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Title: Thoughts on Art and Autobiographical Memoirs of Giovanni Duprè
Author: Duprè, Giovanni
Language: English
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    _Copyright, 1886_



This book contains the record of the life and thoughts upon Art of
Giovanni Duprè, one of the most eminent sculptors of the present century
in Italy. It was written by him from time to time, during the latter
years of his life, in the intervals of work in his studio, and given to
the public about three years before his death. Those three years, of
which it contains no account, were assiduously devoted to his art. Every
day had its work, and it was done faithfully and joyously even to the
last. "_Nulla dies sine linea._" Within these years, among other works
of less importance, he successively executed a basso-relievo of the
Baptism of our Lord, a portrait statue of Pius IX. for the Cathedral of
Piacenza, one of Victor Emmanuel for the public square at Trapani, one
of Raimondo Lullo for a chapel in the island of Majorca, and one of St
Francis of Assisi which now adorns the front of the Cathedral at Assisi.
This was the last statue which he ever made. The model he had completed
in clay and cast in plaster, and had somewhat advanced in executing it
in marble, when death arrested his hand. It was finished by his daughter
Amalia, who had for years been his loving and faithful pupil, and who
had already won distinction for herself as a sculptor. In this his last
work he found a peculiar attractiveness, and his heart and hand were
earnestly given to it. "I am most happy," he says in his reply to the
authorities of Assisi, who gave him this order, "that the Commission has
thought of me,--not so much on account of what little talent I may
possess, as for the love I bear to religious art." The statue itself is
very simple, and informed by a deep religious sentiment. It is clothed
in the dress of the order which St Francis founded, the hands crossed
over the breast, the cowl falling behind, the head bent, and the eyes
cast down in an attitude of submission and devotion.

The statue had not only deeply interested all his feelings and
sympathies, but in its treatment and sentiment he seems to have been
satisfied. A singular presentiment, however, came over him as he was
showing it to a friend upon its completion. "It will be a triumph to you
and a glory to Assisi," said his friend. "Ah," he answered, "who knows
that it may not be the last!" So indeed it proved. But a few days after
this conversation he was seized by an attack of peritonitis. From this,
however, he recovered, as well as from a second attack, which shortly
afterwards followed. As he was recovering from this second attack he
wrote to Monsignore Andrea Ulli: "The doctor has no doubt that I shall
get well, and in a few days I hope he will allow me to return to my
studio. But how I have suffered!--doubly suffered from having been
deprived of the occupation that most delights me. This is my joy and my
life. What a happy day it will be when I am permitted to put my foot
again into my studio, and to resume my work and my St Francis."

His hopes, however, were fated to be disappointed. Although he
sufficiently recovered to go to his studio, he was able to do but little
work; and shortly afterwards--on the 1st of January--he was again
prostrated by a third attack of the same disease. His death, he felt,
was now certain; but he met its approach with the courage, resignation,
and piety that had always characterised him, looking forward with
certainty to a reunion with the dear ones who had gone before
him--Luisina, his daughter, whose loss he had so bitterly felt, and his
wife Marina, his steadfast help and loving companion for so many years,
who had died seven years previously. One regret constantly possessed him
during these last days, that he should not be able, as he had projected,
to model the statue of the Madonna for the Duomo at Florence, upon which
he had set his heart. One day when he gave expression to this feeling,
his daughter Amalia sought to console him by saying, "But you have
already made her statue, and it is so beautiful--the _addolorata_ for
Santa Croce." "Ah!" he answered, "but I desired to model her as Queen of
Florence." This apparently was the only desire that haunted him during
his last attack. In regard to all other things he was resigned; and
after lingering in almost constant pain for ten days, he expired on the
10th of January 1882, at the age of sixty-five.

The announcement of his death was received everywhere in Italy with the
warmest expressions of sorrow. It was felt to be a national loss. His
life had been so pure, so conscientious, and so animated by high
purpose--his temper and character had been so blameless and free from
envy and stain of any kind--he had been so generous and kindly in all
the varied relations of life, as a son, as a husband, as a father, as a
friend,--and he had so greatly distinguished himself as a sculptor, that
over his grave the carping voice of criticism was hushed, and a
universal voice of praise and sorrow went up everywhere. All classes
united to do him reverence, from the highest to the lowest. Funeral
ceremonies were celebrated in his honour, not only in Florence, where a
great procession accompanied his remains to the church where the last
rites were performed, but also in Siena, his birthplace, in Fiesole,
where he was buried in the family chapel, and in Antella and Agnone. The
press of his native country gave expression to high eulogiums on him as
an artist and as a man. Public honours were decreed to him. In front of
the house where he was born in Siena, the municipality placed this
inscription: "This humble abode, in which was born Giovanni Duprè,
honour of Art and Italy, may teach the sons of the people what height
can be reached by the force of genius and will." In the Parrocchial
Church dell'Onda (in Siena) was placed a bust of the artist executed by
his daughter Amalia; and in Florence, over the house where he had passed
a large portion of his life, a tablet is inserted, on which is inscribed
these words: "The Municipality of Florence, in whose council sat
Giovanni Duprè, has placed this memorial on the house where for twenty
years lived the great sculptor, glory of Italy and of Art, and in which
he died on the 10th day of 1882."

During his life, honours had been showered upon him at home and
abroad--honours well deserved and meekly borne, without vanity or
pretension. He had been made a knight and counsellor of the Civil Order
of Savoy, a member of the Institute of France, a knight of the Tuscan
Order of Merit and of the Legion of Honour in France, an officer of the
Brazilian Order of the Rose, a commander of the Order of the Corona
d'Italia, Mexico and Guadaloupe, an associate of the Academy of St Luke,
and of various other academies in Italy and elsewhere. The Municipal
Council of Siena also commissioned his friend and pupil, Tito Sarrocchi,
to execute for it a bust of his master in marble during his lifetime, on
which was this inscription: "To Giovanni Duprè of Siena, who to the
glories of Italian Art has added, by the wonders of his chisel, new and
immortal glories. The city of Siena--xii. July 1867."

His life was a busy and an earnest one. During his forty years of
patient labour he executed about a hundred works in the round and in
relief, including a considerable number of busts and statuettes. Of
these, perhaps the most important are: The statues of Cain and Abel, the
original bronzes of which are in the Pitti Palace in Florence, and by
which he leaped at once to fame as a sculptor; the group of the Pietà in
the cemetery of Siena; the large bas-relief of the Triumph of the Cross
on the façade of the Church of Santa Croce in Florence; the monument to
Cavour at Milan; the Ferrari monument in San Lorenzo, with the angel of
the resurrection; the Sappho; the pedestal for the colossal Egyptian
Tazza, with its alto-reliefs, representing Thebes, Imperial Rome, Papal
Rome, and Tuscany, each with its accompanying genius; the portrait
statue of Giotto; the ideal statue of St Francis; and the Risen Christ.

The Tazza, the Pietà, the Triumph of the Cross, and the Risen Christ,
were selected by him out of all his works to send to the French
Exposition of 1867, and it may therefore be supposed that he considered
them as the best representatives of his genius and power. Indeed, in a
letter to Professor Pietro Dotto (1866) he mentions particularly these
last three as the statues which in conception he considers to be the
most worthy of praise of all his works. This selection also indicates
the religious character of his mind and his works. At this Exposition he
was one of the jury on Sculpture, and though he gave his own vote in
favour of the eminent sculptor Signor Vela of Milan, who exhibited on
that occasion his celebrated statue of the Last Hours of Napoleon I., to
his surprise the grand medal of honour was awarded to himself. He had
scarcely dared to hope for this; and in his letters to his family he
wrote that he considered it certain that the distinction would be
conferred upon Signor Vela. When the award was made to him, he wrote a
most characteristic letter to his daughter, announcing the result. "Mia
cara Beppina," he says, "I have just returned from the sitting of the
jury, and hasten at once to answer your dear letter. It is true that the
Napoleon I. of Vela is a beautiful statue. There is always a crowd about
it, and consequently every one thought it would receive the first prize.
I have given him my vote; but the public and I and you, Beppina, were
wrong. The first prize has come to me, your father! Vela received two
votes with mine. You see, my dear, how the Holy Virgin has answered your
and our prayer. Let us seek to render ourselves worthy of her powerful

It was toward the close of his life, as has already been said, that he
wrote his 'Biographical Reminiscences and Thoughts upon Art,' of which
the present book is a translation. It was at once received by the
Italian public with great favour, and is by no means the least
remarkable of his works. It would be difficult for any autobiography to
be more simple, honest, frank, and fearless. The whole character of the
man is in it. It is an unaffected and unpretending record of his life
and thoughts. He has no concealment to make, no glosses to put upon the
real facts. He speaks to the public as if he were talking to a friend,
never posing for effect, never boasting of his successes, never
exaggerating his powers, never assailing his enemies and detractors,
never depreciating his fellow-artists, but ever striving to be generous
and just to all. There is no bitterness, no envy, no arrogance to deform
a single page; but, on the contrary, a simplicity, a _naïveté_, a
sincerity of utterance, which are remarkable. The history of his early
struggles and poverty, the pictures of his childhood and youth, are
eminently interesting; and the story of his love, courtship, and early
married life is a pure Italian idyl of the middle class of society in
Florence, which could scarcely be surpassed for its truth to nature and
its rare delicacy and gentleness of feeling. If the 'Thoughts upon Art'
do not exhibit any great profundity of thinking, they are earnest,
instructive, and characteristic. His descriptions of his travels in
France and England; his criticisms and anecdotes of artists and persons
in Florence; his account of his daily life in his studio and at his
home,--are lively and amusing. Altogether, the book has a special charm
which it is not easy to define. In reading it, we feel that we are in
the presence and taken into the confidence of a person of great
simplicity and purity of character, of admirable instincts and
perceptions, of true kindness of heart, and of a certain childlike
_naïveté_ of feeling and expression, which is scarcely to be found out
of Italy.

In respect of style, this autobiography resembles more the spoken than
the written literary language of Italy. It is free, natural, unstudied,
and often careless. But its very carelessness has a charm. Duprè was not
a scholar nor a literary man. He was not bound by the rigid forms of
what is called in Italy "_lo stile_," which but too often is the enemy
of natural utterance. Undoubtedly this book needs compression; but no
exactness of style and form could compensate for the absence of that
unstudied natural ease and familiarity which are among its greatest
charms. The writer, fortunately for the reader, is as unconscious of
elaborated style as Monsieur Jourdain was that he was talking prose. The
character of Duprè's writing has been admirably caught and reproduced by
Madame Peruzzi, in the translation to which these few words may serve as

As an artist, Duprè was not endowed with a great creative or imaginative
power. His spirit never broke out of the Roman Church in which he was
brought up, and all that he did and thought was coloured by its
influence. The subjects which he chose in preference to all others were
of a religious character, and his works are animated by a spirit of
humility and devotion, rather than of power and intensity. His
piety--and he was a truly pious man--narrowed the field of his
imagination, and restricted the flights of his genius. "But even his
failings leaned to virtue's side," and what he lacked in breadth of
conception, was compensated by his deep sincerity of purpose and
religious feeling. He was not a daring creator--not an originator of
ideas--not a bold discoverer. He hugged the shore of his Church. He
wanted the passion and overplus of nature that might have borne him to
new heights, and new continents of thought and feeling. His Cain, almost
alone of all his works, breathes a spirit of defiance and rebellion, and
breaks through the limitations of his usual conceptions. But it was not
in harmony with his genius; and in natural expression it falls so far
below his previous statue of Abel, that it was epigrammatically said
that his Abel killed his Cain. There was undoubtedly a certain truth in
this criticism, for though the Cain is vigorously conceived and
admirably executed, the heart of the man was not in it, as it was in the
gentle and placid figure of Abel. In mastery of modelling and truth to
nature, this latter statue could scarcely be surpassed. Indeed, so
remarkable was it for these qualities, that it gave rise in Florence to
the scandalous calumny that it had been cast, not modelled, from
nature,--a calumny which, it is scarcely necessary to add, was as false
in fact as it was inconsistent with the honest and lofty spirit of
Duprè; and which, though intended as a reproach, proved to be the
highest testimonial to the extraordinary skill of the artist.

Within the bounded domain of thought and conception which his religious
faith had set for him, he worked with great earnestness and devotion of
spirit. Though he created no works which are stamped by the audacity of
genius, or intensified by passion, or characterised by bold originality
and reach of power, yet the work he did do is eminently faithful,
admirably executed, and informed by knowledge as well as feeling. His
artistic honesty cannot be too highly praised. He spared no pains to
make his work as perfect as his powers would permit. He had an accurate
eye, a remarkable talent for modelling from nature, and an indefatigable
perseverance. He never lent his hand to low, paltry, and unworthy work.
Art and religion went hand in hand in all he did. He sought for the
beautiful and the noble--sought it everywhere with an inquiring and
susceptible spirit; despised the brutal, the low, and the trifling;
never truckled to popularity, or sought for fame unworthily; and scorned
to degrade his art by sensuality. As the man was, so his work was--pure,
refined, faithful to nature and to his own nature. He pandered to no low
passions; he modelled no form, he drew no line, that dying he could wish
to blot; and the world of Art is better that he has lived. While he bent
his head to Nature, the whole stress of his life as an artist was to
realise his favourite motto, "_Il vero nel bello_"--the true in the

His last letter, written only three days before his final attack, was
addressed to his friend Professor Giambattista Giuliani, and as it
breathes the whole spirit of the man, it may form a fit conclusion to
these few words: "My excellent friend,--We also, Amalia and I, wish you
truly from our hearts, now and always, every good from our blessed
God--perfect health, elevation of spirit, serene affections, peace of
heart in the contemplation of the beautiful and the good, and the
immortal hope of a future life, that supreme good that the modern
Sadducees deny--unhappy beings!"

    W. W. STORY.


"Do you know," I said to a friend six months ago, while I was looking
over the rough draft of my memoirs, "that I have decided to print them?"
"You will do well," he answered; "but you must write a preface--a bit of
a preface is necessary." "I do not think so," I said. "In my opinion the
few words on the first page will suffice." My friend read over the first
page and replied, "That's enough."

Now, however, a couple of words do not seem to me superfluous,--first,
in order that I may express my surprise and pleasure that my book,
written just as it came to me, has been received with so much kindness;
and then to explain that this second edition has been enlarged by some
additions and necessary notes. The additions do not form an appendix,
but are inserted in the chapters, each in its proper place.

It did not seem advisable to me, as it did to some other persons, to
enlarge this book by letters, documents, and other writings of mine. I
thought this would interfere with the simplicity and brevity of my first

In re-reading this book, I admit that I have found passages here and
there which I felt tempted to correct, or rather to polish and improve
in style, but I have let them go. Who knows that I should not have made
them worse? It seems to me (perhaps I am wrong) not to perceive in good
writers the labour, the smoothing, and the transposition of words, and
so on, but a rapid and broad embodiment of the idea in the words that
were born with it.

One last and most essential word I have reserved for the end as a _bonne
bouche_. Some persons have excusably and pleasantly observed that to
write a book about one's self while the author is living is both very
difficult and rather immodest. I replied to them, both by word of mouth
and through the press, that although on account of my life and works I
had studied to be as temperate and unpretentious as the truth and the
facts would allow, still here and there my narrative with regard to some
persons might not be agreeable, and therefore after my death it might be
discredited or denied. No, this must not be, I said, and say again. I am
alive, and am here to correct everything at variance with the truth, and
also (I wish to be just) what is wanting in chivalrousness.


In making the present translation of the Memoirs of Giovanni Duprè, one
of two courses had to be taken--either to turn the whole into pure
idiomatic English, or to follow, with a certain degree of literalness,
the peculiar forms of expression, and the characteristic style, or
absence of style, of the original. I have chosen the latter course, in
order, as far as in me lay, to convey the individuality of the author,
and the local colour and character of his book. This would to a great
degree have been lost had I attempted to render into purely English
idiom a work that is not only written in a careless, familiar, and
conversational form, and abounds in turns of expression which are
essentially Florentine, but derives its interest, in part at least, from
this very peculiarity.

    E. M. P.


CHAPTER I.                                                         PAGE

    My motive for writing these Memoirs--My father's family--Removal
    of the family to Florence--My childhood--My father takes me to
    Pistoia, but I run away from his house to return to my
    mother--From Pistoia I go with my father to Prato--My first
    study in drawing--Strong impression made upon me by an old
    print--My father's opposition to my studies--My sorrow at being
    so far from my mother--I run the risk of being burnt--Having
    grown tall, fears are entertained for my health--I return to my
    mother at Florence and work with Ammanati--I go to Siena and
    study ornate design in the Academy--Carlo Pini gives me lessons
    in drawing the human figure--Signor Angelo Barbetti's
    prophecy--I run away from Siena, and on foot go to my mother at
    Florence--Signor Paolo Sani--Death of my sister Clementina--My
    mother's infirmity of eyesight--My brother Lorenzo goes to the
    poorhouse--My aversion to learn reading and writing--My first
    library, and inexperience of books,                              1


    Without knowing it, I was doing what Leonardo advises--New way
    of decorating the walls of one's house--I wish to study design
    at the Academy, but cannot carry this into effect--A bottle of
    anise-seed cordial--Intelligent people are benevolent, not so
    those of mediocre minds--The statues in the Piazza della
    Signoria and alabaster figures--The discovery of a hidden
    well--My father returns home without work, and leaves for
    Rome--Young Signor Emilio del Fabris--Sea-baths and cholera at
    Leghorn--With help I save a woman from drowning--I go to San
    Piero di Bagno--My uncle the provost dies--My father returns
    from Rome, and settles in Florence--My work, a group of a Holy
    Family, is stolen--Description of this group,                   18


    A punishment well deserved, and my satisfaction--Different
    times, different customs--The use of the birch given up in
    schools--A portrait--Companions and bad habits--How I became
    acquainted with my dear Marina--My first time of speaking with
    her--Difficulty to obtain my mother's consent to our
    marriage--She makes trouble, thinking to do well--I am sent away
    from my betrothed, and return to bad habits--An escapade--The
    public baths of Vaga-Loggia--My clothes stolen,                 35


    Return to the house of my betrothed, and put an end to my
    thoughtless ways--A talking parrot--He who does not wish to read
    these pages knows what he has to do--How I went to prison, and
    how I passed my time there--"The Death of Ferruccio," by the
    painter Bertoli--Signor Luigi Magi, the sculptor--How I learnt
    to become economical--Shirts with plaited wrist-bands--The first
    love-kiss, and a little bunch of lemon-verbena--My marriage--My
    wife has doubts as to my resolution of studying
    sculpture--Pacetti's shop in Palazzo Borghese--I sell the "Santa
    Filomena" to a Russian, who re-christens her "Hope"--I begin to
    work on marble--I make a little crucifix in boxwood, which is
    bought by Cav. Emanuel Fenzi--Verses by Giovanni Battista
    Niccolini,                                                      52


    A warning to young artists--Professor Cambi's propositions--A
    financial problem: to increase gain by diminishing the means
    that produce it--I leave Sani's shop to have more time and
    liberty to study--An imitation is not so bad, but a
    falsification is indeed an ugly thing--The Marchesa Poldi and a
    casket, supposed to be an antique--How a master should be--The
    death of my mother, September 1840--Opinion of the Academy--The
    "Tipsy Bacchante"--A divided vote--The "Cariatidi" of the
    Rossini Theatre at Leghorn,                                     72


    An unjust law--The "Abel"--Brina the model and I in danger of
    being asphyxiated--My first request--Benvenuti wishes to change
    the name of my Abel for that of Adonis--I invite Bartolini to
    decide on the name of my statue--Bartolini at my studio--His
    advice and corrections on the Abel--Lorenzo Bartolini--Giuseppe
    Sabatelli--Exhibition of the Abel--It is said to be cast from
    life--I ask for a small studio, but do not obtain it--My second
    and last request--The President Antonio Montalvo--I don't
    succeed somehow in doing anything as I should--I talk over
    matters at home--Count del Benino a true friend and true
    benefactor--His generous action,                                89


    The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia and the commission for the
    Cain and Abel--The Prince of Leuchtenberg and a plate of
    _caviale_ at Caffè Doney--An unusual amusement that did some
    good--Again the generosity of Count del Benino--Bartolini's
    Hunchback, and in consequence a return to the Abel--Bartolini
    gets angry with me--Examination of the materialistic or
    realistic in art--Effects of the realistic--Do not have girls
    alone by themselves for models--Subscription got up by the
    Sienese to have my Abel executed in marble--A new way of curing
    a cough--Signora Letizia's receipt, who sent it and paid for it
    herself--One must never offer works gratis, for they are not
    accepted--The Grand Duchess Marie Antoinetta orders the "Giotto"
    for the Uffizi--Has Abel killed Cain?--Statue of Pius II.--A
    foolish opinion and impertinent answer--I defy the law that
    prohibits eating,                                              110


    _Literati_ at my studio, and their influence on my
    work--Calamatta's opinion of Tenerani, of Bartolini, and of
    myself--His defence of my Abel in Paris--Pius II.--Academicians
    and "Naturalisti"--Luigi Venturi--Prince Anatolia Demidoff and
    the Princess Matilde--The statuette in clay of the Princess
    Matilde is destroyed--Our minister Nigra presents me to the
    Emperor Napoleon III.--Beauty does not exist outside of
    nature--Praise puts one to sleep--The incoherence of Bartolini,


    The political reforms of the year 1847 in Tuscany--My first
    scholars--Ciseri, Prati, Aleardi, Fusinato, Coletti, and
    Chiarini the _improvisatore_--Inedited verses by Prati--Giuseppe
    Verdi--A digression on artistic individuality--The Emperor of
    Russia's visit to my studio--Reactionary movement of the 12th of
    April 1849--I am in danger of my life--The return of the Grand
    Duke,                                                          159


    My wife, my little girls, and my work--Death of my brother
    Lorenzo--Death of Lorenzo Bartolini--The base for the
    "Tazza"--Eight years of work, only to obtain a living--Mussini
    and his school--Pollastrini--The school in Via
    Sant'Apollini--Prince Demidoff and the monument by
    Bartolini--The Nymph of the Scorpion and the Nymph of the
    Serpent, by Bartolini--Marchese Ala--Count Arese--The four
    statuettes for Demidoff--Amerigo of the Prince Corsinis--His
    Royal Highness Count of Syracuse, a sculptor--"Sant'Antonino"
    statue at the Uffizi,                                          179


    Close imitation from life--My illness--I am in danger of losing
    my life--Luigi del Punta, head physician at Court--The Grand
    Duke furnishes me with the means for going to Naples--I leave
    for Naples--A beggar impostor--Another and my
    boots--Sorrento--My Neapolitan friends--Professor Tartaglia and
    the hydropathic cure--The museum at Naples--Let us study the
    good wherever it is to be found--A strange presentation,       203


    Pompeii--A cameo--Sketch for the Bacco della
    Crittogama--Professor Angelini the sculptor--One must not offer
    one's hand with too much freedom to ladies--A hard-hearted
    woman with small intelligence--The San Carlo, the San Carlino,
    the Fenice, and the Sebeto--Monument by Donatello at Naples--The
    Barocco and mistaken opinions--_Dilettanti_ in the fine
    arts--Prince Don Sebastian of Bourbon--Is the beard a sign of
    being Legitimist or Liberal?--I am taken for a prince or
    something like one--"The bottle" for doorkeepers and _custodi_
    of the public museums of Naples--Phidias, Demosthenes, and
    Cicero all against Ruggero Bonghi,                             223


    Never make a present of your works--Pope Rezzonico by
    Canova--Tenerani--Overbeck's theories--Minardi and his school--A
    woman from the Trastevere who looked like the Venus of
    Milo--Conventionalists and Realists--An ambitious question and
    bitter answer--Filippo Gualterio,                              242


    The nude--The statue of David--Rauch--The base of the Tazza--The
    chapel of the Madonna del Soccorso--Sepulchral monuments for San
    Lorenzo--The 27th of April 1859--Count Scipione Borghesi--A
    group of the Deluge--Competition for Wellington's monument, and
    a great help,                                                  259


    Patience a most essential virtue--Trust was a good man, but
    Trust-no-one a better--A competition either attracts or drives
    away men of talent--A study from life of a lion by
    Marrocchetti--Assistant modellers--Sydenham and its wonders--One
    of "Abel's" fingers--New judgment of Solomon--An important
    question--An Indian who speaks about things as they
    are--Professor Papi and the failure of the first cast in bronze
    of the "Abel"--A medicine not sold by the chemist,             277


    On the study of expression from life--The care one must take in
    making studies from life--A _genre_ picture and Raphael's
    cartoon of the "Massacre of the Innocents"--I lose myself in
    London--The housemaid at Hotel Granara--The inconvenience of
    being ignorant and absent-minded--Ristori and Piccolomini in
    London--The cartoons of Raphael at Hampton Court--Fantasy runs
    away with me--A curious but just law--The result of fasting--The
    villa of Quarto and a prince's "early hour"--Again of Prince
    Demidoff,                                                      301


    My father's death--A turn in the omnibus--The Ferrari
    monument--I keep the "Sappho" for myself--The "Tired Bacchante"
    and the little model--Raphael and the Fornarina--The Madonna and
    bas-reliefs at Santa Croce and Cavaliere Sloane--My daughter
    Amalia and her works--My daughter Beppina--Description of the
    bas-relief on the façade of Santa Croce--I am taken for the
    wrong person by the Holy Father Pius IX.--Marshal
    Haynau--Professor Bezzuoli and Haynau's portrait,              322


    One of my colleagues--A mysterious voice--The group of the
    "Pietà"--Very clear Latin--A professor who ignores the 'Divina
    Commedia'--Composition of the group of the
    "Pietà"--Digression--A good lesson and nervous
    attack--Mancinelli and Celentano,                              345


    A prophetic dream--Giovanni Strazza--Signor Vonwiller and
    societies for promoting art--Return from Naples to Rome, and my
    daughter Luisina's illness--Our return to Florence--Death of
    Tria the model--The Mossotti monument at Pisa--How it was that I
    did not make the portrait of his Majesty the King--The
    competition for Cavour's monument--I go to Turin to pass
    judgment on it--The "Christ after the Resurrection," a
    commission of Signor Filippi di Buti--Religious art and
    Alessandro Manzoni and Gino Capponi--Thought is not
    free--Cavour's monument--The description of it,                365


    Allegories in art--The Monga monument at Verona--Of my late
    daughter Luisina--Her death--How I was robbed--Monsignore
    Archbishop Limberti's charitable project--One of my
    colleagues--Nicolô Puccini and the statue of Cardinal
    Forteguerri--Cesare Sighinolfi--Cardinal Corsi, Archbishop of
    Pisa,                                                          385


    The Universal Exhibition at Paris in 1867--The imitators of
    Vela--Inedited music by Rossini and Gustave Doré--Domenico
    Morelli--Group of Prince Trabia's children and the
    thieves--"Stick no bills"--The statue of Marshal
    Pallavicini--The Empress Maria Teresa and Marshal Pallavicini--A
    memorial monument to Fra Girolamo Savonarola--The Universal
    Exhibition at Vienna--A tiny room--Excellent and very dear--On
    harmony of sounds--On the harmony in the animal world--The
    harmony of the human form as manifested by the inner beauty of
    the soul--The campanile of St Stephen's and Canova's monument,


    The palace of the Exhibition at Vienna--Why, with my attributes
    of President, I was in such haste--Michael Angelo and
    Garibaldi--A Viennese cabman--The Camerini monument--Duke
    Camerini--An anecdote of his life--Statue of Michael Angelo in
    the future--The centenary festival of Michael Angelo--Signora
    Adelina Patti--A greedy young man of little judgment--The Favard
    monument,                                                      418


    Pius IX. objects to having me make his bust--I go to Rome to see
    the Pope--The Exhibition at Naples--Again on idealism and
    naturalism--The masters of Italian melody--Vincenzo Bellini and
    his monument--Conclusion,                                      438

INDEX,                                                             453






I have often thought that perhaps it would be well for me to leave some
written memoirs of my life--not only for the sake of my family, but also
for the young artists of the future; but I have hitherto been deterred
from so doing by the fear lest I might seem to have been prompted by
pride and vanity. Since, however, various notices of my life and my
doings in art have been made public, it may not be either without
interest, or indeed without a certain utility, if I venture now to speak
at length on these subjects; for it seems to me that these memoirs may
not only serve as an encouragement to timid but well-disposed youths,
but may at the same time be a severe admonition to those who, presuming
too much on themselves, imagine that with little study and great
boldness they can wing their way up the steps of Art instead of
laboriously climbing them.


My father was Francesco Duprè, the youngest son of Lorenzo Duprè, who
came to Siena with the princes of Lorraine. My grandfather kept a
draper's shop in the Piazza del Campo, where at first, through his
activity and honesty, his business so prospered that he was able to give
his family a good education; and my father was just entering on the
course of studies that his brothers had already finished, when my
grandfather, through the ignorance and bad faith of his debtors and his
own determination to be honest himself, was reduced to poverty. In
consequence of this, my father was obliged to discontinue his studies,
and to set to work to learn a trade, in order that he might earn his
bread as soon as possible; and thinking to derive some advantage from
the studies he had already made in drawing, he apprenticed himself to a
wood-carver. Later he married Victoria Lombardi of Siena, and she was my
mother. I was born on the 1st of March 1817, in Via San Salvadore, in
the Contrada dell'Onda, and lived in Siena until I was four years old.
My family then removed to Florence, where my father went, at the request
of the wood-carver, Signor Paolo Sani, to help him in the execution of
some _intaglio_ decorations in the Palazzo Borghese, which the Prince
was anxious to have finished within the shortest possible time. My
recollections of those early days are not worth recording. I grew up
from a little boy going with my father to the shop. I had a few lessons
in the Catechism and in reading from a schoolmistress who lodged in our
house. In the evening my _babbo_[1] used to read and explain some Latin
book (I do not remember what it was), perhaps for the innocent
satisfaction of letting us know that he had studied that language, but
certainly with no profit to me, who understood nothing and was greatly
bored. When, however, he gave me some of his designs of ornamentation,
such as leaves, arabesques, and friezes, to copy, I was very happy. The
time passed without my knowing it; and such was my delight in this
occupation, that I often put off the hour of supper or sleep and gave up
any amusement for it. At home we lived very poorly. My father earned
little, for his work was badly paid, and by nature he was slow. This
poverty of our daily life began to disturb the relations between my
father and mother. The family had increased, and besides my eldest
sister Clementina, who died soon afterwards, were born Lorenzo and
Maddalena. I remember the sharpness of the tones, but not the sense of
the words that passed between my parents; and the tears of my mother and
sullen silence of my father frightened us little ones, and filled us
with sadness.

 [1] "Babbo" is the familiar word for father in Tuscany.


It was impossible that such a state of things could last long, and my
father decided to leave Florence and go to Pistoia, where he thought he
could earn more money. I was destined to follow him, while the others
remained with my mother. For more than three years I stayed with him. My
life was sad for me here, as the distance from my mother made it almost
unbearable; and all the more so because my father, whenever he went to
Florence to see her, as he sometimes did, always left me behind him,
alone, at Pistoia. Once, when I was barely seven years old, I ran away
from the house, and went on foot to Florence, although I knew for a
certainty that I should have to pay dearly for the kisses and caresses
of my mother by a thrashing from the _babbo_. Nor was I mistaken: I got
the thrashing, and was brought back.


About this time there awoke in me a certain sentiment and longing to try
to draw the human figure--leaves and _grumoli_ had begun to weary me;
and this desire was developed in an odd way. There was in Pistoia, in
the house of a certain gilder named Canini, a little theatre for
puppets, and one of the characters, which was wanted for a certain
performance, happened to be missing. Canini, who was a friend of my
father, was much put out by this loss, and came to beg my father to make
the head and hands for the puppet. He answered that he could not do
this, as he had never attempted anything in the way of figures; and the
poor gilder, who was director and proprietor of the company, was at a
loss to know where to turn. I, with the utmost effrontery, then offered
to make the head and hands myself; and as Canini was hopeful as well as
incredulous, and my father gave a sort of half consent, I set to work,
and succeeded so well that my puppet turned out to be the most beautiful
"personage" of the company. The happy result encouraged me to go on, and
I remade almost all the puppets. I also made some small ducks in cork,
that were to appear in a pond, and were moved about here and there by
silk threads. It was a pleasure to see the little creatures--they turned
out so well, and had such a look of reality; and this I was enabled to
give them because in the court of our house there were some ducks which
I could copy from life. Ah, Nature! not only is it a great help, but it
is the principal foundation of Art!

[Sidenote: I GO TO PRATO.]


From Pistoia the _babbo_ took me to Prato, where he had been requested
to go by the gilder Signor Stefano Mazzoni. There we took up our abode
in a street and court called Il Giuggiolo. In the same house, and almost
with us, lived a man from Lucca, who made little plaster-images, and was
one of the many who go about the streets selling little coloured figures
for a few sous. This connection, ridiculous as it may appear, inspired
me more and more with a desire for the study of figures. It is true
these figures and parrots and clowns were ugly; but, at the same time,
their innocent ugliness attracted me, and filled me with a longing, not
indeed to imitate them, but to do something better. In turning over my
father's papers and designs, I found a quantity of prints,
fashion-plates of dresses, landscapes, and animals, and particularly (I
remember it so well that I could draw it now) a large print representing
the building of the Temple of Jerusalem. In the distance you saw the
building just begun, and rising a little above its foundations. Carts
loaded with heavy materials and tall straight timber (the cedars of
Lebanon) were dragged along by a great many oxen and camels, amid a vast
number of people and things. On all sides were workmen of every kind,
some carving the columns, some putting up a jamb and squaring it, some
sawing timber, and some busied in making ditches; others were talking,
or listening, or admiring: and all the scene was animated with a truly
marvellous life. In the foreground you saw the majestic figure of
Solomon, surrounded by his ministers and soldiers, showing his architect
(with his scholars) the designs of the Temple. In fact, it was a
wonderful thing to behold, and I was so enchanted that I could not
sleep for thinking of it, for it seemed to me impossible that any man
could imagine and execute anything so marvellous. My little head seemed
on fire, it was so full of these figures. I tried at first to copy in
part this print, which, above all the others, had taken my fancy; but I
did not succeed, and I was so discouraged that I sat down and cried. And
not for this only I cried, but also because my father looked with so
unfavourable eye on these efforts of mine--they seeming to him quite
unnecessary for an _intagliatore_--that, in order to go on with these
studies, I was obliged to hide myself almost, and to work in spare
moments. Finding this print so complicated that I could in no way copy
it, I then undertook to copy the little costume-figures that I found
amongst the prints. These, one by one, I drew during the evening, after
my father had gone to bed and was asleep; and sometimes it happened that
I fell asleep over my drawing, and on waking found myself in the dark,
with the little lamp gone out. This constant exercise, to which I gave
myself every day with great ardour, so trained my hand and practised my
eye, that my last drawings were made with little or no erasures.

But though I derived a good deal of satisfaction from these small
drawings, my heart was still oppressed at being so far from my mother. I
longed to see her, and have her near me, and begged my father to take me
to her, or at least to send me to her by the carrier; but wishes and
prayers were useless. My father went sometimes, it is true, to see her;
but although I was only seven or eight years of age, I had to remain
behind at Prato to look after the house. I do not wish to blame my
father, but neither then nor since have I been able to understand his
notions of things; and certainly, to keep a little boy alone by himself
in a house, and often for several days together, is not to be
recommended. One evening I remember, when, having fallen asleep while
reading at the table, with my head bent near the lamp, my little cap
caught on fire, and I woke up with my hair in flames. But this
adventurous life--beaten about, thwarted in all my wishes and in all my
affections--formed my character. I became accustomed to suffer, to
persevere, and to obey, while I always kept alive those desires and
affections which my conscience assured me were good.


About this time, what with continuous study, hardish work in my father's
shop, and the melancholy that weighed upon me because I could not see my
mother, my health began to fail. Even before this, and indeed from my
birth, I had always been delicate, but now I became so pale and weak
that every one called me _il morticino_ (the little dead fellow). A
physician who examined me about this time talked seriously to my father
about me on the subject, telling him that I ought to rest longer in the
mornings (my father rose very early, and I had to get up to go with him
to the shop), and eat more nourishing food; and he explained what it
should be. Amongst other things, I remember he ordered me to drink
goat's milk, milked and drunk on the spot, as soon as I got out of bed,
before leaving my room. This treatment succeeded marvellously. Every day
I gained strength, colour, and flesh. The little goat that came every
morning to my room to pay me a visit, and brought me her milk, sweet,
warm, and light, will be always remembered by me; and I still have a
feeling for the little creature, even after half a century, which I
cannot well define.


Restored to health, I was taken to see my mother in Florence. My own
great joy, as well as her caresses and petitions that I might be left
with her, it is impossible to describe. She insisted that she would find
me a shop where I could go and continue to learn the art of
wood-carving. Thank God, this time my mother's tenderness overcame my
father's tenacity (loving though it was), and I was allowed to remain
with her. They both looked about to find me a shop, and I was finally
placed in Borgo Sant' Jacopo, with the wood-carvers Gaetano Ammanati and
Luigi Pieraccini, who worked together. They were both very able men,
certainly much more so than my father, who, poor man, owing to the
constant requirements of the family, had never been able to perfect
himself in his art. In this shop figures were carved, so that I had
before me models and teachers, as well as incitement to work. My
principals liked me, and I them; and I should have remained with them
who knows how long, had I not been carried off by another
_intagliatore_. And the way in which it happened was this: Signor Paolo
Sani, a carver in wood who sometimes came on business or for other
reasons to Ammanati's, seeing that my work was fairly good, and that I
worked with goodwill, determined, if possible, to take me away to work
for him. He wrote, therefore, to my father, who had returned to Siena,
asking him to remove me from Ammanati's shop, and send me to him,
binding himself to pay me double the salary that I was then receiving.
As he did not wish, however, to appear to act underhandedly (though this
was really the case), he persuaded my father to take me to Siena, and
place me at the Academy of Fine Arts, to study drawing; and he promised,
after I had passed some months there, to take me to work in his own
shop. My father accepted the offer, and I was obliged to go to Siena,
where I studied in the Academy at the school of "Ornato," which was then
under the direction of Professor Dei. Out of school hours my father let
me work upon anything I liked--such as children's heads, angels, and
even crucifixes. God knows what rubbish they were! I also took lessons,
in drawing the human figure, of Signor Carlo Pini, then the _custode_ of
the Academy, and afterwards one of the most distinguished annotators of
Vasari, and keeper of the drawings by the old masters in the Royal
Gallery of the Uffizi.


At that time Signor Angelo Barbetti, a very skilful wood-carver, was at
Siena, and my father wished to place me in his shop, which was in the
Piazza di San Giovanni. But Signor Angelo was as irascible and
fault-finding as he was intelligent; and one day, when I had not
succeeded in executing some work that he had given me, he struck me on
the head, accompanying the blow with these words, which hurt me more
than the blow itself--"You will always be an ass, harnessed and shod,
even when the beard is on your chin." Afterwards I was sent to Signor
Antonio Manetti, who not only carved ornaments and figures in wood, but
also worked in marble, and was occupied in restoring the façade of the
cathedral. Signor Manetti was a man of no common genius--he designed and
sculptured ornaments and figures with much facility and cleverness. But
even with him I was not fortunate. He gave me a little Napoleonic eagle
with thunderbolts in his claws to execute. For what it was intended I do
not remember, but apparently I did not succeed in satisfying him. In
this case, however, there were neither blows on the head nor bitter
words, but, with a certain haughty dignity, he took my poor little
eaglet in his hand, and dashed it to the ground, breaking it to atoms in
spite of the thunderbolts. Viewed from this long distance of time, this
scene has a somewhat comic character, and must seem especially so to one
who hears it described. But for me, a poor little boy, anxious to learn
and get on, so as to lighten, as far as possible, the burden on my
father--who, poor man, earned little, and of that little was obliged to
send a portion to his family in Florence--it was quite another thing;
and though I felt within myself that I was not a complete donkey, still
to see my work thrown thus brutally on the ground was so painful to me
that it took away all my little strength. I wept in secret; and as the
time assigned by Signor Paolo Sani and my father for my return had
arrived, I begged my father to send me back to Florence. He wished,
however, to keep me with him still longer, and so I occupied myself in
making angels and seraphim heads for churches.



I begged and begged my father to take me to Florence, to see my mother.
He promised to do so at Easter. Meanwhile, I contented myself with this
hope; but on the eve of Easter he told me he could not go, on account of
his engagements, which would detain him at Siena, and also for many
other reasons that I could not and would not understand. Now, however,
my patience gave way before my loving desire to see my mother; and
without saying a word, I rose early and ran away from the house. Passing
out of the Porta Camollia, I set off on my walk with only a bit of bread
in my pocket, in the boyish hope of reaching my destination the same
day, and so passing my Easter with my mother, without reflecting that,
by so doing, I should pass it neither with my father nor my mother. I
was about nine years old, and walked on with courage beyond my strength.
So great was my desire to get to Florence, that I passed Staggia and
Poggibonsi without feeling tired; but near Barberino--which is about
twenty miles from Siena, and half-way to Florence--my mind misgave me
that I should not be able to arrive in Florence that evening;
and then my strength abandoned me, and I was so overcome with fatigue
that I could not get up from a little wall on which I had seated myself
to rest. I had not a penny. No carts or carriages were passing that way.
It was Easter, and every one was at home resting for his holiday; and I,
there I was alone in the middle of the road, oppressed with weariness
and remorse for having left my father in such anxiety. At times I hoped
that he might come after me with a carriage to take me up, and I quite
resigned myself to a sound beating; but even this hope was vain, and I
had to continue my walk. How many sad thoughts passed one after another
through my little tired head! What will my mother, who is expecting us,
do or say? What will my _babbo_ think, left alone, and not knowing where
I am? He will be certainly looking for me, and asking after me from
every one in Siena. What will become of me in the middle of the road if
night overtakes me? This thought gave strength and energy to my will,
and on I went. I don't think that I was frightened. At length my
strength was exhausted; the sun began to set; I was seven or eight miles
from San Casciano, and I could not be certain of arriving even there to
pass the night. I stopped at a wretched little house to rest, and asked
for a glass of water. A man, a woman, and several children were eating.
They asked me where I came from, and I told them. With expressions of
compassion, especially from the woman, they gathered round me, gave me
some bread, a hard-boiled egg, and a little wine, and I thanked them
with emotion. They wanted me to stay with them until the next day--and
tired out as I was, I should have stayed and accepted their kindly
offer; but at this moment a _vettura_ for Florence passed by, and with
my eyes full of tears I told them how infinitely grateful I should be
if I could be allowed to fasten myself in any way on to the carriage.
The driver, who had stopped to get a glass of wine, seeing the state I
was in, and hearing my story from these good country people, took me up
on the box by his side, and carried me to Florence, where we arrived in
less than three-quarters of an hour, an hour after nightfall. As my
mother and the other children lived in Via Toscanelli, when we were near
the Sdrucciolo de' Pitti the good driver set me down there. I descended
from the box and ran--no, I could not run, for my feet were swollen, and
my sides numb, but my heart was glad, exultant, and throbbing. I
knocked; my mother came to the window and saw me, but she did not
recognise me until I spoke, and then she gave a scream and came down.
What followed I cannot recount. Those who have a heart will imagine it
better than I can tell it. Neither the good family who welcomed and
refreshed me, nor the honest humane carrier, have I ever seen, for I
remained in Florence, and did not return to Siena until many years
after. Then I made all possible researches to find both the one and the
other, but I could never find them. Not, indeed, that I wished to
remunerate them with money (the price of charity has not yet been
named), but I wished to express to them my gratitude; and this is the
only recompense acceptable to charitable hearts.


[Sidenote: PAOLO SANI'S SHOP.]

The day after, as I hoped and feared, the _babbo_ arrived, and as soon
as he saw me, his expression, anxious and grieved as it was, became
threatening. His few ill-repressed words were the sure sign of the blows
to come, and he was just going to strike me when my mother, with
indescribable tenderness, caught me in her arms and pressed me to her,
with her face and eyes turned towards my father, without uttering a
word. Softened by this, he then began a long speech on the obedience and
submission due from children to the holy parental authority, not
omitting to censure my mother's indulgence and petting. After this I
begged his pardon, and all was at an end. My father returned to Siena,
and I went to Signor Sani's shop (built with his own money), in the
Piazza di San Biagio, under the Piatti printing-office. Signor Paolo
Sani was a man of about fifty, thin, pale, and exceedingly active. He
had a great deal of work to do, and was employed by the Court and first
houses in Florence. His taste was not exquisite, but he understood
effects and proportions, so that his decorative carving, either in the
way of furniture, caskets, frames, chandeliers, or ornamental work for
churches, was greatly in demand. He had many men, and the works
succeeded each other with great rapidity. In his house he had portfolios
full of designs, and the walls of his shop were covered with plaster
casts, bas-reliefs of figures, and ornaments, animals, arabesques,
flowers, angels, &c., making a strange fantastic medley full of
attraction for me. When the master was not there, the men at their work
used to talk and sing; but when any one saw him coming, the scene
changed, and there was perfect silence. I came into the shop as an
apprentice and errand-boy; so that although I had my little bench, with
my tools and work, yet, if there was any glue to be heated or made, or
the tools were to be taken to the grinder, or the breakfast to be
brought for the men, this duty always fell upon me. But I did not in the
least complain. It is true that amongst these duties there was one for
which I had a dislike, although I did not show it, and this was carrying
a basket full of shavings on my back to the master's house in the Borgo
Sant' Jacopo. To go there I had to pass through the Mercato Nuovo and
over Ponte Vecchio, which is much frequented at all hours, as every one
knows; and during this year I went there with the basket of shavings on
my back. Notwithstanding this, I was well off in the shop, and was
light-hearted from being near my mother and sisters. One of my
sisters--my elder by a year--died soon after my return from my
wanderings with my father. Poor Clementina! she was so good, delicate in
health, and suffering. Indeed, we all suffered because of our poverty.
Father sent us little, for he earned little, and our bread was often wet
with tears because we could not help our mother as we wished. Added to
this, she could do almost nothing herself on account of her infirmity of
eyesight, which little by little so increased, that at last she was no
longer able to see us; and as I have already said, Clementina died. God
willed it so--to shorten her road, which was too full of thorns and
danger, to one pretty as she was, artless, away from the father's
watchful eye, and with her mother blind. My other smaller sister
Maddalena accompanied her mother when she went out, as she did in the
endeavour to earn something by buying and selling women's old clothes.
My brother Lorenzo (perhaps because he was too quick-tempered) was
obliged to go to the poorhouse, and here he learnt the art of
carpet-maker. After a short time, however, he came out and returned to
Parenti, who had a carpet manufactory in the ancient refectory of the
monks of Santa Croce, where he remained for some time.


But all these difficulties and sorrows one feels less in early years,
and in spite of them I was light-hearted. I had the master's goodwill,
and the men in the shop treated me with the open cordial heartiness
belonging to that class in those days. My love for the study of design
increased, and in the off-hours of work I used to stay behind in the
shop and eat a bit of bread there, and draw from some of the casts
hanging on the walls, without taking them down or even dusting them. I
began with little things such as leaves, branches, small figures,
capitals of columns, heads of animals, and so on and so on, until I got
to figures. In the shop there were two beautiful bas-reliefs from the
pulpit in Santa Croce, two from the doors of the sacristy of the Duomo
by Luca della Robbia, and several of those little figures by Ghiberti
which surround the principal door of San Giovanni. All these casts I
drew during this period--badly, as one may imagine, and without guide or
method; but still, this served to occupy me pleasantly, and also to keep
alive within me the craving to learn and advance myself, so as to be
able to do other and more important work in the shop, and thus gain



[Sidenote: BOOKS AT CHURCH.]

This desire of distinguishing myself has always been very strong in me;
and through all my privations, discomforts, loss of sleep, harsh
corrections, irony, and scorn, I was borne up by this desire to do
myself credit, and see my father and mother rejoice in me and for me;
and also, I must confess, by the hope of seeing the rage of those who
had treated me with irony and scorn. But if I learned, more and more
every day, how to design and to carve in wood--for this was very
attractive to me--in everything else I was perfectly ignorant. I had not
even learned to read well, and could not write at all. My father had
tried placing me at a public school, but I learned absolutely nothing
there. The rudiments of writing and arithmetic were so irksome to me
that the master in despair sent me home again, and would have nothing to
do with such a little dunce. For all this, I had my little library at
home, which I kept with great care locked up in a small box in my room,
and it was composed of seven or eight books. These I had bought in the
streets from book-stalls set against old walls, and they were as
follows: A volume of the 'Capitoli of Berni,' 'Paul and Virginia,' and
'Atala and Chatta' (translations of course), a volume of the comedies of
Alberto Nota, and the 'Jerusalem Liberated,' 'Guerrino Meschino agli
Alberi del Sole,' 'Oreste,' and the 'Pazzi Conspiracy.' At first I
understood almost nothing excepting some of the adventures of Guerrino.
Afterwards 'Atala and Chatta' and 'Paul and Virginia' became my
favourite reading; and so much did I like them, and so often did I read
them, that whole pages remained in my memory. Then I fell in love with
the 'Jerusalem,' and this my memory more easily retained. Some of the
verses I tried to write from memory, in a little running hand, copying
the letters from my father's writing, for, as I have said before, I
never learnt the rudiments of writing; and those pot-hooks, and big
letters between two lines, never were to my taste. As to other things, I
had the innocence and good faith belonging to my age and the imperfect
education I had received. I thought all books good--good because they
were printed--and not only good at home, but good everywhere else; and
so I used to take my books to read in church during the Mass. One day
(it was Sunday) at mid-day Mass in Sant' Jacopo, while I was reading the
'Conspiracy of the Pazzi,' my master, Signor Sani, who lived opposite
the church, and was also at Mass, observed me, and suspecting that the
book I was reading was not a proper one to take to church, stopped me as
he was going out and asked to see it, and finding what it was, told me
that I was not to bring it again to church, as it was not a book of
prayers. More also he added that I did not understand, especially when
he wanted to explain to me the verses--

                                "Il putrido
    Annoso tronco, a cui s'appoggia fraude."[2]

 [2] "The rotten knotted trunk on which fraud leans."

I obeyed, however, and never took this or any of my other books to
church; and so I learnt that books you can read at home you cannot read
in church. Later I learnt there are others not to be read anywhere.



How dear to me is the remembrance of those times! My goodwill and desire
to learn were indeed above my very poor condition. The difficulties of
my profession did not discourage me; on the contrary, I felt a
pleasurable though distant hope of surpassing my companions in
figure-work that they did so badly and laboriously. For this purpose,
from that time I gave all my efforts to the study of the human figure. I
bought an album and kept it always with me, begged my friends to stand
as models, and drew their portraits. At first my attempts were not
happy; but I was never tired, and after a time I acquired so much
freedom that with a few strokes I could make a fair likeness. I was
always at work, and the walls of our kitchen and dining-room were all
smudged over with charcoal. Naturally, there was no one to scold me for
this unusual way of adorning the walls, for the mother, poor dear, was
blind, my father was not there, and as I was the eldest, I was, as it
were, the head of the family. Besides, though my mother could not see,
she still knew of this strange practice of mine, and thought it better
for me thus to occupy myself than to be playing with the boys in the


In the meantime, however, many doubts and self-questionings arose within
me. I knew that there was a school where one could really learn to draw
and paint and make statues. Heavens, how delightful it would be to know
how to make statues! In fact, I understood there was the Academy of Fine
Arts, for so I had been told, and some of the fortunate young men who
frequented this Academy were my acquaintances, and had shown me their
designs, which seemed to me, as my friend Dotti would say, _most
stupendous!_ I was no longer happy. The Academy appeared to me in the
most splendid and glowing colours; it seemed to me the haven, the
landmark, the temple of glory, the throne of my golden dreams.

I spoke of it to my mother with tears in my eyes. She mingled her tears
with mine, but not, perhaps, so much from being persuaded of the
necessity of such studies as from a desire to soothe me. She spoke about
it to Signor Sani, who, I shall always remember, with his eyes fixed
fiercely on me, made even more formidable under his silver spectacles,
replied, that to do all that was to be done in his shop, it was enough
to remain in the shop and have the wish to learn--of this he was
certain; but as to the work in the Academy, he did not feel so sure,
for, on the contrary, that would fill me with desires and cravings that
I could not satisfy, owing to the poverty of my family, even admitting
that I had the disposition to enable me to master these studies; and
finally, he hinted at the danger there was of my being contaminated by
my companions. My mother did not answer him. She said good-bye to me,
and in her sightless eyes I saw the sadness within. She went out, and I
set myself to work.


I resigned myself, but continued always to study by myself. As Luigi,
the master's eldest son, was studying design at Professor Gaspero
Martellini's school, which was in the Fondacci di Santo Spirito, he gave
me some of his designs to copy. Not only did Professor Martellini give
him lessons in drawing, but also in modelling in clay, and Sani was one
of the most assiduous of his scholars. I remember to have pounded his
clay for him many times, in a room on the ground-floor in his house in
Borgo Sant' Jacopo. This little room was used as a storehouse for all
sorts of odds and ends, and amongst these I once found a flask of
anise-seed cordial, that (to confess the truth) I tasted sometimes. One
morning, having finished what I had to do, and having gone up-stairs to
take the key of the room, one of the master's daughters (he had four)
smelt in my breath the odour of anise-seed, and said to me--

"Who has given you anise-seed?"

"No one," I answered.

"You smell of anise-seed; who has given it to you? Mind, don't tell

Then I told everything.

"I don't believe you. You are a liar."

"No; come and see."

"Certainly I wish to see."

She then came down, and taking the flask in her hand, looked at it,
smelled it, and tasted it. Apparently she must have drunk a little, for
as soon as she had put down the flask and shut up the room, she began to
totter, and could not stand on her feet. With difficulty I succeeded in
getting her up-stairs, where, as soon as her mother saw her in that
state, there ensued a serious scene. They all talked and scolded at
once--the three girls who had not drank the anise-seed, as well as the
mamma; and when I tried to explain how the thing had happened, I felt
two slaps in the face, which were given with such force that I was
stunned. My ideas became so confused that I was not able to say
anything. Fortunately the girl spoke, and said--

"Nanni is not at fault."

At these words the mistress said--

"Go at once to the shop. Master shall know everything this evening."

I did not breathe a word, and even she said nothing about it to the
master, nor was I scolded by him, or by the Signora Carolina (the
mistress). Some days after I returned to knead the clay, but the flask
of cordial had disappeared.

About this time there was a _residenza_[3] to be made in the shop for
some church, where, in the midst of the clouds that supported the
_ostensorio_, were a quantity of seraphim. This work was required to be
done at once without delay; and as Bartolommeo Bianciardi, who did this
kind of work in the shop, could not alone do all that was required of
him, I proposed to the master to make one of the seraphim myself, and I
succeeded so well that he was entirely satisfied. After that I made
others, and always better and better. From that time, when similar work
came to the shop, I was always employed on it together with the other
workman, and sometimes in preference to him. In the meantime I continued
to make progress in the art of wood-carving, and the best and most
skilful workmen flattered me and helped me with their advice, but the
others looked upon me with an evil eye. I could not understand this
difference, nor can I understand it now; but as I have since met with
this, and felt it always at every time and everywhere, it must be in the
natural order of bad things.

 [3] The throne on which the monstrance is placed when
  exposition of the sacrament takes place.


But there was always a thorn in my heart. The seraphim were not enough
to satisfy me, nor even the large masks and heads of Medusa with all
their serpents. And when I passed through the Piazza della Signoria and
saw the David, the Perseus, and the Group of the Sabines, I thought that
by going to the Academy of Fine Arts one might learn how to make such

Heavens, how grand a thing it would be to be able to go to the Academy!
But it was useless even to think of this, for my father had declared
himself opposed to it. Therefore peace be to it, and let me have
patience. At least those pretty little alabaster figures that are shown
in the shop windows of Pisani on the Prato, and Bazzanti on the
Lung'Arno, those I should be able to do with time and study and a firm
will. For after all, it is only a question of changing the material, of
substituting alabaster for wood, a seraphim or an angel for a little
Venus or Apollo--there is nothing to create. Those who make these
figures, also copy them from others in alabaster, plaster, or bronze, as
I do; and even now I invent my little seraphim, and no longer look at
Flammingo's little boys as I did at first--I do them from memory, making
them either leaner or fatter, or more smiling or more sad, as best I
feel inclined. So I reasoned and persuaded myself that in the end, one
day or other, I also should be able to make one of those graceful little


In this way I consoled myself, and went on with courage and hopefulness.
Here some one may say, this artist in his old age gives us a picture of
himself as a boy where there is too much fancy. The portrait is
beautiful, but is it a likeness? Has not the love of beauty seduced him?
What is the truth? Who ever saw a boy who was always obedient, studious,
patient, constant, &c. &c.?

Slowly, my good sirs--slowly; have a little patience. Some scrapes even
I have got into, and for the love of truth I must not pass them by in
silence. But everything has its place, and here, for instance, _is_ the
place for one of these scrapes. In the shop where I was employed, close
to my bench there was a great plaster pillar rising from the floor to
the ceiling. Neither I nor any one had ever thought or inquired for what
purpose it had been made. In this pillar was a sort of little niche,
into which was walled up a phial of oil kept for sharpening our tools.
Now it happened that this phial got broken, and in consequence it became
necessary to knock down the rest of the little niche in order to put in
a new one; but in performing this operation, I perceived that the wall
was thin under the hammer, as if it were hollow, so I began to think
what this could mean. The others also wondered, and some said one thing,
and some said another. In the meantime, as I continued to hammer on the
wall in the interior of the niche, a brick fell down, the wall gave way,
and we looked into a hollow space. Taking a stick to measure the depth,
we found it was considerable; but we could not understand what the
meaning of this could be. I have already said, in the beginning of these
memoirs, that our shop was under the Piatti printing-office--and so it
is, for the printing-office is on the first floor over it; but the
building is very high, and above that floor are others occupied by
lodgers. Suddenly, as we stood still, perplexed and wondering what could
be the use of this hollow pillar, I, being nearest the spot, heard a
noise within like a rustling or rubbing of something which we could not


For a while I stood still, thinking, when suddenly I guessed what it
was, and said to my companions--

"In a moment, if I succeed, you will witness a scene that will make you

"What do you mean to do?"

"You will see." Taking a long piece of beaten iron wire, I bent it into
the form of a mark of interrogation, and fastening the straight end of
it firmly to a bit of wood, when I heard the noise again I thrust it to
the opposite side of the hole, and again and again tried if I could
catch hold of anything within. At last, when I thought I had grappled
hold of something, I pulled it up, and found it to be a rope. As soon as
the rope was caught, we heard several voices scolding, calling, and
disputing--amongst others, a woman's voice shouting, "No, I tell you
there are no other lodgers; pull away, the bucket must have got into
some hole." Then the poor woman pulled, and every time she pulled I gave
a loud groan. At last, apparently the woman's strength failed, the
mistress herself or some one else pulled at it, for I could feel she had
no more strength to pull, and then cried out with an impertinent voice,
worthy of greater success, "Who is there?" "The souls of purgatory," I
shouted out lugubriously, and instantly felt the rope fall down.

To say the truth, I was then a little alarmed through fear of being
discovered, so I pushed forward the iron hook, and the rope fell,
bucket and all, into the well. My companions laughed at the scene, but I
did not; and thinking the joke might be found out, I hastened to close
up again the hole with a brick, set the little bottle of oil into it,
restore the niche as it was, smudge it over well that it might appear
old and as if it had never been touched, sweep away all traces of the
plaster that had been used, straighten out the instrument I had used,
and apply myself to my work in serious rather than hilarious mood.


About this time my father, failing to get work, came to Florence, hoping
to find something to do; but his hopes proved vain. He stayed there a
little while, but at last determined to go away, and this time for a
more distant place. My mother and all of us tried to dissuade him,
telling him to have patience, that some way would be found, that we
would do all we could to help, and although we were very poor, still we
should all be together. But it seemed to him that we could not get on in
this way, and accordingly he left for Rome. So long as he was at Siena
and wrote to us, and sometimes sent us a few _sous_, it was not so bad,
and we were accustomed to it; but now, who could say how we should get
on? So far away, without any one to help him, without acquaintances, and
with so imperious a character, what would become of him? Fortunately,
however, he found employment, and he wrote that he was well, and hoped
in a short time to be able to send us something. God knows there was
need of it.

Meanwhile I had become tolerably skilful. I was no longer a boy; I
earned about three _pauls_ a-day, and nearly all this I gave to my
mother, reserving for myself only a few _sous_ to buy paper, pencils,
and books. Beyond these things I wanted nothing, for my mother took care
to keep me cleanly and decently dressed.

[Sidenote: DISCONTENT.]

As my face, my way of speaking, and my manners were not vulgar, many of
the customers who came to our shop took me for the son of the principal
instead of an apprentice. They readily addressed themselves to me; I
took their messages, and sometimes their orders for the work, and the
older and more skilful workmen showed no ill-feeling about it. Amongst
other customers who had a liking for me, I remember Signor Emilio de
Fabris, who at that time was the head workman in Baccani's studio. He
used to come to direct and urge on the work. He used to talk with me,
and to make his observations on the work; and as he even then had an
easy and graceful way of talking, I listened to him with attention. He
was a thin, tall, refined young man, admirably educated, and courteous
in his manners. To-day he is one of the most famous masters of
architecture, President of our Academy of Fine Arts, and my good friend.

But although I had many reasons for being contented,--for at home,
thanks to the small wages of my brother Lorenzo, the few _sous_ that
came from Rome, and the earnings, meagre though they were, of my mother,
we were able, by putting all together, to live tolerably though poorly,
and in the shop I was liked and esteemed by my master, by the men, by
all,--still I was not contented. I felt there was a void, a feeling of
uneasiness, and a melancholy that I could neither explain to myself, nor
could others explain to me except by jestingly calling me "the poet."

And this was the truth, for the poet is eminently a dreamer whose dreams
are more joyous and smiling than any reality, and I dreamed--yes, but
not of a smiling future when I should be rich and famous, but of any
sort of way by which I could find vent for that inward longing to
distinguish myself above others, and to distinguish myself especially
in figure-work, though it should be only in wood; but it was not
possible for me to satisfy this longing in the shop. Here I was obliged
to work at all sorts of things--chandeliers, frames, mask-heads,
everything; and I not only felt unhappy, but was unhappy, and my health
began to fail. I was advised to take sea-baths; but in Leghorn the
cholera was raging, and it would have been imprudent to go there, and so
another year passed in the midst of desires and hopes and fears and
ill-health. But at last I went to the baths. I had scarcely arrived
there, however, when that terrible disease reappeared and raged
furiously: the inhabitants and strangers hastened to fly from it; all
business was suspended; movement and gaiety almost entirely disappeared;
the shops were shut; and in a short time Leghorn became deserted, sad,
and oppressed with fear.


My mother wrote to me from Florence urging my immediate return; but I--I
know not why--felt myself, as it were, riveted to Leghorn. It may have
been perhaps on account of the effect of the sea air, the novelty of the
life, and the excitement produced in me by the danger to which my life
was exposed, which I not only did not fear, but even felt strong enough
almost to challenge, and more than all, the notable improvement that I
daily felt in my health, which decided me to remain. I had found some
friends even gayer and more thoughtless than myself. We went to the
fish-market and bought the best fish for almost nothing--fresh red
mullet for two or three _soldi_ a pound--for there were no purchasers.
It was generally believed that the disease came from the sea, and was
brought on by eating fish; but we ate and drank and smoked merrily.

In a few days I recovered my health, got a good colour, gained strength,
and melancholy went to the devil. I also found some work to do. The few
_soldi_ that I had brought with me rapidly disappeared. I worked but
little, only doing so much day by day as would enable me to live
merrily. By one o'clock my day of work was over, and then began that of
amusement--which consisted of dinner, walks in the country sometimes as
far as Montenero, towards evening a good swim in the sea, then to the
_café_, and late to bed. Leading as I did this happy life, one can
readily imagine that my letters home breathed trust, courage, and
tranquillity of spirit, so that my mother, although she never ceased to
beg me to return, did so in less pressing terms and with gentler



One day when I had gone with my friends on board one of those small
vessels which are stationed at the "Anelli," and while we were eating a
dish of fresh fish called _cacciucco_, which the sailors excel in
making, a woman who was walking by the shore fell or threw herself into
the sea. For a short time she floated, sustained by her clothes, which
puffed up into a sort of bell; then she began to waver to and fro, and
down she went. We looked at each other, and then about us to see if any
of the sailors on the neighbouring ships had seen the woman and were
moving to the rescue, and those on board our boat only shrugged their
shoulders as if she were a dog.

"Down with you! throw yourself in! you know how to swim!"

"I, of course; but don't you swim better than I?"

"I! no; but yes----"

And at this one of us, a fellow nicknamed Braccio di Ferro--I don't
remember his real name--taking off jacket and boots, shouted out, "Hold
your tongues, cowards!" and plunged in head first with his hands above
his head. At the word cowards, made even more telling by the brave act
of the man, I felt my face suffused with shame; and although I was not
such an expert swimmer as Braccio di Ferro, I also took off my jacket
and shoes, and gathering my loins tightly together, with my hands under
my feet, jumped in. Under water one could see quite as clearly as above,
for the rays of the sun penetrated obliquely and lighted up all the
space about me. I saw my friend diving down to touch bottom, which meant
that he had seen that poor woman, but I had to come up to the surface to
take breath. As soon as I had done so once or twice, I made a
somersault, and away I went, striking out with my hands in the water. My
friend, however, had found the woman, and had seized hold of her by her
foot. Swimming around, I caught hold of her skirts,--and just in time;
for poor Braccio di Ferro was blown, and who knows how much water he
would have drunk if I had not come. Leaving the woman to me, he made a
curve in the water, and went to the surface to breathe, plunging his
head under again to look after us. The two boats that had come to get
the poor woman were ready. Braccio di Ferro mounted into one to help me
pull her in. With one hand I caught hold of the boat, and with the other
I clung on to the woman's dress, who was at once dragged out, placed on
her face that she might throw up the water she had swallowed, taken to
land, and escorted to her house, which was not far off. We mounted upon
our vessel amidst the applause of the people and of our friends who were
waiting for us; they took off some of their clothes to cover us as best
they could, and we hung ours out to dry on one of the cords of the ship.
We drank some _pipiona_ wine, finished our repast, and each of us
returned home.

I remained about a month longer in Leghorn; and if it had not been for
my mother, who pressed me to return, I should have stayed who knows how
long. I found also something to do which was to my taste; I made three
heads of Medusa to ornament the panels of a chemist's bench. It was a
new chemist's shop that was to be opened in those days. Who knows what
they have done with those poor heads of mine!

[Sidenote: A DROP TOO MUCH.]

I have just said that when we returned to the ship after having got hold
of the woman who was drowning, we drank some _pipiona_ wine; and now I
must stop and put others who may intend to drink of this _pipiona_ on
their guard. It is wretched wine, or perhaps we drank a drop too much,
for we, who might have had the medal awarded to courage, went home
almost drunk. And whereas an hour before we had been honoured and
applauded, on our return we ran the risk of being scorned. So it is; a
drop of wine too much may serve one such a turn that I, as a good
Christian, warn my equals, and especially inexperienced young men who
find themselves in the company of merry companions, against it.

I returned to Florence, and never heard anything more of my Livornese
friends. Part of them were in Magagnini's shop, who was then a
cabinet-maker, and is now a much-esteemed architect. Others--and amongst
these Braccio di Ferro--were with Ricciardelli, cabinet-maker in Via
dell'Angiolo. I returned home, therefore, and found the mother always
dear and loving, who clasped me in her arms. The day following, I went
back to the shop so brisk and well that the principal and all the men
were rejoiced.


About this time my uncle, on my father's side, Atanasio Duprè, provost
at San Piero di Bagno, died. They wrote to us from there to bring my
father to take possession of the inheritance of his brother; and as he
was in Rome, by my mother's advice I left at once for Bagno. According
to my habit, and also to save a few _soldi_, I left towards evening on
foot, and walked all night. It was winter, beautiful weather, cold, and
with clear moonlight. In the middle of the night I met no one, and only
towards daybreak some few carts passed me near Borgo alla Collina and
Bibbiena, where I stopped at the inn, as I could not go on any farther,
having come thirty-six miles without halting. I rested there some hours;
but in order to pursue my journey, I hired a mount and guide, because it
was necessary to go along the dry river-bed of the Corsalone for some
miles, and cross it several times. Through this plain, which was flooded
over at times, the river ordinarily kept to a narrow tortuous channel,
which, seen from the heights of Bibbiena, produced a wonderful effect.
It looked like an enormous serpent with golden scales when lighted up by
the rays of the sun. Having gone over this strange and fatiguing road,
leaving to the right La Vernia, abode and sanctuary of the "poor one" of
Assisi, I mounted the Apennines, and descended again, arriving towards
evening at San Piero di Bagno. I went at once to my poor uncle's
residence, where I found a woman and some priests, who showed me our
inheritance. It was little enough, to speak truly--some modest
furniture, a little linen, and a little money. What was really of value
was the library; but this he had left to the Eremo of Camaldoli, from
whence it originally came, as, at the time of the suppression of
convents, he had taken it to save it from the thieving hands of the
governors and partisans of Napoleon I.

In order to understand how my uncle was able to save a great part of the
books and precious manuscripts belonging to the library at Camaldoli, it
is enough to know that he was one of the fathers of that hermitage, and
when at the suppression they were all expelled, my uncle became a
priest, and was made provost of San Piero di Bagno, where he remained
until his death.


My father hastened at once to Florence, where I found him at home, after
I had stopped a few days at San Piero. He went there and took possession
of those few things, and afterwards returned to Florence, and from that
time forward never left it. He opened a little shop himself, and I used
to help him in spare moments with certain kinds of work that he was
unable to do,--such as little figures, animals, and other things. It is
a great comfort to me to remember those days. I had the will and the
ability to help my father to do work that was appreciated and liked as
if it were really his, and so increase his reputation and obtain his
affection. It happened once, however, that a most miserable man took
advantage of my father's good faith about a piece of work that had cost
me not a little time and study. This was what occurred:--

One day a man presented himself to my father, and said that he had a
commission to have a group made in wood of not very large dimensions,
that should represent the Sacred Family--the Virgin Mary, St Joseph, the
Infant Jesus, and St John--and that it had come into his head to come to
him, whom he knew to be so clever at figure-work. My father tried in
some way to excuse himself, feeling that the work would be a long one,
and not wishing to take too much advantage of my hours of rest and
study. But there was no way of avoiding it, and he had to yield and take
the order for this work, without even speaking of the price, "for" (so
said this man) "the person who gives the order is both intelligent and
rich, and will not question the price." Having pledged himself in this
way, he spoke to me about it, and said, "Here is a fine opportunity. It
is true you will have to work hard, but you will be recompensed. The
money for this will belong entirely to you, as I can do absolutely
nothing on it." I said yes, to satisfy him; but in reality I intended to
leave the gain to him, only taking something not to humiliate him.


The work was begun: I made a little model in clay, gave it a great deal
of study, and took much interest in it. I got on with it very well, but
slowly, as is natural; and the man in question came almost every week to
see it and hurry on the work, saying the person who had given the
commission was most desirous of seeing it, and that we must let him know
when it would be in a condition to be seen,--in brief, when the little
group would be nearly finished. To say the truth, it was entirely
finished; but as then a doubt came up as to whether, in order to finish
it entirely, it would be well to put the lamb at St John's feet, and as
he would not decide upon so important a matter, he proposed to my
father--I was not present--to show it to the person who had commissioned
it at his house, as he could not come to see it at the shop; and he also
congratulated my father on his work, which he felt sure was most
praiseworthy. "The house is not far off--a mere step or two for me there
and back--and so the question about the lamb will be decided." So
saying, he took the little group, wrapped it up in a handkerchief, and
begging my father not to move from the shop, that on his return he might
not be kept outside waiting with the group, he went away, and never more
was seen.

I need not say how my father felt: as for me, for more than a year my
fixed idea was, could I but only meet the man who had robbed me! I
looked for him in the streets, in the market-places, in the
churches--yes, even in the churches. For had he not stolen a Holy Family
from me? He might also steal a lamp or a candle hung before some image.
The ardent desire I felt to find the thief, was not to put him into the
hands of justice--for, more than the actual loss of the money, I felt
roused by the insult and mockery of it. I wanted to teach him what a
lamb was! I! yes indeed; for although I was young then, I was not at all
weak, and there was more than enough strength in me to break his nose
and give him a black eye. I foresaw all the consequences, even to my
imprisonment, which would undoubtedly have followed, for I was fully
aware that one cannot administer justice on one's own account. It did
not matter to me; I felt I must break his nose with my own fists! As
these were my thoughts then, I am obliged to narrate them as they are,
though God forgive me! All this, however, was useless, for I never saw
him again.


As wood is not wax, this group must be somewhere now, and will last for
some time to come; so I leave the description of it, that he who is the
present owner may know that its first possessor was a thief.

The little group is a little more than a palm in height; it is of linden
wood, and is composed of four figures in high relief. The Madonna is
seated, with the infant Jesus in her arms, who, with both His arms
around the Virgin's neck, is in the act of reaching up to kiss her, and
she presses Him to her bosom with one hand, whilst the other hangs down
on her left side. St Joseph is bent forward and kneeling, with an
expression of love and adoration; and little St John, also on his knees,
behind the Virgin, is pulling aside her mantle that he may see this
touching scene. St Joseph is at the right and St John on the left of the



Perhaps some one may think, "How is it that, after so many years, you
have been able to remember the composition of your work?" To say the
truth, even I am surprised; but it must be taken into consideration
that, besides being gifted with a most tenacious memory, the first
efforts of the mind remain more firmly engraved thereon, being produced
by the workings of one's whole soul. So it is with one's affections and
one's hopes. Add, therefore, to this, the brutality of the offence, and
it will be seen that I could not forget it in any way.

In the meantime, in Sani's shop I had made for myself an almost enviable
position. All the works of a certain importance were given to me. The
principal placed entire confidence in my judgment and skill--so much so,
that he put me at the head of the young men in the shop, and delegated
to me the direction of the great works that were being executed at that
time for the approaching nuptials of the Grand Duke Leopold II. with
the Princess Antoinetta of Naples. I had even the satisfaction of
directing a certain Saladini, a young Sienese who had come to help us,
and whom I had known at Siena at the Academy of Fine Arts. There we had
been companions and fellow-students, sharing the same desk; but to say
the truth, he drew better than I did, which irritated me, and one day we
came to words, and I said boastfully that I defied him to draw with me,
and could easily beat him.


It appears that the master heard loud words, and from the glass
bull's-eye in the door of the room from which he dominated the whole
school, he saw me standing by the desk with one leg in the air, my arm
passed under my thigh, making a drawing of a Corinthian capital. I could
not see the master, as my back was turned to him; neither did I perceive
how silent the school was, nor the singular attention my rival was
devoting to his work.

The reason of it all, however, I soon discovered, or rather felt, from a
sharp switch on my back, and before I could put my leg down, three or
four good blows, accompanied with these words, "And this is the prize
for those who are skilful in drawing from under their legs." These words
were accompanied by the general ill-repressed hilarity of the school,
and especially of my rival Saladini. I confess the blows, and even the
laughter of my companions which made them more stinging, were well
merited; but I remember that I took it in bad part, especially as my
friend Saladini, who certainly had seen the master, had not warned me,
as I felt I should have done in his place. For this reason I rejoiced
when he came to Florence to work in our shop, and was put by the
principal under my direction, when I could and was obliged to correct
him and say, "No, it is not right in this way; you must do so and so." I
must add, however, that I did not make any abuse of my power, that
Saladini had no reason to complain, and that we became good friends.


It now occurs to me to make an observation. I had a switching, therefore
the "birch" existed in our schools. The master could administer it and
the scholar receive it _coram populo_ officially, according to the
natural order of things, as a legitimate correction; but I ask, if
to-day a master in our Academy, or in fact in any academy in Italy, gave
four blows on the back of a young man, be his fault even much greater
than mine, what would happen? The heavens would fall; there would be a
revolution in the school and shouts without, and a scandal for the
master. The ill-advised master would be reprimanded by the head-master;
a report made to the Minister of Public Instruction; the master
dismissed altogether or sent elsewhere; and perhaps even, if the
Ministry be _Progressista_, all would lose their places.

So it is. "_O tempora! O mores!_" But is it, after all, a bad thing to
administer a good whipping to a rascal who, instead of studying himself,
annoys those who are really working, instigates them to leave school,
and leads them to do wrong by using bad and obscene words, swearing, and
drawing and writing improper things on the Academy walls? They can be
sent away from school, but they must not be beaten, is the answer. But
the fact is, that though they ought to be sent away, they are always
allowed to remain. Would it not, therefore, be better to administer a
little corporal punishment with the "birch" before arriving at this
finale? Where is the harm of it? I have had it myself, and at fifty
years of age am well and strong. But enough of this.


The good Saladini, therefore, was placed under me. He endured and even
appeared to enjoy my corrections. In fact, he had a character and
temperament that prevented his feeling anything. He was a young fellow
about eighteen or nineteen, older than I was, small, fat, with good
colouring, chestnut hair, and light eyes which never grew animated and
moved slowly, seeing little and being surprised at nothing. He never got
angry, and laughed in the same way when he heard of an accident as when
he heard a joke. It was not that he was stupid, for his words, though
few, were not devoid of sense. He ate more than I did, and drank more
too, and retired to bed early, being an enemy of walks, of discussions,
and merrymaking even of the most discreet and proper kind. He lived but
a short time, and died as soon as he returned to Siena, I don't know of
what malady. Not of disease of the heart, however; for although his
heart was not bad, yet it seemed a useless part of him, never beating
with any feeling of emotion or passion: there it was, quite stock-still,
seeming even dead, like the hearts of stoics or stupid people, which are
about the same thing. Those, however, who have the misfortune to be made
in this way, live a long time, eat much, drink much, and sleep--above
all things sleep--profoundly; and so did he, though only for a short
time, because he died. It was better so, for who knows whether his heart
would not have waked up some day, repented the time lost in sleeping,
and quickened its beat? Therefore it was better so. May the earth weigh
lightly on you, my friend, and the peace of the Lord rejoice your

[Sidenote: I FIRST SEE MY WIFE.]

By this time I had grown to be a young man beloved by my friends, who
were not many, and not all of them excellent. Some were a little too
full of life, like myself, and these gay young fellows used sometimes to
drag me to places where young men of good repute should never go--I mean
to _osterias_ and billiard-rooms. In such places there is loss of time,
loss of health, and loss of morals. Vaguely I felt, even then, the
impropriety of such places, and an internal sense of dissatisfaction
warned me to break off from these habits and to avoid these friends.
Indeed at home I was no longer like the same person. I was restless,
intolerant, despising the naturally frugal meals of the family; and my
mother, my poor mother, suffered for this, but my father was angry, and
sometimes with loving words and sometimes with severe ones he reproached
me for my crabbedness and caprices, and I then felt sincere regret, and
my heart softened, and quite overcome I embraced my mother. For all
this, the road that I had taken was a slippery one. I no longer studied
anything or drew as I had always done before. I read very little, and
that little was rubbish. Praised and cajoled by my companions, quite
satisfied with the kind of superiority I had acquired amongst them in
the shop, I might have fallen very low, and have become a
good-for-nothing man, and perhaps a despicable one; but God willed it
otherwise. And now that I must begin to speak of her who saved me and
loved me, and whom I loved and esteemed always, because she was so rich
in all true virtues, I feel my hand tremble, and the fulness of my love
confuses my ideas. One day as I was standing by my work-bench, I saw a
young girl pass with quick short footsteps, quite concentrated in
herself. It was but a fugitive impression, but so vivid that every now
and then that vision came back to me and seemed to comfort me. I had not
seen the features of her face, nor her eyes, which she kept on the
ground; and yet that upright modest little figure, those quick little
footsteps, had taken my fancy. I desired to see her again. Every now and
then I looked up from my work, in the hope of seeing the person that I
had been so struck by; but I did not see her again during that day or
the following ones.


The second _festa_ of Easter I was at Mass in the Church of the Santi
Apostoli near by. Suddenly lifting my eyes, I saw facing me the dear
young girl on her knees. Her face was in shadow, as it was bent down,
and the church was rather dark, but the features and general expression
were chaste and sweet. I stayed there enchanted. That figure in her
modest dress and humble attitude, so still, so serene, enraptured me.
When Mass was finished, the people began to go away, but she still
remained on her knees. At last she rose and went out, and I followed her
from afar. She stopped at a house on the door of which I saw the sign of
"laundress." I could not believe that such a modest serious young girl
could be so employed; for as a general thing, laundresses are rather
frisky and provocative, turning their heads and glancing about, and
sometimes very slovenly in their dress--in fact, the opposite of all
that dear good creature was. From the first moment that I saw her I felt
for her a respectful admiration, a tranquil serene brotherly affection
and trust. I was seized with an irresistible desire to love her, to
possess her, and to have my love returned. Often without her knowing it,
I followed her at a distance, to assure myself of her bearing and her
ways, and always observed in her a chaste, serious, and modest nature.
At last I attempted to follow her nearer; and when she became aware of
it, she hastened her steps and crossed to the other side of the street.
I was disconcerted, but at the same time felt contented. One day,
however, I decided at any cost to speak to her, and to open my heart to
her; and as I knew the hour when she was in the habit of passing by the
Piazza di San Biagio, where I was at work, I held myself in readiness,
and as soon as I saw her, went out and followed her, that I might draw
this thorn out of my heart. Yes, I somehow thought she would not take my
offer amiss. She crossed the Loggia del Mercato and took the Via di
Baccano and Condotta, and turned into the Piazzetta de' Giuochi, and I
always followed her nearer and nearer. At last she became aware of this,
stopped suddenly, turned, and without looking me in the face, said, "I
want no one to follow me."


I stammered a few words, but with so much emotion in my voice, that she
again stopped, looked at me a moment, and said, "Go home to your mother,
and do not stop me again in the streets."

I gave her a grateful look, and we parted. I returned to the shop with
my heart overflowing with love and hope.

From that day a great change took place in me: companions, rioting, and
billiards disappeared as by enchantment from my life. That same evening
I went to the laundry. I saw the mistress of it, and with an excuse of
having some work to give her, I spoke to her casually, and in a general
way, of the young girl (whose name I did not know); but she being very
sharp, smiled and said--

"Ah yes; Marina--certainly--I understand. But take care and mind what I
say; Marina is such a well-conducted girl that she will not give heed to

"But I did not say that I wanted to make love to her."

"I know; but I understood it, and I repeat that she will not listen to
you,--and if you want to do well, you will never come here again. Here
there is work and not love-making to be done. But if you like, you might
go to her house and speak with her mother. Perhaps then--who knows? But
I should say that nothing would come of it, and it would be better so.
You are too young, and so is she. Now you understand. So go away, and

[Sidenote: I GO TO SEE MARINA.]

"Thank you, I understand; but where is Marina's house?"

"It is in the Via dell'Ulivo, near San Piero."

"Good-bye, Signora maestra."

"Your servant."

The day after this I went to Marina's house and found her mother Regina.
The house was a small one, but very clean. In a few words I opened my
heart to her and told her all, even of my having stopped Marina in the
Piazzetta de' Giuochi. Regina was a woman of about forty years of age,
and a widow. She listened quietly to me until I got to the end, and then
only blamed me for having stopped her daughter in the street. She added
that she would think about it; but she did not conceal from me that she
thought me too young. I hastened to tell her how much I made by my day's
work, and that I had a settled occupation. She then wished to hear about
my family, and showed a desire to know my mother; and after having
spoken to Marina, she said she would allow me to come to the house of an
evening two or three times a-week. So far things went well; but at home
I had as yet said nothing, and this I was obliged to do, as it was the
first condition made before I could go to the girl's house. I was not
afraid of my father, because, single or married, it was the same to him,
as long as I continued to help him in the work he required of me; but as
regards my mother, it was quite another "pair of sleeves." As soon as I
had opened my mouth I saw a frown on her beautiful forehead, and she
would not let me go on to the end, saying that I was doing wrong, that I
was too young, that I ought to think of the shop, of my family, and
make for myself a standing. Not without tears she made me feel that she
looked upon this determination of mine as a sign of want of love for
her. I attempted in every way to persuade her that I always cared the
same for her, and that this new affection would in no wise diminish my
love for her; that the young girl was an angel; that she would be
pleased by her, and love her like a daughter. I embraced her, and wept,
and she took pity on me, poor mother! She condescended to make the
girl's acquaintance, and so we went to her house. The two mothers talked
a long time together, whilst Marina put some things in order here and
there about the room, without going away; and you could see the
embarrassment of the poor girl. I held one of my mother's hands in mine,
and kept my eyes on Marina, who never looked at me once.


It was settled that I could go to the house two or three times a-week
without speaking of the time that was to elapse before the day of the
wedding. Yes, I really was too young, as I was only eighteen.

All these particulars may seem superfluous, and for most people they
certainly are so; but I meant, and I said so from the first, that these
memoirs should be destined for my family and for young artists, to whom
I desire to show myself such as I am, even in all the truth and purity
of the most tender of affections. Then it is with a feeling of tender
gratitude and painful sadness that I go back in memory to those days of
my meeting with her, the difficulties that arose to prevent our union,
and the very great influence she had over me. From these pictures
interpolated now and then amongst these papers, young men of good
intentions will feel the charm that surrounds the sanctity of domestic
affections. Every other evening I saw the good and charming girl. I
remained for only about an hour or so--such was her mother's desire.
Whilst both of them worked--the mother spinning and the daughter sewing
together their long braids of straw--I talked to them of my work in the
shop, of my studies, and of my hopes. Again returned to me stronger than
ever the desire to do figure-work, and a vague, persistent, and fierce
hope to become a sculptor in marble. When in various forms I expressed
these my thoughts, Marina, who was listening to me with her eyes on her
work, looked up to me and seemed to search in mine for the meaning of my
words. Poor Marina, you did not then understand what agitated the heart
of your young friend. Later you understood; and although full of fears,
you did not discourage him. But enough--do not let us anticipate.

Although my poor mother had yielded to my prayers, and had convinced
herself that Marina was a well-conducted girl, industrious, docile, and
honest, yet she could not, as she said, be persuaded that she would have
to lose me; and every evening when I returned home and tried to speak to
her of Marina, she would be troubled, and break off the conversation as
if it annoyed her. Already, unknown to me, she had gone several times to
the mother of the young girl, and said that I was too young--that I
ought to think more of my studies than taking to myself a wife, of whom
in the end I should tire; and poor little Marina would be sure to
suffer, in the first place because she cared for me, and in the second
place because, if abandoned by me, she would find it hard to get a
husband. All these things were said by my poor mother for love for me
and through the fear of losing me. I knew it some time after. But now
let us see what were the fruits of these words of hers.

One morning--it was Sunday--I went to Marina's house feeling more
light-hearted than usual. It was about one o'clock, after Mass. I went
up-stairs, knocked, and Regina opened the door to me; but as I entered I
heard a rustling sound, and saw Marina retiring into her little room.
Her mother was more serious than usual, but seemed not to wish to show
it. I perceived at once that there must be something the matter, and
wished to clear it up. So I began--

[Sidenote: I AM SENT AWAY.]

"Marina--where is she? Is she not at home?"

"Yes; she is in her room."

"Does she feel ill? I hope not."

"She has nothing the matter with her, thank God; but as I have something
to say to you, and as she knows what it is I want to say, she would not
remain, and has retired to her room."

After this preamble, although there was nothing that I could reproach
myself with, I felt quite frozen up.

"What is it then that you have to say to me?"

"Listen, and don't take it ill; in fact, I have already told you from
the first that you are too young, and who knows when you will be able to
marry my daughter? From now until then some time must elapse, and I have
no wish that you should occupy that time sitting about on my chairs.
_Then_, too, you may change--your companions may put you up to this; and
we are poor people but honest, and I don't want my Marina to be courted
by one who----"

"Enough, Regina--enough. It is true I am too young, but you knew it when
you allowed me to come to the house. My earnings seemed then sufficient;
and if no date was fixed for the marriage, it was because it was not
asked. I am decided, if it so pleases Marina, to take her home in a year
or a year and a half's time. Your words are the result of the
tittle-tattle of people who wish us ill."


"No," Regina hastened to say--"no, they are not ill wishes of you or of
us. But you understand me quite well, that if I speak in this manner to
you, it is for the good name of my daughter. Nothing is damaged by it.
For the present you will be so good as not to come to the house. If it
is a rose, as they say, it will blossom; and when you return and say,
next month, I want to marry Marina, you need have no fears; she will
wait for you."

I remained silent and sad, and then said--"Is this also Marina's wish?"

"It is."

"Will you allow me to say one word to her before going?"

"Say it, certainly."

I went to her door and pushed it open a little. She was standing with
one hand leaning on the back of a chair; her eyes were cast down, but
the expression of her face seemed tranquil. "Marina," I said, "your
mother has sent me away, and she has told me that this is also your
wish." She lifted her eyes and moved a little. "I therefore obey, but be
sure that I will never look into the face of another young girl until I
come to claim you for mine. Do you accept my promise willingly?"

"Yes," she answered, with a steadfast quiet voice. Then I stepped nearer
to her and put out my hand. First she looked towards her mother, and
then she put her hand in mine, and we looked at each other, and in her
eyes I saw a little tear, and her faith in my promise.

I went away pierced to the heart, but firm in my resolve. Neither at
home nor at the shop could they understand what was the matter with me,
for my whole character had so changed. I think my mother understood what
it was, for she caressed me more than usual, and asked me no questions;
and I set my heart at rest, because I trusted in the strength of
character and true nature of the girl. Although it was prohibited me to
go to her house, yet I made it a study how to meet her out of doors,
and, without being seen, to see her, and even follow her from a
distance. I was not at peace, however--not because I had any fears as
regards her, but I was afraid of myself. I felt an aching void within me
that nothing would fill. I saw smiling dreams of fame and honour vanish
little by little. I heard a voice whispering within me--"Put an end,
poor fool, to your melancholy; you were born poor and ignorant, and so
you will die. Qualities are required to lift one's self above others
that you are entirely wanting in. Genius is necessary, and you cannot
say that you have it. Education is necessary, and you have none. Money
is necessary, and you have not a farthing. Above all, a strong will is
needed, and yours is most variable, transient, and weak, bending to the
slightest breath of a contrary wind. Put an end to it all, and do as I
say: enjoy day by day whatever is given to you to enjoy. Amuse yourself
with friends your equals, and whenever any of these thoughts oppress
you, drown them in a glass of wine. As to your young girl, remember it
is as her mother has said, 'If it is a rose, it will blossom.' Up! up!
_Viva!_ and keep a light heart." I already felt myself half yielding to
these suggestions. I was down-hearted, and had not the strength to shake
myself free from this strait of discouragement and desolation.


I had but little religion in me, which alone could have comforted my
soul with constancy and faith in these first ebullitions of life; so it
is not to be wondered at if, in this state of languor and discontent, I
again turned to the amusements of my friends, losing not a few hours in
the public billiard-rooms. I returned to one of the worst of habits,
for him who has a home--that of going to the _osteria_; and I remember
to have felt humiliated on finding myself in the midst of that noisy,
vulgar merriment, and hearing the coarse words uttered in those taverns,
where the air was heavy with wine, food, and cigar-smoke. The chaste
image and simple gentle words of my good Marina came back to me, and I
felt troubled, and, shaking myself, I used to rise abruptly and go away.


Yes, truly the image of that gentle being aroused me, and made me return
to myself with a feeling of shame, and a determination to put an end to
all this. It was providential, however, that not only her image but she
herself appeared to arrest me on the brink where I had allowed myself to
be dragged, and my meeting with her deserves to be narrated.

Months had passed since I had been sent away from my Marina's house. It
happened one day, it being a _festa_, that I had promised to go out of
the Porta San Miniato to meet some friends and eat a fresh plate of
salad; and when I was near the Church of San Niccolo, I could not cross
the street on account of the procession that was just coming out of the
church. I think it was during the Octave of Corpus Domini: there were
many people, and I waited until the procession had passed; then, perhaps
because I was in such a hurry to overtake my friends, in passing by I
inadvertently knocked against two women who were in the company of a
young man. They took it in ill part, and the young man, thinking perhaps
that I had knocked against them on purpose, said--

"Has the boor passed by?"

"You are a boor yourself," I answered.

"Pass on, if you want to." And he gave me a push. I turned around on him
and hit him a blow in the face, and from that instant I had all three,
the youth and the girls, down on me. But they got little good out of it:
the young fellow, who was rather slight than otherwise, was put at once
out of fighting condition by two blows of my fist in the face; and I
freed myself from the girls, who seemed like infuriated harpies. In an
instant lace, ribbon, and feathers flew in the air like dry leaves
scattered by the wind.


A space was cleared around me, and some said, "Oh, what a scandal!"
others, "_Bravo!_" Some ran away, some laughed, and the soldiers came to
clear the place and quell the tumult, and the _sbirri_ (for there were
_sbirri_ then) to make arrests.

A mounted dragoon stationed himself in front of the church. A
strong-built young man, then practitioner at the hospital, and now a
distinguished physician--Doctor Gozzini--seeing the bad plight I was in,
and having been one of those who had called out "Bravo!" came quickly to
me, and taking me by the arm, hid me amongst the crowd, and took me with
him behind the mounted dragoon. There we stood quite still, and saw them
arrest the poor young fellow with his broken nose, and the girls with
their crushed hats. I was not discovered that evening. They found me,
however, easily enough next morning at the shop; but I will speak of
this later. And now I feel in duty bound to assert that that was the
last escapade of that kind that I was guilty of. I feel strong enough
(or, as some may think, weak enough) now to bear quietly similar words
and acts that so outraged me then. Ah! indeed age and experience are, as
one may say, like the grindstone that rounds and softens down the
asperities and impetuosities of early youth to form the character.

Not to excuse the affair nor the violence of my ways, but for the love
of truth, I feel bound to narrate another adventure that happened to me
on the morning of that same day, which had perhaps served to exasperate
my already irritable state of mind. About mid-day I had betaken myself
to the public baths of Vaga-Loggia, a bathing-place which was formed out
of that part of the canal called the Macinante running between the
Franzoni Palace and the palace belonging to the Baroness Favard. It was
covered in by a framework of wood, with awnings, and the entrance was by
a little door and through a narrow corridor that went along the side of
the canal. At the end of this passage was a sort of stand, and a room
that was used for undressing, and where, for a few _soldi_, an _employé_
of the municipality was stationed, who furnished towels, and took charge
of the clothes and other effects belonging to the bathers. For those
also who could not or would not pay, below the steps leading to the
baths there was a sort of small amphitheatre with a little wall around
it, and in this wall niches to put one's clothes in. It seems to me that
I have seen a something of the same kind that was used for a similar
purpose at Pompeii, only there they were hot baths.


I chose this second-named place, which was more economical certainly,
but not so safe, as you will see. After having bathed, on coming out of
the water I went to my little niche and found it empty. I looked about,
inquired, and swore. No one knew anything about my clothes. At first I
thought it was a joke, to keep me some time naked; but at last I was
convinced, and the other bathers as well, that my things had all been


What was there then to do? Nothing had been left--they had taken
everything; and to say the truth, it did not seem at all comic to me,
however others might laugh. A friend relieved me from my embarrassment.
He dressed himself in haste, went home to his house, which was on the
Prato, and brought me all I required, from my shoes to my hat. I dressed
myself, went home in the worst of tempers, and I have already described
what followed.



And now to return to my unfortunate escapade, which, so to speak, was
the cause of my good fortune. Whilst they were looking for me, hidden in
the crowd, I got away by slow degrees to the Porta San Miniato, and,
keeping close to the walls up the hillside, escaped the observation of
the police; and then, on thinking over the danger I had run, and the
scandal I had created by my folly, I resolved to mend my ways. Here the
remembrance of the dear gentle maiden came over me, and I thought if I
had been with her and had not been driven away, this disturbance would
never have taken place. Her presence, her words, the desire of
possessing her, and being loved and esteemed by her, were necessary to
me. At last I returned to town by the same road, and, going up by the
Renai, I crossed the Ponte alle Grazie, and near there I saw Marina and
her mother walking before me. My heart leaped within me! Had they been
to the procession? Did they know what had happened, and had they seen
me? What a start it gave me! To appear such a poor creature in her eyes
was intolerable: what others might say was nothing compared to her
condemnation; and, let alone condemnation, what I feared was the loss of
her esteem. Under the influence of this fear, I had not the courage to
address her; but at last, this uncertainty seeming too bitter to bear, I
went up to her mother's side and said, "Good evening, Regina."


"Oh, see who is here! Good evening," she replied, with a joyful face.

I felt a new life come to me.

"What! have you been to the procession?" she said.

I looked both straight in the face and answered, "I come from that
direction. I have been out of the gate of San Miniato."

"Have you heard that there has been a disturbance in the Piazza di San

"I believe so; but it was a mere nothing."

"Ah, not so much of a mere nothing. They came to blows; there were some
women among them; the soldiers came--the dragoons. I tell you it was a
great row. Besides, some have been arrested, and will be taken to
prison; and it serves them right. Pretty business, such a scandal as

After a pause, I began again, turning to Marina--

"Where were you when you saw the procession?"

"We!" answered Marina--"we were in the church. We saw it go out, and a
little after the disturbance occurred. I had such a fright!"

[Sidenote: STORY OF A PARROT.]

Having ascertained that they knew nothing of my doings, I was consoled,
changed the conversation, and accompanied them down from Santa Croce to
their house. When we were on the threshold I sadly said good-night; but
Regina, to my great surprise and pleasure, said to me, "Won't you come
up for a little while?"

"Well, if you will permit me, I will stop a little while with the
greatest pleasure." And looking into the face of my good Marina, her
eyes seemed to say, "Yes, I am most happy." We then went up-stairs, and
I remained there only a short time, so as not to appear to presume upon
their kindness; but in taking leave, I told the mother that I should
return the next day, for I had something to say to her. My resolution
was taken.

Have you done at last with all your childish follies, your tiresome
tirades, your colourless love, fit only for collegians? You promised to
give us your memoirs, and we supposed that you had something of
importance and interest to tell us. Are these, then, your memoirs? and
do you really and seriously think that such things as this are of the
least interest to anybody?

Listen, dear reader. You have a thousand good reasons to think so, after
your mode of viewing things; but I have quite as many on my side, as I
will now prove to you. But first let me tell you a little story. There
was once a parrot trained to put together certain words and make a
little speech, almost as if it was his own. One day the servant (who was
new to the house where the parrot was, and had never seen such a bird
before) was struck with astonishment at hearing him, and was so
delighted that he stretched out his hand to touch him. As he did this,
the bold and loquacious bird opened his beak and said, "What do you
want?" The astonished servant at once withdrew his hand, and, lifting
his cap, answered, "Excuse me, sir, but I took you for a beast!"


I find myself now in the opposite case, and say to you, "Excuse me, I
took you for a man"--that is to say, I imagined that you sympathised
with me, and even appreciated a man who promises to tell the truth, and
to narrate things just as they really were and are; and this I am doing,
and mean to do to the end, without caring who likes great effects of
light and shade, fearful shadows, and mere inventions, more or less
romantic. If you don't like my way of doing this, you know very well
what to do--shut the book and lay it aside, or skip what bores you, and
perhaps you may find here and there something which pleases you. But I
wish to give you fair warning, that these memoirs refer to and describe
in part that very love which, though it may seem to you perfectly
colourless, was none the less living, deep, and holy, and that retained
its warmth and vividness of light for forty years, until she who was its
object disappeared from this earth, leaving in my heart the memory of
her rare virtues, a love which is ever alive, and the hope that I may
again see her.

And now again I take up the thread of my narrative. Truly, when I said
to Regina that I should return the next day to speak with her, I counted
without my host, as the saying goes. The next day I found myself in
"quod"--for but a short time, if you please, but still in prison for
fourteen hours from morning to evening. But I was very well off there,
as I shall now explain.

The morning after, on Monday--I was at my post, the first bench in
Sani's shop--a person, after walking for some time up and down before
the shop windows, came in and said, "Be so kind as to come with me to
the Commissary of Santo Spirito, and---- Do not be alarmed; it is
nothing. The Signor Commissario wishes to learn from you something about
the disturbance that occurred yesterday at San Niccolò after the


"But I--be assured----"

"Don't stop to deny anything. The Signor Commissario knows all. Your
name is Giovanni Duprè. You live in Via del Gelsomino, which is
precisely in our quarter; and I did not go to look for you at your
house, in order not to disturb the family. But I can assure you that it
is a matter of no importance--perhaps a scolding, but nothing more."

I resigned myself, and went with him. This person was not absolutely a
_sbirro_, but something of that kind; and out of a sense of delicacy,
and divining my thoughts, he said to me--

"Go on before me. You know the way. I will keep behind you in the
distance, and no one will perceive that we are together."

This I did, and arriving at the Commissariato, was immediately
introduced to the Commissario. The Commissario was in those days a sort
of justice of the peace, who possessed certain attributes and powers, by
which he was enabled to adjudge by himself certain causes, and to punish
by one day's imprisonment in the Commissariato itself. If the affair
after the interrogatory required a longer punishment, the accused party
was conducted to the Bargello.

The interrogatory then took place; and after severely blaming me for my
conduct, he told me that the matter in itself was very grave, both on
account of the assault and the injuries done by me to these persons, and
also of the tumult which had been occasioned on a _fête_ which was not
only public but sacred, and that therefore it was beyond his power to
deal with such an offence. I felt myself grow cold, and had scarcely
breath to speak, so completely had the idea of being sent to the
Bargello overwhelmed me. But the good magistrate hastened to add,
"However, do not fear. The single deposition of only one of the
_corrisanti_ is not in itself sufficient, and therefore it may be
assumed that the provocation came from their side, and that you acted in
legitimate self-defence. But as there was disorder, and injuries were
received, you must be content to pass the day shut up in one of our
cells." Thus saying, he rang his bell, and said to a _sbirro_ who
appeared at the door, "Conduct this gentleman out, and lock him up;" and
as I went out he added, "Another time be cautious, and remember that you
might fall into the hands of some one whose name is not entered here;"
and he laid his hand upon a large book which he had on the table. I
bowed, went out, and the _sbirro_ opened a door in the court of the
Commissariato, made a gesture to me to enter, and shut me in.

[Sidenote: MY PRISON WALLS.]

The room in which I found myself was tolerably large, with a fair amount
of light, which came in from a high iron-barred window. In one corner
was a heap of charcoal; and from this, perhaps, the room had received
the name of the Carbonaia. The walls were dirty, and covered with
obscene inscriptions. There was a bench to sit upon, a closet, and
nothing else. I remained standing and looking about, but I saw nothing.
My thoughts were wandering sadly and confusedly from one thing to
another, and fixed themselves with fear and sorrow upon my mother and
Marina, who, in the state in which I found myself, seemed to me more
than ever dear and worthy of honour. I thought of their grief, and felt
a shudder of emotion come over me. But the assurance that I should soon
be free, and should not pass the night there, strengthened me and gave
me courage, and I walked up and down the room humming to myself. Then,
not knowing what to do, and how to occupy the time, which is always so
long and tedious when one has nothing to do, I caught sight of the
charcoal, and my spirits rose, and I said, "Now I have nothing to fear,
for here is an occupation which will last me as long as there is light;"
and I began to draw upon the wall a composition of figures almost as
large as life, the subject of which was the death of Ferruccio. This was
a composition which I had seen at about that time in the exhibition of
the Academy of Fine Arts, in a picture which had struck my fancy. It
represented Ferruccio lying on the ground mortally wounded, and wrapped
in the flag of the Commune. With a fierce and scornful look he seemed to
be saying to Maramaldo, who was giving orders to finish killing him,
"You kill a dead man." The author of this picture was the painter
Bertoli, a young man of great promise, and who unhappily died not long
afterwards in the insane asylum. The drawing that I made upon the wall
was a reminiscence of that composition, and there was nothing of mine in
it beyond an effort of memory.


My poor mother, having been informed by the people of the shop, came to
the Commissario, in the hope of obtaining my liberation, but she could
not even obtain permission to see me. The only thing allowed to her was
permission to bring me my dinner--that is, to give it to some one to
bring in to me, all but the wine; and this she did. Oh, my sweet mother,
may God grant thee the reward of thy love!

In the meantime the evening drew nigh; the walls were covered with my
poor drawings, and my hands and face and handkerchief were all black. I
would willingly have remained in prison till another day in order to
finish a little less badly the Ferruccio; but to stay there for long
hours in the dark, and with nothing to do, so irritated and disquieted
me, that I began to cry out, and beat on the door, asking for a light at
my own expense. But no one heeded me; and as I continued to drum loudly
on the door, and had even taken the bench to hammer with, a voice
different from the others called out to me, "Sir, for your own good I
pray you to stop. The rules forbid lights; and if you go on in this way,
I promise you that you shall sleep to-night in the Bargello." Never did
so short a speech produce the desired effect like this. I hastened to
answer that I would be absolutely quiet. I put back my bench in its
place, and seated myself upon it, in the attitude perhaps of Marius
sitting on the ruins of Carthage; and there I remained until eleven
o'clock at night. The door was then opened, and I was told to go to the
Signor Commissario to thank him. This I did, and he repeated to me the
sermon of the morning, and added that I owed to him the mildness of my
sentence. I renewed my thanks to him, and ran home, where I found my
mother and father awaiting me--he with a severe face, and she with tears
in her eyes.


The day after, I went to the house of Marina--for I invented some sort
of lie to explain why I had not come the day before, as I had
promised--and taking aside Regina (as Marina had established a school in
the house), I expressed to her my desire to be married as soon as
possible. It was rather soon, I confess; but for me there was no other
safety. With her--with my good Marina--I felt that I should cut short
the too excited kind of life I was then leading, and which carried me
into company and into gambling, and down that decline which leads every
one knows where. That very evening I returned and insisted on
acquainting the dear girl with my determination, at which she showed
herself modestly happy. The true affection that I felt for that good
creature, and the solemn pledge that I then took, put an absolute end to
the thoughtless life which I had been leading. Stronger than ever came
back to me my love for study, and I began to turn over in my mind how to
occupy myself in marble work, even though it should be as a simple
workman. At that time I made the acquaintance of Signor Luigi Magi, who
was in the Studio Ricci, in Via S. Leopoldo, now Via Cavour, and I
opened my mind to him, and he did not dissuade me from my purpose. But
he advised me first to learn how to draw well and to model, and after
going through a certain course of these studies, then to attempt to work
in marble. He offered to procure for me copies to draw from; and then,
as he intended to set up a studio for himself, he offered to give me
lessons in modelling in clay. This being agreed upon, I returned home
happy in the hope of carrying out this plan. But the many little things
that I had to think of, and not the least of which was to save all the
time I could in order to provide for the unusual expenses of my
marriage, upset entirely for several months this ambitious project.


The ideas of wise economy which have up to the present time always
accompanied me, I owe to my most excellent Marina. One day she said to
me, "You make four _pauls_ a-day, and two you spend on the house. What
do you do with the other two?"

"I dress, buy cigars, and I don't know what else."

"See," she answered, "on your dress it is evident that you don't spend
much; your cigars are a small matter; so it seems to me that you might
put a part aside to supply what we most need."


"The fact is, that I cannot keep the money."

"If you like, I will keep it for you."

I accepted with pleasure, and every week brought her the surplus; and I
strove that it should not be small, for she knew pretty well what I had
over. At the end of a few weeks I found that I had a package of six or
eight beautiful shirts with plaited cuffs, such as I had always worn
ever since I was a boy. An intelligent economy saves us from need, and
even in narrow circumstances makes life easy. I owe to this wise woman
the exact and judicious regulation of my family, as well in the first
years of our marriage--when we were very much restricted in means--as in
those which came after.

My eagerness to see her every evening, my exactness in carrying her all
my savings, and the respect which I showed her by my words and acts,
made me dearer to her eyes than I ever was before. One evening we were
standing at the window of our little parlour, which overlooked a garden
which was not ours. On its ledge were some pots of flowers reaching out
over the windows, and among the flowers was a plant of verbena, which
she liked above all things. I talked to her of my studies, of my hopes,
of the happiness I felt in being near her; and all the time I was so
close to her, that our two breathings were mingled together.

She was silent, her face and eyes lifted to the starry heavens. The
perfume of the flowers, the silence of the evening, and her sweet and
chaste ecstasy so touched me, that, impelled by an irresistible force, I
reached my lips towards hers. My movement was instantaneous, but I
failed to carry out my purpose; she turned away her face, and my lips
only brushed against a lock of her hair, and then she immediately moved
away and seated herself beside her mother. After forty years this comes
back to me as if it had just happened. Her face had an expression
neither of displeasure nor of joy; but a certain somewhat of sorrow was
there, which seemed an answer to all that I had been saying. When she
perceived that I was serious and a little mortified, she said with calm

[Sidenote: MY MARRIAGE.]

"Do you like verbena?"

"Oh yes; I like it so much."

Then quickly rising, she cut off a sprig, put it in the buttonhole of my
coat, and said--

"There, that looks well!"

I took my leave, and on going away said to her _addio_, and not a

The 7th of December 1836, on the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception of
the Virgin Mary, I married my good Marina in the Church of St Ambrogio.
This was, in truth, the great event of my life, and that which exercised
the most salutary influence over my studies, over my peace, and over the
prosperity and morality of my family. We were married in the evening,
not only to screen ourselves from the curious, but also because our joy
was as secret as it was great. Our witnesses were Luigi Sani, son of my
chief--he for whom (as I hope my reader has not forgotten) I used when a
boy to prepare his clay--and Bartolomeo Bianciardi, who was a workman in
the shop of Sani. At our modest supper, besides the witnesses, were my
father and mother.

My new existence being thus assured, I began to think seriously how to
carry out and give real form to the dream of all my life, which resolved
itself into this--_to be a sculptor_. My young wife was timid, and
sought to persuade me that I was very well as I was. My father openly
blamed me, and kept repeating in his beloved Latin, "Multi sunt vocati
pauci vero electi" (Many are called but few chosen). This I knew as
well as he; but he referred it to my desire to be an artist, and my
ambition did not reach further than merely to be a workman in marble. My
mother listened to me kindly, and half sympathised with me in my bold
hope of becoming a workman in some sculptor's studio. To my dear wife
(for she above all others was nearest my heart, and on her account it
behoved me to take care what I was doing) I kept repeating--


"My good Marina, listen. I risk nothing. I do not lose my skill as a
wood-carver, and if I only study sculpture in the off-hours of my work,
this very study may be useful to me as a carver; and if I succeed in
becoming a sculptor, I shall be able to earn more, and acquire
reputation, and enable you to live well and to give up your trade. Say,
would not this be a good thing?"

And she would look at me sadly, and gently smiling would say--

"But we are very well off as we are."

In the meantime, in view of an offer of Signor Magi to give me some
drawings and designs to copy, I went, according to our agreement, to his
studio in the Licei di Candeli, and begged him to fulfil his promise;
and a few days after he gave me some heads in light and dark from the
"Transfiguration" of Raphael, which I copied, working at them early in
the morning and in the evenings. Having finished these rapidly and to
his satisfaction, he gave me plate by plate the whole course of anatomy
of Professor Sabatelli, done in red chalk. In this task I was so
interested that I worked till very late at night, until I had attained
such facility and knowledge, that after sketching in the general
outlines, I at once finished them without requiring to make a rough
copy. Magi was surprised that I was able so easily to turn off every day
a copy of one of these drawings of legs, arms, and _torsi_, which were
of life size. Afterwards he gave me a number of the so-called
_Accademie_, which are nude studies of the entire figure--and these,
too, I drew rapidly and with increasing taste; and so enamoured was I of
them, that I afterwards repeated them at the shop upon any fragment of
paper or wood, drawing them in all their attitudes from memory.


I made, as I was well aware, very rapid progress, and I longed for the
moment when the master should say to me that it was time to begin to
model. In fact, he soon suggested this. However, as it was necessary to
have a certain apparatus and help, I could only begin to model in the
studio of Magi. It was therefore arranged that I should go to him during
all the off-hours of my work; and this I did. I will not stop to note
the number of hands, feet, and heads that he made me copy; I will only
say that my life was most exhausting, and my wife, poor dear, had to
suffer for it. She had to wait for dinner, and I was often so late, that
I had only time to swallow a little soup and a piece of bread, and then
to rush back to the shop.

When I remember this life of mine, with its painful anxieties and
struggles, it makes me angry to see some of the youths of to-day, with
every opportunity and all their time, and without a care in the world,
either for their family or any thing or person, who rot in idleness,
assume airs of scorn for others, even for their masters, and then swear
out against adverse fortune, and deplore their genius crushed and
unrecognised, and similar insipidities. My two hours of rest during the
day, which were from one to three o'clock, were thus occupied: one hour
was given to study, and the other was but just sufficient to enable me
to go from my shop in the Piazza di San Biagio to the Liceo di Candeli,
and there take my dinner, and then return to the shop. I was punctual
too, for I was determined to do my duty, and to keep my promise to my
wife never to allow my study of sculpture to interfere with my regular

[Sidenote: A HOME-PICTURE.]

It was indeed a life full of agitations, anxieties, fears, and
privations, but animated with what joyous hopes! Every evening when I
came back from my work, I devoted myself at home to making anatomical
drawings from casts, while my wife did her ironing in the same room; and
I drew until the hour of supper came. It was a pure sweet pleasure to me
to see that strong and lively creature coming and going with her
flat-irons from the fireplace to the table, and gaily ironing, and

    "Muskets and broadswords; fire--fire--poum!"[4]

as she smoothed and beat with the flat-iron on the linen, while her
mother sat silently spinning in the corner. Truly that blessed woman was
right when she said, "We are so happy as we are"--for one of the purest
joys that cheers my present life is the memory of those days. No joy is
purer than that which comes from the memory of that past time of work,
of study, and of domestic peace. Those days of narrow means and
agitations now shine upon me with a serene and lovely light; and I bless
the Lord, who softens by His grace the bitterness of poverty and the
harshness of fatigue, and so preserves this sweetness of remembrance in
the heart, that neither time nor fortune has the power to extinguish it,
or even to diminish it.

 [4] "Schioppi, sciabola; fuoco--puhm!"

In the opinion of my master, Signor Magi, I had arrived at that point in
my studies that I could be permitted to make portraits from life.
Accordingly he proposed that I should find some friend who had time and
patience to stand for me as a model. I soon found one, and his was the
first bust I modelled. The likeness was good, and Magi and the others
began to have a strong faith in my future. Encouraged by this trial from
life, I determined to make a statuette of small dimensions. The subject
which was given to me by Magi was Santa Filomena standing with her head
and eyes turned to heaven, one hand on her breast and the other holding
a bunch of lilies, while the anchor, the sign of her martyrdom, lay at
her feet. The statuette was liked; and I pleased myself with executing
it in wood, and finished it with great care of handling and delicacy of
detail. It was exhibited at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in 1838; was
praised by distinguished artists, such as Benvenuti and Bartolini; and
the latter recalled it to me when, some time afterwards, I went to ask
for work in his studio, and said--


"Believe me, my dear sir, if I had any work to give you to do, I would
give it with pleasure, for I have seen that statuette of yours, which
shows that you have intelligence and love."

My Santa Filomena was liked--liked by artists and by those who were not
artists; but no purchaser presented himself, and I was anxious to sell
it, not only for the sake of a little money, which would have been very
opportune, but still more for the satisfaction of my _amore proprio_ as
an artist. But the purchaser did not come, and I was obliged to place my
statuette in the magazine of antiquities of the Brothers Pacetti, on the
ground-floor of the Borghese Palace in the Via del Palagio. It did not
long remain here, however. It was frequented by many strangers, who
found there a great number of things which were curious, and some of
which were really beautiful. In this magazine there were, first of all,
old pictures of our Florentine school: whence they had been excavated I
know not, but the exportation of them out of the country was not as
difficult as it now is. There were also _terre cotte_ of the school of
Luca della Robbia, statuettes in bronze, marble busts of the Roman
school, to ornament halls or staircases in palaces; chests of ebony
inlaid with _pietra dura_, ivory, tortoise-shell, &c. Specially rich was
it in Venetian glass, antique plates, enamels, laces, &c., &c. There,
among all these antiquities, figured my Santa Filomena, which seemed
more pure and white from contrast with all the chests of drawers, and
stuffs, and tapestries which formed its background.


A Russian gentleman asked the price; and it being stated to him, without
refusing to take it, he made a strange condition of purchase. He would
not have it a saint, and in consequence he exacted that all the
attributes which belonged to Santa Filomena should be removed. I took
great pains to make him see that this could not be done, and that the
statuette would in so doing lose much of its artistic value. If the
lilies were taken from the hand, it would be perfectly meaningless and
idle, and would injure the expression of the figure. He seemed to a
certain extent persuaded, but he still persisted that he would not have
it as a saint; and after thinking for a long time how he could change
the name, and seeing that there was an anchor at her feet, he said that
it might be called Hope. I remained between yes and no, and only
observed to him that Hope ought to hold the anchor in her hand, and not
leave it on the ground as if she had forgotten it.

"No matter," he answered, "I insist on calling it Hope; but the lilies
must be removed."


I answered that they would rather help the subject, and it might be
called The Virgin, Hope.

"_Oh! c'est très-bien_," he replied.

There remained the crown of roses on her head, but in regard to this
everything was easy. Roses are the symbol of joy, and Hope in the purity
of its aspirations is crowned with joy. Truly that day I was a more
eloquent orator than artist.

The Russian, quite content (and I more than he), counted me out the
price of the statuette in golden napoleons, and before it was boxed up,
had inscribed on the base of the Filomena these words--_La Vera

After this work, Magi advised me to begin to work in marble. This cost
me little trouble, practised as I was in carving wood, which, though it
is a softer material, is more ungrateful and irresponsive. After a few
weeks' practice, I was able to execute some works, and to assure myself
that henceforward, whenever I wished, I could go from one material to
the other. Remember, however, that I then did not even dream of becoming
an artist. I only hoped to succeed as a workman in marble, as I then was
in wood. The idea of being an artist came to me afterwards, slowly and
by degrees--the appetite growing, as the saying is, by eating; or I
should rather say, I was driven and drawn to it, out of pique and
self-assertion (_punto d'onore_). But let us proceed regularly.

About this time Signor Sani received an order from certain nuns--I do
not now remember whom--to make a Christ upon the cross, which was to be
of small size and executed in boxwood. Naturally Sani thought of me, and
gave it to me to execute. I set to work upon it with such love and such
a desire to do well, that I neglected nothing. After making studies of
parts from life, and pilfering here and there, I succeeded in making an
_ensemble_, movement, character, and expression appropriate to the
subject, and this I executed with patience and intelligence. But the
excellence of the work was superior to the importance of the commission.
Let me explain myself. The time it cost me, and consequently the price I
was paid by my principal for my weeks of labour, far exceeded that which
had been agreed upon by the persons giving the commission. Sani, a
little grudgingly, but still feeling that it did honour to his shop,
showed himself half pleased and half annoyed; and when other persons
afterwards came to urge forward the work on which he was engaged for
them, and praised this Christ of mine, Sani took all the praise to
himself as if it belonged to him. Nor was he to blame for this. The
Christ, however, on account of the difference of price, remained in his
shop shut up in his chest. But as it had been somewhat noised about,
many came expressly to see it. Among these was the Cavaliere Professore
Giuseppe Martelli, who lately died, and who having seen it, told Sani
that he hoped to induce the Cavaliere Priore Emanuel Fenzi to buy it. He
was then putting in order the principal suite of rooms in the palace of
the Via San Gallo for the wedding of the Cavaliere Fenzi's eldest son,
Orazio, with the noble Lady Emilia de' Conte della Gherardesca, and he
hoped to place this Christ at the head of the bed of this young couple.
And this in fact happened. The Christ was seen and bought, and I believe
that it is still in that house. I saw it there myself when poor Orazio,
who honoured me with his friendship, was alive.

[Sidenote: THE "CHRIST" SOLD.]

I shall again refer to this Christ; but for the present, let us go on. I
had a great desire to give up once for all this working in wood--not
because I thought that material less worthy than marble, for the
excellence of a work depends upon the skill and knowledge of the artist,
and not upon the material which he has used. Very worthless statues have
been seen, and still may be seen, in beautiful marble, and, _vice
versâ_, beautiful statues in simple _terra cotta_ or wood.

[Sidenote: WORK AT MAGI'S.]

"You will be noble if you are virtuous," answered D'Azeglio to his son,
when the latter asked him, with the ingenuousness of a child, if their
family was noble.

Let us then understand that the nobility of any one is founded upon his
deeds, and the excellence of a work depends upon the work itself, and
not upon the material. We shall return to this consideration hereafter;
now let us proceed. I say that I wished to give up working in wood,
because it was my business at the shop to make all sorts of little
things, such as candlesticks, cornices, masks, &c. Naturally it fell to
me to make them; and not always--on the contrary, very rarely--it
happened that I had a Christ, an angel, or anything of that kind to
execute: and on this account I was irritable and irascible (except when
I was at home) with everybody, and specially with myself.

At Magi's I had as much work as I wished. I had already finished for him
two busts,--one of the Grand Duke in Roman drapery, according to the
style then in vogue among the academic sculptors, who dressed in Roman
or Greek costume the portrait of their own uncle or godfather; the other
of an old woman, whom I did not know. Work enough I had; but naturally I
wished to earn something by it, and this was soon spoken of. I
understand very well that the master has a kind of right to all the
profits of the first works of his pupil; but with me this went on so
long, that at last he saw its impropriety; and he proposed to engage me
to finish the group of Charity which he had made for the Chapel of the
Poggio Imperiale, as a substitute for that wonderful work of Bartolini,
which is still admired in the Palatine Gallery. But the proposition of
Magi was in every way impossible to accept, as he only agreed to pay me
when the work was completed--that is to say, I and my family were to go
for at least a year without anything to eat.


I tried here and there; but I could not make a satisfactory arrangement,
and I had to resign myself to the making of candlesticks. I had now
become a father. My wife had given me a little girl, whom I lost
afterwards when she was seven years old; and as I have never made
mention of my dear angel, let me embellish the meagreness of my prose
with the charming verses of Giovanni Battista Niccolini, who then
honoured me with his friendship, and which he wrote with his own hand
under the portrait of my little child. They are as follows:--

    Few were the evils that Life brought to thee,
    Dear little one, ere thou from us wast torn,
    Even as a rosebud plucked in early morn.
    Tears thou hast left, and many a memory,
    To those who gave thee birth,
    But thou from Life's short dream on earth
    Hast waked the perfect bliss of heaven to see;
    And thou art safe in port, and in the tempest we.

    Pochi a te della vita
    Furono i mali, o pargoletta, e mori
    Come rose ch'è colta ai primi albóri.
    Ognor memoria e pianto
    Al genitor sarai, benchè per sempre
    Dal sogno della vita in ciel gia desta.
    Tu stai nel porto e noi siamo in tempesta.



Let us consider for a moment the state of my mind at this time. I felt
within me an unconquerable inclination for the study of sculpture; and
even as a child, I gave vent to my feeling as well as I was able. As I
increased in years, the more this desire was repressed and opposed,
whether by my poverty or the aversion of my father, the more it
developed into a settled passion. But after the progress I had made in
my studies gave me a right to hope, and my masters had encouraged me,
and I had acquired some skill in working the marble, no work was given
me to do. Nor was this all. I was humiliated at last, being told by a
workman to whom I applied--who was the administrator of the studio of a
foreign artist--that there was nothing for me to do there, because the
work in that studio was so difficult as to be beyond my ability. I
swallowed this bitter mouthful, but I did not despair. Not only did I
not despair, but I determined, by study and force of will, to prove
that I was right and they were wrong. Add to this that I was not alone;
I had a wife and children. But no matter. Since the first prophecies
that I never should be good for anything as a wood-carver had proved
false, this also, which was both a humiliation and an insult, might
prove to be untrue. My poor wife saw that my mind was greatly disturbed,
and, with her sweetness, strove to calm me by representing to me that we
were fairly well off and without troubles, and exhorted me to drive from
my head a thought which was rendering my life bitter to me. These words,
dictated by love, made me still more unhappy; but dissimulating and
caressing her, I told her that she was right.


One day, in the studio of Magi, I and another young man were modelling
together a man's _torso_ which had been cast from nature. A friend of
Magi, a painter, as he passed by us paused, and after looking at our two
copies, said, turning to my rival and patting him gently on the
shoulder, "I am delighted: this is an artist!" Then turning to me with
an expression of regret, he said, "_A rivederla._" My good reader, do
you think that made me despair? No, by the Lord! I tell you rather that
these words were seared upon my brain as with a red-hot iron, and there
they still remain--and they did me a great deal of good. The Professor
who spoke them (yes, he was a Professor), three years afterwards
embraced me in the Accademia delle Belle Arti before my "Abel." My
rival? My rival is perfectly sound in health, and is fatter and more
vigorous than I am, but he is not a sculptor. So, my dear young artist,
courage! in the face of poverty, and opposition, and abuse, and
contempt, and even (remember this) of blandishments and flatteries,
which are more destructive than even abuse and contempt.


But be careful to consider well what your vocation really is, and do not
allow yourself to be deluded by false appearances. It is absolutely
necessary that your calling should be imperious, tenacious, persistent;
that it should enter into all your thoughts; that it should give its
form and pressure to all your feelings; that it should not abandon you
even in your sleep; and that it should drive from your memory your hour
of dinner, your appointments, your ease, your pleasures. If, when you
take a walk in the country, the hills and groves do not awaken in you in
the least the idea that it would be pleasant to own them; but, instead
of this, if you feel yourself enamoured by the beautiful harmony of
nature, with its varied outlines, and swelling bosoms, and slopes sadly
illuminated by the setting sun, and all seems to you an exquisite
picture--then hope. If at the theatre you see a drama represented, and
you feel impelled to judge within yourself whether this or that
character is well played--whether the gestures, the expression of face,
and the inflections of voice are such as properly belong to the
character, and accord with the affections that move him, or the passions
which agitate him--then hope. If, while you are walking along, you see
the face of a beautiful woman, and if it does not immediately awaken in
you the idea of a statue with its name and expression, but, on the
contrary, you idly or improperly admire it--then fear. If in reading of
a pathetic incident you feel your heart grow tender; if the triumph of
pride and arrogance rouse your scorn--then hope. And if you do not feel
your faculties debilitated by the long and thorny path of study, but, on
the contrary, tempered and strengthened every day by constant and
patient labour, then hope--hope--hope. If you have property, attend to
the management of it. If you are poor, learn some trade. It is better
to be a good carpenter than a bad artist.


In my own case, I armed myself with stout patience, and pursued my
ordinary work of wood-carving; and when I returned home in the evening,
I applied myself to study, and, in the simple and frank conversation of
my wife, felt a calm come over my agitated mind; and my powers,
enervated by ungrateful labour, were thus restored. But the opportunity
which was to launch me once and for ever in art was already near, and I
seized upon it with all my strength, hope, and love. Many and sad were
the first steps against opposition and division; but I pushed on, and I
have never stopped since.

Professor Ulisse Cambi, who had seen me modelling in Magi's studio, and
who had his own studio close by, now began to talk to me about the
triennial competition in sculpture, which took place precisely in this
year, and he proposed that I should go in for it, and hoped that I
should succeed; but even if I did not, he said, at all events the study
incident to it would be no loss to me. Flattered by this suggestion,
which showed that he had some confidence in me, I replied that I would
think of it, and would speak about it to Magi, who might possibly lend
me one of his rooms which he did not use, and also give me his
assistance. I spoke to him on the subject, but I did not find him at all
disposed to favour the project. In the first place, he told me that he
could not give me a room; then that he did not think that I had gone on
sufficiently far in my studies to be able to attempt such a competition;
and finally, that he would not undertake to direct my work. This answer
having been repeated to Cambi, he told me that he was convinced that I
should succeed, and that if Magi would neither give me a room nor
superintend my work, he would do both--and this he did.


The subject of the basso-relievo was "The Judgment of Paris," and
required five figures--Paris, Venus, Minerva, Juno, and Mercury. I made
a sketch; but it did not please Cambi, and taking a piece of paper, he
sketched with a pen a new composition, saying, "That, I think, will do
very well." I then made a new sketch founded upon this by Cambi. Some
one will now say, "This is not right; you ought to have worked out an
idea of your own, and not one of your master's." Agreed; but these
considerations will come afterwards. For the present, let us go on.

In the meantime it was necessary to come to a decision, and to take into
consideration that the work required much time, and could not be
completed in my off-hours, as I had hitherto done with my other studies,
and also that money would be required to pay the models; so that, as it
would be necessary to give less time to my ordinary work, I should earn
less, while I should have need of more money in order to pay the models.
The problem was a difficult one, and at first sight not easily solved.
The reader will remember the Brothers Pacetti, in whose shop I had sold
the Santa Filomena. One of these, Tonino, had often said to me that if I
would work for them they would give me anything to do that I might
prefer--whether cornices rich with figures and _putti_ and arabesques,
or coffers and chests _all'antica_, or whatever I liked with figures,
with the prices agreed upon, and liberty to work when and how I liked.
The offer was excellent, as you see; but it involved leaving my old
master Sani, and I was affectionately attached to him, and he and all in
the shop were attached to me; and on this account I felt repugnance to
leaving the place and the persons who had helped me on when I was a
child. So, thanking Pacetti, I repeatedly refused his offer. But now it
was necessary to come to a decision between two alternatives--either to
abandon the competition and remain in the shop, or to abandon the shop
and accept the offer of the Brothers Pacetti. I spoke of this to my good
Marina, who at first did not look upon it at all favourably, fearing
that if I left the shop, which had always given me work, I should find
myself left in the lurch by the other, in spite of all the fine promises
of gain and liberty and the like. But at last, seeing that I was
decided, she contented herself with saying, "Do as you think best." O
blessed woman, may God reward thee!


When I stated to old Sani my determination to leave his shop, angry as a
hornet, he said, "Do as you like," and spoke to me no more the whole
day. The next day, however, more softened, but still severe, he asked me
the reason of this strange resolution, and I told him. Then he proposed
an increase of salary and a diminution of work, and at last agreed (I
must do justice to this good man) to allow me to have all the hours
which were necessary for the competition. But I had already made my
contract with Pacetti, had decided upon a work after my own choice,
arranged the room given me by Pacetti, and which was the Hospital for
Horses in the old stable of the Palazzo Borghese, and I could not
withdraw from it.

I began to model the basso-relievo for the competition in the studio
Cambi, and my _intaglio_ work I did in the little studio or stable of
the Palazzo Borghese. The work that I had undertaken for Pacetti was
curious. It had every recommendation except that of honesty. Let me
explain. There was at this time a great passion among strangers for
antique objects: great chests, cornices, and coffers, provided they were
old, were sought for and purchased; but modern works, though of
incontestable merit, no one cared for, and they brought very low prices.
It came into the head either of Pacetti or myself--I do not remember
which--to make something in imitation of the antique (and so far it was
all right), and to sell it for antique, and here was the maggot.


It was settled, then, that I should make a coffer or chest in the
beautiful and rich style of the _Seicento_--rectangular of form and not
high. The cover was slightly pointed, with various arabesque ornaments,
and in the centre of this cover in the front I carved a Medusa crying
out loudly; and by looking at myself in the mirror, I succeeded in
giving a good deal of truth to the sad expression of this head--indeed
the muscles of the face and the eyes had such a truth of expression that
I would not promise to do as well again even now. This is the portion of
the work which is really original; all the divisions in panels, and the
external faces, were an absolute counterfeit representation of the
ornaments on the bookshelves in the Libreria Laurenziana, which were
carved by Tasso the carver, the friend of Benvenuto Cellini, and, as
some say, were designed by Cellini himself. Every precaution was
taken--the wood was antique but not worm-eaten, so that I could carve
with delicacy all the ornaments, dragons, and chimeræ; and when it was
finished, here and there a worm-hole was counterfeited and filled up
with wax, but so as to be visible. The hinges and ironwork were also
imitations of the antique, which were first oxidated and then
repolished. In a word, it was a veritable trap, and I give an account of
it for the sake of the truth; and I hope that the first statement of
this falsification does not come from me. But however this may be, we
laughed at it, and it amused me then, though now it displeases me.


This coffer was seen by many persons, some of whom asked the price; but
Pacetti set a high value upon it, and he had spread about some sort of
story that it was a work of Benvenuto Cellini's. Finally, after some
time, the Marchioness Poldi of Milan, who had gone to Florence to urge
Bartolini to finish the famous group of Astyanax which he was making for
her, saw this coffer, liked it, and took it for an antique; but in
regard to the excellence of the work, and above all the name of the
artist to whom it was sought to attribute it, she determined to consult
Bartolini himself, and if his judgment was favourable, to buy it for the
price that was asked, but which naturally was not what I had been paid.
Bartolini decided that it was one of the finest works of Tasso the
_intagliatore_, made after the designs of Benvenuto Cellini; and the
Marchioness Poldi then bought the coffer, and carried it to Milan.

Four years later, I finished my "Abel" and "Cain." I had made a name,
which had been rendered still more attractive by the curious story of my
origin; for all of a sudden, while nobody knew who I was, I seemed to be
an artist who had been born one morning and grown up before night. The
only thing that was reported about me was, that I had never studied, and
that I had suddenly leaped from the bench of the _intagliatore_ on to
that of the sculptor. The reader who has thus far followed me, and who
will continue with me up to the completion of my "Abel" and "Cain," will
see with what heedlessness these reports were propagated. Let us go on.
The Marchioness Poldi came to my studio, and having heard the story of
my life, which was in the hands of all, and was written in that easy,
attractive, and poetic style of which Farini is master, told me that
she possessed a magnificent work in _intaglio_ by the famous
_intagliatore_ Tasso, and said that this work was imagined and executed
with such grace and excellence that it might truly be called a work of
art, and she added that these were the very words of Bartolini.


The reader may imagine whether I was flattered by this; and in
consequence of this praise, as well as to pluck out this thorn from my
heart by a confession of my fault, I said, "I beg your pardon, Signora
Marchesa, but that work was made by me."

The Marchioness looked at me with a kind of wonder, and then said, "No
matter--nay, all the better."

I begged her not to tell Bartolini.

But to return to the point where I left off to make this digression
about the Marchioness Poldi. Let me say, that if in my studio I enjoyed
complete liberty of imagination and action, and if my works met with
such success and were so praised as to give me consolation, matters did
not go on so well in the studio Cambi, where I was modelling for the
competition. Scarcely had I put my foot into that studio when I became
timid, embarrassed, and almost fearful; for the Professor would not
leave me free to see and execute from the life as I saw it. I do not say
that he was wrong; I only say, that thus feeling my hands bound to the
will of another, rendered me hesitating and discontented. I should have
preferred a studio of my own, and after I had sketched out as well as I
could my own ideas, then to have my master come in to correct me. But
there he was always; and he was not content with correcting me by words
alone, but he would take the modelling tool and go on and model what I
ought to have modelled myself. My work might be done with difficulty;
but if I could have done it all myself, as I wished, I should have been
much happier, and my hand would have been better seen in it--the hand of
a youth without skill indeed, but still desirous to do and to learn; and
I should also have been spared the annoyance of hearing that the work
was not done by me, but by Professor Cambi. Now Cambi is a very dear
friend of mine, and I do not mean in the least to reprove him for what
he did; but it is my duty to state the facts clearly just as they
are--and I take this occasion to say a few words as to what I consider a
master should do in directing his young pupils.


Every historical fact, in its manifestations of time, place,
circumstances, and character, presents itself to the mind of each person
who studies it--and far more to any one who intends to reproduce it--in
an entirely different way from what it would impress another. The
impression each receives depends upon his character, intelligence,
temperament, and education. This being admitted, it is in the highest
degree difficult to assert with assurance, "I understand and can express
the fact better than you." When certain essential points are
established, such as the age and character of the personages, and the
costumes and style of dress, all the rest depends upon the taste of the
artist, and his manner of viewing and feeling it. As to the composition
and grouping of the figures, in regard to which dogmatic statements are
so often laid down, this should be a free field to the artist in which
he may move about as he will. The harmony of lines, the balance of
parts, the equality of spaces, are all very fine words; but above all
and before all, and as the base of all, there should be clear expression
of the fact, truth of action, and living beauty. It is very true that
sometimes, and indeed very often, the young pupil is without much study
or much knowledge, and in composing his sketch he makes mistakes in the
arrangement of the dresses and the character and truth of the subject he
wishes to represent. Then indeed the master should interpose. But how?
Not by taking the tool himself and saying, "You should do thus and
thus"; but rather by putting his pupil on the right road, and making him
clearly appreciate the story he is trying to represent, and showing him
that this or that figure ought to have the dress and the character
appropriate to it, and to point out the means by which he may attain
this result. If after this teaching the youth is dull, he should be
counselled not to go on; but if, on the contrary, he improves his
sketch, the master should correct it and perfect it in its movement, in
its _ensemble_, and in its expression. In this way the youth will take
courage and cognisance of his own powers, and improve.


One of the commonest faults with young scholars is their slothfulness in
trying to discover for themselves their own way to express their ideas.
For the most part, they are completely deficient in this, and prefer to
seek among the works of their master, or of some other master, for their
subjects, types, and movements--and thus, with little fatigue and less
honour, they only succeed in giving a colourless reminiscence of works
already known; and one of the faults of the master is this--not only to
allow his scholars to imitate and steal from him, but what is worse, to
desire to impose upon them his own works as models.


I return to my narrative. In my stable I pursued my artistic life freely
and happily, with power to select the work I was to do, to carry out my
own designs in whatever style I liked, and almost to fix their prices.
In this way, with only a half-day's work, I was able to carry home my
ordinary earnings for the maintenance of my family; and beyond this, I
had two francs over to pay my model for the remainder of the day, which
I spent on my basso-relievo. My daily life, therefore, was gay and free
in my stable, timorous and gloomy in the studio Cambi, and peaceful,
glad, and quiet all the evening at home. But for all this, the
bitterness had to come. The other competitor, Ludovico Caselli, was
already hinting it about that the basso-relievo was not made by me, and
that Professor Cambi worked upon it. Caselli was modelling under the
direction of Professor Pampaloni; but I never complained that Pampaloni
worked upon it, although there were some who affirmed that he did. I
kept my peace, and resolved formally in my own mind that whatever should
be the issue of this competition, I would again make an attempt the next
year. When the time of the exhibition and the decision approached, I
began to hear contemptuous and insolent rumours, which, whether I failed
or was successful, would equally afflict me. To this is to be added,
that my poor mother was suffering from a very severe illness--an
illness, indeed, that carried her in a few days to her grave. I
remember, as something that still pierces my heart, the interest she
showed during that illness for me, for my competition, and for my
triumph (as she called it); and it seemed as if this belief of my loving
mother gave a certain alleviation to the terrible anguish of her
disease, which every day grew worse and worse. This was in the first
days of September 1840. On Sunday the 15th the decision was to be given,
and my poor mother was at the point of death. What I felt in my heart
may be imagined, it cannot be told. The instant I heard that the prize
had been given to me, I ran to my mother--from whom I had of late been
somewhat separated--with almost a hope that this good news might bring
her back to life again. And in fact, on hearing this news her face
became radiant, her cheeks glowed, her eyes, which for a time had seen
nothing, became animated and seemed to gaze at me. Then she stretched
out her arms, and, pressing me to her, said, "Now I die willingly." She
lived a few days longer, and then, comforted by the sacrament of our
holy religion, died. She had finished her short life of about fifty
years, in the restrictions of poverty and in the bitterness of one of
the greatest misfortunes--blindness. God has taken her to the joy of His
infinite mercy.


The conflict of judgment among the professors of the Academy at the
competition was tempestuous, and the result extraordinary. The votes
were divided thus: Ten votes were given for my model, four or five (if I
mistake not) to that of my competitor, and there were eleven votes for a
division of the prize. I thought that votes for a division could not
properly be given; and at all events, as I received ten and the other
four, I considered myself the superior. But no. The legal adviser
declared that the number eleven was superior to the number ten, and as
eleven had voted for the division, that the prize must be divided. But
the matter did not end here. My competitor, not satisfied with his
prize, went about saying that it was not I who had competed; that he did
not know who I was, nor where I had studied; and he threatened to
challenge me to I know not what trial in design or modelling. I answered
that I intended to continue to study, and that naturally we should be
measured against each other often, if he chose to have it so; and this
put an end to it. More than this, we became friends, and still are; and
I believe he is now employed in the foundry of Cavaliere Pietro Bonini,
as a designer or mechanic, I don't well know which. He is a man of
talent, and has made several works of sculpture, among which are Hagar
and Ishmael, Susannah, and the statue of Mascagni which is under the


But in the opinion of the young students at that time there still
remained a doubt whether that work was all grist from my mill, and in
consequence I had a strong desire to do something by myself in my own
studio. In order to put an end to all this gossiping, I put up a figure
of life size representing a drunken and youthful Bacchante leaning
against the trunk of a tree as half falling, while she smiled and held
to her lips a goblet. The difficulty of the subject was as great as my
inexperience. The tender age of the model, who could not be made to
stand still, the difficult and fatiguing attitude, my own total want of
practice in setting up the irons and clay, the smallness of the room,
and the deficiency of light, were obstacles which conquered at last all
my poor capacity, and my figure fell, and I had not the courage to put
it up again; and it was all the better that I did not.

After this came new attacks, new gossip, and new affronts, all carefully
covered and veiled, and, as Giusti says, "_Tramati in regola, alla

I have already spoken of the voting on the competition, and I may as
well return to this here--for these memoirs are not solely a meagre
narrative of my life, but also an examination of principles; and
whenever it seems to me proper to make this examination, I shall do so,
endeavouring, as usual, to be brief and clear.

And first of all, you must believe that I do not return to this decision
to complain that the prize was divided between me and my rival; and I
wish you to understand that even had the entire prize been adjudged to
me, I should equally have returned to this question. The subject I mean
to examine is the false principle of a vote of division.


Whoever undertakes to judge of the comparative merit of various works,
ought, I think, to have sufficient critical ability to distinguish
minutely the smallest differences between these works on various
points--such as, for instance, their composition, character, proportion,
movement, expression, refinement, historical accuracy in the types and
fashion of the dresses, truth, style, &c. &c. Now it is absolutely
impossible that in all these particulars two works can be perfectly
equal and of the same value; and the conclusion thus far is unavoidable,
that the judge who gives his vote for a division, either has not the
qualities required to discern these delicate differences, or omits
through culpable negligence to make such a rigorous examination as is
required to arrive at what is true and just. Therefore the President
should declare formally that the votes for a division will be null; and
as their absence might invalidate the decision through a consequent
deficiency of votes, he should invite the judges to declare for one or
the other. I conclude (and with this I shall finish my disquisition on
this subject of division of votes) that whoever feels inclined to give a
vote in this indeterminate way, either is, or thereby declares himself
to be, ignorant of the matter in regard to which he is required to have
knowledge and to give judgment.

The youthful Bacchante fell down; and, as I have said, it was well that
it did. This I say now; but then I was much vexed, both on account of
the accident itself, and also for the unpleasant talk that it gave rise
to. But after all, things are what they really are, and not what we
think them to be. I was, however, consoled by a commission--very small
indeed, but it seemed to raise my depressed spirits--and it was this, to
make the four "Cariatidi" of the Royal Box in the Rossini Theatre in
Leghorn. I should not have mentioned this humble work did it not give me
occasion to note one thing which the young men of to-day seem to have


It is common for the young sculptors of our day to scorn and sneer at
any work that is offered to them which they think beneath that skill and
capacity which they suppose themselves to possess; and they will not, as
they say, abase themselves to mere work in plaster. If any one orders of
them a bust or a statue in plaster, their pretence is so excessive that
they deem it an insult. Now, I say the material counts for nothing; and
a plaster statue merely for decoration, well executed, is worth more
than a statue in marble or bronze which is ill executed. Undoubtedly, if
one could choose, he would reject the statue in plaster and accept that
in marble--always, however, recognising that the one essential thing is,
to do his work well. But I was not given this choice, and I accepted
this humble commission, and executed it with zealous love. There was
this, too, of good in the commission--it might induce me to believe that
I should have made a far better statue had I been given more time and
more means to make one of my own selection; and I said, "If I have been
able to make these statues in a month, with thirty or forty lire to pay
to my models, how much better I might do in five or six months, with
much more money!" The question reduces itself, then, to time and money.
Let the young artist consider whether my reasoning is not just; and let
him also consider what is more important--that if I had not accepted
this commission, I should not have come to the knowledge of the power
that was in me, nor have gone through the reasoning which by strict
logic induced me to make the "Abel."

This humble work was of great importance to me, and I recommend it to
the attention of those young artists who consider themselves humiliated
by small commissions. No; do not let them be alarmed either by the
subject or the material, and if they should receive an order even for a
great _terra cotta_ mask for a fountain, provided it be well made, they
will acquire by it praise, and new and worthier orders, so long as their
sole endeavour is to do their work well.



While I was pondering a subject for a statue which should silence the
idle and malevolent, it happened that a competition in sculpture was
opened in Siena, in which no one could compete but those who were of
that country and province. Naturally I determined to compete. The only
other competitor was the young sculptor Enea Becheroni, a pupil of the
Academy there. Another wished to enter into the competition, and this
was Giovanni Lusini, an accomplished sculptor who had lately returned
from Rome, where he had been pensioned for four years, he having gained
the prize at the quadrennial competition of our Academy at Florence. But
he was not allowed to come in; for although, like Becheroni and myself,
he was a native of Siena, he was inadmissible because he had passed the
age decreed by the rules. This competition was called _Biringucci_, from
the name of the worthy man who by his will had founded a prize and
pension for sculpture, as well as others for painting, architecture, and
various sciences that I do not remember. The studies and pensions
established by him had been in existence for more than 300 years, and
are still in existence, but, by one of those curious combinations that
some would call a fatality, precisely in this very year, when it would
have been most welcome to me, the prize for sculpture was struck out by
one stroke of the pen.


I had already for some time prepared myself for this competition, which
required that the artist should be shut up in a room by himself, and
there should make, in the course of one day from morning till evening, a
sketch in clay of some subject drawn by him by lot at the moment of
entering the studio. For a considerable time I had made nothing but
sketches; and within a space of time certainly not greater than that
allowed by the competition, I had in fact made some dozen, and by
practice I had become so rapid in composition, that whatever subject
might be given me, I felt fully equipped, so as to be able to come out
of the struggle with honour.

One day--it was Sunday--I was standing in my little studio in the Via
del Palagio, and modelling one of these sketches, the subject of which
was Elias carried away in the chariot. I was working with goodwill, and
was happy and in the vein. My father had come to see me, and he was
sitting and reading quietly the Bible. The bell rang, and a letter was
given me bearing the post-mark of Siena, and I recognised the
handwriting of the secretary of the competition, Signor Corsini. I
opened the letter, and read that the Government had suppressed the
pension for sculpture as being superfluous, and had disposed of the sum
by appropriating it to a chair at the University, and therefore the
competition would not take place. I see, as if he were now before me, my
father start up suddenly and exclaim--"Sagratino Moro Moraccio" (which
is, literally, "Cursed Moor of the Blackamoors "), "what have you done?"


With one blow of my fist I had smashed to pieces my poor Elias, and he
saw it on the ground between the legs of the horse.

"Read," I said, giving him the letter.

Scarcely had he fixed his eyes on it, than he grew red, stamped with his
feet, and repeated his usual "Sagratino Moro." I was at once aware that
I had acted ill in giving way thus brutally to my irritation. This I
have recounted out of love of the truth, and that those who know me now
may see how different I was then, and how ludicrously that excitability
of character which I still feel, but which I have learned how to
repress, was exhibited in the tragic destruction of that poor sketch.

And this too was of advantage, just as the gossip and incredulity about
the first triennial was. The refusal to give work was also of advantage,
when I went seeking about from studio to studio, and it was denied to
me, even in terms of scorn. It was all of advantage to me. It obliged me
to concentrate myself, and, seeing myself rejected on all sides, to will
and to know, and with God's assistance to make my place with my own
unassisted powers. It was all right--thoroughly right; I repeat it. Who
can tell? The pension of Siena was for ten years. May God pardon me, but
I always feared that that pension might prove to me, as it had to
others, a Capuan idleness.

I began now to turn over in my mind a new subject which should be
serious and sympathetic, and into which I could put my whole heart,
strength, will, hopes, and all--and I found it. Among the pictures,
bronzes, and _terre cotte_ of Pacetti's shop, where I used often to
wander about, I was struck by a group in _terra cotta_ of a _pietà_. The
figure of Christ specially seemed to me beautiful; and I had half a mind
to make a dead Christ, and went about ruminating in my mind over the
composition. Certainly a dead Christ would be, as it always is, a very
sublime theme. But yet I was not satisfied. I wished to find a new
subject; and as the Bible was familiar to me, the death of Abel
suggested itself, and I seized upon it with settled purpose. I sought
for a studio to shut myself up in with the model, and I found one in the
Piazzetta of S. Simone, opposite the church. Then I put together a few
_sous_ to buy me two stands, one for the living model and one for the
clay. Among the nude figures which I saw in the evenings when I went to
draw, I selected the one that seemed to me best adapted to the subject,
and I arranged with him to come to me every afternoon, as I was employed
in wood-carving all the morning. I had already made several sketches,
but I wished to make one from life, so as to be sure of a good movement
and a true expression. It was on Shrove Thursday in 1842, and all the
world who could and wished to do so, were walking about in the Corso.
The model and I were shut up together in the studio, and it was nothing
less than a miracle that that day was not the last of both of our lives.
Poor Brina is still living, as old as I am, and he still stands as a
model at our Academy.

[Sidenote: SKETCH OF ABEL.]


And this is the way in which we ran the risk of losing our lives. In the
studio which I had hired there was no way of putting up a stove, except
by carrying the tube up through the upper floor, and so out through the
roof. The expense of doing this was large, and for me very large; so I
determined to make a sketch from life, and from this to put up my clay,
and I hoped to be able to go on with the model without fire until the
warmer season came on. But these days were so extremely cold that the
model could not remain naked even for a few minutes; and we determined
to warm the room with a pan of coals, in which apparently there remained
a residuum of the powdery dregs of charcoal. The brazier having been
lighted, and at intervals stirred up, the room, which was small, was
soon tolerably warm. I was intent on modelling with my tool the outline
and planes of my sketch, and moving about the model to assure myself of
the movement and the _ensemble_, when I felt an oppression on my head;
but I attributed it to the intensity of my labour, and on I went.
Suddenly I saw the model make a slight movement, and draw a long deep
sigh, and the eyes and the colour of his face were like those of a dead
man. I ran to help him, but my legs would not hold me up. I half lost my
senses, my sight grew dim. I made an effort to open the door, and fell
to the ground. But I had strength enough left to drag myself along to
it, and kneeling, I laid hold of the lock; but the handle would not
move, and with the left thumb I was obliged to raise the spring, and
with the right hand to draw the bolt, and to do it quickly. I was
wrestling with death, as I well knew, and I redoubled my efforts with
the determination not to die. By good fortune, by my panting I drew in a
little breath of pure fresh air through the keyhole, and at last I
pulled back the bolt, and threw it wide open; and there I sat drinking
in full draughts of the outer air. In the streets there was not a
living soul, but I could hear the joyous shouts from the races in the
Piazza or Santa Croce near by. Poor Brina gasped and rolled his eyes.
The air which came blowing into the room revived him, but he could not
rise. I had entirely recovered, except that I felt a tight band around
my head. I ran to the nearest shop, got a little vinegar, mixed it with
water, and dashed it over his face. We then extinguished the fire and
went away.


I began to model the statue a few days after. My mornings up to one
o'clock were employed in wood-carving, and all the afternoon I modelled.
In this way I went on for some time, and the statue was fairly well
advanced, but I required a little more money. The want of this made me
rather doubtful whether I should be able to finish the model in time for
the exhibition in September. I required thirty or forty _pauls_ a-month
for five months in order to go on until September. By the advice of
Signor Antonio Sferra, a publisher of prints, I made a petition, to
which Professor Cavaliere Pietro Benvenuti, Aristodemo Costoli, Giuseppe
Sabatelli, and Emilio Santarelli were kind enough to append their names.
This petition, which I now have under my eye, and which I copy
literally, was as follows. It was not dictated or written by me. My
friend Giuseppe Saltini, now Government Physician at Scrofiano, did me
this favour:--

"ILLUSTRISSIMI SIGNORI,--The undersigned being desirous to submit to the
judgment of the public a work of sculpture at the exhibition of the
Academy of Fine Arts during the current year, has begun to model for his
studio a figure, of life size, representing a Dying Abel. Family
circumstances have, however, deprived him of the means which were
required to bring this work to a conclusion. Regretting to find his
money and labour spent thus far to no purpose, he refers himself to the
philanthropy of his countrymen, in the hope that they will lend him
their assistance. The sum required he has calculated at only forty
francs a-month until the time of the said exhibition.


"He begs to inform all those persons who will kindly lend him their aid
and honour him with a visit, that the statue which he has begun is at
his studio, opposite the Church of S. Simone, where the undersigned will
be glad to express to them his gratitude, and where the undersigned
professors, in attestation of their goodwill, have not disdained to
honour him with their approbation.--He subscribes himself as their most
devoted and obliged servant,

                             "GIOVANNI DUPRÈ.

  "Studio, 15th April 1842.


The signatures of the subscribers were as follows:--

    Maria Bargagli, widow of Rosselli del Turco          Lire 2  0  0
    Antonio Sferra                                            4  0  0
    N. N. will pay in all as above                            4  0  0
    E. Merlini                                                3  0  0
    E. Ba.                                                    3  6  8
    M. M. will pay in all as above                            2  6  8
    G. C. pays at once                                       10  0  0
    T. D. B. will pay up to September                         6 13  4

And thus I obtained 26 lire and 4 crazie a-month for five months, which
were sufficient to enable me to finish the "Abel." From that time
forward I have troubled nobody.


Thanks to the aid of those generous persons who assisted me, and whose
names as I read them thrill me to the heart, I went on every day with my
model, carefully copying him, and giving a proper expression. There was
a moment when I hesitated as to the name I should give to my statue,--or
I should rather say, that this hesitation was induced by the Cavaliere
Pietro Benvenuti, who thought that, in consequence of the absence of any
clear attributes to explain the subject, I should rather call it an
Adonis. I had never been greatly impressed either by the name or story
of Adonis, and I never had wished to join the devotees of Olympus; but
my respect for this gentleman made me somewhat hesitate, and before
going on further, as the difference of subject required a difference of
character, expression, and style, I determined to ask the judgment of
some one in whose decision I could in every way safely confide--and this
person was Bartolini. With this view I went one morning to his house in
Borgo Pinti, having already informed myself that the hour when he could
receive me was between half-past five and six o'clock in the afternoon.
I see him as if it were now. He was seated in his garden, with a cup of
coffee, which he was slowly sipping when I approached him and said,
"Signor Maestro, would you do me the favour to visit me at my studio,
and give me your opinion on a statue that I am modelling?"

He answered: "You have called me _maestro_, and that is all right; but I
do not know you: you are not one of my scholars at the Academy. Who is
it, then, who supervises your statue, and who is your master?"

"I had some time ago some lessons from Magi and Cambi, and I am not
unknown to you, who had the kindness to praise a little statuette of
mine in wood, the Santa Filomena. But I have asked neither Magi nor
Cambi, nor any one else, to correct the statue that I am now making, and
this for very good reasons."


Bartolini smiled at these words, and said to me, "To-morrow at six I
will come to see you. Leave your name with the servants, and go in

In the evening, when I went home, I said to my wife: "Listen. Call me
early to-morrow morning, for before six I must be at my studio, as a
Professor is coming to see my statue."

And she called me, poor dear--and called me in time. How it happened I
know not, but I was late, and six o'clock was striking as I passed the
Piazza di Sta Croce. When I arrived at my studio, I found in the hole of
the door-lock the card of Bartolini, on which he had written in
pencil--"Six o'clock in the morning." I ran immediately to his studio in
the Porta San Frediano to make my excuses, and to inform him that I had
been but a moment late. His carriage was still at his door. He had not
taken off his coat, and he was correcting with his pencil a statue, so
that the workman might see as soon as he arrived where he should work.
As soon as he saw me, and before I had begun to exculpate myself, he
said, "Never mind; there is no harm done. I will come again to-morrow.

It is scarcely necessary for me to say that the next morning I was at my
studio by five o'clock, and at six Bartolini knocked. He came in, looked
at the statue, scowling, and pronouncing one of his oaths, which I will
not repeat. I begged him to tell me where I was wrong, and how I could
make it better. He asked me what was the subject, and I told him that I
intended it for a Dying Abel. I then showed him the sketch, upon which
was the goat-skin that as yet I had not put on the large model, in order
first to study carefully the nude underneath. And then I told him the
objection that Benvenuti had made, and his proposal to change the
subject. Bartolini answered, "You will do the best possible thing not to
change it, for, as far as regards the clear indication of the theme,
nothing more could be done. Besides, the goat-skin, which immediately
denotes a shepherd, the wound on the head, and the expression of
gentleness, explain that it is Abel. Now, I will give you a little
counsel as to the unity of expression, to which you must carefully
attend. The face, you see, is gentle, and is that of a just man who
pardons as he dies. The limbs also correspond to this sentiment There is
only one discord, and that is in the left hand. Why have you closed it,
while the right hand is open, and just as it should be?"


"I closed it," I answered, "in order to give variety."

"Variety," said the master, "is good when it does not contradict unity.
You will do well to open it like the other,--and I have nothing else to

This comforted me, but wishing to draw from him something more, in an
exacting tone I said, "And as to the imitation, the character, the

"The imitation, the character, and the form of this statue show that you
are not of the Academy."

Other words he also added, which it is not proper for me to report. As
to the feet, he only made a movement with his thumb, and I said, "I

He looked at me, and added, "All the better for you if you have

This ended all the correction of my statue made by this singular man. It
was the first and the last. Bartolini was disdainful and unprejudiced,
and called things by their real name; and if any one seemed to him an
ass, he called him an ass, though he might be senator or minister. He
knew that he was a great sculptor, and liked to be so recognised by all.
He was often epigrammatic, and to his pungency he frequently added
indecency,--liberal and charitable, jealous of the decorum and education
of his family, an admirer of the code of Leopold, Frederic the Great,
Napoleon the Great, and the principles of Eighty-nine. He liked to be
called master, and detested to be called professor. He ridiculed all
decorations, but what he had he wore constantly. As a sculptor he was
very great. His example was better than his teaching. He restored the
school of sculpture by bringing it back to the sound principles of
truth. His enemies were numerous and very provoking, but he took no
pains to conciliate them. When he was irritated, he struck about him
right and left, lashing out fiercely, and laughing.


I went on and finished my statue, shutting out everybody except my
dearest friends, among whom was Professor Giuseppe Sabatelli, who, after
seeing my work and signing my petition for assistance, took a liking to
me. And every morning, with a knock which we had agreed upon, he came to
my studio to sit for a while, before going, as usual, to paint the
_cupoletta_ of the Chapel of the Madonna in the Church of San Firenze.
He used at once to sit down and say--"I am not ill, but I am tired." He
was thin and pale, and his black moustaches made his gentle and quiet
face look even paler. Only few and kindly words came from his lips. As a
companion, he was mild and pleasant. His memory comes over me sadly, and
seems like the remembrance of something dear which has been mislaid, but
not lost.

[Sidenote: I FINISH THE ABEL.]

By the first days of September I finished the Abel; and the caster
Lelli, who was then also a beginner, undertook the casting, and gave his
service in the most friendly way, so that the expense should be as small
as possible. All my friends, indeed, came forward to aid me in making
the mould and casting, and removing the outer mould, with that brotherly
love that I still recall with emotion. They are still living: Ferdinand
Folchi the painter, who served me as model for the hands; Ulisse Giusti,
the carver; Bartolommeo Bianciardi, Paolo Fanfani, and Michele Poggi,
all carvers. They came to help me to raise and turn over the mould, or
to give me any other assistance. Folchi and Sanesi assisted me in taking
off the waste mould; and, in a word, all were eager to see my work
finished and put on exhibition. Bartolini told me to select the place at
the Academy that I thought best; and that if I found any opposition, as
no one but the professors had any right to make the choice of place, to
come to him there in the school, and he would arrange it for me. I had
no occasion to avail myself of this frank and kind offer, for no sooner
had Benvenuti seen me and the statue than he said, "Select the place and
the light that you prefer."

As soon as the exhibition was opened there was a crowd about my statue.
Its truth to nature, its appropriateness of expression, and the novelty
and sympathetic character of the subject, made a great impression, and
every day the crowd about the statue increased. But little by little it
began to be whispered about, first in undertones, and then more openly
and authoritatively, that the statue was worth nothing, because it was
not really a work of art, but merely a cast from life; that I had wished
to take in the Academy, masters, scholars, and the public; and that such
a living piece of work thus introduced as if it were a work of art,
while in point of fact it was a mere cast from life, ought at once to be
expelled from the public exhibition. And this scandalous talk, which was
as absurd as malign, originated among the artists, and especially among
the sculptors. It was pushed to such a point, that in order to make the
fraud clear, they obliged the model, Antonio Petrai, to undress, and
laying him down in the same position as the statue, they proceeded with
compasses and strips of paper to take all the measures of his body in
length and breadth. Naturally they did not agree in a single measure;
for, without intending it or thinking about it, I had made my statue
four fingers taller and two fingers narrower across the back. This
beautiful experiment was made in the evening; and the President of the
Academy, who by chance surprised them in the very act, reprimanded all
severely, not heeding whether among them there were professors.


But none the less this malignant and ridiculous accusation was still
kept up, and nothing was said of the failure of the attempted proof. The
model himself, who persisted in affirming that the statue was modelled
and not cast, was openly jeered; and one person went so far as to tell
him, that for a bottle of wine he could be made to say anything. But the
person who thus insulted Petrai had better have let him alone, for
Tonino--who, poor man, though now old, would still hold his own
perhaps--added certain arguments to his words which no one dared to

Signor Presidente Montalvo was quite right in expressing his disapproval
of this dirty and impertinent examination, which was made without giving
notice to the President and Director of the Academy; but, besides this,
he felt all the more inclined to assume my defence on account of a
little debt of conscience that he had towards me, and that he wished to
pay off.

One day, before resolving to take a studio on lease, I made up my mind
to petition the Grand Duke to give me one gratis. The Government had
then at its disposition several small studios, which were given away,
without rent and for an indefinite time, to those young men who either
in painting or sculpture gave good promise not only of aptitude, but
also of goodwill and proper conduct. As I did not think myself wanting
in all these qualities, and specially the last two, I determined to make
an application, driven to it indeed by necessity. But before presenting
my petition I wished to inform the President of it, and to beg that he
would be so kind as to lend me his support, as I well knew that
petitions of this nature were always passed on to him for due


Montalvo was a perfect gentleman, and of an ancient and wealthy family,
instructed in the history of art, a great admirer of it, and a very good
friend of all artists, especially of those who to their artistic skill
added an outward practice of religious duties, to which he was a
devotee--though, as far as sentiment, enthusiasm, and real taste for art
go, he was not distinguished.

Accordingly, I went one morning to pay him a visit at his rooms in the
gallery of the Uffizi--he being also a Director of the Royal Gallery. I
must here premise that I was not much in his good graces, because I had
not studied at the Academy, which he believed to be the true nursery of
an artist. As soon as he saw me, suspecting perhaps what I had come to
ask, he said to me--

"And what do you want?"

"I come, Signor President, to say to you that I have made a petition to
his Royal Highness the Grand Duke in the hope of obtaining a studio to
make a model of a statue that I wish to exhibit this year in the
Academy. My means are narrow, because I have a family; and before
presenting this petition to the Sovereign, I have thought it my duty to
inform you, and at the same time to beg your aid, and to use your
influence that it may be answered favourably."


He answered, "You are not a pupil of the Academy, and therefore you have
no right to ask for a studio, which the grace of the Sovereign grants
only to those who have completed their studies in our Academy of Fine

"If I have not studied," I answered, "at the Academy, I have competed
there, and gained the triennial prize, which is the end of the studies
at the Academy."

The good Signor replied with impatience, "Which, then, do you think that
you are, Canova or Thorwaldsen?"

"God save us, Signor President, I never thought this! But it may be
permitted to me to observe, that even Canova and Thorwaldsen began from
small beginnings, and were not born at once great sculptors, as Minerva
sprung from the head of Jove."

You see that I really had no luck this morning; for the Director,
rising, said to me, "Ah, then, as you argue in this way, I will tell you
that, if the petition is referred to me for information, you shall have
nothing," and then reseated himself.

I made my bow, and went out. But when I was outside, and wished to put
on my hat, I found it was completely crushed: without being aware of it,
I had reduced it to this state. So much the better. You lose as far as
your hat is concerned, but you gain in character; and I counsel all
young men who find themselves in a similar situation to take the same


But for all this, I repeat, Cavaliere Ramirez di Montalvo was a good and
excellent man; but everything irritated him which seemed to him in the
least to run off the rails. In his view, a youth who had not come out of
the wine-press of the Academy could have little good in him, and he
looked upon him as being a schismatic or excommunicated person. The
Academy was to him the baptism of an artist, and outside of it he saw
neither health nor salvation. I fell under him, and he crushed me.
_Parce sepulto._

But he was soon obliged to go back on this academic puritanism. His
friend Cavaliere Pietro Benvenuti spoke to him in praise of this germ
which was budding forth outside the privileged garden; and he soon began
to regret having treated me with a _nonchalance_ more appropriate for a
pasha than a Christian. I believe this--and more, I am sure of it; for
having gone one day to invite him to come and see a statue which I was
modelling, he received me with singular kindness. It was as if he had
never seen me before, much less had spoken to me so severely only a few
months before, when I urged him to look with favour on my petition for a
studio. I was moved to invite him, not only because by nature I am not
tenacious in my resentments, but because I knew that he desired to see
me--perhaps because he regretted not having been able to further my
request. In a word, I went to see him, and found him most kindly
disposed, as I have said; and he accepted my invitation, and came to
call upon me at my studio in San Simone, where I modelled my Abel.

I have said that Cavaliere Montalvo was rather deficient in his
sentiment and taste for art, but he liked the contrary to be thought of
him. He was not indeed entirely without a certain discernment, and he
had enough to enable him to distinguish an absolutely bad thing from an
absolutely good thing. He was, in a word, a connoisseur in a general
way; but his dignity as Director of the Royal Galleries, and even more
as President of the Academy of Fine Arts, required him to
conscientiously believe himself a connoisseur with refined taste. What I
was then ignorant of in this respect I now clearly know, but I had a
suspicion of this from the manner in which he looked at my statue, and
by his expressions of praise, which were interlarded with commonplaces
which he had learned from the stale formulas of the Academy. And in
order that I should not imagine that he had found everything as it
should be in the statue, he wished to point out some defect, and what he
discovered was this, that the left ear seemed a little too far back, by
which the jaw was enlarged beyond what it should be.


I have promised from the beginning to tell the truth, and I will tell
it, with the help of God, even to the end. I must here confess that I
acted like a hypocrite. Instead of answering, "It does not seem so to
me, but I will measure it to assure myself," I told him that he was
right, and I was much obliged to him; and more, when he favoured me with
a second visit, I said to him as soon as he came in--

"Look at the ear."

"Have you compared it with the model?"


"Have you moved it a little more forward?"

"Eh? what do you think?"

"Ah! now it is right."

When I think of this, now that I am old, it seems to me a very bad
thing, a most vile lie, under which (may God pardon me!) was concealed
perhaps a secret sentiment of vengeance; and yet that lie made him a
friend to me, and so he remained as long as he lived. But thenceforward
I have always guarded myself from lying, and above all, from making game
of any one who trusted me.


I return to the event of the exhibition. My name was on the lips of all;
some praised me to the skies, some despised me as the most vulgar of
impostors. Bartolini, Pampaloni, and Santarelli openly assumed my
defence. The Grand Duke asked Giuseppe Sabatelli about it, and he
assured him that the statue was really modelled, and not cast from life,
and that he had been an eyewitness of my work, staying in my studio
every morning, and had seen me working at it. I was exposed to a tempest
of words and looks diametrically opposed to each other. The meaning of
the two parties might be rendered by precisely these words, "great
artist," "miserable impostor." My poor wife consoled me by saying--

"Do not be troubled, do not listen to them. They are irritated because
you have done better than they. They will talk and talk, and at last
they will hold their peace."

"Yes, my dear Marina, they will hold their peace; but in the meantime,
what an injury they have done me! A certain person perhaps would have
given me an order for the statue, as I know; but after all this absurd
and evil-minded chattering, he mistrusts me, and will now do nothing,
and I am crushed and overcome by the very thing which ought to have
given me reputation and cleared my path for me. In the same way that I
have made this statue, I know that I can make another. The will to do it
is not wanting, but how can I bear the expense. My earnings, as I well
see, are not sufficient to support the family, and to pay the model, the
rent of the studio and the casting, and to buy what is necessary for
the studio. Besides, I tell you, dearest, that I cannot allow you to
fatigue yourself with so much work. You labour all day and all the
evening, you have a baby to nurse, you get little repose at night, and
do you think that I can allow you thus to wear your strength out? I
hoped to enable you to get some rest, and to lead an easier life, and I
thought that I saw before us, after I had breathed the last breath of
life into Abel, the beginning of our intellectual and loving life; and
now I find that these are and were only vain hopes."

"Do not be troubled, Nanni," said that blessed woman, and she said
nothing more, only her eyes were swimming with tears.


In the meantime, without knowing it, I had a friend, in truth a real
friend and benefactor, in Count F. del Benino. Count Benino was an old
man of noble and ancient family, and a bachelor, who lived in his own
palace in the Borgognissanti, and in precisely that on the Lung'Arno
which was designed by the able architect and engineer Professor
Commendatore Giuseppe Poggi. Count Benino had taken a liking to me when
I was a little boy in Sani's shop. He was a great and very intelligent
lover of the Fine Arts, and everything relating to them, and was
extremely interested that his house should be a model of good taste,
from the modest furniture of the entrance-hall up to his own private
cabinet, which was a wonder to behold. The walls were surrounded by
bookcases of solid mahogany, his study desk was also of mahogany; the
chairs were covered with polished leather, and the floors were of inlaid
wood and polished with wax. The books on the shelves were bound simply
in leather in the English style. Upon his desk, among his books and
papers, were various objects of great value--as, for instance, an
antique bronze inkstand ornamented with figures and arabesques, ivory
paper-cutters with richly carved handles, portraits in miniature of
persons dear to him, and little busts in bronze and figures in ivory set
on the cases of the desk, which were divided into compartments to hold
his papers. In person he was tall and erect, thin, and with full colour,
blue eyes, and perfectly white hair. He spoke with invariable urbanity
and facility, not infrequently with pungency, but always with proper
restraint. He dressed very carefully, and he liked the conversation and
sought the friendship of artists. From the time when I was a youth in
Sani's shop and worked for him as a wood-carver, and afterwards while I
was working by myself in the Borghese stable, up to the time when I was
making the Abel, when he was one of the subscribers to my petition for
assistance, and indeed the largest of them, he never lost sight of me,
but often came to pay me a visit while I was modelling Abel, and showed
himself delighted with it, and sure of my future; and now, perceiving
this scandalous plot to put me down, he was indignant. He came to seek
me out just at the moment when I was thoroughly discouraged and knew not
to what saint to recommend myself, and after saluting me with his
customary "Sor Giovanni, che fa?" ("How are you, Mr Giovanni?"), seated
himself on the only seat I possessed, and seeing that I was oppressed
with thought, though I endeavoured to put a gay face on it, said to me--



"Oh, don't give up! Courage! Don't you hear how these donkeys bray? What
they want is a good cudgel and a hearty beating. Don't think about it. I
know what I am talking about. I frequent the studios, and I see and feel
what a disloyal and foolish war they are waging. But do not give them
time. You must ward off the blow and give them two back. In one studio
I heard a fellow, whom I will not stop to name (but names are of little
importance)--I heard a fellow, who, with a contemptuous laugh, said,
'The Abel he could cast, because the figure is lying down, but a
standing figure he cannot cast. He will not make one this year, nor any
other year.' And all the others laughed. This happened only a few
moments ago, and I have come now to tell you that it is your duty to
silence these snarling curs. So, dear Sor Giovanni, you must make
another statue, and this time a standing figure; and ... now be silent a
moment. I imagine very well what you will say. I understand it all, and
I say to you, Quit this studio, which is not fit to make a standing
figure in, and go and look for another at once. Order the stands which
you require, think out your statue, and I will pay whatever sum is
necessary. You know where I live; come there, and you will find a
register on which you must write down the sum that you need, and put
your signature to it; and when you have orders and work to do, which
will not fail to come, and have a surplus of money, you may pay me back
the money that I advance. Say nothing. I do not wish to be
thanked,--first of all, because I am not making you a present, and then
because I have my own satisfaction out of the proposition I make to you.
What I want is to laugh in the face of these rascals who are now
deriding you, and me too, because I assert that I have seen you at your
work. So you see that I, too, am an interested party. Without spending a
penny, we have an advantage, which, with all my money, I could not
otherwise get. And now, dear Sor Giovanni, _a rivederla_. I shall expect
you, to give you the money you need. Lose no time, keep up your spirits,
and think of me as your very sincere friend.



I ran home with all speed, elated and full of enthusiasm, to tell my
wife of the charming proposal of Count Benino. My wife, poor soul, could
not understand all this delight, this vehemence and excitement, in
praise of that kind gentleman; and without saying it, she made me
understand that she should have greatly preferred my continuing as a
wood-carver, without troubling myself about an art which hitherto had
only given me disappointment and worry. With her eyes she seemed to say
to me, "Don't bother yourself, Nanni, about it."

I looked about to find a studio, and took one in the Niccolini
buildings in Via Tedesca, now Via Nazionale. I ordered two large
modelling-stands--one for the living model, the other for the statue in
clay. "A standing statue he will not make," they said; but I will make
it, and in movement too. The idea of Cain came at once into my head.
Cain, the first homicide, fratricide! A fierce and tremendous subject,
and one of great difficulty. I made the sketch, and it seemed to me that
I had divined the movement and expression. Among the artists, it was
soon known that I had taken a new studio to make another statue. Those
who had laughed at first, laughed no longer. My friends encouraged me,
and added fuel to the fire. I had also some offers for the
Abel--insufficient if you will, but enough to encourage me. Among the
others I accepted that of Signor Lorenzo Mariotti, an agent of the
Russian Government, who lived in his own house in the Piazza Pitti. He
came to see me, and said that he should like to order the statue of
Abel, whenever I would make it, for what it cost me, and when it was
done he would help me to sell it. The expenses were calculated at 800
_scudi_; and he offered me this price, with the understanding that
whatever sum it was sold for above the 800 _scudi_, should be divided
between us.

[Sidenote: MODEL OF CAIN.]

The marble was procured, and I was already modelling with ardour the
statue of Cain. Fortunately the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, daughter
of the Emperor Nicholas, was passing through Florence. She had already
heard the discussion, _pro_ and _con_, which this statue had raised. She
wished to see it, and was so well pleased by it that she did not conceal
her delight. She was in company with her husband, the Prince of
Leuchtenberg. They went into my private studio and saw the Cain, only
just begun. She exchanged some words with the Prince, and he was much
pleased, and embraced me. Then the Grand Duchess, pressing my hand,
said, "The Abel and the Cain are mine." Then they departed. When I went
home and told the good news to my wife, it seemed as if she had a little
more faith in what I was so convinced of--viz., my future career as an


For the rest of the time that the august Prince and Princess were in
Florence, he never omitted to pass some half-hours of the morning in my
studio, because he liked so much to see me at work. He spoke Italian
extremely well, and it amused him to talk with my model Antonio Petrai
on various subjects; and as he was such a strong and well-made fellow,
one day he asked him if he would like to measure his strength at
fisticuffs with any one; and Petrai--who knew well enough who it was who
asked the question, and was embarrassed about making a proper
reply--after much hesitation could only say "Aho!" upon which the Prince
laughed heartily and gave him something.

Who would have thought that such a handsome youth, so tall, squarely
built, and so spirited, would have died only a few years later of an
insidious disease? He was the son of Prince Beauharnais, Viceroy of
Italy in the troublous times of Napoleon I. One day he came and carried
me away from the studio, because he wished to see with me the statues
which ornament our Piazza della Signoria and the Loggia of Orsanmichele;
but first he would go to Doney's to breakfast. As soon as we were
seated, he ordered _caviale_. "_Caviale_!" answered the waiter, "we have
none." "Bring _caviale_," said the Prince, sharply; but before the
servant could reply he made a sign to the master, who was at the desk,
and he knocked loudly on the marble to call the waiter back. After a
little while a magnificent plate of _caviale_ was served. I wish to note
this anecdote, as it depicts the courteousness, affability, and
popularity of this Prince, who, though he had married the daughter of
the Emperor of Russia, had not forgotten that he was born and educated
in Italy.


In the meantime, Mariotti, by order of the Grand Duchess, made the
contract for the two statues, Cain and Abel, and the price fixed for the
Abel was 1500 _scudi_, and for the Cain 2000 _scudi_. The contract which
I had made with Mariotti was torn up, and I gave him out of my first
receipts the sum he had given me; but as to the remainder, the 700
_scudi_, which was to be divided between us, he would not receive it,
saying that the Grand Duchess had already paid him enough. And this, for
Mariotti, whom they call _mangia-russi_, was a good action.

In the meantime the good Count del Benino lent me a considerable sum of
money to pay the rent of my studio, for the modelling stands and tools,
and for the models, as also the daily sum I carried home for household
expenses. This was all registered in a book, with the sums, the dates,
and my name signed in receipt. And all this together came to the amount
of about 100 _scudi_.

Now that I had two good commissions, and the relative advances on them,
I went to Palazzo del Benino, this time to pay rather than receive, and
therefore with lighter and freer spirit. I was anxious to cancel this
debt, which weighed upon my mind like an incubus, which I had felt was
increased and renewed every time I was forced by necessity to ask for
more money; and poor Del Benino, who perceived my reluctance, encouraged
me, and made me feel that it was indifferent to him whether he gave more
or less, trying to distract me while he counted out the money. But this
time, as I have said, I was gay and light-hearted, and caused my name to
be announced by the servant in a loud voice: in short, I was in bearing
and in words slightly proud.


The Count was seated writing in his usual place. He put down his pen,
and staring at me with his blue eyes, said, "Sor Giovanni, welcome! I am
delighted to see you. What charming thing have you to tell me? Yes, what
can you tell me that I do not already know? To begin, then, I
congratulate you truly--truly. You see, this is for me a new
satisfaction: you cannot imagine the pleasure I feel in now seeing
certain faces cloudy and sad which a few months ago were bursting with
laughter. And I divert myself very much playing the ignoramus with them,
saying, 'Then it appears that this youth is going straight ahead, _per
Bacco!_' The Abel! that stands for what it is--I mean to say, that if
the artist has cast it from life, as you say, the Grand Duchess Maria
has caught a fine crab; but the Cain! that is scarcely begun, and they
tell me that she has seen it only in the clay, and liked it, and given
the order for it, and other like things; for the desire to torment them
does not fail me, and they were much teased and molested by my bitter
words, which I pretended not to mean and ran on. So I have diverted
myself, and so I will divert myself. Now, then, again I congratulate
you. And now tell me if I can do anything for you. I am at your

"Signor Conte, I have come to repay the money which you have lent me,
with so much generosity and kindness, to enable me to make my new model
of Cain, which, God be thanked, has so much pleased the Grand Duchess.
If I had not already begun this, she could not have seen it; and who
knows if she would have taken the risk to order even the Abel? I feel,
but cannot express all the importance of your valuable aid. This aid, so
timely, has been for me a second life, without which, who knows what
would have become of me, discouraged, despised, and probably deserted by
those who now cry out, 'Beautiful, beautiful!' Here am I, then, to
thank you cordially, and to return the money I have borrowed." While I
was speaking the Count gradually lost that gay and lively expression
which was habitual to him, and at my last words looked at me with an
expression of seriousness and regret that I knew not how to interpret.
Then he said--


"There is time enough for this; don't be in such a hurry. This is only
the beginning; a thousand things may occur, and it will do you no harm
to have a little money in the house. On the contrary, it may be
convenient. Now think of study and your reputation; and to pay your debt
to me there is time enough."

"Listen, Signor Conte: I have come here on purpose, and have brought the
money. I do not need it for the present. Let me pay this material debt;
that other great moral substantial debt, the infinite good you have done
me, I can never repay, and never should wish to." The Count grew even
more earnest and serious. He held the paper of our accounts mechanically
in his hand, and tried to prove to me that there was time enough, and
that I should keep the money; but seeing that I insisted, and held out
my hand for the papers to see the sum due, drew it back with vivacity,
and with flashing eyes said to me--

"Oh, leave me, dear Sor Giovanni, this satisfaction."

He tore up the paper and threw it in the basket. I was mortified, and
had half a mind to be offended, but the kind expressions of this
excellent man prevailed. He took my hand and pressed it between his,

"Don't take it amiss, but leave me the consolation that I have been able
to assist, even in the least degree, in the sale of your work--as you
say, opened for you a future which I hope may prove full of honours.
And moreover, you must know that it has always been my firm intention
to assist you until the road was open and easy before you. I did not at
once open my mind to you, because then, perhaps, you would not have
accepted the offer; therefore I said, you will sign the contract,--and
in good time you will pay. Now you have really paid me, because that
small sum of money has secured your future and given me a great


It is necessary now for me to touch upon a question vital to art, and
which was being agitated just at the time I was modelling the Abel. This
work served to inflame it, and to encourage as much one side as the
other--that is, either the idealists or the academicians in opposition
to Bartolini, who, while he was not naturalistic in the strict sense of
the word, proposed to introduce this principle into his teaching by bold
innovations. It is necessary for me to speak of this, inasmuch as this
dispute and my statue served as the target for the shots of one as well
as the other parties, and had the effect of estranging Bartolini from
me--although, as we shall see later, it was another and less justifiable
cause that made the great sculptor indignant with me.

When Stefano Ricci, Master of Sculpture in the Royal Academy, died, it
was wisely decided to call Lorenzo Bartolini to his place (this was a
little before I modelled the Abel), and Bartolini took possession of the
school with the air of a conqueror. Various were the causes for his
extremely overbearing conduct. First, the opposition his demands
encountered on the part of the President and others of the Academy; then
his before-mentioned principles of reform, diametrically opposed to
those now taught in the school; also, finally, the heated political and
religious opinions, which were discussed with little charity on either
side. He altered everything, theories and systems. The position of his
assistant, Professor Costoli, was unpleasant; but he was obliged to
remain. He prohibited all study from statues, and restricted the whole
system of teaching to an imitation only of nature; and he pushed this
principle so far, that he introduced a hunchback into the school and
made the young students copy him. This daring novelty raised a shout of
indignation: they cried out against the profanation of the school, of
the sacred principles of the beautiful, &c.; said that he was ignorant
of his duties as master, and that he misled the youths, extinguishing in
them the love of the beautiful by the study of deformity; and many other
accusations of this agreeable sort, in a freer and more pointed style
than mine.


Neither was Bartolini the man to allow this deluge to fall upon his
head, which, together with much that was true, carried with it a torrent
of errors and unreasonable absurdities. As he understood well the clever
use of the pen, he launched forth certain articles so stinging and
cutting that they were delightful. The Abbé Chiari and the Abbé Vicini
were treated by old Baretti with distinction as compared with the
treatment Bartolini gave the Anonymous Society of the Via del Cocomero.
I recollect one of the foolish arguments raised by his detractors
against Bartolini, which was so ingenuous that it showed in its author
more emptiness and smallness of mind than cleverness or bad faith. This
is what he said: "The expert gardener, by means of his art, transforms a
forest which is rough and horrid, as nature made it, into a beautiful
grove, by rooting out plants, opening alleys, pruning into a straight
line the projecting branches," &c. How much this comparison of the grove
to the human figure diverted Bartolini is not to be told. I have not
before me his sharp stinging words, and I do not wish to spoil them by
repeating them from memory, but to me he appeared to be as pleasant and
brilliant a writer as he was admirable as an artist.


This dispute was rekindled, as I have said, on the appearance of my
Abel. I do not remember by which side was first pronounced my name and
my work, but certain it is that Bartolini said that the most convincing
proof of the excellence of his method was "precisely the Abel," which
statue was made by a youth who knew nothing of Phidias or Alcamenes, nor
of the others--who had not breathed the stifling air of the
Academy--that he had trusted himself to beautiful nature, and that he
had copied her with fidelity and love. After this there was fresh
sarcasm against him and his system of copying nature, even when
deformed, &c. Added to this, there were long-winded eulogies on my work,
and I could see that these were advanced merely to put this man in bad

He had taken a dislike to me, and wished to tell me so. He sent his
father-in-law, Dr Costantino Boni, to summon me. I went, and when I
arrived he received me in the great ante-room, and said to me, with his
usual striking bluntness, "I have sent for you to tell you that I do not
wish to see you again." How astounded I was by these words you can
imagine who know the veneration and affection I had always felt for this
celebrated master; and I could only reply--"Why?"

"Why! You have no more need of me, nor I of you; stay in your own
studio, and don't come any more to mine."

It appeared to me so strange, not to say unreasonable, that he should
send for me to tell me not to come to him, that I could not do less
than reply that I had come to his studio because he had sent for me, and
that I was very sorry to be forbidden to return, as I always wished to


"No matter," replied he; "you understand--each one for himself," and
this he said in French. Because you must know, that when he was excited
he preferred that language either for speaking or writing.

Notwithstanding this, the next year, as I wished for a
reconciliation,--having made the model in clay of the Giotto, which I
wanted to try in the niche of the Uffizi, to hear the opinion of my
friends about it, and to correct it where it was necessary, before its
execution in marble,--I wrote to Bartolini begging him to come to see my
statue in its place to give me his authoritative opinion. He replied in
a manner specially his own--I might almost say with his own brutal
sincerity,--that which distinguished him from his sugared and often
hypocritical contemporaries. He could not deceive; he held me in
aversion, and he wished me to know it, not by his silence, but by a
letter. Here it is: "Dearest, the thing which above all things I like in
this world is to see the races in the Cascine; but as I have so much
work which prevents me, just imagine if I shall come to see your

Observe, I do not say that I expected precisely such a reply, and I was
a little stung by it; but I understood him, and really liked it better
than if he had made an excuse and told a lie. All men should be true to
themselves. Bartolini was still angry with me, as I found out
afterwards, because, in the discussion about the hunchback, my name
being brought forward, I did not enter into its defence. In fact, if a
similar discussion were now to arise on this subject, it would seem to
me cowardly to draw back and not clear up a point of controversy of the
greatest importance; but then, being young and a beginner, how could I
presume to offer my support to Bartolini? Would it not appear
pretentious in me even to assume to be the defender of so great a
master? It seemed to me so then, and it seems so now. Let it not be
thought that I did not do this while arguing with my artist friends; it
was quite otherwise, and this was the way in which I drew upon myself
their ill feeling and dislike. And the defence of the Bartolini system
which I then made was in a much more absolute sense than that which I
now make; for while I see that Bartolini was right in carrying back art
to its first source--that is (and we should thank him for that), to the
imitation of nature--he went beyond bounds in proposing a deformed
person as a model. It is very true that Bartolini never affirmed, as his
enemies assert, that a hunchback was beautiful. He said that it was as
difficult to copy a hunchback well as a well-formed person, and that a
youth ought to copy as faithfully the one as the other; and when the eye
had been educated to discover the most minute differences in the
infinite variety of nature, and the hand able to portray them, then, but
only then, was the time to speak, and select from nature the most
perfect, which others called the _bello ideale_, and he the _bello
naturale_. But that blessed hunchback still remains, who, in the strict
sense of the word, is not the real truth; for in what is deformed there
is something deficient, which removes it from the truth, however natural
it may be. It is a defect in nature, and therefore not true to nature.


But it happened then as it happens always: the reform of Bartolini and
the dogmas of the academicians never came to an end. They might have
confined themselves to the indisputable principle that one should
imitate life in its infinite scale of variety, avoiding always
deformity. But once they had begun with the meagre child, the adipose
old man, the lean or flabby youth, they went on through thick and thin.
It would not have been so bad had they really appreciated what Bartolini
meant to say, and that is, that _copying_ anything was very well as a
mere exercise and _means_ of learning one's art--or, to use his
expression, of "holding the reins of art"; but the misfortune was, that
some took the means for the end, and so went wrong.


But nevertheless, this Bartolinian reform was of great advantage. Let us
remember how sculpture was then studied. The teaching of Ricci was only
a long and tedious exercise of copying wholesale the antique statues,
good and bad; and what was worse, the criterion of Greek art was carried
into the study of nude life--the characteristic forms of the antique
statues supplanting those of the living model. The outlines were added
to and cut away with a calm superiority, which was even comical. The
abdominal muscles were widened, the base of the pelvis narrowed, in
order to give strength and elegance to the figure. The model was never
copied; the head was kept smaller, and the neck fuller, so that,
although the general effect was more slender and more robust, the
character was falsified, and was always the same, and always
conventional. This restriction of nature to a single type led directly
to conventionality; and once this direction was taken, and this habit of
working from memory, following always a pre-established type, the artist
gradually disregarded the beautiful variety of nature, and not only did
not notice it, but held it in suspicion, believing that nature is always
defective, and that it is absolutely necessary to correct it; and in
this, they said, lies the secret of Art. And yet Bartolini cried aloud,
and, so to speak, strained his voice to make himself understood, and
stood up on a table and beat his drum for the hunchback. But as soon as
a sufficient number of people is collected to make a respectable
audience, one must lay aside the great drum and begin to speak
seriously. And this is just what the _maestro_ did: he gave up the
hunchback, inculcated the imitation of beautiful nature in all its
varieties of sex, age, and temperament. But, in the ears of the greater
number of persons the beat of the great drum still sounded, and the
words of Bartolini were not understood. From that time to this there
have been no more statues of Apollo, Jove, and Minerva. Chased from this
earth, they returned to their place on Olympus--and there they still


Still the seed of deformity had been sown, and struck strong roots.
There are some men who grub in filth and dirt with pure delight, and
have for the ugly and evil a special predilection, because, as they say,
these are as true representatives of nature as what is beautiful and
good, and are in fact a particular phase of that truth which, as a
whole, constitutes the truly beautiful. And reasoning thus, this school,
or rather this coterie, has given us, and still gives us, the most
strange and repulsive productions, improper and lascivious in subject,
and in form a servile copy of such offensively ugly models as Mother
Nature produces when she is not well. What would you say, dear reader,
if you were ever to see a hideous little baby, crying with his ugly
mouth wide open, because his bowl of pap has fallen out of his hand? or
an infamous and bestial man, with the gesticulations expressive of the
lowest and most vicious desires? or a woman vomiting under a
cherry-tree because she has eaten too much? or other similar
filthinesses of subject and imitation, which are disgusting even to
describe? For myself, I am not a fanatic for ancient Art: on the
contrary, I detest the academic and conventional; but I confess that,
rather than these horrors, I should prefer to welcome Cupid, and Venus,
and Minerva, and the Graces, and in a word all Olympus. But, good
heavens! is there no possibility of confining one's self within limits?
And if we abandon Olympus and its deities, is it necessary to root and
grub in the filth of the Mercato Vecchio and in the brothel?


Now we will return to our story. At the time I was modelling the Cain,
and as it were for the purpose of repose, I made a little figure of
Beatrice Portinari, which I afterwards repeated in marble, I know not
how many times. For this statue I had used as a model a tolerably pretty
young girl who was named likewise Portinari. I tell this little story
for the instruction of young artists. There will even be two of these
stories, for I omitted one in speaking of the Cariatidi of the Rossini
Theatre; and these little matters show how one should treat the model.
One morning, when I had the Portinari for a model, the curate Cecchi of
the Santissima Annunziata knocked at my door and told me that he wished
to come in to have a few words with me. I replied that for the moment I
could not attend to him, as I had a model, but that if he would have the
goodness to come back a little later, we should then be alone, and he
could speak to me at his ease. After dinner he returned, and said, "Have
you a certain Portinari for a model?"

"Yes," I said.

"Then you must know that this girl is engaged to my nephew; and as I
have learned that she comes to you as a model, and as I absolutely will
not allow my nephew to marry a model, I have already so told the girl,
and she denies that she comes to you. Now I beg that you will do me the
favour to let me come in when she is here. I will then surprise her, and
blow into the air this marriage arranged with my nephew."


"Listen," I said. "This sort of thing I do not like. I cannot lend
myself to do an injury of this kind to this poor girl, who comes here to
be my model. She has confided to me that she is in want of money, having
larger demands than her daily earnings will supply. She has said nothing
about her being engaged, in which case I would not have employed her
unless her mother or other near relation came with her. But, since it
seems to me reasonable that you should not wish your future relation to
go out as a model, I will promise you not to so employ her any more; and
the first time she comes, I will tell her that I do not want her again,
and I will warn her not to go to others. Are you content?"

He seemed to be tolerably well satisfied, and I did as I had promised.

Here is the other little story of the model of the Cariatidi. Every
morning there came to me as a model a girl who lived in the Prato, and
was a weaver. The first morning, she came to the studio with a
_subbio_.[5] I took no notice of it; but the second and the third, as
well as the fourth time, she had always under her arm this clumsy and
heavy thing, so I asked her--

"Why do you carry about that _subbio_?"

 [5] Weaver's beam.

She answered: "I have a lover. If I meet him in the street, I tell him
that I am going to my employers."

"What occupation has your lover?"

"He is a butcher."

Ah! thought I. "Look here, you must do me the favour to bring your
mother with you when you come again."

"The mother cannot leave her work."

"Then bring some one else; one of your relations, or a lodger--at all
events _some one_. I will not have you here alone."

I had scarcely spoken these words when I heard a knock at the door.
"Hark! it is your lover who knocks," I said, as a joke.

I went and opened the door, and found there a sturdy youth as red as a

"Who do you want?" I asked.

"Are you the painter?"

"No, I am not a painter."

"Nonsense! let me come in. You have got Anina in there to paint. I want
to have one word with her, and will go away at once."

"And I tell you that you don't know what you are talking about."

"If you take it so," he said, "let me come in;" and he pushed the door
with all his force.

I, who had been warned, was ready with all my strength, and shut the
door in his face. I went back into the studio, and found the girl, who,
only as yet half dressed, was trembling like a leaf. I crossed the court
of Palazzo Borghese, and opened carefully the door which gave upon the
Via Pandolfini, and made signs to the girl to follow me. I looked out on
the street to make sure that the youth was not there, and said to the
girl hastily, "Go away, and don't come back to me, even if you are
accompanied by some one."

The young man stayed in the Via del Palagio, and walked up and down for
some hours before my door; but I saw no more of him, and know nothing
more. The conclusion: girls as models--never _alone_.


I return to where I left off--to the Cain. There was in Florence at that
time a certain English lady, Mrs Letitia Macartney, who had been living
for some time in Siena. She wished so much to see the Abel reproduced in
marble, that on her return to Siena she issued a paper which invited the
Sienese to make a subscription for this purpose. I have before me that
paper, dated 12th December 1842, a few days before the Grand Duchess of
Russia had given me her commission. This invitation to my townsmen had a
great success, for in a few days sheets were covered with signatures,
among which all classes figured--beginning with the Governor Serristori,
the Archbishop, the clergy, the university, the gentry, and the people,
and finally the religious corporations. Certainly, that excellent lady
could not have had a better result from her touching appeal, which ran
as follows: "I beg the Sienese not to reject my humble petition, and
that the poor as well as the rich, whoever reads these words, will put
his signature, and will contribute a half _paul_ to assist his townsman,
who has so well proved that he deserves encouragement. Those who wish to
give more than the small proposed sum can privately satisfy their
generous impulses in the way they think best,--on this paper they are
begged not to exceed the sum named." And by half _pauls_ only, the not
small sum of 100 _scudi_ was collected; and if this good lady had added
that the half _paul_ was to be paid every month for a year or fourteen
months, I am sure that my townsmen would not have refused it, and that
the Abel would be to-day at Siena.

The sum of money and the list of subscribers were sent to me, and I
preserve the latter jealously; and after these many years I read over
the names with heartache, thinking how all these have disappeared,
together with the good Signora Letizia. And now I am speaking of her, I
will mention something which will cause her to be appreciated and loved,
even as I loved and admired her.


A short time after she had issued the appeal for my Abel, she came with
a nephew and her two sisters to establish herself in Florence. She was
about fifty years of age, enthusiastic for the beautiful wherever she
found it. She had a small gallery of ancient pictures which she had
collected with careful study in her wanderings through Italy. She had
taken an apartment in the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, and I often
went there with my wife to pass the evening; and on her part the Signora
Letizia often came to look me up in my studio. She liked to discuss with
me artistic things, and when I could not attend to her, she said
good-bye and went away.

Then it was, either from too hard work or on account of the dampness of
the room in which I worked, or both together, I took so tiresome and
obstinate a cough, that it gave me no peace night or day. I tried many
things to get rid of it, and all in vain--decoctions, ass's milk, care,
all were useless. La Signora Letizia having urged me a thousand times to
take care of myself and to get rid of that cough, said to me so
seriously that it made me laugh--

"It is absolutely necessary for you to get well."

"Bravo!" I said; "that is what I have been thinking of for the past
month, and I have done everything for that purpose--the advice and
prescriptions of the physicians have not been neglected; but now
seriously I must get well--Go away, cough!"

"No, don't joke; you must get well, and I mean to cure you. Listen," she
said, "what you ought to do: you should buy a quantity of pine-wood,
and with this line all the walls of your studio from top to bottom,
leaving space between the wood and the wall; and you must do the same
for the floor. Have the window open some hour of the day when you are
not in the studio, that the current of air may not do you harm."


It seemed an odd thing to me. I could not understand what all this wood
had to do with my cough; but to content her, I said that I would do as
she advised. In the meantime I continued to cough in spite of the pot of
lichen which I kept hot in my studio; and every day when this poor lady
came to see me and saw that her advice was not followed, she appeared
serious and disappointed, and finally said--

"Do you think, Signor Duprè, that my advice could do you harm?"

"Certainly not," I said.

"Then why don't you follow it?"

"I must wait a few days; just at present I cannot. But I will do it--of
this you may be sure; and I am very grateful to you: it seems to me that
it will be more comfortable and warmer."

She soon went away, and I seriously considered that I ought to try and
content her, not that I thought the remedy effective. I said to
myself--"My trouble is either a cold or something else; it is in the
stomach, or the throat, or the bronchial tubes, and surely is not owing
to the walls of my studio. But what shall I do? I must satisfy her.
Certainly it will cost something to line all the studio with wood from
top to bottom, and the floor; but what a strange idea has come into this
lady's head, and with what seriousness and impressiveness she urges me
to use pine-wood!"

Shortly after, I heard a knock at the door and saw three or four loads
of boards in the street. The head carter said to me--

"_Is this wood to come here?_"


I had ordered no wood, I replied. Then he showed me a card on which was
written my name and the number of my studio, and added--

"This wood has been ordered and paid for, including the carriage,
and--is it to come here?"

"Certainly," I said, "it is to come here." It was unloaded, and I gave
the men a little money, for although they had been paid, it would do
them no harm. I sent immediately to call Petrai, who, besides being a
model, was also a carpenter, and told him that I wished, in the quickest
possible manner, to use this wood to line the studio walls and plank the
floor; that he was to employ as many men as were necessary, and that
they could not go to bed until this work was done.

The blacksmith was immediately set to work on the irons which were to
support the boards, the mason to fasten them to the walls, and men to
saw and nail. All the day and all the evening it appeared to be the
devil's own house, and I was in the midst directing and overseeing the

The next morning, when I entered my studio, I felt revived by the odour
of the pine and the air so sensibly dry, and I said, "If this work does
no good to the cough, no matter; but it is certain that I find myself
much better. Besides, I like the colour of the wood, which is gay. I
like the smell of the pine. The floor is better to walk upon, and it is
drier than any carpet. The air circulates everywhere. _Viva_ Mrs
Letitia! And now, how to repay her for this wood which she has bought
for me? Ah! this is not so easy. To talk of giving back the money is
useless, and it would also be in bad taste, for I know how sensitive
this lady is; but as a present I will not receive it." As it happened, I
had a small bust of Beatrice in marble, which she had always admired. I
sent this to her house, and she was so much pleased that she never
ceased to speak of it to me. And the cough? The cough diminished day by
day as if by enchantment, and in a week I was perfectly cured.


Whilst I am speaking of favours received and the manner in which I
requited them, independent of the sentiment of gratitude which I always
preserve for those who have rendered me a service, I must add that Mrs
Macartney was pleased with the little bust of Beatrice; so also was Del
Benino more than delighted with a bust in marble of the boy Raphael
which I had copied from a painting by his father, Sanzio, who had
painted the little boy when six years of age. At the bottom of this
portrait was written in red, "Raphael Santii d'anni sei, Santii patre

I saw this work of mine only a few years ago in the palace belonging to
the heirs of Count del Benino.

As I have alluded to that excellent man--of whom, as you see, I retain
such an affectionate remembrance--I will mention that I asked permission
of his heirs by letter to be permitted at my own expense to make a
little memorial of him in marble, and to place it in the chapel of the
villa where Del Benino was buried; but I have never received any answer.

It appears that works either for love or money are not wanted. Here is
another example of this. It must be now four or five years since the
lamented Professor G. B. Donati, the astronomer, came to my studio with
the engineer Del Sarto, to tell me that the commune of Florence intended
to place a sun-dial on one side of the Ponte alla Carraja, exactly at
the beginning or end of the terrace, where there is at present a kiosk;
and in order to have an elegant and artistic thing, it came into the
head of Donati, or some one of the Municipal Council of Art, to have a
figure in bronze holding a disc on which should be marked the meridian,
and the hand of this figure should be held gracefully in such a manner
that its shadow indicated the hour. The idea pleased me. I made a
sketch, and Del Sarto the engineer sent me the exact dimensions of the
terrace. He liked the sketch, and asked me what the cost of such a work
would be, adding that unless the price was small they would not be able
to order it. I replied that nothing could cost less than this, as I
intended to present the model, and the Municipality would only have to
pay for the casting in bronze. I had an estimate made by Professor
Clemente Papi, who asked a very reasonable sum--seven or eight thousand
lire, I believe; and he signed a paper to this effect, which, at the
same time with a letter I had written repeating the offer of my work
gratis, I sent in an envelope to the Municipality: and since then I have
heard nothing. Poor Donati is dead; the sketch and the model of the
terrace are in my studio. Count Cambray Digny was then syndic. On Ponte
alla Carraja, in place of my statue, there is a kiosk where papers,
wax-matches, &c., are sold. Even this is not the last of the statues I
have offered as a present which have not been accepted, but I will not
mention them here.


Meanwhile, as I was finishing the model of Cain, the Grand Duchess Maria
Antonietta ordered of me a statue for the Uffizi. I selected Giotto, and
she presented this statue to the Commission for erecting statues of
illustrious Tuscans, which, while they ornament the Loggia, serve to
recall past glory and to advise one to study more and to chatter a
little less. In roughing out the statue I found a flaw which split the
marble in two. I was obliged to throw it away and to buy another block.
When the good Grand Duchess heard of this, she insisted upon repaying me
the price of the new marble. I note this because so generous an act is


The Cain was exhibited, and, as was natural, was less liked than the
Abel,--first of all, because the enthusiasm raised by the former statue
had too sensibly wounded the self-love of many; and then, because some
of my friends were too zealous, and their excessive praise of it before
it was on exhibition created a public opinion in its favour which
perhaps was not justified by its merits, for the difficulties of the
subject were very great. With a phrase more witty than just, they said,
"This time Abel has killed Cain;" but Bartolini, who generally liked
wit, said this was unjust and stupid, and declared that I had overcome a
thousand times greater difficulties than in the Abel. But that witticism
was prompted by suspicion and passion, and it came from those same
persons who said that the Abel had been cast from life.

Being proposed by Bartolini, I was elected Professor of the Academy. At
that time, being invited by some of my townsmen, I went to Siena, where
I was received with warmth and fraternal love. I was a guest of the
Bianchis--of that charming Signora Laura who had always been so good to
my poor mother and my family. That dear lady, and Carlo, who is still
alive, and Luigi, who, alas! was too soon snatched away from the love of
his relations and of Siena, rejoiced in seeing me made the subject of
honour and ovation by all the citizens, who came to the palace to greet

I remember with emotion that crowd of people, and those deputations of
the _contrade_ and academies of the city, sent to bring me salutations
and presents. These were the first flowers that I gathered and smelt in
the garden of my youth; and their perfume I still smell, and it is now
perhaps even more delightful, for it is associated in my memory with a
time when I had no remorse.


A subscription was opened on the spot, promoted by the Cavaliere
Alessandro Saracini, the Count Scipione Borghese, the Count Augusto dei
Gori, and the Marquis Alessandro Bichi-Ruspoli. The statue which they
ordered was of the Pontiff Pius II., Eneas Silvius Piccolomini.

These four gentlemen were good friends of mine; but I saw Saracini
oftenest, as he came to Florence on business affairs. He had an
intelligent love of Art, which he practised a little for his amusement,
and he was President of the Institute of Fine Arts at Siena. One day he
came to me quite breathless. He said that he had seen, in a shop or
store-house near the Via Faenza, a wall all painted over, and that it
was concealed by carriages, carts, wheels, and poles--in fact, it was at
a carriage-maker's.

"But what painting is it?" I asked.

"I do not know--I cannot say what it is; but it appears to me very
beautiful," he replied. "It is like Perugino, or certainly of his

"Wait a moment," I said; "here in the neighbourhood is some one who
understands these things better than you or I;" and we went to Count
Carlo della Porta, and to Ignazio Zotti, painters who lived in the
Niccolini building with me. They lost no time, and we all four went to
the place. Carlo della Porta having placed a ladder against the wall,
mounted, and stayed there only a few moments, then descended, and made
Zotti go up. They then, after exchanging some words, expressed the
opinion that it was by Raphael.

The clearing out of this place, and the arguments for and against the
decision on the part of the Government, and the ultimate destination of
the picture, are all well known, and I pass to other things. Having
finished the Giotto, I went to Rome to make studies there for the statue
of Pius II. I stayed there a month, and lived at the Hotel Cesari,
Piazza di Pietra. It was the month of December 1844.

[Sidenote: MY FOLLY AT ROME.]

I must confess, whatever it costs me, that the Eternal City did not make
the most favourable impression upon me; and except the ruins of ancient
Rome, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, with its triumphal arches
and colonnades, all the rest excited in me no enthusiasm. But I must
admit I had been spoiled by too much praise; and I was so vain, that
while I accepted everything with apparent modesty, I was so puffed up
internally with pride that at times it would show itself in spite of me.
I remember once at the house of the Signora Clementina Carnevali, where
every evening were to be seen all the most distinguished persons in
Rome, either in letters or art, strangers as well as Italians,--I
remember, I say, to have replied in a most impertinent manner to some
one who asked me how I liked the monuments and the art of Rome, and what
above all had most pleased me. I replied--and I blush to repeat
it--"What I like best is the stewed broccoli"--a reply as outrageously
stupid as insolent, and I wonder that those who heard it could have
taken it in good part. For myself, as I feel to-day, if a young artist
had replied to me in such a manner, he would have got little good out of
it, and so much the better for him!

But I had better luck; my foolish reply was repeated by every one, and
so clouded by vanity and pride were my eyes, that I fancied it excited
mirth and approbation, while it really deserved only compassion.

O Minardi! O Tenerani! O Massimo d'Azeglio! you who were present, but
now dead, cannot see the _amende_ which I make. However, you knew me
later, and were aware of my repentance. But as for you, excellent
Clementina--who are alive, and will read, I hope, these pages--if then
you smiled with compassion, because you are so good you will to-day
smile with approbation and praise.

[Sidenote: I LOSE MY WAY.]

And now, gentle reader, would you like to see how headstrong and proud I
had become? One evening--Christmas Eve--I proposed to go to the midnight
Mass at St Peter's. I set out at ten o'clock from the Via Condotti,
where I had passed the evening with some of my English friends whom I
had known in Florence. Mrs ----, to whom I had disclosed my purpose,
said, "Take care! you are not much acquainted with Roman streets; you
had better take a carriage to go there. If you do not, you may easily
lose your way in the streets of Rome. They are very confusing by day;
imagine what they are at night!" If this lady had not given me such a
warning, it is probable that I should have done as she suggested; but
because she had given it I despised it, and determined to go by myself
to St Peter's.


I walked until two o'clock without even being able to find the bridge of
St Angelo. I got bewildered in all those streets and lanes which are
comprised between San Luigi dei Francesi, Piazza Navona, San Andrea
della Valle, San Carlo a Catinari, Teatro Argentina, Il Gesu, and San
Ignazio e la Minerva; and after having walked for two hours, I found
myself at the point I had started from. Then, more obstinate than ever,
though overcome by weariness and mortified pride, I persisted in going
up and down all sorts of streets unknown to me, and often very filthy,
and again coming across the same _piazze_, the same fountains, until at
last I found myself at the foot of the Campidoglio steps. The people
whom I met in the streets here and there returning from the Mass could
have shown me the way, not to go to St Peter's, but how to return to my
hotel, had I been less headstrong, and had I inquired for the Piazza
Colonna or Piazza di Pietra, where I lodged. But no; it appeared to me
to be a humiliation. I wished to find the hotel by myself; and I did
find it finally, but in what a condition I leave those to judge who know
Rome, and the sharp pavements of its streets, but, above all, tired out,
and more than this, humiliated and without supper. It was two o'clock.
The Hotel Cesari was shut, and I had to wait until they opened it for
me. I asked for supper; they replied that they had nothing, and that if
they had it they could not give me anything, because they were
prohibited by law from supplying any food on that night. I should have
been glad of any little thing, but could get nothing. My pride was
singularly punished that night, and I went to bed hungry. At first I
strove in vain to go to sleep, then I dreamt all night of eating, and
awoke in the morning rather late. I could not realise that I could get
up and have a good breakfast. I went over again in thought the weariness
of the night, the hunger, the annoyance, and I felt weak. But finally I
said to myself, I will eat now, and another time I shall be wiser. Now
to breakfast! After going out of the hotel, I turned to the right to go
into the Osteria dell'Archetto. It was closed; the _caffè_ next door was
closed. I ran into the Piazza Colonna, and found all shut up--_caffès_,
pastry-cooks, everything closed. I asked, angrily and with a
bewilderment easy to comprehend, what was the reason of this, and was
told that during the time of the religious ceremonies no one could sell
anything to eat. I was stupefied, and walked along slowly, not knowing
where to go. Until after twelve o'clock neither the _trattorie_ nor the
_caffès_ would be opened. I would not go back to the hotel, as I feared
a refusal such as I had the night before. I began to feel very faint;
for nearly twenty hours I had eaten nothing. I saw the people gaily
walking about, smiling, smoking, and looking well-fed and of good
colour, and I felt angry and envious. They had eaten leisurely and at
home, or in the _caffè_ or _trattoria_ before ten o'clock, the hour
prescribed. I had slept until that hour, and dreamt of eating, and when
I went out intending to get something to eat, it was too late.
Fortunately, one of my friends, the engraver Travalloni, saw me, and
coming to meet me, said, "What is the matter? Why do you look so
scared?" I told him my story, and he laughed, and taking me by the arm,
said--"Come with me." After a few turns he entered a doorway half
closed, and pushed me up a dark staircase, where there were the savoury
odours of cooking, all the more grateful to me because my appetite was
so great. The staircase opened upon an ante-room, also dark. We closed
the door and knocked at a smaller door. It was opened, and I found
myself in a spacious hall, well ventilated and full of people, who were
sitting eating and drinking cheerfully at table.

[Sidenote: NOTHING TO EAT.]

"What is this?" I asked. "Can I get anything to eat here?"

"Yes," he said; "give your orders."

The waiter, with a napkin over his shoulder, was standing before us. I
was like a full flask which, being upturned, can with difficulty empty
itself. There was such a variety of odours in the room, and such a
quantity of things to eat, that I could not get out a word; and my
friend, seeing my embarrassment, hastened to say to me--

[Sidenote: A BREAKFAST.]

"Will you have some soup and a cutlet?"

"Yes; two," I replied.

"Will you have Orvieto or good Roman wine?"

"Do me the favour to bring anything you please, so long as you bring me
something to eat and drink. I can't stop to choose."

And the good Travalloni, turning to the servant, said--

"Bring at once a flask of Orvieto, such as I drink--you
understand?--some bread, some soup, a cutlet, cheese, and fruit."

That day Travalloni appeared to me to be a man of genius.



My studio, as I think I have already said, was the resort of many of the
literary men of the time--Giusti, Thouar, Montazio, La Farina, F. S.
Orlandini, Enrico Mayer, Girolamo Gargiolli, Giovanni Chiarini, Filippo
Moisè, and sometimes, but rarely, G. B. Niccolini, Atto Vannucci, and
Giuseppe Arcangeli. These distinguished men, all talking with me, and
bringing forward their theories of Art, somewhat confused me in my
ideas. I said, at the very beginning of these memoirs--and the reader, I
hope, keeps it in mind--that I had received no education, and my
judgment was not trained to discern and distinguish the laws of the
beautiful, which, the more deeply one studies them, the more they
scatter, and seem, as it were, to fly from us. I was attracted to Art by
a purely natural sentiment, which I sought to express by a simple
imitation of nature; and so far, I think I was right, for whatever other
path we may take, supported however it may be by philosophic and
æsthetic reasons, it will prove utterly fallacious unless it lead to
this end, of imitating the beautiful in nature, and will surely lead
astray the young artist, even though he has a good natural talent and a
lively fancy.


Yes, sir; my poor head was perplexed, and I began to distrust nature,
with its imperfections and its vulgarity. The warm and imaginative
utterances of La Farina made all the words of Niccolini seem colourless
to me, for though given with antique beauty, they came from him with
difficulty. The pure and touching morality of Thouar conflicted with the
humoristic and cynical freedom of Montazio. Giusti, who might have set
me right in my opinions, kept at a distance without giving a reason why;
and in this he was wrong, for I should have given heed to him. But he
contented himself with writing to the advocate Galeotti, telling him
that I was surrounded by a number of fops who spoiled me, and that if I
did not shut myself up in my studio, as I did when I made the Abel, I
should not succeed in making anything good. This outburst of Giusti's I
only knew many years afterwards, on the publication of his letters.

I remember one day, when Giusti was with me, I recited from memory the
canto in the 'Inferno' relating to Francesca, but when I came to this

    "Quali colombe dal desio chiamate
    Con l'ali aperte e ferme, al dolce nido
    Volan per l'aere dal voler portate;"

he interrupted me, saying, "You recite well and intelligently the verses
of the divine poet; but you, too, fall into the error into which so many
have fallen--copyists, printers, and commentators--that of placing the
semicolon at the end of the line, after the word _portate_, instead of
putting it in the middle of the line, after the word _aere_. This
punctuation makes Dante guilty of a blunder, he attributing to the
doves, besides desire, which is most proper, also will, which belongs
properly to man. Try and place the comma and the pause after the word
_aere_, and you will see what a stupendous philosophical value it gives
to the verses. Listen; I will repeat them to you:--

    'Quali colombe dal desio chiamate
    Con l'ali aperte e ferme, al dolce nido
    Volan per l'aere; dal voler portate
    Cotali uscir dalla schiera, ov'è Dido,'" &c.

This correction, so clear, so easy, so just, satisfied me immediately,
and from that day I have always recited these lines in this way. The
unintelligent did not perceive the change of sense, but those who were
more attentive and refined gave me praise for it; but I rejected it at
once as belonging to me, saying that the correction was due to Giuseppe

 [6] The distinguished Signor Carlo Ara of Palermo informs me
  that this new punctuation did not originate with Giusti, but with Muzzi.
  And, in truth, Giusti did not tell me that it was his, but simply
  recommended me to try to say it and understand it in that sense; and I,
  supposing the correction to be his, recited and wrote it so. The
  distinguished Carlo Ara pointed out to me the way in which I could
  verify his assertion; and I am glad to be able to correct an error
  (involuntary on my part), and to take this occasion to thank the
  distinguished Signor Carlo Ara.

  The distinguished Signor Angelo Cavalieri of Trieste writes to me that
  this new punctuation of this Dantesque simile does not convince him, and
  he gives his reasons; but upon this I am not competent to enter into a


In making my Giotto, I followed my inspiration by drawing upon nature
for that type of rude good-nature which constituted the outward
character of my statue; and although some of my literary friends, who
were more attached to the antique and the so-called _bello ideale_,
blamed me, and some artists of distinction opposed me openly, I firmly
adhered to the sound principle of imitating nature. The Giotto was
finished without a moment's indecision, although, as I have said, I had
been revolving over and over again in my mind the conception of a beauty
ideal and beyond nature, but which, without great judgment, becomes


About this time a controversy occurred between me and a great artist
which it may be well to speak of here, because, although it will show
how tenacious I was of this principle of imitating nature, yet it will
also show how much I was affected by it, and how the acerbity of this
artist produced a change in me, which certainly he did not desire. His
fear was lest I should fall into a servile copying of life; and had his
language been more measured, we should easily have understood each
other. But he took a different course, and I now proceed to give the
history of this controversy.


I had a short time previously completed my model of Giotto, and, as I
have said, some among the artists most tenacious of the classic rules
attacked me sharply, but Bartolini defended me. I was therefore somewhat
irritated when Calamatta, accompanied by Signor Floridi, the
draughtsman, came to my studio. He came in with a magisterial and rather
arrogant air. I received him politely and with respectful words, such as
became me towards the author of the famous mask of Napoleon I. He looked
at "Abel" and "Cain" without opening his mouth, and as if he found in
them nothing either to praise or to blame; but when he came to the
"Giotto," he said, "I have heard a good deal of talk about you, in which
you have been lauded to the skies, and I wished to come and ascertain
with my own eyes whether you were entitled to your fame; and I confess
to you, though what I shall say may seem bitter to you, that in the
presence of your works your fame disappears; and if it be permitted to
me to make a comparison, I should say that you produce the same effect
upon me as if I saw a balloon inflated with gas rising majestically in
the air, and which, after arriving at a certain height, bursts, and
afterwards leaves nothing to be seen." I answered that such things might
be thought, and even spoken, but a little more graciously, and I said no
more. Calamatta rejoined, with some irritation, that he was a person who
could not endure the ugly--that it was his instinct to denounce it with
the same vivacity and earnestness that one does when there is a cry of
fire, and some place is in flames. I began then to lose my patience:
still I only contented myself with asking whether he was quite sure that
there was a conflagration, and whether he was absolutely called upon to
extinguish it; and finally, added that Bartolini, Tenerani, and others
had seen my works, and had spoken of them in very different terms. This
only more irritated poor Calamatta, and he said that he had just come
from Paris, and had visited Tenerani at Rome, and his insipid and hard
mysticism had seemed pitiable to him; and that, on coming to Florence,
he had found in Bartolini the most filthy and offensive realism, carried
to the point of proclaiming the beauty of deformity, and that in
response to his just criticisms upon the injury that he was thus doing
to the true principles of Art, Bartolini had advised him to come to my
studio and see the application of those principles which he
censured,--and now, after examining my works, he perceived that I was
sliding down a steep declivity, which would soon precipitate me into
naturalism and deformity, and though he recognised in me a certain
talent, he warned me to avoid that false school and those insidious
precepts, and more than all, to be on my guard against treacherous and
lying praises. All this was very fine, if it were granted that I was on
a false road. But as I did not think so then, and still less now,--and
besides, as I was young, flattered, and praised, and those words of his,
"that I should be on my guard against insidious precepts and treacherous
praises," seemed to me a very unjust accusation against Bartolini,--I
indicated to him that I should be glad if he would leave me in peace,
and in fact, as he had declared my works to be ugly, and of an ugliness
that he abhorred, he was not in his proper place here; and as to his
counsel, not having asked for it, I should not take the trouble to
consider it. Poor Calamatta was angry at this, and taking by the hand
Floridi, who during the whole squabble was on thorns, he said, "Let us
go away; let us go away; let us go away"--and away he went.



Poor Calamatta, my illustrious friend. If any one had said on that day,
when we separated with such unpleasant feelings, and on my part with so
little kindness, "The time will come, and soon, when he will be your
most open defender and friend," I would not have believed him, and I
should not have wished to believe him,--and yet it so turned out. In
1855, eleven years after our disagreement, he was in Paris, and on the
Jury of the Fine Arts at the World's Exhibition. I had sent a model of
the "Abel" in plaster, and among the jury the doubt arose whether it was
not cast from life. As in Florence that opinion was originated out of
evil-mindedness, so it was repeated in Paris from speciousness, and
heedlessness of judgment. Calamatta, whom I had not seen since that
famous day, although he frequently returned to Florence, undertook to
defend my work with sound reasoning and friendly warmth, but he did not
succeed in convincing the entire body of the jury of their error of
judgment; and in assigning the prizes, out of mere regard for Calamatta
they gave to "Abel" one of the last. Calamatta then rose and said,
"Gentlemen, our judgment of this work must not be given in this way. I
have endeavoured to show you by artistic reasoning that this statue is
really modelled in clay, in imitation of beautiful nature. I have
pointed out that certain imperfections which are always found in nature
have been wisely avoided by the artist. I have shown you clear proofs of
modelling in the mode of working the clay. I thought that I had
convinced you that so noble and refined a whole is rather the creation
of the mind, through a studious and loving imitation of parts, than a
mechanical reproduction by casting; and finally, I have demonstrated,
and you have conceded to me, that the head is of equal merit with all
the rest of the body, and this could not have been cast from life. From
these considerations, which arise from the examination of the work
itself, and without regard to the artist, whom I have only once met in
Florence, and who is, I believe, inimical to me, I am of opinion that
your judgment of this work should be reconsidered, and if it seems to
you to be proved that this statue is a cast from nature and not
modelled, and in consequence a falsification and not a work of art, you
ought not to adjudge to it even the lowest prize, but to exclude it
entirely from the Exhibition, and in so doing you should give your
reasons for such a decision in writing, and under your signatures,--and
in such case I shall retire from the Jury of Fine Arts, and shall
publish in the journals of Paris my reasons for withdrawing." After this
discourse there arose an exceedingly animated discussion, and the
President decided that a new examination of the model should be made;
and as many were convinced by the good reasons put forward by Calamatta,
the second examination of "Abel" resulted in a complete success, and at
the next voting the golden medal of the First Class was awarded to me.
The news of this, derived directly from Calamatta himself, was sent to
me at once by Rossini, who had conceived a strong affection for me, and
honoured me with his friendship.


I now return to the point where I left off. After Giotto I began Pius
II.; and filled as my head was by the criticism of the academicians, the
eulogies of the _naturalisti_, the contempt of some to whom the subject
was displeasing, and more than all by the exceptional character of the
studies I had made for this work, I began it unwillingly, and strove
(strangely enough) to conciliate the academicians, copying from the life
with timidity, where boldness and fidelity were required--boldness, that
is to say, in accepting frankly the stiff paper-like folds of the
pontifical mantle, and fidelity in copying them. In consequence I made a
washed-out work, and I pleased neither one party nor the other, and much
less myself. I make this statement so that young men may be on their
guard against allowing themselves to stray from the true path, which is
this--viz., to embody the subject in its appropriate form by the
imitation of living nature, to strive for truth of character in the
general action and in all the particulars, and in proportion as the
subject is historical and natural, as in portraiture, to adhere all the
more closely to nature. In such a case as this statue of Pius II., it is
necessary to be naturalistic--avoiding, of course, all minutiæ which add
nothing to the beauty of general effect and the truth of character.

Has it ever happened to you, courteous reader, to meet a person with
whom your personal relations brought you often in contact, and who,
reserved and serious by nature as well as on account of his social
position, differed from you, who are perhaps too vivacious and open; and
on the one side you feared to displease him by your vivacity, and on the
other you were annoyed by his reserve? In such a case, if certain
allowance be made on both sides--as far as you are concerned by
listening with attentive deference to his wise counsels, austere maxims,
and high principles, and on his part by an indulgent consideration for
your free and vivacious nature--has it not happened to you that
insensibly and firmly a harmony of relation has established itself which
it is difficult to break,--and this for the undeniable, however
recondite reason, that there is a sympathy between entirely different
natures which causes each to compensate for the other?


In like manner as this may have happened to you, so it happened to me
with Luigi Venturi, then private secretary of his Royal and Imperial
Highness the Grand Duke Leopold II. He often came to my studio by order
of the Grand Duke, for whom I was making a statuette of Dante and
another of Beatrice. He took a liking to me, which I have returned
sincerely, even till to-day; and he is the oldest and most affectionate
of my friends. After the revolution of '59, with the loss of his high
position he lost also a great portion of such friends as come with
Fortune and flee with her. But neither the ingratitude of some nor the
fickleness of others ever drew from him a lament. He was contented with
those who remained, and I was one of them. Our long and intimate
connection has at last harmonised our characters,--he making me more
temperate, and I (as I dare to hope) making him more open and vivacious.
His friendship, as well as that of others of whom I shall speak in the
proper place, has strengthened my judgment and tempered my fancies.
Trustworthy, honest, and sincere friends are a great fortune--and I have
had such, and have kept them. To distinguish the good from the bad
requires study, and we must learn how to get rid of chatterers and


And this warning I feel it my duty to give to young artists, for whom
these memoirs are specially written. I have already said, in speaking of
models, "Girls unaccompanied as models, no!" now I add, "Nor even
married women without the express consent of their husbands." Here is a
little incident which may serve as a lesson.

Prince Anatolio Demidoff often came to my studio. He gave vent to his
annoyance at the delays and the infinite difficulties interposed by
Bartolini in completing the groups and statues of the monument ordered
by him in honour of the memory of his dead father. To listen to the
Prince, he seemed to have a thousand good reasons; but the consequences
he drew from them, and the bold, unjust measures which he proposed, I
could not but think blameworthy, and I strove in every way to moderate
him, and to dissuade him from carrying out his intentions. My frank and
loyal defence of Bartolini, so far from exasperating him, as often
happened when he was opposed, made him more kindly towards me, and he
proposed to order of me a great work worthy, as he was pleased to say,
of my genius. He had a thousand projects, and among them he spoke to me
of a colossal statue of Napoleon I. He was at that time tenderly
inclined toward the Bonaparte family. His pride in being connected with
it, as well as the charms of the beautiful Princess, his wife, were in
great measure the cause of this enthusiasm. He treated me with great
kindness, invited me often to dinner and to his evening receptions, and
talked very freely with me in regard to works that he wished me to make
for him.


About this time the Princess came one day to my studio, and told me that
she wished me to make her portrait--not merely a bust, but the whole
figure, almost half the size of life. I answered that I should like much
to make it, for I was persuaded that it would give the Prince pleasure;
but she hastened to say that the Prince must know nothing about it. I
had not sufficient presence of mind to reply that without his consent I
could not undertake it--and I was wrong, I confess: but the Princess
stood before me blandly insisting; and overcome by the beauty of the
model, I agreed to make it and keep it a secret from the Prince. She
gave me a number of sittings, and I was going on satisfactorily with the
statuette, and had already a good likeness, when unexpectedly the Prince
came one day to see me, and after exchanging a few words and taking a
turn through the room, he stopped before the modelling-stand, on which
was the clay of the statuette covered with wet cloths, and said--

"And what have you got here?"

"Nothing, your Excellency--nothing."

"Let me see what there is under here."

"But there is nothing; it is only a mass of infirm clay, and is not in a
state to show."

"Let us see, my friend,--I am extremely curious." And so saying he
lifted up the cloths, looked at it, and then said seriously, "Very
good--very like;" and then in a sharp tone added, "And who has ordered

"Listen, Signor Principe. The Princess has ordered this statuette of me,
for I see that you recognise it as her portrait--and she ordered me to
show it to no one, not even to you, Signor Principe; for I believe she
wished to give you a surprise, and to present it to you when it should
be finished in marble."


He answered, "The Princess has done wrong in ordering her portrait
without my consent, and you have done wrong in complying with her
request. I do not like these surprises, and when the Princess returns
for a sitting you must request her to go about her business; and you may
tell her that you do this by my order. And besides--and this I say
particularly to you--destroy this work, and think no more about it."

I felt that the Prince was right, but to throw down this work was a
bitter pain to me; and besides, I was unwilling to displease the
Princess, who so earnestly desired to have this statuette, and who had
already expressed her satisfaction with it. My face must have been very
expressive at that moment, for the Prince, taking my hands in his,

"My dear Duprè, I understand your embarrassment and annoyance, but it is
necessary that this should be done. I do not like, and I will not have
this sort of thing, and I like still less this way of doing it. Do you
understand? A portrait of the Princess, or even a statue of her, would
be a charming possession, and I should particularly like one by you. I
have already a beautiful statue of Madame Letizia by Canova, and this of
my wife would make an admirable pendant; but I repeat that this way of
doing it does not please me, and though I may seem harsh, I again say to
you--Destroy this statuette, and let us say no more about it."

While he was speaking I thought to myself--This statuette and portrait
of his wife he does not wish to have, but rather wishes to have a statue
of her of life size; and so much the better. And then, considering that
he had said he did not like the way in which it was done, I perceived,
as I ought from the first to have perceived, that he objected to the
Princess coming to my studio to sit, and I answered--

"You shall be obeyed. To-morrow the Princess is to return to give me a
sitting, and I will tell her all, and this clay shall go back into the
tank. But I hope that you will not forget that you have spoken of a
life-size statue of the Princess; and as this work would require
considerable time, and it might be more convenient to her that I should
model it in your own palace, I could----"


He did not let me finish my sentence, but, embracing me warmly and
kissing me, said--

"Thanks, dear Duprè, that is right. That is what pleases me, and that is
the way it shall be done. And now, _addio_." And pressing my hand, he

The day after, at one o'clock, the usual hour, the Princess arrived, gay
and laughing, as usual; and after giving a glance at herself in the
mirror, and arranging a little her hair, she seated herself and said--

"I am ready."

I had not as yet thrown down the statuette. There it stood uncovered,
just as the Prince had left it the day before.

"I am very sorry, Signora Principessa," I began, "to give you some bad
news. The Prince was here yesterday."

"I hope you did not allow him to see this portrait?"

"Yes, he has seen it--he has seen it, Signora Principessa. It was
useless to try to conceal it from him, and I did wrong to endeavour to
do so, for he was perfectly aware of its existence when he came here. He
must have been exactly informed about it; and so sure was he that I was
making your portrait, that he planted himself here precisely before the
modelling-stand, and seeing that I was unwilling to uncover it, he
uncovered it himself without any ceremony. He told me that I did wrong
to begin the work, and that I must not go on with it, and, in fact, he
has expressly ordered me to destroy it and throw it down."


While I was thus speaking she stood disquieted and frowning, and then
said that it was unjust, absurd, and ridiculous, and that I must not
give heed to him, but that she should stay, and I must go on with the
portrait. After a while, however, she grew calmer, and decided to go
away; and this was well. But she did not give up the matter, and the day
after, she wrote to me to say that she should return to give me more
sittings. I had not yet thrown down the clay, not only on account of my
natural unwillingness to do so, which is excusable, but also because of
the advice of Prince Jerome, the brother of the Princess Matilde, who
insisted that the Prince could not pretend to anything more than that
the work should be suspended. But of this I was a safer and better
advised judge than he, and well knew that a husband is the legitimate
master of his own wife, and of any portrait of her. But I repeat, I
allowed the statuette to remain because I disliked to destroy it. The
Princess did not return as she had promised, and wrote again to me to
expect her another day. This went on for some time; and finally, when I
saw her again, she told me that she was going to Paris with the Prince,
and that on her return we must go on, and if the Prince persisted in his
ideas, she would recompense me for the work I had done on it.

In fact, she went to Paris with the Prince, and there she remained;
while he, recalled by the Emperor Nicholas of Russia, went to St
Petersburg, where he found that a decree of divorce had been demanded by
the Princess and signed by the Emperor. The Prince gave me nothing
further to do, except some slight things which are scarcely worth
mentioning, and the Princess entirely forgot her promise. And as I am
now on this matter, and in order to make an end of it, let me leap over
eleven years, and say that, having exhibited in Paris at the Exposition
of 1855, besides the model in plaster of the Abel (as I have before
narrated), a reproduction in small of this statue in marble, which I
desired to sell, I wrote to the Princess asking her to purchase it. This
I did to remind her indirectly of her promise to recompense me for the
labour I had given to her statuette, but she never answered. I now make
another leap over twelve years more. In the Exposition Universelle at
Paris in 1867, I was one of the Italian Jury on Sculpture; and one
evening, at a reception at the Tuilleries, I was presented by our
minister Nigra to the Emperor, who had on his arm the Princess Matilde.
As soon as she saw me she said, "We have known each other a long time;"
but I, remembering how she had treated me, pretended to have no
remembrance of her. And the Emperor looked at me through his sleepy
eyes, and must have thought me either remarkably forgetful or a great
fool. The Princess, naturally, never deigned to give me another look.


And now again I return to my works. After Pius II., I put up a figure of
life-size representing Innocence. This was ordered of me by Signor
Tommasi of Leghorn; but later, with my full consent, it remained on my
hands, and was bought by Prince Constantine of Russia. I have determined
not to judge my own works, though here and there I may give a little
hint; but in order that these memoirs may be of some use, it is well
that I should indicate the spirit of the principles which guided me in
my work. I have said that my faith in the pure imitation of nature was
somewhat shaken by the criticisms of my Giotto as being too
naturalistic. Some reasonings by my friends, and above all, certain
articles by Giuseppe Arcangeli in the 'Rivista, Sul Bello Ideale,' as
well as the compliments and eulogies of my statue of Innocence by
Borghi, finally persuaded me that there does exist a _bello ideale_
impossible to find in nature, and this beauty should be arrived at by an
imitation of the antique, and by the aid of memory.


Nothing is more dangerous than this theory. Beauty is scattered over
universal nature. The artist born to feel and perceive this beauty
(which is the object of art) has his mind and heart always exercised in
seeking it out and expressing it. He discerns in nature one or more
living forms that in some degree approximate to the type he has in his
mind, and the reality of these, by strengthening his ideals, enables him
to work the latter properly out. The artist who is without his ideal,
and forces himself to find it outside of nature, torturing his memory
with what he has seen or studied in the works of others, makes but a
cold and conventional work. The animating spark, the heat, the life,
does not inform his work, for he is not the father, but only the
stepfather of his children. To this school belong the imitators--that
is, the timid friends of nature.

On the other side, but in much greater numbers and with much greater
petulance, are the _naturalisti_, who despise every kind of ideality,
and especially despise it because they have it not. Neither is their
heart warmed by strong and sweet affections, nor do they with their
eyes or their mind seize, among the multiform shapes of nature, a type,
a movement, or an expression which, assiduously pursued, awakens and
fecundates the idea within them. The first ruffian or harlot of the
streets taken by evil chance suffices for them, and they delight to drag
this noble art of ours through filth and ugliness.


Each of these extremes I have sought to avoid. But it is none the less
true that, at the period to which I have arrived in my narrative, I was
carried a little away, by the discourses and writings of literary men
and critics of Art, on the road that leads to the conventional and
academic. This bad influence weakened my faith in nature and my courage
in my work. And the Pius II., the Innocence, and the Purity are, so to
speak, the mirrors in which are reflected my want of faith, uncertainty,
and weakness of mind during these three years of artistic irresolution.
In seeking after the perfect I lost the little good that my genius had
produced in my first years, uninfluenced by all these discussions, and
what is of more importance, by all eulogies both of good and of bad
alloy. Yes, also of bad alloy. The young artist should take heed of all
the praise that he receives. He should hold it in suspicion, and weigh
it, and make a large deduction. Eulogy is like a perfume, grateful to
the sense, but it is better to inhale it but little, little, little,
because it goes to the head, lulls us to sleep, and sometimes
intoxicates us and bewilders us so that we lose our compass. One must be
prudent. Flowers of too strong an odour must be kept outside the room.
Air is necessary--air. I hope that these words will fall into the ear of
some to whom they may do good--I mean, of those who not only sniff up
praise with eagerness, but are discontented because they do not think it
sufficient, and who re-read it and talk of it with others so as to
prolong their pleasure, and preserve all the papers and writings which
speak of them, without perceiving that this is all vanity and pettiness
of heart.


For the rest, it is very easy to see how one may vaccilate, and even
fall; and on this account I deem it my duty, for the love that I bear to
young men, to put them on their guard against the blandishments of
praise. Imagine, dear reader, an inexperienced youth of spirit and
lively fancy, who in his first essays in Art finds it said and written
of him that he has surpassed all others, has begun where others ended,
that he is born perhaps to outdo the Greeks with his chisel, that
Michael Angelo must descend from the pedestal he has occupied for
centuries, and other similar stuff--more than this, expose him to the
envy of the Mæviis, and those light and inconsiderate flatteries, which
are all the more dangerous when made attractive by courtesy and
refinement of expression,--and you will have the secret of his
vaccilations, even if with God's help he is not led utterly astray.

At this most trying time of my life the peace of my family was somewhat
disturbed by these influences. My wife was disquieted because I had
prevented her from carrying on her occupation. Our daily necessities
increased with the growth of our children. Then there were requirements
and troubles on account of my father, thoughts about my sister, as well
as my brother, who wished to become a rougher-out in marble, and who
brought to my studio very little aptitude united with great pretensions
on the score of being my brother. All these annoyances were partly
confided to my friend Venturi, to whom I poured out all my mind; and he
with wise and kindly words consoled me.


Not the least affliction to me was Bartolini's unconcealed animosity, of
which I had a new proof in a fact which it is here the place to narrate.
I hope that the reader will remember that I made, while in the studio of
Sani, a little crucifix which the Signor Emanuel Fenzi bought for the
chamber of his son Orazio, who married the noble Lady Emilia of the
Counts Delia Gherardesca. About this time Signor Emanuel desired to make
my acquaintance, and having become intimate with me, wished to have me
often with him. Thus he discovered that this crucifix he had bought of
Sani was my work, and I cannot say how much this delighted him. To his
dinners and _conversazioni_, which were frequented by many foreigners as
well as Italians, Bartolini often came; but he was never willing to
renew his relations with me, although my bearing towards him was that of
the most affectionate consideration. As long as this unwillingness was
concealed or perceived by few, I bore it quietly; but it happened that
it was soon openly exhibited. One evening after dinner the _salon_ of
Signor Fenzi was filled with guests, and gay with all sorts of talk.
Soon, as was natural, the conversation fell upon Art; and Bartolini, who
was an easy and clever talker, affirmed that the arts were in
_decadence_, for various reasons: first, because of the want of
enthusiasm and faith among the lower and upper classes, both of whom
were sleeping in a _dolce far niente_; and second, because the artists
had abandoned the right road of imitation of beautiful nature, and were
pursuing with panting breath a chimerical beauty, which they called a
_bello ideale_; and last, because the vices of both had usurped the
place of the virtues of our ancestors, and luxury, apathy, and avarice
had drawn out of our beautiful country activity, temperance, modesty,
and liberality,--and he illustrated this by various instances of ancient
temperance and modesty. While Bartolini was speaking, Signor Fenzi went
into the chamber of the Cavaliere Orazio and brought out the "Christ,"
which, by reason of the long time that it had been executed, and perhaps
of the kisses of the pious Signora Emilia, had an antique look, and
showing it to the _maestro_, said--

"Look at this work."

After examining it, he said, "The proof that our artists of old were as
able as they were modest can be seen in this work. The artist who made
it, and who probably was only an _intagliatore_, would have been able to
make a statue such as perhaps no one to-day could."

At this Fenzi replied, with a smile, "Excuse me, but you are in error.
This is a modern work, and there is the artist who made it," pointing me
out, who was just coming in at that moment.

Bartolini laid down the "Christ," spoke not a word more, and did not
deign even to look at me, although he had praised the work. This did not
seem just, either to Fenzi or to any of the persons there present.



The elevation of Pius IX. to the Pontificate, the amnesty and reforms
granted by that Pontiff, which initiated and awoke the liberal
sentiments of all Italy, were perhaps felt more in Florence than
elsewhere, almost all the political refugees from the different States
having for some time past found a safe and peaceful home there, owing to
the character and patriarchal laws of the Grand Duke. This drew me away
from the serene quiet of my studio, and with the others I shouted, "Long
live Ferruccio! Pius IX.! the press! the civic guard and Gioberti!" and
all the rest. The principal leader of our peaceful demonstrations was
the advocate Antonio Mordini, and after him came Giuseppe La Farina, and
others. Not a petition was made to the Government or a deputation sent
to the Prince in which I did not take part. Whether our honest demands
were of use to the country, I will not discuss, but certainly my work
suffered not a little from this state of things. Nor was I the only one
to abandon the studio; all, young and old, were possessed and inflamed
with a national aspiration for independence from foreign occupation. The
consequence of all this excitement was, that I was taken away from my
studies and work; and, in short, while there was a great deal of
patriotic enthusiasm, there was but little study, very little profit,
and much idle talk on questions more or less futile, by which family
peace was destroyed, and friendship made a matter of caution and


Although in these memoirs I do not propose to speak of politics (not
feeling equal to it), I wish to touch on the great events that produced
the revolution of '48, as they were one of the causes of interruption in
my art; and even in politics, in consequence of the turn things were
taking, I found myself set aside. Some of my friends whose views went
far beyond mine left me, and the others that had remained stationary
blamed me even for those temperate aspirations that were those also of
the Government. I was disheartened, self-involved, and ill at ease. With
the growth of the revolution, the departure of the Grand Duke, and the
dread of a dangerous crisis, artistic life was not one of the most
flourishing, and I had not work of any kind, except to retouch the wax
of "Abel and Cain," that the Grand Duke had given an order to Papi to
cast in bronze.

Seeing this, I concentrated all my life in my family affections. My
studio had become deserted; my scholars--Tito Sarrocchi, Luigi Majoli,
and Enrico Pazzi--had left me to go to the camp. They returned
afterwards, but were always tossed about on the wave of the revolution.
Only one of my workmen, Romualdo Bianchini, was left dead on the field,
the 29th of May, at Curtatone.

I passed my days in great sadness. Antonio Ciseri, with whom I had
contracted a friendship from my earliest steps in art, had his studio
near mine, and we used to exchange visits. Although he was not a facile
talker, his nature was open and ingenuous; and as his principles in art,
his morals, and his habits agreed with mine, a strong friendship grew up
between us, which has never diminished; and if years have whitened our
beards, our hearts have not grown old, and we love each as in our early
years. To-day he is one of our first painters, and has a number of able
and devoted scholars.


Amongst my friends was also Dr Giuseppe Saltini, who for many years had
been a physician in the employment of the Government, and now leads a
hard life with restricted means, on account of having so many children.
Now I will describe an evening passed most pleasantly in those times.
One day some clever men came to see me--Prati, Aleardi, Fusinato,
Coletti, doctor and poet, and others that I do not remember. They said
to me, "Is it true that in Florence there are, as in the days gone by,
_improvisatori_ poets? We [it was Prati who spoke] are curious to hear
one, and have not the pretension, as you can imagine, to expect high
flights, but only free verses, and really improvised. Here is Aleardi
(whom I present to you), who is a confounded sceptic on the subject of
improvisation, and says that these people commit to memory a great
quantity of verses of various measures, and when the occasion offers
itself, have the art of patching them together in such a way that the
mosaic resembles a real picture. You must know, however, that my friend
is very slow in composition,--much slower than I am, although he is a
far abler and more graceful poet."

"I believe," said I, "I know just the person you are looking for, and
Aleardi will be disabused of such a notion. It is a certain Chiarini,
called Baco, who keeps a little stall under the Uffizi, and I have heard
him many times, alone or in company of others. It was real
improvisation; the flow of his ideas was not common or vulgar, and he
invested them with a graceful and vigorous form. You shall hear him. I
will take upon myself to invite him to come. Return here, and I will
tell you when he is able to do so, for he is a man who has much to do.
During the day, as I have said, he attends to his little shop under the
Uffizi, and in the evening he is engaged to go here and there on purpose
to show his skill as an extempore poet."



The poet having been engaged, and an appointment made for my friends at
the studio, trial of his improvisation took place; and he did not know
who his listeners were, which was perhaps as well, for who knows how
much the poor poet might have felt embarrassed by the presence of such
men? A table was constructed by laying a board on two trestles. I had
invited, besides Prati and the rest, Ciseri the painter, Giulio Piatti,
and some others whom I do not remember. The table was laid with great
simplicity--some bread, sausages, and wine serving only as a sort of
excuse for animating our poet with a little food and drink. Before
anything else was done, Aleardi and Prati besieged the _improvisatore_
with questions to ascertain how far his culture went; and although he
showed that he was familiar and well acquainted with the poets,
beginning with Homer and Virgil down to our times--so that he could
repeat by memory some of the most beautiful fragments--as far as
history, geography, and critical works went, he really knew very little,
or at least so pretended. Then without further preamble Chiarini said,
"Some one give me a theme. I feel in the mood for singing;" and seating
himself whilst waiting, he began a prelude upon his guitar, which was
sometimes soft and mournful, and then again loud and stirring. Seeing
that we delayed giving him a subject, he began to sing off verse after
verse in _ottava rima_, and stringing together a series of piquant and
pointed remarks against us, ridiculing our torpor and indifference. I
cannot describe our hearty laughter in hearing the deluge of sarcasm and
biting epigrams launched at each of us in turn by way of stirring us up.
The verses were so flowing, fresh, and spirited, that they really did
not seem like improvisations, so that Prati, a little irritated, after a
brief consultation with the others, gave out the following theme: "The
death of Buondelmonte of the Buondelmonti." Our poet began as if he had
studied the subject before in all its parts, situations, colouring,
names, dates, and particulars, the circumstances and sad consequences of
that tragic death, and sang with inspired freedom, and with always
increasing warmth and passion. The tender and pure love of the Amidei,
the betrothal and pledges made between the two families, the insidious
and malicious conduct of the mother of the Donati, the frivolities of
Buondelmonte attracted by the saucy beauty of her daughter, the perjury
and breaking away of the compact with the Amidei family, the marriage
arranged with the Donati, the preparations for this marriage, the rage
of the Amidei and their followers for such an atrocious insult and want
of good faith, their schemes of vengeance, the conspiracy, the ambush
and murder at the foot of the statue of Mars (where he interpolated in a
masterly way the saying of Mosca--

    "Lasso! capo ha cosa fatta, che fu 'l mal seme della gente Tosca")

--it seemed as if the whole thing stood there before him, not as a
picture, but a living and breathing reality; while he, with his head and
eyes uplifted, was heedless of our enthusiasm and shouts of applause.
He sang for almost two hours; and when he had finished, all bathed with
perspiration, he put down his lute and drank. Prati and the others
embraced him with effusion, only regretting that, owing to the rapidity
and rush of the poet's inspiration, they had been able to retain but a
few lines. Prati, however, repeated and perhaps somewhat refashioned a
whole verse in _ottava rima_, and not content with expressing his
admiration in words, wished to prove it to poor, tired, and excited Baco
by dictating an improvised sonnet to him, of which I remember the first
four and the last three lines.


In order, however, to understand Prati's verses, it is necessary to know
that in those days the Capponi Ministry had fallen, and Guerrazzi come
into power. Prati, who had suffered some persecution from him, owing to
having in his harangues before the Circolo Politico Moderato fulminated
Pindarically against this Titan from Leghorn, whilst praising the
_improvisatore_, lashes out against the opposition. Here are the verses,
and I regret I have only retained these in my memory:--

    "S'improvvisan ministri alla recisa;
    S'inalzan nuovi altari a nuovi dèi;
    Ma un improvvisator come tu sei,
    Per la croce di Dio! non s'improvvisa."

    "One soon may improvise new ministers,
    Unto new deities raise altars new;
    But an improvisator like to you,
    By God's own cross! one cannot improvise."

And the last three lines are:--

    Che almen tu vivi alla febea fatica,
    Nè sei di quelli che una nuova Italia
    Tentando improvvisar, guastan l'antica."

    "Happy you live in your Phoebean toils,
    Not one of those that our new Italy
    Striving to improvise, the antique spoils."

And, placing his signature at the bottom of it, he presented it to
Chiarini, whose face, when he had read it and seen by whom it was
signed, assumed an expression of admiration mingled with regret touching
to behold.


The evening passed gaily. Prati also improvised, encouraged (which is
saying a great deal) and accompanied by Chiarini, and, despite his
puffing and blowing, said some very fine things. At last we separated,
engaging our _improvisatore_ for another evening in another place; but
this I shall omit.

This symposium of artists was one of the few pleasures of those days,
when my interest and enthusiasm for Art were relaxed, and I had no
opportunity to work, as I have before said, because, except retouching
in wax the Abel and Cain, and some few portraits, I had absolutely
nothing to do. In connection with these statues that the Grand Duke had
ordered in bronze, let me say that, having finished in marble the Abel,
the Grand Duke saw it, regretted that he had not ordered it himself, and
that it was to go away from Florence. I proposed, to satisfy his wishes,
to make a replica; but he was set upon having the original. It was in
vain I said that any replica made by him who had originally made the
model is always and substantially original, the artist in finishing it
always introducing modifications and changes which make it an original
and not a copy. His Highness was not satisfied with this reasoning, and
preferred that it should be cast in bronze, making the mould upon that
which was already finished in marble.

I answered, "In order to do that, I must have the permission of the


"Right," he said to me; "and if, as you assure me, the marble is not
injured by making the mould, I am certain that permission will be

I wrote to the Imperial household of Russia that his Highness the Grand
Duke wished to have a cast in bronze of the Abel, taking the mould from
the finished marble that I was making for his Imperial Majesty (the
Grand Duchess Marie having presented both this statue and the Cain to
her father the Emperor Nicholas). The answer was precisely this: "If the
Abel is finished, have it boxed up and sent immediately."

I showed the answer to the Grand Duke, who smiled and said--

"One cannot deny that the answer is not very gracious; but now, as I
really desire to have this statue in bronze, tell me, could not a mould
be taken from the plaster-cast?"

"Your Highness, yes; and for this, only the consent of the artist is

"And do you give this consent?"

"I prefer to take the mould from the plaster-cast rather than from the
marble, because the cast is the more accurate--in fact, is the true

And so it was settled. And at the same time, he ordered also the Cain,
from which I removed the trunk that served as a support in the marble,
bent a little more the arm and the hand, which was upon the forehead,
and remodelled it almost entirely in the wax.

About this time Giuseppe Verdi came to Florence to bring out his
'Macbeth.' If I mistake not, it was the first time he ever came among
us; but his fame had preceded him. Enemies, it is natural, he had in
great numbers. I was an admirer of all his works then known, 'Nabuco,'
'Ernani,' and 'Giovanna d'Arco.' His enemies said that as an artist he
was very vulgar, and corrupted the Italian school of singing; and as a
man, they said he was an absolute bear, full of pride and arrogance, and
disdained to make the acquaintance of any one. Wishing to convince
myself at once of the truth of this, I wrote a note in the following
terms: "Giovanni Duprè begs the illustrious Maestro G. Verdi to do him
the honour of paying him a visit at his studio whenever it is convenient
for him to do so, as he desires to show him his Cain, that he is now
finishing in marble, before he sends it away." But in order to see how
much of a bear he really was, I carried the letter, and represented
myself as a young man belonging to the Professor's studio. He received
me with great urbanity, read the letter, and then, with a face which was
neither serious nor smiling, he said--

"Tell the Professor that I thank him very much, and I will go to see him
as soon as possible, for I had it in my mind to do so, wishing to know
personally a young sculptor who," &c.

[Sidenote: VISIT OF VERDI.]

I answered, "If you, Signor Maestro, desire to make the acquaintance as
soon as possible of that young sculptor, you can have that satisfaction
at once, for I am he."

He smiled pleasantly, and shaking my hand, he said, "Oh, this is just
like an artist."

We talked a long time together, and he showed me some letters of
introduction that he had for Capponi, Giusti, and Niccolini. The one for
Giusti was from Manzoni. All the time that he remained in Florence we
saw each other every day. We made some excursions into the
neighbourhood, such as to the Ginori porcelain manufactory, to Fiesole,
and to Torre del Gallo. We were a company of four or five: Andrea
Maffei, Manara, who afterwards died at Rome, Giulio Piatti, Verdi, and
myself. In the evenings he allowed either the one or the other of us to
go to hear the rehearsals of 'Macbeth;' in the mornings he and Maffei
very often came to my studio. He had a great deal of taste for painting
and sculpture, and talked of them with no ordinary acumen. He had a
great preference for Michael Angelo; and I remember that, in the chapel
of Canon Sacchi, which is below Fiesole, on the old road, where there is
a fine collection of works of art, he remained on his knees for nearly a
quarter of an hour in admiration of an altar-piece said to be the work
of Michael Angelo. I wanted to make his bust; but for reasons
independent of his will and mine, this plan could not be carried into
effect, and I contented myself with taking a cast of his hand, which I
afterwards cut in marble and presented to the Siennese Philharmonic
Society, to which I have belonged since 1843, when, as I have before
said, I went to Siena. The hand of Verdi is in the act of writing. In
taking the cast the pen remained embedded in it, and now serves as a
little stick to my sketch of Sant'Antonino.

[Sidenote: VERDI.]

Verdi seemed to be pleased with the Cain, the fierce and savage nature
of which he felt in his very blood; and I remember that my friend Maffei
endeavoured to persuade him that a fine drama, with effective situations
and contrasts of character, with which Verdi's genius and inclination
fitted him to cope, could be made out of Byron's tragedy of 'Cain,'
which he was then translating. The gentleness of character and piety of
Abel contrasted with that of Cain, excited by fierce anger and envy
because the offer of Abel was acceptable to God; Abel, who caresses his
brother and talks to him about God--and Cain, who scornfully rejects his
gentle words, uttering blasphemies even against God; a chorus of
invisible angels in the air, a chorus of demons under ground; Cain, who,
blinded by anger, kills his brother; then the mother, who at the cry of
Abel rushes in and finds him dead, then the father, then the young wife
of Abel; the grief of all for the death of that pure character, their
horror of the murderer; the dark and profound remorse of Cain; and
finally, the curse that fell upon him,--all formed a theme truly worthy
of the dramatic and Biblical genius of Giuseppe Verdi. I remember that
at the time he was much taken with it; but he did nothing more about it,
and I suppose he had his good reasons. Perhaps the nudity was an
obstacle. Still, with the skins of wild beasts, tunics and eminently
picturesque mantles can be made; at all events he could have set the
subject to music if it offered him situations and effects and really
attracted him, for Verdi has shown in his many works that he possesses
that sublime and fiery genius which is adapted to such a tremendous
drama. He who had conceived the grand and serious melodies of 'Nabuco,'
the pathetic songs of the 'Trovatore' and the 'Traviata,' and the local
colour, character, and sublime harmonies of 'Aida,' might well set Cain
to music. Should Verdi at any time read these pages, who knows what he
may do?


And here perhaps it is best for me to make a slight digression, in order
to speak of the character and disposition which specially belong to
every artist independently of everything else--of his studies, of what
he copies, and of the fashion of the day. Who would have thought that so
sweet and strong a painter as Giotto would ever have risen out of the
harsh and coarse mosaic-paintings of the Byzantines and the teachings of
Cimabue? Variety of character, truth of movement and expression, broad
and flowing draperies, colouring at once temperate, airy, and strong,
were, it might be said, created by him, and took the place of the
hardness, and I could almost say deformity, of the Byzantines and the
dryness of the works of Cimabue. Nor did Fra Giovanni Angelico show less
originality and individuality in his works. He lived in the full noon of
the naturalistic school of Masaccio, Lippi, and Donatello, and his pure
spirit drew its inspirations from the mystic and ideal sources of
heaven, the Virgin, and the saints, not only in his subjects, but in
their treatment. Michael Angelo, solitary in the midst of a corrupt,
avaricious, and lascivious civilisation, by his temperament and will was
conspicuous for his purity of morals, his large liberality, and his
intellectual love; and despite of Raphael and Leonardo, those most
splendid planets of Art, he maintained his originality, and his great
figure towers like a giant among them.


The artist by nature, developed by study, becomes original and has a
character distinct from all others, and in no way, not even in the
slightest characteristic, can, despite any exterior influence, be
different from what he is. For if Giotto had been born and educated in
the sixteenth or seventeenth century, he would not have painted the vain
pomps and the archaic frivolities of that period; nor would Fra Angelico
at the school of Giulio Romano have given himself up to the
lasciviousness of his master; nor would Michael Angelo have been warped,
nor was he warped, by the strength of those giants Leonardo and Raphael.
The artist, then, is what he is and such as he is born, and study will
only fertilise his genius, his nature, and his propensities, nor can he
with the utmost force of his will conceive and create a work contrary to
his nature and to his genius. Michael Angelo would never have been able,
even with a hundred years of the most powerful effort, to create a
Paradise like that of Giovanni Angelico; and Fra Angelico would never
have imagined even one of the figures of the Last Judgment in the
Sistine Chapel. I remember--and this is my reason for this
digression--that one day Rossini, speaking to me confidentially of Art
in general, and upon this subject and all its bearings (and he was a
competent judge), came by degrees to speak of music, and of the
individual character of the composers he had known, and in regard to
Verdi he spoke thus: "You see, Verdi is a master whose character is
serious and melancholy; his colouring is dark and sad, which springs
abundantly and spontaneously from his genius, and precisely for this
reason is most valuable. I have the highest esteem for it; but on the
other hand, it is indubitable that he will never compose a semi-serious
opera like the 'Linda,' and still less a comic opera like the 'Elixir


I added, "Nor like the 'Barbière.'"

He replied, "Leave me entirely out of the question."

This he said to me twenty-two years ago in my studio in the Candeli, and
Verdi has not yet composed a comic or semi-serious opera, nor do I
believe that he has ever thought of doing so; and in this he has been
quite right. The musical art and Italy wait for a 'Cain' from him, and
they wait for it because he himself felt the will and the power to
create it.

I remember also another judgment and another expression of Rossini's in
regard to Verdi. One evening after dinner I stayed on with him, because
he liked to have a little talk. He was walking slowly up and down the
dining-room, for he did not like to leave the room, the unpleasant odour
which remains after dinner giving him apparently no annoyance. The
Signora Olimpia, his wife, was playing a game of cards called
_minchiate_ with one of the regular friends of the house--I mean one of
those inevitable sticks that old ladies make use of to amuse them and
help them to pass the time at cards.


Some one always arrived late, but Rossini would not see everybody. This
evening, if I mistake not, came the Signora Varese, Signor de Luigi, and
others whom I did not know; then two youths, who apparently were
music-masters, and they, after saluting the Signora, turned to Rossini
with these words: "Have you heard, Signor Maestro, the criticism of
Scudo on the new opera of Verdi, 'I Vespri Siciliani,' which has just
been given in Paris?"

"No," answered Rossini, rather seriously.

"A regular criticism, you know; you should read it. It is in the last
number of the 'Revue des Deux Mondes.'" And then they began to repeat
some of these opinions of Scudo's, with adulation, which, if courteous,
was little praiseworthy. But Rossini interrupted them, saying--

"They make me laugh when they criticise Verdi in this way, and with such
a pen! To write an able and true criticism of him, requires higher
capacity and an abler pen. In my opinion, this would require two Italian
composers of music who could write better than he does himself; but as
these Italian musical composers who are superior to Verdi are yet to
come, we must content ourselves with his music, applaud him when he does
well," and here he clapped his hands, "and warn him in a fraternal way
when we think he could have done better." As he finished these words he
seemed a little heated, and almost offended, as if he thought that these
people had come to give him this news by way of flattering him, or in
order to have the violent criticism of Scudo confirmed. The fact is, he
must have already read the criticism itself, as I had seen the number
of the 'Revue' on his table before dinner. The conversation then
changed, and nothing more was said.


About this time the Emperor of Russia, who was passing through Florence,
honoured me with a visit. I should have passed over in silence this
fact; but as it was the occasion of a false impression, by which I
appeared to be the most stupid and ignorant man in the world, it is
better that I should narrate exactly what occurred. Signor Mariotti, the
agent for the Russian Imperial household, who, the reader may remember,
had procured for me the commission for the marble of Abel, sent me word
that during the day the Emperor would come to see the Cain, which was
already finished in marble. I waited for him all day; but towards
evening, an hour before nightfall, I dressed myself to go away, not
believing that any one would come at that hour. Just as I was going out
I heard a disturbance, a noise of carriages and horses, and saw the
Emperor stopping at my studio. It was nearly dark, so, with a stout
heart, before he descended I went to the door of the carriage and said--

"Your Majesty, I am highly honoured by your visit to my studio, but I
fear that your Majesty cannot satisfy your desire to see the Cain, as it
is nearly nightfall, and I should like to show this work of mine in a
more favourable light."

The street was full of curious people; the studios of the artists my
neighbours were all open, and they were in the doorway; the ministers of
the Imperial house put their heads out of their carriage to see what was
the reason the Emperor did not get out, and with whom he was talking.
The Emperor, with a benign countenance, answered--

"You are quite right; one cannot see well at this hour. I will return
to-morrow after mid-day."

I bowed, and the carriages drove on. This stopping of the carriage and
its driving on again after a few words had passed between his Majesty
and myself, led some ass to suppose that I had not been willing to
receive the Emperor, and some malicious person repeated the little
story; but not for long, as the next morning he returned with all his

As soon as he descended, he said to me--

"_Vous parlez français?_"

"_Très mal, Majesté._"

"Well, I speak a little Italian; we will make a mixture."

General Menzicoff, Count Orloff, and others whom I do not remember,
accompanied the Emperor. As soon as he entered the studio he took off
his hat, to the great astonishment of his suite, who all hastened to
imitate him, and remained with his head uncovered all the time he was
there. He was of colossal build, and perfectly proportioned. The Emperor
Nicholas was then of mature years, but he looked as if he were in the
flower of manhood. He talked and listened willingly, and tried to enter
into the motives and conceptions of the artist.

Amongst others he saw a sketch of Adam and Eve that I had just made with
the intention of representing the first family. He saw it, and it
pleased him. He said it would go well with the Cain and Abel; and from
these words, one might have taken for granted that he had ordered it.
But I have always rather held back and been little eager for
commissions, so that I did not feel myself empowered to execute it.
Then, also, I had taken this subject for my simple satisfaction, and
certainly with the intention of making it in the large, which I did not,
however, carry into effect; for if I had done so, I should probably have
offered it to him, as he had been so much pleased by the sketch. The
Emperor was most affable with me, and showed a desire to know something
about me besides my studies and works that he had before his eyes, so I
satisfied his wishes. Nor is it to be wondered at that so important a
person as he was should inquire into the particulars of simple
home-life, for he was (so I afterwards heard) a good husband and father.
He accompanied the Empress his wife to Palermo, as her ill health made
it necessary for her to be in that mild climate, perfumed with
life-giving odours. He married his daughter Maria Nicolaiewna to the
Prince of Leuchtenberg, who was a simple officer in the army; but as he
became aware that the young people loved each other, he wished to
procure their happiness. A good husband and a good father; pity it is
that one cannot say a good sovereign! His persecutions and cruelty
towards Poland, especially in regard to her religious liberty, and even
her language, which is the principal inheritance of a nation, are not a
small stain on that patriarchal figure.


If the young reader has the good habit of not skipping, he will remember
perhaps the danger I ran of dying asphyxiated in my little studio near
San Simone in company with the model, whilst I was making the sketch for
the Abel. Now I must speak of another grave peril that I ran of certain
death, had it not been that Divine Providence sent me help just in time.
It was the 12th of April 1849: for some days past a crowd of rough and
violent Livornese had been going about our streets with jeering and
menacing bearing; and insults, violence, and provocations of every kind
had not been wanting. That day a squad of these brutal fellows, after
having eaten and taken a good deal to drink, would not pay their
reckoning; there were altercations and blows, to the damage of the poor
man who kept the wine-shop; and as if that were not enough, there were
other gross improprieties. This happened in the Camaldoli of San
Lorenzo, at a place called La Cella, where the population was crowded
and rude. The cup was overflowing, and at a cry of, "Give it to them!
give it to them!" they fell upon these scoundrels; and although the
latter were armed with swords (being of the Livornese national guard)
and stilettoes, they were overwhelmed by the rush of the populace,
disarmed, and killed.


This was like a spark, and spread like lightning throughout Florence.
There was a great tumult and angry cries for men from Leghorn.
Everything served as a weapon; every workman ran out with the implements
of his trade, and even dishevelled ragged women ran about like so many
furies with cudgels, shovels, and tongs, screaming, "Kill them! kill
them!" There were many victims. The soldiers who were in the Belvedere
fortress, as soon as they heard the reports of the guns and the cause
thereof, came down from there like wild beasts, such was their hatred
against these people, from whom they had received every kind of insult,
even to finding two of their companions nailed to the boards of their
barracks one day--acts that were a dishonour to the good reputation of
the open-hearted Livornese, with their free mode of speech and quick
intelligence. Timid people retired and shut themselves up in their
houses, the shops were closed, the streets deserted, and one saw some
people running and others pursuing them, as dogs hares; reports of guns
were heard, now close by and now in the distance, cries for mercy, the
drums beating the _generale_, and the mournful tolling of the big
bell,--all of which produced a fearful and cruel effect.

I lived in a house over my studio, in Via Nazionale, a short distance
from the spot from which came the fatal spark. At the sound of the
beating of the _generale_ I rushed up into my house to arm myself, to
run to join our company. My colonel was the Marchese Gerini, and the
captain Carlo Fenzi. My poor wife! I see her still crying and
supplicating me not to leave her, saying, "What are you going to do?--to
kill or to be killed? Stay here, and if they come to attack us in the
house, as they said they would, then you will defend these poor little
ones." I yielded; but Sarrocchi, who was in the house with me, in spite
of his father's tears and prayers, would go, and our company went
forward and protected these Livornese Guards from the fury of the
populace as far as the station of Santa Maria Novella. The company was
led by the second lieutenant, Engineer Renard. I went back down into the
studio and tried to work, but could do nothing. That constant noise of
running, questioning, firing of guns, the beating of the distant
drums--a dull sound, strange and fearful--had so irritated my nerves
that I walked up and down the studio, taking up a book and putting it
down again. At last I resolved to go home again, all the more so that I
had left my wife feeling anxious and every moment fearing that something
might happen to me. I had my studio dress on, which consisted of a linen
blouse and red skull-cap. Just as I was going out I heard some screams,
lamentations, and a rush of people. I looked out, and saw a squad of
furious men following and beating with sticks a poor Livornese, who, not
being able to go any farther, fell at the corner of the street, by the
Caffè degli Artisti. That bloody scene made me ill; and compelled by
compassion for that poor young fellow, I ran and thrust myself into the
midst of the crowd that surrounded the fallen man. He was wounded in the
head, and bleeding freely; one eye was almost put out, and he held one
hand up in supplication, but his infuriated assailants beat at him as if
they had been threshing corn. "Let him alone! Stop! Good heavens, don't
you see that the poor young fellow is dying?" They turned and looked at
me. "What does he say? Who is he?" asked these assassins. "He is a
Livornese also," was the answer. The eagerness I had shown in favour of
that unfortunate man, the red skull-cap that I wore on my head, and my
accent not being that of a vulgar Florentine, gave strength to that
assertion. From the dark look in their eyes and their sardonic smiles I
became aware of my danger, and wished to speak; but these infuriated
beings screamed out, "Give it to him! give it to him, for he is also a
Livornese!" I felt that I was lost. A blow, aimed at my head, fell on my
shoulder, and some one spat in my face. A person, whose name I do not
recall, an ex-sergeant and drill-master of our company, arrived in time
to save me.


"Stop!" said he--"stop!" and with these words he interposed and warded
off the blows aimed at me. The words and resolute action of this man in
sergeant's uniform carried weight with them, and to put an end to all
this excitement he shouted out, "I bear witness, on my honour, that this
is the Professor Duprè, sculptor, corporal in our company, and not at
all a Livornese."

The crowd had thickened more and more, and in it there were some who
knew me and echoed the words of this courageous and spirited man, so
that I was saved. In the meantime my scholars, Enrico Pazzi and Luigi
Majoli, armed with long iron compasses, had rushed to my succour; and it
was fortunate that they were no longer needed, as, being young and
brave-spirited, and Romagnoli, with these weapons in their hands, who
knows what might have been the consequence?



The events of that day already belong to history, and it is not for me
to narrate them. Those of the Livornese who could escape from the fury
of the populace were part of them shut up in the Fortress da Basso, and
part of them packed like anchovies in the railway-carriages. Guerrazzi
was imprisoned in the fortress of the Belvedere, and the reins of the
government were provisionally put into the hands of the Municipality,
Ubaldino Peruzzi being _gonfaloniere_. That same evening the ensigns of
liberty that the republicans had hoisted in the _piazze_ and the
street-crossings in Florence, were torn to the ground. Thus ended the
enormities of these so-called democrats, who were in fact only the scum
and unrestrained rabble of the flourishing and active city of Leghorn.

In the meantime affairs in my studio went from bad to worse. The
political vicissitudes, the uncertainty of the present, and fears for
the future, preoccupied every one, and no thought was given to the
Arts. I had no work to do, and lived a secluded life of poverty with my
little family, fearing that the apprehensions of my poor wife would be
realised: often we were in need even of the mere necessaries of life,
and one thing after another went to the _monte di pietà_ in order to
supply our most pressing wants. Sorrows, disillusions, and
mortifications were not wanting: one of my children died, the only boy
that I ever had; the statue of Pope Pius II. that I had made for Siena
was despised and kept shut up in its box for month after month, the
aversion taken to it being, they said, occasioned by the disaffection of
Pius IX. What Pius II. had to do with Pius IX. I do not know.


The Grand Duke returned; but the joy felt for his return was embittered
by the presence of foreigners, and thence there were fears, suspicions,
and ill-repressed rage, so that Art suffered in consequence--Art, that
lives and breathes in the quiet and life-giving atmosphere of peace.


The Grand Duke having returned, I went to make my bow to him. He
received me with his usual kindness, and asked me about my works and my
family. I spoke out sincerely to him, touching lightly, not to distress
him, on my misfortunes. He remained thoughtful, and dismissed me with
benevolence. Some days after, he sent his secretary Luigi Venturi for
me, and talked at length with me about works that he was thinking of
giving me. In the meanwhile, remembering that in times gone by I had
occupied myself with wood-carving, he asked me if I could make or direct
some work that he was thinking of having executed for a present he
wished to make to his daughter Princess Isabella, who was to be married
to Prince Francesco of Naples. Already, before Isabella, his eldest
daughter, the Princess Augusta, to whom he had given my two little
statuettes of Dante and Beatrice, had been married. The work for the
Princess Isabella was, however, of an entirely different kind, being a
casket for jewels. I accepted this commission with gratitude, although
it was not a real work of sculpture; but remembering that our old
artists had executed works of the same kind, and that Baccio d'Agnolo, a
famous architect, used to make the _cassone_ that contained the
trousseau of the young Florentine brides, and gloried in signing himself
Baccio d'Agnolo, carpenter, I was contented. And besides, to speak my
mind clearly, it is not the material or the thing itself that counts for
anything. A little _terra cotta_ of Luca della Robbia, or an _intaglio_
of Barili, is worth more than a hundred thousand wretched statues in
marble or bronze. I therefore made and showed him the design for the
casket. In shape it was rectangular, and stood on two squares,
ornamented on all sides; the cover was slightly elevated, and on the top
was a group of three figures representing maternal love; in the six
spaces were six subjects taken from the Bible representing holy
marriages. These, I thought, were real jewels--family jewels. They came
in order as follows: Adam and Eve in the terrestrial paradise before the
Fall, Isaac and Rebecca, Boaz and Ruth, Esther and Ahasuerus, Tobit and
Sarah, David and Abigail. The Grand Duke liked the idea and the design,
and asked me in what wood I should carve it. I answered, in ivory, for
two reasons: on account of the smallness of the figures, which would not
admit of another material; and then because ivory is in itself
beautiful, rich, and most adapted for this kind of work. Fortunately, it
was not necessary to look for the ivory, as in the Grand Duke's
laboratory there was a most beautiful elephant's tusk. He gave it to
me; and after having cut it up into as many pieces for the _formelie_,
_cornice_, and _lamine_ as were required for this work, there remained a
large piece, which I still keep. I set myself to the task, and worked
with a will, as the marriage of the Princess was soon to take place. In
the construction of the square I employed a man from the cabinetmaker's,
Ciacchi; for the ornaments, Paolino Fanfani, a clever wood-carver and my
good friend, whom I had known when a boy in Sani's shop, where I used to
work at wood-carving. Two poems by Luigi Venturi, "Lo sposo, la sposa e
gli sposi," which form part of his poem "L'Uomo," were placed inside of
the box.

[Sidenote: I AM DISPIRITED.]

And here I am at work. Consider, friendly reader, if you are an artist,
and after long study and anxiety have ever obtained the hoped-for
compensations and triumphs, the more deserved because so earnestly
laboured for, that you now see an artist occupied, on a work difficult
indeed, but very far from being of that ideal greatness that his hopes
and the applause previously given him have led him to anticipate and
desire. The smallness of the work, the material, and even the tools for
working it, reminded me of the humbleness of my origin. I felt sick at
heart, and then flashed into my mind the fear that I might be obliged to
return to wood-carving. Not that I despised that art--I have already
said the material is of no account; but I wanted to be a sculptor, and
meantime I had nothing to do, and my family looked to me for support.
This thought gave me strength, drove away the golden dreams of the
future, even the memory of the smiling past, and I worked all day long
and part of the night. My poor wife, who was always so good and active,
attending to the household economy and to the education of our little
girls, comforted me with her simple and affectionate words. Sometimes,
returning home with the children, she would stop to see me, and would
look at and praise my work, and perhaps, because it reminded her of our
early years, would say--


"Beautiful this work, is it not, Nanni?"

"Yes; do you like it?"


But in this exchange of loving words there was a certain sadness, and
although it did not appear on the surface, yet the ear and eye of him
who loves hears and sees what is hidden below. We remained silent, and
she, taking the little girls by the hand, said good-bye to me, and I was
deeply moved, and resumed my work.

Added to all this, we were preoccupied about my sister, who would not
remain any longer in the Conservatorio of Monticelli, and could not
return to my house on account of incompatibility of temper between her
and my mother-in-law. At last I arranged that she should be with my
father; and this proved satisfactory, as he thus had some one to look
after his house, and she some one to lean upon. As soon, however, as
this was settled, we had other troubles, and of a graver kind--my
brother's illness. Already for some time past, after the work in the
studio had fallen off, the maintenance of this brother had been a
serious thing to me; but with a little sacrifice and a little goodwill,
this difficulty had been got over, and the hope of better days kept up
the courage in both of us. But he constantly grew worse, and we had no
hope of his recovery. In his wanderings he always spoke about me and my
works, and it seemed as if his mind at times was clearer and more
active. Perhaps this is so because the soul feels the day of its freedom
approaching, and is breaking the chains which bind it to the body, and
drawing nearer to its immortal life. We say that it is wandering,
because we do not understand it; the veil of the flesh obscures our
spiritual vision, and we cannot comprehend the meaning of the strange
and mysterious words we use. Having partaken of the blessed Sacrament,
he expired, at peace with God, in the first days of January 1850. My
poor brother! poor Lorenzo! strong and handsome of person; open and gay
of nature, and generous-hearted; loving work and not minding fatigue,
with a frank sincere smile that often came to soften the sharpness of
his words. In those days a man of high intellect and great spirit,
burning with a love for all that was truly beautiful, also left us.
Lorenzo Bartolini died, after a few days' illness, of congestion of the
brain, not young in years, but always very young in his affections and
inspirations. Some moments before he was overtaken by illness, he was
working on the marble with the energy and precision of a man in the
prime of life. Whatever was the cause, he was taken ill, and neither the
efforts of science, nor the love of his family, nor the interest and
concern of every one, was able to save him. He was universally lamented,
even by those who disliked him; for genius, though at first it may
irritate the weak, in the long-run commands admiration and love.


His works remain as an example of the beautiful in nature, which is the
mainspring of Art. In the foregoing pages I have already touched on his
character as a man. I have also mentioned the reasons why he kept me at
a distance; and now it is pleasant for me to remember that some time
before his death he became reconciled to me, and the reconciliation took
place in a most singular and casual way. One evening at Fenzi's house,
after dinner, we were all assembled in the billiard-room playing pool:
there were also some ladies, who were not kept away by the cigar-smoke.
Bartolini came in; and Carlino Fenzi, as soon as he saw him, went
forward to meet him, and said--


"Good evening, Professor."

"_Accidenti_ to all Professors!"

"What kind of a speech is this? Have I offended you?"

"Offence or no offence! I have said _accidenti_, and ... if you don't
know anything, go and learn;" and with this he passed into the other
rooms. Carlino stood there as if he had been made of stucco, and turning
to me said--

"But what stuff is this? Do you understand anything about it?"

"Dear Carlino," I answered, "I understand it all, and will tell you at
once. Bartolini does not wish to be called Professor."

"What! but is he not Professor Bartolini?"

"That he is,--a Professor, and one of the most able, and perhaps the
oldest of them all; but he has a dislike to be called so, because he
says all Professors are asses."

"This may be, and may not be," replied Carlino, "but I knew nothing
about it; and besides, how does he wish to be called? A Cavaliere? It
seems better to me to be an honourable Professor than a Cavaliere."

"No, my dear fellow, not even a Cavaliere, although he does not at all
dislike being one, as you see he wears the ribbon of his order
constantly in his button-hole."

"Well, what then?"

"He wishes to be called master," I answered.

"Dear, dear! oh, this is beautiful! And I, who knew nothing about it,
what fault is it of mine? Does it seem to you proper or well-bred to
come out with that word before everybody, even before ladies? To me it
seems not only not like a master, but not even like a schoolboy."


"Have patience, Carlino, and don't let us talk any more about it: bury
it under a stone, and leave it alone. Listen! they are calling out your
number;" and so the matter ended.

The day after, I had a model, Tonino Liverani, called Tria--a beautiful
model, and Bartolini's favourite one, the same from whom he modelled
when making his group of the Astyanax. Half an hour before mid-day he
said to me--

"Signor Giovanni, would you be so kind as to send me away a quarter of
an hour earlier to-day? I must be at the _maestro's_ at twelve o'clock.

I replied, "Certainly--of course; dress yourself at once and go; do not
keep him waiting."

Whilst Tria was dressing, I thought over the _accidente_ or the
_accidenti_ on the previous evening, and if that horrid word did not go
down with Carlino because it was said at his house, neither did it
please me, for in my quality of Professor it wounded me more than it did
him. But, in fact, joking apart, I was really grieved to see such a
great man descend without any cause to the use of such puerile and
unbecoming expressions, the more so that he was made an object of
ridicule because Carlino took the matter seriously. I said to myself,
Shall I send him a message or let it go? If I let it go, he will think
that I am afraid to say what I feel, or that I am so weak-minded as to
think that sally of his the most natural thing in the world: in the one
case, as in the other, I shall cut a bad figure, and Bartolini despises
men who are afraid or stupid. Then, too, who knows if a frank sincere
word, spoken at any rate with respect and reason, such as I should say,
would not do him good? All depends on Tonino's reporting it straight.


"Have you any orders, Sor Giovanni? When shall I return?" said Tonino.

"Listen, Tonino; you must do me the kindness to say to the _maestro_,
that last night he let fall from his mouth a word that displeased me,
because those who heard it did not know why he used it, and having heard
his reason did not appreciate it. Take care! not a word more or less,
and don't make a mistake."

And having gone over his lesson two or three times, he repeated it quite

"You will return to-morrow morning at nine o'clock if Bartolini will let
you, and then you will give me his answer."

The day after, at nine, Tria appeared and said to me--

"I told the _maestro_, you know."

"Well, what did he answer?"

"He replied in these words: 'You must say to Duprè that I thank him. I
also was aware that I had done wrong, but it was too late. Salute him.'"

Some evenings afterwards I saw him again at Fenzi's house: I was playing
billiards. He shook my hand and said "Good evening," a thing he had not
done for a long time.


After the little ivory casket that I have already spoken of, the Grand
Duke ordered me to compose a base for the famous Table of the Muses in
_pietra dura_ that is in the Palazzo Pitti. This work made me happier,
as I was free to imagine and execute it in the manner I thought best,
and a rich and elaborate subject occurred to me at once. The Table of
the Muses is round; in the centre is Apollo driving the chariot of the
sun, and encircling him are the attributes of the Muses. As the artist
who made the top of the table had taken for his subject Apollo as the
father of the Muses, I in my work gave to him the attributes of the sun,
as fertiliser of the earth. In the base immediately under the table, I
preserved its circular form, throwing out at the top a sort of capital
supported by jutting brackets, and richly ornamented. Beneath this is a
cylinder covered with figures of children (_putte_) engaged in the rural
occupations and pleasures of the various seasons. In the spring they are
sporting, and playing on instruments, and dancing among flowers; in the
summer they are cutting and bringing in the corn; in the autumn they are
harvesting and treading grapes; in the winter they are digging, hoeing,
and sowing. This cylinder thus storied over is set upon a large disc
with mouldings and bevelled slope, upon which the Seasons are seated, in
varied attitudes, and weaving a garland of the flowers and fruits which
the earth produces during the year. Spring is peacefully sitting,
lightly draped, crowned with daisies, and holding her head somewhat
elevated, to express the reawakening of Nature. Summer has her _torso_
nude, is crowned with ears of corn, and is more robust of form than the
others. Autumn is crowned with grapes and vine-leaves, entirely dressed,
but without a mantle. Winter is crouching down, pressing her knees
together, is entirely enveloped in her mantle, has a cloth on her head,
and is expressive of cold. The garland which unites the figures is
hidden behind Winter, is more slender, and composed solely of fruits.
Each of these four figures seated upon the disc stretches forth a foot
upon a projecting ledge or bracket, which is in plumb beneath the upper
brackets, which support the capital; and these four lower brackets,
making part of the disc and jutting forth from it, form the base and
foot of the entire column. In the spaces between the figures on the
upper bevelled slope of the disc, ornaments with the attributes of the
elements are carved--for the earth a growth of acanthus-leaves, for the
water a dolphin, for the air an eagle, for the fire a vase with flames.
Full of goodwill, I put my hand to the work with new hopefulness. I
remember those days of a new awakening within me of interest in my art,
and trust in Providence for the support of my little family, which had
been increased by the birth of Luisina, dear little angel, whom God took
to Himself again, now some four years ago. In going from us, she left
behind her the memory of her rare virtues, that softens the bitterness
of our great loss. My poor little angel, pray for us. My eyes are dim
with tears, but I feel how true it is that sorrow only rekindles the
light of faith.


I worked with true enthusiasm, getting up at an early hour, and after a
slight breakfast with my family, going down into the studio, which was
almost under my own room. I kept note of all my expenses, to have some
idea of the price I should ask for my model, as it was his Highness's
intention to have it cast in bronze. I was very light-hearted, as I have
already said; and the principal reason for my being so was, that I saw
by means of this work the bread for my family was provided for. I had
not put aside a _soldo_, and the various works I had made during eight
years--that is to say, from '42 to '50--had yielded me barely enough to
live upon, because the inevitable expenses of housekeeping had absorbed
all the little I had beyond. I lived day by day, hoping always that
fortune would smile upon me as in my early years; and now with this work
of the pedestal for the table, I felt at ease.

I have thought it opportune to enter into these minute particulars, that
the young artist may learn two things from them: first, not to give
himself up with too much assurance to the joys of early triumphs; and
secondly, not to get discouraged in the bitter days of want and
disillusions, when he feels himself forsaken. I know so many young men
who become dejected at once, and inveigh against adverse fortune,
against the injustice of men and their neglect, and other phrases
equally idle, proud, and foolish.

[Sidenote: MUSSINI'S WORKS.]

My studio was no longer what it used to be at one time--no longer the
place of rendezvous of applauding friends and admirers who followed the
fashion of the moment; these all went about their own affairs, and had
nothing more to do with me. Some of the most distinguished amongst them,
after the Restoration, were refugees, some in one place, some in
another. Venturi was the only one who remained, and he came often to see
me, and we talked at length about Art. Ciseri also was a good and
faithful friend, and used to come to take me for a long walk in the
evening. Mussini, whom I had known a short time before, first left for
Paris, and then returned to go to Siena as Director of the Institute of
Fine Arts there, where he still teaches, and from his admirable school
have come such famous artists as Cassioli, Franchi, Maccari, and
Visconti, who died a miserable death from drowning at Rome.


I knew Mussini in 1844, when he had finished his four years of
_pensionat_, and was on his return from Rome. Mussini was then a
remarkable young artist, having gone through a varied and severe course
of study. His compositions were serious and careful, and as a
draughtsman he followed the style of our Florentine school of the
_quattrocento_. Those qualities he showed in his first pictures, the
Expulsion of the Profaners of the Temple, Sacred Music, and the Allegory
of Almsgiving. In his last sketch, which he made in Rome, Abelard and
Heloïse, he changed a little from his first manner, or I should better
say from his first method: in the "Abelard" he followed the modern
German school--Overbeck perhaps. As soon as he had returned to Florence
he set to work on his Triumph of Truth, abandoning his first views,
enlarging his style, freshening his colouring, and taking his
inspiration from Leonardo and Raphael. We became friends. He was rather
a small thin young man, with black hair, black eyes, and olive
complexion. In his conversation he was vivacious, sententious, and
decided; an admirer of Phidias and Giotto above all others; also of
Raphael, Michael Angelo, and, in modern times, of Ingres and Bartolini.
His companionship and friendship were of great use to me on account of
his frank and sound advice on Art. He went for some time to Paris, and
returned, as I have already said, to occupy the place of Director of the
Institute of Fine Arts at Siena--a post that he had begged me to ask for
in his name; and in this way I lost the friendship of Enrico
Pollastrini, who had asked for it for himself. As soon as I heard that
the post was vacant by the death of Menci, I advised Mussini by letter
to apply for it. He answered me at once, thanking me for my advice, but
adding that at present he did not wish to leave Paris. Two days after,
in another letter he told me he had changed his mind, and begged me, as
I have said, to make an application in his name. Pollastrini, who knew
neither of my advice and counsel to Mussini nor of my having asked for
the post for him, came to see me, to get me to promise that I would
support him in his demands for the place. Poor Enrico! he died but a few
months ago. He was an excellent man, affectionate, and ready to serve a
friend, but mistrustful and irascible. He would take offence at a mere
nothing, and once in that vein, he was capable of not bowing to you for
some time. I did not like him the less for all this. He never did any
harm to anybody; and I believe he would not have killed even a fly, much
less have been of injury to any one. May God give his soul peace! He
came, therefore, to see me and get me to pledge myself in his favour;
and when he heard that I had recommended the nomination of Mussini--for
by my petition it was to be understood that I supported him--he was
annoyed, and did not hide his resentment, saying that he should not have
expected me to show this preference, or to put another before him. I
answered that I knew nothing about his having asked for the nomination,
and that what I had done had been from a desire that a clever artist,
and one so able to teach, should not remain in a foreign land. These
reasons, instead of bringing persuasion to him, only embittered him the
more, and he was angry with me for a long time. But below the surface
poor Enrico cared for me, and has shown it in a thousand ways.


I have said that Mussini was a master of sound and true principles in
Art; and so he is still, for his school at Siena has produced, and
produces, excellent results. Beyond these principles, he had the power
of communicating and exemplifying them to others, and this is a most
important and invaluable faculty in a teacher. Before he left for Paris,
he kept a school in Via Sant'Apollonia, where, amongst other scholars, I
remember a certain Pelosi di Lucca, Gordigiani, and Norfini, now
painters of repute. He begged me to take the direction of his school,
and I accepted, not without observing to him that I had not the
necessary qualities for that place; but he insisted, and I yielded.
Things, however, went as it was natural they should go; the school
lingered on awhile, and after a few months was broken up.


As it seemed to me, from his drawing, that Gordigiani had talent for
sculpture, I advised him to give himself up to that art, and he readily
came to my studio and began to model with goodwill. But, either because
the material he had to handle was difficult to manage on account of its
novelty, or because impatience got the better of him, one fine day he
threw his tools and work to the ground, and would have nothing more to
say to them. He gave himself up to painting portraits, and succeeded so
well that he has now become the portrait-painter most praised amongst
us, and has made for himself a really enviable position. Nevertheless, I
believe that if he had had a little constancy, he would have succeeded
as well in sculpture as in painting, because few understand as well as
he does the form and relation of planes.


At this time I had a commission to finish in marble two statues by
Bartolini that he had left unfinished; the "Nymph and the Scorpion" for
the Emperor of Russia, and the "Nymph and the Serpent" for the Marchese
Ala-Ponzoni of Milan. With regard to this there were certain ill-natured
reports against me that I think best to clear up. Some time before,
Prince Demidoff had engaged and even begged of me to finish some of the
figures of the great monument to his father that Bartolini had left
incomplete. I would not accept this commission, because the master had
worked on them a great deal himself, and it seemed to me irreverent, and
not a thing to be done, to continue and finish his work. I endeavoured
to make the Prince understand that as Bartolini had worked upon it
himself, and the work was so well advanced, it had more value left as
it was than if it were finished by my hand, be it even with all the love
of an artist. The Prince did not appear to be much persuaded by this
reasoning, and insisted, saying that my principles in art were the same
as those taught by Bartolini, and the veneration felt by me for him was
a pledge of the love I would employ in finishing these figures. I
thanked the Prince for the too great confidence he placed in me as an
artist, but I begged of him not to insist in carrying out this idea of
having the work finished, either by me or by any other--for he, in order
to force me to accept, said that otherwise he should give it to some one
else, and added (exaggerating out of kindness my worth in art) that it
would be my fault if it chanced that the artist was not fully equal to
the arduous enterprise. I answered that I thought other artists abler
than myself, but was of opinion that the statues ought to be left as
they were. In order to convince him, I reminded him, as an example to
the purpose, of the Medici monuments in San Lorenzo, before which no one
would dare to say, "What a pity these figures are not finished!" if he
did not say it with regard to Michael Angelo himself. And if, instead,
they had been finished by other hands, with a good reason he would curse
Clement, who, after having betrayed his country, had wished to offer
this offence to art and Michael Angelo's fame. This, God be praised,
cannot be said, because the statues of Day and Night are just as that
divine master left them. These words, said with the conviction and the
warmth of an artist, who was a poor one to boot, and wishing and longing
for fame and fortune, so entirely convinced the Prince, that he was
quite satisfied; and pressing my hand in silence, which was more
eloquent than words, he left me.


If this conduct of mine was praised by some people in the hopes that it
had not been quite liked by the Prince, my acceptance of the order for
the two statues for the Emperor and the Marchese Ala afterwards, gave
rise to a number of remarks: "See his consistency of principles and
opinions!" they said. "How is it that the same reasons that were held
out for his refusing the figures in the Demidoff monument do not hold
equally good for these? Are these not also statues of Bartolini's, and
to be finished in the same way as those?"

And here I come to an explanation of this point, where it would seem as
if I had been in contradiction with myself. On one of these statues, the
"Nymph and the Scorpion," for the Emperor of Russia, Bartolini had never
worked with his own hands--in fact, it was not finished, not even
blocked out. On the other, for the Marchese Ala, he had worked, but how?
The head, where he had wished to make a change in the arrangement of the
hair, had been so cut away that there was a finger's-breadth of marble
in the blocking-out points wanting on each side, so that it was ugly to
see; and in addition to this, he had bent the forefinger of the left
hand that rests on the serpent under the palm of the hand, perhaps
because in undercutting it the last joint of the finger had been broken.
Now this finger, bent back and dislocated, looked very badly, when
compared with the model in plaster, where the fingers were all extended,
and pressed upon the serpent's neck admirably. I therefore accepted both
these commissions,--the one because it had never been touched by
Bartolini's own hand, and the other because I was willing and able to
put it straight. However, before touching the statue, I made the
Marchese Ala acquainted with the serious defects there were in it, which
Bartolini would certainly have remedied had he had the time to finish
it; and I asked for his permission (and on this condition alone accepted
the work) to cut off all the top of the head with the locks of hair
where it had been injured, in order to replace it exactly in the way
that Bartolini had first imagined and modelled it, and to add a piece of
marble to the hand to remake the forefinger. He consented to these
conditions. In order to make sure myself that I was right, before
cutting away the defective parts, I had a mould and cast taken from
them, that any one might see how they stood before I touched them, and
how by taking the original model for my guide, I had replaced them: and
I then said (as I now write), that all who were sensible and reasonable
understood and were satisfied; as to the others, I do not know what they
thought, nor did I care for them then, nor do now. I finished the two
statues, copying the original models where these were carefully
finished, and interpreting them where they were barely indicated,
selecting suitable models from life; and so I satisfied those who
trusted in me, and my own conscience.


Some time previous to this the Marchese Ala had given me an order for
the "Sleep of Innocence"--a statue of a child sleeping--which I had
already executed a long time before for my excellent friend the Marchese
Alessandro Bichi-Ruspoli of Siena. I therefore repeated this child in
marble by commission of the aforesaid Marchese Ala; but being rather
changeable, he afterwards declared to me that this work did not entirely
satisfy him, although it was conscientiously done, and that he should
take it only because he had engaged to do so. I answered that I wished
my works to be taken because they were liked, not because they were
ordered, and begged that he would not speak of it again. He thanked me,
and promised to give me another order for portraits of his three pretty
little children; but subsequently I heard nothing more about it. One
day, being in Turin, and finding myself at Vela's studio, where I had
gone to pay him a visit, I saw a very graceful little portrait-group,
full length, such as that able artist knew how to make and is in the
habit of making. I asked, "Who are these pretty children?"


"They are the children of Marchese Ala," replied Vela. "It is already
some time since he ordered this work, but he has not yet put in an
appearance. I have written him so many letters, to which I have received
no answer, that I don't know what to think."

I then recounted to him what took place about my little Putto, and the
promise he had made of giving me an order for the little group. Vela
answered that he was astonished and annoyed; but as the commission had
been given to him, and the model was in plaster, he begged me to speak
to the Marchese in order that he might be able to finish the work. I do
not know whether Vela ever did put the group into marble.

As regards myself and compensation for the affair of the Putto, which
had been left hanging for so many years, he took my Bacco della
Crittogama; but as the Marchese was subject to very long periods of
melancholy that prevented his thinking about anything for a good while,
I heard nothing more on the subject, until one day Count Arese, to whom
I began to speak about this affair, said to me--

"Leave the matter to me. Write me a letter giving me an account of this
affair, and I will send you the money. I have business relations with
the Marchese Ala, and will send him your receipt, and there will be an
end to it."


I did as he said, and was satisfied. What a pity it is that that most
noble gentleman was so often afflicted by such a malady! He was and is
one of the most intelligent and generous patrons of art. The first
Italian and foreign painters and sculptors had co-operated to make his
house splendid and enviable for its works of art.

As I have already said, Demidoff kept these statues just as Bartolini
had left them, and placed them in his villa of San Donato. One evening
after dinner, as we were walking together through its magnificent
apartments, he stopped in one of the little sitting-rooms and said to

"Your little statuettes of Dante and Beatrice would look well here on
small pedestals in the corners; but there ought to be four. And you may
complete the number, by making a Petrarch and Madonna Laura, if you

"I should like to do so."

And I made these other two statuettes. At present I do not know who has
them; they were sold at Paris a few years ago, together with a great
many other works of art belonging to the Prince.

The dinners that the Prince gave in that magnificent and enchanting
house were most splendid. I met there, besides strangers that I do not
speak of, Matas, the Prince's architect, Baron Gariod, my good friend
Professor Zannetti, Prince Andrea Corsini, and that dear son of his,
young Amerigo. One evening we were playing billiards together, and
having finished our game of _carolina_, he said to me--

"Come away; let us take a turn through the rooms;" and looking at and
talking about his statues of Pradier, Bartolini, and Powers, the
stupendous Fiamminghi, the Canalettis, Titian, Greuze, the arrases in
the large hall, the columns of malachite, remarkable both for their size
and finish, and a thousand other objects of exquisite taste and great
cost, the young man's eyes sparkled with joy and enthusiasm, and looking
me steadily in the face, he said--


"I am going away soon, you know, to Spain. On my return, I want to do
great things, and you must help me. I want a house that shall not be
inferior to this."

I replied, "If you desire, you can have one even more beautiful. I know
the suite of rooms in your palace, and the masterpieces of art in your
gallery. With the riches you possess, and the will that is not wanting,
you might, as I have said, surpass even this enchanting abode."

A short time after this, he came to my studio to say good-bye to me.
Dear young man! with a pure heart and open mind, an enthusiast for the
beautiful, and beloved by all, he went away, and not one of us saw him
again. He died in a foreign land, where he had gone to bring away his

Bartolini's statues being finished, I made a bas-relief of Adam and Eve
by commission of Cavaliere Giulio Bianchi of Siena; after which I
retouched in wax the pedestal of the Table for its casting in bronze,
and in the meantime prepared to model the statue of Sant'Antonino for
the Loggie of the Uffizi. From this time forth things began to go more
evenly and liberally with me, and fears of falling back into poverty
disappeared by slow degrees. Already the rent of my studio, which was
not small, was no longer a weight to me, as by sovereign decree the
studio which had been left by Professor Costoli on his promotion to the
presidency of the Academy after Bartolini's death was given to me. The
statuettes of Beatrice and Dante of themselves alone almost supplied
enough for the daily wants of the family, as I always had one or two of
them to make at a time. I think I have made about forty of them, and one
of them deserves comment.


Before the Princess Matilde, who was married to Demidoff, left for Paris
and was separated from her husband, the Grand Duchess of Tuscany ordered
my Beatrice, with the intention of presenting it to that lady. The
divorce having ensued, she did not give it to her, and the little statue
remained for some time at her Highness's, and afterwards she gave it to
her brother, the Count of Syracuse, who used to amuse himself by working
in sculpture. This sculptor-Prince, without the slightest improper
intention, but rather from a sort of good-natured, easy-going way, used
to keep this statuette of mine alongside of his own, and it sometimes
happened that persons praised him for it; and he must have felt not a
little embarrassed to clear up this _quid pro quo_.

It appears that sometimes, perhaps because this annoyed him, he made
matters so far from clear that the statuette passed off as his own work.
One day a Neapolitan lady came to my studio, a Princess Caraffa or
Coscia (I cannot say which with certainty, but it is a matter that can
be verified, for she told me that she was a descendant of the family of
Pope John XXIII., who is buried in our San Giovanni, where one sees his
fine monument between the two columns on the right-hand side). This
lady, when she saw the Beatrice among my other works, exclaimed--

"Oh! the graceful Portinari by the Count of Syracuse! Is it not true
that it is charming?"

"Princess," I answered, "I do not know if that little figure is pretty
or not, but I am glad that you think so, for it is mine, one of my very
first works. I modelled it in 1843, inspired by that sublime sonnet of
Dante which begins--

    'Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare,' &c.

I made the first copy of this statuette for Signor Sansone Uzielli of
Leghorn; the second for the Grand Duke, which, with the young Dante, he
gave to the Princess Isabella his daughter, who married the Prince
Luitpoldo of Bavaria; and the one that you saw was presented to the
Count of Syracuse by the Grand Duchess."

[Sidenote: SANT'ANTONINO.]

The noble lady smiled, and said, "I must have been mistaken."

The Count of Syracuse was a great lover of sculpture, and occupied
himself with it as much as was consistent with the position he occupied.
Several of his works are most praiseworthy, and I keep some of the
photographs of them that he was so kind as to send me.

To return to my Sant'Antonino that I left unfinished. This model cost me
an immense deal of work. The subject required character, bearing, and
attitude of an absolutely simple and natural treatment, such as I gave
the Giotto; but fearing to meet with censure from the lovers of the
classic, I kept doing and undoing my work in my sketches, as well as in
my large model. It is useless! One must be decided, and sure of the side
one wishes to take. This see-sawing between ideal beauty and truth to
nature in portraiture will not do, just as it would be absurd and bad to
adhere entirely to nature in other subjects, especially sacred ones.


And although imitation of beautiful nature is the foundation and
substance of any work, yet the mode of seeing it and reproducing it
constitutes the style that every artist, who is elevated, great, and
pure, draws from within himself, according to his subject and the
measure meted out to him by nature and education. In portrait statues
one must abandon the ideal, even as regards the ordinary rules of the
just proportions of the body. Sant'Antonino was named thus because he
was small of stature. I was tempted several times to make him faithfully
just as he was, small and crooked; and I made a sketch of him thus,
which I still preserve, and it is precious on account of the little
stick on which he leans, for this stick was no other than Giuseppe
Verdi's pen. But I did nothing more with it, as I was vacillating
between the rules of art and the close imitation of nature; and it is
just this close imitation of the details of nature that constitutes the
character of a portrait statue--a sound canon put wisely in practice by
the ancients, as can easily be seen from their statues of the
philosophers in the Vatican, such as the Zeno, and more particularly in
that of Diogenes; and in the bas-relief of Æsop, where one sees even the
absolute hump on his back. But the copying in detail from nature does
not mean a too close imitation of every little thing, of every wrinkle;
these are the mechanical nothings that are, as it were, the battle-horse
to those who make a trade of art, and should be left to them.



That my words may not be obscure, and that one may see with sufficient
clearness the difference that exists between the details that constitute
different types and the minutiæ that must be left out, I will mention
where this sound principle of art is to be found. For greater brevity
and clearness I will speak of busts. The bust in bronze of Seneca in the
museum at Naples, the bust of Scipio Africanus in the statue-gallery at
Florence, the Vitellius, Julia and Lucius Verus, the Cicero of the
British Museum, and another Seneca at the Capitol, each has a distinct
character of its own. So firm and decided are the details of those
different faces, the planes are so clear and certain, the life so shines
in the eyes, the breath so seems to come from the lips, that they have
been for centuries the study and stumbling-block of all artists; for
after that period you do not find anything, unless it be some _terre
cotte_ of Luca della Robbia, and a bust of a bishop by Mino da Fiesole,
in which you do not find every hair, and, in fact, every possible

[Sidenote: TRUTH OF DETAIL.]

The error into which these two schools run--that is to say, the Academic
and Naturalistic--is this, that the one, exaggerating its general rules,
neglects detail, and so becomes hard and cold; whilst the other,
multiplying them _ad infinitum_, falls into minutiæ which make art
vulgar. These are both errors, both ugly, both false.

Does this brief tirade, half dictatorial and half careless, bore you,
gentle reader? If so, skip it, for I cannot let go the opportunity, from
time to time, of making a good critical observation when it occurs to
me, and I think it well not to omit doing so. Young artists will, I am
sure, be grateful to me; and besides, though these few words may have
bored you, they serve as a warning to them on the importance of
different characteristics, and are also of use to me, I do not say as an
excuse, but as a frank statement of opinion, for in my Sant'Antonino
this rule is not clearly carried into practice. The importance of
speaking the truth and loving it is clearly given by Dante when he

    "Che s'io al vero son timido amico
    Temo di perder vita tra coloro,
    Che questo tempo chiameranno antico."[7]

 [7]  "And if I am a timid friend to truth,
      I fear that I may lose my life with those
      Who will hereafter call this time the olden."

                         --DANTE: _Paradiso_, Canto xvii.

As I am an ardent lover of truth, I wish to speak it now. With regard to
this statue, if I had not the strength of mind to reproduce the saint
just as he was, with all his peculiarities, in other statues it has been
my study to do so, and I believe not without success.

But in the meanwhile--I do not know for what reason--a general feeling
of uneasiness took possession of me, and a prostration of strength, that
prevented me from thinking or working. Added to this, I had attacks of
giddiness, and was obliged to spend entire days sitting down without
being able to do anything, and feeling sad and melancholy. My medical
friends--Alberti and Barzellotti--recommended exercise, meat diet, and a
little good wine, which in those days (1852) could scarcely be found
genuine. They ordered me to take preparations of iron and zinc, but my
health grew worse every day. It was now three months since I had gone to
the studio. I went out sometimes in the carriage with my poor wife, and
we used to go into the country, or on the hills of San Domenico,
Settignano, or Pian di Giullari. Sometimes I went out on foot, but
accompanied by and leaning on the arm of Enrico Pazzi, Luigi Majoli, or
Ciseri, who one day took me by the railway to Prato, where we remained
until evening. After that I began to feel a want of appetite, nausea,
and sleeplessness, and then my friends really became alarmed about my

[Sidenote: ILLNESS.]

The Grand Duke Leopold, that excellent sovereign, who was called the
_babbo_--I know not if from affection or derision--was for me (and for
many others who do not think proper to admit it) really paternal in his
care and timely help. Almost every day he wished to have news of my
health; and constantly sent Luigi Venturi, his secretary and a friend of
mine, to make inquiries. When he heard that matters had come to this bad
pass, he charged his private medical attendant, Luigi del Punta, to come
and examine me, study my disease, and suggest a remedy. Del Punta,
before coming to see me, acquainted my medical advisers with the order
he had received, and a consultation was fixed for the following day,
which was the 8th of September, 1852--the Feast of the Virgin. On that
morning Alberti and Barzellotti arrived first, paid me a little visit,
and then retired into the sitting-room to wait for Del Punta. The
sitting-room was next to my room. Del Punta came in, and they talked for
a long time, but in an undertone, so that I heard nothing, except one
word pronounced by Del Punta, which put me in a great state of
apprehension, and that was "tape-worm." The idea that I could have that
ugly malicious beast inside me frightened me, and when they came into my
room they found me in a much worse condition than when they had left me
a little time before. I always remember the piercing look of Del Punta,
anxious and penetrating. Then he began to question me, and examine me
all over, by auscultation, thumping, and squeezing me. His inspection
was a long one; but as he proceeded little by little, his expression
became more _open_, his beaming frank eyes met mine, and I could almost
say that a mocking smile played about his lips. Seeing me still staring
at him, he gave me a little tap with his hand on my shoulder, and said,
"Well, be of good cheer; there is nothing serious the matter." And
seeing that I did not believe him, he added, "I tell you you haven't a
cabbage-worth the matter with you!" and he said this with emphasis.


Well, my dear reader, that foolish expression did me good. If he had
assured me in the usual way, and with select phraseology, that I had
nothing serious the matter with me, it would not have had the eloquence
or efficacy of that slang word blurted out with such force in the face
of the sick man, before the other medical men, with my poor wife
listening sadly and anxiously, my little ones about me, not
understanding, but full of vague fears on account of their mother's
sadness and the novelty of the thing. It brought with it, I say, such a
sense of conviction, that it was for me a true and positive

Poor Luigi! as learned in medicine as you were genial as a friend, on
that day you gave new life to me when I seemed to see it fleeting from
me. You so vivacious, so full of health--I so weak and ill; who would
have then said that so soon you would be gone?

[Sidenote: I AM SENT TO NAPLES.]

After having assured me and my wife that there was no serious disease,
that I should certainly recover, he added that I required a special
method of treatment that had more to do with a regimen of life than with
medicine, and that he would refer the result of the consultation and his
examination to the Grand Duke. In fact, he reported to the Grand Duke
(as I afterwards learned), that in the condition in which I was, I could
not have lived; my nerves were so shattered that I had become very weak,
and that I suffered from vertigo and could hardly stand, and at last had
lost my appetite and power of sleeping. It was urgent that I should have
rest; and this would consist in taking me away from home, away from my
studio, from Florence, from all--in one word, sending me off on a
journey, not a long one, but far enough to distract me from cares and
thoughts that oppressed; this was the only remedy, he said, and could be
freely adopted, as I had no internal disease. It was necessary that I
should have a companion that I liked with me, and he suggested that my
wife should accompany me.

A few days after, the Grand Duke informed me by means of his secretary,
Venturi, that it was necessary for me to have a change of air, and that
Professor del Punta had advised Naples, as it was a bright cheerful
place to stay in--where the air was mild, and where there were many
pleasant things to distract one: that I must therefore make my
arrangements to go there; that my wife and one little girl must
accompany me; and that I was not to give a thought to anything, as he
provided for everything during the time that was necessary for my
recovery, and he recommended me to his minister Cavaliere Luigi


Every day that preceded my departure, Professor del Punta came to see
me, and encouraged me to be of good cheer also, on the part of the Grand
Duke. The preparations for our departure were many, and by no means
trifling. It was necessary to make arrangements so that the work in the
studio should not be without direction, and should be carried on
carefully. Tito Sarrocchi, then my scholar and workman, was intrusted
with the direction of it. The works in hand, besides the statue of
Sant'Antonino, were, "Innocence and the Fisherman," for Lord Crawford of
London, and some busts. As to models in clay, I left a Bacco dell'uva
Malata, that Sarrocchi had charge of until my return. My friends,
artists and not artists, came during those days to say good-bye to me,
some of them consoling themselves with hopes of my recovery, and others
fearing that they should never see me again, so emaciated and sad was I;
and Antonio Ciseri wept in saying good-bye.

Good gracious! how long and tedious is this narrative of your illness!

Long! yes or no. Long for you perhaps, who, as it would seem, have never
been ill, and who do not know what a consolation it is for one who is
suffering from the same malady as yourself to hear about such illness
from one who is at present quite well. If it annoys you, have
patience--some one may benefit by it; and at any rate, for the present I
have done.

The night that preceded my departure, that dear saintly woman my wife
remained up all night to put everything in the house in order, and to
prepare what was needed for us--that is, myself, my wife, and Beppina,
our second daughter. I had at that time four daughters: Amalia, who is
the eldest; Beppina, who went with me; and Luisina and Emilia, who
remained at home with their grandmother and Amalia. I lost Emilia quite
young, dear little angel. Her little body rests in the cemetery of San
Leonardo. Gigina I lost when she was grown up, and will speak of this in
its place.

The journey had to be made by short stages in a _vettura_, so that it
was necessary to hire a carriage and keep it at one's own expense as far
as Naples. We left on the morning of the 20th of October 1852, arrived
on the 28th, and lodged at the Hotel de Rome, Santa Lucia. That eight
days' journey in the sweet company of my wife, the pretty, innocent
questionings of Beppina about the fields, the rivers, and the villages
that we passed by one after the other, the novelty of the life, the pure
country air, and the hope of regaining my health, had softened the
asperity of my suffering. Apathy and sadness gradually gave way to a
desire to see new things; my wife's questions and those of my little one
obliged me to answer, and sometimes to smile. I felt my appetite for
food return, and I slept peacefully some hours every night.


In this way I arrived in Naples--in that immense city, so crowded with
people, so noisy and deafening on account of the numbers of carriages,
shouts of the coachmen, of the people offering things for sale, of
jugglers, beggars, all speaking in a strange difficult dialect most
unpleasant to a Tuscan. In this city the first impression made upon me
was a mixture of wonder and anger. It seemed to me as if one could do
all that those good people were doing without being obliged to scream
and throw one's self about so much. Here a coachman smacked his whip
within four fingers of your ears, to ask you if you wanted his
carriage; there a man, selling iced water and lemonade, screamed out at
the height of his voice I don't know what, and, to give it more force,
beat with his lemon-squeezers against his metallic bench, like Norma or
Villeda on Irminsul's shield; a little farther on a half-naked beggar,
with his ragged wife and children, shouted out, "I am dying with
hunger," with lungs that a commander of a battalion in the battle-field
might envy. These beggars, however, are for the most part impostors. One
day--it was a _festa_--I was returning from San Gennaro, where I had
been to Mass with my wife and little girl. I saw a man extended on the
ground with his body and legs inside a doorway, his head and his arms
out into the street; his mouth was green with grass that he had been
chewing, and some of which was hanging out of his mouth. The people
passing by looked, and then went on their way talking and laughing as if
it was nothing. I was stunned, indignant, and full of pity, and turning
to my wife (and even I flinging about my arms in the Neapolitan
fashion), said, with all the Christian and human resentment that I was
capable of, "How is it possible that, in such a flourishing and civil
city as this, a poor Christian is left to die of hunger in the street
for want of a little bread which is denied him by his unnatural
brethren, and is obliged to feed upon the food for beasts?" And I ran at
once to a pastrycook's near by for some cakes, because I thought bread
would be too hard food for a man reduced to such a state; and with a
light heart on account of the good action, I took them to him that I
might see him eat them, and as soon as he was a little restored give him
some _soldi_. Clever indeed! You little thought that the man was an
impostor! I bent over him, called him; he did not answer. I put a cake
to his mouth, and he looked at me, took the cakes, and hid them in his
bosom between his shirt and his skin, and this kind of a bag was crammed
full of bread and other things. Some inquisitive people had stopped to
look on, and seeing this, it seemed to me as if they laughed at my


And as I am on this question, and my memory serves me well, I will tell
you of another beggar. In front of the Hotel de France, Largo Castello,
where I was staying, is the Church of San Giacomo. At the door of this
church a poor man stood from morning until night trembling, half naked,
and barefoot. It made me feel badly, comfortably lodged as I was, and
sitting smoking my cigar on the terrace, to see that poor creature out
in the cold with his feet in the mud. More than once my poor wife had
given him some _soldi_; but one day when it was raining heavily, and the
poor man was out in it all, with his feet nearly covered by water, a
happy thought struck me, inspired by Christian charity, and I said, "I
am here under cover, and have boots on my feet, while that poor wretch
is there outside with no shoes on; I will give him my boots." I rang the
bell; the servant came, and I said to him, "Raffael, take this pair of
boots to that poor man over there by the door of San Giacomo."

"Yes, sir," said Raffael, and away he went.

I went back on to the balcony to enjoy the effect of my good deed,
imagining that I should see an expression of amazement and joy on the
man's face. Nothing of the sort; he remained there with the boots in
hand as if he did not know exactly what sort of things they were, and
when Raffael told him that I gave them to him, and pointed me out to him
on the terrace, the man turned, looked up, and, always holding them in
his hand, made signs of thanking me; then he put them down on the
ground near his feet, and continued to stretch out his hands to the
people entering the church! "Ah, poor man," I said, "he wished to put
them on to-morrow morning; he must wash himself, of course, and dry his
feet before putting them on. How stupid of me! The people are just going
in for the _novena_ (it was Christmas-time), and he does not want to
lose a chance _grano_ to buy him some bread." But the next morning he
was still barefooted, and it was raining. I said to my wife--


"Look, I sent that poor man my boots yesterday, so that he should not
wet his feet, but he has not put them on. What do you think is the
reason? What should you say?"

"He probably wishes to keep them for Sundays," was the serious answer of
that dear simple woman.

"You are joking, my dear; that man is old, and if he keeps them for
Sundays he will not see the end of them. I say that he has sold them."

"And I say, that if he had two or three _lire_ to spare, he would have
wished to buy a pair, poor man!"

We each remained of our own opinion. Late in the day we went out, and,
approaching the poor man, I said to him--

"Why have you not put on the boots that I gave you? Are they tight?"

"Your Excellency," he replied, "if I put the boots on, no one will give
me another penny. I have sold them, your Excellency; and may the Virgin
bless you."

A few days after my arrival at Naples I went to Sorrento. The discordant
noise of the town annoyed me, and I wished to try that little place, so
much praised for its climate and for its quietness, and so full of
association with that illustrious and unhappy man, Torquato Tasso. I
went there with my friend Venturi, who had come to Naples for a few days
with the Grand Duke.


Sorrento is a charming little town seated on the crest of a hill called
the Deserto. It is surrounded on the left by woods of orange, citron,
and lemon trees, and on the right by the sea with the island of Capri,
that seems to rise up majestically from the deep blue waters. On the far
horizon one catches a glimpse of Nisida and Baia. This small town is
inhabited by fishermen, orange-packers employed on the large landed
possessions in the neighbourhood, and by most clever workers of inlaid
wood, who have made their art so much in request by the thousand little
trifles, so pretty in design and so carefully executed, that they make.
Garguillo's manufactory is much renowned, and justly so. Not only do you
find on the pieces of furniture cornices, fillets, meanders, and other
graceful ornaments, but also extremely pretty figures inlaid on the
boxes, little tables, and other nick-nacks with which well-to-do people
embellish their rooms. Here the air is mild, and the sun is tempered by
the shade of laurels and orange-trees. The character of the inhabitants
is gentle and laborious, and through their acts and their words there
breathes a quiet, ineffable melancholy, like the memory of a sweet pure
dream. Their complexion is dark, and also their hair; their eyes have
long lashes, and are cut in almond shape. It seems as if they looked
with infinite sweetness at something immeasurably far off; their smile
is sad, as if it recalled to them a lost existence that hope induced
them to think not irretrievably lost. This favoured, I should almost say
ideal, bit of nature, at a few miles' distance from the thoughtless
vulgar noise of the inhabitants of Naples, is a thing commented on by
all, but by no one reasonably explained. The climate so temperate, the
air perfumed with the scent of orange-flowers, and the sweet melancholy
on those faces, instead of rendering the place agreeable to me, made me
profoundly sad. Why did my heart not open itself to the enjoyments of
that pure, serene, and most beautiful nature? Why was it that that
bright sky, that tranquil sea, that quiet industrious life, rendered me
more sad and thoughtful? Perhaps it was because being so very weak I did
not feel the strength within me to reproduce in art any of those many
impressions that the mind took in and fancy clothed in most varied
forms. One day I visited Tasso's house; and whilst, as usual, the
cicerone explained in his way the singularity of that abode, I dwelt in
imagination on the life and vicissitudes of that unhappy poet, and
recalled the secret joys of that passionate soul after he had finished
his Christian epic: I saw the courteous, handsome cavalier, the inspired
poet, envied and conspired against by the favourites of the Duke and the
_literati_, his rivals; the looks of the ladies, whose frank admiration
was veiled in the shadow of profligacy; then the disorder, confusion,
first in the heart, and then in the brain of poor Torquato, the
suspicions of the Duke, his imprisonment, his lawsuit, his resignation
and death; and I wept.


I decided to return to Naples--for this quiet full of fancies drove me
back into myself, and made me more sad. I took up my abode in the centre
of the great city, in Piazza Castello, at the Hotel de France, on the
angle of the Strada dei Guantai Vecchi. In this hotel strangers were
continually coming and going, and changing every day. The windows of my
little apartment opened on the Piazza, and the mid-day and westerly sun
bathed them in heat and light. Some artists, in compassion for my
condition, came to give me courage; and among them I remember with
profound sadness, for almost all of them are now dead, Cammillo Guerra,
Giuseppe Mancinelli, Gigante, and Tommaso Aloysio Juvara, who had such a
tragic end in Rome. The warmth of your heart turned your brain, my poor
friend! but in your last moments you acknowledged your sin, and God will
have been merciful to you. The other younger artists who are still alive
are the sculptors Solari and Balzico, the miniature-painter Di
Crescenzio, and Postiglione the painter. But my health was always the
same. Professor Vulpes, to whom I had brought a letter of recommendation
from Professor del Punta, continued to follow the same treatment as that
indicated by the other Florentine doctors,--that is to say, prescribing
preparations of iron, meat diet, rest, and tranquillity of mind. And in
the meanwhile I had no desire to eat; my sleep was restless and of short
duration; my legs would ill support me, and my mind was so depressed
that I could not endure to read more than a few pages. As to writing, I
was obliged to stop every moment or so; ideas got confused, and I could
not separate them from each other or give them any proper shape. It was
a great fatigue to me to give my news to Venturi when he desired to hear
from me.


At last the longed-for day came which was to decide the question of my
health. It was already two months since I had left my home; and although
the journey to Naples and the air there had been somewhat beneficial to
me, yet I was very far from entertaining the slightest hope of
recovery--or rather this recovery was so slow as to make me lose all
patience. At this stage good Professor Smargiassi, seeing me always so
weak and melancholy, said to me, "Why do you not try the water-cure?"


"What do you mean by water-cure?" I replied; and he explained it to me,
adding, "Here in Naples there is Professor Tartaglia, who has effected
some wonderful cures." He told me of some, and he added that he himself
had tried this cure and had got well. As Smargiassi was a serious man,
with a temperate habit of speech on all matters, his words carried
weight with them, and I consented willingly to consult this hydropathic
professor, and so sent for him.

Professor Tartaglia was an exceptional Neapolitan--that is to say, he
had nothing of the vivacity of speech and manners that is peculiar to
this warm-hearted, exuberant, and imaginative people; he spoke little
and quietly, listened a great deal, and observed attentively. When he
had heard of my complaints, he examined me, and after that said: "You
have no disease, although you may not feel well; you will recover
quietly and easily--of that you may be sure. In the meanwhile I will
tell you that I shall not come again to see you; but instead, you must
come to see me every morning at twelve o'clock to give me an account of
how you feel. To-morrow you must take your first bath. Don't be
alarmed--it is not a bath by immersion; you are not to go into the
water," and he gave me the directions to be followed; and as he was
going away he said, "Let alone the medicines that you have taken thus

The first morning this hydropathic cure seemed very arduous. To get out
of one's bed and put on a sheet drenched with cold water is not the
pleasantest thing in the world, especially at that season of the year
(it was the last of December); but after the first impression, I can
assure you that the external warmth finally produces a pleasant effect,
and gives strength and elasticity to the body. After the bath, walking
exercise should be taken for at least an hour. To my objection that I
could not walk, the Professor answered, "Walk as much as you can, rest a
little, and then continue to walk, and so on; you will see day by day
that your strength will return, and with your strength, courage and
happiness." In short, after a month of this treatment I was so well that
I could walk easily eight miles during the day. When I wrote to Florence
of the new cure that I had begun, Del Punta was frightened, and said
that he would not be responsible for the result of this resolution of
mine, which, to say the least, was hazardous; and that I ought not to
have undertaken it without the advice of an ordinary practitioner--that
is to say, of an allopathic doctor. His making this a condition
tranquillised me, as Professor Tartaglia was really an allopathic
doctor; but in some cases that were rebellious to that system of
treatment he adopted hydropathy. Then, too, the result was so
satisfactory, so decided, that all objections fell to the ground, and
nothing more was said about it.


By degrees I felt my strength returning, and my heart expanded with
hope. Delightful artistic thoughts, that had so long lain dormant,
sprang into life within me, one by one, like the first leaves in April;
and Will, precious gift, mysterious, immortal power, again took and held
its empire over me, and pronounced itself. During the days just passed,
the smiling country, the glorious sun, the terrible beauty of the sea,
the joys of men, the creations of art, and (sad to say) even the
affectionate care of my dear ones, were irksome to me; and now, with
pleasure, slowly and by degrees I began to feel a desire and thirst to
enjoy these good things, thinking about them and loving them with more
intensity of understanding and hearty sincerity. Every day there was a
new excursion to be made: Capodimonte, with its immense park and rich
gallery; that beautiful walk, the Strada Maria Teresa, now Vittorio
Emanuele; the Certosa of San Martino, where one enjoys a view of the
whole city, of the sea and all the Campagna-Felice, of Vesuvius, of
Monte Somma, of Portici, Resina, Capri, and Nisida. Then I felt a desire
to see the Royal Museum, unique in the world for its great riches in
ancient bronzes; the Flora, Venus Victrix, Callipige, Aristides, the
equestrian statues of the Balbi, father and son; the seated Mercury; the
Sleeping Faun, and a thousand other statues, big and little; busts, in
marble and in bronze, of exquisite beauty, all or almost all of them
having been dug out of the ashes of Herculaneum and Pompeii. On certain
days, or I should rather say at certain moments, a sight of these works
of sculpture sets one on fire, and fills one with courage and a strong
desire to do something; but at other times it gives one a feeling of
dismay, discouragement, and fear that cannot be described. This
difference of impression deserves to be examined a little, and he who is
bored must here skip; the young artist, however, I am certain, will
follow me attentively. I have made a promise to myself not to leave
these papers as food for mere curiosity, for, seriously speaking, there
should be no satisfaction in that; whereas a little value and profit
will be found by every one who has the patience to follow me.



Yes, dear friends, sometimes, in seeing certain works of art, one burns
with enthusiasm, with a fire, a desire to do, that is really marvellous,
and we ease our minds with the conviction that this is a sign of our
strength. Illusions, dear sirs--illusions! To the eyes of the artist all
works of art ought to be the occasion of examination and serious
hesitating thought; and when these outbursts of immoderate confidence in
ourselves occur, they are a sign that our sight is obscured by pride, or
that we are not able to comprehend the degree of beauty in such works,
and consequently the difficulties that have been overcome to produce
them. We must correct ourselves of both these defects, and learn to
respect even mediocre things, as by this method we arrive at the
discovery of something good even in these, if not as a whole, at least
in their intention and germ, and this will always be something gained.
As a young man, I have found myself laughing compassionately at some of
the most beautiful works of art, both ancient and modern, and this
merely because my natural pride had been excited by light or false
praise. The complacency that we feel in ourselves and our works comes in
part from a species of exclusiveness and belief in the infallibility of
the principles we profess. Not that I would counsel any disloyalty to
the principles that are our guides in art--no, indeed, for we must keep
entirely true to them; but it is a very different thing to despise all
other schools that are removed from ours. For instance, why despise the
Academicians, who are tenacious of the study of antique statues, in
order to keep within bounds the turbid torrent of the _veristi_, who in
their turn, through their coarse adherence to nature, lose the idea of
the beautiful? Let us, on the contrary, respect them for their
intentions and motives, at the same time that we make certain
reservations as to the final consequences that would result from this
distrust and refashioning of nature. The fault of the Academic school
lies in this, that instead of saying, "Study the antique; look how well
they knew how to choose from life and how to interpret it," they say,
"Here, copy these casts; apart from them there is no health or safety
for you. Nature is imperfect; you must improve on it, and, imitating the
Grecian and Roman statues, you will learn to purge nature from all her
imperfections." So saying, the intention, which is good, is spoiled by
its application of exaggerated rules. But, I repeat, the intention is
good; therefore let us look to that whilst we reject its application. On
the other hand, why should we despise the _naturalisti_ in all that they
have that is good--I mean, in their axioms and rules--which, in short,
putting aside amplification and exaggeration, means the imitation always
in everything of nature? We have always accepted and insisted upon the
imitation of nature, that is of beautiful nature, putting aside that
exaggeration which leads to folly, absurdity, and licence of conception,
and to ugliness of form, detail, and minutiæ.


The same may be said of the mystics, the purists, colourists, lovers of
effect and _barocco_, &c. Let us take the good where we can find it:
not, indeed, make a mixture, a medley, as some have been fantastic
enough to imagine, by which we should arrive directly at eclecticism,
which is the most foolish thing in this world; but putting our minds
into the study of all these schools, we shall be able to find good
reasons for their teachings. Separating them from excess and
exaggeration, we shall find ourselves in a wider, clearer, higher
atmosphere, and the impressions that we receive from works of art will
not produce despondency or rejoicing, our judgments will be more
temperate and just, and our own work will be done quicker and better.
This does not mean, indeed, that we are to remain indifferent before
works of art. Alas for the man who is indifferent! for the artist who
before some work of art stands cold and without feeling! A young man who
is ardent, boasting, and proud, can correct himself, can be trained by
difficulties and instances, by emulation or jeering. The timid will
become animated, and take courage, moving with measured and cautious
steps on his arduous journey, and, by reason of his timid, gentle
character, conciliate the goodwill of his masters and fellow-students;
but the indifferent and cold of nature has too much the air of a
simpleton or an arrogant person, and he is fled from and left in his
stupid ignorance.


And here, gentle reader, is one of these happy mortals who live their
little day in dreamland. A person came to see me one day bringing with
him a young man who might have borne a quarter of a century weight on
his shoulders. He was of medium height, with broad shoulders, bent
slightly, owing, perhaps, to his being twenty-five years of age; he had
a black beard, bronzed complexion, and wandering eyes. He looked all
about him and saw nothing. I say that he saw nothing, for he paid the
same attention to my cat as he did to the head of the Colossus of Monte
Cavallo, which stood on a stand in the room, and to my "Abel" as he did
to me or my stool. He spoke no Italian, not even French; but the person
who accompanied him, and who was competent in all respects, spoke for
him, or rather of him, for the young man himself never opened his mouth
to utter a word, although he kept it half open even when he was looking
at the cat. This very polite person said--

"You will forgive me, Signor Professor, if I take you away from your
occupations for a few brief moments; but I could not forego the pleasure
of regaling you with a visit from, and making you acquainted with, this
young sculptor, who is on his way to Rome, where he goes, not, indeed,
to perfect himself as an artist, but to practise the profession which he
has so nobly and splendidly illustrated by his genius. As he is
undoubtedly born to fame, and the whole world will talk of him, I wished
to bring him to you, and make you really acquainted, that you might some
day be able to say, 'I have seen him and spoken with him.'"

[Sidenote: A GENIUS.]

I stood there like a bit of stucco, looking at the young man, and then
at the person who had spoken to me thus. Then I answered--

"Tell me, does this gentleman speak, or at least understand, Italian?
Has he understood what you have just said of him?"

"Oh no! he only speaks English; he is an American."

"The Lord be thanked," muttered I to myself, "that the poor young man
understood nothing!" But this polite person, misunderstanding my
question, began--

"Now I will tell him what I have said to you."

And he began in English to repeat the little tirade that he had given
me, and this genius of a young man nodded his head at every phrase,
looking at me, at the stool, and at the cat!



I summoned up all my little stock of patience, and moved slowly towards
the door, they following me. Thanking the gentlemen, I shut them out,
and returned in silence to my work. This happened some thirty years ago,
nor as yet does it seem as if the prophecy about that young man were

To return to ourselves. "Appetite comes with eating," as the proverb has
it; and in fact, by degrees, as I visited the museums, the churches, and
the studios of the Neapolitan artists, I felt an increasing desire to do
something, to try again to draw or to model, were it but a mere trifle.
One day, after having gone over the whole breadth and length of the
excavations at Pompeii, I was examining a mosaic pavement made out of a
great many pretty little coloured stones, some of them broken away from
their place; and bending down to examine it closer, I touched one of the
stones. The _custode_ hastened to say to me, "Don't touch, signor--the
regulations prohibit it." It cannot be denied that I have always been
disposed to respect all regulations; but since I had seen them broken,
even by those who ought to have been the first to respect them, I had
taken them in dudgeon. I looked at the _custode_, and he at me, and we
understood each other at once. I took a turn, went to the door, looked
to the right and to the left of me, and coming back, as I was taking
something out of my pocket I dropped some money on the ground.


My friend picked it up for me, and I gave him a _carlino_. We returned
to the room where the mosaic pavement was. It represented a race of
animals, hares and dogs, on a yellow ground. Some of the little stones
were loose, and already many were missing; they were small squares about
as large as my little-finger nail. I bent down again, and stretched out
my hand, looking at the guard, who for decency's sake turned in the
other direction; and I took the little stone, on which, with a great
deal of patience and increasing gusto, I drew and engraved a small head
after the fashion of a cameo, roughing it out at first with the point of
a penknife, and finishing it off with sharpened needles fastened into
little handles, which I used in the place of small chisels and burins. I
always keep this little head, which was set in gold as a pin, and
sometimes wear it in my necktie. When I look at this small piece of
workmanship, I am astonished at my patience and my eyesight at that

To tell the truth, when I picked up that little stone I had no idea of
working on it, but merely took it as a remembrance of the day and the
place. In touching it, I thought that it had been shaped and put there
by a man like myself, two thousand years ago. In holding that little
square stone between my fingers, it seemed to me as if my hand touched
the hand of that man, who then was full of life. I thought of his scant
dust, now dispersed, transformed but not lost! Where is this dust now?
I, where was I then? While I was thinking on this, my good Marina
approached, and said--

"Do you find any beauty in that little stone?"


"No. I was thinking that it is very old. I was thinking that it is a
fusion of fire, and in substance lava. But was not Vesuvius unknown at
the time that this city was constructed? Could you imagine that they
would have been so insane as to have built on the outskirts of a
mountain vomiting fire? Have you not observed that in all the many
paintings on these houses, where you find over and over again
landscapes, sea views, animals, figures, in fact everything, that there
is never the slightest trace of a view of Vesuvius? If it had been
there, surely they would not have failed to reproduce in painting such a
marvellous phenomenon. Therefore it could not have been there; and yet
all these mosaics are made of lava, and all the surrounding country at a
certain distance below the surface of the ground is covered with it. It
was not there, I say, in their memory; but when was it there?"

"Do you know?" said my wife.

"I?--no, indeed."

"Then you can imagine if I do."

After this small cameo, I wished to model a little figure in bas-relief,
which it was my intention to have executed on a shell cameo, and I gave
the order for it; but the workmen employed for this kind of work are so
unintelligent that if you take them away from the work they are
accustomed to do almost mechanically, they are not able to succeed in
doing anything. The little figure represented Medicine. She was seated
on a stool, and with a little stick was pushing aside the bushes to look
for some medicinal plants; but in doing so a serpent had wound itself
around her stick, as it is said to have happened to Æsculapius. Behind
the stone on which she is seated flows a little stream of water, to
denote the salutary action of water by which I was cured, and to which
she turns her back.


I also made a new sketch for the Bacchino della Crittogama, which was
the one that I afterwards made of life-size on my return from Naples.
The one I had left behind me in clay was very different, and I destroyed
it. I had this new sketch baked, and I remember one day when I went to
get it from the man who sells _terre cotte_, near Santa Lucia, to whom I
had given it to bake, that I found him arguing with a stranger who had
taken it absolutely into his head to buy it. It was useless for the man
to say that the statuette did not belong to him; that he could not sell
it; that it was not finished; and that his little figures of Apollo, the
Idolino, Venus, and Flora were far better and more finished than this
sketch: he only kept repeating, "I like this, and want to buy it;" and
all persuasion was useless. I put an end to the discussion in two words,
saying to the man--

"Sell it to him."

"How much must I ask?"

"A thousand _lire_."

At which the good _touriste_ immediately put down the Bacchino, and went
away in peace. Some two months after this I presented this little sketch
to a priest from Verona, whose name I do not remember, but who came to
preach the Lenten sermons at our cathedral in Florence. I regret to
have given it to him, for it is always well that a man's sketches should
remain in his family, and also because, for all his eloquence, he has
never since reported himself to me. Can he really be dead? _Requiem


In this manner the time passed by, alternating the long walks in the
neighbourhood of Naples with a little work and some artistic visits to
Mancinelli, to Balzico (then but a young student), to Smargiassi the
landscape-painter, and to Gigante, the famous water-colourist. I did not
fail to try to find the sculptor Cavaliere Angelini, whom I had already
known in Florence; but for some inexplicable reason I could not see him,
and this was what happened. I went to his studio, and his men told me
that he had gone to the Academy to lecture to the young men. I went to
the Academy, and was told that he desired me to wait, because he was
giving his lessons. I waited a good long time, and when he came out he
said that he was in such a hurry he could not pay any attention to me
then, but that I must come to his studio on a certain day at a certain
hour. I went there and knocked; no one answered, and the soldier who was
mounting guard at the Serraglio dei Poveri close by said that every one
had gone away more than two hours before. It seemed to me a little
strange, after having named the day and hour; but more or less
forgetfulness in an artist means nothing--in fact it is a sort of sauce
or dressing to an artist's character, be he young or full-grown, on
horseback or on foot. Dear me! such things are easily understood; and if
I had not been a little tired, I should not even have thought of it, and
would have returned another day. But when, and at what time? Should I
have ever found the door open?

My hotel was very far from the poorhouse, but the two places were not
very dissimilar; for although all my expenses were paid by the Grand
Duke, it had not yet become the fashion to squander and waste after the
ways of to-day; and be it from education, temperament, or other motives,
I felt it my duty to economise for that good gentleman's purse even more
than for my own, and therefore my inn could really be called a poorhouse
in spite of its pompous name, for it was a third-class hotel; but the
distance was great, and, to mortify the Professor a little, I wrote on
his studio door--"_G. Duprè at home on such a day and such an hour._"


He will come, he will certainly come, to see me at my inn to make his
excuses. Poor Angelini! he is certainly absent-minded, and am I not also
absent-minded? He will come to find me out. Yes; I stayed in Naples six
months, and never saw him. Something beyond absent-mindedness, I think;
but so it was. I told all this for amusement to his colleagues, but they
took it seriously to heart,--so much so, that at one of their academic
meetings they proposed me as an Associate-Professor: and Angelini seemed
delighted, and warmly supported my nomination, so that naturally it was
passed; but I never went into his studio. Oh no.

Yes; I repeat it ten, twenty times over. My dear colleague, this
happened in the month of January 1853; see what a good memory I have.
You, it is quite natural, have forgotten it, because he who is guilty of
such things does not take heed of them, neither should the person to
whom they are done, unless he be as black as Loredan, who wrote down the
death of the two Foscari in his book of Debit and Credit. Therefore let
it be understood, that I did not take note of it, and don't remember it;
but if you ever take it into your head to return to Florence, and,
passing casually through the Via della Sapienza, you would like to rest
a little in my studio, you can do so; and the best of it is, that I do
not name the day or the hour, only take this journey and make this visit
soon, for we are now both old, and I shall not return to you, for I am
afraid of finding the door shut!

Here I come to the moral. I speak of artists. The desire to see the
works and also become acquainted personally with contemporary artists is
a good sign; it indicates a spirit of emulation, a wish to learn, and
form bonds of friendship, so to discuss and bring to light errors and
doubts on questions of art. But if the artist with whom you desire to
speak names a certain day and hour, then answer at once, "Thank you very
much, but I cannot come." Tell him this untruth--it will be but a small
sin; whereas he who imposes upon you a day and hour gives himself so
much importance that he resembles that ugly and haughty signor called

[Sidenote: SHAKING HANDS.]

There are some medicines so proper and efficacious, that once you have
taken them, you are radically cured, and for good. Angelini cured me of
the wish to knock at studio doors; and the Signora Marchesini cured me
of another habit, formed either by custom or stupidity, of shaking hands
with everybody, especially with women. The Signora Marchesini was at
that time (I am speaking of about thirty years ago) an aristocratic lady
of a certain age--one of those persons who, without even taking the
trouble to turn to look at any one who came to see her, would answer the
salutation and bow prescribed by good breeding with an _addio_ and a
"good evening" when one took leave, were it even at midnight. Such was
the Signora Marchesini.


One night I went into her box at the Pergola, and going up to her I
bowed and put out my hand. Ass that I was! I did not know that this act
of familiarity was not allowed to _inferiors_; and putting aside
nobility of birth, I was her junior by thirty years, and perhaps this
offended the austere lady more than anything else. The lesson, however,
was a good one; and from that day, in fact from that evening, I have
never since been the first to offer my hand to any woman, old or young.
All this nonsense reminds me of a much rougher and more vulgar instance
of haughtiness, from which my beloved wife was the sufferer. She was as
simple and good, poor darling, as the woman who offended her was hard
and proud.

I had gone to pay a visit to a friend of mine, a gentleman of noble
birth, education, and tact, with whom I had friendly relations. My wife
was with me, and he was in the drawing-room with his, who was French by
birth, much younger than himself, and whom he had lately married. As
soon as my friend saw me he spread out his arms, and we embraced each
other; my wife, with a feeling of spontaneous tenderness, pressed
forward to embrace the young lady, but she drew back, perhaps not
thinking it beseeming or according to etiquette to embrace a woman the
first time she saw her, even although she was much older than herself.
My poor Marina, with her purity of soul, did not feel offended, but
turning to me she timidly asked, "Have I done wrong?"

"You! no, my dear; but another time stand on your own ground. That woman
did not deserve to be embraced by you."

My friend took no notice of anything, and shortly after we left the
house. I do not know why, but this remembrance goads me more and more
every day; it stimulates my love for her who now smiles at all these
miseries--she who was so worthy of all honours, who desired and was able
to keep herself always good, mild, and compassionate--a good wife, a
good mother, truly a lady by her virtues, and not by reason of her birth
and riches. More I should like to say, but cannot; I look with anxious
love for the words that fail me, and I think that the innermost
lineaments of that temperate, strong, patient soul can be felt but
cannot be portrayed.


I continued to get better and better in Naples. The medical man insisted
that I should walk a great deal and take simple and abundant food--a
little soup, roastbeef, and a plate of vegetables, and nothing else, for
dinner; for breakfast, after my bath and walk, a glass of cold milk and
some bread. As a distraction for my mind, he recommended my seeing and
talking with people I liked, and going to the theatre of an evening. At
first the theatre bored me; I did not understand those little _bouffe_
comedies in dialect at the Fenice and San Carlino, and all those
repartees of Punchinello irritated me. It was bad for me to go to the
San Carlo, where they were giving the 'Trovatore' with the Penco,
Fraschini, and the Borghi-mamo, and 'Othello' with the Pancani, for they
made me weep, not on account of the dramas themselves, which I already
knew, but on account of the music, which had such a strong effect on my
nerves. For these reasons I was obliged to give up the music at San
Carlo, and 'Punch' at San Carlino and the Fenice, and took refuge in the
Sebeto, a very small theatre, where for the most part were represented
dramas in bad taste, artistically speaking, but not as far as morals are
concerned--exaggerated characters, forced situations to create
immoderate effects, &c.,--in fact, dramas of the Federici stamp, to
touch the hearts of the populace, but not calculated to influence them
with voluptuousness, the more dangerous when veiled in the attractive,
graceful, and polished forms of cunning sophistry. Then these dramas
were not in dialect, and 'Punch' only came in at the farce, and for such
a very small part that I could bear him, and little by little began to
understand and appreciate him. As I have already said, the theatre was a
necessity for me, and it entered into my _sage's_ system of treatment;
but he added that I was not to take the recreation by myself, but in the
company of my wife and child, and with as much ease as possible, so that
it was necessary to take a small box, which, as the theatre was so small
and unpretending, was not a very great expense. Perhaps the idea of
economy never once occurred to the generous sovereign who came to my
aid, but I used to think of it, as I have before said.


Thus, with so much to divert my mind, during the day going to see the
public monuments and the churches in which this immense city is so rich,
and at evening to the theatre, my recovery was completed. Nor were there
wanting splendid works of art, besides the collection of ancient
bronzes, unique in the world, and wonderfully useful to the students of
sculpture. The Church of San Gennaro, with its monuments, amongst which
are those of Carlo d'Angio, Carlo Martello, and Clemenza his wife; San
Paolo, built on the ruins of the Roman theatre where Nero used to appear
in public and declaim his verses, and where Metronate gave his lessons
in philosophy, which were attended by Seneca as his pupil (what a lesson
to young men!); Santa Chiara, with its monuments to the ancient kings of
Naples, which once was all frescoed over by Giotto, and has been most
barbarously whitewashed by Berio Nuovo; Sant'Angelo a Nilo, with that
splendid monument to Cardinal Brancaccio, one of Donatello's finest
works; and San Domenico Maggiore,--all these monuments, as much for
their beauty as for the historical records they contain, are worthy of
the greatest attention and study, and are calculated to inspire ideas
and a desire to work.


But often it happens that the most valuable things one has, so to speak,
at one's very door, are not thought anything of--not even noticed; and
such was the case then with some artists in Naples, who either did not
remember or were not acquainted with their own artistic treasures. I
remember a young sculptor who often lamented that Naples was wanting in
art of the middle ages. I reminded him of the monuments above mentioned,
dwelling especially on that by Donatello, to which he answered that he
did not know it. "Go to see it," I said; "it is unpardonable in you not
to know it."

After some time I saw the youth, and said to him--

"Well, did you see the monument by Donatello, and what did you think of
it?" to which he answered, "I found that I had already seen it once
before, but did not remember it."

"Then," thought I to myself, "there is an end of all hope for you."


It is certainly a most painful fact that some of the finest works of our
elders are either entirely ignored or not cared for, but it is most sad
when this indifference comes from young men who have dedicated
themselves to art. That the usual ignorant _ciceroni_ who show strangers
the sepulchral chapel of the Princes of Sangro take no notice of the
monument by Donatello is natural enough, but it is none the less
disgusting to hear them pouring forth their opinions after the following
fashion: "See, gentlemen, these statues are the stupendous work of the
famous Venetian Antonio Corradini. Observe the two statues that stand in
the arch by the columns of the high altar; they are miracles of
sculpture; one is by Corradini, and one by Quieroli. The first
represents the mother of the Prince Don Raimondo, who restored and
enriched this chapel--which was founded by the Prince Don Francesco in
1590--with precious marble. The statue represents Modesty--one of the
principal virtues that distinguished the Princess. See, gentlemen, she
is enveloped in a transparent veil, beneath which is revealed the whole
of her figure: this is a method of sculpture unknown even to the Greeks,
for the ancients only painted their draperies, but did not cut them in
marble. The other prodigy of art is a statue representing the father of
the Prince himself as 'Disinganno.' In this statue behold a man caught
in a net; you see all the meshes of the net, and inside it the body
itself." The stranger, meantime, stands there open-mouthed, admiring
these statues, in which, to tell the truth, one could not too deeply
deplore the time and patience that have been wasted on work whose only
object is to arrest the attention of vulgar people, who take all these
material and mechanical difficulties for the essential and only aim in
art. All this, I repeat, is disgusting if you like, and rather
ridiculous; but the people of the country, and most particularly
artists, ought to laugh at such works as these, as well as their
admirers. This mania for the difficult and surprising, to the detriment
of beauty itself, which is so simple, has carried corruption into art
itself as well as to its amateurs--so much so, that dresses of rich
stuffs, embroideries, laces, and like trifles, which need but a little
patience and practice to produce, have to-day become so much in vogue as
to really make one fear that art is in danger, and that research and
study to reproduce the beautiful will be replaced by work of a sort of
asinine patience, which surprises and impresses only simple-minded,
vulgar people, and dilettanti. And _àpropos_ of dilettanti, I wish to
express my opinion that although they may take pleasure in painting and
sculpture they are not of the slightest use to these arts. Dilettanti
are generally gentlemen--fine gentlemen, sometimes even princes--and in
consequence of their station and wealth, are surrounded by a cloud of
small-minded people, who, owing to the respect and deference they feel
for them, are induced to praise them. This cheap praise, which is taken
so unceremoniously, engenders in those who give it a false and
sophistical tone, with which they quiet their consciences, ever
muttering, "You ought not to have said this; it is not just--it is not
true." As this internal grumbling is irksome, the mind builds up a sort
of reasoning that holds out as long as it can, and then falls for want
of that solid foundation, Truth, that alone can uphold any structure, be
it scientific, artistic, or literary. With him who receives the praise,
matters go far more easily; he does not give it another thought, or if
he does, it is from excess of vanity that he sniffs the remaining odour
from that small cloud of incense.

[Sidenote: CHEAP PRAISE.]


In Naples there were two of these dilettanti princes,--one a painter,
the other a sculptor. His Royal Highness Don Sebastian, Prince of
Bourbon, brother-in-law of the King of Naples, was the painter, and His
Royal Highness Count of Syracuse, brother of the same king, was the
sculptor. The last named died a little after the revolution in 1860, and
of his artistic merits I have already spoken. I shall therefore now say
two words about his Highness Don Sebastian. I had the honour of being
presented to him by the Grand Duke Leopold, who was at that time in
Naples with his daughter the Princess Isabella, married to Count
Trapani, who was expecting to be confined. Having been some time in
Naples myself, I went to pay my homage to him, and he then made me
acquainted with his Highness Don Sebastian, who was without pretensions,
a simple, modest man. He asked for advice, and he asked for it with such
eagerness and persistency that it showed a desire to know the absolute
truth, that he might correct himself--and not truth disguised under a
veil of complimentary praise, which only misleads. And I, with the
mildest words that I could find in the vocabulary of truth, gave him
briefly and generally some advice; for his wish to do something really
good was above his school and the studies he had followed. Although, as
I have said, he had a sincere desire to hear the truth, yet I became
aware that the language I used was quite new to him. I can add, however,
that he did not feel hurt by it, as he often wished to see me and hear
me, and corrected himself or tried to do so in many things, thus
indicating confidence and goodwill. At this time he was painting a large
picture for an altar, which he presented to the church of San Giacomo
degli Spagnuoli, above Toledo, and I remember that he gave me a drawing
of it. He had taken refuge in Naples with the king his brother-in-law,
owing to the part he had taken as a Legitimist against the government of
Queen Isabella, who had confiscated all his revenues; and he mitigated
the bitterness of exile and poverty by his devoted love for art. After
some time he was restored to his country, and reinstated in his
property, so that at last he must have comforted himself with his own
bread, having known how salt was that of exile. He returned to his
country, and who knows if he did not cut off his beard, which he used to
wear full and long, after the fashion of Spanish Legitimists? Strange to
say, in Italy at that time, especially in Naples, a beard was the sign
of just the contrary--that is to say, of a Liberal; and the annoyances
caused by the police on this account were so ridiculous as to be quite
disgusting. One was obliged, however, to conform to all this, for if a
young man desired not to be exposed to worse annoyances, he was obliged
to shave his chin. He might keep his moustache and whiskers after the
German fashion, or wear his whiskers alone like the English--he was
quite free to do that; but a beard on his chin, be it long or short,
indicated Liberalism: and as I have said, he was immediately marked by
the agents of Del Carretto, Minister of Police, and, willing or no, was
obliged to shave to avoid something worse. At that time, therefore, the
manliness of a Neapolitan showed itself everywhere but on his chin. In
all Naples--with the rare exception of some foreigner, the Prince Don
Sebastian, who was anything but a Liberal, the Count of Syracuse, and
Count of Aquila, brothers of the king, whom the police hounds could
growl at but not bite--not for a million of money could a beard be seen,
unless it were mine, which, although not so luxuriant as it is now, was
still more than enough for the police.


During the days that the Grand Duke remained in Naples, he desired to
see the museums and other monuments of this great city, and wished me to
accompany him, out of simple kindness, for his Highness acted as my
guide, being much better acquainted with them than I was. This driving
up and down the streets of Naples in a Court carriage, with a full
beard on my face, upset all the ideas of those poor _sbirri_. Some
people took me for a Spanish Legitimist; and others--especially the
sentinels at the palace--christened me at once a relation of the royal
family,--so much so, that they presented arms to me every time I passed
by. Must I admit that I took pleasure in this, returning their salute
and passing before them as if I had been a true prince? "_Viva_ my
beard!" said I to myself; "but see how things are going in this country!
Some people are sent almost to the gallows for wearing a beard, and to
me they are presenting arms." One evening, however, even I came very near
being sent to prison. I was walking in the Strada Toledo, and about to
return home. Near the turning of the _Orefici_ by the Palazzo dei
Ministeri, there was a print-shop lighted by a reflected lamp, that
threw a light upon it as brilliant as day. There were some French
engravings, such as the Death of Richelieu, the Death of the Duke de
Guise, and I know not what else. I felt a hand on my shoulder; turning
round I saw some one gazing attentively at me, and before I had time to
ask him what he wanted, some one else took the man by the arm and said,
"Don't occupy yourself with him; he is one of the royal household;" and
away they went in the crowd, and I saw them no more.

[Sidenote: I PASS FOR A PRINCE.]

[Sidenote: LA BOTTIGLIA.]

I hurried home, for fear of finding others who might not share the same
opinion. My wife and little one were waiting for me to go to the
theatre, and I remember that they were then giving 'Edmondo Dante, Count
of Monte Cristo,' a monstrous production which lasted twelve
hours--divided, however, into three evenings. My little box was on the
first tier near the orchestra,--and such an orchestra! Two violins, one
double-bass, a clarionet, and a flute, the music being pieces adapted
from the 'Trovatore'; and such an adaptation! Good heavens! All this
cost me--that is to say, cost the Grand Duke--four _carlini_, including
"the bottle," for in Naples one must always pay for "the bottle" to
every one. Really in that fortunate country one required to have a
_carlino_ always in hand. I don't know how it is now, but then every one
was constantly drinking. Ushers, inspectors, _custodi_--all asked for
"this bottle" with the utmost frankness and in perfect seriousness. I,
who went often to the museum, wished to have my cane to lean on, as
there were no chairs to sit down on; but "No, sir,"--the porter, with
his great cocked-hat, came and took it away, having the right to do so,
as it was against the regulations. When I left he gave it back to me,
always saying, "Your Excellency, the bottle," pronouncing these words
with such dignity that you would have thought they were part of the
royal regulations; and I used to give it--that is to say, a
half-_carlino_ at every section. Pompeian paintings, statues and
bronzes, Etruscan vases, Renaissance paintings and drawings--each had a
_custode_, and all wanted a drink. Perhaps now they are no longer
thirsty, which will be all the better for the poor visitor. I paid these
half-bottles, or rather half-_carlini_, most unwillingly, for to be
always paying out is in itself most tiresome; and I was more out of
temper than really tired, not being able to find a seat anywhere. One
day a painter who was copying there was moved to pity, and offered me
his stool. It is not unnatural that a man who was both poor and unwell,
should be unwilling to pay out money in gratuities, and should look upon
that given to the porter as the hardest part of all, as it was to pay
him merely for taking away the stick he had to lean on. The consequence
was, that not being able to bear this _lucro cessante_ and _danno
emergente_, as they say in law, I made bold to say to this high
personage (he was at least a palm taller than I), "Listen, signor; I
will no longer give you the bottle."


"Why not, Excellency?"

"Because you take away my stick, which would be a comfort for me to lean

"Well, well," he answered, "keep your stick, Excellency; but remember
the bottle."

"I understand, I quite understand--and add a little more to it."

And the eyes of that Argus brightened, although he was by way of
shutting them as far as the regulations were concerned. The necessity
for drinking, it seems, belongs to this people, and it must be on
account of the hot air they breathe, all impregnated with the salt from
the sea. Therefore I fancy this desire of theirs has not yet been
allayed, for even I drank a great deal when I was there, only it was
water, which is so good, so fresh, so light, that it is a pleasure to
drink; but alas! so many prefer "the bottle." If, however, even against
the natural order of the country, this has been suppressed amongst the
subalterns, it has been adopted by the heads themselves, as the Minister
of Public Instruction has decreed an entrance-tax for every one who
wishes to see in our galleries the works of Raphael, Michael Angelo, or
our other glorious fathers, who in their simplicity certainly never
thought of being obliged to show themselves at so much a head like some
wild beasts.


It is a curious thing (which induces me to think that thirst must be in
the air of Naples) that this bottle-tax was instituted by a Neapolitan,
the Honourable Ruggero Bonghi, who, be it said with all due respect,
seems to be less anxious for the decorum of art and the advantage of
artists than for an economy which, to say the truth, is but a shabby
one. I know quite well that artists are free from this tax, but they
must be provided with a certificate, which is always a restriction; and
it is also true that artists, and those who are not artists, can enjoy
free entrance, but only on _festa_ days. It comes to the same as if to
one who said, "I am hungry," you answered, "You shall eat next week." Is
it believed that only those students who are provided with certificates
are to become artists? Art learns more from example than from precept,
as it is with every other thing. I should be curious to know if
Demosthenes and Cicero lived before or after the Treatise on Eloquence,
or if Phidias studied at the Academy, and paid a tax for admission.
Then, also, this is the common property of all, and therefore its
advantages should not be restricted. The answer is, that the
entrance-tax is used for the maintenance and decorum of the galleries
themselves. The decorum and support of the public galleries never
suffered from the want of this in bygone days; why should they feel the
need of it to-day?



The church of Gesu Nuovo was at that time under the ordinance of the
Jesuit Fathers, and one of these fathers, who was devoted to the church,
set on foot a work which did him much honour. Though the church was
beautiful in its design and decorations and rich in marbles, the high
altar was of wood, and this was quite out of keeping with the general
effect. Padre Grossi, who was as learned as he was zealous in his
religion and a lover of art, made the resolve that this altar should be
entirely renewed and reconstructed of precious marble, and he succeeded
in carrying this into effect. Everybody contributed--the Court, the
nobility, the people, owners of marble, and artists. It was not,
however, yet finished; some ornaments were still wanting, and among
these the panels of the pyx. I was asked by Padre Grossi to make a model
for this to be cast in silver, and I cheerfully accepted the commission.
The subject, which was singular and unusual, but extremely pleasing, was
suggested to me by the Padre himself. It represented a youthful female
figure, accompanied by an angel, at the foot of the altar, who came to
partake of the mystic bread. As soon as I had finished the model, I sent
it to Padre Grossi, who expressed his satisfaction with it. Not so the
superior and the other fathers, to whom the subject seemed to be too
unusual. The superior wrote me a very courteous letter of thanks, the
substance of which, stripped of all its sweet and useless phrases, was
that he could not give his approval to the work. I then took back my
model and presented it to Professor Tommaso Aloysio Juvara, who kept it
as a pleasant memorial of me; and thus this work also, which was
intended as a present, fell through.


The time for my return to Florence now drew near, for my health could
now be considered as quite restored, save that a slight melancholy still
hung about me, induced by an importunate and persistent feeling that
made me doubt my own powers to overcome the difficulties of art, and of
that art upon which I had at first entered, as it were, in triumph. I
was oppressed by a torpor or indecision, a sense of something vague and
undefined, resembling that state of moral weakness which shows itself in
sudden impulses and as sudden prostrations--all indications of lively
fancy and active sensibility, together with a great weakness of judgment
and will. In a word, I had become a coward. In my excited imagination I
felt the beauty of art, but I could not bring myself to lay hold of it,
and express it, and reproduce it. I desired to go back to my first
steps, and so felt my vanity offended. The _bello ideale_, ill defined
and ill understood, smiled upon me with all its flattering and illusory
charms. At slight intervals I seemed to feel these allurements, and then
again I suddenly fell into uncertainty.

    "E quale è quei, che disvuol ciò che volle
        E per novi pensier cangia proposta;"[8]

 [8]  "And like to one who unwills what he wills,
      And changes for new thoughts his purposes."

                            --DANTE: _Inferno_, Canto ii.

this was my state, and it afflicted me.


The decision which was to overcome all my uncertainty came to me from an
idealist, or rather from an imitator of Greek art, Canova, and from one
of his works not drawn from the ideal, but from life. I was about to
return from Rome to Florence, when, as I stood looking vaguely about one
morning in St Peter's, a prey to fleeting and changeable thoughts, my
eyes were arrested by the statue of Pope Rezzonico. How often I had
looked at that grandiose monument and passed on! This time the movement
and expression of concentrated feeling in this statue, united with a
sentiment of imitation so strong, and yet so free from minute and
servile detail, made a great impression on me; and this was all the more
vivid, because I could confront it with the other statues of the same
monument, all of which are characterised by mannerism and imitation of
the antique. This comparison stood me in stead of the most powerful of
reasonings and criticism, and I seemed to hear a voice issue from those
marbles which said, "See the great affection and study that Canova has
given to these statues, and still they do not speak to your heart like
that praying figure of the Pope. Why is this? Reflect!" And, in fact, I
know no subject more worthy of consideration than to seek among the
statues of Canova for the reasons of his oscillation between the
imitation of nature and the imitation of the antique; for exactly here
is the knot of that grave question which even to-day keeps artists
divided into two schools--that of the Academicians and that of the


Doubtless nature is the foundation of art, as beauty is its object; and
to forget either one or the other is to fall into error. If we kept
these two cardinal points in our mind, and made them both subjects of
study in our works, all our discussions and disputes would cease. But it
too often happens that the Academicians, holding too strongly to the
beautiful as the end to be attained, forget that its foundation is in
the truth or nature; while the Realists, blindly trusting to nature,
which when it is not subjected to selection is a bad foundation, lose
sight of the true end, which is beauty. Now in the works of Canova we
see a constant endeavour to harmonise the beautiful with nature; but as
the cry of _bello ideale_ (a magic phrase invented at that time) was
then loved, with the painter David leading the chorus, and the imperial
cannon sounding the accompaniment, the interior voices and protests of
the Christian artificers were either drowned or lifted to the hundred
pagan deities whom the epicurean philosophy of the time demanded, and to
whom they burned their incense. But the genius which nature had given to
this great artist triumphed over the tendencies of his time, over the
cry of pedants and the imperial favours; and the Pope Rezzonico, and
Pius VI., and the Magdalen, are there to demonstrate the singular force
of that genius which alone battled against the torrent of the schools
and the tyranny and customs of his age. These works of his are rays of
that light which first illuminated the mind of this great artist, when,
still young and free in his inspirations, and unbiassed by rules,
counsel, and praise, he conceived and executed that wonderful group of

In this careful spirit of examination and reasoning I again reviewed and
studied the masterpieces of ancient and modern art, and many of the
judgments which had been distorted by my poor brain during my first
visit were afterwards rectified. I became attached with reverent
friendship to Minardi, Tenerani, and Overbeck; and although all three
followed the school of the mystical ideal, which was far from
conformable to the rich and inexhaustible variety of nature, I admired
in them their profound conviction in the excellence of their school; and
although Tenerani united to his mysticism the graces of antique form,
still it seemed to me that precisely on this account he was often a
timid friend to nature. When, however, he was not dominated by a
preconceived idea--I mean in his portraits--he was really and
incontestably true to nature. His Count Orloff, though inspired by the
statues of the philosophers in the Vatican, is not inconsistent with
this opinion; and his Pellegrino Rossi and his Maria of Russia are
perfectly original, and show no preoccupation of his mind except with
nature. And it then seemed to me strange, as it still seems, that an
artist, in portraying a fact or a personage, however ideal, should
attempt to draw it purely from an idea, and not from living nature; for
his idea is for the most part only a remembrance of what he has seen.
The two processes are quite different; for the idea reaches out for the
source of truth or nature, which is infinitely varied, while the memory
retains types and figures of other works of so small a scale in variety
that its extreme ends soon meet each other.


Overbeck was more ideal and mystical than Tenerani. He placed all the
charm of art in the conception alone, and rarely or never used a model.
One day he said to me, in a tone of the most absolute conviction, that
models (or nature) destroyed the idea. This theory, which is eminently
false as a general proposition, has a certain truth when applied to
sacred subjects and representations of divinity, and specially in regard
to those artists who in painting a Madonna make a portrait of a model.
The imitation of life is certainly necessary even in sacred subjects;
but it is difficult so to select and portray them that the religious
idea does not become obscured, as well on account of the vulgarity as of
the excessive realism and expression of the model. The expression it is
absolutely necessary that the artist should create, if he has it in
him,--and only so far as this Overbeck was right. Then, indeed, is the
opportunity for the _bello ideale_, which is so ill understood and ill
treated; for the ideal is in substance nothing else but the idea of the
truth in nature, and diffused over all creation, as well in the material
as in the intellectual world. And every artist of heart and just
perceptions feels it and sees it, and recomposes its scattered parts by
means of long study and great love.


Minardi, the father, so to speak, of all the artistic youths of his day,
strove to reform them in taste and composition, founding himself on the
works and the canons of the _Cinquecentisti_. This recognition is all
the more due to him when we remember that precisely at this time, when
he was endeavouring to carry out this reform, he had before him
Camuccini and all his school in full vigour, and that now Minardi's
school is flourishing and strengthened as much by the conquests he has
made in variety of imitation from nature as in mastery of colour. I have
said that Minardi was like a father; and so he was. He treated his young
pupils as if they were his children, kept them in his own studio, and I
have seen three--Consoni, Mariani, Marianecci--and many others around
him gaily jesting with their venerable master. His portfolios and albums
were always open to all, and he delighted to show them, and, while
looking over their studies and compositions, to add those words of
explanation, counsel, and warning which are so useful to young artists.
I seem to see him now in that great studio of his, which was somewhat in
disorder, and encumbered with easels, drawings, cartoons, books, prints,
and antique furniture--the air filled with clouds of tobacco-smoke which
issued from the pipe he had always in his mouth, and he himself always
working or talking, reading or writing. He was affable, gracious, and
eloquent, and, with those little eyes looking through his spectacles, he
seemed to read into your soul; and if he found it sad, he threw out a
word, and awakened it again to life and courage. One day, seeing me more
than ordinarily melancholy, he rose from his work, took me by the hands,
and puffing from his pipe a larger volume of smoke than usual, asked
what was troubling me; and when I had made a clean breast of it to him,
he laid his pipe down, and embracing me, said, "Cheer up, my son! drive
away from your head all those whims: go back to Florence, take up your
work again with courage, and have more faith in yourself and in your
powers. It is an old man who is speaking to you, who neither can nor
will deceive you." The words of the excellent master went straight to my
heart, and filled it with courage, hope, and peace.


In this way, with studying the ancient monuments, and going about among
the living artists, I passed several days in Rome. The models, and
particularly those of the artists I have named, I found more robust and
rounded than our Florentine models, which are for the most part slender
and lymphatic. Among our girls you will not find, though you should pay
a million, such necks, so firm and robust, and at the same time so soft
and flexible, and like the examples which Greek and Roman art has left
us. So it seems that, without seeking for the cause of the contradiction
between the living nature I had found in Florence, and that which was
represented in antique art, I had come to the conclusion that the Greeks
and Romans worked purely from ideas, and corrected nature according to
that established rule which we call convention. Nothing is more
erroneous than this notion, and the proof of it I found in Rome itself,
as I shall now tell.

[Sidenote: A ROMAN MODEL.]


Whoever is familiar with the Roman people will have observed a notable
difference between the figures of the common people, and especially
those of the Trasteverini and the Monti, and those of the higher classes
who are in better circumstances. The latter are more slender, with a
fine and white skin, and often with chestnut hair; while the former have
dark eyes, skin, and hair, are harsh and short in their ways and voices,
and for a mere nothing throw up their barricades, and blood runs without
much lamentation over it. You can easily see in these people their
uninterrupted derivation from those fierce legions who planted their
eagles over all the then known earth. Nor is the blood in the women
different from that in the men; and if the men carry their knives in
their pockets (they certainly did then), the women carried, thrust
across their massive knots of ebon hair with much taste, a sharp dagger
with a silver handle, which was in every way capable of sending any poor
unfortunate devil into the other world. One day (it was Sunday towards
evening) I was, as usual, dreaming about those busts or necks of Minerva
and Polymnia, and the Venus of Milo, and I know not how many other
antique statues, which seemed to me to give a solemn contradiction to
all my little models of pastry that I had left in Florence, and I
fixed my eyes on the neck of every woman that I passed. This examination
induced me to modify in measure my opinion as to the conventionalism of
the necks of the antique statues; and I should have been satisfied, and
have changed my mind entirely, even had I not purely by chance gone on
into the Trastevere. Here there was a great number of young persons,
both male and female,--the men either in the pot-houses, or gathered
around the doors, or standing in groups, and the girls in companies of
three or four walking up and down the street of the Longaretta. Among
these I saw one who, if she had been made on purpose to prove that the
necks of the antique statues were not conventional, could not have here
offered a more absolute proof. There were three girls, two small, and
one large who was between them. She walked along with a slow and
majestic step, talking with her companions. A sportsman who spies a
hare, a creditor who meets a debtor, a friend who finds another friend
whom he thought to be far away or dead, these give a weak notion of my
surprise in beholding this girl. My dear reader, I do not in the least
exaggerate when I say that I seemed to look on the Venus of Milo. Her
head and neck, which alone were exposed to view, were as like that
statue as two drops of water. I was astounded. I turned back to look at
her again, and it would have been well for me had I contented myself
with this; but I wished to see her yet once more. The girl, who had not
an idea within a thousand miles of what I was pondering, nor of the
corrections that I was formulating on an æsthetical opinion of such
great importance, suddenly stopped, and taking the dagger from her hair,
advanced towards me, and with a strong and almost masculine voice, said
to me, "Well, Mr Dandy, does your life stink in your nostrils?" I shot
off home directly, looking neither to the right nor left; and when I
arrived I told my wife what had happened, and she reproved me gently for
making my studies so out of time and place. Now I ask, why this disdain?
Had I been guilty of anything improper in looking at the girl? Is it
possible that she could have really been offended? I do not believe it.
I know something about women, and I know that it is their weakness to
try to attract attention. It is more probable that there was some one
near her to whom the girl wished to show that in respect to anything
touching her honour she was too fierce to allow any other person even to
look at her. Leonardo none the less counsels us to study from nature, in
the open air, not only by looking, but also by taking notes; and he
makes no exception as to the Trasteverini. For the benefit of young
artists, I propose to add a note on this subject to all new editions of


The discovery of this beautiful head and neck of the antique style and
character set upon a living girl (and what a complexion!) led me to
consider how many other parts of incontestable beauty which we find in
the antique statues, and so readily believe to be born of the
imagination of the Greek sculptors, are really to be found in nature;
and the Greeks only selected them for imitation. But if this be so, how
can the absolute deficiency of such models in our day be explained? Then
I considered the different education of this people, their warlike
lives, their games, and prizes at throwing the disc, racing, boxing, and
the esteem in which physical beauty was held. If, indeed, for these
reasons there is in our day a deficiency of fine models, we are not
absolutely without them, as this spirited and beautiful girl clearly
proves; and I firmly believe she must have been in respect to all the
rest of her body an excellent model. Hence the necessity of carefully
selecting our models. In this respect, however, we find ourselves in a
much more difficult position than the ancients. First, because, as I
have said, their education lent itself more efficaciously to the
development of the body; and then, because the public games afforded far
greater opportunities to see and select among them.


The first thing which assures a good result to a work is the selection
of good models; and after taking great heed of this, good imitation is
of absolute necessity. I have observed that he who exercises little or
no selection, and contents himself with the first model he sees, belongs
to that class of conventional artists who allow themselves such an
infinity of additions and subtractions, and corrections of the model,
that generally only the remnants of nature are to be found in their
works; while those who follow the opposite school copy the model
minutely just as it is, and even with all its imperfections. If the
former remain cold and false, the latter are vulgar and tasteless; for
they carry their love for truth to such an excess, that they do not
distinguish the beautiful from the ugly. Nay, they prefer the ugly,
because to them it seems more true because it is more common. It
happened to me once to be in the studio of one of these young artists,
who was engaged on I do not remember what work. When the model was
stripped he was beautiful to see: a small head, squared breast, an
elegant pelvis, delicate knees and ankles, and, in a word, seemed the
"Idolino" itself, living and speaking. Will you believe it?--he was set

"But what are you doing?" said I. "Don't you see how beautiful this boy
is? Copy him fearlessly. He is beautiful as Idolino himself."

"That is exactly why I do not want him as a model. I am afraid it will
be said that I have copied my Idolino."


To such a point did their aberration arrive. But at the same time, I am
sure that if this model had fallen into the hands of one of the
idealistic reformers of nature, he would have been corrected (that is,
ruined) in every part, according to the suggestions of his stupid
conventionalism. This mania of correcting nature is in itself extremely
injurious, and the young artist must be constantly on his guard against
it. A finished artist may sometimes do this, because in his skill and
experience he finds the limits and the measure of the liberty which are
permissible. Indeed he is not aware of the corrections that he is
making, and believes that he sees it so; but this depends on the habit
of seeing and portraying beautiful nature. But a youth who once is set
going on this incline never stops; for he finds it far easier to draw
freely on his memory than to keep within the proper bounds of imitation.

I repeat, then, that he who does not select from beautiful nature with
studious love shows little faith in her beauty, and thence come
carelessness and unwillingness to portray her, and then a headlong fall
into the conventional. He, however, who finds the beautiful in
everything, or rather, he who despises antique art and calls it
conventional, even though it be by Phidias, is quite as conventional
himself in his realism. His wish is to be considered naturalistic and
realistic at all hazards, even to denying nature itself, in case it
reminds him of anything classic (as we have already seen), and at last
he goes so far as to puzzle his brains and struggle to arrange the model
and draperies so as to make them appear naturalistic.

I have seen an artist get into a rage because his draperies would not
come upon the natural model just as he wished, and who kept tossing them
about and disarranging them so that they should not seem to be
artificially disposed. I observed to him that he was really arranging
them artificially, so that they should not appear to be so arranged. He
was making a seated figure in a cloak. After the model had seated
himself, and thrown the cloak about him in folds which were perfectly
natural, and fell beautifully about his body and knees, the artist kept
foolishly changing them, putting them out of their proper place,
because, he said, that as they came naturally, they looked as if they
had been artificially disposed.


"But that is not so," said I. "They arrange themselves naturally, and
you keep disarranging them exactly like those artists whom you blame for
being imitators of the antique and conventionalists, and you are in this
neither more nor less than a conventionalist like them, and even worse,
for they always strive to put the folds in their proper place, in a
certain number and a certain disposition; and though this is detestable
and tiresome pedantry, because it destroys that variety which is the
first attribute of nature, still they are not renegades to it as you
are, when you thus obstinately insist on placing the folds where they
cannot possibly be, with the pretence that otherwise they would seem
adjusted. You, even more than they, are an illogical conventionalist."

But to be just, I must say that at this time the neophytes of the new
school were few and scattered. The school, indeed, is new only in so far
as it has carried us into the excessive, the negative, and the
illogical; for the school of the _veristi_ is as old as art itself, and
its principles are correct. Indeed, strictly speaking, it has one single
principle, the imitation of nature; but what the ancients meant was
imitation of life in its perfection, while the moderns (at least some of
them) mean all life, all nature, even though it be ugly. More than this,
they prefer the ugly and deformed, not perceiving that the deformity of
nature is outside of true nature, since any defect alters the essential
character of nature, which consists of a harmony of parts answering to
beauty. In a word, the deformed, which is the same thing as the ugly, is
nature debased, and thus ceases to be nature. I am well aware that the
_veristi_ deny that they prefer vulgar and ugly nature; and if their
denial were justified by their works, I should entirely agree with them,
and my discourse on this subject would be entirely futile. But saying is
not the same as doing.


I returned to Florence quite restored in health, strengthened by the
example of the works of art in Rome, and inspirited by the brotherly
words of those old and venerated artists, who, alas! now sleep the
eternal sleep, or rather, who have waked from the brief sleep of life to
one eternal day. The discovery of the famous head and neck of that
Trasteverina had cured me of my prejudiced belief that the ancients
corrected nature according to their completely ideal mode of looking at
it--a belief which induces in the mind of the artist a weak faith,
slight esteem of nature, and thence an unwillingness to imitate it, and
an effrontery in correcting it.

Before going to work in my studio I wished again to see and study, in
view of my new convictions, our own monuments. I made the tour of the
churches, palaces, and public and private galleries, just as if I was a
stranger. To many things indeed I might call myself really a stranger,
for I had either never seen them, or but slightly and superficially.
From this examination I came to the conclusion that the artists of all
times studied their predecessors, and only imitated nature after having
studiously selected what was conformable to the idea which first rose in
their minds. Henceforth the way was clear, the light shone upon it, and
the objects of art which I examined came out distinctly and really in
their true aspect. Never to my intellect had the veil which covers the
subtle and recondite reasons of the beautiful seemed so clear and
transparent; and I felt tranquil, satisfied, strong, and ready to devote
myself to my new works in the studio. One incident, however, did
momentarily disturb this peace and security of mine.


One day I was in the Pitti Gallery, and passing through the room where
the two statues of Cain and Abel are placed, I saw a youth who was
drawing from the latter. He seemed from his aspect to be a foreigner. I
spoke to him not only to assure myself of this fact, but also (I
confess) because it gave me pleasure to see him copying my statue, and I
wished by exchanging a few words with him to taste still more strongly
this pleasure, which, for the rest, is excusable in a young author.
Approaching him I said--

"Do you like this statue?"

"Yes, very much; and that is the reason I am copying it."

"It seems," I said, as I saw he did not recognise me, "to be a modern
work, does it not?"

"Certainly; so modern that the author is still living--though one might
say that he is dead."

"What! I do not understand you. How can one say that he is dead when he
is living?" and I could scarcely restrain the wonder and emotion that
these singular words created in me.

"It is indeed a very sad fact, and is very much talked about; but it
seems that the poor artist, so young and full of talent----"


"Well?" I interrupted him suddenly.

"It seems that he is going mad."

I was silent. These last words wounded me to the quick, and I remembered
that during my past sufferings I too had a fear lest I should lose my
head, but I never suspected that this idea had entered into the minds of
others. I went out of the room without even saluting the young
foreigner, and walked up and down in the open air, going over in my
memory my past suffering, my voyage to Naples, the cure I had undergone,
and my re-establishment in health both in body and spirit, and at last I
became tranquil, and almost smiled in recalling this strange
conversation with the young foreigner.

I set myself to work with good will, and threw down the first model of
the Bacchino dell'Uva Malata, which I had left without casting in order
to remake it according to a new conception that had come to me in
Naples. Secure of the road I meant now to take, convinced in my
principles, which in substance did not differ from those that had guided
me in my first statues, I modelled with great rapidity the small
Bacchus, the Bacchante, and a figure of the daughter of the Marchese
Filippo Gualterio, lying dead.

I first made the acquaintance of Filippo Gualterio at Siena, in the
house of my friend Count dei Gori, in the first revolutionary movement
of 1847. He was a thorough gentleman, of careful education, a lover of
art, an enthusiast for beauty, a facile writer of the moderate party,
not then in favour of the unity of Italy, but attached heart and soul to
the theories of Gioberti as set forth in the 'Primato.' Out of pique, on
account of some annoyance he had received from the Pontifical
Government, of which he was a subject, he exiled himself from his native
country, Orvieto, and joined the revolutionary movement of Turin,
Florence, and Genoa. Later he took a prominent part in the revolution of
1859, embraced the cause of unity, became Minister, and shortly after
died of paralysis of the brain.


The statuette of the Bacchino so much pleased my friend Pietro
Selvatico, who happened to be in Florence precisely at the time when I
finished it, that he made a drawing of it as a _souvenir_ in his album.
This able writer and distinguished critic and historian of art was also
an artist and accomplished draughtsman, or rather he was so until an
obstinate disease in his eyes deprived them of that clearness of vision
which is necessary to mastery as a draughtsman.



I began to work, as I have said, upon the figure of the Dead Girl, and
upon the Bacchante, two subjects diametrically opposed to each
other,--the Bacchante representing the festivity, the dance, the
libations, and the weariness resulting from them; the Dead Girl, the
innocence of a few short days of life, the repose and the joy of an
eternal peace. This is a good method whereby to temper the expression
and form of one's works, and I recommend it to young artists, since
continually playing on the same string finally begets an annoyance and
weariness, which exhibit themselves in the work. If the Bacchante had
not been modified by this dead figure, which recorded an innocent life
and a serene death, it might have degenerated and lost that beauty which
is only to be found in what is good.

[Sidenote: THE NUDE.]

One other piece of advice. In conceiving and working out subjects which,
in their intention as well as in the manner required to express them,
tend towards sensuality, one should inspire one's self with a purely
intellectual love. To this kind of love one should adhere tenaciously,
for it is easy to go astray. Such love seizes, and desires, and prefers
to attain what is good, in which is included all that is true and all
that is beautiful; but the seductions of the senses veil the eyes of
reason and light the fires of voluptuousness. Therefore we should be
careful, in order that art, which is the mistress and mother of
civilisation, should not lower itself to be the corrupter of taste and
habits. It is not in the least in regard to nudity that we should be
circumspect, but in regard to the conception, the expression, and the
movement of the statue; in a word, to the state of mind, the idea, the
interior condition of the artist. Thus, for instance, one may look at a
figure entirely nude, like the Venus of the Capitol, and be impressed
merely by a reverent admiration, or by quite the opposite sentiment. The
purest and most sacred subjects, the most completely clothed
figures,--as, for instance, a nun, or the Santa Teresa of Bernini,--may
be impressed by an unequivocal sensuality. No! nudity does not offend
modesty. If it did, all the works of Michael Angelo deserve
condemnation; while on the contrary, as every one knows (I appeal for
the truth of this to the most prudish; to the priests, to the popes, who
ordered and placed in the churches the works of this divine man--and in
so doing did well, though these figures, both male and female, are as
naked as God made them), far from offending against decency in the
least, they elevate the mind into regions so high and so ideal that
their bodies are transfigured, so to speak, and clothed with a
supersensual light in which there is nothing earthly.


About this period the question began to be agitated in respect to the
David of Michael Angelo. Already for some time artists and lovers of
works of art had expressed a fear that this masterpiece should remain
exposed to injury in the open air, and thus be subjected to constant
deterioration. A commission was nominated to examine into the matter and
prepare some manner of placing under shelter this celebrated work.
Professor Pasquale Poccianti, president of the commission, proposed that
it should be removed and placed in the Loggia dell'Orgagna close by,
under the great central arch. This proposition was supported strongly by
Lorenzo Bartolini, who had expressed his opinion several years before in
a letter addressed to Signor Giovanni Benericetti-Talenti, then
Inspector of the Academy of Fine Arts, and which I have seen. The Grand
Duke, assured by the opinion of such competent artists, ordered the
statue to be removed and placed under the Loggia, in conformity with the
advice of the commission, and with the plans presented for this end by
Professor Poccianti. It was the intention of the Grand Duke to
substitute for the colossus that he removed a copy of it in bronze, to
be cast by Papi, and the order was given for making a mould and casting
it. I was not on the commission for the removal; on the contrary, I was
among those who did not believe in the injuries which the statue was
supposed to be suffering. I did not think that there was any grave
danger in allowing it to remain where it was, or that the cause that had
produced the very apparent injury occasioned to the head and the left
arm was constant dropping of water from the roof above; and as this had
already been guarded against, it seemed to me inadvisable to remove it
and withdraw it from public view. I remembered also to have read that
Michael Angelo himself had strongly urged that it should be allowed to
remain where he had placed it, and where he, in working at it, had
harmonised it with its surroundings; for even then doubts were raised
lest it might suffer injury in that position. And besides, I did not
consider it prudent to remove such a colossal statue, both on account of
the danger of the operation, and because I thought it impossible to find
another place so favourable for artistic effect and historical
significance. Therefore, when I learned that its removal had been
decreed, I regretted it extremely. Information of this intention was
given me by my friend Luigi Venturi, from whom I did not conceal my
regret; and as the Grand Duke was well disposed towards me, I decided to
go that very evening to the Pitti Palace and humbly submit all the
arguments which induced me to oppose this removal of the David. He
received me with his customary kindness, and imagining perhaps that I
desired to speak with him about some work which I was doing for him on
commission (of which I shall speak in its proper place), he said--

"Sit down, and tell me what you have to say."


"Your Imperial Highness, I have heard with great surprise that you
intend to remove the David from where it now stands, and to place it
under the Loggia dell'Orgagna."

"Yes; that statue is, as you know, the masterpiece of Michael Angelo. It
is suffering injury every day, and it is dangerous to leave it there
exposed to the sun and the rain. It ought to be placed under cover, and
the Loggia is not only so near as to render the operation of removal
easy and safe, but it also is a most beautiful place, and with its great
central arch will fitly frame this magnificent statue."

I answered--"I also always have thought that this statue suffers from
its exposure to the frost and sun--although the marble is from
Fantiscritti, and is of most durable quality; and naturally the idea
suggests itself to one that it would be better to remove it where it
would not be subjected to this slow but certain deterioration. But the
grave question which has always preoccupied my mind has been the
difficulty of handling this colossus, so weak in its supports; and what
renders this all the more difficult is the crack which is said to have
been discovered in the leg upon which it stands, which is the weakest. I
therefore think that if this crack exists, it constitutes another and
principal reason why the statue should not be touched. But independent
of this difficulty, which practised and scientific persons might
possibly overcome, there is the question as to where it should be
placed. This colossus is made for the open air, and to be seen at great
distances; and the place to which it is now proposed to assign it is not
in the open air, and has not the light of the sky, but on the contrary,
a light reflected from the earth, so that only the lower part would be
illuminated, and in a negative sense--that is, from below upward, and
not from above downward, as from the light of the sky. The upper part
would in consequence remain in a half light, so as to divide the statue
into two zones: the one which would be in the half light ought to be
illuminated, and that which would be illuminated ought to be in
graduated shadow. And again, there is no distance: from the sides it is
not sufficient, and in front the statue would seem too high in
consequence of the steps of the Loggia. Nor only this: if for the
reasons I have stated the statue itself would suffer, the Loggia would
suffer still more, and would be enormously sacrificed, and in
consequence of the colossal proportions of the statue, its beautiful
arches would be dwarfed; and still more----"

"Enough!" the Grand Duke with vexation interrupted me. "These are
considerations which might have been discussed, but now the thing has
been decreed." And rising, he added, "Good evening,"--which being
interpreted into common language, was as much as to say, "Go away; you
bore me."


I bowed and went away. On the stairs I said to myself, "You have done a
pretty business. You see how you were dismissed, and with what
irritation. You had better have minded your business. What had you to do
with this? Did he ask you to give your advice? No; you have your
deserts, and will learn better another time." And slowly, slowly I
returned home. But none the less I was not dissatisfied with myself for
having spoken frankly to the Grand Duke on this matter. I had expressed
my true opinion, and I should have felt more regret if I had been
silent, inasmuch as I was thoroughly convinced of the utility and
propriety of what I had said. Besides, I knew how good the Grand Duke
was, and with what attention he had listened to me on other occasions
when he interrogated me on questions relating to art in general, or to
my own works in particular. But the phrase "decreed" still hammered in
my head, and I said to myself, "Very well,--it is decreed; but his
decree is not a decree of heaven. We shall see. After all, I have said
what it seemed to me just to say, and there is nothing improper in that;
and if there was any impropriety, it was on his part in not allowing me
to finish. And there is this also," I said--"that colossus in the middle
of the Loggia will dwarf all the other statues, and make them of little
consequence; so that by an accursed necessity they will have to remove
the group of the Rape of the Sabines, and the Perseus, which stand very
well there, as well as the Centaur and the Ajax, and all the others
along the wall, which are not placed well, whether the David is there or

[Sidenote: VISIT OF RAUCH.]

But in the meantime, a fortunate incident gave a new direction to the
affair of the removal of the David, and a great weight to my words.

One morning a gentleman came to my studio, who said he wished to see me.
I, who then was accustomed to permit no one to pass into my private
studio, went out to see him. He was tall of person, dignified, and
benevolent of aspect; his eyes were blue, and over his handsome forehead
his white hair was parted and carried behind the ears in two masses,
which fell over the collar of his coat. He extended his hand to me, and

"For some time I have heard you much spoken of; but as Fame is
frequently mendacious, in coming to Florence I wished, first of all, to
verify by an examination of your works the truth of all I have heard of
you; and as I find them not inferior to your high reputation, I wished
to have the pleasure of shaking your hand;" and he then took both my
hands in his.

"You are an artist?" I asked.

"Yes," he replied,--"a sculptor."

I wondered who he could be. He spoke Italian admirably, but with a
foreign accent.

"Excuse me,--are you living in Rome?"

"Oh no," he answered; "I lived there for thirty years, but now for some
time I have been in Berlin. I am Rauch."

I bowed to him, and he embraced me and kissed me, and accompanying me
into my private room, we sat down. I shall never forget his quiet
conversation, which was calm and full of benevolence. While he was
speaking, I went over in my memory the beautiful works of this great
German artist,--his fine monument to Frederick the Great, his remarkable
statue of Victory, and many others. I recalled the sharp passages
between him and Bartolini, and without knowing why, I could not help
contrasting his gentleness with the caustic vivacity of our master.
Their disagreements have long been over; the peace of the tomb has
united them; and now the busts of both stand opposite to each other in
the drawing-room of my villa of Lappeggi.


Among other things, we discussed the question of the removal of the
David, and its proposed collocation under the Loggia dell'Orgagna. He
strongly disapproved of it, and exhorted me to use all my influence (to
use his own words) to induce the Grand Duke to alter this decision. I
then narrated to him my conversation with the Grand Duke, and the issue
of it. He was surprised, and after thinking awhile, said that perhaps
there was no ground to despair, and that I ought to speak of it again
and to insist. I answered--

"I really cannot do so. You, however, might. Your name, and the
friendship of the Grand Duke for you, might perform miracles; and
nothing else is needed, as there is already a decree in the way."

"Leave it to me. To-morrow I am invited to dine at Court, and I will
manage so that they will speak to me of this; and unless they ask me, I
will not let it be known that we have met."

A few days afterwards he returned and told me that he had spoken at
length on the subject with the Grand Duke, who did not seem to be
annoyed, but on the contrary, listened to him to the end; and then
smiling, said that I had advanced the same doubts and objections. He
then thought it best to openly confess that we had talked together on
the subject. Rauch went away shortly after; but he so well managed the
affair, that the Grand Duke thought no more of the removal of the statue
to the Loggia, considering the means proper to shield it from the
injuries of the weather. He also sent for me to tell me that Rauch had
advised him not to place it under the Loggia, and I remember used these
words: "Rauch is entirely of your opinion in regard to the David, and he
is a man who, on such a ground, deserves entire confidence; and I wish
to say this to you, because it ought to give you pleasure, and because
it proves that you were right."


I thanked the Grand Duke for the attention and consideration he had paid
to the reasoning of Rauch in regard to the David, as well as for his
kindness towards me; and this procured me a dismissal more benignant
than the previous one. A short time after, I received a letter from
Rauch from Berlin, in which he spoke to me of the David. I showed it to
the Grand Duke, who ordered me to leave it with him. But he returned it
a few days later, and I have transcribed the passage relating to the

     "I learn with great pleasure that his Highness the Grand Duke
     has resolved to leave the statue of David in its place in
     consequence of the trial made with the plaster cast. But I
     should like to recommend to his Highness to remove the group of
     Ajax and Patroclus from its present position, and to arrange a
     proper place of just proportion and with a good light, to
     receive worthily this work of sculpture divinely composed and
     executed by Greek hands.

        "BERLIN, _17th December 1854_."

This is the reason why the statue of David was allowed to remain in its
place for some twenty years more, and until the fear of the danger which
this masterpiece undoubtedly incurred induced the Municipality and the
Government to order its removal to the Academy of Fine Arts, where it
now stands, but where it is not seen; for if the Government is liberal
in spending many millions upon a Palace of Finance in Rome, it feels
itself so restricted that it obstinately refuses to spend a few
thousands to complete the building which is to harbour the most
beautiful sculpture in the world.


It was at this time that the Royal Manufactory of Pietre Dure finished
the restoration of the famous Tazza of porphyry--a most precious and
rare object, which, from the time of Cosimo I., to whom Pope Clement
VII. presented it, had remained hidden in the store-rooms, and in great
part mutilated. Now, as I have said, owing to the great care and
intelligence of the directors, united to the goodwill and money of the
Prince, it had been restored to its pristine beauty and perfection. In
order that this work, which is also an historical record, should be
properly exhibited by itself in the Royal Gallery, the Grand Duke
desired that it should be placed on a base with a new and rich design,
which should at once be a completion and adornment of the Tazza itself,
and also offer an occasion for a work of sculpture. In matters of this
kind this excellent Prince was intelligent, earnestly entered into them,
and gave full liberty to the artist who wrought for him; and this work
he would have carried out had not the revolution interrupted it. But let
us not be in a hurry.

I imagined a base of a form naturally cylindrical, with ovolo mouldings.
That from below the base of the Tazza descended in a vertical line to
the base, which stood upon a quadrate plinth. Between the base and the
Tazza--that is to say, on the first cylinder--was a complete history of
the Tazza, by means of symbolical figures which represented its origin,
fortunes, and final destination. Perhaps this Tazza once embellished
the immense gardens of the ancient Pharaohs; and when their empire was
overthrown by the power of Rome, all things great and precious which the
genius and power of the nation had produced were either destroyed or
carried off. This Tazza, as well as the famous obelisks, were brought to
Rome. On the fall of the Roman Empire, the Tazza and obelisks remained,
and the former was presented by Clement VII., together with other
precious objects (among which was the Venus--so called--de' Medici), to
Cosimo I. After the Medician domination was over, the Tazza remained
forgotten, until it was restored, as I have said, and placed in the
Pitti Gallery, where it now stands.


To express artistically this history, I imagined four groups,
representing Thebes with the genius of mechanics, Imperial Rome with the
genius of conquest, Papal Rome with the genius of religion, and Tuscany
with the genius of art. _Thebes_ is in a sad and thoughtful attitude,
with a simple vest without mantle, and has on his head the Egyptian
fillet. He holds by the hand his genius, who frowning and unwillingly
follows after him and looks backward, recalling "il tempo felice nella
miseria." In his hand he carries a pair of broken compasses, to denote
his lost empire over science and art; and at his feet is a truncated
palm, around which is coiled and sleeping the sacred serpent. _Imperial
Rome_ stands in a proud attitude, resting her right hand on the consular
fasces, and the left hand gathering up her mantle, which falls to her
feet. She is crowned with oak-leaves, and above her head is a lion-skin
in the shape of a helmet. Her genius, with a bold step and fierce
aspect, grasps a lance and a torch, implements of destruction and
emblems of iron and fire. _Papal Rome_ stands still, with three crowns
on her head, from which the fillets descend upon her breast. She is
dressed in the pontifical robes, and holds closed upon her breast the
Bible. Her genius, dressed in a Levite tunic, and with one hand holding
a cross and the other placed upon his breast, in sign of faith and
humility, treads on a serpent, the symbol of error, which even from the
earliest time insinuated itself into the Church. _Tuscany_ is in the act
of walking. On the diadem which crowns her head are engraved the Tiber
and the Magra, the rivers which bounded ancient Etruria. She holds the
royal sceptre in her right hand, and in her left the palladium of the
arts. Her genius is crowned with laurels, and leans upon a _cippus_, on
which are disposed the implements which are used in the arts of poetry,
music, sculpture, painting, and architecture, bound together by a branch
of olive, to denote that the arts are only developed during peace.


This conception, which was clearly expressed in a sketch, met with the
approbation of the sovereign, and he ordered me to model it on a large
scale, to be cast in bronze. Afterwards, it seeming to me that the dark
hue of bronze, added to the shadow cast by the Tazza itself, would
injure the effect of my work, I sought and obtained permission to
execute it in marble; and I was at once paid for my model. In the
meantime, in consequence of rich work of great delicacy, it became
necessary to seek for some marble which should be hard, white, and
beautiful; for this work differed from others in having no back view, in
which ordinarily the imperfections of the marble can be hidden, but was
exposed on all sides, in consequence of its round form, every point of
view being a principal one. Hence there was a difficulty in finding a
block entirely free from blemish, and having no spots to injure the
view of any important part. The search for this consumed much time; and
when at last I had a clear hope that I had found it, the revolution
first suspended, and afterwards ended, everything. I shall return to
this subject later, and at present I shall go on.


At the same time the Grand Duke ordered me to decorate a chapel of the
Madonna del Soccorso at Leghorn. Of this, which is the first on the left
on entering the church, he had become the patron. The chapel was to
represent the entire life of the Madonna. I made a large sketch, in
relief, of the chapel and the ornaments of the altar, with statues and
pictures on the side walls. In the great lunette over the altar, I
designed and coloured the Annunciation of the Virgin. In the empty
spaces between the arc of the lunette and the side walls, which are
trapezic like half pedestals, were angels painted upon a mosaic ground
of gold, and holding spread out rolls of papyrus, on which were written
the prophecies of the Virgin and of Christ. The altars I made with
columns and round arches, with a straight base, after the style of the
_Quattrocentisti_. The table of the altar represented the return from
Calvary of the Virgin with St John. Behind, in the distance, were seen
the crosses, and the angels of the Passion weeping and flying from the
sorrowful scene. This also I designed and coloured in my sketch. Under
the table, and through a perforated screen, was seen the dead body of
Christ, illuminated by hidden lights. The statues in the niches of the
lateral walls were to be St John and St Luke, as those who had specially
written about the Virgin. In the two lateral walls above the niches,
there were to be two pictures representing the Nativity and the Death;
and these compositions, as well as the sketches of the two statues of
John and Luke, I did not carry out, relying upon the intelligence of
the Grand Duke, which would enable him to judge from what I did do.


Besides this complex and important work--the Scriptural portion of which
I was to execute, while in regard to the paintings and architecture, I
was assigned the post of director, with an authority to select the
artists,--besides this, I say, he ordered of me the monuments to the
Grand Duke Ferdinand III. his father, to his brother, his sister, and
various of his children, all to be erected in the chapel called the
"Vergine Ben Tornata," which is in San Lorenzo, where at present is to
be seen the monument of the Grand Duchess Maria Carolina. And all these
monuments I designed, and made sketches of them, which were approved by
his Highness; and a royal rescript was made to me, signed by the
President of the Ministry, Prince Andrea Corsini, ordering me to execute
these works. But the 27th of April 1859, foreseen by all, unexpected by
few, arrived and overthrew everything.

From all these statements, two facts are clear; the first, that the
Grand Duke esteemed me--and the second, that I knew absolutely nothing
of the revolutionary movement of these days: and this increased the not
small number of persons, who held me in dislike, owing to the favour
which I enjoyed at Court, and owing to the works which were intrusted to
me. These persons, whom I must not call artists, showed themselves, both
then and after, to be sorely deficient in intellect and heart, in
blaming me for my affection and gratitude towards the Prince, who
treated me so beneficently.

I have said that the events of the 27th of April were quite unexpected
by me. But how was it possible for me to know anything, when those who,
above all, were so intimately acquainted with what was going on, kept
me at a distance, and some, as for instance the Marquis Gualterio, who
usually frequented my studio, withdrew entirely from me? Besides, how
many there were who were as much in the dark as I, though they were in a
position that almost obliged them not to be ignorant! I remember that
the Sardinian Minister, Buoncompagni, who lived in the Pennetti Palace
in Borgo Pinti, gave every week (I do not remember on what day) a
reception or party at which I met and conversed, with the utmost
frankness, with the Advocate Vincenzo Salvagnoli, Giovanni Baldasseroni,
then Minister, the Marquis Lajatico, the Marchioness Ginori, as well as
the Princess Conti and others, and all of us were ignorant.


It was only on Easter morning (I believe it was the _antivigilia_ of the
revolution) that I heard that something was to occur, but vaguely; there
was nothing positive or precise. There was to be some sort of
demonstration or manifestation to induce the Grand Duke to enter into a
league with Piedmont for the war of independence. But afterwards,
reassured by one who ought to have known more than I, that it was really
nothing, but mere idle talk, and childish vague reports, I believed him.
And then? The day after, I met Count Scipione Borghesi, my excellent
friend, who, as soon as he saw me, said--

"Well, I have just arrived from Siena; and to what point have we come?"

"About what?" I answered.

"About our request--about our demonstration, which is already organised.
It should take place to-day. What! you know nothing about it?"

"I know nothing--and there is nothing to know; trust me, for I ought to
know something about it," I answered, assuming rather an air of

My friend was a little disturbed at first; and then smiling, he added--

"It may be as you say. Have you any commands for Siena?"

"No, thank you. Are you going back to Siena soon?"

"Eh? Who knows?--to-morrow--the day after to-morrow--as may be."

"Good-bye, then," I said, and we shook hands.


The next morning, from my little villa which I had rented at the Pian di
Giullari, I went down to Florence, taking my usual route, at about
half-past eight, when I saw a gathering of people, and groups here and
there crowded together and talking excitedly. I then began to suspect
something. I went to my studio, uncovered my clay, and waited for the
model, who should have been there. She kept me waiting for an hour; and
before I could reprove her for her unpunctuality, she told me that she
had been detained by the great crowd of the demonstration which blocked
up all the streets around Barbano, and that the Piazza was thronged with
people carrying banners and emblems. "Bravo!" I said to myself, "I did
know a good deal!" At the same time, an under-officer and instructor of
the Lyceum Ferdinando, who lived over me, came to the window and cried
out "Viva Italia!" and his pupils repeated his cry with enthusiasm. "Do
you know what this means?" I asked of my model, who was already
undressed. "I cannot work now; dress yourself, and go." She at once
obeyed, and I remained thinking over the fact. I desired that the Grand
Duke should yield, as in fact he did yield, to the League with Piedmont
for the war against the foreigner; and I was grieved when I heard of his
departure. On returning to the country, I met my friend the advocate
Mantellini with Duchoqué, and we were all very sorry for what had
occurred, although I had nothing to do with the events which took place
either before or on that day.


The desire to give an account of this day has kept me for some time from
the regular order of my records, and I must now return upon my steps.
When I had completed the model for the base of the Tazza, a desire came
over me to model a group of colossal dimensions. I had selected as
subject the universal Deluge, and with youthful ardour I had sketched
out the whole, and had fairly well modelled some of the parts. But as at
that time the English Parliament had decided to erect an imposing
monument to the Duke of Wellington, and to that end had opened a
world-competition, I stopped working on my group, and set myself to
think out the monument to Wellington. I had, however, little wish to
compete, because it seemed to me that the work would finally be
intrusted to an English sculptor, and that love of country would
naturally overcome that rectitude of judgment which is so deeply seated
in the spirit of that great nation. And so it happened that I had, as I
have said, little desire to compete; and besides, I have always been
opposed to competitions, and I shall explain my reasons for this
elsewhere. But my friends at first began by proposing it to me, then
said so much, and urged the matter with such insistence, that finally I
yielded and competed. This work of mine I cannot exactly describe,
because, not having seen it for many years, I scarcely remember it. Let
me try, however. In the angles of the great embasements were groups
representing Military Science, Political Science, Temperance, and
Fortitude, each with his Genius. The four faces of the base were
ornamented with _alti-rilievi_. [Sidenote: THE GRAND DUKE SENDS ME TO

Above this rose upon another base the principal group of Wellington with
Victory and Peace. There was a large contribution of Florentine
sculpture sent to London, for Fedi, Cambi, and Cartei competed as well,
and their models were exhibited before going to England. The sending of
these models was not without risk, owing to their fragility--being in
plaster--the minuteness of the work upon them, and the length of the
journey. All these difficulties did not escape the attention of our
benevolent sovereign, who had seen my model; and as soon as I had sent
it off, he told me he thought it both prudent and even necessary for me
to go to London to attend to my work and see it taken out of its box. I
answered that I had no fear of its being injured, having had it so well
packed, and depending on the Government officials who were intrusted to
receive and see to the placing of these competitive works. These were
the reasons I gave; but there were others of a more intimate and
delicate nature, for out of respect for the other competitors I did not
wish to appear as if I went to push forward my own work. On his Highness
urging me more and more, I told him all my thoughts, and he replied,
with a smile, "If it is on account of this, you can go at once, for Fedi
came to take leave of me yesterday; and to facilitate your journey, I
shall give you a hundred _zecchini_. I could give you a letter for King
Leopold of the Belgians, my good friend, but that would be like a
recommendation, so I shall abstain from doing so. Go and make haste, for
if your work should be damaged on its arrival, who is there who could
mend it? Therefore go; and good-bye."



I started at once, and it was well that I did so, for the vessel which
had the case containing my model sprang a leak on account of the bad
weather, had to stop at Malta, and arrived in London too late, as the
term had expired for the presentation of these models. If it had not
been for my having the bill of lading,--from which it was made clear
that I had not only sent it in time, but a long time before I was
required, and that this delay had occurred from circumstances entirely
independent of my will,--my work would have been undoubtedly rejected.
For this reason, and through the good offices of William Spence, it was
accepted; and he made me acquainted with the royal commissioner of the
exhibition as the person intrusted by the author of the work. When they
proceeded to open the case the commissioner wished me to be present,
that I might see in what state it had arrived--and it was a truly
lamentable state! The ship, as I have already said, sprang a leak, and
the water had entered the case and softened the plaster figures, so that
they were dislodged from their places, and rolled about in the box in
all directions. Heads were detached from their bodies, hands mutilated
and broken, aquiline noses flattened out, the helmets had lost their
plumes and front pieces. In fact, it was all a perfect hash! Besides
this, as I had wrapped them up in cotton-wool and paper, and the salt
water had penetrated and remained there for many days, they had gone
through a sort of special chemical process, by which my sketch was
coloured in the most varied and capricious way. Blue, red, and yellow
were mixed up together with the most lively pleasantry; and if it had
been done on purpose, one could not have reduced the poor work to a more
wretched condition. I saw at once that I needed all the _sang froid_
possible, so I did not utter a word, and ostentatiously showed a calm
exterior that I did not really feel,--all the more because already the
greater part of the models had been put in their places, and the
exhibition and judgment on them were imminent. Fedi, who was present at
this disaster, seeing me so cold, said to me, almost in a rage, "Why
don't you get angry?"


"Why should I get angry?" I answered. "Shall I mend the matter by
getting angry? On the contrary, see how well I shall manage, in a slow
and orderly way. I remember to have read somewhere--I don't recollect
where--that he who has to go up a steep ascent must take it slowly; and
so shall I."

He was of the contrary opinion, and advised me rather to leave
everything alone for the moment, to take a pleasant walk, and to set
myself to work the next day with a fresh mind; and he himself, with
praiseworthy thoughtfulness, offered to help me. But I held to my
purpose, thanking him for his advice and offer to help me, as I felt
confident that I should be able to do it all by myself. I then at once
informed the commissioner for the exhibition that, as I was empowered by
the author of the sketch, and was in his entire confidence, I intended
immediately to set to work and restore it. As this gentleman
commissioner understood not a word of French or Italian, William Spence,
then a young man, was my interpreter. When he understood what it was I
wanted, he called a gentleman who was looking at the models for
competition, and spoke to him in a low voice in his own language; but my
young mentor, who, besides his intelligence, had a fine sense of
hearing, taking me aside, told me what orders the commissioner had given
this gentleman.


It should be known that the English Government, among the articles
regulating this competition, had made one which was most wise, as it
partially guaranteed the artist who had not been able to accompany his
sketch in person, and had no correspondents or friends who could act for
him, to repair any chance damages to his work. For this they had
appointed an able artist capable of making the required restorations.
This, then, was what Spence told me: "The commissioner, as you see,
called that gentleman to tell him to pay attention to what you are doing
to this model, for although you have asserted yourself to be the person
intrusted by the author of the work, yet he has not felt sure of it; and
as you might also be a person who, with bad intentions, propose to
damage it under pretence of restoring it, it was his duty to prevent
this,--so he gave orders to that gentleman, in case he saw that your
hand was guided by bad faith or incompetency, to make you leave off at
once, and to set himself instead to work on it."


I understand I must give all my attention and mind to the manner in
which I do my work, though I should have acted more freely had I not
been exposed to a supervision as reasonable as it was conscientious. The
consequence of a mistake or an oversight might be to see myself set
aside as an ass, or even worse, as an impostor, and the heads and hands
of my little figure mended by another, Heaven knows how!

In the meantime, the sculptor or modeller who was to watch me never lost
sight of me, and being sure that I knew nothing of his charge, observed
every movement of mine; but after I had been at work about ten minutes
he was completely convinced, and declared that I could be allowed to
continue the restorations--_meno male!_ Plaster brushes, small knives,
sharp tools, and all other implements, had been largely furnished to me
by Signor Brucciani, a most able caster, and the proprietor of a large
shop, or rather a gallery of plaster statues, able to supply any school
of design, and what my friend Giambattista Giuliani would have called a
perfect _gipsoteca_.

And with regard to good Signor Brucciani, I must say some words in his
praise, not only because he provided me liberally with plaster and
tools, and help in my work, but because he, a stranger in a foreign
land, has known how, with his activity, to acquire for himself the
esteem of a people who are as tardy in conceding it as they are
tenacious in keeping to it when once given. From this he derives his
good fortune and enviable position.

When Signor Brucciani fell in with an active and open-hearted
compatriot, it brightened him up soul and body, and he often wished to
have me with him. His wife and daughter united a certain English
stiffness with Italian _brio_ and frankness that they took from their
husband and father. One day Brucciani and his family desired to spend
the day in the country and dine in Richmond Park. Everything Brucciani
did he did well; and I hope he is alive and able to do so still. He
brought with him several carriages, with everything that was required
for the _cuisine_ and table--furniture, servants, food, and exquisite
wines, even ice in which to keep the ices, &c. A _viva_ to him! for as
the Marchese Colombi said, "Things can be done or not done." After
dinner a caravan of gipsies, perfect witches, who live in that forest,
made their appearance, and asked if we wanted our fortunes told. The
request was odd enough; but being made in such a serious manner, it
became really amusing. Naturally, as we had to give something to these
poor gipsies not to humiliate them, we had our fortunes told; and as for
the old woman that examined my hand, she guessed so much that was true
that I was almost frightened, and drew away my hand. The old witch
continued to point with her bony finger, and say, "There is still more,
still more."


My work was rather long, and would have been tiresome; but as it was a
necessity, I did it willingly, and succeeded very well. It is true,
however, that both the architecture and the figures were strangely
spotted with stains made by the salt water, and bits of paper and
cotton-wool in which it had been packed. Some one advised me to give it
all a uniform tint to hide this; but I insisted on leaving it in that
way, trusting to the good sense of the judges, who were called upon to
consider much worse defects than those produced by a chance accident. I
remember that Mr Stirling Crawford, of London, on receiving some years
before the two statues of "Innocence and the Fisherman," and a stain
having made its appearance on the leg of one of these, wrote to me
manifesting his entire satisfaction with these works, and adding: "It
is true that here and there there are some stains in the marble; but as
I know that you do not make the marble yourself, it would be absurd to
reprove you for this." There are but few gentlemen like him, however--so
few, that I have never found another; but on the contrary, I have seen
more than one who would even buy a mediocre statue, to use no harsher
expression, provided it were made out of beautiful marble.


I remained in London about two months, and left the day before the
opening of the competitive exhibition. The judgment was to be pronounced
after the public exhibition was over; and there were a great many
competing--nearly a hundred--and some of the models were very beautiful.
There were to be nine prizes given--three first class and six second.
The Government reserved to itself the power of giving the final
commission without regard to the models that had received prizes, as it
might so happen that when the name of the sculptor who drew the first
prize was known, he might not be able to offer sufficient warrant as to
the final execution of the work as to tranquillise the consciences of
the judges and satisfy public opinion. This argument is a just one when
not vitiated by preconceived opinions or self-love, which sometimes
happens, as we shall see hereafter.

This was in itself a thing easily understood, but was not understood by
us, who went in for this competition. Not so Marrocchetti, who, clever
artist that he was, was none the less wide awake and wise. With those
who instigated him to compete he reasoned in this way, saying: "They
know that I am capable of doing this work. Why, therefore, enter into
competition with others, if not to find out that there is some one else
cleverer than I am? Very well; but I choose to retire, and you can take
the other fellow--take him and leave me in peace. So far this would
seem prompted by nothing but the fear of losing, which in itself is no
small thing for a man who has a name and has gone through his long
career applauded by all. But there is another and a much more piercing
and almost insufferable dread. Do you know what it is? That of winning.
Yes, that of coming in victor before a poor young fellow, perhaps one of
your own scholars!" Thus he gave vent to his feelings one day to me,
with the sort of intimacy that springs to life quickly and vigorously
between artists who are neither hypocrites nor asses; and his words
depict in a lifelike manner the frank, and, I might say, bold character
of this original artist, who was most dashing, and who, with a thorough
knowledge of dramatic effects in art, from the very exuberance
of his strength, not seldom had the defects produced by these
qualities--defects which were perhaps magnified by his assistant
modellers, who worked with too much rapidity and carelessness.


When he saw the photograph of my model he desired to have it, and I was
delighted to give it to him. He wished me to choose something of his as
a remembrance, and I did not need to be urged. I had set my eyes on a
most beautiful study of a lion from life in dry clay, and so I asked him
for that; but as that was a thing precious to him, he asked me if I
would not content myself with a cast of it in bronze instead of the
clay. On my answering that I would, he called his caster, who worked for
him in his own great foundry, and ordered it to be cast at once. Two
days after this I received it, and keep it as the dear remembrance of an
excellent friend, and as a valuable work of art.

At that time Marrocchetti had finished his great equestrian statue of
Richard the Lion-hearted. It is a singular thing that Marrocchetti, in
his long and glorious life, made four equestrian statues--Emanuele
Filiberto, the Duke of Orleans, Carlo Alberto, and Richard the
Lion-hearted. Each one of these statues bears a different stamp, both as
regards composition, feeling, and mode of treatment; one would say that
they were the work of four different artists. This difference of work
can be reasonably explained by the diversity of the subjects and the
distance of time that occurred between each work, necessarily producing
notable changes in the mind and style of the artist; and also because
Marrocchetti, on account of the multiplicity of serious work he had in
hand, thought it advisable to have help, not only in the marble work,
but also on his clay models; and as those who helped him were not always
of his school, so every one brought just so much of their own
individuality to bear upon the work as to alter the master's character
and style. These are the sad but inevitable results for him who has the
bad habit of getting assistance with his clay models.


While I was there in 1856 he had under his directions a very able
modeller--I think he was a Roman, by name Bezzi. Bezzi went on
modelling, and Marrocchetti directed his work, whilst he sat smoking and
talking with me and others. Sometimes he would make him pull down a
piece he had been at work on and begin afresh. This method seemed to me
then, as it does now, a most strange and dangerous one; and it has not
resulted happily, even amongst us, with those who have been induced to
follow it.

Marrocchetti was distinguished from other sculptors by another
originality--I was almost going to say oddity--and this was, that he
coloured his statues often to such a degree that you could no longer
distinguish the material of which they were made. I remember to have
seen an imposing monument composed of several figures that had been put
up in honour of Madame de la Riboisière in the chapel belonging to the
hospital which bears that name in Paris. It is completely coloured--I
should better say painted all over--with body colour,--the heads, hair,
eyes, draperies, all coloured so that it is impossible to distinguish
the material in which it was sculptured. You could distinguish
absolutely nothing; and if it had not been for the _custode_, who
affirmed that the work was in marble, you might have thought it was
coloured plaster or _terra cotta_. And this worthy man was so sure of
having thus added beauty to his statues that he was much astonished that
others did not imitate him.


Marrocchetti, there is no doubt, was wrong in loading on colour as he
did; but it is a question not yet solved or to be lightly put aside as
to whether a delicate veil of colour may not be tried on the fleshy
parts. Grecian sculptors used colour, and ours also in the middle ages,
although only on particular parts of the figure and on the ornamental
portions of their monuments. The only one that I know of, amongst modern
artists, who used colour with discretion, was Pradier. The English
sculptor Gibson was more audacious. I have seen a Cupid by Gibson
entirely coloured--the hair golden, the eyes blue, his quiver chiselled
and gilt, and, incredible as it may seem, the wings painted in various
colours with tufts or masses of red, green, blue, and orange feathers,
like those of an Arara parrot.


Having seen the Kensington Museum, and the other sculpture and picture
galleries in which London is so rich, I take pleasure in recounting a
little occurrence that happened to me at Sydenham. Sydenham is a place
some fifteen miles from London, in an open country, healthy, and rich
in green vegetation. There is the famous Crystal Palace, where one can
see a permanent exhibition of all the most beautiful things that are
scattered about in different parts of the world, beginning with
ante-diluvian animals reconstructed scientifically from some fossil
bones found in the excavations of mines in Scotland and elsewhere. There
are gigantic trees from Australia, one of which, having been cut in
pieces, bored, and the centre extracted, to enable it to be transported,
had been put together again and planted inside this palace. It is as
high as a veritable campanile; at its base a door has been made, so that
one can enter inside it; and it holds comfortably some thirty persons.
All the tropical plants are there in fine vegetation, in conservatories
heated by stoves, where the heat is so oppressive that one longs to go
out and breathe the fresh outside air. There also can be seen that
famous plant that grows in the water, with its flower floating on the
surface. This gigantic flower, when I then saw it, measured not less
than two metres in diameter, and the leaves flattened out on the water
looked like open umbrellas. It seems really as if one were dreaming, to
see such gigantic vegetation. Besides plants and animals from all parts
of the earth--from the polar as well as from the tropical regions--there
are the full-sized models of men taken from life, and coloured according
to nature--Cretins, Esquimaux, savages, Tartars, Mongols, and
anthropophagi, all in most natural attitudes, and in their various
costumes. There are also full-size reproductions of pieces of Egyptian,
Indian, Assyrian, Mongolian, and Moorish architecture; parts of the
Alhambra Palace; some rooms from Pompeii; minarets and Chinese temples;
sculpture (I mean, be it understood, reproductions in plaster) of the
best Egyptian, Indian, Greek, and Roman works, as well as those of the
middle ages; Ghiberti's doors; the equestrian statues of Colleoni, of
Gattamelata, of Marcus Aurelius; and even some modern works, amongst
which is my "Abel."


I knew that this statue of mine must be there, for I had it cast by
Papi, who had the mould ever since he cast it in bronze; and when I saw
it amongst these masterpieces as a specimen of modern art, I felt a
certain feeling of complacency that I hope will be forgiven me. But this
complacency of mine was disturbed when I saw that one of the fingers of
the left hand had been badly restored, not merely formed inelegantly,
but actually distorted, as the last phalange was much too short. That
little stump of a finger so irritated me, that I gave it a blow with the
stick I had in my hand, and it fell on the ground. Ill-luck would have
it that one of the guards saw me, and seizing hold of me, he carried me
off to the commissary of the exhibition. I was asked why I had damaged
that statue; and I answered that the finger was badly made, and that I
had broken it off by an involuntary movement. They replied that I could
not judge whether that finger or anything else was well done or badly
done, and in any case it was not permitted for persons to damage the
objects exhibited there; that therefore, for this violation of the
rules, I had incurred the penalty decreed in such and such an article,
and that they intended to keep me in custody. To tell the truth, this
Signor Commissary spoke French rather badly; but I understood him very
well, and with the best grace possible begged to be forgiven, saying
that the wish to damage the statue had never entered into my thoughts,
that the finger I had broken was positively ugly, that it must be remade
as it ought to be, and that, as to having it restored, I would myself
bear the expense. But the commissioner was firm, and was about to
consign me to a guard, who was to conduct me not exactly to prison, but
to something of that kind. I then felt obliged to make my name known. At
first he had no intention of yielding to my explanation, and there was
an expression on his face that might be translated thus: "It seems to me
strange; it cannot be; I don't believe it." Then he went on to say,
"Your position as author did not give you the right to do what you have
done, even admitting that what you affirm is true--and we shall soon see
if it be really true (_tout de suite_). You are the author of that
statue; then remake the finger that you have broken." I was completely
taken aback by this new judgment of Solomon, so simple and just. Calling
to my aid a young modeller who was employed there, working a little and
directing a little, the finger was soon remade. And so this odd
adventure came to an end, proving the justice of the proverb, "Who
breaks, pays."


I returned to Sydenham several times, because the quantity and
importance of the things to be seen required time and attention; but
when I found myself near my own statue, I gave it a wide berth.

One day I found myself, or rather I should say I was taken by William
Spence, to a great dinner given by the Artistic and Industrial Society
in the dining-hall of the great Palace of the Exhibition. We were no
less than four hundred, and Lord Derby presided. About the end of the
dinner the toasts began, with speeches of which naturally I understood
not a word; but fortunately "Mino" translated them to me in a few brief
words. At last an Indian officer of the English army arose with a face
the colour of copper, and began to speak; but after the first words,
here and there in that immense hall, first in undertones, and then
louder and louder, there arose a confused noise of voices of
disapprobation. I understood nothing, and begged "Mino" to explain; and
he replied that I must keep quiet, and he would afterwards explain
everything. In the meantime the noise of disapprobation increased, and
some loud words were repeated. The orator's voice could hardly be heard
any more, but he was not disturbed, and waited until the tempest was a
little calmed down before continuing. Then I heard a word repeated
louder and louder, which "Mino" explained to me was "Enough." The only
one who remained cold, passive, and silent was the president; and when
the speaker saw that it was an impossibility to make himself heard, he
bowed and sat down. After a little while every one rose from table.


"Now, then, relieve my curiosity. What has that officer said of so
extraordinary a nature as to compel him to silence in a country like
this, where really such entire liberty prevails?"

"What he has said," replied "Mino," "he could have said and repeated
most freely; but he was badly inspired, and had the imprudence to name
the Queen. Now amongst us the Queen, whatever may be the question, is
never mentioned. The law--and more than the law, respect for her
person--prohibits us from naming her. The officer who spoke is a colonel
in our Indian army, and is, as you can see by the colour of his face, an
Indian. He only arrived a few days ago on a mission, they say, of some
importance. Now this is what he has said: The Indians, subjugated by the
force and cunning of the English Government, having borne as much as is
humanly possible to bear--the loss of their liberty, of their wealth,
and of their religious faith; aggravated by the odious sight of their
oppressors; every modest demand of theirs rejected; weighed down every
day more and more by additional taxation,--for some time past have
burned with impatience to shake off their yoke and regain their lost
liberty. The English Government, being aware in part of this movement,
and in part ignoring it, he felt himself in duty bound to proclaim it
loudly, as much for the good of his own people as for the English
themselves. After having in vain attempted all ways of adjustment with
the Government of the Queen (first time of mention), he hoped at least
by these means to open the eyes and move the heart of the Queen (second
time) in favour of those poor pariahs, assassinated by a Government who,
in the name of her Majesty the Queen (third time), add to insult the
derision of a people whom it has enervated with the pretext of
civilising it. Revolution and war being imminent if their just demands
are this time again rejected, the Government being responsible for this
disaster, and the Queen ... and the Queen----Here the orator, as you
saw, was unable to continue, and already they had allowed him to say too
much. Neither the gravity of his revelations nor his injurious
assertions against the Government had been able in the least to excite
our delicate organisation, but it was only and entirely on account of
the sacred name of the Queen being mixed up in his speech so imprudently
and with so little judgment."


The fact is, however, that in less than five weeks from the day that
this poor Indian attempted to make the truth known--explaining what was
wrong, and revealing the consequences that would follow, and counselling
a remedy--the telegraph, with its flashing words, announced the Mutiny,
the peril the English were in, and their calls for help. It is true that
the Queen was not then mentioned, but for all that, men did not the less
die. Methinks I can hear it said, "What has this to do with your
memoirs? In our opinion, it has nothing to do either with your life or
with any artistic reflection that can be of interest to us."


But this objection bears only the appearance of reason. With this scene
I wished to depict the temper and character of the English in general,
and in particular of the two most prominent persons of that
assemblage--namely, the Indian colonel and the president of the banquet.
And who is there who does not see how useful and good these studies of
character, taken from the life, are to the artist? The essential thing
required to make a work of art beautiful and valuable is, that it should
be a just expression of the passions and feelings of the various
characters the artist wishes to represent. It is vain to look for the
right expression amongst the mercenary models that one ordinarily makes
use of. The model is used for all that is on the outside--movement,
proportions, physical characteristics, beauty of form,--for all, in
fact, except, however, just that turn of the head and look of the eye,
that movement of the lips, dilation of the nostrils, and a thousand
other signs and indications on the face which reveal the inner struggles
of the soul. These passions and feelings are more or less intense
according to the temperament, habit, and education of different
individuals; and in the mysterious sea of the soul, tempests gather, and
become the more dreadful in proportion as they are not kept in check by
reason. Not to give a false expression to the subject we wish to treat,
we must study all these differences. Love in Francesca does not manifest
itself as in Ophelia, the madness of Orestes is not that of Hamlet,
Ugolino's grief is not the grief of Prometheus, and Penelope's sadness
is different from that of Ariadne's. There are natures in whom the soul
is of such delicate fibre, and who revolt so haughtily against an
insult, that, oblivious of physical weakness, they flash into anger, and
rush blindly against the offender, whoever he may be. There are others,
strong and robust in body, who take things comfortably and easily, and
let alone the calumnies launched against them; which, in fact, have
rather the effect of mosquitoes upon them,--they are disturbed for a
little while, and then go quietly to sleep again. The acute thrusts of
love wound but the external epidermis of these well-wadded souls.
Giuseppe Giusti created a couple of these curious beings--man and
woman--and he called them Taddeo and Veneranda. For them the sea that I
spoke of is always becalmed, and their tranquil souls float peacefully
about therein. There is, however, a calm very different from this,
brought by reason into these fierce struggles of the soul. The first,
instead of being a calm, is indolence, and all the fibres that make our
whole being move and throb, are, as it were, dormant. But this calm I
speak of is caused by the force of reason, and strengthened by the
sentiment of temperance and charity.


How much self-control that Indian officer must have exercised over
himself, knowing that he was proclaiming a great truth, which, had it
been listened to and reparation made in time, would have prevented that
most unfortunate war that he knew to be imminent, certain, and
homicidal! To hear the shouts crying silence to him, and not to be
disturbed by them, continuing with a firm voice not any louder (which
would indicate anger), nor lower (which would be a sign of fear), only
stopping a little when the other voices grew louder and prevented him
from being heard, and then again taking up his discourse without turning
to the right or to the left, and repeating over again the last word that
had been drowned by the noise,--I say that this produced on me the
impression of a profound admiration for the man. Even now, after twenty
years have elapsed, I seem to see that grand figure before me, and I
feel all his manly tranquillity.

[Sidenote: CLEMENTE PAPI.]


One of the peaceful natures, always content, so well described by Giusti
in his 'Amor Pacifico,' and whom I knew well, was Professor Clemente
Papi, an excellent caster in bronze. When I knew him he was between
fifty and sixty years of age, of moderate height, stout build, and high
colour, always laughing, always full of bright stories and little jokes.
The muscles expressive of indignation had, as it would seem, been left
out of his composition by mother nature. His brow was always
smooth--there was never a frown on his face when speaking or listening,
whatever might be the subject of discussion; and this constant habit of
laughing made him laugh, or shape his mouth into a smile, even in the
most serious moments of life. This man, who was in many respects most
excellent, in his art, in his family, and as a master, appeared as if he
had no heart, or as if it were made of sugar-candy; and yet he died
suddenly of heart-disease. As I have said, he had a heart, but it was
sugar-sweet; the bitterness of sorrow and the harshness of anger never
in the least disturbed his state of calm, careless joviality. The
following occurrence depicts Professor Papi's nature to the life: The
Grand Duke having ordered a cast in bronze of my "Abel," and all the
preliminary work for the fusion of it having been accomplished,--that is
to say, the mould made on the original plaster, the earth pressed into
that mould to form the kernel, or _nocciolo_, so as both to obtain
lightness and to strengthen the cast--the wax cast having been made and
the necessary touches given to it by myself--the whole cased in its
heavy covering, armed and bound about by irons that it might bear the
stream of liquid metal, and placed in the pit and heated to allow the
wax to escape from the fissures, then baked that it might become of the
consistency required for the operation,--the composition of the metal
was prepared, placed in the furnace, and set on fire. After fifteen or
twenty hours, the melting was accomplished--an operation easily related,
but which was the result of many months of labour and great expense. The
valve was then opened, that it might descend into the mould below. The
strangeness of the enterprise, the time and sacrifices of those employed
in it, the strange and almost mysterious spot where the operation took
place, the heat from the furnace-fire, the gases that came from it, the
anxiety of the workmen, their extreme fatigue in that decisive moment,
the lamp that burned before the crucifix, and prayer that preceded the
opening of the valve--all filled me with an undefined sense of the
marvellous and unknown, of the fearful and sacred. The valve was opened,
the metal flowed down the pipe into the main channel clear and liquid,
as all metal is during this process. Joy was depicted on all the faces
of those anxious persons who had toiled so long on the work. The metal
had been already poured into the greater part; the mould, which had
resisted well, cased as it was in its thick covering, and bound with
hoops of iron, gave no signs of cracking, nor was any noise heard, as
not unseldom happens when, as the metal flows in, the air inside has not
an easy escape. Papi stood upright and beaming, ready to embrace his
scholars, when all at once some little violet flames from the mouth of
the furnace announced the cooling off of the metal, which gradually
slackened its flow and lost its splendour. Stupor and depression were
depicted on all faces--a mortal pallor, rendered stranger still by the
light reflected from the furnace, making them look like spectres. The
metal no longer flowed along, but began to drop in flakes like polenta,
then became coagulated, and then stopped still. The statue was little
more than half cast, and all was lost! At this sight the poor workmen,
tired out, and torn with grief, threw themselves on the ground with
violent contortions and weeping. I, between stupor and regret for the
failure of the work, the seeming despair of those poor people, and the
grief--although not visible, but still great--that Papi must feel, did
not know what to say; it seemed as if my tongue were tied. I wanted to
get away from that place of misery: it seemed to me as if those people,
master and workmen, must be left alone to give vent to their sorrow.
Papi came to my rescue. He came up to me, and said that he had promised
the Grand Duke to give him the news of the casting, and that he had
hoped to do so himself; but as it had failed, he did not feel courage
enough to carry him the bad news, and begged me to do so. He shook hands
with me, and turned to take leave of others that he had invited or
allowed to be present at the casting.


The evening was well on when I went to the Pitti. I spoke to Paglianti,
the royal valet of the Grand Duke, and asked if I could be permitted to
have an audience. Paglianti knew me, and also knew that the Duke liked
to see me. In a few moments I was shown into his study, and briefly told
him what had happened. According to his wont, he listened thoughtfully
and attentively, but did not seem disturbed by it. One would have
thought that he was listening to a thing that might be anticipated as
possible or probable. Then he began to speak--

"Poor Papi! poor man! Who knows how disappointed he must have felt, and
how miserable he is now? And your work, too, which gave you so much
trouble--all is lost! I feel deeply for your misfortune and that poor
man's unhappiness. Let us think about consoling him. Return to him, and
tell him in my name to be of good cheer, for there is a remedy for
everything, and that I am certain he has nothing to reproach himself
with; for, when one has taken every possible precaution to secure
success in the execution of anything, and notwithstanding all, the work
does not turn out well, no one can blame him for it, and I least of any
one. Tell him that battles are won and lost in the same way. Sometimes
even a mistake makes one win, and one can lose in spite of every
forecast. Tell him this and more, all that comes into your head, to
comfort him, and speak in my name. Go at once to him, console him, and
your words will bring him a little calm. I am certain that you will do
him a great deal of good, and that he may afterwards be able to rest
to-night; but I am sure that if you do not speak to him, the poor man
will not sleep."


I went almost at a run, and from Palazzo Pitti to the Via Cavour is a
good bit of way. I was all in a perspiration. I knocked at his door, and
after a time his maid-servant appeared.

"Who is it?" says she.

"It is I; open the door."

"Oh, is it you, Signor Professor?"

"Yes, it is I; open the door, I have a word to say to your master."

"The master is in bed; you could speak to him to-morrow."

"No; I must do so now. If he is in bed, no matter; he will be glad all
the same."

"But if he is asleep, do you want to wake him?"

"Asleep!" said I; "is he asleep?"


"Yes; he is asleep, I assure you. He has been asleep more than two
hours, he was so tired when he came home."

"Well, then, since you assure me that he is asleep, my commission is at
an end; and when he wakes up, which will probably be to-morrow morning,
you may tell him that I had come in a great hurry to say two words to
him that contained the power of making him sleep, but having found him
in his first sleep, I shall tell him another time, although they may
then seem quite stale."

To speak sincerely, such an extraordinary feat I have never been able to
explain. To sleep after a similar misfortune--to go to sleep at once,
immediately, two hours after, at his usual hour, the hour when those who
have nothing on their minds sleep! And yet, now that I think of it,
Napoleon slept on the night that preceded one of his greatest battles.
So at least he wrote in his biography, and because it is printed, a
great number of simple-hearted people believe in it as they do in the
Gospel; and you, gentle reader, do you believe it? "_Mi, no!_" as Sior
Tonin Bonagrazia would say.

It has been necessary to make this digression on character,--that
is to say, on the difference between those who acquire calmness by
virtue of their reason, and those whose senses are obtuse to all
passions--differences which are visible to any one who observes with
care, and that escape many, indeed most people who do not think. Let the
young artist be persuaded that the study and observation of the true
nature of love and human passions are most essential. Let them give up
all thoughts of seeing these expressions in their models. One's studio
models are common people, who certainly have their feelings and
passions, but they are generally vulgar; and in any case, during the
time that they are posing as models, they are thinking of everything
except the moral condition of mind of the person they are representing.
One may answer, "We know this; the artist should himself give the
expression required by his subject." Quite right; but how can the artist
seize hold of the right expression if first he has not seen it in life,
and studied with attention beyond words? Then it is evident to me, and
other works show it without my words, that not a few artists expect and
insist on finding expression in their models. I remember an artist who
flew into a passion because his model did not assume an expression of
grief. The model naturally laughed louder and louder, every time this
simpleton said, "Don't laugh; be serious and sad; I want you to express


It is true that this kind of study may occasion some little
inconvenience--as, for instance, one may pass for being very stupid,
because absorbed in observing and committing to memory, and hearing
nothing that has been talked about. One may answer at random, and be
extremely ridiculous. One may appear as a somewhat offensive admirer,
and give umbrage to some jealous husband. One may even pass for a
scatter-brain and imbecile. But have patience! With time and practice
the artist will gain his point, and be able to study as much as he
wishes, while assuming an air of indifference that will shelter him from
the above-mentioned misconceptions.

[Sidenote: A CIRCE AT A BALL.]

[Sidenote: A LESSON.]

He may, however, fall into other mistakes; and I here take note of them
that he may avoid so doing. One evening I was at a ball at the Palazzo
Torlonia at Rome. I have no fancy for balls, but I like to see a great
many people,--beautiful ladies, elegant dresses, and naked arms,--and
more than all, the expression of eyes now languid, now animated,--smiles
now ingenuous, now coquettish,--the weariness of the fathers, and the
eager concern of the mammas,--the reckless joy of the Don Giovanni _in
erba_, and the deceitful, washed-out look of the Don Giovanni _in
ritiro_. It is a pleasant as well as useful study, as long as one does
not change parts, and instead of a spectator become an actor in the
scene. The "lime-twigs are spread out, the little owls are at their
places; so beware, ye blackbirds, not to be caught." There I stood; the
painter Podesti, with whom I had come to the ball, had left me, carried
away by the attractions of the card-table. In one of the many rooms open
for the circulation of the company, and for the repose of dancers and
those not dancing, seated on one of the divans I saw a young woman of
singular beauty. She was about thirty: several gentlemen surrounded her
like a garland, and she had now for one, now for another, some trivial
gay word; but in strange contrast with her careless words and smiles was
her austere brow, and the haughty looks that came from her eyes. The
turn of her head was stately and attractive; and a clasp of diamonds
that was fastened in her dark shining hair flashed every time she moved.
I never saw a more assassinating beauty than hers! Leaning against the
wall on the opposite side of the room, studying that face with its
strangely variable expression, all the women of history and fable with
which this singular beauty had affinity rose before my mind. Less full
of passion than Norma, less ferocious than Medea, almost Helen, and,
without an _almost_, a Circe,--in fact, one of those women who promise
one paradise and prepare one an _inferno_--capable of killing the body,
the soul, and the memory of a man. When I had got so far in my
reflections, the young lady rose, and coming straight towards me, she
said these simple words--"_Monsieur, tandis que vous pensiez, je ne sais
pas à quoi, la cire a coulé tout à son aise sur voire habit_"--and she
passed on slowly, demolishing in two words my castles in the air. I
found, in fact, that the shoulder and sleeve of my dress-coat were
covered with wax, to say nothing of the suppressed laughter of the
beautiful Circe. Of two things one must therefore be warned--to put
one's self out of the dangerous proximity of lights, and to be careful
to look at people with some reserve.



But it is time to return to the point I started from, and to speak of
the study of character and spontaneous expression from life. In fact it
was in London that I had occasion to see a picture of extraordinary
beauty for strength and truth of expression, in which the result of that
study was clearly demonstrated. This picture, on exhibition at the
School or Academy of Fine Arts, was of small dimensions; the subject, a
familiar one, or, as it is usually called, _genre_, was as follows: To
the right of the person facing the picture is a gentleman's
country-house, and outside by the garden-gate a mother is seated near
her little girl, who is ill, and reclines in an arm-chair, supported by
pillows. The mother has left off working, and looks anxiously at the
pale exhausted girl, whose eyes are sunk deep in their sockets, and who
smiles and looks languidly at two little children, a boy and girl,
little peasants, strong, healthy, and robust, who are dancing, and have
evidently been invited to do so by the parents of the little invalid. It
is autumn, the hour a sad one. The last rays of the sun are gilding the
dead leaves on the trees and on the bushes. On the left you see the
father in close conversation with the doctor, questioning him with
anxious eyes, whilst he, very serious and sad, hardly dares look at the
unhappy father. To speak the truth, when _genre_ pictures are so full of
interest and life as this, I prefer them to all the gods of Olympus.
But, generally, they are entirely wanting in this first quality, and
abound in the second, which becomes vulgarity; and so the foundation of
art, which is the beauty of truth, is wanting, and only the "business"
remains, with its puerile attractions.


I saw many other works of art, both in painting and sculpture, at this
exhibition of living English artists, but none of them compared with
that marvellous work. I do not remember the name of its author, and much
I regret it; but I have given a minute and exact description of it.

In the National Gallery, rich in pictures of the Italian school, I
admired a marvellous cartoon of Raphael's, slightly coloured, of the
"Massacre of the Innocents." It is jealously guarded under glass. Of the
beauty of this work as to form, I do not speak--it is Raphael's, and
that is enough; but what most struck me was the brutal movement of
murdering soldiers, the desperate convulsive resistance of the mothers,
pressing to their breasts the little babes, whilst they scratch and tear
at the faces of the executioners; and it would seem as if one heard
their sharp screams mingled with the cries of the murdered infants. The
calm and flowing grace that are the characteristic notes of that divine
genius, do not appear in this; but instead one sees and hears _parole
di dolore, accenti d'ira, voci alte e fioche_, of the desperate mothers.
Those who have not seen this cartoon and the others at Hampton Court, of
which I will soon speak, cannot entirely appreciate Raphael.


I advise young artists who want to go to London to learn a little of the
language of the country; they will find themselves the better for it. It
happened to me, who knew nothing of it, one day to lose myself in that
interminable city, and another day, very little to my taste, to find
myself carried off in the train to Scotland. If, therefore, they learn a
little English, they will understand that Leicester Square is pronounced
_Lester Squere_. As I said, I lost myself in London, and this was how. I
lodged at the Hotel Granara. Granara is an honest Genoese, who knows how
to attend to his own affairs, as all the Genoese do, and more than that,
knows how to secure the goodwill of his customers, almost all of whom
are Italians. His hotel was at that time, in 1856, in Leicester Square.
It was my habit then, as always, to go out very early in the morning and
take a little turn before breakfast. I made it a study to observe well
all the turnings, the names of the streets and their peculiarities, so
as to be able to return home, but did not succeed. I tried again and
again for about two hours, before asking my way, to see if it were
possible for me to find a street, a name, or a sign that I had seen
before, but all was in vain. I was tired, had had no food, and had not a
_soldo_ in my pocket; and although I had with me the key of the place
where I kept my money, this was of no avail in getting me a breakfast.
Driven by hunger I put aside my pride, or rather my pretence, of finding
my way to the inn, and asked a policeman. I asked him both in Italian
and in French, but he did not understand me, and presented me to
another, but with the same result. There I beheld myself lost in that
immense city, without a penny, and very hungry. It must be admitted that
my position was a rather serious one--not that those excellent policemen
did not perfectly understand that I had lost the way to my hotel, and
were most desirous of putting me on the right road to it, but they did
not know how, as they were not acquainted with the name of the square
that I inquired for. At last, and it was quite time, one of them took
out of his pocket his note-book and pencil and gave it to me, saying in
good French, "_Écrivez le lieu où vous êtes logé._" I had hardly written
the first word when the policeman quickly said, "Lester Squere?" "It may
be so," said I; but to make sure I finished writing out the address,
adding even the name of the hotel, and showed it to him, to which the
policeman said, "Yes, very well." He took the paper and begged me to
follow him to another policeman at the end of the street, to whom he
consigned me and the paper, and having exchanged a word or two with him,
returned to his post. The new guard, without uttering a word, took me to
another and consigned me to him, and so on, until in about half an hour
I was reconducted home.


You understand me, therefore, in England the knowledge of a little of
the English language will do no harm, and not be _de trop_, and by it
you may avoid another inconvenience, that of finding a teacher at the
wrong time and place. Let me explain myself. The maid-servant who had
the care of my room got it into her head that she would teach me to
speak English, and she set herself to work to teach me with a method
entirely her own. She seized hold of a chair and called it by name, then
the chest of drawers, then the bed, then the looking-glass, &c., and
she insisted that I should repeat these names after her in her language.
The thing in itself was innocent enough, but foolish, as both she and I
lost our time by it. For me it was not so much matter, but for her the
neglect of her duties might have lost her her situation; and therefore,
with the language common to all--that is, by gesticulations--I made her
understand that she must stop her lessons. Let the reader not think,
however, that I refused that good, and, let me add, beautiful teacher in
a rough way; no indeed, I am not a satrap. I said to her--(beg pardon!)
I gesticulated all this to her nicely, and with a good grace. One must
always have every care to treat women in a gentle and respectful manner.


Here is another story, always _àpropos_ of the necessity there is of
knowing at least a little of the English language. Hampton Court is a
palace of the Queen's, about an hour's distance from London by rail. It
is open to the public on holidays. The palace is beautiful, and contains
many precious things; the country about is green, fresh, and pleasant:
therefore, as can easily be imagined, there is always a large concourse
of people. I wished also to procure myself this outing; so, betaking
myself to the northern station, I took my ticket for Hampton Court, and
got into the train. In that country one goes along at the pace of twenty
kilometres an hour. Enchanted by the sight of the beautiful country
clothed in its deep-green mantle,--so new to us who are accustomed to
ours, so much more pallid, and burnt in streaks by the greater
fierceness of the sun,--I forgot the pace we were going at, paid no
attention when we stopped, and did not hear them call out the name
Hampton Court. I suppose similar things must happen to the _touristes_
who visit our Italy. Let us imagine one of them to have taken a ticket
for Certaldo, desiring to visit Boccaccio's house; the train stops, and
the guard, with a stentorian voice, more calculated to slur over than
pronounce the name, calls out, "Who is for Certaldo?" (_chi è
peccettardo_). Naturally the _touriste_ does not understand, and allows
himself to be carried on maybe even as far as Siena. But this is not so
bad as my case, for I ran the risk of being taken on to Edinburgh.
Fortunately I began to suspect that I had passed by the station where I
ought to have got out, and asked. The answer was, that we had passed
Hampton Court some time since.


"What must I do?" I asked.

"Stop at the first station; and this evening, by the Edinburgh train,
you can return to London."

"Are there no other trains before this one, that I may return to London
during the day to dine?"


"Many thanks!"

I got down at the first station, paid the difference in my ticket, and,
in the very worst of humours, took a turn in the little village or
hamlet,--I did not even care to ask its name. I had some wretched food,
and everything seemed to me bad and ugly.

Yes, yes; a little of the language of the country is even more necessary
than bread or than money, for the English--and I think they are
right--speak no other language than their own. But they go so far as to
pretend, when they come amongst us, that we should speak English like
them; and here they are in the wrong.

When I got home to the hotel in the evening, Avvocato Fornetti and
Caraffa, my friends and companions at the hotel, came to me smiling, and
said, "Have you amused yourself?"


I said, "Yes;" I did not tell them what had happened, for they were the
kind of men who would have ridiculed me for a long time.

Beyond these few little mishaps, my time passed most pleasantly in
London. My fellow-citizen Marietta Piccolomini was singing at the
Queen's Opera House with Giulini and Belletti. Ristori was acting at the
Ateneo Italiano. There were very often concerts of music, instrumental
and vocal, where Bottesini, Giovacchino Bimboni, and the violinist
Favilli played. I knew De Vincenzi, who was afterwards in the Ministry;
and I again met Count Piero Guicciardini, Count Arrivabene, the
_maestro_ Fiori, that scatter-brain of a Fabio Uccelli; Monti, the
Milanese sculptor; our Fedi; Bulletti, a carver in wood; Romoli, the
painter and sculptor; and others,--in fact, a perfect colony of

Among the tragedies which Ristori acted in at that time, and which I
already knew, I saw one that I liked extremely. It was the 'Camma,' by
Professor Giuseppe Montanelli,--in my belief, a very fine work, and
superlatively well interpreted, in its proud and passionate character,
by the first actress, Signora Ristori. I heard the Signora Piccolomini,
with her usual grace and intelligence, sing in the 'Traviata' and the
'Figlia del Reggimento.' Although these entertainments, be they prose or
music, were deserving of all praise, yet the price of the
entrance-ticket, according to us Italians, was enormously dear, being
one pound sterling, which is equal to twenty-five _lire_ and twenty
_centimes_ of our money. May I be forgiven if that is little? One must
also take note that at that time, A. D. 1856, everything was done in a
small way,--reasonable incomes, few requirements, small expenditures,
and, smallest of all, taxation. The ciphers of millions in the great
book of 'Debit and Credit' had not yet been invented; the floating debt
did not even exist in dreams. So that thirty _lire codine_ at that time
represented nearly a hundred francs of to-day. Who is there (I mean
amongst us) who would wish to spend a hundred _lire_ for a 'Traviata'?
Not I, indeed; for I remember, when I was an _abonné_ at the Cocomero
(now Niccolini), to have heard Ristori for four _soldi_ a-night, and she
acted equally well, without taking into account her youth and beauty,
that inexorable Time will not respect, even in celebrities.


"Then you went to a foolish expense; and you contradict yourself without
even turning your page, for you say that you would not spend the money,
and at the same time you inform us that you heard Ristori act in

I answer, "'Camma' cost me absolutely nothing, as the Signora Ristori,
who is as amiable as she is eminent as an _artiste_, favoured me with an
entrance-ticket;" and so I clear up the apparent contradiction that the
critical reader was in such haste to bring forward. Go on, however, and
look sharply through these papers, where you will find something of
everything. Moreover, you will be often bored, but I hope you will never
find any contradictions. I have also a very good habit--that is, of
re-reading what I have written: and then, with a little art, one
succeeds in putting everything nicely in its place. You understand? Then
we will push on.

[Sidenote: HAMPTON COURT.]

In order not to fail a second time in my intention of seeing the royal
villa of Hampton Court, I wrote that name on a card and showed it to the
guard every time we stopped. I got there at last. The place all about is
very pleasant, with a wide, clear horizon, for the fogs only have their
home in London. The palace, as may be imagined, is large and majestic. I
don't remember the style of its architecture, and don't want to refer
to the easy expedient of consulting a guide-book. I promised myself that
I would write my life, the thoughts that came to me one after another,
without help, trusting only to memory. So I have done thus far, and
intend doing so to the end. The villa, as I have said, is majestic,
enclosed on all sides by gardens and orchards. The interior consists of
innumerable halls richly decorated with paintings, somewhat out of
repair, as they are no longer used, it would appear, as a royal
residence. People crowd more particularly to the Queen's own private
apartments, to see her sitting-room, and even her bedroom with its
bed-furniture, and the thousand rich, pretty, and curious things with
which these rooms are filled. The rest of the place, or the greater part
of it, such as the gallery of pictures and cartoons, is generally
deserted. Yet the English are great lovers of art; we see them with
great interest frequent our galleries in Rome, Florence, Venice, and
Naples. But perhaps the people brought by curiosity to Hampton Court
belong to the lower class, which has not in London the feeling for art
that the people even of the lowest class have in Italy. In a great long
hall, like a gallery, I saw the eight cartoons of Raphael that were made
for the arrases in the Vatican. They consist of "St Paul preaching to
the Athenians;" "St Peter and the miracle of the fish;" "St Peter and
Ananias;" "St Peter receiving from Christ the charge of guarding His
sheep;" "Peter and John healing the lame man at the gates of the
Temple;" "Elymas the Sorcerer punished by losing his sight;" and others
that I do not remember. He who has never seen these cartoons, and the
"Massacre of the Innocents" above mentioned, can form no idea of the
strength of Raphael in that grandly fierce style initiated by Michael
Angelo, who spread therein so broad a sail as to make him terrible to
the beholder, and to occasion the shipwreck of many in a smaller craft,
who perished miserably, desirous of following him on that fearful ocean.

[Sidenote: HYDE PARK.]

There are other cartoons in the same gallery by Mantegna representing
the "Triumph of Caesar." Mantegna, as all know, as an artist is an
imitator of the antique: the execution of the work which is merely the
material part alone is his own, for he took the conception, character,
and style, in generalities and detail, from the antique.

Besides the treasures of art contained in the London museums--and one
may also call Hampton Court a museum--there are the beautiful public
walks called parks. The largest, richest in avenues, fields, and lakes
peopled by innumerable ducks and fish, is called Hyde Park. This is the
promenade where all the fashionable world meet. Ladies and gentlemen on
horseback dash down the interminable avenues of this park, giving loose
rein to their fiery steeds. It is a fine sight to see these animals, so
elegant in form, and at the same time full of fire, pawing the ground,
neighing, and fretting at the bit, from their desire to be off: but
still more beautiful to look at are those gentle ladies on their backs;
and when they are going at full pace, bending slightly forward on their
fiery steeds, their flowing skirts, in ample undulating lines, giving a
slender, flexible look to their figures, you feel carried away, and as
if you would like to follow them in that rapid, anxious race, where
peril changes into pleasure, and where the inebriation of the senses
becomes ideality. Such is the fascination youth, beauty, and strength
produce on the mind and senses of all natures susceptible of feeling. It
is a pungent pleasure; the soul struggles in these meshes of flowers,
and their perfume inebriates and captivates it. I beg pardon of the
reader, if, for an instant attracted by this race of beautiful ladies,
my head galloped away with them. Another time I will hold the reins
tighter; and it ought not to be difficult to stop this little horse of
mine, sixty years old.


Hyde Park, as I have said, is larger than the two others, St James's
Park and Regent's Park, and is about five miles in circumference, which
seems a good deal; but so it is. These country spaces in the middle of
London are, as have been justly said, the lungs of the great city. By
means of these green oases, impregnated with oxygen, the air of that
gigantic body of London, where millions of men swarm like ants, is
constantly renovated. These parks are rich in timber, and flowers are
there cultivated with every art. There are very few guards, for great
respect is shown for the laws prohibiting the damaging of the plants. A
curious but very just penalty is inflicted by them, and this is it: If
Signor Tizio has damaged a plant, or only picked a flower, Signor Tizio,
according to the gravity of the mischief he has done, is prohibited from
entering those precincts for fifteen or twenty days. And this is not
enough--it would be too little; his name is posted up to view at all the
park entrances, specifying the damage he has done and the penalty
inflicted on him, that everybody who goes there may read and laugh!

I was present in Hyde Park at the distribution of medals to the troops
on their return from the Crimea. That great national _fête_ was a
splendid success--the whole army in arms and full uniform, every part of
it in its proper place, cavalry, artillery, marines, and infantry. At
the end of a large camp a throne was erected for the Queen, her
children, and her husband, Prince Albert. The Ministers, Court
dignitaries, and Lords surrounded her. The ceremony was a long one. The
troops had been on foot since early morning, and many were the numbers
who received medals. The sun beat down with great force on our heads,
for it was in the month of June. It is a fine sight to see the youth of
England, tall, square-shouldered young fellows, with upright bearing and
brilliant colouring; but notwithstanding all this, it would seem that
for all their strength of nature they cannot endure hunger. I was
present at some little occurrences that astonished me extremely: two or
three of those young men fainted as if they had been delicate girls,
although they had herculean chests and arms. But so it is: the
Englishman, when the hour has come, requires absolutely to have his tea;
if this fails, he can no longer stand on his feet.


That this must really be the case, was demonstrated to me by the
affectionate solicitude shown by their comrades and the people carefully
conveying these fainting youths to the ambulances. Instead of this with
us Italians, we see young men of twenty bear long marches, discomfort,
and hunger with a bright face. It is the difference of nature and habits
in the two nations. I do not mean, indeed, to say that we do not feel
hunger--in fact, I can say for myself that I feel it most ferociously;
and if this expression seems exaggerated, I will correct myself and add,
brutally and insolently, and will recount a little anecdote in proof of
my appetite, especially after fasting. It is a trifling matter, that
goes as far back as thirty years. At that time of juvenile effervescence
one wishes for much and feels much, and is not very fastidious about
ways and means. The fact is a curious one, and, to say the truth, would
not be very pleasant for me to narrate were it not that it is peculiar,
and with the touch of a brush paints to the life the character of my
early youth. I had quite forgotten it, and it really would have been a
mistake to do so. Those fasting English soldiers reminded me of it, and
I am very glad of it.

[Sidenote: VISIT TO QUARTO.]

The benevolent reader must betake himself back to the time when I was
twenty-six years of age, which, in a young artist, sometimes means being
possessed of twenty-six devils. True it is that with time and increase
of years these devils, alas! diminish. Therefore, at my present
stand-point, I feel myself absolutely free of them, and could bear
fasting and hunger without dreaming of committing the impertinence that,
without other preamble, I am about to narrate.

Lorenzo Mariotti, an agent of the Russian Government, as I have before
mentioned, brought me a paper, on which were written the following

"Professor Duprè is requested to come at an early hour to-morrow morning
to Quarto. A. DEMIDOFF."

Quarto is an enchanting villa that was afterwards in the possession of
the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia; at that time, it was the property of
Prince Anatolio Demidoff, who had bought it from Prince Girolamo
Buonaparte, the father of Princess Matilde. It is four miles distant
from Florence, on the skirts of the steep hill of Monte Morello,
enclosed by beautiful gardens and a fine park. I therefore betook myself
there at an early hour; and in the hopes of quickly despatching my
business, I had not thought of breakfasting before starting, but merely
took a cup of coffee. I got into the carriage, and arrived there at
about eight o'clock. It was a good season of the year, being May, and
the day was a splendid one; in its quietness and fragrance it reminded
me of those most sweet verses of the divine poet:--

    "E quale, annunziatrice degli albori,
    L'aura di maggio movesi ed olezza,
    Tutta impregnata dall'erbe e da fiori."[9]

 [9]  "And as the harbinger of early dawn,
      The air of May doth move and breathe out fragrance,
      Impregnate all with herbage and with flowers."

                          --DANTE: _Purgatorio_, Canto xxiv.

So I tasted the voluptuousness of these first warm days in the pure
quietness of our hills, and I looked forward to a short conversation
with the Prince (as I imagined the motive of his summons), and a speedy
return to Florence. I dismounted, and told the coachman to wait; he
lighted his cigar, took a turn round the villa, and then placed himself
in the shade. I asked for the Prince, and was answered that he was not
up. Then I feared that I should be obliged to wait; but the message was,
"at an early hour." Who knows, however, what is an early hour to a
gentleman? I found out afterwards, as the reader will soon hear.


I walked about in the apartment, in the court, in the garden, and in the
park, and from time to time I came back to see if the Prince had asked
for me; but the Prince had not yet called. Two good hours were already
past. The pure air of the beautiful country, the pleasant shade in the
park, the odour of the violets and roses, all had served to sharpen my
appetite. I risked asking a servant if he could give me some breakfast,
but he answered that no one could have anything to eat before his
Excellency had ordered his breakfast.

"And is it late before his Excellency orders his breakfast?"

"Ah! that is as it happens,--at mid-day, at one o'clock--when he thinks
best." So saying he left me, and I began my walks again. The beautiful
country seemed to me less beautiful, the shady avenues of the park had
assumed a certain sadness and obnoxious freshness, the odour from the
flowers made my head giddy! What was I to do? Return to Florence? It was
far. And what then of the Prince's message? I did not wish to fail to
meet his invitation. I reflected a little, and then resolved to make a
somewhat rash attempt, but which succeeded admirably. I had caught sight
of the breakfast-room, with its table all set out with cups, plates,
glasses, cakes, confectionery--in fact with everything, even with
flowers in crystal vases that were a wonder to look at. I went into the
room and rang the bell with violence; in an instant a servant appeared
dressed in black, to whom I turned, and with my head well in the air
pronounced in a harsh firm voice the one word--




The servant disappeared, and returned almost on the instant with a
silver soup-tureen, which he placed on the table before me, and then
stationed himself behind me. Two other servants brought me ham, tongue,
_caviale_, veal cutlets, cold galantine, and then asked if I wanted
Madeira, Bordeaux, or Marsala. I was satisfied with the Bordeaux, and
also partook of a plate of strawberries; and as a last sacrifice, I
sipped a cup of Mocha coffee--really inebriating--lighted my cigar, and
lost myself in the thickest part of the park. I was really beaming. I
felt restored in body, and in a state of perfect wellbeing, feeling a
certain sort of complacency with my spirit, my genius, my quickness--my
impertinence, let us say--which, _au fond_, was of good service to me
and did nobody any harm. Carlo Bini assures us that the prison so
sharpened his brains that it was as much use to him in expressing his
ideas as style was:--

    "La prigione è una lima sì sottile,
    Che aguzzando il cervel ne fa uno stile;"

and does not hunger, I say, sharpen the brain? I could cite a thousand
examples of well-known geniuses who have grown up in the midst of
privations and hunger, but I do not wish to be pedantic. This I know
full well, that I should never have been capable of such an escapade had
I not had that formidable appetite, nor should I have had the idea of
satisfying it in that way. Necessity sharpens the intellect to invent
and to act; health and physical wellbeing kindle and spur on the fancy
through flowering pathways of flattering hopes. Who knows with how many
beautiful _grilli_ and beautiful bright-coloured butterflies, swift of
flight, a little glass of Bordeaux, or better still, a glass of our good
Chianti wine, has brightened the life of poets and artists? I found
myself in one of those beautiful dreams. My mind wandered from one thing
to another; the past and the future were mixed up together. History and
fable, religion and romance, light and serious love, the fantastic and
the positive, fine statues, fine commissions, friends distinguished for
rectitude and genius,--all passed before me. The flowers in the garden
seemed to me more beautiful and more odorous than ever, the sky brighter
and purer; and never did the hills of Artimino, Careggi, or Fiesole,
populous with villas, seem to me so fair. I never gave a thought to the
Prince or to his having sent for me, any more than if it had been all a
dream. And all _was_ a dream; for I fell asleep seated on one of the
sofa-chairs made of reeds, and in my sleep my thoughts went back to
those beautiful legends of history and fable--beautiful women, fine
statues, sweet friends--and to the delightful country, when a slight
touch on my shoulder woke me from my placid sleep. It was one of the
Prince's servants, who was in quest of me to take me to him. To judge
from their dress, the Prince and Princess must have only been up a short
time. The Prince was standing; he had a cup in his hand, and dipped some
pieces of toasted bread into it. From the odour, I became aware that it
was _consommé_. The Princess was seated, turning over the leaves of a
book of prints. She was of rare beauty, and the time, the place, and
mild season of the year made her seem even more beautiful. She ought
therefore to have seemed and to have been an object of love and profound
admiration to her happy husband; and if you add to the attractions of
youth and beauty, grace of education, culture of mind, and _prestige_ of
birth, the affection of the man who possessed her should have verged on
idolatry. But, alas! in life such perfect happiness never lasts; and the
reader remembers what I told of the end of this union.


"My dear Duprè, you have arrived a little late, have you not? I sent for
you, but you had not yet come."

"Your Excellency, let me tell you. I arrived betimes--in fact, very
early, as your Excellency indicated I should do in your note; but----"
And here I told him the whole story already known to my reader; and I
cannot describe how delighted he and the Princess were with it. Now and
again the Prince held out his hand to me, saying, "Bravo! In faith, I
like this. Bravo!"

Then he told me what was the object of his sending for me. It was to
give me an order for a life-size statue of Napoleon I., in the very
dress which he possessed, and would furnish me with. He would procure me
a good mask and some authentic portraits; but he begged me to make it in
the shortest possible time. It was very evident that he wanted to
please the Princess, because whilst he was speaking to me he looked with
loving intensity at her, and from time to time caressed her with a
gentleness almost childlike.


It has been said that this man was extravagant and almost brutal; but
when I remember the expression of radiant joy he had on his face when he
was looking at his wife while proposing to give her a statue, as if it
had been only a flower or a fan--when I recall that I have seen him shed
warm tears for the death of Bartolini, and when I remember his great
charity in founding and maintaining the Asylum of Saint Niccolo,--I
cannot but deplore the bad feeling and injustice of those who take
pleasure in blackening his character, in misinterpreting facts, and
maligning his intentions.

The order for the statue of Napoleon proved a failure, as also for that
of the Princess, owing to the separation of husband and wife. And now
let me go back to my place, for oh, how I have wandered away from the
fainting young soldiers in Hyde Park!

The exhibition of the models competing for the Duke of Wellington's
monument was about to be opened, so I thought it better to return
home--all the more, because I wished to stop in Paris on my way back, as
I had been in too great a hurry to see it when I came through. By this
time, nothing that there was to be seen in London had escaped me, and I
could describe with great precision the Docks, the Tunnel, Westminster,
St Paul's, the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, &c., &c.; but
to what use? Are there not guide-books? And my impressions are many, it
is true, and not of the common run; but they would require no little
space, and this would change the simple design and form of these


Two or three days before the opening of the exhibition of these models,
the Minister of Public Instruction, accompanied by the royal
commissioner and other officials, visited the great hall at Westminster,
where the models were exhibited. Some English and a few foreign artists
thought proper to accompany the Minister when he went to inspect these
works. As for me, I felt no such wish; and not wanting to be thought
rude, and as neither the commissioner nor any of the people with the
Minister knew who I was, I reclined in my shirt-sleeves on one of the
cases belonging to these monuments, and so passed for a common workman
in the hall. The commissioner, in fact, only knew me as a person of
trust, who had some ability in restoring a work in plaster. I hope the
reader has not forgotten that little affair. I was consoled, however, by
seeing that the Minister stopped some time to look at my work, although
he passed by others in too much haste, excusable in many instances, but
not in some, where attention and praise were merited. Be it as it may, I
was well pleased that he stopped before mine--and all the more so, that
I did not form a part of his Excellency's suite. In fact I have been
always very slow in putting myself forward with Ministers of Public
Works, and I don't know to what saint I owe this feeling of respect for
the Ministry. With certain members I have had frank cordial relations,
before they became Excellencies; afterwards, when once they were in the
Ministry, as if by a sort of magic they became for me such respectable
personages that I retired into myself, and kept most willingly to my own
place. Then those poor gentlemen have so much to do that, without a
doubt, if you wanted to see them, you would be told that they could not
receive you. So the fact of it is, that I have so much respect for
them, and just so much for myself, as not to be willing to annoy them,
and there is not a Minister of Public Works who can say, "This fellow
has bored me about this or that thing." True it is, that by the grace of
God I have never felt the necessity of doing so. Once only, and that not
on my own account, but from a sentiment of dignity and justice,
negotiations were entered into with the Ministers Natoli, Correnti, and
Bonghi, as to the completion of a base for my Tazza, which I mentioned
some time back; and as it just fits in here, I shall now bring this
story to a close. The subject is a delicate, and for me a trying one,
but I shall discuss it with calmness, and in as few short words as truth
and reason can be clothed.


[Sidenote: I LEAVE LONDON.]

The base of the Tazza that I had modelled was either to be cast in
bronze or cut in marble, and the last was decided on. Whilst they were
looking for a pure piece of close-grained marble, the revolution took
place, and the Grand Duke left. My model had already been paid for, and
I hoped that the present Government, sooner or later, would have
confirmed the commission; but I hoped in vain. After several years had
passed, I asked my friend Commendatore Gotti, Director of the Royal
Galleries, to make known my claim to the Ministry, which was done; but I
obtained nothing. Later, Professor Dall'Ongaro spoke about it to
Correnti, the Minister, and also obtained nothing. At last Commendatore
D'Ancona was most pressing in speaking to Bonghi the Minister, and Betti
the Secretary; but then came the fall of the Minister with his Cabinet,
and I was really tired out by the whole thing, with its long, wearisome,
and useless negotiations. I must add, that as the model had already been
paid for, the expense for executing it was all that was required; and yet,
notwithstanding all these recommendations, this little sum was not
granted, and I was not given a hearing. And here it is to the purpose to
remind the Ministers of our Government that I for more than fifteen
years have occupied the gratuitous post of Master of Finishing; and as
in the statute creating this office it is declared that the Royal
Government is not wanting in funds to pay the professors who shall have
done the most for the good of their young pupils, it is to the purpose,
I repeat, to remind them of the office that I have filled, and to
declare to them that the pupils I have taught are now for the most part
young living artists--some of them already professors, _cavalieri_, and
masters in the schools--and that meanwhile I not only have not obtained
a recompense, but even my demand, which to my belief was but a matter of
pure justice, was not even listened to. But enough of this. I return to
London, or rather let me say I leave it, as my work was finished and in
place, only waiting for the judges. I therefore packed my trunk, paid my
landlord, said good-bye to my friends, and got into the train, thinking
of that blessed Channel where I had suffered so much in crossing.



My stay in London had been rather a long one, but it was necessary for
the restorations (and what restorations!) of my work, and also to see
the wonders of art collected by that powerful nation, by force of will,
money, and time. I stayed there about two months; and notwithstanding
the many and novel distractions which that vast city offered, and the
good health I enjoyed at that time under a climate so different from
ours, I felt every day more and more keenly the ardent desire to see my
family, so that when I arrived in Paris I delayed very little. The
letters which I received from home breathed the same affectionate
longing that I felt myself; and the gay, thoughtless life of Paris,
instead of attracting me, disgusted me. My daughters by their mother's
side in our little parlour were always present to me; and knowing their
dispositions, and the loving wisdom of the mother, I felt that tender,
holy joy which is difficult to describe, but such as a loving and
beloved father feels for his dear ones. I had lost two years ago my poor
father from cholera. The poor old man had at first resisted the fury of
that tremendous disease. He lived at the Carra, beyond Porta al Prato.
All around death reaped its victims,--young and old, poor and rich; it
spared no one. Almost every evening, at dusk, I went to him to assure
myself of his health. One evening I found him unwell and in bed; but he
had no fever, and his servant-maid, a good girl, served him with
affectionate zeal. I left him quiet. On going away I urged her to be
attentive to my father through fear of the epidemic then raging. The
girl assured me that I need not doubt of her being so, and that I
might be tranquil. The next evening I went back to see him: he
was still in bed, and was better; but he told me that he stayed
there as a precaution, and that he was to get up the following
day, having the physician's permission to do so. The door had been
opened for me by a little boy, to whom he gave lessons in drawing and
ornamentation--Gabriello Maranghi--who to-day is one of our ornamental


"Oh, Rosa," I said to my father; "where is she?"

"Rosa, poor thing, died this morning. She came back from marketing, put
down her things, went into her room, and I have not seen her since. They
carried her away a short time ago!"--and the poor old man was much

This sudden news of a death so instantaneous upset me and frightened me
for my poor father. It was the same whether he stayed there or was
carried elsewhere, for in every district they died in the same way. I
went away sad at heart. The next day he got up, and was pretty well,
even gay--in fact, for several days continued well, and went on with
his work as usual. One morning--it was Sunday--my wife, who had got up
before me, came into the bedroom, waked me up, and said--


"Nanni, get up; father is ill."

I looked in my wife's face, and read there the nature and gravity of my
poor father's illness. I ran to him; he recognised me, and said--

"My good Giannino, you have done well to come quickly to your father; I
am so glad to see you before I die."

He lived all day, but had spasms of pain and wandered in mind. Then he
died, and his face became serene, as if he were sleeping peacefully.
Whoever has lost a father knows the kind of grief it is!

As I have said, I stayed but a few days in Paris. I saw, on the wing as
it were, and without being able to study them, the monuments of art in
which that great capital is rich. I repeat, I felt an irresistible
desire to return home. Of the artists, I saw only Gendron, whom I had
known in Florence; Anieni, a Roman; and Prince Joseph Poniatowsky, then
in his prime. What was most to my taste was to ride up and down the
streets of Paris in an omnibus to get an idea of the movement and
grandeur of that city; but an incident occurred to me that prevented my
having that desire any longer, and I should have put an end to this
going up and down even if I had not already determined upon my
departure. This was what happened. I had just come from a walk in the
Champs Elysées, when I saw the omnibus which goes from the Barrière du
Trône to the Madeleine standing still. I said to myself: "Very good; I
will get in here, go through all the Boulevards as far as the Barrière,
and without even descending, turn about again, and when I get back to
the Rue du Helder (where I lodged), I will get out and go home." The
omnibus started, drove through all the Boulevards des Italiens, des
Capucines, Poissonnière, &c., and arrived at the Barrière. The
passengers got out, the omnibus stopped, and the conductor said to me--


"_Monsieur, descendez, s'il vous plait._"

I answered, "_Je ne descends pas moi._"

"_Pourquoi donc?_"

"_Parce que je retourne sur mon chemin._"

The ill-concealed laughter made me aware of my mistake, and the
conductor, with good manners, gave me to understand that the drive ended
there, and on account of the lateness of the hour there was no return
trip. I got out, and was at least four miles from home. To find a
carriage, I was obliged to take a long walk towards the centre of Paris,
and finally found one, and had myself conveyed home, muttering against
my own stupidity. The next day, without turning either to the right or
to the left, I returned to Italy,--to dear, beautiful Florence; to the
bosom of my family; to my studies; to my works; to my good pupils; to my
faithful workmen; and to my dear friends. Fortune had favoured me in
London: my work had gained one of the first prizes in the competition.
Another prize was obtained also by Professor Cambi.

I had scarcely got back from London when Count Ferrari Corbelli ordered
from me the monument for his wife, the Countess Berta, whom he had lost
a few days before. This work, which he wished to see finished as soon as
possible, was the cause of my abandoning the group of the "Deluge,"
which I had already sketched, as I have before stated. The monument was
composed of a base, on which was placed the urn containing the body of
the deceased. Modesty and Charity, the principal virtues of the
departed Countess, stand leaning on the angles of the sarcophagus, and
above these the Angel of the Resurrection points the way to heaven for
the soul of the Countess, snatched from the love of her husband and
children. The monument stands under an arch, on which are three _putti_
who hold up some folds as if they were opening the curtain of heaven.
The background is encrusted with lapis-lazuli. This monument is placed
in the Church of San Lorenzo, in the chapel next to the sacristy. My
friend Augusto Conti liked the conception of this monument, but objected
to the nudity of the child of Charity. I have a sincere respect for his
criticism, as I respect also the one he made on the monument to Cavour.
He is a profound and conscientious critic of art; and besides this, he
has had, and has, for me and my family, a truly fraternal love, and I
remember with emotion the part which he took during the illness and
death of my daughter and my wife.


Contemporaneously with this work I modelled a "Sappho," and put it at
once into marble, by order of Signor Angiolo Gatti, a dealer in statues;
but it happened that when he should have received the statue he had no
funds, and so I sent it to our Italian Exhibition. The Government, which
had set apart a sum of money for the acquisition of the best works of
art, decided not to take my statue, so I have it by me now. It seems to
me (I confess the weakness) as if I had been wronged, so to speak, and
as if my poor "Sappho" resented this wrong from the new Phaons: so I
have wished to keep my faith with her, since the desertion of her lover
had caused her death; and although I have several times had offers not
to be despised, yet I have never been willing to sell her. Who can tell
where this poor "Sappho" will be, and how situated, after my death?


At this same time--that is, in 1857--I made the model of the "Tired
Bacchante"; and the idea of this figure was suggested to me by a little
model who was brought to me by her mother, and who had never before been
seen naked by any one. The freshness of this young girl, her unspoiled
figure, the delicate beauty, somewhat sensual, of her face, suggested as
a subject the "Tired Dancer," which afterwards was converted to a
"Bacchante"; and as some time before I had made a little statue,
representing Gratitude, for the Signora Maria Nerli of Siena, the
general lines of that statuette served me as a sketch for this. But were
I to say that it was only the beauty of the model, the subject suggested
so spontaneously to me, and the composition already made, that persuaded
me to keep the girl and make the statue, I should not be telling the
exact truth. The mother of this girl was one of those women who not only
throw aside all a mother's duty and responsibility, but despising all
decency, show that they are capable of worse things. I tried at first to
dissuade her from taking the young girl about to studios, and so forcing
her to lose all that a maiden has most precious--modesty; nor was I
silent about the perils that she was exposing her to. But my words were
thrown away, for she smiled at them as if they were childish: so I kept
the young girl and made the statue. I can assure you that she was a good
young creature, and when I had finished the model I dismissed her with
paternal words. I saw her many years after, so changed and sad, that one
could hardly recognise her. She told me her sad story,--a name was on
her lips, but a daughter's love made her conceal it. I repeat, she was
good, and suffered, but not by any fault of hers. I have never seen her
again: perhaps she is dead--the only good thing that can befall any of
those unhappy creatures.

[Sidenote: THE NUDE MODEL.]

To some it may seem as if I have been rather tedious about this poor
Traviata; but most people, I hope, have found my indignation reasonable,
for the condition of such a girl as this is most sad and
humiliating,--forced by her mother, who ought to be the jealous guardian
of the modesty and innocence of her child, to strip herself naked before
a man. Even though her mother remain there present, it is always a hard
thing, and most disagreeable to a young woman jealous of her good name,
and dreading the looks and thoughts of the man there before her. It is
not even impossible that it may be thought I have studiously and
affectedly deplored such cases as these, as if I wished to show myself
better than I am. I have no answer to give to any one who thinks thus,
for in these papers he will find nothing to justify such an opinion. I
only desire to remind the profane in art, that when we have a model
before us, our mind and all our strength is so absorbed in our work, and
the difficulties are so great in taking from nature just so much as is
required for the character, expression, and form of our subject, that
nothing else affects us. He who does not credit this is not an artist,
and does not feel art.

I see a little smile of incredulity, almost of triumph, come over the
face of my unbelieving reader, and the old story, so often sung and
perhaps exaggerated, of Raphael and the Fornarina placed before me, to
belie my words. This case of Raphael and the Fornarina was a unique one,
and quite different from the ordinary relations that exist between the
artist and his models. A model is for us like an instrument or a tool,
necessary for our work. If good and beautiful, we prize her and respect
her as we would a good tool; if neither beautiful nor good, we bid her
be off. The Fornarina was beautiful, and perhaps she may have been even
good; but unfortunately she was of a sanguine temperament, imaginative,
and ardent, as she appears from the portraits Raphael has left of her.
The graceful nature, the delicate figure of the young artist, and the
prestige of his fame, roused the love and ambition of the beautiful

    "Amor che a nullo amato amar perdona,"[10]

    "Love, that exempts no one beloved from loving,"

seized hold of that angel and smothered him in its embrace. What has
this most fatal story to do with our usual artistic life? To-day there
are no more Fornarinas, and, above all, there are no Raphaels; and if by
chance an artist falls in love with his model, why, he marries her, and
there is an end of it. In conclusion, a good and beautiful model that
willingly and honestly (I use this word for want of a better) does her
business, I like and employ; but a simple, good-natured, ignorant young
girl forced to this shame by her own mother, irritates me and makes me

 [10] Dante, Inferno, canto v.


At this time they were making the façade of the Church of Santa Croce,
with the most valuable aid of Cavaliere Sloane, to whom we are chiefly
indebted that it was possible to complete this work. In the design of
the façade there were bas-reliefs in the arches over the three doors:
over the middle door the "Triumph of the Cross"; over that of the right
nave the "Vision of Constantine"; and over the other, on the left, the
"Refinding of the Cross." I had already made for the façade the
Madonna, who stands high up over the _cuspide_ of the middle door; and
because the subject was dear to me, as also the idea which it should
convey, I was content with a price which would barely cover the cost of
making it, without counting my work on the model. But these three
bas-reliefs were much more arduous work; and as I could not make them at
the same rate as I had made the Madonna, I refused. Cavaliere Sloane,
however, who much desired that these bas-reliefs should be made, came to
me and begged me to accept them. As to the price, he assured me that we
should agree, and that he would himself pay it, because he wished that
the façade should be made by me. I took time to reply, and reflecting
that the three bas-reliefs would take much more time than I had to
dispose of, and desiring to help my two clever and affectionate pupils,
I proposed to Cavaliere Sloane to divide this labour into three parts.
The larger bas-relief, that over the central door, I would make; the
other two, over the lateral doors, should be made, one by Sarrocchi of
Siena, and the other by Emilio Zocchi of Florence. Sloane was satisfied
with my proposition, but with the understanding that I should be
answerable for the excellence of these works, and while I should leave
these artists freedom in their conceptions, I should direct them in such
conceptions as well as in the execution. This I formally promised to do,
and the work was decided upon.


These bas-reliefs, which I relinquished to my scholars, recall to my
mind other works also given up to scholars, but not mine. Among these is
Professor Costa of Florence. In the beginning of my artistic career,
when I was making the "Cain" and "Abel," "Giotto," and "Pius II.," I had
also a commission to make a statue representing Summer, for one of the
four seasons which ornament the palace once called Batelli. This
commission, though a poor one, I should have executed, because I had
engaged to do so, and poor Batelli had urged it in a friendly way; but
Pietro Costa, then very young, studious, and needy, begged it of me, and
I, with the consent of the person who had given the commission, gave it
up to him, and it was a great success.


Now that I am speaking of my scholars, it is but just that I should
mention my daughter Amalia. She used at that time to come and see me in
my studio with her mother and sisters; and while the little Beppina and
Gigina stayed out in the little square playing together and gathering
flowers, Amalia remained in my studio silently watching me at work. When
her mother was getting ready to take her home, she was so unwilling to
tear herself away from gazing at my work, that I asked her one day--

"Would you like to do this work?"

"Yes, papa," the child quickly replied.

"Well, then," I said, "stay with me."

Then I turned to my wife and said, "Leave Amalia with me for company;
she can return home with me." I arranged a slate on a little easel in
form of a reading-desk for her, prepared some bits of clay, and showed
her how to spread the clay to a certain thickness on the slate as a
foundation; then I placed before her a small figure of one of the
bas-reliefs from the doors of San Giovanni, by Andrea Pisano, and I said
to her,--"With this little pointed stick you must draw in the figure,
then you must put on clay to get the relief; but first I must see if
your drawing is like the original. Only the outline is necessary, and
this line should only reproduce the movement and proportion of the
little figure you have before you. Do you understand?" The child
understood so well, that, at the first trial, she traced all the outline
of the figure correctly. It must, however, be remembered that Amalia and
her sisters had taken lessons in drawing from me, and had always kept
them up.


From that day to this Amalia has never left the studio, and art has
become so dear a thing to her that she can now no longer do without it.
Her works are well known. Besides portraits, of which she has many, the
greater number of them in marble, she has modelled and executed in
marble various statues and bas-reliefs. The statues are: the "Child
Giotto," Dante's "Matelda," "St Peter in Chains," the Monument of the
Signora Adele Stracchi, and that of our dearest Luisina--statues all
life-size, and except the "Matelda" and "St Peter," all cut in marble;
also two small statues, a "St John," and an Angel throwing water, for
the baptismal font in a rich chapel of one of Marchese Nerli's villas;
also a little Angel, still in plaster, and a group of the Madonna and
Child with a lamb, for the Church of Badia in Florence. The bas-reliefs
are: the Madonna, accompanied by an angel, taking to her arms the
youthful soul of the daughter of the Duchess Ravaschieri of Naples. For
Arezzo: the Sisters of Charity conducting the asylum children to the
tomb of Cavaliere Aleotti, in act of prayer and gratitude; eight saints
in bas-relief for the pulpit of the Cathedral of San Miniato; four
bas-reliefs for monuments in that same cathedral to the following
persons--"Religion" for Bishop Poggi, "History" for Bernardo Buonaparte,
"Physics" for Professor Taddei, and "Poesy" for the poet Bagnoli; a
font, with a small statue of Sant'Eduvige, for the Countess Talon of
Paris; a bas-relief for the lunette over the door of my new studio at
Pinti; a little bronze copy of the "Pietà"; a copy of the "Justice,"
also in bronze; a statuette of St Joseph, and a statue of St Catherine
of Siena, in _terra cotta_, for the chapel of a pious refuge for poor
children at Siena; a little group in marble of the _Virtù teologali_ for
Signor Raffaello Agostini of Florence; and a large statue, life-size, of
the Madonna Addolorata, in _terra cotta_, for the Church of St Emidio at
Agnone. All these works, you understand, were done by her as a pleasant
way of exercising herself in her art, gratuitously, as is most natural;
but it did not so appear to the tax-agent, who, however, was obliged to
correct himself by cancelling her name from the roll of taxpayers, where
it had been put. Poor Amalia, working from pure love of art, doing good
by giving your work away, and often the worse for it in your pocket; and
then to behold yourself taxed in the exercise and sale of your work! A
pretty thing indeed!


As I am now on a subject that attracts me, I cannot tear myself from it
in such a hurry. It is not permitted me to speak of the artistic merit
of my daughter. My opinion would be a prejudiced one, both as father and
as master, and therefore I have restricted myself only to note down the
works that she has done so far; but I cannot refrain from making known
the internal satisfaction I feel in seeing my teaching productive of
such good fruit. It fell on ground so well prepared that it sprouted out
abundantly and spontaneously. The consolation a master feels when he
sees his pupil understand and almost divine his thought, is very great;
and when this pupil is his own daughter, one may imagine how much the
greater it is. And when I think of her modest nature, shrinking from
praise, desirous of good, tender and compassionate with the poor in
their sorrow, grieving as I do for the many irreparable family
misfortunes, I still thank the Lord that He has let me keep this angel,
and also my other daughter Beppina, who is not less loving to us and to
her husband, by whom her love is returned in a Christian spirit. She
also is endowed by nature with sentiment for art, and her drawings and
certain little models in clay are the indications of wide-awake, ready
aptitude. I treasure a bust of Dante that she modelled, and that was cut
in marble, and deplore that the new life she has entered upon, and
perhaps a delicate feeling of consideration for her sister, have made
her desist from the continuation of a career well begun. Now she is a
mother; and the duties of a mother are so noble and so arduous as to
repress any other tendencies even more natural to her and more



Now let us return to the façade of Santa Croce. I ordered the "Refinding
of the Cross" from Sarrocchi, and the "Vision of Constantine" from
Zocchi; and both Zocchi and Sarrocchi set themselves at once to work.
Here is the explanation of the conception of my bas-relief: It seemed to
me that the "Triumph or Exaltation of the Cross" ought to be explained
by means of persons or personifications that the Cross, with its divine
love, had won or conquered. The sign of the Cross stands on high
resplendent with light, and around it are angels in the act of
adoration. Under the Cross, and in the centre of the bas-relief on the
summit of a mountain, there is an angel in the act of prayer, expressive
of the attraction of the human soul towards Divinity. By means of prayer
descends the grace that warms and illuminates the intellect and
affections of man. The affections and intellect, divided from the Cross,
again return to the Cross, and are expressed by the following figures
that stand below: A liberated slave, half seated, half reclining, with
his face and eyes turned upward, expressive of gratitude for his
liberation,--for from the Cross descended and spread over all the earth
that divine word of human brotherhood; and near the slave a savage on
his knees, leaning on his club; the stupidity and fierceness of whose
look are subdued and illuminated by the splendour of the Cross. These
two impersonations are in the centre below, leaving the space to the
right and left for the following personages: On the right of the person
looking at the bas-relief is Constantine unsheathing his sword when he
beheld the sign and heard the words, "_In hoc signo vinces_"; near
Constantine is the Countess Matilda, whose pious attitude revealed her
strong love for the Church of Christ, and enabled it to put up a barrier
against foreign arrogance, and to defend the liberty of the Italian
Communes; behind her, nearly hidden, owing to her holy timidity, the
Magdalen, to indicate that the ardours of lust were conquered by the
fire of divine love. On his knees, bent to the ground, with his face in
his hands, is St Paul the elect, who from an enemy had become the
strenuous defender of the Gospel and apostle of the Gentiles. St Thomas,
with one knee on the ground, a book in his hand, in a modest pensive
attitude, recalls the words of Jesus, who said, "_Bene scriptisti de me,
Thoma._" A little in the background, near Constantine, is the Emperor
Heraclius, dressed in sad raiment, commemorative of the wars against the
Christians; and a Roman soldier bearing the standard inscribed with
"S.P.Q.R." closes the composition on this part of the bas-relief. On the
left side the principal figure is Charlemagne; an unsheathed sword is in
one hand, and in the other a globe with a cross, emblems of his vast
dominions and his mission of propagating the true faith; he also
represents the greatest material power conquered for the glory of the
Cross. Dante is near him--the greatest Christian intellectual
power--and he holds in his hand the three 'Canticles,' called by him
'Poema Sacro.' Near Dante the poor monk of Assisi, with his hands
pressed to his breast, looking lovingly and with fixed attention at the
Cross. In these three figures are represented the dominator of the
world, the dominator of the spirit, and the dominator of poverty and
humility attracted by love of the Cross. To complete this group you see
St Augustine in his episcopal robes, holding in his hand a volume of
'The City of God'; and behind them a martyr with a palm, as pendant to
the Roman soldier on the opposite side.


Such is the composition of the "Triumph of the Cross," which is above
the middle door of that temple where the ashes of Michael Angelo and
Galileo rest, and where it has been my desire for so many years that a
memorial monument to Leonardo da Vinci should be placed. And, vain
though it be, I shall always call for it louder and louder, the more
that I see the mediocrity that a want of taste continues to erect there.

As it is not permissible for me to speak of the praise I had for this
work, I will not pass over in silence a criticism that was made to me
about my having selected the Countess Matilda to put into my
composition. It was objected that the Countess Matilda served the Pope,
served the Church of Rome, but did not do homage especially to the
Cross. I have given the reason of her serving the Pope. I have already
given a few words in explanation of that personage; and as for the
distinction that there is between the Church of Christ and Christ
Himself, I must frankly say that I do not understand it. Let not the
reader believe, however, that I am one of those Christians desirous of
being more Christian than the Pope himself, and excessively intolerant
and passionate. No; [Sidenote: PIUS IX. IN FLORENCE.]

I am with the teaching of the apostles, and that seems to me enough, for
it includes all, even comprising the beautiful exhortation of Father
Dante, when he says--

    "Avete il vecchio e il nuovo Testamento,
    E il pastor della Chiesa che vi guida,"[11] &c.

    "Ye have the Old and the New Testament,
    And the pastor of the Church who guideth you."

 [11] Dante, Paradiso, canto 5.

In fact--not now, but soon--I will let you know, and touch with your
hand, so to speak, the fact that I am not in the good graces of some of
those people who depicted me to the eyes of the Holy Father after the
manner of a bad _barocco_ painter--falsifying proportions, character,
and expression. But, as I have said, I will return to this later on; and
meanwhile, I must say that the Holy Father did not know me at all, as
the only time that I had the honour of bending before him and kissing
his foot he took me for another person. And it occurred when the Pontiff
Pius IX. passed through Florence after his tour through the Romagna. The
Grand Duke did all the honours of Florence to him. During the few days
that he remained in Florence the Grand Duke accompanied him wherever he
thought it would give him pleasure to go, and, amongst other places, he
took him to visit the manufactory of _pietre dure_, and the Academy of
Fine Arts; and on this occasion our president invited the College of
Professors to be present, that we might see the Holy Father near, and
perform an act of reverence to the Supreme Hierarch. The Pope was seated
on an elevated place like a throne; on his left was the Grand Duke; the
Ministers, dignitaries, and our president were standing near him. We
were called, one by one, and presented by our president, Marchese Luca
Bourbon del Monte, to the Holy Father; and those who were presented
prostrated themselves before him, kissed his foot, and then returned to
their places. When it came to my turn, the Grand Duke turned to the Pope
and said--


"Here, Blessed Father, is the artist who made the "Cain" and "Abel" that
your Holiness seemed well satisfied with."

And the Holy Father, turning to me, answered--

"I congratulate you. They are two most beautiful statues. You have
nothing to envy in the Berlin or Munich casting."

"Most Blessed Father," I hastened to reply, "I am not the caster of
those statues, but----"

"Go," continued the Holy Father--"go, and may God bless you;" and making
one of those great crosses in the air that Pius IX. knew so well how to
make, he sent me away in peace, in the midst of the silent but visible
hilarity of all those who had witnessed my embarrassment. It is more
than probable that the Grand Duke rectified the mistake incurred by his
Holiness; and I should regret if I had remained in his mind as the
caster, when that merit belonged personally and legitimately to
Professor Clemente Papi. But if it is easy to imagine that that mistake
was then cleared up, it is difficult to say the same of the one at the
present day, because it is harder to rectify. I heed very little the
censure of certain extreme Catholics, believing that I share it with
many whom I should wish to resemble in every respect: but the censure of
the Pope was indeed painful to me; and I managed in such a way, by
showing myself just as I am, that I obtained his goodwill. But of this,
as I have already said, I will speak further on, and now I return to my


The reader may have observed that I have made no mention of portraits,
although I have made many. As, however, amongst these portraits there is
one that made some noise, and as the things that were said, being
magnified by passion and by the inexact information of the person who
spread these reports, might lead those who are in the dark to form a
wrong impression, I have thought best to narrate the facts as they were.

One day a gentleman asked to speak to me. He was a man of about sixty,
tall, thin, with deep-set, changeable, and vivacious eyes, thick-marked
eyebrows, long moustaches, lofty bearing, and with such a singular and
expressive face, that when an artist sees it, he is at once possessed
with a desire to make it a study. This gentleman said--

"Would you make my portrait?"

I answered, "Yes."

"How many sittings do you require to make the model?"

"Six or eight, or more, according to the length of the sittings."

"When could you begin?"

"The first days of next week."

"Very well: Monday I will be with you. At what hour?"

"At nine in the morning, if not inconvenient to you."

"Good-bye, then, until Monday. Do you know who I am?"

"I have not the honour."

"I am Marshal Haynau." And he went away.



Now, to say that, after having heard the name, I had pleasure in making
his portrait, would be a falsehood; and yet the singularity of that
face, the curiosity I had to become acquainted through conversation with
a man of such haughtiness and fierceness of character, the engagement I
had entered into, and my pledged word, all took from me the courage to
renounce the work. It is useless to say how all my friends, and
naturally even more, those who were no friends of mine, declaimed
against me. The newspapers were full of attacks, the story of the
brewery in London, with all its details, was told, magnified and
praised; in fact, to tell the truth, it was in the days when I was
taking his portrait, and then alone, that I was made acquainted with the
fierce nature of this great person, as my only idea of him until then
had been a very indistinct and sketchy one. The beauty of it is, that in
the conversation he held with me he showed himself a quiet man, opposed
to all cruelty, although a severe military disciplinarian, and
inexorable in punishing refractory soldiers. He made no mystery of this,
and he named to me the Hungarian generals and officers that he had had
shot, as the most natural thing in the world; and because I blamed him
for this, he answered: With rebels one could not do otherwise, and that
he would have become guilty himself had he not punished them. But I, who
had read of his cruelty to women, children--to all, in fact--censured
him for this, and he denied it in a most decided manner, adding a story
which, if true, I don't know what to say. Here is the anecdote: When he
had gained the victory at Pesth, and had all the heads of the revolution
in his hands, they were all condemned to death by a council of war.
Amongst these were the Archbishop of Pesth and a Count Karoli. He had
the _alter ego_ in his hands, and in consequence his orders had no need
of the Imperial sanction; but both the Archbishop and Count Karoli had
powerful friends and adherents at Vienna, and these did so much, and
exerted themselves to such a degree, that, an hour before the execution
of the sentence, the Imperial reprieve arrived. As he, however, thought
both of these men more guilty than the others, owing to their high
position, and as it seemed to him unjust that they should be saved and
the others sacrificed, he called them all into his presence, and after
having informed the two fortunate ones of the Imperial pardon, he added
these words: "It is my conviction, in virtue of the proofs which I have
in my hands, and which have been examined by the council of war, that
the Archbishop and Count Karoli are the most guilty of any of you; but
as our most gracious sovereign has saved them from the penalty that they
deserved, it is not just that those who are less guilty should suffer
from it; therefore, availing myself of the power I have of _alter ego_,
I spare the life of all." I can attest the truth of this story, not only
in its general sense, but even to its wording. The truth of the story, I
say, for as to the facts I know nothing. And I have made a note of it;
for if by chance it was not true, to the stain of cruelty one can add
that of having told a lie to appear merciful. The fact was that he
discussed all his affairs with facile prolixity. He spoke of art and the
artists that he had known at Milan, Venice, and Bologna, in the days of
our servitude to Austria, and through all his stories there was always
something or other of the bombastic. He urged me to make his statue, but
I decidedly refused to do so. He spoke to me about it several times, and
at last I was obliged to speak openly to him, and he thought my reasons
just ones. Then he manifested to me his wish to have his portrait
painted on horseback, and asked me if I knew a clever artist with a name
that would undertake the work. This question embarrassed me, being
myself already compromised. I took some time to think about it, and fate
was propitious, and gave me a companion with whom to bear the censure
and abuse that only too certainly rained down upon us.


Early the next morning Professor Bezzuoli came to my studio, and
said--"Let me see the portrait of Marshal Haynau."

"Certainly; here it is."

"Do you know," says Bezzuoli to me, "that yesterday I had to take up
your defence? There were certain chatterboxes, that don't know even how
to draw an eye, who, talking of you on account of the portrait you are
making, said you ought never to have accepted it, and that they could
never have abased themselves to do so. I answered that an artist when he
makes a portrait is not occupied with politics. If the person whose
portrait is taken is a scamp, he will always be a scamp, with or without
his portrait, precisely like Nero, Tiberius, or other such beasts, of
whom such beautiful portraits have been taken, that it is a pleasure to
see them; but it never comes into the mind of anybody for an instant to
say, Look what a _canaille_ the artist must have been who made this
portrait! So true does this seem to me, that if Haynau had come to me
and given me an order to paint his portrait, I would have accepted his
commission most willingly."

"Ah, very well!" thought I to myself, "I shall no longer be alone;" then
I said to Bezzuoli,--"Thank you for the part you have taken in my
defence. I still think if my colleagues only had an idea how I have been
taken by surprise when I engaged to do this work, and how the
originality of the head excited a desire in me, and if they felt how
imperious the impulse born of that little capricious demon Art is--they
would, I think, be more indulgent with me; and not only indulgent, but
they would even praise me when they knew that I had refused to make a
statue of Haynau for himself. And _àpropos_ of this statue, which I
shall not make, I will tell you about it presently; but first permit me
to ask a question. I understood you to say that if this gentleman had
gone to you and asked you to paint his portrait, you would have accepted
the commission--did I understand right?"


"You understood perfectly."

"I then add that he will come. He wants a full-sized portrait of himself
on horseback. A large picture, an attack in battle, or something of that
kind; and later, after mid-day, he will go to you for this purpose.
Should you like it?"

"I should like it very much; but how can you speak to me with so much
assurance about this?"

Then I told him what the reader already knows. That morning the Marshal
went with a note from me to Professor Bezzuoli. In a few words all was
arranged; the picture was finished in a short time, and had a great deal
of deserved praise as far as work went, and bitter censure for the rest,
which he divided and bore in company with me--with less resignation,
however, than could have been desired from so old an artist who had
thought over and discussed the importance of the engagement he had
taken. This was the character of Bezzuoli, who preserved even as an old
man all the vivacity and impetuosity of open, gay-hearted youth; but at
the same time, he was mistrustful and touchy in the extreme. When I
remember him, full of vivacity and _bonhomie_, the friend of young men,
with his frank, open-hearted, sincere advice, and at the same time full
of sensitiveness about the merest nothings, and with childish and
ridiculous ambitions, such as not to be willing to be beaten at
billiards, it makes me smile to think of the weakness of our poor human
nature. He liked to invite a certain number of friends every Sunday to
his villa near Fiesole, and after dinner to play at billiards. He who
was unfortunate enough to beat Bezzuoli, was sure to find him cold and
set against him for some time; and those who knew this, either for
pastime and amusement, or for fear and interestedness, bravely lost, and
the poor professor was full of joy, more even than if he had found some
new striking effect in art.


Here ends the anecdote of that famous portrait. Further on I will speak
of others that I had the order for and could not make, and why I could
not make them.



But if some of my very dear colleagues set themselves against me on
account of the great Haynau portrait, not knowing that I had refused to
make his statue, others were alienated from me, I do not know for what
reason. I will speak of one of them, to show how a most respectable
artist and colleague of mine, having been led into error, chose
strenuously to abide by it, and thus broke up a relation that one might
call friendship; for esteem is the first bond that draws one together
and creates love, and I esteemed this colleague of mine, and pitied him
for the error into which he had fallen.

When Augusto Rivalta came from the school at Genoa (his birthplace) to
complete his studies in sculpture in Florence, his masters, and he
himself, had great faith in my school, and I was, with him as with all
my scholars, an open and free expounder of those principles that I
believe to be good, and to lead directly towards the beautiful, under
the guidance of truth. Rivalta was always confiding and studious with
me; and as by nature he is endowed with no common genius, he is to-day
a professor and active master at our Academy of Fine Arts. Now it
happened one day, during the early days that he was under my direction,
that I saw hanging on his studio walls a bas-relief of a Madonna by that
above-mentioned colleague of mine, and the head of Bartolini's "Fiducia
in Dio." I thought it wise to warn my pupil of the error into which too
often even tried artists have fallen, which is that of looking at and
reproducing in their own works reminiscences of such originals hanging
in their studios to attract poor artists. Therefore that morning my
lesson consisted of the following words:--


"When the idea comes to you to make a statue, it forms itself naturally
in your mind, and takes a movement and character all its own, be it ever
so undecided and vague, as an idea always is, until it has been fixed
materially into shape; but the idea is there (for him who has it), and
is original. Then begins attentive study, and sometimes a long research
to be able to find a live model who approaches nearest the idea that you
have formed to yourself, and that you have already in your mind in
embryo, or have indicated in your sketch. From the moment, however, that
you have found the model or models, you must remain alone with them and
your idea; no extraneous images must come between you and your work. I
am afraid that those casts there facing me, will in some way take from
the originality of the character and expression that you wish to give to
your statue, and you will do well not to look at them. Let us
understand, however, that I say not to look at them whilst you are at
work on your statue: afterwards you may look at them and study them as
much as you wish."

Rivalta assured me that he did not look at them, for he understood very
well, that instead of being of help to him they would have confused
him, and that he found himself more free and unhampered when trusting
himself only to working from the live model. Having established this
most essential point in art, I left him, well pleased with both myself
and him. But in the meantime, this obvious, clear, and easy lesson of
mine created at first an angry feeling, and afterwards a rupture,
between me and my colleague, the author of the bas-relief; and this
happened because a youth in Rivalta's studio reported that I had said to
my scholar, "Do not look at those casts, for they are rubbish." I heard
this from Professor de Fabris, to whom our friend made a clean breast of
it. It was not enough for him that this friend of ours took up my
defence, saying that he knew me thoroughly well, and that I was
incapable of saying such things, adding, that he ought himself to know
well enough that I was averse to giving offence to any one, and so might
feel sure there was some misunderstanding. But all this was useless, so
that our friend De Fabris, for the sake of peace, thought best to speak
to me of it. It can be imagined how astonished and how pained I was. I
at once told him how the matter really stood, and begged that he would
assure the professor of my affection and esteem for him as a friend and
as an artist. It was all in vain, and he insisted in believing in a boy
who had listened badly and reported still worse, rather than in me, or
even Rivalta's testimony that I offered to bring forward.


I should not have mentioned this small matter had it not been to explain
the sort of sensitiveness and obstinacy that one observes generally in
the artist class, and most specially amongst us sculptors, although, to
speak the truth, those defects showed themselves oftener, and to a
greater degree, amongst artists of the past, or who are now old. The
young men of to-day are more frank, more tolerant, and more friendly
amongst each other, and sometimes they even go to the excess of these
virtues by being frank even unto insolence, tolerant even to scepticism,
and careless, thoughtless, frivolous, and even worse, in their
friendship. Who ignores the little bursts of temper and cutting words
bandied between Pampaloni and Bartolini, between Benvenuti and
Sabatelli, and between Bezzuoli and Gazzarrini? I shall not write a
record of them, out of respect for their names, and for Death, who,
under his broad mantle, has enshrouded them in solemn silence. Sleep in
peace, pilgrim souls,--within a short time even we shall join you; and
when we are awakened at the _dies iræ_, we shall smile at our little
outbursts of temper in this most foolish life, and become for ever
really brothers. We shall be happy if we have nothing besides the
remembrance of these little sins, already forgiven us by God, if we have
forgiven others! If by chance there be any one who thinks that I have
offended him by excess of vivacity of temperament or otherwise, even
though it be involuntary, as might happen easily, I beg his pardon.


This little war of words, sarcasms, and what is worse, reticences, I
have always deplored; and to succeed in being less tiresome to my
colleagues, and for want of occasion to induce them to temperance, I
have always kept myself aloof, and have spoken of them as I could wish
them to speak of me. To be just, however, I must declare that I have
seldom been (openly, I mean) exposed to the sting of their words; and
if, as it happened, I was once attacked with certain insistence in the
newspapers on the occasion when my three scholars, Pazzi, Sarrocchi, and
Majoli, exhibited their works in the Academy, my friend Luigi Mussini,
who handles the pen in the same masterly way as he does the brush,
reduced to silence with one single article the poor writer who had been
put up to say evil of the works of my scholars in order to do injury to
the master. These injurious words have been forgotten and amply
pardoned, but the beautiful and generous defence of my friend I have
never forgotten. I repeat, however, that these little annoyances are
much less nowadays than they were, or at least they have changed form.
To-day, instead of suggesting in undertones and mellifluous words the
defects of a work to some poor writer, adding many that do not exist,
and being silent as to its merits, it is rather the custom to come out
frankly and openly before your face with a criticism which, if it has
not the merit of temperance, does at least not bear that ugly stain of
hypocrisy as a mask to truth. To this school, although he be numbered
amongst the old and the dead, Bartolini did not belong; and although one
of the elect in spirit and strength, yet he sometimes allowed himself to
give way to passion. While he was a young man in Paris, Canova was there
making the portrait of the Emperor Napoleon I. Bartolini demanded and
obtained help from that great and beneficent artist; but being asked if
he would return with him to his studio in Rome, he refused: but to say,
as he did openly to me and to others, that Canova wished to take him
with him to put an end to his studies, was not in conformity with the
truth, or with Canova's well-known and benevolent character. To the
sculptor Wolf, who one day brought him a note from Rauch, he said,
without even opening it--

[Sidenote: BARTOLINI.]

"How is Rauch?"

"He is very well, and sends you his greetings, as you will see from the
letter I have given you."


"Rauch," began Bartolini, ... but I have said above that the dead sleep
in peace, and the portraits of Bartolini and Rauch are also at peace
with each other, for in my house, at the villa of Lampeggi, they look
each other in the face, and smile good-naturedly. _Evviva!_ So, perhaps,
they smile in the true life eternal at the littlenesses of our brief
life here.

It was at this time (1860) that I was obliged to leave my studio in the
Liceo di Candeli, and with me all the other artists who were in that
place had to go, as the present Government decided to place the militia
there. This change made me feel very sad, for I had an affection for the
place. I had improved it and enlarged it, renting a ground-floor in the
next house, and putting it into communication with the studio. I had
embellished the court with plants, fruit, and flowers. There my dear
little girls used to amuse themselves at play, and gathered flowers to
take home and arrange in a little vase to put before the image of the
Madonna. One of them is no longer here, Luisina, of whom in time I will
speak; but the other two--Amalia, who is with me, and Beppina, who is
married to Cavaliere Antonio Ciardi--follow, even now, that pious
custom, which others may make fun of, but which I love so much when I
see these children of mine, in all the simplicity and pureness of their
heart, make this act of homage to the Virgin.

My good Marina, who has also now joined our daughter and the other
little ones and the boy (seven angels in all)--my good Marina tried to
console me with her mild words. In her speech there was no excitement or
speciousness, but a persuasive sweetness and serenity, learnt from duty
and temperance. She had had no education--was a poor woman of the
people, as I have said in the beginning; but I never felt bored by her,
never desired a more cultured woman to teach me lessons. It is sweet to
me to return in memory to the time that I lived with my good companion;
and I owe her so much! I think that, if fate had given me another woman,
who had not had the patience to bear my crotchets and the quick words
that sometimes escaped me, who had doubted my faith, who had bored me
with tittle-tattle, with sermons or other things, I think (God save me!)
that I should have been a bad husband and a worse artist. So that, with
a slight variation, I can repeat the words of the divine poet:--

    "E la _mia_ vita e tutto il _mio_ valore,
    Mosse dagli occhi di quella pietosa."[12]

 [12] Vita Nuova, 39.


I had therefore to resign myself to leaving the studio that I had an
affection for; and the one I have now at the Academy of Fine Arts was
assigned to me, with the charge of _Maestro di Perfezionamento_, without
stipend, but with a promise of compensations, which I have never had,
perhaps because I have never asked for them.

A fact that I ought to have narrated long before this--quite domestic
and intimate in its wondrous strangeness--I have kept silent about,
owing to a certain sentiment that I cannot well define; but now, in
recalling my good wife and my dead children, I feel as if a voice within
me said, "Tell it!--write the fact as it is, without taking anything
from it or passing judgment on it." So here it is. My second daughter,
Carolina, was put out to nurse. She was the only one that the good
mother did not bring up herself; but, from motives of health, she could
not do so. The wet-nurse of this little child lived at Londa, above the
Rufina. The baby was thriving, when all of a sudden a very bad eruption
came out all over her and her life was in danger. The nurse wrote to us
to come and see her. Without delay I hired a _calesse_,[13] and left
with my wife: the grandmother stayed behind to mind the little eldest
one, who afterwards died at seven years of age, as I have written in its
place. Arriving at Pontassieve, we bent our way to the Rufina, and from
there continued on to Londa; on up a mountain, in part wooded with
chestnut-trees, in part bare and stony, until we arrived at the small
cottage of the nurse of my little one. The road circles around the hill,
and in several places is very narrow, so much so that a _calesse_ has
great difficulty in passing,--as is most natural, for what has a
_calesse_ to do up on that hill and amongst those hovels? But we
arrived, as God willed it. The baby was very ill, and there was now no
hope that she could recover. We remained there a night and a day; and
having given all the orders in case of the now certain death of the
little angel, I took the mother, who could not tear herself from the
place, away crying. As I have said, the road was narrow; and in our
descent, the hill rose above us on our right, and on the left we were on
the edge of a very deep torrent: I don't know whether it was the
Rincine, Moscia, or some other. The horse went at a gentle trot on
account of the easy descent, and we felt perfectly safe, as I had put
the drag on the wheel. My wife, with her eyes bathed in tears, was
repeating some words, I know not what, dictated by a hope that the child
would recover. The sky was clear, and the sun had only just risen,--we
saw no one on the hill, nor anywhere else,--when suddenly a voice was
heard to say "_Stop!_" (_Fermate!_) The voice seemed as if it came from
the hillside. My wife and I turned in that direction, and I half
stopped the horse; but we saw no one. I touched up the horse again to
push on, and at the same instant the voice made itself heard a second
time, and still louder, saying, "_Stop! stop!_" I pulled in the reins,
and this time my wife, after having looked all around with me without
seeing a living soul, was frightened.

 [13] Old-fashioned one-horse carriage.


"Come, have courage," said I; "what are you afraid of? See, there is no
one; and so no one can do us any harm." And, to put an end to the kind
of fear even I felt, I gave my horse a good smack of the whip; but
hardly had he started when we heard most distinctly, and still louder,
the same voice calling out, three times, "_Stop! stop! stop!_" I
stopped, and without knowing what to do or think, I got out, and helped
my wife out, who was all trembling; and what was our surprise, our
alarm, and our gratitude for the warning that had been given us to stop!
The linch-pin had come out of the left wheel, which was all bent over
and about to fall off its axle-tree, and this almost at the very edge of
the precipice. With all my strength I propped up the trap on that side,
pushed the wheel back into its place, and ran back to see if I could
find the linch-pin, but I could not find it. I called again and again
for the person who had come to my help with timely warning, to thank
him, but I saw no one! In the meanwhile, it was impossible to go on in
that condition. The little town of La Rufina was at some distance, and
although we could walk to it on foot, how could the _calesse_ be taken
there with a wheel without a linch-pin? I set myself to hunt about on
the hill for a little stick of wood, and having found it, I sharpened
it, and with the aid of a stone, fastened it in the hole in place of the
linch-pin. But as for getting back into the _calesse_, that was not to
be thought of; so leading the horse by hand, we slowly descended to
Rufina, neither my wife nor myself speaking a word, but every now and
again our looks bespoke the danger we had run and the wonderful warning
we had had. At the Rufina I got a cartwright to put in another
linch-pin, and we returned safely home. If the reader laughs, let him do
so; I do not. In fact, the seriousness and truth of this occurrence,
which happened about forty years ago, filled me then, as it does now,
with a feeling of wonder and surprise.

[Sidenote: I MAKE A "PIETÀ."]

In the first part of the year 1862, Marchese Bichi-Ruspoli of Siena gave
me the order for a monument to be placed in the cemetery of the
Misericordia in that city, where he had bought a mortuary chapel for
himself and family. He left me free in the choice of the subject, and I
decided on a "Pietà," a subject that has been frequently treated by many
artists at different times, as lending itself to the expression of the
most unspeakable sorrow, even if looked upon from a purely human point
of view; and if one adds thought and religious sentiment, then its
interest gains tenfold, as it contains in itself, besides the beauty of
form in the nude figure, and the touching sorrow of the mother, the
mystery of the incarnation, of the death and of the resurrection of our
Saviour. The subject, therefore, was highly artistic, exquisitely
touching, and particularly well adapted to a Christian sepulchre. But
with all these admirable qualities, the rendering of the subject was
extremely difficult, because so many great artists of every epoch had
done all they could, in painting as well as in sculpture, to express
this sublime idea. Wishing to keep myself from doing what others had
done before me, I thought a long time on this difficult theme; but
cudgel my brains as much as I would, my conceits always bore the impress
of one or other of those many groups that one sees everywhere. As the
gentleman who had given me the commission pressed me--in a polite way,
it is true, but with some insistence--to let him see at least the
sketch, I set to work with much ardour, but with little hope of
succeeding. After a great deal of study, I made a small sketch, with
which the gentleman pronounced himself content, and ordered me to set to
work on it as soon as possible. When the stand was ready, the irons put
up, the clay prepared, and the models had been found, one of my friends,
who had come to look in on me, exclaimed on seeing the sketch--


"Oh, what a fine sketch! It is Michael Angelo's 'Pietà.'"

"What?" said I.

"Oh, I see I have made a mistake," said my friend; "it is quite a
different thing."

But none the less, this was the impression he had received and
proclaimed, and, if not absolutely correct, was yet a sincere, true,
spontaneous, and disinterested one; for my friend, although far from
being an artist, or even a _dilettante_, was very intelligent, and a
lover of art. So from that moment my mind was made up, and I said to
myself--"Either I will find some new idea, even though it be a less
beautiful one, or I will abandon the commission." I put by all the
things that had been prepared, went to work on other work, and thought
no more of it. I ought rather to say that I thought of it constantly,
perhaps even too much; for it was an irritated, futile kind of thinking,
that did harm, giving me no rest even during my sleep, and not leaving
my mind sufficiently free or my inspirations calm enough to seize hold
of a new idea and make another attempt.


The gentleman who had given me the commission still pressed me, and
could not understand why I had set aside the work after having, as he
said, so well conceived it, and after it had met with his own approval.
To which I only answered these words, "Have patience!" And so he had,
the poor Marchese, for I must do him the justice to say, that seeing
that this was a painful subject to me, he never spoke to me any more
about it; and only when affairs called him sometimes to Florence, after
having talked to me about many other things, he would say, when leaving
me, with his usual kind and genial manner, "Good-bye, Nannino, _memento
mei!_" This blessed Latin in its brevity worked upon me more than a long
sermon would have done; but it was useless to try to set myself to make
another sketch, for think about it as much as I would, although in my
brain there were any number of mediocre groups of the "Pietà," there was
still wanting the one of my own creation, for the others belonged to me
as some cantos of the 'Divina Commedia' do by force of memory. _Àpropos_
of this, here is a curious little story. It happened one day when I was
speaking with a man excellent in every respect, that, being to the
point, I quoted the following well-known verses:--

    "O voi che siete in piccioletta barca,
    Desiderosi d'ascoltar, seguìti
    Dietro al mio legno che cantando varca," &c.

    "O ye who in some pretty little boat,
    Eager to listen, have been following
    Behind my ship, that singing sails along;"[14]

at which that excellent gentleman showed himself surprised, and asked if
those verses were mine. I looked at him attentively, and saw in his face
that he was perfectly frank, serious, and ingenuous; and so I had the
impudence to say _Yes_. I regretted it afterwards, and still do so. That
gentleman died some time ago, and I should not have told this joke if he
had been still living, for even withholding his name, he might have
recognised himself and taken it in ill part; but for all this, I repeat,
he was an excellent man, stood high in his art, was professor,
_cavaliere_, and _commendatore_ of more than one order, but as ignorant,
as it would seem, of our classics as I am of the propositions of Euclid.

 [14] Dante, Paradiso, Canto ii.


The reader, therefore, understands perfectly that I did not want to make
my "Pietà" a work from memory or of imitation, and give out with a bold
face another man's conception for my own. Therefore _pazienza_,--and
months passed, and it seemed to me as if I no longer thought of it; but
one fine day, when I was at home lying on the sofa reading a newspaper,
and waiting to be called to dinner, I fell asleep (newspapers have
always put me to sleep, especially when they take things seriously),--I
fell asleep, and I dreamed of the group of the "Pietà" just as I
afterwards made it, but much more beautiful, more expressive, and more
noble. In fact it was a wonderful vision, but only like a flash--a
vision only of an instant--for an impression as of a blow awoke me, and
I found myself lying over the arm of the sofa, with my arms hanging
loosely, my legs stiffened out straight, and my head bent on my breast,
just as in my dream I had seen Christ on the Virgin's knees. I jumped up
and ran to my studio to fix the idea in clay. My wife seeing me go out
almost running, called to me to say that the soup was on the table.

"Have patience," I answered; "I have forgotten something at the studio;
perhaps I shall stop there a bit. You eat, and I will eat afterwards."

The poor woman, I could see, did not understand what was the matter,
all the more because I had been hurrying them to send up the dinner; but
she made no more inquiries. It was her nature not to enter too much into
the affairs of my studio. In two hours I had made the sketch of that
subject which had cost me so much thought, so many waking hours, and
loss of sleep, and I returned home. I do not know whether I was more
hungry, tired, or contented. My wife, to whom I explained the reason of
my running away, smiled and said, "You might have waited until after
dinner;" and perhaps, who knows that she was not right? but I was so
astonished and out of myself on account of that strange dream, that I
was afraid every instant to lose the remembrance of it. It is really a
strange thing, that after having thought of, studied, and sketched this
subject for many months, when I was least thinking of it (for then I was
certainly not thinking of it)--all at once, when asleep, I should see so
clearly stand out before me, without even an uncertain line, the
composition of that group. I have often thought of it, and being obliged
in some way to explain it, I should say that the position I took when
asleep might have acted on my over-excited imagination, always fixed on
that same idea.

[Sidenote: I SKETCH IT AT ONCE.]

If the reader has followed me so far, he may truly be called courteous;
but who knows how many times he has looked with avidity in these pages,
full of minute details of my doings, for some little facts, some little
escapades which really define and give the impress of the moral
character of a man, and not having found it, has closed the book with
irritation, and has muttered between his teeth, "This man is really very
stupid, or he imagines us to be such simpletons as to believe that his
life has always run on in a smooth, pleasant path, where there are no
stones to stumble over, or brambles to be caught by"? I will not judge
if the reader be right or wrong in his reasoning, but it would be as
wrong to think that my life had been perfectly exempt from the little
wretchednesses that are as inherent to it as smoke to a fire, especially
if the wood be green, as it would be to require for his own satisfaction
that I should ostentatiously insist on this smoke at the risk of
offending the tender and chaste eyes of those who, albeit not ignoring
these things, love the light and abhor smoke. Then, also, in speaking of
these little wretchednesses, one always errs, however faithful to the
truth, in saying either too much or too little; and it is believed to be
either exaggerated or underrated, according to the simplicity or malice
of the reader: so it is better not to speak of them at all. These little
details, these little moral wrinkles, ought to be cast aside, as they do
not add an atom to the likeness of the person. The reader can imagine
them, or, to speak plainer, he learns them from the voice of common
report, which accompanies through life the acts of any man not
absolutely obscure. But if in life there are brambles and pebbles that
can momentarily molest the poor pilgrim, there are also errors and
deviations which lead us astray. Grave misfortunes such as these, by
God's mercy, I have not met with, although the danger has not been
wanting. The least thought of the gentle nature of my good wife, so full
of simplicity and truth, her deep and serious affection, her loving care
of her children, and her total abnegation of self for them and for
me,--this thought, I repeat, was enough, with God's help, to enable me
to escape once or twice from danger; and I wish to say this, that the
reader fond of suchlike particulars need not tire himself with looking
for them here, where he will not find them.


In the moral character of a man, deviation from and forgetfulness of
his duties is an ugly stain, even uglier than deformity in art. In fact,
deformity, which by itself alone is contrary to art, when introduced
into composition, especially when historical or critical reasons require
it, can be of use as a contrast, and be--not beautiful in itself, for
that would be a contradiction of terms--but of use to the _ensemble_,
and to the beautiful,--as, for example, the dissonances in harmony used
sparingly, if they suspend momentarily the flow of that broad sweet
wave, they make one hear it again more vividly, more unexpectedly, and
transformed into other colour and form. If all this concerns and is of
use to Art, which is the manifestation of the beautiful, it does not
apply to morals, which are the manifestation and practice of Good. The
one is relative, but this is absolute. The well-known aphorism, Truth
before all things, lands one nowhere; and I have shown that in being
silent on some matters, one need not be false to her. But she is only
cast into a slight shadow by these veils of decency and modesty; and so
Truth should show her matronly bearing.


I have spoken somewhat at length about this, because to some this
exposition of my opinion may have appeared unseemly. Let them accept,
then, with a kindly feeling, the reasons, which I think excellent ones,
that have led me to this wise decision of representing the truth to each
and every one's eyes in the most appropriate way, so that, while it
attracts by the largeness and uprightness of its form, it leaves the
spirit undisturbed and tranquil.

I set to work on the model of the "Pietà" with a feeling of assurance
devoid of any of those outlooks of fallacious hope that so often preside
over and accompany a work badly conceived and not sufficiently studied
or thought out, with which the unsatisfied mind seeks to quiet itself,
while the artist goes on persuading himself that he will better his idea
as his work goes on, instead of which he finds out every day more and
more the existence of those difficulties and doubts which increase in
intensity as the strength to overcome them diminishes. And _àpropos_ of
this, I remember one day when I was making an excursion from Florence to
Sant'Andrea, with Bartolini (it was on a Saturday, to stay over until
Sunday evening at Villa Fenzi), as we travelled along Bartolini seemed
to me gayer and more expansive than usual, and having asked him what was
the reason, he would not tell me, but answered, "You will know why at
Sant'Andrea; I am going to tell at dinner when every one is present, for
it is a thing of great importance, as you will be able to judge perhaps
better than any one else." With these words he so roused my curiosity
that it made that very short expedition seem a long one. Arrived at the
Villa, _Sor_ Emanuele, seeing the master so gay and almost beaming,
turned to him and jokingly said these words, "I'll be bound you have
found a new and beautiful little model."


"No; and even those I have--and they are beauties--I sent off this very
morning. But I am contented, because I had a thorn in my side--a thought
that had been tormenting me for more than a year. There was one side of
my group--the "Astyanax"--that I did not like. I have tried various ways
of correcting it, but in vain; for the evil was fundamental. I have
formed a resolution, and ordered my work to be pulled to pieces. I have
sacrificed more than a year's time, but I am certain that I shall be the
gainer, because the work will come better both as to lines and the
quickness of execution. I feel sure that the change is a good one."

Whoever is an artist understands the importance of such an act, and the
courage of a man who destroys a work that has cost him more than a
year's labour, and admonishes those who are too quick in putting an
undigested thought into execution.


As for me, I felt an admiration as much for that heroic resolution as
for his gaiety and indifference, and was persuaded that only men of such
a temperament know how to act and comport themselves in that fashion.

I set to work, as I have said, on the group of the "Pietà"; and although
the novelty of the idea and harmony of lines gave me every reason to
hope for success in my work, yet the impetuosity with which I had gone
to work, the difficulty of giving the expression to the Virgin's face in
contrast with the divine stillness of the dead Jesus, impossible to find
in models--for the most part the negation of all that is sublime in
expression,--all this acted so upon my poor brain that I began to hear
noises, which gradually increased to such an intensity that they
deafened me, and I had to stop working, not being able to go on. The
thought of my weakness worked upon me so violently that it produced
melancholy, insomnia, and aversion to food. My good friend Dr Alberti,
who treated me, advised rest from work and distraction,--but of what
kind, as everything bored me? Night and day I continually felt stunned
by a buzzing noise in my head, which was most annoying; and what is
worse, sounds, noises, and voices, even of the most moderate kind,
became insufferable to me. A coachman smacking his whip put me in a
tremor, and I ran at the sight of him. At home my poor wife and my
little girls were obliged to speak in the lowest voice, and oftentimes
by signs. As I have said, sleep had left me, and all taste for food, and
I grew thinner before one's very eyes. I could not read two consecutive
pages, and could not dream of writing. I used to go out of the house to
escape melancholy, and walk for a long distance at a time without
knowing where I was going. The buzzing in my head and the noise in the
street tortured me. If I saw any one I knew, I avoided him, not to be
obliged to answer the same tiresome question as to how I felt. If I went
to the studio, my melancholy turned into acute pain on looking at my
works which I could not begin to touch, and I felt my heart throb so
hard that I cried most bitterly.


I could not continue on in this condition, and by advice of the doctor I
resolved to go with my family to Naples. I hoped to recover my health in
that great gay city, under that splendid sky, in that mild atmosphere
pure and impregnated with life, and my hope was strengthened by the
remembrance that I had once recovered my health there ten years before.
I left on the morning of the Epiphany, the 6th of January 1863, and that
night I spent at Rome at the Hotel Cesari. I did not stop in Rome, and
saw no one. I saw mechanically--more than anything else, to amuse my
poor family--the finest monuments of the Eternal City; and the day after
took the road to Naples--a true _via crucis_, by which I hoped to regain
my health. We arrived in Naples between eight and ten o'clock. I ordered
the coachman to take us to the Hotel de France. There was no room to be
had, so we were conducted to a poor, dirty little inn, with which, being
late, we were obliged to content ourselves. The day following, my friend
Giuseppe Mancinelli insisted (in spite of my opposition, not wishing to
inconvenience him) that we should lodge in his house, Rampa San Potito,
near the Museum degli Studii.

Mancinelli was an excellent man, an artist of merit, a good husband and
father, and a conscientious and amiable master at the Academy of Fine
Arts there. I remember with emotion the fraternal care that he took of
us. Poor friend! you too have left us, but the memory of your virtues
and love still lives with us, and is a consolation to us in the midst of
the coldness of so many who have never known the religion of friendship,
or who, if they appeared devoted, only sought to steal the candles
offered by the faithful to her altar.

[Sidenote: CELENTANO.]

The first days after my arrival at Naples were very sad. The noises and
voices in that immense city nearly drove me out of my mind, added to
which the weather was wretched--for we had nearly a month of rain--so
there were no walks to be taken, and nothing to distract me. Fortunately
I had all my family with me, and my thoughts were not in Florence, as
they had been during my former visit. I gave no thought to my studio,
and only, as if in a vision, the head of my Madonna appeared to me in
the sad pose in which I had left her, fearing that I should never see
her again. In vain Mancinelli and his family, and my friends Morelli,
Aloysio, Maldarelli, Palizzi, and others, tried to rouse me out of my
despondency. How well I remember with what pains poor Celentano, whom I
then knew for the first time, tried to cheer me up! Poor Celentano!
brightest light of that fine school that searches for and finds material
in the universe of nature to embody the fantasies of the brain, how
soon, and in what a manner, your light was extinguished!

Enough--enough of the dead, otherwise I shall fall into the elegiac,
which would be ridiculous in these simple memoirs! But if it be true
that every thought must be clothed in its own special garb, how sad is
that of death, although through her veils shines the hope of heaven!




And yet I do not feel in the vein to stop talking of the dead. It is so
sweet to go back in memory to those dear persons that we have loved and
esteemed, and who have returned our love. One day in Rome--it was in the
summer of 1864--a young painter of the brightest promise had received a
letter from his betrothed, who was a long way off. In it she expressed
the great anxiety she had been suffering on account of a dream she had
had, in which she had seen her dear one drowning; and she beseeched him
in the warmest manner to pay attention and not expose himself to danger.
The ingenuousness and affection in this letter made the young painter
smile, and in his answer he jokingly expressed himself as follows: "With
regard to your dream, set your mind at rest, because if I don't drown
myself in wine, I shall certainly not drown in water." A few days after
this some of his friends proposed to him to go and bathe, but he refused
decidedly, and said, "Go, the rest of you; I don't want to bathe, and
shall go home," and he left them. Shortly after this his friends went,
as they had decided, to bathe, and they saw a young fellow struggling in
the water; recognising him, they at once undressed and ran to his
rescue, as it was evident that he did not know how to swim. Their
attempt, as well as that of others, was vain, for the poor young man
went down and was carried away by the current of the Tiber to a great
distance from the spot where he had thrown himself in. This young man
was universally and sincerely regretted. Painting lost in him one of her
brightest geniuses, and Siena, his birthplace, a son that would have
been a very great honour to her. Some studies sent by him to Siena, and
a picture of San Luigi in the Church of the Madonna del Soccorso at
Leghorn, bear witness to Visconti's talent, a name dear and revered
amongst all artists. He studied at the Sienese Academy, under Luigi
Mussini, who, besides his sound principles in art, had the power of
being able to communicate them, and carried persuasion and conviction
through the weight of example. Visconti was buried in Rome in the Church
of San Bartolommeo all'Isola,[15] a short distance from the place where
his body was found, and Siena honoured him by having a modest but
touching monument made by his friend Tito Sarrocchi and placed for him
in the Church of San Domenico. Visconti was a handsome young man,
healthy and strong, of olive complexion, black hair and beard, endowed
with an open, frank, loyal, and at the same time modest, nature.

 [15] Poor Visconti is not buried in the Church of San
  Bartolommeo all'Isola. My friend Majoli tells me that I have made a
  mistake. His body was taken there, as it was found near there, and the
  funeral took place in that church; but the body was taken afterwards to
  the Campo Verano, and buried in the lower part of that cemetery. A
  modest little monument called a _Pincietto_ was erected over it by the
  subscription of several sorrowing and affectionate friends, and amongst
  these the good Majoli, who most particularly exerted himself in
  modelling and cutting a portrait of him in marble, and offering his work
  as a tribute of friendship.


I return to the living, I return to Naples. About this time the
competition for the statue of Victory, as a monument for the martyrs of
the four revolutions, 1821, 1831, 1848, and 1860, was to be decided on.
Many were those competing for it, and all Neapolitans--amongst these
Pasquarelli and Caggiano, pupils of mine; and for this reason, as well
as on account of my ill health, I could not accept the position of
judge. Giovanni Strazza was therefore invited to come from Milan; and he
too died a few months ago, my poor friend! He had a very cultivated
mind, and was as amiable and polished in manner as he could be. I knew
him first in Rome in 1844, when he was very young, and when artists,
amateurs, and all people crowded round his first statue of Ishmael. To
all, as well as to me, he was open-hearted, loyal, and sincere, and his
words were always urbane and pleasant. I saw him again at Vienna in
1873, when he was my companion in the jury for our section of sculpture
at the great exhibition. But let us really return to the living, if that
be possible.

The prize for the statue of Victory was adjudicated to Emanuele
Caggiano, and justly so. I think this statue is one of his finest works.
I have heard nothing of him now for a long time, and am afraid that he
does not occupy himself with the same fervour that he displayed when he
began to work under my direction.

I revisited all the things that I had seen the first time I was in
Naples, with a feeling of _ennui_, and only gave some attention to
Pompeii, because there I had the good fortune to meet the Commendatore
Fiorelli, director of the excavations, and some artists that I have
forgotten. I remember, however, the brotherly solicitude shown me by my
friends Morelli and Palizzi, and this time even by Angelini, and the
particular courtesy of Signor Vonwiller, a most cultivated man, and so
great a lover of art that he has converted his house into a real modern
and most select gallery. Here one finds in perfect harmony all the best
products of Italian art. At that time (and many years have since passed)
the pictures of Morelli, Celentano, Altamura, Palizzi, and other clever
painters of that beautiful school, were admirably exhibited; there too,
Vela, Magni, Angelini, and Fedi had works; and in the midst of these I
felt honoured also to find myself represented by my two statues of
Bacchini, the "Festante" and the "Dolente." If every city in Italy had a
gentleman like Vonwiller, it may easily be believed that art would
derive great benefit from it; for taste backed by great fortunes has
more direct and potent efficacy than all the societies for promoting
art, where, with small sips and small prizes, the genius of poor artists
is frittered away. Until the day when these societies make the heroic
resolution of only conferring two or three prizes (be it for pictures or
statues of small dimensions; the size does not matter, as long as they
are really beautiful), art will not advance one step. But in the
meanwhile, let us take things as they are and push on.


The repose and the balmy airs of beautiful hospitable Naples worked a
wonderful change for the better in my health. Sleep, that beneficent
restorer of the forces, which for some time past had gone from me,
verily without my having murdered it, as Macbeth had, or even in the
least offended it, returned with its blandishments and its calm smiling
visions full of pleasant happy memories. It was the season of the year
when nature dons again her green mantle. In that happy country, her
awakening is more precocious, and one could say that nature was there a
very early riser; and whilst the mountains were still all covered with
snow, on those sweet slopes, on those enchanted shores, the little green
new-born leaflets mix with the blossoms of the apple, almond, and peach
trees. The light morning breeze makes these leaflets and blossoms
tremble, and wafts to the air a sweet delicate perfume, that revives the
body and rejoices the spirit.


This reawakening of nature has in it I know not what of harmony that is
difficult to describe. It seems as if the chest expanded to drink in the
air with unusual longing; the eyes are never weary of looking again at
the budding flowerets, whose odour one inhales with a chaste
voluptuousness, as of the breath of our children in their mother's arms.
The mysterious wave of life, that insinuates itself in the earth,
penetrating even into its most infinitesimal parts, that prepares the
nuptial bed, and makes the budding vegetation fruitful; the wave, that
in the profound depths of the sea gladdens the life of its mute
inhabitants, gives joy and swiftness to the flight of the birds in the
air, makes the animals of the earth walk with more erect, ready, and
joyful step,--the wave of life, more than all, operates wonderfully on
man. And I--I felt myself born unto a new life; nature seemed to me more
beautiful, her bounty more desirable; the wish to observe and to work
returned to me, the enjoyment of conversation, attention in listening,
temperance in discussions, and courtesy in controversies, all impulses
of the mind, wherein, it seems to me, lies the mysterious harmony of
body and soul in perfect union--_mens sana in corpore sano_.


Having therefore recovered my health, and taken leave of my friend
Mancinelli and his good family, I again left for Rome, with the
intention of passing the approaching Holy Week there; but it so happened
that my poor Luisina, the youngest of my daughters, fell ill. Some
symptoms of her illness had already manifested themselves in the first
days after our arrival; then she had to take to her bed, and became so
much worse, that we were all in the greatest anxiety--two months of such
anxiety as only a father can understand; and she was so sweet a
creature, and so intelligent! Then she improved a little, but did not
recover. We left hurriedly, because the bitterness of losing her away
from home was unbearable to us. The affectionate solicitude of our
friends at this juncture was really brotherly. Majoli, Marchetti,
Mantovani, Wolf, and Tenerani came forward and showed us indescribable
kindness, and I remember it with gratitude, that no time can ever efface
or weaken.

After our return to Florence, under treatment the disease seemed to have
been got under; she recovered her health, and we thought no more about

I took up my studio life again. As I stood before my work that I had
left when in a state of such utter prostration, it seemed to me that I
had almost a new spirit within me. The head of the Madonna, who, when I
left, looked as if she was sorrowing for me, now seemed to me so full of
sadness that I did not touch it again, and it remains just as it was
when I left, tormented by the insupportable, atrocious, and stunning
noise in my head. Tears of emotion, of gratitude, and of feeling ran
down my cheeks as I stood before the clay, and, full of confidence, I
set myself again to work. In thought I returned to the days of my
sufferings, when the fear of losing my mind frightened me, and I dared
not look at my children or at my good wife. These remembrances quickened
the pleasure I felt in my new state of health, and I thanked the Lord
from the bottom of my heart.


I had taken Tonino Liverani (nick-named Tria) as a model for my
"Christ." He was rather too old for a "Christ," but I was not able to
find another who united such majesty and grace of movement and of parts.
Hardly had I put the whole masses together and begun to define some of
the outlines, when he fell ill and died in a few days. I went to see him
when he was at his worst, and the poor man was glad to see me, and was
pained (as he said) not to be able to finish the "Dead Christ." With his
deep sunk eyes, mouth half opened, and with the pallor of death upon
him, he looked marvellously beautiful, and strangely like that type of
Christ that good artists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries have
handed down to us. Poor Tria, I still remember the long, piteous look
you gave me when we bade each other good-bye!

Scarcely had I finished the model for the "Pietà," when I modelled the
statue of Astronomy for the Mossotti monument, which is in the Campo
Santo at Pisa, a work that I had pledged myself to make for its mere
cost; and I did so most willingly on account of the reverent friendship
that I had had for Mossotti. But even the expenses were not covered, and
to all my pressing inquiries I never got a word of answer from the
treasurer of the committee, in consequence of which the committee itself
was never able to publish a report of its administration. But, that the
word expenses may be clearly understood, I wish it to be known that
that statue, with its sarcophagus, base, and ornamentation, I had
pledged myself to make, and did make, for six thousand _lire_. I have
received _five thousand eight hundred and fifty_; there remain the
_hundred and fifty_, which I am obliged to make a present of, after
having given gratuitously my work on the models and the finishing of it
in marble. I don't know if it is so with other artists, but with me it
has always happened that the works I have been desirous of making for
their mere cost--which is like saying, as a present--have not been
accepted, or, besides giving my own work, I have been obliged to add
something from my pocket! Before these memoirs are finished the reader
will find something else of the same kind which will serve as a lesson
and warning to young artists, even if they ever feel within them the
"softness" to work for nothing.


In another place I have said that, in the enumeration of my works, I
should not make mention of the portraits. I was obliged, however, to
deviate from that promise to speak of one that had occasioned a great
deal of talk and false reports about me. I must now speak of another
that I was to have made, and did not--that is to say, the portrait of
his Majesty King Victor Emmanuel. Why I never made it I cannot say
myself, and perhaps the reader himself will not know after he has read
the following account, unless he is satisfied with the explanation that
I shall presently give.

The Superintendent of the Archives, Commendatore Francesco Bonaini,
after having put in order and nearly reconstructed the archives of Pisa,
wished to put in the main hall a marble bust, of almost colossal size,
of Victor Emmanuel; and in order to determine the size and study the
light, I went with him to Pisa to see the place itself where the bust
of the King was to stand. Having seen it and fixed upon the size of the
bust, I made one condition, agreeing to all arrangements as to price and
time for making it. The condition that I made--a most natural one--was
that his Majesty should concede to me the sittings required, that I
might model him from life and not from photograph. The syndic of the day
(Cavaliere Senatore Ruschi, if my memory serves me) went to Florence,
accompanied by some of the _assessori_, to ask the King, first for the
permission of placing his portrait in the Great Hall of the Pisan
Archives, and then to grant the necessary sittings to the artist, and
settle the place, the time, and the length of the sittings, according to
his Majesty's pleasure. Both the one request and the other were granted
most graciously by the King with his usual affability, and he added that
he knew the artist and was well satisfied, and that, in the meanwhile,
they were to wait for notice to communicate to me that I might begin my
work. Months passed, and this notice never came; Bonaini was pressing
me, being in a hurry to have the archives inaugurated, and I appealed to
his Excellency Marchese di Breme, Minister of the Royal House, to beg
the King to let me have the required sittings, but my request met with
no good result. Later, after the death of Di Breme, I made the same
appeal to the Marchese Filippo Gualterio, who succeeded him in that
office; but this appeal not only had no good result, but did not even
receive an answer. As the affair of the inauguration of the Pisan
Archives had boiled over, Bonaini did not speak of it again, and
naturally neither did I. Here there would be some observations to be
made on this favour having been asked for and granted, and then given
up. As for me, I resolve the question in a few simple words and say,
that as it is a most boring thing to all to stand as model, for a king
it must be excessively so and insufferable, and therefore the notice to
begin this boring business never came from the person who was to undergo
it; and it is reasonable enough, and even satisfies me, who have posed
as model two or three times.


About this time the Syndic of Turin invited me to form part of a
commission of artists to pass judgment on the models sent up for
Cavour's monument. I was then at Leghorn with my family, as my little
girls were in need of sea-bathing. I had no need for it myself, and, in
fact, I think that the damp salt air was not good for me, and I stayed
there most unwillingly, so that when the invitation to go to Turin came
I instantly accepted it with pleasure as a fortunate opportunity to
change the air and have something to occupy my mind; and leaving my wife
with the two youngest little girls, I took Amalia with me.

This competition, of which we were to judge, was a second trial, as the
first had failed; the competitors were many, and some of them
praiseworthy. My colleagues in the jury were, if I remember right, the
Professors Santo Varni of Genoa, Innocenzo Fraccaroli of Milan, Ceppi of
Turin, and another whose name I cannot recall. The examination was a
long one, and the discussion, although opinions differed, was a quiet
one: the majority pronounced itself favourable to a project of the
architect Cipolla, which was in drawing; my vote had been for one of the
two designs in relief by Vela. The reporter of our decision was
Professor Ceppi. I returned to Leghorn to my family, and from there to
Florence, where I again took up my work.

Signor Ferdinando Filippi di Buti, whom I had met at Leghorn, showed
himself desirous of having a statue of mine to put in the mortuary
chapel that he had built from its very foundation close to one of his
villas on the pleasant hill that rises above the town. The subject was a
beautiful one, and, after the "Dead Christ," I could not have desired
anything better to make than "Christ after the Resurrection," and this
was the very subject that Signor Filippi wanted of me.


The "Triumph of the Cross," the "Madonna Addolorata" that I spoke of
further back, the "Pietà," and this "Christ after the Resurrection," are
the strictly religious subjects that I have made--rather, that I have
had the good fortune to make, because I believe that such subjects,
always beautiful in themselves, when they find the soul of the artist
disposed to feel them and comprehend them, are also capable of high
serene inspiration, and secret efficacy to the soul of those who behold
them, be they in spirit even thousands of miles distant from the number
of believers.

Let the truth prevail. Religious sentiment has its root in the heart, in
the intellect, in the imagination, and, in a word, in all the impulses
of the soul. A heart without God is a heart without love, and will not
love woman but for the brutal pleasure she procures, and, in
consequence, not even the children that are the fruit of, and also a
burden upon, his selfishness. He will not love his country except for
the honours and the gain that can be got out of it, and will sacrifice
it carelessly for a single moment of pleasure or interest, because a
heart without God is a heart without love. An intelligence without the
knowledge of God is wanting in a basis as starting-point for all its
reasoning--it is without the light that should illumine the objects it
takes hold of to examine. Such an intellect is circumscribed within the
narrow circle of things perceptible to the senses, where, finding
nothing but aridness wherein to quench its burning thirst, which is
always insatiate for goodness and truth, it ends either in a fierce
desire of suicide, or as a vengeance of nature's own in that saddest of
nights, madness. An imagination deprived of the splendid visions of the
supersensible, loses even its true functions, because, not seeing or
divining through time and space, through life and death, in the stars
and in the atoms, anything but a casual mechanism, it is cruelly
condemned to inertia, and with clipped wings can no longer sustain its
flight--those wings which so potently upheld Dante as he passed from
planet to planet, leaving the earth down in depths far beneath him. The
eye accustomed to matter is besmeared with mud, and can no longer bear
the bright light of the sun and the planets, which seem as if they were
the eyes of God.


Religious sentiment has existed in all times, amongst all people, and it
exists in the conscience of man independent of all education and
example. The immense vault of the heavens; the innumerable planets
resplendent in light; the sun that illuminates, warms, and fertilises
the earth; the expanse of the waters of the sea; the prodigious variety
and beauty of animals, plants, and fruits; the loveliness of colours,
harmony of sounds from everywhere, and for all our senses,--come to us
as the proof of God. But more even than from exterior things we feel it
within ourselves. The blood shed by the martyrs fighting for the faith;
life given in large profusion for the defence of country, liberty, and
honour, or our women and children; active indignation against tyranny,
cowardliness, and injustice; the tender charm we feel for innocence,
admiration for virtue, and charity towards the poor, orphans, and those
in trouble,--all these are signs that God has placed within us a part of
His very nature. We feel within us the impulses of charity, and in
prayer we feel our heart expand with hope; out of frailty we fall, and
faith renews in us the strength to rise again. Religious sentiment makes
the heart glow, illuminates the intellect, fertilises the imagination,
and creates not only the good citizen and good father, but also the


Our hundred basilicas, the paintings and statues of our Christian
artists that Italy and the world is so rich in, bear witness to this
tribunal of truth to which anxious humanity, even from its earliest
days, appeals. Phidias, Homer, Dante and Michael Angelo, Brunellesco and
Orgagna, Raphael and Leonardo, Donatello and Ghiberti, and a hundred
others, prove that religious inspiration is of so large a source that
one can always draw from it; and although in the application of it the
form may in a measure vary, yet it will always be great and admirable,
because the mind that lifts itself up, though it may deviate more or
less salient in curves, will always remain elevated. Correggio and
Bernini, Guido Reni and the Caracci, were under the bad influence of
their time as to method, but the intention was always good. And coming
down to our recent fathers, and speaking always of artists, were Canova,
Rossini, and Manzoni not great, for the very reason that they took their
inspiration from religious subjects?

As the venerated name of Manzoni has fallen from my pen, I shall
describe the visit that he made to my studio. When his visit was
announced to me, I had but just finished the bas-relief for Santa Croce
and the "Pietà." He was in company with the Marchese Gino Capponi,
Aleardi, and Professor Giovan Battista Giorgini. After having seen
several of my works, he stopped before the model in plaster of the
bas-relief for Santa Croce, and said--


"I see here a vast subject that speaks to me of lofty things; it seems
to me that in parts I can divine its meaning, but I should wish to hear
the artist himself speak and explain his entire intention."

It is always unwillingly that I act as cicerone to my very poor
works--and to say the truth, I only do so most rarely with my intimate
friends in order to ask some advice; but the abrupt request made by such
a man as he was did not displease me, and I began my explanation. But
after I had been talking a few minutes, Marchese Gino Capponi began to
stammer out something full of emotion in his sorrow not to be able to
see the things I was explaining, and had to go out accompanied by
Giorgini, if I mistake not. And here was another of those great souls
that warmed itself in the rays of that faith which broke asunder the
chains of the slave--opened the mind and softened the heart of the
savage--restrained the flights of fancy within the beaten road of truth
and good--willed that power, justice, and charity should be friends with
each other, and made one taste of peace and happiness in poverty--and
that enlarged and extended the confines of the intellect, of morality,
and of civilisation.

I beg pardon if I have enlarged too much on this subject, but I do not
think it can be superfluous to endeavour to correct the tendency of the
day, when from every side one hears repeated that, for the future, in
art the study of religious subjects is at an end, as if society of
to-day was entirely composed of unbelievers or free-thinkers, who, by
way of parenthesis, amongst other fine things have never thought that
thought itself is not at all free. It seems to me that thought is an
attribute of the soul that is moved with marvellous rapidity by means of
a strength and impulse superior to itself, which depend upon physical
constitution, education, and example. Thought, with all its freedom, all
its flights, is subject, dependent, and, as one might say, formed by
those forces and those impulses.


In the infinite scale of human thoughts there are some good, but a great
many more are bad. In the moral order of things, those contrary to good
are evil; as in the intellectual, those contrary to truth--and in the
ideal, those contrary to the beautiful.

Now thought moves inconstantly from the beautiful to the ugly, from the
true to the false, from good to evil, until our will, which is really
free, either repulses it or takes possession of it according to the
power, more or less, that reason has over the will. It is clear,
therefore, that thought is not free, but, on the contrary, is
subservient to laws independent of and superior to itself. How this
happens is quite another pair of sleeves; but the fact is this, our
thought is moved, and so to speak, subject to this power. Will comes and
accepts it, weds it and makes it its own, good or bad though it be, with
or without register of baptism, and snaps its fingers at the syndic or
the priest. Once stirred, thought moves the will, and the will
assenting, commands it as with a rod. And now, for the second time, let
me really beg pardon.

After my "Christ," his Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Constantine of
Russia gave me an order for an angel that he wanted as a present for a
German prince, whose name I do not remember. This angel was to be the
Guardian Angel; the subject was determined upon, and I don't know if, in
the mind of the giver, it was to guard the prince or the principality.
If it was the prince, I hope my poor angel will have done the best he
could; if the principality, I am afraid that he has been overcome by
cunning and force. His head is crowned with olives, and his lifted right
hand points to heaven. Will the prince feel any consolation looking at
the statue? I hope so; and in any way, he will be persuaded that true
peace is not of this world.


It is now the time and place to speak of Cavour's monument. As I before
mentioned, I was one of the judges on that committee. My vote had been
for Professor Vela's design, but the prize was obtained by the architect
Professor Cipolla; and as he was an architect, he naturally could not
carry his work into execution: he therefore went the rounds, and it was
not difficult for him to find several sculptors who assumed, each and
all of them, certain parts, either a statue or bas-relief. For the
principal statue of Cavour, it was the intention, I know not whether of
Cipolla or the Giunta Comunale, that I should make it, but their
reiterated request I did not think well to accept.

In the meantime, in Turin there began to be a sort of persistent, dull
warfare against Cipolla's design. All sorts of possible and imaginable
doubts were raised as to its general character, meaning, proportions,
and effect. That excellent artist, Professor Cipolla, proposed to put an
end to all this talk by setting up in relief, in largish proportions, a
model of his so-much-contested design. Would that he had never done so!
The aversion to it grew beyond bounds, and pronounced itself by means of
the press to such a degree, that the Giunta thought it best no longer to
intrust him with the commission for the work; for, by virtue of an
article in the programme for this competition, the committee were not in
the least tied down to commit the execution of the monument to the
gainer of the prize at the competition, having left itself full and
entire liberty of action. From this began a sequel of remonstrances and
appeals on the part of the artist, and answers backed by law on the part
of the commission, which was then broken up and another formed, for the
purpose of studying anew the whole affair.


I hurry over these things quickly as they come to me and as my memory
has retained them after many years, without searching amongst letters,
newspapers, or elsewhere, wishing, as I have done until now, to make use
only of my memory.

The new Giunta, presided over by my illustrious and lamented friend
Count Federigo Sclopis, took up this tangled affair, discussed in so
many ways, and came to the determination of not having any more
competition. They decided that the best thing to be done was to choose
an artist, and order the work directly from him, leaving him free to
determine the rendering of the subject, the size of the monument, the
materials to be employed, and choice of the site, and all other matters,
except, naturally, as to price and time,--which latter could be but
short, owing to the two years that had passed in competitions! The
choice fell on me, who was a thousand miles away from thinking of such a
thing. However, before saying a word to me, and much less, writing to
me, I was interrogated by a most estimable person if I would accept that
work, and I answered at once that I would not: in the first place,
because the subject was a difficult one, on account of its purely
political significance,--so extraneous, not to say tiresome, to my
nature and studies; in the second place, because, having been one of the
judges on that commission, it did not seem delicate to accept it; and
finally, because I thought Vela's design most praiseworthy. But neither
my refusal nor the reasons I put forth availed to alter the resolution
they had now taken to make me accept the work, which, for the matter of
that, if it presented great difficulties, and even rather rough ones, in
the rendering of its great conception, yet offered a most rare
opportunity, that would have flattered many other artists of more
ambitious hope than I, who have always been temperate. With all this,
however, I should always have replied in the negative, had not a gentle
and most noble lady begged me to accept, touching on certain family
affections that have always found in me an echo of assent.


I accepted this commission, therefore, not blinding myself to the great
difficulties that I was going to encounter, or the many little
annoyances that I should undergo on account of the disappointed hopes of
those who had competed for the work. I saw and felt all the seriousness
of my undertaking, and thought of nothing else but carrying it out most
conscientiously. I asked for eight years' time, which will not appear
much, to execute the work; but I was begged to be satisfied with six,
and I wrote my adhesion, still declaring in the contract that it would
be impossible for me to complete it in that short time. Although I
worked with all possible energy, and provided myself with additional
workmen besides my own usual ones, yet the monument could not be
finished and put in its place until after the eight years that I had
asked for.


My composition of the architectural part of the monument was a
quadrangular base, with two spherical bodies on each side, whereon
reposed another base, with the corners cut off, that sustained the
principal group of Italy and Cavour. In front, on the lower base, is the
half-reclining figure representing Right in the act of rising, who leans
with the right hand on a broken yoke, and clenches the left on his
breast in a menacing attitude. His head and back are covered by a lion's
skin, signifying that right is strength. Opposite is Duty, in a quiet
attitude of repose. His head is crowned by a wreath of olives,
signifying that in the fulfilment of duty peace is to be found; his
right elbow rests on a block, where, on the two sides exposed to view,
are sculptured in bas-relief the two extremes of human activity. On one
of these there is a king distributing a crown and prizes to a virtuous
man, whilst behind him there is a chained delinquent undergoing his
penalty; and on the other there is a husbandman ploughing the ground. On
the two lateral sides there are two groups. That on the right is of
Politics, with two little genii, Revolution and Diplomacy. Politics is
seated, but alert, and almost in the act of rising: her head is turned
to the little genius of Diplomacy, who has unfolded the treaties of
1815, and is gravely showing it to her with his right hand, whilst with
his left he hides behind him a sword and olive-branch, demonstrating
that he brings with him either war or peace. The other little genius of
Revolution, in the act of wishing to dash forward, is held back by
Politics, who keeps her eyes on him, and, with a caressing expression,
tries to temper his ardour; one of his feet rests on a fragment of
medieval architecture, and he holds in his right hand a brand, the
symbol of destruction. The group on the left is of Independence, tightly
clasping in her embrace the little genius of the Provinces, at whose
feet still lies a link of his chain of captivity. Independence has Roman
sandals on her feet, and a warrior's helmet on her head; her right arm
is uplifted, and she holds a broken chain in her hand, in the act of
dashing it from her. The other genius is that of Unity, crowned by an
oak-wreath; he holds the fasces, to show that union is strength. The
principal group stands up on the top, and represents Cavour, wrapped in
his funereal mantle. Italy, at his side, in the act of rising from her
prostration, is offering him the civic crown, with expressions of
gratitude, more decidedly expressed by her left arm, by which she holds
her great politician tenderly around the waist; whilst he, with kindly
act, shows the people a chart, on which is written his famous formula,
"_Libera Chiesa in libero Stato_," or free Church in free State. On the
two façades of the great base are two bas-reliefs in bronze. In one of
these is portrayed the return from the Crimea of the Sardinian troops,
who, by Cavour's advice, took part, in union with France and England, in
the war against Russia, to put a check to the ambitious designs of that
Power in the East. The other bas-relief represents the Congress of
Paris, where for the first time, on account of Cavour, Italy's voice was
listened to.


The architectural part is made in rose granite of Baveno; the
ornaments--that is to say, the arms, cornices, and trophies--and the
statues are in clear white marble of Canal Grande, which withstands all
attacks of weather. The entire monument is elevated on three steps, and
surrounded by a garden enclosed by railing.

The inscriptions are: On the front, "To Cammillo Cavour, born in Turin
the 10th of August 1810, died the 6th of June 1861." On the side over
the Politics, "_Audace prudente_;" over the Independence, "_L'Italia
libero_;" and behind, "_Gli Italiani, auspice Torino_." These
inscriptions are by Professor Michele Coppino.



I should now feel inclined to speak at length of the troubles, the
thoughts, and of the opposition that I had to encounter during eight
years, the grimaces and the miserable enmities of fickle, unstable
friends and ungenerous enemies; but I must keep silent, as I have been
thus far on all such matters, because my intentions and my works being
known to all, others may judge them. Then I also remember a wise warning
that was given me when I was quite little, which is never to satisfy any
desire or impulse to give vent to personal resentment, and I have always
found myself the better for it. In such cases, silence has two
advantages,--that of leaving one's own soul at peace, and of not
satisfying those who would take pleasure in hearing us complain.

Only on one thing I will not be silent, because this does not concern
me, but is a principle in art. I was reproved for having used
allegorical figures in Cavour's monument, it being asserted that as the
subject was entirely a modern one, and could not bear allegory, it was
inopportune and improper. To which I answered, that when the subject
permitted, it was well not to think even of allegories. If they had said
to me, "A memorial of Count Cavour is wanted, make us a statue," nothing
would have been easier. A portrait-statue dressed in the clothes he
wore, one or two bas-reliefs on the base, and a brief inscription, would
have been enough; and, I repeat, nothing would have been easier. It was
not this, however, that the commission required for Cavour's monument.
The commission desired that the whole of his character and intentions,
the tenacity of his will, the greatness of his propositions, and the
benefits obtained therefrom, should be portrayed. Now, how to explain
this with real historical figures, or, as they say, in living art? As if
a complex idea expressed by one or more figures, as is the case with
allegory, is dead art! Oh, do me the famous pleasure, you irritating
æsthetics, to go and prattle to babes! But don't speak to them of
Phidias, Zeuxis, Alcamenes, and others, of that dead art that is now
more alive than it ever was; nor of Giotto, nor of Giovanni and Andrea
Pisani, nor of Raphael, nor of Michael Angelo, and many more, for they
might find you out in your error. I repeat, this does not concern me or
my work in the least, but it bears on a principle, and is a question
that has been many times ventilated and resolved by the best thinkers in
the way of argument, and by artists, who were not blockheads, in their


From the noble Signora Augusta Albertini of Verona, through my friend
Aleardo Aleardi, I had an order for a monument to her family, an
extremely painful subject. The Signora Albertini had lost, one by one,
all her family--father, mother, brothers, sisters, all--and she had
alone survived; alone, but with the bitterly sweet memory of those she
had loved so much, and the desire to erect a monument to them. Some time
before, she had given the commission to a young Veronese sculptor of
great promise, Torquato della Torre, and they tell me that he had
already made a sketch; but shortly after, the young sculptor died, and
after a long time had gone by I undertook to make this monument. Here is
the description of it. On a quadrangular conical base there is placed a
group consisting of the Angel of Death seated, and prostrated at his
feet the only survivor of the family, waiting, as it were, after the
havoc made by that angel in her family, for her turn to fall a victim.
The angel, seated on a fragment of an antique frieze, to denote that he
is superior to time and the pomps of humanity, is crowned with cypress,
and has a pained expression, as if he deplored the office that Divine
Justice had ordered him to fulfil; the exterminating sword is still in
his hand, but the point is lowered. On the base is a bas-relief
representing the dead members of that family; and as they died at brief
intervals the one from the other, as if Death had blown them down with
her breath as the wind overthrows the trees in the country, so they are
laid out, shoulder to shoulder, by each other. A little angel hovers in
the air near them with hands clasped in prayer, and in the background,
on the horizon line, one perceives Verona. The bas-relief is in bronze,
and its colours add seriousness and sadness to the scene. On the sides,
and again in bronze, are sculptured two wreaths of cypress, so that this
first base on the plinth seems as if it were entirely made of bronze;
the upper part, on which the inscription is engraved and the group
stands, is in granite. This monument is at the end of the first nave on
the right in the cemetery at Verona.


I said in the beginning of these memoirs, that I wrote not only for
young artists desirous of knowing something of my life, my works, and
the principles that have been my guide in art and my intercourse with my
fellow-beings, but also to leave to my family a remembrance of my
feeling and affection for them. And now that it behoves me to speak of
one of our greatest sorrows--that is, of the loss of my most beloved
daughter Luisina--I know that I am doing what my dear ones desire,
however sad it may be; therefore I warn those not caring for this theme
to pass on.


I would that I could divest myself of all my defects to speak of Gigina.
I would that this page which I consecrate to her memory breathed a
little of the sweetly chaste love that showed itself in every act, every
word, and every look of hers. I would that I could simplify my style,
temper and purify my words, that they might sound sadly sweet, pure, and
serene, as were her words, her looks, and her mind. But I greatly fear
that I shall not succeed in giving even a feeble idea of that dear
child; I fear, because purity and chastity of imagery and simplicity of
words have in some measure vanished with my youth and ambition--the
passion and love for renown have perhaps clouded the clearness of mind
wherein was reflected the true and the good. I shall also not succeed,
because the innate beauty of that sweet creature was not fully revealed
to me, for the confidence existing between a daughter and her father is
always modified by respect; and so it is bereft of those intimate and
delicate traits which are its sweetest perfume. My family will read
these words on our beloved Luisina, and supply with their loving memory
where I fail in my littleness. My son-in-law, Antonino, wrote of her
with the intelligence of love; and several of my friends in condoling
with me rendered her image more beautiful and more amiable. Yet
notwithstanding all this, I feel a desire to return to that dear little
angel, were it for nothing else but to rejuvenate and sanctify that


From her early girlhood my Luisina was as vivacious and playful with her
little sisters and with her mother as they would allow her to be; with
me she was more serious, and sometimes even sad, perhaps because she saw
that I was serious, and because at that time my health was not good. As
she grew older she was more confiding in me, and displayed great love
for her mother and sisters. She took pleasure in helping them with such
little household affairs as no one else could or can do. She also drew,
seeing her sisters draw, and could draw from memory faces and persons of
our acquaintance. I have also amongst her papers extracts copied by her
from books that had pleased her. She loved flowers, and in the morning,
together with her sisters, she gathered them in the garden of our villa,
and, making bunches of them, placed them on the altar in the little
chapel. Those days were delicious ones, but they were brief! There is no
happiness on earth, or it lasts but a very little while. True it is that
memory remains to make us taste of a bitterness mingled somewhat with a
sweet sadness, because the dear person taken from us lives again in our
mind and responds to the beating of our heart. We remember the
movements, the modest look, the words, the gentle affections, and all
the virtues by which she was adorned, rendered still more visible and
clear without the encumbrance of the body, by whose veil the light was
subdued. And then--then there remains for us that sweet, most consoling
hope of seeing her again for evermore, leaning on that faith that "is
the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


O my good Gigina, my beloved little angel! I remember all that relates
to thee--thy obedience, thy affection, thy anxious delicate care of us,
our walks on the delightful Fiesole hill so dear to thee, almost a
presage that the body should one day have rest there, and now the little
chapel in the cemetery there contains also that of thy dear, tired, and
martyred mother! Oh if I had strength equal to love, I would also write
of her! I shall do so in time, but now I return to thee. The remembrance
of that morning lies buried in my heart; it was in June 1872, two days
before thy _fête_ day, San Luigi. For several days thou hadst felt ill,
and could not dissimulate as in the past. That morning, before going
down into Florence, I went into thy room, and seeing that thou wast
determined to get up, I ordered thee to remain in bed; thou wast
obedient as always, my angel, but wept, because wanting, as I afterwards
knew, to be up on thy festal day. The illness was felt by thee, but with
hope to overcome it, at least for two days, resigning thyself to all
suffering thereafter. Thou didst obey, but weeping. Perhaps this
aggravated thy disease. This is the thorn I bear within my heart.

As soon as Bendini, the medical man from Fiesole, saw her, he thought
her case most grave, and wished to consult her own doctor, Dr Alberti,
who had treated her at other times. I went at once to beg him to come,
and brought him back with me, as he has always had great kindness and
friendship for us, and from that day he always saw her in company with
Bendini. But the disease increased more and more, and she already
breathed with difficulty, but preserved in her thoughts and words
serenity and resignation. Then began those most painful alternations of
disease--a little better and then a little worse--and always the same
story over and over again. There is no pain more cruel and stinging
than the delusion of a hoped-for good; the heart that opens anxiously to
hope is as if crushed and torn from one's breast by implacable delusion.
He who has experienced these painful alternations knows that they are
more cruel than even death itself. O Great God of Israel, sustainer of
all faithful souls, look down upon the affliction of Thy servant! oh
assist him in all things to come! This affliction that came to us by
God's will broke down my pride, and spread over my family a veil of
sadness; it gave a shock to my beloved Marina's health, and perhaps
accelerated her death.


Luisina expired in the first morning hours of the day of the Ascension
of the Most Holy Mary. She had, whilst living, the semblance, the
thoughts, and the affections of an angel; and she seemed to fall asleep
in the Virgin's arms, and fly away with her to heaven. In this belief I
find comfort and a sweet peace that not only compensates for her loss,
but even more, makes me taste of so pure a pleasure that no words could
express and no worldly care could disturb. Her body rests in our chapel
in the new cemetery at Fiesole, and there my daughter Amalia has erected
a little monument to her. The sepulchral urn is placed in a niche with a
flat background, and on it lies sculptured the dear child in peaceful
slumber, holding the crucifix in her right hand. Everybody could see,
and none better than I, how much poor Amalia suffered in completing this
sorrowful work. I attempted to dissuade her from this most painful duty
she had imposed upon herself, but the strong affection for her dead
sister suggested perhaps to her that in offering this tribute of sister
and artist the pain would be somewhat softened.

I know that this remembrance, and the thoughts that have dictated it,
may make some smile; but in time they will think better of it, and will
know that sadness is worth more than laughter, for the heart becomes
better for the sadness in the face. And with this I have finished
talking of my Gigina, keeping her memory always in my heart.

[Sidenote: 50,000 LIRE IS STOLEN FROM ME.]

To narrate the death of my Luisina, I have omitted a circumstance, and
not a trifling one in my life--that of the theft that occurred to me of
fifty thousand _lire_. I hasten to declare that until that day (it was
in 1866) I never had been the possessor of such a sum, and as soon as I
was, it was stolen from me. This is how I came into possession of the
money, why I kept it intact, and how it was stolen from me. I had only
begun on Cavour's monument a short time before, and in accordance with
the form of the contract, had received the first remittance of fifty
thousand _lire_. At the same time, I was arranging to buy a house in the
Via Pinti that I thought I should be able to adapt and make into a
spacious studio, such as was necessary for me in modelling the colossal
figures for the monument. As the sale of the house was to take place
from day to day, I was persuaded also, by the advice of my lawyer, not
to employ this money in any way, so as to have it ready to give in
payment for it. And as I had kept the little sums of money that I had
had in hand up to that time in a secret drawer of the closet in my own
room in the studio, I placed this also there.

At this time I was working on the marble of a statue, the "Tired
Bacchante," which had been bought by the King of Portugal. I had a young
Roman girl as a model, and she came accompanied by her mother. This
woman also had a son (so, at least, it was said; then it was no longer
so; in fact, there was some mystery that I don't remember, because
naturally such things were of no importance to me). The boy came also
for a model, and appeared to be a good fellow, as well as the girl.


One morning (I was still in bed, but about to get up) my poor wife came
into the room and said--

"Here is Bardi, who wants to speak to you."

"What can he have to say to me? Does he not know that in half an hour I
shall be at the studio? He could wait. Let us hear what is the matter."

Bardi was one of my studio men, the rougher-out, whom I had brought up
from a boy, and he had been with me twenty-three years. He was a thin,
white-looking man, with a black beard, and dark lines under his eyes in
his normal condition. That morning, as soon as I saw him, he really
frightened me, for he looked absolutely like a dead man, or as Dante
says, _cosa rimorta_. He took me aside, that my wife should not hear,
and he told me that he had found the door of my room open, and having
waited and listened awhile to ascertain if by chance I had arrived
before him and was inside, but not hearing a sound after having called
me, he entered the room and saw the closet open, the drawers on the
ground, and the papers scattered about. He asked me anxiously if I kept
anything of value there.

"All, my dear Bardi! all that I possessed in money was there." And
having almost no breath for words, I went out with him, rushing through
the street. It is easier imagined than told how I felt on seeing all the
drawers upset and empty, and the papers and thousand little objects they
contained scattered about the ground. All the men of my studio gathered
about me, and pitied me without even suspecting that it was a matter of
such a sum of money. My good friend Cavaliere Raffaello Borri, being
told what had occurred, came to me at once, and with rare generosity
offered me his purse and his credit, and accompanied me home, with my
heart full of anguish to be obliged to give this news to my poor wife.
My friends rivalled each other in consoling me, some with offerings and
some with affectionate words; and I can never forget the charitable
proposition made by Monsignore the Archbishop Giovacchino Limberti, to
collect a certain sum for my benefit amongst those who were best able to
give, and who knew me and loved me. All these I truly thanked from the
bottom of my heart, saying that for the moment I was not in straitened
circumstances, and if I was no longer in possession of that money--for
which, thank God, I was not in debt--yet it was not lawful for me to
accept help of any kind, for in substance I could not call myself
strictly in need, and I remembered in the past having really been poor
and not having accepted or asked for anything, because my principle is
that every one ought to be sufficient for himself.


How the thieves were discovered, how some escaped from justice, how one
was taken and condemned, and how, finally, part of the money stolen was
saved, the sum of 12,400 _lire_ returned to me, besides the gold medal
that I had obtained at the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1855, and
which was shut up in the same place with the stolen money,--all this
appears in the judiciary chronicle of that time. Nor do I feel inclined
to mix in such mire, and the reader could not follow me without disgust.
It was well that in the part of the theft recovered my Paris medal was
found, not only because by this the reality of the robbery committed on
me was proved and the restitution instantly made, but still more because
it silenced some, I don't know how to qualify them, who seemed to doubt
the misfortune that had befallen me, as if almost I had invented it--as
if I had been a vulgar impostor, and had invented this fable to avoid
payment ... of what? I had never had debts before that time, then, or
since; and that I had no engagements to meet is proved by the refusal I
made to those who so kindly and willingly offered to come to my aid.


But yes, once I had a debt, but merely by chance, or I had better say by
forgetfulness. When this happened I was very young--at the beginning of
my artistic career, if I mistake not. Then I was making the "Cain." In
order to put it into marble I went to Carrara, found the block that
suited me, and said that I would pay for it when the marble itself
arrived. The trader answered, "All right! I shall send the marble at
once; and as to the payment, I shall draw out a promissory-note for the
first of the month." I had before me some twenty days' time. My mind
being entirely possessed by the marble, I took no note of the day when
the money became due. I knew that I had to pay, but the date escaped me,
and one fine day I suddenly beheld before me a man from a bank, who came
to receive the money that I had not got in full. I stammered out
something, as a man might do about to be hanged. "Oh, don't hurry
yourself much," said the man; "suit your own convenience--I will return
later; there is time until three," and he went away. How I felt can
easily be imagined by those who know me. I became whiter and harder than
the marble that I had then before me on the ground. I must find there
and then, in the beat of a drum, the three or four hundred _scudi_ that
were wanting; and where to find them, I, who had never before asked for
anything in loan? A good inspiration came to me. "Yes," said I, "Sor
Emanuele can do me this favour;" and putting on my coat, I ran into the
square to the Fenzi bank. Sor Emanuele was there at the back in his
study, and you could see through the open glass door that fine jovial
witty face of his.


When he saw me he exclaimed, "How are you?"

"Sor Emanuele, this and this is the matter," and I told him everything.

He gave me a slightly frowning look, and then burst into a fit of
laughter that made his subalterns who were behind turn round, and he
said, "Look here, we will do so;" he tore off a cheque, wrote the sum on
it, and continuing to laugh, added, "Pass on there to Bosi and give him
this; and _au revoir_ until this evening" (I used to frequent his
house); but when he had turned he called me back again and said:
"Listen--I want to give you a counsel. You must never again sign any
promissory-notes if you can help it; or if you do, make a note of them
and look at it every day,"--and he began again to write, smiling to

Will you believe it, Sor reader, I have never again signed any bills,
although more than thirty-six years have gone by? Yet (to return to the
robbery), amongst those who doubted my misfortune there was a colleague
of mine, who, listening that day with an incredulous air to the account
of what had occurred, and hearing that the sum in question was fifty
thousand _lire_, with a smile on his lips and bad feeling at heart, came
out with these words--

"Fifty thousand _lire_! that is rather too much!"

This colleague of mine was not the only one, nor one of the worst. Some
few years ago a little thing happened which shows the uprightness and
generosity of another of my colleagues!



Cavaliere Nicolô Puccini, in dying at Pistoia, left orders in his will
that a statue of Cardinal Forteguerri should be made and placed in the
Piazza del Duomo of that city. Cavaliere Puccini's idea was, as every
one can see, a wise and generous one, and belied reports, which made him
out odd and unfriendly to the priests. This statue was to be assigned by
competition, and with the obligation of presenting a model in plaster
representing the Cardinal in his robes, with the insignia of his office,
and the size of life. It is evident to all that this obligation was a
serious one, and would cause many to withdraw from the competition, as
really happened. One person, however, went in for the competition, and
this was Signor Cesare Sighinolfi of Modena, who, having left my
teaching but a short time before, set himself to model this statue in
too trivial a way--without a model, without the necessary robes, and
without even caring a pin as regards asking me anything concerning the
composition, or the requisite means for not making a jackanapes instead
of a cardinal! Vivacious and careless as he was then, he had the
pretension of being able to model a cardinal's statue life-size by only
consulting some prints or pictures of cardinals, and the result was--as
it should have been--that the statue was a very bad one. An article in
the programme for this competition provided that the adjudication of the
prize should be given by the Florentine Academy. I was not present at
the meeting, to avoid giving a vote against it, as I was not unaware how
the work had turned out. The poor statue, therefore, was judged and
condemned without mercy. Then, after the first ebullition of juvenile
impetuosity that had made him run on so foolishly was over, he returned
to his senses, remembered me, and as at the same time though he had so
much youthful light-heartedness, he had also a certain tenacity of will
and self-love that had been wounded by the rejection of his work, he ran
to me and entreated me to intercede with the commission that organised the
competition, and obtain for him the concession of another trial. I
willingly agreed to do so, seeing the despair he was in, and
appreciating the no small amount of courage required to recommence from
the very beginning a difficult, expensive, and uncertain work; but I had
to say to him, "... that is, if you are only in time, because the
commission having just fulfilled its duty, and the competition turned
out null, is now free to give the statue to whomsoever it likes without
the obligation of competition." It was therefore necessary to make an
appeal to the commission to obtain its consent that another competition
should be opened, and this was done by Sighinolfi, accompanied by a
recommendation from me; and that it should have more value, and the
second trial be conceded, I advised Sighinolfi to have this appeal
signed by all my other colleagues. He did so, and hurried by rail to
Pistoia to present his request to the commission; but what was his
surprise when, on his arrival there, and just as he was going up the
stairs to present his paper to the secretary of the commission, he saw
coming down one of the professors who had backed and signed his appeal!
The poor youth divined all, but still wished to make the attempt; and he
did well to do so,--in fact the secretary in the most polite manner
tried to persuade the young artist that now there was no longer time,
that the competition had resulted in nothing, and that another trial
would only draw things out to too great a length; and finally, that as
an offer had just been made to the commission in shape of a request for
this work whereby its own responsibility was covered, so that it would
come out of the affair with honour, he thought the commission would not
accord the petition, but that he would take it, and officially present
it, so as to give it its due course. As soon, however, as that excellent
gentleman had set his eyes on the paper, and had seen the recommendation
and signature of the same individual that only a short time before had
made a request for the work for himself, he was so filled with
indignation that, turning to Sighinolfi, he said--


"Go back to Florence, make another trial, and as you are recommended by
Professor Duprè, he will assist you, and the commission will trust, I am
certain, to the words and help of your master."

These, or words to the same effect, were reported to me by Sighinolfi on
his return, and I saw myself doubly pledged that the young man should
really this time succeed.

Here I am met by a reflection. Was it not perhaps quite lawful for an
artist to present himself and ask to have that work to do himself,
which, by reason of an unsuccessful competition, any one was free to ask
for and obtain? Lawful it certainly would have been for any one who had
not recommended the young man for a second trial, but certainly it was
not praiseworthy in one who had made this recommendation; so, at least,
it seems to me.


Therefore, as matters stood thus, I thought it my duty to advise and
direct the youth to follow a sure road, and the only good one by which
to come safely into port. And, satisfying myself first as to his firm
will to do all and follow in everything what I advised, I ordered him to
make a small sketch, enough to get lines grateful to the eye. Then,
remembering the kindness that Cardinal Corsi, Archbishop of Pisa, had
always shown me, I wrote him a letter nearly in the following terms:
"Eminence,--Signor Cesare Sighinolfi, my scholar, is the person who
presents this letter to you. He has to make the statue of Cardinal
Forteguerri for Pistoia, but could not possibly make anything good
without having the robes appropriate to that high office. See,
_Eminenza_, if it would be possible for him to obtain them from you--as,
for instance, if your Eminence had a robe, even a worn-out one, that you
could let him have for a short time--you would be doing a great act of
charity; for I repeat, without this neither he nor any one else could
succeed in doing anything. I am here to guarantee that the sculptor will
take the greatest care of it, and return it as soon as possible," &c.,
&c. Sighinolfi, although he is not, I believe, one of those many
would-be devourers of priests, yet was, and still is, a most decided
Liberal, and the dignity and the face of a cardinal must have had the
same effect upon him as coming in contact with a most antipathetic
person would have upon you or me. But, as the proverb says, one must
make of necessity a virtue, and having crossed himself, he presented
himself before his Eminence. Great was his surprise to find that prelate
most jovial and pleasant, and quite ready to grant his request; and that
worthy man pushed courtesy and amiability to the extent of making him
sit down at the table while he was taking his breakfast. It is as true
as the Gospel that I have seen some democrats more aristocratic than his
Eminence Corsi. He then called his secretary, Codibò, and told him to
have a whole suit of his best clothes, from the hat to the shoes, given
to Sighinolfi, and dismissed him with kindness. I don't know if
Sighinolfi offered to kiss his hand; but even if he had, it would have
been the same thing, for Corsi would not have allowed him to kiss it, as
I well know, for he would never allow me to do so.


With this precious bundle of cardinal's clothes he was able to dress
one of our models, who, although somewhat ridiculous, lent himself
admirably to being dressed in that way; and this is the only means of
doing serious work. The model was made under my direction, and exhibited
to be judged by the Academy, and declared worthy of being executed in
marble. So ended the difficulties arising from the light-headedness of a
young artist, and made still harder by the intervention of an artist who
was neither generous nor just.



It is now necessary for me to speak of the Universal Exhibition at Paris
in 1867; but first, I wish frankly to give my opinion on the utility or
non-utility of such exhibitions, monstrous agglomerations of
manufactures, machinery, raw material, food, liquid for drink, sacred
utensils, machines for war, &c., all exposed by the different nations of
the world at the same time and in the same place. It has been said that
this serves to create rivalry and emulation in the people of the
different civilised nations, by placing their industries in contact with
each other, to be judged by special men named for the purpose to give
them their merited reward. The idea seems to be a fine one; in fact, it
is so much too fine that the excess deforms it. On the contrary, I
believe that all this assemblage of things in an immense edifice, with
thousands and thousands of visitors, on one of the pleasantest and most
smiling sites, in the most beautiful part of the year, in one of the
great metropolises of the world, answers admirably to the economical and
political aims of the State that assembles the exhibition; gives an
opportunity to travellers and exposers to see, to divert and enjoy
themselves, and make acquaintances, sometimes good, but oftener bad;
brings money into the pockets of intriguers and swindlers in proportion
to their dexterity, and gives or increases the renown of Tizio or Caio,
to the detriment of Sempronio, in the opinion of some with justice, and
in the opinion of others with great injustice. But who has the rights of
it? The rights of it are at the bottom of a well, and need the
grappling-irons of time to drag them out.


I should believe in the utility of these world exhibitions if
they were by sections--industries, manufactures, machinery, and
agriculture--everything separate; and separated always absolutely from
all the rest, in time and in place, the Fine Arts, to which I should
wish to see prizes awarded, not by a medal, but rather by the purchase
of the work itself, or if this be already disposed of, by the commission
for another.

It may be somewhat useful to artists to see the works of others, their
variety, and the different modes of feeling and seeing of their authors;
it may infuse into them new life, new strength, and stimulate them to
search within themselves for what they find in the works of others: but
if this examination, this comparison, this stimulating fever be of
assistance to some, to the greater number it is a stumbling-block, and
the cause of their going astray. It is useless to have any illusion. The
greater number of young artists allow themselves to be taken by the bait
of novelty, only because it is novelty, without being able to discern
the hidden reasons for which good sense and experience concede or deny
merit to such novelty. To but few belongs the power of examination and
criticism,--to them alone who, having by nature the sentiment and cult
of art, exercise themselves by constantly holding up the mirror before
it; for they find in it always something new and varied, and on this
very account do not ignore the reasons and laws that willingly give
consent to these varieties and novelties. But the others allow
themselves to be dazzled, and accept the novelty whatever it may be,
choosing by preference the strangest and most unusual, which for that
very reason is sure to be the least true; and so they fall into double
error--into imitation which lands one in mediocrity, and into oddity
which has affinity with error. As with both--that is to say, amongst
those who do not depreciate novelty, and amongst the others that are
seduced by the false attractions of mere novelty--there are some who are
capable of appreciating the good only so far as the means for being able
to manifest it is made apparent to them. To these, great exhibitions are
of use; but to the first named they are not of use, as they have no need
of them--and to the others even less so, for to them they can do harm.


When, now many years ago, Vela and others of the Milanese school taught
a new and totally different way of looking at and treating drapery,
flesh, and more especially hair, they would never have believed, I
think, that their imitators would have gone to such lengths, and have so
exaggerated that method as to have rendered it supremely false,
ridiculous, and incomprehensible. In fact, things have got to such a
pass to-day that hair looks like anything but hair--more like
stalactites or beehives, salad or whipped cream; and this last the hair
made by some of the imitators and exaggerators of that peculiar way of
seeing nature particularly resembles. At the great exhibition at Paris
one saw both master and scholars; or it would be better to say, the
initiator and the imitators. Vela with his sobriety of purpose, full of
life, here and there with rough-and-ready touches as art and taste
counsel, and nature and harmony teach--the others, with little taste,
great self-reliance, and equal audacity, striving their best to muddle
up everything together in a topsy-turvy fashion. Taste, which is an
individual sentiment, was reduced to a system, or rather a manner;
sobriety was transformed into hardness, and a studied neglect of certain
parts, exchanged for a systematic and excessive carelessness; and on the
contrary, as if in contrast, an affected imitation of little folds,
bands, lace, and polished beads and necklaces, the delight and
admiration of women and children, little and big.


At the exhibition in Paris, amongst the fops and the milliners this
alluring kind of work was received with enthusiasm, because a novelty
always makes a greater impression on the frivolous; but serious people
of good taste, as well as the judges, did not allow themselves to be
attracted by such superficiality. It is true, however, that they were
too severe with works of merit, and if it had not been that the limited
number of prizes prevented them from being more liberal, the jury that I
belonged to would have been to blame. But it is not requisite for me to
repeat here what I said on sculpture, and what I wrote officially on
that exhibition.

I became acquainted at that time with the best French artists, and they
showed me almost brotherly kindness. I sat at their meetings at the
Academy, of which I had been a member since 1863, and was afterwards
raised to the rank of corresponding member, which is the highest honour
the Academy can confer. Although unworthy to do so, I had Giovacchino
Rossini's seat.


Rossini's house was the genial meeting-place of all there was of most
distinguished then in Paris, not only of the musical class, but of the
artistic and literary. He had music, and often sat down to the piano and
accompanied his inedited songs. I remember two of singular beauty; one
most sad in subject, words, and notes, of a father from whom his little
son had been stolen. It was a lament, refined, delicate, and touching,
and at the end of every verse came the _ritornello--"Chi l'avesse
trovato il mio piccino!_" The words, I was told, were by Castellani of
Rome. The other song was brilliant, strong, thrilling. It was an
outburst of love, where a Tyrolese _jodel_ was interpolated and sung by
that brilliant imaginative genius Gustave Doré. Here one met with choice
conversation, fruitful, instructive, amiable, and vivacious, from which
one came forth with the mind more elevated and a greater warmth at
heart; but....

To that exhibition I sent a plaster cast of my bas-relief representing
the "Triumph of the Cross," the marble group of the "Pietà," and the
model for the base of the Egyptian Vase. For these works the great medal
of honour was conferred upon me. In painting, Professor Ussi had the
same great medal for his picture "La Cacciata del Duca d'Atene."
Domenico Morelli for his "Torquato Tasso," and Vincenzo Vela for his
"Dying Napoleon," obtained the first-class gold medal, but they also
deserved to have had the great medal.

A fine genius is Domenico Morelli, as well as a loyal and generous
friend, for he greatly rejoiced when Ussi obtained the great prize for
Italian painting; and I remember that he said, "As long as there is the
great prize, be it awarded to myself, Ussi, or any one else, it is of
small consequence as long as Italy does not fall behind. Long live Art
and Italy!"


For the matter of that, one art (I speak of painting) was most worthily
represented, and brought forward a virgin element--subject to discussion
and confirmation, it is true, yet fruitful of good result, such as
recalling art to its fundamental principle, which is the imitation of
nature, and relieving young men from the conventional trammels learnt on
the benches of the Academy (I wish I could say learnt in the past),
making them breathe a more ventilated, healthy air, placing before their
eyes that infinite variety and beauty of which nature is composed in all
its parts, in all its effects, and in all its forms--in the heavens, in
the sea, on the hills, in the plains, in the forests, in the animals and
in men--and every one of these things always varying according to light,
according to the quietness or the emotions of nature, according to
temperament, to the habits of animals and men; all of which things are
so well taught by nature to those holding a constant firm will to study
her. This element, I say, appeared with but slight deviations at the
world's exhibition in Paris, and did good. It rejuvenated art, and
lifted it out of some conventionalities, whilst it placed others in bad
repute. But enough of this for the present; let us speak of something


One of the reasons that spurred me on to write these memoirs is this:
Allowing that my works may with time not be entirely forgotten, I have
wished to register them all in this book, that it should not occur after
a certain time that some copy, some imitation, or unknown piece of
sculpture, more or less praiseworthy than mine, should be attributed to
me. For this reason, from the first I have mentioned even such works as
are of no great size and importance, and will continue to do so,
excluding, be it understood, reproduction, which would carry me to too
great lengths. The Signora Maria Galeotti, _nata_ Petrovitz, ordered
from me a life-size group of her grandchildren, sons of Prince Trabia.
This group reminds me of that most unfortunate robbery that I have
spoken of further back, and this is why I am reminded of it. In the
closet where I kept the money shut up that was stolen from me, there was
a little of everything, papers, designs, tools, books, medals, and
various little trinkets, that were respected--that is, not taken away,
for they were scattered about on the floor. In this closet I also kept
my clothes; and for convenience, or out of carelessness, amongst other
things I had left a straw hat there. This straw hat of mine the thieves
had put on the head of one of the little ones in the Trabia group, and
it would have been really ridiculous to see the statuette of that little
boy with my great straw hat hiding half of his head, had it only been at
another time, because even now (and a good many years have passed), only
to think of it--no, indeed, it does not make me laugh! And to think that
of those gentlemen thieves, for there were several, some escaped the
claws of justice, and some must have come out of "college" by this time,
and if by chance they meet me, may smile to themselves under their
beards at my simplicity. So goes the world; it is so fashioned, and has
always been the same, even from the so-called prehistoric ages, and no
instruction, either more or less obligatory, will change it one atom. As
for me, when I am Minister of "Justice and Mercy" (devil take it, why
not?) I will have engraved upon all the corners where one now reads
"Stick no bills," the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal; or if
so, the whip will be administered and plenty of it;" and to my
colleagues in favour of progress who rise up in arms against me I will
answer: "A little luxury as regards the whip, my good gentlemen, will
bring about great economy as regards the prisons and domiciliary
compulsion, and what is more, will bring about a considerable rise in
the funds--of public security. But it is said the lash degrades
humanity. Perhaps it is degraded less by theft? In times not very
remote, theft was punished much more severely even when it was not a
very grave matter; but if it was grave and accompanied by the breaking
open of drawers, the thieves were hanged outright. Certainly this
punishment was excessive, Draconian, and in a word barbarous; and yet,
in those days Arnolfo built, Giotto painted, and Dante wrote his
immortal poem. Be it as it may, this is most certain, that thieves were
then conspicuous by their very scarcity, whereas to-day they shine by
their frequency; and _vice versâ_, Arnolfo, Giotto, and Dante then
existed, _e questo è quanto_, as Marchese Colombi would say."


Count Antonio Pallavicini, a man cut out after the old-fashioned
stamp,--one of the few who in their hearts keep to the religion of
gratitude and affectionate remembrance of their dear relations,--gave me
the order for a statue of his grandfather, Marshal Pallavicini, who was
in the Austrian service under the reign of Maria Teresa. The Count told
me an anecdote of this excellent grandfather that I wish to repeat, so
that one may see how, though in a foreign service, the heart--I will not
say of an Italian, for Italy was hardly spoken of then, but--of a
Genoese and good republican beat. Here it is: The Republic of Genoa--I
know not on what question with Austria--had become discontented, and
threatened to resist by force the pretension of that powerful Empress,
who, either because she was by nature careless and unmindful of public
virtue, or because she thought of obtaining a better result, decreed
that Marshal Pallavicini should move at the head of an army to put down
Genoese arrogance. But this brave soldier--this worthy patriot--on
coming into the presence of the sovereign, took off his sword, and
placing it on the table, said with calm dignity--


"Your Majesty, it is impossible for me, a Genoese, to make war against
my own country; and I therefore to-day give up this sword that I have so
often used in the defence of your empire, that it may not be stained by
the blood of my brothers." At which the Empress smilingly answered--

"Take back your sword, that is so well suited to you, and that you use
so valorously; and as your service is denied us in reducing to obedience
your dear but obstinate brothers, be at least our envoy to arrange the
difficulties and treat of peace." And peace was concluded.

It must be agreed that the subject was a fine one and a worthy one, and
the statue was made and placed in the cemetery of the Certosa at
Bologna; but the above-mentioned anecdote, that I would have so
willingly treated in bas-relief as portraying vividly the character of
this personage, was not given me to carry out, because the base was
entirely occupied by long Latin inscriptions that the Count would at all
costs have engraved upon it, to set forth the whole family history, and
the reasons for his gratitude and the erection of the monument.

About that time I had to make a little monumental memorial of Frate
Girolamo Savonarola. The reason for my having this order was this,--that
in Germany--I do not remember in what town--a monument had been put up
to Luther, and one of the figures that adorned this monument was Fra
Girolamo Savonarola; and how much to the purpose, all, excepting those
good Germans, can see, for they know Savonarola as well as I do the
Emperor of the Mississippi. The promoters of this work were Gino
Capponi, Bettino Ricasoli, Niccolò Tommaseo, Raffaello Lambruschini,
Augusto Conti, Cesare Guasti, and Isidoro del Lungo. I assisted at their
meetings, and the idea that prevailed was to make the statue of
Savonarola and place it in the cloisters of St Mark; but this intention
we did not fulfil, because another commission had already been formed
with the same purpose of doing honour to Savonarola, and this had
already asked for and obtained the place in the cloister, the more
readily as the statue was already made by Professor Enrico Pazzi. We
therefore had to change our project, and after many propositions it was
decided that the monument should consist of a bas-relief and bust to be
placed in the friar's cell. This was done accordingly, and there it is
to be found. The subject of the bas-relief is Savonarola before the
Gonfaloniere and Priori of the Comune, reading the Government statutes
proposed by him for the Florentine Republic. On one of the sides or
flanks of the bas-relief is the youth Savonarola in pensive attitude
meditating leaving the world and dedicating himself to monastic life,
and on the other one are represented the last moments of his life when
he is on the way to his martyrdom. The bust is in bronze.


Six years have not passed since the honour befell me of sitting amongst
those famous men who wanted this work to be made by me, and three of
them are already dead. Gino Capponi, Tommaseo, and Lambruschini--they
are dead, but their names and their works live, and will live as long
as Truth and Good are loved and revered.


In 1873 the Universal Exhibition at Vienna took place, and I was named
on the jury in the Italian section on sculpture, in company with my
dearest friend Giovanni Strazza, so early lost to his family, to art,
and to his country, which he so honoured and loved. On an occasion like
this I had the means of knowing the clear acumen and kind heart of my
illustrious colleague, be it either in his judgment on works of art, or
in his intimate relation of friendship with our colleagues.

I will not speak of that great gay city, nor of the works of art in
which she is so rich, nor of the Pinacoteca, her galleries and
magnificent library--for this is not what I have undertaken, and these
are things that can be found in the guide-books; and even if I wished to
make some observations about them, it would be impossible for me to do
so, because at that time I was most unhappy in the recent loss of my
dear daughter Luisina; and therefore, alone and far from my family, I
felt a void around me, and a most vivid desire to see them again, so
that I looked at everything most hurriedly and through a veil of sadness
and anguish.

[Sidenote: MUSIC IN VIENNA.]

I was lodged at the Hotel Britannia on the Schillerplatz, on the fourth
floor, up one hundred and thirty-seven steps, in a small room, even
smaller than that of my own maid-servant; there was only one window, and
this opened on an inner court. The furniture consisted of a little bed,
too small, but soft and sufficiently clean; a table, two chairs, a
wardrobe, a looking-glass, a dressing-table--and that was all. All this
for the miserable sum of ten _lire_ a-day. I will say nothing about the
meals; but the breakfast, I mean the early one of coffee and milk, a
roll and butter, was sixty _kreutzers_--a _lira_ and a half; and with
the little refreshment of ice in your water (it was in June), twenty
_kreutzers_ more--half a _lira_. A cigar was half a _lira_, the washing
and doing up of a shirt one _lira_, an ice one _lira_, and so on to your
taste. For the matter of that, if I had had a little of the good-humour
that my Italian companions Petrella, Boito, Govi, Bonghi, Palizzi,
Mussini, Cantoni, Colombo, and Mariani had, without counting Jorick, who
had to give and to spare, I should have remained there longer, and
should have amused myself--for the city is really beautiful, most
animated and bright, especially in the evening, well lighted, with fine
theatres and music. Oh, for music, you must hear it at Vienna! I do not
mean by music German music--for on the contrary, I love our own Italian;
but I speak of the execution, of which we have (setting aside
exceptions) but a most imperfect idea. It cannot be otherwise. There the
musician has an assured position. There there is an institute where he
is trained to be a professor of music--that is to say, as far as
execution goes--where music is provided for, and nothing else is taught.
During the day he studies, and in the evening he plays, and the next day
the same thing over again, and so on until the day comes for receiving
holy unction. I defy any one, therefore, not to play well! I heard one
Sunday, at the St Stephen's Cathedral, music so sad and so sweet that I
was almost carried away by it, it seemed as if it were a sweet and
loving lament of the angels. These seemed not to be the voices of the
instruments of this world, but a something superhuman, celestial, that
filled one with emotion. Oh, music comes directly from heaven! The
harmony of sounds is something of a more intimate, secret, and
mysterious nature than the harmony of lines and colours; for what
constitutes the beauty, harmony, and attraction of exterior things, is
not there alone in appearance, but radiates from the spirit within:
therefore it is that the beautiful, emanating from the divine harmony of
sound, is more exquisite and more living, because it is the
manifestation of the soul and the spirit without encumbrance. Our
intellect grasps hold of it and falls in love with it, because it is
itself also a part of that immortal beauty to which it feels an
irresistible attraction to unite itself. But the impression of the
beautiful, visible or invisible, we receive imperfectly, because the
senses through which it is revealed to us are only so fitted as to
enable us to receive it in part--that part which gives us pleasure, for
its entire splendour would kill us. Harmony has laws of order and unity,
and relations and affinities, inexplicable. We feel that certain
combinations of notes express sorrow, others joy, others love, and so
on; but given without that order and unity, without those relations and
affinities, they express nothing, and are only unpleasant sounds. Why is
it so? Oh, friend Biaggi, if I speak profanely, make the sign of the
cross and correct me!



The same can be said of all things that have form and colour, that are
animate or inanimate. There is in nature, in the configuration of
certain parts of the country and certain places, a something, I know not
what, of gloominess and melancholy, that, when we look at them, fills us
with sadness. Others, on the contrary, are bright, happy, and joyous. It
is just the same with one's self, and not by reason of the more or less
fertility in this or sterility in that, nor by reason of the state of
one's soul, but entirely from the effect of lines and colours. And so it
is, again, with things animate. There are beautiful animals, and animals
that seem ugly--some, in fact, absolutely repulsive--and why? Perhaps
because they are harmful? Yet no; for there are most beautiful animals
that are really bad and most dangerous--for example, the lion, the
tiger, and the leopard; whilst others, as for instance a spider, a
mouse, a tarantula, a black beetle, a worm, and a scorpion, which do no
harm, or very little, seem to us so ugly, so repulsive, that we are
obliged to turn away from them. Be it observed that this sort of
aversion is felt the most by those natures that have the most exquisite
feeling and love of the beautiful--the reason being that these animals
have in their form a harmony certainly necessary to the universal order
of nature, but most ungrateful to our eyes; whereas the lion, tiger,
leopard, and above all, the horse, are beautiful and attractive to them.
Therefore, in nature, to our way of seeing, there is the beautiful and
the ugly--there are beings that attract and others that repulse us.
"Certainly there are," I am answered. "What sort of a discovery do you
think that you have made?" Very well, I am delighted with this answer,
because the above tirade was made by me for the benefit of those who
affirm that all is beautiful in nature,--in fact, their formula is,
_nature is beauty_. Instead of which, I, with what I have said and am
about to say, would wish to demonstrate that ugliness has a negative
harmony all her own, and only in conformity with her cold and obtuse
vitality; and therefore, nothing of it radiating on us, we are not
attracted by it, but rather repulsed. In as far as the animal is perfect
in living harmony, so much the greater the light that emanates from him.
Man, who is the most perfect of animate creation, radiates so much the
greater _light_ in proportion as the interior harmony of order, of
justice, and of love makes its impress upon and forms the body that
encloses it. In the serenity of the brow one observes the majesty of
order, in the erect bearing of the person and the temperate firm use of
words the dictates of justice, and love is in the intense calm look of
the eyes and almost happy expression of the mouth, which, with the eyes,
are, as it were, the windows of the soul, from which that beauty
radiates that attracts and impels to admiration and to love.


Man, therefore, is the most living manifestation of the beautiful, and
he is also the being that most thirsts for the enjoyment of it. He looks
for it everywhere--in the splendour of the heavens, over the expanse of
the sea, on the high mountain-sides, in the mysterious shadows of the
forests, and in the solitude of the valleys, when the dying sun casts
languidly over them its violet light. At night, when man and beast rest
after the fatigues of the day, and silence and quiet begin, he feels a
tender harmony, delicate and mysterious, as the memory of the days of
innocence, or as the hope of a future life. The harmony of night is, as
it were, the breath of sleeping nature.

Look, now, into what a labyrinth I have been dragged by the music I
heard at St Stephen's! The campanile of this cathedral is pointed and
very high; it can be seen from all parts of the city. One sees at once
that it is the campanile of the _ecclesia major_. I wished to see it.
The cathedral is always the first thing that attracts the stranger's
curiosity when he arrives in a place, because therein is expressed the
religious sentiment of the people who have built it, which is the first
of all sentiments, and then follows that of the citizen. First the
cathedral was made by the people of old, and then the town-hall, and in
the same order I also look at them and think of them. I wished to see
it, therefore; but being at a distance, I stopped a cab and said to the
driver that I wanted to go there. Bravo! and without knowing a bit of
German! I told him in three languages--in Italian, in French, and in
Latin (macaronic, of course); but it was dense darkness to him. I
pointed with my hand to the campanile in the distance, and this time he
understood! He answered, "_Ja, ja_," and whipping up his horses, off he
went for some time; but as we never arrived, I again pointed to the
campanile. "_Ja, ja_," and on we went, but away from the place I
indicated. Then I stopped him, paid him, and got out. On the venture, I
jumped into an omnibus, just to leave the man, who was going who knows
where, returned to the centre, and got out at Oberring. There I found a
friend, who took me in a short time on foot to St Stephen's, where I
heard that wonderful music, the remembrance of which still excites me to
ecstasy. This does not often happen to me, but it does sometimes.


From there--that is, not from my ecstasies, but from St Stephen's--I
went to the Church of the Augustins, where Canova's famous monument in
honour of Maria Christina is. As to its being beautiful, I say nothing,
but an artist who was with me extolled it to the seventh heaven; though
to me, with the music of St Stephen's still in my ears, it seemed that
Canova in other works had arrived at greater perfection, both as regards
general conception and as regards sentiment of truth. But, I repeat, it
may have been the music that made it seem to me--and I say so in all
reverence--a little conventional. I was there in Vienna, however, to
form part of the jury on the sculpture of to-day, and not to criticise
the art of the past; so that a little want of appreciation or a judgment
too lightly given may be forgiven me. For the matter of that, Canova is
Canova, and the braying of donkeys, as the proverb says, does not reach



The Palace of the Exhibition was built on the Prater. It cost twenty
millions of florins (fifty millions of _lire_), without counting, be it
remembered, the sum expended by other nations on their special
buildings. It is not my intention to describe this immense edifice, and
all the smaller ones around it, in that large and most delightful
Prater. I will not even speak of the Exhibition, excepting only as
regards my department--that of sculpture.

Without expectations or merits on my part I was elected President of the
department in sculpture; and this honour was most prized by me, because
it enabled me to hasten on the work in our section with all the alacrity
compatible with the number and importance of the works submitted to our
judgment; and this, indeed, was not a trifling matter, for, between
statues and groups, there were two hundred and fifteen, without counting
large and small busts. There was a great deal of German sculpture; but
with few exceptions, it was somewhat hard and conventional. Ours, with
some honourable exceptions,--and amongst them Monteverde's group of
Jenner, fine in the choice of subject, well grouped, and admirably
modelled--and a few other works,--were like the usual old woman's tale,
trivial in conception and ungainly in form. It is painful to say so, but
the French sculpture at this Exhibition surpassed, and more than
surpassed, ours; and if it proved possible to divide the number of
medals between the French and us, it is due to the condescension of the
French members of the jury, Dubois and Masson, to the Germans, and to my
obstinacy in upholding our art as much as I possibly could.


Ugh! these blessed universal exhibitions! What good do they do to art,
to true art, to great art? None whatever. I believe, at the best, they
only bring about the sale of some smart humoristic or coarse statuette,
and nothing more. I am aware that Vela's "Napoleon I.," which was sold
in Paris, will be brought up in opposition to this. That is an exception
to the rule; and then--who knows?--if Napoleon III. had not been on the
throne, perhaps Vela's beautiful statue would have come back to the
artist's studio at Turin. Many fine Italian statues returned at that
time; and did not the "Jenner" come back from Vienna? These universal
exhibitions--let us say it in plain words--are fairs and markets, in
which the merchandise most appreciated is something odd, humoristic, or
ridiculous. But of this I have spoken elsewhere, and do not like to
retrace my steps.

I have said that the office of president was grateful to me because it
enabled me to hasten on the work in our section; but I have not given
the reason for this hurry. The poor artists, the greater part of them
strangers, that had never seen Vienna, felt a longing to do so; and when
at mid-day, after three hours of work, I suspended the meeting until one
o'clock, they said to me, "Mr President, have a little patience; be
reasonable. We have never seen anything of this city. We will work as
much as you wish in the mornings, but only let us be free the rest of
the day." And I answered: "Have a little patience yourselves. Let us
work now that we are at it: it is for this reason we have come here. As
soon as we have finished, we will rest and amuse ourselves, and will
enjoy all the beautiful objects in the town and in the country; but now
that we are here, we must stick to work. Good-bye; I shall see you again
shortly--at one o'clock." And with very long faces they went away. But
why, wherefore, all this hurry--this uninterrupted work, without rest?
This is why: I was there alone; and when I am alone, away from home,
without one of my daughters, whatever may be the city or country,
however beautiful and attractive, everything bores me to a superlative
degree. When, in answer to my colleagues, I said that as soon as our
work was finished we would amuse ourselves and see and enjoy all the
wonders of the town, I repeated mentally to myself, I will take the
fastest direct train, and without leaving the railway carriage, in
thirty-six hours will get back to Florence; and I did so.


Notwithstanding all my persistence, we took, however, one or two
half-days' rest, and each one of us went the way he liked best to
satisfy his desire of amusing himself. As for me, I wrote long letters
home, and in the evening went to the theatre, where they were singing
(and really singing) Wagner's 'Lohengrin'; or joined, in brotherly
symposiums, the Italian, German, Hungarian, or French members of our
jury. The Viennese and Hungarian members gave us a dinner, and it went
off in a most gay and friendly fashion: the toasts burst forth, one
after the other, in a bright rapid line of fire. There is no doubt about
it--Art fraternises all nations. Our speeches, half French and half
Italian and Hungarian-Latin, were spoken freely, and without giving even
a thought that a phrase or word might offend the political opinion or
oratorical taste of any one. Everything was good, everything applauded,
and we drank to everything. I remember a Hungarian artist, who, drinking
to the toast of Art and the Italians, said that Italy had always been
great; and if, in days gone by, she had been able to glory in Michael
Angelo, to-day she gloried in Garibaldi! And we drank even to this,
although the comparison seemed to us to be very far-fetched. But I
repeat, when once we opened our mouth, it did not much matter what came
out of it. I also spoke, and was applauded; but if I wanted to repeat
what I said, I should have to draw upon my imagination, because I don't
remember a word of it.


We enjoyed other evenings of feast and merriment, but none like this
one. We were invited to a dinner given by the Italian General
Commissioner, which went off most splendidly, but was naturally more
dignified. We were all Italians, but not all artists; for, in fact, the
greater number were scientific men--and where there are scientific men,
all is at an end, and seriousness at once walks in. The imaginative,
frisky, and reckless words of the artist do not venture to come out at
such meetings; and the talk there gains as much in rhetoric as it loses
in living art, sincerity, and unexpectedness.


We were also invited by his Imperial Highness the Archduke Ranieri to an
entertainment, which was most splendid, cordial, and brilliant. The
Archduke talked to every one in his own language; and if he expressed
himself with the same exactness and propriety to the English, Russians,
or Spaniards, as he did to us Italians and to the French, he is really a
wonderful polyglot. At this _fête_ something happened to me which proves
that the Viennese cabmen are more quarrelsome than ours. This is how it
was. I got into the cab at the hotel, and said that I wanted to go to
the palace of his Highness Archduke Ranieri, to remain there two hours,
and then return to the hotel; and for this the price of six florins
(fifteen _lire_) was agreed upon. Having stayed my time at the _fête_, I
descended to look for my charioteer. He was not there. To be sure, the
cab was there, and the poor beast in harness seemed to be deep in
thought or sleeping; but the coachman was not there. He was looked for
everywhere, in all the neighbouring beer-houses, but could nowhere be
traced. So in a rage I had to go up again, and coming down about half an
hour afterwards, I called him, but he was not there. The poor beast
stood with his nose nearly on the ground, I do not know whether more
from sleepiness or hunger; and I in a rage, as may well be imagined, got
inside the cab to wait for him. Finally, after about half an hour the
man returned, and I abused him roundly; but it was like speaking to the
wall, for he understood nothing, and off he drove. On arriving at the
hotel I put the six florins briskly into his hand; he refused to take
them, and I could not understand why. The porter of the hotel
intervened, and said that the cabman had agreed to wait at the _fête_
for two hours, instead of which I had kept him there three hours. I
explained to the porter the whole thing, and what a rascal he was! But
not to discuss the matter any longer, I paid even for the hour that I
had to wait that _canaille's_ convenience. Really I would have paid
anything to have been able to say two or three words after my own heart
in German to the miserable scamp.


My duty was now ended. I gave a last look at the beautiful Schiller
Platz, where my hotel was, saluted the Academy of Fine Arts, then
building, and with open heart, filling my lungs with a great breath of
country air, I flew in thought to beautiful Florence, to my family, and
to the studies I loved. I plunged into the most comfortable railway
carriage that I could find, and never again turned to the right or to
the left. I think that I was the first of the Italian jury that returned
to our beautiful country.

At this time I was making the monument to Duke Silvestro Camerini that
had been ordered from me by his illustrious and most noble nephew, Count
Luigi. Senatore Achilli Mauri had first spoken to me of it on his
behalf, and had shown me a design by Signor Gradenigo of Padua, in which
there were to be two statues that the Count wished me to make. The
design did not please me, and I answered that I would make the monument,
but that I wished to compose it after my own fashion. The Count was
content. I made a design; he saw it, it pleased him, and all was settled
in a friendly way by a few frank words, without all those precautions of
contract, seal register, witnesses, and caution that are invented by
distrust to protect one from rascals. It is thus that honest men deal
with honest men; and of such is Count Luigi, and of such by God's mercy
am I, and I can proclaim it loudly in the broad light of the sun. I am
certain that, of the many persons who have given me commissions, not one
has had any question with me, nor even the slightest feeling of
unpleasantness! The thought of this, and the certainty of being able to
proclaim it _coram populo_, is to me a consolation so complete and
grateful, that it forms, so to speak, my happiness.


Amongst those who have given me commissions, Count Luigi Camerini has
been one of the most courteous--a true friend. Every time that I went to
Padua or Piazzola on account of the work I was engaged on, besides the
glad welcome that he and his amiable wife gave me, he managed to arrange
some excursions for our pastime and pleasure--now to Venice, now to
Passagno, now to Vicenza, and sometimes even farther; and he pushed
courtesy and friendship to the extent of taking us all as far as Turin,
on the occasion of the inauguration of Cavour's monument. As I said, to
do this, besides being amiable and kind, one must also be rich, and he
is rich indeed. I remember that one day, during one of these excursions,
we found ourselves in a first-class railway carriage with the Princess
Troubetzkoi and her husband, Duke Talleyrand. We all talked together
more or less about everything--all except the Duke, who gathered himself
up in his corner, with his travelling-cap pulled down on his forehead,
intent on reading a French newspaper. He had never lifted his eyes on
us, so absorbed did he seem in his reading.

I do not know how it was that the conversation fell on the heaviness of
the taxes. I am greatly afraid that it was I who started the subject,
because on this key I am wonderfully eloquent; I storm about the laws,
agents, cashiers, everybody, and everything.

"Let them lay a heavy hand," I was saying, "on play, on luxury, on
vices, on property, but leave in peace the labour, industry, and talent
that are the bonds of civilisation and health, because the public
conscience rebels against this."


The good Duke did not even move; for him it was as if I was neither in
the wrong nor the right. My friend Camerini, perhaps to allay my
indignation, quietly smiled and said--

"You are right; certainly these taxes are very heavy. But what can one
do about it? One must pay, and that is all----"

"Certainly," I continued, repeating his favourite word, "one must
pay--and I pay; but it is too much--these taxes are too high."

"I agree, I agree.... Just imagine that I pay annually in taxes (beyond
the indirect ones, you understand), two hundred and fifty thousand

At the mention of this sum the Duke turned slightly towards Camerini,
looked fixedly at him a short time over his spectacles, then took them
off very slowly, folded them and put them in their case, set aside his
newspaper, and entered into a conversation with him that only came to an
end when we separated. "Oh the power of gold!" said I to myself.... Let
us return to the monument.

It is composed thus: on the first foundation a great urn, above which
rises the base, on which is placed the seated statue of the Duke in a
thoughtful attitude, dressed in the clothes he wore, and wrapped in a
cloak. At the sides of the urn, which form two semicircles, are two
statues. Beneficence is standing and offering money to a youthful
workman, who, in an attitude of affectionate gratitude, wishes to kiss
the hand that with such loving wisdom has lifted him out of misery, and
ennobled him by the sanctity of labour, so that this payment is only the
legitimate recompense of his work. This group represents one of the
virtues of Duke Camerini, who made use of his very large rent-roll to
alleviate the misery of his fellow-beings, and give them encouragement
and work; and certainly no one more than he could feel the usefulness of
work, because from being a humble workman (although of a respectable
family) he elevated himself to the highest rank of society, and to
riches as honourable as they were great. Corresponding to this statue,
on the other side kneels Gratitude, who scatters flowers on the urn; and
although gratitude is one of the virtues that adorned that great man, as
I shall explain hereafter, yet this statue refers to that sentiment of
affectionate remembrance by which his nephew, Count Luigi Camerini,
wished to honour the memory of his munificent uncle. The lower base is
ornamented by a bas-relief, representing Duke Camerini when, during one
of the inundations of the Po, an immense population of that desolate
country were left without a roof to their heads and without bread, he
rescued them, encouraged them, and helped them, giving bread and work to
all, ordering the work of new embankments immediately to be undertaken,
avoiding most wisely by so doing greater disaster, and saving from
misery and hunger that wretched population. This bas-relief is an
admirable work of Professor Luigi Ceccon, of Padua; and this, as well as
the execution of all the architectural and ornamental parts of the
monument, Count Camerini and I intrusted to him.



The moral character of Duke Camerini is worthy of being remembered and
honoured. It is certainly not my task to relate his life, but I cannot
pass by in silence a most notable instance in it, the knowledge of which
strengthened the study and affection that I put into the modelling and
chiselling of this monument. When the youth Silvestro, in the capacity
of simple labourer, worked at I know not what improvement of land in the
neighbourhood of Ferrara, he used to go during the hour of rest to a
small eating-house to recruit his strength with his usual temperance. It
happened one day that he found himself without money, and as he was a
daily customer, frankly, with an honest man's conscience, he said to the
host, "I will pay you to-morrow." But this man, who was hard and brutal,
answered that "when one has no money, one should not order anything to
eat;" to which the youth was about to reply, when a young gentleman, who
happened by chance to be shooting in those parts, and had come in to
take some refreshment, seeing the embarrassment of the young labourer
and the hardness of the host, tossed a bit of money on to the counter,
saying to the latter, "Take your pay for what this man has eaten here."
The host took the money and returned the change; but the excellent
gentleman said, "No; give the rest of the money to this youth. He seems
to me to have the air of being an honest man, and he can use it another
day when his own money fails him." It was not such a small matter
either, for the money he had given to be changed was a golden _Genova_.
Then on one side excuses were made and restitution offered, whilst on
the other a mild but determined insistence, which ended in the shaking
of hands and leave-taking. From that day forward Silvestro Camerini had
no more need to go on credit, not because the remainder of that piece of
gold could place him for ever beyond necessity, but because those
insulting and brutal words had been a lesson to him, with his high and
noble spirit, never again to place himself in a similar position.
Camerini went out from that house much moved in spirit and full of
gratitude towards the gentleman, whose name he inquired and ever kept in
his memory. In the meantime, by good conduct, economy, and work, he was
able to save something; and as by nature he had a mind much superior to
his condition, he was able to take upon himself the direction of some
works, and always advancing in his activity, economy, and good
administration, he gradually made a considerable fortune, all of which
he put into land. But the noble gentleman who had so opportunely helped
him, either through bad administration, too much liberality, or some
other reason, lost his fortune, and was obliged to sell all his lands to
pay his debts. One day the last villa belonging to him, and the one he
cared most for, was about to be put up to auction; and that day, so full
of sadness for him, turned out perhaps the brightest and happiest of his
life. Camerini, who had already become rich, bid at the auction for it,
and having obtained it, went to the unhappy gentleman and presented it
to him. His surprise, joy, and incredulity are more easily imagined than
described. He said, "What is the meaning of this? In what way?
Wherefore? Is it perhaps a restitution? So much has been stolen from me
that----" "Yes, really," answered Camerini, "it is a restitution, but
not of anything stolen." And he then told him, or rather reminded him,
of the youth that he had benefited so many years before. The worthy
gentleman at first held back, and wished to refuse the gift; but at last
overcome by emotion and admiration, he wept and embraced his friend--a
true friend indeed, for all the others he had known in his prosperity
had disappeared with it.


This anecdote deserves to be told, because it draws to the life the
lovable, grateful, and most liberal character of Duke Camerini. It was
told me by Count Antonio Pallavicini of Bologna, the friend and
contemporary of Duke Camerini and the other gentleman, whose name, I
regret to say, I do not remember. The anecdote that I have just told,
and many others that illustrated the character of this great man, as
well as the nobility and generosity of his worthy nephew, who intrusted
to me the execution of this monument, spurred me on and facilitated my


If the reader has a good memory, he will remember that elsewhere I have
spoken of my offers to execute works for their mere cost--that is to
say, my proposals to give my time, work, and study _gratis et amore
Dei_. He will remember, also, that these offers were not accepted, and
that having been taught by so many lessons of this kind, I advised young
artists to abjure and chase from their mind these Utopian ideas that
experience had fully shown me could not be carried out. To confirm them
in this opinion, I must now add a new and more striking instance of a
work offered by me that was not accepted; and I trust that the account
of this new fact will not be wanting in importance, and will serve as a
good lesson.


When my excellent friend Commendator Giuseppe Poggi had finished the
beautiful Piazzale Michael Angelo, and before the inauguration of the
monument designed by him, with the statues of the divine artist himself,
had taken place (and this occurred before the centenary), he proposed
that the statue of Michael Angelo should be placed in a commanding
position under the middle arch of the Loggia that fronts on the
Piazzale; and it was his intention (for which I thank him from the
bottom of my heart) that this statue should be made by me. Knowing,
however, that on account of its colossal proportions, as well as the
importance of the subject, it would require no small expense, and as
even then the municipality foresaw its present straits, he said to me,
in a pleasant and friendly manner, that it was his hope, as well as that
of others, that I would make the statue for its mere cost. "I am ready,"
said I to myself. "I like the subject, and I can satisfy my friend in
his legitimate pride of citizen and artist, and also place there a sign
of my veneration for Michael Angelo, and a testimony of affection and
disinterestedness to my country, but at no slight sacrifice, it is
true--that is to say, by working at least a year _gratis et amore Dei_."
I am mistaken; there is something else I should add--that is the
income-tax and tax on the exercise of my art, &c., that the tax agent
would naturally have insisted on exacting, even if it had been proved to
him that I was working to gain nothing. But I had given my word, and
said I am ready; and when I say I am ready, I stick to it. In the
meanwhile time passed, the centenary drew near, and the municipality
decided nothing about the statue; and, so far, all was well--it meant
that they found it inconvenient to give even those few thousand _lire_
required for the marble and the roughing out of the statue; and wished
to save them. About this I say nothing, for, in fact, I am in favour of
saving; but now comes the best of it. When the day for the famous
centenary arrived, the festivities were conducted admirably, with an
exhibition of all Michael Angelo's works, a visit to his tomb in Santa
Croce, to his house, which is a most precious museum, and, at last, to
the Piazzale, where the monument was inaugurated. There was music in the
great hall of the Cinquecento at the Palazzo Vecchio, illuminations on
the great Piazzale and on the Colli, and everything was done with the
utmost order and decorum, thanks to the exquisite tact of our president
of the committee for organising the centenary festivals, Commendatore
Ubaldino Peruzzi. Among these festive meetings one was arranged to take
place in the old Senate Hall, which had for its object the pronouncing
of eulogies on the great artist; and to all, the Academy of Fine Arts
and the Della Crusca Academy were invited, as Michael Angelo was not
only to be honoured as an artist supreme in the imitative arts, but also
as a philosopher, literary man, and poet. This was splendidly done by
the two Presidents of the Academy of Fine Arts and the Della Crusca
Academy, Commendatore Emilio de' Fabris and Commendatore Augusto Conti.
They were surrounded by the members of these two Academies united in
solemn assembly, and the semicircle was filled by a crowd of
distinguished artists, literary and scientific men, foreign and native,
and was honoured by the presence of his Highness Prince Cazignano. My
friend De' Fabris spoke of Michael Angelo as an architect, and my friend
Conti enlarged upon him as philosopher, citizen, and poet. They had
begged me to read a few words on that occasion; but I, being aware of my
insignificance, and, to speak frankly, my incapacity to think and speak
on so great a subject, at first refused to do so; then I tried jotting
down something in writing, and made my friend Luigi Venturi read it--and
as he did not dislike what I had written, I accepted, and on the day
before mentioned I read my little scrap of writing, in which I treated
particularly of Michael Angelo as a sculptor.

That day the idea of the statue was again brought forward, and some of
the gentlemen, in the name of the committee, came to my studio and asked
me if I would agree to make the statue of Michael Angelo for the mere
cost and expenses. I answered that I would, and added that I had
promised to do so once before, but that nothing more had been done
about it. In the meanwhile a subscription list was sent the rounds, and
my illustrious friends Meissonnier and Guillaume, who had come to
Florence for the centenary festivals, put their names down each for a
hundred _lire_. And then, after all, as God willed it, nothing more was
done about it; and in fact, on the spot where the statue was to have
been placed, there is now a _café restaurant_, very clean and
convenient, and of a summer's evening it is enlivened by concerts of a
band of music. Looking at the thing from this point of view, it is
certainly much more comfortable and amusing than to see a statue of
Michael Angelo standing there.


The fact is, that there are sometimes fruitful enthusiasms and sometimes
barren enthusiasms: the fruitful enthusiasms are those in which one
finds the quickest and most perceptible enjoyment. In these days (it was
1876) there were people running in crowds to see and hear Signora
Adelina Patti--spending an amount of money that they would have had
great difficulty in spending on an object less sensible, or, rather,
less enjoyable, such as in fact a statue might be, that promises to give
you the rather meagre enjoyment, it is true, of making its appearance
two or three years after it has taken the money out of your pocket.

It is true, however, that the enjoyment of song and sound passes in a
moment--its waves die upon the air, and our ears catch their last
echo--while the view of a statue, with all its beauty and meaning,
remains, so to speak, to all eternity. But this is a rather subtle and
abstract consideration that not all can understand.

Thinking over it well, I do not believe the _fiasco_ about the statue of
Michael Angelo occurred for want of enthusiasm for art or statuary, or
much less for the subject. The deuce take it! Michael Angelo is out of
the question; besides belonging to the world, he is a Florentine,--and
then, too, enthusiasm has not been wanting in any town in Italy, and
certainly not in Florence, even when it has been a question of
immortalising in marble men oftentimes very unlike Buonarroti. Besides,
did one not see about this time, and in fact during these very days,
several thousands of _lire_ got together for a bust of Gino Capponi? And
why was this? If I had asked to make that statue, it might have been
supposed that the artist was not liked, and that no confidence was felt
in him; but it was not so: in fact I was looked for and even begged to
make it, which is natural when one desires to have work done for nothing
but the pure cost and expenses. Confidence in the artist, therefore, was
not wanting: there must have been some other reason, and I have found it
is this, that work asked for and offered for nothing seems almost as if
it had no attraction; no one wants it. One must, if one can, get as much
pay as possible. Listen to this other instance; they grow like cherries.


When I had made the "Christ after the Resurrection," for which my good
friend Ferdinando Filippi di Buti gave me the order, the idea came to
the worthy syndic, Signor Danielli, to erect in his village (which
seemed as if it ought to be sacred to Minerva, it was so buried in a
forest of olive-trees) a statue in honour of Professor del Rosso, who
had been such a worthy representative of science and of his native
place. The good and most lively Signor Danielli was full of ardour to
carry out his project; and to obtain its success, he pressed me to
accept this commission at the smallest possible price, almost for its
mere cost.

I accepted. The subscription list was sent the rounds, and I know that
my illustrious friend Professor Conti, an old pupil of Del Rosso, gave
himself a great deal of trouble in getting subscriptions; but neither he
nor any one else obtained the desired result, and the statue remains
where it was--in the future. In the same way, it seems, ended the affair
of the bust of Pius IX., that a pious committee in this city proposed to
have cut in marble and placed in our cathedral.

[Sidenote: INGRATITUDE.]

So, as I have said, these instances grow like cherries.

Let us remember, although above I have spoken about the necessity of
getting well paid, yet at times, either as a matter of duty, friendship,
or gratitude, one can and one ought to work for little. I remember a
young scholar of mine who enjoyed a little pension, given to him by a
gentleman from his village, who, to enable the young man to work from
life, went so far as to allow him to model his head, and, to encourage
him, desired that he should put it into marble,--but before giving him
the commission, wanted to know what the expense would be. The youth, in
telling me this, asked me what he ought to ask for it. I answered, "You
must ask nothing; the gentleman is over and above good to give you the
pension. Would you also ask him to pay for the bust? You will give this
answer: I have asked my master about the expense of the marble and the
roughing of it out, and he has answered me that one hundred _lire_ is
necessary for the marble and two hundred for the roughing it out; as to
finishing it, I will finish it myself, and so learn to work on marble,
because no one can call himself a sculptor who does not work on the
marble himself."

But the youth showed no judgment, did not follow my advice, and asked
the gentleman a thousand _lire_, and the avidity and ingratitude thus
shown by the person he had benefited so disgusted him, that he did not
let him make it. When I heard how matters had gone, I did not fail to
call him an ass, and he really was one. Born and bred a peasant, he had
learnt nothing in town by mixing with educated young men. He was tall of
person, and endowed with uncommon strength; he used to exercise
himself--making it more a business than a simple pastime--at the game of
_forma_, and, challenged or challenger, was always the winner. He died
from breaking a blood-vessel in his chest; and for the matter of that,
as no one was left behind to weep for him, for he was an orphan, and as
he had no talent or judgment, it was better so.


Let us therefore understand each other. One must always get one's pay,
excluding the case or cases of gratitude like the one I have mentioned
above, and even between friends, there must not be one that gives and
the other that takes. I remember now, many years ago, that Luigi
Acussini made my portrait, and I his; and later, Cisere painted my
portrait and that of my wife, and I made a bust of his wife, _amici cari
e borsa del pari_. Presents don't answer well, and therefore it is rare
to find those who make them; and if any one with heart and no head does
so, he makes a _fiasco_.

A singular taste, and one that I can enter into completely, is that of
preparing one's own place of burial whilst living; and for those who
can, besides the burial-place, also the chapel and monument. It does one
good to see, whilst living, the place where one will sleep the last
sleep. Amongst those who agree with me in this, besides Marchese Bichi
Ruspoli of Siena, and Signor Ferdinando Filippi di Buti--whose monuments
I made some fifteen years ago, and who are still living, hale and
hearty, so that I even think that the thought of death and the sight of
the monuments prolong their lives--is the Baroness Favard de Langlade,
who also wished to have her monument made; and after having had the
illustrious architect Giuseppe Poggi construct the beautiful chapel in
the park of the villa at Rovezzano, which is adorned by the beautiful
paintings of Annibale Gatti, she ordered from me the monument wherein
her body is to rest.


The difficulty of this kind of work is not to give umbrage to the
modesty of the person who gives the commission. At first sight it seems
like vanity and pride to order one's own monument; but besides the fact
that he who orders a monument does not order it for himself alone, but
also for his family, the artist composes his work in such a way as not
to give the least offence by adulation and flattery, which is the more
contemptible in the person who offers it in measure as the adulated
person is in a high position. The artist, however, who has a proper
respect for his own dignity, and wishes that of the person in question
also to be respected, will find a way of making his work, even though it
be grandiose, so as to enable both him and the person who is to die to
look at each other in the face without blushing.

The subject that I treated for the Favard monument was the Angel of the
Resurrection, who, poised on his wings, offers his hands to the dead
woman, who is in the act of rising, to lead her to heaven. She has half
lifted herself up on the sarcophagus where she was laid out, and her
expression shows her happiness in awakening to eternal day. The only
adulation--excusable, I think--that I offered to that lady was having
made her appear younger than she was,--not more beautiful, for one can
still see that she must have been most beautiful. I regret that this
work of mine is almost hidden--first of all, because it is far from
town, as I have already said,--at Rovezzano; for although the noble lady
has given orders to have it shown to any one who asks to see it, yet the
double difficulty of the distance and the asking prevents many--those
who are lazy and who are lukewarm, who are the most in number--from
being able to see it. It is still worse as concerns my "Christ after the
Resurrection," which is on a hill in the neighbourhood of Buti, a little
village, nearly hidden from view and out of hand, between Pisa and



I narrated, all in its proper place, how it happened that I was not
enabled to make King Victor Emmanuel's portrait; and it is necessary for
me now to explain how I did not obtain the concession to make a bust of
Pius IX. Marchese Pompeo Bourbon del Monte, the President of the Working
Men's Catholic Association in Florence, had the intention of giving me
an order to make a bust of the Pope, to place in a niche in our Duomo,
with an inscription commemorative of the great pontiff's passage through
Florence, and his consecration of four bishops there. Naturally the Pope
was first asked whether he was willing that his bust should be made and
should be placed in our Duomo. With both of these propositions the Pope
showed his great satisfaction, and he was therefore asked the favour of
giving some sittings to the sculptor; but on hearing my name, he refused
to do so, because, having made Cavour's monument, he did not wish me to
take his portrait. To speak the truth, this species of censure on the
part of the Pope was most unpleasant to me. As long as some of the
prejudiced journalists of the extreme party, in blaming me for having
executed this work, assailed me on the ground that some of the nude
allegorical figures (just imagine, children of seven!) were obscene, I
let it pass; but the condemnation of the Holy Father was a great
vexation to me. As Monsignore Archbishop Cecconi had been the
intermediary, I wrote him a letter expressing my regret, and went over
the story of the monument, and how I had accepted it, and what
expression I had given to it, saying that I had not thought I was doing
any harm, and that I was extremely pained to have met with the Holy
Father's displeasure, and begging Monsignore to make known these
sentiments of mine to the Pope. In fact the Pope heard of my letter, or
at least a part of it, and answered that he had never doubted my
sentiments or my good intentions, but for all that he was not willing to
have his portrait taken by me; and that, to prevent the matter from
appearing _ad hominem_, he would not give permission for it to be made
by any one else.


A few months after this, wishing to go to Naples to see the Italian
Exhibition, I stopped on my way in Rome, and saw the Pope, but not in a
private audience. Nevertheless, he spoke benevolently to me, and said,
"Dear Duprè, what fine works are you doing now?" I who, I must admit,
never find myself embarrassed by any one, stood there perfectly
nonplussed, and was not able to utter a word; and that poor saintly old
man, to put an end to my embarrassment, continued, "I pity you; the
political vicissitudes and the noises of war distract the mind of the
artist, and are, in fact, opposed to the development of his genius."
Then turning to my daughter, he said, "And you, too: well done, my
sculptress; I bless you together with your father."

It really gave me pleasure to see him again, and listen for the last
time to that vibrating, and, at the same time, benevolent voice.
Something within me told me that he would soon be missing to us; and in
fact, barely eight months after, he died, and but a few days after the
king, to whom, during his last moments, he had sent his benediction; and
report has it that he even said he would have gone himself to comfort
the king, whom he personally loved, during his last hours, had he not
been really so ill himself. These words of his gained for him the
goodwill of those who were not his friends.


Now I must speak of the Exhibition at Naples, and most particularly of
the naturalistic element that manifested itself there in sculpture. It
deserves being studied with attention, so as to enable young artists of
good purpose, and for whom I have most particularly written these
memoirs, to acquire something that may be useful to them. Naturally the
vast question of realism and idealism rises again to the surface. Those
who know me, know that I am neither a realist nor an idealist, be it
understood, as is generally intended and practised.

Idealism, in my opinion, is nothing else but a species of vision that
the artist creates by strong love in his mind when he thinks of a given
subject. Idealism is therefore the idea of the subject, and not in the
least the idea of the parts of the form. It is true that even these are
associated pleasantly together in the mind, but it is wrong and false to
believe that we can grasp hold of them only by the help of memory, and
without having nature before us. The idealist, as I should understand
him, seeks in nature for the models appropriate to his idea and his
subject. He does not content himself with one alone, because he does not
find in one, or even in two, the multiplicity of parts by which his idea
is composed. From one he takes the several masses and movement, and
will take great care in these never to change from his model; from
another he will take the head, or the hands, or other parts of the body
in which the model for the general masses may have been defective, and
will be careful that in age and character they be not dissimilar from
the principal model--that is to say, the model that he has used for the
general form. If he departs here or there from this simple method, the
idealist will fall into academical conventionalism, or into the vulgar
and defective. Corrections of the model's defects made from memory bring
us to conventionalism, and the exact imitation of the model alone drags
us down to the vulgar and defective, because it is humanly impossible
that one model can have in himself, besides the whole, all the
perfections of parts that constitute beauty, which is the aim of art.
Such, and nothing else, is the idealist; and so am I, and such has
always been my teaching.

[Sidenote: REALISM.]

Now let us see the realistic. The naturalistic, to my way of seeing, is
simply intolerant of long study of the many rules and dogmas of the
academicians that teach one to make statues in very nearly always the
same way, with the same measures and with the same character--be it a
Virgin or a Venus, a Messalina or an Ophelia, and so on. He is in love
with his own subject, and wishes to give it expression in its true
character and with its own individual expression, and even with those
particularities and imperfections that distinguish it from others.
Bartolini did so in his "Ammostatore," in his "Putti" for Demidoff's
table, and in almost all his works; and so did Vela with his "Napoleon
I." and his "Desolazione"; and lastly, although in a much more minute
manner, did Magni with his "Reading Girl"; and up to this point I am
naturalistic, and stand up for it. But in these days there is another
species of naturalistics--better call them realistics--who love truth
and nature to the extent of accepting even the ugly and bad in form and
the useless and revolting in idea. And truly here I am neither with
them, nor can I advise any one to hold in esteem this school, that I
should rather be inclined to call the hospital or sewer of art. But what
I have said so far is enough, for elsewhere I have touched upon the same
subject, and do not want to repeat myself, but only to mention the
question again, because at the great show in Naples the naturalistic
school appeared in sculpture in all its audaciousness, and, I must
frankly say, in all its power, worthier of a better cause and better
intentions; and this, it is presumably to be hoped, may be at last more
easily recognised by the young men who look for the truth, even
wallowing in ugliness, than from those who fill their heads with the
idea of looking for the beautiful in their memory and conventionalism.
From this it is evident that I have a predilection for the naturalist
who caresses an idea and the idealist who is a faithful and not a timid
friend of truth. The artist is not a servile copyist of nature--of ugly
nature; not the imitator of statues, even though they are beautiful; not
the slave of the name and teaching of the masters, ancient and modern.


I like the artist to be free in his imaginations, free in his feeling,
free in his way of expressing himself and in his method, but yet
strongly and tenaciously bound to nature and the beautiful. By this
means we could have more good artists and fewer mediocre ones; but as
long as there is official teaching it is useless to hope for it.
Government schools, in spite of the difficulty of admission and
advancement from one class to another, will always have too many
scholars, amongst whom some--the very few, those who are really destined
by nature for art--will have lost too much time in long academic
courses; the others, the many, will have lost it entirely, because it is
difficult with official teaching for any graduate to be expelled from
school on account of tardy development or want of talent.


I do not say, indeed, that young men ought not to study, or ought to
study only a little. Quite the contrary. They ought to study very
much--study always; but with freedom--perfect freedom in their way of
seeing and feeling and expressing the multiformity of nature; and as
this freedom does not and cannot exist in official teaching, young men
ought to select a master after their own taste. Certainly masters who do
not belong to these academies will accept but few scholars, and will
retain still fewer--that is to say, the best, those who give promise of
succeeding--and the rest they will send away. And here is the great
gain, because the minor arts--subsidiary, so to speak, to the fine arts,
will take possession of these young men, who, instead of becoming
mediocre artists, will become good workmen. Official teaching in the
fine arts ought to be confined to architecture; in fact, there it ought
to be amplified by the study of mathematics, engineering, and its
mechanical application. The purse and the safety of citizens must surely
be protected.

This little digression on teaching, which I have elsewhere treated more
at length, has sprung up and been jotted down here after having seen the
exhibition of the works of art of the Neapolitan school. I say the
school, and not the academy--I should better say the grades of the
naturalistic school of Neapolitan sculpture. It is undeniable that
various works in sculpture, exposed to the solemn trial of the
Neapolitan Exhibition, show that the young sculptors have emancipated
themselves outright from the trammels of academical teaching, and have
entered with full sails into the interminable sea of nature. This sea is
beautiful, full of agitation and life, and in its greatness rouses the
desire of research into the unknown; and to him who navigates therein
with strength and purpose, promises unknown lands, rich in supreme
beauty. But it is easy enough, by steering one's boat badly, or missing
one's direction, to get stranded or dashed to pieces against the rocks.


Signor d'Orsi exposed a group in plaster representing the Parasites.
Nothing could have been better imagined than those two (I don't know how
to call them) creatures. Brutified by food and wine, they sleep or
drowse on a _triclinium_, leaning against each other. They are a literal
imitation; and in this is all the merit of the work. It is not minute
imitation, that battle-horse of small minds, but really the true
expression of the conception and intention of the artist; but the idea
is hideous, enormously hideous, so that to many it appeared disgusting
and revolting; and I felt on looking at the work two opposite
feelings--one that drove me from it, and another that kept me fixed to
the spot. The ugliness of the subject and its forms repelled me; the
knowledge and art by which it was expressed attracted me, and forced me
to admire the talent of Signor d'Orsi. "This man," said I to myself,
"has not come out of the academy; he is looking for a passage through
the vast sea of nature, and a shore to land on. Will he find it?"


A group in plaster of "Cain and his Wife" is the subject exhibited by
Signor Giov. Battista Amendola. Considered from the point of view of
expression, it is of wonderful truthfulness. This man, guilty of
fratricide, cursed by God, stands there transfixed to earth; the anguish
that oppresses him overcomes his arrogance; and not even the sweet words
and caresses of his companion are able to appease that sullen brow and
ferocious look. But Signor Amendola, who has so well entered into the
human sentiment of passion, pain, and rage that agitates the heart and
upsets the mind, has made a mistake in the physical character that he
has, with intention, given his figure. For since Cain and his wife are
of a savage ugliness, more resembling the family of the orangoutang than
the human being, he seems to be a follower of Darwin's theories, which,
if they are desolating as regards science and human dignity, are
absolutely revolting when represented in art. The truth is, that I think
the primitive type of our race, although fierce and uncultivated, was
much more beautiful than it appears to-day in our young men and young
girls, who are with difficulty built up by preparation of iron and
sea-baths. Then beauty was undoubtedly coupled with vigour and strength;
but bad habits, mistaken education, effeminacy, and vice, have so
diminished its vigour and physical beauty, that if one desired nowadays
to make a "Cain," an "Abel," or an "Adam," it would be difficult to find
amongst our young men a model who even distantly resembled them in their
splendid strong beauty. It is also strange and absurd to look for them
amongst the savages of New Zealand. I admire Signor Amendola's strength
of conception and expression, but I blame his application of it in the
selection of his types. He also is an artist that does not seem to be an
academical student; and if to originality of subject and truth of
expression, of which he has given proof in his group of "Cain and his
Wife," he adds study and love in the research of the beautiful in
nature, he will get on and be an artist, and what counts more, an
original artist, but otherwise he will not. To make Cain, and even his
wife, one must not, therefore, look for a model amongst the
anthropophagi or amongst the young men who live between Doney's and the
Piazza del Duomo. First of all, the type of such a subject, like any
other, must be clearly in the mind of the artist, and then, with a great
deal of study and love, he must seek for it in nature, abandoning in
part or entirely those places where such types have no existence.

[Sidenote: TYPE OF CAIN.]

When I made my "Cain," I had the good fortune to find the model without
the slightest difficulty; and the model I used was a strong and
beautiful man, and what was more, he had feeling for action and
expression, so that I copied him to the best of my ability, without even
giving a thought to the classical style so much recommended by
Academicians, although not copying with servility all the little
accidents of veins, wrinkles, and so forth (nowadays some people even
imitate the corns and glands). I answered the Signora Laura Bianchi of
Siena in these same words, or something like them, when she asked me, at
the instance of Thorwaldsen, who was in intimate relations with the
family, and made the monument to her husband, Cavaliere Giulio, what
style I had used in making that statue, which he had not yet seen. Later
I became personally acquainted with this distinguished artist, at a ball
in Casa Larderel at Leghorn, in 1845, and explained this by word of
mouth, modifying my expression, because dignity of name and years must
ever be respected by young men, and he being an Academician, might have
been offended by the harshness of my words on the classical style.

I will continue my examination of the naturalistic Neapolitan sculpture.
Signor Raffaele Belliazzi exhibited a group in plaster, representing
the Approach of a Storm, and a sleeping Calabrian, each the size of
life. In these works the artist shows a real sentiment for truth in the
expression of the woman holding the little girl firmly by the hand, both
of them with their heads bent down, eyes tightly shut to avoid the sand
that the wind is blowing with great force into their faces--their quick
step and close clinging garments blown about them, showing the violence
of the wind and approach of the storm. It is, if you will, a common
subject, not very attractive, and at best more suitable to be rendered
in small proportions than in life-size; for nothing that has great
movement and lightness of touch can well be reproduced in large size in
statuary. Now there is nothing more full of movement than clothes blown
about by the wind; the eye can hardly see them, much less retain an
impression of them, and therefore the artist is obliged rather to
indicate them as they possibly might be, than definitively or accurately
to reproduce them, as he should in a large work. I repeat, these
momentary impressions are excusable, and may even succeed in being
praiseworthy, if they limit themselves to expression in small figures
with rapid touches, after the manner of a sketch; but in great
dimensions they are not. The other work of Signor Belliazzi, "The
Sleeping Calabrian," is a very beautiful study from life, most accurate
and pleasing. Signor Belliazzi is of the naturalistic school; he loves
nature, but he does not feel, or does not care to devote his thought to,
what there is in nature of choice, attractive, and great, be it either
in conception or in form. It is, however, also true that neither of his
works can be put down as bad and ugly.


One who loves, feels, and reproduces nature with refinement and grace,
seems to me to be Signor Constantino Barbella, as it is shown in his
little _terra cotta_ group called "A Love Song." It consists of three
young girls singing as they walk along, their arms interlacing each
other. They are dressed in the rich and peculiar costume of the Abruzzi
mountains; and this dress on these figures, so young and so beautiful,
flexible and lifelike in their movement of walking, the joy expressed in
their faces for the charm and virtue of song, make an admirable
composition which one can look at with ever new pleasure. Here the small
size of the figures, and the material in which they are made, is all
forgotten, and it seems as if one could hear the song,--the very breath
and joy of those young girls. This peaceful work seems to be one of the
most beautiful of the Neapolitan naturalistic school, and in this
measure I like the naturalistic.


The study of nature, so felt and understood, draws the artist nearer to
the ideal conception--that is to say, to the reproduction of beautiful
nature in all its most varied forms; it opens the mind to ideas and
serious thoughts of loveliness and grace, for which Phidias, Giotto,
Orgagna, and Michael Angelo were celebrated, and will remain so to the
end of the world. The study of the material imitation of nature,
especially when it is defective and ugly in conception and form, besides
rendering these particular statues disagreeable, drives the artist away
from the ideal conception of monumental works, to which sculpture should
be specially devoted. The design for the monument to Salvator Rosa, the
work of Signor d'Orsi and Signor Franceschi, go to prove the truth of my

These few words on Neapolitan sculpture are said to prove how much and
how far the naturalistic school is to be accepted; and I have selected
these examples because in them are demonstrated the power, audacity,
and error, as well as the beginning of a healthy and fruitful
innovation, provided it be upheld and sustained by the sentiment of the

[Sidenote: BELLINI.]

Delightful Naples, rich in vineyards and orange-trees, with her splendid
sky and enchanting sea, in which the city mirrors itself, and ever
rejoices and sings, recalls to my mind the beautiful school of Italian
melody of Scarlatti, Pergolesi, and Bellini. Bellini, a name beloved and
venerated by all who value beautiful melody--whose song is so passionate
and graceful, expressing in its suave sweetness passion and love, rage
and remorse, and creating dramatic situations from the very notes
themselves, more than from the words; Bellini, a master without pedantry
or artifice, clear without being common, profound without being
abstruse, and really of the future (because I believe that both thought
and ears will soon be tired of being obliged to listen too attentively
to catch, here and there, _rari nantes_ in _gurgite vasto_ some half
phrase obscure and _slegato_);--Bellini, I say, who is indeed a great
man, is soon to have a monument erected to him. This monument was to
have been made by me, and God only knows how willingly I would have
worked to have made a statue of that graceful and strong genius! That
work, however, has fallen into excellent hands; for Giulio Monteverde,
whom I love and esteem, is to be the fortunate artist.

But if I am glad that this important and most sympathetic work has
fallen into good hands, I am none the less sorry not to have it to do
myself, the more so that the way it was taken from me seems inexplicably
strange. This is how it was. Some years back I had a commission from
Marchese del Toscano, of Catania, to make the bust of the Maestro
Pacini. At that time I was also asked by the same Marchese, who was then
syndic of the town, if I would be willing to make a great monument to
Bellini, that the city and province proposed to put up to their great
fellow-townsman. Naturally I met such a request with pleasure, although
it was accompanied by considerations of economy that, whilst they were
not in the least to diminish the grandioseness of the monument, in view
of the place where it was to be erected, and the dignity of the subject,
led him to suppose (and in this the worthy gentleman was not mistaken)
that the artist would have to be discreet in his demands, so as to
facilitate the work of the organising committee. I answered as a
disinterested artist who was desirous of doing the work should. "Tell me
the sum at your disposal, indicate the size of the place where you wish
to erect the monument, and I shall make you a sketch for it which, I
hope, will give you satisfaction; for I shall not look in the least to
my interest, as this great man is so dear to me, and I highly approve
the idea you have had of doing him honour."


In the meanwhile things proceeded very slowly; the sums of money
collected were not sufficient to make the monument of the proposed size,
and to this effect they wrote me after some time had passed; when at
last, one fine day, a letter arrived from the secretary of the
municipality, saying that the sum had been collected for the Bellini
monument, that the municipality intended at once to have the work begun,
and that, with this object in view, the syndic would soon forward the
order of the commission to me. Naturally, I looked for the letter from
the syndic, which did not keep me long waiting; but I leave it to the
reader to judge of.

The Marchese del Toscano was at that time no longer syndic of Catania,
and in his stead there was another, whose name I do not remember; for I
have the good fortune to forget the names of those who treat me badly,
and so bear them no resentment. I say this merely for the sake of truth,
that no one may suppose me possessed of a virtue that I have not. I have
read somewhere, but I do not remember where, that the person offended
engraves in porphyry the name of the offender, and the nature of the
offence; whilst on the other side it is but traced in the sand, that the
slightest breath of wind cancels. This may be true; but as regards me, I
must confess candidly that the very reverse occurs: and I thank God for
it, and so live on most happily, and my blood gains in colour and
vitality every day that I grow older.

[Sidenote: MONTEVERDE.]

Here is the sense, if not the very text, of the Signor Sindaco's letter:
"It is some days since my secretary wrote to you, to ask if you would
accept the order for Bellini's monument for this city. It must be
finished in eighteen months. Answer at once, for I have no time to lose,
and otherwise we shall appeal to Monteverde." One cannot deny that this
epistolary style is of an enviable brevity and clearness. I answered
that I had received the letter from the secretary, but as he had
announced to me that the syndic himself would write, I had waited for
this letter so as not to have to answer both, because I also had no time
to lose. I said that I could not accept under such close conditions, and
with such limited time; and as to appealing to Monteverde, he did well,
as he was a most talented artist, but I doubted whether even he could
accept for the same reason--want of time. Monteverde was given five
years' time, and the price increased not a little from what was proposed
to me. My best wishes to the artist are that he may be well inspired and
make an excellent work; that the good Catanese may have reason to be
satisfied with their way of proceeding; and that the monument to
Vincenzo Bellini may in its lines recall the passionate phrases of
melody of the divine master.


Here my memoirs come to an end. Those who have followed me with open
trusting minds, know me as if they had been with me from a child. They
know my humble origin; they remember my early years when I wandered here
and there with my father in search of work he found little of, and that
with difficulty; my attempts to study, to satisfy an inward yearning
that I knew not how to appease; the difficulties in my position of
satisfying that craving; the efforts that I made to content it, and the
dangers to which a quick nature abandoned to itself is exposed. They
have learnt how I chose for my companion a young girl as judicious and
good as she was gentle and beautiful, who was my providence and my
angel, the educator of the family, and an example of temperateness,
patience, and faith to me (who am so intolerant and easily angered), and
whose loss I feel even more heavily to-day, when I think that by God's
mercy I could now have made her life more peaceful and easy.

I wished to explain my principles on questions of art, on teaching, and
on the relations that the young artist has with his colleagues, with his
masters, and with his subjects. I wished to prove that justice and
temperance, in judging and sentencing works of art, are the foundation
of urbane and friendly artistic life.


    Agostini, Raffaelo, 333.

    Ala-Ponzoni, Marchese, 193 _et seq._

    Alberti, Dr, 205, 362, 390.

    Albertini, Augusta, of Verona, 386.

    Aleardi, 161, 162, 377, 386.

    Aloysio Juvara, Tommaso, 215, 243, 364.

    Altamura, 368.

    Amendola, Giov. Battista, 444.

    Ammanati, Gaetano, 8.

    Angelico, Fra Giovanni, 170.

    Angelini, Cavaliere, 227, 368.

    Angelo, Michael, 170.

    Antoinetta, Princess, of Naples, 36.

    Ara, Carlo, of Palermo, 141, _note_.

    Arcangeli, Giuseppe, 139, 154.

    Arese, Count, 197.

    Arrivabene, Count, 307.

    Augusta, Princess, 180.

    Baccani, 26.

    Baccio d'Agnolo, 181.

    Balzico, the sculptor, 215, 227.

    Barbella, Constantino, 447.

    Barbetti, Angelo, 9.

    Bardi, the rougher-out, 393.

    Bargagli, Cavaliere Luigi, 208.

    Barili, 181.

    Bartolini, 66, 71, 79, 80, 96, 97, 99, 100, 106, 116, 117, 118,
    119, 120, 132, 143, 144, 148, 157, 158, 184, 185, 186, 193, 261,
    346, 349, 361, 441.

    Barzellotti, Dr, 205.

    Batelli, 331.

    Bazzanti, 22.

    Beauharnais, Prince, Viceroy of Italy, 112.

    Becheroni, Enea, 89.

    Belliazzi, Raffaele, 446.

    Bellini, 449.

    Bendini, Dr, 390.

    Benericetti-Talenti, Giovanni, 261.

    Benino, Count F. del, 107, 113, 114, 130.

    Benvenuti, 66.

    Benvenuti, Professor Pietro, 94, 96, 100, 104, 348.

    Bernini, 260, 377.

    Bertoli, 58.

    Bezzuoli, Professor, 342, 348.

    Biaggi, 414.

    Bianchi, Carlo, 132.

    Bianchi, Cavaliere Giulio, 199.

    Bianchi, Laura, of Siena, 132, 446.

    Bianchi, Luigi, 132.

    Bianchini, Romualdo, 160.

    Bianciardi, Bartolommeo, 21, 62, 100.

    Bichi-Ruspoli, Marquis Alessandro, 133, 354, 435.

    Bimboni, Giovacchino, 307.

    Bini, Carlo, 315.

    Bonaini, Commendatore Francesco, 372.

    Bonghi, Ruggero, 240, 321, 413.

    Boni, Dr Costantino, 118.

    Borghese, Prince, 2.

    Borghesi, Count Scipione, 133, 273.

    Borghi, 154.

    Borri, Cavaliere Raffaello, 393.

    "Braccio di Ferro," 28 _et seq._

    Breme, Marchese di, 373.

    Brina, the model, 92, 94.

    Brucciani, the caster, 280.

    Brunellesco, 377.

    Bulletti, the wood-carver, 307.

    Buoncompagni, 273.

    Buti, Ferdinando Filippi di, 374.

    Byron's "Cain," 168.

    Caggiano, Emanuele, 367.

    Calamatta, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146.

    Camaldoli, the Eremo of, 31.

    Cambi, Professor Ulisse, 75, 76, 80, 81, 83, 97, 276, 325.

    Camerini, Count Luigi, 424.

    Camerini, Duke Silvestro, 423 _et seq._

    Canini, a gilder, 4.

    Canova, 150, 244, 349, 417.

    Capponi, Marquis, 164, 167, 378, 411.

    Caracci, the, 377.

    Carnevali, Clementina, 134.

    Cartei, 276.

    Caselli, Ludovico, 83, 84, 85.

    Cassioli, 190.

    Castellani of Rome, 406.

    Cavalieri, Angelo, of Trieste, 141, _note_.

    Ceccon, Professor Luigi, 426.

    Celentano, 364.

    Cellini, Benvenuto, 79.

    Ceppi, Professor, 375.

    Chiarini, "Baco," 161, 162 _et seq._

    Chiarini, Giovanni, 139.

    Ciacchi, cabinet-maker, 182.

    Ciardi, Cavaliere Antonio, 350, 388.

    Cimabue, 169.

    Cipolla, Professor, 380.

    Ciseri, Antonio, 160, 162, 190, 435.

    Coletti, physician and poet, 161.

    Constantine, Grand Duke, of Russia, 379.

    Constantine, Prince, of Russia, 153.

    Conti, Augusto, 326, 431, 434.

    Coppino, Professor Michele, 384.

    Correggio, 377.

    Corsi, Cardinal, 399 _et seq._

    Corsini, 90.

    Corsini, Amerigo, 198.

    Corsini, Prince Andrea, 198, 272.

    Costa, Pietro, 331.

    Costoli, Aristodemo, 94, 117, 199.

    Crawford, Lord, 208, 281.

    Dall'Ongaro, Professor, 320.

    D'Ancona, Commendatore, 320.

    Danielli, Signor, 433.

    Dante, 141, 377, 409.

    David, the painter, 245.

    Dei, Professor, 9.

    Della Gherardasca, Lady Emilia, 157.

    Della Porta, Count Carlo, 133.

    Della Robbia, Luca, 181, 203.

    Del Monte, Marchese Luca Bourbon, 338.

    Del Monte, Marchese Pompeo Bourbon, 438.

    Del Punta, Luigi, 205 _et seq._

    Del Toscano, Marchese, 449 _et seq._

    Del Sarto, the engineer, 130, 131.

    Demidoff, Princess Matilde, 148 _et seq._, 153, 200.

    Demidoff, Prince Anatolio, 148 _et seq._, 193 _et seq._, 313 _et seq._

    Donatello, 170, 233.

    Donati, Professor G. B., 130.

    Doney, 112, 446.

    Don Sebastian, Prince, 237.

    Duprè, Amalia, 209, 331 _et seq._, 350, 374, 391.

    Duprè, Atanasio, 30.

    Duprè, Beppina, 209, 334, 350.

    Duprè, Clementina, 3, 14.

    Duprè, Emilia, 209.

    Duprè, Francesco, 2, 3 _et seq._, 5 _et seq._, 25, 32, 323, 324.

    Duprè, Giovanni, 54, 93, 128, 150, 167, 178, 187, 228, 313 _et
    seq._ _passim._

    Duprè, Lorenzo (brother of Giovanni Duprè), 3, 14, 156, 183 _et seq._

    Duprè, Lorenzo (grandfather of Giovanni Duprè), 2.

    Duprè, Luisina, 189, 209, 350, 370, 388 _et seq._, 412.

    Duprè, Maddalena, 3, 14.

    Emmanuel, King Victor, 372, 438.

    Fabris, Emilio de, 26, 347, 431.

    Fanfani, Paolo, 100, 182.

    Favard, Baroness, 50, 436.

    Fedi, 278, 307, 368.

    Fenzi, Carlo, 177, 185.

    Fenzi, Orazio, 69, 157.

    Fenzi, Priore Emanuel, 69, 157, 184.

    Ferrari, Count Corbelli, 325.

    Filippi di Buti, Ferdinando, 374, 433, 435.

    Fiorelli, Commendatore, 368.

    Floridi, the draughtsman, 142, 144.

    Folchi, Ferdinand, 100.

    Fraccaroli, Professor Innocenzo, 374.

    Franceschi, Signor, 448.

    Francesco, Prince, of Naples, 180.

    Franchi, 190.

    Fusinato, 161.

    Galeotti, Maria, 408.

    Galeotti, the advocate, 140.

    Gargiolli, Girolamo, 139.

    Garibaldi, 421.

    Gatti, Angiolo, 326.

    Gatti, Annibale, 436.

    Gerini, Marchese, 177.

    Ghiberti, 15, 377.

    Giganti, the water-colourist, 215, 227.

    Giotto, 169, 170.

    Giusti, the poet, 139, 140, 141, 167, 292 _et seq._

    Giusti, Ulisse, 100.

    Gordigiani, 192.

    Gori, Count Augusto dei, 133, 257.

    Gozzini, Doctor, 49.

    Gualterio, Filippo, 257, 273, 373.

    Guasti, Cesare, 411.

    Guerrazzi, 164, 179.

    Guicciardini, Count Piero, 307.

    Guillaume, 432.

    Haynau, Marshal, 339 _et seq._

    Ingres, 191.

    Isabella, Princess, 180.

    Isabella, Queen, 236.

    La Farina, 139, 140, 159.

    Lajatico, Marquis, 273.

    Lambruschini, Raffaello, 411.

    Lelli, the caster, 100.

    Leonardo, 170, 191, 377.

    Leopold II., Grand Duke, 36, 147, 205, 236.

    Leopold, King, 276.

    Letizia, Madame, 150.

    Leuchtenberg, Prince of, 111, 112, 175.

    Limberti, Archbishop Giovacchino, 394.

    Lippi, 170.

    Liverani, Tonino, "Tria," 186 _et seq._, 371.

    Lombardi, Victoria, 2.

    Loredan, 228.

    Lucca, Blosi di, 192.

    Luigi, di, 172.

    Luitpoldo, Prince, 201.

    Lusini, Giovanni, 89.

    Macartney, Mrs Letitia, 126, 127 _et seq._

    Maccari, 190.

    Maffei, Andrea, 167, 168.

    Magagnini, 30.

    Magi, Luigi, 60, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 70, 71, 73, 75, 96.

    Magni, 368, 441.

    Majoli, Luigi, 160, 178, 205, 348, 366, _note_.

    Maldarelli, 364.

    Manara, 167.

    Mancinelli, Giuseppe, 215, 227, 363, 364, 370.

    Manetti, Antonio, 9.

    Mantegna, 310.

    Manzoni, 167, 377.

    Maranghi, Gabriello, 323.

    Marchesini, Signora, 229.

    Maria Antoinetta, Grand Duchess, 36, 131, 200.

    Maria Carolina, Grand Duchess, 272.

    Maria, Grand Duchess, of Russia, 111, 166, 175.

    Mariani, 247, 413.

    Marina, 39 _et seq._, 41, 43, 44, 53, 59, 60 _et seq._, 63, 65,
    77, 106, 110, 156, 177, 182, 225, 230, 350, 393.

    Mariotti, Lorenzo, 111, 113, 173, 313.

    Martelli, Professor Giuseppe, 69.

    Martellini, Professor Gaspero, 20.

    Marrocchetti, 282 _et seq._

    Masaccio, 170.

    Mauri, Senatore Achilli, 423.

    Mayer, Enrico, 139.

    Mazzoni, Stefano, 5.

    Meissonnier, 432.

    Menzicoff, General, 174.

    Minardi, 246, 247.

    Moisè, Filippo, 139.

    Montalvo, Ramirez di, 101, 102, 104, 105.

    Montanelli, Professor Giuseppe, 307.

    Montazio, 139, 140.

    Monteverde, 419, 449, 451.

    Mordini, Antonio, 159.

    Morelli, 364, 368.

    Morelli, Domenico, 406.

    Mussini, Luigi, 190 _et seq._, 192, 348, 366, 413, 435.

    Muzzi, 141, _note_.

    Napoleon I., 31, 99, 112, 142, 297, 318, 349.

    Niccolini, Giovanni Battista, 71, 139, 140, 167.

    Nicholas, Emperor of Russia, 153, 166, 173 _et seq._

    Nicolaiewna, Maria, 175.

    Nigra, the minister, 153.

    Norfini, 192.

    Nuovo, Berio, 233.

    Orgagna, 377, 448.

    Orlandini, F. S., 139.

    Orloff, Count, 174.

    Overbeck, 191, 246, 247.

    Pacetti, Brothers, 66, 76, 77, 78, 79.

    Pacetti, Tonino, 76.

    Palizzi, 364, 368, 413.

    Pallavicini, Count Antonio, 409, 429.

    Pampaloni, Professor, 83, 106, 348.

    Papi, Professor Clemente, 131, 160, 261, 287, 293 _et seq._,

    Parenti, carpet-manufacturer, 14.

    Patti, Adelina, 432.

    Pazzi, Enrico, 160, 178, 205, 348, 411.

    Peruzzi, Ubaldino, 179, 431.

    Petrai, Antonio, 101, 112, 129.

    Phidias, 117, 191, 241, 253, 377, 448.

    Piatti, Giulio, 162, 168.

    Piccolomini, Signora, 307.

    Pieraccini, Luigi, 8.

    Pini, Carlo, 9.

    Pius IX., 337, 434, 438 _et seq._

    Poccianti, Professor, 261.

    Podesta, the painter, 299.

    Poggi, Michele, 100.

    Poggi, Professor Commendatore Giuseppe, 107, 429, 436.

    Poldi, Marchioness, of Milan, 79, 80.

    Pollastrini, Enrico, 191.

    Poniatowsky, Prince Joseph, 324.

    Pradier, 285.

    Prati, 161, 162, 163, 164.

    Puccini, Cavaliere Nicolô, 396 _et seq._

    Quieroli, 234.

    Raphael, 170, 191, 240, 302 _et seq._, 309, 328, 377.

    Rauch, 265 _et seq._, 349 _et seq._

    Regina, 42, 43, 45, 53, 59.

    Renard, engineer, 177.

    Reni, Guido, 377.

    Riboisière, Madame de la, 285.

    Ricasoli, Beltino, 411.

    Ricci, Stefano, sculptor, 116, 121.

    Ricciardelli, 30.

    Ristori, Signora, 307 _et seq._

    Rivalta, Augusto, 345 _et seq._

    Romoli, 307.

    Rossini, 146, 171, 172, 377, 406.

    Rossini, Signora Olimpia, 171.

    Sabatelli, Professor, 63, 348.

    Sabatelli, Professor Giuseppe, 94, 99, 106.

    Saladini, 36, 37 _et seq._

    Saltini, Dr Giuseppe, 161, 177.

    Sanesi, 100.

    Sani, Luigi, 20, 62, 77.

    Sani, Paolo, 2, 8, 13, 16, 19, 35, 68 _et seq._, 76, 157, 182.

    Santarelli, Professor Emilio, 94, 106.

    Saracini, Cavaliere Alessandro, 133.

    Sarrocchi, Tito, 160, 177, 208, 330, 348, 367.

    Savonarola, Frate Girolamo, 410 _et seq._

    Sclopis, Count Federigo, 381.

    Selvatico, Pietro, 258.

    Serristori, Governor of Siena, 126.

    Sferra, Antonio, 94.

    Sighinolfi, Cesare, 397 _et seq._

    Sloane, Cavaliere, 330.

    Smargiassi, Professor, 215 _et seq._, 227.

    Spence, William, 277, 279, 288.

    Strazza, Giovanni, 367.

    Talleyrand, Duke, 424.

    Tartaglia, Professor, 216.

    Tasso, the carver, 78, 79, 80.

    Tasso, Torquato, 213, 214.

    Tenerani, 143, 246, 370.

    Thorwaldsen, 446.

    Thouar, 139, 140.

    Tommaseo, Niccolò, 411.

    Tommasi, Signor, of Leghorn, 153.

    Travalloni, the engraver, 137.

    Troubetzkoi, Princess, 424.

    Uccelli, Fabio, 307.

    Ussi, Professor, 406.

    Uzielli, Sansone, of Leghorn, 201.

    Vannucci, Atto, 139.

    Varesi, Signora, 172.

    Varni, Professor Santo, 374.

    Vela, 197, 368, 374, 380 _et seq._, 404 _et seq._, 419, 441.

    Venturi, Luigi, 147, 156, 180, 182, 190, 205, 207, 213, 262,

    Verdi, Giuseppe, 166 _et seq._, 171, 202.

    Vincenzi, de, 307.

    Visconti, 190, 365 _et seq._

    Vonwiller, Signor, 368.

    Vulpes, Professor, 215.

    Wagner, 420.

    Wellington, Duke of, 275 _et seq._

    Wolf, the sculptor, 349, 370.

    Zannetti, Professor, 198.

    Zocchi, Emilio, of Florence, 330, 334.

    Zotti, Ignazio, 133 _et seq._

                    THE END.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

    Some minor obvious typographical errors have been corrected

    All quotation marks left as per original, except for those
    listed below.

    Footnotes have been moved to underneath the paragraph they refer
    to so as to not disrupt the flow of the text.

    The headings that appeared at the top of each page in the
    original publication and have been treated as sidenotes and
    moved to above the paragraph they refer to so as not to disrupt
    the flow of the text.

Corrections made:

    Pg. 153: "After Pius II. [added comma]"

    Pg. 179: "in the railway-carriages. Guerazzi [replaced with

    Pg. 238: "they are presenting arms. [added doublequote mark]"

    Pg. 310: "the "Triumph of Caesar." Mantegua [replaced with

    Pg. 324: "I will get out and go home. [added doublequote mark]"

    Pg. 444: "drowse on a _trichinium_ [replaced with

The following names appearing in the index have been changed to match
the spelling appearing in the text:

    Pg. 454: "Della Gherardasca [replaced with "Gherardesca"], Lady

    Pg. 454: "Fraccaroli, Professor Innocenzi [replaced with

    Pg. 454: "Gatti, Anjiolo [replaced with "Angiolo"]"

    Pg. 455: "Masacio [replaced with "Masaccio"], 170."

    Pg. 455: "Meisonnier [replaced with "Meissonnier"], 432."

    Pg. 455: "Puccini, Cavaliere Nicolo [replaced with "Nicolô"]"

Multiple versions of the same name appear and have not been changed:

    The Grand Duchess "Marie Antoinetta", "Maria Antoinetta", "Maria

    Lampeggi, Lappegi

    Andrea Pisani, Andrea Pisano

    Schiller Platz, Schillerplatz

    San Niccolo, San Niccolò

    Sienese, Siennese

    Ciseri, Cisere

Both versions of the following words appear in the text:

    buttonhole, button-hole

    nicknamed, nick-named

    storehouse, store-house

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