HotFreeBooks.com
Great Men and Famous Women, Vol. 8 (of 8)
Author: Various
1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.]



GREAT MEN AND FAMOUS WOMEN

A Series of Pen and Pencil Sketches of

THE LIVES OF MORE THAN 200 OF THE MOST PROMINENT PERSONAGES IN HISTORY

VOL. VIII.



Copyright, 1894, BY SELMAR HESS

edited by Charles F. Horne



New-York: Selmar Hess Publisher



CONTENTS OF VOLUME VIII.

SUBJECT AUTHOR PAGE

MICHAEL ANGELO, Anna Jameson, 214 BEETHOVEN, C. E. Bourne, 319 SARAH BERNHARDT, H. S. Edwards, 382 ROSA BONHEUR, Clarence Cook, 276 EDWIN BOOTH, Clarence Cook, 370 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN, Dutton Cook, 355 Letter from Miss Cushman to a young friend on the subject of "Self-conquest," 362 LEONARDO DA VINCI, Anna Jameson, 209 GUSTAVE DORE, Kenyon Cox, 298 ALBERT DUeRER, W. J. Holland, 231 EDWIN FORREST, Lawrence Barrett, 349 DAVID GARRICK, Samuel Archer, 343 GEROME, Clarence Cook, 281 HANDEL, C. E. Bourne, 302 HAYDN, C. E. Bourne, 315 WILLIAM HOGARTH, 247 JOSEPH JEFFERSON, Clarence Cook, 374 FRANZ LISZT, Rev. Hugh R. Haweis, M.A., 332 MEISSONIER, Clarence Cook, 272 MENDELSSOHN, C. F. Bourne, 326 JEAN FRANCOIS MILLET, Clarence Cook, 265 MOZART, C. E. Bourne, 308 PAGANINI, 325 ADELINA PATTI, Frederick F. Buffen, 378 PHIDIAS, Clarence Cook, 203 RACHEL, Dutton Cook, 363 RAPHAEL, Mrs. Lee, 221 REMBRANDT, Elizabeth Robins Pennell, 240 SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, Samuel Archer, 250 DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, Edmund Gosse, 287 RUBENS, Mrs. Lee, 236 THORWALDSEN, Hans Christian Andersen, 258 TITIAN, Giorgio Vasari, 226 GIUSEPPE VERDI, 342 RICHARD WAGNER, Franklin Peterson, Mus. Bac., 338 BENJAMIN WEST, Martha J. Lamb, 254



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME VIII.

PHOTOGRAVURES

ILLUSTRATION ARTIST TO FACE PAGE

SARAH BERNHARDT AS CLEOPATRA, Georges Clairin Frontispiece MICHAEL ANGELO AND VITTORIA COLONNA, Hermann Schneider 220 ALBERT DUeRER VISITS HANS SACHS, Richard Gross 234 MARIE DE MEDICI AT THE HOUSE OF RUBENS, Florent Willems 240 CONNOISSEURS AT REMBRANDT'S STUDIO, Adolphe-Alexandre Lesrel 244 MEISSONIER'S ATELIER, Georges Bretegnier 272 MOZART SINGING HIS REQUIEM, Thomas W. Shields 314 AN ANECDOTE ABOUT BEETHOVEN, Paul Leyendecker 322 FRANZ LISZT, Fortune-Joseph-Seraphin Layraud 334 WAGNER AND HIS FRIENDS, Wilhelm Beckmann 340 RACHEL AS THE MUSE OF GREEK TRAGEDY, Jean Leon Gerome 368 JOE JEFFERSON AS BOB ACRES, From life 376

WOOD-ENGRAVINGS AND TYPOGRAVURES

RAPHAEL INTRODUCED TO DA VINCI, Brune Pages 212 LEO X. AT RAPHAEL'S BIER, Pietro Michis 224 A FETE AT THE HOUSE OF TITIAN, F. Kraus 228 ALBERT DUeRER'S WEDDING, A. Bodenmueller 232 HOGARTH SKETCHING THE HIGHWAY OF QUEENBOROUGH, 248 BENJAMIN WEST, PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY, Sir Thomas Lawrence 258 ROSA BONHEUR, E. Dubufe 278 HANDEL'S RIVER-CONCERT FOR GEORGE I., A. Hamman 304 HAYDN COMPOSING HIS "CREATION," A. Hamman 318 PAGANINI IN PRISON, Louis Boulanger 326 GARRICK AS RICHARD III., William Hogarth 346 FORREST AS METAMORA, From Photograph 352 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN AS MRS. HALLER, Watkins 360



PAINTERS AND SCULPTORS



PHIDIAS[1]

[Footnote 1: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]

By CLARENCE COOK

(ABOUT 500-432 B.C.)

Phidias, one of the greatest sculptors the world has seen, and whose name has become, as it were, the synonym of his art, was born at Athens about 500 B.C. He belonged to a family of artists, none of whom indeed were distinguished in their profession, but their varied occupations furnished the atmosphere in which such a talent as that of Phidias could best be fostered and brought to maturity. His father was Charmides, who is believed to have been an artist, because the Greeks, in their inscriptions, did not associate the name of the father with that of the son unless both were of the same calling. A brother of Phidias, Panoenos, was a painter, and is mentioned among those artists, twenty or more in number, who in conjunction with Polygnotus, one of the chief painters of his day, were employed in the decoration of the Poecile or Painted Portico, one of the many beautiful buildings erected by Cimon. The Poecile was simply a long platform, with a roof supported by a row of columns on one side and by a wall on the other. It was called "the painted," because the wall at the back was covered with a series of large historical pictures containing many figures, and recording some of the chief events of the time, together with others relating to an earlier and more shadowy epoch. The subject of the painting, executed, at least in part, by the brother of Phidias, was the Battle of Marathon, in which great event it is thought he may himself have taken part.

The boyhood of Phidias fell in a time of national revival, when under the influence of an ennobling political excitement, all the arts were quickened to a fresh, original, and splendid growth. The contest between the Greeks and Persians, which had begun with the Ionian revolt, was in full activity at the time of his birth. He was ten years old when the battle of Marathon was fought, and when he was twenty, four of the most striking events in the history of Greece were crowded into a single year; the battle of Thermopylae, the victory at Salamis, and the twin glories of Plataea and Mycale. His early youth, therefore, was nourished by the inspiring influences that come from the victorious struggle of a people to maintain their national life. He was by no means the only sculptor of his time whom fame remembers, but he alone, rejecting trivial themes, consecrated his talent to the nobler subjects of his country's religious life and the ideal conception of her protecting gods. No doubt, Phidias, like all who are born with the artistic temperament, would be interested from childhood in the progress of the splendid works with which Athens was enriching herself under the rule of Cimon. But his interest must have been greatly increased by the fact that his brother Panoenos was actively engaged in the decoration of one of those buildings. It would be natural that he should be often drawn to the place where his brother was at work, and that the sight of so many artists, most of them young men, filled with the generous ardor of youth, and inspired by the nature of their task, should have stirred in him an answering enthusiasm. It gives us a thrill of pleasure to read in the list of these youths the name of the great tragic poet, Euripides, who began life as a painter, and in whose plays we find more than one reference to the art. It cannot be thought unreasonable to suppose that two such intelligences as these must have had an attraction for one another, and that, as in the case of Dante and Giotto, the great poet and the great artist would be drawn together by a likeness in their taste and aims.

Phidias studied his art first at Athens, with a native sculptor, Hegias, of whom we know nothing except from books. Later, he went to Argos, and there put himself under the instruction of Ageladas, a worker chiefly in bronze, and very famous in his time, of whom, however, nothing remains but the memory of a few of his more notable works. For us, his own works forgotten, he remains in honor as the teacher of Myron, of Polycletus, and of Phidias, the three chief sculptors of the next generation to his own. On leaving the workshop of Ageladas, Phidias executed several statues that brought him prominently before the public. For Delphi, he made a group of thirteen figures in bronze, to celebrate the battle of Marathon and apotheosize the heroes of Attica. In this group, Miltiades was placed in the centre, between Athena, the tutelary goddess of Athens, and Apollo, the guardian of Delphi; while on each side were five Athenian heroes, Theseus and Codrus with others, arranged in a semicircle. This important work was paid for by Athens out of her share in the spoils of Marathon. Another important commission executed by Phidias was a statue of Athena made for her temple at Plataea, and paid for with the eighty talents raised by the contributions of the other Grecian states as a reward for the splendid services of the Plataeans at Marathon, where they played somewhat the same part as the Prussians at the battle of Waterloo. The head, hands, and feet of this statue were of marble, but the drapery was of gold; so arranged, probably, as in the case of the great statue of Athena designed later by Phidias for the Parthenon, as to be removable from the marble core at pleasure. Phidias made so many statues of the virgin goddess Athena, that his name became associated with hers, as at a later day that of Raphael was with the Virgin Mary. In the first period of his artistic career, moved perhaps by his patriotic gratitude for her intervention in behalf of his native state, he had represented the goddess as a warlike divinity, as here at Plataea; but in his later conceptions, as in a statue made for the Athenians of Lemnos, Athena appeared invested with milder attributes, and with a graceful and winning type of beauty.

In their invasion of Attica the Persians had destroyed the city of Athens, and the people, who had fled to all quarters of the peninsula to seek refuge from the enemy, returned after the victory at Salamis and the flight of the Persians, to find their homes a heap of ruins. The dwelling-houses of the Greeks were everywhere, even in their largest cities, built of mean materials: walls of stubble overlaid with stucco and gayly painted. It was not long, therefore, before Athens resumed something of her old appearance, with such improvements as always follow the rebuilding of a city. The most important change effected was that brought about in the character of the great plateau, the fortified rock of the Acropolis. Here, as in many Greek cities, the temples of the gods had been erected, and about them, as about the cathedrals of the Middle Ages, there had grown up a swarm of houses and other buildings built by generations of people who sought there at once the protection of the stockade which enclosed the almost inaccessible site, and the still further safeguard of the presence of the divinities in their temples. The destructive hand of the Persian invaders had swept this platform clear of all these multiplied incumbrances, and in the rebuilding of the city it was determined to reserve the Acropolis for military and religious uses alone.

The work of improvement was begun by Cimon, who, however, confined his attention chiefly to the lower city that clustered about the base of the Acropolis. Here, among other structures, he built the temple of Theseus and the Painted Portico, and he also erected, near the summit of the Acropolis, on the western side, the little gem-like temple of the Wingless Victory, Nike Apteros, in commemoration of the success of the Athenian arms at the battle of the Eurymedon. It was from Cimon that Phidias received his first commission for work upon the Acropolis, where later he was to build such a lasting monument to his own fame and to the fame of his native land. The commission given him by Cimon was to erect a bronze statue of Athena which was to stand on the citadel, at once a symbol of the power of Athens and a tribute to the protecting goddess of the city. The work upon the statue was probably begun under Cimon, but according to Ottfried Mueller it was not completed at the death of Phidias. It stood in the open air, and nearly opposite the Colonnade at the entrance of the great flight of marble steps that led from the plain to the summit of the Acropolis, and was the first object to meet the eye on passing through the gateway. It represented the goddess, armed, and in a warlike attitude, from which it derived its name, Athena Promachos: Athena, the leader of the battle. With its pedestal it stood about seventy feet high, towering above the roof of the Parthenon, the gilded point of the brazen spear held by the goddess flashing back the sun to the ships as in approaching Athens they rounded the promontory of Sunium. We read that the statue was still standing so late as 395 A.D., and it is said that its towering height and threatening aspect caused a panic terror in Alaric and his horde of barbarians when they climbed the Acropolis to plunder its temple of its treasure.

But it was under the rule of Pericles that Phidias was to find at Athens his richest employment. Pericles had determined, probably by the advice of Phidias, to make the Acropolis the seat and centre of the new and splendid city that was to arise under his administration. The first great undertaking was the building of a temple to Athena Parthenos, Athena the Virgin, a design believed to have been suggested to Pericles by Phidias. The plans were intrusted to Ictinus, an Athenian, one of the best architects of the day; but the general control and superintendence of the work were given to Phidias. As the building rose to completion, workmen in all branches of the arts flocked to Athens from every part of Greece and were given full employment by Phidias in the decoration and furnishing of the temple.

The taste of Phidias controlled the whole scheme of decoration applied to the building, into which color entered, no doubt, to a much greater extent than was formerly believed. Even after time and the destructive hand of man have done their worst, there still remain sufficient traces of color to prove that the sculpture, and the whole upper part of the temple, were painted in bright but harmonious colors, and that metal ornaments and accessories accented the whole scheme with glittering points of light reflected from their shining surfaces.

The sculptures with which the Parthenon was adorned by Phidias, and which were executed under his immediate superintendence, consisted of two great groups that filled the eastern and western pediments; of groups of two figures each in the ninety-two metopes or panels above the outer row of columns; and, finally, the famous frieze that ran completely round the temple itself, just below the ceiling of the colonnade, and at a height of about thirty-nine feet from the floor.

The subject of the group that filled the eastern pediment, the one above the entrance door of the temple, was the birth of Athena. Just how the event was represented we do not know because quite half the group, including the principal figures, disappeared very early in our era, and no description of them remains in any ancient or modern writer. The group in the western pediment represented the contest between Athena and Poseidon for the dominion over Attica. According to the legend, the strife between the two divinities took place in an assembly of the gods on the Acropolis, who were to determine which of the two contestants should be the protector of the city. To prove his power, Poseidon struck the rock with his trident, and a salt spring leaped forth, as if the sea itself had obeyed the call of its lord. Athena struck the ground, and an olive-tree sprang up, the emblem of peace and of the victories of commerce, and the assembly awarded the prize to her. The goddess having thus received the sovereignty of Athens, it was but natural that a day should be set apart for her special honor, and a festival instituted to commemorate the great event. This was the greater Panathenaia, or All Athenians Day, which was celebrated every fourth year in honor of the goddess, and which, as its name implies, was taken part in by all the people of the city. It occurred in the early summer and lasted five days. On the fifth day, it closed with a procession which went through all the chief streets of the city and wound its way up the Great Stairway to the Acropolis, bearing the peplos or embroidered robe woven by young virgin ladies of Athens, chosen from the highest families, and known for their skill in this kind of work. After the peplos had been consecrated in the temple it was placed with due solemnities upon the ancient and venerable figure of the goddess, made of olive-wood, and said to have descended from heaven. From its subject, which thus celebrates the Panathenaic procession, the frieze is often called the Panathenaic frieze.

It is carved from Pentelic marble, of which material the marble building is constructed. Its original length, running as it did around the entire building, was 522.80 feet, of which about 410 feet remain. Of this portion, 249 feet are in the British Museum in slabs and fragments; the remainder is chiefly in the Louvre, with scattered fragments in other places. As a connected subject this was the most extensive piece of sculpture ever made in Greece. From all that can be gathered from the study of the fragments that remain, the design of the frieze was of the utmost simplicity and characterized by the union of perfect taste and clear purpose that marks all the work of the great sculptor. The subject begins in the frieze at the western end of the temple, where we watch the assembling of the procession. It then proceeds along the northern and southern sides of the building, in what we are to suppose one continuous line, moving toward the east, since all the faces are turned that way; and at the eastern end, directly over the main entrance to the building, the two parts of the procession meet, in the presence of the magistrates and of the divinities who had places of worship in Athens.

Of the grace, the skill in arrangement, the variety of invention, the happy union of movement and repose shown in this work, not only artists—men best fitted to judge its merits from a technical point of view—but the cultivated portion of the public, and a large and ever-increasing circle of every-day people, have by common consent agreed in praise. By the multiplication of casts, to be found now in all our principal museums, we are enabled to study and to enjoy the long procession even better than it could have been enjoyed in its original place, where it must have been seen at a great disadvantage in spite of the skill shown by Phidias in adapting it to its site; for, as the frieze stood thirty-nine feet from the floor, and as the width of the portico between the wall and the columns was only nine feet, it was seen at a very sharp angle, and owing to the projection of the roof beyond the wall of the temple the frieze received only reflected light from the marble pavement below.

Apart from the marble sculptures on the exterior of the Parthenon, the two most famous works of Phidias were the statues of Athena, made for the interior of the Parthenon, and of Zeus for the temple of the god at Olympia in Elis. Both these statues were of the sort called Chryselephantine, from the Greek chrousous, golden, and elephantinos, of ivory; that is, they were constructed of plates of gold and ivory, laid upon a core of wood or stone. The style was not new, though its invention was at one time ascribed to Phidias. It came from the East, but it was now employed for the first time in Greece in a work of national importance.

In the Athena, the face, neck, arms, hands, and feet were made of ivory, and the drapery and ornaments, the helmet, the shield, and the sandals of gold, which as in the case of the statue made for Plataea, was removable at pleasure. The height of the statue, including the pedestal, was nearly forty feet. The goddess stood erect, clothed with a tunic reaching to the ankles, and showing her richly sandalled feet. She had the aegis on her breast, her head was covered with a helmet, and her shield, richly embossed with the Battle of the Amazons, rested on the ground at her side. In one hand she held a spear, and in the other, an image of Victory six feet high.

A still more splendid work, and one which raised the fame of Phidias to the highest point, was the statue of the Olympian Zeus, made for the Eleans. In this statue, Phidias essayed to embody the Homeric ideal of the supreme divinity of the people of Greece sitting on his throne as a monarch, and in an attitude of majestic repose. The throne, made of cedar-wood, was covered with plates of gold, and enriched with ivory, ebony, and precious stones. It rested on a platform twelve feet high, made of costly marble and carved with the images of the gods who formed the council of Zeus on Olympus. The feet of the god rested on a footstool supported by lions, and with the combat of Theseus and the Amazons in a bas-relief on the front and sides. In one hand Zeus held the sceptre, and in the other a winged Victory. His head was crowned with a laurel wreath; his mantle, falling from one shoulder, left his breast bare and covered the lower part of his person with its ample folds of pure gold enamelled with flowers. The whole height of the statue with the pedestal was about fifty feet; by its very disproportion to the size of the temple it was made to appear still larger than it really was. This statue was reckoned one of the wonders of the world. In it the Greeks seemed to behold Zeus face to face. To see it was a cure for all earthly woes, and to die without having seen it was reckoned a great calamity.

The downfall of Pericles, due to the jealousies of his rivals, carried with it the ruin of Phidias, his close friend, to whom he had entrusted such great undertakings. An indictment was brought against the sculptor, charging him with appropriating to himself a portion of the gold given him for the adornment of the statue of Athena; and according to some authorities Pericles himself was included in the charge. The gold had, however, been attached to the statue in such a manner that it could be taken off and weighed, and in the proof, the charge had to be abandoned. But Phidias did not escape so easily. He was accused of sacrilege in having introduced portraits of himself and Pericles on the shield of the goddess, where, says Plutarch, in the bas-relief of the Battle of the Amazons, he carved his own portrait as a bald old man lifting a stone with both hands, and also introduced an excellent likeness of Pericles fighting with an Amazon.

Phidias died in prison before the trial came off, and his name must be added to the long list of those whom an ungrateful world has rewarded for their services with ignominy and death.

[Signature of the author.]



LEONARDO DA VINCI

By ANNA JAMESON

(1452-1519)



Leonardo da Vinci seems to present in his own person a resume of all the characteristics of the age in which he lived. He was the miracle of that age of miracles. Ardent and versatile as youth; patient and persevering as age; a most profound and original thinker; the greatest mathematician and most ingenious mechanic of his time; architect, chemist, engineer, musician, poet, painter—we are not only astounded by the variety of his natural gifts and acquired knowledge, but by the practical direction of his amazing powers. The extracts which have been published from MSS. now existing in his own handwriting show him to have anticipated by the force of his own intellect some of the greatest discoveries made since his time. "These fragments," says Mr. Hallam, "are, according to our common estimate of the age in which he lived, more like revelations of physical truths vouchsafed to a single mind than the superstructure of its reasoning upon any established basis. The discoveries which made Galileo, Kepler, Castelli, and other names illustrious; the system of Copernicus, the very theories of recent geologists, are anticipated by Da Vinci within the compass of a few pages, not perhaps in the most precise language, or on the most conclusive reasoning, but so as to strike us with something like the awe of preternatural knowledge. In an age of so much dogmatism he first laid down the grand principle of Bacon, that experiment and observation must be the guides to just theory in the investigation of nature. If any doubt could be harbored, not as to the right of Leonardo da Vinci to stand as the first name of the fifteenth century, which is beyond all doubt, but as to his originality in so many discoveries, which probably no one man, especially in such circumstances, has ever made, it must be by an hypothesis not very untenable, that some parts of physical science had already attained a height which mere books do not record."

It seems at first sight almost incomprehensible that, thus endowed as a philosopher, mechanic, inventor, discoverer, the fame of Leonardo should now rest on the works he has left as a painter. We cannot, within these limits, attempt to explain why and how it is that as the man of science he has been naturally and necessarily left behind by the onward march of intellectual progress, while as the poet-painter he still survives as a presence and a power. We must proceed at once to give some account of him in the character in which he exists to us and for us—that of the great artist.

Leonardo was born at Vinci, near Florence, in the Lower Val d'Arno, on the borders of the territory of Pistoia. His father, Piero da Vinci, was an advocate of Florence—not rich, but in independent circumstances, and possessed of estates in land. The singular talents of his son induced Piero to give him, from an early age, the advantage of the best instructors. As a child he distinguished himself by his proficiency in arithmetic and mathematics. Music he studied early, as a science as well as an art. He invented a species of lyre for himself, and sung his own poetical compositions to his own music, both being frequently extemporaneous. But his favorite pursuit was the art of design in all its branches; he modelled in clay or wax, or attempted to draw every object which struck his fancy. His father sent him to study under Andrea Verrocchio, famous as a sculptor, chaser in metal, and painter. Andrea, who was an excellent and correct designer, but a bad and hard colorist, was soon after engaged to paint a picture of the baptism of our Saviour. He employed Leonardo, then a youth, to execute one of the angels; this he did with so much softness and richness of color, that it far surpassed the rest of the picture; and Verrocchio from that time threw away his palette, and confined himself wholly to his works in sculpture and design, "enraged," says Vessari, "that a child should thus excel him."

The youth of Leonardo thus passed away in the pursuit of science and of art; sometimes he was deeply engaged in astronomical calculations and investigations; sometimes ardent in the study of natural history, botany, and anatomy; sometimes intent on new effects of color, light, shadow, or expression in representing objects animate or inanimate. Versatile, yet persevering, he varied his pursuits, but he never abandoned any. He was quite a young man when he conceived and demonstrated the practicability of two magnificent projects: one was to lift the whole of the church of San Giovanni, by means of immense levers, some feet higher than it now stands, and thus supply the deficient elevation; the other project was to form the Arno into a navigable canal as far as Pisa, which would have added greatly to the commercial advantages of Florence.

It happened about this time that a peasant on the estate of Piero da Vinci brought him a circular piece of wood, cut horizontally from the trunk of a very large old fig-tree, which had been lately felled, and begged to have something painted on it as an ornament for his cottage. The man being an especial favorite, Piero desired his son Leonardo to gratify his request; and Leonardo, inspired by that wildness of fancy which was one of his characteristics, took the panel into his own room, and resolved to astonish his father by a most unlooked-for proof of his art. He determined to compose something which should have an effect similar to that of the Medusa on the shield of Perseus, and almost petrify beholders. Aided by his recent studies in natural history, he collected together from the neighboring swamps and the river-mud all kinds of hideous reptiles, as adders, lizards, toads, serpents: insects, as moths, locusts, and other crawling and flying obscene and obnoxious things; and out of these he composed a sort of monster or chimera, which he represented as about to issue from the shield, with eyes flashing fire, and of an aspect so fearful and abominable that it seemed to infect the very air around. When finished, he led his father into the room in which it was placed, and the terror and horror of Piero proved the success of his attempt. This production, afterward known as the "Rotello del Fico," from the material on which it was painted, was sold by Piero secretly for one hundred ducats to a merchant, who carried it to Milan, and sold it to the duke for three hundred. To the poor peasant, thus cheated of his "Rotello," Piero gave a wooden shield, on which was painted a heart transfixed by a dart, a device better suited to his taste and comprehension. In the subsequent troubles of Milan, Leonardo's picture disappeared, and was probably destroyed as an object of horror by those who did not understand its value as a work of art.

During this first period of his life, which was wholly passed in Florence and its neighborhood, Leonardo painted several other pictures of a very different character, and designed some beautiful cartoons of sacred and mythological subjects, which showed that his sense of the beautiful, the elevated, and the graceful was not less a part of his mind than that eccentricity and almost perversion of fancy which made him delight in sketching ugly, exaggerated caricatures, and representing the deformed and the terrible.

Leonardo da Vinci was now about thirty years old, in the prime of his life and talents. His taste for pleasure and expense was, however, equal to his genius and indefatigable industry; and anxious to secure a certain provision for the future, as well as a wider field for the exercise of his various talents, he accepted the invitation of Ludovico Sforza il Moro, then regent, afterward Duke of Milan, to reside in his court, and to execute a colossal equestrian statue of his ancestor, Francesco Sforza. Here begins the second period of his artistic career, which includes his sojourn at Milan, that is from 1483 to 1499.

Vasari says that Leonardo was invited to the court of Milan for the Duke Ludovico's amusement, "as a musician and performer on the lyre, and as the greatest singer and improvisatore of his time;" but this is improbable. Leonardo, in his long letter to that prince, in which he recites his own qualifications for employment, dwells chiefly on his skill in engineering and fortification; and sums up his pretensions as an artist in these few brief words: "I understand the different modes of sculpture in marble, bronze, and terra-cotta. In painting, also, I may esteem myself equal to anyone, let him be who he may." Of his musical talents he makes no mention whatever, though undoubtedly these, as well as his other social accomplishments, his handsome person, his winning address, his wit and eloquence, recommended him to the notice of the prince, by whom he was greatly beloved, and in whose service he remained for about seventeen years. It is not necessary, nor would it be possible here, to give a particular account of all the works in which Leonardo was engaged for his patron, nor of the great political events in which he was involved, more by his position than by his inclination; for instance, the invasion of Italy by Charles VIII. of France, and the subsequent invasion of Milan by Louis XII., which ended in the destruction of the Duke Ludovico. The greatest work of all, and by far the grandest picture which, up to that time, had been executed in Italy, was the "Last Supper," painted on the wall of the refectory, or dining-room, of the Dominican convent of the Madonna delle Grazie. It occupied Leonardo about two years, from 1496 to 1498.

The moment selected by the painter is described in the 26th chapter of St. Matthew, 21st and 22d verses: "And as they did eat, he said, Verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me: and they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?" The knowledge of character displayed in the heads of the different apostles is even more wonderful than the skilful arrangement of the figures and the amazing beauty of the workmanship. The space occupied by the picture is a wall twenty-eight feet in length and the figures are larger than life.

Of this magnificent creation of art, only the mouldering remains are now visible. It has been so often repaired that almost every vestige of the original painting is annihilated; but from the multiplicity of descriptions, engravings, and copies that exist, no picture is more universally known and celebrated. Perhaps the best judgment we can now form of its merits is from the fine copy executed by one of Leonardo's best pupils, Marco Uggione, for the Certosa at Pavia, and now in London, in the collection of the Royal Academy. Eleven other copies, by various pupils of Leonardo, painted either during his lifetime or within a few years after his death, while the picture was in perfect preservation, exist in different churches and collections.

While engaged on the Cenacolo, Leonardo painted the portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli, now in the Louvre (No. 483). It has been engraved under the title of La Belle Ferronniere, but later researches leave us no doubt that it represents Lucrezia Crivelli, a beautiful favorite of Ludovico Sforza, and was painted at Milan in 1497. It is, as a work of art, of such extraordinary perfection that all critical admiration is lost in wonder.

Of the grand equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza, Leonardo never finished more than the model in clay, which was considered a masterpiece. Some years afterward (in 1499), when Milan was invaded by the French, it was used as a target by the Gascon bowmen, and completely destroyed. The profound anatomical studies which Leonardo made for this work still exist.



In the year 1500, the French being in possession of Milan, his patron Ludovico in captivity, and the affairs of the state in utter confusion, Leonardo returned to his native Florence, where he hoped to re-establish his broken fortunes, and to find employment. Here begins the third period of his artistic life, from 1500 to 1513, that is, from his forty-eighth to his sixtieth year. He found the Medici family in exile, but was received by Pietro Soderini (who governed the city as "Gonfaloniere perpetuo") with great distinction, and a pension was assigned to him as painter in the service of the republic. One of his first works after his return to Florence was the famous portrait of Madonna Lisa del Giocondo, called in French La Joconde, and now in the Louvre (484), which after the death of Leonardo was purchased by Francis I. for 4,000 gold crowns, equal to 45,000 francs or L1,800, an enormous sum in those days; yet who ever thought it too much?

Then began the rivalry between Leonardo and Michael Angelo, which lasted during the remainder of Leonardo's life. The difference of age (for Michael Angelo was twenty-two years younger) ought to have prevented all unseemly jealousy; but Michael Angelo was haughty and impatient of all superiority, or even equality; Leonardo, sensitive, capricious, and naturally disinclined to admit the pretensions of a rival, to whom he could say, and did say, "I was famous before you were born!" With all their admiration of each other's genius, their mutual frailties prevented any real good-will on either side.

Leonardo, during his stay at Florence, painted the portrait of Ginevra Benci, the reigning beauty of her time. We find that in 1502 he was engaged by Caesar Borgia to visit and report on the fortifications of his territories, and in this office he was employed for two years. In 1503 he formed a plan for turning the course of the Arno, and in the following year he lost his father. In 1505 he modelled the group which we now see over the northern door of the San Giovanni, at Florence. In 1514 he was invited to Rome by Leo X., but more in his character of philosopher, mechanic, and alchemist, than as a painter. Here Raphael was at the height of his fame, and engaged in his greatest works, the frescos of the Vatican. The younger artist was introduced to the elder; and two pictures which Leonardo painted while at Rome—the "Madonna of St. Onofrio," and the "Holy Family," painted for Filiberta of Savoy, the pope's sister-in-law (which is now at St. Petersburg)—show that even this veteran in art felt the irresistible influence of the genius of his young rival. They are both Raffaelesque in the subject and treatment.

It appears that Leonardo was ill-satisfied with his sojourn at Rome. He had long been accustomed to hold the first rank as an artist wherever he resided; whereas at Rome he found himself only one among many who, if they acknowledged his greatness, affected to consider his day as past. He was conscious that many of the improvements in the arts which were now brought into use, and which enabled the painters of the day to produce such extraordinary effects, were invented or introduced by himself. If he could no longer assert that measureless superiority over all others which he had done in his younger days, it was because he himself had opened to them new paths to excellence. The arrival of his old competitor, Michael Angelo, and some slight on the part of Leo X., who was annoyed by his speculative and dilatory habits in executing the works intrusted to him, all added to his irritation and disgust. He left Rome, and set out for Pavia, where the French king, Francis I., then held his court. He was received by the young monarch with every mark of respect, loaded with favors, and a pension of 700 gold crowns settled on him for life. At the famous conference between Francis I. and Leo X., at Bologna, Leonardo attended his new patron, and was of essential service to him on that occasion. In the following year, 1516, he returned with Francis I. to France, and was attached to the French court as principal painter. It appears, however, that during his residence in France he did not paint a single picture. His health had begun to decline from the time he left Italy; and feeling his end approach, he prepared himself for it by religious meditation, by acts of charity, and by a most conscientious distribution by will of all his worldly possessions to his relatives and friends. At length, after protracted suffering, this great and most extraordinary man died at Cloux, near Amboise, May 2, 1519, being then in his sixty-seventh year. It is to be regretted that we cannot wholly credit the beautiful story of his dying in the arms of Francis I., who, as it is said, had come to visit him on his death-bed. It would indeed have been, as Fuseli expressed it, "an honor to the king, by which destiny would have atoned to that monarch for his future disaster at Pavia."



MICHAEL ANGELO

By ANNA JAMESON

(1474-1564)



We have spoken of Leonardo da Vinci. Michael Angelo, the other great luminary of art, was twenty-two years younger, but the more severe and reflective cast of his mind rendered their difference of age far less in effect than in reality. It is usual to compare Michael Angelo with Raphael, but he is more aptly compared with Leonardo da Vinci. All the great artists of that time, even Raphael himself, were influenced more or less by these two extraordinary men, but they exercised no influence on each other. They started from opposite points; they pursued throughout their whole existence, and in all they planned and achieved, a course as different as their respective characters.

Michael Angelo Buonarroti was born at Setignano, near Florence, in the year 1474. He was descended from a family once noble—even among the noblest of the feudal lords of Northern Italy—the Counts of Canossa; but that branch of it represented by his father, Luigi Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni, had for some generations become poorer and poorer, until the last descendant was thankful to accept an office in the law, and had been nominated magistrate or mayor (Podesta) of Chiusi. In this situation he had limited his ambition to the prospect of seeing his eldest son a notary or advocate in his native city. The young Michael Angelo showed the utmost distaste for the studies allotted to him, and was continually escaping from his home and from his desk to haunt the ateliers of the painters, particularly that of Ghirlandajo who was then at the height of his reputation.

The father of Michael Angelo, who found his family increase too rapidly for his means, had destined some of his sons for commerce (it will be recollected that in Genoa and Florence the most powerful nobles were merchants or manufacturers), and others for civil or diplomatic employments; but the fine arts, as being at that time productive of little honor or emolument, he held in no esteem, and treated these tastes of his eldest son sometimes with contempt and sometimes even with harshness. Michael Angelo, however, had formed some friendships among the young painters, and particularly with Francesco Granacci, one of the best pupils of Ghirlandajo; he contrived to borrow models and drawings, and studied them in secret with such persevering assiduity and consequent improvement, that Ghirlandajo, captivated by his genius, undertook to plead his cause to his father, and at length prevailed over the old man's family pride and prejudices. At the age of fourteen Michael Angelo was received into the studio of Ghirlandajo as a regular pupil, and bound to him for three years; and such was the precocious talent of the boy, that, instead of being paid for his instruction, Ghirlandajo undertook to pay the father, Leonardo Buonarroti, for the first, second, and third years, six, eight, and twelve golden florins, as payment for the advantage he expected to derive from the labor of the son. Thus was the vocation of the young artist decided for life.

At that time Lorenzo the Magnificent reigned over Florence. He had formed in his palace and gardens a collection of antique marbles, busts, statues, fragments, which he had converted into an academy for the use of young artists, placing at the head of it as director a sculptor of some eminence, named Bertoldo. Michael Angelo was one of the first who, through the recommendation of Ghirlandajo, was received into this new academy, afterward so famous and so memorable in the history of art. The young man, then not quite sixteen, had hitherto occupied himself chiefly in drawing; but now, fired by the beauties he beheld around him, and by the example and success of a fellow-pupil, Torregiano, he set himself to model in clay, and at length to copy in marble what was before him; but, as was natural in a character and genius so steeped in individuality, his copies became not so much imitations of form as original embodyings of the leading idea. For example: his first attempt in marble, when he was about fifteen, was a copy of an antique mask of an old laughing Faun; he treated this in a manner so different from the original, and so spirited as to excite the astonishment of Lorenzo de Medici, who criticised it, however, saying, "Thou shouldst have remembered that old folks do not retain all their teeth; some of them are always wanting." The boy struck the teeth out, giving it at once the most grotesque expression; and Lorenzo, infinitely amused, sent for his father and offered to attach his son to his own particular service, and to undertake the entire care of his education. The father consented, on condition of receiving for himself an office under the government, and thenceforth Michael Angelo was lodged in the palace of the Medici and treated by Lorenzo as his son.

Michael Angelo continued his studies under the auspices of Lorenzo; but just as he had reached his eighteenth year he lost his generous patron, his second father, and was thenceforth thrown on his own resources. It is true that the son of Lorenzo, Piero de Medici, continued to extend his favor to the young artist, but with so little comprehension of his genius and character, that on one occasion, during the severe winter of 1494, he set him to form a statue of snow for the amusement of his guests.

Michael Angelo, while he yielded, perforce, to the caprices of his protector, turned the energies of his mind to a new study—that of anatomy—and pursued it with all that fervor which belonged to his character. His attention was at the same time directed to literature, by the counsels and conversations of a very celebrated scholar and poet then residing in the court of Piero—Angelo Poliziano; and he pursued at the same time the cultivation of his mind and the practice of his art. Engrossed by his own studies, he was scarcely aware of what was passing around him, nor of the popular intrigues which were preparing the ruin of the Medici; suddenly this powerful family were flung from sovereignty to temporary disgrace and exile; and Michael Angelo, as one of their retainers, was obliged to fly from Florence, and took refuge in the city of Bologna. During the year he spent there he found a friend, who employed him on some works of sculpture; and on his return to Florence he executed a Cupid in marble, of such beauty that it found its way into the cabinet of the Duchess of Mantua as a real antique. On the discovery that the author of this beautiful statue was a young man of two-and-twenty, the Cardinal San Giorgio invited him to Rome, and for some time lodged him in his palace. Here Michael Angelo, surrounded and inspired by the grand remains of antiquity, pursued his studies with unceasing energy; he produced a statue of Bacchus, which added to his reputation; and in 1500, at the age of five-and-twenty, he produced the famous group of the dead Christ on the knees of his Virgin Mother (called the "Pieta"), which is now in the church of St. Peter's, at Rome; this last being frequently copied and imitated, obtained him so much applause and reputation, that he was recalled to Florence, to undertake several public works, and we find him once more established in his native city in the year 1502.

In 1506 Michael Angelo was summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II., who, while living, had conceived the idea of erecting a most splendid monument to perpetuate his memory. For this work, which was never completed, Michael Angelo executed the famous statue of Moses, seated, grasping his flowing beard with one hand, and with the other sustaining the tables of the Law. While employed on this tomb, the pope commanded him to undertake also the decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Pope Sixtus IV. had, in the year 1473, erected this famous chapel, and summoned the best painters of that time, Signorelli, Cosimo Roselli, Perugino, and Ghirlandajo, to decorate the interior; but down to the year 1508 the ceiling remained without any ornament; and Michael Angelo was called upon to cover this enormous vault, a space of one hundred and fifty feet in length by fifty in breadth, with a series of subjects representing the most important events connected, either literally or typically, with the fall and redemption of mankind.

No part of Michael Angelo's long life is so interesting, so full of characteristic incident, as the history of his intercourse with Pope Julius II., which began in 1505, and ended only with the death of the pope in 1513.

Michael Angelo had at all times a lofty idea of his own dignity as an artist, and never would stoop either to flatter a patron or to conciliate a rival. Julius II., though now seventy-four, was as impatient of contradiction as fiery in temper, as full of magnificent and ambitious projects as if he had been in the prime of life; in his service was the famous architect, Bramante, who beheld with jealousy and alarm the increasing fame of Michael Angelo, and his influence with the pontiff, and set himself by indirect means to lessen both. He insinuated to Julius that it was ominous to erect his own mausoleum during his lifetime, and the pope gradually fell off in his attentions to Michael Angelo, and neglected to supply him with the necessary funds for carrying on the work. On one occasion, Michael Angelo, finding it difficult to obtain access to the pope, sent a message to him to this effect, "that henceforth, if his Holiness desired to see him, he should send to seek him elsewhere;" and the same night, leaving orders with his servants to dispose of his property, he departed for Florence. The pope despatched five couriers after him with threats, persuasions, promises—but in vain. He wrote to the Gonfaloniere Soderini, then at the head of the government of Florence, commanding him, on pain of his extreme displeasure, to send Michael Angelo back to him; but the inflexible artist absolutely refused; three months were spent in vain negotiations. Soderini, at length, fearing the pope's anger, prevailed on Michael Angelo to return, and sent with him his relation, Cardinal Soderini, to make up the quarrel between the high contending powers.

On his return to Rome, Michael Angelo wished to have resumed his work on the mausoleum; but the pope had resolved on the completion of the Sistine Chapel; he commanded Michael Angelo to undertake the decoration of the vaulted ceiling; and the artist was obliged, though reluctantly, to obey. At this time the frescos which Raphael and his pupils were painting in the chambers of the Vatican had excited the admiration of all Rome. Michael Angelo, who had never exercised himself in the mechanical part of the art of fresco, invited from Florence several painters of eminence, to execute his designs under his own superintendence; but they could not reach the grandeur of his conceptions, which became enfeebled under their hands, and one morning, in a mood of impatience, he destroyed all that they had done, closed the doors of the chapel against them, and would not thenceforth admit them to his presence. He then shut himself up, and proceeded with incredible perseverance and energy to accomplish his task alone; he even prepared his colors with his own hands. He began with the end toward the door, and in the two compartments first painted (though not first in the series), the "Deluge," and the "Vineyard of Noah;" he made the figures too numerous and too small to produce their full effect from below, a fault which he corrected in those executed subsequently. When almost half the work was completed, the pope insisted on viewing what was done, and the astonishment and admiration it excited rendered him more and more eager to have the whole completed at once. The progress, however, was not rapid enough to suit the impatient temper of the pontiff. On one occasion he demanded of the artist when he meant to finish it; to which Michael Angelo replied calmly, "When I can." "When thou canst!" exclaimed the fiery old pope, "thou hast a mind that I should have thee thrown from the scaffold!" At length, on the day of All Saints, 1512, the ceiling was uncovered to public view. Michael Angelo had employed on the painting only, without reckoning the time spent in preparing the cartoons, twenty-two months, and he received in payment three thousand crowns.

The collection of engravings after Michael Angelo in the British Museum is very imperfect, but it contains some fine old prints from the Prophets which should be studied by those who wish to understand the true merit of this great master, of whom Sir Joshua Reynolds said that, "to kiss the hem of his garment, to catch the slightest of his perfections, would be glory and distinction enough for an ambitious man!"

When the Sistine Chapel was completed Michael Angelo was in his thirty-ninth year; fifty years of a glorious though troubled career were still before him.

Pope Julius II. died in 1513, and was succeeded by Leo X., the son of Lorenzo the Magnificent. As a Florentine and his father's son, we might naturally have expected that he would have gloried in patronizing and employing Michael Angelo; but such was not the case. There was something in the stern, unbending character, and retired and abstemious habits of Michael Angelo, repulsive to the temper of Leo, who preferred the graceful and amiable Raphael, then in the prime of his life and genius; hence arose the memorable rivalry between Michael Angelo and Raphael, which on the part of the latter was merely generous emulation, while it must be confessed that something like scorn mingled with the feelings of Michael Angelo. The pontificate of Leo X., an interval of ten years, was the least productive period of his life. In the year 1519, when the Signoria of Florence was negotiating with Ravenna for the restoration of the remains of Dante, he petitioned the pope that he might be allowed to execute, at his own labor and expense, a monument to the "Divine Poet." He was sent to Florence to superintend the building of the church of San Lorenzo and the completion of Santa Croce; but he differed with the pope on the choice of the marble, quarrelled with the officials, and scarcely anything was accomplished. Clement VII., another Medici, was elected pope in 1523. He had conceived the idea of consecrating a chapel in the church of San Lorenzo, to receive the tombs of his ancestors and relations, and which should be adorned with all the splendor of art. Michael Angelo planned and built the chapel, and for its interior decoration designed and executed six of his greatest works in sculpture.

While Michael Angelo was engaged in these works his progress was interrupted by events which threw all Italy into commotion. Rome was taken and sacked by the Constable de Bourbon in 1527. The Medici were once more expelled from Florence; and Michael Angelo, in the midst of these strange vicissitudes, was employed by the republic to fortify his native city against his former patrons. Great as an engineer, as in every other department of art and science, he defended Florence for nine months. At length the city was given up by treachery, and, fearing the vengeance of the conquerors, Michael Angelo fled and concealed himself; but Clement VII. was too sensible of his merit to allow him to remain long in disgrace and exile. He was pardoned, and continued ever afterward in high favor with the pope, who employed him on the sculptures in the chapel of San Lorenzo during the remainder of his pontificate.

In the year 1531 he had completed the statues of "Night and Morning," and Clement, who heard of his incessant labors, sent him a brief commanding him, on pain of excommunication, to take care of his health, and not to accept of any other work but that which his Holiness had assigned him.

Clement VII. was succeeded by Pope Paul III., of the Farnese family, in 1534. This pope, though nearly seventy when he was elected, was as anxious to immortalize his name by great undertakings as any of his predecessors had been. His first wish was to complete the decoration of the interior of the Sistine Chapel, left unfinished by Julius II. and Leo X. He summoned Michael Angelo, who endeavored to excuse himself, pleading other engagements; but the pope would listen to no excuses which interfered with his sovereign power to dissolve all other obligations; and thus the artist found himself, after an interval of twenty years, most reluctantly forced to abandon sculpture for painting; and, as Vasari expresses it, he consented to serve Pope Paul only because he could not do otherwise.

The same Pope Paul III. had in the meantime constructed a beautiful chapel, which was called after his name the chapel Paolina, and dedicated to St. Peter and St Paul. Michael Angelo was called upon to design the decorations. He painted on one side the "Conversion of St. Paul," and on the other the "Crucifixion of St. Peter," which were completed in 1549. But these fine paintings—of which existing old engravings give a better idea than the blackened and faded remains of the original frescos—were from the first ill-disposed as to the locality, and badly lighted, and at present they excite little interest compared with the more famous works in the Sistine.

With the frescos in the Pauline Chapel ends Michael Angelo's career as a painter. He had been appointed chief architect of St. Peter's, in 1547, by Paul III. He was then in his seventy-second year, and during the remainder of his life, a period of sixteen years, we find him wholly devoted to architecture. His vast and daring genius finding ample scope in the completion of St. Peter's, he has left behind him in his capacity of architect yet greater marvels than he has achieved as painter and sculptor. Who that has seen the cupola of St. Peter's soaring into the skies, but will think almost with awe of the universal and majestic intellect of the man who reared it?

It appears, from the evidence of contemporary writers, that in the last years of his life the acknowledged worth and genius of Michael Angelo, his widespread fame, and his unblemished integrity, combined with his venerable age and the haughtiness and reserve of his deportment to invest him with a sort of princely dignity. It is recorded that, when he waited on Pope Julius III., to receive his commands, the pontiff rose on his approach, seated him, in spite of his excuses, on his right hand, and while a crowd of cardinals, prelates, and ambassadors, were standing round at humble distance, carried on the conference as equal with equal. When the Grand Duke Cosmo was in Rome, in 1560, he visited Michael Angelo, uncovered in his presence, and stood with his hat in his hand while speaking to him; but from the time when he made himself the tyrant of Florence he never could persuade Michael Angelo to visit, even for a day, his native city.

The arrogance imputed to Michael Angelo seems rather to have arisen from a contempt for others than from any overweening opinion of himself. He was too proud to be vain. He had placed his standard of perfection so high, that to the latest hour of his life he considered himself as striving after that ideal excellence which had been revealed to him, but to which he conceived that others were blind or indifferent. In allusion to his own imperfections, he made a drawing, since become famous, which represents an aged man in a go-cart, and underneath the words "Ancora impara" (still learning).

He continued to labor unremittingly, and with the same resolute energy of mind and purpose, till the gradual decay of his strength warned him of his approaching end. He did not suffer from any particular malady, and his mind was strong and clear to the last. He died at Rome, on February 18, 1564, in the ninetieth year of his age. A few days before his death he dictated his will in these few simple words: "I bequeath my soul to God, my body to the earth, and my possessions to my nearest relations." His nephew, Leonardo Buonarroti, who was his principal heir, by the orders of the Grand Duke Cosmo had his remains secretly conveyed out of Rome and brought to Florence; they were with due honors deposited in the church of Santa Croce, under a costly monument, on which we may see his noble bust surrounded by three very commonplace and ill-executed statues, representing the arts in which he excelled—Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. They might have added Poetry, for Michael Angelo was so fine a poet that his productions would have given him fame, though he had never peopled the Sistine with his giant creations, nor "suspended the Pantheon in the air." The object to whom his poems are chiefly addressed, Vittoria Colonna, Marchioness of Pescara, was the widow of the celebrated commander who overcame Francis I. at the battle of Pavia; herself a poetess, and one of the most celebrated women of her time for beauty, talents, virtue, and piety. She died in 1547.



RAPHAEL

By Mrs. LEE

(1483-1520)



The solemn and silent season of Lent had passed away; and, on the second evening of the joyful Easter, a house was seen brightly illuminated in one of the streets of Urbino. It was evident that a festival was held there on some happy occasion. The sound of music was heard, and guest after guest entered the mansion. No one, however, was more cordially welcomed than Pietro Perugino, the fellow-student of Leonardo da Vinci, at the school of the good old Andrea Verocchio.

For a moment, general gayety was suspended in honor of the guest. He was considered at that time one of the greatest painters of the age; and the host, Giovanni di Sanzio, though himself only ranking in the second or third order of limners, knew well how to prize the rare talents of his visitor.

The wife of Giovanni came forward, leading her son Raphael. Perugino had the eye of an artist: he gazed upon the mother and son with enthusiastic feeling; the striking resemblance they bore to each other, so exquisitely modulated by years and sex, was indeed a study for this minute copyist of nature.

"Benvenuto, Messer Perugino," said the hostess, with her soft musical voice and graceful Italian accent, and she placed the hand of her boy in that of the artist. Gently he laid the other on the head of the youthful Raphael, and in a solemn and tender manner pronounced a benediction.

"Your blessing is well timed, my honored friend," said Giovanni, "our festival is given to celebrate the birthday of our son."

"Is this his birthday?" inquired Perugino.

"Not so," replied the father, "he was born on April 7th, the evening of Good Friday, and it well befits us to be gay on the joyful Easter that succeeds it."

"My friend," said Perugino, "if thou wilt entrust thy boy to my care, I will take him as my pupil."

The father acceded with delight to this proposal. When the mother became acquainted with the arrangement, and found that her son was to quit his paternal dwelling at the early age of twelve, and reside wholly with Perugino, she could not restrain her tears. With hers the young Raphael's mingled, though ever and anon a bright smile darted like a sunbeam across his face.

He remained with Perugino several years. Raphael was made for affection, and fondly did his heart cling to his instructor. For a time he was content to follow his manner; but at length he began to dwell upon his own beau ideal; he grew impatient of imitation, and felt that his style was deficient in freshness and originality. He longed to pass the narrow bounds to which his invention had been confined.

With the approbation of Perugino and the consent of his parents, he repaired to Siena; here he was solicited to adorn the public library with fresco, and painted there with great success. But while he was busily engaged, his friend, Pinturrichio, one day entered. After looking at his friend's work very attentively, "Bravo!" he exclaimed, "thou hast done well, my Raphael—but I have just returned from Florence—oh, would that thou couldst behold the works of Leonardo da Vinci! Such horses! they paw the ground and shake the foam from their manes. Oh, my poor Raphael! thou hast never seen nature; thou art wasting time on these cartoons. Perugino is a good man and a good painter, I will not deny that—but Leonardo's horses!"

Raphael threw aside his pencil and hastily rose.

"Where now?" asked his friend; "whither art thou going so hastily?"

"To Florence," exclaimed Raphael.

"And what carries you so suddenly?"

"The horses of Leonardo," replied the young artist, sportively; "seriously, however, the desire of excellence implanted in my soul."

When he arrived at Florence he was charmed with the appearance of the city; but his whole mind was absorbed in the works of Leonardo da Vinci and of Michael Angelo, the rival artists of the age. As his stay was to be short, he did not enter upon laborious occupation. His mornings were passed in the reveries of his art; his evenings in the gay and fascinating society of Florence, where the fame of Perugino's beloved pupil had already reached. The frescos at Siena were spoken of; and the beautiful countenance and graceful deportment of Raphael won him the friendship of distinguished men. Taddeo Taddei, the learned friend of Cardinal Bembo, solicited him to reside in his house; he consented, and in return for the courtesy painted for him two pictures, in what is called his first style, that of Perugino.

One evening he retired to his couch at a late hour. He had been the hero of a fete, and love and beauty had heedlessly scattered their flowers in the path of the living Adonis. In vain he sought a few hours of slumber. He had quaffed the juice of the grape, emptying goblet after goblet, till his beating pulse and throbbing temples refused to be quieted. He started from his couch and approached the lattice; the heavens had changed their aspect, the still serenity of the evening had passed away, and the clouds were hurrying over the pale and watery moon. Nothing was heard but the low sighing of the wind, and now and then a sudden gust swept through the lattice, and threatened to extinguish the taper which was burning dimly on the table. A slight noise made him turn his eyes, and he perceived a note that the wind had displaced. He hastily took it up. It was Perugino's handwriting. He cut the silken cord that fastened it, and read:

"On me, my beloved Raffaello, devolves the task of informing you of the events which have taken place at Urbino. May this letter find you prepared for all the changes of life; a wise man will never suffer himself to be taken by surprise; this is true philosophy, and the only philosophy that can serve us! An epidemic has prevailed at Urbino, and has entered your paternal dwelling. Need I say more? Come to me, my son, at Perugia, for I am the only parent that remains to you. Pietro Perugino."

As he hastily arose, a crucifix which his mother had suspended to his neck at parting, fell from his bosom. Even the symbols of religion are sacred where the living principle has been early implanted in the heart. He pressed it to his lips: "Ah!" thought he, "what is the philosophy of Perugino, compared to the faith of which this is the emblem?" His thoughts went back to infancy and childhood, and his grief and remorse grew less intense. He dwelt on the deep and enduring love of his parents till he felt assured death could not extinguish it, and that he should see them again in a brighter sphere.

When morning came it found Raphael calm and composed; the lines of grief and thought were deeply marked on his youthful face; but the whirlwind and the storm had passed. He took leave of his friends, and hastened to Perugino, who received him with the fondness of a parent.

Here he remained some time, and at length collected sufficient resolution to return to Urbino, and once more enter the mansion of his desolated home.

It was necessary for him to reside at his native place for a number of months. During that time he painted several fine pictures. His heart, however, yearned for Florence, and he returned to it once more with the determination of making it his home. With far different sensations did he a second time enter the city of beauty. The freshness of his gayety was blighted; lessons of earthly disappointment were ever present to his mind, and he returned to it with the resolute purpose of devoting himself to serious occupation.

How well he fulfilled this resolution all Italy can bear witness. From this time he adopted what has been called his second manner. He painted for the Duke of Urbino the beautiful picture of the Saviour at sunrise, with the morning light cast over a face resplendent with divinity; the flowers glittering with dew, the two disciples beyond, still buried in slumber, at the time when the Saviour turns his eyes upon them with that tender and sorrowful exclamation, "Could ye not watch one hour?"

Raphael enriched the city of Florence with his works. When asked what had suggested some of the beautiful combinations of his paintings, he said, "They came to me in my sleep." At other times he called them "visions;" and then again said they were the result of "una certa idea che mi viene alla mente." It was this power of drawing from the deep wells of his own mind that gave such character, originality, and freshness to his works. He found that power within which so many seek, and seek in vain, without.

At the age of twenty-five Raphael was summoned by the pope to paint the chambers of the Vatican. The famous frescos of the Vatican need neither enumeration nor description; the world is their judge and their eulogist.

No artist ever consecrated his works more by his affections than Raphael. The same hallowed influence of the heart gave inexpressible charm to Correggio's, afterward. One of Raphael's friends said to him, in looking upon particular figures in his groups, "You have transmitted to posterity your own likeness."

"See you nothing beyond that?" replied the artist.

"I see," said the critic, "the deep-blue eye, and the long, fair hair parted on the forehead."

"Observe," said Raphael, "the feminine softness of expression, the beautiful harmony of thought and feeling. When I take my pencil for high and noble purposes, the spirit of my mother hovers over me. It is her countenance, not my own, of which you trace the resemblance."

This expression is always observable in his Madonnas. His portraits of the Fornarina are widely different. Raphael, in his last and most excellent style, united what was graceful and exquisite in Leonardo with the sublime and noble manner of Michael Angelo. It is the privilege and glory of genius to appropriate to itself whatever is noble and true. The region of thought is thus made a common ground for all, and one master mind becomes a reservoir for the present and future times.

When Raphael was invited to Rome by Pope Julius II., Michael Angelo was at the height of his glory; his character tended to inspire awe rather than affection; he delighted in the majestic and the terrible. In boldness of conception and grandeur of design, he surpassed Leonardo, but never could reach the sweetness and gentleness of his figures. Even his children lose something of their infantine beauty, and look mature; his women are commanding and lofty; his men of gigantic proportions. His painting, like his sculpture, is remarkable for anatomical exactness, and perfect expression of the muscles. For this union of magnificence and sublimity, it was necessary to prepare the mind; the first view was almost harsh, and it was by degrees that his mighty works produced their designed effect. Raphael, while he felt all the greatness of the Florentine, conceived that there might be something more like nature—something that should be harmonious, sweet, and flowing—that should convey the idea of intellectual rather than of external majesty. Without yielding any of the correctness of science, he avoided harshness, and imitated antiquity in uniting grace and elegance with a strict observation of science and of the rules of art.

It was with surprise that Michael Angelo beheld in the youthful Raphael a rival artist; nor did he receive this truth meekly; he treated him with coldness and distance. In the meantime Raphael went on with his works; he completed the frescos of the Vatican, and designed the cartoons. He also produced those exquisite paintings in oil which seem the perfection of human art.



Human affection is necessary to awaken the sympathy of human beings; and Raphael, in learning how to portray it, had found the way to the heart. In mere grandeur of invention he was surpassed by Michael Angelo. Titian excelled him in coloring, and Correggio in the beautiful gradation of tone; but Raphael knew how to paint the soul; in this he stood alone. This was the great secret of a power which seemed to operate like magic. In his paintings there is something which makes music on the chords of every heart; for they are the expression of a mind attuned to nature, and find answering sympathies in the universal soul.

While Michael Angelo was exalted with the Epic grandeur of his own Dante, Raphael presented the most finished scenes of dramatic life, and might be compared to the immortal Shakespeare—scenes of spiritual beauty, of devotion, and of pastoral simplicity, yet uniting a classic elegance which the poet does not possess. Buonarroti was the wonder of Italy, and Raphael became its idol.

Julius was so much enchanted with his paintings in the halls of the Vatican, that he ordered the frescos of former artists to be destroyed. Among them were some of Perugino's, but Raphael would not suffer these to be removed for his own; he viewed them as the relics of a beloved and honored friend, and they were consecrated by tender and grateful feelings.

Raphael collected from every part of the world medallions of intaglios and antiques to assist him in his designs. He loved splendor and conviviality, and gave offence thereby to the rigid and austere. It was said that he had a prospect of changing the graceful beretta for a cardinal's hat; but this idea might have arisen from the delay which existed in his marriage with Cardinal Bibiano's niece, whose hand her uncle had offered to him. Peremptorily to reject this proposal of the cardinal without giving offence would have been impossible, and Raphael was too gentle in his own feelings voluntarily to injure another's; but he was not one to sacrifice his affections to ambition.

Whatever were the struggles of his heart, they were early terminated. Amid the caresses of the great, the fond and devoted friendship of his equals, the enthusiastic love of his pupils, the adulation of his inferiors, while crowned with wealth, fame, and honor, and regarded as the equal of the hitherto greatest artist in the world, he was suddenly called away. He died on Good Friday, the day of his birth, at the age of thirty-seven, 1520.

We are sometimes impressed with veneration when those who have even drunk the cup of life almost to its dregs resign it with resignation and Christian faith. But Raphael calmly and firmly resigned it when it was full to the brim.

Leo X. and Cardinal Bibiano were by his bedside. The sublime picture of the "Transfiguration," the last and greatest which he painted, was placed opposite to him, by his own desire. How impressive must have been the scene! His dying eye turned from the crucifix he held in his hand to the glory of the beatified Saviour.

His contemporaries speak of him as affectionate, disinterested, modest, and sincere; encouraging humble merit, and freely giving his advice and assistance where it was needed and deserved.



TITIAN

By GIORGIO VASARI[2]

[Footnote 2: Giorgio Vasari, a contemporary of Titian, and himself a painter of no mean rank, wrote a series of lives of the Italian artists, from which the following is extracted. There are several slight inaccuracies in his work Titian was born, not in 1480, but in 1477, and died in 1576. He was in coloring the greatest artist who ever lived.]

1477-1576



Titian was born in the year 1480, at Cadore, a small place distant about five miles from the foot of the Alps; he belonged to the family of the Vecelli, which is among the most noble of those parts. Giving early proof of much intelligence, he was sent at the age of ten to an uncle in Venice, an honorable citizen, who, seeing the boy to be much inclined to painting, placed him with the excellent painter, Gian Bellino, then very famous. Under his care, the youth soon proved himself to be endowed by nature with all the gifts of judgment and genius required for the art of painting. Now, Gian Bellino and the other masters of that country, not having the habit of studying the antique, were accustomed to copy only what they saw before them, and that in a dry, hard, labored manner, which Titian also acquired; but about the year 1507, Giorgione da Castel Franco, not being satisfied with that mode of proceeding, began to give to his works an unwonted softness and relief, painting them in a very beautiful manner; yet he by no means neglected to draw from the life, or to copy nature with his colors as closely as he could; and in doing the latter he shaded with colder or warmer tints as the living object might demand, but without first making a drawing; since he held that, to paint with the colors only, without any drawing on paper, was the best mode of proceeding, and most perfectly in accord with the true principles of design.

Having seen the manner of Giorgione, Titian early resolved to abandon that of Gian Bellino, although well grounded therein. He now, therefore, devoted himself to this purpose, and in a short time so closely imitated Giorgione that his pictures were sometimes taken for those of that master, as will be related below. Increasing in age, judgment, and facility of hand, our young artist executed numerous works in fresco which cannot here be named individually, having been dispersed in various places; let it suffice to say, that they were such as to cause experienced men to anticipate the excellence to which he afterward attained. At the time when Titian began to adopt the manner of Giorgione, being then not more than eighteen, he took the portrait of a gentleman of the Barberigo family, who was his friend, and this was considered very beautiful, the coloring being true and natural, and the hair so distinctly painted that each one could be counted as might also the stitches in a satin doublet, painted in the same work; it was so well and carefully done, that it would have been taken for a picture by Giorgione, if Titian had not written his name on the dark ground.

Giorgione meanwhile had executed the facade of the German Exchange, when, by the intervention of Barberigo, Titian was appointed to paint certain stories in the same building and over the Merceria. After which he executed a picture with figures the size of life, which is now in the Hall of Messer Andrea Loredano, who dwells near San Marcuola; this work represents "Our Lady" in her flight into Egypt. She is in the midst of a great wood, and the landscape of this picture is well done; Titian having practised that branch of art, and keeping certain Germans, who were excellent masters therein, for several months together in his own house. Within the wood he depicted various animals, all painted from the life, and so natural as to seem almost alive. In the house of Messer Giovanni Danna, a Flemish gentleman and merchant, who was his gossip, he painted a portrait which appears to breathe, with an "Ecce Homo," comprising numerous figures which, by Titian himself, as well as others, is considered to be a very good work. The same artist executed a picture of "Our Lady," with other figures the size of life, men and children being all taken from nature, and portraits of persons belonging to the Danna family.

In the year 1507, when the Emperor Maximilian was making war on the Venetians, Titian, as he relates himself, painted the "Angel Raphael, with Tobit and a Dog," in the Church of San Marziliano. There is a distant landscape in this picture, wherein San Giovanni Battista is seen at prayer in a wood; he is looking up to heaven, and his face is illumined by a light descending thence; some believe this picture to have been done before that on the "Exchange of the Germans," mentioned above, was commenced. Now, it chanced that certain gentlemen, not knowing that Giorgione no longer worked at this facade, and that Titian was doing it (nay, had already given that part over the Merceria to public view), met the former, and began as friends to rejoice with him, declaring that he was acquitting himself better on the side of the Merceria than he had done on that of the "Grand Canal;" which remark caused Giorgione so much vexation, that he would scarcely permit himself to be seen until the whole work was completed, and Titian had become generally known as the painter; nor did he thenceforward hold any intercourse with the latter and they were no longer friends.

In the year 1508, Titian published a wood-engraving of the "Triumph of Faith;" it comprised a vast number of figures: our first Parents, the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Sybils, the Innocents, the Martyrs, the Apostles, and Our Saviour Christ borne in triumph by the four Evangelists, and the four Doctors, followed by the holy Confessors; here Titian displayed much boldness, a fine manner, and improving facility. I remember that Fra Bastiano del Piombo, speaking on this subject, told me that if Titian had then gone to Rome, and seen the works of Michael Angelo, with those of Raphael and the ancients, he was convinced, the admirable facility of his coloring considered, that he would have produced works of the most astonishing perfection; seeing that, as he well deserved to be called the most perfect imitator of Nature of our times, as regards coloring, he might thus have rendered himself equal to the Urbinese or Buonarroto, as regarded the great foundation of all, design. At a later period Titian repaired to Vicenza, where he painted "The Judgment of Solomon," on the Loggetta wherein the courts of justice are held; a very beautiful work. Returning to Venice, he then depicted the facade of the Germain; at Padua he painted certain frescos in the Church of Sant' Antonio, the subjects taken from the life of that saint; and in the Church of Santo Spirito he executed a small picture of San Marco seated in the midst of other saints, whose faces are portraits painted in oil with the utmost care; this picture has been taken for a work of Giorgione.

Now, the death of Giovan Bellino had caused a story in the hall of the Great Council to remain unfinished; it was that which represents Federigo Barbarossa kneeling before Pope Alessandro III., who plants his foot on the emperor's neck. This was now finished by Titian, who altered many parts of it, introducing portraits of his friends and others. For this he received from the senate an office in the Exchange of the Germans called the Senseria, which brought him in three hundred crowns yearly, and which those Signori usually give to the most eminent painter of their city, on condition that from time to time he shall take the portrait of their doge, or prince when such shall be created, at the price of eight crowns, which the doge himself pays, the portrait being then preserved in the Palace of San Marco, as a memorial of that doge.

After the completion of these works, our artist painted, for the Church of San Rocco, a figure of Christ bearing his cross; the Saviour has a rope round his neck, and is dragged forward by a Jew; many have thought this a work of Giorgione. It has become an object of the utmost devotion in Venice, and has received more crowns as offerings than have been earned by Titian and Giorgione both, through the whole course of their lives. Now, Titian had taken the portrait of Bembo, then secretary to Pope Leo X., and was by him invited to Rome, that he might see the city, with Raffaello da Urbino and other distinguished persons; but the artist having delayed his journey until 1520, when the pope and Raffaello were both dead, put it off for that time altogether. For the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore he painted a picture of "St. John the Baptist in the wilderness;" there is an angel beside him that appears to be living; and a distant landscape, with trees on the bank of a river, which are very graceful. He took portraits of the Prince Grimani and Loredano, which were considered admirable; and not long afterward he painted the portrait of King Francis, who was then leaving Italy to return to France.



In 1530, when the Emperor Charles V. was in Bologna, Titian, by the intervention of Pietro Aretino, was invited to that city by the Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, and there he made a magnificent portrait of his majesty in full armor. This gave so much satisfaction that the artist received a present of a thousand crowns for the same. Out of these he had subsequently to give the half to Alfonso Lombardi, the sculptor, who had made a model of that monarch to be executed in marble.

Having returned to Venice, Titian there found that many gentlemen had begun to favor Pordenone, commending exceedingly the works executed by that artist in the ceiling of the Hall of the Pregai, and elsewhere. They had also procured him the commission for a small picture in the Church of San Giovanni Elemosynario, which they intended him to paint in competition with one representing that saint in his episcopal habits, which had previously been executed there by Titian. But whatever care and pains Pordenone took, he could not equal nor even approach the work of the former. Titian was then appointed to paint a picture of the Annunciation for the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, at Murano; but those who gave the commission for the work, not wishing to pay so much as five hundred crowns, which Titian required as its price, he sent it, by the advice of Pietro Aretino, as a gift to Charles V., who being greatly delighted with the work, made him a present of two thousand crowns. The place which the picture was to have occupied at Murano was then filled by one from the hand of Pordenone.

When the emperor, some time after this, returned with his army from Hungary, and was again at Bologna, holding a conference with Clement VII., he desired to have another portrait taken of him by Titian, who, before he departed from the city, also painted that of the Cardinal Ippolito de Medici in the Hungarian dress, with another of the same prelate fully armed, which is somewhat smaller than the first; these are both now in the Guardaroba of Duke Cosimo. He painted the portraits of Alfonso, Marquis of Davalos, and of Pietro Aretino, at the same period, and these things having made him known to Federigo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, he entered the service of the latter, and accompanied him to his states. At Mantua our artist made a portrait of the duke, which appears to breathe, and afterward executed that of his brother, the cardinal. These being finished, he painted twelve beautiful "Heads of the Twelve Caesars," to decorate one of the rooms erected by Giulio Romano, and when they were done, Giulio painted a "Story from the Lives of the Emperors" beneath each head.

The productions, but more especially the portraits, of Titian are so numerous that it would be almost impossible to make the record of them all. I will, therefore, speak of the principal only, and that without order of time, seeing that it does not much signify to tell which was painted earlier and which later. He took the portrait of Charles V. several times, as we have said, and was finally invited by that monarch to his court; there he painted him as he was in those last years; and so much was that most invincible emperor pleased with the manner of Titian, that once he had been portrayed by him, he would never permit himself to be taken by any other person. Each time that Titian painted the emperor he received a present of a thousand crowns of gold, and the artist was made a cavalier, or knight, by his majesty, with a revenue of two hundred crowns yearly, secured on the treasury of Naples, and attached to his title.

When Titian painted Filippo, King of Spain, the son of Charles, he received another annuity of two hundred crowns; so that these four hundred, added to the three hundred from the German Exchange, make him a fixed income of seven hundred crowns, which he possesses without the necessity of exerting himself in any manner. Titian presented the portraits of Charles V. and his son Filippo to the Duke Cosimo, who has them now in his Guardaroba. He also took the portrait of Ferdinand, King of the Romans, who was afterward emperor, with those of his children, Maximilian, that is to say, now emperor, and his brother; he likewise painted the Queen Maria; and at the command of the Emperor Charles, he portrayed the Duke of Saxony, when the latter was in prison. But what a waste of time is this! when there has scarcely been a noble of high rank, scarcely a prince or lady of great name, whose portrait has not been taken by Titian, who in that branch of art is indeed an excellent painter.

All these works, with many others which I omit to avoid prolixity, have been executed up to the present age of our artist, which is above seventy-six years. Titian has been always healthy and happy; he has been favored beyond the lot of most men, and has received from Heaven only favors and blessings. In his house he has entertained whatever princes, literati, or men of distinction have gone to or dwelt in Venice; for, to say nothing of his excellence in art, he has always distinguished himself by courtesy, hospitality, and rectitude.

Titian has had some rivals in Venice, but not of any great ability, wherefore he has easily overcome them by the superiority of his art; while he has also rendered himself acceptable to the gentlemen of the city. He has gained a fair amount of wealth, his labors having always been well paid; and it would have been well if he had worked for his amusement alone during these latter years, that he might not have diminished the reputation gained in his best days by works of inferior merit, performed at a period of life when nature tends inevitably to decline, and consequent imperfection.

In the year 1566, when Vasari, the writer of the present history, was at Venice, he went to visit Titian, as one who was his friend, and found him, although then very old, still with the pencils in his hand and painting busily. Great pleasure had Vasari in beholding his works and in conversing with the master.

It may be affirmed, then, that Titian, having adorned Venice, or rather all Italy, and other parts of the world, with excellent paintings, well merits to be loved and respected by artists, and in many things to be admired and imitated also, as one who has produced, and is producing, work of infinite merit; nay, such as must endure while the memory of illustrious men shall remain.



ALBERT DUeRER[3]

[Footnote 3: Copyright, 1894, by Helmar Hess.]

By W. J. HOLLAND, Chancellor of the Western University of Pennsylvania

(1471-1528)



It has been given to some men to be not only great in the domain of art by reason of that which they have themselves succeeded in producing, but by reason of that which they have inspired other men to produce. They have been not merely artists, but teachers, who by precept and example have moulded the whole current and drift of artistic thought in the ages and lands to which they have belonged. Among these lofty spirits, who live through the centuries not only in what their hands once fashioned, but still more in what they have inspired others to do, undoubtedly one of the greatest is Albert Duerer. Justly reckoned as the representative artist of Germany, he has the peculiar honor of having raised the craft of the engraver to its true position, as one of the fine arts. As a painter not unworthy to be classified with Titian and Raphael, his contemporaries upon Italian soil, he poured the wealth of his genius into woodcuts and copperplates, and taught men the practically measureless capacity of what before his day had been a rudimentary art.

Duerer was born in Nuremberg on May 21, 1471. The family was of Hungarian origin, though the name is German, and is derived from Thuerer, meaning a maker of doors. The ancestral calling of the family probably was that of the carpenter. Albert Duerer, the father of the great artist, was a goldsmith, and settled about 1460 in Nuremberg, where he served as an assistant to Hieronymus Holper, a master goldsmith, whose daughter, Barbara, he married in 1468. He was at the time forty years of age, and she fifteen. As the result of the union eighteen children were born into the world, of whom Albrecht was the second. The lad, as he grew up, became a great favorite with his father, who appeared to discern in him the promise of future ability. The feeling of attachment was reciprocated in the most filial manner, and there are extant two well-authenticated portraits of the father from the facile brush of the son, one in the Uffizi at Florence, the other in the possession of the Duke of Northumberland. It was the original intention of the father of the artist that he should follow the craft of the goldsmith, but after serving a period as an apprentice in his father's shop, his strong predilection for the calling of the painter manifested itself to such a degree that the father reluctantly consented to allow the boy to follow his natural bent, and placed him under the tutelage of Michael Wohlgemuth, the principal painter of Nuremberg. Wohlgemuth was a representative artist of his time, who followed his calling after a mechanical fashion, having a large shop filled with apprentices who, under his direction and with his assistance, busied themselves in turning out for a small consideration altar-pieces and pictures of martyrdoms, which were in vogue as necessary parts of decoration in churches. Numerous examples of the work of Wohlgemuth and his contemporaries survive, attesting, by the wealth of crudities and unintended caricatures with which they abound, the comparatively low stage of development attained by the art of the painter in Germany at that day. According to Duerer, the period of his apprenticeship to Wohlgemuth was spent profitably, and resulted in large acquisitions of technical skill. The period of his preliminary training being ended, he set forth upon his "Wanderjahre," and travelled extensively. Just what points he visited cannot with certainty be determined. It is ascertained beyond doubt that he visited Colmar, where he was hospitably entertained by the family of Martin Schongauer, the greatest painter of his time on German soil, but who had died shortly before the visit of Duerer. He also visited Strasburg, and it is thought by many that he extended his journeyings as far as Venice. In 1494 he returned to Nuremberg, and in the month of July was married to Agnes Frey, the daughter of a prosperous merchant of the city. He was twenty-three years of age, and she somewhat younger. They lived together happily, though no children were born to them, and it has been proved that the reputation which has been given her, of being little better than a common scold, who imbittered his life by her termagancy, is the creation of the ill temper of one of the testy friends of Duerer, Willibald Pirkheimer, who, in the spirit of spitefulness, besmirched her character in a letter which unfortunately survives to this day, and in which he accuses her of having led her husband a mad and weary dance by her temper. The reason for this ebullition on the part of Pirkheimer appears to have been that, after Duerer's death, she refused to give him a pair of antlers which had belonged to her husband, and which Pirkheimer had set his heart upon having.



The first eleven years of the married life of Duerer were spent in Nuremberg, where he devoted himself with unremitting assiduity to the prosecution of his art. During these years his powers unfolded rapidly, and there are extant two notable pictures, which were undoubtedly produced at this time, the triptych in the Dresden Gallery, and an altar-piece which is in the palace of the Archbishop of Vienna, at Ober St. Veit. These compositions, while remarkable in many respects, still reveal the influence of his master, Wohlgemuth, and give evidence of having been in part executed with the assistance of apprentices. In fact, the peak-gabled house at the foot of the castle-mound in Nuremberg was a picture factory like that of Wohlgemuth, in which, however, work of a higher order than any hitherto produced in Germany was being turned out. We know the names of four or five of those who served as apprentices under Duerer at this time and they are stars of lesser magnitude in the constellation of German art. But Duerer was not contented simply to employ his talents in the production of painted altar-pieces, and we find him turning out a number of engravings, the most noticeable among which are his sixteen great wood-cuts illustrating the Apocalypse, which were published in 1498. The theme was one which had peculiar fascinations for all classes at the time. The breaking up of all pre-existing systems, the wonderful stirrings of a new life which were beginning to be felt everywhere with the close of the Middle Age and the dawning of the Renaissance, had filled the minds of men with wonder, and caused them to turn to the writings of the Apocalyptic Seer with keenest interest. A recent critic, commenting upon his work as represented in these engravings, says: "The energy and undismayed simplicity of his imagination enable him, in this order of creations, to touch the highest point of human achievement. The four angels keeping back the winds that they blow not, the four riders, the loosing of the angels of the Euphrates to slay the third part of men—these and others are conceptions of such force, such grave or tempestuous grandeur, in the midst of grotesqueness, as the art of no other age or hand has produced."

1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse