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LETTER LXXI.

Florence.

I

HAVE generally, since our arrival at

Florence, passed two hours every forenoon in the famous gallery. Connoisseurs, and those who wish to be thought such, remain much longer. But I plainly feel this is enough for me; and I do not think it worth while to prolong my visit after I begin to be tired, merely to be thought what I am not. Do not imagine, however, that I am blind to the beauties of this celebrated collection; by far the most valuable now in the world.

One of the most interesting parts of it, in the

of

many, is the series of Roman Emperors, from Julius Cæsar to Gallienus, with a considerable number of their Empresses, arranged opposite to them. This series is almost complete; but wherever the bust of an emperor is wanting, the place is filled up by that of some other distinguished Roman. Such an honour is beftowed with great propriety on Seneca, Cicero, or Agrippa, the son-in-law of Aue gustus. But, on perceiving a head of Antinous, the favourite of Adrian, among them, a gentleman whispered me,-that minion, pointing to the head, would not have been admitted into such company any where but in Florence. It ought, however, to be remembered, that the Gallery is not an Ægyptian court of judicature, where Princes are tried after death, for crimes committed during their life. If the vices of originals had excluded their

eyes

bust

portraits, what would have become of the feries of Roman Emperors, and particularly of the bust of the great Julius himself, who was husband to all the wives and

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The gallery is facred to art, and every production which the avows has a right to a

place here.

Amidst

Amidst those noble specimens of ancient sculpture, some of the works of Michael Angelo are not thought undeserving a place. His Bacchus and Faunus, of which the well-known story is told, have been by some preferred to the two antique figures representing the same.

The beautiful head of Alexander is unia versally admired by all the virtuosi: though they differ in opinion with regard to the circumstance in which the sculptor has intended to represent that hero. Some imagine he is dying ; Mr. Addison imagines he sighs for new worlds to conquer; others, that he faints with pain and loss of blood from the wounds he received at Oxydrace. Others think the features express not bodily pain or languor, but sorrow and remorse, for having murdered his faithful friend Clitus. You see how very uncertain a business this of a virtuoso is. I can hardly believe that the artist intended simply to represent him dying; there was nothing

very

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very creditable in the manner he brought on his death. Nor do I think he would choose to represent him moaning or languishing with pain or sickness; there is nothing heroic in that; nor do we sympathise so readily with the pains of the body, as with those of the mind. As for the story of his weeping for new worlds, he will excite still less sympathy, if that is the cause of his affliction. The last conjecture, therefore, that the artist intended to represent him in a violent fit of remorse, is the most probable. The unfinished bust of Marcus Brutus, by Michael Angelo, admirably expresses the determined firmness of character which belonged to that virtuous Roman. The artist, while he wrought at this, seems to have had in his mind Horace's Ode,

Juftum et tenacem propositi virum
Non civium ardor prava jubentium,
Non vultus instantis tyranni
Mente quatit solidâ, &c*,

This
* The man in conscious virtue bold,
Who dares his secret purpose hold,

Unfhaken

This would, in my opinion, be a more suitable inscription for the bust, than the concetto of Cardinal Bembo, which is at present under it *. Michael Angelo, in all probability, was pleased with the expression he had already given the features, and chose to leave it as an unfinished sketch, rather than risk weakening it by an attempt to improve it.

The virtuosi differ in opinion respecting the Arrotino, or Whetter, as much as about the head of Alexander. A

young gentleman said to an antiquarian, while he contemplated the Arrotino,

“ I believe, Sir, it is imagined that this statue was “ intended for the flave, who, while he

was whetting his knife, overheard Ca

Unshaken hears the crowd's tumultuous cries,
And the stern tyrant's brow

defies.

FRANCIS. • Dum Bruti effigiem Michael de marmore singit,

In mentem sceleris venit, et abftinuit. While Michael was forming this statue, shocked with the recollection of Brutus' crime, he left his design unfinished. VOL. II.

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