The Project Gutenberg eBook of The History of Painting in Italy, Vol. 3 (of 6)

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Title: The History of Painting in Italy, Vol. 3 (of 6)

Author: Luigi Lanzi

Translator: Thomas Roscoe

Release date: December 13, 2010 [eBook #34645]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Barbara Tozier, Carol Brown, Bill Tozier and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at














From the Original Italian












J. M'Creery, Tooks Court,
Chancery-lane, London.





Epoch I. The old masters 1
Epoch II. Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Jacopo da Bassano, Paolo Veronese. 91
Epoch III. Innovations of the mannerists of the seventeenth century. Corruption of Venetian painting 254
Epoch IV. Of exotic and new styles in Venice 347

[Pg 1]






This School would have required no farther illustration from any other pen, had Signor Antonio Zanetti, in his highly esteemed work upon Venetian Painting, included a more ample consideration of the artists of the state, instead of confining his attention wholly to those, whose productions, ornamenting the churches and other public places, had all been completed in the city of Venice alone. He has, nevertheless, rendered distinguished service to any one ambitious of succeeding him, and of extending the same subject beyond these narrower limits; since he has observed the most lucid order in the arrangement of epochs, in the description of styles, in estimating the merits of various painters, and thus ascertaining the particular rank as well as the age belonging to each. Those artists then, whom he has omitted to commemorate, may be easily reduced under one or other of the divisions [Pg 2]pointed out by him, and the whole history enlarged upon the plan which he first laid down.

In cultivating an acquaintance with these additional names, the memorials collected by Vasari; afterwards, on a more extensive scale, by the Cavaliere Ridolfi, in his Lives of the Venetian Painters; and by Boschini, in the Miniere della Pittura, in the Carta del Navegar Pittoresco, and in other works: materials drawn from all parts of the Venetian state—will be of signal advantage to us. No one, it is hoped, will feel displeased at the introduction of the name of Vasari, against whom the historians of the Venetian School were louder in their complaints than even those of the Roman, the Siennese, and the Neapolitan Schools; all whose causes of difference I have elsewhere recounted, adding to them, whenever I found them admissible, my own refutations. These it would be needless now to repeat, in reply to the Venetian writers. I shall merely observe that Vasari bestowed very ample commendations upon the Venetian professors, in different parts of his history, and more particularly in the lives of Carpaccio, of Liberale, and of Pordenone. Let me add that if he was occasionally betrayed into errors, either from want of more correct information, or from a degree of jealousy or spirit of patriotic rivalry, which probably may have secretly influenced him in his opinions, it will be no difficult task in the present enlightened period,[1] to substitute the [Pg 3]real names, more exact accounts, and more impartial examinations of the earlier professors of the school.[2]

In respect to the more modern, up to whose period he did not reach, I possess historical matter, which, if not very copious, is certainly less scanty than such as relates to many of the other Schools of Italy. Besides Ridolfi, Boschini, and Zanetti, it includes the historians of the particular cities, the same from whom Orlandi selected his various notices of artists; and among whom none is to be preferred to Signor Zamboni for the fulness and authenticity of his materials, in his work, entitled Fabbriche di Brescia. I am, moreover, in possession of several authors who have distinctly treated of the lives, or published other accounts of those who flourished in their own cities;—such as the Commendatore del Pozzo, in his notice of the Veronese,[3] Count Tassi of those of Bergamo, and [Pg 4]Signor Verci of the Bassanese artists. And no slight assistance may also be drawn from the different "Guides," or descriptions of paintings, exhibited in many cities of the state, although they are far from being all of equal merit. There is the "Guida Trevigiana," of Rigamonti, that of Vicenza printed by Vendramini Mosca, that of Brescia by Carboni, and that of Verona, expressly drawn from the "Verona Illustrata" of the Marquis Maffei, with the still more valuable one of Venice, dated 1733, from the able pen of Antonio M. Zanetti. To these we may likewise add that first published by Rossetti, now revised and improved by Brandolese, abounding with historical memoirs of the painters of Padua; and the Guide of Rovigo by Bartoli, communicating much new and interesting information, which serves to point out more accurately certain eras among the professors of the art, while the same may, in part, be observed of that of Bergamo, by the Dottore Pasta. Nor are these all; for I am not a little indebted to several notices published in the "Elogj" of Signor Longhi, and in some of the catalogues of private collections; besides other anecdotes, in part collected by myself, in part[4] communicated by my [Pg 5]friends, and in particular by the very accomplished Sig. Gio. Maria Sasso,[5] who has already promised to gratify us with his "Venezia Pittrice," accompanied with designs of the most esteemed paintings of this school, accurately engraved.

[1] It is observed by Signor Bottari, that Giorgio, in his life of Franco, was too sparing of his praises of Tintoret and Paul Veronese; and the same might be said also of Gambera, and many others, who flourished at the same period, or were already deceased when he wrote. To his opinions have succeeded those of the Caracci, and of many other distinguished professors of the art, which may be safely relied upon.

[2] There very opportunely appeared, in the year 1800, at Bassano, a "Notizia d'Opere di Disegno"—"Upon works of Design," the anonymous production, apparently, of some inhabitant of Padua, about 1550. It was published and illustrated by the learned Abbate Morelli, and contains several anecdotes, relating more particularly to the Venetian School.

[3] The celebrated painter, Cignaroli, besides drawing up a complete Catalogue raisonné, of the painters of Verona, already published in the Chronicle of Zagata, vol. iii., left behind him MS. notes upon the entire work of Pozzo, in the margin.

[4] I have been enabled in this edition, by means of Count Cav. de Lazzara, to avail myself of a MS. from the pen of Natal Melchiori, entitled, "Lives of the Venetian Painters," drawn up in 1728. The author is deserving of credit, no less on account of having been himself a painter, than from his personal acquaintance with the chief part of those whose lives he commemorated.

[5] This excellent man is now no more, and his work has not hitherto appeared. That, however, by the Sig. Co. Canonico de Rinaldis, on the painters of Friuli, we have received. It embraces a much more correct and enlarged view of that noble school, than we before possessed in the scantier notices from the pen of Altan. Still he is not always exact, and he would undoubtedly have written better, had he seen more. At length, however, we are in possession of the work of Padre M. Federici, in two volumes, relating to the artists of the "Marca Trevigiana," accompanied by documents; a work better calculated than the former to satisfy the expectations of a reader of taste. But, as is generally the case, when an author hazards new opinions, we are sometimes compelled to suspend our assent to his conclusions.

[Pg 6]



The Ancients.

If in the outset of each school of painting I were to pursue the example held up in the Etruria Pittrice, of introducing the account of its pictures by that of some work in mosaic, I ought here to mention those of Grado, wrought in the sixth century, distinguished by the name of the Patriarch Elia, those of Torcello, and a few other specimens that appeared at Venice, in the islands, and in Terra Firma, produced at periods subsequent to the increase of the edifices, together with the grandeur of the Venetian state. But admitting that these mosaics, like many at Rome, may really be the production of the Greeks; the title of my work, confined as it is to painting, and to the period of its revival in Italy, leads me to be little solicitous respecting those more ancient monuments of the fine arts, remnants of which are to be found scattered here and there, without any series of a school. I shall still, however, occasionally allude to them, according as I find needful, were it only for the sake of illustration and comparison, as I proceed. But such information ought to be [Pg 7]sought for in other works; mine professes only to give the history of painting from the period of its revival.

The most ancient pictorial remains in the Venetian territories I believe to be at Verona, in a subterraneous part of the nunnery of Santi Nazario and Celso, which, however inaccessible to the generality of virtuosi, have, nevertheless, been engraved on a variety of plates by order of the indefatigable Signor Dionisi. In this, which was formerly the Chapel of the Faithful, are represented several mysteries of our redemption; some apostles, some holy martyrs, and in particular the transit of one of the righteous from this life, on whom the archangel, St. Michael, is seen bestowing his assistance. Here the symbols, the workmanship, the design, the attitudes, the drapery of the figures, and the characters united, permit us not to doubt that the painting must be much anterior to the revival of the arts in Italy. But most writers seem to trace the rudiments of Venetian painting from the eleventh century, about the year 1070, at the period when the Doge Selvo invited the mosaic workers from Greece to adorn the magnificent temple, consecrated to St. Mark the Evangelist. Such artificers, however rude, must have been acquainted, in some degree, with the art of painting; none being enabled to work in mosaic who had not previously designed and coloured, upon pasteboard or cartoon, the composition they intended to execute.

[Pg 8]And these, observe the same writers, were the first essays of the art of painting in Venice. However this may be, it speedily took root, and began to flourish after the year 1204, when Constantinople being taken, Venice was in a short time filled, not indeed with Grecian artists, but with their pictures, statues, and bassi relievi.[6] Had I not here restricted my observations to existing specimens of the art, bestowing only a rapid glance upon the rest, along with their authors, I might prove, that from the above period, the city was no longer destitute of artists; and was enabled, in the thirteenth century, to form a company of them with their appropriate laws and institutions.

But of these elder masters of the art, there remains either only the name, as of a Giovanni da Venezia and a Martinello da Bassano, or some solitary relic of their labours without a name, as in the sarcophagus, in wood, of the Beata Giuliana, painted about the year 1262, the same in which she died. This monument remains in her own monastery of San Biagio alla Guidecca, long held in veneration, even after the body of the blessed saint had been removed, in the year 1297, into an urn of stone. There are there represented San Biagio, the titular saint of the church, San Cataldo, the bishop, and the blessed Giuliana, the two former in an upright, the latter in a kneeling posture; their names are written in Latin, and the style, although coarse, is nevertheless not Greek. [Pg 9]Probably that of the painter is also in the same corner, a picture of whom, a Pietà, has recently been discovered by the Ab. Boni, who considers him a new Cimabue of the Venetian art. As it has already been described by him in his Florentine collection of "Opuscoli Scientifici,"[7] I shall not extend my account of it; for the reader will there find other names, as will afterwards be shewn, recently discovered by the indefatigable author of some early Venetian writers, until this period unknown to history. Among these are Stefano Pievano, of S. Agnese, a picture by whom, dated 1381, is described; Alberegno, belonging to the fifteenth century, and one Esegrenio, who flourished somewhat later, to which time we may refer two fine and highly valued figures of holy virgins, not long since discovered, of Tommaso da Modena, and which, from the disputes they have elicited, have been subjected to experiments at Florence, to ascertain whether they are painted in oil or distemper—experiments that tend only to prove that this Tommaso was unacquainted with the art of colouring in oil.

It was only subsequent to the year 1300, that the names, united to the productions of the Venetians, began to make themselves manifest; when, partly by the examples held out by Giotto, partly by their own assiduity and talent, the painters of the city and of the state visibly improved, and softened the harshness of their manner. Giotto, [Pg 10]according to a MS. cited by Rossetti,[8] was at Padua in 1306; according to Vasari, he returned from Avignon in 1316; and a little while afterwards he was painting at Verona, in the palace of Can della Scala, and at Padua, employed on a chapel in the church of the titular saint. He adds, that towards the close of his days he was again invited there, and embellished other places with his pieces. Nothing, however, remains of him in Verona; but in Padua there still exists the chapel of the Nunziata all'Arena, divided all round into compartments, in each of which is represented some scriptural event. It is truly surprising to behold, not less on account of its high state of preservation, beyond any other of his frescos, than for its full expression of native grace, together with that air of grandeur which Giotto so well knew how to unite. With respect to the chapel, it is believed that Vasari was less accurately informed, inasmuch as Savonarola, who has been cited by Sig. Morelli,[9] relates that Giotto ornamented the little church of the Arena, capitulumque Antonii nostri, and the chapter of our St. Antony. And in fact, in the apartment of the chapter house, there yet remain several traces of ancient painting, though turned white with age. In a very ancient MS., of the year 1312,[10] there is [Pg 11]made mention of his also having been employed in Palatio Comitis, which others suppose ought to be read Communis, intended to apply to the Saloon, of which I shall shortly have to give some account.

To Giotto succeeded Giusto Padovano, so called from the place of his naturalization and usual residence; being, in truth, a Florentine, sprung from the family of the Menabuoi. As a disciple of Giotto, Vasari attributes to him the very extensive work which adorns the church of St. John the Baptist. In the picture over the altar, if it be his, Giusto has exhibited various histories of St. John the Baptist; on the walls are represented both scriptural events and mysteries of the Apocalypse; and on the cupola he has drawn a Choir of Angels, where we behold, as if in a grand consistory, the blessed arrayed in various garments, seated upon the ground; simple, indeed, in its conception, but executed with an incredible degree of diligence and felicity. It is mentioned in the Notizia Morelli, that formerly there was to be read there an inscription over one of the gates—Opus Johannis et Antonii de Padua,—probably companions of Giusto, and, probably, as is conjectured by the author of the MS. above alluded to, the painters of the whole temple. This would seem to augment the number of the Paduan artists, no less than the imitators [Pg 12]of Giotto; since the works, already described, are equally as much in his manner as those by Taddeo Gaddi, or any other of his fellow pupils in Florence. The same commendation is bestowed upon Jacopo Davanzo, of whom I treat more at length in the school of Bologna. A less faithful follower of Giotto was Guariento, a Paduan, held in high esteem about the year 1360, as appears from the honourable commissions he obtained from the Venetian senate. One of his frescos and a crucifixion yet remain at Bassano;[11] and in the choir of the Eremitani, at Padua, there are many of his figures now retouched, from which Zanetti took occasion to commend him for his rich invention, the spirit of his attitudes, and the felicity with which, at so early a period, he disposed his draperies. At Padua there is an ancient church, dedicated to St. George, erected about 1377, which boasts some history pieces of St. James, executed by the hand of Alticherio, or Aldigieri, da Zevio in the Veronese; and others of St. John, the work of one Sebeto,[12] says the historian, a native of Verona. [Pg 13]These, likewise, approach pretty nearly the style of Giotto, and more especially the first, who painted also a good deal in his native place.

To these two I may add Jacopo da Verona, known only by his numerous paintings in fresco at San Michele of Padua, which remain in part entire; and Taddeo Bartoli, of Siena, who has shewn himself ambitious at the Arena, of emulating the contiguous labours of Giotto, without attaining the object in view. Another production of the same period is seen in the great hall at Padua, reported to be one of the largest in the world, consisting, as it does, of a mixture of sacred historic pieces, of celestial signs borrowed from Igino, and of the various operations carried on during the respective months of the year, besides several other ideas certainly furnished by some learned man of that age. It is partly the work, says Morelli in his Notizia, upon the authority of Campagnuola, of an artist of Ferrara, and partly that of Gio. Miretto, a Paduan. This recent discovery justifies my own previous opinions, having been unable to prevail upon myself to ascribe such a production to Giotto, although it partakes strongly of his style, which [Pg 14]appears to have spread pretty rapidly throughout the territories of Padua, of Verona, of Bergamo, and great part of the Terra Ferma.

Besides this manner, which may be, in some measure, pronounced foreign, there are others equally observable in Venice, no less than in Treviso, in the Chapter of the Padri Predicatori, and in other of the subject cities, and these might more accurately be termed national, so remote are they from the style of Giotto, and that of his disciples before mentioned. I have elsewhere pointed out how far the miniature painters contributed to this degree of originality, a class of artists, with whom Italy, at no time destitute, more fully abounded about that period, while they still continued to improve by employing their talents in drawing objects from the life, and not from any Greek or Italian model. Indeed they had already made no slight advances in every branch of painting, when Giotto first arrived in those parts. I have myself seen, in the grand collection of MSS., made in Venice, by the Abbate Canonici, a book of the Evangelists, obtained in Udine, illustrated with miniatures in pretty good taste for the thirteenth century, in which they were produced; and similar relics are by no means rare throughout the libraries of the state. I suspect, therefore, that many of those new painters, either having been pupils of the miniaturists, or induced to imitate them from the near connexion between the arts, attempted to vie with them in design, in the distribution of their [Pg 15]colours, and in their compositions. Hence, it is clearly accounted for, why they did not become the disciples, though acquainted with the works of Giotto, but produced several respectable pieces of their own.

To this class belongs M. Paolo, whom Zanetti found recorded in an ancient parchment, bearing the date of 1346. He is the earliest in the national manner, of whom there exists a work with the indisputable name of its author. It is to be seen in the great church of St. Mark, consisting of a tablet, or, as it is otherwise called, Ancona, divided into several compartments, representing the figure of a dead Christ, with some of the Apostles, and historic incidents from the holy Evangelist. There is inscribed underneath—Magister Paulus cum Jacobo, et Johanne filiis fecit hoc opus; and Signor Zanetti, page 589, observes in regard to it as follows:—Among the specimens of simple painting, in St. Mark's, the ball centre of the great altar is remarkable for several small tablets of gold and silver, on which are painted several figures in the ancient Greek manner. San Pietro Urseolo had it constructed about the year 980, at Constantinople, and it was removed to this place in the time of the Doge Ordelafo Faliero, in 1102, though it was afterwards renovated by command of the Doge Pietro Ziani, in 1209. This historian did not discover the inscription which I found upon it in the year 1782. The artist is sufficiently distinguished for the period in which he flourished, although the stiffness in the [Pg 16]design, false action, and expression, beyond those of the best followers of Giotto, are perceptible, so much as to remind us of the Greek specimens of art.[13]

There can, likewise, be no doubt, that a painter of the name of Lorenzo, was one of these Venetians, whose altarpiece in St. Antony of Castello, to which is attached his name, with the date of 1358, paid him three hundred gold ducats, has been commended by Zanetti. Besides, we read inscribed on a picture belonging to the noble house of Ercolani, at Bologna, the words manu laurentii de venetiis, 1368; and there is every appearance of his being the author of the fresco in the church of Mezzaratta, not far from Bologna, representing Daniel in the lions' den; and bearing the signature of Laurentius, P. It is a work that bears no resemblance to the style of Giotto, and appears to have been completed about the year 1370. It is equally certain that Niccolo Semitecolo was a Venetian, he having also inscribed [Pg 17]his name as we find it written upon a Trinity, which represents the Virgin, along with some histories of St. Sebastian, still preserved in the chapter library of Padua:—"Nicoleto Semitecolo da Veniexia impense, 1367." The work is an excellent specimen of this school; the naked parts are tolerably well drawn, and the proportions of the figures, though sometimes extravagantly so, are bold and free; and what is more important to our present purpose, it discovers no resemblance to the style of Giotto, being inferior in point of design, though equal to him in regard to the colouring. Two other painters, whose style betrays nothing of Giotto, were discovered by Signor Sasso, in Venice, upon the strength of two altarpieces, to which they had affixed their names. Upon one, found in the convent of Corpus Domini, he read Angelus pinxit; and upon the other, also in the same place, Katarinus pinxit. While on this subject, I ought not to pass over the opinion of Baldinucci himself, who always appears to have respected the freedom and independence of the Venetian as opposed to the Florentine school, by refusing to insert the name of a single Venetian in his tree of Cimabue. He merely maintained, that the Venetian painters had improved their style by the labours of Angiol Gaddi, and of one Antonio, a Venetian, whom, in spite of the authority of Vasari, he has declared to be a Florentine; on which point we must refer to what has already been stated in the first volume (p. 61) of this work. [Pg 18]Moreover, he asserts of the same Antonio, that he took up his residence at Venice, and thence acquired the appellation of Veneziano; but that he took his departure again, owing to the intrigues of the national professors, as much as to say, of a school formed anterior to his arrival. And so long anterior was it, indeed, that the whole state, as well as the adjacent places, abounded not less with pictures than with pupils, although few of their names with their productions have survived.[14]

Among these few is a Simon da Cusighe, who [Pg 19]painted an altarpiece and a fresco, still remaining in his native parish, situated near the city of Belluno, where there exist memorials of one Pietro, and other artists of the thirteenth century, along with some very tolerably executed figures, bearing the epigraph of Simon pinxit. To these I add a native of Friuli, of whom there are no authentic remains beyond Gemona, where he painted the façade of the dome, and under a picture of the martyrdom of I know not what saint, appears his name written, mcccxxxii. magister nicolaus pintor me fecit. To this artist is ascribed, by some writers, that vast and meritorious production, still in such a fine state of preservation, ornamenting the dome of Venzone, and which represents the solemn scene of the Consecration; but its author is a matter of mere conjecture, founded in this instance upon the vicinity of the place and time, and resemblance of manner. There are also Pecino and Pietro de Nova, who employed their talents, during a period of many years subsequent to 1363, in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, at Bergamo. But these, like the artist of Padua before mentioned, approach very nearly the composition of Giotto, and possibly might have imbibed such a taste at Milan.[15]

[Pg 20]The splendor of Venetian painting becomes more strikingly manifest in the fifteenth century; a period that was gradually preparing the way for the grand manner of the Titians and the Giorgioni. The new style took its rise in one of the islands called Murano; but it was destined to attain its perfection in Venice. I first recognized the work of one of the oldest of these artists, subscribing himself, Quiricius de Muriano, in the studio of Signor Sasso. It represents our Saviour in a sitting posture, at whose feet stands a veiled devotee; but there is no mark by which to ascertain its age. There is, likewise, of uncertain date, yet still very ancient, a Bernardino da Murano, of whose productions Zanetti saw nothing more than a rude altarpiece. An Andrea da Murano flourished about the period 1400, whose style, whatever it may retain of harsh and dry, neither superior in composition, nor in choice of features to that of his predecessors, discovers him to have been tolerably skilful in design, even in regard to the extremities, and in placing his figures well in the canvass.

There remains in his native place, at San Pier Martire, an altarpiece painted by his hand, in which a St. Sebastian forms so conspicuous a figure for the beauty of its torso, that Zanetti suspects it [Pg 21]must have been copied from some ancient statue. It is he who introduced the art into the house of the Vivarini, his compatriots, who in a continued line of succession preserved the school of Murano for nearly a century; and who produced as rich a harvest of their labours in Venice, as did the Campi afterwards in the city of Cremona, or the Procaccini in Milan. I shall treat of them with brevity, but with such new sources of information, as will at once serve to correct and amplify what has already been written.

The first among the Vivarini mentioned by historians is Luigi, of whom a painting at Santi Giovanni e Paolo, has been cited by them, which represents our Redeemer bearing the cross upon his shoulders. The work has been a good deal retouched, and there has been added to it another portion, which gives the name of the author, dated 1414. Not being an autograph, we are led to suspect some kind of mistake attaching either to the name or the date; there having been another Luigi Vivarini, as we shall shew, towards the close of the century. The one in question, then, might probably be an ancestor of the latter, though it be difficult to persuade ourselves of it, as there remains no other superscription, or notice of any of that name so ancient.

Next to this artist, according to Ridolfo and Zanetti, are to be enumerated Giovanni and Antonio Vivarini, who flourished about the year 1440. The authority they adduce for this, is an altarpiece [Pg 22]in San Pantaleone, which bears the inscription of Zuane e Antonio da Muran pense 1444. But this Giovanni,[16] if I mistake not, is the same who signs his name on another picture in Venice, Joannes de Alemania et Antonius de Muriano pinxit; or as it is thus written in Padua, Antonio de Muran e Zohan Alamanus pinxit. Giovanni, therefore, was a companion of Antonio, a German by birth; and traces [Pg 23]of a foreign style are clearly perceptible in his paintings. The reason of his omitting to insert his birthplace in the picture at San Pantaleone, arose, I suspect, from the fact of his name and acquaintance with Antonio being too well known to admit of doubt. After the year 1447 there is no more mention made of Giovanni, but only of Antonio; sometimes alone, sometimes together with some other of the Vivarini. Thus, his name is subscribed alone in San Antonio Abate di Pesaro, upon an altarpiece of the titular saint, surrounded by the figures of three young martyrs, with some smaller paintings attached; the production of a very animated colourist, and displaying forms inferior to none in the school of Murano. I have seen two other specimens, in which he is mentioned together with a second Vivarino. The least excellent of these is to be found in San Francesco Grande, at Padua, consisting of a Madonna, with some saints, in various compartments; and, at the foot of it, is the following memorandum, Anno 1451, Antonius et Bartholomeus fratres de Murano pinxerunt hoc opus. Similar to this, the two brothers had produced another the year preceding, in the Certosa of Bologna, where it is still in a high state of preservation, beyond any other specimen I have seen belonging to this family. There is much worthy of commendation in each figure of the whole piece; features dignified and devout; appropriate dresses; care in the disposition of the hair and beards, united to a colouring warm and brilliant.

[Pg 24] According to what appears, Bartolommeo must have been held of less account than Antonio, until the discovery of painting in oil being introduced into Venice, he became one among the first to profit by it, and, towards the period in which the two Bellini appeared, was held in pretty high repute.

The first specimen of his painting in oil exists at S. Giovanni e Paolo, not far from the gate, and exhibits, among other saints, P. San Agostino, with an indication of the year 1473. From that period he continued to distinguish himself, producing a great number of pieces both in oil and in water colour, sometimes with more, and sometimes with less care, but always in the ancient taste for subdividing the altarpiece into several parts, in each of which he represented separate heads or entire figures. In these he often marked the name of Vivarino, with the year of their production; and occasionally he has added a finch or linnet by way of allusion to his family name. His last work, bearing the date of the year, is a Christ risen from the dead, at San Giovanni, in Bragora, where Boschini read the date of 1498, which is now no longer apparent; but it is a piece which, in every part, may be said to vie with that of the best Venetian artists who flourished during the same period.

Contemporary with him was a Luigi of the same name, one of whose productions was seen by Zanetti, in a collection of paintings, with the date of [Pg 25]1490, and as appeared to him, strongly approaching, in point of taste, to the best style of Bartolommeo. To Luigi, also, must undoubtedly be ascribed the altarpiece, which, in San Francesco di Trevigi, bears his name. There is another at the Battuti, in Belluno, representing the saints Piero, Girolamo, and some others, a work which cost that school 100 gold ducats, besides the expenses of the artist, who has attached to it his name. But superior to every other of his existing specimens, is that fine picture in the school of San Girolamo, at Venice, in which he represented a history of the titular saint, in emulation of Giovanni Bellino, whom he here equalled, and of Carpaccio, whom he surpassed. He has drawn the saint in the act of caressing a lion, while several monks are seen flying in terror at the sight. The composition is very fine; the passions are tolerably well pourtrayed, the colours as soft and delicate as in any other of the Vivarini; the architecture solid, and in the ancient taste, while the epoch is more modern than that which could be ascribed to the supposed Luigi, the elder. Such is our exposition of the whole series of the School of Murano, up to the period of its greatest improvement, so as to bring it under one point of view. I shall now, therefore, resume the thread of my narrative, relating to the elder artists of the fourteenth century, who competed with the oldest of the school of Murano, until the era of painting in oil; and I shall afterwards proceed to treat apart of the more modern.

[Pg 26] In the early part of the century, an artist of the name of Gentile da Fabriano, had been employed in the public palace at Venice, highly distinguished in his time, but of whom I must not here repeat what has been said in the first volume of this work. He there depicted a naval battle scene, a production greatly extolled in former times, which has long since perished. He produced, also, some disciples, as we find mention of a Jacopo Nerito, from Padua, who, in a painting at San Michele di Padova, according to Rossetti, subscribes himself one of his pupils. Nasocchio di Bassano, the elder, is to be ranked also, either as one of his scholars or his imitators, if, indeed, a small picture pointed out to me by the late Signor Verci was by his hand.

Among other Venetians, Jacopo Bellini, at once the father and the master of Gentile and Giovanni of the same name, of whom more hereafter, was certainly a pupil of Gentile da Fabriano. Jacopo, however, is better known by the celebrity of his sons, than by his own works, at this time either destroyed or unknown. He had painted in the school of S. Giovanni Evangelista at Venice, and in the chapel of the Gatta Melata, at the Santo di Padova, about 1456; but these labours survive only in history, nor have I met with any other specimen besides a Madonna, discovered by Sig. Sasso, bearing the signature of its author. The style appears taken from that of Squarcione, to which he is supposed to have applied himself in his more advanced years.

[Pg 27] There was also another Jacopo in very high repute,[17] called Jacobello del Fiore, who has been falsely accused by Vasari, of having drawn his figures all resting on the tip of their toes, in the manner of the Greeks. His father, Francesco, was considered in the light of a Coryphæus of the art, and his tomb is still to be seen at Santi Giovanni e Paolo, with a figure of him in his toga, and a commendatory epitaph in Latin verse. No works of his, however, are to be seen in Venice,[18] a dittico, or small altar, with his name having been conveyed to London, bearing the date of 1412. It was obtained by the Chevalier Strange, together with some other productions of the old Venetian artists. The son of Francesco rose to a still higher degree of celebrity. He began to make himself known as early as 1401, by producing an altarpiece at San Cassiano di Pesaro, in which city I discovered another, with the date of 1409, and both bear the signature of Jacometto de Flor. A much nobler [Pg 28]work is a coronation of the Virgin, in the cathedral of Ceneda, extremely rich in figures, insomuch as to have deserved the name of the "Painting of Paradise," in a MS. of the lives of the bishops of that place, which is preserved in the episcopal residence, and declares the work to have been executed, ab eximio illius temporis pictore Jacobello de Flore, 1432, at the expense of the bishop, Ant. Correr. There is a Madonna, indisputably by his hand, in possession of Sig. Girolamo Manfrini, painted in 1436, besides the Giustizia, drawn between two archangels, in the Magistrato del Proprio, bearing the date of 1421. I may venture to say that few artists of that time equalled him; both on account of his having few rivals who had so early ventured to attempt drawing figures as large as the life, and because of his power of conferring upon them a certain grace and dignity, and, where called for, a vigour and ease rarely to be met with in other paintings. The two lions which he represented as symbols of his Giustizia (Justice), are truly grand, though the rest of the figures would have appeared to more advantage had they been less loaded with ornaments, and in particular the draperies glowing with gold lace, according to the custom of his age. He had a rival in Giacomo Morazone, known by an altarpiece seen in the island of St. Elena, of which I shall have to speak elsewhere.

Two pupils of Jacobello are recorded by Ridolfi, one of whom, Donato, is superior to his master in [Pg 29]point of style, and the other, Carlo Crivelli, of whom the capital can boast only one or two pieces, and of whom little mention is made in Venetian history. It would appear that he long resided out of his native place, and in the Marca Trevigiana, from which circumstance we find him repeatedly named in the Storia Picena, in the Guida di Ascoli, and in the catalogue of Fabrianese paintings. At San Francesco di Matelica, I saw an altarpiece and grado by his hand, with his name in the following inscription—Carolus Crivellus Venetus miles pinxit, as well as another with his name at the Osservanti, in Macerata, and a third which bears the year 1476, in possession of the Cardinal Zelada. He is an artist more remarkable for his force of colouring than for his correctness of design: and his principal merit consists in those little history pieces, in which he has represented beautiful landscapes, and given to his figures grace, motion, and expression, with some traces of the colouring of the School of Perugia. Hence his productions have occasionally been taken for those of Pietro, as in the instance of that in Macerata; and if I mistake not, such an opinion was entertained, even by the learned Father Civalli, (p. 60). In Piceno, likewise, in Monsanmartino, or in Penna S. Giovanni, there remain altarpieces by Vittorio Crivelli, a Venetian, most probably of the same family, and produced in the years 1489 and 90, from which period I lose sight of him, whether owing to his [Pg 30]early decease, or his having set out in pursuit of better fortune into foreign parts.

Hitherto we have examined only the productions of the capital and of the annexed island. But in each of the other cities, now comprehended in the state, there flourished painters during the same period, guided by maxims differing both from those of Venice and of Murano. The School of Bergamo had even then made distinguished progress under the direction of the two Nova, who died at the commencement of the century; and mention is made of a Commenduno, one of their pupils, besides some other contemporaries, whose works, however, cannot, with any degree of certainty, be pointed out. The same may be said of those in the adjacent city of Brescia, which could then, also, boast of possessing some excellent artists. Of these, there is nothing more than the name now remaining, yet Brandolin Testorino and Ottaviano Brandino are names placed in competition with that of Gentile di Fabriano, and, perhaps, they are preferred to him. The former was supposed to have been engaged along with Altichiero, in ornamenting the great hall in Padua, entitled Sala de' Giganti.[19]

Subsequent to both of these appeared Vincenzio Foppa, of Brescia, founder of an ancient school at Milan, of which I shall treat more at length in the following book. Vasari makes mention of a Vincenzio [Pg 31]da Brescia, or Vincenzio Verchio, who is the same Vincenzo Civerchio di Crema, commended by Ridolfo, and so much admired by the French in the capture of Crema, that they fixed upon one of his pictures, then ornamenting the public palace, to be presented to their king, and to this artist we shall also again allude.

About the commencement of the fifteenth century there flourished, in Verona, an artist of the name of Stefano,[20] declared, as it appears to me, by Vasari, sometimes a native of Verona, sometimes of Zevio, a territory adjacent to the former. The same author makes honourable mention of him in several places, exalting him above the best disciples of Angiolo Gaddi, to whose style, judging from what I have myself observed at San Fermo and elsewhere, he added a certain dignity and beauty of form, while such was his excellence in frescos, as to be extolled by Donatello beyond any of the artists who were then known for similar compositions in those parts.[21]

[Pg 32]The Commendatore del Pozzo brings his labours down as far as the year 1463, an incredible assertion, as applied to a scholar of Gaddi. To this period might better be referred Vincenzio di Stefano, apparently one of his sons, of whom nothing survives but his name, and the tradition of having conferred the first lessons of the art upon Liberale.

Highly distinguished, on the other hand, both by the consent of the Veronese and of foreigners, is the name of Vittor Pisanello; although there exists great confusion of dates in his history. Vasari makes him a disciple of Castagno, who died about the year 1480; yet del Pozzo informs us that he has in his house a holy figure, with the annexed signature of Vittore, and dated 1406, most probably before the birth of Castagno. Again we are told by Oretti that he was in possession of one of his medals, representing the Sultan Mahomet, struck in the year 1481, a supposition which, admitting the picture of Pozzo, we are unable to [Pg 33]reconcile to facts, so that the medal was, perhaps, taken from some painting of Pisanello, coloured at a former time. To whatever master Vittore may have been indebted, certain it is that several of his too partial admirers have placed him above Masaccio, in regard to the services rendered by him towards the progress of the art, though impartial judges will not refuse to give him a station near him. The whole of his labours, both in Venice and in Rome, have now perished. At Verona, also, little remains; even that noble piece of San Eustachio, so highly extolled by Vasari himself, having been destroyed; and his Nunziata, at San Fermo, being greatly defaced by time, in which, however, is still visible a country house, thrown into such admirable perspective, as to delight the beholder. There remain several little altarpieces, containing histories of San Bernardino, finished in the style of the miniaturists, in the sacristy of San Francesco; but they are crude in their colouring, and the figures more than usually long and dry. The Guide of the city announces them as the productions of Pisanello; but there is no authority for this, and upon the strength of a date of 1473, which is seen upon one of them, I do not scruple to pronounce them by another hand. He is commended by Facio, (p. 47) for his almost poetical style of expression; and there is a specimen of an effort at caricature, with which Vittore embellished his historic painting of Frederick Barbarossa, in the ducal palace at Venice. He is, moreover, [Pg 34]praised by the same author for his skill in drawing horses and other animals, in which he surpassed every other artist. His name is not unknown to the antiquaries; many medals struck by him, of different princes, being found in museums, which acquired for him, in an equal degree with his pictures, the esteem and applauses of Guarino, of Vespasiano Strozza, of Biondo, and of several other distinguished scholars.

In the adjacent city of Vicenza, resided a Jacopo Tintorello, strongly resembling Vittore in his style of colouring, however inferior to him in the perfection of his design, as far as we are enabled to judge from a picture of the Saviour, with a crown of thorns, exhibited at Santa Corona; a piece which reflects credit upon that school. It is yet more highly honoured by an Epiphany, painted in San Bartolommeo, by Marcello Figolino, an artist commemorated by Ridolfi, under the name of Giovanni Batista, and who flourished, according to his account, at the period of the two Montagna. He must, however, at that time, have been far advanced in years, if it be true that the era of his birth preceded that of Gian Bellini.[22] His manner is undoubtedly original; so much so, that I find nothing resembling it, either in Venice or elsewhere; it embraces great diversity of countenance, and of costume, skilful gradation of light and shade, with landscape and perspective; and is remarkable [Pg 35]for ornament, and the finish and smoothness of every part. It was fully entitled to render its author the father of a new epoch in the history of art; if, indeed, we are to believe him, which does not sufficiently appear, to be as ancient as has been affirmed.

Up to this period I have described the merits of the artists of the city and of the state, who appeared in the early part of the century; but I have not yet recorded its greatest master; I mean Squarcione, of Padua, who from his ability in bringing up pupils, was pronounced by his followers the first master of painters, and continued to educate them until they amounted to 137. Ambitious of seeing more of the world, he not only traversed the whole of Italy, but passing into Greece, he took designs of the best specimens, both in painting and sculpture, of every thing he met with, besides purchasing several. On returning to his native place, he began to form a studio, which proved the richest of any known at that period, not merely in designs, but in statues, torsos, bassi relievi, and funereal urns. Thus devoting himself to the instruction of students, with such copies, aided by his precepts, rather than by his own example, he continued to live in comparative affluence, and divided many of the commissions which he received among his different pupils. In the church of the Misericordia is preserved a book of anthems, illustrated with very beautiful miniatures, commonly ascribed to Mantegna, the [Pg 36]ornament of that school: but so great is the variety of the different styles, that the most competent judges conclude it to be one of the works committed to Squarcione, and by him distributed among his disciples. Of these we are not yet prepared to treat, the chief part of whom are known to have flourished subsequent to the introduction of painting in oils, while little can be said of the productions of Squarcione himself, though much in respect to his labours as a master. And, indeed, he may be considered the stock, as it were, whose branches we trace, through Mantegna, in the grand school of Lombardy; through Marco Zoppo in the Bolognese; while it extended some degree of influence over that of Venice itself. For Jacopo Bellini, having come to exercise his talents in Padua, it would appear that he took Squarcione for his model, as before stated.

There is nothing remaining from the hand of Squarcione, in Padua, that can be relied upon with certainty, except an altarpiece, formerly to be seen at the Carmelitani, but now in possession of the accomplished Conte Cav. de' Lazara. It is drawn in different compartments; the chief place is occupied by the figure of San Girolamo. Around him appear other saints; but the work is in parts re-touched, though there is sufficient of what is original to establish the character of the painter. Rich in colouring, in expression, and above all in perspective, it may be declared one of the best specimens of the art produced in those parts. The [Pg 37]painting of the altarpiece, here alluded to, was assigned him by the noble family of the Lazara, of which the contract is still preserved by them, dated 1449, the salary being paid in 1452, the period at which it was completed. The artist subscribes himself Francesco Squarcione, whence we are enabled to correct the mistake of Vasari, who, invariably unfortunate in his nomenclature of the Venetians, announces his name as Jacopo, an error repeated also in the dictionaries of artists. Besides this specimen, there still exist, in a cloister of San Francesco Grande, some histories of that saint in terra verde, which are to be referred to the early part of his life, there being good authority for believing them to be by the same hand, though with the assistance of his school, as the more and less perfect parts render sufficiently apparent. Near them were placed some other pieces of Squarcione also in terra verde, which were defaced in the time of Algarotti, who regrets their loss in one of his elegant and pleasing letters. Their style is altogether analogous to that of his school; animated figures, neat in the folds, foreshortenings not usual in works of that age, and attempts, though yet immature, at approaching towards the style of the ancient Greeks.

Proceeding from Padua, in the direction of Germany, we meet with some anonymous paintings, in the districts of Trevigi and Friuli, which ought, apparently, to be referred to this epoch; so far removed are they in style from the nobler method, [Pg 38]we shall shortly have to describe. The name of Antonio is well known in Treviso, an artist who produced a S. Cristoforo, of gigantic stature, tolerably well executed, in San Niccolo, and that of Liberale da Campo, author of a Presepio, which is placed in the cathedral. Superior to both of these must have been Giorgio da Trevigi, if we are to believe Rossetti, where he mentions his introduction into Padua, in 1437, in order to paint the celebrated tower of the Horologe. There exist other pictures of the fourteenth century, more or less perfect, interspersed throughout the Marca Trevigiana, and more particularly in Serravalle. Other places in Italy, indeed, bear the same name, derived from the inclosed form of the mountains; this, however, is the largest of the whole, being a rich and ornate city, where Titian was in the habit of spending some months in the year at the house of his son-in-law, by way of amusement, and has left there several memorials of his art. But the whole of the church of the Battuti appears ornamented in a more antique taste, executed in such a manner, that I was assured, by a person who witnessed it, that it most of all resembled a sacred museum of art. The whole must have been the work of the same artists that we have just been recording in other cities, inasmuch as the names of no natives are known beyond the single one of Valentina. He, indeed, verged upon the improved age; but in Ceneda, that boasts various altarpieces of his hand, as well as in Serravalle itself, [Pg 39]where he painted another, with some saints of the Holy Family, he still appears a disciple of the ancients, and a copyist of Squarcione, of Padua. We shall soon discover more celebrated artists rising up in this province, after the introduction into the Trevigiana, of the method of the Bellini.

The artists of Friuli availed themselves of it less early, not having sufficiently imbibed the principles of modern taste, even as late as the year 1500, either, in the opinion of Rinaldis, from the secluded situation of the place, or from the disturbed and revolutionary character of the times. Hence it is that the provincial painters of that period are to be referred wholly to this, not to the subsequent era of the art. To such belongs Andrea Bellunello, of San Vito, whose masterpiece is a Crucifixion, among various saints, with the date of 1475, exhibited in the great council chamber at Udine. It has some merit in regard to the size, and the distribution of its figures; but displays neither beauty of forms, nor colour, and we might almost pronounce it an ancient piece of tapestry, when placed by the side of a beautiful picture. Nevertheless, in his own district, he was considered the Zeuxis and Apelles of his age.[23] Contemporary with him, was Domenico di Tolmezzo, who painted an altarpiece [Pg 40]in various compartments for the cathedral of Udine; a Madonna, in the taste of those times, with some saints, figures which all partake of the ancient Venetian style, even to the colouring, insomuch that one might believe him to have been a disciple of that school. He has attached his name and the year, 1479, and it would appear that there belonged to the same piece, exhibiting a figure of the blessed Bertrando, Patriarch of Aquileja, two oblong tablets, one of which represents his offering of alms, the other the circumstances of the death he suffered. The whole of these paintings, which I have noticed, are tolerably executed, in particular the two histories, and are preserved in two chambers of the Canonica. Not far from the same place is seen a figure of the saint, in fresco, painted by Francesco de Alessiis, in 1494, and placed over the door of a house, formerly the college of S. Girolamo.

While the schools of the state thus continued to advance, a knowledge of design became more general in Venice; and in the latter part of the century, its artists, for the most part, had acquired a taste similar to what I have already described as influencing those of other places—a taste rather removed from the antique coarseness, than adorned with the elegance of the moderns. Although the use of canvass had been already adopted in Venice, like that of boards elsewhere, a circumstance for which Vasari accounts, in treating of the Bellini, there was no composition besides [Pg 41]water colours, or distemper; excellent, indeed, for the preservation of tints, as we perceive from unfaded specimens in the present day, but unfriendly to the production of union, smoothness, and softness. At length appeared the secret of colouring in oils from Flanders, a discovery conferring a happier era upon the Italian Schools, and in particular upon that of Venice, which availed itself of it above every other, and apparently the very first of all. In the Florentine School I have described the origin of this invention, ascribing it, along with Vasari, to Giovanni Van Eych, and both there and in the Neapolitan, I have also shewn that the first who communicated it to Italy was Antonello da Messina, having been instructed in it by Giovanni himself in Flanders. The historical account of this Messinese, as I have repeatedly before observed, has never been sufficiently elucidated. Vasari and Ridolfi state such facts respecting him as are not easily reconcilable to the period of life in general assigned to him, reaching only to forty-nine years; and I have proved, in collecting memorials, to which they had no access, alluded to in the Neapolitan School, that there were two distinct visits made by Antonello to Venice. The first, it appears to me, must have taken place soon after his return into Italy; at which time he concealed the discovery from every one, except it were Domenico Veneziano, who is known to have availed himself of it for many years, both in Venice and elsewhere. During that [Pg 42]period Antonello visited other places, and more especially Milan, whence he returned to Venice for the second time, and as it is said, received a public salary, and then he divulged the method of painting in oils to the Venetian professors; a circumstance which, according to the superscriptions attached to his pictures, appears to have taken place about the year 1474. Other signatures are to be met with as late as 1490, insomuch that he must have run a longer career than that which has above been assigned him. And we are here arrived at an era, at once the happiest and most controverted of any. But of the Venetians we shall treat presently, after alluding to the works of this foreign artist apart. Two altarpieces by his hand are recorded, which were painted for the two churches of the Dominante, besides several Madonnas, and other holy pieces intended for private houses, together with some few productions in fresco. There is no doubt but he also produced many others, both at the instance of natives and of foreigners, relieving himself from the multiplicity of his commissions by the aid of Pino di Messina, the same who is commended in the memoirs of Hackert, as the pupil and companion of Antonello's labours at Venice. It is not mentioned whether he produced any specimens of his art in Sicily, nor am I certain whether he returned thither. In many Venetian collections, however, they are still preserved, and display a very correct taste, united to a most delicate command of the pencil; and [Pg 43]among others is a portrait in the possession of the family Martinengo, bearing the inscription Antonellus Messaneus me fecit, 1474.

In the council hall of the Ten is also to be seen one of his pictures of a Pietà, half-length, subscribed, Antonius Messinensis. The features of the countenances, though animated, are not at all select, nor have much of the Italian expression; and his colours in this and other of his productions that I have seen, are less vivid than in some Venetian artists of that age, who carried the perfection of colouring to its highest pitch.

There is good authority for believing that, together with Antonello, or very near the same period, there flourished in Venice one of the best Flemish disciples of Giovanni Van Eych; called by Vasari, Ruggieri da Bruggia. There appears, in the Palazzo Nani, adorned by its present owner in the hereditary taste of his noble family, with the most splendid monuments of antiquity, a San Girolamo between two holy virgins, a picture, as is shewn from the following inscription, by his hand,—Sumus Rugerii manus. It is drawn with more merit in point of colouring than of design, upon Venetian pine wood, not upon Flemish oak; and for this reason it is considered by Zanetti, as the production of a native artist. But if the Venetians had really possessed a painter of so much merit, towards the year 1500, how is it possible that he should be distinguished only by this solitary specimen of his powers. Even the very [Pg 44]imposing formula he made use of in subscribing his name, contrary to the usual practice of those times, without mention either of family or of place, is it not altogether like that of an artist who feels and displays his own celebrity?[24] To me it does not appear at all improbable that Ruggieri, on arriving in Italy,[25] sought to employ his talents upon some subject, in the same way as Ausse,[26] his disciple, Ugo d'Anversa, and other Flemish painters of that period, whose names are commemorated along with his by Vasari, in the twenty-first chapter of his introduction.

Reverting to Antonello, we are told by Borghini and Ridolfi, that Gian Bellini, having assumed the dress and character of a Venetian gentleman, for the pretended purpose of having his portrait [Pg 45]taken, penetrated by this disguise into the studio of the Messinese; and watching him while he painted, discovered the whole secret of the new method, which he speedily applied. But Zanetti conjectures that Antonello was not very jealous of his secret, by which means it was quickly diffused among the different professors of the art. And this is clearly shewn by a picture of Vivarini, coloured in oil, as early as 1473, no less than by others from different hands in the years following. Argenville even goes farther; for he asserts that such was the generosity with which Antonello taught in Venice, that he drew a crowd of pupils, who assisted in spreading a knowledge of the discovery through all parts. And among these we find several foreigners, such as Theodore Harlem, Quintinus Messis, along with several others mentioned in the preface to the third volume, p. iii. This we are likewise inclined to admit during the period of his public instructions in the city.

All that now remains before we reach the times of Titian and Giorgione, is comprised in that last stage of the art which, in every school, has opened a path to the golden period which ensued. The masters who were to distinguish the stage alluded to, in Venice, as in almost all other parts, are found to retain traces of the ancient stiffness of manner, and sometimes exhibit, like the naturalists, imperfect forms copied from the life; as, for instance, in those extravagantly long and spare figures which we noticed in Pisanello. In Venice such forms [Pg 46]were in high repute with Mansueti, Sebastiani, and other of their contemporaries, nor were they disliked by the Bellini themselves. And, indeed, where they selected good proportions, they are apt to arrest the attention by that simplicity, purity, care, and, as it were timidity of design, which attempts to avoid every approach to exaggeration. Such artists we might suppose to have been educated by the more ancient Greek sculptors, in whose works the exhibition of truth attracts the spectator, like that of grandeur in others. Their heads, more particularly, are correct and fine; consisting of portraits taken from the life, both among the populace, and among persons of superior birth, whether distinguished for learning, or for their military exploits. And to this practice, familiar also to artists of the thirteenth century, we are indebted for many likenesses which were copied at the instance of Giovio, for his museum. Thence they were again multiplied both by painting and engraving, in different parts of the world. Often also the artist of those times inserted his own portrait in his composition; a circumstance so favourable to Vasari's history; but this species of ostentation was gradually abandoned as real cultivation in Italy advanced. But then, as in the heroic and still more uncivilized times, such species of boasting was not esteemed offensive: and surely, if the literati of the fourteenth century were in the habit of extolling themselves in their own works; if the typographers were so fond of exalting themselves [Pg 47]and their editions by superb titles, and more vaunting epigrams, even to a ridiculous degree; the more modest ambition of sometimes handing down their own features to posterity, may be excused in our painters.

The colours of these artists are likewise simple and natural, though not always in union, more especially with the ground, nor sufficiently broken by the chiaroscuro. But above all, they are most remarkable for the extreme simplicity of the composition of their pieces. It was very seldom they inserted histories, it being sufficient for the ambition of those times to give a representation of our Lady upon a throne, surrounded with a number of saints, such as the devotion of each was supposed to require. Nor were those drawn in the manner they had before been, all erect at equal distances, and in the least studied motions; but their authors attempted to give them some degree of contrast, so that while one was drawn gazing upon the Virgin, another appeared reading a book; if this were in a kneeling attitude, that is seen standing erect. The national genius, always lively and joyous, even then sought to develop itself in more brilliant colours than those of any other school. And, perhaps, in order that the figures, of such glowing tints, might stand in bolder relief, they kept the colour of the airs most generally pale and languid. They aimed, indeed, as much as lay in their power, at enlivening their compositions with the most pleasing images; freely introducing into their [Pg 48]sacred pieces, sportive cherubs, drawn as if vieing with each other in airy grace and agility; some in the act of singing, some of playing: and not unfrequently bearing little baskets of fruit and flowers so exquisitely drawn as to appear moist with recent dew. In the drapery of their figures they were simple and natural; the most exempt perhaps from that trite and exact folding, as well as from that manner of bandaging the bodies so common in Mantegna, and which infected some other schools.

Nor did they lay small stress upon certain accessaries of their art, such as the thrones, which they composed in the richest and most ostentatious manner; and the landscapes, which they drew with an astonishing degree of truth from nature, besides the architecture frequently constructed in the forms of porticos or tribunes. It may sometimes be observed, also, that adapting themselves to the workmanship and to the design of the altar, they feigned a continuation of it within the painting, so that by the resemblance of colour and of taste, the eye is deceived, the illusion produced rendering it doubtful where the exterior ornament[27] terminates, [Pg 49]and where the picture begins. We ought not, therefore, easily to give credit to certain writers who have undervalued the merits of such masters, pronouncing their labours mechanical, as those of mere practical artificers, inasmuch as Serlio is known to have supplied several of them with architectural designs.[28] We ought rather to subscribe to the opinion of Daniel Barbaro, whose extensive learning did not prevent him, in his work entitled Pratica di Prospettiva, from expressing his admiration of them, even from the commencement, as follows: "In this art they left many fine remnants of excellent works, in which we behold not only landscapes, mountains, woods, and edifices, all admirably designed; but even the human form, and other animals, with lines drawn to the eye, as if to a centre placed in the most exact perspective. But in what manner, and by what rules they proceeded, [Pg 50]no author of whom I am aware, has left any account to instruct us."

As this progress of style was more greatly promoted by Gian Bellini than by any other master, with him I shall commence my account, afterwards proceeding to treat of his contemporaries, and such of his scholars as more or less resembled him. Nor, I flatter myself, will it be unpleasing to the reader, to find mention of the imitation of Giorgione and of Titian, as it were anticipated, inasmuch as it happens with the professors of the art of painting, as occasionally with those writers who have flourished on the confines of two ages; that their style to a certain degree seems to partake of the colour of both. Thus Giovanni Bellini himself will afford us, in his numerous productions, which commence before 1464, and continue down to the year 1516, a sort of regular gradation of his progress, that may be considered, at the same time, the progress of his school. Even in his earliest pictures, we trace the ambition of the artist to ennoble and to enlarge the national manner. The noble house of their Excellencies Corner, which at the time of the Queen of Cyprus, gave frequent commissions to his hand, possesses several specimens of his first style, proceeding gradually to others appearing always to grow more beautiful. Among these last is a San Francesco drawn amidst a thick wood; a piece that might well excite the envy of the best landscape masters themselves. [Pg 51]Having reached the period of 1488, in which he produced an altarpiece still preserved in the sacristy of the Conventuali, we find he extorts the praises of Vasari, no less as a good mannerist than a fine designer. With still greater success he executed other works from the examples afforded by Giorgione. It was then he conceived his subjects more boldly, gave rotundity to his forms, and warmth to his colours; he passed more naturally from contrasted tints, his naked figures became more select, his drapery more imposing; and if he had succeeded in acquiring a more perfect degree of softness and delicacy in his contours, he might have been held up as one of the most finished examples of the modern style. Neither Pietro Perugino, Ghirlandajo, nor Mantegna attained to it in an equal degree. The lover of art will find various specimens of him, both in Venice and elsewhere. His altarpiece, painted for San Zaccaria, in 1505, is well worthy his attention, as well as that of S. Giobbe, of the date of 1510. To these we may add a Bacchanal, in the villa Aldobrandini, at Rome, dated 1514, which, on account of the artist's advanced age, was left imperfect. I have seen other pictures by his hand, without date, but of striking merit; more especially a Virgin in the cathedral of Bergamo; a Baptism of our Lord at Santa Corona, of Vicenza, a Holy Child slumbering on the lap of the Virgin, between two angels, a production that lies treasured up in a chest at the Capuchins, in Venice, and which truly fascinates [Pg 52]the eye of the beholder. It displays a striking union of that beauty, grace, and expression, of which, in this school, he may be said to have set the example. It would appear that he continued to employ his talents to an extreme old age, there remaining, in the select gallery of Santa Giustina, at Padua, one of his Madonnas, painted in 1516.[29] Such figures, together with those of the Dead Christ, are the most frequent paintings of his hand that we meet with. Should any one, not content with the commendations I have bestowed, feel inclined to prefer a Bellini to a Raffaello, because he was his superior in architectural design, let him consult the opinion of Boschini, p. 28, of his Carta da Navigare, but let him recollect that the same writer possesses nothing of the poet beyond the measure of the verse, and the exaggeration of his praises.

The name of Giovanni ought not to go down unaccompanied by that of his brother Gentile, who preceded him, alike in the period of his birth and of his death. Though living apart, in regard to family, they were of congenial mind and disposition, esteeming one another as friends and brethren, mutually encouraging and respecting each other, [Pg 53]as superior in merit. But in Giovanni this was modesty, in Gentile only truth. For the latter had a more confined genius; but by diligence, that sometimes compensates the neglect of nature, he was enabled to attain an honourable station among his contemporaries. He was employed by the republic upon an equal footing with his brother, to adorn the hall of the great council; and when the Grand Turk sent to Venice in search of an eminent portrait painter, he was commissioned by the senate to go to Constantinople, where in the exercise of his profession he added glory to the Venetian name. Besides his works in painting, he there struck a fine medallion for Mahomet II., bearing the head of the emperor, with three crowns on the reverse; a rare work, of which, however, I learn there is a specimen in possession of his Excellency, Theodore Corer. However inferior we are to consider him to his brother, and tenacious of that ancient harshness in many of his works, there are still several of a more beautiful description, such as his histories of the Holy Cross at San Giovanni, and the Preaching of S. Mark, at the college of that saint; a piece, which, placed near that of a Paris Bordone, does no discredit to its author. He shews himself a faithful copyist, inasmuch as every thing he remarked in a concourse of people, is faithfully pourtrayed. The features of the audience, and the peculiar conformations of the body are as diversified as we see them in nature, including even instances of deformity, into which through her [Pg 54]own general laws, nature is known to fall; and we are thus presented with caricatures, with bald, and lean, and pursy, and, what is more remarkable, the auditors of S. Mark are drawn without regard to times, in the costume of Venetians or of Turks. Yet from its exact imitation of the truth, its arrangement, and its animated style, the work does not fail to please and strike the beholder. I shall even go further; for there are pictures on a smaller scale, by the same hand, executed with so much taste, that they may be esteemed not unworthy of the name of his brother. Such is a Presentation of the infant Jesus at the Temple, in half length, which adorns the Palazzo Barbarigo, at San Polo, a duplicate of which was painted for that of the Grimani, with still more delicacy and care. Opposite to this of Gentile is a fine picture of Gian Bellini, which, however, superior in the softness of its tints, is considered scarcely equal in point of beauty and other qualities of the art.

The two Bellini and the last of the Vivarini had a competitor in Vittore Carpaccio, either a Venetian or a native of Capo d'Istria,[30] and along [Pg 55]with these he was selected to ornament the ducal palace. It was destroyed by fire in 1576, when that noble collection of ancient historic pieces perished, though subsequently restored by the most celebrated artists of later times. Yet there still remains a specimen of Vittore's style in the Oratory of Santa Ursula, sufficient to entitle him to rank among the best artists of the age. It consists of eight histories drawn from the acts of that saint, and of her eleven thousand companions, which were all about that time very generally admitted to be true. The production is not wanting in power of conception, developing numerous and novel combinations, nor in the order of their distribution; in richness of ideas, both in varying the features and costume, nor in architectural skill and landscape, serving to adorn them. Still more remarkable is its expression of nature and simplicity; an expression which so frequently invited Zanetti himself to a renewed contemplation of it. He there remarked the various passions of the people, who appeared to understand every thing passing; and, in their earnest attention, expressed [Pg 56]sentiments in unison with the representation; whence he concludes his description by saying that Carpaccio felt the truth in his very heart.

He produced still nobler specimens of his genius in the college of San Girolamo, which rivalled those of Giovanni Bellini, without, in this instance, yielding to them. His character, which might frequently be confounded with that of Gentile, shines most conspicuous, perhaps, in his altarpieces, where he is original in almost every composition. The most celebrated in Venice is one of the Purification at San Giobbe, in which, however, the S. Vecchio Simeone is represented in a pontifical dress, between two servants arrayed like cardinals. If we except this error, in point of costume, and add a little more warmth of colours to the flesh, more delicacy of contour, the piece would not discredit the first artist of any times. Owing to the fault of his early education, however, these qualities he never attained. This, also, happened to Lazzaro Sebastiani, his disciple and follower; to Giovanni Mansueti, to Marco, and to Pietro Veglia, as well as to Francesco Rizzo, of San Croce, a territory in the district of Bergamo;[31] artists who, [Pg 57]however nearly they touched upon the golden period, did not succeed in freeing themselves from the influence of the old and uniform taste, and for this reason are often confounded with each other. I do not here treat of the paintings left by them at Venice, as they have so frequently been described elsewhere. It will be enough to inform the reader that in these, also, we discover several noble traces of the style of Gentile and Carpaccio, more especially in the architecture, and that their colouring, which, in this school, is considered cold and languid, would be termed, in several of the others, both soft and animated enough for that period. The one who, if I mistake not, approaches nearer to the modern, and in some degree towards the style of Giorgione, is Benedetto Diana, as well in his altarpiece of Santa Lucia, at the SS. Apostoli, as in the Limosina de' Confratelli di San Giovanni, painted at their college in competition with the Bellini.

We next come to Marco Basaiti, sprung from a Greek family in the Friuli, and a rival also of Giovanni; but more successful than Carpaccio. [Pg 58]The church of San Giobbe, here mentioned for the third time, possesses his picture of Christ praying in the Garden, painted in 1510. It is now a little defaced, but has been highly extolled by Ridolfi and others, who beheld it in a more perfect condition. Above all his productions, however, the Vocation of San Pietro to the Apostleship, in the church of the Certosa, is the most celebrated; a piece, of which there is seen a duplicate in the imperial gallery at Vienna. It is certainly one of the most beautiful pictures of that age; and most generally there is no kind of merit in Gian Bellini, in which Basaiti does not either equal, or very closely approach him. Indeed he appears to exhibit even a freer genius, a more happy composition, and a more skilful art in uniting the grounds of his pictures with the figures. These are beautiful, and for the most part incline to the free style; their look is full of fire; the tints of the fleshy parts of a rosy glow; the middle tints inclining sometimes to paleness, but not without grace. Though not a native, he resided a long period at Venice, which contains a good number of his works, a few of which are in the ancient taste, but the most part bordering upon the modern. His native place of Friuli possesses no other specimen besides a Christ taken from the Cross, in the monastery of Sesto, consisting of large figures, with a fine group in the background of the picture, and with a landscape full of nature. In several parts it is defaced by age; but a true connoisseur will still, perhaps, prefer it [Pg 59]to the others, for being free from the retouches of modern art.

Among the pupils of Gian Bellini, who were very numerous, are some who ought to be referred to another epoch, like Giorgione, and to different schools, like Rondinello of Ravenna; several, however, take their place here, who, in the opinion of their national contemporaries, did not fully attain to the possession of the new style. The family of the heads of the school, produced also a Bellin Bellini, who being educated in that academy, very happily imitated its manner. He painted Madonnas for private individuals, which, their author being little known, are for the most part attributed to Gentile, or to Giovanni. The artist who is mentioned by Vasari as the pupil of Giovanni, named Girolamo Mocetto, was one of the earliest and least polished among his disciples. He did not reach the sixteenth century; and left behind him some engravings upon copper, now become extremely rare; besides small pictures, one of which, subscribed with the author's name, in 1484, is in the possession of the before mentioned house of Corer. The Veronese, who are in possession of his portrait, amongst those of the painters of their town, in the Scuola del Nudo, can also boast one of his altarpieces, bearing the name and date of 1493, in their church of S. Nazario e Celso. Such information I obtained from Signor Saverio dalla Rosa, a Veronese painter of merit. Another less distinguished, and somewhat stiff scholar or imitator of [Pg 60]Bellini, has affixed his name in several places, at the foot of sacred figures, as follows: "Marcus Martialis Venetus;" and in a Purificazione, existing in the Conservatory of the Penitents, we meet with the year 1488. And from a Supper of Emmaus, belonging to the family of the Contarini, with the painter's name, we learn that in the year 1506 he was still alive.

An artist of a better taste appeared in Vincenzio Catena, a wealthy citizen, who obtained a good deal of celebrity by his portraits and pictures for private rooms. His masterpiece consists of a Holy family, in the style of Giorgione, ornamenting the noble Pesaro gallery; and if he had produced nothing more than this, he would no longer be included in the present epoch; but his other pieces, exhibiting more traces of the old style, which remain at San Maurizio, at San Simeone Grande, at the Carità, and elsewhere, authorise our enumeration of them here. They are beautiful; but not sufficiently in the modern taste. His reputation, however, while living, was so great, that in a letter written by Marc Antonio Michiel from Rome, to Antonio di Marsilio in Venice, dated 11th of April, 1520, when Raffaello was just deceased and Buonarotti infirm, it is recommended to Catena to be upon his guard, "since danger seems to be impending over all very excellent painters."[32] One Giannetto Cordegliaghi enjoyed also a high reputation, if he be rightly named by Vasari, who commends [Pg 61]him for his soft and delicate manner, superior to many of his contemporaries; adding, that he had produced an infinite number of pictures for private persons. In Venice he is termed, I suppose for the sake of brevity, Cordella; and to him is attributed the beautiful portrait of the Cardinal Bessarione in the college of La Carità, with a few other specimens, the rest having dropt into oblivion. Probably his real name was double, Cordella Aghi. It is certain that Zanetti read, upon a beautiful Madonna, belonging to the learned Zeno, Andreas Cordelle Agi, F. This last is of the same family as Giannetto; or perhaps also in place of Giannetto, Vasari ought to have written Andrea; as instead of Jacopo he ought to have said Francesco Squarcione. Nor can it be denied, that if we except the artists of Verona and Friuli, this historian was deficient in information, as he himself declares, relating to the Venetian School. It is sufficient to turn to his proëmium of the life of Carpaccio, in order to observe how many times, in a very few lines, he is guilty of making mistakes. Of Lazzaro Sebastiani, he made two painters; two others out of Marco Basaiti, dividing him into Marco Basarini and Marco Bassiti, and assigning to each his several works. Moreover, he wrote Vittore Scarpaccia, Vittor Bellini, Giambatista da Cornigliano, and confounded the labours of all the three together. Elsewhere we meet with Mansuchi for Mansueti; Guerriero and Guarriero, instead of Guariento; Foppa is made into Zoppa, [Pg 62]Giolfino into Ursino, Morazone into Mazzone, Bozzato into Bazzacco, Zuccati into Zuccheri and Zuccherini; and thus he continued to blunder through other Lombard and Venetian names, insomuch as almost to vie with Harms, with Cochin, and with similar inaccurate foreigners.

The following names were slightly esteemed or slightly known by Vasari, and therefore omitted in his history: Piermaria Pennacchi of Trevisi, and Pier Francesco Bissolo, a Venetian. Of the former there remain two entablatures, painted for churches, more excellent in point of colouring than design. One is in Venice, the other at Murano. Of these artists, Pier Francesco painted on the least extensive scale, but was more finished and beautiful. His altarpieces in Murano, and in the cathedral of Trevigi, may be put in competition with those of the elder Palma; and one in possession of the family of Renier, representing The Meeting of Simeon, still nearer approaches to the fulness and softness of the moderns.

Girolamo di San Croce was still more deserving of commemoration than these. Yet Vasari omitted him; Boschini is silent on the subject; and Ridolfi has found in him more to blame than to praise, asserting that he had never freed himself from the ancient style, though flourishing at a period when the less celebrated geniuses attempted to modernise their taste. Happily, however, for this distinguished man, not a few of his best labours have been preserved, of which Zanetti has pronounced [Pg 63]his opinion that, "he approaches nearer to the manner of Giorgione and Titian, than any of the others." And such commendation is justified by his altarpiece of S. Parisio, so highly mentioned in the Guide of Treviso, and which is to be seen at the church of that saint. In Venice itself there are some of his pictures which display uncommon merit, such as the Supper of our Saviour, with the name of Santa Croce, which is in S. Martino; and a Salvatore, at S. Francesco della Vigna, which though in a precise taste, shows extreme richness of colouring. There also appears, at the same place, his picture of the Martyrdom of S. Lorenzo; a repetition of which is found in the noble house of Collalto, nearly resembling the original, and in other places. It abounds in figures of about a palm's length, imitated, in some part, from the celebrated composition of Bandinelli, engraved by Marc Antonio, whose impressions to Girolamo proved a rich mine of art, affording originals for those small but valuable paintings, meant to adorn private rooms. In none of them, however, was he a mere copyist; he varied the figures, and more especially the landscapes, in which he was a very skilful hand. In this manner he produced many of those Bacchanals, which are to be met with in different collections. In that of the Casa Albani, at Bergamo, is a S. Gio. Elemosinario (almsgiver) in grand architecture, seen among a crowd of paupers; and in the collection of Count Carrara, also at Bergamo, there is a Saviour taken from the [Pg 64]Cross, highly valued for the portrait of the artist, which points to a holy cross, the symbol of his name. Not any of these productions are embued with traces of the ancient style. They display a grace of composition, study of foreshortening, and of the naked parts, a harmony of colours, forming a mixture of different schools, in which the Roman predominates, and least of all the Venetian. Further we would refer the reader to what has already been stated at page 57.

To these Venetian professors, or at least, established in Venice, it will be proper to add several educated by Giovanni, in the provinces, and in this way resume the thread of our pictoric history of the state. There was no place in the whole dominion which did not boast either of his disciples or imitators. We shall proceed to treat severally of these, beginning with the name of Conegliano, which he derived from a city in the Marca Trevigiana, his native place, whose mountainous views he has introduced into his paintings, as if to serve for his device.

The artist's name, however, is Giambatista Cima, and his style most resembles the better part of that of Gian Bellini. The professors indeed may often be confounded together, to such a degree do we find Conegliano diligent, graceful, lively in his motions and his colouring, although less smooth than Bellini. Perhaps one of his best pieces that I have seen, is in the cathedral at Parma, though it is omitted in the catalogue of his [Pg 65]works. That at the church of Santa Maria dell' Orto, one of the most rich in paintings, in all Venice, possesses less softness; but in point of architecture, in the air of its heads, and in the distribution of its colours, there is something so extremely attractive, that we are never weary of contemplating it. The different collections in Italy, no less than those in other parts, are many of them in possession, or said to be in possession, of specimens from this artist's hand; and if we add to these his altarpieces, sufficiently numerous, they will be found to amount to a very considerable class. We are informed, however, by Padre Federici, that one of Cima's sons, of the name of Carlo, imitated so closely the style of his father, that there are pictures which ought often to be attributed to the former instead of to the latter.

This artist resided but a short time in his own province; and the altarpiece placed by him in the cathedral of his native place, in 1493, is considered a youthful performance. He continued to exercise his art until the year 1517, according to Ridolfi, and died in the maturity of his powers. The date of 1542, which we find at San Francesco di Rovigo placed upon an altarpiece of Conegliano, (if it be not a copy,) marks only the era of the erecting of the altar, which was painted afterwards. He is said by Boschini to have been the tutor of Vittor Belliniano, by Vasari called Bellini; the same who represented in the college of St. Mark's, the martyrdom [Pg 66]of the saint. The best portion of this history is the architecture it displays.

The artists, educated in the school of Giovanni, who flourished at Friuli, were two natives of Udine: Giovanni di M. Martino, as he is entitled in some family documents, and Gio. Martini, by Vasari; and Martino d'Udine, who in the Storia Pittorica, is called Pellegrino di S. Daniello. The style of the former was harsh and crude, though not destitute of grace in the countenances and in the colouring. The name of Pellegrino was bestowed upon the latter by Bellini, in honour of his rare genius, while the name of the country was attached to him from his long residence in S. Daniello, a territory not far from Udine. This city is, nevertheless, the place where he appears to most advantage, in competition with Giovanni; as the same emulation they had felt while fellow pupils, continued, as sometimes happens, when they became masters. In that city appear the labours of each, and more particularly in the two chapels contiguous to the dome, where the first of them was employed in the year 1501, the second in 1502. Giovanni, in his altarpiece of St. Mark, there produced the richest specimen which appeared from his hand; and Pellegrino left that of his St. Joseph, preferred by Vasari, in some degree, to the work of Martini. I have seen the last mentioned picture in oil, faded indeed in colour, and in other respects defaced; yet still worthy of admiration for its architecture, which gives a graceful fulness to the whole canvass, [Pg 67]and a striking relief to the three figures, consisting of S. Joseph with the holy child in his arms, and S. John the Baptist, each of which displays the finest contours and the best forms. Other specimens of the same pencil are to be seen in Udine, among which are the SS. Agostino and Girolamo, in the public council hall, a picture remarkable also for its power of colouring.

As this artist advanced in age, he improved in the softness of his tints, as well as in every other quality. The altarpiece at Santa Maria de' Battuti, which is in Cividale, and represents the Virgin seated between the four virgins of Aquileja, besides the Saints Batista and Donato, and a cherub, partakes of Giorgione; it is enumerated among the rarest paintings of Friuli, and was executed in the year 1529. Yet above any of his productions, are esteemed those various histories of the life of our Saviour, painted in fresco at S. Daniele, in the church of S. Antonio, together with the titular saint, and several other portraits of the brethren of that chapel, so richly adorned by his hand, all breathing and glowing proofs of his art. By his means, also, one of the pictoric schools of Friuli rose into high repute, and will be elsewhere described.

At Rovigo, in possession of the noble family of Casalini, is a picture of the Circumcision of our Saviour, bearing this memorandum: Opus Marci Belli discipuli Johannis Bellini. He is a good disciple of the school, and would appear to be a [Pg 68]different artist from that Marco, son of Gio. Tedesco, who was employed in 1463 at Rovigo.

In the adjacent city of Padua, the style of the Bellini was less followed, a very natural circumstance in a place where Squarcione, the avowed rival of Giovanni, held supreme sway. Still there are several pictures belonging to this age remaining there, which partake of the Venetian style; and Vasari, in his life of Carpaccio, records, that in fact Niccolo Moreto executed many works in Padua,[33] besides many other artists connected with the Bellini. A picture of Christ risen from the dead, merits particular mention; it adorns the episcopal palace at Padua, along with the portraits of all the Paduan bishops, and the busts of the apostles, including several of their acts, executed with much elegance in chiaroscuro. The work is dated 1495, in which the painter subscribes his name Jacobus Montagnana; not Montagna, as it is written in Vasari and Ridolfi.

There remains of his a very extensive altarpiece, at the Santo, the style inclining as much as in any others, to the modern; and to whatever degree it may partake of the Venetian in taste of colours, in [Pg 69]its design it partakes of a more precise and spare expression upon the principle of the Paduan School. To this, also, he very manifestly conformed himself, in that celebrated picture left in Belluno, at the hall of council, in which he represented[34] Roman histories. It is an immense production, and at the first view would incline us to attribute it to the pencil of Mantegna, such is the design, the drapery, and the composition of the figures; while even several of them are known to have been accurately copied, with the same forms and motions, from those Mantegna had already introduced into his grand chapel at the Eremitani. Here we have a clear proof that both received the same education, or at least, that Montagnana had profited much by the Paduan School. I say only much, for in point of costume he does not shew any traces of the erudite instructions of Squarcione; but commits faults resembling those of the Bellini, to whom by popular opinion, recorded by the very diligent author of the new Guide of Padua, he has been given as a pupil.

I have before treated of Squarcione, and of his [Pg 70]method, reserving for a fitter place the consideration of his disciples, more especially Andrea Mantegna. He will, however, be included in the present list as a scholar; although, as a master of the school of Lombardy, we are bound to speak of him with more commendation, in another chapter. But even the first essays of great characters are valuable; and Vasari does not scruple to commend Andrea's first altarpiece as a work worthy of his old age. It was placed in Santa Sofia, where the artist has signed himself Andreas Mantinea Patavinus annos VII. et X. natus sua manu pinxit, 1448. Squarcione was so much delighted with his early genius, that he adopted him for his son. But he afterwards regretted his own generosity, when the young artist took to wife the daughter of his rival, Jacopo Bellini; so that he then began to blame him, yet at the same time to instruct him better. Andrea having been educated in an academy which adopted the study of marbles, indulged great admiration of several Greek bassi relievi, in the ancient style, such as is that of the Primarii Dei, in an altar of the capitol. He was therefore extremely bent upon acquiring the chasteness of the contours, the beauty of the ideas and of the bodies; but not content with adopting that straitness of the garment, those parallel folds, and that study of parts which so easily degenerates into stiffness, he neglected that portion of his art which animates the otherwise uninformed images—expression. In this respect he greatly failed in his picture of the Martyrdom [Pg 71]of S. Jacopo, placed in the church of the Eremitani, and from which Squarcione took occasion to reprehend him severely. These complaints led him to adopt a better method, and in his representation of the history of S. Cristoforo, placed opposite his S. Jacopo, he threw more expression into his figures; and in particular, his production about the same period of San Marco, in the act of writing the gospel, painted for Santa Giustina, displays in the features the absorbed mind of the philosopher and the enthusiasm of a saint. If Squarcione thus contributed by his reproaches to render this artist great, the Bellini, perhaps, co-operated with him by friendship and relationship, in producing the same result. He resided little in Venice, but during that time he did not fail to avail himself of the best portion of that school; and we thus perceive in some of his pictures, landscapes and gardens quite in the Venetian character, besides a knowledge of colours not inferior to the best Venetian artists of the age. I am uncertain whether he or some other communicated to the Bellini that species of perspective so much commended by Barbaro; but I know that Lomazzo, in his "Tempio della Pittura," page 53, has put on record that Mantegna was the first who gave us true notions relating to this art: and I know that the most distinguished characters of those times were equally eager, either to become scholars in such points as they were themselves deficient in, or masters in such as were wanting in others.

[Pg 72]The style of Mantegna being known, it will not be difficult to divine that of his fellow pupils, educated in the same maxims, and instructed by his examples. The chapel before mentioned exhibits specimens of three, the first of whom, Niccolo Pizzolo is pointed out by Vasari. A picture of the Assumption of the Virgin in an altarpiece, with other figures on the wall, are by his hand. There is also a fresco in one of the façades with the motto Opus Nicoletti: and in both places he not only strongly resembles, but approaches near the composition of Mantegna. Two other artists also painted there certain histories of S. Cristoforo, under one of which is inserted Opus Boni; under the other, Opus Ansuini, an artist of Forli. Both of these might elsewhere have been admired; but there they appear only as scholars by the side of their master. An artist more nearly approaching Mantegna, and who, in the chief part of his figures might be mistaken for him, is Bernardo Parentino, who painted for a cloister of Santa Giustina, ten acts in the life of San Benedetto, and little histories in chiaroscuro, representing upon each the portrait of a Pontiff of the name of Benedict. I have seen no painting adapted to a religious cloister so well conceived in every part; and it is known that it was superintended by a distinguished scholar of that learned order, the Abate Gaspero da Pavia. Attached to it is the name of Parentino and the dates of 1489 and 1494. The work was continued by a Girolamo [Pg 73]da Padua, or Girolamo dal Santo, celebrated for his miniatures, as it is recorded by Vasari and Ridolfi. Here, however, he exhibits himself a poor artist, in point of design, and still more so in expression, though praiseworthy in many accessaries of his art, more particularly in his study of ancient costume, an acquisition as general in this, as rare in the Venetian School. Those histories, indeed, are frequently found ornamented with ancient bassi relievi, with sarcophagi, and with inscriptions copied, for the most part, from Paduan marbles; a practice followed, also, by Mantegna, but with more moderation, in the chapel of the Eremitani.

The rest of his contemporaries, in Padua, were Lorenzo da Lendinara, esteemed an excellent artist, but of whom no traces remain; Marco Zoppo, of Bologna, who more nearly resembled, perhaps, his master than his fellow pupil, but of honourable account, as the head of the Bolognese School; and Dario da Trevigi, whose productions are to be seen in S. Bernardino, at Bassano, opposite to those of Mantegna, as if to exhibit their inferiority. Girolamo, or rather Gregorio[35] Schiavone, whose style is between that of Mantegna and the Bellini, is a pleasing artist, whose pictures are frequently to be met with, ornamented with architectural views, with fruits, and above all with joyous little cherubs. One of the most delightful I have seen, was in Fossombrone, in possession of a [Pg 74]private individual, and it bears inscribed, Opus Sclavonii Dalmatici Squarzoni S. (Scholaris). Hieronymus Tarvisio is another, but doubtful pupil of Squarcione, whose name I found subscribed in some pictures at Trevigi, an artist poor in colours, but not unacquainted with design. We find mention in Sansovino, an author not always to be relied upon in his account of Venetian paintings, of Lauro Padovano, who produced several histories of S. Giovanni for the Carità in Venice; but I so far agree with the above author, in pronouncing these altogether in the style of Mantegna. Nearly approaching also to the composition of this school, is the style of Maestro Angelo, who painted in the ancient refectory of Santa Giustina, a Crucifixion of the Saviour, with figures, both in proportions and in spirit truly great. I have nothing to add to the name of Mattio dal Pozzo, enumerated in this class by Scardeone, (p. 371) inasmuch as there are none of his works now surviving.

At the period, when the School of Padua was opposed to the Venetian, the other cities of the state, as far as we can learn, had adopted a taste rather for the ornamental style of the latter, than the more erudite maxims of the former; it might, perhaps, be added, on account of its greater facility; because the beauty of nature is everywhere more obvious than the monuments of antiquity. Bassano then boasted a Francesco da Ponte, Vicenza the two Montagna and Bonconsigli, all of whom, [Pg 75]though born in the immediate vicinity of Padua, became disciples of the Bellini. Da Ponte, a native of Vicenza, was pretty well embued with a taste for polite literature and philosophy, extremely desirable in the head of a school, such as he became in the instruction of Jacopo, and through him of the Bassanese; a school highly distinguished during, and even beyond the sixteenth century. The style of his altarpieces, when compared with each other, acquaints us with the earliest and latest specimens of his pencil. He is diligent, but dry in that of his S. Bartolommeo, in the cathedral at Bassano; more soft in another at the church of S. Giovanni, but far better in one of the Pentecost, which he painted for the village of Oliero, almost in the style of the moderns, displaying studied composition, and a colouring various, beautiful, and harmonious; and what is still more, a fine expression of the passions, best adapted to the mystery. We are led to believe, from the account of Lomazzo, that he likewise painted, at another period, in Lombardy; observing that a certain Francesco, of Vicenza, produced a work at the Grazie of Milan, well executed in point of design, but not so pleasing in the effect of its lights and shades.

The two Montagna flourished about the period 1500, in Vicenza, and were employed together, however unequal in genius, being equally followers of the Bellini, at least if we are to give credit to Ridolfi, who must have seen many of their productions, now no longer in existence. In those [Pg 76]which I have seen, there appeared strong traces of the style of Mantegna. Benedetto is not mentioned by Vasari, who is apt to omit the names of all artists whom he accounted of inferior worth. He mentions Bartolommeo, as a pupil of Mantegna,[36] and he would certainly have done him more justice had he seen the works he produced in his native place, which, so far from having done, he asserts that the artist constantly resided in Venice. Vicenza boasts many of his pieces, which display the gradual progress of his style. If we wish to estimate the extent of his powers, we ought to consult his altarpiece at S. Michele, and another at S. Rocco, to which may be added a third, in that of the Seminary at Padua. In none of these are we able to discover any composition beyond what was in most general use at that period, already so frequently mentioned by us; and they retain more of the practice of gilding, which, in other places, was then becoming obsolete. In fine, this artist will be found to rank equal with the chief part of his contemporaries; exact in design, skilful in the naked parts, while his colours are fresh and warm. His cherubs are peculiarly graceful and pleasing, and in his altarpiece, at S. Michele, he has introduced an architecture which recedes from, and deceives the eye with a power of illusion, sufficient of itself to have rendered him [Pg 77]conspicuous. Of Giovanni Speranza, there remain a few pieces which are much esteemed, though not remarkable for strength of colouring. But we can meet with no public specimens of Veruzio, and most probably his name is a mere equivoque of Vasari.[37] Giovanni Bonconsigli, called Marescalco, or the steward, was esteemed beyond any other of the artists of Vicenza, who flourished at this period, and he certainly approaches nearest to the modern style, and that of the Bellini. The practice, however, of ornamenting friezes with tritons [Pg 78]and similar figures, taken from the antique, he most likely derived from the adjacent cities of Padua or Verona, one of which then professed the study of antiquity, the other that of monuments. Neither Vasari nor Ridolfi gives any account of his productions, except such as he painted in Venice, at this time either wholly perished or defaced. Those which he executed in Vicenza are still in good condition, nor ought a stranger of good taste to leave the place without visiting the chapel de' Turchini, to admire his Madonna in the style of Raffaello, seated upon a throne, between four saints, among which the figure of S. Sebastian is a masterpiece of ideal beauty. Indeed an able professor of the city considered it one of the finest specimens of the art the place could boast, though in possession of many of the first merit. In common with Montagna, Figolino, and Speranza, Bonconsigli abounds in perspective views, and discovers a natural genius for architecture; like them he appears to give promise of the approach of a divine Palladio, the glory of his country and of his art; along with the Scamozzi, and many other citizens, who have rendered Vicenza at once the boast and wonder, as well as the school of architects. There are two altarpieces of his hand remaining in Montagnana. This artist must not be confounded with Pietro Marescalco, surnamed lo Spada, (the sword,) whom the MS. history of Feltre mentions as a native of this city, and complains of Vasari's silence upon it. One of his altarpieces is to be seen at [Pg 79]the Nunnery of the Angeli, at Feltre, where Signor Cav. de Lazara informs me that he read the name of Petrus Marescalcus P. Among other figures is a Madonna, between two angels, upon a large scale, and in good design, sufficient to entitle Pietro to an honourable rank in the history of art. If we compare him with Giovanni, he will be found less vivid in point of colouring, and, apparently, of a somewhat later age.

In the order of our narrative, we ought now to pass on to Verona, where Liberale, a disciple of Vincenzio di Stefano, at that time held sway. He had also been a scholar or rather imitator of Jacopo Bellini, to whose style, says Vasari, he invariably adhered. Moreover, in his picture of the Epiphany, to be seen in the cathedral, there is a choir of angels with a graceful folding of drapery, and a taste so peculiarly that of Mantegna, that I was easily led to believe him an artist belonging to that class. Certain it is that the vicinity of Mantua might also have facilitated his imitation of Mantegna, traces of which are visible in some other of his works, as well as in those of the more and less known Veronese artists of the time. He did not attain the excellence of Giovanni Bellini, nor did he give the same grandeur to his proportions, and the same enlargement of the ancient style, although he continued to flourish until the year 1535. The colour of his tints is strong; his expression studied and graceful; a very general merit in the painters of Verona; and his care is exquisite, especially in [Pg 80]his diminutive figures, an art in which he became extremely expert, owing to his habit of illustrating books in miniature, which are still to be seen in Verona and in Siena.

He had a competitor, at his native place, in Domenico Morone, or rather the latter, educated also by a disciple of Stefano, is to be held second to him. This artist was succeeded in the course of time, by his son, Francesco Morone, superior to his father, and by Girolamo da' Libri. These two, bound by the strictest habits of friendship from their youth, were frequently employed in the same labours together, and may be said to have adopted the same maxims. The first has been commended by Vasari, for the grace, the design, the harmony, and the warm and beautiful colouring he contrived to bestow upon his pictures, in a degree inferior to none. From the same source we learn that the year of his decease is supposed to have been 1529. But Girolamo da' Libri was his superior, both in point of taste and general celebrity. The son of a miniature painter of choral books and of anthems, who had hence acquired the name of Francesco da' Libri, from his father he received both a knowledge of the art and his surname, both of which he also transmitted to his son, Francesco, as we again learn from Vasari.

It is not, however, within my province to enter into a consideration of their books; but in regard to the altarpieces of Girolamo, I cannot remain silent. That of S. Lionardo, near Verona, I have [Pg 81]never seen; a picture in which the artist having drawn a laurel, the birds are said to have frequently entered at the church windows, fluttering around as if wishing to repose in its branches. Another which I beheld at S. Giorgio, with the date 1529, scarcely retains a trace of the ancient character. It represents the Virgin between two holy bishops, portraits select and full of meaning; together with three exquisitely graceful figures of cherubs, both in face and gesture. In this little picture may be traced, to a certain degree, the character of a miniaturist who paints, or a painter drawing miniature; while the charms of the several professions are seen there exhibited in one point of view. The church, indeed, is a rich gallery, containing numerous masterpieces of the art; among which the S. Giorgio of Paolo (Veronese) too far transcends the rest; but the painting of Girolamo shines almost like a precious jewel, surprising the spectator by an indescribable union of what is graceful, bright, and lucid, which it presents to the eye. He survived many years after the production of this piece, highly esteemed, and in particular for his miniatures, in which he was accounted the first artist in Italy; and as if to crown his reputation, he became the instructor, in such art, of Don Giulio Clovio, a sort of Roscius, if we may so say, of miniature painting.

However flourishing in valuable masters we may consider the city of Venice during this era, the fame of Mantegna, with the vicinity of Mantua, [Pg 82]where he taught, attracted thither two artists from Verona, whom I reserve for that school, of which they were faithful followers. These were Monsignori, and Gio. Francesco Carotto, formerly a pupil of Liberale. His brother Giovanni, a noble architect, and designer of ancient edifices, was but a feeble imitator of his style. He richly deserves a place in history as the instructor of Paolo, an artist excellent in many branches of painting, and in architecture almost divine. It is supposed that Paolo must have acquired this degree of excellence by studying at first under Carotto, and afterwards perfecting himself, as we shall shew, by means of Badile. To such as are most known we might here add names less celebrated, which the Marchese Maffei, however, has already inserted in his history; as, for instance, a Matteo Pasti, commended by us in the first volume; but I have, perhaps, already treated sufficiently of the merits of the old Veronese artists.

About this period there flourished two distinguished artists in Brescia, who were present at the terrific saccage of that opulent city, in the year 1512, by Gaston de Foix. One of these is Fioravante Ferramola, who was honoured and remunerated upon that occasion by the French victor for his striking merit, and became sufficiently conspicuous in various churches of the country. His painting of S. Girolamo is seen at Le Grazie, extremely well conceived, with fine landscape, and in a taste so like that of Muziano, that we might almost [Pg 83]suppose it prognosticated his appearance. And it might be said that he afforded the latter a prototype, if he does not aspire to the name of his master. The other is Paolo Zoppo, who depicted the above desolation of the city in miniature, upon a large crystal bason; a work of immense labour, intended to be presented to the doge Gritti: but in transporting it to Venice, the crystal was unfortunately broken, and the unhappy artist died of disappointment and despair. The specimens of his style remaining at Brescia, among which is one of Christ going up to Mount Calvary, at S. Pietro in Oliveto—a piece falsely attributed by others to Foppa—serve to shew that he approached near to the modern manner, and was not unacquainted with the Bellini.

Finally, Bergamo boasted in Andrea Previtali one of the most excellent disciples of Gian Bellini. He appears, indeed, less animated than his master, and less correct in the extremities of his figures; neither have I discovered any of his compositions which are free from the ancient taste, whether in the grouping of his forms, or in the minute ornamenting of the accessaries of his art. Nevertheless, in a few pictures produced, perhaps, later in life, such as his S. Giovanni Batista, at S. Spirito; his S. Benedetto, in the dome of Bergamo, and several more in the Carrara Gallery, he very nearly attained to the modern manner; and was indisputably one of the most distinguished artists, in point of colours and perspective, belonging to the school [Pg 84]of the Bellini. His Madonnas are held in the highest esteem; in whose features he appears less a disciple of Gian Bellini, than of Raffaello, and of Vinci. Two of them at Milan I have seen, both bearing his name: one is in possession of the Cavalier Melzi; the other in that of Monsig. Arciprete Rosales, painted in 1522; and both are surrounded with figures of other saints, portraits executed with discrimination and truth. There is also a picture of Our Lord announced by the Angel, at Ceneda, a work so uncommonly beautiful in regard to the two heads, that Titian, in passing occasionally through the place, is said, according to Ridolfi, to have repeatedly contemplated it with rapture; charmed by the spirit of devotion it expressed. Upon the same boundaries, between the ancient and modern taste, we find various other painters, natives of the valleys of Bergamo, a fruitful source both of wealth and intellect to the city. Such is Antonio Boselli,[38] from the Valle Brembana, of whom there has recently been discovered a fine altarpiece at the Santo of Padua; besides two other artists of the same vale, who approach even nearer to the softness, if not to the elegance of Previtali. These are Gian Giacomo, and Agostino Gavasii di Pascante. We may add to these Jacopo degli Scipioni, [Pg 85]of Averara, and Caversegno, of Bergamo, besides others handed down to us by Tassi. These, having flourished at a period so distinguished for the art of colouring, may be compared to certain writers of the fourteenth century, who throw little light upon learning; but who, observes Salvini, in respect to language, appear to me as if every separate page were embued with gold.

I have already pointed out to the reader, the best masters of the Venetian School, contemporary with, and followers of Gian Bellini; a number which, though we subtract from it several names of inferior note, will leave a larger proportion than is generally supposed. The state, indeed, is full of specimens founded upon his models, the authors of which remain doubtful; yet it is certain they composed in Bellini's style, while their designs partake more or less both of the modern and ancient taste.[39] Undoubtedly, no other school affords [Pg 86]a proof of so great a number of disciples from one master, and following so closely in his footsteps. Granting this, I cannot easily give credit to the numerous specimens of Madonnas attributed to his single hand, besides other pictures in different collections. A cautious judge will not be apt to pronounce any work his, which displays much of ideal beauty; Bellini having, for the most part, repeated in his feminine figures an expression of countenance, partaking in some degree of an apish character. Nor will he be easily led to ascribe to him pictures which display a minute care and finish, approaching to the miniature style, inasmuch as he embodied and coloured his conceptions with a free and fearless hand. In short, a certain vigour of colour, warm and lively; a certain reddish tinge of the drapery, approaching [Pg 87]a rosy hue; a certain brightness of varnish, are not the usual characteristics of his hand, however much his style of design may be mixed up with them; and such pieces may reasonably be presumed the production of those artists of the state bordering nearest upon Lombardy, whence, likewise, a few of the Venetian state derived the mechanical part of their colouring.

Within the limits proposed to myself, I may here annex to my consideration of the painters in water colours and in oil, other less distinguished branches of the art. Among these is that species of inlaid work with wood of different colours, which was intended more particularly for the ornament of choirs where the divine service was chaunted. I can trace nothing of its inventors, whether of German or other origin;[40] though it is said to have taken its rise in an imitation of mosaic work, and of works in stone. No other coloured woods besides black and white were at first in use; nor any other objects beyond large edifices, temples, colonnades, and in short ornaments with architectural views, attempted to be represented. [Pg 88]Brunelleschi at Florence gave instructions in perspective to architects, that edifices might be drawn according to good rules; and Massaccio in painting, greatly availed himself of his precepts, as well as Benedetto da Majano in his inlaid works. There remain at Florence, as well as other places in Italy, several ancient choirs very highly prized in that age, but afterwards despised, when the art of staining wood with boiled water colours and penetrative oils, came into use. Thus, after the imitation of buildings, easily drawn from the number of their right lines, that of figures began to be practised in an able manner, though it had formerly been tried with less success. The chief merit of such improvement, or rather perfection of the art, was due to the Venetian School. Lorenzo Canozio, from Lendinara, a fellow student of Mantegna, who died about 1477, inlaid the entire choir of the church of S. Antonio, even, as it would appear, with figures. The whole, however, having been consumed by fire, there is nothing remaining but the epitaph of the artificer, in which he is highly applauded for his labours. There likewise exist other works of the same kind, in the armadj, chests, or presses, of the sacristy, and, as it is supposed, also in some of the confessionals. Besides Lorenzo, his brother Cristofano, and his son-in-law Pierantonio, who assisted him in these labours, are equally applauded by Matteo Siculo, as worthy of vieing with Phidias and Apelles themselves. [Pg 89]Tiraboschi likewise enumerates the two brothers among the artists of Modena, whose fellow citizens they were.

But the fame of these soon expired. For Giovanni da Verona, a layman of Oliveto, not long after, surpassed them in the same art. He practised it in various cities of Italy, and at Rome itself, in the service of Pope Julius II; but still more successfully in the sacristy of his own order, where his works are still to be seen in the best condition. F. Vincenzo delle Vacche, also a native of Verona, and a layman of Oliveto, mentioned by the learned Morelli in his Notizia of works of design, during the first half of the sixteenth century, deserves mention here for the merit of his inlaid works; and in particular for those wrought in Padua, at the church of S. Benedetto Novello. Unacquainted, however, with the period in which he flourished, I shall not venture to announce him either as a pupil or assistant to Fra Giovanni. Similar productions, from the hand of Fra Raffaello da Brescia, also of Oliveto, adorning the choir of S. Michele in Bosco at Bologna, might here be mentioned in competition with those in the sacristy of Verona, by natives of Oliveto.

Moreover, there remains Fra Damiano da Bergamo, a Dominican monk, who ornamented his own church at Bergamo, and that of Bologna in a still better style; in which the choir is inlaid with the greatest art. In S. Pietro, at Perugia, he also wrought the most beautiful histories. The [Pg 90]same artist, as we find recorded in Vasari, succeeded also in refining the art of colours and of shades, to such a degree as to be held the very first in this line. He possessed either a rival, or a pupil, in Gianfrancesco Capodiferro, whose mansions at S. Maria Maggiore, in Bergamo, are the finest specimens of the kind, though occasionally betraying some traces of stiffness in their manner. There too he worked after the designs of Lotto, and instructed in the art his brother Pietro and his son Zinino, so that the city continued to be supplied with excellent artificers during a number of years. The largest and most artificially wrought figures I have seen in this line are in a choir of the Certosa at Pavia, distributed one by one upon each side. The artificer is said to have been one Bartolommeo da Pola, whose name I have not met with elsewhere. In each of the squares is represented a bust of one of the Apostles, or some other saint, designed in the taste of the Da Vinci School. A few of the pictures of these artists are to be found in galleries of art; among which, those from the hand of F. Damiano are the most esteemed. Finally, this species of workmanship, embracing materials too much exposed to the moth and to the fire, by degrees began to grow out of date: and if more lately it appears to have again revived, it has failed hitherto in producing any works deserving of commemoration.

[6] Rannusio Guerra di Costantinopoli, book iii. p. 94.

[7] Vol. vi. p. 88, anno 1808.

[8] See his Descrizione delle Pitture, &c. p. 19. The learned Morelli also, in his Annotations to the Notizia, confirms, by fresh arguments, the same epoch, p. 146.

[9] Page 101.

[10] This was given to the public by Muratori, with the following title—Riccobaldi Ferrariensis, sive anonimi scriptoris compilatio chronologica usque ad annum 1312. (Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. ix. p. 255.)

[11] Sig. Sasso observed one extremely like it in Venice, with the subscription Guglielmus pinxit, 1368; from which he inferred that he had belonged to the school of Guariento.

[12] This Sebeto of Vasari appeared so new to Maffei, that he would willingly have substituted Stefano; (see Ver. Illust. p. iii. col. 152,) but Stefano da Verona, or da Zevio, is a name posterior to these times. The Notizia of the anonymous writer, recently published, says, that the church of the before mentioned S. George was ornamented by "Jacopo Davanzo, a Paduan, or a Veronese, if not, as some will have it, a Bolognese; by Altichiero Veronese, according to Campagnuola, p. 6." It must be observed that Vasari also consulted the latter, or probably one of his Latin letters to Niccolo Leonico Tomeo, quoting it several times. (See Morelli, p. 101.) Now in this it was probably written, ab Alticherio de Jebeto; that is, da Zevio, which was at one time called Jebetum, and Vasari believed it to be the name of an unknown painter. Such is the conjecture communicated to me by Sig. Brandolese, and it appears extremely probable.

[13] Signor Abbate Morelli, since P. della Valle, has discovered another painting existing in the Sacristy of the Padri Conventuali, at Vicenza, with this inscription, 1333, paulus de venetiis pinxit hoc opus, (Notiz. p. 222). He adds also, two other Venetian painters, with whom I have enriched this new edition; the name of one found in a small picture of the Conventuali, at S. Arcangelo, under an image of the Virgin, among various saints, dated 1385. Jachobelus de Bonomo Venetus pinxit hoc opus. The other, in the territory of Verruchio, on a crucifixion, with the symbols of the four Evangelists, is in the possession of the Agostiniani, and inscribed 1404: Nicholaus Paradixi miles de Venetiis pinxit.

[14] Among these is counted Stefano Pievano, of St. Agnese, an able artist, who left his name along with the date, 1381, on an altarpiece of the Assumption:—a piece in which the Venetian colouring is displayed to advantage, while the expression, lively and full of meaning, compensates for its inaccuracy of design. Another artist deserving of being known is Jacopo di Alberegno, whose family still remains in Venice, and who has been ascertained to be the author of a painting without date, representing the Crucifixion of our Saviour, among various saints. Tommaso da Modena has also been referred to the Venetian School, who, about the period of 1351, produced two Holy Virgins at Venice; a St. Catherine, at present in the gallery of N. H. Ascanio Molin, together with the two preceding, and other rare Venetian pictures of the same epoch; and a S. Barbara, belonging to the Abbate Mauro Boni, so fraught with expression, grace, and power of colouring, as to lead me to conjecture he had flourished at a much later period, were it not for the inscribed date. His beginning to be known at Venice is some reason why he should be referred to this school, if the name of his native place, de Mutina, did not restrain us from so doing without some further doubt. The Ab. Boni, who has given us an account of these pictures in an article put forth by the Italian academy, was the first to discover them.

[15] Before their time, however, Bergamo could boast a school of painting, as witness what Count Tassi adduces in a parchment of the year 1296, naming a certain Guglielmo, pittore. It does not appear in what style he drew. One of his successors, who painted the tree of St. Bonaventura, abounding in sacred figures, shews himself an artist more rude, indeed, but more original than either of the brothers de Nova. Of his name we are, however, ignorant, as he only attached the date of 1347.

[16] In the work intitled Narrazione dell'Isola di Murano, by G. A. Moschini, the supposition I have above stated has been combated by its excellent author. A picture in the gallery of the N. H. Molin, at Venice, subscribed Johannes Vivarinus, seems to have persuaded him of my mistake. In a work embracing an account of some thousand painters, I cannot pretend to boast of its being free from some human errors, and was about to express my gratitude to the above mentioned author for having pointed one of them out. But I am now convinced that the picture is from the hand of another artist, and that the signature in question is a forgery, the author of which has confounded the character of what is called Gothic and Roman, in place of imitating the true character of those times, which he might very easily have done, inasmuch as he had before his eyes a small chart, with a most devout oration, Deus meus charitas, &c. in the most complete Gothic, or rather German character that can be conceived. The impostor therefore must have been extremely ignorant of his art. The examination was made by the cavalier Gio. da Lazara, Abate Mauro Boni, Bartolommeo Gamba, names sufficiently known to the public to justify our adoption of their opinion. The very able Brandolese has likewise pronounced the inscription false, and published thereon a little work, entitled "Doubts respecting the existence of such a painter as Giovanni Vivarino da Murano, newly confirmed; and a refutation of some recently asserted authority, to confirm them." And in this he displays much sound criticism, and many arguments, all tending to strengthen my own conjecture.

[17] This artist ought not to be confounded with Jacometto da Venezia, a miniature painter, and artist of the same age, but who flourished somewhat later. He also was celebrated in his day, and is frequently recorded in the Notizia Morelli, for his small pictures, adapted for private rooms, his portraits, and his miniatures. It was sometimes doubted whether a certain work was from the hand of John of Bruges, of Antonello da Messina, or of Jacometto da Venezia. (See Notizia Morelli, p. 74.)

[18] The picture referred to by the P. Moschini, in his Narrazione dell'Isola di Murano, is not to be admitted as genuine, the inscription upon it being forged by the same author, who counterfeited that of Giovanni Vivarini, before alluded to in the note to page 22.

[19] See Morelli Notizia, p. 157.

[20] I had supposed, in my first edition of this work, misled by the opposite names, that Sebeto was a different personage from this Stefano da Zevio. I was afterwards undeceived by the appearance of the work of the learned Brandolese, pronouncing them one and the same artist; and I willingly here retract what I had before advanced, expressing, at the same time, my acknowledgements for the emendation.

[21] Drawn in the most perfect manner, are the words of Vasari, while he adds, that the whole of his works were imitated and copied by Pietro di Perugia, an experienced artist in fresco, and more especially in miniature, with which "he ornamented the whole of the books in the library of Pope Pius," in the dome at Siena. He is not known, however, in Perugia, nor mentioned at Siena among those employed at the cathedral, as is noticed by Father della Valle; yet the present work abounds with examples of artists, unknown in their own cities, on account of having resided elsewhere; and the before mentioned annotator of Vasari was unable to discover the name of Liberal da Verona, an undoubted illustrator of the books, in such registers. I think we ought not to refuse to give credit, therefore, to Vasari, as Father Guglielmo insists; but to admit a new Pietro di Perugia, anterior to Vanucci, who might design the frescos of Stefano in Verona and Mantua, so extolled in the early part of 1400, and who copied them in those very beautiful and graceful miniatures at Siena; an art which he probably acquired at Verona, where it was then in such high repute.

[22] See on this head, the Descrizione delle Bellezze di Vicenza, P. 1. p. 7.

[23] In the cathedral of Pordenone, under one of his altarpiece, we read—

"Andreas Zeusis nostræque ætatis Apelles Hoc Bellunellus nobile pinxit opus." (Altan.)

[24] Ruggieri indeed had acquired a great reputation in Italy as early as 1449, when Ciriaco Anconitano, being in Ferrara, saw a picture of Christ taken from the cross, belonging to the Duke. He thus writes respecting the artist: Rugerus Brugiensis pictorum decus ΑΓΑΘΗΙ ΤΥΧΗΙ.—Rugierius in Brussella post præclarum illum Brugiensem picturæ decus Joannem, insignis N. T. Pictor habetur, &c. See Colucci A. P. vol. xxiii. p. 143. He is also commended in high terms by Bartolommeo Facio in his little work De viris illustribus. See Morelli, Notizia, p. 239.

[25] He arrived there, and was at Rome in the anno Santo. See Facius, lib. cit. p. 45.

[26] This is one of the usual mistakes found in Vasari. Baldinucci (tom. iv. p. 17) calls him Ans or Hans. This is his Flemish appellation, which in our tongue, signifies Giovanni; and in the Notizia Morelli he is termed Gianes da Brugia; somewhat nearer our own tongue. With Sansovino he is Gio. di Bruggia, John of Bruges. See Morelli, p. 117; and by him he is distinguished from Gio. Van Eych.

[27] In a similar taste was the perspective introduced by Giovanni Bellino in his celebrated altarpiece at San Zaccaria, in Venice. Another was placed in the great altar of the dome at Capo d'Istria, by Carpaccio the elder, still more striking. In the background of the picture, the virgin appears seated on a magnificent throne, with the divine infant, in an upright posture, upon her knees, surrounded by six of the most venerable patrons of the place, disposed around her, in three ranks, displaying a fine diversity of drapery as well as of action. To these are added some cherubs, engaged in playing upon musical instruments, and apparently beholding the spectator with an air of puerile simplicity, as if inviting him to caress them. A long and lofty colonnade, in excellent perspective, leads the way to the throne, at one time united to a fine stone colonnade, which extended from the altarpiece through the chapel, producing a fine illusion, amounting to a sort of enchantment of perspective. It was removed along with the stone columns, in order to enlarge the tribune. The oldest citizens, who witnessed this beautiful spectacle, speak of it to strangers with delight, and I am glad to put it on record, before the recollection of it be entirely obliterated.

[28] Notizia, p. 63.

[29] Albert Durer, arriving the same year at Venice, bestowed on Giovanni one of the most favourable testimonies to his talents that now remains. After rebuking the envy of the other painters, who spoke of him with contempt, he says of him:—"Every one assures me that he is Gran Galantuomo, for which reason I wish him well. He is already very old, but, notwithstanding, the best painter we have." V. Morel. Not. p. 224.

[30] The country is impressed with this persuasion in spite of his own signatures, attached even to the pictures in Istria. In that, cited at page 48, it is written Victor Charpatius Venetus pinxit, 1516; in another, at San Francesco di Pirano, Victoris Charpatii Veneti opus, 1519. Benedetto Carpaccio, probably a son or nephew of the preceding, was also a Venetian, of whom there remains a picture of the Coronation of the Virgin, at Capo d'Istria, in the Rotunda, subscribed, Benetto Carpathio Veneto pingeva, 1537. At the Osservanti, is the picture of the Nome di Gesù, with the same words, but dated 1541. He is not mentioned in Venetian history, though highly deserving a place in it; for whatever traces he retains of the ancient stiffness of manner, in the extremity of his figures, yet he yields not to many in softness of tints; in the taste of his colours; expression of features, and the effect of his chiaroscuro. I am led to think, that from residing out of the capital, this artist was supposed to be a native of Istria, but he was indisputably of a Venetian family, most probably tracing its origin from Murano.

[31] We find traces of his paintings from the year 1507. See Tassi, in his Lives of the Painters, &c. p. 56, where he corrects a mistake of Zanetti, who, instead of one painter, had divided him into two. One of his pictures, in the parish church of Endine, will remove every doubt. There he signed himself, Franciscus Rizus Bergomensis habitator Venetiis, 1529. In another piece, in the parochial church of Serina, he wrote Francesco Rizo da Santa Croxe depense, 1518. His last work, of which I find any account, is also in the parochial church of Chirignano, in the Mestrina, dated 1541. Father Federici, who describes it, makes Francesco the son of Girolamo da S. Croce, or S. Croce, whose name we find subscribed in both ways, but not ever Rizo. I cannot agree with him, first, because Ridolfi says only, (p. 62,) that they were of the same family; second, because the pictures of Girolamo, according to Tassi, commence later, and are traced also later than those of Francesco, that is in 1549; and thirdly, because the style of Girolamo is incomparably more modernized, as we shall presently shew.

[32] Morelli Notizia, p. 212.

[33] In the Statuti de' Pittori, it is written Mireti; and the same work contains memoirs of him in 1423 and 1441; years, however, which do not accord with his dependence on the Bellini. This Girolamo might possibly have been the brother, or other relation, of that Gio. Miretto, for whom see p. 13. These two names will do away with the Moreto of Vasari, and we must substitute Mireto or Miretto.

[34] I repeat the epigram, which is subscribed in ancient characters, on the strength of which we may believe that the work was esteemed one of the most valuable the art had produced up to that period, transcribed by the very frequently commended Sig. Co. Cav. Lazara; it is thus:

Non hic Parrhasio, non hic tribuendus Apelli, Hos licet Auctores dignus habere labor. Euganeus, vixdum impleto ter mense, Jacobus Ex Montagnana nobile pinxit opus.

[35] He is thus named in the "Statuti de' Pittori," of Padua, and in the MS. Zen. whence we may correct Ridolfi, who calls him Girolamo.

[36] In vol. iii. ed. Rom. p. 427, it is written by mistake Mantegna, where it says that he, Speranza, and Veruzio, studied design under Mantegna.

[37] Padre Faccioli, in his third volume of the Inscrizioni della Città e territorio di Vicenza, records the following epigraph, Jo. Sperantiæ de Vangeribus me pinxit, in which Vangeribus may, perhaps, apply to some small village in the territory of Vicenza. He is wholly silent respecting Veruzio, thus confirming the suspicion that his name is a mere mistake of Vasari, whom it is hoped our posterity will still continue to correct, and yet leave sufficient employment for their children. The following is my conjecture. P. Faccioli gives an account of a picture that remains in S. Francesco di Schio; it is composed in the manner usually adopted in the composition of the marriage of S. Catherine; and there are also other saints well executed in the Mantegna style, as is observed by the Cav. Gio. de Lazara, whose authority I esteem excellent. It bears the inscription, "Franciscus Verlus de Vicentia pinxit xx. Junii. M. D. XII.;" and to this is added by Faccioli another old painting by the same hand, remaining at Sercedo. Now I contend that the name of this painter, being reported to Vasari, with its diminutive termination, like many others, borrowed either from the stature or the age, (in the Venetian dialect it was Verlucio or Verluzo) it was afterwards given by him in his history as Veruzio. The critics of the Greek writers will know how to do me justice in this, for this mode of discovering and correcting names I have derived from them.

[38] To judge from some pictures at Bergamo, we might suppose him educated in the style of the fourteenth century; but he afterwards approached nearer to the modern, as we perceive at Padua, where he resembles Palma Vecchio; and this is sufficiently conspicuous also in Friuli, where we make mention of him at a more cultivated era.

[39] In this character is the larger picture at S. Niccolo, a church of the Dominicans in Treviso, in which the cupola, the columns, and the perspective, with the throne of the virgin seated with the infant Jesus, and surrounded by saints standing, the steps ornamented by a harping seraph, all discover Bellini's composition; but I had not seen the work, until after the former edition of my history at Bassano. It was painted in 1520, by P. Marco Pensaben, assisted by P. Marco Maraveia, both Dominican priests, engaged for the purpose from Venice. They remained there until July, 1521, when the first of them secretly fled from the convent, and the altarpiece of Treviso was completed in a month by one Gian-Girolamo, a painter invited from Venice; supposed to be Girolamo Trevisano, the younger. This artist is not, however, mentioned, as I am aware, either, by the citizens, or by foreigners, by any other name than Girolamo, and calculating from the chronology of Ridolfi, he must then have been thirteen years of age. Until this subject be more clearly investigated, I must confess my ignorance of such a Gian-Girolamo. But I am better acquainted with the name of Pensaben, who was afterwards found, and in 1524 was, as before, a Dominican friar at Venice; but a few years after, in 1530, is mentioned in authentic books belonging to the order, being registered among those who had either left the order or were dead. P. Federici believes him to have been the same as F. Bastiano del Piombo, an untenable supposition, as I have elsewhere shown. I believe Pensaben to have been an excellent artist in the Bellini manner, though not commemorated in history, nor by his order. In an order so prolific with genius, and in an age abounding with great names, he is by no means a solitary instance of this: the present work being found to contain many other examples.

[40] As early as the eleventh century, or thereabouts, it would appear that some similar kind of art was in repute in Germany. The monk Theophilus, in the works before mentioned, "De omni scientiâ artis pingendi," alluding, at the commencement, to the most esteemed productions of every country, observes: "quidquid in fenestrarum varietate preciosâ diligit Francia; quidquid in auri, argenti, cupri, ferri, lignorum, lapidumque subtilitate sollers laudat Germania." Codice Viennese.

[Pg 91]



Giorgione, Titian, Tintoret, Jacopo da Bassano, Paolo Veronese.

Behold us at length arrived at the golden period of the Venetian School, which like the others of Italy, produced its most distinguished ornaments about the year 1500; artists who at once eclipsed the fame of their predecessors, and the hopes of attaining to equal excellence on the part of their successors. In reaching this degree of eminence, it is true they pursued different paths, though they all aimed at acquiring the same perfection of colouring; the most natural, the most lively, and the most applauded of any single school of the age; a distinction they likewise conferred upon their posterity, forming the distinguishing characteristic of the Venetian painters. The merit of this has been attributed to the climate by some, who assert, that in Venice, and the adjacent places, nature herself has bestowed a warmer and deeper colour upon objects than elsewhere; a frivolous supposition, and undeserving of much of our attention, inasmuch as [Pg 92]the artists of Holland and Flanders, in climates so extremely opposite, have obtained the same meed of praise. Neither is it to be attributed to the quality of the colours; both Giorgione and Titian having been known to make use of few, and these, so far from being selected or procured elsewhere, exposed to sale in all the public shops in Venice. If it should again be objected, that in those days the colours were sold purer and less adulterated, I admit there may be some degree of truth in this, inasmuch as Passeri, in his life of Orbetto, complained at that time of the early decay of many pictures, "owing to the quality of the colours fraudulently sold by the retailers." But I would merely inquire, if it were possible, that materials thus pure and uncontaminated should so often fall into the hands of the Venetians and their Flemish imitators, yet be so seldom met with in the rest of the schools. The cause of their superiority is to be sought, therefore, in their mechanism and art of colouring; in regard to which the best Venetian painters conformed, in some points, to the most celebrated artists of Italy. In other points, however, they differed from them. It was a common practice at that period, to prepare with a chalk surface the altarpieces and pictures which were intended to be executed; and that white ground, favourable to every variety of tint the painter could lay upon it, equally favoured the production of a certain polish, floridity, and surprising transparency; a custom which, being laid aside out of [Pg 93]indolence and avarice, I am happy to perceive seems about to be renewed. But in addition to this the Venetians were in possession of an art that may be considered peculiar to themselves. For it may be observed, that the chief part of them during these three centuries, produced the effect of their paintings, not so much by a strong layer of colours, as by separate strokes of the pencil; and each colour being thus adapted to its place, without much repeating or refining it, they still continued augmenting the work, by which the tints were preserved clear and virgin; a result which requires no less promptness of hand than of intellect, besides education, and a taste cultivated from the earliest period. Hence the artist Vecchia was accustomed to say, that by dint of copying pictures executed with diligence, a painter will acquire the same quality; but to succeed in copies from a Titian or a Paolo, and to imitate their stroke, is a task surmounted only by the Venetians, whether natives or educated in their school. (Boschini, p. 274.)

Should it here be inquired what good result may attend such a method, I reply that Boschini points out two very considerable ones. The first of them is, that by this mode of colouring, which he terms di macchia and di pratica, a certain hardness of style may more easily be avoided; and the other, that, better than any other, it gives a bolder relief to paintings in the distance: and pictures being intended to be thus viewed, rather than closer to [Pg 94]the eye, such an object is by this process most easily attainable. I am aware of the moderns having misapplied and abused these maxims; but they were meant to have been judiciously employed, and I only wish to propose as examples the most celebrated of the school who so ably comprehended the method, and the limits of such a practice. Nor was the harmony of colours better understood by any other artists, insomuch, that the mode of assimilating and of contrasting them, may be considered as the second source of the delightful and lively, so predominant in their works, and more especially in those of Titian and his contemporaries.

Such skill was not merely confined to the fleshy parts, in whose colour the disciples of Titian have so far excelled every other school; it extended also to the drapery. For indeed, there are no pieces of velvets, of stuffs, or of crapes, which they did not imitate to perfection, more particularly in their portraits, in which the Venetians of that period abounded, displaying specimens the most ornamental and beautiful. The cavalier Mengs is of opinion, that also to this branch of the art, requiring the strictest attention to truth, and conferring a peculiar kind of interest upon a picture, may be in some measure attributed the degree of power and truth acquired by those eminent colourists. Their merit was moreover conspicuous in imitating every kind of work in gold, in silver, and every species of metal; so much so, that there are no [Pg 95]royal palaces or lordly feasts, read of in any poet, which do not appear more nobly represented in some Venetian paintings. It was equally remarkable in point of landscape, which sometimes surpassed the efforts of the Flemish painters, and in architectural views, which, with a magnificence unknown elsewhere, they succeeded in introducing into their compositions, as we had before occasion to observe of the artists of the fourteenth century; a species of industry extremely favourable, likewise, to the distribution, the variety, and to the complete effect of groups of figures.

In these extensive compositions, which about the period of the Bellini abounded in half-length or diminutive figures, there has since been displayed a grandeur of proportions which has led the way to the most enlarged productions, on the scale we have more recently seen. The most terrific among these is the Supper of Paolo Veronese at S. Giorgio, in which the gifts of nature are so nobly seconded by the exhibition of talent, which appears to have been transmitted by succession through this school, nearly until the present day. Such ability consists in finely designing all the details of any work, however great, including the transmission and gradations of light, so that the eye of itself seems to follow its track, and embraces the entire effect from one end of the canvass to the other. And it has been observed by several who have witnessed ancient paintings (a violation of good taste, of late but too common,) cut [Pg 96]up and curtailed to adapt them to the size of walls and doors, that such an operation often succeeds tolerably well with the pictures of other schools, but is extremely difficult with those of the Venetians; so intimately is one part connected with another, and harmonized with the whole.

These, along with other similar qualities that flatter the eye of the spectator, that attract the learned and the unlearned, and seem to transport the mind by the novelty and the reality of the representation, constitute a style which is termed by Reynolds the ornamental, who, likewise, among all the schools, yields the palm in this to the Venetians; a style afterwards introduced by Vovet into France, by Rubens into Flanders, and by Giordano into Naples and into Spain. The same English critic places it in the second rank, next to the grand style, and remarks that the professors of the sublime were fearful of falling into luxurious and pompous exhibitions of the accessaries; no less because prejudicial to the artist's industry in point of design and in point of expression, than because the transitory impression which it produces upon the spectator, seldom reaches the heart. And truly, as the sublime of Tully is more simple than the ornament of Pliny, and seems to dread any excitement of admiration for the beautiful, lest its energy should be unnerved by too studied a degree of elegance; so is it with the grandeur of Michelangiolo and of Raffaello, that without seeking to occupy us with the illusions of art, goes [Pg 97]at once to the heart; terrifies or inspires us; awakens emotions of pity, of veneration, and the love of truth, exalting us, as it were, above ourselves, and leading us to indulge, even in spite of ourselves, the most delicious of all feelings, in that of wonder. It is upon this account that Reynolds considered it dangerous for students to become enamoured of the Venetian style; an opinion, which, judiciously understood, may prove of much service to such artists as are calculated to succeed in the more sublime. But since amidst such diversity of talent, there must appear artists better adapted to adorn than to express; it would not be advisable that their genius should be urged into a career in which it will leave them always among the last, withdrawing them, at the same time, from another in which they might have taken the lead. Let him, therefore, who in this art of silent eloquence possesses not the energy and spirit of Demosthenes, apply himself wholly, heart and soul, to the elegance, the pomp, and the copiousness of Demetrius Phalereus.

Let it not from this be supposed, that the sole merit of the Venetians consists in surprising the spectator by the effects of ornament and colour, and that the customary style and true method of painting, were not understood in those parts. Yet I am aware of the opinion of many foreigners, who having never removed beyond their native spot, are inclined to pronounce a general censure upon these artists, as being ignorant of design, too laboured [Pg 98]in their composition, unacquainted with ideal beauty, and even unable to understand expression, costume, and grace; finally, that the rapidity so much in vogue with the whole of the school,[41] led them to despise the rules of art, not permitting them to complete the work before them, out of an anxiety to engage in other labours, for the sake of the profits afforded by them. To some of their painters, doubtless, these observations may apply, but assuredly not to the whole; for if one city be obnoxious to them, another is not so much so; or if they can be affirmed of a certain epoch or class of artists, it would be an idle attempt to fix them upon all. This school is in truth most abundant, no less in artists than in fine examples in every characteristic of the art; but neither one nor the other are sufficiently known and appreciated. Yet it is hoped the reader will be enabled to form a more correct idea of both; and after having cultivated an acquaintance with the Bellini, the Giorgioni, and the Titians, besides [Pg 99]other masters, will trace, as it were from one parent stock, the various offshoots transplanted throughout the state, imbibing, according to the nature of the soil, and the vicinity of other climes, new tastes and qualities, without losing at the same time their original and native flavour. And if in the progress of our history we shall here and there, among plants of nobler growth, meet with some "lazzi sorbi," to use the words of our poet, some bitter apples, growing at their side; let these only be attacked; but let not the disgrace attaching to a few careless artists be calumniously extended to the whole of their school.

The happy era we are now entering upon, commences with Giorgione and with Titian, two names which, connected together, yet in competition with each other, divided between them, as it were, the whole body of disciples throughout the capital and the state; insomuch that we find no city that had not more or less adopted for its model one or other of these masters. I shall proceed to describe them separately, each with his own class, as I believe such a method most favourable, to shew how the whole of the school I am describing was almost entirely derived and propagated from two masters of a similar style. Giorgio Barbarelli of Castelfranco, more generally known by the name of Giorgione, from a certain grandeur conferred upon him by nature, no less of mind than form, and which appears also impressed upon his productions, as the character is said to be in the handwriting, was [Pg 100]educated in the school of the Bellini. But impelled by a spirit conscious of its own powers, he despised that minuteness in the art which yet remained to be exploded, at once substituting for it a certain freedom and audacity of manner, in which the perfection of painting consists. In this view he may be said to be an inventor; no artist before his time having acquired that mastery of his pencil, so hardy and determined in its strokes, and producing such an effect in the distance. From that period he continued to ennoble his manner, rendering the contours more round and ample, the foreshortenings more new, the expression of the countenance more warm and lively, as well as the motions of his figures. His drapery, with all the other accessaries of the art became more select, the gradations of the different colours more soft and natural, and his chiaroscuro more powerful and effective. It was in this last indeed, that Venetian painting was the most deficient, while it had been introduced into the rest of the schools by Vinci previous to the sixteenth century. Vasari is of opinion that from the same artist, or rather from some of his designs, it was first acquired by Giorgione, a supposition that Boschini will not admit, maintaining that he was only indebted for it to himself, being his own master and scholar. And, in truth, the taste of Lionardo and of the Milanese artists who acquired it from him, not only differs in point of design, inclining in the contours and in the features more towards the [Pg 101]graceful and the beautiful, while Giorgione affects rather a round and full expression; but it is contrasted with it, likewise, in the chiaroscuro. The composition of Lionardo abounds much more in shades, which are gradually softened with greater care; while in regard to his lights he is far more sparing, and studies to unite them in a small space with a degree of vividness that produces surprise. Giorgione's composition, on the other hand, is more clear and open, and with less shade; his middle tints, also, partake in nothing of the ironcast and grey, but are natural and beautiful; and in short, he approaches nearer to the style of Coreggio, if Mengs at least judges rightly, than to any other master. Still I am far from concluding that Vinci in no way contributed to the formation of Giorgione's new manner; every improvement in the art having taken its rise from some former one, which being admired for its novelty, became familiar to surrounding artists by example, and to more distant ones by its reputation, thus adding what was before wanting to the perfection of the art. And in this way have geniuses in different parts arisen, destined to increase and improve such advantages. This, if I mistake not, has been the case with the science of perspective, subsequent to the time of Pier della Francesca; with regard to foreshortening after Melozzo; and also with chiaroscuro after Lionardo.

The works of Giorgione were, for the chief part, executed in fresco, upon the façades of the [Pg 102]houses, more particularly in Venice, where there now remains scarcely a relic of them, as if to remind us only of what have perished. Many of his pictures, on the other hand, both there and in other places, painted in oil and preserved in private houses, are found in excellent condition; the cause of which is attributed to the strong mixture of the colours, and to the full and liberal use of his pencil. In particular we meet with portraits, remarkable for the soul of their expression, for the air of their heads, the novelty of the garments, of the hair, of the plumes, and of the arms, no less than for the lively imitation of the living flesh, in which, however warm and sanguine are the tints which he applied, he adds to them so much grace, that in spite of thousands of imitators, he still stands alone. In analyzing some of these tints, Ridolfi discovered that they bore little resemblance to those used by the ancient Greeks, and quite distinct from those tawny, brown, and azure colours, since introduced at the expense of the more natural. Such of his pictures as are composed in the style of his Dead Christ, in the Monte di Pietà at Trevigi, the S. Omobono at the Scuola de' Sarti, in Venice, or the Tempest stilled by the Saint, at that of S. Marco, in which among other figures are those of three rowers drawn naked, excellent both in their design and their attitudes; such are the rarest triumphs of his art. The city of Milan possesses two of an oblong shape, in which several of the figures extend beyond the proportions of Poussin, and may [Pg 103]be pronounced rather full than beautiful. One of these is to be viewed at the Ambrosiana, the other in the archepiscopal palace; esteemed by some the happiest effort of Giorgione that now survives. It represents the child Moses just rescued from the Nile, and presented to the daughter of Pharaoh. Very few colours, but well harmonized and distributed, and finely broken with the shades, produce a sort of austere union, if I may be allowed the expression, and may be assimilated to a piece of music composed of few notes, but skilfully adapted, and delightful beyond any more noisy combination of sounds.

Giorgione died at the early age of thirty-four, in 1511. Thus his productions, rather than the pupils he educated, remained to instruct the Venetians. Vasari, however, mentions several who have been contested by other writers. A Pietro Luzzo is recorded by Ridolfi;—a native of Feltre, called Zarato, or Zarotto,—who after being a pupil became a rival of Giorgione, and seduced from his house a woman, to whom he was passionately attached, at whose loss it has been asserted by some that the disappointed artist died in despair. By others, on the contrary, he is said to have died of a disease contracted during his intercourse with the same lady. This Zarato, as we read in a MS. history of Feltre, and in a MS. upon the pictures of Udine, is the same whom Vasari entitles, Morto da Feltro; and adds, that he went when young to Rome, and subsequently flourished in Florence and [Pg 104]elsewhere, distinguished for his skill in grotesques; of which more hereafter. Going afterwards to Venice, he is known to have assisted Giorgione in the paintings he made for the Fondaco de' Tedeschi, about the year 1505; and, lastly, having remained some time at his native place, he embraced a military life, obtaining the rank of captain. Proceeding to Zara, he fell in battle near that place in his forty-fifth year; at least such is the account of Vasari. From the mention of his native place of Feltre, his assisting Giorgione in his works, and his surnames of Zarato and Morto, I think there is some degree of probability in the assertion contained in these MSS. though the dates attaching to the life of Morto in Vasari, will not countenance the supposition of Ridolfi, of his being the pupil of Giorgione, a man considerably younger than himself; so that I should conjecture that Ridolfi may have denominated him a scholar of Giorgione, because, when already of a mature age, he painted under him as his assistant. Notwithstanding the assertion of Vasari, he had a tolerable genius for figures, and in the history already cited, written by Cambrucci, and in possession of the bishop of Feltre, a picture of our Lady between saints Francesco and Antonio, placed at S. Spirito, and another at Villabruna, besides a figure of Curtius on horseback, upon a house at Teggie, are attributed to his hand. We gather from the same history that another Luzzi, by name Lorenzo, a contemporary and perhaps [Pg 105]friend of Pietro, painted very skilfully in fresco, at the church of S. Stefano; and that he was equally successful in oils, he himself assures us in his altarpiece of the proto-martyr S. Stefano, conspicuous for correctness of design, beauty of forms, force of tints, and bearing his name and the date of 1511.

The most distinguished disciple of the school of Giorgione is Sebastiano, a Venetian, commonly called, from the habit and office he afterwards assumed at Rome, Fra Sebastiano del Piombo. Having left Gian Bellini, he attached himself to Giorgione, and in the tone of his colours, and the fulness of his forms, imitated him better than any other artist. An altarpiece in S. Gio. Crisostomo, from his hand, was by some mistaken for the work of his master; so strikingly does it abound with his manner. It may be presumed, indeed, that he was assisted in the design; Sebastiano being known to possess no surprising richness of invention,—slow in the composition of most of his figures; irresolute; eager to undertake, but difficult to commence, and most difficult in the completion. Hence we rarely meet with any of his histories or his altarpieces comparable to the Nativity of the Virgin, at S. Agostino, in Perugia, or the Flagellazione at the Osservanti of Viterbo, which is esteemed the best picture in the city. Pictures for private rooms, and portraits, he painted in great number, and with comparative ease; and we no where meet with more beautiful hands, more rosy [Pg 106]flesh tints, or more novel accessaries than in these. Thus, in taking the portrait of Pietro Aretino, he distinguished five different tints of black in his dress; imitating with exactness those of the velvet, of the satin, and so of the rest. Being invited to Rome by Agostino Chigi, and there esteemed as one of the first colourists of his time, he painted in competition with Peruzzi, and with Raffaello himself; and the rival labours of all three are still preserved in a hall of the Farnesina, at that period the house of the Chigi.

Sebastiano became aware, that in such a competition, his own design would not appear to much advantage in Rome, and he improved it. But occasionally he fell into some harshness of manner, owing to the difficulties he there encountered. Yet, in several of his works, he was assisted by Michelangiolo, from whose design he painted that Pietà, placed at the Conventuali of Viterbo, and the Transfiguration, with the other pieces which he produced, during six years, for S. Pietro in Montorio, at Rome. It is stated by Vasari, that Michelangiolo united with him, in order to oppose the too favourable opinion entertained by the Romans, of Raffaello. He adds, that on the death of the latter, Sebastiano was universally esteemed the first artist of his time, upheld by the favour of Michelangiolo; Giulio Romano, and the rest of the rival school, being all inferior to him. I am almost at a loss how to judge of a fact, which, if discredited, seems to cast an imputation upon the historian, and, [Pg 107]if received, reflects very little credit upon Buonarotti; and the reader will do best, perhaps, to decide for himself. The name of Sebastiano must also be added to the list of inventors, for his new method of oil painting upon stone, upon which plan he executed the Flagellazione, for S. Pietro in Montorio, a work as much defaced by time as the others which he made in fresco remain at the same place entire. He coloured also upon stone several pictures for private houses, a practice highly esteemed at its earlier period, but which was soon abandoned owing to the difficulty of carriage. Upon this plan, or some other resembling it, we find several pictures of the sixteenth century executed, and which, at this period, are esteemed in museums real antiques.[42]

[Pg 108]Among the disciples of the School of Giorgione, were, likewise, Gio. da Udine and Francesco Torbido, a Veronese, who has been surnamed il Moro, and both were distinguished practisers of his tints. In regard to Giovanni, afterwards a pupil of Raffaello, we have written, and we shall again write elsewhere. Moro remained but little with Giorgione, a much longer while with Liberale. Of this last he imitated very truly both the diligence and the design, in the former even surpassing him; always a severe critic upon himself, and slow in completing his undertakings. We rarely meet with him in altarpieces, still more rarely in collections of paintings, for which he was often employed in sacred subjects and in portraits; deficient in nothing, except, perhaps, we could wish to see somewhat greater freedom of hand. In the dome of Verona, he painted several histories in fresco, among which is the Assumption of the Virgin, truly admirable; but the designs are not his, Giulio Romano having prepared the cartoons. His style of execution, however, is clearly [Pg 109]enough perceived, which, in respect to colouring and to chiaroscuro, discovers him to be an artist, as Vasari has recorded, "as careful in regard to his use of colours, as any other who flourished at the same period."

The other names that here follow, are included, according to history, in the train of Giorgione, not as his pupils, but his imitators. Yet all exhibit traces of Bellini, because the Venetian manner, up to the time of Tintoretto, did not so much aim at inventing new things, as at perfecting such as had already been discovered; not so desirous of relinquishing the taste of the Bellini, as of modernizing it upon the model of Titian and Giorgione. Hence it arose, that a people of painters were formed in a taste extremely uniform; and the exaggerated observation, "that whoever had cultivated an acquaintance with one Venetian artist of that age, knew them all," seemed to have some ground in truth. But still, as I have said, it is exaggeration, as there is certainly much diversity of style and merit when compared with one another. Among the leading disciples of Giorgione are to be ranked three, who belong to the city or territory of Bergamo, and these are Lotto, as is most generally supposed, Palma, and Cariani. They resemble their master most frequently in fulness, but in the mixture and selection of colours they often appear of the school of Lombardy. More particularly in Cariani there is apparent a certain superficies, like that of wax, [Pg 110]equally diffused over the canvass, which shines so as to enliven the eye; and when seen at a distance, with but little light, appears in full relief, a result which others have also noticed in the works of Coreggio.

The name of Lorenzo Lotto is recorded by Vasari and elsewhere, in which accounts his country is considered as consisting of the entire state, as he himself, indeed, affixed to his picture of S. Cristoforo di Loreto, Laurentius Lottus Pictor Venetus.[43] The late annotator of Vasari, observing the grace of countenance and the turn of the eyes remarkable in his pictures, supposed him to be a disciple of Vinci, an opinion that might be supported by the authority of Lomazzo, who mentions the names of Cesare da Sesto and Lorenzo Lotto together, both being imitators, in the distribution of their lights, of da Vinci. Lotto most likely profited by his vicinity to Milan, in order to cultivate an acquaintance with, and to imitate Vinci in many [Pg 111]points; though I am not, therefore, inclined to discredit the account which gives him for a pupil to Bellini, and a rival to Castelfranco. But the style of the disciples of Lionardo, so uniform in Luini and in the other Milanese, is very slightly perceptible in the productions of Lotto. His manner is, in truth, wholly Venetian, bold in its colours, luxurious in its draperies, and like Giorgione, of a deep red in the fleshy parts. His hand, however, is less bold and free than that of the latter, whose loftier character he is fond of tempering with the play, as it were, of his middle tints; selecting, at the same time, lighter forms, to whose heads he gives a character more placid and a beauty more ideal. In the background of his pictures he often retains a peculiar clear or azure colour, which if it do not harmonize so much with the figures, confers distinctness on each individual, and presents them in a very lively manner to the eye. His pictures of S. Antonino, at the Dominicans in Venice, and of S. Niccolo, at the Carmine, which design he repeated in the S. Vincenzio of the Dominicans at Recanati, are compositions extremely novel and original. In his others he varies little from the usual style; that of a Madonna seated on a throne, surrounded with saints, with cherubs in the air, or upon the steps. Yet these he relieves by the novelty of perspective, or by attitudes, or contrasted views. Thus in his specimen of the S. Bartolommeo, at Bergamo, entitled by Ridolfi wonderful, he bestows upon the Virgin and the infant [Pg 112]Jesus such finely diversified and contrasted motions, that they seem as if conversing with the holy bystanders, the one on the right and the other on the left hand. And in that of S. Spirito, sparkling as it were with graces, we meet with a figure of S. John the Baptist, drawn as a child, standing at the foot of the throne, in the act of embracing a lamb, and expressing so natural and lively a joy, at once so simple and innocent, with a smile so beautiful, that we can hardly believe while we gaze upon it, that Raffaello or Correggio could have gone beyond it.

Such masterpieces as these, with others that are to be seen at Bergamo, in churches and private collections, place him almost on a level with the first luminaries of the art. If Vasari did not fairly appreciate his merits, it arose only from his having viewed several of his less studied and less noble pieces. And it is true that he has not always exhibited the same degree of excellence, or force of design. The period in which he chiefly flourished may be computed from the year 1513, when he was selected, among many professors of reputation, to adorn the altar for the church of the Dominicans at Bergamo; and, perhaps, the decline of his powers ought to be dated from 1546, an epoch inscribed upon his picture of San Jacopo dell'Orio, in Venice. He was employed also at Ancona, and in particular at the church of S. Dominico, at Recanati, where, interspersed among pieces of superior power, more especially in his smaller pictures, [Pg 113]we detect some incorrectness in his extremities, and stiffness of composition, resembling that of Gian Bellini; whether, as it is conjectured by Vasari, they were among the earliest, or more probably among some of his latest efforts. For it is well known, that when far advanced in years, he was accustomed to retire to Loreto, a little way from Recanati, and that engaged in continual supplication to the Virgin, in order that she might guide him into a better method, he there closed the period of his days in tranquillity.

Jacopo Palma, commonly called Palma Vecchio, to distinguish him from his great-nephew Jacopo, was invariably considered the companion and rival of Lotto, until such time as Combe first confused the historical dates relating to him. By Ridolfi we are told that Palma employed himself in completing a picture left imperfect by Titian, at the period of his death in 1576. Upon this, and similar authorities, Combe takes occasion to postpone the birth of Palma, until 1540; adding to which the forty-eight years assigned him by Vasari, the time of his decease is placed in 1588. In such arrangement the critic seems neither to have paid attention to the style of Jacopo, still retaining some traces of the antique, nor to the authority of Ridolfi, who makes him the master of Bonifazio, any more than to Vasari's testimony, in the work published in 1568, declaring him to have died several years before that period in Venice. He does not even consider, what he might more easily have ascertained, [Pg 114]that there was another Jacopo Palma, great-nephew of the elder, who, according to the authority of Boschini (p. 110), was a pupil of Titian's as long as the latter survived; and that Ridolfi, on this occasion, entitled him Palma, without the addition of younger, on account of its being so extremely unlikely that any would confound him with the elder Palma. Such, notwithstanding, was the case, and is, in fact, only a slight sample of the inaccuracies of the whole work. The same error has been repeated by too many authors, even among the Italians; and the most amusing of all is, that Palma the elder is said to have been born about the year 1540, while almost, in the same breath, the younger Palma is declared to have been born in 1544. So much must here suffice as to his age, proceeding in the next instance to his style.

Much attached to the method of Giorgione, he aimed at attaining his clearness of expression, and vivacity of colouring. In his celebrated picture of Saint Barbara, at S. Maria Formosa, one of his most powerful and characteristic productions, Jacopo more especially adopted him as his model. In some of his other pieces, he more nearly approaches Titian, a resemblance we are told by Ridolfi, consisting in the peculiar grace which he acquired from studying the earliest productions of that great master. Of this kind is the Supper of Christ, painted for Santa Maria Mater Domini, with the Virgin at San Stefano di Vicenza, executed with so much sweetness of expression as to be [Pg 115]esteemed one of his happiest productions. There are many examples of both styles to be met with in the grand Carrara collection, as given in the list of Count Tassi, (p. 93). Finally, Zanetti is of opinion that in some others he displays a more original genius, as exemplified in the Epiphany of the island of Saint Helena, where he equally shines in the character of a naturalist who selects well, who carefully disposes his draperies, and who composes according to good rules. The distinguishing character then of his pieces is diligence, refinement, and a harmony of tints, so great as to leave no traces of the pencil; and it has been observed by one of his historians, that he long occupied himself in the production of each piece, and frequently retouched it. In the mixture of his colours, as well as other respects, he often resembles Lotto, and if he be less animated and sublime, he is, perhaps, generally speaking, more beautiful in the form of his heads, especially in those of boys and women. It is the opinion of some, that in several of his countenances he expressed the likeness of his daughter Violante, very nearly related to Titian, and a portrait of whom, by the hand of her father, was to be seen in the gallery of Sera, a Florentine gentleman, who purchased at Venice many rarities for the House of the Medici, as well as for himself, (Boschini, p. 368). A variety of pictures intended for private rooms, met with in different places in Italy, have also been attributed to the hand of Palma; besides portraits, one of which has been [Pg 116]commended by Vasari as truly astonishing, from its beauty; and Madonnas, chiefly drawn along with other saints, on oblong canvass; a practice in common use by many artists of that age, some of whom we have already recounted, and others are yet to come. But the least informed among people of taste, being ignorant of their names, the moment they behold a picture between the dryness of Giovanni Bellini and the softness of Titian, pronounce it to be a Palma, and this, more particularly, where they find countenances well rounded and coloured, landscape exhibited with care, and roseate hues in the drapery, occurring more frequently than any of a more sanguine dye. In this way Palma is in the mouths of all, while other artists, also very numerous, are mentioned only in proportion as they have attached their own names to their productions. One of these, resembling Palma and Lotto, but slightly known beyond the precincts of Bergamo and some adjacent cities, is Giovanni Cariani, as to whom Vasari is altogether silent. One of his pieces, representing our Saviour, along with several saints, and dated 1514, I have myself seen at Milan, which appears to have been altogether formed upon the model of Giorgione. If I mistake not, it is a juvenile production, and when compared with some others, which I saw at Bergamo, very indifferent in its forms. The most excellent of any from his hand, is a Virgin, preserved at the Servi, with a group of beatified spirits, a choir of angels, and other angels at her [Pg 117]feet, engaged in playing upon their harps in concert. It is an exceedingly graceful production, delightfully ornamented with landscape and figures in the distance; very tasteful in its tints, which are blended in a manner equal to the most studied specimens of the two artists of Bergamo, already mentioned; thus forming with them a triumvirate, calculated to reflect honour upon any country. It has been stated by Tassi, that the celebrated Zuccherelli never visited Bergamo, without returning to admire the beauties of this picture, pronouncing it one of the finest specimens of the art he had ever beheld, and the best which that city had to boast. Cariani was also no less distinguished as a portrait painter, as we gather from a piece belonging to the Counts Albani, containing various portraits of that noble family; and which, surrounded with specimens of the best colourists; would almost appear to be the only one deserving of peculiar admiration.

The city of Trevigi may boast of two artists belonging to the same class, though widely differing from each other. One of these is Rocco Marconi, distinguished by Zanetti among some of the best disciples of Bellini, and erroneously referred by Ridolfi to the school of Palma. He excelled in accuracy of design, taste of colouring, and diligence of hand, though not always sufficiently easy in his contours, and for the most part exhibiting a severity almost approaching to plebeian coarseness in his countenances. Even in the earliest production [Pg 118]attributed to him, executed in the year 1505, and preserved in the church of San Niccolo, at Trevigi, Ridolfi detects that peculiar clearness of style, which may be traced also so strongly in his Three Apostles, at SS. Giovanni and Paolo, as well as in his few other pictures dispersed among the public places. Indeed half-length figures of this artist are by no means of rare occurrence in private collections, though he can boast no single specimen so beautiful, or so completely Giorgionesque as his Judgment of the Adulteress, to be seen in the chapter of San Giorgio Maggiore, and of which there is either a duplicate or a copy at San Pantaleo, and in other places. The other of these two artists is Paris Bordone, the elevation of whose mind and genius seemed to correspond with that of his birth. After having been a pupil of Titian for a short period, he became an enthusiastic imitator of Giorgione, finally adopting an originality of manner, whose peculiar grace bears no resemblance to that of any other painter. His forms may truly be said to breathe, to glow, and even to laugh, with a force of colouring, which, incapable of displaying a greater degree of truth than that of Titian, aimed, nevertheless, at more variety and attraction; while, at the same time, they were not wanting in delicacy of design, novelty of drapery, propriety of composition, and a peculiarly lively air of the heads. In the church of S. Giobbe he produced a picture of S. Andrew embracing his Cross, with an angel seen hovering above, in the act of bestowing [Pg 119]upon him the crown of martyrdom; while in one of the two saints, represented at the side, he drew the figure of S. Peter, in the act of gazing upon him with a kind of envy; an idea equally novel and picturesque. A similar method he adopted in other of his works, produced in great part for the ornament of his native place and its vicinity. Not a subject but is taken from the antique; yet each of them is treated with originality. Of such kind, is that picture of a true Paradise, seen in the Ognissanti at Trevigi, and those evangelical mysteries in the cathedral of the same city, represented in an altarpiece, divided into six different groups, at the request, it is presumed, of the person who engaged him to execute it. Here we behold, assembled in a small space, every thing of the most pleasing and beautiful kind, which he has elsewhere scattered throughout the whole of his works. In Venice, his representation of the restoration of the ring to the Doge by a fisherman, possesses a high reputation; and this, accompanied with that of the Tempest, shortly before described, by Giorgione, forms an admirable contrast in its beauty to the terrors abounding in the latter. Decorated with the finest specimens of architecture, and a profusion of animated and well adapted figures, as varied in their actions as in their draperies, it has been commended by Vasari as the masterpiece of his labours. The same artist is, likewise, highly prized in collections. Madonnas of his are to be met with, characterized by the [Pg 120]uniformity of their countenance, as well as some of his portraits, often attired in the manner of Giorgione, and composed with fine and novel embellishments. Being invited to the court of Francis II., he acquired the favour of that monarch and of his successor, thus enriching himself by the exercise of his talents. He had a son who pursued the same branches of the art; but from his picture of Daniel, remaining at Santa Maria Formosa in Venice, it is evident how very inferior he must have been.

At the same time flourished one Girolamo da Trevigi, a different artist to his namesake already mentioned by us, who, induced probably by the example of his noble fellow citizen, and turning his attention to a more select style than the generality of the Venetian School, applied himself to the models of Raffaello, and the Romans. He is entitled by Padre Federici, upon the authority of Mauro, Pennacchi, and is considered by him the son of that Piermaria, of whom we made brief mention before, (page 62). There is little from his hand remaining at Venice, but more in Bologna, particularly at San Petronio, where he painted in oil the histories of S. Antony of Padua, with judgment and grace, combined with an exquisite degree of polish, which obtained for him the commendation of Vasari. It was here he happily succeeded in uniting the excellences of the two schools, though he did not flourish long enough to mature them, having devoted himself to the military occupation of an [Pg 121]engineer, to which service he fell a victim in 1544, while in England; he was killed, according to Vasari, in his thirty-sixth year. On this last point we can scarcely admit the emendation offered us by the author of the Description of Vicenza, who would substitute for this earlier date the age of seventy-six years, a period of life when men seldom encounter their final doom in the field. In this instance, perhaps, the emendator was not aware that there exist signatures of a Girolamo da Treviso, met with upon pictures from the year 1472 to that of 1487, uniformly of ancient design; an artist, who could not, in the common course of life, have survived to become an excellent disciple of Raffaello, and the assistant of Pupini at Bologna, about the year 1530. He failed, therefore, to make a distinction between two painters of the same name, as it will be perceived we have done, followed by the authority of Padre Federici.

Finally, in this list must be enumerated Gio. Antonio Licinio, either Sacchiense, or Cuticello,[44] until such period, as happening to be wounded in the hand by his brother, he renounced all title to his family name, assuming the appellation of Regillo. He is commonly, however, called Pordenone, from his native place, formerly a province, and [Pg 122]now a city of the Friuli. "In this province," it is observed by Vasari, "there flourished, during his time, a great number of excellent artists, who had never visited either Florence or Rome; but he stood pre-eminent above all, surpassing his predecessors in the conception of his pieces, in design, in boldness, in the use of his colours, in his frescos, in rapidity, in grandeur of relief; and, indeed, in every other attribute of the arts." It is uncertain whether he attended the School of Castelfranco, as it has been supposed by some, and much more so, whether he was a fellow student along with him and Titian, under Giovanni Bellini, a supposition started by Rinaldis, (p. 62). To me, the opinion reported by Ridolfi appears nearer the truth, that having first studied, in his youth, the productions of Pelligrino, at Udine, he subsequently adopted the manner of Giorgione, following the bias of his own genius, invariably the artist's safest guide in the formation of a style. Other disciples of Giorgione, more or less resembled him in manner, but Pordenone seemed to vie with him in spirit, a spirit equally daring, resolute, and great; surpassed by no other, perhaps, in the Venetian School. Yet in lower Italy he is little known beyond his name. The picture with the portraits of his family, preserved in the Palazzo Borghese, is the best production of his that I have met with in these parts. And elsewhere, indeed, we rarely behold such histories as his exquisite picture of the Raising of Lazarus, in possession of the Conti [Pg 123]Lecchi, at Brescia. Nor does he abound in altarpieces, beyond the province of Friuli, which boasts of several in different places, though not all equally genuine. The few executed in Pordenone, are unquestionably his, inasmuch as he has himself described them in a memorial still extant.[45] The collegiate church possesses two of these; one consisting of a Holy Family, with S. Christopher, executed in 1515, very finely coloured, but not exempt from some inaccuracies. The other bears the date of 1535, representing S. Mark in the act of consecrating a bishop, along with other saints, and with perspective; a piece, says its author, posta in opera, non finita, begun, indeed, but not finished. A more complete specimen was to be seen at San Pier Martire di Udine, in his Annunciation, since re-touched and destroyed. Some there are who have preferred, before every other, that preserved in S. Maria dell'Orto, at Venice. It consists of San Lorenzo Giustiniani, surrounded by various saints; among whom S. John the Baptist appears naked according to the rules of the most learned schools; while the arm of S. Augustine is seen, as it were, stretched forth out of the picture, an effect of perspective this artist has repeated in various other places. The most beautiful of his pieces in Piacenza, where he had established [Pg 124]himself, is his picture of the Marriage of S. Catherine, upon a dark ground, which gives a roundness to the whole of the figures; it is full of grace in those of a more tender character, and displays grandeur in the forms of S. Peter and S. Paul, represented on the two sides; in the last of whom, as well as in the S. Rocco of Pordenone, he gave a portrait of himself.

But his works in fresco display the highest degree of merit; great part of which he produced in the Friuli, besides numerous others scattered throughout castles and villas, no longer distinguished by strangers, except from the circumstance of possessing some painting of Pordenone. Such places are Castions, Valeriano, Villanova, Varmo, Pallazuolo, where he is with certainty known to have employed his talents. A few remnants are likewise preserved in Mantua, in the Casa de' Cesarei, and in the palazzo Doria, at Genoa; some at S. Rocco, and the cloisters of S. Stefano, in Venice, and many specimens in high preservation in the dome of Cremona, and at Santa Maria di Campagna, in Piacenza, where, in collections, and in the façades of houses, other pieces of his are pointed out. His labours in fresco, however, are not all equally studied and correct; more particularly those in his native Friuli, which he produced at an early age in great abundance, and for a small price. He is more select in his male forms than in those of his women, whose model he appears to have frequently taken from very robust rather than very beautiful [Pg 125]subjects, most probably met with in the adjacent province of Carnia, where he is said to have indulged his early passions. But in every thing he undertook we may invariably trace the workings of a vigorous fancy, rich in conceiving, in varying, and developing his ideas; powerful in his exhibition of the passions, displaying the master-hand that encounters the difficulties of the art with the most novel combinations in the science of foreshortening, with the most laboured perspective, and with a power of relief which appears perfectly starting from the canvass.

In Venice, he seemed to surpass all he had before done. The competition, or rather enmity subsisting between him and Titian, served as a spur both by day and night, to actuate him to fresh exertions. He was at times even accustomed to paint with arms at his side; and it is the opinion of many, that such emulation was of no less advantage to Titian, than was the rivalship of Michelangiolo to Raffaello. In this instance, also, the one excelled in strength, the other in grace of hand; or, as it has been observed by Zanetti, nature prevailed in Titian in a superior degree to manner, while in Pordenone both shone with an equal degree of excellence. To have competed with Titian is a circumstance not a little honourable to his name, and has acquired for him in the Venetian School the second rank at least, in a period so prolific in excellent artists. A portion of the people, indeed, then preferred him to Titian; for, as I have elsewhere [Pg 126]observed, there is nothing so well calculated to surprise the multitude as the production of fine effect and of the chiaroscuro, in which art he is known to have first preceded Guercino. Pordenone was highly favoured, and presented with the title of cavalier by Charles V.; and being subsequently invited to the court of Ercole II. duke of Ferrara, he died there shortly after, not without suspicion of having been poisoned. We have in the next place to give an account of his school.

Bernardino Licinio, from his surname probably a relation of the foregoing, was an artist who is here deserving of mention. We gather from history, as well as from his manner, that he was also a pupil of Pordenone; and there remains at the Conventuali, in Venice, an altarpiece of the usual antique composition, quite in the style of the other Licinio, from his hand. It is reported, likewise, that some of his portraits are preserved in different collections which have been erroneously ascribed to the elder Pordenone. Sandrart makes mention of Giulio Licinio da Pordenone, a nephew and scholar to Gio. Antonio, adding that he employed himself in Venice; thence transferred his residence to Augusta, where he left behind him some truly surprising specimens in fresco, which obtained for him with some a higher reputation than his uncle. He would appear to be the same Giulio Lizino, who, in competition with Schiavone, Paul Veronese, and other artists, produced the three tondi, in the library of St. Mark, in the year 1556. By [Pg 127]Zanetti he is considered of Roman origin,[46] but this is a mistake, arising from Giulio's having assumed the title of Romano during his residence in the capital; while he retained it in Venice, the better to distinguish him from the other Licinj, in the same manner as we have already observed of one of the Trevisani, about the same period.

Giannantonio Licinio the younger, was a brother to Giulio, and more commonly named Sacchiense, an artist who has been highly commended, but whose works are no longer to be seen, not even in Como, as far as we can learn, where he died.

After the Licinj we ought next to record the name of Calderari, a distinguished pupil of Gio. Antonio, who has succeeded in sometimes imposing upon the most acute judges. Thus it has occurred in the parish church of Montereale, where he produced many scripture histories in fresco, which had been uniformly ascribed to the hand of Pordenone, until the discovery of a document establishing the contrary. He is even little known in his native place of Pordenone, and his frescos in the cathedral were attributed to the pencil of Amalteo. Pordenone may also boast of another disciple in Francesco Beccaruzzi da Conigliano. For this we have the authority of Ridolfi, confirmed by the artist's own work, ornamenting his native place, of St. Francis in the act of receiving the stigmata, or marks of Christ, a figure more striking in point [Pg 128]of relief than of colouring. To the same school has been added by Orlandi, the name of Gio. Batista Grassi, a good painter, but more excellent as an architect, and the same from whom Vasari drew his notices of the painters of Friuli. I should be inclined, however, to refer him to some other school, both on account of Vasari's silence on a point so creditable to him, and his resemblance to the manner of Titian in such of the few pieces as have been well preserved, and are exempt from modern retouches of art. Of this kind are his pictures of the Annunciation; the Translation of Elias; and the Vision of Ezekiel, in the cathedral of Gemona, on the doors of the organ there.

The last name to be enumerated in this class, is that of Pomponio Amalteo, a native of San Vito, and of a noble family which yet boasts its descendants at Uderzo. He was one of the most excellent of Giannantonio's pupils, and introduced his master's style into the Friuli, for which reason we shall here give him a place, together with the whole of his followers. He was son-in-law to Pordenone, and the artist who succeeded him in his school at Friuli. Both there and in other places he employed himself in works of distinguished merit. He preserved the manner of his father-in-law, as has been observed by Ridolfi, who erroneously ascribes to Licinio the Three Judgments, indisputably the production of Amalteo, which he represented in a gallery at Ceneda, in which causes are decided. They consist of the Judgment of [Pg 129]Solomon, of that of Daniel, and a third of Trajan; the whole completed in the year 1536. It is everywhere evident that he aspired to originality of manner; his shading is less strong, his colours are brighter, and the proportions of his figures, and all his ideas are upon a less elevated scale than those of his father-in-law. Some faint idea of his works may be gathered from Vasari and Ridolfi, who omitted, however, many of them, among others the five pictures of Roman histories adorning the Hall of the Notaries at Belluno: but it is only some faint idea, inasmuch as neither these two writers, nor Altan, who collected memorials of him in a little work, were at all enabled to do full justice to the labours of an artist who continued to occupy himself, assisted by various other hands, until the latest period of his life. Hence it is that the bulk of his works can by no means boast the same degree of excellence as the Three Judgments we have mentioned, or the picture of S. Francis, at the church of that name, in Udine, esteemed one among the valuable pieces belonging to the city. Still, wherever or upon whatever subject he employed himself, he displayed the powers of a great master, educated by Pordenone; and one who not only shewed himself, with the generality of Venetians, a splendid colourist, but designed far more accurately. The same merit continued, for some period, to characterize his successors, who, however, if I mistake not, were greatly inferior to him in genius; excepting [Pg 130]only his brother, with whom we shall commence the history of Pomponio's School.

His name was Girolamo, and, receiving the instructions of his brother, he is supposed to have assisted him in his labours, giving proofs of a noble genius, which he more peculiarly manifested in works of design; in small pictures, which appeared like miniature, in several fables executed in fresco, and in an altarpiece which he painted in the church of San Vito. Ridolfi commends him highly for his spirited manner, and another of the old writers, as we learn from Rinaldis, gives his opinion, that if he had flourished for a longer period, he would, perhaps, have proved no way inferior to the great Pordenone. Hence I find reason to conclude that Girolamo continued, during life, the exercise of his art; and that the report transmitted to us through Ridolfi, about a century after his death, of his brother Pomponio having devoted him out of jealousy of his genius to mercantile pursuits, as was certainly the case with a brother of Titian's, must have been wholly without foundation.

Pomponio likewise availed himself of the aid of Antonio Bosello in the paintings he produced at Ceneda, as well as for the Patriarch within the gallery just before recorded, and for the canons in the Organ of the cathedral. This artist must assuredly have arrived at some degree of perfection, inasmuch as we are in possession of the particulars of various salaries paid to him, distinct from such [Pg 131]as were paid to the principal. As I find mention in Bergamo of an Antonio Boselli, memorials of whom subsist there between the period of 1509 and that of 1527, it is extremely probable that he was the same painter, who, being unable to contend with the fame of Lotto, and so many other of his contemporaries in that celebrated school, sought for better fortune beyond his native place. It is certain he exercised his talents in Padua, and thence he might easily penetrate into Friuli, and give his assistance to Pomponio, whilst employed at Ceneda during the years 1534, 1535, and 1536.

In the course of time, Amalteo, having bestowed two of his daughters in marriage, appears to have obtained the assistance of his sons-in-law, both painters, and promoted by him in the progress of their art. Quintilia, who had the reputation of a fine genius, familiar with the principles both of painting and engraving, and more particularly excellent in portraits, became united to Gioseffo Moretto, of Friuli, although there remains only a single altarpiece of his in the Friuli, in the province of San Vito, bearing the following inscription: Inchoavit Pomponius Amalteus, perfecit Joseph Moretius, anno 1588; a short time previous to which date, his father-in-law had resigned his profession with his life. The other daughter espoused Sebastiano Seccante, mentioned by Ridolfi, and esteemed in Udine for his two grand pictures embellished with fine portraits, with which he ornamented the castle of the city; and still more so for [Pg 132]several of his altarpieces. Of these there is one at San Giorgio, representing the Redeemer, suffering under the cross, between various figures of cherubs, holding other instruments of his passion; a piece that displays all the excellent maxims derived from his education. This artist may be pronounced the last of the great school, whose productions do credit to a good collection. His brother, Giacomo, who did not apply himself to painting until he had attained his fiftieth year; Sebastiano, the son of Giacomo, who became early initiated in the art, without even equalling his father, with their relative Seccante, who lived at the same period, were none of them esteemed, even in Udine, beyond mediocrity in their respective lines. Two natives, however, of San Vito, named Pier Antonio Alessio, and Cristoforo Diana, were much commended by Cesarini, one of Amalteo's contemporaries. They were employed in their studies at the very period that the former wrote his dialogue; though there remain no memorials of Pier Antonio, similar to those of Cristoforo, of whom Altan discovered several specimens at San Vito, in a very good style, besides one preserved in the monastery of Sesto, bearing traces of his name, which he had inscribed upon it. We shall close this catalogue with the name of another disciple of Amalteo, belonging to San Daniele, where, among some other remains, there is a tolerably good fresco, preserved in the façade of one of the inns in the suburbs of the place. It represents the [Pg 133]Virgin, seated with the divine child, her throne surrounded by S. Thomas the Apostle, and S. Valentine, along with other saints; and it bears the inscription, Opus Julii Urbanis, 1574; it partakes of the taste of Amalteo, and of Pordenone, the succession of whose school we have just completed, history affording us no farther materials for description.

Whilst the school of Amalteo continued to embellish various cities, provinces, and villas of the Friuli, another from the same place started into competition with it, first introduced by Pellegrino, of which mention has been made at page 66, though I reserved its description for this place. The whole of Pellegrino's disciples followed him at a very unequal pace, and few of their works can be pointed out which appear to catch the spirit of his fresco of S. Daniel, or his altarpiece at Cividale, already mentioned with praise. Luca Monverde was an artist who flourished but for a short period, nor ever advanced beyond the Bellini manner, imbibed from his master at a very early age. In this, however, he arrived at so high a degree of perfection, that his picture, adorning the great altar of the Grazie at Udine, a church dedicated to S. Gervasio and S. Protasio, which is there placed around the throne of the Virgin, was highly commended previous to its being retouched. And we are elsewhere informed that Luca, while he flourished, was regarded as a sort of prodigy of genius. Girolamo d'Udine, supposed also to come under [Pg 134]this standard, has been omitted by Grassi, in his sketch of the painters transmitted to Vasari, and is not otherwise known than for his little picture of the Coronation of our Lady, remaining in San Francesco at Udine, with his name attached. The vigour of its colours is striking, the invention novel, but rather strained; and, if I mistake not, the whole betrays an artist educated with other maxims. I pass over Martini, though I am aware Altan maintains him to have been a scholar, rather than a fellow pupil of Pellegrino; but the authority of Vasari, combined with his own beautiful picture at S. Mark's, so nearly simultaneous with that of Pellegrino, induce me to retain my own opinion. I should hardly venture to decide to which of the two preceding masters Bernardino Blaceo ought to be referred; an artist who appears, from the great altarpiece of S. Lucia, with his name attached, to have retained the ancient style of composition, while in other points his manner is sufficiently graceful and modern. Another artist who has been with more certainty given as a pupil to Pellegrino, was by birth a Greek, of singular merit in his art, but who has retained only his national appellative of N. Greco. Thus the number of disciples from San Daniele, at all worthy of such a master, is reduced to two, Florigerio and Floriani. The labours of the former in Udine, executed in fresco, have however perished, though his picture of S. George, in the church of the same name, still survives, of itself sufficient to constitute an artist's [Pg 135]fame. It is esteemed by many the best specimen in the city, displaying both in the figures and the landscape a strength of hand which appears to rival Giorgione, more than any other model we could mention. He painted, likewise, with equal spirit, though scarcely perhaps with equal softness, in the city of Padua; and there he subscribed his name to one of his frescos, Florigerio, as it has been read by the Guida of Padua, in which I agree; and not Flerigorio, as he has been called by some historians. Francesco Floriani, together with his brother Antonio, though devoting his talents to the service of Maximilian II., at Vienna, boasts, nevertheless, a high reputation in Udine. He was more particularly excellent in portrait, a specimen of which is in possession of Signor Gio. Batista de Rubeis; being a portrait of Ascanio Belgrado, which might almost be placed in competition with Moroni or Tinelli. He produced several altarpieces for churches, the most highly admired of which was, perhaps, that placed at Reana, a village near Udine. It has recently been purchased and divided into as many small pictures as the number of saints which it contained, and which now belong to a private collection.

But it is at length time to proceed to Tiziano Vecellio, a name the reader has probably long wished to greet. Yet I fear I shall hardly gratify his expectations; for where we have formed enlarged ideas of an artist's worth, every attempt to do justice to the splendid merits we admire, appears [Pg 136]not only inferior, but in some measure derogatory to the character we would exalt. But if in treating on the qualities of artists, we may consider a particular estimation of their characteristic talents preferable to warm commendations, I shall avail myself of the judgment of an excellent critic, who was accustomed to say that Titian observed and drew nature in all her truth, better than any other artist. To this I might add the testimony of another, that of all painters he was most familiar with nature, in all her forms; the universal master, who, in every subject he undertook, whether figures, elements, landscape, or other pieces, imprinted upon all that lively nature, constituting the great charm of his genius. He was gifted, likewise, with a peculiarly sound judgment, tranquil, penetrative, and decidedly studious of what was true, rather than what was novel and specious; a character no less essential to the production of true painters than of true writers.

The education he first received from Sebastiano Zuccati, a native of the Valteline, though supposed to have been of Trevigi,[47] and next from Gian Bellini, [Pg 137]had the effect of rendering him a minute observer of every object falling under the senses. To such a degree of excellence did he carry it, that when, later in life, he wished to compete with Albert Durer, and produced, at Ferrara, the Christ to whom the Pharisee is seen offering the piece of money,[48] he executed it with so much exactness as to surpass even the minuteness which characterises that artist. Indeed, in several of those figures, the hairs [Pg 138]might be numbered, the skin of the hands, the very pores of the flesh, and the reflection of objects in the pupils; yet with all this, the work failed not of success, for where the pictures of Durer appear to diminish and lose their effect at a distance, this improves in size, and grows, as it were, upon the spectator. But he never repeated any specimen in this style, adopting, as is well known, while yet very young, that free and unshackled manner, first originating with his fellow student, afterwards his rival, Giorgione. A few of the portraits, indeed, painted by Titian, during that short period, are not to be distinguished from those of Giorgione himself. I say during that period, because shortly afterwards he formed a new style, less bold, clear, and fiery, but one peculiarly his, the sweetness of which attracts the spectator more by its artless representation of truth, than by the novelty of its effect. The first specimen he is known to have produced altogether in the Titian manner, is preserved in the Sacristy of San Marziale, representing the archangel Raphael, with Tobias at his side, painted in the thirtieth year of his age. Following at a short interval, if we are to give credit to Ridolfi, he next produced that fine representation of our Lord, for the college of the Carità, one of the grandest pictures, and the richest, perhaps, in point of figures, which we have now to boast; many of them having since perished in different conflagrations.

From these, and a few others, painted in the [Pg 139]zenith of his fame, his critics have gathered the general idea of his style; the greatest contest which they have amongst themselves, relating to the design. By Mengs he is denied the title to rank among good designers,[49] considering him an artist of ordinary taste, by no means familiar with, however well he might, if he pleased, have succeeded in the study of the antique, possessing so very exact an eye in copying objects from nature. Vasari appears to be of the same opinion, where he introduces Michelangiolo observing, after viewing the Leda of Titian,[50] that it was a great pity the Venetian artists were not earlier taught how to design. The judgment formed of him by Tintoret, though placed in competition with him, was less severe, namely, that Titian had produced some things which it was impossible to surpass, but that others might have been more correctly designed. And among these more excellent pieces, he might indisputably have included his San Pietro Martire, in the church of SS. Giovanni and Paolo, a piece, says Algarotti, which the best masters have agreed in pronouncing free from every shade of defect; besides that fine Bacchanal, and a few others, ornamenting a cabinet of the Duke of Ferrara, and declared by Agostino Caracci prodigies of art, and the finest paintings in the world.[51] Fresnoy was of opinion that in the figures of his men he was not altogether perfect, and that in his draperies he was [Pg 140]somewhat insignificant;[52] but that many of his women and boys are exquisite, both in point of design and colouring. This commendation is confirmed by Algarotti, in respect to his female forms, and by Mengs in those of his boys. Indeed it is almost universally admitted that in such kind of figures, no artist was ever comparable to him; and that Poussin and Fiammingo,[53] who so greatly excelled in this particular, acquired it only from Titian's pictures. Reynolds[54] also affirms that, "although his style may not be altogether as chaste as that of some other schools of Italy, it nevertheless possesses a certain air of senatorial dignity; and that he shone in his portraits as an artist of first rate character;" and he concludes by observing that he may be studied with advantage even by lovers of the sublime.

Zanetti assigns him the first rank in design, among all the most distinguished colourists; asserting that he was much devoted to the study of anatomy, and copying from the best antique;[55] but [Pg 141]supposes that he was not ambitious of affecting an extensive knowledge of the muscles, nor aimed at displaying an ideal beauty in his contours; whether he had not early enough acquired facility in these, or for some other reasons. For the rest, he adds, the Titian manner was uniformly elegant, correct, and dignified in its female forms, and in its boys; elevated, great, and learned for the most part, in those of its men; while in testimony of his naked figures, he adduces the history pieces, painted for the Sacristy of La Salute, whose beauty of design appears to triumph, even in the extremities, while it boasts the rare merit of a striking acquaintance with the science of foreshortening, both appearing blended together. Had the historian been desirous of extending his notice to such works as are to be met with in foreign parts, he might have added much valuable matter upon the subject of his Bacchanals, and his pictures of the Venus; one of which, adorning the royal gallery at Florence, was justly thought to vie with that of the Medici herself, the most exquisite triumph of Grecian art. For skill in his draperies, Zanetti further brings the example of his S. Peter, painted on an altar of the Casa Pesaro, with a very artificially wrought mantle; adding that he occasionally sacrificed the appearance of the drapery, purposely to give relief to some neighbouring object. In this contest of opinion, between true [Pg 142]judges of the art, I shall decline interfering with my own, observing only, in justice to so extraordinary a genius, that if happier combinations had led him to become familiar with more profound maxims of design, he would probably have ranked as the very first painter in the world. For he would have been allowed to be the first and most perfect in design, as he is by all allowed to have no equal in point of colouring.

Many critics have pushed their inquiries from the artist, into the peculiar character of his chiaroscuro; and the most copious among these is Signor Zanetti, who devoted years to its examination. I select some of his observations, premising, however, that he left a large portion of them to the more studious, desirous themselves of developing them, in the works of Titian. And, in truth, his pictures are the best masters to direct us in the right method of colouring; but, like the ancient classics, that are equally open, and equally the subjects of commentary to all, they are only of advantage to those who are accustomed to reflect. I have already mentioned the lucid clearness predominating in Venetian paintings, and more especially in those of Titian, whom the rest adopted for their model. I then too pronounced it to be the result of very clear primary grounding, upon which a repetition of colours being laid, it produces the effect of a transparent veil, and renders the tints of a cast no less soft and luscious than lucid. Nor did he adopt any other [Pg 143]plan in his strongest shades, veiling them with fresh colour, when dry; renewing, invigorating them, and warming the confines that pass into the middle tints. He availed himself, very judiciously, of the power of shade; forming a method not altogether that of a mere naturalist, but partaking of the ideal. In his naked forms he cautiously avoided masses of strong shades and bold shadows, although they are sometimes to be seen in nature. They certainly add to the relief, but they much diminish the delicacy of the fleshy parts. Titian, for the most part, affected a deep and glowing light; whence, in various gradations of middle tints, he formed the work of the lower parts; and having very resolutely drawn the other parts, with the extremities, stronger, perhaps, than in nature, he gave to objects that peculiar aspect which presents them, as it were, more lively and pleasing than the truth. Thus in his portraits he centers the chief power in the eyes, the nose, and the mouth, leaving the remaining parts in a kind of pleasing uncertainty, extremely favourable to the spirit of the heads, and to the whole effect.

But since the variations of depth and delicacy of shades are insufficient, without the aid of colours, in this branch he likewise found for himself an ideal method, consisting of the use in their respective places, of simple tints, copied exactly from the life, or of artificial ones, intended to produce the illusion required. He was in the habit of employing only few and simple colours; but they were [Pg 144]such as afforded the greatest variety and contrast; he knew all their gradations, and the most favourable moments for their application and opposition to each other. There appears no effort, no degree of violence in them, and that striking diversity of colours which seems to strive, one above another, for the mastery, as it were, in his pictures, has all the appearance of nature, though an effect of the most bold and arduous art. A white dress, placed near a naked figure, gives it all the appearance of being mingled with the warmest crimson, while he employed nothing beyond simple terra rossa, with a little lake in the contours, and towards the extremities. Certain objects, in themselves dark and even black, produce a similar effect upon his canvass; and which, besides enlivening the adjacent colour, give force to the figures, wrought, as was before stated, with gradual middle tints. It is said to have been his favourite opinion, transmitted to us by Boschini, p. 341, that whoever aspires to become a painter, must make himself familiar with three colours, and have them ready upon his palette; these are white, red, and black; and that an artist, while attempting the fleshy parts, must not expect to succeed at once, but by repeated application of opposite tints, and kneading of his colours.

Here I shall subjoin some observations by the Cavalier Mengs, who entered so very deeply into the Titian manner. He pronounces him the first, who, subsequent to the revival of painting, knew how to avail himself of the ideal, as it were, of [Pg 145]different colours in his draperies. Before his time all colours had been applied indifferently, and artists used them in the same measure for clear and for obscure. Titian was aware, if indeed he did not acquire his knowledge from Giorgione, that red brings objects nearer to the eye, that yellow retains the rays of light, that azure is a shade, and adapted for deep obscure. Nor was he less intimate with the effects of juicy colours, and was thus enabled to bestow the same degree of grace, clearness of tone, and dignity of colour, upon his shades and middle tints, as upon his lights, as well as to mark with great diversity of middle tints, the various complexions, and the various superficies of bodies. No other artist, likewise, was more accurately acquainted with the mutual power or equipoise of the above three colours, upon which the harmony of pictures so much depends; an equipoise, too, so difficult in practice, to which not even Rubens, however excellent a colourist, perfectly attained.

Both Titian's inventions and compositions partake of his usual character; he produced nothing in which nature was not consulted. In the number of his figures he is inclined to be moderate; and in grouping them he displays the finest unshackled art; an art he was fond of exemplifying by comparison with a bunch of grapes, where a number of single ones compose the figure of a whole, agreeably rounded, light through the openings, distinct in shades, in middle tints, and in lights, according as it receives more or less of [Pg 146]the solar rays. No contrasts are to be met with in these compositions that betray a studied effect; no violent action that is not called for by the incidents of the story; the actors in general preserve their dignity, and a certain composure, as if each seemed to respect the assembly of which he formed a part. Whoever is attached to the taste of the Greek bassi relievi, in which all is nature and propriety, will invariably prefer the sober composition of Titian to the more fiery one of Paul Veronese and Tintoret, whose merits we shall canvass in another place. Neither was Titian ignorant of those strong contrasts of limbs and action, then in such high vogue with his countrymen; but these he reserved for his bacchanals, his battle pieces, and other subjects, in fine, which called for them.

It is on all hands admitted, that as a portrait painter, he was quite incomparable; and to this species of excellence he was in great part indebted for his fortune, smoothing, as it did, his reception into some of the most splendid courts, such as were that of Rome in the time of Paul III. and those of Vienna and of Madrid, during the reign of Charles V. and his successors. It is the opinion of Vasari that in this branch of his art he was inimitable; being engaged in drawing the portraits of numbers of the most distinguished characters, both for rank and letters, who flourished during the same period. We wish we could add to these the name of Cosmo I., grand duke of Tuscany, who, little to his credit, evinced an objection to [Pg 147]have his likeness taken by so celebrated a hand. He was no less successful in depicting the passions of the mind. The death of S. Peter the Martyr, at Venice, with that of a devotee of S. Antony, at the college of the same name in Padua, display scenes than which I know not whether painting can afford us any thing more terrific in the ferocity of those who strike, or more full of compassion in the whole attitude of the falling saint. And thus the grand picture of the Coronation of Thorns, in the Grazie at Milan, abounds with powers of expression that enchant us. He has left us also not a few examples of costume, and of erudition in the antique, every way worthy of imitation, as we may observe in the Coronation above alluded to, where, desirous of marking the precise period of the event, he inserted in the Pretorium a bust of Tiberius; an idea that could not have been better conceived, either by Raffaello or Poussin. In his architecture he sometimes availed himself of other works, in particular those of the Rosa, of Brescia; but his perspectives, like that of his picture of the Presentation, are extremely beautiful. He was equalled by none in his landscape; and he was careful not to employ it, like some artists, as a mere embellishment; several artists esteeming themselves so highly in this particular, that they hardly scruple to present us with cypress trees growing out of the sea. But Titian makes his landscape subservient to history, as in that horrific wood, whose dreary aspect adds so much to the solemnity [Pg 148]of S. Peter's death; or to give force to his figures, as we perceive them in those pieces where the landscape is thrown into the distance. His natural manner of representing the various effects of light may be best gathered from his Martyrdom of San Lorenzo, belonging to the Jesuits at Venice, in which he displayed such an astonishing diversity in the splendour of fire, in that of torchlights, and in that of a supernatural light, which appears to fall upon the martyr; a picture unfortunately much defaced by age, but of which there is a near imitation or duplicate in the Escurial. He likewise expressed, with the utmost felicity, the time of the day in which the event is supposed to have taken place, and he frequently selected nightfall, drawing forth all its most beautiful attributes for the canvass.

From the whole of this it may be inferred that Titian is not to be included in that class of Venetian artists, whose rapidity of hand overpowered their judgment, rendering them somewhat careless and inaccurate; though, at the same time, we must speak of his celerity with some degree of reservation. A freedom of pencil must doubtless be granted to him, and he thus applied it without failing in point of design, to his paintings in fresco, as they are to be seen in Padua, and which, in some measure, compensate us for the loss of those in the Venetian capital. In that city we have nothing of the same kind in preservation, if we except, perhaps, his S. Christopher, adorning the ducal [Pg 149]palace; a majestic figure, both in its character and its expression. We are not, however, to look for the same degree of freedom in his pictures in oil. Indeed he was by no means ambitious of displaying it; but rather encountered much painful labour to arrive at a perfect knowledge of his subjects. With this view, after throwing off a rough draught of his intended works, with a certain freedom and resolution, he was in the habit of laying them for some time aside, and again returned to them with an eye prepared to detect every the least defect. The noble Casa Barbarigo, among a fine selection of his most highly finished pictures, preserves, also, a few of these first sketches. It is well known that he underwent extreme labour in the completion of his works, and, at the same time, was very solicitous to conceal the pains he bestowed upon them. Yet in some of his pieces such spirited and resolute strokes are to be met with as seem to imprint upon every object the true character of nature, attain at once the points that have been long laboriously aimed at, and perfectly delight professors. To this practice he adhered in the zenith of his fame; nor was it until near the close of his existence, falling a victim to the plague when within a year of completing a century, that both his hand and eye failing him, his style became less elegant, being compelled to paint with repeated efforts of the brush, and with difficulty mingling his tints. Vasari, who saw him once more in 1566, even then was no longer able to recognize Titian in [Pg 150]Titian, and it must have been much more difficult in the few following years. Yet, as is customary with old age, he was not at all aware of his failings, and continued to receive commissions until the final year of his life.

There remains at S. Salvatore, one of these pictures of the Annunciation, which attracts the spectator only from the name of its master. Yet when he was told by some that it was not, or at least appeared not to have been executed by his hand, he was so much irritated, that in a fit of senile indignation, he affixed to it the following words, "Tizianus fecit fecit." Still the most experienced judges are agreed that much may be learned even from his latest works; in the same manner, as the poets pronounce judgment on the Odyssey, the product of old age, but still by Homer. Several of these last specimens, distributed throughout private collections, are nevertheless doubtful, as well as a few copies made by his pupils, but retouched by his hand; and in particular some Madonnas and Magdalens, which I have seen in various places, displaying little or no variety. Upon this point we ought not to omit the account given by Ridolfi, of his having purposely left his studio open for the free access of his disciples, in order that they might secretly take copies of such pictures as he had placed there. That afterwards when he found such copies became vendible, he gladly took possession of them, and retouching them with little trouble, they were passed as his originals. The [Pg 151]reporter of this incident added a marginal note to his account, as follows: Vedi che accortezza! behold what a degree of forecast! And to this I might rejoin with another of my own: "Note, that the worth of Titian ought not to be estimated, as is too often the case, by this multiplication of originals."

Following the usual order, I shall now proceed to describe the imitators of Titian; by no means so excellent a master as an artist. Whether disliking the interruption and tediousness attaching to such a character, or apprehensive of meeting with a rival, he was always averse to affording his instructions. He was extremely harsh with Paris Bordone, and even entered into decided hostility against him, an artist who burned with an ambition to resemble him. He banished Tintoret from his studio, and artfully directed his own brother to mercantile pursuits, though he displayed uncommon talents for painting. "Hence," observes Vasari, "there are few who can really be called his disciples, inasmuch as he taught little; but each learned more or less according as he knew how to avail himself of the productions of Titian."

His family of itself enumerated several artists, the series of whom may be seen at Cadore, and in part at the adjacent city of Belluno. There, too, contemporary with the Vecellj, flourished one Niccolo di Stefano, a painter deserving of commendation, no less for having competed with the family of Titian, than for the reputation he acquired in [Pg 152]such competition. His rivals among the Vecellj, were Francesco, the brother, and Orazio, a son of Titian, who approached him pretty nearly in point of style. They devoted, however, little attention to the arts, one of them having duties of a military and mercantile nature to discharge, and the other having thrown away much of his time and fortune upon the idle pursuit of alchemy. Several pictures by Francesco are to be seen at San Salvatore, in Venice, consisting of a tolerably well executed Magdalen, appearing at the feet of Christ risen, at Oriago, on the banks of the river Brenta, and a grand Nativity of our Lord, at San Giuseppe, in Belluno, which, until lately, was esteemed a fine specimen of Titian, when Monsignor Doglioni traced it by authentic documents to its real author. The production, however, which gave rise to Titian's jealousy, was the altarpiece at San Vito, in Cadore, in which, among the other saints, he represented the figure of the denominator of the town, in a military dress. Orazio was considered a good portrait painter, even so far as to rival his father; and he likewise painted, for the public palace a history piece, very beautiful, though retouched by Titian's hand, which has since perished by fire. I find no account of Pomponio, another son of Titian's, having applied himself to the art, though he survived both his father and brother, who both died in the same year, and dissipated his inheritance.

Marco Vecellio conferred more honour upon his [Pg 153]family, and being the nephew, the pupil, and intimate companion of the great Vecellio in his travels, received the title of Marco di Tiziano. In simple composition and mechanism of the art, he was a good disciple of his master; but he had not the genius to inspire his figures and interest the eye of the spectator, like his great contemporary. He was, nevertheless, esteemed worthy of the honour of ornamenting several chambers of the Venetian senate, with history pieces and portraits of saints that are yet preserved. Some of his altarpieces, likewise, still exist at Venice, in Trevigi, and in the Friuli; while one of his large pictures, adorning a parish church at Cadore, the native place of the Vecellj, has more particularly elicited the highest commendations. In this appears the Crucifixion, represented in the midst, with two histories of S. Catherine, V. M., her controversy, and her martyrdom, supporting either side. Tiziano Vecellio, called, to distinguish him from the former, Tizianello, was the son of Marco, whose name I include with those of the other Vecellj, in order to avoid recurring to a family of artists which ought to be made known and described in full. This last artist flourished about the beginning of the seventeenth century, when mannerism began its innovations upon Venetian painting. And those specimens of him possessed by Venice, at the Patriarchal church, at the Servi, and elsewhere, exhibit him in a very opposite taste to that of his predecessors, with larger forms, but less imposing; a full and [Pg 154]free pencil, but destitute of softness of hand; so powerful is the influence of reigning example over family descent and education. In portraits, nevertheless, and in heads, very capriciously varied and ornamented, I find him to be in much esteem among artists.

Fabrizio di Ettore traced his origin to another branch of the Vecellj. His name had hitherto been confined within his native spot of Cadore, until brought to light by Rinaldis, who gives some account of a fine painting he executed for the council hall of the parish, and for which he was paid sixteen gold ducats, no despicable sum at the period when he flourished. He died in the year 1580. His brother, of the name of Cesare, was likewise long unknown to pictorial history, although his productions are pointed out at Lintiai, at Vigo, at Candide, and at Padola. His name is more familiar to engravers, inasmuch as he gave to the world two works of Etchings, during the period of his residence in Venice. One of these, at present very scarce, contains, "Ogni sorte di mostre di punti tagliati, punti in aria," &c. The other is upon "ancient and modern costume," and has been several times republished, and once in 1664, with a false title; where Cesare is mentioned as a brother of the great Titian. A third Vecellio, an artist of the name of Tommaso, has, in a similar way, sprung into notice, one of whose productions, consisting of a Nunziata, is preserved in the parish church of Lozzo, as well as a Supper of our Lord, [Pg 155]both which the historian pronounces estimable. This artist died in 1620.

Another scion from the stock, though not from the studio of Titian, is Girolamo Dante, otherwise Girolamo di Tiziano, and first among his followers to be here mentioned. He was educated and employed, both as a scholar and assistant, by Titian, in his less important works. And in fact, by dint of assisting and copying the originals of his master, he attained such a degree of excellence, that such of his pieces as were retouched by Titian, bid defiance often to the most exact connoisseurs. He also produced works of design, and the altarpiece attributed to him at San Giovanni in Olio, reflects credit upon so great a school. Domenico delle Greche, named in the dictionary of artists, Domenico Greco, and in another article, Domenico Teoscopoli, was an artist employed by Titian in engraving his designs. The very copious print of the Submersion of Pharaoh, to say nothing of the others, is sufficient proof of his worth in this kind of engraving. No specimen of his painting is pointed out with certainty in Italy; many, however, in Spain, where, having accompanied his master thither, he resided during the remainder of his days. There, too, he produced portraits and altarpieces, which, according to Palomino, appeared to be from the hand of Titian himself. But he entered upon a new style, in which he altogether failed, and for a more particular account of [Pg 156]this artist we must here refer the reader to the Lettere Pittoriche, (vol. vi. p. 314).

The shortness of their career interrupted the fame of two other Venetians, both dying young, after having given the most astonishing and lively promise of future distinction. The name of one was Lorenzino, who produced, at SS. Giovanni and Paolo, several finely designed ornaments over a tomb, with two noble figures of Virtues, still highly esteemed for their symmetry, their attitude, and their colouring. The other was Natalino da Murano, as excellent in portrait as any other of the fellow pupils of his time, as well as a good composer in pictures for private ornament, from which Venetian dealers reaped greater profit than the artist. One of his Magdalens, which, in spite of frequent retouches, preserved much of the Titian manner, was put up to sale in Udine, where I saw it; and after some difficulty deciphered his name and the date of 1558, in very faint characters. There was likewise one Polidoro, a Venetian, who supplied the shops to abundance with specimens of his sacred figures. He appears, for the most part, a feeble disciple of Titian; one who made a trade of his profession. To judge from an altarpiece preserved at the Servi, and some other pictures in Venice, we may pronounce him a tolerably good composer, though he never distinguished himself much in the rank of his contemporaries. Yet when the great school declined, his labours, [Pg 157]such as they were, acquired more esteem, and were exhibited in the studios of those artists, much in the same manner as sculptors are accustomed to collect specimens of ancient marbles, however inferior, as advantageous in the pursuit of their art. Such is the influence of a great master's reputation, and the maxims of a flourishing epoch, in the estimation of an artist's merit. Doubts have been started as to his real name, although in the Necrologio of S. Pantaleone he is expressly called Polidoro Pittore. This supposition appears to have arisen from a little oblong painting, in the style of Polidoro's Madonnas, preserved by the noble Casa Pisani, where is formed so valuable a collection of monuments and books. The painter's name affixed to it, is "Gregorius Porideus;" but whatever resemblance we trace in the two names, it is not sufficient to mark Polidoro for the author of that piece, most probably the production of one of Titian's imitators, whose name is fallen with many others of an inferior class, into oblivion. We must not, however, include that of Gio. Silvio, a Venetian, which, omitted in the history of his native place, still vindicates its title to notice, by numerous works dispersed throughout the state of Trevigi, and a very elegant altarpiece, executed for the collegiate church of Piove di Sacco, a municipality of the Padovano. It represents San Martino in his episcopal chair, between the two Apostles Peter and Paul; three angels form the accessaries, two in the act of raising his pastoral staff, and the [Pg 158]third playing upon a harp, at the foot of the throne, extremely graceful, like the rest, and displaying a degree of taste and nature, such as we find in Titian. If we cannot then adduce authority sufficient to prove that Silvio was his scholar, it may, at least, from such a specimen, be strongly suspected.

I am indebted to Sig. Ab. Morelli, who in the Notizia already cited, has pointed out the true birthplace of Bonifazio Veneziano, who appears, notwithstanding the authority of Vasari, Ridolfi, and Zanetti, to have been a native of Verona, not of Venice. He is pronounced by Ridolfi a pupil of Palma, and by Boschini, on the other hand, the disciple of Titian, whom he followed as closely as his shadow. It was an usual observation, during the time of Boschini, and yet repeated indeed, in regard to certain doubtful pieces; is it a Titian or a Bonifazio? He approached nearest, perhaps, to Vecellio, in his Supper of our Lord, preserved in the monastery of the Certosa. For the most part he boasts a freedom, a spirit, and grandeur of hand, peculiarly his; although it is known that he greatly admired the vigour of Giorgione, the delicate taste of Palma, and the attitude and composition of Titian. The merit of this professor of the art was early appreciated, and historians have often observed that the three most distinguished artists of that period were Titian, Palma, and Bonifazio. Public edifices abound with his productions, and the ducal palace, among other of his [Pg 159]historical pieces, boasts that grand Expulsion of the money dealers from the Temple, which, for the number of the figures, for its spirit, and power of colouring, as well as for its fine perspective, is enough to render his name immortal. A more than mortal air of divinity shines in the countenance of the Redeemer, who, alone and unsupported, throws consternation into a crowd of people intent upon their worldly interests, and with a mere scourge of ropes, from which they fly in the utmost terror. And how anxiously is some wretch seen collecting his money upon those tables glittering with silver and gold; and with what dread he looks back, in order that he may escape from the blows! What an expression of alarm is seen in the countenance of each spectator; women, boys, people of every rank, terrified at the strangeness of the spectacle! This noble picture was presented to the public collection, not long ago, by the family of the Contarini; and for this reason we find no notice taken of it in the work of Zanetti. Other paintings might be mentioned upon a grand scale, and rich in figures, adapted for private collections; the most celebrated, perhaps, of which are his series of Triumphs, taken from Petrarch; pieces that have since passed into England. He likewise employed himself upon pictures of a smaller size, rarely, however, to be met with. One of these, a Holy Family at Rome, is in possession of Prince Rezzonico. The scene represents the workshop of S. Joseph, where he is seen reposing, while the [Pg 160]Virgin is intent upon her domestic duties, and a group of angels surrounds the infant Jesus, who is playing with the instruments of the saint's occupation. One of these is employed in placing two pieces of wood in the form of a cross, an idea frequently imitated by Albano. It is worth observation that Orlandi and other writers have confounded this artist with Bonifazio Bembo, many years anterior to him, and born at Cremona. The resemblance of names has likewise misled a more recent author in regard to another Venetian painter, mistaken for a native of Lucca. He painted a virgin with four saints for San Francesco, at Padua; a piece between the style of the moderns and the Bellini, to which is affixed the name Paulus Pinus Ven. 1565. And in the castle of Noale, in the state of Trevigi, he adorned with historical figures, adapted to the place, the public gallery, both interior and exterior, near which the judge is accustomed to hear cases and decide differences. Whoever is acquainted with the "Dialogue upon Painting," published by this professor at Venice as early as 1548, where, in the dedication, he professes himself a Venetian, and whoever has seen his works will be in no danger of confounding him with Paul Pini, of Lucca, of the Caracci School, whom we shall meet with beyond the precincts of his native place, like numerous others of his fellow citizens.

An imitator of Titian, in his colouring, though with a share of original vivacity, is Andrea Schiavone, of Sebenico, surnamed Medula. Few artists [Pg 161]have so early evinced a decided taste for their profession, of which it is said his father became aware when accompanying him through the city, yet a child, in order to fix upon his future destination. Observing him highly entertained with productions of the art, he instantly applied to the artists, and devoted him to the profession. But fortune was not favourable to him, and he became compelled, by penury, to obtain a subsistence rather as a daily hireling, than as an artist. Hence it was, that, destitute of a knowledge of design, he was obliged to paint, meeting with no other patrons than some master muratore, or wall painter, who had it in his power to recommend him for the façades, or some painter of household articles to employ him as an assistant. Titian conferred upon him some degree of credit, by proposing him, along with others, for ornamenting the library of S. Mark, where he worked more correctly, perhaps, than in any other place. Tintoret, also, did him justice, often aiding him in his labours, to observe the artifice of his colouring; and even gave one of his pictures a place in his own studio, observing that it would be well if every other artist would follow his example, though he would do ill not to design better than his model. Moreover he wished to imitate him, and placed an altarpiece at the church of the Carmini, so much resembling his style, that Vasari pronounced it to be the work of Schiavone. Yet the same historian held him in such slight esteem, as to say that it was only by [Pg 162]mistake that he occasionally produced a good piece; a sentence severely criticised by Agostin Caracci, as we gather from Bottari, in his "Life of Franco." And, in truth, except for design, the whole composition of Schiavone is highly commendable; spirited in his attitudes, drawn from the engravings of Parmigianino; his colours, approaching to the sweetness of Andrea del Sarto, beautiful; and his hand altogether that of a great master. His fame increased after his death, and his paintings, for the most part, of a mythological character, were removed from the chests and benches to adorn the cabinets of connoisseurs. Guarienti cites three of these in the collection at Dresden, and Rosa four, in the Cesarean one of Vienna. I have seen several very graceful specimens in the Casa Pisani, at San Stefano, and almost in every other gallery in Venice. In Rimini, also, I saw two of his pictures, painted as companions, at the Padri Teatini; the Nativity of our Lord, and the Assumption of the Virgin, small figures upon the Poussin scale, and among the most beautiful he ever drew. Santo Zago, and Orazio da Castelfranco, called dal Paradiso, are known for a very few works in fresco, but too well executed to be here omitted. Cesare da Conegliano, also, is the author of a single altarpiece, at the Santi Apostoli, of the same place, which represents our Lord's Supper, and sufficient of itself to place him near Bonifazio, and the best of that class.

Vasari, who has omitted some of the preceding, [Pg 163]twice makes honourable mention of Gio. Calker, or Calcar, as it is written by others, an excellent portrait painter, of Flemish extraction. He was also a good painter, both of small and large figures, several of which, according to Sandrart, have been attributed to Titian; and others, when he changed his manner, to Raffaello. He died young, in 1546, at Naples. Treating of Dietrico Barent, in Venice known by the name of Sordo Barent, Baldinucci supposes him to have been Titian's pupil, by whom he was regarded as his son. To these Ridolfi adds three excellent foreigners, one Lamberto, a German,[56] who is supposed the Lombardo, or Sustermans, who gave assistance in their landscapes alternately to Titian and to Tintoret, and left a very beautiful picture of San Girolamo, at [Pg 164]the Teresiani, in Padua; the others were Cristoforo Scuarz, and one Emanuel, a German. These, like many others, resorting to Titian for instruction, on their return to their native place introduced a taste for the Venetian School; and there continued to flourish. He must have presented more disciples to Spain, when being invited by Charles V. he removed to his court, and founded in his dominions a school, which acquired and continued to boast of excellent artists, particularly in point of colouring. One Don Paolo de las Roelas is mentioned by Preziado, who, in mature age, became a priest and canon. There is a grand picture from his hand in the parochial church of San Isidoro, at Seville, representing the death of the bishop. The style is altogether that of Titian, though he could not have been his disciple, if he was, indeed, born in 1560, when that artist was no longer in Spain. But in regard to foreigners, it is enough to have alluded to them in a history of Italians; and we must return to those natives of Italy, in particular of the state of Venice, who are esteemed among Titian's imitators. We may begin with the Friuli; although, the school of the great Pordenone there holding the sway, the genuine followers of Titian, excepting the Cadorini already mentioned, are very few and almost forgotten in history. [Pg 165]Among others of Friuli, Ridolfi mentions a Gaspero Nervesa, who painted at Spilimbergo, and calls him Titian's scholar. No genuine picture of his, however, is pointed out, though Father Federici discovered one at Trevigi. The same author likewise extols Irene de' Signori di Spilimbergo, a lady of singular accomplishments, highly celebrated by the poets of the fifteenth century. She left behind her three little pictures of sacred histories, preserved by the noble family of Maniago, and which are still to be seen at the house of Conte Fabio, equally distinguished for his acquaintance with science and with art. They display but little skill in the design, though they are coloured with a degree of masterly power, not unworthy the first artist of the happiest period. A Bacchanal, by the same hand, is at Monte Albodo, in possession of the Claudj family. Titian took the portrait of this lady, being known to be extremely intimate with her family; and for this reason it is believed that he must have had some share in the pictorial education of the fair artist.

Lodovico Fumicelli was an artist of Trevigi, reported to have been a pupil of Titian. At all events he was one of his most distinguished imitators. One of his pieces, adorning the great altar of the church of the Eremitani, at Padua, displays both the design and colouring of a great master. His native place can boast works that have been equally extolled. It is mortifying then to recall to mind that he abandoned his profession for the art [Pg 166]of fortification. One of his assistants, in Trevigi, was Francesco Dominici, who may be said to rival him in the cathedral of the city, in those two processions which they painted, opposite to each other. This young artist, of great promise, especially in portraits, produced little, being cut off in the flower of his days. With pleasure I annex to these a friend of Paolo, and excellent pupil of Titian's, whom, in some things, he imitated; but who has been erroneously denominated by historians:[57] my information respecting him, as well as other artists of Castelfranco, has been obtained from a MS. communicated to me by the learned Dottore Trevisani.[58] He took the name of Gio. Batista Ponchino, and the surname of Bozzato, a city of his native place, where several of his paintings in fresco still exist, together with his celebrated piece of the Limbo,[59] in San Liberale, the finest, if we except the works of Giorgione, which [Pg 167]that city has to boast, and it is greatly admired by strangers. He painted also at Venice and Vicenza, during the lifetime of his consort, a daughter of Dario Varotari; but on her death he assumed the ecclesiastical habit, nor interested himself much in his art.

Padua boasted two noble scholars from the hand of Titian; Damiano Mazza, and Domenico Campagnola. The former, however, was rather promised than conferred upon us; dying very young, after producing a single piece deserving of commemoration, in his native place. This was a Ganymede borne away by the Eagle, depicted on an entablature, which, for its exquisite beauty, was attributed to the hand of Titian, and removed from the place. Venice must have been his sphere of action; a few of his pictures remaining in different churches, executed with striking power and relief, if not with much delicacy of hand. The other artist is better known, said to have been of the family of Campagnola, though with no authority for the assertion. He was nephew to the Girolamo mentioned by Vasari among the disciples of Squarcione, and son to that Giulio,[60] whose genius is commended in the Literary History of Tiraboschi, (vol. vi. p. 792) and in the Storia Pittorica of Vasari. He was a fine linguist, miniature painter, and engraver, and the author of several [Pg 168]altarpieces, which betray some traces of the ancient style. Domenico's appears more modern, so much so, as to have awakened, it is said, the jealousy of Titian; an honour he enjoyed in common with Bordone, with Tintoret, and other rare artists. And his works give authority to the tradition, not so much in Venice as in Padua, a city for whose embellishment he would appear to have risen up. He painted in fresco, at the college of the Santo, in the style of an able scholar, emulating an incomparable master of his art. His pictures in oil resemble him the nearest of any, as we see in the college of S. M. del Parto, a complete cabinet of his works. He represented on the entablature, the Holy Evangelists, with other saints, in various compartments; and he seems to have aspired to a vastness of design, beyond that of Titian; and to mark the naked parts with a more evident degree of artifice.

Contemporary with Campagnola, though scarcely heard of beyond Padua, were Gualtieri, one of his relatives, and a Stefano del Arzere, who, in his picture of Christ upon the Cross, at San Giovanni di Verzara, appears ambitious, however rudely, of imitating Titian. Both were, nevertheless, esteemed by Ridolfi for their paintings in fresco, and both, together with Domenico, were employed in ornamenting a large hall, representing the figures of emperors and illustrious characters, upon nearly a colossal scale. For this reason it was denominated the Sala de' Giganti, afterwards converted into a public library. These figures are, for the most [Pg 169]part, of an ideal cast, various in point of design, in some dignified, in others heavy. The antique costume is not always strictly observed, but the colouring is rich and of a fine chiaroscuro, and it would be difficult to find in all Italy a piece which appears to have suffered less from time. Niccolo Frangipane is supposed to have been a Paduan, though his birthplace is disputed,[61] and he is not mentioned by Ridolfi. Still he may be esteemed worthy of being recorded for his exquisite style as a naturalist, in which he painted his picture of the Assumption, at the Conventuali, in Rimini, dated 1565, and a half-length figure of San Francesco, with that of 1588, at S. Bartolommeo, in Padua. A picture also of San Stefano is attributed to him by the Guide of Pesaro, though his genius was more adapted to burlesques, several specimens of which are yet in the possession of private individuals.

[Pg 170]Vicenza boasts the name of Giambatista Maganza, the head of a family of artists, who long devoted themselves, both in public and private, to the ornament of their native province. His descendants, however, adopted various styles, as we shall see, while Giambatista was only ambitious of treading in the steps of Titian, his master, which he did with success. He was an excellent portrait painter, and also left several works of pure invention at Vicenza, in which he displayed the same easy genius as in his poetry. He wrote in the rustic idiom of Padua, under the name of Magagnò, while such contemporaries as Sperone, Trissino, Tasso, and other celebrated wits, not ignorant of the dialect, applauded the excellence of his rude and sylvan strains. Giuseppe Scolari was an artist, supposed by most to have been a native of Vicenza, though referred by the Cavalier Pozzo to Verona. A pupil of Maganza, he excelled in works in fresco, and in chiaroscuro, enlivened by certain yellow tints, at that period in great vogue. He was a good designer, which appears from his works, both in Vicenza and Verona; and he likewise produced several large pictures in oil at Venice, much commended by Zanetti. Possibly another disciple of Maganza, from the period at which he flourished, was Gio. de Mio of Vicenza, an artist who competed with Schiavone, Porta, Zelotti, Franco, and with Paul Veronese himself, in the library of S. Mark, though history makes no mention of his master any more than of Mio; if, indeed, he should [Pg 171]not be the same as Fratina, recorded by Ridolfi, as one of the assistants in ornamenting the library. The name of Gio. de Mio was met with in one of the archives, and Fratina was possibly his surname.

Among the Veronese disciples of Titian, we have to mention Brusasorci, and, according to some writers, also Farinato. Both at least visited Venice, either for the purpose of studying his works, or in his school. Zelotti has been pronounced in more open terms the scholar of Titian. But of these and other distinguished artists of Verona, it will be preferable to give the reader some account when treating on the merits of Paul Caliari, a plan that will bring under immediate view the state of that noble school during its most flourishing period.

About the same time several Brescian artists greatly distinguished themselves, although too little known for want of enjoying a metropolitan city for their sphere of action. Luca Sebastiano, an Aragonese, who died towards the close of the sixteenth century, was celebrated, we are told, rather as a fine designer than a painter. An altarpiece with the initial letters L. S. A. has been attributed to his hand. It is the Saviour represented between two saints, the composition of which is common; the foldings of the drapery want softness; but the figures, the colours, and the attitudes are excellent. I apprehend that, however learned in his art, he would have been anxious to avoid competition with the two celebrated citizens, of whom [Pg 172]we shall now give some description. The first is Alessandro Bonvicino, commonly called Moretto of Brescia, who was among the earliest of Titian's school, to introduce his master's whole style of composition into his native district. This is clearly seen in his picture of S. Niccolo, painted in 1532 for the Madonna de' Miracoli, in which he depicted several figures of children, and of a man presenting them to the saint; portraits in Titian's best manner. Subsequently attracted by the composition of Raffaello, as exhibited in some pictures and engravings, he changed his style, adopting one altogether new, and so rich in its attractions, that many dilettanti have gone out of their way, and visited Brescia, for the sole purpose of feasting their eyes with them. The manner of Raffaello may be as strongly traced as we can imagine possible for a painter who had never seen Rome; we meet with graceful features, elegant proportions, if they do not sometimes appear too slender; accuracy in the attitudes and expression, which, in his sacred subjects, display, as it were, the peculiar feeling of remorse, of pity, and even of charity itself. The drapery is diversified, but not sufficiently select, while all the accessaries of the perspective and other embellishments are as splendid as in any Venetian artist, although not lavished with so much profusion; and he displays an exact, diligent, and delicate hand, which appears, to use a modern expression often applied, to write what it paints. In regard to colouring, Moretto [Pg 173]pursued a method, which surprises by its combined novelty and effect. Its chief characteristic consists of a very beautiful play of light and shadow, not disposed in great masses, but finely tempered and contrasted with each other. The same degree of art he applies both to his figures and his skies, where he sometimes depicts clouds whose colours are contrasted in a similar way. For the most part his grounds are clear and bright, from which the figures seem to rise with admirable relief. His fleshy parts often remind us of the freshness of Titian's; in his tints, moreover, he is more varied than the latter, or any other of the Venetians. Little azure appears in his draperies, the union of reds and yellows in a picture having been apparently more to his taste. It is the same with other colours, a circumstance I have noticed in some of his contemporaries, both of Brescia and Bergamo. Vasari, who has recorded his name, along with that of many other Brescian artists, in his life of Carpi, commends him for his skill in imitating every kind of velvet, satin, or other cloth, either of gold or silver; but as he did not see, or failed to commemorate, some of his choicest works, he has by no means done justice to his character.

Moretto produced some works in fresco, though, if I mistake not, he coloured better in oils; as is the case where diligence and depth of parts are not equally matched with pictorial rapidity and fire. He employed himself a good deal in his native province and the adjacent parts, in general distinguishing [Pg 174]himself more by his delicacy than by his grandeur of hand. A fine specimen of this last, however, may be seen in his terrific picture of Elias, placed in the old cathedral. He was intimate with all the best methods of his art; but he did not always care to practise them. His picture of S. Lucia, in the church of S. Clemente, is not so much studied as that of S. Catherine, and even this yields to his painting of the great altar, representing our Lady in the air, with the titular and other saints seen below. The composition is conducted in every part with exquisite taste, and the piece is considered one of the best the city has to boast. An altarpiece, consisting of various saints at S. Andrea, in Bergamo, another at S. Giorgio, in Verona, with the Fall of S. Paul, at Milan, with which last he appears to have been so much pleased, as to subscribe, which was very unusual with him, his name—are all likewise of the most finished composition. He was esteemed excellent in portrait, and educated for this branch of art Gio. Batista Moroni.

This last was a native of Albino, in the territory of Bergamo, where he produced, both for the city and the state, a variety of altar and history pieces, which he continued to supply from early youth, until within a few months of his decease. So much has been made out, from authentic documents, by the Conte Tassi, who brought forward a long series of his noble compositions. This artist is not, however, at all comparable to his master in point of invention, of composition, or design; [Pg 175]which last sometimes betrays a dryness approaching that of the quattrocentisti. Pasta notices the same defect, in his Incoronazione of our Lord at the Trinità, although very finely coloured, and a work equalling any of his others in point of merit. For the rest, it is certain that no artist of the Venetian School, besides Titian, has excelled him in the truth and nature of his portraits, and in the life and spirit of his heads, insomuch that Titian was in the habit of recommending him to the governors of Bergamo, as the best face painter he could offer them. There exist specimens in the Carrara collection, in possession of the Conti Spini, and in other noble houses, which still appear to breathe and live; the drapery is in the Titian manner, and if any thing can be said to be wanting, it is a greater degree of mastery in the design and attitude of the hands.

Francesco Ricchino, of Brescia, is another name deserving of record among the better disciples of Moretto, even in point of colouring. He was desirous, however, from what we learn from his pieces at San Pietro in Oliveto, of extracting improvement from the pictures, or at least from the engravings of Titian. Luca Mombelli followed him in some of his earliest works, until giving into too great delicacy of manner, his productions became somewhat feeble and tame. Girolamo Rossi, another pupil or imitator, has, if I mistake not, better displayed his master's manner than any other, particularly in an altarpiece, placed at San Alessandro, [Pg 176]representing the Virgin between various saints. Bagnatore was also a good copyist of the same style, an artist who, in his Slaughter of the Innocents, subscribes his name Balneator, and who, if not displaying great power, is nevertheless judicious, correct, and sober in his works in oil; and he was one to whom was committed by public order the task of copying a picture by Moretto.

Contemporary with Moretto flourished Romanino, of Brescia, about the year 1540; the same who in S. Giustina at Padua subscribes his name Hieronymus Rumanus. He was the rival of Bonvicino, inferior to him in the opinion of Vasari, but his equal according to Ridolfi. And truly it would appear that he surpassed him in genius and boldness of hand; but could boast neither the same taste nor diligence, several of his works appearing to be executed with a hasty pencil. Still he in general displays the qualities of a great master, both in his altarpieces and his histories, to say nothing of his burlesque compositions. The same character he maintained at Verona, where he painted the martyrdom of the titular saint, at S. Giorgio, in four large pictures abounding with great variety of figures, some of the most spirited, and the most terrible, in the executioners, that I ever saw. The same richness of invention, accompanied even with more select forms, is displayed in his altarpiece of the Holy Virgin in Calcara, at Brescia, in which he represented the bishop, S. Apollonio, administering the Eucharist to the crowd. It is a [Pg 177]work altogether charming, the splendour of the place, and of the sacred vessels; the religious aspect of the prelate, of the Levites, and of the people; the great variety of features and of rank; so many singular pictorial beauties are all placed within the limits of propriety and truth. Less full, but no less perfect, is his Descent of Christ from the Cross, at SS. Faustino and Giovita, a piece commended by Palma for its extreme resemblance to the Venetian style, most probably alluding to that of Titian, although in some other works he very strongly resembles Bassano. Titian, however, would appear to have been his model, to which he wholly devoted himself; whether he acquired so high a regard for him from his own master, Stefano Rizzi, an artist of mediocrity, or despairing of forming a new style, like his rival, he was in hopes of surpassing him by such means. And, in fact, he still retains admirers in those parts, who prefer him to Moretto, as well for grandeur of composition and energy of expression, as for a capacity of genius that embraced every variety of subject.

Girolamo Muziano acquired the art of design from Romanino, and taking his style of colouring from the works of Titian, he subsequently flourished at Rome, in which school he has been already mentioned. In this place we must include Lattanzio Gambara, the pupil and companion of Romanino, as well as his son-in-law, at least if we are to credit Ridolfi and other writers, in this last [Pg 178]point sanctioned by the popular tradition of Brescia. Vasari alone, who resided in his house only a short time before he gave some account of him, observes that he was son-in-law to Bonvicino, a point in which his memory, doubtless, betrayed him. Lattanzio was not inferior to his master in spirit, and, at the same time, better instructed in the rules of the art, and more learned. Having attended the academy of Campi, in Cremona, until his eighteenth year, and cultivated an acquaintance with the best foreign masters that he always retained, he added to this knowledge all the richest and most tasteful colours of the Venetian School. Like Pordenone, he employed his talents, for the most part, in frescos, which are still to be seen at Venice, as well as within and without the confines of the state. His manner, however, was less strong and shaded, but in other points much resembling him in the beauty and variety of his forms, variously coloured according to his subjects; in his knowledge of anatomy, without affectation, spirited attitudes, difficult foreshortenings; in a relief that deceives the eye, and in novelty and play of invention. To these we may add even a greater propriety of ideas, and sweetness of tints, acquired from other schools; Lattanzio having studied Giulio Romano at Mantua, and Coreggio in Parma. In the Corso de' Ramai, at Brescia, there yet remain three façades, adorned with various histories and fables, truly beautiful, executed by his hand. They are not, however, so imposing [Pg 179]as some of his scriptural pieces, to be seen in still better preservation in the cloister of S. Euphemia, engravings of which have been promised to the public. The spectator often recurs to them, and always with fresh pleasure. When for want of space the figures could not be put in an upright posture, he foreshortened them with admirable nature and facility, so that no other attitudes could be imagined so becoming to each figure. Professors have detected some degree of imperfection in the naked parts, very common, indeed, to the most celebrated painters of frescos; but it is such as cannot be perceived at a distance, or if seen, resembles only some false quantity in a good poet, easily to be pardoned in the number of poetical beauties with which his verses abound. He painted still more copious histories for the cathedral at Parma, containing, perhaps, his greatest and most studied production, and which fails not to please, even in the presence of those of Coreggio. There are several altarpieces likewise in oil at San Benedetto, in Mantua, all of which are not equally happy. A Nativity of our Lord, at SS. Faustino and Giovita, is his only picture in oil remaining at his native place in public; it is very graceful, displaying certain traits of the Raffaello manner. His picture of a Pietà, at San Pietro, in Cremona, is also highly esteemed by professors, one among whom, who had designed a good deal from the works of Lattanzio, declared [Pg 180]to me that he had never witnessed any other so exquisite in point of design, nor coloured with so much delicacy, clearness, and taste and softness of tints. Yet this great artist only reached his thirty-second year, leaving in Giovita, a Brescian artist, (likewise called Brescianino) an excellent disciple, particularly of works in fresco.

Geronimo Savoldo, sprung of a noble family in Brescia, flourished also about 1540, and is ranked by Paolo Pino among the best artists of his age. I know not where he acquired the rudiments of his art; but from a specimen which I saw at Brescia, he must have possessed great accuracy and delicacy of hand. Upon transferring his residence to Venice, he is known to have become one of the most formidable of Titian's rivals; not, indeed, in works of a large scale, but in smaller pieces conducted with an exquisite degree of care, which may, in a manner, be said to have been his chief characteristic. With such as these he beguiled his time, presenting them gratuitously as ornaments for churches. He produced others for private persons, now extremely rare and valuable, in different collections.

Zanetti, in his description of his little Presepio, (Christ in the manger), recently retouched, which is to be seen at San Giobbe, observes that the tint of his pictures is truly beautiful, and the whole composition conducted with a singular degree of care. In Venice, says Ridolfi, he is known by the name of Girolamo Bresciano, neither Romanino [Pg 181]nor Muziano having employed themselves there, with whom he might possibly have been confounded. There he resided for many years, and terminated his days at the same place. His happiest production, though unknown to the historian, was placed in the Altar-Maggiore, of the Padri Predicatori, at Pesaro, a noble piece, which produces a striking impression upon the eye. Our Lord is seen placed on high, seated upon a cloud, which appears truly illuminated by the sun, and on the foreground are represented four saints, drawn with a force of colouring that seems to bring them as near to the eye, as the soft colour of the perspective and of the upper part of the picture throws its objects into the distance. A small, but beautiful piece, in excellent preservation, is also seen in the Royal Gallery of Florence, exhibiting the Transfiguration of our Lord, placed there along with specimens of other Venetian artists, by the Cavalier Puccini, one who has conferred so many obligations upon that princely collection of art.

Finally, after Savoldo, may be placed, among the Brescian disciples of Titian, Pietro Rosa, son of Cristoforo, and nephew to Stefano Rosa, both excellent artists in oil. He was one of those pupils whom Titian, induced by the friendship he bore his father, instructed with most care, and the best success. Hence it is, we trace that clear and true force of colouring, which shines in every one of his pieces. Brescia boasts several, at the church [Pg 182]of San Francesco, in the Dome, and at the Grazie, where such as have the fewest figures produce the happiest effect. In his composition he is not so perfect as in other parts, whether it were that he had not naturally the best talent for it, or, as is more probable, that it is a branch of the art most difficult to young practitioners. For he died in the outset of his career, at the same period as his father, in 1576, whether from the plague or from poison is not known.

Although Bergamo, at that period, boasted many distinguished imitators of Giorgione, it yet produced an artist, Girolamo Colleoni, who ought to be included in the present list. Some frescos from his hand are found at Bergamo, and an oil painting in the Carrara Gallery. It exhibits the marriage of S. Catherine, which the best judges, on a first view, pronounced to be the work of Titian, till the superscription, with the name of Hieronymus Colleo, 1555, vindicated it for his own. This distinguished artist, conscious of his merit, and not finding himself appreciated in his own country, foreign and inferior painters being preferred before him, sought better fortune at the court of Madrid. But before setting out, he painted upon a façade the figure of a horse, of which great encomiums, in different works, are all that remain; and to this he affixed as a motto, Nemo propheta in patriâ. He is known to have employed, as an assistant, Filippo Zanchi, who, together with a [Pg 183]brother of the name of Francesco, has more recently been brought into view by Count Tassi, besides some others who might here add to the number, but not to the eminence, of so rich a school. An artist celebrated also by Ridolfi, ought not, in this place, to be omitted; the beauty of his tints, the design of his infant figures, and the nature of his landscape, all shewing that he aspired to the Titian manner. He painted in fresco, but possessed an universal genius, as has been pronounced by Muzio, in his "Teatro di Bergamo;" the truth of which more clearly appears from his own works. His name was Giovan-Batista Averara, and he died young about the middle of the most flourishing period of the art. Another artist deserving commemoration is Francesco Terzi, who long resided at the Austrian court, and is distinguished in most of the capitals of Italy for works he has there left. He has been mentioned by Lomazzo, in whose native place are still seen, at San Sempliciano, two noble histories, representing our Lord with his Apostles, somewhat dry in point of design, but bold in colouring.

In Gio. da Monte, Crema boasted a disciple of Titian, as he is described by Torre, who numbers him among the more distinguished artists who ornamented Milan. A grado, executed by him in chiaroscuro for an altar of Santa Maria, at San Celso, where he ought also to have painted the altarpiece, obtained for him a high reputation; but he [Pg 184]was deprived of the altarpiece, owing to the intrigues of Antonio Campi.[62] The work of Campi still remains there, and the opinion is that though it was paid for at a higher rate than the grado itself, it is yet a work of inferior merit to that of Giovanni, which much resembles Polidoro da Caravaggio, giving rise to a suspicion that Aurelio Buso, of Cremona, a scholar and assistant of Polidoro's, in Rome, may have been the only, or at least the earliest master of Giovanni. We know from Ridolfi that Buso produced various histories, in his native place, in the manner of his master, and historians of Genoese art record other works from his hand in their city. They assert that he departed thence unexpectedly, while Ridolfi concludes his life, by saying, that notwithstanding his worth, he died in poverty. From the period in which he flourished, he might possibly have been the master of Gio. da Monte, no less than Titian.

Callisto Piazza is likewise announced, by Orlandi, as another imitator of the latter, which is very evident from his picture of the Assumption, in the collegiate church of Codogno. It contains figures of apostles, and two portraits of the Marchesi Trivulzi, not unworthy of any of Titian's disciples. And for such, indeed, was Callisto esteemed, both elsewhere and in Lodi, possessing, in the [Pg 185]church of the Incoronata, three chapels, each ornamented with four of his very beautiful histories. One of these contains the mysteries of the Passion, another the acts of S. John the Baptist, and the third displays histories in the life of the Virgin. A report is current there, that Titian, in passing through Lodi, produced several heads, probably only a story originating in the exceeding beauty that may be observed in some. It appears, however, certain, that he also imitated Giorgione, in whose style he conducted his altarpiece, representing the Virgin between various saints, at San Francesco, in Brescia, esteemed one of the most beautiful in the whole city. He produced others for Brescia, for Crema, for the dome of Alessandria, and for Lodi, though in this last he succeeded better in fresco than in oil. From the circumstance of his residing in so many different places, I shall not refer him to the school of Milan, preferring to place him here, no less because of the vicinity of Crema to Lodi, than from his belonging to the list of the imitators of Titian.[63] Little justice has been done to the memory of such a man by Ridolfi, who commends him for nothing besides his colouring in fresco, and water colours; when, in fact, he boasts very noble design, and forms tolerably [Pg 186]select, more particularly in the Assumption already mentioned. Moreover, he calls him Callisto da Lodi Bresciano, as if da Lodi were a family name; although in signing his own name, he gave it Callixtus de Platea, at the Incoronata, and elsewhere desirous of marking his country, Callixtus Laudensis. Ridolfi, too, says little or nothing of the period in which he flourished. Padre Orlandi found, affixed to one of his pictures, at Brescia, the date of 1524. I may add, that in Lodi he gave the years 1527 and 1530; and that, in the Nuptials of Cana, in the refectory of the Padri Cisterciensi, at Milan, he marked 1545. It is truly a surprising production, no less for its boldness of hand than for the number of its figures, although the whole of them are not equally well studied, and a few, among others that seem to breathe and live, are really careless and incorrect.[64] He painted in the same city, within a courtyard, the choir of the muses, including the portraits of the president Sacco, the master of the house, and of his wife; respecting which, writes Lomazzo, [Pg 187]I may, without fear of temerity, observe, that it is impossible to produce any thing more perfectly graceful and pleasing, more beautiful in point of colouring, among works in fresco. (Trat. p. 598.)

We next arrive at the name of Jacopo Robusti, the son of a Venetian dyer, and for this reason surnamed Tintoret. He was pupil to Titian, who, jealous of his talents, soon banished him from his studio. He did not aspire, like the preceding artists, to the name of Titian's follower; for he burned with ambition to become the head of a new school which should carry his manner to perfection, adding to it all that was yet wanting; a vast idea, the offspring of a grand and fervid genius, and as bold as it was great, not even banishment from his master's school being able to damp his ardour. Constrained by circumstances to confine himself to an incommodious apartment, he ennobled it with specimens of his early studies. Over the door of it he wrote, "Michelangiolo's design, and the colouring of Titian;" and as he was an indefatigable imitator of the latter, so he was equally studious, both night and day, in copying the models, taken from the statues in Florence, belonging to the former. To these he added many more of bassi relievi, and of ancient statues. In a catalogue of ancient pieces of sculpture, cited by Morelli, and belonging to the year 1695, is recorded a head of Vitellius, upon which "Tintoretto was always employed in designing and learning," (note, p. 152). He was frequently in [Pg 188]the habit of designing his models by lamplight, the better to obtain strong shades, and thus acquire skill in the use of a bold chiaroscuro. With the same view he wrought models in wax and chalk, and having clothed them carefully, he adapted them to little houses, composed of pasteboard, and slips of wood, supplying them through the windows with small lights, by which he might thus regulate his own lights and shades. The models themselves he suspended from the ceiling by cords, placing them in a variety of positions, and designing them from different points of view, the better to acquire a mastery of the sotto in sù, or foreshortening on the ceiling, a science not so familiar to his school as to that of Lombardy. Nor did he neglect the study of anatomy, to obtain a thorough knowledge of the muscles, and the structure of the human frame. He designed also the naked parts, as much as possible, in various shortenings and attitudes, in order to render his compositions as diversified as nature herself. By such studies he prepared himself to introduce the true method to be pursued by his followers, beginning with designing from the best models, and having obtained the idea of a correct style, proceeding to copy the naked parts, and to correct their defects.[65] To [Pg 189]such aids he united a genius which extorted the admiration of Vasari, one of his severest critics, who pronounced it the most terrible of which the art could boast—an imagination fertile in new ideas, and a pictorial fire which inspired him with vigour to conceive well the boldest character of the passions, and continued to support him until he had given full expression to them on his canvass.

Yet to what did it amount?—what is the noblest genius, and all the rarest qualities meeting in a single artist, without diligence, a virtue which of itself, says Cicero, seems to include all the rest. Tintoretto possessed it for a period, and produced works in which the most captious of critics could not find a shade of defect. Of such kind is that Miracle of the Slave, adorning the college of St. Mark, a piece he executed in his thirty-sixth year, and which is held up as one of the wonders of Venetian art. The colours are Titian's; the chiaroscuro extremely strong; the composition correct and sober; select forms; studied draperies; while equally varied, appropriate, and animated beyond conception, are the attitudes of the men assisting at the spectacle, in particular of the saint who flies to succour, giving an idea of the swiftness of an aërial being. There, too, he painted other beautiful pieces, whose merit extorted from the lips of Pietro da Cortona these words: "Did I reside in Venice, not a festival [Pg 190]should pass without still resorting to this spot, in order to feast my eyes with such objects, and above all, with the design!" His picture of the Crucifixion at the college of San Rocco, is also esteemed a work of singular merit; displaying as it does, so much novelty upon so hackneyed a subject. Nor are other examples of his sovereign power wanting in the same place, filled with pictures as various as new; but, for brevity's sake, I shall merely record, in the third place, his Supper of our Lord, now at the Salute, having been removed from the refectory of the Crociferi, for which it was drawn. Those who have beheld it in its place, write of it as a miracle in the art, inasmuch as the construction of the place was so well repeated in the picture, and imitated with so much knowledge of perspective, as to make the apartment appear double its real size. Nor are these three works to which he affixed his name, as his favourite productions, the only ones worthy of his genius, Zanetti having enumerated many more, conducted with the most finished care; the whole exhibited to the Venetian public, without including those dispersed throughout the different cities of Europe.

But diligence is rarely found long united to a rage for achieving much; the true source in this instance, as in numerous others, of false, or at least of inferior composition. Hence, Annibale Caracci observed, that in many pieces Tintoretto was inferior to Tintoretto; while Paul Veronese, so ardent [Pg 191]an admirer of his talents, was in the habit of reproaching him with doing injustice to the professors of the art, by painting in every manner, a plan that went far to destroy the reputation of the profession (Ridolfi). Similar exceptions will be found to apply to such of his works as, conceived at a heat, executed by habit, and in great part left imperfect, betray certain errors both in point of judgment and design. Sometimes there appears a crowd of superfluous or badly grouped figures, and most generally all in the most energetic actions, without any spectators regarding them in quiet, as was practised by Titian and all the best composers. Neither in these figures are we to look for that senatorial dignity, which Reynolds discovers in Titian.

Tintoretto aimed rather at liveliness than at grace, and from the studied observation of the people of his native state, perhaps the most spirited in Italy, he drew models for his heads, as well as his attitudes, sometimes applying them to the most important subjects. In a few specimens of his Suppers, the Apostles might occasionally be taken for gondoliers, just when their arm is raised, ready to strike the oar, and with an air of native fierceness they raise the head either to look out, to ridicule, or to dispute. He likewise varied Titian's method of colouring, making use of primary grounds no longer white, and composed of chalk, but shaded; owing to which his Venetian pictures have felt the effects of time more than [Pg 192]the rest. Neither were the choice, nor the general tone of his colouring the same as Titian's; the blue, or the ash coloured, being that which predominates; one which assists the effect of the chiaroscuro, as much as it diminishes the amenity of the whole. In his fleshes there appears a certain vinous colour, and more particularly in his portraits. The proportions of his bodies are also different; he does not affect the fulness of Titian; he aims more at lively action than the latter, and sometimes attenuates his figures too much. The least correct portion of his pictures is the drapery; few of them being free from those long and straight folds, or flying abroad, or in some other way too common and obvious. It would be useless to insist upon his want of judgment, or rather his pictorial extravagances, Vasari having already said too much of them, upon the subject of his Universal Judgment, at Santa Maria dell'Orto.

He ought to have tempered the severity of his criticism, however, by admitting, that if the author of that great picture had bestowed as much pains upon the several parts as upon the whole, it would have been a magnificent production. Even in those pictures, in which he wished to display the talent as it were of an improvvisatore, he still vindicated his title to the name of a great master, in the command and rapidity of his pencil, in his manifestations of original powers, where he seems to triumph in his play of light, in the most difficult shortenings, in fanciful inventions, in his [Pg 193]relief, in harmony, and, in the best supported of his pieces, even in the beauty of his tints. But his sovereign merit consisted in the animation of his figures, it being an universal opinion, that has almost acquired the force of a proverb, that the power of action ought to be studied in Tintoretto. Upon this point Pietro da Cortona used to observe, that if we carefully examine the whole of those pictures which have been engraved, no artist will be found equal to him in the pictorial fire he infused into his forms (Boschini, p. 285). He flourished for a long period, exerting his talents until we could with difficulty make a catalogue of his works, still giving the rein to his divine ardour in many pieces of great size, or at least abounding with a great variety of actors. Among these last, his picture of the Paradiso, in the hall of the great council, was greatly esteemed, even by the Caracci; and though the production of advanced age, the figures are almost innumerable. Had they only been better grouped and distributed, the artist would not have given occasion for Algarotti to criticize such a painting as he did, adducing it as an example of badly conceived composition. Tintoretto's genuine productions are not often met with in the different collections of Italy. In Venice, however, they are not rare, and there we may learn, what appears so very improbable in Ridolfi, that Tintoretto wrought with a degree of finish equal to that of a miniature painter. The noble Casa Barbarigo, at S. Polo, possesses a Susanna [Pg 194]of this character, where, in small space, is included a park, with birds and rabbits disporting, together with every thing desirable in a pleasure garden; the whole as studiously finished as his figures.

There is little to add relating to his school on which none conferred greater credit than his son, Domenico Tintoretto. He trod in the steps of his father; but, like Ascanius following Æneas, "non passibus æquis." Still he may boast much resemblance in his countenances, in his colouring, and in harmony, but there is a wide distinction in point of genius, though some of his most spirited pieces have been ascribed to his father, or at least suspected of having been chiefly indebted to his hand. Many works, however, upon a large scale, are attributed to the son; those which he has filled with portraits being far the most commended; his merit in this branch having been thought equal by Zanetti to that of his father. One of these is seen at the college of St. Mark, where, as in the rest of his compositions, the figures are disposed with more sobriety than those of Jacopo, as well as finished with more care, and with more enduring colours. As he grew older his style fell somewhat into that of a mannerist, which at that period, as we shall see, much prevailed. By these distinctions his productions may be frequently known from his father's, and we may be enabled to refute the assertions of dealers, who, to obtain a higher price, attribute them indiscriminately to Jacopo. Yet Domenico produced [Pg 195]many pieces, more especially portraits for different collections, besides several mythological and scriptural histories, to which he sometimes added his name, as in his picture boasting such exquisite tints which adorns the Campidoglio; the subject of which is a penitent Magdalen. Contemporary with Domenico, we ought not to omit the name of his sister Marietta, so exquisite a painter of portraits, as to receive invitations from the Emperor Maximilian, and from Philip II. of Spain, to visit their respective courts. But her father would never consent to such a measure, in order to enjoy her society at home, though he was deprived of her not long afterwards, cut off in the flower of her genius and her age.

Jacopo possessed few disciples beyond his two children, though he profited in some measure from these few. Paolo Franceschi, or de' Freschi, a Fleming, and Martino de Vos d'Anversa, were artists he employed to draw his landscapes. The former was esteemed one of the best landscape painters of his time, while he succeeded also in figures. He was engaged to paint for the Palazzo Publico, and several churches in Venice, where he terminated his days. The second resided also at Rome; and, in the church of San Francesco a Ripa, painted his Concezione, a picture, indeed, abounding with too many figures, but beautiful and exquisite in its tints. With still greater felicity he depicted the four seasons for the Colonna family, very pleasing little pictures, [Pg 196]presenting a happy union of various schools, fine perspective, fine relief, with correct and graceful design. Passing into Germany, and increasing in reputation no less by his works than by the engravings made of them by Sadeler, there, full of years and fame, he died. Lamberto Lombardo has been just before recorded as the assistant of Tintoretto, but not his disciple.

Odofardo Fialetti, a native of Bologna, was educated in the school of Tintoretto, where he acquired a reputation for good design, and a thorough acquaintance with all the precepts of the art, yet he was still far from emulating his master, not possessing vivacity of genius equal to the task. To avoid a competition with the Caracci he long continued, and died at Venice, where many of his works are highly esteemed, and in particular his picture of the Crucifixion, painted for the Croce.

Among the imitators of Tintoretto appears the name of Cesare dalle Ninfe, an artist who aimed at reaching the sharp expression of ridicule, the novelty of ideas, and the rapidity of hand, so remarkable in his prototype; though unequal in his design. Flaminio Floriano seems to have been ambitious of imitating only the more correct parts of his model; so uniformly exact, temperate, and precise does he appear in his picture of San Lorenzo, to which he affixed his name.

The name of Melchior Colonna also occurs, though hardly known in Venice, and some perhaps would add that of Bertoli, a Venetian, to be [Pg 197]met with affixed to a picture at the chapel of San Niccola, in Tolentino. It represents the Plague that visited that city, if I mistake not, and which disappeared at the solicitation of the patron saint. There is also an account of another artist, who from his age might have received the instructions of Tintoretto, or at all events obtained them from his works; his name was Gio. Rothenamer di Monaco. Arriving in Italy with but a small fund of knowledge, acquired in the studio of a poor national artist, he distinguished himself at Rome, and perfected his style in Venice, adopting in a great measure the maxims of Tintoretto. There, at the Incurabili, he left a Santa Cristina, a Nunziata at San Bartolommeo, and, as we have reason to believe, other works in private possession, by which he obtained some degree of credit. Subsequently arriving at a handsome practice in England, he nevertheless contrived to die there in poverty, his funeral expenses being defrayed by the alms of some Venetians. But few others, observes Zanetti, pursued the same path, probably because at that period more pleasing and popular styles were in vogue. Ridolfi, on the other hand, asserts, that all young artists towards the end of the century were anxious to study him for their model; and we shall find, in treating of the mannerists, that he was acknowledged by them as their sovereign master. We must, in the next place, enter upon a consideration of the school of Bassano.

[Pg 198]Jacopo da Ponte, son to that Francesco, who, in the preceding epoch, was commended as one of the better artists who flourished during the fourteenth century, was nearly contemporary with Tintoretto, and was instructed by his father in the art. His earliest efforts, that are seen in the church of San Bernardino, in his native place, bear the impress of such an education. On resorting to Venice he was recommended to Bonifazio, a master no less jealous of his art than Titian or Tintoretto; insomuch that Jacopo never obtained the advantage of seeing him colour, except by secretly watching him through a crevice in the door of his studio. He resided but a little time in Venice, employed in designing the cartoons of Parmigianino, and in taking copies of the pictures of Bonifazio and Titian, whose scholar, upon the authority of some manuscript, he had also been. And, if conformity of manner were sufficient evidence, by no means always a certain guide, we might admit the truth of such supposition; his second style being altogether that of Titian. A few of his pictures are met with in his native place, such as his Flight into Egypt, at San Girolamo, and a Nativity of the Redeemer, in possession of Sig. Dottor Larber, both youthful productions, but which seemed to promise another Titian; so richly were they imbued with his sweetness of taste.

Upon his father's death Jacopo was compelled to return, and settle in his own province, whose city is at this day both rich and populous, and in [Pg 199]those times it was esteemed by no means despicable; its situation delightful, abounding with flocks and herds, and well adapted for the sale of merchandize, and for fairs. From these elements arose by degrees his formation of a third style, full of simplicity and grace, and which gave the first indications in Italy of a taste altogether foreign; that of the Flemish. In the use of his pencil, Jacopo may be said to have pursued two different methods. The first of these is much softened with a fine union of tints, and at last determined with free strokes. The second, resulting in a great measure from the other, was formed by simple strokes of the pencil, with clear and pleasing tints, and with a certain command, or rather audacity of art, that, nearly viewed, appears a confused mixture, but forms in the distance an enchanting effect of colouring. In both of these he displays the originality of his own style, chiefly consisting in a certain soft and luscious composition. It partakes at once of the triangular and the circular form, and aims at certain contrast of postures; so that if one of the figures is in full face, the other turns its shoulders; and at the same time at a kind of analogy, so that a number of heads shall meet in the same line, or in a want of these, some other form elevated in the same direction. In regard to his lights, he appears partial to such as are confined to one part, and displayed masterly power in rendering it subservient to the harmony of the whole; for with these rare lights, with the frequent use of middle tints, [Pg 200]and the absence of deep obscure, he succeeded admirably in harmonizing the most opposite colours. In the gradation of lights he often contrives that the shadow of the interior figure shall serve as a ground for one more forward; and that the figures should partake of few lights, but extremely bold and vivid at their angles; as for instance, on the top of the shoulder, on the knee, and on the elbow; for which purpose he makes use of a flow or sweep of folds, natural to all appearance, but in fact highly artificial, to favour his peculiar system. In proportion to the variety of his draperies, he varies the folds with a delicacy of judgment that falls to the share of few. His colours every where shine like gems; in particular his greens, which display an emerald tinge peculiar to himself. Whoever would become more familiar with the mechanism, and at the same time peruse a very full analysis, of Bassano's style, may refer to Sig. Verci, the able historian of the Marca Trevigiana, who drew it up from the MS. Volpati, cited by us in another epoch, and in the index to the writers.

At the outset Jacopo aspired to a grandeur of style, which is apparent from some of his pictures remaining in the façade of the Casa Michieli. Among these, a Samson slaying the Philistines meets with much praise, and indeed they all partake of the boldness of Michel Angiolo. But, whether the result of disposition or of judgment, he afterwards confined himself to smaller proportions, [Pg 201]and to subjects of less power. Even the figures in his altarpieces are generally less than life, and so little animated, that it was observed by some one, that in Tintoretto even his old men were spirited, but that the youths of Bassano were mere dotards. We do not meet with any of that noble architecture in his paintings, that adds so much dignity to those of the Venetian School. He appears rather anxious to find subjects in which to introduce candlelight, cottages, landscape, animals, copper vessels, and all such objects as passed under his eye, and which he copied with surprising accuracy. His ideas were limited, and he often repeated them, a fault to be attributed to his situation, it being an indisputable fact, that the conceptions both of artists and of writers become enlarged and increased in great capitals, and diminish in small places. All this may be gathered from his pictures produced for private ornament, the most familiar occupation of his life, inasmuch as he executed very few large altarpieces. He conducted them at leisure in his studio, and, assisted by his school, he prepared a great number of various dimensions. He then despatched them to Venice, and sometimes to the best frequented fairs, thus rendering the number so very great, as to make it rather a disgrace for a collection not to possess copies by his hand, than an honour to have them. In these may be viewed, almost invariably, the same subjects; consisting of acts of the Old and New Testament; the Feasts of Martha, of the [Pg 202]Pharisee, of the Glutton, with a splendid display of brazen vessels; the Ark of Noah, the Return of Jacob, the Annunciation of the Angel to the Shepherds, with great variety of animals. To these we may add, the Queen of Sheba; the three Magi, with regal pomp of dress, and the richest array; the Deposition of our Lord from the Cross, by torchlight. His pieces upon profane subjects exhibit the sale of beasts and of brazen vessels; sometimes rural occupations, corresponding to the seasons of the year; and sometimes without human figures, merely a kitchen, furniture, a fowl yard, or similar objects. Nor is it only the histories or the compositions themselves that recur in every collection to the eye; but even countenances taken from individuals of his own family; for instance, arraying his own daughter either as a Queen of Sheba, or a Magdalen; or as a villager, presenting fowls to the infant Jesus. I have likewise seen entire pieces, with the title of the Family of Bassano, sometimes in small size, and sometimes in larger. Of the former, I remarked a specimen in Genoa, in possession of Signor Ambrogio Durazzo, where the daughters of the painter are seen intent upon their feminine occupations, a little boy playing, and a domestic in the act of lighting a candle. One of the second kind may be seen in the Medicean Museum, a picture which represents an academy of music.

By this method he seemed to confess the poverty of his imagination, though he derived from it a [Pg 203]very remarkable advantage. By dint of continually repeating the same things, he brought them to the utmost point of perfection of which they were susceptible; as we may gather from his picture of the Nativity of our Lord, placed at San Giuseppe, in Bassano; the master not only of Jacopo, but in point of force of colours and the chiaroscuro, of every thing that modern painting has to boast. The same is seen in his Burial of Christ, at the Seminario of Padua, a picture of which an engraving was taken by order of Madame Patin, among the portraits of celebrated painters; having met with no other that seemed to breathe such a spirit of pity and holy terror. Finally, in his Sacrifice of Noah, at Santa Maria Maggiore in Venice, in which he collected specimens of all the birds and animals he had drawn elsewhere, he preserved the same character; and by this production so far won the regard of Titian, that he wished to purchase a copy for the ornament of his own studio.

Hence it happens, that the works of Bassano, conducted at a certain age and with singular care, are estimated very highly, and purchased at large sums, though not altogether exempt from some errors of perspective, from some awkwardness of posture, and some fault in composition, particularly in point of symmetry. Indeed it was the general belief, that he possessed little practical skill in designing the extremities, thus avoiding, as much as lay in his power, the introduction of feet and [Pg 204]hands into his pictures. These accusations, with others before alluded to, might be greatly extenuated by producing such examples of Bassano as would fully prove, that he could, when he pleased, draw much better than he was accustomed to do. He knew how to vary his compositions, as we perceive in his Nativity, at the Ambrosiana in Milan; and he might as easily have varied his other pieces. He was capable also of conceiving with equal novelty and propriety, as we gather from his San Rocco, at Vicenza; and he might thus have shone on other occasions. Moreover, he knew how to draw the extremities, as appears from his picture of S. Peter, at Venice, adorning the church of the Umiltà; and he could give dignity to his countenances, as in his Queen of Sheba, which I have seen in Brescia; and he might have displayed the same dignity in other pieces. But whether he found such a task too irksome, or from whatever other cause, he displayed his powers rarely; content with having arrived at his peculiar method of colouring, of illuminating, and of shading, with a sovereign skill. So universally was he admired, that he received innumerable commissions from various courts, and an invitation to that of Vienna. What is more honourable, notwithstanding his defects, he extorted the highest praises, if not from Vasari, from many of the most renowned artists; from Titian, from Annibal Caracci, who was so much deceived by a book painted upon a table, that he stretched out his hand to [Pg 205]take it up; and from Tintoretto, who commended his colouring, and in some measure wished to imitate him. Above all, he was highly honoured by Paul Veronese, who entrusted him with his son Carletto, for a pupil, to receive his general instructions, "and more particularly in regard to that just disposition of lights reflected from one object to another, and in those happy counterpositions, owing to which the depicted objects seem clothed with a profusion of light." Such is the flattering testimony given by Algarotti to the style of Jacopo da Ponte.

Bassano educated four of his sons to the same profession, which thus became transmitted to others, so that the Bassanese school continued for the length of a century, though still declining and departing fast from its primitive splendour. Francesco and Leandro were the two members of Jacopo's family best disposed to pursue his footsteps, and he was accustomed to pride himself upon the inventive talents displayed by the former, and the singular ability of the latter for portrait painting, Of his two other sons, Giambatista and Girolamo, he used to observe, that they were the most accurate copyists of his own works. All of these, more especially the two latter, were instructed by their father in those refinements of the art he himself practised, and they so far succeeded, that many of their copies, made both during and after the lifetime of their father, very frequently imposed upon professors, being received for the originals of Jacopo. [Pg 206]The whole of them, however, produced original works, and Francesco the eldest, having established himself in Venice, gave ample proof of it in those histories drawn from Venetian records, which he painted for the Palazzo Grande. They are placed near those of Paul Veronese, and appear to advantage even in such competition. His father here assisted him with his advice; himself attending upon the spot, and instructing him where he found occasion, how to add force to his tints, to improve his perspective, and to bring the whole work to the most perfect degree of art. His pencil may be very clearly traced in that of his son, as well as his style, which in the opinion of critics is somewhat too much loaded, especially in his shades. Francesco, likewise, produced several beautiful altarpieces, in which, on the other hand, he appears less vigorous than his father; as may be seen in his Paradiso, at the Gesù, in Rome, or in his San Apollonio, at Brescia, one of the most beautiful pieces in the church of S. Afra, and much admired by foreigners. And he would have achieved still greater things, had he not been afflicted with severe fits of melancholy, such as to deprive him of the use of his faculties and his time, until he was driven by sudden desperation to throw himself from a window, and, by this accident, still in the prime of his days, he lost his life.

The works which he left imperfect in the Ducal Palace, and in other places, were completed by Leandro, the third son of Jacopo, and a professor [Pg 207]in high repute. He followed the same maxims in the art, except that by his practice in portrait taking, he acquired more originality of countenance; and in the use of his pencil approaches nearer to the first than to the second style of Jacopo. He is, moreover, more variable in it, and inclines somewhat to the mannerism of his age. One of his best performances perhaps, is to be seen at San Francesco, in Bassano; Santa Caterina crowned by our Lord; amidst various saints, distributed upon the steps of the throne, with figures larger than customary in the Bassanese school. His pictures likewise of the Resurrection of Lazarus, placed at the Carità; and of the Nativity of the Virgin, at Santa Sofia; besides others he produced at Venice, as well as for the state, are distinguished by their large proportions. If familiar with the father's productions, we may often detect domestic plagiarisms in Leandro; who often repeats the family of da Ponte, copied in innumerable pieces by Jacopo, by his sons, and by their descendants. Even in his pictures for private ornament, conducted according to his own style and fancy, he was fond of adopting paternal subjects and examples; being skilful in drawing animals of every kind from nature. But nothing proved so favourable to his reputation, both in Italy and throughout Europe, as the immense number of his portraits, admirably executed, and not unfrequently with a certain original fancy, both for private persons and for princes. Those that he executed for [Pg 208]the Imperial Palace were particularly relished; insomuch that he received an invitation from Rodolph II., to accept the place of his court painter; an honour which Leandro thought fit to refuse. He was more ambitious of enjoying fame at Venice than at Vienna; for the Doge Grimani, the better to obtain a noble portrait of himself, had already created him his cavalier. And Leandro supported his dignity with an imposing demeanour: he lodged, dressed, and maintained his table in a noble manner. He appeared in public ornamented with a collar of gold, and with the insignia of St. Mark, accompanied by a train of disciples, who dwelt at his house. One of these bore his gold cane, another the repertory, in which he noted down all that was to be done during the day. The same were bound to attend upon him at table; and as he was suspicious of poison, he was accustomed, like the great, to have his tasters, who took something of every dish he eat; but they were ordered not to taste much, as in such case the great man became little, and gave rise to much mirth. Like his brother, he was subject to fits of melancholy, but he contrived to manage them so well, as only to give birth to comic, never to tragic scenes.

Giambatista da Ponte, is a name almost unmentioned in history; nor is there any production attributed to him, besides an altarpiece in Gallio, with his name, and which by some writer has been given, from its style, to Leandro. Girolamo, the last of the family, is better known by an altarpiece [Pg 209]which he conducted in Venice, after the composition of Leandro, as well as for others executed in Bassano and its vicinity. He cannot be denied a certain graceful air in his countenances; and in some of his works, displaying the simplest composition, very graceful colouring. Such is his picture of S. Barbara, adorning the church of S. Giovanni, at Bassano, where the saint is seen between two upright virgin figures, with their eyes fixed upon heaven, where the holy virgin is represented in the usual manner of the times.

Not only was Jacopo attached to the soil and very walls of his native country, from which no prospects of honour or of profit could tempt him away; but he liberally granted his instructions to his fellow citizens, which both his sons and their family continued after his decease. The best disciple whom they produced, was Jacopo Apollonio, the offspring of Jacopo's daughter. Though only acquainted with the two least celebrated of his uncles, he made rapid progress in his art, a case in which he may be compared to certain writers, who have wholly made use of their native dialect, without mingling it with any of a foreign growth. In like manner he is Bassanese in his ideas, in his draperies, in his architecture, and more than all, in his landscape, which he touched with a master's hand. He might easily at times be mistaken for the real Bassani, were he not inferior to them in the vigour of his tints, in the delicacy of his contours, [Pg 210]and in the strokes of his pencil. Some of his best works consist of a Magdalen, seen in the Dome of Bassano, a San Francesco at the Riformati, which present fair examples by which to judge of his style. Yet above all, his picture of the Titular with various other saints at San Sebastiano, is one of the most exquisite finish, and possesses every estimable quality in the art, except that of softness. Some have considered him the only artist among the disciples of this school worthy of commemoration. Yet the natives of Bassano set some store by two brothers named Giulio and Luca Martinelli, very estimable scholars of Jacopo. They also hold in some esteem Antonio Scaiario, son-in-law to Giambatista da Ponte, as well as his heir, owing to which he sometimes signs himself Antonio da Ponte, Antonio Bassano. Nor do they omit the name of Jacopo Guadagnini, the offspring of a daughter of Francesco da Ponte, who acquired some merit in face painting, and in copying, however feebly, the works of his ancestors. Upon his decease in 1633, every vestige of the manner and of the school of Jacopo became extinct in Bassano. There nevertheless arose about the same period in Cittadella, a place adjacent to Bassano, a young genius of the name of Gio. Batista Zampezzo, who, directed by Apollonio, and having concluded his studies at Venice, devoted himself to copying the works of Jacopo. So well did he imitate his Santa Lucilla baptized by San Valentino, a piece at the Grazie [Pg 211]in Bassano, that Bartolommeo Scaligero pronounced it comparable with the original. He flourished about 1660;[66] and subsequent to him appeared the noble Gio. Antonio Lazzari, a Venetian, who succeeded in deceiving the most skilful artists, says Melchiori, by dint of copying Jacopo, and passing for him. It will not have been irksome, I trust, to my readers, thus to have connected together a series of the school of Bassano, by aid of which the copies taken by so many artists, at different periods, and with various degrees of merit, may be better distinguished.[67]

[Pg 212]Whilst the Bassanese school employed itself in drawing the simplest objects of rural nature upon a small scale, a different one sprung up in Verona, which surpassed all others by copying, upon the most ample grounds, every thing most beautiful in art; such as architecture, costume, ornaments, the splendour of trains of servants, and luxury worthy of kings. This then remained still to be completed, and it was reserved for the genius of Paul Caliari to accomplish. The son of Gabriele, a sculptor at Verona, he was destined by his father for the same art. Instructed in a knowledge of design, and modelling in clay, he nevertheless evinced so strong a genius for painting, as to induce his father to give him as a pupil to Badile, under whom, in a short time, he made an astonishing progress. He had, however, appeared in an age that made it incumbent on him to exert himself greatly, such were the splendid talents that distinguished the Veronese School. It is deserving, indeed, of separate mention, inasmuch as it might of itself form a school apart, were it not that its principal masters had acquired a knowledge of their art, either from Mantegna of Padua, or from the Venetian Bellini; from Giorgione, or as we shall have occasion [Pg 213]to see, from Titian. It was thus derived rather from the artists of the state, than from its own or from foreign sources; though it flourished by its own industry, and produced as many various styles as any other place in the terra firma. I have already alluded to the remark of Vasari, that "Verona having constantly devoted itself, after the death of F. Giocondo, to the study of design, produced at all times excellent artists, &c." such praise as he bestowed on no other city of the Venetian state. I noticed also its superiority in force of expression, and its very general taste, in animating and giving an air of liveliness to its heads, so general indeed as to be almost characteristic of the nation. To these it added a beauty peculiar to itself; more light and elegant, and less full than in the Venetian paintings, though not so fresh and rubicund in the fleshy parts. It is also equally happy with any other in its inventions, availing itself of mythology and history to form fanciful compositions, and for the ornament of palaces and villas. The national genius so well adapted for poetry, aided the artists in the conception of such compositions; while the advice of able men, always abounding in the city, helped to perfect them. The climate too was favourable for the production, as well as for the preservation of paintings; for while at Venice the saltness of the air destroyed many beautiful pieces in fresco, in Verona and its adjacent towns a great number remained entire.

[Pg 214] We have already alluded to its leading masters of the preceding epoch, observing that many were entitled from their works to rank in this brighter period. To these I add Paolo Cavazzola, pupil to Moroni, and in the opinion of Vasari, much superior to him. He died at the age of thirty-one, leaving many fine specimens of a mature judgment in different churches. The two Falconetti were also worthy of some notice. Gio. Antonio, an excellent draughtsman of fruits and animals; and Gio. Maria, a scholar of Melozzo (Notizia, p. 10,) and a celebrated architect and painter, though not one of the most copious, more especially in fresco. These two brothers were descendants of old Stefano da Verona, or da Sevio, whichever he is to be called. Nor less worthy in the opinion of Vasari was one Tullio, or India il Vecchio, an able artist in fresco, a portrait painter, and a celebrated copyist. His son Bernardino appears to advantage, no less in a bold than a delicate style; in which last, if I mistake not, he is superior, as we perceive from specimens in the churches, and other collections in Verona. Many of his pictures betray a style approaching that of Giulio Romano. He is recorded by Vasari, together with Eliodoro Forbicini, famous for his grotesques, and assistant in many of his labours to India, as well as to various other artists of no mean fame.

Dionisio Battaglia distinguished himself by an altarpiece of Santa Barbara, mentioned by Pozzo as being at Santa Eufemia; no less than did [Pg 215]Scalabrino by his two scriptural histories placed at San Zeno. Two other artists of the same period are very deserving of mention, both on account of their productions and their pupils; Niccolo Giolfino (in Vasari called Ursino) the master of Farinato; and Antonio Badile, the tutor and the uncle of Caliari. Giolfino, or Golfino, according to Ridolfi, partakes something of the dryness of the Quattrocentisti, less select and animated than the best of his contemporaries, his colours not very vivid, but pleasing and harmonious. Most probably educated by some one of these miniaturists, he succeeded better in pictures upon a small than upon a large scale, such as in his Resurrection of Lazarus, to be seen in the church of Nazareth. Born in 1480, Badile flourished during another eighty years, and was the first, perhaps, of any in Verona, to exhibit painting altogether free from traces of antiquity, while he excelled no less in external forms than in depicting the inward affections and passions of the mind. He was moreover the author, at the same time, of a peculiar softness, yet freedom of hand; though it is not known from whom he acquired it. He affixed to his works only the first syllable of his name, formed in a cypher. His picture of the raising of Lazarus, painted for San Bernardino, and another with some holy bishops at San Nazaro, both so much commended by Ridolfi, serve to shew from what source his two pupils, Paolo and Zelotti, derived that elegant manner, which they mutually improved [Pg 216]by assisting one another. A similar style was for some years displayed by Orlando Fiacco, or Flacco, from which he is supposed to have been a scholar of Badile, though Vasari, who extols him particularly in portrait, gives him to another school. However this may be, it is certain he inclined to a boldness of style, approaching that of Caravaggio. He flourished but a short period, during which he acquired more merit than fortune.

This resulted from the too great abundance of good artists in Verona, a circumstance that induced many to seek better fortune in foreign parts. Orlandi, on the authority of Vasari, has inserted in the Abecedario a professor of the name of Zeno, or Donato, a native of Verona, who in the church of San Marino at Rimino, painted the titular saint with singular care. I saw it, and it displayed great simplicity of composition, good design, and still better colouring, more particularly in the dress of the bishop, which he laboriously ornamented with little figures of saints. He seems to have belonged to the golden period of art; and it is known that he left other works at the same place, and most probably never changed his residence, or at least did not return, so far as we know, to Verona. Two other artists, named Batista Fontana, much engaged at the imperial court of Vienna; and Jacopo Ligozzi, who long flourished at the court of Tuscany, as I have observed in its place, also adopted the resolution of quitting their native city. Of the former scarcely [Pg 217]any thing remains there; though there are a few pieces by the hand of the second, among which at S. Luca a Saint Helena, who, surrounded by her court ladies, assists in the discovery of the Holy Cross, a picture displaying the best Venetian taste in its tints, and in the richness of its draperies; but certainly all the worst, in regard to transferring our own customs to more ancient times. Giovanni Ermanno had either a brother or other relation who approached him very nearly in point of merit, as may clearly be seen at the Santi Apostoli in Verona.

But those who had there obtained the ascendancy, when Paul Veronese first began to make himself known, were three fellow citizens, who still maintain a high character in their native place, inferior only to that of Paul himself. Their names are Batista d'Angelo, surnamed del Moro, as the son-in-law and pupil of Torbido; Domenico Ricci, called il Brusasorci, from his father's custom of burning rats; and Paul Farinato, likewise called degli Uberti. All three were invited by the Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga to Mantua, in order that each might exhibit in the cathedral an altarpiece; while together with these appeared Paul, the youngest of the whole; but who according to Vasari and Ridolfi, surpassed them in the competition. But it is not yet time to enter upon his merits, having first to treat of his rivals, before we venture upon him and his followers, so as not [Pg 218]to have occasion for interrupting the remainder of this history, until we arrive at a new epoch.

Giambatista was the least celebrated of the three, though each of his works obtained so much credit, that when Santa Eufemia had one of its walls demolished to make way for a new edifice, his picture of St. Paul before Ananias, that adorned it, was carefully preserved at considerable expense, and replaced over the door of the church; yet this was one of his earliest productions. He produced a great many others, both in oil and in fresco, not unfrequently in competition with Paul. He follows Torbido in point of diligence, and in his strong and unctuous colouring. He has more softness, however, of design; and, if I mistake not, more grace; of which he gave a distinguished specimen in an Angiolo at San Stefano, in the act of distributing the palms to the SS. Innocenti. He was employed, also, in Venice, where the most studied and animated production, going by his name, is not positively pronounced his by Ridolfi, but only esteemed to be his, while it is ascribed by Boschini to Francesco Alberti, a Venetian, known merely by this single production. It is an altarpiece in Santa Maria Maggiore, representing the Virgin between St. John and St. Mark, and several lords in ducal robes, with their sons, in the act of adoring her; very lively portraits of the Marcello family, for whom the altar was painted. Vasari gives a brief account both of him and his [Pg 219]son Marco, his pupil and assistant, though he did not mention Giulio, brother to Batista, who distinguished himself alike in all the arts, and is called by Zanetti dotto pittore. Both, like Batista, exercised their talents in Venice, and whoever compares the four Coronati of Giulio, placed at San Apollinare, with the Paradiso of Marco at San Bartolommeo, will discover an elegance, a precision, and an arrangement of style, sufficient to mark them for disciples of the same school.

Brusasorci may be termed the Titian of this school. It is not known that he received the instructions of any other master besides Giolfino, but it is certain that he studied the works of Giorgione and of Titian, in Venice. He has exhibited the style of the latter in a few of his pictures with great accuracy, as we see in his San Rocco, in the church of the Padri Agostiniani at Verona, and in several other pictures for private persons, among which he has drawn nymphs and Venuses. An eye accustomed to the originals of the best Venetians, detects a diversity of tints which in the artist of Verona are less glowing. His genius could not confine itself to the imitation of a single model, like some of the Venetians; he became fond of Giorgione, and to judge from one of his pieces remaining at Mantua, also of Parmigianino. There in the ducal palace we meet with the Fable of Phaeton exhibited in different pieces, which, however much defaced by time, are still admired [Pg 220]for the fancy and vivacity they display, no less than for their abundance of figures, and the difficult foreshortenings he has inserted. But his chief merit was shewn in his frescos, with which he decorated villas and palaces with the erudition of a fine poet and the execution of a fine painter. He produced, likewise, his histories; and the masterpiece of all I have seen is the procession of Clement VIII. and of Charles V. through Bologna, a picture exhibited in a hall of the noble casa Ridolfi, and which has been engraved. A nobler spectacle cannot well be imagined; and although other specimens, both of this and similar subjects are met with very generally at Rome, in Venice, and in Florence, none produce equal effect; combining in one piece, a large concourse, fine distribution of figures, vivacity of countenances, noble attitudes in the men and horses; variety of costume, pomp, and splendour and dignity, all bearing an expression of pleasure adapted to such a day. This piece may compete with another in the palazzo Murari at Ponte Nuovo, also in fresco, though this last is preferred in the estimation of many before that of the casa Ridolfi, as I have been informed by the learned Signor dalla Rosa.

Felice Riccio, otherwise Brusasorci the younger, and the son of Domenico, became an orphan before he had completed his studies with his father, which he continued under the care of Ligozzi, at Florence. On returning thence to Verona, he introduced [Pg 221]a style very different to the manner of his father. It is extremely elegant and refined, as displayed in his Madonnas, with boys and beautiful cherubs, adorning various collections; and with features something resembling those of Paul Veronese, if not a little more spare. Nor is he deficient in strength where his subject requires it, as I remarked in a picture belonging to the Conti Gazzola, representing the forge of Vulcan, with Cyclops, designed in good Florentine taste, and powerfully coloured. Many of Felice's works are interspersed through the churches of Verona, among which his Santa Elena, belonging to the church of that name, is extremely beautiful. He did not exercise his talents, like his father, in fresco, nor had he equal genius; though he produced pieces on a large scale, the extreme of which was the Fall of Manna, painted for the church of S. Giorgio, a picture both vast and well conceived, and which received its last touches from Ottini and Orbetto, two of his best disciples, whose names I reserve to another epoch. Several little pictures, likewise, both on sacred and other subjects, executed on stone or marble, which he coloured with great skill, availing himself for his shades of the marble itself, are attributed to his hand. Even his portraits are in high esteem; though nearly equalled by those of his sister Cecilia, who acquired skill in the art from her father. Gio. Batista Brusasorci, brother of the preceding artists, and a scholar of Paul Veronese, presented [Pg 222]Verona with several highly esteemed pictures; but passing into Germany he became painter to the emperor, in whose service he died.

Surviving the whole of these, and almost all the Caliari family, we meet with the name of Paolo Farinato, as grand an artist perhaps as his namesake was beautiful. After leaving the school of Giolfino, he is supposed to have studied the works of Titian and Giorgione, at Venice; and if we may judge also from his style, he must have received the instructions of Giulio Romano in design; though he made use of the Venetian tints, out of which he formed a system of his own. He survived till his eighty-first year, still preserving his natural good humour; and as is customary with men of so advanced an age, he prided himself upon it, affixing his name to a picture he produced at San Giorgio, placed opposite to one by Felice, stating he had painted it in his seventy-ninth year. It is a representation of the multiplication of loaves in the desert, abounding with very numerous figures, in part portraits of his own family, and in part ideal heads. He is one of the few painters whose merit did not deteriorate in advanced age, for though in some early pieces he betrays a certain dryness of manner, in this last he left nothing imperfect, neither in fulness of contours, in the fancy of his draperies and embellishments, nor in the study of his figures and landscape. His design has been much commended, which was the case with few others of his school; [Pg 223]and even in the time of Ridolfi his sketches, the cartoons of his first studies, and his models of figures in wax, were all eagerly sought after for ornamental cabinets. A San Onofrio is pointed out at the church of San Tommaso, in a sitting posture, taken from the celebrated torso di Belvedere; which, as well as many other of his attitudes, and subjects where he introduced naked figures, discovers an acquaintance with the ancient style not common among the Venetians. To his fleshes he gives a bronze colour, which produces a pleasing effect, and harmonizes well with his tints, for the most part sober and even flat in his grounds; giving a repose to the eye which attracts without dazzling it. He is generally esteemed, however, a weak colourist, and better in his frescos than in oil. I know not whether it may be owing to partiality, or to the merit of this great man, but certain it is, that on my quitting Bologna he was the only artist, the whole of whose works I regretted not having seen; so much of all that is rare and beautiful did I meet with in those I saw. More likewise I beheld in Mantua, in San Sisto at Piacenza, in the Ducal Gallery at Modena, in Padua, and other places. I have sometimes observed a kind of snail that Paolo is said to have chosen for his device, remarking that he likewise bore his house upon his head.

His son Orazio practised the art only for a few years. His best praise is, that during that short period he made approaches towards the style and [Pg 224]merit of his father. There is one of his pieces at San Stefano, representing the Faithful receiving the Holy Spirit from the Apostles;[68] and, if we except only Paul Veronese, it makes a distinguished figure, placed near some of the best artists of Verona.

Resuming here the thread of our former discourse, we must observe that Paul Caliari found the public prepossessed in favour of the three foregoing artists, and obtained little consideration in his own district while young. The world, ever disinclined to admit the claims of rising reputation, either knew not, or believed not, that in his competition with the Mantuan artists he had surpassed them all; insomuch that this youthful genius was compelled by penury to quit Verona, leaving behind him, upon an altar at San Fermo, a Madonna between two Saints, with a few other proofs of his early powers. He first went to Vicenza, and thence passed on to Venice. His genius was naturally noble, and even magnificent and vast, as well as pleasing; and no provincial city was capable of supplying him with ideas proportionate to his genius, like Venice. There he aimed at improving his style of colouring, upon the models of Titian and Tintoretto, as well as to surpass them, as it would appear, in elegance and variety of ornament. Hence his pupils were accustomed to say, that at that time he devoted himself to the study of casts taken from ancient statues, to [Pg 225]the engravings of Parmigiano, and to those of Albert Durer. The first works that he produced for the sacristy of S. Sebastiano in Venice, present us only with the elements of that style he subsequently acquired, in the air of the heads, and in the variety of drapery and of attitudes. For the rest his pencil was still timid, inclined rather to unite his tints with care, than to a bold and free manner of handling. But it was not long before he displayed more freedom, and more attraction, in painting the ceilings of the same church, where he represented the history of Esther, a work whose novelty conciliated public admiration and became a stepping stone to very honourable commissions from the senate.

In the meanwhile he enjoyed an opportunity of visiting Rome, in company with the ambassador Grimani, where, surrounded by its grand ancient and modern productions, "al volo suo sentì crescer le penne," he felt his wings enlarging as he rose, of which he soon gave proofs in the Palazzo Pubblico, at Venice. Here his imagination seems to revel in every piece coloured by his hand; but particularly in that which may be called the apotheosis of Venice, in regal costume, seated on high, crowned by Glory, celebrated by Fame, attended by Honour, Liberty, and Peace. Juno and Ceres are seen assisting at the spectacle, as symbols of grandeur and felicity. The summit is decorated with specimens of magnificent architecture, and with columns; while lower down appears [Pg 226]a great concourse of ladies with their lords and sons, in various splendid habits, all represented in a gallery; and on the ground are represented warriors upon their chargers, arms, ensigns, prisoners, and trophies of war. This oval picture presents us with an union of those powers, with which Paul so much fascinates the eye, producing a general effect altogether enchanting, and includes numerous parts all equally beautiful; bright aërial spaces, sumptuous edifices, which seem to invite the foot of the spectator; lively features, dignified, selected for the most part from nature, and embellished by art. Add to these, very graceful motions, fine contrasts and expressions; noble vestments, both for their shape and materials; with crowns and sceptres, magnificence worthy of so august a scene; perspective that gives distance to objects, without displeasing us when near;[69] the most lively colours,[70] whether similar or contrasted, and harmonized with a peculiar degree of art, such as is not to be taught. Not inferior to these was the handling of his pencil, which [Pg 227]to the utmost rapidity unites the greatest judgment, that effects, decides, and achieves something in every stroke; gifts which he had at that age rendered familiar to him, and which form the character of his genius. Whoever has resolution enough to read Boschini (for it is not every one in Italy that can boast as much) will find at p. 643 and further, in addition to the description of this picture, the commendations he bestowed on it, along with Strozza, Mignard, and other able artists, as one of the rarest specimens in the world. Yet this did not obtain for him so high a reputation as his "Suppers." Whoever undertakes to describe his style, ought by no means to pass over a representation, perhaps the most familiar to him of all, having repeated it so many times, until by force of exercising his powers and varying it in different ways, the first sovereigns in the world became desirous of obtaining copies. Several I have seen upon a small scale, but always beautiful; one, the Supper of the Eucharist, at Santa Sofia, in Venice; another, upon the same subject, and of exquisite workmanship, at the Casa Borghese, in Rome; and the feast given by San Gregorio to the poor, belonging to the Serviti, in Vicenza; besides others in different collections. In Venice he painted four Suppers for the same number of refectories in religious houses, both large and rich in point of invention. The first representing the Marriage of Cana, is still preserved at San Giorgio Maggiore, [Pg 228]thirty palms in length, copies of which every where abound, and which is highly estimable on account of the great number of the figures, amounting to one hundred and thirty, as well as for its portraits of princes and illustrious men, who flourished at the period. It was nevertheless executed for the price of only ninety ducats. The second is in better preservation, placed at San Giovanni and San Paolo, representing the supper prepared by Matthew for our Lord; and is very highly extolled for its heads, all of which Ricci, at a mature age, copied for his studio. The third is at San Sebastiano, consisting of the Feast of Simon. The fourth, along with the same Feast, formerly placed at the Refectory of the Servi, was presented to Louis XIV. of France, and deposited at Versailles; and this was preferred by Venetian professors to all the rest. For this reason numerous copies were presented by them to the world; although the artist himself took one for the refectory of the monks of SS. Nazario and Celso, along with the same Supper, now in the fine Doria collection at Genoa; and which, however inferior in size to the rest, is considered equal to any of the preceding, and has been engraved by the hand of the celebrated Volpato. Another, likewise of Simon, was sent from Venice to Genoa, which I saw in possession of the Durazzo family; with a Magdalen that may be esteemed a miracle of art; and I also met with an old copy in the Casa Paolucci, [Pg 229]at Pesaro. What novel methods he adopted in all these to decorate the place with architecture, and how well he availed himself of them to add to the spectators at the festival! What passions depicted in each of the principal actors, and how appropriate to the period! What splendour in the preparation, luxury of dishes, and pomp of guests! Whoever considers these, will easily excuse such an artist for some occasional imperfection of design, and for inattention to ancient costume, in which he is always faulty.[71] Even Guido, an artist so highly celebrated, so far excused them, that he was accustomed to say, "were it given me to choose what painter I would be, I should prefer being Paul Veronese; for in others every thing appears the effect of art, but he alone seems all nature."

He continued to produce specimens until he was sixty years of age, though he cannot, like many others, be accused of having painted too much; each piece is worthy of Paul Veronese, and each has been multiplied by some copyist; an honour that artists have not bestowed upon the works of Tintoretto, or those of many others. His method [Pg 230]of making use of clear grounds, and as much as possible of virgin colours, has greatly contributed to the preservation and freshness of his colouring. In Venice we meet with several of his pictures yet glowing with the peculiar grace he shed over them. A remarkable specimen is seen in that belonging to the noble house of Pisani, exhibiting the family of Darius presented to Alexander, which surprises as much by its splendour as it affects us by its expression. Equal admiration was at one time evinced for his Rape of Europa, which he drew upon a large scale, in various groups, much in the same manner as Coreggio, in his Leda. In the first she appears among her virgins in the act of caressing the animal, and desirous of being borne upon him: in the second, she is seen carried along, applauded by her companions, as she enjoys the scene riding along the shore. In the third, (the only one in grand dimensions) she cleaves the sea in terror, in vain desired and lamented by her virgin train. This work, ornamenting the Ducal Palace, suffered much from the effects of time, and has subsequently been restored.

In Verona, boasting a clime more favourable to paintings, we more frequently meet with his pictures in complete preservation. Many noble houses, in particular that of Bevilacqua, at one period his patrons, are in possession of several. As an expression of his gratitude, he represented in a portrait of one of the Bevilacqua family, his own [Pg 231]figure standing upright, with the air of his attendant. But his San Giorgio, surrounded by the two grand histories of Farinato and of Brusasorci already described, by some esteemed to be the best painting in Verona, is, perhaps, in the most perfect state of any that remain. The San Giuliano of Rimini is likewise a valuable piece, which may, perhaps, compete with the San Giorgio. The San Afra, at Brescia, and the S. Giustina, at Padua, placed in their respective churches, have also suffered little; but the last, indeed, is in too lofty a situation. His labours for different collections were very great, consisting of portraits, Venus, Adonis, Cupids, Nymphs, and similar figures, in which he displayed the most rich and varied beauty of forms, fancy in their embellishment, and novelty in his inventions; all subjects indeed familiar to his pencil, and which are to be seen in different galleries, not omitting even the imperial one. Among his sacred subjects he was more particularly attached to the marriage of St. Catherine, one of the most laboured of which fell to the share of the royal collection of Pitti. He produced, also, several Holy Families, in which the better to depart from the common practice, he gave birth to new inventions. They are to be met with in Ridolfi (p. 307), copied from one of his own MSS. But his devotional pieces were also, for the most part, copious histories; such as the Slaughter of the Innocents, laboured in the miniature style, at the Palazzo Borghese; the Esther, at Turin, in [Pg 232]possession of the King of Sardinia. The Queen of Sheba, among a troop of handmaids at the throne of Solomon, a picture lately acquired by the reigning sovereign at Florence. Halls, chambers, and façades likewise, decorated by him in fresco with allegorical poems and representations of histories, are frequently met with in Venice, and in the palaces and seats belonging to the state. Highly meriting notice is the palace of His Serene Highness Manin, Doge of Venice, to be seen in the territory of Asolo; the architecture is that of Palladio; the stuccoes, of Vittoria; while the pictures of the Muses, and of many other Pagan deities, are from the hand of Paul; forming an union of artists sufficient to render the place as celebrated among modern villas, as was that of Lucullus among the ancients.

The school of Paul Veronese commences like those already described, with his own family; in the first place, with Benedetto, his younger brother, and with his two sons, Carlo and Gabriele. Benedetto was remarkable for the fraternal affection he displayed towards Paul, assisting him in the ornamental part of his labours, particularly in his perspectives, in which he possessed considerable skill. And, after his death, he shewed the same affection to the two sons, directing them by his advice, supporting them in their undertakings, and leaving his inheritance to their family. His genius for the art was not very great, and in the pieces conducted by his own hand, he appears only as an [Pg 233]imitator of Paul, occasionally happy however in a few heads, or in his drapery, but by no means equal with himself. There is hardly a work in which the connoisseur may not easily detect something weak or faulty, as in the Last Supper, in the Flagellation, in the Appearance of the Saviour before the Tribunal of Pilate, which he painted for the church of San Niccolo, and which are some of his best productions. If he ever appears to have surpassed himself, as in the instance of his picture of St. Agatha, placed at the Angeli, in Murano, the work has been ascribed to Paul, and has even been engraved under his name. According to Ridolfi he succeeded better in fresco than in oils; and both he and Boschini, who examined his Roman histories, and his mythological fables, painted in stone colour, in the Cortile of the Mocenighi, give us a very favourable idea of them; and the same where they speak of his ornamental work, in halls and other places, which admitted of his introducing a display of architecture and embellishments, rather than of figures.

Carlo Caliari, generally entitled Carletto, the diminutive of his name, from the circumstance of his dying at the early age of twenty-four,[72] as we find in the register of his parish, owing to his excessive application to study, was gifted with a genius like that of his father. His disposition was particularly docile and attentive, and he was the boast [Pg 234]of his parent, whose style he emulated better than any other artist. But Paul, ambitious that he should even excel him, was unwilling, that by forming himself upon a single model, he should succeed only in becoming a feeble sectarist. He sent him, therefore, to study the school of Bassano, the robustness of which blended with his own elegance, would, he expected, produce an original manner superior to either of the other two. At the period when Carletto closed the eyes of his beloved father, he was only in his sixteenth, or at farthest his eighteenth year, though he had attained such progress and reputation in the art as to be enabled to complete several pictures left unfinished by his parent, nor was he ever in want of commissions. His productions often appear by the hand of Paul; whether at that time he did not wholly depend upon his own resources, or that his father, at least, might have retouched his pieces, is not certain. Skilful judges, indeed, have pretended to discern, or rather to count the number, of the strokes traced by the paternal pencil, from their inimitable ease, lightness, and rapidity. Thus it has occurred in an altarpiece of San Frediano Vescovo, to which is added St. Catherine, and some other saint, placed in the Medicean Museum, and bearing the son's name, though boasting at the same time all the grace of his father. But, wherever Carlo executed his pieces alone, he is easily distinguishable; his pencil is somewhat more full and heavy, while his tints are stronger and deeper than those [Pg 235]of his father. We have an instance in his San Agostino, at the church of La Carità, whose colouring betrays that union of the two schools so much desired by Paul.

Gabriele executed little in which he was not assisted by his brother. In several altarpieces we read as follows: "Heredes Pauli Caliari Veronensis fecerunt;" which alludes to such pieces as Paul himself left imperfect, the completion of which became a joint labour; a system they continued, likewise, in others, which they produced for churches, and for the public palace. Ridolfi awards the chief merit to Carlo, placing Gabriele second, and adding, that Benedetto had, likewise, his share, more especially in the architectural parts. Probably too some other pupil of Paul assisted them. For, in these, we find represented the maxims of the master, even his studies, and the same figures as his. Still there is occasionally some diversity of hand perceptible, as in the martyrdom of an Apostle at S. Giustina of Padua, where one of the figures appears so much loaded with shade, as not merely to betray a difference of hand, but of schools. Gabriele survived the other artists of his family; residing subsequently in Venice, more in the character of a merchant than a painter. Still he continued occasionally to produce a few portraits in crayons, extremely rare, or some picture of a cavalcade; nor did he desist from visiting the studio of the artists, where he assisted them, when agreeable, with his advice. Arriving at the period of [Pg 236]1531, memorable for the great pestilence in Italy, and impelled by those noble precepts of humanity inculcated in the gospel, he generously exposed his life in the service of his afflicted fellow citizens, and fell a sacrifice to the task.

Proceeding to the other disciples of Paul, and to his imitators, it will not be found easy to enumerate them. For having been interested beyond any other painter in the cultivation of an art, whose object is to give pleasure, so he excelled all others in the number of his followers. We are told by Zanetti, that many of them were also very successful, owing to which, less accurate judges are apt to confound the master with those of his school, if they do not cautiously attend to the two following points, in which none will be found to equal him. These are, 1st, the fineness and peculiar lightness of his pencil combined with sound judgment; 2d, a very ready and spirited expression of grace, and a dignity in his forms, particularly in the air of his heads. It must, however, be observed, that his scholars, in the progress of time, for the most part varied the grounds and the colouring, as they approached the style of the succeeding epoch. Among the Venetians, there is only enumerated by Zanetti the name of Parrasio Michele,[73] an artist who enriched with the designs [Pg 237]of Paul, and experienced in the art of colouring them, produced several works worthy of him, more especially that of a Pietà, adorning a chapel within the church of San Giuseppe, a piece in which he added a portrait of himself. The people of Coneglia have preserved the recollection of one of their citizens named Ciro, to whom they attribute an altarpiece of the Nativity of Christ, as nearly resembling the style of Paul as possible, for which reason it was transferred from the church of the Riformati in that city to Rome; and they add, that its author was a youth, who never attained to mature age. Castelfranco boasts one Cesare Castagnoli as a pupil of Paul; though in his numerous paintings in fresco he cannot be said to display much power, at least beyond a certain degree of spirit, promptness, and copiousness of ideas. A few less shewy and fanciful productions from the hand of Bartolo, his brother, executed [Pg 238]in oil, acquired for him higher reputation than that of Cesare. Angelo Naudi, an Italian, is much commended by Palamino for his labours in the royal palaces, and in various churches in Spain, when painter to the court of king Philip. There is reason to doubt whether he really received the instructions of Paul, instead of imbibing his manner by dint of study and copying, like Bombelli and many others; it being recorded of this writer, otherwise very estimable, that in regard to masters he was apt to embrace opinions by no means always true. Omitting the names of a great number of foreigners, we make mention here only of the Veronese, in order that their master should not appear unaccompanied by the noble train of disciples bestowed by him upon his country.

Luigi Benfatto, known by the name of dal Friso, a sister's son, and for many years the guest of Paul, copied him in the outset even to servility; though he afterwards gave himself up to an easy and rapid style of composition, little short of the licence of the mannerists. It has been supposed that he only availed himself of this facility in such commissions as were of small value. He approaches nearest to Paul in the church of San Raffaello; in other places he resembles Palma. A more free and spirited imitator of Paul was found in Maffeo Verona, a pupil and son-in-law to Luigi; but the quantity of vermilion with which he heightened the colour of his fleshes, detracts from his worth. Francesco Montemezzano, a Veronese, [Pg 239]approached still more frequently than either of the preceding to the character of the head of his school. He acquired great reputation by a picture of the Annunciation, painted for the church of the Osservanti alla Vigna; and he was employed, also, in the Ducal Palace. He partakes of Caliari in his countenances, in his costume, and in the beauty of his figures: as to the rest, he was slow of hand, and feeble in his colouring. His picture at San Giorgio, in Verona, consisting of the Apparition of Christ to the Magdalen, appears extremely languid in competition with that of Paul, which is one of the most brilliant productions remaining of that period. To these we might add the names of other Veronese, as Aliprando, and Anselmo Canneri, characterised by Vasari as an able assistant to Paul his master.

Among all the Veronese artists most resembling Paul, when ambitious of doing so, was his friend and companion, though his rival, Batista Zelotti. Instructed in the same academy, he was occasionally the companion of his labours, and occasionally taught and executed works himself—always however observing the same rules. Vasari mentions him with commendation in his Life of San Micheli, where he entitles him Batista da Verona, and includes him among the disciples of Titian. I have seen a Holy Family by this artist in Titian's style in the Carrara collection, frequently extolled by us before; and from such a studio it would appear we are to look for that warmth of [Pg 240]tints, in which, for the most part, he excels Caliari; as well as that power of design in which Zanetti is of opinion that he also surpassed him, although others think very differently. He often surpasses him, likewise, in grandeur, and in what appertains to painting in fresco; a circumstance Paul was aware of, and for that reason sought to obtain his assistance in works of that kind. He possessed great fertility of ideas, and a rapid hand, while he was profound and judicious in his compositions. Indeed, he might have been esteemed another Paul, had he been able to compete with him in the beauty of his heads, in variety, and in grace. In truth, his productions were frequently given to Paul, even those he painted for the Council of Ten having been engraved under the latter name by Valentino le Febre. He was doubtless one of the first artists of his time, though not estimated according to his deserts, from having worked chiefly in fresco, and at a distance from capital cities; in villages, in country seats, and palaces. One of his grandest works is seen at Cataio, a villa belonging to the Marchese Tommaso Obizzi, where, about 1570, he represented in different rooms, the history of that very ancient family, distinguished no less in council than in arms. The place is continually sought by foreigners, attracted thither by its splendour, by the fame of these pictures, and by the valuable museum of antiquities, collected by the hand of the Marchese; a task of few years, but in point of taste, abundance, [Pg 241]and rarity of specimens, calculated to confer honour upon the state. In his oil paintings Zelotti could not compete with Caliari, though he approached him near enough, in his Fall of St. Paul, and his Fishing of the Apostles, which he executed for the dome of Vicenza, to merit the honour of having them attributed to the pencil of Caliari.

This city was his chief theatre of action; he remained there during some time, and initiated one Antonio, a youth called Tognone, in the art, from whose hand a few works in fresco are pointed out in the city, while he is honoured by Ridolfi both with a Life and Eulogy. Zelotti was in Vicenza, both alone and together with Paul; where with the help of one of his best pupils he established a school, which partook of the taste of both these masters. I reserve a list of his followers for the succeeding epoch.

It is here the place to inform our readers, that the various styles, hitherto described as attaching to the Venetian School, do not comprehend all that flourished in the state. Ridolfi remarks this in his preface, and laments, that owing to the conflagrations occurring in the city, or by the neglect of writers, not a few materials had perished, that might have added interest to his history. In truth, he was not merely ignorant of several of the more ancient artists, but in the period we are describing omitted the names of Jacopo Fallaro and Jacopo Pisbolica, whom Vasari, in his Life [Pg 242]of Sansovino, records with praise, citing from the hand of the former a picture of San Gio. Colombino, at the Domenicani delle Zattere; and of the latter, his Ascension of Christ at Santa Maria Maggiore. He likewise passed over Vitrulio, several of whose productions are the ornament of Monte Novissimo, bearing his name. These artists, judging from their manner and other points, are to be referred to the age of Titian. Ridolfi made mention, and more at length, of another, who, exactly contemporary with Paul, continued to flourish many years after him, but always assailed by fortune; and though a good colourist, being greatly deficient in point of invention and design. His name was Antonio Foler; and, as a convincing proof of his mediocrity, it will be sufficient to allude to his Martyrdom of St. Stephen, at the church of that name; it is nevertheless, one of his best altarpieces. In small figures, however, he appears to have had merit.

Before concluding the present epoch, it will be proper to mention two painters; one a foreigner, the other a Venetian, both of whom followed a style altogether different from such as we have already described. The artist of Venice is Batista Franco, called Semolei. He has been treated of in the first volume in several parts, and especially in what relates to Baroccio, to whom he was master. He pursued his studies in Rome, and so great was his progress in the art of design, that he was accounted one of the best imitators of [Pg 243]Michel Angiolo. In ornamenting San Gio. Decollato, a church belonging to the Florentines in Rome, he appears to have been ambitious of making a parade of his powers, and his style became somewhat loaded in the attempt. In his other pictures which I have seen in the dome at Urbino, and in that of Osimo, where he painted in 1547, in Bologna, and in Venice, I have not met with any thing similar. He invariably appears to have been an able follower of Michel Angiolo, and a more powerful colourist than the chief part of the Florentine artists. It is easier to become acquainted with him in the States of the Church than in his native city of Venice, whither he seems to have retired towards the close of his days, since, in 1556, he was among the artists selected to adorn the library of St. Mark. There he represented his fable of Actæon, along with several symbolical inventions; and a few other of his pictures are exhibited there in public. He died not long subsequently in the year 1561.

The foreign artist is Giuseppe Porta della Garfagnana, already mentioned, likewise, under the Roman School, in which he was instructed by Francesco Salviati, whose surname he assumed. For this reason he is sometimes entitled in history Salviati the younger. He accompanied his master to Venice, on the latter being invited by the Patriarch Grimani to embellish his palace, where he produced his celebrated Psyche, still to be seen there, near two pictures by the hand of Porta. [Pg 244]Francesco, however, soon left Venice; Vasari adducing as a very sufficient reason, that it was no place for the residence of artists distinguished for excellence in design. But the success of Porta, who became established and died at Venice, clearly proves the contrary. Initiated in a knowledge of design by Francesco, he wholly retained the character of the Florentine School, only enlivening it with tints in the Venetian taste. Nevertheless, he was approved by Titian, and selected along with Paul and other leading names to paint in the library of St. Mark; he was continually engaged to work in fresco and in oil, both in public and in private; and was always distinguished there as one of the most able masters of his age.[74] Several of his altarpieces remain, and among others one of the Assumption; a beautiful piece, at the Servi, in Venice, besides a Christ taken from the Cross, at Murano, displaying powers of invention wholly original, full of expression, and an air of majesty not very usual in this school. He repeated the same subject frequently; and there was a duplicate in the Ducal collection at Modena, subsequently transferred to Dresden.

Following these artists, the reader must not be surprised to meet with the name of Jacopo Sansovino, who, as will appear from the index, derived his surname also from his master. He was much courted in Venice, owing to his excellence in the art of statuary, as well as in that of an architect, [Pg 245]with which he ornamented public places. Still he failed not to exercise some influence over that of painting, at least of design; in which he had been well instructed by Andrea del Sarto, in Florence. Indeed, as the director of the edifice of St. Mark, numerous artists were dependent upon him; and it is known, that he received some commissions for designs in mosaic work, which I do not, however, find particularized; as well as others, most probably, in tapestry, for the altar of the sacrament, as it has been conjectured from their style, by Signor Zanetti. In regard to foreign styles, we must proceed, without dwelling upon the Cavalier Zuccaro, Passignano, and others already treated in their respective schools, to make brief mention of Giuseppe Calimberg, or Calimperg, by birth a German, who flourished a considerable time at Venice, where he died about 1570. There is the Battle of Constantine, by his hand, still preserved at the Servi; and had he always displayed the same taste, I should not scruple to pronounce him excellent, though somewhat heavy, in the practice of his art. Subsequent to him appears to have flourished Gio. de Chere Loranese, who ought to be mentioned, before we proceed to treat of the sect of mannerists, and of the Tenebrosi.[75] Ranking among the scholars of the best Venetian masters, he produced a history piece for the grand council hall. Other names of foreign artists [Pg 246]are to be looked for in the Guida: it is my object in this school, as in the rest, to record only such as are most deserving of commemoration.

In the progress of the present history, the reader may probably have observed, that no distinction had yet been made between certain species of painting, previous to the sixteenth century. The figurist copied every thing, and availed himself of every thing to adorn his compositions; landscapes, animals, fruits, flowers, and perspective, were all employed as accessaries in favour of the leading art; the execution of which was about as difficult to the great masters as the throne of Jupiter to Phidias, after having completed the figure of the god. By degrees, however, they began to separate, and to treat these parts of painting severally. The Flemish were among the first, who, pursuing the bent of their genius, selected the respective branches, and composed pictures, in which, landscape for example, became the principal object, while the figure in its turn became an accessary. And we may here remark, with Bellori, that "the best of these artists dipped their pencil in those fine Venetian colours;" by no means one of the least boasts of the Venetian School. The Italians, likewise, attended severally to these branches of the art, and in particular to landscapes. It was Titian who opened the true path to our landscape painters; although nearly the whole of his champaign scenery was introduced in aid of his figures; never the contrary. One of these, [Pg 247]consisting of a Holy Family, was in possession of the Duchess of Massa and Carrara, lately deceased, who left it as a legacy to the Prince Carlo Albani, of Milan. It is one of the most beautiful of the kind I ever saw. Titian was imitated by many Flemish artists; and among the Venetians by Gio. Maria Verdizzotti, one of his literary friends, who painted under his direction several landscapes, much esteemed in different collections, where they are rarely to be seen.

The Bassani produced examples of small pictures of quadrupeds and birds, which consisting of copies taken from those seen in their histories, are easily recognized. They are not so numerous, however, as their history pieces; nor do I recollect having seen specimens of them except in the Venetian state. In drawing fish, an artist of the name of Genzio or Gennesio Liberale, a native of Friuli, has been mentioned with praise by Vasari, and afterwards by Ridolfi.

A taste for grotesque, was introduced into Venice from Rome, by a citizen of the republic, recorded by me elsewhere as the master of this kind of art. His name was Morto da Feltro, who, in the company of Giorgione, employed himself in Venice, though without leaving any traces of his hand. There are specimens of grotesque, in the Ducal Palace, painted by Batista Franco, who had likewise beheld ancient examples of them at Rome. There were others painted for the Patriarch of Aquileja, his patron, by Giovanni di Udine, mentioned [Pg 248]by Vasari under the names of Manni and Ricamatore; an artist very celebrated in his line, and almost unique in drawing every kind of birds, quadrupeds, fruits, and flowers. I have included him in the school of Giorgione; and he is stated more at length in that of Raffaello; for he remained but little while with his first master, and in Upper Italy; but longer in Rome, and during some time in Florence. His pictures of birds, or fruits, executed in oil, are pointed out in different collections, though, if I mistake not, they are not all genuine. It is not, indeed, that he produced no specimens in oil, although it is extremely difficult to discover any that are certain; nor that he was incapable of drawing larger figures than such as we see in his satyrs, in his boys, and nymphs, with which he diversified the little landscapes and the tracery of his grotesques. Vasari mentions some of his standards, one of which, executed in Udine, for the Fraternity of Castello, presents in rather large proportions, a blessed virgin with the divine child, and an angel making her an offering of the same castle. The original, though much defaced, still exists, and there is also a copy in the chapel, executed by Pini in 1653. There likewise remains in the archiepiscopal palace, a chamber containing, among some grotesques, two scriptural histories, drawn in half-length figures, not so perfect as the ornamental part, but valuable from their rarity. His other productions, both in Udine and the state, have been enumerated in a learned [Pg 249]letter written by the Ab. Boni, upon the standard or gonfalone, just described. If we might hazard a conjecture relative to the school of Giovanni and of Feltro, we should be inclined to give for a pupil to one of these, Giorgio Bellunese, an artist, as we are informed by Cesarini, "very excellent in friezes and in minute ornaments," and moreover an able portrait painter. He flourished at San Vito, a place in the Friuli, about the middle of the sixteenth century; so that the time, the place, and his employment in ornamental work, seem equally to favour our opinion.

The art of architectural design received great assistance in Venice during this period, from the works of Sansovino, Palladio, and other consummate architects, who gave finished examples of magnificent edifices; while Daniel Barbaro composed very useful treatises upon perspective; and it became an attribute of the art to feign colonnades, galleries, and rich cornices, for those halls in which real architecture would not admit of them. In this, Cristoforo and Stefano Rosa more particularly distinguished themselves. They were from Brescia, very intimate with Titian, and merited the honour of being employed by him, in his architectural ornaments for several of his pieces. In Brescia, in Venice, and particularly in the anti-chamber to the library of S. Mark, we may meet with some of their perspectives, so admirably executed as to surprise us by their air of majesty, cheating the eye by their relief; and when beheld [Pg 250]in different points of view, always producing a good effect. Their school continued to flourish during many years, in their native state; and was subsequently supported by Bona, excellent also in figures, as well as by other artists. Boschini bestows many commendations upon it in different parts of his work in verse; and in particular at p. 225, where he declares, that Brescia was the source of this art; which applies of course to the Venetian state.

Finally, the art of mosaic work, in stone and coloured glass, at that time, attained such a degree of perfection in Venice, that Vasari observed with surprise, "that it would not be possible to effect more with colours."[76] The church and portico of S. Mark remains an invaluable museum of the kind; where, commencing with the eleventh century, we may trace the gradual progress of design belonging to each age up to the present, as exhibited in many works in mosaic, beginning from the Greeks, and continued by the Italians. They chiefly consist of histories from the Old and New Testament, and at the same time furnish very interesting notices relating to civic and ecclesiastical [Pg 251]antiquity. A portion of the most ancient specimens had long either perished, or fallen into decay, and it had been resolved to substitute fresh ones in their place. It is not improbable, that after the year 1400, upon the revival of painting, a desire prevailed to banish the taste of the Greeks; and certain it is, that in the mosaics of that age we meet with the modern antique style, the same as in regard to pictures. It will be enough to cite the chapel of the Mascoli, decorated by Michele Zambono with histories of the life of the virgin, executed with extraordinary care, and designed in the best taste of the Vivarini.

The same taste prevailed in the time of Titian; and to this he gave a renewed spirit, and even furnished several of these artists with designs. Marco Luciano Rizzo and Vincenzo Bianchini are the first, who, about 1517, succeeded in a complete reform of the art. To the last is referred that celebrated Judgment of Solomon, which adorns the portico, or vestibule. Both these, however, were surpassed by Francesco and Valerio Zuccati of Treviso, or rather of the Valtelline, sons of the same Sebastian who initiated Titian in the first rudiments of the art. Of these, likewise, there appears in the portico a San Marco, among various prophets and doctors, and with two histories that may be pronounced the best mosaic works, produced during the age of painting. I have seen altarpieces for churches, and pictures for private ornament, in the same taste. The Royal Gallery at [Pg 252]Florence possesses a portrait from life of Cardinal Bembo, worked by Valerio; and a San Girolamo, by Francesco, is known to have been presented by the republic to the court of Savoy. Subsequent to these, whom Vasari erroneously calls sometimes Zuccheri, sometimes Zuccherini, Arminio, a son of Valerio, was in much repute. Nor did this family only possess the art of colouring stone and glass with admirable skill; but they understood the principles of design, more particularly Francesco, who had been a painter before entering upon mosaic works. The family of Bianchini, and the other artists then employed at S. Mark, were not equally well instructed; and, stimulated by feelings of envy, they declared open enmity against the Zuccati, for having assisted with the brush to supply some parts of the design to be executed in mosaic; nor did they fail to cry down the ability of Valerio, to whom it would appear that Titian and his son afforded succour. It would be tedious here to relate the various persecutions, litigations, and losses, owing to this quarrel; the particulars of which were extracted by Zanetti from authentic documents, and minutely described. Enough, that he concludes with extolling the Zuccati, together with Vincenzio Bianchini; to whom, as being acquainted with design, it was sufficient to furnish a rough draught for the intended work. Others were, for the most part, in want of cartoons, and complete paintings, in order to model their mosaic works, and even then they [Pg 253]conducted them with skill much inferior to their predecessors. In this list he computes Domenico, the brother, and Gio. Antonio, the son of Vincenzio Bianchini, as well as Bartolommeo Bozza, at one time a pupil, and then an accuser along with the rest, of the Zuccati. In the time of these were first adopted, and practically applied, the works and designs of Salviati and of Tintoretto. The names succeeding these, were Gio. Antonio Marini, a pupil of Bozza, and Lorenzo Ceccato, both admirable artificers; Luigi Gaetano and Jacopo Pasterini, with Francesco Turestio, notices of whom are brought up to the year 1618. They worked after the cartoons of the two Tintoretti, of Palma the younger, of Maffeo Verona, of Leandro Bassano, of Aliense, of Padovanino, of Tizianello, besides several others. About the year 1600 commenced a series of artists less generally known; a list of whose works may be consulted at the close of that very valuable publication, "Della Pittura Veneziana." These last, however, have confined their labours to the decoration of new walls, from modern designs; as since 1610, a decree has been in force against the destruction of ancient mosaic works, in however rude or Greekish a taste; but in case of impending destruction, they were to be removed and restored with care, and afterwards refixed in the same place. By this measure a series of monuments is preserved to posterity, which, in its kind, is quite unique in Italy, and the world.

[41] It is related by Vasari, that Titian was in the habit of painting natural objects from the life, without making any previous design, "a practice adopted for many years by the Venetian painters, by Giorgione, by Palma, by Pordenone, and others who never visited Rome, nor studied other specimens of greater perfection than their own." I know not how far the above writer was acquainted with their method. But their designs are still extant in various collections; and the Cartoon of the celebrated S. Agostino, painted by Pordenone in that city, is now in possession of the Count Chiappini in Piacenza, in good condition.

[42] I made mention elsewhere of P. Federici's supposition, as being at least probable, that F. Sebastiano was the same person as F. Marco Pensaben, a Dominican. The year of their birth is certainly the same. But other dates are too discordant; if, indeed, we are not to suppose that the whole of what Vasari has written of Sebastiano, in his life of him, as well as in those of Sanzio and Peruzzi, is merely fanciful. It is by no means worth our while to draw minute comparisons between the epochs of these two painters. In 1520, we found Pensaben in Venice; next at Trevigi, where he remained till July, 1521. Now Sebastiano, the Venetian, was, at this very period, at Rome. The Car. Giulio de'Medici had committed to Raffaello the picture of the Transfiguration, which having hardly completed, that artist died on Good Friday, 1520; and during the same time, as if in competition with Raffaello, Sebastiano was employed in painting the Resurrection of Lazarus, for the same Cardinal, which, soon after, was exhibited along with the Transfiguration, and then sent into France. More still—he likewise drew the Martyrdom of Santa Agata, for the Cardinal of Aragona; a piece which, in the time of Vasari, was in possession of the Duke of Urbino; then in the Palazzo Pitti at Florence, whence it passed into France. There is the name of Sebastianus Venetus, and the year 1520 affixed to it. This artist therefore can, by no means, be confounded with F. Marco, nor the painting of this last at Trevigi be ascribed to the former. Such a mistaken opinion has been attributed to me by the learned P. Federici; (vol. i. p. 120) but on what ground I know not.

[43] We confess our obligations to Sig. Giuseppe Beltramelli, who informs us, in a work published in 1806, that this painter, generally supposed from Bergamo, was really a Venetian, being thus mentioned in a public contract: M. Laurentius Lottus de Venetiis nunc habitator Bergomi. Father Federici, who, on the strength of some historian, pronounces him of Trevigi, brings forward another document in which Lotto is called: D. Laurentii Lotti pictoris, et de presenti Tarvisii commorantis. If, therefore, habitator Bergomi does not prove him a native of Bergamo, will the words Tarvisii commorantis make him a native of Trevigi? But Father Affò, in one of his earliest pictures, found him entitled Tarvisinus. Who, however, can assure us that it is in fact the handwriting of Lotto, which he there found written?

[44] Thus called by the oldest writers, though, from his father's testament, recently brought to light, it appears to be erroneous. Here his father is entitled, Angelus de Lodesanis de Corticellis, (or in a MS. of the Signori Mottensi of Pordenone de Corticelsis Brixiensis).

[45] It is inserted in a Transunto of MSS. belonging to the noble Ernesto Mottensi of Pordenone, communicated to me by the P. D. Michele Turriani Barnabita, extremely skilled in the parchments and ancient memorials of Friuli.

[46] See his work on Venetian Painting, p. 250.

[47] By means of Sig. Ab. Gei, of Cadore, a young man of the most promising abilities, I have obtained notice of an artist belonging to that place, who, from various authorities, is supposed to have been the instructor of the great Titian. It is certain he flourished towards the close of the fifteenth century; nor does there exist accounts of any other artist of Cadore, capable of initiating his countrymen in a knowledge of the art. Three of his pictures in water colours, in the usual style of composition at that time, so frequently described, are yet extant; the first, a fine altarpiece, adorning the parish church at Selva, in which the titular S. Lorenzo, with others, in an upright posture, are seen surrounding the throne of the Virgin; a second, of smaller size, is in the Oratory of Sig. Antonio Zamberlani, in the parish church of Cadore, where the throne appears encompassed with cherubs playing upon instruments; the third, placed at San Bartolommeo of Nabiù, is divided into six compartments; the best, or at least the most free from harshness of manner of the whole. It is inferior, however, in design to Jacopo Bellini, though equal, perhaps, in point of diligence and colouring, and similar in its style. Upon the first he has inscribed, Antonius Rubeus de Cadubrio pinxit; upon the second, Opus Antonii Rubei: but the letter E being defaced, the word looks like Rubli; upon the third is found Antonius Zaudanus (da Zoldo) pinxit. Thus if we combine these inscriptions it will appear that this ancient painter, whom we now place at the head of the artists belonging to that prolific clime, was Antonio Rossi Cadorino.

[48] See Ridolfi. This picture is now in Dresden, and Italy abounds with copies. One of these I saw at S. Saverio di Rimini, inscribed with the name of Titian on the band of the Pharisee, a very beautiful production, and believed by many to be a duplicate rather than a copy. Albert was in Italy in 1495 and in 1506. In Venice, one of his pictures, in the council of the Ten, is cited by Zanetti; it is Jesus Christ shewn to the people; and an altarpiece is also mentioned by Sansovino, placed at S. Bartolommeo, commended both by him and by other writers. (See the Sig. Morelli's Annotations on the Notizia, p. 223.)

[49] Opere, tome i. p. 177.

[50] See his Life of Titian.

[51] See Bottari, Notes to Vasari, in the Life of Titian.

[52] See Idea della Pittura, Edizione Rom. p. 287.

[53] See Passeri.

[54] On the Arts of Design, Discourse, &c.

[55] He drew his head of San Niccolo a' Frari from a cast of the Laocoon; and from other models of the antique, that of S. John the Baptist, and of the Magdalen of Spain. From a Greek basso relievo he likewise copied the angels of his S. Peter Martyr. The same artist drew the Cesars, at Mantua, a work very highly commended, and impossible to have been so well executed without a knowledge of ancient sculpture, of which there yet exists a fine collection at Mantua. But what he drew from the antique, he also inspired with nature, the sole method of profiting by it, when a painter aspires to a higher character than that of a mere statuary. See Ridolfi, p. 171.

[56] Lamberto Lombardo, of Liege, is the artist whose life was written in Latin, by his disciple Golzio, a work edited in Bruges in 1565. In his youth he adopted the surname of Suterman, or Susterman, in the Latin tongue Suavis, and having likewise been an excellent engraver, his signature was sometimes L. L., at others, L. S. The whole of this account is to be met with in Orlandi, and other books. Yet Orlandi and the new Guide of Padua, acknowledge another Lamberti, also surnamed Suster, upon the authority of Sandrart, who mentions him, p. 224. According to Orlandi, this artist was the assistant to Titian and Tintoret, by whom he is first recorded as Lamberto Suster, and again as Lamberto Tedesco. The same author mentions a Federigo di Lamberto, whose name occurs in our first volume, (p. 268), likewise called del Padovano and Sustris, certainly from Suster, for which see Vasari and his annotators. These Lamberti, founded upon the diversity between the Liege and German names of Susterman and Suster, received upon the authority of Sandrart, not always very critical, are, I have reason to think, one and the same artist. For in Venice one Lamberto only is alluded to by Ridolfi, Boschini, and Zanetti, without a surname, but by the last held to be the same as Lombardo; and what signifies it, whether he was called Suster or Susterman, of Germany, or of Liege, in Italy.

[57] He is called by Vasari, Zanetti, and Guarienti, Bazzacco and Brazzacco da Castelfranco, and Guarienti makes him a scholar of Badile.

[58] They consist only of a few pages relating to the painters of Castelfranco. I cannot explain why Padre Federici (Pref. p. 17) supposes that I should have announced this as the MS. Melchiori, although Sig. Trevisani may have drawn various notices from that quarter.

[59] Padre Coronelli, in his Travels in England, (part i. p. 66), ascribes this picture to Paul Veronese, a mistake that is cleared up by the tenor of the contract, preserved in the archives of San Liberale. He adds that the picture contained a number of naked figures, to which draperies were afterwards adapted by another hand—an assertion wholly groundless.

[60] In a MS. by a contemporary author cited in the new Guide of Padua, he is called Domenico Veneziano, educated by Julio Campagnola.

[61] Thus stated in the Lettere Pittoriche, vol. i. p. 248. Recent writers of Friuli make him a native of Udine, a modern supposition, inasmuch as Grassi, a very diligent correspondent of Vasari, would hardly have been silent upon such a name. It took its rise, most likely, from the existence of a noble family of the same surname, in Udine, and from three of the artist's pictures having been discovered in the same place, one with the date 1595. Yet none are to be seen at Casa Frangipane, a circumstance very unusual in regard to excellent artists. We must look, therefore, for other proofs before we can pronounce him a native of Udine, and before we can assent to the conjecture of Rinaldis, who would admit two artists of the name of Niccolo Frangipane, the one a painter by profession, and the other a dilettante; and yet contemporaries, as appears from the authority of the dates of the pictures, already referred to.

[62] This fact cannot easily be refuted, in the manner attempted by Zaist, in his "Historical Notices of the Cremonese Painters," with true party zeal, p. 162. (See the New Guide of Milan, p. 139.)

[63] To these the name of Francesco da Milano has recently been added, on the strength of an altarpiece, quite Titianesque, exhibited with his name in the parish church of Soligo, to which is added the date of 1540]—time may probably clear up the mystery of this.

[64] He flourished several years subsequent, as appears from the New Milan Guide, with MS. corrections, by Signor Bianconi, of which the Cavalier Lazara has a copy. He there remarks that he had seen in the greater monastery, now suppressed, belonging to the nuns of San Maurizio, other paintings by Piazza; as Washing the Disciples' feet, in the Refectory, and the Multiplication of Loaves, upon canvass. Also within the interior church, among other scriptural stories in fresco, is found, the Adoration of the Magi, the Marriage of Cana, and the Baptism of Christ, bearing the date of 1556.

[65] Zanetti, p. 147. See also Ridolfi, parte ii. p. 10, where he informs us that Tintoret, in the maturity of his powers, being employed in painting for the church of La Trinità, Adam and Eve seduced by the Serpent, and the Death of Abel, "designed the figures from nature, placing over them a thin veil. To which figures he added a peculiar grace of contours, which he acquired from studying relievi."

[66] This date is pointed out by Boschini, and corresponds with the fortieth year of the artist, who, on the authority of Melchiori, made a noble copy of Giorgione's San Liberale, at Castelfranco, besides producing several original works in his native place and the vicinity. Specimens of his labours exist in water colours, taken from pictures in fresco executed by Paolo and by Zelotti, in different palaces belonging to Venetian noblemen. The cavalier Liberi, his Venetian master, aware of his singular talent for such species of painting, often employed him, to the no small advantage both of his art and his fortune.

[67] It would be too difficult to attempt to enumerate the names of his foreign imitators, particularly the Flemish, who were much devoted to his style, some of whose copies I have seen in collections believed to be originals. But the handle of their pencil, the clearness of colouring, and sometimes, the diminution of the figures, not common to the Bassani, afford means to distinguish them; not however with such a degree of certainty, but that connoisseurs themselves are of different opinions. This occurred in my own time at Rome, respecting a fine picture of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, in the Rezzonico collection. One of the best imitators of that style was David Teniers, who, by his exquisite skill acquired the surname of Bassano. To him I am happy to add another foreigner, Pietro Orrente di Murcia, whom Spanish writers give as a pupil to Jacopo; and were there no other authority, we might upon that of Sig. Conca, receive him as his very exact imitator. In his two pictures referred to (vol. i. p. 266) he is pronounced superior to the Bassani, meaning, perhaps, superior to the sons of Jacopo; it would be too absurd a proposition to prefer him to the head of the school.

[68] It is, as I am informed by Signor dalla Rosa, a picture of the Pentacost.

[69] He attained this effect by drawing these figures with rather bold contours, and the other parts after his works were completed. Owing to his knowledge, as well as his felicity and grace of hand, they are not in the least disagreeable to those who observe them near. (Zanetti, p. 181.)

[70] This was easily produced by his rapidity of execution, by which his tints always remained clear and simple. The artist who repeats his touches frequently, and uses much research, can with difficulty preserve freshness, to obtain which another method must undoubtedly be pursued. (Zanetti, p. 163.)

[71] It has been stated in his defence, that had he clothed the whole of his figures with those tunics and ancient mantles, he would have become monotonous, and consequently uninteresting in his great history pieces. But I am of opinion, that whoever is familiar with ancient statues and bassi relievi, will find means of varying his compositions. The Cavalier Canova has recently produced two bassi relievi, on the condemnation of Socrates. The Greek vests are two, the tunic and pallium; yet these are finely varied, though there are a number of spectators.

[72] According to Ridolfi, however, he is said to have attained his twenty-sixth year; but certainly not more.

[73] Father Federici has, in the course of this year, 1803, brought to light another scholar of Paul, and afterwards of Carletto, born, like Parrasio, in Venice. He calls him Giacomo Lauro, and Giacomo da Trevigi, because, having established himself in that city, with his family, while still a youth, no one could distinguish him by any other patronymic than that of Trevigiano. Thus speak several anonymous contemporaries, from whose MSS. the reverend father has extracted no slight information relative to the pictures executed by Lauro in his new country. There he enjoyed the friendship of the fathers of San Domenico, for whose church he painted his celebrated picture of St. Rocco, in which he exhibited, with great tragic power, the terrific scourge of the plague. It is honourable to this artist, who died young, that this altarpiece, as well as his other pictures, both in oil and in fresco, have, until lately, been attributed either to Paul or to Carlo, or to some less celebrated hands, but always to good and experienced artists.

[74] See Boschini, Carta, p. 160. Zanetti, p. 494.

[75] A class of artists so called, from their excessive use of deep shades and dark colours. Tr.

[76] There was an attempt to revive it, made in Florence. Roscoe, in his "Life of Lorenzo de' Medici," (vol. ii. p. 220, 6th ed.) relates, that, with Gherardo, Lorenzo associated Domenico Ghirlandajo to work in mosaic at the chapel of San Zenobio: but that this undertaking, so admirably begun, was interrupted by Lorenzo's death; insomuch that "his attempts," observes the historian, "were thus in a great degree frustrated." This honour appeared to be reserved for Venice.

[Pg 254]



Innovations of the Mannerists of the Seventeenth Century. Corruption of Venetian Painting.

A sort of fatality seems to prevail in all human things, rendering their duration in the same state of short continuance; so that after attaining their highest elevation, we may assuredly at no distant period look for their decline. The glory of precedency, of whatever kind, will not long remain the boast of one place, or in possession of a single nation. It migrates from country to country; and the people that yesterday received laws from another, will tomorrow impose them. Those who today are the instructors of a nation, will tomorrow become ambitious of being admitted in the number of its disciples. Numerous examples might be adduced in support of this proposition, but it would be quite superfluous. For whoever is even slightly acquainted with civil or literary history, whoever has observed the passing events of the age in which we live, will easily furnish himself with proofs, without the aid of writers to direct him. We have already traced the same revolution of affairs in the art of painting, in the two schools of Rome and Florence, which, arriving at [Pg 255]the zenith of their fame, fell into decay precisely at the period when that of Venice began to exalt itself. And we shall now perceive the decline of the latter, during the same age in which the Florentine began to revive, in which the school of Bologna acquired its highest degree of reputation; and what is still more surprising, seemed to rise by studying the models of the Venetian. So indeed it was: the Caracci were much devoted to Titian, to Giorgione, to Paul Veronese, and Tintoretto, and thence formed styles, and produced pupils that conferred honour upon the whole of the seventeenth century. The Venetians, too, studied the same examples, and derived from them a certain mannerism reprehensible enough in them, but much more so in their disciples. These, devoting themselves in their first studies to more classical artists, and attaining a certain practice both in design and colouring, next aimed at displaying upon a grand scale, figures, not so much taken from life, as from engravings and pictures, or from their own imaginations; and the more rapidly these were executed, the better did they suppose they had succeeded. I am inclined to believe, that the examples of Tintoretto proved, in this respect, more prejudicial than useful. Few were ambitious of emulating his profound knowledge, which in some measure serves to veil his defects; but his haste, his carelessness, and his grounds, they more willingly adopted; while his great name was advanced as a shield to cover their own faults. And [Pg 256]the earliest of these, not yet unmindful of the maxims of a better age, did not rush blindly into all these errors and excesses; but by their superiority of spirit, and by their tints, maintained their ground better than the mannerists of the Roman and Florentine styles. But to these succeeded others, whose schools degenerated still more from the ancient rules of art. We advance this without meaning the least imputation upon really good artists, who flourished even during this period; for an age rarely occurs in which good sense becomes altogether extinct. Even during the barbarity of the dark ages, we meet with specimens of some marble busts of the Cæsars, and some of their medals, which approach a better taste; and thus also in the age we are describing appeared geniuses, who either wholly, or in great measure, kept themselves free from the general infection; "et tenuere animum contra sua sæcula rectum." Propert.

Jacopo Palma the younger, so called to distinguish him from the other Palma, his great uncle, was an artist who might equally be entitled the last of the good age, and the first of the bad. Born in 1544, after receiving the instructions of his father Antonio, a painter of a confined genius, he exercised himself in copying from Titian, and the best of the national artists. At the age of fifteen years he was taken under the patronage of the Duke of Urbino, and accompanied him to his capital. He afterwards spent eight years in Rome, where he laid a good foundation for his profession, [Pg 257]by designing from the antique, copying Michelangiolo and Raffaello; and, in particular, by studying the chiaroscuros of Polidoro. This last was his great model, and next to him came Tintoretto; he being naturally inclined, like them, to animate his figures with a certain freedom of action, and a spirit peculiarly their own. On his return to Venice, he distinguished himself by several works, conducted with singular care and diligence; nor are there wanting professors who have bestowed on him a very high degree of praise, for displaying the excellent maxims of the Roman, united to what was best in the Venetian School. It is observed by Zanetti, that some of his productions were attributed by professors to the hand of Giuseppe del Salviati, whose merit, in point of design and solidity of style, has been already noticed. The whole of these are executed with peculiar facility, a dangerous gift both in painting and in poetry, which this artist possessed in a remarkable degree. Though he made the greatest exertions to bring himself into notice, he was little employed; the post was already occupied by men of consummate ability, by Tintoretto and Paul Veronese; and these monopolized all the most lucrative commissions. Palma, however, obtained the rank of third; chiefly by means of Vittoria, a distinguished sculptor and architect; whose opinion was adopted in the distribution of the labours even of artists themselves. Displeased at the little deference shewn him by Robusti and Paul, he began to encourage Palma, [Pg 258]and to assist him also with his advice, so that he shortly acquired a name. We have related a similar instance in regard to Bernini, who brought forward Cortona against Sacchi, at Rome, besides several more, productive of the greatest detriment to the art. So true it is that the same passions prevail in every age, every where pursue the same track, and produce the same results.

Nor was it long before Palma, overwhelmed with commissions, remitted much of his former diligence. In progress of time, he became even yet more careless, until upon the death of his eldest rivals, including Corona, who in his latest works had begun to surpass him, free from competition he asserted unquestioned sway, and despatched his pieces rapidly. His pictures, indeed, might often be pronounced rough draughts, a title bestowed upon them in ridicule by the Cavalier d'Arpino. In order to prevail upon him to produce a piece worthy of his name, it became requisite, not only to allow him the full time he pleased, but the full price he chose to ask, without further reference, except to his own discretion, in which truly he did not greatly abound. Upon such terms he executed that fine picture of San Benedetto, at the church of SS. Cosmo and Damiano, for the noble family of Moro. It resembled many of those he had produced in his best days at Venice, and in particular that celebrated naval battle of Francesco Bembo, placed in the Palazzo Pubblico. Other valuable specimens are found scattered elsewhere, [Pg 259]in part mentioned by Ridolfi, and in part unknown to him. Such are his Santa Apollonia, at Cremona, his San Ubaldo and his Nunziata, at Pesaro, and his Invenzione della Croce, at Urbino, a piece abounding in figures, and full of beauty, variety, and expression. His tints are fresh, sweet, and clear, less splendid than those of Paul, but more pleasing than in Tintoretto; and though scantily applied, they are more durable than those of certain foreign pictures more heavily laid on. In the animation of his figures he approaches the two preceding artists, particularly in his more studied works, as he has shewn in his Chastisement of the Serpents, a picture that seems embued with horror. In every other instance he has always sufficient art to please; and it is surprising how a man who led the way to the most corrupt period in Venice, as it has been observed of Vasari at Florence, and of Zuccaro at Rome, could thus exhibit so many attractions, both of nature and of art, calculated to feast the eye, and to fix the soul of the spectator. Both Guercino and Guido were sensible of the power of his pencil; and when examining one of his altarpieces, at the Cappucini, in Bologna, "What a pity," they exclaimed, "that the master of such a pencil should be no more." (Boschini, p. 383.)

In observance of my plan of accompanying each master with his train of followers, I set out with Marco Boschini, a Venetian, who flourished during this same deterioration of a nobler age. He was [Pg 260]a pupil to Palma, and has left some memorials of the different professors of the third epoch, not to be met with in any other work. Professing the art of engraving, rather than that of painting, he had, nevertheless, so much merit in the latter, as to approach the manner of Palma, in his picture of the Supper of our Lord, in the Sacristy of San Girolamo; as well as that of Tintoretto, as we gather from a few of his altarpieces in the territory of Padua, and his pictures for private ornament, remaining at Venice, at least as far as I can learn. He was the author of several works recorded in the preface to this work, the most remarkable of which is composed in Quartine, with the following title; and, by this production, he is perhaps best known: "The Chart of pictorial Navigation, a Dialogue between a Venetian senator (a dilettante) and a professor of painting, under the names of Ecelenza and Compare, divided into eight venti, or winds, with which the Venetian vessel is borne into the deep Sea of Painting, as its Absolute Mistress, to the confusion of such as do not understand the loadstone and the compass."

Thus, much in the same manner as we judge from the facade of the style of a whole edifice in the gothic taste, the reader may gather, from this very loaded title, the exact nature of Boschini's work. It is, indeed, written in the most verbose style of the Seicentisti; a mixture of unsound reasoning, strange allegory, tame allusions, frivolous conceits invented on every name, and phraseology [Pg 261]that surpasses even that of Ciampoli and Melosio; for these at least wrote in the Italian dialect, whereas Boschini protests that he does not pretend to a foreign idiom, but to speak like the Venetian people. From this undistinguishing kind of nationality arises his malevolence against Vasari, and the methods of the foreign schools, as well as his exaggerated praise of the Venetian artists, whom he prefers, as we learn from his title page, to all the painters in the world, not merely as respects their manner of colouring, but in point of invention and design. What is worse, he makes no distinction between the fine old painters and the mannerists of his own times, and speaks as if the masters of the former age were still flourishing, and teaching in their schools, or as if the modern possessed the same powers and the same reputation; a gross equivocation into which the tiresome Compare, or gossip, is continually falling, and which his credulous Excellency as frequently commends.

If, however, in treating of Vasari, I in some measure excused his partialities, in consideration of the prejudices acquired by his education, which are afterwards with difficulty eradicated; I ought to make use of the same liberality in regard to Boschini, more especially as he possessed fewer opportunities of ridding himself of them, never having visited Rome or Florence, and giving his opinions upon foreign schools, from the hearsay relations of others. It is true that he cites in favour of the Venetians the opinion of many distinguished men; [Pg 262]as that of Velasco, who protested to Salvator Rosa, that Raffaello was no longer a favourite with him after having seen Venice; or that of Rubens, who, after spending upwards of six years at Rome to little purpose, formed his style on the models of Titian. Albano likewise regretted that he had not commenced his studies in Venice, preferably to Rome; and Pier da Cortona having seen the works of the Venetian School, cancelled some of his labours, and ornamented afresh two chambers of the Palazzo Pitti, and one in the Casa Barberini. But these authorities, which he adduces along with others, taken chiefly from artists who preferred beauty of colouring to accuracy of design, do not prove much, and might be opposed by other authorities, even of great painters, more particularly English and French, who embraced a contrary opinion. Besides, the panegyrists thus cited by him, did not commend the modern so much as the ancient Venetian painters, so as by no means to possess the weight he would attribute to them. Moreover, in the present day, when so much has been written upon Italian painting, we shall not, on investigating what is to be admired and imitated, and what to be shunned or approved in the examples of the Venetians, appeal to the vain boastings of the sixteenth century, but to the critics of our own times. Still we do not mean to deny, but that the work in question, however strangely written, contains many valuable historical notices, and many pictorial precepts, [Pg 263]particularly useful to such as cannot aspire to any thing beyond the character of mere naturalists, incapable of drawing a stroke that does not appear in their model, and content with portraying the dimensions of any kind of head or body, provided they be of the human shape, inventing with infinite difficulty, slow in resolving, and quite incapable of forming a grand history, more especially of battles, of flights, in short of any objects they never saw. This sect, which at that period boasted many followers, and which is not even yet extinct, is there ridiculed in a vein it is impossible to surpass, and would that the party proceeding to the opposite extreme of mannerism, at that time triumphant in Venice, had not met with equal applause! But how difficult is it to observe the golden mean! though the artists of Bologna will point out the way in due time. At present we must return to those of Venice.

Numerous other artists very nearly approached the style of Palma. Boschini enumerates six, whose manner so extremely resembles him, as to impose upon those who have not tact enough to detect the peculiar characteristics of each; (and in Palma there is a mixture of the Roman and Venetian,) consisting of the names of Corona, Vicentino, Peranda, Aliense, Malombra, and Pilotto. The same author extols them as illustrious painters; and truly, besides the splendour of their colouring, they composed upon a magnificent scale, emulating, [Pg 264]for the most part, the fire and the striking contrasts that produced such an impression after the time of Titian, executing pictures every way deserving of a place in good collections.

Leonardo Corona, of Murano, who, from a copyist, succeeded in becoming a painter, was the rival of Palma, and nevertheless enjoyed the patronage of Vittoria; whether to keep alive the emulation of the former, or for some other reason, is uncertain. He sometimes prepared models in clay, to discover the best distributions of his chiaroscuro. By aid of these he painted his Annunciation, at SS. Giovanni and Paolo, a work very highly commended, as well as his picture at San Stefano, displaying a grandeur that arrests the eye, and reminds us more of Titian than any other model. In general, however, Corona exhibited more of Tintoretto, if not in his colouring, which in the present day appears to more advantage, at least in many other points. He produced a crucifixion so much in this artist's style, that Ridolfi has defended him with the utmost difficulty from the charge of theft. He availed himself likewise of the engravings of Flemish artists, particularly in the composition of his landscape. He did not long flourish; but left an excellent imitator of his style in Baldassare d'Anna, an artist of Flemish origin, who completed a few of his master's pieces. He also produced some original pieces for the Servi and other churches, which, though [Pg 265]inferior to those of Corona in the selection of forms, yet surpass them in the softness, and sometimes in the force of their chiaroscuro.

Andrea Vicentino was, according to some writers, a Venetian, and pupil to Palma; not excelling in point of taste, he was nevertheless very skilful in the handling of his colours, and shewed great power of invention. Being employed in many labours, both within and without the boundaries of Venice, and even in depicting histories of the Republic, which still continue to adorn several halls in the Palazzo Grande, he was one of the most popular artists of his time. He rarely fails to exhibit in his works some perspective, or some figure borrowed, according to the custom of the plagiarists, from the best masters: including even Bassano, an artist of few ideas constantly repeated, and so far less easily pillaged with impunity. At the same time he bestows upon his plagiarisms a beauty of composition, and a general effect that does honour to his talents, applicable to every variety of subject. He could also employ a very delicate, tasteful, and effective pencil, when he chose to exert himself. In his grounds, however, he must have been less successful, many of his paintings being already much defaced. In collections, always more favourable to their duration than public places, we may find several in good preservation, and deserving of much commendation, as we gather from his Solomon Anointed on becoming king of Israel, preserved [Pg 266]in the Royal Gallery at Florence. Marco Vicentino, son of Andrea, also acquired some celebrity by his imitations, and more by the name of his father.

Santo Peranda, a scholar of Corona and of Palma, and tolerably well versed in Roman design, having passed some time at Rome, aimed at a diversity of styles. His usual manner a good deal resembles that of Palma, while, in his large histories, which he produced at Venice and at Mirandola, he appears in a more poetical character of his own. Yet he was naturally of a more slow and reflective turn, and more studious of art, qualities that in the decline of age led him to adopt a very delicate and laboured manner. He was not ambitious of equalling his contemporaries in the abundance of his works; his aim was to surpass them in correctness; nor did he any where succeed better in his object than in his Christ taken from the Cross, painted for the church of San Procolo. Among his disciples, Matteo Ponzone, from Dalmatia, more particularly distinguished himself, assisting Peranda in his great works executed at Mirandola. In progress of time he formed an original style, which surpasses in softness that of his master, though not equal to it in point of elegance. He was fond of copying from the life, without attempting much to add to its dignity. His scholar, Gio. Carboncino, pursued his studies at Rome also, where we do not, however, find mention of [Pg 267]him,[77] owing probably to his speedy return to Venice. Among the few pieces produced by him for churches, there is a Bto. Angelo, at the Carmini, which has been much commended by Melchiori, and a San Antonio, at La Pietà, mentioned by Guarienti. Two others, named Maffei, of Vicenza, and Zanimberti, of Brescia, will come under consideration in their respective states.

Antonio Vassilacchi, called Aliense, a native of the island of Milo, inherited from the line climate of Greece a genius adapted to confer honour upon the arts, and particularly on works of a vast and imaginative character. Paul Veronese, struck with his first efforts, banished him, with a feeling of jealousy, from his studio, advising him at the same time to confine himself to small pictures. Aliense observing Paul engaged in reviving the examples of Titian, renewed as far as lay in his power those of Tintoretto. He studied casts taken from the antique, designing from them both day and night; he exercised himself in acquiring a knowledge of the human frame, modelled in wax, copied Tintoretto with the utmost assiduity, and, as if wholly to forget what he had learnt from [Pg 268]Paul, he sold the designs made at his school. Yet he could not so far divest himself of them, but that in his earliest productions, remaining at the church of Le Vergini, he displayed the manner of Paul. He has been accused by historians of having abandoned this style for one less adapted to his genius; and moreover of having been misled by the innovations of the mannerists. Sometimes, however, he painted with extreme care, as in his Epiphany, for the Council of Ten, though in general he abused the facility of his genius, without fear of risking his credit, inasmuch as his rivals Palma and Corona pursued the same plan. In order better to oppose his great enemy Vittoria, he attached himself to another architect, who possessed much influence, named Girolamo Campagna, the disciple of Sansovino; and he moreover enjoyed the favour of Tintoretto. In this manner Aliense obtained many commissions, both for the public palace and the Venetian churches, besides being engaged in many works for other cities, more especially for Perugia, at S. Pietro, all upon a magnificent scale; yet without acquiring that degree of estimation which the felicity of his genius deserved. He was assisted by Tommaso Dolobella, of Belluno, a good practitioner, and well received in Poland, where he long continued in the service of Sigismond III. In his Life of Aliense, Ridolfi makes mention also of Pietro Mera, a Fleming, whose portrait Aliense painted, as being his friend; but neither [Pg 269]from history, nor from his own style, can we gather that he was Aliense's disciple. He resided, and employed himself much in Venice, at SS. Giovanni and Paolo, at La Madonna dell' Orto, and elsewhere: while the judgment pronounced upon him by Zanetti is, that he appeared to have greatly attached himself to the Venetian artists, and to have derived sufficient profit.

Pietro Malombra, a Venetian by birth, deserves almost to be excluded from the list of Palma's disciples, and even from that of the mannerists. If he sometimes deviated from the right path, it must rather be attributed to human error, than to erroneous maxims. Born in a degree of comparative ease, he acquired from education a sense of the value of that excellent axiom, "that honour is better than gain." After employing himself in the studio of Salviati, where he obtained a good knowledge of design, he continued to paint for his own pleasure. But equally intelligent and docile, he never scrupled to bestow the utmost pains to bring his works to a higher degree of perfection, than was the usual practice of his times. Afterwards experiencing a reverse of fortune, he entered upon the art as his profession, and ornamented parts of the Ducal Palace. In his portraits and pictures upon a small scale, he was also very successful. He represented at San Francesco di Paola, various miracles of the saint, in four pictures; and his figures display a precision in their contours, a grace, and an originality [Pg 270]which lead us to doubt whether they can belong, not merely to the epoch, but to the school of which we are here treating. Similar specimens he produced for galleries, sometimes enlivening with them his perspective views, in which he possessed equal skill and assiduity. Those in which he exhibited the grand piazza, or the great hall of council, representing in them their respective sacred or civil ceremonies, processions, ingresses, public audiences, great spectacles, to which the place adds an air of grandeur, extorted the plaudits of all ranks.

Girolamo Pilotto occupies the sixth place among those, who, in the opinion of Boschini, are apt to be confounded with Palma. Zanetti is content with observing, that he was a true follower of that style, and that in his works may be recognized the ideas of his master, conducted in a very happy manner. Venice boasts few of his pieces, although we are elsewhere informed that he died at an advanced age. His picture of the Nuptials of the Sea, painted for the public palace, is extolled in high terms by Orlandi, while others have greatly admired his San Biagio, which he produced for the great altar of the Fraglia, in Rovigo; a picture displaying great sweetness of manner, and signed with his name.

To attempt a full list of the rest of the mannerists, who followed more or less the composition of Palma, would only weary the reader with a repetition of names. From these I select, therefore, [Pg 271]merely a few of the most remarkable in Venice and its vicinity, having to make mention of others in the respective schools of terra firma. Girolamo Gamberati, a scholar of Porta, acquired the art of colouring from Palma, upon whose model he painted at Le Vergini, and other places. It is still suspected, however, that the character displayed in his pieces, must have come from the hand of Palma, whose friendship occasionally assisted him. In the Guide by Zanetti, we find mention of a Jacomo Alberelli, a disciple of Palma, who painted the Baptism of Christ at the church of the Ognisanti. There is a slight allusion to him in Ridolfi, by whom he is entitled Albarelli; and he adds, that he produced the bust for the tomb of his master, in whose service he lived during thirty-four years. Camillo Ballini is also recorded among the Palmese mannerists, whether a native of Venice or of the state is not certain. In his manner he is pleasing, though neither spirited nor vigorous; and he was likewise employed in the Ducal Palace. Boschini moreover extols Bianchi, Dimo, and Donati, all Venetians, and his own friends; but I would omit them, finding no commendations in any other work. I omit also Antonio Cecchini da Pesaro, whose age, as reported in the index, cannot be brought to agree with the period of Palma's professorship.

In Trevigi, Ascanio Spineda, a noble of that city, is held in some estimation, and included among the disciples of Palma; from whom he is sometimes [Pg 272]with difficulty distinguished. One of the most exact in point of design, he also colours with much sweetness and grace of tints; an artist deserving to be known in his native district, which abounds with the best of his works. He employed himself there, for many churches, succeeding perhaps better at San Teonisto than at any other place. No one surpassed him in the number of his pieces for public exhibition, if we except indeed one Bartolommeo Orioli, who, about the same period, displayed the talent of a good practiser, though with less repute. This last belonged to that numerous tribe who, in Italy, were ambitious of uniting in themselves the powers of poetry and painting; but who, not having received sufficient polish either in precept or in art, gave vent to their inspiration in their native place, covering the columns with sonnets, and the churches with pictures, without exciting the envy of the adjacent districts. Father Federici praises him for his portraits; a valued ornament, at that period, of large pictures, and well introduced by Orioli, in the church of St. Croce, where a numerous procession of the people of Trevigi appears, taken from the life. Burchiellati, a contemporary historian of the place, adds, as a companion to the foregoing, the name of Giacomo Bravo, a painter of figures and ornamental works, which are still held in some degree of estimation.

Paolo Piazza, of Castelfranco, who afterwards [Pg 273]became a Capuchin by the name of Father Cosimo, is enumerated by Baglione among the good practisers, and the pupils of Palma. Yet he bears little resemblance to him, having formed a style of his own, not powerful indeed, but free and pleasing, which attracted the eye of Paul V., the Emperor Rodolph II., and the Doge Priuli; all of whom availed themselves of his ability. Both the capital and the state boast many of his pieces in fresco, and some altarpieces: nor is Rome without them, where, in the Palazzo Borghese, he painted those very fanciful ornaments in friezes, for various chambers, as well as histories of Cleopatra for the Great Hall, and in the Campidoglio at the Conservatori, a celebrated picture of Christ taken from the Cross. While residing in Rome he attended to the instruction of Andrea Piazza, his nephew, who in course of time entered the service of the Duke of Lorraine, by whom he had the honour of being made a cavalier. Upon returning to his own state, he produced his great picture of the Marriage of Cana, for the church of Santa Maria; one of the best pieces that adorn the place.

Matteo Ingoli, a native of Ravenna, resided from early youth, until the period of his immature decease, in the city of Venice. He sprung from the school of Luigi del Friso, and proposed for himself, says Boschini, Paul Veronese and Palma as his models. If I mistake not, however, he aspired to a more solid, but less beautiful [Pg 274]style, as far as we can gather from one of his pictures at the Corpus Domini, from his Supper of our Lord at San Apollinare, and from others of his works; in all which we trace the hand of precision and assiduity. He was also a good architect, and terminated his days during one of those awful periods in which the Venetian state was visited by the plague, adding another instance of loss to the fine arts, similar to those which we have noticed in other schools.

Another victim to the same contagion was Pietro Damini, of Castelfranco, who, it is averred, had he survived a little longer, would have displayed the powers of a Titian; an expression we are to receive as somewhat hyperbolical. He acquired the art of colouring from Gio. Batista Novelli, a good scholar of Palma, who, more for amusement than for gain, ornamented Castelfranco and the adjacent places with several well executed pieces. Damini next devoted much time to the theory of the art, and to the study of the best engravings, upon which he modelled his design. By this method, it is said, that he freed himself from the shackles of the mannerists, though it gave to his colours a degree of crudity; and in truth this is a defect that strikes the eye in many of his productions. Numerous specimens remain at Padua, where he established himself at the age of twenty; several at Vicenza, at Venice, and still more in Castelfranco, where his altarpiece of the Blessed Simone Stoch at Santa Maria, is highly estimated, as well as the Tabernacle [Pg 275]surrounded with twelve histories, from both the Old and New Testaments; a novel idea, and executed with real taste. His style is elegant and pleasing, but not uniformly excellent. He is observed to have frequently changed his manner, in aspiring to reach a higher degree of perfection in his art. We might, in some instances, pronounce him an excellent naturalist; in others more of an adept in ideal beauty, as we gather from his picture of the Crucifixion at Santo di Padova, which displays rare beauty and harmony combined, though he did not live long enough to produce others of equal merit. He died early, and at a short interval his brother Giorgio, seized by the same disorder, followed him to the tomb, an artist excellent in portrait, and pictures with small figures.

Subsequent to this period, (1630, 1631,) in which the deaths of a number of artists occur, the traces of the old Venetian style, in its best school, began still more to disappear; and the Venetian paintings produced after the middle of the century, display for the most part a different character. It is remarked by Signor Zanetti, that several foreign artists established themselves about this period in the city, and held sway over the art at their own discretion. Attached to various schools, and chiefly admirers of Caravaggio, in his plebeian manner, they agreed amongst themselves in nothing, perhaps, except two points. One of these was, to consult truth in a greater degree than had before been done; an extremely useful idea to render art, now [Pg 276]degenerated into a paltry trade, once more real art. But the plan was not well executed by many, who were either incapable of selecting what was natural, or of ennobling it when found; while, at all events, they were too apt to mannerize it with an excessive use of strong shades. The other plan was to avail themselves of very dark and oily grounds, which were as favourable to despatch as injurious to the duration of paintings, as we have more than once had occasion to observe. Indeed this had so far come into vogue, in most places, as even to infect, in some degree, the great school of the Caracci. Hence it has arisen that in many of those pictures the lights only have remained durable, and the masses of shade, the middle tints having disappeared; insomuch that posterity has distinguished this class of artists by the new appellation of the sect of Tenebrosi, or the dark colourists. Boschini, who first put forth his Carta del Navegar Pitoresco in 1660, is very severe, as we have before stated, upon the sect of mere naturalists, stigmatizing them generally, and upbraiding them for coming to seek their bread at Venice; while, at the time that they employed themselves in crying down the taste, the spirit, and the rapid hand of the Venetians, their own productions bore ample witness to the pitiable efforts by which they were produced. He gives no names; but it is not difficult to gather from the whole his aversion to the Roman and Florentine artists, of whom we shall shortly give an account. Upon these [Pg 277]he certainly does not bestow encomiums, as he does upon all others at that period engaged in Venice, his commendations being sometimes extremely vague, and at others extravagant.

If we wish to avoid forming erroneous judgments, then, we must abandon his Painter's Chart of Navigation, and attach ourselves to the Pittura Veneziana, a very different guide to that of Boschini. In this the author takes care to distinguish, with the precision of a good historian, such as were followers of Caravaggio, like Saraceni; excellent pupils of Guercino, like Triva; fine colourists, however much accustomed to copy rather than invent, like Strozza, and though less select, his scholar Langetti; to whom we may add a third Genoese artist, who flourished during those times at Venice, though he left no public specimen of his labours; this was Niccolo Cassana. Of these, as well as of a few others, I shall treat in the schools to which they respectively belong. Several other names are omitted by the author, either on account of such artists having produced little in the city, or from his being unacquainted with their education and the place of their birth. Among these is Antonio Beverense, an artist who painted for the college of the Nunziata, the Marriage of the Virgin Mary, a picture that displays accuracy of design, superiority of forms, and a very fine chiaroscuro. He was, for the most part, a disciple of the Bolognese, and from his united taste and diligence fully deserving of being more generally [Pg 278]known. I suspect, however, that he ought to be named a native of Bavaria, and to the circumstance of his speedy return into his own country, we are, perhaps, to ascribe the little notice he seems to have attracted. Returning to the authority of Zanetti, we find, that besides giving a favourable opinion of the authors just mentioned, he bestows equal commendation upon those who are soon to follow; explaining their respective excellences and defects, and detecting such as belonged to the class of Tenebrosi through their own fault, and such as became so owing to the bad priming of those times; in treating of whom I follow the path he has pointed out.

Pietro Ricchi was an artist who resided for a long period at Venice, where he left a great number of works, and is generally known by the name of il Lucchese. It remains doubtful whether he deserves to be accused of having introduced the oily and obscure method of painting already mentioned. It is at least certain, that besides having made use of bad priming, he was in the habit of covering his canvass with oil whenever he applied his pencil, which has occasioned the loss of so many of his works that once produced an excellent effect, but which are now either defaced or perished. This is the case with those that remained in Venice, in Vicenza, Brescia, Padua, and Udine; some of which, indeed, are not greatly to be regretted; the production of mere mechanic skill, and that not always executed correctly. A few, however, are conducted [Pg 279]with much care, as we find in his S. Raimond, at the Dominicans of Bergamo, and his Epiphany at the patriarchal church in Venice, both highly deserving of commemoration, no less for the union of their colours, than for the taste displayed in the whole composition. We may easily perceive that they are the productions of a scholar, or at least of an imitator of Guido; of one accustomed to consult the pictures of Tintoretto, and of the most celebrated Venetians. Another artist equal to Ricchi in the handling of his pencil, and more accurate in the union of his colours, will be found in Federigo Cervelli of Milan, who, on opening his school at a somewhat later period in Venice, obtained the celebrated Ricci for one of his pupils. At the school of San Teodoro, we meet with a history piece of that saint, from the hand of Cervelli; and in this we may trace all the features of the same style, that was afterwards continued by Ricci, who added dignity, however, to its forms, and executed them upon canvass and upon grounds better calculated to bear the effects of age.

The other artists to be enumerated in the same class, are Francesco Rosa, a pupil rather than follower of Cortona, for an account of whom we must refer the reader to the fifth book of the fifth volume; and Giovanni Batista Lorenzetti, whose composition, bold, rapid, and magnificent, displays a powerful and correct hand. The merit of the second is conspicuous in his frescos, exhibited at Santa Anastasia, in his native city of Verona, for which [Pg 280]he received twelve hundred ducats, including only the decoration of the chapel. Add to these the name of Ruschi, or Rusca, a Roman, and a disciple of Caravaggio in his forms, and of his age in the mixture of his colours. He was wholly unknown at Rome, though he acquired some degree of reputation in the cities of Venice, of Vicenza, and of Trevigi. His paintings are admitted into collections, where several of his oblong pieces are to be met with in pretty good preservation. Contemporary with him was Girolamo Pellegrini, a native, of the same place, not mentioned in the Guide of Rome, but commemorated in that of Venice for some works, chiefly executed in fresco upon a large scale, in which he appears neither a very select, various, nor spirited painter, though of a sufficiently elevated character. Bastiano Mazzoni, a Florentine, is another artist unknown in his native city, belonging to the class of the naturalists, though possessed of a certain delicacy, roundness of style, and ease of handling. He was also an excellent architect, of whose talents the Cavalier Liberi availed himself in the erection of his fine palace at Venice, which appears to exceed the fortune of a painter. Count Ottaviano Angarano, a Venetian noble, if he did not altogether avoid the style then current, avoided at least its extravagance; and the Nativity which he placed at San Daniele, confers upon him double honour, having been both painted and engraved by his hand. Stefano Pauluzzi, a citizen of Venice, has been [Pg 281]enumerated among the best belonging to this sect, if indeed he is to be included in it, as the deterioration of his pictures may be rather attributed to the badness of his grounds than to the artist. Niccolo Renieri Mabuseo also flourished at the same period, an artist, who at Rome, under Manfredi, a follower of Caravaggio, formed a taste partaking of his early Flemish and of his Italian education; very pleasing in the opinion of Zanetti, and in general displaying much strength of hand. He had four daughters who inherited their father's talents, all of whose productions were highly admired in Venice. Two of these, of the name of Angelica and Anna, remained with their parent; Clorinda entered into an union with Vecchia, and Lucrezia with Daniel Vandych, a Frenchman, who afterwards entered into the service of the Duke of Mantua, as the keeper of his gallery of pictures; himself a fine portrait painter, and by no means despicable in his histories. To his I add the name of D. Ermanno Stroifi, a Paduan, first a pupil, and an excellent imitator of Prete the Genoese, and afterwards of Titian though occasionally, owing to an excessive attention to the chiaroscuro, he deviated too much from the right path. We are informed by Boschini that he travelled for the purpose of observing other schools, and that on returning to Venice, he still continued to rise in the estimation of the Venetians. A Madonna from his hand is to be seen at the great altar of the Carmini in that city; and in Padua, his Pietà, placed at San Tommaso [Pg 282]Cantuariense. I conclude this list with one Matteo, a Florentine artist, not commemorated in his own state, from the circumstance of having resided abroad; better known by the name of Matteo da' Pitocchi. He displayed most talent in his representation of Mendicants, heads of which class are to be met with in Venice, in Verona, in Vicenza, and elsewhere, as well as several burlesques and other fanciful pieces, in the galleries of many Italian nobles. He painted likewise for churches, more particularly in Padua, where he most probably died; and the Serviti are in possession of some on a larger scale, designed in the character of a mere naturalist. These names we trust will be found sufficient, however various and unequal both in point of style and merit, as affording examples of the taste of that age.

But inasmuch as it is difficult, as I have before observed, for an entire age to become wholly corrupt, so among the mannerists, who mark the character of this epoch, there nourished some good imitators of Titian, of Paul Veronese, and of Raffaello himself, both in the capital and its adjacent provinces. In the last, indeed, they were more numerous, because the artists of the terra firma did not so greatly abound in those masterpieces of the art, of which the Venetians themselves were enabled so easily to become the plagiarists, to the serious deterioration of the art. In the first rank then of supporters of the solid style, I must mention Giovan Contarino, who flourished [Pg 283]in the time of Palma, a companion of Malombra, and an exact imitator of Titian's method. He did not always succeed in improving and embellishing the nature which he copied, though, at the same time, he displayed a soundness of taste that was truly that of Titian. He shewed exquisite skill in his foreshortening from above (di sotto in sù), and in the church of San Francesco di Paola, he exhibited a Resurrection in the entablature, or ceiling, along with other mysteries and figures, so beautifully coloured, so distinct, and so finely expressed, as to be considered some of the most perfect of which the city can boast. He employed himself much for collections, even extending to Germany, by which he obtained from the Emperor Rodolph II., the collar of the order of cavaliers. His favourite subjects were such as he drew from mythology, being possessed of sufficient learning to treat them with classic propriety, and of these, in the Barbarigo collection, I saw a considerable number. He was so extremely accurate in his portraits, that on sending home one which he had taken of Marco Dolce, his dogs, the moment it appeared, began to fawn upon it, mistaking it for their master. His fame was nevertheless eclipsed in portrait by Tiberio Tinelli, at first his scholar, afterwards an imitator of Leandro Bassano, and raised to the rank of cavalier by the King of France. Pietro da Cortona, on beholding one of his portraits, exclaimed that Tiberio had not merely infused into it the whole soul of the original, [Pg 284]but added his own also. I have met with several at Rome, bearing a very high price, and still more are to be seen in the Venetian state. Sometimes they are left unfinished, at the desire of the parties for whom they were taken, in order to diminish their price; sometimes they are thrown into an historical character; and a Venetian Lord, for instance, will appear as Marc Antony—his wife, as Cleopatra. Many of this artist's pieces for private ornament, of the portrait size, are very highly estimated: they are alternately borrowed from scripture and from fable. Such is that of his Iris, belonging to the Conti Vicentini, at Vicenza, simple in point of composition, very natural and pleasing; and what is still more surprising, quite original. He did not display equal facility in more copious compositions, requiring a larger portion of time and leisure than he ever enjoyed, in order to leave behind him a work which could give him full satisfaction.

Succeeding him, appears Girolamo Forabosco, a distinguished portrait painter, of Venetian origin according to Orlandi, though believed by the Paduans, to have been one of their fellow citizens. Two of the most celebrated schools contended for the honour of adding him to their respective ranks. He flourished in the time of Boschini, who bestowed upon him and Liberi the precedency over all other Venetians of the age. In order better to commend him in the spirit of his age, he puns upon his name, declaring Forabosco one of those who [Pg 285]emerged fuor del bosco, or out of the wood, into full day; in other words that he rose out of obscurity into considerable note. We are to forgive similar conceits upon the part of Boschini, in consideration of the notices he handed down to us; and we may add likewise with Zanetti, that Forabosco possessed a noble and penetrating genius; a genius delighting the professed artist by its display of judgment; arresting the observer by its beauty; and which unites sweetness with refinement, beauty with force, studious in every part, but particularly in the airs of its heads, that appear endued with life. To form an adequate idea of these, we ought not so much to direct our inquiries to churches, which rarely boast any of his altarpieces, as to those collections which preserve his portraits; his half-length figures of saints, and his little history pieces, of which three are recorded in the catalogue of the Dresden gallery. Resembling Forabosco in diligence and delicacy of finish, though inferior to him in genius, we may mention his pupil Pietro Bellotti. By some he is reproached for his minuteness and dryness of style, which leads him to distinguish almost every hair, though always an exact and faithful transcriber of nature. Boschini considers him in the light of a prodigy, for having succeeded in uniting to so much diligence, a most exquisite delicacy in his tints, to a degree never before known. His compositions, more particularly his portraits and his caricatures, which are to be met with in galleries, are held in [Pg 286]much esteem. Several I have seen in different places, even out of the limits of the state; two of them very excellent—portraits of an old man and an old woman, in possession of the Cavalier Melzi, at Milan, and such as are not to be exceeded by the most polished and exquisite specimens of Flemish art.

At the same period flourished the Cavalier Carlo Ridolfi, a native of Vicenza, but who received his education and distinguished himself at Venice. His natural good sense led him to shun the peculiar style of his times, no less in writing than in painting; and we may observe the same character that is displayed in his "Lives of the Venetian Painters," written with equal fidelity and judgment, preserved also in his pictures. Thus his Vizitazione, painted for the church of the Ognissanti at Venice, has been much extolled; a piece that exhibits some novelty in the adaptation of the colours; a fine relief, and exactness in every part. Other specimens of him are to be met with in public places, both in Venice and throughout the state; but a great part of his productions were for private persons, consisting of portraits, half-length figures, and historical pieces. Ridolfi imbibed excellent principles of the art from Aliense, which he afterwards improved in Vicenza and Verona, by copying the best models he could find, and attending to perspective, to the belles lettres, and to other pursuits best calculated to form a learned artist. Such he likewise appears in the two volumes [Pg 287]of his "Lives," which are at present extremely rare, and deserving of republication, either with the plates which I heard were still in existence at Bassano, or without them, since it is no very serious loss after all to remain ignorant of the features of celebrated men, provided we become acquainted with their virtues. Upon a comparison of Ridolfi's style of writing with that of Boschini, we might suppose that these authors flourished at two different epochs, though they were very nearly contemporary. Bayle's observation, indeed, may be considered correct, as applied to them; that there exists a certain mental, as well as physical epidemic; and as, in the last, every individual is not seized with the disorder, so, in the former, good sense, as evinced in thinking and in writing, does not become altogether extinct. Thus the Cav. Carlo, as I before noticed, was not only a good writer, but one of the best biographers of artists we have. Not that he was wholly exempt from every kind of grammatical error, any more than Baldinucci himself, though one of the della Crusca academicians; but he knew how to avoid errors of judgment, into which others fell; such as relating old stories, fit only to amuse children when they first begin to draw eyes and ears; making inquisition into the life and manners of every artist, and wasting time in long preambles, episodes, and moral reflections, quite out of place. On the contrary he is precise, rapid, and eager to afford fresh information for his readers in a small space, with the [Pg 288]exception of quoting largely sometimes from the poets. His pictorial maxims are just; his complaints against Vasari always in a moderate tone, and his descriptions of paintings and of grand compositions very exact, and displaying great knowledge, both of mythology and history. He concludes the work with an account of his life, in which he complains of the envy of rivals, and the ignorance of the great, too often combining together to trample upon real merit. His epitaph, as given by Sansovino, a contemporary writer, and afterwards by Zanetti, refers the year of his decease to 1658. Boschini, on the contrary, in his Carta, page 509, speaks of him as one of the living authors in 1660, in which year his book was given to the world. I am inclined to think that those verses in which Ridolfi is commended, were the production of Boschini while the former was still living, and that after his death he neglected to retouch them.

Two others, among the best of these imitators of a more solid taste, are Vecchia and Loth, fully entitled as much as the rest to the rank they hold. Pietro Vecchia sprung from the school of Padovanino, but he did acquire altogether his style, most probably because Padovanino, like the Caracci, gave an individual direction to the talents of his pupils, in the path he judged best adapted to their success. The genius of Vecchia was not at all calculated for lighter subjects. He had imbibed from his master an admiration of the ancients, [Pg 289]as well as the art of imitating them; and with these principles he arrived at such a degree of excellence, that several of his pictures pass for those of Giorgione, of Licini, and even of Titian. It is true, that by dint of copying and exactly imitating old paintings, much darkened by time, he contracted the habit of colouring with considerable dulness of lights, affording an example for every young artist, that he should learn to tinge with lively colours, previous to taking copies of similar pictures. For though he, indeed, acquired the colouring of the ancients, he added neither much variety nor much choice of countenances; and he still remained a naturalist, limited in his ideas, and more inclined towards the burlesque than the serious. Some of his best productions consist of pictures for private ornament; of youths armed, or equipped and ornamented with plumes, in the manner of Giorgione, though not without some degree of caricature. One of these, an astrologer telling their fortune to some soldiers, is in possession of the senator Rezzonico at Rome, altogether of so beautiful a character that Giordano painted a companion to it; a little picture quite in the same taste. But although his humourous pieces please us in some, they disgust us in many of his other subjects, and more particularly in the Passion of our Saviour; a sacred mystery, in which the spectator ought never to be presented with cause for mirth. But Vecchia seemed to forget this, and introduces, like Callot, certain caricatures among his sacred pieces, of [Pg 290]which specimens are to be seen in the church of Ognissanti at Venice; in possession of the Conti Bevilacqua at Verona, and in other places. In other points, with a style rather strong and loaded with shade than pleasing, he shewed himself an excellent artist, both in his naked parts and his draperies; which he designed and coloured at the same time in the academies. His fleshes are dark red, his handling easy, his colour thick and heavy, the effects of his light new and studied, and his whole taste so far from any degree of mannerism, and of such a composition, that to any one unversed in pictorial history, he would appear to have flourished at least two ages before his real time. Melchiori bestows particular commendation upon him for his talents in restoring old pictures; and conjectures that he, in this way, acquired the appellation of Vecchia, his family name being, as we have noted in the index, that of Muttoni. He instructed several pupils in the art, none of whom pursued their master's career. Agostino Litterini, and Bartolommeo his son, were among these, both artists well known in Venice and the islands, and both distinguished for clearness and boldness of style, though the latter surpassed his father in this way. A specimen of his altarpieces at San Paterniano, displays an imitator of Titian, and of the better age. Melchiori likewise gives the reputation of an excellent artist to his daughter Caterina, though commendations of this sort ought always to be understood in reference to the time [Pg 291]in which the artists flourished. The same reasoning might apply also to politics. The title of your Excellency used once to be applied to minor sovereigns, but it has since become applicable also to the great officers and ministers of state.

Gian Carlo Loth, an artist from Monaco, resided during a long period, and subsequently died, at Venice, in the year 1698, aged sixty-six years, as we find written in his epitaph. Both Orlandi and Zanetti are mistaken in giving him as a scholar to Caravaggio, who died before Carlo was born. It is probable, however, that he acquired his strong and loaded manner of composition, and his exact representation of nature without ennobling it, from the study of Caravaggio's pictures. And if he were really the pupil, as is supposed, of Liberi, he failed to make himself master of the lively and ideal character of that school; nor did he perhaps derive any thing from it, but a certain rapidity of hand, and an elevation of manner that distinguished him from the naturalists of his time. He took a rank among the first four painters of his age, all of whom bore the name of Carlo, as I have elsewhere observed. He was much employed in Germany for the emperor Leopold I., as well as in Italy for the churches, and still more for different collections. Many cabinet pictures from his hand are to be met with in every state, in the style of Caravaggio and Guercino, with histories; of which kind is the dead Abel, so much praised in the royal gallery at Florence. One in the best [Pg 292]preservation I have seen, is to be found at Milan; a picture of Lot inebriated, in the Trivulzi palace, celebrated among men of taste as a museum of antiquities; newly arranged by the present young and accomplished marquis, and forming a collection not unworthy of a royal house. Daniele Seiter, a fine colourist, to whom we shall again allude, was instructed in the art by Loth, during a period of twelve years. He was distinguished both in Rome and at Turin; and was succeeded by Ambrogio Bono, one of the best disciples formed by the same master in Venice, where he left a variety of works, all executed in the taste he had so early imbibed.

Other artists, about the same period, flourished in Venice, who by dint of imitating the most approved models, and also through their own talents, obtained easy access into the most choice collections. Jean Lys, from Oldenburg, came early among these, bearing along with him the style of Golzio. But, on beholding the Venetian and Roman schools, he adopted an exceedingly graceful style, partaking of the Italian in its design, and of the Flemish in its tints. He chiefly produced figures upon a middle scale, such as his Prodigal Son, in the royal museum at Florence; or of smaller dimensions, as in his various little pictures of village sports and combats, with similar subjects, in the Flemish mode of composition. Yet he produced a few pictures for churches, like his St. Peter, in the act of resuscitating Tabitha, at the Filippini, in Fano; and his more celebrated [Pg 293]San Girolamo, at the Theatini, in Venice, where he died. Valentino le Febre, from Brussels, is a name omitted by Orlandi; while his very numerous engravings of Paul Veronese, and of the best Venetian artists, are ascribed by him to another artist of the same name. He painted little; and always pursued the track of Paul Veronese, of whom he was one of the most successful imitators and copyists known. His countenances bear no stamp of a foreign origin, and his colours none of the bad character of his age; while his touches are always strong, without offending our taste. His smaller pieces are full of research and finish; though he has less merit upon a larger scale, and is occasionally wanting in point of composition. We meet with another distinguished imitator of Paul, in Sebastiano Bombelli, from Udine; Guercino's scholar in the outset, and subsequently a fine copyist of the best works of Paul Veronese, which are scarcely to be distinguished from the copies he took; until he gave up the more inventive branches of the art, and devoted his attention to portraits. Here he restored the lost wonders of a former age; his portraits being remarkable for strong likeness, vivacity, and truth of colouring, both in the drapery and the fleshes. In his painting there is a happy union of the Venetian and the Bolognese manner; and in some specimens of his portraits that I have seen, he seems to have preferred the delicacy of Guido to the vigour of his own master. He was esteemed also beyond [Pg 294]Italy; he was employed by the archduke Joseph at Inspruck; took the portraits of several German electors; of the King of Denmark, and of the emperor Leopold I., by whom he was largely honoured and rewarded. It is a matter of regret, that, owing to a peculiar varnish of pitch and gum,[78] which at the time produced a good effect, a great portion of his pictures should have become obscured; and that many by the more ancient masters, which he wished to restore, should have been altogether blemished or destroyed like his own. Among the imitators of Titian, of Tintoretto, and of Paul, one Giacomo Barri is likewise mentioned by Melchiori; though he is the sole authority we have upon the point. It is now easy to meet with his engravings in aqua fortis, but not with his pictures. He was also the author of a little work entitled by him Viaggio Pittoresco d'Italia, which has become somewhat rare, owing, I imagine, to its small dimensions, and to the researches made after it by those who preserve a series of pictorial works; for the rest, his authority is of a middling character.

In the changes which produced such an alteration in the state of painting at Venice, several [Pg 295]cities of the provinces also in some measure partook, but in others many eminent geniuses arose, capable of resisting the moral contagion that invaded the capital, and of barring its entrance into their native provinces. The school of the Friuli, after the death of Pomponio Amalteo and Sebastiano Seccante, owing to the mediocrity of Sebastian's followers, or of the younger branches of his family, had declined, as we before stated, from its original splendour. It numbered, indeed, other pupils by different masters; limited in point of invention, dry in design, and somewhat hard in their colouring. None appeared capable of restoring the art, and succeeded only in furnishing the city with works reasonably well executed, more or less, and borrowed from familiar models. To this class belong Vincenzo Lugaro, mentioned by Ridolfi for his altarpiece of San Antonio, at the Grazie in Udine; Giulio Brunelleschi, whose Nunziata in one of the Fraternities presents a good imitation of the style of Pellegrino; and Fulvio Griffoni, who received a commission from the city to produce a picture of the Miracle of the Manna, to be placed in the public palace near the Supper of Amalteo. Add to these Andrea Petreolo, who ornamented the panels of the organ, in the dome of his native town of Venzone, as well on the interior, where, in a very beautiful manner, he exhibited the histories of San Geronimo and San Eustachio, as on the outside, where, surrounded with fine architecture, he represented the Parable of the [Pg 296]wise and foolish Virgins. Without dwelling upon the names of Lorio and Brugno, of whom there remain but few works, which obtained little celebrity, we shall newly record the name of Eugenio Pini, the last it may be said of those artists who but slightly addicted themselves to foreign methods. He flourished about the middle of the seventeenth century, was frequently employed at Udine, and in his own state; extremely diligent and skilled in every office of a painter, if we except, perhaps, his want of a more perfect harmony of tints. The Repose of Egypt, in the dome of Palma, and his San Antonio in that of Gemona, are pronounced by the Abbate Boni among his noblest productions.

During the period the latter flourished at Udine, Antonio Carnio, a native of a town of Portogruaro, came to establish himself in the city. Instructed in the art by his own father, a very able artist, he subsequently appears, as far as we may judge from his style, to have studied the works of Paul Veronese and Tintoretto. Next to Pordenone, the Friuli perhaps never produced a finer genius; equally original in all the branches of historic painting, bold in his design, happy in his colouring, more particularly of his fleshes; expressive in every variety of passion; and all these comprehended within the limits of a grand naturalist, though he frequently became a mannerist, in order to expedite his works. Several of his best productions are, at this period, lost to Udine, owing to the fault of the artist who retouched them; and among the most [Pg 297]studied and the best preserved, there still remains his San Tommaso di Villanuova, adorning an altar of Santa Lucia. He produced likewise several histories for private ornament, half-length figures, portraits and heads in caricature, for which he displayed a peculiar talent, and which still exist at Udine. Both the city and province are well supplied with his pieces, few of which, however, are to be found coloured with strength of handling or very highly finished. He was never without numerous commissions, even though confining his talents to the Friuli; but either from want of prudence, or some other reason, he nevertheless died in penury near Portogruaro. A few of his pictures in that place are still pointed out; but those seen at San Francesco, among which are the Washing the Disciples' Feet, and our Lord's Last Supper, said to have been executed by him in 1604, either bear a false date, or are rather to be attributed to his father. For, at that period, Antonio could not have produced them, since he was still alive in the year 1680; and on this point we ought to admit the authority of Pavona, at one time his pupil, from whom Guarienti received his notices of Carnio, which he inserted in the Abecedario. This artist must not be confounded with another Carnio, named Giacomo, who flourished posterior to him, and was much inferior to Antonio in point of merit.

Sebastiano Bombelli was born at Udine, as I just observed, though he studied and resided at [Pg 298]other places. He left no specimens of his art in the Friuli, if we except a few portraits and pieces for private ornament, along with some heads or busts of saints; while his altarpiece of the Redeemer upon the Cross, between some saints, in the parochial church of Tricesimo, is considered a very rare piece. He had a brother of the name of Raphael, whose labours were more abundant, but the whole of them, together with his name, were confined within the limits of the Friuli.

While the art thus declined in these parts of the Venetian dominions, it appeared equally to revive in others; from whence it arose, that though greatly diminished in the capital, the glory of the state did not become wholly extinct. The city of Verona was its greatest support; for in addition to having given birth to Ridolfi, to Turchi, and Ottoni, all of whom did honour to their country, it produced likewise Dario Varotari, who having established himself at Padua, laid the foundation of a very flourishing school. He exercised his talents under Paul Veronese, at Verona, to whom he has occasionally some resemblance, though his taste appears to have been chiefly formed upon other models. His design is very chaste, by no means an uncommon acquisition among the Veronese; though he shews some traces of timidity in the method of some of those pupils of the quattro-centisti,[79] who, whilst they draw their contours fuller than those of their masters, appear as if [Pg 299]they were afraid in every line of departing too far from the models before them; and this he has exemplified in the pictures of San Egidio at Padua. In others, conducted at a more mature age, he seems to have aspired at imitating more modern artists, sometimes Paul Veronese, and sometimes Titian himself in point of design, particularly in the airs of the heads; although his colours, however true and harmonious, can boast neither the Venetian strength nor beauty. Dario painted in Venice, at Padua, and in the Polesine; yet he produced little in reference to the age in which he flourished. He educated several pupils, among whom was Gio. Batista Bissoni, whose life has been given us by Ridolfi. This last was also a scholar of Apollodoro, named di Porcia, a portrait painter of much celebrity, and the style which he formed for himself is exactly that of a good painter of portraits, with which he is fond of filling his pictures, clothing them in the manner of his time. We may observe this in his Miracles of San Domenico, placed in the church belonging to his order, drawn upon a large scale, as well as in other pieces, scattered throughout the city in almost every street.

We must not omit the name of his daughter, Chiara Dario, a lady extolled by Ridolfi for the beauty of her portraits, and fully deserving of the honour conferred upon her by the grand dukes of Tuscany, who placed one of herself in their noble series of painters, where it is still to be seen. Boschini [Pg 300]seems to be of opinion that she gave public instructions in the same manner as the fair Sirani of Bologna; and that she initiated in the art Caterina Taraboti and Lucia Scaligeri, a niece of Bartolommeo. Yet the passage referring to this, (p. 526) in the Venetian poet, is somewhat ambiguous, and he perhaps only meant to assert that these two young women pursued the same career. But the chief honour and crown of Dario's reputation, was his own son and pupil, named Alessandro, who, though left an orphan at an early age, shortly after set out for Venice, where he soon began to distinguish himself. He there received the name of Padovanino, which he retained at an advanced age, and by which he is now generally known.

He first studied Titian's works in fresco, such as he found in Padua, and his copies still continue to attract the admiration of the greatest professors. In Venice he persevered in his assiduous attention to the same incomparable master, penetrating so far by degrees into his peculiar character, as to be preferred by many to any of Titian's other disciples. But comparison is invariably disagreeable, and I am inclined to think that those who personally received from the lips of great artists a few brief and sound rules, as to what ought to be avoided or achieved in order best to resemble them, are entitled to a high degree of respect: all the speculations of the finest genius upon their works are not half so valuable; for the second century [Pg 301]is fast passing away, since the oral tradition of the best colourists wholly ceased, and we have been attempting to attain their method, in which we cannot succeed. Padovanino was always equal to the task of handling any subject that had before been treated by Titian; his softer ones with grace, his more powerful with strength, his heroic pieces with dignity; in which last, if I mistake not, he surpassed every other disciple of this master. "Le donne, i cavalier, l'armi, e gli Amori," these, and let us add to them his boys, were the favourite subjects of his pencil, which he exhibited to most advantage, and which he most frequently introduced into his compositions. And he knew how to treat landscape as well; which, in some of his small pictures, he has succeeded in admirably. He was familiar with the science of the sotto in sù,[80] of which he gave the most favourable specimen in the church of San Andrea di Bergamo, in three admirable histories of that saint. It is a work embellished with beautiful architecture, and replete with graces in every part. He has approached equally near his model in the sobriety of his composition, in the very difficult use of his middle tints, in his contrasts, in the colour of his fleshes, in smoothness and facility of hand. But Titian was still to remain unequalled in his art; and Varotari is not a little inferior to him in animation, and in the expression of truth. Nor can I believe that his method of [Pg 302]preparing his canvass, and of colouring it, was the same as that pursued by Titian's disciples, many of his pieces being much darkened, with the shades either deepened or altered. This is very perceptible even in Varotari's Dead Christ, at Florence, a painting which the prince not very long since purchased for his gallery there.

In other points he appears to me to have observed the same method, in regard to his model, as Poussin, who aimed at Raffaello's manner, without reaching it, either from want of ability, or from a dread of falling into servility. His masterpiece is said to be the Supper of Cana, a piece that has been engraved by Patina, among the Select Paintings. It was formerly in Padua, and is now at Venice in the Chapter of La Carità; with few figures in proportion to the place; a rich display of costume and ornament; dogs that appear like those of Paul, full of life; grand attendance, women of the most exquisite forms warmed with more ideal beauty than those of Titian, and drawn in the most graceful attitudes. Still it is not every one who will approve of his introduction of them for the service of such a table, in preference to men, as is the more general custom. The above picture cannot, however, boast such fresh and lucid tints as his four histories of the Life of San Domenico, which are to be seen in a Refectory of Santi Giovanni and Paolo, containing as it were the flower of Padovanino's best style. This very elegant artist spent his time between the capital [Pg 303]and his native province, where alone his pictures abound in public; in other cities they are more rarely met with, and are scarce even in private collections.

In forming a judgment of his productions, it is necessary to be upon our guard against a variety of copies, many of his disciples having so happily imitated him, that Venetian professors themselves with difficulty distinguish their hand from that of their master.

Bartolommeo Scaligero ranks among the most celebrated pupils and imitators of Padovanino, an artist enumerated by the people of Padua among their fellow citizens, although they can boast little from his pencil; while the Venetians are in possession of his pictures in various churches, the most beautiful, perhaps, at the Corpus Domini. Gio. Batista Rossi, from Rovigo, produced one of his pictures for San Clemente at Padua; subsequently he flourished at Venice, executing few things for public exhibition, but which are much extolled by Boschini. Giulio Carpioni was accounted also among the pupils of Varotari, and acquired a reputation rather for his small than his larger compositions; but we shall have occasion to allude to him again. Maestri and Leoni are names recorded in the Guida of Venice, distinguished for their works in fresco, exhibited at the Conventuali. The former was most probably a foreigner, as well as the latter, whom we shall find at Rimino. Were Boschini somewhat of a less profuse panegyrist, [Pg 304]we might here add to this list the name of Dario, a son of Padovanino, uniting the character of the physician, the poet, the painter, and engraver. In the index to the Carta del Navegar, we find him placed in the rank of Dilettanti, from the circumstance of his producing little in the art, and this more with the object of presenting his pictures as gifts than of gain. Nevertheless we meet with an encomium upon them,[81] sufficient to satisfy the claims even of a good professor; besides which, several of his virtues and portraits, with an excellent body of colouring, are equally extolled for the spirit of their attitudes, and exquisite taste in the Giorgione manner.

We have next to treat of Pietro Liberi, an artist who succeeded Padovanino in sustaining the honour of his native place. He ranks among the great men of his art, and is esteemed by many the most learned in point of design, of all who adorned the Venetian School. From his early studies of the antique at Rome, of Michelangiolo, and of Raffaello, of Coreggio at Parma, and of all the most excellent masters in the city of Venice, he was led to form a style partaking of every school; a style that pleased in Italy, but far more in Germany, and which obtained for him the titles of Count and Cavalier, with wealth to support them handsomely in Venice. And, in fact, to estimate his merits rightly, we ought not to consider him as a painter in one style, but in many. For according [Pg 305]to his own confession, he employed for the eye of true judges a free and rapid pencil, not very studious of finish; for the less intelligent he worked with a very careful one, which bestowed the last touch upon every part, distinguishing the very hairs in such a manner that one might number them; and these paintings he executed on panels of cypress wood. Most probably the fire of this man's genius became quenched whenever he attempted to paint slowly, and his pieces were certainly less perfect, which is known to have occurred to several painters in fresco. But with the exception of these enthusiasts, who are extremely rare, and always adduced by the indolent in defence of their haste, an observing diligence is the perfection of every artist; and even those two thunderbolts, let us call them, of art, Tintoretto and Giordano, where they most practised it, succeeded most in charming the eye of taste. The style of this artist may also be distinguished into the sublime and beautiful. He produced fewer specimens, however, in the former, of which Venice boasts a Slaughter of the Innocents, Vicenza a Noah just landed from the Ark, Bergamo the Great Deluge, in which the shore is said to have been the work of M. Montagne; the whole of them painted for churches, robust in their design, displaying fine variety of foreshortenings and of attitudes, with naked parts in grand character, and more in emulation of the Caracci than of Michelangiolo. He even abused the singular skill that [Pg 306]he thus displayed; drawing the Supreme Deity by an unprecedented example, without the least drapery, in the church of Santa Caterina at Vicenza, an error of judgment which detracts from the worth of one of his most beautiful productions. In a lighter character he produced several pictures for private ornament, sometimes consisting of fables familiar to us, and sometimes of capricci and allegorical subjects, too obscure even for Œdipus himself to unravel. Most frequently he drew naked figures of Venus, in the taste of Titian; and these are esteemed his masterpieces, which have acquired for him, indeed, the name of Libertino. It is asserted, that being unequal to the formation of the folds of his draperies, for the most part ill disposed and vague, he the more willingly exercised himself in these schools. We meet with a great number in different collections, and after beholding one, we are at no loss to recognize the remainder, both from the heads which are often repetitions of each other, and from the rosy tinge of his fleshes, and of the general tone of his pictures. He was extravagantly fond indeed of this last colour; which he often misapplied in regard to the hands and the extremities of the fingers. For the rest the composition of his colours was sweet; his shades delicate, in the Correggio manner, and his profiles often borrowed from the antique, while his whole handling was free and elevated.

Marco Liberi, his son, was not in any way comparable to his father, either in point of dignity or [Pg 307]beauty, when left to his own invention. His forms are either caricatures, in a manner, of those of his father, or are very inferior where they are original. This striking difference may be observed in numerous collections, where their paintings of Venus are placed together, as we see in that of Prince Ercolani at Bologna. Still he was an excellent copyist of his father's works, a talent possessed by many others of the same school, whose imitations are easily mistaken for originals, even by professors themselves.

An excellent foreign artist ought not to be omitted in this place, one who flourished during a long period, and taught and died in Padua. His name is Luca Ferrari, from Reggio, fully deserving of being enrolled in the Abbeccedario Pittorico. Although Guido's pupil, his style became rather lofty than delicate; so that judging by the pictures that he produced for Santa Maria della Ghiaja in Reggio, Scannelli pronounced him a disciple of Tiarini. In some of the airs of his heads, however, and in certain graceful motions, he shews himself not unworthy of the character of the former master. In Padua there is a Pietà of his at San Antonio, of a very masterly kind, a picture that displays the rarest beauty of colouring. In his pieces abounding with figures, like that of the Plague of 1630, painted for the Domenicani, he does not appear to so much advantage; nor had Guido, indeed, offered him any great examples in this line, being accustomed rather to weigh than to number his figures. [Pg 308]Minorello and Cirello, two of his pupils and followers, continued to support in Padua some relish of the Bolognese School. Their names might be added to the dictionary above mentioned, as Rosetti seemed to wish, and the former, who might sometimes be confounded with Luca, ought to hold a higher place in it than the latter. Francesco Zanella deserves likewise to be recorded there, as an artist of spirit, though neither very diligent nor very learned in his art. He is esteemed almost the Giordano of this city, from the great number of his works conducted in a short time, and may be computed almost as the last of the school; for Pellegrini, who flourished during the same age, was not a native, though tracing his origin to Padua; nor did he reside there many years.

The city of Vicenza produced nothing original during this epoch; though it possessed a school, sprung from that of Paul Veronese and from Zelotti, of which I promised the reader a series in a more appropriate part of the work. In regard to its style, this school, in part, belongs to a better age; but its productions are chiefly so very indifferent, and so much the result of mechanic art, that it may rather be ascribed to the present. Vicenza indeed might have had reason to boast, had it possessed artists at all equal in point of genius to its architects. I shall first commence with the name of Lucio Bruni, whether a native of the state or a foreigner is uncertain, an artist who produced, for San Jacopo, a little altarpiece, representing [Pg 309]the marriage of S. Catherine, executed in 1585, and partaking of the genius of a better age. I have met with no other notice of him; for as he was probably little known in times when Italy abounded with the choicest artists, he found no historian who might have rescued his reputation from oblivion. Yet this I would willingly do, if not by giving him a rank in this school, at least including him in the list of artists of the city, where I find mention of his name. Giannantonio Fasolo received the instructions of Paul, and for a longer period those of Zelotti; still adhering, however, to Paul as his first example. At San Rocco there is one of his pictures, a Probatica, so beautifully decorated with perspective, and so finely filled with sick figures, in various groups and distances, that Paul Veronese would not have disclaimed it for his own. There are likewise three Roman histories in the ceiling of the prefectory palace; Mutius Scævola before Porsenna, Horatius at the Bridge, and Curtius before the Gulf; the whole of them nobly executed. By some strange mistake Orlandi mentions Verona as the place of his birth, and where he exercised his talents.

Among his pupils was Alessandro Maganza, son of the same Giambatista whose name I recorded among Titian's followers. Fasolo inspired him with his own taste; and we may likewise consider him a fine imitator of Zelotti and of Paul Veronese; as he has shown in his Epiphany, at San Domenico; and in his Martyrdom of S. Giustina, [Pg 310]at San Pietro. In his architecture he was excellent, judicious in his composition, very pleasing in his countenances; in his fleshes inclining towards white; in his folds somewhat hard and monotonous; and for the most part wanting in expression. Vicenza has an abundance of his paintings, both private and in public; besides the provinces and the adjacent cities, to such an amount, that we have no difficulty in believing that he flourished till his seventy-fourth year; that he painted for good prices, and with little trouble. A few of his pictures, such as we meet with at Vicenza, are amply sufficient to give us an idea of the rest; not unfrequently presenting us with the same features and the same attitudes and motions. We are to look for the cause of this, not so much in his genius, which he shows in many of his works to have been excellent, as in his domestic anxieties, occasioned by a numerous family for whom he had to provide. This artist was extremely unfortunate as a father. Giambatista, the eldest of his sons, emulated him in knowledge; and if we may venture to judge from one of his histories, of San Benedetto, at the church of S. Giustina, in Padua, he was superior to him in point of elegance. But the support he derived from this young man's talents was soon cut off by his early death, leaving a young family of his own to the care of their grandfather. His second son, Girolamo, who had also to make provision for his own children, and Marcantonio, quite a youth, afterwards [Pg 311]assisted their father in his productions, and already began to acquire some degree of reputation from their own. When, in the year 1630, their native place was ravaged by the plague, Alessandro had the grief to witness the death of his two sons, and, one by one, of the whole of his grandchildren; until left "the last of his race," to lament over the destruction of his kindred, he shortly followed them to the tomb, closing with his death that noble school which the two illustrious Veronese had founded in Vicenza.

Yet it did not altogether perish; but was continued by Maffei, by Carpioni, and by Cittadella, three artists who, compared with the Maganza, sometimes appear to have sprung from the same academy, either from having studied in Vicenza the models they imitated, or because the style, which partakes both of that of Paul and Palma, was then in high repute, as that of Cortona at another period among us. They were all three, like Alessandro himself, rapid in their composition; and were their pictures, even belonging to the city, to be enumerated, they would most likely be found to equal those of all the other foreign or native artists employed there. Francesco Maffei, from Vicenza, had been the pupil of Peranda, some of whose unfinished pieces he completed. He next undertook to imitate Paul Veronese, with a tolerable degree of spirit and learning. His style is on a lofty scale; in so much that Boschini entitles him the great mannerist, extolling him as the painter of [Pg 312]giants. Nor is he wanting in a certain grace peculiarly his; which distinguishes him from the mannerists. His picture of St. Anna, at San Michele di Vicenza, besides many works produced at the same place for the public palace, and elsewhere, extremely poetical, full of fine portraits, and coloured in the best Venetian taste, show that he was able to compete with more skilful artists than Carpioni and Cittadella, his contemporaries. And as he, perhaps, did not consider them very formidable rivals, he did not finish his pieces with much care, leaving many of his heads, besides other portions of his figures, incomplete; scanty in his colouring, employing dark grounds, and altogether painting rather for years than for ages. At San Francesco, in Padua, there is a grand picture of his "Paradise," which, owing to this method, has lost almost every trace of colour. This result extinguishes the praise which Boschini bestows upon him, that with four touches of his pencil he could make the observer raise his eyebrows with admiration, and is a very excellent warning, we think, for over expeditious artists. Their pictures may be said, indeed, to resemble certain children, the offspring of unhealthy parents, who sometimes exhibit a florid countenance in youth, accompanied with every other symptom of health, but, declining as they advance, their constitution becomes exhausted in a few years.

Giulio Carpioni, a pupil to Padovanino, and for the same reason familiar with the composition [Pg 313]of Paul Veronese, has assuredly more vivacity, power of expression, and poetry than Maffei. He was not, however, equally inclined to grand proportions, and works upon an extensive scale. His figures do not usually exceed the size of those of Bassano; and they are more frequently met with in collections than in churches, throughout the whole Venetian state. In many noble houses we also find pictures consisting of bacchanals, dreams, fables, and capricci, or fancy pieces, as well as histories, all touched with a spirit and a taste in his tints, which his master himself might have thought worthy of his pencil. He appears to have produced others for the people, if indeed they are not the work of his pupils, or of his son Carlo, who is supposed to have followed, in all points, the example of his father; though I never met with any piece that was positively genuine. He was, likewise, a good portrait painter; and in the public Council Hall at Vicenza, as well as in the church of the Servi at Monte Berico, appear the portraits of several of the magistrates in that government, accompanied by their trains; in which, to singular correctness of feature, we meet with much ideal beauty in his representation of the Virtues, that he introduced with appropriate and noble inventions. Such an artist ought to be well known in Venice and Vicenza, where he flourished during many years. He passed his latter days in Verona, where his contemporary, Bartolommeo Cittadella, had likewise taken up his residence; last of the three [Pg 314]whom I have just before mentioned. It is uncertain whether he was a pupil, or only a companion of Carpioni; but he is indisputably his inferior in point of genius and ability. To the same school we may add the name of Niccolo Miozzi, of Vicenza, recorded in the Gioielli Pittoreschi of Boschini; and, though more doubtful, that of Marcantonio Miozzi, known by his superscription attached to a sacred subject, in possession of the house of Muttoni, at Rovigo.

Towards the close of the century, one of the artists in most request was Menarola, whose style approaches nearer to the modern. He was pupil to Volpato, though chiefly following the manner of Carpioni. Next to him was Costantin Pasqualotto, more distinguished for colouring than for design; and Antonio de' Pieri, called Zoppo, of Vicenza, who possessed a rapid, but less decided hand; along with some others who may be recognized in this description. Still higher in repute than these was Pasquale Rossi, little of whom remains in Vicenza, having chiefly attached himself to the Roman School, where he will be found mentioned. Gio. Bittonte, leaving Vicenza, established himself, and painted a good deal at Castelfranco; where, from the circumstance of founding a school both of painting and of dancing, he acquired the surname of Ballerino. Melchiori represents him as pupil to Maffei, and master of Melchiore, his father, who lived also in Castelfranco, where he was much employed, although engaged also at Venice, [Pg 315]in the Casa Morosini, where he competed with the Cavalier Liberi.

When the ancient school had become wholly extinct at Bassano, there appeared a Gio. Batista Volpati, who produced many pictures for his native state; somewhat resembling Carpioni in his capricci and in his style, but more common, perhaps, in his features and whole design. His pupils are said to have been one Trivellini, and one Bernardoni, both still inferior to their master. He left behind him several treatises upon the pictoric art, which are yet existing in MS. in the rich and select library of Count Giuseppe Remondini. In the preface to these he asserts that he had no master, though he is said, in a MS. at Castelfranco, to have been a pupil of Novelli. The work is interspersed with good remarks, such as to lead us to suppose him a tolerable theorist; and Algarotti took a copy of it, as we learn from the index of his works upon the fine arts, already before the public.

We have above alluded to a branch of the Veronese School, transplanted to Padua, where it flourished with extraordinary success. Referring to its origin, and to those Veronese artists who lived contemporary with Palma, and until the close of the 17th century, it must be observed, that they maintained the national reputation no less than those of Padua, and were even more constant in the good old method of managing their grounds and their style of colouring. I have noticed the [Pg 316]name of Claudio Ridolfi[82] in a former school, from the circumstance of his having flourished in the pontifical state. He did not, however, desist from his labours in the Venetian state, some of which appear in the capital and the adjacent cities, particularly in his native place, and Padua. In the celebrated church of S. Giustina, there is a very fine piece, representing the honours of the Benedictine order, professed by princes, adorned by martyrs, and the nurse of the most distinguished pastors of the holy church. The invention is very appropriate, the execution altogether elegant and well finished, and the ornaments equally rich as in any of his other works. He presented his country with a good disciple of his style, in Gio. Batista Amigazzi, though his chief talent seemed to consist in the excellence of his copies. In San Carlo, at Verona, there is one taken from a Supper by Paul Veronese, not only finely drawn, but exhibiting colours fresh and vivid even at the present day. Still superior to him, and almost equal to his master, we meet with Benedetto Marini, of Urbino, an artist unheard of in his own country, though greatly distinguished at Piacenza.[83]

Posterior to Ridolfi appeared three scholars of Felice Brusasorci, in addition to Creara, an artist [Pg 317]less celebrated; all of whom, on the death of their master, pursued their studies at Rome. There they imbibed, more or less, the prevailing style; and all of them occupy a distinguished rank in the history of the art. Alessandro Turchi, surnamed Orbetto, is, in particular, distinguished among the first of his age; he was called Orbetto, observes Pozzo, because, when quite a boy, he was in the habit of guiding an old blind mendicant, either his father, or some other person. Passeri declares that he derived it from his having a defect in one of his eyes; which was observable in his left eye, as I am informed by Signor Brandolese, after having seen his portrait, engraved after the original, in possession of the Signori Vianelli. Brusasorci, from certain undoubted symptoms, discovered in him a fine genius for the art; and, giving him the best instructions, in a few years encountered a rival, rather than a disciple. Residing afterwards in Venice, under Carlo Caliari, and thence proceeding to Rome, he formed a style wholly his own, possessing some strength but more elegance. He established himself in Rome, where he entered into competition with the followers of the Caracci, with Sacchi, and with Berrettini; with whom he appears to advantage in the church of the Concezione, as well as in a few others. But no city has so many of his pieces in public as Verona, to say nothing of those he painted for private persons. The family of the Marchesi Girardini alone, who patronised him and supported him at Rome, for [Pg 318]which we have original letters and documents, possesses sufficient to enrich several collections, among which it is amusing to trace his progress from the inferior to the more correct specimens, and from a lower degree of ornament to the highest. Some, indeed, have ventured to put him in competition with Annibal Caracci; a comparison that, in other times, would have created as great a sensation in Bologna as the celebrated Rape of the Bucket, and one which ought not to be listened to, indeed, any where. Annibal was a painter worthy of our veneration, and Turchi succeeded in imitating his design in the "Sisara" of the Casa Colonna and elsewhere. But he was not so happy in every instance, and, generally, his naked figures, (which approach, in Annibal, to those of the ancient Greeks,) are not equal to such as he has thrown into costume. On the contrary, Passeri, in describing his picture at the Camaldolesi, in Rome, admits that he did not display perfect taste in his art, while Pascoli, in his life of Gimignani, says he enjoyed some degree of reputation at Rome; an incautious expression, if I mistake not, but which at least shews that Turchi is not entitled to a comparison with Annibal Caracci. Still he exhibits so many attractions, that he never fails to please us in every subject. He seems to have aimed at forming an union of various schools, and added to it a certain originality in giving dignity to the portraits introduced into his histories, with the most animated, [Pg 319]yet the most delicate complexions. He excelled in the choice and distribution of his colours, among which he introduces a reddish tint, which much enlivens his pictures, and is one of the indications by which we may recognise the author. He is said to have employed exquisite care in the application of his tints, and to have possessed some secret art, by means of which they continue to attract the envy of posterity. The truth is, he selected, purified, and kneaded well his colours, besides consulting chemists upon the subject. From some pictures we feel inclined to turn away in disgust, so extremely do the colours resemble the tints made use of by coach painters; and we have reason to complain of want of refinement in many instances. But how very few apply themselves seriously to select and refine their materials, to make experiments, and to analyse those colours that have been once applied.

At the church of San Stefano, in Verona, there is exhibited his "Passion of the Forty Martyrs," a work that, in regard to depth of colours and foreshortening, partakes much of the Lombard; in point of expression and design, of the Roman; and in its colouring, of the Venetian School. It is one of the most studied, finished, and animated pieces that he produced: there is a choiceness in the heads that approaches Guido's; and a skill of composition, that throws into the background of the picture a great portion of the multifarious history, as appearing in a field of vast extent, where [Pg 320]his figures are admirably varied, according to the distances in which they are supposed to appear. Yet he does not belong to that class of artists who go about in search of personages for their histories, in order to fill them with figures. On the other hand, he appears to take more pleasure in introducing an inferior number. Thus his picture of a Pietà painted for the church of La Misericordia, at Verona, exhibits only a dead Christ, the Virgin, and Nicodemus; but the whole so well designed, arranged, and animated, as well as coloured, that it has been esteemed by many his masterpiece, and is certainly one of the best paintings in Verona. In that of his Epiphany also, in possession of the Signori Girardini, of which the rough draft is preserved in the Casa Fattorini, at Bologna, he is by no means lavish of his figures; but he succeeded in arraying those of the Magi in so noble a manner, as to remind us of Titian and Bassano. Turchi died at Rome, leaving behind him two excellent disciples in Gio. Ceschini, and Gio. Batista Rossi, called il Gobbino. The first of these produced copies of his master's works, that had all the appearance of originals. Both continued to employ themselves at Verona, though declining in importance and in credit in proportion as they advanced in years.

Pasquale Ottini, the same who, with Orbetto, completed some pictures by Felice, was a good artist in regard to his forms, and of no common expression, particularly in the works he conducted [Pg 321]after having seen Raffaello's. Of this we have a striking specimen in the "Slaughter of the Innocents," placed at San Stefano, although it is subjected to an unfavourable comparison, being placed opposite to one of the finest productions of Orbetto. He appears to more advantage, perhaps, at San Giorgio, where we meet with his picture of San Niccolo, with other saints, in the best Venetian style of colouring; whereas, in other instances, his colours are somewhat languid; a defect most probably arising from time, and unfavourable situations. Finally, he is in high repute in his own country; and in the learned Alessandro Carli's History of Verona, he is mentioned as approaching the nearest of all, in point of excellence, to Paul Veronese. Subsequent to him, and not inferior in talent, we meet with Marc Antonio Bassetti, who, leaving his fellow pupils, set out, very young, to complete his studies at Venice. After again joining them, he next transferred his residence to Rome; and having copied from the best models of both schools, he ultimately returned to his native place. He is particularly commended by Ridolfi in the branch of design, in which he was truly great; add to which, he was an excellent colourist. And he was accustomed to advise those who aimed at good colouring to return, in the first place, to Venice, and again to consult the most beautiful productions of the art. There is one of his altarpieces at San Stefano, in Verona, representing various holy bishops of the city, all [Pg 322]arrayed in their sacred habits, all admirably contrasted, and in a taste nearly approaching that of Titian, were it not for the vicinity of Turchi, who seems here again to throw him somewhat into the shade. He left no succession of the school,[84] nor, indeed, many works of his own, though they were highly valued. For he was accustomed to say that painting ought not to be pursued by journeymen, like a mechanic art, but with the leisure that is bestowed upon literature, for the sake of the pleasure it affords. It would appear that Dante adopted almost the same maxim in his poetry, when he watched for, observed, and encouraged the impressions that nature, the first guide of all true geniuses, implanted in his spirit.[85] These two friends met their fate together, dying of the [Pg 323]plague in the year 1630, as well as many other scholars of Brusasorci, mentioned by the Commendatore del Pozzo. But I omit their names, either because of their early death, or want of talent to distinguish themselves. Thus, about the same year, when Orbetto had already established himself in Rome, the succession of Brusasorci's school ceased in Verona. The disciples of Paul Veronese, mentioned subsequent to him, Montemezzano, Benfatto, Verona, and others, died likewise about this period; insomuch that every trace of the municipal school may be said to have disappeared, and it was succeeded by a variety of foreign styles.

Indeed, for some time before, the young Veronese artists had become attached to foreign academies, and several strangers had established themselves in Verona. Dionisio Guerri had formed, under the direction of Feti, a very striking and clear style; in himself equal to repairing the loss of many artists. But he died young, in 1640, leaving few works behind him, in a great measure dispersed through foreign collections; and he was much lamented. Francesco Bernardi, called Bigolaro, supposed to have been a native of Brescia, until the Commendatore del Pozzo proved him to have been of Verona, was an artist educated by the same master. He exhibited, in his picture of the Titular Saint, at the church of S. Carlo, seen in the act of attending his infected brethren, as well as in another piece, a companion to it, all the [Pg 324]taste of his master. But he produced much more for private collections, than for the public. The Cavalier Barca was an artist who sprung from Mantua, though he subsequently became a citizen of Verona. It is uncertain whether he was instructed by Feti. His style is various; and in a Pietà of his, remaining at San Fermo, he appears a painter capable of producing a good effect; in other pieces, at the Scala, he abounds with pictorial grace and beauty, and he is fully worthy of commemoration.

The city of Bologna, likewise, contributed to repair the loss sustained by Verona of so many artists. Guido and Albani conferred great obligations, by instructing the Cavalier Coppa (his real name, however, was Antonio Giarola, or Gerola) who is to be enumerated in the list of their best disciples, though he is somewhat too loaded in his composition, and, with a view of catching the sweetness of Guido, became wanting in strength of colouring. There is one of his Magdalens in the Desert, however, placed at the Servi, which is full of fine expression. And in the refectory, also, of the Veronese college, is his Supper of Emmaus, a picture conducted in the style of the best Venetians. Although addicted to the style of Guido, he was also considered by Albani as one of his favourite pupils, who sent him as court painter to the Duke of Mantua, as we are informed by Malvasia.[86] From the same academy sprung Giacomo [Pg 325]Locatelli, distinguished for several works, chiefly produced for San Procolo, as well as on account of the merit of some of his pupils. They rose into notice in the decline of the art, about the close of the seventeenth century. Andrea Voltolino, a careful but cold painter, was more fitted to succeed in portraits than in compositions; Biagio Falcieri, instructed also by the Cavalier Liberi at Venice, possessed much of the fire and imagination abounding in the Venetian School. Of this he gave an example in his great picture representing the Council of Trent, where the figure of St. Thomas, in the act of overthrowing heretics, appears conspicuous on high, a piece that adorns the church of the Domenicans. Santo Prunato was instructed by these two professors, an artist who brought the Veronese School into fresh notice, as we shall have occasion to observe in the following period.

The school of Moretto continued during this epoch to flourish in Brescia; a master exquisitely delicate in his colours, and extremely diligent, as is evident from his works. Such is the opinion expressed by Vasari; but he did not always preserve the same excellence. There is not the same degree of finish in his disciples, and it was, indeed, too difficult, while so large a portion of the state put a high value upon celerity of hand, to pursue more tedious processes. The Brescian artists who succeeded him, having in part received a Venetian education, the city abounded in mannerists [Pg 326]and the class of tenebrosi. Still there appeared among these some excellent painters. Antonio Gandini and Pietro Moroni, or Maroni, are enumerated among the pupils of Paul. The former sometimes imitated Vanni, without neglecting Palma; vast, varied, and ornate in his compositions, an artist every way deserving of consideration in the grand history of the Cross, which he painted in the old cathedral, where his son Bernardino, a poor imitator of his father, also employed himself. Moroni studied a good deal the works of Titian, and was one of the most accurate and fine designers the school could, at that time, boast; nor does he yield to any of his contemporaries in the strong body, and in the clearness of his colouring. Such at least he appeared to me at San Barnaba, in his picture of Christ going to Mount Calvary, when compared with other productions of the same period exhibited there.

Filippo Zanimberti, pupil to Peranda, and an artist of fine character, and a fine hand, as well as a very natural colourist, has never been sufficiently appreciated in Brescia. But in Venice, where he resided many years, and where he painted with real genius and skill for different churches, he is very highly esteemed. In Santa Maria Nuova appears his grand picture of the Manna, so much commended by Ridolfi, by Boschini, and by Zanetti; though he chiefly seems to have employed himself in the ornament of palaces. He possessed singular [Pg 327]talent for drawing small figures, and composing fables and histories, which were eagerly sought after, insomuch that the poet of the Venetian paintings affirms that whoever possessed Zanimberti's pictures, was sure of his money.

Francesco Zugni, of Brescia, is mentioned by Ridolfi among the best of Palma's disciples. He could not compete with him in the beauty of his forms and attitudes, though he surpassed him in the fulness of his colouring, and in the spirit in which he conducted his works. These were for the most part in fresco, and frequently exhibited the perspectives of Sandrini, an architect of great merit. With him he was employed in the hall of the Podestà, in that of the Capitano, and in several villas. He displayed equal excellence in his oil paintings, as we gather from that of the Circumcision at the Grazie, and from some small figures adorning one of the choirs, designed and touched with great spirit.

Grazio Cossale, or Cozzale, produced a variety of pieces upon a large scale, still remaining in his native province. He was gifted with a rich imagination, and of a character, compared by Cozzando, the historian of Brescia, to that of Palma; and he indeed appears to have emulated his facility without abusing it. His picture of the Presentation, which he left at the church of the Miracoli; his Epiphany at the Grazie, and other pieces dispersed throughout Brescia, are all calculated to arrest the eye of the spectator, who [Pg 328]must likewise possess little feeling, should he fail to lament the unhappy fate of so great a man, who fell by the hand of one of his own sons. Neither in Camillo Rama, Ottavio Amigoni, nor in Jacopo Barucco, all disciples of Palma, have I met with any works of equal beauty throughout that city, the last of whom, indeed, has loaded his pieces with a more than ordinary degree of shade. Amigoni, who had been pupil to Gandino, likewise held his school, in which he counted, among other scholars, Pompeo Ghiti, an artist who, under Zoppo of Lugano, succeeded in improving his manner, or rendered it at least more powerful. He possessed a rich imagination, excellent in the art of design, and in his touch similar to, though perhaps not so strong as the Luganese. Francesco Paglia was a pupil and imitator of Guercino, and the father of Antonio and Angelo, both devoted to the art. He was most successful in his portraits, though he painted also scriptural pieces; one of the most esteemed of which is to be seen at La Carità. He was excellent in the laying on of his colours, and in chiaroscuro, but displayed little spirit, while his proportions were frequently too long and slender. But to describe minutely the manner of the successors of Ghiti and Paglia, would occupy too much of our space; such are the names of Tortelli, very spirited in Venetian composition, of Cappelli, instructed likewise by Pasinelli at Bologna, and by Baciccio at Rome, along with some others of a more modern character, who succeeded tolerably [Pg 329]in the path marked out by the artists of Bologna, and a few of whom may be referred to the ensuing epoch.

During the time of Palma and the Venetian mannerists, the art had been maintained in Bergamo by the successors of Lotto, and of his contemporaries. We meet with ample commendations of Gio. Paolo Lolmo, a good artist in diminutive pictures. In the altarpiece of Santi Rocco and Sebastiano at S. Maria Maggiore, and executed about 1587, not one of his earliest pieces, he displayed a great partiality for the design of the fourteenth century; diligent, a minute observer of refinements in figures, though not sufficiently modern. But there were two excellent artists, altogether in the modern style, who flourished at the same period; Salmeggia and Cavagna, who competed with one another in perfect amity, for many years, in ornamenting their native province. One of them died in 1626, the other in the following year.

Enea Salmeggia, called Talpino, received instructions in the art from the Campi at Cremona, and from the Procaccini in Milan; whence proceeding to Rome, he studied for a period of fourteen years the models of Raffaello, imitating him during the remainder of his life. Orlandi and other writers join in extolling his San Vittore, at the Olivetani in Milan, as well as a few other of his works, observing that they had been even ascribed to Raffaello. And whoever attentively examines that fine specimen, will not feel inclined to refuse Salmeggia [Pg 330]one of the most distinguished places in the rank of Raffaello's followers. The clearness of his contours (sometimes, however, carried to the borders of littleness) the expression of his youthful countenances, the smoothness of his pencil and the flow of his drapery, together with a certain graceful air in the motions and expressions, sufficiently mark him for an admirer of that sovereign master, however much inferior to him in point of dignity, in imitation of the antique, and in felicity of composition. His method of colouring was also different. He affects greater variety of colours in his draperies; the tints in a large portion of his works are at present faded; and the shades as in other pictures of the same period, are much altered. Yet it is probable that this great artist, as it has been observed of Poussin and of Raffaello himself, did not always bestow the same degree of care upon his colouring, satisfied with displaying from time to time his surpassing excellence in this department. In the church of La Passione at Milan, he produced his Christ praying in the Garden, as well as his picture of the Flagellazione, works conducted in his best style. The former of these is finely coloured in the manner of the Bassani; and the latter, of a more lofty and animated character, is superior to the other even in force of colouring. Bergamo boasts other specimens of him, and in particular in the two great altars of Santa Marta and of Santa Grata. There we meet with two noble pictures, each of which may boast [Pg 331]its separate admirers who prefer it to the other; and each displays an union of colours, at once so fresh, clear, and beautiful, that we are never weary of contemplating them. In both he has observed the same general composition; the Virgin being represented on high, crowned with a glory, while below her are seen the figures of several saints; but in the second, perhaps, he has employed a greater degree of care. Here he has introduced a splendid variety of shortenings, of attitudes, and of lineaments; and even inserted the city of Bergamo, with some fine architecture in the style of Paul Veronese. The figures are arrayed with extreme care, among which appears a bishop in his sacred paraphernalia, that serves to remind us of Titian himself. His pictures for private ornament are rare and valuable, but not sufficiently known beyond his native province and its vicinity, a circumstance common to many very excellent artists belonging to all our schools. Italy, indeed, is too abundantly supplied with distinguished names to admit of the whole of them being generally known and estimated as they deserve.

The style of Enea was not such as to be easily maintained, without consulting the great examples of Raffaello as he had done. His two sons, Francesco and Chiara, although educated by their father, succeeded rather in imitating his studies and his figures, than in thoroughly penetrating into the principles of his art. The fruits, however, of a good education were sufficiently apparent in [Pg 332]them; and when placed in competition with some of their contemporaries, they appear, if not very animated, at least very sedulous artists, and greatly exempt from the faults of the mannerists. The city is in possession of many of their public works; in some of the best of which their father is supposed to have afforded them his assistance.

Gianpaolo Cavagna seems in some way to have escaped the notice of Boschini, and even of Orlandi, who had bestowed so much commendation upon his rival. He ranks, in his native province, as high as Salmeggia, and he certainly appears to have possessed a still more enlarged genius, more decision, and more talent for extensive works. A pupil of Morone, the great portrait painter, as we have already mentioned, he evinced a taste for the Venetian School, attaching himself in particular to Paul Veronese, in whose style he conducted some of his best productions. He was ambitious of surpassing him likewise in point of design, which he assuredly did in his naked figures, exhibiting even the adult form with a degree of masterly power. He had acquired the best method of painting in fresco, in his native place, and he succeeded in it admirably, as appears from the choir of Santa Maria Maggiore, where he represented the Virgin received into Heaven, a very spirited and varied composition, abounding with figures of angels and of prophets, truly great; the distinguishing characteristic, perhaps, of this artist's genius. Nor did he appear to less advantage in [Pg 333]oils, more particularly when the immediate vicinity of other celebrated painters put his talents to the test. Of this kind the most successful, perhaps, are his Daniel in the Lions' Den, and his picture of San Francesco receiving the stigmata, forming side pictures to one of the best altarpieces by Lorenzo Lotto at San Spirito; yet they are nevertheless worthy of that distinguished post. His Crucifixion, between various saints, placed at Santa Lucia, has been still more highly extolled as one of the finest productions the city has to boast, and preferred by many judges to any of the altarpieces of Talpino. I shall abstain from expressing an opinion upon a subject in which artists themselves would disagree, merely observing that it is more difficult to meet with inferior or careless pieces from the hand of Salmeggia than from Cavagna's. He had also a son a painter of the name of Francesco, called Cavagnuola, who, surviving his father, acquired some degree of celebrity. He attached himself wholly to the style of Gianpaolo, as well as certain foreigners sprung from the same school, such as Girolamo Grifoni, in whose productions we seem to trace the copy of a copy of the style of Paul. If the artists named Santa Croce belong to Bergamo, and to one family, as we are informed in the Guida of Padua, we ought here to insert the name of Pietro Paolo, the least distinguished among the Santa Croce, but not unworthy of commemoration for one of his Madonnas at the Arena, and for other pictures at different [Pg 334]churches in Padua, in all of which he appears attached to the school of Cavagna, or at least to the less mannered class of the Venetians.

Subsequent to the above two artists, we meet with the name of Francesco Zucco, a good pupil of the Campi at Verona, and of Moroni at Bergamo. From this last he acquired the art of giving a singular degree of spirit to his portraits, and from Paul Veronese the mode of ornamenting them with most taste and fancy. Even in his larger compositions he sometimes adhered so closely to the same artist, that several of them were ascribed even by his fellow citizens to Paul, a circumstance that occurred to his pictures of the Nativity and of an Epiphany, on the organ of San Gottardo. He adopted, moreover, a variety of manners, apparently ambitious of displaying to the public his power of imitating Cavagna or Talpino, as he pleased. Contemporary with these artists, he so far rivalled them, (as in his San Diego at Le Grazie, or in the large altar at the Cappuccine,) as to approve himself worthy of such emulation. In other works he gives us occasion to wish for a better union of his colours, in which he cannot be pronounced equal to the first masters of the school, so admirable in this department.

Subsequent to the year 1627, there was no want of artists of ability at Bergamo, among whom we may mention a Fabio di Pietro Ronzelli, whose style, if not sufficiently select and ideal, was at least solid and robust. To his we may add the name [Pg 335]of Carlo Ceresa, an artist of much study and research, pleasing in his colouring, and having apparently formed his taste upon the models of the best age, successful in giving ideal beauty to his countenances. The former of these, most probably the son of one Piero, known as a good portrait painter, and respectable in point of composition, painted the Martyrdom of San Alessandro, for the church of Santa Grata, while the latter added the two side pictures without the least traces of mannerism. Contemporary with both these, Domenico Ghislandi distinguished himself as a painter of frescos, more particularly in architecture. He was the father of Fra Vittore, called likewise Frate Paolotto, whom we shall have occasion to mention hereafter. At present it will hardly be desirable that I should extend my remarks to other names scarcely heard of beyond the limits of their native province; though in justice to the city I must observe that in its dearth of native talent, it spared no expense in decorating public places with the works of the best foreign artists, of every country. Ample proofs of this liberality may be seen in the cathedral and the adjacent church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Such are among the advantages enjoyed by cities, which are equally in possession of taste and of riches. But when deficient in either of these, they will be compelled to adopt the plan pursued in rural occupations, where each agriculturist employs the oxen that belong to his own fields.

[Pg 336] Crema, at this period, might pride itself on having produced such an artist as Carlo Urbini, who, though of limited genius, was very pleasing skilful in perspective, and equal to grand historical pieces. He had afforded a specimen of his powers in one of the public halls, in which he exhibited national battles and victories, besides having employed his talents in different churches. In ornamenting that of San Domenico, however, an artist of the name of Uriele, most probably of the Gatti family at Cremona, was preferred before him, though extremely inferior. This injustice seemed to alienate his mind from his native place, and he proceeded to Milan, by whose writers he has been recorded with honour. Yet his history piece at San Lorenzo, conducted in fresco, seems to contain rather the seeds than the fruits of noble painting, and he appears to greater advantage in oil colours, as we gather from his picture of our Saviour taking leave of his virgin mother previous to his sufferings, a production ornamenting Santa Maria near San Celso, where it may compete with the best Lombard masters of that time. Lomazzo makes mention of him in reference to such as produced pieces most suitable to the places for which they were intended; an useful practice, familiar to the old masters, who took care to adapt their pictures, not only to places, but to household furniture, insomuch that in many of their vases and drinking cups, which we meet with in the kingdom of Naples, are represented, for the most part, scenes [Pg 337]of festivity, mysteries, and fables of the Bacchanalian God. Subsequent to him flourished Jacopo Barbello, whose paintings in various churches at Bergamo are extolled by Pasta, more particularly in that of San Lazzaro, an altarpiece representing the titular saint, remarkable no less for its dignity of design, than for decision of hand. In the series of this school I find mention of no other artist after him, a school distinguished in its origin by the name of Polidoro, and afterwards adorned by few but very select artists.

We shall next proceed, according to our plan, to treat of certain painters of landscape, of battle pieces, of perspective, flowers, and similar subjects. Henry de Bles, a Bohemian, better known under the name of Civetta, an owl, from the frequent introduction of that bird into his landscapes, was an artist who resided for a long period in the Venetian state. Besides his specimens of landscape to be met with in Venice, and which uniformly present some traces of ancient crudeness, he painted a Nativity of our Lord, for San Nazaro in Brescia, resembling in its style of composition the manner of Bassano. Its prevailing tone is sky-coloured, and in the features of its countenances it partakes of a foreign expression. I have also seen small pictures from his hand intended for cabinets, often thronged with minute figures, known by the name of Chimere and Stregozzi, or witch pieces, a kind in which he was extremely fanciful. But on this head we shall have occasion to return to him in a [Pg 338]short time, and proceed to a Flemish artist, who flourished, about the beginning of 1600, in the state. His name was Lodovico Pozzo, or Pozzoserrato, called also da Trevigi, from his long residence in that city, where he died, leaving it, as Federici relates, beautifully decorated with specimens of his hand. He excelled in the representation of distant objects, like his rival Paol Brilli of Venice, in such as were viewed near; and he is more pleasing and select than the latter in, his variation of clouds and distinctions of light; while at the same time he was celebrated for his altarpieces. Subsequent to these appeared several foreign artists, eminent for their skill in landscape, in the time of Boschini at Venice, where several specimens of their art must be still in existence. They were afterwards extolled likewise by Orlandi. There was a Mr. Filgher, a German, who very happily represented the different seasons of the year, and even the different lights throughout the day; a Mons. Giron, a French artist, extremely natural in all kind of views, both of a terrestrial and aerial character, and a M. Cusin who imitated the noble manner of Titian in his landscapes, with much success. Nor ought we to omit Biagio Lombardo, a citizen of Venice, an artist highly commended by Ridolfi, who declares that he rivalled both the best Italian and Flemish painters in his landscape. Girolamo Vernigo, surnamed also da' Paesi, and particularly celebrated in his native city of Verona, where he fell a victim to the [Pg 339]plague in 1630, is entitled to rank in the same list. Jacopo Maffei succeeded admirably in his display of incidents at sea, a picture of which kind was engraved by Boschini. Another artist of the name of Bartolommeo Calomato has been pointed out to me by his excellency Persico, in his cabinet of medals; and he ought apparently to be referred to this epoch, judging from his less vigorous and less refined style, although graceful and lively in his expression. He was remarkable for his small pictures representing both rural and civic views, along with small figures very animated and well composed.

A taste for battle pieces had begun to gain ground in this part of Italy from the time of Borgognone. The first who procured for himself a name in this branch was Francesco Monti, of Brescia, and a pupil of Ricchi, as well as of Borgognone himself. He was commonly called II Brescianino delle Battaglie, the Brescian battle painter, in which line he exercised his talents in different Italian cities, ultimately establishing himself at Parma, where he opened a school, and instructed one of his sons in the same style of painting. He pursued, as far as lay in his power, his master's example, though he remained much inferior to him in point of colouring. His productions are not scarce, but in many collections they do not appear under his name, being frequently attributed to the school at large of Borgognone. One of his fellow citizens and scholars, called Fiamminghino, but whose real name was Angiolo Everardi, acquired [Pg 340]great reputation also by his battle scenes, but they are seldom to be met with, owing to his having died young. Another of his disciples, a native of Verona, named Lorenzo Comendich, flourished also about the year 1700, in high repute at Milan. Antonio Calza, a Veronese, is to be referred to the same period. Being ambitious of representing military actions, he left the school of Cignani, and transferred his residence to Rome, where, assisted by Cortesi himself, he met with success. He spent his time in Tuscany, at Milan, and in particular at Bologna. There we meet with his pictures pretty abundantly, innumerable copies of them having been taken by his pupils, who by frequently varying the disposition of the groups, succeeded in giving a seeming novelty to his pictures. Upon the authority of the Melchiori MS., I am inclined to add to the list of good battle painters, Agostino Lamma, a Venetian, who employed himself for collections; and in that of Sig. Gio. Batista Curti, there is a piece of his representing the Siege of Vienna, very excellent in point of taste, modelled according to his custom upon that of Matteo Stom.

Towards the year 1660, when the three artists, Civetta, Bosch, and Carpioni, had already filled the galleries with that very tasteful class of pictures called capricci; when Salvator Rosa had produced such curious examples of his transformations and necromancies; and Brughel, surnamed dall'Inferno, had drawn from the scenes of that abyss, and from [Pg 341]its monsters, a large supply for every capital in Italy; at that period another artist, Gioseffo Ens, or Enzo, the son of him I have mentioned in the preface, and father of Daniele, a tolerably good figurist, was acquiring rapid celebrity in Venice with some highly imaginative little pictures, partaking in some measure of the style of the above artists. For the chief part they represent allegorical fictions, in which are introduced sphinxes, chimeræ, and monsters in grotesque shape; or to speak more correctly, perhaps, extravagances of imagination quite unauthorized by ancient example, and formed out of the grotesque union of various parts of different animals, much in the same manner as they are seen by persons in their delirious dreams. Boschini adduces an example of this strange poetical folly at page 604, where Pallas is seen putting to flight a troop of these wild fancies, haunting an old decayed mansion, buried in fire and smoke, as the symbol of Virtue dispersing the shades of ignorance and error. In such a career did Enzo arrive at the honour of being made a Chevalier of the Cross, by his Holiness Pope Urban VIII. Subsequently, however, he applied himself with more judgment to the study of truth, and left behind him, in Venice, several altarpieces, one of which adorning the church of the Ognissanti is extremely beautiful. I have also noticed in different collections some burlesques of dwarfs, &c. from the hand of Faustino Bocchi, a Brescian, and pupil to Fiamminghino. He was admirable in his [Pg 342]portraits of these embryos, as it were, of the human race; representations by no means displeasing to some of the ancients, and of which we have examples afforded us in what are termed Etruscan vases. In the production of fables, in which the dwarfs were to appear as actors, he displayed the most fanciful combinations, and in the Carrara collection at Bergamo, there is represented a sacrifice of these pigmies, and a popular feast in honour of an idol, full of humour, in which one of them is seen caught in the claws of a crab, while some of his own party attempt to save him, and his mother hastens, half distracted, to his relief. In order to convey a better idea of their size he inserted a small water melon, which appears almost like a mountain by their side. The design does not seem to differ much from that of Timanthes, who introduced little satyrs, in the act of measuring one of the Cyclops' thumbs with their thyrsus, as he lies asleep, to give a just notion of his bulk. It is to be regretted that Bocchi became addicted to the sect of the tenebrosi, owing to which many of his labours seem to be fast losing their value.

The same period likewise abounded in painters of flowers and fruits, in every part of Italy; but I observe that their names are, for the most part, forgotten, or where they exist in books, are accompanied by no mention of their works. Fortunately, among the pictures at Rovigo, I meet with the name of Francesco Mantovano, whether his [Pg 343]surname or patronymic is uncertain, an artist who excelled in similar works about the time of Borghini; besides those of Antonio Bacci and Antonio Lecchi, or Lech, both florists, and all mentioned by Martinioni in his Additions to Sansovino. To the number of these add the name of Marchioni, a native of Rovigo, an artist considered as the Bernasconi of the Venetian School, from her singular skill in flower painting, though not equalling the Roman lady in point of celebrity. Their works are to be seen in some of the collections at Rovigo, which abound also with many celebrated figure painters, no less of the Venetian than of other Italian Schools.

Pictures of animals do not seem to have been much in vogue with Venetian artists about this period, if, indeed, we are not to include Giacomo da Castello in the Venetian state. From verbal communications I learn that in collections at Venice he is not at all rare. I have seen only a few specimens at the Caza Rezzonico, and these consisting of various species of birds, drawn with great truth and force of colouring, as well as beautifully disposed. Domenico Maroli, a painter of flocks and herds, as well as of other rural subjects, was born at Messina, and exercised his talents in Venice. He was intimate with Boschini, who extolled him as a new Bassano, and as a specimen of his talents, inserted in his Carta del Navegar an engraving after one of his designs. It represents a shepherd with his flocks, figures of cows with a dog, very forcibly [Pg 344]and beautifully drawn; and it is altogether one of the best designs that has been engraved for that work. There resided also at Venice, where he was employed in the Casa Sagredo, and in that of Contarini, an artist named Gio. Fayt di Anversa, who, in addition to his paintings of fruits, and various rural implements, was esteemed one of the best copyists of animals, both alive and dead, in which he displayed a very polished, natural, and novel manner.

Among the perspective pieces of this epoch, ornamenting different collections, those by Malombra, as I have before stated, have been particularly commended by Ridolfi. And in architectural views we may mention Aviani, a native of Vicenza, very superior in this branch, as well as in sea views and landscapes. He was born during the lifetime of Palladio, or at least while his school still flourished, and resided in a city where every street presented specimens of a taste for architecture. He thus produced pictures of so fine a character, filled with little figures by Carpioni, under his direction, so extremely pleasing, that it is surprising he did not acquire equal celebrity with Viviano and other first rate artists. Probably he did not long flourish, and then, for the most part, in his native place. In the Foresteria, or Stranger's Lodge, of the Padri Serviti, are four of his views, exhibiting temples and other magnificent edifices, while several more are to be met with in possession of the Marchesi Capra, in the celebrated Rotunda [Pg 345]of Palladio, as well as of other nobles in various places. He likewise decorated the ceilings, or cupolas of several churches. Indeed there was then a pretty considerable school established for this branch of the art in Brescia. Tommaso Sandrino was an artist who distinguished himself in it, as well as Ottavio Viviani his pupil, though he displayed a less sound and more loaded style than his master. Faustino Moretto, belonging to the same state, employed himself more at Venice than at Brescia. Domenico Bruni was an artist highly extolled by Orlandi; he exercised his talents at the Carmini, in his native place, as well as at Venice, along with Giacomo Pedrali, also a Brescian, who flourished in the time of Boschini. Together with these appeared Bortolo Cerù, whose scenes have been engraved in aqua fortis by Boschini himself. Zanetti also records the name of Giuseppe Alabardi, called Schioppi, and of Giulio Cesare Lombardo, an artist still superior to him. I might here introduce other artists and architects of the ornamental class, distinguished in proportion to their antiquity; for towards the close of the century architectural exhibitions became too much loaded with vases, figures, and a variety of ornament, which detracted much from that simplicity of taste so essential in some way towards the effect of every thing really great or beautiful.

A kind of minor painting is believed to have been introduced at this epoch, by a priest called Evaristo Baschenis, from Bergamo. He flourished [Pg 346]contemporary with the three great artists, Cavagna, Salmeggia, and Zucchi; and he appears to have been instructed by one of these in representing every kind of musical instrument with much nature and effect. He arranged them upon tables covered with the most beautiful kinds of cloth, and mingled with them music books, leaves, boxes, fruits, inkstands, &c., drawn just as they might happen to lie; and from these objects he composed pictures executed with so much art as quite to deceive the spectator. Such was their effect, that they are still very much valued in different collections. There were formerly eight of them to be seen in the library of San Giorgio, the ingenuity of which has been highly commended by Zanetti.

[77] In the Memorie Trevigiane, I find that this artist was known also at Rome, in the Guide to which place, however, his name is not to be met with. I have some doubt it may have been confounded with that of Gio. Carbone. But this last was from S. Severino, and a follower of Caravaggio; the other a Venetian, attached to Titian; and, in some pictures he produced at San Niccolò of Trevigi, he subscribes not Carbonis, but Carboncini opus.

[78] Let no one, from this instance, altogether condemn the use of varnishes in the restoration of paintings; for by the application of mastic, and of gum water, according to all the most recent experiments, the colour does not suffer. But oil is injurious to ancient paintings, for the new never becomes incorporated with the old, and, in a short time, every fresh touch is converted into a stain.

[79] Quattro-centisti. Artists of the fourteenth century.

[80] Literally from below to above. Foreshortening on a ceiling.

[81] Vide pp. 512 and 513.

[82] V. tom. ii. p. 196; and, in the same place, I gave him as a pupil to Dario Pozzo, on the authority of the Commendatore del Pozzo. But writers disagree in regard to the chronology of this man; which, until it be further cleared up, may rest, for me, without this honour.

[83] An account of him may be found, tom. ii. p. 198, and in the series of painters of the Barocci school.

[84] Melchiori informs me of a pupil of his, unknown to Pozzo, probably because a non-resident in Verona. This was Father Massimo Cappucino, a Veronese by birth, and, in the historian's opinion, an excellent artist. In proof of this, he mentions four large pictures, placed in the dome of Montagnana, besides several altarpieces, distributed by him among the churches of his order. Along with this ecclesiastic I find mention of two contemporary lay brothers, who assisted him in the art, neither of them unworthy of being placed upon record. These are Fra Semplice, a native of Verona, and pupil to Brusasorci, and Fra Santo, of Venice; both of whom were particularly employed in painting for churches and convents, within the Venetian territory. Fra Semplice produced also some for Rome. A fine picture of San Felice, from his hand, placed at Castelfranco, was engraved in 1712.


Io mi son un che quando Amore spira noto; ed a quel modo Che detta dentro vo significando.—Purg. C. 24.

[86] Tom. ii. p. 266.

[Pg 347]



Of Exotic and New Styles in Venice.

If, according to the plan laid down by Pliny, and which I have hitherto observed, each several epoch ought to be deduced from one or more masters of a school, who may have given a new aspect to the art, it will be proper, in this instance, to vary my system. The epoch here nearest to us will be found to take its rise at a period when the Venetian artists, having almost wholly abandoned their national models, attached themselves some to one, and some to another foreign method, or formed out of them one of their own. Such were the times of which Signor Zanetti, in his work, observes, "there appeared in Venice as many different manners, as there were artists to practise them." This would appear to have been the state of the art towards the end of the 17th century. Those artists who followed, approaching still nearer to modern times, although various in point of style, resembled each other in a study of ideal beauty, and all agreed in copying from the modern Roman, or Bolognese Schools, with the addition, however, of their own defects. Still the old masters [Pg 348]were not, on this account, underrated; but were rather spoken of as the ancients who flourished at a golden period, whose customs are to be admired, indeed, but not imitated. Fashion, as it sometimes happens also in sciences, had usurped the seat of reason; while the artists who followed in her train alleged in excuse, that the age was fond of such novelties, and that it was incumbent upon them to second its inclination, in justice to their own fortunes. Amidst these changes, the Venetian School, which had always preserved its ascendency in point of colouring, then began to alter, losing the truth of nature, as it became more brilliant. Thus few artists flourished at that period who might not, more or less, be termed mannerists in colouring. But in other respects the school appears to have improved, and particularly in treating its history pieces more appropriately, without the introduction of portraits, dresses, and other accessaries, ill adapted to them; a defect to which it had been more attached, and had more obstinately adhered, than any other of the schools. Yet it cannot be denied, that during this period of the decline of art throughout Italy, the Venetian School shone peculiarly conspicuous in the number of superior inventors it produced. For whilst Lower Italy aimed at nothing beyond the striking contrasts of the followers of Cortona; whilst in so many schools of Upper Italy, the imitators of the imitators of the Caracci were esteemed the great models; in Venice, and the adjacent state, various styles were [Pg 349]seen to spring up, which, though not perfect, were at least original, and valuable in their way; if, indeed, the whole of Europe has not been deceived in its estimation of them, purchasing the pictures of the Ricci, of Tiepolo, of Canaletto, of Rotari, and of numerous other artists of the same time, at immense sums. But we must take a more particular survey of them.

The Cavalier Andrea Celesti, who died in the early part of the century, was disciple to Ponzoni, but without becoming his imitator. As an artist, he is very pleasing, fertile in noble images, flowing in his outlines, with delightful scenery, with airs, with features, and with draperies all graceful, and often resembling Paul Veronese. His style of colouring, also, was not remote from nature, equally lucid, pleasing, and soft. Owing to his fondness for the chiaroscuro, one of the chief attractions of his style, or rather, perhaps, to the imperfection of his grounds, there are few of his productions that continue to preserve their original beauty. Occasionally he seems to belong to the sect of Tenebrosi, and his middle tints have in some instances disappeared, destroying the harmony that in some of his best-conducted pictures was admirable. His distinguishing character was a happy audacity of hand, in which he is excelled by very few. He painted both history, and altarpieces for churches, a specimen of which is seen in his Probatica at the Ascension. In the public palace there is one of his histories from the Old Testament, abounding [Pg 350]with all that masterly talent for which he was so remarkable, creating at once admiration and surprise. He produced pieces for private ornament, from profane history, with conversations, games, and rencounters, like Caravaggio's. Alberto Calvetti, an inferior artist, educated in his school, resembles him as little in talent, as, for the most part, in his style.

Antonio Zanchi da Este was an artist, also, better known in Venice for the number, than for the excellence of his works. His style is altogether distinct from that of the foregoing, and it is uncertain whether he derived it from his master Ruschi, or from some other of the sect of naturalists whom we have before described. Such, at least, appears the cast of his genius, common in its forms, sombre in its colours; but nevertheless exciting surprise, by a certain fulness and felicity of hand, by its picturesque spirit, by its effect of chiaroscuro, and by a grand general result, which imposes upon us by its power. If we examine more particularly into his manner, we shall not unfrequently discover an incorrectness of design, along with that kind of indecision, and indistinctness of outline, which is mostly the resource of weak, or, at least, of very hasty artists. He chiefly attached himself to Tintoretto, some traces of whom may be found in his style. In the college of S. Rocco, where that great master rendered his name immortal, we behold one of the best specimens of Zanchi. The subject, admirably fitted to his manner, [Pg 351]contributed greatly to his success. He has there given a bold exhibition of the great plague that afflicted Venice in 1630, a picture filled with a concourse of the sick, the dying, and the dead, borne to one universal grave. Opposite to this grand painting there is another from the hand of Pietro Negri, his pupil, as is supposed, but more probably his rival, which represents the liberation of the city from that fatal scourge; and in it, too, we perceive the peculiar ease, and the manner of Zanchi, somewhat improved, however, and ennobled in its forms. Francesco Trevisani, another of his pupils, took up his residence at Rome, in the list of whose professors he has already been commended (tom. ii. p. 296). Gio. Bonagrazia, however, remained in the Venetian state; and acquired some reputation in his native town and province of Trevigi, more particularly for his paintings at San Vito.

Antonio Molinari belonged, likewise, to the same school, but almost wholly renounced the maxims he had acquired in it.[87] His style is by no means equally sustained; a case that frequently occurs to such as abandon the methods in which they have been educated, and attempt to strike into new paths. I have seen some of his pictures at Venice, and elsewhere, in fine relief, and others quite the contrary; at times, too, he appears beautiful, [Pg 352]but cold. In the vigour of his powers, however, when he produced the works most decisive of his merits, such as his History of Oza, at the Corpus Domini, he displays a style no less solid than pleasing, and which equally satisfies the judgment and the eye. There is a study both of design and of expression, ample beauty of forms, richness of drapery, with a taste and harmony of tints not surpassed by any artist of the times.

We may mention, likewise, as distinguished by their manner, Antonio Bellucci, and Giovanni Segala, two painters who, like their masters, became addicted to the use of strong shades. Yet they possessed sufficient intelligence to derive some advantage even from a wrong direction of their powers. For the former disposed them in grand masses, yet delicate, and moreover united to pleasing colouring; while the latter made use of dark grounds, which he contrasted with very spirited lights, and with a skill that enlivens while it enchants us. Indeed, the style of both seemed adapted for great works, and both possessed genius enough to conduct them well. Segala, however, is preferred by Zanetti to his contemporary, and his picture of the Conception, executed for the college of La Carità, is particularly extolled by him, and, in truth, he there competes with, if he does not surpass, some of the first painters of the age. We ought to estimate the merit of Bellucci from those specimens he conducted with most care, and upon the best grounds, such as his scripture piece [Pg 353]in the church of the Spirito Santo. He appears to most advantage, perhaps, in small figures, many of which he inserted in the landscapes of the celebrated Tempesta. When at Vienna, he became court painter to Joseph I. and to Charles VI.; and subsequently to other German princes, which he chiefly owed to this kind of talent.[88]

To this epoch, also, belongs the name of Gio. Antonio Fumiani, who acquired from the Bolognese School, in which he was educated, an excellent taste, both in composition and design. And from the works of Paul, which he studied with assiduity, he obtained a knowledge of architectural and other ornaments. Some have considered him deficient in warmth of tints, and in a just counterpoise of lights and shades, to which I should add, also in expression; appearing, as he does to me, cold in all his attitudes, even beyond the custom of this school. Perhaps his Dispute of Jesus with the Doctors, at the church of La Carità, is his finest work. Bencovich, having resided at Bologna, will be enumerated among the followers of Cignani.

Nearly contemporary with Fumiani, though he flourished longer and painted more, was the Cav. Niccolo Bambini, a pupil of Mazzoni, in Venice, and afterwards of Maratta, at Rome. There he became accomplished in design, exact and elegant, [Pg 354]and capable of sustaining those noble conceptions derived from nature, which he developed in very enlarged works, both of oil and fresco. Fortunate, indeed, had he succeeded as well in his colouring; in which branch he was so sensible of his own mediocrity, as to forbid his scholars practising the art from his pictures. His taste is sometimes wholly Roman, as in his altarpiece at San Stefano, executed soon after his return from Rome. At other times, he has a more flowing manner, like that of Liberi, which he imitated for several years with success, ever afterwards retaining the beauty of his heads, especially in his women. Again he occasionally soars above himself, and in such works as he himself conceived and executed, and which were afterwards re-touched and animated, as it were, by Cassana, the Genoese, he shines as a great portrait painter, and a very powerful colourist. In the Guida of Zanetti, we meet with the names of Giovanni and Stefano Bambini, two of his sons, and most probably his pupils, though from the same, and from another more extensive work, where he makes no mention of them, we can gather that they were held in very small esteem. Girolamo Brusaferro, and Gaetano Zompini were also his pupils, and ambitious, as well, of imitating Ricci, forming a kind of mixed style not altogether destitute of originality. The second of these received honourable commissions from the court of Spain, in which he displayed a rich fund of imagination, and, in some measure, distinguished himself by his engravings.

[Pg 355]Gregorio Lazzarini was pupil to Rosa, and not only freed himself from the sombre sect, but rising into great reputation, wholly banished it from the Venetian School, of which, for accuracy of design, he might be pronounced to be the Raffaello. Whoever contemplates the pictures of Lazzarini would, at first, suppose he must have received his education at Bologna, or rather, perhaps, at Rome. Yet he never left Venice, and by the strength of his genius alone, acquired the esteem of the most learned professors in the art, and particularly of Maratta, a very scrupulous panegyrist of his contemporaries. Thus the Venetian ambassador at Rome, having occasion to apply to him for a picture, intended to ornament the hall of the Scrutinio, he declined the commission, expressing his surprise that it should be deemed requisite to apply to him at Rome, while they had Lazzarini at Venice. And the latter artist produced a piece which justified the judgment of Maratta, representing in the noblest manner the triumphal memory of Morosini, surnamed by the Venetians, Peloponnesiaco, which adorns the forementioned hall. He most distinguished himself by his picture of San Lorenzo Giustiniani, painted for the patriarchal church; perhaps the best specimen in oil displayed by the Venetian School during this period, whether for its taste of composition, its elegance of contours, or the original beauty and variety of its countenances and its attitudes. It possesses, likewise, force of colouring, in which he was not always [Pg 356]equally successful. In small figures he was extremely graceful, a specimen of which may be seen in a choir of Santa Caterina, at Vicenza, where he executed some very beautiful histories, in the most glowing colours imaginable. The last altarpiece, bearing his own name, was completed by his excellent pupil, Giuseppe Camerata, who in this, as well as other pieces produced for churches, pursued the same career as his master. Another of Lazzarini's pupils, however, Silvestro Manaigo, persevered in an opposite course, for though of a fine character, he was too rapid, and too much of a mannerist.

There flourished, likewise, at that period, two artists of Trevisi, Francesco, included in the list of the Roman School, and Angiolo Trevisani, who, both by birth and domicile, must be claimed for that of Venice. Fine in his inventive pieces, as we gather from those at La Carità, and various other churches in the capital, he was still more celebrated for his portraits. In exercising this branch, he formed a style founded upon nature, not, indeed, sublime, but very select, and in part conformable to the schools then in vogue. His pencil displayed diligence and research, especially in his management of the chiaroscuro.

Jacopo Amigoni can scarcely be justly estimated in Venice, where, if we except his picture of the Visitation at the monastery of San Filippo, there is nothing of his remaining in public in his best manner; that which he acquired by studying the [Pg 357]masterpieces of the Flemish School in Flanders. It was there that his genius, naturally fertile and animated, uniting with facility qualities of grandeur and of beauty, and seizing upon the finest subject for copious histories, also discovered the kind of colouring he had in vain sought for at Venice. There, too, he "achieved the art of attaining, by force of shades, even to pure black, which colour he employed to produce perfect clearness, without injuring the beauty of his piece:" thus we are informed by Signor Zanetti. Had he succeeded in giving a little more relief to his pictures, and employed less care in giving brilliance to every part of his composition, he would have appeared to more advantage; but only in the eyes of good judges, as the multitude could not well be presented with any thing more calculated to enchant them than one of his pictures. Nor was it without reason that his style was so much applauded throughout England, Germany, and Spain, in which last country he died, when painter to the court, in 1752. Various productions of his hand are to be met with, though but rarely, in possession of private families in Italy, chiefly consisting of little histories, conversations, and similar pieces, in the manner of the Flemish artists. Of the Flemish, I say, in respect to the size, not the perfection of the drawing, this artist being accustomed to alter his tints in some degree, particularly in the shifting hues, to labour by touching, often leaving his outline undefined, and to raise the colour [Pg 358]so as to produce effect in the distance. His pieces upon a larger scale are more rare, though I have seen several exhibiting great truth in the expression of countenance, and a rich flow of drapery, in possession of the celebrated musician, Farinello, at Bologna. And in these portraits the musician himself always appeared, as received at different courts, and in the act of being applauded and rewarded by the European Sovereigns.

Giambatista Pittoni, though less generally known than the preceding, is still entitled to a rank among the first artists of his age. The disciple and nephew of Francesco Pittoni, here mentioned, rather from his pupil's merit than his own, he subsequently became attached to foreign schools, and formed a style which displays some novelty in the warmth of its colouring, and in a certain pictorial amenity and attraction which prevail throughout the whole. He cannot, indeed, be said to be very select, but he is in general correct, polished, and intelligent in his entire composition. He particularly shone in figures, smaller than the life; and the galleries in the Venetian state are thus by no means scantily furnished with his histories; while we may observe of his altarpieces that they seem to increase in beauty in proportion to the diminution of their size. This we perceive at the Santo in Padua, where he painted in competition with the best of his contemporaries, the Martyrdom of San Bartolommeo, which he coloured upon a small canvass. A very rapid tourist attributes [Pg 359]it to the pencil of Tiepolo, whose manner is altogether different.

Gio. Batista Piazzetta, on the other hand, was an artist of as sombre a cast as the two preceding were animated and lively. He had acquired a good knowledge of design, either under his father, a tolerably skilful statuary in wood, or under some very exact naturalist; and in his early attempts he painted in a free and open style. Afterwards he embraced an opposite manner, and employing himself with Spagnolo at Bologna, and there likewise studying Guercino, he aimed at producing an effect by strong contrasts of lights and shades, and in this he succeeded. He had long, as it is supposed, observed the effects of light applied to statues of wood and models in wax; and by this he was enabled to draw, with considerable judgment and exact precision, the several parts that are comprehended in the shadowing, owing to which art his designs were eagerly sought after, and his works repeatedly engraved with assiduity. One of these, placed at the Domenicani delle Zattere was engraved by the celebrated Bartolozzi; another by his school; that is to say, his San Filippo, painted for the church of that name in Venice. Many were engraved also by Pitteri, by Pelli, and by Monaco, besides other prints that were executed in Germany. His method of colouring, however, diminished in a great measure the chief merit of his pictures. Thus his shades having increased and altered, his lights sunk, his tints become yellow, [Pg 360]there remains only an inharmonious and unformed mass, which the venerators of names, indeed, may admire, but can hardly give a reason why. Where we happen to meet with a few of his pictures in good preservation, the effect is altogether so novel and original as to make a strong impression at first sight, more especially where the subject requires a terrific expression, as that of his beheading of St. John the Baptist in prison, produced at Padua, a work placed in competition with those of the first artists in the state, and at that period esteemed the best of all. Yet if we examine him more narrowly he will not fail to displease us by that monotonous and mannered colour of lakes and yellows, and by that rapidity of hand, by some called spirit, though to others it often appears neglect, desirous of abandoning its labour before it is complete.

Piazzetta could hardly boast strength enough to deal with pictures abounding with figures, and having received a commission from a Venetian noble, to represent the Rape of the Sabines, he spent many years in conducting it. In his altarpieces and other sacred subjects he produced a pleasing effect from the spirit of devotion, but never for the dignity he displayed in them. Duly estimating his own ability, he was more desirous of painting busts and heads for pictures adapted for private rooms than any other subjects. In his caricatures he succeeded admirably, several of which in possession of the Conti Leopardi d'Osimo [Pg 361]would excite the risible muscles of a professed enemy to mirth. At one period this artist had a great number of followers, a fashion nevertheless that soon ceased. Francesco Polazzo, a good painter, but a better restorer of ancient pictures, somewhat softened down the style of Piazzetta with that of Ricci. Domenico Maggiotto also tempered it in his Miracle of San Spiridione, and in his other works engraved at Venice and in Germany. Various artists of this school in the same way gave softness to his manner by studying other models. Perhaps the one most addicted to his method was Marinetti, from the name of his native place more commonly called Chiozzotto.

The last of the Venetian artists who procured for himself a great reputation in Europe, was Gio. Batista Tiepolo, so frequently commended by Algarotti. He was honoured likewise with a poetical eulogy by the Ab. Bettinelli, became celebrated in Italy, in Germany, and in Spain, where he died painter to the court of Madrid. Pupil to Lazzarini, whose deliberate and cautious style served to curb his too great warmth and rapidity, he subsequently studied Piazzetta, animating and enlivening as it were his manner, as he appears to have done in his picture of the Shipwreck of San Satiro at San Ambrogio in Milan. He next became an assiduous imitator of Paul Veronese, whom, though inferior to him in the airs of his heads, he very nearly approached in his folds and his colouring. From the engravings also of Albert [Pg 362]Durer, that storehouse of copious composers, he derived no little advantage. Nor did he at any time abandon the study of nature in observing all the accidents of light and shade, and the contrasts of colour best adapted to produce effect. In this branch he succeeded admirably, particularly in his works in fresco, for which he appears to have been endued by nature with promptness, rapidity, and facility in great compositions. While others were accustomed to display the most vivid colours, he only availed himself in his frescos of what are termed low and dusky colours; and by harmonizing them with others of a common kind, but more clear and beautiful, he produced a species of effect in his frescos, a beauty, a sunlike radiance, unequalled, perhaps, by any other artist. Of this the grand vault belonging to the Teresiani in Venice presents a fine specimen. He has there represented the Santa Casa, accompanied by numerous groups of angels finely foreshortened and varied, surrounded by a field of light that appears to rise into the firmament. Such an artist would have been truly great, had he, in works upon this scale, succeeded in observing equal correctness in every part; in the whole he always produces an agreeable effect. He appears more correct and careful in his oil pieces, which we find dispersed throughout the metropolitan city as well as the state. At San Antonio in Padua we meet with his Martyrdom of Santa Agatha, a picture alluded to by Algarotti as a very rare example of fine expression, at once uniting [Pg 363]that of terror at approaching fate, and of joy for the glory of beatitude in view. Many other beauties are remarked by Rossetti in this picture, which he admits, however deeply interested in defending it from every imputation cast upon it by Cochin, is not altogether perfect in point of design.

In the list of his disciples we find the name of Fabio Canale, mentioned with honour in the work so often cited, from the pen of Zanetti; and to such of his pictures as he mentions we may add those he produced in Palazzo Zen at the Frari, and in that of the Priuli at the bridge of the Miglio. To this artist we might join a few others of this last age, recorded in the Guide to Venice, the same that was published by Zanetti in 1733, and some of whom are likewise mentioned in the Pittura Veneziana, where, beginning at p. 470, he gave a catalogue of the names of such of the members of that estimable academy, as were then alive, some of whom are still in existence. But whoever is desirous of cultivating an acquaintance with them and with their works which are in possession of the public, may consult the above books as well as some of the more recent Guides of the city, which have continued from time to time to appear. I ought to add, that the Signor Alessandro Longhi has presented us with the portraits and the Elogj of the most celebrated of these moderns, in the year 1762, and this work also may supply what my brevity or my silence has omitted or compressed.

Proceeding in the next place from Venice to the [Pg 364]cities of the state, we shall find that these also have produced many memorable artists. The Friuli will occupy but little of our attention, boasting few masters, and none of them distinguished for their figures. Pio Fabio Paolini, a native of Udine, studied at Rome, where he produced in fresco his San Carlo, which adorns the Corso, and was united to the academy there in 1678. Returning thence into his own country he painted several altarpieces and other minor pictures, such as to entitle him to a high place among the followers of Cortona. Giuseppe Cosattini, born at the same place, and canon of Aquileja, devoted himself to the same pursuit, and rose into so much estimation as to be declared painter to the Imperial Court. He particularly distinguished himself by his picture of San Filippo, preparing to celebrate mass, painted for the Congregation of Udine; the work of a real artist not of a dilettante, as he appears in some other of his paintings. Pietro Venier, a disciple of the Venetian artists, displayed some merit in his oil pieces, not uncommon at Udine; and more in his frescos in the ceiling of the church of San Jacopo, where he appears to great advantage. But the best painter of frescos in these later times, amongst his countrymen, was Giulio Quaglia, a native of Como. From his age and style I should suspect that he belonged to the school of the Recchi, although his design is less finished than that of Gio. Batista Recchi, the head of that family of painters. It would appear that he [Pg 365]visited Friuli young, towards the close of the last century, and there he conducted works, for the most part, in fresco, to an amount that almost defies enumeration. His histories of our Saviour's Passion, ornamenting the chapel of the Monte di Pietà at Udine, are held in high estimation, although he conducted works upon a much larger scale, for various halls of many noble families, in all which we trace a fecundity of ideas, a decision of pencil, a power for vast compositions, sufficient to have distinguished him in his age not only in the limits of Como but at Milan. I omit the names of those professors of the art who merely designed without colouring, or who never attained to mature age; and those of a few others I have to reserve for foreign schools, and for different branches of painting.

Proceeding towards the Marca Trevigiana, I meet with an artist's name that has been claimed by different schools of Italy, according to the place in which he painted, or studied, or gave instructions in the art. For this reason I have judged it best to speak of him as connected with his native place, which boasts a sufficient number of his works. This artist is Sebastiano Ricci, which the Venetians write Rizzi, one who can be reckoned second to none among the professors of our own epoch, in point of genius for the art, and the taste and novelty of his style. He was born in Cividal di Belluno, educated, as we have observed, by Cervelli at Venice, and afterwards conducted by his master into Milan; he there acquired, [Pg 366]both from him and from Lisandrino, every thing that was of importance in the pursuit of his profession. Thence he went to study at Bologna and at Venice, subsequently transferring his residence to Rome and Florence. Lastly he made the tour of all Italy, employing his pencil wherever he received commissions, at any price. Having acquired reputation, and being invited by different potentates, he passed into Germany, England, and Flanders, in which last country he perfected his style of colouring, which had been always very pleasing and spirited, even in his first attempts. From his acquaintance with such a variety of schools, he stored his mind with fine images, and by dint of copying many models, his hand became practised in different styles. In common with Giordano he possessed the art of imitating every manner; some of his pictures in the style of Bassano and of Paul, continuing yet to impose upon less skilful judges, as in the instance of one of his Madonnas at Dresden, for some time attributed to Coreggio. The chief advantage he derived from his travels was, that on having occasion to represent any subject, he was enabled to recollect the manner in which different masters might have treated it, availing himself of it without plagiarism accordingly. Thus the Adoration of the Apostles at the Last Supper, a piece adorning the church of Santa Giustina at Padua, betrays many points of resemblance to the painting on the cupola of San Giovanni at Parma, while his San Gregorio at San Alessandro in Bergamo [Pg 367]recalls to mind one by Guercino, executed at Bologna. The same method he observed in his scriptural histories, produced for SS. Cosmo and Damiano, which are preferred to any others he conducted in Venice, or perhaps in any other parts, and which frequently present us with fine imitations, but never with plagiarisms. He did not early acquire a good knowledge of design, but he afterwards succeeded in this object, which he cultivated with extreme assiduity in the academies, even in mature age. The forms of his figures are composed with beauty, dignity, and grace, like those of Paul Veronese; the attitudes are more than usually natural, prompt, and varied, and the composition appears to have been managed with truth and with good sense. Although rapid in the handling, he did not abuse his celerity of hand, as so many artists have been known to do. His figures are accurately designed, and appear starting from the canvass, most frequently coloured with a very beautiful azure, in which they shine conspicuous over all. Such pieces as he conducted in fresco, still preserve the native freshness of their tints; while some of his others seem to have suffered, owing to the badness of the grounds, or of the body of colour, which was weaker in the later than in the earliest Venetian artists. The amenity of Ricci's style soon procured for him disciples, in the list of whom Marco, his nephew, greatly distinguished himself, and subsequently devoting himself to the composition of landscape, [Pg 368]he accompanied his master upon his travels, employing himself a good deal, both at Paris and in London. Gasparo Diziani, his fellow countryman, was an artist who excelled in his facility of painting large theatrical works, and in that line was employed in Germany. He was, moreover, a very pleasing composer of pictures for private ornament, several of which are now to be met with in the collections of the Sig. Silvestri and Sig. Casalini at Rovigo. Francesco Fontebasso, a pupil also of Bastiano, succeeded, notwithstanding some degree of crudeness, in acquiring celebrity in his day, both in Venice and the adjacent cities.

In the Guide of Padua Rosetti includes, in the list of its painters, Antonio Pellegrini, as being the son of one of its citizens, who had established himself, however, at Venice, where Antonio was born. And the Venetians, indeed, may concede him to that city without much sacrifice of fame. For the surprising success he met with in some of the most civilized kingdoms of Europe, is to be attributed to the decline of the art, and to the lively and mannered style he assumed, which found a welcome reception in all parts. He may be pronounced an artist of some ingenuity, facility, and sprightly conception; but he was by no means well grounded in the art; and he expressed his ideas with so little decision, that the objects which he represents sometimes appear to float in a kind of half-existence between visible and invisible. He was so very superficial a colourist, that even in [Pg 369]his own times it was said his productions would not continue to last during a half century. And, in truth, those I have seen at Venice and at Padua are already become extremely pallid; while such as he executed at Paris will, doubtless, be in the same state. Yet in that city he obtained a large sum in the year 1720, for merely painting a frieze in the celebrated hall of the Mississippi, which he executed in about six weeks. His best work is, perhaps, to be found at San Moisè, consisting of the Serpent of Bronze, erected by Moses in the Desert; no other equal to it having issued from his studio.

As the preceding one is considered the last of the Paduan artists of any note, we may mention, as the last among those of Bergamo, at least of any merit in composition, Antonio Zifrondi, or Cifrondi, pupil to Franceschini. Indeed he greatly resembled the former in his natural bias for the art, in an imagination adapted for great compositions, in facility and rapidity of hand, to such a degree as to dash off a picture in two hours. He likewise passed into France, though without meeting with success, and then resided in his native place, employing himself for those churches that are adorned with so many of his pictures, few of which are free from errors of over haste and carelessness. Thus he did not scruple at the church of S. Spirito, to place near his picture of a Nunziata, conducted in his best style, three other historical [Pg 370]pieces of quite an opposite character. We meet with his name mentioned more than once, in the Lettere Pittoriche, with much commendation. Several other artists, whose names are to be met with in Tassi, and his continuator, are known to have flourished at the same period. Nor ought we, by any means, here to omit that of Vittore Ghislandi, who, though little skilled in works of invention, yet in his portraits, and some of his heads, in the way of capricci, has almost equalled in our own times the excellence of the ancients. He was instructed in the art by Bombelli, and by dint of very assiduous study, particularly in the heads of Titian, in order to develop his whole artifice, he attained a degree of perfection that is truly surprising. Whatever can be esteemed most desirable in a portrait painter, such as lively features, natural fleshes, imitations of the most varied drapery, to make a distinction in dresses; these constitute a portion of his merits. The Carrara collection, above any other, may boast of several, distinct both in point of age and costume; and though surrounded by very select pictures from every school, and though mere portraits, they fail not to attract and surprise us. Less celebrated than many others, he is nevertheless an artist whose productions would do no discredit to any palace. One more generally known, however, is Bartolommeo Nazzari, pupil to Trevisani in Venice, and afterwards under Luti, and the other Trevisani, he perfected himself at Rome. Finally he established [Pg 371]himself at Venice, though he continued to visit various capitals, both of Italy and of Germany, invariably extolled, as well for his portraits of princes and of their courtiers, as for his heads of old men and youths, drawn from life, very fancifully dressed and ornamented.

Pietro Avogadro was a Brescian, and the scholar of Ghiti, who adopted the models of Bologna, imitating them without affectation, adding some mixture of Venetian colour, more particularly in his ruddier fleshes. The contours of his figures are correct, his shortenings pleasing and appropriate, and his compositions very judicious; the whole expressing great harmony and beauty. Next to the three leading artists of this city, he is entitled to the fourth place, at least in the esteem of many. Perhaps his masterpiece is to be seen in the church of San Giuseppe, representing the Martyrdom of the saints Crispino and Crispiniano. Andrea Toresani was also a Brescian, who flourished at the same period; excellent in design, with which he ornamented the cities of Venice and Milan more than his native place. His chief merit, however, lay in an inferior branch, that of painting animals, sea views, and landscapes in the Titian manner, often accompanied with figures in tolerably good taste.

Having taken a hasty view of the other cities of the state, we must dwell some little while on that of Verona, which, from the beginning of the century, until the present time, has enjoyed a high [Pg 372]degree of reputation. Though ravaged by the plague, we have already seen how it again flourished, with the aid of other Italian schools, to which we might add that of the French, inasmuch as Louis Dorigny, a Parisian, and pupil of Le Brun, arriving in Italy at an early age, devoted himself to the study of Roman and Venetian models. He established himself at Verona, where, having for some time employed his talents, and obtained several pupils, he died in the year 1742. He also left works behind him in Venice, the most esteemed of which adorns the church of San Silvestro, as well as in other cities, both of the state and of all Italy. He resided likewise with Prince Eugene in Germany.

There was another foreigner, who, about the same period, became a resident at Verona. His name was Simone Brentana, a Venetian, well versed in literature, as well as in the information necessary to form an artist. He devoted himself with extreme assiduity to the works of Tintoretto, whom he emulated in his pictorial enthusiasm, which scarcely permitted him to bestow sufficient time upon the completion of his labours. In his forms and colouring he partakes of the Roman manner of his time, and displays something extremely novel and original in his compositions. His pictures were sought after to adorn the galleries of sovereigns, no less than for private persons. Several are to be met with in the churches of the state, and in that of S. Sebastiano at Verona is one representing [Pg 373]the Titular Saint, well drawn, without drapery, in the act of consummating his Martyrdom, while an angel is supporting him in his arms, a figure both in aspect and in attitude extremely graceful. Girolamo Ruggieri, an artist born at Vicenza, was pupil to Cornelio Dusman of Amsterdam, and having established himself at Verona, he there produced several history pieces, landscapes, and battle scenes, in the Flemish style.

Approaching the Veronese artists and their neighbours, some of them will be found to have flourished in the beginning of the century, whose merits deserve to be here recorded. One of these is Alessandro Marchesini, pupil to Cignani, of whom there remains little exhibited in public at Venice, and not much at Verona. He chiefly employed himself for private persons, with fables and histories, consisting of small figures, in which he succeeded, though having addicted himself to these compositions as a trade, he despatched them with more facility than care. In similar little pieces Francesco Barbieri also displayed the most merit, an artist called il Legnago, from his native place. An imitator of Ricchi, and in some measure of Carpioni, he displayed great pictorial enthusiasm in every kind of history, in capricci, and in rural views; but he was inferior in point of design, having applied himself to it too late in life.

Antonio Balestra of Verona was at first devoted to a mercantile life, until at the age of twenty-one, after studying in Venice under Bellucci, and [Pg 374]thence passing to Bologna, and afterwards to Rome, under Maratta, he selected the best from every school, uniting a variety of beauties in a style of his own, which partakes least of all of the Venetian. He is an artist of judgment and high finish, well versed in design, of a rapid hand, lively and animated, but always with a solidity of talent that makes us respect him. He taught in Venice and in the college of La Carità, where he painted the Nativity of our Lord, and the Taking down from the Cross, while he competes equally well with the first artists of his time in other places. Commissions from foreign courts and the cities of the state, never allowed him to be idle. He was particularly employed at Padua in an altarpiece for the church del Santo, representing Santa Chiara. He painted also a good deal for his native place; his picture of San Vincenzo at the Domenicans,[89] being one of the finest altarpieces he ever produced, and one of the best preserved, for his method of colouring with boiled oils has been found injurious to many of his pieces. Such as he painted, however, in oil less boiled, have better resisted the effects of time. Many of these figures are in possession of the Conti Gazzola, ornamenting [Pg 375]one of their halls, and in particular a very beautiful one of Mercury. He promoted the reputation of the Venetian School, both by his lectures and example, besides affording an excellent imitator in Gio. Batista Mariotti, and in his pupil Giuseppe Nogari, a painter of portraits, as well as of half-length figures, held in much esteem, insomuch as to recommend him, for a great length of time, to the service of the court of Turin. In pieces of composition, such as his San Piero, placed in the cathedral of Bassano, he appears a respectable artist, and somewhat ambitious of reconciling his master's style with that of Piazzetta. Another Venetian of the name of Pietro Longhi, first instructed by Balestra, and afterwards by Crespi, aimed at pleasing the eye in collections, by those humourous representations of masks, of conversazioni, landscapes, &c. which we find in various noble houses. Angelo Venturini, also a Venetian, is mentioned in the Guida of Zanetti, for his paintings in the church of Gesù e Maria, of which he adorned the ceiling, and various portions of the walls. Another pupil of Balestra's, in Verona, was Carlo Salis, who approached very near his style, more particularly in the handling of his colours. He prosecuted his first studies in Bologna, under Giuseppe dal Sole. Some of his pictures are also to be met with in the state, such as his San Vincenzio, in the act of administering to the sick at Bergamo, a piece finely mellowed, and more than commonly spirited. An artist named Cavalcabò, [Pg 376]a native of a district in Roveredo, was instructed by Balestra, and afterwards by Maratta. In the choir of the Carmine at his native place, he left behind him a very beautiful altarpiece, representing the Holy Simone Stoch, with four lateral pieces of great merit. For a more particular account of these and other works by this artist, we may refer the reader to his life, written by the Cavalier Vannetti.

The whole of the names, however, we have here mentioned, scarcely excepting that of Balestra himself, have been thrown into the shade by the talent of the Conte Pietro Rotari. He was honoured with the title of painter to her court, by the empress of all the Russias, and in her dominions he closed the period of his days. This very elegant artist, who devoted many years to the art of design, succeeding in attaining a grace of feature, a delicacy of outline, united to a vivacity of motion and expression, and to a natural and easy mode of drapery, that would have left him second to none of his age, had he possessed, in an equal degree of perfection, the art of colouring. But his productions often partake so much of the chiaroscuro, or at least of a strong ash colour, as to render them remarkable among all. Some, indeed, have attributed this defect to want of clearness of sight, while others conjecture it must have been owing to his long practice in design, previous to his attempting colours, in the same manner as Polidoro da Caravaggio and the Cavalier Calabrese [Pg 377]are known to have failed as colourists, falling like him into a weak and languid tone. The education he received from Balestra may also have tended to produce it, as both he and the disciples of Maratta were somewhat addicted to a certain duskiness of style, which we may particularly observe in several examples seen at Naples, where he resided for some time. Whatever it be owing to, there still prevails a repose and harmony in that melancholy expression of his colouring, that is far from unpleasing, in particular where he affords somewhat warmer touches to his tints. This he appears to have done in his picture of a Nunziata at Guastalla, in that of San Lodovico in the church del Santo at Padua, and in a Nativity of the Virgin at San Giovanni, in the same city. This last specimen, indeed, is almost unequalled in its attractions, and seems to authorize the praises bestowed upon Rotari by a poet, "that he resembled his fellow citizen Catullus in being nursed by the Graces," a species of eulogy applicable also to Balestra and to other Veronese artists.

Santo Prunati was contemporary with Marchesini and Balestra, and after receiving the instructions of Voltolino and Falcieri in Verona, he attended those of Loth in Venice. Better to acquire superior correctness and dignity of manner, he next proceeded to Bologna. In that school he found the taste in colouring that he wanted, at once soft and natural. In the design, and in the expression of his heads, he displays more of the [Pg 378]naturalist, if I mistake not, than any of those who preceded him. He was engaged also for larger compositions, in which he distinguished himself, both in his own district and elsewhere, and left behind him a son named Michelangiolo, who pursued, as far as lay in his power, the footsteps of his father. In the cathedral of Verona, however, is one of his pictures, placed near the San Francesco di Sales of his father, which serves to mark the wide difference that exists between them.

In the same school, along with Michelangiolo, studied Gio. Bettino Cignaroli, an artist instructed also by Balestra. Until about the year 1770 he ranked among the first of his time, receiving very flattering invitations from foreign courts, to which he invariably preferred the convenience of his own house and country. The prices he was in the habit of attaching to his works, were, nevertheless, those of a court painter; and many were executed for the principal royal galleries, as well as for the cities of the state, and those of other parts of Italy; but which, we must admit, are by no means of equal merit. I omit his paintings in fresco, on account of his having abandoned that branch of the art, owing to his state of health, while yet young, though not until he had afforded specimens of his powers in the noble house of Labia at Venice, during a four years' residence there. It is his pictures in oil, of which we here speak, and to which he owed his great reputation. The one at Pontremoli, however, representing, as it is said, a [Pg 379]San Francesco in the act of receiving the marks of Christ, and extremely well executed, I have not seen. His San Zorzi at Pisa stands conspicuous among a number of excellent pencils, all employed in the ornament of that single cathedral. Perhaps his finest is his Journey into Egypt, seen at San Antonio Abate in Parma. In this he has represented the Virgin with the Holy Child, in the act of passing a narrow bridge, while S. Joseph appears engaged in assisting them to cross it in safety. In the countenance and whole action of the saint, his anxiety for them is strongly depicted, which is beautifully expressed by his disregarding a part of his mantle, fallen from his shoulders into the water below, an image equally skilful and natural in every point of view. The rest of the picture is also in his best style. The angels in attendance, the Divine Infant, the Holy Virgin, all drawn, as he so well knew how, with a sedate and dignified beauty, in the usual manner of Maratta. In some points, indeed, Cignaroli much resembled him; in certain attitudes, in a peculiar sobriety of composition, in a certain choice and vicinity of colours, though not in their just and equal tone. His fleshes, too much mannered with green, in a few places touched with red, render his colouring less agreeable to admirers of what is true, while his chiaroscuro, sometimes sought for beyond the limits of nature, is apt to produce an effect in his paintings, not so pleasing to the judgment as to the eye. He often displays novelty in the individual [Pg 380]parts, availing himself of architecture, of sea views, and of landscape, in a manner above common; besides introducing into his compositions, for the most part of a scriptural character, the playful figures of cherubims, with other enlivening incidents. This artist was indisputably possessed of a fine genius, and born in times favourable to the eminence he enjoyed. Memoirs of him were collected and published by the celebrated Padre Bevilacqua dell'Oratorio in the year 1771, and eulogies were pronounced upon him both in prose and verse, by a number of literary characters connected with that city, so highly polished and so grateful to such of its citizens as reflect honour upon their native place. A collection of these was subsequently made, and put forth in the year 1772, and from such publications it would appear that few artists had received equal honours, during their lifetime, from the great, particularly from the Emperor Joseph II., who was used to declare, "that he had beheld two very rare sights in Verona—one the Amphitheatre, and the other the most celebrated painter in Europe." He appears, likewise, to have been an artist of great learning, as well as fond of conversing with learned men; he was acquainted with philosophical systems, wrote Tuscan poetry, relished the Roman classics, besides producing treatises upon his own art, written with so much taste and sound judgment, that we have only to regret, for the sake of the art he loved, the too sparing use he made of such talents. [Pg 381]The academy, on which he bestowed the whole of his works upon Painting, after his decease, still preserves his bust along with his eulogy, a farther honour conferred upon him by the liberality of his country. He left several pupils, among whom Giandomenico, his brother, produced some paintings in Bergamo that have been commended by Pasta. The Padre Felice Cignaroli, Minore Osservante, is an artist likewise worthy of mention. He painted little, and his masterpiece appears in the refectory of San Bernardino, his convent at Verona, consisting of a Supper of Emmaus, in which, though less studied, he displays no less invention than his brothers.

Next to these, who escaped oblivion as belonging to the family of Cignaroli, an artist named Giorgio Anselmi deserves best to be put upon record, and in particular for his painting of the Cupola of San Andrea at Mantua, ably executed in fresco: at one time he was the pupil of Balestra. Marco Marcola was an almost universal artist, rapid in his labours, abundant in his inventions, though I am unable to learn who had been his master. Tiepolo gave instructions to Francesco Lorenzi, distinguished both for his frescos and his oils, and always by his adherence to his master's example. There are various ceilings painted by his hand in Verona, and Brescia presents a Holy Family, all of which display an able artist, according to the manner of the age.

In inferior branches of the art, there flourished, [Pg 382]during this period, professors of much repute. The art of drawing in crayons rose to a high degree of excellence, through the genius of a distinguished lady of the name of Rosalba Carriera,[90] whose paintings in miniature have been highly commended by Orlandi. She next proceeded to the use of oils, but finally devoted her talents to that of crayons. So great was her progress in this branch that her specimens in point of force were often equal to oil pieces. They were in much request from the period in which she flourished, both in Italy and other parts; nor did they merely please by their clearness and beauty of colouring, but were remarkable for the grace and dignity of design, with which she animated every thing she drew. Her Madonnas and other scriptural subjects at once unite elegance and majesty of manner, while her portraits continued to increase in value without losing any thing of their truth. We meet with another excellent portrait paintress in Niccola Grassi, pupil to Cassana, of Genoa, and a rival of Rosalba. Nor was she unequal to works of invention, one of the most extensive of which adorns the church of San Valentino in Udine, where she painted the Assumption in the ceiling, a fine piece [Pg 383]on the large altar, and drew figures for other pictures of various saints belonging to the Order of the Serviti. Pietro Uberti, son of Domenico, an artist of mediocrity, is celebrated in the Guida of Zanetti for his portraits, of which he produced eight, representing the Avogadori of his times, for the Avogaria or courthouse, which was considered a very honourable commission, bestowed formerly upon Paolo de' Freschi, Domenico Tintoretto, Tinelli, Bombelli, artists all celebrated in the same career. Orlandi bestows great commendation upon Gio. Batista Canziani of Verona, distinguished likewise in this branch, and who, on being banished from his native place for an act of homicide, continued to exercise it with success in Bologna.

I do not recollect to have seen the landscapes of Pecchio in Verona, though the fine encomium bestowed upon him by Balestra, in one of his Lettere Pittoriche, leads me to hold him in high esteem. In the adjacent parts at Salò appeared Gio. Batista Cimaroli, a pupil of Calza, who was much admired, both by foreigners and natives at Venice. Among landscape painters I find in several galleries the name of Formentini, the figures of whose pieces were from the pencil of Marchesini. D. Giuseppe Roncelli of Bergamo is another artist who acquired reputation, and whose virtues procured for him, from the pen of Mazzoleni, the honour of a life, while his singular skill in depicting nocturnal conflagrations, as well as landscapes, induced Celesti to add figures to them. In [Pg 384]Padua the landscapes of Marini were in high repute, to which Brusaferro likewise added variety with his figures. Still more than these Luca Carlevaris, an excellent painter of landscape at Udine, rose into notice, no less distinguished also by his perspectives and sea views. Public specimens of his labours still remain at Venice, though not so numerous as in private houses, particularly in possession of the Zenobri family, who so far patronized his talents as to procure for him the name of Luca di Cà Zenobrio. To him succeeded the nephew of Sebastiano Ricci, named Marco, who, pursuing the safe career chalked out by Titian, and availing himself of the delightful site of his native place at Belluno, became one of the ablest landscape painters belonging to the Venetian School. It would be no exaggeration to say that few before his time distinguished themselves with equal force of truth, and that those who succeeded him have never equalled him in this respect. In order to estimate his worth, we are not to consult such landscapes as he painted for sale and disposed of to dealers; nor those executed in water colours upon goatskin, which, though very pleasing, are wanting in solidity. We ought to consult only his oil productions, conducted with far more care, and more commonly to be met with in England than in Italy. Indeed he had a much more extended taste than he displayed in his works. The two brother artists named Valeriano, declared that he had afforded them the most enlightened views of the [Pg 385]art. These were Domenico, a painter of perspectives, and Giuseppe, a figure painter, both employed in ornamenting different churches, and more particularly theatres, in Venice, and indeed throughout Italy and other parts of Europe. Francesco Zuccarelli passed a great portion of his life in the city of Venice, an artist already recorded by us among the Florentines, and by whose example Giuseppe Zais was formed as a landscape painter, being particularly employed in that branch by the British Consul Smith, a distinguished patron of youthful genius devoted to the art. In point of invention he was more varied and copious than his master, but inferior to him in the mellowness of his tints. He had acquired from Simonini, who also resided during a long period at Venice, the art of painting battle pieces, in which he shewed equal skill. But he failed to sustain either his own dignity or that of his art, and giving himself up to carelessness and dissipation, he died a common mendicant in the hospital of Trevigi.

Carlevaris and Ricci are names likewise highly esteemed in architectural painting. Several specimens of this are to be seen in possession of his Excellency Girolamo Molin, placed as it were in competition with each other in one of the halls. If we compare them, the former will appear somewhat languid and monotonous, although he must be allowed to be an accurate observer of perspective, and succeeds in harmonizing his figures well with the picture. The latter, however, displays more [Pg 386]strength, partaking of the erudite taste of Viviano, while the figures introduced into it by his uncle are full of pictorial fire and attraction, and greatly add to its worth. But both of these, to use the language of Dante, were afterwards cacciati di nido, driven from their nest, by Antonio Canal, more generally called Canaletto. Sprung from a painter of theatres of the name of Bernardo, he embraced the profession of his father, attaining to a novelty of design, and a promptness of hand in this branch, that were afterwards of great use to him in painting innumerable smaller pictures for private ornament. Disgusted with his first profession, he removed while still young to Rome, where he wholly devoted himself to drawing views from nature, and in particular from ancient ruins. On returning into Venice he continued in like manner to take views of that city, views that nature and art seem to have vied with each other in rendering the most novel and magnificent in the world. A great part he drew exactly as he saw them, a pleasing illusion for the satisfaction of those who were never so fortunate as to behold the Adriatic Queen with their own eyes. He moreover composed a great number of inventive pieces, forming a graceful union of the modern and the antique, of truth and of fancy together. Several of these he produced for Algarotti; but the most novel and instructive of any, as it seems to me, is the production in which the grand bridge of Rialto, designed by Palladio, instead of that which [Pg 387]at present is seen, overlooks the great canal, crowned beyond with the cathedral of Vicenza, and the Palazzo Chericato, Palladio's own works, along with other choice edifices, disposed according to the taste of that learned writer, who has so much contributed to improve that of all Italy, and even beyond Italy itself. For the greater correctness of his perspectives, Canaletto made use of the optic camera, though he obviated its defects, especially in the tints of the airs. The first indeed to point out the real use of it, he limited it only to what was calculated to afford pleasure. He aimed at producing great effect, and in this partakes somewhat of Tiepolo, who occasionally introduced figures into his pieces for him. In whatever he employs his pencil, whether buildings, waters, clouds, or figures, he never fails to impress them with a vigorous character, always viewing objects in their most favourable aspect. When he avails himself of a certain pictorial license, he does it with caution, and in such a way that the generality of spectators consider it quite natural, while true judges only are sensible of its art, an art that he possessed in a very eminent degree.

His nephew and pupil, Bernardo Bellotto, approached so nearly to his style, that it is with difficulty their respective pieces are distinguished. He also visited Rome, though when Orlandi bestowed his encomiums upon him in his work, he was at Dresden, and it is uncertain whether he again returned into Italy. Francesco Guardi was [Pg 388]recently esteemed a second Canaletto, his views of Venice having attracted the admiration not only of Italy but of foreign parts, yet with such persons alone who are satisfied with the spirit, the taste, and the fine effect which he invariably studied; as in other points, in accuracy of proportions, and in judgment as regards the art, he cannot pretend to vie with his master. Several others likewise excelled in this species of painting, whose pictures I saw in the Algarotti collection and in other places; such as Jacopo Marieschi, who was also a good figurist, and Antonio Visentini, whose views were ornamented with the figures of Tiepolo and Zuccherelli. Gio. Colombini of Trevigi, pupil to Bastian Ricci, whose Pecile was the Domenican convent in that place, succeeded in his perspectives, in giving illusion to the eye, and in the masterly gradation of the different objects of view. The figures he has introduced are his own, though he was less skilful in this branch. He filled that place with his portraits, introducing another family as it were of painted Domenicans, and not without some appearance of caricature.

In other minor branches of the art, the flowers of Domenico Levo were extremely admired. He was pupil to Felice Bigi of Parma, who opened school in Verona. To his we may add those of one Caffi and a few other natives, though the most choice collectors pride themselves upon the specimens of Gaspero Lopez, a Neapolitan. Thus at least he subscribes himself in one of his most [Pg 389]beautiful works, in possession of the Conti Lecchi at Brescia, where, as well as in the capital, he resided during a long period. About the middle of the century there appeared one of his imitators, named in various collections Duramano, an artist somewhat too much given to mannerism.

Both the flowers and birds of Count Giorgio Durante of Brescia were eagerly sought after, no less on account of their exact imitation of the life, than for their taste of composition, and the truly beautiful and picturesque attitudes in which they were drawn. They are rarely to be met with beyond Brescia, though several noble Venetian families, and among these that of Nani, possess a few specimens; but the best, perhaps, of all is to be seen in the royal court at Turin. The name of Ridolfo Manzoni is distinguished in the same line of composition; he was a native of Castelfranco, and several of his little pictures in oil, in the best taste, are there found in possession of different individuals. But he derived his chief reputation, as well as profit, from his miniature productions. In the History of Painting in the Frioul, we meet with the name of another artist, Paolo Paoletti, a native of Padua. He passed his early youth in Udine, and was employed for many years in the house of the Conti Caiselli. Although more particularly celebrated in his flowers, he drew with great truth all kind of fruits, herbs, fishes, and game. The family in which he was domesticated possesses quite a museum of these rarities, and numerous [Pg 390]specimens are met with in other hands, both within and beyond the limits of the Frioul. In his flower paintings he is compared by Altan even with the celebrated Segers, an extent of liberality in which I by no means agree.

In the last place we have here to treat of an art that received great improvement during this century in Venice, an art which, though not directed to the increase of copies, is nevertheless of some importance to painting, inasmuch as it favours the duration of ancient productions, by adopting the most judicious means of preserving and restoring them. Such methods were more valuable also to Venice than to any other city, its climate being particularly unfavourable to paintings in oil, owing to the salts with which the air is impregnated, gradually eating away or injuring the colours. For this reason the government very judiciously appointed a number of artists to inspect the public exhibitions, and watch over the preservation of the paintings which were found inclined to decay, restoring them without incurring the risk, as it sometimes happens, of a new one being substituted for an ancient specimen. A studio for this purpose was opened in 1778, consisting of a large saloon at the Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the superintendence of which was entrusted to the care of the learned Peter Edwards, who received the title of President. The various processes adopted in the restoration of each specimen are extremely long and tedious, and executed with surprising accuracy; [Pg 391]and in instances where the picture has not suffered too greatly from the effects of injury or time, it returns with renewed youth from the studio, calculated to survive the lapse of many more years.

Other equally useful methods have been adopted by the Republic for the preservation of the fine models that adorn its churches, in order that they should not run the risk of being sold and carried away. Hence it is that the state, even throughout its most diminutive districts and towns, has been enabled to preserve so many valuable paintings; while, at the same time, it has furnished provision for its youthful artists, best calculated to facilitate their improvement. During several centuries the ancient company of painters, ennobled by the names of distinguished pupils, continued to flourish; but there was still wanting the sort of reputation arising from dignity of situation and establishment, from the number and assiduity of its masters, and from the distribution of rewards. Since the year 1724 it was decreed, and confirmed in 1766, that a magnificent academy should be erected, devoted to the fine arts, "upon the plan," as was further stated, "of the principal institutions in Italy and throughout Europe." And it forms indeed an object gratifying to the mind of the most accomplished foreigners, to behold this seat of art, and to cultivate an acquaintance with its objects and pursuits. These views of the government have been promoted by the private individuals of that most splendid body of nobility, [Pg 392]an assembly in which the Abate Filippo Farsetti very liberally distinguished himself, by presenting the institution with a large collection of paintings, and casts taken from the finest antique statues. Their successors have displayed the same kind of spirit, nor do they merely afford students access to the study of these monuments; but their finest productions, in every year, are selected according to the judgment of public professors, and rewarded with all the ceremony and munificence worthy of such an institution.

Nor have other nobles and gentlemen throughout the city and the state of Venice been wanting in liberality towards young artists of genius, enabling them to pursue their studies both at home and abroad, until they have completed their education. Few contributions indeed confer so much honour upon families as these; for in addition to the merit of succouring a fellow creature, and a fellow citizen, there are thus expectations to be indulged that some genius may rise up capable of conferring honour upon the arts, and perhaps restoring them to their ancient merit. We have it in our power to record various instances of this liberal spirit; we could mention a number of excellent artists who express their gratitude for the kindness of their patrons, did not the rule we have laid down for ourselves not to introduce the eulogies of living artists, in order to avoid occasion of complaint to such as may be omitted, forbid the enumeration of them. Still I may allude to an instance [Pg 393]of it in another branch of the art, which is very generally known, and this is the generous encouragement afforded by their Excellencies Falier and Zulian, to Antonio Canova, the celebrated sculptor, encouragement to which Rome and Italy are in a great degree indebted for such an artist. He suffices to convince us, that though Fortune may indeed deprive our country of her great masterpieces of art, she cannot destroy the genius capable of reproducing them.

[87] Melchiori mentions also with commendation, Gio. Batista, father of Antonio, and pupil to Vecchia, who had been unable to assist his son Antonio, left an orphan at a very tender age.

[88] Father Federici mentions also his son Gio. Batista, citing a fine altarpiece of his at Sorigo, and adds, that he would have become celebrated, had he not preferred the ease permitted him by a handsome fortune, to the glory of a great painter.

[89] In the Guide of Verona, of which I availed myself, I only found one picture by Rotari in the refectory at Santa Anastasia. I inquired by whom that of S. Vincenzo, which appeared extremely beautiful, was painted. I received for answer, that it was by Balestra, but it is in fact from the hand of Rotari, and engraved by Valesi.

[90] Melchiori gives us an account of this lady's master, not undeserving of being added to the last edition. This was the noble Gio. Antonio Lazzari, a Venetian, who had talents that rivalled those of Rosalba in crayons, had not his natural timidity proved a bar to his fame. In painting also he attempted little of an inventive character, copying much, and more particularly from Bassano with great success, as we have observed at page 211.

J. M'Creery. Tooks Court,
Chancery-lane, London.

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