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religious legends painted in the refectories of the convents, or as altar-pieces in the churches of Venice, differ materially in tone and style. Those were painted for the Senate, these for the people; and the superior orders were supposed to be better judges of real grandeur and propriety, than monastic ignorance and the bigoted and vulgar majority of the crowds that thronged the churches.
If, therefore, I were able to dissent in any thing relative to Colour from the great Master whose classification I comment, I should probably hesitate on the advice of adopting the palette of Rubens for the regulation of the tones that compose the Venetian style, of which his flowery tint formed but a part. What has been said of M. Agnolo in FORM, may be said of Rubens in COLOUR: they had but one. As the one came to Nature, and moulded her to his generic form, the other came to Nature and tinged her with his colour-the colour of gay magnificence. He levelled his subject to his style, but seldom if ever his style with his subject; whatever be the subject of Rubens, legend, allegoric, stern, mournful, martyrdom, fable, epic, dramatic, lyric, grave or gay-the
hues that embody, the air that tinges them, is indiscriminate expanse of gay magnificence. If the economy of his colours be that of an immense nosegay, he has not always connected the ingredients with a prismatic eye; the balance of the iris is not arbitrary, the balance of his colour often is. It was not to be expected that correctness of form should be the object of Rubens, though he was master of drawing, and even ambitious in the display of anatomic knowledge; but there is no mode of incorrectness, unless what directly militated against his style, such as meagreness, of which his works do not set an example. His male forms, generally the brawny pulp of slaughtermen; his females, hillocks of roses in overwhelmed muscles, grotesque attitudes, and distorted joints, are swept along in a gulph of colours, as herbage, trees and shrubs are whirled, tossed, and absorbed by inundation.
But whenever a subject comes genially within the vortex of his manner, such as that of the Gallery of Luxembourg, it then is not only characteristically excellent, but includes nearly a superhuman union of powers. In whatever light we consider that astonishing work, whe
ther as a series of the most sublime conceptions, regulated by an uniform comprehensive plan, or as a system of colours and tones, exalting the subject, and seconded by magic execution, whatever may be its Venetian or Flemish flaws of mythology and Christianity, ideal and contemporary costume promiscuously displayed, it leaves all plans of Venetian allegory far behind, and rivals all their execution; if it be not equal in simplicity, or emulate in characteristic dignity, the plans of M. Agnolo and Raffaello, it excels them in the display of that magnificence which no modern eye can separate from the idea of Majesty.
THE METHOD OF FIXING A STANDARD AND DEFINING THE PROPORTIONS OF THE HUMAN FRAME,
WITH DIRECTIONS TO
THE STUDENT IN COPYING THE LIFE.