Architecture

Though Durer was most famous as an engraver, yet he executed many large paintings, which occupy a distinguished place in the royal collections of Germany, and other European countries. In the imperial collection at Munich are some of the most celebrated, as Adam and Eve, the Adoration of the Magi, the Crucifixion—a grand composition—the Crowning of the Virgin, the Battle between Alexander and Darius, and many other great works.

An amusing anecdote is related of this eminent painter. He was inordinately given to dissipation, and spent all his money, as fast as he earned it, in carousing with his boon companions. He was for a long time in the service of the Marquess de Veren, for whom he executed some of his most capital works. It happened on one occasion that the Emperor Charles V. made a visit to the Marquess, who made magnificent preparations for his reception, and among other things ordered all his household to be dressed in white damask.

The antiquity of painting, as well as of sculpture, among the Egyptians, is sunk in fable. Yet it is certain that they made little or no progress in either art. Plato, who flourished about 400 B.C., says that the art of painting had been practiced by the Egyptians upwards of ten thousand years, and that there were existing in that country paintings of that high antiquity, which were neither inferior to, nor very different from, those executed by the Egyptian artists in his own time.

This Spanish painter was a favorite with King Charles II. He was painting his Majesty's portrait one day in the presence of the Queen mother, when the royal sitter asked him to which of the knightly orders he belonged. "To none," replied the artist, "but the order of your Majesty's servants." "Why is this?" said Charles. The Admiral of Castile, who was standing by, replied that he should have a cross immediately; and on leaving the royal presence, he sent Carreño a rich badge of Santiago, assuring him that what the king had said entitled him to wear it.

Durer derived most of his fame from his engravings, and he is allowed to have surpassed every artist of his time in this branch of art. Born in the infancy of the art, he carried engraving to a perfection that has hardly been surpassed. When we consider that, without any models worthy of imitation, he brought engraving to such great perfection, we are astonished at his genius, and his own resources. Although engraving has had the advantage and experience of more than three centuries, it would perhaps be difficult to select a specimen of executive excellence surpassing his print of St.

Lanzi relates the following amusing anecdote of Giovanni da Capugnano, an artist of little merit, but whose assurance enabled him to attract considerable attention in his day. "Misled by a pleasing self-delusion, he believed himself born to become a painter; like that ancient personage, mentioned by Horace, who imagined himself the owner of all the vessels that arrived in the Athenian port. His chief talent lay in making crucifixes, to fill up the angles, and in giving a varnish to the balustrades.

The origin of Painting in Greece was unknown to Pliny, to whom we are chiefly indebted for the few fragments of the biography of Greek artists; he could only obtain his information from Greek writers, of whom he complains that they have not been very attentive to their accustomed accuracy. It is certain, however, that the arts were practiced in Egypt and in the East, many ages before they were known in Greece, and it is the common opinion that they were introduced into that country from Egypt and Asia, through the channel of the Phœnecian traders.

Palomino was one day in company with Carreño at the house of Don Pedro de Arce, when a discussion arose about the merits of a certain copy of Titian's St. Margaret, which hung in the room After all present had voted it execrable, Carreño quietly remarked, "It at least has the merit of showing that no man need despair of improving in art, for I painted it myself when I was a beginner."

The fame of Durer spread far and wide in his life-time. The Emperor Maximillian I. had a great esteem for him, and appointed him his court painter, with a liberal pension, and conferred on him letters of nobility; Charles V., his successor, confirmed him in his office, bestowing upon him at the same time the painter's coat of arms, viz., three escutcheons, argent, in a deep azure field. Ferdinand, King of Hungary, also bestowed upon him marked favors and liberality. Durer was in favor with high and low.

Caravaggio possessed a very irascible and roving disposition. At the height of his popularity at Rome, he got into a quarrel with one of his own young friends, in a tennis-court, and struck him dead with a racket, having been severely wounded himself in the affray. He fled to Naples, where he executed some of his finest pictures, but he soon got weary of his residence there, and went to Malta. Here his superb picture of the Grand Master obtained for him the Cross of Malta, a rich gold chain, placed on his neck by the Grand Master's own hands, and two slaves to attend him.

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