Page images

ever, does not always hold. An Agrippa, or Caligula, for example, is a common coin, but a very extraordinary bust; and a Tiberius a rare coin, but a common bust, which one would wonder the more at, if we con. sider the indignities that were offered to this emperor's statues after his death. The Tiberius in Tiberim is a known instance.

Among the busts of such emperors as are common enough, there are several in the gallery that deserve to be taken notice of for the excellence of the sculpture, as those of Augustus, Vespasian, Adrian, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, Septimius Severus, Caracalla, Geta. There is, in the same gallery, a very

beautiful bust of Alexander the Great, casting up his face to heaven, with a noble air of grief or discontentedness in his looks. I have seen two oi three antique busts of Alexander in the same air and posture, and am apt to think the sculptor had in his thoughts the conqueror's weeping for new worlds, or some other the like circumstance of his history. There is also in porphyry the head of a Faun, and of the god Pan. Among the entire figures, I took particular notice of a Vestal Virgin, with the holy fire burning before her. This statue, I think, may decide that notable controversy among the antiquaries, whether the Vestals, after having received the tonsure, ever suffered their hair to come again, for it is here full grown, and gathered under the veil. The brazen figure of the consul, with the ring on his finger, reminded me of Juvenal's majoris pondera gem

There is another statue in brass, supposed to be of Apollo, with this modern inscription on the pedes. tal, which I must confess I do not know what to make of, Ut potui huc veni musis et fratre relicto. I saw. in the same gallery the famous figure of the will


boar, the gladiator, the Narcissus, the Cupid and Psyche, the Flora, with some modern statues that several others have described. Among the antique figures, there is a fine one of Morpheus in touchstone, I have always observed, that this god is represented by the ancient statuaries under the figure of a boy asleep, with a bundle of poppy in his hand. I at first took it for a Cupid, till I had taken notice that it had neither bow nor quiver. I suppose Dr. Lister has been guilty of the same mistake in the reflections he makes on what he calls the sleeping Cupid with poppy in his hands.

-Qualia namque
Corpora nudorum tabulâ pinguntur Amorum
Talis erat, sed ne faciat discrimina cultus,
fut huic adde leves aut illis deme Pharetras.

Ov. Met. lib. 10.

Such are the Cupids that in paint we view;
But that the likeness may be nicely true,
A loaden quiver to his shoulder tie,
Or bid the Cupids lay their quivers by.

It is probable they chose to represent the god of sleep under the figure of a boy, contrary to all our modern designers, be use it is that age which has its repose the least broken by cares and anxieties, Statius, in his celebrated invocation of Sleep, addresses himself to him under the same figure.

Crimine quo merui, juvenis placidissime Divâm,
Quove errore miser, donis ut solus egerem
Somne tuis? tacet omne pecus, volucresque feræque, fr.

Silv. lib. 5.

Tell me, thou best of gods, thou gentle youth,
Telline my sad offence; that only I,
While hush'd at ease thy drowsy subjects lie,
In the dead silence of the night complain,
Nor taste the blessings of thy peaceful reign.

I never saw any figure of sleep, that was not of black marble, which has probably some relation to the night, which is the proper season for rest. I should not have made this remark, but that I remember to have read in one of the ancient authors, that the Nile is generally represented in stone of this colour, because it flows from the country of the Ethiopeans; which shows us that the statuaries had sometimes an eye to the person they were to represent, in the choice they made of their marble. There are still at Rome some of these black statues of the Nile, which are cut in a kind of touchstone.

Usqui coloratis amnis devexus ab Indis.

Virg. Geor. 4.

At one end of the gallery stands two antique marble pillars, curiously wrought with the figures of the old Roman arms and instruments of war.

After a full survey of the gallery, we were led into four or five chambers of curiosities that stand on the side of it. The first was a cabinet of antiquities, made up chiefly of idols, talismans, lamps, and hieroglyphics. I saw nothing in it that I was not before acquainted with, except the four following figures in brass.

I. A little image of Juno Sispita, or Sospita, which perhaps is not to be met with any where else but on medals. She is clothed in a goat's skin, the horns sticking out above her head. The right arm is broken that probably supported a shield, and the left a little defaced, though one may see it held something in its grasp formerly. The feet are bare. I remember Tully's description of this goddess in the following words: Hercle inquit quàm tibi illam nostram Sospitam quam tu nunquam ne in Somniis vides, nisi cum pelle Caprinâ, cum hastâ, cum scutulo, cum calceolis repandis.

II. An antique model of the famous Laocoon and his two sons, that stands in the Belvidera at Rome. This is the more remarkable, as it is entire in those parts where the statue was maimed. It was by the help of this model that Bandinelli finished his admirable copy of the Laocoon, which stands at one end of this gallery.

III. An Apollo, or Amphion. I took notice of this little figure for the singularity of the instrument, which I never before saw in ancient sculpture. It is not unlike a violin, and played on after the same manner. I doubt however whether this figure be not of a later date than the rest, by the meanness of the workmanship.

IV. A Corona Radialis, with only eight spikes to it. Every one knows the usual nuinber was twelve, some say, in allusion to the signs of the zodiac, and others to the labours of Hercules.

-Ingenti mole Latinus
Quadrijugo vehitur curru; cui tempora circùm
Aurati bis ser radii fulgentia cingunt,
Solis avi specimen-

Virg. Æn. lib. 12.

Four steeds the chariot of Latinus bear :
Twelve golden beams around his temples play,
To mark his lineage from the God of day.


The two next chambers are made up of several artificial curiosities in ivory, amber, crystal, marble, and precious stones, which all voyage-writers are full of. In the chamber that is shown last stands the celebrated Venus of Medicis. The statue seems much less than life, as being perfectly naked, and in company with others of a larger make : it is, notwithstanding, as big as the ordinary size of a woman, as I concluded from the measure of her wrist; for, from the bigness of any one part, it is easy to guess at all the rest, in a figure of such nice proportions. The softness of the flesh, the delicacy of the shape, air, and posture, and correctness of design, in this statue, are inexpressible. I have several reasons to believe that the name of the sculptor on the pedestal is not so old as the statue. This figure of Venus put me in mind of a speech she makes in one of the Greek epigrams.

Γυμνεν οίδε Παρις μέ και Ανχίσης και Αδωνις
Tές τρείς οίδα μόνος. Πραξιτέλης δε πόθε.

Anchises, Paris, and Adonis too,
Have seen me naked, and expos'd to view;
All these I frankly own without denying:
But where has this Praxiteles been frying?

There is another Venus in the same circle, that would make a good figure any where else. There are among the old Roman statues several of Venus in different postures and habits, as there are many particular figures of her made after the same design. I fancy it is not hard to find among them some that were made after the three statues of this goddess, which Pliny mentions. In the same chamber is the Roman slave whetting his knife and listening, which, from the shoulders upwards, is incomparable. The two wrestlers are in the same room. I observed here likewise a very curious bust of Annius Verus, the young son of Marcus Aurelius, who died at nine


I have seen several other busts of him at Rome, though his medals are exceeding rare.

The great duke has ordered a large chamber to be fitted


for old inscriptions, urns, monuments, and. the like sets of antiquities. I was shown several of them, which are not yet put up. There are two fa

years of

« PreviousContinue »