After attaining a high reputation in Italy, Cambiaso was invited to Madrid by Philip II. of Spain. He executed there a great number of works, among which the most important was the vault of the choir of the Escurial church, where he painted in fresco the "Glory of the Blessed in Heaven." Instead of allowing the artist to paint from his own conceptions, the king listened to the counsels of the monks, who "recommended that the heavenly host should be drawn up in due theological order." A design "more pious than picturesque" being at last agreed upon, the painter fell to work with his wonted fury, and so speedily covered vast spaces with a multitude of figures, that the king, according to the expressive Italian phrase, "remained stupid," not being able to believe that the master, with only one assistant, could have accomplished so much. Philip often visited Cambiaso while at work, and one day remarking that the head of St. Anne among the blessed was too youthful, the painter replied by seizing his pencil, and with four strokes so seamed the face with wrinkles, and so entirely altered its air, that the royal critic once more "remained stupid," hardly knowing whether he had judged amiss, or the change had been effected by magic. By means of thus painting at full speed, frequently without sketches, and sometimes with both hands at once, Cambiaso clothed the vault with its immense fresco in about fifteen months. The coloring is still fresh, and many of the forms are fine and the figures noble; but the composition cannot be called pleasing. The failure must be mainly attributed to the unlucky meddling of the friars, who have marshalled

"The helmed Cherubim,
And sworded Seraphim,"

with exact military precision, ranged the celestial choir in rows like the fiddlers of a sublunary orchestra, and accommodated the congregation of the righteous with long benches, like those of a Methodist meeting-house! However, the king was so well pleased with the work, that he rewarded Cambiaso with 12,000 ducats.