Page images
PDF
EPUB

The next is the ball-room, whose architectural character is less modern, and has a singular appearance. Cariatides, finely modelled in terra cottu, by Calani, support galleries round the spacious apartment; at the back of the galleries is placed an equally numerous series of gods and goddesses. It is in the same state as when first fitted up by the Archduke, brother of Joseph II.— The concerthall is a very fine one, and of more recent embellishment. The busts of Julius Cæsar, Cyrus, Alexander the Great, and Charlemagne, are of excellent workmanship. At the upper end is a marble bust of the present Emperor Francis. All these pieces of modern statuary are by Franchi.

From the state apartments, we went down stairs to a sort of lumber-room, full of ex-imperial vestiges. Picture after picture-bust after bust-of Buonaparte. A likeness or two of Maria Louisa, and of Josephine were also there. The only object of real interest as a work of art deposited in this inuseum of an extinguished dynasty, is David's picture of Napoleon on horseback, ascending the passage of Mont Grand Saint Bernard, on his way, with the French army, into Italy.

The Church of the Jesuits, like almost all that have belonged to that order, is a very handsome structure,

- The new grand altar, erected by subscription of the parishioners aided by the nobility, displays some fine workmanship, and is embellished with statues of great merit, by Pacatti, of Rome. The church contains two fine pictures by Volpini: in a word, we find there whatever is imposing in construction, and attractive in the imitative arts :

“ The stately dome, the column, and the arch,
“ The breathing marble, and the sculptured gold."

The Theatre of La Scala, built by Peter Marini, in 1778, is a noble piece of architecture: the sight of its façade inspires bigh expectations, which are fully realised on our stepping into the pit, by the only entrance under the front boxes, and commanding a complete view of the body of the house and of the stage. Their grandeur and vastness produce a strong impression. The salle-de-spectacle, with its six or seven tiers of boxes, is simply and classically but by no means richly ornamented. The Emperor's box has the appearance of a magnificent saloon, which faces the stage, and occupies the beight of two or three tiers of the other boxes. This superb edifice was undergoing repair. It proved no slight disappointment to us to be thus prevented from witnessing stage performances, scenery, and decorations, which every one who has seen them pronounces to be of the most splendid and perfect kind.

Noticing, en passant, the residence of the Austrian Governor, (Gen. Frimont) a large, lofty, heavy huilding, as are most of the Palaces here, we proceeded to the Brera. Its quadrangle is remarkable for the spacious double tier of arcades, Doric supporting Ionic columns, with which it is surrounded. This great building, formerly the College of the Jesuits, is now appropriated to the use of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In the exhibition rooms are, an elaborate and florid copy, size of the original, from the Cæna of Leonardo da Vinci, by Bossi, a native painter of high reputation lately deceased ; casts from the Elgin marbles ; and a marble statue of Terpsichore, by Signor G. Monti di Ravenna. Among the paintings, are some curious frescoes by Bramantino, Bardino Luini, Marco d'Uggioni, and G. Ferrari, of the school of Leonardo, collected during the French regime from the suppressed monasteries; Martyrdom of San Vincentio by Aurelio Luini, very fine; the superb picture of St. Peter and St. Paul by Guido; Cupids encircling Venus in the skies, (the dancing loves) by Albano; Woman taken in Adaltery by Agostino Caracci. The Repudio di Agar (Abraham sending away Hagar) by Guercino di Centa, is the gem of the collection. The eyes of “the bondwoman,” inflamed with weeping—the tear of grief that hangs like a pearl-drop on her yet lovely cheek—the eloquence of her pathetic action, are so many powerful appeals to our sympathy with the subject, whilst they challenge our admiration of what truly belongs to · genius and to skill. This delightful production of the

pencil has lately been engraved from by Samuele Gesi, a Milanese artist, in a very correct and able manner.A modern writer has undertaken to give a description of this chef-d'oeuvre, to which I cannot refrain from advert. ing, as to one of the most airy flights of a lively imagination, completely led astray by a fond but treacherous recollection of the original.* The dress of the Patriarch is richly oriental; and the personage himself, whose

*Lady Morgan alluding in her work on Italy, to the Abraham and Hagar of Guercino, in the picture gallery of the Brera, at Milan, speaks of it as follows:-" The scene is the court of a plain rude pastoral building; the principal figures an elderly man in an Arabian habit, a young woman, and a little boy. The face of an old quean is seen scowling from behind a half open door. The head of the young woman, of exquisite beauty, is turned over a finely formed shoulder, in the attitude of one, who though forced to go, yet lingered to reproach. Indignation deep seated and acute, mastering every other passion, distorts the trembling lip, but from beneath humid eyelids, seared with tears, escapes a look of fond weak hope, which, perhaps, belongs to the child whose hand she rather crushes than holds. The richly turbaned Arab, who sternly urges her departure, exhibits a determi

majestic severity of countenance is increased by the luxuriant fulness of a flowing grey beard, has a truly commanding and dignified air. There is no “old quean seen scowling from behind a half open door," nor is there any door in the picture. The figure which we may suppose to be designed for Sarah, is that of a fine woman : her back is towards the spectator, and her face so turned as to offer a partly averted profile, wbich, bowever, betrays nothing of " the Virago.” Apparently in the attitude of listening, she looks at no one, and no one looks at her. The aspect of Hagar, whose regards are directed towards Abraham, is that of calm reproach; ber features wear the stamp of rooted sorrow not of anger. As to the boy he hangs down his bead, and nearly conceals his face with his hand, which the mother far from “crushing," does not even touch. The delicate taper fingers of Hagar's right hand are gently extended along the left side of her son, whilst in her left hand she holds a handkerchief, as if just withdrawing it from her eyes. The costume of the child, as well as that of both the females is Italian, perhaps after the fashion of the painter's time-the 17th century. The pedestal and part of the shaft of a massive pillar rise in the centre bebind the group, admitting the open day to the right and left of the back-ground, as through the intercolumniation of a portico: a scene hardly to be characterised as either “rude or pastoral.” Light and

nation evidently resulting from feebleness. The sharp and shrewd eye that gleams on him from the Virago face from behind the door, renders him firm of pnrpose. The innocent looks of the wondering child, who clings to his fair young mother, contrasting pathetically with her emotion, complete a picture in which the power of moral expression, the painter's divinest art, is summed up to its utmost perfection.”-Page 32.

shade are distributed broadly and harmoniously through the picture; the former, however, predominating with a noon-tide radiance that gives an appearance of remarkable freshness to the colouring.

Domenichino's choice painting of the Virgin, Jesus, and John; and F. Albano's Virgin, Infant, and St. Joseph; the St. Sebastian of M. A. Caravaggio; Daniel Crespi's Christ bearing his Cross; and the “ Noli me tangere” of L. Caracci form also great attractions. The Marriage in Cana by Paul Veronese; bis Magdalen washing the feet of Cbrist; Tintoretto's St. Hubert; the Magi by Palma Vecchio, are master-pieces.--Among the old (Gothic) artists, C. Crivelli's Madonna and Christ; Michael of Verona's Crucifixion ; Andrea Mantegna's St. Mark and St. Bernard, and a Dead Christ; and the Magi adoring the Infant Jesus, painted by Laurenzo Costa in 1499, are particularly curious. There is an Annunciation by Santio da Urbino, (Raphael's father). Raphael's Marriage of St. Joseph and the Virgin is remarkably fine: Longhi bas engraved it as finely : his burine indeed is scarcely inferior to that of Morghen's. There are some speaking heads by Titian, and his admirable St. Jerome; a beautiful little picture of Birds by Velvet Brueghel, and a landscape by the same; Paul the Herinit by Salvator Rosa; Purgatory by the same extraordinary genius; and the Virgin standing on a serpent and crescent by the florid Sasso-ferrato.-Among the productions of the present day is “the Death of Raphael," a large picture, of considerable merit as an historical composition: the portraiture, costume, design, and grouping claim great praise ; but in point of colouring it has the fault of the continental school, that of tno glaring a combination of vivid hues. It is by Signor Agostino Comerio,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »