FLORIN WEBSITE © JULIA BOLTON
HOLLOWAY, AUREO ANELLO
ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI,
& GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN:
SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
|| WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY ||
FLORENCE IN SEPIA ||
PROCEEDINGS I, II, III,
IV, V, VI,
VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA
MAZZEI' || EDITRICE
ANELLO CATALOGUE || UMILTA
WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD
WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES:
ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
New: Dante vivo || White Silence
From English Women's Journal 2 (1858),
83-94. Courtesy, Alison Chapman
'FELICIE DE FAUVAU'
Louvre, Ary Scheffer, Félicie de Fauveau
ntering Florence by the Porta Romana, you stand opposite the fresco of the blacksmith's shop, which was painted in rivalry of Rome, at that happy period when cities vied with each other in pride of art. The blacksmith's shop is the apex of a triangle of which the base is the Arno. Borgo Romano forms one side of the triangle, Via degli Boffi the other. Borgo Romano leads to Via Maggio, at the entrance of which is that house so dear to all lovers of poetry and of Italy, Casa Guidi. Via degli Boffi opens into Via delle Fornace, in which are the studios of Powers, the American, and of Fedi, the Italian sculptor. This must be recognised therefore as hallowed ground. Poetry and sculpture! The most spiritual and the most material art. Spirit clothed in form, and form - 'Men and Women' - transmuted everlastingly into spirit.
But few English people perhaps know, that in the Via delle Fornace is another classic spot, it it be not an Irishism to call classic, the home of the most romantic and mediaeval of modern artists. If you ring at that dark green door, and are admitted, you will find yourself in a paved covered court, formerly the entrance of a convent. The convent has been altered and adapted to form a modern habitation, but traces of its former consecration are still visible.
The court opens on one side on a flight of stairs which leads to the upper rooms, another door leads to the studios, a third opens upon a cool quiet garden, shadowed over by the trees of the Villino Torrigiani. Dove cotes, pigeon houses, and bird cages are very common here. They seem to hold the spot by hereditary right. The love of pets is a omanliness which most women possess in common. It manifests itself in different ways, according to different vocations and states, but exists in the nun as in the artist. She whose mind has attained the most virile and lofty expression is not less subject to it, that she whose existence is one continual repression and compression.
In this garden the walks are hedged by laurels and cypresses, (mournfully and inseperably associated, as ever,) and fragrant as are the scents, and gay the flowers, whether from the mixture of Etruscan vases and jars, which always give a melancholy and tomb-like aspect, or from a superstitious belief of mine, that wherever people have endured hopelessness, or suffered disappointment, the place itself retains an impress of it. I must confess that in the garden of the ancient convent of Santa Chiara, there was a charm around of stillness and seclusion, which was very sweet but very sad.
To be sure, the old French lady, who accompanied me with her courteous manners, her bright black eyes, her stately old-fashioned dress, as if she had walked out of the frame of a picture dated fifty years ago, was not quite in character with the impression made by the garden. There was a sparkle in her eyes, a sagacity and shrewdness in her remarks, which were decidedly mundane. In her was evidently a full experience of life, of most of its phases, and of all its richest emotions, and her mobile and practical French organisation gave it the most vivacious acceptance. She certainly enjoyed existence, whatever her predecessors in this lovely seclusion had done. And yet, how much she must have suffered! An aristocrat and legitimist, her family had endured much in the cause of the Bourbons. Her own eyes had opened upon the terrors of the guillotine, and she was as proud of these memories of exile, of proscription, and of the scaffold, as most persons are of honors and titles. Her chivalrous loyalty looked upon them as dignities, and the privilege of having suffered for the family to which she was devoted was cheaply earned in her eyes by the ruin and exile of her own.
I went with her upstairs into the drawing room. A small room which looks like the parlor of an Abbess; furnished with antique hangings, carved chairs, silver crucifixes, and gold ground pre-Raphaelite pictures. Some of these pictures are very valuable. One particularly struck me of Sodoma's - a head of Christ crowned with thorns, in which the expression is divine. Another, St Antonio de Toledo, to whom, while praying in his cell, was vouchsafed a vision of the infant Saviour, who appeared to him standing in a glory on his missal, by Ribera, I believe, is painted with the intense pathos and glowing sensuousness of the Spanish school. The figure of the child Christ seems to light up the room.
After waiting a few minues the door opened, a lady entered, and Madame de Fauveau introduced me to her daughter, Mademoiselle de Fauveau (1802-1886).
Mademoiselle de Fauveau does not resemble her mother. Her face is fairer, graver, less marked. The forehead is low and broad, the brown eyes are soft but penetrating, the nose aquiline, the mouth finely cut, well closed, and slightly sarcastic. Perhaps sarcastic is too strong a word, the untranslatable word 'fin' would better define the expression. She is of middle height, and her figure is flexible and well formed. Her ordinary studio dress is of velvet, of that 'feuille morte' color Madame Cottin has made famous, a jacket of the same fastened by a small leather belt, a foulard round the neck, and a velvet capt. Her hair is blonde, cut square on the forehead and short on the neck, left rather longer at the sides in the Vandyck manner. The build of the figure, the shape of the face, the aspect of the presence, gives the impress of a firm but not aggressive nature. It reveals the energy of resistance not of defiance. Uncompromising opinions, very strongly held and enunciated, and in defence of which we are prepared to endure martyrdom if it be necessary, give such a look to the face. But combined with this peculiarity in Mademoiselle de Fauveau, is a look of thoughtful melancholy, such as I have seen represented by Retzsch on his sketches of Faust. In fact, the head in a statuette of herself modelled some time ago might serve as the ideal of the world famous student. There is also a portrait of Boccaccio seen in an old edition of his works which is very like Mademoiselle de Fauveau. Besides these, there exist two admirable bona fide likeness: one by Ary Scheffer, which he would never part with, and one in her own possession by Giraud.
'How much of the man there is in this woman,' said her friend the Baroness de Krafft, who has written a character of her, in the highest degree just, elegant, and sympathetic. She adds, 'fire, air, purity, and impulse are the characteristics of her genius. Madame de Krafft, dwells on the contrasts which her history presents, and which have developed her mind and determined her character, habits, associations and prejudices which belong to her order; on the other, the artist, earning her daily bread, and obliged to face in their reality the sternest necessities and most imperative obligations: the single woman treading victoriously the narrow and thorny path which all women tread who seek to achieve independence by their own exertions; and thegenius which toattain breadth and vigor must freely sweep out of its path all limitations and obstacles. These contrasts are shewn in her person and manner. Her glance is usually soft, but I have seen it kindle and grow stern. Madame de Krafft notices with great acuteness and truth that the movements of her arms are somewhat abrupt and angular, but her hands are white, soft, and fine, royal 'as the hands of Caesar' or of Leonardo da Vinci!
Mademoiselle de Fauveau shares in the chivalrous and loyal sentiments of her mother. She has carried to his highest development the monarchical and Roman Catholic ideal, and this is perceptible in her conversation, in herself, and in her works. No artist has been more conscientious throughout a life chequered by many vicissitudes, but ennobled by the most self-sacrificing loyalty. Mademoiselle de Fauveau was born in Tuscany. She was taken however as an infant to Paris, and her education was commenced there. Both her mother and her father were persons of great intelligence and culture; her mother, especially, had a great taste for music and painting. Her daughter's extraordinary talents received their first direction and encouragement from her.
Her parents, owning to some pecuniary losses, were obliged, while she was still extremely young, to remove successively to Limoux, Bayonne, and Besançon. While at Bayonne in 1823, she met with many of the partisans in the war which was then raging on the frontiers of Spain, - men whose loyalty amounted to fanaticism, and whose piety belonged to the old crusading times of the cross and the sword, - and from these her youthful imagination must have received most powerful and indelible impressions.
Her studies were, at this time, as they have always been, most varied and profound: ancient history, languages classic and modern, archeology and heraldry. To these last she has always given particular attention. The feudal, chivalric, and mediaeval traditions with which such studies abound, have been traced by her with the greatest diligence and eagerness, and she has reproduced and utilised the knowledge so acquired with judicious zeal. During her residence in Besançon she executed som oil paintings which were much praised, but she seems to have felt that canvas was not the material which would most fully express her ideas. But how to model was the question. One day, in her daily work, she paused before the shop of one of those workmen who carve images of virgins and saints for village churches. Inspired by an irresistable desire, she entered and after some questioning learnt what she wished. The secrets of modelling in clay or wax, of carving wood or gold were hers. On her father's death, the family, consisting of the widow, her two sons and three daughters, were in some distress. Mademoiselle de Fauveau immediately resolved to devote herself and her talents to the support of her family. Some of her friends expostulated with her on this determination as unbecoming for one who belonged to a noble family.
'Unbecoming', said she, drawing herself up with a noble pride, 'sachez qu'un artiste tel que moi est gentilhomme'.
So great and varied were her ifts that she would have distinguished herself in any career, but her vocation was decidedly for the plastic art. She has peculiarly the genius of color, and might have been a great painter, but she resolved to be a sculptor. Not according to the classical dogma however, but in the mediaeval manner. Benvenuto Cellini was her prototype, and her own genius strongly assimilates to his. Like him she has occupied herself with her art, not only in its monumental, but also in its decorative character.
The first work she exhibited was a from from 'The Abbot' (Walter Scott's novel). It was much praised. Encouraged by this success, her next effort was a basso relievo consisting of six figures: Christina of Sweden and Monaldeschi in the fatal gallery of Fontainebleau. This work was in the last Esposition des Beaux Arts and it received from Charles X, in person, the gold medal awarded to it by the jury. The dramatic energy of the group, the expression of each individual figure and the beautyof the minor details of the work were universally admired, and it was hailed as offering the brightest promise of future excellence. The triumphant artist was at that time a girl in the bloom of her earliest youth, and flattered and delighted at the appreciation she had met with, it is not to be wondered at, that her resolution to adhere to her elected career was steadfast and irrevocable.
Up to 1830 Mademoiselle de Fauveau remained in Paris with her family. Her mother's house was the centre of a delightful circle of persons of high rank, of clever women, and of accomplished artists, Scheffer, Steuben, Gassier, Paul Delaroche, Triqueti, Gros, Giraud, etc. Both mother and daughter were do distinguished and agreeable, the daughter was so profound a thinker and so witty a talker, that their society was much coveted and prized. Their friends would assemble of an evening in their drawing-room, gather round a large table in the centre, and improvise drawings in chalk, pencil, pen and ink, or would model in clay or wax, brooches, ornaments of various kinds, sword handles and scabbards, dagger hilts, etc. Mademoiselle de Fauveau had the intention of reviving those famous days when scultpure lent its aid to the gold and the silversmith, to the jeweller, the clock maker, and the armourer. To her may be chiefly attributed the impulse given to this taste in Paris, which taste infected England also, not only in the revival of mediaeval fashions for material ornaments, but wrought on our graver and more enthusiastic temperament the revival also of mediaeval feelings and aspirations, which found at last expression in Puseyism in religion, and pre-Raphaelism in art.
[For an example, see Dague provenant de la grande duchesse de Russie Marie Nicolaievna, Musée du Louvre]
Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, moquet for Clémence Isaure
During this period, she executed for Count Pourtalès a bronze lamp of singular beauty. It represents a bivouac of archangels armed as knights. They are resting round a watch fire, while one, St Michael, is standing sentinel. It is in the old Anglo-Saxon style. Round the lamp in golden letters is the device 'Vaillant, Veillant'. Beneath is a stork's foot holding a pebble, symbol of vigilance, and surrounded by beautiful aquatic plants. This work is poetically conceived, and executed with great spirit and finish. She also commenced a work which she calls 'A Monument to Dante', and which, like Rossetti's picture from the Vita Nuova, is worthy of the poet and is a poem in itself.
She had also sketched an equestrian statue of Charles VIII. It is said, that on returning from the expedition to Naples, the monarch paused on the ascent of the Alps, and turned round to take a last farewell of the beautiful 'woman country, wooed, not wed,' which he so unwillingly abandoned. Mademoiselle de Fauveau was most successful in rendering this expression of sadness and yearning. The pose of the horse was natural yet commanding, and the work would have been doubtless a masterpiece, but, unfortunately for art and for France, the model had to be destroyed on the breaking up of her studio.
She had now attained an eminence which must have satisfied the most ambitious, and gained a celebrity which must have encouraged the most aspiring mind. She was incessantly occupied with commissions for most of the private galleries in France, and a place was promised to her among those great artists who are emloyed to adorn public monuments, and whose works enrich public collections. She was to have modelled two doors for the gallery in the Louvre, after the manner of Ghiberti's gates of Paradise; a baptistery and pulpit in one of the metropolitan churches had been already spoken of, when the revolution of 1830 upset this calm and noble existence, and ended her career in Paris.
To Mademoiselle de Fauveau, with her extreme opinions, the revolution of 1830 was a personal calamity in every sense of the word. With the older branch of the Bourbons, she considered that all the glory and greatness of France perished. Even to many of its former partisans, that revolution had been shorn of its splendors, and it now wears something of the character of a job. It upheld principles which are now as foreign to dmeocrats, as they were then odious to the ultra-royalits. The times were evil and out of joint for Mademoiselle de Fauveau, she abhorred Paris, which had overthrown what she considered a legitimate, to set up a pseudo royalty, and she longed with all the concentration and single mindedness of her character for an opportunity of leaving it. It soon offered itself. Among other noble and distinguished persons who were proud of their acquaintance with this gifted woman, were the Duras family. The married daughter, who was her namesake, and who also bore the beloved but fatal name of La Roche Jacquelein, sympathised, as may be supposed, most entirely with her opinions and feelings. She invited Mademoiselle de Fauveau to leave Paris, and to accompany her on a visit to her estates in La Vendée. During this visit, which was at first considered as a mere healthy relaxation from severe labor and absorbing study, riding, shooting, and hunting took the place of designing, modelling, and casting. But after a while, a more serious purpose was contemplated, and a loftier end proposed, and Mademoiselle de Fauveau found herself in the thick of a political conspiracy. a regular 'chouannerie' was organised and our poetical artist distinguished herself by her spirit, energy, and determination. To this day, the peasantry in that part of France, invariably speak of her as 'la demoiselle'.
But the authorities at last took umbrage, and a domiciliary visit was made to the chateau. The two ladies, warned in time, escaped, and took refuge in a neighbouring farm house. But arms and munition were found, compromising letters and treasonable symbols detected. Orders were given to pursue and arrest the fugitives. The farm house was searched high and low in vain, the peasants were questioned, but their fidelitywas unimpeachable; unfortunately however, some faint sounds were heard behind an oven, the grated door was removed, and the two rebels, who had so nearly defeated the search of their pursuers, were discovered and arrested. They were sent under strong escort to Angers.
At the first stage they stopped at an inn. The captives were conducted to a room up stairs, the door locked, and their guards descended to the kitchen to refresh themselves. Presently a maid-servant was sent up to receive their orders for supper. In an instant Madame de la Roche Jacquelein made herself understood by this woman. As soon as the supper was brought up and the door closed, Madame de la Roche Jacquelein proposed and effected an exchange of clothes, and, thus disguised, descended boldly, plates in hand, to the kitchem. She quickly deposited her burden on the dresser, and then taking up the milk pail, announced in the pretty patois of the country, her determination of fetching the milk from the dairy. It is said that the lady looked so captivating in her new costume, that a gallant sergeant made some advances to her which she was obliged to repress most vigorously, so as to proceed unattended. She reached the dairy, went out at a back door, crossed some fields and was soon out of reach. Mademoiselle de Fauveau remained quietly in her room, allowed the servant to sleep with her, so as to lull all suspicion, and give as much time as possible for the escape. The next morning the evasion of Madame de la Roche Jacquelein was discovered, and great consternation was the consequence. It was thought necessary to take the most rigid, and, it must be said, inexcusable precautions, such as obliging Mademoiselle de Fauveau to have a guard in the room she slept in, who was authorised to disturb her whenever he wished to make sure of her presence, toprevent her following her friend's example. Mademoisella de Fauveau was then transferred to Angers, and remained seven months in prison.
Her bold spirit and elastic temperament were not cast down or weakened by this destruction of her hopes. She took advantage of this temporary retirement and forced seclusion, to resume those occupations from which political necessities had withdrawn her. In prison she modelled various small groups; among others, one representing the duel of the Sire de Jarnac and the Count del Chataigneraie in the presence of Henry II and his court. It is composed of twelve figures. She also designed a monument for Louis de Bonnechose, who had lately perished, most cruelly and unfortuantely, in an affray with some soldiers sent to arrest him.
There is great beauty in this composition, though conceived in somewhat of a Nemesis spirit. The background is architectural, in the Gothic style, adorned with the blazoned shields, achievements, and banners which belong peculiarly to the Vendean party. On the summit of the edifice is an angel whose face is veiled, and who supports the armorial shield of the deceased - in the foreground the archangel Michael, terrible and victorious, has just killed the dragon, (in this represention the dragon has a head like a cock, type of the French republic,) in his right hand he bears the flaming and avenging sword, in his left he holds a pair of crystal scales; in the one, are figures of judges, advocates, magistrates, in the other, which weighs down the first, is a single drop of blood, with this inscription:
QUAM GRAVIS EST SANGUIS JUSTI INULTUSIn this sketch, as indeed in all of Mademoiselle de Fauveau's, the symbolical meaning adds materially to the beauty and spirit of the whole. With her, the idea gives significance to the form, while the form receives its noblest distinction as the fitting vehicle of the idea.
After seven months' imprisonment, Mademoiselle de Fauveau was set at liberty and returned to her studio and to Paris. But very soon afterwards, the apperance of the Duchesse de Berry, in Vendée, set fire to all royalist imaginations, and gave hope to all royalist hearts. Madame de la Roche Jacquelein and Mademoiselle de Fauveau left Paris, and again worked day and night for the good cause, to be again disappointed, to fail, and to suffer.
I have dwelt on this episode, apart as it is in some respects from her artist career, to shew how strong were the convictions, cemented as they were by personal affections, trials, and sacrifices, which had given their peculiar tone to her private, and its character to her artistic life. 'My opinions are dearer to me than my art', says Mademoisella de Fauveau. She has proved this. She was one of the forlorn hope who stood up in th breach to save a falling dynasty, and with its ruins were engulfed her own fortune, her prospects, and such part of her success as depended on the public recognition and acceptance of her art in her own country.
On the failure of this second attempt of the Legitimists she was among the persons exiled. She first took refuge in Switzerland, returned to Paris, in the very teeth of the authorities, broke up her studio and establishment there, and came to Florence, where, with her brother and mother, she has resided ever since.
Any one who knows anything about the material expense and outlay necessary to carry on the art of sculpture, may imagine that the removal from a studio in which were accumulated sketches, models, marbles, most of which were not portable, and had to be destroyed, was almost ruin. The forced sale of furniture, the transfer, at a heavy discount, of funds that had to be re-invested, were additional and heavyitems in the total amount of loss. What was most provoking was, that from the fragments which were thrown aside, fortunes were made. At the very time when the little family were enduring bitter privation in Florence, a man realised an almost fabulous sum by selling walking sticks manufactured from designs made by Mademoiselle de Fauveau in those happy Paris evenings to which I have before alluded.
There was also a great expense attendant on establishing a new studio in Florence, and many years labor has scarcely sufficed to re-imburse the necessary outlay. Madame de Fauveau was the guardian angel of the family at this period, and thought no sacrifice too great for the encouragement of her daughter's genius and the advancement of her views. Her own poetical and imaginative mind roused, inspired, and fostered the ideas of her daughter, while her unflinching resignation and humble faith soothed and solaced her hert.
With unparalleled nobleness, in spite of their extreme poverty, the family refused to receive a farthing from the princes or the party they had so served. No fleck of the world's dust can be thrown on that spotless fidelity. It was at this period, when each day's labor scarcely sufficed to provide for daily necessities, that Mademoiselle de Fauveau wrote to one of her friends, 'We artists are like the Hebrews of old, manna is sent to us, but on condition we save none for the morrow'.
Brighter days however dawned. Labor is not only its own exceeding great reward, in the happiness it confers, but, in every case if we sow steadfastly and judiciously we shall reap fairly, and Mademoiselle de Fauveau has achieved a modest independence. When, however, we contrast this with the large fortunes amassed by popular favorites in some inferior walk of art, we should be tempted to murmur, were we not convinced that after all, whatever is added to competence, may increase luxuries, but is powerless to bestow either happiness or distinction.
It is a strange contract to leave the drawing-room, half oratory and half boudoir, and descend to the studio: two of three large white washed rooms on the ground floor compose it.
Here are casts and bassi relievi from the antique, but the first thing which strikes one are the crowded proofs of the indefatigable and strenuous industry of the artist. The next is, that sculpture here is not an essentially Pagan art. Here are no goddesses, nymphs or cupids; it is Christian art, - Christian art of the mediaeval period: saints, angels, cherubs throng the walls. In the centre the eye is at once attracted by that large crucifix of carved wood, on which hangs the figure of Christ. It is beautifully modelled, and full of devotional feeling and masculine vigor. Near it is a Santa Reparata, beautifully designed in terra cotta. Mademoiselle de Fauveau has been particularly happy in her adaptation of terra cotta to artistic purposes. Again, that large alto relievo is part of a monument for an English nobleman: two angelic and freed spirits flying to heaven and dropping their earthly chains in their flight. Further on is St Dorothea, a lovely female figure, looking upwards and holding up her hands for a basket of flowers and fruit, the flowers and fruit of Paradise, which an angel is descending from heaven to bring to her. There is something very bold and rapid in the flying figure of the angel. There is an architectual design of a church in the background, and an inscription how this church sprang,as it were, from the martyr's blood. There is a Judith addressing the Israelites from an open gallery, with the head of Holofernes on a spear beside her. In the aspect of the warrior woman of Bethulia there is an indefinable resemblance - indefinable, for it does not consist in feature or form - with Mademoiselle de Fauveau. Possibly the expression has something congenial with her own character. She possesses in an eminent degree that concentration of purpose which gives force, and that ardor which gives decision, to the will; and, in addition to this, there is something biblical and primitive in her fiery and uncompromising animosities; resentments which have none of the meanness of personal rancour, but are against a party and for a cause.
There are, however, works of a lighter character. There is the carved frame-work of a mirror, with an exquisite allegorical design. A fop and a coquette, in elaborate costume, are bending inwards towards the glass so intent on self-admiration as to be unconscious that a demon below has caught their feet in a line or snare, from which they will not be able to extricate themselves without falling. Almost all that Mademoiselle de Fauveau does has a super-abundant richness of ornament and allegorical device. This adds to the picturesqueness of the effect, though it may take from its unity. It also adds considerably to the adaptation of her designs for gold and silver ornaments. These are unrivalled for elegance and ideality.
She executed for Count Zichy, an Hungarian costume, in the most finished manner. The collar, the belt, the sword, the spurs, are of the most exquisite workmanship.
There is also a silver bell ornamented with twenty figures for the Empress of Russia. It represents a mediaeval household in the costumes of the period and of their peculiar avocations, assembling at the call of three stewards. The three figures form the handle. Round the bell is blazoned in Gothic characters,
DE BON VOULOIR SERVIR LE MAITREIt would be impossible in the space of a brief article, to give even a mere nominal list of the works of this indefatigable artist. It is unfortunate for her, and for the public, that the finished specimens of twenty-five years unceasing labor are shut up in private galleries, and are therefore out of the reach of those who have not been fortunate enough to see the models in her studio.
Her last and most imposing work is the monument in Santa Croce, erected in the memory of Louise Favreau, (a young West Indian, who died at Fiesole) by her parents. There is a detailed account of this work in the Revue Britannique, for March, 1857, written in the most charming and refined style, by Madame de Krafft, her intimate friend.
There are also three monuments, in three different styles, to the members of three members of the Lindsay family, which may be seen in the Lindsay chapel.
She has several busts of great beauty in her studio. Her method of placing an architectual background gives them great relief. Amongst these busts is one of the Marquis de Bretignières, the founder of the reformatory school colony of Mettray.
Besides devoting herself to the actual expression of her ideas, Mademoiselle de Fauveau has, all her life, studied to improve the more mechanical portion of her art. She has endeavoured to revive certain secrets known to the ancients, which, to the detriment of modern sculpture, have been abandoned and forgotten. To cast a statue entire instead of in portions, and with so much precision as to require no further touch of the chisel to preserve inviolate, as it were, the idea, while it is subject to the difficult process of clothing it with form, has been her life-long endeavor. In bronze, by means of wax, she has succeeded after incredible perseverance and repeated failures. A figure of St Michael in one of her works was thus cast seven times. The least obstacle, were it only the breadth of a pin's point in one of the 'sfiati', or air vents, which are necessary to draw the seething metal into every part of the mould, is enough to destroy the work. At last her head-workman brought her St Michael complete, the whole energy and delicacy of the original design entirely preserved and requiring nothing further. The translation from the wax to the bronze having lost none of its pristine freshness, remained stamped as it were with the creative genius which had inspired it.
Mademoiselle de Fauveau works almost incessantly, she scarcely allows herself any relaxation. Her principal associates are a few of the higher church dignitaries, and two or three distinguished foreigh or Italian families. Retirement is agreeable to her, and her political opinions have drawn a line of demarcation around her. She has paid two visits to Rome, one when the Duc de Bordeaux was there. He paid her great attention, as did the two great princes of art, then in Rome, Cornelius and Tenerani.
Thus happily situated, beloved by many, admired and appreciated by all, this clever artists, this noble and honorable woman leads a life, which in all essentials seems a realised dream of work, progress, and success.
From every point of view a life so spent is an interesting and curious study. The extreme independence on the one hand, which belongs to a life devoted to art, - on the other, an almost cloistral simplicity and formality. She had scarcely even been separated from her mother, till about three months ago (a year after I had first seen this interesting household) the faithful friend, the devoted and proud mother died, leaving her son and daughter inconsolable. The loss of this admirable woman, a mother in the fullest, largest, deepest sense of that word which stands next to the word God in the hearts of all, has shed an almost invincible gloom over Mademoiselle de Fauveau. Let us trust it may not be for long. She posseses at least the consolation of entire sympathy for her sorrow. Her brother, who is also an artist of merit, lives with her, and is devoted to her. He assists her in most of her works, and is the support and comfort of her life. Such a home for a woman-artist is an exceptional blessing. The sphere in which we work must tell on our work. Is it wonderful then that thus cherished and fostered her genius should have expanded into power and refined into poetry? Where there is revolt against law, or isolation from ties, whether merited or unmerited, a woman's art suffers as much as her heart; both are in danger of becoming too plaintive or too defiant. Mademoiselle de Fauveau has been favored. Her name, Félicie, has been a good omen. Long may this poetical and magnaminous existence, framed in its beautifu and romantic home, haloed by its stately industry, its rare and true affections, its unswerving and ardent faith, be spared to shew how comprehensive is art, how universal the beautiful, and above all to -
Witness that she who did these things was bornA good woman and a great artist!
To do them, claims her licence in her work. Aurora Leigh
New: Dante vivo || White Silence
LIBRARY PAGES: BIBLIOTECA
E BOTTEGA FIORETTA MAZZEI || ITS ONLINE CATALOGUE || HOW TO RUN A LIBRARY || MANUSCRIPT FACSIMILES || MANUSCRIPTS
|| MUSEUMS || FLORENTINE LIBRARIES, MUSEUMS
|| HOW TO BUILD CRADLES AND
LIBRARIES || BOTTEGA || PUBLICATIONS || LIMITED EDITIONS || LIBRERIA EDITRICE FIORENTINA ||
SISMEL EDIZIONI DEL GALLUZZO ||
FIERA DEL LIBRO || FLORENTINE BINDING || CALLIGRAPHY WORKSHOPS || BOOKBINDING WORKSHOPS
aCity and BookaaFlorin Websites