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modelled throat ; the expression is energetic, and the whole composition as free as it is assured. All trace of archaism has disappeared ; the flexibility of the treatment is extraordinary; the supreme difficulties in the interpretation of the human countenance are triumphantly surmounted. The sketch of 1478, somewhat softened, becomes the marvellous study in red chalk, also in the Uffizi (No. 150 of Braun's photographs). Opposite to this head, which attracts all eyes, there is a head of a young man, very lightly sketched, with those flowing, languorous lines which are the very essence of Leonardo's art. Beside this are sketches of mill-wheels, and something like an embryo turbine —the complete Leonardo already revealed. "On the .... 1478, I began the two Virgins," is written above the drawing. We do not know which these two Madonnas were, and their identity opens up a wide field for conjectures.

By this time, Leonardo's fellow-citizens and even the government had begun to take note of his fame. On January 1, 147S, the Signory of Florence commissioned him, in the place of Piero del Pollajuolo, to paint an altar-piece for the chapel of S. Bernard in the Palazzo Vecchio. The fate of this work was, alas, that of so many others. Having thrown himself with ardour into the task (on March 16 of the same year he received 25 florins on account) the artist tired of it, and the Signory was obliged, on May 20, 1483, to apply, first to Domenico Ghirlandajo, and subsequently to Filippino Lippi, who carried out the commission in 1484.1 His picture, however, was placed, not in the chapel of S. Bernard, but in the Hall of Lilies in the Palazzo Vecchio. Herr Muller-Walde identifies the picture left unfinished by Leonardo with the Adoration of the Magi in the Uffizi, in which other critics, the present writer among them, see the cartoon designed for the convent of San Donato at Scopeto (see next chapter). The Cicerone believes it to have been the S. Jerome in the Vatican.

In 1479 Leonardo appears to have received an order, less important certainly, but more likely to appeal to an imagination which took such delight in the grotesque. After the conspiracy of the Pazzi, the

1 "Comincio a dipingere una tavola nel detto Palazo, la quale dipoi in sul suo disegno fu finita per Filippo di Fra Filippo." (Anonymous biography, published by Milanesi, p. 11.)—Muller-Walde, Jahrbuch der kg. Preuss Kunstsammlungen, 1897, p. 126.

Florentine government resolved to have the portraits of the rebels painted on the walls of the Palazzo Vecchio, that their ignominious effigies might serve as a warning to future conspirators. They addressed themselves, as was customary, to the best known painters —Giottino, Andrea del Castagno, and many others had not hesitated to accept similar missions. The gentle Botticelli undertook one part of the work, Leonardo the other. Such at least would seem to be the case, judging from a curious drawing in the collection of M. Leon Bonnat, in which Leonardo has represented one of the conspirators, Bernardo di Bandini Baroncelli, who, having taken refuge in Constantinople, was delivered up by the Sultan—anxious by this act of extradition to show his good will towards the Medici—and hanged at Florence, December 29, 1479. The care with which the artist has noted every detail of the criminal's costume, even down to the colour of each article of raiment, authorises us in assuming that this sketch was to serve as the groundwork of a portrait which should take its place beside that executed by Botticelli. Here then we have the seraphic painter suddenly transformed into the depicter of criminals, almost, as it were, the assistant of the executioner! Leonardo, I dare swear, accepted the rble without repugnance. For him, science ever went hand in hand with art. The study of the patient's last moments, the observation of the spasms of the death agony, interested him quite as keenly from the physiological as from the pictorial point of view. At Milan, later on, he frequently attended executions, not from morbid curiosity, but from the desire, so legitimate in the thinker and philosopher, to contemplate the supreme struggle between life and death, to seize the precise moment at which the last breath of vitality escapes, at which the gulf opens, whose depths no human eye has fathomed. This tension of every faculty of observation in the artist is eloquently expressed in the drawing in the Bonnat collection. There

1 Poliziano describes the character of this personage in these forcible terms: "Uomo scelerato, audace, e che non conosceva paura, in quale avendo ancora esso mandato male cio che legli aveva, era involto in ogni sorte di sccleratezza . . . il Bandino fu il primo che gli passo (Giuliano) el petto con un pugnale.

"Banciini, non si contentando di avere con i suoi amazzato Giuliano, se n'ando alla volta di Lorenzo, il quale di gia a punto s'era salvato con pochi in sacrestia, ma intanto il Bandini passb con la spada la vita a Francesco Nori, uomo accorto e che faceva per i Medici, e l'amazzo." {La Congiura de' Pazzi, ed. del I.ungo, pp. 92, 95, 101.)

is no room here for emotion, for pity ; no attempt even at any mise-enschie: a body in loosely hanging- garments dangling at the end of a rope, the head bent forward, the hands bound upon the back—this is the whole composition. The dryness of the inscription which accompanies the drawing :—" tan-coloured breeches, black doublet, blue cloak lined with fox-skin, black shoes,"—accentuates the impassibility of this young man of twenty-seven in the presence of the most moving dramas.

Baroncelli was hanged December 29, 1479. Leonardo was therefore in Florence at this period.1

In spite of many uncertainties, we are perfectly justified, if only from the evidences contained in Leonardo's early productions, in affirming that from his very childhood he possessed an extraordinary power of assimilation; that his mind took hold upon exterior forms, and made them his own with a facility that amounted to the marvellous. How different to Raphael, who was indebted in turn to the Umbrians, the Florentines, and the antique, before he finally created a type and a style exclusively his own! Even Michelangelo, in spite of the originality and loftiness of his genius, more than once laid his predecessors under contributions, notably Jacopo della Quercia and Signorelli, not to mention the Greeks and Romans.

Predecessors and contemporaries were alike powerless over Leonardo. Indifferent to the motives created by others, he was indebted to no man but himself.

1 Richter, vol. i. p. 346, note.

Head of a Young If oman.

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