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fection of having both the hands antique ; which can be said of very few other statues, here or elsewhere. The arrangement of the drapery about the head and body, the fashion of the hair, &c. together with the character of simple matronly beauty pervading the whole figure and attitude, make this statue highly deserving of study and attention. It may be regarded as one of the very best we have of the time to which it belongs. In this room I shall only mention one other object, partly on account of its intrinsic merit, but chiefly on account of an interest it derives from the striking resemblance it bears to our great tragic actress. The work I allude to is a colossal bust, called in the catalogue Rome (116); and if it really was intended to typify that city, the resemblance I have noticed is very remarkable; for, if ever a human being existed, whose' air; features, and expression were calculated to symbolize to the imagination Imperial Rome in its “most palmy state," that being was Mrs. Siddons.
Entering the hall of the Centaur, the first object claiming attention is the exquisite work which gives name to the place (194). For 'admirable truth and distinctness in the details, force and vivacity in the expression, and ease and spirit in the general effect, perhaps there is nothing finer than this statue in existence, unless it be the Faun and Infant called Silenus and Bacchus, to be noticed hereafter in the ball of the Caryatides. The complicated and involved nature of the action (the hands of the Centaur being tied behind him, and his head and body túrned nearly 'round to look at the infant genius which is supposed to have subdued him, and is seated triumphantly on his back), and the truth with which the anatomical effects of it are made out, indicate at once a theoretical knowledge, and a practical facility of eye and hand, that are truly wonderful. I scarcely know whether to admire or lament the 'modesty, or want of courage, whichever it may be, that prevents our modern artists from attempting subjects of this kind. It is humiliating to suppose that we are naturally incapable of grappling with such subjects; and there seems no reason à priori why we should be so: yet I am afraid the mere fact of our not attempting them proves that we are incapable of them ;--for there is an instinctive feeling in the human mind as to its own powers, which scarcely ever deceives it. There is little doubt that when we are capable of rivalling the Greek artists, we shall rival them. But even if that period ever should arrive, we must not hope to feel ourselves on an equality with them in point of merit ; for it must never be forgotten that they created the art which we can at best but revive. This work has the additional interest of being an antique repetition, and probably by the same hands, of two smaller ones still existing at Rome, and bearing the names and country of the artists,--Aristeas and Papias, of Aphrodisias. - In this same hall we have a most charming statue of Bacchus (148), redolent of rich, graceful, and voluptuous beauty. It seems to breathe into the air about it a sentiment of elegant repose which is to be felt in no other way than through the medium of works of this kind ; a sentiment which has ceased to exist as a reality, and can be enjoyed in imagination alone : but perhaps it is not the less desirable or the less effective on that account. It is in this hall that we meet with the three exquisite busts of Lucius Verus, to which I have alluded above (140, 145, 149). It also contains one other, of Marcus Aurelius (138), of similar workmanship.
VOL. V. NO. XXIII.
The hall of Diana, besides a magnificent fountain in the centre, and several other admirable works, contains the celebrated Diana from which it is named (178). This is undoubtedly a work of great beauty; but I hardly think it merits the reputation it bears. To me there is somewhat of a modern air about it, which seems to indicate that it was done by an inferior hand, and probably in an inferior age. It is executed with great taste and precision; but it wants that freedom and facility, and also that natural truth and simplicity of character, which belong to the best works of the best age of Greece. Without pretending to possess any better ground for the opinion than that of mere feeling, I should conceive this statue to be of Roman and not of Greek workmanship. The hall of the Candelabra, which we now enter, takes its name from a most splendid tripod (208), which, if it really were what it seems to be, would be unrivalled in its kind. It is still, however, very curious and interesting on account of its having been constructed by the justly celebrated Piranesi, as an ornament for his own tomb. The different parts of which it is composed are all antique; but they have been collected from different sources, and the present arrangement of them as a single work is altogether arbitrary and modern. Perhaps this renders the work, elegant as it is, somewhat out of place in the present collection. It is, however, the only one of which this complaint can be made.
We now, on entering the hall of the Tiber, stand before one of the loveliest and most perfect pieces of workmanship in the world; and one peculiarly interesting to us of the present time, as being an acquirement of our own day. I allude to the Greek statue now generally known by the name of the Venus Victrix, which was discovered in the year 1820, in the island of Milo, the ancient Melos. This exquisite work, of which there is no account in the catalogue, was dug up in several fragments by a Greek peasant, and by him sold to an agent of the Marquis de Rivière, French ambassador at the Ottoman court ; who presented it to the Royal Museum. The French, when they happen to possess themselves of a really valuable acquisition of this kind, are apt to make more stir about its merits than an impartial examination of them will warrant; but it must be confessed that in the present instance they have not subjected themselves to this imputation : for in fact they could not do so. The Venus Victrix, or whatever name it may be entitled to, for it will “smell as sweet by any other name,” is well worthy of all the admiration, not only that has been, but that can be bestowed upon it. Words cannot speak its beauties, much less overrate them. It is faultless in its class, and its class is the highest in art. It is a perfectly pure and natural representation of perfectly pure and natural female beauty; and if, according to the opinion of some of its critics, it is no more than this, to have been more it must have been less. If the genius of the artist has endowed his Promethean creation with nothing beyond the breath and motion of merely human life, it is not only because he knew of nothing beyond these, but because he knew, that even if he could have achieved any thing beyond, it would not have been calculated permanently to affect either the feelings or the imagination of merely human beings. In paying the homage of our admiration to the ineffable beauties of this divine statue, we worship-not a vague and abstract notion of that.“which never was on sea or land,” but a real actual image of that which “ was, and ¥š, and is to come.” Ideal beauty is a contradiction in terms, as it respects the human imagination, and refers to the expression of the human form; and it means less than nothing, where it does not mean an image of real remembered beauty: combined and assorted, indeed, but not invented. In fact I conceive that art departs from its due and appointed course, where it attempts to create any thing but combinations alone.
I have next to speak of the Gladiator (262), in the hall of that name. This statue is perhaps upon the whole the most valuable in the present collection, both on account of the style and character of its execution, and the perfect state of preservation in which it remains. In fact, it is little if at all inferior to any thing of the kind in existence. It represents a naked warrior, in the act of at once receiving and returning a blow, which, if not warded, must evidently be mortal on either side. By the peculiar attitude of the figure, the imaginary enemy must either be on horseback, or in a war-chariot. For admirable skill and truth in the anatomical details, this work may rank with the noble fragment named the Ilyssus, from the Parthenon; and for characteristic spirit and force in the general effect, as a single figure engaged in a certain action, and expressing a certain moral and physical purpose, it is no less admirable and perfect. It tells its own story better than any inscribed words could do for it. In its living features we read, as in a book, added to the consciousness of comparative safety arising from superiority of skill, the knowledge of impending danger, the collected will to meet it, and the cautious preparation to return it tenfold on the bringer. As a single figure, this excellent work claims to rank in the same class with the Dying Warrior, or Gladiator, of the Capitol; and it also in many respects resembles the celebrated Discobolus, which is the chief ornament of our own collection at the British Museum. This statue possesses the additional interest of having the sculptor's name (Agasias of Ephesus, the son of Dositheus) engraved on it; and it may perhaps be considered as the most ancient one claiming this distinction.
Having been led to devote more space than I at first intended to a few of the principal works in this noble collection, I find that my limits compel me to pass over the remainder with a very slight notice; and I regret also that I have little room left to speak of the many admirable pictures which still grace the gallery above stairs. I can merely name a few of the principal objects which enrich the halls that we have not yet passed through. In the hall of Pallas there is a statue of Polymnia (306), curious from the uncommonly clever manner in which it has been restored, or rather created, from a mere hint of the original fragment. No part of it is antique but the drapery round the lower part of the body and feet. The colossal Pallas (310), which gives name to the hall, is also well worth study and attention. Its style and character are similar to those of the grand figure of Melpomene (348), which is the chief ornament of the next hall. In the hall of Isis, which joins to that of Melpomene, we find three most curious and interesting objects : a statue of Isis (359), in black marble, of admirable workmans ship, in which the Greek and Egyptian styles are singularly blended together; a statue of Egyptian workmanship (361), probably the best specimen we possess of the state to which art had reached before it arrived at absolute perfection among the Greeks; and a magnificent Altar (378), dedicated to the Twelve Gods, in very low relief, and in a style scarcely inferior to that of the great work formerly enriching the cella of the Parthenon.
In the three following halls we meet with several charming statues, and some admirable bas-reliefs, but nothing calling for very particular notice, except the Hermaphrodite (461), in the hall of Hercules. This fine and singular work is a repetition or imitation of that in the hall of the Caryatides; and they are both equally worthy of admiration. The last statue I shall notice is the Faun and Infant (706), (called Silenus and Bacchus) in this last department of the sculpture. In its way I conceive that this statue cannot be surpassed. Added to an inimitable degree of ease, elegance, and graceful repose, there is a rich racy spirit of joyous exhilaration, exuding, as it were, from every part of the work, which is truly wonderful, considering the material of which it consists. It has more of the rich nut-brown effect of one of Titian's figures (some of those, for example, in his Bacchus in Naxos), than of a cold marble statue. The anatomical details, too, are inimitably fine and true. I cannot quit this hall without expressing the delighted admiration that never fails to seize and wrap me all about, whenever I gaze on that exquisite work, the Borghese Vase (711), which so nobly occupies the centre of this chamber. It is the finest anacreontic that ever was written : and moreover it transports us to the “Bella età del oro," with more expedition, and in a fitter condition to appreciate and enjoy it, than all the labour of Sir Philip Sidney can, added to all the voluptuous ease even of Tasso himself.
I the less regret having left myself little space to speak of the col. lection of pictures belonging to this Museum, as, notwithstanding the magnificent effect it produces as a coup-dæil, the gallery which contains them is the worst adapted for its purpose of any that ever was erected. In fact, on account of the lights all coming from side windows, not more than one picture in four can be seen at all ; and none can be seen with any thing like their full effect. Besides which, this gallery, though it possesses many admirable pictures, and some few that are first-rate, and even unrivalled, is far from being either a very agreeable collection, or a very complete one. There is, moreover, a strange and incongruous mixture of old and modern masters, which produces an effect altogether displeasing and French.—The finest picture in this collection is unquestionably the Deluge, by Poussin (120). There is a depth and a truth of imagination infused into every part of it, which give it a character of power and sublimity, that its small size and the bigh finish of its execution cannot take away. There is not a person introduced in the picture who is not felt to be dying many deaths instead of one; and nothing can be more impressive, and at the same time more natural and judicious, than the means by which this effect is produced. Though this is one of the smallest, it is perhaps the very finest of all Poussin's works. It exhibits all the good qualities by which bis pencil was distinguished, and not a single one of his faults. Here are some admirable portraits by Titian, and some others of his pieces; but the portraits are incomparably the best. Among the finest of the latter are those of Alphonso d'Avalos and his mistress (1126); of Francis I. of France (1125); of the Cardinal Hypolito de' Medici (1124); and one, inimitably fine, of a man dressed in black (1127).—Among several
other admirable pictures by Leonardo da Vinci, there is one (982) (said to be a portrait of Monna Lisa, the wife of a gentleman of Florence) which, for intense sweetness and depth of feminine expression, I have never seen equalled. There is also a portrait of Bacio Bandinelli (1103), by Sebastian del Piombo, which is perfect in its kind, and in no respect inferior to the best of Titian's. Leaving the Italian school, of which there are few other works that struck us as possessing a surpassing degree of merit,-it only remains for me to notice the Flemish and Dutch works contained in this gallery.—By Rubens we have the whole of the Catherine de' Medici pictures, from the Luxemburg gallery : a series of pictures too well known to need description. They have been taken from their much more appropriate situation in a gallery exclusively their own, and placed here among more than a thousand other pictures, where their peculiar merits can neither be seen nor felt. --- By Van Dyke there are several noble pictures, chiefly portraits, in his very finest and richest style. In Rembrandts the gallery is very poor, except in a few cabinet works, one of which (579) (Jesus breaking bread with his Disciples at Emaus) is curious as well from its other merits, characteristic of this extraordinary artist, as from its being finished equal to Gerard Dow.-By the Flemish landscape-painters here are few works claiming particular notice, except a lovely Paul Potter (565), sweet and bright as nature itself, and three most exquisite gems by Cuyp (354, 5, 6), glowing with light and life, and equal to any of his works.
In concluding this slight notice of The Louvre in 1822, I cannot but feel how inadequate must be any thing I have said, or could have said, to satisfy the feelings of those who have visited this magnificent emporium of Art, or to convey a just notion of its splendours to those who have not: but it should be remembered, that all I have attempted or hoped has been, to recall to the former of these what cannot be too often present with them, and to enable such of the latter as may only have an opportunity of taking a cursory view of this vast collection, to fix at once upon those portions of it which are, as it seems to me, the most worthy of their attention and admiration.
STANZAS FOR MUSIC.
And the curtains of Heaven were glowing,
O’er the face of a sleepy lake blowing:
And the stillness to billows was broken;
It slept, as if never awoken.
One cheek may be furrow'd by weeping,
Another in peace may be sleeping.
Can tranquilly sleep again never
The calm it had broken for ever.