Imágenes de página

limbs of this figure are all modern. They are executed, however, in a much better spirit than most of the restorations we meet with here. But the chief interest of this statue depends on the face—which is admirably rich and true. It is redolent of wine and the woods, without having any thing about it in the slightest degree conventional. It has an ideal grossness and sensuality belonging to it, unmixed with any thing that can be called low or vulgar. The restorer of this statue has put a Pan's pipe in its hand, which he has made it hold with all the air of a French petit-maitre playing to his mistress.—Close to the above stands an exceedingly fine head, which is usually considered as representing Homer. (25.) Its great merit is that it preserves ahigh and noble expression, in the midst of the marks of extreme old age.—Nos. 27 and 29 are two curious and interesting pieces, each representing the Bearded Bacchus; one of them being executed in a very beautiful but highly antique style, approaching to the Egyptian; and the other forming the upper portion of an entire Terminus.—We must now prepare to quit this room—merely glancing at two or three objects as we pass out. No. 31 is a very curious remnant of a group, which appears to have consisted of two boys who have quarrelled while playing at tali, (Anglice et vulgarice dibbs,) and one is seizing the arm of the other to bite it. The whole is executed with extraordinary spirit.—No. 32 is a terminal head, bearing the name of Pericles. There is a fine serenity about the face, not unmixed with an expression of mild melancholy. —No. 40 is a most exquisite little fragment, a torso, apparently of Hercules. This little piece, which is only three or four inches long, is sufficient to demonstrate the absence of any necessity to restore. What is left suffers not the slightest injury from the want of what is lost. The last piece claiming particular attention in this room, is a group of Acteon attacked by his dogs. It is executed with great spirit and truth. The face of the hunter is covered with a fine air of mingled astonishment and terror—neither of them overstepping the bounds of grace. The dogs have exactly the character of wolves.

The Fourth Room is a circular domed vestibule, seeming to form the centre of the gallery. It contains but few objects; but two or three of them are of a splendid character. No. 5 is a complete statue, the size of life, and remarkably perfect as to preservation, and said to represent Thalia; but it seems to be of Roman, not of Greek workmanship. It is however of great value and beauty. No. 11 is another statue, of about the same degree of merit, representing Diana. The third object of first-rate excellence in this room is a group, which is of a still higher character than the two preceding, and evidently from a Greek hand. It represents Bacchus and Ampelos. The whole air, attitude, and expression of the Bacchus are rich and poetical in the highest degree; and every part breathes forth a voluptuous grace, uncontaminated by the slightest tinge of grossness. The figure of Ampelos, on which Bacchus is leaning, represents a vine-tree half emerging into a human form. (The word signifies a vine.) This latter is not executed in so high a style as the Bacchus, and seems purposely kept in subservience to it, in order to increase the effect.—The other noticeable objects in this room are several splendid busts, of Roman workmanship;—for the Romans probably equalled the Greeks in their busts. No. 1, a bust of Trajan, is highly natural and lme. No. 6, of Marcus Aurelius, is full of a calm and dignified repose. No. 7, of Lucius Verus, is a splendid head—blending together the coxcomb and the patrician in a very edifying manner.

The Fifth Room, which is a small square one, to the right of the last, may be passed over without pointing out any particular objects for notice; but not without mentioning that nearly all its contents will repay a careful examination, to those who would improve their general taste and knowledge in regard to objects of this nature. It contains nearly fifty different objects, all connected with the Roman rites of sepulture—many of which are extremely beautiful as works of art.

The Sixth Room is a continuation of the long gallery, and contains a vast number of admirable works, in nearly all the different departments of sculpture. Our glance at them must be very hasty; for we are approaching the end of our limits. From 1 to 14 consist of a series of reliefs, chiefly taken from the fronts of sarcophagi, and in many of which, the figures are nearly detached from the back ground. No. 12 may be pointed out as perhaps the most rich, spirited, and full of life. It represents a bacchanalian procession. No. 24 is a statue of a satyr, highly animated and characteristic. No. 31 is a magnificent head, probably representing one of the Homeric heroes. It is instinct with spirit and fire, and displays the hand of high genius in every touch of it. No. 52 is a charming statue of Libera—very perfect in its preservation. No. 57,—a small statue of a fisherman, was no doubt employed as a votive offering, by one of the common people;—its exquisite workmanship becomes, therefore, doubly interesting, when viewed as an illustration of the state in which art must then have been. Nos. 61 and 65 are two admirable busts—one of Augustus, and the other of Caracalla. No. 64 is an object of great interest and curiosity, supposing the conjecture concerning it be true. It represents part of a votive altar, on which is an inscription, praying for the safe return of Septimius Severus and his family from some expedition. There is, however, a part of the inscription erased; and it is supposed that this was the part which contained the name of Geta—which name the Emperor Caracalla had, by an express edict, ordered to be erased from every inscription throughout the Roman Empire. No. 68 is a group of two greyhounds, which is worthy of notice, on account of the extraordinary air of nature which it displays. No. 72 is the small statue of Cupid, which was alluded to in connexion with the larger, noticed in the commencement of this paper. It is not executed in the very first style; but is still very charming and natural. Nos. 71 and 74 are two very small statues, one representing a Muse, and the other Hercules—each seated on a rock. They are pointed out for the purpose of shewing, that mere size has essentially very little to do with either increasing or diminishing grandeur and dignity of effect. In looking at these noble figures, we are never for a moment reminded, except by actual comparison, that they are but a few inches high. The same remarks apply to No. 95—a small statue of Jupiter.

The Seventh Room is a small square one, containing little or nothing that demands particular mention; and the eighth and ninth are filled with the noble and unrivalled collection of Egyptian antiquities. The latter, together with the marbles from the Parthenon, and the Phigalian marbles, must be reserved for a future notice.

It only remains to speak of the Tenth Room, and the last. The principal object contained in this room was, I believe, generally considered as the chief boast of this collection before the acquisition of the Elgin Gallery. I allude to the celebrated Discobolus. It is, undoubtedly, a noble production, full of the true air of antiquity in every part of it; and the anatomical details are made out with infinite truth, skill, and knowledge. But I cannot think that it quite deserves the great comparative fame which it enjoys. The general attitude of the figure is not only deficient in a graceful and natural arrangement, but it is scarcely answerable to the action in which it is engaged; and the left foot, with the toes bent under it, would certainly not contribute its due degree of support to the body under its present action. I repeat, however, the details are peculiarly fine, and true.

The other most remarkable objects in this department of the gallery are No. 5—an exquisitely beautiful torso of a female statue; No. 18— an admirably spirited head of a laughing faun; and finally, a bust of a youthful female, which rises out of, and is terminated by the leaves of the lotus flower. This bust is one of the most charming works in the whole collection. Nothing can surpass the natural grace, sweetness, and intellectual beauty of its expression ; and it has the rare advantage of being as perfect as when it came from the sculptor's hand, or rather it is more so, since it has received those softening and heightening touches which no hand but that of Time can give.



"Quanto piii m' nvvicino al gioruo cstremo."

The nearer I approach that final day
Which brings our mortal sorrows to a close,
More clearly I perceive how swiftly flows
The tide of Time, and human hopes decay—
And to myself in musing thoughts I say,
Now all my earthly ills, my love, and woes,
From my freed soul shall pass, as fallen snows
Melt in the sun-beam from the hills away;
And every fruitless wish shall fly, with lite,
Which I so long and rashly have pursued:
Nor smiles, nor tears, nor care, nor worldly strife
Shall on my sweet and perfect peace intrude—
And I by brighter lights shall see more plain
For what fallacious joys we sigh in vain.

A. o.


A Tale from the German.

"We will now begin No. 2," said the professor, as he tied the strings of his portfolio of prints, and looked towards another which was lying by the table: "this will, I think, afford you still more pleasure; but, Madam, you look so frequently at the clock, that I fear"

"I only fear," said the counsellor's lady, "that it is growing too late to begin another; and it would be really a pity to hurry over such well-selected works. If your engagements will permit some other time?"

"It is not yet very late," her husband replied, as he was lifting a heavy folio on the table; "we shall have plenty of time to look over this part, leisurely enough ; what makes you in such a hurry to-night 1"

"I think it best for every one to be at his own home in the evening," observed the wife of the counsellor; "it is much safer."

"Safer?" asked the counsellor, laughing, "you pay a fine compliment to our police! in what may the danger consist, which you seem to fear so much, now the military, who are generally the greatest destroyers of safety, have left the town?"

"That is the very cause of my fear," rejoined the lady; "they would not have left us, if they had not doubted of their own security; the enemy are, I fear, approaching, and disturbances often arise when they are least expected."

"Oh! if that be your only ground of alarm," said the professor, laughing, "we may proceed with our prints very safely; it will be long enough before the enemy arrive here, and, I think, we are more likely to see our protectors (as they term themselves) again, than our foes, for they are no longer our enemies. In the mean time, your apprehensions are not without foundation; for here in the very first leaves, I shall show you some of these Tartarian tribes, at least in effigy."

"Another time, I beg," replied the anxious lady; "if you knew my uneasiness, you would yourself be glad to have me at home."

"But really," said the counsellor, endeavouring to tranquillize her, "you are needlessly alarmed; according to the latest news, a few days may possibly bring about some military events, or send us some strange guests—but I will answer for to-morrow; and as to this evening, there is not the remotest probability of any thing happening."

It was in vain they sought to convince the lady of the groundlessness of her alarm; she became obviously more and more anxious, and finally, not to destroy the pleasure of the party, she proposed that the professor should accompany them home, and that he and her husband might there look over some prints and pictures together, on which "discussions had formerly arisen between them. The scheme was acceded to; the professor laughed at her earnest exhortation, while he double-locked his doors; and the party proceeded with many jests and much merriment to the house of the counsellor, where the conversation on the latest works of art soon resumed its former vivacity.

"Would one not believe," observed the counsellor during the absence of his lady, " that my wife had second sight? Her strange solicitude makes me almost anxious myself; it is not customary with her."

"Let us come to the discussions which are the order of the day," observed the professor ; " you surely cannot believe in such things; we

vOL. XI. NO. Xi.viii. 2 I

shall be able to look at your beautiful works of art as perfectly at our ease as if we only knew Cosaks and Bashkirs from the descriptions of travellers."

The counsellor seemed not of this opinion, he became somewhat absent, and the remarks of the professor on the antiquities of Germany, which had been reserved for this evening's discussion, and which he uttered with all the enthusiasm of an antiquary, scarcely gained attention. The professor laughed repeatedly at the belief in forebodings which his friend's anxiety manifested, and adduced many arguments, founded on natural history and experience, to prove its fallacy.

"I can object nothing to your reasoning," said the counsellor at last, "except the numerous results of experience, which should seem to confirm the reverse of your doctrine, and which would open to us a temporary view into realms inaccessible to human knowledge.—We cannot entirely reject the testimony of men worthy of credit, and who must be acquitted of any attempt to deceive."

"Why not," replied the professor, "when the doctrine itself is opposed to all the laws of possibility? Men of the greatest veracity and sincerity, may be deceived themselves; it is, in truth, with these forebodings as with ignes fatui,—many tell you they have heard of them, but not one with whom I have ever spoken has, himself, witnessed them. Till I meet with a ghost-seer, who assures me seriously and on his word that he has experienced the truth of them himself, when wide awake, and in full possession of reason and consciousness—till then, I reject the whole as futile."

"And if such a person were to be found," said the Counsellor, "would you then believe?"

"Hum," replied the professor, shrugging his shoulders, "only after a very close investigation. Deception is so easy—it is in all cases only a more apparent or more hidden deception, that cherishes this credulity."

"In all cases!" repeated the other : " I cannot agree with you there, I myself was orice a witness of a circumstance of this nature, which, though I have not thought of it for some years, now recurs to my memory, and which was neither a dream nor an illusion. I will narrate it to you. You will believe me when I assure it is not a fictitious adventure ; and when you have heard the particulars, you may judge whether I could have been deceived.

"It must be now nearly ten years since I was appointed a counsellor

in the chamber at M . I was then unmarried, and was fond of

travelling; while my elder comrades, on the contrary, loved their ease, and I often undertook to transact business for them at a distance from home. Once when I was preparing for one of these expeditions, which would cause me to pass near the convent at Wallbach, one of the older counsellors requested me to take that opportunity of viewing the place for him. It had been for a long time changed into an Amthaus, and the officer who held the situation had often petitioned for a repair of the old building; but when the chamber agreed to the request, the then Amtman found the new building unnecessary, and stated that he would content himself with the habitable part of it, if, in recompense, some other conveniences were allowed him. In short, I was commissioned to •urvey the place narrowly, and report on the expediency of repairing the old, or of building altogether a new Amthaus.

« AnteriorContinuar »