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Raphael has long been preserved with great veneration by the Academy of St. Luke in Rome, and exhibited to all strangers as an inestimable relic. Casts have been taken from it for the illustration of the lectures of phrenologists, who have pronounced it worthy, in its developements, of the extraordinary brain that it enclosed. The mode in which the Academy obtained possession of this treasure was said to be this. About one hundred and fifty years after the death of Raphael, Carlo Maratii undertook to restore bis tomb. He had been buried, according to the directions of his will, in a niche or chapel in the Pantheon, which was repaired for the purpose by the direction of his will; and though bis epitaph by Cardinal Benibo, and that of Maria Bibiena, who was buried by his side, still remained, and should have been, from every sentiment of true veneration, suffered to remain, as they were originally placed, Maratti saw fit to remove the epitaph of Maria, and to add, to the simply religious monument erected by the orders of Raphael himself, a bust of the artist and a new inscription, in which his own name appears as conspicuous as thai of Raphael. In these operations it was supposed that the tomb had been opened, and bis skull removed to the Academy. Within a few years, however, it has been suggested, upon the authority of some newly-discovered document, that the skull, thus preserved by the Academy, had really belonged to one Don Desiderio de Adiutorio, the founder of the Society of Virtuosi. Hence arose a controversy between these two learned bodies, which it became at length necessary to allay by actual examination of the tonıb. “ After many months of dispute,” says Professor Nibbi, the learned antiquarian of Rome, in bis letter to M. de Quincy, “The congregation of the Virtuosi, who insisted upon recovering the head of their founder, invited the consulting committee upon antiquities and the fine arts, the Academy of St. Luke, and the Academy of Archæology, to assist in the search for the body of Raphael, the exact place of the interment of which seems to have been forgotten since the operations of Carlo Maratti. After several fruitless experiments, they found, by recurring to the description of Vasari, a vault of masonry, in which were the remains of a coffin, and the perfect skeleton of Raphael, lying in such a position as rendered it certain that it had never been disturbed. The vault was entire, and showed no marks of having been opened before. The remains, after having been publicly exhibited, were placed in an antique marble sarcophagus, taken from the museum of the Vatican by order of the Pope, and the
vault was closed again upon the Prince of Artists. The body was found well proportioned, five feet two inches and three lines * in length, and all the bones in perfect preservation, and corresponding in form to the description of his person.”
The evidence of the identity of the body seems to have been quite satisfactory ; but some of the details given by Signor Nibbi show that the learned bodies went well prepared to believe. In these melancholy remains, they record that they found the exact lineaments of his portrait in the School of Athens ;” and that there might be no cavil at their conclusion, they remark, that “the hollow marked by the apophysis, the pointed protuberance of the bone of the right arm, appeared to be the effect of great exercise in the labor of design.” Thus were the pretensions of the Academy of St. Luke put to rest, and the skull of Don Desiderio restored to its naine, and deprived of its usurped honors. To the phrenologists, however, who have expatiated with such rapture upon its perfect adaptation to the faculties of a great artist, it may be some consolation to learn thay it was no vulgar skull; and that if Don Desiderio was not a painter, il meritait bien de l'être, and was, at least, a virtuoso.
The person and face of Raphael have been well preserved in several portraits by himself, and by the descriptions of his contemporaries. He was of small stature, and delicately formed; his face was handsome, and expressive of great modesty and sweetness of disposition ; his hair and eyes were brown, and his complexion bordering upon olive ; his neck was very long, and (alas ! again, for the phrenologists) his head was small. His manners are described as graceful and elegant ; and he seems to have gained golden opinions of all sorts of people. He was indeed a most remarkable and most fortunate man; perhaps not less fortunate in his early death than in bis glorious life. Accidental circumstances, no doubt, contributed to his extraordinary success, but his preëminence cannot be accounted for without ascribing to him great energy of character, and intellectual powers of the very first order. It is to be considered that his excellence was not in the mechanical execution of his works ; for by far the greatest portion of them were, in part at least, executed by others. He could hardly be said to have any very remarkable natural aptness at imitation. He labored hard to acquire both design and color; but it was the labor of the mind more than of the
* A little more than five fect six inches, English measure.
hand, of study more than of mere practice. The great gift he
of the art, we mean to express our conviction, that, as it has never, since his time, reached the same height, but has gradually declined, so it is extremely improbable that, under the unfavorable change that has taken place in the forms and relations of society, it can ever be restored to its former splendor. The time has so long since passed away, when there was any temptation to minds of the highest order to devote themselves to the arts, that it has begun to be forgotten that great intellectual powers are necessary to great success in them. It is often asked, why the art of painting has so much declined in modern times, without its being considered that the inquiry is at once resolvable into the more simple one, why have the greatest men of the time ceased to be artists. To answer this question, we have only to consider what were the fields for the exercise of inventive talent in the days of Leo, and in our own.
The art of printing had then existed too short a time to create any general education; there were few readers, and communication through the press was of course very limited, although the art had itself very nearly reached its perfection. The literature of the day, instead of being addressed to the whole mass of the people, was the amusement only of the court and of the scholar. The poet or the novelist depended for reputation and subsistence upon the favor and bounty of his patrons, without being able, like the painter, to appeal to a popular tribunal. But not only had not the press opened its great highway of intellectual communication, but the professions that now bring talent in contact with the public, and absorb the highest .powers not devoted to literature, afforded then little scope or) temptation for men of genius. Jurisprudence had no forum from which the orator addressed the people ; the church, instead of the school of eloquence and controversy which it has since become, was a vast sepulchre of living men, of whom a few only emerged from the cell and cloister by accidental favor, to bask in the idle sunshine of a court. The simple machinery of government required very little talent to manage it ; and those who held NO. 98.
the power were not anxious to encourage inquiry into its origin or conduct. The rewards of honor and emolument which now stimulate the author, the professional man, and the politician, were then lavished on the successful artist.
When the whole state of society shall be so changed, that such minds as can build castles of feudal magnificence out of the curiosity of their readers, or force their way to fortune and the highest places of the state by the eloquence of the bar or of the senate, shall find it more for their interest to cultivate the arts; when a painter can be made a cardinal, as a novelist has been made a noble; we may expect a revival of painting. Until then, neither academies, exhibitions, nor patronage can renovate it. Genius will not now consent to be patronized ; it has felt its power to lead and to command. It will no longer devote itself to arts that subsist by the favor of the great ; it seizes greatness for itself as its own birthright and prerogative. Painting must henceforth degenerate, if it be not already degenerated, into a mere ornamental art. longer the language of invention. Compared with the power of the press, it is like pantomime to speech. Those who will still pursue it, must do so purely from the love of the pursuit ; but if they can resist the temptations of ambition, and forego the rewards of fortune, perhaps they will find at the end that life has been as well and happily spent in the study of the beauty of nature, and the labor of imitating it, as in struggling in other paths for wealth or popular applause. As a profesa sion, it has these advantages over many others ; that the labor itself is a pleasure ; and that the exercise of it is, to a wellregulated mind, a continual contemplation of the power and benevolence of the Creator, who has filled the universe and the mind of man with the elements of beauty.
It is no
euureer , ART. VI. - The Americans, in their Moral, Social, and Po
litical Relations. By FRANCIS J. GRUND. From the London Edition of Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman. Two Volumes in One. Boston. Marsh, Capen, & Lyon. 1837. 12mo.
The people of the United States are like persons surrounded by mirrors. They may catch their likeness from every quarter, and in every possible light, attitude, and movement.
We have heard, and our authority is no less than that of the elder President Adams, – of what is called a pouting room in France ; the apartment being of an octagonal form, and all the sides, as well as the ceiling over head, of the most polished mirrors ; so that a person standing in the centre may see himself in every direction, multiplied into an indefinite vista of selves, as far as the eye can reach. Into such a focus of reflections, it is said, the gallant gentlemen of the most chivalrous portion of Europe cast an unfortunate lady whose temper has escaped her control, dooming her simply to the reflection of her own countenance. We, in this country, seem to dwell in a great pouting-room, wherein different nations and languages are the mirrors.
Turn we as we may, we catch our reflected features ; the vista seems to lengthen at every sight. In England it stretches on with multitudinous images ; and other countries return the likeness.
The American character and institutions have become a great staple of English literature. Books relating to them have formed, for the last ten or fifteen years, the most prominent portion of that well-thumbed and dog-eared division of the circulating library, which seems to have such attractions for people of all periods of life; we mean books of travels. If the United States should be suddenly blotted out of existence, or should disappear, like the ephemeral Juan Fernandez, beneath that ocean which is now poured round them, we can hardly imagine in what new direction the English travellers, who take notes for the press, would turn their footsteps. Curiosity seems satisfied, or at least silent, with regard to the extended plains of Asia, and the races of men, who, with their mighty works, have been obliterated from the earth; and it is with difficulty aroused, even by the mute antiquities of Egypt; while Greece and Italy, the sacred lands of classic story, and in short all Europe, have so often fallen under the pen of the traveller, that the interest of the public in them seems exhausted. A fresher subject is found in the United States, in their unmeasured territory, with its rivers and mountains, lately or even now in the newest life of nature ; and, more than nature's works, in the institutions formed by man in the spirit of the territory, - free, untried, and gigantic.
While we have had works of this kind from the English press, of various kinds and degrees of merit, a German duke