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Painting

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.

Giacomo Amiconi, a Venetian painter, went to England, in 1729, where he was first employed by Lord Tankerville to paint the staircase of his palace in St. James' Square. He there represented the stories of Achilles, Telemachus and Tiresias, which gained him great applause. When he was to be paid, he produced his bills of the workmen for scaffolding, materials, &c., amounting to £90, and asked no more, saying that he was content with the opportunity of showing what he could do. The peer, however, gave him £200 more.

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 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.

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.

Matias de Torres, a Spanish painter, affected the style of Caravaggio. His compositions were half veiled in thick impenetrable shadows, which concealed the design, and sometimes left the subject a mystery. Francisco de Solis was standing before one of them, in the church of Victory at Madrid, representing a scene from the life of St. Diego, and was asked to explain the subject depicted. "It represents," said the witty painter, "San Brazo," St. Arm, nothing being distinguished but the arm of a mendicant in the background.

In 1612, at the age of eighteen, Poussin went to Paris in search of improvement, where he devoted himself to studying the best works to which he could gain access (for the fine arts were then at a low ebb in France) with the greatest assiduity. In 1620, according to Felibien, the Jesuits celebrated the canonization of the founder of their order, Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, on which occasion they determined to display a series of pictures by the first artists in Paris, representing the miracles performed by their patron saints.

While the court of France was at variance with the Holy See, considerable acrimony existed among his Holiness's troops against all Frenchmen; consequently, wherever they met them in Rome, they instantly attacked them with sticks and stones, and sometimes with even more formidable weapons. It happened one day that Poussin and three or four of his countrymen, returning from a drawing excursion, met at the Quattro Fontane near Monte Cavallo, a company of soldiers, who seeing them dressed in the French costume, instantly attacked them.

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