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“Christ crowned,” in the Spinola Gallery at Genoa, may be classed in the same catalogue, on account of the want of blending and general sombreness of its intonation. The expression of the features is grief rendered in a vulgar manner,—the mouth falling at the sides, and looking more contemptuous than moved by grief. The hardness of outline peculiar to the whole,-a front face and bust without hands,—is increased by cleaning and retouching."
Notwithstanding the assertion of Federici, that Antonello did not paint the tomb of the Senator Onigo at Treviso, there is now no doubt on this point. Federici supposed that Onigo died in 1491, after Antonello, but Onigo really died in 1490, three years before the painter.? Federici is also mistaken in noticing the subjects as foreshortened figures; they are really standing figures of two soldiers, from the remains of which, after the repairs of the edifice in which the tomb was placed, we are of opinion that these figures were really produced by Antonello. They are simple and grand, and recal to mind the manner of the Bellini.
The last picture to be noticed, in connexion with the name of Antonello, is one which represents St. Jerome sitting in the centre of an apartment, and surrounded by shelves and articles of furniture; the apartment itself having apertures looking out upon an Italian sky and landscape, of which the turrets resemble those in the Crucifixion at Antwerp.3 This picture is in the Collection of
1 Half size of nature. Wood.
2 See the Epitaph of Onigo in Burchelati (B.), Historiæ Tervisinæ, 4o. 1616. Tervisi, p. 323.
3 No. 17, Ant. Cat. ut sup.
Mr. Baring in London, and was lately at Stratton. It is that picture which the Anonimo di Morelli describes as being in his time at Venice.
“ In the house of Marc Antonio Pasqualino (1529) was a small picture of St. Jeronimo in a studio, reading, dressed in cardinal's robes. Some believe it to have been from the hand of Antonello da Messina ; but the majority, with most likelihood, attribute it to Gianes (Van Eyck), or to Memelin, an old Ponentino (Western, or Flemish) painter. It exhibits, indeed, that manner, although the countenance is finished in the Italian fashion, as it would seem, from the hand of Jacometto. The edifices are alla Ponentina (in the Flemish character). The landscape is natural, minute, and finished ; and, besides, one sees a window and a door, in good perspective, and the whole work is perfect for subtlety of colour, vigour of design, and relief. There are depicted a peacock, a quail, and a barber's basin. On the desk a scroll is imitated, and fastened open. It appears to contain the name of the master; yet, if one looks closely, it contains no letters, but is all counterfeit. Others think that the figure was repainted by Jacometto Veniziano.".
Three painters are named in the description given by the Anonimo, Antonello, Van Eyck, and Memling; and as it is supposed that the face of the Cardinal is repainted in the Italian fashion, Jacometto is said to have retouched the picture. We cannot, for our part, discover the trace of two hands in any portion of the panel, although we notice the mixed Flemish and Italian manner in various places. Jacometto, indeed, or rather Jacobello del Fiore,
. 1 Anonimo di Morelli, ut sup., p. 74.
before Antonello, having been the chief of the School of Venice in 1415, and a painter who laboured à tempera in the old Venetian fashion. The picture of St. Jerome, on the other hand, dates as far back only as the close of the fifteenth century, and is rather the production of an Italian master who studied the Flemish manner and Van Eyck's mode of colouring, than of a Flemish master seeking to imitate the Italians. The picture, in fact, is superior to the productions of Flemish masters of that time, when the pupils of Van Eyck no longer maintained their art at the high standard to which he had raised it. We can hardly wonder at the doubts expressed by the Anonimo as to the respective claims of Antonello and Memling to the authorship of the St. Jerome, when we find the panels of those two masters alternately attributed to each of them, as if it had been impossible for judges to discern between the two; nor is it strange that the name of John Van Eyck should arise in the discussion, when we know how frequently Antonello rivalled his master in the production of colour. The St. Jerome is, indeed, painted on the principle of Van Eyck, but with that peculiar difference which renders the pictures of a late period so distinct, namely, an improvement in the technical details. The tones of the flesh-tints are not so vigorous or powerful as those of John Van Eyck, who employed his colours with more body; and the flesh-tints, in the face of the Saint, have somewhat of a softness and fusion in them, being modelled with more facility and breadth than are met in
1 Sier Jacomello de Fior, gastoldo dei Pentori, 1415. Zanetti, della Pittura Veneziana, p. 18.
the pictures of the Flemish master. This, indeed, is a point which struck the Anonimo himself, and induced him to believe in the existence of a manner and sentiment presenting more of Italian than Flemish characteristics. Other powerful arguments, in support of our opinion, may be derived from a further study of Wan Eyck's pictures, in which the local tones of colours are more powerful than they are in St. Jerome, and the passages from parts in light to parts in shadow are more strongly marked. In the St. Jerome, so far from perceiving such a feature, we notice, on the contrary, a nice blending of the colours, and far greater harmony in the general intonation of the work, than can be met in John Van Eyck. This nice blending and harmony, this softness and plenitude of chiaro'scuro, are qualities which deeply characterise the school founded by Antonello in Venice. In all his pictures, it is true, the Sicilian painter mingled Flemish traits with his own Italian manner. The noble attitude and features of the Saint are of the latter, as the drapery and its form of fold are of the former. Indeed, the sleeves of the figure are peculiarly Flemish and laboured, after the manner of John Wan Eyck; but they are not more so, after all, than are other details of the same kind in divers panels by Antonello. Again, on the other hand, the picture is remarkable for firmness of design, without the usual amount of dry and hard outline peculiar to the Flemings; but the Flemish fashion of introducing numerous small articles about the room and furniture is not omitted, although, it may be remarked, that it is less than usually obtrusive. Indeed, in all these parts, we are more forcibly reminded of the soft and delicate manner of Memling than of that which marks Van Eyck; but, above all, we note the parsimony of the colours, which was the peculiarity of the early Venetians. The touch of Wan Eyck's brush was more diversified and firm than this; his colours are laid on with greater impasto than are visible here; and the accessories are touched so as to place them strongly in relief-a peculiarity not to be found in such a degree in the St. Jerome. Finally, we consider the picture, as a whole, to possess rather the characteristics of Antonello's manner than those of any other masters. The Laughing Heads, of which Maurolyco has left us the description, are amongst the catalogue of pictures of which we find no trace,—a list which now comprises the “Ecce Homo"of the Casa Agliata, signed and dated 1470; the “Wir-" gin and Child” of San Gregorio at Messina; the “Madonna” of San Cassiano, which, according to Sansovino, was in its place in 1580,' but disappeared in 1646, when Ridolfi wrote his book;" the “Madonna” of the Carmine at Messina, described by Gallo;” that of the Cornaro family at Treviso;4 portraits of two persons, “a Dominican and Franciscan,” mentioned by Vasari as belonging to Messer Bernardo Vecchietti, a Florentine, and sold out of Italy about fifty years ago;” “St. Christopher,” painted for the * Sansovino (F.R.), Venezia descritta, 4°. Venetia 1663, p. 225. * Ridolfi, ut sup., p. 48. * Gallo, tom. i. p. 183, in Memorie de' Pittori Mess. p. 15. Twenty