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Painting

As in comparative anatomy it is easy, from a single bone, to designate and describe the animal to which it belonged, so in architecture it is easy to restore, by a few fragments, any ancient building. In consequence of the known simplicity and regularity of most antique edifices, the task of restoration, by means of drawings and models, is much less difficult than might be supposed. The ground work, or some sufficient parts of it, commonly extant, shows the length and breadth of the building, with the positions of the walls, doors and columns.

The Cathedral of Cordova still possesses his famous Supper, but in so faded and ruinous a condition that it is impossible to judge fairly of its merits. Palomino extols the dignity and beauty of the Saviour's head, and the masterly discrimination of character displayed in those of the apostles. Of the jars and vases standing in the foreground, it is related that while the picture was on the easel, these accessories attracted, by their exquisite finish, the attention of some visitors, to the exclusion of the higher parts of the composition, to the great disgust of the artist.

Durer always lived in a frugal manner, without the least ostentation for the distinguished favors heaped upon him. He applied himself to his profession with the most constant and untiring industry, which, together with his great knowledge, great facility of mechanical execution, and a remarkable talent for imitation, enabled him to rise to such distinction, and to exert so powerful an influence on German art for a great length of time.

Giovanni Baptista Gaulli, called Baciccio, one of the most eminent Genoese painters, was no less celebrated for portraits than for history. Pascoli says he painted no less than seven different Pontiffs, besides many illustrious personages. Possessing great colloquial powers, he engaged his sitters in the most animated conversation, and thus transferred their features to his canvas, so full of life and expression, that they looked as though they were about to speak to the beholder.

Napoleon was not only a true lover of art, but an excellent connoisseur. He did more to elevate the arts and sciences in France than all the monarchs together who had preceded him. It was a part of his policy to honor and reward every man of genius, no matter what his origin, and thus to develop the intellect of his country. He foresaw the advantage of making Paris the great centre of art; therefore he did not hesitate to transport from the countries he conquered, the most renowned and valuable works of ancient and modern times.

The reputation which the Spanish painter Cespedes enjoyed among his cotemporaries, is proved by an anecdote of Federigo Zuccaro. On being requested to paint a picture of St. Margaret for the Cathedral of Cordova, he for some time refused to comply, asking, "Where is Cespedes, that you send to Italy for pictures?"

This eminent painter was born in 1631. His father intended him for the mercantile profession, but nature for a marine painter. His passion for art induced him to neglect his employer's business, with whom his father had placed him, and to spend his time in drawing, and in frequenting the studios of the painters at Amsterdam. His fondness for shipping led him frequently to the port of the city, where he made admirable drawings of the vessels with a pen, which were much sought after by the collectors, and were purchased at liberal prices.

Ancient Rome was built upon seven hills, which are now scarcely discoverable on account of the vast quantities of rubbish with which the valleys are filled. Pliny estimates the circumference of the city in his time at 13,000 paces (which nearly agrees with modern measurements), and the population at 3,000,000. Rome was filled with magnificent public edifices, temples, theatres, amphitheatres, circuses, naumachiæ, porticos, basilicæ, baths, gardens, triumphal arches, columns, sewers, aqueducts, sepulchres, public and private palaces, etc.

Pliny asserts that an ingenious artist wrote the whole of the Iliad on so small a piece of parchment that it might be enclosed within the compass of a nut-shell. Cicero also records the same thing. This doubtless might be done on a strip of thin parchment, and rolling it compactly.

After her second marriage, Sofonisba continued to pursue the art at Genoa, where her house became the resort of all the polished and intellectual society of the Republic. The Empress of Germany paid her a visit on her way to Spain, and accepted a little picture,—one of the most finished and beautiful of her works. She was also visited by her former charge, the Infanta, then the wife of the Archduke Albert, and with him co-sovereign of Flanders.

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