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RAFFAELLO SANZIO D'URBINO.
THE solemn and silent season of Lent had passed away; and, on the second evening of the joyful Easter, a house was seen brightly illuminated in one of the streets of Urbino. It was evident that a festival was held there on some happy occasion. The sound of music was heard, and guest after guest entered the mansion. No one, however, was more cordially welcomed than Pietro Perugino, the fellow-student of Lionardo da Vinci, at the school of the good old Andrea Verocchio.
For a moment, general gaiety was suspended, in honor of the guest. He was considered at that time one of the greatest painters of the age; and the host, Giovanni di Sanzio, though himself only ranking in the second or third order of limners, knew well how to prize the rare talents of his visitor.
The wife of Giovanni came forward, leadher son Raphael. Perugino had the eye of an artist : he gazed upon the mother and son with enthusiastic feeling; the striking resemblance they bore to each other, so exquisitely modulated by years and sex, , indeed a study for this minute copyist of nature.
“Benvenuto, Messer Perugino," said the hostess, with her soft musical voice and graceful Italian accent, and she placed the hand of her boy in that of the artist. Gently he laid the other on the head of the youthful Raphael, and in a solemn and tender manner pronounced a benediction.
“Your blessing is well timed my honored friend,” said Giovanni ; “our festival is given to celebrate the birth-day of our son."
“Is this his birth-day ?” inquired Perugino.
“Not so," replied the father, "he was born on the 7th of April, the evening of Good Friday, and it well befits us to be gay on the joyful Easter that succeeds it."*
The hostess and her son turned to receive other guests, who were coming fast, and the two artists continued their conversation.
Raphael and Luther were born in the same year.
“I have never," said Perugino, "beheld so striking a resemblance as between your wife and son.”
“I rejoice that it is so," said Giovanni ; “it was my earnest desire that he should be first nourished by his mother's milk." *
“There is the same expression of softness and sensibility,” exclaimed Perugino, “beaming from their eyes, - the fair hair parted on the forehead, and falling in wavy curls. Ah! my friend, guard your son from a sensibility that may degenerate into weakness, — from a tenderness of heart that may undermine the foundation of good principle. If I read his destiny aright, he is born to excel in high and noble arts. To those it were well to direct his attention."
“I have anticipated your counsel," said Giovanni. “If you can have patience with the first attempts of a mere boy, I will show you a Madonna which he has just completed."
Perugino followed the father through the colonnade to a small enclosure. On the wall was painted a mother and child.
It was truly the infancy of Raphael's art: there was but little beauty of coloring ; but the expres-
* Che la propria madre lo allatasse.-VASARI.
sion that in succeeding years distinguished his works, was there.
“My friend,” said Perugino, “if thou wilt entrust thy boy to my care, I will take him as my pupil.”
The father acceded with delight to this proposal. When the mother became quainted with the arrangement, and found that her son was to quit his paternal dwelling at the early age of twelve, and reside wholly with Perugino, she could not restrain her tears. With hers the young Raphael's mingled, though ever and anon a bright smile darted like a sunbeam across his face.
The parting was one of sadness. Hitherto they had scarcely been separated for an hour; but she now felt that her son was entering the world ; all her tender and delightful solicitudes were to partake of anxiety for the future. Perhaps she understood, as mothers frequently do, the valuable parts of his character. She trembled for the influence the world might have on a heart so flexible and feeling, and grieved for the disappointments he must endure, and the injuries he must receive, from minds all unlike his own.
“But this,” thought she, " is the school in which he must learn. To acquire
firmness to resist temptation is the great security of virtue."
He remained with Perugino several years. Raphael was made for affection, and fondly did his heart cling to his instructor. For a time he was content to follow his manner; but at length he began to dwell upon his own beau ideal ; he grew impatient of imitation, and felt that his style was deficient in freshness and originality. He longed to pass
the narrow bounds to which his invention had been confined.
With the approbation of Perugino, and the consent of his parents, he repaired to Siena ; here he was solicited to adorn the public library with fresco, and painted there with great success. But while he was busily engaged, his friend Pinturrichio one day entered. After looking at his friend's work very attentively, “ Bravo !” he exclaimed, “ thou hast done well, my Raphael — but I have just returned from Florence - oh would that thou couldst behold the works of Lionardo da Vinci ! Such horses ! they paw the ground, and shake the feam from their, manes. Oh, my poor Raphael ! thou hast never seen nature; thou art wasting time on these cartoons.
Perugino is a good man, and a good