Imágenes de páginas

trees, at length mount the sacred hill and iingers in the midst of desolation, of crowded pilgrimage. Here oft- a struggling life in the midst of death times we find in chapels, painted for -or worse than death, disbonour. the comfort of the faithful, touching Temples still stand at Päestum, where scenes from the life of the Madonna to rest were the traveller's destrucand the Saviour--the angel Gabriel tion; malaria keeps guard over the bearing the lily in his hand, the saint fallen statue. But who shall protect ed mother bending in worship, or the the desecrated church or the painted magi koeeling with gifts; and then chapel, when vagrant troops may be the agony in the garden, the death seeking for quarter, and liberty triupon the cross, the burial, and last of umphs in license ? all, the resurrection and ascension. At the last annual meeting of the Rude perchance may be these works Arundel Society-a society well fitted to the more cultured taste, but to the to meet the urgency of the actual and unlettered multitude, at least, they impending crisis - Mr Layard gave bring to trembling faith the persua- signal examples of the cruel veglect sion of vision. They are part of that and deliberate outrage by which the grand scheme and mission nowhere frescoes of Italy have been, and still . to be comprehended save in the land are, threatened, with destruction. In of Italy, whereby pi ial art, when the course of travels and researches the personal remembrance and living in that country, be had found, be tradition were dying from the outer said, barbarous names scratched on world, sought in the painted fresco the great and invaluable mural paintonce more to bring Christ upon the ings of Assisi, Spello, and Perugia earth, and to realise, even to the the names of Germans who had bodily senses, that the divine Word crossed the Alps years ago for pillage. was made flesh, and dwelt among men. He greatly feared that the mercenary And all these pictured scenes are troops of his Holiness the present found in the midst of a nature the Pope would not show themselves most glorious--akin, indeed, to the better guardians of these precious land of transfiguration, and to the sea monuments. But there were also that was troubled by the storm ; for mercenary painters who destroyed as the hills are round about Jerusa- such works no less than these merlem, and the Galilean sea is bounded cenary soldiers. An instance of this by the mountains, so do hills cluster Vandalism, falsely known under the round many a rock-built city of Italy, name Restoration,” had fallen unand mountains rise even from the der his personal notice. When in hosom of the storm-swept lake. Thus Florence he had found a scaffold oft in Italy have we looked at the erected in front of the important faded frescoon convent walls, and then fresco by Filippino Lippi, in the gone forth to meet the dying supset; church of Santa Maria Novella, and turning our thoughts to Calvary, to three gentlemen standing on the top, the Mount of Olives, to the Galilean with pails and brushes in their hands, sea, to the bills about Jerusalem. We of the size of mops. He inquired have walked among the olive groves what they were abont to do, and they which clothe the Thrasimenan Lake, replied that they were engaged to and climbed the heights of Valam- “ rinfrescare” or “refresh" Filippino brosa, and perchance come upon a Lippi ! Thus have neglect and vioconvent as of Bethlehem among the lence, time, the elements, and the hand hills, and a scanty hamlet as of Be- of man, wrought their sure destructhany nestling among groves, The tion. Many, indeed, are the sad examland of Italy, indeed, and the land of ples of this impending fate which the Judah are akin in beauty, and alike zealous and well-timed labours of the in desolation. The bandit haunts Arundel Society have brought into the pictured loveliness, malaria takes notice. The small but ancient town her abode in the seats of imperial of Spello crowns a precipitous butstate, fertility has become barrenness, tress of the Apennines lying north- and the dews which heaven oncé ward of Rome. In its collegiate sent in mercy are now poured as from church of Sta Maria Maggiore is a vials of wrath. But art still lives side chapel decorated with frescoes

painted in the year 1500, by Bernar- by windows, and almost blocked up by a dino Pinturicchio. Pinturicchio be- modern altar, the paintings can only be longed to the pure and spiritual school well seen during two or three hours in of Umbria ; he was a fellow-labourer the middle of a bright day. I have had with Perugino; he was the friend of opportunities of watching, during repeatRaphael, the associate of Signorelli

, the changes which are from year to year

ed visits, their rapid decay, and of noting Bramante, and other men distin- taking place in them.” guished in his times. In Rome he painted a chapel in Sta Maria del Time, which adorns the ruin, Popolo ; he also adorned with fres- does but deface the picture. Nature coes the Aracæli on the Capitol ; comes to the desecrated temple and and the Library in the Duomo of claims it to herself;—the ivy-mantled Siena was likewise decorated by his tower is grand even by its desolahand. But of all these works none tion ;-the grass grows within the better display the spirituality and palace, the lichen and the fern drape the quietism peculiar to this master the tottering wall, the lizard darts and his school, than the careful fres. from beneath the crumbling stone, coes found in the ancient town of and the owl wails from the nestling Spello. The Annunciation, the Na- battlement ;-Time, the destroyer, tivity, and the Dispute with the Doc- once again clothes nakedness in tors,* occupy the three sides of a beauty, makes barrenness to bud small chapel in the cathedral. The and blossom, and age and even death Angel Gabriel, with golden hair flow- to spring into life and youth ;-Naing in rich profusion upon his shoul- ture comes and arranges anew, with ders, holds the lily in his hand, and cunning, hand, the landscape, and announces the heaven-sent message

weaves in garlands a sylvan poetry; to the Holy Virgin, shrinking in mo. lilies blossom in the broken foundest purity. In The Nativity,” the tain ;-the fairy Maiden-hair, with Magi present their gifts, the Madonna feathery plumes, crowns the fallen and attendant angels bend in love column, and the wayward vine and worship; while, in the upper sky, wanders from height to height, baskthe heavenly host are chaunting the ing where the sun sbines warmest: anthem of peace upon earth and good But time, that adorns the archiwill to men.

The third subject, tectural ruin, does but deface the “Christ among the Doctors," is like picture. The painted chapel, once wise marked by the same gentle spi: for the blessed, becomes, in the wind

like a heavenly mansion prepared ritualism ; the same deep heartfelt devotion; a treatment and expression and the rain, the heat and the cold, avowedly near akin to the works of a desolation.

Once the roof was Perugino, and the early pictures of blue and deep as the firmament Raphael.' Yet these fresco pictures, lighted with stars of gold, the floor like many others of no less priceless was set with rich mosaics, the walls value, are fast hastening to decay.

shone as an illumined missal, music

floated softly and solemnly around, “The frescoes of the Spello Chapel," and light descended from the jewelsays Mr Layard in a narrative written to led glass dimly yet fervently. How accompany the chromolithographs re- altered is now the mien ! Go to cently published by the Arundel Society, Padua ;-walk to the deserted out" have been more fortunate than most skirts of the forsaken city ;-knock works of the period in escaping restora- at an outer door, opening from an tion, but they have not been treated with ungainly wall;-pace an ill-kept path less neglect and indifference. The rain running through a desolate garden ; having been long allowed to penetrate –find a key if you can, and then through the roof, and to trickle down the walls, the plaster loosened by the await the opening of the once sumpdamp is peeling off, and the colours tuous Arena Chapel. The lock grates have lost their original brilliancy. The rustily, the door groans on the heavy frescoes on the roof are fast disappearing hinges, and cold and damp and altogether. As the chapel is unlighted dreary opens the deserted chamber.

* See the Chromolithograplis published by the Arundel Society.

The floor has long lost its marble pictures, manifestations of a people's mosaic, the blue serene of the starry religion and belief. They have been roof is blackened, and, in some parts, long neglected, but assuredly they battered till bare. Rain has year well merit the attention of all who by year trickled down the face of desire to study and comprehend the frescoes sacred to the Madonna and early origin and progress of Christian the Saviour, and a large picture of art. the Last Judgment is all but illegible. Year after yearthe Arundel Society The fate here suffered, the tale here is bringing before the British public to be told, is indeed sad. There is works which proclaim this same sad no picturesque beauty as in the ivy story of destruction. Frescoes, of tower, no grandeur" as in ruined which the world shall not see the like temple, but only bare desolation and again, are, as we have said, fast merciless destruction.

fading from our sight. Rain pouring Yet this Arena Chapel was not in at broken windows, the wind beatonly a shrine for devotion, but a ing along the open corridor, incense sanctuary sacred to art. It was here and the smoke of candles blackening that Giotto, the child of promise in colours once brilliant as the day, or the great Italian renaissance, un- the restorer's brush destroying what folded a genius which filled the the elements had spared. Sometimes world with unaccustomed wonder. again a noble work, lying from the Upon these walls, now long given to beaten haunts of men, has found its neglect, he laboured for many a safety only in oblivion. Mr Layard, month, throwing the fervour of his who brought to light the buried religion and the beauty of his art marbles of Nineveh, has, by a like into frescoes which were to him the enterprise generously devoted to the ready language of thought and emo- service of the Arundel Society, hunted tion. There, as he sedulously painted out frescoes which had been well-nigh that great picture of the Last Judg- forgotten. The happy results of an ment, stood Dante by his side, hold. autumn tour in Italy, Mr Layard ing high discourse of purgatory and thus pleasantly describes :paradise. The poet, eloquent in suggestive thought, guided, as it “On one of the wooded hills rising were, the painter's hand; rapturous above the lake of Perugia, stands the words translated themselves into small town of Panicale. Its half-ruined fervent colours,—angel forms came walls and towers show that it was a floating in responsive cadence to the fortified post of some importance during music of the verse, or demons intrud- the middle ages. Away from the highed as discords at the harsher deeper roads leading to the principal cities of guttural. In the “Entombment” * Central Italy, it is seldom visited by especially, do we find a tragedy and, it the miserable shelter of an Italian

the traveller, who would scarcely find in as it were, an audible wailing, the

“ osteria." Yet, like almost every town painter striving, it may be, to tran- and hamlet of this favoured land, it conscribe the burning words which tains works of art such as elsewhere Dante spoke; visions of uuquenched would render a city famous. Outside agony, which had darkened and fur- the walls, on an olive-clad eminence rowed the poet's visage, came to the overlooking the town, is a convent of painter at his work, shadowing forth Attached to it is a chapel dedi. forms of terrible anguish, and then, cated to St Sebastian. The wall behind again, Heaven seems to open in pic- its high altar is covered with a fresco tures of beauty and of peace. These representing, the martyrdom of the works, executed at the dawn of the

Saint. It is the work, and may be ranked great European awakening at the

amongst the finest, of a painter who, by

his genius and the influence he exercised commencement of the fourteenth

upon his great contemporaries, forms an century, were then a marvel, and to epoch in the history of art—Pietro Vanus they remain a great possession: nucci, or, as he is more commonly called, They are painted poems, speaking from the city in which he principally


* For these frescoes from the “Life of the Saviour and the Madonna," see the publications of the Arundel Society, in a series of thirty-six woodcuts.



laboured and founded his school, Il still is, emphatically the land of Perugino."

colour. It is curious and instructive This noble work “The Martyrdom of their wealth and glory have suvg

to mark how nations in the supremacy of St Sebastian,” since published as a chromolithograph by the Arun- chorus of colour. The Pharaohs in

as it were their triumphs in the full del Society, is passed unnoticed by Egypt decorated the palace of imVasari, and has consequently been perial pomp, and the temple for overlooked even by those who have sacred worship, with prismatic hues made the history of Art a special

as the language of ecstasy and study. “We rode” says Mr Layard, along the borders of the blue lake, triumph. The Moors in Cairo and

Grenada sounded in turn their jubithrough the oak-woods mirrored on its surface," and there, in the chapel of lees in tones pitched in the same high the Saint, found this master-work of like manner in Italy built churches

key of exultation. Leo and Julius in Perugino, the Martyr bound to a por- rich in resplendent marbles, and made phyry column, divine in resignation, the painted fresco subservient to rethe archers of “singular beauty and grace" performing their duty with ligious worship and stately magnifi

cence. But when glory departs from melancholy tenderness" - a work which displays "all the best charac, she clothed her splendour grow faded

a nation, the bright robes in which teristics of the Umbrian School” and and sullied. With tarnished honour “the peculiar characteristics” of Perugino, perhaps its greatest master. In the trumpet note of valour, turns

comes a deadened colour; crimson, the following extract we again quote Mr Layard's narrative, printed in elu- pallid with defeat, and instead of joy cidation of the published chromo- ing. In Upper Egypt the sand of

in gayattire is the

sackcloth of mourntint. It serves, as will be seen, to con

the desert has swept its effacing firm much that we have alreadystated. flood over sculpture, column, and

“After examining,” says Mr Layard, painting. At Cairo the gilded crescent “most of the principal frescoes in Central fades against the sky; in Andalusia Italy, I was surprised at the condition in the Alhambra has long been whitewhich I found this painting. Although washed; and in like manner throughthe highest development of the genius out Italy the jewelled marble has of the early Italian painters is to be been stript from the denuded monufound in their frescoes, of all their works ment; frescoes, once the very trithey are those which have unfortunately umph of colour, are pallid and crumsuffered most. Usually painted in the side-chapels or behind the principal altars bling; and the land of the south, once

clad in almost eastern magnificence, of churches, they have been exposed to many sources of injury. The ill-repaired now stricken with poverty, finds her roof and walls admit the rain and damp. garments tarnished, tattered, and On festivals tawdry hangings are unmer

threadbare. Italy, we say, was once cifully nailed over them; the hammer and emphatically the land of colour—not the ladder each having its share in the the colour of rude barbaric grandeur, process of destruction. Then torches but the language of subtle refinement, blaze round the shrine and blacken the the overflow of exuberant delight, the walls during the sacred ceremonies ; but rapture of a devotion which sought neither the fumes of incense nor the

the harmony and the fervour of the smoke of candles have dimmed this masterpiece of the Perugian painter.

skies. Its expression was manifold

The colour is still as bright and transparent

as the intent and emotion were diveras when first laid on the damp plaster, sified. In Venice, colour gemmed as retaining that brilliancy which distin- with ruby and sapphire and emerald guishes true fresco-painting. The only became worldly pomp and senatorial injury the picture has sustained has been dignity. Then, again, in the convent caused by large nails driven into the wall art of Angelico it lost all taint and to suspend a veil with which it has been corruption of earth, it became pure deemed becoming, as the chapel is at- as the elements, holy and without tached to a convent, to cover the nude shadow of sin as when light was first figure of the Saint."

divided from darkness; and thus in Italy has been, and in some measure these works angels float down from

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heaven on the sunbeam, and their firmament rather than lights of the robes span the sky as in raiubow lower world. It is fitting the English glory. And this glory faded from eye should be taught, as in this Italy when darkness came upon the beauteous work copied from a drawland, and confusion was thick gather- ing kindly lent by Mrs Higford Burr, ing

that in colour there are harmonies It is then specially fitting that at consonant with the fabled music of the time when colour is fast de- the spheres. In the pure and beauparting from Italy, the Arundel So- teous hues of this Madonna with the ciety should, by the art of the chro- attendant heavenly host, there is inmolithograph bring the charm and the deed a spirit not of earth. The paexcellence of its beauty to England. lette is no longer set with the gross In England we still plod on in the pigment used in mere naturalistic sober, sullen greys of practical every- art, but the pencil paints as with day existence. Even the great works sunbeams, and the colours glow as of Italian colour are known to our gems spangling among flowers. Thus own people only in the dispassionate painting, which has sometimes been light and shade of black and white termed a mute art, is made through engravings. We walk under the sha- the language of colour to speak as dow of a cloudy sky, or along streets with heavenly transport. bedimmed with blackening smoke, It is now time that we should and have not yet learnt how to throw state more expressly what are the the sunshine and the warmth of co- objects of the Arundel Society, and lour across our daily path. We are the means by which it seeks to carry still labouring along the road of dull its purposes into execution. Its name utility, and have scarcely yet reared is adopted from Thomas Howard, those more airy pinnacles in civilisa- Earl of Arundel, “the father of vertà tion which shine in glittering gold in England,” “the Maecenas of all and pomp against the clearer sky. We politer arts' as great for his nohave barely yet discovered that col- ble patronage of arts and ancient our is the language of expression learning as for his bigh birth and and emotion. We do not yet fully place.” The Society was established recognise that as in music every some ten years since, with the dethought and passion has its speaking clared purpose of “promoting the note, so in colour the joys and sor- kuowledge of art.” It proposed to rows of our life may be fitly sym- publish for its members engravinys bolised that colour is in itself indeed or other reproductions of rare and a world of joy—that the coloured land- important works not lying within scape is as the melody of birds sing- the ready reach of the general public. ing among trees, and the painted It thus intended to bring to rotice picture an elaborated harmony. At monuments of ancient art which from fast, however, the sense of these their remote locality or other causes esthetic truths dawns upon the might be difficult of access, and to English public. If

, indeed, Italy be rescue, ere it should be too late, the fading sunset, England is the works endangered by rude violence opening dawn; and the golden day or more slow decay. Its contemwhich has long gilded the southern plated sphere may be taken to comcampanile now begins to brighten prise the arts in every variety of with unaccustomed splendour upon style, as found in all countries and our more northern shore.

manifested throughout all ages, The Arundel Society, then, just at painting, sculpture, and architecture, this period of transition, may boast schools payan and classic, Christian of a chosen and a special mission. and medieval. But out of this wider It does well to select, as in its pub- field it has primarily selected for il. lished chromotint from an early lustration Italian fresco-painting durfresco by Ottaviano Nelli at Gubbio, ing the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixworks of subtle, resplendent, and yet teenth centuries. It was thought

. spiritual colour. Italy can still yield the time had arrived when, by sciento England gems of this pure lustre, tific inventions and mechanical apwhich shine indeed as stars in the pliances, greater accuracy than hal

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