It cannot be said that the Venetian artists of the second half of the sixteenth century equalled in their collective excellence the great masters of the first, but in single instances they are frequently entitled to rank beside them. At the head of these is Jacopo Robusti (1518-1594), called Il Tintoretto (the dyer), in allusion to his father's trade. He was one of the most vigorous painters in all the history of art; one who sought rather than avoided the greatest difficulties, and who possessed a true feeling for animation and grandeur. If his works do not always charm, it should be imputed to the foreign and non-Venetian element which he adopted, but never completely mastered; and also to the times in which he lived, when Venetian art had fallen somewhat into the mistaken way of colossal and rapid productiveness. His off-hand style, as Kugler calls it, is always full of grand and significant detail, and with a few patches of colour he sometimes achieves the liveliest forms and expressions. But he fails in that artistic arrangement of the whole and in that nobility of motives in the parts which are necessary exponents of a really high ideal. His compositions are achieved less by finely studied degrees of participation in the principal action than by great masses of light and shade. Attitudes and movements are taken immediately from common life, not chosen from the best models. With Titian the highest ideal of earthly happiness in existence is expressed by beauty; with Tintoretto in mere animal strength, sometimes of an almost rude character.

For a short time he was a pupil of Titian, but for some unknown reason he soon left him, and struck out for himself. In the studio which he occupied in his youth he had inscribed, as a definition of the style he professed, "The drawing of Michelangelo, the colouring of Titian." He copied the works of the latter, and also designed from casts of Florentine and antique sculpture, particularly by lamplight—as did Romney a couple of centuries later—to exercise himself in a more forcible style of relief. He also made models for his works, which he lighted artificially, or hung up in his room, in order to master perspective. By these means he united great strength of shadow with the Venetian colouring, which gives a peculiar character to his pictures, and is very successful when limited to the direct imitation of nature. But apart from the impossibility of combining two such totally different excellences as the colouring of Titian and the drawing of Michelangelo, it appears that Tintoretto's acquaintance with the works of the latter only developed his tendency to a naturalistic style. That which with Michelangelo was the symbol of a higher power in nature was adopted by Tintoretto in its literal form. Most of his defects, it is probable, arose from his indefatigable vigour, which earned for him the nickname of Il Furioso. Sebastian del Piombo said that Tintoretto could paint as much in two days as would occupy him two years. Other sayings were that he had three brushes, one of gold, one of silver, and a third of brass, and that if he was sometimes equal to Titian he was often inferior to Tintoretto! In this last category Kugler puts two of his earliest works, the enormous Last Judgment, and The Golden Calf, in the church of S. Maria dell'Orto, while on his much later Last Supper he is still more severe. "Nothing more utterly derogatory," he writes, "both to the dignity of art and to the nature of the subject can be imagined. S. John is seen with folded arms, fast asleep, while others of the Apostles with the most burlesque gestures are asking, 'Lord, is it I?' Another Apostle is uncovering a dish which stands on the floor without remarking that a cat has stolen in and is eating from it. A second is reaching towards a flask; a beggar sits by, eating. Attendants fill up the picture. To judge from an overthrown chair the scene appears to have been a revel of the lowest description. It is strange that a painter should venture on such a representation of this subject scarcely a hundred years after the creation of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper."

It was in 1548, when but thirty years old, that Tintoretto first became famous, with the large Miracle of S. Mark, now in the Venice Academy. This is perhaps his finest as well as his most celebrated work; but the greatest monument to his industry and general ability is the Scuola di'San Rocco, where he began to work in 1560 under a contract to produce three pictures a year for an annuity of a hundred ducats. In all there are sixty-two of his pictures in this building, the greater part of them very large, the figures throughout being of the size of life. The Crucifixion, painted in 1565, is the most extensive of them, and on the whole the most perfect. In 1590, four years before his death, he completed the enormous Paradise in the Sala del Gran Consiglio, measuring seventy-four feet in length and thirty in height.

In the National Gallery we have three characteristic examples, fortunately on a smaller scale, namely, the S. George on a white horse, which, with its greyish flesh tones and the blue of the princess's mantle, is cooler in tone than the generality of his pictures; Christ washing the Disciples' Feet, and the very beautiful and radiant Origin of the Milky Way, purchased from Lord Darnley in 1890. At Hampton Court a still finer example, The Nine Muses, is so discoloured by age and hung in such a difficult light that it is impossible to enjoy its full beauty.

Paolo Caliari, better known as Veronese, was born ten years later than Tintoretto, and died six years before him (1528-1588). He studied in his native city of Verona till he was twenty, and after working for some time at Mantua he came to Venice in 1555, where he was quickly recognised by Titian and by Sansovino, the sculptor and Director of Public Buildings, and was commissioned in that year to paint aCoronation of the Virgin and other works in the church of S. Sebastian. The Martyrdom of S. Giustino, now in the Uffizi, and the Madonna and Child in the Louvre are also among his earlier works. As early as 1562 he was at work on the enormous Feast at Cana, now in the Louvre, and a similar work at Dresden is of the same date. In 1564 he went to Rome, where he studied the works of Raphael and Michelangelo. On his return to Venice in

ST GEORGE AND THE DRAGON National Gallery, London

1565—after visiting Verona, where he painted in his parish church, and also married—he was employed to decorate the Ducal Palace, but much of his best work there was destroyed by fire. Two of his most important works completed before 1573 are in the Academy at Venice, The Battle of Lepanto and the Feast in the House of Levi. In this last he incurred strictures from the Inquisition more severe than those of Kugler upon Tintoretto's Last Supper, and possibly with as much reason, it being objected that the introduction of German soldiery, buffoons, and a parrot was "irreligious." His Family of Darius, now in the National Gallery, was one of his latest works.

Veronese, even more than Titian, whom in colouring he sought to emulate, and Tintoretto, whom in this respect he certainly excelled, expresses the spirit of the Venetians of his time—a powerful and noble race of human beings, as Kugler calls them, elate with the consciousness of existence, and in full enjoyment of all that renders earth attractive. By the splendour of his colour, assisted by rich draperies and other materials, by a very clear and transparent treatment of the shadows, he infused a magic into his great canvases which surpasses almost all the other masters of the Venetian School. Never had the pomp of colour, on a large scale, been so exalted and glorified as in his works. This, his peculiar quality, is most decidedly and grandly developed in scenes of worldly splendour; he loved to paint festive subjects for the refectories of rich convents, suggested of course from particular passages in the Scriptures, but treated with the greatest freedom, especially as regards the costume, which is always of his own time. Instead, therefore, of any religious sentiment, we are presented with a display of the most cheerful human scenes and the richest worldly splendour. That which distinguishes him from Tintoretto, and which in his later period, after the death of Titian and Michelangelo, earned for him the rank of the first living master, was that beautiful vitality, that poetic feeling, which as far as it was possible he infused into a declining period of art. At the same time it becomes more and more evident, as our attention is turned to the deeper and nobler spirit of the earlier masters in Venice, that the beauty of his figures is more addressed to the senses than to the soul, and that his naturalistic tendencies are often allowed to run wild.

The most celebrated, and as it happens the most historically interesting, of his great pictures is the Feast at Cana, in the Louvre, measuring thirty feet wide and twenty feet high. This was formerly in the refectory of S. Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The scene is a brilliant atrium, surrounded by majestic pillars. The tables at which the guests are seated form three sides of a parallelogram. The guests are supposed to be almost entirely contemporary portraits, so that the figures of Christ and His mother, of themselves insignificant enough, lose even more in the general interest of the subject. Servants occupy the foreground, while on the raised balustrades and the balconies of distant houses are innumerable onlookers. The most remarkable feature of the whole composition is a group of musicians in the centre of the foreground, which are portraits of the artist himself and Tintoretto, playing on violon-cellos, and Titian, in a red robe, with the contra-bass.

Christ in the House of Simon, the Magdalen washing His feet, is another scarcely less gigantic picture in the Louvre; but it is much simpler in arrangement, and is distinguished by the fineness of the heads, especially that of the Christ. An interesting piece of technical criticism on the Feast at Cana occurs in Reynolds's Eighth Discourse:—

"Another instance occurs to me," he says, "where equal liberty may be taken in regard to the management of light. Though the general practice is to make a large mass about the middle of the picture surrounded by shadow, the reverse may be practised, and the spirit of rule may still be preserved.... In the great composition of Paul Veronese, the Marriage at Cana, the figures are for the most part in half shadow; the great light is in the sky; and indeed the general effect of this picture, which is so striking, is no more than what we often see in landscapes, in small pictures of fairs and country feasts; but those principles of light and shadow, being transferred to a large scale, to a space containing near a hundred figures as large as life, and conducted to all appearance with as much facility and with an attention as steadily fixed upon the whole together as if it were a small picture immediately under the eye, the work justly excites our admiration; the difficulty being increased as the extent is enlarged."

With the death of the great Venetians, Titian, Tintoretto, and Paul Veronese, in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, the history of Italian painting of the first rank comes to an end. In Florence, the imitation of Michelangelo was the chief object striven after, and, as might be expected, the attempt was not eminently successful. The greater number of the Italian painters of the early seventeenth century who attained any fame are known by the name of Eclectics, from their having endeavoured, instead of imitating any one of their great predecessors, to select and unite the best qualities of each, without, however, excluding the direct study of nature. The fallacy of this aim, when carried to an extreme, is, of course, that the greatness of the earlier masters consisted really in their individual and peculiar qualities, and to endeavour to unite characteristics essentially different involves a contradiction.

The most important of the Eclectic schools was that of the Carracci, at Bologna, which was founded by Lodovico Carracci (c. 1555-1619), a scholar of Prospero Fontana and Passignano at Florence. In his youth he was nicknamed "the ox," partly from his slowness, but possibly also for his study of long-forgotten methods, by which he arrived at the decision that reform was necessary to counteract the independence of the mannerists. He therefore obtained the assistance of his two nephews, Agostino and Annibale Carracci, sons of a tailor, and in concert with them opened an academy at Bologna in 1589. This he furnished with casts, drawings, and engravings, and provided living models and gave instruction in perspective, anatomy, etc. In spite of opposition this academy became more and more popular, and before long all the other schools of art in Bologna were closed.

The principles of their teaching was succinctly expressed in a sonnet written by Agostino, in substance as follows:—"Let him who wishes to be a good painter acquire the design of Rome, Venetian action and chiaroscuro, the dignified colouring of Lombardy (that is to say, of Leonardo da Vinci), the terrible manner of Michelangelo, Titian's truth and nature, the sovereign purity of Correggio, and the perfect symmetry of Raphael. The decorum and well-grounded study of Tibaldi, the invention of the learned Primaticcio, and a little of the grace of Parmigiano."

This "patchwork ideal," as Kugler calls it, was, however, but a transition step in the history of the Carracci and their art. In the prime of their activity they threw off a great deal of their eclecticism, and attained an independence of their own. The merit of Lodovico is chiefly that of a reformer and a teacher, and the pictures by Agostino are few and of no great account. But in Annibale we find much more than imitation of the characteristics of great masters. In his earlier works there are rather obvious traces of Correggio and Paul Veronese, but under the influence of the works of Raphael and Michelangelo and of the antique, as he understood it, he developed a style of his own. Though in recent years he is a little out of fashion with the public, there is no question about his having a place among the greater artists. To show how opinion can change, I venture to quote a passage from a letter written to me on the subject of Carracci's The Three Maries, lately presented to the National Gallery by the Countess of Carlisle:—"I saw the gallery at Castle Howard in 1850. The Three Maries was then still regarded as one of the great pictures of the world; and they told the story of how Lord Carlisle and Lord Ellesmere and Lord——, who shared the Paris purchases [after the Peace of 1815] between them, had to cast lots for this, because it was thought to be worth more than all the rest of the spoil."

The most important, or at any rate one of the most popular, of the pupils of Carracci was Domenico Zampieri, commonly called Domenichino (1581-1641). If we are less enthusiastic about him at the present, it may still be remembered that Constable particularly admired him, but it is significant that the four examples in the National Gallery are numbered 48, 75, 77 and 85—there is no more recent acquisition. He had great facility, and his compositions—not always original—are treated with great charm if with no real depth. His most famous picture, the Communion of S. Jerome, now in the Vatican, is closely imitated from Agostino Carracci's.

Guido Reni (1575-1642), even more popular in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries than Domenichino, was as skilful in some respects, but hardly as admirable. The Ecce Homo, bequeathed by Samuel Rogers to the National Gallery, is an excellent example of his ability to charm the sentimentalist, and if ever there should be a popular revival of taste in the direction of the now neglected school of the Carracci, he will possibly resume all the honour formerly paid to him. The same can hardly be predicted for the far inferior Carlo Maratti, Guercino, and Carlo Dolce.

Space forbids me more than the bare mention in these pages of the brilliant revival of painting in Venice during the earlier part of the eighteenth century by Antonio Canale (1697-1768), Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1692-1769), Pietro Longhi (1702-1785), and Francesco Guardi (1712-1793). Charming as their excellent accomplishments were, they must give place to more important claims awaiting our attention in other countries.