ANECDOTES OF PAINTERS, ENGRAVERS Sculptors and Architects, AND CURIOSITIES OF ART.
BY S. SPOONER, M.D., AUTHOR OF "A BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF THE FINE ARTS."
IN THREE VOLUMES. VOL. II.
NEW YORK: R. WORTHINGTON, PUBLISHER, 770 Broadway.
COPYRIGHT, S. SPOONER, 1853.
Reentered, 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 Stabiae, 43 Ancient Fresco and Mosaic Painting, 55 Mosaic of the Battle of Plataea, 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 AEtion'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 Laocooen in the Vatican, 187 Michael Angelo's Opinion of the Laocooen, 190 Discovery of the Laocooen, 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
PAINTERS, ENGRAVERS, SCULPTORS, AND ARCHITECTS.
TITIAN,—SKETCH OF HIS LIFE.
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 Caesars, 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 Danae, 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 Fra 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.
TITIAN'S VENUS AND ADONIS.
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 Danae, 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 picture:—
"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."
TITIAN AND THE EMPEROR CHARLES V.
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 AEneas 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 Caesar to serve Titian." On another occasion, Caesar 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 AND PHILIP II.
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!"
TITIAN'S LAST SUPPER AND EL MUDO.
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'S OLD AGE.
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."
MONUMENT TO TITIAN.
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 aerial 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 soldiers.
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 David.
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 Valliere 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 eclat 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 fetes and balls, he set himself to study the Italian school.
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 melee, 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 Art.
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 artists.
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 it.
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.
NINEVEH AND ITS REMAINS.
"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."
DESCRIPTION OF A PALACE EXHUMED AT NIMROUD.
"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.
ORIGIN AND ANTIQUITY OF THE ARCH.
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 cloacae, 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.
ANTIQUITIES OF HERCULANEUM, POMPEII, AND STABIAE.
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 Stabiae, 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 Stabiae 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 archaeologist, 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 themselves.
"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 Amphorae, 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.