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the day?—The heads of the twelve Cæsars here stand in a They have generally stupid faces. One of the busts is composed of five kinds of alabaster, a monument of the wanton luxury and folly of the age. The different colours of the materials give the countenance a ludicrous appearance.
There is another apartment in the contents of which I took more interest. It is filled with the busts of philosophers, statesmen, sages, orators, poets, and other remarkable personages who depended on genius and intellect, and not on the imperial purple for celebrity. The bust of Virgil disappointed me. He is represented with an effeminate face, and soft, flowing tresses, without one manly feature-the very opposite of the dignity of his character, as given by his biogra phers. Cicero has not the long, swan-like neck and prominent Roman features, which distinguish prints of him. Socrates has a snub nose, which in spite of his beard, makes one laugh in his face. Sappho, the divine Sappho, is a personification of stupidity in every lineament. It must be a satire upon the sweet enchantress of the Lesbian lyre; for such a being could neither have "loved nor sung," and her leap from the Leucadian rock ceases to be a matter of wonder. The bust of Cleopatra has crystal eyes. They glare as frightfully upon the spectator, as did her own when swimming in death, with the asp at her bosom.
In the Saloon called the Four Windows, are statues of Jupiter and of a Faun, in black antique-both very cele brated. Here also is a young Hercules, in all the grossness of an overgrown urchin, without exhibiting any of the charac teristic strength of the demigod. It must be difficult for an artist to give bone and muscle to a boy. The infant giant is commonly made fat instead of strong. This room contains several Venuses and as many Amazons. The former are very far inferior to the modest, divine little goddess, left almost like a lover upon the banks of the Arno. I observed that the drapery of the latter (the Amazons) discloses indiscriminately either the right or left breast. Is this classical! -The right one was exterminated, and seared to prepare them for war; and hence the very name. In this hall are also a Pythian Apollo, with his tripod and lyre; and a fine bust of Caius Marius, contains just such a head as one would look for from his character.
The hall of the Faun contains many fine pieces, the first of which is the rural divinity himself, standing in the centre.
He is in red antique, represented in the character of Bacchus, wearing all the attributes of the jovial god. The colour of the statue, even in a deity who might be supposed to have a red face, in my opinion detracts much from its beauty. It may be laid down as a universal rule, that white marble is far superior to all other materials for statuary; and every attempt to strike by factitious ornaments, or a variation of colour, is in bad taste. There is another fine article in this saloon. It is Innocence playing with a dove; and one hardly knows › which expresses the virtue most forcibly, the female figure, or her emblem. A child playing with a swan is of the same character. Here also is a very small statue of Alexander the Great. It is laughable to see the conqueror of the world, strutting and playing the hero, in the person of Tom Thumb.
The hall of the Gladiator probably contains more choice pieces of sculpture, than all the rest of the gallery put together. Here is the group of Cupid and Psyche, the original of the exquisite copy in the Louvre at Paris, and one of the most finished productions of Canova's chisel. Here also is =the Faun of Praxiteles, a masterpiece in proportion, expression, and finish. Venus coming out of the bath approximates to her namesake at Florence, but appears less platonic, in the character of her affections. The attitude of both is nearly the same. But this saloon contains one piece, which eclipses all others the dying Gladiator. It is ascribed to Praxiteles; but whether he made it or not, its merits are obvious to every person, and need not the authority of a great name to render them striking. There is a depth of pathos in the expression, which almost melts the spectator into tears. No wonder Napoleon ordered this statue to Paris. His crime of plunder was half redeemed by the taste displayed in selecting his objects. Byron's description of the Gladiator is so accurate, and so exquisitely beautiful, that I cannot forbear to quote one stanza, although it may be in the mouths of half my readers. Let any one peruse it, and then go and search for pleasing associations at the Coliseum :
"I see before me the gladiator lie;
He leans upon his hand-his manly brow
Ere ceased the inhuman shout, which hailed the wretch who won."
The palace of the Conservators on the opposite side of the square contains a multiplicity of objects, about which the visitant loves to linger. The court is filled with fragments of colossal statues torsos of immense size--heads, arms, and feet, ranged round the walls. Of all sorts of antiquities, these giant limbs are generally the most uninteresting. In their best estate, they were merely objects of vulgar curiosity; in ruins, they cease to present any attractions. Nothing can excuse colossal statues in any other situations, than where they are to be seen at great heights or great distances, which will reduce them to the ordinary proportions of the species. In all other cases, they become monstrosities exhibiting the bad taste, the pride, and folly of man.
The Protomotheca, or Gallery of illustrious men, is the most interesting part of the Conservator's Palace. It comprises eight large saloons communicating with one another, and filled with the most authentic busts of remarkable personages in modern Italy, from the twelfth century to the present period. It is the counterpart of the antiques in the Museum. Although the Popes, who are the Cæsars of the day, and many other individuals in whom one feels no interest, have crowded themselves among men of genius; yet it is but just to say, that the collection manifests great liberality of feeling, and nationality of sentiment, on the part of the Papal government, at whose expense the gallery was established, and is still supported. The heads of men of eminence in the seve ral departments of science, literature, and the arts, are here found, whatever may have been their heresies in religion and politics during life. In illustration of this remark, the busts of Dante, Gallileo, and a hundred others, who incurred the displeasure of the church, might be mentioned. Even Boccaccio, whose "impure dust" the immaculate Mr. Eustace was for trampling into oblivion, has been enrolled by the authority of the Pope among his illustrious compeers. word, enlightened patriotism seems to have been the governing principle in the collection of the articles in the Protomotheca, which was commenced by Pius VII. whose elegant statue by Canova is very justly entitled to a conspicuous place in the gallery. It would be an endless task, to select, and attempt to describe even the more interesting faces from old Columbus down to Alfieri and Goldoni, which meet the visitant at every step. In the halls of the Conservators, modern history and biography may be studied to as much advantage,
as antiquities in the Capitoline Museum. We spent several days in the two buildings, and a much longer time might have been employed both with pleasure and instruction.
In the second story, over the Protomotheca, is a long suite of chambers, filled with curiosities of various kinds-statues, busts, and paintings. The most interesting article is the bronze Wolf nursing the twin boys, supposed to be the one mentioned by Cicero, as having been struck by lightning, in token of the displeasure of the gods, and the approaching ruin of the empire. It is pretended, that the bolt fell on the day of Cæsar's assassination in the Senate.* The traces of the lightning are still visible upon the hind legs of the animal, which were cleft near the feet, and pieces of the bronze Neither of the children, sheltered under the body of their protectress, sustained injury. Absurd as this fable is, when construed literally, it makes a pretty picture. The head of the wolf, divested of its natural ferocity, is turned round to contemplate her regal charge with affection and maternal tenderness. Near this group stands a metallic bust of Junius Brutus. The complexion of the material is coalblack, and the white eyes give to a severe countenance an almost terrific appearance. It has lately been returned from Paris, and is reckoned one of the choicest articles in the collection. A bronze head of Michael Angelo, and his marble bust, sculptured by himself, arrested our attention, although he has not a great or interesting feature in his face, according to his own showing. His forehead is low, his nose flat, and his chin long: so much for the indications of phrenology.
The gallery of paintings, comprising between two and three hundred articles, covering the walls of two large saloons, contains many works of merit, though it cannot be considered one of the most splendid collections in Italy. We did not observe a single picture by Raphael. The Bologna and Venetian schools are the most prominent-Guido, the three Caraccis, Domenichino, Titian, Paul Veronese, and the rest. Several of Claude Lorraine's finest landscapes attract the eye of the visitant. Among the most interesting pictures are the Sibyl Persica, by Guercino, and
*The Senate-house in which Cæsar was stabbed, stood in the Forum of Pompey, between the Capitoline Hill and the Tiber. Mere curiosity induced us to visit the site, now occupied by the large modern church of St. Andrew.
the Cumaan Sibyl, by Domenichino. They are both exe. cuted with great spirit, but disappointed me as much, as to the character of these prophetesses, as did the one in the Tribune at Florence. Guido's Magdalen is also here; but in my estimation, she will not bear a comparison with the sweet penitent of Carlo Dolce. Old Michael Angelo seemed resolved, that the world should not forget his face, ugly as it is. He has here a portrait painted by himself. It does not improve much upon the bust. Guercino's resurrection and ascension of a Saint, (I forget her name,) is an admirable picture; and so is Guido's Europa. But I have not time to dwell on this topic, nor to retrace our steps through the Chambers of Audience and of the Throne, (for this is a pon. tifical palace,) the walls of which exhibit rather a meagre show of tapestry, and the ceiling an endless succession of frescos. In the chapel some daring artist has attempted to portray an image of the Supreme Being, clothed in the costume of mortals. It need not be added, that the effort is mere mockery.
LETTER LX. .
ROME CONTINUED--RIDE ROUND THE WALLS--TOMB OF THE SCIPIOS--BATHS OF CARACALLA-TOMB OF CECILIA METELLACIRCUS OF CARACALLA--CATACOMBS-FOUNTAIN OF EGERIA-BATHS OF TITUS-GARDENS OF SALLUST-EXCURSION TO TIVOLI-VILLA OF ADRIAN.
May, 1826.-For the purpose of examining the walls and gates of Rome, we rode round the ramparts, from the Porta del Popolo, near the bank of the Tiber on the north, to the Porta di St. Paolo at the southern extremity of the city-an excursion occupying several hours, The road is bad, and often dangerous for coaches. In this vast semicircle, there are nine gates, leading to different parts of the Campagna, which with the three or four on the right bank of the Tiber make about a dozen in all. None of them are very remarkable for magnificence, except the one already described at our entrance, and the Porta Pia, erected by Pius VII. The Porta del Popolo and the Neapolitan Gate are the great thoroughfares, through which travellers arrive and depart.