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terms on which the earlier masters worked ! How easy to understand the number of bad Guidos in the world !
“A work devoid alike of art and decency" (Modern Painters, vol. ii. pt. iii. sec. i. ch. xiv. $ 24). For the circumstances of its acquisition see below under 193, p. 324. 84. MERCURY AND THE WOODMAN.
Salvator Rosa (Neapolitan : 1615-1673).
See under 1206, p. 317. An illustration of Æsop's fable of the dishonest woodman who, hearing of the reward which an honest fellow-labourer had obtained from Mercury for not claiming either the gold or silver axe which the god first offered, threw his axe also into the water, hoping for like good fortune. Mercury-here seen standing in the stream-showed him a golden axe. He claimed it, and the god having rebuked him for his impudence, left him to lose his axe and repent of his folly. The painting of the picture is conspicuous for that want of sense for colour, noted above as fatally characteristic of Salvator. “There is on the left-hand side something without doubt intended for a rocky mountain, in the middle distance, near enough for all its fissures and crags to be distinctly visible, or, rather, for a great many awkward scratches of the brush over it to be visible, which, though not particularly representative either of one thing or another, are without doubt intended to be symbolical of rocks. Now no mountain in full light, and near enough for its details of crags to be seen, is without great variety of delicate colour. Salvator has painted it throughout without one instant of variation ; but this, I suppose, is simplicity and generalisation ;-let it pass : but what is the colour ? Pure sky blue, without one grain of gray, or any modifying hue whatsoever; the same brush which had just given the bluest parts of the sky has been more loaded at the same part of the pallet, and the whole mountain thrown in with unmitigated ultramarine. Now mountains can only become pure blue when there is so much air between them that they become mere flat dark shades, every detail being totally lost: they become blue when they become air, and not till then. Consequently this part of Salvator's painting, being of hills perfectly clear and near, with all their details visible, is, as far as colour is concerned, broad, bold falsehood, the direct assertion of direct impossibility.” In connection with Salvator's want
of sense for colour one should take his insensitiveness to other beauty. For instance his choice of withered trees, which are here on both sides of us, “is precisely the sign of his preferring ugliness to beauty, decrepitude and disorganisation to life and youth" (Modern Painters, vol. i. pt. ii. sec. ii. ch. ii. $ 4; vol. v. pt. vi. ch. viii. $ 7).
77. THE STONING OF ST. STEPHEN.
Domenichino (Eclectic-Bologna : 1581-1641).
See under 48, p. 311. 9. “LORD, WHITHER GOEST THOU?”. Annibale Carracci (Eclectic-Bologna : 1560-1609).
See under 93, p. 308. The apostle Peter, according to a Catholic tradition, being terrified at the danger which threatened him in Rome, betook himself to flight. On the Via Appia our Saviour appeared to him bearing his cross. To Peter's question : Domine quo vadis ? (" Lord, whither goest thou ?") Christ replied, “To Rome, to suffer again crucifixion." Upon which the apostle retraced his steps, and received the crown of martyrdom. So much for the subject. As for its treatment, the note of almost comic exaggeration in St. Peter's attitude will not fail to strike the spectator; and “there is this objection to be made to the landscape, that, though the day is breaking over the distant hills and pediment on the right hand, there must be another sun somewhere out of the picture on the left hand, since the cast shadows from St. Peter and the Saviour fall directly to the right” (Landseer's Catalogue, p. 193).
75. ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON.
Domenichino (Eclectic-Bologna : 1581-1641).
See under 48, p. 311. Compare this conventional representation of the subject with the imaginative one by Tintoretto (VII. 16, p. 135). Amongst points of comparison notice the absence of anything terrible in the dragon, the crowd of spectators (on the walls in the distance), St. George's helmet ; and where is his spear ? 200. THE MADONNA IN PRAYER. Sassoferrato (Eclectic : 1605-1685). See under 740, p. 324. 193. LOT AND HIS DAUGHTERS LEAVING SODOM. Guido (Eclectic-Bologna : 1575-1642). See under 196, p. 321.
This and the companion picture (196) are interesting as being two of the nation's conspicuously bad bargains. The purchase of them at very high prices, £1680 and £1260, was indeed one of the grievances that led to the Select Committee of the House of Commons, 1853, and to the subsequent reconstitution of the Gallery. “Expert” witnesses declared before the Committee that these two pictures ought not to have been bought at any price or even accepted as a gift. Mr. Ruskin had sometime previously written to the Times about them as follows: “Sir, if the canvasses of Guido, lately introduced into the Gallery, had been good works of even that bad master, which they are not,-if they had been genuine and untouched works, even though feeble, which they are not,-if, though false and retouched remnants of a feeble and fallen school, they had been endurably decent or elementarily instructive, some conceivable excuse might perhaps have been by ingenuity forged, and by impudence uttered, for their introduction into a gallery where we previously possessed two good Guidos (11 and 177, pp. 313, 327)... but now, sir, what vestige of an apology remains for the cumbering our walls with pictures that have no single virtue, no colour, no drawing, no character, no history, no thought ?" (Arrows of the Chace, i. 64, 65). 163. VENICE: A VIEW ON THE GRAND CANAL. Canaletto (Venetian : 1697-1768). See under 939, p. 316.
The Church, that of S. Simeone Piccolo, was built in Canaletto's time. “One of the ugliest churches in Venice or elsewhere. Its black dome, like an unusual species of gasometer, is the admiration of modern Italian architects ” (Stones of Venice, vol. iii. Venetian Index, s. v. Simeone).
138. ANCIENT RUINS.
Giovanni Paolo Pannini (Roman : 1691-1764).
740. MADONNA AND CHILD.
Sassoferrato (Eclectic: 1605-1685). Giovanni Battista Salvi, called Sassoferrato from his birthplace, not far from Urbino, is generally described as a follower of the Carracci,
but he seems to have been chiefly a copyist of Titian and Raphael. He also copied Perugino. Compare Sassoferrato's Madonnas with the earlier models, and the distinction between sentimentality and sentiment becomes plain.
28. SUSANNAH AND THE ELDERS.
Ludovico Carracci (Eclectic-Bologna : 1555-1619). Ludovico is famous in art history as the founder of the Eclectic school of Bologna. Disgusted with the weakness of the Mannerists (of whom Baroccio, 29, p. 328, was the best), he determined to start a rival school, and enlisted the services of his two cousins, Agostino and Annibale, for that purpose. Their object, as expressed in a sonnet by Agostino, was to be to "acquire the design of Rome, Venetian action, and Venetian management of shade, the dignified colour of Lombardy (Leonardo), the terrible manner of Michael Angelo, Titian's truth and nature, the sovereign purity of Correggio's style, and the just symmetry of Raphael.” Ludovico, who was the son of a Bolognese butcher,? was a man of very wide culture and of great industry. He superintended the school, at first conjointly with his cousins, afterwards alone, from 1589 to his death.
A less objectionable rendering than most, of the story of Susannah in the Apocrypha-a story for all time, setting forth as it does the way in which minions of the law too often prey upon the innocent, and the righteous condemnation that the people, when there are just judges in the land, mete out to the offenders. Two judges, "ancients of the people," approached Susannah and threatened to report her as guilty unless she consented to do their bidding. She refused, and was reported accordingly. Judgment had well-nigh gone against her, when Daniel arose to convict the elders of false witness, and they were straightway put to death. It is the moment of Susannah's temptation that the artist here depicts. “It is,” says Hazlitt. (p. 5), “as if the young Jewish beauty had been just surprised in that unguarded spot-crouching down in one corner of the picture, the face turned back with a mingled expression of terror, shame, and unconquerable sweetness, and the whole figure, with the arms crossed, shrinking into itself with bewitching grace and modesty.” But Hazlitt never took notes, and Susannah's arms are not crossed—nor is her expression quite so naive as he describes.
* In the little-known collection in the Library of Christ Church, Oxford, there is a powerful but unpleasantly realistic picture of a butcher's shop by one of the Carracci, which is perhaps a family portrait.
643. THE CAPTURE OF CARTHAGENA. Ascribed to Rinaldo Mantovano (Roman : early 16th century)
This and the companion picture, 644, p. 330, formerly ascribed to Giulio Romano, are now ascribed to Rinaldo of Mantua, one of the scholars whom Giulio formed when at work in that city. Rinaldo is mentioned by Vasari as the ablest painter that Mantua ever produced, and as having been “prematurely removed from the world by death.”
In the upper compartment is represented the capture of New Carthage by the Roman general, Publius Cornelius Scipio, B.C. 210. He distinguished himself on that occasion by the generosity with which he treated the Spanish hostages kept there by the Carthaginians. This is the subject of the lower compartment. Among the hostages was a girl-hardly represented here as in the story, “so beautiful that all eyes turned upon her ”—whom Scipio protected from indignity and formally betrothed to her own lover: who is here advancing to touch the great man's hand, and when they brought thankofferings to Scipio, he ordered them, as we see here, to be removed again : “accept them from me,” he said, “as the girl's dowry” (Livy, xxvi. ch. 50). 56. LANDSCAPE WITH FIGURES. Annibale Carracci (Eclectic-Bologna : 1560–1609).
See under 93, P. 308. 941. VENICE: THE GRIMANI PALACE. Canaletto (Venetian : 1697-1768). See under 939, p. 316.
This palace-situated on the Grand Canal and used until lately as the post-office—was built in the sixteenth century by San Micheli, and is “the principal type at Venice, and one of the best in Europe, of the central architecture of the Renaissance schools ; that carefully studied and perfectly executed architecture to which those schools owė their principal claim to our respect, and which became the model of most of the important works subsequently produced by civilised nations. ... It is composed of three stories of the Corinthian order (i.e, in which the ornament is concave, distinguished from Doric, in which it is convex), at once simple, delicate, and sublime ; but on so colossal a scale that the three-storied palaces on its right and left only reach to the cornice which marks the level of its first floor" (Stones of Venice, vol. iji, ch. ii. SS 1, 2). Buildings in the same style in London are St. Paul's and Whitehall.