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Clement took him with him to Avignon, where he became acquainted with Petrarch, who resided at Vaucluse, a few miles distant. Poetry and eloquence had then seduced the poet from the dry study of jurisprudence, and prepared his imagination for the absorbing passion of love. That he viewed the fair Laura's indifference with a prophetic eye, the following lines are a proof:
“My flame, of which thou tak’st so little heed,
It is to be regretted that Giotto did not take the portrait of Laura, giving her to posterity as Petrarch describes her when he first saw her before those “ gay green robes," and the 6 wreaths she was wont to wear, were thrown by.” The honor of painting her portrait was allotted, by the poet, to Simon Memmi, whom he mentions in one or two sonnets, on which Vasari remarks,
with so much accuracy that it has passed into an Italian proverb — round as Giotto's 0.
Tu sei piu rundo che l'O di Giotto.” It was certainly a great proof of the accuracy of his hand.
that Simon would be more obliged to them for future fame than to all the pictures he ever painted.”
While poetry was in the highest state of intellectual vigor, as is proved by the deathless poem of Dante's Inferno, in which he celebrates Giotto, and by the exquisite sonnets and odes of Petrarch, painting was yet in its childhood. The written labels in the mouth of Cimabue's figures, give an idea of the state of the art in his hands. So, the fact that Masaccio, a century after the death of Giotto, was the first to lay the feet of upright figures flat on the ground, and to introduce foreshortening, is a proof of what degree of progress had been made previously to his time.
While Dante was in exile at Ravenna, he sent to Giotto to join him; when there, he painted several pieces in fresco, for the churches; and on his return to Florence, was sent for by the king of Naples. Soon after his arrival he heard of the death of Dante. He was employed to paint in the chapel of the monastery St. Chiara, which had just been completed. The subjects he selected were scenes from the Old and New Testament. And many said that his manner of treating his
subject was through the inspiration of Dante. He seemed to entertain something of the same idea himself, and it was fully believed that the poet appeared to him in a dream, and suggested the composition. His death took place in 1336, at the age of sixty. He was buried in the Church St. Maria del Fiore, at Florence, and the city erected a marble statue over his tomb.
He is said, by historians of the day, have been the painter of nature; and it is related, among other anecdotes, that, while yet a boy, he was standing by Cimabue, who was finishing the nose of a portrait, and when the master was suddenly called away, painted a fly on it so naturally, that Cimabue, when he returned, attempted to brush
with his hand. Many of the painters who succeeded Giotto practised the art creditably, and helped its progress.
But Lionardo da Vinci was the first to unite to skill and industry a thorough knowledge of the theory, and the intellectual preparation which is necessary for high suc
He could not be satisfied with imitation only, or mere outward effect. To satisfy him, it was necessary that the latent feelings of the heart should be depicted in the
countenance and bearing. How much his own sensibility assisted him in carrying his idea into execution, may easily be understood.
To Cimabue then, the restoration of the art in Italy is first to be attributed. Masaccio succeeded him after the interval of a century. Many undistinguished names followed, and Lionardo himself at length appeared.
LIONARDO DA VINCI.
RECLINED on his couch lay the excellent old Andrea Verocchio. * The dews of death moistened his furrowed and pale forehead ; yet his eyes sparkled still with a deep enthusiasm, as he contemplated a picture he had completed for the religiosi di Valombrosa. It was the baptism of our Savior ; — but it was not the work of his own pencil that he was contemplating; it was the figure of an angel, which his youthful pupil, Lionardo da Vinci, had introduced. He had given it a
Verocchio was a goldsmith or graver, a musician, a geometrician, and a sculptor, before he became a painter. It would seem from many instances that the arts were more intimately connected in former times than at present; and yet how many must unite to form the perfect artist. His success in casting was very great. His death (in 1488) is said to have been occasioned by a pleurisy, brought on by the fatigue and anxiety he experienced in casting a brass statue of Bartolomeo de Bergamo.