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to the carelessness with which scholars and antiquaries have examined the contemporary histories of the barbarian invasions, the chronicles and lives of kings and saints of those anarchical and disastrous ages. We know that the Goths had kings, who repressed the devastations of the countries they overran, and that Theodore, among others, paid a species of homage to the arts, not only by preserving the monuments of Greek genius then extant in Italy, but in causing new works to be executed in that country, particularly at Ravenna, where he resided. Among these are the paintings executed by order of Queen Theodolinda on her palace walls at Monza in the Milanese, historical representations of some of the exploits of her nation. Muratori and Tiraboschi have noticed these specimens of art in the middle ages; and engravings of them have been published by Ciampini.
• The iconoclasts did not work such complete mischief to the arts, as is commonly supposed. A great number of ecclesiastics, who combined the cultivation of the arts with the duties of their calling, fled to Rome about this period, from Constantinople, where a fierce and intolerant fanaticism, not content with destroying images, butchered those individuals in whose possession they were found. The popes received them. Monasteries were assigned to them, where they were equally assiduous in their religious duties and in the cultivation of painting. Modern Rome rose from the ruins of ancient Rome. Thanks to the signal concessions made by the temporal to the spiritual power, and which were so soon to be united, Rome was enriched with a number of new pictures, which adorned her palaces, her churches, and her catacombs : and if many of these subterraneous depositories had not fallen in, we should have had an immense series of frescoes, which, added to those still extant, would have enabled us to trace with more certainty, the history of the art during those ages.' Vol. I. pp. 88, 89.
For ourselves, we resign those monuments of art, as Count Orloff too courteously terms them, without the slightest regret. Our Author's remarks, however, upon mosaic painting, are worthy of notice.
• It is well known, that the ancients, endued with a character at once persevering and vain, prone to great enterprises, and determined on finishing whatever they began,- eager in some sort to prolong their memory, by monuments more capable of being preserved than the marble or bronze of the sculptor, and seeing how perishable and fragile are the productions of painting, though the only art through the medium of which, tints and colours could be communicated to the eye,-resolved that it should emulate sculpture itself in durabiliiy, and for that end composed pictures with stones of different colours. Hence the art of mosaic, called by the Romans, opus tessellatum. With small pieces of stone cut into cubes, square, round, triangular, &c. they produced a great variety of forms and colours, as well as of groupes and figures ;in short, they represented various mythological subjects before the Christian religion dominated, and many religious ones, after its establishment. By means of this laborious and tardy process, they hoped to save the art of painting from the shipwreck of time. Unfortunately, the art of mo saic was not employed on the great works of ancient art; but after the lapse of twenty centuries, it has been the medium by which the masterpieces of Raffaelle, Dominichino, the Carracci, and Corregio have been handed down to us. The Christian artists who, in the fourth and fifth centuries, devoted themselves to mosaic, at first selected the subjeéts of the old paintings discovered in the catacombs and the churches ; subjects taken from the Old and New Testaments. But they fell far short of their originals, and mosaic became as barbarous as painting itself. The best mosaics are of the fifth century; some of them are imitations of the bas-relievos of the column of Trajan. Ravenna had, from the fourth century, mosaics, the designs of which are much inferior; they are chiefly sacred subjects, such as the Ascension and the Sacrifice of Abraham : at last, they descended to a representation of the palace built by Theodoric. In the seventh century, mosaic was as barbarous as the painting of that age. In the mean while, Charlemagne conceived a great predilection for the mosaics, which he had first seen at Rome. Besides those which he caused to be executed in the basilica of Aix-la-Chapelle, he was himself the subject of one of the best of that period, in which profane traditions and scripture truths were fancifully combined. In the ninth century, the departure from the pure principles of art was still more flagrant. Several mosaics were executed in still worse taste, for the decoration of the inelegant churches of that age. The ancient genius had fled. Some Greek painters were invited afterwards by the Venetians to decorate their churches, and particularly their celebrated
edral of St. Mark. The greater part of these artists, called by the Italians mosaicisti, had practised their profession at Constantinople. In the twelfth century, an artist called Apollonio acquired great celebrity. In the thirteenth, the Tuscan painters distinguished themselves in sacred subjects. These artists displayed a visible improvement in correctness of design. At last, Gaddi, afterwards the pupil of Cimabue, the destined restorer of painting, revived at the same time the degenerated art of mosaic. Vol. I. pp. 100—6.
The dark ages produced artizans, rather than artists. Count Orloff observes with great propriety, that the Greek statues which abounded in Italy, first imparted to the Italian school of painters, that truth of design which is so essential to the art, and have since preserved them from the aberrations in which other schools have lost themselves. The Count is indebted, however, to Lanzi's History of Painting, not only for his materials and his arrangement, but for the greater part of his criticisms. He could not have relied upon a safer authority, but the utility of his work is rendered still more questionable by the fact. With Lanzi, our Author cites Giunta of Pisa, as the first restorer, in the twelfth century. Forty years after, appeared Cimabue. Lanzi calls him the Michael Angelo, and Giotto, who followed him, the Raffaelle of the time. Giotto at first imitated, but soon improved upon the manner of his
master, His Annunciation, however, retains the stiffness of design, the raw and glaring colour of the bad period of the art, But this was his first picture : he afterwards attained a more flowing outline, and introduced warmer carnations. It is said of Giotto, that Pope Benedict, being desirous of inviting good artists to Rome, sent to Giotto for a specimen of his painting. The only answer was, a simple circle traced on paper with a pencil. The Pope rightly interpreted it, and Giotto was invited to Rome. “Masacio constitutes a distinct epoch: he was the forerunner of a still more brilliant school. · Oil-painting was introduced about this period, and it is a memorable event in the progress of the art.
The Florentine school attained its highest glory in the fifteenth century-the age of Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Angelo, and Andrea del Sarto. These great names have been brought under our notice in a former article, and we must therefore leap over to the Roman school, and to its greatest ornament, Raffaelle, called by Lanzi, the Prince of Painters. His father was himself an artist of mediocrity; but Raffaelle inherited from him no portion of that greatness which was exclusively his own. He began to paint at seventeen years of age. His first picture was that in which he profanely ventured on the representation of the Supreme Being surrounded by angels. His first portrait of the Virgin was remarkable for the air of tenderness and sanctity he imparted to it. At Florence, he studied the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Angelo, &c., and learned perspective of Della Porta. What is called the second style of Raffaelle, was not acquired till his second visit to Florence four years after his first. His grandest picture painted in this manner, is the Holy Family, now in the palace Rinuccini. Vasari, with an Italian's enthusiasm, extols his Dead Christ by the epithet of • divinissimo. There are few figures ; but all seem to contribute to the majestic sorrow which pervades it. Raffaelle arrived at Rome in the meridian splendour of his genius, enlightened by study and experience.
• In the saloon of the Vatican, called Della Signatura, Raffaelle painted that beautiful allegory, the school of Athens. Plato, Alci. biades, Pythagoras, and Diogenes appear in this painting. Trebonius receives the civil code from Justinian; Gregory IX. presents his decretals to an advocate of the consistory. On the other side, Apollo is wandering over Parnassus with the Muses, Homer, Virgil, and Dante, while on the sea-shore, St. Augustine is meditating on the Holy Trinity, and in another corner, Archimedes is killed by a soldier at Syracuse, at the very moment when he was engaged in one of the greatest problems of philosophy,
• The vision of Heliodorus in the temple, which was painted for the second chamber of the Vatican, is, of all his compositions, the most sublime. The warrior who appears in a dream to Heliodorus, looks like the Jupiter of Phidias. Nothing can exceed the grandeur of his attitude, the awful expression of his countenance, the terrible effect of his hostile port and movement. We are inclined to believe that the weapon which be grasps
is thunder. His horse seems to neigh, and the figures in the temple, terrified at the affrighted looks of Heliodorus, without divining the cause of his terror, discover so much consternation and alarm, that we immediately perceive to what a high point the artist carried the expression of truth, and the ineffable graces and terrors of his genius. The figure of Onias was intended for Julius II. The first work painted by Raffaelle for Leo X. was the Deliverance of St. Peter. 'It was a slight allusion to the imprisonment of that Pontiffat Ravenna. It was here, almost for the first time, that he displayed the fullest knowledge of the art, and particularly his profound skill in light and shadow. The sentinels of the prison are lighted at once by the moon and a torch. But these lights fade before the divine light of the angel who is descending from heaven to release the holy captive. This light has all the brilliancy and clearness of that of the sun, and this triple effect shews the admirable conception of the painter. The stairs on which the sentinels are sinking into sleep, shews also the felicity with which he could graduate, soften, and spread his shadows.
• The Victory of the Christians at the Port of Ostia, entitles its author, says Lanzi, to the epic laurel. Coursers, warriors, the fury and the bustle of battle, eagerness for victory, the shame and dread of defeat, are all expressed in this picture by the creative omnipotence of genius. But the picture representing a fire in one of the suburbs of Rome, is still more terrific. Night has covered the city with her shadows, -the inhabitants are buried in sleep-when all at once cries seem to be heard, and the whole mass of people arises in consternation. The conflagration spreads from house to house, and Rome is enveloped in flame. Pity and terror are powerfully excited : women half naked are seen with infants in their arms, some of whom are lifting
up their eyes to heaven, imploring its compassion. The scene of Æneas and Anchises is introduced: a young man, inspired by filial affection, snatches his aged father from an edifice which is tottering to its fall, and bears him on his shoulders through the fire. Leo the Great appears in the distance on his palace, and from the top of the Vatican, full of Divine inspiration, pronounces his benediction, and the fire is extinguished.' 'Vol. I. pp. 199–199.
The history of Raffaelle and his works comprehends two distinct eras of the Roman school. The third dates from 1527, when the troops of the Constable of Bourbon committed their barbarous ravages in the Vatican. In this disturbance, some of the finest works of this great master suffered considerable damage. F. Sebastiano, wlio attempted to restore them, deserves the reproach cast at him by litian, of having destroyed
them. We agree with Count Orloff, that the decline of the school of Raffaelle some years after his death, was chiefly owing to the public calamities of Italy, which fell so heavily upon Rome. The caprices of public taste, the inconstancy of fashion, but above all, we are inclined to add, the total want of genius in the professed mannerists who came after him, accelerated its decay still more, towards the end of the seventeenth century, after it had experienced a short revival under the Barocci, the Sacchi, and the Baglioni.
The Bolognese school, comprehending some interesting particulars of the three Caracci, -those of Ferrara, Genoa, and Venice, the several schools of Lombardy, and that of Naples, occupy the second volume of this amusing work. We can only extract a short part of the notice of Titian.
• It is to this artist,' says our Author, that nature has accorded the rightful title of the Painter of Truth. Without meanness and without bombast, he was scrupulously addicted to truth, rather than to novelty,--to that which is real, above that which is specious. Almost a boy when he left Bellini, from whom he had learned, that, without study and rule, nothing was to be done in Painting, and that, without patience, no perfection could be reached, we see him emulating Albert Durer, the most laborious and the most finished of painters. It was at an early age that he painted a Pharisee shewing money to Jesus,—a picture highly laboured: not only the hair, but even the pores of the skin, are given with a fidelity surprising in a work which, notwithstanding the precision of its details, overflows with beauty and elegance. But soon adopting a freer and more liberal style, Titian formed another manner, which delights us by efforts considered till then beyond the utmost reach of the art. His Leda extorted from Michael Angelo an expression of regret that he did not draw as he painted. Tintoretto did him more justice when he saw his St. Peter, the piece which Algarotti pronounced to be faultless..........
• Reynolds observes, that Titian displays so much dignity in his works, that his researches after 'truth enabled him to reach sublimity. To a great knowledge in foreshortening, he adds a happy perfection in the extreme lines. The Venus which he painted for the Florence gallery, exhibits the pencil as a rival of the chisel, and shews to what a degree Titian was conversant with the antique. He made the happiest application of chiaroscuro, and reached in that department the height of ideal beauty; he graduated his iniddle tints with the greatest care ; in a word, he surpassed every other painter in colouring. That the artist spread or contract his shadows with skill, is not sufficient in this difficult branch of the art; nor is it enough to em. ploy simple or compounded tints, and to contrast them ably with each other ;-nothing violent, nothing exaggerated. A white dress near dark chairs will give them the appearance of the strongest purple. White, red, black, these are the colours that make the pallet of Titian the laboratory of nature.