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study for a larger one on the same subject) representing St. Roch and the Angel. Nothing is included but the upper half of these two figures, which extend to the extremities of the canvass; and the angel, as well as the saint, is expressed with a simplicity and truth of character, which prove that Annibal Caracci had no notion of attempting to represent any thing above or beyond what he had observed in actual nature. The Angel, without being in the least degree deficient in a proper dignity of character and deportment, is nothing more than a noble youth La happy shepherd-boy, at once unrefined and unpolluted by the influence of custom and society. The colouring of this fine specimen is a mixture of that bright and sombre which the nature of the subject seems to call for ;-the dark dress and face of the Saint being strikingly but not violently contrasted by the white vestments and the highlylighted looks of his angelic guide, which latter is pointing with his extended arm away into the distance—thus extending the imaginary scope of the picture.
We now-after glancing at, but not dwelling on, a good portrait of Fiamingo, by Velasquez, (10,) a curious and elaborate, but neither agreeable nor very meritorious picture by Vander Meulen, of the Siege of Besançon (11), and a flower piece by Petters (12),—arrive at what 'may be regarded as, upon the whole, the noblest picture in this room. It is by Ludovico Caracci, and represents Christ and the Angel appearing to Mary Magdalen. If this work is not altogether superior to any that we have in this country by the same master, it is, perhaps, as faultless as any one of them, in regard to the principal qualities that constitute style ; namely, the composition, the design, the individual expressions, and the colouring; and unquestionably the general effect resulting - from all these is entirely satisfying and complete. The picture is upright, of the gallery dimension, and the figures are nearly the size of life. On the left the Saviour is advancing majestically towards Mary, who is kneeling on the right in an attitude of adoring love. The Angel stands at a short distance behind, immediately between the two other figures, and is leaning, in a noble attitude of admiring contemplation, on the staff of a red-cross flag which he bears; one of his outspread wings -finely fills up the space left by the kneeling attitude of Mary. Above the Saviour iwo cherubs are seen shedding from their faces and wings a golden glory round his head. The individual expressions in this fine work are highly animated and appropriate, without, in any degree, in-, fringing upon that solemn, and dignified propriety, which should constitute the pervading spirit of this class of works; and they contribute to explain and illustrate each other in the most skilful and eloquent manner, producing that unity of effect which fixes the composition to a single point of time. The bland yet dignified simplicity of the Saviour, seems at once to engender and to justify the lovestricken adoration of Mary; while the half-admiring, half-approving look of the Angel, whose eyes are fixed upon Mary, and his wings spread above her, seem to connect the mortal and the God together, in a bond of halfmortal, half-heavenly affection. The attitudes and whole figures of Christ and the Angel are models of dignified ease, and there is a chaste grandeur about the whole scene that cannot be surpassed. It may
here be observed that the admirable judgment of the Caracci, both Annibal and Ludovico, induced them for the most part to confine their works
to a very limited number of figures-not more than three or four; and I question whether a single point of time can be adequately illustrated, and a corresponding singleness of effect produced, by any other means, The maxim of “divide and conquer” applies to the human imagination no less than to other things. A multiplicity of ideas and images presented to it at one and the same moment, do but disturb and distract, without in any degree filling or satisfying it. They do but struggle at the gate for entrance, and obstruct and injure each other ; while the temple within remains empty. It is scarcely possible to meet with a work of art that more entirely occupies the imagination than the one just described, or returns upon it more satisfactorily in absence ; and yet it consists but of three figures, engaged in the simplest of actions.
Next to the above hangs an admirable specimen of Giorgione, full of his fine Venetian taste, both in colouring and expression. With more than the
grace of Titian, it has much of rich and racy tone. The subject is the Adoration of the Shepherds ; and the figure of the Shepherd on the left, first entering the picture, is particularly imbued with the Titianesque style. This picture is of the easel size, and represents the Virgin uncovering the infant, which lies on the ground, and exposing it to the adoring view of the shepherds who are arriving. The Virgin is full of grace and sweetness, and one of the shepherds, who is leaning over the infant, is grandly conceived.
We now come to a few pictures that must be passed over with a very slight notice, though some of them possess considerable merit in their particular class. Among these latter are No. 18, a Stag Hunt, by Snyders, which is full of eager expression and forcible handling; and No. 21-a Larder, with game, &c. also by Snyders; but including a capital figure of a female by Rubens.' No. 22 is a curious and characteristic little work, by De Meyer, containing portraits of Lady Fitzwilliam and her three sisters when children. No. 25 may be pointed out as a piece of colouring not inferior to Titian. It is a Saint Jerome, by Bassan, who frequently produced the most admirable effects in this way, and was indeed a colourist of very extraordinary merit. Nothing can be more rich and harmonious than the little specimen now before us; and another occurs afterwards -(a Shepherd-boy, sleeping among his Sheep-No. 28) which is but little inferior. No. 26, a View in Venice, by Canaletti, is a charming and most perfect specimen of this artist's manner. The marble palaces and temples are looking through the clear Venetian air, like objects seen through crystal, or at the bottom of limpid water.
We now reach a grand gallery-picture, by Paul Veronese, which occupies one end of the apartment, and forms the pendant to L. Caracei's noble work at the opposite end. The subject is Mercury, Herse, and · Aglauros. Mercury is in the act of touching Aglauros with his cadueæus, and changing her into stone, as a punishment for her envious jealousy of her sister Herse. There are parts of this work which merit great commendation; but it is not one of those which elevate, or even sustain the notion that is prevalent as to the great genius of this artist. It has but little depth of expression, and still less purity or vigour of design ; but as a piece of colouring it is undoubtedly clear, brilliant, chaste, and highly effective. Even in this point of view, however, it
will not bear a comparison with either the Rembrandt or the Titian that bave been noticed above. It has not the glowing richness of the one, nor the intense truth and purity of the other. The senses, in passing from the contemplation of the two latter to that of the one more immediately in question, experience a cold and comfortless effect. It has all the freshness of a Spring morning upon it, but it has also all the chillness. This effect, however, is unduly and unnecessarily increased by its nearness to the above-named glowing works. In a separate apartment it would shew to much better effect, and would at the same time not call for those almost invidious comparisons which can scarcely be avoided under its present circumstances.
Near to the above hangs the other rich bit of colouring, by Bassan, referred to above (28); 29 and 30 are an indifferent landscape by Stork, and a portrait by Vos; and then we stand before another of the richest beauties of this collection. It is a Venus and Cupid, by Palma Vecchio, the size of life. The Venus is reclining in a chastely voluptuous attitude on the grass, in a grand landscape, and the Cupid is in the act of advancing towards her, to receive a dart that she is present. ing to him. As a specimen of natural grace in the air of the figures, I have never seen a work of this accomplished master which equals the one before us; and for a certain brilliant and piercing sweetness in the colouring, very few works of any master can compete with it. The Venus is designed in the Venetian taste, and has little of that ideal beauty and refinement of mere form with which the goddess is usually represented, and which Palma himself frequently gave to his females ; but there is a truth as well as a grandeur of character about it, which perhaps more than supply this want. The Cupid is a charming figure, beaming with intellectual life and beauty, and also instinct with that grandeur of character which pervades the general conception and design of this fine work. The landscape, too, has a fine antique air about it
, that exactly corresponds with the subject; and, I must repeat, the whole is coloured with an elegant and airy sweetness, and a rich and full transparency, that throw an inexpressible charm over the scene. I venture to commend this work of Palma to the particular attention of the student in art, as one that will amply repay a more than cursory examination of it.
The only other works in this room which require a separate mention are a classical piece, said to be by Annibal Caracci (34); and a Landscape by Both (35). The first-named of these, which represents Amphitrite in the midst of her train of attendants, is a small easel picture, and is hung so far from the spectators that it is impossible to ascertain the exact nature of its claims to attention. It is evidently designed, however, with extreme elegance, and coloured with a rich solemnity of tone ; and the lights and shadows seem blended with great force and effect. The figure of Amphitrite is elevated much above the rest, and occupies the centre of the scene ; and the various figures about her are grouped with great taste and skill, both with reference to themselves and to the figure the effect of which they are intended to heighten and aggrandize.
The landscape of Both is one of his largest and most elaborate works -combining all his lightness and elegance of handling, with all his truth and sweetness of general effect; and if it wants that glowing
warmth which he sometimes threw over his scenes like a glory, it is perhaps the more rather than the less natural on that account.
The scene which it represents is richly wooded on the right; a road, enlivened by cattle and figures, separates this portion from the rest; and the centre and right stretch away into a distant expanse of country, interspersed with villages, and bounded by hills, on two of which latter, in particular, the eye, and through it the imagination, are made to repose, as the mind does at judicious pauses in a descriptive poem. The great trees which run up the scene, from the bottom to the top, are extremely elegant; and they produce an excellent effect on the different distances beyond them. This was an aid that Both scarcely ever ventured to dispense with ; and his scenes have therefore a certain sameness about them which it is much easier to except against than to point out the means of avoiding. Claude almost always made use of the same artifice; and if Cuyp was the only great landscape painter who dared to depend entirely on Nature, it was because she had gifted him with a faculty of seeing, of feeling, and of depicting what he saw and felt, that no other artist in the same class ever possessed.
Second Room.-The works contained in this inner room, contrary to what I had been led to expect, are, generally speaking, altogether inferior in character to those first described. In fact they present a very miscellaneous, not to say motley collection, including some few of very extraordinary merit and value, but many that scarcely reach to medio. crity, and not a few that are very far below it. It is only with the first of these that I shall concern myself; for my object is to assist in pointing out beauties, leaving the task of discovering faults to those who are fond of it; except where those faults may happen to be intimately blended with beauties, and thus become a necessary part of the whole that is to be examined. The numerical order of the works will be followed, according to their arrangement in the printed list; except when there may seem some local or other reason for departing from it.
The first picture to be pointed out as worthy of particular attention, is one which hangs at the upper part of the room, on the right, (No. 5.) It is a copy of Titian's celebrated figure of a sleeping Nymph, usually called a Venus, and it may be cited as a rare, if not a singular instance, of a copy of Titian which is in some respects not inferior to the original; deservedly great as the reputation of this latter unquestionably is. For exquisite symmetry and beauty in the outline, and ineffable loveliness in the character of the face, this charming copy is at least equal to Titian's own work. Indeed for a perfect natural sweetness both of form and face, this figure cannot be surpassed. In all other respects, however, in truth and purity, in the colouring of the flesh, and in general harmony of arrangement in the tints, as well as in the spirited and vigorous handling of the draperies and the other collateral parts of the picture, Titian's work is undoubtedly much superior to the one before us. In fact, the latter bears no traces whatever of Titian's
peculiar style; and it may upon the whole be considered rather as an imitation of his celebrated picture than a copy of it.
Below this picture hangs a very characteristic specimen of Teniers, (13.) It represents an interior, with an old woman on the left paring apples; a man bringing in a tub in the centre; and on the right a man engaged at an open door. The front is enlivened by fowls, a pig's
head peeping through an opening, &c. The left department of this picture is delightfully free, clear, and silvery; and the old man entering with the tub is extremely rich and forcible; and the animals are expressed with exquisite truth.
Near to the above there is a small picture by Pordenone, (14,) which seems to have possessed great beauty; but it has been so much injured by time and attempts at improvement, that little of its original character is left. (17,) is a tolerable but by no means first-rate specimen of G. Dow. (20,) Interior of a Cathedral, by Van Dalen, is a very interesting specimen of this elaborate class of work, the various details being touched with infinite precision, and the perspective being completely illusory. (21,) Dead Game, Fruit, &c. by Weenix, is very exquisitely finished, and the finishing does not in any degree impair the spirited truth of the effect; and (29,) which is an Adoration of the Shepherds, by Breughel and Rothenhamer, excites considerable attention and admiration—but more, I fear, on account of its defects than its merits ; for its high finishing and its gaudy colouring produce any thing but truth of effect in the one case and harmony in the other.
We now arrive at some very charming little works, the value of wbich must not be estimated by their size. The first of these are a pair by Watteau, (25. & 26.) than which nothing can be fuller of characteristic expression. One represents a man playing on a flute to two ladies who are not listening to him. The unconscious affectation of the gentleman, and the infinite indifference of the principal lady, are delightful. The other of these excellent little specimens of Watteau's peculiar style consists, like its companion, of three figures similarly engaged, except that here the gentleman is discoursing with his tongue; and if he excites as little attention from his lady companions as the Aute-player does, he is equally unconscious of the neglect: for a Frenchman (and Watteau never attempted to depict any one else) talks to please himself, and not other people, and never fails in attaining his object. There is great merit in the colouring of these little works, and they are touched with considerable spirit. (30,) by N. Poussin, on a scriptural subject (Reuben with Abraham's servant at the well) is finely coloured, and has much learned ease about it; but it is not by any means a favourable specimen of this master—who, when he was treating a subject which accorded with his peculiar powers and habits of feeling (which scriptural ones did not) added, to the eye and imagination of a poet, and the gusto of a great painter, the classical purity of feeling in regard to the expression of the human form, which seems to have been, with this exception, almost confined to the sculptors of antiquity. Some of Poussin's pictures on classical subjects have the air of animated pieces of sculpture, which cannot be said of any other works.
(36,) is a sweet bit of Nature, by Wynants, the subject Men cours, ing, in an open landscape. Above this hangs a rich and capital specimen of Ostade, a Fiddler playing at a Cottage door, attended by a whole company of listeners, young and old, all displaying that truth of expression and individuality of character, which this painter so finely blended with rich colouring and humorous incidents.(38,) is a very pretty specimen of Poelemberg's favourite, nay, his almost exclusive subject. One would think, to judge by his choice of subject, that this