AUGUSTUS J.C. HARE, FLORENCE
CHAPTER II APPENDIX: THE UFFIZI COLLECTION
COMPARE (TOGGLE) WITH SEPIA I
The second great entrance of the Uffizi leads to the famous Gallery (on the second floor, open daily, on payment of one franc per head, free on Sundays),1 originally founded by Cosimo I, with the relics of the treasures accumulated by his Medicean ancestors, and splendidly enriched by his successors.
In the 1st Vestibule are interesting Busts of the Medici to whom we owe the collection. They do indeed present curious phases of transition from Lorenzo and Cosimo! to John Gaston!
In the 2nd Vestibule are the famous Florentine Boar and two Wolf-Dogs. The statues are unimportant.
Hence we enter the Corridors, painted with arabesques, &c., in 1581, by Poccetti. Among the art-treasures here are a series of Busts of Roman Emperors and their families, only surpassed by those at the Capitol.
Among these latter busts we count by scoresSeveral of the Statues are good, though they are not first-rate, and the raptures of Shelley are somewhat exaggerated; the best are: -
Half Emperors and quarter Emperors,
Each with his bay-leaf fillet, loose-thonged vest,
Loric and low-browed Gorgon on the breast, -
One loves a baby face, with violets there,
Violets instead of laurel in the hair,
As those were all the little locks could bear. - R. Browning.
Left. 59. Athlete with a vase.
Right. 88. Ganymede.
A statue of surpassing beauty. One of the eagle's wings is half enfolded round him, and one of his arms is placed round the eagle, and his delicate hand lightly touches the wing; the other holds what I imagine to be a representation of the thunder. These hands and fingers are so delicate and light that it seems as if the spirit of pleasure, of light, life, and beauty, that lives in them, had lifted them and deprived them of the natural weight of the mortal flesh. The roundness and fulness of the flowing perfection of his form is strange and rare. The attitude and form of the legs, and the relation forne to each other by his light and delicate feet, are peculiarly beautiful. The calves of the legs almost touching each other, one foot is placed on the ground a little advanced before the other, which is raised, the knee being a little bent, as those who are slightly, but slightly, fatigued with standing. The face, though innocent and pretty, has no ideal beauty. It expresses inexperience and gentleness and innocent wonder, such as might be imagined in a rude and lovely shepherd-boy and no more. - Shelley.2nd Corridor:
Left. Boy taking a
out of his foot - most beautiful, though much restored.
Her face uplifted to heaven is animated with a profound, sweet, and impassioned melancholy, with an earnest, fervid, and disinterested pleading against some vast and inveitable wrong; it is the joy and the poetry of sorrow, making grief beautiful, and giving to that nameless feeling which from the imperfection of language we call pain, but which is not all pain, those feelings which make not only the possessor but the spectator of it prefer it to what is called pleasure, in which all is not pleasure. - Shelley.Right. Venus Anodyomena.
Amongst the best of the Pictures on the walls are: -Dinanzi noi pareva si veraceShe seems to have just issued from the bath and yet to be animated with the enjoyment of it. She seems all soft and mild enjoyment, and the curved lines of her fine limbs flow into each other with never-ending continuity of sweetness. Her face expresses a breathless yet passive and innocent voluptuousness without affectation, without doubt; it is at once desire and enjoyment and the pleasure arising from both . . . Her form is indeed perfect. She is half sitting on and half rising from a chell, and the fulness of her limbs, and their complete roundness and perfection, do not diminish the vital energy with which they seem to be imbued. The attitude of her arms, which are lovely beyond imagination, is natural, unaffected, and unforced. This perhaps is the finest personification of Venus, the Deity of superficial desire, in all antique statuary. - Shelley.
Che non sembiava imagine che tace.
- Dante, Purgatorio
8. Giotto. The Garden
Gethsemane. - The donor kneels in the corner.
16 Pietro Lorenzetti. The Story of a Hermit's Life.
20 Ignoto Toscano. S. Cecilia and the Story of her Life.
St Cecilia is here quite unlike our our conventional ideas of the youthful and beautiful patroness of music - a grand matronly figure seated on a throne, holding in one hand the Gospel, in the other the palm. The head-dress is a kind of veil; the drapery, of a dark-blue, which has turned greenish from age, is disposed with great breadth and simplicity; altogether it is as solemn and striking as an old mosaid. The picture stood over the high-altar of her church, and round it are eight small comparments representing scenes from her life; the incidents selected being precisely those which were painted in the portico of her church at Rome, and which in the time of Cimabue existed entire. - Jameson's Sacred Art, ii.590.23 Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi, 1333. The Annunciation.
The awkward drawing down of the corner of the mouth in the Madonna gives a fretful expression. - Burckhardt.27 Giottino (a very rare master). The Entombment.
Cette scène pathétique fut traitée à plusieurs reprises, et toujours avec amour, par Giotto et par ses disciples; mais ni lui ne eux ne parvinrent jamais à réaliser à ce point la manifestation d'une douleur dont il n'est donné à aucun esprit créé de mesurer la profondeur. Quelle éloquence muette dans ces clous sanglants, montrés par un des assistants et imités depuis par Fra Angelico! Quel style de draperies, et quel coloris plein d'harmonie e de vigueur! - Rio, L'Art Chrétien.28. Agnolo Gaddi. The Annunciation.
The second door on the left of the gallery leads into The Tribune, a room originally built by the Grand Duke Ferdinand I, to contain a collection of precious stones, but now devoted to the gems of paintings and sculpture.
Of the latter there are five Capi d'Opera, viz.:-
Facing the Entrance. The Venus de' Medici - one of the most perfect specimens of the art of sculpture existing - found in Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli. This statue cannot be understood in a single visit.
Lottatori, or Wrestlers. The heads do not belong to the original.We must return, and once more give a looseHer modest attitude is partly what unmakes her as the heathen goddess and softens her into woman. On account of the skill with which the statue has been restored, she is just as whole as when she left the hands of the sculptor- One cannot think of her as a senseless image, but as a being that lives to gladden the world, incapable of decay or death; as young and fair as she was three thousand years ago, and still to be young and fair as long as a beautiful thought shall require physical embodiment. - Hawthorne.
To the delighted spirit - and worshipping,
In her small temple of rich workmanship,
Venus herslef, who, when she left the skies,
Came hither. - Rogers.The goddess loves in stone, and fills
The air around wth beauty; we inhale
The ambrosial aspect, which, beheld, instils
Part of its immortality; the veil
Of heaven is half undrawn; within the pale
We stand, and in that form and face behold
What Mind can make, when Nature's self would fail,
And to the fond idolators of old
Envy the innate flesh which such a soul could mould.
We gaze and turn away, and know not where,
Dazzled and drunk with beauty, till the heart
Reels with its fulness; there - for ever there -
Chain'd to the chariot of triumphal Art,
We stand as captives, and would not depart. - Byron.
Two youthful figures are wrestling with the utmost might of a physical strangth that has been trained in gymnastic exercise. Both are so ingeniously entwined in each other that the group is beautifully constructed, and yet the two figures are everywhere distinctly seperable. The one thrown down seems for the moment to have the worst of it, though not to such an extent that the issue is already decided. On the contrary, the uncertainty of the result keeps the spectator in the same suspence as in similar scenes in the gymnasium. Art has here admirably transformed into marble one of those scenes which the Palaestra daily afforded to the attentive observer. - Lübke.L'Arrotino, the Slave whetting his knife.
The god is conceived in the supple form of youth, and exhibits the same position of easy rest and self-indulgence which characterises several works by Praxiteles. The left arm, which probably held the bow, is supported against the stem of a tree, and the right arm is resting on the head. The figure thus acquires an extremely finely felt contrast in its whole outline, and produces the effect of almost dreamy eas. - Lübke.The Dancing Faun (with restorations by Michelangelo).
It is difficult to conceive anything more delicately beautiful than the Ganymede; but the spirit-like lightness, the softness, the flowing perfection of these forms, surpass it. The countenance, though exquisitely lovely and gentle, is not divine. There is a womanish vivacity of winning yet passive happiness, and yet a boyish inexperience exceedingly delightful. Through the limbs there seems to flow a spirit of life which gives them lightness. Nothing can be more perfectly lovely than the legs, and the union of the feet with the ankles, and the fading away of the lines of the feet to the delicate extremities. It is like a spirit even in dreams. The neck is long yet full, and sustains the head with its profuse and knotted hair as if it needed no sustaining. - Shelley.
The Pictures are selected as Capi d'Opera of the Masters, and are arranged without reference to schools or dates. They are, beginning near the door on the left: -
1104 Spagnoletto. S.
*1109 Domenichino. Portrait of Cardinal Agucchia.
1107 Daniele di Volterra. Massacre of the Innocents. From the Cathedral of Volterra.
*1114 Guercino. The Samian Sibyl
1108 Titian. Venus. From the Urbino collection, painted for Guidobaldo II.
Conscious and triumphant without loss of modesty. - Crowe and Cavalcaselle.197 Rubens. Portrait of his first wife, Isabella Brandt.
The Venus di Medici must always charm women; the Venus of Titian, men. - Lady Blessington.
C'est une courtisane, mais c'est une dame; en ce temps-là, la première qualité n'effaçait point l'autre. - Taine.
Dur et violent Génois, variable comme le vent de Gènes. - Michelet.1122 Perugino, 1493. Madonna with S. J. Baptist and S. Sebastian. From S. Domenico di Fiesole.
In the Inventory of the works of art in the Tribune in 1589, this portrait is inscribed without a name. The woman was then unknown. Passavant believes it to represent Beatrice Ferrarese, of whom Vasari mentions a portrait. She was distinguished by her mental powers, to which her crown is supposed to have reference, and she was well known to Cardinal Bembo, the friend of Raffaelle. The ordinary stories about Raffaelle's acquaintance with the Fornarina are mere modern inventions.
La Fornarina, quelque belle qu'elle soit, ne franchi pas le seuil des sens: son oeil que de l'éclat, c'est la femme! - Madame Swetchine.*1124 Francesco Francia. Portrait of Vangelista Scappi.
The divine goodness expressed in the countenance of the Child Jesus, whilst he holds his hands over the little bird, and seems to say, 'Not one of these is forgotten by my Father', is beyond all description. - Frederika Bremer.*1127 Raffaelle. St John in the Wilderness. Painted for Cardinal Colonna.
Ce tableau, comme science et goüt de dessin, ne répond pas complètement à une superbe et magistrale étude d'apès nature, que Raphael en avait faite d'abord. Il a bien plus l'aspect d'une figure académique que d'une scène religieuse ou historique. On doit croire qu'un élève y a collaboré.1126, 1130 Fra Bartolommeo. Two Prophets. From the Chapel of the Annunziata.
Mais, justement à cause du goüt qu'on professait alors pour le nu, le saint Jean-Baptiste obtint des louanges excessives, et il fut souvent copié. Donné par le cardinal au médecin Jacopo da Carpi qui l'avait guéri d'une grave maladie, il passa ensuite chez Francesco Benintendi à Florence, et, depuis 1589, il se trouve à la Tribune. - Passavant.
Un beau corps de quatorze ans, florissant et sain, en qui revit le plus par paganism. - Taine.
A piece of black bombast. Ruskin, Praeterita.
The nine persons who make up the picture are all carefully studied from the life, and bear a strong Tuscan stamp. S. John is literally ignoble, and Christ is a commonplace child. The Virgin Mother is a magnificent contadina in the plenitude of adult womanhood. - J.A. Symonds.1116 Titian (1552). Portrait of the Papal Nuncio Beccadelli.
The long narrow room adjoining (on the left) is devoted to small pictures of the Tuscan School. They are ill arranged. Among them are:-
Child, with angels serenading. An early work of the master, attributed
1189 Bronzino. Portrait of 'Leonora Tolletta', wife of Cosimo I.
1164 Bronzino. Maria de' Medici, daughter of Cosimo I, in a white dress.
1155 Bronzino. Garzia de' Medici, the murdered son of Cosimo I. - a boy in a red dress with a bird.
1176 Andrea del Sarto. His own Portrait.
1175 Santi di Tito. Portrait of a Child.
*1159 Leonardo da Vinci. Head of Medusa.
1167 F. Filippo Lippi (not Massaccio). A Portrait.Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie
Loveliness like a shadow, from which shine,
Fiery and lurid, struggling undeerneath,
The agonies of anguish and of death.
Yet it is less the horror than the grace
Which turns the gazer's spirit into stone,
Whereon the lineaments of that dead face
Are graven, till the characters be gwon
Into itself, and thought not more can trace;
'Tis the melodious hues of beauty thrown
Athwart the darkness and the glare of pain,
Which humanise and harmonise the strain. - Shelley
In the next room are (beginning on right):-
1280 Cosimo Roselli.
and Child, with SS. Peter and James.
1257 Filippino Lippi. The Adoration of the Magni - 'unusually beautiful in its expression of timid approach, of adoring devotion'. Piero Francesco de' Medici is introduced on the left.
No careful and grateful student of this painter can overlook his special fondness for seasides; the tenderness and pleasure with which he touches upon the green opening of their chines or coombs, the clear low ranges of their rocks. This picture bears witness to this. Beyond the farthest meadows and behind the tallest trees, far-off downs and cliffs open seaward, and farther yet pure narrow spaces intervene of gracious and silent sea'. - Swinburne, Essays and Studies.1268 Filippo Lippi. The Virgin Throned, with Saints. Painted 1485 for the Palazzo della Signoria.
Had this grandiose creation been finished, it would have been the chef-d'oeuvre of Fra Bartolommeo. Its interest is great, as revealing the growth of such a piece from its embryo to the first stage of completion. We can trace each step taken by the artist, from the moment of planning to that of putting in the contours and shadows. But there is something more than science and method to be discerned, and that is the inspired air of S. Anna, the weight, the dignity, and proud bearing of the Saints, the masculine strenght of the art evolved. - Crowe and Cavalcaselle.1266 Angelo Bronzino. Portrait of Cosimo de' Medici.
The perfect architectonic idea is not only everywhere clearly set forth in a lively manner, but also filled with the noblest individual life'. - Burckhardt.
While he shunned the external signs of despotic power he made himself master of the State. His complexion was of a pale olive; his stature short; abstemious and simple in his habits, affable in conversation, sparing of speech, he knew how to combine that burgher-like civility for which the Romans praised Augustus, with the reality of a despotism all the more difficult to combat because it seemed nowhere and was everywhere. - J.A. Symonds.*1112 Andrea del Sarto, 1517. Madonna with S. John and S. Francis.
Vile as this picture is in colour, vacant in invention, void in light and shade, a heap of cumbrous nothingness and sickening offensivenesses, it is of all its voids most void in this, that the academy models therein huddled together at the bottom show not so much unity or community of attention to the academy model with the flag in its hand above, as a street-crowd would to a fresh-staged charlatan. Some point to the God who has burst the gates of death, as if the rest were incapable of distinguishing him for themselves; and others turn their backs upon him, to show their unagitated faces to the spectator'. - Ruskin, Modern Painters, ii. 53.*1259 Sepia. Mariotto Albertinelli. The Salutation - the masterpiece of the artist, painted in 1503, for the Congregation of San Martino. A most simple, grand, and beautiful picture. Below is a predella, with the Annunciation, the Nativity, and the Presentation in the Temple.
This was painted by Andrea del Sarto for the Compagnia or Confraternità of Sant'Jacopo, and intended to figure as a standard in their processions. The Madonna di San Sisto of Raphael was painted for a similar purpose; and such are still commonly used in the religious processions of Italy. In this instance the picture has a peculiar form, high and narrow, adapted to its special purpose; St James wears a green tunic and a rich crimson mantle; and as one of the purposes of the Compagnia was to educate poor orphans, they are represented by the two boys at his feet. The picture suffered from the sun and the weather, to which it had been a hundred times exposed in yearly processions: but it has been well-restored, and is admirable for its vivid colouring as well as the benign attitude and expression. - Jameson's Sacred Art.*1275 Ridolfo Ghirlandajo (son of Domenico). The Miracle of S. Zenobio in the Via degli Albizzi.
Extraordinary liveliness and nature stamp the movements and expressions of the eager and wondering crowd which presses around the kneeling bishop, as with uplifted arms he restores to life the fallen boy. - Crowe and Cavalcaselle.*1277 Ridolfo Ghirlandajo. The Funeral of S. Zenobio.
It is related that when they were bearing the remains of S. Zenobio through the city in order to depost them under the high-altar of the cathedral, the people crowded round the bearers, and pressed upon the bier, in order to kiss the hands or touch the garments of their beloved old bishop. In passing through the Piazza del Duomo the body of the saint was thrown against the trunk of a withered elm standing near the spot where the Baptistery now stands, and suddenly the tree, which for years been dead and dried up, burst into fresh leaves. - Jameson's Sacred Art.*1279 Sodoma. S. Sebastian - almost in chiaroscuro, but a most glorious specimen of the artist, and the finest rendering of this well-known subject in existence. The picture was formerly the banner of a brotherhood of S. Sebastian at Siena. The face of the saint is divine in its beauty. (A custode should be asked to unlock this picture: at the back is a beautiful Holy Family.)
The connection between a coffin which passes, and a tree, which renews its foliage, could only be explained by a verbal narration, and therefore belonged rather to the domain of legendary poetry than to that of art. With regard, however, to execution and general character this picture leaves us nothing to desire; and I doubt if the Florentine school has ever produced anything so perfect for beauty of colouring. - Rio.
S. Sebastian is bound to a tree, pierced by three arrows, looking up to heaven with an expression perfectly divine. This picture was formerly used as a standard, and carried in procession when the city was afflicted by pestilence: - to my feeling, it is the most beautiful example of the subject I have seen. - Jameson's Sacred Art, ii. 418.*1252 Leonardo da Vinci. Adoration of the Shepherds - in bistre. Begun for the Monks of S. Donato, but unfinished.
Sodoma's S. Sebastian, notwithstanding its wan and faded colouring, is still the very best that has been painted. Suffering, refined and spiritual, without contortion or spasm, could not be presented with more pathos in a form of more surpassing loveliness. - J.A. Symonds.
This, and the S. Jerome in the Vatican, are the only easel-pictures in Italy which can, with any certainty, be attributed to the master.
1280 Granacci. S.
receiving the 'Cintola' from the Virgin.
1285 Cristofano Allori. The Adoration of the Magi.
In the third and farthest room - of the Old Masters - are:-
1287 Lorenzo di Credi.
1307 Filippo Lippi. Holy Family - an undoubted work of the master.
Le petit saint Jean est un rejeton assez vulgaire de la famille des Médicis, et la Vierge un portrait cruellement déguisé de la trop fameuse Lucrezia Buti. - Rio.1303? Botticelli. Madonna and Child.
In this Madonna the spiritual parent of Michelangelo announces himself already to those who can understand. There is nothing unusual in the figure of the Virgin in dark red and dark blue, who, as she sits, half turns round to hold with both hands the child standing at her feet. What is unusual is the little group in the background. For the customary shepherds, there stand four naked figures modelled in strong light and shade, and showing that this, the unclothed frame and anatomy of men, is the thing the painter cares for and will have, wherever he can get it. - S.C.1306 Pollajuolo. Prudence throned, with a serpent in one hand and a mirror in the other, originally painted with other Virtues, in the Tribune of the Mercantanzia.
Remniscent of reliefs by Donatello or Desiderio da Settignano. - Crow and Cavalcaselle.1299 Sepia. Sandro Botticelli. Fortitude.
Si les teints de ce tableau étaient plus livides et les physionomies un peu plus durement accentuées, on pourrait le prendre pour une production d'Andrea del Castagno. On y remarque tout les qualités qui la distinguent; vigueur de touche, science de dessin, contours énergiquement rendus, mais pas l'ombre de sainteté, ni meme de distinction dans les types. - Rio.1288 Leonardo da Vinci. The Annunciation.
On an easel in this room is -
*1290 Fra Angelico. The Coronation of the Virgin amid the heavenly choir.
Quite unearthly is the Coronation of the Virgin: the Madonna, crossing her hands meekly on her bosom and bending in humble awe to receive the crown of heaven, is very lovely - the Saviour is perhaps a shade less excellent; the angels are admirable, and many of the assistant saints full of grace and dignity: but the characteristic of the picture is the flood of radiance and glory diffused over it, the brightest colours - gold, azure, pink, red, yellow - pure and unmixed, yet harmonising and blending, like a rich burst of wind-music, in a manner incommunicable in recital - distinct and yet soft, as if the whole scene were mirrored in the sea of glass that burns before the throne. - Lord Lindsay's Christian Art.From the right of the Tribune we enter another series of small rooms. The first contains pictures of the Italian School, including : -
1165 Cristofano Allori.
upon the Cross
1025 Andrea Mantegna. Madonna and Child - the detail marvellously beautiful.
1031 Caravaggio. Medusa.
The next three rooms are of the Dutch School. They are chiefly landscapes. The portraits of Luther and Melancthon are by Cranach. The last small room in this series is devoted to the French School, and has some good portraits, especially -
695 Philippe de Champaigne. Portrait of Nicholas Fouquet.
On the left is the Collection of Gems, enclosed in six glass cases in a small circular room. Historical object are, in
Case II. A Casket made for
VII by Valerio Belli di Vicenza, with twenty-four subjects from
the life of Christ. It was given as a wedding-present by Clement to
Three reliefs in gold by Giovanni da Bologna.
A vase of rock-crystal, with a cover wrought in gold, which belonged to Diana of Poitiers.
Case IV. A little prophyry Statuette of Venus and Cupid by Pier Mari da Pescia.
Case V. A jasper Vase with ornaments by Giovanni da Bologna.
Many precious objects are by Benvenuto Cellini. Cellini says: 'The Duchess (Eleanor of Toledo) was lavish of her caresses to me, and would gladly have had me work for her alone, and neglect the statue of Perseus and everything else.'
Crossing the end of the gallery, we reach the opposite corridor. The first door on the left leads to the two rooms of the Venetian School, which contain:-
627 Dosso Dossi,
attributed to Sebastiano del Piombo. Portrait.
574 Polidoro Veneziano. Virgin and Child with S. Francis.
584 Giovanni Battista Cima. Holy Family.
586 Giovanni Mattista Morone, 1563. A male portrait with a flaming censer, and the inscription, 'Et quid volo nisi ut ardeat?'
648 Titian. Portrait of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cypress.
*1111. Andrea Mantegna. The Adoration of the Magi, with the Circumcision and the Acension, a triptych which belonged to the Gonzaga, who sold it to Antonio de' Medici, Prince of Capistrano. A picture full of powerful and poetic detail.
*571 Francesco Torbido (attributed to Giorgione). Portrait of the Venetian warrior Gattamelate - a noble picture, full of scorn and indifference.
599 Titian. Portrait of Eleanora d'Urbino, wife of Duke Francesco Maria della Rovere, 1537.
596 Paolo Veronese. Esther and Ahasuerus.
*605 Titian. Portrait of Francesco-Maria della Rovere, 1337.
575 Lorenzo Lotto, 1534. Holy Family.
On an easel in this room is -
*626 Titian. The 'Flora'. Supposed to be a portrait of a daughter of Palma Vecchio.
614 Titian. Giovanni
Medici 'delle Bande Nere'. His name is a memorial of the great
in which he was held by his soldiers, who all put on mourning upon his
early death, in his 29th year, never to take it off again.
629 Morone. Portrait.
617 Tintoretto. The Marriage of Cana.
642 Morone. Portrait of G.A. Pantera.
*622 Giorgione. Portrait of a Knight of Malta.
*621 Giorgione. The Childhood of Moses - according to a Rabbinical legend he undergoes the ordeal of fire.
*633 Titian, c. 1507. Madonna and Child, with SS. John and Anthony - a very lovely picture.
628 Bonifazio. The Last Supper.
589 Paolo Veronese. The Martyrdom of S. Giustina by the Moors.
630 Giorgione. The Judgment of Solomon.
638 Tintoretto. Portrait of Jacopo Sansovino.
609 Titian. The Battle of Cadore - and confused and impossible scene.
A narrow passage begins the collection of the Portraits of Painters, mostly from their own hands. The passage leads to a small room, but most important sanctuary of art, called La Sala di Lorenzo Monaco, containing: -
59 Botticelli. The Birth of Venus (painted for the Villa of Castello, for Lorenzo de' Medici).
For this picture Sandro studied, and produced not only a really beautiful nude, but a charming, fairylike impression, which unconsciously takes the place of the mythological one. - Burchkhardt.1294 Fra Angelico. The predella of the great Madonna with the wreath of angels. In the centre is the Adoration of the Magi; on the left S. Peter preaching, with S. Mark writing his Gospel; on the right the Martyrdom of S. Mark.
Ce charmant tableau, qui était fait pour donner de Ghirlandajo les plus belles espérances, contribus, plus que tout autre chose, à lui procurer la distinction si encouragement d'etre appelé à Rome à la décoration de la Chapelle Sixtine. - Rio.24 Lorenzo di Credi. Holy Family.
It bespeaks a painter whose conceptions are governed by those of Andrea del Castagno, while in technical processes he is working out experiments of his own. The Saints, John and Nicholas, and Francis and Mary, especially the John, have strong figures and large dull heads, and that commonness with athletic vigour which marks the thoroughgoing realist. But the medium is new. It is a first commencement of oil-painting, and the search for the transparent effects produces a result quite different from any contemporary colouring - a scheme of light and thin greys, greens, blues, and pinks, with notes of sharp black and white on the marbles of the floor and canopy; gaiety and transparency are attained, but not harmony. - S.C.1309 Lorenzo Monaco (the master of Fra Angelico). A magnificent altar-piece from Certaldo, much restored. The predella curiously shows the temptations and annoyances to which young monks are subjected by the devil.
Returning to the corridor, and passing the stairs to the Pitti Palace (p. 45), the two next rooms on the left of the corridor are devoted to the Portraits of Painters. Those in the first room are mostly of modern, the second of earlier artists. The best pictures are: -
588 Millais, by himself
600 Leighton, by himself
585 Watts, by himself
223 Anthony Vandyke
237 Quentin Matsys
280 Andrea del Sarto
286 Massaccio? - or Fra Filippo Lippi?
287 P. Perugino
*288 Raffaelle, 1506 - executed in his 23rd year for his maternal uncle, Simone Ciarla of Urbino, to whom he wrote as his 'second father', carissino in locho di Patre. From Urbino the picture passed first to the Academy of S. Luke at Rome.
292 Leonardo da VinciHis heavenly face a mirror of his mind
His mind a temple for all lovely things
To flock to and inhabit. - Roger's Italy
The next room is called the Hall of Inscriptions, from the ancient inscriptions let into the walls. It contains many pieces of ancient sculpture. The best are: -
262 Bacchus and Ampelus.
Ampelus with a beast-skin over his shoulder, holds a cup in his right hand, and with his left embraces the waist of Bacchus. Just as you may have seen a younger and an elder boy at school, walking in some remote grassy spot of their playground with that tender friendship towards each other which has so much of love. The countenance of Bacchus is sublimely sweet and lovely, taking a shade of gentle and playful tenderness from the arch looks of Ampelus, whose cheerful face turned towards him expressed the suggestions of some droll and merry device. - Shelley.263 Mercury
This room opens into the Hall of the Hermaphrodite, which contains: -
306 The Hermaphrodtie - much
- very like the figure in Paris
307 A Torso in basalt.
308 Ganymede, more than half a restoration by Benvenuto Cellini
314 Colossal bust of June.
315 Torso of a Faun
316 Bust of Antinous
318 Bust called 'The Dying Alexander',
An undoubted Greek original, and one of the noblest relics of ancient art; but whether it represents Alexander, or is, as it is called, the work of Lysippus, is doubtful.
Like a young Laocoon. Burckhardt.In a Cabinet opening from hence is a bust of Dante, modelled from his corpse, 1321.
Il y a dans Alexandre l'étonnement et l'indignation de n'avoir pu vaincre la nature. - Madame de Staël.
The next room, on the left of the corridor, called the Hall of Baroccio, contains:-
154 Angelo Bronzino.
of Lucrezia de' Pucci.
157 Gherardo delle Notte. The Nativity.
Mary is here no Raphaelesque virgin of almost supernatural bloodless beauty - she is a young, lovable, earthly woman, who, still pale from the suffering of childbirth, contemplates her heavenly child with tearful, devout joy; and the bystanders, both young and old, who press forward also to gaze upon, half curious, half in admiration and joyful presentiment - how they smile! how they rejoice with sincere naïveté, which seems to enter into one's own soul only to behold! The light proceeds from the new-born child, but without visible rays. All the countenances are illumined by this light, even some small angel heads which peep forth out of the darkness up in the roofs, and who, too, participate in the human joy. - Frederika Bremer.158 Bronzino. The Deposition.
Next comes the Hall of Niobe, so called from the figures of Niobe and her children discovered near the Porta S. Paolo at Rome in 1683. They were brought from the Villa Medici in 1775. The gradations in size of the statues indicate that they were intended to fill the triangular pediment of a temple. The figure of Niobe, the 'Mater Dolorosa' of ancient art, is indescribably sublime.
I saw nothing here so grand as the group of Niobe, if statues which are now disjointed and placed equidistantly round a room may be so called. Niobe herself, clasped by the arms of her terrified child, is certainly a group; and whether the head be original or not, the contrast of passion, of beauty, and even of dress, is admirable. The dress of the other daughters appears too thin, too meretricious, for dying princesses. Some of the sons exert too much attitude. Like gladiators they seem taught to die picturesquely, and to this theatrical exertion we may, perhaps, impute the want of ease and undulation which the critics condemn in their forms. - Forsyth.Beyond this are the Cabinets of Bronzes. In the centre of the second room is: -
Sans doute, dans un semblable situation, la figure d'une véritable mère serait entièrement bouleversée; mais l'idéal des arts conserve la beauté dans le désespoir; et ce qui touche profondement dans les ouvrages du génie, ce n'est pas le malheur même, s'est la puissance que l'âme conserve sur ce malheur . . . Niobé lève les yeux au ciel, mais sans espoir, car les dieux mêmes y sont ses ennemis. - Madame de Stael.Ultima restabat; quam toto corpore mater,This figure of Niobe is probably the most consummate personification of loveliness with regard to its countenance, as that of the Apollo of the Vatican is with regard to its entire form, that remains to us of Greek antiquity. It is a colossal figure; the size of a work of art rather adds to its beauty, because it allows the spectator the choice of a greater number of points of view, in which to catch a greater number of the infinite modes of expression of which any form approaching ideal beauty is necessarily composed, of a mother in the act of sheltering from some divine and inevitable peril the last, we will imagine, of her children.
Tota vesta tegens, Unam, minimamque relinque;
De multis minimam posco, clamavit, et unam.
Ovid, Metam. vi 298
The child terrifed, we may conceive, at the strange destruction of all its kindred, has fled to its mother, and hiding its head in the folds of her robe, and casting up one arm as in a passionate appeal for defence from her, where it never before could have been sought in vain, seems in the marble to have scarcely suspended the motion of her terror, as though conceived to be yet in the act of arrival. The child is clothed in a thin tunic of the delicatest wool, and her hair is gathered on her head into a knot, probably by that mother whose care will never gather it again. Niobe is enveloped in profuse drapery, a portion of which the left hand has gathered up and is in the act of extending over the child in the instinct of defending her from what reason knows to be inevitable. The right - as the restorer of it has justly comprehended - is gathering up her child to her, and with a like instinctive gesture is encouraging by its gentle pressure the child to believe it can give security. The countenance, which is the consummation of feminine majesty and loveliness, beyond which the imagination scarcely doubts that it can conceive anything, the masterpiece of the poetic harmony of marble, expresses other feelings. There is embodied a sense of the inevitable and rapid destiny which is consummating around her as it if were already over. It seems as if despair and beauty had combined and produced nothing but the sublime loveliness of grief. As the motions of the form expressed the instinctive sense of the possibility of protecting the child, and the accustomed and affectionate assurance that she would find protection within her arms, so reason and imagination speak in the countenance the certainty that no mortal defence is of avail.
There is no terror in the countenance - only grief, deep grief. There is no anger - of what avail is indignation against what is known to be omnipotent? There is no selfish shrinking from personal pain; there is no panic at supernatural agency; there is no adverting to herself as herself; the calamity is mightier than to leave scope for scuh emotion.
Everything is swallowed up in sorrow. Her countenance, in assured expectation of the arrow piercing its victim in her embrace, is fixed on her omnipotent enemy. The pathetic beauty of the mere expression of her tender and serene despair, which is yet so profound and so incapable of being ever worn away, is beyond any effect of sculpture. As soon as the arrow shall have pierced her last child, the fable that she was dissolved into a fountain of tears will be but a feeble emblem of the sadness of despair, in which the years of her remaining life, we feel, must flow away. - Shelley.O Niobe, con che occhi dolenti
Vede'io te segnata in su la strada
Tra sette e sette tuoi figliuoli spenti!
Dante, Purg, xii. 37
Exanimes inter natos, natasque, virumque,
Diriguitque malis; nullos movet aura capillos,
In vultu color est sine sanguine, lumina maestis
Stant immota genis: nihil est in imagine vivi.
Ovid, Met. vi. 301
424 The statue called
found near Pesaro in 1530. The beautiful pedestal is usually attributed
426 The head of a Horse found near Cività-Vecchia.
428 A Torso found in the sea near Leghorn.
The second room contains a
of cases filled with small statuettes and objects in bronze.
On the wall of the corridor we may remark one of the curious low-life scenes for which the painter Giovanni di S. Giovanni is remarkable. At the end is a fine copy of the Laocoon by Baccio Bandinelli.
Baccio Bandinelli, who had been copying the Laocoon, boasted that he had surpassed the original. Upon which Michelangelo observed, 'He whose own productions are indifferent knows not how to appreciate duly the works of others'. J.S. Harford.On the left is the entrance to three rooms filled with the glorious Collection of Sketches of the Great Masters, from the time of Giotto to that of Titian. Perhaps amongst the most interesting are those of Raffaelle for the Borghese 'Entombment' and for several of the pictures in the Stanze, and that of Mariotto Albertinelli for the 'Salutation'.
The Passage, built by the Medici to connect the Pitti Palace with the Palazzo del Signoria, in imitation of the passage which Homer describes as uniting the palace of Hector to that of Priam (and also to be used as a means of escape if required), was finished in 1564, on the occasion of the marriage of Francesco de' Medici with Joanna of Austria. It is now an additional Art Gallery, which forms a delightful walk, especially in wet weather. The first division is devoted to Engravings, forming a complete and most interesting history of the Art. Then comes (extending over the Jewellers' Bridge across the Arno) an extraordinary collection of 1300 portraits of the Medici and their contemporaries, including popes, sovereigns, princes, native and foreign nobles and eminent men of all nations. Most of these pictures, brought together in 1881-82 from the different palaces, are wretched as works of art, but many are interesting and a few good. The eye will probably be arrested by three works of Sir P. Lely, bought by Cosimo, Prince of Tuscany, when in London, and by (left wall) a portrait of James III of England and his sister as children by Larguillière. Most beautiful and restful are the views as we cross the centre of the bridge.
Belted with its many bridges, and margined with towers and palaces, Arno is the most beautiful and stately thing in the beautiful and stately city, whether it is in a dramatic passion from the recent rains, or dreamily raving of summer drouth over its dam, and stretching a bar of silver from shore to shore. W.D. Howells.Thus, by a series of passages, we reach the staircase of the Palazzo Pitti (ch. iv).
are left at the entrance of the Uffizi are conveyed to
exit of the Pitti for a fee of 25 c., for which a receipt is given.
2 A little grey bird with a crest. This picture is nearly allied to 'La Belle Jardinière' of the Louvre and 'La Madonna al Verde' at Vienna.
3 A document has been discovered which proves that the supposed murderer died before his victim.
TO AUGUSTUS J.C. HARE, FLORENCE,
CHAPTER I: PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA SECTION
AND COMPARE (TOGGLE) WITH SEPIA II
BOLTON HOLLOWAY, AUREO ANELLO
1997-2010: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY
|| BIBLIOTECA E BOTTEGA FIORETTA MAZZEI
|| ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || FLORENCE
IN SEPIA || BRUNETTO
LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI AND GEOFFREY
|| CITY AND
IV || NON-PROFIT
GUIDE TO COMMERCE IN FLORENCE