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not to look for those reflections, either on ancient or modern Italy, which are to be found in the pages of scholars and travellers, who have visited it to revive the memory of former studies, or to gratify emotions which are excited by the contemplation of the fading relics of the grandeur of Rome. Yet, we collect among the notices of Mr. Peale, many remarks which occurred to him in the necessary attention he paid to the antiquities that abounded on his route, from one part of the country to another; and while he was exploring, with the curious zeal for which he is distinguished, all parts of the various cities and towns in which he stayed. Of these his narrative is perfectly simple. He enters into no antiquarian discussions ; he quotes no passages of familiar poets and historians; he feels no peculiar glow from standing upon spots, or gazing upon scenes, which would have filled to overflowing a heart imbued with the remembrance of Virgil and of Livy. He paused in the midst of the Forum, but not for him
“ Did the still eloquent air breathe-burn with Cicero." He wandered among the heights of Tivoli, but though the “præceps Anio” and the “ domus Albuneæ resonantis" were still there, they seem not to have excited one thought of him, who not only preferred them to the favoured cities of Juno and Minerva, but gave them as lasting a fame. This is not in our opinion an objection to the volume of Mr. Peale ; the task of classical illustration has been well performed in the travels of Eustace, whose book, censured as it may be, will ever be a favourite with scholars; and it has been yet more brilliantly performed by the wonderful genius of that man, who has given new fame in his immortal poem to spots already consecrated by the noblest and sweetest inspirations of the muse. As to most travellers, indeed, we had infinitely rather that all classical allusion was omitted, than have inflicted upon us the long string of hackneyed quotations, and the vapid recollections of schoolboy studies, which go for the most part to make up such portions of their journals. What we find here on the subject of antiquities, is just what we might expect from an inquisitive man of taste, making no pretensions to extraordinary research or information. When at Naples, Mr. Peale of course visited the buried towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and has described them with much minuteness, so as convey a very distinct impression of their present state.
“The first house which was shown to us was the Villa of Diomedes, of con. siderable extent, comprising a variety of apartments and gardens. We descended into his wine cellar, where there still remain some of the jars that contained his wine. In this spacious cellar seventeen skeletons were found, probably persons of his family who had sought this place for safety. They were smothered and entombed, with all their ornaments of gold upon them, by the flood of hot
water and ashes, which had evidently flowed in through the little windows where light had been admitted, and where the traces of the fluid may still be seen.
“The houses were generally of only one story, though, in a few instances, we found a small stair-way leading to some upper apartments. They consist of a great many small rooms surrounding a court-yard, with a kind of piazza all around, as a protection against the sun and rain. In two private court-yards we were shown gaily decorated fountains, in alcoves or niches, curiously and elaborately ornamented with mosaic and shellwork, the shells being in perfect preservation.
“We looked into many shops, the counters of which were incrusted with bits of marble, of various colours, fitted around the narrow mouths of large earthen jars, which were imbedded in solid brick work, to hold oil and wine. Sometimes there were little shelves, like steps, covered with marble, upon which small articles were displayed close to the window.
“The basilica, or great hall of justice, was an oblong hall of great size, sur rounded inside with noble columns, which, from their size, must have supported a lofty roof. At the farther end was an elevated throne, on which the judges sat ; and beneath it a chamber, where three skeletons of men were found, fastened by their legs to iron stocks. From the public promenade we entered the tragic and the comic theatres ; walked over the stone seats, now moss-stained ; looked on the shallow stage, which allowed no scenic effect; stood in the prompter's central niche, and read the names of the managers, recorded in mosaic letters on the pavement in front of the orchestra ; but its best sculptural decorations had been removed to the museum.”
In the museum at Naples are preserved all the articles taken from the houses at Herculaneum and Pompeii, and they offer specimens of almost every thing that, even at the present day, domestic establishments seem to require. The visiter may here behold the charcoal form of a loaf of bread impressed with the baker's name ; a plate of eggs, or rather egg shells, some of which are not broken, retaining their natural whiteness; thread nets for boiling vegetables ; figs, prunes, dates, olives, and nuts of various kinds; the golden ornaments of the ladies ; vases of glass of various colours; utensils of the clearest crystal; bronze candelabra of singular and beautiful forms; and all the appararatus of a household, exhibiting taste, convenience and luxury. Here, too, are seen the fresco paintings taken from Pompeii. Those first discovered, happening to be found in a part of the city inhabited by tradesmen, did not furnish the most elegant specimens of the arts. The judgments which were consequently propagated from one antiquarian critic to another, were unfavourable to the ancient painters, who were pronounced inferior to contemporary sculptors, and ignorant of grouping, foreshortening, and perspective. Subsequent excavations have been made in a portion of the city where splendid temples, halls of justice, theatres, and spacious dwellings, gave occasion for the best employment of the arts. The result has been the discovery not only of statues and sculpture far superior to that formerly developed, but of fresco paintings of great excellence and beauty. Very different from those previously collected, they decisively indicate a high state of painting, as it must have been practised
in Greece and Italy at the time the statues were executed, which yet exhibit such perfect knowledge of the human form, and of the principles of grouping. They prove that the ancient painters were perfectly acquainted with the rules of perspective and foreshortening. Indeed, we may fairly believe, from these beautiful works, done on walls, and probably by inferior artists, that on other occasions, as in moveable pictures, their best artists must have painted in a manner to correspond with the high rank of their sculpture, and the extraordinary accounts given of them by contemporary writers.
“These specimens of ancient fresco painting have been cut out of the walls, where they were executed, with great care, and transported here in strong cases, which serve as frames. When first found, they are pale and dull; but, on being varnished, their colours are brightened up to their pristine hues, and exhibit to the astonished eye every stroke of the brush, slightly indenting the fresh mortar, which was given by hands that perished, with the genius that directed them, nearly eighteen hundred years ago, yet appearing as the rich and mellow pencilling of yesterday. Most of them are taken from shops and ordinary houses, and represent all kinds of objects, drawn with remarkable spirit and truth. Many of the better kind served to decorate apartments in which there were no win. dows, where they must have been executed, and afterwards seen only by lamplight. But the best were found in the porticos of open court yards, or on the walls of dining-rooms or saloons. In looking closely into these, I was surprised to find such spirited execution and knowledge of anatomy, combined with the most exquisite beauty, perfection of drawing, colouring and expression of character."
It is, however, to the works of modern art that Mr. Peale has turned his principal attention. Travelling himself as an artist; seeking for the subjects of his own studies, the masterpieces wherever found; exercising a criticism, not as the picture-dealer who sees in every dingy canvass which bears, truly or falsely, the name of some celebrated master, the marks of pre-eminent genius, regardless of the time or circumstances under which it was executed—nor as the connoisseur or virtuoso, who has to maintain or to gain reputation by the singularity, the rashness, or the accidental correctness of his opinions; but viewing them at once with the devotion of an artist who had long heard of and known the works he was now to see, as the various efforts of genius, sometimes successful, but sometimes also less happy, and having no end to gain but the improvement of his own style, and the gratification of his own taste, Mr. Peale must be allowed the credit of candour, and entire freedom from affectation in the judgments he has passed. At the same time we should not omit to notice the variety, extent, and minuteness of his examinations. No church, gallery, or collection, was passed by, and most of the individual pictures are separately and carefully noticed. At Rome, especially, he admired and copied many of the works of her immortal artists, and in the loggie of the Vatican he gazed on their matchless productions with the enthusiasm of a painter, but without yielding up his senses to the praise of
tablets, famous only in name, and disfigured by smoke, damp, and age. The walls of the celebrated Sistine chapel were painted by various artists of merit in their time, but they are now much injured, and offer little worthy of notice; but the ceiling, designed and executed by Michael Angelo, is eminently worthy of admiration, as exhibiting the best productions of his pencil, and as among the few paintings of that great genius not yet destroyed by smoke, and giving evidence of the grandeur of his invention and the boldness of his execution. The Last Judgment, so familiar in name to every one who reads the history of art, now excites no attention except from its former celebrity, as it is dimly traced in the dark, through stains of damp and mould, and blackened by smoke. Of his great rival, and in some respects superior, the fate is scarcely different, whilst some of the smaller works of Raphael are tolerably preserved, the celebrated frescoes in the Pauline chapel are so much injured by time and smoke, and the lances of soldiers who have occupied the rooms as barracks, that they excite but little pleasure at first sight. Artists, however, of all nations may be seen continually copying them, some mounted on scaffolding up to the ceiling, some drawing, others painting, and all seeking out with almost idolatrous or rather superstitious admiration, the beauty of every head, hand, limb, and fold of drapery. They obtain permission to copy, without difficulty from the Pope's secretary, when the places are not occupied, or whenever a vacancy may occur; but so numerous are the applications for some celebrated pictures, such as the Transfiguration, that they are frequently engaged for years in advance by artists of various nations.
It is, indeed, by foreigners chiefly, that the galleries of Italy are filled. The praise of superiority is no longer due to the painters of the peninsula, and amidst the precious models which they have around them, few have, of late years, maintained or restored the departing glory of their country. Fresco painting, so admirably calculated to call forth and give display to grand and spirited invention, as well as to promote careful and beautiful drawing, by the elaborate cartoons which it requires, has almost ceased to exist as a branch of works of design. Mosaic is still cultivated with considerable success, but it is seldom applied to original works. We may rejoice, however, that this happy art will preserve to future and distant ages, accurate copies of those great productions which have faded, and are still quickly fading, beneath the touch of time.
In the Vatican, there are apartments especially assigned to workers in mosaic, and placed under the directions of the historical painter, Camucini, who is zealous in endeavouring, by means of this curious art, and the great skill of those artists who at present execute it, to preserve the best paintings of the great
masters, now imperfectly seen in several churches, and in danger of perishing. In these rooms may be found various workmen, some copying small pictures, for the purpose of learning and practising the art ; and others, who are more experienced, occupied with larger works for the churches. In a great hall is a store, arranged on shelves, of the semi-vitreous porcelain, or coarse enamel, in cakes half an inch thick and several inches in diameter. These cakes are of every colour that may be required, all arranged, numbered, registered, and weighed out by an accountant to the workmen as they are wanted to be afterwards broken into bits. Some of the cakes consist of two or more colours, gradually blending into each other; and there are said to be no less than sixteen thousand assorted tints. The large pictures are wrought by being placed nearly erect, with the one to be copied, so that the effect may be compared from time to time; when not more than three or four feet long, they are done on sheets of copper, stiffened with strong iron bars within a rim of metal ; but those of a greater size, especially such as are intended for permanent fixture in churches, are executed each on one great slab of stone, from eight to twelve inches thick, which is excavated about an inch deep, leaving a raised border all round. The irregular surface is then nearly filled up with a level mass of cement. On this, when dry, the artist carefully traces the contours of his picture; he then procures from the adjoining magazine an assortment of tints to suit the part he purposes working at; and is furnished with a little table, on which is fixed a chisel, with the edge upwards, in the manner of an anvil, on which, with a hammer, he breaks the semi-vitreous composition into small squares or other shapes, to suit the part to be copied. Along side of this is another table, furnished with a horizontal grindstone on a vertical shaft, made to revolve rapidly by a cord which passes round a larger wheel, turned by a pin at its periphery. This is moved with the left hand, while the right is employed in fashioning the bits of stone into squares, triangles, circles, crescents, &c. of various dimensions. The artist then chisels out of his composition, within the lines of his drawi any spot he chooses to fill up with his mosaic; which, being inserted, stone by stone, with fresh cement, enables him either to pursue the continuity of an outline, or the masses and directions of similar tints; so that he can work at any spot, and fill up the intervals, or take out any portion of what he has done, and do it over again. The stones are from half an inch to three quarters in depth, and in breadth, of all sizes, from an eighth to half an inch in diameter. After the picture is finished, and the surface of the stones ground down to a level, and perfectly polished, the white cement is carefully scraped out of the interstices to a little depth. A variety of painters' colours, in fine powder, are then each mixed