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Painting

This celebrated Italian paintress was born at Chiozza, near Venice, in 1675. She acquired an immense reputation, and was invited to several of the courts of Europe. Few artists have equalled Rosalba in crayon painting.

Palomino relates that a superb eagle, of the bearded kind, having been captured in the royal chase, near the Prado, the king (Philip III.) gave orders to Pantoja to paint its likeness, which he did with such truthfulness that the royal bird, on seeing it, mistook it for a real eagle, and attacked the picture with such impetuosity that he tore it in pieces with his beak and talons before they could secure him. The indignant bird was then tied more carefully, and the portrait painted over again.

While Poussin resided at Paris, his talents, and the endowments of his mind procured him the esteem of several men of letters and distinction, among whom was the Cav. Marino, the celebrated Italian poet, who happened then to be in Paris. Marino strongly urged him to accompany him to Rome, an invitation which Poussin would gladly have accepted, had he not then been engaged in some commissions of importance, which having completed, he set out for Rome in 1624, where he was warmly received by his friend Marino, who introduced him to the Cardinal Barberini.

The genius of Poussin seems to have gained vigor with age. Nearly his last works, which were begun in 1660, and sent to Paris 1664, were the four pictures, allegorical of the seasons, which he painted for the Duc de Richelieu. He chose the terrestrial paradise, in all the freshness of creation, to designate spring. The beautiful story of Boaz and Ruth formed the subject of summer. Autumn was aptly pictured, in the two Israelites bearing the bunch of grapes from the Promised Land. But the masterpiece was Winter, represented in the Deluge.

A labyrinth, with the ancients, was a building containing a great number of chambers and galleries, running into one another in such a manner as to make it very difficult to find the way through the edifice. The most famous was the Egyptian labyrinth, situated in Central Egypt, above Lake Moeris, not far from Crocodilopolis, in the country now called Fejoom. Herodotus, who visited and examined this edifice with great attention, affirms that it far surpassed everything he had conceived of it.

In the Cathedral at Worms, over the altar, is a very old painting, in which the Virgin is represented throwing the infant Jesus into the hopper of a mill; while from the other side he issues, changed into wafers or little morsels of bread, which the priests are administering to the people.

Modern Rome is about thirteen miles in circuit, and is divided by the Tiber into two parts. In 1830, Rome contained 144,542 inhabitants, 35,900 houses, 346 churches, 30 monasteries, and upwards of 120 palaces. The view of the majestic ruins; the solemn grandeur of the churches and palaces; the recollections of the past; the religious customs; the magic and almost melancholy tranquillity which pervades the city; the enjoyment of the endless treasures of art—all conspire to raise the mind of the traveler to a high state of excitement.

The small picture which once adorned the tabernacle of the Capuchin high altar at Seville, is interesting on account of its legend, as well as its extraordinary artistic merits. Murillo, whilst employed at the convent, had formed a friendship with a lay brother, the cook of the fraternity, who attended to his wants and waited on him with peculiar assiduity. At the conclusion of his labors, this Capuchin of the kitchen begged for some trifling memorial of his pencil. The painter was quite willing to comply, but said that he had exhausted his stock of canvas.

Notwithstanding she received so many flattering marks of distinction from crowned heads, Rosalba's native modesty never deserted her, and she seemed to esteem her works less than did many of her admirers, because she was sensible how far she fell short of her idea of perfection. "Everything I do," said she, "seems good enough to me just after I have done it, and perhaps for a few hours afterwards, but then I begin to discover my imperfections!" Thus it is with true merit; those who are superficial or pretending can never find out, or never will acknowledge their own faults.

Pacheco relates a remarkable effect produced by a picture from the pencil of Methodius, who resided at Constantinople about 854. He was invited to Nicopolis by Bogoris, king of the Bulgarians, to decorate a banqueting-hall in his palace. That prince left the choice of his subject to the artist, limiting him to those of a tragic or terrible character.

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