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garded in his day as the very incarnation of Machiavelli's Prince, “inasmuch as he joined daring to talent and prudence,” and though “he could practise mercy in due season," was yet “capable of great cruelty.” No one, who notices here that large protruding under lip of his, will doubt this last element in his character. 1035. PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN.
Francia Bigio (1482-1524). Francesco di Cristoforo Bigi (this picture is signed FRA CP= Franciscus Cristophori pinxit), commonly called Francia Bigio, was the son of a weaver at Milan, and “ devoted himself to the art of painting, not so much (Vasari tells us) because he was desirous of fame, as that he might thus be enabled to render assistance to his indigent relations." He was at first the pupil of Albertinelli (645, p. 34), and afterwards formed a close friendship with Andrea del Sarto, in conjunction with whom he produced his first important work in 1513. His works in fresco, of which Vasari tells some interesting stories, are at Florence, and show him to have been a successful imitator of his friend. He was also, as we see from this picture, an admirable portrait-painter-an excellence which he owed, says Vasari, to his patient and modest industry.
The young man wears on his breast the cross of the knights of Malta. The letter in his hand bears the date 1514. On the parapet is an inscription : tar : vblia ; chi : bien : eima (slowly forgets he who loves well)
Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
TENNYSON : The Princess. 649. PORTRAIT OF A BOY.
Jacopo Carucci da Pontormo (1494-1557). Jacopo Carucci, commonly called Pontormo, from his birthplace of that name (a town on the road from Pisa to Florence), was one of the most original “characters ” among those described by Vasari. His pictures were much sought after, but “he would never work but at such moments as he pleased, and for such persons as chanced to be agreeable to him, insomuch that he was frequently sought by gentlemen who desired to possess some work from his hand, but for whom he would do nothing : yet at that very time he would probably be employing himself zealously for some inferior and plebeian person. To the mason Rossino, for example, Pontormo gave a most exquisite picture of our Lady as the payment for constructing certain chambers.” Nor was this the only "absurdity" in Pontormo that shocked Vasari. “One of the Medici had been greatly pleased with a picture by Pontormo, and said that in reward for it he might ask whatever he pleased and should have his wish granted. But such was, I know not whether to say the timidity, or the too great respect and modesty of this man, that he asked nothing better than just so much money as would enable him to redeem a cloak which he had hastily pledged.” Many other interesting tales of Pontormo will be found in Vasari- of his love of secrecy, his curious manner of life, and the dead bodies he kept in troughs of water, so to paint more realistically the victims of the Deluge. This last tale is characteristic of Pontormo's place in the history of art, which for the most part was that of an ex. aggerated mannerist after Michael Angelo. In the National Gallery we see him at his best. His “ Joseph in Egypt " (1131, p. 32) is mentioned by Vasari as his most successful work, and his portraits are uniformly excellent.
This portrait, ascribed in the Official Catalogue to Carucci; is given by other critics to Salviati (652), or Bronzino (650 and 670), who was Pontormo's favourite pupil. Portraits of boys were rather a specialty of Pontormo's, and this “ Red Boy" shows much sympathetic skill. 17. THE HOLY FAMILY.
Andrea del Sarto 1 (1487-1531). See under 690, p. 27. St. Elizabeth with her son, the infant John the Baptist, visiting the Madonna and infant Christ. It is “a Holy Family," but except for the symbolical cross of the Baptist and the faint circlet of golden light surrounding the Madonna's head, there is no hint of divinity about this pretty domestic scene. One may compare it with Raphael's earlier Madonnas, and say
Raphael did this, Andrea painted that ;
BROWNING : Andrea del Sarto.
It is proper to mention that most of the critics dispute the genuine. ness of this picture, and consider it a copy by some scholar or imitator, In connection with this disputed point, it may not be out of place to recall the famous forgery in which Andrea himself played the chief part. The Duke of Mantua coveted Raphael's portrait of Leo X., and obtained permission from the Pope to appropriate it. The owner determined to meet force by fraud, and employed Andrea to make a copy which was sent to the Duke as the original. The copy, when at Mantua, deceived even Giulio Romano, who had himself taken part in the execution of the original-a fact which might well induce some modesty of judgment in connoisseurs.
1093. OUR LADY OF THE ROCKS.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Leonardo, of Vinci (a town in the Val d'Arno below Florence), has been called from the many-sidedness of his effort the Faust of the Renaissance. He was painter, poet, sculptor, architect, mechanist, mathematician, philosopher, and explorer. He also studied botany and anatomy (there is a collection of his anatomical studies in the Royal Library at Windsor), and was an admirable extempore performer on the lyre. In a letter addressed to Ludovico il Moro, Prince of Milan, in whose service he lived for sixteen years (1483-1499), he enumerates as his chief qualification his skill in military engineering, and throws in his art as an incidental accomplishment. “I will also undertake any work in sculpture, in marble, in bronze, or in terra cotta; likewise in painting I can do what may be done as well as any man, be he who he may.” In addition to all this, he was the first scientific writer on his art, and his Treatise on Painting is still an accepted handbook. To this marvellous intellectual alertness he added great personal beauty (“the radiance of his countenance, which was splendidly beautisul, brought cheerfulness,” says Vasari, “ to the heart of the most melancholy”), and great physical strength. He could bend a doorknocker, we are told, or a horse-shoe as if it were lead. Besides his physical strength Vasari mentions his kindness and gentleness, and tells us how he would frequently buy caged birds from the dealers, in order to give them back their liberty. This extraordinary man was the son of a peasant-mother, Caterina, and was born out of wedlock, his father being a Florentine notary; and amongst Leonardo's manuscripts is a record of a visit to Caterina in the hospital, who soon after his father's death had married in her own station, and of expenses paid for her funeral. Finally, to complete the marvel, Leonardo was lefthanded. He paid, however, the penalty of greatness in undertaking more than he could fulfil. He went once to Rome, but the Pope, Leo X., offended him by exclaiming, “Ah ! this man will never do anything ; he thinks of the end before the beginning of his work.” (He had made elaborate preparations for varnishing his picture before he began it.) Many of his works were thus unfinished, and others, owing to premature experiments in material, are ruined—especially his famous Last Supper at Milan, of which there is an original drawing at the Royal Academy. “Leonardo's oil painting,” says Mr. Ruskin, “ is all gone black or to nothing."
In the history of painting Leonardo stands out as the great master of light and shade (" chiaroscuro"). There are “three methods of art, producing respectively linear designs, effects of light, and effects
1" Because Leonardo made models of machines, dug canals, built fortifications, and dissipated half his art-power in capricious ingenuities, we have many anecdotes of him ;- but no picture of importance on canvas, and only a few withered stains of one upon a wall" (Queen of the Air, $ 157). of colour. In preparing to draw any object, you will find that practi. cally you have to ask yourself, Shall I aim at the colour of it, the light of it, or the lines of it? The best art comes so near nature as in a measure to unite all. But the best art is not, and cannot be, as good as nature; and the mode of its deficiency is that it must lose some of the colour, some of the light, or some of the delineation. And in consequence, there is one great school which says, We will have delineation, and as much colour and shade as are consistent with it.' Another, which says, We will have shade, and as much colour and delineation as are consistent with it.' The third, “We will have the colour, and as much light and delineation as are consistent with it. The second class, the Chiaroscurists, are essentially draughtsmen with chalk, charcoal, or single tints. Many of them paint, but always with some effort and pain. Leonardo is the type of them” (Compressed from Ariadne Florentina, SS 18-21).
This picture, which was bought in 1880 for £9000 from Lord Suffolk, is held by the best critics to be the original of the celebrated “ Vierge aux Rochers” in the Louvre; the latter differs in some details, and is considered less perfect in execution (see Quarterly Review, October 1886). It is entirely characteristic of the master's effects of light and shade, and of his grace and refinement in delineation. It is characteristic also of his deficiency in one branch of art: he did nothing to advance the study of landscape. “In realisation of detail he verges on the ornamental ; in his rock outlines he has all the deficiencies and little of the feeling of the earlier men. The rocks are grotesque without being ideal, and extraordinary without being impressive.” “ The forms of rock in Leonardo's celebrated *Vierge aux Rochers' are literally no better than those on a china plate " (Modern Painters, vol. i. pt. ii. sec. i. ch. vii. $ 13; Edinburgh Lectures on Architecture and Painting, p. 157).
Mother, is this the darkness of the end,
The Shadow of Death ? and is that outer sea
Mr. Ruskin speaks under the head of typical beauty (of beauty, that is, as typical of divine attributes) of the absolute necessity in pictures for some suggestion of infinity. “I cannot tell whether I am allowing too much weight to my own fancies and predilections, but without escape into the open air and open heaven, I can take permanent pleasure in no picture. I think I am supported in this feeling by the unanimous practice, if not confessed opinion, of all artists. ... Escape, Hope, Infinity, by whatever conventionalism sought, the device is the same in all, the instinct constant" (Modern Painters, vol. ii. pt. iii. sec. i. ch. v. SS 7, 8).
And does the death-pang by man's seed sustain'd
Its silent prayer upon the Son, while he
Blesses the dead with his hand silently
Keen as these rocks, and the bewildered souls
Throng it like echoes, blindly shuddering through.
Whose peace abides in the dark avenue
D. G. ROSSETTI : Sonnets and Ballads.
1150. A PORTRAIT.
Ascribed to Pontormo. See under 649, p. 22. 592. THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI.
Filippino Lippi (1457-1504). See under 293, p. 20 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, . . . behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews ? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew ji 1, 2). 809. THE HOLY FAMILY.
Michael Angelo (1475-1564). See under 790, p. 14. The Virgin mother is seen withholding from the child Saviour the prophetic writings in which His sufferings are foretold Angelic figures beside them examine a scroll
Turn not the prophet's page, O Son ! He knew
All that Thou hast to suffer and hath writ.
The spirits of Thy mournful ministerings,
Her Tree of Life unransomed: whose sad tree
Must yield its Tempter,--Hell the earliest dead
D. G. ROSSETTI : Sonnets and Ballads.