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liar expression of grief in one part more than another; the head hangs down despondingly indeed, but so do the hands, the clothes, and every other part seems to labour under and be involved in a complication of distress. Again, the prophet Ezra is represented reading, in a striking attitude of attention, and with the book held close to him as if to lose no part of its contents in empty space : — all this is finely imagined and designed, but then the book reflects back none of its pregnant, hieroglyphic meaning on the face, which, though large and stately, is an ordinary unimpassioned, and even unideal one. Daniel, again, is meant for a face of inward thought and musing, but it might seem as if the compression of the features were produced by external force as much as by involuntary perplexity. I might extend these remarks to this artist's other works; for instance, to the Moses, of which the form and attitude express the utmost dignity and energy of purpose, but the face wants a something of the intelligence and expansive views of the Hebrew legislator. It is cut from the same block, and by the same bold sweeping hand, as the sandals or the drapery. L. Do
think there is any truth or value
in the distinction which assigns to Raphael the dramatic, and to Michael Angelo the epic department of the art ?
H. Very little, I confess. It is so far true, that Michael Angelo painted single figures, and Raphael chiefly groups; but Michael Angelo gave life and action to his figures, though not the same expression to the face. I think this arose from two circumstances. First, from his habits as a sculptor, in which form predominates, and in which the fixed lineaments are more attended to than the passing inflections, which are neither so easily caught nor so well given in sculpture as in painting. Secondly, it strikes me that Michael Angelo, who was a strong ironbuilt man, sympathised more with the organic structure, with bones and muscles, than with the more subtle and sensitive workings of that fine medullary substance called the brain. He compounded man admirably of brass or clay, but did not succeed equally in breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, of thought or feeling. He has less humanity than Raphael, and I think that he is also less divine, unless it be asserted that the body is less allied to earth than the mind. Expression is, after all, the principal thing If Michael Angelo's forms have, as I allow, an intellectual character about
them and a greatness of gusto, so that you would almost say “his bodies thought;" his faces, on the other hand, have a drossy and material one. For example, in the figure of Adam coming from the hand of his Creator, the composition, which goes on the idea of a being starting into life at the touch of Omnipotence, is sublime :the figure of Adam reclined at ease with manly freedom and independence, is worthy of the original founder of our race; and the expression of the face, implying passive resignation and the first consciousness of existence, is in thorough keeping—but I see nothing in the countenance of the Deity denoting supreme might and majesty. The Eve, too, lying extended at the foot of the Forbidden Tree, has an elasticity and buoyancy about it, that seems as if it could bound
from the earth of its own accord, like a bow that has been bent. It is all life and grace.
The action of the head thrown back, and the upward look, correspond to the rest. The artist was here at home. In like manner, in the allegorical figures of Night and Morn at Florence, the faces are ugly or distorted, but the contour and actions of the limbs express dignity and power, in the very highest degree. The legs of the figure of Night, in particular, are twisted into the involutions of a serpent's folds ;
the neck is curved like the horse's, and is clothed with thunder.
L. What, then, is the precise difference between him and Raphael, according to your conception ?
H. As far as I can explain the matter, it seems to me that Michael Angelo's forms are finer, but that Raphael's are more fraught with meaning; that the rigid outline and disposable masses in the first are more grand and imposing, but that Raphael puts a greater proportion of sentiment into his, and calls into play every faculty of mind and body of which his characters are susceptible, with greater subtilty and intensity of feeling. Dryden's lines,
“A fiery soul that working out its way
Fretted the pigmy body to decay,
And o'er-inform'd the tenement of clay—” do not exactly answer to Raphael's character, which is mild and thoughtful rather than fiery ; nor is there any want either of grace or grandeur in his figures: but the passage describes the “o'er-informing” spirit that breathes through them, and the unequal struggle of the expression to vent itself by more than ordinary physical means. Raphael lived a much shorter time than Michael Angelo, who also lived long after him; and there is no comparison between the number,
the variety, or the finished elegance of their works.* Michael Angelo possibly lost himself in the material and instrumental part of art, in embodying a technical theory, or in acquiring the grammar of different branches of study, excelling in knowledge and in gravity of pretension; whereas Raphael gave himself up to the diviner or lovelier impulse that breathes its soul over the face of things, being governed by a sense of reality and of general truth. There is nothing exclusive or repulsive in Raphael; he is open to all impressions alike, and seems to identify himself with whatever he saw that arrested his attention or could interest others. Michael Angelo studied for himself, and raised objects to the standard of his conception, by a formula or system: Raphael invented for others, and was guided only by sympathy with them. Michael Angelo was painter, sculptor, architect; but he might be said to make of each art a shrine, in which to build up the stately and gigantic stature of his own mind :-Raphael was only a painter, but in that one art he seemed to
* The oil-pictures attributed to Michael Angelo are meagre and pitiful; such as that of the Fates at Florence. Another of Witches, at Cardinal Fesch's at Rome, is like what the late Mr Barry would have admired and imitated-dingy, coarse, and vacant.