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of the chambers occupied by the priests --a fresco representing Bacchus pouring a goblet of wine over his panther, while he leans upon the shoulder of Silenus, who plays the lyre. A close inspection of this picture revealed the fact that it had been transferred from a former building, and was fastened in its place by iron clamps; and, further, that in making the transfer, a space was left for the circulation of air at its back, in order to preserve it from possible injury from damp. The Pompeiian paintings are now arranged in the same manner on the walls of the Museum at Naples.

The pictures on these walls, including the decorative arabesques, and those which have been allowed to remain in situ, in the houses of Pompeii, will number nearly, if not quite, a thousand. In Naples they form a marvellous gallery of antique painting, which has not, and cannot have, its like in the world. One truly feels, there,

"Like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken-" so rich, so varied, so entirely satisfactory in regard to method and treatment, are the pictures. From mere decorative forms that mingling of the graceful and the grotesque which has its own peculiar charm-to what, in the classic times, must have been considered "High Art," all the departments of painting are represented. If landscape remains in the background, we must remember that the love of Nature, the fine appreciation of the features of scenery and atmosphere, is but scantly represented in literature. Art rarely, if ever, moves in advance of letters, in its aims and its achievements, and we cannot expect to find that painted which existed so very dimly and imperfectly in the tastes of the people.

The decorative painting of Pompeii has been so extensively copied, that its colors and its forms are now tolerably well known, and I need not describe it in detail. Its chief characteristic is the employment of a broad, warm field of color generally that which is now distinguished as "Pompeiian red "-with very gracefully and delicately drawn

ornaments of vines, birds, and scrollwork, disposed in irregular panels. The object seems to have been, first, to cheer by the breadth and warmth of the ground-color, and then to pleasantly occupy the fancy with light, easily untangled labyrinths of form. Nothing could be better adapted for domestic architecture, and the wonder is that, having once been so generally employed, it was ever lost.

The department of still-life is most amply illustrated. Fish, birds, game, fruit, and even drinking-vessels were the usual fresco decorations of diningrooms, of eating-houses, and even in some cases of the kitchen itself. Landscapes, especially in combination with architecture, or as backgrounds to inferior figure-pieces, are also frequent. Genre pictures, the existence of which denotes a certain amount of development and taste, are by no means rare. Of portraits, there are few, if any, which profess to have that exclusive character; but there are many faces and figures which betray an individuality that could only have been derived from living models. Religious and mythical subjects are the most numerous, and represent the highest skill; repetitions of the same subjects enable us to determine how far their treatment was in accordance with conventional or traditional ideas (like that of Saints and Holy Families in the Italian Schools), and in what particular the individuality of the artist expressed itself. This, the highest field of painting, is of course the most interesting and important. Here we find the finest works, whether original or copies of older pictures.

The first characteristic which strikes the eye is the simplicity and breadth of the larger pictures, and the arrangement, both of colors and forms, in masses. This is not accidental, but intentional, in order to produce an effect in the dim light in which they were seen. In the private houses both the atrium and the peristyle were roofed, except the square aperture over the impluvium in the centre; and the pictured walls, therefore, did not receive a

fourth part of the light under which they are now seen. There is evidence that some of them were only designed to be seen by artificial light. The ancients understood the secrets of effect so well-so much better than we do, in fact that we must not suppose they painted without special reference to the conditions under which the picture would be seen. The walls were lighted principally from above, which would also require a particular disposition of the shadows. For the same reason fine gradations of tints could not be employed, since they could not be clearly seen. The picture must be simple, painted in few but harmonious colors, and especially those which attract light. When one is acquainted with this circumstance, he is not surprised at the predominance of the reds and yellows.

Couture says he has ascertained, by careful examination of pictures, that the Venetian artists had each a favorite base, or ground-color, upon which he relied to give tone to his picture—that Titian's base, for example, was amber, Giorgione's golden, and that of Paul Veronese silver-gray. The Pompeiian painters seem to have adopted the same principle, and perhaps amber would nearly express the prevailing tone of their pictures. The walls appear to have been painted al fresco, for the most part, with their decorative borders and panels, the latter being left for the paintings to be afterwards added in tempera. I believe the vehicle which they usedwhether glue, wax, resin, or albumenhas not been positively ascertained. Fortunately we have their colors out of the shops, as they were sold for use-all mineral, comprising the earths and ochres still employed, with lapis lazuli for blue.

There are, of course, great differences in the execution of many of the pictures. It is easy to see that some are weak (and probably cheap) copies of good works, like those Assumptions and Nativities which tourists are wont to purchase in Italy at the present day. Others as certainly show the hand of an independent artist, and the figures

breathe life from every limb. With the exception of Giotto and Masaccio, I find no such power of expression in the Italian artists before Raphael, as in the Medea, the Achilles, and the Theseus of the Pompeiian walls. Although there are few figures wherein certain minor details are not faulty, the masses are so boldly and beautifully drawn, the grouping so symmetrically balanced, and the heads and eyes so spirited, that the total effect is truly admirable. Each picture tells its own story in the directest way: nothing is introduced-scarcely the simplest furniture-which has not a right to be there. In short, so much skill and knowledge are displayed that we are forced to suppose that frequent faults of omission-as in completion wanting to figures in the background-were not occasioned either by ignorance or carelessness, but so left because they could not be observed in the shadowed rooms where the pictures were painted.

The landscapes, I have said, are inferior; but the manipulation also shows them to have been the work of inferior artists. That landscape-paintings were popular at that period, we know from the letters of Pliny, who not only praises, but describes, the works of a certain Ludius. In Pompeii, however, the artists appear to have been mostly Greek ("Alexandros of Athens" being the only name that has descended to us), and mythological pictures, in the manner of what was then the Greek school, were the prevailing taste. In fact, the position which the landscapes generally occupy on the walls denotes that a lesser value was attached to them. Many are rude sketches of a temple and tree, with the sea mountain as background; others are islands or shores, crowded with architecture. In the latter there is not much perspective, either linear or aerial, but the temples are executed with a certain degree of care, while the trees and rocks have been slighted. One exception is a view of a rocky landscape, with shepherds, the background being a mountain, with a winding row of cypresses.

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Here the forms are more carefully studied, the coloring is warm and harmonious, and the sentiment of the scene is delicately felt and expressed.

The largest landscape yet discovered measures ten feet by eight-which approaches the colossal proportions of some of our own painters. There are also a number of illustrations of Homer, a class which might be called mythological landscape, where the scenery is adapted to the story told by the figures. These are much superior to the architectural pieces.

The field of genre-painting is also richly illustrated, in all its branchesthe comic, the purely fanciful, the homely and realistic-and it includes some of the most interesting specimens of the art. One of the pictures represents a female-painter in her studio, copying a hermes of Bacchus upon a tablet which rests on an easel, while some of her friends or admirers are watching the process. Another is a scene in a theatre, where a comedy is being acted by performers in masks. Another is a fourwheeled wine-cart, stopping at the door of a tavern to fill the empty amphora. There are, also, a school in which a bad boy is being flogged, rope-dancers and harlequins, jolly tavern-scenes, and illustrations of country-life.

A single head, of cabinet size, belonging to this class, is one of the most charming things I ever saw.

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resents a girl, dressed as a Muse, holding her tablets in one hand, while with the other she thoughtfully touches her lips with the point of the stylus. The face is perfectly abstracted, and the soft, gleaming eyes look at you without seeing you. A smile has just left her lips, and it is a pleasant fancy for which she pauses to find the proper words. It might be a young Sappho, or a Lesbia writing to Catullus. Drawing, coloring, and expression are alike admirable, and I scarcely know a single head by any later artist which I would sooner pos


The series of dancing-figures on red or black panels is known all over the world. The reproductions, however,

are invariably too sharp in drawing, and too gaudy in coloring, and therefore do not fairly represent the grace and richness of the originals. They were not intended to be seen close at hand: the features and finer folds of the drapery only appear when you step back three or four paces. Moreover, they abound in exquisite half-tints, which the copyists generally overlook or neglect. Whatever faults there may be in the drawing of these figures, scarcely one of which is faultless, all are free, soaring, elastic-all bound or fly, as if by an independent life of their No line is stiff or ungraceful, no figure repeats the other, and the spirit and invention displayed in them seem to be really inexhaustible.


Here Thorwaldsen found the hint for his "Sale of the Loves;" the Pompeiian picture is identical in design. Many of the paintings, indeed, from their grace, simplicity, and freedom, and the fact of the figures being represented nearly upon the same plane, might be converted into bas-reliefs. I found that the principal mistake in drawing consisted in making the head and trunk much longer than the legs. Nearly all the second-rate Pompeiian artists seemed to have taken the umbilicus for the central point of the body, instead of the base of the pelvis. This is a proportion which is often approached in Nature, but it is never agreeable to the eye. Among the working classes, especially, the thighs and upper arms are generally too short, and the trunk too long, for beauty. In pictures of the better class this fault does not exist.

I can only describe a few of the mythological subjects, and rather for the purpose of suggesting the manner in which they were treated by the artists, than with any hope of representing in words their commingled grace and repose, and the purity and harmony of their coloring. They are of all proportions, from small cabinet to life size. Some subjects, such as Perseus and Andromeda, the flight of Phryxus and Helle, Mars and Venus, Medea, Achilles, and Theseus, are repeated frequently,

but are always varied in the representation. The figures exhibit a freedom and variety of posture which is remarkable, and which betrays, at least, a thorough knowledge of the human form.

One of the most striking pictures is a single figure of Medea, meditating revenge. She stands in a somewhat listless attitude, with hanging arms and hands clasped around the hilt of the sheathed sword. Her head is turned to one side, and the face powerfully expresses the conflict of her passions. Nothing could be simpler or more effective. Welcker considers this picture a copy of a celebrated original by Timomachos of Byzantium.

There is another picture, representing the sacrifice of Iphigenia, which is believed to be, if not a copy, at least a suggestion, of the famous picture of Timanthes. There are but five figures, yet the story is told with a pathos and force which still touches the beholder. In the centre of the picture Iphigenia is held in the arms of Ulysses and Menelaus on the right stands Calchas, with the knife in his hand; on the left Agamemnon, his veiled head betraying his grief. The background is a bright sea and sky. Iphigenia does not struggle, but lifts her hands imploringly. To her body is given a soft, clear carnationtint, while the limbs of Ulysses and Menclaus are a ruddy brown.


But perhaps the finest specimen of color is the glorious picture of the Centaur Chiron teaching the young Achilles to play upon the lyre. boy, naked and of perfect form, stands between the fore-legs of the Centaur, who is seated upon his hind-legs, while his strong breast and head tower grandly over his pupil, behind and beyond whom he holds the lyre, his right arm half embracing him as he strikes the wires with the plectrum. Achilles is golden-bright and fair with immortal beauty: Chiron is dusky and in shadow, except his head, shoulder, and right arm, which the light touches with a warm, bronze-like tint. The boy's features express intense pride and aspiration, yet he is for the moment subdued

into attention. The Centaur, at once grave and tender, betrays the struggle of a tragic double existence in his furrowed brow and deep-set, mournful eyes. His equine part-as in every Centaur represented in the collection-is astonishingly small: it is the head and trunk of a large man united to the body of a Shetland pony. The background of the picture is a piece of richly decorated architecture.

Within the last year or two a picture of Theseus in the Labyrinth has been exhumed and added to the Museum. The hero is of life-size, nude, and admirably drawn. At his feet lies the Minotaur, somewhat foreshortened, while a crowd of grateful and graceful youths press around the deliverer, clasping his knees, kissing his hands, and in other lively ways expressing their joy. Here is nothing of the stiffness of Byzantine and early Italian art. The figures move or rest without constraint, and there are some of the youths who even suggest the splendid impetuosity of Tintoretto. The more one studies this and the other equal Pompeiian pictures, the more one feels that the Painting of the ancients was worthy to be set beside their Sculp ture.

The parting of Achilles and Briseis is another of the more important pictures, although preserved in a very damaged state. The weeping Briseïs is led forth by Patroclus, while Achilles, seated in front of his tent, gives the order to deliver her into the hands of the heralds. There is a wonderful contention of the emotions of love, anger, and regret in his countenance, and it is difficult to say which is predominant. Among the other more striking compositions I may mention Hercules finding his son Telephus, who is sitting on the ground, suckled by a doe, together with another where the son stands at his father's knee, and reaches a green bough to his gentle foster mother. A noticeable characteristic of all these pictures is the ease, simplicity, and naturalness with which the story is told. All is unforced and effortless; the figures seem to have grown in some

joyous, sportive mood of the artist, and therefore their failings suggest rather wilful indolence on his part than want of power. In this respect they differ remarkably from those works which mark the revival of painting, in Italy and Germany. In the latter, we have serious, passionate effort, finding its way slowly, and sometimes by agonizing energy, towards form and color, and the speech which grows from them: in the former, we feel only the easy play of a dexterous hand and an inexhaustible fancy.

How sunny, and cheerful, and alive with the spirit of imperishable beauty, are those halls in the basement-story of the Museum, contrasted with the haggard, suffering saints and tormented martyrs of later Neapolitan art, in the halls above them! Even in the houses of Pompeii, where the glaring sun looks down into the roofless chambers and illuminates every incomplete feature meant to be unobserved in the twilight of the day, or the lamp-light of the banquets, and every crack and scale of time and ruin, the pictures exercise an undiminished charm. They suggest wealth and luxury, it is true, yet at the same time they speak of an artistic culture, so general and of so high a stamp, that one knows not whither to turn, to match it at this day. Yet the golden era of Grecian painting was already long past, and these pictures were to the then still-existing masterpieces, as the figures of―(let the reader here insert the name of an inferior artist!) to those of Titian or Tintoretto. The Pompeiian pictures have, it is true, limited perspective (partly because depth is purposely omitted from the backgrounds), little foreshortening, little chiar' oscuro; yet they show enough of each to justify us in supposing that the great masters achieved as much, in this respect, as the nature of the vehicle in which they painted would allow. The Pompeiian artists seem to have been fully conscious of what was lacking to them, in the astonishing skill with which they generally avoid the necessity of foreshortening and perspective.

One fact, evident to any one who sees the collection, is worthy of notice. In hundreds of pictures, a single example of disagreeable, inharmonious color can scarcely be found. The instinct of the ancients, never equalled since their time in regard to form, appears to have been fully as true and delicate in regard to color. The common workman dealt in ruder effects, and was generally ignorant of the management of half-tints, which is so charming in the best pictures; but if he never triumphed, at least he never offended.

Our modern life is very barren of grace and beauty, when contrasted with that of Pompeii, where the vulgarest wine-shop, and the poorest abode of the mechanic, had its ornamental frescoes. Here, too, is another remarkable evidence of the skill of the cheapest workman. Where the paintings are simple patterns or arabesque borders, they were never executed by means of cut-out models laid upon the plaster and painted through, but with the "free hand." The workman had a ruler and compass, but no more; and the slight differences in the repetition of the same forms in a border attest his dexterity even more than his want of it.

Painting and sculpture were necessities of all domestic or public life in Pompeii. Diomed, Marcus Lucretius, and Cornelius Rufus, had their mosaic pavements, their marble and bronze statues, their grottoes of shells, and their illustrations of Homer; but the fuller and soap-boiler had also their terra-cotta heroes and deities, and the pictures of their profession, on their walls. In the wine-shop and the eatinghouse, the guests sat under panels of still-life which no doubt made their mouths water. It is as difficult to find an undecorated wall in Pompeii, as to find one tastefully decorated in New York. The town must have been a grand panorama of Art, and every street, or arch, or atrium, or peristyle an harmonious picture. What, then, must have been Baix, and Capua, and the one supreme Rome !

We are loth to believe that any talent

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