Sivut kuvina
[merged small][ocr errors]

fait ces vers, pourêtre placés au bas des figures saites par le peintre son ami. Mais bien qu'on ait répété que ces postures avaient été gravées par

Marc-Antoine , que le pape n'osant sévir contre le poëte, dont on craignait la plume hardie, ne pouvant attendre le peintre qui s'était enfui, il aurait exercé sa vengeance sur le graveur, en le mettant en prison pour avoir fait servir son burin, à la reproduction de dessins licencieux; toutes ces assertions manquent de preuves, et avant de les répéter on aurait dû réfléchir que, si en effet il eût existé vingt gravures de cette palure, quelques soins que l'on ait pu prendre alors, pour détruire ces estampes, il serait impossible qu'il n'en fût échappé quelques épreuves, qui se seraient retrouvées depuis. Les recherches de Mariette, de Heinecken et de Bartsch ont toujours été infructueuses depuis plus de soixante ans. Moi-même, en parcourant les cabinets de Munich, de Vienne, de Dresde et de Leipsik, je n'ai rien vu de ce genre qui raisonnablement puisse être attribué, ni à Jules Romain ni à Marc-Antoine. Je n'ai rien trouvé non plus dans les collections d'Amsterdam et de La Haye , ni dans celles de Buckingham, à Stowe, ni au British Museum. Il n'existe rien non plus à Paris ni à la bibliothèque du roi, ni dans les cabinets particuliers. Cependant on rencontre encore des amateurs, qui prétendent que ces pièces ont existé, et qu'ils en ont vu des calques ; mais, en insistant , ils sont toujours forcé de convenir, que les calques qu'ils ont vus étaient faits sur d'autres calques et non d'après des gravures de Marc-Antoine. Pourquoi donc alors chercher à accréditer une anecdote qui ne peut rien offrir d'honorable pour ceux qui y auraient donné lieu , lorsque surtout on ne peut trouver aucune trace positive de ce dont on les accuse.

Un des travaux les plus importans que Jules eut à faire ensuite , est ce magnifique palais du T, dont l'architecture et les peintures sont également admirables. C'est là que, donnant l'essor à son imagination, il créa une foule de tableaux

[ocr errors]



NOTICE HIST. ET CRIT. SUR JULES PIPPI. dans lesquels on ne sait ce qui doit le plus étonner, ou de la fécondité de son génie ou de la facilité de son exécution.

Plus tard Jules eut à peindre, dans le palais de Mantoue , une galerie ou il representa l'histoire de la guerre de Troie. Il fit aussi des tableaux, parmi lesquels on doit citer l'Adoration des Bergers, qui , placée d'abord à la chapelle St.-André de Mantoue, fut dans la suite donnée par le duc à Charles Jer, roi d'Angleterre , puis achetée après sa mort par Jabach ; elle se voit maintenant dans la galerie du Louvre.

Jules eut aussi à construire un grand nombre d'édifices publics et particuliers, qui embellirent la ville de Mantque et la rendirent méconnaissable. Le duc, admirateur des talens de Jules Romain, l'en récompensa par des faveurs et des bienfaits souvent renouvelés. Après la mort du duc Frédéric , en 1540, Jules alla à Bologne, où il donna le plan d'une nouvelle façade pour l'église de Saint-Pétrone; et , lors de la mort d'Antoine Sangallo, il aurait sans doute été nommé architecte de Rome, si sa santé ne se fût dérangée à un tel point, qu'il succomba peu de temps après, le jer, novembre 1446, à l'âge de cinquante-quatre ans.






At the revival of the Arts, they flourished priocipally at Flo ace; and among the great men by whom they were cultivated, should be mentioned, with peculiar respect, Leonardo da Vinci, reputed the chief of the Florentine school.

This celebrated artist, the nalural son of Piero, a Notary of Florence, was born in - 1452 , at the castle of Vinci; from which he derived the surname of da Vinci. The gists of nalurc were bastowed on him in profusion; and he left none of them unimproved. Besides the kindred arts of design, he cultivated with success, mathematics, mechanics, hydrostatics, poetry and music; and at the same tiine made himself master of all the bodily exercises, excelling alike in dancing, fencing aud riding. To this uncommon vigor of mind, were joined the attractions of a beautiful countenance, and great bodily strength.

His father, observing the facility with which he drew, carried some of his skeiches to his friend Andrea Verocchio, who was struck by the proofs of genius they displayed, and urged him to conside the son to his care : young Leonardo


HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL NOTICE. thus became the companion and rival of Perugino, asterwards celebraled as the master of Raffaelie. He soon acquired sufficient skill to assist Veraccbio in his works ; and in a large composition, by his master, of the Baptism of Christ , he painted the figure of an Angel bolding the Saviour's garments, with such superiority, that it eclipsed the rest of the picture.

In 1489, Leonardo was invited to Milan, by the Duke Lewis Sfarza , to execute the statue which that l'rince was about erecting to the memory of his father, the Duke Francis; but the colossal size of his model rendered it impossible to cast it. He was then appointed Director of the Academy of Painting, recently established by the Duke; and employed his talents in various extraordinary works. On the occasion of the nuptials of John Galeazzo, he constructed a vaunled theatrical machine, in which the Planets, rolling in their orbits, appeared in succession, and sung the epithalamium of the bride. He also invented a silver lyre, of a peculiar form and ravishing sweetness. By dint of science and ingenuity, he overcame the obstacles, till then deemed insurmountable, which opposed the junction of the canal of Marlezana with that of the Ticino; and finally, he painted in the refectory of the Dominicans, the celebrated picture of the Last Supper, so universally admired for expression, which we have seen no.416.

When Lewis Xll. conquered the Milanese, and made Lewis Sforza prisoner, Leonardo apprehended persecution on accound of bisfavour with the Duke; butthe King, who meditated only to recompense his merit, received him graciously, and accorded him a pension. To sbew his gratitude, eh presented the victorious monarch an automatic lion, which after advancing a few; steps in the presence, slopped and reared himself on his hinder feet, when his breast flew open and discovered the scutcheon of the Arms of France. To Leonardo da Vinci the art of turning is indebted for se

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

OF LEORDANO DA VINC!. veral of its implements, especially for that most useful instrument the oval lathe.

But though favoured with the royal protection, Leonardo submilled impatiently to the French yoke, and withdrew to Florence; where he was employed by the Gonfaloniere Pietro Soderini, to paint in the grand half of the Council, the defeat of Picinino, one of tbe ablest generals of the Duke of Milan. This picture was never finished, but there exists a cartoou of it, representing a combat of horsemen for a standard, in which the passions of anger and revenge, are no less forcibly expressed in the horses than in the men.

Michel Angelo was charged at the same time to paint another scene of Florentine history, and produced his cartoon of the Florentines surprised by the Pisans, while bath. ing in the Arno. The judgment of artists remained suspended between these two masler-pieces; and Leonardo, who was now nearly sixty years of age, saw with displeasure his work compared to that of a young man of thirty. He accordingly seized the opportunity offered him by Guiliano de' Medici, who was going to Rome for the exaltation of hủs brother, Leo X., to leave Florence. He was at first received with distinction by the Pontiff, but was soon sensible of a change of disposition occasioned by the slowness with which he worked; which was such that he is said to have been four

years in finishing his famous portrait of Mona Lisa, the wise of Giocondo. This production was so highly admired by Francis Ist., that he purchased it for the sum of 4,000 crowns (about 800 pounds).

Towards the close of 1518, Leonardo, harassed by continual vexations in Italy, accepted the invitation of the young King of France, and repaired to Fontainebleau, where he was received with the highest honours The chateau of Clou was assigned for his relreat; but it does not appear that he executed any work in this relirement, where he soon ex.

[ocr errors]
« EdellinenJatka »