Page images
[blocks in formation]

human figure. The Madonas of Raphael and Guido, Corregio and Sassaferetto, fill and purify the soul with divine love, and the Last Judgment of Michael Angelo bightens the conscience with more heavenly light, or overspreads it with a thicker gloom, than all that theological rhetorick has effected. Some account of the orders of painting, and of those, who are ranked as classical painters, may be useful, if not interesting ; but to those, to whom it is useful, it ought to be interesting. For fuller information the reader is referred to the Abbé Richard. Tie Roman school ranks the first, and dates its institution at the time of Raphael, who has always been acknowledged as its chief. This school is particularly distinguished for peculiar beauty, correctness of design, and elegance of composition ; the truth of expressign, and intellioence of attitudes. The able in sters of this school have principally formed themselves on the study of the antique. The most of the Roman school have attended less to colour, than to the sublime expression and solemn style of their figures, awakening in the mind of those, who behold them, all the grand emotions, with which they themselves were struck. By this style they acquired a supremacy, and their pictures hold the highest rank amongst the Painters. The Florence school has for its founders Leonardo de Vinci, and Michael Angelo Bounarotti. These great artists have transmitted to their students a manner, strong and bold, and a sublimity of style and gigantick expression,

which, though often beyond nature, is always magnificent. The Lombard school has united all the qualities, which form the perfection of the art. To the study of the antique, on which it has formed itself for design, as well as the Roman and Fiorentine . schools, it has joined all the most lively, beautiful, and sensible parts of nature ; it has also assembled all the science and graces of the art. Corregio is considered as the first painter and master of this school. Amongst his scholars were Parnegiano, Schedoni, the Carracci, Guido, &c. The Venetian school is remarkable for the perfection, with which its painters have imitated nature. Their colouring is exquisite. You observe a discrimination of light and shade, and touches of the pencil, most gracious and lovely, in all the pictures of Titian and Paul Veronese. These great artists, however, seem to have neglected that design, so essential to perfection. These are the four great schools, which have produced works, which

seem destined to remain forever

superiour to human art and imitation. The French school has studied the Italian, and Poussin has altogether followed the Roman. The Flemish school has done much by the works of Rubens and Vandyke. In Italy they are even esteemed artists of an illustrious order. Vandyke for portrait disputes the first rank, and Rubens in history and allegory yields to none. Their colouring is so pure and bright, that a constant freshness and glow is ever on their figures. The Flemish school is remarkable for labour and nicety, and the closest imitation of nature. Delicacy and patience of

[merged small][ocr errors]

Raphael Sanzio, born at Urbin A, D. 1483, died 1520. He is esteemed the most perfect of the painters. His genius was of the highest intelligence. Grace and love make all his female figures angels, and refined dignity and majesty elevate his men into the nature and form of the gods. As you behold the “School of ATHENs,” you are at once in the midst of the awful solemnity of the .dcademia of Plato. The heads of his philosophers are full of venerable wisdom; their visage solemn, and fixed in the holiness of meditation. His Parnassus partakes much of the air of the heavens, and the gods, who have lit on it, have brought, from the other world, forms that cannot be described.— lăut was ever a spot so pleasant for Apollo to rest upon, in his aérial course, and divert himself with the sound of his lyre His great works are at Rome, in the Vatican, with the exception of the Transfiguration, St. Cecilia, and the Virgine del Sedia. Julio Romano, born 1492, died 1546; the favourite pupil of Raphael. His colouring is faint and feeble, but his figures tender and delicate.

Polidore, born 1495, died 1543. His colouring is fine, his design correct, and his heads remarkable for strength.

Perino de Bonacorri, born 1500, died 1547; he painted at the Vatican under the instruction of Raphael, whom he so closely imitat

ed, that many of his pictures pass for those of his master. Innocentio de Imola, pupil of Raphael ; he designed much like his great master. His pictures are rare and valuable. Frederico Darroci, born 1528, died 1612 ; his pictures are very striking ; he resembled Corregio much in the beauty of his colouring ; his heads are particularly graceful. -Dominichino, born at Rome, 1589, died 1624. He copied the Antique, and Julio Romano. His imagination was full of spirit and genius. His pictures striking, and remarkable for the sombre tone of their colouring. Claude Lorrain, born 1600, died 1682, at Rome. He is considered the first of the landscape painters. His beauty is in the aërial perspective and distance of his painting, and in his power of displaying nature. But he failed in the figures in his landscapes. Those, that are good, are by his scholar Bourgignon. . Andrea Sacchi, born at Rome, 1599, died 1661 ; a painter worthy of the finest period of the art. His pictures are of admirable design, and full of grace and tenderness, and glowing with the colouring of his master Albano. Salvator Rosa, born 1614, died 1673. His pictures are full of truth and nature strongly expressed ; he seemed to have studied nature only. He excelled in battles, ferocious animals, and wild landscapes. Michael Angelo de Carravagio, born 1569, died 1609. His pictures are remarkable for depth of shade, and style of nature.


Cimabue, born 1230, died 1300. He is regarded as the father of

modern painting. He learnt the art from some Grecian painters at Florence, and he imitated them with much spirit. Leonardo da Vinci, born 1445, died, 1520; also sculptor and architect; the greatest genius,which has graced the fine arts. His famous picture of the Last Supper was painted in fresco in the refectory of the Convent of Dominicans, in Milan. The modern Gauls, on their first inroad into Italy, attempted to cut out the wall to make this one of their spoils of painting ; but failing in their purpose, with their wonted barbarity they reduced its beauty and magnificence into a state of ruin and decay, and the Last Supper of Leonardo is now extant only by its masterly preservation in the engraving of Morghens. He was the first painter of his age, and died in the arms of Francis I. Pietro Perrugino, born 1446, died 1524. The heads of his figsures are full of grace and beauty; his colouring is faint. Bartolameo della Porto, born

1465, died 1517. He taught Raphael colouring. Michael Angelo Bounarotti,

born in Florence 1475, died 1564; so well known as the greatest painter, sculptor, and architect of modern times. His principal pictures are in fresco, in the Vatican. His statue of Moses is ranked with the antique. There is about it a supernatural majesty and grandeur, which constitute as much original character, as force and strength do in the Farnese Hercules. Had Michael Angelo have done no more than his Moses, his fame would remain forever among the sculptors of antiquity ; but the figures of Morning and Evening Twilight, and of Day and .Vight, in the Medici Chapel at

Florence, sprung also from his infinite genius. His picture of the Last JUDGMENT is the work of an age, and the great sketch of all that is mighty and majestick in the art. The imagination is forever falling in the abyss of hell, drawn by his demons, or rising into the highest heavens on the rustling motion of his angels.

Andrea del Sarto, born 1478, died 1530, is among the first painters of this school. His manner is large and his pencil soft and delicate, and his pictures have yet a wonderful freshness. He is esteemed the greatest colourist of his school. His pictures are chiefly in Florence, particularly in the church del' Annunziazione, belonging to the convent of the Dominicans. They are in fresco, and wonderfully fresh. . Michael Angelo is said to have sat for hours to study his picture of the Virgin on the sack.


Antonio Allegro, called Il Corregio, born 1494, died 1534. Nature and genius made Corregio a painter, he having seen nothing of the masters. He painted much before he knew his own perfection, and discovered it by compating his powers with a picture of Raphael... No one has been able to imitate the enchanting tints and mellow softness of the pencil of Corregio.

Francisco Massuotti, called IP Parmegiano ; his manner is graceful, his colouring fresh and natural, and the drapery of his figures graceful and flowing.

Pelegrine Tibaldi, a good painter and fine architect, born 1522, died 1592. Luca Cambiagi. His pictures are bold. He painted with great facility and expedition, being able to paint with both hands at once. I Carracci, Loudovico 5 Augustino and Annibale ;...born at Bologna about 1560. Annibale is considered the greatest, his designs being grand, his colouring strong,and composition admirable. Their pictures are chiefly at Bologna. They there had a school of painting, where Guido, Albano, and Schedoni formed themselves. Bartholomeo Schedoni,born 1560, died 1616, he closely imitated Corregio. Guido Rheni, born at Bologna, 1575, died 1640. All that is tender, beautiful, and lovely in nature is in his pictures. The visage and form of his women are full of beauty and love. His most famous picture is that of Peter and Paul in the Palace Zampierri, at Bologna. He is said to have studied much the theatre of Niobe, and thereby attained that enchanting beauty, which remains unequalled. Albano, born 1578, died 1660. His pictures show much attention, nicety, and fine colouring ; his infants are remarkable for beauty and Inature. Benedetto Castigliane, born at Genoa, 1616, died 1670. He imitated all the painters with success, and excelled all in pastoral scenes and landscapes. The touches of his pencil delicate, and his light pure. OF THE WENEti An SC Hool. I Bellini, brothers, are considered as the founders of this school, born between 1440 and 1445, and lived to a great age; their pictures remarkable for clear and bright colouring. ters of Georgione and Titian. Il Georgione deserves a rank amongst the first painters, born

They were the mas

1477, died 1511 ; his colouring is beautiful, and his pictures-full of nature. His portraits admirable. Titiano, born 1477. The death of Georgione, at so early a period, gave full scope to his genius, and he became the head of the school of Venice. The expression and colouring of his figures and landscapes are in the fulness of nature, and his portraits teem with fresh and perpetual life. In this last branch of the art he excels all others. Sebastiano del Piombo ; he was a successful scholar of Georgione. He was considered by Michael Angelo the first painter of his age, superiour even to Raphael. The famous Descent of the Cross, in fresco, at Rome, was sketched by this great master, and finished by Sebastiano. Gio Antonio Gegillo,born 1508, died 1580. He was a powerful rival of Titian. Paolo Veronese, born 1532, died 1588. His pictures will forever delight by their fulness of composition, beauty of colouring, and gracefulness of design.

The churches of Rome, as well as of the other principal cities of Italy, have for ages been the hallowed sanctuaries of the magnificent works of these great masters. Some of them have been violated by the sacrilegious hands of French soldiers ; and the Holy Virgin, who was drawn to shed a benign look on the devotee at the altar, is now smiling on the prinking Parisian fetit maitre, in the Louvre.

The French have, in some measure, been to the modern Romans what the ancient were to Greece, with this difference, the Romans took from Greece all that was minutely beautiful and exquisite in the arts; the French

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

LIFE OF RICHARD. BENTLEY, D. D. - Late Regius Professor of Divinity, and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, Eng. - - [Continued from page 414.] *

[ocr errors]

TO return to Johnson. While he was censuring another writer for egotisms, he should have excluded them more carefully from his preface, in which the de se dicta are infinitely too numerous. At the end of the first part of these remarks, for he afterwards continued them, though in a less elaborate manner, through the rest of Horace's works, he published a stanza of an old English ballad, with English annotations, in the style of Bentley. There is some drollery in these remarks, but they never can diminish the value of his criticisms. Mr. Addison's tragedy of Cato was once burlesqued,” and Gray's Elegy in a country churchyard has been frequently parodied. Homer and Virgil have been travestied ; yet surely no reader ever perused these authors with less pleasure on this account. The test of truth t will never be found in ridicule. These remarks were highly extoiled by Bentley’s enemies, and * . see wilkes' History of the stage. # See Johnson's lives.

PLATO, de Legib. IV. acquired their author some reputation. He had already introduced himself to the learned world, by his “Grammatical Commentaries,” which were notes on Lilly’s Grammar, published in 1706, in English. He was a very accurate grammarian, and investigated authorities with uncommon perseverance. As a critick, he was able to judge with accuracy of the Latinity of a phrase, but he was very deficient of taste, that rare qualification, which is so essential in the formation of a sound critick. The style of his commentaries is beneath criticism, at once vulgar and pedantick. Those who have read his book, without any knowledge of the time in which he lived, will scarcely believe that he was contemporary with Addison, and lived in the Augustan age of English literature. In 1716 or 1717, Bentley was elected Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, and soon after preached before his Majesty. The sermon was published. The attack on it, and the answer, we have already mentioned. But this and

« PreviousContinue »