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Title: The life and writings of Henry Fuseli, Volume III (of 3)
Author: Knowles, John, Fuseli, Henry
Language: English
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    THE LIFE

    AND

    WRITINGS

    OF

    HENRY FUSELI, ESQ. M.A. R.A.

    KEEPER, AND PROFESSOR OF PAINTING TO THE
    ROYAL ACADEMY IN LONDON; MEMBER OF THE FIRST CLASS
    OF THE ACADEMY OF ST. LUKE AT ROME.

    THE FORMER WRITTEN, AND THE LATTER EDITED BY

    JOHN KNOWLES, F.R.S.

    CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AT ROTTERDAM,

    HIS EXECUTOR.

    "Animo vidit, ingenio complexus est, eloquentiâ illuminavit."
          _Velleius Paterculus in Ciceronem._

    IN THREE VOLUMES.

    VOL. III.

    LONDON:
    HENRY COLBURN AND RICHARD BENTLEY,
    NEW BURLINGTON STREET.
    MDCCCXXXI.



    LONDON:
    PRINTED BY SAMUEL BENTLEY,
    Dorset Street, Fleet Street.



    CONTENTS OF THE THIRD VOLUME.

    LECTURES.

    XI. On the prevailing Method of treating
    the History of Painting, with Observations
    on the Picture of Lionardo da
    Vinci of "The Last Supper"                             Page 1

    XII. On the Present State of the Art, and the
    Causes which check its Progress                            39


    APHORISMS,
    Chiefly relative to the Fine Arts                          61


    A HISTORY OF ART IN THE SCHOOLS OF ITALY.

    The Tuscan School                                         153

    The School of Florence                                    193

    The School of Siena                                       231

    The Roman School                                          242

    The School of Naples                                      279

    The School of Venice                                      334

    The School of Mantoua                                     361

    The School of Bologna                                     399



    ELEVENTH LECTURE.

    ON THE PREVAILING METHOD OF TREATING THE HISTORY OF PAINTING,
    WITH OBSERVATIONS ON THE PICTURE OF LIONARDO DA VINCI OF
    "THE LAST SUPPER."



ELEVENTH LECTURE.


In this Lecture I shall submit to your consideration some criticisms on
the prevailing method of treating the History of our Art; attended by a
series of observations on the magnificent picture of the Last Supper, by
Lionardo da Vinci, now before you.

History, mindless of its real object, sinking to Biography, has been
swelled into a diffuse catalogue of individuals, who, tutored by
different schools, or picking something from the real establishers of
Art, have done little more than repeat, or imitate through the medium of
either, what those had found in Nature, discriminated, selected, and
applied to Art, according to her dictates. Without wishing to depreciate
the merit of that multitude who felt, proved themselves strong enough,
and strenuously employed life to follow, it must be pronounced below
the historian's dignity to allow them more than a transitory glance.
Neither originality, nor selection and combination of materials
scattered over the various classes of Art by others, have much right to
attention from him who only investigates the real progress of Art, if
the first proves to have added nothing essential to the system by
novelty, and the second to have only diluted energy, and by a popular
amalgama to have pleased the vulgar. Novelty, without enlarging the
circle of knowledge, may delight or strike, but is nearer allied to whim
than to invention; and an eclectic system, without equality of parts, as
it originated in want of comprehension, totters on the brink of
mediocrity.

The first ideas of Expression, Character, Form, Chiaroscuro, and Colour,
originated in Tuscany: Masaccio, Lionardo da Vinci, M. Agnolo,
Bartolomeo della Porta. The first was carried off before he could give
more than hints of dramatic composition; the second appears to have
established character on physiognomy, and to have seen the first vision
of chiaroscuro, though he did not penetrate the full extent of its
charm; the third had power, knowledge, and life sufficiently great,
extensive, and long, to have fixed style on its basis, had not an
irresistible bias drawn off his attention from the modesty and variety
of Nature; Baccio gave amplitude to drapery, and colour to form.

Of the Tuscan School that succeeded these, the main body not only added
nothing to their discoveries, but, if their blind attachment to the
singularities rather than the beauties of the third be excepted, equally
inattentive to expression, character, propriety of form, the charms of
chiaroscuro, and energies of colour, contented themselves to give to
tame or puerile ideas, obvious and common-place conceptions, a kind of
importance by mastery of execution and a bold but monotonous and always
mannered outline; and though Andrea del Sarto, with Francia Bigio,
Giacopo da Pontormo, and Rosso, may be allowed to have thought sometimes
for themselves and struck out paths of their own, will it be asserted
that they enlarged or even filled the circle traced out before? The most
characteristic work of Andrea's original powers, is, no doubt, the
historic series in S. Giovanni dei Scalzi; yet, when compared with the
patriarchal simplicity of the groups in the Lunette of the Sistine
Chapel, the _naïveté_ of his characters and imagery will be found too
much tainted with contemporary, local, and domestic features, for
Divine, Apostolic, and Oriental agents. His drapery, whenever he escapes
from the costume of the day, combines with singular felicity the breadth
of the _Frati_, and the acute angles of Albert Durer; but neither its
amplitude, nor the solemn repose and tranquillity of his scenery, can
supply the want of personal dignity, or consecrate vulgar forms and
trivial features.

The Roman school like an Oriental sun rose, not announced by dawn, and,
setting, left no twilight. Raffaello established his school on the
Drama; its scenery, its expression, its forms; History, Lyrics,
Portrait, became under his hand the organs of passion and character.
With his demise the purity of this principle vanished. Julio Romano, too
original to adopt, formed a school of his own at Mantoua, which, as it
was founded on no characteristic principle, added nothing to Art, and
did not long survive its founder. Polydoro Caldara was more ambitious to
emulate the forms of the antique than to propagate the style of his
master, which was not comprehended by Penny, called Il Fattore, mangled
by Perrino del Vaga, became common-place in the hands of the Zuccari,
barbarous manner during the usurpation of Giuseppe Cesari, sunk to
tameness in the timid imitation of Sacchi and Maratta, and expired under
the frigid method of Mengs.

A certain national, though original character, marks the brightest epoch
of the Venetian School. However deviating from each other, Tiziano,
Tintoretto, Jacopo da Ponte, and Paolo Veronese, acknowledge but one
element of imitation, Nature herself: this principle each bequeathed to
his school, and no attempt to adulterate its simplicity by uniting
different methods, distinguishes their immediate successors: hence they
preserved features of originality longer than the surrounding schools,
whom the vain wish to connect incompatible excellence, soon degraded to
mediocrity, and from that plunged to insignificance.

If what is finite could grasp infinity, the variety of Nature might be
united by individual energy; till then the attempt to amalgamate her
scattered beauties by the imbecility of Art, will prove abortive.
Genius is the pupil of Nature; perceives, is dazzled, and imperfectly
transmits one of her features: thus saw M. Agnolo, Raffaello, Tiziano,
Correggio; and such were their technic legacies, as inseparable from
their attendant flaws, as in equal degrees irreconcilable. That Nature
is not subject to decrepitude, is proved by the superiority of modern
over ancient science; what hinders modern Art to equal that of classic
eras, is the effect of irremovable causes.

But I hasten to the principal object of this Lecture, the consideration
of the technic character of Lionardo da Vinci, one, and in my opinion
the first of the great restorers of modern Art, as deduced from his most
important work, the Last Supper, surviving as a whole in the magnificent
copy of Marco Uggione, rescued from a random pilgrimage by the courage
and vigilance of our President, and by the Academy made our own. The
original of this work, the ultimate test of his most vigorous powers,
the proof of his theory, and what may be called with propriety the first
characteristic composition since the revival of the Art, was the
principal ornament of the Refectory in the Dominican Convent of S.
Maria delle Gratie, at Milan.

Let us begin with the centre, the seat of the principal figure, from
which all the rest emanate like rays. Sublimely calm, the face of the
Saviour broods over the immense, whilst every face and every limb around
him, roused by his mysterious word, fluctuate in restless curiosity and
sympathetic pangs.

The face of the Saviour is an abyss of thought, and broods over the
immense revolution in the economy of mankind, which throngs inwardly on
his absorbed eye--as the spirit creative in the beginning over the
water's darksome wave--undisturbed and quiet. It could not be lost in
the copy before us: how could its sublime conception escape those who
saw the original? It has survived the hand of Time in the study which
Lionardo made in crayons, exhibited with most of the attendant heads in
the British Gallery; and even in the feebler transcript of Del Testa.

I am not afraid of being under the necessity of retracting what I am
going to advance, that neither during the splendid period immediately
subsequent to Lionardo, nor in those which succeeded to our own time,
has a face of the Redeemer been produced which, I will not say equalled,
but approached the sublimity of Lionardo's conception, and in quiet and
simple features of humanity embodied divine, or, what is the same,
incomprehensible and infinite powers. To him who could contrive and give
this combination, the unlimited praise lavished on the inferior
characters who surround the hero, whilst his success in that was
doubted--appears to me not only no praise, but a gross injustice.

Yet such was the judgment of Vasari, and in our days of Lanzi, both
founded on the pretended impossibility of transcribing the beauty of
forms and the varied energies of expression distributed by the artist
among the disciples. "The moment," says Lanzi, and says well, "is that
in which the Saviour says to the Disciples, "One of you will betray me!"
On every one of the innocent men the word acts like lightning: he who is
at a greater distance, distrusting his own ears, applies to his
neighbour; others, according to their variety of character, betray
raised emotions. One of them faints, one is fixed in astonishment; this
wildly rises, the simple candour of another tells that he cannot be
suspected: Judas, meanwhile, assumes a look of intrepidity, but, though
he counterfeits innocence, leaves no doubt of being the traitor. Vinci
used to tell, that for a year he wandered about, perplexed with the
thought how to embody in one face the image of so black a mind; and
frequenting a village which a variety of villains haunted, he met at
last, by the help of some associated features, with his man. Nor was his
success less conspicuous in furnishing both the Jameses with congenial
and characteristic beauty; but being unable to find an ideal superior to
theirs for Christ, he left the head, as Vasari affirms, imperfect,
though Arminine ascribes a high finish even to that."

Thus is the modesty and diffidence of the artist, who, in the midst of
the most glorious success, always sought and wished for more, brought as
evidence against him by all his pretended judges and critics, if we
except the single Bottari, who finds in it, with the highest finish, all
the fortitude of mind characteristic of the Saviour, united to lively
consideration of the suffering that awaited him--though even that is,
in my opinion, below the conception of Lionardo.

Lest those who have read and recollect the character of Lionardo which I
have submitted to the public, should, from the predilection with which I
have dwelt on what I think the principal feature of his performance, the
face and attitude of the hero, suspect I shift my ground, or charge me
with inconsistency, I repeat what I said then, when I was nearly
unacquainted with this work, that the distinguishing feature of his
powers lay in the delineation of character, which he often raised to a
species, and not seldom degraded to caricature. The triumphant proof of
both is the great performance before us; the same mind that could unite
divine power with the purest humanity, by an unaccountable dereliction,
not only of the dignity due to his subject, but of sound sense, thought
it not beneath him to haunt the recesses of deformity to unkennel a
villain. Did he confine villainy to deformity? If he had, he would have
disdained to give him two associates in feature; for the face of him who
holds up his finger, and his who argues on the left extremity of the
table, seem to have proceeded, if not absolutely from the same, from a
very similar mould, yet they are in the number of the elect, and, though
on the brink of caricature, have the air of good men. Expression alone
separates them from the traitor, whom incapacity of remorse, hatred,
rage at being discovered, and habitual meanness, seem to have divided
into equal shares.

The portrait of Cesar Borgia, by Giorgione, now hung up for your study
in the Academy for Painting, proves that the most atrocious mind may
lurk under good, sedate, and even handsome features. Though his hand
were not drawing a dagger, who would expect mercy or remorse from the
evil methodized villainy of that eye? But Judas was capable of remorse;
intolerant of the dreadful suffering with which the horrid act had
overwhelmed him, he rushed on confession of his crime, restitution, and
suicide.

To the countenance and attitude of St. John, blooming with youth,
innocent, resigned, partaking perhaps somewhat too much of the feminine,
and those of the two James's invigorated by the strength of virility,
energetic and bold, none will refuse a competent praise of varied
beauty; but they neither are nor ought to be ideal, and had they been
so, they could neither compete nor interfere with the sublimity that
crowns the Saviour's brow, and stamps his countenance with the God.

The felicity, novelty, and propriety of Lionardo's conception and
invention, are powerfully seconded by every part of execution:--the tone
which veils and wraps actors and scene into one harmonious whole, and
gives it breadth; the style of design, grand without affectation, and,
if not delicate or ideal, characteristic of the actors; the draperies
folded with equal simplicity, elegance, and costume, with all the
propriety of presenting the highest finish, without anxiety of touch, or
thronging the eye.

So artless is the assemblage of the figures, that the very name of
composition seems to degrade what appears arranged by Nature's own hand.
That the nearest by relation, characters and age, should be placed
nearest the master of the feast, and of course attract the eye soonest,
was surely the most natural arrangement; but if they are conspicuous,
they are not so at the expense of the rest: distance is compensated by
action; the centre leads to all, as all lead to the centre. That the
great restorer of light and shade sacrificed the effects and charms of
_chiaroscuro_ at the shrine of character, raised him at once above all
his future competitors; changes admiration to sympathy, and makes us
partners of the feast.

As expression sprang from the subject, so it gave rise to competition.
That Raffaello was acquainted with Lionardo's work, and felt its power,
is evident from his composition, engraved by M. Antonio: finding
invention anticipated, he took refuge in imitation, and filled it with
sentiments of his own; whether, beyond the dignity of attitude, he
attempts to approach the profundity of Lionardo's Christ, cannot, from a
print of very moderate dimensions, be decided. In the listening figure
of Judas, with equal atrocity of guilt he appears to have combined
somewhat more of apostolic consequence.

The well-known Last Supper of the Loggia, painted, or what is more
probable, superintended by Raffaello, is, by being made a night scene,
by contrast and chiaroscuro, become an original conception; but as it
presents little more than groups busy to arrange themselves for sitting
down or breaking up, it cannot excite more interest than what is due to
contrast and effect, and active groups eager to move yet not tumultuary.

But if Lionardo disdained to consult the recesses of composition and the
charms of artificial chiaroscuro, he did not debase his work to mere
apposition: uniting the whole by tone, he gave it substance by truth of
imitation, and effect by the disposition of the characters; the groups
flanking each side of the Saviour, emerge, recede, and support each
other with a roundness, depth, and evidence which leave all attempts at
emendation or improvement hopeless. But why should I attempt to
enumerate beauties which are before you, and which if you do not
perceive yourselves, no words of mine can ever make you feel?

The universality of Lionardo da Vinci is become proverbial: but though
possessed of every element, he rather gave glimpses than a standard of
form; though full of energy, he had not powers effectually to court the
various graces he pursued. His line was free from meagreness, and his
forms presented volume, but he appears not to have ever been much
acquainted, or to have sedulously sought much acquaintance, with the
Antique. Character was his favourite study, and character he has often
raised from an individual to a species, and as often depressed to
caricature. The strength of his execution lay in the delineation of male
heads; those of his females owe nearly all their charms to chiaroscuro,
of which he is the supposed inventor: they are seldom more discriminated
than the children they fondle; they are sisters of one family. The
extremities of his hands are often inelegant, though timorously drawn,
like those of Christ among the Doctors in the picture we lately saw
exhibited. Lionardo da Vinci touched in every muscle of his forms the
master-key of the passion he wished to express, but he is ideal only in
chiaroscuro.

Such was the state of the Art before the appearance of M. Agnolo and
Raffaello, and the establishment of style.

Of M. Agnolo it is difficult to decide who have understood less, his
encomiasts or his critics, though both rightly agree in dating from him
an epoch--those of the establishment, these of the subversion of Art.

It is the lot of Genius to be opposed, and to be invigorated by
opposition. All extremes touch each other: frigid praise and frigid
censure wait on easily attainable or common powers: but the successful
adventurer in the realms of Discovery, in spite of the shrugs, checks,
and sneers of the timid, the malign, and the envious, leaps on an
unknown or long lost shore, ennobles it with his name, and grasps
immortality.

M. Agnolo appeared, and soon discovered that works worthy of perpetuity
could neither be built on defective and unsubstantial forms, nor on the
transient whim of fashion and local sentiment; that their stamina were
the real stamina of Nature, the genuine feelings of humanity; and
planned for painting what Homer had planned for poetry, the epic part,
which, with the utmost simplicity of a whole, should unite magnificence
of plan and endless variety of subordinate parts. His line became
generic, but perhaps too uniformly grand: character and beauty were
admitted only as far as they could be made subservient to grandeur. The
child, the female, meanness, deformity, were by him indiscriminately
stamped with grandeur. A beggar rose from his hand the patriarch of
poverty; the hump of his dwarf is impressed with dignity; his women are
moulds of generation; his infants teem with the man; his men are a race
of giants. This is the "terribil via," this is that "magic circle," in
which we are told that none durst move but he. No, none but he who makes
sublimity of conception his element of form. M. Agnolo himself offers
the proof: for the lines that bear in a mass on his mighty tide of
thought in the Gods and Patriarchs and Sibyls of the Sistine Chapel,
already too ostentatiously show themselves in the Last Judgement, and
rather expose than support his ebbing powers in the Chapel of Paul.
Considered as a whole, the Crucifixion of St. Peter and the Conversion
of Paul, in that place, are the dotage of M. Agnolo's style; but they
have parts which make that dotage more enviable than the equal vigour of
mediocrity.

With what an eye M. Agnolo contemplated the Antique, we may judge from
his Bacchus, the early production of his youth: in style it is at least
equal, perhaps in pulp and fleshiness superior, to what is called the
Antique Roman Style. His idea seems to have been the personification of
youthful inebriety, but it is the inebriety of a superior being, not yet
forsaken by grace, not yet relinquished by mind. In more advanced years,
the Torso of Apollonius became his standard of form. But the Dæmons of
Dante had too early tinctured his fancy to admit in their full majesty
the Gods of Homer and of Phidias.

Such was the opinion formed of the plan and style of M. Agnolo by the
judges, the critics, the poets, the artists, the public, of his own and
the following age, from Bembo to Ariosto, from Raffaello to Tiziano,
down to Agostino and Annibale Carracci. Let us now compare it with the
technical verdict given by the greatest professional critic, on the
Continent, of our times. "M. Agnolo," says Mengs, "seeking always to be
grand, was perhaps only bulky, and by the perpetual use of a convex
line, over-spanned the forms and irrecoverably lost the line of Nature.
This charged style attended him in his youth, and engrossed him when a
man. For this reason his works will always be much inferior to the
antique of the good style; for though they made robust and muscular
figures, they never made them heavy:--an instance is the Hercules of
Glycon, who, though so bulky, and of form so majestic, is easily seen to
be swift like a stag, and elastic like a ball. The style of M. Agnolo
could not give similar ideas, for the joints of his figures are too
contracted, and seem only made for the posture into which he puts them.
The forms of his flesh are too round, his muscles of a mass and shape
always similar, which hides their springs of motion; nor do you ever see
in his works a muscle in repose, than which a greater fault Design knows
not. He perfectly knew what place each muscle ought to occupy, but never
gave its form. Nor did he understand the nature of tendons, as he made
them equally fleshy from end to end, and his bones too round. Raffaello
partook of all these defects, without ever reaching the profundity of
his muscular theory. Raffaello's strength lay in characterizing aged and
nervous frames; he was too hard for delicacy, and in figures of grandeur
an exaggerated copy of M. Agnolo." So far Mengs.

M. Agnolo appears to have had no infancy; if he had, we are not acquainted
with it. His earliest works are equal in principle and compass of
execution to the vigorous proofs of his virility. Like an oriental sun, he
burst upon us at once, without a dawn. Raffaello Sanzio we see in his
cradle, we hear him stammer, but _propriety_ rocked the cradle, and
_character_ formed his lips. Even in the trammels of Pietro Perugino, dry
and servile in his style of design, he traced what was essential, and
separated it from what was accidental in his model. The works of Lionardo
da Vinci and the Cartoon of Pisa are said to have invigorated his eye, but
it was the Antique that completed the system which he had begun to
establish on Nature; from them he learned discrimination and choice of
forms. He found that in the construction of the body the articulations of
the bones were the true cause of ease and grace in the action of the
limbs, and that the knowledge of this was the reason of the superiority of
antique design. He found that certain features were fittest for certain
expressions and peculiar to certain characters; that such a head, such
hands, such feet, are the stamen or the growth of such a body, and on
physiognomy established homogeneousness. Of all artists he was the
greatest, the most precise, the most acute observer. When he designed, he
first attended to the primary intention and motive of his figure, next to
its general measure, then to the bones and their articulations; from them
to the principal muscles, or the muscles eminently wanted, and their
attendant nerves, and at last to the more or less essential minutiæ. But
the characteristic part of the subject is infallibly the characteristic
part of his design, if it be formed even by a few rapid or a single stroke
of his pen or pencil. The strokes themselves are characteristic, they
follow or indicate the texture or fibre of the part; flesh in their
rounding, nerves in straight, bones in angular touches.

Such was the felicity and such the propriety of Raffaello when employed
in the dramatic evolutions of character,--both suffered when he
attempted to abstract the forms of sublimity or beauty. The painter of
humanity not often wielded with success superhuman weapons. His Gods
never rose above prophetic or patriarchial forms: if the finger of M.
Agnolo impressed the divine countenance oftener with sternness than awe,
the Gods of Raffaello are sometimes too affable and mild, like him who
speaks to Jacob in the ceiling of the Vatican; sometimes too violent,
like him who separates light from darkness in the Loggia: but though
made chiefly to walk with dignity on earth, he soared above it in the
mild effulgence and majestic rapture of Christ on Tabor, not indeed as
we see his face now from the repairs of the manufacturers in the Louvre,
and still more in the frown of the angelic countenance that withers all
the strength of the warrior Heliodorus. Of ideal female beauty, though
he himself, in his letter to Count Castiglione, tells us that from its
scarcity in life he made attempts to reach it by an idea formed in his
own mind, he certainly wanted that standard which guided him in
character. His Goddesses and mythologic females are no more than
aggravations of the generic forms of M. Agnolo. Roundness, mildness,
sanctimony, and insipidity, compose the features and air of his
Madonnas: transcripts of the nursery, or some favourite face. The
Madonna del Impanato, the Madonna Bella, the Madonna della Sedia, and
even the longer proportions and greater delicacy and dignity of the
Madonna formerly in the collection of Versailles, share more or less of
this insipidity: it chiefly arises from the high, smooth, roundish
forehead, the shaven vacuity between the arched semicircular eye-brows,
their elevation above the eyes, and the ungraceful division, growth and
scantiness of hair. This indeed might be the result of his desire not to
stain the virgin character of sanctity with the most distant hint of
coquetry or meretricious charms; for in his Magdalens, he throws it with
luxuriant profusion, and surrounds the breast and shoulders with
undulating waves and plaits of gold. The character of Mary Magdalen met
his,--it was the character of a passion.

It is evident from every picture or design at every period of his art in
which she had a part, that he supposed her enamoured when she follows
the body of the Saviour to the tomb, or throws herself dishevelled over
his feet, or addresses him when he bears his cross. The cast of her
features, her forms, her action, are the character of love in agony.
When character inspired Raffaello, his women became definitions of grace
and pathos at once.

Such is the exquisite line and turn of the averted half-kneeling female
with the two children among the spectators of Heliodorus. Her attitude,
the turn of her neck, supplies all face, and intimates more than he ever
expressed by features; and that she would not have gained by showing
them, may be guessed from her companion on the foreground, who, though
highly elegant and equally pathetic in her action, has not features
worthy of either. The fact is, form and style were by Raffaello
employed chiefly, if not always, as vehicles of character and pathos;
the Drama is his element, and to that he has adapted them in a mode and
with a propriety which leave all attempts at emendation hopeless: if
his lines have been excelled or rivalled in energy, correctness,
elegance,--considered as instruments of the passions, they have never
been equalled, and as parts of invention, composition and expression
relative to his story, have never been approached.

The result of these observations on M. Agnolo and Raffaello is this,
that M. Agnolo drew in generic forms the human race; that Raffaello
drew the forms and characters of society diversified by artificial
wants.

We find therefore M. Agnolo more sublime, and we sympathise more with
Raffaello, because he resembles us more. When Reynolds said that M.
Agnolo had more _imagination_, and Raffaello more _fancy_, he meant to
say, that the one had more sublimity, more elementary fire; the other
was richer in social imagery, in genial conceits, and artificial
variety. Simplicity is the stamen of M. Agnolo; varied propriety, with
character, that of Raffaello.

Of the great restorers of Art, the two we have considered, made Design
and Style the basis of their plan, content with negative and unambitious
colour; the two next inverted the principle, and employed Design and
Style as vehicles of _colour_ or of _harmony_.

The style of Tiziano's design has two periods: he began with copying
what was before him without choice, and for some time continued in the
meagre, anxious, and accidental manner of Giovanni Bellino; but
discovering in the works of Giorgione that breadth of form produced
breadth of colour, he endeavoured, and succeeded, to see Nature by
comparison, and in a more ample light. That he possessed the theory of
the human body, needs not to be proved from the doubtful designs which
he is said to have made for the anatomical work of Vesalio; that he had
familiarized himself with the style of M. Agnolo, and burned with
ambition to emulate it, is less evident from adopting some of his
attitudes in the pictures of Pietro Martyre and the Battle of
Ghiaradadda, than from the elemental conceptions, the colossal style,
and daring foreshortenings which astonish in the Cain and Abel, the
Abraham and Isaac, the Goliath and David, on the ceiling of the fabric
of St. Spirito at Venice. Here, and here alone, is the result of that
union of tone and style which, in Tintoretto's opinion, was required to
make a perfect painter,--for in general the male forms of Tiziano are
those of sanguine health, often too fleshy for character, less elastic
than muscular, or vigorous without grandeur. His females are the fair
dimpled Venetian race, soft without delicacy, too full for elegance, for
action too plump; his infants are poised between both, and preferable to
either. In portrait he has united character and resemblance with
dignity, and still remains unrivalled.

A certain national character marks the brightest æra of the Venetian
school: however deviating from each other, Tiziano, Tintoretto, Bassan,
and Paolo, acknowledged but one element of imitation, Nature herself.
This principle each bequeathed to his followers; and no attempt to
adulterate its simplicity, by uniting different methods, distinguished
their immediate successors. Hence they preserved features of originality
longer than the surrounding schools, whom the vain wish to connect
incompatible excellence soon degraded to mediocrity, and from that
plunged to insignificance.

The soft transitions from the convex to the concave line, which connect
grandeur with lightness, form the style of Correggio; but using their
coalition without balance, merely to obtain a breadth of demi-tint and
uninterrupted tones of harmony, he became, from excess of roundness,
oftener heavy than light, and frequently incorrect.

It is not easy, from the unaccountable obscurity in which his life is
involved, to ascertain whether he saw the Antique in sufficient degrees
of quantity or beauty; but he certainly must have been familiar with
modelling, and the helps of sculpture, to plan with such boldness, and
conquer with such ease, the unparalleled difficulties of his
foreshortenings. His grace is oftener beholden to convenience of place
than elegance of line. The most appropriate, the most elegant attitudes
were adopted, rejected, perhaps sacrificed to the most awkward ones, in
compliance with his imperious principle: parts vanished, were absorbed,
or emerged in obedience to it.

The Danaë, of which we have seen duplicates, the head excepted, he seems
to have painted from an antique female torso. But ideal beauty of face,
if ever he conceived, he never has expressed; his beauty is equally
remote from the idea of the Venus, the Niobe, and the best forms of
Nature. The Magdalen, in the picture of St. Girolamo of Parma, is
beholden for the charms of her face to chiaroscuro, and that
incomparable hue and suavity of bloom which scarcely permit us to
discover the defects of forms not much above the vulgar. But that he
sometimes reached the sublime, by hiding the limits of his figures in
the bland medium which inwraps them, his Jupiter and Io prove.

Such were the principles on which the Tuscan, the Roman, the Venetian,
and the Lombard schools established their systems of style, or rather
the _manner_ which, in various directions and modes of application,
perverted style. M. Agnolo lived to see the electric shock which his
design had given to Art, propagated by the Tuscan and Venetian schools
as the ostentatious vehicle of puny conceits and emblematic quibbles, or
the palliative of empty pomp and degraded luxuriance of colour.

Of his imitators, the two most eminent are Pellegrino Tibaldi, called
"M. Agnolo riformato" by the Bolognese Eclectics, and Francesco
Mazzuoli, called Parmegiano.

Pellegrino Tibaldi penetrated the technic without the moral principle of
his master's style; he had often grandeur of line without sublimity of
conception; hence the _manner_ of M. Agnolo is frequently the _style_ of
Pellegrino Tibaldi. Conglobation and eccentricity, an aggregate of
convexities suddenly broken by rectangular, or cut by perpendicular
lines, compose his system. His fame principally rests on the Frescoes
of the Academic Institute at Bologna, and the Ceiling of the Merchants'
Hall at Ancona. It is probably on the strength of those, that the
Carracci, his countrymen, are said to have called him their "M. Agnolo
riformato,"--M. Agnolo corrected. I will not do that injustice to the
Carracci to suppose, that for one moment they could allude by this
verdict to the Ceiling and the Prophets and Sibyls of the Capella
Sistina; they glanced perhaps at the technic exuberance of the Last
Judgement, and the senile caprices of the Capella Paolina. These, they
meant to inform us, had been pruned, regulated, and reformed by
Pellegrino Tibaldi. Do his works in the Institute warrant this verdict?
So far from it, that it exhibits little more than the dotage of M.
Agnolo. The single figures, groups, and compositions of the Institute,
present a singular mixture of extraordinary vigour and puerile
imbecility of conception, of character and caricature, of style and
manner.

The figure of Polypheme groping at the mouth of his cave for Ulysses,
and the composition of Æolus granting to Ulysses favourable winds, are
striking instances of both. Than the Cyclops, M. Agnolo himself never
conceived a form of savage energy, provoked by sufferings and revenge,
with attitude and limbs more in unison; whilst the God of Winds is
degraded to the scanty and ludicrous semblance of Thersites, and Ulysses
with his companions travestied by the semi-barbarous look and costume of
the age of Constantine or Attila.

From Pellegrino Tibaldi, the Germans, Dutch, and Flemings, Hemskerk,
Goltzius, and Spranger, borrowed the compendium of the great Tuscan's
peculiarities, dropsied the forms of vigour, or dressed the gewgaws of
children in colossal shapes.

Parmegiano poised his line between the grace of Correggio and the energy
of M. Agnolo, and from contrast produced Elegance; but instead of making
propriety her measure, degraded her to affectation. That disengaged play
of delicate forms, the "sueltezza" of the Italians, is the prerogative
of Parmegiano, though nearly always obtained at the expense of
proportion. He conceived the variety, but not the simplicity of beauty,
and drove contrast to extravagance. The figure of St. John, in the
altar-piece of St. Salvador at Città di Castello, now at the Marquis of
Abercorn's, and known from the print of Giulio Bonasone, which less
imitates than exaggerates its original in the Cartoon of Pisa, is one
proof among many: his action is the accident of his attitude; he is
conscious of his grandeur, and loses the fervour of the apostle in the
orator.

So his celebrated Moses, if I see right, has in his forms less of
grandeur than agility, in his action more passion than majesty, and
loses the legislator in the savage. This figure, together with Raphael's
figure of God in the Vision of Ezekiel, is said to have furnished Gray
with some of the master-traits of his Bard,--figures than which Painting
cannot produce two more dissimilar: calm, placid contemplation, and the
decided burst of passion in coalition.

Whilst M. Agnolo was doomed to live and brood over the perversion of
_his_ style, death prevented Raffaello from witnessing the gradual decay
of his.

Such was the state of style, when, toward the decline of the sixteenth
century, Lodovico Carracci, with his cousins Agostino and Annibale,
founded at Bologna, on the hints caught from Pellegrino Tibaldi, that
Eclectic School which, by selecting the beauties, correcting the faults,
supplying the defects, and avoiding the extremes of the different
styles, attempted to form a perfect system. The specious ingredients of
this technic panacea have been preserved in a complimentary sonnet of
Agostino Carracci, and are compounded of the design and symmetry of
Raffaello, the terrible manner of M. Agnolo, the sovereign purity of
Correggio's style, Tiziano's truth and nature, Tintoretto's and Paolo's
vivacity and chiaroscuro, Lombardy's tone of colour, the learned
invention of Primaticcio, the decorum and solidity of Pellegrino
Tibaldi, and a little of Parmegiano's grace, all amalgamated by Niccolo
dell' Abbate.

I shall not attempt a parody of this prescription by transferring it to
Poetry, and prescribing to the candidate for dramatic fame the imitation
of Shakspeare, Otway, Jonson, Milton, Dryden, Congreve, Racine, Addison,
as amalgamated by Nicholas Rowe. Let me only ask whether such a mixture
of demands ever entered with equal evidence the mind of any one artist,
ancient or modern; whether, if it be granted possible that they did,
they were ever balanced with equal impartiality; and grant this, whether
they ever were or could be executed with equal felicity? A character of
equal universal power is not a human character; and the nearest approach
to perfection can only be in carrying to excellence one great quality
with the least alloy of collateral defects: to attempt more will
probably end in the extinction of character, and that, in
mediocrity--the cypher of Art.

And were the Carracci such? Separate the precept from the practice, the
artist from the teacher, and the Carracci are in possession of my
submissive homage. Lodovico is the inventor of that solemn hue, that
sober twilight, which you have heard so often recommended as the proper
tone of historic colour. Agostino, with learning, taste, and form,
combined Corregiesque tints. Annibale, inferior to both in sensibility
and taste, in the wide range of talent, undaunted execution and academic
prowess, left either far behind. But if he preserved the breadth of the
style we speak of, he added nothing to its dignity; his pupils were
inferior to _him_, and to his pupils, their successors. _Style_
continued to linger, with fatal symptoms of decay, in Italy; and if it
survives, has not yet found a place to re-establish its powers on this
side of the Alps.



TWELFTH LECTURE.

ON THE PRESENT STATE OF THE ART, AND THE CAUSES WHICH CHECK ITS PROGRESS.



TWELFTH LECTURE.


Such is the influence of the plastic Arts on society, on manners,
sentiments, the commodities and the ornaments of life, that we think
ourselves generally entitled to form our estimate of times and nations
by its standard. As our homage attends those whose patronage reared them
to a state of efflorescence or maturity, so we pass with neglect, or
pursue with contempt, the age or race which want of culture or of
opportunity averted from developing symptoms of a similar attachment.

A genuine perception of Beauty is the highest degree of education, the
ultimate polish of man; the master-key of the mind, it makes us better
than we were before. Elevated or charmed by the contemplation of
superior works of Art, our mind passes from the images themselves to
their authors, and from them to the race which reared the powers that
furnish us with models of imitation or multiply our pleasures.

This inward sense is supported by exterior motives in contact with a far
greater part of society, whom wants and commerce connect with the Arts;
for nations pay or receive tribute in proportion as their technic sense
exerts itself or slumbers. Whatever is commodious, amene, or useful,
depends in a great measure on the Arts: dress, furniture, and habitation
owe to their breath what they can boast of grace, propriety, or shape:
they teach Elegance to finish what Necessity invented, and make us
enamoured of our wants.

This benign influence infallibly spreads or diminishes in proportion as
its original source, a sense of genuine Beauty, flows from an ample or a
scanty vein, in a clear or turbid stream. As Taste is adulterated or
sinks, Ornament takes a meagre, clumsy, barbarous, ludicrous, or
meretricious form; Affectation dictates; Simplicity and elegance are
loaded; interest vanishes: in a short time Necessity alone remains, and
Novelty with Error go hand in hand.

These obvious observations on the importance of the Arts, lead to the
question so often discussed, and at no time more important than ours--on
the causes that raised them at various times, and among different
nations--on the means of assisting their progress, and how to check
their decay. Of much that has been said on it, much must be repeated,
and something added.

The Greeks commonly lead the van of the arguments produced to answer
this question. Their religious and civil establishments; their manners,
games, contests of valour and of talents; the Cyclus of their Mythology,
peopled with celestial and heroic forms; the honours, the celebrity of
artists; the serene Grecian sky and mildness of the climate, are the
causes supposed to have carried that nation within the ken of
perfection.

Without refusing to each of these various advantages its share of
effect, History informs us that if Religion and Liberty prepared a
public, and spread a technic taste over all Greece, Athens and Corinth
must be considered as the principal nurses of Art, without whose
fostering care the general causes mentioned could not have had so
decided an effect; for nothing surely contributed so much to the gradual
evolution of Art, as that perpetual opportunity which they presented to
the artist of public exhibition; the decoration of temples, halls,
porticoes, a succession of employments equally numerous, important, and
dignified: hence that emulation to gain the heights of Art; the fervour
of public encouragement, the zeal and gratitude of the artists were
reciprocal: Polygnotus prepared with Cimon what Phidias with Pericles
established, on public taste, Essential, Characteristic, and Ideal
Styles.

Whether human nature admitted of no more, or other causes prevented a
farther evolution of powers, nothing greater did arise; Polish, Elegance,
and Novelty supplied Invention: here is the period of decay; the Art
gradually sunk to mediocrity, and its final reward--Indifference.

The artist and the public are ever in the strictest reciprocity: if the
Arts flourished nowhere as in Greece, no other nation ever interested
itself with motives so pure in their establishment and progress, or
allowed them so ample a compass. As long as their march was marked with
such dignity, whilst their union excited admiration, commanded
attachment, and led the public, they grew, they rose; but when
individually to please, the artist attempted to monopolize the interest
due to Art, to abstract by novelty and to flatter the multitude, ruin
followed. To prosper, the Art not only must feel itself free, it ought
to reign: if it be domineered over, if it follow the dictate of Fashion
or a Patron's whims, then is its dissolution at hand.

To attain the height of the Ancient was impossible for Modern Art,
circumscribed by narrower limits, forced to form itself rapidly and on
borrowed principles; still it owes its origin and support to nearly
similar causes. During the fourteenth, and still more in the course of
the fifteenth century, so much activity, so general a predilection for
Art spread themselves over the greater part of Italy, that we are
astonished at the farrago of various imagery produced at those periods.
The artist and the Art were indeed considered as little more than
craftsmen and a craft; but they were indemnified for the want of
honours, by the dignity of their employment, by commissions to decorate
churches, convents, and public buildings.

Let no one to whom truth and its propagation are dear, believe or
maintain that Christianism was inimical to the progress of Arts, which
probably nothing else could have revived. Nothing less than Christian
enthusiasm could give that lasting and energetic impulse whose magic
result we admire in the works that illustrate the period of Genius and
their establishment. Nor is the objection that England, France, and
Germany professed Christianity, built churches and convents, and yet had
no Art, an objection of consequence; because it might with equal
propriety be asked, why it did not appear sooner in Italy itself. The
Art forms a part of social education and the ultimate polish of man, nor
can it appear during the rudeness of infant societies; and as, among the
Western nations, the Italians were the first who extricated themselves
from the bonds of barbarism and formed asylums for industry, Art and
Science kept pace with the social progress, and produced their first
legitimate essays among them.

How favourably religious enthusiasm operated on Art, their sympathetic
revolutions still farther prove; they flourished, they languished, they
fell together. As zeal relented and public grandeur gave way to private
splendour, the Arts became the hirelings of Vanity and Wealth; servile
they roamed from place to place, ready to administer to the whims and
wants of the best bidder: in this point of sight we can easily solve all
the phænomena which occur in the history of Art,--its rise, its fall,
eclipse, and re-appearance in various places, with styles as different
as various tastes.

The efficient cause, therefore, why higher Art at present is sunk to
such a state of inactivity and languor that it may be doubted whether it
will exist much longer, is not a particular one, which private
patronage, or the will of an individual, however great, can remove; but
a general cause, founded on the bent, the manners, habits, modes of a
nation,--and not of one nation alone, but of all who at present pretend
to culture. Our age, when compared with former ages, has but little
occasion for great works, and that is the reason why so few are
produced:[1]--the ambition, activity, and spirit of public life is
shrunk to the minute detail of domestic arrangements--every thing that
surrounds us tends to show us in private, is become snug, less, narrow,
pretty, insignificant. We are not, perhaps, the less happy on account of
all this; but from such selfish trifling to expect a system of Art built
on grandeur, without a total revolution, would only be less presumptuous
than insane.

What right have we to expect such a revolution in our favour?

Let us advert for a moment to the enormous difference of difficulty
between forming and amending the taste of a public--between legislation
and reform: either task is that of Genius; both have adherents,
disciples, champions; but persecution, derision, checks will generally
oppose the efforts of the latter, whilst submission, gratitude,
encouragement, attend the smooth march of the former. No madness is so
incurable as wilful perverseness; and when men can once, with Medea,
declare that they know what is best, and approve of it, but must, or
choose to follow the worst, perhaps a revolution worse to be dreaded
than the disease itself, must precede the possibility of a cure. Though,
as it has been observed, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries granted
to the artists little more than the attention due to ingenious
craftsmen; they were, from the object of their occupations and the taste
of their employers, the legitimate precursors of M. Agnolo and
Raffaello, who did no more than raise their style to the sublimity and
pathos of the subject. These trod with loftier gait and bolder strides a
path, on which the former had sometimes stumbled, often crept, but
always advanced: the public and the artist went hand in hand--but on
what spot of Europe can the young artist of our day be placed to meet
with circumstances equally favourable? Arm him, if you please, with the
epic and dramatic powers of M. Agnolo and Raffaello, where are the
religious and civic establishments, where the temples and halls open to
receive, where the public prepared to call them forth, to stimulate, to
reward them?

Idle complaints! I hear a thousand voices reply! You accuse the public
of apathy for the Arts, while public and private exhibitions tread on
each other's heels, panorama opens on panorama, and the splendour of
galleries dazzles the wearied eye, and the ear is stunned with the
incessant stroke of the sculptor's hammer, and our temples narrowed by
crowds of monuments shouldering each other to perpetuate the memory of
Statesmen who deluded, or of Heroes who bled at a Nation's call! Look
round all Europe--revolve the page of history from Osymandias to
Pericles, from Pericles to Constantine--and say what age, what race
stretched forth a stronger arm to raise the drooping genius of Art? Is
it the public's fault if encouragement is turned into a job, and
dispatch and quantity have supplanted excellence and quality, as objects
of the artist's emulation?--And do you think that accidental and
temporary encouragement can invalidate charges founded on permanent
causes? What blew up the Art, will in its own surcease terminate its
success. Art is not ephemeral; Religion and Liberty had for ages
prepared what Religion and Liberty were to establish among the ancients:
the germ of the Olympian Jupiter, and the Minerva of Phidias, lay in the
Gods of Aëgina, and that of Theseus, Hercules, and Alcibiades in the
blocks of Harmodios and Aristogiton.

If the revolution of a neighbouring nation emancipated the people from
the yoke of superstition, it has perhaps precipitated them to
irreligion. He who has no visible object of worship is indifferent about
modes, and rites, and places; and unless some great civil provisional
establishment replaces the means furnished by the former system, the
Arts of France, should they disdain to become the minions and handmaids
of fashion, may soon find that the only public occupation left for them
will be a representation of themselves, deploring their new-acquired
advantages. By a great establishment, I mean one that will employ the
living artists, raise among them a spirit of emulation dignified by the
objects of their occupation, and inspire the public with that spirit;
not an ostentatious display of ancient and modern treasures of genius,
accumulated by the hand of conquest or of rapine. To plunder the earth
was a Roman principle, and it is not perhaps matter of lamentation that
Modern Rome, by a retaliation of her own principle, is made to pay the
debt contracted with mankind. But let none fondly believe that the
importation of Greek and Italian works of Art is an importation of Greek
and Italian genius, taste, establishments and means of encouragement;
without transplanting and disseminating these, the gorgeous accumulation
of technic monuments is no more than a dead capital, and, instead of a
benefit, a check on living Art.

With regard to ourselves, the barbarous, though then perhaps useful rage
of image-breakers in the seventeenth century, seems much too
gratuitously propagated as a principle in an age much more likely to
suffer from irreligion than superstition. A public body inflamed by
superstition, suffers, but it suffers from the ebullitions of radical
heat, and may return to a state of health and life; whilst a public body
plunged into irreligion, is in a state of palsied apathy, the cadaverous
symptom of approaching dissolution. Perhaps neither of these two
extremes may be precisely our own state; we probably float between both.
But surely in an age of inquiry and individual liberty of _thought_,
when there are almost as many sects as heads, there was little danger
that the admission of Art to places of devotion could ever be attended
by the errors of idolatry; nor have the motives which resisted the offer
of ornamenting our churches perhaps any eminent degree of ecclesiastic
or political sagacity to recommend them. Who would not rejoice if the
charm of our Art, displaying the actions and example of the sacred
Founder of our religion and of his disciples in temples and conventicles,
contributed to enlighten the zeal, stimulate the feelings, sweeten the
acrimony, or dignify the enthusiasm of their respective audiences? The
source of the grand monumental style of Greece was Religion with Liberty.
At that period the artist, as Pliny expresses himself, was the property of
the public, or in other words, he considered himself as responsible for
the influence of his works on public principle: with the decline of
Religion and Liberty his importance and the Art declined; and though the
Egyptian custom of embalming the dead and suffering the living to linger
had not yet been adopted, from the organ of the public he became the tool
of private patronage; and private patronage, however commendable or
liberal, can no more supply the want of general encouragement, than the
conservatories and hotbeds of the rich, the want of a fertile soil or
genial climate. Luxury in times of taste keeps up execution in proportion
as it saps the dignity and moral principle of the Art; gold is the motive
of its exertions, and nothing that ennobles man was ever produced by gold.
When Nero transported the Pontic Apollo to the golden house, and furnished
the colossal shoulders of the god with his own head, Sculpture lent her
hand to legitimate the sacrilege: why should Painting be supposed to have
been more squeamish when applied to decorate the apartments of his
pleasures and the cabinet of Poppæa with Milesian pollutions, or the
attitudes of Elephantis?

The effect of honours and rewards has been insisted on as a necessary
incentive to artists: they ought indeed to be, they sometimes are, the
result of superior powers; but accidental or partial honours cannot
create Genius, nor private profusion supply public neglect. No genuine
work of Art ever was or ever can be produced, but for its own sake; if
the artist do not conceive to please himself, he never will finish to
please the world. Can we persuade ourselves that all the treasures of
the globe could suddenly produce an Iliad or Paradise Lost, or the
Jupiter of Phidias, or the Capella Sistina? Circumstances may assist or
retard parts, but cannot make them: they are the winds that now blow out
a light, now animate a spark to conflagration. Nature herself has set
her barriers between age and age, between genius and genius, which no
mortal overleaps; all attempts to raise to perfection at once, what can
only be reared by a succession of epochs, must prove abhortive and
nugatory: the very proposals of premiums, honours, and rewards to excite
talent or rouse genius, prove of themselves that the age is unfavourable
to Art; for, had it the patronage of the public, how could it want them?

We have now been in possession of an Academy more than half a century;
all the intrinsic means of forming a style alternate at our commands;
professional instruction has never ceased to direct the student;
premiums are distributed to rear talent and stimulate emulation, and
stipends are granted to relieve the wants of genius and finish
education. And what is the result? If we apply to our Exhibition, what
does it present, in the aggregate, but a gorgeous display of varied
powers, condemned, if not to the beasts, at least to the dictates of
fashion and vanity? What therefore can be urged against the conclusion,
that, as far as the public is concerned, the Art is sinking, and
threatens to sink still deeper, from the want of demand for great and
significant works? Florence, Bologna, Venice, each singly taken,
produced in the course of the sixteenth century alone, more great
historic pictures than all Britain taken together, from its earliest
attempts at painting to its present efforts. What are we to conclude
from this? that the soil from which Shakspeare and Milton sprang, is
unfit to rear the Genius of Poetic Art? or find the cause of this
seeming impotence in that general change of habits, customs, pursuits,
and amusements, which for near a century has stamped the national
character of Europe with apathy or discountenance of the genuine
principles of Art?

But if the severity of these observations, this denudation of our
present state moderates our hopes, it ought to invigorate our efforts
for the ultimate preservation, and, if immediate restoration be
hopeless, the gradual recovery of Art. To raise the Arts to a
conspicuous height may not perhaps be in our power; we shall have
deserved well of posterity if we succeed in stemming their farther
downfall, if we fix them on the solid base of principle. If it be out of
our power to furnish the student's activity with adequate practice, we
may contribute to form his theory; and Criticism founded on experiment,
instructed by comparison, in possession of the labours of every epoch of
Art, may spread the genuine elements of taste, and check the present
torrent of affectation and insipidity.

This is the real use of our Institution, if we may judge from analogy.
Soon after the middle of the sixteenth century, when the gradual
evanescence of the great luminaries in Art began to alarm the public, an
idea started at Florence of uniting the most eminent artists into a
society, under the immediate patronage of the Grand Duke, and the title
of Academy: it had something of a Conventual air, has even now its own
chapel, and celebrates an annual festival with appropriate ceremonies;
less designed to promote than to prevent the gradual debasement of Art.
Similar associations in other places were formed in imitation, and at
the time of the Carracci even the private schools of painters adopted
the same name. All, whether public or private, supported by patronage or
individual contribution, were and are symptoms of Art in distress,
monuments of public dereliction and decay of Taste. But they are at the
same time the asylum of the student, the theatre of his exercises, the
repositories of the materials, the archives of the documents of our art,
whose principles their officers are bound now to maintain, and for the
preservation of which they are responsible to posterity, undebauched by
the flattery, heedless of the sneers, undismayed by the frown of their
own time.

Permit me to part with one final observation. Reynolds has told us, and
from _him_ whose genius was crowned with the most brilliant success
during his life, from him it came with unexampled magnanimity, "that
those who court the applause of their own time, must reckon on the
neglect of posterity." On this I shall not insist as a general maxim;
all depends on the character of the time in which an artist lives, and
on the motive of his exertions. M. Agnolo, Raffaello, Tiziano, and
Vasari, Giuseppe d'Arpino, and Luca Giordano, enjoyed equal celebrity
during their own times. The three first enjoy it now, the three last are
forgotten or censured. What are we to infer from this unequal verdict of
posterity? What, but what Cicero says, that time obliterates the
conceits of opinion or fashion, and establishes the verdicts of Nature?
The age of Julio and Leone demanded genius for its own sake, and found
it--the age of Cosmo, Ferdinand, and Urban, demanded talents and
dispatch to flatter their own vanity, and found them too; but Cosmo,
Ferdinand, and Urban, are sunk in the same oblivion, or involved in the
same censure with their tools--Julio and Leone continue to live with the
permanent powers which they had called forth.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Vel duo vel nemo--turpe et miserabile!



APHORISMS, CHIEFLY RELATIVE TO THE FINE ARTS.



APHORISMS.


1. Life is rapid, art is slow, occasion coy, practice fallacious, and
judgment partial.

2. The price of excellence is labour, and time that of immortality.

3. Art, like love, excludes all competition, and absorbs the man.

4. Art is the attendant of nature, and genius and talent the ministers
of art.

5. Genius either discovers new materials of nature, or combines the
known with novelty.

6. Talent arranges, cultivates, polishes, the discoveries of genius.

7. Intuition is the attendant of genius; gradual improvement that of
talent.

8. Arrangement presupposes materials: fruits follow the bud and foliage,
and judgment the luxuriance of fancy.

9. The fiery sets his subject in a blaze, and mounts its vapours; the
melancholy cleaves the rock, or gropes through thorns for his; the
sanguine deluges all, and seizes none; the phlegmatic sucks one, and
drops off with repletion.

10. Some enter the gates of art with golden keys, and take their seats
with dignity among the demi-gods of fame; some burst the doors and leap
into a niche with savage power; thousands consume their time in chinking
useless keys, and aiming feeble pushes against the inexorable doors.

11. Heaven and earth, advantages and obstacles, conspire to educate
genius.

12. Organization is the mother of talent; practice its nurse; the
senses its dominion; but hearts alone can penetrate hearts.

13. It is the lot of genius to be opposed, and to be invigorated by
opposition: all extremes touch each other; frigid praise and censure
wait upon attainable or common powers; but the successful adventurer in
the realms of discovery leaps on an unknown or long-lost shore, ennobles
it with his name, and grasps immortality.

14. Genius without bias, is a stream without direction: it inundates
all, and ends in stagnation.

15. He who pretends to have sacrificed genius to the pursuits of
interest or fashion; and he who wants to persuade you he has
indisputable titles to a crown, but chooses to wave them for the
emoluments of a partnership in trade, deserve equal belief.

16. Taste is the legitimate offspring of nature, educated by propriety:
fashion is the bastard of vanity, dressed by art.

17. The immediate operation of taste is to ascertain the kind; the next,
to appreciate the degrees of excellence.

_Coroll._--Taste, founded on sense and elegance of mind, is reared by
culture, invigorated by practice and comparison: scantiness stops short
of it; fashion adulterates it: it is shackled by pedantry, and
overwhelmed by luxuriance.

Taste sheds a ray over the homeliest or the most uncouth subject.
Fashion frequently flattens the elegant, the gentle, and the great, into
one lumpy mass of disgust.

If "foul and fair" be all that your gross-spun sense discerns, if you
are blind to the intermediate degrees of excellence, you may perhaps be
a great man--a senator--a conqueror; but if you respect yourself, never
presume to utter a syllable on works of taste.

18. If mind and organs conspire to qualify you for a judge in works of
taste, remember that you are to be possessed of three things--the
subject of the work which you are to examine; the character of the
artist as such; and, before all, of impartiality.

_Coroll._--All first impressions are involuntary and inevitable; but
the knowledge of the subject will guide you to judge first of the whole;
not to creep on from part to part, and nibble at execution before you
know what it means to convey. The notion of a tree precedes that of
counting leaves or disentangling branches.

Every artist has, or ought to have, a character or system of his own;
if, instead of referring that to the test of nature, you judge him by
your own packed notions, or arraign him at the tribunal of schools which
he does not recognize--you degrade the dignity of art, and add another
fool to the herd of Dilettanti.

But if, for reasons best known to yourself, you come determined to
condemn what yet you have not seen, let me advise you to drop your
pursuits of art for one of far greater importance--the inquiry into
yourself; nor aim at taste till you are sure of justice.

19. Misconception of its own powers is the injurious attendant of
genius, and the most severe remembrancer of its vanity.

_Coroll._--Much of Leonardo da Vinci's life evaporated in useless
experiment and quaint research; Michael Angelo perplexed the limbs of
grandeur with the minute ramifications of anatomy; Rafaelle forsook
humanity to people a mythologic desert with clumsy gods and clumsier
goddesses; Shakspeare, trusting time and chance with Hamlet and Othello,
revised a frozen sonnet, or fondled his Adonis; whilst Milton dropt the
trumpet that had astonished hell, left Paradise, and introduced a
pedagogue to Heaven. When genius is surprised by such lethargic moments,
we can forget that Johnson wrote Irene, and Hogarth made a solemn fool
of Paul.

20. Reality teems with disappointment for him whose sources of enjoyment
spring in the elysium of fancy.

21. Where perfection cannot take place, a very high degree of general
excellence is impossible. Negligence is the shade of energy; where there
is neither, expect mediocrity, the common expletive of society; capacity
without elevation, industry without predilection, practice without
choice.

_Coroll._--"About this time," says Tacitus, "died Poppæus Sabinus, who,
from a middling origin, rose to imperial friendships, the consulate,
and the honours of the triumph: he was selected for the space of
four-and-twenty years to govern the most important provinces,[2] not for
any distinguished merit of his own, but because he was equal to his
task, and not above it."

Behold here the most comprehensive epitaph of mediocrity, and the most
unambiguous solution of every riddle with which its brilliant success
may have perplexed your mind.

22. Determine the principle on which you commence your career of art:
some woo the art itself, some its appendages; some confine their view to
the present, some extend it to futurity: the butterfly flutters round a
meadow; the eagle crosses seas.

23. In ranging the phenomena of art, remember carefully, though you
place it on the side of exceptions, that a decided bias is not always a
sign of latent power; nor indolence, indifference, or even apathy, a
sign of impotence.

24. Circumstances may assist or retard parts, but cannot make them: they
are the winds that now blow out a light, now animate a spark to
conflagration.

_Coroll._--Augustus and Mæcenas are said to have made Virgil: what was
it, then, that prevented Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, and the two Antonines,
from producing at least a Lucan?

25. Deserve, but expect not, to be praised by your contemporaries, for
any excellence which they may be jealous of being allowed to possess
themselves; leave the dispensation of justice to posterity.

26. If wishes are the spawn of imbecility, precipitation is the bantling
of fool-hardiness: legitimate will, investigates and acquires the means.
Mistake not an itching finger for authentic will.

27. Some of the most genuine effusions of genius in art, some of the
most estimable qualities in society, may be beholden for our homage to
very disputable principles.

_Coroll._--The admission of a master's humanity to his slave supposes
the validity of an execrable right; and the courage shown in a duel
cannot be applauded without submitting to the dictates of feudal
barbarity. Had the poet's conception prepared us for the rashness of
Lear, the ambition of Macbeth's wife, and the villany of Iago, by the
usual gradations of nature, he could not have rushed on our heart with
the irresistibility that now subdues it. Had the line of Correggio
floated in a less expanse, he would have lost that spell of light and
shade which has enthralled all eyes; and Rubens, had he not invigorated
bodies to hills of flesh, and tinged his pencil in the rainbow, would
not have been the painter of magnificence.

28. Genius has no imitator. Some can be poets and painters only at
second-hand: deaf and blind to the tones and motions of Nature herself,
they hear or see her only through some reflected medium of art; they are
emboldened by prescription.

29. Let him who has more genius than talent give up as impossible what
he finds difficult. Talent may mimic genius with success, and
frequently impose on all but the first judges; but genius is awkward in
the attempt to use the tools of talent.

_Coroll._--Hyperides, Lysias, Isocrates, might imitate much of
Demosthenes; but he would have become ridiculous by stooping to collect
their beauties.[3] The spear of Roland might be couched to gain a lady's
favour; but its sole ornament was the heart, torn from the breast-plate
of her foe.

30. Mediocrity is formed, and talent submits, to receive prescription;
that, the liveried attendant, this, the docile client of a patron's
views or whims: but genius, free and unbounded as its _origin_, scorns
to receive commands, or in submission, neglects those it received.

_Coroll._--The gentle spirit of Rafaelle embellished the conceits of
Bembo and Divizio, to scatter incense round the triple mitre of his
prince; and the Vatican became the flattering annals of the court of
Julius and Leo: whilst Michael Angelo refused admittance to master and
to times, and doomed his purple critic to hell.[4]

31. Distinguish between genius and singularity of character; an artist
of mediocrity may be an odd man: let the nature of works be your guide.

32. The most impotent, the most vulgar, and the coldest artists
generally arrogate to themselves the most vigorous, the most dignified,
and the warmest subjects.

33. He has powers, dignity, and fire, who can inspire a trifle with
importance.

34. Know that nothing is trifling in the hand of genius, and that
importance itself becomes a bauble in that of mediocrity:--the
shepherd's staff of Paris would have been an engine of death in the
grasp of Achilles; the ash of Peleus could only have dropped from the
effeminate fingers of the curled archer.

35. Art either imitates or copies, selects or transcribes; consults the
class, or follows the individual.

36. Imitative art, is either epic or sublime, dramatic or impassioned,
historic or circumscribed by truth. The first astonishes, the second
moves, the third informs.

37. Whatever hides its limits in its greatness--whatever shows a feature
of immensity, let the elements of Nature or the qualities of animated
being make up its substance, is sublime.

38. Whatever by reflected self-love inspires us with hope, fear, pity,
terror, love, or mirth--whatever makes events, and time, and place, the
ministers of character and pathos, let fiction or reality compose its
tissue, is dramatic.

39. That which tells us, not what might be, but what is; circumscribes
the grand and the pathetic with truth of time, place, custom; what
gives "a local habitation and a name," is historic.

_Coroll._--No human performance is either purely epic, dramatic, or
historic. Novelty and feelings will make the historian sometimes launch
out into the marvellous; or will warm his bosom and extort a tear.

The dramatist while gazing at some tremendous feature, or the pomp of
superior agency, will drop the chain he holds, and be absorbed in the
sublime; whilst the epic or lyric poet, forgetting his solitary
grandeur, will sometimes descend and mix with his agents.

The tragic and the comic dramatists formed themselves on Hector and
Andromache, on Irus and Ulysses. The spirit from the prison-house
breathes like the shade of Patroclus; Octavia and the daughter of
Soranus[5] melt like Ophelia and Alcestis.

40. Those who have assigned to the plastic arts beauty, strictly so
called, as the ultimate end of imitation, have circumscribed the whole
by a part.

_Coroll._--The charms of Helen and of Niobe are instruments of
sublimity: Meleager and Cordelia fall victims to the passions; Agrippina
and Berenice give interest to truth.

41. Beauty, whether individual or ideal, consists in the concurrence of
parts to one end, or the union of the simple and the various.

_Coroll._--Whatever be your powers, assume not to legislate on beauty:
though always the same herself, her empire is despotic, and subject to
the anarchies of despotism, enthroned to-day, dethroned to-morrow: in
treating subjects of universal claim, most has been done by leaving most
to the reader's and spectator's taste or fancy. "It is difficult," says
Horace, "to pronounce exactly to every man's eye and mind, what every
man thinks himself entitled to estimate by a standard of his own."[6]
The Apollo and Medicean Venus are not by all received as the canons of
male and female beauty; and Homer's Helen is the finest woman we have
read of, merely because he has left her to be made up of the Dulcineas
of his readers.

42. Beauty alone, fades to insipidity; and like possession cloys.

43. Grace is beauty in motion, or rather grace regulates the air, the
attitudes and movements of beauty.

44. Nature makes no parade of her means--hence all studied grace is
unnatural.

_Coroll._--The attitudes of Parmegiano are exhibitions of studied grace.
The grace of Guido is become proverbial, but it is the grace of the art.

45. All actions and attitudes of children are graceful, because they are
the luxuriant and immediate offspring of the moment--divested of
affectation, and free from all pretence.

_Coroll._--The attitudes and motions of the figures of Rafaelle are
graceful because they are poised by Nature.

46. Proportion, or symmetry, is the basis of beauty; propriety, of
grace.

47. Creation gives, invention finds existence.

48. Invention in general is the combination of the possible, the
probable, or the known, in a mode that strikes with novelty.

_Coroll._--Invention has been said to mean no more than the moment of
any fact chosen by the artist.

To say that the painter's invention is not to find or to combine its own
subject, is to confine it to the poet's or historian's alms--is to
annihilate its essence; it says in other words, that Macbeth or Ugolino
would be no subjects for the pencil, if they had not been prepared by
history and borrowed from Shakspeare and Dante.

49. Ask not--Where is fancy bred? in the heart? in the head? how begot?
how nourished?

_Coroll._--The critic who inquires whether in the madness of Lear, grief
for the loss of empire, or the resentment of filial ingratitude
preponderated--and he who doubts whether it be within the limits of art
to embody beings of fancy, agitate different questions, but of equal
futility.

50. Genius may adopt, but never steals.

_Coroll._--An adopted idea or figure in the works of genius will be a
foil or a companion; but an idea of genius borrowed by mediocrity scorns
the base alliance and crushes all its mean associates--it is the
Cyclop's thumb, by which the pigmy measured his own littleness,--"or
hangs like a giant's robe upon a dwarfish thief."

51. Genius, inspired by invention, rends the veil that separates
existence from possibility; peeps into the dark, and catches a shape, a
feature, or a colour, in the reflected ray.

52. Talent, though panting, pursues genius through the plains of
invention, but stops short at the brink that separates the real from the
possible. Virgil followed Homer in making Mezentius speak to Rhœbus, but
shrank from the reply of the prophetic courser.[7]

53. Whenever the medium of any work, whether lines, colour, grouping,
diction, becomes so predominant as to absorb the subject in its
splendour, the work is degraded to an inferior order.

54. The painter, who makes an historical figure address the spectator
from the canvass, and the actor who addresses a soliloquy to you from
the stage, have equal claims to your contempt or pity.

55. Common-place figures are as inadmissible in the grand style of
painting as common-place characters or sentiments in poetry.

_Coroll._--Common-place figures were first introduced by the gorgeous
machinists of Venice, and adopted by the Bolognese school of Eclectics;
the modern school of Rome from Carlo Maratta to Battoni knew nothing
else; and they have been since indiscriminately disseminated on this
side of the Alps, by those whom mediocrity obliged to hide themselves in
crowds, or a knack at grouping stimulated to aggregate a rabble.

56. The copious is seldom grand.

57. Glitter is the refuge of the mean.

58. All apparatus destroys terror, as all ornament grandeur: the minute
catalogue of the cauldron's ingredients in Macbeth destroys the terror
attendant on mysterious darkness; and the seraglio-trappings of Rubens
annihilate his heroes.

59. All conceits, not founded upon probable combinations of nature, are
absurd. The _capricci_ of Salvator Rosa, and of his imitators, are, to
the fiends of Michael Angelo, what the paroxysms of a fever are to the
sallies of vigorous fancy.

60. Distinguish carefully between bold fancy and a daring hand; between
the powers of nature and the acquisitions of practice: most of
Salvator's banditti are a medley made up of starveling models and the
shreds of his lumber-room brushed into notice by a daring pencil.

61. Distinguish between boldness and brutality of hand, between the face
of beauty and _the bark of a tree_.

62. All mediocrity pretends.

63. Invention, strictly speaking, being confined to _one_ moment, he
invents best who in that moment combines the traces of the past, the
energy of the present, and a glimpse of the future.

64. Composition has been divided into natural and ornamental: that is
dictated by the subject, this by effect or situation.

65. Distinguish between composition and grouping: though none can
compose without grouping, most group without composing.

_Coroll._--The assertion that grouping may not be composing, has been
said to make a distinction without a difference: as if there had not
been, still are, and always will be squadrons of artists, whose skill in
grouping can no more be denied, than their claim to invention, and
consequently to composition, admitted, if invention means the true
conception of a subject and composition the best mode of representing
it. After the demise of Lionardo and Michael Angelo, their successors,
however discordant else, uniformly agreed to lose the subject in the
medium. Raffaello had no followers. Tiziano and something of Tintoretto
excepted, what instance can there be produced of composition in the
works of the Venetian school? Are the splendid masquerades of Paolo to
be dignified with that name? If composition has a part in the effusions
of the great founder of the Lombard school, it surely did not arrange
the celestial hubbub of his cupolas, content to inspire his Io, the
Zingaro, Christ in the Garden, perhaps (I speak with diffidence) his
Notte. So characteristically separate from real composition are the most
splendid assemblages, the most happy combinations of figures, if founded
on the mere power of grouping, that one of the first, and certainly the
most courteous critic in Art of the age, in compliment to the Venetian
and Flemish Schools, has thought proper to divide composition into
legitimate and ornamental.

66. Ask not, what is the shape of composition? You may in vain climb the
pyramid, wind with the stream, or point the flame; for composition,
unbounded like Nature, and her subjects, though resident in all, may be
in none of these.

67. The nature of picturesque composition is depth, or to come forward
and recede.

_Coroll._--Pausias, in painting a sacrifice, foreshortened the victim,
and threw its shade on part of the surrounding crowd, to show its height
and length.[8]

68. Sculpture composes in single groups or separate figures, but
apposition is the element of basso-relievo.

_Coroll._--Poussin painted basso-relievo, Algardi chiselled pictures.

69. He who treats you with all the figures of a subject save the
principal, is as civil or important as he who invites you to dine with
all a nobleman's family, the master only excepted: this sometimes may
be no loss, but surely you cannot be said to have dined with the chief
of the family.

70. Examine whether an artist treats you with a subject, or only with
some of its limbs: many see only the lines, some the masses, others the
colours, and not a few the mere back-ground of their subject.

71. Second thoughts are admissible in painting and poetry only as
dressers of the first conception; no great idea was ever formed in
fragments.

72. He alone can conceive and compose, who sees the whole at once before
him.

73. He who conceives the given point of a subject in many different
ways, conceives it not at all. Appeal to the artist's own feelings; you
will ever find him most reluctant to give up that part of it which he
conceived intuitively, and readier to dismiss that which harassed him by
alteration.

74. Metaphysical composition, if it be numerous, will be oftener
mistaken for dilapidation of fragments than regular distribution of
materials.

_Coroll._--The School of Athens as it is called, by Raffaelle,
communicates to few more than an arbitrary assemblage of speculative
groups: yet if the subject be the dramatic representation of philosophy,
as it prepares for active life, the parts of the building are not
connected with more regular gradation than those groups: fitted by
physical and intellectual harmony, man ascends from himself to society,
from society to God.

75. No excellence of execution can atone for meanness of conception.

76. Grandeur of conception will predominate over the most vulgar
materials--if in the subjects of Jesus before Pilate, by Rembrandt, and
the Resuscitation of Lazarus by Lievens,[9] the materials had all been
equal to the conception, they would have been works of superhuman
powers.

77. Repetition of attitude and gesture invigorates the expression of the
grand: as a torrent gives its own direction to every object it sweeps
along, so the impression of a sublime or pathetic moment absorbs the
contrasts of inferior agents.

78. Tameness lies on this side of expression, grimace overleaps it;
insipidity is the relative of folly, eccentricity of madness.

79. The fear of not being understood, or felt, makes some invigorate
expression to grimace.

80. The temple of expression, like that of religion, has a portico and a
sanctuary; that is trod by all, this only admits her votaries.

81. Propriety, modesty and delicacy, guard expression from the
half-conceits of the weak, the intemperance of the extravagant, and the
brutality of the vulgar.

82. Sensibility is the mother of sympathy. How can he paint Beauty who
has not throbbed at her charms? How shall he fill the eye with the dew
of humanity whose own never shed a tear for others? How can he form a
mouth to threaten or command, who licks the hereditary spittle of
princes?

83. He fails with greater dignity, who expresses the principal feature
of his subject and misses or neglects all the secondary, than he who
consumes his powers on what is subordinate and comes exhausted to the
chief.

_Coroll._--Those who have asserted that Lionardo, in finishing the Last
Supper, was so exhausted by his exertions to trace the characters and
emotions of the disciples, that, unable to fix the physiognomy of
Christ, he found himself reduced to the necessity of leaving that head
unfinished,--either never saw it, or if they did, were too low to reach
the height, and too shallow to fathom the depth of the conception.

84. The coward, driven to despair, leaps back into the face of danger;
and the tame, stimulated to exertions and aiming at expression, puffs
spirit into flutter; or tears the garb of passion and flourishes the
rags.

85. Affectation cannot excite sympathy. How can you feel for him who
cannot feel for himself? How can he feel for himself, who exhibits the
artificial graces of studied attitude?

86. The loathsome is abominable, and no engine of expression.

_Coroll._ When Spenser dragged into light the entrails of the serpent,
slain by the Red-cross Knight, he dreamt a butcher's dream and not a
poet's: and Fletcher,[10] or his partner, when rummaging the surgeon's
box of cataplasms and trusses to assuage hunger, solicited the grunt of
an applauding sty.

87. Sympathy and disgust are the lines that separate terror from horror:
though we shudder at, we scarcely pity what we abominate.

_Coroll._--Rowe, when he congratulates the ghost on bidding Hamlet spare
his mother, accuses _her_ of a crime with which the poet never charged
her: that Shakspeare might be hurried on to horror let the "vile jelly"
witness, which Cornwall treads from Gloster's bleeding sockets.

88. Expression animates, convulses, or absorbs form. The Apollo is
animated; the warrior of Agasias is agitated; the Laocoon is convulsed;
the Niobe is absorbed.

89. The being seized by an enormous passion, be it joy or grief, hope or
despair, loses the character of its own individual expression, and is
absorbed by the power of the feature that attracts it: Niobe and her
family are assimilated by extreme anguish; Ugolino is petrified by the
fate that sweeps his sons; and every metamorphosis from that of Clytie
to the transfusion of Gianni Fucci[11] tells a new allegory of
sympathetic power.

90. Reject with indignant incredulity all self-congratulations of
conscious villainy, though they be uttered by Richard or by Iago.

91. The axe, the wheel, saw-dust, and the blood-stained sheet are not
legitimate substitutes of terror.

92. All division diminishes, all mixtures impair the simplicity and
clearness of expression.

93. The epoch which discovered expression, or what the Greeks called
"manners,"[12] is marked by Pliny as that which gave importance and
effect to art.

_Coroll._--Homer invested his heroes with ideal powers, but copied
nature in delineating their moral character. Achilles, the irresistible
in arms, clad in celestial armour, is a splendid being, created by
himself; Achilles the fool of passions, is the real man delivered to him
by tradition.

That the plastic artist should have had an aim beyond the poet is
improbable, because the poet, in general, furnished him with materials;
he composed his man of beauty and ideal limbs, not to obscure, but to
invigorate his character and our attention.

The limbs, the form of Ajax hurling defiance from the sea-swept rock
unto the murky sky, were, no doubt, exquisite; but if the artist
mitigated his expression, the indignation due to blasphemy from the
spectator gave way to sterner indignation at the injustice of his gods.

The expression of the ancients, from the heights and depths of the
sublime, descended and emerged to search every nook of the human breast;
from the ambrosial locks of Zeus, and the maternal phantom fluttering
round Ulysses,[13] to the half-slain mother, shuddering lest the infant
should suck the blood from her palsied nipple, and the fond attention of
Penelope dwelling on the relation of her returned son.[14]

The expression of the ancients explored nature even in the mute
recesses, in the sullen organs of the brute; from the Argus of Ulysses,
to the lamb, the symbol of expiatory resignation, on an altar, and to
the untameable feature of the toad.

The expression of the ancients roamed all the fields of licit and
illicit pleasure; from the petulance with which Ctesilochus exhibited
the pangs of a Jupiter delivered by celestial midwives, to the
libidinous sports of Parrhasius, and from these to the indecent
caricature[15] which furnished Crassus with a repartee.

The ancients extended expression even to the colour of their materials
in sculpture: to express the remorse of Athamas, Aristonidas the Theban
mixed metals; and Alcon formed a Hercules of iron, to express the
perseverance of the God.[16]

94. Invention, before it attends to composition, group, or contrast,
classes its subject and ascertains what kind of impression it is to make
on the whole.

95. Invention never suffers the action to expire, nor the spectator's
fancy to consume itself in preparation, or stagnate into repose: it
neither begins from the egg, nor coldly gathers the remains; for action
and interest terminate together.

96. The middle moment, the moment of suspense, the crisis, is the moment
of importance, big with the past and pregnant with the future: we rush
from the flames with the Warrior of Agasias, and look forward to his
enemy; or we hang in suspense over the wound of the Expiring
Soldier,[17] and poise with every drop which yet remains of life.

97. Distinguish between the hero and the actor; between exertions of
study and effects of impulse.

98. Know that expression has its classes. The frown of the Hercynian
phantom may repress the ardour, but cannot subdue the dignity of
Drusus;[18] the terror of the Centurion at the Resurrection[19] is not
the panic of his soldiers; the palpitation of Hamlet cannot degenerate
into vulgar fright.

_Coroll._--Of all the eclectics, Domenichino alone composed for
expression; but his expression compared with Raffaello's is the
expression of Theocritus compared with that of Homer. A detail of pretty
images is rather calculated to diminish than to enforce energy with the
whole: a lovely child taking refuge in the bosom of a lovely mother is
an idea of nature, and pleasing in a lowly or domestic subject; but
amidst the terrors of martyrdom, it is a shred tacked to a purple robe.
In touching the circle that surrounds the Ananias of Raffaelle, you
touch the electric chain; an irresistible spark darts from the last as
from the first, and penetrates and subdues. At the Martyrdom of St.
Agnes,[20] you saunter amidst the mob of a lane, where the silly chat of
neighbouring gossips announces a topic as silly, till you find, with
indignation, that instead of a broken pot, or a petty theft, you are to
witness a scene for which Heaven opens, the angels descend, and Jesus
rises from his throne.

99. Expression alone can invest beauty with supreme and lasting command
over the eye.

_Coroll._--On beauty, unsupported by vigour and expression, Homer dwells
less than on active deformity; he tells us, in three lines, that Nireus
led three ships, his parentage, his form, his effeminacy; but opens in
Thersites a source of comedy and entertainment.

Raffaelle not only subjected beauty to expression, but, at the command
of invention, degraded it into a handmaid of deformity: thus the flowers
of infancy and youth, virility and age, are scattered round the
temple-gate, to impress us more by comparison with the distorted beings
that crawl before and defy the powers of every other hand but the one
delegated by Omnipotence.[21]

100. Imitation seems to cease, where the ideal part begins.

101. The imitator rises above the copyist by generalizing the individual
to a class; the idealist mounts above the imitator by uniting classes.

102. The imitator, by comparison and taste, unites the scattered limbs
of kindred excellence; the idealist, by the "mind's eye," fixes,
personifies, embodies possibility: modes and degrees of single powers
are the province of the former; the latter unites whatever implies no
contradiction in an assemblage of varied excellence.

_Coroll._--This is best explained by the Ilias. Each individual of Homer
forms a class, and is circumscribed by one quality of heroic power;
Achilles alone unites their different energies.

The height, the strength, the giant-stride and supercilious air of Ajax;
the courage, the impetuosity, the never-failing aim, the never-bloodless
stroke of Diomedes; the presence of mind, the powerful agility of
Ulysses; the velocity of the lesser Ajax; Agamemnon's sense of
prerogative and domineering spirit,--assign to each his separate class
of heroism, yet lessen not their shades of imperfection. Ajax appears
the warrior rather than the leader; Ulysses is too prudent to be more
than brave; the hawk more than the eagle predominates in the son of
Oileus; Agamemnon has the prerogative of power, but not of heroism;
Diomede alone might appear to have been raised too high, had he been
endowed with an assuming spirit. So far the poet found, ennobled,
classified; but all these he sums up, and creates an ideal form from
their assemblage, in Achilles:--he is the grandson of Jupiter, the son
of a goddess, the favourite of Heaven--[22]"What arms can fit me but the
shield of Ajax? The lance maddens not in the grasp of Diomede to chase
the flames from the ships. Let him confer with thee, Ulysses, and the
rest." Such is his language. Before the pursuer of Hector vanishes the
velocity of Ajax; from destroying Agamemnon he is prevented by Minerva;
he gives his armour to the son of Menœtius, and disperses all but the
gods; his spear none can throw, and none tear from the ground when
thrown; a miracle alone can save those that oppose him singly; when else
he fights, 'tis not to gain a battle, but to subvert Troy.

What Achilles is to his confederates, the Apollo, the Torso, the
statues[23] of the Quirinal, are to all other known figures of gods, of
demi-gods and heroes.

103. Fancy not to compose an ideal form by mixing up a mass of
promiscuous beauties; for, unless you consulted what was homogeneous and
what was possible in Nature, you have hatched only a monster: this, we
suppose, was understood by Zeuxis when he collected the beauties of
Agrigentum to compose a perfect female.[24]

104. If there be any thing serious in art, it certainly then ought to be
exerted when religion is the subject; but idolaters and iconoclasts seem
to have conspired, either to banish the author of their faith to the
cold sphere of mythology, or to debase him to the dregs of mankind.

_Coroll._--Majesty is the feature of the Supreme Being; no eternal
Father of the moderns approaches the majesty of Jupiter.

The gods of Michael Angelo are stern. The gods of Raffaelle are affable
and weak. The gods of Guido have the air of ancient courtiers.

In the race of Jupiter, majesty is tempered by emanations of beauty and
of grace, but never softened into love.

The Christ of Michael Angelo is severe. The Christ of Raffaelle is
poised between the heraldry of church tradition and the dignified
mildness of his own character. The Christ of Guido is a well suspended
corpse.

"The character corresponding with that of Christ," says a critic and a
painter,[25] "is a mixture of the characters of Jupiter and Apollo,
allowing only for the accidental expression of the moment." What magic
shall amalgamate the superhuman airs of Rhea's and Latona's sons with
sufferings and resignation? The critic, in his exultation, forgot the
leading feature of his master--humility.

Whatever be the ideal form of Christ, the Saviour of mankind, extending
his arm to relieve the afflicted, the hopeless, the dying, is a subject
that comes home to the breast of every one who calls himself after his
name:--the artist is in the sphere of adoration with the Christian.

A great and beneficent character, eminently exerting unknown healing
powers over the family of disease and pain, claims the participation of
every feeling man, though he be no believer:--the artist is in the
sphere of sentiment with the Deist or Mahometan.

But a mean man marked with the features of a mean sect, surrounded by a
beggarly ill-shaped rabble and stupid masks--is probably a juggler that
claims the attention of no one.

The Resurrection of Christ derives its interest from its rapidity, the
Ascension from its slowness.

In the Resurrection, the hero, like a ball of fire, shoots up resistless
from the bursting tomb, and scatters terror and astonishment,--what
apprehension could not dream of, what the eye had never beheld, and
tongue had never uttered, blazes before us,--tumultuous agitation rends
the whole. Such is the spirit of the Resurrection by Raffaelle.

The Ascension is the last of many similar scenes: no longer with the
rapidity of a conqueror, but with the calm serenity of triumphant power,
the hero is borne up in splendour, and gradually vanishes from those
who, by repeated visions, had been taught to expect whatever was
amazing. Silent and composed, with eyes more absorbed in adoration than
wonder, they followed the glorious emanation, till addressed by the
white-robed messengers of their departed King.

105. We are more impressed by Gothic than by Greek mythology, because
the bands are not yet rent which tie us to its magic: he has a powerful
hold of us, who holds us by our superstition or by a theory of honour.

106. The east expands, the north concentrates images.

107. Disproportion of parts is the element of hugeness,--proportion, of
grandeur; all Oriental, all Gothic styles of Architecture, are huge; the
Grecian alone, is grand.

108. The female, able to invigorate her taste without degenerating into
a pedant, sloven or virago, may give her hand to the man of elegance,
who scorns to sacrifice his sense to the presiding phantoms of an
effeminate age.

109. The collector who arrogates not to himself the praise bestowed on
his collections, and the reader who fancies himself not the author of
the beauties he recites to an admiring circle--are not the last of men.

110. The epoch of rules, of theories, poetics, criticisms in a nation,
will add to their stock of authors in the same proportion as it
diminishes their stock of genius: their productions will bear the stamp
of study, not of nature; they will adopt, not generate; sentiment will
supplant images, and narrative invention; words will be no longer the
dress but the limbs of composition, and feeble elegance will supply the
want of nerves.

111. He "lisped not in numbers, no numbers came to him," though he count
his verses by thousands, who has not learnt to distinguish the harmony
of two lines from that of a period--whom dull monotony of ear condemns
to the drowsy psalmody of one returning couplet.

112. Some seek renown as the Parthians sought victory--by seeming to fly
from it.

113. He has more than genius--he is a hero--who can check his powers in
their full career to glory, merely not to crush the feeble on his road.

114. He who could have the choice, and should prefer to be the first
painter of insects, of flowers, or of drapery, to being the second in
the ranks of history, though degraded to the last class of art, would
undoubtedly be in the first of men by the decision of Cæsar.

115. Such is the aspiring nature of man, that nothing wounds the copyist
more sorely than the suspicion of being thought what he is.

116. He who depends for all upon his model, should treat no other
subject but his model.

117. The praises lavished on the sketches of vigorous conception, only
sharpen the throes of labour in finishing.

118. As far as the medium of an art can be taught, so far is the artist
confined to the class of mere mechanics; he only then elevates himself
to talent, when he imparts to his method, or his tool, some unattainable
or exclusive excellence of his own.

119. None but the first can represent the first. Genius, absorbed by the
subject, hastens to the centre; and from that point disseminates, to
that leads back the rays: talent, full of its own dexterities, begins to
point the rays before they have a centre, and aggregates a mass of
secondary beauties.

120. The ear absorbed in harmonies of its own creation, is deaf to all
external ones.

121. Harmony disposes, melody determines.

122. There is not a bauble thrown by the sportive hand of fashion, which
may not be caught with advantage by the hand of art.

_Coroll._--Shakspeare has been excused for seeking in the Roman senate
what he knew all senates could furnish--a buffoon. Paulo of Verona, with
equal strength of argument, may be excused for cramming on the
foreground of an assembly or a feast, what he knew a feast or assembly
could furnish--a dog, an ape, a scullion, a parrot, or a dwarf.

123. He has done much in art who raises your curiosity--he has done all
who has raised it and keeps it up restless and uniform; prostrate
yourself before the genius of Homer.

124. Difficulties surmounted to obtain what in itself is of no real
value, deserve pity or contempt: the painted catalogue of wrinkles by
Denner are not offsprings of art, but fac-similes of natural history.

125. Love for what is called deception in painting, marks either the
infancy or decrepitude of a nation's taste.

126. Indiscriminate execution, like the monkey's rasor, cuts shear
asunder the parts it meant to polish.

_Coroll._--Francesco Barbieri broke like a torrent over the academic
rules of his masters. As the desire of disseminating character over
every part of his composition made Raphael less attentive to its general
effect, so an ungovernable itch of copying all that lay in his way made
this man sacrifice order, costume, mind, to mere effects of colour: a
map of flesh, a pile of wood, a sleeve, a hilt, a feathered hat, a
table-cloth, or a gold-tissued robe, were for Guercino what a quibble
was for Shakspeare. The countenance of his Dido has that sublimity of
woe which affects us in the Æneis, but she is pierced with a toledo and
wrapped in brocade; Anna is an Italian Duenna; the scene, the Mole of
Ancona or of Naples, the spectators a brace of whiskered Spaniards, and
a deserting Amorino winds up the farce. In his St. Petronilla the rags
and brawny limbs of two gigantic porters crush the effect which the
saint ought to have, and all the rest is frittered into spots. Yet is
that picture a tremendous instance of mechanic powers and intrepidity of
hand. As a firm base supports, pervades, unites the tones of harmony, so
a certain stern virility inspires, invigorates and gives a zest to all
Guercino's colour. The gayer tints of Guido vanish before his as
insipid,[26] Domenichino appears laboured, and the Carracci dim. Nor was
Guercino a stranger to the genuine expressions of untaught nature, and
there is more of pathos in the dog which he introduced caressing the
returned prodigal, than in all the Farnese gallery; as the Argus of
Ulysses, looking up at his old master, then dropping his head and dying,
moves more than all the metamorphoses of Ovid. If his male figures be
brought to the test of style, it may be said, that he never made a man;
their virility is tumour or knotty labour; to youth he gave emaciated
lankness, and to old age little besides decrepitude and beards--meanness
to all: and though he was more cautious in female forms, they owe the
best part of their charms to chiaroscuro.

127. Execution has its classes.

_Coroll._--Satan summoning the Princes of Hell stretched over the fiery
flood; or the giant snake of the Norway seas hovering over a storm-vexed
vessel, by Gerard Douw, or Vanderverf--are incongruous ideas; would be
incongruous though Michael Angelo had planned their design and Rembrandt
massed their light and shade.

128. It has been said, but let us repeat it: the proportion of will and
power is not always reciprocal. A copious measure of will is sometimes
assigned to ordinary and contracted minds; whilst the greatest faculties
as frequently evaporate in indolence and languor.

129. Mighty execution of impotent conception, and vigour of conception
with trembling execution, are coalitions equally deplorable.

130. He is a prince of artists and of men who knows the moment when his
work is done. On this Apelles founded his superiority over his
contemporaries; the knowledge when to stop, left Sylla nothing to fear,
though disarmed; the want of knowing this, exposed Cæsar to the dagger
of Brutus.

131. Next to him who can finish, is he who has hid from you that he
cannot.

132. If finishing be to terminate all the parts of a performance in an
equal degree, no artist ever finished his work. A great part of
conception or execution is always sacrificed to some individual
excellence which either he possesses or thinks he possesses. The
colourist makes lines only the vehicle of colour; the designer
subordinates hue to his line; the man of breadth or chiaroscuro
overwhelms sometimes both, and the subject itself to produce effect.

133. The fewer the traces that appear of the means by which any work has
been produced, the more it resembles the operations of Nature, and the
nearer it is to sublimity.

134. Indiscriminate pursuit of perfection infallibly leads to
mediocrity.

_Coroll._--Take the design of Rome, Venetian motion and shade,
Lombardy's tone of colour, add the terrible manner of Angelo, Titian's
truth of nature, and the supreme purity of Corregio's style; mix them up
with the decorum and solidity of Tibaldi, with the learned invention of
Primaticcio, and a few grains of Parmegiano's grace: and what do you
think will be the result of this chaotic prescription, such elemental
strife? Excellence, perhaps, equal to one or all of the names that
compose these ingredients? You are deceived, if you fancy that a
multitude of dissimilar threads can compose a uniform texture--that
dissemination of spots will make masses, or a little of many things
produce a whole. If Nature stamped you with a character, you will either
annihilate it by indiscriminate imitation of heterogeneous excellence,
or debase it to mediocrity and add one to the ciphers of art. Yet such
is the prescription of Agostino Carracci,[27] and such in general must
be the dictates of academics.

135. If you mean to reign dictator over the arts of your own times,
assail not your rivals with the blustering tone of condemnation and
rigid censure;--sap with conditional or lamenting praise--confine them
to unfashionable excellence--exclude them from the avenues of fame.

136. If you wish to give consequence to your inferiors, answer their
attacks.

_Coroll._--Michael Angelo, advised to resent the insolence of some
obscure upstart who was pushing forward to notice by declaring himself
his rival, answered: "Chi combatte con dappochi, non vince a nulla:" who
contests with the base, loses with all!

137. Genius knows no partner. All partnership is deleterious to poetry
and art: one must rule.[28]

138. The wish of perpetuating a name by enlisting under the banners of
another, is the ambition of inferior minds: biography, with all its
branches of "Ana," translation and engraving, however useful to man or
dear to art, is the unequivocal homage of inferiority offered by taste
and talent to the majesty of genius.

139. Dive in the crowd, meet beauty: follow vigour, compare character,
snatch the feature that moves unobserved and the sudden burst of
passion--and you are at the school of nature with Lysippus.[29]

140. The lessons of disappointment, humiliation and blunder, impress
more than those of a thousand masters.

141. There are artists, who have wasted much of life in abstruse
theories on proportion, who have measured the Antique in all its forms
and characters, compared it with Nature, and mixed up amalgamas of both,
yet never made a figure stand or move.

_Coroll._--"The Apollo is altogether composed of lines sweetly convex,
of very small obtuse angles, and of flats, but the soft convexities
predominate the character of the figure, being a compound of strength,
dignity and delicacy. The artist has expressed the first by convex
outlines, the second by their uniformity, and the third by undulation of
forms. The convex line predominates in the Laocoon, and the forms of the
muscles are angular at their insertions and ends to express agitation;
for by these means the nerves and tendons become more visible, straight
lines meeting with concave and convex ones, form those angles which
produce violence of action. The sculptor of the Farnesian Hercules
invented a style totally different; to obtain fleshiness, he composed
the figure of round and convex muscles, but made their insertions flat
to signify that they are nervous and unincumbered with fat, the
characteristic of strength."

"In the Gladiator there is a mixture of the Herculean and the Laocoontic
forms, the muscles in action are angulated, whilst those at rest are
short and round, a variety conformable to nature," &c.

    Opere di A.R. MENGS, t. i. p. 203.

142. Neither he who forms lines without the power of embodying them, nor
he who floats on masses, can be said to draw: the one is the slave of a
brush, the other of a point.

143. Pulp without solidity absorbs, and relentless tension tears
character.

144. In following too closely a model, there is danger in mistaking the
individual for Nature herself; in relying only on the schools, the
deviation into manner seems inevitable: what then remains, but to
transpose _yourself_ into your subject?

145. Style is the selection of forms and groups and tones to suit a
subject.

_Coroll._--The Italian _Style Grandioso_, the French _Il y a du style_,
the English _great style and breadth_, when applied to a performance,
only mean, that the artist followed those who have enlarged the
principles of imitation and execution.

146. Style pervades the object; manner floats on the surface.

147. Antient art was the tyrant of Egypt, the mistress of Greece, and
the servant of Rome.

148. The superiority of the Greeks seems not so much the result of
climate and society, as of the simplicity of their end and the
uniformity of their means. If they had schools, the Ionian, that of
Athens and of Sicyon appear to have directed their instruction to one
grand principle, proportion: this was the stamen which they drew out
into one immense connected web; whilst modern art, with its schools of
designers, colourists, machinists, eclectics, is but a tissue of
adventitious threads. Apollonius and the sculptor of the small Hesperian
Hercules in bronze are distinguished only by the degree of execution;
whilst M. Angelo and Bernini had no one principle in common but that of
making groups and figures.

149. Art among a religious race produces reliques; among a military one,
trophies; among a commercial one, articles of trade.

150. Modern art, reared by superstition in Italy, taught to dance in
France, plumped up to unwieldiness in Flanders, reduced to "chronicle
small beer" in Holland, became a rich old woman by "suckling fools" in
England.

151. The rules of art are either immediately supplied by Nature herself,
or selected from the compendiums of her students who are called masters
and founders of schools. The imitation of Nature herself leads to style,
that of the schools to manner.

_Coroll._--The line of Michael Angelo is uniformly grand; character and
beauty were admitted only as far as they could be made subservient to
grandeur:--the child, the female, meanness, deformity were indiscriminately
stamped with grandeur; a beggar rose from his hand the patriarch of
poverty; the hump of his dwarf is impressed with dignity; his women are
moulds of generation; his infants teem with the man, his men are a race
of giants.

The design of Raphael is either historic or poetic. The forms of his
historic style are characteristic, those of his poetic style he himself
calls ideal:[30] the former are regulated by nature, but these are only
exaggerations of another style.

The forms of Julio Pipi are poised between character and caricature, but
verge to this; even his dresses and ornaments are caricatures; but no
poet or painter ever rocked the cradle of infant mythology with simpler
or more primitive grace; none ever imparted to allegory a more
insinuating power, or swayed the strife of elemental war with a bolder
hand. What ever equalled the exuberance of invention scattered over the
T of Mantoua?

The line of Polydoro, is that of the antique basso-relievo, seen from
beneath (da sotto in su).

The forms of Titian are those of sanguine health; robust, not grand;
soft without delicacy.

Tintoretto attempted to fill the line of Michael Angelo with colour,
without tracing its principle.

As Michael Angelo was impressed with an idea of grandeur, so Correggio
was charmed with a notion of harmony: his line was correct when harmony
permitted; it strayed as harmony commanded.

Elegance (sueltezza) was the principle of Parmegiano's line, but he
forgot proportion.

Annibale Carracci, one of the founders of the Eclectic school, attempted
to combine in his line the appearance of Nature with style, and became
the standard of academic drawing.

The medium, not the thing, was the object of the _Tuscan_ and _Venetian_
schools; the school of Urbino[31] aimed at subjecting the medium to the
character of things; the _Lombards_ strove to unite the separate
attainments of the three with the unattainable spell of Correggio; the
_Germans_, with their Flemish and Dutch branches, now humbly followed,
now boldly attempted to improve their Italian masters; the French passed
the Alps to study at Rome and Venice what they were to forget at Paris.

Domenichino aimed at the characteristic line of Raffaelle, the
compactness of Annibale, and the beauty of the antique; and mixing
something of each fell short of all.

Rosso carried anatomy, and the Bolognese Abbate the poetry of their art
to the court of Francis. To the haggard melancholy of the Tuscan and the
laboured richness of the Lombard, the French added their own cold
gaiety, and the French school arose.

The forms of Guido's female heads are abstracts of the antique. The
forms of his male bodies are transcripts of models, such as are found in
a genial climate, though sometimes distorted by fatigue or emaciated by
want.

Pietro Testa copied the Torsos of antiquity, and supplied them with
extremities drawn from the dregs of Nature.

The forms[32] of Caravaggio are either substantial flesh or the
starveling produce of beggary rendered important by ideal light and
shade.

The limbs of Joseph Ribera are excrescences of disease on hectic bodies.

Andrea Mantegna was in Italy what Albert Durer was at Nuremberg; Nature
seems not to have existed in any shape of health in his time: though a
servile copyist of the antique, he never once adverted from the
monuments he copied to the originals that inspired them.

The forms of Albert Durer are blasphemies on Nature, the thwarted growth
of starveling labour and dry sterility--formed to inherit his hell of
paradise. To extend the asperity of this verdict beyond the forms of
Albert Durer, would be equally unjust and ungrateful to the father of
German art, on whom invention often flashed, whom melancholy marked for
her own, whose influence even on Italian art was such that he produced a
temporary revolution in the style of the Tuscan school. Andrea del Sarto
and Giacopo da Puntormo became his imitators and his copyists; nor was
his influence unfelt by Raffaelle himself, but his Christ led to the
Cross (engraved by E. Sadler),[33] compared with that of the Madonna del
Spasimo, leaves the claim of superiority doubtful for sublimity and
pathos. It is a likewise probable that we owe the horrors of the St.
Felicitas to the abominations of his Martyr scenes. The felicity of his
organs, the delicacy of his finger, the freedom and sweep of his touch,
have found an encomiast in the author of the life prefixed to the Latin
edition of his works. What would have been the result of his intended
interview, when in Italy, with Andrea Mantegna, had the death of the
latter (1505) not prevented it, is difficult to guess: if some
amelioration, certainly not the entire change of style, which the
uninterrupted study of the antique, during a long life, had failed to
produce in Andrea himself.

The forms of Luke of Leyden are the vegetation of a swamp.

The forms of Martin Hemskerck are dislocated lankness.[34]

The forms of Spranger and Goltzius are blasphemies on art; the monstrous
incubations of dropsied fancy on phlegm run mad. This verdict, though
uniformly true of every male figure of Goltzius that demanded energy of
exertion, cannot be equally applied to his females, the features of the
face excepted. On limbs and bodies resembling the antique in elegance if
not correctness, he placed heads with Dutch features, ideally, often
voluptuously dressed: such are his Venus between Ceres and Bacchus; and
still more his Diana and Calisto, a composition which in elegance and
dignity excels that of Tiziano. In the dreadful familiarity with which
the guardian snake of the Beotian well approaches the companions of
Cadmus, he has touched the true vein of terror and its limits, and
atoned in some degree for the loathsome horror that had polluted his
graver, when he condescended to copy the abominable process of that
scene from the design of Pistor.

The male forms of Rubens are the brawny pulp of slaughtermen, his
females are hillocks of roses: overwhelmed muscles, dislocated bones,
and distorted joints are swept along in a gulph of colours, as herbage,
trees and shrubs are whirled, tossed, or absorbed by vernal inundation.

The female forms of Rembrandt are prodigies of deformity; his males are
the crippled produce of shuffling industry and sedentary toil.

The line of Vandycke is balanced between Flemish corpulence and English
slenderness.

Sebastian Bourdon, sublime in his conceptions, filled classic ground and
eastern vests with local limbs and Gallic actors.

Poussin renounced his national character to follow the antique; but
could not separate the spirit from the stone.

152. The imitator seldom mounts to the investigation of the principles
that formed his model; the copier probably never.

153. Many beauties in art come by accident, that are preserved by
choice.

_Coroll._--Neither the froth formed on the mouth of Jalysus' hound by a
lucky dash from the sponge of Protogenes, nor the modern experiments of
extracting composition from an ink-splashed wall, are relatives of the
beauties alluded to in this aphorism.

154. The praise due to a work, reflects not always on its master; and
superiority may beam athwart the blemishes that we despise or pity;
some, says Milton, praised the work and some the master: would you
prefer him who is able to finish the image which he was unable to
conceive, to its inventor?

155. It is the privilege of Nature alone to be equal. Man is the slave
of a part; the most equal artist is only the first in the list of
mediocrity.

156. He who seeks the grand, will find it in a trifle: but some seem
made to find it only there. Rösel saw man like an insect, and insects as
Michael Angelo men.

157. Physiognomy teaches what is homogeneous and what is heterogeneous
in forms.

158. The solid parts of the body are the base of physiognomy, the
muscular that of pathognomy; the former contemplates the animal at rest,
this its action.

159. Pathognomy allots expression to character.

160. Those who allow physiognomy to regulate the great outlines of
character, and reject its minute discriminations, admit a language and
reject its elements.

161. The difficulty of physiognomy is to separate the essence from
accident, growth from excrescence.

162. He who aims at the sublime, consults the classes assigned to
character by physiognomy, not its anatomy of individuals; the oak in its
full majesty, and not the thwarted pollard.

163. None ever escaped from himself by crossing seas; none ever peopled
a barren fancy and a heart of ice with images or sympathies by
excursions into the deserts of mythology or allegory.

164. The principles of allegory and votive composition are the same;
they unite with equal right the most distant periods of time and the
most opposite modes of society: both surround a real being, or allude to
a real act, with symbols by long general consent adopted, as expressive
of the qualities, motives, and circumstances that distinguished or gave
evidence to the person or the transaction. Such is the gallery of the
Luxembourg, such the Attila of the Vatican.

165. Pure history rejects allegory.

_Coroll._--The armed figure of Rome, with Fortune behind her frowning at
Coriolanus, surrounded by the Roman matrons in the Volscian camp (by
Poussin), is a vision seen by that warrior, and not an allegory; it is a
sublime image, which, without diminishing the credibility of the fact,
adds to its importance, and raises the hero, by making him submit, not
to the impulse of private ties, but to the destiny of his country.

166. All ornament ought to be allegoric.

167. Dignity is the salt of art.

_Coroll._--In the Salutation of Michael Angelo,[35] the angelic
messenger emerges from solitary twilight, his countenance seems to
labour with the awful message, and his knees to bend as he approaches
the mysterious personage: with virgin majesty and humble grace Mary bows
to the extended arm of the lucid herald, as if waked from sacred
meditation, and appears entranced by celestial sounds.

The Madonnas of Raffaelle, whether hailed parents of a God, or pressing
the divine offspring to their breast, whether receiving him from his
slumbers, or contemplating his infant motions, are uniformly transcripts
from the daily domestic images of common life and of some favourite face
matronized: the eyes of his Fornarina beamed with other fires than those
of sanctity; the sense and native dignity of her lover could veil their
fierceness, but not change their language.

The Madonna of Titiano receives her celestial visitant under an open
portico of Palladian structure, and skirted by gay gardens; the usual
ray precedes the floating angel; gold-ringleted and in festive attire,
he waves a lily wand: in sable weeds the Virgin receives the gorgeous
homage, proudly devout, like a young abbess amidst her cloistered lambs.

Tintoretto has turned salutation into irruption. The angel bursts
through the shattered casement and terrifies a vulgar female; but his
wings are tipped in heaven.[36]

168. Dignity gives probability to the impossible: we listen to the
monstrous tale of Ulysses with all the devotion due to a creed. By
dignity, even deformity becomes an instrument of art: Vulcan limps like
a god at the hand of Homer: the hump and withered arm of Richard are
engines of terror or persuasion in Shakspeare; the crook-back of Michael
Angelo strikes with awe.

169. Luxuriance of ornament destroys simplicity and repose, the
attendants of dignity.

_Coroll._--"Simon Mosca, one of the most distinguished sculptors of
ornament and foliage in the sixteenth century, when proposed by Vasari
to embellish by his designs the monument of the Cardinal di Monte, was
discountenanced by Michael Angelo on this principle." Vasari, vita de
Simone Mosca.

170. Judge not an artist from the exertions of accidental vigour or some
unpremeditated flights of fancy, but from the uniform tenor, the
never-varying principle of his works: the line and style of Titian
sometimes expand themselves like those of Michael Angelo; the heads and
groups of Raphael sometimes glow and palpitate with Titiano's tints; and
there are masses of both united in Correggio: but if you aim at
character, let Raphael be your guide; if at colour, Tiziano; if harmony
allure, Correggio: they indulged in alternate excursions, but never lost
sight of their own domain.

_Coroll._--No one, of whatever period of art, of whatever eminence or
school, out-told Rembrandt in telling the story of a subject, in the
choice of its real crisis, in simplicity, in perspicuity: still, as the
vile crust that involves his ore, his local vulgarity of style, the
ludicrous barbarity of his costume, prepossess eyes less penetrating
than squeamish against him, it requires some confidence to place him
with the classics of invention. Yet with all these defects, with every
prejudice or superiority of taste and style against him, what school has
produced a work (M. Angelo's Creation of Adam, and the Death of Ananias
by Raffaelle excepted,) which looks not pale in the superhuman splendour
that irradiates his conception of Christ before Pilate, unless it be the
raising of Lazarus by Lievens, a name comparatively obscure, whose awful
sublimity reduces the same subject as treated by Rembrandt and
Sebastian of Venice, to artificial parade or common-place?

171. Tone is the moral part of colour.

172. If tone be the legitimate principle of colour, he who has not tone,
though he should excel in individual imitation, colours in fragments and
produces discord.

173. Harmony of colour consists in the due balance of all, equally
remote from monotony and spots.

174. The eye tinges all nature with its own hue. The eye of the Dutch
and Flemish schools, though shut to forms, tipped the cottage, the boor,
the ale-pot, the shambles, and even the haze of winter, with orient hues
and the glow of setting suns.

175. Clearness, freshness, force of colour, are produced by simplicity;
one pure, is more than a mixture of many.

176. Colour affects or delights like sound. Scarlet or deep crimson
rouses, determines, invigorates the eye, as the war-horn or the trumpet
the ear; the flute soothes the ear, as pale celestial blue or rosy red
the eye.

177. The colours of sublimity are negative or generic--such is the
colouring of Michael Angelo.

178. The passions that sway features and limbs equally reside,
fluctuate, flash and lower in colour.

179. The colours of pleasure and love are hues.

180. The colour of gravity, reverie, solemnity, approaches to twilight.

181. Colour in Raffaelle was the assistant of expression; to Titian it
was the vehicle of truth; Correggio made it the minister of harmony. It
was sometimes seized, and though reluctant held, but oftener neglected
by the first; it was embraced, it domineered over, it coalesced with
the second; it attended the third like an enchanted spirit.

182. Lodovico Carracci was the first who gave in oil the colours of
gravity, the dignified twilight of cloistered meditation.

183. Annibale Carracci, from want of feelings, though impressed by a
grave principle, changed the mild evening-ray of his master to the bleak
light of a sullen day.

184. Colour owes its effect sometimes more to position and gradation
than to its intrinsic value.[37]

185. The colour of Titian is the most independent of surrounding
objects; their union may assist, but their discrepance cannot destroy
it.

186. The harmony of Correggio is independent of colour.

187. Historic colour imitates, but copies not.

188. The portrait-painter copies the colour of his object, but chooses
the medium through which that object is seen.

189. The mixtures that anticipate the beauties of time are big with the
seeds of premature decay.

190. The colours of health are neither cadaverous nor flushed like
meteors.

191. There are works whose effect is entirely founded on the contrast of
tints, of what is termed warm and cold colour, and on reflected hues:
strip them of this charm, reduce them to the principles of light and
shade and masses, and as far as the want of those can degrade a
picture, they will be fit to take their places on sign-posts.

192. Him who has freshness without frigidity, who glows without being
adust, whose tints luxuriate though not fermented by putrefaction; who
is juicy yet not clammy, though broad not empty, sharp without dryness,
clear not pellucid, airy not volatile, without being clumsy plump--him
you may venture to call a colourist.

193. Breadth is not vacuity--Breadth might easily be obtained if
emptiness could give it.

194. The forms of virtue are erect, the forms of pleasure undulate:
Minerva's drapery descends in long uninterrupted lines; a thousand
amorous curves embrace the limbs of Flora.

195. Subordination is the character of drapery. The heraldry of dress,
the rows of aggregated mitres and pontifical trappings, are noticed only
for the sake of their wearers in the compositions of the Vatican.

_Coroll._--The superiority of style in drapery over that of the limbs
which it covers in the earliest essays of art after its restoration, is
not accounted for by the assertion that it is transcribed from the
antique: if it is, by what unaccountable perverseness did the forms of
the nudities uniformly escape observation? In painting, this dissonance
continues more or less offensively from the epoch of Cimabue to that of
Masaccio, and, him excepted, down to Pinturicchio; and ceases not to
shock us in sculpture from the Pisani, to the appearance of Lorenzo
Ghiberti. Nor did that style of drapery mark only the productions of
Italian art; on this side of the Alps it invested that of Germany, from
the Angels and Madonnas of Martin Schongaver and Albert Durer, to those
of Aldegraver and Sebald Behm: in nearly all their performances, Trans
and Cisalpine, the wearer is the appendix of his garment, chucked into
vestments not his own, a dwarfish thief hid in a giant's robe.

196. Raffael's drapery is the assistant of character; in Michael Angelo
it envelopes grandeur; it is in Rubens the ponderous robe of pomp.

197. If Nature has not taught you to sketch, you apply in vain to art to
finish your work.[38]

198. Some must be idle lest others should want work.[39]

199. He who submits to follow, is not made to precede.[40]

200. Consider it as the unalterable law of Nature that all your power
upon others depends on your own emotions. Shakspeare wept, trembled,
laughed first at what now sways the public feature; and where he did
not, he is stale, outrageous or disgusting.

201. None but indelible materials can support the epic. Whatever is
local, or the volatile creature of the time, beauties of fashion and
sentiments of sects, tears shed over roses, epigrammatic sparkling,
passions taught to rave, and graces trained to move, the antiquary's
mouldering stores, the bubbles of allegorists--are all with equal
contempt passed over or crushed by him who claims the lasting empire of
the human heart.

202. The invention of machines to supersede manual labour will at length
destroy population and commerce;[41] and the methods contrived to
shorten the apprenticeship of artists annihilate art.

203. Expect no religion in times when it is easier to meet with a saint
than a man; and no art in those that multiply their artists beyond their
labourers.

204. Expect nothing but trifles in times when those who ought to
encourage the arts are content to debase them by their own
performances.

205. Mediocrity despatches and exults; the man of talent congratulates
himself on the success of his exertions--Genius alone mourns over
defeated expectation.

206. Pride.--Call not him proud who is influenced by the tide and ebb of
opinion.

207. Modesty.--The touchstone of genuine modesty is the attention paid
to criticism, and the temper with which it is received, or its advice
adopted; the most arrogant pretence, the most fiery ambition, the most
towering conceit, may fence themselves with smoothness, silence and
submissive looks--Oil, the smoothest of substances, swims on all.

208. Praise.--Despise all praise but what he gives who has been praised
for similar efforts; or his whose interest it is to blame.

209. Emulation.--The vindication of the innate powers, of the individual
dignity of man, careless of appendages and accidental advantage, grasps
the substance of its object.

210. Envy, the bantling of desperate self-love, grasps the appendages,
heedless of things. Emulation embalms the dead; Envy the vampire, blasts
the living.

211. Flattery, the midwife of half-born conceits and struggling wishes,
sometimes persuades, a boy that he is a man, a dwarf that he is a giant,
but too often enervates the limbs of energy.

212. Vanity.--The vain is the most humble of mortals: the victim of a
pimple.

213. Those reduced to live on the alms of genius, are the first to deny
its existence.

214. Shakspeare is to Sophocles what the incessant flashes of a
tempestuous night are to daylight.

215. Things came to Raffaelle and Shakspeare; Michael Angelo and Milton
came to things.

216. The women of Michael Angelo are the sex.

_Coroll._--Eve emerging from the side of Adam; Eve reclining under the
tree of knowledge, in the Capella Sistina; the figures of Night and Dawn
on the tombs of the Medici, are pure generic forms, little discriminated
by character, and more expressive by action than emotion of features;
solidity without heaviness separates them from the females in the Last
Judgment, which, with the exception of the Madonna and St. Catharine,
are less beholden to grace than anatomy. The Cartoon of the Leda proves
that he was not inattentive to the detail of female charms, but beauty
did not often visit his slumbers, guide his hand, or interrupt the
gravity of his meditation.

217. The women of Raffaelle are either his own mistress, or mothers.

_Coroll._--This relates chiefly to his Madonnas--Of his saints the St.
Cecilia at Bologna has most of antique beauty, and, whether imitated or
conceived, resembles the Niobe; but pride is absorbed in devotion, she
is the enraptured victim of divine love, and glows with celestial fire:
the goddesses of the Farnesina, however gracefully imagined, are too
ponderous for aërial forms and amorous conceits.

218. The women of Correggio are seraglio beauties.

_Coroll._--The enchantment of the Magdalen, in the picture of the St.
Jerome in the Pilotta at Parma, is produced by chiaroscuro and attitude.
Sensuality personified is the general character of his females, and the
grace of his children, less naiveté than grimace, the caricature of
jollity.

219. The women of Titiano are the plump, fair, marrowy Venetian race.

_Coroll._--Venus taking a reluctant farewell of Adonis; Diana starting
at the intrusion of Acteon, with every allure of attitude, with heads
dressed by the Graces, are local beauties, sink under the weight of
Venetian limbs, and are only distinguished by contrast from the model
that plumped herself down for his Danae. The reposing figure commonly
called the Venus of the Tribuna, is an exquisite portrait of some
favourite female, but not a Venus.

220. The women of Parmegiano are coquettes.

221. The women of Annibale Carracci are made up by imitation and
vulgarity.

_Coroll._--Venus with Anchises, Juno with Jupiter, Omphale with
Hercules, Diana and Calisto in the Farnese gallery, owe their charms and
dignity of action to imitation; the celebrated three Maries, Magdalen
penitent in her hempen shroud, are the conceptions of his own mind.

222. The women of Guido are actresses.

223. The forms of Domenichino's female faces are ideal; their expression
is poised between pure helpless virginity and sainted ecstasy.

224. The veiled eyes of Guercino's females dart insidious fire.

225. Such is the fugitive essence, such the intangible texture of female
genius, that few combinations of circumstances ever seemed to favour its
transmission to posterity.

226. In an age of luxury women have taste, decide and dictate; for in an
age of luxury woman aspires to the functions of man, and man slides into
the offices of woman. The epoch of eunuchs was ever the epoch of
viragoes.

227. Female affection is ever in proportion to the impression of
superiority in the object. Woman fondles, pities, despises and forgets
what is below her; she values, bears and wrangles with her equal; she
adores what is above her.

228. Be not too squeamish in the choice of your materials; you will
disgrace the best, if you cannot give value to the worst: the gold and
azure wasted on Rosselli's[42] draperies cannot give value to their
folds or hide the wants beneath.

229. There are moments when all are men, and only men, and ought to be
no more; but the artist, who when his daily task is over can lock his
meditation up with his tools--ranks with mechanics.

230. Date the death of emulation and of excellence from the moment of
your employer's indifference; and mediocrity of success from the moment
of his meddling with the process of your work.

231. One of the most unexplored regions of art are dreams, and what may
be called the personification of sentiment: the Prophets, Sibyls and
Patriarchs of Michael Angelo are so many branches of one great
sentiment. The dream of Raffaello is a characteristic representation of
a dream; the dream of Michael Angelo is moral inspiration, a sublime
sentiment.

_Coroll._--Of three visionary subjects ascribed to Raffaello and known
from the prints of Marc Antonio, Georgio Mantuano, and Agostino
Veneziano, this alludes to the last, called by the Italians Stregozzo,
by the French "La Carcasse:" an association of ideas big with the very
elements of dreams, and almost a definition. That it be a conception of
Raffaello rests on no other proof than the tablet of Marc Antonio and
its own internal merit; which is so uniform that although one principal
figure is undoubtedly transcribed from another in the cartoon of Pisa,
the whole can never be considered as a pasticcio.

232. A trite subject becomes interesting by the introduction of
appropriate ornaments; a small statue of Moses breaking the tables in
the back-ground of a Salutation; and a number of Baptists in that of a
Madonna with her son and Joseph, expressing the dissolution of the old
and the institution of the new doctrine, both by Michael Angelo,[43]
give unexpected sublimity to subjects for which Raffaelle and Titiano
had ransacked in vain the nursery and heaven.

233. Compilation is the lowest degree in art, but let him who means to
borrow with impunity, follow the statesman's maxim: "strip the mean and
spare the great."

_Coroll._--A composition of which every thing was borrowed from himself,
being shown to Michael Angelo, and his opinion asked, "I commend it,"
said he, "but when on the day of judgement each body shall claim its
original limbs, what will remain in this picture?"

234. He ought to possess some himself, who attempts to make use of
borrowed excellence: a golden goblet on a beggar's table, serves only to
expose its companions of lead.

235. Resemblance, character, costume, are the three requisites of
portrait: the first distinguishes, the second classifies, the third
assigns place and time to an individual.

236. Landscape is either the transcript of a spot, or a picturesque
combination of homogeneous objects, or the scene of a phenomenon. The
first pleases by precision and taste; the second adds variety and
grandeur; the third may be an instrument of sublimity, affect our
passions, or wake a sentiment.

237. Selection is the invention of the landscape painter.

238. He never can be great who honours what is little.

_Coroll._--Grandeur of style and execution do not exclusively depend
upon dimensions: but in an age and amidst a race who have erected
littleness or rather diminutiveness of size to the only credentials of
admissibility into collections, to the passports without which Raffaelle
himself finds it difficult to penetrate the sanctuaries of pigmy art,
that which ennobled the age of Pericles, of Julio, and Leone, must be
content to look to posterity for its reward. If it were physiognomically
true, that the structure of every human face bears some analogy to that
of some brute, it might reasonably surprise, that an individual marked
by nature with no very remote resemblance to a Hippopotamus, should be
considered as the legislator of a taste equally noted for tameness of
conception and effeminate finish; but as it is improbable that one
individual, however favoured by circumstances or endowed with
all-persevering activity, or arrogance, could stamp the taste of a
nation exclusively with his own, it may be fairly surmised that he did
no more than find and rear the seeds of that Micromania which infects
the public taste.

239. The medium of poetry is time and action; that of the plastic arts,
space and figure. Poetry then is at its summit, when its hand arrests
time and embodies action: and these, when they wing the marble or the
canvass, and from the present moment dart rays back to the past and
forward to the future.

_Coroll._--Subjects are positive, negative, repulsive. The first are the
proper materials, the voluntary servants of invention; to the second she
gives interest and value; from the last she can escape only by the help
of execution, for execution alone can palliate her defeat by the last.
The Laocoon, the Hæmon and Antigone, the Niobe and her daughters, the
death of Ananias, the Sacrifice at Lystra, Elymas struck blind, are
positive subjects, speak their meaning with equal evidences to the
scholar and the unlettered man, and excite the sympathy due to the calls
of terror and pity with equal energy in every breast. St. Jerome
presenting the translation of his Bible to the Infant Jesus, St. Peter
at the feet of the Madonna receiving the thanksgivings of victorious
Venice, with every other votive altar-piece, little interesting to
humanity in general, owe the impression they make on us to the dexterous
arrangement, the amorous or sublime enthusiasm of the artist;--but we
lament to see invention waste its powers, and execution its skill, to
excite our feelings for an action or event that receives its real
interest from a motive which cannot be rendered intuitive; such as
Alceste expiring, the legacy of Eudamidas, the cause of Demetrius's
disorder.


FOOTNOTES:

[2] Tacit. Annal. lib. VI. "Nullam ob eximiam artem, sed quod par
negotiis, neque supra erat."

[3] D. Longin. περι ὑψους, § 34.

[4] "Les hommes qui ont changé l'univers, n'y sont jamais parvenus en
gagnant des chefs; mais toujours en remuant des masses. Le premier moyen
est du ressort de l'intrigue, et n'amène que des résultats secondaires; le
second est la marche du Génie, et change la face du monde."--_Napoleon._

[5] Tacit. Annal. lib. xiv. et xvi.

[6] Difficile est proprie communia dicere. Hor. A.P.

[7] Τον δ' αρ' ὑπο ζυγοφιν προσεφη ποδας αἰολος ἱππος. Iliad xix. 404.
----Rhœbe diu, etc.--_Virg._ x.

[8] Plin. lib. xxxv.

[9] This picture, during a period of nearly half a century, graced the
collection of Charles Lambert, Esq. of Paper-buildings, Temple; where it
remained without having been washed or varnished. At his death it was
purchased by my friend Mr. Knowles, has been cleaned by a skilful hand,
and restored to nearly its pristine state.

[10] Sea Voyage, Act 3rd. sc. 1st.

[11] Dante Inferno, Cant. xxiv.

[12] ΗΘΗ. Mores. Plin. l. xxxv.

[13] The Necromantia of Nicias--the sacking of a town, by Aristides.
Plin. l. xxxv.

[14] A group of Stephanus in the Villa Ludovisi, known by the name of
Papyrius and his mother, called a Phædra and Hippolytus, or an Electra
with Orestes, by J. Winkelmann, bears more resemblance to an Æthra with
Theseus, or a Penelope with Telemachus.

[15] Gallum inficetissime linguam exserentem.--Plin. l. xxxv.

[16] Plin. l. xxx. W. c. xiv.

[17] Commonly named the Dying Gladiator; by J. Winkelmann called a
Herald; with more probability the "Vulneratus deficiens, in quo possit
intelligi quantum restet animæ." A work of Ctesilas in bronze, was
probably the model of this. Plin. l. xxxiv.

[18] Sueton. l. vi.

[19] In one of the cartoons of Raffaello, now lost, but still in some
degree existing in tapestry and in print.

[20] Engraved by G. Audran.

[21] In the cartoon of Peter and John.

[22] Iliad, L. xviii. l. 93; L. xvi. l. 74 and 75; L. ix. l. 346.

[23] Commonly called the Castor and Pollux of Monte Cavallo,--the name
given from their horses to the Quirinal.

[24] Plin. N.H. l. xxxv. c. ix. Tantus diligentia, ut Agrigentinis
facturus tabulam, quam in templo Junonis Lucinæ publice dicarent,
inspexerit virgines eorum nudas, et quinque elegerit, ut quod in quaque
laudatissimum esset, pictura redderet.

[25] Mengs Lettera à don A. Ponz. Opere di A.R. Mengs, t. ii. p. 83.

[26] Such was probably that austerity of tone in the works of Athenion,
which the ancients preferred to the sweetness or gayer tints of
Nicias--"austerior colore et in austeritate jucundior."--Plin. l. xxxv.
c. xi.

[27] See the sonnet of Agostino Carracci, which begins "Chi farsi un bon
Pittor cerca e desia," &c. which the author himself seems to ridicule by
the manner in which he concludes.

[28] Οὐκ ἀγαθον πολυκοιρανιη εἱς κοιρανος ἐστω. Il. ii. 204. The
conception of every great work must originate in one, though it may be
above the power or strength of one to execute the whole.

[29] Pliny, l. xxxiv. c. 8.

[30] In the Letter to C.B. Castiglione. Ideal is properly the
representation of pure human essence.

[31] Raffaelle and the best of his pupils; their successors, commonly
known by the name of the Roman school, followed principles diametrically
opposite.

[32] "Macinava carne," said Annibale Carracci.

[33] Ægidius Sadeler sculpsit ex Prototypo Alberti Dureri.

[34] "Elumbis," as applied by the author of the Dialogue on Orators to
the style of Brutus, will nearly suit all imitators of Michael Angelo.

[35] In the Sacristy of St. Giovanni in Laterano, painted from the
cartoon by Marcello Venusti.

[36] This and the foregoing picture are in the Scuola di S. Rocco at
Venice. The skeleton of the former is known by an etching of _Le Fevre_.

[37] "Whoever looks at a picture by Correggio of a glorified Madonna
with a St. Sebastian and other figures, at Dresden, is instantly
surprised by the light of the glory, which has all the splendour of a
sun, though painted with a low-toned yellow, and dim at the
extremities."

Opere di R. Mengs, t. ii. p. 161.

[38] John, called da Bologna, showed a model to Michael Angelo smoothly
polished; Michael Angelo took, and, heedless of its finish, twisted it
about; then giving it back to the student, "Learn," said he, "to sketch
before you attempt to finish."

[39] Such was the proud answer of Frà Sebastian del Piombo, grown fat by
the signet of St. Peter, when asked why he had entirely resigned all
exercise of his art.

[40] Said Michael Angelo, when asked whether the copy of the Laocoon by
Baccio Bandinelli was not equal or superior to the original. Titiano,
with more mordacity though surely with less discrimination, ridiculed
the copyist by a caricature in which the Trojan with his sons were
changed to baboons.

[41] "Sineret se plebeculam pascere," said Vespasian to the artist who
had contrived a machine to convey some large columns with a trifling
expense to the Capitol, and rewarded him without accepting his offer.

[42] Cosmo Rosselli, one of the Tuscan painters who preceded Michael
Angelo in decorating the Chapel of Sixtus IV.

[43] This is the Madonna painted for Angelo Doni, now in the Tribuna of
Florence, and probably the only existing oil-picture of Michael Angelo,
though Lanzi rejects its title to that. Vasari mentions it with his
usual extravagance of praise, but appears ignorant of the real meaning
of the figures.



A HISTORY OF ART IN THE SCHOOLS OF ITALY.



THE TUSCAN SCHOOL.


The analogy of style observable in the figures impressed on Tuscan coins
of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth century, and those found in the
miniatures that decorate the manuscripts of the contemporary periods,
proves that Tuscany had its artists long before the epoch which Vasari
and his copyists fix for the importation of Greek art with Greek
artists: whether those paintings be all pure Tuscan, or here and there
interspersed with Greek ones, none will venture to decide, who knows the
impossibility of drawing a limitary line sufficiently severe to
distinguish the last spasms of an expiring art from the first
stammerings of an infant one. Of the still surviving monuments of
painting during those epochs, it may be sufficient to mention the famed
Christ, painted on canvass and glued to a wooden cross, of a date
anterior to 1003.

In subsequent times, the earliest and least unsuccessful essays in art,
were made by the Pisano. Whilst a Greek sarcophagus at Pisa, storied
with the incidents of Hippolytus and Phædra, furnished some elements of
form to the sculptors Niccolo and Giovanni Pisano, painting made some
progress with Giunta Pisano: his composition of Christ on the Cross at
the Angeli of Assisi, though defective in design, possesses life and
expression.[44]

A similar progress was made by his contemporary Guido or Guidone of
Sienna; a name not mentioned by Vasari, though in his frequent
excursions to Sienna, he could not remain unacquainted with the works of
Guido, at least one which still exists in the chapel of the Malevolti
in S. Dominico, with the following often repeated inscription and
date:--

    Me Guido de senis diebus depinxit amenis
    Quem Christus lenis nullis velit agere penis.
          A.D. M.CCXXI.

This Madonna, twenty years anterior to the birth of Cimabue, is superior
to his Madonna in expression, and nearly equal in taste and colour,
though inferior in style.

Duccio di Boninsegna, probably of his school, was celebrated as the
restorer of that inlaid kind of Mosaic, called "Lavoro di Commesso." His
works are from 1275, the year in which he received a commission for
Sta. Maria Novella at Florence, to 1311, the period at which he was
employed in the Domo of Sienna. If these dates be genuine, he can
scarcely have lived till 1357, the year at which Fiorillo fixes his
death. It is not probable that he should have stretched his span beyond
a century, which must have been the case, if we suppose that he was
twenty at the time he painted in S. Maria Novella; it is not probable
that he should have chosen, or been suffered, to remain idle with the
celebrity he had acquired in the labours of the Domo; and it is still
less probable, that, if he was employed, what he produced in the
interval, between that period and his death, should have perished or
been destroyed, whilst we are still in possession of the paintings in
the Domo, which made nearly an epoch in art, at which he laboured three
years, for which he was paid upwards of 3000 scudi d'oro, the expense of
gilding and ultramarine included. That part of it which faced the
audience, represented in large figures the Madonna and various saints;
that which fronted the choir, divided into many compartments, exhibited
numerous compositions of Gospel subjects in figures of small proportion;
it cannot be denied, that with all its copiousness, the whole savours
strongly of the Greek manner.

Andrea Taffi, born 1213, the scholar of Apollonius, a Greek painter, and
his assistant in some mosaics at S. Giovanni of Florence, is not
mentioned out of that line by Vasari and Baldinucci: but the discovery
of a picture with his name by Ignazio Stugford adds another legitimate
name to the predecessors of Cimabue.

Buonamico di Cristofano, or Buffalmacco, of facetious memory, was the
pupil of Taffi. His best works are lost, but from the remains it may be
suspected that he owes at least as much to the tales of Boccaccio and
Sacchetti, for the preservation of his name, as to his own powers. There
still exists in Campo Santo at Pisa, a fresco of the Creation with a God
Father five ells high, supporting Heaven and the elements; and three
other stories of Adam, Noah and his Sons; a Crucifix, a Resurrection,
and an Ascension. We must not look here for much symmetry of design or
Giottesque elegance; his heads have little variety, and less beauty;
sameness of features, a vulgar cast, and a gaping deformity of mouth,
characterize his women; but now and then attention rests on the vivacity
or physiognomy of some male countenance, especially that of Cain.
Sometimes he snatches some movement from nature, such as that of the
terrified man who flies from Calvary: he overflows in particoloured
drapery, and delights in laboured ornaments of flowers and lace. A St.
John the Baptist of his, yet existing, deserves to be mentioned as an
instance of the utility of comparing works in painting and sculpture
with contemporary coins, in order to ascertain their dates; for the
same figure is exactly repeated on the Florentine scudo d'oro of that
age. A jocular host of artists, scholars of this school, we pass over,
as more important to the reader of the Decamerone and the Novelle, than
to the student of art.

Lucca, about 1235, possessed Bonaventura Berlingieri, whose St. Francis
still exists in the castle of Guiglia, near Modena, and is described as
a work of considerable merit for its time: Margaritone of Arezzo, a
pupil and follower of the Greeks, appears to have been several years
anterior to Cimabue. He painted on canvass, and was the first, according
to Vasari, who found the method of giving a more solid texture to
pictures. Some crucifix of his is still seen at Arezzo, and another at
Santa Croce in Florence, facing one of Cimabue. The style of both is
antiquated, but not so different in merit to make us refuse a painter's
name to Margaritone if we grant it to Cimabue.

Giovanni Cimabue,[45] of noble lineage, was an architect and painter. He
is considered as the father of Italian art, because with him legitimate
history and a less interrupted series of dates, begin; because he
succeeded better than his predecessors in disentangling himself from the
shackles of Greek barbarity, and chiefly because he discovered and
called forth the genius of Giotto. Vasari may be right in making him the
scholar of those Greeks whom the Florentine Government had employed to
paint the Church of Santa Maria Novella; but he errs in placing them in
the Chapel Gondi, which, with the body of the church, was not erected
till the subsequent century; he should have assigned them another chapel
under the church, where time has discovered some vestiges of ancient
painting. It seems, however, more probable, that Giunta Pisano gave
Cimabue instruction, if it be ascertained, as Fiorillo asserts, that he
worked in the great church of Assisi, 1253, when he was in his
thirteenth year, and Giunta superintended the decorations of that
fabric.

The pompous visit which Charles of Anjou paid to Cimabue in passing
through Florence, sufficiently proves the celebrity he enjoyed, if it
has not been sanctioned by the authority of Dante, who calls him the
unrivalled champion of his day. Cimabue was then painting the Madonna
with the Infant adored by six angels; the picture when finished was
carried in procession from Borgo Allegro to Santa Maria Novella, and
placed in the Chapel Rucellai, where it still exists. The heraldic
arrangement of the figures, their physiognomic monotony, the exility of
the detail and barbarous execution, contrast strangely with the
elevation and novelty of the artist's conception. Cimabue lost the
female and the mother in the Queen of Heaven. Insensible to the
blandishments of beauty, fierce like the age in which he lived, he
excelled in male, especially aged characters; these he impressed with
something of a stern grandeur, not often surpassed since. Vast and
comprehensive in his ideas, he seized on subjects of numerous
composition, and expressed them in large proportions; those features of
prophetic grandeur which surprise in his frescoes at the Dominicans and
Santa Trinità of Florence, are still excelled by the features which he
displayed in the upper church of Assisi--meteors of the age in which he
lived. They still exist, nor is it easily conceived how works of so
different style, against the testimony of Vasari, and the uniform
tradition of five centuries, could, as they were of late, be ascribed
to the more regulated hand and gentler spirit of Giotto.

Giotto's year of birth has been disputed; Vasari fixes it to 1276,
Baldinucci to 1265. He was the son of a cottager at Vespignano, and bred
to be a shepherd; but, a painter born, he amused himself from infancy
with attempts to draw whatever object struck his fancy. A sheep which he
had copied on a flat stone caught the eye of Cimabue, who was in the
neighbourhood, happened to pass by, demanded him of his father, and
carried him to Florence to instruct him; but he soon rivalled, and in a
short time eclipsed his master by a grace and an amenity of execution
which remained unequalled to the time of Masaccio.

For the rapidity of this progress, unless we were to ascribe it to
inspiration, we must account from the happy coincidence of external
advantages with the genius of the man. A period so obscure, admits of
little more than conjecture, but there is no improbability in supposing
that Giotto outstripped his master and the times by the same means which
rendered Michael Agnolo so soon superior to Ghirlandaio,--modelling
and the study of the antique. We know that he was a sculptor, and that
his models still existed in the time of Lorenzo Ghiberti. Good originals
he could find among the fragments of antiquity discovered before his
time, and scattered over Florence and Rome: from what other source could
he derive the character of his male heads, and that squareness of form
so different from the exility and indecision of all contemporary styles?
The few majestic natural folds of his draperies, and the composure and
unaffected air of his figures, breathe the spirit of the antique. His
very defects are the consequences of such a study. His manner has been
charged with a kind of _statuine_ precision (del statuino), unknown to
other schools, and unknown to artists who do not form themselves on the
antique.

If to these conjectures it be objected, that the want of uniformity,
dryness of design, extremities either faulty or hid under a preposterous
length of drapery, rather betray a nurseling of Pisa than a pupil of the
ancients; it ought to be considered that uniformity is the result of
settled principles; that he who had to remove the rubbish could not be
expected to give the polish; that he who had to teach eyes to look,
hands to move, and feet to stand, could not be supposed to make them do
it with all the correctness, propriety or elegance, they were capable
of; that a certain gymnophobia equally attends the infancy and the
decrepitude of taste, and that the approbation of a public and an
artist's flattery are always reciprocal.

And no artist commanded more of public favour than Giotto. Legislator of
taste, not in Tuscany alone, but at Rome, Naples, Bologna, and the
Venetian State, he excelled his master as much in celebrity as he had
excelled him in grace and method. How soon he did this may be seen on
comparing his earliest works at Assisi with those of his master in the
same place. Genuine elements of composition, expressions inspired by
Nature, accuracy of design, progressively appear. It is no hyperbole to
affirm, that in certain characters no artist ever went nearer the source
of expression than Giotto, and that in the maiden airs of untainted
virginity none ever excelled, and perhaps, Raphael and Domenichino
excepted, few ever approached him.

Though not the inventor, Giotto was the restorer of portrait-painting;
resemblance, with character of face and attitude, date from him. He gave
us Dante, Brunetto Latini, Corso Donato, &c. Mosaic was improved by him,
and his powers in it shown by the celebrated Navicella, or boat of Saint
Peter, in the portico of the Basilica at Rome; though restoration has
transformed it to a work of shreds and patches, and reduced his claim on
it to the mere name. Missal painting likewise owes him some gratitude;
and in architecture the grand steeple of the Domo at Florence is the
work of Giotto.

Implicit imitation checks progress; the numerous school of Giotto were
for the greater part content to walk behind their master. Taddeo Gaddi,
the most familiar and most favoured of his pupils, is said by Vasari,
whom time still suffered to judge with some competence, to have excelled
him in colouring and mellowness. The works of Taddeo in Sta. Croce
are inferior in originality and execution to his compositions in the
Capitolo degli Spagnuoli, where, in the ceiling, he represented some
Gospel subjects, and in the Cenacolo the Descent of the Holy Spirit, one
of the beautiful relics of the fourteenth century. On the sides he
painted the Sciences, with their most eminent professors under each, no
unfair specimen of poetic conception; here is what remains of vivacity
and brightness in his tints. Taddeo outlived the period assigned him by
Vasari; we find him mentioned as late as 1352, which still might not be
the ultimate date of his life.

Another conspicuous name among his pupils is Stefano of Florence,
(Fiorentino,) whom Vasari, without hesitation, in every part of the art
prefers to his master. He was the son of one Catharina, a daughter of
Giotto; an ardent and inquisitive spirit, quick to discover and eager to
overcome difficulties; the first who ventured on foreshortening, and if
success did not fully second his efforts in that, it favoured him in
perspective, which he much improved, and in the attitudes, variety and
vivacity of heads. Landino fancied to compliment his memory by repeating
the silly epithet of "Scimia della Natura," "Ape of Nature," which, from
the resemblance of his portraits, was given him by the vulgar and the
dilettanti of his day. His works in Ara Cœli at Rome, at S. Spirito of
Florence, and elsewhere, perished, and nothing can safely be stamped
with his name, if it be not a Madonna in Campo Santo at Pisa, grander in
style than those of his master, but retouched.

Of Tommaso, his son and reputed scholar, a Pietà, which might be taken
for a work of Giotto, exists at S. Remigi of Florence; and still some
frescoes at Assisi. They entitle him to the surname of "Giottino," given
him by his fellow-citizens, who used to say that the spirit of Giotto
had passed into him and animated his hand.

Without embarrassing ourselves with conjectures on Ugolino da Sienna, we
pass to the more celebrated name of Simone Memmi, or Simon di Martino, a
native of the same place, the painter of Laura, and the friend of
Petrarca, who in two affected sonnets has transmitted him to posterity.
Whether Simone were the pupil of Maestro Mino as the Siennese, or of
Giotto as the Florentine writers pretend, is a point beyond decision: he
restored a picture of the first, and his style has some analogy to that
of the second, though with more suavity of colour, and more poetry of
conception. He was the first who dared to fill a spacious façade with
one composition without dividing it into compartments. Such is that in
the Capitolo degli Spagnuoli of Santa Maria Novella at Florence, where
Vasari discovered every beauty of his own time, and where, in the crowd
of introduced portraits, many have fancied, in spite of chronology, to
discover the portraits of Laura and her friend; whom probably he did not
become personally acquainted with till four years after the completion
of that work, 1336, when he was sent to the Pope at Avignon, became
familiar with Petrarca, painted Laura, and, strange to tell, reached the
expectation of the lover, who saw

    "Il lampegiar dell' angelico riso."

Miniature, though the last object of this work, was not the least of
Memmi's powers. Lanzi has noticed one which fronts a MS. Virgil with the
commentary of Servius, now in the Ambrosiana at Milan, but formerly
possessed by Petrarca, who probably dictated the subject, and added the
following lines:-

    Mantua Virgilium qui talia carmina finxit,
    Sena tulit Simonem digito qui talia pinxit.

The painting represents Virgil in a sitting attitude ready to write,
with his face turned upwards as invoking the Muse. Æneas, in martial
vest and attitude, stands before him, and pointing to his sword, alludes
to the subject of the Æneis, "Arma Virumque." A shepherd and a
husbandman, symbols of the Pastorals and Georgics, placed somewhat
lower, listen to the theme; whilst Servius draws a transparent curtain,
to denote his labours in unveiling the beauties and removing the
obscurities of the poet. In this miniature, the originality of
conception, the beauty and harmony of colour, the varied and appropriate
drapery, are, however, balanced by rudeness of design, vulgarity of
character, and deformed extremities.

It was a barbarous singularity of Simone, promiscuously to admit
different proportions on the same plane: to flank or cross figures of
natural size with figures a third less than nature.

Lippo, or Filippo Memmi, was the relative, scholar, and imitator, of
Simone: assisted by his designs, Lippo often executed works, which, had
he not marked them with his name, would be ascribed to the master: when
left to his own invention, he rose in nothing above mediocrity, but in
colour. Sometimes they were partners in the same picture, as in that at
S. Ansano di Castel Vecchio, at Sienna; sometimes the second finished
what the first began, as in some works at Ancona and Assisi; and at
Sienna there remains still something entirely executed by Lippo.

Simone co-operated in the works of S. Maria Novella with Taddeo Gaddi,
who, with his son, Angelo Gaddi, left a number of pupils, imitators
through him of Giotto, inferior to both, not much distinguished by
tradition, and less favoured by time. Of Jacopo di Casentino, the most
conspicuous, what vestiges remain in the church of Orsanmichele at
Florence, are in conformity with the style of Taddeo; barriers soon
overleaped by the vivid fancy of his scholar, Spinello the Aretine, whom
his own conception of a demon is said to have terrified into insanity
and death. His son, Parri Spinelli, with barbarous incongruities of
line, possessed exquisite colour; and his pupil, Lorenzo di Bicci, has
been compared to Vasari, for the number, dispatch, and opinion of his
works. Antonio, surnamed Veneziano, whether he were a Venetian or a
Florentine, is, against evidence of dates and style, supposed to have
been a pupil of Angelo Gaddi, and to have educated Paolo Uccello, the
first master of perspective, and Gherardo Starnina, an artist of gay
style, whose relics live still a chapel of Sta. Croce. They are
numbered among the last productions of Giotto's expiring epoch, and the
verge of the fourteenth century, in which we have still to mark, though
pupils of some other school, the family of Orcagna; Bernardo, a painter;
Jacopo, a sculptor; but chiefly Andrea, conspicuous for writing,
painting, sculpture, and architecture, in a degree little inferior to
Giotto himself. Architects date from him the abolition of the acute
angle and restoration of semicircular arches, as in the Loggia of the
Lanzi, which he likewise decorated with sculpture. Some, without
attention to time, have supposed him the pupil of Angelo Gaddi, but he
was probably trained to the art by his brother Bernardo, jointly with
whom he painted in the Capella Strozzi of Sta. Maria Novella, in the
Campo Santo at Pisa, and alone and better in Sta. Croce, Death,
Judgement, Paradise, and Hell, placing with Dantesque licence his
friends among the elect, his enemies with the damned.

The downfall of Pisa had raised Florence to the metropolis of Tuscany,
and the spirit of its citizens to render its appearance worthy of that
pre-eminence. Cosmo, styled the father of his country, who tuned the
public affairs, might with better right have been called the father of
distinguished talents: never was tyranny meditated on a less suspicious
plan, or approached by more popular means. The house of the Medici, in
the quaint Italian phrase, became the Lyceum of Philosophers, the
Arcadia of Poets, the Academy of Artists. Dello, Paolo, Masaccio, the
two Peselli, both the Lippi, Benozzo, Sandro, the Ghirlandai, were the
clients of the family, and emulated each other in their homage. Their
pictures, according to the usage of the age, full of portraits,
perpetually presented to the people likenesses of the Medici, and often
in the characters of the Magi royally robed, the sceptre firmly held in
the gripe of the Medici, to prepare the public eye gradually for what it
was soon to witness, the firm establishment of sovereignty in that
House. The competition of rival citizens, and still more the
wide-extended influence of religion, diffused Taste and beckoned Talent
to Florence as to its centre, from every part of Italy. At her call
Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Filarete, the Rossellini, Verrocchio
arose, and with their works spread the Elements of Art.

Poetry, that supplies the real features and materials of expression when
it inspires the thought, arrives at the full display of its powers long
before its sisters have disentangled themselves from the impediments of
infancy; and of these, Sculpture, whose aim is infinitely less complex,
raises the vigorous fabric of forms, whilst Painting is still impotently
struggling with the rudiments of line, perspective, keeping,
chiaroscuro, colour; which to unite in an equal degree has hitherto been
found above the lot of humanity. The imitators of Giotto were in this
state of struggle; they saw little in chiaroscuro, and less in
perspective and line; their figures still slip from their planes, their
fabrics have no true point of sight, their fore-shortenings depended
solely on the eye: Stefano dal Ponte rather saw than overcame; the rest
either avoided or palliated these difficulties. The Umbrian Pietro della
Francesca seems to have been the first who called geometry to the
assistance of painting, and taught by his works at Arezzo the
principles of perspective; Brunelleschi formed it into system for
architecture, and the mathematician Manetti roused the attention of
Paolo Uccello, who owes the perpetuity of his name nearly exclusively to
the study of that science. His immoderate attachment to perspective is
become proverbial;[46] and almost equalled his fondness for birds, from
which he got his surname. He applied it, from grounds and buildings, to
the human body, which he foreshortened with a skill unknown to his
predecessors: and some proofs of it still exist in the figures of God
and Noè among the chiaroscuroes in the chiostro of Sta. Maria
Novella, and in the equestrian colossus of Gio. Aguto (John Montacute),
which he painted in chiaroscuro of terra verde, and which is still in
the duomo. The art, since its revival, perhaps for the first time showed
that, if it had dared much, it had dared well: nor did he fall short of
it in the gigantic imagery of the House Vitali at Bologna; he was,
however, more employed in painting private furniture: the triumphs of
Petrarch on some small presses in the gallery of Florence are supposed
to come from his hand. That he was a master of expression, the instances
adduced by Vasari leave no doubt; and in describing the flying drapery
of some friar in the series of pictures relative to S. Benedetto, the
same writer tells us, that it served as a model to all succeeding
artists: to such powers, praise of variety is added by the truth and
diligence with which he copied trees, plants, birds and animals, and for
which some critic styles him the Bassano of the first epoch. In the
nearly general wreck of Paolo's works, it is difficult to form a
judgment of his technic character independent of tradition: but,
comparing what remains with what we are told, it is evident that he
reached from one extreme of the Art to the other; and that, if he was
blameable for frequently playing with a tool instead of using it,
mistaking an instrument of the Art for Art itself, and means for the end
of execution, he has been deprived by partiality of the praise due to
powers which he appears to have possessed in a degree unknown to the
times that preceded Masaccio.

Masolino da Panicale cultivated chiaroscuro: he was enabled to treat it
with more truth than his predecessors, by a long practice of modelling
under the tuition of Lorenzo Ghiberti, the master of design and grouping
in those days, but whose animation he did not attain. Starnina
instructed him in colour; and thus by uniting the characteristics of two
schools, he produced that new style, which, though still infected by
dryness and clogged by inelegance, possesses grandeur, union and
breadth: the proofs still remain in the chapel of S. Pietro al Carmine,
where, besides the Evangelists, he painted several subjects from the
story of that Apostle. The remaining ones, which he did not live to
finish, were some years afterward added by his scholar Tomaso Gisioli,
celebrated by the name of Masaccio from his careless way of living.

Historians, biographers, and poets, unite in dating a new period from
Masaccio. The compass of his mind led him to uniformity of pursuit, and
the introduction of style; he had formed his principles on the works of
Ghiberti and Donatello; perspective he had learnt of Brunelleschi, and
in an excursion to Rome, it is unreasonable to suppose that he did not
improve himself on the antique. Gentile da Fabriano and Vittore
Pisanello were then at Rome, and the high opinion which they are said to
have expressed of him[47] as the first painter of the age has been
recorded: it is, however, difficult to say on what that opinion could be
founded: they were too far advanced in life to see more of Masaccio than
his juvenile essays, perhaps such as the S. Anna in S. Ambrogio at
Florence, or what he painted in the chapel of St. Catherine, in the
church of St. Clemens of Rome, the figures of the ceiling excepted, all
retouched, and though fine works for the time, of doubtful authority,
and in no manner to be compared to the pictures del Carmine. Here appear
the virility of his powers and the legitimacy of his superior claim:
here the figures, however varied by attitude, pose or are foreshortened
with that truth and uniformity of success which the less established
principles of Paolo Uccello did not always reach. In expression,
sublimity distinguishes Donatello; he always aims at, and sometimes
succeeds in personifying a sentiment or a passion.[48] Masaccio, more
dramatic, poises expression by character and propriety; hence he has
been said, and truly said, to resemble Raffaello.

To be praised immoderately for what, with regard to judgment, deserved
it least, has, as of others, been likewise the lot of Masaccio: the
introduction and masterly execution of the man who, in the baptism of
St. Peter, appears to shiver with cold, is extolled by Vasari, and
makes, by the verdict of Lanzi, an epoch in art. Had the apostle
immersed the race of a Northern clime, a man frost-bitten, (_assiderando
di freddo_,) or impatient of cold, might have been admitted without
impropriety, but under an Asiatic sun he is worse than superfluous. This
either Masaccio did not consider, or if he did, fondly sacrificed
propriety to the expression of an incident, which, had it even been
admissible, had in itself less dignity, and incomparably less pathos,
than that of the sick monk on whose eyes and lips the hope of recovery
seemed to tremble, introduced among the series of pictures from the life
of St. Benedict, by Paolo Uccello.[49]

A higher and more legitimate praise of Masaccio's expression is, that
Raffaello not only imitated its general character, but in the same or
similar subjects sometimes individually adopted it, as in the gesture of
Paul in the Cartoon of the Areopagus, and that of Adam dismissed from
Paradise, in the Loggia; and that, if he improved the taste and added
elegance to the Tuscan's drapery, he closely adhered to its principles,
simplicity, propriety, and breath.

Of Masaccio's colour, what remains possesses truth, variety, delicacy,
union, and great relief. He lived not to finish the whole of the Chapel,
some stories still remaining to be added in 1443, the reputed year of
his death,[50] which was not without suspicion of having been hastened
by poison. His other frescoes at Florence have been destroyed by time,
and perhaps no gallery can produce an authentic picture by his hand, if
we except the portrait of a youth in the Pitti palace, a work that
breathes life.

Ghiberti and Donatello had taught Masaccio to find style by selection
from nature; his followers for half a century, content to look at him
without adhering to his method, gradually shrunk back to the exility and
meagreness of the preceding age: without embarrassing ourselves with the
angelic prettinesses of Frà Giovanni da Fiesole, a name dearer to
sanctity than to art, and whom both his age and missal-taste prove the
nursling of another school, we pass to Benozzo Gozzoli, his pupil, who
strove to forget his puny lessons in the bolder dictates of Masaccio.

That he could not soon do it, is evident from the profusion of
ornamental glitter and tinsel colouring in the frescoes of the Chapel
Riccardi. He succeeded better at Pisa, where his Scripture stories cover
an entire wing of Campo Santo. This enormous enterprise, which, in the
phrase of Vasari might smite with fear a legion of painters,[51] he is
said to have completely achieved in two years. Everywhere inferior to
his model in composition, design, and expression, he often goes beyond
him in vastness and amenity of scenery, a certain play of ideas and
picturesque exuberance. After all, perhaps more than one hand shared in
the execution. Benozzo lived long, and lies buried near his work, where
public gratitude had placed his sepulchre, and inscribed it with an
eulogy.[52]

Filippo Lippi, a Carmelitan friar, studied and imitated the works of
Masaccio, especially in compositions of small proportion, with great
success. Suavity of conception and colour animates his angels and
Madonnas: in the large historic frescoes at Pieve di Prato, he
introduced proportions exceeding the natural size, praised as his
masterpieces by Vasari, who has related Lippi's escape from the convent;
his captivity among the Moors; the pictures which he painted at Naples,
Padoua, and elsewhere; his premature death by poison from the relatives
of the female by whom he had a natural son, Filippino Lippi. Frà Filippo
died at Spoleti, 1469, on the point of finishing his great work in the
dome, where Lorenzo de' Medici, who had demanded but not obtained his
ashes from the citizens, entombed them under a stately monument
inscribed by Angelo Poliziano. His scholars and imitators were F.
Diamante of Prato, the partner of his last work; F. Pesello of Florence,
and Pesellino his son, whom, if we believe Vasari, shortness of life
alone intercepted from superior excellence.

About this period the first attempts of painting in oil were made at
Florence, by Andrea dal Castagno, of detested memory, who had improved
himself by looking at Masaccio. Domenico, called Veneziano, to whom
Antonello of Messina had communicated the novel mystery of Johan Van
Eyk, after practising it with success at home, Loretto, and other parts
of the Papal State, came to exercise it at Florence: caressed and
encouraged, he excited the envy and cupidity of Castagno, who under the
mask of submissive attachment, wheedled himself into his confidence,
obtained the secret, and then assassinated the hapless donor. The
treacherous but complete acquisition added lustre to his practice during
life, but time has swept the sacrilegious produce of his hand, and left
nothing to the memory of "Andrea degli Impiccati," but the execration of
posterity.[53]

The farther we leave Masaccio behind, the nearer we approach the golden
epoch, the more lurid becomes the atmosphere of art. Mediocrity, tinsel
ostentation, and tasteless diligence mark the greater number of that
society of craftsmen whom Sixtus IV. conscribed (1474, Manni,) to
decorate or rather to disfigure the panels of the grand Chapel which
took its name from him (La Sistina): one of its sides was to be occupied
by subjects from the Pentateuch, the other by Gospel stories. Pietro
Perugino excepted, the artists convoked were nearly all Florentines or
Tuscans; viz. Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Bigordi, Cosimo Rosselli,
Luca, Signorelli of Cortona, and Don Bartolomeo of Arezzo, with their
assistants. The superintendence of the whole the Pope, with the usual
vanity and ignorance of princes, gave to Sandro, the least qualified of
the group, whose barbarous taste and dry minuteness palsied, or
assimilated with his own, the powers of his associates, and rendered the
whole a monument of puerile ostentation, and conceits unworthy of its
place. Nor is it from what there remains of either, that the names of
Luca Signorelli and Domenico Bigordi claim that attention which history
owes to the first as the real precursor of Michael Angelo, and to the
second as the master of his rudiments.

Luca Egidio Signorelli, of Cortona,[54] less to be considered as the
reviver of Masaccio's style than as the founder of that which
distinguished the succeeding epoch, might have led its banners, as his
life stretched beyond that of Raphael and Lionardo, had his principle
been more uniform. The greater part of his works exhibit the evident
struggle of his own perceptions with the prescriptive ones of his time,
and a kind of coalition between the barbarity of the expiring and the
emancipated taste of the rising æra. The best evidence of this is in the
Duomo of Orvieto, where in the mixed imagery of final dissolution and
infernal punishment, he has scattered ideas of original conception,
character and attitude, in copious variety, but not without numerous
remnants of Gothic alloy. The angels who announce the impending doom or
scatter plagues, exhibit with awful simplicity bold foreshortenings,
whilst the St. Michael presents only the tame heraldic figure and
attitude of a knight all cased in armour. In the expression of the
condemned groups and dæmons, he chiefly dwells on the supposed perpetual
renewal of the pangs attending on the last struggles of life with death,
contrasted with the inexorable scowl or malignant grin of fiends
methodizing torture: a horrid feature reserved by Dante for the last pit
of his Inferno, and far beyond the culinary abominations of Sandro
Botticelli.[55]

Though Luca's style of design was no more that of Masaccio than Michael
Agnolo's that of Raphael, less characteristic than grand, and fit to be
the vehicle of those conceptions and attitudes which furnished hints of
imitation to the painter of the Last Judgement in the Sistina, yet he
was master of a grace in celestial scenery and angelic attitudes
unapproached by his contemporaries, seldom equalled and never surpassed
by his successors.

Luca Signorelli was a painter of much popularity. Urbino, Volterra,
Florence, Rome, his native and many other towns, possess or possessed
works of his. He was related to the family of the Vasari of Arezzo, and
caressed and encouraged to the art his infant biographer.[56]

Another of the artists employed in the Sistina, inferior to Luca, but
of no despicable (though, if we look at Masaccio, too highly rated)
powers, was Domenico Bigordi, commonly called Del Ghirlandajo;[57] this
is he under whose auspices not only his son Ridolfo, but even Bonaroti
and the best artists of the succeeding epoch, began their course.
Precision of outline, decorum of countenance, variety of ideas, facility
and diligence, distinguish his works. He is the first of Florentines,
who gave depth and keeping to composition: if gold and tinsel glitter
are not entirely banished from his colours, they appear at least less
often. He was fond of introducing portraits among his actors, but with
selection and of distinguished characters; though hands and feet had no
part in his attention to physiognomy. The churches Degli Innocenti,
Santa Trinità, and Sta. Maria Novella at Florence, possess his most
celebrated productions, and many are scattered over Tuscany and the
Ecclesiastic State. Of the two which he painted in the Sistina, the
Resurrection of Christ perished; the Vocation of Peter and Andrew to the
Apostolate Survives.

Cosimo Rosselli and Pier di Cosimo likewise employed at the Sistina,
inferior in all essential parts to their competitors, owe the perpetuity
of their names less to their parti-coloured glare and immoderate display
of gold and azure, which attracted the vulgar eye of their employer the
Pope, than to the luck of having been the masters of Bartolomeo della
Porta, and Andrea del Sarto.

Piero and Antonio Pollajuoli, though employed only as statuaries in the
same Chapel, possessed no inconsiderable powers as painters. Piero's
pictures at S. Miniato discover the scholar of Castagno, austere
countenances and deep and massy colour; but in novelty of composition
and design he yields to his brother and pupil Antonio, whose Martyrdom
of St. Sebastian in the Chapel Pucci of that church, though humble in
style, crude in colour, and oddly rather than originally conceived, has
been numbered with the first productions of the age, because with the
earliest traces of legitimate anatomy it exhibits its application, and
subordinates enumeration to function. Both the Pollajuoli died at Rome.

Don Bartolomeo of Arezzo, having nothing to add of his own to the works
of the Sistina, is mentioned here only as the helper of Luca Signorelli
and Pietro Perugino; nor is Filippino Lippi, the natural son of Frà
Filippo, numbered among the companions of Sandro his master, though the
perpetual recurrence of antique customs and dresses in his works makes
it probable that he formed his juvenile studies at Rome. Inferior in
real capacity to his father, he may be praised rather for the accessory
than the substantial parts of his works: he filled with an unequal hand
the remaining panels left by Masaccio al Carmine; and in the Minerva at
Rome, yields the palm in expression and amenity of ideas to his own
scholar Raffaelino del Garbo, whose early works at Monte Oliveto of
Florence, and elsewhere, give sufficient evidence that he might have
raised himself to the first artists of his day, had not the cravings of
a numerous family crushed his powers, and poverty and dejection hastened
his death. His contemporary Andrea Verocchio, though a celebrated
statuary, and a designer of style, has deserved our notice as a
painter, only because he was the master of Lionardo da Vinci, the first
name in the annals of Tuscany's golden epoch.

Vinci, a burgh of Lower Valdarno, had the honour of giving a surname to
Lionardo, the natural son[58] of one Ser Piero, a state notary at
Florence. Elevated by nature above the common standard of men, born to
discover, he joined to boundless inquiry intrepidity of pursuit, and
lofty conception to minute investigation, nor only in the arts connected
with his own, music and poesy, but in science, philosophy, mathematics,
mechanics, hydrostatics: this wide mental range, supported by equal
vigour and gracefulness of body, was commended by every accomplishment
of a gentleman. Such was the genius whom Nature had destined to
establish art on elements, to open the realms of light and shade, to
inspire the subject with its tone, and to poise expression between
insipidity and caricature.

Notwithstanding the distractions of so many diverging inclinations, for
powers they could not yet be called, an innate attachment to the art
appears to have predominated at the earliest period to such a degree
that Ser Piero determined to place Lionardo under his friend Verocchio,
whom he soon excelled in painting,[59] and in modelling equalled.

The obscurity which involves the life of Lionardo from his boyish years,
through the bloom of youth, to the vigour of manhood, can only be
accounted for by that independence of mind which made him prefer
indulgence of his own various inclinations to a decided, steady, and if
more confined, more lucrative pursuit of art. By what means he, whom
Vasari describes as possessing "nothing,"[60] was enabled to gratify
studies and fancies equally expensive, no where appears; it appears not
that he was patronized by the great and rich; he escaped the eye of the
Medici;[61] it was reserved for Lodovico Sforza to discover and to
conduct the first citizen of Florence to Milano, and for aught we are
told, rather from expectation of amusement than motives of homage.
Lodovico was a dilettante in music, and wished to increase the harmony
of his concerts with the silver tones of the lyre, invented and
constructed by Lionardo, who, we are told, soon distanced all rival
performers, and by the aid of his powers as an "Improvisatore," became
the object of general admiration: it was then, and perhaps not till
then, that the Duke cast a steadier eye on his superior accomplishments,
and allowed the musician to become a benefactor to the public in
adopting his plans for the establishment and direction of an academy;
and granting the means for carrying into effect the still more important
ones of conducting the Adda to Milano, and a navigable canal from
Martisana to Chiavenna, and the Valteline, &c. plans and effects only
interrupted by the fall of the Sforzas and the captivity of Lodovico.

FOOTNOTES:

[44] This picture has been confounded with another of the same subject
by the same master, and the addition of the Donor's portrait, Frate
Elia, which exists no more. The mutilated inscription on that mentioned
above, has been thus restored by Lanzi,

    JuNTA PISanus
    JunTINI Me fecit.


[45] Born 1240, died 1300.

[46] "Oh che dolce cosa è questa prospettiva!" Oh what a dulcet thing is
this perspective! This exclamation, usual with Paolo nodding over his
compasses when his wife called him to bed, though too late to furnish
the hint of a Novel to Boccaccio, has been fondly repeated by some grave
writers from Vasari to the author of Lorenzo de' Medici, and has
contributed to place Paolo, with the mystic help of his surname, in
rather a ludicrous light.

[47] Maffei's Verona Illustrata, t. iii. p. 277.

[48] He was the precursor of Michael Agnolo, and deserved the motto by
which Borghini marked some of their designs in the portfolio of Vasari,
(Vita di Donato.) viz.

    Ἠ Δωνατος Βοναρρωτιζει,
    Ἠ Βοναρρωτος Δωνατιζει.


[49] "Vi è un monacho vecchio con due grucce sotto le braccia, nel qual
si vide un affetto mirabile, e forse speranza di riaver la
sanità."--Vasari, Vita di P. Uccello, t. ii. p. 56.

[50] Born in 1401.

[51] "Opera Terribilissima--impresa chi arebbe giustamente fatto paura a
una legione di pittori." On the whole, Vasari seems to lay more stress
on the quantity than the quality of Benozzo's works.

[52] 1478.

[53] 1478, when by the conspiracy of the Pazzi and their adherents,
Giuliano de' Medici was assassinated in S. Maria del Fiore, and his
brother Lorenzo wounded, it was resolved by the Signoria that paintings
of the conspirators, hung by their feet, should be exposed in front of
the Governor's palace; and the commission being given to Andrea, he
executed it with such felicity of resemblance, such variety of hanging
attitudes, and so much to the contentment of connoisseurs, that from
that instant he lost the name of Andrea dal Castagno in that of "Andrea
degli Impiccati," or of the hanged.--_Vasari._ Of this exhibition the
loss may be regretted, as it would have showed us Andrea in his element.

[54] 1439-40--1521.

[55] There is to the old edition in folio, of Dante, by Niccolo della
Magna, a print of the Inferno annexed, which bears the name of Sandro
Botticelli; Vasari in his Life says, that he commented a part of Dante
and figured his Inferno and published it.

[56] He was the nephew of Lazzaro Vasari, a helper of Pietro della
Francesca, and great uncle of Giorgio the biographer; who in the Life of
Luca, with not less fondness than vanity, relates the admonition and
encouragement he gave to his father and himself, in a visit which he
paid in his old age to their family at Arezzo.--Vita di L. Signorelli,
t. iii. p. 9.

[57] His father, who was a goldsmith, invented and first manufactured
the garlands which were at that time the fashionable head-dress of the
Florentine girls.--Vasari, Vita di D. Ghirlandajo, vol. ii. p. 410.

[58] Among the uncertainties of dates, those relative to the birth of
illegitimate children, for obvious reasons the most frequent, are the
most perplexing. The birth of Lionardo has been fixed at various dates,
viz. 1443; Lett. Pittor. t. ii. p. 192; 1445, according to the
computation of Vasari; 1455, by Dargenville; 1467, by Padre Resta; with
more probability 1444, by D.V. Pagave of Milano, followed by Fiorillo;
but with most at 1452, by Durazzini, adopted by Lanzi. It seems
improbable that Verocchio, the friend of Ser Piero, should have been
only twelve years older than his pupil. Lionardo died in 1519.

[59] In the figure of the Angel, conceived and executed by him, in the
Baptism of the Saviour, at St. Salvi, which excelled the work of
Verocchio so much, that indignant to be outdone by a boy, he dropped the
pencil, and for ever abandoned painting. The statues of St. Thomas, in
Orsanmichele at Florence, and of the Horse of Collevere at Venice, prove
that Verocchio's real talent was sculpture: but the models of the three
statues cast in bronze, by Rustici, for S. Giov. at Florence, and that
of the great horse at Milano, place the pupil at least upon a level with
the master in that branch of art.

[60] "E non avendo egli, si può dir nulla, e poco lavorando, del
continuo tenne servitori, e cavalli, &c." For all this it is the more
difficult to account, as an attempt to possess himself of the
philosopher's stone has never been mentioned among Lionardo's
eccentricities, though he was familiar with alchymists.

[61] Lorenzo de' Medici occurs not in the Life of Lionardo, and his
acquaintance with Leo X. and Giuliano de' Medici relates to the latter
periods of it.



THE SCHOOL OF FLORENCE.


We are now arrived at the epoch which forms the distinctive character of
the Tuscan school, the epoch of Michael Agnolo. In placing him here,
chronology has been less attended to than the spirit of works; for Frà
Bartolomeo, Andrea del Sarto, and others, his contemporaries or juniors,
belong more properly to the period of Lionardo than his; the elements of
which he gave in the Cartoon of Pisa, and the consummation in the
Capella Sistina, on which his school and the imitation of his style were
founded; and to which the politics of his time, the splendid oligarchy
of the Medici, and the fierce republican spirit of their opponents, gave
an energy and produced efforts, unknown to society in repose.

Notwithstanding the insinuating arts by which the Medici had debauched
public affection, and that undermining power which at last changed
influence to tyranny, they were in less than a century[62] three times
exiled from their country. The first, the banishment of Cosmo, called
the Father of his Country, lasted not above one year, and drew no
consequences; for the interval between it and the next (1494) was marked
with uniform success, and its last twenty years[63] with the splendid
administration and the extended patronage of Lorenzo the Magnificent.
His Garden near the church of S. Marco, which he opened as a repository
and a school of art, has been little less celebrated than the Hesperian
ones of old: it contained, if not all that had been discovered, what
could be purchased of antique statues, basso-relievoes, and fragments of
every kind; and the apartments were hung with pictures, cartoons, and
designs of Donatello, Brunellesco, Paolo Uccello. Frà Giovanni da
Fiesole, Masaccio, &c.; here the student was not only instructed, but,
by the magnificence of the founder, supported; and it may without
exaggeration be asserted, that whatever rose to eminence in the art at
that period, was the offspring of Lorenzo's garden.

His death was followed by the expulsion of his sons, Pietro, Giovanni,
afterwards Leo X., and Julian, in the sequel Duke of Nemours. An
immediate anarchy succeeded the expulsion; the populace broke into their
houses, destroyed or carried off their furniture, and demolished the
residence of Giovanni, the garden of Lorenzo, and the palace on the Via
Larga,[64] at once. The numerous partisans of the family, however,
contrived to save much.[65]

Other circumstances conspired to render this interval of anarchy
pernicious to art, till the return of the Medici in 1512. Towards the
close of the fifteenth century, the Dominican Frà Girolamo Savonarola,
of enthusiastic memory, by prophecies and sermons, loaded with
democratic principles, gained gradually such an ascendancy over the
minds of the people, that the Signoria found themselves forced to adopt
a senate at large; in other words, to submit to a democracy. But
Savonarola, not content with political victory, aimed at a total
revolution in morals, and continued to lash the profligacy of public
manners, overflowing in voluptuous song and music, or gazing at the
lascivious nudities of statues and pictures, as irresistible incentives
to vice. It had been customary during carnival, to erect certain cabins
in the market-place, to set them on fire on the eve of Ash-Wednesday,
and bid them farewell amid the shouts of convivial mirth and the frolic
of amorous dalliance. Savonarola instituted in 1497 a public festival of
another kind: a large scaffold was erected in the market-place, a vast
number of the finest specimens in painting and sculpture, offensive from
their nudities, were collected; the pictures placed on the first step;
the sculptures, especially when portraits of first-rate Florentine
belles, disposed on the second; the whole inclosed by foreign precious
tapestry, and that, with great solemnity, set on fire. The scaffolding
of the next year excelled the first in magnificence; its gorgeous
apparel invested the busts of the most celebrated beauties of former
years; those of the Bencina, Lena Morella, Bina and Maria de'Lenzi,
works of the most eminent sculptors; on it was placed a copy of
Petrarca, decorated with gold, missal-painting, and miniatures,
estimated at fifty scudi d'oro; and to prevent theft, the whole was
constantly guarded. The procession approached, surrounded the scaffold,
and amid a concert of consecrating hymns, bells, trumpets, cymbals, and
the acclamations of the Signoria and the people, the victims, sprinkled
with holy water, were delivered to flame by the torches of the
guards.[66] Such was the epidemic influence of this enthusiasm, that
even artists, the gentle Frà Bartolomeo, Lorenzo di Credi, and many more
caught the infection, and contributed to the sacrifice, till the death
of Savonarola and the return of the Medici extinguished the furor.[67]

The democracy, however, gave origin to two works, which not only atoned
for the ravages it had committed, but whose splendour no subsequent æra
of art has been able to eclipse, or perhaps to equal: the two Cartoons
of Lionardo da Vinci and M. Angelo Buonarroti, destined to decorate the
senatorial hall, by order of Pietro Soderini. They produced an immediate
revolution in art, but disappeared like meteors in the tumult that
attended the reinstatement of the Medici and the fall of the
Gonfaloniere, 1512.

The third expulsion of the Medici--Hippolyto and Alessandro, the sons of
Giuliano the Magnificent, and all their relatives--was the consequence
of the sack of Rome, 1527, and the Pontificate of Clemente VII. The
Medici, pressed by the moment, consigned part of their technic treasure,
their bronzes, cameos, &c. to the care of their client Baccio
Bandinelli.[68] During the havoc, Michael Angelo's statue of David lost
an arm,[69] and the waxen figures of Leo X. and Clemente VII. in the
church of the "Annunciata," were mutilated and carried off; and perhaps
much more was lost in the demolition of the suburbs, which took place to
secure the town itself against the siege of 1529. But active resistance
and lampoons proved equally ineffectual; the destiny of the Medici
prevailed, and Florence paid ducal homage in 1530 to Alessandro; whose
assassination, indeed, by Lorenzo his relative, commonly called
Lorenzino, produced, six years afterwards, another sedition and farther
damage to their stores of art by the soldiers, who, at the instigation
of Alessandro Vitelli, broke into and plundered both their houses. Cosmo
the First succeeded Alessandro, and left uninterrupted dominion to his
heirs: but if the consolidation of monarchy prevented the momentary
devastations of insurrection, it failed to re-produce the splendid
period that flashed athwart the storms of democracy.


MICHAEL ANGELO BUONARROTI.

1474--1564.

M. Angelo was born at Castel Caprese, and showed such early proofs of a
decided attachment to art, that he was put into the school of Domenico
del Ghirlandaio. Here he soon advanced beyond the principles of the
master, who, jealous of a rival in his pupil, recommended him to Lorenzo
de Medici, for admission among the students of sculpture in his garden;
where, under the tuition of Bertoldo,[70] an ancient scholar of
Donatello, he soon mastered the elements, and, equally conspicuous for
his superiority and diligence, attracted the attention and gained the
patronage of Lorenzo, but excited the envy of his fellow-students, one
of whom, Torrigiano, on some slight provocation, with a blow of the fist
shattered his nose, which left him with a mark for life.

That predilection for sculpture imbibed from his earliest days and now
invigorated by the incessant study of the antique with practice, the
successful specimens mentioned in copies and productions of his own,[71]
leave little authority to the tradition that he studied much after
Masaccio.

His mind appears to have anticipated the expulsion of the Medici, and he
left Florence for Bologna, where he found a protector in Aldrovandi, for
whom he executed two small statues, of an Angel and of a St. Petronius
on the tomb of S. Dominico. After his return to Florence he continued to
work in sculpture, and a legend, less probable than amusing, of an Amor
sold for an antique to Cardinal Riario, has been fondly repeated by his
biographers. He now went to Rome and produced two of his most surprising
works--the Bacchus of the Museo Fiorentino, and the Madonna della Pietà
in one of the chapels of the Basilica of S. Pietro. On his return to
Florence, Pietro Soderini tried his powers on a huge block of marble,
mutilated by the ignorance of one Maestro Simone: he contrived to rear
from it the statue of David, which, in 1504, was placed, and still
remains in front of the old palace. These works, not less discriminated
by peculiarity of character, than connected by propriety of style and
energy of finish, were produced within the short period of six years,
and equally prove the wide range of his powers, and the perseverance of
his application to sculpture.

What he did as painter, during, or soon after this period, is for us
reduced to the single specimen which he executed for Angelo Doni; for
the far-famed Cartoon of Pisa, of which we soon shall have occasion to
speak, begun in contest with Lionardo da Vinci, but not finished till
after his second return from Rome, perished, as a whole, long before the
middle of the sixteenth century.

Soon after his election to the Pontificate, Giulio II. smitten with the
wish of a sepulchral monument, called M. Angelo to Rome for that
purpose. His first plan was to make it colossal, and on all sides
detached, but the obstacles which were thrown in its way for a number of
years, reduced it at length to the form in which it now appears at S.
Pietro in Vincoli, with probably one figure only by M. Angelo's own
hand, the celebrated statue of Moses in front. The attachment of Giulio
to M. Angelo was great, but the independent spirit of the artist
greater. Indignant at being refused access once to the Pontiff, whose
mind was worried by the disturbances at Bologna, he fled, and though
pursued by five messengers with letters pressing him to come back,
obstinately went on to Florence; nor could his three breves[72]
addressed to the Signoria, draw him from his asylum; till Pier Soderini
guaranteed his safety by investing him with the title of envoy from the
Republic. Thus equipped, and accompanied by Cardinal Soderini, brother
to the Gonfaloniere, he set out for Bologna, was reconciled to the Pope,
and made his statue in bronze. It was placed over the gate of S.
Petronio, but was thrown down in 1511 by the party of the Bentivogli,
and, with the exception of the head, said to have been preserved by Duke
Alfonso of Ferrara, converted into a piece of heavy artillery.

Scarcely returned to Rome, M. Angelo, by command of Giulio, instigated
as it is supposed by Bramante and Giuliano da Sangallo, found himself
forced to try his powers on a novel theatre of art, the decoration of
the ceiling and lunette of the Capella Sistina. Whatever were the
motives of the two architects, whether private pique, or envy of M.
Angelo's influence over the Pontiff, or friendship for Raffaello, and
the desire of showing his superiority over one whom they deemed a novice
in fresco, they deserved the thanks of their own and every succeeding
epoch, for the most eminent service ever rendered to art. Vasari owns
that M. Angelo, conscious of his want of practice, endeavoured to escape
from the commission, and even proposed Raffaello as fitter for the task;
but his powers soon supplied what circumstances had refused, and single
conquered with every obstacle Time itself; for, nearly fabulous to
relate, the whole, though interrupted more than once by the Pontiff's
impatience, was sufficiently finished to be exhibited to the public in
one year and ten months.

This task finished, M. Angelo, eager to resume his labours on the
monument, was disappointed by the sudden death of Giulio, (1513,) and
the election of Leo X. produced a total change in his situation; he was
ordered to Florence to construct the front of the Laurentian Library.

Though the death of Leo, or rather the accession of Adrian VI. had
paralysed art, Michael Angelo employed the dull interim by adding some
statues to the monument of Giulio; till, in 1523, Clemente VII.
reappointed him to the superintendence of the new sacristy and library
of S. Lorenzo. It was about this time that he finished and sent to Rome
the statue of Christ, still placed in the Minerva.

The arts received a new shock from the sack of Rome, 1527, and the
expulsion of the Medici from Florence, at which crisis the Signoria
conferred on Michael Angelo, who was a warm Republican,[73] the
superintendence of the fortifications and the defence of Monte Miniato,
on which the safety of the city depended. Meanwhile what time he could
save from his public trust, he secretly[74] employed to finish or
advance the symbolic and monumental statues of S. Lorenzo, and from the
cartoon to paint in distemper a Leda for the Duke of Ferrara. Finding,
however, that no defence could save the city, he saved himself by the
secret paths of S. Miniato, and escaped to Venice, 1529; from whence he
only returned to find the dominion of the Medici once more established,
himself pardoned, again employed by Clemente at S. Lorenzo, and soon
after sent for to Rome on a plan of painting two central frescoes, the
Last Judgement and the Fall of Lucifer, for the Sistine Chapel,--long
favourite ideas of the artist,[75] but with the works at Florence for
that time checked by the death of Clemente, 1534. He now with redoubled
ardour applied to the monument of Giulio, urged by his devotion to the
house of De Rovere, the considerable pecuniary advance he had received,
and the threats of the executors and the Duke of Urbino; but the
accession of Paul III. again frustrated his exertions: the Pontiff
resolved to have the exclusive boast of powers he had so long admired,
interposed his authority, and obliged the executors and agents of the
Duke to give up the original circumambient plan, and content themselves
with the storied front which exists now.

This adjusted, Michael Angelo immediately proceeded to comply with the
wishes of the Pope: if Paolo was inferior to Giulio in impetuosity, he
was his equal in fervour of attachment to art, and excelled him, if not
every other name which patronage has distinguished, in personal respect
and public homage to the artist. No work ever received countenance and
honours equal to those conferred on the Last Judgement of Michael
Angelo, from its plan to its ultimate finish by Paolo Farnese. His first
visit to the artist was attended by a train of ten cardinals:[77] though
ambitious to have the work consecrated to his own name, in deference to
Michael Angelo's attachment to the memory of Giulio, he submitted to his
refusal of displacing the arms of De Rovere at the top of the picture,
in favour of the Farnesian.[78] Induced by the specious sophistry of
Sebastian del Piombo to prefer oil to fresco in the execution of the
work, he permitted the wall to be prepared for that purpose, but on
Michael Angelo's declaring oil painting an art for women only and
sedentary tameness, he yielded to the decision, and patiently saw the
whole apparatus dashed to the ground. When, before its final disclosure
to the public, he took a private view of the whole composition at the
Chapel, less convinced than irritated by the bigoted philippic of an
attendant prelate against the daring display of immodest nudity, he
acquiesced in the artist's well-known revenge, and refused to revoke or
mitigate the punishment inflicted on the unlucky critic.[79]

The first conception of the Last Judgement, which completes the plan
originally laid down for the decoration of the Chapel, notwithstanding
the obstacles which protracted the execution, must find its date in the
Pontificate of Giulio, from the Cartoons probably begun under Clemente.
M. Angelo proceeded to the fresco itself at an early period, if not
immediately after the accession of Paolo, 1534, and finished it in 1541,
or perhaps 1542; for both these years are mentioned by Vasari; who, if
not present at the removal of the scaffolding, attended its immediate
display to the public. The completion of this 'multitudinous' work, M.
Angelo, at an age of 68, or somewhat beyond, might justly consider as
the consummation of his public career in painting: but the Pontiff,
still ambitious to possess exclusive specimens of his powers in a fabric
built by his own orders and consecrated to his own name, obliged him to
continue his labours in two huge frescoes of the Capella Paolina,
representing the Conversion of St. Paul and the Crucifixion of St.
Peter. The lassitude inseparable from the waste of so much energy on the
Last Judgement, the mental and bodily fatigue attendant on the
arrangement and execution of new plans, if less enormous less congenial,
protracted their ultimate completion to his 75th year, proved them
children of necessity rather than choice, and confirmed the truth of
his observation to Vasari, that painting in fresco, the union of powers
required for a great public work, is not an art of old age.

And here indeed terminates the career of the Painter; the remainder of
his life was divided between architecture and sculpture. This, which had
always been his favourite pursuit, was now become the darling companion
of his private hours, the amusement of his solitude, and the
preservative of his health--for this purpose he furnished his study with
a colossal block, destined for the complicated group of a Pietà: but
though age had neither tamed his conception nor palsied his hand,[80] it
checked his perseverance; he no longer struggled to subdue the flaws of
his materials or to give them the air of beauties; he dismissed the
group unfinished, and continued to exercise himself on another of
inferior size.

The death of Antonio da S. Gallo, 1546, put it in the power of Paolo to
create M. Angelo architect of S. Pietro, a trust of which he acquitted
himself with a superiority which baffled all the opposition of venality
and envy. He was probably, from Ictinus to our time, the first and the
last of architects who refused salary and emolument, and consecrated his
labours to divine love. Some of his successors, perhaps, might insinuate
that he indemnified himself with being at the same time architect of the
Campidoglio and the Farnese Palace.

After the demise of Paolo, Cosmo I. Duke of Florence, by means of
Vasari, earnestly intreated him to pass the remainder of his life at
Florence; but the infirmities of age, and still more, inward grief for
the subversion of the republic, with indignation at the established
usurpation of the Medici, rendered these intreaties ineffectual.
Equally unshaken by them and the vile rumour of his dotage, spread by
the venal gang of Pirrho Ligorio, after crowning the Basilica with its
cupola, he steered through calm and tempest on to his ninetieth year,
the last of his life, 1564, and was buried in S. Apostoli; but, by the
orders of Cosmo, secretly conveyed to Florence, where the pomp of
academical exequies, the starched eloquence of Varchi, and a monument in
Santa Croce from a design of Vasari, awaited his remains.

It is difficult to decide who understood Michael Angelo less, his
admirers or his censors; though both rightly agree in placing him at the
head of an epoch; those of the re-establishment, these of the
perversion, of style.

All extremes touch each other: languid praise and frigid censure belong
to the paths of mediocrity, but he who enlarges the circle of knowledge,
passes from the realm of talents to that of genius, leaps on an
undiscovered or long-lost shore, and stamps it with his name, commands
indiscriminate homage, and provokes irreconcilable censure. He who
reflects on the "Più che Uman, Angelo divino" of Ariosto, the "via
terribile" of Agostino Carracci, and for centuries on the general
homage of a nation allowed to legislate in art, will not be easily
persuaded that these epithets, this prerogative, were granted to an
artist merely for correctness of design or anatomic discrimination, or
that he exclusively obtained them for uniting sculpture, painting, and
architecture in himself; three branches of one stem, and diverging only
in mechanism and application, they have been more than once eminently
united by others, and were seldom altogether separated before the time
of Carlo Maratta. And yet this is all on which the eminence of Michael
Angelo has been hitherto supposed to rest, all that can be gathered from
the astrologic nonsense and the Tuscan loquacity of his blind adorer,
Vasari--and what he found not, it would be time idly lost to search for
in his contemporaries and successors, down to Reynolds, who, though
chiefly smitten with the breadth of Michael Angelo, knew him better than
all the copyists of his school.

The art preceded Michael Angelo as a craft; more or less practice alone
distinguishes Pietro Perugino from Cimabue: whilst copy and imitation
remain synonymes, there can be no choice in art; instead of the real
nature it will copy the accidents of objects, and substitute the model
for the man.

Michael Angelo appeared and soon felt that the candidate of legitimate
fame is to build his works, not on the imbecile forms of a degenerate
race, disorganized by clime, country, education, laws, and society; not on
the transient refinements of fashion or local sentiment, unintelligible
beyond their circle and century to the rest of mankind; but to graft them
on Nature's everlasting forms and those general feelings of humanity,
which no time can efface, no mode of society obliterate;--and in
consequence of these reflections discovered the epic part of painting:
that basis, that indestructibility of forms and thoughts, that simplicity
of machinery on which Homer defied the ravages of time, which sooner or
later must sweep to oblivion every work propped by baser materials and
factitious refinements.

The subject of the Sistine Chapel is Theocracy and Religion, the Origin
and the first Duty of Man. All minute discrimination of character is
alien to the primeval simplicity of the moment--God and Man alone
appear. The veil of Eternity is rent; Time, Space, and Matter teem; life
darts from God, and adoration from the creature; deviation from this
principle is the origin of Evil; the economy of Justice and Grace
commences; Prophets and Sibyls in awful synod are the heralds of the
Redeemer, and the host of patriarchs the pedigree of the Son of Man. The
brazen Serpent and the fall of Haman, the Giant subdued by the
Stripling, and the Conqueror destroyed by female weakness, are types of
His mysterious progress, till Jonah pronounces Him immortal, and the
magnificence of the Last Judgement sums up the whole and re-unites the
Founder and the race.

Michael Angelo, in his Last Judgement, with a few exceptions, has wound
up the life of man, considered as the subject of religion, faithful or
rebellious; and in a generic manner has distributed happiness and
misery.

The more finished a character, the more, discriminated by his actions and
turn of thought from his contemporaries, he pursues paths of his own, so
much the more he attracts, so much the more he repels; the ardour of the
one is equal to the violence of the other: he is not merely disliked, he
is detested by all who have no sense for him; whilst by those who enter
his train of thought, or sympathise with him, he is adored. Indifference
has no share in what relates to him, it is a softer word for antipathy--it
resembles the indifference of a female wooed; her indifference, her
apathy, is a refusal without a verbal repulse. Where yes or no must
decide, the mouth that can form neither, rejects. The principles, the
style of Michael Angelo, are of that so closely-connected magnitude, that
they are either all true or all false: pretended gold is either gold or
not--the purer, the simpler a substance, the less it can coalesce with
another; a pretended diamond of the size of a fist, is either of
inestimable value or of none. If Michael Angelo did not establish art on a
solid basis, he subverted it; he can claim only the heresies of paradox
and receive their reward--disgust.

What Armenini relates as a proof of his nearly intuitive power of
conception and execution, may be repeated as a much stronger instance of
his deference and gratitude for the most humble claims. "Meeting one
day, behind S. Pietro, with a young Ferrarese, a potter who had baked
some model of his, M. Angelo thanked him for his care, and in return
offered him any service in his power: the young man, emboldened by his
condescension, fetched a sheet of paper, and requested him to draw the
figure of a standing Hercules: M. Angelo took the paper, and retiring to
a small shed near by, put his right foot on a bench, and with his elbow
on the raised knee and his face on his hand stood meditating a little
while, then began to draw the figure, and having finished it in a short
time, beckoned to the youth, who stood waiting at a small distance, to
approach, gave it him, and went away toward Belvedere. That design, as
far as I was then able to judge, in precision of outline, shadow, and
finish, no miniature could excel; it afforded matter of astonishment to
see accomplished in a few minutes what might have been reasonably
supposed to have taken up the labour of a month."

After the demise of Raffaello, legislation in Art was no longer disputed
with M. Angelo; he not only became the oracle of youth, but appears to
have inherited all the popularity of his great rival. A signal, though
little known proof of this, is told by Bellori, in the Life of Federigo
Barrocci, who, he says, used to tell, that when, drawing one day in
company with Taddeo Zuccari a frieze of Polidoro, Michael Angelo, as
usual, passed by on his little mule on his way to the palace, all the
youths rose and ran to meet him with their drawings in their hands;
Federigo alone remained bashfully behind in his place, which when Taddeo
saw, he took his little portfolio to Michael Angelo, who attentively
examined the designs, among which was a careful copy of his Moses; he
praised it, and desiring to see the lad who had drawn that figure,
animated him to pursue the method of study which he had begun.

The deference which he paid to the unassuming and the humble, he amply
redeemed by the full assumption of his rights, and conscious assertion
of superiority, when provoked to the contest by those who considered
themselves as his equals, entered into competition with him, or
attempted to share in his labours. Thus he repaid the sarcasms of Pietro
Perugino, by calling him publicly a dunce in art; and when Pietro
smarting, impatient of the ridicule, summoned him to the Tribunal of the
Eight, he made good his charge, and saw him dismissed with contempt.
Thus he rejected all partnership with Jacopo Sansovino, in the execution
of the Facciata of San Lorenzo at Florence, though Leone X. appears to
have intended it, by sending both together to Pietra Santa to provide
the marbles necessary for that purpose, and examining both their models.

When Paolo III. had resolved on the fortifications of the Borgo, and, in
order to ascertain the best mode of doing it, had assembled many persons
of rank, with Antonio da Sangallo, Michael Angelo, as architect of the
fortifications of S. Miniato at Florence, was likewise invited to join
the assembly, and, after much contest, his opinion asked; he freely told
it, though contrary to that of Sangallo and others present; and when the
architect bade him to be content with the prerogatives of sculpture and
painting without pretending to skill in fortification, he replied, that
of the former two he knew little, but that of fortification, considering
the time his mind had dwelt on it, and the proofs he had given of the
solidity of his theory, he did not hesitate to claim more knowledge than
what came to the share of Sangallo and all his relatives; and then
proceeded, in the presence of all, to point out the many errors which
Antonio had committed.

Another instance of a still greater independence of mind, Vasari[81] has
recorded in the peremptory answer which M. Angelo gave to the Committee
of Cardinals, &c. instigated by the partisans of Sangallo, (La Setta
Sangallesca, Vasari,) to inspect the process of the fabric of S. Pietro,
and to examine his plan. Ignorant of his design to derive the main light
of the edifice from the cupola, they found fault with the scanty
distribution of light, and told the Pontiff that M. Angelo had spoiled
S. Pietro, and instead of a luminous temple, was erecting a gloomy
vault. Giulio having communicated this to him at a general meeting of
the deputies and inspectors, M. Angelo replied, I wish to hear these
deputies talk myself: "Here we are," answered Cardinal Marcello--"Then
know, Monsignore," said he, "that over these windows, in the vault which
is to be raised, there are to be placed three more."--"You never told us
this before!" said Cervino.--"No," replied M. Angelo, "I am not, nor
ever will be bound to tell your Eminence, or any other person, what I
must or what I mean to do: your duty is to provide money and take care
that it be not stolen; what belongs to the plan and execution of the
building you are to leave to me." Then turning to the Pope, "Holy
Father," continued he, "you see what I gain; the fatigue I undergo is
time and labour lost, unless my soul gain by it." The Pope, who loved
him, and rejoiced at the defeat of the cabal, laying hands on his
shoulders, said, "Doubt not your soul and body shall be equal gainers by
it."

Among the many expectations in which he was disappointed, that which he
appears to have formed on the early talent of Jacopo Carucci, as it was
the most sanguine, must have been the most distressing; for, on seeing
his figures of Faith and Charity with attendant Infants, in fresco, at
the Nunziata, and considering them as produced by a youth of nineteen,
he said, in the words of Vasari, "This young man, from what appears,
grant life and pursuit, will raise this art to heaven."

But Jacopo did neither long pursue the same principles nor adopt
superior ones: infected, like Andrea del Sarto, by the temporary fever
which the style of Albert Durer had spread over Florence. He was,
however, the favourite copyist in oil of M. Angelo's Cartoons, and as
such, in preference, recommended by him to Alfonso D'Avalo, Marchese del
Guasto, and Bartolomeo Bettini, his friend, who had obtained cartoons,
the former of a Noli-me-tangere; this of a naked Venus caressed by
Cupid.[82]

The name of Giuliano Bugiardini, supported only by its own feeble powers,
would probably long have sunk to oblivion, had it not been kept afloat by
the personal attachment of M. Angelo. In Vasari, Giuliano is the synonyme,
of helpless impotence; he had certainly neither the dexterity nor the
grasp of the Aretine biographer; but he also had neither the pretension
nor the craft. There is, and chiefly among artists, a singular class of
men, who, with great moral simplicity, but a capacity less than moderate,
court with ungovernable passion an art which they are doomed never to
possess, but to whom self-complacency compensates for every disappointment
of the most ungrateful perseverance, public neglect and private irrision:
they neither envy nor suspect, and though not intimidated by a superiority
which they do not fully comprehend, are ready to respect the part that
comes within their compass. Such a man was Bugiardini; and such a
character M. Angelo was likely to appreciate;[83] and though aware that he
was not equal to serious communication in art, to select him as a
companion of his leisure, and to assist or submit to him, as the
simplicity of his character required;--of either we shall select from
Vasari an instance. When he was occupied with the picture of Sta.
Catherina, for the Church of Sta. Maria Novella, he requested the advice
of M. Angelo on the arrangement of a file of soldiers which he meant to
place on the foreground, flying, fallen, wounded, killed; because the idea
of their having formed a file, could not be expressed within the scanty
space he had allotted them, without having recourse to fore-shortenings,
which he confessed to be beyond his power. M. Angelo, to please him, took
a coal, and with his own comprehension drew on the panel a file of naked
figures, variously fore-shortened, falling different ways, forwards,
backwards, with others dead or wounded: but the whole being merely in
outlines, left Giuliano still at a loss. Tribolo, therefore, to draw him
from this dilemma, undertook to form them in clay, leaving the surface of
each figure rough, to increase more forcibly the chiaroscuro: this method,
however, so little pleased the neatness of Giuliano, that the moment
Tribolo left him, he with a wet pencil licked them into a polish, which
took away grain and effect together, and when the picture was finished,
left no trace of M. Angelo's ever having seen it.

Messer Ottaviano de' Medici had requested Giuliano to paint him a
portrait of M. Angelo. He obtained the consent of M. Angelo: having held
him between chat and work two hours at the first sitting--for M. Angelo
delighted to hear him talk--Giuliano got up, and said, "M. Angelo, if
you want to see yourself, rise: I have settled the character of the
face." M. Angelo rose, looked at the portrait, and said, smiling, "What
the devil (che diavolo) have you been doing? you have clapt one of the
eyes into one of the temples--look to it." Giuliano having for some time
looked silently at the portrait, and the sitter, resolutely replied, "I
do not see what you said; but take your place, and I'll give another
glance at nature." M. Angelo, who knew where the defect lay, sat down
again sneering; and Giuliano, having eyed repeatedly now the picture and
now M. Angelo, at last rose and said, "It appears to me that the thing
is as I have drawn it, and that nature shows it so." "Oh, then it is a
defect of nature!" replied Michael Angelo, "go on and prosper in your
work."

Francesco Granacci, the companion of his early studies, and Jacopo,
called L'Indaco, the enlivener of his solitude, enjoyed the same degree
of his familiarity; but as the real basis of friendship is equality, and
mutual esteem founded on similarity of character and powers, attachments
merely formed by early habits or congenial humour between men too
dissimilar else to admit of comparison, never can aspire to its
privileges and name. Condescension is not always delicate, and the
indiscretions of simplicity sooner or later provoke the pride, contempt,
and arrogance of superior powers. Giuliano, Granacci, and L'Indaco,
experienced all three from Michael Angelo; they were among his
conscripts for assisting in the frescoes of the Capella; but finding
their pigmy capacities unequal to his colossal style, he not only, in
lofty silence, destroyed what they had begun, but barring all access to
the Chapel and himself, forced them to return, vainly grumbling, to
Florence.


FOOTNOTES:

[62] 1433--1527. They underwent three banishments in less than a
century.

[63] 1472--1492. Most splendid period of Florence this.

[64] Nardi Storia, lib. 1. Bernardo Rucellai de Bello Italico, Lond.
1733, 4to. p. 52. Pauli Jovii Histor. sui temporis, lib. 1. Memoires de
Philippe de Comines, l. vii. c. 9.

[65] Vasari, Vita di B. Bandinelli, Ed. del Bottari, t. ii. p. 576; e
Vita del Torrigiano, t. ii. p. 75.

[66] Nardi, Storia di Firenze, lib. ii. Vasari, Vita di Frà Bartolomeo;
but chiefly the Life of Savonarola, by Burlamachi, inserted in Balusii
Miscell. ed. Mansi, t. i. p. 558, &c.

[67] Giovanni dalle Carniole, a celebrated engraver on stone, was an
adherent of Savonarola; there is a portrait of that reformer by him, on
a cornelian of uncommon size, in the Museo Flor. with this inscription,

    Hieronymus Ferrariensis Ord. Præd.
    Propheta Vir et Martyr.

It is known from impressions in paste and bronze. In politics, at least,
Michael Angelo was a votary of Frà Girolamo, although the nursling of
the Medici.

[68] Vasari, Vita di B.B. t. ii. p. 557.

[69] Varchi, Storia Fiorent. p. 36.

[70] "The two masters of Michael Angelo," says Fiorillo, "descend in
equidistant degrees from the School of Cimabue and Giotto: the following
scale shows the technic pedigree of M. Angelo at one glance:

                     _Cimabue._
                     _Giotto._
                     _Taddeo Gaddi._
    Angelo Gaddi.                     Jacopo Casentino.
    Ant. Veneziano.                   Spinello.
    Paolo Uccello.                    Lorenzo Bicci.
    Aless. Baldovinetti.              Donatello.
    Dom. del Ghirlandaio.             Bertoldo.
                    M.A. Buonarroti."

What pity that this laboured scale, which has all the air of an
astrologic conceit of Vasari, and gives to chance the sanction of
predestination, could not be extended to Architecture! As the notion of
a writer who dates the subversion of Art from the epoch and style of M.
Angelo, it must appear ludicrous even to the most declared votary of
that great name on this side of idolatry.

[71] The mask of an antique Satyr, and the basso-relievo of the
Centaurs, undertaken at the suggestion of Poliziano.

[72] One has been preserved, and as a document of the relation in which
_power_ at that time stood with _art_, may interest the reader.

"Julius P.P. II. Dilectis Filiis Prioribus Libertatis, et Vexillifero
Justitiae Populi Florentini."

"Dilecti filii, salutem et apostolicam benedictionem. Michael Angelus
sculptor, qui a nobis leviter et inconsulte discessit, redire, ut
accepimus, ad nos timet, cui nos non succensemus: Novimus hujusmodi
hominum ingenia. Ut tamen omnem suspicionem deponat, devotionem vestram
hortamur, velit ei nomine nostro promittere, quod si ad nos redierit,
illæsus inviolatusque erit, et in ea gratia apostolica nos habiturus,
quâ habebatur ante discessum. Datum Romæ, 8 Julii, 1506, Pontificatûs
nostri Anno iii."

[73] There went a tale that Michael Angelo proposed to demolish the
palace of the Medicis, like that of the Bentivogli at Bologna, and to
call the site "Piazza de' Muli," the place of Bastards, in allusion to
the illegitimacy of Clemente VII. Alessandro, and others of that family.
"A feature," says Fiorillo, "if true, as characteristic of his natural
ferocity as disgraceful to his heart, after the benefits heaped on him
from his infancy by that family. Varchi, however, defends him against
this charge."[76] Whether this tale confutes itself or not, may be left
to the reader; but on an estimate of his private and public conduct, as
man and artist during the long course of his life, it must be owned,
that this is the period which offers the most specious opportunity to a
sceptic in morals, of fixing some doubts on the integrity of his
principles. His earliest actions prove that he drew a severe line
between the duty which he owed to his country, and gratitude imposed by
private obligations. He left the family of Pier de' Medici on finding
his principles incompatible with the laws of a free state; and on the
expulsion of the petty tyrants, without lending a hand to the
devastation of their property, felt it his duty to act as a free man on
the re-establishment of liberty, and to obey the laws of a state whose
right to legislate for itself had been acknowledged by all Italy. It
will not be said, that it is palliating duplicity to assert, that as a
private individual he had a right to accept the behests of Leo X. and
Clemente VII. for decorating a sacred edifice; but when he became a
leader of the revolution, the trustee of his country's safety, the main
defender of the city, did he not more than degrade himself, by
forgetting the patriot in the artist, and "secretly" sacrificing time to
raise monuments to men whose titles he opposed and whose principles he
detested? Thus, whilst his conduct may prove the absurdity of the tale,
that he publicly, and with illiberal sarcasms, advised the demolition of
palaces belonging to a family whose memory he secretly laboured to
perpetuate in monuments inspired by the most amorous phantasy; it
certainly does not screen his character from the imputation of a
duplicity to which no other period of his life offers a parallel.

[74] "Lavorava," says Vasari, "le statue per le sepolture di S. Lorenzo
segretamente,"--p. 224, ed. B. And again, "Lavorando egli con
sollecitudine e con amore grandissimo tali opere, crebbe (che pur troppo
gli impedi il fine) lo assedio."--p. 229. Impossible as the secrecy of
his labours for the Chapel of S. Lorenzo may appear, the publicity of
his situation considered, it must be admitted, to account for the
confidence placed in him by the City.

[75] Of the Fall of Lucifer and his Host, which was to face the
altar-piece of the Last Judgement, no sketch that could give an idea of
the whole has yet been discovered; its place over the grand door of the
Chapel was reserved for the sacrilegious 'bravura' of the Neapolitan
Matteo da Lecca, under the pontificate of Gregorio XIII.: his
composition, if impudence of grouping deserve that name, must be
supposed to bear infinitely less analogy to the original conception of
Michael Angelo, than the tumultuary fresco of the Sicilian; who, says
Vasari, having lived many months with Michael Angelo as a servant and
colour-grinder, became possessed of some design of his for that subject,
and painted it in fresco in a chapel of the Trinità del Monte.
Notwithstanding the incompetence of the adventurer to manage such
materials, the naked groups showering from Heaven, and the hubbub of
transformed fiends grappling below in the abyss, struck the beholder
with terror and surprise;--a mass of Dantesque images, and in Dantesque
language described by the biographer.--V. di M.A. t. vi. 237.

[76] Stor. Fior. lib. vi. p. 154.

[77] This pompous visit appears to have been made for the purpose of
inspecting the Cartoon; to remove the obstacles to its completion which
the unfinished state of the Giulian monument still presented; and to
convince the artist of the value he set on the exclusive service of his
genius. But, besides the obligation of fulfilling his contract with the
House of De Rovere, Vasari seems to think that one principal reason of
Michael Angelo's tardiness to comply with the wishes of the Pope, was
the Pontiff's age, (vedendolo tanto vecchio,) _i. e._ apprehension, if
he lived long enough to prevent the termination of the monument, of his
dying too soon for the completion of the fresco, and thus leaving him
exposed to the revenge of the Duke of Urbino: a conjecture not
countenanced by the Pontiff's age, who, at his accession, was only
eight years older than the artist.

[78] Bastiano, says Vasari, was a favourite of Michael Angelo, but a
disagreement took place between them about the best method of painting
the Last Judgement. Frà Bastiano had persuaded the Pontiff to give the
preference to oil, but Michael Angelo resolved to execute it only in
fresco. On seeing the Frate's preparation adopted, without agreeing to
it or opposing it, he remained inactive for several months; till, on
being pressed, he finally declared, that he would either do it in fresco
or not at all; that oil paint was a woman's art, and the refuge of
idlers at their ease like Frà Bastiano. In consequence of which, the
Frate's incrustation being dashed to the ground, and the wall duly
prepared for fresco, he set about the work, but never forgot the insult
he fancied to have received from the friar during life.--Vasari, Vita di
F.S.

[79] Michael Angelo had finished more than three-fourths of the work,
when the Pontiff visited the Chapel, and on inspection, turning to
Messer Biagio, of Cesena, then master of ceremonies, in his train, asked
him what he thought of the work? The scrupulous prelate replied, that so
daring an aggregate of shameless nudities in a sacred place was obscene
profanation, and an exhibition fitter for a tavern or a brothel than a
papal chapel. Michael Angelo, indignant, and eager to revenge the
affront, only waited for his departure, and then, from memory, drew him
in the character of Dante's Minos, with a snake encircling his body and
gnawing his middle, in the midst of a hillock of fiends. In vain did
Messer Biagio supplicate the Pontiff and Michael Angelo to take him out;
he remained, and is there still. So far Vasari; but tradition adds, that
on Biagio's application, the Pope asked in what part of the picture he
was placed, and being answered, in Hell, replied, had you been lodged in
Purgatory, you might perhaps have been dismissed, "sed ex Inferno nulla
est redemptio." Condivi notices the story not at all.

In the Diary of Paris de' Grassi, Messer Biagio is said to have been
appointed master of ceremonies by Leo X. 1518, in the room of Nicola da
Viterbo, and, if we believe Ducange, (Table des Auteurs dans le
Supplement du Glossaire,) he has written a diary himself.--See Fiorillo,
i. p. 389.

[80] Blaise de Vigenere, the translator of Philostratus and Callistratus,
tells us, in his observations on the latter, page 855, that "he saw M.
Angelo, at the age of sixty, strike off more marble from a block in one
quarter of an hour, than four stonemasons usually did in three or four
hours." If this happened in 1550, as will appear from the following
passage, M. Angelo was then in his seventy-sixth year.--"L'entrepris aussi
de Michel l'Ange estoit hautaine et fort hardie, sentant bien sa main
assurée, le quel commança l'an 1550, que j'estois à Rome, un Crucifiement
où il y avoit de dix à douze personnages, non pas moindres que le naturel,
le tout d'une seule pièce de marbre, qui était un chapiteau de l'une de
ces huict grandes colomnes du temple de la Paix de Vespasian, dont il s'en
void encore une toute entière et debout, mais la mort----"

[81] Vol. vi. p. 272.

[82] Vasari's account of both pictures is sufficiently curious to be
communicated in his own words. "Alfonso D'Avalo, Marchese del Guasto,
having obtained from Michael Angelo, by means of Frà Nicolo della Magna,
a cartoon of Christ appearing to Magdalen in the Garden, made every
exertion to have it executed in painting by Puntormo, as he had been
told by Michael Angelo that no one could serve him better. Jacopo
undertook the work, and succeeded to a degree of excellence, which made
Alessandro Vitelli, captain of the Florentine guards, bespeak a second
copy of him, which he placed in his house at Cività di Castello."

"Michael Angelo, to oblige his intimate friend Bartolomeo Bettini, made
him a Cartoon of Venus naked and Cupid kissing her, to be executed by
Puntormo in oil, for the centre piece of an apartment, on the sides of
which Bronzino had begun to paint Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio, to be
followed by the rest of Tuscan love-songsters. The picture of Puntormo
was miraculous, but instead of being given to Bettini for the price
stipulated, was, by some favour-hunters, his enemies, nearly extorted
from Jacopo, and carried off as a present to Duke Alessandro, returning
the cartoon to Bettini. A transaction which, when he heard it, irritated
Michael Angelo, who loved his friend, and made him dislike Jacopo for
it."--Vasari, Vita di Jacopo da, P.V.

[83] They had been fellow-scholars in the garden of Lorenzo de' Medici.



SCHOOL OF SIENA.


In the enumeration of Tuscan art, some lovers of subdivision have
fancied, with more refinement than solidity, to discover in the style of
Sienese artists a characteristic sufficiently distinct from the
Florentine, to erect Siena into a school. This characteristic, we are
told, is a peculiar gaiety in the selection of colour, and an air of
physiognomic vivacity and serenity of face; both, it seems, the
inheritance of the Sienese race. They have, accordingly, divided this
school into three epochs: the first is that of the _ancients_ (gli
antichi); and its first palpable patriarch, Guido, or Guidone, commonly
called _Guido da Siena_, and noticed already in the beginning of our
chapter on the Florentine school. He flourished before the birth of
Cimabue, in the first half of the thirteenth century, and is followed
by the names of Ugolino da Siena and Duccio surnamed di Boninsegna,
the precursors of Simone Memmi, the contemporary of Giotto, who painted
Laura and survives in the sonnets of her lover. Lippo Memmi and Cecco da
Martino, his relatives, float in the obscurity which prevailed till the
appearance of Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti. Of the first there still
exists an extensive work in the public palace, or rather a didactic
poem, which in suitable allegories and in varied views, exhibits the
vices of a bad government, and personifies the qualities necessary to
form the rulers of a virtuous republic--a work which, with less monotony
of features, and more judgment in the division of the subjects, would,
in the opinion of Lanzi, find little to envy in the best-treated
histories of Pisa's Campo Santo. In partnership with his brother Pietro,
he painted, in the Hospital of Siena, the Presentation and the Espousal
of the Madonna--pictures destroyed in 1720. This is that Pietro who, in
the Campo Santo of Pisa, painted the Hermits of the Desert, and the
Terrors of Solitude invaded by an Infernal Apparition, with a novelty of
conception and a richness of fancy, that render his work the most
interesting of the whole series. That, notwithstanding the plague, which
had wasted the population of Siena at that period, the art continued to
flourish, is proved by the numbers who formed themselves into a civil
body under the immediate patronage of the Republic itself. In some
families it became an heirloom: such were the Vanni and the Bartoli.
Andrea di Vanni, or more properly, di Giovanni, not only figured as an
artist in his native city, but was delegated by the Republic to the Pope
at Avignon, and appears in the records as "Capitano del Popolo;" and
among the letters of Santa Caterina da Siena, there are three addressed
to him.[84] Vasari has mentioned Taddeo di Bartolo, (1351--1410.) whose
works still exist in the public palace and the adjoining hall. They
pretend to represent a number of celebrated republicans, and chiefly
Greeks and Romans, but their physiognomies are all ideal, and their
dresses the costume of Siena. Something was added to the monotony of
these family styles under the Pontificate of Pio II. or Enea Silvio,
(1503,) by Matteo di Giovanni, in disposition, variety, expression,
drapery; he has accordingly been complimented by some as the Masaccio of
Siena, but remained unknown to Vasari. The art gained still more under
the auspices of a second Piccolomini, Pio III. (1503.) He employed
Pinturicchio, Raffaello, and other strangers, to perpetuate the
achievements of his predecessor Enea; and they, Raffaello excepted,
continued with Signorelli and Genga to exercise their talents in
decorating the Palace of Pandolfo Petrucci, who had usurped supreme
power in the Republic.

The second period of Sienese art opens with the sixteenth century, and
the works of Giacomo Pacchiarotto, or Pacchiarotti. They resemble the
produce of Perugino's school, though distinguished by more vigour of
composition. But what entitles this epoch to the claim of establishing
the peculiar style of this school, must be looked for in the works of
Giannantonio Razzi, Domenico Beccafumi, and Baldassare Peruzzi.

Giannantonio Razzi,[85] commonly called "Il Soddoma," is said by some to
have been a native of Vergille, in the territory of Siena; by others, of
Vercelli, in Piedmont. Long residence, however, supplied the want of
birthright: Siena claims him for her own; and if a charming whole,
suavity of tint combined with force of chiaroscuro, be the principal
characteristic of that school, no native has expressed it with equal
evidence and felicity. This gaiety of tone and manner some have traced
to the jovial turn of the man himself; as careless as gay, ever in
pursuit of youth and beauty, though with an indiscretion that brands him
with the stain tacked to his name, from a character so volatile and
dissipated, that inequality of execution might be expected which marks
his happiest effusions. Thus, in the Church of S. Domenico, where he
represented Sta. Caterina of Siena, on receiving the stigmata,
fainting in the arms of two sister nuns, we forgive to the energy of
conception, the pathos of expression, and the sympathy of tone that
press the principal group on our hearts, that neglect which left the
figure of the Saviour below mediocrity, and own, with Baldassare
Peruzzi, that we never saw mental dereliction and fainting beauty
expressed with deeper sentiment and truth; a verdict which receives
full sanction from him who relates it, Vasari, less the biographer than
the merciless censor of the obnoxious Razzi, for whose moral turpitude
and technic slovenliness his sanctimonious asperity found no other
excuse than that of madness, which swayed him to neglect or misapply the
powers of genius. Thus, in speaking of the fresco at Monte Oliveto, in
which Soddoma had chosen to represent a bevy of harlots let loose with
song and dance on St. Benedetto and his flock, to try their sanctity, he
reprobates the licentiousness that had larded the subject with
additional obscenity, whilst he concludes by owning that it is one of
the best pictures in the Convent. How are we to reconcile the neglect
which, disdaining to consult Nature, or to regulate a picture by cartoon
or design, relied for the whole on practice and on chance, with the
praise bestowed on Razzi's composition, the faces that speak, the
breasts that palpitate, the torsos compared by some to the antique, by
others to Michael Angelo, but by that indifference which often
distinguishes the man of genius from the man of talent, him who
possesses by Nature from him who acquires by art? Capacity and
attachment unite not always; and to Soddoma, vain, whimsical, volatile,
art appears to have been no more than the readiest means of procuring
amusement or pleasure. "My art dances to the sound of your purse," said
he to the Abbot of Monte Oliveto.

Agostino Chigi, pleased with the art, and still more the whimsies of
Soddoma, if we believe Vasari, carried him to Rome, and introduced him
to Giulio II. to co-operate with Pietro Perugino, &c. in the Vatican;
but his labours being superseded by the novel powers of Raffaelle,
Agostino, whose attachments were not regulated by the Pontiff's whims,
employed him in the decorations of his own palace, now the Farnesina;
where, in a principal apartment leading to the great saloon reserved for
Raffaelle, he painted the Nuptials of Alexander and Roxana in a style no
doubt inferior to the Loves of Amor and Psyche, but not of an
inferiority sufficient to account for the enormous disparity of fame
that separates both.

Domenico Mecherino,[86] the son of a Sienese peasant, better known by
the adopted name of Beccafumi, inferior to Razzi in elegance of line
and suavity of colour, excelled him in energy of conception and style.
Vasari, who invests Beccafumi with every excellence and virtue, of which
the defect or opposite vice disgraced Razzi, still owns that he did not
reach the physiognomic suavity that marks the faces of Soddoma; and
after leading him from the scanty elements of Pietro Perugino to Rome,
the Antique, the Chapel of M. Angelo, and the works of Raffaelle, by a
kind of anticlimax brings him back to Siena to complete his studies by
adopting the principles of Giannantonio. A modern writer,[87] on the
contrary, has discovered that the talents of Domenico, overpowered by
the genius of M. Angelo, turned their current awry, and failed to
produce the legitimate efforts which might have been expected from a
steady adherence to the principles of Raffaelle--opinions less founded
on the character of the artist and the spirit of his works than on the
partiality and prejudice of the critics. Beccafumi was not of the first
class, less made to lead than to follow with an air of originality; to
amalgamate principles not absolutely discordant--thus, in single
figures, he sometimes more than imitates, he equals M. Angelo, as in
those noticed by Bottari;--and again, in larger compositions, such as
those on the pavement of the Cathedral, works by which he is chiefly
known, we see him on the traces of Raffaelle, and emulating the variety
and graces of Polydoro: these graces frequently vanished, and
correctness as often ceased with the increased size of his figures: the
foreshortenings, in which he delighted, savour more of the "sotto in
su," introduced by Correggio to Upper Italy, than of the principles of
M. Angelo; they are generally attended by a magic chiaroscuro, like that
of the figure of Justice, on which Vasari expatiates, on the ceiling of
the public hall at Siena, which, from profound darkness gradually rising
into light, seems to vanish in celestial splendour. He is said by Vasari
to have preferred fresco and distemper to oil paint, as a purer,
simpler, and of course more durable medium; and though the predominant
red of his flesh-tints has more freshness than glow, such is the
solidity of his impasto and the purity of his method, that his panels
present us to this day less with the injuries than the improvements of
time.

The style of Mecherino did not survive him: for Giorgio da Siena, his
pupil, confined himself to grotesque work, in imitation of Giovanni da
Udine; Giannella, or Giovanni of Siena, turned to architecture: of Marco
Pino, commonly called Marco da Siena, his reputed pupil, the style,
decidedly built on the principles of M. Angelo, renders all notion of
his having received more than the first rudiments from Beccafumi or any
other master, nugatory: but the conjecture of Lanzi, that Domenico was
the master of Danielle Ricciarelli, known to have begun his studies at
Siena, though unsupported by tradition, acquires an air of probability
less from the supposed mutual attachments to M. Angelo, than the
versatility of their talents and similarity of pursuits.

Baldassare Peruzzi,[88] born in the diocese of Volterra, but in the
Sienese State, and of a citizen of Siena, with considerable talents for
painting, possessed a decided genius in architecture. His style of
design is temperate and correct, but quantity is the element of his
composition, if _indeed_ an aggregate of fortuitous figures deserve that
name. The Adoration of the Magi, preserved in various coloured copies
from his original chiaroscuro, embraces every fault of ornamental
painting without its only charm: it is not exaggeration to say, that the
principal figures are the least conspicuous, that the leaders are
sacrificed to their equipage, that the architect every where crosses the
painter, and that the quadrupeds, however brutally placed or
impertinently introduced, for conception, chiaroscuro, spirit and style,
give to the work what merit it can claim. The same principle prevails in
his fresco of the Presentation at the Pace, and both are so evidently
opposite to Raffaello's system of composition, that it is not easily
understood how he could be supposed to have been a pupil or imitator of
that master in propriety. If he resembles him any where, it is in single
expressions, as in the Judgement of Paris at the Castello di Belcaro,
according to Lanzi; and still more in the prophetic countenance of the
celebrated Sibyl predicting the birth of the Virgin to Augustus, at
Fonte Giusta, in Siena, whose divine enthusiasm no prophetess of
Raffaello has excelled, and no Sibyl of Guido or Guercino approached.


FOOTNOTES:

[84] Lettere della Beata Vergine, S. Caterina da Siena. Venez. 1562.,
4to. p. 286, 242. The last was written at the period of Vanni's dignity.

[85] 1481-1554.

[86] 1484-1549?

[87] Fiorillo, i. 335.

[88] 1481-1536.



THE ROMAN SCHOOL.


The Roman School comprises, besides the natives of the metropolis, those
of the whole Ecclesiastic State, Bologna, Ferrara, and some part of
Romagna excepted.

The origin of this school recedes into the earlier periods of modern
art, if we consider Oderigi of Gubbio, a painter of miniature,
contemporary with Cimabue, as one of its founders. His death, which
preceded that of the Florentine at least one year, the branch of art he
exercised, missal-painting, and what we know of his situation, make it
extremely improbable that he owed the elements of design to that master,
with whom he seems to have had little in common but the honour of
rearing a pupil, who in the sequel eclipsed his name, and became the
founder of another school.

Perhaps he made some scholars too at home: in 1321 we find Cecco and
Puccio of Gubbio, engaged as painters to the Dome of Orvieto; and about
1324, Guido Palmerucci Eugubino, employed in the Town-hall of Gubbio; a
few half figures yet remaining of this evanescent work are in a style
not inferior to that of Giotto, at whose period we are now arrived.

Giotto, at Rome, gave instructions to Pietro Cavallini in painting and
mosaic, and with what success we may form some idea from the
wonder-working Christ in S. Paolo at Rome, the Salutation at S. Marco of
Florence, and a Crucifixion at Assisi; a crowded composition of
soldiers, mob, and horses, varied in dress and not ill discriminated by
expression, with groups of angels hovering over them in sable robes. In
vastness of conception and spirit it resembles Memmi, and in one of the
crucified men, foreshortening is not unsuccessfully attempted; the
colours have still a degree of freshness, especially the blue, which
here and in other places of the church forms, in the metaphor of Lanzi,
a ceiling of oriental sapphire.

After the demise of Cavallini, who, notwithstanding a life of
eighty-five years, appears to have left taste nearly in the state he
found it; a band of obscure and insignificant artists led the art in a
style neither Giottesque nor Greek to the verge of the fifteenth
century--that important period when the Popes, re-established at Rome,
searched for the best hands to decorate its Vatican and temples. The
first name that occurs, is that of Ottaviano Martis, whose Madonna in
Sta. Maria Nuova at Gubbio, bears the date of 1403; she has a choir
of stripling angels round her in attitudes not ungraceful, but with
faces as like to each other as if they had all been cast in one mould.

The name of Gentile da Fabriano is of more consequence; it is he whose
style Michael Angelo compared to his name (Gentile.) About 1417 we find
him at Orvieto among the painters of its Dome, registered with the title
of Magister Magistrorum. Under Martin V. he painted with Pisanello in
the Lateran at Rome: what he did there perished, and so did his works in
the public palace at Venice, where he resided, was pensioned, and raised
to the rank of Patrician. "In that city," says Vasari, "he was the
master and like a parent to Giacopo Bellini, the father of Giovanni and
Gentile Bellini, founders of the Venetian school and masters of
Giorgione and Tizian. Of his numerous works the remains are in the Marca
d'Ancona, the state of Urbino, at Gubbio and Perugia: Florence still
preserves two of his pictures, one in S. Nicolo with the image and
histories of that bishop, another in the sacristy of the Trinità, with
an Epiphany and the date of 1423. His style resembles that of Frà
Angelico da Fiesole, with the exception of forms less elegant, less
female grace, and more profusion of gold lace and brocade. _Antonio da
Fabriano_, with the date 1454, and _Bartholomæus Magistri Gentilis de
Urbino_, 1497 and 1508, are inscriptions on pictures at Matelica,
Pesaro, and Monte Cicardo, that have no other claim to attention than
the relation their names seem to indicate with Gentile.

Piero della Francesca, or Piero Borghese, an Umbrian, of Borgo S.
Sepolcro, is a superior name. He must have been born about 1398, as,
according to Vasari, his works were about 1458; he grew blind at sixty,
and died eighty-five years old. He was instructed in painting at the age
of fifteen, after having laid a foundation in mathematics, and
distinguished himself in both. His beginnings were minute; his master
has escaped search. The first scene of his talent was the Court of
Guidobaldo Feltro the old, Duke of Urbino, where the perspective of a
vase drawn by him, provokes the astonishment of his biographer; but
besides perspective, Painting owes to him her first notions of the
effects of light, of muscular precision, and the method of preparing
clay models for the study of drapery.[89]

He painted much at Rome, and in the Floreria of the Vatican there still
exists a large fresco reputed his, representing Niccolo V. with some
cardinals and prelates, whose faces interest by a character of truth. At
Arezzo, he seems to have improved even upon Giotto and his school, by
the novelty of his foreshortenings, vigour of tone, and powers which
attended by equal grace, would have set him on a level with Masaccio.

Nicolo Alunno of Foligno, advanced the art still farther; this is
evident on comparing a picture of his painted 1480, with another at S.
Nicolo of Foligno, dated 1492. The tone of his colour, even in
distemper, has novelty and vigour; his heads have vivacity, though with
trivial and sometimes caricatured characters: and in gilding he is
moderate. Vasari, who places him in the time of Pinturicchio, praises
above all a Pietà in a chapel of the Domo, in which, he says, "there are
two angels who weep with such expression of grief, that, in my opinion,
no other painter, however excellent, could have done much more."

Nor was Urbino without painters at this period: Fiorillo names Lorenzo
da San Severino. At Urbino some pictures still remain of Giovanni
Sanzio, the father of Raphael, who by the Duchess Giovanna della Rovere
is called a very ingenious artist: a foreshortened figure of St.
Sebastian, painted by him for the church of that saint, has been
imitated by Raphael in an early picture of Our Lady's Wedding, at Città
di Castello. He subscribed himself Io. Sanctis Urbi.; viz. Urbinas. Such
at least is the inscription on his Annunciation at Sinigaglia, a work of
high finish, but unequal in its parts, and in the best, though less
genial, approaching the style of Pietro Perugino, with whom he had for
some time co-operated. But the most distinguished Urbinese artist was
Bartolommeo Corradini, a Dominican, commonly called Frà Carnevale: at
the Osservanza there is a picture of his, defective in perspective, with
draperies frittered into the usual tatters of the time, but with faces
that breathe and speak, and airs of dignity and ease: he was one of the
first who introduced portrait into historic composition, a method
adopted and often practised by Raphael, who at Urbino had studied his
works.

Perugia laid an early claim to Art, at least as a craft. Mariotti tells
of one Tullio a Perugine painter about 1219, and in a long file of
quattrocentists, allots the most conspicuous places to Lorenzo di
Lorenzo, Bartolommeo Caporali, whose works are dated about 1487, but
above all to Benedetto Bonfigli. Yet with this abundance of home-bred
artists, Perugia employed in its public works the hands of strangers,
and chiefly Tuscans; it was to Florence, States and Princes looked for
that master-style which could give splendour to a great commission. When
Sisto IV. planned the decorations of the Sistina, the greater number of
conscripts for the work were Tuscans, and Pietro Perugino the only
artist drawn from his subjects among them.

Pietro Vannucci, of Città della Pieve, as he subscribed some pictures,
or of Perugia, as he did others, being a citizen of that place, studied,
if we believe Vasari, under a master of little eminence; but according
to the more authentic researches of Mariotti,[90] was a pupil, and
sufficiently advanced himself by the instructions of Bonfigli and Piero
della Francesca, to finish his style on the works of Giotto and Masaccio
at Florence, without entering the school of Verrocchio.

Those who have contemplated the works of Pietro will without much
difficulty discover two styles of composition, form, colour, and
execution: the first was the result of the instructions he received in
the Roman, the second, that of the impression made on his mind and hand
by the Tuscan School: what he painted in oil and of small dimensions,
generally belongs to the first; what he executed in fresco to the second
period. There we find the hardness, the haggard forms, the miserly
scantiness of drapery, the Gothic apposition and anxious finish with
which he is charged, relieved by azure blues, emerald greens, violet and
crimson hues, the legacies of missal-painting, and a certain air of
juvenile and female grace, with suavity of countenance and colour:
beauties which not only followed him in his second style, but were
rendered more impressive by rudiments of that breadth which seems to be
the privilege of fresco, by keeping, mellowness, tone, and approaches to
composition, as in the altar-piece of the Kindred of the Saviour and the
fresco in the Hall of the Change, at Perugia.

Whilst the physiognomic monotony which had hitherto dulled the human
feature, began to give way to expression and character in the works of
this period, it is not easy to explain why its companion, that Gothic
symmetry in the arrangement of the whole, should not only have been
retained but aggravated into a studied parallelism; not that pathetic
repetition of attitude and gesture which forces the moment of the
subject more irresistibly on the mind than the most varied contrasts,
but a nearly rectilinear apposition, whose principal law was to place,
by a central figure, on each side of the picture, an equal number of
subordinate ones; a law that extended itself to the most minute detail,
and bade buildings, flowers, clouds and pebbles, re-echo each other; and
all this in the face of Giotto, whose Navicella, Death of Maria, and
other works, gave evidence that his composition had, a century before,
disdained to move in the trammels which were now suffered to check that
of Pietro Perugino, and for no inconsiderable time the composition of
Raphael himself.

Invention was not the element of Pietro. His crucifixions, depositions,
burials, ascensions, and assumptions, are the brothers and sisters of
one family. He was blamed for this sterility even in his own time, and
defended himself by saying that, if he possessed little, he owed
nothing, and that what had pleased in one place could not displease in
another. It does not indeed offend to find the scenery of his St. Peter
receiving the keys in the Sistina, repeated in the Wedding of our Lady
at Perugia, and to meet the beauties here concentrated which he had
singly scattered over various places.

Pietro had vigour of constitution and length of life, and if he profited
by the works of Raphael, whom he outlived, might have done so by those
of Lionardo and Buonarroti. In few men so many contradictory qualities
seem to have united: ridiculed for a degree of avarice, which, it was
said, made him withhold the necessary drapery from his figures, he is
yet allowed by Vasari to have been greedier to accumulate than sordid in
the use of wealth, and to have pleased himself by marrying "a beautiful
damsel, whom he so much delighted in seeing elegantly dressed both
abroad and at home, that he was often suspected of having dressed her
himself." By her he had children, but no records enable us to judge of
him as a parent. That he was a good and kind master, is proved by the
numerous scholars he reared, and still more by the pride which the most
eminent and best of them took, by introducing him more than once in his
works, to perpetuate with his own gratitude the memory of his master.
With this kindness for his pupils, Pietro connected intolerance of
rivals and a mordacity of language, which provoked Michael Agnolo to
call him publicly a dunce (_goffo_) in art. His life was spent in
receiving commissions from the clergy, in meditating and composing
subjects of devotion; and yet, if we believe his biographer, he carried
infidelity to a degree which resisted all arguments for the immortality
of the soul, and with words dictated by an obstinacy worthy of his
marble brains,[91] rejected all invitations to better information. Of
the numerous scholars whom he had reared, the greater part followed his
manner with servile attachment; hence many of their works have been
ascribed to him, by those who did not form their judgment at Perugia, or
at Florence in Sta. Chiara and the Ducal palace: thus he pays forfeit
for many a holy family of Guerino da Pistoia, Rocco Zoppo, or some other
of his Tuscan scholars. The best and least enthralled of his pupils
belong to the Roman school: Bernardino Pinturicchio, less praised by
Vasari than he deserves, without the correctness of his master, and with
more Gothic profusion of gold-lace and brocade, possesses magnificence
of plan, expression of countenance, and propriety of composition.
Familiar with Raphael, who was his assistant at Siena, he made attempts
to imitate his grace, and sometimes not without success: at Rome, the
Vatican and Araceli Temple possess some of his works; at Siena he
painted, in ten pictures, the history of Pio II. and added one of Pio
III. his employer, and these, with what he left in the Dome of Spello,
are the best of his labours.

Of at more independent and grander spirit was Andrea Luigi, of Assisi,
surnamed L'Ingegno, the Genius. He assisted Pietro in the Change-hall
at Perugia, and there and in his Prophets and Sibyls at Assisi,
aggrandized and mellowed the style of his master to a degree, which led
Sandrart, with others, to ascribe the latter work to Raphael; but
blindness checked his career in the bloom of life, and left the art to
Raphael without a rival.

Domenico di Paris Alfani added, likewise, some improvements to the style
of Pietro. His name was nearly sunk in that of his son or brother
Orazio, and time and dates alone have re-asserted its right to some
excellent works long adjudged to the other; and which, were it not for
an insipid sweetness of tone bordering on that of Baroccio, seem to have
been inspired by the principles of Raphael.

Of Pietro's many ultramontane pupils, Giovanni Spagnuolo, a Spaniard,
called Lo Spagna, who settled at Spoleto, is considered by Vasari as the
most eminent. But all these names united confer less celebrity on
Pietro, than the felicity of having reared the powers of Raffaello
Sanzio, if not the founder, the great establisher of the Roman School.

Raffaello Sanzio, born at Urbino on Holy Friday, April 1483, was the son
of Giovanni Sanzio, named among the contemporaries and occasional
helpers of Pietro, in whose school, after having imparted the first
rudiments of Art to his son, conscious of his own inferiority, he had
the modesty to place him. Here his progress was so rapid that he soon
rendered himself completely master of Vannucci's style, soon became his
favourite pupil, soon his co-adjutor, and in a short period more than
his competitor: for though the pictures which he painted at Cività di
Castello and Perugia, and are so amorously dwelt on by Lanzi, still
betray in composition, design, and colour, the principles of the master,
they exhibit symptoms of that expression, that beauty, those simple
graces, that refinement and precision of finish, which not only had
remained unknown to Pietro, but in their purity were never attained by
any subsequent artist.--Some of these are perceivable already, if
scantily, in the Procession to Golgotha, preceded by horsemen and
attended by the Madonna and her female train; and still less perceptibly
in one of its predelle which exhibits the Saviour held extended by his
Mother, Magdalen and John: they cannot be mistaken in the predelle
which represents him among the sleeping disciples praying in the
garden,--performances of his puerility, and most probably before he left
the school of Pietro.

After an enumeration of Raffaello's juvenile works at Cività di Castello
and at Perugia, we are told that he who ascribed Sanzio's art to length
of study and not to nature, was not acquainted with the powers of his
mind.[92]

That such was the verdict of Michael Agnolo, is recorded by Condivi; and
from aught that appears, it does not seem either invidious or
incompetent. If Art be a complete system of invariable rules, he only is
a master of Art who substantiates its precepts by equal uniformity of
execution and taste; and till he arrives at that point, he can only be
said to have seized more or less of its parts in making approaches to
the whole, and to be indebted to "study" and not to "nature," if he put
himself at last in possession of it.

Such was the progress of Raffaello; he arrived by degrees at style in
design, by degrees at style in composition, by degrees at invention,
expression, and at what appeared to him colour. His genius emancipated
him from the shackles of prescription and fashion, rapidly, if we
compare his progress with the shortness of his life or the progress of
the rest of his contemporaries, but slowly, if we compare him with
Michael Angelo, whose system of Art seems to have been born with him,
whose infancy, virility, age, exhibit one uniform principle. Every
element of the system displayed in the Capella Sistina and on the tombs
in S. Lorenzo, may be traced in his essays at the garden of the Medici
and in the Holy Family painted for Angelo Doni: but what eye will
discover the future painter of the Heliodorus, or the composer of the
Cartoons in the bridal arrangements of our Lady's Wedding at Cività di
Castello, or even in the Cartoons for the sacristy of the Duomo at
Sienna?

Though the commission of painting in that place a series of the most
memorable events in the life of Pope Pio II. (a Siennese celebrated by
the name of Enea Silvio,) had been given to Pinturicchio, who had
sufficient modesty and taste to avail himself of the superior and
growing powers of his friend,--it has been asked what enterprise of
equal magnitude had in that infant state of Art ever been consigned to
a single hand, without considering that the co-operation of Raffaello
was adventitious, and less owing to the opinion which he had established
of himself in the public mind than to the modesty of Pinturicchio. And
had not Luca Signorelli singly been entrusted with a work at Orvieto,
whose tremendous and universally interesting subjects beyond comparison
excelled whatever the embassies, the poetic and papal honours, the
canonization of a nun, the ceremonies of a council, the death of the
hero himself, and the transportation of his corpse from Ancona to Rome,
however varied by character, impressed by the sensibility of the artist,
or raised above the heraldry of the times, could pretend to achieve
beyond the precincts of Sienna?

Whether Raffaello furnished the whole of the Cartoons for that work, or
only part, cannot be ascertained from the contradictory account of
Vasari,[93] who in the life of Pinturicchio asserts the first, and in
that of Raffaello, the second. As he, however, did not leave Sienna for
Florence till 1504, it is probable that he continued to assist his
friend in completing the whole historic series: the work itself is in
perfect preservation, and though better informed eyes than those of
Bottari[94] might not be competent to discriminate the parts which
exclusively belong to Raffaello, it is certain that in the progress of
the pictures there is an evident progress toward style.

Aggrandisement of style might reasonably be supposed to have been the
motive that drew Raffaello to Florence. The David of M. Angiolo was
placed; he had begun his cartoon, which from its very inaccessibility,
and the high character of the artist whom it opposed, must have been an
object of eager curiosity to the public, and of tremulous expectation to
the student. Florence was, no doubt, at that period divided into two
technic factions, Vinciists and Bonarotists; it does not, however,
appear that Raffaello adhered to either of the two leaders; neither the
learning and energy of Bonaroti, nor the magic chiaroscuro of Lionardo,
could divert the future painter of the passions from his course; he
therefore attached himself to the study of Masaccio, as a more direct
guide to the drama. The implicit application of that master's
conceptions in the same or similar subjects, when he was in the vigour
of his powers, if it be the most celebrated proof of this, is a less
convincing one than the similarity of taste and vein of thought which
pervades their works, and might, to men of bolder conjecture than I
pretend to, prove that Masaccio might have been what Raffaello was, had
time and means conspired.

According to the account of Vasari,[95] Raffaello went three times to
Florence: the first time when, according to the biographer, roused by
the fame of Lionardo and M. Angiolo, he left the partnership of
Pinturicchio, 1504--the date of the recommendatory letter with the
affixed name of Joanna Feltria, Duchess of Urbino, addressed to the
Gonfaloniere Pietro Soderini, and said to be still preserved at Florence
among the papers of the Gaddi family. Supposing the date of the letter
(1st October, 1504) to be correct, and the writer of it to have been
acquainted with the person she recommends, its genuineness, as Fiorillo
observes, is liable to strong suspicion. Its expressions might fit a lad
of ten or twelve years, but certainly not a young man of one-and-twenty,
the age of Raffaello, who had painted many pictures, was at that very
time employed in a great public work, and only three years after was
called to Rome by Giulio the Second.

Though Raffaello's talents had spread his name, and attracted the
attention and the wishes of Giulio the Second to employ him in the
decoration of the Vatican, it may be presumed that the persuasive
influence of his relative, Bramante Lazzari, decided the Pontiff to
distinguish him by that immediate and exclusive call to Rome, which
raised him above all rival competition, and opened the most splendid
period of his life, most probably 1507. Which was the picture he began
with, would not have been contested by his biographers, encomiasts, and
critics, from Vasari to Mengs, had they attended less to hearsay, for
tradition it cannot be called, than to the evidence of the works
themselves. To date the dispute on the Sacrament after the School of
Athens, equally inverts the progressive powers of the artist in
conception, taste, style, and execution. Everywhere that composition
betrays a young performer, enviably successful in each individual part,
but whom experience has not yet enabled to spread an harmonious whole.
The connection of its upper with the lower scene, less divided than rent
asunder, depends entirely on a mental effort in the spectator. The
parallelism of the celestial synod, impresses more with formal monotony
than awful energy, and the ostentatious abuse of gold impairs its
dignity. In the lower part of the picture, less sublime than dramatic,
the artist moves in his own element; its parallelism and its contrasts,
no longer the result of ceremonious symmetry, but of the inspiring
principle, warms contemplation to sympathy, and its characteristic
correctness exhibits in Raffaello's own unassisted, or rather unalloyed
hand, the style of the School of Athens, the Mass of Bolsena, the
female part of the Heliodorus, and with a felicity unattained in the
Parnassus and the Attila,--the more ample outlines and the increased
volume of forms in the Angels, and the Heliodorus and his accomplices on
the foreground.


    _A description of two Drawings by Raffaello, from an account of
    the Collection of Drawings and Prints in the Gallery of Duke
    Albrecht, of Sachsen Teschen, at Vienna_.[96]

I.

Two naked male figures, apparently studies from Nature, on one leaf,
drawn in red chalk: one with nearly all his back turned to the eye,
rests the left hand on his hip, and with the right points to something
before him. Somewhat behind you see the other, sideways, in perfect
repose, leaning with both hands on a long spear-like staff; the
background has some rudiments of a sketched head. To the right of the
spectator, at the side of the first figure, you read, "1515,
Raffahell di Urbin der so hoch vom Pobst geacht ist gwest, hat diese
nakte Bild gemacht, und hat sy dem Albrecht Dürer gen Nornberg
geschikt, in sein hand zu weissen."[97]

That Raffaello in his last years, and when at the height of his
celebrity, did exchange drawings with Albert Durer, is attested by the
biographers of both: and that the design here described is one of that
number, is incontestably proved, not only by the peculiarity of style,
the elegance and facility of outline, the characteristic contrast of
solid and muscular parts, but by the identity of the handwriting with
the manuscripts of Albert still existing at Nürnberg, his native city.

I therefore think it no improbable conjecture to suppose that Raffaello,
by transmitting this specimen of his hand to Albert, intended to make
him sensible of the difference between imitating Nature and dryly
copying a model, and so impress him with the necessity of contrasting
his outline according to the different texture of the parts in the
bodies before him.

This interesting leaf is one foot three inches three lines in height,
and ten inches eight lines in width, Vienna measure; and in perfect
preservation.


II.

This design differs in nothing from the well-known picture of the
Transfiguration, but the absolute nudity of all the figures.

That Raffaello was accustomed to sketch in naked outlines, may be known
from most collections that possess something of his hand; but perhaps
none but this may be able to produce a design, of a numerous and
complete composition, in which every figure is rendered with anatomical
correctness and finished chiaroscuro.

Another singularity of this important leaf is, the characteristic
disparity of execution in the figures; for though all are drawn with the
pen, and on the first glance seem hatched in one uniform manner, it soon
appears on close inspection, that they cannot have been produced by the
same hand.

The figures of the three Disciples on the Mount, especially the
foreshortened one, are treated with that spirited facility and
confident decision which always mark the pen of Raffaello. Those of the
Saviour and the collateral prophets, though drawn with less precision
and contours here and there, by repeated strokes, corrected, still
exhibit on the whole the same spirit, facility, and confidence of hand.
Of the actors below, the figure of John, with hands crossed on his
breast, and the three next to him have the same Raffaellesque
characteristics, and so the whole of the females kneeling on the
foreground; but of the adjoining apostle, with the book in his hand, the
projected leg and foot are absolutely out of drawing; whilst the
Demoniac and his father, with all the remaining figures, drawn by mere
practice, without a symptom of the master spirit, give palpable proofs
of a different hand.

It appears no improbable conjecture that Raffaello, after settling the
plan and fully arranging the figures of his picture, drew the nudities
of this design as the bases of his draperies: for this reason only, the
principal parts of the forms, and those muscles that would act most
visibly on the draperies, are designed correctly, and finished with
decision; whilst the heads, and what was either to be naked in the
picture or did not act immediately on the drapery, remained in careless
and superficial lines.

That Raffaello suffered parts of his Transfiguration, and in my opinion
some of the most important parts, to receive all but the last finish from
a pupil, if tradition had not told us, there is ocular demonstration in
the picture itself. The proportions of the Demoniac's father are neglected
as a whole, in relation of limb to limb, and the figure is sacrificed to
place. The face of Christ himself, as it was seen in the Louvre, is
unworthy of Raffaello's hand and conception.[98]

The reason why some of the figures are drawn in the true spirit of the
artist, and others in a bald and insignificant manner, may be, that
after slightly sketching the whole, he gave his own finish in the design
to those parts only which he intended to execute with his own hand in
the picture; and less solicitous for the rest, left them to the hand of
some inferior pupil.

The height of this extraordinary design is one foot eight inches four
lines; its breadth one foot two inches five lines; it is without injury.

       *       *       *       *       *

Taddeo and Federigo Zuccari, the first declared mannerists of this
school, sons of Ottaviano Zuccari, a mediocre painter of S. Angiolo in
Vado, came to Rome successively, formed a school, and filled towns and
states with an immense farrago of good, tolerable, and bad pictures.
From the instructions of Pompeo da Fano and Giacomone da Faenza, but
chiefly from an obstinate study of Raffaello's works, Taddeo, at no
protracted period, gathered enough to diffuse over his own, an air,
though not reality, of style, and to anticipate by contrivance and
facility the rewards which time owes to invention and genius. Courting
the senses of the multitude, he became the hero of the day; they saw
their portraits in his faces, their limbs in his forms, their action in
his attitudes; his draperies, hair, beards, had a cut of fashion. The
simplicity of his disposition is often contrasted by half figures
emerging from his foregrounds; perhaps less from a principle of
imitating his more remote predecessors, than to invigorate the effect of
his chiaroscuro, a method not unknown to Parmegiano.

Rome possesses vast works in fresco of Taddeo; among the best of these
are some Gospel stories at the Consolazione. He seldom painted in oil,
and less commendably in large than small: some of these are cabinet
pictures of exquisite finish,--such a one, (formerly in the collection
of the Duke of Urbino, but more recently at Osimo in the Palace
Leopardi,) is the Nativity of the Saviour, and in Taddeo's very best
style. But the work on which his fame chiefly rests, are the paintings
of the Palazzo Farnese, at Caprarola (engraved in a moderate volume, by
Prenner, 1748). They represent the Feats of the Farnese Family, in peace
and war; to which are joined other stories, both sacred and profane;
but what attracts attention most, is the celebrated "Stanza del Sonno,"
an apartment dedicated to Sleep, replete with a great variety of
allegoric imagery, suggested to him by Annibale Caro, in a long, quaint
letter, printed among his familiar ones, and reproduced among the
"Lettere Pittoriche," t. iii. l. 99.

Dissimilar in the pursuits of life, Taddeo resembled Raffaello in death;
he completed thirty-seven years, and obtained a monument close to
Sanzio, in the "Rotonda."

His brother and pupil Federigo, inferior in design, resembles him in
taste, though more mannered, more capricious in conceit, more crowded in
composition. He completed what death had prevented Taddeo from finishing
in the Sala Regia, that of Farnese, the Trinità de' Monti, and
elsewhere, with the airs of heir-at-law to his brother's talents. Thus
he raised an opinion of capacity for greater enterprise, and was invited
by Francis I. to paint the great Cupola of the metropolitan church at
Florence, which death alone had saved from Vasari's hands. There
Federigo painted more than three hundred figures of fifty feet in
height each, besides that of Lucifer, "so enormous," to use his own
phrase, "that it makes the other figures appear infants;[99]--figures,"
he adds, "larger than the world ever witnessed before in Art." So
little, however, hugeness excepted, is there to admire in this work,
that at the time of Pier da Cortona, a painting of that master would
have been substituted for it, had it not been feared that he would not
live long enough to terminate the whole. After the Cupola, every work of
consequence at Rome appeared his due, and he was recalled by Gregorio to
paint the ceiling of the Paolina, and give a successor to Michael
Angelo. It was at that period, that, on a charge preferred against him
by some courtiers or domestics of Gregorio, he painted and exhibited the
picture of Calumny, and his accusers with asses-ears, which raised a
clamour that obliged him to fly from Rome. During his exile, which
lasted some years, he visited Flanders, Holland, England; had a call
even from Venice to paint a subject in the Ducal Palace, was everywhere
caressed and remunerated, and, the Pope being mitigated, returned to
reassume his interrupted labours in the Capella; the best work perhaps
which, without the assistance of his brother, he has produced at Rome,
though the larger altar-piece of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, and that of the
Angioli at Gesù, with some others dispersed in other churches, may claim
their share of merit. He built a house on Monte Pincio, rapidly and with
the assistance of his scholars furnished with family portraits,
conversations, and other whims in fresco, and left to prove him a
trifler in Art, and the leader of decay.

Invited by Philip II. he went to Madrid, but failed to please; his place
was supplied by Tibaldi, and he sent back with a good pension to Italy.
Towards the end of his life he made another journey, scouring the
principal towns of Italy, and leaving his works wherever he could place
them: of these the Assumption of the Madonna in an oratorio at Rimini on
which he wrote his name, and her Death at Sta. Maria in Acumine of the
same place, with figures more than usually studied, deserve notice. His
Presepio in the Duomo of Foligno, has simplicity and grace; nor less
have the two stories relative to the Madonna, painted for the Duke of
Urbino in a chapel at Loretto. The Miracle of the Snow, in the library
of the Cistercians at Milano, is a multitudinous composition filled with
portraits as usual, variously coloured and well preserved. The Borromean
College at Pavia, has a saloon painted in fresco from incidents in the
life of S. Carlo: the most approved of these is the Saint praying in his
recess: nor might the other two, that of the consistory in which he
received the Cardinal's hat, and the Pest of Milano, want commendation
had they overflowed less in figures. At Torino he painted for the
Jesuits a St. Paul; began to ornament a gallery for the Duke, Charles
Emanuel; published his _Idea de' Pittori Scultori ed Architetti_, and
dedicated it to the Duke. This was followed, at his return to Lombardy,
by two other treatises; "_La dimora di Parma del Sig. Cav. Federico
Zuccaro_; and _Il passaggio per Italia, colla dimora di Parma del Sig.
Cav. Federigo Zuccari_," both printed at Bologna 1608. Next year, on his
return to Rome, he fell sick at Ancona, and there died. His talents,
which extended to sculpture and architecture, were inferior to his
fortune, which preceded that of all his contemporaries, and was in a
great measure the effect of personal qualities; lordly aspect and
demeanour, some literary culture, persuasive manners, and a liberality
that absorbed the wealth which his hand had accumulated.

Emulation seems to have been his chief motive of writing: he longed to
break a lance with Vasari, whom, from whatever cause, as appears from
the postils tacked to the _Vite_, he disliked. They have been sometimes,
especially in the Life of Taddeo, quoted and treated as effusions of
envy and malignity by the annotator of the Roman edition. To prove his
superiority over the Tuscan, he chose a style as obscure and inflated as
that of Giorgio is diffuse and plain; the whole of the treatise printed
at Torino reels in a round of internal and external design, and contains
less precept than peripatetic speculation, which rendered the schools of
that day more loquacious than learned. His language runs over in
intellective[100] and formative conceits, in substantial substances and
formal forms; even the titles of his chapters are larded with equal
fulsomeness of phrase, like that of the XIIth., that "philosophy and to
philosophize, is metaphoric and similitudinarious design." These are the
bait of fools--for none but fools can hope to gather meaning from the
bubbles of sophistry, or stoop to disentangle etymologies which derive
_disegno_ from "Dei signum," the sign of God!

This treatise was probably the offspring of his presidency in the
Academy of St. Luke; for office gives insolence. The Academy dates its
origin from the Pontificate of Gregorio XIII., who granted the brief of
its foundation[101] to Muziano. It had not, however, its full effect
till after the return of Zuccari from Spain, who put it in force and was
unanimously declared "Principe," or President. That was his day of
triumph; he returned from the inauguration in the church of S. Martino
at the foot of the Campidoglio, accompanied by a great concourse of
artists and litterators to his own house, where shortly after he built a
saloon for the accommodation of the Academy, in whose praise he
overflowed in prose and poems, more than once quoted in his larger
treatise; and to seal his extreme affection, bequeathed like Muziano, in
case his own line should fail, the bulk of his fortune to the
establishment.

Giuseppe Cesari, sometimes distinguished by the name of Il Cavaliere
d'Arpino,[102] his native place, was in art what Marino was in
poetry--brilliancy without substance is the characteristic of both, and
either proved the ancient observation, that Arts and Republics receive
the greatest damage from the greatest capacities. The talent of Cesari
bubbled up from his infancy, made him an object of admiration, procured
him through F. Danti, the protection of Gregorio XIII., and in a short
time the reputation of the first master at Rome. Less than the felicity
with which he is said to have executed some pictures from certain
designs of M. Agnolo, in the possession of Giacomo Rocca, his exuberance
alone was sufficient to establish supremacy of name among a race who
measured genius by quantity, and science by confidence of method. If his
numbers were rabble, he arranged them with the skill of a general; if
common-place furnished him with features, arrogance of touch brushed
them into notice; and the horses which he drew with equal truth and
fire, supplied the incorrectness or imbecility of the rider. The
excellence of his colour in fresco, the gaiety which he spread over a
vast surface, hid from the common eye monotony of manner, poverty of
character, and want of finish in the detail of parts.

They were observed, reprobated and opposed by M.A. Caravaggio, A.
Caracci, and the few who saw and thought with them. Quarrels arose, and
challenges were given: that of Caravaggio, Cesari refused to accept,
because he had not yet been knighted, and Annibale rejected that of
Cesari, because, said he, "I know no other weapon than my pencil." They
both experienced the difference of the difficulties that attend
legislation and reform of taste, and were left ineffectually to struggle
with an empiric, who outlived either upwards of thirty years, and then
left a race worse than himself behind him.


FOOTNOTES:

[89] Bramante.

[90] Lett. Perug. V.

[91] "Cervello di porfido."

[92] See Vasari on Michael Angelo's observations on Tizian.

[93] "Fece li Schizzi e i Cartoni di tutte le Istorie."

    _Vita di Pinturicchio._

"Fece alcuni de' disegni e Cartoni di quell' opera."

    _Vita di Raffaello._


[94] In the picture on the facciata, Bottari says, "Si vede non solo il
disegno, ma in molte teste anche il colore di Raffaello."

[95] Essendo con Pinturicchio a Siena--messo da parte quell' opera, e
ogni utile e commodo suo, se ne venne a Fiorenza. Morta la Madre, partì
e andò a Urbino, e accomodate le cose sue, ritornò a Perugia. Prima che
partisse, &c.--Così venuto a Firenze, fece il cartone per il quadro di
Madonna Atalanta Baglioni; dipinse per A. Doni e Dom. Canigiani; studiò
le cose vecchie di Masaccio; acquistò miglioramento dai lavori di
Lionardo e di Michelagnolo; ebbe stretta domestichezza con Frà
Bartolomeo di S. Marco; ma in su la maggior frequenza di questa pratica
fu richiamato a Perugia, dove finì l'opera della gia detta Madonna
Atalanta Baglioni, &c.--Finito questo lavoro e tornato a Fiorenza, gli
fu dai Dei cittadini Fiorentini allegata una tavola, &c. ma chiamato da
Bramante si trasferì a Roma.--Vasari, Vita di Raffaello da Urbino, ed.
Firenze, 1771. p. 163, 167, 172.

According to this account of Vasari, Raffaelle went three times to
Florence; the first time, when roused by the fame of Lionardo and
Michael Angelo, he left Pinturicchio 1504, and continued at Florence
till he was called away by the death of his mother to Urbino, from
whence, having settled his affairs, and painted certain things, he went
to Perugia, and after some public works there, returned again to
Florence with a commission from A. Baglioni. This is the period fixed by
Vasari of his acquaintance with Bartolomeo di S. Marco, the progressive
improvements of his style, and his pictures for A. Doni and D.
Canigiani, and must have been his longest stay in that capital, though
interrupted by a new call to Perugia, during which he finished the
picture of the Burial of Christ, now in the Borghese Palace, for the
Chapel Baglioni, and then returned for the third time to Florence.

[96] From the "Annalen der bildenden Künste für die Osterreichischen
Staaten, Von Hans Rudolph Füessli." Erster theil. Wien. 1801. Annals of
the Plastic Arts in Austria.

[97] 1515. Raffahell di Urbin, who was so highly esteemed by the Pope,
has made these naked figures, and has sent them to Albrecht Durer at
Nornberg, to show him his hand.

[98] This observation is founded on close inspection of this picture, in
the room of the "Restoration," in 1802. The face of Christ not only
appeared no longer that which all thought it to be who had seen it at S.
Pietro in Montorio, but even inferior to that in the print of Dorigny,
had assumed an expression nearer allied to meanness than to dignity,
without sublimity austere, and forbidding. It is probable, however, that
these changes originated under the sacrilegious hands of the restorers,
who had before destroyed the better part of the Madonna di Foligno.

[99] "Sì smisurata, che fa parere le altre, figure di Bambini," &c. Idea
de' Pittori, Scultori, e Architetti, inserted among the Lettere
Pittoriche, t. vi. p. 147.

[100] Disegno interiore ed esteriore; concetti intellettivi e formativi;
sostanze sostanziali, forme formali.--Titolo del capitolo XII. che la
filosofia e il filosofare è disegno metaforico similitudinario.--Disegno,
Segno di Dio.

[101] Baglioni, Vita di Muziano.

[102] 1560-1640.



THE SCHOOL OF NAPLES.


Social refinements and elegance of taste in arts had shed their
splendour over the Hesperian colonies of Greece long before Rome had
learnt to value more than the ploughshare and the sword; Herculaneum,
Stabiæ, Pompeii, with their still remaining multitude and variety of
legitimate monuments, prove that a technic school of eminence flourished
in the Neapolitan states after they had been incorporated with the Roman
empire; and what time has spared or tradition recorded of the attempts
made by Goths, Greeks, Longobards, Saracens, and Normans, to repair
their waste of desolation, sufficiently shows, that though the art
itself at intervals vanished, the craft still subsisted during the gloom
of the middle ages.

But not to soil these pages with too much legend, we date the revival of
Neapolitan art from the name of Tommaso de' Stefani, born 1230, the
contemporary of Cimabue and Charles of Anjou, who, though on his passage
through Florence he had been led to visit that object of Tuscan dotage,
on his establishment at Naples employed Tommaso in his new-founded
church; a questionable honour, of which a native writer[103] avails
himself to insinuate the superiority of his countryman over Cimabue, as
if the suffrage of a prince could defeat the evidence of works, or stand
against the verdict of Marco da Siena,[104] who from them, judged him
inferior to the Florentine in grandeur of style and breadth.

The favours of Charles were continued to Tommaso by his successor, and
emulated by the principal families of the city; the chapel de' Minutoli,
named by Boccaccio, was storied by him with subjects drawn from the
Saviour's passion; and others from the life of S. Gennaro, and some
sainted bishops, by his hand, are said still to exist in a roomy chapel
of the ancient Episcopio. Some semblance of the same saint in S. Angelo
a Nido, formerly S. Michele, is considered as his work, and some
fragments have survived of others, with dates of 1270 and 1275. He was
the master of Filippo Tesauro, who painted in the church of S. Restituta
the life of S. Nicholas the Hermit, the only fresco of his which has
reached our time.[105]

About 1325, Giotto was invited by King Robert to Naples, for the purpose
of painting the church of Sta. Chiara; he came and filled it with
Gospel history, and apocalyptic mysteries, from inventions, said in the
time of Vasari to have been formerly communicated to him by Dante. These
works, because they darkened the church, were whitewashed in the
beginning of the last century, with the exception of a Madonna called
della Grazia, and some other sainted image, preserved by female piety.
Giotto conducted other works in Sta. Maria Coronata, and still others,
which no longer exist in the Castle dell' Uovo. Maestro Simone, a
Cremonese, according to some, but more probably a native of Naples, was
the chosen partner of these works, and from so distinguished a choice,
acquired some celebrity himself: from the resemblance of his style to
Tesauro and to Giotto, he might have been the pupil of either, and was
perhaps of both. Certain it is, that after the departure of Giotto, he
received from Robert and Queen Sancia, many important commissions for
various churches, and especially that of S. Lorenzo; there he painted
Robert receiving the crown from his brother Lewis, Bishop of Toulouse,
but died before he could finish the compartment of the chapel dedicated
to that prelate after his demise and canonization. Though confessedly
inferior in invention, character, and suavity of tone, he has nearly
reached Giotto in some of his works: such as the dead Christ supported
by his mother, in the church dell' Incoronata, and the Madonna with the
Infant, on a gold-ground, now in the convent of the church della Croce,
supposed by some to have been painted in oil.[106]

Simone had a son, Francesco di Simone, who died in 1360. His works are
not numerous, but what has reached our days in the Capitolo di S.
Lorenzo, is distinguished by an air of superior dignity and grace. Two
other pupils of Simone, Gennaro di Cola and Stefanone, a similarity of
manner associated in several public works, such as the chapel of S.
Lewis, begun by Simone, and what still exists in S. Giovanni da
Carbonara of subjects relative to our Lady. They are similar, however,
without monotony. Gennaro, impressed by the difficulties of his art, and
bent to overcome each obstacle by labour, appears precise, studied, and
hard. Stefanone, guided by a spirit which in better days might have been
called genius, boldly executed what he had conceived with warmth.

The pretended improvements of Colantonio del Fiore, (born 1352, died
1444,) a pupil of Francesco, neither appear to have been considerable
enough in themselves, nor sufficiently authenticated, to place him at
the head of a new epoch in style. Those barbarous relics of the middle
ages, that meagerness of contour, dryness of colour, and want of
perspective, which he is said to have abolished, had in a great measure
vanished before, at the glance of Giotto. The gold grounds continued
after both;[107] and if in enumerating some of his works his encomiast
is in doubt whether they may not rather belong to M. Simone, what is it
but a tacit confession, that the art had made no considerable progress
during the course of a century?

The life of Colantonio grasped nearly the half of two centuries, and the
refinements for which he has been extolled must be looked for in those
of his works, on whose authenticity there is no hesitation, produced on
the verge of life. Such is the Madonna, &c. in Sta. Maria Nuova, a
compound of harmonious hues, though painted on a gold ground; and still
more in S. Lorenzo, Saint Jerome drawing a thorn from the lion's foot,
the date 1436, a picture full of truth, in high esteem with foreigners,
and for its better preservation removed by the fathers of the convent
from the church itself to the sacristy. He had a scholar in Angiolo
Franco, who has obtained the praise of Marco di Siena, for having
invigorated the most successful imitation of Giotto by the tone and
chiaroscuro of his master.

But a name of far greater importance to art is that of Antonio Solario,
commonly called Lo Zingaro, the reputed son-in-law of Colantonio. His
story, still more romantic than that which in Quintin Metsis transformed
a blacksmith to a painter, tells that Solario, bred to the forge, became
enamoured of a daughter of Colantonio, forsook the anvil, and by
successful submission to a ten years' trial of painting, and the
mediation of a queen, obtained the idol of his soul. Let those who told
the tale vouch for its truth: what is less disputable, and interests
this history more, are his travels from Naples to Bologna, where for
several years he studied under Lippo Dalmasio, and from thence over
Italy, to become acquainted with the principles of other masters; those
of Vivarini at Venice; of Bicci at Florence; of Galasso at Ferrara; of
Pisanello and Gentile da Fabriano at Rome. These two, it is believed
that he assisted, and Luca Giordano asserted that some heads in their
pictures at the Lateran bore the legitimate marks of Solario's pencil.
In heads he excelled; he inspired them, according to Marco da Siena,
with the air of life. In perspective, if the times be weighed, his skill
was considerable; in composition not contemptible. There is variety in
his scenery; and if his dresses be not drapery, they are at least
naturally folded. In the design of the extremities he was less happy;
his attitudes often border on caricature, as his colour on crudeness. On
his return to Naples, nine years after his departure, applauded by
Colantonio and the public, he enjoyed the patronage of King Alfonso. His
greatest work is the Life of S. Benedetto, in the compartments of the
cloister of S. Severino,--frescoes filled with an incredible variety of
objects. Other churches possess some altarpieces by him: he left many
portraits and some very attractive Madonnas; but in the Dead Christ of
S. Domenico Maggiore, and the S. Vincent of S. Pier Martire, including
some stories of that Saint's life, he is said to have excelled himself.
Zingaro reared a school, which with more or less felicity disseminated
his principles for nearly half a century, and retained his name. Of its
pupils, Niccola di Vito, long forgot in his works, is barely remembered
as a buffoon; Simone Papa and Angiotillo di Roccadirame, scarcely
emerged to mediocrity; Pietro and Ippolito (Polito) del Donzello deserve
less transient attention. Sons-in-law of Angiolo Franco, and pupils of
Giuliano da Majano in architecture, they were, according to Vasari,[108]
employed by him to decorate with paintings the fabric of Poggio Reale,
which he had constructed for King Alfonso, where, continuing to operate
under his son and successor Ferdinand, they represented the story of the
Conspiracy formed in against him, a work celebrated by Jacopo
Sannazaro.[109] Ippolito, alone or with his brother, filled the
refectory of Sta. Maria Nuova with a number of subjects for the same
prince, and then retired to Florence, where, not long after, he died.
Piero remained at Naples distinguished and followed. Their style is that
of their master, but with more suavity of colour. The first successful
imitation of friezes, trophies, and storied basso-relievoes in
chiaroscuro, may with probability be dated from them. That Pietro
excelled in portraits, is evident from some animated heads saved among
the ruins of certain frescoes of his on a wall of the Palace Matalona.
Both were, however, surpassed in tone, and force of light and shade, and
mellowness of outline, by Silvestro de Buoni, their pupil, whose
pictures, scattered over the temples of Naples, have been enumerated by
Dominici. Silvestro himself yields to Tesauro of questionable name,[110]
whose works approach much nearer to the succeeding epoch than the united
labours of his predecessors in vigour of invention, in judgment,
propriety of attitude, truth of expression, and general harmony of the
whole, with a relief beyond what seems credible in an artist
unacquainted with other schools and other works than those of his
native place. Such was his power of execution, that it challenged the
wonder of Luca Giordano in the vigour of his career, when he
contemplated the ceiling of San Giovanni de' Pappacodi, where Tesauro
had painted the Seven Sacraments. They have been minutely described, and
the portraits of Alfonso II. and of Ippolita Sforza, whom he is said to
have represented, for the work itself is no more, in the Sacrament of
Matrimony, afford some light as to the time in which it was painted.
Another of his works, equally praised, in the Chapel Tocco of the
Episcopal church, which represented a series of subjects from the life
of Saint Asprenas, perished under the hands of one of Solimena's pupils.
He was the father or uncle of Raimo Epifanio Tesauro, a considerable
Frescante, who, according to Stanzioni, rekindled the evanescent spark
of Zingaro's principles. Some few vestiges of his works remain in Sta.
Maria Nuova and Monte Vergine. His dates reach from 1480 to 1501, and he
may be considered as the last of this school, for Gio. Antonio d'Amato
acquired fame by abandoning its style for that of Pietro Perugino.

Such were the masters that marked the first epoch of the Neapolitan
school; neither inconsiderable in number, nor contemptible in progress,
for a state nearly always perplexed by war: it derives, however, its
greatest lustre from having produced within the state the memorable
artist whose resolution and perseverance made Italy mistress of the
new-discovered method in oil-painting, and changed the face of art.[111]

Antoniello, a Messinese, of the Antonj family, universally known by the
name of Antoniello da Messina, educated, according to Vasari, to the art
at Rome, returned from that place to Sicily, and after some successful
practice at Palermo and Messina, sailed to Naples, where he saw an
historical picture painted in oil by John ab Eyk, which had been
presented or disposed of to king Alfonso, by some Florentine traders.
Charmed by the method, Antoniello forgot every other concern, passed
into Flanders, and by close attendance, and some presents of Italian
designs, captivated the heart of the old painter, who made him
completely master of the secret, and soon after died. Antoniello then
left Flanders, and after some months spent at Messina, repaired to
Venice, where he practised with general admiration of his new method;
communicated it to Domenico there, and he at Florence to the felon
Castagna, till by gradual progress it embraced all Italy. What remains
to be related of Antoniello, is reserved for the history of the Venetian
school, to which by residence and practice he properly belongs, and
which alone carried his new discovered method to the height it was
capable of.

The second epoch of Neapolitan art was auspicious. P. Perugino had
painted for the Cathedral an Assumption of the Virgin, now lost, a work
which led to a better taste. Already, Amato, as we observed, had
abandoned the manner of Zingaro to follow Pietro, though his style had
still too much of the former to form more than the connecting link
between the two epochs; when Raffaello and his school came into vogue,
Naples was the first of exterior towns to profit by them, and they,
about the middle of the century, were followed by some adherents of
Michael Angiolo; nor till near 1600, was any attention paid to other
masters, if we except Tiziano.

The new series begins with Andrea Sabbatini[112] of Salerno. Smitten
with the style of P. Perugino, Andrea set out for Perugia, to enter his
school; but hearing some painters at an inn on the road talk of
Raffaello and the Vatican, he altered his mind and route, and went to
Rome. Though not long under the guidance of Sanzio, being by the death
of his father, 1513, obliged to return to Naples, he returned another
man. He is said to have painted with Raffaello at the Pace and in the
Vatican. A good copyist, and what is rare, a better imitator, if he did
not soar with Giulio, he kept pace with the best of that school, and
excelled some in correctness, and a style equally remote from
affectation and manner, with depth of chiaroscuro, breadth of drapery,
and a colour which has defied time. His works in oil and fresco,
scattered over the metropolis and the kingdom at large, have been
celebrated as miracles of art, though now either lost or greatly
impaired.

Of his scholars all persevered not in his manner: thus Cesare Turco, as
commendable in oil as unsuccessful in fresco, drew nearer to P.
Perugino. More of Andrea was retained by Francesco Santafede, the father
and master of Fabrizio,--painters whom few of that school equal in
colour, and so uniform that their works can only be discriminated by the
superior tinge and chiaroscuro of the father. But the scholar who most
resembled Andrea was one Paolillo, whose works, nearly all ascribed to
his master, till restored to their real author by Dominici, leave little
doubt of his right to the first honours of that school, had his career
not been intercepted by a violent death, occasioned by intrigue.
Polidoro Caldara, of Caravaggio, escaped to Naples in 1527, from the
sack of Rome, but not, as Vasari with less information than credulity
relates, to starve. Received in the house of Andrea, formerly his fellow
scholar, he soon acquired acquaintance, commissions, and even formed
pupils before his departure for Sicily. He had been celebrated for his
chiaroscuros at Rome: at Naples and Messina he attempted colour. The
shadowy and pallid specimens he has left, leave a doubt whether he would
ever have arrived at a degree of strength or brilliancy worthy of
invention and style, though he has been praised with enthusiasm by
Vasari for the colour of the Christ led to Calvary, a numerous
composition, and the last before his assassination at Messina.

Gian Bernardo Lama left the school of Amato to attach himself to
Polidoro, whom he more than once imitated with sufficient success to
incur the suspicion of having been assisted by the master: he had,
however, more sweetness than energy, and, in the sequel, was noted for
his opposition to the vigorous inroads of the Tuscan style and the
prevalence of Marco di Pino.

Francesco Rubiales, a Spaniard, from his felicity of imitation called
Polidorino, is likewise named in Naples among the scholars of Caldara,
whom he assisted in painting for the Orsini, and singly conducted
several works at Monte Oliveto, and elsewhere, the greater part of which
are no more.

There are who class with the scholars of Polidoro, Marco Cardisco,
called Marco Calabrese.[113] Him Vasari prefers to all the natives of
that epoch, and admires as a plant sprung from a soil not its own: he
knew not, perhaps, that, of Magna Grecia, modern Calabria was the spot
most favoured by the arts. Possessed of a dextrous hand and florid
colour, Cardisco spread his labours over Napoli and the State: of what
remains, the most praised is the Dispute of Saint Augustine at Aversa.
Gio. Batista Crescione and Lionardo Castellani are slightly mentioned by
Vasari as his scholars.

Gio. Francesco Penni, called "Il Fattore," came to Naples some time
after Polidoro; and, during the short time which he lived, for he died
in 1528, contributed to the advancement of the art by leaving his great
copy of Raffaello's Transfiguration and his pupil Lionardo Grazia, of
Pistoia, behind him, a name more celebrated for colour, and far less for
design, than might have been expected from a nurseling of the Roman
School. He is said to have been one of the masters of Francesco Curia,
who went to Rome to study the style of Raffaello, but returned with the
manner of Zucchero. His composition is, however, praised for decorum and
suavity, his angels and female countenances for beauty, and his colour
for a tone of nature:--their full display distinguished that
Circumcision at the Church della Pietà, which Ribera, Giordano, and
Solimene placed among the masterpieces of Naples. Curia left a close
imitator in Ippolito Borghese, of whom little is seen at home, where he
seldom resided, but the Assumption of Maria at the Monte della
Pietà,--an extensive work, marked by equal vigour of execution.

Perino del Vaga, at Rome, instructed, and was assisted by, two
Neapolitans, Giovanni Corso and Gianfilippo Criscuolo. The best that
remains of Corso at Naples, is a Christ bearing his Cross, in S.
Lorenzo. Long a pupil of Sabbatini, Criscuolo, during the little time of
his stay at Rome, studied the works of Raffaello with a perseverance
which acquired him the name of the Studious Neapolitan; but without
native vigour, timid, correct, and dry, he remained fitter to teach than
to lead. Such were the principal followers of the Roman School at
Naples; for neither Francesco Imparato, who abandoned the dry precepts
of Criscuolo for the genial example of Tiziano, nor his son Girolamo,
who long after followed the same principles with more pretence and less
success, can properly be classed among the pupils of Rome. About
1544[114] a Tuscan introduced at Naples, what is as commonly as
impertinently called, the style of Michael Angiolo: a cold enumeration
of sesquipedalian muscles, groups uninspired by thought, feeble in
effect, and crude or faint in colour, methodized by manner and
despatched by practice. Thus Giorgio Vasari filled the Refectory of
Monte Oliveto, during one year of residence, with an enormous work,
which he considered as the electric stroke that was to animate that
indolent taste, till then vainly solicited by Raffaello and his school.
Whether he disgusted the national pride by such insolent civility, or
provoked the indignation of those who, in Andrea Sabbatini, venerated a
superior name, it appears that, so far from creating a school, he was
discountenanced by the public, and incurred the perpetual censure of
every Neapolitan writer on art. He ought to have known, that he who
challenges a nation, courts an eternal feud.

Another, less pompous, but more effectual follower of Michael Angiolo,
was Marco da Pino, or Marco da Siena: the date[115] of his arrival at
Naples ought probably to be placed after 1560. He was well received,
presented with the freedom of the city, and deserved the courtesy by the
amenity of his manners and sincerity of character. With the reputation
of the first artist, Marco was employed in the most conspicuous churches
of the city and the state. Though he sometimes repeated his inventions,
he approached Michael Angiolo nearer than any other Tuscan, because he
affected less to do it. His forms are appealed to by Lomazzo as
instances of just proportion, and, in keeping and aërial perspective, he
is ranked with Lionardo and Robusti. As his design is less charged, so
is his colour more vigorous and glowing than the usual tinge of the
Tuscan School: sometimes, however, he is unequal, trusts to practice,
and deviates into manner. He was an able architect, and of the good
writers on that art.

Of many pupils reared in his school, none was comparable to Gio. Angiolo
Criscuolo, brother of G. Filippo. Though bred a notary, he had practised
miniature from his youth; emulation with his brother prompted him to
attempt larger proportions; and, under the tuition of Marco, he became a
good imitator of his style.[116]

To dwell circumstantially on the crowd of artists that fill the
biographic pages of this period, humiliating as mere nomenclature may
appear, is below the dignity of an art, which, like poetry, admits not
of mediocrity. Reputation during life, the partiality of friends and
countrymen, some single work which escaped to excellence from the
insignificant productions of a long career, are but equivocal claims on
the homage of posterity: and more legitimate ones in oil or fresco, have
neither Silvestro Bruno, Simone del Papa, the younger Amato, Mazzolini,
Cola dell' Amatrice, Pompeo dell' Aquila, Giuseppe Valeriani, Marco
Mazzaroppi, Gio. Pietro Russo, Pietro Negrone of Calabria, nor the
Sicilian Gio. Borghese. Pirro Ligorio, the favourite architect of Pio
IV. in Rome, and the engineer of Alphonso II. at Ferrara, owes the
preservation of his name more to his Augean collections of antiquarian
lumber and the intrigues by which he perplexed the last years of M.
Angiolo, than to the flimsy exertions of his pencil.

Matteo da Leccè, of obscure education, displayed in Rome a perverse
attachment to the manner of M. Angiolo by the usual conglobation of
muscles and extravagance of action. He worked chiefly in fresco, and
with a relief, which, in the phrase of Baglioni, makes some of his
figures burst from the wall. Though many Florentines were then at Rome,
he alone appeared capable of completing the plan of Buonarroti, in the
Sistina, by facing the Last Judgement with the Fall of the Rebel Angels.
Matteo girt himself boldly for the work, and left it a lamentable proof
of the ridicule that must attend the presumption of a mere craftsman to
ally himself with a man of genius. He worked likewise in Malta and in
Spain, and, passing from thence to the Indies, became a thriving trader,
till duped by the rage of digging for treasures, he dissipated his
wealth, and died of penury and grief.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the middle of the sixteenth century, the flame-like rapidity of
Tintoretto's style at Venice, and soon after, the powerful contrast of
Caravaggio's method at Rome, and the eclectic system of the Carracci, at
Bologna, spread general emulation over Italy, and divided Naples into
three parties, of nearly equal strength, led by Corenzio, Ribera, and
Caracciolo, differing from each other, but ready to unite against all
foreign competition. During their flourish, Guido, Domenichino,
Lanfranco, Artemisia Gentileschi were at Naples, and formed some
pupils;--a period as enviable in the number of excellent artists and the
progressive powers of execution, as disgraceful for the dark manœuvres
and the vile intrigues that fill it--intrigues and manœuvres too closely
interwoven with the history of Neapolitan art, and, unfortunately, too
well attested, merely to be dismissed with silence and contempt.

Belisario Corenzio,[117] an Achæan Greek, after passing five years in
the school of Tintoretto, fixed his abode at Naples about 1590. A native
stream of ideas and unparalleled celerity of hand placed him, perhaps,
on a level with his master in the dispatch of a prodigious number, even
of most extensive works; but his rage was too ungovernable often to
admit of more distinguished comparisons with Robusti; though few
excelled him in design, and his works abound in conceptions, attitudes,
and airs of heads confessedly inimitable to the Venetians themselves.
The work in which he has best succeeded as an imitator of Tintoretto, is
the Miraculous Feeding of the Crowd by the Saviour, in the Refectory of
the Benedictines, a huge performance, but, under his hands, a task of
forty days. Though generally too much of a mannerist to sacrifice the
readiest to the best, he still preserves a character of his own, an air
of originality, in glories especially, which he embosomed in darkness
and clouds pregnant with showers. With a decided turn for works of large
dimension in fresco, which seldom allowed him to submit to the finish of
oil colour, he contrived to please by various compositions of sacred
history, in small proportions, and is even said to have enlivened the
perspectives of the Frenchman Desiderio with diminutive figures
admirably toned and adapted to the scenery.

The native country of Giuseppe Ribera[118] was a subject of dispute
between the Spaniards and Neapolitans, till the production of an
extract from the baptismal register of Xativa (Antologia di Roma, 1795)
decided the claim in favour of Spain, and proved him a native of that
place, now "San Felipe," in the district of Valencia. If the date of his
birth, January 12, 1588, be correct, he must have come to Italy and
entered the school of Caravaggio at a very early period. From him Ribera
went to Rome, Modena, Parma, saw Raffaello, Annibale, Correggio, and in
imitation of their works attempted to form a more luminous and gayer
style, in which he had little success, dismissed it soon after his
return to Naples, and once more embraced the method of Caravaggio, as
more eminently calculated by its force, truth, and effect to fix the eye
of the multitude, the object of his ambition; he soon became painter to
the court, and by degrees the arbiter of its taste.

The studies he had pursued enabled him to go beyond Caravaggio in
invention, mellowness, and design: the grand Deposition from the Cross
at the Certosa proves the success of his emulation, a work, by the
verdict of Giordano, alone sufficient to form a painter: the Martyrdom
of S. Gennaro in the royal chapel, and the S. Jerome of the Trinità,
excel his usual style, and possess Titianesque beauties. S. Jerome was
among his darling subjects; S. Jerome he painted, he etched in numerous
repetition, in whole-length and in half figures. He delighted in the
representation of hermits, anchorets, apostles, prophets, perhaps less
to impress the mind with gravity of character and the venerable looks of
age, than to strike the eye with the imitation of incidental deformities
attendant on decrepitude, and the picturesque display of bone, veins,
and tendons athwart emaciated muscle. A shrivelled arm, a dropsied leg,
were to Ribera what a breast-plate and a gaberdine were to Rembrandt. As
in objects of imitation he courted meagreness or excrescence, so in the
choice of historic subjects he preferred to the terrors of ebullient
passions, features of horror or loathsomeness, the spasms of Ixion, St.
Bartholomew under the butcher's knife. Nor are the few ideas of gaiety
by which he endeavoured to soothe his exasperated fancy, less
disgusting: Bacchus and his attendants are grinning Lazaroni or bloated
wine-sacks; brutality under his hand distorts the feature of mirth.

Giambatista Caracciolo,[119] first attached to Franc. Imparato, then to
Caravaggio, grew to manhood before he had produced any work of
consequence: roused afterward by the fame and the impression made on his
mind by some picture of Annibale, he went to Rome, and by a pertinacious
study of the Farnese Gallery became one of the best imitators of that
style. This was the basis of his fame on his return to Naples, and by
this, whenever provoked to competition, he maintained it: such are the
Madonna of S. Anna de' Lombardi; S. Carlo, in the church of S. Agnello;
and the Christ under the Cross, at the Incurabili. The rest of his
performances, by their strength of chiaroscuro, betray the school of
Caravaggio. From so considerate and finished an artist, haste and
flimsiness were not to be feared, and yet there exist productions of his
so feeble that his biographer[120] is reduced to account for them from
the artist's wish of retaliating by paltry work for paltrier prices; or
from suffering them to be finished by Mercurio d'Aversa, no very
estimable pupil.

Such were the three leaders of that cabal which for some years
persecuted every stranger of eminence in the art who freely came, or was
invited to come, to Naples. Reputation, fiction, violence, had raised
Belisario to the tyranny of fresco; the most lucrative commissions he
considered as due to himself, the rest he distributed among his
dependants, the greater number of whom possessed little merit. Massimo
Santafede, though independent of him, remained neuter, afraid to
interfere with a man who, to obtain his purpose, would stop at neither
fraud nor crime; a proof of which he is said to have given, in
administering poison to the gentlest and best of his pupils, Luigi
Roderigo, whose growing powers he envied.

To maintain his primacy in fresco, the exclusion of every stranger who
excelled in that branch became, of course, his principal object.
Annibale Caracci arrived at Naples in 1609, to paint the churches "dello
Spirito Santo" and "di Gesu Nuovo," and produced a small picture as a
specimen of his style. The Greek and his associates, called upon to give
their opinion of it, unanimously condemned it as cold, and its master
far too tame to manage an extensive work. Thus baffled, Annibale
returned to Rome during the most oppressive heats of summer, and soon
after died. But the work most contested with strangers was the royal
chapel of S. Gennaro, which the deputies had reserved for Giuseppe
d'Arpino, then painting the choir of the Certosa. Belisario, leaguing
himself with Spagnoletto, not less fierce and arrogant, and with
Caracciolo, who both aspired to that commission, attacked Cesari with a
fury which forced him, before he could terminate his choir, to fly for
safety, first to Monte Cassino, and then back to Rome. The commission
was now given to Guido; but not long after, two men unknown cudgelled
his servant and dismissed him with a message to his master immediately
to depart or to prepare for death. Guido fled; but Gessi his pupil, not
intimidated, having demanded and obtained the grand commission, repaired
to Naples with two assistants, G. Batista Ruggieri and Lorenzo Menini;
both were decoyed on board a galley, that immediately slipped its cable
and transported them to some place which no researches could discover,
and Gessi was obliged to return with his disappointment to Rome.

Dispirited by the violence of these manœuvres, the deputies began to
give way to the cabal of the monopolists, allotting the frescoes to
Correnzio and Caracciolo, and flattering Spagnoletto with the hope of
being intrusted with the altar-pieces; when all at once, repenting of
their agreement, they ordered the two fresco painters to throw up their
work, and transferred the whole of the chapel to Domenichino, at the
splendid price of a hundred ducats for every entire, fifty for each half
figure, and twenty-five for every head.[121] They likewise took measures
for his personal safety, by obtaining the Viceroy's protection, but in
vain. The faction, not content with crying him down as a cold insipid
painter and discrediting him with those who see with their ears and fill
every place, alarmed him with anonymous letters, threw down what he had
painted, mixed ashes with his materials to crack the ground he had
prepared, and, by a stroke of the most refined malice, persuaded the
Viceroy to give him a commission of some pictures for the Court of
Spain. These, when little more than dead-coloured, they carried from
his study to court, where Ribera superciliously ordered what alterations
he thought proper, and then, without allowing him leisure to terminate
the whole, dispatched them to Spain. The insolence of the rival, the
complaints of the deputies on the successive interruptions of their
work, and hence the suspicion of mischief, induced Domenichino at last
secretly to depart for Rome, in hopes of being able from thence to bring
his affairs into a better train,--and not without success; the rumours
of his flight subsided, new measures for his safety were taken, he
returned to Naples, and, without more interruption, completed the
greater part of the frescoes, and considerably advanced the
altar-pieces.

Here death surprised him, accelerated, as some have suspected, by
poison, certainly by repeated causes of disgust from his relations,
competitors, and, above all, the arrival of his old adversary Lanfranco.
He succeeded to Domenichino in the remaining fresco, Spagnoletto in one
of the oil pictures, and Stanzioni in another. Caracciolo was dead;
Belisario, excluded by age from sharing in the spoil, soon after was
destroyed by a ruinous fall from a scaffold. Nor had Ribera, if the
prevailing fame be true,[122] a desirable end; dishonoured in his
daughter, gnawed by remorse for the vile persecutions in which he had
shared, odious to himself, and sick of light, he escaped to sea, and
none tells where he perished.

Opposed at its onset by these three, the School of Bologna triumphed
after their demise, and Naples was divided into its imitators; for the
mannered style of Cesari, which approached that of Belisario, terminated
with Luigi Roderigo, and his relative Gian Bernardino.

At the head of those who adopted Caracciesque principles with success,
may be placed Massimo Stanzioni[123] a scholar of Caracciolo, and, as he
himself asserts, of Lanfranco in fresco, in portrait of Santafede. At
Rome he strove to embody the forms of Annibale with the tints of Guido.
Thus equipped, he braved the foremost talents at Naples, and opposed at
the Certosa a Dead Christ among the Maries to Spagnoletto, who, to
escape comparisons, persuaded the friars to have the picture of his
rival washed to recover its somewhat darkened tone, and with a corrosive
liquor so defaced it, that Stanzioni, declaring so black a fraud ought
to remain an object of public indignation, refused to retouch it; he
left, however, other specimens of his powers at that repository of rival
talents, and above all the masterpiece of S. Bruno. The ceilings of Gesu
Nuovo and of S. Paolo give him a distinguished rank among fresco
painters. His gallery pictures, though not rare at Naples, are seldom
met with elsewhere. Whilst single, he sought and aimed at excellence,
and courted the art for its own sake; after his marriage, with a woman
of fashion, gain became necessary to maintain her in a state of
splendour, and he sunk by degrees to mediocrity.

The School of Massimo is celebrated for the number and excellence of its
pupils, but the two who promised most, Muzio Rossi and Antonio de
Bellis, perished in the bloom of life. The first, who had entered the
School of Guido at Bologna, was at the age of eighteen thought worthy
to face at the Certosa men of the first ability, and shrinks from no
comparison, but scarcely survived his work. The second, whose style is
nearly balanced between Guido and Guercino, began at the church of S.
Carlo various pictures from the life of that Saint, which he lived not
to finish.

Francesco di Rosa, called Pacicco, another pupil of that school, gave
himself up to the imitation of Guido, by Massimo's own advice. Pacicco
is one of the few artists mentioned by Paolo de Matteio in a MS. which
admits no name of mediocrity. His forms, his colour, the elegance of his
extremities, the grace and dignity of his characters, are equally
commended. He had models of beauty in three nieces, one of whom, Aniella
di Rosa, in charms, talents, and manner of death has been compared to
Elizabeth Sirani: poison, administered by the malignity of strangers,
swept the Bolognese--a dagger and a husband's jealousy, the Neapolitan:
he was Agostin Beltrano, her fellow pupil, and frequent partner of her
works.

The remaining scholars of this school, Paul Domenico Finoglia, Giacinto
de' Popoli, and Giuseppe Marullo, all three of Orta,--Andrea
Malinconico, and Bernardo Cavallino, were, if we except the last, with
more or less felicity, imitators of their master. Cavallino, more
original, is said to have provoked the jealousy of Massimo, who advised
him to paint in small: this ought to be admitted with hesitation, for it
is difficult to believe, that he who feels himself made for the grand,
could be persuaded to waste his life on trifles.

Another convert to the Caracci School, was Andrea Vaccaro,[124] the
friend and competitor of Massimo, a man made for imitation, says Lanzi,
and says too much; for, if he had no equal in that of Caravaggio, he
was, when imitating Guido, inferior to Massimo: nor did he, till after
the demise of Stanzioni, acquire that supremacy at Naples which remained
undisputed till the arrival of Giordano, young, vigorous, and fraught
with the novel style of Pietro Beretini. Both concurred for the great
altar-piece of Sta. Maria del Pianto, both presented their sketches, and
Vaccaro obtained preference by the verdict of Pietro da Cortona himself,
who declared him equally superior in experience and correctness of style
to his own scholar; but, when contending with Giordano in fresco, to
which he had not been trained by early practice, Vaccaro lost the
honours he had gained. The best of his school was Giacomo Farelli, whom
Luca found no contemptible antagonist: had he been content to follow the
style of his master, without aspiring at that of Domenichino, for which
he was unfit, he might have deserved the historian's notice for more
than one picture.

On the School of Domenichino, the Sicilians, Pietro, Giacomo, and Teresa
del Po, cannot confer much honour. The father had more theory than
practice, the son less evidence than ostentation, the daughter shone in
miniature. Nearer to the master, both in style and temper, was Francesco
di Maria: correct, slow, irresolute, author of few but eminent works,
especially the subjects relative to S. Lawrence, at the Conventuals of
Naples. He excelled in portraits, one of which, exhibited at Rome with
one of Vandyk and another by Rubens, was, by Poussin, Cortona, and
Sacchi, preferred to both. He often has been mistaken for his master,
and commands high prices: the want of grace alone betrays him--of grace
Nature had not been liberal to Francesco. Hence he became the proverb
of Giordano, "that sickening over bone and muscle, he rendered beauty
tame." He, in retort, held up Giordano's style as heresy in art, a
flowery medley of incoherent charms.

Though the reputed master, Lanfranco was not the model of Massimo; his
principal imitator was Giambatista Benaschi, or Bernaschi, numbered with
Roman artists by Orlandi, but who fixed his residence at Naples, and
opened a numerous school; a decided machinist, but with a grasp of fancy
which never suffered him to repeat a figure in the same attitude. His
points of sight from below upward, are correct, and his foreshortenings
dextrously contrived. None ever approached a master nearer, and forsook
him with less success.

Guercino never saw Naples, but Mattia Preti,[125] commonly called
Calabrese, smit with his novel style, went to study it at Cento; not
indeed exclusively, for no Italian school escaped the attention of
Preti. Unpractised in colour to his twenty-sixth year, he attended
solely to design, less to form beauty or trace characters of delicacy,
than to express robust and energetic ones: in such he often succeeded,
but sometimes sunk to heaviness. His colour resembled his line, not soft
and airy, but dense, cut into masses of chiaroscuro, and with a general
tone of ashy hues, tints of sorrow, contrition, anguish, the favourite
topics of his pencil. The frescoes of Calabrese at Modena, Naples,
Malta, have a stamp of grandeur. At Rome, in S. Andrea della Valle, he
appears to less advantage, too enormous for the place, and too ponderous
at the side of Domenichino. Italy is filled with his oil pictures, for
his life was long, his hand rapid, and every place he visited, a scene
of exercise: what he painted for galleries consisted commonly of half
figures, like those of Guercino. He long, and nearly alone, contested
the field with Giordano, to whose captivating airiness his weight was at
last forced to yield. He retired and died in Malta, a Knight of its
order, without leaving a pupil who rose above mediocrity.

After this survey of the Bolognese School at Naples, the native one of
Ribera claims attention. None ever swore more implicitly to a master's
dictates: the energy of his style absorbed their eye, the atrocity of
his character too often debauched their hearts. Inferiority alone
discriminates the works of Giovanni Do and Bartolommeo Passante from
those of Spagnoletto; though, in the advance of life, the first
attempted to tinge with less vulgarity, and the second now and then
affected a more select outline. Francesco Fracanzani had a certain
grandeur of execution and bloom of colour: his "Transito," or Death of
St. Joseph, at the Pellegrini, is among the first pictures of the city.
But, by the pressure of poverty, he first became a dauber, then a
criminal, and received sentence of death, which respect for his
profession, from the public ignominy of the halter, mitigated to secret
execution by poison.

Aniello Falcone[126] and Salvator Rosa, who is to be mentioned more at
large elsewhere, are the greatest boast of this school, though Rosa
frequented it for a short time only, and chiefly profited by the
instruction of Falcone. The strength of Falcone lay in battles, which he
painted in all dimensions, from the Sacred books, history, or poems.
Countenance, arms, dresses were in unison with the national character
of the combatants. His expression was vivid, the figures and movements
of his horses select and natural, and his tactics correct, though he had
neither served in, nor seen a battle. He drew with precision, everywhere
consulted the life, and laid his colour on with equal strength and
finish. That he instructed Borgognone is not probable. Baldinucci, who
published the Memoirs of that Jesuit, is silent on that head; but they
knew and esteemed each other. He had a numerous set of scholars, and
with them, and the assistance of some other painters, contrived to
revenge the murder of some relative and of a pupil assassinated by the
presidial Spaniards: for, at the revolutionary hubbub of Maso Aniello,
he and his gang formed themselves into a troop, which they called "the
Company of Death," and, protected by Ribera, who palliated their
proceedings at court, spread horrid massacre, till, scared by the return
of order, this band of homicides dispersed, and sought their safety in
flight. Falcone himself retired for some years to France, which has many
of his works; the rest escaped to Rome, or sought the usual asylums of
revenge and murder.

A numerous set of various but inferior artists, in power and pursuit,
fills the remaining period of this epoch and the Neapolitan catalogues
of art: the best of these issued from the desperate School of Falcone,
to whose method they adhered in all their diverging branches. Of these
Domenico Gargiuoli, nicknamed Micco Spadaro, a character as fierce as
pliant, leads the van--no contemptible figurist in large, but of endless
combination in groups of small proportion. The perspectives of Viviano
Codagora, his sworn brother, receive an exclusive lustre from his
figures. The battles of their fellow scholar, Carlo Coppola, might
sometimes be mistaken for those of Falcone, had he given less fulness to
his horses. Paolo Porpora left battles to paint quadrupeds, but chiefly
and best, fish and sea-shells: in fruit and flowers he was far surpassed
by Abraham Brueghel, who at that time had settled at Naples. Giuseppe
Recco and Andrea Belvedere, from the same school, excelled in game and
birds; and the last still more in flowers and fruit, so as to contest
superiority in that branch with Giordano, asserting that no figurist
could reach the polish, or give the finish required in minute objects.
Luca maintained, that the more implies the less, and, composing a
picture of game, fruit, and flowers, gave it such an air of illusion,
that Andrea, shrinking from his presence crestfallen, retired among the
literati of the day, of whom he was not the least.

After the middle of the seventeenth century, the revolutionary style of
Luca Giordano[127] reversed every preceding principle, and, by the
suavity of its ornamental magic, enchanted the public taste. A vast,
resolute, creative, talent attended him from infancy: in his eighth year
he is said to have painted, and not for the first time in fresco, two
infant angels, for the church of Sta. Maria La Nuova.[128] Struck with
wonder, the Vice Rè Duke Medina de Las Torres placed him with Ribera,
whose principles he studied for some time, but, aspiring to a more ample
theatre of art, escaped to Rome, followed by his father, Antonio, a weak
artist, but an unceasing monitor, and the more relentless because he
placed all his hopes on the rapid success of his son. To insure it, he
did not, if we believe one writer, suffer Luca to intermit his labours
by regular meals, but fed him whilst at work, as birds their callow
young, perpetually chirping into his ear, Luca, dispatch![129]--Luca,
dispatch! repeated his fellow-students, till the joke became nickname,
by which he is oftener distinguished than by his own.

So brutal a method would have excited in a mind less vigorous nothing
but weariness and despondency, but to the combining spirit of Luca gave
with portentous velocity of hand the rudiments of that varied power,
which, to a degree of deception, taught him to imitate the predominant
air of every master's style in line and colour, which he was set or
chose to copy,[130] and he had in nearly endless repetition, copied the
best of what Rome possessed of its own, the Lombard, Venetian, and
foreign schools, when he entered that of Pietro da Cortona, whose
wide-extended and ostentatious plans met most congenially his own.

No single master's manner did he, however, exclusively adopt. His first
works exhibit the pupil of Ribera, with evident aims at the energy of
that style; his subsequent and best manner is marked by the beauties and
the faults of Pietro da Cortona, the same contrast of composition, the
same masses of light, with equal monotony of expression, which in female
features was often supplied by his wife; a predilection for the
ornamental splendour of Paolo Veronese distinguishes with less advantage
a third class of his works--in this, stuffs are mixed with draperies,
the tints are less vigorous, the chiaroscuro less decided, the execution
heavier. It has been observed, that his works, when compared with the
finished masterpieces of the classic schools, are little better than
embryos, that he carried nothing to perfection, and that the delusive
power alone, by which he united a number of jarring parts in one
pleasing whole, can save him from sinking to the mediocrity which
overwhelmed his imitators. But it ought likewise to be considered, what
was the object of his exertions, and the end which he pursued;--they
were, by conquering the eye, to become the favourite of the public, and
he was made for both. Others see by degrees, arrange, reject,
select;--into the fancy of Giordano, the subject with its parts showered
at once; the picture stood complete before him. In colour, little
solicitous about the dictates of art, or the real hues of Nature, he
created an ideal and arbitrary tone, which represented the air of things
without diving into their substance, and, content with absolute dominion
over the eye, left it to others to inform the mind. If his method was
compendiary; none ever knew better how to improve an accident to a
beauty, and give to the random strokes of haste the look of deliberate
practice. That he knew the laws of design, we know, but debauched by
facility and the rage of gain, neglected the toil of correctness: hence
likewise the superficial manner in which he often laid on his colours,
diluted, unembodied, and unable to retain the fugitive imagery of his
pencil.

Naples is full of Giordano--few, if any in so vast a metropolis, are the
churches that want his hand. In that of the P.P. Girolamini, the
Expulsion of the Venders is one of his most admired works; but the best
of his frescoes, in which he seems to have concentrated his powers, are
those in the treasury of the Certosa. The cupola of S. Brigida, rapidly
painted in competition with Francesco di Maria, exhibits the first
specimens of that flattering tone which baffled the learning of his
rival, intoxicated the vulgar, and corrupted the growing taste. The
admired picture of St. Xavier, of copious composition and the most
seductive colour, was the work of one day and a half. Among the public
and private paintings at Florence, the chapel Corsini and the gallery
Riccardi are by the hand of Luca; nor was he unemployed by the
Sovereign; and Cosmo III., in whose presence he invented and coloured a
large composition with momentary velocity, declared him a painter
formed for princes. He obtained the same praise from Charles II. of
Spain, whom he served for thirteen years, but from the multitude of his
works might be supposed to have served during a long life. There he
continued the series of pictures begun by Cambiasi, in the church of the
Escurial, on the most extensive plan, but inferior in style and
execution to the frescoes of Buon-Ritiro. Of his oil pictures, that of
the Nativity, for the Queen Mother, has shared unlimited praise, as
combining with superior felicity of execution, a research and a depth of
study seldom found in his other works.

Grown old, he returned to Naples, loaded with riches and honours, and
soon after died, regretted as the first painter of his time.

Though Giordano did not propose his process as a model of imitation to
his scholars, it may easily be guessed that his success made a deeper
impression on them than his precepts, and that without previously
submitting to the labours of his education, they attempted to snatch
with the charms the profits of his manner. Hence a swarm of bold
craftsmen and mannerists was let loose upon the public, who with gay
mediocrity overwhelmed what yet was left of principles in art. Of these,
his favourites were Aniello Rossi, and Matteo Pacelli, who accompanied
him to Spain, returned well pensioned, and continued to live in obscure
ease. Niccolo Rossi, Giuseppe Simonelli, Andrea Miglionico and Ramondo
de Dominici, came nearer their master; and the Spaniard Franceschitto,
as he had raised the hopes, might have excited the jealousy of Luca, had
he not been intercepted by death. He left a specimen of his powers in
the picture of S. Pasquale, at Sta. Maria del Monte.

But the best of his pupils, and heir of his dispatch, was Paolo de'
Matteis, a name that ranks with the foremost of that day, not unknown to
France or Rome; his chief abode was, however, Naples, where his frescoes
are spread over churches, galleries, halls and ceilings; if unequal to
those of his master in merit, nearly always produced with equal speed.
It was his unexampled vaunt to have painted the enormous Cupola del Gesù
Nuovo in sixty-six days, a boast which Solimene checked with the cool
reply, that the work told its own tale without assistance: and yet it
possesses beauties, especially in the parts that imitate Lanfranco,
which excite wonder, considering the fury of execution. Nor, if he chose
to work with previous study and with diligence, as in the church of the
'Pii Operai,' in the gallery Matatona, and in many private pictures, was
he destitute of composition, grace of outline, or beauty of countenance,
though little varied. His colour at the onset was Giordanesque; in the
sequel he increased the force of his chiaroscuro, though not without
delicate gradation of tints: particularly in Madonnas and Infants, which
give an idea of Albano's suavity, and the Roman style. A school more
numerous than distinguished by talent, contributes little to his
celebrity.

Francesco Solimene,[131] called "L'Abate Ciccio," born at Nocera de'
Pagani, took the elements of art from his father Angelo, formerly a
pupil of Massimo, and went to Naples. He successively frequented the
schools of Francesco di Maria and of Giac. del Po, and left both to
follow his own inclination, which at first exclusively led him to
imitate the style of Pietro da Cortona, and even to adopt his figures.
He next formed a manner which, of all others, approached next to Preti;
the design, indeed, is less exact, the colour less true, but the faces
handsomer, now in imitation of Guido, then nearer to Maratta, and often
picked from life: hence the byname of "the Gentler Calabrese."[132] To
Preti he joined Lanfranco, whom he surnamed the "Master," and from him
borrowed and exaggerated that serpentine sweep of composition: his
chiaroscuro, balanced between both, lost some of its vigour and became
softer with the advance of life. He drew and revised his forms from
Nature with much accuracy before he painted, but often sacrificed his
outline to the fire of execution in the process. The facility and
elegance which distinguish him in poetry, mark his invention in
painting, to no branch of which he could be called a stranger, and might
have excelled singly in each. His works are scattered over Europe, for
he lived to the age of ninety, and yielded in velocity of hand to
Giordano only, his competitor and friend, at whose demise he succeeded
to the Primacy of taste.

Of the public works that most distinguish Solimene, are the stories of
the sacristy in S. Paolo Maggiore de' P.P. Teatini, nor less the
pictures substituted for those of Giacomo del Po on the arches of the
Chapels in the Church de' S.S. Apostoli. Specimens of his high finish
may be seen in the Chapel of S. Filippo in the Church dell' Oratorio; he
painted the principal altar-piece of the Nuns di "S. Gaudioso," and the
four large histories in the choir of the church at Monte Cassino. Of
private works, the gallery of Sanfelice is the most conspicuous at
Naples; at Rome, some stories in the Albani and Colonna palaces; and at
Macerata, in the Buonacorsi collection, among several mythologic
subjects, the Death of Dido, a picture of large dimensions and striking
effect. In the refectory of the Conventuals of Assisi, the Last Supper
of our Lord, a polished performance, is by his hand.

Of that most numerous band of pupils whom he let loose upon the public,
the most celebrated was, no doubt, Sebastiano Conca, a native of Gaeta,
generally classed with the Roman school, for Rome became his residence
and the theatre of his talent. After having served a pupilage of sixteen
years under Solimene, and persevered in the practice of that style for
several years at Rome, he ominously proved the futility of attempting at
an advanced period to escape from the tyranny of early habits. At forty
he dared to leave his brushes, became once more a student, and spent
five years in drawing after the antique and the masters of design: but
his hand and eye, debauched by manner, refused to obey his mind, till,
wearied by hopeless fatigue, he followed the advice of the sculptor Le
Gros, and returned to his former practice, though not without
considerable improvements, and nearer to Pietro da Cortona than to his
master. Conca had fertile brains, a rapid pencil, and a colour which at
first sight fascinated every eye by its splendour, contrast, and the
delicacy of its flesh-tints. His dispatch in fresco and in oil was equal
to his employment, and there is scarcely a collection of any consequence
without its Conca. He was courted by sovereigns and princes, and Pope
Clement XI. ennobled him at a full assembly of the academicians of St.
Luke. He was assisted in his labours by his brother Giovanni, a man of
similar taste, but less power, and an excellent copyist. The maxims of
Conca are considered[133] as having completed the ruin of art; but every
school had its own canker, and his influence did not extend to all.
Without deviating into a catalogue of mediocrity, it may be sufficient
to name three of his principal scholars, Gaetano Lapis of Cagli,
Salvator Monosilio, a Messinese, and Gaspero Serenari, a Palermitan.
Lapis had too much originality of conception and too much solidity of
taste to adopt the flowery style of his master. The public works he left
at home, and the Birth of Venus in a ceiling of the Borghese Palace, as
correct as graceful, deserved and would have attained more celebrity,
had not self-contempt and diffidence intercepted the fortune which his
talent might have commanded. The two Sicilians, complete machinists,
shared with the imitation the success of their master.

Next to Conca, the most successful pupil of Solimene was Francesco de
Mura, surnamed Franceschiello, born at Naples and greatly employed in
its churches and private galleries: the works, however, to which he owes
most of his celebrity, were the frescoes painted in various apartments
of the royal palace at Torino, in competition with Claudio Beaumont, who
was then at the height of his vigour. Mura ornamented the ceiling of
some rooms, chiefly filled with Flemish pictures, with subjects widely
different, Olympic games, and actions of Achilles.

Corrado Giaquinto of Molfetta, may conclude what yet deserves to be
recorded of this school. He too left Naples, came to Rome, and attached
himself to Conca, whose maxims he made nearly all his own; as resolute,
as easy, but less correct. Rome, Macerata, and other parts of the Roman
state, are acquainted with his works. He painted in Piemont, was
employed by Charles III. in Spain, appointed Director of the Academy of
S. Fernando, pleased and continued to please the greater part of the
public, even after the arrival of A.R. Mengs.


FOOTNOTES:

[103] Dominici.

[104] "Le opere superstiti ne deon decidere; e secondo queste Marco da
Siena, ch'è il padre della Storia pittorica Napolitana, giudicò _che in
grandezza di fare_ Cimabue prevalepe."--Lanzi, ii. I. 580.

[105] Tommaso had a brother Pietro de' Stefani, who professed painting,
but practised sculpture: of his works the monuments of Pope Innocenzio
IV., who died at Naples 1254, of Charles the First and Second, are the
most eminent. The two sitting statues of these two kings are still seen
over the small gates of the Episcopal palace.

[106] Signorelli Vicende della Coltura delle due Sicilie,--t. iii. 116.

[107] The Vatican alone is sufficient to prove that gold-grounds were
still recurred to in the best years of the sixteenth century.

[108] In the life of Giuliano da Majano. They are the first painters of
the Neapolitan schools mentioned by him, though with an ambiguity which
might induce us to believe that he meant to give them for Tuscany.

[109] In the forty-first sonnet, addressed to King Federigo: "Vedi
invitto Signor come risplende," &c.

[110] Some call him Giacomo, some Andria, most, and with greater
probability, Bernardo.

[111] See the remarks relative to Antoniello, in the history of Venetian
art; but it is in place here to observe on the assertions of the
Neapolitan writers, that, if the tradition of a Greek picture in oil at
the Duomo of Messina be not fabulous, Antoniello could not have remained
ignorant of it. If Colantonio was in possession of oil painting, how is
the astonishment to be accounted for, which the method of John ab Eyk
excited at Naples? How came the name of an obscure Fleming to fill in a
short period all Europe, every prince to solicit his pencil, every
painter to submit to his dictates or those of his scholars? Who, on the
contrary, who out of Naples or its state, knew then Colantonio? who
courted Solario? a man so apt, the son-in-law and scholar of the former,
and before of Lippo Dalmasio--how forgot he to learn, or why did he
neglect a method they are said to have practised so well, for the vulgar
one of distemper? Either they knew nothing of the mystery at all, or in
a degree too insignificant to affect the authority of Vasari, and the
claims of John ab Eyk and Antoniello.

[112] A. Sabbatini from 1480 to 1545.

[113] 1508 to 1542.

[114] Vasari.

[115] Said to be in 1587.

[116] These two laid the foundation of a History of Neapolitan Art. The
transient manner in which Vasari had mentioned Marco in the new edition
of his Lives, his silence on many Sienese, and omission of most
Neapolitan painters, were probably the causes that provoked the literary
opposition of Marco. His pupil, the Notary, furnished him with
materials, from the archives and domestic tradition, for the Discourse
which he composed in 1569, the year after the edition of Vasari; though
it remained in MS. till 1742, when, jointly with the Memoirs of
Criscuolo, in the Neapolitan dialect, &c., the greater part of it was,
published by Dominici.

[117] B. Corenzio, 1558 to 1643.

[118] In an inscription on one of his pictures, mentioned by
Palomino, he styles himself "Jusepe de Ribera Español de la Ciutad de
Xativa, e reyno de Valencia, Academico Romano, año 1630;" but the
Neapolitans, who maintained that he was born of Spanish parents in the
neighbourhood of Lecce, ascribe this and similar subscriptions on his
works rather to his ambition of ingratiating himself with the
government, which was Spanish, than to a genuine desire of acquainting
posterity with his native country.

Lo Spagnoletto 1588, vivo in 1649.

[119] Caracciolo di Batistiello, died 1641.

[120] Dominici.

[121] As it is evident that the deputies broke a formal contract with
Correnzio and Batistiello, it is not easily discovered on what principle
Lanzi has praised their conduct.

[122] It is contradicted only by the unsupported assertion of Bermudez,
who tells that Ribera died rich and honoured 1656 at Naples.

[123] M. Stanzioni, 1585 to 1656.

[124] Vaccaro, 1598 to 1671.

[125] M. Preti, 1613 to 1699.

[126] A. Falcone, 1600 to 1665.

[127] Born 1632, died 1705.

[128] The assent of Carlo Celano (Giornata IV.) seems to authenticate
this tradition.

[129] Luca, fa Presto!

[130] He used to tell, that then he had drawn twelve times the Stanze
and the Loggia of Rafaello, and nearly twenty the Battle of Constantine,
without mentioning his copies from the Sistina, Polidoro, A. Caracci,
&c.; hence, some one has called him by a bold but pertinent allusion
"The Thunderbolt of Art," as others its Proteus, from the singular
talent of mimicking the manner and touch of every master. Many are the
pictures painted by him, which passed for works of Albert Durer,
Bassano, Tiziano, and Rubens, not only with connoisseurs, a task less
difficult, but with his rivals, whose eyes malignity as well as
discernment might have sharpened: these deceptions fetched at sales
doubly and trebly the price of an ordinary Giordano. Specimens are still
to be found in the churches of Naples; for instance, the two
altar-pieces in that of S. Teresa, which have all the air of Guido,
especially that which represents the Nativity of the Saviour.

[131] Born 1657; died 1748.

[132] Il Calabrese ringentilito.

[133] Mengs.



THE SCHOOL OF VENICE.


The conquests, commerce and possessions of Venice in the Levant, and
thence its uninterrupted intercourse with the Greeks, give probability
to the conjecture, that Venetian art drew its origin from the same
source, and that the first institution of a company, or, as it is there
called, a School (Schola) of Painters, may be dated up to the Greek
artists who took refuge at Venice from the fury of the Iconoclasts at
Constantinople. The choice of its Patron, which was not St. Luke, but
Sta. Sophia, the patroness of the first temple at that time, and
prototype of St. Mark's, distinguishes it from the rest of the Italian
Schools. _Anchona_, the vulgar name of a picture in the technic
language, the statutes,[134] and documents of those times, is evidently
a depravation of the Greek _Eikon_. The school itself is of considerable
antiquity; its archives contain regulations and laws made in 1290, which
refer to anterior ones; and though not yet separated from the mass of
artisans, its members began to enjoy privileges of their own.

In various cities of the Venetian State we meet with vestiges of art
anterior in date[135] to the relics of painting and mosaic in the
metropolis, which prove that it survived the general wreck of society
here, as in other parts of Italy. Of the oldest Venetian monuments,
Zanetti has given a detailed account, with shrewd critical conjectures
on their chronology; though all attempts to discriminate the nearly
imperceptible progress of art in a mass of works equally marked by dull
servility, must prove little better than nugatory; for it does not
appear that Theophilus of Byzantium, who publicly taught the art at
Venice about 1200, or his Scholar Gelasio[136], had availed themselves
of the improvements made in form, twenty years before, by Joachim the
Abbot, in a picture of Christ. Nor can the notice of Vasari, who informs
us that Andrea Tafi repaired to Venice to profit by the instructions of
Apollonios in mosaic, prove more than that, from the rivalship of Greek
mechanics, that branch of art was handled with greater dexterity there
than at Florence, to which place he was, on his return, accompanied by
Apollonios. The same torpor of mind continued to characterise the
succeeding artists till the first years of the fourteenth century, and
the appearance of Giotto, who, on his return from Avignon 1316, by his
labours at Padua, Verona, and elsewhere in the state, threw the first
effectual seeds of art, and gave the first impulse to Venetian energy
and emulation[137] by superior example.

He was succeeded by Giusto, surnamed of Padova, from residence and city
rights, but else a Florentine and of the Menabuoi. To Padovano, Vasari
ascribes the vast work of the church of St. John the Baptist; incidents
of whose life were expressed on the altar-piece. The walls Giusto spread
with gospel history and mysteries of the Apocalypse, and on the Cupola a
glory filled with a consistory of saints in various attire: simple
ideas, but executed with incredible felicity and diligence. The names
'Joannes & Antonius de Padova,' formerly placed over one of the doors,
as an ancient MS. pretends, related probably to some companions of
Giusto, fellow pupils of Giotto, and show the unmixed prevalence of his
style, to which Florence itself had not adhered with more scrupulous
submission, beyond the middle of the century, and the less bigoted
imitation of Guarsiento, a Padovan of great name at that period, and the
leader of Ridolfi's history. He received commissions of importance from
the Venetian senate, and the remains of his labours in fresco and on
panel at Bassano and at the Eremitani of Padova, confirm the judgment of
Zanetti, that he had invention, spirit, and taste, and without those
remnants of Greek barbarity which that critic pretends to discover in
his style.

Of a style still less dependant on the principles of Giotto, are the
relicks of those artists whom Lanzi is willing to consider as the
precursors of the legitimate Venetian schools, and whose origin he dates
in the professors of miniature and missal-painting, many contemporary,
many anterior to Giotto. The most conspicuous is Niccolo Semitecolo,
undoubtedly a Venetian, if the inscription on a picture on panel in the
Capitular Library at Padova be genuine, viz., _Nicoleto Semitecolo da
Venezia_, 1367. It represents a Pietà, with some stories of S.
Sebastian, in no contemptible style: the nudities are well painted, the
proportions, though somewhat too long, are not inelegant, and what adds
most to its value as a monument of national style, it bears no
resemblance to that of Giotto, which, though it be inferior in design,
it equals in colour. Indeed the silence of Baldinucci, who annexes no
Venetian branch to his Tuscan pedigree of Art, gives probability to the
presumption, that a native school existed in the Adriatic long before
Cimabue.

A fuller display of this native style, and its gradual approaches to the
epoch of Giorgione and Tizian, were reserved for the fifteenth century:
an island prepared what was to receive its finish at Venice. Andrea da
Murano, who flourished about 1400, though still dry, formal, and vulgar,
designs with considerable correctness, even the extremities, and what is
more, makes his figures stand and act. There is still of him at Murano
in S. Pier Martire, a picture, on the usual gold ground of the times,
representing, among others, a Saint Sebastian, with a Torso, whose
beauty made Zanetti suspect that it had been copied from some antique
statue. It was he who formed to art the family of the Vivarini, his
fellow-citizens, who in uninterrupted succession maintained the school
of Murano for nearly a century, and filled Venice with their
performances.

Of Luigi, the reputed founder of the family, no authentic notices
remain. The only picture ascribed to him, in S. Giovanni and Paolo, has,
with the inscription of his name and the date 1414, been retouched.[138]
Nor does much more evidence attend the names of Giovanni and Antonio de'
Vivarini, the first of which belonged probably to a German, the partner
of Antonio,[139] who is not heard of after 1447, whilst Antonio, singly
or in society with his brother Bartolommeo Vivarini, left works
inscribed with his name as far as 1451.

Bartolommeo, probably considerably younger than Antonio, was trained to
art in the principles before mentioned, till he made himself master of
the new-discovered method of oil-painting, and towards the time of the
two Bellini became an artist of considerable note. His first picture in
oil bears the date of 1473; his last, at S. Giovanni in Bragora, on the
authority of Boschini, that of 1498; it represents Christ risen from the
grave, and is a picture comparable to the best productions of its time.
He sometimes added A Linnel Vivarino to his name and date, allusive to
his surname.

With him flourished Luigi, the last of the Vivarini, but the first in
art. His relics still exist at Venice, Belluno, Trevigi, with their
dates; the principal of these is in the school of St. Girolamo at
Venice, where, in competition with Giovanni Bellini, whom he equals, and
with Vittore Carpaccia, whom he surpasses, he represented the Saint
caressing a Lion, and some monks who fly in terror at the sight.
Composition, expression, colour, for felicity, energy, and mellowness,
if not above every work of the times, surpass all else produced by the
family of the Vivarini.

At the beginning of the century, Gentile da Fabriano, styled Magister
Magistrorum, and mentioned in the Roman School, painted, in the public
palace at Venice, a naval battle, now vanished, but then so highly
valued that it procured him an annual provision, and the privilege of
the Patrician dress. He raised disciples in the state: Jacopo Nerito, of
Padova, subscribes himself a disciple of Gentile, in a picture at S.
Michele of that place, and from the style of another in S. Bernardino,
at Bassano, Lanzi surmises that Nasocchio di Bassano was his pupil or
imitator. But what gives him most importance, is the origin of the great
Venetian School under his auspices, and that Jacopo Bellini, the father
of Gentile and Giovanni, owned him for his master. Jacopo is indeed more
known by the dignity of his son's than his own works, at present either
destroyed, in ruins, or unknown. What he painted in the church of St.
Giovanni at Venice, and, about 1456, at the Santo of Padova, the chapel
of the family Gattamelata, are works that exist in history only. One
single picture, subscribed by his name, Lanzi mentions to have seen in a
private collection, resembling the style of Squarcione, whom he seems to
have followed in his maturer years.

A name then still more conspicuous, though now nearly obliterated, is
that of Jacopo, or as he is styled Jacobello, or as he wrote himself,
Jacometto del Fiore, whose father Francesco del Fiore, a leader of art
in his day, was honoured with a monument and an epitaph in Latin verse
at S. Giovanni and Paolo: of him it is doubtful whether any traces
remain, but of the son, who greatly surpassed him, several performances
still exist, from 1401 to 1436. Vasari has wantonly taxed him with
having suspended all his figures, in the Greek manner, on the points of
their feet: the truth is, that he was equalled by few of his
contemporaries, for few like him dared to represent figures as large as
life, and fewer understood to give them beauty, dignity, and that air of
agility and ease, which his forms possess; nor would the lions in his
picture of Justice at the Magistrato del Proprio, have shared the first
praise, had not the principal figures, in subservience to the time, been
loaded with tinsel ornament and golden glitter.

Two scholars of his are mentioned: Donato, superior to him in style, and
Carlo Crivelli, of obscure fame, but deserving attention for the colour,
union, grace, and expression, of the small histories in which he
delighted.

The ardour of the capital for the art was emulated by every town of the
state; all had their painters, but all did not submit to the principles
of Venice and Murano. At Verona the obscure names of Aldighieri and
Stefano Dazevio, were succeeded[140] by the vaunted one of Vittore
Pisanello, of S. Vito: though accounts grossly vary on the date in which
he flourished, and the school from which he sprang, that his education
was Florentine is not improbable, but whoever his master, fame has
ranked him with Masaccio as an improver of style. His works at Rome and
Venice, in decay at the time of Vasari, are now no more; and fragments
only remain of what he did at Verona. S. Eustachio caressing a Dog, and
S. Giorgio sheathing his Sword and mounting his horse, figures extolled
to the skies by Vasari, are, with the places which they occupied,
destroyed: works which seem to have contained elements of truth and
dignity in expression with novelty of invention, and of contrast, style,
and foreshortening in design: a loss so much the more to be lamented, as
the remains of his less considerable works at S. Firmo and Perugia, far
from sanctioning the opinion which tradition has taught us to entertain
of Pisano, are finished indeed with the minuteness of miniature, but are
crude in colour, and drawn in lank and emaciated proportions. It appears
from his works, that he understood the formation, had studied the
expression, and attempted the most picturesque attitudes of animals. His
name is well known to antiquaries, and to the curious in coins, as a
medallist, and he has been celebrated as such by many eminent pens of
his own and the subsequent century.[141]

From the crowd[142] of obscure contemporary artists, which the
neighbouring Vicenza produced, the name of Marcello, or as Ridolfi calls
him Gio. Battista Figolino, deserves to be distinguished: a man of
original manner, whose companion, in variety of character, intelligence
of keeping, landscape, perspective, ornament, and exquisite finish, will
not easily be discovered at Venice, or elsewhere in the State, at that
period; and were it certain that he was anterior to the two Bellini,
sufficiently eminent to claim the honours of an epoch in the history of
Art: in proof of which Vicenza may still produce his Epiphany in the
church of St. Bartolommeo.

But the man who had the most extensive influence on Art, if not as the
first artist, as the first and most frequented teacher, was Francesco
Squarcione,[143] of Padova; in whose numerous school perhaps originated
that eclectic principle which characterised part of the Adriatic and all
the Lombard schools. Opulent and curious, he not only designed what
ancient art offered in Italy, but passed over to Greece, visited many an
isle of the Archipelago in quest of monuments, and on his return to
Padova formed, from what he had collected, by copy or by purchase, of
statues, basso-relievos, torsos, fragments, and cinerary urns, the most
ample museum of the time, and a school in which he counted upwards of
150 students, and among them Andrea Mantegna, Marco Zoppo, Girolamo
Schiavone, Jacopo Bellini.

Of Squarcione, more useful by precept than by example, little remains,
and of that little, perhaps, not all his own. From the variety of
manner observable in what is attributed to him, it may be suspected that
he too often divided his commissions among his scholars; such as some
stories of St. Francis, in a cloister of his church, and the miniatures
of the Antifonario in the temple della Misericordia, attributed by the
vulgar to Mantegna. Only one indisputably genuine, though retouched work
of his, is mentioned by Lanzi; which, in various compartments,
represents different saints, subscribed 'Francesco Squarcione,' and
conspicuous for felicity of colour, expression, and perspective.

These outlines of the infancy of Venetian art show it little different
from that of the other schools hitherto described; slowly emerging from
barbarity, and still too much busied with the elements to think of
elegance and ornament. Even then, indeed, canvass instead of panels was
used by the Venetian painters; but their general vehicle was, a tempera,
prepared water-colour: a method approaching the breadth of fresco, and
friendly to the preservation of tints, which even now retain their
virgin purity; but unfriendly to union and mellowness. It was reserved
for the real epoch of oil-painting to develope the Venetian character,
display its varieties, and to establish its peculiar prerogative.

Tiziano, the son of Gregorio Vecelli, was born at Piave, the principal of
Cadore on the Alpine verge of Friuli, 1477.[144] His education is said
to have been learned, and Giov. Battista Egnazio is named as his master
in Latin and Greek;[145] but his proficiency may be doubted, for if it
be true that his irresistible bent to the art obliged the father to send
him in his tenth year to the school of Giov. Bellini at Venice, he could
be little more than an infant when he learnt the rudiments under
Sebastiano Zuccati.[146]

At such an age, and under these masters, he acquired a power of copying
the visible detail of the objects before him with that correctness of
eye and fidelity of touch which distinguishes his imitation at every
period of his art. Thus when, more adult, in emulation of Albert Durer,
he painted at Ferrara[147] Christ to whom a Pharisee shows the tribute
money, he out-stript in subtlety of touch even that hero of minuteness:
the hair of the heads and hands may be counted, the pores of the skin
discriminated, and the surrounding objects seen reflected in the pupils
of the eyes; yet the effect of the whole is not impaired by this extreme
finish: it increases it at a distance, which effaces the fac-similisms
of Albert, and assists the beauties of imitation with which that work
abounds to a degree seldom attained, and never excelled by the master
himself, who has left it indeed as a single monument, for it has no
companion, to attest his power of combining the extremes of finish and
effect.


GIACOMO ROBUSTI, SURNAMED IL TINTORETTO.

1512-1594.

"It might almost be said that vice is the virtue of the Venetian school,
because it rests its prerogative on despatch in execution, and
therefore is proud of Tintoretto, who had no other merit."[148] Such, in
speaking of the great genius before us, is the equally rash, ignorant,
unphilosophic verdict of a man exclusively dubbed "The Philosophic
Painter."

G. Robusti of Venice was the son of a dyer, who left him that byname as
an heir-loom.[149] He entered the school of Tiziano when yet a boy; but
he, soon discovering in the daring spirit of his nursling the symptoms
of a genius which threatened future rivalship to his own powers, with
that suspicious meanness which marks his character as an artist, after a
short interval, ordered his head pupil, Girolamo Dante, to dismiss the
boy; but as envy generally defeats its own designs, the uncourteous
dismissal, instead of dispiriting, roused the energies of the heroic
stripling, who, after some meditation on his future course, and
comparing his master's superiority in _colour_ with his defects in
_form_, resolved to surpass him by an union of both: the method best
suited to accomplish this he fancied to find in an intense study of
Michael Angelo's style, and boldly announced his plan by writing on the
door of his study, THE DESIGN OF M. ANGELO, AND THE COLOUR OF TIZIAN.

But neither form nor colour alone could satisfy his eye; the
uninterrupted habit of nocturnal study discovered to him what Venice had
not yet seen, not even in Giorgione, if we may form an opinion from what
remains of him--the powers of that ideal chiaroscuro which gave motion
to action, raised the charms of light, and balanced or invigorated
effect by dark and lucid masses opposed to each other.

The first essays of this complicated system, in single figures, are
probably the frescoes of the palace Gussoni;[150] and in numerous
composition, the Last Judgement, and its counterpart, the Adoration of
the Golden Calf, in the church of Sta. Maria dell' Orfo.

It is evident that the spirit of Michael Angelo domineered over the
fancy of Tintoretto in the arrangement of the Last Judgement, though not
over its design; but grant some indulgence to that, and the storm in
which the whole fluctuates, the awful division of light and darkness
into enormous masses, the living motion of the agents, notwithstanding
their frequent aberrations from their centre of gravity,[151] and the
harmony that rules the whirlwind of that tremendous moment, must for
ever place it among the most astonishing productions of art. Its
sublimity as a whole triumphs even over the hypercriticisms of Vasari,
who thus describes it:--"Tintoretto has painted the Last Judgement with
an extravagant invention, which, indeed, has something awful and
terrible, inasmuch as he has united in groups a multitudinous assemblage
of figures of each sex and every age, interspersed with distant views of
the blessed and condemned souls. You see likewise the boat of Charon,
but in a manner as novel and uncommon as highly interesting. Had this
fantastic conception been executed with a correct and regular design,
had the painter estimated its individual parts with the attention which
he bestowed on the whole, so expressive of the confusion and the tumult
of that day, it would be the most admirable of pictures. Hence he who
casts his eye only on the whole, remains astonished, whilst to him who
examines the parts it appears to have been painted in jest."

In the Adoration of the Golden Calf, the counterpart in size of the Last
Judgement, Tintoretto has given full reins to his invention; and here,
as in the former, though their scanty width does not very amicably
correspond with their height, which is fifty feet, he has filled the
whole so dexterously that the dimension appears to be the result of the
composition. Here too, as in the Transfiguration of Raffaelle, some
short-sighted sophist may pretend to discover two separate subjects and
a double action; for Moses receives the tables of the decalogue in the
upper part, whilst the idolatrous ceremony occupies the lower; but the
unity of the subject may be proved by the same argument which defended
and justified the choice of Sanzio. Both actions are not only the
offspring of the same moment, but so essentially relate to each other
that, by omitting either, neither could with sufficient evidence have
told the story. Who can pretend to assert, that the artist who has found
the secret of representing together two inseparable moments of an event
divided only by place, has impaired the unity of the subject?

Nowhere, however, does the genius of Tintoretto flash more irresistibly
than in the Schools of S. Marco and S. Rocco, where the greater part of
the former and almost the whole of the latter are his work, and exhibit
in numerous specimens, and on the largest scale, every excellence and
every fault that exalts or debases his pencil: equal sublimity and
extravagance of conception; purity of style and ruthless manner;
bravura of hand with mental dereliction; celestial or palpitating hues
tacked to clayey, raw, or frigid masses; a despotism of chiaroscuro
which sometimes exalts, sometimes eclipses, often absorbs subject and
actors. Such is the catalogue of beauties and defects which characterize
the Slave delivered by St. Marc; the Body of the Saint landed; the
Visitation of the Virgin; the Massacre of the Innocents; Christ tempted
in the Desert; the Miraculous Feeding of the Crowd; the Resurrection of
the Saviour; and though last, first, that prodigy which in itself sums
up the whole of Tintoretto, and by its anomaly equals or surpasses the
most legitimate offsprings of art, the Crucifixion.[152]

It is singular that the most finished and best preserved work of
Tintoretto should be one which he had least time allowed him to
terminate--the Apotheosis of S. Rocco in the principal ceiling-piece of
the Schola, conceived, executed, and presented, instead of the sketch
which he had been commissioned with the rest of the concurrent artists
to produce for the examination of the fraternity: a work which equally
strikes by loftiness of conception, a style of design as correct as
bold, and a suavity of colour which entrances the eye. Though
constructed on the principles of that _sotto in su_, then ruling the
platfonds and cupolas of upper Italy, unknown to or rejected by M.
Angelo, its figures recede more gradually, yet with more evidence, than
the groups of Correggio, whose ostentatious foreshortenings generally
sacrifice the actor to his posture.

That Tintoretto acquired, during his stay with or after his dismissal
from the study of Tiziano's principles, the power of representing the
surface and the texture of bodily substance with a truth bordering on
illusion, is proved with more irresistible because more copious
evidence, in the picture of the Angelic Salutation; though it cannot be
denied that the admiration due to the magic touch of the paraphernalia
is extorted at the expense of the essential parts: Gabriel and Maria are
little more than foils of her husband's tools; for their display, the
artist's caprice has turned the solemn approach of the awful messenger
into boisterous irruption, the silent recess of the mysterious mother
into a public dismantled shed, and herself into a vulgar female. Nowhere
would the superiority of refined over vulgar art, of taste and judgment
over unbridled fancy, have appeared more irresistibly than in the
sopraporta by Tiziano on the same subject and in the same place, had
that exquisite master been inspired more by the sanctity of the subject
than the lures of courtly or the ostentatious bigotry of monastic
devotion. If Maria was to be rescued from the brutal hand that had
travestied her to the mate of a common labourer, it was not to be
transformed to a young abbess, elegantly devout, submitting to
canonization, amongst her delicate lambs; if the angel was not to rush
through a shattered casement on a timid female with a whirlwind's blast,
the waving grace and calm dignity of his gesture and attitude, ought to
have been above the assistance of theatrical ornament; nor should
Palladio have been consulted to construct classic avenues for the humble
abode of pious meditation. It must however be owned that we become
reconciled to this mass of factitious embellishments by a tone which
seems to have been inspired by Piety itself; the message whispers in a
celestial atmosphere,

    Θειη ἀμφεχυτ' ὀμφη----

and so forcibly appears its magic effect to have influenced Tintoretto
himself, ever ready to rush from one extreme to another, that he
imitated it in the Annunciata of the Arimani Palace:[153] not without
success, but far below the mannerless unambitious purity of tone that
pervades the effusion of his master, and of which he himself gave a
blazing proof in the Resurrection of the Saviour,--a work in which
sublimity of conception, beauty and dignity of form, velocity and
propriety of motion, irresistible flash, mellowness and freshness of
colour, tones inspired by the subject, and magic chiaroscuro, less for
"mastery strive," than relieve each other and entrance the absorbed eye.


FOOTNOTES:

[134] Thus in an order of the Justiziarii we read: "MCCCXXII. Indicion
Sexta die primo de Octub. Ordenado e fermado fo per Misier Piero Veniero
& per Miser Marco da Mugla Justixieri Vieri, lo terzo compagno vacante.
Ordenado fo che da mo in avanti alguna persona si venedega come
forestiera non osa vender in Venexia alcuna _Anchona_ impenta, salvo li
empentori, sotto pena, &c. Salvo da la sensa, che alora sia licito a
zaschun de vinder _anchone_ infin chel durerà la festa," &c. And a
picture in the church of S. Donato at Murano, has the following
inscription: "Corendo MCCCX. indicion viii. in tempo de lo nobele homo
Miser Donato Memo honorando Podestà facta fo questa _Anchona_ de Miser
S. Donato."

[135] In the church at Cassello di Sesto, which has an abbey founded in
762, there are pictures of the ninth century.

[136] Gelasio di Nicolo della Masuada di S. Giorgio, was of Ferrara, and
flourished about 1242. Vid. Historia almi Ferrariensis Gymnasii,
Ferraria, 1735.

[137] At that time he painted in the palace of Cari della Scala at
Verona, and at Padoua a chapel in the church 'del Sarto;' he repeated
his visit in the latter years of his life to both places. Of what he did
at Verona no traces remain, but at Padoua the compartments of Gospel
histories round the Oratorio of the Nunziata all' Arena, by the
freshness of the fresco and that blended grace and grandeur peculiar to
Giotto, still surprise.

[138] Fiorillo has confounded this questionable name with the real one
of Luigi, who painted about 1490.--See Fiorillo Geschichte, ii. p. 11.

[139] In S. Giorgio Maggiore is a St. Stephen and Sebastian, with the
inscription:

           1445.
    Johannes de Alemania
    et Antonius de Muriano.
             P.

from which, another picture at Padova, inscribed "Antonio de Muran e
Zohan Alamanus pinxit," and some traces of foreign style where his name
occurs, Lanzi suspects that the inscription in S. Pantaleone, "Zuane, e
Antonio da Muran, pense 1444," on which the existence of Giovanni is
founded, means no other than the German partner of Antonio.

[140] In no instance seems Vasari to have given a more decisive proof of
his attachment to the Florentine school, than by building the fame of
Pisano on having been the pupil of Andrea del Castagno, and having been
allowed to terminate the works which he had left unfinished behind him
about 1480; an anachronism the more absurd as the Commendator del Pozzo
was possessed of a picture by Pisano, inscribed 'Opera di Vittor
Pisanello de San V. Veronese, MCCCCVI.' a period at which probably
Castagno was not born. The truth is, that Vasari, whose rage for
dispatch and credulity kept pace with each other, composed the first
part of Pisano's life nearly without materials, and the second from
hearsay.

[141] What Vasari says of the dog of S. Eustachio and the horse of St.
Giorgio, though on the authority of Frà Marco de' Medici, warrants the
assertion; and still more the foreshortened horse on the reverse of a
medal struck in 1419, in honour and with the head of John Palæologus.
The horse, like that of M. Antoninus, has an attitude of parallel
motion. The medal has been published by Ducange in the appendix to his
Latin Glossary, by Padre Banduri, Gori and Maffei.

[142] See their lists in _Descrizione delle Architetture, Pitture e
Sculture di Vicenza con alcune osservazioni, &c._ Vicenza, 1779, 8vo. p.
I. II.

[143] Ridolfi, i. 68. Vasari, who treats his art with contempt, calls
him Jacopo; and Orlandi, afraid of choosing between them, used both, and
made two different artists.

[144] Vasari dates his birth 1480.

[145] Liruti, Notizie de' Letterati del Friuli, t. ii. p. 285.

[146] Sebastiano Zuccati of Trevigo, flourished about 1490. He had two
sons, Valerio and Francesco, celebrated for mosaic about and beyond the
middle of the sixteenth century. Flaminio Zuccati, the son of Valerio,
who inherited his father's talent and fame, flourished about 1585. See
Zanetti.

[147] See Ridolfi. The original went to Dresden; but Italy abounds in
copies of it. Lanzi mentions one which he saw at S. Saverio in Rimini,
with Tiziano's name written on the fillet of the Pharisee, a performance
of great beauty, and by many considered less a copy than a duplicate.
The most celebrated copy, that of Flaminio Torre, is preserved at
Dresden with the original.

[148] "Si può quasi dire, che il vizio sia la virtù della Scuola
Veneziana, poichè fa pompa della sollecitudine nel dipingere; e perciò
fa stima di Tintoretto, che non avea altro merito." Mengs, Opere, t. i.
p. 175. ed. Parm.

[149] It has supplanted, was probably perpetuated in allusion to his
rapidity of execution, and remains familiar to ears that never heard of
Robusti.

[150] See Varie Pitture a fresco de' principali Maestri Veneziani, &c.
Venez. fol. 1760. Tab. 8, 9, p. viii. No one who has seen the original
figures of the Aurora and Creposcolo in S. Lorenzo, can mistake their
imitation, or rather transcripts, in these.

[151] The frequent want of equilibration found in Tintoretto's figures,
even where no violence of action can palliate or account for it, has not
without probability been ascribed to his method of studying foreshortening
from models loosely suspended and playing in the air; to which he at last
became so used that he sometimes employed it even for figures resting on
firm ground, and fondly sacrificed solidity and firmness to the affected
graces of undulation.

[152] It would be mere waste of time to recapitulate what has been said
on the efficient beauties of this astonishing work in the lectures on
colour and chiaroscuro, and in the article of Tintoretto, in the last
edition of Pilkington's Dictionary. It has been engraved on a large
scale by Agostino Carracci, if that can be called engraving which
contents itself with the mere enumeration of the parts, totally
neglecting the medium of that tremendous twilight which hovers over the
whole and transposes us to Golgotha. If what Ridolfi says be true, that
Tintoretto embraced the engraver when he presented the drawing to him,
he must have had still more deplorable moments of dereliction as a man
than as an Artist, or the drawing of Agostino, must have differed
totally from the print.

[153] It is engraved by Pietro Monaco, as that of Tiziano, by Le Fevre,
but in a manner which makes us lament the lot of those who have no means
to see the original.



THE SCHOOL OF MANTOUA.


Mantoua,[154] the birth-place of Virgil, a name dear to poetry, by the
adoption of Andrea Mantegna and Giulio Pippi claims a distinguished
place in the history of Art, for restoring and disseminating style among
the schools of Lombardy.

Mantoua, desolated by Attila, conquered by Alboin, wrested from the
Longobards by the Exarch of Ravenna, was taken and fortified by Charles
the Great: from Bonifazio of Canossa it descended to Mathilda; after her
demise, 1115, became a republic tyrannized by Bonacorsi, till the people
conferred the supremacy on Lodovico Gonzaga, under whose successors it
rose from a marquisate, 1433, to a dukedom, 1531, and finished as an
appendage to the spoils of Austria.

Revolutions so uninterrupted, aggravated by accidental devastations of
floods and fire, may account for the want of earlier monuments of art in
Mantoua and its districts, than the remains from the epoch of
Mathilda.[155] A want perhaps more to be regretted by the antiquary
than the historian of art, whose real epoch begins with the patronage of
Lodovico Gonzaga and the appearance of Andrea Mantegna.[156]

This native of Padova[157] was the adopted son and pupil of Squarcione,
in whose school he acquired that taste for the antique which marks his
works at every period of his practice; if sometimes mitigated, never
supplanted by the blandishments of colour and the precepts of Giovanni
Bellino, whose daughter he had married.

Perhaps no question has been discussed with greater anxiety, and
dismissed from investigation with less success, than that of
Correggio's origin, circumstances, methods of study, and death.

The date of his birth is uncertain, some place it in 1475, others in
1490; were we to follow a MS. gloss in the Library at Gottingen,
mentioned by Fiorillo, which says he died at the age of forty in 1512,
he must have been born in 1472; but the true date is, no doubt, that of
the inscription set him at Correggio, viz. that he died in 1534, aged
forty. The honour of his birth-place is allowed to Correggio, though not
without dispute.[158] His father's name was Pellegrino Allegri,
according to Orlandi, countenanced by Mengs. He was instructed in the
elements of literature, philosophy, and mathematics; however doubtful
this, there can be no doubt entertained on the very early period in
which he must have applied to Painting. The brevity of his life, and the
surprising number of his works, evince that he could not devote much
time to literature, and, of mathematics, probably contented himself with
what related to perspective and architecture. On the authority of
Vedriani and of Scannelli, Mengs and his follower Ratti make Correggio
in Modena the pupil of Franc. Bianchi Ferrari, and in Mantoua of Andr.
Mantegna, without vouchers of sufficient authenticity for either: the
passage quoted by Vedriani from the chronicle of Lancillotto, an
historian contemporary with Correggio, is an interpolation; and
Mantegna, who died in 1505, could not have been the master of a boy who
at that time was scarcely in his twelfth year.

Some supposed pictures of Correggio at Mantoua, in the manner of
Mantegna, may have given rise to this opinion. An imitation of that
style is visible in some whose originality has never been disputed: such
as in the St. Cecilia of the Palace Borghese, and a piece in his first
manner of the Gallery at Dresden.

Father Maurizio Zapata, a friar of Casino, in a MS. quoted by
Tiraboschi, affirms that the two uncles of Parmegianino, Michele and
Pier Stario Mazzuoli, were the masters of Correggio,--a supposition
without foundation; it is more probable, though not certain, that he
gained the first elements from Lorenzo Allegri his uncle, and not, as
the vulgar opinion states, his grandfather.

Equal doubts prevail on his skill and power of execution in architecture
and plastic: the common opinion is, that for this he was beholden to
Antonio Begarelli. Scannelli, Resta, and Vedriani, pretend that
Correggio, terrified by the enormous mass and variety of figures to be
seen foreshortened from below in the cupola of the Domo at Parma, had
the whole modelled by Begarelli, and thus escaped from the difficulty,
correct, and with applause. They likewise tell in Parma, that by
occasion of some solemn funeral, many of those models were found on the
cornices of the cupola, and considered as the works of Begarelli: hence
they pretend that Correggio was his regular pupil, and as such finished
those three statues which a tradition as vague as silly has placed to
his account in Begarelli's celebrated composition of the Deposition from
the Cross in the church of St. Margareta.

That either Correggio himself or Begarelli made models for the cupola
admits no doubt, the necessity of such a process is evident from the
nature and the perfection of the work; but there is surely none to
conclude from it to that of a formal apprenticeship in sculpture. He who
had arrived at the power of painting the cupola at Parma, may without
rashness be supposed to have possessed that of making for his own use
small models of clay, without the instructions of a master, especially
in an age when painting, sculpture, and architecture frequently met in
the same artist; and, as we have elsewhere[159] observed, when sketching
in clay was a practice familiar to those of Lombardy.

Correggio's pretended journey to Rome is another point in dispute: two
writers of his century, Ortensio Landi and Vasari, reject it. The first
says[160] Correggio died young without having been able to visit Rome;
the second affirms that Antonio had a genius which wanted nothing but
acquaintance with Rome to perform miracles. Padre Resta, a great
collector of Correggio's works, was the first who opposed their
authority.[161] He pretends, in some writing of his own, to have adduced
twelve proofs of Correggio's having twice visited Rome, viz. in 1520 and
1530. But the allegations of a crafty monk, a dealer in drawings and
pictures, cannot weigh against authorities like those of Vasari and
Landi. His conjectures rest partly on some supposed drawings of
Correggio's in his possession, from the Loggie of the Vatican, and
partly on an imaginary journey, in which, he tells us, Correggio
traversed Italy incognito, and made everywhere copies, which all had the
good luck to fall into his own reverend hands. These lures, held out to
ensnare the ignorant and wealthy, he palliated by a pretended plan of
raising a monument to the memory of the immortal artist at Correggio,
the expenses of which were to be defrayed by the produce of his stock in
hand. He had even face enough to solicit from that town an attestation
that their citizen had travelled as a journeyman painter.

Mengs, and of course Batti, embrace the same opinion. Mengs draws his
conclusion from the difference between Correggio's first and second
style, which he considers less as the imperceptible progress of art than
as the immediate effect of the works of Raphael and Michel Agnolo. Mengs
was probably seduced to believe in this visionary journey on the
authority of Winkelmann, who pretended to have discovered, in the museum
of Cardinal Albani, some designs after the antique by Mantegna,
Correggio's reputed master. Bracci, in opposition, assert that Allegri
was beholden to none but himself for his acquirements, and appeals to a
letter of Annibale Carracci, who says that Correggio found in himself
those materials for which the rest were obliged to extraneous help. The
words of Carracci, however, with all due homage to the genius of
Correggio and the originality of his style, appear to refer rather to
invention and the poetic, than to the executive part of his works.

If there be any solidity in the observation of Mengs on Correggio's
first manner, as a mixture of Pietro Perugino's and Lionardo's style,
and of course not very different from Raphael's, how comes it that in
the works of his second and best manner all resemblance to either, and
consequently to Raphael, disappears? The simplicity of Raphael's forms
is little beholden to that contrast and those foreshortenings which are
the element of Correggio's style. Raphael sacrificed all to the subject
and expression; Correggio, in an artificial medium, sacrifices all to
the air of things and harmony. Raphael speaks to our heart; Correggio
insinuates himself into our affections by charming our senses. The
essence of Raphael's beauty is dignity of mind; petulant _naïveté_ that
of Correggio's. Raphael's grace is founded on propriety; Correggio's on
convenience and the harmony of the whole. The light of Raphael is simple
daylight; that of Correggio artificial splendour. In short, the history
of artists scarcely furnishes characteristics more opposite than what
discriminate these two. And though it may appear a paradox to
superficial observation, were it necessary to find an object of
imitation for Allegri's second and best style, the artificial medium,
the breadth of manner and mellowness of transition, with the enormous
forms and foreshortenings of Michel Angelo, though adopted by so
different a mind, from as different motives, for an end still more
different, will be found to be much more congenial with his principles
of seeing and executing, than the style of any preceding or coetaneous
period.

The authenticity of Correggio's celebrated "Anch' io son Pittore," is
less affected by the improbability of his journey to Rome, than by its
own legendary weakness: though not at Modena or Parma, for there were no
pictures of Raphael in either place during Antonio's life, he might have
seen the St. Cecilia at Bologna; and if the story be true, perhaps no
large picture of that master that we are acquainted with could furnish
him with equal matter of exultation. He was less made to sympathize with
the celestial trance of the heroine, the intense meditation of the
Apostles, and the sainted grace of the Magdalen, than to be disgusted by
a parallelism of the whole which borders on primitive apposition, by the
total neglect of what is called picturesque, the absence of chiaroscuro,
the unharmonious colour, and dry severity of execution.

The next point is to fix the dates of Correggio's works; the certain,
the probable, the conjectural.

The theatre of Correggio's first essays in art is supposed to have been
his native place and the palace of its princes; but that palace perished
with whatever it might contain. From a document in the parochial archive
of Correggio, of 1514, it appears that in the same year he painted an
altar-piece for one hundred zechini, a considerable price for a young
man of twenty. This picture was in the church of the Minorites, where it
remained till 1638, when a copy was unawares put into the place of the
original. The citizens alarmed, in vain made representations to Annibale
Molza, their governor; it even appears from a letter of his to the Court
of Modena, in whose name he governed, that, many years before, two other
pieces of Antonio had been removed from the same chapel by order of Don
Siro, the last prince of the House of Correggio; those represented a St.
John and a St. Bartholomew; the subject of the altar-piece was the
Madonna with the child, Joseph and St. Francis.

The fraternity of the Hospital della Misericordia possessed likewise an
altar-piece of Antonio. The centre piece represented the Deity of the
Father; the two wings, St. John and Bartholomew. According to a contract
which still remains in the archives, it was estimated by a painter of
Novellara, Jacopo Borboni, at three hundred ducats, bought for Don Siro
in 1613, and a copy put in its place. The originals of all these
pictures are lost.

The picture with the Madonna and child on a throne, St. John the
Baptist, the Sts. Catharina, Francis, and Antony, inscribed "Antonius de
Allegris P." now in the gallery of Dresden, was, as Tiraboschi correctly
supposes, an altar-piece in the church of St. Nicolas of the Minorites,
at Carpi: a copy of it by Aretusi, is at Mantoua. To this period, and
perhaps even an earlier one, belongs the St. Cecilia of the Borghese
palace. The general style of this picture is dry and hard, and the
draperies in Mantegna's taste; but the light which proceeds from a glory
of angels, and imperceptibly expands itself over the whole, is a
characteristic too decisive to leave any doubt of its originality.

In the gallery of Count Brühl was the Wedding (sposalizio) of St.
Catharine, with the following inscription on the back:--"Laus Deo: per
Donna Metilde d'Este Antonio Lieto da Correggio fece il presente quadro
per sua divozione, anno 1517." This inscription appears, however,
suspicious, as at that time there was no princess of that name at the
court of Ferrara. At the purchase of the principal pictures in the
Modenese gallery by Augustus III. this was presented by the Duke to
Count Brühl; from him it went to the Imperial Gallery at Petersburg. A
similar one was in the collection of Capo di Monte at Naples, and Mengs
considers both as originals. Copies of merit by Gabbiani and Volterrano
are in England and Toscana. It is singular that an artist, than whom
none had more scholars and copyists, and whose short life was occupied
by the most important works, should be supposed to have painted so many
duplicates, and that a set of men, as impudent as ignorant, should meet
with dupes as credulous as wealthy, eager to purchase their trash at
enormous prices, in the face of the few legitimate originals.

In 1519, Antonio went to Parma, and soon after his arrival is said to have
painted a room in the Nunnery of St. Paul. The authenticity of this work,
placed within the clausure of the convent and consequently inaccessible,
has been recently disputed, and the author of a certain dialogue even
attempts to prove the whole a fable. To ascertain the fact, a special
licence to visit the place was obtained for some painters and architects
of note, and on their declaring the paintings one of Correggio's best
works, Don Ferdinando de Bourbon, with some of the courtiers and Padre
Iveneo Affo, followed to inspect it. What he tells us of monastic
constitution in those times accounts for the admission of so profane an
ornament in such a place; for in the beginning of the sixteenth century,
clausure was yet unknown to nunneries; abbesses were elected for life,
their power over the revenue of the convent was uncontrolled, their style
of life magnificent, and their political influence not inconsiderable.
Such was the situation of nunneries when Donna Giovanna da Piacenza,
descended from an eminent family at Parma, the new-elected abbess of St.
Paul's, ordered two saloons of her elegant apartments to be decorated with
paintings; one by Correggio, and another, as it is conjectured, either by
Alessandro Araldi of Parma, or Cristoforo Casella, called Temperello.
Padre Affo proves that Correggio must have painted his apartment before
1520, immediately after his arrival at Parma, and four or five years
before the introduction of the clausure. Of a work so singular and
questionable, it will not appear superfluous to repeat some of the most
striking outlines from his account:--"The chimney-piece represents Diana
returned from the chase, to whom an infant Amor offers the head of a
new-slain stag; the ceiling is vaulted, raised in arches over sixteen
lunettes; four on each side of the walls; the paintings are raised about
an ell from the floor, and form a series of mythologic and allegoric
figures, which breathe the simplicity, the suavity, and the decorum of
Art's golden age. Of these the three Graces naked, in three different
attitudes, offer a charming study of female beauty, and a striking
contrast with the Parcæ placed opposite; the most singular subject is a
naked female figure, suspended by a cord from the sky, with her hands tied
over her head--her body extended by two golden anvils fastened with chains
to her feet, floating in the attitude of which the Homeric Jupiter reminds
his Juno.[162] The high-arched roof embowers the whole with luxuriant
verdure and fruit, and is divided into sixteen large ovals, overhung with
festoons of tendrils, vine-leaves, and grapes, between which appear groups
of infant Amorini, above the size of children, gamboling in various
picturesque though not immodest attitudes."

Neither the pretended inaccessibility of place, nor the veil thrown by
monastic austerity over the profaneness of the subject, can sufficiently
account for the silence of tradition, and the obscurity in which this
work was suffered to linger for nearly three centuries. Supposing it, on
the authorities adduced, to be the legitimate produce of Correggio, and
considering its affinity to the ornamental parts of the Loggie in the
Vatican, it affords a stronger argument of Allegri's having seen Rome,
studied the antique, and imitated Raphael, than any of those that have
been adduced by Mengs, who (with his commentator D'Azara,) appears to
have been totally uninformed of it, notwithstanding his familiarity at
Parma with every work of Correggio, his perseverance of inquiry and
eager pursuit of whatever related to his idol, the influence he enjoyed
at Court, and unlimited access to every place that might be supposed to
contain or hide some work of art.

Soon after his arrival at Parma, Antonio probably received the
commission of the celebrated cupola of S. Giovanni, which he completed
in 1524, as appears from an acquittance for the last payment subscribed
'Antonio Lieto,' still existing at Parma.

In the cupola he represented the Ascension of the Saviour, with the
Apostles, the Madonna, &c. and the Coronation of the Virgin on the
tribune of the principal altar, whose enlargement in 1584 occasioned,
with the destruction of the choir, that of the painting: a few fragments
escaped; an exact copy had, however, been provided before, by Annibale
Carracci, from which it was repainted on the same place by Aretusi. The
same church preserved two pictures in oil of Correggio, the martyrdom of
St. Placidus and Flavia, and Christ taken from the cross on the lap of
his mother; both are now (1802) in the collection of the Louvre.

The success of the cupola of S. Giovanni encouraged the inspectors of
the Domo to commit the decoration of theirs to the same master. Of their
contract with him, the original still remains in the archive of their
chapter; it was concluded in 1522, and amounted to about one thousand
zecchini, no inconsiderable sum for those times, and alone sufficient to
do away the silly tradition of the artist's mendicity. The decorations
of the chapel, next to the cupola, were distributed among three of the
best Parmesan painters at that time, Parmegianino, Franc. Maria Rondani,
and Michael Angelo Anselmi. From all the papers hitherto found, it
appears, however, that Correggio did not actually begin to paint the
cupola before 1526: it represents the Ascension of the Virgin, and
without recurring to an individual verdict, has received the sanction of
ages, as the most sublime in its kind, of all that were produced before
and after it; a work without a rival, though now dimmed with smoke, and
in decay by time. These were the two first cupolas painted entire, all
former ones being painted in compartments. Nothing occurs to make us
surmise that Correggio had partners of his labour in these two works;
for Lattanzio Gambara of Brescia, mentioned by Rossi as his assistant in
the Domo, was born eight years after Correggio's death.

During the progress of these two great works, Correggio produced others
of inferior size but equal excellence; the principal of which are the
two votive pictures of St. Jerome, and La Notte. That of St. Jerome
represents the Saint offering his Translation to the Infant Christ, who
is seated in his Mother's lap, with St. Magdalen reclining on and
kissing his feet, and flanked by Angels. The commission for this picture
is said to have been given in 1523, by Donna Briseide Colla, the widow
of Orazio or Ottaviano Bergonzi of Parma, who in 1528 gave it as a
votive offering to the church of S. Antonio del Fuoco. The price agreed
on, was 400 lire; 40,000 ducats were offered for it afterwards by the
King of Portugal; and the then Abbot of the convent was on the point of
concluding the bargain, when the citizens of Parma, to prevent the loss,
applied to the Infante Don Philippo. He ordered it in 1749 to be
transposed from S. Antonio to the Domo; there it remained till 1756,
when, on the application of a French painter, expelled by the Canons for
his attempt to trace it, the Prince had it transferred under an escort
of twenty-four grenadiers to Colorno; and from thence to the newly
instituted academy, where it remained till 1797, and now, (1802,) with
other transported works of Art, glitters among the spoils of the Louvre.

The second picture known by the name of "La Notte," represents the
birthnight of the Saviour, and was the commission of Alberto Pratonieri,
as appears from a writing dated in 1522, though it was not finished till
1527 according to Mengs, or 1530 as Fiorillo surmised, when it was
dedicated in the Chapel Pratonieri of S. Prospero at Reggio: from
whence, 1640, it was carried to the gallery of Modena, by order, of Duke
Francesco I. and from thence at length to that of Dresden.

A chapel in the church del S. Sepolcro at Parma, possessed formerly the
altar-piece known by the name of "La Madonna della Scodella," because
the Virgin, represented on her flight to Egypt, holds a wooden bowl in
her hand: a figure, whom Mengs fancies the Genius of the Fountain, pours
water into it; and in the back ground an angel, whose action and
expression he considers as too graceful for the business, ties up the
ass. This picture, he tells us, was, thirteen years before the date in
which he wrote, nearly swept out of the panel by the barbarous wash of a
Spanish journeyman painter who had obtained permission to copy it. It is
now in the Louvre, and how much of its present florid colour is
legitimate, must be left to the decision of the committee "de la
Restoration."

If the most sublime degree of expression be entitled to the right of
originality, Mengs must be followed in his decision on the Ecce Homo,
formerly in the Palace Colonna, without much anxiety whether it be the
same that belonged to the family of Prati at Parma, or that which
Agostino Carracci engraved.

The Madonna seated beneath a palm-tree, bending in somnolently pensive
contemplation over the Infant on her lap, watched by an Angel above her,
and attended by a Leveret, known by the name of "La Zingarella" or the
Egyptian, from the sash round her head, formerly in the gallery of
Parma, and now at Naples in that of Capo di Monte, has suffered so
much from a modern hand, that little of the master remains but the
conception. Nearly a duplicate of it was presented by Cardinal
Alessandro Albani to king Augustus of Poland; but Mengs hesitates to
pronounce it an original.

In the period of these, about 1530, we may probably place the two
celebrated pictures of Leda and Danae, than which no modern works of art
have suffered more from accident and wanton or bigoted barbarity, or
been tossed about by more contradictory tradition.

If the subject that takes its name from Leda be, as Mengs says, rather
an allegory than a fable, it alludes to what would aggravate even the
story of that mistress of Jupiter. The central figure represents a
female seated on the verge of a rivulet with a swan between her thighs,
who attempts to insinuate his bill into her lips; but at her side, and
deeper in the water, is a tender girl, who with an air of innocence
playfully struggles to defend herself from the attacks of another
swimming swan; farther on, a girl more grown up to woman, gazes, whilst
a female servant dresses her, with an air of satiate pleasure after a
swan on the wing, that seems just to have left her; at some distance
appears half a figure of an aged woman, draped, and with looks of
regret. On the other side of the principal group, the graceful form of a
full-grown Amor strikes the lyre, and two Amorini contrive to wind some
horn instruments. The scene of all this is a charming grove on the brink
of a pellucid lake.

The second picture represents the daughter of Acrisius, but with poetic
spirit. The virgin gracefully reclines on her bed; a full-grown Cupid,
perhaps a Hymen, lifts with one hand the border of the sheet on her lap
that receives the celestial shower, whilst his other presents the mystic
drops to her enchanted glance: two Amorini at the foot of the bed try
on a touchstone, that, one of the golden drops, this, the point of an
arrow, and he, says Mengs, has a vigour of character much superior to
the other, plainly to express, that Love proceeds from the arrow, and
its ruin from gold; he likewise finds that the head and head-dress of
Danae are imitated from those of the Medicean Venus.

Vasari, and after him Mengs with others, tell that in 1530, Federigo
Gonzaga, then created Duke of Mantoua, intended to present Charles the
Fifth at the ceremonial of his coronation with two pictures worthy of
him, and in the choice of artists gave the preference to Correggio. From
this, a correct inference is drawn against that pretended obscurity in
which Correggio is said to have lingered; for at that time Giulio Romano
lived at the Court of Mantoua, and Tizian was in the service of the
Emperor. Vasari is silent on the date of the pictures, but he affirms
that, at their sight, Giulio Romano declared he had never seen a style
of colour approaching theirs. So far all seems correct; but that they
were actually presented to Charles, sent to Prague, and after the
sacking of that city by Gustavus Adolphus, carried to Stockholm, is
unproved or erroneous. If it is not likely that the Emperor, instead of
sending them to Madrid, the darling depository of his other works of
art, should have sent them into a kind of exile to Prague, it is an
error to pretend they were removed from thence by Gustavus Adolphus, who
was slain at Lutzen sixteen years before the Swedes sacked that city,
1648. The truth is, that these pictures were not given to the Emperor,
but placed in his own gallery by the Duke, where they remained till
1630, when the Imperial General Colalto stormed Mantoua, sacked it,
deprived it of its cabinet of treasures, of the celebrated vase since
possessed by the House of Brunswick, and transmitted its beautiful
collection of pictures to Prague, from whence by the event of war we
have mentioned, they became the property of Queen Christina, at whose
abdication, when the whole was packing up for Rome, the two pictures in
question were discovered in the royal stables, where they had served as
window-blinds, mutilated and despised. Whether so unaccountable a
neglect be imputable to the Queen's want of taste, as Tessin asserts, or
to accident, or, what is most unlikely, to her modesty, cannot now be
decided. They were repaired, and at her demise left to Cardinal
Azzolini, of whose heirs they were purchased by Don Livio Odescalchi,
and by him left to the Duke of Bracciano, were sold to the Regent of
France, whose son, from a whim of bigotry, had the picture of the Leda
cut to pieces in his own presence, in which state Charles Coypel
requested and obtained it for his private study. At his death it was
vamped up, repieced, disposed of by auction, and, at a high price, sold
to the King of Prussia. What became of the Danae is matter of
dispute.[163]

The picture of Io embraced by Jupiter, inbosomed in clouds, by a silent
water in which a stag quenches his thirst, was their companion: a work
to which the most lavish fame has done no justice, and beyond which no
fancy ever soared. The Io shared a still more barbarous fate. Not
content with mangling her like the Leda, the bigot prince burnt her
head; and, were it not for the beautiful duplicate which fortune
preserved in the Gallery of Vienna,[164] we should be reduced to guess
at Correggio in the fragments at Sans Souci, and the prints of Surregue
and Bartolozzi. The Imperial Gallery possesses, likewise, the Rape of
Ganymede, by Correggio, of the same size with the Io; a Mountain Scene;
a full-grown Cupid, seen from behind, with his head turned to the
spectator, shaping a bow, accompanied by a laughing and a weeping
infant, in struggling attitudes, which was likewise sold by the heirs of
Don Livio Odescalchi, has equally exercised opinion. Vasari, Tassoni, Du
Bois, de St. Gelais, &c. ascribe it to Parmegiano; Mengs and Fiorillo,
who judge from the duplicate at Vienna, with greater probability give it
to Correggio. The contrast of the attitudes is produced more by naïveté
than affectation, the lines have more simplicity than the style of
Mazzuola admitted of, and the colour more breadth. The conception of the
whole, whether the infants be the symbols of successful and unsuccessful
love, or denote the dangers of love, or be simply children, though not
beyond the fancy of Parmegiano, has more the air of a Correggiesque
conceit. Numberless copies were made after it, some by Parmegiano
himself, whose handling may be recognized in the picture at Paris.

We are now arrived at those works of Correggio's which cannot be fixed
to a certain period. Such are probably, in the Gallery of Dresden, those
known under the names of S. Giorgio and S. Sebastiano, of both of which
Mengs gives a circumstantial account. He is, however, mistaken when he
imagines the last to have been voted by the City of Modena after a
plague: the commission of it was given by the fraternity of St.
Sebastian.

The half-length portrait, formerly known at Modena as that of
Correggio's Physician, belongs to the same doubtful period. Mengs,
though he praises the colour and the impasto of it, is inclined to think
it painted about the time of his first Cupola, when he had not yet
sufficiently studied detail of forms and variety of tints. The style
resembles that of Giorgione, but is less vivid, though of equal pasto,
and somewhat more limpid.

The last, though not least celebrated piece of Antonio in this Gallery,
is the small Meditating Magdalena: of the pictures mentioned, it is the
only one painted on copper, the rest are on panel. It is little more
than a palm in height, and not quite a palm and a half long. It was,
with other small pictures, stolen out of the Gallery in 1788, but soon
recovered. The purchase price, according to Mengs, when the Gallery was
disposed of, was 27,000 Roman crowns. It has been copied by Albani, and,
if we believe Richardson, by Tizian.

Besides the spoils of Parma, there is now (1802) in the Gallery of the
Louvre, from the former collection of Versailles, a picture representing
in half-length figures of natural size the Wedding of St. Catherine,
with a St. Sebastian, and their Martyrdom in the distance. It does not
appear that Mengs ever saw more than some good copy of it, or the prints
engraved from it, else his praise would have probably been nearer to
astonishment than admiration; and though none would dare to repeat what
he ventures to say of the Magdalen's head in the St. Jerome, it might
safely be asserted, that perhaps no other picture can boast to have
united in the same degree the tints of Tizian, the glow and impasto of
Giorgione, and the breadth of Guido, with that bloom of hue and suavity
of manner peculiar to Correggio.

This divine performance was presented by Cardinal Barberino to Cardinal
Mazarin, with two others painted in water colours on canvass,
representing in allegoric figures the heroism of Virtue and the
debasement of Vice. The first, in physiognomy and attitudes, abounds in
what is commonly called the grace of Correggio; the second in
picturesque energy and expression: they are likewise placed among the
collections of the Louvre. An unfinished repetition of the first in the
House Doria Panfili at Rome, is adduced by Mengs as a proof of
Correggio's intelligence in sketching, and the superiority of his
principle in the progress of a work.

Of two pictures in the Cabinet at Madrid, the principal is that of
Christ praying in the Garden, with an Angel on high pointing to a Cross
and a Crown of Thorns on the ground, scarcely discernible. The open but
drooping arms of the Saviour express his entire resignation to the will
of his Father. The most poetic singularity of this picture is its
chiaroscuro: Christ receives his light from Heaven, the Angel from
Christ: at a distance on lower ground, and nearly evanescent, are the
three Disciples _in graceful and picturesque attitudes_, and farther
off, the approaching host of captors. At first sight, the whole seems to
be divided into two masses only of light and darkness, but on
inspection, the ambient medium and the more and less of distinctness in
the objects as they approach the light or recede from it, is divinely
expressed. There is a tale, which even Lomazzo and Scanelli repeat, that
Correggio parted with this picture to his apothecary for four scudi,
which he owed him; that afterwards it was sold for five hundred crowns
to Pirrho Count Visconti, who resold it for seven hundred and fifty gold
doubloons, to the Marchese Camarena, Governor of Milan, by whom it was
bought in commission for Philip the Fourth. Every day discovers some
copy, or, if you choose to believe those who wish to dispose of them,
some duplicate or triplicate of this picture. Padre Resta possessed not
one, but four, all of which he insisted on being believed in as
originals: one on copper, another on wood, which Lelio Orsi was said to
have copied on canvass; a third, likewise on panel but somewhat
worm-eaten, disposed of to Monsignor Marchetti, and a fourth again on
copper. Some of these are probably in England.

The companion of this picture is the Madonna dressing the Infant, with
Joseph planing a board in the back-ground; a performance though inferior
in style to the former, not less original from the pentimenti still
discoverable in the two principal figures.

The Duke of Alba possesses of Correggio, in figures somewhat less than
Nature, Mercury teaching Cupid to read in the presence of Venus. Venus
has the singular attribute of wings, and of a bow in her left hand; and
Mengs persuades himself to discover in her forms a reminiscence of an
imitation of the Apollino, formerly in the Villa Medici at Rome. The
characteristic excellence of the execution, and an evident pentimento in
the arm of the Mercury, leave no doubt of its having a better claim to
originality than the duplicates in France and Germany. It formerly made
part of the collection of Charles the First, and Sandrart saw it in the
Palace of Whitehall, from whence it was purchased by an ancestor of the
Duke of Alba.

Not to waste time on conjectural works, we finish this list with a
picture formerly in the house Barberini, now supposed to be in England:
it is painted on panel, and represents from the narrative of S. Marc,
the young man who followed our Saviour at the moment of his captivity,
but fled on being laid hold of, and left his garment in the hands of the
captors. Mengs describes a duplicate of this picture, painted on
canvass, at his time in the hands of an Englishman at Rome, and though,
in his opinion, only the study for the other, in the principal parts,
especially the figure of the youth, highly finished: his expression,
form and attitude, remind the critic so strongly of the same in the
eldest son of the Laocoon, that he is persuaded they are an imitation,
though in a style more consonant with Correggio's manner.

The cause and circumstances of his death we are not acquainted with,
since the idle tale has been discarded which Vasari tells, of his
perishing in consequence of having carried home a load of sixty scudi in
copper, which he had received in payment at Parma. He who considers what
strength would be required to carry sixty crowns in quattrini, will find
its confutation in the tale itself; let it be added that the extreme
heat which is said to have aggravated the fatigue, and accelerated his
death, is, even in Italy, not coincident with the season in which he
must have taken the journey,[165] as he died on the fifth of March. The
magnificence and number of his commissions; the deference paid to his
powers in the face of rival artists, by the very patrons of those men,
or societies, that might have saved expense by admitting concurrence;
the handsome, though not quite metropolitan prices, which he received,
and what Mengs has observed, the expensive goodness of his colours, of
his panels, and canvasses--make it not only extremely improbable that he
should have lived in the depressed circumstances, to which vulgar
tradition has sunk him; but add an air of truth to the opinion of those
who thought him, if not opulent, yet nearer allied to affluence than
want.

Correggio was a monument without a tomb; but it appears strange that a
century and a half should have elapsed before the thought of erecting
him one occurred to the Senate and citizens of his native place, and
then was suffered to evaporate in ineffectual projects. The boastful
intentions of Padre Resta proved equally nugatory: the tombstone set and
inscribed by Girolamo Conti still remains a solitary offering to his
genius:

                        D. O. M.
                Antonio. Allegri. Civi.
                 Vulgo. Il Correggio.
          Arte. Picturæ. Habitu. Probitatis.
                        Eximio.
                  Monum. Hoc. Posuit.
                Hier. Conti. Concivis.
            Siccine. Separas. Amara. Mors.
        Obiit. Anno. Ætatis. XL. Sal. MDXXXIV.

On such a face as Correggio's, physiognomy might have established
principles or drawn some inferences from it, had not a perverse destiny
left us as ignorant of it, as of his complexion, stature, character, and
habits. Vasari's exertions to obtain a portrait of him were not only
unsuccessful, but hopeless; and the profile which is shown in the dome
of Parma as his, becomes inadmissible from the very name of the artist
to whom it is ascribed.[166] The head which found its way into the third
and every following edition of Vasari, has certainly nothing repugnant
with the notions we may form of his character, but age. Meditation,
simplicity, serenity, compose it. It is said to have been copied from a
picture not quite finished, which appears to have the touch of
Correggio, and came from Sicily to Naples. He is represented
contemplating a design, the original of which, report has placed at
Vienna with Prince Esterhazy. The portrait which is at Turin, in the
"Vigna della Regina," engraved by Valperga, with the epigraph, in part
hid by the frame, but read by Lanzi "Antonius Corrigius f." (_i. e._
fecit) though by some believed genuine, appears spurious from this very
circumstance, the large character of the letters and the space they
occupy; a manner of writing often used to indicate the person painted,
never the painter. Another portrait, which from Genoua is said to have
been carried to England, with the indorsed inscription "Dosso Dossi
dipinse questo ritratto di Antonio da Correggio," fronts the Memorie of
Ratti. Without examining the authenticity of this inscription, it is
sufficient to observe, that Antonio da Correggio is likewise the name of
Antonio Bernieri, a celebrated miniature painter, and fellow citizen of
Allegri, whose date coincides with that of Dosso, and whom there will be
occasion to mention again.

Of Correggio's numerous pretending imitators, Lodovico Carracci appears
to be the only one who penetrated his principle. The axiom, that the
less the traces appear of the means by which a work has been produced,
the more it resembles the operations of Nature, is not an axiom likely
to spring from the infancy of art. The even colour, veiled splendour,
the solemn twilight; that tone of devotion and cloistered meditation,
which Lodovico Carracci spread over his works, could arise only from the
contemplation of some preceding style, analogous to his own feelings and
its comparison with Nature; and where could that be met with in a degree
equal to what he found in the infinite unity and variety of Correggio's
effusions? They inspired his frescoes in the cloisters of S. Michele in
Bosco: the foreshortenings of the muscular labourers at the hermitage,
and of the ponderous demon that mocks their toil; the warlike splendour
in the Homage of Totila; the Nocturnal Conflagration of Monte Casino;
the wild graces of deranged beauty, and the insidious charms of the
sister nymphs in the garden scene, equally proclaim the pupil of
Correggio.

His triumph in oil is the altar-piece of St. John preaching in a chapel
of the Certosa at Bologna, whose lights seem embrowned by a golden veil,
and the shadowy gleam of Valombrosa; though he sometimes indulged in
tones austere, pronounced, and hardy: such is the Flagellation of Christ
in the same church, whose tremendous depth of flesh-tints contrasts the
open wide-expanded sky, and less conveys than dashes its terrors on the
astonished sense.


FOOTNOTES:

[154] Mantoua preserved a certain attachment to Virgil in the darkest
ages; for besides numerous coins stamped with his image, his statue,
honoured by annual festivals, remained in the forum, till the brutal
fanaticism of Carlo Malatesta condemned it to the river. Vide _Ant.
Possevini Junioris Gonzaga_, lib. v. p. 486. Paul of Florence and Peter
Paul Vergerius wrote against Malatesta: the latter under the following
title, 'De Diruta Statua Virgilii P.P.V. eloquentissimi Oratoris
epistola ex tugurio Blondi sub Apolline.' No date.

[155] Some codices decorated with miniatures and the portrait of that
Countess: the most conspicuous of which is that by Donizone, a
Benedictine at Canossa, in the diocese of Reggio, but a German by
extraction, who lived at the court of Mathilda, and in two books of
barbarous verse composed her life and history. It is preserved in the
Vatican Library, No. 4922, and was first published by Sebastian
Tagnagolio, at Ingolstadt, 1612. 4to.

The original portrait of Mathilda, by an unknown hand, drawn from her
monument at Polirone, has been published by _J. Bat. Visi in Notizie
Storiche della città di Mantoua e dello stato_, t. ii. p. 122. She is
represented on a horse with a pomegranate in her hand.

[156] In the Convent "alle Grazie," tradition dates the remains of
several old pictures from the time of Mantegna. That miniature or rather
missal painting had attained a high degree of excellence at that period,
is proved by a large folio Bible, in the Estensian Library, decorated
with admirable copies of insects, plants, and animals. The contract made
between Duca Borso, 1455, and the two artists who painted it, Taddeo de
Crivelli and Zuanne de Russi da Mantova, has been preserved by
Bettshelli, Lett. Mant. Mantova, 1774. 4to.

[157] Vasari, whom rage of dispatch and eager credulity seldom suffered
to wait for authentic information, not content, in spite of his epitaph,
to tell us that he was born of low parents in some district of Mantoua,
confounds the date of his death with that of the inscription itself.

[158] See Nic. Vleughels, in his notes to Dolci.

[159] Garofalo.

[160] Cataloghi, p. 498.

[161] Indice del Pam. de' Pittori, p. 21.

[162] ----"περὶ χερσὶ δὲ δεσμὸν ἴηλα
     Χρύσεον, ἄῤῥηκτον."--Ilias, xv. 19.

[163] Du Change. Copy of the Leda in the Colonna.

[164] In the palace Godolphin.

[165] In the obituary of the Franciscans at Correggio we read, "A di 5
Marzo 1534 mori Maestro Antonio Allegri Dipintore e fu sepolto a 6 detto
in S. Francesco sotto il Portico."

[166] Lattanzio Gambara.



THE SCHOOL OF BOLOGNA.


Three epochs divide the history of painting in Bologna and the
neighbouring districts. The first is from its restoration to the time of
Francesco Raibolini, or Francia; the second reaches from him to the
Carracci, when it attained its height, and gradually decayed in the
variety of deviations which mark the third.

Bologna, at an early period of the fifth century, appears to have been
considered as a nursery of sciences and arts; the foundation of its
University is dated up to Petronius, its bishop at that period;
afterwards, under the successive invasions of barbarians, when the
alternate prey of clerical and secular rapacity, as a powerful republic,
or oppressed by civic usurpation, and at last reduced to a Papal
province, Bologna never lost its predilection for sciences and arts.

Of the progress made in painting anterior to the time of Cimabue, some
monumental relics still remain, though by far the greater part were
ignorantly destroyed at the beginning of the last century. Some that
escaped the whitewasher's hand are ascribed to an artist who marked his
work with the letters _P.F._ Of these, one which represents a Maria, is
preserved in the Church della Baroncella, and was done about 1120. Two
others are in the Basilica of S. Stephano.

Baldi, a collector of antique pictures, in a MS. quoted by Malvasia,
mentions some of _Guido da Bologna_, painted in 1178 and 1180, and
others executed by _Ventura da Bononia_ in 1197. Of this last something
still remains, especially one picture with the date 1217, and the
inscription _Ventura pinsit_: and the name of _Urso_, or _Ursone_, a
contemporary of _Guido da Siena_, is found on a picture inscribed _Urso
f. 1226_; and some others ascribed to him have dates of 1242 and 1244.
In those times painting, sculpture, architecture, chasing, were
frequently exercised by one man. A certain _Manno_, contemporary with
Cimabue, is mentioned as the painter of a Madonna by Baldi, and as the
sculptor of Pope Bonifazio VIII. by Ghirardacci who calls him likewise a
goldsmith. His dates are from 1260 to 1301. Some remains or rather ruins
of these masters are still visible in the palace Malvezzi.

The age of Giotto and Dante gives Art an air of greater certainty.
Tradition and monument go hand in hand. Franco of Bologna, with his
supposed master Oderigi of Gubbio, are celebrated in the poet's poem of
the Purgatory. Franco was called to Rome by Bonifazio VIII. to decorate
the books and missals of the Vatican library with miniature; and on his
return to Bologna founded a school which numbered among its scholars
_Vitale_, _Lorenzo_, _Simone_, and _Jacopo d'Avanzi_, whose works,
especially what remains of the two last, make it probable that Vasari is
correct when he asserts that Franco excelled in large as well as in
miniature painting. Michael Agnolo and the Carracci are said to have
been struck with the fire of conception and the tone of colour in the
pictures still preserved of Simone and Jacopo d'Avanzi, at the Madonna
di Mezzaratta, and to have advised a careful restoration of the
decaying parts. Simone, who loved to paint the crucifix, from the number
which he executed obtained the surname of "de' Crocefissi;" and Jacopo,
smitten with the love of Maria, was marked by the title "dalle Madonne."
He excelled, however, in subjects of a martial kind, if the conflict in
the Chapel of S. Jacopo del Santo at Padova, and the Capture of
Jugurtha, with the Triumph of Marius, in a saloon at Verona, be his
performances: works which excited the wonder of Mantegna. As he
sometimes subscribed "Jacobus Pauli," it has been surmised that he was
of Venetian extraction, and perhaps the son and assistant of that Paolo
who painted the Ancona of S. Marc.

Of the artists who at that period painted in Mezzaratta, Cristoforo,
whether of Ferrara, Modena, or Bologna, for he is claimed by all, seems
to have shared the highest repute. He had the commission of the
principal altar, where he painted on panel the Madonna with the Infant
between her knees, and some figures kneeling before her; it still
exists, marked with his name Christofano, 1380. A most copious work of
his, divided into ten compartments of saints, rudely designed, languid
in colour, but of original style, is preserved among the fragments of
the house Malvezzi.

Lippo di Dalmatio,--who was supposed to have been a Carmelite, till
Bianconi, in Piacenza's edition of Baldinucci, produced proofs of his
wife and family,--came from the school of Vitale, and from his
predilection for the Mother of Christ acquired, like Jacopo d'Avanzi,
the byname of "Lippo dalle Madonne." There goes a tale that he gave
instruction to Saint Catherine Vigri, of whom certain miniatures and an
Infant Christ on panel still remain. A better union of tints, and some
easier arrangement in the folds of his draperies, though with a
profusion of gold lace, is all that discriminates him from the crudeness
and exility of the ancient style. Such, however, was his felicity in the
character of Madonnas, that they captivated Guido Reni,[167] who used to
repeat that Lippo, in expressing at once the majesty, the sanctity, and
the mildness of the divine mother, must have been assisted by a
celestial power. Some of these Madonnas are said to be in oil colours,
with dates of 1376, 1405, and 1407. Guido is likewise the guarantee of
certain frescoes representing facts of Elia, painted with great spirit
by the same master.

After 1409, the last date of Lippo's pictures, the School of Bologna
somewhat declined, nor could it be otherwise: no vigorous school ever
sprang from the timid precepts of a portrait painter, and Dalmatio
possessed more of that than of historic power: this, rather than the
supposed imitation of certain images imported from Constantinople, was
the cause of that insignificance which consigned, with few exceptions,
his school and successors to oblivion. Of Pietro Lianori, Michele di
Matteo, Bombologno, Severo and Erçole Bologna, Catherina di Vigri,
Giacopo Ripanda, Marco Zoppo, time has left little but the names, and of
that little, enough not to regret the loss of what vanished. Let us not,
however, be too fastidious to repeat what tradition has persevered to
report of some; if Bombologno may be left to the votaries of the
crucifix, and Catherina to the rubric that saints her, Michele
Lambertini claims the attention of artists for a mellowness of tints
which Albano judged superior to the tints of Francia; Giacopo Ripanda
for the dangers which he braved in designing the groups of the Trajan
pillar;[168] and Marco Zoppo as no despicable competitor of Andrea
Mantegna, and the reputed master of Francesco Francia.

Francesco Raibolini, surnamed Francia, born in 1450, may be considered
as the head of the Bolognese school, because his works appear to have
been framed on that collective principle which became its leading
feature in the sequel, and was probably the result of the long theory
that preceded his practice, assisted by that readiness in design which
distinguished him as a goldsmith, chaser,[169] and die-cutter,
professions to which he had been trained up from his infancy, and which
he raised to celebrity before he attained complete manhood.

Francia was fortunate in contemporaries; the School of Squarcione had
furnished him with style and form; the genius of Lionardo da Vinci, with
effect and chiaroscuro; Pietro Vanucchi with arrangement if not
composition, and though not beauty, with amenity of aspect; and Bellino
with tone, breadth of drapery and colour. Ardour of mind, energy of
application and dexterity, supplied the want of early practice, and we
find him in the palace of Giov. Bentivoglio on a par with the most
expert Frescanti conscribed from Ferrara and Modena, and soon after
intrusted with the commission of painting the altar-piece of his chapel
at S. Jacopo, a work of great subtlety of execution; though modestly
inscribed "Opus Francia Aurificis," and a pledge of that superior
style at which he aimed and in the sequel attained.

If from what has been premised of Bolognese artists anterior to Cimabue,
it is evident that the germs of art belong to their own soil, their
claim to originality in the progress of style has been and still is
matter of dispute between the champions of the Tuscan school and those
of their own. The Florentines insist on having taught the Bolognese,
what the Bolognese deny to have learnt from the Florentines.[170] As in
a dispute of this kind, candour is often sacrificed to the fervour of
patriotic vanity, and the obstinacy of local attachment, the real state
of the question is better learnt from those monuments of the fourteenth
century, which still remain scattered over Romagna or collected and more
classically arranged in Bologna itself. Among all these some specimens
will be found evidently Greek, others as evidently Giottesque; some in a
Venetian style, and not a few in a manner peculiar to Bologna only.
These have a body of colour, a taste in perspective, a mode of design
in figures, and a choice of forms and hues in draperies, which no other
school practised. From all which it appears, that if Giotto during his
stay at Bologna raised pupils, and formed imitators, his own school had
no influence on, nor dislodged, that aboriginal one which continued to
disseminate and to improve the principles imbibed from the antique
mosaics and the painters of miniature.


FOOTNOTES:

[167] Malvasia.

[168] "Floret item nunc Romæ Jacobus Bononiensis, qui Trajani Columnæ
picturas omnes ordine delineavit, magna omnium admiratione, magnoque
periculo circum machinis scandendo."--V. Raphaelis Volaterrani
Anthropologia, p. 774. A. ed. 1603. fol.

[169] "Unum apud modernos reperio, de quo apud antiquos nulla extat
memoria, de incisoribus seu sculptoribus in argento; quæ sculptura
Niellum appellatur. Virum cognosco in hoc celeberrimum et summum, nomine
Franciscum Bononiensem, aliter Franza, qui adeo in tam parvo orbiculo
seu argenti lamina, tot homines, tot animalia, tot montes, arbores,
castra ac tot diversa ratione situque posita figurat seu incidit, quod
dictu ac visu mirabile apparet."--Camillo Leonardi, Speculo Lapidum,
lib. iii. c. 2.

The assertion that Niello was unknown to the ancients, it is unnecessary
to refute here. Francia was master of the mint during the usurpation of
the Bentivogli, after their expulsion by Giulio the Second, and
continued to superintend its issue to the Pontificate of Leo. His coins
and medals are said by Vasari to equal those of the Milanese Caradosso;
and it is probably for their excellence that he was looked up to as a
god (un Dio) at Bologna.

[170] Δύο----ἐνείκεον----
     ----ὁ μὲν εὔχετο, πάντ' ἀποδοῦναι,
     Δήμῳ πιφαύσκων· ὁ δ' ἀναίνετο, μηδὲν ἑλέσθαι.

Ilias. Lib. xviii. l. 498.


    THE END.

    LONDON:
    PRINTED BY SAMUEL BENTLEY,
    Dorset Street, Fleet Street.


       *       *       *       *       *


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

Obvious typos have been silently corrected.

Italicised words and phrases are marked _like this_.

Idiosyncratic spellings have been left unchanged. This includes
inconsistent spellings of proper names, hyphenated words, oe ligatures
and capitalisation.

For example: Julio Pipi on p. 118 and Giulio Pippi on p. 361.

Similarly, the spellings "domo" and "duomo" both appear, and have been
left unchanged.


There are numerous Greek quotations, in which accents and smooth
breathings are used only occasionally, and rough breathings are nearly
always marked. Missing accents and breathings have NOT been added.


The following items are worth special note:

1) The phrase "terribil via" on p. 19 should possibly be "terribilis
via" or "terribile via", but has been left unchanged.

2) On p. 28 "Goliah" has been amended to "Goliath", but the spelling
"Goliah" also appears in vol. 2 and may have been an accepted spelling.

3) In footnote 96 on p. 264, "Osteireichischen" has been amended to
"Osterreichischen".

4) On p. 265, "seini" has been amended to "sein".

5) "Matatona" on p. 328 should possibly be "Matalona", as on p. 288, but
has been left unchanged.

6) On p. 330, "Buoancorsi" has been amended to "Buonacorsi".

7) The phrase "sotto in sù" (page 357) has been amended to match "sotto
in su", which appears twice elsewhere.

8) The spelling "pinsit" instead of "pinxit" on p. 400 has been retained
as it may record an error in the original inscription.





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+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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