The reawakening of Art in Italy which followed the darkness of the Middle Ages, dates from about the beginning of the fifteenth century and is called the Renaissance. The Italians have a method of reckoning the centuries which differs from ours. Thus we call 1800 the first year of the nineteenth century, but they call it the first of the eighteenth; so the painters of what was to us the fifteenth century are called by Italians the “quattrocentisti,” or men of the fourteenth century, and while to us the term “cinquecento” means the style of the sixteenth century, to the Italians the same century, which begins with 1500, is the fifteenth century.

I shall use our own method of reckoning in my writing; but this fact should be known to all who read or study art.

The first painter of whom I shall now speak is known to us as Fra Angelico. His name was Guido, the son of Pietro, and he was born at Vicchio in the province of Mugello, in the year 1387. We know that his family was in such circumstances that the young Guido could have led a life of ease; but he early determined to become a preaching friar. Meantime, even as a boy, he showed his taste for art, and there are six years in his life, from the age of fourteen to twenty, of which no one can tell the story. However, from what followed it is plain that during this time he must somewhere have devoted himself to the study of painting and to preparation for his life as a monk.

Before he was fully twenty years old, he entered the convent at Fiesole, and took the name of Fra, or Brother Giovanni; soon after, his elder brother joined him there, and became Fra Benedetto. Later on our artist was called Fra Angelico, and again Il Beato Angelico, and then, according to Italian custom, the name of the town from which he came was added, so that he was at last called Il Beato Giovanni, detto Angelico, da Fiesole, which means, “The Blessed John, called the Angelic, of Fiesole.” The title Il Beato is usually conferred by the church, but it was given to Fra Angelico by the people, because of his saintly character and works.

It was in 1407 that Fra Angelico was admitted to the convent in Fiesole, and after seven years of peaceful life there he was obliged to flee with his companions to Foligno. It was at the time when three different popes claimed the authority over the Church of Rome, and the city of Florence declared itself in favor of Alexander V.; but the monks of Fiesole adhered to Gregory XII., and for this reason were driven from their convent. Six years they dwelt at Foligno; then the plague broke out in the country about them, and again they fled to Cortona. Pictures painted by Fra Angelico at this time still remain in the churches of Cortona.

After an absence of ten years the monks returned to Fiesole, where our artist passed the next eighteen years. This was the richest period of his life: his energy was untiring, and his zeal both as an artist and as a priest burned with a steady fire. His works were sought for far and wide, and most of his easel-pictures were painted during this time. Fra Angelico would never accept the money which was paid for his work; it was given into the treasury of his convent; neither did he accept any commission without the consent of the prior. Naturally, the monk-artist executed works for the adornment of his own convent. Some of these have been sold and carried to other cities and countries, and those which remain have been too much injured and too much restored to be considered important now.

Fig 31 Fig. 31.—Fra Angelico. From the representation of him in the fresco of the “Last Judgment,” by Fra Bartolommeo, in Santa Maria Nuova, Florence.

He painted so many pictures during this second residence at Fiesole, not only for public places, but for private citizens, that Vasari wrote: “This Father painted so many pictures, which are dispersed through the houses of the Florentines, that sometimes I am lost in wonder when I think how works so good and so many could, though in the course of many years, have been brought to perfection by one man alone.”

In 1436 the great Cosimo de Medici insisted that the monks of Fiesole should again leave their convent, and remove to that of San Marco, in Florence. Most unwillingly the brethren submitted, and immediately Cosimo set architects and builders to work to erect a new convent, for the old one was in a ruinous state. The new cloisters offered a noble field to the genius of Fra Angelico, and he labored for their decoration with his whole soul; though the rule of the order was so strict that the pictures in the cells could be seen only by the monks, he put all his skill into them, and labored as devotedly as if the whole world could see and praise them, as indeed has since been done. His pictures in this convent are so numerous that we must not describe them, but will say that the Crucifixion in the chapter-room is usually called his masterpiece. It is nearly twenty-five feet square, and, besides the usual figures in this subject, the Saviour and the thieves, with the executioners, there are holy women, the founders of various orders, the patrons of the convent, and companies of saints. In the frame there are medallions with several saints and a Sibyl, each bearing an inscription from the prophecies relating to Christ’s death; while below all, St. Dominic, the founder of the artist’s order, bears a genealogical tree with many portraits of those who had been eminent among his followers. For this reason this picture has great historic value.

At last, in 1445, Pope Eugenius IV., who had dedicated the new convent of San Marco and seen the works of Angelico, summoned him to Rome. It is said that the Pope not only wished for some of his paintings, but he also desired to honor Angelico by giving him the archbishopric of Florence; but when this high position was offered him, Fra Angelico would not accept of it: he declared himself unequal to its duties, and begged the Pope to appoint Fra Antonino in his stead. This request was granted, and Angelico went on with his work as before, in all humility fulfilling his heaven-born mission to lead men to better lives through the sweet influence of his divine art.

The honor which had been tendered him was great—one which the noblest men were striving for—but if he realized this he did not regret his decision, neither was he made bold or vain by the royal tribute which the Pope had paid him.

From this time the most important works of Fra Angelico were done in the chapel of Pope Nicholas V., in the Vatican, and in the chapel which he decorated in the Cathedral of Orvieto. He worked there one summer, and the work was continued by Luca Signorelli. The remainder of his life was passed so quietly that little can be told of it. It is not even known with certainty whether he ever returned to Florence, and by some strange fate the key to the chapel which he painted in the Vatican was lost during two centuries, and the pictures could only be seen by entering through a window. Thus it would seem that his last years were passed in the quiet work which he best loved.

Fig 32 Fig. 32.—An Angel.
In the Uffizi, Florence.
By Fra Angelico.

When his final illness was upon him, the brethren of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, where he resided, gathered about him, and chanted the Salve Regina. He died on the 18th of February, 1455, when sixty-seven years old. His tombstone is in the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, in Rome; on it lies the figure of a Dominican monk in marble. Pope Nicholas V. wrote his epitaph in Latin. The following translation is by Professor Norton:

“Not mine be the praise that I was a second Apelles,
But that I gave all my gains to thine, O Christ!
One work is for the earth, another for heaven.
The city, the Flower of Tuscany, bore me—John.”

In the Convent of San Marco in Florence there are twenty-five pictures by this master; in the Academy of Florence there are about sixty; there are eleven in the chapel of Nicholas V., and still others in the Vatican gallery. The Church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, the Cathedral of Orvieto, the Church of St. Domenico in Perugia, and that of Cortona, are all rich in his works. Besides these a few exist in some of the principal European galleries; but I love best to see them in San Marco, where he painted them for his brethren, and where they seem most at home.

The chief merit of the pictures of Fra Angelico is the sweet and tender expression of the faces of his angels and saints, or any beings who are holy and good; he never succeeded in painting evil and sin in such a way as to terrify one; his gentle nature did not permit him to represent that which it could not comprehend, and the very spirit of purity seems to breathe through every picture.

Two other Florentine artists of the same era with Fra Angelico were Masolino, whose real name was Panicale, and Tommaso Guidi, called Masaccio on account of his want of neatness. The style of these two masters was much the same, but Masaccio became so much the greater that little is said of Masolino. The principal works of Masaccio are a series of frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence. They represent “The Expulsion from Paradise,” “The Tribute Money,” “Peter Baptizing,” “Peter Curing the Blind and Lame,” “The Death of Ananias,” “Simon Magus,” and the “Resuscitation of the King’s Son.” There is a fresco by Masolino in the same chapel; it is “The Preaching of Peter.” Masaccio was in fact a remarkable painter. Some one has said that he seemed to hold Giotto by one hand, and reach forward to Raphael with the other; and considering the pictures which were painted before his time, his works are as wonderful as Raphael’s are beautiful. He died in 1429.

Paolo Uccello (1396-1479) and Filippo Lippi (1412-1469) were also good painters, and Sandro Botticelli (1447-1515), a pupil of Filippo, was called the best Florentine painter of his time. Fillipino Lippi(1460-1505) was a pupil of Botticelli and a very important artist. Andrea Verrocchio, Lorenzo di Credi, and Antonio Pollajuolo were all good painters of the Florentine school of the last half of the fifteenth century.

Of the same period was Domenico Ghirlandajo (1449-1494), who ranks very high on account of his skill in the composition of his works and as a colorist. He made his pictures very interesting also to those of his own time, and to those of later days, by introducing portraits of certain citizens of Florence into pictures which he painted in the Church of Santa Maria Novella and other public places in the city. He did not usually make them actors in the scene he represented, but placed them in detached groups as if they were looking at the picture themselves. While his scenes were laid in the streets known to us, and his architecture was familiar, he did not run into the fantastic or lose the picturesque effect which is always pleasing. Without being one of the greatest of the Italian masters Ghirlandajo was a very important painter. He was also a teacher of the great Michael Angelo.

Other prominent Florentine painters of the close of the fifteenth century were Francisco Granacci (1477-1543), Luca Signorelli (1441-1521), Benozzo Gozzoli (1424-1485), and Cosimo Rosselli (1439-1506).

Some good painters worked in Venice from the last half of the fourteenth century; but I shall begin to speak of the Venetian school with some account of the Bellini. The father of this family was Jacopo Bellini(1395-1470), and his sons were Gentile Bellini (1421-1507) and Giovanni Bellini (1426-1516).

The sketch-book of the father is one of the treasures of the British Museum. It has 99 pages, 17 by 13 inches in size, and contains sketches of almost everything—still and animal life, nature, ancient sculpture, buildings and human figures, stories of the Scriptures, of mythology, and of the lives of the saints are all illustrated in its sketches, as well as hawking parties, village scenes, apes, eagles, dogs, and cats. In this book the excellence of his drawing is seen; but so few of his works remain that we cannot judge of him as a colorist. It is certain that he laid the foundation of the excellence of the Venetian school, which his son Giovanni and the great Titian carried to perfection.

The elder son, Gentile, was a good artist, and gained such a reputation by his pictures in the great council-chamber of Venice, that when, in 1479, Sultan Mehemet, the conqueror of Constantinople, sent to Venice for a good painter, the Doge sent to him Gentile Bellini. With him he sent two assistants, and gave him honorable conduct in galleys belonging to the State. In Constantinople Gentile was much honored, and he painted the portraits of many remarkable people. At length it happened that when he had finished a picture of the head of John the Baptist in a charger, and showed it to the Sultan, that ruler said that the neck was not well painted, and when he saw that Gentile did not agree with him he called a slave and had his head instantly struck off, to prove to the artist what would be the true action of the muscles under such circumstances. This act made Gentile unwilling to remain near the Sultan, and after a year in his service he returned home. Mehemet, at parting, gave him many gifts, and begged him to ask for whatever would best please him. Gentile asked but for a letter of praise to the Doge and Signoria of Venice. After his return to Venice he worked much in company with his brother. It is said that Titian studied with Gentile: it is certain that he was always occupied with important commissions, and worked until the day of his death, when he was more than eighty years old.

Fig 33 Fig. 33.—Christ.
By Gio. Bellini.

But Giovanni Bellini was the greatest of his family, and must stand as the founder of true Venetian painting. His works may be divided into two periods, those that were done before, and those after he learned the use of oil colors. His masterpieces, which can still be seen in the Academy and the churches of Venice, were painted after he was sixty-five years old. The works of Giovanni Bellini are numerous in Venice, and are also seen in the principal galleries of Europe. He did not paint a great variety of subjects, neither was his imagination very poetical, but there was a moral beauty in his figures; he seems to have made humanity as elevated as it can be, and to have stopped just on the line which separates earthly excellence from the heavenly. He often painted the single figure of Christ, of which Lübke says: “By grand nobleness of expression, solemn bearing, and an excellent arrangement of the drapery, he reached a dignity which has rarely been surpassed.” Near the close of his life he painted a few subjects which represent gay and festive scenes, and are more youthful in spirit than the works of his earlier years. The two brothers were buried side by side, in the Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, in Venice.

There were also good painters in Padua, Ferrara, and Verona in the fifteenth century.

Andrea Mantegna, of Padua (1430-1506), was a very important artist. He spent the best part of his life in the service of the Duke of Mantua; but his influence was felt in all Italy, for his marriage with the daughter of Jacopo Bellini brought him into relations with many artists. His services were sought by various sovereigns, whose offers he refused until Pope Innocent VIII. summoned him to Rome to paint a chapel in the Vatican. After two years there he returned to Mantua, where he died. His pictures are in all large collections; his finest works are madonnas at the Louvre, Paris, and in the Church of St. Zeno at Verona. Mantegna was a fine engraver also, and his plates are now very valuable.

In the Umbrian school Pietro Perugino (1446-1524) was a notable painter; he was important on account of his own work, and because he was the master of the great Raphael. His pictures were simple and devout in their spirit, and brilliant in color; in fact, he is considered as the founder of the style which Raphael perfected. His works are in the principal galleries of Europe, and he had many followers of whom we have not space to speak.

Francisco Francia (1450-1518) was the founder of the school of Bologna. His true name was Francisco di Marco Raibolini, and he was a goldsmith of repute before he was a painter. He was also master of the mint to the Bentivoglio and to Pope Julius II. at Bologna. It is not possible to say when he began to paint; but his earliest known work is dated 1490 or 1494, and is in the Gallery of Bologna. His pictures resemble those of Perugino and Raphael, and it is said that he died of sorrow because he felt himself so inferior to the great painter of Urbino. Raphael sent his St. Cecilia to Francia, and asked him to care for it and see it hung in its place; he did so, but did not live long after this. It is well known that these two masters were good friends and corresponded, but it is not certain that they ever met. Francia’s pictures are numerous; his portraits are excellent. Many of his works are still in Bologna.

Fig 34 Fig. 34.—Madonna. By Perugino.
In the Pitti Gallery, Florence.

We come now to one of the most celebrated masters of Italy, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), the head of the Lombard or Milanese school. He was not the equal of the great masters, Michael Angelo, Raphael, and Titian; but he stands between them and the painters who preceded him or those of his own day.

In some respects, however, he was the most extraordinary man of his time. His talents were many-sided; for he was not only a great artist, but also a fine scholar in mathematics and mechanics; he wrote poetry and composed music, and was with all this so attractive personally, and so brilliant in his manner, that he was a favorite wherever he went. It is probable that this versatility prevented his being very great in any one thing, while he was remarkable in many things.

When still very young Leonardo showed his artistic talent. The paper upon which he worked out his sums was frequently bordered with little pictures which he drew while thinking on his lessons, and these sketches at last attracted his father’s attention, and he showed them to his friend Andrea Verrocchio, an artist of Florence, who advised that the boy should become a painter. Accordingly, in 1470, when eighteen years old, Leonardo was placed under the care of Verrocchio, who was like a kind father to his pupils: he was not only a painter, but also an architect and sculptor, a musician and a geometer, and he especially excelled in making exquisite cups of gold and silver, crucifixes and statuettes such as were in great demand for the use of the priesthood in those days.

Fig 35 Fig. 35.—Leonardo da Vinci. From a drawing in red chalk by himself.
In the Royal Library, Turin.

Pietro Perugino was a fellow-pupil with Leonardo, and they two soon surpassed their master in painting, and at last, when Verrocchio was painting a picture for the monks of Vallambrosa, and desired Leonardo to execute an angel in it, the work of his pupil was so much better than his own that the old painter desired to throw his brush aside forever. The picture is now in the Academy of Florence, and represents “The Baptism of Christ.” With all his refinement and sweetness, Leonardo had a liking for the horrible. It once happened that a countryman brought to his father a circular piece of wood cut from a fig-tree, and desired to have it painted for a shield; it was handed over to Leonardo, who collected in his room a number of lizards, snakes, bats, hedgehogs, and other frightful creatures, and from these painted an unknown monster having certain characteristics of the horrid things he had about him. The hideous creature was surrounded by fire, and was breathing out flames. When his father saw it he ran away in a fright, and Leonardo was greatly pleased at this. The countryman received an ordinary shield, and this Rotello del Fico (or shield of fig-tree wood) was sold to a merchant for one hundred ducats, and again to the Duke of Milan for three times that sum. This shield has now been lost for more than three centuries; but another horror, the “Medusa’s Head,” is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and is a head surrounded by interlacing serpents, the eyes being glassy and deathlike and the mouth most revolting in expression.

While in Florence Leonardo accomplished much, but was at times diverted from his painting by his love of science, sometimes making studies in astronomy and again in natural history and botany; he also went much into society, and lived extravagantly. He had the power to remember faces that he had seen accidentally, and could make fine portraits from memory; he was also accustomed to invite to his house people from the lower classes; he would amuse them while he sketched their faces, making good portraits at times, and again ridiculous caricatures. He even went so far, for the sake of his art, as to accompany criminals to the place of execution, in order to study their expressions.

After a time Leonardo wished to secure some fixed income, and wrote to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, called Il Moro, offering his services to that prince. This resulted in his going to Milan, where he received a generous salary, and became very popular with the Duke and all the court, both as a painter and as a gentleman. The Duke governed as the regent for his young nephew, and gathered about him talented men for the benefit of the young prince. He also led a gay life, and his court was the scene of constant festivities. Leonardo’s varied talents were very useful to the Duke; he could assist him in everything—by advice at his council, by plans for adorning his city, by music and poetry in his leisure hours, and by painting the portraits of his favorites. Some of these last are now famous pictures—that of Lucrezia Crevelli is believed to be in the Louvre at Paris, where it is called “La Belle Ferronière.”

The Duke conferred a great honor on Leonardo by choosing him to be the founder and director of an academy which he had long wished to establish. It was called the “Academia Leonardi Vinci,” and had for its purpose the bringing together of distinguished artists and men of letters. Leonardo was appointed superintendent of all the fêtes and entertainments given by the court, and in this department he did some marvellous things. He also superintended a great work in engineering which he brought to perfection, to the wonder of all Italy: it was no less an undertaking than bringing the waters of the Adda from Mortisana to Milan, a distance of nearly two hundred miles. In spite of all these occupations the artist found time to study anatomy and to write some valuable works. At length Il Moro became the established duke, and at his brilliant court Leonardo led a most agreeable life; but he was so occupied with many things that he painted comparatively few pictures.

Fig 36 Fig. 36.—The Last Supper. By Leonardo da Vinci.

At length the Duke desired him to paint a picture of the Last Supper on the wall of the refectory in the Convent of the Madonna delle Grazie. This was his greatest work in Milan and a wonderful masterpiece. It was commenced about 1496, and was finished in a very short time. We must now judge of it from copies and engravings, for it has been so injured as to give no satisfaction to one who sees it. Some good copies were made before it was thus ruined, and numerous engravings make it familiar to all the world. A copy in the Royal Academy, London, was made by one of Leonardo’s pupils, and is the size of the original. It is said that the prior of the convent complained to the Duke of the length of time the artist was spending upon this picture; when the Duke questioned the painter he said that he was greatly troubled to find a face which pleased him for that of Judas Iscariot; he added that he was willing to allow the prior to sit for this figure and thus hasten the work; this answer pleased the Duke and silenced the prior.

After a time misfortunes overtook the Duke, and Leonardo was reduced to poverty; finally Il Moro was imprisoned; and in 1500 Leonardo returned to Florence, where he was honorably received. He was not happy here, however, for he was not the one important artist. He had been absent nineteen years, and great changes had taken place; Michael Angelo and Raphael were just becoming famous, and they with other artists welcomed Leonardo, for his fame had reached them from Milan. However, he painted some fine pictures at this time; among them were the “Adoration of the Kings,” now in the Uffizi Gallery, and a portrait of Ginevra Benci, also in the same gallery. This lady must have been very beautiful; Ghirlandajo introduced her portrait into two of his frescoes.

But the most remarkable portrait was that known as Mona Lisa del Giocondo, which is in the Louvre, and is called by some critics the finest work of this master. The lady was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a lovely woman, and some suppose that she was very dear to Leonardo. He worked upon it for four years, and still thought it unfinished: the face has a deep, thoughtful expression—the eyelids are a little weary, perhaps, and through it all there is a suggestion of something not quite understood—a mystery: the hands are graceful and of perfect form, and the rocky background gives an unusual fascination to the whole picture. Leonardo must have loved the picture himself, and it is not strange that he lavished more time upon it than he gave to the great picture of the Last Supper (Fig. 37).

Leonardo sold this picture to Francis I. for nine thousand dollars, which was then an enormous sum, though now one could scarcely fix a price upon it. In 1860 the Emperor of Russia paid twelve thousand dollars for a St. Sebastian by Leonardo, and in 1865 a madonna by him was sold in Paris for about sixteen thousand dollars. Of course his pictures are rarely sold; but, when they are, great sums are given for them.

In 1502 Cæsar Borgia appointed Leonardo his engineer and sent him to travel through Central Italy to inspect his fortresses; but this usurper soon fled to Spain, and in 1503 our painter was again in Florence. In 1504 his father died. From 1507 to 1512 Leonardo was at the summit of his greatness. Louis XII. appointed him his painter, and he labored for this monarch also to improve the water-works of Milan. For seven years he dwelt at Milan, making frequent journeys to Florence. But the political troubles of the time made Lombardy an uncongenial home for any artist, and Leonardo, with a few pupils, went to Florence and then on to Rome. Pope Leo X. received him cordially enough, and told him to “work for the glory of God, Italy, Leo X., and Leonardo da Vinci.” But Leonardo was not happy in Rome, where Michael Angelo and Raphael were in great favor, and when Francis I. made his successes in Italy in 1515, Leonardo hastened to Lombardy to meet him. The new king of France restored him to the office to which Louis XII. had appointed him, and gave him an annual pension of seven hundred gold crowns.

Fig 37 Fig. 37.—Mona Lisa.—
“La Belle Joconde.

When Francis returned to France he desired to cut out the wall on which the Last Supper was painted, and carry it to his own country: this proved to be impossible, and it is much to be regretted, as it is probable that if it could have been thus removed it would have been better preserved. However, not being able to take the artist’s great work, the king took Leonardo himself, together with his favorite pupils and friends and his devoted servant. In France, Leonardo was treated with consideration. He resided near Amboise, where he could mingle with the court. It is said that, old though he was, he was so much admired that the courtiers imitated his dress and the cut of his beard and hair. He was given the charge of all artistic matters in France, and doubtless Francis hoped that he would found an Academy as he had done at Milan. But he seems to have left all his energy, all desire for work, on the Italian side of the Alps. He made a few plans; but he brought no great thing to pass, and soon his health failed, and he fell into a decline. He gave great attention to religious matters, received the sacrament, and then made his will, and put his worldly affairs in order.

The king was accustomed to visit him frequently, and on the last day of his life, when the sovereign entered the room, Leonardo desired to be raised up as a matter of respect to the king: sitting, he conversed of his sufferings, and lamented that he had done so little for God and man. Just then he was seized with an attack of pain—the king rose to support him, and thus, in the arms of Francis, the great master breathed his last. This has sometimes been doubted; but the modern French critics agree with the ancient writers who give this account of his end.

He was buried in the Church of St. Florentin at Amboise, and it is not known that any monument was erected over him. In 1808 the church was destroyed; in 1863 Arsine Houssaye, with others, made a search for the grave of Leonardo, and it is believed that his remains were found. In 1873 a noble monument was erected in Milan to the memory of Da Vinci. It is near the entrance to the Arcade of Victor Emmanuel: the statue of the master stands on a high pedestal in a thoughtful attitude, the head bowed down and the arms crossed on the breast. Below are other statues and rich bas-reliefs, and one inscription speaks of him as the “Renewer of the Arts and Sciences.”

Many of his writings are in the libraries of Europe in manuscript form: his best known work is the “Trattato della Pittura,” and has been translated into English. As an engineer his canal of Mortesana was enough to give him fame; as an artist he may be called the “Poet of Painters,” and, if those who followed him surpassed him, it should be remembered that it is easier to advance in a path once opened than to discover a new path. Personally he was much beloved, and, though he lived when morals were at a low estimate, he led a proper and reputable life. His pictures were pure in their spirit, and he seemed only to desire the progress of art and science, and it is a pleasure to read and learn of him, as it is to see his works.

Other good artists of the Lombard school in the fifteenth century were Bernardino Luini (about 1460-1530), who was the best pupil of Leonardo, Giovanni Antonio Beltraffio (1467-1516), Gaudenzio Farrari(1484-1549), Ambrogio Borgognone (works dated about 1500), and Andrea Solario, whose age is not known.

We return now to the Florentine school at a time when the most remarkable period of its existence was about to begin. We shall speak first of Fra Bartolommeo or Baccio della Porta, also called Il Frate(1469-1517). He was born at Savignano, and studied at Florence under Cosimo Rosselli, but was much influenced by the works of Leonardo da Vinci. This painter became famous for the beauty of his pictures of the Madonna, and at the time when the great Savonarola went to Florence Bartolommeo was employed in the Convent of San Marco, where the preacher lived. The artist became the devoted friend of the preacher, and, when the latter was seized, tortured, and burned, Bartolommeo became a friar, and left his pictures to be finished by his pupil Albertinelli. For four years he lived the most austere life, and did not touch his brush: then his superior commanded him to resume his art; but the painter had no interest in it. About this time Raphael sought him out, and became his friend; he also instructed the monk in perspective, and in turn Raphael learned from him, for Fra Bartolommeo was the first artist who used lay figures in arranging his draperies; he also told Raphael some secrets of colors.

About 1513 Bartolommeo went to Rome, and after his return to his convent he began what promised to be a wonderful artistic career; but he only lived four years more, and the amount of his work was so small that his pictures are now rare. His madonnas, saints, and angels are holy in their effect; his representations of architecture are grand, and while his works are not strong or powerful, they give much pleasure to those who see them.

Michael Angelo Buonarroti was born at the Castle of Caprese in 1475. His father, who was of a noble family of Florence, was then governor of Caprese and Chiusi, and, when the Buonarroti household returned to Florence, the little Angelo was left with his nurse on one of his father’s estates at Settignano. The father and husband of his nurse were stone-masons, and thus in infancy the future artist was in the midst of blocks of stone and marble and the implements which he later used with so much skill. For many years rude sketches were shown upon the walls of the nurse’s house made by her baby charge, and he afterward said that he imbibed a love for marble with his earliest food.

Fig 38 Fig. 38.—Portrait of
Michael Angelo Buonarroti.

At the proper age Angelo was taken to Florence and placed in school; but he spent his time mostly in drawing, and having made the acquaintance of Francesco Granacci, at that time a pupil with Ghirlandajo, he borrowed from him designs and materials by which to carry on his beloved pursuits. Michael Angelo’s desire to become an artist was violently opposed by his father and his uncles, for they desired him to be a silk and woollen merchant, and sustain the commercial reputation of the family. But so determined was he that finally his father yielded, and in 1488 placed him in the studio of Ghirlandajo. Here the boy of thirteen worked with great diligence; he learned how to prepare colors and to lay the groundwork of frescoes, and he was set to copy drawings. Very soon he wearied of this, and began to make original designs after his own ideas. At one time he corrected a drawing of his master’s: when he saw this, sixty years later, he said, “I almost think that I knew more of art in my youth than I do in my old age.”

When Michael Angelo went to Ghirlandajo, that master was employed on the restoration of the choir of Santa Maria Novella, so that the boy came at once into the midst of important work. One day he drew a picture of the scaffolding and all that belonged to it, with the painters at work thereon: when his master saw it he exclaimed, “He already understands more than I do myself.” This excellence in the scholar roused the jealousy of the master, as well as of his other pupils, and it was a relief to Michael Angelo when, in answer to a request from Lorenzo de Medici, he and Francesco Granacci were named by Ghirlandajo as his two most promising scholars, and were then sent to the Academy which the duke had established. The art treasures which Lorenzo gave for the use of the students were arranged in the gardens of San Marco, and here, under the instruction of the old Bertoldo, Angelo forgot painting in his enthusiasm for sculpture. He first copied the face of a faun; but he changed it somewhat, and opened the mouth so that the teeth could be seen. When Lorenzo visited the garden he praised the work, but said, “You have made your faun so old, and yet you have left him all his teeth; you should have known that at such an advanced age there are generally some wanting.” The next time he came there was a gap in the teeth, and so well done that he was delighted. This work is now in the Uffizi Gallery.

Lorenzo now sent for the father of Angelo, and asked that the son might live in the Medici palace under his own care. Somewhat reluctantly the father consented, and the duke gave him an office in the custom-house. From this time for three years, Angelo sat daily at the duke’s table, and was treated as one of his own family; he was properly clothed, and had an allowance of five ducats a month for pocket-money. It was the custom with Lorenzo to give an entertainment every day; he took the head of the table, and whoever came first had a seat next him. It often happened that Michael Angelo had this place. Lorenzo was the head of Florence, and Florence was the head of art, poetry, and all scholarly thought. Thus, in the home of the Medici, the young artist heard learned talk upon all subjects of interest; he saw there all the celebrated men who lived in the city or visited it, and his life so near Lorenzo, for a thoughtful youth, as he was, amounted to an education.

The society of Florence at this time was not of a high moral tone, and in the year in which Michael Angelo entered the palace, a monk called Savonarola came to Florence to preach against the customs and the crimes of the city. Michael Angelo was much affected by this, and throughout his long life remembered Savonarola with true respect and affection, and his brother, Leonardo Buonarroti, was so far influenced that he withdrew from the world and became a Dominican monk.

Michael Angelo’s diligence was great; he not only studied sculpture, but he found time to copy some of the fine old frescoes in the Church of the Carmine. He gave great attention to the study of anatomy, and he was known throughout the city for his talents, and for his pride and bad temper. He held himself aloof from his fellow-pupils, and one day, in a quarrel with Piètro Torrigiano, the latter gave Angelo a blow and crushed his nose so badly that he was disfigured for life. Torrigiano was banished for this offence and went to England; he ended his life in a Spanish prison.

In the spring of 1492 Lorenzo de Medici died. Michael Angelo was deeply grieved at the loss of his best friend; he left the Medici palace, and opened a studio in his father’s house, where he worked diligently for two years, making a statue of Hercules and two madonnas. After two years there came a great snow-storm, and Piero de Medici sent for the artist to make a snow statue in his court-yard. He also invited Michael Angelo to live again in the palace, and the invitation was accepted; but all was so changed there that he embraced the first opportunity to leave, and during a political disturbance fled from the city with two friends, and made his way to Venice. There he met the noble Aldovrandi of Bologna, who invited the sculptor to his home, where he remained about a year, and then returned to his studio in Florence.

Soon after this he made a beautiful, sleeping Cupid, and when the young Lorenzo de Medici saw it he advised Michael Angelo to bury it in the ground for a season, and thus make it look like an antique marble; after this was done, Lorenzo sent it to Rome and sold it to the Cardinal Riario, and gave the sculptor thirty ducats. In some way the truth of the matter reached the ears of the Cardinal, who sent his agent to Florence to find the artist. When Michael Angelo heard that two hundred ducats had been paid for his Cupid, he knew that he had been deceived. The Cardinal’s agent invited him to go to Rome, and he gladly went. The oldest existing writing from the hand of Michael Angelo is the letter which he wrote to Lorenzo to inform him of his arrival in Rome. He was then twenty-one years old, and spoke with joy of all the beautiful things he had seen.

Not long after he reached Rome he made the statue of the “Drunken Bacchus,” now in the Uffizi Gallery, and then the Virgin Mary sitting near the place of the cross and holding the body of the dead Christ. The art-term for this subject is “La Pietà.” From the time that Michael Angelo made this beautiful work he was the first sculptor of the world, though he was but twenty-four years old. The Pietà was placed in St. Peter’s Church, where it still remains. The next year he returned to Florence. He was occupied with both painting and sculpture, and was soon employed on his “David,” one of his greatest works. This statue weighed eighteen thousand pounds, and its removal from the studio in which it was made to the place where it was to stand, next the gate of the Palazzo Vecchio, was a difficult undertaking. It was at last put in place on May 18, 1504; there it remained until a few years ago, when, on account of its crumbling from the effect of the weather, it was removed to the Academy of Fine Arts by means of a railroad built for the purpose.

About this time a rivalry sprang up between Michael Angelo and Leonardo da Vinci. They were very unlike in their characters and mode of life. Michael Angelo was bitter, ironical, and liked to be alone; Leonardo loved to be gay and to see the world; Michael Angelo lived so that when he was old he said, “Rich as I am, I have always lived like a poor man;” Leonardo enjoyed luxury, and kept a fine house, with horses and servants. They had entered into a competition which was likely to result in serious trouble, when Pope Julius II. summoned Michael Angelo to Rome. The Pope gave him an order to build him a splendid tomb; but the enemies of the sculptor made trouble for him, and one morning he was refused admission to the Pope’s palace. He then left Rome, sending this letter to the Pope: “Most Holy Father, I was this morning driven from the palace by the order of your Holiness. If you require me in future you can seek me elsewhere than at Rome.”

Then he went to Florence, and the Pope sent for him again and again; but he did not go. Meantime he finished his design, and received the commission that he and Leonardo had striven for, which was to decorate the hall of the Grand Council with pictures. At last, in 1506, the Pope was in Bologna, and again sent for Michael Angelo. He went, and was forgiven for his offence, and received an order for a colossal statue of the Pope in bronze. When this was finished in 1508, and put before the Church of St. Petronio, Michael Angelo returned to Florence. He had not made friends in Bologna; his forbidding manner did not encourage others to associate with him; but we now know from his letters that he had great trials. His family was poor, and all relied on him; indeed, his life was full of care and sadness.

In 1508 he was again summoned to Rome by the Pope, who insisted that he should paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in the Vatican. Michael Angelo did not wish to do this, as he had done no great painting. It proved to be one of his most famous works; but he had a great deal of trouble in it. On one occasion the Pope threatened to throw the artist from the scaffolding. The Pope complained also that the pictures looked poor; to this the artist replied: “They are only poor people whom I have painted there, and did not wear gold on their garments.” His subjects were from the Bible. When the artist would have a leave of absence to go to Florence, the Pope got so angry that he struck him; but, in spite of all, this great painting was finished in 1512. Grimm, in his life of Michael Angelo, says: “It needed the meeting of these two men; in the one such perseverance in requiring, and in the other such power of fulfilling, to produce this monument of human art.”

Fig 39 Fig. 39.—The Prophet Jeremiah. By M. Angelo.
From the Sistine Chapel.

It is impossible here to follow, step by step, the life and works of this master. Among the other great things which he did are the tomb of Julius II. in the Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli, in Rome, of which the famous statue of Moses makes a part (Fig. 40).

Fig 40 Fig. 40.—Statue of Moses.
By M. Angelo.

He made the statues in the Medici Chapel in the Church of San Lorenzo, in Florence, the painting of the Last Judgment on a wall of the Sistine Chapel, and many works as an architect; for he was called upon to attend to fortifications both in Florence and Rome, and at last, as his greatest work of this sort, he was the architect of St. Peter’s at Rome. Many different artists had had a share in this work; but as it now is Michael Angelo may be counted as its real architect. His works are numerous and only a small part of them is here mentioned; but I have spoken of those by which he is most remembered. His life, too, was a stormy one for many reasons that we have not space to tell. While he lived there were wars and great changes in Italy; he served also under nine popes, and during his life thirteen men occupied the papal chair. Besides being great as a painter, an architect, and a sculptor, he was a poet, and wrote sonnets well worthy of such a genius as his. His whole life was so serious and sad that it gives one joy to know that in his old age he formed an intimate friendship with Vittoria Colonna, a wonderful woman, who made a sweet return to him for all the tender devotion which he lavished upon her.

Italians associate the name of Michael Angelo with those of the divine poet Dante and the painter Raphael, and these three are spoken of as the three greatest men of their country in what are called the modern days. Michael Angelo died at Rome in 1564, when eighty-nine years old. He desired to be buried in Florence; but his friends feared to let this be known lest the Pope should forbid his removal. He was therefore buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles; but his nephew, Leonardo Buonarroti, conveyed his remains to Florence secretly, disguised as a bale of merchandise. At Florence, on a Sunday night, his body was borne to Santa Croce, in a torchlight procession, and followed by many thousands of citizens. There his friends once more gazed upon the face which had not been seen in Florence for thirty years; he looked as if quietly sleeping. Some days later a splendid memorial service was held in San Lorenzo, attended by all the court, the artists, scholars, and eminent men of the city. An oration was pronounced; rare statues and paintings were collected in the church; all the shops of the city were closed; and the squares were filled with people.

Above his grave in Santa Croce, where he lies near Dante, Machiavelli, Galileo, and many other great men, the Duke and Leonardo Buonarroti erected a monument. It has statues of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, and a bust of the great man who sleeps beneath.

In the court of the Uffizi his statue stands together with those of other great Florentines. His house in the Ghibelline Street now belongs to the city of Florence, and contains many treasured mementoes of his life and works; it is open to all who wish to visit it. In 1875 a grand festival was held in Florence to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of his birth. The ceremonies were very impressive, and at that time some documents which related to his life, and had never been opened, were, by command of Victor Emmanuel, given to proper persons to be examined.

Thus it is that the great deeds of great men live on and on, through all time, and it is a joy to know that though the fourscore and nine years of the life of this artist had much of care and sorrow in them, his name and memory are still cherished, and must continue to be, while from his life many lessons may be drawn to benefit and encourage others—lessons which we cannot here write out; but they teach patience, industry, and faithfulness to duty, while they also warn us to avoid the bitterness and roughness which are blemishes on the memory of this great, good man.

Daniele de Volterra (1509-1566) was the best scholar of Michael Angelo. His principal pictures are the “Descent from the Cross,” in the Church of Trinità di Monti, in Rome, and the “Massacre of the Innocents,” in the Uffizi Gallery; both are celebrated works.

The next important Florentine painter was Andrea del Sarto (1488-1530). His family name was Vannucchi; but because his father was a tailor, the Italian term for one of his trade, un sarto, came to be used for the son. Early in life Andrea was a goldsmith, as were so many artists; but, when he was able to study painting under Pietro di Cosimo, he became devoted to it, and soon developed his own style, which was very soft and pleasing. His pictures cannot be called great works of art, but they are favorites with a large number of people. He succeeded in fresco-painting, and decorated several buildings in Florence, among them the Scalzo, which was a place where the Barefooted Friars held their meetings, and was named from them, as they are called Scalzi. These frescoes are now much injured; but they are thought his best works of this kind.

Probably Andrea del Sarto would have come to be a better painter if he had been a happier man. His wife, of whom he was very fond, was a mean, selfish woman who wished only to make a great show, and did not value her husband’s talents except for the money which they brought him. She even influenced him to desert his parents, to whom he had ever been a dutiful son. About 1518 Francis I., king of France, invited Andrea to Paris to execute some works for him. The painter went, and was well established there and very popular, when his wife insisted that he should return to Florence. Francis I. was very unwilling to spare him, but Andrea dared not refuse to go to his wife; so he solemnly took an oath to return to Paris and bring his wife, so that he could remain as long as pleased the king, and then that sovereign consented. Francis also gave the artist a large sum of money to buy for him all sorts of beautiful objects.

When Andrea reached Florence his wife refused to go to France, and persuaded him to give her the king’s money. She soon spent it, and Andrea, who lived ten years more, was very unhappy, while the king never forgave him, and to this day this wretched story must be told, and continues the remembrance of his dishonesty. After all he had sacrificed for his wife, when he became very ill, in 1530, of some contagious disease, she deserted him. He died alone, and with no prayer or funeral was buried in the Convent of the Nunziata, where he had painted some of his frescoes.

Fig 41 Fig. 41.—The Madonna del Sacco. By Andrea del Sarto.

His pictures are very numerous; they are correct in drawing, very softly finished, and have a peculiar gray tone of color. He painted a great number of Holy Families, one of which is called the “Madonna del Sacco,” because St. Joseph is leaning on a sack (Fig. 41). This is in the convent where he is buried. His best work is called the “Madonna di San Francesco” and hangs in the tribune of the Uffizi Gallery. This is a most honorable place, for near it are pictures by Michael Angelo, Raphael, Titian, and other great painters, as well as some very celebrated statues, such as the “Venus de Medici” and the “Dancing Faun.” Andrea del Sarto’s pictures of the Madonna and Child are almost numberless; they are sweet, attractive works, as are also his St. Barbara, St. Agnes, and others of his single figures.

We will now leave the Florentine school of the sixteenth century, and speak of the great master of the Roman school, Raphael Sanzio, or Santi (1483-1520), who was born at Urbino on Good Friday. His father was a painter, and Raphael showed his taste for art very early in life. Both his parents died while he was still a child, and though he must have learned something from seeing his father and other painters at their work, we say that Perugino was his first master, for he was but twelve years old when he entered the studio of that painter in Perugia.

Here he remained more than eight years, and about the time of leaving painted the very celebrated picture called “Lo Sposalizio,” or the Marriage of the Virgin, now in the Brera at Milan. This picture is famous the world over, and is very important in the life of the painter, because it shows the highest point he reached under Perugino, or during what is called his first manner in painting. Before this he had executed a large number of beautiful pictures, among which was the so-called “Staffa Madonna.” This is a circular picture and represents the Virgin walking in a springtime landscape. It remained in the Staffa Palace in Perugia three hundred and sixty-eight years, and in 1871 was sold to the Emperor of Russia for seventy thousand dollars.

In 1504 Raphael returned to Urbino, where he became the favorite of the court, and was much employed by the ducal family. To this time belong the “St. George Slaying the Dragon” and the “St. Michael Attacking Satan,” now in the gallery of the Louvre. But the young artist soon grew weary of the narrowness of his life, and went to Florence, where, amid the treasures of art with which that city was crowded, he felt as if he was in an enchanted land. It is worth while to recount the wonderful things he saw; they were the cathedral with the dome of Brunelleschi, the tower of Giotto, the marbles and bronzes of Donatello, the baptistery gates of Ghiberti, the pictures of Masaccio, Ghirlandajo, Fra Angelico, and many other older masters, while Michael Angelo and Leonardo were surprising themselves and all others with their beautiful works.

At this time the second manner of Raphael begun. During his first winter here he painted the so-called “Madonna della Gran Duca,” now in the Pitti Gallery, and thus named because the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand III., carried it with him on all his journeys, and said his prayers before it at morning and evening. He made a visit to Urbino in 1505, and wherever he was he worked continually, and finished a great number of pictures, which as yet were of religious subjects with few and unimportant exceptions.

Fig 42 Fig. 42.—Portrait of Raphael.
Painted by Himself.

When he returned to Florence in 1506, the cartoon of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Battle of the Standard” and Michael Angelo’s “Bathing Soldiers” revealed a new world of art to Raphael. He saw that heroic, exciting scenes could be represented by painting, and that vigor and passion could speak from the canvas as powerfully as Christian love and resignation. Still he did not attempt any new thing immediately. In Florence he moved in the best circles. He received orders for some portraits of nobles and wealthy men, as well as for madonnas and Holy Families. Before long he visited Bologna, and went again to Urbino, which had become a very important city under the reign of Duke Guidobaldo. The king of England, Henry VIII., had sent to this duke the decoration of the Order of the Garter. In return for this honor, the duke sent the king rich gifts, among which was a picture of St. George and the Dragon by Raphael.

While at Urbino, at this time, he painted his first classic subject, the “Three Graces.” Soon after, he returned the third time to Florence, and now held much intercourse with Fra Bartolommeo, who gave the younger artist valuable instruction as to his color and drapery. In 1508, among a great number of pictures he painted the madonna which is called “La Belle Jardinière,” and is now one of the treasures of the Louvre. The Virgin is pictured in the midst of a flowery landscape, and it has been said that a beautiful flower-girl to whom Raphael was attached was his model for the picture. This picture is also a landmark in the history of Raphael, for it shows the perfection of his second manner, and the change that had come over him from his Florentine experience and associations. His earlier pictures had been full of a sweet, unearthly feeling, and a color which could be called spiritual was spread over them; now his madonnas were like beautiful, earthly mothers, his colors were deep and rich, and his landscapes were often replaced by architectural backgrounds which gave a stately air where all before had been simplicity. His skill in grouping, in color, and in drapery was now marvellous, and when in 1508 the Pope, who had seen some of his works, summoned him to Rome, he went, fully prepared for the great future which was before him, and now began his third, or Roman manner of painting.

This pope was Julius II., who held a magnificent court and was ambitious for glory in every department of life—as a temporal as well as a spiritual ruler, and as a patron of art and letters as well as in his office of the Protector of the Holy Church. He had vast designs for the adornment of Rome, and immediately employed Raphael in the decoration of the first of the Stanze, or halls of the Vatican, four of which he ornamented with magnificent frescoes before his death. He also executed wall-paintings in the Chigi Palace, and in a chapel of the Church of Santa Maria della Pace.

With the exception of a short visit to Florence, Raphael passed the remainder of his life in Rome. The amount of work which he did as an architect, sculptor, and painter was marvellous, and would require the space of a volume to follow it, and name all his achievements, step by step, so I shall only tell you of some of his best-known works and those which are most often mentioned.

While he was working upon the halls of the Vatican Julius II. died. He was succeeded by Leo X., who also was a generous patron to Raphael, who thus suffered no loss of occupation from the change of popes. The artist became very popular and rich; he had many pupils, and was assisted by them in his great frescoes, not only in the Vatican, but also in the Farnesina Villa or Chigi Palace. Raphael had the power to attach men to him with devoted affection, and his pupils gave him personal service gladly; he was often seen in the street with numbers of them in attendance, just as the nobles were followed by their squires and pages. He built himself a house in a quarter of the city called the Borgo, not far from the Church of St. Peter’s, and during the remainder of his life was attended by prosperity and success.

One of the important works which he did for Leo X. was the making of cartoons, or designs to be executed in tapestry for the decoration of the Sistine Chapel, where Michael Angelo had painted his great frescoes. The Pope ordered these tapestries to be woven in the looms of Flanders, from the richest materials, and a quantity of gold thread was used in them. They were completed and sent to Rome in 1519, and were exhibited to the people the day after Christmas, when all the city flocked to see them. In 1527, when the Constable de Bourbon allowed the French soldiers to sack Rome, these tapestries were carried away. In 1553 they were restored; but one was missing, and it is believed that it had been destroyed for the sake of the gold thread which was in it. Again, in 1798, the French carried them away and sold them to a Jew in Leghorn, who burned one of the pieces; but his gain in gold was so little that he preserved the others, and Pius VII. bought them and restored them to the Vatican. The cartoons, however, are far more important than the tapestries, because they are the work of Raphael himself. The weavers at Arras tossed them aside after using them, and some were torn; but a century later the artist Rubens learned that they existed, and advised King Charles I. of England to buy them. This he did, and thus the cartoons met with as many ups and downs as the tapestries had had. When they reached England they were in strips; the workmen had cut them for their convenience. After the king was executed Cromwell bought the cartoons for three hundred pounds. When Charles II. was king and in great need of money he was sorely tempted to sell them to Louis XIV., who coveted them, and wished to add them to the treasures of France; but Lord Danby persuaded Charles to keep them. In 1698 they were barely saved from fire at Whitehall, and finally, by command of William III., they were properly repaired and a room was built at Hampton Court to receive them, by the architect, Sir Christopher Wren. At present they are in the South Kensington Museum, London. Of the original eleven only seven remain.

Fig 43 Fig. 43.—The Sistine Madonna.

Both Henry VIII. and Francis I. had received presents of pictures by Raphael: we have told of the occasion when the St. George was sent to England. The “Archangel Michael” and the “Large Holy Family of the Louvre” were given to Francis I. by Lorenzo de Medici, who sent them overland on mules to the Palace of Fontainebleau. Francis was so charmed with these works that he presented Raphael so large a sum that he was unwilling to accept it without sending the king still other pictures; so he sent the sovereign another painting, and to the king’s sister, Queen Margaret of Navarre, he gave a picture of St. Margaret overcoming the dragon. Then Francis gave Raphael many thanks and another rich gift of money. Besides this he invited Raphael to come to his court, as did also the king of England; but the artist preferred to remain where he was already so prosperous and happy.

About 1520 Raphael painted the famous Sistine Madonna, now the pride of the Dresden Gallery. It is named from St. Sixtus, for whose convent, at Piacenza, it was painted: the picture of this saint, too, is in the lower part of the picture, with that of St. Barbara. No sketch or drawing of this work was ever found, and it is believed that the great artist, working as if inspired, sketched it and finished it on the canvas where it is. It was originally intended for a drappellone, or procession standard, but the monks used it for an altar-piece (Fig. 43).

While Raphael accomplished so much as a painter, he by no means gave all his time or thought to a single art. He was made superintendent of the building of St. Peter’s in 1514, and made many architectural drawings for that church; he was also much interested in the excavations of ancient Rome, and made immense numbers of drawings of various sorts. As a sculptor he made models and designs, and there is in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in Rome, a statue of Jonah sitting on a whale, said to have been modelled by Raphael and put into marble by Lorenzetto Latti.

Raphael was also interested in what was happening outside the world of art; he corresponded with scholars of different countries, and sent men to make drawings of places and objects which he could not go to see. He was also generous to those less fortunate than himself, and gave encouragement and occupation to many needy men.

At one time he expected to marry Maria de Bibiena, a niece of Cardinal Bibiena; but she died before the time for the marriage came.

While Raphael was making his great successes in Rome, other famous artists also were there, and there came to be much discussion as to their merits, and especially as to the comparative worth of Michael Angelo and Raphael. At last, when this feeling of rivalry was at its height, the Cardinal Giulio de Medici, afterward Pope Clement VII., gave orders to Raphael and Sebastian del Piombo to paint two large pictures for the Cathedral of Narbonne. The subject of Sebastian’s picture was the “Raising of Lazarus,” and it has always been said that Michael Angelo made the drawing for it.

Raphael’s picture was the “Transfiguration,” and proved to be his last work, for before it was finished he was attacked by fever, and died on Good Friday, 1620, which was the thirty-seventh anniversary of his birth. All Rome mourned for him; his body was laid in state, and the Transfiguration was placed near it. Those who had known him went to weep while they gazed upon his face for the last time.

He had chosen his grave in the Pantheon, near to that of Maria Bibiena, his betrothed bride. The ceremonies of his burial were magnificent, and his body was followed by an immense throng dressed in mourning. Above his tomb was placed an inscription in Latin, written by Pietro Bembo, which has for its last sentence these words: “This is that Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and to die when he died.” Raphael had also requested Lorenzo Lorenzetti to make a statue of the Virgin to be placed above his resting-place. He left a large estate, and gave his works of art to his pupils Giulio Romano and Francesco Penni; his house to Cardinal Bibiena; a sum to buy another house, the rent of which should pay for twelve masses to be said monthly, for the repose of his soul, from the altar near his grave; this was observed until 1705, when the income from the house was not enough to support these services.

For many years there was a skull at the Academy of St. Luke, in Rome, which was called that of Raphael; but there was no proof of this, and in 1833 some antiquarians received the consent of the Pope to their searching for the bones of Raphael in his grave in the Pantheon. After five days of careful work, and removing the pavement in several places, the skeleton of the great master was found, and with it such proofs of its being his as left no room for doubt. Then a second great funeral service was held; the Pope, Gregory XVI., gave a marble sarcophagus in which the bones were placed, and reverently restored to their first resting-place. More than three thousand persons were present at the service, including artists of all nations, as well as Romans of the highest rank. They moved in procession about the church, bearing torches in their hands, and keeping time to beautiful chants from an invisible choir.

Fig 44 Fig. 44.—Saint Cecilia Listening to the Singing of Angels. By Raphael.

Raphael left two hundred and eighty-seven pictures and five hundred and seventy-six studies and drawings, and all done in so short a life. In considering him and the story of his life, we find that it was not any one trait or talent that made his greatness; but it was the rare union of gifts of genius with a personal charm that won all hearts to him. His famous picture of “St. Cecilia,” with its sweetness of expression and lovely color—its union of earthly beauty with spiritual feeling, is a symbol of the harmonious and varied qualities of this prince of painters (Fig. 44).

Giulio Romano (1492-1556) was the favorite pupil of Raphael, and the heir of a part of his estate; but his remaining works would not repay us for a study of them.

Of course, the influence of so great a master as Raphael was felt outside of his own school, and, in a sense, all Italian art of his time was modified by him. His effect was very noticeable upon a Sienese painter,Bazzi, or Razzi, called Il Sodoma (1477-1549), who went to Rome and was under the immediate influence of Raphael’s works. He was almost unrivalled in his power to represent beautiful female heads.

His important works were frescoes, many of which are in the churches of Siena. Doubtless Bazzi was lost in the shadow of the great Raphael, and had he existed at a time a little more distant from that great man, he would have been more famous in his life.

During the sixteenth century the Venetian school reached its highest excellence. The great difference between it and the school of Florence was, that the latter made beauty of form the one object of its art, while the Venetian painters combined with grace and ease the added charm of rich, brilliant color.

Giorgio Barbarelli, called Giorgione (1477-1511), was the first great artist of Venice who cast off the rigid manner of the Bellini school, and used his brush and colors freely, guided only by his own ideas, and inspired by his own genius.

He was born at Castelfranco, and was early distinguished for his personal beauty. Giorgione means George the Great, and this title was given him on account of his noble figure. He was fond of music, played the lute well, and composed many of the songs he sang; he had also an intense love of beauty—in short, his whole nature was full of sentiment and harmony, and with all these gifts he was a man of pure life. Mrs. Jameson says of him: “If Raphael be the Shakspeare, then Giorgione may be styled the Byron of painting.”

There is little that can be told of his life. He was devoted to his art, and passionately in love with a young girl, of whom he told one of his artist friends, Morto da Feltri. This last proved a traitor to Giorgione, for he too admired the same girl, and induced her to forsake Giorgione, and go away with him. The double treachery of his beloved and his friend caused the painter such grief that he could not overcome his sadness, and when the plague visited Venice in 1511, he fell a victim to it in the very flower of his age.

Much of the work of Giorgione has disappeared, for he executed frescoes which the damp atmosphere of Venice has destroyed or so injured that they are of no value. His smaller pictures were not numerous, and there is much dispute as to the genuineness of those that are called by his name. He painted very few historical subjects; his works are principally portraits, sibyls, and religious pictures. Among the last, the altar-piece at Castelfranco holds the first place; it represents the Virgin and Child between Sts. Francis and Liberale, and was painted before 1504.

Giorgione gave an elevated tone to his heads and figures; it seemed as if he painted only the beings of a superior race, and as if they must all be fitted to do great deeds. His fancy was very fruitful, and in some of his works he pictured demons, sea-monsters, dogs, apes, and such creatures with great effect. In clearness and warmth of color Giorgione is at the head of the Venetian painters; in truth, it seems as if the color was within them and showed itself without in a deep, luminous glow.

The most important of Giorgione’s scholars was called Fra Sebastiano del Piombo; his real name was Luciani, and he was a native of Venice (1485-1547). This artist excelled in his coloring and in the effect he gave to the atmosphere of his work, making it a broad chiaro-scuro, or clear-obscure, as it really means. This is an art term which is frequently used, and denotes a sort of mistiness which has some light in it, and is gradually shaded off, either into a full light or a deep shadow. But from the earliest efforts of this artist, it was plain that he had no gift of composition, neither could he give his pictures an elevated tone or effect. For this reason his portraits were his best works, and these were very fine.

A portrait of his in the National Gallery, London, and another in the Städel Gallery at Frankfort, are both said to be of Giulia Gonzaga, the most beautiful woman of her day in Italy. In 1553, Ippolito de Medici, who was madly in love with her, sent Sebastian with an armed force to Fondi to paint her portrait; it was finished in a month, and was said to be the best ever painted by Sebastian. It was sent to France as a gift to Francis I., and its present abiding-place is not known.

While Raphael was at the height of his fame in Rome, the banker Chigi invited Sebastian to that city, and in the Farnesina he painted works which were very inferior beside Raphael’s. Then Sebastian tried to improve by study under Michael Angelo. This last great master would not compete with Raphael himself, but he was very jealous of the fame of the younger man, and it is said that he aided Sebastian, and even made his designs for him, in the hopes that thus he might eclipse Raphael. We have spoken of one large picture of the “Raising of Lazarus” said to have been made from Michael Angelo’s design, which Sebastian colored; it was painted in competition with Raphael’s Transfiguration, and even beside that most splendid work the Lazarus was much admired. This is now in the National Gallery, London.

After Raphael’s death Sebastian was called the first painter in Rome, and was made a piombatore. It was necessary to be an ecclesiastic to hold this office, and it is on account of this that he gave up his real name, and became a friar. He wrote to Michael Angelo: “If you were to see me as an honorable lord, you would laugh at me. I am the finest ecclesiastic in all Rome. Such a thing had never come into my mind. But God be praised in eternity! He seemed especially to have thus decreed it. And, therefore, so be it.” It is not strange that he should have been so resigned to a high office and a salary of eight hundred scudi a year!

Another Venetian, of the same time with Giorgione, was Jacopo Palma, called Il Vecchio, or the elder (about 1480-1528). He was born near Bergamo, but as an artist he was a Venetian. We do not know with whom he studied, and he was not a very great man, nor was he employed by the state—but he dwelt much in the palaces of noble families and did much work for them. When he died he left forty-four unfinished paintings.

His female figures are his best works, and one of his fine pictures at Dresden, called the “Three Graces,” is said to represent his daughters. The work which is usually called his masterpiece is an altar-piece in the Church of Santa Maria Formosa, in Venice; the St. Barbara in the centre is very beautiful, and is said to have been painted from his daughter Violante.

Fig 45 Fig. 45.—Portrait of Titian.
From the etching by Agostino Caracci.

The greatest master of the Venetian school is called Titian, though his real name was Tiziano Vecelli, and sometimes Cadore is added to this, because of his having been born in that village (1477-1576). His family was noble and their castle was called Lodore, and was in the midst of a large estate surrounded by small houses; in one of these last, which is still preserved, the painter was born.

As a child he was fond of drawing, and so anxious to color his pictures that he squeezed the juices from certain flowers, and used them as paints. When but nine years old he was taken to Venice to study, and from this time was called a Venetian; he is said by some writers to be the first portrait-painter of the world.

He first studied under Sebastian Zuccato, and then under the Bellini, where he was a fellow-pupil with Giorgione, and the two became devoted friends, at the time when they were just coming to be men and were filled with glad hopes of future greatness. After a time, when Titian was about thirty years old, the two were employed on the “Fondaco dei Tedeschi,” or the exchange for German merchants in Venice. Here the frescoes of Titian were more admired than those of Giorgione, and the latter became so jealous that they ceased to live together, as they had done, and there is cause for believing that they were never good friends again. But after the early death of Giorgione, Titian completed the works he had left unfinished, and, no doubt, sincerely mourned for him.

One of the most celebrated pictures by Titian is the Presentation in the Temple, which was painted for the Church of the Brotherhood of Charity, called in Italian “La Scuola della Carità;” this church is now the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, where the picture still remains. It represents the Virgin Mary when three years old entering the temple and the high priest receiving her at the entrance. All around below the steps is a company of friends who have been invited by her father and mother to attend them on this important occasion. The picture is full of life and action, and is gorgeous in its coloring. Several of the figures are said to be portraits, one being that of Titian himself.

Among his female portraits, that of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, is celebrated; also one called “Flora;” both of these are in the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, while near by, in the Pitti, is “La Bella,” or the beautiful lady of Titian. He also made many portraits of his daughter Lavinia, who was very beautiful; sometimes he represented her as a fruit or flower-girl, again as Herodias and in various characters (Fig. 46). One of the finest of these is at Berlin, where she is in a very rich dress, and holds up a plate of fruit; it is one of his best works.

Titian’s fame extended throughout Italy, and even all over Europe, and the Duke of Ferrara invited him to his court. The artist went, and there painted two very famous mythological pictures, besides portraits and other works. One of these important subjects was “Bacchus and Ariadne,” and it is now in the National Gallery, London; the second was a Venus, surrounded by more than sixty children and cupids; some are climbing trees, others shoot arrows in the air, while still others twine their arms around each other; this is now in Madrid.

While at Ferrara the Pope, Leo X., asked Titian to go to Rome; but he longed for his home—he wished for his yearly visit to Cadore, and he declined the honorable invitation, and returned to Venice. In 1530 Titian’s wife died, leaving him with two sons, Pomponio and Orazio, and his daughter, Lavinia. In this same sad year the Emperor Charles V. and Pope Clement VII. met at Bologna. All the most brilliant men of Germany and Italy were also there, and Titian was summoned to paint portraits of the two great heads of Church and State, and of many of the notable men among their followers.

Fig 46 Fig. 46.—Portrait of Lavinia. By Titian.

When the painter returned to Venice he was loaded with honors and riches. He bought a new house at Berigrande, opposite the island of Murano; it commanded fine views and its garden was beautiful. The landscapes of his pictures soon grew better than they had been, and no wonder, when he could always see the Friuli Alps in the distance with their snow-capped peaks rising to the clouds; nearer him was the Murano, like another city with its towers and domes, and then the canals, which at night were gay with lighted gondolas bearing fair ladies hither and thither. Here Titian entertained many people, and some of them were exalted in station. The house was called “Casa Grande,” and on one occasion, when a cardinal and others invited themselves to dine with him, Titian flung a purse to his steward, saying, “Now prepare a feast, since all the world dines with me.”

While living at “Casa Grande,” the artist saw the most glorious years of his life. It seemed that every person of note in all Europe, both men and women, desired their portraits at his hand. One only, Cosmo I., Grand Duke of Florence, refused to sit to him. If these pictures could be collected together, most of the famous persons of his time would be represented in them.

After he was sixty years old Titian made a second journey to Ferrara, Urbino, and Bologna. This time he painted a portrait of Charles V., with a favorite dog by his side. After this, in 1545, at an invitation from Pope Paul III., the great master went to Rome; while there he painted many wonderful pictures—among them, one of the pope with his two grandsons was very remarkable; it is now in the Museum of Naples. He left Rome when he was sixty-nine years old.

In 1548 Charles V. summoned Titian to Augsburg, and while there made him a count, and gave him a yearly pension of two hundred gold ducats. The emperor was very fond of Titian, and spent a good deal of time with him. On one occasion the painter dropped his brush; the emperor picked it up, and returned it to him. The etiquette of courts forbade any one to receive such a service from the sovereign, and Titian was much embarrassed, when Charles said, “Titian is worthy to be served by Cæsar,” this being one of the great ruler’s titles. Charles continued his favors to Titian through life, and when he resigned his crown, and retired to the monastery of Yuste, he took nine pictures by this master into his solitude. One of these, a portrait of the Empress Isabella, was so hung that the emperor gazed upon it when dying; this is now in the museum at Madrid, where are also many fine works by Titian, for Philip II. was his patron as his father had been.

When eighty-five years old he finished his wonderful picture of the “Martyrdom of St. Lawrence” for the Church of the Jesuits in Venice, and his old age was one of strength and mental clearness. Though he had seen great prosperity and received many honors, he had not escaped sorrow. After the death of his wife, his sister Orsa, who was very dear to him, had kept his house; she too sickened and died; his son Pomponio was a worthless fellow, and caused him much grief; Lavinia had married, and the old man was left with Orazio alone, who was a dutiful son. He also was an artist, but painted so frequently on the same canvas with his father that his works cannot be spoken of separately.

At length Titian’s work began to show his years, and some one told him that his “Annunciation” did not resemble his usual pictures. He was very angry, and, seizing a pencil, wrote upon it, “Tizianus fecit fecit”—meaning to say by this, “Truly, Titian did this!” When he was ninety-six years old he was visited by Henry III. of France, attended by a train of princes and nobles. The aged painter appeared with such grace and dignity as to excite the admiration of all, and when the king asked the price of some pictures, Titian presented them to him as one sovereign might make a gift to another who was his equal, and no more.

In 1576 the plague broke out in Venice, and both Titian and Orazio fell victims to it. Naturally the man of ninety-eight years could not recover, and, though Orazio was borne off to the hospital and cared for as well as possible, he also died. After Titian was left alone robbers entered his house while he still lived, and carried away jewels, money, and pictures. He died August 27th, and all Venice mourned for him.

There was a law that no person who died of the plague in Venice should be buried within the city; but Titian was so much honored and beloved that exception was made, and he was buried in the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa de Frari; or as it is usually called, “the Frari.” He had painted a great picture of the Assumption for this church, which has since been removed to the Academy of Venice; but another work of his, called the Pesaro altar-piece, still remains near his grave. His burial-place is marked by a simple tablet, inscribed thus: “Here lies the great Tiziano di Vecelli, rival of Zeuxis and Apelles.”

A little more than two centuries after his death the citizens of Venice determined to erect a monument to Titian, and Canova made a design for it; but political troubles interfered, and prevented the execution of the plan. In 1852 the Emperor of Austria, Ferdinand I., placed a costly monument near his grave; it consists of a Corinthian canopy beneath which is a sitting statue of the painter, while several other allegorical figures are added to increase its magnificence. This monument was dedicated with imposing ceremonies, and it is curious to note that not far away from it the sculptor Canova is buried, and his own monument is made from the design which he made for that of Titian.

Some writers consider the “Entombment of Christ,” in the Manfrini Palace, as the greatest work of Titian. At all events, it is the best existing representation of this subject, and is a picture which has had a great effect upon art; its chief feature is the general expression of sorrow which pervades the whole work.

Titian gave a new importance to landscape-painting by making backgrounds to his pictures from natural scenery, and that not as if it was merely for the sake of a background, but in a manner which showed his love for Nature, and, in fact, he often rendered it with poetical significance.

The works of Titian are very seldom sold. One subject which he oftentimes repeated was that of “Danäe” with the shower of gold falling about her; one of these was purchased by the Emperor of Russia for six hundred thousand francs. One of the most important of his religious pictures was that of “St. Peter Martyr;” this was burned in the Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice in 1868. An excellent copy of it had been for a long time in the Museum of Florence, and this was presented to the Venetians in order to repair their loss as far as possible. Victor Amadeus of Sardinia presented nine pictures by Titian to the Duke of Marlborough, and these were all destroyed in 1861 when the château of Blenheim was burned. Kugler says: “In the multifariousness of his powers Titian takes precedence of all other painters of his school; indeed, there is scarcely a line of art which in his long and very active life he did not enrich.” His last work was not quite completed by himself, and is now in the Academy of Venice. It is a Pietà, and although the hand of ninety-eight years guided the brush uncertainly, yet it has the wonderful light this master threw around his figures, and the whole is conceived with his accustomed animation.

The pupils and followers of Titian were too numerous to be spoken of one by one, and none of them were so great as to require their mention in detail here; yet they were so good that, while the other schools of Italy were decreasing in importance during the sixteenth century, that of Venice was flourishing, and some great masters still existed there. Among these was Jacopo Robusti (1512-1594), who was called, and is best known as Tintoretto, which name was given him because his father was a dyer. He studied under Titian for a time, and then he attempted to follow Michael Angelo, and it is said that his motto was, “The coloring of Titian, the drawing of Michael Angelo.” His best pictures are slightly treated, and others are coarse and unfinished in the manner of painting. His portraits seem to be his best works, probably because they are more carefully finished.

Several works of his are simply enormous; one is seventy-four by thirty feet; the school of St. Roch has fifty-seven large pictures by him, in many of which the figures are of life size. His two most famous works are the “Miracle of St. Mark,” in the Academy of Venice, and the “Crucifixion,” in the school of St. Roch. The last is, for every reason, his best work; there are crowds of people in it, on foot and on horseback, while their faces show every possible kind of expression, and their movements are infinitely varied. The immense painting mentioned above is in the Doge’s Palace, and is called “Paradise.” His daughter, Marietta Robusti (1560-1590), was a pupil of her father’s, and became so good a portrait-painter that she was invited to the Court of Spain by Philip II., but her father could not consent to a separation from her. Some excellent pictures of hers still exist, and her portraits of Marco dei Vescovi and the antiquarian Strada were celebrated pictures. When the Emperor Maximilian and the Archduke Ferdinand, each in turn, desired her presence at their courts, her father hastened to marry her to Mario Augusti, a wealthy German jeweller, upon the condition that she should remain in her father’s house. She was celebrated for her beauty, had fine musical talents, and was sprightly and enthusiastic; her father was so fond of having her with him that he sometimes allowed her to dress as a boy, and go with him to study where young girls were not admitted.

When but thirty years old Marietta Robusti died; she was buried in the Church of Santa Maria dell Orto, where are several works by her father. Both he and her husband mourned for her all their remaining days. Many pictures of Tintoretto painting his daughter’s portrait after her death have been made by later artists.

Paoli Cagliari, or Caliari, called Paul Veronese (1528-1588), was born at Verona, but as he lived mostly at Venice, he belongs to the school of that city. He was an imitator of Titian, whom he did not equal; still he was a fine painter. His excellences were in his harmonious color, his good arrangement of his figures in the foreground, and his fine architectural backgrounds. He tried to make his works magnificent, and to do this he painted festive scenes, with many figures in splendid costumes. He is buried in the Church of St. Sebastian, where there are many of his works.

In the gallery of the Louvre is his “Marriage at Cana.” It is thirty by twenty feet in size, and many of its figures are portraits. His pictures are numerous and are seen in the European galleries. The “Family of Darius,” in the National Gallery, London, cost that institution the enormous sum of thirteen thousand six hundred and fifty pounds; it was formerly in the Pisani Palace, Venice, and was said to have been left there by Veronese as payment for his entertainment during a visit he had made in the palace. In 1868, at the Demidoff sale, a portrait of his daughter sold for two thousand five hundred and twenty-four pounds.

At the close of the sixteenth century a family of a father and four sons were busy painting what may rightfully be termed the earliest genre pictures of Italy. This term is used to denote pictures that stand between historical and utterly imaginary subjects; that is to say, the representation of something that seems real to us because it is so familiar to our imagination, or because it is something that we know might have happened, that it has all the naturalness of an actual reproduction of a fact. There may be interior or landscape genre pictures. The first represent familiar in-door scenes—the latter are landscapes with animals or figures to give a life element and to tell a story.

The name of the family of which I speak was Da Ponte, but it was called Bassano, from the birth-place of Jacopo da Ponte Bassano (1510-1592), the father, who was the most important of the family. He studied in Venice, but returned to his native town. His portraits are fine; among them are those of the Doge of Venice, Ariosto, and Tasso. His works are very numerous and are seen in all galleries. He introduced landscapes and animals into most of his pictures, sometimes with great impropriety.

We come now to Antonio Allegri, called Correggio (1493-1534), who was born at the end of the fifteenth, but did his work in the beginning of the sixteenth century. His name of Correggio is that of his birth-place, and as he was not born at any of the great art centres, and did not adopt the precise manner of any school, he, with his followers, stand by themselves, and yet, because his principal works were done at Parma, he is sometimes said to be of the school of Parma.

When Correggio was thirteen years old he had learned to draw well. He studied under Andrea Mantegna and his son Francesco Mantegna. From these masters he learned to be very skilful in drawing, especially in foreshortening, or in representing objects seen aslant. But though he learned much of the science of art from his teachers, his grace and movement and his exquisite light and shade are all his own, for they did not possess these qualities.

Fig 47 Fig. 47.—Portrait of Correggio.

Foreshortening is so important that I must try to explain it; and, as Correggio is said to be the greatest master in this art since the days of the Greeks, it is quite proper for me to speak of it in connection with him. The art of foreshortening is that which makes different objects painted on a plane or flat surface appear as if they were at different distances from the eye of the person who is looking at the picture, or as scenes in nature appear, where one part is much farther off than another. To produce this effect it is often necessary to make an object—let us say, for example, an arm or a leg, look as if it was stretched forward, out of the canvas, directly toward the person who is looking at it. Now, the truth is that in order to produce this effect the object is often thrown backward in the drawing; sometimes also it is doubled up in an unnatural manner, and occupies a small space on the canvas, while it appears to be of life size when one looks at it. A “Christ in Glory” painted by Correggio in the cupola of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista, in Parma, is a fine piece of foreshortening. The head is so thrown back, and the knees are so thrown forward, that the whole figure seems to be of life size; yet if the space from the top of the head to the soles of the feet were measured, it would be found to be much less than the height of the same figure would be if it were drawn in an erect position.

I have already explained the meaning of chiaro-scuro, and this delicate manner of passing from light to shade was another quality in the works of Correggio. It is even seen in his early works, as, for instance, in the beautiful Madonna di San Francesco, now at Dresden, which he painted when he was but eighteen years old.

When this master was twenty-six years old he married Girolama Nurlini, and about the same time he was summoned to Mantua by the Duke Federigo Gonzaga. During eleven years after his marriage he was occupied with works in Mantua, and with his great frescoes at Parma. In 1530 he returned to Correggio, and there passed the remainder of his life. That he held a high position is proved by certain records of his life, among which is the fact that in 1533 he was invited to be one of the witnesses of the marriage of the Lord of Correggio.

It is said that when this painter saw one of the great works of Raphael, he exclaimed, enthusiastically and thankfully, “I, too, am a painter!” and no doubt he then felt himself moved to attempt such works as should make his name known to all the world through future centuries. When Titian saw Correggio’s frescoes at Parma, he said: “Were I not Titian, I should wish to be Correggio.” Annibale Caracci, also a great artist, said of Correggio, more than a hundred years after his death, “He was the only painter!” and declared that the children he painted seemed to breathe and smile with such grace that one was forced to smile and be happy with them.

In 1534 Correggio died of a fever, and was buried in his family tomb in the Franciscan Convent of his native city. His grave is simply marked with his name and the date of his death.

Some of his oil-paintings are very famous. One at Dresden, representing the “Nativity of the Saviour,” is called the “Notte,” or night, because the only light on the picture comes from the halo of glory around the head of the Holy Child. Correggio’s “Reading Magdalen” is in the same gallery; probably no one picture exists which has been more universally admired than this.

Fig 48 Fig. 48.—Upper Part of a Fresco by Correggio.

There was a large work of his representing “The Shepherds Adoring the Infant Saviour,” at Seville, in Spain. During the Peninsular War (1808-14) the people of that city sent many valuable things to Cadiz for safety, and this picture, on account of its size, was cut in two. By some accident the two parts were separated; but both were sold, and the purchaser of each was promised that the other portion should be given him. From this much trouble arose, because both purchasers determined to keep what they had, and each claimed that the whole belonged to him, and as they were equally obstinate, the two parts of the same work have never been reunited. Fortunately, each half makes a picture by itself.

The frescoes at Parma are the greatest works of this master, and it is very interesting to visit that quaint old city; his works are in the Cathedral, the Church of St. John the Evangelist, and in the parlor of the Convent of the Benedictine Nuns. This last is a wonderful room. The ceiling is arched and high, and painted to represent an arbor of vines with sixteen oval openings, out of which frolicsome children are peeping, as if, in passing around behind the vines, they had stopped to look down into the room. The pictures here will make you understand the effect (Figs. 48 and 49). Beneath each of these openings or lunettes is a half-circular picture of some mythological story or personage. Upon the wall of the parlor, above the mantel, there is a picture of Diana, the goddess of the moon and the protector of young animals, which is a beautiful picture.

When Correggio worked on the frescoes at the Church of St. John, he lived much in the monastery connected with it. The monks became very fond of him, and made him a member of the Congregation Cassinensi; the poet Tasso also was a member of this fraternity. This membership gave him the right to share in the masses, prayers, and alms of the community, and after his death the same offices for the repose of his soul would be performed as if he had been a true monk.

Fig 49 Fig. 49.—Lower Part of a Fresco by Correggio.

The works of Correggio are very rarely sold. The madonna in the National Gallery, London, known as “La Vierge au Panier,” was formerly in the Royal Gallery at Madrid. During the French invasion of Spain, Mr. Wallace, an English artist, obtained it. It is painted on a panel, and is 13½ inches high by 10 inches wide. In 1813 it was offered for sale in London at twelve hundred pounds. In 1825 it was sold in Paris for eighty thousand francs, and soon after sold to the National Gallery for thirty-eight hundred pounds, or nearly nineteen thousand dollars.

A copy of the “Reading Magdalen” was sold to Earl Dudley for sixteen hundred pounds, or more than seven thousand dollars.

Correggio had but few pupils, but he had many imitators. The one most worthy of mention was Francesco Mazzuoli (1503-1540), called Il Parmigiano, or Parmigianino. He was not a great painter. The “Vision of St. Jerome,” in the National Gallery, London, is one of his best works. It is said that during the sack of Rome, in 1527, he was painting the figures of the Virgin and Child in this picture, and was so engrossed by his work that the invaders entered his studio, and surrounded him before he was aware of their approach. And they, for their part, were so moved by what they saw that they went away, and left him undisturbed.

Art writers often use the term “early masters.” This denotes Michael Angelo, Raphael, and other men so great that they were very prominent in the history of art, and were imitated by so many followers that they had an unusual effect upon the world. Titian may be called the last of these great masters of the early school, and his life was so long that he lived to see a great decline in art.

The painters of the close of the sixteenth century are called “Mannerists,” which means that they adopted or imitated the manner or style of some great master who had preceded them—and this was done in so cold and spiritless a way that it may be said that true artistic inspiration was dead in Italy. No one lived who, out of his own imagination, could fix upon the wall or the canvas such scenes as would befit a poet’s dream or serve to arouse the enthusiasm of those who saw the painted story born in the artist’s brain.

About 1600, the beginning of the seventeenth century, there arose a new movement in Italian art, which resulted in forming two schools between which there came to be much bitterness of feeling, and even deadly hatred. On one side there were those who wished to continue the study and imitation of the works of the old masters, but with this they united a study of nature. These men were called “Eclectics,” because they elected or chose certain parts of different systems of painting, and from these formed a new manner of their own.

Opposed to the Eclectics were the “Naturalists,” who insisted that nature only should be studied, and that everything should be represented in the most realistic way, and made to appear in the picture exactly as it did in reality, not being beautified or adorned by any play of fancy or imagination.

The chief school of the Eclectics, of whom I will first speak, was at Bologna, and is known also as the “school of the Caracci,” because Ludovico Caracci (1555-1619) was at the head of a large academy there, and was assisted by his nephews, Agostino Caracci (1558-1601) and Annibale Caracci (1560-1609), the latter being the greatest artist of the three. The lives of the Caracci are not of such interest as to require an account of them here, neither are their works so interesting that we may not leave these artists by saying that they have great consideration as the heads of the Eclectic Academy, and for the work they did in it at an important era in the history of Italian art; but the fruits of their work are shown in that of their scholars rather than in their own paintings, and in this view their influence can scarcely be overvalued.

The greatest of their scholars was Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641), called Domenichino, who was born at Bologna, and was instructed by Denis Calvert, who forbade his drawing after the works of Annibale Caracci. Domenico disobeyed this command, and was so severely treated by Calvert that he persuaded his father to take him from that master, and place him in the school of the Caracci. When he entered the Academy he was so dull that his fellow-pupils nicknamed him “The Ox;” but Annibale Caracci said: “Take care: this ox will surpass you all by and by, and will be an honor to his art.” Domenichino soon began to win many prizes in the school, and left it well trained and prepared for a brilliant career.

He gave much thought to his art, shunned private society, and if he went out at all he frequented public places where large numbers of people were gathered, thus affording him an opportunity to study their varying expressions. He also tried to feel in himself the emotions of the person he was painting. For instance, it is said that when he was painting the “Scourging of St. Andrew,” he threw himself into a passion, and used threatening gestures and high words. In the midst of this his master, Annibale Caracci, surprised him, and was so impressed with his method that he threw his arms about his pupil’s neck, exclaiming, “To-day, my Domenichino, thou art teaching me!”

The most celebrated work by Domenichino is the “Communion of St. Jerome,” in the Vatican. It is universally considered the second picture in Rome, the “Transfiguration,” by Raphael, being the only one that is placed before it. The scene it represents is just before the death of the saint, when he was borne into the chapel to receive the sacrament of the communion for the last time (Fig. 50).

Fig 50 Fig. 50.—Communion of
St. Jerome.

Domenichino was made very unhappy in Rome, on account of the jealousy of other artists, and he returned to Bologna. However, his fame had reached the court at Naples, and the viceroy of that city invited the artist to decorate the Chapel of St. Januarius. There was in Naples at that time an association of artists who had determined that no strange artist should be allowed to do work of any account in their city. As soon as Domenichino began his work, therefore, he received letters threatening his life. His colors were spoiled by having ruinous chemicals mixed with them, his sketches were stolen from his studio, and all sorts of insults and indignities were heaped upon him.

After a time, the painter was so disheartened that he fled to Rome; but the viceroy sent for him and took every precaution possible to protect him and enable him to work in peace. But just as all seemed to be going well he sickened and died, and it has always been said that he was poisoned. Be this as it may, there is no doubt that the fear, vexation, and anxiety of his life caused his death, and on this account his tormentors were his murderers.

The works of Domenichino are not numerous, and are not seen in as many galleries as are those of some Italian painters; but there are a considerable number scattered over Europe and very beautiful ones in several galleries in Rome.

The next painter of importance in the Eclectic school was Guido Reni (1575-1642), born at Bologna, and the son of a professor of music. His father intended that Guido also should be a musician, and the poor boy was much persecuted on account of his love for drawing. But after many struggles the boy came into the Caracci school, and was soon a favorite pupil there.

When still young he listened with great attention to a lecture from Annibale, in which he laid down the rules which should govern a true painter. Guido resolved to follow these rules closely, and soon he painted so well that he was accused of trying to establish a new system of painting. At last Ludovico Caracci turned against him and dismissed him from his school.

Fig 51 Fig. 51.—Aurora. By Guido Reni.

The young artist went to Rome; but his persecutions did not cease, and it seemed to be his fate to excite the jealousy of other painters. Now, when so much time has elapsed, we know that Guido was not a very great master, and had he painted in the days of Michael Angelo he would not have been thought so. But art had lowered its standard, and Guido’s works were suited to the taste of his time; he had a high conception of beauty, and he tried to reach it in his pictures.

In the course of his career Guido really painted in three styles. His earliest pictures are the strongest; those of his middle period are weaker, because he seemed only to strive to represent grace and sweetness; his latest pictures are careless and unequal in execution, for he grew indifferent to fame, and became so fond of gaming that he only painted in order to get money to spend in this sinful folly.

His masterpiece in Rome was the “Aurora,” on a ceiling of the Rospigliosi Palace; it represents the goddess of the dawn as floating before the chariot of Apollo, or Phœbus, the god of the sun. She scatters flowers upon the earth, he holds the reins over four piebald and white horses, while Cupid, with his lighted torch, floats just above them. Around the chariot dance seven graceful female figures which represent the Hours, or Horæ. I have been asked why seven was the number; the ancients had no fixed number for the Hours; sometimes they were spoken of as two, again three, and even in some cases as ten. It has always seemed to me that ten was the number chosen by Guido, for in that case there would naturally be three out of sight, on the side of the chariot which is not seen (Fig. 51).

Fig 52 Fig. 52.—Beatrice Cenci.

The portrait of Beatrice Cenci is another very celebrated picture by Guido; it is in the gallery of the Barberini Palace, in Rome (Fig. 52). The interest in the portrait of this unhappy girl is world-wide. She was the daughter of a wealthy Roman noble, who after the death of her mother married a second time, and treated the children of his first marriage in a brutal way. It is even said that he hired assassins to murder two of his sons on their return from a journey to Spain. The story also relates that his cruelty to Beatrice was such that, with the aid of her step-mother and her brother, she killed him. At all events, these three were accused of this crime and were executed for it in 1599. Other accounts say that he was murdered by robbers, and his wife and children were made to appear as if guilty. Clement VII. was the pope at that time, and in spite of his knowledge of the cruelty of the father he would not pardon them, though mercy was implored of him for this lovely girl. The reason given for this action of the pope’s is that he wished to confiscate the Cenci estates, which he could do if the family suffered the death penalty. So many reproductions of this sad face have been made that it is very familiar to us, and almost seems to have been the face of some one whom we have known.

Guido did not paint his St. Michael for the Cappucini in Rome until after he returned to his native city. When he sent the picture to the monks, he wrote: “I wish I had the wings of an angel to have ascended into Paradise, and there to have beholden the forms of those beautified spirits from which I might have copied my archangel; but not being able to mount so high, it was in vain for me to search for his resemblance here below, so that I was forced to make an introspection into my own mind, and into that idea of beauty which I have formed in my own imagination.”

We are told that he always tried to paint his ideal of beauty rather than to reproduce any human beauty that he had seen. He would pose his color-grinder, and draw his outlines from him, and then fill in with his own conceptions of what the head he was painting should be; this accounts for the sameness in his heads and faces.

His passion for gaming degraded the close of his life. It led him into great distresses, and for the sake of money he painted many pictures which are not worthy of his name. He had always received generous prices for his pictures, but he left many debts as a blot upon his memory. His works are seen in the galleries of Europe, and are always admired for their feeling, beauty, and grace.

Francesco Albani (1578-1660), born at Bologna, was another scholar of the Caracci school, and a friend of Guido Reni. There are many works of his in Rome. His pictures of landscapes with figures were his best works, and beauty was his characteristic. His own home had all the advantages for painting such works as he best succeeded in, such as Venus and the Loves, maids and boys, children and Cupids in unending variety.

His villa was surrounded by charming views. His wife was very handsome, and they had twelve lovely children, so lovely that it is said that other artists besides himself made use of them for models.

There were several other Eclectics of some importance of whom we shall not speak, but shall leave them with an account of Elisabetta Sirani (1640-1665), who also was born at Bologna, and is worthy of attention on account of her talents, while the story of her life adds another interest than that which she has as an artist.

She was an imitator of the attractive manner of Guido Reni. The heads of her madonnas and magdalens are charming, and, indeed, all her work speaks of the innate refinement of her nature. Her industry was marvellous, since she made one hundred and fifty pictures and etchings in a period of about ten years. Much has been said of the rapidity with which she worked, and one story relates that on a certain day the Duchess of Brunswick, the Duchess of Mirandola, and the Duke Cosimo de Medici, with other persons, met in her studio, and she sketched and shaded drawings of subjects which they named to her, with a skill and celerity which astonished and delighted her guests.

Her masterpiece is a picture of “St. Anthony Adoring the Virgin and Child,” which is in the Pinacoteca of Bologna. There are pictures by her in the Belvedere and Lichtenstein Galleries at Vienna, in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg, and in the Sciarra Palace, Rome.

In person Elisabetta Sirani was beautiful, and her character commanded the affection of all who knew her. She was a sweet singer, and her biographers increase her virtues by praising her taste in dress, and even her moderation in eating! She was skilful in domestic affairs, and was in the habit of rising early to perform her share in the household duties, never allowing her art to displace any occupation which properly made a part of her life. Her name has come down through more than two centuries as one whose “devoted filial affection, feminine grace, and artless benignity of manner added a lustre to her great talents, and completed a personality which her friends regarded as an ideal of perfection.”

She died very suddenly, and the cause of her death has never been known; but the theory that she was poisoned has been generally accepted. Several reasons for the crime have been given; one is that she was the victim of jealous artists, as Domenichino had been; another, that a princely lover whom she had scorned thus revenged himself. A servant-girl in her family was suspected of the crime, tried, and banished; but after a time she was recalled to Bologna at the request of the father of Elisabetta, for he saw no proof of the girl’s guilt. Thus the mystery was never solved, but the whole city of Bologna was saddened by her death. The day of her burial was one of public mourning; her funeral was attended with great pomp, and she was buried beside Guido Reni in the splendid church of the Dominicans. Poems and orations in her praise were numerous, and a book was published, called “Il Penello Lagrimate,” which contained these, with odes, anagrams, and epitaphs, in both Latin and Italian, all setting forth her charms and virtues. Her portrait in the Ercolani Gallery at Bologna represents her when occupied in painting her father’s portrait; according to this picture she had a tall, elegant figure, and a very pretty face. She had two sisters, Barbara and Anna Maria, who also were artists, but her fame was so much greater than theirs that she quite overshadowed them.

The earliest master of the Naturalists was Michael Angelo Amerigi, called Caravaggio, from the name of his birth-place (1569-1609). His life and character was not such as to make him an attractive study. His subjects and his manner of representing them combined in producing what has been called “the poetry of the repulsive.” He was wild in his nature and lived a wild life. His religious subjects, even, were coarse, though his color was vivid and his figures arranged with good effect. His “False Players” is one of his best works; it represents two men playing cards, while a third looks over the shoulder of one as if advising him what to play.

Naturally, his manner of painting was best suited to scenes from common life, though he made those coarse and sometimes painful; but when he attempted subjects of a higher order his works are positively offensive. Some of his sacred pictures were removed from the altars for which they were painted on account of their coarseness. His most celebrated work is the “Entombment of Christ,” at the Vatican; in the Gallery of the Capitol in Rome there is a “Fortune Teller,” which is also a fine work.

Next to Caravaggio came Giuseppe Ribera, called Il Spagnoletto (1588-1656). He was a native of Valencia, and when very young made his way to Rome, so that, although his education as an artist was wholly Italian, his familiar name arose from his Spanish origin. While living in miserable poverty in Rome, and industriously copying such frescoes as he could gain access to, he attracted the attention of a cardinal, who took him to his home, and made him comfortable. But the young painter soon ran away, and returned to his street life. The cardinal sought him out, and called him an “ungrateful little Spaniard;” but Ribera excused his conduct by saying that as soon as he was made comfortable and was well fed he lost all ambition to work, adding that it would require the spur of poverty to make him a good painter. The cardinal respected his courage, and the story being repeated to other artists, much interest was attracted to him.

Later he went to Naples, and joined the cabal there which had agreed to persecute the strange artists who should come to work in that city. If Ribera did not actually commit many of the crimes which were done there, he was responsible for them through his influence. His works are frequently so brutal in their subjects and treatment that one feels that he who painted them must have lost all the kindliness of his nature.

He married the daughter of a rich picture dealer, and became very rich himself. In 1630 he was made a member of the Academy of St. Luke, at Rome, and in 1648 Pope Innocent X. sent him the cross of the Order of Christ. Few Italian artists were better known in their own country, and many of his pictures were sent to Spain. His greatest excellence was in his knowledge of anatomy, and he painted subjects that enabled him to show this. Among his famous works are a “Descent from the Cross;” “The Flaying of St. Bartholomew;” “Ixion on the Wheel;” and “Cato of Utica.” His works are in all the famous galleries of the world.

Ribera’s greatest pupil was Salvator Rosa (1615-1673), the landscape painter, who was a very gifted man, being a poet and musician as well as an artist. His father was an educated man, and with his other relatives encouraged his son in his taste for art. When twenty years old he went to Rome, and with the exception of some intervals remained there during his life.

It is said that as a youth he associated much with bandits, and, when one considers the wildness of many of his scenes and the character of the figures in their midst, it is not difficult to believe that this may have been true. It is certain that he painted the portrait of the famous Masaniello more than once, and he is believed to have joined the Compagnia della Morte, of which Falcone, one of his masters, was the captain.

Salvator made many enemies by his independence and his inclination to satire. He wrote satires on various subjects which were not published until after his death, but it was known that he had written them. He married a Florentine woman, who was the mother of his two sons. When he died he was buried in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, where a monument is erected to his memory.

He painted some historical subjects and portraits in which he followed the Naturalists, but his principal works were landscapes. Jagged rocks and mountains, wild dells and lonely defiles, with here and there robbers, hermits, or soldiers, make his most effective pictures. There is a deep sense of desolation, almost of fear, in them which is very impressive. Sometimes he painted serene landscapes and poetic figures; but his best works are not of this sort. His pictures are in the principal public and in some private galleries. He also left about ninety etchings which are masterly in execution and full of expression in the heads, while the atmosphere is soft. When his works are sold they bring great prices. A large landscape with Apollo and the Sibyl in the foreground brought eight thousand five hundred dollars in England years ago, and is now worth much more than that.

Early in the eighteenth century an artist named Antonio Canale (1697-1768), called Canaletto, began to make views of the city of Venice and scenes on the canals. He had two followers, Bernardo Bellotti(1720-1780), who was his nephew, and Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), and these three painters executed a large number of these pictures, which are found in many European galleries, and it is not always easy to distinguish their authorship. There is no doubt that many which were once attributed to the first master were really painted by his pupils.

Before the commencement of the eighteenth century the decline of the Renaissance school in Italy had begun; in fact, the painting of the seventeenth century came to be mere mechanical realism. For this reason the portraits were the best pictures of the time, as in them it was requisite to be true to the object represented.

Late in the eighteenth century a new impulse was given to Italian painting, chiefly through the influence of foreign artists such as Raphael Mengs, and the French painter David. In the beginning of our own century Lorenzo Benvenuti (1769-1844) executed some excellent frescoes in Florence, Siena, and Arezzo, which was his native city. He decorated the ceiling of the Medici Chapel in the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence, and Leopold II., Grand Duke of Tuscany, erected a tomb to this painter in the same church where he had spent so much time and talent. His portrait, painted by himself, is in the gallery of the Uffizi, at Florence. Vincenzio Cammuccini (1775-1844), too, was a celebrated master of his time. He was a Roman by birth, and became President of the Academy of St. Luke; he was also a member of the Institute of France, and received decorations from sovereigns of various countries. He made many copies from the works of the great masters. His portraits were so much admired as to be compared to those of Rubens and Tintoretto, and his ceiling frescoes in the Torlonia Palace, Rome, were among his important works, as was a “Presentation of Christ in the Temple,” painted for the Church of San Giovanni in Piacenza.

But there has been no true restoration of Italian art. The painting of Italy in our time has been largely a commercial enterprise rather than an outcome from artistic genius or impulse, and the few works which are exceptions to this rule are not sufficient to encourage the hope that this nation can again attain to her former rank or regain the fame of her past in the history of modern art.

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