Page images
PDF
EPUB

PREFACE.

ITALI

ALIAN SCULPTURE has, in comparison with Italian

Painting, found but few admirers or illustrators. The reason for this does not lie so much in the greater claims of the latter upon lovers and students of art, as in the existence of an antique standard, by which all modern Sculpture is habitually judged, and of which it falls short; while Painting, which cannot be submitted to this formidable test, is judged more according to its merits. Another and more positive reason why Italian Sculpture is so much less known, and consequently less widely appreciated than Italian Painting, is because it can only be studied in Italy,' where its masterpieces are not to be found in splendid and commodious galleries, but in scattered churches and palaces, in which they are seldom so placed as to attract the attention of any but careful observers.

1 The admirable collection of Italian sculpture at the South Kensington Museum, for which the public is chiefly indebted to J. C. Robinson, Esq., whose persevering energy, knowledge, and sagacity in selecting valuable works of art can hardly be overrated, makes it possible for a student to learn more about it in England than anywhere else out of Italy.

Unless therefore the traveller's object be to learn something about its Sculpture, he may travel through Italy without getting any idea of it; whereas he cannot, be he ever so superficial an observer, help gaining some notion of its Painting (at least in its more advanced schools), if he but saunter through the galleries of the great cities of the Peninsula. Again, books upon Italian Painting abound, and every year adds to their number, while the available works upon Italian Sculpture, including those which treat of it in conjunction with Painting, are few.

Of these the most voluminous are by Cicognara and Agincourt, neither of them attractive to the general reader, or thoroughly satisfactory to the student; the most delightful are those by M. Rio and Lord Lindsay, which should be in the hands of all who can appreciate the highest sort of art literature, but which treat of Sculpture partially, and from an exclusive point of view.

A few others may be mentioned, such as Burckhardt's Cicerone, and Mr. Robinson's illustrated catalogue of the Kensington Museum, in both of which valuable notices are to be found, but neither of which pretends to give anything like a fully developed account of Sculpture in Italy.

The number of works upon this subject being thus limited, it has seemed to me that a space remained to be filled in the literature of art, in which the names and works of

many illustrious artists might be pointed out. With this object I have taken pains to see whatever is most worthy of notice, and to make drawings and collect photographs throughout Italy,

[blocks in formation]

and from them I have selected and executed a series of illustra

tions which may give an idea of the progress of the Art, whose history I have endeavoured to make as correct as possible by the examination of all MSS., books, and pamphlets, connected with the subject. The result of my journeys and researches, as far as they concern Tuscany, is contained in these volumes; the remainder, relating to Northern, Southern, and Eastern Italy, I hope at some future time to publish in a similar form. With this intention I have prefixed to these volumes a compressed account of Sculpture throughout Italy before the Revival, which is equally necessary for the better comprehension of Tuscan Sculpture, whose links with the past, from the days of Niccola Pisano to Michelangelo, are many and clear. As the universal history of art throws light upon any one of its phases, I might, had space permitted, have sketched that of Egypt, Assyria, and Greece, as well as of Etruria and Rome, for with them, as with these, its connection is evident. But such a course would have led me too far, and I have preferred pointing out the connection when occasion offered in the book itself. I cannot lose this opportunity of mentioning the courtesy and kindness with which a student of art is treated in Italy, whose public and private libraries, galleries, palaces and churches are freely thrown open, and whose eminent men of letters and artists vie with each other in assisting those who come among them to seek information. For such assistance, liberality, and politeness, I shall always remember with gratitude the Marchese Selvatico, of Padua; the Cavalier Lazzari and the Sigg. Veludi and Lorenzi,

1 The wood-blocks have been skilfully engraved by Mr. Cooper.

[merged small][ocr errors]

of Venice; Don Alessandro Melzi, Cavalier Cantu, Professor C. Boito, and Sig. Maggi, of Milan; Sig. Michelangelo Gualandi, of Bologna; Dr. Carpellini, of Siena; the Sigg. Gaetano and Carlo Milanesi, of Florence; and the Cavalier d’Albono of Naples. To many of them the world is indebted for valuable researches into the history of Italian art, without which much that is now clear would still remain unknown or hopelessly confused.

« PreviousContinue »