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With this long passage we close our extracts from this interesting work, which will be found full of anecdote, and abounding in historical and critical narrative, and containing proofs of great intelligence in the author, and singular devotion to the Missionary cause.
Of the pious devotedness and ability of the writer for the work he has undertaken, there cannot be a shadow of question ; and if any thing were wanting to show the steady perseverance with which he has embarked in the cause of the Gospel and the service of the heathen, we have lately had proof in the departure of himself and company on board the Camden, once more to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ amongst the many-clustered islands of the Pacific Seas.
May the result of the present expedition be such as that of the former leads us to anticipate ; and may the self-denying Missionary reap his harvest plentifully to the honour of his Master's name !
Art. III.— The Book of the Cartoons. Bythe Rev. R. Cattermole, B.D. The Engravings by Warren. London: Rickerby. 1837. Pp. 185. 8vo.
Whoever has visited that ancient palace of princes, Hampton Court, cannot but have been delighted, amid the numerous objects that charm the eye, with those beautiful specimens of art, the “ Cartoons," by Raffaelle. But, although many who have seen them may already possess abundance of critical and historical knowledge to enable them to appreciate their excellence, yet there are doubtless very many to whom such information may not hitherto have been accessible : for them, therefore, we shall take the liberty of quoting largely from the elegant Preface which is given by the Rev. R. Cattermole, the author of this work :
“ The first christian school of art arose in Florence. In that city, at the commencement of the fourteenth century, died Cimabue, the father of modern painting. He was succeeded by Giotto, whose improved style became the model of the times which ensued, till the appearance of Masaccio, who, a hundred years later, carried the art far beyond the point it had previously reached. Masaccio's reputation remained, in its turn, without a rival down to the period of Lionardo da Vinci, one of the most accomplished of painters; whose exquisite works appear as the connecting link between the old and the new, or most perfect style, before the bondage of the dry, Gothic manner was wholly burst, and the free and vigorous spirit of the most generally fascinating of the imaginative arts "scaled the highest heaven of invention," in the person of Michelangiolo Buonaroti.
“ This was a period most fortunate for the art of painting, whether we regard the external advantages of the time, in the progress of discovery and accessory knowledge, and in the eager patronage of the powerful and enlightened; or its internal, in the accumulated experience of many generations, which had left instructive traces of its progress, even as far as to the limits of the utmost attainable point-the combination of the greatest genius with the purest taste, and the connexion of a thorough mastery over the resources of the art with a sobriety and temperance which forbade their abuse. And at this period it was that the illustrious individual appeared, to whom, as possessing, in the highest degree and in a most harmonious union, the qualities necessary to a great artist, the world has agreed to assign the first honours in this delightful province of the realms of intellect. “ Raffaelle Sanzio was born in the city of Urbino, in Italy, in the
His earliest master, if we except his father, Giovanni Sanzio, or di Santi, was Pietro of Perugia, a painter of no inconsiderable ability, but in the hard dry manner which prevailed before the time of Lionardo and Michelangiolo. At the age of sixteen he left Pietro, and worked with Pinturrichio, an eminent artist in his day, at Siena. Attracted by the reputation of Lionardo and Michelangiolo, who presided over the flourishing school of Florence, he repaired to that city; and being, by the study of their sublime productions, in a short time emancipated from the restraints of his previous education, he quickly produced pictures which determined his place in the first ranks of his profession, and made his name familiar in the Italian capital. Thither, invited by Julius II., he himself proceeded in the year 1508, and was immediately employed to paint one of the chambers in the Vatican palace, which that magnificent pontiff was ambitious to adorn with the utmost taste and splendour.
“From this period commenced the execution of those works of the divine Raffaelle' which have engaged the admiration and exalted the minds of every subsequent generation. The apartments assigned for his labours in the pontifical residence, now called the stanze (chambers) of Raffaelle, are four in number; and the magnificent design of the artist was, to represent, in a grand series, upon the compartments of those chambers, the universal triumph of Christianity — its divine authority, its connexion with science and learning, and the supremacy of its dominion over the mind of man and external nature.
“Raffaelle was occupied on the paintings in the second stanza when Pope Julius died, and was succeeded by Leo X. As might have been anticipated, the favour and esteem in which the prince of painters was held in the court and capital of Rome were increased, rather than diminished, by the accession of a pontiff whose enlightened patronage of the fine arts has, notwithstanding the corrupt methods in which it was exercised, secured for his name an honourable place in history. Raffaelle continued to devote his chief attention to the completion of his great labour ; but in the meantime he found leisure for the execution of a variety of other works. Besides the Cartoons, which are among the maturest fruits of his genius, he painted, in another room of the Vatican, twelve whole-length figures of the apostles, and made designs for the pictures and ornaments in the loggie (or arcades) of that palace. The pope did not, however, wholly monopolize his wonderful abilities. He painted, at intervals, the fable of Galatea, and the story of Cupid and Psyche, for the Chigi Palace; the frescoes of the Prophets and Sibyls in the Church della Pace; and also many altar-pieces, and pictures of Holy Families, which now enrich a multitude of collections throughout Europe. Among the latest, if not the last of all the productions of his pencil, was the sublime picture of the Transfiguration, so well known from the numerous engravings which have been made from it.
“ Like the immortal artists of Greece, the painters of that unrivalled era were accustomed to unite with their more peculiar pursuit the practice of the kindred arts. On the death of Bramante, his relation, one of those architects under whom the building of St. Peter's had successively been carried on, Raffaelle was appointed to that office. What parts of this superb edifice were erected by him cannot now be ascertained : acknowledged specimens, however, of his architectural talents still exist, both at Rome and at Florence. He likewise left proofs of the greatness and universality of his genius in the sister art of sculpture.
“ It was in the unabated (and, judging from his age, though not from the perfection of the results, we might believe the scarcely matured) vigour of those extraordinary faculties which enabled him to distinguish himself in all these branches of inventive art, and in painting in particular, to reach a height of excellence unattained by any other individual of modern, or, probably, of ancient times; and while enjoying the universal love and respect of the gifted and the great among his contemporaries, both of his own and foreign countries, not as an artist merely, but for his many amiable dispositions and general accomplishments,—that death removed Raffaelle from the sphere of his triumphs. He expired in 1520, just as he had completed his thirty-seventh year.
“ Among other ingenious pursuits connected with the Fine Arts, the weaving of tapestry had at this period been brought to great perfection. One of the latest and maturest productions of Raffaelle's pencil was a series of designs, on which he was employed by Leo X., representing the principal events recorded in the New Testament, and intended to be executed in the best style of that brilliant manufacture, as a farther decoration of the hall of Constantine, one of the chambers already adorned by his hand. These designs must have been made within the last two
VOL. XX. NO. VIIT.
years of the great artist's brief but glorious career. Their number, long unknown, or matter of dispute, is now ascertained to have been no less than twenty-five.* The most celebrated tapestry works then in existence were at Brussels. Thither the Cartoons (as they are called, from being executed on paper or pasteboard, cartone) were sent, as soon as finished, to be woven under the direction of Bernard Van Orlay and Michael Coxis, both of them skilful artists, who, with many others, had been employed under Raffaelle, at Rome.
“ After the tapestries were finished and sent home, the originals, for some reason which can now be only conjectured, seem to bave lain neglected in the warehouse of the manufacturers. The probability, however, is, that both Raffaelle and his patron, Leo, had died in the interim. The latter was succeeded by Adrian VI., who, though a scholar and a man of exemplary moral character, was either indifferent to the arts which had shed lustre on the pontificate of his predecessor, or wholly occupied with the difficult political and ecclesiastical affairs of the period. Whatever may have been the cause of the extraordinary neglect of these immortal productions, the fact appears certain.
“Of the twenty-five Cartoons, seven of the sinaller size (for they were of different dimensions) were purchased by Charles the First, at the suggestion, it is said, of Rubens; and have happily remained in this country through every subsequent change. That tasteful and munificent sovereign determined to employ them as originally intended :
The following, which is believed to be a correct list, is the result of the collation of two, given by the Rev. W. Gunn, in his · Cartonensia,' (to which work the compiler of the present summary notice is likewise indebted for many other particulars ;) one from the publication entitled “Descrizione delle Capelle," &c. containing an account of the ceremonies of the Church of Rome; the other, from the “ Descrizione di Roma e suoi contorni, &c.” by Carlo Fea.
1. The Nativity of Christ. 2. The Adoration of the Magi. 3, 4, 5. The Slaughter of the Innocents. 6. The Presentation of Christ in the Temple. 7. The miraculous Draught of Fishes, 8. The Charge to Peter. 9. Christ's Descent into Hell. 10. The Resurrection. 11. Our Lord's Appearance to Mary. 12. The Supper at Emmaus. 13. The Ascension. 14. The Descent of the Holy Ghost. 15. The Martyrdom of St. Stephen. 16. The Conversion of St. Paul. 17. Paul and Barnabas at Lystra. 18. Paul preaching at Athens. 19. The Death of Ananias. 20. Elymas the Sorcerer struck blind. 21. The Earthquake. 22. St. Peter healing the Cripple. 23, 24. Symbolical Subjects relating to Leo X. 25. Justice.
five of them, if not the entire number, were delivered, for hangings to be woven from them, to Francis Cleyne, an artist whom King James had placed at the head of the tapestry works established by him at Mortlake.
“ When the Royal Collections were sold in 1649, Cromwell, already in possession of the palaces of the kings of England, became the purchaser of the Cartoons, the most precious of their ornaments, for 300l., the sum at which they were appraised by the Council of State. The standard of public taste and knowledge in art must have sunk very low, when the mere name of Raffaelle could not secure for this unrivalled series a more considerable sum ; unless, indeed, the known wish of Cromwell to possess them prevented competition. The fact, no doubt, was, that the greater part of those who would otherwise have gladly become purchasers, at a price more proportioned to the merit of the works, had, by recent events, been deprived of the means; and that the party into whose hands the power and wealth of the country had been transferred were not inclined to dispose of their riches in this way.
“ Nothing further was known respecting the Cartoons, till the time of William III., when they were found carelessly packed in boxes, having been cut into pieces for that purpose. Being in a very damaged state, the king, with a commendable, but injudicious zeal for their preservation, ordered them, with other pictures in the Royal Collection, to be repaired : the artist to whose hand they were consigned for that purpose was William Cook. King William built the gallery at Hampton Court for their reception; where they remained undisturbed till the year 1764, when they were removed to Buckingham House. From Buckingham House they were, in 1787, transferred to Windsor ; but in the year 1814 were restored to King William's Gallery, at Hampton Court, which they now occupy.
“The tapestry imitations of their illustrious master's designs, executed by Van Orlay and Coxis, had not been long placed in the Vatican, when they were carried away in the sack of Rome, by Bourbon's army, in the year 1526; but were restored during the pontificate of Julius III. by the Duke of Montmorenci, as is attested by an inscription upon the borders of the tapestries, numbered 6 and 9, in the preceding note.* From this time they appear to have been kept secluded from view in the guardaroba, or wardrobe, of the popes, except on certain solemn occasions, when they were exhibited for the admiration of the assembled people. The annual custom of suspending them in the great portico of St. Peter's, on the festival of Corpus Christi, was first introduced in the reign of Paul. IV. Another occasion on which they were
* “ Urbe captâ partem aulæorum a prædonibus distractorum Conmestabilis Anna Montmorencius, Galliæ militum præfectus, restaurandam atque Julio III. P.M. restituandam curavit."