gay style, of whom there are yet some remnants, in a chapel of the
church of Santa Croce. They are among the last efforts of the school of
Giotto, which succeeding artists abandoned, to adopt a better manner.
One exception occurs in Antonio Vite, who executed some works in the old
style, in Pistoia, his native city, and in Pisa. I may here observe,
that Starnina and Dello Fiorentino shortly after introduced the new
Italian manner in the court of Spain, and returned to Florence with
honour and with affluence. The first remained to enjoy them in his
native country, until the time of his death: the latter returned back to
increase them; and, according to Vasari, he left no public work in
Florence, except an historic design of Isaac, in green earth, in a
cloister of the church of S. Maria Novella: perhaps he ought to have
said, that he left various works, for several are there visible, all in
the same taste, and so rude, as to induce us to reckon him rather a
follower of Buffalmacco than of Giotto. But he excelled in small pieces;
and there was none then living who could more elegantly ornament
cabinets, coffers, the backs of couches, or other household furniture,
with subjects from history and fable.

Among the disciples of Taddeo Gaddi I have named Jacopo del Casentino,
of whom there are some remains in the church of Orsanmichele. Jacopo
taught Spinello Aretino, a man of a most lively fancy, as may be
gathered from some of his pictures in Arezzo, no less than from his
life. He painted also at Florence, and was one of those who had the
honour of ornamenting the Campo Santo of Pisa with historical paintings.
His pictures of the martyrs S. Petito and S. Epiro, are noticed by
Vasari as his best performances. He was, however, inferior to his
competitors by the meanness of his design, and the style of his
colouring, in which green and black are predominant, without being
sufficiently relieved by other colours. The fall of the angels still
remains in S. Angelo at Arezzo, in which Lucifer is represented so
terrible, that it afterwards haunted the dreams of the artist, and,
deranging both his mind and body, hastened his death. Bernardo Daddi was
his scholar; a man less known in his own country than at Florence, where
he executed a picture, seen on the gate of San Giorgio (See Moreni, lib.
v. p. 5.); as was also Parri, the son of Spinello, who modernised his
style somewhat on the manner of Masolino. The latter excelled in the art
of colouring, but he was barbarous in the drawing of his figures, which
he made extravagantly long and bending, in order, as he was used to say,
to give them greater spirit. One may see some remains of them at Arezzo
in S. Domenico, and other places. Lorenzo di Bicci of Florence, another
scholar of Spinello, was the Vasari of his time, for the multiplicity,
celerity, and easy self-complacency, shewn in his labours. The first
cloister of the church of S. Croce retains several specimens, consisting
of the legends of S. Francis; and there is an Assumption on the front,
in which he was assisted by Donatello, while still a young man. Perhaps
his best work is the fresco, ornamenting the sanctuary of S. Maria
Nuova, built by Martin V. about the year 1418. His son Neri is reckoned
among the last followers of Giotto. He lived but a short time; he left,
in S. Romolo, a picture which would not have disgraced his father, and
which is certainly more carefully executed than was usual with the

During the fourteenth century, sculpture was cultivated at Pisa by as
many artists as painting was at Florence; but Pisa was not on that
account destitute of painters worthy of being recorded. Vasari mentions
one Vicino, who finished the mosaic begun by Turrita, assisted by Tafi
and Gaddi, and adds, that he was also a painter. Sig. da Morrona says,
that he retained the old style of his school; which was the case with
many others, as appears from several old Madonnas upon panels, both of
anonymous and of ascertained painters. Of this sort is that in the old
church of Tripalle, and that at S. Matthew's in Pisa. On the first is
this inscription, _Nerus Nellus de Pisa me pinxit_, 1299: on the second
we read, _Jacopo di Nicola dipintore detto Gera mi dipinse_. The mode of
expression is derived from the m'epoiêse of the Greeks; to which the old
Pisans closely adhered in their paintings, their sculptures, and their
bronzes.[67] Like the other Italians they at length reformed their
style, and there, as well as at Florence and Siena, families of painters
arose, in which the fathers were excelled by their sons, and they by
their children. Thus, from Vanni, who flourished in 1300, sprung Turino
di Vanni, who flourished about 1343, and Nello di Vanni, who painted in
the Campo Santo, whose son Bernardo was the disciple of Orcagna, and
furnished many pictures for the palace of the primate. There was also in
that city one Andrea di Lippo, who is noticed in the _Academical
Discourse on the literary history of Pisa_, in the year 1336; the same,
I believe, with that Andrea da Pisa, mentioned among the artists that
ornamented the cathedral of Orvieto in 1346. A work by one Giovanni di
Niccolo remains in the monastery of S. Martha, and, perhaps, he painted
the fine trittico of the Zelada museum at Rome, which represents our
Saviour with S. Stephen, S. Agatha, and other saints, and which has this
inscription, _Jo. de Pisis pinxit_. This is a picture of great labour,
by some ascribed to Gio. Balducci; which, if it was ascertained, would
confer honour on that great man, as a professor of the three sister
arts. Towards the end of the century the power of the Pisans declined,
rather from civil discord than from other misfortunes; till at length
the city fell into the hands of the Florentines in 1406, and lay for a
long time prostrate and humbled, deprived, not only of her artists, but
almost of her citizens; and fully glutted the ancient hatred of her
hostile neighbours. She at length rose again, not, indeed, to command,
but to more dignified subjection.

The spirit of the Florentines in the mean time increasing with their
power, they became chiefly solicitous to suit the magnificence of their
capital to the grandeur of the state. Cosmo, at once the father of his
country and of men of genius, gave stability to public affairs. Lorenzo
the Magnificent, and others of the house of Medici, followed, whose
hereditary taste for literature and the fine arts is celebrated in a
multitude of books, and most copiously in the histories written by three
eminent authors, Monsignor Fabroni, the Signor Ab. Galluzzi, and Mr.
Roscoe. Their house was at once a lyceum for philosophers, an arcadia
for poets, and an academy for artists. Dello, Paolo, Masaccio, the two
Peselli, both the Lippi, Benozzo, Sandro, the Ghirlandai, enjoyed the
perpetual patronage of this family, and as constantly rendered it
whatever honour they could bestow. Their pictures are full of portraits,
according to the custom of the times, and continually presented to the
people the likenesses of the Medici, and often represented them with
regal ornaments in their pictures of the Epiphany, as if gradually to
prepare the people to behold the sceptre and royal robe securely
established in that house. The good taste of the Medici was seconded by
that of other citizens, who were then distributed into various
corporations, according to their place of residence and profession, each
of which strove with reciprocal emulation to decorate their houses and
their churches. Besides the desire of public ornament, they were
animated by religion, which, in what relates to divine worship, is so
widely spread, not only among the great, but also among the lower orders
of people, that those have a difficulty in believing who have not beheld
it. Their cathedral, a vast fabric, was already reared for the
ceremonies of religion, and here and there some other churches arose;
these and the more ancient, in emulation of each other, they adorned
with paintings, a luxury unknown to their ancestors, and less common in
the other cities of Italy. This disposition gave rise, after the
conclusion of the century, to that prodigious number of painters already
mentioned; and hence sprang, in the century we now treat of, that crowd
of artists in marble, bronze, and silver, who transferred pre-eminence
in sculpture, the ancient inheritance of the Pisans, to the people of
Florence. The Florentines were desirous of ornamenting the new cathedral
and baptistery, the church of Orsanmichele, and other sacred places,
with statues and basso-relievos. These brought forward Donatello,
Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Filarete, Rossellini, Pollajuoli, and
Verrocchio, and produced those noble works in marble, in bronze, and in
silver, which sometimes appear to have attained the perfection of the
art, and to have rivalled the ancients. The rising generation was
instructed in design by those celebrated men, and the universality of
the principles they taught, made the transition from one art to another
easy. The same individuals were often statuaries, founders in bronze, in
gold, lapidaries, painters, or architects, talents that appear enviable
to this age, in which an artist with difficulty acquires a competent
knowledge in a single art. Such was the course of instruction at
Florence in the Studies, and such the subsequent encouragement without,
from which it will not appear wonderful to the reader that this city was
the foremost to attain the perfection of the art. But let us trace the
steps by which it advanced in Florence, and in the rest of Italy.

The followers of Giotto had now carried painting beyond the period of
its infancy, but it continued to give proofs of its infant faculties,
especially in chiaroscuro, and still more in perspective. Figures
sometimes appeared as if falling or slipping from the canvass; buildings
had not a true point of view; and the art of foreshortening was yet very
rude. Stefano Fiorentino perceived rather than removed the difficulty;
others for the most part sought either to avoid or to compensate for the
deficiency. Pietro della Francesca, whom we have elsewhere noticed,
appears to have been the first who revived the Grecian practice of
rendering geometry subservient to the painter. He is celebrated by
Pascoli,[68] and by authors of greater note, as the father of
perspective. Brunelleschi was the first Florentine who saw the method of
bringing it to perfection, "which consisted in drawing it in outline by
the help of intersections;"[69] and in this manner he drew the square of
St. John, and other places, with true diminution and with receding
points. He was imitated in mosaic by Benedetto da Maiano, and in
painting by Masaccio, to both of whom he was master. About the same
period Paolo Uccello, having studied under Gio. Manetti, a celebrated
mathematician, applied to it with assiduity; and even so dedicated
himself to the pursuit, that in labouring to excel in this, he never
acquired celebrity in the other branches of painting. He delighted in it
far beyond his other studies, and used to say that perspective was the
most pleasant of all; so true is it that novelty is a great source of
enjoyment. He executed no work that did not reflect some new light on
that art, whether it consisted of edifices and colonnades, in which a
great space was represented in a small compass, or of figures
foreshortened with a skill unknown to the followers of Giotto. Some of
his historic pictures of Adam, and of Noah, in which he indulged in his
favourite taste for the novel and whimsical, remain in the cloisters of
S. Maria Novella; and there are also landscapes with trees and animals
so well executed, that he might be called the Bassano of the first age.
He particularly delighted to have birds in his house, from which he
drew, and from thence he obtained his surname of Uccello. In the
cathedral there is a gigantic portrait of Gio. Aguto on horseback,
painted by Paolo in green earth. This was, perhaps, the first attempt
made in painting, which achieved a great deal without appearing too
daring. He produced other specimens at Padua, where he delineated some
figures of giants with green earth in the house of the Vitali. He was
chiefly employed in ornamenting furniture for private individuals; the
triumphs of Petrarch in the royal gallery, painted on small cabinets are
supposed by some good judges to be his.

Masolino da Panicale cultivated the art of chiaroscuro. I believe he
derived advantage from having long dedicated his attention to modelling
and sculpture, a practice which renders relief easy to the painter,
beyond what is generally conceived. Ghiberti had been his master in this
branch, who at this time was unrivalled in design, in composition, and
in giving animation to his figures. Colouring, which he yet wanted, was
taught him by Starnina, and in this also he became a very celebrated
master. Thus uniting in himself the excellences of two schools, he
produced a new style, not indeed exempt from dryness, nor wholly
faultless; but grand, determined, and harmonious, beyond any former
example. The chapel of St. Peter al Carmine, is a remaining monument of
this artist. He there painted the Evangelists, and some acts of the
Saint, as his vocation to the apostleship, the tempest, the denying of
Christ, the miracle performed at Porta Speciosa, and the Preaching. He
was prevented by death from representing other acts of St. Peter, as for
instance, the tribute paid to Cæsar, baptism conferred on the multitude,
the healing of the sick, which several years afterwards were painted by
his scholar Maso di S. Giovanni, a youth who obtained the surname of
Masaccio, from trusting to a precarious subsistence, and living, as it
was said, by chance, while deeply engrossed with the studies of his
profession. This artist was a genius calculated to mark an era in
painting; and Mengs has assigned him the highest place among those who
explored its untried recesses. Vasari informs us that "what was executed
before his time might be called paintings, but that his pictures seem to
live, they are so true and natural;" and in another place adds, that "no
master of that age so nearly approached the moderns." He had formed the
principles of his art on the works of Ghiberti and Donatello;
perspective he acquired from Brunelleschi, and on going to Rome it
cannot be doubted that he improved by the study of ancient sculpture. He
there met with two senior artists, Gentile da Fabriano, and Vittore
Pisanello, upon whom high encomiums, as the first painter of his time,
may be seen in Maffei and elsewhere.[70] They who write thus had either
not seen any of the paintings of Masaccio, or at most only his early
productions; such as the S. Anna in the church of S. Ambrose in
Florence, or the chapel of S. Catherine in S. Clement's at Rome, in
which, while still young, he executed some pictures of the passion of
Christ, and legends of S. Anna, to which may be added a ceiling
containing the Evangelists, which are all that now remain free from
retouching. This work is excellent for that time, but some doubt whether
it ought to be ascribed to him; and it is inferior to his painting in
the Carmine, of which we may say with Pliny, _jam perfecta sunt omnia_.
The positions and foreshortenings of the figures are diversified and
complete beyond those practised by Paolo Uccello. The air of the heads,
says Mengs, is in the style of Raffaello; the expression is so managed
that the mind seems no less forcibly depicted than the body. The anatomy
of the figure is marked with truth and judgment. That figure, so highly
extolled in the baptism of S. Peter, which appears shivering with cold,
marks, as it were, an era in the art. The garments, divested of
minuteness, present a few easy folds. The colouring is true, properly
varied, delicate, and surprisingly harmonious; the relief is in the
grandest style. This chapel was not finished by him. He died in 1443,
not without suspicion of poison, and left it still deficient in several
pictures, which, after many years were supplied by the younger Lippi. It
became the school of all the best Florentine artists whom we shall have
occasion to notice in this and the succeeding epoch, of Pietro Perugino,
and even of Raffaello; and it is a curious circumstance, that in the
course of many years, in a city fruitful in genius, ever bent on the
promotion of the art, no one in following the footsteps of Masaccio
attained that eminence which he acquired without a director. Time has
defaced other works of his hand at Florence, equally commended, and
especially the sanctuary of the church del Carmine, of which there is a
drawing in the possession of the learned P. Lettor Fontana Barnabita in
Pavia. The royal gallery has very few of his works. The portrait of a
young man, that seems to breathe, and is estimated at a high price, is
in the Pitti collection.

After Masaccio, two monks distinguished themselves in the Florentine
school. The first was a Dominican friar named F. Giovanni da Fiesole, or
B. Giovanni Angelico. His first employment was that of ornamenting books
with miniatures, an art he learned from an elder brother, who executed
miniatures and other paintings. It is said that he studied in the chapel
of Masaccio, but it is not easy to credit this when we consider their
ages. Their style too betrays a different origin. The works of the friar
discover some traces of the manner of Giotto, in the posture of the
figures and the compensation for deficiencies in the art, not to mention
the drapery which is often folded in long tube-like forms, and the
exquisite diligence in minute particulars common to miniature painters.
Nor did he depart much from this method in the greatest part of his
works, which chiefly consist of scripture pieces of our Saviour, or the
Virgin, in cabinet pictures not unfrequently to be met with in Florence.
The royal gallery possesses several; the most brilliant and highly
finished of which, is the birth of John the Baptist. The Glory,[71]
which is in the church of S. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi, from its great
size, is among his rarest productions; and it also ranks with the most
beautiful. His chief excellence consists in the beauty that adorns the
countenances of his saints and angels; and he is truly the Guido of the
age, for the sweetness of his colours, which, though in water, he
diluted and blended in a manner which almost reaches perfection. He was
also esteemed one of the best of his age in works executed in fresco;
and he was employed in the decoration of the cathedral of Orvieto, as
well as the palace of the Vatican itself, where he painted a chapel--a
work much commended by a number of writers. Vasari enumerates Gentile da
Fabriano among his disciples, but the dates render this impossible; and
says the same of Zanobi Strozzi, a man of noble origin, of whom I do not
know that any certain picture exists in a public collection: I only know
that, treading in the steps of his master, he surpassed the reputation
of a mere amateur. Benozzo Gozzoli, another of his disciples, and an
imitator of Masaccio, raised himself far above the majority of his

In a few points he even surpassed his model, as in the stupendous size
of his edifices, in the amenity of his landscapes, and in the brilliancy
of his fancy, truly lively, agreeable, and picturesque. In the Riccardi
palace, once a royal residence, there is a chapel in good preservation,
where he executed a Glory, a Nativity, and an Epiphany. He there painted
with a profusion of gold and of drapery, unexampled, perhaps, in fresco;
and with an adherence to nature that exhibits an image of that age in
the portraits, the garments, the accoutrements of the horses, and in the
most minute particulars. He long resided at Pisa, and died there, where
he ought to be studied; for his compositions in that place are better
than those at Florence, and he was there also more sparing in the use of
gold. The portrait of S. Thomas Aquinas is highly spoken of by Vasari
and Richardson; but they especially notice the pictures from scripture
history, with which he ornamented a whole wing of the Campo Santo, "a
most prodigious work, sufficient to appal a legion of painters;"[72] and
he finished it within two years. Here he displayed a talent for
composition, an imitation of nature, a variety in the countenances and
attitudes, a colouring juicy, lively, and clear, and an expression of
the passions that places him next to Masaccio. I can scarcely believe
that he painted the whole. In the Ebriety of Noah, in the Tower of
Babel, and in some other pictures, we discern an attempt at surprising,
not to be seen in some others, where figures sometimes occur that seem
dry and laboured; defects which I am disposed rather to attribute to his
coadjutors. Near this great work a monument is erected to his memory by
a grateful city, in the public name, with an epitaph that commends him
as a painter. Time itself, as if conscious of his merit, has respected
this work beyond any other in the Campo Santo.

The other monk was Filippo Lippi, a Carmelite, a genius of a different
stamp from B. Giovanni. He received his instruction, not from Masaccio,
as Vasari would have it, but from his works. His assiduity in copying
him, makes him sometimes appear a second Masaccio, especially in small
histories. Some of his choicest are in the sacristy of the church of S.
Spirito. In that place, in the Church of S. Ambrose, and elsewhere, his
pictures represent the Virgin surrounded by angels, with full and
handsome countenances, distinguished by a colouring and a gracefulness
peculiarly his own. He delighted in drapery like the neat folds of a
surplice; his tints were very clear but delicate, and often subdued by a
purple hue not common to other painters. He introduced gigantic
proportions in his large frescos in the parish church of Prato; where
his pictures of S. Stephen and the Baptist were, in the opinion of
Vasari, his capital performances. His forsaking the convent, his slavery
in Barbary, his works at Naples, at Padua, and elsewhere, his death,
hastened by poison, administered by the relations of a young lady who
had borne him a natural child, likewise named Filippo Lippi, are
recorded by Vasari. P. della Valle is of opinion that he never
_professed_ any order, but in the register of Carmine, his death is
noticed in the year 1469, and he is there denominated Fra Filippo. He
died at Spoleti when he had nearly completed his large picture for the
cathedral. Lorenzo the Magnificent requested his ashes from the
townsmen, but was refused; on which he caused a handsome monument to be
erected for him, with an inscription by Angelo Poliziano; a circumstance
I mention, to demonstrate the respect paid to the art at that period. F.
Diamante da Prato, the scholar of Lippi, and his assistant in his last
work, imitated him well; as likewise did Francesco Pesello, a Florentine
of the same school; his son Pesellino, a short lived artist, followed
him with still greater success. The Epiphany of Francesco, described by
Vasari, in which there is a portrait of Donato Acciaiuoli, is in the
royal gallery. The grado, painted by his son for the apartments of the
novices of S. Croce, is there still: on this last are the histories of
S. Cosma and S. Damian, of S. Anthony, and S. Francis, denominated by
the historian most wonderful productions, and, perhaps, this is not too
much to say when we recollect the period.

About this time other able artists flourished at Florence, who were
obscured by greater names. Of this number was Berto Linaiuolo, whose
pictures in private houses were, for a long time, held in great repute.
They were even ordered by the King of Hungary, and procured him great
fame in that kingdom. Alessio Baldovinetti, of noble extraction, was a
painter particularly diligent and minute, a good worker in mosaic, and
the master of Ghirlandaio. In his picture of the Nativity in the porch
of the Nunziata, and in his other works, the design, rather than the
colouring, may now be said to remain; for the tints have vanished, from
a defect in their composition. To them we may add Verrocchio, a
celebrated statuary, a good designer, and a painter for amusement rather
than by profession. While he painted the Baptism of Christ at S. Salvi,
his scholar, L. da Vinci, then a youth, finished an angel, in a manner
superior to the figures of his master, who, indignant at his own
inferiority to a boy, never more handled the pencil.

Baldinucci imagines that Andrea del Castagno, a name infamous in
history, was a scholar of Masaccio: he was rather his imitator, in
attitude, relief, and casting of the drapery, than in grace and
colouring. He lived at the time that the secret of painting in oil
(discovered by John Van Eych, or John of Bruges, about 1410),[73] was
known in Italy, not only by report, but by experience of the advantages
of this method. Our artists, admiring the harmony, delicacy, and
brilliance, which colours received from this discovery, sighed to
possess the secret. For this purpose, one Antonello da Messina, who had
studied at Rome, travelled to Flanders, and having learned the secret,
according to Vasari, from the inventor, went to Venice, where he
communicated it to a friend named Domenico. After having practised much
in his own country, at Loreto,[74] and other parts of the ecclesiastical
states, Domenico came to Florence. There he became the general
favourite, and on that account was envied by Castagna, whose dissembled
friendship won him to impart the secret, and rewarded him by an
atrocious assassination, which he perpetrated, in order that there might
be none living to rival him in the art. The assassin was sufficiently
skilful to conceal his crime, owing to which a number of innocent
persons soon fell under suspicion, which did not induce the real
criminal to avow the atrocious deed, until he lay upon his death-bed,
when he disclosed his guilt and did justice to the innocence of others.
He had the reputation of being the first artist of his time, for vigour,
for design, and for perspective, having perfected the art of
foreshortening. His finest works have perished: one of his pictures
remains at S. Lucia de' Magnuoli, and also some of his historic pieces,
executed with great diligence. There is also a Crucifixion, painted on a
wall in the monastery of the Angeli.

Many writers have appeared who deny the above mentioned statement of
Vasari, and maintain that the art of painting in oil was known long
before. It is pretended that it existed in the time of the Romans, an
opinion that is adopted by Sig. Ranza, in regard to a picture _said to
be of S. Helena_, consisting of a quilting of different pieces of silk
stitched together, exhibiting a picture of the Virgin Saint with the
Infant. The heads and hands are coloured in oils; the drapery is shaded
with the needle, and in a great measure with the pencil. It is preserved
in Vercelli, and from the tradition of its citizens reported by Mabillon
(Diar. Ital. Cap. 28), it is said to be the work of S. Helena, mother of
Constantine; that is, the patches of silk were sewed by her, and the
gilding and painting added to it by her painter, as is conjectured by
Ranza. He was not aware that the practice of drawing the Infant Christ
in the lap of the Virgin (as we notice in the preface to the Roman
school), was posterior to the fourth century; and that other particulars
related by him of the picture cannot belong to the age of Constantine;
for instance, the hooded mantle of our Lady. From such signs we ought
rather to conclude that it is either not an oil painting, or that the
figure, at whatever period executed, has been retouched in the same way
as that of the Nunziata at Florence, or of the Santa Maria Primerana at
Fiesole; the former of which in the drapery, and the latter in the
lineaments, are not the same now as in their ancient state.

Others, without ascending to the first ages of the church, have asserted
that oil painting was known out of Italy, at least as early as the
eleventh century. As a proof of this, they adduce a manuscript of the
Monk Teofilo or Ruggiero, no later back than that period, which bears
title, "De omni scientiâ artis pingendi," where there is a receipt for
the preparation and use of oil from flax.[75] Lessing gave an account of
this manuscript in the year 1774, in a treatise published at Brunswick,
where he filled the office of librarian to the Prince. Morelli, also, in
the Codici Naniani (cod. 39); and more at length Raspe, in his critical
"Dissertation on Oil Painting," published in the English language at
London, in which he enumerated the existing copies in various libraries,
and gave a great part of the manuscript, entered into an examination of
the subject. Lastly, Teofilo's treatise is inserted by Christiano Leist,
in Lessing's collection, "Zur Geschichte unde Litteratur." Brusw. 1781.
The Dottore Aglietti, in his Giornale Veneto, December, 1793, likewise
adds his opinion; while the learned Abbate Morelli, in his "Notizia,"
which is often cited by me in the emendation and illustration of this
edition, throws the greatest light upon the present question, agitated
by so many, and, we may add, "rem acu tetigit." He, then, will be found
to concede to Giovanni, whom he calls Gianes da Brugia, the boast of
this great discovery, agreeing with Vasari, though in a different sense
from that in which the latter writer views it. For he does not reply to
his opponents, that the art of painting, as taught by Teofilo, might
have gone into disuse, and was only revived by Giovanni; whence Vasari
ventured to commend him as an original inventor; in the same manner as
Tiraboschi replied, who followed the Roman anthologists (St. Lett. t.
vi. p. 1202). Neither does he bring forward the defence advanced by the
Baron de Budberg in the apology of Gio. da Bruges,[76] to the purport
that Teofilo taught the art of painting in oil, only upon a ground,
without figures, and without ornaments: because Teofilo, in chap. 22,
whose words we have given in the note, likewise taught this art. Into
what, then, does the long-boasted invention of Giovanni resolve itself?
Nothing more than this: according to the ancient practice, a fresh
colour was never added to the panel until the first covering had been
dried in the sun: a mode, as Teofilo confesses, infinitely tedious:
"quod in imaginibus diuturnum et tædiosum nimis est;" (cap. 23); to
which I may add, that the colours in this way could never perfectly
harmonize. Van Eych saw this difficulty, and he became more truly
sensible of it, from the circumstance of having exposed one of his
paintings to the sun, in order to harden, when the excess of heat split
the panel. Being at that period sufficiently skilled both in
philosophical and philological inquiries, he began to speculate on the
manner of applying oils, and of their acquiring a proper consistency
without the aid of the sun. "By uniting it with other mixtures he next
produced a varnish, which, dried, was water proof, and gave a clearness
and brilliancy, while it added to the harmony of his colours." Such are
the words of Vasari; and thus, in a very few words, we may arrive at a
satisfactory solution of the question. Before the time of Van Eych, some
sort of method of painting in oil was known, but so extremely tedious
and imperfect, as to be scarcely applicable to the production of figure
pieces. It was practised beyond the Alps, but is not known to have been
in use in Italy. Giovanni carried the first discovery to its completion;
he perfected the art, which was afterwards diffused over all Europe, and
introduced into Italy, by means of Antonio, or Antonello da Messina.

Here again we are met by another class of objectors, who enter the lists
against Van Eych, against Antonello, and more decidedly against Vasari,
not with arguments from books, but in the strength of pictorial skill,
and chemical experiments.

Malvasia, upon the authority of Tiarini, maintains, that Lippo Dalmasio
painted in oil; the Neapolitans, relying upon Marco da Siena, and other
men of skill, assert the same of their artists in the thirteenth
century; while a few have pretended that some of the pictures[77]
produced in the fourteenth century, to be seen at Siena and Modena, in
particular that from the hand of Tommaso da Modena, belonging to the
Imperial cabinet, and described by me in the native school of that
artist, are also coloured in oil; because, after being exposed to water,
and analyzed, the colours discovered their elements, and were pronounced
oil. In spite, however, of so much skill, and so many experiments, I
cannot see that Vasari has yet been detected in an error. It would not
be difficult to oppose other experiments and opinions, that might throw
light upon the question. To begin with Tuscany:--an analysis of several
Tuscan paintings was made at Pisa by the very able chemist Bianchi; and
though apparently coloured in oil, the most lucid parts were found to
give out particles of wax; a material employed in the _encausti_, and
not forgotten by the Greeks, who instructed Giunta and his
contemporaries. It would appear that they applied it as a varnish, to
act as a covering and protection from humidity, as well as to give a
lucid hue and polish to the colours. It has been observed, that the
proportion of wax employed greatly decreased during the fourteenth
century; and after the year 1360 fell into disuse, and was succeeded by
a vehicle, that carries no gloss. But in these experiments oil was never
elicited, if we except a few drops of essential oil, which the learned
professor conjectures was employed at that early period to dissolve the
wax made use of in painting.

Besides this material, certain gums, and yolks of eggs, which easily
deceive the eye of the less skilful, were also used, and very nearly
resemble those pictures that display a scanty portion of oil, as is
observed by Zanetti, in his account of Venetian painting (p. 20); and
the analysis of Tommaso da Modena's picture has tended to confirm his
opinion. This information I owe to the late Count Durazzo, who, in 1793,
assured me, when at Venice, that he had himself beheld, at Vienna, the
process of analyzing such pictures, by very skilful hands, at the
command, and in the presence of Prince Kaunitz; and that it was the
unanimous opinion of those professors, that no traces of oil were to be
found. The colours consisted of the finest gums, mixed with the yolk and
white of eggs, a fact that afforded just ground for a like conclusion in
regard to similar works by the ancients. I fully appreciate, likewise,
the opinion of Piacenza upon the celebrated picture of Colantonio; this
I reserve, however, together with some further reflections of my own,
for the school of Naples.

I shall here merely inform the reader, that, in regard to the chemical
experiments employed on these paintings, Sig. da Morrona[78] observes,
that old pictures are often believed to be in a state of purity, when
they have been retouched with oil colours at a subsequent period: the
use of wax, and of essential oils, or of some such old methods, may
frequently give rise to doubt, as I shall soon shew.

Having removed the objections brought against the opinion of Vasari, I
must add a few words in regard to a passage where he seems to have
forgotten what he had said in the life of Angiol Gaddi, but which will
in fact throw further light upon the question. He is giving an account
of the paintings and writings of Andrea Cennini, a scholar of Angelo.
This person, in 1437, that is, long before the arrival of Domenico,
composed a work on painting, which is preserved in MS. in the library of
S. Lorenzo. He there treated, says Vasari, of grinding colours with oil,
for making red, blue, and green grounds; and various new methods and
sizes for gilding, but not figures. Baldinucci examined the same
manuscript, and found these words in the 89th chapter:--"I wish to teach
thee how to paint in oil on walls, or on panel, as practised by many
Germans;" and on consulting the manuscript, I find, after that passage,
"and by the same method on iron and on marble; but I shall first treat
of painting on walls." In the succeeding chapters he says, that this
must be accomplished "by boiling linseed oil." This appears not to
accord with the assertion of Vasari, that John of Bruges, after many
experiments, "discovered that linseed oil and nut oil were the most
drying. When boiled with his other ingredients they formed the varnish
so long sought after by him and all other painters." On weighing the
evidence, we should, in my opinion, take three circumstances into
consideration: The first is, that Vasari does not deny that oil was
employed in painting; since he affirms that it was long a desideratum,
and consequently had been often attempted; but that alone is perfect
which, "when dry, resists water; which brightens the colours, makes them
clear, and perfectly unites them." 2. The oil of Cennini might not be of
this sort, either because it was not boiled with the ingredients of Van
Eych, or because it was intended only for coarse work; a circumstance
rendered probable by the fact, that though he painted the Virgin, with
several Saints, in the hospital of Bonifazio, at Florence, "in a good
style of colouring," yet he never excited the admiration nor the envy of
artists. 3. The above remarks forbid us to give implicit confidence to
every relation that is given of ancient oil pictures; but we are not
blindly to reject all accounts of imperfect attempts of that nature.
After this digression we return to our narrative.

The painters that remain to be noticed, approach the golden age of the
art, of which their works in some degree participate, notwithstanding
the dryness of their design, and the general want of harmony in their
colouring. The vehicle of their colours was commonly water, very rarely
oil. They flourished in the time of Sixtus IV., who, having erected the
magnificent chapel that retains his name, invited them from Florence.
Their names are Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Rosselli, Luca da Cortona, and
D. Bartolommeo d'Arezzo; whom I shall here introduce, together with
their followers. Manni, the historian of some of these artists,[79]
conjectures that this work was executed about the year 1474. They were
desired to pourtray the history of Moses on one part of the chapel, and
that of Christ on the other: thus the old law was confronted by the new,
the shade by the light, and the type by the person typified. The pontiff
was unskilled in the fine arts, but covetous of the glory they confer on
the name and actions of princes. To superintend the work, he made choice
of Sandro Filipepi, from his first master, a goldsmith, surnamed
Botticelli, and the pupil of F. Filippo; a celebrated artist at that
time, and distinguished by his pictures containing a great number of
small figures in which he strongly resembled Andrea Mantegna; though his
heads were less beautiful. Vasari says, that his little picture of the
Calumny of Apelles, is as fine a production as possible, and he
pronounces the Assumption, painted for the church of S. Pier Maggiore,
to be so excellent, that it ought to silence envy. The former is in the
royal gallery, the latter in a private house. What he painted in the
Sistine Chapel, however, surpasses all his other works. Here we scarcely
recognize Sandro of Florence. The Temptation of Christ, embellished with
a magnificent temple, and a crowd of devotees in the vestibule; Moses
assisting the daughters of Jethro against the Midianite shepherds, in
which there is great richness of drapery, coloured in a new manner; and
other subjects, treated with vigour and originality, exhibit him in this
place greatly superior to his usual manner. The same observation applies
to the painters we are about to notice: such were the effects produced
by their emulation; by the sight of a city that is calculated to enlarge
the ideas of those who visit it, and by the judgment of a public that is
scarcely to be satisfied by what is above mediocrity, because its eye is
habituated to what is wonderful.

History does not point out the portion of this work that was performed
by Filippino Lippi; the son, as we have already observed, of F. Filippo.
It is however highly probable that he assisted; because he was his
father's pupil from a very early age, and because the taste of Lippi,
that delighted in portraying the usages of antiquity in his pictures,
appears to have been formed while he was still young, and engaged in his
studies at Rome. In the life which Cellini has written of himself, he
tells us that he had seen several books of antiquities drawn by Lippi;
and Vasari gives him credit for being the first who decorated modern
paintings by the introduction of grotesques, trophies, armour, vases,
edifices and drapery, copied from the models of antiquity; but this I
cannot confirm, because it was before attempted by Squarcione. It is
true that he excelled in those ornaments, in his landscape and in minute
particulars. The S. Bernard of the Abbey, the Magi of the royal museum,
and the two frescos in S. Maria Novella; the one the history of S. John,
the other of S. Philip, the apostles, please more perhaps by these
accessaries of the art than by the countenances, which, indeed, have not
the beauty and grace of the elder Lippi. They are faithful portraits,
but shew no discrimination. He was invited to Rome to ornament a chapel
of the Minerva, in which there is an Assumption by his hand, and some
histories of Thomas Aquinas, amongst which the Disputation is the best.
In this chapel he shews great improvement in his heads, but was
nevertheless surpassed in this respect by his pupil Raffaellino del
Garbo, who painted a choir of angels on the ceiling, that would alone
suffice to justify the name by which he was distinguished. In Monte
Oliveto at Florence, there is a Resurrection by Raffaellino, where the
figures are small, but so graceful withal, so correct in attitude, and
so finely coloured, that we can scarcely rank him inferior to any master
of that age. There is mention made by the learned Moreni, in the
concluding part of his "Memorie Istoriche," (p. 168) of another of his
beautiful altar-pieces, still in existence at S. Salvi, with the grado
entire. Some early pictures are in a similar state; but becoming the
father of a numerous family, he gradually degenerated in his style, and
died in poverty and obscurity.

The second whom I have mentioned among the artists in the Sistine
Chapel, is Domenico Corradi, surnamed Del Ghirlandaio, from the
profession of his father.[80] He was a painter, an excellent worker in
mosaic, and even contributed to the improvement of these arts. He
painted in the Sistine Chapel the Resurrection of Christ, which has
perished; and the Call of S. Peter and S. Andrew, which still remains.
He is that Ghirlandaio, in whose school, or on whose manner, not only
Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, his son, but also Bonarruoti, and the best
artists of the succeeding era, formed their style. He possessed
clearness and purity of outline, correctness of form, and variety of
ideas, together with facility and uncommon diligence; he was the first
Florentine, who, by means of true perspective, attained a happy method
of grouping, and depth of composition.[81] He was among the first to
reject the deep golden fringes to the drapery, that the old masters
introduced; who, unable to render their figures beautiful, endeavoured,
at least, to make them gaudy. Some of his pictures, however, yet remain,
moderately illuminated with gold; as for instance, the Epiphany in the
church of the Innocents at Florence. It is a fine work, as is also his
chapel in the Holy Trinity, with the actions of S. Francis, and his
Nativity, in the sacristy of that church. His most celebrated work is
the choir of S. Maria Novella, on one side of which he designed the
history of John the Baptist, on the other that of our Lady, and on
another part the murder of the Innocents, so much commended by Vasari.
It contains a vast many portraits of literary men, and noble citizens,
and almost every head is from the life; but they are dignified, and
judiciously selected. The hands and feet of the figures, however, do not
correspond, and attention to this circumstance is the peculiar merit of
Andrea del Sarto, who seems to have carried the manner of Ghirlandaio to
perfection. Many works of the latter are scattered over Italy, in Rome,
in Rimini, and at Pisa, at the Eremitani di Pietra Santa, and the
Camaldolesi of Volterra; where besides the paintings in the refectory,
there is in the church a figure of S. Romualdo, carved by Diana of
Mantua. The pictures of this master should not be confounded with those
of his scholars, as happens in many instances. Thus the holy families
painted by his brothers or his scholars, frequently pass for his; but
they are very far from meriting the praise we have justly bestowed on
him. Davide, one of his brothers, became very eminent in mosaic;
another, Benedetto, painted more in France than in Italy; Bastiano
Mainardi, their brother-in-law, was rather the assistant of Domenico,
than a painter of originality. Baldino Bandinelli, Niccolo Cieco, Jacopo
del Tedesco, and Jacopo Indaco, are little known; except that the last
is recorded as having assisted with Pinturicchio, at Rome, and was the
brother of Francesco, better known as a painter at Montepulciano than in

Cosimo Rosselli, whose noble family has produced several other artists,
also wrought in the Sistine Chapel. Few of his works remain in public
places in his own country, besides the miracle of the sacrament in the
church of S. Ambrose, a fresco picture, full of portraits; in which we
discover variety, character, and truth. Vasari praises his labours at
Rome, less than those of his fellow artists. Being unable to rival his
competitors in design, he loaded his pictures with brilliant colours and
gilded ornaments, which, though it was at that time condemned by an
improving taste, yet pleased the pontiff, who commended and rewarded him
beyond all the other artists. Perhaps his best work there, is Christ
preaching on the mount, in which the landscape is said to be the work of
Pier di Cosimo, a painter likewise more remarkable for his colouring
than his design; as is evident from a picture in the church of the
Innocents, and his Perseus in the royal gallery. They are both, however,
celebrated in history; the one as the master of del Porta, the other of
Andrea del Sarto.

No other Florentine was employed to paint in the Sistine Chapel; but
Piero and Antonio Pollaiuoli, who were both statuaries and painters,
came there not long afterwards and wrought in bronze the tomb of Sixtus
IV. Some of their paintings may yet be seen in the church of S. Miniato,
without the walls of Florence, and the altar-piece was transferred to
the royal museum. We may there trace the school of Castagno, the master
of Piero, in the harsh features, coloured in a strong and juicy manner.
Antonio, the scholar of Piero, became one of the best painters of that
age. In the chapel of the Marchesi Pucci, at the church of St.
Sebastiano de' Servi, there is a martyrdom of the saint by him, which is
one of the best pictures of the fifteenth century I have ever seen. The
colouring is not in the best style; but the composition rises above the
age in which he lived, and the drawing of the naked figure shews what
attention he had bestowed on anatomy. He was the first Italian painter
who dissected bodies in order to learn the true situations of the
tendons and muscles. Both the Pollaiuoli died at Rome, where their tomb
is to be seen in S. Piero in Vincoli, ornamented with a picture, which,
according to some, typifies a soul in purgatory, and the efficacy of
indulgences to deliver it; but whether it is by them, or of their
school, I am unable to determine.

The two following artists were brought to the Sistine Chapel from the
Florentine territory, the painters of which I shall now consider after
those of the capital. Luca Signorelli, the kinsman of Vasari of Arezzo,
and the disciple of Piero della Francesca, was a spirited and expressive
painter, and one of the first Tuscan artists who designed figures with a
true knowledge of anatomy, though somewhat dryly. The cathedral of
Orvieto evinces this; and those naked figures which even Michelangiolo
has not disdained to imitate. Although in most of his works we do not
discover a proper choice of form, nor a sufficient harmony of colouring
in some of them, especially in the communion of the Apostles, painted
for the Jesuits in his native city, there is beauty, grace, and tints
approaching to modern excellence. He painted in Urbino, at Volterra,
Florence, and many other cities. In the Sistine Chapel he painted the
Journey of Moses with Sefora, and the Promulgation of the Old Law,
paintings full of incident, and superior in composition to the confused
style of that age. Vasari and Taia have assigned him the first place in
this great assemblage of artists; to me he seems at least to have
equalled the best of them, and to have improved on his usual style. He
had two countrymen of noble families for pupils; Tommaso Bernabei, who
followed him closely, and has left some works in S. M. del Calcinaio,
and Turpino Zaccagna, whose style was different, as appears from a
picture painted for the Church of S. Agatha in Cantalena near Cortona,
in 1537.

Don Bartolommeo della Gatta executed none of his own designs in the
Sistine Chapel; he lent assistance to Signorelli and to Perugino. He had
been educated in the monastery of the Angeli, at Florence, rather as a
painter of miniatures than of history. On being appointed Abbot of S.
Clement, in Arezzo, he exercised both; and was also skilled in music and
in architecture. There is of his works only a S. Jerome, executed in the
chapel of the cathedral, as we find from a MS. guide to the city, and
which was transferred into the sacristy in 1794. The abbot instructed
Domenico Pecori and Matteo Lappoli, two gentlemen of Arezzo, who
improved themselves in the art on other models, especially the first, as
is evident from a picture in the parish church, in which the Virgin
receives under her mantle the people of Arezzo, who are recommended to
her protection by their patron saints. In it are heads in the style of
Francia, good architecture, judicious composition, and a moderate use of

Two miniature painters, according to Vasari, learned much from the
precepts, or rather from the example of the abbot. These were Girolamo,
also named by Ridolfi, as a pupil of the Paduan school, at the same time
with Lancilao; and Vante, or as he subscribed himself, Attavante
Fiorentino. Two of his letters are inserted in the third volume of the
Lettere Pittoriche; and it may be collected from Vasari and
Tiraboschi,[82] that Vante ornamented with miniatures many books for
Matthias, king of Hungary, which afterwards remained in the Medicean and
Estensean libraries. The learned Sig. Ab. Morelli, who has the direction
of the library of S. Mark at Venice, shewed me one in that place. It is
a work of Marziano Capella, where the subject is poetically expressed by
the painter. The assembly of the Gods, the emblems of the arts and
sciences, the grotesque ornaments here and there set off with little
portraits, discover in Vante a genius that admirably seconded the ideas
of the author. The design resembles the best works of Botticelli; the
colouring is gay, lively, and brilliant; the excellence of the work
ought to confer on the artist greater celebrity than he enjoys. In the
life of D. Bartolommeo, Vasari, or his printers, have confounded
Attavante with Gherardo, the miniature painter, who at the same time was
a worker in mosaic, an engraver in the style of Albert Durer, and a
painter; of him there are some remains in each of these arts; but they
were certainly different individuals, as is demonstrated by Sig.

Having a little before named Pietro Perugino, who long taught in
Tuscany, we may here mention the pupils who retained his manner. These
were Rocco Zoppo, whose Madonnas remain in many private houses in
Florence, I believe, to this day, and are in the manner of Pietro;
Baccio Ubertini, a great colourist, and on that account willingly
adopted as an assistant of his master; Francesco, the brother of Baccio,
surnamed Bacchiacca, known at S. Lorenzo by the martyrdom of S.
Arcadius, executed in small figures, in which, as well as in the
grotesque, he was very eminent, and nearly approached the modern style.
To these artists who lived in Florence, their native country, we may add
Niccolo Soggi, likewise a Florentine, but who, to shun the concourse of
more able painters, fixed his residence in Arezzo, where he had
sufficient employment. His accuracy, his studious habits, and his high
finish, may be there contemplated in the Christ in the Manger, in the
church of Madonna delle Lagrime, and in many other places in the city
and its environs. It would have been fortunate had he possessed more
genius, but this gift of nature, which, to use the words of a poet,[83]
confers immortality on books, and I would add pictures, was not granted
to Soggi. Vasari has given this character of a diligent, but meagre, and
frigid painter, also to Gerino da Pistoia, in which place one of his
pictures, now in the royal gallery, was painted for the monks of S. Pier
Maggiore; several others are in the city of S. Sepulcro, and some even
in Rome, where he assisted Pinturicchio. With the two preceding, I class
Montevarchi, a painter so named from his own country, beyond which he is
almost unknown. Among these artists, though they were scholars of
Pietro, we find imitators of the Florentines of the fourteenth century.
I omit the name of Bastiano da S. Gallo, who continued with him only a
short time, and left him on account of the aversion he had conceived to
the dryness of his style. In the Florentine history, by Varchi (book
10), we find mention of a Vittorio di Buonaccorso Ghiberti, who on
occasion of the siege of Florence by the family of the Medici, in 1529,
painted the figure of the Pontiff, Clement VII. on the façade of the
principal chamber of the Medici, in the last act of hanging from the
gallows. But neither of this, nor of any other production from so
infamous a hand, do there remain any traces in Florence, at least that I
have been able to discover, from which to judge either of the manner or
the master of Vittorio.

I close the catalogue of old Tuscan painters with an illustrious native
of Lucca, named the elder Zacchia, who was educated at Florence, though
not invariably adhering to the taste of that ancient school, either in
design, which was his chief excellence, or in an outline somewhat harsh
and cutting, which was his greatest defect. He obtained the name of the
elder, to distinguish him from another Zacchia, who, on the other hand,
shewed more softness of contour, and more strength of colouring, but in
design, and in every other respect, was held in less estimation. I know
only of one picture by the latter artist, which is in the chapel of the
Magistrates; but several altar-pieces by the former, are to be seen in
the churches of Lucca, and among them an Assumption in that of S.
Augustine; a picture displaying much study and elegance, and among his
last works, as I am led to believe by its bearing the date 1527. One of
his Madonnas, surrounded by saints, formerly in the parish church of S.
Stefano, is now in the house of Sig. March. Jacopo Sardini, which is
enriched by other paintings, by a valuable collection of drawings, and
still more by the presence of its learned possessor, to whom I am
indebted for many notices interspersed throughout this work.

Such was the state of the art in Tuscany, about the beginning of the
sixteenth century. Much was then attained, because nature began to be
imitated, especially in the heads, to which the artists imparted a
vivacity, that even at this day is surprising. On viewing the figures
and portraits of those times, they actually appear to look at, and to
desire to enter into conversation with the beholder. It still remained,
however, to give ideal beauty to the figure, fulness to design, and
harmony to colouring, a true method to aerial perspective, variety to
composition, and freedom to the pencil, which on the whole was still
timid. Every circumstance conspired to this melioration of the art in
Florence as well as in other places. The taste for magnificent edifices
had revived throughout Italy. Many of the finest churches, many public
edifices, and ducal palaces, which still remain at Milan, Mantua, and
Venice, in Urbino, Rimini, Pesaro, and Ferrara, were executed about this
period; not to mention those buildings in Florence and in Rome, where
magnificence contended with elegance. It became necessary to ornament
them, and this produced that noble emulation among artists, that grand
fermentation of ideas, which invariably advances the progress of art.
The study of poetry, so analogous to that of painting, had increased to
a degree which conferred on the whole age the epithet of _Golden_; a
name which it certainly did not merit on the score of more severe
studies. The design of the artists of that period, though something dry,
was yet pure and correct, and afforded the best instruction to the
succeeding age. It is very justly observed, that scholars can more
easily give a certain fulness to the meagre outline of their models,
than curtail the superfluity of a heavy contour. On this account, some
professors of the art are inclined to believe, that it would be much
more advantageous to habituate students in the beginning, to the
precision characteristic of the fifteenth century, than to the
exuberance introduced in after-times. Such circumstances produced the
happiest era that distinguishes the annals of painting. The schools of
Italy, owing to mutual imitation, before that period strongly resembled
each other; but having then attained maturity, each began to display a
marked and peculiar character.

That of the Florentine school I shall describe in the next Epoch; but I
first propose to treat of several other arts analogous to that of
painting, and in particular of engraving upon copper, the discovery of
which is ascribed to Florence. To this the art is indebted for an
accession of new aids; the work of an artist, before confined to a
single spot, was diffused through the world, and gratified the eyes of

[Footnote 61: "The number of artists of whom, by consulting old authors,
I can collect nothing more than the time they lived, their name and
occupation, and their death, (I speak of those who lived about the year
1300,) amounts in the city of Florence alone to nearly a hundred,
without including those who have been discovered and noticed by some of
our antiquarians; and exclusive of those we find mentioned in the old
book of the Society of Painters." (See Baldinucci in Notizie del
Gioggi.) The Florentine painters of this age, whose names have been
produced by the Canon Moreni from the records of the diplomatic archive,
may be seen in part the fourth of his _Notizie Istoriche_, p. 102.
Others have been collected and communicated to me by the Abbate Vincenzo
Follini, Librarian to the Magliabecchi collection, extracted from
various MSS. of the same, besides those from the _Novelle Litterarie_ of
Florence, from the _Delizie de' Letter._ of the P. Ildefonso, C. S. and
from the _Viaggi_ of Targioni; works which will always be found to
supply the brevity of the present history.]

[Footnote 62: Vasari.]

[Footnote 63: They are believed to be anterior to the year 1300 by the
historian of the art of Painting at Friuli; but to this I cannot agree.
The pictures bear a very great resemblance to the designs of Orcagna; or
rather to the poetry of Dante, who, in the year above mentioned, feigns
to have had his vision, and described it in the years immediately
succeeding. In confirmation of this opinion, it must be remarked that
the style is Florentine, and induces us to suppose that a painter of
that school must have been there. See _Lettera postuma del P. Cortinovis
sopra le Antichità di Sesto_, published in the _Giornale Veneto_, (or
_Memorie per servire all' Istoria Letter. e Civile_) Semestre ii. p. 1.
of the year 1800. It was reprinted at Udine in 1801, in octavo, with
some excellent notes by the Cav. Antonio Bartolini, who has
distinguished himself by other productions connected with bibliography
and the fine arts.]

[Footnote 64: Vide Giuseppe Maria Mecatti, who has given an exact
description of it.]

[Footnote 65: Vasari is by no means so bitter against the Venetian
school as it is wished to make him appear. In regard to these pictures
he declares, "that they are universally admitted, with justice, to be
the best which were produced among many excellent masters, at different
times, in that place." They are, therefore, preferred by him to the
whole of the Florentine and Siennese paintings there exhibited; and his
opinion is authorized by that of P. della Valle, who frequently differs
from him. If it could be proved from history, as it may be reasonably
conjectured, that Antonio was a painter when he came from Venice, and
did not commence his art at Florence, he would merit the reputation of
being the greatest artist of that school known to us; as well as of
having conferred some benefit upon that of Florence, from the Venetian
school. But this point is very doubtful.]

[Footnote 66: We cannot reconcile it to dates that Paolo Uccello was one
of his scholars, having been born after the death of Antonio, if,
indeed, there be not some error in regard to the chronology either of
the master or of his pupil. Starnina might have been his pupil, as he is
said to have been born in 1354; and, therefore, in 1370, he might
possibly be one of his school. Yet it appears that Antonio had then
renounced the easel. In his epitaph we find written:

  Annis qui fueram pictor JUVENILIBUS, artis
  Me Medicæ reliquo tempore coepit amor, &c.

(See Vasari ed. Senese, tom. ii. p. 297.)]

[Footnote 67: The old painters varied the manner of their
superscriptions, even in the following ages, according to the taste of
the Greeks. _Sebastianus Venetus pingebat a._ 1520; is written upon a
St. Agatha in the Palazzo Pitti; and this corresponds to the EPOIEI,
_faciebat_; by which the Greek sculptors wished to convey, that such
work was not intended to exhibit their last effort; so that they were at
liberty to improve it when they pleased. The subscription of Opus Belli
is obvious, and similar ones, drawn from the ERGON, (for example,)
LUSIPPOU which we see in Maffei. I recount in my fifth book as singular,
the epigraph _Sumus Rogerii manus_; it is, however, derived from the
Greeks, who, for instance, sometimes wrote CHEIR. AMBROSIOU. MONACHOU,
as I read in a Fabrianese church called Della Carità, where there is a
picture of the General Judgment; the figures very small, and highly
finished, upon a large tablet; with, I think, more figures than are seen
in the Paradise of Tintoretto. CHEIR BITORE, was written by Vittor
Carpaccio, under his portrait cited in the index. I omit other forms
better known. That adopted at Trevigi, _Hieronymus Tarvisio_, is very
erudite; and it is imitated from the military _latercoli_, in which,
with the same view, the soldier and his country are named. In short,
where the words _fecit_ or _pinxit_ are not used, the best plan was that
of giving the proper name in the genitive case at the foot of the
picture, as the engravers of Greek gems were wont to do in inscriptions,

[Footnote 68: Pascoli, tom. i. p. 199.]

[Footnote 69: Vasari.]

[Footnote 70: Verona Illustrata, tom. iii. p. 277.]

[Footnote 71: Gloria is a name given in Italy to a representation of the
celestial regions.]

[Footnote 72: Vasari.]

[Footnote 73: In the dictionary of Guarienti, in the article, Gio.
Abeyk, appears an account of a picture of this artist, existing in the
gallery at Dresden, bearing date 1416; a time, says the writer, when he
enjoyed his highest reputation, by painting in his second manner, in
oil. It represents the Virgin in a majestic seat with the divine infant,
who is seen very gracefully receiving an apple from St. Anne, seated on
a couch of straw. The young St. John is seen assisting, and also St.
Joseph, whose countenance represents the portrait of the painter
himself. The introduction of arms shews that the picture must have been
executed for some distinguished person. It is in high preservation, and
is pronounced by Guarienti the miracle of painting, from its display of
extreme diligence, even in the minute furniture, and particularly
because the chamber in which the scene is represented, the couch, the
window, the pavement, executed _a punto alto_, together with the whole
action, are conducted with the most exact rules of perspective.]

[Footnote 74: In 1454 he was in great credit at Perugia. (See Mariotti,
Lett. Perug. p. 133.)]

[Footnote 75: Lib. i. c. 18. Accipe semen lini, et exsicca illud in
sartagine super ignem sine aqua, &c. Brustolato says, it should be
pounded, and again subjected to the fire in water, then put into a press
between cloths, and the oil extracted. He continues: Cum hoc oleo tere
minium sive cenobrium super lapidem sine aqua, et cum pincello linies
super ostia vel tabulas quas rubricare volueris, et ad solem siccabis,
deinde iterum linies et siccabis. And in chap. 22, he says,--Accipe
colores quos imponere volueris, terens eos diligenter, oleo lini sine
aqua; et fac mixturas vultuum ac vestimentorum sicut superius aqua
feceras, et bestias, sive aves, aut folia, variabis suis coloribus prout

[Footnote 76: Gottingen, 1792. See Esprit des Journaux, Ottobre, 1792.]

[Footnote 77: Raspe (_Lib. Cit._). Della Valle (_Ann. al Vasari_, tom.
iii. p. 313). Tiraboschi (_St. Lett._ tom. vi. p. 407). Vernazza
(_Giorn. Pisano_, tom. xciv. p. 220), cited by Morelli (_Notizia_, p.
114). More recently is added the authority of P. Federici Domenicano. It
is absurd to suppose that Tommaso da Modena, or, according to him, da
Trevigi, carried the discovery from this city into Germany, from whence
it was subsequently communicated to Flanders.]

[Footnote 78: Pisa Illustrata, p. 160, et seq.]

[Footnote 79: See Opuscoli del Calogerà, tom. xlv.]

[Footnote 80: This person invented and fabricated an ornament called
ghirlanda or garland, worn on the heads of the Florentine children.]

[Footnote 81: Mengs, tom. ii. p. 109.]

[Footnote 82: Tom. vi. p. 1204.]

[Footnote 83: _Victurus genium debet habere liber._ Martial.]



  _Origin and progress of Engraving on Copper and Wood._


The subject of which I propose here to treat, ought to be more carefully
examined than any other portion of this work. The age in which I write
is, we know, by many called the age of brass, inasmuch as it has been
less productive of great names and great pictoric works, than the
preceding; yet I believe we might better denominate it such from the
number of engravings, which have recently been carried to a high degree
of excellence. The number of their connoisseurs has increased beyond
calculation; new collections every where appear, and the prices have
proportionably advanced, while treatises upon the art are rapidly
multiplied. It has become a part of liberal knowledge to discern the
name and hand of a master, as well as to specify the most beautiful
works of each engraver. Thus, during the decline of painting, the art of
engraving on copper has risen in estimation; modern artists in some
points equal or surpass the more ancient; their reputation, their
remuneration, and the quick process of their labours, attract the regard
of many men of genius born to adorn the arts, who to the loss of
painting, devote their attention to the graver.

The origin of this art is to be sought for in that of cutting on wood,
just as in printing, the use of wooden types led to the adoption of
metal. The period of the first invention of wood engraving is unknown;
the French and the Germans tracing it to that of playing-cards, which
the former affirm were first used in France in the time of Charles V.;
while the latter maintain they were in use much earlier in Germany, or
before the year 1300.[84] Both these opinions were first attacked by
Papillon, in his "Treatise upon cutting in Wood," where he claims the
merit of the discovery for Italy, and finds the most ancient traces of
the art about the year 1285, at Ravenna. His account of it is
republished in the preface to the fifth volume of Vasari, printed at
Siena; but it is mixed up with so many assertions, to which it is
difficult to give credit, that I must decline considering it at all. The
Cav. Tiraboschi is a far more plausible and judicious advocate in favour
of Italy.[85] On the subject of cards, he brings forward a MS. by Sandro
di Pippozzo di Sandro, entitled _Trattato del Governo della Famiglia_.
It was written in 1299, and has been cited by the authors of the Della
Cruscan dictionary, who quote, among other passages, the following
words: "if you will play for money, or thus, or at cards, you shall
provide them," &c. We may hence infer, that playing-cards were known
with us earlier than elsewhere, so that if the invention of stamping
upon wood was derived from them, we have a just title to the discovery.
In all probability, however, it does not date its origin so early; the
oldest playing-cards were doubtless the work of the pen, and coloured by
the old illuminators, first practised in France, and not wholly extinct
in Italy at the time of Filippo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan.[86]

The first indication we meet with of printed play-cards, is in a public
decree issued at Venice in 1441; where it says that "the art and trade
of cards and printed figures, that is carried on at Venice," was on the
decline, "owing to the great increase of playing-cards with coloured
figures stamped," which were introduced from abroad; and that such
importation should be prohibited for the future. Sig. Zanetti, to whom
we are indebted for this information,[87] is of opinion, that they were
in use long before 1441; because the art is seen to have first
flourished there, afterwards to have fallen into disuse, and again
revived, owing to the protection afforded it by the State. These
vicissitudes, that suppose the lapse of many years, will carry us back
at least to the commencement of the fifteenth century. To this period,
it appears, we ought to refer those ancient specimens of play-cards,
which were collected for the cabinet of Count Giacomo Durazzo, formerly
imperial ambassador at Venice, and are now to be seen in that of the
Marquis Girolamo, his nephew. They are of larger dimensions than those
now in use, and are of a very strong texture, not unlike that of the
paper made of cotton, found in the ancient manuscripts. The figures are
exhibited on a gold ground in the manner before described;[88] there are
three kings, two queens, and two knaves, one on horseback; and each has
a club, or sword, or money. I could perceive no trace of suits, either
because they had not then come into use, or more probably because so
limited a number of cards can convey no complete idea of the whole game.
The design approaches very nearly to that of Jacobello del Fiore; to the
best judges the workmanship appears the effect of printing, the colours
being given by perforations in the die. I know of no other more ancient
specimen of its kind.

In the meanwhile printing of books being introduced into Italy, it was
quickly followed by the practice of ornamenting them with figures in
wood. The Germans had afforded examples of cutting sacred images in this
material,[89] and the same was done in regard to some of the initial
letters during the early progress of typography, a discovery which was
extended at Rome, in a book published in 1467, and at Verona in another,
with the date of 1472. The former contains the Meditations of Card.
Turrecremata, with figures also cut in wood, and afterwards coloured:
the latter bears the title of _Roberti Valturii opus de re militari_,
and it is adorned with a number of figures, or drawings of machines,
fortifications, and assaults; a very rare work, in the possession of
Count Giuseppe Remondini, along with many other specimens of the
earliest period, collected for his private library, where I saw it. It
is worth remarking, that the book of Turrecremata was printed by
Ulderico Han, that of Valturio by Gio. da Verona, and that in this last
the wood-cuts are ascribed to Matteo Pasti, the friend of Valturio, and
a good painter for those times.[90] After this first progress the art of
wood engraving continued gradually to advance, and was cultivated by
many distinguished men, such as Albert Durer in Germany; in Italy by
Mecherino di Siena, by Domenico delle Greche, by Domenico Campagnola,
and by others down to Ugo da Carpi, who marks a new epoch in this art,
by an invention, of which we shall speak in the school of Modena.

If it be the progress of the human mind to advance from the more easy to
more difficult discoveries, we may venture to suppose that the art of
engraving on wood led to that of engraving on copper; and so, to a
certain extent, it probably did. Vasari, however, who wrote the history
of Tuscan professors, rather than of painting itself, refers its origin
to works in _niello_, or inlaid modelling work, a very ancient art, much
in use, more especially at Florence, during the fifteenth century;
though it was quite neglected in the following, in spite of the efforts
of Cellini to support it. It was applied to household furniture, silver
ornaments, and sacred vessels, such as holy cups and vases, to missals
and other devotional books, and to reliquaries; as well as to profane
purposes, as adorning the hilts of swords, table utensils, and many
kinds of female ornaments. In some kinds of ebony desks and escrutoires
it was held in great request, for its little silver statues, and
modelled plates, representing figures, histories, and flowers. In the
cathedral of Pistoia there still remains a large silver palliotto,
adorned in places with plates, on which are figured images in niello,
and little scripture histories. The method was to cut with the chisel
upon the silver whatever history, portrait, or flowers, was
required,[91] and afterwards to fill up the hollow part of the engraving
with a mixture of silver and lead, which, from its dark colour, was
called, by the ancients, _nigellum_, which our countrymen curtailed into
niello; a substance which, being incorporated with the silver, produced
the effect of shadow, contrasted with its clearness, and gave to the
entire work the appearance of a chiaroscuro in silver. There were many
excellent _niellatori_, or inlayers, who cast models with this
substance, such as Forzore, brother to Parri Spinelli of Arezzo,
Caradosso and Arcioni of Milan;[92] and three Florentines, who rivalled
each other at S. Giovanni, Matteo Dei, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, and Maso
Finiguerra; specimens of whose _paci_, cut with wonderful accuracy,
acquired for them the highest reputation.

We are to attribute to Maso, says Vasari, "the beginning of engraving
upon copper," an art, which for the sake of greater perspicuity, I shall
distinguish into three different states; the first of which will be
found as follows. Finiguerra was in the habit of never filling the
little hollows or cuts prepared in the silver plate until he had first
made proof of his work. "For this purpose, as in taking a cast, he
impressed them with earth, upon the top of which having thrown a
quantity of liquid sulphur, they became imprinted, and filled with
smoke; which, with the aid of oil, gave him the effect of the work in
silver. He also produced the same with moistened paper, and with the
same tint or ink, pressing it sufficiently hard with a round roller,
with a smooth surface throughout. This gave them not only the effect of
being printed, but that of having been designed with ink."[93] So far we
quote Vasari in the preface to his Life of Marc Antonio. He adds, that
in this plan Finiguerra was followed by Baldini, a Florentine goldsmith;
next to whom he mentions Botticelli; and he might have added the name of
Pollaiuolo. Finally, he concludes that the invention was communicated
from Florence to Mantegna at Rome, and to Martino, called De Clef, in

These proofs, the first of their kind, made by Finiguerra, have, for the
most part, perished. Some, which are attributed to him, in possession of
the fathers of Camaldoli, are not ascertained to be his.[94] We are
assured, however, that the sulphur of the pace[95] cut for S. Giovanni
in 1452, upon which he represented the Assumption of our Lady, in a
variety of minute figures, is from his hand. It was formerly in the
museum of the Proposto Gori, who gave a description of it in his Dittici
(a treatise upon a peculiar kind of altar-pieces, tom. iii. p. 315), and
it is now in the Durazzo cabinet, with a memorandum in Gori's own hand,
in which he declares that he had compared it with the original.[96] Of
the proofs made on paper none are ascertained to exist, with the
exception of that of the Assumption recognized by the Ab. Zani, in the
national collection at Paris. It was made known by him in the year 1803;
and to this I may add the Epiphany, in an inferior style, but more
exactly finished, which I found in the possession of the Senator
Martelli, besides a duplicate belonging to S. E. Seratti. It appears
from its style, the work of Finiguerra, and to have been executed before
the Assumption. It is doubtful whether specimens exist in the ducal
gallery, a question which I leave to the solution of abler pens than
mine. We have in the Durazzo collection, the proofs or models of many
silversmiths, whose names are unknown; and for many more we are indebted
to Sig. Antonio Armanno, an excellent connoisseur in prints, to whom I
shall have occasion to recur more than once. Following the ideas thrown
out by Vasari in the passage cited, he concluded that these impressions
might happen to have been confounded _with pen designs_, owing to the
resemblance between them; he therefore sought for them in collections of
designs, and, having recognized them, purchased them for Count Giacomo,
his patron.

Many of these were met with in the ancient Gadi gallery at Florence; the
work of artificers much inferior to Finiguerra, at least if we except
two specimens not unworthy even of his hand. To these a number of others
were afterwards added from different schools of Italy. Sometimes we may
gather their origin from the design; sometimes with more certainty from
inscriptions, and other unequivocal signs of the period. For instance,
we read the following words in a Presepio,[97] engraved in reversed
characters: "Dominus Philippus Stancharius fieri fecit;" where the
family which is named, along with other circumstances, shew it to have
been executed at Bologna. One small print represents a woman turning
towards a cat; and on it is written, also in reverse, "_Va in la
Caneva_;" in another we read _Mantengave Dio_; both which are either
Lombard or Venetian, if we may judge from the dialect. From all this we
have a right to conclude that Vasari's words, which ascribe to
Finiguerra the practice of proving his works before he inserted the
niello, are not to be limited to him only, or to his school. On the
contrary, it appears that Caradosso, as well as all the best Italian
artificers, considered it as no small portion of their art, and that
they only attained correctness in the process of inlaying and modelling
by dint of such proofs, and not by mere chance. Nor does Vasari's
silence militate against this. He repeatedly complains, in different
parts of his work, that he could not obtain sufficiently full and
satisfactory information regarding the Venetian and Lombard schools; and
if he confesses his ignorance of so many things pertaining to their
schools of painting, it is not surprising that he should know less of
their engraving.

The proofs, therefore, of the _niellatori_ on paper are to be found in
all parts of Italy, and they may be particularly known from the position
of the letters, which being written on the original models in the
ordinary way, appear in the impression like the eastern characters, from
right to left; and in like manner the other part of the impression is
seen in reverse; as for instance, a saint is seen standing on the left
hand, who, from his dignity, ought to have occupied the right, and the
actors all write, play music, and do every thing with the left hand.
There are other signs which serve to distinguish them; because, having
been pressed by hand, or with a roller, they leave no mark or furrows in
the outlines; nor are we to look for that delicacy and precision in the
lines that appear in impressions from under the press. They are moreover
characterized by their colour, which merely consisted of lamp black and
of oil, or of some other very slight tint; though both this and the
preceding are dubious signs, as we shall shew. It is conjectured that
proofs of a similar[98] nature were made by silver carvers, in regard to
their graphic labours, and to others in which the _niello_ was not
employed. At all events they preserved them in their studies, and in
those of their pupils, to whom they afforded a model; and in this way
several have been handed down to our own times.

From these early efforts, the art gradually advanced, as it appears to
me, until it attained what I call the second state of the impression.
When the pleasing effect of these proofs was seen, the idea was struck
out, of forming works in the same delicate and finished taste, and for
this purpose to make use of the same means as had been until then
adopted for impressions in wood. We might thus observe, that in the
workshop of the goldsmith was prepared the art of chalcography, and the
first labours were executed upon silver, upon tin, or, as Heineken
observes, upon some composition less hard than copper. We may remark,
that such was the practice of the Italians, before they cut their
subjects in copper; but whatever material the first goldsmiths might
adopt, it was not difficult for them to substitute for the shadow they
produced by the _niello_, the shadow of the cut itself, and to execute
the subject on the reverse, in order to receive the impression right.
From that time, they proceeded gradually to refine the art. Both the
roller and the press which they had then in use were very imperfect,
and, to improve the impression, they first enclosed the plate in a frame
of wood, with four small nails to prevent its slipping; upon this they
placed the paper, and over it a small moist linen cloth, which was then
pressed down with force. Hence, in the first old impressions, we may
plainly trace on the reverse the marks of the linen, for which felt was
next substituted, which leaves no trace behind it.[99] They next made
trial of various tints; and gave the preference to a light azure or
blue, with which the chief part of the old prints are coloured.[100] The
same method was adopted in forming the fifty cards, which are commonly
called the game of Mantegna. I saw them, for the first time, in
possession of his excellency the Marchese Manfredini, major-domo to the
Duke of Tuscany, whose cabinet is filled with many of the choicest
prints. Another copy I found in possession of the Ab. Boni, and a third
formerly belonging to the Duke of Cassano, was afterwards transferred to
the very valuable collection made by the Senator Prior Seratti. There is
also a copy of this game on a large scale, with some alterations (as,
for instance, La Fede bears a large instead of a small cross, as in the
original), and is of a much later date. A second copy, not so very rare,
with a number of variations, is in existence; and in this the first card
bears the Venetian lion as ensign, with the two letters C. and E.
united. The card of the Doge is inscribed the _Doxe_; and elsewhere we
read in the same way, _Artixan_, _Famejo_, and other words in the
Venetian idiom, which proves that the author of so large and fine a work
must have belonged to the city of Venice or to the state. The design
displays much of Mantegna, and of the Paduan school; though the cut is
not ascertained to be that of Andrea, or of any other known master of
that age. A careful but timid hand is discernible, betraying traces of a
copyist of another's designs, rather than of an original invention. Time
only may possibly clear up this doubt.

Proceeding from cards to books, we are made acquainted with the first
attempts at ornamenting them with cuts in metal. The most celebrated of
these consist of the _Monte Santo di Dio_, and the _Commedia of Dante_,
both printed at Florence, and the two editions of Ptolemy's Geography,
at Rome and Bologna; to which we may add the Geography of Berlinghieri,
printed at Florence; all the three accompanied with tables. The authors
of these engravings are not well known; except so far as we learn from
Vasari, that Botticelli was one who acquired the most reputation. He
represented the _Inferno, and took the impression_; and the two
histories, executed by Gio. de Lamagna in his Dante, display all the
design and composition of Sandro, so as to leave no doubt of their being
his.[101] Other prints are likewise found pasted in a few of the copies
of the same edition, amounting, more or less, to the number of nineteen;
and their manner is more coarse and mean,[102] as we are informed by the
Cav. Gaburri, who collected them for his cabinet. They must have been
executed by some inferior hand, and with the knowledge of the printer,
who had left blank spaces in parts of the work intended to receive the
engravings, not yet completed on the publication of the work. Of a
similar cast were other anonymous engravers of that period, nor is there
any name, except those of Sandro and of Pollaiuolo, truly distinguished
in the art among the Florentines. In Upper Italy, besides Mantegna,
Bartolommeo Montagna, his pupil, from Vicenza, (to whom some add
Montagna his brother,) and Marcello Figolino, their fellow citizen, were
both well known. Figolino is asserted to have been the same artist as
one _Robetta_, or rather one who subscribes himself so, or R. B. T. A.;
yet he ought not to be separated from the Florentine school, to which
Vasari refers him, which the character of his design confirms. The names
of Nicoletto da Modena, F. Gio. Maria da Brescia, a Carmelite monk, and
of his brother Gio. Antonio, have also survived; as well as Giulio and
Domenico Campagnola of Padua. There are not a few anonymous productions
which only announce that they were executed in the Venetian or Lombard
manner. For such artificers as were in the habit of taking impressions
from the roller, either wholly omitted names, or only affixed that of
the designer, or merely gave their own initials, which are now either
doubtful, or no longer understood. For instance, they would write M. F.,
which Vasari interprets into _Marc-antonio Francia_, while others read
_Marcello Figolino_, and a third party, _Maso Finiguerra_; this last
quite erroneously, as, after the most minute researches, made by the
very able Cavaliere Gaburri, throughout Florence, there is no engraving
of that artist to be found.[103] In the Durazzo collection, after twelve
plates, which are supposed to be proofs of the silver engravers, printed
in reverse, we find several others of the first impressions taken with
the roller, and appearing to the right; but not unlike the proofs in the
mechanical part of the impression, and in regard to the uncertainty of
their artists. For this, and other information on the subject, I am
indebted to the kindness of the Ab. Boni, who having enjoyed the
familiar acquaintance of Count Giacomo, is now engaged in preparing a
full account of his fine collection.

The last state of engraving on copper I consider to be that in which the
press and the printing ink being now discovered, the art began to
approach nearer perfection; and it was then it became first separated
from the goldsmith's art, like the full grown offspring, received
pupils, and opened its studio apart. It is difficult to fix the precise
epoch when it attained this degree of perfection in Italy. The same
artificers who had employed the roller, were some of them living, to
avail themselves of the press, such as Nicoletto da Modena, Gio. Antonio
da Brescia, and Mantegna himself, of whose prints there exist, as it
were, two editions; the one with the roller, exhibiting faint tints, the
other in good ink, and from the press. Then the engravers first becoming
jealous lest others should appropriate their reputation, affixed their
own names more frequently to their works; beginning with their initials,
and finally attaching the full name. The Germans held out the earliest
examples, which our countrymen imitated; with one who surpassed all his
predecessors, the celebrated Marc Antonio Raimondi, or del Francia. He
was a native of Bologna, and was instructed in the art of working in
niello by Francesco Francia, in which he acquired singular skill.
Proceeding next to engravings upon metal, he began with engraving some
of the productions of his master. At first he imitated Mantegna, then
Albert Durer, and subsequently perfected himself in design under
Raffaello d'Urbino. This last afforded him further assistance; he even
permitted his own grinder of colours, Baviera, to manage the press, in
order that Marc Antonio might devote himself wholly to engraving
Raffaello's designs, to which we owe the number we meet with in
different collections. He pursued the same plan with the works of
antiquity, as well as those of a few moderns, of Bonarruoti, of Giulio
Romano, and of Bandinelli, besides several others, of which he was both
the designer and engraver. Sometimes he omitted every kind of mark, and
every letter; sometimes he adopted the little tablet of Mantegna, either
with letters or without. In some engravings of the Passion he
counterfeited both the hand and the mark of Albert Durer: and not
unfrequently he gave the initial letters of his own and of Raffaello's
name, and that of Michel Angiolo Fiorentino upon those he engraved after
Bonarruoti. He was assisted by his two pupils, Agostin Veneziano and
Marco Ravignano, who succeeded him in the series of engravings from
Raffaello; which led Vasari to observe, in his Life of Marc Antonio,
that, "between Agostino and Marco nearly all Raffaello's designs and
paintings had been engraved." These two executed works conjointly; till
at length they parted, and each affixed to his productions the two
initial letters of his name and country.

It was thus the art of engraving in the studio of Raffaello, and by
means of Marc Antonio, and of his school, rose to a high degree of
perfection, not many years after its first commencement. Since that
period no artist has appeared capable of treating it with more knowledge
of design, and with more precision of lines and contour; though in other
points it has acquired much from the hand of Parmigianino, who engraved
in aqua-fortis,[104] from Agostino Caracci, and from different
foreigners of the last century, among whom we may notice Edelink,
Masson, Audran, Drevet, and, in the present age, several, both Italians
and strangers, of whom, in this place, we must refrain from speaking.

I may be permitted, in this place, to enter into a brief investigation
of the long contested question of engraving upon copper, whether its
discovery is to be attributed to Germany or to Italy; and if to Italy,
whether to Florence or to some other place. Much has been written upon
the subject, both by natives and foreigners, but, if I mistake not, it
has scarcely been treated with that accuracy which is necessary for the
attainment of truth. That it is quite requisite to divide this branch of
art into three several states or stages, I trust I have already
sufficiently shewn. In following up this division we shall have a better
chance of ascertaining what portion of merit ought to be awarded to each
country. Vasari, together with Cellini, in his "Treatise upon the
Goldsmith's art," as well as most other writers, are inclined to refer
its commencement to Florence, and to the artist Finiguerra. Doubts have
since arisen; while so recent an author as Bottari, himself a
Florentine, mentions it as a circumstance not yet ascertained. The epoch
of Maso was altered through mistake, by Manni, who speaks of his decease
as happening previous to 1424.[105] This has been corrected by reference
to the authentic books of the _Arte de' Mercanti_, in which the _pace_
already cited is mentioned as being paid for in the year 1452. About the
same time, Antonio Pollaiuolo, still a youth, as we learn from Vasari,
in his life, was the rival of Finiguerra in the church of S. Giovanni;
and as Maso had at that period already acquired great celebrity, we may
conclude that he was of a mature age, and experienced in the art. We
have further a right to suppose, with Gaburri and Tiraboschi, that
having then taken proofs "of all the subjects which he had engraved on
silver," he had observed this custom from the year 1440, and perhaps
earlier; and we thus discover the elements of chalcography in Florence,
satisfactorily deduced from history.[106] For neither with the aid of
history, monuments, nor reasoning, am I enabled to discover an epoch
equally remote belonging to any other country; as we shall shew, in the
first place, in regard to Germany. It possesses no annals so far back as
that period. The credulity of Sandrart[107] led him to question the
truth of this, by referring to a small print of uncertain origin, on
which he believed he could read the date 1411, and upon another that of
1455. At this period, however, when the authority of Sandrart is of
small account, no less from his frequent contradictions than his
partiality, which has rendered him suspected even by his own countrymen,
we may receive his two engravings as false coin, not valuable enough to
purchase the credit of the discovery from us. Those two distinguished
writers, Meerman,[108] and the Baron Heineken,[109] were equally bent
upon refuting him. They do not pretend to trace any earlier engraver in
Germany than Martin Schön, called by others Bonmartino, and by Vasari,
Martino di Anversa,[110] who died in 1486. Some are of opinion that he
had two brothers, who assisted him, but who are unknown; and not long
after appear the names of Israel Meckeln,[111] Van Bockold, Michael
Wolgemuth, master to Albert Durer, with many others who approached the
sixteenth century. It is contended, however, that engraving on copper
was known in Germany anterior to these; as there exist specimens by
doubtful hands, which _have the appearance_ of being much earlier.
Meerman, on the authority of Christ,[112] adduces one with the initials
C. E. and the date 1465, besides two described by Bar. Heineken, dated
1466, the first of which is signed _f_. 4 _s_, the second _b x s_, and
both the artists unknown. He declares that he had never seen older
engravings that bore a name, (p. 231,) and observes that their manner
resembles that of Schön, only coarser, which leads him to suspect that
the authors must have been his masters, (p. 220). But whoever was
Schön's master, Heineken concludes he must have flourished more than ten
years earlier than his time, so as to bring it back to 1450, when the
art of engraving by the burin was undoubtedly practised in Germany, (p.
220). And as if this appeared too little to be granted, he adds, about
four pages further on, "that he was _tempted_ to place the epoch of its
discovery at least towards the year 1440."

The cause is well pleaded, but it is not carried. Let us try to confront
reasons with reasons. The Italians have the testimony of history in
their favour; the Germans have it against them. The former, without any
attempt at exaggeration, proceed as far back as 1440, and even
farther;[113] the latter, by dint of conjecture, reach as far as 1450,
and are only _tempted_ to anticipate it by ten years date. The Italians
commence the art with Maso, not from his master; the Germans are not
content to date from Schön, but from his master, an advantage they
either deny to Italy, and thus fail to draw an equal comparison; or if
they concede the master, we still anticipate by ten years their origin
of chalcography. The Italians, again, confirm the truth of their history
by a number of authentic documents, proofs in niello, first impressions,
and the progress of the art from its earliest stages to maturity. The
Germans supply their historic deficiency by monuments, in part proved to
be false, in part doubtful, and which are easily convicted of
insufficiency for the proposed object. Because who can assure us that
the prints of 1465 or 66, are not the production of the brothers or the
disciples of Schön, since Heineken himself confesses that they were
possibly the work of some contemporary artists, his inferiors? Do we not
find in Italy that the followers of Botticelli are inferior to him, and
appear to be of earlier date? Moreover, who can assure us that Schön was
instructed by a master of his own nation; when all his engravings that
have been hitherto produced, appear already perfect in their kind;[114]
nor do we find mentioned in Germany either proofs in niello, or first
essays in metals of a softer temper? The fact therefore, most probably
is, what has invariably obtained credit,--that the invention was
communicated from Italy to Germany, and as a matter not at all difficult
to the goldsmiths, was speedily practised there with success; I might
even add, was greatly improved. For both the press and printer's ink
being well known there, artists were enabled to add to the mechanic part
of the art, improvements with which Italy was unacquainted; I will
produce an example of what I mean, that cannot fail to convince.
Printing of books was discovered in Germany: history and monuments alike
confirm it, which are to be traced gradually from tabular prints to
moveable types, still of wood, and from these to characters of metal. In
such state was the invention brought to Italy, where, without passing
through these intermediate degrees, books were printed not only in
moveable characters of metal, but with tables cut in copper, thus adding
to the art a degree of perfection which it wanted. Heineken objects that
the Germans at that period had very little correspondence with the
cities of Italy, with the exception of Venice, (p. 139). To this I
answer that our universities of Pisa and Bologna, besides several
others, were much frequented by young men from Germany, at that period;
and that for the convenience both of strangers and of natives, a
Dictionary of the German language was printed at Venice, in 1475, and in
1479, at Bologna; a circumstance sufficient of itself to prove that
there was no little communication between the two nations. There are,
besides, so many other reasons to believe that a great degree of
intercourse subsisted, more particularly between Germany and
Florence,[115] during the period we treat of; that we ought not to be at
all surprised at the arts belonging to the one being communicated to the
other. Hitherto I have pleaded, as far as lay in my power, the cause of
my country; though without having been able, I fear, to bring the
question to a close. Some time, it is possible, that those earliest
essays and proofs of the art, which have hitherto eluded research, may
be discovered: it is possible that some one of their writers, who are at
once so truly learned and so numerous, may improve upon the hint thrown
out by Heineken (p. 139), that the Germans and the Italians, without any
kind of corresponding knowledge on the subject, struck out simultaneous
discoveries of the modern art. However this may chance to be, it is my
part to write from the information and authorities which I have before

It remains to be seen whether, on the exclusion of Germany, there is any
other part of Italy that may have anticipated the discovery of
Finiguerra at Florence. Some of his opponents have ventured to question
his title on the strength of metallic impressions of seals, which are
met with on Italian parchments from the earliest periods. This shews
only that the art advanced during several ages on the verge of this
invention; but it does not prove that the very origin of the discovery
is to be sought for in seals; otherwise we should be bound to commence
the history of modern typography from the seals of earthen-ware, with
which our museums abound. No one will contend that certain immemorial
and undigested elements that lay for many ages neglected and unformed,
ought to have a place in the history of art; and this we are now
treating on, ought not to date its commencement beyond the period when
silversmiths' shops had been established, where, in fact, it took its
origin and grew to maturity. We must then compare the proofs remaining
to us of their labours, and see whether such proofs were in use at any
other place, before the time of Finiguerra. I might observe that there
are two threads, as it were, which may serve as a clue to this
labyrinth, until we may somewhere or by some means ascertain the actual
date; and these two are the character and the design. The character in
all the proofs I have examined, is not at all (as we commonly call it)
of a gothic description; it is round and roman, according to the
observation before made (at p. 49), and does not lead us farther back
than the year 1440. The design is more suspicious: in the Durazzo
collection I have seen proofs of nielli with more coarse designs than
are displayed in the works of Maso, but they are perhaps not the
offspring of the Florentine school. I shall not here attempt to
anticipate the judgment of those who may engage to illustrate these
ancient remains; nor that of the public, in regard to the engravings
correctly taken from them, which must pronounce their definitive
sentence. If I mistake not, however, true connoisseurs will be cautious
how they pass a final opinion. It will not be difficult for them to
discern a Bolognese from a Florentine artist, in modern painting, after
it is seen that each school formed its own peculiar character both in
colouring and in design; but in regard to proofs of nielli,[116] to
distinguish school from school, will not be so easy a task. For though
it may be ascertained, for instance, that such a proof came from
Bologna; can we pronounce from the fact of its being coarser and rawer
than the designs of Finiguerra, that it is so far more ancient? Maso and
the Florentines, after the time of Masaccio, had already softened their
style towards the year 1440; but can we assert the same of the other
schools of Italy? Besides, is it certain that the silversmiths, from
whose hands proceeded the proofs, sought out the best designers;[117]
and did not copy, for instance, the Bolognese, the design of a Pietà by
Jacopo Avanzi, or the Venetians, a Madonna by Jacobello del Fiore? The
more dry, coarse, and clumsy specimens therefore, cannot easily be
adduced against Finiguerra as a proof of greater antiquity; otherwise we
should run into the whimsical sophistry of Scalza, who affirmed that the
Baronci were the most ancient men in Florence, and in the whole world,
because they were the ugliest.[118] We must therefore permit Maso to
rest quietly in possession of the discovery, until further and more
ancient proofs are adduced, than are to be found in his cards and his

In my account of the second state of engraving, I shall not make mention
of the German masters, in regard to whom I have not dates that may be
thought sufficient; I shall confine my attention to those of Italy. I
shall compare the testimony of Vasari and Lomazzo; one of whom supposes
the art to have originated in Upper, the other in Lower Italy. In his
Life of Marc Antonio, Vasari observes, that Finiguerra "was followed by
Baccio Baldini, a Florentine goldsmith, who being little skilled in
design, every thing he executed was after designs and inventions of
Sandro Botticello. As soon as Andrea Mantegna learned this circumstance
at Rome, he first began to turn his attention to the engraving of his
own works." Now in the life of Sandro he makes particular mention of the
time when he applied himself to the art, which was at the period he had
completed his labours in the Sistine chapel. Returning directly after to
Florence, "he began to comment upon Dante, he drew the Inferno, and
engraved it, which occupying a large portion of his time, was the
occasion of much trouble and inconvenience in his future life."
Botticelli is here considered an engraver from about 1474, at the age of
thirty-seven years; and Baldini, who executed every thing from the
designs of Sandro, also practised the art. At the same period flourished
Antonio Pollaiuolo, who acquired a higher reputation than either of the
last. Few of his impressions remain, but among these is the celebrated
battle of the naked soldiers, approaching nearest in point of power to
the bold style of Michelangiolo. The epoch of these productions is to be
placed about 1480, because having acquired great celebrity by them, he
was invited to Rome towards the close of 1483, to raise the monument of
Sixtus IV., who died in that year.

According to Vasari, Mantegna having decorated the chapel of Innocent
VIII. at Rome, about 1490,[119] from that or the preceding year is
intitled to the name of engraver, computing it from about his sixtieth
year. He flourished more than sixteen years after this period; during
which is it to be believed that he produced that amazing number of
engravings,[120] amounting to more than fifty, of which about thirty
appear to be genuine specimens, on so grand a scale, so rich in figures,
so finely studied and Mantegnesque in every part; that he executed these
when he was already old, new to the art, an art fatiguing to the eye and
the chest even of young artists; that he pursued it amidst his latest
occupations in Mantua, which we shall, in their place, describe, and
that he produced such grand results within sixteen or seventeen years.
Either Vasari must have mistaken the dates, or wished to impose upon our
credulity by his authority. Lomazzo leads us to draw a very different
conclusion, when in his Treatise (p. 682) he adds this short eulogy to
the name and merits of Mantegna, "a skilful painter, and the first
engraver of prints in Italy;" but wherein he does not mention him as an
inventor, meaning only to ascribe to him the merit of introducing the
second state of the art at least in Italy; because he believed that it
had already arisen in Germany. Such authority as this is worth our
attention. I shall have occasion in the course of my narrative to combat
some of Lomazzo's assertions; but I shall also feel bound to concur with
him frequently in the epochs illustrated by him. He was born about
twenty-five years subsequent to Vasari; he had more erudition, was a
better critic, and on the affairs of Lombardy in particular, was enabled
to correct him, and to supply his deficiencies. I am not surprised,
then, that Meerman (p. 259) should suppose Andrea to have been already
an engraver before the time of Baldini and Botticelli; I could have
wished only that he had better observed the order of the epochs, and not
postponed the praise due to him until the pontificate of Innocent VIII.
In fact, it is not easy to ascertain the exact time when Mantegna first
directed his attention to the art of engraving. It decidedly appears
that he commenced at Padua; for the very confidence he displays in every
plate, shews that he could be no novice; nor is it credible that his
noviciate began only in old age. I suspect he received the rudiments of
the art from Niccolo, a distinguished goldsmith, as he gave his
portrait, together with that of Squarcione, in a history piece of S.
Cristoforo, at the Eremitani in Padua; each most probably being a
tribute of respect to his former master. It is true that we meet with no
specimens of his hand at that, or even a later period of his early life;
though we ought to recollect that he never affixed any dates to his
works. So that it is impossible to say that none of them were the
production of his earlier years, however equal and beautiful they appear
in regard to their style; inasmuch as in his paintings we are enabled to
detect little difference between his history of S. Cristoforo, painted
in the flower of youth, and his altar-piece at S. Andrea of Mantua,
which is considered one of his last labours. A specimen of his engraving
with a date, is believed, however, by some, to be contained in a book of
Pietro d'Abano; intitled "Tractatus de Venenis," published in Mantua,
1472, "in cujus paginâ prima littera initialis aeri incisa exhibetur,
quæ integram columnæ latitudinem occupat. Patet hinc artem
chalcographicam jam anno 1472 extitisse." Thus far writes the learned
Panzer,[121] but whether he ever saw the work that exists in folio, and
of seven pages, I am not certain.[122] A quarto edition was likewise
edited in Mantua, 1473, and a copy is there preserved in the public
library, but without any plates.

It is certain, however, that about this period copper engraving was
practised, not only in Mantua, where Mantegna resided, but also in
Bologna. The geography of Ptolemy, printed in Bologna by Domenico de
Lapis, with the apparently incorrect date of 1462, is in the possession
of the Corsini at Rome, and of the Foscarini at Venice.[123] It contains
twenty-six geographical tables, engraved very coarsely, yet so greatly
admired by the printer, that he applauds this new discovery, and
compares it to the invention of printing, which not long before had
appeared in Germany. We give his words as they are quoted from the Latin
without being refuted, by Meerman, at p. 251: "Accedit mirifica
imprimendi tales tabulas ratio, cujus inventoris laus nihil illorum
laude inferior, qui primi litterarum imprimendarum artem pepererunt, in
admirationem sui studiosissimum quemque facillime convertere potest."
The same writer, however, along with other learned men, contends that
the date ought to be corrected, chiefly on the authority of the
catalogue of the correctors of the work, among whom we find Filippo
Beroaldo, who, in 1462, was no more than nine years of age. Hence
Meerman infers, that we ought to read 1482; Audifredi and others, 1491;
neither of which opinions I can agree with. For the work of Ptolemy
being published at Rome, accompanied by twenty-seven elegant charts in
1478, what presumption, or rather folly, in the publisher of the
Bolognese edition, to think of applauding its beauty, after the
appearance of one so incomparably superior! I am therefore compelled to
refer the former to an earlier period than the last mentioned year.
Besides, I ought to inform the reader, that the engraving of twenty-six
geographical plates, full of lines, distances, and references, must have
been a long and difficult task, particularly during the infancy of the
art, sufficient to occupy several years; as we are certain that three or
four were devoted to the same purpose at Rome by more modern engravers,
far more expert. We are therefore bound to antedate the epoch of the
Bolognese engraving several years before the publication of the book,
which belongs perhaps to the year 1472.[124] I shall not, however, set
myself up as an umpire in this dispute; anxiously expecting, as I do, an
excellent treatise from the pen of Sig. Bartolommeo Gamba; which I feel
assured will not fail to gratify the public.[125] In regard to Bologna,
therefore, I shall only seek to prove that the progress of the
goldsmith's art to that of engraving upon metal, was more rapid than it
has been supposed. Heineken himself observes, in describing the Ptolemy,
that it is evident, from the traces of the zigzag, which the goldsmiths
are in the habit of putting on the silver plates, the work is the
production of one belonging to that art. The earliest works that can be
pointed out with certainty at Florence, are the three elegant engravings
of the Monte Santo di Dio, published in 1477; and the two in the two
cantos of Dante, 1481; one of which, as if a third engraving, was
repeated in the same book; while all of them seem to have been drawn
from the roller, the art of inserting the plates in the letter-press
being then unknown. We have yet to notice the thirty-seven geographical
charts, in whatever way executed, affixed to the book of Berlinghieri,
which was printed about the same period, without any date. These also
contain several heads with the names _Aquilo_, _Africus_, &c., but they
are all of youthful appearance, and tolerable in point of design;
whereas the same heads in Bologna are of different ages, with long
beards and caps, and in a coarser manner. The three before mentioned
works appeared from the press of Niccolo Tedesco, or Niccolo di Lorenzo
de Lamagna, the first who printed books at Florence with copper plates.

The last and most complete state of engraving upon copper, comes next
under our notice. For this improvement, it appears to me, we are as much
indebted to Germany as for the art of printing books. The press there
first discovered for typography, opened the way for that applied to
copper plates. The mechanical construction to be sure was different, in
the former the impression being drawn from cast letters which rise
outwards; in the latter from plates cut hollow within by the artist's
graver. A kind of ink was at the same time adopted, of a stronger and
less fuliginous colour, than had been used for engravings in wood; but
as it is termed by Meerman (p. 12), "singulare ac tenuius." The same
author fixes the date of this improvement in the art at about 1470; and
most probably he meant to deduce it from the earliest copper engravings
which appeared in Germany. Of this I cannot venture to speak, not having
seen the two specimens cited by Heineken, and the others that bear a
date; nor is it at all connected with our present history of Italian
art, as far as regards engraving. We gather from it, that such
improvement was brought to us from Germany by the same Corrado Sweyneym,
who prepared the beautiful edition of Ptolemy at Rome. We learn from the
anonymous preface prefixed, that Corrado devoted three years to the
task, and left it incomplete; and it was continued by Arnold Buckinck,
and published by him, as I already observed, in 1478. The tables are
engraved with a surprising degree of elegance, and are taken from the
press, as Meerman, adopting the opinion of Raidelio, and of such
bibliographers as have described it, has clearly shewn, (p. 258). It is
conjectured that Corrado commenced his labours about 1472, a fact
ascertained no less from the testimony of Calderino, the corrector of
the work, than from the tables, impressions of which were taken in
1475.[126] Some are of opinion that the engraving was from the hand of
Corrado, although the author of the preface simply observes, "animum ad
hanc doctrinam capessendam applicuit (that is, to geography) subinde
matematicis adhibitis viris quemadmodum tabulis æneis imprimerentur
edocuit,[127] triennioque in hâc curâ consumpto diem obiit." And it
seems very probable, that as he employed Italians in the correction of
the text, he was also assisted by some one of the same nation in the
engravings. It strikes me, likewise, that Botticelli was attracted by
this novel art at Rome, since on his return about the year 1474, he
began to engrave copper plates with all the ardour that Vasari has
described, and was in fact the first who represented full figures and
histories in the new art. Perhaps the cause of his impressions being
less perfect than others, arose from his ignorance of the method of
printing upon a single page, both the plates and the characters; as well
as from the want of the press, and that improved plan derived from the
office of the German printers. But from whatever cause, it is certain,
that our engravers long continued to labour under this imperfection in
the art, as I have already recounted. In the time of Marc Antonio, who
rose into notice soon after the year 1500, the art, in its perfect
state, had been introduced into Italy, insomuch that he was enabled to
rival Albert Durer and Luca d'Ollanda, equalling them in the mechanism
of the art, and surpassing them in point of design. It is from this
triumvirate of genius that the more finished age of engraving takes its
date; and nearly at the same period we behold the most improved era in
the art of painting. The completion of the new art soon diffused good
models of design through every school, which led the way to the new
epoch. Following the steps of Durer, the imitators of nature learned to
design more correctly; while they composed, if not with much taste, at
least with great variety and fertility, examples of which appear in the
Venetian artists of the time. Others of a more studied character, formed
upon the model of Raffaello and of the best Italian masters, exhibited
by Marc Antonio, applied with more diligence to compose with order, and
to attain elegance of design; as we shall further see in the progress of
this History of Painting, which after such necessary interruption, we
prepare once more to resume.

[Footnote 84: See Baron d'Heineken's "Idéé générale d'une Collection,"
&c. p. 239. See likewise the same work, p. 150, in order to give us a
proper distrust of the work of Papillon. Sig. Huber agrees with
Heineken: see his "Manuel," &c. p. 35.]

[Footnote 85: _Storia Letter_, tom. vi. p, 1194.]

[Footnote 86: Muratori, Rerum Ital. Scriptores, vol. xx. Vita Phil. M.
Visconti, chap. lxi.]

[Footnote 87: Lettere Pittoriche, tom. v. p. 321.]

[Footnote 88: Vide ante, p. 46.]

[Footnote 89: In the ancient monastery of Certosa, at Buxheim, there
remains a figure of S. Cristoforo in the act of passing the river, with
Jesus upon his shoulders; and there is added that of a hermit lighting
the way with a lantern in his hand. It bears the date 1423. A number of
other devout images are seen in the celebrated library at Wolfenbuttel,
and others in Germany, stamped upon wood in a manner similar to that of
playing-cards. Huber, Manuel, tom. i. p. 86.]

[Footnote 90: See Maffei, _Verona Illustrata_, Part iii. col. 195, and
Part ii. col. 68, 76.]

[Footnote 91: There was collected for the ducal gallery in 1801, a
silver _pace_ that had been made for the company of S. Paolo, and sold
upon the suppression of that pious foundation. It represents the saint's
conversion, with many tolerably executed figures, from an unknown hand,
though less old and valuable than that of Maso. He had ornamented it
with niello; but in order to ascertain the workmanship, it was taken to
pieces some years since, and the plate examined in the state it came
from under the tools of the silversmith. The cuts were found not at all
deep, resembling those of our engravers upon sheets of copper, upon the
model of which the silver plate, being provided with the ink, was put
into the press, and from it were taken as many, perhaps, as twenty fine
proofs. One of these is in the collection of the Senator Bali Martelli;
and upon this a foreign connoisseur wrote that it was the work of Doni,
I know not on what authority, unless, from an error of memory, the name
Doni was inserted instead of Dei.]

[Footnote 92: Ambrogio Leone mentions both, _De Nobilitate rerum_, cap.
41, and he particularly praises, for his skill in working niello, the
second, who is so little known in the history of the arts. See Morelli,
Notizia, p. 204.]

[Footnote 93: Vasari, who is difficult to understand, at least by many,
on account of his brevity, touches upon the different processes used by
Maso, which are these: When he had cut the plate, he next proceeded to
take a print of it, before he inlaid it with niello, upon very fine
earth; and from the cut being to the right hand, and hollow, the proof
consequently came out on the left, shewing the little earthen cast in
relief. Upon this last he threw the liquid sulphur, from which he
obtained a second proof, which, of course, appeared to the right, and
took from the relief a hollow form. He then laid the ink (lamp black or
printer's ink) upon the sulphur, in such a way as to fill up the hollows
on the more indented cuts, intended to produce the shadow; and next, by
degrees, he scraped away from the ground (of the sulphur) what was meant
to produce the light. And this is also the plan pursued in engraving on
copper. The final work was to polish it with oil, in order to give the
sulphur the bright appearance of silver.]

[Footnote 94: They are to be seen in a little portable altar; and are
most probably the proofs of some niello worker of the time; who had
executed those histories in silver to ornament some similar little
altar, or the place in which sacred relics were laid. Before introducing
the niello, he had cast proofs of his work in these zolfi (sulphurs),
which were subsequently inlaid with great symmetry and taste in the
altar-piece. They consist of various forms and sizes, and are adapted to
the architecture of the little altar, and to its various parts. Many of
them have now perished, though several are yet in existence, the
smallest of which chiefly represent histories from scripture, and the
largest of them the acts of the Evangelists, to the number of fourteen,
and about one-sixth of a braccio (an arm, two-thirds of a yard) in

[Footnote 95: Pace, a sort of sacred vessel borne in procession by the
priests; literally, it means peace.]

[Footnote 96: In this edition I ought to mention another zolfo (a
sulphur cast) of the same pace of S. Giovanni, in possession of his
excellency the Senator Prior Seratti. This, when compared with the
model, corresponds line for line; there is a full display of the very
difficult character of Maso's heads, and what is still more decisive,
is, that it is cut, or indented, an effect that must have been produced
according to the manner already described. The zolfo Durazzo, as appears
from the impression, does not correspond so well; some of the flowers
and ornaments of drapery are wanting; it is not equally finished, and it
seems smooth on the surface. This does not derogate from its
genuineness, for as several proofs were taken of the same _pace_, which
was cut by degrees, if we find less completeness in the Durazzo proof,
it is only an indication of its having been taken before the rest. And
if the impressions of the cuts are not so plainly traced as in the
other, I do not, therefore, conjecture that they do not exist. The zolfi
of the fathers of Camaldoli already cited, seem as if they were printed,
and smooth. A fragment breaking off, highly polished on the surface, the
cuts were then discovered, even to the minutest lines, as many
professors, even the most experienced in the art of printing, to their
surprise, have witnessed; and they conjectured that the ocular illusion
might arise, 1st, from the fineness of cut made with the style, or
possibly with the graver, which was diminished in proportion as it
passed from the sheet to the earthen mould, and from this to the zolfo;
2d, from the density of the ink, when hardened between the cuts or
hollows of the zolfo; 3d, from a coat of bluish colour laid on the work,
of which there remain traces, and from that which time produces both in
paintings and on cards. I have not a doubt, that, if the experiment were
tried on the Durazzo zolfo, the result would appear exactly the same.
The extrinsic proofs of its origin, also adduced by Gori, together with
the aspect of the monument, which is fresh in my memory, do not
authorize me to suspect the existence of a fraud.]

[Footnote 97: Christ in the manger.]

[Footnote 98: Heineken gives a general nomenclature of the works of
these silver carvers. Idéé, &c. p. 217].

[Footnote 99: I must remark, that some copper of the earliest age may
have been preserved and made use of after the introduction of felt and
of the press. In this case there will remain no impression of the linen
cloth, but the print will be poor and faint.]

[Footnote 100: In the prints of Dante, and other Florentine books, a
yellowish colour prevails; and we may observe stains of oil and blots at
the extremities. A pale ash colour was also used for wood prints by the
Germans, and Meerman remarks that it was employed to counterfeit the
colour of designs.]

[Footnote 101: See Lettere Pittoriche, tom. ii. p. 268.]

[Footnote 102: Ibid. p. 269. I should add, that the twenty others are
now known, obtained for the Riccardi library at Florence.]

[Footnote 103: Lettere Pittoriche, tom. ii. p. 267. It is ascertained
that Maso flourished less recently; and the Dante prints, inferior to
those of Botticelli, were ascribed to him only on account of their
coarseness, as we gather from Gaburri.]

[Footnote 104: It is denied that he was the inventor of this mode of
engraving by many learned Germans, who give the merit of it to
Wolgemuth. Meerman, L. C. p. 256.]

[Footnote 105: Notes to Baldinucci, tom. iv. p. 2.]

[Footnote 106: It was observed, at p. 115, that the Epiphany of Maso is
anterior to the work of the Assumption. The progress from the minute and
careful, to the free and great style, is very gradual. The present work
contains many examples of this, even in the loftiest geniuses, in
Coreggio, and in Raffaello himself.]

[Footnote 107: A sample of his ignorance appears in what he wrote of
Demone; not well understanding Pliny, he did not believe Demone to be
the fabulous genius of Athens; but set him down as a painter of mortal
flesh and blood, and gave his portrait with those of Zeuxis, Apelles,
and other ancient painters.]

[Footnote 108: Origines Typographicæ, tom. i. p. 254.]

[Footnote 109: Idéé Générale d'une Collection Complète d'Estampes, pp.
224, 116, where he gives his opinion on Sandrart's work. See also
Dictionnaire des Artistes, vol. ii. p. 331.]

[Footnote 110: He says that his cipher was M. C. which P. Orlandi reads
Martinus de Clef, or Clivensis Augustanus. But he was not from Anversa;
but was, according to Meerman, Calembaco-Suevus Colmariæ, whence we may
explain the cipher to mean Martinus Colmariensis. In many of his prints
it is M. S.]

[Footnote 111: Called by Lomazzo "Israel Metro Tedesco, painter and
inventor of the art of engraving cards in copper, master of Bonmartino,"
in which I think we ought rather to follow the learned natives already
cited, than our own countryman.]

[Footnote 112: Diction. des Monogram. p. 67.]

[Footnote 113: See Tiraboschi, 1st. Lett. tom. vi. p. 119.]

[Footnote 114: The prints of Schön, even such as represent works in gold
and silver, are executed with admirable knowledge and delicacy. Huber,
tom. i. p. 91.]

[Footnote 115: The Florentine merchants, during the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, especially such as advanced money upon interest,
abounded in Germany; insomuch that part of a town was called _Borgo
Fiorentino_. This I learn from Dottore Gennari, a Paduan gentleman, not
long since lost to the republic of letters. The number of German Princes
who coined money in Florence, may be gathered from the work of Orsini,
and other writers, upon our modern coinage.]

[Footnote 116: The direction given by the Ab. Zani for similar specimens
is this: "The engravings of the Venetian school, generally speaking, are
of a delicate, soft, and full design; the figures are large, few, and
very beautiful in the extremities. Those of the Florentines are engraved
in a stronger manner, and are less soft and round; sometimes even harsh;
the figures are small, pretty numerous, with the extremities less highly
finished." Materiali, p. 57.]

[Footnote 117: Cellini, in his preface to his Treatise upon the art of
working in gold, asserts that Maso himself copied from the designs of
Pollaiuolo, which has been completely refuted by the Ab. Zani.
Materiali, p. 40.]

[Footnote 118: Boccaccio, Decamerone, Giorn. vi. Nov. 6.]

[Footnote 119: See Taia, Description of the Vatican Palace, p. 404].

[Footnote 120: Forty of these I find cited, and I am informed of some
others not yet edited. The Ab. Zani (p. 142) assures us "that the
genuine impressions which are now acknowledged to be from the hand of
Mantegna, do not amount to twenty; and nearly all of them are executed
with few figures." Such an assertion appears no less singular to me than
to others on whose judgment I could rely, whom I have consulted. How can
we admit its accuracy, when confronted with the account of Mantegna's
fellow citizen and contemporary Scardeone, who collected his works, and
who expressly declares, as cited by the Ab. Zani, "that Mantegna
engraved Roman triumphs, Bacchanalian festivals, and marine deities:
also the descent of Christ from the cross, and the burial," engravings
exhibiting a variety of figures, and in number more than a dozen. After
this enumeration the historian adds, "et alia permulta," and many
others. To confute this excellent testimony, the Ab. Zani refers only to
the words of the same Scardeone, who thus continues: "Those plates are
possessed by few, and held in the highest esteem; nine of them, however,
belong to me, all of them different." This writer therefore, in spite of
his expression "et alia permulta," confesses that he had only nine
specimens from the hand of his fellow citizen. Yes, I reply, he
confesses his scanty portion, but admits the superior number that exists
in various cabinets, and what reason have we for believing the first
assertion and not the second? For my part, I give credit to the
historian; and if any one doubt, from a diversity of style between the
plates, that there is any exaggeration in his statement, I should not
hence conclude that they are from different hands, but executed by the
same hand, the works of the artist's early life being inferior to his
last. For what artist ever devoted himself to a new branch, and did not
contrive to cultivate and improve it? It is sufficient that the taste be
not wholly opposite.]

[Footnote 121: Panzer, Ann. Typogr. tom. ii. p. 4.]

[Footnote 122: The Catalogue of the Libreria Heideggeriana is cited as
the first source; but after fresh research, nothing certain has been
discovered. Volta conjectures that this edition _de Venenis_ was not a
separate book, but a part of the Conciliatore of Pietro d'Abano, printed
in folio at Mantua, 1472.]

[Footnote 123: This splendid copy has been transferred from the
Biblioteca Foscarini, into the choice selection of old prints and books
illustrated by the Ab. Mauro Boni.]

[Footnote 124: See de Bure, Bibliographie Instructive, Histoire, tom. i.
p. 32. From the tenor of this opinion, which I shall not examine, we are
authorized in adding to the inscription, ANNO MCCCCLXII another X,
omitted by inadvertency, if not purposely; instances of which are to be
found in the dates of books belonging to the fifteenth century. In 1472,
Beroaldo was already a great scholar, and in 73 he opened his academy.]

[Footnote 125: This little work, whose title will be found in the second
Index, is now published, and has been well received by scholars on
account of its learning and bibliographical research. The author
approves the supposition that we ought to read 1472. We wish him leisure
to produce more such works as this, which, like those of Manuzi, at once
combine the character of the elegant typographer and the erudite

[Footnote 126: Maffei, Verona Illustrata, p. ii. col. 118.]

[Footnote 127: That is, in Rome, where he also taught the art of
printing books, as we are informed in the same preface. This last is
wholly devoted to Roman matters, and it would be vain to look in it for
the general history of typography and engraving in Italy. It appears
then, that Sweyneym instructed the artists of Rome in the best manner of
printing from copper plates with the press; though others may have
taught the art of printing them more rudely and in softer metal at



  _Vinci, Bonarruoti, and other celebrated artists, form the
  most flourishing era of this School._

Nations have their virtues and their vices; and it is the duty of the
historian to give them credit for the one, and to confess the other.
Thus it is with the Schools of Painting; no one of which is so perfect
as to leave us nothing more to desire; no one so faulty that it has not
much in it to commend. The Florentine school (I do not speak of its
greatest masters, but of the general practice of the others) had no
great merit in colouring, from which Mengs was induced to denominate it
a melancholy school; nor did it excel in its drapery, from which arose
the saying, that the drapery of figures appeared to be fashioned with
economy in Florence.

It did not shine in power of relief, a study not generally cultivated
till the last century, nor did it exhibit much beauty, because, long
destitute of fine Grecian statues, Florence was late in possessing the
Venus: and only through the attention of the Grand Duke Leopold, has
been enriched by the Apollo, the group of Niobe, and other choice
specimens. From these circumstances this school aimed only at a fidelity
of representation that resembles the works of those who copied exactly
from nature, and in general made a judicious selection of its objects.
It could not boast of superior grouping in the composition of a picture,
and it was more inclined to erase a superfluous figure, than to add one
unnecessarily to the rest. In grace, in design, and in historic
accuracy, it excels most other schools; chiefly resulting from the great
learning that always adorned this city, and invariably gave a bias to
the erudition of her artists.

Design forms the peculiar excellence of this school, and its hereditary
patrimony, to which the national characteristic of minute correctness
has greatly contributed; and it may justly be observed, that this people
has excelled others no less in the symmetrical delineation of the
figure, than in purity of idiom. It may also boast of having produced a
great many excellent painters in fresco; an art so superior to that of
painting in oil, that Bonarruoti looked on the latter as mere sport,
when compared with the former, as it necessarily requires great
dexterity, and the talent of executing well and with rapidity, very
difficult attainments in any profession. This school had but few
engravers on copper, from which circumstance, though abounding in
historians,[128] and rich in paintings, it has not a sufficient number
of prints to make it known in proportion to its merit; a defect which
the _Etruria Pittrice_ has in some measure supplied. Finally, the reader
may indulge in this very just reflection, that the Florentine school
first taught the method of proceeding scientifically, and according to
general rules. Some other schools have originated in an attentive
consideration of natural effects; by mechanically imitating, if we may
be allowed the expression, the external appearances of objects. But
Vinci and Bonarruoti, the two great luminaries of this school, like true
philosophers pointed out the immutable objects and established laws of
nature, thence deducing rules which their successors, both at home and
abroad, have followed with great benefit to the art. The former has left
a Treatise on Painting, and the public were induced to look for the
publication of the precepts of the latter, which have however never yet
been produced;[129] and we obtain some idea of his maxims only from
Vasari, and other writers. About this time also flourished Fra
Bartolommeo, Andrea del Sarto, Rosso, the young Ghirlandaio, and other
artists, whom we shall name in the sequel of this grand epoch, which
unfortunately was of short duration. Towards the middle of the sixteenth
century, when Michelangiolo, who survived the other great artists, was
still living, a less auspicious era began; but we must proceed with this

Lionardo da Vinci, so called from a castle in lower Valdarno, was the
natural son of one Pietro, notary to the Florentine republic, and was
born in 1452.[130] He was endowed by nature with a genius uncommonly
elevated and penetrating, eager after discovery, and diligent in the
pursuit; not only in what related to the three arts dependant on design,
but in mathematics, in mechanics, in hydrostatics, in music, in poetry,
and also in the accomplishments of horsemanship, fencing, and dancing.
He was so perfect in all these, that when he performed any one, the
beholder was ready to imagine that it must have been his sole study. To
such vigour of intellect he joined an elegance of features and of
manners, that graced the virtues of his mind. He was affable with
strangers, with citizens, with private individuals, and with princes,
among whom he long lived on a footing of familiarity and friendship. On
this account, says Vasari, it cost him no effort always to behave and to
live like a man of high birth.

Verrocchio taught him painting; and as we have said, while still a
youth, he surpassed his master. He retained traces of his early
education through his whole life. Like Verrocchio, he designed more
readily than he painted; he assiduously cultivated mathematics; in his
design and in his countenances, he prized elegance and vivacity of
expression, more than dignity and fulness of contour; he was very
careful in drawing his horses, and in representing the skirmishes of
soldiers; and was more solicitous to improve the art than to multiply
his pictures. He was an excellent statuary, as is demonstrated by his S.
Tommaso in Orsanmichele at Florence, and by the horse in the church of
S. John and S. Paul at Venice. Vinci not only modelled in a superior
manner the three statues cast in bronze by Rustici, for the church of S.
John at Florence, and the colossal horse at Milan, but assisted by this
art, he gave that perfect relief and roundness, in which painting was
then wanting. He likewise imparted to it symmetry, grace, and spirit;
and these and his other merits gave him the title of the father of
modern painting,[131] though some of his works, as was observed by
Mariette, participate, in some degree, in the meanness of the old

He had two styles, the one abounded in shadow, which gives admirable
brilliancy to the contrasting lights; the other was more quiet, and
managed by means of middle tints. In each style, the grace of his
design, the expression of the mental affections, and the delicacy of his
pencil, are unrivalled. Every thing is lively in his paintings, the
foreground, the landscape, the adventitious ornaments of necklaces,
flowers, and architecture; but this gaiety is more apparent in the
heads. In these he purposely repeats the same idea, and gives them a
smile which delights the mind of a spectator. He did not, however,
consider his pictures as complete, but from a singular timidity,[132]
often left them imperfect, as I shall more fully state under the
Milanese school. There he will appear with the dignity of a consummate
master, and a portion of his fame must at present suffice for his native

The life of Lionardo may be divided into four periods, the first of
which includes the time he remained at Florence, while still a young
man. To this era may be referred, not only the Medusa of the royal
gallery, and the few pieces mentioned by Vasari; but some others also,
less powerful in the shadows, and less diversified in the folds of the
drapery, and which present some heads more delicate than select, and
apparently derived from the school of Verrocchio. Such is the Magdalen
of the Pitti palace at Florence, and that of the Aldobrandini palace at
Rome; some Madonnas and Holy Families which are in several collections,
as in the Giustiniani and Borghese galleries; and some heads of the
Redeemer and of the Baptist, which are to be seen in various places;
although it is often reasonable to suspend our judgment in regard to the
genuineness of such pieces, on account of the great number of Lionardo's
imitators. The child, laid in a bed richly ornamented, enveloped in its
clothes, and adorned with a necklace, which is in the house of his
excellency the Gonfaloniere of Bologna, is of a different class, and of
undoubted originality.

After this first period, Lionardo was brought to Milan by Lodovico
Sforza, "whom he highly gratified by his performance on the lyre; a
curious and new instrument, almost entirely of silver," which Lionardo
carried with him, and had constructed with his own hands. All the
musicians there assembled were vanquished, and the whole city being
struck with admiration of his extemporaneous poetry, and his eloquence,
he was retained by the prince, and remained there till 1499, engaged in
abstruse studies, and in mechanical and hydrostatical labours for the
service of the state. During this time he painted little, except the
celebrated Last Supper; but by superintending an academy of the fine
arts, he left a degree of refinement in Milan, which was so productive
of illustrious pupils, that this period may be reckoned the most
glorious era of his life.

After the misfortunes of Lodovico Sforza, he returned to Florence, where
having remained thirteen years, he went to Rome at the time his patron
Leo X. ascended the papal chair; but his stay there was short. Some of
his best works at Florence may be referred to this period; among which
number we may reckon the celebrated portrait of Mona Lisa, which was the
labour of four years, and yet was left unfinished; the Cartoon of S.
Anna, prepared for a picture in the church of the Servi, which was never
executed in colours; the cartoon of the battle of Niccolo Piccinino,
intended to dispute the palm of excellence with Michelangiolo in the
council chamber at Florence,[133] but like the other, never executed by
Vinci, after failing in an attempt to paint it in a new method in oil on
the wall. He probably employed another method in painting the Madonna
with the child in her arms, in the monastery of S. Onofrio, of Rome, a
picture in the style of Raffaello, but which is now peeling off the
walls in many places. There are some other fine pieces, which if we may
be allowed to hazard a conjecture, might be with propriety assigned to
this period, in which Lionardo, having attained his highest skill, and
unoccupied by other pursuits, painted in his best manner. Such is the
specimen that was preserved at Mantua, but which was stolen, and
concealed during the sack of the city; after many vicissitudes, however,
it was sold for a high price to the imperial court of Russia. The
subject is a Holy Family; in the back-ground is seen a woman of a very
beautiful and majestic countenance standing in an upright position. It
bears the cipher of Lionardo, consisting of a D interlaced with an L and
a V, as it is seen in the picture of the Signori Sanvitali, at Parma.
The Consigliere Pagave, who left a memorandum of it in his MSS. was the
first to observe and to recognise it, upon its being brought to Milan in
1775, where it was also kept concealed. The same judicious critic in
painting has conjectured that this production was executed in Rome, for
one of the princesses of Mantua, or rather for the sister-in-law of Leo
X.; inasmuch as it displayed a decided emulation of Raphael's manner, at
that time highly extolled in Rome. Such a conjecture might receive
support from his picture of a Madonna, which ornaments San Onofrio, also
in the Raphael manner; and in order that this picture, and that of
Mantua just mentioned, might not be confounded by posterity with the
works of Raffaello, Lionardo, according to Signor Pagave, took care to
affix the cipher of his name. Indeed, this is not at all improbable:
both writers and painters are impelled by their natural genius to adopt
a peculiar style; and whoever will compare the portraits that remain,
expressive of the elevated, touching, penetrating, and beautiful spirit,
incessantly bent upon acquiring something still more exquisite in art,
which inspired these two prodigies, will find little difficulty in
believing that both produced works, which owing to a similarity of
natural taste, selection and admiration of the same object, might be
mistaken for specimens of the same hand. Of this number is his own
portrait, at an age which corresponds with this period, in the ducal
gallery, a head that surpasses every other in that room for energy of
expression; also another head, which is in a different cabinet, and is
called a portrait of Raffaello; together with the half-length figure of
a young nun so much commended by Bottari, and which he points out as one
of the greatest treasures in the splendid mansion of the Marchese
Niccolini. In the same rank we may include the much admired specimens in
the possession of some of the noble families at Rome; as the picture of
Christ disputing in the Temple, and the supposed portrait of queen
Giovanna, ornamented with fine architecture, in the Doria palace; the
Vanity and Modesty in the Barberini palace, the tints of which no pencil
has been able to imitate; the Madonna of the Albani Palace, that appears
to be requesting the lily which the infant Jesus holds in his hand,
while he draws back, as if unwilling to part with it; a picture of
exquisite grace, and preferred by Mengs to every other painting
contained in that fine collection. It would, however, be presumptuous to
assign a date to every picture of an artist who became early a
distinguished painter, and who frequently discontinued a work before it
was completed.

When this celebrated artist had attained his sixty-third year, he
appears to have renounced the art for ever. Francis I. who saw his Last
Supper at Milan, about the year 1515, attempted to saw it from the wall,
that it might be transported to France; and not succeeding in his
project, was desirous of possessing the artist, though now an old man.
He invited Vinci to his court, and the artist felt little regret at
leaving Florence, where, since his return, he found in the young
Bonarruoti a rival that had already contended with him, and was even
employed in preference to Vinci both in Florence and in Rome; because
the former gave them works, if we may credit Vasari, while the latter
amused them with words.[134] It is known that they had a quarrel; and
Lionardo consulting his repose, which their emulation embittered, passed
over into France, where, before he had employed his pencil, he expired
in the arms of Francis I., in the year 1519.

Though his style is highly worthy of imitation, it was less followed in
Florence than in Milan; nor is this surprising. Vinci left at Florence
no picture in public; he there taught no pupil; and it appears that he
retained Salai, whom I shall notice among the Milanese artists, in the
station of a dependant, during his residence at Florence. In Florence we
meet with pictures in the possession of private individuals, that seem
the work of Vinci; and sometimes the dealers extol them as his, gravely
adding that they cost a large sum. Such pieces are probably the
productions of Salai, or of other imitators of Lionardo, who availed
themselves of his cartoons, his drawings, or his few paintings. We are
informed that Lorenzo di Credi, whose family name was Sciarpelloni, made
use of them more than any other Florentine. Educated, as well as Vinci,
in the school of Verrocchio, he followed rules nearly similar; he was
patient, and aimed at the same object; but he approached less closely to
the softness of the moderns. He copied, with such precision, a picture
by Lionardo, which was sent to Spain, that the copy was not
distinguishable from the original. Private houses contain many of his
circular Holy Families, of which the invention and gracefulness remind
us of Lionardo. I possess one which represents the Virgin sitting with
Christ in her arms, and at her side the young S. John, to whom she turns
as if to lay hold of him, at which the child seems timid, and draws
back: it is in a lovely manner; but the style is not well suited to such
a subject. Some of Credi's pictures, which Bottari did not meet with in
public places, are now exhibited; as the Magdalen with S. Nicholas and
S. Julian, adduced by Vasari as an example of a picturesque and highly
finished style. His Christ in the manger may be also seen at S. Chiara;
and it is one of his finest pictures, for the beauty of the faces, the
vigour of expression, the finish of the back-ground, and the good
colouring of the whole. Both in this, and in his other original
pictures, we may discern some imitation of Vinci, and of Pietro
Perugino, another friend of Credi: he possesses, however, some
originality, which his scholar, Giovanni Antonio Sogliani, successfully
imitated and improved.

This artist lived twenty-four years with Lorenzo; and in imitation of
his model was contented to paint less than his contemporaries, that he
might do it better. He likewise attempted to imitate Porta; but his
natural disposition led him rather to follow the simple grace of his
instructor, than the sublimity of this master. Few of this school can
compare with him for the natural appearance he gave the naked as well as
the clothed figure, or for the conception of "handsome, good-natured,
sweet, and graceful features."[135] Like Lionardo, he possessed the rare
talent of representing images of virtue by the faces of his saints, and
of vice by those of his wicked characters. This is exemplified in his
Cain and Abel, in the cathedral of Pisa, where he has introduced a
landscape, that of itself would do honour to any painter. With equal
felicity in the figure and the back-ground, he painted the crucifixion
of S. Arcadius, which was brought from another church to that of S.
Lorenzo at Florence, where it still remains. He entered into competition
with Perino del Vaga, with Mecherino, and Andrea del Sarto, at Pisa,
where he was noted for his dilatoriness, but admired for that happy
simplicity and elegance which he always preserved. Some have praised a
few of his pictures as inclining to the manner of Raffaello, a
commendation also bestowed on Luini, and other followers of Lionardo. He
had pupils who afterwards followed other masters: but a Zanobi di
Poggino, who painted many pictures for Florence, which are now unknown,
appears to have had no other master.

One of the best imitators of Vinci, almost equal to Luini himself, may
be recognized in the sacristy of S. Stephen, at Bologna, in which there
is a S. John in the Desert, with the inscription _Jul. Flor._ If this be
read _Julius Florentinus_, the artist is unknown; but perhaps we should
read _Julianus_, and ascribe it to Bugiardini. We are informed by Vasari
that he was at Bologna, and that he painted a Madonna between two
Saints, for the church of S. Francis; where it still is, and approaches
the style of Lionardo fully as much as any other manner. Both pictures,
on comparing the style, seem the work of the same artist; and to this
artist also belongs a Nativity, in the cloister of the canons of S.
Salvatore; and various pictures that may be found in some private houses
with a similar epigraph. If we embrace the opinion of Vasari, we must
consider Giuliano as a feeble painter, but uncommonly careful, and
consequently slow. We should rather suppose him the imitator of any
other artist than of Vinci; for he is described as the fellow student of
Bonarruoti, the assistant of Albertinelli, and the colourist of some
works of Fra Bartolommeo. One can readily perceive that Vasari was
wrong, as in many other instances, in his slight estimation of this
artist, on which account he has not paid a due attention to his works or
to his style. He has represented this man as amiable in disposition, as
a picture of contented poverty, as also an unbounded admirer of his
Madonnas, and very profuse in his own commendations; qualities which
rendered him highly amusing even to Michelangiolo. Intent on amusing his
reader with the character of the man, he has not perhaps sufficiently
rated the merits of the artist. This is proved by the little respect
with which he mentions the martyrdom of S. Catherine in S. Maria
Novella, which Bottari has called "a work worthy of admiration," not
only for the figures of the soldiers, which, as Giuliano found himself
unequal to the performance, were outlined with charcoal by
Michelangiolo, and afterwards painted by Giuliano; but for the other
parts of the story. The truth seems to be, that he had not much
invention, and did not adhere to one style; but now and then borrowed a
thought; as in the Nativity already noticed, where one may recognize the
style of Fra Bartolommeo. On considering each figure separately, he
appears on the whole happy in his imitations, especially in Bologna,
where the S. John is held in the highest esteem. In Florence he painted
many Madonnas and Holy Families, which, with the aid of the Bolognese
pictures, may perhaps be recognized as his by their clearness, the
masculine and somewhat heavy proportions, and the mouths sometimes
expressive of melancholy; although the subject did not properly call for
it. One of these is to be seen in the collection of the noble family

Michelangiolo Bonarruoti, of whom memoirs were published by two of his
disciples while he was still living,[136] was born twenty-three years
after Lionardo da Vinci. Like him he was endowed with a ready wit, and
consummate eloquence. His bon mots rival those of the Grecian painters,
which are recorded by Dati, and he is even esteemed the most witty and
lively of his race. He possessed not the polish and elegance of Vinci,
but his genius was more vast and daring. Hence he attained the three
sister arts in an eminent degree, and has left specimens in painting,
sculpture, and architecture, sufficient to immortalize three different
artists. Like Vinci he gave proofs of talent in his boyish years, that
compelled his master to confess his own inferiority. This master was
Domenico Ghirlandaio, who sent his own brother Benedetto to paint in
France, from jealousy of his preeminence; and, perhaps, fearing the
wonderful powers of Bonarruoti, turned his attention to sculpture.
Lorenzo the Magnificent, desirous of encouraging the statuary art, which
was on the decline in his country, had collected in his gardens,
adjacent to the monastery of S. Mark, many antique marbles; and
committing the care of them to Bertoldo, a scholar of Donatello, he
requested of Ghirlandaio some young man to be there educated as a
sculptor; and this artist sent him Michelangiolo. This transaction was
disliked by his father, Lodovico, in whose mind the art appeared
degrading to his high birth; but he had no reason to repent it. On
obtaining his object, Lorenzo not only added to the fortune of Lodovico,
but retained Michelangiolo in his house, rather as a relation than a
dependant, placing him at the same table with his own sons, with
Poliziano, and other learned men who then graced his residence. During
the four years that he remained there he laid the foundation of all his
acquirements; he especially studied poetry, and thus was enabled to
rival Vinci in his Sonnets, and to relish Dante, a bard of a sublimity
beyond the reach of vulgar souls.[137] Bonarruoti studied design in the
chapel of Masaccio, he copied the antiques in the garden of Lorenzo, and
attended to anatomy, a science, to which he is said to have dedicated
twelve years, with great injury to his health, and which determined his
style, his practice, and his glory.[138] To this study he owed that
style from which he obtained the name of the Dante of the art. As this
poet made choice of materials very difficult to be reduced to verse, and
from an abstruse subject extracted the praise of sublimity and grandeur,
in like manner Michelangiolo explored the untrodden path of design, and
in pursuing it, displayed powers of execution at once scientific and
magnificent. In his works, man assumes that form which, according to
Quintilian,[139] Zeuxis delighted to represent; nervous, muscular, and
robust: his foreshortenings, and his attitudes are most daring; his
expression full of vivacity and energy. The poet and the painter have
other points of resemblance; a display of knowledge, from which Dante
appears sometimes to critics, a declaimer rather than a poet,
Bonarruoti, an anatomist rather than a painter; a neglect of elegance,
from which the first often, and, if we subscribe to the opinions of the
Caracci and of Mengs, the second sometimes, degenerated into
harshness.[140] On points like these, which depend wholly on taste, I
shall not decide, but content myself with warning the reader that such
comparisons should not be pushed too far: for this poet, from his desire
of surmounting difficulties in conception and versification, has
sometimes so deviated from the usual path, that he cannot always be
proposed as a model for imitation: but every design of Michelangiolo,
every sketch, as well as his more finished works, may be regarded as a
model in art; if in Dante we trace marks of labour, in Michelangiolo
every thing exhibits nature and facility.[141] It was one of his
observations, that the compasses ought to lie in the eyes; a principle
apparently drawn from Diodorus Siculus, where he asserts that the
Egyptians had the rules of measurement in their hands; the Greeks in
their eyes.[142] Nor is such eulogy inapplicable to our artist; who,
whether he handled his pen, his chisel, or a piece of charcoal, even in
sport, still displayed infallible skill in every part of his design.

Bonarruoti was extolled to the skies by Ariosto for his painting, as
well as for his sculpture;[143] but Condivi and others prefer his chisel
to his pencil; and he undoubtedly exercised it more professedly and with
greater reputation. His Moses on the tomb of Julius II. in the church of
S. Pietro in Vincoli, his Christ in the Minerva, his Piety in S. Pietro
Vaticano, and the statues in the church of S. Lorenzo at Florence, and
in the ducal palaces, must be acknowledged to be the finest specimens of
sculpture, in themselves forming schools of the revived art. I will not
extol them so highly as Vasari does the colossal David, placed near the
Palazzo Vecchio, when he says "that it bore away the palm from every
statue, modern or ancient, either Grecian or Roman;" nor shall I follow
his annotator, Bottari, in whose judgment Bonarruoti has greatly
surpassed the Greeks, who are not so successful in statues larger than
the life. I have heard competent judges remark, that we do an injury to
the Grecian masters, not only by preferring any modern to them, but even
by comparing them; but my pen ought not to wander too far from the
canvass and from colouring.

The few remaining drawings of Michelangiolo demonstrate how little he
painted. Conscious of his superiority in sculpture, he seems to have
dreaded appearing as a second or a third-rate painter. The majority of
his compositions that have reached our time, like those of Vinci, are
mere outlines; and therefore, though many cabinets are rich in his
drawings, none can boast the possession of his paintings. The cartoon of
the battle of Pisa, prepared for a competition with Vinci in the saloon
of the public palace at Florence, is said to have been a wonderful
production in this species of art. Mariette supposes, in the letter
above quoted, that the example of Vinci paved the way for this great
undertaking, which he confesses surpassed the original. Michelangiolo
did not rest satisfied with representing the Florentines cased in
armour, and mingling with their enemies; but choosing the moment of the
attack upon their van, while bathing in the river Arno, he seized the
opportunity of representing many naked figures, as they rushed to arms
from the water; by which he was enabled to introduce a prodigious
variety of foreshortenings, attitudes the most energetic, in a word, the
highest perfection of his peculiar excellences. Cellini observes in the
thirteenth chapter of his life, that when Michelangiolo "painted the
chapel of Pope Julius, he reached not half that dignity;" and Vasari
adds, that "all the artists who studied and designed after this cartoon,
became eminent;" among these he reckons the best Florentine artists of
the second epoch, from the time of Frate, and to them he joined
Raffaello d'Urbino. This is a point of critical disquisition not yet
sufficiently cleared up, though much has been written both for and
against the opinion of Vasari. I am not of the number of those who
suppose that the labours of Bonarruoti had no influence on the style of
Raffaello, because it appears dissimilar. It would seem to me an act of
injustice to this divine genius, to imagine that profiting as he did by
the finest productions of the art, he neglected those sources of
information. I therefore firmly believe, that Raffaello likewise studied
Michelangiolo, which he himself appears to acknowledge, as I shall
afterwards relate. I cannot, however, grant to Vasari that he saw this
cartoon on his first short visit to Florence.[144]

This cartoon has perished, and report accuses Baccio Bandinelli of
tearing it in pieces, either that others might not derive advantage from
viewing it, or because from partiality to Vinci, and hatred to
Bonarruoti, he wished to remove a subject of comparison, that might
exalt the reputation of the latter above that of Lionardo. This
circumstance is not authenticated, nor are we much interested in the
supposed criminal, who though eminent as a designer and a sculptor,
painted a very few pieces, that may almost all be reduced to an Ebriety
of Noah, and the Imprisonment of the Fathers of the Church. Baccio soon
renounced the pencil, and Michelangiolo appears to have done the same,
for he was called to Rome by Julius II. as a sculptor, and when the
Pope, about 1508, asked him to paint the ceiling of the chapel, he
declined it, and wished to transfer the commission to Raffaello.

He was, however, constrained to undertake it, and, unaccustomed to work
in fresco, he invited some of the best painters in this branch from
Florence,[145] that they might assist, or rather that they might
instruct him. When he had acquired what he deemed necessary, he effaced
their labours entirely, and set about the work without an assistant.
When the task was about half finished, he exhibited it for a little time
to the public. He then applied himself to the other part, but proceeding
more slowly than the impatience of the pontiff could endure, he was
compelled by threats to use quicker despatch, and without assistance
finished the greater part, then incomplete, in twenty months. I have
said that he was unaided, for such was the delicacy of his taste, that
no artist could please him; and as in sculpture, every piercer, file,
and chisel, which he used, was the work of his own hands, so in
painting, "he prepared his own colours, and did not commit the mixing
and other necessary manipulations to mechanics or to boys."[146] Here
may be seen those grand and finely varied figures of the Prophets and
the Sybils, the style of which is pronounced by Lomazzo, an impartial
judge, because an artist of a different school, "to be the finest in the
world."[147] There, indeed, the dignity of the aspects, the solemn
majesty of the eyes, a certain wild and uncommon casting of the drapery,
and the attitudes, whether representing rest or motion, announce an
order of beings who hold converse with the Deity, and whose mouths utter
what he inspires. Amid this display of genius, the figure most admired
by Vasari is that of Isaiah, "who, absorbed in meditation, places his
right hand in a book, to denote where he had been reading; and with his
left elbow on the book, and his cheek resting on that hand, he turns
round his head, without moving the rest of his body, on being called by
one of the children that are behind him; a figure which, if attentively
studied, might fully teach the precepts of a master." No less science is
displayed in his pictures of the Creation of the World, of the Deluge,
of Judith, and in the other compartments of that vast ceiling. All is
varied and fanciful in the garments, the foreshortenings, and the
attitudes: all is novel in the composition and the designs. He that
contemplates the pictures of Sandro and his associates on the walls, and
then, raising his eyes to the ceiling, beholds Michelangiolo "soaring
like an eagle above them all," can hardly believe that a man, not
exercised in painting, in what may be considered as his first essay,
should so nearly approach the greatest masters of antiquity, and thus
open a new career to modern artists.

In the succeeding pontificates, Michelangiolo, always occupied in
sculpture and architecture, almost wholly abandoned painting, till he
was induced by Paul III. to resume the pencil. Clement VII. had
conceived the design of employing him in the Sistine Chapel on two other
grand historical pictures; the Fall of the Angels, over the gate, and
the Last Judgment, in the opposite façade, over the altar. Michelangiolo
had composed designs for the Last Judgment, and Paul III. being aware of
this, commanded, or rather entreated him, to commence the work; for he
went to the house of Michelangiolo, accompanied by ten Cardinals, an
honour, except in this instance, unknown in the annals of the art. On
the suggestion of F. Sebastiano del Piombo, he was desirous that the
picture should be painted in oil; but this he could not procure, for
Michelangiolo replied, that he would not undertake it except in fresco,
and that oil painting was employment only fit for women, or idlers of
mean capacity. He caused the plaister prepared by Frate to be thrown
down, and substituting a rough-cast suited to his purpose, he completed
the work in eight years, and exhibited it in 1541. If in the ceiling of
the chapel he could not fully satisfy himself, and was unable to retouch
it as he wished to do after it was dry, in this immense painting he had
an opportunity of fulfilling his intentions, and of demonstrating to the
full the powers of his genius. He peopled this space, and disposed
innumerable figures awakened by the sound of the last trumpet; bands of
angels and of devils, of elected and condemned souls: some of them
rising from the tomb, others standing on the earth; some flying to the
regions of bliss, while others are dragged down to punishment.

Bottari observes[148] that there have been some who affected to
depreciate this picture, on comparing it with the works of other
artists, by remarking how much he might have added to the expression, to
the colouring, or to the beauty of the contours: but Lomazzo,
Felibien,[149] and several others, have not failed on that account to
acknowledge him supreme in that peculiar branch of the profession, at
which he aimed in all his works, and especially in this of his Last
Judgment. The subject itself appeared rather created than selected by
him. To a genius so comprehensive, and so skilled in drawing the human
figure, no subject could be better adapted than the Resurrection; to an
artist who delighted in the awful, no story more suitable than the day
of supernal terrors. He saw Raffaello pre-eminent in every other
department of the art: he foresaw that in this alone could he expect to
be triumphant; and, perhaps, he indulged the hope also that posterity
would adjudge the palm to him who excelled all others in the most
arduous walk of art. Vasari, his confidant, and the participator of his
thoughts, seems to hint at something of this sort in two passages in his
Life of Michelangiolo.[150] He informs us, "that applying himself to the
human figure, the great object of art, he neglected the attractions of
colouring, all sporting of the pencil, and fantastic novelty:" and
again, "neither landscapes, trees, nor houses, are to be seen in it, and
we even look in vain for some degree of variety and ornament, which are
never attempted, probably because he disdained to submit his towering
genius to such objects." I cannot suppose in Michelangiolo such
arrogance, nor such negligence of his own improvement in an art which
embraces every object in nature, that he would limit himself to the
naked figure, which is a single branch, and to one only character, his
own sublime and awful manner. I rather imagine, that discovering his
strength in this style, he did not attempt any other. There he proceeded
as in his peculiar province, and, what one cannot wholly commend, he
observed no limits, and wished for no control. This Last Judgment was
filled with such a profusion of nudity, that it was in great danger of
being destroyed: from a regard to the decency of the sanctuary, Paul IV.
proposed to white-wash it, and was hardly appeased with the correction
of its most glaring indelicacies, by some drapery introduced here and
there by Daniel da Volterra, on whom the facetious Romans, from this
circumstance, conferred the nick-name of the _Breeches-maker_.[151]

Other corrections have been proposed in it by different critics, both
with regard to the costume and the conception. The artist has been
censured for confounding sacred with profane history; for introducing
the angels of Revelation with the Stygian ferryman; Christ sitting in
judgment, and Minos, who assigns his proper station to each of the
damned. To this profanity he added satire, by pourtraying in Minos the
features of a master of the ceremonies, who, in the hearing of the Pope,
had pronounced this picture more suitable for a bagnio than a
church;[152] but Bonarruoti did not set the example in such composition.
Scannelli has expressed a wish that there had been greater variety in
the proportion, and muscularity according to the diversity of age;[153]
although, by an evident anachronism, this criticism is attributed to
Vinci, who died in 1519. Albani, as quoted by Malvasia,[154] says, that
"had Michelangiolo contemplated Raffaello, he might have learned to
dispose the crowd that surround the judgment-seat of Christ in a
superior manner;" but here I am uncertain whether he blames the
composition or the perspective.[155] I can discover, however, an
anachronism in his imagining the Last Judgment an earlier work than it
really is by many years; as if it had been executed before Raffaello
came to Rome.

I find that Albani rendered justice to the merit of Michelangiolo; he
reckoned not three great masters in painting only, as is now commonly
done; but he added a fourth, and thought that Bonarruoti surpassed
Raffaello, Tiziano, and Coreggio, "in form and in grandeur."[156] We may
here observe, that when Michelangiolo was so inclined, he could obtain
distinction for those endowments in which the others excelled. It is a
vulgar error to suppose that he had no idea of grace and beauty; the Eve
of the Sistine Chapel turns to thank her maker, on her creation, with an
attitude so fine and lovely, that it would do honour to the school of
Raffaello. Annibale Caracci admired this, and many other naked figures
in this grand ceiling, so highly, that he proposed them to himself as
models in the art, and according to Bellori,[157] preferred them to
those of the Last Judgment, that appeared to him too anatomical. In
chiaroscuro Michelangiolo had not the skill and delicacy of Coreggio;
but the paintings of the Vatican have a force and relief much commended
by Renfesthein, an eminent connoisseur, who, on passing from the Sistine
Chapel to the Farnesian gallery, remarked how greatly in this respect
the Caracci themselves were eclipsed by Bonarruoti. Dolce speaks less
favourably of his colouring,[158] for this author was captivated by
Tiziano and the Venetian school: no one, however, can deny that the
colouring of Michelangiolo in this chapel is admirably adapted to the
design,[159] and the same, also, would have been the case with his two
pictures in the Pauline Chapel, the Crucifixion of S. Peter and the
Conversion of S. Paul, but they have sustained great injury from time.

None of his paintings are to be seen in public, except in those two
chapels; and those described as his in collections, are almost all the
works of other hands. During his residence at Florence he painted an
exquisite Leda for Alphonso, Duke of Ferrara, to whom however it was not
sold. Michelangiolo, offended at the manner in which it was demanded by
one of the courtiers of that prince, refused to let him have it: but
made a present of it to his pupil, Antonio Mini, who carried it to
France. Vasari describes it as "a grand picture, painted in distemper,
that seemed as if breathed on the canvass;" and Mariette affirms, in his
notes on Condivi, that he saw the picture in a damaged state, and that
it appeared as if Michelangiolo had there forgot his usual style, and
"approached the tone of Tiziano." This expression inclines one to
suspect that he is describing a copy taken in oil by some able painter;
especially as D'Argenville informs us that this painting was burnt in
the reign of Louis XIII. It is said there is also one of his pictures,
representing the Virgin and the Divine Infant, in an upright position,
standing near the cradle upon a rock, a figure drawn of the size of
nature, formerly in possession of the noble house of Mocci (Mozzi) at
Florence; and afterwards transferred to the cathedral of Burgos, where
it still remains.[160] Michelangiolo executed likewise a circular Holy
Family, with some naked figures in the distance, for Agnol Doni. It is
now in the tribune of the Florentine gallery, in a high state of
preservation. It is praised by Richardson and some others for the vigour
of its tints, and is painted in distemper. Placed among the works of the
greatest masters of every school that vie with each other in this
theatre of art, it appears the most scientific, but the least pleasing
picture: its author seems the most powerful designer, but the feeblest
colourist among them all. In it aerial perspective is neglected,
inasmuch as the figures are not indistinct in proportion to their
diminution, a fault not uncommon in that age. I cannot so readily decide
whether his style appears in certain pictures that are described as his
in several collections in Florence, Rome, and Bologna, as well as in the
catalogue of the imperial gallery at Vienna, and in the royal
collections in Spain, that represent the subjects of the
Crucifixion,[161] the Pietà,[162] the Infant Jesus asleep, and the
Prayer in the Garden. They resemble the design of Michelangiolo, but
their execution betrays another pencil. This is rendered probable by the
silence of Vasari; their high finish seems incredible in an artist, who,
even in sculpture, very rarely attempted it; and our scepticism is
confirmed by the opinion of Mengs, and other competent judges, whom I
have consulted to elucidate this point. Some of them, in which the
distribution of the tints was perhaps originally made under his
inspection, resemble his style. These may have been copied by
Fiamminghi, as the tints of some of them indicate, or by other Italian
artists of the various schools, since they differ so much in their mode
of colouring. Some copies may be the work of the scholars of
Michelangiolo, though Vasari informs us they were all but feeble
artists. He gives us the names of those who dwelt in his house; Pietro
Urbano of Pistoia, a man of genius, but very indolent; Antonio Mini of
Florence, and Ascanio Condivi da Ripatransone, both eager in their
profession, but of little talent, and therefore the authors of no work
worthy of record. The people of Ferrara include their countryman Filippi
in this school, an artist unknown to Vasari, but worthy of notice.
Lomazzi mentions Marco da Pino as one of the number. To these Palomino
adds Castelli of Bergamo, (whose master, while he was in Rome, is not
noticed by any of our writers) and Gaspar Bacerra, of Andalusia, a
celebrated Spanish painter. We may likewise add Alonzo Berrugese, who is
reckoned by Vasari only among those that studied the cartoon of
Michelangiolo, at Florence, with Francia, and other strangers, who were
not among his disciples. In the history of Spanish painting, there is
mentioned by all the writers a Roman, of the name of Matteo Perez
d'Alessio, or d'Alessi. They recount that he lived many years at
Seville, and produced many works there, among which his S. Cristoforo,
in the cathedral, which cost 4,000 crowns, is by far the grandest. They
add, that Luigi Vargas, a very able disciple of Perino del Vaga, having
returned from Rome, Alessi was glad to leave the field open to him, and
to return into Italy; where Preziado finds him. Indeed he rather finds
him at Rome, and at the Sistine Chapel, where two histories, painted
"opposite to the Last Judgment of his master," are ascribed to him;
these however are the production of Matteo da Leccio, who aimed at
imitating Michelangiolo and Salviati; but he is only despised by Taia,
and by every one who has a grain of sense. He executed this work in the
time of Gregory XIII.; and neither he nor the supposititious
Alessio,[163] an imaginary name, had any connexion with Michelangiolo.
The rest we refer to the note, in order to proceed without delay to
names which may boast a better title to such a connexion.

Many other figures and historic compositions were designed by
Michelangiolo, and painted at Rome by F. Sebastiano del Piombo, an
excellent colourist of the Venetian school. The Pietà in the church of
S. Francis of Viterbo,[164] the Flagellation, and Transfiguration, with
some other pieces at S. Pietro in Montorio, are of this number. Two
Annunciations, designed by Bonarruoti, were coloured for altar-pieces by
Marcello Venusti of Mantua, a scholar of Perino, who adopted the style
of Michelangiolo, without apparent affectation. The one was put up in
the church of S. Giovanni Laterano, the other in the Della Pace. He is
said to have painted also some cabinet pictures after designs of
Bonarruoti; as the Limbo,[165] in the Colonna palace; the Christ going
to Mount Calvary, and some other pieces in the Borghese; also the
celebrated copy of the Last Judgment, which he painted for Cardinal
Farnese, that still exists in Naples. Although a good designer, and the
author of many pieces described by Baglione, he obtained greater
celebrity by clothing the inventions of Michelangiolo in exquisite
beauty, especially in small pictures, of which, Vasari says, he executed
a great many. This writer, and Orlandi following him, have erroneously
named him Raffaello, not Marcello. Batista Franco coloured the Rape of
Ganymede, after a design of Bonarruoti, which was also done by the
artist who painted the small picture which D'Argenville describes in
France; and another on a larger scale, to be seen at Rome in the
possession of the Colonna family: it was also painted in oil by Giulio
Clovio. Pontormo employed himself in a similar manner at Florence, on
the design of Venus and Cupid; and on the cartoon of Christ appearing to
Mary Magdalen, a work which was re-executed by him for Città di
Castello, Bonarruoti having said, that none could perform it better.
Francesco Salviati painted another of his designs, and Bugiardini, as we
have already noticed, executed some figures designed by him. Such is the
information transmitted to us by Vasari; and he would have been justly
reprehensible if he had written with such minuteness on the drawings of
Michelangiolo, and of those employed to finish them, and had neglected
to inform us as to those pieces which Michelangiolo himself executed.
Hence it is not easy to avoid scepticism on the genuineness of the
Annunciation, the Flagellation, or any other oil painting ascribed to
Bonarruoti by Bottari, D'Argenville, or the describers of collections.
We have noticed his aversion to this method of painting. We are informed
that during his lifetime he employed others in this branch; and we know
that after his death artists availed themselves of his designs; as
Sabbatini did in a Pietà for the sacristy of the Church of S. Peter, a
work copied by some other artist for the Madonna de' Monti, and some
others made known to us by Baglione. Can we then hesitate as to the
originality of any picture, if we give credit to the oil paintings of
Michelangiolo? The portraits of Bonarruoti ascribed to his own hand, are
also, in my opinion, supposititious. Vasari knew of no likeness of him
except the figure cast in bronze by Ricciarelli, and two portraits, the
one painted by Bugiardini, the other by Jacopo del Conte. From these are
derived the very old and well known portraits, preserved in the ducal
gallery, in the collection of the Capitol, in the Caprara palace at
Bologna, and that in the possession of Cardinal Zelada at Rome.

Franco, Marco da Siena, Tibaldi, and other foreign artists, who have
imitated Michelangiolo, shall be noticed under their respective schools.
The Florentine school abounded in them, and these we shall consider all
together in the succeeding epoch. I shall here only notice two, who
lived on intimate habits with him, who executed works under his own eye,
and for a long time received directions from his own lips; circumstances
which cannot be said of Vasari, of Salviati, nor of any other able
artist of his school. One of these was Francesco Granacci of Florence,
characterized by Vasari as an excellent artist, who derived much of his
merit from his early intimacy with Michelangiolo. He was the fellow
student of the latter, under Domenico Ghirlandaio, and also in the
garden of Lorenzo; and from his precepts, and by studying his cartoon,
he enlarged his own manner, and approached near the modern style. After
the death of his master, he remained with the brothers of that artist,
to complete some of the works of the deceased, and was employed in
painting some Holy Families, and cabinet pictures, in distemper, which
might easily pass under another name, as they resemble the best
productions of that school. In his new style he never entirely abandoned
the simplicity of the old manner; but there is a specimen in the church
of S. Jacopo without-the-walls, more studied in design, and more
determined in the colouring. In this picture S. Zanobi and S. Francis
appear near our Lady under a lofty canopy; a subject then familiar in
every school. His style seems more matured in an Assumption which was in
S. Pier Maggiore, a church now suppressed: here he inserted, between two
other figures, a S. Thomas, wholly in the manner of Michelangiolo. Few
other considerable paintings can be ascribed to this artist, who was
left in easy circumstances by his father, and painted rather as a
commendable amusement than from necessity.

Ricciarelli, usually known in history by the name of Daniele di
Volterra, enjoys a greater name, and is generally described as the most
successful follower of Michelangiolo. Educated in Siena, according to
report, by Peruzzi and Razzi, he became the assistant of Perino del
Vaga, and acquired an astonishing talent for imitating Bonarruoti, who
greatly esteemed him, appointed him his substitute in the labours of the
Vatican, brought him into notice, and assisted and enriched him with
designs. It is known that Michelangiolo was often with Daniele when he
painted in the Farnese palace, and it is said that Bonarruoti, during
his absence, "O vero o falso che la fama suoni," mounted the scaffold,
and sketched with charcoal a colossal head that is still seen there.
Volterra let it remain, that posterity might judge of the powers of
Bonarruoti, who without pre-meditation and in mere jest, had finished a
work in such proportion, and so perfect. Nor did Daniele execute,
without the assistance of Michelangiolo, the wonderful Descent from the
Cross in the Trinità de' Monti, which, together with the Transfiguration
by Raffaello, and the S. Girolamo of Domenichino, may be reckoned among
the finest paintings in Rome.[166] We seem to behold the mournful
spectacle, and the Redeemer sinking with the natural relaxation of a
dead body in descending: the pious men engaged in various offices, and
thrown in different and contrasted attitudes, appear assiduously
occupied with the sacred remains which they seem to venerate; the mother
of Jesus having fainted between the sorrowing women, the beloved
disciple extends his arms and bends over her. There is a truth in the
naked figures that seems perfect nature; a colouring in the faces and
the whole piece that suits the subject, and is more determined than
delicate; a relief, a harmony, and, in a word, a skill that might do
honour to the hand of Michelangiolo himself, had the picture been
inscribed with his name. To this the artist, I believe, alluded, when he
painted Bonarruoti with a mirror near it; as if in this picture he might
behold a reflection of himself. Volterra painted some other Crucifixions
in the Orsini Chapel, where he was employed for seven years; but they
are inferior to that described above. He employed his pupils in another
chapel of that church, (Michele Alberti, according to the Guide to Rome,
and Gio. Paolo Rossetti,) and supplied them with designs; one of which
he himself executed in a picture, with figures of a moderate size. The
subject is the Murder of the Innocents, and it is now deposited in the
Tribune of the Royal Gallery of Florence; an honour that speaks more for
it than my eulogy. The Grand Duke Leopold purchased it at a high price
from a church in Volterra, where there is now no other public specimen
of this master. The Ricciarelli family possess a fine Elijah, as an
inheritance and memorial of this great man; and a beautiful fresco
remains in a study in the house of the Dottor Mazzoni, relating to which
we may refer the reader to the excellent historiographer of Volterra,
(tom. i. p. 177).

There was a youth of Florence, named Baccio della Porta, because his
study was near a gate of that city; but having become a Dominican, he
obtained that of Fra Bartolommeo di S. Marco, from the convent where he
resided, or, more shortly, that of Frate. Whilst he studied under
Rosselli, he became enamoured of the grand _chiaro-scuro_ of Vinci, and
emulated him assiduously. We read that his friend Albertinelli studied
modelling, and copied ancient basso-relievos, from a desire of obtaining
correctness in his shadows; and we may conjecture the same of Baccio,
although Vasari is silent on this head. The Prince has a Nativity and
Circumcision of Christ in his early manner; most graceful little
pictures, resembling miniatures. About this period he also painted his
own portrait in the lay habit, a full-length figure, most skilfully
inclosed in a small space, and now in the splendid collection of the
Signori Montecatini at Lucca. He entered the cloister in 1500, at the
age of thirty-one, and for four years never handled the pencil. The
execution of Savonarola, whom he knew and respected, preyed upon his
mind; and, like Botticelli and Credi, he gave up the art. When he again
resumed it, he seems to have advanced daily in improvement, during the
last thirteen or fourteen years of his life; so that his earlier
productions, though very beautiful, are inferior to his last. His
improvement was accelerated by Raffaello, who came to Florence to pursue
his studies in 1504, contracted a friendship for him, and was at the
same time his scholar in colouring, and his master in perspective.[167]
Having gone to Rome some years after, to see the works of Bonarruoti and
Raffaello, if I am not deceived, he greatly elevated his style; but his
manner was at all times more conformable to that of his friend than of
his fellow citizen, uniting dignity with grace in his heads and in his
general design. The picture in the Pitti palace is a proof of this,
which Pietro da Cortona imagined to be the work of Raffaello, though
Frate had painted it before he went to Rome. In that place he appeared
with diminished lustre, says the historian, in the presence of those two
great luminaries of the art, and speedily returned to Florence; a
circumstance which also happened to Andrea del Sarto, to Rosso, and to
other truly eminent masters, whose modesty was equal to the confidence
of innumerable artists of mediocrity, who frequently enjoyed at Rome
much ill placed patronage. Frate left there two figures of the Chief
Apostles, that are preserved in the Quirinal palace; the S. Peter, which
was not finished, had its last touches from the hand of Raffaello. One
of his pictures is also in the Vatican palace, where it was deposited by
Pius VI., with many other choice paintings. A Holy Family exists in the
Corsini collection by the same hand, and is perhaps his finest and most
graceful performance.

His most finished productions are in Tuscany, which boasts various
altar-pieces, and all of them very valuable. Their composition is in the
usual style of the age, which may be observed in the production of every
school, not even excepting Raffaello, and which continued in the
Florentine until the time of Pontormo; viz. a Madonna seated, with an
infant Jesus, and accompanied by saints. But in this hackneyed subject,
Frate distinguished himself by grand architecture, by magnificent
flights of steps, and by the skilful grouping of his saints and
cherubims. He introduces them, one while seated in concert, another time
poised on their wings to minister to their king and queen; of whom some
support the drapery, others have charge of the pavilion, a rich and
happily conceived ornament, which he readily connected with such
thrones, even in cabinet pictures. He departed from this mode of
composition in a picture that he left at S. Romano of Lucca, called
Madonna della Misericordia, who sits in an attitude full of grace, amid
a crowd of devotees, shielding them with her mantle from the wrath of
heaven. His rivals occasioned the production of two more altar-pieces:
according to the example of other eminent men, he answered their sneers
by his classic performances; a retort the most galling to the invidious.
They had stigmatized him as unequal to large proportions; and he filled
a large piece with a single figure of S. Mark, which is admired as a
prodigy of art in the ducal gallery, and is described by a learned
foreigner as a Grecian statue transformed into a picture. He was accused
of being ignorant of the anatomy of the human figure; and to refute this
calumny he introduced a naked S. Sebastian in another picture, which was
so perfect in drawing and in colouring, that "it received the unbounded
applause of artists;" but becoming too much the admiration of the female
devotees of that church, it was first removed by the fathers into a
private room, and was afterwards sold, and sent into France.

To sum up all, he knew how to excel at pleasure, in every department of
painting. His design is most chaste, and his youthful faces are more
full and fleshy than was usual with Raffaello; and according to
Algarotti, they are but little elevated above the standard of ordinary
men, and approach to vulgarity. His tints at one period abounded with
shadows produced by lamp black or ivory black, which impairs the value
of some of his pictures; but he gradually acquired a better manner, and,
as we have related, was able to instruct Raffaello. In firmness and
clearness he yields not to the best of the school of Lombardy. He was
the inventor of a new method of casting draperies; having taught the use
of the wooden figure, with moveable joints, that serves admirably for
the study of the folds of drapery. None of his school painted them more
varied and natural, with more breadth, or better adapted to the limbs.
His works are to be seen in several private collections in Florence; but
they are rare beyond the precincts of that city: they are there eagerly
sought after by foreigners, but are very rarely to be sold. One of his
Madonnas was procured within these few years by his Excellency the
Major-Domo of the ducal household, whose collection may be reckoned
another Florentine Gallery in miniature, consisting of about thirty
pictures of the best masters of different schools. The Fathers of S.
Mark have a considerable number of his paintings in their private
chapel, and among these is a S. Vincenzo, said by Bottari to resemble a
work of Tiziano or Giorgione. His best and rarest performances are in
the possession of the Prince, in whose collection the last work of Fra
Bartolommeo remains, a large picture in chiaroscuro, representing the
patron saints of the city surrounding the Virgin Mary. The Gonfalonier
Soderini intended this piece for the Hall of the Council of State; but
it was left only as a design at the death of its author, in 1517, like
the projected works of Vinci and Bonarruoti. It would seem as if some
fatality attended the decoration of this building, which ought to have
employed the pencil of the greatest native artists. Among this number
Frate must undoubtedly be included; and Richardson remarks, that had he
possessed the happy combinations of Raffaello, he, perhaps, would not
have been second to that master.[168] The last mentioned production,
though imperfect, is looked upon as a model in the art. The method of
this artist was first to draw the figure naked, then to drape it, and to
form a chiaroscuro, sometimes in oils, that marked the distribution of
the light and shadow, which constituted his great study, and the soul of
his pictures. This large picture demonstrates such preparatives; and it
has as high a value in painting, as the antique plaster models have in
sculpture, in which Winckelmann discovers the stamp of genius and
compass of design better than in sculptured marbles.

Mariotto Albertinelli, the fellow student and friend of Baccio, the
sharer of his labours and his concerns, emulated his first style, and
approaches to his second in some of his works; but they may be compared
to two streams springing from the same source; the one to become a
brook, the other a mighty river. Some pictures in Florence are supposed
to be their joint performances; and the Marquis Acciaiuoli possesses a
picture of the Assumption, in the upper part of which are the Apostles,
by Baccio, and the lower is deemed the work of Mariotto. He is somewhat
dry in several of his pictures, as in the S. Silvestro, in Monte Cavallo
at Rome; where he also painted a S. Domenick, and a S. Catharine of
Siena, near the throne of the Virgin Mary. He should likewise be known
at Florence. He executed two pictures for the church of S. Giuliano,
remarkable for the force of colouring, and the many imitations of the
style of Frate. The best of all and the nearest to his model is the
Visitation, transferred from the Congregazione de' Preti to the Ducal
gallery, and even to its most honoured place, the Tribune. Albertinelli
obtained great credit by his two pupils, Franciabigio and Innocenzio da
Imola, of whom I shall speak in the proper place as ornaments of their
school. I find Visino praised beyond them both: he painted but little in
Florence, and that in private; but he was much employed in Hungary.

Benedetto Cianfanini, Gabriele Rustici, and Cecchin del Frate, who
inherited his master's name, were the scholars of Fra Bartolommeo in his
best time; but they are no longer known by any undoubted works. Fra
Paolo da Pistoia, his colleague, who was honoured in his own country
with a medal, which I have seen, with those of many eminent men of
Pistoia, in the possession of the Sign. Dottor Visoni, obtained the
richest inheritance in all the studies of Baccio; and from his designs
this artist painted many pictures at Pistoia, one of which may be seen
in the parochial church of S. Paul, over the great altar. Those designs
were afterwards carried to Florence, and in the time of Vasari there was
a collection of them at the Dominican convent of S. Catharine, in the
hands of Sister Plautella Nelli. The noble family of this lady possesses
a Crucifixion painted by her, in which there is a multitude of small
figures most highly finished. She seems on the whole a good imitation of
Frate; but she also followed other styles, as may be seen in her
convent. A Descent from the Cross is there shewn, said to be the design
of Andrea del Sarto, but the execution is by her; and likewise an
Epiphany, entirely her own, in which the landscape would do honour to
the modern, but the figures savour of the old school.

Andrea Vannucchi, called Andrea del Sarto, from the occupation of his
father, is commended by Vasari as the first artist of this school, "for
being the most faultless painter of the Florentines, for perfectly
understanding the principles of chiaroscuro, for representing the
indistinctness of objects in shadow, and for painting with a sweetness
truly natural: he, moreover, taught how to give a perfect union to
frescos, and in a great measure obviated the necessity of retouching
them when dry, a circumstance which gives all his works the appearance
of having been finished in one day." He is censured by Baldinucci, as
barren in invention; and undoubtedly he wanted that elevation of
conception, which constitutes the epic in painting as well as in poetry.
Deficient in this talent, Andrea is said to have been modest, elegant,
and endued with sensibility; and it appears that he impressed this
character on nature wherever he employed his pencil. The portico of the
Nunziata, transformed by him into a gallery of inestimable value, is the
fittest place to judge of this. Those chaste outlines that procured him
the surname of _Andrea the Faultless_, those conceptions of graceful
countenances, whose smiles remind us of the simplicity and grace of
Correggio,[169] that appropriate architecture, those draperies, adapted
to every condition, and cast with ease, those popular expressions of
curiosity, of astonishment, of confidence, of compassion, and of joy,
that never transgress the bounds of decorum, which are understood at
first sight, and gently affect the mind without agitating it, are charms
that are more readily felt than expressed. He who feels what Tubules is
in poetry, may conceive what Andrea is in painting.

This artist demonstrates the ascendancy of native genius over precept.
When a boy he was put under the tuition of Giovanni Barile, a good
carver in wood, employed on the ceilings and doors of the Vatican, after
the designs of Raffaello, but a painter of no celebrity. While still a
youth, he was consigned to Pier di Cosimo, a practical colourist, but by
no means skilled in drawing or in composition: hence the taste of Andrea
in these arts was formed on the cartoons of Vinci and Bonarruoti; and,
as many circumstances indicate, on the frescos of Masaccio and of
Ghirlandaio, in which the subjects were more suited to his mild
disposition. He went to Rome, but I know not in what year; that he was
there, appears not to me to admit of dispute, as in the case of
Correggio. I do not argue this from his style approaching near to that
of Raffaello, as it appeared also to Lomazzo and other writers, though
with less of ideal beauty. Raffaello and Andrea had studied the same
originals at Florence; and nature might have given them corresponding
ideas for the selection of the beautiful. I ground my opinion entirely
on Vasari. He informs us, that Andrea was at Rome, that seeing the works
of the scholars of Raffaello, timidity induced him to despair of
equalling them, and to return speedily to Florence. If we credit so many
other stories of the pusillanimity of Andrea, why should we reject this?
or what faith shall we give to Vasari, if he was erroneous in a
circumstance relating to one who was his master, and which was written
in Florence soon after the death of Andrea, while his scholars, his
friends, and even his wife, were still living, an assertion, too,
uncontradicted in the second edition, in which Vasari retracted so much
of what he had affirmed in the first?

His improvement and his progress from one perfection in art to another
was thus not sudden, as has happened to some other artists; but was
gradually acquired during many years residence at Florence. There, "by
reflecting on what he had seen, he attained such eminence that his works
have been esteemed, and admired, and even more imitated after his death,
than in his lifetime:" so says the historian. This implies that he
improved at Rome; chiefly, however, by his own genius, which led him, as
it were, by the hand, from one step to another, as may be observed in
the Compagnia dello Scalzo, and in the convent of the Servi, where some
of his pictures, executed at different periods, are to be seen. At the
Scalzo, he painted some stories from the life of S. John in chiaroscuro,
the cartoons for which are in the Rinuccini palace: in this work we may
notice some palpable imitations, and even some figures borrowed from
Albert Durer. We may trace his early style in the Baptism of Christ; his
subsequent progress, in some other pictures, as in the Visitation,
painted some years after; and his greatest excellence and broadest
manner in others, especially in the Birth of the Baptist. In like
manner, the pictures from the life of S. Filippo Benizi, in the lesser
cloister of the Servi, are very beautiful productions, though they are
among the first efforts of Andrea's genius. The Epiphany of our Saviour,
and the Birth of the Virgin in the same place, are more finished works;
but his finest piece is that Holy Family in Repose, which is usually
called _Madonna del Sacco_, from the sack of grain on which S. Joseph
leans, than which few pictures are more celebrated in the history of the
art. It has frequently been engraved; but after two centuries and a
half, it has at length employed an engraver worthy of it in Morghen, who
has recently executed it, and also a similar composition after
Raffaello. Both prints are in the best collections; and to those who
have not seen either Rome or Florence, Andrea appears rather a rival
than an inferior to the prince of painters. On examining this picture
narrowly, it affords endless scope for observation: it is finished as if
intended for a cabinet; every hair is distinguished, every middle tint
is lowered with consummate art, every outline marked with admirable
variety and grace: and amid all this diligence a facility is
conspicuous, that makes the whole appear natural and unconstrained.

In the ducal palace at Poggio a Caiano, there is a fresco picture of
Cæsar, seated in a hall, ornamented with statues, on a lofty seat, to
whom a great variety of exotic birds and wild animals are presented as
the tribute of his victories; a work of itself sufficient to mark Andrea
as a painter eminent in perspective, in a knowledge of the antique, and
in every excellence of painting. The order for ornamenting that palace
came from Leo X.; and Andrea, who had there to contend with Franciabigio
and Pontormo, exerted all his energy to please that encourager of art,
and to surpass his competitors. The other artists seem to have been
discouraged, and did not proceed: some years after Alessandro Allori put
a finishing hand to the hall. The royal palace possesses a treasure in
the oil pictures of Andrea. Independent of the S. Francis, the
Assumption, and other pictures, collected by the family of the Medici,
the Grand Duke Leopold purchased a very fine _Pietà_ from the nuns of
Lugo, and placed it in the Tribune as an honour to the school. The
introduction of S. Peter and S. Paul in that piece, contrary to
historical facts, is not the error of the painter who represented them
so admirably, but of those who commissioned the picture. Critics have
remarked a slight defect in the dead Christ, which they think sustains
itself more, and has a greater fulness of the veins, than is suitable to
a dead body: but this is immaterial in a picture the other parts of
which are designed, coloured, and composed, so as to excite
astonishment. A Last Supper, if it were not confined to the cloisters of
the monastery of S. Salvi, would, perhaps, be equally admired. The
soldiers who besieged Florence in 1529, and destroyed the suburbs of the
city, undoubtedly admired it: after demolishing the belfry, the church,
and part of the monastery, they were astonished on beholding this Last
Supper, and had not resolution to destroy it; imitating that Demetrius
who, at the siege of Rhodes, is said to have respected nothing but a
picture by Protegenes.[170]

Andrea painted a great deal; and on this account is well known beyond
the limits of his own country. Perhaps his best performance in the hands
of strangers is a picture translated to a palace in Genoa from the
church of the Domenicans of Sarzana, who possess several others, very
beautiful. It is composed in the manner of F. Bartolommeo; and besides
the Saints distributed around the Virgin, or on the steps, four of whom
are standing and two on their knees, there are two large figures in the
foreground that seem to start from the lower part of the picture, and
are seen as high as the knee. I am aware that this disposition of the
figures displeases the critics; yet it gives variety in the position of
so many figures, and introduces a great distance between the nearest and
most remote, by which the space seems augmented, and every figure
produces effect. The best collections are not deficient in his Holy
Families. The Marquis Rinuccini, at Florence, possesses two; and some of
the illustrious Romans have even a greater number; but all different,
except that the features of the Virgin, which Andrea usually copied from
his wife, have always some resemblance. Many others may be seen in Rome
and in Florence, and not a few in Lombardy, besides those noticed in the
catalogues of foreign nations.

So much genius merited success: and yet if one was to write a book on
the misfortunes of painters, as has already been done on those of
authors, nothing would awaken more compassion than the lot of Andrea.
The poverty of Correggio is exaggerated, or perhaps untrue; the misery
of Domenichino had a termination; the Caracci were ill rewarded, but
lived in easy circumstances. Andrea, from his marriage with Lucrezia del
Fede until his death, was almost always pressed with griefs. In his
first edition, Vasari says, that he was despised by his friends, and
abandoned by his employers, from the time of his marriage with this
woman; that, the slave of her will, he left his father and mother to
starve; that through her arrogance and violence none of the scholars of
Andrea could continue long with him; and this must have happened to
Vasari himself. In the second edition he omitted this censure, either
because he repented of it, or was appeased; but did not, however,
conceal that she was a perpetual source of misfortune to her husband. He
there repeated that Andrea was invited to the French court by Francis I.
where, caressed and rewarded, he might have excited the envy of every
artist; but influenced by the womanish complaints of Lucrezia, he
returned to Florence; and remained in his own country, in violation of
his faith solemnly pledged to that monarch. He afterwards repented and
was anxious to regain his former situation; but his efforts were
ineffectual. He dragged out a miserable existence, amid jealousy and
domestic wretchedness, until, infected with the plague, and abandoned by
his wife and every other individual, he died, in 1530, in the
forty-second year of his age, and had a very mean funeral.

The two who approximated most nearly to the style of Andrea were Marco
Antonio Francia Bigi, as he is named by Baldinucci, called also
Franciabigio, or Francia, as Vasari denominates him, and Pontormo.
Francia was the scholar of Albertinelli for a few months, and then
appears to have formed himself on the best models of the school; and few
are commended so highly by Vasari for a knowledge of anatomy, for
perspective, for the daily habit of drawing the naked figure, and the
exquisite finish of all his performances. One of his Annunciations was
formerly in S. Pier Maggiore; the figures were small and highly
finished, accompanied by good architecture, but not without a certain
degree of dryness. Andrea, his friend, and the associate of his studies,
helped him to a more elevated style. From a companion Francia became his
enthusiastic follower; but, inferior in talents, he never attained the
art of representing such sweetness of disposition, affection so true,
and grace so natural. A semicircular piece of his, representing the
Marriage of the Virgin, may be seen near the works of Andrea, in the
cloister of the Nunziata, where we recognize him as a painter who sought
to attain by labour what the other accomplished by genius. This work was
never completed. Some of the monks having uncovered it before it was
finished, the artist was so offended that he struck the work some blows
with a hammer, in order to deface it; and though they prevented his
accomplishing this, he never after could be prevailed on to complete it,
and no other dared to undertake the task. He was a competitor with
Andrea also in the Scalzo, where he executed two histories that are not
much eclipsed by the pictures in their vicinity. He imitated his friend
likewise at Poggio a Caiano, in a picture of the return of Cicero from
exile: a work of merit, though never finished. It is the great glory of
his pencil, that it was so often employed in contending with Andrea, in
whom it awakened emulation and industry, from the fear of being

Jacopo Carrucci, called Pontormo, from the place of his nativity, was a
man of rare genius, whose early productions obtained the admiration of
Raffaello and Michelangiolo. He got a few lessons from Vinci, and was
afterwards under the care of Albertinelli, and Pier di Cosimo, but he
finally became the pupil of Andrea. He excited the jealousy of this
master, was induced by unhandsome treatment to withdraw from his school,
and afterwards became not only the imitator of Andrea, but his rival in
many undertakings. The Visitation in the cloister of the Servi, the
picture of several saints at S. Michelino, the two pictures of the
History of Joseph, represented in minute figures, in an apartment of the
ducal gallery, shew that he trod without difficulty in the footsteps of
his master, and that congeniality of talent led him into a similar path.
I use the term similar; for he is not a copyist, like those who borrow
heads or whole figures, but invariably retains a peculiar originality. I
saw one of his Holy Families in the possession of the Marquis Cerbone
Pucci, along with others by Baccio, by Rosso, and Andrea: the picture by
Pontormo vied with them all; but yet was sufficiently characteristic.

He had a certain singularity of disposition, and readily abandoned one
style to try a better; but he was often unsuccessful; as likewise
happened to Nappi, of Milan; to Sacchi, of Rome; and to every other
artist who has made this attempt, at an age too far advanced for a
change of manner. The Carthusian Monastery at Florence has some of his
works, from which connoisseurs have inferred the three styles attributed
to him. The first is correct in design, vigorous in colouring, and
approaches the manner of Andrea. In the second the drawing is good, but
the colouring somewhat languid; and this style became the model for
Bronzino and the artists of the succeeding epoch. The third is a close
imitation of Albert Durer, not only in the composition but in the heads
and draperies; a manner certainly unworthy of so promising an outset. It
is difficult to find specimens of Pontormo in this style, except some
histories of the Passion, which he servilely copied from the prints of
Albert Durer, for the cloister of that monastery, where he trifled away
several years. We might perhaps notice a fourth manner, if the Deluge
and Last Judgment, on which he spent eleven years at S. Lorenzo, had
still existed: but this his last performance, with the tacit consent of
every artist, was whitewashed. Here he attempted to imitate
Michelangiolo, and like him to afford a model of the anatomical style,
which at this time began to be extolled at Florence above every other:
but he taught us a different lesson, and only succeeded in demonstrating
that an old man ought not to become the votary of fashion.

Andrea pursued the custom of Raffaello and other artists of that age, in
conducting his works with the assistance of painters experienced in his
style, whether they were friends or scholars; a remark not useless to
those who may trace in his pictures the labours of another pencil. It is
known that he gave Pontormo some pieces to finish, and that he retained
one Jacone, and a Domenico Puligo; two individuals who possessed a
natural turn for painting, ready and willing to try every species of
imitation, and more desirous of recreation than of fame. The façade of
the Buondelmonte Palace, at S. Trinità, by the former, was highly
extolled. It was in chiaroscuro; the drawing, in which department he
excelled, was very beautiful, and the whole conducted in the manner of
Andrea. He also executed some oil pictures at Cortona, which are much
commended by Vasari. Domenico Puligo was less skilled in design than in
colouring: his tints were sweet, harmonious, and clear, but he
apparently aimed at covering the outline, to relieve him from the
necessity of perfect accuracy. By this mark he is sometimes recognized
in Madonnas and in cabinet pictures, (his usual occupation) which having
been perhaps designed by Andrea, at first sight pass for the work of
that master. Domenico Conti was likewise very intimate with Andrea, was
his scholar and the heir to his drawings; and that great artist was
honoured with a tomb and epitaph designed by Conti, in the vicinity of
his own immortal works in the Nunziata. Excepting this circumstance,
Vasari notices nothing praiseworthy in Conti, and therefore I shall take
no more notice of him. He gives a more favourable opinion of
Pierfrancesco di Jacopo di Sandro, on account of his three pictures in
the church of S. Spirito. He makes honourable mention of two other
artists, who lived long in France, viz. Nannoccio and Andrea Squazzella,
who always retained a similarity to the style of Andrea del Sarto. It is
not our present business to notice those who abandoned it; for in this
work it is my wish to keep sight rather of the different styles than of
the masters.

The fine copies that so often pass for originals, in Florence and other
places, are chiefly the work of the above mentioned artists; nor does it
seem credible that Andrea copied so closely his own inventions, and
reduced them with his own hand from the great scale to small dimensions.
I have seen one of his Holy Families, in which S. Elizabeth appears, in
ten or twelve collections; and other pictures in three or four private
houses. I found the S. Lorenzo surrounded by other saints, at the Pitti
Palace, in the Albani gallery; the Visitation, in the Giustiniani
palace; the Birth of our Lady, in the convent of the Servi, in the
possession of Sig. Pirri, at Rome: all these are beautiful little
pictures, all on small panels, all of the old school, and all believed
the work of Andrea. It seems to me not improbable that the best of these
were at least painted in his studio, and retouched by him, a practice
adopted by Tiziano, and even by Raffaello.

Rosso, who contended in the cloisters of the Nunziata, with the best
masters, and who appears in his Assumption to have aimed at a work not
so much superior in beauty as in size to the productions of the other
artists, is among the greatest painters of his school. Endowed with a
creative fancy, he disdained to follow any of his countrymen or
strangers; and indeed one recognizes much originality in his style: his
heads are more spirited, his head dresses and ornaments are more
tasteful, his colouring more lively, his distribution of light and shade
broader, and his pencilling more firm and free, than had been hitherto
seen in Florence. He appears in short to have introduced into that
school a peculiar spirit, that would have been unexceptionable, had it
not been mingled with something of extravagance. Thus, in the
Transfiguration at Città di Castello, instead of the Apostles he
introduced a band of gypsies at the bottom of the picture. His picture
in the Pitti palace, however, is far removed from any such fault. It
exhibits various saints, grouped in so excellent a manner, that the
chiaroscuro of one figure contributes to the relief of another; and it
has such beautiful contrasts of colour and of light, such energy of
drawing and of attitude, that it arrests attention by its originality.
He likewise painted for the State: an unfinished Descent from the Cross
may be seen in the oratory of S. Carlo, in Volterra; and another in the
church of S. Chiara at Città S. Sepolcro; in the cathedral of which
there are many old pictures. Its great merit consists in the principal
group, and that twilight, or almost nocturnal tint, that gives a tone to
the whole piece, sombre, true, and worthy of any Flemish artist. The
works of this painter are very scarce in Italy; for he went to France
into the employment of Francis I. during his best time, and
superintended the ornamental painting and plaster work then going on at
Fontainebleau. Whilst engaged in this work, he unhappily put an end to
his existence by poison; and in the enlargement of the building many of
his works were defaced by Primaticcio, who was a rival, but not a
follower, as is pretended by Cellini.[171] Thirteen pictures, dedicated
to the fame and actions of Francis I. have escaped, and are described by
Abbé Guget, in his Memoir on the Royal Academy of France.[172] Among
these is the remarkable one of Ignorance Banished by that monarch; a
picture that has been three different times engraved. He was assisted in
those works by several artists, amongst whom were three Florentine
painters, Domenico del Barbieri, Bartolommeo Miniati, and Luca Penni,
the brother of that Gianfrancesco, called Il Fattore in the school of

Ridolfo di Domenico Ghirlandaio lost his father in his infancy; but was
so well initiated in the art, first by his paternal uncle Davide, and
afterwards by Frate, that when Raffaello d'Urbino came to Florence, he
became his admirer and his friend. On his departure from that city he
left with him a Madonna, intended for Siena, that it might be completed
by him; and having soon after gone to Rome, he invited him to assist in
the decorations of the Vatican. Ridolfo declined this, unfortunately for
his own name, which might thus have rivalled that of Giulio Romano. He
undoubtedly possessed a facility, elegance, and vivacity of manner, to
enable him to follow closely the style of his friend. That he was
ambitious of imitating him, may be inferred from the pictures in his
early manner, preserved in the church of S. Jacopo di Ripoli, and S.
Girolamo, that bear some resemblance to the manner of Perugino, like the
early productions of Raffaello. His taste is displayed to more advantage
in two pictures, filled with many moderate sized figures, which were
transferred from the Academy of Design to the Royal Gallery. They
represent two stories of S. Zenobi, and perhaps approach nearer to the
two pictures by Pinturicchio, in the cathedral of Siena, that were
painted under the direction, and partly by the assistance of Raffaello,
than to any other model; with this exception, that they retain more
traces of the old school. We may remark, in the pictures of Ridolfo,
some figures strikingly like those of Raffaello; and in the whole there
appears a composition, an expression, and skill in improving nature to
the standard of ideal beauty, apparently proceeding from principles
conformable to the maxims of that great master. That he did not
afterwards perfect them, is to be attributed to his not having seen the
best productions of his friend, and to his study of the art having been
retarded by his commercial pursuits.

On modernizing his manner, and by this means obtaining reputation, he
aimed at nothing further; and continued to study painting rather as an
amusement, than as a profession. He assembled round him artists of every
description, and disdained not to impart advice to painters of ensigns,
of furniture, or of scenes; still less to those who executed pictures
for cabinets or churches. Many such who flourished about the middle of
the sixteenth century, are mentioned in history either as his pupils, or
his companions. The following is a brief catalogue of them. Michele di
Ridolfo assumed his name; because, on passing from the schools of Credi
and Sogliani into that of Ridolfo, he was treated not so much as a
companion as a son, till the death of Ghirlandaio. They painted many
pictures conjointly, which always pass under their name; and of this
number is the S. Anne of Città di Castello; an exquisite picture, both
for elegance of design, and a peculiar fulness of colouring. Michele was
particularly eminent in this department, which he diligently studied in
his own works, and employed in his fresco pictures over several of the
gates of the city; and he was selected by Vasari as the companion of his
labours. Mariano da Pescia must have been much esteemed by Ridolfo; for
when this master painted the frescos in the State Chapel of the Old
Palace, a work which gained him high honour, he wished the smaller
pieces to be painted by Mariano. There is a Holy Family in that place,
in a firm but agreeable style: it is the only remaining production of
this artist, who died young. He was of the Gratiadei family; a piece of
information for which, with various others, I am indebted to the
politeness of his fellow citizen Sig. Innocenzio Ansaldi, an able
writer, both in poetry and prose, in whatever relates to the art. Carlo
Portelli da Loro in Valdarno, proceeded from the same school. He painted
much in the City, and sometimes with little harmony: yet the testimony
of Vasari, and the picture of S. Romulus, which remains at the Santa,
demonstrate his ability as an artist. Of Antonio del Ceraiuolo, little
remains to commemorate the painter but the name. Mirabello da
Salincorno, who was employed on the funeral obsequies of Bonarruoti,
devoted himself to cabinet pictures; and an Annunciation, with his name,
and the date of 1565, is said to be in the hands of the Baldovinetti
family. It would be tiresome to follow Vasari, who, in several passages
of his history, mentions artists now sunk into oblivion, that might have
found a place here. I close the list with two illustrious names, Perino
del Vaga, already noticed, but afterwards to be more frequently
mentioned; and Toto del Nunziata, reckoned by the English the best of
the Italian artists, who, in that century visited their island; though
almost unknown among us.[173] He was the son of an obscure artist, but
obtained celebrity; and Perino himself had not a more formidable rival
in the school of Ridolfo.

This glorious epoch was not deficient in good landscape painters;
although the art of landscape painting without figures was not yet in
great repute. Vasari highly praises in this line one Antonio di Donnino
Mazzieri, a scholar of Franciabigio, a bold designer, and a man of great
invention in representing horses, and in landscape.

The grotesque came into fashion through the efforts of Morto da Feltro,
and Giovanni da Udine. Both artists were settled at Florence, and there
painted; especially the second, who decorated the palace of the Medicean
family, and the chapel in the church of S. Lorenzo. Andrea, called di
Cosimo, because he was the scholar of Rosselli, learnt this art from
Morto,[174] and he obtained the surname of Feltrini, or perhaps
Feltrino, from his best known master. He exercised the invention not
only on walls but on furniture, on banners and festive decorations:
abounding in fancy, he was the leader of a taste originating with him,
and much imitated in Florence. His ornaments were more copious and rich
than those of the ancients; were united in a different manner, and his
figures were admirably adapted to them. Mariotto and Raffaello Mettidoro
were his associates; but no artist was more employed than he in
designing foliage for brocades on cloth, or in ornamental painting. Pier
di Cosimo, and Bachiacca, or Bachicca, were very eminent in the
grotesque; of whom, with others who began the study about the end of the
first Epoch, I have already treated, among the old masters: but none of
them modernized more than the latter, who was usually employed on small
subjects, particularly on the furniture of private houses, and on small
pictures, many of which were sent to England. About the time of his
decease he was employed by the Duke Cosmo. He drew most elegant small
historical designs for tapestry and beds, which were executed by his
brother Antonio, an embroiderer whom Varchi commends; and by Gio. Rossi,
and Niccolo Fiamminghi, who introduced the art of tapestry weaving into
Florence.[175] His best work was a cabinet, which he ornamented
divinely, says Vasari, with flowers and birds in oil colours.

Perspective was not cultivated in Italy during the 15th century, except
so far as subservient to historical painting, and in this department the
Venetian and Lombard masters were no less eminent than those of Florence
or of Rome. After this period, artists began to represent arches,
colonnades, porticos, and every other kind of architecture, in pictures
appropriated to such subjects, to the great ornament of the theatres,
and of religious and convivial festivities. One of the first who devoted
himself to this study was Bastiano di Sangallo, the nephew of Giuliano,
and of Antonio, and the brother of another Antonio, all of whom were
eminent in architecture. He got the surname of Aristotile, from his
disquisitions on anatomy, or on perspective, accompanied by a certain
philosophic authority and ingenuity. He acquired the principles of his
art from Pietro Perugino, but he soon abandoned his school, to adopt a
more modern style. He exercised himself for several years in painting
figures; he copied some subjects after his friends Michelangiolo and
Raffaello; and aided by the advice of Andrea and Ridolfo, he produced
not a few Madonnas and other pictures of his own composition: but not
possessing invention in an eminent degree he latterly dedicated his
attention wholly to perspective, in which he was initiated by Bramante;
and exercised it during this epoch, when Florence abounded with grand
funeral obsequies, and public festivities. Of these, the most memorable
were those instituted on the election of Leo X. in 1513, and on his
visit to Florence in 1515. He had in his train Michelangiolo, Raffaello,
and other professors of the art, to deliberate concerning the façade of
the church of S. Lorenzo, and other works which he meditated. His court
added pomp to every spectacle; and Florence became, as it were, a new
city. Arches were erected in the streets by Granacci and Rosso; temples
or new façades were designed by Antonio da San Gallo, and Jacopo
Sansovino; chiaroscuros were prepared by Andrea del Sarto; grotesques by
Feltrino; basso-relievos, statues, and colossal figures, by Sansovino
above mentioned, by Rustici, and Bandinelli; Ghirlandaio, Pontormo,
Franciabigio, and Ubertini, adorned with exquisite taste the residence
of the pontiff. I say nothing of the meaner artists, although in another
age even these would not have been classed with the vulgar herd, but
have obtained distinction: I shall content myself with observing that
this emulation of genius, this display of the fine arts, in short this
auspicious period, sufficed to confer on Florence the lasting
appellation of another Athens; on Leo the name of another Pericles or

Spectacles of this sort became afterwards more common to the citizens;
for the Medici, on commencing their domination over a people whom they
feared, affected popularity, like the Roman Cæsars, by promoting public
hilarity. Hence, not only on extraordinary occasions, such as the
elevation of Clement VII. to the papal chair, of Alexander, and of Cosmo
to the chief magistracy of their country, on the marriage of the latter,
on that of Giuliano and of Lorenzo de' Medici, and on the arrival of
Charles V.; not only on such occasions, but frequently at other times,
they instituted tournaments, masquerades, and representations, of which
the decorations were magnificent, such as cars, robes, and scenery. In
this improved state of every thing conducive to exquisite embellishment,
industry became excited, and the number of painters and ornamental
artists increased. Aristotile, to return to him, was always much
employed; his perspectives were in great request in public places; his
scenes in the theatre: the populace, unaccustomed to those ocular
deceptions, were astonished; and it seemed to them as if they could
ascend the steps, enter the edifices, and approach the balconies and
windows in the pictures. The long life of Aristotile, coeval with the
best epoch of painting, permitted him to serve the ruling family and his
country, until his old age, when Salviati and Bronzino began to be
preferred to him. He died in 1551.

While the city of Florence acquired so much glory by the genius of her
artists, the other parts of the state afforded materials for future
history, chiefly through the assistance of the Roman school. This
happened more especially after 1527, when the sack of Rome dispersed the
school of Raffaello and its young branches. Giulio Romano trained
Benedetto Pagni at Pescia, who ought to be noticed among the assistants
of his master at Mantua. If we credit some late writers, his native
place possesses many of his works: but I acquiesce in the opinion of
Sig. Ansaldi, in refusing to admit any of them as genuine, except the
façade of the habitation of the Pagni family, now injured by time, and
the picture of the Marriage of Cana in the Collegiate church, which is
not his best production. Pistoia is indebted to Gio. Francesco Penni, or
perhaps to Fattore, for a respectable scholar: this was Lionardo, an
artist much employed in Naples and in Rome, where he was named Il
Pistoia. I find him surnamed Malatesta by some, Guelfo by others; but I
suspect that his true family name is to be collected from an inscription
on an Annunciation in the little chapel of the canons of Lucca, which
runs thus, _Leonardus Gratia Pistoriensis_. I am indebted to Sig. T. F.
Bernardi above mentioned for this fact: and the picture is worthy of a
descendant of Raffaello. I do not know that there is a single trace of
Lionardo remaining in his native place: at the village of Guidi, in the
diocese of Pistoia, one of his pictures is to be seen in the church of
S. Peter, where the titular, and three other saints, stand around the
throne of the Virgin.[176] Sebastiano Vini came from Verona, in I know
not what year of the 16th century, and was enrolled among the citizens
of Pistoia. His reputation and his pictures did honour to the country
that adopted him. He left many works both in oil and fresco; but his
most extraordinary production was in the suppressed church of S.
Desiderio. The façade over the great altar was storied with the
crucifixion of the ten thousand martyrs, a work abounding in figures and
invention. I have noticed the younger Zacchia of Lucca, who belongs to
this epoch, in the preceding one, that I might not separate the father
and the son. I am unable to find any other artists sufficiently worthy
of record in this district of Tuscany.

On the opposite side of it we may turn our eyes to Cortona, and notice
two good artists. The one was Francesco Signorelli, the nephew of Luca,
who, though unnoticed by Vasari, shows himself a painter worthy of
praise, by a circular picture of the patron saints of the city, which
was executed for the council hall, in 1320; after which period he lived
at least forty years. The other was Tommaso Paparello, or Papacello,
both which names are given him by Vasari, when writing of his two
masters, Caporali and Giulio Romano. He assisted them both, but I can
discover no trace of any work wholly his own.

Borgo, afterwards named Città San Sepolcro, could then boast its
Raffaello, commonly called Raffaellino dal Colle, born at a small place
a few miles from Borgo. He is reckoned among the disciples of Raffaello;
but rather belongs to the school of Giulio, whose pupil, dependant, or
assistant in his labours at Rome, and in the _Te_ at Mantua, he is
considered by Vasari. It is singular that he did not write a separate
life of this artist; but assigns him scanty praise in a few scattered
anecdotes. His merit is but little known to the public, as he painted
for the most part in his native place, or the neighbouring cities; and I
am able to add to the catalogue of his pictures from having seen them.
He has two pictures at Città San Sepolcro, his only works specified by
Vasari. One represents the resurrection of our Saviour, who, full of
majesty, regards the soldiers around the sepulchre with an air of
displeasure, which fills them with terror. This very spirited picture is
in the Church of S. Rocco, and is repeated in the cathedral. The other,
which is in the Osservanti of S. Francis, represents the Assumption of
the Virgin; a piece agreeable both in colouring and design, but its
value is diminished by a figure I am unable to explain, drawn at one
side of it by another hand. The same subject is treated in the church of
the Conventual friars, at Città di Castello, where great beauty is
joined to the highest possible finish, but it loses something of its
effect by standing opposite to a fine picture by Vasari, which throws it
strongly into the shade. An entombing of Christ by Raffaellino, is in
the Servi; a very beautiful picture, but the colouring is less firm; and
there is another of his works at S. Angelo with S. Michael, and S.
Sebastian, who humbly presents an arrow, a type of his martyrdom, to the
infant Jesus and the Virgin. In this the composition is simple but
graceful in every part. A picture of our Lady, with S. Sebastian, S.
Rocco, and a canonized bishop, painted in a similar style, is to be seen
in the church of S. Francis of Cagli; in it the figures and the
landscape much resemble the manner of Raffaello. His Apostles in the
sacristy of the cathedral of Urbino are noble figures, draped in a grand
style, in small oblong pictures, firmly coloured. The Olivet monks of
Gubbio have in one of their chapels a Nativity by Raffaellino, and two
pieces from the history of S. Benedict, painted in fresco, in which he
was, I believe, assisted by his scholars. The former is certainly
superior to the two last, although he has introduced in them real
portraits, finely conceived architecture, and added a figure of Virtue
in the upper part, that seems a sister of the Sybils of Raffaello. He
also painted, in the castle of Perugia, and in the _Imperiale_ of
Pesaro, a villa of the duke of Urbino, to whom he afforded more
satisfaction than the two Dossi. After having assisted Raffaello and
Giulio, he disdained not to paint after the designs of less eminent
artists. On the arrival of Charles V. at Florence, in 1536, he assisted
Vasari, who was one of the decorators; and he painted cartoons after the
designs of Bronzino, for the tapestry of Cosmo I.; after which period I
do not find him mentioned. Another instance of his diffidence is the
following: on the arrival of Rosso at San Sepolcro, Raffaellino, out of
respect to that artist, gave up to him an order for a picture which he
was to have executed; a rare instance among painters, who are in the
habit of using kindly those artists only, who come merely to see a city,
and immediately leave it. He kept a school at San Sepolcro, whence
proceeded Gherardi, Vecchi, and other artists, some of whom, perhaps,
surpassed him in genius; but they did not equal him in grace, nor in
high finish.

About this time many artists flourished in Arezzo, but of these two only
are praised by Vasari, who is not sparing in his commendations of the
Florentines, as I have remarked, but deals them scantily to his own
townsmen. Giovanni Antonio, the son of Matteo Lappoli, was the scholar
of Pontormo, and the friend of Perino and of Rosso, with whom he lived
in Tuscany, and whose style he emulated in Rome. He was more employed in
painting for private houses than for churches. Guglielmo, surnamed Da
Marcilla, by Vasari, a foreigner by birth, became a citizen of Arezzo
from inclination and long residence; he was dear to the citizens, who
afforded him the means of enjoying life, and grateful to the city, where
he left most beautiful monuments of his genius. He had been a Dominican
in his own country; he became a secular priest on arriving in Italy, and
at Arezzo he was called the Prior. He was an excellent painter on glass,
and on this account, was brought to Rome by one Claude, a Frenchman, to
execute windows for Julius II.; but he also employed himself in fresco.
He studied design in Italy, and so improved in that art, that his works
at Rome seem designs of the fourteenth century, while the Aretine ones
appear the work of a modern. He painted some ceilings and arches in the
cathedral, with scriptural subjects in fresco. In design he followed
Michelangiolo, as nearly as he could; but his colouring was not firm.
His paintings on glass are quite in a different style; there, to very
good drawing, and uncommon expression, he joined tints that partake of
the emerald, the ruby, and of oriental sapphire, and which, when
illuminated by the sun, exhibit all the brilliance of the rainbow. In
Arezzo, there are so many windows of this glass at the cathedral, at S.
Francis, and at many other churches, that they might excite the envy of
much larger cities. They are so finely wrought with subjects from the
New Testament, and other scriptural histories, that they seem to have
reached the perfection of the art. The Vocation of S. Matthew, in a
window of the cathedral, is highly praised by Vasari; it exhibits
"perspectives of temples and flights of steps, figures so finely
composed, landscapes so well executed, that one can hardly imagine they
were glass, but something sent down from Heaven for the delight of

This place and period remind me, that before I pass on to another epoch,
I ought to say a few words concerning the invention of painting on
glass, which was anciently likewise styled Mosaic, because it was
composed of pieces of different coloured glass, connected by lead, which
represented the shadows. We may observe glass windows that emulate well
composed pictures on canvass or on panel; and this art is treated of by
Vasari in the thirty-second chapter of the introduction to his work.
From the preface to the treatise _De omni scientiâ artis pingendi_, by
Theophilus the Monk, I find that France was celebrated for this art
beyond any other country;[177] and there the art seems to have been
invariably cultivated, and brought by degrees to perfection. From the
earliest ages of the revival of painting, the Italians wrought windows
with different coloured glasses, as is remarked by P. Angeli in his
description of the churches of Assisi, where the most ancient specimens
are to be seen. In the church likewise of the Franciscan friars at
Venice, we find that one _Frater Theotonius_, a German, worked in
tapestry and glass windows, and was imitated by one Marco, a painter,
who lived in the year 1335.[178] It may also be observed, that such
windows over the altars supplied the place of sacred paintings in
churches; Christian congregations, in lifting up their eyes, there
sought the resemblance of what "they hoped some time to behold in the
celestial paradise: che ancor lassù nel ciel vedere spera," and they
often addressed their supplications to those images. In the fifteenth
century Lorenzo Ghiberti, a man eminent in various arts, still further
improved this, and ornamented the oval windows of the façade of the
church of S. Francis, and of the cathedral of Florence with coloured
glass. In a similar manner he finished all the oval apertures in the
cupola of the cathedral, except that of the Assumption, executed by
Donatello. The glass was manufactured at Florence, for which purpose one
Domenico Livi, a native of Gambassi, in the principality of Volterra,
who had learnt and practised the art at Lubec, was invited to that
place, as is proved by Baldinucci in his correction of Vasari.[179] From
this school apparently came Goro, and Bernardo di Francesco, with that
train of Ingesuati, whose workmanship, exhibited at S. Lorenzo and
elsewhere, has been much commended by the Florentine historians. (See
Moreni, part vi. p. 41.) This art afterwards flourished at Arezzo, where
it was introduced by Parri Spinelli, a scholar of Ghiberti. About the
same time flourished in Perugia P. D. Francesco, a monk of Cassino, not
merely a painter in glass, but a master in that city; and some
conjecture that Vannucci profited by his school, though a comparison of
dates does not much favour such a supposition. This art also flourished
in Venice, about 1473, where one window was executed after the design of
Bartolommeo Vivarini, in the church of S. John and S. Paul, and another
was erected at Murano; but the art of painting glass could not be
unknown at this last place, where it originated.

It is true, that in process of time the Florentine and Venetian glass
appeared to be not sufficiently transparent for such purposes; and that
a preference was given to that of France and of England, the clearness
and transparency of which was better adapted for receiving the colours,
without too much obscuring the light. It had this other advantage, that
the colours were burnt in the glass, in the manner described by Vasari,
instead of being laid on with gums or other vehicles; hence they had
greater brilliancy, and were more capable of resisting the injuries of
time. This was a Flemish, or rather a French invention, and the Italians
unquestionably received it from France. Bramante invited from that
country the two artists above mentioned, who, besides the windows of the
Vatican palace, that were wrought with colours burnt into the glass, and
destroyed in the sack of Rome, in the time of Clement VII. ornamented
two in the church of S. Maria del Popolo, with those scriptural
histories that yet remain perfectly brilliant in colour, after the lapse
of three centuries. Soon after this Claude died at Rome. William
survived him many years, and from that time continued to reside in
Arezzo. He there was engaged in the service of the capital, where one of
his painted glass windows is preserved in the Capponi chapel, at the
church of S. Felicità; and he taught the art to Pastorino of Siena, who
exercised it very skilfully in the state saloon of the Vatican, after
the designs of Vaga, and in the cathedral of Siena. This artist is
reckoned the best scholar of his master. Maso Porro, Michelagnolo
Urbani, both natives of Cortona, and Batista Borro of Arezzo, were
trained in the same school, and were afterwards employed in Tuscany and
elsewhere. In ornamenting the old palace, Vasari availed himself of the
assistance of two Flemish artists, Walter and George, who wrought after
his designs. Celebrated equal to any artist is Valerio Profondavalle of
Louvain, who settled at Milan after the middle of the sixteenth century,
a man of fertile invention, and a pleasing colourist in fresco painting,
but chiefly eminent in painting on glass, as we are informed by Lomazzo.
Orlandi celebrates Gerardo Ornerio Frisio, and his windows executed
about 1575, in the church of S. Peter at Bologna. This art afterwards
declined, when custom, the arbiter of arts, by excluding it from palaces
and churches, caused it gradually to be forgotten.

Another method of painting on glass, or rather on crystal, was much in
fashion in the last century, and was employed for ornamenting mirrors,
caskets, and other furniture of the chambers of the great. Maratta and
his contemporaries on crystal for such works in the same style that they
employed in painting on canvass; and above all Giordano, who taught it
to several pupils. Among these, the best was Carlo Garofalo, who was
invited to the court of Charles II. of Spain, to practise this species
of painting,[180] the era of which does not embrace a great number of

[Footnote 128: Although Vasari, Borghini, and Baldinucci, have also
treated of other schools, they have chiefly illustrated that of
Florence, with which they were best acquainted. To them succeeded the
respectable authors of the _Florentine Museum_, and of the _Series of
the most celebrated Painters_, containing choice anecdotes of those
masters, which are now republished, and accompanied by a print from the
work of each painter, in the _Etruria Pittrice_ of the learned Sig. Ab.
Lastri. Other anecdotes are to be found in the work of P. Richa _On the
Churches of Florence_, and in Sig. Cambiagi's _Guide_ to that City. Pisa
too, has its _Guide_ by the Cav. Titi; to which has succeeded the much
larger work of Sig. da Morrona, above noticed. Siena has one by Sig.
Pecci, Volterra another by Ab. Giachi, and Pescia and Valdinievole by
the Ab. Ansaldi. Sig. Francesco Bernardi, an excellent connoisseur in
the fine arts, prepared a guide to Lucca after Marchiò; it remains
inedited since his death, together with his anecdotes of the painters,
sculptors, and architects of his native country. Meanwhile the _Diario_
of Mons. Mansi affords considerable information.]

[Footnote 129: Condivi promised to publish them, but this was never
performed. See Bottari's notes on the life of Michelangiolo, p. 152, in
Florent. edit. 1772.]

[Footnote 130: See the fine eulogy on him by Sig. Durazzini, among his
Panegyrics on illustrious Tuscans, where he corrects Vasari, his
annotators and others, who have fixed the birth of Lionardo before this
year. Tom. iii. n. 25.]

[Footnote 131: See Sig. Piacenza, in his edition of Baldinucci, t. ii.
p. 252. He has dedicated a long appendix to Vinci, in which he has
collected all the anecdotes scattered through Vasari, Lomazzo, Borghini,
Mariette, and other modern authors.]

[Footnote 132: "Leonardo seems to have trembled whenever he sat down to
paint, and therefore never finished any of the pictures he began; for by
meditation on the perfection of art, he perceived faults in what to
others appeared admirable." Lomazzo, _Idea del Tempio della pittura_,
page 114.]

[Footnote 133: Both have perished, after serving as models to the best
painters of that age, and even to Andrea del Sarto. See what has been
written by Vasari, and by M. Mariette, in the long letter concerning
Vinci, which is inserted in tom. ii. of _Lett. Pittoriche_.]

[Footnote 134: It was on account of the same procrastinating disposition
that Leo X. withdrew the patronage he had conferred on him, and which he
was accustomed to bestow upon all men of genius.]

[Footnote 135: Vasari.]

[Footnote 136: Vasari, who published a life of him in 1550, and enlarged
it in another edition; and Ascanio Condivi da Ripatransone, who printed
one in 1553, ten years before the death of Bonarruoti.]

[Footnote 137: He was very partial to this poet; whose flights of fancy
he embodied in pen-drawings in a book, which, unfortunately for the art,
has perished; and to whose memory he wished to sculpture a magnificent
monument, as appears from a petition to Leo X. In it the Medicean
Academy requests the bones of the divine poet; and among the subscribers
we read the name of Michelangiolo, and also his offer. _Gori Illustraz.
alla vita del Condivi_, p. 112.]

[Footnote 138: He projected a tract on "All the movements of the human
body, on its external appearances, and on the bones, with an ingenious
theory, the fruit of his long study." Condivi, p. 117.]

[Footnote 139: "Zeuxis plus membris corporis dedit, id amplius et
augustius ratus; atque ut existimant Homerum secutus, cui validissima
quæque forma etiam in foeminis placet." Inst. Orat. lib. xii. c. 10.]

[Footnote 140: None however of these great men presumed to despise
Michelangiolo so much, as to compare the picture of Christ, in the
Minerva, to an executioner; like the author of the _Arte di Vedere_.
Mengs, whom he rather flatters than follows, would have disdained to use
this and similar expressions; but it is the office of adulators not
merely to approve the opinion of the object flattered, but greatly to
exaggerate it. Juvenal, with his peculiar penetration into the vices of
mankind, thus describes one of the race. (See Satire iii. v. 100.)

  ----"rides? majore cachinno
  Concutitur; flet si lacrymam conspexit amici,
  Nee dolet: igniculum brumæ si tempore poscas
  Accipit endromidem; si dixeris: æstuo, sudat."

[Footnote 141: Bottari confesses "that he shews somewhat of mannerism,
but concealed with such skill that it is not perceptible;" an art which
very few of his imitators possess.]

[Footnote 142: See Winckelmann in his "Gems of Baron Stochs," where he
records and comments upon the text of the historian, p. 316.]

[Footnote 143:

  "Duo Dossi e quel che a par sculpe e colora
  Michel più che mortal Angiol divino."

         Orl. Fur. Cant. xxxiii. 2.

[Footnote 144: Raffaello came to Florence towards the end of 1504.
(_Lett. Pitt._ tom. i. p. 2.) In this year Michelangiolo was called to
Rome, and left his cartoon imperfect. Having afterwards fled from Rome,
through dread of Julius II., he completed it in three months, in the
year 1506. Compare the Brief of Julius, in which he recals Michelangiolo
(_Lett. Pitt._ tom. iii. p. 320), with the relation of Vasari (tom. vi.
Ed. Fiorent. p. 191). During the time that Michelangiolo laboured at
this work, "he was unwilling to shew it to any person (p. 182); and when
it was finished it was carried to the hall of the Pope," and was there
studied (p. 184). Raffaello had then returned to Florence, and this work
might open the way to his new style, which, as a learned Englishman
expresses it, is intermediate between that of Michelangiolo and of

[Footnote 145: He chose the companions of those who had painted in the
Sistine, Jacopo di Sandro (Botticelli), Agnolo di Donnino, a great
friend of Rosselli, and the elder Indaco, a pupil of Ghirlandaio, who
were but feeble artists. Bugiardini, Gianacci and Aristotile di S.
Gallo, of whom we shall take further notice in the proper place, were
there also.]

[Footnote 146: Varchio, in his Funeral Oration, p. 15.]

[Footnote 147: _Idea del Tempio della Pittura_, p. 47. Ed. Bologn.]

[Footnote 148: Tom. vi. p. 398.]

[Footnote 149: See _Entretiens sur les Vies et sur les Ouvrages des plus
excellens Peintres_, tom. i. p. 502.]

[Footnote 150: See pp. 245, 253.]

[Footnote 151: Lett. Pitt. tom. iii. lett. 227. Rosa, Sat. iii. p. 85.]

[Footnote 152: Salvator Rosa in his third satire, p. 84, narrates the
rebuke which the Prelate gave Michelangiolo for his indecency in
painting the Saints themselves without garments.]

[Footnote 153: Microscosmo, p. 6.]

[Footnote 154: Tom. ii. p. 254.]

[Footnote 155: He is also blamed for this part of the perspective by
others. (See P. M. della Valle in the "Prosa recitata in Arcadia," 1784,
p. 260, of the Giorn. Pis. tom, liii.)]

[Footnote 156: Malv. tom. ii. p. 254.]

[Footnote 157: Vite de' Pittori, &c. p. 44.]

[Footnote 158: Dialogo sopra la Pittura.]

[Footnote 159: _Idea del Tempio della Pittura_, p. 41.]

[Footnote 160: Conca, Descriz. Odeporica della Spagna, tom. i. page 24.]

[Footnote 161: The ignorant believe that Michelangiolo "nailed a man to
a cross and left him there to expire, in order to paint from the life a
figure of our Saviour on the cross." See Dati, in his notes of the Life
of Parrhasius, who is said to have committed a similar homicide. This
story of the latter is probably a fable, and undoubtedly it is so of
Michelangiolo. The crucifixions of this artist are often repeated,
sometimes with a single figure, sometimes with our Lady and S. John; at
other times with two Angels, who collect the blood. Bottari mentions
several of these pictures in different galleries. To these we may add
the picture of the Caprara palace, and those in the possession of
Monsignor Bonfigliuoli and of Sigg. Biancani in Bologna. Sig. Co.
Chiappini of Piacenza has a very good one, and there is another in the
church of the college of Ravenna.]

[Footnote 162: A name given by the Italians to pictures of a dead Christ
on the knees of his mother.]

[Footnote 163: Bottari, in his _Notes_ to the Letter of Preziado, doubts
whether this supposed scholar of Michelangiolo be Galeazzo Alessi,
remarking at the same time that this last was rather an architect than a
painter. I am inclined to think that the Matteo in question may have
been the foregoing Matteo da _Lecce_, or da Leccio, and that owing to
one of those errors, which Clerche in his "Arte Critica," calls _ex
auditu_, his name in Spain became D'Alessi, or D'Alessio, the letters
_c_ and _s_ in many countries being made use of reciprocally. Besides,
this _Leccese_, of whom we write in the fourth volume, flourished in the
time of Vargas, went to Spain, affected the style of Michelangiolo, and
never settled himself in any place from his desire of seeing the world.
Memoirs of him appear to have been collected in Spain, by Pacheco, who
lived in 1635 (Conca, iii. 252), who in his account, at this distance of
time, must have been guided by vulgar report; a bad authority for names,
particularly those of foreigners, as was noticed in the Preface. That he
should further be called Roman instead of Italian, in a foreign country,
and that he should there adopt the name of Perez, not having assumed any
surname in Rome, can scarcely appear strange to the reader, and the more
so as he is described as an adventurer--a species of persons who subsist
upon tricks and frauds.]

[Footnote 164: Sebastiano painted it again for the Osservanti of
Viterbo; and there is a similar one described in the Carthusian
Monastery, at Naples, which is painted in oil, and is supposed to be the
work of Bonarruoti.]

[Footnote 165: Limbo, among theologians of the Roman Church, is the
place where the souls of just men, who died before the coming of our
Saviour, and of unbaptized children, are supposed to reside.]

[Footnote 166: This noble fresco was ruined during the revolutionary
tumults at Rome.--Tr.]

[Footnote 167: That Raffaello was at this time well versed in
perspective it is unreasonable to doubt, as Bottari has done: he
proceeded from the school of Perugino, who was very eminent in that
science; and he left a good specimen at Siena, where he remained some
time before he came to Florence.]

[Footnote 168: Vol. iii. p. 126.]

[Footnote 169: This is conspicuous in a S. Raffaello with Tobias, which
was transferred from the royal gallery of Florence to the imperial
gallery of Vienna.--See Rosa Scuola Italiana, p. 141.]

[Footnote 170: Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. xxxv. cap 10.]

[Footnote 171: "Any excellence he possessed was stolen from the
admirable manner of our Florentine painter, Rosso; a man truly of
wonderful genius." Cellini, in his life, as quoted by Baldinucci, tom.
v. p. 72. He who writes thus of the ablest pupil of Giulio Romano,
either was unacquainted with his works in Bologna, and in Mantua,
executed before he knew Rosso, or blinded by party rage, was incapable
of appreciating them.]

[Footnote 172: Page 81.]

[Footnote 173: About the time when Michele taught, there resided in
Spain one Tommaso Fiorentino; one of whose portraits is mentioned by the
Sig. Ab. Conca, (tom. i. p. 90,) belonging to the Royal Palace at
Madrid. In the Ducal Palace of Alva, there are also galleries of
grotesques, where we read the name of Tommaso Fiorentino, the author, to
which is added (tom. ii. p. 362) "The name of this professor of the art
is quite new to me; in his grotesques we meet with the exact style of
the sons of Bergamasco, &c." I hardly know how the name can appear new
to the Ab. Conca, when he had already mentioned it elsewhere; nor how
the composition of an artist, who painted in 1521, could resemble that
of others who were still young in the year 1570, in which their father

[Footnote 174: Vasari, in his Life of Morto, says, that he came to
Florence in order to improve his skill in figures, in which he was
deficient, by studying the models of Vinci and of Michelangiolo. In
despair, however, he returned to his grotesques. Now I shall elsewhere
produce an unedited document shewing his ability in figure painting,
which I should not have occasion to do if the beautiful portrait of
Morto, in the Royal Gallery at Florence, was, as is conjectured, by his
hand. But I am inclined to think that it is the likeness of an unknown
person, who, as I have seen in other portraits, caused himself to be
drawn with a finger pointing to a death's head, in order to remind him
of his mortality, but in this picture the head has been capriciously
interpreted as a symbol of the name of Morto, and the painting given as
the portrait and work of Feltrese; of whom Vasari gives a very different

[Footnote 175: They wrought from the designs of Pontormo, and still more
those of Bronzino. They also wrought for the Duke of Ferrara after the
designs of Giulio Romano, published by Gio. Battista Mantuano, among his

[Footnote 176: A similar composition is to be seen in an altar-piece in
the cathedral of Volterra. It is inscribed, _Opus Leonardi Pistoriens.
an. 1516_. This, however, ought not to be passed over on account of an
historical doubt started by the Cavalier Tolomei, whether there
flourished, at the same period, two Lionardi da Pistoja; thus
insinuating they were of different families. And this would appear to be
the case. The painter of the piece in Volterra was not Grazia, at
Naples, probably, surnamed Guelfo; since his master Penni, if we are to
believe Vasari, was in that year, 1516, still the scholar and assistant
of Raffaello; nor does it seem probable that he educated a pupil of so
much merit. The Leonardo, therefore, who painted in Volterra, must have
been some other of more proficiency.]

[Footnote 177: "Hic invenies quidquid diversorum colorum generibus et
mixturis habet Græcia ... quidquid in fenestrarum varietate pretiosa
diligit Francia."]

[Footnote 178: Zanetti, Nuova Raccolta delle Monete e Zecche d'Italia,
(tom. iv. p. 158). In this work we meet with a long Latin document,
which makes mention of a brother of Marco, named Paolo, also a painter;
qui habet in cartâ designatam mortem S. Francisci, et Virginis gloriose,
sicut picte sunt ad modum theutonicum in pano (i. e. panno) ad locum
minorum in Tarvisio.]

[Footnote 179: Tom. iii. p. 25.]

[Footnote 180: Bellori vite de' Pittori, &c. page 392.]



  _The Imitators of Michelangiolo Bonarruoti._

After the time of the five great masters above mentioned, the
Florentines were so rich in fine specimens of art that they had no
occasion to apply to foreign schools for improvement. They had only to
select the best specimens from the works of native artists; as, for
instance, grandeur from Michelangiolo, grace from Andrea, and spirit
from Rossi; they could learn colouring and casting of draperies from
Porta, and chiaroscuro from Vinci. They appear, however, to have
assiduously applied to design, but to have paid little attention to the
other branches of painting. Even in that branch they imagined that every
thing was to be found in Bonarruoti; and imitated him alone. Their
choice was influenced by the celebrity,[181] the success, and very long
life of this artist, who, having survived all his eminent
fellow citizens, naturally recommended to employment the followers of
his maxims, and the adherents of his manner; hence it has been observed
by some, that Raffaello lived too short a time for the progress of the
fine arts, Michelangiolo too long. But artists ought to keep in mind the
opinion, or rather prophecy of Bonarruoti--that his style would be
productive of inept artists, which has invariably been the character of
those who have imitated him without judgment.

Their study and constant practice has been to design from his statues:
for the cartoon on which so many eminent men formed their style, had
already perished; and his paintings were not to be seen in Florence but
in Rome. They transferred into their compositions that statue-like
rigidity, that strength of limb, and those markings of the origin and
insertion of muscles, that severity of countenance, and those positions
of the hands and figures, which characterized his sublimely awful style;
but without comprehending the principles of this extraordinary man,
without thoroughly understanding the play of the softer parts of the
human figure, either by inserting them in wrong situations, or by
representing, in the same manner, those in action and at rest; those of
a slender stripling, and of the full-grown man. Contented with what they
imagined grandeur of style, they neglected all the rest. In some of
their pictures we may observe a multitude of figures arranged one above
the other, with a total disregard of their relative situations; features
that express no passion, and half naked figures that do nothing, except
pompously exhibit, like the Entellus of Virgil, _magna ossa
lacertosque_. Instead of the beautiful azure and green formerly
employed, they substituted a languid yellowish hue; the full body of
colour gave place to superficial tints; and, above all, the bold relief,
so much studied till the time of Andrea, went wholly into disuse.

In several passages Baldinucci confesses this decline, which, however,
scarcely extended to two or three generations, and seems to have
commenced about 1540. During this unfortunate era the Florentines did
not degenerate as much as some other schools. The churches are full of
pictures of this era, which, if they are not to be admired like those of
the preceding, are, at least, respectable. Whoever sees the church of S.
Croce, S. Maria Novella, and other places, where the best artists of
this era painted, will undoubtedly find more to praise than to condemn.
Few of them were eminent as colourists, but many in design; few were
entirely free from the mannerism above noticed; many, however, by
progressive improvement, at length attained gracefulness. We shall
proceed to consider them, chiefly following the steps of Vincenzio
Borghini, their contemporary; the author of _Il Reposo_, a dialogue
worthy of perusal, both for the matter and the style. We shall commence
with Vasari, who not only belongs to this epoch, but has ever been
charged with being one of the chief authors of the decline of the

Giorgio Vasari, of Arezzo, was descended from a family attached to the
fine arts; being the great grandson of Lazzaro, who was the intimate
friend of Pietro della Francesca, and the imitator of his paintings; the
nephew of another Giorgio, who, in modelling vases in plaster, revived
the forms of the antique, in their basso-relievos, and their brilliant
colours; specimens of whose art exist in the royal gallery at Florence.
Michelangiolo, Andrea, and some other masters, instructed him in design;
Guglielmo da Marcilla, called the Prior, and Rosso, initiated him in
painting: but he chiefly studied at Rome, whither he was brought by
Ippolito, Cardinal de' Medici, the person to whom he owed his success;
for by his means Giorgio was introduced to this family that loaded him
with riches and with honour. After having designed all the works of his
first master, and of Raffaello, at Rome, and likewise much after other
schools and antique marbles, he formed a style in which we may recognise
traces of his studies; but his predilection for Bonarruoti is apparent.
After acquiring skill in painting figures, he became one of the most
excellent architects of the age; and united in himself the various
branches which were known to Perino, Giulio, and their scholars, who
followed the example of Raffaello. He could unaided direct the
construction of a grand fabric, adorn it with figures, with grotesques,
with landscapes, with stuccos, with gilding, and whatever else was
required to ornament it in a princely style. By this means he began to
be known in Italy; and was employed as a painter in several places, and
even in Rome. He was much employed in the hermitage of the Camaldules,
and in several monasteries of the Olivets. In their monastery at Rimino
he executed a picture of the Magi, and various frescos for the church;
in that at Bologna three pieces from sacred history, with some ornaments
in the refectory; but still more in that at Naples, where he not only
reduced the refectory to the rules of true architecture, but splendidly
adorned it with stuccos and pictures of every description. Assisted by
many young men he spent a year in this work; and, as he himself says,
was the first who gave an idea of the modern style to that city. Some of
his pictures are to be seen in the Classe di Ravenna, in the church of
S. Peter at Perugia, at Bosco, near Alessandria, in Venice, at Pisa, in
Florence, and at Rome, where the largest part of them are in various
places of the Vatican, and in the hall of the Chancery. These pictures
are historical frescos of the life of Paul III. undertaken at the desire
of Cardinal Farnese; with whom originated the idea of writing the lives
of the painters, afterwards published at Florence. Brought into notice
by these works, honoured by the esteem and friendship of Bonarruoti, and
recommended by his multifarious abilities, he was invited to the court
of Cosmo I. He went there with his family in 1553; at which time the
artists above alluded to were either dead or very old, and, therefore,
he had little to fear from competitors. He superintended the magnificent
works executed by that prince; among which it would be wrong not to
distinguish the edifice for the public offices, which is esteemed among
the finest in Italy; and the old palace, with its several sub-divisions,
which were all painted and decorated by Vasari and his pupils for the
use of government. In one part of it, each chamber bears the name of
some distinguished member of the family, and represents his exploits.
This is one of his best works; and here the chamber of Clement VII. is
chiefly conspicuous, on the ceiling of which he represented the Pontiff
in the act of crowning Charles V., and all around disposed the emblems
of his virtues, his victories, and his most remarkable exploits. In this
work the magnificence of the prince is rivalled by the judgment and
taste of the artist. The reader may find notices of his other works,
which are either in churches or in private houses, and of his temporary
decorations for funerals or festivals, by consulting his life written by
himself down to 1567, and the continuation of it to 1574, the year of
Giorgio's decease.

It remains for us to discuss the merits of this artist, who has been
praised by some and condemned by other authors that have treated of the
fine arts, especially in Italy. I shall consider him first as a painter,
and next as a writer. Had all his works perished but some of those in
the old palace, the Conception, in S. Apostolo at Florence, which
Borghini commends as his finest production, the Decollation of S. John,
in the church of the Baptist at Rome, which is adorned by exquisite
perspective, the Feast of Ahasuerus, in the possession of the
Benedictines at Arezzo, some of his portraits, which Bottari scruples
not to compare with those of Giorgione, and some of his other pictures
that demonstrate his ability, his reputation would have been much
greater than it is. But he aimed at too much; and for the most part
preferred expedition to accuracy. Hence, though a good designer, his
figures are not always correct; and his painting often appears languid,
from his meagre and superficial colouring.[183] The habit of careless
execution is usually the companion of some maxim that may serve to
excuse it to others, as well as to our own self-love: Vasari has
recommended in his writings the acquirement of compendious methods,[184]
and "the expedition of practice;" in other words, to make use of former
exercises and studies in painting. This method is highly advantageous to
the artist, because it increases his profits; but is prejudicial to the
art, which thus degenerates into mannerism, or, in other words, departs
from nature: Vasari fell into this error in many of his works,
especially in his hasty productions, or where he borrowed the hand of
others; apologies which he frequently offers to the readers of his
"Lives." He was principally induced, I believe, to offer such apologies
for his practice, from the strictures on his paintings contained in the
hall of the Chancery, which were finished in a hundred days, according
to their author, in order to please the cardinal: but he ought then
rather to have excused himself to Farnese, and to have requested him to
employ some other artist, than to make his apology to posterity, and to
intreat us to excuse his faults. He ought to have listened to the
admonitions of his friends; among whom Caro did not fail to remind him
of the injury his reputation might sustain by such hasty
productions.[185] As he long superintended the decorations of the
capital, ordered by Cosmo I. and Prince D. Francesco, and was assisted
in them by many young men, Baldinucci affirms that he chiefly
contributed to that dry manner which prevailed in Florence.[186]

This opinion is probably not erroneous; for the example of a painter
employed by the court was sufficient to seduce the rising generation
from pristine diligence, to a more careless manner. After all, the
Florentines who assisted him were chiefly the scholars of Bronzino, and,
except two or three, they did not adopt the style of Vasari: some others
also may have done so for a little time. Francesco Morandini, called
Poppi, from his native place, was his disciple and imitator; and in his
picture of the Conception, at S. Michelino, in the superior one of the
Visitation, at S. Nicholas, and in his many other works, he appears a
follower of Giorgio; except that he was more minute, and attended more
to gay and cheerful composition. Giovanni Stradano Fiammingo, for ten
years a dependant of Vasari, adopted his colouring, but imitated the
design of Salviati; with whom and also with Daniele di Volterra he had
lived in Rome. There is a Christ on the Cross, by him, at the Serviti,
which is preferred to any other he painted at Florence, where he
executed many designs for tapestry, and many prints. He had a fertile
invention; he is praised by Vasari as highly as any other artist then in
the service of the court, and is considered by Borghini among the
eminent masters. Vasari after him retained Jacopo Zucchi, whose works
exhibit none of the carelessness of Giorgio. He sometimes imitated him;
but his style is better and more refined. He lived long at Rome, under
the protection of Ferdinando, Cardinal de' Medici, in whose house, and
more especially in the Rucellai palace, he painted in fresco with
incredible diligence. His picture of the Birth of the Baptist, in S.
Giovanni Decollato, is esteemed the best in that church; and in this
piece he appears more a follower of Andrea, than of any other master. He
usually introduced real portraits of distinguished characters and men of
letters in his compositions, and he shewed a peculiar grace in the
figures of children and of young people. Baglioni praises both this
artist and his brother Francesco, who was a good artist in mosaic, and
an excellent painter of fruit and flowers.

In considering Giorgio as a writer, I shall not consume much time;
having so frequently to notice him in the course of my work. He wrote
precepts of art and lives of the painters, as is well known; and he
added to them some dissertations on his own occupations,[187] and his
pictures.[188] He entered on this work at the instigation of Cardinal
Farnese, as well as of Monsig. Giovio; and he was encouraged in it by
Caro, Molza, Tolomei, and other literary men belonging to that court.
His first intention was to collect anecdotes of artists, to be extended
by Giovio. They wished him to commence with Cimabue; with which,
perhaps, he ought not to have complied; but this circumstance diminishes
the fault of Vasari in passing over the older masters in silence, and
raises the glory of Cimabue far above all his contemporaries. When it
was discovered that Vasari could write well,[189] and was capable of
extending the anecdotes in even more appropriate language than Giovio
himself, the whole task devolved on him; but in order to render the work
more worthy of the public, he had the assistance afforded him of men of
letters. In 1547, on finishing the book, he went to Rimino; and whilst
he was employed in painting for the fraternity of Olivets, Father D.
Gio. Matteo Faetani, abbot of the monastery, corrected his work and
caused it to be wholly transcribed; about the end of that year it was
sent to Caro for perusal. He signified his approbation of it, "as
written in a fine style, and with great care;"[190] except that in some
passages a less artificial style was desirable. After being corrected in
this respect, it was printed in two volumes by Torrentino, at Florence,
in the year 1550; in this edition he received considerable aid from
Father D. Miniato Pitti, then an Olivetine friar.[191] Vasari complained
that "many things were there inserted he knew not how, and were altered
without his knowledge or consent;"[192] but I cannot agree with
Bottari,[193] that these alterations were made by Pitti or any other
monk. If Vasari could not discover their author, we are much less likely
to find him out; and there is some ground for believing that Vasari had
offended many persons by certain invidious anecdotes, and thus
endeavoured to excuse himself as well as he could. Who can believe that
the many things cancelled in the second edition, which seems almost a
new work, were all liberties taken by other persons, "he did not know
how" and not mistakes, at least for the most part, made by himself?

In whatever way it happened, he had an opportunity of correcting his
lives, of augmenting them, and again printing them, accompanied by
portraits of the artists. After publication of the first edition he had
availed himself of the manuscripts of Ghiberti, of Domenico Ghirlandaio,
of Raffaello d'Urbino; and had himself collected a number of anecdotes
in his different journeys through Italy. He undertook a new tour in
1566, to prepare for the new edition, as he informs us in the life of
Benvenuto Garofolo; he again examined the works of different masters,
and obtained new information from his friends, some of whom he mentions
by name, when treating of the artists of Forli and Verona. He would have
been still more full of anecdote in his Lives, had his success
corresponded with his diligence. On this account, in the beginning and
at the end of the Life of Carpaccio, he laments that "he was not able to
obtain every particular of many artists;" nor to possess their
portraits; and he "entreats us to accept what he is able to offer,
although he cannot give all he might desire." He republished his Lives
in 1568, and affirmed in the Dedication to Cosmo I. that "as for himself
he wished for nothing more in them." The new edition issued from the
press of the Giunti; of the additions, consisting of fine observations
upon philosophy and Christian morality, which cannot be ascribed to
Giorgio, part was supplied by Borghini, and still more by Father D.
Silvano Razzi, a Camalduline monk, as Bottari conjectures in his
Preface,[194] but it does not follow that they assisted in correcting
the work. It is full of errors; sometimes in the grammatical
construction, often in the names, and frequently in the dates; and
though it was reprinted at Bologna, in 1648; at Rome, with the notes and
corrections of Bottari, in 1759; in Leghorn and Florence, in 1767, with
fresh notes and additions by the same; and lastly, in Siena, with those
of P. della Valle; it still remains not so much a judicious selection of
facts, as a mass of chronological emendations, some of which shall be
noticed in the sequel.[195]

This, if I am not deceived, is the objection that can be most
frequently, and almost continually urged against the work. The other
strictures to be met with in authors are, for the most part,
exaggerations of writers, offended at Vasari for his silence or his
criticisms, on the works of the artists of their country. There is
nothing so flattering to the vanity of an author, as defending the
character of his native place, and of those citizens who have rendered
her illustrious. In whatever manner he writes, all his countrymen, who
are all the world to him, think him in the right; and in the
coffeehouses he frequents, in the shops of the booksellers, and in all
public places, they hail him as the public advocate. Hence we need not
be surprised that such an author writes as if his country had appointed
him her champion, assumes a spirit of hostility, and then the transition
is easy from a just defence to an injurious attack. From such causes
some writers appear to me actuated by unbecoming enmity to Vasari. The
passages of the first edition, cancelled in the second, have been quoted
against him; he has incurred odium for some deformed portraits, as if he
was accountable for the defects of nature; his most innocent expressions
have been tortured into a sinister meaning; his enemies would have us
believe that, intending to exalt his darling Florentines, he neglected
the other Italian artists, as if, in order to do justice to these, he
had not travelled and sought for information, although often in vain, as
I before mentioned. The historians of all the other schools have used
him as the commentators of Virgil treated Servius; all have abused him,
and all have availed themselves of his labours. For if all the
information collected by Vasari concerning the old masters of the
Venetian, Bolognese, and Lombard schools be taken away, how imperfect
does their history remain? In my opinion, therefore, he deserves our
best thanks for what he has done, and much forbearance for what he has

If his judgment appears less accurate on some artists of a different
school, he ought not, on that account, to be taxed with malignity and
envy, as is well observed by Lomazzo. He has protested that he has done
his best to adhere to truth, or to what he believed to be true,[196] and
it is sufficient to read him without prejudice to give him credit for
such justification. He seems a man who writes as he thinks. Thus, he
bestows commendations upon Baldinelli and upon Zuccaro, his
enemies,[197] as well as upon his friends: he distributes censure and
praise with an equal hand to Tuscan and other artists. If he discovers
painters of little merit in other schools, he finds them also in that of
Florence; if he relates the jealousies of foreign artists, he does not
conceal those of the Florentines, of which he speaks with a playful
freedom in the Life of Donatello, in his own, and more especially in
that of Pietro Perugino. His partial criticisms therefore on certain
artists arose less from his nationality, than from other causes. It is
certain that he saw but little of some masters; his opinion of others
was formed upon incorrect information; and he could not attain the same
certainty that we now boast, on what related to a number of artists then
living, who, as usually happens, were then more censured than admired.
Some allowance too should be made for his other avocations; by the
multiplicity of which he doubtless wrote as he painted, with the
expedition of his mode of practice. A proof of this is afforded by the
repetitions that occur, as we have before observed, in successive
passages, and the contradictory characters he sometimes gives of the
same picture, pronouncing it good in one sentence, and in another
allowing it scarcely the praise of mediocrity. This was particularly the
case in regard to Razzi, towards whom he seems to have entertained ill
will; arising, however, more from the bad reputation of the man than
from prejudice against the school of the artist. For the incorrectness
of such censures, in which he, however, was sincere, I blame his maxims
of art, and the age in which he lived. He reckoned Bonarruoti the
greatest painter that had ever existed;[198] and exalted him above the
ancient Greeks,[199] and, from his practice, held a bold and vigorous
design as the summit of perfection in painting; compared to which,
beauty and colouring were nothing.[200] From such fundamental principles
proceeded some of his obnoxious criticisms on Bassano, Tiziano, and on
Raffaello himself. But is this the effect of his malignity, or of his
education? Does it not happen in philosophy as in painting, that every
one gives a decided preference to those of his own sect. Has not
Petrarca generalized the observation, when he asks,

                  ----"Or che è questo
  Che ognun del suo saper par che si appaghi?"

We may, then, forgive in Vasari what appeared to this philosophic poet a
weakness of human nature; and may observe on a few passages in his work
what was applied to Tacitus; that we condemn his principles, but admire
his history. Such, I believe, was the opinion of Lomazzo, who though not
wholly satisfied with the opinions of Vasari, not only excused but
defended him;[201] and in this he acted properly.

Vasari is, moreover, the father of the history of painting, and has
transmitted to us its most precious materials. Educated in the most
auspicious era of the art, he has in some measure perpetuated the
influence of the golden age. In perusing his Lives, I fancy myself
listening to the individuals of whom he has collected the traditions and
the precepts. It was thus, think I, that Raffaello and Andrea imparted
these facts to their scholars; thus spoke Bonarruoti; the friends of
Giorgio heard this from Vinci and Porta, and in this manner must have
related it to him. I am delighted with the facts, and also with the
luminous, simple, and natural manner in which they are expressed,
interwoven with the technical terms that originated in Florence, and
worthy of every writer whose subject is the fine arts. Finally, should I
discover in him any prejudice of education, or, if you will, arising
from self-love, it seems to me unjust on account of such a fault, to
forget his many services, and to declare hostilities against him for
such blemishes.

Another service Vasari conferred on the fine arts yet remains to be
noticed, and that is the establishment of the Academy of Design in
Florence, about the year 1561, principally through his exertions. The
society of S. Luke there existed from the fourteenth century, but it had
fallen into decay, and was almost extinct, when F. Gio. Angiolo
Montorsoli Servita, a celebrated statuary, conceived the design of
reviving it. He communicated his idea to Giorgio, who so effectually
recommended it to Cosmo I., that, shortly after, it arose with new
vigour, and became at the same time a charitable institution and an
academy of the fine arts. The prince wished to be considered its head,
and D. Vincenzio Borghini was appointed his representative in
transacting his ordinary business, which situation was afterwards filled
by Cav. Gaddi, by Baccio Valori, and successively by some of the most
accomplished gentlemen of the city; an arrangement maintained by the
sovereigns down to the present day. The chapter house of the Nunziata,
"decorated with the sculpture and pictures of the best masters" of the
age, was granted to this college of artists for a hall, as we are
informed by Valori.[202] Another place was assigned for their meetings,
and they have frequently experienced the liberality of succeeding
princes. Their rules were drawn up by the restorers of this institution,
of whom Vasari was one. He wrote concerning it to Michelangiolo,[203]
and asserted that every member of this academy "was indebted to him for
what he knew;" and indeed this academy in all its branches partakes
strongly of his style. A similar doctrine, as we have observed, already
prevailed at Florence; but it would have been better that every one
followed the master whom his genius pointed out. In the choice of a
style nature ought to direct, not to follow; every one should make his
election according to his talents. It is true that the error of the
Florentines is common to other nations; and has given rise to an
opinion, that academies have had a baneful influence on the arts; since
they have only tended to constrain all to follow the same path; and
hence Italy is found fruitful in adherents to systems, but barren in
true painters. To me the institution of academies has always appeared
highly useful, when conducted on the plan of that of the Caracci, of
which we shall treat under their school. In the mean time I return to
the Florentine school.

The contemporaries of Vasari were Salviati and Jacopo del Conte, both of
whom lived also with Andrea del Sarto, and Bronzino, the scholar of
Pontormo. Like Giorgio, their genius led them to an imitation of
Michelangiolo. Francesco de' Rossi, called Salviati, from the surname of
his patron, was the fellow student of Vasari, under Andrea del Sarto and
Baccio Bandinelli. The last mentioned artist was an excellent sculptor,
who usually taught design to students in painting, an art which, like
Verrocchio, he sometimes practised for amusement. While at Rome,
Salviati, contracting an intimate friendship with Giorgio, pursued the
same studies, and adopted the same fundamental principles of the art. He
finally became a painter more correct, more elevated, and more spirited
than his companion, and Vasari classes him among the best artists then
in Rome. There he was employed in the palace of his patron, in the
Farnese and Riccio palaces, in the Chancery, in the church of S. Gio.
Decollato, and in various other places, where he filled extensive walls
with historical frescos, an employment which was his chief delight. His
invention was very fertile, his compositions varied, his architecture
grand; he is one of the few who have united celerity of execution with
scientific design, in which he was deeply versed, although occasionally
somewhat extravagant. His best production now in Florence is the battle
and triumph of Furius Camillus, in the saloon of the old palace, a work
full of spirit, that appears from the representations of armour,
draperies, and Roman customs, conducted by an able antiquary. There is
also in the church of Santa Croce, a Descent from the Cross; to him a
familiar subject, which he repeated at the Panfili palace at Rome, and
in the _Corpus Domini_ at Venice; and it may be seen in some private
collections, in which his Holy Families and portraits are not rare. The
octagonal picture of Psyche, in the possession of the Grimani family, is
highly celebrated, and Giorgio pronounces it the "finest picture in all
Venice." His remark would have been less invidious, had he said it was
the most scientific in design; but who can concede to him that it
appeared a paragon in that city? The features of Psyche have nothing
uncommon; and the whole, though well composed, and adorned with a
beautiful landscape, and an elegant little temple, cannot be compared to
the charming compositions of Tiziano, or of Paolo Veronese, in which we
sometimes behold, as Dante would express it, "the whole creation smile."
The design of Salviati was better than his colouring; and on this
account he did not meet with success at Venice; on his going to France
he was but little employed, and is now less sought after and esteemed
than Tiziano or Paolo. In ornamental arts such as poetry and painting,
it would seem that mankind are more easily contented with a mediocrity
in knowledge, than with mediocrity in the art of pleasing. It was very
correctly observed by Salvator Rosa, when requested to give his opinion
upon the relative merits of design and colouring, that he had been able
to meet with many Santi di Tito in the shops of the suburbs, at a very
low price, but that he had never seen there a single specimen of
Bassano. Salviati was the best artist of this epoch, and if he was
little employed at Florence, according to Vasari, it arose partly from
the envy of malevolent persons, partly from his own turbulent, restless,
and haughty demeanour. He trained up, however, some artists who belong
to this school. Francesco del Prato, an eminent goldsmith, and an
excellent artist in the inlaying of metals, when advanced in life,
imbibed the love of painting from Salviati, and became his pupil. Having
a good idea of design, he was soon able to execute cabinet pictures; two
of which, the Plague of Serpents and the Limbo, are pronounced most
beautiful by Vasari. It is not improbable that some of the minor
pictures ascribed to Salviati may be the work of this artist, who is as
little named as if he had never existed. Bernardo Buontalenti, a man of
rare and universal genius, was instructed in miniature painting by
Clovio, and had Salviati, Vasari, and Bronzino, for his masters in the
other branches of painting. He was so successful that his works were in
request by Francis I., by the emperor, and the king of Spain. His
portrait is in the royal gallery, besides which little in Florence can
be ascribed to him with certainty, for he dedicated his time chiefly to
architecture and to hydrostatics. Ruviale Spagnuolo, Domenico Romano,
and Porta della Garfagnana, belong to the school of Salviati. We shall
notice the last among the Venetians, among whom he lived. In the
treatise of Lomazzo, Romolo Fiorentino is assigned to the same school;
the individual conjectured by P. Orlandi to be the Romolo Cincinnato, a
Florentine painter, employed by Philip II. of Spain. He is very
honourably mentioned by Palomino, together with his sons and pupils,
Diego and Francesco, both eminent artists favoured by Philip IV. and
Pope Urban VIII. by whom they were knighted.

Jacopino del Conte, who is also noticed in the _Abecedario Pittorico_,
under the name of Jacopo del Conte, and considered not as the same
individual, but as two distinct artists, was little employed in
Florence, but in great request in Rome. He was eminent as a
portrait painter to all the Popes and the principal nobility of Rome,
from the time of Paul III. to that of Clement VIII., in whose
pontificate he died. His ability in composition may be discovered in the
frescos in S. Gio. Decollato, and especially in the picture of the
Deposition in that place, a work which is reckoned among his finest
productions. There the competition of his most distinguished countrymen
stimulated his exertions for distinction. He was an imitator of
Michelangiolo, but in a manner so free, and a colouring so different,
that it seems the production of another school. Scipione Gaetano, whom
we shall consider in the third book of our history, was his scholar. Of
Domenico Beceri, a respectable pupil of Puligo, and of some others of
little note, I have nothing further to add.

Angiolo Bronzino was another friend of Vasari, nearly of the same age,
and was enumerated among the more eminent artists, from the grace of his
countenances, and the agreeableness of his compositions. He is likewise
esteemed as a poet. His poems were printed along with those of Berni;
and some of his letters on painting are preserved in the collection of
Bottari.[204] Although the scholar and follower of Pontormo, he also
recals Michelangiolo to our recollection. His frescos in the old palace
are praised, adorning a chapel, on the walls of which he represented the
Fall of Manna, and the Scourge of the Serpents, histories full of power
and spirit; although the paintings on the ceiling do not correspond with
them, being deficient in the line of perspective. Some of his
altar-pieces are to be seen in the churches of Florence, several of them
feebly executed, with figures of angels, whose beauty appears too soft
and effeminate. There are many, on the other hand, extremely beautiful,
such as his Pietà at S. Maria Nuova, and likewise his Limbo at Santa
Croce, in an altar belonging to the noble family of Riccasoli. This
picture is better suited for an academy of design, from the naked
figure, than for a church; but the painter was too much attached to
Michelangiolo to avoid imitating him even in this error. This picture
has been lately very well repaired. Many of his portraits are in Italian
collections of paintings, which are praiseworthy for their truth and
spirit; but their character is frequently diminished by the colour of
the flesh, which sometimes partakes of a leaden hue, at other times
appears of a dead white, on which the red appears like rouge. But a
yellowish tint is the predominant colour in his pictures, and his
greatest fault is a want of relief.

The succeeding artists, who are chiefly Florentines, are named by Vasari
in the Obsequies of Bonarruoti, in the memoirs of the academicians,
written about the year 1567, and in several other places. Their works
are scattered over the city, and many of them are to be found in the
cloister of S. Maria Novella. If these semicircular pictures had not
been retouched and altered, this place would be, with regard to this
epoch, what the cloister of the Olivetines in Bologna is to that of the
Caracci; an era, indeed, more auspicious for the art, but not more
interesting in an historical point of view. Another collection, of which
I have spoken in my description of the tenth cabinet of the royal
gallery, is better preserved, and indeed is quite perfect. It now
occupies another apartment. It consists of thirty-four fabulous and
historical pictures, painted on the panels of a writing desk for Prince
Francesco,[205] by various artists of this epoch. Vasari, to whom the
work was entrusted, there represented Andromeda delivered by Perseus,
and procured the assistance of the academicians, who thus emulated each
other, and strove to recommend themselves to the court. Most of them
have put their names to their work;[206] and, if the defects common to
that age, or peculiar to the individual, are here and there visible in
the work, it demonstrates that the light of painting was not yet
extinguished in Florence. Nevertheless, I advise him who examines this
collection, to suspend his judgment on the merits of those artists until
he has considered their other productions in their own country or at
Rome, where some of them have a place in the choicest collections. They
may be divided in several schools: we shall begin with that of Angiolo.

Alessandro Allori, the nephew and pupil of Bronzino, whose surname he
sometimes inscribed on his pictures, is reckoned inferior to his uncle.
Wholly intent upon anatomy, of which he gave fine examples in the
Tribune of the Servi, and on which he composed a treatise for the use of
painters, he did not sufficiently attend to the other branches of the
art. Some of his pictures in Rome, representing horses, are beautiful;
and his sacrifice of Isaac, in the royal museum, is coloured almost in
the Flemish style. His power of expression is manifested by his picture
of the Woman taken in Adultery in the church of the Holy Spirit. He was
expert in portrait painting; but he abused this talent by introducing
portraits in the modern costume in ancient histories, a fault not
uncommon in that age. On the whole his genius appears to have been equal
to every branch of painting; but it was unequally exercised, and
consequently unequally expanded. He painted much for foreigners, and
enjoyed the esteem of the ducal family, who employed him to finish the
pictures at Poggio a Caiano, begun by Andrea del Sarto, Franciabigio,
and Pontormo, and by them left more or less imperfect. Opposite to these
pictures he painted, from his own invention, the Gardens of the
Hesperides, the Feast of Syphax, and Titus Flaminius dissuading the
Etolians from the Achæan league; all which historical subjects, as well
as those of Cæsar and Cicero, were chosen as symbols of similar events
in the lives of Cosmo and Lorenzo de' Medici. Such was the manner of
thinking in that age; and moderns personified in ancient heroes obtained
a less direct, but higher honour from the art. Giovanni Bizzelli, a
disciple of Alessandro, of middling talents, painted in S. Gio.
Decollato, at Rome, and in some Florentine churches. Cristofano, a son
of Alessandro, became eminent; but he is to be considered hereafter.

Santi Titi, of Città San Sepolcro, a scholar of Bronzino and Cellini,
studied long at Rome, whence he returned, with a style full of science
and of grace. His beautiful is without much of the ideal; but his
countenances exhibit a certain fulness, an appearance of freshness and
of health, that is surpassed by none of those who took nature for their
model. Design was his characteristic excellence; and for this he was
commended by his imitator, Salvator Rosa. In expression he has few
superiors in other schools, and none in his own. His ornaments are
judicious; and having practised architecture with applause, he
introduced perspectives, that gave a dignity and charm to his
compositions. He is esteemed the best painter of this epoch, and belongs
to it rather from the time in which he lived than his style; if we
except his colouring, which was too feeble, and without much relief.
Borghini, at once his critic and apologist, remarks that even in this
department he was not deficient, when he chose to exert himself; and he
seems to have studied it in the Feast of Emmaus, in the church of the
Holy Cross at Florence, in the Resurrection of Lazarus, in the cathedral
of Volterra, and in a picture at Città di Castello, in which he
represents the faithful receiving the Holy Spirit from the hands of the
Apostles; a painting that may be viewed with pleasure, even after the
three by Raffaello which adorn that city.

Among his numerous pupils in design, we may reckon his son Tiberio; but
this artist attended less to the pursuits of his father, than to
painting small portraits in vermilion, in which he had singular merit;
these were readily received into the collection formed by Cardinal
Leopold, which now forms a single cabinet in the royal museum. Two other
Florentines are worthy of notice, viz. Agostino Ciampelli, who
flourished in Rome under Clement VIII.; and Lodovico Buti, who remained
at Florence. They resemble twins by the similarity between them; less
scientific, less inventive, and less able in composition, than Titi,
they possessed fine ideas, were correct in design, and cheerful in their
colouring, beyond the usage of the Florentine school; but they were
somewhat crude, and at times profuse in the use of red tints not
sufficiently harmonized. Frescos by the first may be seen in the
Sacristy at Rome, and the chapel of S. Andrea al Gesù, and an oil
painting of the Crucifixion at S. Prassede, in his best manner. A
Visitation, with its two companions, at S. Stephen of Pescia, may be
reckoned among his choicest works; to which the vicinity of Tiarini does
little injury. The second may be recognised by a picture of the miracle
of the loaves and fishes, abounding in figures, which is in the royal
gallery. Baccio Ciarpi, a pupil of the same school, is celebrated as the
master of Berrettini, and deserves to be commended for his diligence and
correctness. He was thought worthy of being employed at La Concezione at
Rome, a most splendid gallery, painted by the greatest artists of that
age. A portrait of one Andrea Boscoli, his pupil and imitator, remains
in the royal museum of Florence, and many of his paintings with horses
are dispersed through the city. He travelled into different parts,
leaving various specimens of his art in different countries, at S.
Ginesio, at Fabriano, and other places in the district of Piceno. His
largest work is a S. John the Baptist in the attitude of prayer, at the
Teresiani of Rimino; a picture that shews invention, but it was unknown
to Baldinucci, who compiled anecdotes of this artist. Constantino de'
Servi is conjectured by Baldinucci to be a scholar of Titi. He is well
known to have been originally his imitator, and having gone into
Germany, there adopted the style of Pourbus. In foreign countries he
seems to have painted few portraits, a branch in which he had greater
merit than employment. His celebrity was greater as a master architect
and engraver of gems, as we shall notice in a subsequent epoch. In
closing the account of the school of Santi, it may be proper to observe,
that his example reclaimed a great proportion of the succeeding
generation, and inclined artists to mitigate the severity of the style
of Michelangiolo, by introducing more grace in the contours, and a
better taste in the heads.

Batista Naldini holds the third rank among the scholars of Bronzino. He
was first the pupil of Pontormo, afterwards of Bronzino, and having
resided some time at Rome, he was chosen by Vasari as the companion of
his labours in the old palace, and retained by him about fourteen years.
The historian makes honourable mention of Naldini, even when a young
man, and denominates him a painter skilful and vigorous, expeditious and
indefatigable. Naldini obtained similar praise in Rome from Baglione,
especially for the chapel of John the Baptist, at Trinità de' Monti,
which he painted with the history of the saint. He painted many pictures
in his native city, some of which, as the taking down from the Cross,
and the Purification of the Virgin, are commended by Borghini for the
colouring and the design, for the disposition, the perspective, and the
attitudes. The defects observable in most of his pictures are, that the
knees are rather too much swollen, the eyes too open, and marked with a
certain fierceness, by which he may be generally recognized; his
colouring is also characteristic, and those changeable hues in which he
delighted more than any other artist of the age.

He taught according to the method then pursued by most masters, which
was to employ his scholars in designing after the chalk drawings of
Michelangiolo, and to give them his own finished pictures to copy; for,
like bees, artists were exceedingly anxious to work in secret, and ready
to wound all who overlooked them. Baldinucci has recorded several
instances of this peculiarity. From these circumstances the fault of the
scholars of Naldini was stiffness, the common failing of that age; they
had little of that free touch and taste in colouring which he possessed,
but yet they deserve to be recorded. Giovanni Balducci, called also
Cosci, from the surname of his maternal uncle, was long his assistant.
His Last Supper in the cathedral, the Finding of the Cross at the
Crocetta, his historical compositions in the cloister of the Domecans at
Florence, and in S. Prassede at Rome, prove his genius to have been more
refined than that of his master. To second the latter, he now and then,
perhaps, went beyond his province, and to some, his attitudes at times
appear affected. He resided and died at Naples, and he is deservedly
praised by the historians of that city. Cosimo Gamberucci appears to
have aimed at a totally different object. On examining a great part of
his works, we may say of him, as was observed of the ancient artist,
that he has not sacrificed to the Graces. He seems finally to have
improved, for he has left some fine pictures, worthy of the following
epoch. Peter healing the lame in S. Pier Maggiore, a picture in the
style of the Caracci, is the work of his hand. The Servitian monks have
a good picture by him in their public hall; and his holy families and
cabinet pictures of a high class are to be met with in the city. The
Cav. Francesco Currado had a still better opportunity of improvement,
for he lived ninety-one years, constantly employed in painting and in
teaching. One of his best pictures is on the altar of S. Saverio, in the
church of S. Giovannino. He was very eminent in small figures, and in
this style he painted the history of the Magdalen, and especially the
martyrdom of S. Tecla, of the royal gallery, which are works of his best
time. In the same school we may include Valerio Marucelli, and Cosimo
Daddi, both artists of some merit; the second is memorable for his
celebrated pupil Volterrano, in whose native place he married, and two
of his altar-pieces still remain there.

Giovanni Maria Butteri, and Lorenzo dello Sciorina, were two other
scholars of Bronzino, and assisted Vasari in the above mentioned
pictures on the escrutoire, and in his preparations for festivals. The
first imitated Vasari, his master, and Titi; but at all times his
colouring was inharmonious; the second has little to boast of beyond his
design. Both are honourably mentioned among the academicians; as is also
Stefano Pieri, who assisted Vasari in the cupola of the metropolitan
church. The sacrifice of Isaac, of the Pitti palace, is ascribed to him,
and it is the best of his works executed at Rome, which are censured as
hard and dry by Baglione. Cristofano dell'Altissimo, whose talent lay in
portrait painting, may be added to these. Giovio had formed the
celebrated collection of portraits of illustrious men, which is still
preserved at Como, though now divided between the two families of the
Conti Giovio, one of which possesses the portraits of learned men, the
other those of warriors. From this collection, which the prelate styled
his museum, that still existing at Mondragone was copied, and also the
collection now in the Florentine gallery, by the labours of Cristofano,
who was sent for that purpose to Como by Cosmo I. He copied the features
of those celebrated men, but attended little to other circumstances;
whence it happens that the Giovian collection exhibits many very
dissimilar manners, the Medicean one alone; but the features of the
originals are very faithfully expressed.

Michele di Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio instructed many artists in this
epoch. From his school, proceeded Girolamo Macchietti, or G. del
Crocifissaio, the assistant of Vasari for six years, who afterwards
studied for two years at Rome, though already an adept in the art. His
example merits imitation, for that school speaks more to the eye than
the ear; and he who there employs his eyes judiciously, cannot fail to
reap the advantage. After his return to Florence he finished a few
valuable pictures with care and assiduity, among which may be noticed an
Epiphany for the chapel of the Marquis Della Stufa, at S. Lorenzo, and a
martyrdom of S. Lorenzo S. Maria Novella, which is greatly praised by
Lomazzo. Borghini also, after commending the beauty, the expression, and
the picture in general, scarcely found any thing to censure. It is
certainly among the most striking pictures in that church. Macchietti
also went to Spain, and was not a little employed at Naples and at
Benevento, where he is said to have painted his best pictures. In the
Dizionario Storico of the professors of the fine arts at Urbino (Colucci
tom. xxxi.) I find mention that Girolamo Macchietti produced some
battle-pieces for the hall of the Albani at S. Giovanni; but I see no
reason why he should be admitted to a place among native artists
belonging to that city, or to the state of Urbino.

Vasari mentions Andrea del Minga, then a youth, as contemporary with
Macchietti; yet he is reckoned by Orlandi and Bottari, the
fellow student of Michelangiolo. He was among the last pupils of Ridolfo
del Ghirlandaio, when the school was chiefly under the direction of
Michele; and hence he rather followed the latter than the former. His
own works are by no means among the most excellent. In the Prayer in the
Garden, which remains in the church of the Holy Cross, he rivals any of
his contemporaries; and hence it is alleged, that he was assisted in
this picture by three of his friends. Francesco Traballesi, mentioned by
Baglione as the painter of some historical frescos in the Greek church
at Rome, was a pupil of Michele, but lived too short a time to do him
honour. The fable of Danaë, on the writing desk, is the work of his
brother Bartolommeo.

About this time lived Bernardino Barbatelli, surnamed Poccetti, an
artist omitted by Vasari in the school of Michele, and in the catalogue
of the academicians; because at that period he painted only grotesques
and fronts of buildings, in which, though he had arrived at great
eminence, he had not the reputation he afterwards attained in Rome as an
architect, from assiduously studying the works of Raffaello, and of
other great masters. He subsequently returned to his native place, not
only a pleasing and graceful figurist, but rich and learned in his
compositions; hence he was enabled to adorn his historical subjects with
beautiful landscapes, with sea-views, with fruit, and flowers, not to
mention the magnificence of his draperies, and tapestries, which he
imitated to admiration. Very few of his pictures on panel or on canvass,
but many of his frescos, remain in almost every corner of Florence; nor
does he yield to many Italian masters in this art. Pietro da Cortona
used to express his astonishment that he was in his time less esteemed
than he merited; and Mengs never came to Florence without going to study
him, and diligently searching after his most forgotten frescos. He often
painted with careless haste, like a class of poets whose minds are
imbued with Parnassian fury and fine imagery, and who recite verses with
little preparation, and with little trouble. He is, however, always to
be admired, always shews facility and freedom, with that resolute and
firm pencil which never makes an erroneous touch; a circumstance from
which he has been denominated the Paul of his school. He often studied
and made great preparation for his works, and corrected his outline as
one would do in miniature painting. Whoever wishes to estimate the
powers of this artist should examine the Miracle of the drowned restored
to life in the cloister of the Santissima Nunziata, a picture reckoned
by some connoisseurs among the best in the city. His fresco works are to
be met with nearly throughout all Tuscany, and his circular pictures in
the cloister of the Servi at Pistoja, are greatly commended.

Maso Manzuoli, or M. di S. Friano, a scholar of Pierfrancesco di Jacopo
and of Portelli, is esteemed equal to Naldini and Allori by Vasari. Nor
will this appear strange to any one who beholds his Visitation, which,
for many years, decorated S. Pier Maggiore, and was afterwards carried
to Rome, where it was deposited in the gallery of the Vatican. It was
painted when he was about thirty years of age; and, in the opinion of
the historian, it abounds with beauty and grace in the figures, in the
draperies, in the architecture, and in every other circumstance. This is
his finest work, and is even among the best of that age. In his other
pictures at S. Trinità, in the ducal gallery, and elsewhere, he is
something dry; and may be compared to some writers who, though they
offend not against grammar, are not entitled to the praise of eloquence.
Alessandro Fei, or A. del Barbiere, was his companion, and partly his
scholar. This artist, who painted in private, received his first
instruction in the school of Ghirlandaio, and of Piero Francia. He had a
bold and fertile genius, adapted to large historical frescos, in which
he introduced fine architecture and grotesques. In his pictures he
attended more to design and expression than to colouring; except in some
pieces, supposed to be his last productions, and executed after the
reformation of the art by Cigoli. His picture of the Flagellation in S.
Croce is highly approved by Borghini. Baldinucci admires him, especially
in small historical subjects, such as, amongst the pieces on the writing
desk, are the Daniel at the Feast of Belshazzar, and that of the
goldsmith's art.

Federigo Zuccaro may be reckoned among the instructors of the artists of
this epoch; for whilst employed in painting the cupola of the cathedral,
where Vasari had only finished a few figures at his death, he taught
painting to Bartolommeo Carducci, who became an architect and statuary
under Amannati, and an artificer in stucco under another master.
Carducci acquired distinction by those talents in the court of his
Catholic Majesty, where he was introduced by Zuccaro; and where he
established himself and his younger brother and pupil, Vincenzio. Both
are mentioned by Palomino among the eminent artists who painted in the
court of Spain. Both must be well known there; especially the latter,
who lived but little at Florence, and who painted more pictures when in
the service of Philip III. and Philip IV. than any of his predecessors
or successors. He printed a dialogue in the Spanish tongue, _De las
Excelencias de la Pintura_, from which Baldinucci has quoted some
passages in the account of this artist.

Of some of the artists mentioned by Vasari as his assistants in the
decoration of the palace, in the preparations for the marriage of Prince
Francesco, in the funeral obsequies of Bonarruoti, or in the collection
of pictures on the writing desk, the masters are unknown; and the
knowledge would be of little consequence. Such artists are Domenico
Benci, and Tommaso del Verrocchio, whom he names in his third volume at
page 873, and Federigo di Lamberto, a Fleming, called F. del Padovano,
whom he had a little before noticed as a new citizen of Florence, and as
a considerable ornament to the academy. Omitted by Vasari, but inscribed
on the writing desk, we find the names of Niccolo Betti, who painted the
story of Cæsar; of Vittor Casini, who there represented the Forge of
Vulcan; of Mirabello Cavalori, who pourtrayed Lavinia Sacrificing, and
also the emblems of the art of weaving; of Jacopo Coppi, who there
painted the Family of Darius, and the invention of gunpowder. I suspect
that they were all scholars of Michele; and Vasari has more than once
thus generally noticed them. Perhaps Cavalori is the Salincorno
mentioned in another place, and Coppi is believed to be that Jacopo di
Meglio, who is more severely treated by Borghini than any other in the
church of the Holy Cross; and not without reason; for his _Ecce Homo_ in
that place has all the defects of this epoch. Whether Coppi is to be
identified with this person or not, he cannot be equally reprehended for
his pictures on the writing desk; and in S. Salvator at Bologna, he
produced a picture of the Redeemer Crucified by the Jews, that might vie
with the best pictures in that city previous to the time of the Caracci,
and is yet one of those most full of subject and most carefully studied.
He imitated Vasari in colouring, and in propriety of invention, in
variety of figures, and in diligence in every part, I have seen no
picture of Vasari by which it is surpassed. It bears the date of 1579,
together with his name. There is an account of two of his frescos in the
Guida di Roma; one of which, very copious in subject, is placed in the
tribune of S. Pietro in Vincoli.

To the same period belongs the name of Piero di Ridolfo, by whom there
is a large altar-piece, consisting of the Ascension, and bearing the
date 1612; it is supposed that he took his name from the last of the
Ghirlandai, in whose service he may have been during his early life.
Whoever may be desirous of adding to the list of names, will find a
great number in a letter of Borghini to the Prince D. Francesco (Lett.
Pittor. tom. i. p. 90), in which he suggests a plan for the preparations
of the Prince's nuptials, as well as the artists best qualified to
conduct them. The names, however, I here give would be more than amply
sufficient, were it not my wish to illustrate Vasari by every means in
my power.

After considering the artists of Florence, on turning to the rest of
Tuscany, we find in many places other associates of Giorgio, who,
perhaps, had as many assistants in painting as bricklayers in
architecture. Stefano Veltroni, of Monte Sansavino, his cousin, was a
man of slow parts, but very respectable in the art. He assisted Vasari
in the vineyard of Pope Julius; or rather he superintended the grotesque
works in that place; and followed his cousin to Naples, to Bologna, and
to Florence. I know not whether Orazio Porta, likewise a native of
Sansavino, and Alessandro Fortori of Arezzo, ever left Tuscany; they
appear to have painted chiefly in their native city and its vicinity.
Bastiano Flori and Fra Salvatore Foschi, both natives of Arezzo, were
employed in the Roman Chancery, along with Bagnacavallo, and the
Spaniards Ruviale and Bizzerra. Andrea Aretino, the scholar of Daniello,
lived at a later period, or at least until 1615.[207]

About this time Città San Sepolcro was a seminary for painters, who were
either wholly or chiefly educated by Raffaellino; and from this place
Vasari invited not only the master, but several of the scholars to
assist him in his labours. He was greatly assisted by Cristoforo
Gherardi, surnamed Doceno, whose life he has written. This artist was
his right hand, if we may be allowed the expression, in almost every
place where he was much employed. Gherardi followed his designs with a
freedom resulting from a genius pliant, copious, and natural, adapted to
ornamental works. Such was his talent for managing fresco colours, that
Vasari pronounces himself his inferior: but the grotesques of the
Vitelli palace, which are wholly his own, shew him not to have been more
vigorous in his colouring. The oil picture of the Visitation in the
church of S. Domenico, at Città di Castello, is entirely his own; but
Vasari does not mention it. The upper part of the picture of S. Maria
del Popolo, at Perugia, is likewise his; and is no less elegant and
graceful, than the lower part, which is the work of Lattanzio della
Marca, is firm and vigorous. Doceno died in his native place in 1552;
and Cosmo I. honoured his tomb with a bust of marble, and an epitaph, in
which he is said to be _Pingendi arte præstantissimus_, and Vasari, who
had approved of his labours in the old palace, is called _hujus artis
facile princeps_. It is written in the name of all the Tuscan
painters,[208] and is alone sufficient to demonstrate the state of this
school, and the taste of Cosmo. After this specimen, it is not
surprising that the prince neglected to have his portrait painted by
Tiziano, whom he would esteem little in comparison to his own Vasari. It
is a true observation that virtues are not hereditary, or, as it is
expressed by the poet, they rarely spring up again in the branches. Leo
X. was the patron of the arts, and he knew how to appreciate them; but
Cosmo encouraged, without possessing taste to discriminate.

The Three Cungi (or Congi, as some will have it) are also claimed by San
Sepolcro. Gio. Batista was the servant of Vasari for seven years;
Lionardo is described to us as an eminent designer, in the life of
Perino, and in that of Zuccaro is said to have been a painter employed
in the pontifical palace about 1560, along with his countryman Durante
del Nero. For a knowledge of the third brother, Francesco, I am indebted
to my learned friend Sig. Annibale Lancisi; and I have since received
more particular information from Sig. Giachi, who gives an account of an
altar-piece of S. Sebastiano, in the cathedral at Volterra, together
with the receipt for its purchase money in 1587, where he is called
_Francesco di Leonardo Cugni da Borgo_. At Rome we cannot judge properly
of their style, but it may be discovered in their own country, in the
church of S. Rocco, at the convent of the Osservanti, and in other
places. Their compositions display great simplicity, their ideas are
chiefly drawn from nature, and they attended sufficiently to colouring.
Raffaele Scaminossi, a scholar of Raffaellino, painted in a similar but
somewhat more lively manner. I learn nothing of Giovanni Paolo del
Borgo, except that he was the assistant of Vasari in his very hasty
labours in the Chancery, about 1545. He cannot be the Gio. de' Vecchi
who painted so much in Rome, as we are informed by Baglione; and who
chiefly excelled at Caprarola, when contending with Taddeo Zuccaro, and
in the church of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, in the various histories of the
Martyr. He appears to have arrived at a later period, as did the three
Alberti, who were of a family in San Sepolcro, abounding in painters.
They went to study at Rome, and easily formed themselves on the style
common to artists in the time of Gregory XIII. There they took up their
abode, and there died, after having executed many works, especially in
fresco, in that city, and also some memorials of their art in their
native country.

The cathedral contains a Nativity by Durante, a subject which he handled
better in the Vallicella of Rome, and which is, perhaps, his best
performance in that city: in others he is often languid, both in design
and colouring, and appears rather a laborious artist than a man of
genius. Cherubino, the reputed son of Michele, and the assistant of
Daniel di Volterra,[209] was a celebrated engraver on copper, and from
this art he derived great assistance in design. Although late in
applying to painting, he obtained a name in those times. His proportions
were light and spirited; his choirs of angels were agreeable and
original; his penciling and whole composition were dexterous and
spontaneous. Such is the character of his Trinity in the cathedral of
Borgo, in which place there remains the façade of a palace, well
conceived, ornamented with arms, genii, and other fanciful devices. He
painted the ceiling of the chapel of Minerva in Rome with various
ornaments and figures, on a golden ground; in that city, however, he
generally assisted his younger brother Giovanni, who introduced a new
era in perspective; not only by his works, existing in the houses of
private individuals at San Sepolcro, and other cities, but by the fresco
perspectives which he executed at Rome. He claims admiration in the
sacristy of the church of S. Gio. Laterano, where he imitated the
salient and receding angles of architecture; and still more in the grand
Clementine salon, the most prodigious and exquisite work in perspective
then existing. Baglione highly commends the S. Clement and other figures
with which it is ornamented; and remarks that they are admirably
foreshortened, and are superior to those of Cherubino, who was not so
eminent in perspectives. Baglione mentions a Francesco, the son of
Durante, who died at Rome. I am uncertain whether he is the
Pierfrancesco to whom we attribute the Ascension, in the church of S.
Bartholomew at Borgo, with some pictures of no great merit in the church
of S. John, and in other places. History mentions also Donato, Girolamo,
Cosimo, and Alessandro Alberti, of whom I can collect nothing further.

The writers of Prato exalt their countryman, Domenico Giuntalocchio,
pupil to Soggi, in whose life Vasari mentions Domenico more as an
engineer than a painter. He describes him as a correct portrait painter,
but so extremely tardy in his works in fresco, that he became tiresome
to the Aretini, with whom he for some time dwelt. I cannot point out any
genuine picture from his hand; but his memory is still fresh in the
minds of his fellow citizens, because, instead of leaving his native
place ornamented with his pictures, he left 10,000 crowns as a fund to
be appropriated to the education of young artists.

After the death of Daniel, his scholar and relation Giovanni Paolo
Rossetti, retired to Volterra, and, as is attested by Vasari, executed
works of great merit in this his native place; among which we may reckon
the Deposto, in the church of S. Dalmatius. At a short distance from the
city is a place which gave name to Niccolò dalle Pomarance, of the
family of Circignani. Vasari describes him as a young man of ability. He
neglects to inform us who was his master; but he appears to have been
Titi, whom he assisted in the great salon of the Belvidere palace. He
grew old in Rome, where he left numerous specimens of the labours of his
pencil, which he employed with freedom, and at a good price. He shewed
himself greatly superior to the artists of this period, in some of his
works, as in the Cupola of S. Pudenziana. Cavalier Roncalli was a native
of the same place; there are pictures by them both at Pomarance; where
there are also some by Antonio Circignani, the son of the former, an
able artist, though little known. All three will again be treated of in
the third book.

Pistoia possessed at the same time two scholars of Ricciarelli; Biagio
da Cutigliano, noticed by Vasari,[210] and P. Biagio Betti Teatino, a
miniature painter, sculptor, and historical painter of merit, whom
Baglione represents as constantly employed in the service of the church
and convent to which he belonged. Leghorn gave birth to Jacopo
Rosignoli, pupil of an unknown master, who lived in Piedmont, where his
works must be sought. Baccio Lomi, whose style much resembles that of
Zuccaro, remained at Pisa: he owes much of his skill and of his
reputation to his two nephews, as we shall afterwards relate. Though
unknown beyond the limits of his native country, he must not be passed
over in silence. The Assumption, in the residence of the Canons, and
some of his other pictures, participate of the hardness of the age, but
exhibit very good design and colouring.

Paolo Guidotti distinguished himself in the neighbouring state of Lucca,
as a painter of genius and of spirit, no less than a man of letters, and
well grounded in anatomical knowledge; but his taste was not polished
and refined. He came to Rome in the distracted times of Gregory and
Sixtus, and lived there during the pontificate of Paul V., who created
him a knight, and conservator of Rome: he further permitted him to
assume the additional name of Borghese, the family name of the pontiff.
Many of his paintings in fresco are preserved at Rome, in the Vatican
library, in the Apostolic chamber, and in several churches: the artists
with whom he was associated, prove that he was reputed a good artist.
Several of his pictures are in his native place; and there is a large
piece representing the Republic, in the palace. Girolamo Massei pursued
a similar track, only confining himself to the art of painting.
Baglione, who gave an account of him, introduces him into Rome as an
artist, already much commended for his accuracy; to which Taia adds,
that he was both a good designer and colourist; so much so as to lead us
to distinguish him from the crowd of Gregorian and Sixtine
practitioners, in the same way that he was chosen by P. Danti to
ornament the chambers of the Vatican; of which more hereafter. He
returned to his native place in his old age, not to employ himself anew,
but to die in tranquillity among his friends. Benedetto Brandimarte, of
Lucca, is mentioned by Orlandi. I saw a decollation of S. John by this
artist in the church of S. Peter, at Genoa, which was but a miserable
performance; a single production, however, is not sufficient to decide
the character of an artist.

The name of a Pietro Ferabosco is mentioned only by the continuator of
Orlandi; he is supposed to have been a native of Lucca, though he is
referred to the academy of Rome, where he probably pursued his first
studies; I say _probably_, because the excellence of his colouring in
the Titian manner, would lead me rather to include him among the
Venetian artists. There are three of his half-length figures, together
with his name, and the date of 1616, reported as being in the possession
of a gentleman in Portugal; where he resided, most likely, a longer
period than in Italy.

We have already noticed some Tuscans who acquired distinction in the
inferior branches of painting; such as Veltroni, Constantino de' Servi,
Zucchi, and Alberti: Antonio Tempesti, of Florence, a scholar both of
Titi and Stradano, was among the first to acquire a celebrated name in
Italy for landscapes and for battles. He practised engraving on copper,
prepared cartoons for tapestry, and gave scope to his genius in the most
fanciful inventions in grotesque and ornamental work. He surpassed his
master in spirit, and was inferior to none, not even to the Venetians.
In a Letter on Painting by the Marquis Giustiniani,[211] he is adduced
as an example of great spirit in design, a gift conferred by nature, and
not to be acquired by art. He attempted few things on a large scale, and
was not so successful as in small pictures. The Marquis Niccolini, the
Order of the Nunziata, and several Florentine families, possess some of
his battles painted on alabaster, in which he appears the precursor of
Borgognone, who is said to have studied him attentively. He most
frequently painted in fresco, as at Caprarola, in the Este Villa at
Tivoli, and in many parts of Rome, from the time of Gregory XIII. Most
of the historical pictures in the Vatican gallery are the work of his
hands; the figures are a palm and a half high, and display astonishing
variety and spirit, accompanied by beautiful architecture and
landscapes, with every species of decoration. He is not, however, very
correct; and his tints are sometimes too much inclined to a brownish
hue; but all such faults are pardonable in him, as being occasioned by
that pictoric fury which inspired him, that fancy which hurried him from
earth, and conducted him through novel and sublime regions, unattempted
by the vulgar herd of artists.

[Footnote 181: "All painters seem to worship him as their great master,
prince, and god of design." It is thus Monsig. Claudio Tolomei writes in
a letter to Apollonio Filareto, towards the end of the fifth book. Such
is the opinion of the artists of the Leonine age, whatever may be the
judgment passed in the age of Pius VI.]

[Footnote 182: Baldinucci, tom. ix. p. 35.]

[Footnote 183: He executed a picture of S. Sigismund for the church of
S. Lorenzo, at the desire of the noble family of Martelli, which
delighted the Duke Cosmo. This picture ought to be removed from the
altar, for the tints are fading.]

[Footnote 184: We learn from Pliny, that Filosseno Eretrio, celeritatem
præceptoris (Nicomachi) secutus breviores etiamnum quasdam picturæ vias,
et compendiarias invenit. (Lib. XXXV. cap. 36.) We perceive, however,
from the context, that his pictures were no less perfect on that
account; and I believe that those compendious means were more
particularly connected with the mechanism of the art.]

[Footnote 185: See Lettere Pittoriche, tom. ii. let. 2.]

[Footnote 186: Bald. tom. ix. p. 35.]

[Footnote 187: See his "Description of the preparations for the marriage
of the Prince D. Francesco, of Tuscany." It is inserted in volume xi. of
the ed. of Siena, which we frequently allude to.]

[Footnote 188: "Treatises by the Cav. Giorgio Vasari, painter and
architect of Arezzo, upon the designs painted by him at Florence, in the
palace of their Serene Highnesses, &c.; together with the design of the
painting commenced by him in the cupola." It is a posthumous work,
supplied by his nephew Giorgio Vasari, who published it in 1588 at
Florence. It was republished at Arezzo in 1762, in 4to.]

[Footnote 189: He had been well imbued with literature at Arezzo, and,
when a youth at Florence, "he spent two hours every day along with
Ippolito and Alessandro de' Medici, under their master Pierio." Vasari
nella Vita del Salviati.]

[Footnote 190: See Lett. Pittoriche, tom. iii. lett. 104.]

[Footnote 191: Bottari adduces an authentic document of this in his
Preface, page 6.]

[Footnote 192: In the Dedicatory Letter to Cosmo I., prefixed to second

[Footnote 193: See Lett. Pittor. tom. iii. let. 226.]

[Footnote 194: It is founded also on Vasari's remark, in his Life of
Frate: "_There is likewise a portrait by F. Gio. da Fiesole, whose life
we have given, which is in the part of the Beati_;" which cannot,
observes Bottari, apply to any other except D. Silvano Razzi, author of
the "Vite dei S. S. e Beati Toscani;" among which is found that of B.
Giovanni. But this indication would be little; or at least it is not
all. The document which clearly reveals the fact, has been pointed out
to me by the polite attention of Sig. Luigi de Poirot, Secretary to the
Royal Finances; and this is in the "Vite de' SS. e BB. dell' ordine de'
Frati Predicatori di Serafino Razzi Domenicano," published after the
death of Vasari, in Florence, 1577. In these, treating of works in the
fine arts in S. Domenico at Bologna, he adds; "we cannot give a
particular account of these histories, but whoever is desirous of it may
consult the whole, in the Lives of the Painters, Sculptors, and
Architects, written, _for the most part_, by D. Silvano Razzi, my
brother, for the Cav. Giorgio Vasari of Arezzo, his very intimate
friend." After such information, we must suppose that Vasari, having
communicated his materials to this monk, received from him a great
number of Lives, that boast such elegant prefaces and fine reflections;
but that he here and there retouched them; adding things either from
haste or inadvertency, not well connected with the context, or repeated
elsewhere. And in this way we may account for the many inconsistencies
to be met with in a number of Lives, very finely written, but containing
passages that do not appear to come from the same pen, and frequently
make the author contradict himself.]

[Footnote 195: It is to be observed that Bottari wrote principally to
mark the changes that the works described by Vasari had undergone during
200 years. In regard to the emendations pointed out by us, he declares
in the Preface, that he could not undertake them for want of time,
health, books, and most of all, inclination. However, we are indebted
for not a few to him, and also to P. Guglielmo, though not equally so in
every school. Both are writers of merit; the former by his citations
from printed works, the second for his information of MSS. and unedited

[Footnote 196: Tom. vii. p. 249.]

[Footnote 197: Vide Taia _Descrizione del Palazzo Vaticano_, p. 11.
Zuccaro did not so readily pardon Vasari, whose work he noted with
severity: as did also one of the three Caracci. Lett. Pittor. tom. iv.
lett. 210.]

[Footnote 198: Tom. viii. p. 203.]

[Footnote 199: P. 117.]

[Footnote 200: Tom. viii. p. 123.]

[Footnote 201: "Although I do not deny, that he shews himself a little
too much the partizan, he ought not to be defrauded of his due praise,
as is attempted by the ignorant and invidious; for the completion of
such an elegant and finished history must have cost him great study and
research, and demanded much ingenuity and discrimination." Idea del
Tempio, &c. cap. iv.]

[Footnote 202: Lett. Pittor. tom. i. p. 190.]

[Footnote 203: Lett. Pittor. tom. iii. p. 51.]

[Footnote 204: He examines the question, then keenly contested, whether
Sculpture or Painting was the most noble art. He decides in favour of
his own profession: and there are some other letters in that volume on
the opposite side of the question worthy of perusal. Bonarruoti, on
being asked this question by Varchi, was unwilling to give a decision.
(See tom. i. p. 7, and p. 22.) After Bonarruoti's decease the contest
was renewed, and prose and verse compositions appeared on both sides.
Lasca wrote in favour of painting, while Cellini defended sculpture.
(See Notes to the Rime of Lasca, p. 314.) Lomazzo is well worthy of
notice in his Treatise, lib. ii. p. 158, in which he gives a MS. of
Lionardo, drawn up at the request of Lodovico Sforza, where he prefers
painting to the sister art.]

[Footnote 205: For an account of this writing desk, which was made
during the life of Cosmo I., see Baldinucci, tom. x. p. 154 and 182.]

[Footnote 206: We there may read Allori, Titi, Buti, Naldini, Cosci,
Macchietti, Minga, Butteri, Sciorini, Sanfriano, Fei, Betti, Casini,
Coppi, and Cavalori; besides Vasari, Stradano, and Poppi, already

[Footnote 207: Baglione, in the Life of P. Biagio Betti.]

[Footnote 208: Pictores Hetrusci.]

[Footnote 209: Vasari calls him Michele Fiorentino, and the painter of
the Slaughter of the Innocents, which we have noticed at page 187.
Orlandi makes him the father of Cherubino, an assertion which is not
contradicted by Bottari. I follow Baglione, the contemporary of
Cherubino, who says that he was the son of Alberto Alberti, an eminent
engraver on copper.]

[Footnote 210: Vasari writes the name _da Carigliano_, in which he has
been followed by other writers on the art, including myself, until I was
informed by Sig. Ansaldi that it ought really to be written
_Cutigliano_, taken from a considerable territory in the Pistoiese.]

[Footnote 211: Tom. vi. p. 25.]



  _Cigoli and his associates improve the style of Painting._

Whilst the Florentines regarded Michelangiolo and his imitators as their
models, they experienced the fate of the poets of the fifteenth century,
who fixed their eyes on Petrarca and his followers alone; they
contracted a strong similarity of style, and differed from each other
only according to their individual talents and genius. As we have above
remarked, they began to exhibit some diversity after the age of Titi;
but they were still languid colourists, and required to be impelled into
another career. About 1580 the period had at length arrived, when they
began to abandon the manner of their countrymen for that of foreign
artists; and then, as we shall have occasion to shew in treating of this
epoch, the Florentine styles became firm and varied. This revolution
originated with two young artists, Lodovico Cigoli and Gregorio Pagani.
We learn from Baldinucci, that, attracted by the celebrity of Barocci,
and a picture which he had recently sent from Urbino to Arezzo, which is
now in the royal gallery at Florence, they went together to see it; they
examined it attentively, and were so captivated with the style, that
they immediately renounced the manner of their master. Passignano
followed their steps, continues Baldinucci, and Cigoli, in his company,
took a second journey as far as Perugia, when Barocci had completed his
celebrated Deposition from the Cross; but here the historian fell into a
chronological error, inasmuch as Bellori, the accurate writer of
Barocci's life, describes his picture at Perugia as anterior to that at
Arezzo by several years. In whatever way the mistake ought to be cleared
up, it is certain that Passignano promoted the views of Cigoli. Their
example turned the rising generation from the old manner to a more
vigorous style. This was more especially the case with Empoli, with Cav.
Curradi, and some of those above mentioned, who were followed by
Cristofano Allori, and Rosselli, artists that transmitted the new method
to their new disciples. They did not, however, imitate Barocci so much
as Correggio, who was the model of Barocci. Unable to visit Lombardy,
they studied the few copies of his pictures, and still fewer originals,
that were to be met with in Florence, in order to acquire his management
of chiaroscuro, a branch of the art then neglected in Florence, and even
at Rome. To this end they began to model in clay and wax; they wrought
in plaster; they studied attentively the effects of light and shade;
they paid less attention to practical rules, and more to nature. Hence
arose a new style which, in my opinion, is among the best hitherto
attempted in Italy; corrected upon the model of the Florentine school;
soft and well relieved on that of Lombardy. If their forms had
approached to Grecian elegance, if their expression had been more
refined, the improvement of painting, which about this time took place
in Italy, should have been ascribed no less to Florence than to Bologna.

Some favourable circumstances assisted the progress of the Florentine
school; among these we may mention a succession of princes friendly to
the art;[212] the readiness with which the celebrated Galileo imparted
to artists his discoveries, and the laws of perspective; the travels of
several Florentine masters to Venice, and through Lombardy; and the long
residence of foreign artists, eminent as colourists, at the court of
Florence. But it was chiefly owing to Ligozzi, who studied under the
Venetian masters, then considered as the best in Italy, and who animated
the old Florentine style with greater spirit and brilliancy than it had
hitherto displayed. After noticing the good style of that period, we
must not omit to mention one less praiseworthy; a sombre manner, which
usurped the place of the other, and at this day renders many pictures of
that period of little or no value. Some ascribe the fault to the method
of mixing the colours, which was everywhere changed; and hence it is not
peculiar to the Florentines, but is found diffused over Italy. It was
partly owing likewise to the rage for chiaroscuro carried to excess. It
is the characteristic of every school of long standing to carry to an
erroneous excess the fundamental maxims of its master: this we have
remarked in the preceding epoch, this we shall find exemplified in every
period of painting, and this, if it were consistent with our present
undertaking, we might demonstrate to have happened in literature; for a
good rule extravagantly pursued leads to the corruption of taste. We
shall now direct our attention to the fourth epoch, in which, omitting
the two older authorities, Vasari and Borghini, we shall chiefly follow
Baldinucci, who was acquainted with the artists we are now to consider,
or with their successors.[213]

Lodovico Cardi da Cigoli, the scholar of Santi di Tito, first awakened
his countrymen to a nobler style, as we have already observed. The
additional observation of Baldinucci, that he perhaps surpassed all his
contemporaries, and that few or none derived such benefit as he did,
from the study of Correggio, will not readily be granted by those who
are conversant with Schedone, the Caracci, or even Barocci, when they
chose to imitate the manner of that great master. From the pictures that
have reached our time, Cigoli appears to have acquired a fine effect of
light and shade from Correggio; to have united this to a scientific
design, to a judicious perspective, the rules of which were previously
taught him by Buontalenti, and to a vivacity of colouring superior to
his countrymen, among whom he unquestionably holds a high rank. His
works, however, exhibit not that contrast of colouring, that mellowness
and clearness, that grace in foreshortenings and features, that
characterize the ornament of the Lombard school. In short he was the
inventor of a style always beautiful, but not always equal; especially
if we compare his early works with his pictures executed after his visit
to Rome. His general colouring savours of the school of Lombardy, his
draperies sometimes resemble those of Paolo Veronese, and he often
rivals the bold style of Guercino.

Independent of the great number of his pictures in the royal gallery,
and many in the possession of the noble family of Pecori, there are a
few in some private houses in Florence. The following are his most
esteemed pictures: the Trinity, in S. Croce; the S. Alberto, in S. Maria
Maggiore; the Martyrdom of St. Stephen, in the nunnery of Monte Domini,
which Pietro da Cortona considers one of the finest pictures in
Florence. Of the same class is the picture which he placed in the church
of the Conventualists at Cortona, in which S. Anthony is represented in
the act of converting an unbeliever, by a miracle of a mule that is seen
kneeling before the holy sacrament: in this piece he aspired at
surpassing any work of art in that highly decorated city. In the Vatican
he painted S. Peter healing the Lame, a wonderful production, which,
among the pictures in Rome, was reckoned by Sacchi next in excellence to
the Transfiguration by Raffaello, and the S. Girolamo by Domenichino.
The Florentine school may well be proud of this opinion, pronounced as
it was by a profound connoisseur, by no means usually lavish of his
commendations. This masterpiece, which obtained him the honour of
knighthood, is, however, utterly ruined by the dampness of the church,
and the ignorance of one who undertook to repair it: but his frescos in
the church of S. Maria Maggiore at Rome still remain; and there, by some
error in perspective, he appears inferior to himself;[214] nor was he
permitted to retouch them, notwithstanding that he employed both
interest and entreaties to that effect. Fortune, in some degree,
persecuted this great artist; for had those frescos perished, and that
oil painting remained to our times, Cigoli would have enjoyed a higher
fame, and Baldinucci obtained more credit.

Andrea Comodi and Giovanni Bilivert, nearly approached Cigoli; Aurelio
Lomi followed at a greater distance. Of the latter, I shall speak among
the Pisan artists, a few pages further on; and of two Romans, belonging
to the same school, in the third book. Comodi, the associate rather than
the scholar of Cigoli, is almost unknown at Florence; but there are many
of his copies after celebrated masters, which often pass for originals,
both in that city and at Rome. This was his peculiar talent; in this he
was unrivalled; and it employed his best years. He produced, however,
several original works that are highly valuable for the design, the
exquisite finish, and the strong body of colouring they display. In
these we may trace the friend of Cigoli, and the copyist of Raffaello.
They are chiefly Madonnas, and are greatly admired for the disposition
of the fingers, which are somewhat spread out, for the graceful slender
neck, and a certain virgin air peculiarly his own. The Corsini family at
Rome possess a very fine one. Some of his fresco pictures remain in the
church of S. Vitale, in that city; and there is a picture of the Titular
saint in S. Carlo a' Catinari, which appears dark and cloudy; an
uncommon circumstance with so good a colourist.

Gio. Bilivert is a name which we in vain look for in Orlandi, who has
transformed him into two painters, one of whom he calls Antonio
Biliverti, and the other, in imitation of Baglione, whose knowledge of
him was inaccurate, Gio. Ballinert; both Florentines, and pupils of
Cigoli. Like the preceding artist, Bilivert is not always equal to
himself. He finished some pictures that had been left imperfect by
Cigoli, to whose design and colouring he endeavoured to unite the
expression of Titi, and a more avowed and frequent imitation of the
ornaments of Paolo Veronese. Bilivert is not sufficiently choice in
heads; but he abounds in expression, as may be seen at S. Gaetano and S.
Marco, where there are many of his historical pictures, particularly the
Raising of the Cross, esteemed one of his best performances. Those
pieces which he engaged to execute, and in which he never appears able
to satisfy himself, are repeated by his scholars: sometimes inscribed
with the initials of his name, especially when he himself retouched
them; at other times they are without an epigraph. None of his
productions are so worthy of being copied as Joseph with Potiphar's
wife; which arrests the eye of every spectator in the ducal gallery.
Many copies of it are to be found in Florence; it may be seen in foreign
collections, in the Barberini Palace at Rome, in the Obizzo collection
at Cattaio, and in several other places.

The ornamented style of Bilivert had many imitators, whose works, in
galleries and in private houses, would pass for those of Venetian
artists, had they greater spirit and a better colouring. Bartolommeo
Salvestrini is at their head; but he was cut off in his prime, by the
plague of 1630, so disastrous to Italy and the art. Orazio Fidani, an
assiduous artist, and skilled in the style of his master, painted much
at Florence; where his Tobias, that was finished for the fraternity of
Scala, but is now removed, is especially commended. Francesco Bianchi
Buonavita was engaged in few public works. He was chiefly employed in
copying ancient pictures, which the court presented to foreign princes,
and in furnishing cabinets with little historical pieces, that were at
that time in great request in countries beyond the Alps. They were
painted on jasper, agate, lapis lazzuli, and other hard stones; the
spots in which assisted in forming the shadows of the pictures. Agostino
Melissi contributed much to the tapestry of the ducal family, by
furnishing cartoons from the works of Andrea del Sarto, and also some of
his own invention. He likewise possessed a genius for oil painting; in
which branch his S. Peter at the Gate of Pilate, which he painted for
the noble family of Gaburri, is particularly praised by Baldinucci.
Francesco Montelatici, by some supposed a Pisan, by others a Florentine,
and surnamed Cecco Bravo, from his quarrelsome disposition, abandoned
the style of Bilivert, or at least mixed it with that of Passignano. He
was a fanciful and spirited designer, and not a bad colourist. A fine
painting of S. Niccolo Vescovo, by this artist, is to be seen at the
church of S. Simone; but his works are rare in churches, for he was
chiefly employed in painting for private, and sometimes for royal
collections. He died painter to the court of Inspruck. Giovanni Maria
Morandi remained but a little time with Bilivert, and on going to Rome,
adopted the style of that school.

Gregorio Pagani was the son of Francesco, who died young; but was highly
esteemed by his countrymen. He had studied the works of Polidoro and of
Michelangiolo, at Rome, and executed admirable imitations of them for
private gentlemen in Florence. Gregorio himself could scarcely
distinguish them. He received the rudiments of his art from Titi, but
was initiated in a better style by Cigoli. Strangers praised him as a
second Cigoli, whilst his country possessed at the Carmine the picture
of the Finding of the Cross, which has been engraved; but when the
painting, with the church, was consumed by fire, no great work of his
remained in public, except a few of his frescos; one of which, though
somewhat injured by time, is an ornament to the cloister of S. Maria
Novella. He is rarely to be met with in Florentine collections, as he
chiefly painted for foreigners. Of his school I here say nothing: it
only produced one eminent pupil; but this one was so conspicuous that he
may be said to form a new era, as we shall find in the sequel.

Another associate of Cigoli was Domenico da Passignano, the scholar of
Naldini and of Federigo Zuccaro, whom he resembles most, from his long
residence at Venice; where he likewise married. He became so decided an
admirer of the merits of this school, that he was accustomed to say that
he who had not seen Venice, ought not to boast that he was a painter.
This circumstance sufficiently accounts for his style, which is not the
most profound, nor the most correct; but it exhibits contrivance, is
vast, rich in architecture and in drapery, resembling more the manner of
Paolo Veronese, than that of the Florentine school. Sometimes he
resembles Tintoretto in his attitudes, and in that oily colouring which
ought to have been avoided; and through which many works of both artists
have perished. This has been the fate of his Crucifixion of St. Peter,
which he executed for the great church in Rome, under Paul V. and of the
Presentation of M. V. which he also painted at the same place under
Urban VIII. Several pictures, however, remain in some Italian cities,
that were begun by his scholars and finished by him, with a degree of
care that hands him down to posterity as a great artist. A dead Christ,
in the chapel of Mongradone, at Frascati, is in this style; as are an
Entombing of Christ, in the Borghese palace, at Rome; a Christ bearing
the Cross, in the college of S. Giovannino, and some other works of his
at Florence. Passignano, his native place, possesses what is perhaps his
most perfect work, in the font of the Church of the Fathers of
Vallombrosa. He there painted a Glory, that proclaims him an excellent
artist, and worthy of a place with his pupils, Lodovico Caracci, the
founder of the Bolognese school, and Tirani, one of its great ornaments.
His Tuscan pupils did not attain equal celebrity. Sorri of Siena, whom
we reserve for that school, is the one best known in Italy; having
painted with applause in several of her cities. Here we must consider
those artists connected with Florence.

Fabrizio Boschi is a spirited painter, whose characteristic excellence
appears to consist in novelty of composition, united to a precision
superior to the generality of his school. A S. Bonaventura in the act of
celebrating mass, in All Saints' church at Florence, is much praised:
and, perhaps, his two historical frescos of Cosmo II. which he painted
in the palace of Cardinal Gio. Carlo de' Medici, in emulation of
Rosselli, are superior to any of his other works. Ottavio Vannini became
eminent in colouring and was very attentive to every other branch of
painting; but he was sometimes poor and cold; and although good in each
part of his pictures, was not happy in the whole. Cesare Dandini, a
disciple of several schools, imitated Passignano in design, in
brilliancy, and also in the perishable nature of his colours: he was
diligent in other things, and very assiduous. His best picture is a S.
Carlo, surrounded by other saints, in the church of Ancona: the
composition is fine, and the whole in good preservation. Many works of
this artist, and of Vannini, decorate collections.

Nicodemo Ferrucci, the favourite pupil of Passignano, and the companion
of his labours at Rome, possessed much of the boldness and spirit of his
master. By his example he was led to affix a good price to his pictures,
mostly frescos executed at Florence, Fiesole, and for the State. He died
young at Fontebuoni; but many of his works, too good to be here omitted,
still remain in Rome; one of the most esteemed of which is found at S.
Gio. de' Fiorentini, besides two histories of Maria S. S. which, if I
mistake not, have suffered from being retouched.

Cristofano Allori was at perpetual variance with Alessandro, his father
and preceptor, on account of his attachment to the novel maxims of the
three masters we have just commended. In the opinion of many he is the
greatest painter of this epoch. When the excellence he attained, during
a long life, is considered, he appears to me in some degree, the
Cantarini of his school. They resembled each other in the beauty, grace,
and exquisite finish of their figures; with this difference, that the
beauty of Cantarini partakes more of the ideal, and that the flesh tints
of Allori are more happy. This circumstance is the more surprising,
inasmuch as he knew nothing of the Caracci, nor of Guido; but supplied
all by a nice discrimination, and an unwearied perseverance; for it was
his custom never to lift his pencil from the canvass until his hand had
obeyed the dictates of his fancy. From this method, and from vicious
habits that often seduced him from his labours, his pictures are
extremely rare, and he himself is little known. The S. Julian of the
Pitti palace is the grandest effort of his genius; and if it is not
among the finest pictures in this magnificent collection, it undoubtedly
claims the highest rank in the second class. His picture of Beato
Manetto, in the church of the Servi, a small piece, but excellent in its
kind, is reckoned the next in merit.

Many young men were sent to be instructed by him in the art of painting;
but few of them remained long: most of them were disgusted at the
dissipation of the master, and the insolence of some of their fellow
students. He formed some landscape painters, whom we shall notice under
their class; and also some copyists, whose labours may boast of hues and
retouching, the work of his hand. Of this class were Valerio
Tanteri,[215] F. Bruno Certosino, and Lorenzo Cerrini. These, and other
artists of this school, continued the Giovian series of the later race
of illustrious men, by transmitting to us many of their portraits, to
which he also lent his hand. To them we owe numerous duplicates of his
most celebrated pictures, which are scattered through Florence, and over
all Italy; more especially of that Judith, so beautifully and
magnificently attired, which is a portrait of his mistress; while her
mother appears in the character of Abra, and the head of Holofernes is
that of the painter, who permitted his beard to grow a considerable time
for this purpose. Zanobi Rosi lived to a later period, and finished some
pieces that were left imperfect by the death of Cristofano; but he never
obtained the praise of invention. The name of Giovanni Batista Vanni is
superior to any other scholar of the school of Allori. The Pisans claim
him as their countryman; Baldinucci assigns him to Florence. After
taking lessons from Empoli and other masters, he attended Allori for six
years; and whilst he imitated this master admirably in colouring, and
rivalled him in design, he also imbibed his lessons of intemperance. Had
he conducted himself with more propriety, and adhered more to fixed
principles, the genius he possessed might have raised him to more
celebrity. He visited the best schools of Italy, and copied on the spot,
or at least designed, the choicest productions of each. Many praise some
of his copies of Tiziano, of Correggio, and of Paolo Veronese: from the
works of the two last he likewise made etchings. Notwithstanding such
studies his colouring degenerated, and he became so much a mannerist,
that he has not left behind him a truly classical work. The S. Lorenzo
in the church of S. Simone, which is reckoned the masterpiece of Vanni,
has nothing uncommon, except it be that the light of the fire invests
the spectators, and gives the picture novelty and surprising harmony.

Jacopo da Empoli, a scholar of Friano, retains in most of his works the
stamp of his early education; but he adopted a second manner which is
not deficient in fulness of design, nor in elegance of colouring. Such
is his S. Ivo, which, among painters of great name in a cabinet of the
ducal gallery, surprises most strangers more than the other pictures. He
executed other works on similar principles, from which we might infer
that he belongs to an era favourable to the art. Painters cannot, like
authors, amend the first on a second edition of the same subject: their
second editions, by which they should be judged, pass as other pictures
superior to their first performances. Two of Jacopo's pictures in fresco
are commended by Moreni (tom. ii. p. 113), one belonging to the Certosa,
the other to the monastery of Boldrone; both which prove the extent of
his ability in this branch of the art; but after the period of his fall
from the scaffolding in the Certosa, he abandoned this method and
devoted himself wholly to painting in oil. Empoli gave all the beauty
and fine effect of large works to those pleasing pictures he painted for
private individuals, and in this style he was very successful.

This artist taught Vanni the principles of painting; but his greatest
pupil was Felice Ficherelli; a man of the most indolent disposition,
lazy in every occupation, and, as if afraid of disturbing his tongue,
usually silent unless when asked a question: hence he was named Felice
Riposo by the Florentines. He executed few pictures; but what proceeded
from his studio may be held up as an example of industry in the art;
simple, natural, and studied, without appearing to be so. There is a
picture of S. Anthony by him in S. Maria Nuova, where he seems to have
been directed by his intimate friend Cristofano, whose work it strongly
resembles. He is rare in collections; but always makes a good figure
there by his graceful design, his full body of colouring, and his
softness. The Adam and Eve driven out of Paradise, in the gallery of the
Rinuccini palace, is worthy such a collection. He copied Pietro
Perugino, Andrea del Sarto, and some other masters so well, that his
work might pass for the originals; and to this employment we may chiefly
attribute the exquisite finish of his pictures.

To this period we may assign some other artists, who, from whatever
cause, are, perhaps, less commended by historians than they deserve. Of
this number is Giovanni Martinelli, of whom there is a capital work in
the Conventualists of Pescia, viz. the Miracle of S. Anthony, a subject
mentioned a little above, as having been also executed by Cigoli. His
Feast of Belshazzar, in the ducal gallery at Florence, and his Guardian
Angel at S. Lucia de' Bardi, are pictures of note, but inferior to that
at Pescia. Of the same class also is Michel Cinganelli, a scholar of
Poccetti, who was employed in the metropolitan church of Pisa, where he
ornamented the corbels of the cupola, and strove to emulate the best
Tuscan artists of his age in an historical picture of Joshua. Such is
Palladino, mentioned in the Guide of Florence in reference to a S.
Giovanni Decollato; a work deserving notice, for its freedom from the
beaten track of his school. He seems to have studied the Lombard more
than native artists, and to have been acquainted with Baroccio. I saw
his altar-piece at S. Jacopo a' Corbolini. I suspect that this artist is
the same as Filippo Paladini, pointed out by Hackert, born and educated
at Florence, and who resided in foreign parts. He was compelled to fly
from Milan on account of some disturbance, and took refuge in Rome,
where he was received by Prince Colonna, and being pursued he went to
Sicily, and resided at Mazzarino, an estate belonging to the Colonna
family. There, as well as at Syracuse, Palermo, Catania, and elsewhere,
he left works that display much elegance and fine colouring, but not
free from mannerism, the fault also of the picture above cited at
Florence. Benedetto Veli painted in the cathedral of Pistoia an
Ascension of Christ, placed at the entrance to the presbytery, upon an
immense scale. It is the companion to one of the Pentecost by Gregorio
Pagani, which sufficiently proves that it has no common merit. There
lived some other painters about this time, of whom Tuscany, as far as I
know, retains no trace; but they are recognized in other schools: thus
Vaiano is recognized in the Milanese, and Mazzoni in the Venetian
schools, where we shall give some account of them.

Last among the great masters of this period I place Matteo Rosselli, a
scholar of Pagani and of Passignano, as likewise of several old masters,
under whom he studied assiduously at Rome and at Florence. He became so
distinguished a painter that he was invited to the court of the Duke of
Modena, and was retained by Cosmo II. Grand Duke of Tuscany, in his own
service. In painting, however, he had many equals; but very few in the
art of teaching, for which he was adapted by a facility of communicating
instruction, a total want of envy, and a judicious method of discovering
the talents of each pupil, and of directing his progress: hence his
school, like that of the Caracci, produced as many different styles as
he had pupils. His placid genius was not fitted for the conception of
novel and daring compositions, nor for pursuing them with the steadiness
that characterizes the painter of elevated fancy. His merit lies in
correctness in the imitation of nature; in which, however, he is not
always select; and there is a peculiar harmony and repose in the whole,
by which his pictures (though they are generally in a sombre tone)
please, even when compared with works of the most lively and brilliant
colouring. He excels in dignity of character; some of the heads of his
apostles, to be seen in collections, so strongly resemble the works of
the Caracci, that connoisseurs are sometimes deceived. At times he
strove to rival Cigoli: as in his Nativity of our Saviour at S. Gaetano,
which is thought to be his masterpiece, and in the Crucifixion of S.
Andrew in All Saints church, which has been engraved at Florence. His
fresco paintings are greatly admired: so well do his labours, on the
principles of the past age, preserve their freshness and brilliancy. The
cloister of the Nunziata has many of his semicircular pieces; and that
representing Alexander IV. confirming the Order of the Servi, appeared a
grand work to Passignano and Cortona. He ornamented a ceiling in the
royal villa of Poggio Imperiale with some histories of the Medicean
family. The chamber where this painting was placed was ordered to be
demolished in the time of the Grand Duke Peter Leopold; but so highly
was Rosselli esteemed that the ceiling was preserved, and transferred to
another apartment. His chief praise, however, arises from his preserving
that fatherly regard for pupils, which Quintilian thinks the first
requisite in a master: hence he became the head of a respectable family
of painters whom we shall now consider.

Giovanni da S. Giovanni (this is the name of his native place; his
family name was Manozzi), could boast of being one of the best fresco
painters that Italy ever possessed. Gifted by nature with a fervid and
bold genius, a lively and fertile imagination, celerity and freedom of
hand, he painted so much in the dominions of the Church, and even in
Rome, especially in the church of the Four Saints, so much in Tuscany,
in Florence, and even the Pitti palace,[216] we can scarcely believe
that he began to study at the age of eighteen, and died when only
forty-eight years old. His style is very far from the solid manner of
his master; he carried the celebrated maxim of Horace "_All is
allowable_" to excess; and in many of his works he preferred whim to
art. Amid choirs of angels he introduced the singular novelty of female
angels; if we may ascribe this to him, and not to the Cavalier d'Arpino
or Alessandro Allori, as some are inclined to do. But whatever exertions
he made (if we may so express it) to discredit himself, he did not
succeed. His spirit is greatly superior to the conceits of other
artists; and his performances at Florence, in which he bridled his
eccentricities, prove that he knew more than he was ambitious to shew.
Among these we may notice his Flight into Egypt in the royal academy,
some semicircular pieces in the church of All Saints, the Expulsion of
the Sciences from Greece, of the Pitti palace, in which the blind Homer
appears groping his way with great nature, as he is exiled from his
native land. It is related of Pietro di Cortona, that on seeing some one
of the works of Giovanni, which did him no credit, he did not therefore
condemn him; but, pointing to the piece, only observed, "Giovanni
painted that when he was already conscious of being a great man." His
pictures on panel and on canvass are less admired, nor are they always
exempt from crudity. He had a son called Gio. Garzia, who produced
several fresco works at Pistoia, tolerably well executed.

Baldassare Franceschini, surnamed Volterrano, from the place of his
nativity, and also the younger Volterrano, to distinguish him from
Ricciarelli, seemed to have been formed by nature to adorn cupolas,
temples, and magnificent halls, a style of work in which he is more
conspicuous than in painting cabinet pictures. The cupola and nave of
the Niccolini chapel, in the church of the Holy Cross, is his happiest
effort in this way; and surprises even an admirer of Lanfranco. That of
the Nunziata is most beautiful; and we must not omit the ceiling of a
chapel in S. Maria Maggiore, where Elias appears so admirably
foreshortened, that it calls to mind the S. Rocco of Tintoretto, by the
optical illusion occasioned by it. His talents excited the envy of
Giovanni da S. Giovanni, who having engaged him as his assistant in the
decoration of the Pitti palace, speedily dismissed him. His spirit is
tempered by judgment and propriety; his Tuscan design is varied and
ennobled by an imitation of other schools; to visit which, he was sent
to travel for some months by his noble patrons of the house of
Niccolini. He derived great advantages from studying the schools of
Parma and of Bologna. He knew Pietro di Cortona, and adopted some of his
principles, which was a thing not uncommon among the artists of this

Volterrano painted a great many frescos in Florence, one in the Palazzo
del Bufalo at Rome, and some at Volterra, that are noticed by
Baldinucci. The praise bestowed on him by the historian appears rather
scanty than extravagant to those who duly consider the propriety of his
inventions, the correctness of his design, qualities so rare in this
class of artists, his knowledge of the perspective, of foreshortening
figures in ceilings,[217] the spirit of his attitudes, the clearness of
his graduated, well balanced, and properly united colours, and the
pleasing and quiet harmony of the whole. The same talents are
proportionally evident in his oil pictures, as may be observed in his S.
Filippo Benizi, in the Nunziata of Florence; in his S. John the
Evangelist, a noble figure which he painted along with other saints in
S. Chiara at Volterra; his S. Carlo administering the communion to those
sick of the plague, in the Nunziata of Pescia, and some of his other
paintings that are well finished, which was not the case with all his
works. The same observations apply to his cabinet pictures, which abound
in the ducal palace, and in the houses of the nobility of Volterra,
especially in those of the families of Maffei and Sermolli.

Cosimo Ulivelli is also a good historical painter; and his style is
sometimes mistaken for that of his master by less skilful judges; but a
good connoisseur discovers in him forms less elegant, a colouring less
strong and clear, a character approaching to mannerism and to
meagreness. We ought to form an opinion from the works of his best
period, such as his semicircular pieces in the cloister of the Carmine.
Antonio Franchi, a native of Lucca, who lived at Florence, is reckoned
by many inferior to Ulivelli; but he is generally more judicious, if I
do not mistake, and more diligent. His S. Joseph of Calassanzio, in the
church of the Fathers of Scolopi, is a picture of good effect, and is
commended also for the design. Another of his fine works is in the
parish church of Caporgnano, in the state of Lucca; it represents Christ
delivering the keys to S. Peter, and I am informed by an experienced
artist that it is the most esteemed of his productions; many more of
which may be found in the account of his Life, published at Florence, by
Bartolozzi. He was painter to the court, by which he was much employed,
as well as by private individuals. He was a moderate follower of
Cortona. He wrote a useful tract on the _Theory of Painting_, in which
he combated the prejudices of the age, and enforced the necessity of
proceeding on general principles. It was printed in 1739; and afterwards
defended by the author against certain criticisms made on it. Giuseppe
and Margherita, his two sons, have met with some commendation, and I am
told there is a fine altar-piece by the former, which adorns the parish
church at Borgo Buggiano. It is retouched, however, by his father, who
honourably makes mention of the fact. I repeat, honourably; because many
fathers are known to have aided their sons with a view of obtaining for
them a reputation beyond their deserts. Michelangiolo Palloni da Campi,
a pupil of Volterrano, is well known in Florence by a good copy of the
Furius Camillus, of Salviati, in the old palace; which was placed by the
side of the original. He resided long, and was much employed in Poland.
An eminent pupil of Baldassare, named Benedetto Orsi, was omitted by
Baldinucci. A fine picture of S. John the Evangelist, in the church of
S. Stephen, at Pescia, his native place, is attributed to him. He also
painted the Works of Mercy, for the religious fraternity of nobles.
These oil paintings were shewn to strangers among the curiosities of
that city; but they were dispersed on the suppression of the order.
There still exists a large circular picture which he produced at Pistoia
for S. Maria del Letto, enumerated by good judges among the finest works
of Volterrano, until an authentic document discovered the real author.
Last in this list I have to mention Arrighi, the fellow citizen of
Franceschini, and his favourite pupil. He has nothing remaining in
public, in which his master cannot boast a great share.[218]

After Franceschini, who may be considered the Lanfranco of the Rosselli,
or rather Florentine school, we proceed to Francesco Furini, who is its
Guido and its Albano. Foreigners recognized him as such: hence he was
invited to Venice, for the express purpose of painting a Thetis, as a
companion to an Europa by Guido Reni. He had seen the works of masters
of this class at Rome, and appears to have aspired at rivalling, rather
than at imitating them. His ideas certainly do not seem borrowed from
them, nor from any other artists. He spent a long time in meditating on
his subject, and was accustomed to consider his picture completed when
he had finished his studies for it; so little time and trouble did it
cost him to embody his ideas in colours. Having been ordained a priest
about his fortieth year, and becoming curate of S. Ansano in Mugello, he
executed some pictures truly valuable, both on account of the rarity of
his works and their excellence, for the neighbouring town of S. Lorenzo.
Above all, we may notice with admiration a S. Francis receiving the
Stigmata, and a Conception of the Blessed Virgin, in which, elevated
above mortality, she appears soaring and resplendent. But his great name
in Italy arose from his cabinet pictures, which are rare out of
Florence, and in Florence are highly esteemed, though considerable
numbers of them remain there. His Hylas carried away by the Nymphs,
which he painted for the family of Galli, and in which he introduced
noble figures that are grandly varied, is highly celebrated; not to
mention the three Graces of the Strozzi palace, and the many historical
pieces and half-length figures dispersed through the city that are
unnoticed in his life. They chiefly consist of nymphs, or of Magdalens,
no less naked than the nymphs; for Furini was a very expert painter of
delicate flesh, but not one of the most modest. Furini must have had a
great number either of pupils or imitators, as his pictures for private
houses before mentioned, which were copied, are of frequent occurrence
in Florence. They are often of a dusky hue, through the defect of their
ground, and Simone Pignone is made, often erroneously so, their most
common author. He was Francesco's best pupil; very delicate in the
colours of his fleshes, as we may judge from the altar-piece of B.
Bernardo Tolomei, at Monte Oliveto, where the Virgin and the Infant are
coloured very beautifully in the flesh, if not handsome in their
features. His picture of St. Louis, king of France, at S. Felicità, is
still more celebrated. It was much commended by Giordano, and the artist
received five hundred crowns for its execution. In the first volume of
Lettere Pittoriche we are informed, that Maratta only esteemed Gabbiani
and Pignone among all the Florentine painters of his time. He was also
praised by Bellini in the work entitled _Bucchereide_, where he coins a
new term for Pignone, (a liberty extremely common among our jocose
poets,) I know not how far susceptible of imitation in another tongue:
"_È l'arcipittorissimo de' buoni_."

Lorenzo Lippi, like his friend Salvator Rosa, divided his hours between
poetry and painting. His Malmantile Racquistato,[219] which is a model
of Tuscan purity of language,[220] is a work less read perhaps, but more
elegant than the satires of Salvator; and is sprinkled with those
graceful Florentine idioms that are regarded as the Attic salt of Italy.
In looking for a prototype among the artists of his own school, guided
by similarity of genius, he made choice of Santi di Tito. A delineator
of the passions sufficiently accorded with the genius of the poet, and a
painter of the choicest design was highly congenial to so elegant a
writer. He, however, added to his style a greater force of colouring;
and in drapery he followed the practice of some Lombard masters and of
Baroccio, in modelling the folds in paper, a practice of which their
works retain some traces. The delicacy of pencil, the clearness,
harmony, and to sum up all, the good taste, pervading his pictures,
demonstrate that he had a feeling of natural beauty superior to most of
his contemporaries. His master admired him, and said, with a liberality
not always to be found among history painters, "Lorenzo, thou art more
knowing than I." His pictures are not very rare at Florence, although he
resided far from it for many years, for he was painter to the court of
Inspruck. A Crucifixion, among his best performances, is in the ducal
gallery. The noble family of Arrighi possesses a S. Saverio recovering
from the claws of a crab, the Crucifix which he had dropped into the
sea. Baldinucci and the author of _The Series of the most Illustrious
Painters_ have spoken very highly of his Triumph of David, painted for
the hall of Angiol Gaddi, who wished him to represent his eldest son as
the son of Jesse, and his other sixteen children as the youths and
virgins, that with songs and timbrels greet the victor, and hail the
deliverance of Israel. In this celebrated piece, the artist was enabled
to give full scope to his talent for portrait painting, and to the style
approaching to nature, which he loved, without troubling himself about
studied and artful embellishments. It was his maxim to write poetry as
he spoke, and to paint what he observed.

Mario Balassi perfected himself under Passignano, and after the choicest
examples of the Roman and other schools. He was an excellent copyist of
the old masters, and a painter of invention above mediocrity. Some of
his small historical pictures, and a few pieces representing eatables,
are to be met with in private houses; and, above all, there are many of
his half-length figures finely coloured and relieved. In his old age he
changed his manner, and retouched as many of the works of his youth as
he could lay his hands on; but in striving to improve, he only injured

Francesco Boschi, the nephew and scholar of Rosselli, was an excellent
portrait painter. In the cloister of All Saints, where his uncle
Fabrizio also painted, there are some of his portraits that seem
absolutely alive, and are executed in fresco so admirably, that they
clearly shew the school from which he proceeded. He finished some pieces
in oil, that were left imperfect by the death of Rosselli, and painted
others entirely his own, the subjects of which were chiefly religious,
where the countenances are strikingly expressive of probity and
sanctity. As he grew older he assumed the ecclesiastical habit, and
sustained its dignity by his exemplary conduct, the account of which
Baldinucci has extended at some length. During twenty-four years in
which he lived a priest, he did not resign his pencil; but he employed
it less frequently, and generally less successfully, than in his youth.
His elder brother Alfonso promised much, and even attained a great deal,
though cut off in early life.

The style of Jacopo Vignali has some resemblance to that of Guercino,
but less in the forms than in the dark shadows and the grounds. He is
amongst those scholars of Rosselli who are seldom mentioned, although he
painted more than any of the rest for the prince and the state. He often
is weak, especially in attitude; often, however, he appears
praiseworthy, as in the two pictures at S. Simone, and in the S.
Liborio, which is possessed by the Missionaries. He is most conspicuous
in fresco painting, with which he ornamented the chapel of the
Bonarruoti. He painted good historical pictures in the palaces of many
of the nobility, and he even boasts noble pupils, none of whom did so
much honour to his memory as Carlo Dolci.

Dolci holds the same rank in the Florentine, that Sassoferrato holds in
the Roman school. Both, though destitute of great powers of invention,
obtained great reputation for Madonnas and similar small subjects, which
have now become extremely valuable; for the wealthy, desirous of
possessing pictures, at once estimable and religious, to hang up in
their oratories, have brought those two masters into great request,
notwithstanding that they operated on very different principles. Carlo
is not so celebrated for beauty, (for he was like his master, a mere
_naturalist_,) as for the exquisite pains with which he finished every
thing, and the genuine expression of certain affecting emotions; such as
the patient suffering of Christ, or of the Virgin Mary; the penitential
compunction of a Saint, or the holy confidence of a Martyr devoting
himself as a victim for the living God. The colouring and general tone
of his pictures accord with the idea of the passion; nothing is turgid
or bold; all is modesty, repose, and placid harmony. In him we may
retrace the manner of Rosselli brought to perfection, as we sometimes
can view the features of the grandsire in his descendants. A few of his
larger works still remain, such as the S. Antonio, in the royal museum;
the Conception of our Lady, in the possession of the Marquis Rinuccini;
also a very few of his subjects from profane story, a few of his
portraits, and the celebrated figure of Poetry in the palace of Prince
Corsini. His small pictures, for each of which he usually received 100
crowns, are very numerous; and were frequently repeated by himself or by
his pupils, Alessandro Lomi and Bartolommeo Mancini; and often by Agnese
Dolci, his daughter, a good artist and follower of the style of her
father; but not his equal. His two Madonnas in the cabinet of the Grand
Duke, and his martyrdom of S. Andrew, in the possession of the Marquis
Gerini, have been often copied.

Of Onorio Marinari, the cousin and scholar of Carlo, but few pictures
remain at Florence, either in private or in public. After imitating his
master, (which usually is the first exercise of students in the art, and
often, from dissimilarity of genius, is their great bane,) he formed
another style, by yielding to the bent of his natural powers; which was
more grand, had more of the ideal, and deeper shadows; and of this
several specimens remain in the churches of S. Maria Maggiore, and S.
Simone. This artist died young, very unfortunately for the school to
which he belonged.

About the period we have been describing, some foreign artists resided
at Florence for a considerable time, to the no small advantage of the
native painters, as we have already observed. Paggi came there in the
reign of the Grand Duke Francis I., remained there twenty years, and
left some works behind him. About the same time Salvator Rosa, Albani,
Borgognone, Colonna, Mitelli, and many more, either invited by the
princes from abroad, or coming there of their own accord, were retained
by them for the decoration of the palace and the city. We shall consider
them particularly under the schools of the countries where they were
born, or in which they taught; but here we shall give a place to Jacopo
Ligozzi, whom the Florentine school may claim on account of his
residence, his employment, and his scholars. He had studied at Verona
under Paolo Veronese, according to Baldinucci; but under Gio. Francesco
Carrotto, according to the emendation of Maffei, without reflecting that
this artist died when Jacopo was scarcely three years old. Some foreign
writers make him the son of Gio. Ermanno, the painter; a circumstance
unknown to Cav. del Pozzo, the townsman and historian of them both.
Ferdinand II. appointed him painter to the court, and superintendant of
the gallery. This was very honourable, when conferred by such a prince
on him, in preference to many eminent Florentines. Ligozzi executed some
works at Rome, and introduced at Florence a freedom of pencil, an art in
composition, a taste for the ornamental, and a grace and gaiety, till
then rare in that city. His design was sufficiently correct, and
uniformly improved while he remained in Tuscany. As to his colouring,
although it was not that of Paolo, it was not deficient in truth and

His seventeen semicircular pictures in the cloisters of All Saints, are
valued at Florence; especially the interview between S. Francis and S.
Domenick, the founders of the order. On this picture he wrote, _To the
confusion of our friends_, meaning the envious and malignant. This is
his masterpiece in fresco. He painted more frequently in oil colours in
several churches. The S. Raymond in the act of reanimating a child, in
S. Maria Novella, is a picture full of art; and there is another in the
same style at the Scalzi of Imola, representing the four Crowned Saints.
The martyrdom of S. Dorothea, I do not hesitate to call a wonderful
picture; in which we recognize a follower of Paolo, and which is in
possession of the Conventual Friars of Pescia. The scaffold, the
executioner, the Prefect on horseback who is ordering him to strike, the
great crowd of spectators variously affected, and all the apparatus of a
public punishment, strike and astonish equally the connoisseur and the
unskilled in painting; the holy martyr especially interests us, who, on
her knees, with a placid composure, willingly resigns her life, and is
about to receive from angels the eternal crown purchased with her blood.
In other performances he shews more simplicity, as in the S. Diego at
All Saints, or in the Angels at the P. P. Scolopi; but he is an artist
who always pleases, and who shews that he felt what he painted. Ligozzi
painted much for private individuals. In his very small pictures, a
style in which he was expert, he finished as highly as if they were
miniatures. Several of his works were published by Agostino Caracci, and
other engravers.

None of his Florentine pupils is esteemed equal to Donato Mascagni, for
such was his real name, which may be seen subscribed to two Scriptural
pieces, in possession of Sig. Ab. Giachi, at Volterra. Having entered
the order of Servi, he assumed the name of Fra Arsenio; and several of
his works painted after that period are to be seen in Florence, executed
in a manner not very full and soft, but diligent; of which there are
several other specimens in his Miracles of the Nunziata, which are
engraved and illustrated in the little work of Padre Lottini. What does
him greatest honour is the picture preserved in the library of the
monastery of Vallombrosa. It represents the donation of the State of
Ferrara to the Holy Seat, by the Countess Matilda, as is believed by
some, or rather the distribution of some privileges by her to the order
of Vallombrosa, and is a picture full of subject, and the chief glory of
this master.

In casting our eyes over other cities of Tuscany, we find some painters
very capable of decorating houses and altars. Francesco Morosini,
surnamed Montepulciano, may be recognized in the church of S. Stephen,
of Florence, where he painted a Conversion of S. Paul, in the manner of
his master Fidani. Arezzo produced the two Santini. Of one of them,
there named the Elder, several pictures were pointed out to me by the
accomplished Cav. Giudici; among which was a S. Catherine, in possession
of the Conventual Friars: it savours of the Florentine manner during
this epoch; except that the use of changing tints is more frequent.
Bartolommeo and Teofilo Torre, of Arezzo, are noticed as fresco painters
by Orlandi, who mentions halls, and even whole houses, being ornamented
by the latter with historical pieces; which, if deficient in design, he
praises for their colouring. Francesco Brini left a good picture of the
Immaculate Conception, at Volterra: of his country and school I am
ignorant. I do not know the master of Pompeo Caccia; it is certain that
he called himself a native of Rome, perhaps because it is easy to
substitute the capital, so well known, for places in the state of less
notoriety. In Rome, however, I do not find any traces of him. I find,
indeed, that he left several pictures at Pistoja; among which is
the Presentation (at the Selesiane) of Jesus in the Temple, to which is
affixed the date 1615. Alessandro Bardelli was a native of Pescia; in
his style we find traces of his preceptor Curradi and of Guercino. He
was a good painter, and executed the ornamental border for the portrait
of S. Francis, painted by Margaritone, for his church in Pescia: he
represented around it the virtues of the Saint, and a choir of Angels
above. I am doubtful whether we should include Alessio Gimignani, one of
a family of artists in Pistoia, to be recorded in the fifth epoch, among
the pupils of Ligozzi, but he was undoubtedly his follower.

About this period two schools arose, highly deserving of notice, those
of Pisa and of Lucca. The Pisan school recognizes as its founder,
Aurelio Lomi, first a scholar of Bronzino, and afterwards of Cigoli. His
very correct performances, in the cathedral of Pisa, are executed after
both masters; but when compared to Cigoli he is more minute, and has
much less softness. His aim appears to be to surprise the multitude by
an agreeable colouring, and a magnificence of draperies and ornaments.
This style pleased at Florence, in Rome, and more especially at Genoa,
where he was preferred to Sorri, many years established and in good
repute. His works in that city are very full of subject; as his S.
Anthony, belonging to the Franciscans, and his Last Judgment, in S.
Maria of Carignano; pictures which surprise by an air of novelty: the
first is graceful, rich, but modest in the tints; the second terrible,
and the colours more vivid than those he employed on any other occasion.
A S. Jerome, in the Campo Santo, is less glowing, but it is esteemed by
the Pisans his capital work; at the bottom of this piece he put his
initials and the date 1595.

He most probably taught the principles of the art to his brother, Orazio
Lomi; who was called Gentileschi, from the surname of an uncle.
Gentileschi formed his style, however, on the finest examples in Rome,
assisted by his friend Agostino Tassi. Tassi was an eminent ornamental
landscape painter, and Gentileschi executed appropriate figures to his
inventions in the Loggia Rospigliosi, in the saloon of the Quirinal
palace, and in other places. He also painted some smaller pictures in
Rome, particularly at the Pace, from which we cannot ascertain his
merit, either because they were performances of his unripe years, or
because they have become black from age. He had not then attained the
beautiful colouring, nor the Lombard-like manner of managing the
shadows, which we observe in many of his cabinet pictures. A fine
specimen, representing S. Cecilia with S. Valerian, is in the Borghesi
palace. The choicest adorn the royal palace of Turin, and some houses in
Genoa. In the collection of his Excellency Cardinal Cambiasi, there is a
David standing over the dead Goliath; so relieved, and with tints so
vivid and so well contrasted, that it gives the idea of a style entirely
new. He was esteemed by Vandyck, and inserted by him in his series of
portraits of one hundred illustrious men. When already old he went to
the English court, where he died at the age of eighty-four.

Artemisia, his daughter and disciple, followed her father into that
island; but she passed her best years in Italy. She was respected for
her talents, and celebrated for the elegance of her manners and
appearance. She is noticed both by Italian and foreign writers, and by
Walpole among the latter, in his _Anecdotes of Painting in England_. She
lived long at Naples, married there a Pier Antonio Schiattesi; and was
there assisted and improved in the art by Guido Reni, studied the works
of Domenichino, and was not unskilled in other approved styles. She
shews variety of style in her few remaining historical pictures. Some of
them are at Naples and Pozzuolo, and there are two in Florence inscribed
with her name; one in the ducal gallery, and the other in possession of
my noble and learned friend Sig. Averardo de' Medici; the former
representing Judith slaying Holofernes, is a picture of a strong
colouring, of a tone and perspicuity that inspires awe; the latter, a
Susanna and the Elders, is a painting that pleases by the scene, the
elegance of the principal figure, and the drapery of the others.
Artemisia, however, was more celebrated for her portraits, which are of
singular merit; they spread her fame over all Europe, and in them she
surpassed her father.

Orazio Riminaldi was a scholar of the elder Lomi in Pisa, and of the
younger in Rome, but imitated neither of them; from the beginning he
gave himself up to the guidance of Manfredi, in the manner of
Caravaggio, and afterwards became a follower of Domenico Zampieri, to
rival whom he seems intended by nature. From the time that the art of
painting revived in Pisa, that city had not perhaps so eminent a
painter, nor have many better been born on the banks of the Arno, a soil
so propitious to the arts. Grand in contour and in drapery, after the
manner of the Caracci, pleasing and agreeable in his carnations, full,
free, and delicate in the management of his pencil, he would have been
faultless, had not the wretched style of engraving raised prejudices
against him. Excessive fatigue, or, as others will have it, the plague
of 1630, snatched him in early life from his country; for the fame of
which alone he seems to have lived to maturity. He there ornamented many
altars with fine pictures, one of which representing the martyrdom of S.
Cecilia, was afterwards placed in the Pitti palace. In the choir of the
cathedral there are two of his scriptural pieces, that form a perfect
study for any one who wishes to become acquainted with this epoch. The
judgment of the master of the works was conspicuous in engaging
Riminaldi to paint the cupola, even before he had finished the above
pictures, and in making choice of him in preference to any other artist.
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which he painted in oil, is one of
the best conceived and most perfect works that Tuscany had ever beheld,
and it was the last labour of Orazio. His brother Girolamo completed it
feebly, by introducing some figures that were wanting, and the family
received 5,000 crowns as its price. Girolamo is rarely to be met with in
Pisan collections, and still more rarely in other places. He was,
however, well known in his day, having been invited to Naples to
ornament the chapel of S. Gennaro, and to the court of Paris by the

From among many Pisan artists of this period recorded by Sig. da
Morrona, or Sig. Tempesti, we shall select some of the most
considerable. Ercole Bezzicaluva is worthy of notice, both for his
engravings and his picture representing various saints in the choir of
St. Stephen's at Pisa. So likewise is Gio. del Sordo, otherwise called
Mone da Pisa; but his colouring seems superior to his invention.
Zaccaria Rondinosi, I believe, of the Florentine school, was more
skilled in ornamental than in any other branch of painting. He repaired
the pictures in the Campo Santo, and on that account was honoured by the
citizens with a tomb there, and near it an inscription on the marble. I
know not whether any picture of Arcangela Paladini, an excellent
embroiderer, except her own portrait, has reached our times. It was hung
in the ducal gallery among the portraits of illustrious painters: to be
deposited in such a place, and to remain there from 1621, is an
unequivocal proof of its merit; since it is the custom of the place not
lightly to refuse the portraits of tolerably good painters, but to keep
them there as if only lodgers, and then send them to some villa of the
prince, when new guests arrive, to take a place in the cabinets which
are named _de' Pittori_. Gio. Stefano Marucelli, both an engineer and a
painter, was not born in Pisa, but he may be reckoned a Pisan from his
long residence and attachment to the place. Having come from Umbria into
Tuscany, according to the tradition of the Pisans, he became a pupil of
Boscoli, and remaining at Pisa, he contended with the celebrated artists
whom we have noticed as employed from time to time in ornamenting the
tribune of the cathedral. The Abraham entertaining the three angels is a
work of his, commended for felicity of invention, and beauty of
colouring. In the church of S. Nicolas at Pisa, there remains a memorial
of Domenico Bongi of Pietrasanta, who was a follower of Perino del Vaga.
He flourished in 1582.

The series of the principal artists of Lucca commences with Paol
Biancucci, the best scholar of Guido Reni, whose grace and full power of
colour he has imitated in many of his works. He sometimes so strongly
resembles Sassoferrato as to be mistaken for him. The Purgatory which he
painted at Suffragio, the picture representing various saints which he
left at the church of S. Francis, two in possession of the noble family
of Boccella, and many others scattered over the city, are of such merit,
that Malvasia should have noticed him among the pupils of Guido, which
he has not done. He has also omitted Pietro Ricchi of Lucca, who went to
Bologna from the school of Passignano. It is true that the preceptorship
of Guido is in this instance doubtful, though Baldinucci and Orlandi
both assert it: for Boschini, who was his intimate friend, says not a
word upon the matter, merely observing that Ricchi regretted he had not
studied in Venice. It is certain he frequently imitated the forms of
Guido; but in colouring and design adhered to the manner of Passignano;
he also imbibed the principles of the Venetian school, as we shall
relate in the proper place. Two of his pictures are preserved at the
church of S. Francis in Lucca, and some others remain in private hands;
small remains of a genius very fertile in invention, and of a hand most
rapid and almost indefatigable in execution. He painted in several
cities of France, in the Milanese, and still more in the Venetian
states, where he died at Udine, in the MS. guide to which place he is
often named.

Pietro Paolini long lived and taught at Lucca; he was a pupil of the
Roman school, as history informs us; but to judge from his works one
would pronounce him of the Venetian. In Rome he frequented the study of
Angelo Caroselli, who was by education a follower of Caravaggio, but
exceedingly expert in copying and imitating every style. Under him
Paolini acquired a manner that shews good drawing, broad shadows, and
firm touches, compared by some to the style of Titian, and by others to
that of Pordenone: one also remarks in his works undoubted imitations of
Veronese. The martyrdom of S. Andrew, that exists at S. Michele, and the
grand picture, sixteen cubits long, preserved in the library of S.
Frediano, would be sufficient to immortalize a painter. In this he
represented the pontiff S. Gregory, entertaining some pilgrims; it is a
magnificent picture, ornamented in the style of Veronese, with plate and
architectural perspective, full of figures, and possessing a variety,
harmony, and beauty, that have induced many poets to extol it as a
wonderful production. His cabinet pictures of conversations and rural
festivals, which are not rare at Lucca, are exquisite. Two, of the
Massacre of Valdestain, belonging to the Orsetti family, were especially
commended by Baldinucci. The historian remarks that he had a particular
talent for such tragic themes, and in general for the energetic; he
admires him less in the delicate, and even accuses him of marking the
action of his female figures too strongly. That he could however be very
pleasing when he inclined, we are led to believe from his large work in
the church of the Trinity; which he is said to have conducted in this
graceful style, to demonstrate that he was not inferior to his rival

It is uncertain whether Pietro Testa, called at Rome Il Lucchesino, was
his disciple; but it appears highly probable, when his age is compared
with that of Paolini, that he learnt from the latter the principles of
the art, which he had undoubtedly acquired in Lucca before he came to
Rome. He there had several masters, and was chiefly under Pietro da
Cortona, from whose school he was expelled, because he treated the
maxims of the master with contempt. He then put himself under
Domenichino, on whose principles, says Passeri, he gloried to rely; but
his style, in his own despite, at times approaches nearly to that of
Cortona. He has also some resemblance to his friend Poussin, both in his
figures (which at one time he made too slender), in his landscapes, and
in his study of the antique, of which he was deeply enamoured; having
applied himself to designing the finest specimens in architecture and in
sculpture that Rome afforded. In this branch he is excellent. The death
of B. Angelo, placed in S. Martino a' Monti, a picture of great force,
is the only piece before the public. Testa is more frequently recognized
in galleries: there is a Joseph sold to the Ishmaelites by him in the
capitol; a Murder of the Innocents, in the Spada palace; but there are
not many of his pictures elsewhere; for he engraved more than he
painted.[221] He left some oil paintings at Lucca, one in a feeble style
at S. Romano, several at S. Paolino, in the Buonvisi gallery, and in
other places, in his best manner. Two of his works in fresco remain
there; viz. the allegorical picture of Liberty in the senate house, and
the small very elegant cupola of the oratory in the Lippi palace. He
settled at Rome, where he lived unhappily, and either from despair, or
some affront, drowned himself in the Tiber. His fate may teach young
artists of genius not to overrate their own talents, nor to despise
those of others. By these failings, Testa alienated the minds of his
contemporaries, so that neither in reputation nor in employment was he
so successful as many others; and his perpetual complaints occasioned
doubts even of his sanity.

Omitting some scholars of Paolini less addicted to his manner, we shall
notice the three brothers, Cassiano, Francesco, and Simone del Tintore.
I find nothing recorded of the first that exalts him above mediocrity;
and when one meets with an indifferent picture of the school of Paolini,
it is ascribed to Cassiano, or some such pupil; or sometimes to the
dotage of Paolini, when he produced sketches rather than paintings.
Francesco is recognized as an able artist in the Visitation, in the
apartments of his excellency the Gonfaloniere; and in some pieces in the
Motroni collection. Simone was expert in depicting birds, fruit, and
other objects in the inferior walks of the art, to which, as I usually
do at the end of each epoch, I shall here devote a few pages.

And to pursue this pleasing branch of painting, I may observe that
Angiol Gori and Bartolommeo Bimbi of Florence, distinguished themselves
in fruit, and more especially in flowers: the second was the scholar of
the first in this line, and of Lippi in figures. Lippi himself induced
Andrea Scacciati to abandon figures for fruit and flowers, and animals,
in which department he succeeded well, and sent many pictures into
foreign countries. Bimbi was the Mario of his school. He instructed
Fortini, whom we shall notice by and by along with Moro, a painter of
flowers and animals. All these gave place to Lopez of Naples, who
visited Florence in his journeys through Italy, and shall be afterwards

The art of painting landscapes, and their introduction into collections,
began during this epoch: the first style that became fashionable at
Florence was that of Adriano Fiammingo: but Cristofano Allori excelled
all by the neat and firm touch of his pencil, and by the exquisite
figures which he introduced into his landscapes. Guasparre Falgani
surpassed him in the number of such subjects: he was initiated in the
art by Valerio Marucelli, and imitated by Giovanni Rosi, and Benedetto
Boschi, the brother and fellow student of Francesco. The landscapes of
this age have often their greens changed into black; and are reckoned of
the old school by Baldinucci. The new style was introduced into Florence
by Filippo d'Angeli, or Philip the Neapolitan, who was long retained at
the court of Cosmo II; but chiefly by Salvator Rosa. This artist was
brought to Florence by Cardinal Gio. Carlo, and remained there for seven
years; where in the capacity of painter, poet, and author of comedies,
he was constantly applauded for his fine genius, and his society courted
by men of learning; with whom, in every department of letters, the
country then abounded. He formed no pupils at that place, but many young
men there became his copyists and imitators; as Taddeo Baldini, Lorenzo
Martelli, and many others. Antonio Giusti, a pupil of Cesare Dandini,
was particularly skilled in this art; but he likewise practised every
other branch of painting; and Orlandi has described him as an universal
painter. Signor da Morrona notices the Poli, two brothers, who executed
many pleasing landscapes, which are known in the collections of Florence
and of Pisa.

Passing from landscape to sea-views, I do not find any Tuscan who in
this respect equalled Pietro Ciafferi, otherwise called Lo
Smargiasso,[222] and recorded among the Pisan artists. It is said that
he resided long at Leghorn, a place well suited to his genius. He there
decorated façades of houses with disembarkations and naval enterprizes;
and of such subjects, ports, sea-coasts, and ships, he composed oil
paintings, that are usually highly finished, and ornamented with small
figures, well designed and fancifully draped. He likewise succeeded
greatly in architectural views. Leghorn and Pisa are rich in his easel
pictures; and one in possession of Sig. Decano Zucchetti of this place
bears the name of the artist and the date 1651.

Perspective was much cultivated at Florence about this period; and the
Bolognese had carried it to a degree of excellence, that will claim
attention in the proper place. Lessons in it were given by Giulio
Parigi, an excellent architect; and afterwards by Baccio del Bianco, who
became engineer to his Catholic Majesty Philip IV. Their theoretic views
were seconded by the example of Colonna, who came to Florence in 1638,
along with Mitelli, a native of that place, and remained six years in
the service of the court. After this period Florence produced many
painters of cabinet pieces, and in the ornamental line, or rather a new
school of painting was founded by Jacomo Chiavistelli, a painter of
sound and more chaste taste than was common in that age. One may form an
idea of him in several churches, and in many saloons in the city; as for
instance, in that of the Cerretani palace, which is among his most
elegant works. He likewise painted for cabinets, where his perspective
pieces are frequently to be met with. Orlandi notices his most
considerable pupils, Rinaldo Botti, and his cousin Lorenzo del
Moro,[223] Benedetto Fortini, and Giuseppe Tonelli, who also studied at
Bologna. To these may be added, Angiol Gori, Giuseppe Masini, and others
who assisted him about 1658, in painting the corridore of the ducal
gallery, which is not their best performance. I find in the anecdotes of
Mondina and Alboresi, edited by Malvasia, that Antonio Ruggieri
contended with them in Florence: he was, I believe, a scholar of
Vannini, and a S. Andrew by him exists in the church of S. Michele, in
Berteldi, now commonly called S. Gaetano. Nor were these the only
artists capable of introducing figures into their perspective pieces;
but a great many of the painters in fresco were, if we may say so,
ambidexter, for each could paint perspectives and figures at the same

Portrait painting, the school of the best artists who aspire to fidelity
of representation, was greatly promoted by Passignano, who instructed
Filippo Furini, surnamed Sciameroni, the father of the celebrated
Francesco. He also taught the art to Domenico and Valore Casini, two
brothers celebrated by Baldinucci: Valore was remarkable for a free
pencil, and was a faithful copyist of every lineament. The capital is
filled with his portraits. Cristofano Allori painted portraits, both on
commission and for exercising his hand in the delineation of the most
beautiful forms. His portraits on canvass are reckoned valuable, even
when the subjects are not known: this is the case with that in
possession of the senator Orlandini; and some on small pieces of copper,
in the grand Medicean collection. Cerrini, among his disciples, followed
his steps; he is, I think, also admitted into that museum. Giovanni
Batista Stefaneschi, a monk of Monte Senario, a scholar of Comodi, and
an excellent miniature painter, was conspicuous among the painters of
portraits and copyists.

Justus Subtermans, a native of Antwerp, who was educated by William de
Vos, was also greatly admired. Having fixed his residence at Florence,
in the time of Cosmo II., he was retained by the court to the end of the
reign of Cosmo III.; and went to other princes in Germany and Italy, who
were ambitious of having a specimen of a portrait painter, esteemed
little inferior to Vandyck. He was much esteemed by the latter, who
requested his portrait, prefacing his request by sending him his own.
Peter Paul Rubens likewise honoured him, and presented him with one of
his own historical pictures, regarding him as an honour to their
country. Subtermans painted all the living members of the Medicean
family, in a variety of attitudes; and when Ferdinand II. ascended the
throne, while still a young man, Subtermans executed a stupendous
picture, wholly composed of portraits. He represented in it the ceremony
of swearing allegiance to the new sovereign; and pourtrayed him not only
with his mother and grandmother, but the senators and nobility who were
present. This picture was very large: it has been engraved on copper and
still remains in the gallery. The artist had a neatness and elegance of
pencil that appeared extraordinary even in the school to which he
belonged; and possessed moreover a peculiar talent of ennobling every
countenance without injuring the likeness. It was his practice to study
the peculiar and characteristic air of the person, and to impart it to
his work; so that when he would sometimes conceal the face of a
portrait, the bystanders could with certainty tell whom it represented,
from the disposition of the hands and the figure.

Jacopo Borgognone remained long in Florence, and was highly respected by
Prince Matthias; whose military achievements in Germany and in Italy,
and the places where they happened, he represented to the life, as an
historian would have described them. This artist's battle-pieces are not
rare in Florence; but I do not know that he had any pupils in that
place. The person who promoted most the imitation of Jacopo, and whose
works are everywhere, was Pandolfo Reschi, of Danzig, who was one of his
best scholars; eminent in landscape in the style of Salvator Rosa, and
in architectural subjects. In the hands of Dr. Viligiardi, I saw a
picture by him, with a view of the Pitti palace, and the additions to it
then wanting; but which were afterwards supplied by the Austrian
princes, to the great ornament of the royal residence. Those additions
were from a design of Giacinta Marmi; but the whole picture was the work
of Pandolfo. He enlivened it with figures, and excites surprise by the
whole, excepting the distribution of the light and shadow, in which he
is not so happy. One Santi Rinaldi, surnamed Il Tromba,[224] a painter
of battle-pieces and of landscapes, formed himself under Furini: he was
contemporary with Pandolfo; but is less known in Florence.

Baccio del Bianco, having become a good designer and tolerable painter
in the school of Bilivert, went into Germany with Pieroni, the imperial
architect and engineer, from whom he learnt perspective. He afterwards
taught it with applause in Florence, as we have said; and did not omit
to exercise his pencil, especially in fresco. Naturally facetious, he
became distinguished by his burlesques, which, for the most part, were
only designed with the pen. He coloured some small oil pictures of much
force, which were portraits in the style of the Caracci, and sometimes
painted freaks of scaramouches, and similar abortions of nature.

Gio. Batista Brazze, called Il Bigio,[225] a scholar of Empoli, employed
his genius in another branch of the capricious style: it consisted of
what appeared human figures when seen at a distance, but a nearer
approach shewed them to be composed of different sorts of fruit, or
machines, artfully arranged. Baldinucci reckons him the inventor of this
art; but to me it appears, that prior examples may be found in the
Milanese school, in which I treat of them fully at the end of the second

Lastly, mosaic work in hard stone owes its rise in Florence to this
epoch; and after gradually improving during two centuries, is now
everywhere known as a work of this capital, and almost exclusively its
own. In a letter of Teofilo Gallaccini,[226] we read that this species
of mosaic "had been invented in Florence, in the time of Ferdinand I.;"
an assertion which is not true. Before that period it flourished in
Lombardy. The Carthusian Monastery of Pavia had in its pay a family of
the name of Sacchi; which has existed there to our own times, and has
filled the great church with this kind of mosaic. There are specimens of
it in Milan of very ancient date. In that place Giacomo da Trezzo, who
executed the tabernacle for the church of the Escurial, which is
esteemed the most beautiful and magnificent in Christendom,[227]
received his instruction. About the time of Cosmo I., Florence herself
witnessed the rudiments of this art in a "small picture composed of
gems" which she possessed, as is recorded by Vasari.[228] A similar one
was executed for Francis I., from a design of Vasari, by Bernardino di
Porfirio of Leccio, (a district of the Florentine state) "composed of
oriental alabaster, and large slabs of jasper, heliotrope, cornelian,
lapis lazzuli, agate, and other stones and gems, which they estimate at
20,000 crowns." But pictures so wrought in large pieces, were not of
that perfect kind of mosaic that contained a vast variety of colours and
middle tints. Such are executed in every shade of colour, from the
natural stains of the stone itself; and the tints are lowered,
heightened, and managed, so as almost to rival painting. For this
purpose, every species of hard stone is collected and sawed; innumerable
colours are thence selected, graduating from the deepest to the lightest
shade, which are kept ready for use. This art was in request at Milan;
where, on account of the vicinity of Alpine countries abounding in every
species of hard stone, it arrived at great perfection. Francesco I.
meditating the erection of the magnificent chapel for the sepulture of
the royal family, in the church of S. Lorenzo, and the ornamenting it
with urns and altars wrought in hard stone, invited Giovanni Bianchi
from that city to his court, in the year 1580, and committed the works
in mosaic to his direction. Soon after Ferdinando ascended the throne,
and the new art gained ground under him; it was promoted by Constantino
de' Servi, and afterwards by other artists, who progressively improved
it. The tables, cabinets, and coffers, small landscapes, and
architectural pieces which were there executed, and sent as presents to
princes, are dispersed over Europe. In one cabinet of the ducal gallery
there is an exquisite octagonal table, the round central piece of which
was designed by Poccetti, and the ornamental border by Ligozzi. Jacopo
Autelli executed the work, on which, with numerous assistants, he was
employed for sixteen years, and finished it in 1649. In the cabinet of
cameos and engraved gems, there are figures in mezzo-relievo, and entire
little statues in hard stone, fabricated by the same company of artists;
not to mention what is in the Pitti palace and the church of S. Lorenzo.
A similar company still exists, under the direction of the Signori
Siries, and abounding in subordinate artists, which is supported with
royal magnificence by the prince, for whom it is constantly employed.

[Footnote 212: The new style began in the reign of Francesco I., who was
greatly skilled in design, which he had learnt of Buontalenti. He was
succeeded by Ferdinando I., Cosmo II., Ferdinando II., all of them
celebrated for their magnificent works in ornamenting the city and the
palace: Cardinals Gio. Carlo and Leopoldo de' Medici also flourished
there, both of them patrons of the arts; and the latter is recorded in
history for his knowledge of them, and the splendid collection which he
formed. We may add to these Prince Mattia, and others of that family.]

[Footnote 213: He was born in 1624, and died in 1692, leaving materials
for the completion of the work, which were afterwards arranged by
Saverio, his son, a gentleman of the law, who put the finishing hand to
the whole. Piacenza. Ristretto della Vita di Filippo Baldinucci, p.

[Footnote 214: In this branch of the art, indeed, he was not so greatly
skilled; and the Cav. Titi, after commending his Assumption, which is
exhibited in the entablature of the cathedral at Leghorn, adds, that not
having been conducted according to the rules of foreshortening, some
exceptions may be made to it.]

[Footnote 215: There is a Visitation by this artist, and inscribed with
his name, in the church of S. Anthony of Pisa, which he executed in a
weak style in 1606.]

[Footnote 216: In the great saloon he has poetically represented the
protection afforded to literature by Lorenzo de' Medici. With some
licences peculiar to that age, and usual with him, the composition and
the figures are very beautiful; and there is an imitation of
basso-relievo in his painting, that would deceive the most skilful, and
tempt them to believe it absolutely raised from the wall. This work,
left imperfect by him, was completed by Pagani, by Montelatici, and by
Furini, with some semicircular pieces.]

[Footnote 217: This is expressed by the Italians by "il possesso del
sotto in su." Tr.]

[Footnote 218: See tom. ii. of Signor Giachi, p. 202.]

[Footnote 219: The Ragged Cloak recovered.]

[Footnote 220: It was published with notes by Dr. Paolo Minucci, and was
reprinted with other illustrations of Sig. Antonio Biscioni.]

[Footnote 221: Passeri, a great admirer of his tints, pronounces him a
master of invention; and, treating of his engravings, says, "such vigour
of conception, such novelty, and such variety, were never the gift of
any other artist. He is a poet in all his historic pieces, his
composition is full of fancy; this, however, is not equally commended by
all, who look for the simple action without other accessaries."]

[Footnote 222: The Bully.]

[Footnote 223: Botti is pronounced a famous fresco painter by Magalotti,
in _Lett. Pitt._ tom. v. p. 229. There are various mechanical works of
Lorenzo. He painted the whole ceiling of the church of the Domenicans at
Fiesole, which was considered by Conca among the respectable productions
of his age.]

[Footnote 224: The Trumpet.]

[Footnote 225: The Swarthy.]

[Footnote 226: Lett. Pitt. tom. i. p. 308.]

[Footnote 227: The Ab. Conca, tom. ii. p. 53, writes of this artist,
that with this and similar works he acquired so much reputation in
Madrid, that the name of a principal street in which he lived was
borrowed from his; from the time of Philip II. it has been called
_Jacome Trezzo_.]

[Footnote 228: Tom. viii. p. 156.]



  _Pietro da Cortona and his followers._

After the middle of the seventeenth century, the Florentine school, and
also that of Rome, underwent a remarkable revolution, occasioned by the
vast number of the followers of Pietro da Cortona. Sects in painting
have the same fate as sects in philosophy: one succeeds another; and the
new principles are propagated more or less rapidly, according to the
degree of opposition they have to encounter where they happen to be
diffused. The manner of Cortona met with considerable opposition in
Rome, as we shall find in the proper place. He was invited to Florence
by Ferdinand II. about the year 1640, to ornament some of the apartments
of the Pitti palace; and this work, in which he spent several years, has
appeared to connoisseurs the most beautiful he ever performed. He was
directed in this work by Michelangiolo Bonarruoti the younger, a
literary man of great judgment; and Cortona appears also to display
learning in the execution. In one apartment he painted the four ages of
the world, which the poets of all nations have described in imitation of
Hesiod; five other chambers were dedicated to five fabulous deities,
from whom they were named the chamber of Minerva, of Apollo, of Mars, of
Jupiter, and of Mercury. He united the mythology of each with history.
Thus, for instance, in the chamber of Apollo, he represents this patron
of the fine arts on the ceiling in the act of receiving the young
Hercules, who is introduced by Minerva, that he may be instructed; and
on the walls he painted Alexander reading the works of Homer, Augustus
listening to Virgil, and other similar stories, which are fully
described by Passeri in his Life of Cortona. The great work was finished
by Ciro Ferri; for after Cortona had begun the chamber of Mercury, on
some disgust, which is variously related, he secretly withdrew from
court, returned to Rome, and always declined when repeatedly invited to
revisit Florence. There, however, he had laid the foundations of a new
school. Baldinucci remarks on the style of Pietro, that it was no sooner
seen at Florence, than praised by the best judges.[229] The predilection
of Cosmo III. contributed to bring it into credit; this prince pensioned
Ciro Ferri in Rome, that he might instruct the Tuscans who came there to
study. At that time there was no artist of that country who did not,
more or less, imitate this style. We shall now describe it, and trace it
to its origin.

Pietro Berrettini, a native of Cortona, the scholar of Comodi in
Tuscany, and of Ciarpi at Rome, is mentioned also among the writers on
the art.[230] He acquired his knowledge of design by copying antique
basso-relievos, and the chiaroscuros of Polidoro, a man who appears
inspired by the soul of an ancient. Pietro chose Trajan's column as his
favourite study; and from it he may have drawn his heavy proportions,
and the appearance of strength and robustness, that characterize even
his female forms and his children: in their eyes, noses, and lips, he
surpasses the medium standard; and their hands and feet are certainly
not remarkable for their light elegance. But in contrast, or the art of
opposing group to group, figure to figure, and part to part, in which he
was distinguished, he appears to have followed Lanfranco, and partly to
have formed it from the Bacchanalian vases, which are particularly
mentioned in his life by Passeri. His taste may probably have been
drawn, in some measure, from the Venetian school; since having gone to
study there, and then returned to Rome, he destroyed what he had
previously done, and executed his works anew in the Barberini palace,
according to the account of Boschini, his great admirer. Generally
speaking, he finishes nothing highly but what was intended to be most
conspicuous; he avoids strong shadows, is fond of middle tints, prefers
the less brilliant grounds, colours without affectation, and is reckoned
the inventor and chief artist of a style, which, in the opinion of
Mengs, combines facility with taste. He employed it in pictures of all
sizes with applause; but in painting of furniture, and still more on
ceilings, in cupolas, and recesses, he carried it to a pitch of beauty
which will never fail to procure him panegyrists and imitators. The
judicious division of his historical compositions, which derives aid
from the architecture, that skilful gradation by which he represents the
immensity of aerial space beyond the clouds, his knowledge in the art of
foreshortening what is seen from below, that play of light seemingly
celestial, that symmetrical disposition of his figures, are
circumstances which enchant the eye and fascinate the soul.

It is true that this manner does not always satisfy the mind; for intent
on gratifying the eye, it introduces useless figures, in order that the
composition may not be deficient in the usual fulness; and for the sake
of contrast, figures in the performance of the gentlest actions, are
painted as if the artist was representing them in a tournament or a
battle. Gifted by nature with facility of genius, and no less judgment,
Berrettini either avoided this extravagance, as in his stupendous
Conversion of S. Paul, or did not carry it to that absurdity, which in
our times has marked his followers, from the usual tendency of all
schools to overcharge the characteristic of their master. Hence the
facility of this style has degenerated into negligence and its taste
into affectation; until its chief adherents begin as at present to
abandon it, and to adopt a superior manner.

But not to wander from the Florentine school, we must confess that this
epoch has been the least productive of eminent painters. Pietro had some
pupils at that place, who did him equal honour with the Romanelli and
the Ferri at Rome. I shall first mention a foreigner, who having
established himself at Florence, may be reckoned of that school. Livio
Mehus, a native of Flanders, came into Tuscany from Milan, where he had
received some instruction in the art from another Fleming, named
Charles, was taken under the protection of Prince Matthias, and
recommended to Berrettini, who gave him lessons for a little time both
in Florence and at Rome. By copying the antique he became a good
designer, and he studied colouring at Venice and in Lombardy. He
retained little of the manner of Cortona besides the composition. He
imitated the Venetians less in colouring, than in the light and firm
touches of his pencil. His tints are modest, his attitudes lively, his
shadows most beautiful, and his inventions ingenious. He painted few
altar pieces, but many cabinet pictures, for he was pensioned by the
prince, and employed by noble families, in whose houses his works are
often to be met with. The historical picture of the Repose of Bacchus
and Ariadne, which he painted for Marquis Gerini, in emulation of Ciro
Ferri, is very highly praised. Ferri conceived some jealousy of him,
when he painted the cupola of the Pace at Florence; where he appears to
approach the Lombard school, and even to surpass Cortona.[231] He was
imitated by a Lorenzo Rossi, previously a scholar of Pier Dandini, who,
according to P. Orlandi, executed some elegant small pictures.

Vincenzio Dandini went from the school of his brother Cesare into that
of Cortona, or rather into the Roman school, where he copied, as well as
he could, with unwearied assiduity, the finest specimens in painting,
sculpture, and architecture. On this foundation, aided by practice in
anatomy, at the academy for the naked figure, which still flourished at
Florence, he became superior to his brother in design and in softness of
colouring: he also finished more highly than Cesare, was more studious
in his drapery, and in the other branches of the art. In All Saints
there is a Conception of the Virgin, and three other pictures by his
hand. He was employed in the ducal villas: in that of Poggio Imperiale
he painted a beautifully foreshortened figure of Aurora, attended by the
Hours, in a recess he had erected; and at Petraia painted in oil the
Sacrifice of Niobe. In him the pupil of Cortona is very manifest. A
similar style, but degenerated both in execution and in manner, is
discoverable in Pietro, his son and scholar. This artist was superior to
all the other Dandini; and by more extensive travels he obtained a
greater knowledge of foreign painters: it would have been well if he had
not attempted to surpass them also in his emoluments. From avarice he
undertook too many works, and contented himself with a certain
mediocrity in study; for which he, in some measure compensated by a
freedom of pencil that is always admirable. Where well paid, he
demonstrated his abilities; as in the cupola of S. Mary Magdalen; in
several frescos in the ducal palace at Florence, in the royal villas,
and in the copious historical picture of the taking of Jerusalem, which
he painted in the public palace at Pisa. He also painted some
altar-pieces worthy of himself; as the S. Francis in S. Maria Maggiore or
the Beato Piccolomini in the attitude of saying mass, in possession of
the Servi; a beautiful picture, full of spirited attitudes. His son,
Ottaviano, appears his follower in some semicircular pictures in the
cloister of S. Spirito, in a piece representing various saints in the
church of S. Lorenzo; and wherever he was employed. One of his grandest
works may be seen in S. Mary Magdalen at Pescia, the ceiling of which he
painted in fresco.

The Dandini family had many scholars, who, with their descendants, have
kept alive the school of Cortona, even to our own days. This school was
not eminent; it requires but little examination, or prolixity of
description. It has produced some good artists; but few of them are
above mediocrity; a fault less to be attributed to their genius, than
the times. The more modern style was esteemed the best: the last master
seemed to discover new maxims in painting, and abolished the old: and
thus artists of little celebrity gave birth to others more minute and
mannered, resembling their prototype in maxims, but inferior in
reputation. About this time it became fashionable to paint with a
certain degree of careless ease, or _Sprezzatura_, as it is styled by
some; and Giordano and some Venetians are applauded for this manner.
Several Florentine artists tried to imitate them, and have produced
works that resemble sketches: this species of mannerism is not uncommon
in other schools. It is unnecessary to be particular, but only to
observe generally that such artists are as rare in choice collections of
pictures, as Andrea del Sarto or Cigoli: the latter are there scarce,
because they painted with great care; the former class because they
painted with very little. In the work entitled _Series of the most
celebrated painters_, we find Antonio Riccianti, Michele Noferi, and
some others whose names are merely mentioned as scholars of Vincenzio;
and Gabbiani is the only one particularly praised. In like manner, among
the pupils of Pietro Dandini we find the names of Gio. Cinqui, whose
portrait is in the ducal gallery, Antonio Puglieschi, of Florence, who
studied under Ciro, and Valerio Baldassari of Pescia; but there is a
particular eulogy bestowed on Fratinelli, whom we shall notice
hereafter. I find also that P. Alberigo Carlini, a Minorite monk of
Pescia, was the pupil of Ottaviano, and attended Conca at Rome. He
painted some good pictures, chiefly in the church of his order at
Pietrasanta. To his we may also add the name of Santarelli, a patrician
of the same country, and who died at Rome.

The most celebrated pupil of the Dandini was Anton Domenico Gabbiani,
not long ago mentioned; before he was the pupil of Vincenzio, he had
lessons from Subtermans, and finished his education at Rome under Ciro
Ferri, and at Venice by studying the best masters. We must not give
credit to Pascoli, who has represented him as a mean artist.[232]
Gabbiani ranks amongst the best designers of his age; a collection of
his drawings is in the possession of Sig. Pacini, which was often
inspected and commended by Mengs for the facility and elegance he there
discovered. Many of his designs were engraved and published in his life
by Ignatius Hugford. His colouring sometimes borders on the languid, but
is generally good: he is correct and natural, especially in fleshy
tints; juicy, and tempered by a pleasing harmony. The greatest fault in
the style of this artist is in his draperies, which, though correct, and
studied with his usual diligence, always exhibit a degree of heaviness
in the execution, are too confined, and sometimes are not quite true in
the colouring. His merit is very great in light subjects: in the Pitti,
and other palaces of some of the nobility of Florence, his dances of
genii and groups of boys are to be met with, and yield little to those
of Baciccio. One of the finest is in the house of the Orlandini family;
and the Marquis of Riccardi has specimens among the mirrors placed in
his collection. His largest and most celebrated work in fresco is the
vast cupola of Cestello, which he did not wholly finish. His oil
pictures are esteemed precious even in the ducal gallery. Several of his
works of unequal merit are preserved in churches; but his S. Philip, in
possession of the fathers Dell' Oratorio, justifies the assertion of
Redi, that, except Maratta, there was then no painter in Rome that could
eclipse him.[233] The catalogue of his scholars is extensive; but some
of them, as happens to every master, may be also claimed by other
preceptors. Benedetto Luti was an honour to Gabbiani and to Florence.
Having formed himself in this school, he went to Rome, in hopes of
receiving the instructions of Ciro Ferri; but the death of that master
intervening, he was guided by his own genius, and the monuments of art
existing in that city. The style he there formed may be considered a
compound of various imitations, select in the forms, pleasing and bright
in colouring, shewing art in the distribution of light and shade, and as
harmonious to the eye as is the orator to the ear, who enchants an
audience by his well turned periods; the delightful fascination is felt,
but the source of it cannot be assigned. In that metropolis we shall
find him master of the new style; but in Tuscany we cannot point out
many of his pictures besides those in the ducal palace: private
collections are rich only in his crayon pieces, which are likewise well
known out of Italy. There is one of his large pictures on canvass at
Pisa, the subject of which is the Vestment of S. Ranieri; and it is the
most admired among the larger paintings of the cathedral. Luti sent it
to Gabbiani for his correction before it was exposed to the public; a
circumstance highly honourable to the modesty of the scholar and the
abilities of the master.[234] His portrait is in the ducal gallery; and
the more rigid critics, on looking at it, have been known to say,
"Behold the last painter of his school."

Tommaso Redi was a pupil of the same master; and is noticed in the
_Lettere Pittoriche_, as a good composer of historical pictures, and is
also praised for design, colouring, and spirit. From the school of
Gabbiani he went under the tuition of Maratta and Balestra, both artists
respectable for their style, and declared enemies to the innovations
which have occupied and debased our schools for so long a period. Redi
also visited the most celebrated schools, but for the sole purpose of
studying the old masters, and of making copies of their works, some of
which, with a few pieces of his own invention, remain in his family. In
the eulogy of Anton Domenico we find honourable mention made of his
nephew, Gaetano Gabbiani; of Francesco Salvetti, his intimate friend; of
Gio. Antonio Pucci, a painter and a poet; of Giuseppe Baldini, whose
promising career was cut short by death, and of Ranieri del Pace, a
native of Pisa, who afterwards yielding to the torrent of fashion,
became a complete mannerist. Ignatius Hugford, born in Florence, but
whose father was a native of England,[235] was admirably skilled in
recognizing the hands of different masters, and likewise painted in a
good manner a picture of S. Raphael at S. Felicità, and some other
pieces, which were mostly small, and have been admitted into the royal
museum. The feeble paintings in possession of the Vallombrosani at
Forli, and some of the same stamp at Florence, are likewise by this

Alessandro Gherardini, a rival of Gabbiani, and in the opinion of many,
his superior in genius as a painter, had wonderful facility in
counterfeiting different styles. He would have equalled any of his
contemporaries, had he always painted in the style of his Crucifixion of
our Lord in Candeli, in which he calls to mind a happy imitation of
different schools. It is a work studied in every part, especially in the
general tone, which artfully expresses the darkness of that hour. A
history piece of Alexander the Great, in Casa Orlandini, with figures of
half-length, and executed with great industry, is also held in high
esteem; but he aimed at painting pictures of every degree of merit. One
of his pupils, no less fertile in talent, and named Sebastiano Galeotti,
is rather remembered than known at Florence. He left his native place
when young, travelled about a long time without any fixed residence, and
has left specimens behind him in many parts of Upper Italy. He at length
settled at Genoa, where we shall again notice him. The ducal gallery
contains portraits both of the master and of the scholar, by the side of
those of Gabbiani and Redi. Other considerable painters of this epoch
have obtained a similar honour; among whom we may mention Agostino
Veracini, a scholar of Sebastian Ricci, Francesco Conti, a disciple of
Maratta, and Lapi, a follower of Giordano; each of these has
successfully imitated his guide.[236] The S. Apollonia of the first,
painted for the church of that name; various Madonnas of the second, in
the hands of private gentlemen; and the Transfiguration of the last, in
the ducal gallery, are calculated to do them honour, and even to shed a
lustre on some of their less refined productions. Some others now dead
have been equally honoured by a portrait, of whom I have not discovered
any other work. Of this number are Vincenzio Bacherelli, Gio. Francesco
Bagnoli, Anton Sebastiano Bettini, Gio. Casini, Niccolo Nannetti, and
others, who are mentioned in the _Museo Fiorentino_.

Giovanni Camillo Sagrestani, a scholar of Giusti, was esteemed at
Florence, even during the lifetime of Gabbiani and Gherardini. To study
different masters, he visited the best schools of Italy, and for some
time attended the school of Cav. Cignani, whose manner he copied rather
than emulated. One of his Holy Families is in the Madonna de' Ricci, the
beauty of which has more of an ideal cast, and the colouring is more
florid, than is usual with his contemporaries of this school. One of the
first judges in Florence assured me that this painting was the work of
Sagrestani, although others ascribe it to his scholar, Matteo Bonechi.
Bonechi had excellent parts, but not an equal knowledge of the art, in
which he is reported to have been instructed by a species of dictation;
for he practised under the eye, and was directed by the voice of his
master. He thus became one of those practical artists who make up for
the poverty of their design by their spirit and their colouring. There
are some of his pictures that in any collection would be particularly
calculated to attract the eye. Among his works in fresco, the picture at
Cestello, where he finished what was begun by Gabbiani, is worthy of
record; and also that in the Capponi palace near the Nunziata, where he
continued the work of Marinari.

About this time Cignani died in Bologna, and Gio. Gioseffo del Sole,
denominated the modern Guido, enjoyed the highest reputation. Florence
employed three of his eminent pupils; one of the two Soderini, Meucci,
and Ferretti, who although called da Imola, was born and lived in
Florence. Mauro Soderini enjoyed the reputation of a good designer, and
aimed at beauty and effect in his pictures. The Death of S. Joseph in
the cathedral is said to be by his hand, though it is in fact by
Ferretti; the Child revived by S. Zanobi, in the church of S. Stephen,
is really his. Vincenzio Meucci was chiefly employed in works of
perspective, which he executed in many parts of Tuscany, and even in the
cupola of the royal chapel in S. Lorenzo. If there was any one who could
dispute with him pre-eminence in fresco painting, it was his fellow
disciple, Giovanni Domenico Ferretti, whose works may be seen in
Florence, in several other parts of Tuscany, and at Bologna; from which
he appears to have surpassed Meucci in fancy and in spirit, and
especially at the Philippini at Pistoia, where his performance in the
cupola is highly praised. In fresco works they were both excellent; but
in oil paintings they often were too hasty, an error into which all
fresco painters, not excepting the most esteemed, have fallen. Hence
Ferretti, although he painted the Martyrdom of S. Bartolommeo, for the
church dedicated to that saint at Pisa, in an excellent style, did not
give equal satisfaction by his History of S. Guido, in the
archiepiscopal church. Several of the works of Meucci are dispersed
through the various churches in Florence; and in a chapel of the
Nunziata, where he painted the recess, he coloured a Madonna, which is
allowed to be one of his most diligent and best finished pictures. He
was there rivalled by Giuseppe Grisoni, a scholar of Redi; and it is
reported that vexation at this circumstance shortened his days. Grisoni
had travelled more than he in visiting the schools of Italy, had even
gone to England, and had acquired great skill in figures, and still more
in landscape. He therefore was induced to add landscape not only to
historical, but also to portrait painting; as in the instance of a
portrait of himself that is one of the most respectable in the second
chamber of painters. He added it also to the S. Barbara, painted in
competition with Meucci; and it is a picture which does honour to the
school in form, relief, and taste of colouring. He likewise painted
other pieces on the same plan, in which, however, he did not succeed so

Meucci and Grisoni cannot be reckoned Italian artists of the same rank
with Luti; but if all are to be estimated by the times in which they
flourished, each was eminent in his day. I had noticed them briefly in
my first edition, and some painters have informed me, that with them I
ought to have mentioned Giuseppe Zocchi, who was a painter of note, and
should not have been omitted even in a compendium of the history of the
art. I now correct my error, and produce what information the noble
family of Gerini, under whose protection he was received when a boy, and
who, after his elementary studies at Florence, sent him to Rome, to
Bologna, and other parts of Lombardy, for his instruction in the
different schools, have supplied me. I may be allowed to add, that the
Florentine nobility have always been most liberal in this way; and there
are not a few living artists who owe their education in the fine arts to
the bounty of some noble family: such clients are an ornament to a
nobleman, and are not to be numbered among his servants. Zocchi had a
genius fertile in invention, pliant in imitation, and judicious in
selection; and hence at the conclusion of such a course of study, he was
able to compose large works with skill, and to colour beautifully. He
painted four pretty large frescos in the villa Serristori, beyond the
gate of S. Nicholas, some apartments in the Rinuccini palace, and one in
the Gerini gallery; and these are believed to be his best works of this
sort. In smaller pieces he was still greater; as in his oil picture of
the festivities at Siena, on the arrival of the Emperor Francis I., a
work very true in the perspective, and graceful in the multitude of
figures which he there inserted. It is deposited in the splendid
Sansedonii collection of pictures at Siena, where the entertainment
given to the Grand Duke Peter Leopold may also be seen: with this object
in view the painter went to Siena, where he caught the epidemic disorder
that raged there in 1767, and soon after died at Florence.

On turning to the other parts of Tuscany, we find them from the
beginning of the eighteenth century full of the followers of Cortona;
San Sepolcro boasted one Zei, of whom I find no further account than
that of his painting an altar-piece representing the souls in purgatory,
for the cathedral of that place, a work extremely well coloured, and
conducted in the maxims of the school, though the countenances are of a
common cast; and if we except the liberating angel, of poor expression.
Among this sect we cannot include Gio. Batista Mercati, one of the
latest painters of that city, not unknown at Rome, and much noted in his
native place, where he painted either at a more mature time of life, or
with greater pains. Two of his historical frescos, representing our
Lady, are in S. Chiara; and at S. Lorenzo there is a picture of the
titular with other saints; in both there is an air apparently drawn from
the school of the Caracci, especially in the breadth of the drapery,
which is well cast, and skilfully varied. In the Guides to Venice and to
Rome, several of his works are mentioned, and in that of Leghorn, the
only picture in the cathedral esteemed worthy of notice is that of the
Five Saints, painted by Mercati with great care. Orlandi notices Tommaso
Lancisi, a scholar of Scaminossi, and two of his brothers, and adds,
that painting was an hereditary honour in this family.

One only of the countrymen of Berrettini is known to me as his follower;
his name is Adriano Palladino; he is mentioned by Orlandi, which is the
only trace of him that I have discovered; I never saw any of his works,
nor heard them mentioned by any one.

Arezzo abounds with pictures in the manner of Cortona. Salvi
Castellucci, the scholar of Pietro, either at Florence or at Rome, was a
great imitator of his style, and painted with expedition, according to
the practice of the school. He executed many good pieces in the
cathedral, and other churches, besides numerous cabinet pictures that
are in private houses, which are estimable for the facility and good
taste of their colouring. One of his frescos, representing our Lady
surrounded by the patron saints of the city, is in the public palace;
but he is greater in oil painting. He had a son, on whom he bestowed the
name of Pietro, probably in honour of his master. He also was a follower
of Cortona, but never equalled his father.

Pistoia, however, had two Gimignani, the father Giacinto, and Lodovico,
his son, of whom it is still disputed which was the most eminent. From
the school of Poussin, Giacinto entered that of Berrettini; and as he
approached nearer his first master in design and composition, so in
colouring and in taste for architecture he came nearest to the second.
He moreover took the lead in works of fresco. Here he rivalled Camassei
and Maratta, at the baptistery of S. Gio. Laterano, where he painted the
histories of Constantine, besides leaving other specimens in different
parts of Rome, in the Niccolini palace at Florence, and other places. In
some pictures he also emulated Guercino, as for instance in the Leander
in the ducal gallery, which was long considered as a Guercino. Though
Lodovico was the scholar of Giacinto, he is not so correct in design,
but was superior to his father in all the faculties that excite pleasing
emotions; his ideas are more beautiful, his tints more lovely, his
attitudes more spirited, and his harmony more agreeable. It would appear
either that the style of his maternal uncle Orbetto, had attracted his
attention, or that Bernini, the director of his studies, had led him
into this path. He obtained great applause for his works in fresco, and
those he executed at Rome in the church of the Virgins are studied by
artists for the attitudes, the clouds, and the grace of the wings with
which his angels were furnished. He chiefly resided at Rome, which
possesses several of his paintings for churches, and a far greater
number for halls and private rooms; being moreover much employed in
these for foreign countries. Two histories of S. John by the hand of
Giacinto, are in the church dedicated to that saint at Pistoia; and
there was also a S. Rocco in the cathedral, which was esteemed
excellent. Lodovico executed a beautiful picture for the church of the
Capuchins, now converted into a parish church.

After the death of both, Lazzaro Baldi still remained, another great
ornament of the school of Cortona, and of Pistoia, his native place. He
may be there recognised in two pictures, the Annunciation in the church
of S. Francis, and the Repose in Egypt in that of the Madonna della
Umiltà. This latter place is a most majestic octagonal temple, executed
by Ventura Vitoni of Pistoia, the great pupil of Bramante, and
surmounted by a cupola, which is reckoned among the noblest in Italy.
Baldi finally established his abode in Rome; where he was much employed,
as well as in other parts of the states of the Church. One of the most
studied pictures he ever painted is at S. Camerino, and represents S.
Peter receiving the pontifical power. A still more recent artist is Gio.
Domenico Piastrini, a scholar of Luti, who in the porch of Madonna della
Umiltà, filled two large spaces with pictures, illustrative of the
history of this church, and who rivalled the best followers of Maratta,
in S. Maria in Via Lata, at Rome. It is not foreign to this period to
notice Gio. Batista Cipriani, who was born in Florence, but descended
from a family of Pistoia;[237] especially as he left specimens of his
pencil in the neighbourhood of the places we have just mentioned. Two of
his altar-pieces were in the abbey of S. Michael-on-the-Sea; one of S.
Thesaurus, the other of S. Gregory VII. which are valuable, as Cipriani
painted but little. His excellence lay in design, which he acquired from
the collection of the studies of Gabbiani, before mentioned. Having
afterwards gone to London, he was much employed by the celebrated
Bartolozzi, who has immortalized the painter by engraving his
inventions. We might augment our catalogue with the two Giusti and
Michele Paoli, a Pistoian of the school of Crespi; but they did not
attain maturity, if we depend on the information afforded by the
continuator of _Felsina Pittrice_.[238]

Of those within the Florentine territory, the Pisans, and of those
beyond it, the artists of Lucca, yet remain to be considered. Camillo
Gabrieli, a scholar of Ciro, was the first who transplanted the style of
Cortona into Pisa; and in this manner executed a good oil painting at
the convent of the Carmelites, and also several for private individuals;
in this kind of painting he was more happy than in fresco. In this line,
however, his memory is honoured in his native place, both for his works
in the grand saloon of the Alliata palace, and in the apartments of
other noblemen's houses; and likewise on account of his pupils, the two
Melani, who have contributed much to his reputation. We shall notice
Francesco among the professors of architectural design: Giuseppe his
brother, and a knight of the golden spur, became no common artist in
figures, and was worthy of painting in the cathedral a large oil picture
of the death of S. Ranieri. Although this piece ranks in the scale of
mediocrity in this sanctuary of the arts, it does honour to its author;
the invention is good, the perspective is regular, and exhibits no marks
of carelessness, as is so often the case. But his place is among the
painters in fresco; in which department he ornamented with figures the
architectural works of his brother; and has shewn himself tenacious of
the manner of Cortona, both in what is commendable in it, as the
perspective, colouring, and harmony; and also where it is less
praiseworthy, as in the heaviness and imperfect finish of the figures.

With a similar instance we shall commence the series of artists of
Lucca: the two brothers, Ippolito and Giovanni Marracci, obtained equal
applause in very different branches of the art; the former was a painter
of architecture, the latter of figures; and of him only we shall here
speak. Although little known beyond Lucca, he is reckoned among the
eminent scholars and most successful imitators of Pietro da Cortona; and
merits this name, either when he painted in fresco, as in the cupola of
S. Ignatius, at S. Giovanni; or when he wrought in oil, as he did in
several pictures in the possession of the brotherhood of S. Lorenzo, in
the collegiate church of S. Michael, and in other places. With equal
success two other artists, natives of Lucca, who had been educated in
his school, became imitators, for a period, of Pier Cortona. These were
Giovanni Coli and Filippo Gherardi, who were trained in the school of
their native place, and resembled each other no less in style than in
disposition; so that though they usually painted in the same piece, all
their joint labours appear the work of a single artist. They afterwards
adopted a manner that participates of the Venetian and Lombard schools;
and in this style they painted the vast ceiling of the library of S.
Giorgio Maggiore at Venice. Rome possesses some of their stupendous
works in the church of the Lucchesi, and in the magnificent Colonna
gallery. The most celebrated picture with which they ornamented their
native place was the fresco of the tribune of the church of S. Martin,
and next to it that in S. Matthew's, which they decorated with three oil
pictures. After the death of Coli, his companion resided and continued
to paint in Lucca: the whole cloister of the Carmelite monastery was
painted by him alone.

The manner of Cortona was likewise adhered to by Gio. Batista Brugieri,
a scholar of Baldi and of Maratta, who was in his day highly applauded
for his works in the chapel of the Sacrament, at the Servi, and his
other productions in public. P. Stefano Cassiani, from the fraternity to
which he belonged, surnamed Il Certosino, or the Carthusian, painted in
fresco the cupola of his church, and two large histories of our Lady,
besides other reputable works in the style of Cortona, at the Certosa of
Pisa, of Siena, and elsewhere. Girolamo Scaglia, a disciple of Paulini
and of Gio. Marracci, is surnamed Parmegianino. In architecture he
imitated Berrettini, as is remarked by Sig. da Morrona;[239] in his
shadows he followed Paulini, and sometimes approached Ricchi: as a
painter his effect was superior to his design; or as it was observed by
the Cav. Titi, (p. 146) on beholding his picture of the Presentation,
painted at Pisa, it exhibits extreme industry and very little taste.
Gio. Domenico Campiglia was reckoned among the best designers in Rome;
and of him the engravers of antiquities particularly availed themselves.
He was not without merit as a painter; and in Florence, where he
executed some pictures, his portrait has a place among those of eminent
artists. A picture painted by Pietro Sigismondi, of Lucca, for the great
altar of S. Nicholas in Arcione at Rome, is honourably mentioned by
Titi: I know not whether any of his works remain in his native place;
and the same is the case with Massei and with Pini, who will be
considered in another school.

I shall close this series with two other artists; and had the age
produced many like them, Italian painting would not have declined so
much as it has done during the eighteenth century. Giovanni Domenico
Lombardi lived not, like his pupil, Cav. Batoni, within the enlightening
precincts of Rome, but in merit he was at least equal to Batoni. He
formed his style on the works of Paulini, and improved it by studying
the finest colourists at Venice, and also by paying attention to the
school of Bologna. The genius of this artist, his taste, his grand and
resolute tone, appear in several of his pictures, executed in his best
time, and with real pains. Such are his two pieces on the sides of the
choir of the Olivetani, which represent their founder, S. Bernard,
administering relief to the citizens infected with the plague. There are
two others in a chapel of S. Romano, which are painted with a magic
force approaching to the best manner of Guercino; and one of them, in
the opinion of the most rigid critics, seems the work of that artist
himself. He should always have painted thus; and never have prostituted
his pencil to manufacture pieces at all prices. Batoni, who will be
noticed in our third book among the Roman masters, supported better his
own dignity and that of the art. He adhered in a great measure to the
maxims of this school, a circumstance which did not altogether please
his first master, who on examining some of his early performances,
remarked, that they required a greater covering of dirt, for they appear
to him too trimly neat. One who has not an opportunity of examining his
capital works, may satisfy himself in Lucca, either in the church of the
Olivetine fathers, where he painted the Martyrdom of S. Bartolommeo; or
in that of S. Catharine of Siena, where she is represented receiving the
mystic wounds of the crucifixion.

I shall not here mention many artists in the inferior walks of the art.
The example of Cortona influenced none in this class, except a few
ornamental painters, and some artists who accompanied their figures by
landscapes. The painters of landscapes, flowers, and the like, continued
to follow their original models. Chiavistelli, for instance, has been
followed by various artists in fresco of this age, who besides executing
figures, have exercised, as before remarked, other branches of painting.
Pure architectural and ornamental painting in a good taste are, however,
distinct arts; and to attain excellence in them requires all the
faculties of man. Angiol Rossi, of Florence, applied himself to it, as I
believe, in Bologna; and assiduously practised it at Venice, as we are
informed by Guarienti. Two artists of Lucca, Pietro Scorzini and
Bartolommeo Santi, received their education at Bologna, and were the
favourite decorators of many theatres. Francesco Melani, of Pisa,
adhered strongly to Cortona. As learned in perspective as his brother
was in figures, his style was so similar, that no architectural painter
was so well suited to accompany the figures of the other. This will be
allowed by all who view the ceiling in the church of S. Matthew at Pisa,
which is their finest work, or their paintings in Siena, and at other
places, where they were employed together. They educated a pupil worthy
of them, in Tommaso Tommasi, of Pietra Santa, a man of vast conception,
who succeeded in Pisa to the commissions bestowed upon his masters, and
produced very pleasing specimens of his powers in the nave of the church
of S. Giovanni. Ippolito Marracci, of Lucca, the scholar of Metelli,
appears a successful rival of his master, either when he painted by
himself, as in the Rotonda, at Lucca, or when associated with his
brother, as was generally the case. Domenico Schianteschi, a disciple of
Bibieni, lived in San Sepolcro; his perspectives in that city are to be
seen in the houses of many of the nobility, and are much esteemed.

Florence has boasted professed portrait painters, even to the present
time; among whom Gaetano Piattoli is particularly extolled. He was pupil
to a French artist, Francesco Riviera, who had resided and died at
Leghorn, and was very much prized in collections for the excellence of
his Conversazioni and Turkish ballets. He is well known too, in other
countries; for he was employed to take portraits of the foreign nobility
who visited Florence. The portrait of himself, which he painted for the
ducal gallery, indicates the style of the rest. An illustrious female
artist emanated from the school of Gabbiani, although assisted in her
studies by other masters, and this was Giovanna Fratellini, who was not
without invention, and was most expert in portrait painting. She
executed in oil, in crayons, in miniature, and in enamel, various
portraits of the family of Cosmo III. and of other princes, to paint
whom she was sent by her sovereign to several cities of Italy. That
which she painted of herself, is in the ducal gallery: in it she has
blended the employment of the artist with the affection of a mother. She
is represented in the act of taking a likeness of Lorenzo, her only son
and pupil, who died in the flower of his age. It is painted in crayons,
an art in which she may be called the Rosalba of her time. Domenico
Tempesti, or Tempestino, is rather included among engravers than
painters; though he was instructed by Volterrano in Florence, in the
latter art, and exercised it with credit both in landscape and portrait.
He is mentioned by Vianelli in the catalogue of his pictures. It would
appear that he was the same Domenico de Marchis, called Tempestino, whom
Orlandi casually notices in the article of Girolamo Odam, whom Domenico
had initiated in the elements of landscape painting. Orlandi gives also
a separate article, under the head of Domenico Tempesti, in which his
voyages through Europe, and his long residence at Rome, are dwelt upon.

Many landscapes, chiefly rural views, painted by Paolo Anesi, are
dispersed through Florence, and there are also many of them in Rome.
Francesco Zuccherelli, a native of Pitigliano, born in the year 1702,
was his scholar. On going to Rome, he resided there a long time, and
first entered the school of Morandi, and afterwards of Pietro Nelli. His
first intention was to study figures, but by one of those circumstances
which discover the natural predilection, he applied himself to painting
landscape; and pursued it in a manner that united strength and
sweetness; and has been highly extolled not only in Italy, but over all
Europe. His figures also were elegant, and these he was sometimes
employed to introduce in the landscapes and architectural pieces of
other artists. His principal field in Italy was Venice, where he was
settled, until the celebrated Smith made him known in England, and
invited him to that island, in which he remained many years, exercising
his pencil for the court, and for the most considerable collections of
pictures. He enjoyed the particular esteem of Count Algarotti; in the
possession of whose heirs are two landscapes by Tesi, with figures by
Zuccherelli: of the first artist I shall again speak in the school of
Bologna. Algarotti was commissioned by the court of Dresden to procure
the works of the best modern painters, and suggested to Zuccherelli
subjects for two pictures, in which he succeeded admirably, and was
employed to repeat them for the king of Prussia. In his old age he
returned to Rome, and was employed there, at Venice and in Florence,
where he died in 1788. These anecdotes of Zuccherelli I obtained along
with many others from the Sig. Avvocato Lessi, a gentleman deeply versed
in the fine arts.

The name of this artist brings to a fair conclusion the series of
Florentine painters, which has been continued for little less than six
centuries, in an uninterrupted succession of native artists, without the
intervention of one foreign master in this school, at least one so
eminent as to mark an era. With the exception of the last years, in
which art was on the decline throughout Italy, the Florentine school,
with all its merit, and that is undoubtedly very great, owes its
progress to native genius. It was not unacquainted with foreign artists,
but from them it disdained to borrow; and its masters never adopted any
other style on which they did not engraft a peculiarity and originality
of manner.

I might write much in praise of masters now living,[240] but I propose
not to enter on their merits, and shall leave them wholly to the
judgment of posterity. In other arts I indulge a greater latitude, but
not frequently. I may add with truth, that during the course of six
centuries, the artists of Florence have been fortunate in a government
most auspicious to the fine arts. The last princes however of the
Medicean family had shewn more inclination than activity in patronizing
them; and the reign of the Emperor Francis I., though generally
distinguished for enterprize,[241] was nevertheless that of an absent
sovereign. The accession of the Grand Duke Peter Leopold to supreme
power in Tuscany, in 1765, marked a new era in the history of the arts.
The palace and royal villas were repaired and embellished; and amid the
succession of undertakings that attracted the best artists, painting was
continually promoted. The improvement of the ducal gallery was most
opportune for it; and afforded new commissions to painters, and new
specimens of the art: for the Prince ordered all the inferior pieces to
be removed from the collection, and their place to be supplied by vast
numbers of choice pictures. Fine specimens of antique marbles were
likewise added: to him Florence owes the Niobe of Praxiteles,[242] the
Apollo, and other statues; the basso-relievos, and busts of the Cæsars,
which complete the grand series in the corridore: the cabinets of the
gallery were then only twelve in number, and they contained a confused
assemblage of paintings, statues, bronzes, and drawings, antiquities and
modern productions. He reduced this chaos to order; he separated the
different kinds, assigned separate apartments to each, made new
purchases of what was before wanting, and increased the number of
cabinets to twenty-one. This great work, one branch of which he was
pleased to commit to my charge,[243] was worthy of record. I laid it
before the public, in 1782, in a memoir, which was inserted also in the
forty-seventh volume of the Journal of Pisa. Whoever compares this book
with the Description of the Gallery, published in 1759, by Bianchi, will
clearly perceive that Leopold was rather a second founder than a
restorer of that emporium of the fine arts: so different is the
arrangement, so remarkable are the additions to the building, to its
ornaments, and to the articles it contains.[244] I have been diffuse in
my description of the antiquities which appeared to me deserving of more
particular elucidation; of the pictures I merely indicated the artist
and the subject. Since that period, other descriptions of the gallery,
by very able writers, have been given to the public, in which my
nomenclature and expositions of the antiquities have been adopted; but a
fuller and better catalogue of the paintings is given on the plan of
that of the imperial cabinet of Vienna, and similar works.

Ferdinand III. who now for five years has promoted the welfare of
Tuscany, succeeded no less to the throne of his august father, than to
the protection of the fine arts. The new buildings already completed, as
the right wing of the Pitti palace, or now begun, as the vestibule of
the Laurentian library, which is to be finished upon a design of
Michelangiolo, are matters foreign to my subject. Not so, however, are
the additions made by the prince to the gallery and the academy of
design. To the first he has added a vast number of prints and pictures
of those schools in which it was formerly deficient; and the gallery is
increased by a collection of Venetian and another of French masters,
which are separately arranged in two cabinets.[245] The academy, since
1785, had been as it were created anew by his father; had obtained a new
and magnificent edifice, new masters, and new regulations, circumstances
already well known over Europe, and here unnecessary to be repeated.
This institution, which required improvement in some particulars, has
been at length completed, and its apartments and its splendour augmented
by the son; seconded by the superintendence of those accomplished
connoisseurs, the Marchese Gerini, the Prior Rucellai, and the Senator
Alessandri. To the artists in every branch of the fine arts which were
before in Florence, he has recently added the engraver Sig. Morghen, an
ornament to the city and the state. The obligations of the fine arts to
Ferdinand III., are eloquently stated by Sig. Cav. Puccini, a nobleman
of Pistoia, and superintendant of the ducal gallery, in an oration on
the arts, pronounced not long ago in this academy, of which he is the
respected secretary, and since published, accompanied by

[Footnote 229: Life of Matteo Rosselli, in tom. x. p. 72.]

[Footnote 230: Tiraboschi, Storia della Lett. Ital. (tom. viii. p. 258.)
ed. Ven. "Pietro Berrettini, in addition to the letters pointed out by
Mazzucchelli (Scritt. Ital. tom. ii. p. 925,) wrote also along with P.
Giandomenico Ottonelli da Fanano, a Jesuit, a 'Treatise upon painting
and sculpture, their use and abuse; composed by a painter and a
theologian.'" This work is become very rare.]

[Footnote 231: Lett. Pitt. tom. i. p. 44.]

[Footnote 232: In the Life of Luti. See Lett. Pitt. tom. i. p. 69.]

[Footnote 233: Lett. Pitt. tom. ii. p. 69.]

[Footnote 234: See Lett. Pitt. tom. ii. lett. 35.]

[Footnote 235: He was brother to Henry Hugford, a monk of Vallombrosa,
to whom we owe, in a great measure, the progress of working in
_Scagliola_, which was afterwards successfully practised in Florence by
Lamberti Gori, his pupil; and at this day by the Signor Pietro
Stoppioni, who receives numerous commissions. Although the portraits,
and in general the figures, of a variety of colours, are very pleasing,
yet the _dicromi_, or yellow figures upon a black ground, attract most
notice, copied from ancient vases formerly called Etruscan, and these
copies either form separate pictures, or are inserted for ornament in
tablets. The tragic poet Alfieri caused his epitaph to be inscribed on
one of these small tables covered with scagliola work. Being found after
his death, it quickly spread abroad, but was not inscribed on his tomb.
Upon another of these he had written the epitaph of a great personage,
whom he wished to be interred near him; and the two little tablets
united together folded one upon another in the way of a _dittico_ or
small altar, or of a book, on the side of which was written _Alfieri
liber novissimus_. In this way others write, on tablets of scagliola,
fine precepts from scripture, a philosophy that comes from and leads to
heaven, intended to be placed in private sanctuaries, to aid meditation
in sight of the crucifix. The silver tablets I have seen for the same
purpose are more valuable, but less artificial.]

[Footnote 236: In his larger works (such as the altar-pieces at the
Missionari and at the Monastero Nuovo,) it would appear that Conti aimed
at approaching the style of Trevisani.]

[Footnote 237: See _Saggio Istorico della R. Galleria de Firenze_, tom.
ii. p. 72. This work, valuable for its learning and authenticity, is
written by Sig. Giuseppe Bencivenni (formerly Pelli) a gentleman of
Florence, and formerly director of the ducal gallery, who is also known
by his other literary labours, on the lives of the most eminent
painters, by the life of Dante, and by the learned dissertation on
coins, appended to the lives of the followers of Cortona. He arranged
the collection of modern coins, that of engravings and of drawings, and
the paintings of the ducal gallery; of these, and also of the gems and
medals, he has there left manuscript catalogues.]

[Footnote 238: See that work at p. 232.]

[Footnote 239: Tom iii. p. 113.]

[Footnote 240: It was necessary to confine myself thus in the preceding
edition. In the present we may give free scope to our commendation of
Tommaso Gherardini, a Florentine, and pupil to Meucci; and who, having
completed his studies in the schools of Venice and Bologna, succeeded
admirably in basso-relievo and chiaroscuro. He decorated a large hall in
the Medicean gallery in fresco, and painted likewise much in oil for the
imperial gallery of Vienna, for German and English gentlemen, and
various countries that have ornamented their collections. He shewed, at
least for his age, no less skill in fresco histories, which are seen in
many Florentine palaces and villas. The best of these are such as he
executed in mature age, or at his own suggestion; like his _Parnaso in
Toscana_, placed in the Casa Martelli, one of his patrons from his early
years; besides others in the noble houses of Ricciardi and Ambra. He
died in 1797; the senator Martelli, on the decease of the Archbishop his
uncle, and that of his father, continued his patronage to the artist,
and considers him as one who has reflected the greatest degree of credit
on his house. The clients of that family, from the time of Donatello,
have been numerous, a taste for the fine arts being hereditary in the
family. The master of the academy, Pietro Pedroni, ought not to be here
omitted; an oil painter of merit, whose four pictures, executed
subsequent to his studies at Parma and Rome, are an ornament to his
native place. Owing to ill health, he produced little during his
residence at Florence, which, added to other disappointments, induced
him, always the best resource, to travel. If not a rare painter, he was
at least an able master: profound in theory, and eloquent in conveying
his knowledge to his pupils, of whom history will treat in the ensuing
age. Their success, their affection and esteem for Pedroni, is the best
eulogy on him which I can transmit to posterity.]

[Footnote 241: See _Il Saggio Istorico_ of Sig. Pelli, towards the

[Footnote 242: See _Le Notizie su la Scoltura degli antichi e i vari
suoi stili_, p. 39. This short tract, illustrative of many marbles in
the ducal gallery, is inserted in the third volume of _Saggio di Lingua
Etrusca_. It was intended as a preface to a full Description of the
Museum, which was then in the press, but it was suspended in consequence
of the numerous changes and additions made in that place.]

[Footnote 243: It was the cabinet of antiquities, not then arranged. In
each class I have noticed the additions of Leopold. To the busts of the
Cæsars I was able to add about forty, some of which had been purchased,
and others removed from the royal palaces and villas. See the
Description above quoted, p. 34. The collection of heads of philosophers
and illustrious men was almost all new. I give an account of it in p.
85. The series of busts of the Medicean family was completed at the same
time, and Latin inscriptions were added, which are to be found in
various descriptions of the gallery, with some errors, that are not to
be attributed to me, but to the printers; and this remark applies to
other royal epitaphs, as published in many books. The cabinet of antique
bronzes is described in p. 55. For the collection of antique
earthenware, see p. 157; of Greek and Latin inscriptions on stones, see
p. 81. For the Hetruscan and carved cinerary urns, see p. 46. This
cabinet I also endeavoured to illustrate in _Saggio di Lingua Etrusca_,
&c. published at Rome, in 1789. For the cabinet of antique medals,
arranged by the celebrated Sig. Ab. Eckell, see p. 101; the others,
arranged by Sig. Pelli, are mentioned a little before.]

[Footnote 244: After the departure of the prince, his bust in marble was
erected, and beneath it the following inscription, of which he was
pleased to approve:







[Footnote 245: He employed in this work the highly esteemed Sig. Cav.
Puccini, from whom I understand, that almost a third of the pictures now
in the gallery were placed there by the munificence of Ferdinand. Sig.
Puccini has arranged them in a manner so symmetrical and instructive as
to form a model for all other collections.]

[Footnote 246: In 1801 Lodovico I. began his reign in Tuscany. Dying
shortly after, he was succeeded by the infant Carlo I., under the
regency of the Queen-mother Maria Louisa. From this period the arts have
experienced new patronage and encouragement. The very copious and select
Salvetti library has been appropriated for the use of the academy; a
noble example to all parts of Italy, possessing similar institutions. A
new improvement also here made, is the reunion in one place of masters
in scagliola, and mosaic work, gems, and the restoring of pictures, an
occupation recently introduced; and in place of a master, who formerly
presided, a director, with greater authority and emolument, has been
appointed. Sig. Pietro Benvenuti, whom I dare not venture to commend as
he deserves, for he is still living, was selected for this charge. The
addition of casts also by our new rulers is of great utility, in
particular those from the works of the celebrated Canova, who has been
requested to produce a new statue of Venus, on the model of the
Medicean, lost to us by the chance of war. The honour conferred by the
queen regent upon the arts, deserves likewise a place in history; who,
in the meeting of the academy, held in 1803, Sig. Alessandri being
president, distributed rewards to the young students, and encouraged
them to do well. It was upon this occasion that the same Cavaliere
Puccini, secretary to the institution, delivered another excellent
discourse, intended to prove that the pursuit of the fine arts forms one
of the most expeditious and least perilous paths to human glory;--a
discourse that, equally for the credit of the writer and of the fine
arts, was given to the world at Florence, in the year 1804.




  _The old Masters._

The Sienese is the lively school of a lively people; and is so agreeable
in the selection of the colours and the air of the heads, that
foreigners are captivated, and sometimes even prefer it to the
Florentine. But this gaiety of style forms not the only reason of this
preference; there is another, which few have attended to, and none have
ever brought forward. The choicest productions of the painters of Siena
are all in the churches of that place; and he who wishes to become
acquainted with the school, after having seen these, need not be very
solicitous to visit the private collections, which are numerous and well
filled. In Florence it is otherwise: no picture of Vinci, of Bonarruoti,
of Rosso, is to be seen in public; none of the finest productions of
Andrea, or of Frate, and few of any other master who has best supported
the credit of the school: many of the churches abound in pictures of the
third and fifth epochs; which are certainly respectable, but do not
excite astonishment like the works of the Razzi, the Vanni, and other
first rate artists, every where to be met with in Siena. They are,
moreover, two different schools, and ought not to be confounded together
in any work of art; possessing, for a long period of time, different
governments, other heads of schools, other styles; and not affected by
the same changes. A comparison between the two schools is drawn by P.
della Valle,[247] whom we have mentioned, and shall afterwards mention
with respect; and his opinion appears to be, that the Florentine is most
philosophical, the Sienese the most poetical. He remarks on this head,
that the school of Siena, from its very beginning, displays a peculiar
talent for invention; animating with lively and novel images the stories
it represents; filling them with allegory, and forming them into
spirited and well constructed poetic compositions. This originates in
the elevated and fervid genius of the people, that no less aids the
painter, whose poetry is addressed to the eye, than the bard who yields
it to the ear. In the latter, and also in extemporary poets, the city
abounds, and still maintains in public estimation, those laurels, which,
after Petrarca and Tasso, her Perfetti won in the capital. He likewise
observes that those artists particularly attended to expression. Nor was
this difficult, in a city so adverse to dissimulation as Siena, whose
natural disposition and education have adapted the tongue and
countenance to express the emotions of the heart. This vivacity of
genius has perhaps prevented their attaining perfection in design, which
is not the great attribute of those masters, as it is reckoned of the
Florentines. To sum up all, the character of the school of Siena is not
so original as that of some others; and we shall find, during its best
period, that some of its artists distinctly imitated the style of other
painters. With regard to the number of its artists, Siena has been
prolific in the proportion of its population; its artists were numerous
while it had many citizens; but on the decrease of the latter, its
professors of the fine arts also diminished, until every trace of a
school was lost.

The accounts of the early painters of Siena are rather confused during
the three first centuries by the plurality of the Guidi, the Mini, the
Lippi, the Vanni (abbreviations of Giacomo, Filippo, Giovanni), and such
sort of proper names as are used without a surname: hence it is not
sufficient to peruse only such accounts; we must reflect on them and
compare them. They are scattered in many histories of the city,
especially in Ugurgieri, who was pleased to entitle his work _Le Pompe
Sanesi_; in the Diary of Girolamo Gigli; and in several works of the
indefatigable Cav. Gio. Pecci, whom we have before noticed. Many
manuscripts, rich in anecdotes of painting, still remain in the
libraries: of this number are the histories of Sigismondo Tizio, of
Castiglione, who lived at Siena from 1482 to 1528; _the Cathedral of
Siena_, minutely described by Alfonzo Landi; the _Treatise on old_
_Paintings_ of Giulio Mancini; and some _Memoirs_ of Uberto
Benvoglienti, whom Muratori denominates _diligentissimus rerum suæ
patriæ investigator_. From these, and other sources,[248] P. della Valle
has drawn what is contained in the Lettere Sanesi, and repeated in the
notes on Vasari concerning the school of Siena. By the work of Della
Valle it has acquired a celebrity to which it has long been entitled. I
take him for my guide in the documents and anecdotes which he has given
to the public;[249] in the older authorities I follow Vasari and
Baldinucci in many circumstances, but dissent from them in others: and
hostile to error, and anxious for the truth, I shall pursue the same
plan with regard to the historians of the school of Siena. I shall omit
many names of old masters, of whom no works now remain, and here and
there shall add a few modern artists who have come to my knowledge, by
the examination of pictures, or by the perusal of books.

The origin of the Sienese school is deduced either from the crusades in
the east, whence some Grecian painter has been brought to Siena; or from
Pisa, which, as we have seen, had its first artists from Greece. On such
a question every one may judge for himself: to me the data necessary for
resolving it appear to be wanting. I know that Italy was never destitute
of painters, and artists who wrought in miniature; that from such,
without any Grecian aid, or example, some Italian schools took their
origin. Siena must have had them in the twelfth century. The _Ordo
officiorum Senensis Ecclesiæ_ which is preserved in the library of the
academy at Florence, was written in the beginning of the thirteenth
century, and exhibits initial letters, surrounded with illuminations of
little stories and ornaments of animals. They are painted in vermilion,
in a very hard and meagre style; but they are valuable on account of
their era, 1213, in which they were executed by Oderico Canonico of
Siena.[250] Similar books were ornamented by the same painter in the
parchment of the leaves, and painted on the covers without;[251] and
afford a proof that thus the art of ornamenting with miniatures might
lead to large compositions. All, however, more or less, savour of the
Greek design; either because the Italians were originally disciples of
the Greeks, dispersed over Italy, or because they regarded the Grecian
masters as models, and ventured not to attempt much beyond them.

The most ancient pictures in the city, the Madonna _of the Graces_, the
Madonna of Tressa, the Madonna of Bethlehem, a S. Peter in the church
dedicated to that saint, and a S. John the Baptist, surrounded by many
small historical representations at S. Petronilla, are believed to be
older than 1200; but it is by no means clear that they are the works of
Italians, though often believed such from their initial characters,
plaister, and design. On the two last the names of the saints near the
figures are in Latin characters; a circumstance, however, which does not
prove an Italian painter. On the mosaic works at Venice, on the Madonna
of Camerino, brought from Smyrna,[252] and on other pictures executed by
the Greeks for Italian cities, ignorant of their language, they wrote,
or got others to write, inscriptions in Latin; and they did the same on
statues.[253] The method of painting on gilt plaister, which we observe
in some old pictures, decidedly Italian, is no argument; for I have
several times observed a similar practice in what was unquestionably the
work of a Greek artist. The drawing of the features in those pictures,
the grimness of the aspect, and the composition of the stories, all
accord with the productions of the Greeks. They may, therefore, have
been painted by Greek artists, or by a scholar, or, at least, by an
imitator of the Greeks. Who, then, can determine whence the artist came,
whether he was a restorer of painting, and whether he executed those
paintings at Siena, or sent them from some other place? This is certain,
that painting quickly established itself at Siena, sent out roots, and
rapidly multiplied its blossoms.

The series of painters known by name commences with Guido, or Guidone,
already noticed in the beginning of this volume. He flourished before
Cimabue of Florence saw the light; and seems to have been at the same
time an illuminator of manuscripts and a painter. The writers of Siena
have declaimed against Vasari and Baldinucci for omitting this artist;
notices of whom could not have escaped the former, who was many times at
Siena; nor the latter, who was made acquainted with them before the
publication of his _Decennali_. Cav. Marmi, a learned and celebrated
Florentine, thus notices the omission in one of his letters.[254]
"Baldinucci laboured to make us credit the restoration of painting by
Cimabue and Giotto; and to give stability to his hypothesis, it is
probable that he omitted to make any mention of the painters who,
independent of the two just named, departed from the raw and feeble
manner of the Greeks." And Guido certainly left it not a little behind,
in his picture of the Virgin, now hung up in the Malevolti chapel in the
church of S. Domenico. On it he has thus inscribed his name and the

  _Me Guido de Senis diebus depinxit amenis
  Quem Christus lenis nullis velit agere poenis_.

         An. 1221.

And this example was often followed by the masters of this school, to
the great benefit of the history of painting. The countenance of the
Virgin is lovely, and participates not in the stern aspect that is
characteristic of the Greeks; we may discover some trace of a new style
in the drapery. The Madonnas of Cimabue which are at Florence, the one
in the church of the Trinity, the other in S. Maria Novella, are not,
however, inferior. In them we may discern the improvement of the art; a
more vivid colouring, flesh tints more true; a more natural attitude of
the head of the infant, while the accompaniments of the throne, and of
the glory of angels, proclaim a superior style.

On this subject I make two remarks, in which I widely dissent from the
opinion of the author of the Sienese Letters, without committing any
breach of our long established friendship. The one is, that to prove
Guido superior to Cimabue, he frequently compares the Madonna of S.
Domenico, which is the only one of his pictures which he mentions,[255]
with the paintings of Cimabue, which are numerous, and full of subject;
and without setting any value on the colouring, the fertility of
invention, and the various other qualities in which the Florentine
surpassed the artist of Siena, he dwells on certain little particulars,
in which it appears that Guido was superior. An artist of whom it is not
known that he ever attempted any picture but Madonnas, might become more
or less perfect in this subject; but painting is not so much indebted to
him, as to one who has carried it to the higher walks of the art; a
merit which Marco of Siena, a writer not inclined to favour the
Florentines, denies not to Cimabue, as we shall find in the fourth book.
The other circumstance alluded to is, that when he mentions a picture
which does honour to the fame of Cimabue, he attempts to discredit its
history, and the tradition; as I have already observed with regard to
the two large pictures in the church of Assisi, and am now under the
necessity of remarking with regard to the two Madonnas at Florence
above mentioned. He "strongly suspects"[256] them to be the work of Mino
da Turrita, since mosaic, in which Mino was expert, is there represented
by a skilful hand; and Cimabue was not dexterous in that art; as if a
painter could not represent buildings without being an architect, or
garments without knowing how to cut them out, or drapery without being
versed in the art of weaving. He even doubts whether Giotto visited
France, for, had this been the case, he, and not Simone da Siena, would
have painted the portrait of Laura, as if history did not inform us that
Giotto visited that country about 1316, long before the period when
Petrarca first became enamoured of that beauty. He has introduced some
other speculations, which he would not have admitted, had he not been
betrayed into it, almost involuntarily, by a system which has some
probable foundation, but is carried to an extravagant length. I should
have been silent on this subject; but when writing of these artists it
became me to recollect that the _unicuique suum_ was no less the duty of
the historian than the judge.

The authors of chronicles require correction on the era of this painter.
The most undoubted picture of Guido is that bearing the date 1221, for
the other in the church of S. Bernardino, dated 1262, is ascribed to him
without sufficient evidence. It is hardly probable that he who was so
eminent in a new art in 1221, was still alive in 1295, as is affirmed by
some,[257] on the faith of a sum of money paid to one Guido, a painter.
The celebrated Guido must then have been at least 105 years of age: it
is more probable that he was dead, and the name applied to another
Guido, without any danger of a mistake.

It is generally believed that the elder Guido instructed F. Mino, or
Giacomino da Turrita, the celebrated artist in mosaic, of whom we have
spoken in the first book. On the era of Mino also much has been written
without sufficient authority. Baldinucci says he died about 1300; and
omits to mention in his life that he was employed in 1225; although this
date is legible on the mosaic of Mino in the church of S. Giovanni at
Florence, in letters a cubit in length.[258] This circumstance has
likewise escaped the historians of Siena, some of whom have prolonged
his life to the year 1298, on the authority of payment made to Minuccio,
a painter; and others have extended it to about 1200, on account of the
tomb of Boniface VIII. which is said to be the work of Turrita. The
utmost period that can be granted them is about 1290: for Titi observes,
in his _Description of the Paintings in Rome_, that Mino finished the
mosaic of S. Maria Maggiore in 1289, and died, after beginning another
in S. Giovanni Laterano, which was completed by Gaddo Gaddi in 1292.
This renders it extremely doubtful that F. Mino was taught painting by
Guido, that he imparted it not only to Giotto, whom, for other reasons,
we have excluded from his school (p. 20) but to the Sienese artists,
Memmi and Lorenzetti,[259] and even that he was a painter; all which is
founded on the following memorandum, under the year 1289, in a
manuscript in the library of Siena: "Paid on the twelfth day of August,
nineteen lire to Master Mino, the painter, who painted the Virgin Mary,
and other SS. in the council room of the public palace, the balance,

He who is here denominated _Maestro_ Mino, not Fra Mino; who is
sometimes called Minuccio, a diminutive not fitted for an old monk; and
appears to have been employed in Siena when Fra Mino was at Rome, is
another artist. Thus we discover another eminent painter of the name of
Mino, or Minuccio, who seems to be in reality the author of the picture
of 1289, above alluded to, which remained in the council hall even
within my memory, and of others, down to 1298. He there represented the
Virgin and Child, surrounded by angels, and under a canopy, supported by
Apostles and the patron saints of the city. The size of the figures, the
invention and the distribution of the work, are surprising for that age;
of the other qualities one cannot speak with certainty; for it was
repaired in 1321 by Simone da Siena, and there are beauties in the
features and the drapery that can be ascribed only to the restorer. The
mistake thus occasioned by the same name being cleared up, the system of
the learned author of the Lettere Sanesi, is in part confirmed, and in
part falls to the ground. He is right in refusing to Giotto certain
Sienese pupils, referred to him only from traces of a more modern style;
for we here discover an artist who made some advances towards the new
manner even previous to Giotto, who, in 1289, was only thirteen years of
age. Now this Mino, and Duccio, of whom we shall soon treat, might
certainly have formed pupils able to compete with the school of Giotto,
and even in length of years to surpass Giotto himself. There is no
reason, however, to prefer the Sienese painters to Cimabue, on the
strength of this painting, as the author in question has so often done.
Comparison ought to be employed between painter and painter, between
contemporary and contemporary. F. Mino, to whom this single picture was
attributed, is now shewn to have been merely a mosaic worker: Mino or
Minuccio began to be known when Cimabue was fifty years of age; and is
the author of a single work, not so free from retouches, nor so large as
that of Assisi, already described. The comparison then is not just.

Every school thinks itself sufficiently honoured when it can produce two
or three painters of the thirteenth century: the school of Siena is
peculiarly rich in them, and these are recorded in the twenty-fifth
letter _On the disciples of Guido_. As usual I shall omit the names of
those least entitled to recollection. I will not affirm that all of them
proceeded from the school of Guido; for in a city where the fine arts
flourished so rapidly, masters unknown to us may have been produced.
Much less will I ascribe artists of other cities to this school. In the
manuscripts of Mancini, one Bonaventura da Lucca is mentioned, who is
the Berlingieri already mentioned.[260] I neither assign him to Guido
nor to Giunta. Who can tell whether Lucca had not also in those early
times an original school, now unknown to us? Setting aside uncertain
points therefore, we can only assert, that after the middle of the
century, Siena abounded in painters, more, perhaps, than any other city
of Italy; and the causes of this are as follows.

The cathedral was begun several years before, in a style of magnificence
suited to the lordly views of the citizens. It was not a work to be
completed in a short time: hence it was frequently interrupted, and a
long period had elapsed before it was finished. During this time many
architects (_magistri lapidum_) and sculptors either were invited from
other places, or were reared up in the city; and in 1250 they formed a
corporate body, and required particular laws.[261] Although nothing is
ascertained with regard to their mode of study, it is natural to suppose
that the study of sculpture contributed to the advancement of painting,
a sister art. The celebrated battle of Monte Aperto, in which the people
of Siena defeated the Florentines, happened in 1260. This victory
produced an era of peace and opulence to the city, and encouraged both
in public and in private the arts depending on luxury. The victory was
ascribed to the interference of the blessed Virgin Mary, to whom the
city was consecrated; the adoration of her votaries increased, and her
images were multiplied in the streets, and in all other places; and
thence painting obtained fresh encouragement, and new followers.

Ugolino da Siena should be referred to this era; he died decrepid in
1339, and consequently might have been born before 1260. We cannot agree
with Vasari, who insinuates that he was the scholar of Cimabue; nor with
Baldinucci, who ingrafts him on his _Tree_; nor yet with others who
assert that he was the pupil of Guido; for the latter must have been
dead when Ugolino was very young. That he was educated in Siena, seems
to me highly probable, from the number of masters then in that city, and
because the colouring of his Madonna of Orsanmichele at Florence is in
the style of the old school of Siena; less strong and less true than
that of Cimabue and the Florentines. This fact appears to me of
importance, for it depends on the mechanism of the art, which was
different in different schools. Design at that early period savoured
more or less of the Greeks; and in this respect Ugolino adhered to them
too closely. "He painted pictures and chapels over all Italy," says
Vasari; and if I am not mistaken he came to Florence after his travels,
and at length died at Siena.

Duccio di Boninsegna is another master of this age, of whom I shall
speak in another place, as the inventor of a new species of painting.
Tizio says he was the pupil of Segna, an artist now almost unknown in
Siena. He must, however, have enjoyed great celebrity in his day among
his countrymen; for Tizio informs us that he painted a picture at
Arezzo, containing a figure which he pronounces excellent and highly
esteemed. He has transmitted to us the following remarkable testimony
concerning Duccio: "_Ducius_ Senensis inter ejusdem opificii artifices
eâ tempestate primarius; ex cujus officinâ veluti ex equo Trojano
pictores egregii prodierunt."

The _eâ tempestate_ refers to 1311, when Giotto was at Avignon; and when
Duccio was employed on the picture that still exists in the opera-house,
which was completed in three years, and almost forms an era in the art.
It was large enough to have formed a picture for the great altar of the
metropolitan church for which it was intended. On the side facing the
people he painted large figures of the Virgin, and of various saints; on
that fronting the choir he represented scriptural subjects, in many
compartments, in which he introduced a vast number of figures a palm in
length. Pius II. relates in his Annals of Siena, which were never
published, that it cost 2,000 florins; others raise it to 3,000; but not
so much on account of the workmanship as the profusion of gold and
ultramarine. The style is generally thought to approach the Greek
manner; the work, however, is the most copious in figures, and among the
best executed productions of that age. Duccio was employed in many parts
of Tuscany, and in the church of the Trinity at Florence he painted an
Annunciation which, in the opinion of Baldinucci, "leaves no doubt that
he was a scholar of Giotto, or of his disciples." But this will not be
granted or believed by those who have seen it; for both the colouring
and the style are totally dissimilar. Chronology, too, opposes the
conclusion; unless we introduce here also a confusion, arising from
artists with similar names: Duccio painted from 1282,[262] and died
about 1340.[263]

The history becomes more complete, when we arrive at the celebrated
Simone Memmi, or Simone di Martino,[264] the painter of Laura, and the
friend of Petrarca, who has celebrated him in two sonnets that will hand
him down to the latest posterity. The poet has also eulogized him in his
letters, where he thus speaks: "duos ego novi pictores egregios ...
Joctum Florentinum civem, cujus inter modernos fama ingens est, et
Simonem Senensem;" which is not, however, comparing him to Giotto, to
whom he pays a double compliment, but it is giving Memmi the next rank.
In such a convenient place the poet would not, in my opinion, have
omitted _Jocti discipulum_, had he been acquainted with such a
circumstance: but he appears to have no knowledge of it; and this
renders it doubtful whether Simone was the pupil of Giotto at Rome,
notwithstanding the assertion of Vasari, who adds that the latter was
then engaged in the mosaic of the _Navicella_. The writers of Siena
contradict him with good reason; for in 1298 Simone was only fourteen
years of age.[265] They reckon him the scholar of their Mino, and
certainly he derived much from the large fresco before noticed: but as
he retouched it himself we cannot put much faith on the resemblance. His
colouring is more vivid than that of the followers of Giotto, and in
floridness it seems a prelude to Baroccio. But if he was not the scholar
of Giotto, he may have assisted him in some of his works, or, perhaps,
studied him closely, as many eminent painters have often done with the
best masters. This may account for his imitating Giotto so admirably in
S. Peter's at Rome; a merit which procured him an invitation to the
papal court at Avignon, where he died. The picture of the Vatican has
perished; but some of his other works still exist in Italy; and they are
not so numerous at Siena as in Pisa and Florence. In the Campo Santo of
Pisa we find various actions of S. Ranieri, and the celebrated
Assumption of the Virgin, amid a choir of angels, who seem actually
floating in the air, and celebrating the triumph. Memmi was excellent in
this species of composition, as I believe, from the numerous pictures of
this subject which he painted at Siena, where there is one at the church
of S. John, which is more copious but not more beautiful than that at
Pisa. Some of his larger works may be seen in the chapter house of the
Spanish Friars at Florence; several histories of Christ, of S. Domenico,
and of S. Peter Martyr; and there the Order of the Preaching Friars are
poetically represented as engaged in the service of the church, in
rejecting innovators, and in luring souls to paradise. Vasari, to whom
the inventions of Memmi appear "not those of a master of that age, but
of a most excellent modern artist," especially praises the last: and,
indeed, it might be supposed that it was suggested by Petrarch, did not
a comparison of dates refute such an idea. The picture was painted in
1332, and Simone went not to France till 1336; what is said about the
portrait of Laura in the chapterhouse is a mere fable. Taddeo Gaddi, an
undoubted pupil of the improved and dignified school of Giotto, was
there his competitor; and as far surpassed Memmi in the qualities of
that school, as he was excelled by the latter in spirit, in variety of
the heads and attitudes, in fancy of the draperies, and in originality
of composition. Simone paved the way to more complex pictures, and
extended them over a whole façade, so as to be taken in at one glance of
the eye; whereas Giotto used to divide a large surface into many
compartments, in each of which he painted an historical picture.

Although I do not usually dwell on miniature painting, I cannot resist
mentioning one which is to be seen in the Ambrosian library at Milan,
which appears to me a singular production. In that place, there is a
manuscript of Virgil, with the commentary of Servius, which formerly
belonged to Petrarca. In the frontispiece is a miniature that is
reasonably conjectured to have been suggested to Simone by the poet, who
has subjoined the following verses:

  _Mantua Virgilium qui talia carmina finxit,_
  _Sena tulit Simonem digito qui talia pinxit._

The artist has represented Virgil sitting in the attitude of writing,
and with his eyes raised to heaven, invoking the favour of the Muses.
Æneas is before him in the garb and with the demeanour of a warrior,
and, pointing with his sword, intimates the subject of the Æneid. The
Bucolics are represented by a shepherd, and the Georgics by a
husbandman; both of whom are on a lower foreground of the piece, and
appear listening to the strain. Servius, in the mean time, appears
drawing aside a veil of great delicacy and transparency, to intimate
that his readings unveil what would otherwise have remained obscure and
doubtful to the reader of that divine poet. An account of this picture
is contained in a letter of the secretary Ab. Carlo Bianconi,[266] where
the author praises the originality of the idea, the colouring and
harmony of the picture, the propriety and variety in the costume
according with the subject. He also remarks a little rudeness in the
design, more of truth than of beauty in the heads, and the largeness of
the hands; that usually, indeed, were the characteristics of every
school at this period.

Simone had a relation named Lippo Memmi, whom he himself instructed in
the art. Although he was not equal in genius to Simone, he succeeded
admirably in imitating his manner, and, aided by his designs, produced
pictures that might have passed for the work of the former, had he not
inscribed them with his name. When he wrought without such assistance
there is a manifest mediocrity in his invention and design; but he is
still a good colourist. A picture executed by them both is preserved in
S. Ansano di Castelvecchio of Siena.[267] In Ancona, Assisi, and other
places, pictures existed that were begun by the former, and finished by
the latter. There is a picture wholly the work of Lippo in Siena; and
the author of the Description of Pisa records one at the church of S.
Paul in that place, which is not without merit. In my first edition,
implicitly following the writers of chronicles, I mentioned a Cecco di
Martino as the brother of Simone. But on considering that he flourished
about 1380, and that there was a less celebrated Simon Martino, in
Siena, about 1350, mentioned by Cittadini, I do not judge it right to
follow their authority.

An artist named Lorenzo, and familiarly Lorenzetto, was the father of
another family of painters: he had a son named Ambrogio, who is surnamed
Lorenzetti by historians. A large picture by this artist, on which he
subscribes himself _Ambrosius Laurentii_, is to be seen in the public
palace, and may be designated a poem of moral precepts. The vices of a
bad government are there represented under different aspects, and with
appropriate symbols; accompanied by verses explanatory of their nature
and consequences. The Virtues, too, are there personified with suitable
emblems: and the whole is adapted to form governors and politicians for
the republic, animated by the spirit of genuine patriotism alone. Had
there been a greater variety in the countenances of the figures, and a
superior arrangement in the piece, it would have been little inferior to
the finest pictures in the Campo Santo of Pisa. Siena possesses many of
his frescos and large pictures; but they are not so surprising as his
smaller works, in which he appears as the forerunner of B. Angelico,
whom we have commended in another place. I have observed nothing similar
in his contemporaries; and it possesses a nationality of character that
prevents his being confounded with the followers of Giotto: the ideas,
the colouring, and the draperies, are wholly different. In a similar
taste is a picture in the possession of Sig. Abate Ciaccheri, librarian
to the university of Siena, where Ambrogio painted some very original
works, in which he very far surpassed the Orcagni. His style was admired
in Florence; where, to please his friends, who were desirous of seeing a
specimen of his art, he painted several pieces from the life of S.
Nicholas, in the church of S. Proculus, that were afterwards transferred
to the abbey.

Another son of Lorenzo was called Pietro, and, in conjunction with his
brother, painted the Presentation, and Nuptials of Our Lady, in the
hospital of Siena, on which the following inscription was legible: _Hoc
opus fecit Petrus Laurentii et Ambrosius ejus frater, 1335_. The
inscription is preserved by Cav. Pecci, who in 1720, when the painting
was destroyed, transcribed it most opportunely for correcting Vasari,
who had read _Petrus Laurati_ instead of _Laurentii_ in another
inscription; from which he concluded this artist not to be the brother
of Ambrogio; and from some similarity between his style and that of
Giotto, had concluded that he was the disciple of the latter: but it is
highly improbable that with such a father and such a brother, Pietro
would have gone from home for instruction. Vasari gives, however, a most
favourable opinion of this illustrious Sienese, which may suffice to
vindicate his impartiality. He says of one of his pictures, "that it was
executed with a better design and in a superior manner to any thing that
Tuscany had then seen;" and in another place he asserts, that Pietro
"became a better master than either Cimabue or Giotto." What could he
have said further? might it have been asserted that he was, if not the
disciple of Giotto, at least his fellow student in the school of F.
Mino? (Vasari, tom. ii. p. 78. ed. Sen.) But granting that Giotto was
not his master, how are we to believe him his fellow student? The first
pictures of Giotto are traced to 1295; those of Pietro to 1327. And
where, when, or to whom did F. Mino teach painting? Pietro's historical
picture of the Fathers dell' Eremo remains in the Campo Santo of Pisa,
where, in conformity with ecclesiastical history, he has painted the
various discipline of those recluses. This picture, if I am not
mistaken, is richer in ideas, more original, and better conceived than
any one in that place. In the ducal gallery there is a copy of this
picture, if not a duplicate by the artist himself: the taste of the
colouring certainly belongs not to the Florentine, but to the Sienese
school, of that period.

After painting had attained so high a degree of excellence in Siena, it
was liable to decline, both from the usual lot of the most auspicious
eras, to which an age of servile imitation, and of hurried execution,
generally succeeds, and also from the terrible plague which, in 1348,
desolated Italy and Europe; sweeping off distinguished masters and
pupils in every school. Siena, however, did not lose her Lorenzetti, who
constituted her ornament for several years; but if her population at one
time equalled 75,000, it was afterwards greatly diminished. She could,
however, still vie in the number of her artists with Florence itself.
This clearly appears from _The Statutes of the Painters of Siena_,[268]
published by P. della Valle, in his first volume, letter sixteen. They
are drawn up with the characteristic simplicity, clearness, and
precision of the thirteenth century; and are a very admirable body of
regulations for the due propriety and direction of artists, and for the
honour of the art. We can discern that this society consisted of
cultivated and well educated persons; and it does not excite
astonishment to find that, democratic in government as Siena then was,
the highest magistrates of the republic were sometimes elected from
among the professors of the art. They formed a body-corporate; not
merely a fraternity, nor an academy of design; and received their
charter, not from the bishop but from the city, or the republic in 1355.
Some have conjectured that those statutes are as old as the preceding
century; and that they were translated into Italian from the Latin about
1291: for Tizio informs us that, in this year, "Statuta maternâ linguâ
edita sunt ad ambiguitates tollendas." But Tizio must have meant the
statutes concerning wool, and others then existing; and those of the
artists may have been framed at a subsequent period. Indeed, the manner
in which they are drawn up, without a reference to preceding ordinances,
indicates a first edition. If there were statutes published in the
vulgar tongue in 1291, why was the sanction of the law deferred for 66
years? or why are the new not distinguished from the old, as is usual in
similar codes?

In the code to which I refer, the names of a great number of artists are
inscribed, who lived after 1350 and at the beginning of the next
century. With the exception of a few who merit some consideration I
shall pass them over in silence as I did in the Florentine school. I
find among them Andrea di Guido,[269] Jacomo di Frate Mino, and Galgano
di Maestro Minuccio; and I bring these forward to confirm what I have
before observed, that painters of the same name have introduced
confusion into the history of this school. I also find there N. Tedesco,
Vannino da Perugia, Lazzaro da Orvieto, Niccolò da Norcia, Antonio da
Pistoia, and other foreign artists: thence I infer that Siena, like a
university for painting, had furnished masters to various cities of
Italy, and other countries. We here meet with some painters of whom
there still remains some trace in history, or in the inscriptions on
pictures. Martino di Bartolommeo is the artist who, in 1405, painted the
Translation of the Body of S. Crescentius at the cathedral, and of whom
a still better picture remains at S. Antonio Abate. His family name
brings to mind Bartolommeo Bolonghino, or Bolgarino, mentioned by Vasari
as the best pupil of Pietro Laurati, and the painter of some excellent
pictures in Siena, and other parts of Italy. He was a man of rank, and
obtained the honour of the magistracy. Andrea di Vanni is undoubtedly
the painter of the S. Sebastian in the convent of S. Martin, and of the
Madonna surrounded by saints in that of S. Francis; an artist not
unknown beyond the limits of his native country, especially in Naples,
where he painted before 1373. He was likewise employed in public
embassies, and, like another Rubens, was a magistrate, and ambassador of
the republic to the Pope: and was honored by S. Catherine of Siena, who,
in one of her letters, gives him some excellent advice on the subject of

About the year 1370 flourished Berna, (i. e. Bernardo) da Siena, of whom
Vasari says, that "he was the first who painted animals correctly;" and
at the same time allows him no common merit in the human figure,
especially in what regards expression. One of his frescos remains in the
parish church of Arezzo, more praiseworthy on account of the
extremities, in which he was superior to many of that age, than for the
drapery or the colouring, in which many artists surpassed him. He died
in the prime of life, about the year 1380, at S. Gimignano, after having
made considerable progress in a copious work, consisting of some
subjects from sacred history, that still remains in that parish church.
The work was continued with a superior colouring, but with a less pure
design, by Giovanni d'Asciano, who is his reputed scholar. The whole
still exists, and thirteen of the pictures, or perhaps more, are the
work of the scholar who exercised his art at Florence, under the
protection of the Medicean family, much respected by his fellow artists.
As those two painters lived long abroad, I find no mention of them in
the catalogue just quoted. There is a well executed altar-piece in
Venice, with the name _Bernardinus de Senis_. Some of his pictures have
been discovered in the diocese of Siena, by the Archbishop Zondadari,
who has formed a good collection of ancient pictures of the Sienese
school. In these pictures Berna appears to be a pretty good colourist, a
talent which he does not display in his frescos. Luca di Tomè, another
scholar of Berna, noticed by Vasari, is there mentioned. One of his Holy
Families remains at S. Quirico, in the convent of the Capuchins, and
bears the date of 1367. It has not sufficient softness, but in other
respects is very reputable.

In the beginning of the fifteenth century, not only individual painters,
but whole families of artists had multiplied, in which the art for a
long series of years descended from father to son. This circumstance
contributed greatly to the progress of painting: for the master, who is
likewise the father, teaches without any feeling of jealousy, and
generally aims at forming a pupil superior to himself. The family of the
Fredi, or the Bartoli, became celebrated beyond all the rest. The
reputation of Taddeo, who began to be distinguished in the fourteenth
century, rose very high. In the records he is styled _Thaddæus magistri
Bartholi magistri Fredi_,[270] from his father[271] and grandfather,
artists of some name. By him, "as the best master of the age," says
Vasari, the chapel of the public palace was painted, where some
historical pieces representing our Lady, are yet to be seen; and in 1414
he ornamented the adjoining hall. Besides some pictures from sacred
history, he there formed, as it were, a gallery of illustrious men,
chiefly republicans; and for the edification of the citizens, added some
Latin and Italian verses; a mode of instruction very liberally employed
in this school. The chief merit of the work lies in the dignity and
originality of its invention, which was afterwards imitated in part by
Pietro Perugino, in the hall of the Exchange, at Perugia. The portraits
are ideal; they are dressed in the costume of Siena, even when they
represent Romans and Grecians, and their attitudes are not happy. His
pictures at Pisa and in Volterra, mentioned by Vasari, still exist; and
that of the Arena in Padua, in the tribune of the church, is well
preserved. In it we discover practical skill, little variety, and less
grace in the heads, feeble tints, and imitations of Giotto, that lose
their value on a comparison with the original. Some of his small
pictures do him greater honour; and in them an imitation of Ambrogio,
his great prototype, is conspicuous, and also the subdued but agreeable
colouring of this school; which, like all the others in Italy, excelled
about this period more in small than in large proportions.

The manner of Taddeo was first pursued and afterwards meliorated, and
greatly aggrandized by Domenico Bartoli, his nephew and disciple.
Foreign connoisseurs behold with delight the various fresco pictures
which he painted in the pilgrim's ward of the hospital, representing the
circumstances of its foundation, and the exercises of christian charity
bestowed upon the sick, the dying, and the indigent. On comparing these,
one with another, the artist displays considerable improvement, and a
greater freedom than usual from the old dryness: his design and
perspective are better, his compositions more scientific; without taking
into account the richness and variety of ideas, which he has in common
with the artists of this school. From those pictures Raffaello and
Pinturicchio, while painting at Siena, took many of their notions of
national costume, and, perhaps, of some other particulars: for it is
characteristic of great minds to derive advantage even from examples not
above mediocrity.

Thus the art was gradually advancing in the republic, when new
opportunities were afforded for producing works on a grand scale;
occasions in which genius is developed and invigorated. Siena gave Pius
II. to the chair of S. Peter, who, to the most ardent love of his
country, united a taste for magnificence; and during his residence in
the city, it was embellished with architecture, and every kind of
ornament. He would have been still more profuse, had he not, disgusted
with the ingratitude of the people, turned his attention and beneficence
to Rome. Among other advantages he conferred on the state of Siena, was
that of adding to its territory the city of Corsignano, his native
place; which from him was afterwards called Pienza. The new city
received from him another form, and new edifices, among which was the
cathedral. It was erected in 1462, and for its decoration he invited the
best artists of Siena, Ansano and Lorenzo di Pietro, Giovanni di Paolo,
and Matteo his son. Their style was laborious and minute; the universal
character of that age: for the manner of painting was introduced and
transferred from one country into another, without our being able to
discover where it originated; but in the arts depending on design, as we
have before remarked, when the path is once opened, the natural genius
of each school will regulate its further progress. These four artists
are mentioned in the catalogue of Sienese artists; and Ansano, or Sano,
at one time enjoyed the highest reputation. About 1422 he had painted
the beautiful fresco which still remains over the Roman gate; and which
represents the Coronation of the Virgin: it is much in the style of
Simone, and in some respects it surpasses him. A picture by this artist
of inferior merit remains in the church of Pienza. Lorenzo di Pietro,
surnamed Il Vecchietta, was eminent in sculpture and in casting in
bronze; and he is noticed by Vasari. He was less successful in painting,
and offends by hardness, as far as we can determine from the small
remains of him in Siena, for there are none existing at Pienza. A
picture of his, with the date 1457, was lately added to the Medicean
gallery. Giovanni di Paolo makes a good figure in Pienza; and a still
better in a Descent from the Cross, painted four years afterwards in the
Osservanza of Siena; in which the defects of the age are counterbalanced
by qualities, at that time by no means common, displaying a considerable
knowledge of the naked figure.

Matteo di Giovanni was then young, but surpassed them all in the extent
of his genius. This is the Matteo denominated by some the Masaccio of
this school, although there is a great distance between him and the
Florentine Masaccio. The new style of Matteo begins to be recognized in
one of his two pictures in the cathedral. He afterwards improved it in
his works in the church of S. Domenico, at Siena, in Madonna della Neve,
and in some other churches; and it was he who first excited the
Neapolitan school to attempt a less antiquated style. Having learnt the
process of painting in oil, he imparted sufficient softness to his
figures; and from his intimacy with Francesco di Giorgio, a celebrated
architect,[272] he imbibed a good taste in buildings, and diversified
them very ingeniously with alto and basso-relievos. He foreshortened
level objects well; he cast draperies with more of nature, and with less
frippery than was common in that age; if he imparted little beauty to
the features, he attained, at least, variety of expression; and was
sufficiently attentive in marking the muscles and veins in his figures.
He did not always aim at novelty and display in his invention; on the
contrary, after painting a Murder of the Innocents, which was his best
composition,[273] he often repeated it in Siena, and in Naples, but
always with improvements: his most studious picture on this subject is
that at the Servi of Siena, painted in 1491, which must have been near
the close of his life. He was accustomed to introduce into his pictures
some episode, unconnected with the principal story, in small figures, a
style in which he excelled. The noble house of Sozzini and some other
families in Siena, possess several of his small pictures. As an artist,
he is inferior to Bellini, to Francia, or Vannucci; but surpasses many
others. Another eminent Sienese, who flourished in the first ages of oil
painting, is made known to us by Ciriaco Anconitano,[274] who was
acquainted with him in 1449, at the court of Leonello, Marquis of Este.
This artist was named Angelo Parrasio: he painted the nine muses in the
palace of Belfiore, near Ferrara, in imitation of the manner of Giovanni
and Ruggieri da Bruggia.

[Footnote 247: See Lettere Sanesi, tom. ii. let. 23, addressed to the
author of this work.]

[Footnote 248: See _Lett. Sen._ tom. ii. p. 23, et sequent.]

[Footnote 249: In regard to these documents the public is much indebted
to the Abate Ciaccheri, the learned librarian of the city, who employed
himself for many years in collecting them; but his eyes failing him, it
became necessary that others should publish them: the excellent
historian has frequently made mention of him.]

[Footnote 250: The work was published by Trombelli, at Bologna, in 1766.
_Della Valle_, tom. i. p. 278. What he adds, that this very Oderico may
be the Oderigi da Gubbio, noticed by Dante in the xith canto of his
Purgatorio, ought not to be admitted. Dante might, for the sake of
rhyme, change Oderico into Oderigi; but he has said, in the middle of
the verse, that the celebrated miniature painter was a native of Gubbio.
Moreover, the latter, who died about 1300, could not have painted in

[Footnote 251: See Della Valle, tom. ii. p. 273.]

[Footnote 252: This is an Annunciation, with the following verse:

_Virgo parit Christum velut Angelus intimat ipso._

The error in the last word stands on the picture.]

[Footnote 253: Hard by the cathedral of that city there are two lions,
on one of which, in a mixture of Greek and Latin characters, is written,

  M_a_h_ister_ Th_exde fevit_ (fecit) & _fevit fieri ambos istos_.

[Footnote 254: See Lettere Sanesi, tom. i. p. 243.]

[Footnote 255: Tom. ii. p. 15.]

[Footnote 256: P. 288.]

[Footnote 257: See Lett. Sen. tom. ii. p. 276.]

[Footnote 258: _Vigintiquinque Christi cum mille ducentis_, &c. Vide
Piacenza, tom. i. p. 70. Baldinucci was extremely diligent in his
research of epochs; but he took care not to mention this, inasmuch as it
overturned his system.]

[Footnote 259: History only gives him some assistants in mosaic; at Pisa
Tafi and Gaddo Gaddi; at Rome, in S. Maria Maggiore, a Franciscan monk,
who there executed a portrait of himself, and inscribed his name, that
is now illegible, and his native place, which was Camerino. One F.
Giacomo da Camerino painted in the cathedral of Orvieto in 1321, and it
is probable that this is the same artist.]

[Footnote 260: See ante, p. 14.]

[Footnote 261: See Lett. Sen. p. 279.]

[Footnote 262: Lett. Sen. tom. i. p. 277.]

[Footnote 263: Ibid. tom. ii. p. 69.]

[Footnote 264: Martino was the father of Simone; Memmo or Guglielmo his
father-in-law; and in the inscriptions on his pictures he sometimes
assumes the one name, and sometimes the other. _Benvoglienti._]

[Footnote 265: I conjecture this on the authority of Vasari, who says,
that he died in 1345, at the age of 60. In the genuine books at S.
Domenico, of Siena, we find this sentence "Magister Simon Martini pictor
mortuus est in curiâ; cujus exequias fecimus ... 1344." Since Vasari
approaches so near the truth in the time of the painter's death, we may
reasonably credit him also in his age. Mancini says he was born about
1270; which gives occasion for P. della Valle to mention Simone as a
contemporary, and a competitor of Giotto at Rome. I cannot agree with
him on this date, and the information drawn by him from books belonging
to the Sienese hospital, that Simone was in Siena in 1344, only a few
months before his death, at the court of the Pope at Avignon,
strengthens my opinion. I cannot believe that an old man of seventy-four
would transfer his residence from Siena to Avignon. If we credit Vasari
the difficulty vanishes, inasmuch as Simone, being then scarcely sixty,
might be equal to undertake so long a journey.]

[Footnote 266: See Lett. Senesi, tom. ii. p. 101.]

[Footnote 267: There is on it _A. D. 1333, Simon Martini et Lippus Memmi
de Senis me pinxerunt_. It is now in the ducal gallery at Florence. It
may be remarked on the chronology of this painter, that where we find
not Memmi but only Lippo or Filippo, it does not always seem intended
for him. Thus the M. Filippo, who received a sum of money in 1308, and
that Lippo, who, in 1361, is said to be the assistant of another artist,
(Lett. Sen. tom. ii. p. 110), most probably are not to be identified
with Memmi. He was younger than his relation, and according to Vasari,
survived him 14 years.]

[Footnote 268: _Statuti dell' arte de' Pittori Senesi._]

[Footnote 269: This Guido da Siena is, perhaps, the one mentioned by
Sacchetti in his eighty-fourth tale, and of whom there remains a picture
in the church of S. Antonio, painted in 1362. _Baldinucci._]

[Footnote 270: Manfredi.]

[Footnote 271: In the parish church of S. Gimignano is an historical
fresco of this artist, dated 1356, and in that of S. Agostino, a
painting in a much better style, according to Vasari, executed in 1388,
which date P. della Valle gives as 1358.]

[Footnote 272: He was a good sculptor; and, according to the custom of
the time of uniting the three sister arts, he also practised painting,
but not with great success. I have not seen any of his pictures but a
Nativity, in which he chiefly appears emulous of Mantegna. It is in the
possession of Sig. Abate Ciaccheri, whose collection will greatly assist
any one desirous of becoming acquainted with this school.]

[Footnote 273: An engraving of it is in the third volume of Lettere

[Footnote 274: In the fragment of a letter, quoted by Sig. Abate Colucci
in Antichità Picene, tom. xv. p. 143. "Cujus nempe inclytæ artis et
eximii artificum ingenii egregium equidem imitatorem Angelum Parrasium
Senensem, recens picturæ in Latio specimen vidimus," &c.]



  _Foreign Painters at Siena. The origin and progress of the
  modern style in that city._

Before this era we have met with no strangers who had taught painting,
or had changed the manner of this school. The art had there existed for
three centuries, always, or almost always,[275] under the guidance of
native painters; and it had even been provided by the statutes of the
art, that no foreigner might be encouraged to practise it at Siena. In
one chapter it is enacted, that "any stranger, wishing to be employed,
shall pay a florin;" and elsewhere, that "he may receive a just and
sufficient recompense to the extent of twenty-five livres." The
provision was subtle: on the one hand they did not, with a marked
inhospitality, positively exclude strangers; but, on the other, they
deprived them of any chance of rivalling the artists of the city in
employment at Siena. Hence it came to pass, according to P. della Valle,
that no pictures of other schools, but those of a late period, are to be
found there. But this circumstance, though favourable to the artist,
was, in no small degree, detrimental to the art: for the school of
Siena, by admitting strangers, would have swelled the list of her great
masters; and she might have kept pace with other schools; but this she
neglected, and, after having vied with the Florentine school in
painting, and even surpassed it for some years, towards the close of the
fifteenth century Siena could not, perhaps, boast of a better artist
than Capanna, who executed some façades from the designs of others;[276]
or than Andrea del Brescianino, who, in conjunction with one of his
brothers, is said to have painted some pictures, with which I am
unacquainted, in the church of the Olivetine Friars. They have been more
commended by historians than Bernardino Fungai, an artist whose style
was modernized, but dry,[277] than Neroccio, or any other Sienese
painter of that period; but they could not be compared to the best
masters of Italy. The nobility perceived the decline of the native
school, and the necessity of supporting it by the accession of foreign
artists; they wished for such assistance, to the dissatisfaction,
probably, of the populace, every where apt to contend that the provender
of the land should rather feed the native beast of burden than the
foreign steed. The Florentine style of painting found its way to Rome;
but ancient rivalry and political jealousy prevented its introduction
into Siena. Perugia seemed a less objectionable ally; and from that
place, first Bonfigli, and afterwards his scholar Pietro Perugino, who
executed two pictures at Siena, were invited; and at length several
scholars also of the latter were called, who long remained in the
service of two celebrated natives of Siena. The one was Cardinal
Francesco Piccolomini, who soon after became Pius III. For the purpose
of decorating the sacristy of the cathedral, and the chapel of his
family, with various pictures from the life of Pius II. he invited
Pinturicchio to Siena, and this artist carried along with him other
scholars of Perugino, and even Raffaello himself, who is reported to
have designed either wholly, or in a great measure, those historical
pictures. The other was Pandolfo Petrucci, who, for some time, usurped
the government of the republic: eagerly desirous of embellishing the
palace and some churches, he availed himself of Signorelli, and of
Genga,[278] and recalled Pinturicchio.

This passed at the beginning of the sixteenth century; for the sacristy
was completed in 1503; the return of Pinturicchio took place in 1508;
and, after a short interval, it appears that Genga, the scholar of
Perugino, and Signorelli, came to Siena. From that period, the Sienese
school began to assume the modern style; and design, a full tone of
colouring, and perspective, all attained perfection in a few years. Had
Siena produced a family equal to the Medicean in taste, power, and a
disposition to encourage the fine arts, what might it not have attained!
Siena about this time could boast of four men of talents admirably
adapted to produce a great revolution in the art, and these were
Pacchiarotto, Razzi, Mecherino, and Peruzzi, all of whom (with the
exception of Razzi), Baldinucci, for some reason unknown to me, has
derived from the school of Raffaello. The works of Raffaello, then a
young man, and of other foreign artists, far from repressing their
spirit, awakened in them an honourable emulation. Whoever compares the
pictures of Matteo with their works, would conclude that many years had
intervened; yet they were all living at the death of Matteo. We now come
to the bright era of the school of Siena; and to the consideration of
its most eminent masters.

Jacopo Pacchiarotto[279] followed the manner of Pietro more closely than
any of them, although he was not his scholar, and, perhaps, had not been
out of Siena before 1535. In that year there happened an insurrection of
the people against the government of that city, in which he was a
ringleader, and would have suffered an ignominious death, had he not
been saved by the Osservantine fathers, who concealed him for some time
within a tomb. From thence he secretly withdrew to France, where he
assisted Rosso, and is supposed to have died. Siena possesses several of
his cabinet pictures and altar-pieces, in the style of Perugino;
especially a very beautiful one in the church of S. Christopher. In his
frescos, in the church of S. Catherine and of S. Bernardino, where he
emulated the ablest artists of Siena, he appears great in composition.
The most admired is the copious picture representing the Visit of the
Virgin, S. Catherine, to the body of S. Agnes of Montepulciano: the
others are executed in a similar taste. He unquestionably appears to
have studied Raffaello with the greatest care; and there are heads and
whole figures so lively, and with such a grace in the features, that, to
some connoisseurs, they seem to possess the ideal beauty of that great
artist. Nevertheless, Pacchiarotto is almost unknown beyond the limits
of his native place, for he is only incidentally mentioned by Vasari;
and his works have passed under the name of Perugino, or of his school.

Giannantonio Razzi, surnamed Il Sodoma, undoubtedly enjoyed the
citizenship of Siena; but it is disputed whether he was born at
Vergelle, a Sienese village, or at Vercelli, in Piedmont. Vasari
expressly states, that he was invited to Siena by some of the noble
family of Spannocchi, and that he was a native of Vercelli; in which
opinion he is supported by Tizio, Giovio, Mancini, and all who wrote
before Ugurgieri. I am confirmed in it by observing his carnations, his
style of chiaroscuro, and other peculiarities of the old school of
Milan, and of Giovenone, who flourished at Vercelli in the early years
of Razzi; and of this style there appears to me traces in the works of
Gio. Antonio; especially in those he executed shortly after he had left
his master. I have not observed the historical pictures of S. Benedict,
which he painted at Monte Oliveto about 1502, and are so ably described
by Sig. Giulio Perini, secretary to the academy of Florence. I have seen
those he executed at Rome in the pontificate of Julius II. He painted
several in the Vatican, that were defaced, because they did not satisfy
the Pope. Raffaello substituted other pictures, but spared the
grotesques. Razzi afterwards executed some pictures from the life of
Alexander the Great, in the Chigi, now the Farnese palace. The nuptials
of Roxana, and the suppliant family of Darius, are the best of them.
They do not exhibit the facility, grace, and dignified heads, that
characterize the style of Vinci; but they shew much of his chiaroscuro,
which was then greatly followed by the Lombards: perspective, their
hereditary attribute, is there conspicuous; they abound in gay images,
in little Cupids with their arrows, and a pomp that is captivating.

His works in Siena, the fruit of his studies in Rome, and of his mature
age, are still superior. The Epiphany, in the church of S. Augustino,
appeared wholly in the style of Vinci to an eminent foreign connoisseur,
who mentioned it to me with rapture. The Flagellation of Christ, in the
cloister of S. Francis, is preferred to the figures of Michelangiolo by
those who are reckoned judges of the art: their unanimous opinion seems
to be that Razzi never produced a finer picture. Some think as highly of
his S. Sebastian, now in the ducal gallery, which is supposed to have
been copied from an antique Torso. The Swoon of S. Catherine of Siena,
which he painted in fresco in a chapel of S. Domenico, is a picture in
the manner of Raffaello. Peruzzi greatly admired it, and affirmed that
he had never seen a swoon so naturally represented. The air and varied
expression in the heads of his picture, however, are not borrowed from
any artist, and on this account he seems to have extorted the applause
even of Vasari. His models, as was usual with the other artists of this
school, were selected from among the Sienese, whose heads possess a
great degree of innate gaiety, openness, and spirit. He painted
frequently in a hurried manner, without any preparatory study;
especially in his old age, when reduced to poverty at Siena, he sought
for employment at Pisa, at Volterra, and at Lucca: but in all his
pictures I discover traces of an able artist, who, though careless of
excellence, never painted badly. Vasari, the great enemy of his fame,
who generally styles him Mattaccio,[280] has ascribed to chance, to
fortune, or to fancy, whatever he performed well; as if his usual style
had been that of a bad painter. Here Vasari betrays a want of memory;
for he confessed in the life of Mecherino, that Razzi "possessed the
grand principle of design;" in another passage he has praised the
brilliant colouring he brought with him out of Lombardy; and before
noticing the works of his old age, he has often pronounced the others
beautiful, or sometimes _most_ beautiful and wonderful: hence it may be
said of him, _modo ait, modo negat_. Guided by public estimation, Giovio
has written of Razzi in a different manner, when speaking of the death
of Raffaello, he subjoins: "plures pari pene gloriâ certantes artem
exceperunt, et in his Sodomas Vercellensis."[281] He who objects to the
testimony of this eminent scholar, will receive that of a celebrated
painter: Annibale Caracci, passing through Siena, said, "Razzi appears a
very eminent master of the greatest taste, and (speaking of his best
works at Siena) few such pictures are to be seen."[282]

During the many years that Giannantonio lived at Siena, he must have
educated many pupils. A few of them only are noticed by Mancini in one
of his Fragments;[283] and these are Rustico, the father of Cristofano,
an excellent painter of grotesques, with which he filled Siena;
Scalabrino, a man of genius, and a poet;[284] and Michelangiolo Anselmi,
or Michelangiol da Siena, a painter claimed by several places. We shall
consider him in the school of Parma, as he left no work in Siena, except
a fresco in the church of Fonte Giusta, a production of his youth, and
not worthy of so great a name. A scholar of Razzi, then his assistant,
and finally his son-in-law, was Bartolommeo Neroni, otherwise called
Maestro Riccio, who after the death of the four great pillars of the
school of Siena, supported its reputation for many years, and probably
educated one of its restorers. He may be recognized at the Osservanti,
in a Crucifixion with three saints standing around, and people in the
distance. But his masterpiece was a Descent from the Cross, much in the
manner of Razzi, at the Derelitte. Some of his other pictures yet remain
in the city, in which he sometimes appears to mingle the style of his
father-in-law, with a certain resemblance to the manner of Vasari, in
the distribution of his tints. He is known to have been very excellent
in perspective, and particularly so in painting scenery; a specimen of
which was engraved by Andreani. He was also greatly skilled in
architecture, and had a pension from the magistrates of Lucca for his
assistance in their public works. Some books include among his disciples
Anselmi, who was rather his kinsman; and Arcangiolo Salimbeni, who
finished some of his works after his death, and on this account only has
been supposed his scholar. From him we shall commence a new epoch in
this school.

Domenico Beccafumi derived the surname of Mecherino from a citizen of
Siena, who, having remarked him when a shepherd boy designing something
on a stone, augured favourably of his genius; and obtaining the consent
of his father, brought him to the city, and according to Gigli,
recommended him to Capanna as a scholar. He there employed himself in
copying the designs of eminent artists, and in imitating the pictures of
Pietro Perugino, whose manner he at first adopted; nor did he ever
wholly get rid of it; and his works in the cathedral of Pisa exhibit a
dryness, though they are the productions of his maturer years.[285]
Having gone to Rome in the pontificate of Julius II., a new scene was
opened to him in the specimens of ancient sculpture, of which he was a
most sedulous designer, and in the pictures in which Michelangiolo and
Raffaello had assayed their skill. After two years he returned home, and
there continuing his close attention to design, he found himself strong
enough to contend with Razzi; and, if we may credit Vasari, even to
surpass him. He had acquired skill in perspective, and was fertile in
invention as a painter. In Siena, Mecherino is ranked after Razzi; and
the many places where they vied with each other, facilitates the
comparison to those who are disposed to make it. At first he humoured
his placid disposition by painting in a sweet style; at that time he
made choice of beautiful airs for his heads; and very frequently
inserted the portrait of his mistress in his pictures. In this style is
his fine picture at the church of the Olivetines of S. Benedict; in
which he has represented the titular saint, with S. Jerome, and the
Virgin S. Catherine, and where he has added some circumstances of her
life in small figures. The last annotator on Vasari prefers this work to
many other pictures of Mecherino, and laments, that, captivated by the
energy of Bonarruoti, he had deviated from his original manner. And,
indeed, when he aspired to more vigour he frequently appears coarse in
his proportions, negligent in his extremities, and harsh in his heads.
This defect so increased in his old age that his heads of that period
appeared without beauty even to Vasari.

His mode of colouring is not the most true; for it was mannered with a
reddish hue, which is, however, fascinating and cheerful to the eye; it
is neat, clear, and of such a body that it remains on walls at this day,
in the highest preservation. A few of his works remain in Genoa, where
he painted the palace of Prince Doria; they are not numerous at Pisa;
but they abound in his native place, both in public and in private. His
merit was greater in distemper than in oil colouring; and his historical
frescos do him greater honour than his other paintings. His skill was
great in distributing them to suit the place, and in adapting them to
the architecture; he ornamented them with grotesque decorations in such
a manner that he required not the aid of gilt stucco, or other gaudy
trappings. These inventions have such felicity, that a single glance
recals the story to the memory of one acquainted with its circumstances.
He treats his subject copiously, with dignity, and with perfect nature:
he imparts grandeur to it by his architectural views, and elegance by
introducing the usages of antiquity. He peculiarly delighted in the more
recondite principles of the art, which were then less generally
employed; as peculiar reflections of fires and other lights; difficult
foreshortenings, especially as applied to ceilings, which were then very
rare in lower Italy. Vasari has minutely described his figure of
Justice; the feet of which are in dark shadow, gradually diminishing to
the shoulders, which are invested with a most brilliant celestial light:
"Nor is it possible," says he, "to imagine, much less to find, a more
beautiful figure ... amongst all that ever were painted to appear
foreshortened when viewed from below." According to this verdict,
Mecherino deserves the appellation of the Coreggio of lower Italy, in
this very difficult branch of painting; for no modern artist had
attempted so much before his time. The above mentioned figure is painted
on the vaulted ceiling of the consistory of the government; and the
artist has arranged below it various oval and square pictures, each
representing some memorable exploit of a republican hero. He pursued the
same idea in an apartment in the mansion now in possession of the Bindi
family, which P. della Valle reckons his masterpiece. The figures
resemble those in the _Logge_ of Raffaello: they are better coloured
than those in the consistory, and being smaller are, on that account,
better designed: for the style of Mecherino resembles a liquor which
retains its qualities when shut up in a phial, but evaporates and is
dissipated when poured into a larger vessel. This circumstance, however,
was common to many others: his peculiarity consists in what he
communicated to Vasari; that, "out of the atmosphere of Siena, he
imagined he could not paint successfully;" an effect, according to P.
Guglielmo, of the climate; which would be a happy secret for peopling it
with painters. Perhaps it is to be explained by the greater degree of
quiet and tranquillity that he enjoyed at home, in the society of his
friends, among a people ready to encourage him by praise, not to chill
him by reproach, and surrounded by all the spectacles and the lively
genius of his country; objects eagerly desired by the natives of Siena,
but not easily found in other places.

The style of Mecherino, now described, expired with him: for his pupil,
Giorgio da Siena, became a painter of grotesques, and imitated Gio. da
Udine, both in his own country and at Rome: Giannella, or Gio. da Siena,
turned his attention from painting to architecture; and Marco da Pino,
surnamed also da Siena, united a variety of styles. Baglione, and the
historians of Siena, say, that he was there educated by Beccafumi, and
Baldinucci adds, likewise by Peruzzi: P. della Valle, from his brilliant
colouring, denies him to them, and assigns him to Razzi. All, however,
are agreed that he obtained his knowledge principally from Rome, where
he first painted from the cartoons of Ricciarelli or of Perino; and if
we may credit Lomazzo, was also instructed by Bonarruoti. We cannot
readily find any Florentine capable of following the precepts of
Michelangiolo, without ostentation; but he acquired the principles
without the affectation of displaying his knowledge. His manner is
grand, select, and full of elegance: it is adduced by Lomazzo as a
perfect model for the human figure, and for the just distribution of the
light according to the distance of objects; a department of the art in
which he shares the glory with Vinci, Tintoretto, and Baroccio. He
painted little in Siena except a picture, with which I am not
acquainted, in the mansion of the Francesconi family; and few of his
works are to be seen at Rome, with the exception of a Pietà, in an altar
of Araceli, and some frescos in the church Del Gonfalone. Naples was his
field; and there he will again appear as a master and historian of that

If conjecture were allowable in assigning masters to painters of the old
schools, I should be inclined to reckon Daniele di Volterra rather the
scholar of Mecherino, than of Razzi or Peruzzi. We know for certain that
he studied at Siena in early life, when those three artists kept an open
academy. Peruzzi was wholly a follower of Raffaello; Razzi disliked the
Florentine style; and Beccafumi alone aspired to be esteemed a faithful
imitator of Bonarruoti: by regarding him, therefore, as the master of
Daniele, we can best account for the already noticed predilection of the
latter for the style of Michelangiolo. No artist was capable of
initiating him better in the art of casting in bronze than Mecherino; or
afford him more frequent examples of that strong opposition of bright
and sombre colours that appears in some works of Daniele. Yet I will not
depart from the more correct rule which forbids us in such doubtful
points to depart readily from history: for each painter was always free
to choose his style; he might be directed in one path by his master, and
drawn a different way by his own genius, or by accidental circumstances.

Baldassare Peruzzi is one of the numerous individuals whose merit must
not be measured by their good fortune. Born in indigent circumstances in
the diocese of Volterra, but within the territory of Siena, and of a
Sienese father,[286] he was nurtured amid difficulties, and through life
was the perpetual sport of misfortune. Reckoned inferior to his rivals,
because he was as modest and timid as they were arrogant and impudent;
despoiled of his whole property in the sack of Rome; constrained to
exist on a mere pittance at Siena, at Bologna, or at Rome,[287] he died
when he began to be known, not without suspicion of being poisoned, and
with the affliction of leaving a wife and six children almost beggars.
His death demonstrated to the world better than his life the greatness
of his genius; and the justness of his epitaph, in which he is compared
to the ancients, is allowed by posterity. General consent ranks him
among the best architects of his age; and he would also have been
classed with the greatest painters, had he coloured as well as he
designed, and had always been equal to himself; a thing he could not
command during a life so chequered and wretched.

After Peruzzi had received the elements of the art in his native place
from an unknown master, he went to Rome for the completion of his
studies, in the time of Alexander VI. He knew, admired, and imitated
Raffaello (of whom some suppose him a pupil), especially his Holy
Families.[288] He approached him nearly in some works in fresco; such as
the Judgment of Paris in the castle of Belcaro, which is deemed his best
performance, and the celebrated Sybil foretelling the birth of Christ to
Augustus, in the Fonte Giusta, of Siena, which is admired as one of the
finest pictures in that city. He imparted to it such a divine
enthusiasm, that Raffaello himself never surpassed him in treating this
subject; nor Guido, nor Guercino, of whom so many Sybils are exhibited.
In great compositions, such as the Presentation in the Pace at
Rome,[289] he designs well, gives a faithful representation of the
passions, and embellishes the subject by appropriate edifices. His oil
paintings are very rare; those representing the Magi, which are shewn in
many collections at Florence, Parma, and Bologna, are copies from one of
his chiaroscuros, which was afterwards coloured by Girolamo da Trevigi,
as we are informed by Vasari. I was told at Bologna, that the picture of
Girolamo was lost at sea, and that the picture which the Rizzardi family
of that place possess, is a copy by Cesi. His small altar-pieces are
uncommonly scarce likewise: and I am unable to point out any of them but
one, which contains three half-length figures of the Virgin, the
Baptist, and S. Jerome, and is at Torre Babbiana, eighteen miles from

What I have here related would have added to the glory of any other
artist; but is little to the merit of Baldassare. The genius of this man
was not limited to the production of excellent cabinet pictures and
frescos. I have already said he was an architect; or, as Lomazzo has
expressed it, a universal architect: and in this profession, the fruit
of his assiduous study of ancient edifices, he ranks among the foremost,
and is even preferred to Bramante. The encomiums bestowed on him by the
most celebrated writers on architecture are mentioned in the third
volume of the Sienese Letters.[290] No one, however, has done him
greater honour than his scholar Serlio, who declares in the introduction
to his fourth book, that, whatever merit his work possesses, is not due
to himself, but to Baldassare da Siena, of whose manuscripts he became
the heir, and the plagiarist, if we are to credit Giulio
Piccolomini,[291] and his other townsmen. The declaration above stated
absolves Serlio from this imputation, unless it is insisted that he
ought to have affixed the name of Baldassare to every anecdote that he
learnt or took from those manuscripts; a thing which it would be
unreasonable to demand. He has, indeed, frequently mentioned him, and
commended him for a sound taste, for facility, and elegance, both in
designing edifices, and in ornamenting them. To say the truth, his
peculiar merit lies in giving a pleasing effect to his works; and I have
not observed any idea of his which in some way does not exhibit the
stamp of a lively imagination. This character is apparent in the portico
of the Massimi at Rome, the great altar of the metropolitan church of
Siena, and the large gateway of the Sacrati palace at Ferrara, which is
so finely ornamented that it is named among the rarities of that city,
and, in its kind, even of Italy. But what chiefly establishes his
reputation as a man of excellent and various genius, is the Farnese
palace, which is "executed with such exquisite grace that it appears
created by enchantment, rather than built by human hands."[292]

He was eminently skilled in ornamenting façades; in painting so as to
represent real architecture, and basso-relievos of sacrifices,
Bacchanalian scenes, and battles, which "serve to maintain the buildings
sound and in good order, while they improve their appearance," according
to Serlio.[293] He left fine specimens of this art at Siena and in Rome,
where he was followed by Polidoro, who carried it to the summit of
perfection. Peruzzi practised it at the Farnese palace in those pictures
in green earth, with which he covered the outside, and still more in the
internal decorations. Not to mention F. Sebastiano, Raffaello himself
was employed in the same place: and in one apartment, finished without
assistance, the celebrated Galatea. Baldassare painted the ceiling and
the corbels with some fables of Perseus, and other heroes: the style is
light, spirited, and resembles that of Raffaello, but is unequal to that
of his model. Though inferior in figures he was not behind in some other
branches. His imitation of stucco ornaments appears so relieved that
even Titian was deceived by it, and found it necessary to change his
point of view before he could be convinced of his error. A similar
ocular deception is produced by the hall where a colonnade is
represented, the intercolumniations of which make it appear much larger
than it really is. This work induced Pietro Aretino to say, that the
palace "contained no picture more perfect in its kind."[294] And if the
scenes which he painted for the plays, represented in the Apostolical
palace for the amusement of Leo X. had survived to our days, the
perspective paintings of Peruzzi would have obtained greater fame than
the Calandra of Card. da Bibbiena; and it would have been said of him,
as of the ancient, that he discovered a new art, and brought it to
perfection. The observation of Vasari, Lomazzo, and other old writers,
that Peruzzi was not to be surpassed in perspective, has been recently
confirmed by Sig. Milizia in the Memoirs of Architects. In this art he
appears to me to have given the first and most classic examples. When I
have occasion hereafter to notice celebrated perspectives in Rome, in
Venice, or Bologna, we must recollect, that if others surpassed him in
the vastness of their works, they never did so in their perfection.
Maestro Riccio is praised in Siena as second to him in perspective, and
was his scholar for some time; but afterwards he imitated the figures of
his father-in-law.

The merit of Baldassare in grotesque is better seen at Siena than in
Rome. This sort of painting, always the offspring of a whimsical fancy,
was congenial to Mecherino and to Razzi; and both practised it with
success. The latter seemed born to conceive and to execute it with
unpremeditated facility; he painted in this style in the Vatican, and
obtained the approbation of Raffaello, who was unwilling to cancel his
grotesques as he did his historical compositions: he also executed some
at Monte Oliveto that are highly facetious, and may be called an image
of his own brain. Cristoforo Rustici and Giorgio da Siena obtained great
fame in this style; but none of them equalled Peruzzi. This artist,
graceful in all his works, was most elegant in grotesque; and amid the
freedom that a subject wholly capricious inspires, he preserved an art
which Lomazzo has studied, in order to comprehend its principles. He
employs every species of idea; satyrs, masks, children, animals,
monsters, edifices, trees, flowers, vases, candelabra, lamps, armour,
and thunderbolts; but in their arrangement, in the actions represented,
and in every other circumstance, he bridled his caprice by his judgment.
He distorts and connects those images with a surprising symmetry, and
adapts them as devices emblematic of the stories which they surround.
This man, living in the brightest period of modern art, is in short, one
of the individuals most interesting in its history. He had many pupils
in architecture, but few in painting: among the latter are a Francesco
Senese, and a Virgilio Romano, who are commended by Vasari for their
frescos, and to whom grotesques, of uncertain origin, are sometimes
attributed in Siena.

Somewhat later, but certainly before the complete revival of the art at
Siena, I am disposed to class a fresco painter, whom Baglione and Titi
call Matteo da Siena; but who is named Matteino in his native place,
that he may not be confounded with the Matteo of the fourteenth century.
He lived at Rome in the time of Niccolò Circignani, in whose pictures,
and in those of artists of the same class, he inserted perspectives and
landscapes. The efforts of his pencil may be seen at S. Stefano Rotondo,
in thirty-two historical pictures of martyrs painted by Circignani,
which have been engraved by Cavalieri. Many of his landscapes are in the
Vatican gallery, which are beautiful, although in the old style. At the
age of fifty-five he died at Rome, where he was established in the
pontificate of Sixtus V. These circumstances make it appear to me
unlikely, that he had painted in the Casino of Siena, about 1551, or in
the Lucarini palace, along with Rustichino: the first period I consider
too early, and the latter too late.

I shall now give some account of the chiaroscuros executed in mosaic,
which owe their perfection to the school of Siena, during the epoch of
which we are about to finish our account. I have already mentioned the
erection of the magnificent cathedral of Siena, a work of many years;
and may now add, that though it was grand in all its parts, nothing
shewed such originality, or was so generally admired as the pavement
around the great altar, all storied with subjects taken from the New
Testament, of which the figures were surrounded by appropriate
ornaments, which served to vary and divide the immense ground of the
painting. A succession of artists always labouring to improve this work,
carried it in a few years to an astonishing pitch of excellence. The
nature of the stone quarries in the Sienese territory, afforded also
facilities to the art which could not be so easily attained in other
places. It originated like other arts from small and rude beginnings.
Duccio commenced this ornamented pavement. The part which he executed is
constructed of stones, in which the limbs and contours of the figures
are scooped out: it is a dry but not ungraceful production of the
thirteenth century. The young woman in the choir who kneels with her
arms leaning on a cross, and, as an inscription informs us, implores the
mercy of the Lord, is the work of Duccio: it probably represents
Christian piety; and certainly both the attitude and the countenance are
expressive of what she asks. Those who continued the pavement
immediately after Duccio, are not so well known. We read of an Urbano da
Cortona, and an Antonio Federighi, who designed and executed the two
Sybils; the rest was in like manner the work of artists of little note.
They all, however, improved the art in some degree, cutting the figures
with the chisel, and filling up what was removed by the iron, with pitch
or some black composition; and this was a rude sort of chiaroscuro. To
them succeeded Matteo di Giovanni, who, from an attentive consideration
of what his predecessors had done, fell on a method of surpassing them.
He remarked a vein of the marble in the drapery of a figure of David,
which formed a very natural fold, and by the contrast of the colours
made the knee and leg appear in relief: in like manner he discovered in
a figure of Solomon a shade of colour in the marble, well suited to
produce effect. He then selected marbles of different colours; and
joining them after the manner of an inlaying with stained wood, produced
a work that was entitled to the name of a marble chiaroscuro. In this
manner he executed without assistance a Slaughter of the Innocents, a
composition which he frequently repeated, as we before remarked. He thus
opened the path for Beccafumi's histories, who wrought in a superior
style a large part of that pavement, which his exertions, says Vasari,
rendered "the most beautiful, the largest, and most magnificent that was
ever executed." This work employed his leisure hours till he attained to
old age; and though painting interrupted his labours, he did not abandon
it until his death, and hence, some of the historical compositions were
completed by other hands, as is supposed from his cartoons. He executed
the Sacrifice of Isaac, in figures as large as life; and Moses striking
the Rock, with a crowd of Hebrews rushing to catch the water, and slake
their thirst; besides several other subjects, which are described by
Vasari; and more minutely by Landi.[295] I shall subjoin a few
observations on the mechanism of the art. The first attempt of Beccafumi
was to compose a picture of inlaid wood, which was long preserved in the
studio of Vanni, and afterwards was in the possession of the Counts of
the Delci family. He represented the Conversion of S. Paul in this
piece, by employing wood of the colours only that were necessary to
produce a chiaroscuro. After this model he selected white marble for the
light parts of his figures, and the very purest for the catching lights;
grey marble for the middle tints, black for the shadows, and for the
darkest lines he sometimes employed a black stucco. He cut the pieces of
these marbles, which are all indigenous, and inlaid them so nicely that
the joinings are not easily discernible. This has induced some to
believe that white marble is alone employed in this pavement, and that
the middle tints and shadows are formed by certain very penetrating
colours, capable of softening the marble and of colouring it throughout.
We learn from a letter of Gallaccini, that this idea was adopted by some
natives of Siena, and it appears from another of Mariette, that this
great connoisseur was impressed with it, and gained over Bottari to his
opinion.[296] Inspection overturns this supposition, for we may discover
the seams between the different colours; and this circumstance induces
the author of the Sienese Letters and the best informed persons, to
disbelieve the artificial colouring of the marble. The truth is, the
secret of colouring marble was not then known, but was afterwards
discovered in Siena by Michelangiolo Vanni, who has transmitted the
memory of his invention to posterity.[297] He erected a monument for his
father, Cav. Francesco, with columns, ornaments, festoons, and figures
of children; accompanied by a genealogy of the family, which were all
designed on a white slab, and every part carefully and appropriately
coloured, so as to resemble mosaic of different marbles. It is supposed
that the colours were imparted to the marble by some mineral essences to
impregnate it, because they penetrated a considerable way. He entitles
himself the inventor of this art, in the monumental inscription. A
secret of this nature was known to Niccolò Tornioli, of Siena, about the
year 1640; and this artist is said to have painted a Veronica in that
manner, the marble of which he caused to be sawed, and the same picture
was found on each side of the section.[298] He was probably a scholar of
Vanni; and the latter seems anxious by the inscription that he should
not claim the honour of the invention. The connexion of the subject has
led me to notice these two artists in this place. Their true place is in
the third epoch of the Sienese school, to which I shall immediately

[Footnote 275: Baldinucci, in his Life of Antonio Veneziano, contends
that this artist resided, during some time, at Siena; but the silence of
the city historians as to such a fact, leads us to doubt the truth of
his assertion.]

[Footnote 276: Vasari calls him "a pretty good master" in the Life of D.
Bartolommeo: from the note of Bottari on this passage we collect that he
flourished about 1500. Gigli makes him the master of Beccafumi.]

[Footnote 277: There is a Coronation of the Virgin by him at Fonte
Giusta, and a picture, representing various saints, at Carmine, dated

[Footnote 278: See _Lett. Sanesi_, tom. iii. p. 320, where the
inscription of Signorelli on his pictures in the Petrucci palace is
quoted, and Vasari is corrected.]

[Footnote 279: He is thus named by Baldinucci; but Vasari, in his Life
of Razzi, mentions a Girolamo del Pacchia, a rival of Razzi himself; and
this person appears to be Pacchiarotto. He also mentions Giomo, or
Girolamo del Sodoma, who died young; and whom both Orlandi and Bottari
have confounded with Pacchiarotto; when we ought rather to believe that
he was a pupil of Razzi, and died while he was yet young.]

[Footnote 280: Mattaccio signifies a buffoon. Tr.]

[Footnote 281: In P. della Valle, in the Supplement to the life of
Razzi, See Vasari, edit. of Siena, p. 297. In the following page there
is a chronological error. He agrees with Baldinucci that Razzi was born
in 1479, and says that his picture of S. Francis was executed in 1490,
that is, when the artist was about eleven years of age.]

[Footnote 282: See also Perini, in his _Lettera su l' Archicenobio di
Monte Oliveto_, p. 49, where he defends Razzi from the charge of
indecorum made by Vasari, on a view of the grotesques and fancy subjects
which he painted in that place.]

[Footnote 283: Tom. iii. p. 243.]

[Footnote 284: I am in doubt as to his native place. The name of one
_Scalobrinus Pistoriensis_, a painter of merit, and belonging to the
same age, is found inscribed at the church of S. Francesco, without the
Tuscan gate, where he left seven specimens of altar-pieces. _Memorie per
le belle Arti_, tom. ii. p. 190.]

[Footnote 285: See Sig. da Morrona, tom. i. p. 116. Mecherino there
painted the Evangelists, and some historical pieces from the life of
Moses: Razzi executed in the same place a Descent from the Cross, and an
Abraham offering his Son, which are among his last, and not his best

[Footnote 286: The Sienese historians prove this in opposition to
Vasari, who makes him by descent a Florentine. See Lett. Sen. tom. iii.
p. 178.]

[Footnote 287: For his labours in the cathedral of Siena he had thirty
crowns a year; as the architect of S. Peter's, two hundred and fifty. He
derived little advantage from private commissions, for people generally
took advantage of his modesty, in either not paying him at all, or
rewarding him scantily.]

[Footnote 288: I saw one in the possession of Cav. Cavaceppi in Rome, of
which this great connoisseur used to say, that it might pass for a
Raffaello, if it had been as like in colouring as in every thing else.
The Sergardi family at Siena have another, and a Holy Family, by Razzi,
as its companion. These are reckoned among their first performances, and
are believed to have been painted in competition with each other. In
that of Peruzzi one recognizes, even at that time, that elegance of
design which he delighted afterwards to exhibit in his figures,
especially in the Chigi, now called the Farnese palace.]

[Footnote 289: It is a fresco, and, though retouched, surprises at once
by the novelty and expression of the figures. A. Caracci designed it for
one of his studies.]

[Footnote 290: Lett. vii.]

[Footnote 291: Siena Illustre.]

[Footnote 292: The expression in the original is: "condotto con quella
bella grazia che si vede-non murato, ma veramente nato." _Vasari._]

[Footnote 293: P. 191.]

[Footnote 294: Serlio, 1. c.]

[Footnote 295: _Lettere Senesi_, tom. iii. lett. 6. See also lett. 8.
page 223, where there are many observations on the design of Mecherino,
and on the execution committed to the Martini, brothers, and eminent
sculptors of that period. For the prints from their works by Andreani
and Gabuggiani, see the notes of Bottari on the life of Mecherino, p.

[Footnote 296: See Lett. Pittoriche, tom. i. p. 311, and tom. iv. p.
344. See also Notes on Vasari, tom. iv. p. 436. Ed. Fiorentin.]

[Footnote 297: He inscribed the monument, "Francisco Vannio ... Michael
Angelus ... novæ hujus in petrâ pingendi artis inventor et Raphael ...
Filii parenti optimo m. p. a. 1656.]

[Footnote 298: See the note of Bottari on Gallaccini's letter. tom. i.
p. 308.]



  _The art having declined in Siena through the disasters of
  the state, is revived by the labours of Salimbeni and his

We have related the progress and best works of the Sienese school from
the beginning, to about the middle of the sixteenth century; but we have
not yet considered a circumstance that adds greatly to the merit of the
artists and works of that period. If we search into the history of that
half century, we shall find that all Italy groaned under the pressure of
public calamities; but Siena, to a greater degree, and for a longer
period than any other place, endured an accumulation of the most
terrible evils. Famine, pestilence, and a suspension of commercial
intercourse, afflicted other states, but here they seem to have
exhausted their rage: civil commotions and external enemies agitated
other states, but here, during a period of many years, they allowed not
a moment of tranquillity. The republic of Siena, strong in the valour of
her citizens, was feeble in every thing besides; and hence it resembled
a gulph, where tempests are more frequent and more violent than on the
ocean. The usurpation of the Petrucci, the dissensions between the
nobles and the people, and jealousy of foreign powers, who sought her
subjugation, kept Siena in constant alarm, and often incited to arms and
to bloodshed. The remedy which they now expected in the protection of
the emperor, at another time from France, only served to aggravate
internal commotion and foreign aggression. Amid this perpetual
agitation, I know not whether most to admire the genius of the people,
ever directed to the decoration of their houses and public edifices, or
the spirit of the artists, who could summon all the powers of their
minds to such efforts: this I know, that similar instances are rare in
other countries. The year 1555 at length arrived, when Cosmo I. deprived
the Sienese of their long defended liberty. To any enemy but the
Florentines they would have submitted with less reluctance; and on this
account our astonishment is lessened on finding that, on this occasion,
two thirds of the inhabitants abandoned their native soil, refusing to
live subject to enemies so abhorred.

At this time, and in the disasters above alluded to, the city lost many
able artists, and also several families, from whom eminent artists were
descended, and whose Sienese origin is confirmed by history. Baglione
says of Camillo Mariani, that he was born at Vicenza, and that his
father was a native of Siena, who had expatriated himself on account of
the wars; and he praises the cabinet pictures of this artist, who died
at Rome with the reputation of an excellent sculptor. I likewise find at
Bologna an Agostino Marcucci, of Siena, who is wholly unknown in that
place, probably because he was the son of an emigrant. He was a disciple
of the Caracci, till a schism arose in that school, which we shall
notice in its proper place, when he ranged himself with the foremost
adherents of Facini, the leader of the party, and they had the boldness
to set up a new academy in opposition to that of the Caracci. He
continued to reside in Bologna, and to teach to the time of his death,
and is reckoned by Malvasia among "the first men" of that age. Of his
scholars Malvasia mentions only Ruggieri, and he only notices one of his
pictures at the Concezione;[299] to which several others, however, are
added in the New Guide.

Siena, in the mean time, began to breathe from her misfortunes, and to
be reconciled to the new government, which, through the prudence of
Cosmo, appeared rather a reformation in the old, than a new domination.
No long time elapsed before the void left in the city by the artists who
had emigrated was filled up by others. Rustico had remained there, as
well as his superior, Riccio, who painted the celebrated scene, already
noticed, on the coming of Cosmo. Siena also possessed Tozzo and Bigio,
whom Lancillotti reckons "among the most famous painters," I believe, in
small figures; and it is not easy to distinguish between those two
artists, who had an extraordinary similarity of style. Arcangiolo
Salimbeni, who is expressly said by Baldinucci to be a "scholar of
Federigo Zuccari," may have received the rudiments of the art from one
of them. Perhaps, as the historian goes on to say, during his residence
at Rome he might contract an intimate friendship with Zuccari; but the
style of Salimbeni discovers very opposite principles from those of that
master; and notwithstanding all researches, no one has succeeded in
finding pictures of his that bear indications of that school. He loved
precision more than fulness of design; and we may even observe in him an
attachment to the manner of Pietro Perugino, as was observed by Della
Valle with regard to a Crucifixion attended by six Saints, in the parish
church of Lusignano. In his other pictures at Siena, especially in the
S. Peter-Martyr, in possession of the Dominicans, he appears wholly
modern;[300] but diligent, and free from the defects which we often
observe in Federigo, who may be considered as a professed mannerist of
that period. It was the good fortune of the Sienese school, that Riccio
was succeeded by this artist, who, if he had not a lofty genius,
possessed, at least, the judgment to avoid the faults of his
contemporaries. Hence, amid the degeneracy of the neighbouring schools
this remained uncontaminated, or but slightly infected; and the new
disciples it sent forth contributed to the improvement of the art in
Italy. They were not so much attached to home as Mecherino; they painted
equally well beyond the territory of Siena; they visited very distant
cities, and in them all left specimens of their art, both in public and
in private, which are still preserved. After receiving the first
instruction from Salimbeni, or some less known artist, each chose his
own guide. We shall here proceed with their history.

After receiving the rudiments of the art at Siena, Pietro Sorri went to
Florence, under Passignano, and became his son-in-law, and the associate
of his labours in that place and in Venice. He emulated the style of
Passignano, which partook, as we have observed, of the Florentine and
the Venetian: he succeeded so well, that their works bear a perfect
resemblance, and are held in equal estimation. He painted less
expeditiously than his father-in-law; but his colouring was more
durable, and, if I mistake not, his design more graceful. The convent of
S. Sebastian, which was ornamented by a competition of the best Sienese
artists of this epoch, has one of his pictures, which are rather
uncommon in Siena; for his best years were spent in other places. He was
much at Florence: and afterwards visited many other Tuscan cities; and
there is scarcely any considerable place among them which cannot boast
the efforts of his easy and graceful pencil; but particularly Pisa, the
cathedral of which could not but attract such an artist. He there
represented the Consecration of that church on one large canvas, and, on
another, Christ disputing with the Doctors, which is inscribed with his
name: and never did he approach nearer to the excellence of Paul
Veronese in architecture and other accompaniments. He was employed in
the Carthusian monastery of Pavia, and also in Genoa, where we shall
find him as a preceptor in that school.

Casolani took his surname from Casole, the little town from which his
family removed to Siena. In the ducal gallery of Florence there is a
portrait of a lady with three men, in the same piece, which is said to
represent Lucrezia Piccolomini, with her three sons, Alessandro
Casolani, Francesco Vanni, and Ventura Salimbeni, whom she bore to
different husbands, in the course of a few years. This makes Alessandro
the stepson of Arcangiolo Salimbeni, and the uterine brother of Ventura
and of Vanni. I cannot find this story in any author, except in Niccolò
Pio, a Roman writer of no authority, whose manuscript, containing
notices of two hundred and fifty artists, which was drawn up about 1724,
is preserved in the Vatican library.[301] The old writers of Siena have
taken no notice of so remarkable an event, and we cannot, therefore,
give credit to Pio, a stranger, and a modern author. The relation then
in which Alessandro stands to Arcangiolo is that of scholar; but he
learnt more from Cav. Roncalli in Siena and in Rome. He remained long in
the latter city: he designed the finest works it contained, and obtained
some idea of different styles. This knowledge was increased by a journey
which he made some years afterwards to Pavia, where he painted in the
Carthusian monastery, and in other places. His manner is prodigiously
varied. It exhibits traces of the best style of Roncalli, a good design,
sobriety of composition, a modesty of colouring, and tranquil harmony.
He seems also to have aimed at originality, for he was continually
altering his style, mingling it with the graces of various artists, and
sometimes striking out into a novel path. He possessed promptness of
genius and of execution: he was quick in committing his ideas to the
canvas; and when dissatisfied with his work, he often chose to cancel
the whole, rather than to correct a part. Although unacquainted with
ideal beauty, he was esteemed by Guido, who may be considered as the
father of modern painters, and who said of him "this truly is a
painter." Whoever would see his best work, may examine the martyrdom of
S. Bartholomew, at the Carmine of Siena. It is a picture of considerable
size, with great variety in the figures and in the expression, and
altogether excites surprise. We are told that when Roncalli examined it,
he at length exclaimed, that the art of that period was comprised in
that picture. But the short life of Casolani prevented him attaining the
excellence which this specimen promised. His works are in various cities
of Tuscany, and also in Naples, Genoa, and Fermo, in the metropolitan
church of which there is a picture of S. Louis of France, that is
numbered among the choice paintings in that city.

A good many of his works in Siena shew traces of, and even whole figures
by other hands; having been finished by Vanni, and Ventura Salimbeni, or
by other artists, either of his own or of different schools. Ilario
Casolani, his son, by a daughter of Rustici, finished the Assumption for
the Church of S. Francis; and afterwards went to Rome, where he was
"noticed by Cav. Pomaranci, out of respect to his father," says Mancini,
as of a thing he knew, and adds, that Pomaranci had good hopes of him.
Baglione and Pio called him Cristoforo, a name he, perhaps, received
along with several others at baptism; and which probably the Sienese
artist thought more becoming at Rome than Ilario, since he is named
Cristoforo, by Roncalli. Under Pomaranci he became a proficient in his
style in fresco, and imitated it particularly at Madonna de' Monti, in
some pictures from the history of the Virgin, and in an Ascension on the
ceiling; the best work, perhaps, produced in the short course of his
life. Titi uniformly names him Cristoforo Consolano; but a consideration
of the anecdotes of Mancini and Baglione leads us to convert it into
Casolano. A Resurrection of Lazarus, begun by Alessandro for the church
of S. Francis, was finished by Vincenzio Rustici; who was probably his
scholar and his kinsman, and who is the least celebrated among this
family of painters. One of his pictures, intended for Santuccio, was
finished by Sebastiano Folli. The frescos of this artist are more
numerous at Siena than his oil pictures: the ornamental parts of them
are superior to his figures, in which he inclined to mannerism; his
compartments are beautiful, his architecture finely conducted, his
imitations of stucco deceive the eye, and he was expert in
foreshortening what was to be seen from below. In 1608 he painted the
frescos of S. Sebastian, in competition with various artists, and in
this trial of skill he only yields to Rutilio Manetti. In the Guide of
the Cav. Pecci I find mention made of designs of Casolani, executed in
fresco by Stefano Volpi, whose name not unfrequently occurs in that
work, and who was probably a scholar of that excellent artist.

Cav. Ventura, the son of A. Salimbeni, is reckoned the third scholar of
that master, though his lessons from Arcangiolo must have been but few.
The young man left his home early, and journeying through the cities of
Lombardy, he studied the works of Correggio and others, whose taste
began to be applauded in Tuscany. He went to Rome in the pontificate of
Sixtus V. and raised a very favourable opinion of his genius, which,
giving himself up to dissipation, he did not afterwards fulfil. In that
city he left many frescos that are praised by Baglione, among which, the
Abraham entertaining the Angels, in a chapel of the Gesù, appears, on
the whole, the work of a consummate painter. It has something lively and
graceful in the colouring and the countenances, which he always
retained: it also shews attention to design and chiaroscuro, which, in a
great measure, he afterwards neglected in his paintings. In conjunction
with Vanni he executed some ceilings, and, perhaps, derived advantage
from observing this painter, though his junior by eight years. In many
of his works he undoubtedly resembles him in his imitation of Baroccio,
and hardly yields to him in grace of contour, in expression, and in
delicacy and clearness of colouring. He is admired in the church of S.
Quirico, and in that of S. Domenick: in the one is his Appearance of the
Angel at the Sepulchre; in the other a Crucifixion, with various Saints
around, which are superior to the generality of his works. In several
other places in Siena there are others of great merit, especially where
he painted in the vicinity of the works of the best masters of his
school. He likewise executed some beautiful historical pieces when he
vied with Poccetti, in the cloister of the Servi at Florence, and in the
cathedral of Pisa, where he was surrounded by such great painters. His
Marriage of the Virgin, in the cathedral of Foligno, his S. Gregory, in
the church of S. Peter at Perugia, his works in Lucca, in Pavia, and in
various cities of Italy, justify the remark of Baglione, that Salimbeni
was impatient of remaining long in any one place. In Genoa, however, his
stay was not so short. The beautiful chamber in the Adorno palace, and
other works which he there executed, are still in existence, while many
others have perished. He went to Genoa at the same time with Agostino
Tassi, who served him for an ornamental and landscape painter, and,
perhaps, it was through him that Ottavio Ghissoni, of Siena, came to
that place; an artist, if I am not mistaken, forgotten in the annals of
his own country; in fresco he was more lively than correct. He studied
at Rome under Cherubino Alberti; but his country, his style, and the
time of his arrival at Genoa, afford ground to suspect that he had also
received the lessons of Salimbeni. Soprani gives Ventura the surname of
Bevilacqua, which is rather an addition to his name granted him by
Cardinal Bevilacqua when he knighted him in Perugia.

Cav. Francesco Vanni, in the opinion of many, is the best painter of
this school; and is reckoned one of the restorers of Italian painting in
the sixteenth century. The early instruction of his genius is to be
assigned with greater probability to his brother than to his
stepfather. At sixteen years of age he went to Rome, for the purpose of
designing after Raffaello and the best masters. He was for some time
under the tuition of Gio. de' Vecchi, whose style he introduced into his
native country. There are specimens of him in many churches, and it is
related that they were not relished by his fellow citizens; a
circumstance which might occasion him uneasiness at the time, but soon
after afforded him a lasting source of satisfaction. It induced him to
examine the pictures of Lombardy, as his brother had done: and having
remained in Parma to design some of them, he afterwards went to Bologna,
where he was assiduously occupied. Ugurgieri writes that he was at that
place in 1667, at which time he was twelve years old: this I believe to
be incorrect; for it was unknown to Mancini, who was acquainted with
Vanni. Malvasia repeats it on the authority of Ugurgieri; but he can
discover nothing further of Vanni, at Bologna, than his being there
after he had arrived at manhood, and designing in the academy of Facini
and Mirandola, to which he was probably introduced by his countryman
Marcucci. He left some works at Bologna, in the style of the Caracci, if
he is the painter of a Madonna, which was shewn me as a Vanni, in a
cabinet of the Zambeccari collection. His Flight into Egypt, painted for
the church of S. Quirico, in Siena, bears also undoubted marks of the
Bolognese school.

Although he attempted other styles, he was not like Casolani an adherent
to none. Vanni attached himself to the elegant and florid manner of
Barocci, in which he was eminently successful. Of this, the Humiliation
of Simon the Sorcerer, which he painted on a stone slab for the church
of S. Peter at Rome, affords a proof; a picture which, though recently
cleaned with little judgment, is still an object of admiration. Both the
design and colouring are in the manner of Barocci; and it is prepared
with a due regard to the humidity of that church; nor has it been found
necessary to remove it, as has happened to other pictures. He also
painted in Siena, and in other Italian cities, where he has approached
the manner of Barocci more closely than Viviani, or any other pupil of
that artist. His Marriage of S. Catherine, with a numerous group of
angels, at the Refugio, is much praised in Siena: as is the Madonna,
surrounded by saints, painted for the church of Monna Agnese; and the S.
Raymond walking on the Sea, in the possession of the Domenican Fathers,
which is supposed by some to be his best picture in Siena, where his
works are very numerous. Among the finest pictures in the cathedral of
Pisa, is the Dispute about the Sacrament, painted in emulation of his
brother Ventura, who had surpassed his usual style in the altar-piece of
the angels. At the Umiltà of Pistoia, in the convent of the Camaldules
of Fabriano, and in that of the Capuchins of S. Quirico, are some of his
most exquisite works; and they are so numerous in other places, that I
do not imagine a full catalogue of them has ever been made out. He is
generally a follower of Barocci, as we have observed; and amateurs,
deceived principally by his colouring, and the heads of his boys, which
appear cast in the mould of Barocci, frequently confound the latter with
Vanni: but one, well acquainted with Federigo, observes in him more
grandeur of design, and greater freedom in the touches of the pencil.
The pictures which Vanni executed negligently, or at low prices (of
which there are several at Siena), can hardly be recognized as his.

By the example and lessons of Vanni, the honour of painting was long
supported at Siena. He taught many pupils, who did not, however, rigidly
adopt his style; but, as is usually the case, imitated the master most
recently in vogue, or, in other words, followed the fashion of the time.
We shall begin with his two sons, to whom he had given the names most
celebrated in the art. Michelangiolo, the eldest, we have mentioned with
applause, as the inventor of staining marble: but he did not attain much
celebrity except in this art. I know not whether he ever was out of
Siena, and there we find few of his paintings, except a S. Catherine in
the act of praying with the Redeemer, which was painted for the
Olivetine monks. Raffaele, the second, left an orphan at the age of
thirteen, was recommended to Antonio Caracci, and in that school,
according to Mancini, made such progress as even to surpass his father;
but this is not the opinion of posterity. All allow that he possessed
grandeur of design, and a fine taste in shadows and in colouring, with
some resemblance to Cortona, who, in his day, drew after him even his
contemporaries. The birth of the Virgin Mary, in the Pace at Rome, and
several of his other pictures, have no small portion of the ideas and
contrasts of the followers of Cortona. He lived long in Rome, and on
that account is frequently mentioned by Titi. Tuscany is not deficient
in his works. At the church of S. Catherine, at Pisa, there is a picture
of the titular Saint; Florence possesses the pictures of the Riccardi
saloon; and at the church of S. George, in Siena, is his Procession of
our Saviour to Calvary. These are esteemed among his finest productions;
and the last is characterized as his masterpiece. Both brothers had the
honour of knighthood; but it was more worthily bestowed on the second
than on the first.

Contemporary with the Cav. Raffaello, as well as his assistant at S.
Maria della Pace at Rome, and in several places at Siena, we find the
name of Bernardino Mei. I am unacquainted with that of his master; and
P. della Valle, who saw several of his works, sometimes compares him to
the Caracci, at others to Paul Veronese, and to Guercino, much as the
eclectic philosophers adopt or change the maxims of the different
schools. He commends him for the airs of his heads, and, as one of his
best productions, alludes to a fresco in the Casa Bandinelli, with an
Aurora in a ceiling, and with several other elegant figures and designs.

Francesco di Cristofano Rustici, called Rustichino, is better known in
Siena than those just mentioned. He obtained the name of Rustichino,
either because he was the last of a family that had produced three
painters before him, or because he died in the outset of life. This
circumstance, perhaps, has contributed to his reputation. All his
remaining works are beautiful, which seldom happens to artists who live
to a great age, and who abate in diligence as they advance in reputation
and in years. He is a graceful follower of Caravaggio; and particularly
excels in confined or candle lights, much in the style of Gherardo della
Notte; but he is perhaps more select. The Dying Magdalen, in possession
of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the S. Sebastian, cured by S. Irene,
which belongs to Prince Borghese, in Rome, are in this style. But it was
not the only one in which Rustichino painted. He had visited Rome, and
had studied the works of the Caracci and of Guido, of which traces may
be discovered in several of his works; but, at the same time, all of
them possess a certain originality, and something peculiarly his own.
The best of all his pictures at Siena is an Annunciation, in Provenzano,
before which the Virgin, S. Catherine, prays, surrounded by a multitude
of angels. If Rustichino pleases in other works, in this he enchants us.
He began a work on the history of the city in the public palace, in
which his father, whose figures were not equal to his decorations, was
also employed, and it was finished by other artists.

Rutilio Manetti, or, as Pecci writes it, Mannetti, followed Caravaggio
with less discrimination, but with greater force in the shadows. His
pictures at Siena are easily recognized by invariably partaking of a
certain sombre hue, which deranges the due balance and participation of
light and shade. The same objection lies against many of his
contemporaries of every school. The method of purifying colours, and of
composing vehicles,[302] had degenerated; and the injury sustained from
this defect was not observed in the pictures: the artist only looked to
the grand effect, to which the age so much aspired. Manetti united an
improved design to ideas above the common order, and beautiful
architecture; and hence, at times, he approaches rather to Guercino than
to Caravaggio. In the cathedral of Siena is his Elijah under the juniper
tree, in which the historian of that church commends the force of the
colouring, which is juicy and natural. Many of his works remain in the
Carthusian monastery of Florence, and in several churches of Siena, the
most admired of which is the Repose of the Holy Family, in S. Peter's of
Castelvecchio. In private collections, where pictures are better
preserved than in churches, we find very beautiful Madonnas by this
artist; and there is a most exquisite Lucretia in the possession of the
Bandinelli family. He sometimes departed from his usual manner, as in
the Triumph of David, in the ducal gallery, in which the shadows are not
so dark, and the tone of the whole is more lively. Mention is made in
the _Lettere Pittoriche_,[303] of Bernardino Capitelli, a scholar of
Manetti, and an etcher: and in the third volume there is casual mention
of one Domenico Manetti, probably of the same family, but not to be
mistaken for the great individual of the same name. He appears rather to
have employed himself in ornamenting private collections, and painted a
Baptism of Constantine for the casa Magnoni, that has been much

Astolfo Petrazzi, as well as Vanni, was a pupil of the younger Salimbeni
and of Sorri; and seems, more than any other, to have adhered to the
manner of his master. He frequently aims at pleasing the eye, and not
unfrequently chooses his models from the schools of Upper Italy. A
Marriage-feast of Cana, by his hand, in a private house, brings Paolo
strongly to our recollection. His Communion of S. Jerome, in the
possession of the Augustine friars, partakes, perhaps, too strongly of
the manner of the Caracci. This picture, which he painted at Rome, was
much admired at Siena, and was the origin of his great employment in
that city, where his pictures are always decorated with most pleasing
choirs of angels. His cabinet pictures were also lively; witness the
four Seasons at Volte, a seat of the noble family of Chigi. He kept an
open academy for painting in his house, which was much frequented by
natives of Siena, and honoured by the attendance of Borgognone, who
stopt some months with Astolfo before he went to Rome. Hence, many of
this artist's early battle-pieces and landscapes are to be met with at
Siena: the house of Sig. Decano Giovanelli, a literary ornament of that
city, abounded with them.

I find some other painters of this school who are known beyond the state
of Siena. Antiveduto Grammatica, an eminent painter, of Sienese
extraction, was known at Rome, where he was president of the academy of
S. Luke. It is true that he was deprived of that office for attempting
to substitute one of his own copies for a S. Luke, by Raffaello, which
he had sold to a gentleman. He had a peculiar talent in the art of
copying, especially heads, and, on this account, he was a good
portrait painter. Although we are not certain that he had any master but
one Domenico Perugino, a painter of little wooden scenes,[304] he
obtained applause in large compositions. There is an Annunciation by
Grammatica of a most brilliant colouring, in the hospital of the
Incurables; and several of his other pictures, in different churches. He
died at Rome in 1626.

Two other artists, unknown in their native place, are made known to me
by their signatures. On a Last Supper, in the convent of the Angioli,
below Assisi, I discovered _Franciscus Antonius Senensis_, 1614, or
thereabouts. The style has enough of Baroccio to lead me to suspect that
he was the scholar of Vanni, or of Salimbeni: nor must he be reckoned
the meanest of that school, for he was master of expression in a degree
superior to mediocrity. The figure of the departing Judas is the image
of desperate resolve, and would be much better had he not given it the
feet of a bat; a grotesque conceit. In the same neighbourhood, at the
church of Foligno, I read, beneath a Holy Family, the name of
_Marcantonio Grecchi_, and the date 1634. The style is solid,
expressive, and correct; more resembling Tiarini di Bologna than any
master of Siena. Niccolo Tornioli, lately mentioned, painted in the
church of S. Paul, at Bologna, in various cities of Italy: in Siena he
left, perhaps, no picture in public but the Vocation of S. Matthew,
still remaining in the custom-house. Towards the close of the century,
painting was practised at Siena chiefly by foreigners. Annibale
Mazzuoli, a fresco painter of rapid execution but of little merit, was
most employed: he afterwards went to Rome, and is the last name inserted
in the Eulogies of Pio.

Painting, however, came again into repute at Siena, about 1700, when its
credit was restored by Cav. Giuseppe Nasini, a scholar of Ciro Ferri.
Nasini possessed the qualities for which I have commended many of his
nation, a fervid genius, a fertile imagination, and a poetic vein; but
his poetry was of the species that prevailed in Italy during his younger
days, a composition unrestrained by fixed rules. To this spirit we not
unfrequently discover some analogy in his paintings, in which we could
desire to find more order, a more choice design, and colouring less
vulgar. He always shews, however, a taste for allegory, great command of
pencil, and an imposing air on the whole; and the observation of Redi,
that "he stuns the beholder," is not without some foundation.[305] This
remark was made when Nasini had finished the cupola of the chapel of S.
Anthony, in the church of the Apostles at Rome; in which chapel there is
a picture by Luti. He afterwards entered into a competition with Luti,
and the first artists then in Rome, in the large prophets of the lateran
cathedral. His masterpiece is supposed to be the S. Leonard, in Madonna
del Pianto, at Foligno, the ceiling of which he painted with good
frescos. Siena contains some of his finest productions of every kind;
above all, the pictures of the Novissimi, intended for the Pitti palace,
but transferred from it to the church of the Conventuals of Siena. It
contains a great number of figures neither so select nor so well
arranged as to arrest the eye of the spectator; but he who would
contemptuously overlook it, let him say how many painters then in Italy
could have produced such a picture.

Giuseppe brought up two pupils in his house. He had a brother named
Antonio, who was a priest, whose likeness is among the eminent portrait
painters in the gallery at Florence. Cav. Apollonio Nasini, the son of
Giuseppe, was inferior to his father in the profession; yet assisted him
in his greatest works, and held an honourable rank among his
contemporaries. Gioseffo Pinacci, of Siena, a disciple of Mehus in
figures, and of Borgognone in battle-pieces, lived in the time of
Nasini. He was a good painter of portraits, and made a considerable
fortune, first at the court of Carpio, Viceroy of Naples, and afterwards
in the service of the grand duke Ferdinand, at Florence, where several
of his works remain. But his chief merit consisted in a knowledge of the
pencilling of the old masters. Nicolo Franchini distinguished himself
rather by restoring the work of other hands than by his own productions,
and thus furnished Pecci with much convenient information for his City
Guide; "by his skill," says the Cavaliere, "in restoring injured
specimens to their original beauty, without applying to them a fresh
pencil, and in supplying the faded colours with others taken from
paintings of less value, he entitled himself, in fact, to the praise of
a new discovery." We shall here conclude the school of Siena; and shall
add in its praise, that if it did not produce painters of the very
highest class, it at least boasts many artists, eminent when we consider
their era, and few inferior, or not above mediocrity.[306] It indeed
appears, that either a genius for painting is natural to that people, or
that none of them have embraced the art who were not capable of
prosecuting it successfully.

[Footnote 299: See Malvasia, tom. i. p. 571; and tom. ii. p. 355.]

[Footnote 300: It has his name and the year 1579, which date must be
false. The widow of Arcangiolo married again, and bore Francesco Vanni
in 1565. Consequently the latter could not be the scholar of Arcangiolo,
though such an idea is very prevalent; and he could give lessons only
for a short time to his son, Ventura, or to Sorri, and Casolani, if the
period of their birth is true.]

[Footnote 301: See letter 127 in vol. v. of _Lett. Pittor._, in which
there is a catalogue of those painters.]

[Footnote 302: The idea that the brilliant colouring of the Venetian
school was owing to the use of a peculiar vehicle for the colours, or a
certain varnish, has been long entertained by artists and connoisseurs;
and the opinion has been sanctioned by great names: yet it is highly
probable that the great secret of the Venetian painters consisted not in
vehicles nor in varnishes, but in employing mineral colours, and in
laying them on the canvas as little mixed as possible. No colour derived
from the vegetable kingdom will stand well when mixed with oil, and our
best colours are composed of metallic oxides, or earthy bodies highly
charged with those oxides. When colours are much mixed on the palette
they become invariably muddy, and to him who aims at brilliancy of
colouring no maxim is of greater consequence than _to keep his palette
as clean as possible_. The use of transparent colours in the shadows is
another great cause of brilliancy, and this cannot be obtained by the
use of mixed colours. It is produced by what is called glazing, or
laying transparent colours one over another. In nothing is the effect of
glazing, in giving transparency, more obvious, than in the astonishing
clearness of the skies and water in the works of the best Dutch artists.
That the magical effect of Kuyp's pictures is thus produced, I had an
opportunity of knowing, from the blunder of a picture-cleaner, who
thought he had made a great discovery when he found the _Rhine_ of a
deep blue in a picture by this master; from which, along with the
varnish, he had removed a thin coating of yellow, with which the blue
was glazed over, to produce the beautiful greenish hue of the water.
(_Note by_ Dr. Traile.)]

[Footnote 303: Tom. i.]

[Footnote 304: His name alone survives in Perugia; though it is believed
that one of his pictures remains in the church of S. Angelo Magno, at
Ascoli, where the figure of S. Giovanni is ascribed by Lazzeri, in his
_Ascoli in Prospettiva_, to one Giandomenico da Perugia, and the
landscape to Gio. Francesco da Bologna, that is to say, to Grimaldi. The
figure is in the Guercino taste, according to the opinion of Sig.
Orsini; but I cannot conceive how he or the Sig. Mariotti (p. 273)
should not have remarked that it must be the production of Giandomenico
Cerrini, of Perugia, contemporary with Grimaldi and Guercino, and not of
that Domenico, the painter of wooden scenes, who lived about an age
anterior to them.]

[Footnote 305: Lett. Pittoriche, tom. ii. p. 69.]

[Footnote 306: A few of the names that obtained least celebrity in Siena
are pointed out by P. M. della Valle in the third volume of the Lettere
Senesi, (p. 459,) among which are found Crescienzio Gamberelli
Nasinesco, Deifobo Burbarini, a poor artist, Aurelio Martelli, called Il
Mutolo, Gio. Batista Ramacciotti, a priest and connoisseur in painting;
and the same may be said of Bernardino Fungai, and of the noble Marcello
Loli, of Galgano Perpignano, with others of like merit, either omitted
or slightly mentioned by Sig. Pecci. P. della Valle excuses himself from
the task of treating of them in favor of happier writers, but as we do
not pretend to aspire to that felicity, we shall leave others to avail
themselves of the Father's liberality.]

         END OF VOL. I.

  J. M'Creery, Tooks Court,
  Chancery-lane, London.

  Transcriber's Notes:

   Archaic punctuation and spelling of words, names, titles, and places,
    were not changed.
   Minor punctuation errors were corrected. Inconsistent hyphenation
    was standardized.
   Footnotes were moved to the end of each chapter.
   A chapter heading was added to Florentine School, Epoch I, Section III,
    for consistency with remaining chapters.
   In the original, footnote 244 contains an oversized letter 'I' in the
    word 'COPISQVE,' to represent a double 'I' of the word 'COPIISQVE.'
   In the phrase 'signed _f_. 4 _s_', the figure '4' is rotated 180
    degrees in the original text.

  The following changes were made for consistency within the text.

   'basso rilievos' and 'bassorilievos' to 'basso-relievos'
   'mezzo-rilievo' and 'mezzorilievo' to 'mezzo-relievo'
   'Pieta' to 'Pietà'
   'Trinita' to 'Trinità'
   'Winckelman' to 'Winckelmann'
   'Zannetti' to 'Zanetti'

  Other Changes:

   Page reference for Epoch V in the Table of Contents corrected from 353
    to 335.
   '1720' to '1790' based on another copy of the book and the sequence of
    events in the text.
     ...In the year 1790, Lanzi,...
   'christian' to 'Christian'
     ...Lanzi was a good Christian,...
   'Teofilos's' to 'Teofilo's'
     ...Teofilo's treatise is inserted...
   'lamp blank' to 'lamp black'
     ...the ink (lamp black or printer's...
   'Desart' to 'Desert'
     ...S. John in the Desert...
   'croud' to 'crowd'
     ...and a crowd of devotees...
   'cotemporaries' to 'contemporaries'
     ...and his contemporaries painted...
   'Pysche' to 'Psyche'
     ...The features of Psyche have nothing...
   'groupes' to 'groups'
     ...groups of boys...

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