Emulation carries with it neither envy nor unfair rivalry, but inspires a man to surpass all others by superiority alone. Such was the emulation and rivalry between Zeuxis and Parrhasius, which contributed to the improvement of both; and similar thereto was that which inspired the master-minds of Michael Angelo and Raffaelle; of Titian and Pordenone; of Albert Durer and Lucas van Leyden; of Agostino and Annibale Caracci; and we may add, in our own country, of Thomas Cole and Durand. The emulation between the Caracci, though it tended to the improvement of both, was more unfortunate in its result, as it finally engendered such a bitter rivalry as to drive Agostino from the field, and it is said by some that both the Caracci declined when their competition ceased.

The confraternity of the Chartreuse at Bologna proposed to the artists of Italy to paint a picture for them in competition, and to send designs for selection. The Caracci were among the competitors, and the design of Agostino was preferred before all others; this, according to several authors, first gave rise to the jealousy between the two brothers. The picture which Agostino painted was his celebrated Communion of St. Jerome which Napoleon placed in the Louvre, but is now in the gallery at Bologna. It is esteemed the masterpiece of the artist. It represents the venerable saint, carried to the church of Bethlehem on his approaching dissolution, where he receives the last sacrament of the Roman Church, the Viaticum, in the midst of his disciples, while a monk writes down his pious exhortations. Soon after the completion of this sublime picture, the two brothers commenced the celebrated Farnese Gallery in conjunction; but the jealous feelings which existed between them caused continual dissentions, and the turbulent disposition of Annibale compelled Agostino to abandon him and quit Rome. Agostino, who according to all authorities was the best tempered of the two, from that time gave himself up almost entirely to engraving. Annibale, though he has the honor of having executed the immortal works in the Farnese Gallery, yet owed much there, as elsewhere, to the acquirements and poetical genius of Agostino. In the composition of such mythological subjects the unlettered Annibale was totally inadequate. See vol. i., page 71 of this work.