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Painting

Brower did not continue long in the hospitable mansion of Rubens, whose refined and elegant manners, love of literature, and domestic happiness were less congenial to this erratic genius than the revels of his pot-companions. Brower soon became weary of his situation, and returned to his vicious habits, to which he soon fell a victim in 1640, at the early age of 32 years.

In 1639, Poussin was invited to Paris by Louis XIII., who honored him on this occasion with the following autograph letter, which was an extraordinary and unusual homage to art:

"Dear and well beloved,

Palomino says that March had gone out one day, leaving neither meat nor money in the house, and was absent till past midnight, when he returned with a few fish, which he insisted on having instantly dressed for supper. His wife said there was no oil; and Juan Conchillos, one of his pupils, being ordered to get some, objected that all the shops were shut up.

It is recorded in the archives of Padua, says Milizia, that when Rhadagasius entered Italy, and the cruelties exercised by the Visigoths obliged the people to seek refuge in various places, an architect of Candia, named Eutinopus, was the first to retire to the fens of the Adriatic, where he built a house, which remained the only one there for several years. At length, when Alaric continued to desolate the country, others sought an asylum in the same marshes, and built twenty-four houses, which formed the germ of Venice.

The pyramids of Egypt, especially the two largest of the group of Jizeh or Gize, are the most stupendous masses of buildings in stone that human labor has ever been known to accomplish, and have been the wonder of ancient and modern times.—The number of the Egyptian pyramids, large and small, is very considerable; they are situated on the west bank of the Nile, and extend in an irregular line, and in groups at some distance from each other, from the neighborhood of Jizeh, in 30° N. Latitude, as far as sixty or seventy miles south of that place.

This eminent architect was one of those illustrious men, who, having conceived and matured a grand design, proceed, cool, calm, and indefatigable, to put it in execution, undismayed by obstacles that seem insuperable, by poverty, want, and what is worse, the jeers of men whose capacities are too limited to comprehend their sublime conceptions. The world is apt to term such men enthusiasts, madmen, or fools, till their glorious achievements stamp them almost divinely inspired.

Among the strolling parties of monks and friars, cardinals and prelates, Roman princesses and English peers, Spanish grandees and French cavaliers which crowded the Pincio, towards the latter end of the seventeenth century, there appeared two groups, which may have recalled those of the Portico or the Academy, and which never failed to interest and fix the attention of the beholders. The leader of one of these singular parties was the venerable Niccolo Poussin!

This accomplished, amiable, and talented lady was cut off in the flower of her life, August 29th, 1665, by poison, administered by one of her own maids, instigated, as is supposed, by some jealous young artists. Her melancholy death was bewailed with demonstrations of public sorrow, and her remains were interred with great pomp and solemnity in the church of S. Domenico, in the same vault where reposed the ashes of Guido.

The subjects of Brower were of the lowest order, representing the frolics of his pot companions; but his expression is so lively and characteristic, his coloring so transparent and brilliant, and the passions and movements of his figures are so admirably expressed, that his works have justly elicited the applause of the world. They are highly valued, and in consequence of his irregular life, are exceedingly scarce. Brower also etched a few plates in a very spirited style.

Poussin, naturally of a peaceful turn of mind, fond of retirement and the society of a few select literary friends, was disgusted with the ostentation of the court and the cabals by which he was surrounded; he secretly sighed for the quiet felicity he had left at Rome, and resolved to return thither without delay. For this purpose, he solicited and obtained leave of the king to visit Italy and settle his affairs, and fetch his wife; but when he had once crossed the Alps, no inducement could prevail on him to revisit his native country, or even to leave Rome.

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