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couches covered with crimson velvet, and large French mirrors set off the saloons to advantage. The tables and mantel-pieces, both of the finest marbles, are exquisitely beautiful. Some of the former are inlaid with precious stones, forming a variety of figures; and one of the latter is supported by two large white eagles, of elegant workmanship. The fire-places generally have an air of neatness and comfort, not to be met with in most palaces on the continent.

In a small octagonal temple, at the extremity of the suite of apartments, stands Canova's celebrated statue of Venus. She occupies the centre of the magnificent shrine, of which she is the sole tenant, elevated upon a pedestal in peerless beauty, and multiplying her image in the mirrors which cover the walls. The Grand Duke has certainly given the Paphian goddess an opportunity to show off her charms in all their brilliancy; and notwithstanding her modest drapery, she by no means stints the admiration of the beholder. This statue is reckoned one of the chef d'oeuvres of the great master, who could do all but make the marble speak and breathe. If I durst venture a remark upon the conception of such a mind, and upon the creative skill of such a hand, it would be, that some of the limbs and features of his personification of abstract beauty are slightly wanting in delicacy of proportion. The neck appeared to me too gross, and the nose, where it joins the forehead, too thick. But it is more than ten thousand to one, that the artist is right and my criticism in the wrong.

The Pitti Palace contains much the choicest collection of paintings, that has ever fallen within my sphere of observation. Here are many of the first pictures of the great Italian masters. One room after another opens its treasures upon the visitant, till his mind is surfeited with the very richness of the repast. We gazed and gazed, till our necks were stiff, and our legs weary. Several hours were intensely occupied in the examination, and as many days would scarcely enable me to do justice to such a gallery. Where so many are good, it is difficult to select the best. But with regard to the productions of one artist, there can be no mistake. The pictures of Raphael do not in my opinion admit of comparison. He is as immeasurably elevated above all others, as Homer and Virgil and Dante and Shakspeare are above the minor Greek, Latin, Italian, and English poets. Other artists may occasionally, nay frequently do a good thing; but he is always great, always supported by his genius, and never sinks to the level of ordinary minds. These remarks should be restricted to his second and third manner, after he had escaped from the trammels of Perugino, and formed a style of his own.

This collection contains half a dozen of his pictures. Of these his

Madonna della Seggiola is the most celebrated, and probably one of the most perfect productions in the world. It has been to Paris, where it made a great noise, and was imitated in the tapestry of the Gobelins. The Virgin Mother is represented in a sitting posture, (whence the distinctive appellation of the picture,) with the infant Saviour in her embraces, and another child, St. John the Baptist, at her side. Her form, her features, an indescribable sweetness of expression, the maternal tenderness beaming from her soft hazel eye, the modest and pious consciousness of being the mother of a God, the position of the child's cheek to her own, expressing at once both dignity and fondness of affection, the propriety of costume, the colouring, the finish-all, all are divine. The canvass is but a few feet square, and therefore conveniently portable. It is said the Grand Duke never goes any distance from home, without carrying the Madonna della Seggiola in his coach, as a sort of Palladium; and any one who has seen the picture will pardon an act of idolatrous partiality, which to others may manifest a superstitious weakness of character. With the divine image of the Virgin for his companion and protectress, he may feel as secure in his travels among Italian banditti, as did the poet in his rambles amidst the monsters of the Sabine forests, while chanting the praises and loves of his Lalage.*

Among the other productions of the same artist in this collection, are portraits of Cardinal Bibbiena, and Pope Julio II. The former was the personal friend and patron of Raphael. He has justly been immortalized for his liberality. The latter (his Holiness) is represented sitting in his arm-chair, with a table before him, in conversation with an ecclesiastic, and another person behind him. All three of the faces, the peculiar and strongly marked features, the attitudes of the trio, the perfect nature of the drapery, evince the matchless skill of the master. Some connoisseurs prefer either of these pictures to the Madonna of the Chair, above described, more perhaps from the subject than the manner.

It is the fashion in Italy at present to decry the portraits of Carlo Dolce, for what reason I am unable to say, having never been initiated into the secrets and technicalities of professed amateurs. A young artist told me gravely, that it was very easy to make such pictures, and then went on to describe how it might be done. He reminded me of

*Namque me silva lupus in Sabina,
Dum meam canto Lalagen, et ultra
Terminum curis vagor expeditus,

Fugit inermem.

a flippant sophomore, who imagines himself capable of imitating the attic simplicity of Addison's style, until actual experiment satisfies him to the contrary. My only reply to the exposition was-"go thou and do likewise." With me Carlo Dolce is a favourite, and some of his faces are surpassed by no pencil save Raphael's.

In this collection is the far-famed Cleopatra, by Guido; and the Three Fates, the weird sisters of antiquity, by Michael Angelo. The latter artist, in my humble opinion, succeeded better both as an architect and a sculptor, than as a painter. I have however yet seen but few productions of his pencil. Salvator Rosa's pieces afforded less pleasure than was anticipated. He is considered the Byron of painters, darkening his canvass with a sort of wild and gloomy grandeur. A high wind has always splintered all his trees. Titian's mistress is a tenant of the Pitti Palace. She is rather pretty, but tricked out with too much finery, and too broadly betraying her real character. "The torture of St. Agatha" furnishes a striking illustration of my remarks on the Genoese galleries. Two huge pairs of pincers, such as blacksmiths use in shoeing horses, are fastened with a firm gripe upon the naked breasts of this martyred saint, for the purpose of eradicating the fountains of life. Is it possible, that any one can contemplate such a picture with complacency, whatever may be its merits? This is by no means a solitary instance of the delineation of such barbarous scenes. In Italy the sanctity of martyrs is graduated exactly in proportion to the atrocities inflicted by their persecutors, as all these cruelties are ascribed to the immediate instigation and agency of the devil, who puts his own ingenuity to the rack in devising tortures for saints of peculiar holiness.

The Pitti Palace contains the private library of the Grand Duke, consisting at present of 48,000 volumes, divided into twenty-six compartments of science, literature, and the arts. At the commencement of the late revolution in Italy, it comprised only 9,000 volumes; and on the return of the Grand Duke from Germany, no more than 19,000: the remainder has since been purchased, and accessions are daily made. Among the curiosities and rarer publications of the library are a splendid copy of the Magna Charta, on fine vellum paper, in letters of gold, with illuminations, and a portrait of George the 4th--a description of the coronation of Napoleon, with portraits of the Emperor, Empress, Marshals and the principal personages of the French Court-beautiful editions of several English works-history of the oaks and forest trees of North America—and a copy of Wilson's Ornithology. The Grand Duke Leopold is said to pass most of his mornings among his books. He is a young man under the age of thirty, apparently of feeble con

stitution and phlegmatic temperament. He is a nephew of the Emperor of Austria, and married a princess of Saxony. But more of these things hereafter justice compels me to add, that I entered the palace of the Grand Duke not without prejudice, and left it with rather a favourable impression of the taste of the family.

Much cannot, however, be safely said in praise of the Boboli Garden belonging to the Grand Duke, but open to the public on all festas, when it becomes a place of fashionable resort. We paid it a visit on one of these occasions, and found half of Florence reposing in its shades and treading its alleys. The grounds are something more than half a mile square, embracing a great variety of surface, and affording every opportunity for the display of rural scenery. An acclivity, so steep as often to render terraces necessary, rises from the rear of the Palace to the extremity of the garden, which commands a full view of the town, of the Vale of the Arno, and of the distant mountains. From this eminence the ground descends by a declivity equally rapid into a deep gorge of the hills on the south of the city. The whole park, if so it may be called, is intersected by walks, and planted with groves of ilex, laurel, myrtle, cypress, pine, fir, and other shrubbery, interspersed with flowers. Sometimes tangled copses of great wildness and beauty are seen; but too often the alleys are bordered by walls of verdure shorn of their negligent tresses, and not unfrequently overarched by bowers. Half a dozen of these perfectly straight arbours extend up the slope, nearly the whole length of the garden, presenting long vistas, quite too artificial to be pretty.

The whole of the little dominion of pleasure and gaiety is numerously peopled with statues. Divinities, nymphs, and heroes without number haunt the shades. Many of them are mutilated and rusty. originally bad for Florence, and the worse for years, adding with few exceptions very little to the embellishment of the garden. At the entrance are two colossal Dacian slaves, by Michael Angelo. In the depth of the ravine, above alluded to, is a circular fountain, with a green and flowery island rising in the centre, crowned with statues of Neptune, the Nile, Euphrates, and other river gods. Near the margin is another complex group, called Victory, which requires an expositor to explain the allegory. The circlet of water is several rods in width, and enlivened by swarms of fishes, which seemed as intent on their little sports, as the thousands of gay hearts and pretty faces that watched their finny gambols.

On the very top of the eminence, the Grand Duke has a coffeehouse, and a sort of observatory or terrace, whence he can survey no small portion of his Tuscan dominions. Here we stood to see the

sun go down behind the distant Apennines, and the purple light of evening steal over the landscape. The Italian skies are certainly rich and beautiful. In softness and delicacy, they may a little exceed our own; but in brilliancy and purity, ours are by no means inferior. The great secret on this subject is, that the skies of Italy have always been compared with the hazy and humid atmosphere of England. If it be possible for our artists to catch and copy the glories of an American sunset in autumn, the richness of their tints on comparison will not be found inferior to those of Salvator Rosa or Claude Lorraine.

No coach save the Grand Duke's is allowed to enter the Boboli : "when I speak let no dog bark." His carriage was seen whirling along the avenues, containing his confessor, "a fat jolly rogue," to adopt one of the compound epithets applied by Lady Morgan to the priesthood of Italy. The holiday amusement of the Boboli terminated in a sort of tragedy, instead of a farce in the usual style. A child two or three years old had strayed from its juvenile guardians, and lost itself in the labyrinths of verdure. Its little brother and sister filled the garden with bitter lamentations, which enlisted the whole multitude in search of the infant runaway.

The other great public promenade at Florence is the Cascina, which in plain English means a cow-pasture, but is here applied to the farm and farm-house or lodge of the Grand Duke. It is beautifully situated on the right bank of the Arno, below the falls, and extends several miles along the river. These grounds are always open to the public. They are richly shaded with forest trees, and intersected by avenues for carriages as well as for pedestrians. In the centre of the woods rises the modest and pretty lodge of the Grand Duke, with its attendant buildings. Here is the great Corso or drive, as well as the promenade of the city. From 5 o'clock till dark, the roads are thronged with coaches and equipages, which are rather splendid. Our first visit was on the evening of a festa, when all the world, as the French say, were here assembled. The moon-beams played in the silver ripples of the Arno, and groups of both sexes were warbling their soft Italian airs, in the voluptuous bowers upon its banks. But a truce to romance for the present.

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