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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.

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 armchair, 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 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.

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. 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 constitution 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,

VOL. II.

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and left it with rather a favourable impression of the taste of the family.

Much cannot be 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. 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 pavilion, 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 Apen

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nines, and the purple light of evening steal over the landscape. The Italian skies are certainly rich and beautiful. In softness and delicacy, they 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.

The other great public promenade at Florence is the Cascine, 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.

LETTER LIV.

FLORENCE CONTINUED-GALLERY-SKETCH OF FIESOLE-EX-
CURSION TO VALLOMBROSA.

April, 1826.-Some of my readers may by this time begin to inquire for the Gallery, which is by far the most prominent object at Florence. Let them be assured that it has 1 not been forgotten. It received both our earliest and our latest visits; but as it contains a little world of curiosities in itself, its contents have been reserved, till other topics were despatched, and until my observations gleaned at sun

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dry times might be thrown together in a connected sketch. How exhaustless the subject is, may be learned from the fact, that one of the hundred works, to which it has given rise, is comprised in seventeen volumes folio, and several other descriptions contain ten folio volumes each. If an acquaintance with the fine arts qualified me to abridge these tomes, or to present an analysis of such a mass of materials, inclination would recoil from the task; and such of my readers, as wish for any thing beyond a desultory and brief notice, must refer to other writers. They have a choice among several scores of authors of all countries, Italian, German, French, English, and even Americans.

The situation of the Gallery and the splendid specimens of the works of art scattered about its threshold, in some measure prepare the mind for its accumulated treasures. At the end of one of the wings, and near the entrance, stands the Palazzo Vecchio, (the government house of the republic, and once the residence of the Medici,) presenting two of its venerable façades to the Square of the Grand Duke, elevating its fantastic, castellated tower above all the adjacent buildings, and surrounded with an equestrian statue of Cosimo I. a fountain with its pile of marble, the colossal Hercules of Bandinelli, and the David of Michael Angelo. The other wing terminates on the same square, in the open Loggia, or Portico, once used as the rostrum of the republican magistrates, and still adorned with the celebrated bronze statue of Perseus, bearing the head of Medusa, and Judith decapitating Holofernes, in marble, with many other proud monuments of former greatness. The gallery itself, designed by Lorenzo the Magnificent, and built by Vassari, the pupil of Michael Angelo, under the auspices of Cosimo I. in the year 1564, is in the shape of the Greek letter Pi, (II) its parallel sides extending from the public square above described to the Arno, a distance of something more than five hundred feet. Here the wings are united by an arch and a transverse gallery, upwards of sixty feet in breadth. The open court is traversed by a street, bordered by arcades, which are converted into extensive bazars. In point of architecture, this stupendous edifice has little to boast. It is of the Tuscan order, two stories high besides the basement, in the uppermost of which is the Gallery. The fre quent ascent to such a height is tedious, particularly for dies; and stately as the flight of steps are, the weariness

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