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were beyond the powers of the pencil*! The great works. of Parrhasius were, his satirical picture of the Athenian people, and his portrait of Theseus, which were placed in the Roman capitol after the conquest of Greece. The great ornament of the Athenian school, was Aristides. Pliny gives an elaborate description of his picture of a besieged town. The place is carried by assault; the soldiers spare neither sex, nor age, nor infancy; and amongst the melancholy subjects that fill the picture, is a young mother still in the bloom of beauty, who, , to escape the brutality of the besiegers, has thrown herself from a battlement with an infant in her arms. On recovering in some measure from her fall, her first instinct is to administer the breast to the infant ; but she has been mortally wounded in that part by the sword of the enemy before she escaped, and her blood mingles with the maternal aliment. The infant manifests the utmost desire for its food, and the anguish of the mother far exceeds that of Niobe herself. Aristides, says Pliny, in this painting, surpassed the eloquence of Demosthenes, and the pathos of Euripides.

The Greek painters generally chose simple subjects, and their groupes were few. In some of their historical subjects, however, their compositions were as complex as those styled in Italian painting machinosi. The painting of the battle of Salamis by Aristides, contained at least a hundred figures. The art is said by Strabo to have arrived at its last perfection under Apelles, who followed him. Italian art had a similar destiny. Corregio followed Raffaelle, as Apelles followed Aristides. Apelles shone in the delineation of female beauty. His Venus rising from the ocean, (the prototype of the statue known by the name of Anaduomene,) his Alexander the Great as Jupiter Ammon, his Diana surrounded by the nymphs of Cynthus, a subject taken from Homer, are highly eulogized by the ancient writers for the exquisite grace, the soft, resistless charms of the goddesses, and the stern grandeur and heroic port of the Macedonian. His celebrated picture of Calumny, for the description of which we are indebted to Lucian, was an allegorical painting as beautifully finished as it was happily imagined. This great artist paid equal attention to the mechanical and the imaginative parts of painting. He laboured with intense diligence, and finished with the utmost precision. Coeval with Apelles and Aristides was Protogenes, who is said

* Caput Agamemnonis involvendo, nonne summi meroris acerbitatem arte exprimi non posse confessus est ? Valer. Max. I. 3.

to have finished his pieces too highly. His master-piece was the Jalissus, the founder of Rhodes, for which the public honours of the city were decreed to him. He was so intensely occupied with this picture, that he took no other food than a few peas ready boiled during its progress, that he might not be liable to the interruptions of regular meals. It was in this work, that trying to paint the foam of a dog panting with heat, and not succeeding to his wish after several efforts, he threw his crayons at the picture in despair. Accident effected what skill could not achieve, and the foam of the animal found an exact delineation.

The Greeks had their Flemish painters. Pereicus sacrificed the ideal beauty of the art to skilful and exact painting. His subjects were low, but he acquired great reputation. Serapion was the Claude of antiquity. Like that illustrious modern, he embellished his landscape with a beautiful sky, and with elegant pieces of architecture; but, like Claude, he was compelled to call in the aid of another artist to execute his figures. The school which illustrated the age of Alexander, as well as that of Phidias at Athens, had, according to Count Orloff, the blended characteristics of the Roman, the Florentine, and the Bologna schools, and were worthy of the glory acquired by the Carracci, Guido, and Corregio; but these are whirling

words,' and, as applied to a subject upon which there are no data of comparison, worse than indefinite. Pausias, Phidias, (also a painter,) Euphranor, Nicias, who excelled in chiaro oscuro, are followed by a long list, of whom nothing but the names survive. Among these was Polygnotus, of whose works we know nothing. He had, however, arrived at the summit of human reputation. The Amphyctionic council, in gratitude for his historical pictures illustrative of the great deeds of Greece, decreed him public thanks, and came to a vote which ordered every town through which he passed, to lodge and board him at the public expense.

The state of the art among the ancient Romans, may be rapidly dismissed. They cannot be said to have had a school. When foreign conquests had introduced foreign luxuries, the chefs d'æuvre of the Greek painters were among them. Their painters and sculptors were slaves, for these arts were esteemed beneath the dignity of free-citizens. Yet they loved what they thought it beneath them to execute. The surname of Pictor, given to Fabius, who embellished the temple of Saius on the Quirinal hill, was one of derision. His works, which were frescoes, were destroyed in the reign of Claudius, by a fire which broke out in that edifice. We are ignorant of the subjects of his pencil. Not another Roman artist is mentioned till forty years afterwards; viz. the artist, his name has not been preserved, who painted the taking of Carthage.

Pacuvius, the comic poet, was also a painter : he embellished the temple of Hercules in the Boarium. From his age, down to that of Pliny, not a single name occurs but Turpilius, a Roman knight, who painted with his left hand. Aurelius acquired some celebrity about the period of the triumvirate. 'T'he patronage of Augustus warmed a few indigenous artists into life, but they are of little note. From Augustus to Nero, a painter named 'Amulius is the only name that is mentioned. He was employed by Nero to embellish the Golden Palace, but his works perished when that edifice was burned. Two artists, Cornelius Pinus and Accius Priscus, flourished under the reigns of Vespasian and Titus : Pliny eulogizes the latter. Corinth, Athens, Sicily, filled the galleries of Rome with their treasures. By a sumptuary law of Augustus, private citizens were prohibited from collecting statues and pictures, which were declared public property, and dedicated to the decorations of temples, baths, and basilica. The discoveries of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and the baths of Titus, where the celebrated Aldobrandini paintings were found, have fortunately enabled us to form a tolerably correct conception of Roman painting ; a subject on which we must be permitted to make a remark or two, Count Orloff having, to our great surprise, passed it over in complete silence, and contented himself with a dry and barren nomenclature. It is an obscure topic, but not wholly incapable of elucidation.

The great works of Grecian art were, as we have remarked, exclusively appropriated to public edifices ; but the houses, the villæ, and the thermæ of the Romans were profusely decorated with paintings. Whoever has visited the baths of Titus, the cielings and walls of which are still adorned with the most exquisite productions of the Roman pencil, will not hesitate to protest against the vulgar notion that they had not advanced beyond the infancy of the art. The paintings in arabesque, found among

the ruins alluded to, even in the present faded state of their colours, and with a great part of their outlines almost obliterated, are executed with a grace, freedom, correctness of design, and command of pencil, worthy of the warmest admiration. In these paintings, all the varied forms of beauty, fauns, bacchantes, loves and graces, wreaths of flowers and groupes of the loveliest imagery, are assembled and arranged with the happiest combination. They served Raffaelle as a school of art, and they were the constant study of N. Poussin, who transferred them into his own learned compositions. In those specimens, however, two grand defects are observable.

First, the violation of lineal perspective, all the figures being in relief on the same plane; secondly, the want of light and shadow, in which the Grecian artists excelled, -that magic of chiaroscuro, which produces so much of the effect of modern painting.

It is, perhaps, true, that, in appreciating the exquisite arabesques in the baths of Titus or the corridors of Hadrian's villa, and the paintings taken from the walls of Pompeii, we are unconsciously biassed by the charm of antiquity : while we gaze at the unimpaired outline and brilliancy of colour preserved through so long a succession of ages, we naturally lend them a beauty not their own, and contemplate them with feelings which no production of yesterday, how perfect soever, would awaken. This may be so. Yet, who can deny them the merits of truth, freedom, and correctness of design? From the specimens of Roman painting at present visible, it may, however, be inferred, that they were wholly ignorant of landscape-painting. The few designs of landscapes found at Pompeii, are scarcely one degree above the drawings on a china plate. But we ought, in estimating the merits of ancient painting, to remember that those specimens are not probably of the first order. Arabesques covering an immense extent of rooms and passages, were intended for general ornamental effect only, and ought not to be rigorously tried as productions of individual excellence. Arabesques were designed chiefly for architectural decoration. They belonged, therefore, to the humblest and most unambitious department of the art. And if we could for a single moment conceive the violent improbability, that the great masters of the day had condescended to embellish the humble dwellings of a distant sea-port like Pompeii, or to paint by the acre the long series of buildings that composed the Therma of Titus, how could their powers be exhibited on the small scale and restricted plan of this class of painting ? What would have been the fame of Raffaelle, if he had bequeathed to posterity nothing but his arabesques ? What are they, when compared to the immortal frescoes of his Camere?' But the supposition is absurd. The great extent of the baths of Titus, and the rapidity (as it appears from Suetonius) with which they were executed, are conclusive proofs that they were not produced by the labours of one, two, or more superior artists. They must have been the work of a multitude of painters. The general equality that reigns through the whole, is a decisive proof that the hand of no pre-eminent master was employed in the specimens of which any relics still remain to us. If, however, as there is such ample reason to infer, the painting

called the Nozze Aldobrandini* (so called from the gallery to which it originally belonged) was adequate, from its classic beauty of design, composition, and expression, to the formation of an artist like Poussin; if most of those which were found at Herculaneum and Pompeii were of not inferior excellence; and if, as it is natural to infer, they were all the works of artists of mediocrity only ;—it is an equally natural inference, that a certain perfection, and a correct knowledge of the most important principles of painting, were generally diffused among the Romans. The best works of the first masters must have peen of the highest class of excellence. If these were painted by obscure and undistinguished artists, what must have been the perfection of those painters who, as Pliny tells us, rivalled the fame of Apelles and Zeuxis?

We have been induced to linger the longer on the subject of ancient art, and to follow Count Orloff with the more minuteness through his nomenclature, as it is that part of a hackneyed tale which is the least familiar to general readers. We shall pursue him now with lighter steps, and we are the more indisposed to an analytic examination of his volumes, inasmuch as the history of Painting in Italy came under our notice two years ago, when we reviewed the flippant and rambling work of the Count de Stendahl on the same subject." Nor was a new work of this kind at all a desideratum. Vasari, as far as he goes, Lanzi's Storia Pittorica, and our own dictionaries of painters, would have supplied all the intimations that can be fairly required.

The frescoes found in the catacombs were executed for the most part in the early periods of the Christian Church. Many of them, like the Lusiad of Camoens, mingle heathen fables with Christian history. From the fifth century, the art underwent a rapid degeneracy. Nothing can equal the bad taste of the paintings found in the vast catacombs of Italy and Sicily.. A hard redness like that of brick-dust, thick, dingy tints, a deadly cadaverous whiteness, were the colours expended by the artist on those sacred subjects which, in the hands of Raffaelle, or of Guido, inspire with awe and delight.

• An opinion is still prevalent, and has long wandered, that Painting, as well as the other arts, had, soon after its first degradation under the later Roman emperors, ceased to exist altogether in Italy, the barbarians having given it the finishing stroke, by destroying the great master-pieces of antiquity. This opinion, like many others, taking its root in ignorance, was in a great measure owing

* It is to be still seen, as we are informed by a friend just arrived from Rome, at the house of Sr. Nelli, 152 Corso. + E. R. Vol. XVI. N. S.

p.

125.

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