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tists had faith—and a faith that was fully justified—in the effect produced upon the crowd by any act of enlightened magnificence. Lodovico, though his statesmanship was narrow, and although in a sense he took no thought for the morrow, never neglected this rule. He never relaxed his efforts to attract from far and near, any one who could add to his glory; writers who would sing his praises, artists who would multiply his portraits. Herein, and herein alone, his instincts served him well.
If he wanted a model by which to guide himself, Lodovico had but to turn to the most faithful ally of the house of Sforza, to that ardent and enlightened amateur, whose artistic insight was only equalled by his prodigious activity. After deriving inspiration from him in life, receiving from him counsel after counsel, artist after artist, Lodovico conceived the daring project of acquiring Lorenzo the Magnificent's marvellous collections after his death, more especially the intaglios and gems. A long correspondence with his favourite goldsmith, Caradosso, reveals the secret of his negotiations, which assumed all the importance of a diplomatic treaty. They failed, however, owing to the pretensions of the Florentine government, which impounded the Medici collections by virtue of a decree of confiscation.
Though Lodovico passed for a prince after the humanist's own heart, lettered, intellectual, liberal—one contemporary likens him to the magnet which attracts the iron from far and near, to the ocean absorbing the rivers; another affirms that it was his ambition to make of Milan another Athens—in everything connected with literature and science he lacked that unerring taste which the Florentines owed to a long and patient initiation, fo centuries of culture. The Mecaenas is evolved, not improvised. Lodovico might encourage poetry and rhetoric among his subjects, might summon the most famous writers of the day to his Court—there was no result. The Milanese continued to write the most uncouth, unpolished Italian, and even strangers such as Bernardo Bellincioni of Florence soon lost the native distinction of their language in their provincial surroundings.
The Milanese lacked intellectual depth. Neither the Visconti who, under Petrarch's auspices, had formed the admirable library of Pavia,