Imágenes de página

to the spot in which the body of the could he nowise avoid the fury of the king was interred), in order to re- mice ; for a multitude of them immestrain his tongue from uttering any diately plunged themselves into the reproach.

water, and swam after him, and gnawHowever, William was neither slow ed the bottom and sides of the ship, nor niggardly in the spending of mo- till they made it leak, and threatened ney. He soon brought forth all the all on board with certain shipwreck. treasure which his father had accu. When the servants found this, they mulated at Winchester, and charitably made again for the shore as fast as posassigned to the monasteries large sums sible; but the mice had landed before of gold, together with five shillings of them, and fell upon him again as they silver to the parish churches, and one were bringing him from the ship. At hundred pounds to every county, to last he was entirely torn to pieces by be distributed among the poor. After them, and made a feast to satisfy the a time, moreover, he caused his fa- cravings of their horrible hunger. ther's tomb to be ornamented with a profusion of gold and silver and pre- VII.Death and Character of Lancious stones. After these things he franc, Archbishop of Canterbury. was received by all men willingly for Anno 1089. their king, and reduced all England In the same year died Lanfranc, under his subjection, and obtained the Archbishop of Canterbury. This prekeys of all the treasures ; in doing late, among other pious works, repair. which, Lanfranc was of no small as- ed the greater church of Christ at Cansistance to him ; by whom he had terbury, built offices for the monks, been educated, and consecrated a restored the dignities of the church knight, during his father's life-time. which had fallen into neglect under By him also he was crowned king of his predecessors, recovered many lands England, on the day of the holy mar. which had been alienated from it, tyrs Cosmus and Damian ; and he af- (among others, 25 several manors,) and terwards spent the remaining part of constructed two inns for strangers the winter in peace. Soon afterwards, without the city, to which he assignhowever, the nobles of the realm, al- ed out of his own possessions a suffimost all of them (not without the sin cient yearly revenue for their mainteof perjury), made war against him, nance. He repaired the church of although crowned king, and, adopting Rochester, and ordained Hernost, a his elder brother, Robert, to govern in monk of Bec, to be Bishop thereof; his stead, committed the greatest rae at whose consecration was that verse vages all over the country.

found upon the altar, “ Cito proferte

stolam primam,” &c. which the archVI.-A German Count devoured by bishop interpreted to predict his apMice. Anno 1089.

proaching death. And so, in effect, In these days, a certain German count, he died that same year, and was sucwho had been a bitter enemy to the ceeded by Gundulph, a monk of Bec, emperor, while he was sitting one day who continued there to the time of at table in a melancholy mood, attended king Henry. He reduced to its forby his servants, was on a sudden so sur- mer state the Abbey of Saint Alban, rounded by a multitude of mice, that the blessed proto-martyr of England. there appeared to be no means of escap- During the king's absence, he governing from them. So great was the num- ed his realm ; yet withal found ample ber of those little animals, that one time for study, to which he appliel might have thought no country on earth himself intensely. He endeavoured to had held so many ; and the servants, correct the books of the Old and New though they armed themselves with Testament, corrupted by the errors of clubs and sticks to drive them away, transcribers, and by the light of his could do nothing at all to get rid of emendations, the church of England, them. They seized on the count by and that of France also, do to this day their teeth, and tore him in a terrible possess the benefit of being enlightenmanner; and, notwithstanding all the ed. After his death, king William reclubs and staves, not one of them was tained in his own hands almost all the hurt; for the servants were unable, churches and monasteries of England, with all their endeavours, to strike or despoiling them of their possessions, wound any of them. Even when they and farming them as it were to persons carried him in a ship out to sea, still of the laity.


Transactions of the Wilettanti Society of Edinburgh,

No I.

Viator's Letters on the History and Progress of the Fine Arts. [The Dilettanti Society of Edinburgh had, for some time, entertained the idea of publishing annually a separate volume of their Transactions. It would appear, however, that they have now come to the resolution of laying their lucubrations before the public through the medium of this Journal—a resolution which our readers will easily believe has afforded us the most sincere pleasure. Whether the whole of the labours of these ingenious gentlemen may be such as to tend to the edification of our readers, remains yet to be proved. With regard to the very interesting paper which follows we cannot have the least apprehension.


out the aid of spectacles or the magniConsidering the excellence which the fying lens. That they possessed the ancients attained in the fine arts, it is magnifying mirror is extremely proastonishing how little has been trans- bable, for their looking-glasses being mitted to posterity respecting the made of metal, it was almost a necesworks and methods of their most dis- sary result that they should discover tinguished artists; of the methods of the magnifying power of a polished their sculptors we literally know no- concave surface. By some reflex apa thing; indeed I believe that many a plication of the concave mirror their learned fellow imagines that Phidias gem engravers may have been assisted ; and Praxiteles actually worked with and I think it would not be difficult the chisel and mallet in their hands, still to ascertain in what manner this hewing out the statue within the was done.

It has been supposed that block, with no other guide or model in some instances they employed a than the idea in their own minds. I drop of pellucid water in the perforas recollect to have read somewhere, that tion of a piece of metal ; but I cannot, Michael Angelo laboured with such en, however, forin any very distinct notion thusiastic fury to get his statues extrie of the manner in which this magnifycated from the encasing rubbish, that ing power could be rendered useful to it was quite marvellous to see him ! an engraver. But a pretty discovery Nothing, however, can be more ri. of an ingenious friend of mine, and diculous than the supposition of this which I would recommend to the atspecies of the Cæsarian operation in tention of our opticians, has suggested sculpture ; an art which requires the a better idea. He has discovered that utmost patience and minute careful- by nicely perforating a bit of paper, or ness, and in which the merit of the any superficial substance, a plate of artist consists in preparing the clay metal serving the best of all for the model. It is the artizan who fashions purpose,--that in proportion to the the marble ; a humble species of me- size of the hole, a very considerable chanical industry scarcely removed from magnifying power is obtained over obthe toil of the common stone-cutter-jects closely under the eye, and that the task of the labourers in the work- distant objects are brought apparently shops of Canova and Chantry. nearer, and seen much more distinctly

But what renders the methods of than by the unaided sight. It is the ancient sculptors still more curious therefore possible, that the ancient gem as an object of inquiry, is, that, with engravers may have made use of some out tools of steel or tempered iron, contrivance of this nature. they should have been able to work Our information with respect to the with so much felicity not only in mar- methods of the painters of antiquity ble, but even in the harder substance is also almost a blank. Their excel. of the precious stones. Their dexteri- lence both in drawing and in colourty appears still more extraordinary ing, cannot be questioned; for with when we reflect that it is necessary to such evidence as we possess of their employ the magnifying glass to inspect attainments in sculpture, it is almost the minute beauty of many of their impossible, without a denial of the gems, cameos, intoglios, and medals. force of ocular demonstration, to refuse It is almost inconceivable how such our acknowledgments to their superiorworks could have been produced withs ity. We are told, indeed, that Zeuxis Vol. VI.


formed the composition of his Juno* inculcate the principles of the art of from the peculiar beauties of all the portrait-painting. It may even be said, most beautiful women in Agrigentum; that it inculcates the principles of inand that Apelles made use of burnt dividual statuary; for Pliny menivory mixed with varnish to augment tions that she afterwards persuaded the effect of his colours, and to defend her father to make an image in clay of them from the action of the air.t the likeness, and that it was preserved But with the exception of these two as a curious illustration of the prosolitary facts, the one in the art of de gress of art, till the Consul Mummius sign, and the other in that of colour- destroyed Corinth.

These principles ing, we possess no practical informa- are founded on resemblance and chara tion respecting the methods of the an- acteristic expression; but this beauticient painters. The use of the black ful mythological tale teaches more : or burnt ivory by Apelles has been It implies, that in order to render the questioned by many writers on the fine portrait or the statue peculiarly interarts as an improbable' misconception ; esting, it is necessary that the situabut Mr West has, within these few. tion should be chosen in circumstances years, employed it with so much suc- where the original was seen to most cess, that the colouring of his late pic- advantage by the parties for whom the tures, compared with that of his ear- work was designed. To the eye of a lier, does not appear to have been pro- fond and tender lover, the most affectduced by the same hand. It serves to ing situation is that which is associated tune, if the expression may be allow- with the defenceless confidence of sleep. ed, the various tones of colouring into But I do not propose to enter into one consistent frame of harmony. any explanation of the classic apo

At this time, when a taste for the logues respecting the arts. I have only fine arts has been so earnestly excited adverted to this one, for the present, in the metropolis of Scotland, it may to shew, that although they have been be useful both to the public and to rendered trite by the incessant referartists to bring occasionally together ence to them in college verses, they are some of the most authenticated notices still curious lessons, and contain more respecting their progress and history, than meets the ear. and for this object I would now and Historians differ about the birththen beg admission into a corner of place of sculpture. But the art was your agreeable Miscellany. Without undoubtedly early cherished in Asia. prescribing to myself any precise rule Laban, we are informed, adored idols# either of theoretical investigation or of abominated by Jacob. Some, however, historical research, I propose, from are of opinion, that the Ethiopians time to time, to send you the substance were the first who employed visible of such memoranda as I have happen- symbols as objects of adoration,ş and ed to accumulate in my common place that of course they were the inventors book, either from books or conversa- of sculpture. Others ascribe' the intion with artists. What I have glean- vention to the Chaldeans, and refer, ed from the latter will perhaps pos- in proof of their hypothesis, to the sess some originality. It will, howe statue erected by Ninus in honour of ever, be necessary now and then to his father. But the Greek philosoadvert to two or three circumstances phers considered Egypt as the cradle with which every school-boy is ac- of the arts; and Plato says, that works quainted, but things never become of painting and sculpture may be trite until they have been previously found in Egypt executed ten thousand admired, and it should be recollected years ago. Pausanius thought that at that the art of teaching by apologues first the priests exhibited a stone, or has given rise to many fables which the trunk of a tree, as the emblems of are still referred to as beautiful, al- their gods. Herodotus, the father of though the original application of profane history, says, that the ancient them is no longer remembered. For Egyptians were accustomed to carve the example, few cursory readers are a- one end of a stick into the form of a ware that the elegant fable of the daugh- head, and, with scarcely more art, to ter of Debutotes sketching the profile trace a few imperfect lines on the other of her sleeping lover by his shadow into a resemblance of feet. In this on the wall, is a parable invented to state they transmitted the art of sculp


[ocr errors]

* Pliny lib. xxix. Cap. ix.
# Genesis, chap. xxxi. and xxxv.

+ Cavaliere Ferro, vol. i. p.

§ Contarino il Vago, p. 420.

ture to Greece. Pausanius mentions, cients. It is at least doubtful if the that there was an ancient statue at Apollo Belvidere is the same statue of Pygolia, which served to illustrate the which Pliny speaks in such terms of history of the arts, the feet and hands admiration as the work of Scopias. of which were closely joined to the The Venus by this artist was one of body, similar, no doubt, to the E- the ornaments of ancient Rome--but gyptian statues in the British Museum. it is now unknown. He was the ar

The first attempts in sculpture were chitect of the mausoleum which Arlino doubt with flexible materials, such misia raised to the memory of her husas clay or wax. The next were pro- band - one of the wonders of the bably with wood, and then marble ;- world. The standard by Polectetis is metal, as requiring the aid of another lost—a statue in which all the most art, was perhaps the last material em, beautiful proportions of the human fiployed by the genius of sculpture. gure were so admirably preserved, that

The earliest among the Greeks who it was constantly referred to by artists wrought in marble, were the sons of as a model, and thus acquired the name Dædalus, Dipoenus and Scyllis, * who of the Standard. The Media of Eutilived in the first Olympiad, that is, crates is also no longer known to exist. about 576 years before Christ. Phi- The critics in the time of Praxiteles were dias, who flourished about 120 years divided in their opinion with respect later, carried the art to its utmost pere to his two Venuses and his Phryne ; fection. It has certainly not since ap- but he himse preferred his Satyr, proached the same degree of excel- and particularly his Cupid, to all his lence, if we admit the Athenian mar- works, and they also are no more.bles in the British Museum to be his The story of Pygmalion is of itself a works; and if they were not his works, striking comment on the excellence of as there is some reason to believe, we the lost statues of antiquity; and that have still but an imperfect conception of the Colossus of Rhodes shows how of the improvements of which the art far superior in the magnificence of the is susceptible.

art the ancients were to the moderns. On one occasion, when a party of Glicones of Athens, who produced the artists were dining with Sir Joshua Farnesian Hercules, doubtless left oReynolds, while Burke and Dr John- ther works, which, if not in the same

were present, the conversation degree, were probably in the same turned on this very subject. Sir high style of art, but they have all Joshua observed, that it was impossi- perished. At Agrigentum 1 saw the ble to understand what was meant a- foot of a colossal Juno, belonging to mong the Greeks, by their saying that the late Mr Fagan, in point of executhe art of sculpture was in its decline tion, and greatness of style, equal to in the days of Alexander the Great- any thing that lately adorned the the Apollo Belvidere and the Venus Louvre. But although the utmost de Medici being considered as the diligence was employed to find the reproductions of that illustrious epoch ; mainder of the statue, the search was and neither the ingenuity of Burke, fruitless. At Syracuse, a headless Venor the erudition of Johnson, could nus was lately discovered, which, in solve the enigma. But the merits of the opinion of many good judges, is the sculptures of the Parthenon were superior to the Venus de Medicis. then unknown; I mean the Elgin

The Jews have never been consideror more properly the Athenian mare ed as entitled to any merit as artists, bles ; and it should be borne in and it has been supposed that the promind, that even they were placed in hibition in the Second Commandment the exterior of the edifice, merely for has been the cause of their deficiency the purpose

of decoration. The statue in the arts. But the prohibition only of the Goddess by Phidias was in the referred to idols of adoration, for Moses interior of the temple.

himself, the oracle of the command, It might be objected to as a para- made the brazen serpent ; and Solodox, to say that none of the master- mon, their wisest king, dealt largely pieces of the sculptors of antiquity in sculptured pomegranates, to say nohave yet been acquired by the mo- thing of the twelve oxen which supderns, but it is certain that none of ported the brazen sea, or of the golden those, which we consider as such, were lions that adorned the steps of his particularly famous among the an- throne. As for the cherubim, of which


* Pliny, lib. xxxvi. cap. iv.

we read so much, I beg for the in- have acquired a pre-eminence far above formation of our churchyard sculptors those of any other nation. The Moses to mention, that “ a learned student of Michael Angelo, for example, in of recondité lore” has assured me that appropriateness of character, is one of the cherubim were not human figures the most perfect creations that ever with wings, but circles representing rose from beneath the chisel ; and it the signs of the zodiac.

has been said, that in this respect it The Romans were tardy in their may be classed with the Minerva and cultivation of the art of sculpture, the Jupiter of Phidias. It has indeed which was perhaps owing also to the fixed, as it were, an unalterable standinfluence of that ancient law of Nu- ard, by which every subsequent atma, noticed by St Augustine * in the tempt to embody the form of the Jews controversy respecting the introduc- ish Lawgiver will not only be estition of images, particularly of God mated, but must also, in some degree, the Father into the churches. In resemble in air, features, and expresfact, the ancient Romans are not sion. Michael Angelo, however, was considered as having made any great not always uniformly successful. His degree of proficiency in the fine arts, statue of the Saviour, the companion notwithstanding the magnitude of of the Moses, is a complete failure. their architectural remains; and even' The benevolent character of Jesús was in architecture they were far inferior à subject not suited to his vehement to the Greeks, who distinctively settled genius; and the statue is scarcely one the embellishments of the several or• degree above a common academical fie ders, by which their buildings ob- gure-framed according to rule, and tained that appropriateness of character faultless without merit. In his suthat at once declared the use for which blime work on the day of judgment, they were erected, and rendered them the same inconsistency may be observed. models to all succeeding ages. The The single figures are without any apRomans, in the best epoch of their propriate character, without any extaste, followed the Greeks, but de- pression applicable to their tremendous viating from their chaste models, situation ; but the groups are comadopted that false principle which posed with admirable skill

. Still, supposes a beauty in ornament inde- however, even as single figures, they pendent of propriety of application or have great merit; and although they of fitness of place. The fragments of are but the ingenious adaptation of this corruption of taste, our own ar- legs, arms, and heads, to the celechitects for a long period were in the brated Torso, which bears his name, practice of imitating, but as I shall and which served as the model to most have an opportunity on some other of his figures, they are nevertheless occasion of noticing more particularly the productions of a masterly hand. the progress and state of the arts in The first modern artist who underthis country, I refrain for the pre- stood the principle of giving to his fisent from adverting to this branch of gures the peculiar expression belongthe subject. It may, however, be so ing to their situation and character, far requisite in the meantime, to ex- was Leonardo da Vinci, and he care plain, that the effect of this false prin- ried it to the highest point of excelciple of taste in architecture, is equi- lence in his picture of the Last Supvalent to that uninteresting beauty per. The appropriate character which which we sometimes meet with in he has given to the apostles in that historical pictures ;—where, though great composition, the significance of every figure is in correct proportion, expression in their several faces, all well drawn, and with drapery elegantly show that the point of time by the artfolded, yet not being employed ap- ist, is when our Saviour said, “There propriately to the subject, the general is one amongst you who shall betray composition is but a mere academical

But he failed in the head compilation, unadornedwith theimpress of the Saviour.

He had exhaustof that mental conception which consti- ed his powers of characteristic discritutes the highest quality of refined art. mination in the heads of the apostles;

But if the ancient Romans are not and in his attempt to blend meekness entitled to rank high as artists, the and dignity in the figure of Christ, painters and sculptors of modern Rome he produced only insipience. He had


* St Augustine, Vol. V. cap. xxxi. page 38.

« AnteriorContinuar »