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Title: Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors  and Architects, and Curiosities of Art, (Vol. 2 of 3)
Author: Spooner, Shearjashub, 1809-1859
Language: English
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  Sculptors and Architects,


  VOL. II.

  770 Broadway.


  Reëntered, G. B., 1880.


  Titian--Sketch of his Life,                                         1
  Titian's Manners,                                                   5
  Titian's Works,                                                     6
  Titian's Imitators,                                                 7
  Titian's Venus and Adonis,                                          8
  Titian and the Emperor Charles V.,                                 10
  Titian and Philip II.,                                             13
  Titian's Last Supper and El Mudo,                                  14
  Titian's Old Age,                                                  15
  Monument to Titian,                                                15
  Horace Vernet,                                                     16
  The Colosseum,                                                     29
  Nineveh and its Remains,                                           34
  Description of a Palace Exhumed at Nimroud,                        37
  Origin and Antiquity of the Arch,                                  41
  Antiquities of Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiæ,                   43
  Ancient Fresco and Mosaic Painting,                                55
  Mosaic of the Battle of Platæa,                                    55
  The Aldobrandini Wedding,                                          56
  The Portland Vase,                                                 56
  Ancient Pictures on Glass,                                         58
  Henry Fuseli; his Birth,                                           59
  Fuseli's early Love of Art,                                        59
  Fuseli's Literary and Poetical Taste,                              60
  Fuseli, Lavater, and the Unjust Magistrate,                        61
  Fuseli's Travels and his Literary Distinction,                     62
  Fuseli's Arrival in London,                                        63
  Fuseli's change from Literature to Painting,                       63
  Fuseli's Sojourn in Italy,                                         65
  Fuseli's Nightmare,                                                66
  Fuseli's OEdipus and his Daughters,                                66
  Fuseli and the Shakspeare Gallery,                                 67
  Fuseli's "Hamlet's Ghost,"                                         68
  Fuseli's Titania,                                                  69
  Fuseli's Election as a Royal Academician,                          70
  Fuseli and Horace Walpole,                                         71
  Fuseli and the Banker Coutts,                                      72
  Fuseli and Professor Porson,                                       73
  Fuseli's method of giving vent to his Passion,                     73
  Fuseli's Love for Terrific Subjects,                               73
  Fuseli's and Lawrence's Pictures from the "Tempest,"               74
  Fuseli's estimate of Reynolds' Abilities in Historical Painting,   75
  Fuseli and Lawrence,                                               75
  Fuseli as Keeper of the Royal Academy,                             76
  Fuseli's Jests and Oddities with the Students of the Academy,      77
  Fuseli's Sarcasms on Northcote,                                    78
  Fuseli's Sarcasms on various rival Artists,                        79
  Fuseli's Retorts,                                                  80
  Fuseli's Suggestion of an Emblem of Eternity,                      82
  Fuseli's Retort in Mr. Coutts' Banking House,                      82
  Fuseli's Sarcasms on Landscape and Portrait Painters,              83
  Fuseli's Opinion of his own Attainment of Happiness,               84
  Fuseli's Private Habits,                                           84
  Fuseli's Wife's method of Curing his fits of Despondency,          85
  Fuseli's Personal Appearance, his Sarcastic Disposition,
    and Quick Temper,                                                86
  Fuseli's near Sight,                                               87
  Fuseli's Popularity,                                               88
  Fuseli's Artistic Merits,                                          88
  Fuseli's Milton Gallery, the Character of his Works,
    and the Permanency of his Fame,                                  89
  Salvator Rosa,                                                     91
  Salvator Rosa and Cav. Lanfranco,                                  91
  Salvator Rosa at Rome and Florence,                                92
  Salvator Rosa's Return to Rome,                                    93
  Salvator Rosa's Subjects,                                          93
  Flagellation of Salvator Rosa,                                     95
  Salvator Rosa and the Higgling Prince,                             96
  Salvator Rosa's Opinion of his own Works,                          98
  Salvator Rosa's Banditti,                                          98
  Salvator Rosa and Massaniello,                                    100
  Salvator Rosa and Cardinal Sforza,                                100
  Salvator Rosa's Manifesto Concerning his Satirical
    Picture, La Fortuna,                                            101
  Salvator Rosa's Banishment from Rome,                             102
  Salvator Rosa's Wit,                                              103
  Salvator Rosa's Reception at Florence,                            103
  Histrionic Powers of Salvator Rosa,                               104
  Salvator Rosa's Reception at the Palazzo Pitti,                   105
  Satires of Salvator Rosa,                                         105
  Salvator Rosa's Harpsichord,                                      106
  Rare Portrait by Salvator Rosa,                                   106
  Salvator Rosa's Return to Rome,                                   109
  Salvator Rosa's Love of Magnificence,                             109
  Salvator Rosa's Last Works,                                       111
  Salvator Rosa's Desire to be Considered an Historical Painter,    112
  Don Mario Ghigi, his Physician, and Salvator Rosa,                113
  Death of Salvator Rosa,                                           115
  Domenichino,                                                      121
  The Dulness of Domenichino in Youth,                              121
  Domenichino's Scourging of St. Andrew,                            123
  The Communion of St. Jerome,                                      124
  Domenichino's Enemies at Rome,                                    125
  Decision of Posterity on the Merits of Domenichino,               126
  Proof of the Merits of Domenichino,                               127
  Domenichino's Caricatures,                                        127
  Intrigues of the Neapolitan Triumvirate of Painters,              128
  Giuseppe Ribera, called Il Spagnoletto--his early
    Poverty and Industry,                                           133
  Ribera's Marriage,                                                134
  Ribera's Rise to Eminence,                                        135
  Ribera's Discovery of the Philosopher's Stone,                    135
  Ribera's Subjects,                                                136
  Ribera's Disposition,                                             137
  Singular Pictorial Illusions,                                     137
  Raffaelle's Skill in Portraits,                                   138
  Jacopo da Ponte,                                                  139
  Giovanni Rosa,                                                    139
  Cav. Giovanni Centarini,                                          139
  Guercino's Power of Relief,                                       140
  Bernazzano,                                                       140
  Invention of Oil Painting,                                        141
  Foreshortening,                                                   145
  Method of Transferring Paintings from Walls and
    Panels to Canvass,                                              146
  Works in Scagliola,                                               147
  The Golden Age of Painting,                                       149
  Golden Age of the Fine Arts in Ancient Rome,                      152
  Nero's Golden Palace,                                             155
  Names of Ancient Architects Designated by Reptiles,               156
  Triumphal Arches,                                                 157
  Statue of Pompey the Great,                                       159
  Antique Sculptures in Rome,                                       159
  Ancient Map of Rome,                                              160
  Julian the Apostate,                                              160
  The Tomb of Mausolus,                                             161
  Mandrocles' Bridge Across the Bosphorus,                          162
  The Colossus of the Sun at Rhodes,                                162
  Statues and Paintings at Rhodes,                                  164
  Sostratus' Light-House on the Isle of Pharos,                     164
  Dinocrates' Plan for Cutting Mount Athos into a
    Statue of Alexander the Great,                                  165
  Pope's idea of Forming Mount Athos into a Statue
    of Alexander the Great,                                         166
  Temple with an Iron Statue Suspended in the Air by Loadstone,     168
  The Temple of Jupiter Olympius at Athens,                         168
  The Parthenon at Athens,                                          170
  The Elgin Marbles,                                                171
  The first Odeon at Athens,                                        182
  Perpetual Lamps,                                                  182
  The Skull of Raffaelle,                                           183
  The Four Finest Pictures in Rome,                                 183
  The Four Carlos of the 17th Century,                              184
  Pietro Galletti and the Bolognese Students,                       184
  Ætion's Picture of the Nuptials of Alexander and Roxana,          184
  Ageladas,                                                         185
  The Porticos of Agaptos,                                          185
  The Group of Niobe and her Children,                              185
  Statue of the Fighting Gladiator,                                 187
  The Group of Laocoön in the Vatican,                              187
  Michael Angelo's Opinion of the Laocoön,                          190
  Discovery of the Laocoön,                                         190
  Sir John Soane,                                                   191
  Soane's Liberality and Public Munificence,                        192
  The Belzoni Sarcophagus,                                          194
  Tasso's "Gerusalemme Liberata,"                                   195
  George Morland,                                                   197
  Morland's Early Talent                                            198
  Morland's Early Fame,                                             199
  Morland's Mental and Moral Education under an Unnatural Parent,   200
  Morland's Escape from the Thraldom of his Father,                 201
  Morland's Marriage and Temporary Reform,                          202
  Morland's Social Position,                                        203
  An Unpleasant Dilemma,                                            204
  Morland at the Isle of Wight,                                     205
  A Novel Mode of Fulfilling Commissions,                           206
  Hassel's First Interview with Morland,                            206
  Morland's Drawings in the Isle of Wight,                          207
  Morland's Freaks,                                                 208
  A Joke on Morland,                                                208
  Morland's Apprehension as a Spy,                                  209
  Morland's "Sign of the Black Bull,"                               210
  Morland and the Pawnbroker,                                       211
  Morland's idea of a Baronetcy,                                    212
  Morland's Artistic Merits,.                                       212
  Charles Jervas,                                                   213
  Jervas the Instructor of Pope,                                    214
  Jervas and Dr. Arbuthnot,                                         215
  Jervas' Vanity,                                                   215
  Holbein and the Fly,                                              216
  Holbein's Visit to England,                                       216
  Henry VIII.'s Opinion of Holbein,                                 217
  Holbein's Portrait of the Duchess Dowager of Milan,               218
  Holbein's Flattery in Portraits--a Warning to Painters,           219
  Holbein's Portrait of Cratzer,                                    219
  Holbein's Portrait of Sir Thomas More and Family,                 220
  Sir John Vanbrugh and his Critics,                                221
  Anecdote of the English Painter, James Seymour,                   223
  Precocity of Luca Giordano,                                       224
  Giordano's Enthusiasm,                                            225
  Luca Fa Presto,                                                   226
  Giordano's Skill in Copying,                                      226
  Giordano's Success at Naples,                                     227
  Giordano, the Viceroy, and the Duke of Diano,                     228
  Giordano Invited to Florence,                                     229
  Giordano and Carlo Dolci,                                         229
  Giordano's Visit to Spain,                                        230
  Giordano's Works in Spain,                                        231
  Giordano at the Escurial,                                         232
  Giordano's Habits in Spain,                                       233
  Giordano's First Picture Painted in Spain,                        233
  Giordano a Favorite at Court,                                     234
  Giordano's Return to Naples,                                      236
  Giordano's Personal Appearance and Character,                     237
  Giordano's Riches,                                                238
  Giordano's Wonderful Facility of Hand,                            239
  Giordano's Powers of Imitation,                                   240
  Giordano's Fame and Reputation,                                   240
  Remarkable Instance of Giordano's Rapidity of Execution,          242
  Revival of Painting in Italy,                                     244
  Giovanni Cimabue,                                                 251
  Cimabue's Passion for Art,                                        252
  Cimabue's Famous Picture of the Virgin,                           253
  The Works of Cimabue,                                             255
  Death of Cimabue,                                                 256
  Giotto,                                                           257
  Giotto's St. Francis Stigmata,                                    259
  Giotto's Invitation to Rome,                                      260
  Giotto's Living Model,                                            262
  Giotto and the King of Naples,                                    264
  Giotto and Dante,                                                 266
  Death of Giotto,                                                  266
  Buonamico Buffalmacco,                                            267
  Buffalmacco and his Master,                                       267
  Buffalmacco and the Nuns of the Convent of Faenza,                270
  Buffalmacco and the Nun's Wine,                                   272
  Buffalmacco, Bishop Guido and his Monkey,                         273
  Buffalmacco's Trick on the Bishop of Arezzo,                      277
  Origin of Label Painting,                                         278
  Utility of Ancient Works,                                         280
  Buffalmacco and the Countryman,                                   282
  Buffalmacco and the People of Perugia,                            283
  Buffalmacco's Novel Method of Enforcing Payment,                  285
  Stefano Fiorentino,                                               286
  Giottino,                                                         286
  Paolo Uccello,                                                    287
  Ucello's Enthusiasm,                                              288
  Uccello and the Monks of San Miniato,                             289
  Uccello's Five Portraits,                                         290
  Uccello's Incredulity of St. Thomas,                              291
  The Italian Schools of Painting,                                  292
  Claude Joseph Vernet,                                             295
  Vernet's Precocity,                                               295
  Vernet's Enthusiasm,                                              296
  Vernet at Rome                                                    298
  Vernet's "Alphabet of Tones,"                                     299
  Vernet and the Connoisseur,                                       301
  Vernet's Works,                                                   301
  Vernet's Passion for Music,                                       306
  Vernet's Opinion of his own Merits,                               307
  Curious Letter of Vernet,                                         308
  Charles Vernet,                                                   310
  Anecdote of Charles Vernet,                                       311
  M. de Lasson's Caricature,                                        311
  Frank Hals and Vandyke,                                           312





The name of this illustrious painter was Tiziano Vecellio or Vecelli,
and he is called by the Italians, Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore. He was
descended of a noble family; born at the castle of Cadore in the Friuli
in 1477, and died in 1576, according to Ridolfi; though Vasari and
Sandrart place his birth in 1480. Lanzi says he died in 1576, aged 99
years. He early showed a passion for the art, which was carefully
cultivated by his parents.--Lanzi says in a note, that it is pretty
clearly ascertained that he received his first instruction from Antonio
Rossi, a painter of Cadore; if so, it was at a very tender age, for
when he was ten years old he was sent to Trevigi, and placed under
Sebastiano Zuccati. He subsequently went to Venice, and studied
successively under Gentile and Giovanni Bellini. Giorgione was his
fellow-student under the last named master, with whom Titian made
extraordinary progress, and attained such an exact imitation of his
style that their works could scarcely be distinguished, which greatly
excited the jealousy of Bellini.

On the death of Giorgione, Titian rose rapidly into favor. He was soon
afterwards invited to the court of Alphonso, Duke of Ferrara, for whom
he painted his celebrated picture of Bacchus and Ariadne, and two other
fabulous subjects, which still retain somewhat of the style of
Giorgione. It was there that he became acquainted with Ariosto, whose
portrait he painted, and in return the poet spread abroad his fame in
the Orlando Furioso. In 1523, the Senate of Venice employed him to
decorate the Hall of the Council Chamber, where he represented the
famous Battle of Cadore, between the Venetians and the Imperialists--a
grand performance, that greatly increased his reputation. This work was
afterwards destroyed by fire, but the composition has been preserved by
the burin of Fontana. His next performance was his celebrated picture of
St. Pietro Martire, in the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, at Venice,
which is generally regarded as his master-piece in historical painting.
This picture was carried to Paris by the French, and subsequently
restored by the Allies. Notwithstanding the importance of these and
other commissions, and the great reputation he had acquired, it is said,
though with little probability of truth, that he received such a small
remuneration for his works, that he was in actual indigence in 1530,
when the praises bestowed upon him in the writings of his friend Pietro
Aretino, recommended him to the notice of the Emperor Charles V., who
had come to Bologna to be crowned by Pope Clement VII. Titian was
invited thither, and painted the portrait of that monarch, and his
principal attendants, for which he was liberally rewarded.--About this
time, he was invited to the court of the Duke of Mantua, whose portrait
he painted, and decorated a saloon in the palace with a series of the
Twelve Cæsars, beneath which Giulio Romano afterwards painted a subject
from the history of each. In 1543, Paul III. visited Ferrara, where
Titian was then engaged, sat for his portrait and invited him to Rome,
but previous engagements with the Duke of Urbino, obliged him to decline
or defer the invitation. Having completed his undertakings for that
prince, he went to Rome at the invitation of the Cardinal Farnese in
1548, where he was received with marks of great distinction. He was
accommodated with apartments in the palace of the Belvidere, and painted
the Pope, Paul III., a second time, whom he represented seated between
the Cardinal Farnese and Prince Ottavio. He also painted his famous
picture of Danaë, which caused Michael Angelo to lament that Titian had
not studied the antique as accurately as he had nature, in which case
his works would have been inimitable, by uniting the perfection of
coloring with correctness of design. It is said that the Pope was so
captivated with his works that he endeavored to retain him at Rome, and
offered him as an inducement the lucrative office of the Leaden Seal,
then vacant by the death of Frà Sebastiano del Piombo, but he declined
on account of conscientious scruples. Titian had no sooner returned from
Rome to Venice, than he received so pressing an invitation from his
first protector, Charles V., to visit the court of Spain, that he could
no longer refuse; and he accordingly set out for Madrid, where he
arrived at the beginning of 1550, and was received with extraordinary
honors. After a residence of three years at Madrid, he returned to
Venice, whence he was shortly afterwards invited to Inspruck, where he
painted the portrait of Ferdinand, king of the Romans, his queen and
children, in one picture.--Though now advanced in years, his powers
continued unabated, and this group was accounted one of his best
productions. He afterwards returned to Venice, where he continued to
exercise his pencil to the last year of his long life.


Most writers observe that Titian had four different manners, at as many
different periods of his life: first that of Bellini, somewhat stiff and
hard, in which he imitated nature, according to Lanzi, with a greater
precision than even Albert Durer, so that "the hairs might be numbered,
the skin of the hands, the very pores of the flesh, and the reflection
of objects in the pupils seen:" second, an imitation of Giorgione, more
bold and full of force; Lanzi says that some of his portraits executed
at this time, cannot be distinguished from those of Giorgione: third,
his own inimitable style, which he practiced from about his thirtieth
year, and which was the result of experience, knowledge, and judgment,
beautifully natural, and finished with exquisite care: and fourth, the
pictures which he painted in his old age. Sandrart says that, "at first
he labored his pictures highly, and gave them a polished beauty and
lustre, so as to produce their effect full as well when they were
examined closely, as when viewed at a distance; but afterwards, he so
managed his penciling that their greatest force and beauty appeared at a
more remote view, and they pleased less when they were beheld more
nearly; so that many of those artists who studied to imitate him, being
misled by appearances which they did not sufficiently consider, imagined
that Titian executed his works with readiness and masterly rapidity;
and concluded that they should imitate his manner most effectually by a
freedom of hand and a bold pencil; whereas Titian in reality took
abundance of pains to work up his pictures to so high a degree of
perfection, and the freedom that appears in the handling was entirely
effected by a skillful combination of labor and judgment, and a few
bold, artful strokes of the pencil to conceal his labor."


The works of Titian, though many of his greatest productions have been
destroyed by terrible conflagrations at Venice and Madrid, are numerous,
scattered throughout Europe, in all the royal collections, and the most
celebrated public galleries, particularly at Venice, Rome, Bologna,
Milan, Florence, Vienna, Dresden, Paris, London, and Madrid. The most
numerous are portraits, Madonnas, Magdalens, Bacchanals, Venuses, and
other mythological subjects, some of which are extremely voluptuous. Two
of his grandest and most celebrated works are the Last Supper in the
Escurial, and Christ crowned with Thorns at Milan. It is said that the
works of Titian, to be appreciated, should be seen at Venice or Madrid,
as many claimed to be genuine elsewhere are of very doubtful
authenticity. He painted many of his best works for the Spanish court,
first for the Emperor Charles V., and next for his successor, Philip
II., who is known to have given him numerous commissions to decorate
the Escurial and the royal palaces at Madrid. There are numerous
duplicates of some of his works, considered genuine, some of which he is
supposed to have made himself, and others to have been carefully copied
by his pupils and retouched by himself; he frequently made some slight
alterations in the backgrounds, to give them more of the look of
originals; thus the original of his Christ and the Pharisees, or the
Tribute Money, is now in the Dresden Gallery, yet Lanzi says there are
numerous copies in Italy, one of which he saw at St. Saverio di Rimini,
inscribed with his name, which is believed to be a duplicate rather than
a copy. There are more than six hundred engravings from his pictures,
including both copper-plates and wooden cuts. He is said to have
engraved both on wood and copper himself, but Bartsch considers all the
prints attributed to him as spurious, though a few of them are signed
with his name, only eight of which he describes.


Titian, the great head of the Venetian school, like Raffaelle, the head
of the Roman, had a host of imitators and copyists, some of whom
approached him so closely as to deceive the best judges; and many works
attributed to him, even in the public galleries of Europe, were
doubtless executed by them.


This chef-d'oeuvre of Titian, so celebrated in the history of art,
represents Venus endeavoring to detain Adonis from the fatal chase.
Titian is known to have made several repetitions of this charming
composition, some of them slightly varied, and the copies are almost
innumerable. The original is supposed to have been painted at Rome as a
companion to the Danaë, for the Farnese family, about 1548, and is now
in the royal gallery at Naples. The most famous of the original
repetitions is that at Madrid, painted for King Philip II., when prince
of Spain, and about the period of his marriage with Queen Mary of
England. There is a fine duplicate of this picture in the English
National Gallery, another in the Dulwich gallery, and two or three more
in the private collections of England. Ottley thus describes this

     "The figure of Venus, which is seen in a back view, receives the
     principal light, and is without drapery, save that a white veil,
     which hangs from her shoulder, spreads itself over the right knee.
     The chief parts of this figure are scarcely less excellent in
     respect of form than of coloring. The head possesses great beauty,
     and is replete with natural expression. The fair hair of the
     goddess, collected into a braid rolled up at the back of her head,
     is entwined by a string of pearls, which, from their whiteness,
     give value to the delicate carnation of her figure. She throws her
     arms, impassioned, around her lover, who, resting with his right
     hand upon his javelin, and holding with the left the traces which
     confine his dogs, looks upon her unmoved by her solicitations, and
     impatient to repair to the chase. Cupid, meantime, is seen sleeping
     at some distance off, under the shadow of a group of lofty trees,
     from one of which are suspended his bow and quiver; a truly poetic
     thought, by which, it is scarcely necessary to add, the painter
     intended to signify that the blandishments and caresses of beauty,
     unaided by love, may be exerted in vain. In the coloring, this
     picture unites the greatest possible richness and depth of tone,
     with that simplicity and sobriety of character which Sir Joshua
     Reynolds so strongly recommends in his lectures, as being the best
     adapted to the higher kinds of painting. The habit of the goddess,
     on which she sits, is of crimson velvet, a little inclining to
     purple, and ornamented with an edging of gold lace, which is,
     however, so subdued in tone as not to look gaudy, its lining being
     of a delicate straw color, touched here and there with a slight
     glazing of lake. The dress of Adonis, also, is crimson, but of a
     somewhat warmer hue. There is little or no blue in the sky, which
     is covered with clouds, and but a small proportion of it on the
     distant hills; the effect altogether appearing, to be the result of
     a very simple principle of arrangement in the coloring, namely,
     that of excluding almost all cold tints from the illuminated parts
     of the picture."


One of the most pleasant things recorded in the life of Titian, is the
long and intimate friendship that subsisted between him and the great
and good Emperor Charles V., whose name is known in history as one of
the wisest and best sovereigns of Europe. According to Vasari, Titian,
when he was first recommended to the notice of the Emperor by Pietro
Aretino, was in deep poverty, though his name was then known all over
Italy. Charles, who appreciated, and knew how to assist genius without
wounding its delicacy, employed Titian to paint his portrait, for which
he munificently rewarded him. He afterwards invited him to Madrid in the
most pressing and flattering terms, where he was received with
extraordinary honors. He was appointed gentleman of the Emperor's
bed-chamber, that he might be near his person; Charles also conferred
upon him the order of St. Jago, and made him a Count Palatine of the
empire. He did not grace the great artist with splendid titles and
decorations only, but showed him more solid marks of his favor, by be
stowing upon him life-rents in Naples and Milan of two hundred ducats
each, besides a munificent compensation for each picture. These honors
and favors were, doubtless, doubly gratifying to Titian, as coming from
a prince who was not only a lover of the fine arts, but an excellent
connoisseur. "The Emperor," says Palomino, "having learned drawing in
his youth, examined pictures and prints with all the keenness of an
artist; and he much astonished Æneas Vicus of Parma, by the searching
scrutiny that he bestowed on a print of his own portrait, which that
famous engraver had submitted to his eye." Stirling, in his Annals of
Spanish Artists, says, that of no prince are recorded more sayings which
show a refined taste and a quick eye. He told the Burghers of Antwerp
that, "the light and soaring spire of their cathedral deserved to be put
under a glass case." He called Florence "the Queen of the Arno, decked
for a perpetual holiday." He regretted that he had given his consent for
the conversion of the famous mosque of Abderahman at Cordova into a
cathedral, when he saw what havoc had been made of the forest of fairy
columns by the erection of the Christian choir. "Had I known," said he
to the abashed improvers, "of what you were doing, you should have laid
no finger on this ancient pile. You have built _a something_, such as is
to be found anywhere, and you have destroyed a wonder of the world."

The Emperor delighted to frequent the studio of Titian, on which
occasions he treated him with extraordinary familiarity and
condescension. The fine speeches which he lavished upon him, are as well
known as his more substantial rewards. The painter one day happening to
let fall his brush, the monarch picked it up, and presented it to the
astonished artist, saying, "It becomes Cæsar to serve Titian." On
another occasion, Cæsar requested Titian to retouch a picture which hung
over the door of the chamber, and with the assistance of his courtiers
moved up a table for the artist to stand upon, but finding the height
insufficient, without more ado, he took hold of one corner, and calling
on those gentlemen to assist, he hoisted Titian aloft with his own
imperial hands, saying, "We must all of us bear up this great man to
show that his art is empress of all others." The envy and displeasure
with which men of pomp and ceremonies viewed these familiarities, that
appeared to them as so many breaches in the divinity that hedged their
king and themselves, only gave their master opportunities to do fresh
honors to his favorite in these celebrated and cutting rebukes: "There
are many princes, but there is only one Titian;" and again, when he
placed Titian on his right hand, as he rode out on horseback, "I have
many nobles, but I have only one Titian." Not less valued, perhaps, by
the great painter, than his titles, orders, and pensions, was the
delicate compliment the Emperor paid him when he declared that "no other
hand should draw his portrait, since he had thrice received immortality
from the pencil of Titian." Palomino, perhaps carried away by an
artist's enthusiasm, asserts that "Charles regarded the acquisition of a
picture by Titian with as much satisfaction as he did the conquest of a
province." At all events, when the Emperor parted with all his provinces
by abdicating his throne, he retained some of Titian's pictures. When he
betook himself to gardening, watchmaking, and manifold masses at San
Yuste, the sole luxury to be found in his simple apartments, with their
hangings of sombre brown, was that master's St. Jerome, meditating in a
cavern scooped in the cliffs of a green and pleasant valley--a fitting
emblem of his own retreat. Before this appropriate picture, or the
"Glory," which hung in the church of the convent, and which was removed
in obedience to his will, with his body to the Escurial, he paid his
orisons and schooled his mind to forgetfulness of the pomps and vanities
of life.


Titian was not less esteemed by Philip II., than by his father, Charles
V. When Philip married Mary, Queen of England, he presented him his
famous picture of Venus and Adonis, with the following letter of
congratulation, which may be found in Ticozzi's Life of Titian:

     "_To Philip, King of England, greeting_:

     "Most sacred Majesty! I congratulate your Majesty on the kingdom
     which God has granted to you; and I accompany my congratulations
     with the picture of Venus and Adonis, which I hope will be looked
     upon by you with the favorable eye you are accustomed to cast upon
     the works of your servant


According to Palomino, Philip was sitting on his throne, in council,
when the news arrived of the disastrous conflagration of the palace of
the Prado, in which so many works by the greatest masters were
destroyed. He earnestly demanded if the Titian Venus was among those
saved, and on being informed it was, he exclaimed, "Then every other
loss may be supported!"


Palomino says that when Titian's famous painting of the Last Supper
arrived at the Escurial, it was found too large to fit the panel in the
refectory, where it was designed to hang. The king, Philip II., proposed
to cut it to the proper size. El Mudo (the dumb painter), who was
present, to prevent the mutilation of so capital a work, made earnest
signs of intercession with the king, to be permitted to copy it,
offering to do it in the space of six months. The king expressed some
hesitation, on account of the length of time required for the work, and
was proceeding to put his design in execution, when El Mudo repeated his
supplications in behalf of his favorite master with more fervency than
ever, offering to complete the copy in less time than he at first
demanded, tendering at the same time his head as the punishment if he
failed. The offer was not accepted, and execution was performed on
Titian, accompanied with the most distressing attitudes and distortions
of El Mudo.


Titian continued to paint to the last year of his long life, and many
writers, fond of the marvellous, assert that his faculties and his
powers continued to the last. Vasari, who saw him in 1566 for the last
time, said he "could no longer recognize Titian in Titian." Lanzi says,
"There remains in the church of S. Salvatore, one of these pictures
(executed towards the close of his life), of the Annunciation, which
attracts the attention only from the name of the master. Yet when he was
told by some one that it was not, or at least did not appear to have
been executed by his hand, he was so much irritated that, in a fit of
senile indignation, he seized his pencil and inscribed upon it,
'Tizianus fecit, fecit.' Still the most experienced judges are agreed
that much may be learned, even from his latest works, in the same manner
as the poets pronounce judgment upon the Odyssey, the product of old
age, but still by Homer."


A monument to Titian, from the studio of the brothers Zandomenghi, was
erected in Venice in 1852; and the civil, ecclesiastical, and military
authorities were present at the ceremony of inauguration. It represents
Titian, surrounded by figures impersonating the Fine Arts; below are
impersonations of the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. The basement
is adorned with five bas-reliefs, representing as many celebrated
paintings by the great artist.


Among all the artists of our day, is one standing almost alone, and
singularly characterized in many respects. He is entirely wanting in
that lofty religious character which fills with pureness and beauty the
works of the early masters; he has not the great and impressive
historical qualities of the school of Raffaelle, nor the daring
sublimity of Michael Angelo; he has not the rich luxury of color that
renders the works of the great Venetians so gorgeous, nor even that sort
of striking reality which makes the subjects rendered by the Flemish
masters incomparably life-like. Yet he is rich in qualities deeply
attractive and interesting to the people, especially the French people,
of our own day. He displays an astonishing capacity and rapidity of
execution, an almost unparalleled accuracy of memory, a rare life and
motion on the canvass, a vigorous comprehension of the military tactics
of the time, a wonderful aptitude at rendering the camp and field potent
subjects for the pencil, notwithstanding the regularity of movement,
and the unpicturesque uniformity of costume demanded by the military
science of our day. Before a battle-piece, of Horace Vernet (and only
his battle-pieces are his masterpieces), the crowd stands breathless and
horrified at the terrible and bloody aspect of war; while the military
connoisseur admires the ability and skill of the feats of arms, so
faithfully rendered that he forgets he is not looking at real soldiers
in action. In the landscapes and objects of the foreground or
background, there are not that charm of color and aërial depth and
transparency in which the eye revels, yet there is a hard vigorous
actuality which adds to the force and energy of the actors, and
strengthens the idea of presence at the battle, without attracting or
charming away the mind from the terrible inhumanities principally
represented. No poetry, no romance, no graceful and gentle beauty; but
the stern dark reality as it might be written in an official bulletin,
or related in a vigorous, but cold and accurate, page of history. Such
is the distinguishing talent of Horace Vernet--talent sufficient,
however, to make his pictures the attractive centres of crowds at the
Louvre Exhibitions, and to make himself the favorite of courts and one
of the _illustrissimi_ of Europe.

The Vernets have been a family of painters during four generations. The
great-grandfather of Horace was a well-known artist at Avignon, a
hundred and fifty years ago. His son and pupil, Claude Joseph Vernet,
was the first marine painter of his time; and occupies, with his works
alone, an entire apartment of the French Gallery at the Louvre, besides
great numbers of sea-pieces and landscapes belonging to private
galleries. He died in 1789, but his son and pupil, Antoine Charles
Horace Vernet, who had already during two years sat by his side in the
Royal Academy, continued the reputation of the family during the
Consulate and Empire. He was particularly distinguished for
cavalry-battles, hunting scenes, and other incidents in which the horse
figured largely as actor. In some of these pictures the hand of the son
already joined itself to that of the father, the figures being from the
pencil of Horace; and before the death of the father, which took place
in 1836, he had already seen the artistic reputation of the family
increased and heightened by the fame of his son.

Horace Vernet was born at the Louvre on the 30th June, 1789, the year of
the death of his grandfather, who, as painter to the king, had occupied
rooms at the Louvre, where his father also resided; so that Horace not
only inherited his art from a race of artist-ancestors, but was born
amid the _chef d' oeuvres_ of the entire race of painters. Of course,
his whole childhood and youth were surrounded with objects of Art; and
it was scarcely possible for him not to be impressed in the most lively
manner by the unbroken artist-life in which he was necessarily brought
up. It would appear that from his childhood he employed himself in
daubing on walls, and drawing on scraps of paper all sorts of little

Like his father and grandfather, his principal lessons as a student were
drawn from the paternal experience, and certainly no professor could
more willingly and faithfully save him all the loss of time and patience
occasioned by the long and often fruitless groping of the almost
solitary Art-student. He was also thus saved from falling into the
errors of the school of David. Certainly no great _penchant_ towards the
antique is discoverable in his father's works; nor in his own do we find
painted casts of Greek statues dressed in the uniforms of the nineteenth
century. At twenty, it is true, he tried, but without success, the
classic subject offered to competition at the Academy for the prize of
visiting Rome. The study of the antique did not much delight him. On the
contrary, he rather joined with the innovators, whose example was then
undermining the over-classic influence of David's school, the most
formidable and influential of whom, a youth about his own age, and a
fellow-student in his father's atelier, was then painting a great
picture, sadly decried at the time, but now considered one of the
masterpieces of the French school in the Louvre--the "Raft of the
Medusa." Gericault was his companion in the studio and in the field, at
the easel and on horseback; and we might trace here one of the many
instances of the influence which this powerful and original genius
exercised on the young artists of his time, and which, had it not been
arrested by his premature death in January, 1824, would have made
Gericault more strikingly distinguished as one of the master-spirits in
French Art, and the head of a school entirely the opposite to that of

Horace's youth, however, did not pass entirely under the smiles of
fortune. He had to struggle with those difficulties of narrow means with
which a very large number of young artists are tolerably intimate. He
had to weather the gales of poverty by stooping to all sorts of
illustrative work, whose execution we fancy must have been often a
severe trial to him. Any youth aiming at "high art," and feeling, though
poor, too proud to bend in order to feed the taste, (grotesque and
unrefined enough, it must be allowed,) of the good public, which artists
somewhat naturally estimate rather contemptuously, might get a lesson of
patience by looking over an endless series of the most variedly hideous
costumes or caricatures of costume which Horace was glad to draw, for
almost any pecuniary consideration. A series of amusingly _naive_
colored prints, illustrating the adventures of poor La Vallière with
Louis XIV., would strengthen the lesson. These were succeeded by
lithographs of an endless variety of subjects--the soldier's life in all
its phases, the "horse and its rider" in all their costumes, snatches of
romances, fables, caricatures, humorous pieces, men, beasts, and things.
In short, young Horace tried his hand at any thing and every thing in
the drawing line, at once earning a somewhat toughly-woven livelihood,
and perfecting his talent with the pencil. In later years, the force and
freedom of this talent were witnessed to by illustrations of a more
important character in a magnificent edition of Voltaire's _Henriade_,
published in 1825, and of the well known _Life of Napoleon_ by Laurent.

Failing, as we have said, and perhaps fortunately for him, in the
achievement of the great Prize of Rome, he turned to the line of Art for
which he felt himself naturally endowed, the incidents of the camp and
field. The "Taking of a Redoubt;" the "Dog of the Regiment;" the "Horse
of the Trumpeter;" "Halt of French Soldiers;" the "Battle of Tolosa;"
the "Barrier of Clichy, or Defense of Paris in 1814" (both of which
last, exhibited in 1817, now hang in the gallery of the Luxembourg), the
"Soldier-Laborer;" the "Soldier of Waterloo;" the "Last Cartridge;" the
"Death of Poniatowski;" the "Defense of Saragossa," and many more,
quickly followed each other, and kept up continually and increasingly
the public admiration. The critics of the painted bas-relief school
found much to say against, and little in favor of, the new talent that
seemed to look them inimically in the face, or rather did not seem to
regard them at all. But people in general, of simple enough taste in
matter of folds of drapery or classic laws of composition or antique
lines of beauty, saw before them with all the varied sentiments of
admiration, terror, or dismay, the soldier mounting the breach at the
cannon's mouth, or the general, covered with orders, cut short in the
midst of his fame. Little of the romantic, little of poetical
idealization, little of far-fetched _style_ was there on these
canvasses, but the crowd recognized the soldier as they saw him daily,
in the midst of the scenes which the bulletin of the army or the page of
the historian had just narrated to them. They were content, they were
full of admiration, they admired the pictures, they admired the artist;
and, the spleen of critics notwithstanding, Horace Vernet was known as
one of the favorite painters of the time.

In 1819 appeared the "Massacre of the Mamelukes at Cairo," now in the
Luxembourg. We do not know how the public accepted this production. We
have no doubt, however, that they were charmed at the gaudy _éclat_ of
the bloodthirsty tyrant, with his hookah and lion in the foreground, and
dismayed at the base assassinations multiplied in the background. Nor do
we doubt that the critics gave unfavorable judgments thereupon, and that
most of those who loved Art seriously, said little about the picture. We
would at all events express our own regret that the authorities do not
find some better works than this and the "Battle of Tolosa," to
represent in a public gallery the talent of the most famous
battle-painter of France. The Battles of Jemmapes, Valmy, Hanau, and
Montmirail, executed at this time, and hung till lately in the gallery
of the Palais Royal (now, we fear, much, if not entirely, destroyed by
the mob on the 24th February), were much more worthy of such a place.
Whether it was by a considerate discernment that the mob attacked these,
as the property of the ex-king, or by a mere goth-and-vandalism of
revolution, we do not know; but certainly we would rather have delivered
up to their wrath these others, the "property of the nation." The same
hand would hardly seem to have executed both sets of paintings. It is
not only the difference in size of the figures on the canvass, those of
the Luxembourg being life-sized, and those of the Palais Royal only a
few inches in length, but the whole style of the works is different. The
first seem painted as if they had been designed merely to be reproduced
in gay silks and worsteds at the Gobelins, where we have seen a copy of
the "Massacre of the Mamelukes," in tapestry, which we would, for
itself, have preferred to the original. But the latter four battles,
notwithstanding the disadvantage of costume and arrangement necessarily
imposed by the difference of time and country, produce far more
satisfactory works of Art, and come much nearer to historical painting.
They are painted without pretension, without exaggeration. The details
are faithfully and carefully, though evidently rapidly, executed. The
generals and personages in the front are speaking portraits; and the
whole scene is full of that sort of life and action which impresses one
at once as the very sort of action that must have taken place. Now it is
a battery of artillery backed against a wood,--now it is a plain over
which dense ranks of infantry march in succession to the front of the
fire. Here it is a scene where in the full sunlight shows the whole
details of the action; there it is night--and a night of cloud and
storm, draws her sombre veil over the dead and wounded covering the
field. A historian might find on these canvasses, far better than in
stores of manuscript, wherewith to fill many a page of history with
accurate and vivid details of these bloody days; or rather, many a page
of history would not present so accurate and vivid a conception of what
is a field of battle.

In 1822, entry to the exhibition at the Louvre being refused to his
works, Horace Vernet made an exhibition-room of his atelier, had a
catalogue made out (for what with battles, hunts, landscapes, portraits,
he had a numerous collection), and the public were admitted. In 1826 he
was admitted a Member of the Institute, and in 1830 was appointed
Director of the Academy at Rome, so that the young man who could not so
far decline his antiques as to treat the classic subject of the Royal
Academy, and thus gain the Academy at Rome, now went there as chief of
the school, and as one of the most distinguished artists of his time.
This residence for five years among the best works of the great masters
of Italy naturally inspired him with ideas and desires which it had not
been hitherto in his circumstances to gratify. And once installed in the
Villa Medici, which he made to resound with the voices of joy and
revelry, splendid fêtes and balls, he set himself to study the Italian

A series of pictures somewhat new in subject and manner of treatment was
the result of this change of circumstances and ideas. To the Paris
Exhibition of 1831 he sent a "Judith and Holofernes," which is one of
the least successful of his pictures in the Luxembourg, where it hangs
still, with another sent two years after, "Raffaelle and Michael Angelo
in the Vatican." This is perhaps the best of his works at the
Luxembourg, all being inferior; but it has a certain dry gaudiness of
color, and a want of seriousness of design, which render it unfit to be
considered a master-work. One unquestionably preferable, the "Arresting
of the Princes at the Palais Royal by order of Anne of Austria," found
its way to the Palais Royal, so that in this, as in the other we have
remarked, the king seemed to know how to choose better than the
Art-authorities of the "Gallery of Living Painters." A number of other
pictures testified to the activity of the artist's pencil at
Rome:--"Combat of Brigands against the Pope's Riflemen," "Confession of
the Dying Brigand," also at the Palais Royal, but also we fear destroyed
by the popular vandalism of the 24th February; a "Chase in the Pontine
Marshes," "Pope Leo XII. carried into St. Peter's." The favor of the
public, however, still turned to the usual subject of Horace Vernet--the
French soldier's life; finding which, on his return from Rome, he
recurred to his original study. In 1836 he exhibited four new
battle-pieces, "Friedland," "Wagram," "Jena," and "Fontenoy," in which
were apparent all his usual excellencies.

The occupation of the Algerine territory by the French troops afforded
the artist an opportunity of exhibiting his powers in that department
most suited to them. A whole gallery at Versailles was set apart for the
battle-painter, called the _Constantine Gallery_, after the most
important feat of arms yet performed by the French troops in Africa, the
Taking of the town of Constantine. Some of the solitary and
extraordinary, we might say accidental, military exploits in Europe of
Louis Philippe's reign, are also commemorated there. The "Occupation of
Ancona," the "Entry of the Army into Belgium," the "Attack of the
Citadel of Antwerp," the "Fleet forcing the Tagus," show that nothing is
forgotten of the Continental doings. The African feats are almost too
many to enumerate. In a "Sortie of the Arab Garrison of Constantine,"
the Duke de Nemours is made to figure in person. Then we have the
Troops of Assault receiving the Signal to leave the Trenches, and "The
Scaling of the Breach." There are the "Occupation of the Defile of
Teniah," "Combat of the Habrah, of the Sickak, of Samah, of Afzoum." In
fine, there is the largest canvass in existence, it is said, the
"Taking of the Smalah," that renowned occasion when the army was so
_very near_ taking Abd-el-Kader; and the "Battle of Isly," which gained
that splendid trophy, the parasol of command. Besides these great
subjects there are decorations of military trophies and allegorical
figures, which seem to have been painted by some pupil of Vernet. These
battles were first of all exhibited to the admiration of Paris in the
various salons after their execution, and were then sent off to decorate
Versailles. There are also, in the _Gallery of French History_, at
Versailles, several others of his, such as the "Battle of Bouvines;"
"Charles X. reviewing the National Guard;" the "Marshal St. Cyr," and
some others among those we have already named. In them the qualities of
the artist are manifested more fully, we think, than in any others of
his works. They are full of that energy, vivacity, and daguerreotypic
verity which he so eminently displays. There is none of that pretension
after "high Art" which has injured the effect of some of his pictures.
The rapidity of their execution too in general was such, that the public
had hardly finished reading the last news of the combats, when the
artist, returned in many cases from witnessing the scenes, had placed
them on the canvass, and offered them to popular gaze. Yet the canvasses
are in many cases of great extent, and often, the figures of life-size.
But the artist rarely employs the model, painting mostly from memory, a
faculty most astonishingly developed in him. He generally also saves
himself the trouble of preparing a smaller sketch to paint after,
working out his subject at once in the definitive size. Of course with
more serious and elevated subjects, worked out in a more serious and
elevated spirit, such a system would not do. But for the style of
subject and execution required by Horace Vernet's artistic organization,
these careful preparations would not answer. They would only tend to
diminish the sweeping passion of the fiery _melée_, and freeze the swift
impulsive rush of the attack or flight.

Vernet has several times attempted Biblical subjects, but they have
never succeeded so well as to add anything to his fame as a
battle-painter. "Judah and Tamar," "Agar dismissed by Abraham," "Rebecca
at the Fountain," "Judith with the head of Holofernes," "The Good
Samaritan," have rather served to illustrate Arab costume and manners,
(which he makes out to be the same as, or very similar to, those of old
Biblical times,) than to illustrate his own power in the higher range of

In the midst of painting all these, Horace Vernet has found time, which
for him is the smallest requisite in painting, to produce an innumerable
mass of pictures for private galleries, or at the command of various
crowned heads; which, with many of those already mentioned, are well
known all over Europe by engravings. "The Post of the Desert," "The
Prayer in the Desert," "The Lion Hunt in the Desert," "Council of
Arabs," "Episode of the Pest of Barcelona," "The Breach of Constantine,"
"Mazeppa," and a host of others, together with landscapes, portraits,
&c., have served both to multiply his works in the galleries of every
country in Europe, and to make him one of the most popular of living


The Colosseum, or Coliseum, was commenced by Vespasian, and completed by
Titus, (A. D. 79.) This enormous building occupied only three years in
its erection. Cassiodorus affirms that this magnificent monument of
folly cost as much as would have been required to build a capital city.
We have the means of distinctly ascertaining its dimensions and its
accommodations from the great mass of wall that still remains entire;
and although the very clamps of iron and brass that held together the
ponderous stones of this wonderful edifice were removed by Gothic
plunderers, and succeeding generations have resorted to it as to a
quarry for their temples and their palaces--yet the "enormous skeleton"
still stands to show what prodigious works may be raised by the skill
and perseverance of man, and how vain are the mightiest displays of his
physical power when compared with those intellectual efforts which have
extended the empire of virtue and of science.

The Colosseum, which is of an oval form, occupies the space of nearly
six acres. It may justly be said to have been the most imposing
building, from its apparent magnitude, in the world; the Pyramids of
Egypt can only be compared with it in the extent of their plan, as they
each cover nearly the same surface. The greatest length, or major axis,
is 620 feet; the greatest breadth, or minor axis, is 513 feet. The outer
wall is 157 feet high in its whole extent. The exterior wall is divided
into four stories, each ornamented with one of the orders of
architecture. The cornice of the upper story is perforated for the
purpose of inserting wooden masts, which passed also through the
architrave and frieze, and descended to a row of corbels immediately
above the upper range of windows, on which are holes to receive the
masts. These masts were for the purpose of attaching cords to, for
sustaining the awning which defended the spectators from the sun or
rain. Two corridors ran all round the building, leading to staircases
which ascended to the several stories; and the seats which descended
towards the arena, supported throughout upon eighty arches, occupied so
much of the space that the clear opening of the present inner wall next
the arena is only 287 feet by 180 feet. Immediately above and around the
arena was the podium, elevated about twelve or fifteen feet, on which
were seated the emperor, senators, ambassadors of foreign nations, and
other distinguished personages in that city of distinctions. From the
podium to the top of the second story were seats of marble for the
equestrian order; above the second story the seats appear to have been
constructed of wood. In these various seats eighty thousand spectators
might be arranged according to their respective ranks; and indeed it
appears from inscriptions, as well as from expressions in Roman writers,
that many of the places in this immense theatre were assigned to
particular individuals, and that each might find his seat without
confusion. On extraordinary occasions, 110,000 persons could crowd into

Gibbon has given a splendid description, in his twelfth book, of the
exhibitions in the Colosseum; but he acknowledges his obligations to
Montaigne, who, says the historian, "gives a very just and lively view
of Roman magnificence in these spectacles." Our readers will, we doubt
not, be gratified by the quaint but most appropriate sketch of the old
philosopher of France:--

"It was doubtless a fine thing to bring and plant within the theatre a
great number of vast trees, with all their branches in their full
verdure, representing a great shady forest, disposed in excellent order,
and the first day to throw into it a thousand ostriches, a thousand
stags, a thousand boars, and a thousand fallow deer, to be killed and
disposed of by the people: the next day to cause an hundred great lions,
an hundred leopards and three hundred bears to be killed in his
presence: and for the third day, to make three hundred pair of fencers
to fight it out to the last,--as the Emperor Probus did. It was also
very fine to see those vast amphitheatres, all faced with marble
without, curiously wrought with figures and statues, and the inside
sparkling with rare decorations and enrichments; all the sides of this
vast space filled and environed from the bottom to the top, with three
or four score ranks of seats, all of marble also, and covered with
cushions, where an hundred thousand men might sit placed at their ease;
and the place below, where the plays were played, to make it by art
first open and cleave into chinks, representing caves that vomited out
the beasts designed for the spectacle; and then secondly, to be
overflowed with a profound sea, full of sea-monsters, and loaded with
ships of war, to represent a naval battle: and thirdly, to make it dry
and even again for the combats of the gladiators; and for the fourth
scene, to have it strewed with vermilion and storax, instead of sand,
there to make a solemn feast for all that infinite number of people--the
last act of only one day.

"Sometimes they have made a high mountain advance itself, full of
fruit-trees and other flourishing sorts of woods, sending down rivulets
of water from the top, as from the mouth of a fountain: other whiles, a
great ship was seen to come rolling in, which opened and divided itself;
and after having disgorged from the hold four or five hundred beasts for
fight, closed again, and vanished without help. At other times, from the
floor of this place, they made spouts of perfumed water dart their
streams upward, and so high as to besprinkle all that infinite
multitude. To defend themselves from the injuries of the weather, they
had that vast place one while covered over with purple curtains of
needle-work, and by-and-by with silk of another color, which they could
draw off or on in a moment, as they had a mind. The net-work also that
was set before the people to defend them from the violence of these
turned-out beasts, was also woven of gold."

"If there be anything excusable in such excesses as these," continues
Montaigne, "it is where the novelty and invention creates more wonder
than expense." Fortunately for the real enjoyments of mankind, even
under the sway of a Roman despot, "the novelty and invention" had very
narrow limits when applied to matters so utterly unworthy and
unintellectual as the cruel sports of the amphitheatre. Probus indeed,
transplanted trees to the arena, so that it had the appearance of a
verdant grove; and Severus introduced four hundred ferocious animals in
one ship sailing in the little lake which the arena formed. But on
ordinary occasions, profusion,--tasteless, haughty, and uninventive
profusion,--the gorgeousness of brute power, the pomp of satiated
luxury--these constituted the only claim to the popular admiration. If
Titus exhibited five thousand wild beasts at the dedication of the
amphitheatre, Trajan bestowed ten thousand on the people at the
conclusion of the Dacian war. If the younger Gordian collected together
bears, elks, zebras, ostriches, boars, and wild horses, he was an
imitator only of the spectacles of Carus, in which the rarity of the
animals was as much considered as their fierceness.


"For very many centuries, the hoary monuments of Egypt--its temples, its
obelisks, and its tombs--have presented to the eye of the beholder
strange forms of sculpture and of language; the import of which none
could tell. The wild valleys of Sinai, too, exhibited upon their rocky
sides the unknown writings of a former people; whose name and existence
none could trace. Among the ruined halls of Persepolis, and on the
rock-hewn tablets of the surrounding regions, long inscriptions in
forgotten characters seemed to enrol the deeds and conquests of mighty
sovereigns; but none could read the record. Thanks to the skill and
persevering zeal of scholars of the 19th century, the key of these
locked up treasures has been found; and the records have mostly been
read. The monuments of Egypt, her paintings and her hieroglyphics, mute
for so many ages, have at length spoken out; and now our knowledge of
this ancient people is scarcely less accurate and extensive than our
acquaintance with the classic lands of Greece and Rome. The unknown
characters upon the rocks of Sinai have been deciphered, but the meagre
contents still leave us in darkness as to their origin and purpose. The
cuneiform or arrow-headed inscriptions of the Persian monuments and
tablets, have yielded up their mysteries, unfolding historical data of
high importance; thus illustrating and confirming the few and sometimes
isolated facts preserved to us in the Scriptures and other ancient
writings. Of all the works, in which the progress and results of these
discoveries have been made known, not one has been reproduced or made
generally accessible in this country. The scholar who would become
acquainted with them, and make them his own, must still have recourse to
the Old World.

"The work of Mr. Layard brings before us still another step of progress.
Here we have not to do, with the hoary ruins that have borne the brunt
of centuries in the presence of the world, but with a resurrection of
the monuments themselves. It is the disentombing of temple-palaces from
the sepulchre of ages; the recovery of the metropolis of a powerful
nation from the long night of oblivion. Nineveh, the great city 'of
three days' journey,' that was 'laid waste, and there was none to bemoan
her,' whose greatness sank when that of Rome had just begun to rise, now
stands forth again to testify to her own splendor, and to the
civilization, and power, and magnificence of the Assyrian Empire. This
may be said, thus far, to be the crowning historical discovery of the
nineteenth century. But the century as yet, is only half elapsed.

"Nineveh was destroyed in the year 606 before Christ; less than 150
years after Rome was founded. Her latest monuments, therefore, date back
not less than five-and-twenty centuries; while the foundation of her
earliest is lost in an unknown antiquity. When the ten thousand Greeks
marched over this plain in their celebrated retreat, (404 B.C.) they
found in one part, a ruined city called Larissa; and in connection with
it, Xenophon, their leader and historian, describes what is now the
pyramid of Nimroud. But he heard not the name of Nineveh; it was already
forgotten in its site; though it appears again in the later Greek and
Roman writers. Even at that time, the widely extended walls and ramparts
of Nineveh had perished, and mounds, covering magnificent palaces, alone
remained at the extremities of the ancient city, or in its vicinity,
much as at the present day.

"Of the site of Nineveh, there is scarcely a further mention, beyond the
brief notices by Benjamin of Tudela and Abulfeda, until Niebuhr saw it
and described its mounds nearly a century ago. In 1820, Mr. Rich visited
the spot; he obtained a few square sun-dried bricks with inscriptions,
and some other slight remains; and we can all remember the profound
impression made upon the public mind, even by these cursory memorials of
Nineveh and Babylon."


"During the winter, Mr. Longworth, and two other English travelers,
visited me at Nimroud. As they were the only Europeans, (except Mr.
Ross) who saw the palace when uncovered, it may be interesting to the
reader to learn the impression which the ruins were calculated to make
upon those who beheld them for the first time, and to whom the scene was
consequently new. Mr. Longworth, in a letter, thus graphically describes
his visit:--

     "'I took the opportunity, whilst at Mosul, of visiting the
     excavations of Nimroud. But before I attempt to give a short
     account of them, I may as well say a few words as to the general
     impression which these wonderful remains made upon me, on my first
     visit to them. I should begin by stating, that they are all under
     ground. To get at them, Mr. Layard has excavated the earth to the
     depth of twelve to fifteen feet, where he has come to a building
     composed of slabs of marble. In this place, which forms the
     northwest angle of the mound, he has fallen upon the interior of a
     large palace, consisting of a labyrinth of halls, chambers, and
     galleries, the walls of which are covered with bas-reliefs and
     inscriptions in the cuneiform character, all in excellent
     preservation. The upper part of the walls, which was of brick,
     painted with flowers, &c, in the brightest colors, and the roofs,
     which were of wood, have fallen; but fragments of them are strewed
     about in every direction. The time of day when I first descended
     into these chambers happened to be towards evening; the shades of
     which, no doubt, added to the awe and mystery of the surrounding
     objects. It was of course with no little excitement that I suddenly
     found myself in the magnificent abode of the old Assyrian Kings;
     where, moreover, it needed not the slightest effort of imagination
     to conjure up visions of their long departed power and greatness.
     The walls themselves were covered with phantoms of the past; in the
     words of Byron,'Three thousand years their cloudy wings expand,'
     unfolding to view a vivid representation of those who conquered and
     possessed so large a portion of the earth we now inhabit. There
     they were, in the Oriental pomp of richly embroidered robes, and
     quaintly-artificial coiffure. There also were portrayed their deeds
     in peace and war, their audiences, battles, sieges, lion-hunts, &c.
     My mind was overpowered by the contemplation of so many strange
     objects; and some of them, the portly forms of kings and vizirs,
     were so life-like, and carved in such fine relief, that they might
     almost be imagined to be stepping from the walls to question the
     rash intruder on their privacy. Then mingled with them were other
     monstrous shapes--the old Assyrian deities, with human bodies, long
     drooping wings, and the heads and beaks of eagles; or, still
     faithfully guarding the portals of the deserted halls, the colossal
     forms of winged lions and bulls, with gigantic human faces. All
     these figures, the idols of a religion long since dead and buried
     like themselves, seemed in the twilight to be actually raising
     their desecrated heads from the sleep of centuries; certainly the
     feeling of awe which they inspired me with, must have been
     something akin to that experienced by their heathen votaries of
     old.'--_Layard's Nineveh and its Remains_, vol. I. p. 298.

"The interior of the Assyrian palace must have been as magnificent as
imposing. I have led the reader through its ruins, and he may judge of
the impression its halls were calculated to make upon the stranger who,
in the days of old, entered for the first time into the abode of the
Assyrian Kings. He was ushered in through the portal guarded by the
colossal lions or bulls of white alabaster. In the first hall he found
himself surrounded by the sculptured records of the empire. Battles,
sieges, triumphs, the exploits of the chase, the ceremonies of religion,
were portrayed on the walls, sculptured in alabaster, and painted in
gorgeous colors. Under each picture were engraved, in characters filled
up with bright copper, inscriptions describing the scenes represented.
Above the sculptures were painted other events--the king attended by his
eunuchs and warriors, receiving his prisoners, entering into alliances
with other monarchs, or performing some sacred duty. These
representations were enclosed in colored borders, of elaborate and
elegant design. The emblematic tree, winged bulls, and monstrous
animals were conspicuous among the ornaments.

"At the upper end of the hall was the colossal figure of the king in
adoration before the supreme deity, or receiving from his eunuch the
holy cup. He was attended by warriors bearing his arms, and by the
priests or presiding divinities. His robes, and those of his followers,
were adorned with groups of figures, animals, and flowers, all painted
with brilliant colors. The stranger trod upon the alabaster slabs, each
bearing an inscription, recording the titles, genealogy, and
achievements of the great King.--Several door-ways, formed by gigantic
winged lions or bulls, or by the figures of guardian deities, led into
other apartments, which again opened into more distant halls. In each
were new sculptures. On the walls of some were processions of colossal
figures--armed men and eunuchs following the king, warriors laden with
spoil, leading prisoners, or bearing presents and offerings to the gods.
On the walls of others were portrayed the winged priests, or presiding
divinities, standing before the sacred trees.

"The ceilings above him were divided into square compartments, painted
with flowers, or with the figures of animals. Some were inlaid with
ivory, each compartment being surrounded by elegant borders and
mouldings. The beams as well as the sides of the chambers, may have been
gilded, or even plated, with gold and silver; and the rarest woods, in
which the cedar was conspicuous, were used for the wood work. Square
openings in the ceilings of the chambers admitted the light of day. A
pleasing shadow was thrown over the sculptured walls, and gave a
majestic expression to the human features of the colossal figures which
guarded the entrances. Through these apertures was seen the bright blue
of an eastern sky, enclosed in a frame on which were painted, in varied
colors, the winged circle, in the midst of elegant ornaments, and the
graceful forms of ideal animals.

"These edifices, as it has been shown, were great national monuments,
upon the walls of which were represented in sculpture, or inscribed in
alphabetic characters, the chronicles of the empire. He who entered them
might thus read the history, and learn the glory and triumphs of the
nation. They served at the same time to bring continually to the
remembrance of those who assembled within them on festive occasions, or
for the celebration of religious ceremonies, the deeds of their
ancestors, and the power and majesty of their gods."--_Layard's Nineveh
and its Remains_, vol. II. p 262.


The origin of the Arch is very uncertain. It was unknown to the
Egyptians, for their chambers were roofed with long flat stones, and
sometimes the upper layers of stones form projections, so as to diminish
the roof surface. It is also supposed that it was unknown to the
Greeks, when they constructed their most beautiful temples, in the 5th,
4th, and 3d centuries B. C., as no structure answering to the true
character of the Arch has been found in any of these works. Minutoli has
given specimens of arches at Thebes; circular, and formed of four
courses of bricks, and it is maintained that these belonged to a very
ancient period, long before the Greek occupancy of that country. The
Macedonians were a civilized people long before the rest of the Greeks,
and were, in fact, their instructors; but the Greeks afterwards so far
excelled them that they regarded them as barbarians. Some say that
Etruria was the true birth-place of the Arch; it was doubtless from them
that the Romans learned its use. Tarquinius Priscus conquered the
Etrurians, and he it was who first introduced and employed the Arch in
the construction of the cloacæ, or sewers of Rome. The _cloaca maxima_,
or principal branch, received numerous other branches between the
Capitoline, Palatine, and Quirinal hills. It is formed of three
consecutive rows of large stones piled above each other without cement,
and has stood nearly 2,500 years, surviving without injury the
earthquakes and other convulsions that have thrown down temples,
palaces, and churches of the superincumbent city. From the time of
Tarquin, the Arch was in general use among the Romans in the
construction of aqueducts, public edifices, bridges, &c. The Chinese
understood the use of the Arch in the most remote times, and in such
perfection as to enable them to bridge large streams with a single span.
Mr. Layard has shown that the Ninevites knew its use at least 3000 years
ago; he not only discovered a vaulted chamber, but that "arched
gate-ways are continually represented in the bas-reliefs." Diodorus
Siculus relates that the tunnel from the Euphrates at Babylon, ascribed
to Semiramis, was vaulted. There are vaults under the site of the temple
at Jerusalem, which are generally considered as ancient as that edifice,
but some think them to have been of more recent construction, as they
suppose the Jews were ignorant of the Arch; but it is evident that it
was well known in the neighboring countries before the Jewish exile, and
at least seven or eight centuries before the time of Herod. It seems
highly probable, that the Arch was discovered by several nations in very
remote times.


The city of Herculaneum, distant about 11,000 paces from Naples, was so
completely buried by a stream of lava and a shower of ashes from the
first known eruption of Vesuvius, during the reign of Titus, A. D. 79,
that its site was unknown for many ages. The neighboring city of
Pompeii, on the river Sarno, one of the most populous and flourishing
towns on the coast, as well as Stabiæ, Oplontia, and Teglanum,
experienced the same fate. Earlier excavations had already been
forgotten, when three female figures, (now in the Dresden Gallery) were
discovered while some workmen were digging a well for Prince Elbeuf at
Portici, a village situated on the site of ancient Herculaneum. In 1738
the well was dug deeper, and the theatre of Herculaneum was first
discovered. In 1750, Pompeii and Stabiæ were explored; the former place
being covered with ashes rather than lava, was more easily examined.
Here was discovered the extensive remains of an amphitheatre. In the
cellar of a villa twenty-seven female skeletons were found with
ornaments for the neck and arms; lying around, near the lower door of
another villa, two skeletons were found, one of which held a key in one
hand, and in the other a bag of coins and some cameos, and near them
were several beautiful silver and bronze vessels. It is probable,
however, that most of the inhabitants of this city had time to save
themselves by flight, as comparatively few bodies have been found. The
excavations since the discovery, have been continued by the government,
up to the present time, with more or less interruptions. For the
antiquary and the archæologist, antiquity seems here to revive and
awaken the sensations which Schiller has so beautifully described in his
poem of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The ancient streets and buildings are
again thrown open, and in them we see, as it were, the domestic life of
the ancient Romans. We had never before such an opportunity of becoming
acquainted with the disposition of their houses, and of their utensils.
Whole streets, with magnificent temples, theatres, and private mansions,
have been disentombed. Multitudes of statues, bas-reliefs, and other
sculptures have been found in these buried cities; also many fresco
paintings, the most remarkable of which are Andromeda and Perseus, Diana
and Endymion, the Education of Bacchus, the Battle of Platea, &c. In one
splendid mansion were discovered several pictures, representing
Polyphemus and Galatea, Hercules and the three Hesperdies, Cupid and a
Bacchante, Mercury and Io, Perseus killing Medusa, and other subjects.
There were also in the store rooms of the same house, evidently
belonging to a very rich family, an abundance of provisions, laid in for
the winter, consisting of dates, figs, prunes, various kinds of nuts,
hams, pies, corn, oil, peas, lentils, &c. There were also in the same
house, vases, articles of glass, bronze, and terra-cotta, several
medallions in silver, on one of which was represented in relief, Apollo
and Diana. A great treasure of ancient books or manuscripts, consisting
of papyrus rolls, has also been discovered, which has excited the
greatest curiosity of the learned, in the hope of regaining some of the
lost works of ancient writers; but though some valuable literary remains
of Grecian and Roman antiquity have been more or less completely
restored, the greater part remain yet untouched, no effectual means
having been discovered by which the manuscripts could be unrolled and
deciphered, owing to their charred and decomposed state.

The following vivid sketch of the present appearance of these devoted
cities, is from the pen of an American traveler:--

"In the grounds of the Royal Palace at Portici, which are extensive,
there is a small fortress, with its angles, its bastions,
counter-scarps, and all the geometrical technicalities of Vauban, in
miniature. It was erected by Charles III., for the instruction, or
perhaps more correctly speaking, the amusement of his sons. The garden
on the front of the palace next to the bay, is enchanting. Here, amidst
statues, refreshing fountains, and the most luxurious foliage, the vine,
the orange, the fig, in short, surrounded by all the poetry of life, one
may while 'the sultry hours away,' till the senses, yielding to the
voluptuous charm, unfit one for the sober realities of a busy world.

"The towns of Portici and Resinia, which are in fact united, are very
populous. The shops, at the season of my visit, Christmas, particularly
those where eatables were sold, exhibited a very gay appearance; and
gilt hams, gilt cheese, festoons of gilt sausages, intermixed with
evergreens, and fringes of maccaroni, illuminated Virgin Marys, and
gingerbread Holy Families, divided the attention of the stranger, with
the motley crowds in all the gay variety of Neapolitan costume. At the
depth of seventy or eighty feet beneath these crowded haunts of busy
men, lies buried, in a solid mass of hard volcanic matter, the once
splendid city of Herculaneum, which was overthrown in the first century
of the Christian era, by a terrible eruption of Vesuvius. It was
discovered about the commencement of the last century, by the digging of
a well immediately over the theatre. For many years the excavations were
carried on with spirit; and the forum, theatres, porticos, and splendid
mansions, were successively exposed, and a great number of the finest
bronzes, marble statues, busts, &c., which now delight the visitor to
the Museum at Naples, were among the fruits of these labors.
Unfortunately, the parts excavated, upon the removal of the objects of
art discovered, were immediately filled up in lieu of pillars, or
supports to the superincumbent mass being erected. As the work of
disentombment had long since ceased, nothing remained to be seen but
part of the theatre, the descent to which is by a staircase made for the
purpose. By the light of a torch, carried by the _custode_, I saw the
orchestra, proscenium, consular seats, as well as part of the corridors,
all stripped, however, of the marbles and paintings which once adorned
them. I was shewn the spot where the celebrated manuscripts were found.
The reflection that this theatre had held its ten thousand spectators,
and that it then lay, with the city of which it was an ornament, so
horribly engulphed, gave rise to feelings in awful contrast to those
excited by the elysium of Portici almost immediately above. About seven
miles further along the base of the mountain, lies the long lost city of
Pompeii. The road passes through, or rather over Torre del Greco, a town
almost totally destroyed by the eruption in 1794. The whole surface of
the country for some distance is laid waste by the river of lava, which
flowed in a stream or body, of twenty feet in depth, destroyed in its
course vineyards, cottages, and everything combustible, consumed and
nearly overwhelmed the town, and at last poured into the sea, where as
it cooled, it formed a rugged termination or promontory of considerable
height. The surface of this mass presented a rocky and sterile aspect,
strongly opposed to the exuberance of vegetation in the more fortunate
neighborhood. Passing through Torre del Annunziata, a populous village,
the street of which was literally lined with maccaroni hanging to dry, I
soon reached Pompeii. Between these last mentioned places, I noticed at
the corner of a road a few dwellings, upon the principal of which, an
Inn, was inscribed in formidable looking letters, GIOACHINOPOLI. Puzzled
at the moment, I inquired what this great word related to, when lo, I
was told that I was now in the city of Gioachinopoli, so called in
compliment to the reigning sovereign, Gioachino Murat, the termination
being added in imitation of the emperor Constantine, who gave his name
to the ancient Byzantium!

"Although suffering a similar fate with the sister city Herculaneum, the
manner of the destruction of Pompeii was essentially different, for
while the former lies imbedded at a great depth in solid matter, like
mortar or cement, the latter is merely covered with a stratum of
volcanic ashes, the surface of which being partly decomposed by the
atmosphere, affords a rich soil for the extensive vineyards which are
spread over its surface. No scene on earth can vie in melancholy
interest with that presented to the spectator on entering the streets of
the disinterred city of Pompeii. On passing through a wooden enclosure,
I suddenly found myself in a long and handsome street, bordered by rows
of tombs, of various dimensions and designs, from the simple cippus or
altar, bearing the touching appeal of _siste viator_, stop traveler, to
the Patrician mausoleum with its long inscription. Many of these latter
yet contain the urns in which the ashes of the dead were deposited.
Several large semicircular stone seats mark where the ancient Pompeians
had their evening chat, and no doubt debated upon the politics of the
day. Approaching the massive walls, which are about thirty feet high and
very thick, and entering by a handsome stone arch, called the
Herculaneum gate, from the road leading to that city, I beheld a vista
of houses or shops, and except that they were roofless, just as if they
had been occupied but yesterday, although near eighteen centuries have
passed away since the awful calamity which sealed the fate of their
inhabitants. The facilities for excavation being great, both on account
of the lightness of the material and the little depth of the mass, much
of the city has been exposed to view. Street succeeds street in various
directions, and porticos, theatres, temples, magazines, shops, and
private mansions, all remain to attest the mixture of elegance and
meanness of Pompeii; and we can, from an inspection, not only form a
most correct idea of the customs and tastes of the ancient inhabitants,
but are thereby the better enabled to judge of those of contemporary
cities, and learn to qualify the accounts of many of the ancient writers

"Pompeii is so perfectly unique in its kind, that I flatter myself a
rather minute description of the state in which I saw it, will not be
uninteresting. The streets, with the exception of the principal one,
which is about thirty-three feet wide, are very narrow. They are paved
with blocks of lava, and have raised side-walks for pedestrians, things
very rare in modern Europe. At the corners of the streets are fountains,
and also stepping-stones for crossing. The furrows worn by the carriage
wheels are strongly marked, and are not more than forty-four inches
apart, thus giving us the width of their vehicles.

"The houses in general are built with small red bricks, or with volcanic
matter from Vesuvius, and are only one or two stories high. The marble
counters remain in many of the stores, and the numbers, names of the
occupiers, and their occupations, still appear in red letters on the
outside. The names of Julius, Marius, Lucius, and many others, only
familiar to us through the medium of our classic studies, and fraught
with heroic ideas, we here see associated with the retailing of oil,
olives, bread, apothecaries' wares, and nearly all the various articles
usually found in the trading part of Italian cities even at the present
day. All the trades, followed in these various edifices, were likewise
distinctly marked by the utensils found in them; but the greater part of
these, as discovered, were removed for their better preservation to the
great Museum at Naples; a measure perhaps indispensable, but which
detracts in some degree from the local interest. We see, however, in the
magazine of the oil merchant, his jars in perfect order, in the
bakehouse are the hand mills in their original places, and of a
description which exactly tallies with those alluded to in holy writ;
the ovens scarcely want repairs; where a sculptor worked, there we find
his marbles and his productions, in various states of forwardness, just
as he left them.

"The mansions of the higher classes are planned to suit the delicious
climate in which they are situated, and are finished with great taste.
They generally have an open court in the centre, in which is a fountain.
The floors are of mosaic. The walls and ceilings are beautifully
painted or stuccoed and statues, tripods, and other works of art,
embellished the galleries and apartments. The kitchens do not appear to
have been neglected by the artists who decorated the buildings, and
although the painting is of a coarser description than in other parts of
the edifices, the designs are in perfect keeping with the plan. Trussed
fowls, hams, festoons of sausages, together with the representations of
some of the more common culinary utensils, among which I noticed the
gridiron, still adorn the walls. In some of the cellars skeletons were
found, supposed to be those of the inmates who had taken refuge from the
shower of ashes, and had there found their graves, while the bulk of
their fellow citizens escaped. In one vault, the remains of sixteen
human beings were discovered, and from the circumstance of some valuable
rings and a quantity of money being found with the bones, it is
concluded that the master of the house was among the sufferers. In this
vault or cellar I saw a number of earthen jars, called Amphoræ, placed
against the wall. These, which once held the purple juice, perhaps the
produce of favorite vintages, were now filled to the brim with ashes.
Many of the public edifices are large, and have been magnificent. The
amphitheatre, which is oval, upon the plan of that at Verona, would
contain above ten thousand spectators. This majestic edifice was
disentombed by the French, to whose taste and activity, during their
rule in Italy, particularly in the district of Naples, every lover of
the arts stands indebted. I had the good fortune to be present at the
clearing of a part of the arena of this colossal erection, and witnessed
the disclosure of paintings which had not seen the light for above
seventeen hundred years. They were executed in what is termed _fresco_,
a process of coloring on wet plaster, but which, after it becomes hard,
almost defies the effects of time. The subjects of those I allude to
were nymphs, and the coloring of the draperies, in some instances, was
as fresh as if just applied.

"Not far distant from the amphitheatre are two semicircular theatres,
one of which is supposed to have been appropriated to tragedy and the
other to comedy. The first mentioned is large, and built of stone, or a
substance called _tufo_, covered with marble. It had no roof. The
Proscenium and Orchestra remain. The stage, or rather the place where it
was, is of considerable width, but so very shallow that stage effect, as
regards scenery, could not have been much studied, nor indeed did the
dramas of the ancients require it. The comic theatre is small, and
nearly perfect. It appears to have had a roof or covering. These two
theatres are close together. Of the public edifices discovered, the
Temple of Isis is one of the most interesting. It is of brick, but
coated with a hard and polished stucco. The altars for sacrifice remain
unmolested. A hollow pedestal or altar yet exists, from which oracles
were once delivered to the credulous multitude, and we behold the
secret stairs by which the priests descended to perform the office. In
the chamber of this Temple, which may have been a refectory, were found
some of the remains of eatables, which are now in the museum. I
recollect noticing egg-shells, bread, with the maker's name or initials
stamped thereon, bones, corn, and other articles, all burnt black, but
perfect in form. The Temple of Hercules, as it is denominated, is a
ruin, not one of its massive fragments being left upon another. It was
of the Doric order of architecture, and is known to have suffered
severely by an earthquake some years before the fatal eruption. Not far
from this temple is an extensive court or forum, where the soldiers
appear to have had their quarters. In what has evidently been a prison,
is an iron frame, like the modern implements of punishment, the stocks,
and in this frame the skeletons of some unfortunate culprits were found.
On the walls of what are called the soldiers' quarters, from the
helmets, shields, and pieces of armor which have been found there, are
scrawled names and rude devices, just as we find on the walls of the
buildings appropriated to the same purpose in the present day. At this
point of the city, travelers who have entered at the other, usually make
their exit. The scene possessed far too great an interest, however, in
my eyes, to be hastily passed over, and on more than one visit, I
lingered among the deserted thresholds, until the moon had thrown her
chaste light upon this city of the dead. The feelings excited by a
perambulation of Pompeii, especially at such an hour, are beyond the
power of my pen to describe. To behold her streets once thronged with
the busy crowd, to tread the forum where sages met and discoursed, to
enter the theatres once filled with delighted thousands, and the temples
whence incense arose, to visit the mansions of the opulent which had
resounded with the shouts of revelry, and the humbler dwellings of the
artisan, where he had plied his noisy trade, in the language of an
elegant writer and philosopher, to behold all these, now tenantless, and
silent as the grave, elevates the heart with a series of sublime


The ancients well understood the arts of painting both in fresco and
mosaic, as is evinced by the discoveries made at Rome, but more
especially at Pompeii. The most remarkable pictures discovered at
Pompeii have been sawed from the walls, and deposited in the Royal
Museums at Naples and Portici, for their preservation. Not only mosaic
floors and pavements are numerous in the mansions of the wealthy at
Pompeii, but some walls are decorated with pictures in mosaic.


A grand mosaic, representing as some say the Battle of Platæa, and
others, with more probability one of the victories of Alexander, is now
in the Academy at Naples. It was discovered at Pompeii, and covered the
whole side of the apartment where it was found. This great work is the
admiration of connoisseurs and the learned, not only for its antiquity,
but for the beauty of its execution. The most probable supposition is,
that it is a copy of the celebrated Victory of Arbela, painted by
Philoxenes, and described by Pliny as one of the most remarkable works
of antiquity, with whose description the mosaic accords.


This famous antique fresco was discovered in the time of Clement VIII.,
not far from the church of S. Maria Maggiore, in the place where were
the gardens of Mæcenas. It was carried from thence into the villa of the
princely house of the Aldobrandini; hence its name. It is very
beautifully executed, and evidently intended to represent or celebrate a
wedding. Winckelmann supposes it to be the wedding of Peleus and Thetis;
the Count Bondi, that of Manlius and Julia.


The most celebrated antique vase is that which, during more than two
centuries, was the principal ornament of the Barberini Palace, and which
is now known as the Portland Vase. It was found about the middle of the
16th century, enclosed in a marble sarcophagus within a sepulchral
chamber under Monte del Grano, two miles and a half from Rome, supposed
to have been the tomb of Alexander Severus, who died in the year 235. It
is ornamented with white opaque figures in bas-relief, upon a dark blue
transparent ground; the subject of which has not hitherto received a
satisfactory elucidation, though it is supposed to represent the
Eleusinian Mysteries; but the design, and more particularly the
execution, are truly admirable. The whole of the blue ground, or at
least the part below the handles, must have been originally covered with
white enamel, out of which the figures have been sculptured in the style
of a cameo, with most astonishing skill and labor. This beautiful Vase
is sufficient to prove that the manufacture of glass was carried to a
state of high perfection by the ancients. It was purchased by the
Duchess of Portland for 1000 guineas, and presented to the British
Museum in 1810.

The subterranean ruins of Herculaneum afforded many specimens of the
glass manufacture of the ancients: a great variety of phials and bottles
were found, and these were chiefly of an elongate shape, composed of
glass of unequal thickness, of a green color, and much heavier than
common glass; of these the four large cinerary urns in the British
Museum are very fine specimens. They are of an elegant round figure,
with covers, and two double handles, the formation of which must
convince persons capable of appreciating the difficulties which even
the modern glass-maker would have in executing similar handles, that the
ancients were well acquainted with the art of making round glass
vessels; although their knowledge appears to have been extremely limited
as respects the manufacture of square vessels, and more particularly of
oval, octagonal, or pentagonal forms. Among a great number of
lachrymatories and various other vessels in the British Museum, there is
a small square bottle with a handle, the rudeness of which sufficiently
bears out this opinion.


A most singular art of forming pictures with colored glass seems to have
been practiced by the ancients, which consisted in laying together
fibres of glass of various colors, fitted to each other with the utmost
exactness, so that a section across the fibres represented the object to
be painted, and then cementing them into a homogeneous mass. In some
specimens of this art which were discovered about the middle of the 18th
century, the painting has on both sides a granular appearance, and seems
to have been formed in the manner of mosaic work; but the pieces are so
accurately united, that not even with the aid of a powerful magnifying
glass can the junctures be discovered. One plate, described by
Winckelmann, exhibits a Duck of various colors, the outlines of which
are sharp and well-defined, the colors pure and vivid, and a brilliant
effect is obtained by the artist having employed in some parts an
opaque, and in others a transparent glass. The picture seems to be
continued throughout the whole thickness of the specimen, as the reverse
corresponds in the minutest points to the face; so that, were it to be
cut transversely, the same picture of the Duck would be exhibited in
every section. It is conjectured that this curious process was the first
attempt of the ancients to preserve colors by fusing them into the
internal part of glass, which was, however, but partially done, as the
surfaces have not been preserved from the action of the atmosphere.


This eminent historical painter, and very extraordinary man, was born at
Zurich, in Switzerland, in 1741, according to all accounts save his own;
but he himself placed it in 1745, without adding the day or month. He
always spoke of his age with reluctance. Once, when pressed about it, he
peevishly exclaimed, "How should I know? I was born in February or
March--it was some cursed cold month, as you may guess from my
diminutive stature and crabbed disposition." He was the son of the
painter, John Caspar Fuseli, and the second of eighteen children.


During his school-boy days, as soon as released from his class, he was
accustomed to withdraw to a secret place to enjoy unmolested the works
of Michael Angelo, of whose prints his father had a fine collection. He
loved when he grew old to talk of those days of his youth, of the
enthusiasm with which he surveyed the works of his favorite masters, and
the secret pleasure which he took in acquiring forbidden knowledge. With
candles which he stole from the kitchen, and pencils which his
pocket-money was hoarded to procure, he pursued his studies till late at
night, and made many copies from Michael Angelo and Raffaelle, by which
he became familiar thus early with the style and ruling character of the
two greatest masters of the art.


He early manifested strong powers of mind, and with a two-fold taste for
literature and art, he was placed in Humanity College at Zurich, of
which two distinguished men, Bodmer and Breitenger, were professors.
Here he became the bosom companion of that amiable enthusiast, Lavater,
studied English, and conceived such a love for the works of Shakspeare,
that he translated Macbeth into German. The writings of Wieland and
Klopstock influenced his youthful fancy, and from Shakspeare he extended
his affection to the chief masters in English literature. His love of
poetry was natural, not affected--he practiced at an early age the art
which he admired through life, and some of his first attempts at
composition were pieces in his native language, which made his name
known in Zurich.


In conjunction with his friend Lavater, Fuseli composed a pamphlet
against a ruler in one of the bailiwicks, who had abused his powers, and
perhaps personally insulted the two friends. The peasantry, it seems,
conceiving themselves oppressed by their superior, complained and
petitioned; the petitions were read by young Fuseli and his companion,
who, stung with indignation at the tale of tyranny disclosed, expressed
their feelings in a satire, which made a great stir in the city. Threats
were publicly used against the authors, who were guessed at, but not
known; upon which they distributed placards in every direction, offering
to prove before a tribunal the accusations they had made. Nay, Fuseli
actually appeared before the magistrates--named the offender
boldly--arraigned him with great vehemence and eloquence, and was
applauded by all and answered by none. Pamphlets and accusations were
probably uncommon things in Zurich; in some other countries they would
have dropped from the author's hands harmless or unheeded; but the
united labors of Fuseli and Lavater drove the unjust magistrate into
exile, and procured remuneration to those who had suffered.


Fuseli early gained a reputation for scholarship, poetry, and painting.
He possessed such extraordinary powers of memory, that when he read a
book once, he thoroughly comprehended its contents; and he not only
wrote in Latin and Greek, but spoke them with the fluency of his native
tongue. He acquired such a perfect knowledge of the several modern
languages of Europe, especially of the English, French, and Italian,
that it was indifferent to him which he spoke or wrote, except that when
he wished to express himself with most power, he said he preferred the
German. After having obtained the degree of Master of Arts from the
college at Zurich, Fuseli bade farewell to his father's house, and
traveled in company with Lavater to Berlin, where he placed himself
under the care of Sulzer, author of the "Lexicon of the Fine Arts." His
talents and learning obtained him the friendship of several
distinguished men, and his acquaintance with English poetry induced
Professor Sulzer to select him as one well qualified for opening a
communication between the literature of Germany and that of England. Sir
Andrew Mitchell, British ambassador at the Prussian court, was
consulted; and pleased with his lively genius, and his translations and
drawings from Macbeth and Lear, he received Fuseli with much kindness,
and advised him to visit Britain. Lavater, who till now had continued
his companion, presented him at parting with a card, on which he had
inscribed in German. "Do but the tenth part of what you can do." "Hang
that up in your bed-head," said the physiognomist, "obey it--and fame
and fortune will be the result."


Fuseli arrived in the capital of the British Empire early one morning,
before the people were stirring. "When I stood in London," said he, "and
considered that I did not know one soul in all this vast metropolis, I
became suddenly impressed with a sense of forlornness, and burst into a
flood of tears. An incident restored me. I had written a long letter to
my father, giving him an account of my voyage, and expressing my filial
affection--now not weakened by distance--and with this letter in my
hand, I inquired of a rude fellow whom I met, the way to the Post
Office. My foreign accent provoked him to laughter, and as I stood
cursing him in good Shaksperian English, a gentleman kindly directed me
to the object of my inquiry."


Fuseli's wit, learning, and talents gained him early admission to the
company of wealthy and distinguished men. He devoted himself for a
considerable time after his arrival in London to the daily toils of
literature--translations, essays, and critiques. Among other works, he
translated Winckelmann's book on Painting and Sculpture. One day
Bonnycastle said to him, after dinner,

"Fuseli, you can write well,--why don't you write something?"

"Something!" exclaimed the other; "you always cry write--Fuseli
write!--blastation! what shall I write?"

"Write," said Armstrong, who was present, "write on the Voltaire and
Rousseau _Row_--_there_ is a subject!"

He said nothing, but went home and began to write. His enthusiastic
temper spurred him on, so that he composed his essay with uncommon
rapidity. He printed it forthwith; but the whole edition caught fire and
was consumed! "It had," says one of his friends, "a short life and a
bright ending."

While busied with his translations and other literary labors, he had not
forgotten his early attachment to Art. He found his way to the studio of
Sir Joshua Reynolds, and submitted several of his drawings to the
President's examination, who looked at them for some time, and then
said, "How long have you studied in Italy?" "I never studied in Italy--I
studied at Zurich--I am a native of Switzerland--do you think I should
study in Italy?--and, above all, is it worth while?" "Young man," said
Reynolds, "were I the author of these drawings, and were offered ten
thousand a year _not_ to practice as an artist, I would reject the
proposal with contempt." This very favorable opinion from one who
considered all he said, and was so remarkable for accuracy of judgment,
decided the destiny of Fuseli; he forsook for ever the hard and
thankless _trade_ of literature--refused a living in the church from
some patron who had been struck with his talents--and addressed himself
to painting with heart and hand.


No sooner had Fuseli formed the resolution of devoting his talents to
painting, in 1770, than he determined to visit Rome. He resided in Italy
eight years, and studied with great assiduity the pictures in the
numerous galleries, particularly the productions of Michael Angelo,
whose fine and bold imagination, and the lofty grandeur of his works,
were most congenial to his taste. It was a story which he loved to tell
in after life, how he lay on his back day after day, and week after
week, with upturned and wondering eyes, musing on the splendid ceiling
of the Sistine chapel--on the unattainable grandeur of the great
Florentine. During his residence abroad, he made notes and criticisms on
everything he met with that was excellent, much of which he subsequently
embodied in his lectures before the Royal Academy. His talents,
acquirements, and his great conversational powers made his society
courted; and he formed some valuable acquaintances at Rome,
particularly among the English nobility and gentry, who flocked there
for amusement, and who heralded his fame at home. He also sent some of
his choice drawings, illustrating Shakspeare and Milton, to the annual
exhibitions of the Royal Academy. In 1778, he left Italy and returned to
England, passing through Switzerland and his native city.


Soon after his return to England, Fuseli painted his "Nightmare," which
was exhibited in 1782. It was unquestionably the work of an original
mind. "The extraordinary and peculiar genius which it displayed," says
one of his biographers, "was universally felt, and perhaps no single
picture ever made a greater impression in this country. A very fine
mezzotinto engraving of it was scraped by Raphael Smith, and so popular
did the print become, that, although Mr. Fuseli received only twenty
guineas for the picture, the publisher made five hundred by his
speculation." This was a subject suitable to the unbridled fancy of the
painter, and perhaps to no other imagination has the Fiend which murders
our sleep ever appeared in a more poetical shape.


This picture was a work of far higher order than his "Nightmare,"
although the latter caught the public fancy most. It is distinguished
by singular power, full of feeling and terror. The desolate old man is
seated on the ground, and his whole frame seems inspired with a
presentiment of the coming vengeance of heaven. His daughters are
clasping him wildly, and the sky seems mustering the thunder and fire in
which the tragic bard has made him disappear. "Pray, sir, what is that
old man afraid of?" said some one to Fuseli, when the picture was
exhibited. "Afraid, sir," exclaimed the painter, "why, afraid of going
to hell!"


His rising fame, his poetic feeling, his great knowledge, and his
greater confidence, now induced Fuseli to commence an undertaking worthy
of the highest genius--the Shakspeare Gallery. An accidental
conversation at the table of the nephew of Alderman Boydell, started, as
it is said, the idea; and West, Romney, and Hayley shared with Fuseli in
the honor. But to the mind of the latter, such a scheme had been long
present; it dawned on his fancy in Rome, even as he lay on his back
marveling in the Sistine, and he saw in imagination a long and shadowy
succession of pictures. He figured to himself a magnificent temple, and
filled it, as the illustrious artists of Italy did the Sistine, with
pictures from his favorite poet. All was arranged according to
character. In the panels and accessories were the figures of the chief
heroes and heroines--on the extensive walls were delineated the changes
of many-colored life, the ludicrous and the sad--the pathetic and the
humorous--domestic happiness and heroic aspirations--while the dome
which crowned the whole exhibited scenes of higher emotion--the joys of
heaven--the agonies of hell--all that was supernatural and all that was
terrible. This splendid piece of imagination was cut down to working
dimensions by the practiced hands of Boydell, who supported the scheme
anxiously and effectually. On receiving £500 Reynolds entered, though
with reluctance, into an undertaking which consumed time and required
much thought; but Fuseli had no rich commissions in the way--his heart
was with the subject--in his own fancy he had already commenced the
work, and the enthusiastic alderman found a more enthusiastic painter,
who made no preliminary stipulations, but prepared his palette and


This wonderful work, engraved for Boydell's Shakspeare Gallery, is
esteemed among the best of Fuseli's works. It is, indeed, strangely wild
and superhuman--if ever a Spirit visited earth, it must have appeared to
Fuseli. The "majesty of buried Denmark" is no vulgar ghost such as
scares the belated rustic, but a sad and majestic shape with the port of
a god; to imagine this, required poetry, and in that our artist was
never deficient. He had fine taste in matters of high import; he drew
the boundary line between the terrible and the horrible, and he never
passed it; the former he knew was allied to grandeur, the latter to
deformity and disgust. An eminent metaphysician visited the gallery
before the public exhibition; he saw the Hamlet's Ghost of Fuseli, and
exclaimed, like Burns' rustic in Halloween, "Lord, preserve me!" He
declared that it haunted him round the room.


His Titania (also engraved in the Shakspeare Gallery), overflows with
elvish fun and imaginative drollery. It professes to embody that portion
of the first scene in the fourth act where the spell-blinded queen
caresses Bottom the weaver, on whose shoulders Oberon's transforming
wand has placed an ass' head. Titania, a gay and alluring being,
attended by her troop of fairies, is endeavoring to seem as lovely as
possible in the sight of her lover, who holds down his head and assumes
the air of the most stupid of all creatures. One almost imagines that
her ripe round lips are uttering the well-known words,--

  "Come sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
    While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
  And stick musk roses in thy sleek smooth head,
    And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy."

The rout and revelry which the fancy of the painter has poured around
this spell-bound pair, baffles all description. All is mirthful,
tricksy, and fantastic. Sprites of all looks and all hues--of all
"dimensions, shapes, and mettles,"--the dwarfish elf and the elegant
fay--Cobweb commissioned to kill a red-hipped humble-bee on the top of a
thistle, that Bottom might have the honey-bag--Pease-Blossom, who had
the less agreeable employment of scratching the weaver's head--and that
individual fairy who could find the hoard of the squirrel and carry away
his nuts--with a score of equally merry companions are swarming
everywhere and in full employment. Mustard-Seed, a fairy of dwarfish
stature, stands on tiptoe in the hollow of Bottom's hand, endeavoring to
reach his nose--his fingers almost touch, he is within a quarter of an
inch of scratching, but it is evident he can do no more, and his new
master is too much of an ass to raise him up.


Fuseli was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1788, and early
in 1790 became an Academician--honors won by talent without the
slightest coöperation of intrigue. His election was nevertheless
unpleasant to Reynolds, who desired to introduce Bonomi the architect.
Fuseli, to soothe the President, waited on him beforehand, and said, "I
wish to be elected an academician. I have been disappointed hitherto by
the deceit of pretended friends--shall I offend you if I offer myself
next election?" "Oh, no," said Sir Joshua with a kindly air, "no offence
to me; but you cannot be elected this time--we must have an architect
in." "Well, well," said Fuseli, who could not conceive how an architect
could be a greater acquisition to the Academy than himself--"Well, well,
you say that I shall not offend you by offering myself, so I must make a
trial." The trial was successful.


Concerning his picture of Theodore and Honorio, Fuseli used to say,
"Look at it--it is connected with the first patron I ever had." He then
proceeded to relate how Cipriani had undertaken to paint for Horace
Walpole a scene from Boccaccio's Theodore and Honorio, familiar to all
in the splendid translation of Dryden, and, after several attempts,
finding the subject too heavy for his handling, he said to Walpole, "I
cannot please myself with a sketch from this most imaginative of Gothic
fictions; but I know one who can do the story justice--a man of great
powers, of the name of Fuseli." "Let me see this painter of yours," said
the other. Fuseli was sent for, and soon satisfied Walpole that his
imagination was equal to the task, by painting a splendid picture.


While Fuseli was laboring on his celebrated "Milton Gallery," he was
frequently embarrassed by pecuniary difficulties. From these he was
relieved by a steadfast friend--Mr. Coutts--who aided him while in Rome,
and forsook him not in any of his after difficulties. The grateful
painter once waited on the banker, and said, "I have finished the best
of all my works--the Lazar House--when shall I send it home?" "My
friend," said Mr. Coutts, "for me to take this picture would be a fraud
upon you and upon the world. I have no place in which it could be fitly
seen. Sell it to some one who has a gallery--your kind offer of it is
sufficient for me, and makes all matters straight between us." For a
period of sixty years that worthy man was the unchangeable friend of the
painter. The apprehensions which the latter entertained of poverty were
frequently without cause, and Coutts has been known on such occasions to
assume a serious look, and talk of scarcity of cash and of sufficient
securities. Away flew Fuseli, muttering oaths and cursing all
parsimonious men, and having found a friend, returned with him
breathless, saying, "There! I stop your mouth with a security." The
cheque for the sum required was given, the security refused, and the
painter pulled his hat over his eyes,

  "To hide the tear that fain would fall"--

and went on his way.


Fuseli once repeated half-a-dozen sonorous and well sounding lines in
Greek, to Prof. Porson, and said,--

"With all your learning now, you cannot tell me who wrote that."

The Professor, "much renowned in Greek," confessed his ignorance, and
said, "I don't know him."

"How the devil should you know him?" chuckled Fuseli, "I made them this


When thwarted in the Academy (which happened not unfrequently), his
wrath aired itself in a polyglott. "It is a pleasant thing, and an
advantageous," said the painter, on one of these occasions, "to be
learned. I can speak Greek, Latin, French, English, German, Danish,
Dutch, and Spanish, and so let my folly or my fury get vent through
eight different avenues."


Fuseli knew not well how to begin with quiet beauty and serene grace:
the hurrying measures, the crowding epithets, and startling imagery of
the northern poetry suited his intoxicated fancy. His "Thor battering
the Serpent" was such a favorite that he presented it to the Academy as
his admission gift. Such was his love of terrific subjects, that he was
known among his brethren by the name of _Painter in ordinary to the
Devil_, and he smiled when some one officiously told him this, and said,
"Aye! he has sat to me many times." Once, at Johnson the bookseller's
table, one of the guests said, "Mr. Fuseli, I have purchased a picture
of yours." "Have you, sir; what is the subject?" "Subject? really I
don't know." "That's odd; you must be a strange fellow to buy a picture
without knowing the subject." "I bought it, sir, that's enough--I don't
know what the _devil_ it is." "Perhaps it is the devil," replied Fuseli,
"I have often painted him." Upon this, one of the company, to arrest a
conversation which was growing warm, said, "Fuseli, there is a member of
your Academy who has strange looks--and he chooses as strange subjects
as you do." "Sir," exclaimed the Professor, "he paints nothing but
thieves and murderers, and when he wants a model, he looks in the


Cunningham says, "Fuseli had sketched a picture of Miranda and Prospero
from the Tempest, and was considering of what dimensions he should make
the finished painting, when he was told that Lawrence had sent in for
exhibition a picture on the same subject, and with the same figures.
His wrath knew no bounds. 'This comes,' he cried, 'of my blasted
simplicity in showing my sketches--never mind--I'll teach the
face-painter to meddle with my Prospero and Miranda.' He had no canvas
prepared--he took a finished picture, and over the old performance
dashed in hastily, in one laborious day, a wondrous scene from the
Tempest--hung it in the exhibition right opposite that of Lawrence, and
called it 'a sketch for a large picture.' Sir Thomas said little, but
thought much--he never afterwards, I have heard, exhibited a poetic


Fuseli mentions Reynolds in his Lectures, as a great portrait painter,
and no more. One evening in company, Sir Thomas Lawrence was discoursing
on what he called the "historic grandeur" of Sir Joshua, and contrasting
him with Titian and Raffaelle. Fuseli kindled up--"Blastation! you will
drive me mad--Reynolds and Raffaelle!--a dwarf and a giant!--why will
you waste all your fine words?" He rose and left the room, muttering
something about a tempest in a pint pot. Lawrence followed, soothed him,
and brought him back.


"These two eminent men," says Cunningham, "loved one another. The Keeper
had no wish to give permanent offence, and the President had as little
desire to be on ill terms with one so bitter and so satirical. They were
often together; and I have heard Sir Thomas say, that he never had a
dispute with Fuseli save once--and that was concerning their pictures of
Satan. Indeed, the Keeper, both with tongue and pen, took pleasure in
pointing out the excellencies of his friend, nor was he blind to his
defects. 'This young man,' thus he wrote in one of his early criticisms,
'would do well to look at nature again; his flesh is too glassy.'
Lawrence showed his sense of his monitor's accuracy by following the


Fuseli, on the whole, was liked as Keeper. It is true that he was often
satirical and severe on the students--that he defaced their drawings by
corrections which, compared to their weak and trembling lines, seemed
traced with a tar-mop, and that he called them tailors and bakers,
vowing that there was more genius in the _claw_ of one of Michael
Angelo's eagles, than in all the _heads_ with which the Academy was
swarming. The youths on whom fell this tempest of invective, smiled; and
the Keeper pleased by submission, walked up to each easel, whispered a
word of advice confidentially, and retired in peace to enjoy the company
of his Homer, Michael Angelo, Dante, and Milton. The students were
unquestionably his friends; those of the year 1807 presented him with a
silver vase, designed by one whom he loved--Flaxman the sculptor; and he
received it very graciously. Ten years after, he was presented with the
diploma of the first class in the Academy of St. Luke at Rome.


The students found constant amusement from Fuseli's witty and
characteristic retorts, and they were fond of repeating his jokes. He
heard a violent altercation in the studio one day, and inquired the
cause. "It is only those fellows, the students, sir," said one of the
porters. "Fellows!" exclaimed Fuseli, "I would have you to know, sir,
that those _fellows_ may one day become academicians." The noise
increased--he opened the door, and burst in upon them, exclaiming, "You
are a den of damned wild beasts." One of the offenders, Munro by name,
bowed and said, "and Fuseli is our Keeper." He retired smiling, and
muttering "the fellows are growing witty." Another time he saw a figure
from which the students were making drawings lying broken to pieces.
"Now who the devil has done this?" "Mr. Medland," said an officious
probationer, "he jumped over the rail and broke it." He walked up to the
offender--all listened for the storm. He calmly said, "Mr. Medland, you
are fond of jumping--go to Sadler's Wells--it is the best academy in
the world for improving agility." A student as he passed held up his
drawing, and said confidently, "Here, sir--I finished it without using a
crumb of bread." "All the worse for your drawing," replied Fuseli, "buy
a two-penny loaf and rub it out." "What do you see, sir?" he said one
day to a student, who, with his pencil in his hand and his drawing
before him, was gazing into vacancy. "Nothing, sir," was the answer.
"Nothing, young man," said the Keeper emphatically, "then I tell you
that you ought to see _something_--you ought to see distinctly the true
image of what you are trying to draw. I see the vision of all I
paint--and I wish to heaven I could paint up to what I see."


He loved especially to exercise his wit upon Northcote. He looked on his
friend's painting of the Angel meeting Balaam and his Ass. "How do you
like it?" said the painter. "Vastly, Northcote," returned Fuseli, "you
are an angel at an ass--but an ass at an angel!"

When Northcote exhibited his Judgment of Solomon, Fuseli looked at it
with a sarcastic smirk on his face. "How do you like my picture?"
inquired Northcote. "Much" was the answer--"the action suits the
word--Solomon holds out his fingers like a pair of open scissors at the
child, and says, 'Cut it.'--I like it much!" Northcote remembered this
when Fuseli exhibited a picture representing Hercules drawing his arrow
at Pluto. "How do you like my picture?" inquired Fuseli. "Much!" said
Northcote--"it is clever, very clever, but he'll never hit him." "He
shall hit him," exclaimed the other, "and that speedily." Away ran
Fuseli with his brush, and as he labored to give the arrow the true
direction, was heard to mutter "Hit him!--by Jupiter, but he shall hit


He rarely spared any one, and on Nollekens he was frequently merciless;
he disliked him for his close and parsimonious nature, and rarely failed
to hit him under the fifth rib. Once, at the table of Mr. Coutts the
banker, Mrs. Coutts, dressed like Morgiana, came dancing in, presenting
her dagger at every breast. As she confronted the sculptor, Fuseli
called out, "Strike--strike--there's no fear; Nolly was never known to
bleed!" When Blake, a man infinitely more wild in conception than Fuseli
himself, showed him one of his strange productions, he said, "Now some
one has told you this is very fine." "Yes," said Blake, "the Virgin Mary
appeared to me and told me it was very fine; what can you say to that?"
"Say!" exclaimed Fuseli, "why nothing--only her ladyship has not an
immaculate taste."

Fuseli had aided Northcote and Opie in obtaining admission to the
Academy, and when he desired some station for himself, he naturally
expected their assistance--they voted against him, and next morning went
together to his house to offer an explanation. He saw them coming--he
opened the door as they were scraping their shoes, and said, "Come
in--come in--for the love of heaven come in, else you will ruin me
entirely." "How so?" cried Opie "Marry, thus," replied the other, "my
neighbors over the way will see you, and say, 'Fuseli's _done_,--for
there's a bum bailiff,'" he looked at Opie, "'going to seize his person;
and a little Jew broker,'" he looked at Northcote, "'going to take his
furniture,--so come in I tell you--come in!'"


One day, during varnishing time in the exhibition, an eminent portrait
painter was at work on the hand of one of his pictures; he turned to the
Keeper, who was near him, and said, "Fuseli, Michael Angelo never
painted such a hand." "No, by Pluto," retorted the other, "but you have,

He had an inherent dislike to Opie; and some one, to please Fuseli,
said, in allusion to the low characters in the historical pictures of
the Death of James I. of Scotland, and the Murder of David Rizzio, that
Opie could paint nothing but vulgarity and dirt. "If he paints nothing
but _dirt_," said Fuseli, "he paints it like an angel."

One day, a painter who had been a student during the keepership of
Wilton, called and said, "The students, sir, don't draw so well now as
they did under Joe Wilton." "Very true," replied Fuseli, "anybody may
draw here, let them draw ever so bad--_you_ may draw here, if you

During the exhibition of his Milton Gallery, a visitor accosted him,
mistaking him for the keeper--"Those paintings, sir, are from Paradise
Lost I hear, and Paradise Lost was written by Milton. I have never read
the poem, but I shall do it now." "I would not advise you, sir," said
the sarcastic artist, "you will find it an exceedingly tough job!"

A person who desired to speak with the Keeper of the Academy, followed
so close upon the porter whose business it was to introduce him, that he
announced himself with, "I hope I don't intrude." "You do intrude," said
Fuseli, in a surly tone. "Do I?" said the visitor; "then, sir, I will
come to-morrow, if you please." "No, sir," replied he, "don't come
to-morrow, for then you will intrude a second time: tell me your
business now!"

A man of some station in society, and who considered himself a powerful
patron in art, said at a public dinner, where he was charmed with
Fuseli's conversation, "If you ever come my way, Fuseli, I shall be
happy to see you." The painter instantly caught the patronizing,
self-important spirit of the invitation. "I thank you," retorted he,
"but I never go your way--I never even go down your street, although I
often pass by the end of it!"


Looking upon a serpent with its tail in its mouth, carved upon an
exhibited monument as an emblem of Eternity, and a very commonplace one,
he said to the sculptor, "It won't do, I tell you; you must have
something new." The _something new_ startled a man whose imagination was
none of the brightest, and he said, "How shall I find something new?"
"O, nothing so easy," said Fuseli, "I'll help you to it. When I went
away to Rome I left two fat men cutting fat bacon in St. Martin's Lane;
in ten years' time I returned, and found the two fat men cutting fat
bacon still; twenty years more have passed, and there the two fat
fellows cut the fat flitches the same as ever. Carve them! if they look
not like an image of eternity, I wot not what does."


During the exhibition of his Milton pictures, he called at the banking
house of Mr. Coutts, saying he was going out of town for a few days, and
wished to have some money in his pocket. "How much?" said one of the
firm. "How much!" said Fuseli, "why, as much as twenty pounds; and as it
is a large sum, and I don't wish to take your establishment by surprise,
I have called to give you a day's notice of it!" "I thank you, sir,"
said the cashier, imitating Fuseli's own tone of irony, "we shall be
ready for you--but as the town is thin and money scarce with us, you
will oblige me greatly by giving us a few orders to see your Milton
Gallery--it will keep cash in our drawers, and hinder your exhibition
from being empty." Fuseli shook him heartily by the hand, and cried,
"Blastation! you shall have the tickets with all my heart; I have had
the opinion of the virtuosi, the dilettanti, the cognoscenti, and the
nobles and gentry on my pictures, and I want now the opinion of the
blackguards. I shall send you and your friends a score of tickets, and
thank you too for taking them."


During the delivery of one of his lectures, in which he calls landscape
painters the topographers of art, Beechey admonished Turner with his
elbow of the severity of the sarcasm; presently, when Fuseli described
the patrons of portrait painting as men who would give a few guineas to
have their own senseless heads painted, and then assume the air and use
the language of patrons, Turner administered a similar hint to Beechey.
When the lecture was over, Beechey walked up to Fuseli, and said, "How
sharply you have been cutting up us poor laborers in portraiture!" "Not
you, Sir William," exclaimed the professor, "I only spoke of the blasted
fools who employ you!"


His life was not without disappointment, but for upwards of eighty years
he was free from sickness. Up to this period, and even beyond it, his
spirits seemed inexhaustible; he had enjoyed the world, and obtained no
little distinction; nor was he insensible to the advantages which he had
enjoyed. "I have been a happy man," he said, "for I have always been
well, and always employed in doing what I liked"--a boast which few men
of genius can make. When work with the pencil failed, he lifted the pen;
and as he was ready and talented with both, he was never obliged to fill
up time with jobs that he disliked.


He was an early riser, and generally sat down to breakfast with a book
on entomology in his hand. He ate and read, and read and ate--regarding
no one, and speaking to no one. He was delicate and abstemious, and on
gross feeders he often exercised the severity of his wit. Two meals a
day were all he ventured on--he always avoided supper--the story of his
having supped on raw pork-chops that he might dream his picture of the
Nightmare, has no foundation. Indeed, the dreams he delighted to relate
were of the noblest kind, and consisted of galleries of the fairest
pictures and statues, in which were walking the poets and painters of
old. Having finished breakfast and noted down some remarks on
entomology, he went into his studio--painted till dinner time--dined
hastily, if at home, and then resumed his labors, or else forgot himself
over Homer, or Dante, or Shakspeare, or Milton, till midnight.


He was subject to fits of despondency, and during the continuance of
such moods he sat with his beloved book on entomology upon his
knee--touched now and then the breakfast cup with his lips, and seemed
resolutely bent on being unhappy. In periods such as these it was
difficult to rouse him, and even dangerous. Mrs. Fuseli on such
occasions ventured to become his monitress. "I know him well," she said
one morning to a friend who found him in one of his dark moods, "he will
not come to himself till he is put into a passion--the storm then clears
off, and the man looks out serene." "Oh no," said her visitor, "let him
alone for a while--he will soon think rightly." He was spared till next
morning--he came to the breakfast table in the same mood of mind. "Now I
must try what I can do," said his wife to the same friend whom she had
consulted the day before; she now began to reason with her husband, and
soothe and persuade him; he answered only by a forbidding look and a
shrug of the shoulder. She then boldly snatched away his book, and
dauntlessly abode the storm. The storm was not long in coming--his own
fiend rises up not more furiously from the side of Eve than did the
painter. He glared on his friend and on his wife--uttered a deep
imprecation--rushed up stairs and strode about his room in great
agitation. In a little while his steps grew more regular--he soon opened
the door, and descended to his labors all smiles and good humor.

Fuseli's method of curing his wife's anger was not less original and
characteristic. She was a spirited woman, and one day, when she had
wrought herself into a towering passion, her sarcastic husband said,
"Sophia, my love, why don't you swear? You don't know how much it would
ease your mind."


Fuseli was of low stature--his frame slim, his forehead high, and his
eyes piercing and brilliant. His look was proud, wrapt up in
sarcastic--his movements were quick, and by an eager activity of manner
he seemed desirous of occupying as much space as belonged to men of
greater stature. His voice was loud and commanding--nor had he learned
much of the art of winning his way by gentleness and persuasion--he was
more anxious as to say pointed and stinging things, than solicitous
about their accuracy; and he had much pleasure in mortifying his
brethren of the easel with his wit, and over whelming them with his
knowledge. He was too often morose and unamiable--habitually despising
those who were not his friends, and not unapt to dislike even his best
friends, if they retorted his wit, or defended themselves successfully
against his satire. In dispute he was eager, fierce, unsparing, and
often precipitated himself into angry discussions with the Council,
which, however, always ended in peace and good humor--for he was as
placable as passionate. On one occasion he flew into his own room in a
storm of passion, and having cooled and come to himself, was desirous to
return; the door was locked and the key gone; his fury overflowed all
bounds. "Sam!" he shouted to the porter, "Sam Strowager, they have
locked me in like a blasted wild beast--bring crowbars and break open
the door." The porter--a sagacious old man, who knew the trim of the
Keeper--whispered through the keyhole, "Feel in your pocket, sir, for
the key!" He did so, and unlocking the door with a loud laugh exclaimed,
"What a fool!--never mind--I'll to the Council, and soon show them they
are greater asses than myself."


Fuseli was so near-sighted that he was obliged to retire from his easel
to a distance and examine his labors by means of an opera-glass, then
return and retouch, and retire again to look. His weakness of sight was
well known, and one of the students, in revenge for some satirical
strictures, placed a bench in his way, over which he nearly fell. "Bless
my soul," said the Keeper, "I must put spectacles on my shins!"


Notwithstanding his sarcastic temper, and various peculiarities, Fuseli
was generally liked, and by none more than by the students who were so
often made the objects of his satire. They were sensible that he was
assiduous in instruction, that he was very learned and very skilful, and
that he allowed no one else to take liberties with their conduct or
their pursuits. He had a wonderful tact in singling out the most
intellectual of the pupils; he was the first to notice Lawrence, and at
the very outset of Wilkie, he predicted his future eminence.


The following critique from the pen of Allan Cunningham, gives a good
idea of Fuseli's abilities as an artist. "His main wish was to startle
and astonish. It was his ambition to be called Fuseli the daring and the
imaginative, the illustrator of Milton and Shakspeare, the rival of
Michael Angelo. His merits are of no common order. He was no timid or
creeping adventurer in the region of art, but a man peculiarly bold and
daring--who rejoiced only in the vast, the wild, and the wonderful, and
loved to measure himself with any subject, whether in the heaven above,
the earth beneath, or the waters under the earth. The domestic and
humble realities of life he considered unworthy of his pencil, and
employed it only on those high or terrible themes where imagination may
put forth all her strength, and fancy scatter all her colors. He
associated only with the demi-gods of verse, and roamed through Homer,
and Dante, and Shakspeare, and Milton, in search of subjects worthy of
his hand; he loved to grapple with whatever he thought too weighty for
others; and assembling round him the dim shapes which imagination
readily called forth, he sat brooding over the chaos, and tried to bring
the whole into order and beauty. His coloring is like his design;
original; it has a kind of supernatural hue, which harmonizes with many
of his subjects--the spirits of the other world and the hags of hell are
steeped in a kind of kindred color, which becomes their natural
characters. His notion of color suited the wildest of his subjects; and
the hue of Satan and the lustre of Hamlet's Ghost are part of the
imagination of those supernatural shapes."


The magnificent plan of the "Milton Gallery" originated with Fuseli, was
countenanced by Johnson the bookseller, and supported by the genius of
Cowper, who undertook to prepare an edition of Milton, with translations
of his Latin and Italian poems. The pictures were to have been engraved,
and introduced as embellishments to the work.--The Gallery was commenced
in 1791, and completed in 1800, containing forty-seven pictures. "Out of
the seventy exhibited paintings," says Cunningham, on which he reposed
his hopes of fame, not one can be called commonplace--they are all
poetical in their nature, and as poetically treated. "Some twenty of
these alarm, startle, and displease; twenty more may come within the
limits of common comprehension; the third twenty are such as few men
could produce, and deserve a place in the noblest collections; while the
remaining ten are equal in conception to anything that genius has
hitherto produced, and second only in their execution to the true and
recognised masterpieces of art. It cannot be denied, however, that a
certain air of extravagance and a desire to stretch and strain, are
visible in most of his works. A common mind, having no sympathy with his
soaring, perceives his defects at once, and ranks him with the wild and
unsober--a poetic mind will not allow the want of serenity and composure
to extinguish the splendor of the conception; but whilst it notes the
blemish, will feel the grandeur of the work. The approbation of high
minds fixes the degree of fame to which genius of all degrees is
entitled, and the name of Fuseli is safe."


This celebrated painter was born at Renella, a small village near
Naples, in 1615. There is so much fiction mingled with his early
history, that it is impossible to arrive at the truth. It is certain,
however, that he commenced the study of painting under his
brother-in-law, Francesco Fracanzani, that he passed his early days in
poverty, that he was compelled to support himself by his pencil, and
that he exposed his juvenile performances for sale in the public
markets, and often sold them to the dealers for the most paltry prices.


To the honor of Cav. Lanfranco, it is related that while riding in his
carriage one day along the streets of Naples, he observed one of
Salvator's pictures exposed for sale in a shop window, and surprised at
the uncommon genius which it displayed, he purchased the picture, and
inquired the name of the young artist. The picture dealer, who had
probably found Salvator's necessities quite profitable to himself,
refused to communicate the desired information, whereupon Lanfranco
directed his scholars to watch for his pictures, and seek him out. When
he had found him, he generously relieved his wants, and encouraged him
in the pursuit of his studies. After receiving some instructions from
Aniello Falcone, an eminent painter of battle-pieces, he was admitted,
through the influence of Lanfranco, into the academy of Giuseppe
Ribera, called Il Spagnoletto, and remained there until the age of
twenty, when he accompanied that master to Rome.


The Cardinal Brancacci, having become acquainted with the merits of
Salvator Rosa at Naples, took him under his protection, and conducted
him to his bishopric of Viterbo, where he painted several historical
works, and an altar-piece for the cathedral, representing the
Incredulity of St. Thomas. On his return to Rome, the prince Gio. Carlo
de' Medici employed him to execute several important works, and
afterwards invited him to Florence. During a residence of nine years in
that city, he greatly distinguished himself as a painter, and also as a
satirical and dramatic poet; his Satires, composed in Florence, have
passed through several editions. His wit, lively disposition, and
unusual conversational powers, drew around him many choice spirits, and
his house was the great centre of attraction for the connoisseurs and
literati of Florence. He fitted up a private theatre, and was accustomed
to perform the principal parts in his comedies, in which he displayed
extraordinary talents. He painted many of his choicest pictures for the
Grand Duke, who nobly rewarded him; also for the noble family of the
Maffei, for their palace at Volterra.


After Salvator Rosa's return to Rome from Florence, he demanded
exorbitant prices for his works, and though his greatest talent lay in
landscape painting, he affected to despise that branch, being ambitious
of shining as an historical painter. He painted some altar-pieces and
other subjects for the churches, the chief of which are four pictures in
S. Maria di Monte Santo, representing Daniel in the Lions' Den, Tobit
and the Angel, the Resurrection of Christ, and the Raising of Lazarus;
the Martyrdom of St. Cosimo and St. Damiano, in the church of S.

The brightest era of landscape painting is said with truth to have been
in the time of Pope Urban VIII., when flourished Claude Lorraine, Gaspar
Poussin, and Salvator Rosa. Of these, Salvator was the most
distinguished, though certainly not the best; each was the head of a
perfectly original school, which had many followers, and each observed
nature on the side in which he felt impelled to imitate her. The first
admired and represented nature in her sweetest appearance; the second,
in her most gorgeous array; and the third in her most convulsed and
terrific aspects.


Salvator Rosa painted history, landscape, battle-pieces, and sea-ports;
and of these he was most eminent in landscape. The scholar of
Spagnoletto, he attached himself to the strong natural style and dark
coloring of that master, which well accords with his subjects. In his
landscapes, instead of selecting the cultured amenity which captivates
in the views of Claude or Poussin, he made choice of the lonely haunts
of wolves and robbers; instead of the delightful vistas of Tivoli and
the Campagna, he adopted the savage scenery of the Alps, rocky
precipices, caves with wild thickets and desert plains; his trees are
shattered, or torn up by the roots, and in the atmosphere itself he
seldom introduced a cheerful hue, except occasionally a solitary
sunbeam. These gloomy regions are peopled with congenial inhabitants,
ferocious banditti, assassins, and outlaws. In his marines, he followed
the same taste; they represent the desolate and shelvy shores of
Calabria, whose dreary aspect is sometimes heightened by terrific
tempests, with all the horrors of shipwreck. His battles and attacks of
cavalry also partake of the same principle of wild beauty; the fury of
the combatants, and the fiery animation of the horses are depicted with
a truth and effect that strikes the mind with horror. Notwithstanding
the singularity and fierceness of his style, he captivates by the
unbounded wildness of his fancy, and the picturesque solemnity of his

Salvator Rosa wrought with wonderful facility, and could paint a well
finished landscape and insert all the figures in one day; it is
impossible to inspect one of his bold, rapid sketches, without being
struck with the fertility of his invention, and the skill of hand that
rivalled in execution the activity of his mind. He was also an excellent
portrait painter. A portrait of himself is in the church degli Angeli,
where his remains were interred, and he introduced his own portrait into
several of his pictures, one of which is in the Chigi gallery,
representing a wild scene with a poet in a sitting attitude, (with the
features of Salvator); before him stands a satyr, allusive to his
satiric style of poetry. During his life-time, his works were much
sought after by princes and nobles, and they are now to be found in the
choicest collections of Italy and of Europe. There is a landscape in the
English National Gallery which cost 1800 guineas; a picture in the
collection of Sir Mark Sykes brought the enormous sum of 2100 guineas.


It happened one day that Salvator Rosa, in his youth, on his way to
mass, brought with him by mistake, his bundle of burned sticks, with
which he used to draw, instead of his mother's brazen clasped missal;
and in passing along the magnificent cloisters of the great church of
the Certosa at Naples, sacred alike to religion and the arts, he applied
them between the interstices of its Doric columns to the only unoccupied
space on the pictured walls. History has not detailed what was the
subject which occupied his attention on this occasion, but he was
working away with all the ardor which his enthusiastic genius inspired,
when unfortunately the Prior, issuing with his train from the choir,
caught the hapless painter in the very act of scrawling on those sacred
walls which required all the influence of the greatest masters to get
leave to ornament. The sacrilegious temerity of the boy artist, called
for instant and exemplary punishment. Unluckily too, for the little
offender, this happened in Lent, the season in which the rules of the
rigid Chartreuse oblige the prior and procurator to flagellate all the
frati, or lay brothers of the convent. They were, therefore, armed for
their wonted pious discipline, when the miserable Salvatoriello fell in
their way; whether he was honored by the consecrated hand of the prior,
or writhed under the scourge of the procurator, does not appear; but
that he was chastised with great severity more than proportioned to his
crime, is attested by one of the most scrupulous of his biographers,
Pascoli, who, though he dwells lightly on the fact, as he does on others
of more importance, confesses that he suffered severely from the monks'


A Roman prince, more notorious for his pretensions to _virtu_ than for
his liberality to artists, sauntering one day in Salvator's gallery, in
the Via Babbuina, paused before one of his landscapes, and after a long
contemplation of its merits, exclaimed, "Salvator mio! I am strongly
tempted to purchase this picture: tell me at once the lowest
price."--"Two hundred scudi," replied Salvator, carelessly. "Two hundred
scudi! Ohime! that is a price! but we'll talk of that another time." The
illustrissimo took his leave; but bent upon having the picture, he
shortly returned, and again inquired the lowest price. "Three hundred
scudi!" was the sullen reply. "Carpo di bacco!" cried the astonished
prince; "mi burla, vostra signoria; you are joking! I see I must e'en
wait upon your better humor; and so addio, Signor Rosa."

The next day brought back the prince to the painter's gallery; who, on
entering, saluted Salvator with a jocose air, and added, "Well, Signor
Amico, how goes the market to-day? Have prices risen or fallen?"

"Four hundred scudi is the price to-day!" replied Salvator, with
affected calmness; when suddenly giving way to his natural impetuosity,
and no longer stifling his indignation, he burst forth: "The fact is,
your excellency shall not now obtain this picture from me at any price;
and yet so little do I value its merits, that I deem it worthy no better
fate than this;" and snatching the panel on which it was painted from
the wall, he flung it to the ground, and with his foot broke it into a
hundred pieces. His excellency made an unceremonious retreat, and
returned no more to the enraged painter's studio.


While a Roman nobleman was one day endeavoring to drive a hard bargain
with Salvator Rosa, he coolly interrupted him, saying that, till the
picture was finished, he himself did not know its value; "I never
bargain, sir, with my pencil; for it knows not the value of its own
labor before the work is finished. When the picture is done, I will let
you know what it costs, and you may then take it or not as you please."


There is an etching by Salvator Rosa, which seems so plainly to tell the
story of the wandering artist's captivity, that it merits a particular
description. In the midst of wild, rocky scenery, appears a group of
banditti, armed at all points, and with all sorts of arms; they are
lying in careless attitudes, but with fierce countenances, around a
youthful prisoner, who forms the foreground figure, and is seated on a
rock, with his languid limbs hanging over the precipice, which may be
supposed to yawn beneath. It is impossible to describe the despair
depicted in this figure: it is marked in his position, in the drooping
of his head, which his nerveless arms seem with difficulty to support,
and the little that may be seen of his face, over which, from his
recumbent attitude, his hair falls in luxuriant profusion. All is alike
destitute of energy and of hope, which the beings grouped around the
captive seem to have banished forever by some sentence recently
pronounced; yet there is one who watches over the fate of the young
victim: a woman stands immediately behind him, with her hand stretched
out, while her fore finger, resting on his head, marks him as the
subject of discourse which she addresses to the listening bandits. Her
figure, which is erect is composed of those bold, straight lines, which
in art and nature, constitute the grand. Even the fantastic cap or
turban, from which her long dishevelled hair has escaped, has no curve
of grace; and her drapery partakes of the same rigid forms. Her
countenance is full of stern melancholy--the natural character of one
whose feelings and habits are at variance; whose strong passions may
have flung her out of the pale of society, but whose womanly sympathies
still remain unchanged. She is artfully pleading for the life of the
youth, by contemptuously noting his insignificance; but she commands
while she soothes. She is evidently the mistress or the wife of the
chief, in whoso absence an act of vulgar violence may be meditated. The
youth's life is saved: for that cause rarely fails, to which a woman
brings the omnipotence of her feelings.


It was during the residence of Salvator Rosa in Naples, that the
memorable popular tumult under Massaniello took place; and our painter
was persuaded by his former master, Aniello Falcone, to become one of an
adventurous set of young men, principally painters, who had formed
themselves into a band for the purpose of taking revenge on the
Spaniards, and were called "La Compagna della Morte." The tragical fate
of Massaniello, however, soon dispersed these heroes; and Rosa, fearing
he might be compelled to take a similar part in that fatal scene, sought
safety by flight, and took refuge in Rome.


Salvator Rosa is said never to have suffered the rank or office of his
auditors to interfere with the freedom of his expressions in his poetic
recitations. Cardinal Sforza Pullavicini, one of the most generous
patrons of the fine arts, and a rigid critic of his day, was curious to
hear the improvisatore of the Via Babbuina, and sent an invitation
requesting Salvator's company at his palace. Salvator frankly declared
that two conditions were annexed to his accepting the honor of his
Eminence's acquaintance; first, that the Cardinal should come to his
house, as he never recited in any other; and second, that he should not
object to any passage, the omission of which would detract from the
original character of his work, or compromise his own sincerity. The
Cardinal accepted the conditions. The next day all the literary coxcombs
of Rome crowded to the levee of the hypercritical prelate to learn his
opinion of the poet, whose style was without precedent. The Cardinal
declared, with a justice which posterity has sanctioned, that
"Salvator's poetry was full of splendid passages, but that, as a whole,
it was unequal."


In Salvator Rosa's celebrated picture of La Fortuna, the nose of one
powerful ecclesiastic, and the eye of another were detected in the
brutish physiognomy of the swine treading upon pearls, and in an ass,
scattering with his hoofs the laurel and myrtle which lay in his path;
and in an old goat, reposing on roses, some there were, who even fancied
they discovered the Infallible Lover of Donna Olympia, the Sultana,
queen of the Quirinal!

The cry of atheism and sedition--of contempt of established
authorities--was thus raised under the influence of private pique and
long-cherished envy: it soon found an echo in the painted walls where
the conclave sat "in close divan," and it was handed about from mouth to
mouth, till it reached the ears of the Inquisitor, within the dark
recesses of his house of terror. A cloud was now gathering over the head
of the devoted Salvator which it seemed no human power could avert. But
ere the bolt fell, his fast and tried friend Don Maria Ghigi threw
himself between his protégé and the horrible fate which awaited him, by
forcing the sullen satirist to draw up an apology, or rather an
explanation of his offensive picture.

This explanation, bearing title of a "Manifesto," he obtained permission
to present to those powerful and indignant persons in whose hands the
fate of Salvator now lay; Rosa explained away all that was supposed to
be personal in his picture, and proved that his hogs were not churchmen,
his mules pretending pedants, his asses Roman nobles, and his birds and
beasts of prey the reigning despots of Italy. His imprudence however,
subsequently raised such a storm that he was obliged to quit Rome, when
he fled to Florence.


Salvator Rosa secretly deplored his banishment from Rome; and his
impatience at being separated from Carlo Rossi and some other of his
friends, was so great that he narrowly escaped losing his liberty to
obtain an interview with them. About three years after his arrival in
Florence, he took post-horses, and at midnight set off for Rome. Having
reached the gardens of the "Vigna Navicella," and bribed the custode to
lend them for a few hours, and otherwise to assist him, he dispatched a
circular billet to eighteen of his friends, supplicating them to give
him a rendezvous at the Navicella. Each believed that Salvator had
fallen into some new difficulty, which had obliged him to fly from
Florence, and all attended his summons. He received them at the head of
a well furnished table, embraced them with tenderness, feasted them
sumptuously, and then mounting his horse, returned to Florence before
his Roman persecutors or Tuscan friends were aware of his adventure.


Salvator Rosa exhibited a clever picture, the work of an amateur by
profession a surgeon, which had been rejected by the academicians of St.
Luke. The artists came in crowds to see it; and by those who were
ignorant of the painter, it was highly praised. On being asked who had
painted it by some one, Salvator replied, "It was performed by a person
whom the great academicians of St. Luke thought fit to scorn, because
his ordinary profession was that of a surgeon. But (continued he), I
think they have not acted wisely; for if they had admitted him into
their academy, they would have had the advantage of his services in
setting the broken and distorted limbs that so frequently occur in their


The departure of Salvator Rosa from Rome was an escape: his arrival in
Florence was a triumph. The Grand Duke and the princes of his house
received him, not as an hireling, but as one whose genius placed him
beyond the possibility of dependence. An annual income was assigned to
him during his residence in Florence, in the service of the court,
besides a stipulated price for each of his pictures: and he was left
perfectly unconstrained and at liberty to paint for whom he pleased.


In 1647, Salvator Rosa received an invitation to repair to the court of
Tuscany, of which he availed himself the more willingly, as by the
machinations of his enemies, he was in great danger of being thrown into
prison. At Florence he met with the most flattering reception, not only
at the court and among the nobility, but among the literary men and
eminent painters with which that city abounded. His residence soon
became the rendezvous of all who were distinguished for their talents,
and who afterwards formed themselves into an academy, to which they gave
the title of "I. Percossi." Salvator, during the carnivals, frequently
displayed his abilities as a comic actor, and with such success, that
when he and a friend of his (a Bolognese merchant, who, though sixty
years old, regularly left his business three months in the year, for the
sole pleasure of performing with Rosa) played the parts of Dottore
Graziano and Pascariello, the laughter and applause of their audience
were so excessive as often to interrupt their performance for a length
of time.


The character, in fact the manners and the talents of Salvator Rosa came
out in strong relief, as opposed to the servile deportment and mere
professional acquirements of the herd of artists of all nations then
under the protection of the Medici. He was received at the Palazzo Pitti
not only as a distinguished artist, but as a guest; and the Medici, at
whose board Pulci (in the time of their Magnifico) had sung his Morgante
Maggiore with the fervor of a rhapsodist, now received at their table
another improvisatore, with equal courtesy and graciousness. The Tuscan
nobility, in imitation of the court, and in the desire to possess
Salvator's pictures, treated him with singular honor.


The boldness and rapidity of Salvator Rosa's pencil, aided by the
fertility of his highly poetical imagination, enabled him to paint an
immense number of pictures while he was at Florence; but not finding
sufficient leisure to follow his other pursuits, he retired to Volterra,
after having resided at Florence nine years, respected and beloved by
all who knew him. The three succeeding years were passed in the family
of the Maffei, alternately at Volterra and their villa at Monte Ruffoli,
in which time he completed his Satires, except the Sixth, "L'Invidia;"
which was written after the publication of the others. He also painted
several portraits for the Maffei, and among others one of himself, which
was afterwards presented to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and placed in the
Royal Gallery at Florence.


Salvator Rosa's confidence in his own powers was as frankly confessed as
it was justified by success. Happening one day to be found by a friend
in Florence, in the act of modulating on a very indifferent old
harpsichord, he was asked how he could keep such an instrument in his
house. "Why," said his friend, "it is not worth a scudo." "I will wager
what you please," said Salvator, "that it shall be worth a thousand
before you see it again." A bet was made, and Rosa immediately painted a
landscape with figures on the lid, which was not only sold for a
thousand scudi, but was esteemed a capital performance. On one end of
the harpsichord he also painted a skull and music-books. Both these
pictures were exhibited in the year 1823 at the British Institution.


While Salvator Rosa was on a visit to Florence, and refused all
applications for his pictures he was accidentally taken in to paint what
he so rarely condescended to do a portrait.

There lived in Florence a good old dame of the name of Anna Gaetano, of
some celebrity for keeping a notable inn, over the door of which was
inscribed in large letters, "Al buon vino non bisogna fruscia" (good
wine needs no bush). But it was not the good wines alone of Madonna Anna
that drew to her house some of the most distinguished men of Florence,
and made it particularly the resort of the Cavaliere Oltramontani--her
humor was as racy as her wine; and many of the men of wit and pleasure
about town were in the habit of lounging in the Sala Commune of Dame
Gaetano, merely for the pleasure of drawing her out. Among these were
Lorenzo Lippi and Salvator Rosa; and, although this Tuscan Dame Quickly
was in her seventieth year, hideously ugly, and grotesquely dressed, yet
she was so far from esteeming her age an "antidote to the tender
passion," that she distinguished Salvator Rosa by a preference, which
deemed itself not altogether hopeless of return. Emboldened by his
familiarity and condescension, she had the vanity to solicit him to
paint her portrait, "that she might," she said, "reach posterity by the
hand of the greatest master of the age."

Salvator at first received her proposition as a joke; but perpetually
teased by her reiterated importunities, and provoked by her pertinacity,
he at last exclaimed, "Well, Madonna, I have resolved to comply with
your desire; but with this agreement, that, not to distract my mind
during my work, I desire you will not move from your seat until I have
finished the picture." Madonna, willing to submit to any penalty in
order to obtain an honor which was to immortalize her charms, joyfully
agreed to the proposition; and Salvator, sending for an easel and
painting materials, drew her as she sat before him, to the life. The
portrait was dashed off with the usual rapidity and spirit of the
master, and was a chef d'oeuvre. But when at last the vain and
impatient hostess was permitted to look upon it, she perceived that to a
strong and inveterate likeness the painter had added a long beard; and
that she figured on the canvas as an ancient male pilgrim--a character
admirably suited to her furrowed face, weather-beaten complexion, strong
lineaments, and grey hairs. Her mortified vanity vented itself in the
most violent abuse of the ungallant painter, in rich Tuscan
Billingsgate. Salvator, probably less annoyed by her animosity than
disgusted by her preference, called upon some of her guests to judge
between them. The artists saw only the merits of the picture, the
laughers looked only to the joke. The value affixed to the exquisite
portrait soon reconciled the vanity of the original through her
interest. After the death of Madonna Anna, her portrait was sold by her
heirs at an enormous price, and is said to be still in existence.--_Lady


At the time of Salvator Rosa's return to Rome says Pascoli, he figured
away as the _great painter_, opening his house to all his friends, who
came from all parts to visit him, and among others, Antonio Abbati, who
had resided for many years in Germany. This old acquaintance of the poor
Salvatoriello of the Chiesa della Morte at Viterbo, was not a little
amazed to find his patient and humble auditor of former times one of the
most distinguished geniuses and hospitable Amphitryons of the day.
Pascoli gives a curious picture of the prevailing pedantry of the times,
by describing a discourse of Antonio Abbati's at Salvator's
dinner-table, on the superior merits of the ancient painters over the
moderns, in which he "bestowed all the tediousness" of his erudition on
the company. Salvator answered him in his own style, and having
overturned all his arguments in favor of antiquity with more learning
than they had been supported, ended with an impromptu epigram, in his
usual way, which brought the laugher's on his side.


Salvator Rosa was fond of splendor and ostentatious display. He courted
admiration from whatever source it could be obtained, and even sought it
by means to which the frivolous and the vain are supposed alone to
resort. He is described, therefore, as returning to Rome, from which he
had made so perilous and furtive an escape, in a showy and pompous
equipage, with "servants in rich liveries, armed with silver hafted
swords, and otherwise well accoutred." The beautiful Lucrezia, as "sua
Governante," accompanied him, and the little Rosalvo gave no scandal in
a society where the instructions of religion substitute license for
legitimate indulgence. Immediately on his arrival in Rome, Salvator
fixed upon one of the loveliest of her hills for his residence, and
purchased a handsome house upon the Monte Pincio, on the Piazza della
Trinità del Monte--"which," says Pascoli, "he furnished with noble and
rich furniture, establishing himself on the great scale, and in a lordly
manner." A site more favorable than the Pincio, for a man of Salvator's
taste and genius, could scarcely be imagined, commanding at once within
the scope of its vast prospect, picturesque views, and splendid
monuments of the most important events in the history of man--the
Capitol and the Campus Martius, the groves of the Quirinal and the
cupola of St. Peter's, the ruined palaces of the Cæsars, and sumptuous
villas of the sons of the reigning church. Such was then, as now, the
range of unrivalled objects which the Pincio commanded; but the noble
terrace smoothed over its acclivities, which recalled the memory of
Aurelian and the feast of Belisarius, presented at that period a far
different aspect from that which it now offers. Everything in this
enchanting sight was then fresh and splendid; the halls of the Villa
Medici, which at present only echo to the steps of a few French students
or English travelers, were then the bustling and splendid residence of
the old intriguing Cardinal Carlo de Medici, called the Cardinal of
Tuscany, whose followers and faction were perpetually going to and fro,
mingling their showy uniforms and liveries with the sober vestments of
the neighboring monks of the convent della Trinità! The delicious groves
and gardens of the Villa de Medici then covered more than two English
miles, and amidst cypress shades and shrubberies, watered by clear
springs, and reflected in translucent fountains, stood exposed to public
gaze all that now form the most precious treasures of the Florentine
Gallery--the Niobe, the Wrestlers, the Apollo, the Vase, and above all,
the Venus of Venuses, which has derived its distinguishing appellation
from these gardens, of which it was long the boast and ornament.


The last performances of Salvator's pencil were a collection of
portraits of obnoxious persons in Rome--in other words, a series of
caricatures, by which he would have an opportunity of giving vent to his
satirical genius; but whilst he was engaged on his own portrait,
intending it as the concluding one of the series he was attacked with a
dropsy, which in the course of a few months brought him to the grave.


Salvator Rosa's greatest talent lay in landscape painting, a branch
which he affected to despise, as he was ambitious of being called an
historical painter. Hence he called his wild scenes, with small figures
merely accessory, historical paintings, and was offended if others
called them landscapes. Pascoli relates that Prince Francisco Ximenes,
soon after his arrival at Rome, in the midst of the honors paid him,
found time to visit the studio of Salvator Rosa, who showed him into his
gallery. The Prince frankly said, "I have come, Signor Rosa, for the
purpose of seeing and purchasing some of those beautiful landscapes,
whose subjects and manner have delighted me in many foreign
collections."--"Be it known then, to your excellency," interrupted
Salvator impetuously, "that I know nothing of _landscape_ painting.
Something indeed I do know of painting figures and historical subjects,
which I strive to exhibit to such eminent judges as yourself, in order
that, _once for all_, I may banish from the public mind that _fantastic
humor_ of supposing I am a landscape and not an historical painter." At
another time, a very rich (_ricchissimo_) Cardinal called on Salvator to
purchase some of his pictures As he walked up and down the gallery, he
paused before the landscapes, but only glanced at the historical
subjects, while Salvator muttered from time to time, "_sempre, sempre,
paesi piccoli_," (always, always, some little landscape.) When, at
length, the Cardinal carelessly glanced his eye over one of Salvator's
great historical pictures, and asked the price, as a sort of
introduction, the painter bellowed out, _un milione_; his Eminence,
justly offended, made an unceremonious retreat without making his
intended purchases, and returned no more.


(_From Lady Morgan's Life of Salvator Rosa._)

The princes of the family of Ghigi had been among the first of the
aristocratic virtuosi of Rome to acknowledge the merits of Salvator
Rosa, as their ancestors had been to appreciate the genius of Raffaelle.
Between the Prince Don Mario Ghigi, (whose brother Fabio was raised to
the pontifical throne by the name of Alexander VII.) and Salvator, there
seems to have existed a personal intimacy; and the prince's fondness for
the painter's conversation was such, that during a long illness he
induced Salvator to bring his easel to his bedside, and to work in his
chamber at a small picture he was then painting for the prince. It
happened, that while Rosa was sketching and chatting by the prince's
couch, one of the most fashionable physicians in Rome entered the
apartment. He appears to have been one of those professional coxcombs,
whose pretensions, founded on unmerited vogue, throws ridicule on the
gravest calling.

After some trite remarks upon the art, the doctor, either to flatter
Salvator, or in imitation of the physician of the Cardinal Colonna, who
asked for one of Raffaelle's finest pictures as a fee for saving the
Cardinal's life, requested Don Mario to give him a picture by Salvator
as a remuneration for his attendance. The prince willingly agreed to the
proposal; and the doctor, debating on the subject he should choose,
turned to Salvator and begged that he would not lay pencil to canvas,
until _he_, the Signor Dottore, should find leisure to dictate to him
_il pensiero e concetto della sua pittura_, the idea and conceit of his
picture! Salvator bowed a modest acquiescence, and went on with his
sketch. The doctor having gone the round of professional questions with
his wonted pomposity, rose to write his prescription; when, as he sat
before the table with eyes upturned, and pen suspended over the paper,
Salvator approached him on tiptoe, and drawing the pen gently through
his fingers, with one of his old _Coviello_ gesticulations in his
character of the mountebank, he said, "_fermati dottor mio!_ stop
doctor, you must not lay pen to paper till I have leisure to dictate the
idea and conceit of the prescription I may think proper for the malady
of his Excellency."

"_Diavalo!_" cried the amazed physician, "you dictate a prescription!
why, _I_ am the prince's physician, and not _you!_"

"And _I, Caro_," said Salvator, "am a painter, and not _you_. I leave it
to the prince whether I could not prove myself a better physician than
you a painter; and write a better prescription than you paint a

The prince, much amused, decided in favor of the painter; Salvator
coolly resumed his pencil, and the medical _cognoscente_ permitted the
idea of the picture to die away, _sul proprio letto_.


Salvator Rosa, in his last illness, demanded of the priests and others
that surrounded him, what they required of him. They replied, "in the
first instance to receive the sacrament as it is administered in Rome to
the dying." "To receive the sacrament," says his confessor, Baldovini,
"he showed no repugnance, but he vehemently and positively refused to
allow the host, with all the solemn pomp of its procession, to be
brought to his house, which he deemed unworthy of the divine presence."
He objected to the ostentation of the ceremony, to its _éclat_, to the
noise and bustle, smoke and heat it would create in the close sick
chamber. He appears to have objected to more than it was discreet to
object to in Rome: and all that his family and his confessor could
extort from him on the subject was, that he would permit himself to be
carried from his bed to the parish church, and there, with the humility
of a contrite heart, would consent to receive the sacrament at the foot
of the altar.

As immediate death might have been the consequence of this act of
indiscretion, his family, who were scarcely less interested for a life
so precious, than for the soul which was the object of their pious
apprehensions, gave up the point altogether; and on account of the
vehemence with which Salvator spoke on the subject, and the agitation it
had occasioned, they carefully avoided renewing a proposition which had
rallied all his force of character and volition to their long abandoned

The rejection of a ceremony which was deemed in Rome indispensably
necessary to salvation, by one who was already stamped with the church's
reprobation, soon spread; report exaggerated the circumstance into a
positive expression of infidelity; and the gossip of the Roman
ante-rooms was supplied for the time with a subject of discussion, in
perfect harmony with their love for slander, bigotry, and idleness.

"As I went forth from Salvator's door," relates the worthy Baldovini, "I
met the _Canonico Scornio_, a man who has taken out a license to speak
of all men as he pleases. 'And how goes it with Salvator?' demands this
Canonico of me. 'Bad enough, I fear.'--Well, a few nights back,
happening to be in the anteroom of a certain great prelate, I found
myself in the centre of a circle of disputants, who were busily
discussing whether the aforesaid Salvator would die a Schismatic, a
Huguenot, a Calvinist, or a Lutheran?--'He will die, Signor Canonico,' I
replied, 'when it pleases God, a better Catholic than any of those who
now speak so slightingly of him!'--and so pursued my way."

This _Canonico_, whose sneer at the undecided faith of Salvator roused
all the bile of the tolerant and charitable Baldovini, was the near
neighbor of Salvator, a frequenter of his hospitable house, and one of
whom the credulous Salvator speaks in one of his letters as being "his
neighbor, and an excellent gentleman."

On the following day, as the Padre sat by the pillow of the suffering
Rosa, he had the simplicity, in the garrulity of his heart, to repeat
all these idle reports and malicious insinuations to the invalid: "But,"
says Baldovini, "as I spoke, Rosa only shrugged his shoulders."

Early on the morning of the fifteenth of March, that month so delightful
in Rome, the anxious and affectionate confessor, who seems to have been
always at his post, ascended the Monte della Trinità, for the purpose of
taking up his usual station by the bed's head of the fast declining
Salvator. The young Agosto flew to meet him at the door, and with a
countenance radiant with joy, informed him of the good news, that "his
dear father had given evident symptoms of recovery, in consequence of
the bursting of an inward ulcer."

Baldovini followed the sanguine boy to Iris father's chamber; but, to
all appearance Salvator was suffering great agony. "How goes it with
thee, Rosa?" asked Baldovini kindly, as he approached him.

"Bad, bad!" was the emphatic reply. While writhing with pain, the
sufferer added after a moment:--"To judge by what I now endure, the hand
of death grasps me sharply."

In the restlessness of pain he then threw himself on the edge of the
bed, and placed his head on the bosom of Lucrezia, who sat supporting
and weeping over him. His afflicted son and friend took their station at
the other side of the couch, and stood in mournful silence watching the
issue of these sudden and frightful spasms. At that moment a celebrated
Roman physician, the Doctor Catanni, entered the apartment. He felt the
pulse of Salvator, and perceived that he was fast sinking. He
communicated his approaching dissolution to those most interested in the
melancholy intelligence, and it struck all present with unutterable
grief. Baldovini, however, true to his sacred calling, even in the depth
of his human affliction, instantly despatched the young Agosto to the
neighboring Convent della Trinità, for the holy Viaticum. While life was
still fluttering at the heart of Salvator, the officiating priest of
the day arrived, bearing with him the holy apparatus of the last
mysterious ceremony of the church. The shoulders of Salvator were laid
bare, and anointed with the consecrated oil; some prayed fervently,
others wept, and all even still hoped; but the taper which the Doctor
Catanni held to the lips of Salvator while the Viaticum was
administered, burned brightly and steadily! Life's last sigh had
transpired, as religion performed her last rite.

Between that luminous and soul-breathing form of genius, and the clod of
the valley, there was now no difference; and the "end and object" of a
man's brief existence was now accomplished in him who, while yet all
young and ardent, had viewed the bitter perspective of humanity with a
philosophic eye and pronounced even on the bosom of pleasure,

  "Nasci poena--Vita labor--Necesse mori."

On the evening of the fifteenth of March, 1673, all that remained of the
author of Regulus, of Catiline, and the Satires--the gay Formica, the
witty Coviello--of the elegant composer, and greatest painter of his
time and country--of Salvator Rosa! was conveyed to the tomb, in the
church of Santa Maria degli Angioli alle Terme--that magnificent temple,
unrivalled even at Rome in interest and grandeur, which now stands as it
stood when it formed the Pinacotheca of the Thermæ of Dioclesian. There,
accompanied by much funeral pomp, the body of Salvator lay in state;
the head and face, according to the Italian custom, being exposed to
view. All Rome poured into the vast circumference of the church, to take
a last view of the painter of the Roman people--the "Nostro Signor
Salvatore" of the Pantheon; and the popular feelings of regret and
admiration were expressed with the usual bursts of audible emotions in
which Italian sensibility on such occasions loves to indulge. Some few
there were, who gathered closely and in silence round the bier of the
great master of the Neapolitan school; and who, weeping the loss of the
man, forgot for a moment even that genius which had already secured its
own meed of immortality. These were Carlo Rossi, Francesco Baldovini,
and Paolo Oliva, each of whom returned from the grave of the friend he
loved, to record the high endowments and powerful talents of the painter
he admired, and the poet he revered. Baldovini retired to his cell to
write the Life of Salvator Rosa, and then to resign his own; Oliva to
his monastery, to compose the epitaph which is still read on the tomb of
his friend; and Carlo Rossi to select from his gallery such works of his
beloved painter, as might best adorn the walls of that chapel, now
exclusively consecrated to his memory.

On the following night, the remains of Salvator Rosa were deposited,
with all the awful forms of the Roman church, in a grave opened
expressly in the beautiful vestibule of Santa Maria degli Angioli alle
Terme. Never did the ashes of departed genius find a more appropriate
resting place;--the Pinacotheca of the Thermæ of Dioclesian had once
been the repository of all that the genius of antiquity had perfected in
the arts; and in the vast interval of time which had since elapsed, it
had suffered no change, save that impressed upon it by the mighty mind
of Michael Angelo.--_Lady Morgan._


This great artist is now universally esteemed the most distinguished
disciple of the school of the Caracci, and the learned Count Algarotti
prefers him even to the Caracci themselves. Poussin ranked him next
after Raffaelle, and Passeri has expressed nearly the same opinion. He
was born at Bologna in 1581, and received his first instruction from
Denis Calvart, but having been treated with severity by that master, who
had discovered him making a drawing after Annibale Caracci, contrary to
his injunction, Domenichino prevailed upon his father to remove him from
the school of Calvart, and place him in the Academy of the Caracci,
where Guido and Albano were then students.


The great talents of Domenichino did not develop themselves so early as
in many other great painters. He was assiduous, thoughtful and
circumspect; which his companions attributed to dullness, and they
called him the Ox; but the intelligent Annibale Caracci, who observed
his faculties with more attention, testified of his abilities by saying
to his pupils, "this Ox will in time surpass you all, and be an honor to
the art of painting." It was the practice in this celebrated school to
offer prizes to the pupils for the best drawings, to excite them to
emulation, and every pupil was obliged to hand in his drawing at certain
periods. It was not long after Domenichino entered this school before
one of these occasions took place, and while his fellow-students brought
in their works with confidence, he timidly approached and presented his,
which he would gladly have withheld. Lodovico Caracci, after having
examined the whole, adjudged the prize to Domenichino. This triumph,
instead of rendering him confident and presumptuous, only stimulated him
to greater assiduity, and he pursued his studies with such patient and
constant application, that he made such progress as to win the
admiration of some of his cotemporaries, and to beget the hatred of
others. He contracted a friendship with Albano, and on leaving the
school of the Caracci, they visited together, Parma, Modena, and Reggio,
to contemplate the works of Correggio and Parmiggiano. On their return
to Bologna, Albano went to Rome, whither Domenichino soon followed him,
and commenced his bright career.

The student may learn a useful lesson from the untiring industry,
patience, and humility of this great artist. Passeri attributes his
grand achievements more to his amazing study than to his genius; and
some have not hesitated to deny that he possessed any genius at all--an
opinion which his works abundantly refute. Lanzi says, "From his acting
as a continual censor of his own productions, he became among his fellow
pupils the most exact and expressive designer, his colors most true to
nature, and of the best _impasto_, the most universal master in the
theory of his art, the sole painter amongst them all in whom Mengs found
nothing to desire except a little more elegance. That he might devote
his whole being to the art, he shunned all society, or if he
occasionally sought it in the public theatres and markets, it was in
order better to observe the play of nature's passions in the features of
the people--those of joy, anger, grief, terror, and every affection of
the mind, and commit it living to his tablets. Thus it was, exclaims
Bellori, that he succeeded in delineating the soul, in coloring life,
and raising those emotions in our breasts at which his works all aim; as
if he waved the same wand which belonged to the poetical enchanters,
Tasso and Ariosto."


Domenichino was employed by the Cardinal Borghese, to paint in
competition with Guido, the celebrated frescos in the church of S.
Gregorio at Rome. Both artists painted the same subject, but the former
represented the _Scourging of St. Andrew_, and the latter _St. Andrew
led away to the Gibbet_. Lanzi says it is commonly reported that an aged
woman, accompanied by a little boy, was seen long wistfully engaged in
viewing Domenichino's picture, showing it part by part to the boy, and
next, turning to that of Guido, painted directly opposite, she gave it a
cursory glance and passed on. Some assert that Annibale Caracci took
occasion, from this circumstance, to give his preference to the former
picture. It is also related that while Domenichino was painting one of
the executioners, he actually threw himself into a passion, using high
threatening words and actions, and that Annibale, surprising him at that
moment, embraced him, exclaiming, "To-day, my Domenichino, thou art
teaching me"--so novel, and at the same time so natural did it appear to
him, that the artist, like the orator, should feel within himself all
that he would represent to others.


The chef-d'oeuvre of Domenichino is the dying St. Jerome receiving the
last rites of his church, commonly called the Communion of St. Jerome,
painted for the principal altar of St. Girolamo della Carita. This work
has immortalized his name, and is universally allowed to be the finest
picture Rome can boast after the Transfiguration of Raffaelle. It was
taken to Paris by Napoleon, restored in 1815 by the Allies, and has
since been copied in mosaic, to preserve so grand a work, the original
having suffered greatly from the effects of time. Lanzi says, "One great
attraction in the church paintings of Domenichino, consists in the glory
of the angels, exquisitely beautiful in feature, full of lively action,
and so introduced as to perform the most gracious offices in the piece,
as the crowning of martyrs, the bearing of palms, the scattering of
roses, weaving the mazy dance, and making sweet melodies."


The reputation which Domenichino had justly acquired at Rome had excited
the jealousy of some of his cotemporaries, and the applause bestowed
upon his Communion of St. Jerome, only served to increase it. The Cav.
Lanfranco in particular, one of his most inveterate enemies, asserted
that the Communion of St. Jerome was little more than a copy of the same
subject by Agostino Caracci, at the Certosa at Bologna, and he employed
Perrier, one of his pupils, to make an etching from the picture by
Agostino. But this stratagem, instead of confirming the plagiarism,
discovered the calumny, as it proved that there was no more resemblance
between the two works than must necessarily result in two artists
treating the same subject, and that every essential part, and all that
was admired was entirely his own. If it had been possible for modest
merit to have repelled the shafts of slander, the work which he executed
immediately afterwards in the church of S. Lodovico, representing the
life of St. Cecilia, would have silenced the attacks of envy and
malevolence; but they only tended to increase the alarm of his
competitors, and excite them to redoubled injustice and malignity.
Disgusted with these continued cabals, Domenichino quitted Rome, and
returned to Bologna, where he resided several years in the quiet
practice of his profession, and executed some of his most admired works,
particularly the Martyrdom of St. Agnes for the church of that Saint,
and the Madonna del Rosario, both of which were engraved by Gerard
Audran, and taken to Paris and placed in the Louvre by order of
Napoleon. The fame of Domenichino was now so well established that
intrigue and malice could not suppress it, and Pope Gregory XV. invited
him back to Rome, and appointed him principal painter, and architect to
the pontifical palace.


"The public," says Lanzi, "is an equitable judge; but a good cause is
not always sufficient without the advantage of many voices to sustain
it. Domenichino, timid, retiring, and master of few pupils, was
destitute of a party equal to his cause. He was constrained to yield to
the crowd that trampled upon him, thus verifying the prediction of
Monsignore Agucchi, that his merits would never be rightly appreciated
during his life-time. The spirit of party having passed away, impartial
posterity has rendered him justice; nor is there a royal gallery but
confesses an ambition to possess his works. His figure pieces are in the
highest esteem, and command enormous prices."


No better proof of the exalted merits of Domenichino can be desired,
than the fact that upwards of fifty of his works have been engraved by
the most renowned engravers, as Gerard Audran, Raffaelle Morghen, Sir
Robert Strange, C. F. von Muller, and other illustrious artists; many of
these also have been frequently repeated.


While Domenichino was in Naples, he was visited by his biographer
Passeri, then a young man, who was engaged to assist in repairing the
pictures in the Cardinal's chapel. "When he arrived at Frescati," says
Passeri, "Domenichino received me with much courtesy, and hearing that I
took a singular delight in the belles-lettres, it increased his kindness
to me. I remember that I gazed on this man as though he were an angel. I
remained there to the end of September, occupied in restoring the
chapel of St. Sebastian, which had been ruined by the damp. Sometimes
Domenichino would join us, singing delightfully to recreate himself.
When night set in, we returned to our apartment; while he most
frequently remained in his room, occupied in drawing, and permitting
none to see him. Sometimes, however, to pass the time, he drew
caricatures of us all, and of the inhabitants of the villa. When he
succeeded to his perfect satisfaction, he was wont to indulge in
immoderate fits of laughter; and we, who were in the adjoining room,
would run in to know his reason, when he showed us his spirited
sketches. He drew a caricature of me with a guitar, one of Carmini (the
painter), and one of the Guarda Roba, who was lame of the gout; and of
the Sub-guarda Roba, a most ridiculous figure--to prevent our being
offended, he caricatured himself. These portraits are now preserved by
Signor Giovanni Pietro Bellori."


The conspiracy of Bellisario Corenzio, Giuseppe Ribera, and Gio.
Battista Caracciolo, called the Neapolitan Triumvirate of Painters, to
monopolize to themselves all valuable commissions, and particularly the
honor of decorating the chapel of St. Januarius, is one of the most
curious passages in the history of art. The following is Lanzi's account
of this disgraceful cabal:

"The three masters whom I have just noticed in successive order,
(Corenzio, Ribera, and Caracciolo) were the authors of the unceasing
persecutions which many of the artists who had come to, or were invited
to Naples, were for several years subjected to. Bellisario had
established a supreme dominion, or rather a tyranny, over the Neapolitan
painters, by calumny and insolence, as well as by his station. He
monopolized all lucrative commissions to himself, and recommended, for
the fulfilment of others, one or other of the numerous and inferior
artists that were dependent on him. The Cav. Massimo Stanziozi,
Santafede, and other artists of talent, if they did not defer to him,
were careful not to offend him, as they knew him to be a man of a
vindictive temper, treacherous, and capable of every violence, and who
was known, through jealousy, to have administered poison to Luigi
Roderigo, the most promising and the most amiable of his scholars.

"Bellisario, in order to maintain himself in his assumed authority,
endeavored to exclude all strangers who painted in fresco rather than in
oil. Annibale Caracci arrived there in 1609, and was engaged to ornament
the churches of Spirito Santo and Gesu Nuovo, for which, as a specimen
of his style, he painted a small picture. The Greek and his adherents
being required to give their opinion on this exquisite production,
declared it to be tasteless, and decided that the painter of it did not
possess talent for large compositions. This divine artist in
consequence took his departure under a burning sun, for Rome, where he
soon afterwards died. But the work in which strangers were the most
opposed was the chapel of S. Gennaro, which a committee had assigned to
the Cav. d'Arpino, as soon as he should finish painting the choir of the
Certosa. Bellisorio, leaguing with Spagnoletto (like himself a fierce
and ungovernable man) and with Caracciolo, who aspired to this
commission, persecuted Cesari in such a manner, that before he had
finished the choir he fled to Monte Cassino, and from thence returned to
Rome. The work was then given to Guido, but after a short time two
unknown persons assaulted the servant of that artist, and at the same
time desired him to inform his master that he must prepare himself for
death, or instantly quit Naples, with which latter mandate Guido
immediately complied. Gessi, the scholar of Guido, was not however
intimidated by this event, but applied for, and obtained the honorable
commission, and came to Naples with two assistants, Gio. Batista
Ruggieri and Lorenzo Menini. But these artists were scarcely arrived,
when they were treacherously invited on board a galley, which
immediately weighed anchor and carried them off, to the great dismay of
their master, who although he made the most diligent inquiries both at
Rome and Naples, could never procure any tidings of them.

"Gessi in consequence also taking his departure, the committee lost all
hope of succeeding in their task, and were in the act of yielding to
the reigning cabal, assigning the fresco work to Corenzio and
Caracciolo, and promising the pictures to Spagnoletto, when suddenly
repenting of their resolution, they effaced all that was painted of the
two frescos, and intrusted the decoration of the chapel entirely to
Domenichino. It ought to be mentioned to the honor of these munificent
persons, that they engaged to pay for every entire figure, 100 ducats,
for each half-figure 50 ducats, and for each head 25 ducats. They took
precautions also against any interruption to the artist, threatening the
Viceroy's high displeasure if he were in any way molested. But this was
only matter of derision to the junta. They began immediately to cry him
down as a cold and insipid painter, and to discredit him with those, the
most numerous class in every place, who see only with the eyes of
others. They harassed him by calumnies, by anonymous letters, by
displacing his pictures, by mixing injurious ingredients with his
colors, and by the most insidious malice they procured some of his
pictures to be sent by the viceroy to the court of Madrid; and these,
when little more than sketched, were taken from his studio and carried
to the court, where Spagnoletto ordered them to be retouched, and,
without giving him time to finish them, hurried them to their
destination. This malicious fraud of his rival, the complaints of the
committee, who always met with some fresh obstacle to the completion of
the work, and the suspicion of some evil design, at last determined
Domenichino to depart secretly to Rome. As soon however as the news of
his flight transpired, he was recalled, and fresh measures taken for his
protection; when he resumed his labors, and decorated the walls and base
of the cupola, and made considerable progress in the painting of his

"But before he could finish his task he was interrupted by death,
hastened either by poison, or by the many severe vexations he had
experienced both from his relatives and his adversaries, and the weight
of which was augmented by the arrival of his former enemy Lanfranco.
This artist superceded Zampieri in the painting of the basin of the
chapel; Spagnoletto, in one of his oil pictures; Stanzioni in another;
and each of these artists, excited by emulation, rivaled, if he did not
excel, Domenichino. Caracciolo was dead. Bellisario, from his great age,
took no share in it, and was soon afterwards killed by a fall from a
stage, which he had erected for the purpose of retouching some of his
frescos. Nor did Spagnoletto experience a better fate; for, having
seduced a young girl, and become insupportable even to himself from the
general odium which he experienced, he embarked on board a ship; nor is
it known whither he fled, or how he ended his life, if we may credit the
Neapolitan writers. Palomino, however, states him to have died in Naples
in 1656, aged sixty-seven, though he does not contradict the first part
of our statement. Thus these ambitious men, who by violence or fraud
had influenced and abused the generosity and taste of so many noble
patrons, and to whose treachery and sanguinary vengeance so many
professors of the art had fallen victims, ultimately reaped the merited
fruit of their conduct in a violent death; and an impartial posterity,
in assigning the palm of merit to Domenichino, inculcates the maxim,
that it is a delusive hope to attempt to establish fame and fortune on
the destruction of another's reputation."


José Ribera, a native of Valencia in Spain, studied for some time under
Francisco Ribalta, and afterwards found his way to Italy. At the age of
sixteen, he was living in Rome, in a very destitute condition;
subsisting on crusts, clothed in rags, yet endeavoring with unswerving
diligence to improve himself in art by copying the frescos on the
façades of palaces, or at the shrines on the corners of the streets. His
poverty and industry attracted the notice of a compassionate Cardinal,
who happened to see him at work from his coach-window; and he provided
the poor boy with clothes, and food, and lodging in his own palace.
Ribera soon found, however, that to be clad in good raiment, and to fare
plentifully every day, weakened his powers of application; he needed
the spur of want to arouse him to exertion; and therefore, after a short
trial of a life in clover, beneath the shelter of the purple, he
returned to his poverty and his studies in the streets. The Cardinal was
at first highly incensed at his departure, and when he next saw him,
rated him soundly as an ungrateful little Spaniard; but being informed
of his motives, and observing his diligence, his anger was turned to
admiration. He renewed his offers of protection, which, however, Ribera
thankfully declined.


Ribera's adventure with the Cardinal, and his abilities, soon
distinguished him among the crowd of young artists in Rome. He became
known by the name which still belongs to him, Il Spagnoletto, (the
little Spaniard,) and as an imitator of Michael Angelo Caravaggio, the
bold handling of whose works, and their powerful effects of light and
shade, pleased his vigorous mind. Finding Rome overstocked with artists,
he went to Naples, where he made the acquaintance of a rich
picture-dealer. The latter was so much pleased with Ribera's genius,
that be offered him his beautiful and well-dowered daughter in marriage.
The Valencian, not less proud than poor, at first resented this proposal
as an unseasonable pleasantry upon his forlorn condition; but at last
finding that it was made in good faith, he took "the good the gods
provided," and at once stepped from solitary indigence into the
possession of a handsome wife, a comfortable home, a present field of
profitable labor, and a prospect of future opulence.


Ease and prosperity now rather stimulated than relaxed his exertions.
Choosing for his subject the Flaying of St. Bartholomew, he painted that
horrible martyrdom with figures of life-size, so fearfully truthful to
nature that when exposed to the public in the street, it immediately
attracted a crowd of shuddering gazers. The place of exhibition being
within view of the royal palace, the eccentric Viceroy, Don Pedro de
Giron, Duke of Ossuna, who chanced to be taking the air on his balcony,
inquired the cause of the unusual concourse, and ordered the picture and
the artist to be brought into his presence. Being well pleased with
both, he purchased the one for his own gallery, and appointed the other
his court painter, with a monthly salary of sixty doubloons, and the
superintendence of all decorations in the palace.


Ribera seems to have been a man of considerable social talent, lively in
conversation, and dealing in playful wit and amusing sarcasm. Dominici
relates that two Spanish officers, visiting at his house one day,
entered upon a serious discussion on the subject of alchemy. The host,
finding their talk some what tedious, gravely informed them that he him
self happened to be in possession of the philosopher's stone, and that
they might, if they pleased, see his way of using it, the next morning
at his studio. The military adepts were punctual to their appointment,
and found their friend at work, not in a mysterious laboratory, but at
his easel, on a half-length picture of St. Jerome. Entreating them to
restrain their eagerness, he painted steadily on, finished his picture,
sent it out by his servant, and received a small rouleau in return. This
he broke open in the presence of his visitors, and throwing ten gold
doubloons on the table, said, "Learn of me how gold is to be made; I do
it by painting, you by serving his majesty--diligence in business is the
only true alchemy." The officers departed somewhat crest-fallen, neither
relishing the jest, nor likely to reap any benefit from it.


His subjects are generally austere, representing anchorets, prophets,
apostles, &c., and frequently of the most revolting character, such as
sanguinary executions, martyrdoms, horrid punishments, and lingering
torments, which he represented with a startling fidelity that
intimidates and shocks the beholder. His paintings are very numerous,
and his drawings and etchings are highly esteemed by connoisseurs.


The talents of this great painter, seem to have been obscured by a cruel
and revengeful disposition, partaking of the character of his works. He
was one of the triumvirate of painters, who assassinated, persecuted, or
drove every talented foreign painter from Naples, that they might
monopolize the business. He was also a reckless libertine, and,
according to Dominici, having seduced a beautiful girl, he was seized
with such remorse for his many crimes, as to become insupportable to
himself; and to escape the general odium which was heaped upon him, he
fled from Naples on board a ship, and was never heard of more. This
story however is doubtless colored, for, according to Palomino and
several other writers, Ribera died at Naples in 1656. See page 132 of
this volume.


Over a certain fountain in Rome, there was a cornice so skilfully
painted, that the birds were deceived, and trying to alight on it,
frequently fell into the water beneath. Annibale Caracci painted some
ornaments on a ceiling of the Farnese palace, which the Duke of Sessa,
Spanish ambassador to the Pope, took for sculptures, and would not
believe they were painted on a flat ground, until he had touched them
with a lance. Agostino Caracci painted a horse, which deceived the
living animal--a triumph so celebrated in Apelles. Juan Sanchez Cotan,
painted at Granada a "Crucifixion," on the cross of which Palomino says
birds often attempted to perch, and which at first sight the keen-eyed
Cean Bermudez mistook for a piece of sculpture. The reputation of this
painter stood so high, that Vincenzio Carducci traveled from Madrid to
Granada on purpose to see him; and he is said to have recognized him
among the white-robed fraternity of which he was a member, by observing
in the expression of his countenance, a certain affinity to the spirit
of his works.

It is related of Murillo's picture of St. Anthony of Padua, that the
birds, wandering up and down the aisles of the cathedral at Seville,
have often attempted to perch upon a vase of white lilies painted on a
table in the picture, and to peck at the flowers. The preëminent modern
Zeuxis, however, was Pierre Mignard, whose portrait of the Marquise de
Gouvernet was accosted by that lady's pet parrot, with an affectionate
"_Baise moi, ma maitresse!_"


Raffaelle was transcendant not only in history, but in portrait. His
portraits have deceived even persons most intimately acquainted with the
originals. Lanzi says he painted a picture of Leo X. so full of life,
that the Cardinal Datary approached it with a bull and pen and ink, for
the Pope's signature. A similar story is related of Titian.


Count Algarotti relates, that Annibale Caracci was so deceived by a book
painted upon a table by Jacopo da Ponte, that he stretched out his hand
to take it up. Bassano was highly honored by Paul Veronese, who placed
his son Carletto under him as a pupil, to receive his general
instructions, "and more particularly in regard to that just disposition
of lights reflected from one object to another, and in those happy
counterpositions, owing to which the depicted objects seemed clothed
with a profusion of light."


Giovanni Rosa, a Fleming who flourished at Rome in the first part of the
seventeenth century, was famous for his pictures of animals. "He painted
hares so naturally as to deceive the dogs, which would rush at them
furiously, thus renewing the wonderful story of Zeuxis and his Grapes,
so much boasted of by Pliny."


This artist was a close imitator of Titian. He was extremely accurate in
his portraits, which he painted with force, sweetness, and strong
likeness. He painted a portrait of Marco Dolce, and when the picture was
sent home, his dogs began to fawn upon it, mistaking it for their


The style of Guercino displays a strong contrast of light and shadow,
both exceedingly bold, yet mingled with great sweetness and harmony, and
a powerful effect in relief, a branch of art so much admired by
professors. "Hence," says Lanzi, "some foreigners bestowed upon him the
title of the Magician of Italian painting, for in him were renewed those
celebrated illusions of antiquity. He painted a basket of grapes so
naturally that a ragged urchin stretched out his hand to steal some of
the fruit. Often, in comparing the figures of Guido with those of
Guercino, one would say that the former had been fed with roses, and the
latter with flesh, as observed by one of the ancients."


Lanzi says, "In painting landscape, fruit, and flowers, Bernazzano
succeeded so admirably as to produce the same wonderful effects that are
told of Zeuxis and Apelles in Greece. These indeed Italian artists have
frequently renewed, though with a less degree of applause. Having
painted a strawberry-bed in a court yard, the pea-fowls were so
deceived by the resemblance, that they pecked at the wall till they had
destroyed the painting. He painted the landscape part of a picture of
the Baptism of Christ, and on the ground drew some birds in the act of
feeding. On its being placed in the open air, the birds were seen to fly
towards the picture, to join their companions. This beautiful picture is
one of the chief ornaments in the gallery of the distinguished family of
the Trotti at Milan."


There has been a world of discussion on this subject, but there can be
no doubt that John van Eyck, called John of Bruges, and by the Italians,
Giovanni da Bruggia, and Gio. Abeyk or Eyck, is entitled to the honor of
the invention of Oil Painting as applied to pictures, though Mr. Raspe,
the celebrated antiquary, in his treatise on the invention of Oil
Painting, has satisfactorily proved that Oil Painting was practised in
Italy as early as the 11th century, but only as a means of protecting
metalic substances from rust.

According to van Mander, the method of painting in Flanders previous to
the time of the van Eycks, was with gums, or a preparation called
egg-water, to which a kind of varnish was afterwards applied in
finishing, which required a certain degree of heat to dry. John van Eyck
having worked a long time on a picture and finished it with great care,
placed it in the sun-shine to dry, when the board on which it was
painted split and spoiled the work. His disappointment at seeing so much
labor lost, urged him to attempt the discovery, by his knowledge of
chemistry, of some process which would not in future expose him to such
an unfortunate accident. In his researches, he discovered the use of
linseed and nut oil, which he found most siccative. This is generally
believed to have happened about 1410. There is however, a great deal of
contradiction among writers as to the van Eycks, no two writers being
found to agree. Some assert that John van Eyck introduced his invention
both into Italy and Spain, while others declare that he never left his
own country, which would seem to be true. Vasari, the first writer on
Italian art, awards the invention to Giovanni da Bruggia, and gives an
account of its first introduction into Italy by Antonello da Messina, as
we shall presently see. But Dominici asserts that oil painting was known
and practised at Naples by artists whose names had been forgotten long
before the time of van Eyck. Many other Italian writers have engaged in
the controversy, and cited many instances of pictures which they
supposed to have been painted in oil at Milan, Pisa, Naples, and
elsewhere, as early as the 13th, 12th, and even the 9th centuries. But
to proceed with the brothers van Eyck, John and Hubert--they generally
painted in concert till the death of Hubert, and executed many works in
oil, which were held in the highest estimation at the time when they
flourished. Their most important work was an altar-piece, with folding
doors, painted for Jodocus Vyts, who placed it in the church of St.
Bavon at Ghent. The principal picture in this curious production
represents the Adoration of the Lamb as described by St. John in the
Revelations. On one of the folding doors is represented Adam and Eve,
and on the other, St. Cecilia. This extraordinary work contains over
three hundred figures, and is finished with the greatest care and
exactness. It was formerly in the Louvre, but it is now unfortunately
divided into two parts, one of which is at Berlin, and the other at
Ghent. Philip I. of Spain desired to purchase it, but finding that
impracticable, he employed Michael Coxis to copy it, who spent two years
in doing: it, for which he received 4,000 florins. The king placed this
copy in the Escurial, and this probably gave rise to the story that John
van Eyck visited Spain and introduced his discovery into that country.
In the sacristy of the cathedral at Bruges is preserved with great
veneration, a picture painted by John van Eyck, after the death of
Hubert, representing the Virgin and Infant, with St. George, St.
Donatius, and other saints. It is dated 1436. John died in 1441.

According to Vasari, the fame of Masaccio drew Antonello da Messina to
Rome; from thence he proceeded to Naples, where he saw some oil
paintings by John van Eyck, which had been brought to Naples from
Flanders, by some Neapolitan merchants, and presented or sold to
Alphonso I., King of Naples. The novelty of the invention, and the
beauty of the coloring inspired Antonello with so strong a desire to
become possessed of the secret, that he went to Bruges, and so far
ingratiated himself into the favor of van Eyck, then advanced in years,
that he instructed him in the art. Antonello afterwards returned to
Venice, where he secretly practised the art for some time, communicating
it only to Domenico Veneziano, his favorite scholar. Veneziano settled
at Florence, where his works were greatly admired both on account of
their excellence and the novelty of the process. Here he unfortunately
formed a connexion with Andrea del Castagno, an eminent Tuscan painter,
who treacherously murdered Domenico, that he might become, as he
supposed, the sole possessor of the secret. Castagno artfully concealed
the atrocious deed till on his death-bed, when struck with remorse, he
confessed the crime for which innocent persons had suffered. Vasari also
says that Giovanni Bellini obtained the art surreptitiously from
Messina, by disguising himself and sitting for his portrait, thus
gaining an opportunity to observe his method of operating; but Lanzi has
shown that Messina made the method public on receiving a pension from
the Venetian Senate. Many writers have appeared, who deny the above
statement of Vasari; but Lanzi, who carefully investigated the whole
subject, finds no just reason to claim for his countrymen priority of
the invention, or to doubt the correctness of Vasari's statement in the
main. Those old paintings at Milan, Pisa, Naples, Vienna, and elsewhere,
have been carefully examined and proved to have been painted in
encaustic or distemper. This subject will be found fully discussed in
Spooner's Dictionary of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors, and Architects,
under the articles John and Hubert van Eyck, Antonello da Messina,
Domenico Veneziano, Andrea del Castagno, and Roger of Bruges.


Foreshortening is the art of representing figures and objects as they
appear to the eye, viewed in positions varying from the perpendicular.
The meaning of the term is exemplified in the celebrated Ascension, in
the Pietá dé Tárchini, at Naples, by Luca Giordano, in which the body of
Christ is so much foreshortened, that the toes appear to touch the
knees, and the knees the chin. This art is one of the most difficult in
painting, and though absurdly claimed as a modern invention, was well
known to the ancients. Pliny speaks expressly of its having been
practised by Parrhasius and Pausias. Many writers erroneously attribute
the invention to Correggio; but Lanzi says, "it was discovered and
enlarged by Melozzo da Forli, improved by Andrea Mantegna and his
school, and perfected by Correggio and others." About the year 1472,
Melozzo painted his famous fresco of the Ascension in the great chapel
of the Santi Apostoli at Rome. Vasari says of this work, "the figure of
Christ is so admirably foreshortened, as to appear to pierce the vault;
and in the same manner, the Angels are seen sweeping through the fields
of air in different directions." This work was so highly esteemed that
when the chapel was rebuilt in 1711, the painting was cut out of the
ceiling with the greatest care, and placed in the Quirinal palace, where
it is still preserved.


According to Lanzi, Antonio Contri discovered a valuable process, by
means of which he was enabled to transfer fresco paintings from walls to
canvass, without the least injury to the work, and thus preserved many
valuable paintings by the great masters, which obtained him wide
celebrity and profitable employment. For this purpose, he spread upon a
piece of canvass of the size of the painting to be transferred, a
composition of glue or bitumen, and placed it upon the picture. When
this was sufficiently dry, he beat the wall carefully with a mallet, cut
the plaster around it, and applied to the canvass a wooden frame, well
propped, to sustain it, and then, after a few days, cautiously removed
the canvass, which brought the painting with it; and having extended it
upon a smooth table he applied to the back of it another canvass
prepared with a more adhesive composition than the former. After a few
days, he examined the two pieces of canvass, detached the first by means
of warm water, which left the whole painting upon the second as it was
originally upon the wall.

Contri was born at Ferrara about 1660, and died in 1732. Palmaroli, an
Italian painter of the present century, rendered his name famous, and
conferred a great benefit on art by his skill in transferring to canvass
some of the frescos and other works of the great masters. In 1811 he
transferred the famous fresco of the Descent from the Cross by Daniello
da Volterra (erroneously said, as related above, to have been the first
effort of the kind), which gained him immense reputation. He was
employed to restore a great number of works at Rome, and in other
places. He was invited to Germany, where, among other works, he
transferred the Madonna di San Sisto, by Raffaelle, from the original
panel, which was worm-eaten and decayed, and thus preserved one of the
most famous works of that prince of painters. At the present time, this
art is practised with success in various European cities, particularly
in London and Paris.


Guido Fassi, called del Conte, a native of Carpi, born in 1584, was the
inventor of a valuable kind of work in imitation of marble, called by
the Italians _Scagliola_ or _Mischia_, which was subsequently carried to
great perfection, and is now largely employed in the imitation of works
in marble. The stone called _selenite_ forms the principal ingredient.
This is pulverized, mixed with colors and certain adhesive substances
which gradually become as hard as stone, capable of receiving a high
polish. Fassi made his first trials on cornices, and gave them the
appearance of fine marble, and there remain two altar-pieces by him in
the churches of Carpi. From him, the method rapidly spread over Italy,
and many artists engaged in this then new art. Annibale Griffoni, a
pupil of Fassi, applied the art to monuments. Giovanni Cavignani, also a
pupil of Fassi, far surpassed his master, and executed an altar of St.
Antonio, for the church of S. Niccolo, at Carpi, which is still pointed
out as something extraordinary. It consists of two columns of porphyry
adorned with a pallium, covered with lace, which last is an exact
imitation of the covering of an altar, while it is ornamented in the
margin with medals, bearing beautiful figures. In the Cathedral at
Carpi, is a monument by one Ferrari, which so perfectly imitates marble
that it cannot be distinguished from it, except by fracture. It has the
look and touch of marble. Lanzi, from whom these facts are obtained,
says that these artists ventured upon the composition of pictures,
intended to represent engravings as well as oil paintings, and that
there are several such works, representing even historical subjects, in
the collections of Carpi. Lanzi considers this art of so much
importance, that he thus concludes his article upon it: "After the
practice of modeling had been brought to vie with sculpture, and after
engraving upon wood had so well counterfeited works of design, we have
to record this third invention, belonging to a State of no great
dimensions. Such a fact is calculated to bring into higher estimation
the geniuses who adorned it. There is nothing of which man is more
ambitious, than of being called an inventor of new arts; nothing is more
flattering to his intellect, or draws a broader line between him and the
animals. Nothing was held in higher reverence by the ancients, and hence
it is that Virgil, in his Elysian Fields, represented the band of
inventors with their brows bound with white chaplets, equally distinct
in merit as in rank, from the more vulgar shades around them."


"We have now arrived," says Lanzi, "at the most brilliant period of the
Roman school, and of modern painting itself. We have seen the art
carried to a high degree of perfection by Da Vinci and Buonarotti, at
the beginning of the sixteenth century, and it is remarkable that the
same period embraces not only Rafaelle, but also Correggio, Giorgione,
Titian, and the most celebrated Venetian painters; so that a man
enjoying the common term of life might have seen the works of all these
illustrious masters. The art in a few years thus reached a height to
which it had never before attained, and which has never been rivalled,
except in the attempt to imitate these early masters, or to unite in one
style their various and divided excellencies. It seems an ordinary law
of providence that individuals of consummate genius should be born and
flourish at the same period, or at least at short intervals from each
other, a circumstance of which Velleius Paterculus protested he could
never discover the real cause. 'I observe,' he says, 'men of the same
commanding genius making their appearance together, in the smallest
possible space of time; as it happens in the case of animals of
different kinds, which, confined in a close place, nevertheless, each
selects its own class, and those of a kindred race separate themselves
from the rest. A single age sufficed to illustrate Tragedy, in the
persons of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides: ancient comedy under
Cratinus, Aristophanes, and Eumolpides, and in like manner the new
comedy under Menander, Diphilus, and Philemon. There appeared few
philosophers of note after the days of Plato and Aristotle, and whoever
has made himself acquainted with Isocrates and his school, is acquainted
with the summit of Grecian eloquence.' The same remark applies to other
countries. The great Roman writers are included under the single age of
Octavius: Leo X. was the Augustus of modern Italy; the reign of Louis
XIV. was the brilliant period of French letters; that of Charles II. of
the English."

This rule applies equally to the fine arts. _Hoc idem_, proceeds
Velleius, _evenisse plastis, pictoribus, sculptoribus, quisquis temporum
institerit notis reperiet, et eminentiam cujusque operis artissimis
temporum claustris circumdatum_. Of this union of men of genius in the
same age, _Causus_, he says, _quum sempre requiro, numquam invenio quas
veras confidam_. It seems to him probable that when a man finds the
first station in art occupied by another, he considers it as a post that
has been rightfully seized on, and no longer aspires to the possession
of it, but is humiliated, and contented to follow at a distance. But
this solution does not satisfy my mind. It may indeed account to us why
no other Michael Angelo, or Raffaelle, has ever appeared; but it does
not satisfy me why these two, and the others before mentioned, should
all have appeared in the same age. I am of opinion that the age is
always influenced by certain principles, universally adopted both by
professors of the art, and by amateurs; which principles happening at a
particular period to be the most just and accurate of their kind,
produce in that age some preëminent professors, and a number of good
ones. These principles change through the instability of all human
affairs, and the age partakes in the change. I may add that these happy
periods never occur without the circumstance of a number of princes and
influential individuals rivalling each other in the encouragement of
works of taste; and amidst these there always arise persons of
commanding genius, who give a bias and tone to art. The history of
sculpture in Athens, where munificence and taste went hand in hand,
favors my opinion, and it is confirmed by this golden period of Italian
art. Nevertheless, I do not pretend to give a verdict on this important
question, but leave the decision of it to a more competent tribunal.


"The reign of Augustus was the golden age of science and the fine arts.
Grecian architecture at that period was so encouraged at Rome, that
Augustus could with reason boast of having left a city of marble where
he had found one of brick. In the time of the Cæsars, fourteen
magnificent aqueducts, supported by immense arches, conducted whole
rivers to Rome, from a distance of many miles, and supplied 150 public
fountains, 118 large public baths, besides the water necessary for those
artificial seas in which naval combats were represented: 100,000 statues
ornamented the public squares, the temples, the streets, and the houses;
90 colossal statues raised on pedestals; 48 obelisks of Egyptian
granite, besides, adorned various parts of the city; nor was this
stupendous magnificence confined to Rome, or even to Italy. All the
provinces of the vast empire were embellished by Augustus and his
successors, by the opulent nobles, by the tributary kings and the
allies, with temples, circuses, theatres, palaces, aqueducts,
amphitheatres, bridges, baths, and new cities. We have, unfortunately,
but scanty memorials of the architects of those times; and, amidst the
abundance of magnificent edifices, we search in vain for the names of
those who erected them. However much the age of Augustus may be exalted,
we cannot think it superior, or even equal to that of Alexander: the
Romans were late in becoming acquainted with the arts; they cultivated
them more from pride and ostentation than from feeling. Expensive
collections were frequently made, without the possessors understanding
their value; they knew only that such things were in reputation, and, to
render themselves of consequence, purchased on the opinion of others. Of
this, the Roman history gives frequent proofs. Domitian squandered seven
millions in gilding the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus only, bringing
from Athens a number of columns of Pentelic marble, extremely beautiful,
and of good proportion, but which were recut and repolished, and thus
deprived of their symmetry and grace. If the Romans did possess any
taste for the fine arts, they left the exercise of it to the
conquered--to Greece, who had no longer her Solon, Lycurgus,
Themistocles, and Epaminondas, but was unarmed, depressed, and had
become the slave of Rome. 'Græcia capta ferum victorem cepit.' How poor
are such triumphs to those gained by the fine arts! The means by which
Greece acquired and maintained such excellence, is worthy of an inquiry.
It is generally allowed that climate and government have a powerful
influence on the intellect. Greece was peculiarly favored in these two
points; her atmosphere was serene and temperate, and being divided into
a number of small, but independent states, a spirit of emulation was
excited, which continually called forth some improvement in the liberal
arts. The study of these formed a principal branch of education in the
academies and schools, to which none but the free youth were admitted.
To learning alone was the tribute of applause offered. At those solemn
festivals to which all Greece resorted, whoever had the plurality of
votes was crowned in the presence of the whole assembly, and his efforts
afterwards rewarded with an immense sum of money; sometimes a million of
crowns. Statues, with inscriptions, were also raised to those who had
thus distinguished themselves, and their works, or whatever resembled
them, for ever after bore their names; distinctions far more flattering
than any pecuniary reward. Meticus gave his to a square which he built
at Athens, and the appellation of Agaptos was applied to the porticos of
the stadium. Zeuxis, when he painted Helen, collected a number of
beautiful women, as studies for his subject: when completed, the
Agrigentines, who had ordered it, were so delighted with this
performance, that they requested him to accept of five of the ladies.
Thebes, and other cities, fined those that presented a bad work, and
looked on them ever afterwards with derision. The applause bestowed on
the best efforts, was repeated by the orators, the poets, the
philosophers, and historians; the Cow of Miron, the Venus of Apelles,
and the Cupid of Praxiteles, have exercised every pen. By these means
Greece brought the fine arts to perfection; by neglecting them, Rome
failed to equal her; and, by pursuing the same course, every country may
become as refined as Greece."--_Milizia._


According to Tacitus, Nero's famous golden palace was one of the most
magnificent edifices ever built, and far surpassed all that was
stupendous and beautiful in Italy. It was erected on the site of the
great conflagration at Rome, which was attributed by many to the
wickedness of the tyrant. His statue, 120 feet high, stood in the midst
of a court, ornamented with porticos of three files of lofty columns,
each full a mile long; the gardens were of vast extent, with vineyards,
meadows, and woods, filled with every sort of domestic and wild animals;
a pond was converted into a sea, surrounded by a sufficient number of
edifices to form a city; pearls, gems, and the most precious materials
were used everywhere, and especially gold, the profusion of which,
within and without, and ever on the roofs, caused it to be called the
Golden House; the essences and costly perfumes continually shed around,
showed the extreme extravagance of the inhuman monster who seized on the
wealth of the people to gratify his own desires. Among other curiosities
was a dining-room, in which was represented the firmament, constantly
revolving, imitative of the motion of the heavenly bodies; from it was
showered down every sort of odoriferous waters. This great palace was
completed by Otho, but did not long remain entire, as Vespasian restored
to the people the lands of which Nero had unjustly deprived them, and
erected in its place the mighty Colosseum, and the magnificent Temple of


According to Pliny, Saurus and Batrarchus, two Lacedemonian architects,
erected conjointly at their own expense, certain temples at Rome, which
were afterwards enclosed by Octavius. Not being allowed to inscribe
their names, they carved on the pedestals of the columns a lizard and a
frog, which indicated them--_Saurus_ signifying a lizard, and
_Batrarchus_ a frog. Milizia says that in the church of S. Lorenzo there
are two antique Ionic capitals with a lizard and a frog carved in the
eyes of the volutes, which are probably those alluded to by Pliny,
although the latter says _pedestal_. Modern painters and engravers have
frequently adopted similar devices as a _rebus_, or enigmatical
representation of their names. See Spooner's Dictionary of Painters,
Engravers, Sculptors, and Architects; Key to Monograms and Ciphers, and
the twenty-four plates.


Triumphal arches are monuments consisting of a grand portico or archway,
erected at the entrance of a town, upon a bridge, or upon a public road,
to the glory of some celebrated general, or in memory of some important
event. The invention of these structures is attributed to the Romans.
The earliest specimens are destitute of any magnificence. For a long
time, they consisted merely of a plain arch, at the top of which was
placed the trophies and statue of the triumpher. Subsequently the span
was enlarged, the style enriched, and a profusion of all kinds of
sculptures and ornaments heaped upon them. The triumphal arches varied
greatly in point of construction, form, and decoration. The arch of
Constantine at Rome is the best preserved of all the great antique
arches; the Arch of Septimus Severus at the foot of the Capitoline hill,
greatly resembles that of Constantine. The Arch of Titus is the most
considerable at Rome. The Arch of Benvenuto, erected in honor of Trajan,
is one of the most remarkable relics of antiquity, as well on account
of its sculptures as its architecture. The Arch of Trajan at Ancona is
also one of the most elegant works of the kind. The Arch of Rimini,
erected in honor of Augustus, on the occasion of his repairing the
Flaminian Way from that town to Rome, is the most ancient of all the
antique arches, and from its size, one of the noblest existing. Many
beautiful structures of this kind have been erected in modern times, but
principally on the plan, and in imitation of some of the above
mentioned. Ancient medals often bear signs of this species of
architecture, and some of them represent arches that have ceased to
exist for centuries. Triumphal arches seem to have been in use among the
Chinese in very ancient times. Milizia says, "There is no country in the
world in which those arches are so numerous as in China. They are found
not only in the cities but on the mountains; and are erected in the
public streets in honor of princes, generals, philosophers, and
mandarins, who have benefitted the public, or signalized themselves by
any great action; there are more than 1100 of these latter, 200 of which
are of extraordinary size and beauty; there are also some in honor of
females. The Chinese annals record 3636 men who have merited triumphal
arches." Milizia also says, the friezes of the Chinese arches are of
great height, and ornamented with sculpture. The highest arches are
twenty-five feet, embellished with human figures, animals, flowers, and
grotesque forms, in various attitudes, and in full relief.


The large Statue of Pompey, formerly in the collection of the Cardinal
Spada, is supposed to be the same as that, at the base of which "Great
Cæsar fell." It was found on the very spot where the Senate was held on
the fatal ides of March, while some workmen were engaged in making
excavations, to erect a private house. The Statue is not only
interesting from its antiquity and historical associations, but for a
curious episode that followed its discovery. The trunk lay in the ground
of the discoverer, but the head projected into that of his neighbor;
this occasioned a dispute as to the right of possession. The matter was
at length referred to the decision of Cardinal Spada, who, like the wise
man of old, ordered the Statue to be decapitated, and division made
according to _position_--the trunk to one claimant, and the head to the
other. The object of the wily Cardinal was not so much justice, as to
get possession of the Statue himself, which he afterwards did, at a
tithe of what it would otherwise have cost him. The whole cost him only
500 crowns.


In 1824, there were more than 10,600 pieces of ancient sculpture in
Rome; (statues, busts, and relievos,) and upwards of 6300 ancient
columns of marble. What multitudes of the latter have been sawed up for
tables, and for wainscotting chapels, or mixed up with walls, and
otherwise destroyed! And what multitudes may yet lie undiscovered
underneath the many feet of earth and rubbish which buries ancient Rome!
When we reflect on this, it may give us some faint idea of the vast
magnificence of Rome in all its pristine splendor!


The Ichnography of Rome, in the fine collection of antiquities in the
Palazzo Farnese, was found in the temple of Romulus and Remus, which is
now dedicated to Sts. Cosmo and Damiano, who were also twin brothers.
Though incomplete, it is one of the most useful remains of antiquity.
The names of the particular buildings and palaces are marked upon it, as
well as the outlines of the buildings themselves; and it is so large,
that the Horrea Lolliana are a foot and a half long; and may serve as a
scale to measure any other building or palace in it. It is published in
Groevius's Thesaurus.


The Emperor Julian commanded Alypius, a learned architect of Antioch,
who held many important offices under that monarch, to rebuild the
Temple of Jerusalem, A. D. 363, with the avowed object of falsifying the
prophecy of our Saviour with regard to that structure. While the
workmen were engaged in making excavations for the foundation, balls of
fire issued from the earth and destroyed them. This indication of divine
wrath against the reprobate Jews and the Apostate Julian, compelled him
to abandon his project. The story is affirmed by many Christian and
classic authors.


When Mausolus, king of Caria, died about B. C. 353, his wife Artemisia,
was so disconsolate, that she drank up his ashes, and resolved to erect
in the city of Halicarnassus, one of the grandest and noblest monuments
of antiquity, to celebrate the memory of a husband whom she tenderly
loved. She therefore employed Bryaxis, Scopas, Timotheus, and Leocarus,
four of the most renowned sculptors and architects of the golden age of
Grecian art, to erect that famous mausoleum which was accounted one of
the seven wonders of the world, and gave its name to all similar
structures in succeeding ages. Its dimensions on the north and south
sides were sixty-three feet, the east and west sides were a little
shorter, and its extreme height was one hundred and forty feet. It was
surrounded with thirty-six splendid marble columns. Byaxis executed the
north side, Scopas the east, Timotheus the south, and Leocarus the west.
Artemisia died before the work was completed; but the artists continued
their work with unabated zeal, and they endeavored to rival each other
in the beauty and magnificence with which they decorated this admirable
work. A fifth sculptor, named Pythis, was added to them, who executed a
noble four horse chariot of marble, which was placed on a pyramid
crowning the summit of the mausoleum.


Mandrocles, probably a Greek architect in the service of Darius, King of
Persia, who flourished about B. C. 500, acquired a great name for the
bridge which he constructed across the Thracian Bosphorus, or Straits of
Constantinople, by order of that monarch. This bridge was formed of
boats so ingeniously and firmly united that the innumerable army of
Persia passed over it from Asia to Europe. To preserve the memory of so
singular a work, Mandrocles represented in a picture, the Bosphorus, the
bridge, the king of Persia seated on a throne, and the army that passed
over it. This picture was preserved in the Temple of Juno at Samos,
where Herodotus saw it, with this inscription:--"Mandrocles, after
having constructed a bridge of boats over the Bosphorus, by order of the
king Darius of Persia, dedicated this monument to Juno, which does honor
to Samos, his country, and confers glory on the artificer."


This prodigious Statue, which, was accounted one of the seven wonders of
the world, was planned, and probably executed by Chares, an ancient
sculptor of Lindus, and a disciple of Lysippus. According to Strabo, the
statue was of brass, and was seventy cubits, or one hundred feet high;
and Chares was employed upon it twelve years. It was said to have been
placed at the entrance of the harbor of Rhodes, with the feet upon two
rocks, in such a manner, that the ships then used in commerce could pass
in full sail between them. This colossus, after standing fifty-six
years, was overthrown by an earthquake. An oracle had forbidden the
inhabitants to restore it to its former position, and its fragments
remained in the same position until A. D. 667, when Moaviah, a calif of
the Saracens, who invaded Rhodes in that year, sold them to a Jewish
merchant, who is said to have loaded nine hundred camels with them.

Pliny says that Chares executed the statue in three years, and he
relates several interesting particulars, as that few persons could
embrace its thumb, and that the fingers were as long as an ordinary
statue. Muratori reckons this one of the fables of antiquity. Though the
accounts in ancient authors concerning this colossal statue of Apollo
are somewhat contradictory, they all agree that there was such a statue,
seventy or eighty cubits high, and so monstrous a fable could not have
been imposed upon the world in that enlightened age. Some antiquarians
have thought, with great justice, that the fine head of Apollo which is
stamped upon the Rhodian medals, is a representation of that of the


Pliny says, (lib. xxxiv. cap. 7.) that Rhodes, in his time, "possessed
more than 3000 statues, the greater part finely executed; also paintings
and other works of art, of more value than those contained in the cities
of Greece. There was the wonderful Colossus, executed by Chares of
Lindus, the disciple of Lysippus."


This celebrated work of antiquity was built by Sostratus, by order of
Ptolemy Philadelphus. It was a species of tower, erected on a high
promontory or rock, on the above mentioned island, then situated about a
mile from Alexandria. It was 450 ft. high, divided into several stories,
each decreasing in size; the ground story was hexagonal, the sides
alternately concave and convex, each an eighth of a mile in length; the
second and third stories were of the same form; the fourth was a square,
flanked by four round towers; the fifth was circular. The whole edifice
was of wrought stone; a magnificent staircase led to the top, where
fires were lighted every night, visible from the distance of a hundred
miles, to guide the coasting vessels. Sostratus is said to have engraved
an inscription on stone, and covered it with a species of cement, upon
which he sculptured the name of Ptolemy, calculating that the cement
would decay, and bring to light his original inscription. Strabo says
it read, _Sostratus, the friend of kings, made me_. Lucian reports
differently, and more probably, thus, _Sostratus of Cnidus, the son of
Dexiphanes, to the Gods the Saviors, for the safety of Mariners_. It is
also said that Ptolemy left the inscription to the inclination of the
architect; and that by the _Gods the Saviors_ were meant the reigning
king and queen, with their successors, who were ambitious of the title
of Soteros or Savior.


According to Vitruvius, this famous architect, having provided himself
with recommendatory letters to the principal personages of Alexander's
court, set out from his native country with the hope of gaining, through
their means, the favor of the monarch. The courtiers made him promises
which they neglected to perform, and framed various excuses to prevent
his access to the sovereign; he therefore determined upon the following
expedient:--Being of a gigantic and well proportioned stature, he
stripped himself, anointed his body with oil, bound his head with poplar
leaves, and throwing a lion's skin across his shoulders, with a club in
his hand, presented himself to Alexander, in the place where he held his
public audience. Alexander, astonished at his Herculean figure, desired
him to approach, demanding, at the same time, his name:--"I am," said
he, "a Macedonian architect, and am come to submit to you designs worthy
of the fame you have acquired. I have modelled Mount Athos in the form
of a giant, holding in his right hand a city, and his left a shell, from
which are discharged into the sea all the rivers collected from the
mountain." It was impossible to imagine a scheme more agreeable to
Alexander, who asked seriously whether there would be sufficient country
round this city to maintain its inhabitants. Dinocrates answered in the
negative, and that it would be necessary to supply it by sea. Athos
consequently remained a mountain; but Alexander was so pleased with the
novelty of the idea, and the genius of Dinocrates, that he at once took
him into his service. The design of Dinocrates may be found in Fischer's
History of Architecture. According to Pliny, Dinocrates planned and
built the city of Alexandria.


"I cannot conceive," said Spence, the author of Polymetis, to Pope, "how
Dinocrates could ever have carried his proposal of forming Mount Athos
into a statue of Alexander the Great, into execution."--"For my part,"
replied Pope, "I have long since had an idea how that might be done; and
if any body would make me a present of a Welch mountain, and pay the
workmen, I would undertake to see it executed. I have quite formed it
sometimes in my imagination: the figure must be on a reclining posture,
because of the hollowing that would be necessary, and for the city's
being in one hand. It should be a rude unequal hill, and might be helped
with groves of trees for the eye brows, and a wood for the hair. The
natural green turf should be left wherever it would be necessary to
represent the ground he reclines on. It should be so contrived, that the
true point of view should be at a considerable distance. When you were
near it, it should still have the appearance of a rough mountain, but at
the proper distance such a rising should be the leg, and such another an
arm. It would be best if there were a river, or rather a lake, at the
bottom of it, for the rivulet that came through his other hand, to
tumble down the hill, and discharge itself into it."

Diodorus Siculus, says that Semiramis had the mountain Bajitanus, in
Media, cut into a statue of herself, seventeen stadii high, (about two
miles) surrounded by one hundred others, probably representing the
various members of her court. China, among other wonders, is said to
have many mountains cut into the figures of men, animals, and birds. It
is probable, however, that all these stories have originated in the
imagination, from the real or fanciful resemblance of mountains, to
various objects, which are found in every country, as "The Old Man of
the Mountain," Mt. Washington, N. H., "St. Anthony's Nose," in the
Highlands, "Camel's Rump," Green Mountains, "Giant of the Valley," on
lake Champlain, &c. It is easy to imagine a mountain as a cloud, "almost
in shape of a camel," "backed like a weasel," or "very like a whale."


According to Pliny, Dinocrates built a temple at Alexandria, in honor of
Arsinoe, sister and wife of Ptolemy Philadelphus. The whole interior was
to have been incrusted with loadstone, in order that the statue of the
princess, composed of iron, should be suspended in the centre, solely by
magnetic influence. On the death of Ptolemy and of the architect, the
idea was abandoned, and has never been executed elsewhere, though
believed to be practicable. A similar fable was invented of the tomb of


According to Vitruvius, Pisistratus, who flourished about B. C. 555,
employed the four Grecian architects, Antistates, Antimachides,
Calleschros, and Porinus, to erect this famous temple in the place of
one built in the time of Deucalion, which the storms of a thousand years
had destroyed. They proceeded so far with it that Pisistratus was
enabled to dedicate it, but after his death the work ceased; and the
completion of the temple, so magnificent and grand in its design that
it impressed the beholder with wonder and awe, became the work of after
ages. Perseus, king of Macedonia, and Antiochus Epiphanes, nearly four
hundred years after Pisistratus, finished the grand nave, and placed the
columns of the portico, Cossutius, a Roman, being the architect. It was
considered, and with good reason, one of the four celebrated marble
temples of Greece: the other three were that of Diana, at Ephesus;
Apollo, at Miletus; and Ceres, at Eleusis. The Corinthian order
prevailed in its design. In the siege that Sylla laid to Athens, this
temple was greatly injured, but the allied kings afterwards restored it
at their common expense, intending to dedicate it to the genius of
Augustus. Livy says that among so many temples, this was the only one
worthy of a god. Pausanias says the Emperor Adrian enclosed it with a
wall, as was usual with the Grecian temples, of half a mile in
circumference, which the cities of Greece adorned with statues erected
to that monarch. The Athenians distinguished themselves by the elevation
of a colossal statue behind the temple. This enclosure was also
ornamented with a peristyle, one hundred rods in length, supported by
superb marble Corinthian columns, and to this façade were three grand
vestibules which led to the temple. Adrian dedicated it a second time.
In the temple was placed a splendid statue of Jupiter Olympius, of gold
and ivory; and the courtiers added four statues of the Emperor. This
wonderful structure, which is said to have cost five millions of
_scudi_, is now in ruins. Sixteen Corinthian columns are still standing,
six feet four inches and some six feet six inches, in diameter. The
length of the temple, according to Stuart, upon the upper step, was
three hundred and fifty-four feet, and its breadth one hundred and
seventy-one feet; the entire length of the walls of the peribolous is
six hundred and eighty-eight feet, and the width four hundred and
sixty-three feet.


This celebrated temple was built by Ictinus and Callicrates, two Greek
architects who flourished about B. C. 430. Ictinus was celebrated for
the magnificent temples which he erected to the heathen gods. Among
these were the famous Doric temple of Ceres and Proserpine at Eleusis,
of which he built the outer cell, capable of accommodating thirty
thousand persons; also the temple of Apollo, near Mount Cotylion, in
Arcadia, which was considered one of the finest of antiquity, and was
vaulted with stone. But his most important work was the famous Parthenon
at Athens, erected within the citadel, by Ictinus and Callicrates, by
order of Pericles. According to Vitruvius, the two artists exerted all
their powers to make this temple worthy the goddess who presided over
the arts. The plan was a rectangle, like most of the Greek and Roman;
its length from east to west, was 227 feet 7 inches, and its width 101
feet 2 inches, as measured on the top step. It was peripteral,
octastyle; that is, surrounded with a portico of columns, with eight to
each façade. The height of the columns was 34 feet, and their diameter 6
feet. Within the outer portico was a second, also formed of isolated
columns, but elevated two steps higher than the first; from thence the
interior of the temple was entered, which contained the famous statue of
Minerva in gold and ivory, by Phidias. This famous temple was built
entirely of white marble, and from its elevated position, could be seen
from an immense distance. On a nearer approach, it was admired for the
elegance of its proportions, and the beauty of the bas-reliefs with
which its exterior was decorated. It was preserved entire until 1677,
when it was nearly destroyed by an explosion during the siege of Athens
by Morosini. It was further dilapidated by the Turks, and afterwards by
Lord Elgin, who removed all the bas-reliefs and other ornaments
practicable, and transported them to London, where they now adorn the
British Museum. King Otho has adopted measures to preserve the edifice
from further mischief.


The following exceedingly interesting account of the removal of the
sculptures from the Parthenon, is extracted from Hamilton's "Memorandum
on the Subject of the Earl of Elgin's Pursuits in Greece."

"In the year 1799, when Lord Elgin was appointed his majesty's
ambassador extraordinary to the Ottoman Porte, he was in habits of
frequent intercourse with Mr. Harrison, an architect of great eminence
in the west of England, whom his lordship consulted on the benefits that
might possibly be derived to the arts in this country, in case an
opportunity could be found for studying minutely the architecture and
sculpture of ancient Greece; whose opinion was, that although we might
possess exact admeasurements of the public buildings in Athens, yet a
young artist could never form to himself an adequate conception of their
minute details, combinations, and general effects, without having before
him some such sensible representation of them as might be conveyed by

On this suggestion Lord Elgin proposed to his majesty's government, that
they should send out English artists of known eminence, capable of
collecting this information in the most perfect manner; but the prospect
appeared of too doubtful an issue for ministers to engage in the expense
attending it. Lord Elgin then endeavored to engage some of these artists
at his own charge; but the value of their time was far beyond his means.
When, however, he reached Sicily, on the recommendation of Sir William
Hamilton, he was so fortunate as to prevail on Don Tita Lusieri, one of
the best general painters in Europe, of great knowledge in the arts,
and of infinite taste, to undertake the execution of this plan; and Mr.
Hamilton, who was then accompanying Lord Elgin to Constantinople,
immediately went with Signor Lusieri to Rome, where, in consequence of
the disturbed state of Italy, they were enabled to engage two of the
most eminent _formatori_ or moulders, to make the _madreformi_ for the
casts; Signor Balestra, a distinguished architect there, along with
Ittar, a young man of promising talents, to undertake the architectural
part of the plan; and one Theodore, a Calmouk, who during several years
at Rome, had shown himself equal to the first masters in the design of
the human figure.

After much difficulty, Lord Elgin obtained permission from the Turkish
government to establish these six artists at Athens, where they
systematically prosecuted the business of their several departments
during three years, under the general superintendence of Lusieri.

Accordingly every monument, of which there are any remains in Athens,
has been thus most carefully and minutely measured, and from the rough
draughts of the architects (all of which are preserved), finished
drawings have been made by them of the plans, elevations, and details of
the most remarkable objects; in which the Calmouk has restored and
inserted all the sculpture with exquisite taste and ability. He has
besides made accurate drawings of all the bas-reliefs on the several
temples, in the precise state of decay and mutilation in which they at
present exist.

Most of the bassi rilievi, and nearly all the characteristic features of
architecture in the various monuments at Athens, have been moulded, and
the moulds of them brought to London.

Besides the architecture and sculpture at Athens, all similar remains
which could be traced through several parts of Greece have been measured
and delineated with the most scrupulous exactness, by the second
architect Ittar.

In the prosecution of this undertaking, the artists had the
mortification of witnessing the very _willful devastation to which all
the sculpture, and even the architecture, were daily exposed on the part
of the Turks and travelers_: the former equally influenced by mischief
and by avarice, the latter from an anxiety to become possessed, each
according to his means, of some relic, however small, of buildings or
statues which had formed the pride of Greece. The Ionic temple on the
Ilyssus which, in Stuart's time, about the year 1759, was in tolerable
preservation, had so entirely disappeared, that its foundation was no
longer to be ascertained. Another temple near Olympia had shared a
similar fate within the recollection of many. The temple of Minerva had
been converted into a powder magazine, and was in great part shattered
from a shell falling upon it during the bombardment of Athens by the
Venetians, towards the end of the seventeenth century; and even this
accident has not deterred the Turks from applying the beautiful temple
of Neptune and Erectheus to the same use, whereby it is still constantly
exposed to a similar fate. Many of the statues over the entrance of the
temple of Minerva, which had been thrown down by the explosion, had been
powdered to mortar, because they offered the whitest marble within
reach; and parts of the modern fortification, and the miserable houses
where this mortar had been so applied, are easily traced. In addition to
these causes of degradation, the Turks will frequently climb up the
ruined walls and amuse themselves in defacing any sculpture they can
reach; or in breaking columns, statues, or other remains of antiquity,
in the fond expectation of finding within them some hidden treasures.

Under these circumstances, Lord Elgin felt himself irresistibly impelled
to endeavor to preserve, by removal from Athens, any specimens of
sculpture he could, without injury, rescue from such impending ruin. He
had, besides, another inducement, and an example before him, in the
conduct of the last French embassy sent to Turkey before the Revolution.
French artists did then attempt to remove several of the sculptured
ornaments from several edifices in the Acropolis, and particularly from
the Parthenon. In lowering one of the Metopes the tackle failed, and it
was dashed to pieces; one other object was conveyed to France, where it
is held in the highest estimation, and where it occupies a conspicuous
place in the gallery of the Louvre, and constituted national property
during the French Revolution. The same agents were remaining at Athens
during Lord Elgin's embassy, waiting only the return of French influence
at the Porte to renew their operations. Actuated by these inducements,
Lord Elgin made every exertion; and the sacrifices he has made have been
attended with such entire success, that he has brought to England from
the ruined temples at Athens, from the modern walls and fortifications,
in which many fragments had been used as blocks for building, and from
excavations from amongst the ruins, made on purpose, such a mass of
Athenian sculpture, in statues, alti and bassi rilievi, capitals,
cornices, friezes, and columns as, with the aid of a few of the casts,
to present all the sculpture and architecture of any value to the artist
or man of taste which can be traced at Athens.

In proportion as Lord Elgin's plan advanced, and the means accumulated
in his hands towards affording an accurate knowledge of the works of
architecture and sculpture in Athens and in Greece, it became a subject
of anxious inquiry with him, in what way the greatest degree of benefit
could be derived to the arts from what he had been so fortunate as to

In regard to the works of the architects employed by him, he had
naturally, from the beginning, looked forward to their being engraved;
and accordingly all such plans, elevations, and details as to those
persons appeared desirable for that object, were by them, and on the
spot, extended with the greatest possible care for the purpose of
publication. Besides these, all the working sketches and measurements
offer ample materials for further drawings, if they should be required.
It was Lord Elgin's wish that the whole of the drawings might be
executed in the highest perfection of the art of engraving; and for this
purpose a fund should be raised by subscription, exhibition, or
otherwise; by aid of which these engravings might still be
distributable, for the benefit of artists, at a rate of expense within
the means of professional men.

Great difficulty occurred in forming a plan for deriving the utmost
advantage from the marbles and casts. Lord Elgin's first attempt was to
have the statues and bassi rilievi restored; and in that view he went to
Rome to consult and to employ Canova. The decision of that most eminent
artist was conclusive. On examining the specimens produced to him, and
making himself acquainted with the whole collection, and particularly
with what came from the Parthenon, by means of the persons who had been
carrying on Lord Elgin's operations at Athens, and who had returned with
him to Rome, Canova declared, "That however greatly it was to be
lamented that these statues should have suffered so much from time and
barbarism, yet it was undeniable that they never had been retouched;
that they were the work of the ablest artists the world had ever seen;
executed under the most enlightened patron of the arts, and at a period
when genius enjoyed the most liberal encouragement, and had attained the
highest degree of perfection; and that they had been found worthy of
forming the decoration of the most admired edifice ever erected in
Greece. That he should have had the greatest delight, and derived the
greatest benefit from the opportunity Lord Elgin offered him of having
in his possession and contemplating these inestimable marbles." But
(_his expression was_) "it would be sacrilege in him or any man to
presume to touch them with his chisel." Since their arrival in this
country they have been laid open to the inspection of the public; and
the opinions and impressions, not only of artists, but of men of taste
in general, have thus been formed and collected.

From these the judgment pronounced by Canova has been universally
sanctioned; and all idea of restoring the marbles deprecated. Meanwhile
the most distinguished painters and sculptors have assiduously attended
the Museum, and evinced the most enthusiastic admiration of the
perfection to which these marbles now prove to them that Phidias had
brought the art of sculpture, and which had hitherto only been known
through the medium of ancient authors. They have attentively examined
them, and they have ascertained that they were executed with the most
scrupulous anatomical truth, not only in the human figure, but in the
various animals to be found in this collection. They have been struck
with the wonderful accuracy, and at the same time, the great effect of
minute detail; and with the life and expression so distinctly produced
in every variety of attitude and action. Those more advanced in years
have testified great concern at not having had the advantage of studying
these models; and many who have had the opportunity of forming a
comparison (among these are the most eminent sculptors and painters in
this metropolis), have publicly and unequivocally declared, that in the
view of professional men, this collection is far more valuable than any
other collection in existence.

With such advantages as the possession of these unrivalled works of art
afford, and with an enlightened and encouraging protection bestowed on
genius and the arts, it may not be too sanguine to indulge a hope, that,
prodigal as nature is in the perfections of the human figure in this
country, animating as are the instances of patriotism, heroic actions,
and private virtues deserving commemoration, sculpture may soon be
raised in England to rival these, the ablest productions of the best
times of Greece. The reader is referred to the synopsis of the British
Museum, and to the Chevalier Visconti's Memoirs, before quoted, for
complete and authentic catalogues of these marbles, but the following
brief abstract is necessary to give a view of what they consist, to
readers who may reside at a distance from the metropolis, or have not
those works at hand.

In that part of the collection which came from the eastern pediment of
the Parthenon are several statues and fragments, consisting of two
horses' heads in one block, and the head of one of the horses of Night,
a statue of Hercules or Theseus, a group of two female figures, a female
figure in quick motion, supposed to be Iris, and a group of two
goddesses, one represented sitting, and the other half reclining on a
rock. Among the statues and fragments from the western pediment are part
of the chest and shoulders of the colossal figure in the centre,
supposed to be Neptune, a fragment of the colossal figure of Minerva, a
fragment of a head, supposed to belong to the preceding, a fragment of a
statue of Victory, and a statue of a river god called Ilissus, and
several fragments of statues from the pediments, the names or places of
which are not positively ascertained, among which is one supposed to
have been Latona, holding Apollo and Diana in her arms; another of the
neck and arms of a figure rising out of the sea, called Hyperion, or the
rising Sun; and a torso of a male figure with drapery thrown over one
shoulder. The metopes represent the battles between the Centaurs and
Lapithæ, at the nuptials of Pirithous. Each metope contains two figures,
grouped in various attitudes; sometimes the Lapithæ, sometimes the
Centaurs victorious. The figure of one of the Lapithæ, who is lying
dead and trampled on by a Centaur, is one of the finest productions of
the art, as well as the group adjoining to it of Hippodamia, the bride,
carried off by the Centaur Eurytion; the furious style of whose
galloping in order to secure his prize, and his shrinking from the spear
that has been hurled after him, are expressed with prodigious animation.
They are all in such high relief as to seem groups of statues; and they
are in general finished with as much attention behind as before.

They were originally continued round the entablature of the Parthenon,
and formed ninety-two groups. The frieze which was carried along the
outer walls of the cell offered a continuation of sculptures in low
relief, and of the most exquisite beauty. It represented the whole of
the solemn procession to the temple of Minerva during the Panathenaic
festival; many of the figures are on horseback, others are about to
mount, some are in chariots, others on foot, oxen and other victims are
led to sacrifice, the nymphs called Canephoræ, Skiophoræ, &c., are
carrying the sacred offering in baskets and vases; there are priests,
magistrates, warriors, deities, &c., forming altogether a series of most
interesting figures in great variety of costume, armor, and attitude.

From the Opisthodomus of the Parthenon, Lord Elgin also procured some
valuable inscriptions, written in the manner called Kionedon or
columnar. The subjects of these monuments are public decrees of the
people, accounts of the riches contained in the treasury, and delivered
by the administrators to their successors in office, enumerations of the
statues, the silver, gold, and precious stones, deposited in the temple,
estimates for public works, &c.


The first Odeon, ([Greek: ôdeion], from [Greek: ôdê], a song), was built
by Pericles at Athens. It was constructed on different principles from
the theatre, being of an eliptical form, and roofed to preserve the
harmony and increase the force of musical sounds. The building was
devoted to poetical and musical contests and exhibitions. It was injured
in the siege of Sylla, but was subsequently repaired by Ariobarzanes
Philopator, king of Cappadocia. At a later period, two others were built
at Athens by Pausanias and Herodes Atticus, and other Greek cities
followed their example. The first Odeon at Rome was built in the time of
the emperors; Domitian erected one, and Trajan another. The Romans
likewise constructed them in several provincial cities, the ruins of one
of which are still seen at Catanea, in Sicily.


According to Pausanias, Callimachus made a golden lamp for the Temple of
Minerva at Athens, with a wick composed of asbestos, which burned day
and night for a year without trimming or replenishing with oil. If this
was true, the font of the lamp must have been large enough to have
contained a year's supply of oil; for, though some profess that the
economical inventions of the ancients have been forgotten, the least
knowledge in chemistry proves that oil in burning must be consumed. The
perpetual lamps, so much celebrated among the learned of former times,
said to have been found burning after many centuries, on opening tombs,
are nothing more than fables, arising perhaps from phosphorescent
appearances, caused by decomposition in confined places, which vanished
as soon as fresh air was admitted. Such phenomena have frequently been
observed in opening sepulchres.


Is preserved as an object of great veneration in the Academy of St.
Luke, which the students visit as if in the hope of being inspired with
similar talents; and it is wonderful that, admiring him so much, modern
painters should so little resemble him. Either they do not wish to
imitate him, or do not know how to do so. Those who duly appreciate his
merits have attempted it, and been successful. Mengs is an example of
this observation.


The four most celebrated pictures in Rome, are _The Transfiguration_ by
Raffaelle, _St. Jerome_ by Domenichino, _The Descent from the Cross_ by
Daniele da Volterra, and _The Romualdo_ by Andrea Sacchi.


It is a singular fact that the four most distinguished painters of the
17th century were named Charles, viz.: le Brun, Cignani, Maratta, and
Loti, or Loth. Hence they are frequently called by writers, especially
the Italian, "The four Carlos of the 17th century."


Crespi relates that Pietro Galletti, misled by a pleasing self-delusion
that he was born a painter, made himself the butt and ridicule of all
the artists of Bologna. When they extolled his works and called him the
greatest painter in the world, he took their irony for truth, and
strutted with greater self-complacency. On one occasion, the students
assembled with great pomp and ceremony, and solemnly invested him with
the degree of _Doctor of Painting_.


Ætion gained so much applause by his picture, representing the nuptials
of Alexander and Roxana, which he publicly exhibited at the Olympic
Games, that Proxenidas, the president, rewarded him, by giving him his
daughter in marriage. This picture was taken to Rome after the conquest
of Greece, where it was seen by Lucian, who gives an accurate
description of it, from which, it is said, Raffaelle sketched one of his
finest compositions.


This famous sculptor was a native of Argos, and flourished about B. C.
500. He was celebrated for his works in bronze, the chief of which were
a statue of Jupiter, in the citadel of Ithone, and one of Hercules,
placed in the Temple at Melite, in Attica, after the great plague.
Pausanias mentions several other works by him, which were highly
esteemed. He was also celebrated as the instructor of Myron, Phidias,
and Polycletus.


According to Pausanias, Agaptos, a Grecian architect, invented the
porticos around the square attached to the Greek stadii, or race courses
of the Gymnasiums, which gained him so much reputation, that they were
called the porticos of Agaptos, and were adopted in every stadium.


Pliny says there was a doubt in his time, whether some statues
representing the dying children of Niobe (_Niobæ liberos morientes_), in
the Temple of Apollo Sosianus at Rome, were by Scopas or Praxiteles.
The well known group of this subject in the Florentine gallery, is
generally believed to be the identical work mentioned by Pliny. Whether
it be an original production of one of these great artists, or as some
critics have supposed, only a copy, it will ever be considered worthy of
their genius, as one of the sweetest manifestations of that deep and
intense feeling of beauty which the Grecian artists delighted to
preserve in the midst of suffering. The admirable criticism of Schlegel
(Lectures on the Drama, III), developes the internal harmony of the
work. "In the group of Niobe, there is the most perfect expression of
terror and pity. The upturned looks of the mother, and the mouth half
open in supplication, seem to accuse the invisible wrath of Heaven. The
daughter, clinging in the agonies of death to the bosom of her mother,
in her infantile innocence, can have no other fear than for herself; the
innate impulse of self-preservation was never represented in a manner
more tender and affecting. Can there, on the other hand, be exhibited to
the senses, a more beautiful image of self-devoting, heroic magnanimity
than Niobe, as she bends her body forward, that, if possible, she may
alone receive the destructive bolt? Pride and repugnance are melted down
in the most ardent maternal love. The more than earthly dignity of the
features are the less disfigured by pain, as from the quick repetition
of the shocks, she appears, as in the fable, to have become insensible
and motionless. Before this figure, twice transformed into stone, and
yet so inimitably animated--before this line of demarkation of all human
suffering, the most callous beholder is dissolved in tears."


The famous antique statue of the Fighting Gladiator, which now adorns
the Louvre, was executed by Agasias, a Greek sculptor of Ephesus, who
flourished about B. C. 450. It was found among the ruins of a palace of
the Roman Emperors at Capo d'Anzo, the ancient Antium, where also the
Apollo Belvidere was discovered.


As Laocoön, a priest of Neptune, (or according to some, of Apollo) was
sacrificing a bull to Neptune, on the shore at Troy, after the pretended
retreat of the Greeks, two enormous serpents appeared swimming from the
island of Tenedos, and advanced towards the altar. The people fled; but
Laocoön and his two sons fell victims to the monsters. The sons were
first attacked, and then the father, who attempted to defend them, the
serpents coiling themselves about him and his sons, while in his agony
he endeavored to extricate them. They then hastened to the temple of
Pallas, where, placing themselves at the foot of the goddess, they hid
themselves under her shield. The people saw in this omen, Laocoön's
punishment for his impiety in having pierced with his spear, the wooden
horse which was consecrated to Minerva. Thus Virgil relates the story in
the Æneid; others, as Hyginus, give different accounts, though agreeing
in the main points. The fable is chiefly interesting to us, as having
given rise to one of the finest and most celebrated works of antique
sculpture, namely, the Laocoön, now in the Vatican. It was discovered in
1506 by some workmen, while employed in making excavations in a vineyard
on the site of the Baths of Titus. Pope Julius II. bought it for an
annual pension, and placed it in the Belvidere in the Vatican. It was
taken to Paris by Napoleon, but was restored to its place in 1815. It is
perfect in preservation, except that the right arm of Laocoön was
wanting, which was restored by Baccio Bandinelli. This group is so
perfect a work, so grand and so instructive for the student of the fine
arts, that many writers of all nations have written on it. It represents
three persons in agony, but in different attitudes of struggling or
fear, according to their ages, and the mental anguish of the father. All
connoisseurs declare the group perfect, the product of the most thorough
knowledge of anatomy, of character, and of ideal perfection. According
to Pliny, it was the common opinion in his time, that the group was made
of one stone by three sculptors, Agesander, Polydorus, and Athenadorus,
all three natives of Rhodes, and the two last probably sons of the
former. He says, "The Laocoön, which is in the palace of the Emperor
Titus, is a work to be preferred to all others, either in painting or
sculpture. Those great artists, Agesander, Polydorus, and Athenadorus,
Rhodians, executed the principal figure, the sons, and the wonderful
folds of the serpents, out of one piece of marble." Doubts exist
respecting the era of this work. Maffei places it in the 88th Olympiad,
or the first year of the Peloponnesian War; Winckelmann, in the time of
Lysippus and Alexander; and Lessing, in the time of the first Emperors.
Some doubt whether this is the work mentioned by Pliny, because it has
been discovered that the group was not executed out of one block of
marble, as asserted by him. In the opinion of many judicious critics,
however, it is considered an original group, and not a copy, for no copy
would possess its perfections; and that it is certainly the one
described by Pliny, because, after his time, no known sculptor was
capable of executing such a perfect work; and had there been one, his
fame would certainly have reached us. It was found in the place
mentioned by Pliny, and the joinings are so accurate and artfully
concealed, that they might easily escape his notice. There are several
copies of this matchless production by modern sculptors, the most
remarkable of which, are one in bronze by Sansovino, and another in
marble by Baccio Bandinelli, which last is in the Medici gallery at
Florence. It has also been frequently engraved; the best is the famous
plate by Bervic, engraved for the Musée Francais, pronounced by
connoisseurs, the finest representation of a marble group ever executed,
proof impressions of which have been sold for 30 guineas each.


It is said that Julius II. desired Angelo to restore the missing arm
behind the Laocoön. He commenced it, but left it unfinished, "because,"
said he, "I found I could do nothing worthy of being joined to so
admirable a work." What a testimony of the superiority of the best
ancient sculptors over the moderns, for of all modern sculptors, Michael
Angelo is universally allowed to be the best!


There is a curious letter not generally known, but published by the
Abate Fea, from Francesco da Sangallo, the sculptor, to Monsignore
Spedalengo, in which the circumstances of the discovery of the Laocoön
are thus alluded to. The letter is dated 1509. He says, "It being told
to the Pope that some fine statues had been discovered in a vineyard
near S. Maria Maggiore, he sent to desire my father, (Giuliano da
Sangallo) to go and examine them. Michael Angelo Buonarotti being often
at our house, father got him to go also; and so," continues Francesco,
"I mounted behind my father, and we went. We descended to where the
statues were. My father immediately exclaimed, 'This is the Laocoön
spoken of by Pliny!' They made the workmen enlarge the aperture or
excavation, so as to be able to draw them out, and then, having seen
them, we returned to dinner."


This eminent English architect, and munificent public benefactor, was
the son of a poor bricklayer, and was born at Reading in 1753. He showed
early indications of talent and a predilection for architecture; and, at
the age of fifteen, his father placed him with Mr. George Dance (then
considered one of the most accomplished of the English architects),
probably in the capacity of a servant. At all events he was not
regularly articled, but he soon attracted notice by his industry,
activity, and talents. Mr. Donaldson says, "his sister was a servant in
Mr. Dance's family, which proves that the strength of Soane's character
enabled him to rise to so distinguished a rank merely by his own
exertions." He afterwards studied under Holland, and in the Royal
Academy, where he first attracted public notice by a design for a
triumphal bridge, which drew the gold medal of that institution, and
entitled him to go to Italy for three years on the pension of the
Academy. During a residence of six years in Italy, he studied the
remains of antiquity and the finest modern edifices with great
assiduity, and made several original designs, which attracted
considerable attention; among them were one for a British Senate House,
and another for a Royal Palace. In 1780 he returned to England, and soon
distinguished himself by several elegant palaces, which he was
commissioned to erect for the nobility in different parts of the
kingdom, the plans and elevations of which he published in a folio
volume in 1788. In the same year, in a competition with nineteen other
architects, he obtained the lucrative office of Surveyor and Architect
to the Bank of England, which laid the foundation of the splendid
fortune he afterwards acquired. Other advantageous appointments
followed; that of Clerk of the Woods of St. James' Palace, in 1791;
Architect of the Woods and Forests, in 1795; Professor of Architecture
in the Royal Academy in 1806; and Surveyor of Chelsea Hospital in 1807.
In addition to his public employments, he received many commissions for
private buildings. He led a life of indefatigable industry in the
practice of his profession till 1833, when he reached his eightieth
year. He died in 1837.


Sir John Soane was a munificent patron of various public charities, and
was even more liberal in his contributions for the advancement of art;
he subscribed £1000 to the Duke of York's monument; a similar sum to
the Royal British Institution; £750 to the Institute of British
Architects; £250 to the Architectural Society, &c. He made a splendid
collection of works of art, valued at upwards of £50,000 before his
death, converted his house into a Museum, and left the whole to his
country, which is now known as _Sir John Soane's Museum_--one of the
most attractive institutions in London. He devoted the last four years
of his life in classifying and arranging his Museum, which is
distributed in twenty-four rooms, and consists of architectural models
of ancient and modern edifices; a large collection of architectural
drawings, designs, plans, and measurements, by many great architects; a
library of the best works on art, particularly on Architecture; antique
fragments of buildings, as columns, capitals, ornaments, and friezes in
marble; also, models, casts, and copies of similar objects in other
collections; fragments and relics of architecture in the middle ages;
modern sculptures, especially by the best British sculptors; Greek and
Roman antiquities, consisting of fragments of Greek and Roman sculpture
antique busts, bronzes, and cinerary urns; Etruscan vases; Egyptian
antiquities; busts of remarkable persons; a collection of 138 antique
gems, cameos and intaglios, originally in the collection of M. Capece
Latro, Archbishop of Tarentum, and 136 antique gems, principally from
the Braschi collection; a complete set of Napoleon medals, selected by
the Baron Denon for the Empress Josephine, and formerly in her
possession, curiosities; rare books and illuminated manuscripts; a
collection of about fifty oil paintings, many of them of great value,
among which are the Rake's Progress, a series of eight pictures by
Hogarth, and the Election, a series of four, by the same artist; and
many articles of virtu too numerous to mention here, forming altogether
a most rare, unique, and valuable collection. What a glorious monument
did the poor bricklayer's son erect to his memory, which, while it
blesses, will cause his countrymen to bless and venerate the donor, and
make his name bright on the page of history! Some there are who regard
posthumous fame a bubble, and present pomp substantial; but the one is
godlike, the other sensual and vain.


One of the most interesting and valuable relics in Sir John Soane's
Museum, is the Belzoni Sarcophagus. It was discovered by Belzoni, the
famous French traveler, in 1816, in a tomb in the valley of Beban el
Malouk, near Gournon. He found it in the centre of a sepulchral chamber
of extraordinary magnificence, and records the event with characteristic
enthusiasm: "I may call this a fortunate day, one of the best, perhaps,
of my life. I do not mean to say that fortune has made me rich, for I do
not consider all rich men fortunate; but she has given me that
satisfaction, that extreme pleasure which wealth cannot purchase--the
pleasure of discovering what has long been sought in vain." It is
constructed of one single piece of alabaster, so translucent that a lamp
placed within it shines through, although it is more than two inches in
thickness. It is nine feet four inches in length, three feet eight
inches in width, and two feet eight inches in depth, and is covered with
hieroglyphics outside and inside, which have not yet been satisfactorily
interpreted, though they are supposed by some to refer to Osirei, the
father of Rameses the Great. It was transported from Egypt to England at
great expense, and offered to the Trustees of the British Museum for
£2,000, which being refused, Sir John Soane immediately purchased it and
exhibited it free, with just pride, to crowds of admiring visitors. When
Belzoni discovered this remarkable relic of Egyptian royalty, the lid
had been thrown off and broken into pieces, and its contents rifled; the
sarcophagus itself is in perfect preservation.


The original copy of "Gerusalemme Liberata," in the handwriting of
Tasso, is in the Soane Museum. It was purchased by Sir John Soane, at
the sale of the Earl of Guilford's Library, in 1829. This literary
treasure, which cannot be contemplated without emotion, once belonged to
Baruffaldi, one of the most eminent literary characters of modern
Italy. Serassi describes it, and refers to the emendations made by the
poet in the margin (Serassi's edit. Florence, 1724;) but expresses his
_fear_ that it had been taken out of Italy. In allusion to this
expression of Serassi, Lord Guilford has written on the fly-leaf of the
MS., "I would not wish to hurt the honest pride of any Italian; but the
works of a great genius are the property of all ages and all countries:
and I hope it will be recorded to future ages, that England possesses
the original MS. of one of the four greatest epic poems the world has
produced, and, beyond all doubt, the only one of the four now existing."
There is no date to this MS. The first printed edition of the
Gerusalemme is dated 1580.

There are other rare and valuable MSS. in this Museum, the most
remarkable of which are a Commentary in Latin on the epistle of St. Paul
to the Romans, by Cardinal Grimani. It is adorned with exquisite
miniature illustrations, painted by Don Giulio Clovio, called the
Michael Angelo of miniature painters. "The figures are about an inch in
height," says Mrs. Jameson, "equaling in vigor, grandeur, and
originality, the conceptions of Michael Angelo and of Raffaelle, who
were his cotemporaries and admirers." Also, a missal of the fifteenth
century, containing ninety-two miniatures by Lucas van Leyden and his
scholars, executed in a truly Dutch style, just the reverse of those of
Clovio, except in point of elaborate finishing.


The life of this extraordinary genius is full of interest, and his
melancholy fall full of warning and instruction. He was the son of an
indifferent painter, whose principal business was in cleaning and
repairing, and dealing in ancient pictures. Morland showed an
extraordinary talent for painting almost in his infancy, and before he
was sixteen years old, his name was known far and wide by engravings
from his pictures. His father, who seems to have been a man of a low and
sordid disposition, had his son indented to him as an apprentice, for
seven years, in order to secure his services as long as possible, and he
constantly employed him in painting pictures and making drawings for
sale; and these were frequently of a broad character, as such commanded
the best prices, and found the most ready sale. Hence he acquired a
wonderful facility of pencil, but wholly neglected academic study. His
associates were the lowest of the low. On the expiration of his
indenture, he left his father's house, and the remainder of his life is
the history of genius degraded by intemperance and immorality, which
alternately excites our admiration at his great talents, our regrets at
the profligacy of his conduct, and our pity for his misfortunes.
According to his biographer, Mr. George Dawe, who wrote an impartial and
excellent life of Morland, he reached the full maturity of his powers,
about 1790 when he was twenty-six years old; and from that time, they
began and continued to decline till his death in 1804. Poor Morland was
constantly surrounded by a set of harpies, who contrived to get him in
their debt, and then compelled him to paint a picture for a guinea,
which they readily sold for thirty or forty, and which now bring almost
any sum asked for them. Many of his best works were painted in sponging
houses to clear him from arrest.


Morland's father having embarked in the business of picture dealing, had
become bankrupt, and it is said that he endeavored to repair his broken
fortunes by the talents of his son George, who, almost as soon as he
escaped from the cradle, took to the pencil and crayon. Very many
artists are recorded to have manifested an "early inclination for art,"
but the indications of early talent in others are nothing when compared
with Morland's. "_At four, five, and six years of age_," says
Cunningham, "_he made drawings worthy of ranking him among the common
race of students_; the praise bestowed on these by the Society of
Artists, to whom they were exhibited, and the money which collectors
were willing to pay for the works of this new wonder, induced his father
to urge him onward in his studies, and he made rapid progress."


The danger of overtasking either the mind or body in childhood, is well
known; and there is every reason to believe that young Morland suffered
both of these evils. His father stimulated him by praise and by
indulgence at the table, and to ensure his continuance at his allotted
tasks, shut him up in a garret, and excluded him from free air, which
strengthens the body, and from education--that free air which nourishes
the mind. His stated work for a time was making drawings from pictures
and from plaster casts, which his father carried out and sold; but as he
increased in skill, he chose his subjects from popular songs and
ballads, such as "Young Roger came tapping at Dolly's window," "My name
is Jack Hall," "I am a bold shoemaker, from Belfast Town I came," and
other productions of the mendicant muse. The copies of pictures and
casts were commonly sold for three half-crowns each; the original
sketches--some of them a little free in posture, and not over delicately
handled, were framed and disposed of for any sum from two to five
guineas, according to the cleverness of the piece, or the generosity of
the purchaser. Though far inferior to the productions of his manhood,
they were much admired; engravers found it profitable to copy them, and
before he was sixteen years old, his name had flown far and wide.


From ten years of age, young Morland appears to have led the life of a
prisoner and a slave under the roof of his father, hearing in his
seclusion the merry din of the schoolboys in the street, without hope of
partaking in their sports. By-and-by he managed to obtain an hour's
relaxation at the twilight, and then associated with such idle and
profligate boys as chance threw in his way, and learned from them a love
for coarse enjoyment, and the knowledge that it could not well be
obtained without money. Oppression keeps the school of Cunning; young
Morland resolved not only to share in the profits of his own talents,
but also to snatch an hour or so of amusement, without consulting his
father. When he made three drawings for his father, he made one secretly
for himself, and giving a signal from his window, lowered it by a string
to two or three knowing boys, who found a purchaser at a reduced price,
and spent the money with the young artist. A common tap-room was an
indifferent school of manners, whatever it might be for painting, and
there this gifted lad was now often to be found late in the evening,
carousing with hostlers and potboys, handing round the quart pot, and
singing his song or cracking his joke.

His father, having found out the contrivance by which he raised money
for this kind of revelry adopted, in his own imagination, a wiser
course. He resolved to make his studies as pleasant to him as he could;
and as George was daily increasing in fame and his works in price, this
could be done without any loss. He indulged his son, now some sixteen
years old, with wine, pampered his appetite with richer food, and
moreover allowed him a little pocket-money to spend among his
companions, and purchase acquaintance with what the vulgar call life. He
dressed him, too, in a style of ultra-dandyism, and exhibited him at his
easel to his customers, attired in a green coat with very long skirts,
and immense yellow buttons, buckskin breeches, and top boots with spurs.
He permitted him too to sing wild songs, swear grossly, and talk about
anything he liked with such freedom as makes anxious parents tremble.
With all these indulgences the boy was not happy; he aspired but the
more eagerly after full liberty and the unrestrained enjoyment of the
profits of his pencil.


Hassell and Smith give contradictory accounts of this important step in
young Morland's life, which occurred when he was seventeen years old.
The former, who knew him well, says that, "he was determined to make his
escape from the rigid confinement which paternal authority had imposed
upon him; and, wild as a young quadruped that had broken loose from his
den, at length, though late, effectually accomplished his purpose."
"Young George was of so unsettled a disposition," says Smith, "that his
father, being fully aware of his extraordinary talents, was determined
to force him to get his own living, and gave him a guinea, with
something like the following observation: 'I am _determined_ to
encourage your idleness no longer; there--take that guinea, and apply to
your art and support yourself.' This Morland told me, and added, that
from that moment he commenced and continued wholly on his own account."
It would appear by Smith's relation, that our youth, instead of
supporting his father, had all along been depending on his help; this,
however, contradicts not only Hassell, but Fuseli also, who, in his
edition of Pilkington's Dictionary, accuses the elder Morland of
avariciously pocketing the whole profits of his son's productions.


After leaving his father, Morland plunged into a career of wildness and
dissipation, amidst which, however, his extraordinary talents kept his
name still rising. While residing at Kensall Green, he was frequently
thrown in the company of Ward, the painter, whose example of moral
steadiness was exhibited to him in vain. At length, however, he fell in
love with Miss Ward, a young lady of beauty and modesty, and the sister
of his friend. Succeeding in gaining her affections, he soon afterwards
married her; and to make the family union stronger, Ward sued for the
hand of Maria Morland, and in about a month after his sister's marriage,
obtained it. In the joy of this double union, the brother artists took
joint possession of a good house in High Street, Marylebone. Morland
suspended for a time his habit of insobriety, discarded the social
comrades of his laxer hours, and imagined himself reformed. But discord
broke out between the sisters concerning the proper division of rule and
authority in the house; and Morland, whose partner's claim perhaps was
the weaker, took refuge in lodgings in Great Portland Street. His
passion for late hours and low company, restrained through courtship and
the honey-moon, now broke out with the violence of a stream which had
been dammed, rather than dried up. It was in vain that his wife
entreated and remonstrated--his old propensities prevailed, and the
post-boy, the pawnbroker, and the pugilist, were summoned again to his
side, no more to be separated.


Morland's dissipated habits and worthless companions, produced the
effect that might have been expected; and this talented painter, who
might have mingled freely among nobles and princes, came strength to
hold a position in society that is best illustrated by the following
anecdote. Raphael Smith, the engraver, had employed him for years on
works _from_ which he engraved, and _by_ which he made large sums of
money. He called one day with Bannister the comedian to look at a
picture which was upon the easel. Smith was satisfied with the artist's
progress, and said, "I shall now proceed on my morning ride." "Stay a
moment," said Morland, laying down his brush, "and I will go with you."
"Morland," answered the other, in an emphatic tone, which could not be
mistaken, "I have an appointment with a _gentleman_, who is waiting for
me." Such a sarcasm might have cured any man who was not incurable; it
made but a momentary impression upon the mind of our painter, who cursed
the engraver, and returned to his palette.


Morland once received an invitation to Barnet, and was hastening thither
with Hassell and another friend, when he was stopped at Whetstone
turnpike by a lumber or jockey cart, driven by two persons, one of them
a chimney-sweep, who were disputing with the toll-gatherer. Morland
endeavored to pass, when one of the wayfarers cried, "What! Mr. Morland,
won't you speak to a body!" The artist endeavored to elude further
greeting, but this was not to be; the other bawled out so lustily, that
Morland was obliged to recognize at last his companion and croney,
Hooper, a tinman and pugilist. After a hearty shake of the hand, the
boxer turned to his neighbor the chimney-sweep and said, "Why, Dick,
don't you know this here gentleman? 'tis my friend Mr. Morland." The
sooty charioteer smiling a recognition, forced his unwelcome hand upon
his brother of the brush; they then both whipt their horses and
departed. This rencontre mortified Morland very sensibly; he declared
that he knew nothing of the chimney-sweep, and that he was forced upon
him by the impertinence of Hooper: but the artist's habits made the
story generally believed, and "Sweeps, your honor," was a joke which he
was often obliged to hear.


Morland loved to visit this isle in his better days, and some of his
best pictures are copied from scenes on that coast. A friend once found
him at Freshwater-Gate, in a low public-house called The Cabin. Sailors,
rustics, and fishermen, were seated round him in a kind of ring, the
rooftree rung with laughter and song; and Morland, with manifest
reluctance, left their company for the conversation of his friend.
"George," sad his monitor, "you must have reasons for keeping such
company." "Reasons, and good ones," said the artist, laughing;
"see--where could I find such a picture of life as that, unless among
the originals of The Cabin?" He held up his sketch-book and showed a
correct delineation of the very scene in which he had so lately been the
presiding spirit. One of his best pictures contains this fac-simile of
the tap-room, with its guests and furniture.


"It frequently happened," says one of Morland's biographers, "when a
picture had been bespoke by one of his friends, who advanced some of the
money to induce him to work, if the purchaser did not stand by to see it
finished and carry it away with him, some other person, who was lurking
within sight for that purpose, and knew the state of Morland's pocket,
by the temptation of a few guineas laid upon the table, carried off the
picture. Thus all were served in their turn; and though each exulted in
the success of the trick when he was so lucky as to get a picture in
this easy way, they all joined in exclaiming against Morland's want of
honesty in not keeping his promises to them."


Hassell's introduction to Morland was decidedly in character. "As I was
walking," he says, "towards Paddington on a summer morning, to inquire
about the health of a relation, I saw a man posting on before me with a
sucking-pig, which he carried in his arms like a child. The piteous
squeaks of the little animal, and the singular mode of conveyance, drew
spectators to door and window; the person however who carried it minded
no one, but to every dog that barked--and there were not a few--he sat
down the pig, and pitted him against the dog, and then followed the
chase which was sure to ensue. In this manner he went through several
streets in Mary-le-bone, and at last, stopping at the door of one of my
friends, was instantly admitted. I also knocked and entered, but my
surprise was great on finding this original sitting with the pig still
under his arm, and still greater when I was introduced to Morland the


A person at whose house Morland resided when in the Isle of Wight,
having set out for London, left an order with an acquaintance at Cowes
to give the painter his own price for whatever works he might please to
send. The pictures were accompanied by a regular solicitation for cash
in proportion, or according to the nature of the subject. At length a
small but very highly finished drawing arrived, and as the sum demanded
seemed out of all proportion with the size of the work, the
conscientious agent transmitted the piece to London and stated the
price. The answer by post was, "Pay what is asked, and get as many
others as you can at the same price." There is not one sketch in the
collection thus made but what would now produce thrice its original


One evening Hassell and his friends were returning to town from
Hempstead, when Morland accosted them in the character of a mounted
patrole, wearing the parish great-coat, girded with a broad black belt,
and a pair of pistols depending. He hailed them with "horse patrole!" in
his natural voice; they recognised him and laughed heartily, upon which
he entreated them to stop at the Mother Red Cap, a well known
public-house, till he joined them. He soon made his appearance in his
proper dress, and gave way to mirth and good fellowship. On another
occasion he paid a _parishioner_, who was drawn for constable, to be
permitted to serve in his place, he billeted soldiers during the day,
and presided in the constable's chair at night.


At another time, having promised to paint a picture for M. de Calonne,
Morland seemed unwilling to begin, but was stimulated by the following
stratagem. Opposite to his house in Paddington was the White Lion.
Hassell directed two of his friends to breakfast there, and instructed
them to look anxiously towards the artist's window, and occasionally
walk up and down before the house. He then waited on Morland, who only
brandished his brush at the canvas and refused to work. After waiting
some time, Hassell went to the window and effected surprise at seeing
two strangers gazing intently at the artist's house. Morland looked at
them earnestly--declared they were bailiffs, who certainly wanted
him--and ordered the door to be bolted. Hassell having secured him at
home, showed him the money for his work, and so dealt with him that the
picture, a landscape with six figures, one of his best productions, was
completed in six hours. He then paid him, and relieved his apprehensions
respecting the imaginary bailiffs--Morland laughed heartily.


While spending some time at Yarmouth, Morland was looked upon as a
suspicious character, and was apprehended as a spy. After a sharp
examination, the drawings he had made on the shores of the Isle of Wight
were considered as confirmation of his guilt; he was therefore honored
with an escort of soldiers and constables to Newport, and there
confronted by a bench of justices. At his explanation, they shook their
heads, laid a strict injunction upon him to paint and draw no more in
that neighborhood, and dismissed him. This adventure he considered a
kind of pleasant interruption; and indeed it seems ridiculous enough in
the officials who apprehended him.


On one occasion, Morland was on his way from Deal, and Williams, the
engraver, was his companion. The extravagance of the preceding evening
had fairly emptied their pockets; weary, hungry and thirsty, they
arrived at a small ale-house by the way-side; they hesitated to enter.
Morland wistfully reconnoitered the house, and at length accosted the
landlord--"Upon my life, I scarcely knew it: is this the Black Bull?"
"To be sure it is, master," said the landlord, "there's the sign."--"Ay!
the board is there, I grant," replied our wayfarer, "but the Black Bull
is vanished and gone. I will paint you a capital new one for a crown."
The landlord consented, and placed a dinner and drink before this
restorer of signs, to which the travelers did immediate justice. "Now,
landlord," said Morland, "take your horse, and ride to Canterbury--it is
but a little way--and buy me proper paint and a good brush." He went on
his errand with a grudge, and returned with the speed of thought, for
fear that his guests should depart in his absence. By the time that
Morland had painted the Black Bull, the reckoning had risen to ten
shillings, and the landlord reluctantly allowed them to go on their way;
but not, it is said, without exacting a promise that the remainder of
the money should be paid with the first opportunity. The painter, on his
arrival it town, related this adventure in the Hole-in-the-Wall, Fleet
Street. A person who overheard him, mounted his horse, rode into Kent,
and succeeded in purchasing the Black Bull from the Kentish Boniface for
ten guineas.


Even when Morland had sunk to misery and recklessness, the spirit of
industry did not forsake him, nor did his taste or his skill descend
with his fortunes. One day's work would have purchased him a week's
sustenance, yet he labored every day, and as skilfully and beautifully
as ever. A water man was at one time his favorite companion, whom, by
way of distinction, Morland called "My Dicky." Dicky once carried a
picture to the pawnbroker's, wet from the easel, with the request for
the advance of three guineas upon it. The pawnbroker paid the money; but
in carrying it into the room his foot slipped, and the head and
foreparts of a hog were obliterated. The money-changer returned the
picture with a polite note, requesting the artist to restore the damaged
part. "My Dicky!" exclaimed Morland, "an that's a good one! but never
mind!" He reproduced the hog in a few minutes, and said, "There! go back
and tell the pawnbroker to advance me five guineas more upon it; and if
he won't, say I shall proceed against him; the price of the picture is
thirty guineas." The demand was complied with.


Morland was well descended. In his earlier and better days, a solicitor
informed him that he was heir to a baronet's title, and advised him to
assert his claim. "Sir George Morland!" said the painter--"It _sounds_
well, but it won't do. Plain George Morland will always sell my
pictures, and there is more honor in being a fine painter than in being
a fine gentleman."


As an artist, Morland's claims are high and undisputed. He is original
and alone; his style and conceptions are his own; his thoughts are ever
at home, and always natural; he extracts pleasing subjects out of the
most coarse and trivial scenes, and finds enough to charm the eye in the
commonest occurrences. His subjects are usually from low life, such as
hog-sties, farm-yards, landscapes with cattle and sheep, or fishermen
with smugglers on the sea-coast. He seldom or ever produced a picture
perfect in all its parts, but those parts adapted to his knowledge and
taste were exquisitely beautiful. Knowing well his faults, he usually
selected those subjects best suited to his talents. His knowledge of
anatomy was extremely limited; he was totally unfitted for representing
the human figure elegantly or correctly, and incapable of large
compositions. He never paints above the most ordinary capacity, and
gives an air of truth and reality to whatever he touches. He has taken a
strong and lasting hold of the popular fancy: not by ministering to our
vanity, but by telling plain and striking truths. He is the rustic
painter for the people; his scenes are familiar to every eye, and his
name is on every lip. Painting seemed as natural to him as language is
to others, and by it he expressed his sentiments and his feelings, and
opened his heart to the multitude. His gradual descent in society may be
traced in the productions of his pencil; he could only paint well what
he saw or remembered; and when he left the wild sea-shore and the green
wood-side for the hedge ale-house and the Rules of the Bench, the
character of his pictures shifted with the scene. Yet even then his
wonderful skill of hand and sense of the picturesque never forsook him.
His intimacy with low life only dictated his theme--the coarseness of
the man and the folly of his company never touched the execution of his
pieces. All is indeed homely--nay, mean--but native taste and elegance
redeemed every detail. To a full command over every implement of his
art, he united a facility of composition and a free readiness of hand
perhaps quite unrivalled.


This artist was a pupil of Sir Godfrey Kneller, and met with plentiful
employment in portrait painting. His abilities were very inferior, but,
says Walpole, "Such was the badness of the age's taste, and the dearth
of good masters, that Jervas sat at the head of his profession, although
he was defective in drawing, coloring, composition, and likeness. In
general, his pictures are a light flimsy kind of fan-painting as large
as life. Yet I have seen a few of his works highly colored, and it is
certain that his copies of Carlo Maratti, whom he most studied and
imitated, were extremely just, and scarcely inferior to the originals."


What will recommend the name of Jervas to inquisitive posterity, was his
intimacy with Pope, whom he instructed to draw and paint. The poet has
enshrined the feeble talents of the painter in "the lucid amber of his
flowing lines." Spence informs us, that Pope was "the pupil of Jervas
for the space of a year said a half," meaning that he was constantly so,
for that period. Tillemans was engaged in painting a landscape for Lord
Radnor, into which Pope by stealth inserted some strokes, which the
prudent painter did not appear to observe; and of this circumstance Pope
was not a little vain. In proof of his proficiency in the art of
painting, Pope presented his friend Mr. Murray, with a head of Betterton
the celebrated tragedian, which was afterwards at Caen Wood. During a
long visit at Holm Lacy in Herefordshire, he amused his leisure by
copying from Vandyck, in crayons, a head of Wentworth, Earl of
Strafford, which was still preserved there many years afterwards, and is
said to have possessed considerable merit. For an account of Pope's
skill in painting fans, see vol. I. page 201 of this work.


Jervas, who affected to be a Free-thinker, was one day talking very
irreverently of the Bible. Dr. Arbuthnot maintained to him that he was
not only a speculative, but a practical believer. Jervas denied it.
Arbuthnot said that he would prove it: "You strictly observe the second
commandment;" said the Doctor, "for in your pictures you 'make not the
likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or in the earth
beneath, or in the waters under the earth'"!


His vanity and conceit knew no bounds. He copied a picture by Titian in
the Royal collection, which he thought so vastly superior to the
original, that on its completion he exclaimed with great complacency,
"Poor little Tit, how he would stare!" Walpole says, "Jervas had
ventured to look upon the fair Lady Bridgewater with more than a
painter's eye; so entirely did that lovely form possess his imagination,
that many a homely dame was delighted to find her picture resemble Lady
Bridgewater. Yet neither his presumption nor his passion could
extinguish his self-love." One day, as she was sitting to him, he ran
over the beauties of her face with rapture--'but,' said he, "I cannot
help telling your ladyship that you have not a handsome ear." "No!"
returned the lady, "pray, Mr. Jervas, what is a handsome ear?" He turned
his cap, and showed her his own. When Kneller heard that Jervas had sent
up a carriage and four horses, he exclaimed, "Ah, mine Got! if his
horses do not draw better than he does, he will never get to his
journey's end!"


Before Holbein quitted Basile for England, he intimated that he should
leave a specimen of the power of his abilities. Having a portrait in his
house which he had just finished for one of his patrons, he painted a
fly on the forehead, and sent it to the person for whom it was painted.
The gentleman was struck with the beauty of the piece, and went eagerly
to brush off the fly, when he found out the deceit. The story soon
spread, and orders were immediately given to prevent the city being
deprived of Holbein's talents; but he had already departed.


Furnished with recommendatory letters from his friend Sir Thomas More,
Holbein went to England, and was received into More's house, where he
wrought for nearly three years, drawing the portraits of Sir Thomas, his
relations and friends. The King, (Henry VIII.) visiting the Chancellor,
saw some of these pictures, and expressed his satisfaction. Sir Thomas
begged him to accept which ever he liked; but his Majesty inquired for
the painter, who was accordingly introduced to him. Henry immediately
took him into his own service and told the Chancellor that now he had
got the artist, he did not want the pictures. An apartment in the palace
was allotted to Holbein, with a salary of 200 florins besides the price
of his pictures.


The King retained Holbein in his service many years, during which time
he painted the portrait of his Majesty many times, and probably those of
all his queens, though no portrait of Catharine Parr is certainly known
to be from his hand. An amusing and characteristic anecdote is related,
showing the opinion the King entertained of this artist. One day, as
Holbein was privately drawing some lady's picture for Henry, a great
lord forced himself into the chamber, when the artist flew into a
terrible passion, and forgetting everything else in his rage, ran at the
peer and threw him down stairs! Upon a sober second thought, however,
seeing the rashness of this act, Holbein bolted the door, escaped over
the top of the house, and running directly to the King, besought
pardon, without telling his offence. His majesty promised he would
forgive him if he would tell the truth; but on finding out the offence,
began to repent of his promise, and said he should not easily overlook
such insults, and bade him wait in the apartment till he learned more of
the matter. Immediately after, the lord arrived with his complaint, but
diminishing the provocation. At first the monarch heard the story with
temper, but soon broke out, reproaching the nobleman with his want of
truth, and adding, "You have not to do with Holbein, but with me; I tell
you, of seven peasants I can make seven lords; but of seven lords I
cannot make one Holbein! Begone, and remember that if you ever attempt
to revenge yourself, I shall look on any injury offered to the painter
as done to myself."


After the death of Jane Seymour, Holbein was sent to Flanders by the
King, to paint the portrait of the Duchess Dowager of Milan, widow of
Francesco Sforza, whom Charles V. had recommended to Henry for a fourth
wife, although the German Emperor subsequently changed his mind, and
prevented the marriage. There is a letter among the Holbein MSS. from
Sir Thomas Wyatt, congratulating his Majesty on his escape, as the
Duchess' chastity was somewhat equivocal, but says Walpole, "If it was,
I am apt to think, considering Henry's temper, that the Duchess had the
greater escape!"--About the same time it is said that the Duchess
herself, sent the King word, "That she had but one head; if she had two,
one of them should be at his Majesty's service."


Holbein was dispatched by Cromwell, Henry's Minister, to paint the Lady
Anne of Cleves, and by practising the common flattery of his profession,
"he was," says Walpole, "the immediate cause of the destruction of that
great subject, and of the disgrace which fell upon the princess herself.
He drew so favorable a likeness that Henry was content to wed her; but
when he found her so inferior to the miniature, the storm which should
have really been directed at the painter, burst on the minister; and
Cromwell lost his head, because Anne was _a Flanders mare_, and not a
Venus, as Holbein had represented her."


He painted the portrait of Nicholas Cratzer, astronomer to Henry VIII.,
which Walpole mentions as being in the Royal collection in France. This
astronomer erected the dial at Corpus Christi, Oxford College, in 1550.
After thirty years' residence in England, he had scarce learned to
speak the language, and his Majesty asking him how that happened, he
replied, "I beseech your highness to pardon me; what can a man learn in
only thirty years?" The latter half of this memorable sentence may
remind the reader of Sir Isaac Newton; and perhaps the study of
astronomy does naturally produce such a feeling in the reflective mind.


Holbein painted the portraits of the Chancellor and family; and no less
than six different pictures of this subject are attributed to his hand;
but of these Walpole thinks only two to possess good evidences of
originality. One of these was in Deloo's collection, and after his death
was purchased by Mr. Roper, More's grandson. Another was in the Palazzo
Delfino at Venice, where it was long on sale, the price first set being
£1500; but the King of Poland purchased it about 1750, for near £400.
The coloring of this work is beautiful beyond description, and the
carnations have that bloom so peculiar to Holbein, who touched his works
until not a touch remained discernible. Walpole says, "It was evidently
designed for a small altar-piece to a chapel; in the middle on a throne
sits the Virgin and child; on one side kneels an elderly gentleman with
two sons, one of them a naked infant opposite kneeling are his wife and

There is recorded a bon-mot of Sir Thomas on the birth of his son. He
had three daughters, but his wife was impatient for a son: at last they
had one, but not much above an idiot--"you have prayed so long for a
boy," said the Chancellor, "that now we have got one who I believe will
be a boy as long as he lives!"


This eminent English architect, who flourished about the commencement of
the 18th century, had to contend with the wits of the age. They waged no
war against him as a wit, for he was not inferior; but as an architect,
he was the object of their keenest derision, particularly for his
celebrated work of the stupendous palace of Blenheim, erected for the
Duke of Marlborough in accordance with the vote of a grateful nation.
Swift was a satirist, therefore no true critic; and his disparagement of
Blenheim arose from party-feeling. Pope was more decisive, and by the
harmony of his numbers contributed to lead and bias the public opinion,
until a new light emanated from the criticism of Sir Joshua Reynolds;
and this national palace is now to be considered, not on its
architectural, but its picturesque merits. A criticism which caused so
memorable a revolution in public taste, must be worthy of an extract. "I
pretend to no skill in architecture--I judge now of the art merely as a
painter. To speak then of Vanbrugh in the language of a painter, he had
originality of invention, he understood light and shadow, and had great
skill in composition. To support his principal object he produced his
second and third groups of masses; he perfectly understood in _his_ art
what is most difficult in _ours_, the conduct of the background, by
which the design and invention is set off to the greatest advantage.
What the background is in painting, is the real ground upon which the
building is erected; and no architect took greater care that his works
should not appear crude and hard; that is, it did not start abruptly out
of the ground, without speculation or preparation. This is the tribute
which a painter owes to an architect who composed like a painter."

Besides this, the testimony of Knight, Price, and Gilpin, have
contributed to remove the prejudices against Vanbrugh. Knight says in
his "Principles of Taste," Sir John Vanbrugh is the only architect I
know of, who has either planned or placed his houses according to the
principles recommended; and in his two chief works, Blenheim and Castle
Howard, it appears to have been strictly adhered to, at least in the
placing of them, and both are certainly worthy of the best situations,
which not only the respective places, but the island of Great Britain
could afford.

Vanbrugh also evinced great talent as a dramatic writer, and his
masterly powers in comedy are so well evinced in the Relapse, the
Provoked Wife, and other plays, that were it not for their strong
libertine tendency which have properly banished them from the stage, and
almost from the closet, he would have been regarded as a standard
classic author in English dramatic literature. His private character
seems to have been amiable, and his conduct tolerably correct. He died
at his own house in Whitehall, in 1726. In his character of architect,
Dr. Evans bestowed on him the following witty epitaph:

  "Lie heavy on him, earth, for he
  Laid many a heavy load on thee"!


He was employed by the Duke of Somerset, commonly called "the Proud
Duke," to paint the portraits of his horses at Petworth, who
condescended to sit with Seymour (his namesake) at table. One day at
dinner, the Duke filled his glass, and saying with a sneer, "_Cousin_
Seymour, your health," drank it off. "My Lord," said the artist, "I
believe I _have_ the honor of being related to your grace." The proud
peer rose from the table, and ordered his steward to dismiss the
presumptuous painter, and employ an humbler brother of the brush. This
was accordingly done; but when the new painter saw the spirited works of
his predecessor, he shook his head, and retiring said, "No man in
England can compete with James Seymour." The Duke now condescended to
recall his discarded cousin. "My Lord," was the answer of Seymour, "I
will now prove to the world that I am of your blood--_I won't come._"
Upon receiving this laconic reply, the Duke sent his steward to demand a
former loan of £100. Seymour briefly replied that "he would write to his
Grace." He did so, but directed his letter, "Northumberland House,
opposite the Trunkmaker's, Charing Cross." Enraged at this additional
insult, the Duke threw the letter into the fire without opening it, and
immediately ordered his steward to have him arrested. But Seymour,
struck with an opportunity of evasion, carelessly observed that "it was
hasty in his Grace to burn his letter, because it contained a bank note
for £100, and that _therefore_, they were now quits."


At the age of five years, the natural taste of Lucia Giordano for
painting, led him to adopt the pencil as a plaything; at six he could
draw the human figure with surprising correctness. The Cav. Stanzioni,
passing by his father's shop, and seeing the child at work, stopped to
see his performances, and is said to have predicted that "he would one
day become the first painter of the age." Before he was eight years old
he painted, unknown to his father, two cherubs in a fresco, entrusted to
that artist, in an obscure part of the church of S. Maria
Nuova--figures so graceful as to attract considerable attention. This
fact coming to the knowledge of the Duke de Medina de las Torres, the
Viceroy of Naples, he rewarded the precocious painter with some gold
ducats, and recommended him to the instruction of Spagnoletto, then the
most celebrated painter in Naples, who accordingly received him into his
studio. There, says Palomino, he spent nine years in close application
to study, and there, he probably enjoyed the advantage of seeing
Velasquez, during that great artist's second visit to Naples.


When Giordano was about seventeen years old, having learned from Ribera
all he could teach him, he conceived a strong desire to prosecute his
studies at Rome. To this step, his father, who was poor, and could
perhaps ill afford to lose his earnings, refused to give his consent.
Luca therefore embraced the earliest opportunity to abscond, and ran
away on foot to the metropolis of art, where he applied himself with the
greatest assiduity. He copied all the great frescos of Raffaelle in the
Vatican several times; he next turned his rapid pencil against the works
of Annibale Caracci in the Farnese palace. Meantime, his father divining
the direction which the truant had taken, followed him to Rome, where,
after a long search, he discovered him sketching in St. Peter's church.


Giordano resided at Rome about three years with his father, who seems to
have been a helpless creature, subsisting by the sale of his son's
drawings; but Luca cared for nothing but his studies, satisfied with a
piece of bread or a few maccaroni. When their purse was low, the old man
would accompany him to the scene of his labors, and constantly urge him
on, by repeating _Luca, fa presto_, (hurry Luca) which became a byword
among the painters, and was fixed upon the young artist as a nickname,
singularly appropriate to his wonderful celerity of execution. He
afterwards traveled through Lombardy to Venice, still accompanied by his
father, and having studied the works of Correggio, Titian, and other
great masters, returned by way of Florence and Leghorn to Naples, where
he soon after married the Donna Margarita Ardi, a woman of exquisite
beauty, who served him as a model for his Virgins, Madonnas, Lucretias,
and Venuses.


Luca Giordano could copy any master so accurately as to deceive the best
judges. Among his patrons in his youth was one Gasparo Romero, who was
in the habit of inflicting upon him a great deal of tedious and
impertinent advice. For this he had his revenge by causing his father to
send to that connoisseur as originals, some of his imitations of
Titian, Tintoretto, and Bassano, and afterwards avowing the deception;
but he managed the joke so pleasantly that Romero was rather pleased
than offended at his skill and wit.


In 1655, Giordano painted in competition with Giacomo Forelli, a large
picture of St. Nicholas borne away by angels, for the church of S.
Brigida, a work of such power and splendor, that it completely eclipsed
his rival, and established his reputation at the early age of
twenty-three. Two years after, he was employed by the Viceroy to paint
several pictures for the church of S. Maria del Pianto, in competition
with Andrea Vaccaro. The principal subjects which fell to Giordano, were
the Crucifixion, and the Virgin and St. Januarius pleading with the
Saviour for Naples, afflicted with pestilence; these he executed with
great ability. He and Vaccaro having a dispute about placing the
pictures, the matter was referred to the Viceroy, who gave the choice to
Vaccaro as the senior artist; Giordano immediately yielded with so much
grace and discretion, that he made a firm friend of his successful
rival. His master, Ribera, being now dead, he soon stepped into the
vacant place of that popular artist. The religious bodies of the
kingdom, the dignitaries of the church, and princes and nobles, eagerly
sought after his works.


The honors heaped upon Giordano by the Marquess of Heliche, compelled
him to neglect and offend other patrons. One of these personages, the
Duke of Diano, being very anxious for the completion of his orders, at
last, lost all patience, and collaring the artist, he threatened him
with personal chastisement if he did not immediately fulfil his
engagements. The Viceroy being informed of the insult, took up the
painter's quarrel in right royal style. He invited the Duke, who
affected connoisseurship, to pass judgment on a picture lately painted
by Luca for the palace, in imitation of the style of Rubens. The unlucky
noble fell into the trap, and pronounced it an undoubted work by the
great Fleming. Seeming to assent to this criticism, the Viceroy replied
that Giordano was painting a companion to the picture, a piece of
information which Diano received with a sneer and a remark on the
artist's uncivil treatment to persons of honor. Here Heliche hastily
interposed, telling him that the work which he had praised was painted,
not by Rubens, but by Giordano, and repeating the sentiment expressed by
several crowned heads on like occasions, admonished him of the respect
due to a man so highly endowed by his Maker. "And how dare you," cried
he, in a loud tone, and seizing the Duke by the collar, as the latter
had done to Giordano, "thus insult a man, who is besides, retained in
my service? Know, for the future, that none shall play the brave here,
so long as I bear rule in Naples!" "This scene," says Dominici, "passing
in the presence of many of the courtiers, and some of these, witnesses
of the insult offered to the painter, so mortified the pride of the
provincial grandee, that he retired, covered with confusion, and falling
into despondency, died soon after of a fever."


In 1679, Giordano was invited to Florence by the Grand Duke, Cosmo III.,
to decorate the chapel of S. Andrea Corsini in the Carmine. His works
gave so much satisfaction to that prince, that he not only liberally
rewarded him, but overwhelmed him with civilities, and presented him
with a gold medal and chain, which he did him the honor to place about
his neck with his own royal hands.


While sojourning in that city, he became acquainted with Carlo Dolci,
then advanced in years, who is said to have been so affected at seeing
the rapid Neapolitan execute in a few hours what would have required him
months to perform, in his own slow and laborious manner, that he fell
into a profound melancholy, of which he soon after died: This
circumstance Dominici assures us, Giordano long afterwards remembered
with tears, on being shown at Naples "a picture painted by poor


The fame of Giordano had already reached Madrid, when Don Cristobal de
Ontañon, a favorite courtier of Charles II., returning from Italy, full
of admiration for Giordano and his works, so sounded his praises in the
royal ear, that the King invited him to his court, paying the expense of
his journey, and giving him a gratuity of 1500 ducats, and appointing
him his principal painter, with a salary of 200 crowns a month.

The painter embarked from Naples on board one of the royal galleys,
accompanied by his son Nicolo, a nephew named Baldassare Valente, and
two scholars, Aniello Rossi and Matteo Pacelli, attended by three
servants. Landing at Barcelona, and resting there a few days, he
proceeded to Madrid, where he arrived in May 1692. Six of the royal
coaches were sent to meet him on the road, and conduct him to the house
of his friend Ontañon. On the day of his arrival, by the desire of the
King, he was carried to the Alcaza and presented to his Majesty. Charles
received him with great kindness, inquired how he had borne the fatigues
of his journey, and expressed his joy at finding him much younger in
appearance than he had been taught to expect. The painter, with his
usual courtly tact, replied, that the journey he had undertaken to
enter the service of so great a monarch, had revived his youth, and
that in the presence of his Majesty, he felt as if he were twenty again.
"Then," said Charles smiling, "you are not too weary to pay a visit to
my gallery," and led him through the noble halls of Philip II., rich
with the finest pictures of Italy and Spain. It was probably on this
occasion, that Giordano, passing before Velasquez's celebrated picture
of the Infanta and her meniñas, bestowed on it the well known name of
the _Theology of Painting_. The King, who paid the painter the
extraordinary honor to embrace him when first presented, gave him a
still greater mark of his favor at parting, by kissing him on the
forehead, and presenting him with the golden key as gentleman of the
royal bed-chamber.


Luca Giordano resided in Spain ten years, and in that time he executed
an incredible number of grand frescos, and other works for the royal
palaces, churches, and convents, as well as many more for individuals,
enough to have occupied an ordinary man a long life. In the short space
of two years, he painted in fresco, the stupendous ceiling of the
church, and the grand staircase of the Escurial; the latter,
representing the Battle of St. Quintin, and the Capture of Montmorenci,
is considered one of his finest works. His next productions were the
great saloon in the Bueno Retiro; the sacristy of the great church at
Toledo; the ceiling of the Royal Chapel at Madrid, and other important
works. After the death of Charles II., he was employed in the same
capacity by his successor, Philip V. These labors raised his reputation
to the highest pitch; he was loaded with riches and favors, and Charles
conferred upon him the honor of knighthood.


Whilst Giordano was employed at the Escurial two Doctors of Theology
were ordered to attend upon him, to answer his questions, and resolve
any doubts that might arise as to the orthodox manner of treating his
subjects. A courier was despatched every evening to Madrid, with a
letter from the prior to the King, rendering an account of the artist's
day's work; and within the present century, some of these letters were
preserved at the Escurial. On one occasion he wrote thus, "Sire, your
Giordano has painted this day about twelve figures, thrice as large as
life. To these he has added the powers and dominations, with proper
angels, cherubs, and seraphs, and clouds to support the same. The two
Doctors of Divinity have not answers ready for all his questions, and
their tongues are too slow too keep pace with the speed of his pencil."


Giordano was temperate and frugal. He wrought incessantly, and to the
scandal of the more devout, was found at his easel, even on days of
religious festivals. His daily habit was to paint from eight in the
morning, till noon, when he dined and rested two hours. At two he
resumed his pencil, and wrought till five or six o'clock. He then took
an airing in one of the royal carriages which was placed at his
disposal. "If I am idle a single day," he used to say, "my pencils get
the better of me; I must keep them in subjection by constant practice."
The Spanish writers accuse him of avarice, and attribute his intense
application to his ambition to acquire a large fortune; that he received
large prices for his works, and never spent a maravedi except in the
purchase of jewelry, of which he was very fond, and considered a good
investment; thus he astonished Palomino by showing him a magnificent
pearl necklace; but it should be recollected he was in the service of
the King, and had a fixed salary, by no means large, which he was
entitled to receive whether he wrought or played. He was doubtless
better paid for his private commissions, which he could quickly
despatch, than for his royal labors.


The first work Giordano executed in Spain was a fine imitation of a
picture by Bassano, which happened under the following circumstances.
The King, during his first interview with the painter, had remarked with
regret, that a certain picture in the Alcaza, by that master, wanted a
companion, Giordano secretly procured a frame and a piece of old
Venetian canvas of the size of the other, and speedily produced a
picture, having all the appearance of age and a fine match to the
original, and hung it by its side. The King, in his next walk through
the gallery, instantly noticed the change with surprise and
satisfaction, and learning the story from his courtiers, he approached
the artist, and laying his hand on his shoulder, saluted him with "Long
life to Giordano."


No painter, not even Titian himself, was more caressed at court, than
Giordano. Not only Charles II., but Philip V., delighted to do him
honor, and treated him with extraordinary favor and familiarity. His
brilliant success is said to have shortened the life of Claudio Coello,
the ablest of his Castilian rivals. According to Dominici, that painter,
jealous of Giordano, and desirous of impairing his credit at the court
of Spain, challenged him to paint in competition with him in the
presence of the King, a large composition fifteen palms high,
representing the Archangel Michael vanquishing Satan. Giordano at once
accepted the challenge, and in little more than three hours, produced a
work which not only amazed and delighted the royal judge, but confounded
poor Coello. "Look you, man," said the King to the discomfited Spaniard,
and pointing to Luca Fa-presto, "there stands the best painter in
Naples, Spain, and the whole world; verily, _he_ is a painter for a

Both Charles and Queen Mariana of Neuberg, sat several times to Giordano
for their portraits. They were never weary of visiting his studio, and
took great pleasure in his lively conversation, and exhibitions of
artistic skill. One day, the Queen questioned him curiously about the
personal appearance of his wife, who she had learned was very beautiful.
Giordano dashed off the portrait of his _Cara Sposa_, and cut short her
interrogation by saying, "Here, Madame, is your Majesty's most humble
servant herself," an effort of skill and memory, which struck the Queen
as something so wonderful as to require a particular mark of her
approbation,--she accordingly "sent to the Donna Margarita a string of
pearls from the neck of her most gracious sovereign." Giordano would
sometimes amuse the royal pair, by laying on his colors with his fingers
and thumb, instead of brushes. In this manner, says Palomino, he
executed a tolerable portrait of Don Francisco Filipin, a feat over
which the monarch rejoiced with almost boyish transport. "It seemed to
him as if he was carried back to that delightful night when he first saw
his beautiful Maria Louisa dance a saraband at the ball of Don Pedro of
Aragon. His satisfaction found vent in a mark of favor which not a
little disconcerted the recipient. Removing the sculpel which the artist
had permission to wear in the royal presence, he kissed him on the crown
of the head, pronounced him a prodigy, and desired him to execute in the
same digital style, a picture of St. Francis of Assisi for the Queen."
Charles, on another occasion, complimented the artist, by saying, "If,
as a King I am greater than Luca, Luca as a man wonderfully gifted by
God, is greater than myself," a sentiment altogether novel for a
powerful monarch of the 17th century. The Queen mother, Mariana of
Austria, was equally an admirer of the fortunate artist. On occasion of
his painting for her apartment a picture of the Nativity of our Lord,
she presented him with a rich jewel and a diamond ring of great value,
from her own imperial finger. It was thus, doubtless, that he obtained
the rich jewels which astonished Palomino, and not by purchase. Charles
II., dying in 1700, Giordano continued for a time in the service of his
successor Philip V., who treated him with the same marked favor, and
commissioned him to paint a series of pictures as a present to his
grandfather, Louis XIV., of France.


The war of succession, however, breaking out, Giordano was glad to seize
the opportunity of re-returning to his family, on the occasion of the
King's visit to Naples. He accompanied the court to Barcelona, in
February, 1702, but as Philip delayed his embarkation, he asked and
received permission to proceed by land. Parting through Genoa and
Florence to Rome, he was received everywhere with distinction, and left
some pictures in those cities. At Rome he had the honor to kiss the feet
of Clement XI., and was permitted by special favor to enter the Papal
apartments with his sword at his side, and his spectacles upon his nose.
These condescensions he repaid with two large pictures, highly praised,
representing the passage of the Red Sea, and Moses striking the Rock. On
his arrival at Naples, he met with the most enthusiastic reception from
his fellow-citizens, his renown in Spain having made him still more
famous at home. Commissions poured into him, more than he could execute,
and though rich, he does not seem to have relaxed his efforts or his
habits of industry, but he did not long survive; he died of a putrid
fever in January, 1705, in the 73d year of his age.


In person, Luca Giordano was of the middle height, and
well-proportioned. His complexion was dark, his countenance spare, and
chiefly remarkable for the size of its nose, and an expression rather
melancholy than joyous. He was, however, a man of ready wit and jovial
humor; he was an accomplished courtier, understood the weak points of
men that might be touched to advantage, and possessed manners so
engaging, that he passed through life a social favorite. His school was
always filled with scholars, and as a master he was kind and popular,
although, according to Palomino, on one occasion he was so provoked that
he broke a silver-mounted maul-stick over the head of one of his
assistants. Greediness of gain seems to have been his besetting sin. He
refused no commission that was offered to him, and he despatched them
according to the prices he received, saying that "he had three sorts of
pencils, made of gold, of silver, and of wood." Yet he frequently
painted works gratuitously, as pious offerings to the altars of poor
churches and convents.


Giordano died very rich, leaving 150,000 ducats invested in various
ways; 20,000 ducats worth of jewels; many thousands in ready money,
1,300 pounds weight of gold and silver plate, and a fine house full of
rich furniture. Out of this he founded an entailed estate for his eldest
son, Lorenzo, and made liberal provisions for his widow, two younger
sons and six daughters. His sons and sons-in-law enjoyed several posts
conferred on them in the kingdom of Naples by the favor of Charles II.


Giordano may be said to have been born with a pencil in his hand, and by
constant practice, added to a natural quickness, he acquired that
extraordinary facility of hand which, while in his subsequent career, it
tended to corrupt art, materially aided his fame and success. He was
also indefatigable in his application. Bellori says, "he made twelve
different designs of the Loggia and paintings by Raffaelle in the
Vatican; and twenty after the Battle of Constantine by Giulio Romano,
besides many after Michael Angelo, Polidoro da Caravaggio, and others.
The demand for his drawings and sketches was so great, that Luca, when
obliged to take refreshments, did not retire from his work, but gaping
like a young bird, gave notice to his father of the calls of nature,
who, always on the watch, instantly supplied him with food, at the same
time repeating, _Luca, fa presto_. The only principle which his father
instilled into his mind was despatch." Probably no artist, not even
Tintoretto, produced so many pictures as Giordano. Lanzi says, "his
facility was not derived wholly from a rapidity of pencil, but was aided
by the quickness of his imagination, which enabled him clearly to
perceive, from the commencement of the work, the result he intended,
without hesitating to consider the component parts, or doubling,
proving, and selecting, like other painters." Hence Giordano was also
called, _Il proteo della pittura_, and _Il Falmine della pittura_--the
Proteus, and the Lightning of painting. As an instance of the latter, it
is recorded that he painted a picture while his guests were waiting for


Giordano had the rare talent of being able to imitate the manner of
every master so successfully as frequently to deceive the best judges;
he could do this also without looking at the originals, the result of a
wonderful memory, which retained everything once seen. There are
numerous instances of pictures painted by him in the style of Albert
Durer, Bassano, Titian, and Rubens, which are valued in commerce at two
or three times the price of pictures in his own style. In the church of
S. Teresa at Naples, are two pictures by him in the style of Guido, and
there is a Holy Family at Madrid, which Mengs says may be easily
mistaken for a production of Raffaelle. Giordano also had several
scholars, who imitated his own style with great precision.


Perhaps no artist ever enjoyed a greater share of contemporary fame than
Luca Giordano. Possessed of inexhaustible invention, and marvellous
facility of hand, which enabled him to multiply his works to any
required amount he had the good fortune to hit upon a style which
pleased, though it still farther corrupted the declining taste of the
age. He despatched a large picture in the presence of Cosmo III., Grand
Duke of Florence, in so short a space of time as caused him to exclaim
in wonder, "You are fit to be the painter of a sovereign prince." The
same eulogium, under similar circumstances, was passed upon him by
Charles II. A similar feat at Naples, had previously won the admiration
and approbation of the Viceroy, the Marquess de Heliche, and laid the
foundation of his fortune. It became _the fashion_, to admire everything
that came from his prolific pencil, at Madrid, as well as at Naples.
Everywhere, his works, good or bad, were received with applause. When it
was related as a wonder that Giordano painted with his fingers, no
Angelo was found to observe, "Why does not the blockhead use his brush."
That Giordano was a man of genius, there can be no doubt, but had he
executed only a tenth part of the multitude he did, his fame would have
been handed down to posterity with much greater lustre. Cean Bermudez
says of his works in Spain, "He left nothing that is absolutely bad, and
nothing that is perfectly good." His compositions generally bear the
marks of furious haste, and they are disfigured in many cases by
incongruous associations of pagan mythology with sacred history, and of
allegory with history, a blemish on the literature as well as the art of
the age. Bermudez also accuses him of having corrupted and degraded
Spanish art, by introducing a new and false style, which his great
reputation and royal favoritism, brought into vogue. Still, he deserves
praise for the great facility of his invention, the force and richness
of his coloring, and a certain grandeur of conception and freedom of
execution which belong only to a great master. The royal gallery at
Madrid possesses no less than fifty-five of his pictures, selected from
the multitude he left in the various royal palaces. There are also many
in the churches. Lanzi says, "Naples abounds with the works of Giordano,
both public and private. There is scarcely a church in this great city
which does not boast some of his works."


Giordano, on his return to Naples from Florence, established himself in
Ribera's fine house, opposite the Jesuit's church of S. Francesco
Xavier. In 1685 he was commissioned by the Fathers to paint a large
picture for one of the principal altars, and agreed that it should be
completed by the approaching festival of the patron saint. Giordano,
having other engagements on hand, put off the execution of the
altar-piece so long, that the Jesuits began to be clamorous, and at
length appealed to the Viceroy to exercise his authority. Determined to
see for himself how matters stood, that great man paid an unexpected
visit to Giordano's studio. The painter had barely time to escape by a
back door to avoid his wrath, when the Marquess de Heliche entered, who
perceiving that he had not touched the vast canvas with his brush, as
suddenly retired, muttering imprecations and menaces. Luca's dashing
pencil now stood him in good stead. He immediately sketched the outlines
of his composition, and setting his disciples to prepare his palettes,
he painted all that day and night with so much diligence that by the
following afternoon, he was able to announce to the impatient Fathers
the completion of the picture. The subject was the patron of the church,
St. Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary, baptizing the people of
Japan. He is represented standing on a lofty flight of steps; behind
him, in the distance, is a party of zealous converts pulling down the
images of their gods, and beneath in the foreground, kneels St. Francis
Borgia in the attitude of prayer. The picture was executed with such
boldness and freedom, and excellence of coloring, that at the proper
distance it produced a grand and magnificent effect. It was immediately
carried to the church, and placed over the destined altar, the day
before the appointed festival, and the Viceroy whose anger had hardly
cooled, invited to inspect it. Charmed with the beauty of the work, and
amazed by the celerity of its execution, he exclaimed, "the painter of
this picture must be either an angel or a demon." Giordano received his
compliments, and made his own excuses with so much address, that the
Marquess, forgetting all past offences engaged him to paint in the
palace, and passed much of his time by his side, observing his progress,
and enjoying his lively conversation.


"Poetry, Painting, and Sculpture," says Cunningham, "are of the same
high order of genius; but, as words provide at once shape and color to
our thoughts, Poetry has ever led the way in the march of intellect: as
material forms are ready made, and require but to be skillfully copied,
Sculpture succeeded; and as lights and shadows demand science and
experience to work them into shape, and endow them with sentiment,
Painting was the last to rise into elegance and sublimity. In this order
these high Arts rose in ancient Greece; and in the like order they rose
in modern Italy; but none of them reached true excellence, till the
light of knowledge dawned on the human mind, nor before civilization,
following in the steps of barbarism, prepared the world for the
reception of works of polished grace and tranquil grandeur.

"From the swoon into which the Fine Arts were cast by the overthrow of
the Roman Empire, they were long in waking: all that was learned or
lofty was extinguished: of Painting, there remained but the memory, and
of Sculpture, some broken stones, yet smothered in the ruins of temples
and cities the rules which gave art its science were lost; the
knowledge of colors was passed away, and that high spirit which filled
Italy and Greece with shapes and sentiments allied to heaven, had
expired. In their own good time, Painting and Sculpture arose from the
ruins in which they had been overwhelmed, but their looks were altered;
their air was saddened; their voice was low, though it was, as it had
been in Greece, holy, and it called men to the contemplation of works of
a rude grace, and a but dawning beauty. These 'sisters-twin' came at
first with pale looks and trembling steps, and with none of the
confidence which a certainty of pleasing bestows: they came too with few
of the charms of the heathen about them: of the scientific unity of
proportion, of the modest ease, the graceful simplicity, or the almost
severe and always divine composure of Greece, they had little or none.
But they came, nevertheless, with an original air and character all
their own; they spoke of the presence of a loveliness and sentiment
derived from a nobler source than pagan inspiration; they spoke of Jesus
Christ and his sublime lessons of peace, and charity, and belief, with
which he had preached down the altars and temples of the heathen, and
rebuked their lying gods into eternal silence.

"Though Sculpture and Painting arose early in Italy, and arose with the
mantle of the Christian religion about them, it was centuries before
they were able to put on their full lustre and beauty. For this,
various causes may be assigned. 1. The nations, or rather wild hordes,
who ruled where consuls and emperors once reigned, ruled but for a
little while, or were continually employed in expeditions of bloodshed
and war. 2. The armed feet of the barbarians had trodden into dust all
of art that was elegant or beautiful:--they lighted their camp-fires
with the verses of Euripides or Virgil; they covered their tents with
the paintings of Protogenes and Apelles, and they repaired the breaches
in the walls of a besieged city, with the statues of Phidias and
Praxiteles;--the desires of these barbarians were all barbarous. 3.
Painting and Sculpture had to begin their labors anew; all rules were
lost; all examples, particularly of the former, destroyed: men unable,
therefore, to drink at the fountains of Greece, did not think, for
centuries, of striking the rock for themselves. 4. The Christian
religion, for which Art first wrought, demanded sentiment rather than
shape: it was a matter of mind which was wanted: the personal beauty of
Jesus Christ is nowhere insisted upon in all the New Testament: the
earliest artists, when they had impressed an air of holiness or serenity
on their works, thought they had done enough; and it was only when the
fears of looking like the heathen were overcome, and a sense of the
exquisite beauty of Grecian sculpture prevailed, that the geometrical
loveliness of the human form found its way into art. It may be added,
that no modern people, save the Italians alone, seem to share fully in
the high sense of the ideal and the poetic, visible in the works of

"The first fruits of this new impulse were representations of Christ on
the Cross; of his forerunner, St. John; of his Virgin Mother; and of his
companions, the Apostles. Our Saviour had a meek and melancholy look;
the hands of the Virgin are held up in prayer; something of the wildness
of the wilderness was in the air of St. John, and the twelve Apostles
were kneeling or preaching. They were all clothed from head to heel; the
faces, the hands, and the feet, alone were bare; the sentiment of
suffering or rejoicing holiness, alone was aimed at. The artists of the
heathen religion wrought in a far different spirit; the forms which they
called to their canvas, and endowed with life and beauty, were all, or
mostly naked; they saw and felt the symmetry and exquisite harmony of
the human body, and they represented it in such elegance, such true
simplicity and sweetness, as to render their nude figures the rivals in
modesty and innocence of the most carefully dressed. A sense of this
excellence of form is expressed by many writers. 'If,' says Plato, 'you
take a man as he is made by nature, and compare him with another who is
the effect of art, the work of nature will always appear the less
beautiful, because art is more accurate than nature.' Maximus Tyrus also
says, that 'the image which is taken by a painter from several bodies,
produces a beauty which it is impossible to find in any single natural
body, approaching to the perfection of the fairest statues.' And Cicero
informs us, that Zeuxis drew his wondrous picture of Helen from various
models, all the most beautiful that could be found; for he could not
find in one body all those perfections, which his idea of that princess

"So far did the heathens carry their notions of ideal beauty, that they
taxed Demetrius with being too natural, and Dionysius they reproached as
but a painter of men. Lysippus himself upbraided the ordinary sculptors
of his day, for making men such as they were in nature, and boasted of
himself, that he made men as they ought to be. Phidias copied his
statues of Jupiter and Pallas from forms in his own soul, or those which
the muse of Homer supplied. Seneca seems to wonder, that, the sculptor
having never beheld either Jove or Pallas, yet could conceive their
divine images in his mind; and another eminent ancient says, that 'the
fancy more instructs the painter than the imitation; for the last makes
only the things which it sees, but the first makes also the things which
it never sees.' Such were also, in the fulness of time and study, the
ideas of the most distinguished moderns. Alberti tells us, that 'we
ought not so much to love the likeness as the beauty, and to choose from
the fairest bodies, severally, the fairest parts.' Da Vinci uses almost
the same words, and desires the painter to form the idea for himself;
and the incomparable Raphael thus writes to Castiglione concerning his
Galatea: 'To paint a fair one, it is necessary for me to see many fair
ones; but because there is so great a scarcity of lovely women, I am
constrained to make use of one certain idea, which I have formed in my
own fancy.' Guido Reni approaches still closer to the pure ideal of the
great Christian School of Painting, when he wishes for the wings of an
angel, to ascend to Paradise, and see, with his own eyes, the forms and
faces of the blessed spirits, that he might put more of heaven into his

"Of the heaven which the great artist wished to infuse into his works,
there was but little in painting, when it rose to aid religion in Italy.
The shape was uncooth, the coloring ungraceful, and there was but the
faint dawn of that divine sentiment, which in time elevated Roman art to
the same eminence as the Grecian. Yet all that Christianity demanded
from Art, at first, was readily accomplished: fine forms, and delicate
hues, were not required for centuries, by the successors of the
Apostles; a Christ on the Cross; the Virgin lulling her divine Babe in
her bosom; the Miracle of Lazarus; the Preaching on the Mount; the
Conversion of St. Paul; and the Ascension--roughly sculptured or
coarsely painted, perhaps by the unskilful hands of the Christian
preachers themselves--were found sufficient to explain to a barbarous
people some of the great ruling truths of Christianity. These, and such
as these, were placed in churches, or borne about by gospel
missionaries and were appealed to, when words failed to express the
doctrines and mysteries which were required to be taught. Such appeals
were no doubt frequent, in times when Greek and Latin ceased to be
commonly spoken, and the present languages of Europe were shaping
themselves, like fruit in the leaf, out of the barbarous dissonance of
the wild tongues which then prevailed. These Christian preachers, with
their emblems and their relics, were listened to by the Gothic
subverters of the empire of art and elegance, with the more patience and
complacency, since they desired not to share in their plunder or their
conquests, and opened to them the way to a far nobler kingdom--a kingdom
not of this earth.

"Though abundance of figures of saints were carved, and innumerable
Madonnas painted throughout Italy, in the earlier days of the Christian
church, they were either literal transcripts of common life, or
mechanical copies or imitations of works furnished from the great store
looms of the Asiatic Greeks. There were thousands--nay, tens of
thousands of men, who wrote themselves artists, while not one of them
had enough of imagination and skill to lift art above the low estate in
which the rule and square of mechanical imitation had placed it. Niccolo
Pisano appears to have been the first who, at Pisa, took the right way
in sculpture: his groups, still in existence, are sometimes too crowded;
his figures badly designed, and the whole defective in sentiment; but
he gave an impulse--communicated through the antique--to composition,
not unperceived by his scholars, who saw with his eyes and wrought with
his spirit. The school which he founded produced, soon after, the
celebrated Ghiberti, whose gates of bronze, embellished with figures,
for the church of San Giovanni, were pronounced by Michael Angelo worthy
to be the gates of Paradise. While the sister art took these large
strides towards fame, Painting lagged ruefully behind; she had no true
models, and she had no true rules; but 'the time and the man' came at
last, and this man was Giovanni Cimabue."


This great painter is universally considered the restorer of modern
painting. The Italians call him "the Father of modern Painting;" and
other nations, "the Creator of the Italian or Epic style of Painting."
He was born at Florence in 1240, of a noble family, and was skilled both
in architecture and sculpture. The legends of his own land make him the
pupil of Giunta; for the men of Florence are reluctant to believe that
he was instructed in painting by those Greek artists who were called in
to embellish their city with miracles and Madonnas. He soon conquered an
education which consisted in reproducing, in exact shape and color, the
works of other men: he desired to advance: he went to nature for his
forms; he grouped them with a new skill; he bestowed ease on his
draperies, and a higher expression on his heads. His talent did not
reside in the neat, the graceful, and the lovely; his Madonnas have
little beauty, and his angels are all of one make: he succeeded best in
the heads of the old and the holy, and impressed on them, in spite of
the barbarism of his times, a bold sublimity, which few have since
surpassed. Critics object to the fierceness of his eyes, the want of
delicacy in the noses of his figures, and the absence of perspective in
his compositions; but they admit that his coloring is bright and
vigorous, his conceptions grand and vast, and that he loved the daring
and the splendid. Nevertheless, a touch of the mechanical Greek School,
and a rudeness all his own, have been observed in the works of this
great painter. His compositions were all of a scriptural or religious
kind, such as the church required: kings were his visitors, and the
people of Florence paid him honors almost divine.


Cimabue gave early proof of an accurate judgment and a clear
understanding, and his father designed to give him a liberal education,
but instead of devoting himself to letters, says Vasari, "he consumed
the whole day in drawing men, horses, houses, and other various fancies
on his books and different papers--an occupation to which he felt
himself impelled by nature; and this natural inclination was favored by
fortune, for the governors of the city, had invited certain Greek
painters to Florence, for the purpose of restoring the art of painting,
which had not merely degenerated, but was altogether lost; those
artists, among other works, began to paint the chapel of Gondi, situated
next to the principal chapel in S. Maria Novella, where Giovanni was
being educated, who often escaping from school, and having already made
a commencement in the art he was so fond of, would stand watching these
masters at their work the day through." Vasari goes on to say, that this
passion at length induced his father, already persuaded that he had the
genius to become a great painter, to place Giovanni under the
instruction of these Greek artists. From this time, he labored
incessantly day and night, and aided by his great natural powers, he
soon surpassed his teachers.


Cimabue had already distinguished himself by many works, executed in
fresco and distemper for the churches at Florence, Pisa, and Assisi,
when he painted his famous picture of the Holy Virgin for the church of
S. Maria Novella in the former city. This picture was accounted such a
wonderful performance by his fellow citizens, that they carried it from
the house of Cimabue to the church in solemn procession, with sound of
trumpets and every demonstration of joy. "It is further reported," says
Vasari, "that whilst Cimabue was painting this picture in a garden near
the gate of San Pietro, King Charles the elder, of Anjou, passed through
Florence, and the authorities of the city, among other marks of respect,
conducted him to see the picture of Cimabue." This picture, representing
the Virgin and Infant Jesus surrounded by angels, larger than life, then
so novel, was regarded as such a wonderful performance, that all the
people of Florence flocked in crowds to admire it, making all possible
demonstrations of delight. It still adorns the chapel of the Rucellai
family in the church of S. Maria Novella for which it was painted. The
heads of the Virgin, of the infant Jesus, and the angels, are all fine,
but the hands are badly drawn; this defect, however, is common with the
Quattrocentisti, or artists of the 14th century. The editors of the
Florentine edition of Vasari, commenced in 1846, by an association of
learned Italians, observe, "This picture, still in fair preservation, is
in the chapel of the Rucellai family; and whoever will examine it
carefully, comparing it, not only with works before the time of Cimabue,
but also with those painted after him, by the Florentine masters,
particularly Giotto, will perceive that the praises of Vasari are
justified in every particular."


Some writers assert that the works of Cimabue possessed little merit
when compared with those of later times; and that the extraordinary
applause which he received flowed from an age ignorant of art. It should
be recollected, however, that it is much easier to copy or follow, when
the path has been marked out, than to invent or discover; and hence that
the glorious productions of the "Prince of modern Painters," form no
criterion by which to judge of the merits of those of the "Father of
modern Painters." The former had "the accumulated wisdom of ages" before
him, of which he availed himself freely; the latter had nothing worthy
of note, but his own talents and the wild field of nature, from which he
was the first of the moderns who drew in the spirit of inspiration.
"Giotto," says Vasari, "did obscure the fame of Cimabue, as a great
light diminishes the splendor of a lesser one; so that, although Cimabue
may be considered the cause of the restoration of the art of painting,
yet Giotto, his disciple, impelled by a laudable ambition, and well
aided by heaven and nature, was the man, who, attaining to superior
elevation of thought, threw open the gate of the true way, to those who
afterwards exalted the art to that perfection and greatness which it
displays in our own age; when accustomed, as men are, daily to see the
prodigies and miracles, nay the _impossibilities_, now performed by
artists, they have arrived at such a point, that they no longer marvel
at anything accomplished by man, even though it be more divine than
human. Fortunate, indeed, are artists who now labor, however
meritoriously, if they do not incur censure instead of praise; nay, if
they can even escape disgrace." It should be recollected that Vasari
held this language in the days of Michael Angelo.

All the great frescos of Cimabue, and most of his easel pictures, have
perished. Besides the picture of the Virgin before mentioned, there is a
St. Francis in the church of S. Croce, an excellent picture of St.
Cecilia, in that of S. Stefano, and a Madonna in the convent of S.
Paolino at Florence. There are also two paintings by Cimabue in the
Louvre--the Virgin with angels, and the Virgin with the infant Jesus.
Others are attributed to him, but their authenticity is very doubtful.


According to Vasari, Cimabue died in 1300, and was entombed in the
church of S. Maria del Fiore at Florence. The following epitaph,
composed by one of the Nini, was inscribed on his monument:

  "Credidit ut Cimabos picturæ castra tenere
  Sic tenuit, vivens, nunc tenet astra poli."

It appears, however, from an authentic document, cited by Campi, that
Cimabue was employed in 1302 in executing a mosaic picture of St. John,
for the cathedral of Pisa; and as he left this figure unfinished, it is
probable that he did not long survive that year.


This great artist, one of the fathers of modern painting, was born at
Vespignano, a small town near Florence, in 1276. He was the son of a
shepherd named Bondone, and while watching his father's flocks in the
field, he showed a natural genius for art by constantly delineating the
objects around him. A sheep which he had drawn upon a flat stone, after
nature, attracted the attention of Cimabue, who persuaded his father,
Bondone, to allow him to go to Florence, confident that he would be an
ornament to the art. Giotto commenced by imitating his master, but he
quickly surpassed him. A picture of the Annunciation, in the possession
of the Fathers of Badia at Florence, is one of his earliest works, and
manifests a grace and beauty superior to Cimabue, though the style is
somewhat dry. In his works, symmetry became more chaste, design more
pleasing, and coloring softer than before. Lanzi says that if Cimabue
was the Michael Angelo of that age, Giotto was the Raffaelle. He was
highly honored, and his works were in great demand. He was invited to
Rome by Boniface VIII., and afterwards to Avignon by Clement V. The
noble families of Verona, Milan, Ravenna, Urbino, and Bologna, were
eager to possess his works. In 1316, according to Vasari, he returned
from Avignon, and was employed at Padua, where he painted the chapel of
the Nunziata all' Arena, divided all around into compartments, each of
which represents some scriptural event. Lanzi says it is truly
surprising to behold, not less on account of its high state of
preservation beyond any other of his frescos, than for its graceful
expression, and that air of grandeur which Giotto so well understood.
About 1325 he was invited to Naples by King Robert, to paint the church
of S. Chiara, which he decorated with subjects from the New Testament,
and the Mysteries of the Apocalypse. These, like many of his works, have
been destroyed; but there remains a Madonna, and several other pictures,
in this church. Giotto's portraits were greatly admired, particularly
for their air of truth and correct resemblance. Among other illustrious
persons whom he painted, were the poet Dante, and Clement VIII. The
portrait of the former was discovered in the chapel of the Podesta, now
the Bargello, at Florence, which had for two centuries been covered with
whitewash, and divided into cells for prisoners. The whitewash was
removed by the painter Marini, at the instance of Signor Bezzi and
others, and the portrait discovered in the "Gloria" described by Vasari.
Giotto was also distinguished in the art of mosaic, particularly for the
famous Death of the Virgin at Florence, greatly admired by Michael
Angelo; also the celebrated Navicella, or Boat of St. Peter, in the
portico of the Basilica of St. Peter's at Rome, which is now so
mutilated and altered as to leave little of the original design.

As an architect, Giotto attained considerable eminence, according to
Milizia, and erected many important edifices, among which is the
bell-tower of S. Maria del Fiore. The thickness of the walls is about
ten feet; the height is two hundred and eighty feet. The cornice which
supports the parapet is very bold and striking; the whole exterior is of
Gothic design, inlaid with marble and mosaic, and the work may be
considered one of the finest specimens of campanile in Italy.


In the church of S. Francesco at Pisa, is a picture by Giotto,
representing St. Francis receiving the Stigmata,[A] which is in good
preservation, and held in great veneration, not only for the sake of the
master, but for the excellence of the work. Vasari says, "It represents
St. Francis, standing on the frightful rocks of La Verna; and is
finished with extraordinary care. It exhibits a landscape with many
trees and precipices, which was a new thing in those times. In the
attitude and expression of St. Francis, who is on his knees receiving
the Stigmata, the most eager desire to obtain them is clearly manifest,
as well as infinite love towards Jesus Christ, who, from heaven above,
where he is seen surrounded by the seraphim, grants those stigmata to
his servant, with looks of such lively affection, that it is not
possible to conceive anything more perfect. Beneath this picture are
three others, also from the life of St. Francis, and very beautiful."

[Footnote A: Stigmata, signifies the five wounds of the Saviour
impressed by himself on the persons of certain saints, male and female,
in reward for their sanctity and devotion to the service.]


Boniface VIII., desirous of decorating St. Peter's church with some
paintings, having heard of the extraordinary talents of Giotto,
despatched one of his courtiers to Tuscany, to ascertain the truth, as
to his merits, and to procure designs from other artists for his
approbation and selection. Vasari says, "The messenger, when on his way
to visit Giotto, and to enquire what other good masters there were in
Florence, spoke first with many artists in Siena--then, having received
designs from them, he proceeded to Florence, and repaired one morning to
the workshop where Giotto was occupied with his labors. He declared the
purpose of the Pope, and the manner in which that pontiff desired to
avail himself of his assistance, and finally requested to have a drawing
that he might send it to his holiness. Giotto, who was very courteous,
took a sheet of paper and a pencil dipped in a red color; then resting
his elbow on his side to form a sort of compass, with one turn of the
hand, he drew a circle so perfect and exact that it was a marvel to
behold. This done, he turned smiling to the courtier, saying, 'There is
your drawing.' 'Am I to have nothing more than this?' enquired the
latter, conceiving himself to be jested with. 'That is enough and to
spare,' replied Giotto, 'send it with the rest, and you will see if it
will not be recognized.' The messenger, unable to obtain anything more,
went away very ill satisfied, and fearing that he had been fooled.
Nevertheless, having despatched the other drawings to the Pope, with the
names of those who had done them, he sent that of Giotto also, relating
the mode in which he had made his circle, without moving his arm and
without compass; from which the Pope, and such of the courtiers as were
well versed in the subject, perceived how far Giotto surpassed all the
other painters of his time. This incident becoming known, gave rise to
the proverb still used in relation to people of dull wits, 'In sei più
tondo che l'O di Giotto,' (round as Giotto's O,) the significance of
which consists in the double meaning of the word _tondo_, which is used
in the Tuscan for slowness of intellect, and slowness of comprehension,
as well as for an exact circle. The proverb besides has an interest from
the circumstance which gave it birth."

Giotto was immediately invited to Rome by the Pope, who received him
with distinction, and commissioned him to paint a large picture in the
sacristy of St. Peter's, with five others in the church, representing
subjects from the life of Christ, which gave so much satisfaction to the
pontiff, that he commanded 600 gold ducats to be paid to the artist,
"besides conferring on him so many favors," says Vasari, "that there was
talk of them throughout Italy."


Giotto, about to paint a picture of the Crucifixion, induced a poor man
to suffer himself to be bound to a cross, under the promise of being set
at liberty in an hour, and handsomely rewarded for his pains. Instead of
this, as soon as Giotto had made his victim secure, he seized a dagger,
and, shocking to tell, stabbed him to the heart! He then set about
painting the dying agonies of the victim to his foul treachery. When he
had finished his picture, he carried it to the Pope; who was so well
pleased with it, that he resolved to place it above the altar of his own
chapel. Giotto observed, that, as his holiness liked the copy so well,
he might perhaps like to see the original. The Pope, shocked at the
impiety of the idea, uttered an exclamation of surprise. "I mean," added
Giotto, "I will show you the person whom I employed as my model in this
picture, but it must be on condition that your holiness will absolve me
from all punishment for the use which I have made of him." The Pope
promised Giotto the absolution for which he stipulated, and accompanied
the artist to his workshop. On entering, Giotto drew aside a curtain
which hung before the dead man, still stretched on the cross, and
covered with blood.

The barbarous exhibition struck the pontiff with horror; he told Giotto
he could never give him absolution for so cruel a deed, and that he must
expect to suffer the most exemplary punishment. Giotto, with seeming
resignation, said that he had only one favor to ask, that his holiness
would give him leave to finish the piece before he died. The request had
too important an object to be denied; the Pope readily granted it; and,
in the meantime, a guard was set over Giotto to prevent his escape.

On the painting being replaced in the artist's hands, the first thing he
did was to take a brush, and, dipping it into a thick varnish, he daubed
the picture all over with it, and then announced that he had finished
his task. His holiness was greatly incensed at this abuse of the
indulgence he had given, and threatened Giotto that he should be put to
the most cruel death, unless he painted another picture equal to the one
which he had destroyed. "Of what avail is your threat," replied Giotto,
"to a man whom you have doomed to death at any rate?" "But," replied his
holiness, "I can revoke that doom." "Yes," continued Giotto, "but you
cannot prevail on me to trust to your verbal promise a second time."
"You shall have a pardon under my signet before you begin." On that, a
conditional pardon was accordingly made out and given to Giotto, who,
taking a wet sponge, in a few minutes wiped off the coating with which
he had bedaubed the picture, and instead of a copy, restored the
original in all its beauty to his holiness. Although this story is
related by many writers, it is doubtless a gross libel on the fair fame
of this great artist, originating with some witless wag, who thought
nothing too horrible to impose upon the credulity of mankind. It is
discredited by the best authors. A similar fable is related of
Parrhasius. See the Olynthian Captive, vol. I. page 151 of this work.


After Giotto's return to Florence, about 1325, Robert, King of Naples,
wrote to his son Charles, King of Calabria, who was then in Florence,
desiring that he would by all means send Giotto to him at Naples, to
decorate the church and convent of Santa Clara, which he had just
completed, and desired to have adorned with noble paintings. Giotto
readily accepted this flattering invitation from so great and renowned a
monarch, and immediately set out to do him service. He was received at
Naples with every mark of distinction, and executed many subjects from
the old and New Testaments in the different chapels of the building. It
is said that the pictures from the Apocalypse, which he painted in one
of the chapels, were the inventions of Dante; but Dante was then dead,
and if Giotto derived any advantage from him, it must have been from
previous discussions on the subject. These works gave the greatest
satisfaction to the King, who munificently rewarded the artist, and
treated him with great kindness and extraordinary familiarity. Vasari
says that Giotto was greatly beloved by King Robert, who delighted to
visit him in his painting room, to watch the progress of his work, to
hear his remarks, and to hold conversation with him; for Giotto had a
ready wit, and was always as ready to amuse the monarch with his lively
conversation and witty replies as with his pencil. One day the King said
to him, "Giotto, I will make you the first man in Naples," to which
Giotto promptly replied, "I am already the first man in Naples; for this
reason it is that I dwell at the Porta Reale." At another time the King,
fearing that he would injure himself by overworking in the hot season,
said to him, "Giotto, if I were in your place, now that it is so hot, I
would give up painting for a time, and take my rest." "And so would I
do, certainly," replied Giotto, "were I the King of Naples." One day the
King to amuse himself, desired Giotto to _paint his kingdom_. The
painter drew an ass carrying a packsaddle loaded with a crown and
sceptre, while a similar saddle, also bearing the ensigns of royalty,
lay at his feet; these last were all new, and the ass scented them,
with an eager desire to change them for those he bore. "What does this
signify, Giotto?" enquired the King. "Such is thy kingdom," replied
Giotto, "and such thy subjects, who are every day desiring a new lord."


The children of Giotto were remarkably ill-favored. Dante, one day,
quizzed him by asking, "Giotto, how is it that you, who make the
children of others so beautiful, make your own so ugly?" "Ah, my dear
friend," replied the painter, "mine were made in the dark."


"Giotto," says Vasari, "having passed his life in the production of so
many admirable works, and proved himself a good Christian, as well as an
excellent painter, resigned his soul to God in the year 1336, not only
to the great regret of his fellow citizens, but of all who had known
him, or even heard his name. He was honorably entombed, as his high
deserts had well merited, having been beloved all his life, but more
especially by the learned men of all professions." Dante and Petrarch
were his warm admirers, and immortalized him in their verse. The
commentator of Dante, who was cotemporary with Giotto, says, "Giotto
was, and is, the most eminent of all the painters of Florence, and to
this his works bear testimony in Rome, Naples, Avignon, Florence, Padua,
and many other parts of the world."


The first worthy successor of Giotto in the Florentine school, was
Buffalmacco, whose name has been immortalized by Boccaccio in his
_Decameron_, as a man of most facetious character. He executed many
works in fresco and distemper, but they have mostly perished. He chiefly
excelled in Crucifixions and Ascensions. He was born, according to
Vasari, in 1262, and died in 1340, aged 78; but Baldinucci says that he
lived later than 1358. His name is mentioned in the old Book of the
Company of Painters, under the date of 1351, (_Editors of the Florentine
edition of Vasari_, 1846.). Buffalmacco was a merry wag, and a careless
spendthrift, and died in the public hospital.


"Among the Three Hundred Stories of Franco Saccheti," says Vasari, "we
find it related to begin with, what our artist did in his youth--that
when Buffalmacco was studying with Andrea Tafi, his master had the habit
of rising before daylight when the nights were long, compelling his
scholars also to awake and proceed to their work. This provoked
Buonamico, who did not approve of being aroused from his sweetest
sleep. He accordingly bethought himself of finding some means by which
Andrea might be prevented from rising so early, and soon found what he
sought." Now it happened that Tafi was a very superstitious man,
believing that demons and hobgoblins walked the earth at their pleasure.
Buffalmacco, having caught about thirty large beetles, he fastened to
the back of each, by means of small needles, a minute taper, which he
lighted, and sent them one by one into his master's room, through a
crack in the door, about the time he was accustomed to rise and summon
him to his labors. Tafi seeing these strange lights wandering about his
room, began to tremble with fright, and repeated his prayers and
exorcisms, but finding they produced no effect on the apparitions, he
covered his head with the bed clothes, and lay almost petrified with
terror till daylight. When he rose he enquired of Buonamico, if "he had
seen more than a thousand demons wandering about his room, as he had
himself in the night?" Buonamico replied that he had seen nothing, and
wondered he had not been called to work. "Call thee to work!" exclaimed
the master, "I had other things to think of besides painting, and am
resolved to stay in this house no longer;" and away he ran to consult
the parish priest, who seems to have been as superstitious as the poor
painter himself. When Tafi discoursed of this strange affair with
Buonamico, the latter told him that he had been taught to believe that
the demons were the greatest enemies of God, consequently they must be
the most deadly adversaries of painters. "For," said he, "besides that
we always make them most hideous, we think of nothing but painting
saints, both men and women, on walls and pictures, which is much worse,
since we thereby render men better and more devout to the great despite
of the demons; and for all this, the devils being angry with us, and
having more power by night than by day, they play these tricks upon us.
I verily believe too, that they will get worse and worse, if this
practice of rising to work in the night be not discontinued altogether."
Buffalmacco then advised his master to make the experiment, and see
whether the devils would disturb him if he did not work at night. Tafi
followed this advice for a short time, and the demons ceased to disturb
him; but forgetting his fright, he began to rise betimes, as before, and
to call Buffalmacco to his work. The beetles then recommenced their
wanderings, till Tafi was compelled by his fears and the earnest advice
of the priest to desist altogether from that practice. "Nay," says
Vasari, "the story becoming known through the city, produced such an
effect that neither Tafi, nor any other painter dared for a long time to
work at night."

Another laughable story is related of Buffalmacco's ingenuity to rid
himself of annoyance. Soon after he left Tafi, he took apartments
adjoining those occupied by a man who was a penurious old simpleton,
and compelled his wife to rise long before daylight to commence work at
her spinning wheel. The old woman was often at her wheel, when Buonamico
retired to bed from his revels. The buzz of the instrument put all sleep
out of the question; so the painter resolved to put a stop to this
annoyance. Having provided himself with a long tube, and removed a brick
next to the chimney, he watched his opportunity, and blew salt into
their soup till it was spoiled. He then succeeded in making them believe
that it was the work of demons, and to desist from such early rising.
Whenever the old woman touched her wheel before daylight, the soup was
sure to be spoiled, but when she was allowed reasonable rest, it was
fresh and savory.


Soon after Buffalmacco left his master, he was employed by the nuns of
Faenza to execute a picture for their convent. The subject was the
slaughter of the Innocents. While the work was in progress, those ladies
some times took a peep at the picture through the screen he had raised
for its protection. "Now Buffalmacco," says Vasari, "was very eccentric
and peculiar in his dress, as well as manner of living, and as he did
not always wear the head-dress and mantle usual at the time, the nuns
remarked to their intendant, that it did not please them to see him
appear thus in his doublet; but the steward found means to pacify them,
and they remained silent on the subject for some time. At length,
however, seeing the painter always accoutred in like manner, and
fancying that he must be some apprentice, who ought to be merely
grinding colors, they sent a messenger to Buonamico from the abbess, to
the effect, that they would like to see the master sometimes at the
work, and not always himself. To this Buffalmacco, who was very pleasant
in manner, replied, that as soon as the master came to the work he would
let them know of his arrival; for he perceived clearly how the matter
stood. Thereupon, he placed two stools, one on the other, with a
water-jar on the top; on the neck of the jar he set a cap, which was
supported by the handle; he then arranged a long mantle carefully around
the whole, and securing a pencil within the mouth, on that side of the
jar whence the water is poured, he departed. The nuns, returning to
examine the work through the hole which they had made in the screen, saw
the supposed master in full robes, when, believing him to be working
with all his might, and that he would produce a very different kind of
thing from any that his predecessor in the jacket could accomplish, they
went away contented, and thought no more of the matter for some days. At
length, they were desirous of seeing what fine things the master had
done, and at the end of a fortnight (during which Buffalmacco had never
set foot within the place), they went by night, when they concluded that
he would not be there, to see his work. But they were all confused and
ashamed, when one, bolder than the rest, approached near enough to
discover the truth respecting this solemn master, who for fifteen days
had been so busy doing nothing. They acknowledged, nevertheless, that
they had got but what they merited--the work executed by the painter in
the jacket being all that could be desired. The intendant was therefore
commanded to recall Buonamico, who returned in great glee and with many
a laugh, to his labor, having taught these good ladies the difference
between a man and a water-jug, and shown them that they should not
always judge the works of men by their vestments."


Buffalmacco executed an historical painting for the nuns, which greatly
pleased them, every part being excellent in their estimation, except the
faces, which they thought too pale and wan. Buonamico, knowing that they
kept the very best Vernaccia (a kind of delicious Tuscan wine, kept for
the uses of the mass) to be found in Florence, told his fair patrons,
that this defect could only be remedied by mixing the colors with good
Vernaccia, but that when the cheeks were touched with colors thus
tempered, they would become rosy and life-like enough. "The good
ladies," says Vasari, "believing all he said, kept him supplied with
the very best Vernaccia during all the time that his labors lasted, and
he joyously swallowing this delicious nectar, found color enough on his
palette to give his faces the fresh rosiness they so much desired."
Bottari says, that Buonamico, on one occasion, was surprised by the
nuns, while drinking the Vernaccia, when he instantly spirted what he
had in his mouth on the picture, whereby they were fully satisfied; if
they cut short his supply, his pictures looked pale and lifeless, but
the Vernaccia always restored them to warmth and beauty. The nuns were
so much pleased with his performances that they employed him a long
time, and he decorated their whole church with his own hand,
representing subjects from the life of Christ, all extremely well


"In the year 1302," says Vasari, "Buffalmacco was invited to Assisi,
where, in the church of San Francesco, he painted in fresco the chapel
of Santa Caterina, with stories taken from her life. These paintings are
still preserved, and many figures in them are well worthy of praise.
Having finished this chapel, Buonamico was passing through Arezzo, when
he was detained by the Bishop Guido, who had heard that he was a
cheerful companion, as well as a good painter, and who wished him to
remain for a time in that city, to paint the chapel of the episcopal
church, where the baptistery now is. Buonamico began the work, and had
already completed the greater part of it, when a very curious
circumstance occurred; and this, according to Franco Sacchetti, who
relates it among his Three Hundred Stories, was as follows. The bishop
had a large ape, of extraordinary cunning, the most sportive and
mischievous creature in the world. This animal sometimes stood on the
scaffold, watching Buonamico at his work, and giving a grave attention
to every action: with his eyes constantly fixed on the painter, he
observed him mingle his colors, handle the various flasks and tools,
beat the eggs for his paintings in distemper--all that he did, in short;
for nothing escaped the creature's observation. One Saturday evening,
Buffalmacco left his work; and on the Sunday morning, the ape, although
fastened to a great log of wood, which the bishop had commanded his
servants to fix to his foot, that he might not leap about at his
pleasure, contrived, in despite of the weight, which was considerable,
to get on the scaffold where Buonamico was accustomed to work. Here he
fell at once upon the vases which held the colors, mingled them all
together, beat up whatever eggs he could find, and, plunging the pencils
into this mixture, he daubed over every figure, and did not cease till
he had repainted the whole work with his own hand. Having done that, he
mixed all the remaining colors together, and getting down from the
scaffold, he went his way. When Monday morning came, Buffalmacco
returned to his work; and, finding his figures ruined, his vessels all
heaped together, and every thing turned topsy-turvy, he stood amazed in
sore confusion. Finally, having considered the matter within himself, he
arrived at the conclusion that some Aretine, moved by jealousy, or other
cause, had worked the mischief he beheld. Proceeding to the bishop, he
related what had happened, and declared his suspicions, by all which
that prelate was greatly disturbed; but, consoling Buonamico as best he
could, he persuaded him to return to his labors, and repair the
mischief. Bishop Guido, thinking him nevertheless likely to be right,
his opinion being a very probable one, gave him six soldiers, who were
ordered to remain concealed on the watch, with drawn weapons, during the
master's absence, and were commanded to cut down any one, who might be
caught in the act, without mercy. The figures were again completed in a
certain time; and one day as the soldiers were on guard, they heard a
strange kind of rolling sound in the church, and immediately after saw
the ape clamber up to the scaffold and seize the pencils. In the
twinkling of an eye, the new master had mingled his colors; and the
soldiers saw him set to work on the saints of Buonamico. They then
summoned the artist, and showing him the malefactor, they all stood
watching the animal at his operations, being in danger of fainting with
laughter, Buonamico more than all; for, though exceedingly disturbed by
what had happened, he could not help laughing till the tears ran down
his cheeks. At length he betook himself to the bishop, and said: 'My
lord, you desire to have your chapel painted in one fashion, but your
ape chooses to have it done in another.' Then, relating the story, he
added: 'There was no need whatever for your lordship to send to foreign
parts for a painter, since you had the master in your house; but perhaps
he did not know exactly how to mix the colors; however, as he is now
acquainted with the method, he can proceed without further help; I am no
longer required here, since we have discovered his talents, and will ask
no other reward for my labors, but your permission to return to
Florence.' Hearing all this, the bishop, although heartily vexed, could
not restrain his laughter; and the rather, as he remembered that he who
was thus tricked by an ape, was himself the most incorrigible trickster
in the world. However, when they had talked and laughed over this new
occurrence to their hearts' content, the bishop persuaded Buonamico to
remain; and the painter agreed to set himself to work for the third
time, when the chapel was happily completed. But the ape, for his
punishment, and in expiation of the crimes he had committed, was shut up
in a strong wooden cage, and fastened on the platform where Buonamico
worked; there he was kept till the whole was finished; and no
imagination could conceive the leaps and flings of the creature thus
enclosed in his cage, nor the contortions he made with his feet, hands,
muzzle, and whole body, at the sight of others working, while he was not
permitted to do anything."


"When the works of the chapel before mentioned, were completed, the
bishop ordered Buonamico--either for a jest, or for some other cause--to
paint, on one of the walls of his palace, an eagle on the back of a
lion, which the bird had killed. The crafty painter, having promised to
do all that the bishop desired, caused a stout scaffolding and screen of
wood-work to be made before the building, saying that he could not be
seen to paint such a thing. Thus prepared, and shut up alone within his
screen, Buonamico painted the direct contrary of what the bishop had
required--a lion, namely, tearing an eagle to pieces; and, having
painted the picture, he requested permission from the bishop to repair
to Florence, for the purpose of seeking certain colors needful to his
work. He then locked up the scaffold, and departed to Florence,
resolving to return no more to the bishop. But the latter, after waiting
some time, and finding that the painter did not reappear, caused the
scaffolding to be taken down, and discovered that Buonamico had been
making a jest of him. Furious at this affront, Guido condemned the
artist to banishment for life from his dominions; which, when Buonamico
learnt, he sent word to the bishop that he might do his worst,
whereupon the bishop threatened him with fearful consequences. Yet
considering afterwards that he had been tricked, only because he had
intended to put an affront upon the painter, Bishop Guido forgave him,
and even rewarded him liberally for his labors. Nay, Buffalmacco was
again invited to Arezzo, no long time after, by the same prelate, who
always treated him as a valued servant and familiar friend, confiding
many works in the old cathedral to his care, all of which, unhappily,
are now destroyed. Buonamico also painted the apsis of the principal
chapel in the church of San Giustino in Arezzo."

In the notes of the Roman and other earlier editions of Vasari, we are
told that the lion being the insignia of Florence, and the eagle, that
of Arezzo, the bishop designed to assert his own superiority over the
former city, he being lord of Arezzo; but later commentators affirm,
that Guido, being a furious Ghibelline, intended rather to offer an
affront to the Guelfs, by exalting the eagle, which was the emblem of
his party, over the lion, that of the Guelfs.


Buffalmacco is generally considered the inventor of label painting, or
the use of a label drawn from the mouth to represent it speaking; but it
was practiced by Cimabue, and probably long before his time, in Italy.
Pliny tells us that it was practiced by the early Greek painters.
Vasari says that Buffalmacco was invited to Pisa, where he painted many
pictures in the Abbey of St. Paul, on the banks of the Arno, which then
belonged to the monks of Vallambrosa. He covered the entire surface of
the church, from the roof to the floor, with histories from the Old
Testament, beginning with the creation of man and continuing to the
building of the Tower of Babel. In the church of St. Anastasia, he also
painted certain stories from the life of that saint, "in which," says
Vasari, "are very many beautiful costumes and head-dresses of women,
painted with a charming grace of manner." Bruno de Giovanni, the friend
and pupil of Buonamico, was associated with him in this work. He too, is
celebrated by Boccaccio, as a man of joyous memory. When the stories on
the façade were finished, Bruno painted in the same church, an
altar-piece of St. Ursula, with her company of virgins. In one hand of
the saint, he placed a standard bearing the arms of Pisa--a white cross
on a field of red; the other is extended towards a woman, who, climbing
between two rocks, has one foot in the sea, and stretches out both hands
towards the saint, in the act of supplication. This female form
represents Pisa. She bears a golden horn upon her head, and wears a
mantle sprinkled over with circlets and eagles. Being hard pressed by
the waves, she earnestly implores succor of the saint.

While employed on this work, Bruno complained that his faces had not
the life and expression which distinguished those of Buonamico, when the
latter, in his playful manner, advised him to paint words proceeding
from the mouth of the woman supplicating the saint, and in like manner
those proceeding from the saint in reply. "This," said the wag, "will
make your figures not only life-like, but even eloquently expressive."
Bruno followed this advice; "And this method," says Vasari, "as it
pleased Bruno and other dull people of that day, so does it equally
satisfy certain simpletons of our own, who are well served by artists as
commonplace as themselves. It must, in truth, be allowed to be an
extraordinary thing that a practice thus originating in jest, and in no
other way, should have passed into general use; insomuch that even a
great part of the Campo Santo, decorated by much esteemed masters, is
full of this absurdity." This picture is now in the Academy of the Fine
Arts at Pisa.


The works of Buffalmacco greatly pleased the good people of Pisa, who
gave him abundant employment; yet he and his boon companion Bruno,
merrily squandered all they had earned, and returned to Florence, as
poor as when they left that city. Here they also found plenty of work.
They decorated the church of S. Maria Novella with several productions
which were much applauded, particularly the Martyrdom of St. Maurice
and his companions, who were decapitated for their adherence to the
faith of Christ. The picture was designed by Buonamico, and painted by
Bruno, who had no great power of invention or design. It was painted for
Guido Campere, then constable of Florence, whose portrait was introduced
as St. Maurice.--The martyrs are led to execution by a troop of
soldiers, armed in the ancient manner, and presenting a very fine
spectacle. "This picture," says Vasari, "can scarcely be called a very
fine one, but it is nevertheless worthy of consideration as well for the
design and invention of Buffalmacco, as for the variety of vestments,
helmets, and other armor used in those times; and from which I have
myself derived great assistance in certain historical paintings,
executed for our lord, the Duke Cosmo, wherein it was necessary to
represent men armed in the ancient manner, with other accessories
belonging to that period; and his illustrious excellency, as well as all
else who have seen these works, have been greatly pleased with them;
whence we may infer the valuable assistance to be obtained from the
inventions and performances of the old master, and the mode in which
great advantages may be derived from them, even though they may not be
altogether perfect; for it is these artists who have opened the path to
us, and led the way to all the wonders performed down to the present
time, and still being performed even in these of our days."


While Buonamico was employed at Florence, a countryman came and engaged
him to paint a picture of St. Christopher for his parish church; the
contract was, that the figure should be twelve braccia in length,[B] and
the price eight florins. But when the painter proceeded to look at the
church for which the picture was ordered, he found it but nine braccia
high, and the same in length; therefore, as he was unable to paint the
saint in an upright position he represented him reclining, bent the legs
at the knees, and turned them up against the opposite wall. When the
work was completed, the countryman declared that he had been cheated,
and refused to pay for it. The matter was then referred to the
authorities, who decided that Buffalmacco had performed his contract,
and ordered the stipulated payment to be made.

[Footnote B: The braccio, (arm, cubit) is an Italian measure which
varies in length, not only in different parts of Italy, but also
according to the thing measured. In Parma, for example, the braccio for
measuring silk is 23 inches, for woolens and cottons 25 and a fraction,
while that for roads and buildings is 21 only. In Siena, the braccio for
cloth is 14 inches, while in Florence it is 23, and in Milan it is 39
inches, English measure.]

The writer of these pages, in his intercourse with artists, has met with
incidents as comical as that just related of Buonamico. Some artists
proceed to paint without having previously designed, or even sketched
out their subject on the canvass. We know an artist, who painted a fancy
portrait of a child, in a landscape, reclining on a bank beside a
stream; but when he had executed the landscape, and the greater part of
the figure, he found he had not room in his canvass to get the feet in;
so he turned the legs up in such a manner, as to give the child the
appearance of being in great danger of sliding into the water. We
greatly offended the painter by advising him to drive a couple of stakes
into the bank to prevent such a catastrophe. Another artist, engaged in
painting a full-length portrait, found, when he had got his picture
nearly finished, that his canvass was at least four inches too short.
"What shall I do," said the painter to a friend, "I have not room for
the feet." "Cover them up with green grass," was the reply. "But my
background represents an interior." "Well, hay will do as well."
"Confound your jokes; a barn is a fine place to be sure for fine
carpets, fine furniture, and a fine gentleman. I'll tell you what I'll
do; I'll place one foot on this stool, and hide the other beneath this
chair." He did so, but the figure looked all body and no legs, and the
sitter refused to take the portrait.


The Perugians engaged Buonamico to decorate their market-place with a
picture of the patron saint of the city. Having erected an enclosure of
planks and matting, that he might not be disturbed in his labors, the
painter commenced his operations. Ten days had scarcely elapsed before
every one who passed by enquired with eager curiosity, "when the picture
would be finished?" as though they thought such works could be cast in a
mould. Buffalmacco, wearied and disgusted at their impatient outcries,
resolved on a bit of revenge. Therefore, keeping the work still
enclosed, he admitted the Perugians to examine it, and when they
declared themselves satisfied and delighted with the performance, and
wished to remove the planks and matting, Buonamico requested that they
would permit them to remain two days longer as he wished to retouch
certain parts when the painting was fully dry. This was agreed to; and
Buonamico instantly mounting his scaffold, removed the great gilt diadem
from the head of the saint, and replaced it with a coronet of gudgeons.
This accomplished, he paid his host, and set off to Florence.

Two days having past, and the Perugians not seeing the painter going
about as they were accustomed to do, inquired of his host what had
become of him, and learning that he had left the city, they hastened to
remove the screen that concealed the picture, when they discovered their
saint solemnly crowned with gudgeons. Their rage now knew no bounds, and
they instantly despatched horsemen in pursuit of Buonamico,--but in
vain--the painter having found shelter in Florence. They then set an
artist of their own to remove the crown of fishes and replace the gilded
diadem, consoling themselves for the affront, by hurling maledictions at
the head of Buonamico and every other Florentine.


Buffalmacco painted a fresco at Calcinaia, representing the Virgin with
the Child in her arms. But the man for whom it was executed, only made
fair promises in place of payment. Buonamico was not a man to be trifled
with or made a tool of; therefore, he repaired early one morning to
Calcinaia, and turned the child in the arms of the Holy Virgin into a
young bear. The change being soon discovered, caused the greatest
scandal, and the poor countryman for whom it was painted, hastened to
the painter, and implored him to remove the cub and replace the child as
before, declaring himself ready to pay all demands. This Buonamico
agreed to do on being paid for the first and second painting, which last
was only in water colors, when with a wet sponge, he immediately
restored the picture to its peristine beauty. The Editors of the
Florentine edition of Vasari, (1846) say that "in a room of the priory
of Calcinaia, are still to be seen the remains of a picture on the
walls, representing the Madonna with the Child in her arms, and other
saints, evidently a work of the 14th century; and a tradition preserved
to this day, declares that painting to be the one alluded to by our


This old Florentine painter was born in 1301. He was the grandson and
disciple of Giotto, whom, according to Vasari, he greatly excelled in
every department of art. From his close imitations of nature, he was
called by his fellow citizens, "Stefano the Ape," (ape of nature.) He
was the first artist who attempted to show the naked under his
draperies, which were loose, easy, and delicate. He established the
rules of perspective, little known at that early period, on more
scientific principles. He was the first who attempted the difficult task
of foreshortening. He also succeeded better than any of his
cotemporaries in giving expression to his heads, and a less Gothic turn
to his figures. He acquired a high reputation, and executed many works,
in fresco and distemper, for the churches and public edifices of
Florence, Rome, and other cities, all of which have perished, according
to Lanzi, except a picture of the Virgin and Infant Christ in the Campo
Santo at Pisa. He died in 1350.


Tommaso Stefano, called II Giottino, the son and scholar of Stefano
Fiorentino, was born at Florence in 1324. According to Vasari, he
adhered so closely to the style of Giotto, that the good people of
Florence called him Giottino, and averred that the soul of his great
ancestor had transmigrated and animated him. There are some frescoes by
him, still preserved at Assissi, and a Dead Christ with the Virgin and
St. John, in the church of S. Remigio at Florence, which so strongly
partake of the manner of Giotto as to justify the name bestowed upon him
by his fellow citizens. He died in the flower of his life at Florence in


This old painter was born at Florence in 1349, and was a disciple of
Antonio Veneziano. His name was Mazzocchi, but being very celebrated as
a painter of animals, and especially so of birds, of which last he
formed a large collection of the most curious, he was called Uccello
(bird). He was one of the first painters who cultivated perspective.
Before his time buildings had not a true point of perspective, and
figures appeared sometimes as if falling or slipping off the canvass. He
made this branch so much his hobby, that he neglected other essential
parts of the art. To improve himself he studied geometry with Giovanni
Manetti, a celebrated mathematician. He acquired great distinction in
his time and some of his works still remain in the churches and convents
of Florence. In the church of S. Maria Novella are several fresco
histories from the Old Testament, which he selected for the purpose of
introducing a multitude of his favorite objects, beasts and birds; among
them, are Adam and Eve in Paradise, Noah entering the Ark, the Deluge,
&c. He painted battles of lions, tigers, serpents, &c, with peasants
flying in terror from the scene of combat. He also painted landscapes
with figures, cattle and ruins, possessing so much truth and nature,
that Lanzi says "he may be justly called the Bassano of his age." He was
living in 1436. Vasari places his birth in 1396-7, and his death in
1479, but later writers have proved his dates to be altogether


"Paolo Uccello employed himself perpetually and without any
intermission," says Vasari, "in the consideration of the most difficult
questions connected with art, insomuch that he brought the method of
preparing the plans and elevations of buildings, by the study of linear
perspective, to perfection. From the ground plan to the cornice, and
summit of the roof, he reduced all to strict rules, by the convergence
of intersecting lines, which he diminished towards the centre, after
having fixed the point of view higher or lower, as seemed good to him;
he labored, in short, so earnestly in these difficult matters that he
found means, and fixed rules, for making his figures really to seem
standing on the plane whereon they were placed; not only showing how in
order manifestly to draw back or retire, they must gradually be
diminished, but also giving the precise manner and degree required for
this, which had previously been done by chance, or effected at the
discretion of the artist, as he best could. He also discovered the
method of turning the arches and cross-vaulting of ceilings, taught how
floors are to be foreshortened by the convergence of the beams; showed
how the artist must proceed to represent the columns bending round the
sharp corners of a building, so that when drawn in perspective, they
efface the angle and cause it to seem level. To pore over all these
matters, Paolo would remain alone, almost like a hermit, shut up in his
house for weeks and months without suffering himself to be approached."


Uccello was employed to decorate one of the cloisters of the monastery
of San Miniato, situated without the city of Florence, with subjects
from the lives of the Holy Fathers. While he was engaged on these works,
the monks gave him scarcely anything to eat but cheese, of which the
painter soon became tired, and being shy and timid, he resolved to go no
more to work in the cloister. The prior sent to enquire the cause of his
absence, but when Paolo heard the monks asking for him, he would never
be at home, and if he chanced to meet any of the brothers of that order
in the street, he gave them a wide berth. This extraordinary conduct
excited the curiosity of the monks to such a degree that one day, two of
the brothers, more swift of foot than the rest, gave chase to Paolo, and
having, cornered him, demanded why he did not come to finish the work
according to his agreement, and wherefore he fled at the sight of one of
their body. "Faith," replied the painter, "you have so murdered me, that
I not only run away from you, but dare not stop near the house of any
joiner, or even pass by one; and all this owing to the bad management of
your abbot; for, what with his cheese-pies, and cheese-soup, he has made
me swallow such a mountain of cheese, that I am all turned into cheese
myself, and tremble lest the carpenters should seize me, to make their
glue of me; of a certainty had I stayed any longer with you, I should be
no more Paolo, but a huge lump of cheese." The monks, bursting with
laughter, went their way, and told the story to their abbot, who at
length prevailed on Uccello to return to his work on condition that he
would order him no more dishes made of cheese.


Uccello was a man of very eccentric character and peculiar habits; but
he was a great lover of art, and applauded those who excelled in any of
its branches. He painted the portraits of five distinguished men, in
one oblong picture, that he might preserve their memory and features to
posterity. He kept it in his own house, as a memorial of them, as long
as he lived. In the time of Vasari, it was in the possession of Giuliano
da Sangallo. At the present day, (Editor's Florentine edition of Vasari,
1846) all trace of this remarkable picture is lost. The first of these
portraits was that of the painter Giotto, as one who had given new light
and life to art; the second, Fillippo Brunelleschi, distinguished for
architecture; the third, Donatello, eminent for sculpture; the fourth,
Uccello himself, for perspective and animals; and the fifth was his
friend Giovanni Manetti, for the mathematics.


It is related, says Vasari, of this master, that being commissioned to
paint a picture of St. Thomas seeking the wound in the side of Christ,
above the door of the church dedicated to that saint, in the Mercato
Vecchio, he declared that he would make known in that work, the extent
of what he had acquired and was capable of producing. He accordingly
bestowed upon it the utmost care and consideration, and erected an
enclosure around the place that he might not be disturbed until it
should be completed. One day, his friend Donatello met him, and asked
him, "What kind of work is this of thine, that thou art shutting up so
closely?" Paolo replied, "Thou shalt see it some day; let that suffice
thee." Donatello would not press him, thinking that when the time came,
he should, as usual, behold a miracle of art. It happened one morning,
as he was in the Mercato Vecchio, buying fruit, he saw Paolo uncovering
his picture, and saluting him courteously, the latter anxiously demanded
what he thought of his work. Donatello having examined the painting very
closely, turned to the painter with a disappointed look, and said, "Why,
Paolo, thou art uncovering thy picture at the very moment when thou
shouldst be shutting it up from the sight of all!" These words so
grievously afflicted the painter, who at once perceived that he would be
more likely to incur derision from his boasted master-piece, than the
honor he had hoped for, that he hastened home and shut himself up,
devoting himself to the study of perspective, which, says Vasari, kept
him in poverty and depression till the day of his death. If this story
be true, Uccello must have painted the picture referred to in his old


The fame and success of Cimabue and Giotto, brought forth painters in
abundance, and created schools all over Italy. The church increasing in
power and riches, called on the arts of painting and sculpture, to add
to the beauty and magnificence of her sanctuaries; riches and honors
were showered on men whose genius added a new ray of grace to the
Madonna, or conferred a diviner air on St. Peter or St. Paul; and as
much of the wealth of Christendom found its way to Rome, the successors
of the apostles were enabled to distribute their patronage over all the
schools of Italy. Lanzi reckons fourteen schools of painting in Italy,
each of which is distinguished by some peculiar characteristics, as
follows: 1, the Florentine school; 2, the Sienese school; 3, the Roman
school; 4, the Neapolitan school; 5, the Venetian school; 6, the Mantuan
school; 7, the Modenese school; 8, the school of Parma; 9, the school of
Cremona; 10, the school of Milan; 11, the school of Bologna; 12, the
school of Ferrara; 13, the school of Genoa; 14, the school of Piedmont.
Of these, the Florentine, the Roman, and the Bolognese are celebrated
for their epic grandeur of composition; that of Siena for its poetic
taste; that of Naples for its fire; and that of Venice for the splendor
of its coloring.

Other writers make different divisions, according to style or country;
thus, Correggio, being by birth a Lombard, and the originator of a new
style, the name of the Lombard school has been conferred by many upon
the followers of his maxims, the characteristics of which are contours
drawn round and full, the countenances warm and smiling, the union of
the colors clear and strong, and the foreshortenings frequent, with a
particular attention to the chiaro-scuro. Others again, rank the artists
of Milan, Mantua Parma, Modena, and Cremona, under the one head of the
Lombard school; but Lanzi justly makes the distinctions before
mentioned, because their manners are very different. Writers of other
nations rank all these subdivisions under one head--the Italian school.
Lanzi again divides these schools into epochs, as they rose from their
infancy, to their greatest perfection, and again declined into
mannerism, or servile imitation, or as eminent artists rose who formed
an era in art. Thus writers speak of the schools of Lionardo da Vinci,
of Michael Angelo, of Raffaelle, of Correggio, of Titian, of the
Caracci, and of every artist who acquired a distinguished reputation,
and had many followers. Several great artists formed such a marked era
in their schools, that their names and those of their schools are often
used synonymously by many writers; thus, when they speak of the Roman
school, they mean that of Raffaelle; of the Florentine, that of Michael
Angelo; of Parma or Lombardy, that of Correggio; of Bologna, that of the
Caracci; but not so of the Venetian and Neapolitan schools, because the
Venetian school produced several splendid colorists, and that of Naples
as many, distinguished by other peculiarities. These distinctions should
be borne in mind in order rightly to understand writers, especially
foreigners, on Italian art.


Claude Joseph Vernet, the father of Carl Vernet, and the grandfather of
Horace, was born at Avignon in 1714. He was the son of Antoine Vernet,
an obscure painter, who foretold that he would one day render his family
illustrious in art, and gave him every advantage that his limited means
would permit. Such were the extraordinary talents he exhibited almost in
his infancy, that his father regarded him as a prodigy, and dreaming of
nothing but seeing him become the greatest historical painter of the
age, he resolved to send him to Rome; and having, by great economy,
saved a few louis d'or, he put them into Joseph's pocket, when he was
about eighteen years of age, and sent him off with a wagoner, who
undertook to conduct him to Marseilles.


The wonderful stories told about the early exhibitions of genius in many
celebrated painters are really true with respect to Joseph Vernet. In
his infancy, he exhibited the most extraordinary passion for painting.
He himself has related, that on his return from Italy, his mother gave
him some drawings which he had executed at the age of five years, when
he was rewarded by being allowed to use the pencils he had tried to
purloin. Before he was fifteen, he painted frieze-panels, fire-screens,
coach-panels, sedan chair-panels, and the like, whenever he could get a
commission; he also gave proof of that facility of conceiving and
executing, which was one of the characteristics of his genius.


It has been before stated that Vernet's father intended him for an
historical painter, but nature formed his genius to imitate her
sweetest, as well as most terrible aspect. When he was on his way to
Marseilles, he met with so many charming prospects, that he induced his
companion to halt so often while he sketched them, that it took them a
much longer time to reach that port than it would otherwise have done.

When he first saw the sea from the high hill, called La Viste, near
Marseilles, he stood wrapt in admiration. Before him stretched the blue
waters of the Mediterranean as far as the eye could reach, while three
islands, a few leagues from the shore, seemed to have been placed there
on purpose to break the uniformity of the immense expanse of waters, and
to gratify the eye; on his right rose a sloping town of country houses,
intersected with trees, rising above one another on successive terraces;
on his left was the little harbor of Mastigues; in front, innumerable
vessels rocked to and fro in the harbor of Marseilles, while the horizon
was terminated by the picturesque tower of Bouc, nearly lost, however,
in the distance. This scene made a lasting impression on Vernet. Nature
seemed not only to invite, but to woo him to paint marine subjects, and
from that moment his vocation was decided on. Thus nature frequently
instructs men of genius, and leads them on in the true path to
excellence and renown. Like the Æolian harp, which waits for a breath of
air to produce a sound, so they frequently wait or strive in vain, till
nature strikes a sympathetic chord, that vibrates to the soul. Thus
Joseph Vernet never thought of his forte till he first stood on La
Viste; and after that, he was nothing but a painter of ships and
harbors, and tranquil seas, till the day when lashed to the mast, he
first beheld the wild sea in such rude commotion, as threatened to
engulf the noble ship and all on board at every moment. Then his mind
was elevated to the grandeur of the scene; and he recollected forever
the minutest incident of the occasion.

"It was on going from Marseilles to Rome," says one of his biographers,
M. Pitra, "that Joseph Vernet, on seeing a tempest gathering, when they
were off the Island of Sardinia, was seized, not with terror, but with
admiration; in the midst of the general alarm, the painter seemed really
to relish the peril; his only desire was to face the tempest, and to be,
so to say, mixed up with it, in order that, some day or other, he might
astonish and frighten others by the terrible effects he would learn to
produce; his only fear was that he might lose the sight of a spectacle
so new to him. He had himself lashed to the main mast, and while he was
tossed about in every direction, saturated with seawater, and excited by
this hand-to-hand struggle with his model, he painted the tempest, not
on his canvass, but in his memory, which never forgot anything. He saw
and remembered all--clouds, waves, and rock, hues and colors, with the
motion of the boats and the rocking of the ship, and the accidental
light which intersected a slate-colored sky that served as a ground to
the whiteness of the sea-foam." But, according to D'Argenville and
others, this event occurred in 1752, when he was on his way to Paris, at
the invitation of Louis XV. Embarking at Leghorn in a small felucca, he
sailed to Marseilles. A violent storm happened on the voyage, which
greatly terrified some of the passengers, but Vernet, undaunted, and
struck with the grandeur of the scene, requested the sailors to lash him
to the mast head, and there he remained, absorbed in admiration, and
endeavoring to transfer to his sketch-book, a correct picture of the
sublime scene with which he was surrounded. His grandson, Horace Vernet,
painted an excellent picture of this scene, which was exhibited in the
Louvre in 1816, and attracted a great deal of attention.


Vernet arrived at Rome in 1732, and became the scholar of Bernardino
Fergioni, then a celebrated marine painter, but Lanzi says, "he was
soon eclipsed by Joseph Vernet, who had taken up his abode at Rome."
Entirely unknown in that metropolis of art, always swarming with
artists, Vernet lived for several years in the greatest poverty,
subsisting by the occasional sale of a drawing or picture at any price
he could get. He even painted panels for coach builders, which were
subsequently sawed out and sold as works of great value. Fiorillo
relates that he painted a superb marine for a suit of coarse clothes,
which brought 5000 francs at the sale of M. de Julienne. Finding large
pictures less saleable, he painted small ones, which he sold for two
sequins a-piece, till a Cardinal, one day gave him four louis d'or for a
marine. Yet his ardor and enthusiasm were unabated; on the contrary, he
studied with the greatest assiduity, striving to perfect himself in his
art, and feeling confident that his talents would ultimately command a
just reward.


It was the custom of Vernet to rise with the lark, and he often walked
forth before dawn and spent the whole day in wandering about the
surrounding country, to study the ever changing face of nature. He
watched the various hues presented by the horizon at different hours of
the day. He soon found that with all his powers of observation and
pencil, great and impassioned as they were, he could not keep pace with
the rapidly changing and evanescent hues of the morning and evening sky.
He began to despair of ever being able to represent on canvass the
moving harmony of those pictures which nature required so little time to
execute in such perfection, and which so quickly passed away. At length,
after long contemplating how he could best succeed in catching and
transferring these furtive tints to his canvass, bethought himself of a
contrivance which he called his Alphabet of tones, and which is
described by Renou in his "Art de Peindre."

The various characters of this alphabet are joined together, and
correspond to an equal number of different tints; if Vernet saw the sun
rise silvery and fresh, or set in the colors of crimson; or if he saw a
storm approaching or disappearing, he opened his table and set down the
gradations of the tones he admired, as quickly as he could write ten or
twelve letters on a piece of paper. After having thus noted down in
short hand, the beauties of the sky and the accidental effects of
nature, he returned to his studio, and endeavored to make stationary on
canvass the moving picture he had just been contemplating. Effects which
had long disappeared were thus recomposed in all their charming harmony
to delight the eye of every lover of painting.


Vernet relates, that he was once employed to paint a landscape, with a
cave, and St. Jerome in it; he accordingly painted the landscape, with
St. Jerome at the entrance of the cave. When he delivered the picture,
the purchaser, who understood nothing of perspective, said, "the
landscape and the cave are well made, but St. Jerome is not _in_ the
cave." "I understand you, Sir," replied Vernet, "I will alter it." He
therefore took the painting, and made the shade darker, so that the
saint seemed to sit farther in. The gentleman took the painting; but it
again appeared to him that the saint was not in the cave. Vernet then
wiped out the figure, and gave it to the gentleman, who seemed perfectly
satisfied. Whenever he saw strangers to whom he shewed the picture, he
said, "Here you see a picture by Vernet, with St. Jerome in the cave."
"But we cannot see the saint," replied the visitors. "Excuse me,
gentlemen," answered the possessor, "he is there; for _I_ have seen him
standing at the entrance, and afterwards farther back; and am therefore
quite sure that he is in it."


Far from confining himself within the narrow limits of one branch of his
profession, Vernet determined to take as wide a range as possible. At
Rome, he made the acquaintance of Lucatelli, Pannini, and Solimene. Like
them, he studied the splendid ruins of the architecture of ancient Rome,
and the noble landscapes of its environs, together with every
interesting scene and object, especially the celebrated cascades of
Tivoli. He paid particular attention to the proportions and attitudes of
his figures, which were mostly those of fishermen and lazzaroni, as well
as to the picturesque appearance of their costume. Such love of nature
and of art, such assiduous study of nature at different hours of the
day, of the phenomena of light, and such profound study of the numerous
accessories essential to beauty and effect, made an excellent landscape
painter of Vernet, though his fame rests chiefly on the unrivalled
excellence of his marine subjects. Diderot remarks, that "though he was
undoubtedly inferior to Claude Lorraine in producing bold and luminous
effects, he was quite equal to that great painter in rendering the
effects of vapor, and superior to him in the invention of scenes, in
designing figures, and in the variety of his incidents."

At a later period, Diderot compared his favorite painter to the Jupiter
of Lucian, who, tired of listening to the lamentable cries of mankind,
rose from table and exclaimed: 'Let it hail in Thrace!' and the trees
were immediately stripped of their leaves, the heaviest cut to pieces,
and the thatch of the houses scattered before the wind: then he said,
"Let the plague fall on Asia!" and the doors of the houses were
immediately closed, the streets were deserted, and men shunned one
another; and again he exclaimed: 'Let a volcano appear here!' and the
earth immediately shook, the buildings were thrown down, the animals
were terrified, and the inhabitants fled into the surrounding country;
and on his crying out: 'Let this place be visited with a death!' the old
husbandman died of want at his door. Jupiter calls that governing the
world, but he was wrong. Vernet calls it painting pictures, and he is

It was with reference to the twenty-five paintings exhibited by Vernet,
in 1765, that Diderot penned the foregoing lines, which formed the
peroration to an eloquent and lengthy eulogium, such as it rarely falls
to a painter to be the subject of. Among other things, the great critic
there says: "There is hardly a single one of his compositions which any
painter would have taken not less than two years to execute, however
well he might have employed his time. What incredible effects of light
do we not behold in them! What magnificent skies! what water! what
ordonnance! what prodigious variety in the scenes! Here, we see a child
borne off on the shoulders of his father, after having been saved from a
watery grave; while there, lies a woman dead upon the beach, with her
forlorn and widowed husband weeping at her side. The sea roars, the wind
bowls, the thunder fills the air with its peals, and the pale and
sombre glimmers of the lightning that shoots incessantly through the
sky, illuminate and hide the scene in turn. It appears as if you heard
the sides of the ship crack, so natural does it look with its broken
masts and lacerated sails; the persons on deck are stretching their
hands toward heaven, while others have thrown themselves into the sea.
The latter are swept by the waves against the neighboring rocks, where
their blood mingles with the white foam of the raging billows. Some,
too, are floating on the surface of the sea, some are about to sink, and
some are endeavoring to reach the shore, against which they will be
inevitably dashed to pieces. The same variety of character, action, and
expression is observable among the spectators, some of whom are turning
aside with a shudder, some are doing their utmost to assist the drowning
persons, while others remain motionless and are merely looking on. A few
persons have made a fire beneath a rock, and are endeavoring to revive a
woman, who is apparently expiring. But now turn your eyes, reader,
towards another picture, and you will there see a calm, with all its
charms. The waters, which are tranquil, smooth, and cheerful-looking,
insensibly lose their transparency as they extend further from the
sight, while their surface gradually assumes a lighter tint, as they
roll from the shore to the horizon. The ships are motionless, and the
sailors and passengers are whiling away the time in various amusements.
If it is morning, what light vapors are seen rising all around! and how
they have refreshed and vivified every object they have fallen on! If it
is evening, what a golden tint do the tops of the mountains assume! How
various, too, are the hues of the sky! And how gently do the clouds move
along, as they cast the reflection of their different colors into the
sea! Go, reader, into the country, lift your eyes up towards the azure
vault of heaven, observe well the phenomena you then see there, and you
will think that a large piece of the canvass lighted by the sun himself
has been cut out and placed upon the easel of the artist: or form your
hand into a tube, so that, by looking through it, you will only be able
to see a limited space of the canvass painted by nature, and you will at
once fancy that you are gazing on one of Vernet's pictures which has
been taken from off his easel and placed in the sky. His nights, too,
are as touching as his days are fine; while his ports are as fine as his
imaginative pieces are piquant. He is equally wonderful, whether he
employs his pencil to depict a subject of everyday life, or he abandons
himself completely to his imagination; and he is equally
incomprehensible, whether he employs the orb of day or the orb of night,
natural or artificial lights, to light his pictures with: he is always
bold, harmonious, and staid, like those great poets whose judgment
balances all things so well, that they are never either exaggerated or
cold. His fabrics, edifices, costumes, actions, men and animals are all
true. When near, he astonishes you, and, at a distance, he astonishes
you still more."


Vernet, notwithstanding he loved to depict the sea in its most convulsed
and terrible aspects, was a perfect gentleman of the French school,
whose manners were most amiable and engaging. What he most loved after
painting was music. He had formed at Rome, an intimate friendship with
Pergolesi, the composer, who afterwards became so celebrated, and they
lived almost continually together. Vernet placed a harpsichord in his
studio for the express use of his friend, and while the painter, carried
away by his imagination, put the waters of the mighty main into
commotion, or suspended persons on the towering waves, the grave
composer sought, with the tips of his fingers, for the rudiments of his
immortal melodies. It was thus that the melancholy stanzas of that _chef
d'oeuvre_ of sadness and sorrow, the _Stabat-Mater_, were composed for
a little convent in which one of Pergolesi's sisters resided. It seems
to one that while listening to this plaintive music, Vernet must have
given a more mellow tint to his painting; and it was, perhaps, while
under its influence, that he worked at his calms and moonlights, or,
making a truce with the roaring billows of the sea, painted it tranquil
and smooth, and represented on the shore nothing but motionless
fishermen, sailors seated between the carriages of two cannons, and
whiling away the time by relating their travels to one another, or else
stretched on the grass in so quiescent a state, that the spectator
himself becomes motionless while gazing on them.

Pergolesi died in the arms of Joseph Vernet, who could never after hear
the name of his friend pronounced, without being moved to tears. He
religiously preserved the scraps of paper, on which he had seen the
music of the _Stabat-Mater_ dotted down before his eyes, and brought
them with him to France in 1752, at which period he was sent for by the
Marquis de Marigny, after an absence of twenty years. Vernet's love for
music procured Grétry a hearty welcome, when the young composer came to
Paris. Vernet discovered his talent, and predicted his success. Some of
Grétry's features, his delicate constitution, and, above all, several of
his simple and expressive airs, reminded the painter of the immortal man
to whom music owes so large a portion of its present importance; for it
was Pergolesi who first introduced in Italy the custom of paying such
strict attention to the sense of the words and to the choice of the


Though Vernet rose to great distinction, he was never fully appreciated
till long after his decease. At the present day, he is placed in the
first rank of marine painters, not only by his own countrymen, but by
every other nation. He himself pronounced judgment on his own merits,
the justness of which, posterity has sanctioned. The sentence deserves
to be preserved, for it is great. Comparing himself to the great
painters, his rivals, he says, "If you ask me whether I painted skies
better than such and such an artist, I should answer 'no!' or figures
better than any one else, I should also say 'no!' or trees and
landscapes better than others, still I should answer 'no!' or fogs,
water, and vapors better than others, my answer would ever be the same
but though _inferior to each of them in one branch of the art, I surpass
them in all the others_."


The Marquis de Marigny, like his sister, Madame de Pompadour, loved and
protected the arts. It was mainly through his influence that Vernet was
invited to Paris in 1752, and commissioned to paint the sea-ports of
France. No one could have been found better fitted for the ungrateful
task, which, though offering so few resources, required so much
knowledge. Thus imprisoned in official programme, Vernet must have felt
ill at ease, if we may judge from a letter which he wrote to the Marquis
at a subsequent period, with respect to another order. Indeed, the truth
of his remarks were verified in the very series just mentioned, which
are not considered among his happiest productions. The following is the
main part of the letter referred to, dated May 6th, 1765:

     "I am not accustomed to make sketches for my pictures. My general
     practice is to compose on the canvass of the picture I am about to
     execute, and to paint it immediately, while my imagination is still
     warm with conception; the size, too, of my canvas tells me at once
     what I have to do, and makes me compose accordingly. I am sure, if
     I made a sketch beforehand, that I should not only not put in it
     what might be in the picture, but that I should also throw into it
     all the fire I possess, and the larger picture would, in
     consequence, become cold. This would also be making a sort of copy,
     which it would annoy me to do. Thus, sir, after thoroughly weighing
     and examining everything, I think it best _that I should be left
     free to act as I like_. This is what I require from all those for
     whom I wish to do my best; and this is also what I beg your friend
     towards whom I am desirous of acting conscientiously, to let me do.
     He can tell me what size he wishes the picture to be, with the
     general subject of it, such as calm, tempest, sun-rise, sun-set,
     moon-light, landscape, marine-piece, etc., but nothing more.
     Experience has taught me that, when I am constrained by the least
     thing, I always succeed worse than generally.

     "If you wish to know the usual prices of my pictures, they are as
     follows:--For every one four feet wide, and two and a half, or
     three high, £60, for every one three feet wide, and of a
     proportionate height, £48; for every one two feet and a half wide
     £40; for every one two feet wide, £32; and for every one eighteen
     inches wide, £24, with larger or smaller ones as required; but it
     is as well to mention that I succeed much better with the large


Antoine Charles Horace Vernet was the son of Claude Joseph Vernet, and
born at Bordeaux in 1758. He acquired distinction as a painter, and was
made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and of the order of St Michael.
He chiefly excelled in battle and parade pieces of large dimensions; and
he thus commemorated the battles of Rivoli, Marengo, Austerlitz, Wagram,
the Departure of the Marshals, and other events of French history which
occurred during his artistical career. More pleasing to many are his
smaller pictures, mostly referring to battles and camps. He was
uncommonly successful in depicting the horse, and there are numerous
equestrian portraits by him, which are greatly admired. His studies from
nature, and his hunting pieces, for vivacity, spirit, and boldness of
conception, are only rivaled by those of his son Horace. Many of his
works have been lithographed; the twenty-eight plates in folio,
illustrating the Campaign of Bonaparte in Italy, are esteemed among his
most successful efforts. He died in 1836.


A short time before his death, Charles Vernet, having some business to
transact with one of the public functionaries, called at his office and
sent in his card. The minister left him waiting two whole hours in the
anteroom before he admitted him to his presence, when the business was
quickly dispatched. Meeting Vernet at a soiree soon afterwards, the
minister apologized for his _apparent_ neglect, which not appearing very
satisfactory to the veteran painter, he mildly rebuked him by observing,
"It is of no consequence, sir, but permit me to say that I think a
little more respect should have been shown to the son of Joseph and the
father of Horace Vernet."


A Norman priest, who lived in the middle of the seventeenth century,
named the Abbé Malotru, was remarkably deformed in his figure, and
ridiculous in his dress. One day, while he was performing mass, he
observed a smile of contempt on the face of M. de Lasson, which
irritated him so much that the moment the service was over, he
instituted a process against him. Lasson possessed the talent of
caricature drawing: he sketched a figure of the ill-made priest,
accoutred, as he used to be, in half a dozen black caps over one
another, nine waistcoats, and as many pair of breeches. When the court
before whom he was cited urged him to produce his defense, he suddenly
exhibited his Abbé Malotru, and the irresistible laughter which it
occasioned insured his acquittal.


In the early part of Frank Hals' life, to accommodate his countrymen,
who were sparing both of their time and money, he painted portraits for
a low price at one sitting in a single hour. Vandyke on his way to Rome,
passing through the place, sat his hour as a stranger to the rapid
portrait painter. Hals had seen some of the works of Vandyke, but was
unacquainted with his person. When the picture was finished, Vandyke,
assuming a silly manner, said it appeared to be easy work, and that he
thought he could do it. Hals, thinking to have some fun, consented to
sit an hour precisely by the clock, and not to rise or look at what he
fully expected to find a laughable daub. Vandyke began his work; Hals
looked like a sitter. At the close, the wag rose with all his risible
muscles prepared for a hearty laugh; but when he saw the splendid
sketch, he started, looked, and exclaimed, "You must be either Vandyke
or the Devil!"

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors  and Architects, and Curiosities of Art, (Vol. 2 of 3)" ***

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