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claimed, "My God—a young Mohawk warrior!" The Italians were surprised and mortified with the comparison of their noblest statue to a wild savage; and West, perceiving the unfavourable impression, proceeded to remove it. He described the Mohawks —the natural elegance and admirable symmetry of their persons—the elasticity of their limbs, and their motions free and unconstrained. "I have seen them often," he continued, " standing in the very attitude of this Apollo, and pursuing with an intense eye the arrow which they had just discharged from the bow." The Italians cleared their moody brows, and allowed that a better criticism had rarely been pronounced. West was no longer a barbarian.
Of his claim to mix with men of genius, however, he had as yet submitted no proof: he had indeed shown his drawings to Mengs and to Hamilton, but they were, as he confessed, destitute of original merit; nor, indeed, could they be commended for either neatness or accuracy. He waited oh Lord Grantham—" I cannot," said he, " produce a finished sketch, like the other students, because I have never been instructed in drawing; but I can paint a little, and if you will do me the honour to sit for your portrait that I may show it to Mengs, you will do me a great kindness." His Lordship consented; the portrait was painted; and, the name of the artist being kept secret, the picture was placed in the gallery of Crespigni, where amateurs and artists were invited to see it. It was known that Lord Grantham was sitting to Mengs, and to him some ascribed the portrait, though they thought the colouring surpassed his other compositions. Dance, an Englishman of sense and acuteness, looked at it closely; "the colouring surpasses that of Mengs," he observed, "but the drawing is neither so fine nor so good." The company engaged eagerly in the discussion; Crespigni seized the proper moment, and said, "It is not painted by Mengs." "Bv whom then V they exclaimed, "for there is no other painter in Rome capable of doing any thing so good." "By that young gentleman," said the other, turning to West, who sat uneasy and agitated. The English held out their hands; the Italians ran and embraced him.
Mengs himself soon arrived; he looked at the picture, and spoke with great kindness. "Young man, you have no occasion to come to Rome to leai to paint. What I therefore recommend to you is this: Examine every thing here worthy of attention —making drawings of some half-dozen of the best statues. Go to Florence and study in the galleries; go to Bologna and study the works of the Carracci, and then proceed to Venice, and view the productions of Tintoretti, Titian, and Paul Veronese. When all this is accomplished, return to Rome, paint an historical picture, exhibit it publicly, and then the opinion which will be expressed of your talents will determine the line of art which you ought to follow." A dangerous illness interposed, and for a time prevented West from following this common but sensible counsel. The change of scene, the presence of works of first-rate excellence, and the anxiety to distinguish himself, preyed upon him; sleep deserted his pillow, a fever followed, and by the advice of his physicians he returned to Leghorn, where, after a lingering sickness of eleven months, he was completely cured.
Those who befriend genius when it is struggling for distinction, befriend the world; and their names should be held in remembrance. There is good sense and right feeling in the reply of Mahomet to the insinuation of the fair Ayesha, that his first wife Cadi jah was old and unlovely, and that he had now a better in her place. "No, by Alia!—there never was a better—she believed in me when men despised me; she relieved my wants when I was poor and persecuted by the world." The names of Smith, Hamilton, Kelly, Allen, Jackson, Rutherford, and Lord Grantham must be dear to all the admirers of West; they aided him in the infancy of his fame and fortune; they cheered him when he was drooping or desponding, and watched over his person and his purse with the vigilance of true friendship. The story of his success with the portrait of Lord Grantham found its way to Allen at Philadelphia, when he was at dinner with Governor Hamilton. "I regard this young man," said the worthy merchant," as ar honour to his country; and as he is the first that America has sent out to cultivate the Fine Arts, he shall not be frustrated in his studies, for I shall send him whatever money he may require." "I think with you, sir," said Hamilton; "but you must not have all the honour to yourself; allow me to unite with you in the responsibility of the credit." Some time afterward, when West went to take up ten pounds from his agents, the last of the sum with which he had commenced his studies, one of the partners opened a letter, and said," I am instructed to give you unlimited credit; you will have the goodness to ask for what sum you please." It is not without cause that Mr. Galt says, " the munificence of the Medici was equalled by these American magistrates."
West, with recovered health, and a heavier purse, was now able to follow the counsel of Mengs:—he visited Florence, Bologna, and Venice. The colouring of Titian was a secret into which he strove in vain to penetrate, nor did the examination and dissection of what Italians call the "internal light" of his productions solve the mystery. Reynolds acquired the profitable secret, and kept it to himself and many years afterward West imagined that he had obtained it too. It is doubted by some whethei either ever mastered it completely. It is certain that they did not succeed in using it with the good fortune of Titian, whose colouring extinguishes all modern works as sunshine overwhelms candlelight. The pure primary colours which West afterward harmonized with the semi-tints fall far short of the lucid splendour of Titian; they lost by time, from which the colours of the Italian appear to gain an increase of lustre.
Having seen all that was worth seeing, West now returned to Rome. Romance and prophecy seemed to have marked the calm and serious Quaker for their own; a fresh adventure was ready for him at Rome. He was conversing in the British Coffeehouse with Gavin Hamilton, when an old man, with a guitar suspended from his shoulder, offered his cervices as an improvisator bard. "Here is an American," said the wily Scot, " come to study the Fine Arts in Rome; take him for your theme; and it is a magnificent one." West, who never in his life conceived what a joke meant, sat grave and steady like one of his own sitters, while the minstrel unslung his guitar, and, with a glance that told Hamilton he knew what to do, burst into song. At first he was something mystical, till he saw that his subject had a reasonable gift of credulity, and then he tried plainer words. "I behold," he sung, " in this youth an instrument chosen by heaven to create in his native country a taste for those arts which have elevated the nature of man—an assurance that his land will be the refuge of science and knowledge, when in the old age of Europe they shall have forsaken her shores. All things of heavenly origin move westward, and Truth and Art have their periods of light and darkness. Rejoice, O Rome, for thy spirit immortal and undecayed now spreads towards a new world, where, like the soul of man in Paradise, it will be perfected more and more." On the raving of this wily mendicant West bestowed both money and tears; and even in riper years he was willing to consider this as another prophecy.
He accompanied the Abbate Grant to see high mass performed in Saint Peter's. At the elevation II.—C
of the Host, when all were silent and kneeling, a voice exclaimed in the accent of Scotland, " O Lord, cast not the kirk down on them for this abomination!" This burst of enthusiasm, in a strange tongue, was received by all, save the Scottish priest, as a lively manifestation of Catholic zeal—Grant was alarmed for his countryman, and advised him to be quiet during the rest of the ceremony, unless he desired to be torn to pieces by the religious mob. This man had travelled to Rome with a fixed resolution either to convert the Pope to Calvinism or become a martyr. He yielded for the moment to Grant's entreaties; but next day reappeared in the same place, demanded the conversion of his holiness and the downfall of popery, and to his exceeding great joy was seized by the Inquisition, and consigned to a dungeon. The last of the princes of that unfortunate race who sat so long, and often so worthily, on the thrones of Scotland and England, interposed and sent the resolute presbyterian"home in safety.
West was not so far dazzled by those romantic occurrences as to forget his studies. He painted a picture of Cimon and Iphigenia, and another of Angelica and Medora; which confirmed the favourable opinions expressed by his friends, and opened a way to those marks of academic approbation usually bestowed on fortunate artists. Having studied the great Italian masters, and acquired much useful knowledge in the trick of colour and composition, he had no wish to remain in Rome—his heart was with his native land. He, however, resolved to visit the island of his fathers, and prepared for his journey. Of Rome he has left us^his brief and pithy memorandum: "Michael Angelo has not succeeded in giving a probable character to any of his works, the Moses perhaps excepted. The works of Raphael grow daily more interesting, natural, and noble."
At Parma he was elected a member of the Aca