Page images

No. II.

must have been his feelings, what the enerPAUL PREACHING AT ATHENS.' gies of his mind at this moment?-- There Vide-Acts of the Apostles, Chap. 17.

is a sufficient answer to the question in the I figure which Raphael has given us of Paul

in the present composition. We see him The moment of time which Raphael placed firinly and immovably upon both has chosen in this composition, is that in feet, like a column under that new fabric which Paul rises in the midst of Mount he was about to raise.-Both arms are lifted Mars -He is surrounded by the different up; his action is at once simple and full, sects of Philosophers which then divided

of almost colossal strength; his countenance Athens, and all the heads of the various

is firm, steadfast, and replete with expresschools in which science and wisdom

sion : and each attitude and motion carry were taught in that illustrious seat of learn

| the stamp and reflect the qualities of that ing. We here see the Epicurean, and the divine faith which he was now promulgatStoic Philosopher; the Peripatetic, and the

ing in all its first pureness and simplicity disciple of Epictetus ; the Cynic, and the

This figure, as a work of art, leaves us Areopagite.

nothing to wish or expect beyond it. When we consider what must have been Let us now turn to the characters of his the feelings of Paul at this moment; what audience. How wonderful has been the must have been the energies of his mind variety and discrimination of Raphael in in order to meet the situation in which he this part of his composition. The leading was thrown, when he beholds himself in

figure in this group is that of the Philosothe most cultivated city of the ancient

| pher who stands forward in the centre of world, and in the midst of the most polish

the Picture.-Not his counterance and ed people,-a people justly proud of their

Il action only, but even his drapery bespeaks pre-eminence in every branch of Philoso

his character and his feelings-tie is eviphy and Art; when we consider that he

dently occupied 'in full thought, in tranquil was promulgating, for the first time, the

reasoning and the contemplation of obobscure and unknown doctrines of Chris

jects now first starting upon his mind. itianity, of which it was one of its principal | The serene and thinking mind is well triumphs that it set at nought all the

| marked by the grand flow and broad folds efforts of human learning, and placed the

of the drapery, and the placidity of his virtues of the man against every talent of

aspect denotes the soul of the Philosopher the scholar; when we consider that this

-This figure is finely contrasted with the chosen Apostle of the Gentiles was pow

group disputing amongst themselves—The entering, for the first time, upon the great

turbulence of controversy is well shewn in Cobjects of his mission, that of confounding

the confused folds of the drapery; and tbe adolatry and crushing paganism wherever I scoffers and the hearers are characterized the went; when we consider likewise, that

with equal skill and choice-The half "he was attacking it in its chosen citadel and

yielding convert, leaning on bis crutch, is school, where it reigned in all its triumph

nobly expressive of a wavering faith, and of pomp and magnificence, surrounded and ll the countenances of Damaris aud Diony. defended by philosophy and science, and lsius leave us no doubt of their conviction. „upported and decorated with all the splen

It is by reasoning upon these principles of lour and glory that could be derived from

science which governed the choice of Ra- he art and genius of man,— when we re

phael in this composition, that we are led lect, we say, upon this glorious, but no less

to a conviction, that as a work of art, in the rying situation, in which Paul was cast,

higher qualities of design, expression, and o combat with all human learning in de

Il composition, it has never been excelled by 'ence of its own prejudice and in aid of its

the pencil of man. >wn power, we are naturally led to ask what

« PreviousContinue »