The eminent American sculptor Greenough, who has recently (1853) departed this life, wrote several years ago a very interesting account of a wonderful picture at Florence, from which the following is extracted:

"When you enter the church of Santissima Annunziata, at Florence, your attention is drawn at once to a sort of miniature temple on the left hand. It is of white marble; but the glare and flash of crimson hangings and silver lamps scarcely allow your eye the quiet necessary to appreciate either form or material. A picture hangs there. It is the Miraculous Annunciation. The artist who was employed to paint it, had finished all except the head of the Virgin Mary, and fell asleep before the easel while the work was in that condition. On awakening, he beheld the picture finished; and the short time which had elapsed, and his own position relative to the canvas, made it clear (so says the tradition) that a divine hand had completed a task which, to say the least, a mortal could only attempt with despair.

"Less than this has made many pictures in Italy the objects of attentions which our Puritan fathers condemned as idolatrous. The miraculous 'Annunziata' became, accordingly, the divinity of a splendid shrine. The fame of her interposition spread far and wide, and her tabernacle was filled with the costly offerings of the devout, the showy tributes of the zealous. The prince gave of his abundance, nor was the widow's mite refused; and to this day the reputation of this shrine stands untouched among all papal devotees.

"The Santissima Annunziata is always veiled, unless her interposition is urgently demanded by the apprehension of famine, plague, cholera, or some other public calamity. During my own residence at Florence, I have never known the miraculous picture to be uncovered during a drought, without the desired result immediately following. In cases of long continued rains, its intervention has been equally happy. I have heard several persons, rather inclined to skepticism as to the miraculous qualities of the picture, hint that the barometer was consulted on these occasions; else, say they, why was not the picture uncovered before the mischief had gone so far? What an idea is suggested by the bare hint!

"I stood on the pavement of the church, with an old man who had himself been educated as a priest. He had a talent for drawing, and became a painter. As a practical painter, he was mediocre; but he was learned in everything relating to art. He gradually sank from history to portrait, from portrait to miniature, from miniature to restoration; and had the grim satisfaction, in his old age, of mending what in his best days he never could make—good pictures. When I knew him, he was one of the conservators of the Royal Gallery. He led me before the shrine, and whispered, with much veneration, the story I have related of its origin. When I had gazed long at the picture, I turned to speak to him, but he had left the church. As I walked through the vestibule, however, I saw him standing near one of the pillars that adorn the façade. He was evidently waiting for me. Me-thinks I see him now, with his face of seventy and his dress of twenty-five, his bright black wig, his velvet waistcoat, and glittering gold chain—his snuff-box in his hand, and a latent twinkle in his black eyes. 'What is really remarkable in that miraculous picture,' said he, taking me by the button, and forcing me to bend till his mouth and my ear were exactly on a line—'What is really remarkable about it is, that the angel who painted that Virgin, so completely adopted the style of that epoch! Same angular, incorrect outline! Same opaque shadows! eh? eh?' He took a pinch, and wishing me a good appetite, turned up the Via S. Sebastiano."