« PreviousContinue »
contains some works of Zurbaran ; the principal of which is Saint Peter seated on a throne and clothed in pontifical robes. The good Saint must feel not a little surprised at being thus exhibited to posterity as a Pope. There are several little pictures surrounding this large one ; representing various passages in the life of the Saint. Zurbaran displays but little imagination; he seems, however, to have been skilful in the technical part of his art. There is in the same church a picture by his master, Juan de las Roclas, representing Santiago or Saint Jaques mounted upon a huge white horse, equipped as a knight, and busily employed in belabouring and overthrowing the Moors in the battle of Clavijo. It is evident from this picture that the Spanish painters took as great liberties with costuming their Saints, as the priests of that country did and do with accoutring their images. Terror, rage, and despair, are depicted with great force and truth in the features and gestures of the prostrate Moors. Amongst them is a young Saracen who painfully endeavours to raise up his dying head and brave, at least with looks, the aspect and flaming sword of the Saint. This is a fine idea, and perfectly well realised by the painter. Pedro de Alesio has treated the same subject for the church of Saint Jaques, where it figures over the grand altar.
One of the finest pictures in the Cathedral is the Vision of Saint Antony, by Murillo. It is placed in the Chapel of the Baptistery. The Saint, in a moment of mystical ecstasy, stretches forth his arms and raises his noble countenance towards the infant Jesus, who is smiling on him from a couch of transparent clouds, which are painted with infinite art. Through the entrance of the cell is seen a Gothic cloister, the light of whieh is not the same as that of the cell. All the objects in this fine composition are executed with admirable truth and beauty.
To see the other chefs-d'æuvre of Murillo (whose merit can be justly appreciated only by those who have been at Seville), we must visit the Church of the Hospital de la Curidad, where his finest productions are, or rather were to be seen ; for one of his four great pictures, after having been stolen by the French, was restored at the Peace of 1815, and has since remained at Madrid, where forms one of the principal ornaments of the Gallery of San Fernanda. The subject is Saint Isa bella, Queen of Portugal, who devoted herself to the care of the poor, the sick, and the mutilated.' Here Murillo sported in his own element; for, as it is well known, there never was a painter who shewed so strong a predilection for imitating the disgusting casualties and diseases of afflicted human nature. His beggars covered with filth, vermin, and ulcers, excite horror and loathing from the very fidelity and excellence of their execution. It is almost impossible to conceive how the artist could have so far conquered the natural repugnance excited by such hideous nastiness, as to enable him to copy with minute accuracy such objects. One is almost forced to think that to his ardent love of painting, must have been joined a mind inaccessible to human suffering. It is however much to be deplored that Murillo did not exercise his extraordinary talent for the imitation of nature upon more attractive objects: for, having given it this direction, his excellence" served him but as an enemy,” and became “a sanctified and holy traitor to him,"
inasmuch as, the better he succeeded, the greater was the disgust excited. One of the other three pictures that are still to be seen in the Hospital de la Curidad, represents a San Juan de Dios, who is carrying on his back a sick man to the hospital, in which charitable office he is assisted by an angel. The second is our Saviour, in the midst of a beautiful country, feeding the multitude, who are skilfully disposed in groups. The third is Moses striking the rock and causing a living stream to spring from it, to which a crowd of men and animals are hurrying to slake their thirst. In the principal figures of the two last pictures there is a want of character observable. They seem even to have been executed with a feeble pencil. Indeed the same may be said of the first picture, in which San Juan de Dios and the angel have nothing of the ideal about them. On the contrary, their features are rather harsh and vulgar. One is inclined to suppose that Murillo had blunted the fine tact of genius, by a too continued attention to the grosser and ruder models of nature, if the celestial features of his Saint Isabella did not triumphantly prove that he was complete master of the beau idéal, when he took the pains to seek it, or the subject inspired him.
The Capuchin Church de la Porta Macarera formerly possessed some of Murillo's paintings, but they are now dispersed. Since the suppression of the convents and other religious communities equally useless, if not hurtful, an excellent idea has been put in execution, that of depositing in one of the reformed churches a great
number of the pictures that belonged to the ancient communities. The selection might have been more judicious ; but even as it is, it has served to rescue from destruction or dispersion several masterpieces of the Spanish school. This collection is destined to remain stationary and serve as a provincial museum, if our Lady and the Duke d'Angoulême be not of a different opinion. Over the space formerly occupied by the grand altar of the church in which the pictures are exhibited, is placed a large painting by Zurbaran, taken from the College of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and representing his saintship, who occupies the middle of the piece. Over his head are seen the Saviour and the Virgin Mary, attended by angels and Saints Paul and Dominick. In the foreground is Charles V. in complete armour, and on his knees, and around him are several other personages. For the expression of the features, the chiaroscuro and the draperies, this is a chef-d'æutre. The composition bas nothing remarkable in it, but this is too often the case in those pictures which have been executed in Italy and Spain according to orders which had more of superstition than sound taste in them. Over this is a charming Madonna by Juan de Castello, remarkable for its colouring and purity of style, qualities which this artist seems to have borrowed from his brother Augustin de Castello. There are also in this new Museum several productions more or less remarkable of Valdes, Murillo, and Ribera. It possesses, moreover, a fine piece of statuary in terra cotta representing Saint Jerome. This is the work of Torregiano, an excellent Italian sculptor. It was executed for the Convent of Buenavista, near the city. Fortunately the artist did not behave so ungallantly to this Saint Jerome in terra cotta, as he did to a Madonna of the same fragile materials, which he had modelled for the Duke d'Arcos ; for in a dispute with this Senore, the irritated artist dashed
the unoffending lady, instead of the insolent lord, to pieces. “The hand that made her, marr'd her.”. Such a burst of passion and sacrilegious destruction, in the presence of a grandee of Spain, was a crime not to be forgiven; and the sculptor was immured, without examination or trial, in a prison at Seville, where he died in 1522.
Besides this collection of the Museum, there is not a church in Seville which does not possess one or more specimens of the first-rate Spanish masters—such as Campagna, Villegas, Vargas, &c. At Santa Maria la Blanca, there is a Virgin supporting the body of Christ, by Vargas--on the borders of this picture are painted the figures of saints. The Hospital of San Lazaro, beyond the walls, possesses a Saint Lazarus robed as a bishop, by Villegas Marmotego. Thus to episcopalize Saint Lazarus is quite as anachronismatical a sin as clapping the tiara upon the unconscious head of Saint Peter : but we are inclined to pardon the painter's extemporal error, for the admirable manner in which he has painted the episcopal costume. Villegas is buried in the Church of San Lorenzo, at the foot of another of his pictures, representing a Madonna. It is a pity that the Last Judgement, painted on fresco, in the court of the Casa de la Misericordia, is in such a ruinous state, that in a short time it will be impossible to criticise it. The parochial church of Saint Isidore possesses a picture of the death of this saint, by Roclas. It is one of his best productions. The scene is a Gothic cathedral, in which the holy bishop is seen upon his knees, his head inclined, his hands joined, and his whole air and attitude indicating the flight of his soul to another and a better world. The expression of his countenance is extremely touching : he is supported by some attendant ecclesiastics ; in the air are seen the Saviour, the Virgin, and a company of angels, hailing the departure of the Saint with voices and musical instruments : towards this bright choir, the dying bishop, though with head reclined in the languor of approaching death, directs a look of love and hope. The colouring of this picture approaches very near that of the Venetian school, upon which, in fact, Roclas had formed himself. The same resemblance may be traced in the Martyrdom of Saint Andrew, a large picture containing thirty figures as large as life.
A cloth-merchant of Seville has had spirit and taste enough to form a collection of paintings nearly as numerous as that of the provincial Museum. He has covered with pictures the walls, not only of his apartments, but of his staircase, his court, and even his shop. In this distribution, a very strict attention has not been paid to the lucidus ordo; but however there is much, and of what is valuable, to be discovered in this belle confusion. Amongst the Italian pictures, one is agreeably surprised to find an Adoration of the Shepherds, by Michael Angelo ; it is of small dimensions, but of the most exquisite finish; also a Penitent Magdalen in a Grotto, by Titian, opposite to which is a picture by Murillo, representing the same subject. There is a Marriage of Saint Catherine, by Corregio, so exactly similar in all respects to a picture of the same master in the gallery of the Louvre, that it must puzzle the most acute connoisseur to determine which of the two is the original. Near this is a Dying Saint Agnes covering her bruised and wounded bosom with a part of her garments, by Guido Reni. In specimens of the Spanish schools, this collection is still richer, or at least contains a
greater number. There are about twenty pictures by Murillo, the most remarkable of which is Christ and Saint John. The forms and faces of these two figures are given with the most striking truth and excellence. The back-ground represents a verdant and flowery plain, through which the Jordan is seen winding. There is also another remarkable picture of a Dead Christ, supported by two Angels, by Loes de Morales, a master whose works are very rare.
are four pictures indicative of the Life of Christ, by Juan de Valdes Leal; some scenes from the Old Testament, by Pedro de Orrente, &c. In a word, to go minutely through the collection of this spirited and tasteful merchant would furnish forth a volume, for he seems to have neglected none of the great schools, national or foreign. He has, amongst others, some fine pictures of Wouvermans and other French masters. We cannot conclude this brief notice without expressing our respect for the character of a man who devotes the profits of his industry to so elegant and intellectual a gratification; and we most sincerely wish him and his pictures a safe delivery from the magnanimous Angoulême and his band of deliverers. His morning and evening prayer shou such liberators, libera nos, Domine.
ANCIENT SONG OF À GREEK EXILE.
WHERE is the Summer, with her golden sun?
-Far in my own bright land !
hills? the founts, from sparry caves,
-Far in my own bright land !
-Far in my own bright land !
-Far in my own bright land !
-Far from my own bright land !
When we begin to feel the influence of age, when the boasted era of experience arrives, and we have a “moist eye, a dry hand, and a yellow cheek," it is wonderful with what pretension of contempt we are wont to treat the younger part of the community. We assume airs of severity before it, and seem to take a pride in gibing it. We put on the mantle of wisdom because we have no other left in our wardrobe fitting to our circumstances; and with as much importance and more selfishness than we ever before experienced, we assume the functions of legislators on the strength of our vicinity to second childishness. There is a little art in acting thus. Time has taken away every thing by which we can exercise an influence, save this reputation of wisdom; and to do ourselves justice, we know how to make the most of it. We thus contrive to keep up a degree of respect when our grey hairs would otherwise excite pity. We see that age is a state of neglect unless an impression of sageness accompanies it, and we cling to our last anchor to avoid shipwreck on the shoals of forgetfulness. Without “ heat, affection, limb, or bounty," we cannot brook neglect. Some, but comparatively a very few, have stored their minds with intellectual wealth, and improved them by the observations of years~
“ Till old experience do attain
To something like prophetic strain.” To venerate such is just and proper; it was to an old person of this character, no doubt, that the feeling of the Spartans was directed when they stood up in the theatre at Athens. But that those who have never profited by experience should put on the appearance of having done so to gain a respect to which they are not entitled, instead of the sympathy due to incapacity and decay, is rather bard upon the rising generation. The majority, too, of aged people assume the stoic, and pretend a scorn for the warm temper, sanguine feelings, intrepid integrity, and open manners of youth. They snub, and wound, and stifle, its generous emotions, often preaching the vanities of life only because they can no longer share in them. They seldom reflect on their own youth, but imagine that age and imbecility form the only state of existence in which man is to be imitated and admired. But it is perhaps wrong to cavil with erroneous notions where error is consolatory—where there are no vivid pleasures to be enjoyed, and the future prospect offers nothing but increase of decay and greater enfeeblement of the senses. Still it becomes those to reflect, who preserve the power of reflection, that early recollections are a source of the purest pleasure, and that they who live upon the memory of the past should not undervalue the brightest part of it.
I knew one aged person who loved youth for the pleasure he derived in his old age from the remembrance of his own youthful sensations. Seventy years had passed over his head, and, unlike Justice Shallow, he had little gratification in recounting the mere frolics of boyhood : if he alluded to them at all it was when he had cheered his old veins with a glass of claret, and a youthy impulse shone forth from a loophole of the grey tenement that enclosed it. He would now and then talk at such times of the "bona robas," and the “midnight chimes," and the "wildness of his youth ;" but it was rather from the love he bore to