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tented to confine to the mouth (sweetly as it conveys them) the expression of the softer passions also? Every one who reads this, can, I am very sure, call to mind, as he who writes it does, some picture even, whose eyes have looked into his soul, on which he has riveted his in entranced pleasure; but who ever felt this in looking on the eyes of a statue or a bust? Our friend, chiselled in marble, never lives to us, at least to me; for he is sightless, he does not return our gaze, he does not look on any thing.—Oh! that some one would have courage enough to dare, and skill enough to execute a statue with eyes. He would be a greater benefactor to the arts than he who added the seventh note to music.
In these respects the Venus of Titian loses by her translation into marble—but in that ineffable listlessness of l'mb, that languor of expression which is so beautifully apparent in every member, in every muscle, it perhaps gains; but then it wants the eye to give the redeeming, yet crowning fire.
But Bartolini has, at present, in hand another Venus, which I think will be yet finer than this; for as it is original, the freedom from the confinement of copying, has given it a spirit and (if I may so speak) a natural idealism of beauty that make it perhaps still more fascinating. As a friend of mine once happily said to me of his account of a tour he had been making, "it is what I really saw, or really invented;" so when I expressed my surprise at Bartolini's telling me that a young girl sat for this, he added, that it was her beauty improved upon. The statue is somewhat similar in design to Canova's nymph; that is, it is lying on the face with the head rested on the arm. The figure is totally naked,— and we gathered that the artist had had no impediment to making his copy. The model, he told us, was una ragazza, who came under the chaperonage of her mother, and received a scudo per sitting! We asked if she were not ashamed? "Ma, nun—non ci sono molto lergognose a Firenze. While we spoke, the young lady arrived; she was a very pretty, plump girl, of about twenty, but neither so lovely nor so youthful as her marble copy.
In the gabinetto, where are the works for sale, are also the original models of an infinite number of the busts which Bartolini has taken. What a multitude of plain unpoetical heads were here!—heads which Nature never meant for Art, and which Art had had great difficulty in moulding into passable nature. I was exceedingly amused by the evident endeavours of the sitters to throw sculpturelike expression into their unsculpturelike faces. The hair of one was artistement arrange ; the neck of another was imposingly turned ;—one had affected an expression of calmness and philosophy, asecond of dignity, a third ofenergy,a fourth of fire; nearly all by being affected had become unnatural—nearly all had striven to "look delightfully with all their might," and nearly all had failed egregiously. 1 was amused also with the evident traces of the skilful and admissible flattery of the artist. In heads which I recognised, this of course was apparent, but it was so also in those which I did not. In particular, you could see his good taste in tempering and redeeming the unnatural and theatrical air which so many had assumed, and his skill in blending what they were with what they wished to be. Some, however, were beyond him. Heads which were fitted only to rise from a Bond-street coat, and a starched neckcloth, could be brought into no unison with the bare throat and the Roman toga. Yet such is personal vanity! Such it certainly is, for I thought my own head would make a very laudable addition to the collection, and I dare say there are very few people who would be of the same opinion.
But there were some unreproachable with these faults, possessed, indeed, of great interest and beauty. There were young and lovely heads, to which youth and loveliness were evidently natural—heads of manliness and expression, where it was clear they were not assumed. But what interested me most was, meeting the portraits of features which had become familiar through their possessors' celebrity. Of these there were many, some favourite busts, some recopied for sale. Of Napoleon, of course, the image met you at every turn, that fine head so fitted for sculpture by the beauty and strong expression both of its general contour and its minuter forms. There were several models of this head of various sizes, and different characteristics; some with the wreathed crown, some with the small three-cornered hat which he commonly wore, some without any covering. I thought most of them were extremely successful, both in likeness and expression. Of Fox, too, the busts were in great number; and Bartolini told me that there was more demand for it than almost for any head that he had ever modelled. Even the attaches to our Embassy had them! Tell this not in Gath, that is, in Downing-street—what would they say there? or rather what would they have said there two years ago?
These, of course, were familiar to me; but there was one head which, manifold as its copies are, and well known as it is in England, I did not at first recognize. This was a bust of Lord Byron, taken about eighteen months ago. He must be greatly changed since he left England, for Bartolini said the bust was a very happy likeness. The face is quite altered in contour, and thence partly in expression, from what it formerly was. It is greatly fallen away in the lower part, which tends also to throw the nose more prominently forward. There are lines also of mingled sadness and aigreur, formed about the mouth, which one might so well expect to be there! 1 was instantly reminded of those mournful and most beautiful stanzas beginning
"No more, no more, oh! never more on me
The face spoke that consciousness of the vanity, the vnavailingness of great gifts, and mental acquirements and fame, which constitute, perhaps, the bitterest of all reflections. There were other changes also. The hair which used to be curled close to the head, now flowed in long and graceful curls after the old Italian fashion, which, in my esteem at least, is the addition of a beauty. But I am told that he afterwards had again cut it short. It had grown grey,
"But now, at thirty years, my hair is grey—
and he therefore did not like it to be long. In speaking of his grey hairs, he said Jc Us ai coupe pour tie plus les wmter.
Near his bust stood that of the Contessa Y . In this I was
much disappointed, for I had thought always highly of Lord Byron's ideas of female beauty, not only from his poems, but also from some hints dropped here and there in his notes. But in this head there was little either of beauty or expression. The face is large and round in the upper part and the cheek-bones, and then slopes off suddenly till it becomes very narrow below. Still, I can understand many people, considering it as belonging to that style of beauty which the Italians of the middle ages admired—that is, which one or two of them painted;—I mean an inanimate oval face, with hair parted carefully, and flatly at the top, and hanging down in long ringlets on the shoulders. The 'Marchesa's hair was arranged in exactly this manner:—it is evident that is the line of beauty which she adopts. The eyes are not large—of their expression, of course, I cannot speak; but the mouth has little, if any, and the whole appearance of the bust was as if it resembled a head which was like a bust.
One of the finest pieces of sculpture, in my estimation, was a bust of Machiavelli. Here mouth had the superiority, for the expression of cunning and caducity in the mouth of the bust was as powerful and speaking as any thing I can conceive. "Cunning," perhaps, is not exactly the word to convey my meaning, at least I would wish it taken in a higher sense than that in which it is commonly used— acuteness and subtlety of thought combined; but probably not exalted by much grandeur or generosity of intellect.
I was much pleased with Bartolini himself; like most foreigners, he speaks rapidly, but his ideas flow as fast as his words;—every moment you are struck by some sound, acute, or original remark, clinched by apposite and strong language. I hate to see a man of reputation in his profession confined, like a mill-horse, to his own beaten round, and proving to you, in despite of what might be concluded and certainly must be wished, that talent may co-exist with extreme narrowness oi intellect. This is a truth which I have long wished to deny to my conviction; but what can one do against the repeated instances that one sees, and some of them very distinguished? The assertion, which had become almost a proverb, that " Nelson was nothing ashore," may be applied mutatis mutandis to men eminent in many different ways. Still the natural desire, as well as expectation, is, when you see a man of whom you have lieard much, that his appearance and conversation should prove that he is not a mere mechanic in his calling. With Bartolini this is peculiarly the case. In speaking of his own art, he has a clearness, an absence of all affectation, and, what is still more extraordinary in one so nearly allied to the Sir Fretful brotherhood of painters, an equal absence <Jf all envy.
Bartolini was one of the artists, culled from the most eminent of nearly all Europe, who were sent for to Paris to erect the pillar in the Place Vendfime. A considerable part of the relief of this most beautiful and admirable work is from his models. There can scarcely, in my idea, be a more beautiful monument than this. In more senses than one, the inscription beneath the prints of the pillar is a just one.— <lQu'on est fier d'etre Francais quand on regarde la colonne!"
One thing Bartolini told me, which surprised me exceedingly—he had never been at Bome! Living within 170 miles of it, being an artist, nay a sculptor, he has never visited the metropolis of all art. To be sure, when he was at Paris, the Apollo and the Laocoon were there; but you cannot move St. Peter's — fresco paintings are not transferable at pleasure;—above all, the associations attached to Rome cannot be shifted by the mandate of a conqueror; and yet Bartolini never drove, for it is only a drive, to Rome! I cannot understand, or account for it.
"AND I TOO IN ARCADIA."
Are ye come forth, amidst the leaves and flowers
O youths and virgms of the sylvan vales 1
—/ too have breath'd Arcadia's joyous gales!
Deep midst the hoary pines and olives dim?
—My voice once mingled in Arcadia's hymn!
And the hills ringing unto flute and song!
/, midst Arcadia's fair and festive throng!
If this were all 1—but there are other hours
Than those which pour out sunshine on the bowers.
And weigh the rich trees down with summer's pride!
—Even in Arcadia's lap a rose hath died! F. H.
TWELvE O CLOCK AT NIGHT.
"Well, if any thing be damn'd,
It is the Judas of the hours, wherein
The opinion above delivered concerning that " celebrated hour*" to which the literary world is so deeply indebted, is most harsh and uiv christian. It is now many years since first I had the honour of forming an acquaintance with Twelve o'clock at Night, and in the interim I have known it in almost every department of life; yet I cannot charge my memory with any misconduct of which it has been guilty, that at all warrants so severe a denunciation; but, on the contrary, must own that of all the four-and-twenty hours it is the one from which I have derived the most intense and most varied pleasure, and is indeed " the sweetest morsel of the night." Whoever will take the pains of looking a little deeper than the surface of things, and of giving that attention to the subject which common charity requires of all men when a reputation is at stake, will discover that there is much more of antique prejudice than of sound reason in the damnatory clauses of the poet; and will find that if certain of the imputations levelled against the "witching hour" may formerly have had some slight semblance of
• " It was at the celebrated hour of twelve, &c." See" The Heroine."
foundation, twelve o'clock at night, like a good Christian hour as it is, has repented of the past, and, in the language of Shakspeare, has "reformed it altogether;" leading at the present day (if that be not a bull) as exemplary a life, as if it had been brought up in the tabernacle, or had been appointed deputy licenser of plays to my Lord Chamberlain. -One of the standing accusations against twelve o'clock at night is, that it is a dark and gloomy hour, of a louring and suspicious countenance, and an avowed protector of rogues and vagabonds.
"Oh! grim-look'd night! oh! night with hue so black."
Now though this might fairly be met with a reflection that the matter in charge is more a misfortune than a fault; and that if the sun chose to keep better hours, or the moon were not so capricious in her movements, midnight might be as flaunting as the " garish eye of day;" yet there is no necessity for availing ourselves of the plea. Let any one who has a curiosity to gratify, but take the trouble of walking into Regent-street, or any other of the great thoroughfares of the metropolis, and he will find twelve o'clock at night fairly outshining its soi-disant radiant brother, twelve at noon, (who by the by is much too frequently under a cloud,) and, without being dependant upon " the seasons or their changes," is all the year round alike brilliant and gay; which is much more than can be said of the greatest and happiest wits
upon town, from Jekyll to ^—— inclusive. Then as to the
keeping bad company, twelve o'clock may be seen every evening at the best houses in London ushering into the ball-room whatever is most choice and select in the supreme bon ton of the supreme ban genre.
Another most absurd imputation, from which it is scarcely necessary to defend this " injured innocent," is that of murder. A night-prowling bandit figures well in a melodrame; such innuendoes as
"Wither'd murder Alarum'd by his sentinel the wolf, Whose howl's his watch,"
may cut a very good splash in poetry; and " The midnight murd'rer bursts the faithless bar," is very soon said; but who ever heard of twelve o'clock at night being present at a duel, that most fashionable and approved mode of manslaughter? If such a charge had been brought against six o'clock in the morning, or against the hour between riding-time and dressing for dinner, it might not be wholly divested of colour; but twelve at night would be very clever to catch a man to kill, at Chalk Farm, or the " Fifteen Acres" either.* Then as to assassination, that might have been all very well when men passed the midnight hour asleep and alone; but now, when this hour has become the time of general assembly, the thing is impossible. In this respect, indeed, twelve at night is much more sinned against than sinning: for there is not a tavern in London in which, on every night
* The Fifteen Acres is the accustomed seat of duelling rendezvous for his Ma-' jesty's lieges of the city of Dublin. An Attorney lately, in penning a challenge, which perhaps he mistook for a lease, directed his opponent to meet him " at the Fifteen Acres, le Ihe same more or less." ,