Page images

cution of this piece, in the highest terms of praise, observed that, had the figure of Laocoon been clone, it would have been perfect. As a man suffering the most excruciating bodily pain with becoming fortitude, it admits of no improvement; his proportions, his form, his action, his expression, are exquisite. But when his fons appear, he is no longer an insulated, suffering individual, who, when he has met pain and death with dignity, has done all that could be expected from man; he commences father, and a much wider field is opened to the artist.

We expect the deepest pathos in the exhibition of the sublimest character that art can offer to the contemplation of the human mind: A father forgetting pain, and instant death, to fave his children. This Sublime and Pathetic the artist either did not see, or despaired of attaining. Laocoon's sufferings are merely corporal; he is deaf to the cries of his agonizing children, who are calling Vol. II.



[ocr errors]

on him for assistance. But had he been
throwing a look of anguish upon his sons,
had he seemed to have forgotten his own
sufferings in theirs, he would have com-
manded the sympathy of the spectator in a
much higher degree. On the whole, Mr.
Lock was of opinion, that the execution of

is perfect, but that the conception is not equal to the execution. I shall leave it to others to decide whether Mr. Lock, in these observations, spoke like a man of taste: I am sure he spoke like a father. I have sensibility to feel the beauty and justness of the remark, though I had not the ingenuity to make it.

It is disputed whether this groupe was formed from Virgil's description of the death of Laocoon and his sons, or the description made from the groupe ; it is evident, from their minute resemblance, that one or other must have been the case. The Poet mentions a circumstance, which could


not be represented by the sculptor; he says that, although every other person around sought safety by flight, the father was attacked by the serpents, while he was advancing to the assistance of his sons

auxilio fubeuntem ac tela ferentem

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

This deficiency in the sculptor's art would have been finely supplied by the improves ment which Mr. Lock proposed.

Reflecting on the dreadful condition of three persons entangled in the horrid twinings of serpents, and after contemplating the varied anguish so strongly expressed in their countenances, it is a relief to turn the eye to the heavenly figure of the Apollo. To form an adequate idea of the beauty of this statue, it is absolutely necessary to see it. With all the advantages of colour and life, the human form never appeared so beautiful; and we never can sufficiently admire the artist, who has endowed marble with a finer expression of grace, dignity, and understanding, than ever were seen in living features. In the forming of this inimitable figure, the artist seems to have wrought after an ideal form of beauty, fuperior to any in nature, and which existed only in his own imagination.

* The wretched father running to their aid With pious haste, but vain, they next invade.


The admired ftatue of Antinous is in the same Court. Nothing can be more light, elegant, and easy; the proportions are exact, and the execution perfect. It is an exquisite representation of the most beautiful youth that ever lived.

[ocr errors]

The statue of Apollo represents fomething superior, and the emotions it excites are all of the sublime cast.




HE present Pope, who has assumed

the name of Pius the Sixth, is a tall, well-made man, about sixty years of age, but retaining in his look all the freshness of a much earlier period of life. He lays a greater stress on the ceremonious part of religion than his predecessor Ganganelli, in whose reign a great relaxation of church-discipline is thought to have taken place. The late Pope was a man of moderation, good sense, and simplicity of manners; and could not go through all the oftentatious parade which his station required, without reluctance, and marks of disgust

. He knew that the opinions of mankind had undergone a very great


C 3

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »