Зображення сторінки

deep Rembrandt chiaroscuro, in which so clearly what he was, that the world some of the groups and scenes are en- may judge him from that account. veloped. They are imperfectly familiar What I cannot avoid, however, is the with the literature of their country, reflection that More was a good and who have not studied this composite pious man, sacrificed by an odious masterpiece of philosophy and fancy. prince, before whom the English na

I will not add any elaborate sum- tion was then content to bow down. mary on the character of Sir Thomas And as these occurrences multiply with More. We know a man when we see the pages of our annals, who can wonhow he has acted. What he speaks or der, and, still more, who can regret, writes may be a disguise, or an epitaph that in the next century, that infamous for the tomb. In the history of More's and decrepit tyranny was overthrown life, however, his motives reveal them- first in the field by Cromwell, and seselves in the general tenour of his ac-cond in Parliament by the liberal and tions. It is not, indeed, the chief merit patriotic antagonists of the Second of biography to judge the person James. whose career it paints; but to show |


BEAUTY is not to be considered merely, and that selection is difficult. The as the fair flower that blooms by the i principles relating to ideal loveliness side of the wanderer's path; it is not have, however, recently attained a more merely the line of silver or of gold that perfect development; and hence follow streaks the edges of the dusky cloud; results less likely to perplex the earnest or the bright feathery foam that crowns thinker. But we must keep aloof from the crest of the dark and rugged wave. a question so abstract. It is, however, It is all of these, and it is something very evident that many intelligent permore. It is not an extrinsic ornament, sons even, have singularly chaotic ideas nor one of life's dispensible luxuries; upon this interesting subject. but, in a greater or less degree, it is an To quote the words of an acute and absolute necessity, and most truly a clear-seeing critic: “The conceptions powerful agent to purify the soul from of the elder Greeks regarding beauty material tendencies, to strengthen and were nobler than ours, and for that to elevate, to spiritualize and refine. reason their art was of a loftier chaBeauty, in the highest sense, the ideal, racter. Their beauty was divine, not the transcendental, leads the soul infal- human; intellectual, not sensuous; and, libly upwards from the earthly and the like the Jews and Persians, they sought human to the immortal and divine. It in the loveliness of the human form a is the likeness of God shining through type of the perfections of the Deity. his works; the monograph of the Great . .... Beauty, then,” continues the Artist; the type of that radiant splen- same eloquent writer, " is a thing of the dour that shall bloom evermore in his intellect...... It is universal and fair Paradise.

divine; it is incapable of tarnish or Hence, to elevate the public taste, desecration; the beauty of holiness,' becomes the duty of all “ Art-interpre- and the beauty of God,' of the Heters," who are as the evangelists of the brew prophets, are better imaged in the ideal, through whom we receive reve- heathen deities of Greece than in the lations of the beautiful. Among people pictured saints of the Roman Church." in general, rare indeed is a true appre The truth that beauty is universal, ciation of this high excellence, which has too often been overlooked; many is, or ought to be, the animating soul having sought to imprison their idea of painting, sculpture, architecture, thereof within some one particular type, music, and poetry. Such recognition instead of recognising it in every form, is rather educational than intuitive. It and in all the varieties of its developwill be objected, that the world has ment." been inundated with theorjos of beauty,l It is the work of the true artist to

[ocr errors]

reveal to the sons of earth the wondrous how many, alas! there are who fail to sights and sounds that throng the introduce into their souls that harmony " world of beauty," in visible imagery, which ought so surely to follow a true or with the glad voice of song. For he devotion to any object that is noble and ever stands near to the pearly gates of good. Why is this? It is because unheaven, and through the portals open-worthy motives intrude upon their woring at intervals, he receives benedictions ship. 'Love of display, self-gratification, of loveliness, and glimpses of celestial | desire of gain, looking for the praise of glory, which he transmits to us through men; these are the sources of ill-suo"pictured and enmarbled dreams," or cess. Ah, not thus, oh thinker-worker! amid the lofty harmonies of "starry Stand forth amid the world's tumult,

free, earnest, and sincere, with no The mantle of inspiration which en-thought of self, no wish of recompense, folded the painters and sculptors of save that which flows of necessity from ancient Greece, seemed to descend with the deep love through which your work especial power upon the artists of modern is accomplished, and whence you disItaly. The residents of the fairest cover, in truth, in high thought, or land in Europe, a country rich in his action, each is “its own exceeding great toric recollections, in proud and lofty reward." So live and act, and rest asmemories of heroic time, and thoughts sured, in due time, not only shall you of many wrongs still deeper in stern enjoy this supreme satisfaction, but influence, to them in particular, was in- yours shall also be the palm to the trusted (second to the Greeks) the mis- victor's hand, the crown to the poet's sion of interpreting the poetry of art. brow. The annals of painting and sculpture in Raphael's father left home for Perugia, Italy, form a bright and most inte-in 1494, in order to make arrangements resting record, for the Italian artists for placing his son under the tuition have given examples of almost every of Pietro Perugino, the most renowned variety of excellence, in the beautiful artist of the time, but before the comand the pathetic, in the terrible and pletion of these arrangements, Giovanni the sublime. And among the brilliant Sanzio died, in the August of the same galaxy of names included in such his year. The negotiations were, however, tory, not one star shines with more un carried on by his widow and a friend troubled lustre than the name of the named Simone Ciarla, and so at twelve “ divine Raphael,” which is never pro- years of age, the young Raphael was nounced by the art-student without the sent to study under Perugino, with sincerest reverence and the truest love. whom he remained until he was about

RAFFAELLO SANZIO DI URBINO was twenty years of age. born on Good Friday, 1483, in the city Pietro Vannucci, surnamed Il Peruof Urbino. He was the son of a res- gino, from his residence in Perugia, was pectable painter named Giovanni San- an intimate friend of the great Lionardo zio, who was patronised by the Duke da Vinci. In a poem by Giovanni Federigo of Urbino. Raphael lost his Sanzio, these two artists are gracefully mother early in life. His father mar- alluded to as “par d'etate e par d'amore." ried again, and his second wife, Ber- The works of Vannucci are distinnardina, a fair, loving creature, was as guished by simplicity and sweetness, kind and affectionately attentive to the and a “pure and gentle feeling.” The subject of this memoir as if he had been early productions of Raphael bear eviher own child. Giovanni Sanzio was dence to the influence of his master's his son's first instructor, and the boy manner. The charming little picture was soon able to assist his father in his of “St. Catherine" in the National most important works. And thus passed Gallery is to be referred to this period. away the childhood of Raphael, amid The young artist was a most industrithe sweet and gentle influences of ous student. His favourite subject was home, beneath the soft Italian sky, his the Madonna and the infant Christ. spirit ennobled and purified by a con- Many beautiful pictures were painted by "templation of all that is fair and lovely, him while he was with Perugino, Perand thus rendered a shrine for those haps the most famous is the one reprelofty thoughts which must be ever re- senting the “ Marriage of Mary and sultant from a right study of the beau-Joseph," now at Milan. Raphael soon tiful, the ideal, in nature and in art. But greatly surpassed his master. In 1504 he paid a first visit to Florence. He dreams, when the whole world seems a was provided with letters of recom- summer-land of beauty, and the spirit mendation from the Duchess of Sora, overflows with the well-springs of a the Duke of Urbino's sister, to the sweet inspiration, developing itself in Gonfaloniere Sodorini, the successor of soul of genius, in the “harmony of the Medici. This visit, although short, colours," of music, or of song. It was was an event in the artist's history. He but natural then that the young artist's formed the acquaintance of Ghirlan- creations should be in accordance with dajo, and of the excellent Fra Bartolo-such happy influences. Take also into meo. His friendship with the latter consideration the effect of country, and was firm and enduring, even unto death. of climate. That glorious Italy, so Each exerted a beneficial influence upon wreathed with dear enchantments and the other. The elder of the two, in- crowned with strange and lofty memostructed his friend in colouring, and a ries, its every spot of ground ringing more happy disposition of drapery, with the echoes of hero-footsteps, and while Raphael in turn inparted to the all the air musical with the tones of good Friar a more perfect knowledge of divinest minstrelsy—was it not a fitthe principles of perspective.

ting temple for the young enthusiast to At Florence also- our artist studied bend low in adoring reverence at the the works of Masaccio, and became ac- shrine of the beautiful and the true ? quainted with some of the cartoons of Ah, bright and fair, indeed, must be the Lionardo da Vinci, and certain of the artist's life in Italy, if faith and love be grand efforts of Michael Angelo. Hence with him for without these no life can he acquired new ideas of force and of be sublime, no death can prove trisublimity. He soon returned to Peru-umphant. gia, with a mind expanded and enriched, Among the pictures Raphael painted and filled with memories of beauty. at Florence, are many portraits, some The following year he was employed to altar-pieces, a Madonna beneath a palmpaint several altar-pieces for different tree, now in the Bridgewater Gallery, churches, and he executed besides, some the celebrated Madonna del Cardellino, smaller pictures of great excellence, at Florence, and others, altogether which are scattered through various about thirty pictures. When our artist collections.

was about twenty-five years of age, After the completion of these works, through the recommendation of his Raphael returned to Florence, where he relative, the sculptor, Bramante, he was remained until the year 1508. Here he ordered to Rome by Pius Julius II. to enjoyed every facility for study and im- complete the decorations of the Vatican, provement, which could be supplied by which had been commenced in the intercourse with eminent men and ac- reign of his predecessor, and left uncess to noble galleries of painting and finished. sculpture. The fair city of Florence At that period Raphael had already was the home of refinement of learn-established a reputation which extended ing, and of genius. It was rendered throughout all Italy. The Italians are hallowed ground through having been ever ready and able to appreciate the the birthplace of many of Italy's most beautiful, and to welcome genius with illustrious sons. It was here that sympathy. They are more quick to Dante Alighieri first saw the light of recognise, and more fervent to love the heaven. Here he sang and suffered indications of talent, than the residents and during his exile in after time, stung in our cold, northern latitudes. Raphael by the ingratitude of his birth-city, he received so urgent an order from the immortalized it by the indignant de- Pope to proceed to Rome, that he was nunciation of his lofty verse.

obliged to leave many of his pictures at Some of Raphael's finest pictures Florence, for his friends Ghirlandajo were painted during his second visit to and Fra Bartolomeo to finish. In a Florence, a period of about three years. sketch of Michael Angelo we have alFor he was here, indeed, in the brightest ready spoken of the haughty character, season of life—the glad spring-time of the unconquerable energy, and the reyouth, when all is so fresh and beauti- sistless will of Pope Julius II., and of ful, and it seems a joy to live and the many large and magnificent designs, breathe the free air of heaven. It is the whose execution shed such lustre upon. age, too, of poetry and romance and airy the annals of his pontificate.

As soon as Raphael reached the Ro- sively discoursing to the listeners near man Capital, he commenced the embel- him. Then on a lower plan we have lishment of the Camere of the Vatican. I the Sciences and Arts, represented by The first saloon called the Camera della Pythagoras and Archimides, Zoroaster Sognatura, he devoted to the celebration and Ptolemy the geographer; while of Theology, Poetry, Philosophy, and alone, as if avoiding, and avoided by Jurisprudence. In four circles he all, sits Diogenes the Cynic. Raphael painted on the ceiling four figures, en- has represented the art of painting by throned in the clouds with befitting the figure of his master Perugino, and symbols, and attendant genii. Of has introduced a portrait of himself these the figure of Poetry is distin- humbly following him. guished by superior grandeur and in-) Law or Jurisprudence, from the parspiration. Beneath these figures, and ticular construction of the wall on on the four sides of the room he painted which it is painted, is represented with four great pictures, each about fifteen less completeness, and is broken up feet high by twenty-five feet wide, the into divisions. Prudence, Fortitude, subject illustrating the four allegorical and Temperance are above; below on figures above. Under Theology, he one side, is Pope Gregory, delivering placed the composition generally known the ecclesiastical law; and on the other by the title of La Disputa, i.e. the argu. Justinian promulgating his famous ment concerning the Holy Sacrament. code of civil law, In the upper part is the heavenly glory, The biographers of Raphael are the Redeemer in the centre, beside him generally silent with regard to his the Virgin-mother. On the right and literary attainments. One of his letters left arranged in a semi-circle, patriarolis, now preserved in the Museo Borgia, is apostles, saints, are seated; all full of written in a kind of patois, and might character, dignity, and a kind of celes- be adduced as an evidence of his being tial repose, befitting their beatitude, illiterate, were it not that other letters Angels are hovering round; four of of his are extant, composed in puro them surrounding the emblematic Dove, and elegant Italian. He was well achold the gospels. In the lower half quainted with many branches of polito of the picture are assembled the cele- literature, and paid especial attention brated doctors and teachers of the to history and poetry. Petrarca was Church, grand, solemn, meditative one of his dearly loved authors, and figures; some searching their books; from this poet's "Trionfo della Fama," some engaged in "colloquy sublime." he gathered many ideas which he And on each side, a little lower, groups made use of in his delineation of of disciples and listeners, every head "Philosophy," in the Camera della Seg. and figure a study of character and natura. expression, all different, all full of Whilst engaged at Rome on the nature, animation and significance ; | frescoes in the Vatican, our artist and thus the two parts of this magnifi- found a generous patron and friend in cent composition, the heavenly beati-Agostino Chigi, a rich merchant of tude above, the mystery of faith below, Rome, for whom he painted several combine with one comprehensive whole. valuable pictures-among others the

Under Poetry, we have Mount Par- "Triumphs of Galatea," and the "Sybils nassus; Apollo, and the Muses are seen della Pace" in the Chapel, belonging to on the summit. On one side near them, the Chigi family. the epic and tragic poets. Below on About the same time, Raphael exeeach side are the lyrical poets, Petrarch, cuted a fine portrait of Pope Julius II., Sappho, Corinna, Pindar, Horace and also a likeness of himself, which is

Under Philosophy, Raphael has familiar to every one through the enplaced “the School of Athens." It repre- gravings. It represents him as a young sents a grand hall or portico, in which man of singular beauty, with rich a flight of steps separates the foreground masses of dark hair, soft sweet eyes, from the background. Conspicuous and a touching noble expression, just and above the rest, are the elder intel- the beau-ideal of a poet-artist. lectual philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, Michael Angelo having fled from Socrates. Plato characteristically point-Rome at this period, on account of his ing upwards to heaven; Aristotle quarrel with the Pope, Bramante obpointing to the earth ; Socrates impres- tained the keys of the Sistine Chapel,

and exhibited to Raphael the sublime Raphael, whose marvellous frescoes in efforts of his famous rival, which doubt the Vatican filled the simple-hearted less, in some measure, influenced his friar with wonder and admiration. Some own style, for a short time afterwards of his best pictures were painted on his Raphael painted the “Sybils" for A. return to his convent after this visit. Chigi, and the “Isaiah" of S. Agostino. Meanwhile, the works in the Vatican In the same year he commenced the were still in progress. The remaining second chamber of the Vatican, in which decorations were all in illustration of he illustrated the miraculous triumph the history of Leo X., for in representof the Church over her enemies. This ing the events in the lives of preceding series includes the wonderful picture of pontiffs the artist only “shadowed forth “ Heliodorus driven from the Temple," the glory of his patron,” The most one of Raphael's most striking produc-celebrated subjects in this series consist tions. “The group of the celestial of“ Attila driven from Italy by Saint warriors trampling on the prostrate He- Leo the Great,” “the Liberation of St. liodorus, with the avenging angels float- Peter from Prison," and the “Fire in ing air-borne to scourge the despoilers, the Borgo,”L'Incendio del Borgo. is wonderful for its supernatural power. It is singular to trace through these

-it is a vision of beauty and terror," compositions how very cleverly Raphael The portrait of Julius II. is introduced has allegorized different incidents in the in this work, under the character of the life-story of Leo X. For instance, in high-priest, Onias. The Pope died in the representation of the expulsion of 1513, before the completion of this Attila, “even St. Leo himself and his chamber, and the triple crown devolved dignified attendants become only supupon Leo X.

(posititious personages, intended to imThe age of Leo X, was the golden age mortalize Leo X., and the cardinals and of Italian art and literature. The Pa- prelates of his court, whose portraits are pal court was thronged with men of actually substituted for those of their learning and of genius, crowned, and predecessors in the honours and dignipurple-robed, and placed high among ties of the Roman See. , .. those whom the people “ delighted to To have represented Leo X., as living honour.” Visions of beauty were then in the time of Leo III., would have not only dreamed, but raised to actual been an anachronism, to have exhibited life, through marble and through can. him as miraculously expelling Attila vas, and poet-lips were eloquent with from Italy, would have been a falsethe music of immortal song. Raphael hood. But Attila himself is only the was on terms of intimacy with many of type of the French monarch, Louis XII. the most eminent men of the day whom Leo had, within the first months Ariosto, Sanazzaro, and the Cardinal of his pontificate, divested of the state Bembo, were among his friends. His of Milan, and expelled from the limits fame and riches greatly increased, so that of Italy." he built himself a beautiful residence, in Observe, how very skilfully the artist that quarter of Rome, called the Borgo, disposes of the apparent difficulty of between the Castle of St. Angelo and reconciling the two events. It is anthe Church of St. Peter. Scholars flocked other question, how far such a treatto bis school from all parts of Italy, ment of the subject is consistent with and by all the young men under his the true dignity of art, and whether or tuition he was regarded with the pro not an artist be justified in giving real foundest reverence and love. Most of portraits of living men, under the names the contemporary artists enjoyed friendly of historical personages. We see, howrelations with him, excepting Michael ever, no serious objections thereto, so Angelo, who, at that period, was absent long as care is taken to preserve the from Rome. At the commencement of distinguishing characteristics of the Leo X.'s pontificate the venerable Lio-primary subject of the picture. nardo da Vinci, visited the capital, and The fresco representing the angel made the acquaintance of Raphael, who liberating St. Peter from prison, is also maintained a sincere friendship placed opposite to another of Raphael's with Francia, and corresponded with master-pieces--The Mass at Bolsena, Albert Durer.

in which the consecrated wafer miracuFra Bartolomeo visited Rome in 1513, lously dropped blood, to reprove the and thus renewed his intercourse with incredulity of the officiating priest. In

« НазадПродовжити »