Page images
PDF
EPUB

vey of London, fpeaking of the cloisters which antiently belonged to St. Paul's church.

« About this “ cloister was artificially and richly painted the Dance « of Machabray, or Dance of DEATH, commonly 6 called the Dance of Paul's : the like whereof was “ painted about St. Innocent's cloyster at Paris : the 6 metres of poesie of this Daunce were translated out c of French into English by John Lidgate, monk of “ Bury, and with the picture of Death leading all “ eftates, painted round the cloyster *.” This picture is preserved in a wood-cut, prefixed to the poem we are speaking of, in Tottell's edition of Lydgate, 15$4'; which, I fuppose, is an exact representation of what was painted in St. Paul's cloisters. It was from thence engraved by Hollar, in Dugdale's Monafticon I. In all probability, this painting at St. Paul's, or that, which was the fame, at St. Innocent's, gave Hans Holbein the hint for compofing his famous piece, called the Dance OF DEATH, now to be seen at Bafil I.

Edit. 1599. pag. 264. + Vol. 3. pag. 368. | But Mr. Walpole, in his very curious and judicious ANECDOTES or PAINTING IN ENGLAND, just published, endeavours to prove that Holbein did not paint this picture, vol. 1. pag. 74. However, a poet cotemporary with Holbein, Nicholas Borbonius, has addressed an epigram to Hans Holbein, with this title, “ De MORTI PICTA & Hanfo Piftore nobili.Nugæ Poeticæ, lib. 7. car. 58. Bafil. 1540. 12mo. For that this Hansus, besides his having been the author of a

Mors

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

It is commonly received, that the wood-cuts, from whence Hollar engraved his exquisite set of prints, entitled the DANCE OF DEATH, were executed by Holbein : but I am apt to think this a mistake, which arose from confounding Holbein's supposed picture, above-mentioned, with these wood-cuts. For it will appear, that Holbein's manner of cutting in wood, is entirely different from that in which these are finished, by comparing them with Holbein's fcriptural woodcuts, inserted in archbishop Cranmer's catechism *. In the cuts of this catechism there is a simple delicacy of handling, not found in those of the DANCE OF DEATH; which however have an inimitable expresfion, and are probably the work of Albert Durer.

Mors pieta, was no other than Hans Holbein, I presume from another copy of verses in the same collection, lib. 3. car. 8.

Viderc qui vult Parrhafium cum Zeuxide,

Accerfat e Britannia
Hanfum Ulbium, ct Georgium Riperdium

Lugduno ab urbe Galliæ, By the way, I cannot find the name of this G. Riperdius, in any collection of Lives of Painters,

**CATECHISMUS, that is to say, &c. Excud. Gualt. Lyne, 1548, 32mo, Hans Holbein is engraved at full length, in the cut at pag. 217. I find also his initials, I. H, on the book at the foot of the altar, in cut, pag. 166. Also on the pedestal of the table, cut, pag. 203. Mr. Walpole, ubi supr. pag. 93. mentions an edition of this book in quarto.

edition I have seen has on the back of the title a wood cut, of Edward VI. presenting the bible to the bishops, and other nobles. It is dedicated to Edward VI, by Cranmer,

I am not ignorant, that Rubens, who had copied this DANCE OF Death, recommended them to Sandrart, as the performance of Holbein : of which Sandrart himself informs us. “ Sic memini, &c. ... ... I also

« “ well remember, that in the year 1627, when Paul “ Rubens came to Utrecht to visit Handorst, being “ escorted, both coming from, and returning to Am“ sterdam, by several artists, as we were in the boat, " the conversation fell upon Holbein's book of cuts,

representing the DANCE OF DEATH; that Rubens

gave them the highest encomiums, advising me, “ who was then a young man, to set the highest “ value upon them, informing me, at the same “ time, that he, in his youth, had copied them *. But if Rubens ftiled these prints, Holbein's, in familiar conversation, it was but calling them by the name which the world had given them, and by which they were generally known. Besides, in another place Sandrart evidently confounds these wood-cuts with Holbein's picture at Bafil. “ Sed in foro, &c. But in

. “ the fish-market there [ at Bafil ] may be seen his “ [Holbein's ] admirable DANCE OF PEASANTS; “ where also, in the same public manner, is thewn « his DẠNCE OF DEATH, in which, by a variety

• Joachim, Sandrast, Academ. Pi&. past, 2. lib. 3. cap. 7. p. 241.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ of figures, it is demonstrated, that Death [pares “ neither popes, emperors, princes, &c. as may be “ seen in his moft elegant wooden cuts, of the fame “ work *.” Now the cuts, of which at present I am speaking, are fifty-three in number, every one of which has an unity, and is entirely detatched from the rest; so that, how could they be representations of one picture? But if it be granted, that they were engraved from this picture, which also from their diffimilitude could not be the case, how does it, follow they were done by Holbein? Shall we suppose, that Holbein did both the picture and the engravings?

The book from which Hollar copied these cuts, is printed at Bafil, 1554, and is thus entitled, “ ICONES “ Mortis, duodecim imaginibus, præter priores, totidemque inscriptionibus, præter epigrammata, e gallicis,

a Georgio Æmylio in latinum versa, cumulatæ." The earliest edition I could meet with, perhaps the first, is one in which the inscriptions, &c. are in italian, printed' at Lyons, 1549, with this title, “ Simolachri,

Historie, &c." In this there are not so many cuts, by twelve, as in the last-mentioned edition, and in the preface it is said, that this book had been

[ocr errors]

* Ibid. pag. 238. Evelyn is equally mistaken. Sculptura, pag. 69. Lond, 1754. 8vo.

before

[ocr errors]

printed with french and latin inscriptions, &c. and from the french edition, I suppose, Emylius spoken of before, translated. Spurious editions of these cuts foon afterwards appeared, all which I have seen, viz. at Basil, 1554 ; at Cologne, 1555; ibid. 1556; ibid. 1557; ibid. 1566; ibid. 1567. Might not Georgius

. Riperdius of Lyons, mentioned above, have fome hand in these engravings; as they seem to have made their first appearance in that city, about the time he may

be supposed, from the evidence of Borbonius, to have lived there?

I cannot close this subject more properly, than by remarking, that Spenser alludes to some of these representations, which, in his age, were fashionable and familiar.

All musicke sleepes, where DEATH DOTH LEAD THE
DAUNCE.

NOVEMBER.

B. i. c. i. f. vii.

Of a grove,

Not perceable with power of any starre,

It was an antient superstition, that stars had a malign influence on trees. Hence Milton in Arcades.

VOL. II.

R

Under

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »