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could achieve, he resumed and pursued it to the fullest extent. Perceiving the utility of Albert Durer's “Treatise on the Proportions of the Human Body,” he deemedit capable of improvement. Its rules were in his opinion insufficient and too mechanical, and he contemplated a treatise to exhibit the muscles in their various action. A friend, whom he consulted on the subject, sent him the body of a fine young Moor, which he dissected and made remarks on, but they were never ublished. The result of his anatomical nowledge may be seen in the powerful muscular developement of his figures: he left no part undefined.
Several remarks occur in the course of Michael Angelo's letters concerning his art. Speaking of the rivalry between sculpture and painting, he says, “The sculptor, arrives at his end by taking away what is superfluous; the painter produces his, by adding the materials which embody the representation to the mind: however, after all, they are both produced by the same intelligence, and the superiority is not worth disputing about, since more time may be lost in the discussion, than would produce the works themselves.” At one time, however, Michael Angelo regarded painting with less favour than he expresses in this letter. It is addressed to Varchi, who wrote a dissertation on the subject, and sent it to him with an inquiry, which had divided the amateurs of Florence, as to whether painting or sculpture required the most talent. Varchi's treatise has the merit of having convinced Michael Angelo that he was in error, and with the truth and candour inseparable from such a character he confessed his mistake. “Of the relative importance of painting and sculpture,” says Michael Angelo, “I think painting excellent in proportion as it approaches relievo, and relievo bad in proportion as it partakes of the character of a picture, and therefore I was used to be of opinion, that painting might be considered as borrowing light from sculpture, and the difference between them as the sun and moon. Now, however, since I have read your dissertation, which treats the subject philosophically, and shows, that those things which have the same end, are one, and the same, I have changed my opinion, and say, that, if greater judgment, labour, dio, and
impediment, eonfer no dignity on the work on which it is bestowed, painting and sculpture may be considered without giving the preeminence to either: and since it has been so considered, no painter ought to undervalue sculpture, and in Iike manner, no sculptor ought to make light of painting.” Great as Michael Angelo was in art, his intellectual character was greater. “No one,” says Mr. Duppa, “ever felt the dignity of human nature with its noblest attributes more forcibly than Michael Angelo, and his disgust at any violation of principle was acute in proportion to his sensibility and love of truth.” He despised and shrunk from the shadow of a meanness: hating the heartlessness of unmeaning profession, he regarded the dazzling simulation which constitutes the polish of society as a soul-cloud. With these commanding views of self dignity he poured out his feelings to his friend Luigi del Ricco, in
A MADRIGAL. Translated by Robert Southey Esq. (From Mr. Duppa's Life of Michael Angelo.)
Ill hath he chosen his part who seeks to please
It was one of Michael Angelo's high qualities to bear about him an atmosphere which the parasite dared not approach: no heart-eater could live in it.
He justly estimated whatever was influential in society; and hence though he seemed to look down upon rank as an accident of life, he was net regardless of its use. To those whom distinctions had raised, he paid the deference accorded to their dignities. Yet towards him who touched his integrity, he bore a lofty carriage, and when he condescended to resent the attack, hurled an impetuous defiance that kindled as it flew, and consumed the insulting defamer, though he were ensconced behind countless quarterings, or ermined and enthroned. To the constant calumny of jealous rivalry, and the daily lie of envy and enmity, he was utterly indifferent. When asked why he did not resent the aspersions incessantly poured upon him by one of his assailants, he answered—“He who contends with the worthless can gain nothing worth possessing.”
Michael Angelo's temper was “sudden and quick;” but his nature was kind and benevolent. Inferior artists frequently experienced his friendly disposition. He sometimes made drawings and modelled for them. To Minigella, a very indifferent hand, he gave the model of a crucifix beautifully executed, from which the poor fellow formed a mould and made casts of papier mache to sell to the country people. Friendship and esteem for particular individuals oftener induced him to undertake works than proffers of large sums. Yet he was not indifferent or insensible to a just estimation of his talents when they were undervalued. For Angelo Doni, a Florentine of taste, he painted a holy family, and sent it home with a note requiring seventy ducats for it. Doni told the messenger he thought forty were enough; Michael replied by demanding the picture or a hundred; Doni said he was willing to pay the seventy; Michael demanded a hundred and forty, and Doni paid the sum.
He honoured worthy men in every station. His purse was open to their necessities; he condoled with them in their afflictions, and lightened their oppressions by his sympathies, and influence. To artists and men of talent his liberality was munificent. He neither loved money nor accumulated it. His gifts were the free-will offerings of his heart, and hence its dispensations were unaccompanied by a notoriety which sullies the purity of primary obligation, by exposing the nakedness of its object.
Conversing one day with his old and faithful servant, he said, “What will become of you, Urbine, if I should die?” “I must then seek another master” was the
reply. “Poor fellow,” said Michael, “thou shalt not need another master,” and he gave him two thousand crowns. This was a large sum in those days: Vasari says such a donation would only have been *. from popes and great emperors. Michael afterwards procured him an appointment in the Vatican to take care of the pictures, with a monthly salary of six ducats; and preserving his regard for the old man, Michael, though at that time eighty-two years of age, sat up with him by night in his last illness. “His death has been a heavy loss to me,” he wrote to Vasari, “and the cause of excessive grief, but it has also been a most impressive lesson of the grace of God: for it has shown me, that he, who in his lifetime comforted me in the enjoyment of life, dying has taught me how to die; not with reluctance, but even with a desire of death, He lived with me twenty-six years, grew rich in my service, and I found him a most rare and faithful servant; and now that I calculated upon his being the staff and repose of my old age he is taken away, and has left me only the hope of seeing him again in paradise.”
Michael Angelo was never married. To one who lamented that he had no children to inherit his property, Michael answered, “My works must supply their place; and if they are good for anything they will live hereafter. It would have been unfortunate for Lorenzo Ghiberti, had he not left the doors of S. Giovanni, for his sons and his nephews have long since sold and dissipated his accumulated wealth; but his sculpture remains, and will continue to record his name to future ages.” These “doors” were of bronze. When Michael was asked his opinion of them, he said they were fit to be the doors of paradise.
Throughout the poetry of Michael Angelo, of which there is much in existence, love is a pervading sentiment, though, without reference to any particular object. Condivi had often heard him discourse upon it as a passion platonically; and Mr. Duppa gives the following sonnet, translated from the Italian of Michael Angelo by Mr. Wordsworth, as exemplifying Michael's turn of thought:
Yes! hope may with my strong desire keep pace,
The personal beauty and intellectual endowments of Vittoria Colonna, marchioness of Pescara, impressed Michael An§. with sentiments of affectionate esteem. he admired his genius, and frequently left her residence at Viterbo for the sole É. of enjoying his society at Rome. e addressed three sonnets and a madrigal to her. In her last moments he paid her a visit, and told Condivi he grieved he had not kissed her cheek, as he had her hand, for there was little hope of his ever seeing her again. He penned an epitaph on her decease : the recollection of her death constantly dejected him. To the purity of his thoughts, there is a high testimony by Condivi. “In a long intimacy, I have never heard from his mouth a single word that was not perfectly decorous, and had not for its object to extinguish in youth every improper and lawless desire: his rature is a stranger to depravity.” He was religious, not by the show, but from feeling and conviction
As an instance, a short poetical supplication, translated by Mr. Duppa into rose, is remarkable for its self-knowedge and simplicity; it is here subjoined:—
“To the Supreme Being.
“My prayers will be sweet if thou lendest me virtue to make them worthy to be heard; my unfruitful soil cannot produce virtue of itself. Thou knowest the seed, and how to sow it, that it may spring up in the mind to produce just and #. works: if thou showest not the allowed path, no one by his own knowledge can follow thee. Pour thou into my mind the thoughts that may conduct me in thy holy steps; and endue me with a fervent tongue, that I may alway praise, exalt, and sing thy glory.”
Finally, it may be added, that in an age of splendid vice, Michael Angelo was an illustrious example of virtue.
But urge one youthful artist on to choose
Where well inspiring floods, and thence would drink
This zodiacal sign is said to symbolize the fishery of the Nile, which usually commenced at this season of the year. According to an ancient fable, it represents Venus and Cupid, who, to avoid Typhon, a dreadful giant with a hundred heads, transformed themselves into fish. This fabulous monster, it seems, threw the whole host of heathen deities into copfusion. His story shortly is, that as soon as he was born, he began to avenge the death of his brethren, the giants who had warred against Olympus, by resuming the conflict alone. Flames of fire darted from his eyes and mouths; he uttered horrid yells, and so frightened the pagan celestials, that Jupiter himself became a
ram, Juno a cow, Mercury an ibis, Apolloa crow, Bacchus a goat, Diana a cat, Venus a fish, &c. till Jupiter hurled a rock and buried him under Ætna. The idol Dagon, with a human head and arms, and a fish's tail, is affirmed to be the symbol of the sun in Pisces, and to allegorize that the earth teems with corn and fruits. The sun generally enters Pisces about the period of February; for instance, in 1824 on the 16th, in 1825 on the 18th of the month. The Romans imagined that the entrance of the sun into Pisces was attended by bad weather, and gales of uncertainty to the mariner.” Thomson sings, that in this month—
Muttering, the winds at eve, with blunted point,
Blow hollow-blustering from the south. Subdued,
for the encouragement of learning, extended only to the authors, purchasers, or proprietors of the copy-right of any book in English, published after the 10th of April,1710, and allowed the importation or vending of any books in foreign language printed beyond the seas; so that any books, first compiled and printed in this kingdom in any of those languages, might be reprinted abroad and sold in this kingdom, to the great damage of the first printer or proprietor: he therefore prayed, that he might be allowed the same benefit in his copy of the “History of Thuanus,” in Latin, for fourteen years. Leave was given to bring in the bill, and it afterwards passed into an act. The protection of this excellent work was a justice due to the spirit and liberality of Mr. Buckley. He had been originally a bookseller. John Dunton says of him, “He is an excellent linguist, understands the Latin, French, Dutch, and Italian languages, and is master of a great deal of wit: he prints the ‘Daily Courant,’ and ‘Monthly Register,' which, I hear, he translates out of the foreign papers himself:"—a great merit, it should seem, in the eyes of old Dunton. Mr. Buckley was a o learned printer. The collections for his edition of Thuanus were made by Carte, who had fled to France from an accusation of high-treason, during the rebellion of 1715 and while in that country possessed himself of so many materials for the purpose, that he consulted Dr. Mead, the celebrated physician, and patron of literary men, concerning the undertaking. By the doctor's recommendation, it was intrusted to Mr. Buckley, who imported the paper for it, which, with the materials, cost him 2,350l. He edited the work with fidelity, and executed it with elegance. Mr. Buckley was the publisher of the “Spectator,” which appeared in folio from his shop at the Dolphin in Little Britain, a place then filled with booksellers. At the close of the seventh volume this popular work was suspended, but resumed by Buckley in Amen-corner. He attained to opulence and respectability, was in the commission of the peace for Middlesex, and died, greatly esteemed, on the 8th of September, 1741, in the sixty-eighth year of . age.” It is related of the great lord chancellor
Hardwicke, that he so highly regarded “Thuanus's History,” as to have resigned the seals for the express purpose of being enabled to read it in the original language.” It has been computed that a person who gave his attention to this work for four hours every day, would not finish the perusal in twelve months. It comprehends the events of sixty-four years, during the times wherein Thuanus lived and flourished as an eminent French author and statesman. His English biographer quotes, as a character of his writings, that, “in a word, they are calculated to render those who attend to them better and wiser men.”+
FLORAL DIRECTORY. Wall Speedwell. Veronica vivensis. Dedicated to St. Simeon of Jerusalem.
februarp 19. St. Barbatus, or Barbas, Bp. A. D. 682.
This saint is patron of Benevento, o' which city he was bishop. Butler relates ne-miracle of him, nor does it appear from him that any other name in the calendar of the Romish church is affixed to this day.
A pretty trifle from the Greek is descriptive of appearances about this period :
To a Lady on her Birthday.
See amidst the winter's cold, Tender infant of the spring;
See the rose her bud unfold, Every sweet is on the wing.
Hark! the purple flow'ret cries,
Place us 'midst thy flowing hair,
* Mr. Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes.
Field Speedwell. Peronica agrestis.
* Bibliog. Dict.