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670. A KNIGHT OF ST. STEPHEN.
Angelo Bronzino (1502-1572). See under 651, p. 29. He wears the robes of his order (with a red cross bordered with yellow), an order established by Cosimo, Duke of Tuscany, and charged with the defence of the coasts against pirates. The knight is a good specimen of the courtier aristocracy with which Cosimo surrounded himself. The knights of St. Stephen afterwards won much honour by their prowess, but they were men of culture also : notice that this one holds a book in his hand, which rests on a table richly carved in the taste of the time. 1194. CHRIST DRIVING OUT THE TRADERS.
Marcello Venusti (Died 1579). A most interesting little picture, as illustrating the decline of Italian art subsequent to, and largely caused by, Michael Angelo, whose pupil Venusti was, and by whom there are drawings for this picture in the British Museum. Notice how everything is sacrificed to violent action and contorted positions—the money-changers whom Christ is driving out of the Temple are composed as it were for a ballet of limbs. Notice also the “debased” architectural background-the absurdly distorted pillars with their puerile capitals. 296. THE VIRGIN ADORING THE INFANT CHRIST.
Antonio Pollajuolo (1429-1498). See under 292, p. 18. One of the pictures the authorship of which is still hotly disputed by the connoisseurs. The same type of face occurs unmistakably in the next picture (781). But whilst some agree with the Official Catalogue in ascribing these two pictures to Pollajuolo or his school, others give them both to Verocchio or his school.1 In any case we may notice the acquaintance of the artist with goldsmith's work, as shown in the elaborately jewelled brooches worn by the Virgin and the angel on the left. 781. RAPHAEL AND TOBIAS.
Antonio Pollajuolo (1429-1498). The Hebrew legend of Tobit and his son Tobias (told in the Book of Tobit in the Apocrypha) was a favourite one with the Mediæval Church, and became therefore a traditional sub
1 See Richter, pp. 33, 34, for the Verocchio view, though he gives the picture to a scholar only, for “the artist of the Colleoni monument could not have been guilty of the abnormal extension given to the lower part of the ject for painting; see e.g. in the National Gallery, besides 288 in this room, X. 72, p.235; XIII. 48, p. 311. Tobit, a Jewish exile, having fallen also into poverty, and afterwards becoming blind, prays for death rather than life in noble despair. “To him the angel of all beautiful life (Raphael) is sent, hidden in simplicity of human duty, taking a servant's place for hire, to lead his son in all right and happy ways of life, explaining to him, and showing to all of us who read, in faith, for ever, what is the root of all the material evil in the world, the great end of seeking pleasure before use" (Fors Clavigera, 1877, p. 31). Here we see Raphael leading the young Tobias into Media, where he was to marry Sara, his rich kinswoman, the daughter of Raguel. But she was haunted by an evil spirit, who had slain her seven husbands, each on their wedding-day, and the angel bade Tobias take the gall of a certain fish, wherewith afterwards to heal his father's blindness, and its heart and liver wherewith to drive away the evil spirit from his bride. Tobias is carrying the fish, Raphael has a small box for the gall. The “rising step" and the “springy motion in his gait” are characteristic of him who was the messenger of heaven, the kindly companion of humanity
Raphael, the sociable spirit, that deigned
MILTON : Paradise Lost, v. 221. 1230. PORTRAIT OF A GIRL.
Domenico Ghirlandajo (1449-1494). See on p. 3. The girl is of the same type—with the same hair, "yellow as ripe corn," and the same dainty primness—as the lady in Mr. Willett's picture, but she was perhaps of humbler station
-a simple flower in her hair and a coral necklace being her only ornaments. 292. MARTYRDOM OF ST. SEBASTIAN.
Antonio Pollajuolo (1429-1498). Antonio Pollajuolo (the “poulterer,”— so called from his grandfather's trade) is an interesting man from two points of view ; first, as an instance of the union of the arts in old times; for he was a working goldsmith and engraver as well as a sculptor and painter, Secondly, he was the first artist (Vasari says) who had recourse to Virgin's body. What should we have to say of the proportions of this figure if she were to rise from her seat ?" For at least equally strong arguments, in favour of the Pollajuolo view, see Morelli, pp. 353-355.
dissection of the dead subject. “To the poulterer's son, Pollajuolo, remains the eternal shame of first making insane contest the only subject of art . .. a man of immense power, but on whom the curse of the Italian mind in this age was set at its deepest. . . . He was the virtual beginner of that artistic anatomy (the study of bone and muscle) which was afterwards developed by Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo" (Ariadne Florentina, pp. 254-256). Of this new departure in art, with its delight in pain, the present picture is a notable example.
Notice especially in the muscles of the executioners' legs and their effort in stretching their bows, “the pleasure which the painter seems to take in minute, contemptible, and loathsome things. ... It is exactly characteristic of the madness in which all of them— Pollajuolo, Castagno, Mantegna, Leonardo, and Michael Angelo, polluted their work with the science of the sepulchre, and degraded it with presumptuous and paltry technical skill. Foreshorten your Christ, and paint Him, if you can, half putrified, — that is the scientific art of the Renaissance” (Ariadne Florentina, p. 257). How popular this “ scientific art” was in its day may be seen from the following enthusiastic account which Vasari gives of this picture: “A remarkable and admirably executed work, with numerous horses, many undraped figures, and singularly beautiful foreshortenings. This picture likewise contains the portrait of St. Sebastian himself, taken from the life—from the face of Gino di Ludovico Capponi, that is. The painting has been more extolled than any other ever executed by Antonio. He has evidently copied nature in this work to the utmost of his power, as we perceive more particularly in one of the archers, who, bending towards the earth, and resting his weapon against his breast, is employing all the force of a strong arm to prepare it for action; the veins are swelling, the muscles strained, and the man holds his breath as be applies all his strength to the effort. Nor is this the only figure executed with care ; all the others are likewise well done, and in the diversity of their attitudes give clear proof of the artist's ability and of the labour bestowed by him on his work; all which was fully acknowledged by Antonio Pucci, who gave him three hundred scudi for the picture, declaring at the same time that he was barely paying him for the colours. This work was completed in the year 1475." 693. VIRGIN AND CHILD.
Lorenzo di Credi (1459-1537). See under 648, p. 11. 1124. THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI.
Filippino Lippi (1457-1504). See under 293, below. For two other more highly finished pictures of the same subject also ascribed to this master see 592, p. 26, and III. 1033, p. 54. In the distance here are the retinues of the kings, and anchorites at their devotions. 1
293. VIRGIN AND CHILD, ST. JEROME AND ST.
Filippino Lippi (1457-1504). Filippo Lippi, the younger (called “Filippino,” “the little Filippo ") was the son of Fra Filippo Lippi. There is perhaps no other case in art-history of father and son attaining such nearly equal excellence as did the two Lippis. Owing to his father's death when Filippino was still a boy, the latter became the pupil of Botticelli, and so good a pupil was he that the critics are often in doubt, as explained in the footnote below, to which master to ascribe pictures. Filippino lived a busy and a blameless life ; and the peace and beauty of his pictures were a reflection of his character. “Having been ever courteous, obliging, and friendly, Filippino was lamented,” says Vasari, “by all who had known him, but more particularly by the youth of Florence, his native city; and when his funeral procession was passing through the streets, the shops were closed as is done for the most part at the funerals of princes only."
The effect of this picture is much spoiled by the dark varnish by which it is covered. It is identified, however, by the arms of the Rucellai family below as the one described by Vasari as “ executed in the church of San Pancrazio for the chapel of the Rucellai family."
1 Visitors who are interested in such points of connoisseurship may be glad of this summary with regard to the works ascribed in the Official Catalogue to the associated painters, Fra Filippo Lippi, Filippino Lippi, and Botticelli. The undisputed pictures of Fra Filippo are II, 248, III. 666 and 667 ; of Filippino, 293 and III. 927. The pictures 592 and III, 1033 have marked resemblances both to Fra Filippo and to Botticelli, and are ascribed by different critics to one or other of those masters or their pupils. The present picture and III. 598 are often ascribed to a pupil of Filippino ; the pictures II. 586 and I. 589 to a pupil of Fra Filippo. The undisputed pictures of Botticelli are III. 1034 and 1126. The pictures III. 226 and 782, I, 275, 915 and 916, are all ascribed by some critics to a pupil of his only ; whilst to Botticelli himself is sometimes ascribed the portrait III. 626, classed in the Official Catalogue as "Unknown."
Francesco Salviati (1510-1563). Francesco Rossi, called “ del Salviati” from his patron, the Cardinal of that name, studied under Andrea del Sarto. He was a great friend of Vasari, whose life of Salviati gives a most interesting account of their intimacy, especially of their early student days, when they “met together and went on festival days or at other times to copy a design from the best works wherever these were to be found dispersed about the city of Florence.” In addition to this little picture Salviati is credited by Dr. Richter with 649, p. 22, and 670, p. 17.
The usual pictorial representation of charity, as a woman surrounded by children and giving suck, is the same as Spenser's description of “Charissa ”
She was a woman in her freshest age,
A multitude of babes about her hong,
The Faèrie Queene, i. 10. XXX., xxxi.
704. COSIMO, DUKE OF TUSCANY.1
Angelo Bronzino (1502-1572). See under 651, p. 29. A contemporary portrait of the great Medici, the first “Grand Duke” of Tuscany (ruled 1537-1564), who was re
1 This is one of twenty-two pictures (701-722) presented by the Queen to the National Gallery in 1863 " in fulfilment of the wishes of His Royal Highness the Prince Consort." A collection (chiefly early Flemish and German) had been bequeathed to him, and he had expressed his wish from the first to present the best of the pictures to the nation—the gift being delayed pending the decision with regard to the site of a proposed new National Gallery. The Prince, it may be added, had always taken a lively interest in the welfare of the Gallery. A most elaborate Historical Cata. logue of all the schools of painting, prepared at his suggestion, was laid before the Select Committee of 1853. Such a catalogue, he pointed out, would " show the requirements of the Gallery," and "private individuals, who might possess specimens of the masters required to complete the collection, would thus be made aware of the want, and might be induced to present them to the nation." Like many another valuable suggestion, this one of the Prince Consort's lies buried in a Blue Book. Might it not with advantage be revived, and a list of “ Pictures wanted " be publishedjust as in Public Libraries there is often a list of “Libri Desiderati " exhibited ?