Immagini della pagina

however; Coreggio saw in his wife and children, Madonnas, saints and angels; the flame of earthly love was ennobled by the divine. Albani saw in his beautiful partner, a model for nymphs and Venuses, and in his children the representatives of Loves and Graces. His death took place in 1660, at the age of eighty-two.

Guercino was another pupil of distinction : his designs are grand and natural, but want the grace of Guido and Albani.

Michelangelo Caravaggio, unlike Guido, was every man's enemy, as well as his own; impetuous and overbearing, he was constantly engaged in quarrels. Giuseppino was at first his warm friend ; but when, one day, he had unfortunately offended him, Caravaggio sprang furiously upon him, and a young man present attempting to interfere, Caravaggio drew his sword and murdered him on the spot. He was obliged to make his escape from justice, and finally, by the interference of influential men, he obtained a pardon. He immediately returned to Rome, and challenged Giuseppino, who replied, “that a knight could not draw his sword on an inferior."

Caravaggio, boiling with rage, hastened to

Malta, took the necessary vows, received the order of knighthood, and came back to force his antagonist to fight. The evening he arrived at Rome he sent his challenge ; but his furious and ungovernable temper had turned on himself its fatal power. He was seized with a brain fever, and when an acceptance of his challenge was returned, he lay cold, and motionless, in the arms of death.


"It is just one hundred and twenty years to-day,” said a young artist to his friend, as he stood in the hall of St. Mark, at Venice, contemplating the noble works of Titian. “Time, the destroyer, has here stayed his hand; the colors are as vivid and as fresh as if they were laid on but yesterday. Would that my old friend and master, Otho Venius, were here! at least I will carry back to Antwerp that in my coloring, which shall prove to him that I have not played truant to the art."

" Just one hundred and twenty years, repeated he, "since Titian was born. Venice was then in its glory, but now it is all falling; its churches and palaces are crumbling to dust, its commerce interrupted. The republic continually harassed by the Porte, and obliged to call on foreign aid ; depressed by

her internal despotism, her council of ten, and state Inquisitors, her decline, though gradual, is sure ; yet the splendor of her arts remain, and the genius of Titian, her favorite son, is yet in the bloom and brilliancy of youth !"

Such was the enthusiastic exclamation of Rubens, as he contemplated those paintings which had brought him from Antwerp. How many gifted minds spoke to him from the noble works which were before him! The three Bellinis, the founders of the Venetian school, Giorgione, Titian, and Tintoretto. Then Paolo Veronese, who, though born at Verona, in 1537, adopted Venice as his home, and became the fellow-artist of Tintoretto, and the disciple of Titian. Pordenone, too, who viewed Titian as a rival and an enemy. Palma the young, and Palma the old, born in 1548, and the Bassanos, who died near 1627.

All these were present to the eye of Rubens, their genius embodied on the canvass in the halls of St. Mark. “These," he exclaimed, “have formed the Venetian school, and these shall be my study!"

From this time, the young artist might daily be seen with his sheets of white paper,

and his pencil in his hand. A few strokes preserved the outline which his memory filled up; and by an intuitive glance, his genius understood and appropriated every signal beauty.

In Venice he became acquainted with the Archduke Albert, who introduced him to the Duke of Mantua, whither he went for the purpose of studying the works of Julio Romano. From thence he proceeded to Rome; here Raphael was his model, and Michelangelo his wonder. He devoted himself to painting with a fervor that belongs only to genius; and he soon proved that whatever he gained by ancient study, the originality of his own conceptions would still remain and appear. To the vivid and splendid coloring of the Venetian school, he was perhaps more indebted than to any other model.

The affectionate and constant intercourse, by letters, that subsisted between Rubens and his mother, made his long residence in Italy one of pleasure. At Rome he was employed to adorn, by his paintings, the Church of Santa Croce, and also the “Chiesa Nova.”

Rubens had been originally destined by his mother for one of the learned professions.

« IndietroContinua »